Well the titles a work in progress... This is a sci-fi collab that anyone can help with, which a friend and I thought up. Drumroll please! And the basis is:
With rumors abuzz of a hostile takeover from a once peaceful planet, General Marr has been sent to resolve the situation. But everything is not as it seems... A traitor hides in their midst, attempting to force their hand. Who will succeed? Find out as you create their destiny!
Chapter One Edit
OSC General Marr stood at the helm of the OSCF Moren, hands behind his back. Finally they had cornered Logen, a high ranking member of the anti-government group, Children of Delphic. Logen's ship floated aimlessly among the stars. "Yolon, deploy the Net."
"Sir!" Yolon quickly replied, his four hands moving across the screen. A whir sounded from the very core of the star cruiser, as a ruby sphere crackled with energy, surrounding both ships. "Incoming transmission, General!"
"Put him through." The visor split in half, one side showing the outside frontal view from the ship, the other displaying the humanoid face of the Delphian. "Logen! The Net has you held inside."
The Delphian's pointed ears twitched, "How is it your people say, General? 'Like stealing candy from a baby'?" A smirk crossed his lips. "Or how 'bout 'Like fish in a barrel'?"
The Captain of the Moren picked at his nails beside the General. "What's he trying to get at, General?"
"That would be the question, Harrison. Yolon, scan for any secondary starcrafts, and out lying energy and magnetic signatures."
The Delphian laughed, "Tick tock, General... Ten... Nine..."
"Excuse me, Sir, but you are going to want to see this..." Yolon waited for Marr to reach his console. He pointed to the screen, "This here is an increase of temperature, as if he is attempting a space jump."
"But the FTL drive isn't kicking in," Marr pointed to the rear of the ship diagram on display. "What would that do, Screener?"
"The system is still attempting to jump, which is forcing alternative power to the FTL. This will cause-," Yolon turned around mid-explanation, to see the glare on the General's face. "Well, uh, in short, Sir, it will overload the FTL drive and cause it to... To explode, Sir."
The General's eyes widened as humanly possible. "Waeko, ready the sonic shot!"
"Two... One... For Delphian redemption!"
"Now! Now, Waeko!" An invisible burst sent the blast from the overload into the Net behind it. The Net fluxed from the contained energy. "Damn it!" He beat on Screener Yolon's console, "Another Child of Delphic gone suicidal! Captain Harrison! Have your crew conduct a sweep of the wreckage for anything of value, then promptly return us to OSC headquarters!" He commanded as he turned around sharply and left the helm.
He palmed his quarter's door open, entered, and palmed it shut. He unbuttoned his jacket, dyed with the official maroon color of the OSC. He sighed to himself, pacing the tight space. Then slammed his hand against the bulkhead. "Ahhh!" He shoved digi-cards and scanners off the desk.
A faint knock on the door. "Sergent Major Wheelz, General."
"Enter, Sergent Major. Pardon the mess. I believe a storm hit my room. What seems to be the issue?"
The Delphian entered, his green eyes glowed in the low lit room. "We are returning to headquarters, as requested, Sir. But the Kalar wants your presence immediately." Wheelz handed Marr a slim piece of plastic and metal. "The holo-deck, Sir. It is already set to her transmission."
"Thank you, Sergeant Major. If that is all, you may leave." Marr began to link the holo-deck back to the human home world, Garrin. He paused, "Are you okay, Nevets?"
Wheelz stopped, his back to the General. Marr figured it had been a long time since he heard that name... "He was a terrorist. He did it to himself."
"And your arm? How is it exactly that it happened?"
Wheelz turned around slowly. "Oh, yes. The fabled arm of the Delphian Sergeant Major." He took his glove off of his right hand, "The Delphian who refuses to have any further treatment." He rolled up the sleeve, to reveal a charred and shriveled arm. "My parents were human sympathizers living among them on Earth, when the Delphian invasion force landed. I attempted to save my parents, but instead lost my arm and them both.
"And so, President Garrin felt obliged to take me in for the remainder of the invasion. It was a futile sign of good faith. And then when he refused to leave the planet, and demanded that I did, I lost a third person I cared for, as I tried my hardest to fight the teleporter. But let's not go telling the universe, okay General?"
The General nodded, and sighed. "Very well..."
Wheelz rolled his sleeve back down, "Now I have a question for you, General. Why are we here? We are high members of the OSC, yet we are stuck on this damned vessel."
The General smirked, "Well, the OSC is spread thin on multiple fronts. The Children of Delphic; diplomatic issues; you name it, we're almost always there."
Wheelz seemed somewhat pleased with the answer, "Then I shall leave you at the mercy of the Kalar." He left, his footsteps echoing down the hall.
Marr sighed, completing the link between here and Garrin. The words 'Outerplanetary Security Corps' marched around an emboldened 'OSC'. The words vanished, to reveal the face of a woman with wisdom she shouldn't need at her age. The General spoke first, "General Arthur C. Marr, reporting as requested."
"I think we can cut the formalities, Arthur." A refraction off her glasses created a slight glare in the display.
"Well, you are the boss, Sis."
She smiled, "How did it go today? Anything we can use?"
"Not unless you are in need of some guts and blood, Reesa."
Reesa grimaced. "Another blown to bits. I hope this next assignment can hold more fruit for the Alliance."
"Tolk and Rowl; sister planets in the Wellonian galaxy." The Kalar tidied papers on her desk.
"Your nervous, Sis. Are the rumors true? Are they amassing a force?"
She sighed, "'Fraid so. Their energy readings are off the charts, and they are both refusing access planetside. I fear, brother, you are not coming home. Cancel your order to return to HQ, and meet the post on the Tolk moon. Wheelz will accompany you. Use his expertise on alien cultures to form a relationship with the sister planets."
"Understood. Until next time, Sis. Never forget, never regret," Marr ran two fingers from his left temple, to the center of his forehead, and down to the tip of his nose.
"Never forget, never regret." Reesa followed in the OSC salute.
Flying through a distant nebula, an exotic Spaceship spread its sails to meet the spectral emission of the surrounding gas and faint starlight. Emblazoned upon its hull was the mark of the Silver Tempest, an infamous vessel of Pirate origin that swam across the cosmos for the booty of many. On board was crew of hard-torn organisms, rushing about within the corridors of the vessel, struggling to carry out the orders of their unfeigned captain.
"Ready yourselves men!" she yelled throughout the ship, via the hallway communicators. "We're about to come across a challenge worthy of our reckoning! The sooner we get through this bright mist, the sooner that we can reach our next clientele!"
At the end of her sentence, a scrawny corsair burst into the bridge, looking as though he had seen a spirit. "Captain!" he said trying to get the words off his tongue, he was breathing frantically which wasn't a good sign.
"What is it lad." she replied back, patiently awaiting for him to reclaim his calm.
"Captain, we've just spotted a large... ominous Space Cruiser on the starboard side!" he said through quick breaths. "Our scanners indicate the vessel to be outfitted and ready for combat!"
"Do you have any idea who operates it?" she said, fearing the outcome of the ship's nearby presence.
"The scanners also show that the cruiser... in its self is of Delphian construction." he replied, finally regaining enough stamina to fully stand up.
The captain looked away from him for a moment and pondered the situation carefully. In less than a few minutes, she chuckled and turned back around to meet the surprised face of the corsair.
"Well now, lad, it appears the need for negotiations has come at last." she smirked. "Let us go and greet these wanderers and hope for the best that they do not fire upon our beloved Tempest."
She called out to one of the crewmembers on the bridge and requested him to set up the communications relay. "And make it quick!" she added. "Lest we give our guests more time to mull over our deaths."
Immediately, a holo-screen popped up on the large Visor in front of them. What it showed was a Figure silhouetted in shadow. It appeared to be in a dark space filled with a strange miasma. All that could make out its appearance were the presence of long, pointed ears connected to the masculine-looking shape of a hominid creature. Green eyes piercing the shadows and gazing directly at the Captain.
"Hello madam, judging from your position on the bridge, not to mention me overhearing how well everyone was at obeying your commands, I can only assume you must be the owner of this vessel." said the mysterious figure, his voice deep and calm but sharing a conceited tone.
"You are correct indeed, oh strange man." replied the captain. "My name is Circe Riveteer, commander of the Silver Tempest and all who lay within it." she continued. "Here to Steal what you've got and break what you've not!"
Despite the shadows, the figure showed a feeling of both and anger and confusion. Circe nervously chuckled. "It is the saying that we usually give to anyone or anything we come across."
Shaking his head at the statement, the figure returned to his normal self. "Yes well, we already know much about you Ms. Riveteer, as well as the crew and ship you hold so dearly."
A bit startled by the information, Circe nevertheless proceeded. "Okay, well, we have no quarrel with you so there should be no reason for you to bother us this moment." she replied politely. "So if you may, we would like to reach our client before our fuel runs ou-".
The figure interrupted her. "Oh, but we do have reason to quarrel with pathetic worms like you." he said with seemed like a menacing grin.
Circe looked back on him with confusion and uncertainty, struggling to remain strong in the face of intimidation. "I'm sorry, I do not understand." she said. "We have done nothing to disturb you. Please we don't have any weapons on us right-"
She was once again interrupted by the figure, but this time with a chuckle that sent shivers down her spine. "Yes you have." said the figure, waging his long, bony finger. "You see, we are from an organization called the Children of Delphic, which is now allied with a nice little nation called the Ophanitor Confederacy, and our goal is to overthrow the detestable government that plagues this galaxy."
Circe kept her look of confusion. "I still do not understand what that has to do with us" she replied back.
The Delphian resumed his speech. "The thing is, captain, that we wish to take down the old system and replace it with a new one, and you my dear, as well as your entire crew of lowlife scum are part of it." Circe now was on high alert, knowing well where this conversation was headed. "I'm here to help 'address' this little crux." he smiled. And with that the screen vanished revealing Circe's nightmares.
Right in front of the Silver Tempest, approaching at every angle from the mist, were tens of hundreds of armed Delphian Cruisers. Ready to fire upon their target.
Circe did not hesitate yelling out evasive maneuvers to all who could hear. "Navigator!" she yelled to one side of the bridge. "Try and plot a quick course out of here!"
"Aye, Cap'n," he replied back, tinkering with the controls as he finished his sentence.
He looked at the radar with shock. "Cap'n!" he yelled back. "They've got us at every angle!"
She thought for a second until an idea hit her. "Not every one." And with that she rushed to the onboard speakers of the ship. "All hands, immediately enter the teleportation capsules" she yelled across every corridor. "Prepare to abandon ship, I repeat, prepare to abandon ship!"
At her command, everyone dashed along hallways and out of chambers to obey her orders entering their respective capsules and setting their destinations. In moments, she too entered her own sleek capsule and prepared her own coordinates.
Suddenly, the ship started rocking as fire from the cruisers pelted their ship. Pressing their buttons, each one of the crewmembers, including Circe, disappeared from the vessel's interior as the ship began to explode.
As the Silver Tempest lit up the nebula with its destruction, deep within the first Delphian Cruiser, the shadowy figure smiled grimacing.
"Perfect." he said. "Now that they're out of the way, we can move on to our next targets." He walked away from where he was standing, down a hexagonal corridor. "Soon everything will go as planned, and there will be nothing, not even the OSC, that can stop us from achieving our goals of dominion over the entire Wellonian galaxy.
At the end of his sentence, he chortled a notorious laugh as the Cruiser and all the others entered FTL speed and vanished from the mist. Leaving a floating cluster of ship wreckage as their only trace of devastation.
General Marr straightened up his private quarters, trying hard to restore its sense of pristine balance that it retained, prior to the recent loss of Delphian life. Having already recuperated from that solemn event, the General then proceeded to pack up his belongings and prepare for departure towards the "Sister Worlds", the name that two certain planets, called Tolk and Rowl respectively, are referred to by the general public.
"Ugh, what a day it's been." He sighed, trying hard to knock out flashback by flashback of that terrible instance he had encountered only a while ago. Next to that were also those concerning crucial points about his past; the day his and Reesa's parents had vanished, the arduous years of criminal tracking, the fateful decision of their younger brother, Tom.
"I'm starting to wonder... how much more I can take of this," he thought calmly, closing his eyes and listening carefully to the ventilation shaft pump out oxygen molecules by the trillion.
Commander Harrison's ship wasn't the highest tech that the OSC had to offer, but it was acceptable if anything in pursuing the criminal Logen across two and a half star systems. In the end though, it seemed as if the chase was for nothing when he forfeited his own life, all for a cruel belief harbored on Delphic. For all the cryopills deep inside Crewman Waeko's pocket, The General could still not understand how such a deplorable lifestyle could be formed on a world as serene and beautiful as the Delphian home planet. Of course, no matter how much denial he formed within his mind, he knew too well that such things have happened before. From what he learned as an adolescent, in what the history books intermediate education could offer, there have been multiple outbreaks of terroristic ideals that spawned inside the minds of humans, especially on their home world. It almost seemed to him as though evil would remain inside existence until its very end, but he knew better than to think such thoughts.
All thoughts aside, he knew that he had a hidden duty to fulfill, somewhere, somehow. And it wasn't just to the OSC, or even to the remains of his family that still weren't stripped of him yet, but to the very core of his being. At the moment it seems hazy, but maybe someday he believed, things would finally clear out for him, and then he could stand alongside friends and family, and carry their increasing joy to the furthest reaches of the cosmos.
Of course, it was only a dream, and like most peoples' dreams in the galaxy, they barely ever come true. Who was he to believe that things in his life might turn out for the better? It might as well have been a hollow wish, nothing more. And yet, he cold still feel that faint gleam of hope deep within his heart. As long as he held his hands out reaching he might be able to succeed. And just who knows where he might go and just who he might meet along the way there?
His fantasies were suddenly interrupted by a call emanating from a young-looking OSC employee, standing right in front of the door to the General's room, having been left ajar even after the entry of its sole inhabitant. "Pardon me for interrupting any personal thoughts, sir." he said nervously, speaking as though a small bomb was about to detonate in one of his sleek, oxen boots. "But I was wondering if this might be the living quarters of a General Arthur C. Marr."
The General quickly snapped back to reality and addressed the young man politely. "No, it's fine, I'm actually the General himself," he said, moving his nearest laser-lock suitcase aside. "One of the several assigned to about twenty-four star systems in the Outer Ring of the Wellonian Galaxy."
The employee stared at him with excitement. "Wonderful, sir!" he said. "My name is Chett Lambda. I'm supposed to be your new assistant, that is, during any investigations involving the Children of Delphic, sir."
General Marr looked confused at the statement. "Assistant?" he said to the intern. "Why in the cosmos would the OSC offer me an assistant?"
Chett pondered the General's question for a minute, before finally creating a reply. "I really don't understand it myself, sir, but since I'm new to the OSC and its special regulations, I told them in what ways I could help out in this large organization."
"And who would this they be, exactly?" questioned the General, thinking hard as to who would be behind such a crazy idea as that.
Another minute passed before Chett came up with another answer. "Now that I think about it, it wasn't a they as it was a she. Pardon the incorrect presumptions of my previous statement, sir." he said, bowing slightly in respect.
"She?" he thought aloud. Now there was someone he could deduce to. "I should've know the Kalar was behind this little arrangement. What does she think she's doing sending a young, new intern into my office like this?"
Unaware of his thoughts, the intern continued. "Her name was Reesa L. Marr, and she herself seemed to be the Kalar of this region." At the end of the sentence, Chett's face transformed into a look of slight confusion. "General?" he said. "Is she by some chance related to you?"
"That information in itself doesn't concern you." said the General. "I firmly suggest you move on to another subject."
Ignoring him, a thought suddenly came to Chett's mind. "Oh I know! She must be your mother or something!"
Now it was the General's moment of confusion. "Excuse me but that doesn't even make sense, I mean she's my sister for god's sake."
"Ah ha! So she was your older sister!" Chett immediately blurted out. His hyperactivity however was soon quenched by the quick scowl of his superior. "Er, sorry for the interjection, sir."
General Marr rolled his eyes and stared directly at the youngster. "Look," he said to the intern, "If you really are going to be my new assistant, then you'll have to act a bit more calmly than you were just a few seconds ago."
"Okay then, sir." said Chett, as stoutly and mature as he could allow from himself.
"And another thing," continued the General, "You don't need to call me 'sir' all the time."
"But, aren't you one of my superiors?" questioned the intern.
"I know that, and I fully understand. " said the General. "But when it comes to me, just say something like Marr or Arthur. I'm not really a huge fan of the 'sir' word actually."
"Alright then si-, I mean, Marr." attempted Chett. "Although, I don't think I can say this form of address."
"I'm sure you will". said the General. And with that being said, the room became quiet instantly, aside from the sounds of the ventilation shaft and the General resuming his packing. Once he was finished, he gathered everything together, picked them up, and began to leave the room.
"Wait a minute," said Chett, realizing the General's departure, "Where are you going off to?"
"It's only a little trip to the Sister Worlds of Tolk and Rowl." said General Marr. "Nothing you need to concern yourself with, you can stay here and watch over the ship. That is, only if you really want to."
However, right before passing through the doorway, he looked back at Chett, standing alone in the center of the room, suddenly reminding him of a similar situation, but involving his younger brother, Tom. Back when he decided to go with his older sister to the OSC.
As a thought burst into his head, General Marr acted fast and "accidentally" dropped a couple of his belongings, pretending to be a bit surprised when it happened. In response, Chett quickly went to pick up his items and handed them back to him.
"Thank you, Chett." replied the General, all the while pretending to be impressed by the internship's actions. "Say, you seemed to be pretty good at collecting all of my fallen stuff, quickly enough."
"You really think so?" questioned the intern.
"Sure thing, kid," smiled the General. "In fact, why don't you come to the Sister Worlds with me. That way, I don't lose any of my precious belongings along the way there."
Chett's face suddenly beamed with excitement. "It would be my pleasure, General!"
At the end of that sentence, both General Marr and Chett the intern picked up the remainder of the previous' luggage and left the room, together.
Tomak Marr lay on his bunk, waiting for the morning announcements, while reviewing past days' events:
Tom stood with his little sister, Vanessa, and their OSC foster parents, Greg and Pauline Lok. It was the day to be sent off to start training in Garrin's Defensive Force, and other families crowded around to see their family and friends off.
"Tom, do you have to go?" His five year old sister held his hand tightly.
"Oh, Nessa." Tom knelt down in front of her, "I got to protect you, and this is the only way I know." Nessa began to cry. "Hey... Hey, look at me." Tom lifted her chin to see her gray eyes. "I'm gonna be back planetside before you know it. And the instant I can, I'll come visit you."
"You promise?" She jabbed her finger in his face.
"Yes, yes! I promise!"
"You didn't tell Reesa? Or Thur?"
Tom chuckled at Nessa's nickname for Arthur. "No, I will leave that to you." Nessa smiled.
"Now," Tom turned to Greg. "You'll keep her safe for me?"
Greg fixed his glasses. "Of course, Tom. Remember to stay safe, too."
Tom simply nodded. Pauline rushed Tom to give him a hug, tears falling. "You better! We made your parents a promise when they left, and I'm not backing out now."
Tom wrapped his arms around her. "I promise..." The words were half-hearted, as if he knew otherwise. Tom waited for Pauline to let go, to step back, closer to the docked shuttle. He turned around and began to slowly walk towards the shuttle.
He did not turn to look back; not when he heard Vanessa's cry; not when the Loks told him they loved him; not when he feared what was ahead of him. He had no possessions; he had no tears; he had no regrets. He had the people he loved; he had the fear in his mind and the courage in his heart; he had the future awaiting him...
"All cadets must report for UA. I repeat, all cadets must report for UA." The tiny hologram of a man projected from the room's wall.
"Looks like we get to pee in a cup again," Tom's bunkmate, Ion, proclaimed. As the room came to life with other cadets.
Tom sighed, "Just what we need; another urine analysis."
Ion laughed. "Well, they say it's to make sure we're up to par. But you know what I think..."
"They're weeding out the grunts from the jocks," they said in unison, then laughed.
"But we're not going anywhere, are we Ion?" Tom inquired.
Ion smiled a toothy grin, scratching a scaly, orange arm. "Nope! 'Cause we will be the first cadet team to pilot a Discord, Mak!"
Tom smiled. Ion's statement reminded him of their first meeting:
Tom listened to the steady purr of the shuttle. Strapped in already, he waited for the other teens, mainly boys with a few girls sprinkled in for good measure, to do the same. Tom noticed the particularly empty seat next to him, and the fleeting glances of the other cadets.
An orange scaled native from Edok Minor, stepped in front of him, "This seat taken?"
Tom simply shook his head, "Nope."
"The name's Ion CaSeph. Born here on Garrin, though my parents came from Edok Minor originally." The alien sat down and began to buckle up.
"Tomak Marr. Younger brother to the Kalar Reesa Marr and the General Arthur C. Marr, whose mother and father, scientist for the OSC, died in a spacecraft explosion. Ain't that right, Mak?"
A female's voice came through the shuttle. "Prepare for cryo-sleep."
Tom stared at him. "My name is Tom..."
"That's what I said, Mak. By the looks of it, the others know who you are, too. And you know they know..." Ion laughed. "You look like a little stumped, Mak. Why you here?"
"To protect my family. And be the youngest to pilot a Discord. My name's Tom."
Again the woman, "Crew, put on your masks."
"The Discord, huh? That's my goal! You trying to copy me? Well, I guess we're just gonna have to be the first cadet team to pilot a Discord, Mak."
Before Tom could respond, the shuttle hissed, spraying a slight mist into the cabin.
"We're sorry for the inconvenience, but oxygen is slim in this older shuttle, due to the amount of occupants on board. Thank-" was all Tom heard of the woman, before drifting to sleep.
When Tom came to, the shuttle was breaking through the cloud cover on Garrin's moon. Lightning flashed, hitting the barren ground. A building could be seen, parts of it scraping the clouds.
"Welcome, young cadets, to Garrin's Defensive Force training facility. Welcome to your new life."
Chapter Five Edit
Circe was squirming in her escape pod. Inside her mind, she felt herself floating through outer space, quickly drifting towards a large planet. A medium-sized star gleaming on the horizon, its warm light reflecting off a enormous, tilted halo of particles that made up the world's rings. She wasn't sure how or why she arrived there, but one thing was certain, the view was absolutely beautiful.
Suddenly, a strong force began to pull her towards the rings, immediately cutting off her previous thought. An ominous cloud of ice and rock came rushing towards her. She tried to move away from it, but it seemed like each of her limbs were frozen in place. Without warning, she flew through it at a great velocity. Yet as she blasted through the deadly projectiles, she seemed to feel no pain jab her body. If it weren't for the paralysis, Circe could've had the chance to scan her form for any markings or injuries.
After what felt like hours, a large hole opened up amongst the debris, with Circe flying in its direction. Passing through, the magnificent sight of the planet's surface returned. Though it seemed almost comforting to see no other objects in sight, her respite was only short lived, as she began plummeting through the atmosphere below.
Within seconds, Circe burst through layer after layer of sky the planet could produce, feeling a growing warmth around her body. Her skin and clothing started to glow, their brightness increasing as more and more of Circe transformed into a small comet, streaking closer to the surface. Her brilliant tail shined amidst the stark serenity of the clear world beneath it.
What's happening to me? Circe thought constantly, as she veered towards a large continent.
While further away from the mysterious planet's surface, she initially believed it boar barren valleys or other unpleasant locales, but upon further inspection,she realized lay lush undergrowth and brazen hillsides amongst its broad stretch of terrain.
Well, here it comes! thought Circe, as a forest canopy lay bare before her eyesight, encroaching upon them at an almost unimaginable speed. Without hesitation, she quickly closed her eyes and braced as best she could for some sort of impact.
The sensation halted itself, she felt cold and alone. Then, out of nowhere, a voice began to sound off from the distance. Coming closer to her eardrums, it began to raise in intensity, yet it seemed muffled in form.
Finally, Circe opened her eyes again. This time however, her surroundings were completely different from before. Around her body were curved walls of sleek metal. A few shapes could be seen emblazoned upon them, she guessed from their shape and design they were all Control Panel projectors, left in an inactive state.
Beneath her, she could feel a warm cushion, pressed up against her backside. She struggled to move the rest of her limbs, this time though, her arms and legs began to twitch. Using a bit of strength, Circe moved her right hand down to the smooth mattress below. Slowly, she moved her fingers across its surface. It felt warm and comfortable.
Immediately, her body started losing its earlier tension. At least I'm not in any dire situation this time. Circe thought, amused by the interior of whatever she was in.
Suddenly, a pounding noise emerged amongst the quiet. Looking up in front of her, she saw a round window, its sealed aperture covered in a layer of frost. Something on the other side began to hit her shelter, sending mollified vibrations across the interior lining.
Circe could faintly hear something, no someone, shouting unknown words at the structure. She strained her ears to the sounds of the outside being, listening intently to its mysterious dialogue.
The creature appeared to be both sapient and male, from what she could determine out of the window's distorted image. It seemed panicked for some reason, she listened harder to his words.
"Can... you hear me?!" She thought she could hear him say. "Hello?... Are you... alright in there?!!"
The male was crying out for a response, Circe needed to act quickly. Looking around, she soon spotted a simple burnt orange button placed to the far left of her. Circe pressed it without hesitation.
Almost instantly, small spouts of steam began to run along the thin crevices of the front wall, keeping a good distance from the center window. Once their journey was finished, the gaseous ejections ceased all activity. Within the last few seconds, several beeps went off and stopped as the wall before Circe slowly lifted upward.
After the sequence was done, she could finally see the figure outside, no boundaries left to separate the two figures. Unfortunately, the male was covered from head to toe in winter gear. It seemed there was a large pack strapped to his backside, covered in a metallic sheen. Fur appeared to separate boots from pants and head from shoulders. She couldn't see his eyes, as they were blocked by a thin, horizontal visor on a sleek, white helmet.
Once she had taken in all that she could from him, the cold suddenly reached her body and she began to shiver. The being immediately noticed this and took off his pack in a heartbeat. Opening up its main flap, he pulled out a large, thick blanket, but from the way it glided through the cold air, it looked surprisingly lightweight. Seconds later, Circe found herself pulled out of her only shelter and wrapped around in that same blanket.
"Hold on", said the figure, "There's a place not far from here."
"Okay". said Circe, the only word she was able to say, thanks to the dropping temperature of her surroundings.
Wasting no time, the stranger without warning decided to lift the Captain off her feet, preparing to tread quickly through the rising blizzard. Circe didn't question his motives. Considering the situation she was in, all she could do was trust this guy.
The winter storm was clearly building up now, the snow flying through the air without control. Her stasis must've weakened her, for when Circe tilted her head to look up at him, it hurt just slightly. For some reason, she felt a glowing warmth emanating from his body, even as the world around them reached out like freezing daggers. Falling prey to the comforting heat, she closed her eyes and nestled herself beside his chest.
Tom was leaned back in the chair, his arms and legs tethered to the seat. Wires were reaching from a thin glass sheet to his chest and pate. "Now, you will feel pricks in your neck, so there's no need to panic, okay?" The nurse was speaking to Tom like a child.
Why is it that nurses and doctors feel they have to talk to everyone, as if we don't understand anything? he wanted to complain, but he staid his tongue. Instead he asked, "Why do we need to be in dreamlike states for the sims?"
"I'm, uh, not sure. But that doesn't-"
"It's because," Tom interrupted, smirking, "in live sims there was the complication of dying. On occasion someone would truly die, instead of the computer cutting the connection between the nervous system and the simulation. But a pair of scientists brought up this question: 'What happens when you die in your sleep?' Do you know the answer, nurse?"
"You... wake up?"
"Correct! You wake up! So, if anyone gets hurt these days from sims, it's the fault of the person whom has hooked the participant to the simulation..." Tom turned his glance to the nurse.
The nurse stood dumbfounded. "Well, you, uh, certainly know your simulations, Mr..." She flicked through the notes on the glass screen. "Mr. Marr. MARR?!" She stared at him as if he had found the secret to the universe.
"Yes, yes... I am related to four very important people; two of which I just spoke of. Let's just get on with this..."
The nurse nodded vigorously, as her fingers flew across the blue tinted surface. Tom closed his eyes, his mind slowly drifting...
"Welcome, cadets..." The voice was serene, confident, dignified...
Tom slowly opened his eyes... to discover a dark cavern. The air was thick, hard to breathe, and it smelled musty. Other trainees stood around him, looking around quizzically, including Ion.
Tom noticed that they were all equipped with suits. Each suit was trimmed in blue, as if they were a team... He pressed a button on the arm, which projected a clearly defined map of the area.
"Welcome, cadets..." The voice was disembodied, yet all around... "Today will be your first day in a Training Sim, but that does not mean it will be easy. You will be up against trainees above your skill set and you will be expected to perform. This is your Lief, your team, and will always be your Lief, so get use to it.
"Today's battle will be 'Capture the Nodes'. The goal is for your Lief to find and obtain all of your enemies' nodes, which you then must fuse into one object. The Lief with the most nodes, at the end of a tektra, wins. Choose your weapons; the battle will begin shortly. Welcome to the war map, cadets."
A light shone in the distance. A murmur broke out among the ten of them. "Where's the weapons, Mak?" Ion peered over Tom's shoulder at the map. "You think their there?" He pointed an orange finger at an image of a crossed blaster and saber, diagonal from their ten blue dots, a green arrow above one of them.
"I would guess so. Wouldn't hurt to look, right?" He pressed the button again on his arm, shrinking the display. "It was just over here." Ion kept instep with Tom, while the others followed closely behind. As they rounded a bend in the rocks, they came upon the mound of weapons that gleamed in the sunlight. Everyone rushed forward like moths to the flame, and began to rummage through the tools.
Tom pushed aside sabers and guns. He grabbed a few grenades and a knife, but he was still searching for something... Black material stuck out from underneath a gun. Please be it, please be it, please be it... he pleaded to the fabric. He pulled gently... to reveal two gloves. Yes!
Sliding them on, he activated the base, the gloves tightening around his wrists. A tingle washed through his body. He sighed, then smiled. He felt lucky and powerful. Tom looked over at his friend, "What's that you got there?"
Ion was wearing a chest plate of some sort. "That's, uh... Hehe... That's a good question..." He scratched his scaly head, "I guess I'll just have to wait and see."
"So you picked something out and... you don't even know what it is?" Tom shook his head, "Wow..."
"And what about you, Mr. Know-It-All? Figuring out how to use the map and such. What did you get?" A girl questioned from behind him.
Tom sighed, "These are neuro-shockers, and they..." He turned around... and cleared his throat. She's... Yeah... he thought to himself. Her skin was red, that faded into her hair, which then turned into a startling, pure white. "They, uh... Well you'll just have to wait and see..." He stuck out his hand, "Tom. And you are..."
She grasped the inside of his forearm and shook it once. "Fae. Nice to meet you." She suddenly pulled him in close and whispered in his ear, "I know who you are, Marr, so don't think I'm going to let you off easy." She let go, leaving Tom dumbfounded with his hand floating in midair.
Ion placed his hand on Tom's shoulder, and whispered in his ear, "I may not know what I got, but neither do you... Marr."
Tom spun and punched Ion in the shoulder. "Shut up!" He spat through his teeth, which only made Ion smirk.
"Battle will begin in two teks," announced the voice.
A countdown clock appeared in red on Tom's arm. "This is not good, Ion. We don't even have a plan..."
"Try our best?" Ion shrugged, "I don't know..."
Tom looked around. They were currently at the mouth of the cave, sunlight seeping through. Stepping around the weapons, he approached the opening. He could see the various flora on the outside and could hear the cries of creatures over the murmurs of the other cadets. A rock rolled from underneath his foot, colliding with an invisible barrier just before him. Tom stopped, and reached for the outside, only for his hand to also be halted by the unseen force. A tingle was sent through his hand. He smiled, as the glove grew brighter. At least they work that way, he noticed.
He shifted his attention to some of the others who were bunched up, arguing about what they should do. "We need to stay together!" The boy's hair was mangled, sticking in every direction. "It's our best bet! The Liefs that we're going against aren't just blaster fodder. They've been at this a lot longer."
"No!" An alien retorted. He wore a mask over his nose and mouth; his eyes merely circles in a landscape. "By splitting up we can cover more ground! Use techniques: flanking, ambushing, using higher ground. It was proven on the moon of Savon, and the Battle of Ragnor, and even here on Garrin. It works!"
"Stop it guys... Can't we just make a decision together?" The girl's hair was pulled back in a neat ponytail. She had material wrapped around her lower arms.
The boy with the crazy hair shook his head, "It's not that simple, Gale... This is about our survival."
"You're taking this too seriously, Saron... When we die in here we will wake up."
The masked alien looked at her, "'Too seriously'?! We are scored on our performance, and you're telling us we are 'taking this too seriously'?!"
"Hey," Saron stepped in front of the alien. "You don't need to talk to her that way! Who do you think you are?!"
Laughter shook through the cavern. Fae was leaned against the rock wall, arms crossed. "Great... Just what we need... Two more strong willed boys." She glanced at Tom, as if to say And you're the third.
"And what do you think we should do?" Saron spat at her.
"Well, I have my ideas, but..." Fae stared at Tom, "Let's ask him..."
"I- I, uh," Tom sputtered. He cleared his throat, "You both make great points. Staying together keeps us a stronger threat, but staying out in the open makes us a bigger target. So... I say we stick with each other and use the trees and shadows as cover. And in case we do get separated," he held the collar on the suit, "there are comms here."
"How is it you know so much about these suits?" Saron spoke through the mike.
"They're similar to the Eco-suits used for deep travel."
"But how does the enemy not hear when a message is coming through?"
"The suit uses vibrations which are sent up to the ear. And actually, you don't even need to speak to send a message; the comms can read vibrations in the neck.
It looked as if Saron was going to pelt Tom with more questions, until Gale spoke over his attempt. "Then, I would say that introductions are in order, or these comms will do us no good. My name's Galeien, but everybody calls me Gale." She held her hands out, silently inquiring who was next.
Tom smiled to himself; she certainly knew how to calm the tide. "Tom."
"Fae," she scoffed.
"The name's Ion," whom had joined them at Fae's trial to make a perceived leader out of Tom.
Gale nudged her large mouthed friend, "Oh, Saron."
"Jirr," the alien with the mask responded.
"Cassar." He had lines running haphazardly across his skin. Tom noted quietly that he possessed no weapons.
"I am Acilec," bowed a boy, who appeared to be of some stature.
The next male shook his head at the display, "Jarland."
"Rekwah," the alien's voice was low.
"Now everyone knows each other," proclaimed Gale, facing all the cadets, leaning against the weapons display. "And it didn't kill anyone."
And not a moment too soon, Tom silently pondered, as the timer reached it's end.
A scream broke the tranquil silence...
The weapons had fallen away... The weapons that Gale had been leaning against...
Chapter Seven Edit
General Marr dropped his head in exhaustion. It was hours since he and his assistant Chett had left the spaceport and yet they still hadn't reached their destination.
The Star Shuttle must be moving slowly these days, he repeatedly thought to himself. Looking out the passenger side window, Marr could see the countless stars moving past him at a relatively decent pace, reassuring him that they were moving as fast as they could go, according to the Wellonian Warp Laws.
Chett, who was sitting right next to the General, surprisingly seemed unperturbed by the ship's speed and was quietly reading a holo novel about a detective named Brixham.
General Marr was about to lean back in his chair and take a short nap, when all of a sudden a pleasant little computer voice sounded off from hidden speaker systems, informing everyone aboard that they had arrived at their destination.
A mixture of excitement and exhaustion poured into every muscle of Marr's body, as he unlatched his safety strap and looked out the window one more time, to see, with a smile on his face, the sleek and enormous bulk of the Richtoen Starport beaming back at him.
Beside him, the young OSC intern stretched his muscles a bit and said to the General, "Well, let's start looking around."
After a quick nod of agreement, they both got up from their seats, gathered their respective belongings, and moved out of the shuttle and into the brilliant lighting of the space station interior.
Circe waited in darkness, finally she lifted her eyelids to new surroundings. She was on a fluffy mattress on top of an old fashioned iron bed, lying in the middle of a room that appeared to be made almost entirely out of wood.
This though she knew that it couldn't be made entirely of the substance, considering the meteorological conditions she experienced earlier. It was probably just a cleverly placed holographic illusion to hide what might as well have been a cold, metal laboratory chamber.
The Pirate captain moved her head around, since the rest of her body still felt surprisingly numb. After several good minutes of careful observation, she had successfully identified some key objects within the room that she could easily use to her advantage: a chair (most likely coated in a transparent veil of nanites), a little fake alarm clock on the nearby nightstand, and the matching rotary dial telephone beside it.
Before she could act however, footsteps from an unknown source came up behind the door at the far side of the wall to the east of her. Seconds later, the door creaked open to reveal the figure covered in a similar fashion to the stranger from last time. But through further inspection, Circe realized that the being was a bit smaller than the person she had encountered earlier.
The figure slowly walked up to the mattress and looked down at her. "Please do not be alarmed by my presence," it said in a soft, feminine voice, "I'm with the one who rescued you from the external drift."
Circe stared up at the being with confusion in her eyes. "Who are you?" Was all that she could say.
Though it wasn't visible because of the helmet, Circe felt that the figure relaxed slightly and smiled back at her. "My name is Lucia, though you can address me in any fashion that you care to use." She replied.
Circe turned her head towards whatever directions she could, since the medicine was wearing off, she found she now had more freedom and ease in doing so. "Where am I?" Was the other question she managed out of her cooling mouth.
With a wave of her left hand, the Captain's paralysis immediately dissapeared and she could finally sit up to her shock. She looked back up at Lucia, then towards the objects she had noted earlier, her eyes quickly darting back at the other female.
Lucia no doubt detected this for next she said,"I would've trusted that you wouldn't attack me before a removed your ailment but I simply felt that there was no need considering that most of the disposable objects in your vicinity are merely holograms placed for illusionary purposes."
Circe looked back at the tabletop objects with astonishment. She had known that they were fake, but they had still appeared very much real to her at the very least.
She stared once more at Lucia, repeating her question; "Where am I?"
"Now I understand that you would like know a lot about what's going on," said Lucia," But due to the circumstances, I think it would be best if we met up with your savior first."
She extended a hand down towards Circe. "I assure you that any and all question that you have will be answered shortly afterwards." She said.
Circe stared at the hand as if gazing upon a Venus fly trap, but after a minute she finally gave in to the gesture and stood up alongside Lucia.
"This had better be good to see." She said, not unkindly.
"While I can't make promises over how you might react," said Lucia, "what I will say is that you will find this to be quite interesting."
Richtoen Starport had always been packed with visitors from countless worlds, especially since it's inauguration into the galaxy centuries ago. But today seemed to be the biggest of the all in General Marr's point of view.
He and his assistant were constantly squirming through a melting pot of tourists, businessmen, and the usual family of vacationers or immigrants. Chett didn't seem to mind of course and gladly said a nice, respective greeting to all whom he came across.
It was times like these that reminded the veteran of the young enthusiasm he once had, just like this intern.
"Excuse me," said Chett all of a sudden, interrupting Marr's train of thought, "but who are we looking for again?"
General Marr sighed. "His name is Anton Phoenix and he's a special operative for the OSC, he said,"It's known that he holds good connections with the senators of the Sister Worlds."
"Oh," Said Chett,"so then he should be of some help to us during this investigation."
"Hmph," snorted his superior,"he should be, though I can't say he is any more."
"What would make you that?" Questioned Chett.
The General stared at some unknown objective. "Because ever since his brother died he's been ticked off with the organization and likes to play around when giving out useful information." He said. "Honestly, I'm still amazed he hasn't been fired yet."
Chett looked down. "Yeah," he said, a little surprised by this news,"I guess I'm amazed too."
They both walked onwards through the interlocking crowds of stellar citizenry until finally, after more than several minutes of traversing, General Marr stopped them in front of a locked double door gates.
Before Chett could ask anything, Marr silenced him with a gesture and moved towards the small digital screen attached to the metallic wall on the left. He quickly typed in some classified digits with a couple of his fingers and stood back for the gates to open up.
As the doors started to part one another, General Marr looked at Chett and said,"Are you ready to meet the 'Flame Sonnet'?"
Chett looked back at him in total disbelief. "The what, if I may?" He replied. But by the time the words had come out of him, his superior had already left down the dark, glinting corridor of steel behind the now invisible gates.