Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dieing to Live - Pt 3

The girl sat on the edge of the seat, grinding her foot into the metal plate of the tribunal's floor. Gilly sat motionless beside her, holding her hand firmly as they waited to be escorted into the court room. The girl was 14 now, 8 years after that fateful day her father had taken the life of her mother before her very eyes. Eight years of horrible dreams and a vicious hate growing within her. Numerous times in the past, her father had sent letters and vid messages asking to see her, to talk to her, and every one going unanswered. Now his parole hearing had finally come and after much pondering and a little persuasion by Gilly, she'd decided to attend.

"Selina Vallete?" She bit her bottom lip and rose, turning to follow the Concord officer through the doors into the court room. He led them to the front row behind the desk of the prosecuting attorney and motioned for them to have a seat, telling them the proceedings would begin shortly. Barely a breath of time had passed when the side door slid open and in walked her father, escorted by two other Concord officers, his hands securely bound. They locked eyes for the briefest of moments before her own eyes narrowed and she turned away. Soon after the judge entered and the court was in session. Selina heard little of it as her mind drifted off but when the judge's anvil smacked down, announcing the court was dismissed, she was more than happy by that time to get the hell out of there. Numerous times throughout the hearing, she could feel the eyes of her father looking over to her, but not once would she return his gaze. And when the judge ordered his parole to be revoked for another 5 years, she did nothing but grin silently to herself.

Selina spun round, grabbed the woman by the hair and slammed her face into the lockers. Blood spewed everywhere from her broken nose and the gash in her forehead. She released her and let the woman drop to the floor nearly unconscious before turning to glare at the other two women standing near. "Anybody got anything else they want to add?" They both stared wide eyed at their friend and slowly stepped backwards.

"I didn't think so," she said before grabbing her gym bag and stormed out of the locker room. She stopped for a moment outside the door and contemplated where to go. She knew it wouldn't be long before they came looking for her. Yeah...probably not the smartest move to assault the station commander's daughter. The way she seen it though, the bitch had been asking for it for weeks now and at this point, with graduation being this very weekend, there were no possibilities of anyone, even the commander, from stopping her from graduating. But that didn't mean they couldn't make her last couple days hell.

Turning on her heel, she headed for her ship's hanger.

At the age of 17, all students are given the opportunity to undergo the medical testing necessary to determine whether a person is eligible for becoming a pod pilot. The tests of course aren't always accurate as at times there are still potential pilots who never wake after their first neural link session with a pod. For the most part, however, that potential is very small. Having turned 17, she wasn't sure she even wanted to be a pod pilot but with a little prodding from Gilly and some of the other foster girls, she finally relented and soon found herself anxiously awaiting the results from her recent testing.

As she walked in the door that evening, having returned from school, she could tell immediately that something was up. Not too hard to do really when the entire house was standing at the door with a large cake and a lot of large smiles (although some strained by jealousy). And dearest Gilly just couldn't keep the news of her passing the tests any longer than she had to.

At first she was hesitant. All this time she had been focusing her studies on eventually becoming a medical physician. She'd always had a fascination with the human body and even more so knew there was money to be had in the advancement of clone engineering. But a pod pilot? Besides the usual fame and money in being a pod pilot, there was a lot of other benefits. Take for instance the idea of being in control of some really big guns! And the more appealing aspect, being in control of your own destiny.

But after much deliberation, the decision was made. Pod pilot it would be.
Selina grimaced at the double beep of her ship's neocom informing her she had an incoming transmission. She paused for a moment when she saw the colonel's name, already guessing why he might be contacting a lowly rookie like herself. However, unless she wanted to turn pirate now, figured it'd be best to acknowledge the incoming communique.

"Selina Vallete! I swear to all Eve I'll have your head for this! What the frack do you think your doing assaulting the Admiral's daughter?!"

Selina smirked. "Me?! Assaulting her? With all do respect sir, her and her little companions have been assaulting my personal mentality nearly since day one of my training. And if I'm not mistaken sir, it's in the interests of the Academy to take care of their students, so as not to put them through any additional mental stress until they are properly trained to handle the rigors of the pod. They have been.."

"Bullshit Selina! Absolute bullshit and you know it! You've talked your way out of every punishment in the past and because of your pending graduation, you know you'll escape punishment for this one as well. Your nothing but a starfire Selina. A starfire ready to explode. Well I hope your as resourceful as your mouth is because you have just been docked half of your graduation bonus as well as graduating with a -1.0 sec status. How's that suite you Miss Selina Starfire?"

Immediately, the communication was terminated.

Turning her "eyes" towards the stars, she mentally grinned from within the confines of her pod.

"That suites me just fine Colonel.....just...fine...."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dieing to Live - Pt 2

Selina kicked the door to her room as it closed and with a huff, dropped roughly onto the bed's mattress. She couldn't believe how narrow minded her professors could be. How was she expected to learn the ways of a combat pilot, told to use her head in figuring out the best way in taking down a fleet of unmanned training frigates, when she was cut short time after time by 'regulations'. What was so wrong when she started shooting the training control tower?? She had it down to about 50% structure by the time her instructor arrived and intervened. She tried to claim she wasn't intending to destroy it entirely, just enough to where most of the tower's crew would evacuate, thus the unmanned ships would shut down automatically with nobody at the remote-control station within the tower.

Just before the appearance of her instructor's Dominix battlecruiser, she could already see numerous escape pods jettisoning from the sides of the tower.

Unfortunately nobody was siding with her. Not after she'd completely annihilated the mining colony last week, a station that still had survivors in it when she was told to neutralize a rogue drone threat. She barely survived damnation only because nobody could prove her wrong when she claimed the drones were originating from within the station....given there was no station remaining to investigate... Okay, so even she wasn't entirely sure that's where they were originating from but they did stop appearing after the station's destruction!

Now here she was, being forced to stay within the confines of her room until 'suitable punishment' could be decided upon. They even had two guards posted outside her door, citing her general tendency to disobey simple orders that she decided she didn't agree with. Fortunately, she didn't have to wait long before the door slid open and in walked her instructor.

"Selina, I swear on my own pilot's license your going to be the end of me. If I have to argue one more time for them to let you finish your training, I'm immediately going to follow suite with my own resignation. Already they're saying that at the rate you're going, with your 'overkill tendencies', that they're wasting training time on what may turn out to be yet another rogue pirate. We're not training pirates here, we're training combat pilots. And as a combat pilot, there are certain regulations and policies for engagement that you must learn to adhere to. Understood?"

Snapping to her feet, she quickly swung a mock salute. "Sir! Yes Sir!"

Rolling his eyes, he stepped out of the path to the door. "You're free to go....but again, do at least try to be a little more....considerate...of your targets. Okay? You only have a few more days of flight time before your graduation. Until then at least, please stay out of trouble. Please?"

Giggling like a little school girl, she paused as she passed him "I promise," she says before sneaking in a quick peck on his cheek and bolting down the hall towards the hanger. What better way to relieve the stress of bureaucratic bullshit then to go on a nice flight around the system?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dieing to Live

Another teardrop fell into a growing pool of liquid sadness. Curled up tightly, the little girl did her best to stifle her sobs, squeezing her plush doll tighter against her trembling body. The building seemed to shudder as yet another object was thrown from its place in the room beyond the door of her bedroom. The screaming and the shouting continued for what seemed an eternity. No matter how regularly this same scenario took place, it still ripped at the heart of the little girl. But today something was different. Today the arguing outside her bedroom door seemed more intense.

Slowly the little girl slipped from her bed and crept to the door. She could hear the fear in her mother’s voice, hear that same voice as it became strangely muffled. The little girl hestitated for a moment. Something wasn’t right. Something out of the ordinary. Her father still continued to yell, his usual drunken slew of profanity and curses making little sense to her but yet this just seemed….different. Soon curiosity won over fear and she slowly drew open the door. Her mother’s eyes widened as she locked eyes with her daughter, her scream muffled by the steel barrel stuffed in her mouth, just before….

Selina snapped upwards from her bed, a scream barely escaping her lips. It took a moment but her senses slowly calmed to the point of realizing where she was. She wiped the sweat from her brow and fell back again upon her pillow. “Time,” she nearly yelled.

“Zero three twenty three,” the cold metallic voice of the neronet computer responded.

Damn, just a little over a half hour before she had to wake. Not enough time to get back to sleep and too long before she really had to be up. Clicking her teeth a couple times in frustration she sat up and propped her pillow against the headboard. “Screen,” she called before a holographic image materialized before her. Checking her data log, she made sure the skill training was still in order, checked for any outstanding contracts, mission logs, transaction summaries….but nothing really of interest. Even her email was rather quiet with little but useless junk from the school’s news net, most of which didn’t even pertain to her. She even checked the various comm channels she monitored for anybody of interest but found none she was in any mood to talk to.

Rising from her bunk with a sigh, she crossed the room to the sink and flipped on the small overhead vanity light. A slight grimace formed on her face as she saw her wreck of hair, yet another symbol of restless sleep. Locking eyes with her reflection, scowled at it. “Get yourself together girl…” she mumbled.

“Seliiinaaa! Selina!”

Grumbling at the sound of the house mother’s calling, the girl checked herself one last time in the mirror and frowned, her eyes staring at the reflection’s chest. “Any day now would be nice….” she nearly whispered before turning to head out the door.

Bolting down the stairs, she nearly collided with the elderly woman, the one all the girl’s referred to as Gilly. Though at times a bit of a nuisance in the eyes of the girl, Gilly was a very kind woman, always giving and rarely expecting anything in return. She cared for every foster child as if they were of her own flesh and blood and saw to it they were never in need, that they always felt loved. As the longest residing child in the house, the girl had become one of Gilly’s favorites. Always respectful, always caring for her other “siblings”, Gilly was sure the girl would someday turn into one very respectable Gallentean…..if only she could release the poor girl of her demons that haunted her every night.

“Where have you been child,” Gilly quipped at the girl. “We were supposed to be enroute to the shuttle station to pick up the new arrivals 15 minutes ago!”

“Sorry….I got sidetracked…” the girl said as she grabbed her cloak from the hallway closet.

“Well whatever it was, it could’ve waited I’m sure. As wonderful as you are, you just can’t ever seem to be on time. Fashionably late right?” the old woman smiled, the girl smiling in return. “Now… are we ready?”

“Yes ma’am,” she said, grabbing the usual welcome gifts from the entry desk and rushing out the door after Gilly.

Briskly walking down the corridor, Selina checked her timepiece and grimaced. “Wake up early, get to class late….good one Selina…” she thought as she stepped up her pace. Stopping at the door to the classroom, she took a deep breath, preparing for the possible berating of her flight instructor, before pushing the door open.


The room was empty. Not a single student or instructor in sight. “What the….” And then it dawned on her. Today was the field trip to the mining colony in sector 6-K8. She smacked herself in the head repeatedly as another student passed her in the corridor, shooting her a strange look. “What?!” she snapped at the too-thin male, her eyes narrowing in a feral, cat glare. The man just shrugged and carried on with himself, turning the corner at the first intersection.

Glancing at her timepiece again, she knew she’d never make it to the docking bay before they would likely be launching. Slapping her hand against the wall in one last release of frustration, she started down the hallway in the direction of the docking bays anyways. “No use in going back to my room,” she thought.

Garrick smirked, dropping the med pack on the table before plopping down in the seat across from her. “You know, if you didn’t lose your temper so quickly and get into all these fights you do, you’d prolly have gotten that scholarship you been wanting so bad.”

“Shut up,” the young woman grimaced as she pulled a vial of healer gel from the pack, snapped the top off and rubbed the cold goop across the cut on her forehead.

“I’m just saying….you want to get into medical school so bad, you need to show you actually care about fixing wounds rather than making wounds.”

“You know what Garrick,” she fixed her cat glare on him.


“Eat shit,” she snapped a half second before launching the rest of the med pack at his head. “How’s that for temper, you little pricked punk.” With that she stood and walked out of the diner and yet another of her growing line of ex-boyfriends.

So infuriated by the day’s events, she turned down the nearest alley, wanting nothing more right now than to just get away from people in general as much as she could in such a busy city. And so deeply immersed in her thoughts, little did she realize that she was not the only one that turned down that alley. When she was about half way down the alley, it was then she suddenly found herself being shoved forcefully to the ground. Large, rough hands grabbed her by the wrists and attempted to hold her arms behind her as a deep voice hissed in her ear sexual obscenities that would make any respective citizen cringe. Unfortunately for her assailant, his timing couldn’t have been any worse.

The mood she was already in was like a standing pool of gasoline, the words of the man being the match. What transpired after that point, she would never remember, as a mad rush of adrenaline overcame her mind, sending her into a rage even she didn’t know she had. And when it finally passed, her blood cooling in its aftermath, she found herself standing over what once was a man but was now no more than a mash of blood and mangled limbs. His face so beaten that when the authorities found him, they were only able to identify him through DNA tests.

The girl stood in horror over the body. For a moment, she tried to convince herself that she had only passed out, that some unknown hero had come to her rescue. But looking around, seeing no soul in the alley with her and feeling the open cuts on her fists from the destruction of her assailant, she knew the truth. And as her ears picked up the sounds of sirens approaching, she did the only thing she could think to do.

She ran.

As the door slid open to the hanger bay, she smiled seeing her favorite mechanic hard at work on the rookie ships, prepping them for the class’s upcoming first solo runs. And what will be their final day in the Academy before being sent out into the deep unknown of space.

“Hey there Brockis! How ya doin?”

The giant man turned his head to peer at the Selina, his face contorting into the exact opposite of what she normally saw when they would see each other.

“An wha’ da hell are ye doin ‘ere miss? Ain’t ye supposed ta be on that there field trip yer instructor had planned,” he asked in his usual mess of slurred words. Many of the students often joked that he ate just as much grease as he used on the ships he babied with skilled hands.

“Yeah….I was. But I was late and missed the shuttle.”

“Hmm….cap ain’t gonna be ta happy wit ya.”

Selina chuckled. “Yeah….you’re right. But what’s a girl gonna do?”

Brockis smirked and shook his head. “Always such a trouble maker ya be. Which is why I be reckonin yer gonna be one hell of a fine pilot.”

Flashing her most award winning smile, she approaches him and ruffles the big man’s hair. “Thank you Brockis, no kinder words could be spoken.” She then turns and looks over the small rookie ship. “So they gonna be ready for us tomorrow,” she playfully asks.

Scoffing, he stands straight, throwing his shoulders back in attentive pride. “Miss…these beauts is gonna be ready to take on da worst. Don’t ye be worryin yer perty little head wid dat nonsense.”

Selina smiles as she runs her hand across the smooth hull of the small ship. It wasn’t much for a first ship but it was a start nonetheless. For that reason alone, she was more than excited for the day when she would first set out in the little ship. It was one step closer to her eventual goal….just one more step….

“Aye, tomorrow is gonna be a good day,” she thinks with an inward, sinister smile.