Living ship. (Not SC related)

There once was a ship from Nantucket...
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Solaias
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Living ship. (Not SC related)

Postby Solaias » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:22 am

This is the beginning of a fan fiction I wrote for the game X3: Reunion. Not SC related but still Sci-fi.

This is a first draft, which means it hasn't been edited in any way yet, it is written as the story was coming to me, so some sections seem forced, others are just cheesy as they have had no work or polish yet.

Basically it's just a sucky bit of writing atm that allowed me to get a few ideas down on paper, while exploring and getting a feel for the characters.
Last edited by Solaias on Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Don't you ever tame your demons, but always keep them on a leash.
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Solaias
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Re: Living ship. (Not SC related)

Postby Solaias » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:22 am

Chapter 1: The Discovery


Tarron sat still in his old beaten up buster and stared out of the cockpit window at the jumpgate in front of him. It led to an unknown sector, one that had yet to be explored. No Argon had as yet entered this sector. The only reason anyone knew of its existence was because an automated long-range scout probe had briefly gone through the gate and then immediately returned. The scout’s scanners had picked up some asteroids on the other side of the gate, but that was on gravidar, there were no pictures to tell anybody what the sector looked like.

It was these asteroids that had brought Tarron out this far. The sector he was in now was called Yurikazi, which was full of asteroids, but his father also wanted a scan of the asteroids in the next sector. Yurikazi was on the very outskirts of known space connected by the jumpgate system, and was two jumps away from Taiho, the last sector along this branch of the gate system which had any population at all, and that was only five stations worth. There was a solar power plant, two silicone mines, a crystal fab, and his fathers’ single ore mine. The sector was so far out that it didn't even qualify for it’s own trading station, and finding a mammoth pilot that was willing to go through the Yaki sectors between Taiho and more populated sectors was a task in itself.

Tarron roused himself from his musings and looked at the gate again. Being this far out made him nervous. The buster might have been old and beaten up looking, but the systems were all working at maximum efficiency. This was mainly down to Tarron's skills as an engineer. Unlike his father, he wasn't much of a miner, but with an innate understanding of how mechanical objects worked he could dismantle, fix, and rebuild any machinery known to man. A useful skill when you lived this from the nearest shipyard.

The weapons on the buster were almost at the maximum it could hold. He had four beta particle accelerator cannons, and two alpha PAC’s at his command. His father had wanted all six weapons to be beta PAC’s, but Tarron had refused. He felt that the extra firepower the two extra betas would have given him was far outweighed by the extra energy drain they caused over the alphas. It makes no difference how powerful your weapons are if you don't have enough juice to fire them. If the worst came to the worst, he could always shut the betas down and use the alphas and strafe engines to keep an opponent busy enough for his energy reserves to recover.

All this didn't make Tarron any more confident about going into the next sector. This would take him another jump away from anyone that might be able to help if he got into trouble. That meant trouble of any kind; this far out a system breakdown would be just as disastrous as being attacked by another ship. In fact probably more so, if he was attacked he could at least fight back, but if his engine broke down he would be stuck out here floating about aimlessly, not a situation that promotes long life when there are asteroids about.

Tarron mentally shook himself, and pointing the nose of the buster at the very centre of the jumpgate he opened the throttle slightly - before he scared himself into not going. He would never live that one down back aboard station. He wouldn't get told off, oh no, a telling off would be quite nice, all over and done with quickly. No, his father would quite understanding.

What he would not be able to face were the jokes and sardonic comments he would get for the following three months.

The nose of the buster touched the activation plane. A quick flash and he was in the next sector. Before he had even looked out of the cockpit window, Tarron had turned the buster around ready to make a hasty exit if the need should arise. He glanced at the gravidar and relaxed a little as it was showing nothing but asteroids right to the edge of his triplex scanner range. Turning around in his seat, he also made a visual check that there was nothing creeping up behind him. Once satisfied that he was alone, he turned the buster to face into the sector once more, and had a more general look at what faced him.

The sector had an odd look to it. It was not like any other sector he had encountered before. The sector was dark and gloomy, although there was sunlight it was very weak; the sun was probably a long way off. It also seemed to look hazy, as if it was slightly misty in the way that wooded areas are early in the morning on some planets. The haze also seemed to be hiding the stars as none where in view. In contradiction of this though, he could see asteroids in the distance quite clearly. The conflicting bits of information that his eyes were sending to his brain made him feel extremely uncomfortable, as if he wasn't nervous enough already.

“Right, I'd better get on with this if I want to get back home some time this mazura.” Tarron muttered to himself reproachfully. Then out louder he said “Computer, lock onto the nearest asteroid and scan for mineral density.”

“Nearest asteroid targeted. Mineral scan cannot be initiated. Target out of range.” Replied the dispassionate AI voice of the onboard computer.

Glancing at his HUD Tarron could see that he was 20.6km from the targeted asteroid. Mentally cursing the designers of the mineral scanner and the AI, he nudged the buster towards the asteroid to bring it within the 20km range limit of the mineral scanner.

“0.6 of a kilometre, you would think that the damn scanner would be able to tell you what mineral was in that bloody great lump of rock, even if it could not give you a density reading. Oh no, 20k and that’s your lot mate.” Tarron complained under his breath.

“Ore. 42%.” Chimed the computer as the buster came within range.

Tarron glanced at the reading. “Hmm, not bad for the first one, certainly worth sticking another mine on. Assuming we can get someone to bring one out this far that is. I hope the rest are as promising, it might make the trip worthwhile.”

Tarron slowly worked his way around the sector taking readings from the other asteroids. It took a long time without activating his SETA (which he was not about to do in the middle of a bunch of asteroids), between the time taken, and the fact that it was just plain boring work, he slowly got weary. When he had scanned the second to last asteroid, he found that it was the only other one that was worth taking a note of so far.

“Silicone asteroid at 44% density.” Tarron noted out loud. “Right, time for the last one, and then I can go home and sleep for a week.”

Lazily looping the buster around the silicone asteroid, Tarron lined up with the last asteroid and pushed the throttle to maximum. After about 7 mizura he came within range of the final asteroid and ordered the computer to scan it.

“Mineral scan complete. Unknown mineral 4%.” The computer reported.

“What do you mean ‘unknown mineral’?”

“Scan indicates a mineral that is not contained within this ships onboard database. Therefore it is classified as unknown.”

“If it’s unknown, how do you know it is a mineral?”

“Atomic composition indicates a mineral. It is not contained within this ships onboard database. Therefore it is classified as unknown.”

“Yes, OK. I can see that this conversation is going to go in circles and get boring really quickly.” Tarron sighed.

Looking at the gravidar Tarron could see that there was a slight echo signal from the opposite side of the asteroid.

“It’s probably caused by this ‘unknown mineral’.”

Sitting back and rubbing his temples with his fingertips, Tarron considered what he should do next. He could just return home, after all he had scanned all of the asteroids like his father wanted. He had scans of this unknown mineral, his busters database had not been updated since it had been built, so it was entirely feasible that this mineral already had a classification, but it just wasn't in his database. Should he take a chunk back with him just in case? No, he couldn't even if he wanted too. He didn't have anything onboard that he could use to break a piece of the asteroid off with. After all he wasn't expecting that he might have to go prospecting.

With a heavy, tired sigh, Tarron turned his buster for home. He would connect with the core sectors database when he got back and find out what this mineral was.
Last edited by Solaias on Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Living ship. (Not SC related)

Postby Solaias » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:23 am

Chapter 2: Arriving home.


“Entering sector Taiho”

Tarron frowned at the computer. “I know what sector it is, I bloody live here!” His bad mood and irritability came from the fact that he was now very tired, and he still had most of the sector to cross from the south gate he had just come through to reach the ore mine. That, and the computers stupidity always annoyed him anyway.

The sector was as quiet as usual. Most sectors were quite busy as they usually had traffic moving through them from one sector to another, as well as the usual in-sector stuff, but Taiho had few stations so there was little in-sector movement, and being the last populated sector, it didn't have the usual through traffic either. After all, there was nowhere for it to go. The usual bi-sector commuter traffic (civilian workers going to and from their work and home, from the sectors directly connected to an individual sector) was also non-existent as the Yaki to the north did not seem to want to be that friendly – which suited the residents of Taiho just fine.

After targeting the ore mine and instructing the autopilot to dock, Tarron kicked the SETA unit into life by jabbing at the button on the control panel and sat back to watch the light display caused by minute particles of space dust hitting the shields. At normal time speeds you did not notice the display as it was to slow for the eyes to register, but at 10x SETA it could sometimes be quite spectacular (in a minor sort of way).

Tarron did not pay much attention to the journey back home, due to his exhaustion he zoned out and became mildly hypnotised by the hue and play of light coming from his shields. It was like watching a coloured lightening storm after smoking a ton of spaceweed. He was jolted out of his daze by the docking clamps of the mine striking the outer hull of the buster prior to engaging. Making his way out of his ship, he headed towards the elevators at the rear of the security dock that would take him up to the main sections of the station.

All stations have three docks, the main (or public) dock that most people had to use, the loading dock where goods are transferred between the station and whatever TS ships happened to be docked, and the security dock that the staff, owners, and defence craft pilots used, which was beyond the public sections of the station.

After a short while of leaning against the wall of the elevator for support, the doors reopened onto the control room. This was the hub of the station, everything was controlled from here, all purchases and sales, all automated equipment (like the drilling bit itself, robot energy cell movers, etc.), work schedules for the employees, patrol rosters for the station defence pilots, everything. Tarron heaved himself away from the wall of the elevator with tired movements, and started to walk towards the rear of the control room where his father's office was located. He had nearly made it to the halfway point when Nirisa the station commander called him. He turned towards her with an inquisitive lift to his eyebrows, and wandered towards her desk.

Nirisa was a large woman. Not large as in fat, but large as in tall and broad. At 5’ 11” tall she was only 2” shorter than Tarron, and while her shoulders and hips where broad, her waist was quite narrow, giving her an hourglass figure that most women would die for. Not that you would know it just from looking at her normally, she usually wore loose fitting clothing that hid the shape of her body. The only reason Tarron knew that there was more to Nirisa's body than she normally let on was because on the opening night of the ore mine there was a small private party thrown by his father, and she wore a fitted dress that evening which had most of the male attendees drooling into their wine. At the time Tarron had wondered why she would hide such a body. Later when they had become close friends he had asked her. She had replied that although this was supposed to be an equal society, most of the people that still held the powerful positions were still male. As station commander she had to deal with people in these positions on a daily basis, and signing forms was a lot easier if they weren't soaked with saliva.

“You just got back in?” she asked in bewilderment. Tarron opened his mouth to reply, but Nirisa held her hand up to stop him. “Don't bother to answer that, you look like shit. You need to get some sleep.”

“Thanks mom, that made me feel a whole lot better.” Tarron replied with a wry smile. “Don't worry, getting some sleep is second on my ‘Important things to do’ list.”

“Second?”

“Yeah, I've got to give these to my father first.” Tarron waved the datapad that contained the scans he had made in Nirisa's general direction to indicate what he was talking about.

“Well talking of lists, I expect I'm about to drop way down on your list of ‘People I want to hear news from’”

Tarron frowned in confusion. “Why?”

“Because I'm the poor sap that’s got to tell you that he’s down in the loading dock unloading the last shipment of energy cell ‘droids.”

Closing his eyes and tilting his head back slightly as if he was looking at the ceiling, Tarron groaned quietly to no one in particular. “Oh god.”

He briefly toyed with the idea of just leaving the datapad on his father’s desk and going to bed, but he discarded it almost as soon as it entered his head. His father would be upset if he didn't know he was back safely, and discovering a datapad on your desk wasn't the best way of finding out.

Nirisa looked him up and down, and after fully taking in his condition said in an understanding tone. “If you leave that with me I'll give it to him.”

Tarron looked at her. “No, thanks for the offer, but there’s something on here I want to talk to him about.”

“Oooo, secrets. Well Mr Enigma, I'll let you get going. The sooner you leave, the sooner you can get some sleep.”

“Ever felt like you're not wanted?” Tarron laughed.

Nirisa, winking, motioned with her hands and said “Shoo. I have work to do.”



When Tarron reached the loading dock it was full of noise, mostly from a constant stream of energy cell ‘droids moving across the dock from a Teladi TS, towards the huge wares elevators which would take them down into the bowls of the station. There they could begin their monotonous existence moving energy cells to the energy grids, and removing the expended ones.

Tarron saw his father standing near the Vulture with the Teladi that, he presumed, owned it. Diving between two of the energy cell ‘droids, he made his way over to where they were standing. His father had his back toward Tarron and didn't see him approaching.

The Teladi, however, did see him approaching, and in a voice that was supposed to carry to Tarron's ears said “I think one of your lackey’sss wantsss your attention ssstation owner Gan.”

Tarron saw his father glance over his shoulder with a frown of intense anger, not at being interrupted, but at what the Teladi had just said.

Turning back to the Teladi, his father replied with a voice that Tarron had only heard twice before from his usually jovial and easygoing father. It was a voice that hinted at rigorously controlled death, so quiet and cold that you could almost hear the crackle of ice forming in the air with every word, but despite the quietness you heard every single syllable with unbelievable clarity even in this noisy environment. “Teladi, I will say this only once. Firstly I do not have lackey’s, every single person on this station is a respected member of my crew, some are as close to me as family, saying what you have just said is an insult to them, and as such, is an insult to me personally. Secondly, that is my son, who really is my family. I suggest you apologise to him, and then leave this dock.... While you still can.”

The Teladi turned a light shade of green, which Tarron supposed was the Teladi equivalent of an Argon turning white, stammered out a profuse apology to both Tarron and his father, and then made a hasty exit back inside the vulture.

Tarron’s father turned back to him. “I hate the way everything is a commodity to those damn lizards, even the people that work for them.”

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath and let out again slowly, trying to regain control of his temper. It had obviously worked because when he opened his eyes again and looked at Tarron he smiled. “It’s good to see you back safe. Did you find anything?”

Tarron fell in beside his father as he slowly ambled back across the dock towards the elevators. “Well Yurikazi has a few good ‘roids that are worth mining, but the sector beyond only has two. One ore and one silicone at 42% and 44% respectively.”

Tarron's father smiled and said. “Uh huh. And? I know there’s more from the way you’re looking at me.”

Tarron smiled sheepishly. “Well I found something unusual, the last ‘roid that I scanned had a mineral density of only 4%, but the onboard computer could not identify it. You know as well as I do how old the database on that ship is, so I thought we had better check it out with the core sector’s database to see what it is.”

“Would it be worth it? I mean at only 4% it wouldn't be worth sticking a mine on.”

“That depends, if it’s rare enough it might be worth enough money to make sticking a mine on it profitable.”

Tarron's father looked at him. “It would have to be bloody rare for it to be worth anything at only a 4% density rating, still I suppose there is no harm in checking it out. If we can get you away from those damn bits of machinery for long enough, we might make a businessman out of you yet.” His father ended with a teasing smile.

Tarron grinned back. “No fear of that I'm afraid.”

“Ah well, I'll just have to leave the business to Nirisa when I retire.” Tarron's father replied slyly smiling.

Tarron decided to call his bluff. “Yeah, you're right, that would probably be best.”

Tarron's father stopped dead and looked at him in shock, and then burst out laughing when he realised what Tarron had done. “I'm obviously going to have to be more careful. It’s not often I get as good as I give.”

“Ah well, I hope to be that coherent when I get to be as ancient as you are….”

“I’m not that old yet boy”

“No? Hmm, maybe you're right, there has got to be someone left in the universe that’s older than you.”

“I think I'm going to stop there before I get myself in deeper” Tarron's father said still laughing.

Tarron handed his father the datapad that he was still carrying. “That’s the scan data.”

“OK, I'll have a look at it and check with central on that mineral of yours at the same time. Now I suggest you go and get some sleep, you look exhausted.”

“For twenty mizura people have kept saying that to me, but will they let me?” Tarron grinned. “I’m going now, and short of life support failure, anybody that wakes me had better be armed to the teeth.”

With that Tarron turned and went gratefully towards his room and bed.
Last edited by Solaias on Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:28 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Living ship. (Not SC related)

Postby Solaias » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:23 am

Chapter 3: Unusual Readings


Tarron woke with a slight headache about half way through the next day. He had been asleep for about 14 quazuras (give or take 5 mizuras). The exhaustion from the previous day coupled with such a long sleep had caused the headache, and he wandered into the kitchen to find some painkillers. After taking a couple of tablets, he rummaged through the cupboards looking for something edible that grabbed his attention. He couldn't find anything, so in the end he settled for a bowl of delexian flakes.

He was halfway through the bowl when his father came through the door from the living room. “I thought I heard you rummaging around in here. I was just online with the central database, or I'd have joined you sooner.”

“I had a headache when I first got in here, so it’s probably best that it’s had time to clear a bit. I doubt I would have been much company five mizuras ago.” Tarron said smiling. “What did you find out?”

“The ‘Roosters’ are having a good season. They seem to only have lost 1 game in their last 14.”

Tarron had to grin at the lame joke in spite of not wanting too “That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”

“You mean that mineral you found?”

His father put on such an air of indifference that Tarron knew he had found something out about it that was interesting, but if he wanted to play games he could do that as well. “No, I meant how are the ‘Raiders’ doing? Why would I want to know about the ‘Roosters’? That’s your team.”

His father couldn't keep up the charade, and unable to retain his nonchalant countenance any longer, started to laugh. Tarron smiled and returned to his breakfast while waiting for his father to tell him what he had found out.

“It’s a known mineral.” His father said. “It’s called nividium, and yes it is rare. In fact 4% is quite a high density reading for it. Not the highest, but even at 1% it would still be worth sticking a mine on, so at 4% we can expect quite a nice profit from it.

I had a look at the mining equipment site to see if we would have to take any special precautions during mining, but only the same as you would while mining silicon, in fact a silicone mine is more than adequate for the job. Nividium is harder than silicone so when you order a silicone mine you have to specify a nividium drilling bit and bit casings, but apart from that it’s fairly straightforward.”

Tarron smiling replied. “Well the second bit made me want to go back to bed, equipment is your thing not mine. The first bit was interesting though, you know the only thing I'm interested in is how many credits I’m going to have to fund my gate racing dreams.”

Tarron's father smiled at the standing joke between them. Both of them knew that Tarron had no aspirations to become a gate racer, maybe a mechanic for one, but not the racer himself. “Well if you can drag yourself away from your fantasy world for a little while, one of the new energy ‘droids,” Glancing down at a datapad in his hands he continued. “ er… serial ECD 113428795, was supplied with a faulty mounting bearing. It’ll need swapping out.”

“What another one? Ok, if can you transfer the serial to my pad I’ll get to it after I fix that faulty conduit in section zeta.”

“Ah yes, I'd forgotten about that. Ok, I'll leave you with your soggy breakfast, or should that be lunch by now? Anyway, I'll see you at dinner tonight.” With that Tarron's father got up and headed towards the hallway that led to the entrance of their home.

Tarron glanced down at his bowl of delexian flakes and noticed that they were indeed soggy. With a dejected sigh he picked up the ruin of his breakfast and dumped it into the recycler, and then headed outside towards the awaiting conduit.




That evening after dinner Tarron lay on his bed in his room wondering what to do with himself. His father was in the control room trying to track down a jumpdrive fitted mammoth that was willing to bring a nividium mine out this far, so he was pretty much left to his own devices. He had a couple of projects that he was working on down in the maintenance section of the security dock, but while changing the bearing on the EC ‘droid, his hand had slipped off the wrench he was using. This had removed the skin on three of his knuckles, and had bruised his hand enough that it was stiff and mildly painful when he tried to move his fingers. So he had decided that it was probably not a good idea to fiddle around with things that needed careful and minute adjustments. He had thought about watching a film, but when he had looked at the collection he and his father had, he could not find anything he felt like watching.

Looking across the room Tarron's eyes passed across the bookshelves under his TV, which was attached to the wall on an adjustable arm for ease of positioning so you could watch it from anywhere in the room. He was sometimes quite a bookworm, and had a sizeable collection of books. It was something that had irritated his father when they had moved from their first ore mine in Antigone Memorial (which was a lucky find in itself as the asteroid it was on had a 90% ore density) to this one. Tarron smiled at the memory of his father complaining that he could have got them all on a data-stick and put them in his pocket rather than having to hump a pile of dead trees around. He got up and wandered over to his shelves to see if there was anything there he felt like reading.

Scanning down the shelf looking at the titles, one caught his eye. It was a book by a Boron writer talking about how normal everyday sounds could sound quite different underwater. It wasn't a very good book, and the only reason he hadn't got rid of it was that it was a present from a distant aunt. What had caught his eye was the title.

‘Strange Echo’s’

It niggled at something in the back of his mind, but for a sezura or two he couldn't work out what. Then he remembered the odd gravidar echo from the nividium asteroid. Was that normal for nividium? For some reason he was feeling excited, it might not be normal for nividium. His father hadn't mentioned anything like that, and it’s the type of thing he would have looked into while checking what equipment he would need to mine the asteroid. He decided to have a look at the central database for himself and quickly stood up.

About 15 sezura later, when he had stopped swearing profusely, he stood up again being careful not to hit his head on the TV arm a second time. He wandered through to the front room, and still rubbing the back of his head sat down in front of the database terminal. After about a mizura he had found the right section, and was looking at the data about nividium. It took awhile to read through it all, and most of it was about the chemical composition, mining equipment needed, current uses, and theorised possible future uses, but there was no mention anywhere of it interfering with scanners. In fact one of its possible new uses was in the design of a new quadplex scanner system. Shutting down the terminal, Tarron wandered back to his room and sat on the edge of the bed. If nividium hadn't caused the sensor echo, what had?

His thoughts were interrupted at that moment by the front door chime sounding. Mildly miffed at the intrusion he got up and wandered through to the hall and looked at the vid-cam to see who was outside. It was Nirisa so he opened the door.

“Hi, what are you doing here?”

“I’m sorry, do your friends need to make appointments now?” She replied with a smile.

“Ah, sorry, that didn't come out how I meant. I just wasn't expecting you.”

“Repeat last question…”

Tarron laughed. “Well as you seem to be here you might as well come in.”

“Don't do me any favours now. I can always make an appointment for another day.”

“Why is it I always feel like I’m on the defensive with you?”

“Maybe it’s because you engage your mouth before your brain, you're not a closet Sagittarian are you?” She asked raising an eyebrow.

“What the hells a Sagittarian? No, on second thought don't tell me, I'm sure I'd regret the answer. Well are you coming in or not? If I'm going to spend the night being insulted I’d rather be comfortably sitting down.”

“I don't know, I might just decide to be insulted myself.”

“Well you can be insulted here, or you can be insulted in comfort with a cup of tea.”

“Hmm, the tea sounds good. Just as long as you know I'm only coming in for the tea.”

“Of course.”

They made their way through to the living room, and while Nirisa made herself comfortable on the sofa, Tarron continued through to the kitchen to make the tea. A short while later when he returned with the tea Nirisa wasn't on the sofa anymore; she was sat at the database terminal. As he placed the tea next to her he looked at what she had on the screen, it was the information about nividium.

Nirisa thanked him for the tea, and then said. “I think if your father can get that nividium mine out there, I might ask for a transfer.”

“Ore getting a bit mundane for you is it?” Tarron jested.

“No, but being station manager my wages are a percentage of whatever the stations profits are. I could become quite well off working on that mine.”

“You might want to hold off on that idea for a while.” He warned.

Nirisa turned to face him. “Why?”

So Tarron told her about the sensor echo, how he had assumed it was down to the mineral, but now they knew the mineral was nividium and should not be causing any type of sensor anomalies.

“I was checking on that just before you arrived.” He finished.

“So what do think it is? Was there anything unusual about the asteroid?”

“I have no idea, and not that I noticed, but the reading was coming from the opposite side to where I was, and as I assumed it was caused by the mineral I didn't bother to go exploring. So I can't say for sure.”

“Ok, but I’m coming with you.”

“Huh? Would you like to run that past me again? I think I must have passed out or something, there seems to a whole chunk of conversation missing from my memory.”

“Did you hit your head as well as your hand?

“Well, now that you mention it…”

“You didn't did you?”

“Er, yeah, sort of.”

Nirisa started to laugh.

“When you have quite finished, perhaps we can return to the topic at hand, and you can tell me how not knowing if there was anything wrong with the ‘roid equates to me having decided to go back, and you inviting yourself along?”

Nirisa, still giggling, replied. “Well you are going back aren't you?”

“I don’t know. I suppose so. I hadn't really got that far along with my thought process, as I said I had only just checked out if nividium could have caused the echo just before you arrived.”

“Well I want to go with you. This has got me intrigued now.”

“Well I have no problem with that, could do with the company, but what about work?”

“There’s nothing wrong with the station at the moment, well nothing that can’t wait a day, so you’re OK.”

“What about you? The station manager can't just go dashing off around the universe on a whim just because she wants to.” Tarron said.

“That’s true, but as tomorrow is my day off anyway, I can spend it how I want.”
Last edited by Solaias on Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Living ship. (Not SC related)

Postby Solaias » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:24 am

Chapter 4: The Return.

The following morning Tarron stood in the security dock waiting for Nirisa. She wasn't late, he was early. They had arranged to meet here the night before. Just as he was thinking about going over to the maintenance area to look at one of his on-going projects while he waited, his father turned up.

"Tarron!" he called out to get his attention.

Tarron turned around and walked towards his father. "Hi dad, what brings you down here?"

"I have just run into Nirisa and she told me what the pair of you are up to. I’m afraid that I have some bad news and some good news for you."

"Uh oh, what is it?"

"One of the patrol busters developed a glitch in its starboard thrusters last night on its routine pre-flight check. As yours was available, and just as well armed, I told the pilot to use that instead."

Tarron had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. "And?"

"Well it was a bit more… how shall I say this? Well the extra tunings to the engine and rudder that you have done were more than he was used too compared to the standard Busters, and, well, he had a fit of ‘fighter jockey high jinx’, and went to loop around an asteroid but your Buster turned quicker than he was expecting, he tried to correct, but he was slightly too late. He clipped the asteroid and tore off the port engine."

"Son of a… of all the days for it to happen… what was he doing showing off in someone else’s ship?!" Tarron exclaimed in anger. After a pause while his mind accepted the situation, he asked in a calmer tone. "Is the pilot alright?"

"Yes, apart from feeling guilty about the damage, he’s alright. I would have thought that with all the time and effort you put into that ship you would have been more upset about it."

"I am upset, but thumping walls and ranting further is not going to get the Buster replaced."

"Well, that was easier than expected. I think it’s an opportune moment to move onto the good news. The new shipment of nova’s arrived earlier, and as it’s my fault the busters a write-off, I going to give one to you. It'll make me feel better about you going out to that asteroid again as well."

Tarron's anger immediately dissipated, and his face almost split in half with the huge smile that appeared on it. He was already envisioning what it would be like to tune a nova up to the same specs for speed and rudder that a buster would have as standard.

At that moment Nirisa turned up, and after one glance at the way Tarron was grinning asked. "Hello, has some blind and desperate woman agreed to have sex with you?"

"No I've just given him one of the new novas." Replied his father.

"Ah, that was the other option of course, should have known it wasn't the first one, I haven't heard of anyone on the verge of suicide." She waved her hand in front of Tarron's face. "Helllooo, anyone in there? Ground control to Tarron, can we go sometime today?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah."

"Did you hear anything I said a sezura ago?"

"Nope."

"Damn, I hate wasting sarcasm."

"It wasn't totally wasted, I heard it." Tarron's father said.

"Thanks, but it’s not quite the same when the target misses it" Nirisa replied smiling.

Tarron's father smiled back. "Well I have things I have got to get on with, I'll let you two go asteroid hunting." He turned and headed back towards the elevators. When he was five or six paces away he half turned back and said. "Oh by the way, the nova’s docked at bay seven." He then continued towards the elevators.

Nirisa turned to Tarron and pointing to a tool in his hand said. "I know I'm probably going to regret asking this, but what is that supposed to be?"

"It’s a sonic cutter, it’s for drilling and cutting asteroids in space. I designed it myself."

"Sonic? I thought that sound doesn't travel in space due to there being no atmosphere to transmit the sound waves."

"It doesn't and there isn't, but put this against something solid and it will resonate through the material as well as it would in an atmosphere. It’s the resonance that allows it to cut into rocks. You can't use a normal drill because you don't have any gravity to help you get a purchase for applying pressure to the drilling bit."

"I'll have to take your word for that. Come on, let’s go and have a look at this new nova of yours."

Walking across the dock towards the nova, Tarron noticed a few of the off duty defence pilots were looking in their direction. This puzzled Tarron, and he turned to mention it to Nirisa when he noticed what was causing all the interest. Nirisa had discarded her usual trademark loose clothing and was wearing a close fitting spacesuit the same as he was. It was the normal practice for anyone going out in a fighter, but he was so used to the loose clothing that it threw him for a second.

"Should you be wearing that? You’ll be causing accidents all across the sector you know?"

She turned her head and smiled at him over her shoulder. "Oh so you finally stopped thinking about your new ship and noticed did you? Well as long as you think you can control yourself, and don't short out any control panels by dribbling into them, I think we'll be able to dodge any other crashes we see along the way."




They were back in the sector that contained the nividium asteroid. It had taken longer to get there than Tarron had thought it would, but that was mainly down to the fact that he had estimated the time for his old buster to get there. The nova, even though it was maxed out on standard tunings, was still considerably slower.

Tarron however did not waste the extra time; He spent the first half of the trip checking out all of the systems on the nova. His father must have been feeling guiltier than he was letting on about the destruction of the buster because the nova was the only vanguard version that had arrived with the new batch, and now it was his. It had all eight gun slots fitted with alpha high energy plasma throwers, and it had all three shield slots filled with 25MJ units, plus a spare in the cargo hold. The cargo hold had also been expanded to its limit. When Tarron went to the rear of the ship, he got a bit of a surprise. He had forgotten that the nova had a rear turret, and after inspection he found that this too had an alpha HEPT in it. There was also a strange rack system attached to the turret that he did not recognise. He could tell from the construction that it was not a standard feature of the nova, and had been installed afterwards, but without taking it apart he could not figure out what it was for. Unfortunately that would have to wait until he was back at the mine and had access to his tools.

He was letting Nirisa fly the ship while he sat in the optional co-pilots seat (it’s the co-pilot that was optional, not the seat.), and was still pondering the rack system when Nirisa said "I have the asteroid on scanner, and the echo. It’s certainly a weak signal, no wonder you thought it was caused by the mineral rather than being an independent reading."

"I’m glad you said that, I was beginning to second guess my judgement. I was pretty tired by then, and was beginning to wonder if I had made a mistake."

"No, looking at this I would have come to the same conclusion with the information you had to go on at the time."

They circled around the asteroid giving it a wide berth, but aiming to end up at a point directly above the spot they were interested in at 6k’s distance. When they reached that point, they stopped the nova and pointed the nose directly at the surface of the asteroid. They both peered out of the cockpit at what was in front of them.

After a mizura Nirisa said. "Well I don't know about you, but I can see bugger all from here. Shall we get a bit closer?"

"Yeah, but lets take it slow, and stop again at 5k’s for another look."

"I'm all for taking it slow." She replied waggling her eyebrows suggestively. Turning back to the view in front of the nova, she added "How does powering up 4 of the guns sound to you?"

"You mean they're not already?" He replied with a smile.

"Well I didn't want to wear out your shiny new noise sticks"

She turned on four HEPT’s, the two outer ones on each side, and then eased the throttle forward until they were moving at 20 meters per second. She stopped the nova at the designated 5k and they both stared out of the cockpit again.

Tarron looked at her. "I don't know about you, but I still can't see anything."

"Nope, not a dickey bird."

"Where the hell did you get that expression from?"

"Huh? Oh I found it in one of the old texts that the Goners have on display at the Temple in Cloudbase South West. What do you think about moving in to 3k’s?"

"If it stops any more of those sayings I'm all for it."

Nirisa again crept forward at 20mps until they were at 3k’s distance. "Well what now? I still can't see anything."

"Has this thing got video enhancement goggles?"

"You’re the one who’s spent quazuras poking about seeing what’s under the outer panels."

"Yeah, but I haven't had a good look around in here yet."

"Some mechanic you are." She looked at the control panels and then pointed at a blank spot. "Well the switch isn't there, so I don't expect there are any."

Tarron sighed. "OK lets close up to 1k, but lets do it really slow, I don't want any surprises."

"I hear you loud and clear Captain."

Nirisa open the throttle and they edged closer to the asteroid at 5 mps. At 1k she stopped the nova again.

They both went back to peering out of the cockpit window. After about 2 mizuras Tarron pointed at a spot on the asteroid. "Is it my imagination, or is that outcropping there slightly too regular to be totally natural?"

It took about 10 sezura for Nirisa to spot what he was talking about. "Hmm, I don't know. This is not the best angle to view it from. I’ll strafe across a bit, see if we can get a better look."

As she moved the Nova to the right it became obvious that the outcropping was not natural. You had to be at just the right angle, and specifically looking for it before you would be able to see it though.

Tarron looked across at Nirisa and asked. "What do the scanners say? Anything we should be aware of?"

"Nothing on the gravidar apart from the same echo we've been getting all along. We could try the mineral scanner, it might pick something up the normal scanners have missed."

"We have one do we?"

"Your father bought this ship, what do you think?"

"Yeah OK, stupid question of the wozura award goes to me. Yeah, give it a shot."

"Scan complete. Nividium 4%." the computers voice announced into the quiet of the cockpit.

Nirisa looked through the scan data and then turned to Tarron. "Well apart from finding out that the ships database is up to date, we know nothing more than we did a mizura ago."

"Feel like getting a closer look?"

"500 meters?"

"Yeah, I think that’s about as close as I want to take this ship to an asteroid anyway." Tarron replied.
So once again Nirisa moved the nova closer to the asteroid at 5mps until they had reached the agreed distance.

"Well from this distance I can definitely say that the outcrop is artificial." Tarron confirmed their earlier suspicions.

"Yes I agree. So what now?"

"Anything new on the scanners?" Tarron already knew the answer, but asked anyway.

"Nope, not a…"

"Lets not go there again eh?" Tarron interrupted her smiling. "Well if we still can't tell anything, I suppose one of us will have to go out there and do a personnel inspection."

"Don't look at me, I'm just along to supply the light entertainment."

"Don’t give up the day job will you. Ok I suppose I'd better get my helmet on."


Tarron was floating at about 100 meters from the surface of the asteroid. His radio came to life as Nirisa opened the channel. "Can you see anything?"

"Yeah, a lot of vacuum and a dirty great lump of rock!"

"Can you actually see vacuum?"

"I tell you what, you come out here and find out."

"I would, but I wanted you’re esteemed opinion first. Get a bit closer."

"That’s rich coming from the person sitting behind 75MJ’s of shielding."

"Are you going to get closer anytime today? Or am I going to sit here getting bored?"

"If you want to kill me that bad, you could just pull the trigger you know."

"Not until I know if there’s anything in that rock that can shoot back I won't. Anyway I'd miss all the mental torture I can put you through first."

When he reached 25 meters Tarron stopped.

The radio crackled to life again. "Are you stopping again? At this rate I'll die of old age."

"There’s something in there. I think it’s metallic."

"Don't look in the direction of the nova."

Tarron was about to ask why when his world suddenly became very bright. "You mean I've been floating around out here in the dark trying to peer into this crack, and all you had to do was turn the lights on?"

"You looked like you were enjoying yourself."

Tarron swore at her. When he had finished he had a good look at the crevice. "There is definitely something metal in there. Now the lights are on, I can also see that there is a smaller hole next to the main one. There’s something in that too, but I can't see what from here. I’m going to move closer."

"At last!"

Tarron moved right up to the crevice and carefully looked into it. "Right, there is a metal object in here that’s roughly egg shaped, and about twice the size of my head. The underlying metal has a general silvery look to it, but it also has quite complex patterns of colour over the top of it, like an extra sheen."

"Do you mean over the top of the object or over the top of the entire surface of the metal?"

"Over the entire surface. The closest description I can give is that it looks like the rainbow colouring effect that you get from a thin film of oil on water."

There was a pause and then Nirisa asked. "What about the smaller hole you saw?"

Tarron shifted his position so he could look into the secondary hole. "That’s weird!"

"You're floating in space, looking at what could possibly be alien technology, and you think something is weird?"

"Alien? What makes you think that?"

"Well from the description you gave me a mizura ago, I don't think it sounds like anything any of the five races made. What's weird?"

"This second hole has a cylinder in it, it’s made of the same type of metal as the egg, or at least looks like it is, but without the coloured patterning. It looks similar to one of those cardboard tubes you would keep a poster in."

"I take it back, that is weird."

Tarron looked all around the tube to see if anything was attached to it. It looked as if it had been slid into position and left. "I’m going to see if this tube thing will come out."

"Are you sure that’s wise?"

"No, but what was the point of coming all the way out here if we’re not going to do anything?"

"We came out here to find out what was causing that sensor echo. We now know. Don’t you think that we should get someone with some experience with this sort of thing?"

"It’s a bit late for that."

"No it’s not, get yourself back here before you get hurt."

"Erm, yes it is. I already have the tube out and in my hands."

"Tarron Gan get your stupid, idiotic, pig headed, male self back onboard this ship NOW!"

"My, aren’t we suddenly protective of my health? Turn the floodlights off then so I don’t get blinded when I turn around."

He didn’t know how she managed it, but the lights seemed to turn off in a distinctly angry manner and Tarron was plunged back into relative darkness.

"Are you coming back or not?" asked Nirisa

"Yes, but I will have to wait a mizura or two while my eyes adjust enough that I can see where I’m going though."

"Why? It’s not as if you’re going to run into anything."

"No, but I might miss altogether though and go floating off into the unknown."

"Only if I’m lucky."



After putting the cylinder in a sealed and secure section of the hold, Tarron re-entered the ship through the airlock. He slumped down into the co-pilots chair. "That takes more out of you than you would think."

Nirisa stayed standing.

"What do you think you’re playing at? You didn’t know what was going to happen when you pulled that thing out of there! You could have been killed!"

Tarron held his hands up to stem the flow of abuse. "I can’t explain it, but while I was out there, I suddenly got the feeling that we’re not in any danger. I know this is going to sound strange, but somehow I think I was meant to find this thing."

"OK. Lets, just for a sezura, say that’s true. That could be dangerous in itself. I mean that could be part of the trap. Fools you into thinking its safe, right up to the point that something goes boom in your face."

"I don’t think it will, if it was anybody but me I wouldn’t like to think what would happen, but as long as it’s only me out there I think it’s safe."

"And you’re basing this conclusion on what sensible facts?"

"None. Call it gut instinct."

"I can’t believe I’m even having this conversation!" Nirisa exclaimed. "We’re sitting out in the middle of god knows where. There is an object of unknown origin, unknown capabilities, unknown power, and unknown purpose. We don’t know whether it’s dangerous or not apart from your nebulas gut feeling, which could be planted to lure people into a false sense of security. We don’t even know who put it here!"

"What makes you think it was put here?"

"How many randomly floating objects do you know that neatly fit themselves into artificially created crevices sunk into asteroids, and to while away some spare time also create a nice little niche to tuck in a second object where it can be conveniently found?"

"OK, you have a point there." Tarron admitted. "OK, I know that it’s safe to extract that thing out there, but you don’t, and for very good reasons that I can’t ignore without being a complete male chauvinist. So how about a compromise?"

Nirisa turned and sat in the pilot’s chair. Turning the chair so she was facing Tarron again, she looked at him for a couple of sezura before replying. "OK I’m listening, but I have to say that I’m not leaning in the direction of agreement."

"We only have today to get this thing out. The next day off you will get won’t be until next week, but by then my father will have a bloody great mine on this asteroid and any chance of recovering this thing will be somewhere in the region of zero to nothing. With a fresh set of air tanks I will have one stazura of oxygen. You leave me here and fly one quazura in any direction you like. At that time you stop and wait for one and a half quazuras and then return here for me. During that one and a half quazuras I will extract the egg and then wait for you to return. When you get back I will still have about half of a quazura of air left, it should only take me about ten mizuras to load the egg into the ship through the exterior loading doors. That gives me roughly fifteen mizuras air left for any minor hold-ups."

Nirisa stood again, and facing Tarron with her hands on her hips said "And what am supposed to tell your father if you’re wrong? How do I tell him that you blew yourself up on a fools errand while I safely sat a quazura away?" She stood looking at him waiting for a reply that she knew he couldn’t give. Finally after he’d had enough time to digest that thought properly she said. "You had better go and get it, but I’m staying right here. If you blow yourself up at least you will take me with you and I won’t have to explain anything to anyone."

Tarron stood up and walked over to where she was standing, put his arms around her and held her close. "We WILL be OK. I promise you."

"We had better be, or I will chase you from here to eternity in the afterlife."



"Entering sector Taiho"

"I know what bloody sector it is, I live here." Tarron complained in his usual way, and as usual the computer ignored him.

They had finally made it back. The extraction of the egg went very smoothly, and only one minor incident marred getting a perfect record. The first time Tarron had used the sonic cutter he had pushed to hard and started to float away from the asteroid. This was not a disaster in itself, but the ungainly way he had to twist his body about to regain control of his tumble through the cosmos before using his suit attitude jets to push him back towards the asteroid, had Nirisa in fits of laughter for nearly 5 mizura.

She had regained her composure, and had forgiven him for forcing an unwelcome decision upon her. Tarron thought that this mostly stemmed from the fact that they were still alive, and even though he knew he had been right, he still felt guilty about it.

They docked at the mine and went into the staff bar, which was located on a concourse just above the security dock, where Tarron bought a well-earned drink for both of them. They settled themselves at an empty table and relaxed with their drinks.

After a couple of mizura Nirisa looked at Tarron and asked. "So what do we do now?"

"Well I thought that I would go to the medical labs and see if there is someway of getting that cylinder open in a hermetically sealed environment. We don’t know what’s in it, and I don’t want to accidentally kill everyone on the station with a thousand year old virus."

"Oh now your common sense returns." Nirisa laughed, "Remind me next time you say you want to go and have a look at an odd reading from an asteroid, to go and hide in the deepest hole I can find until you are well on your way." She finished her drink and then continued. "I don’t know about you but I could sleep propped up on a clothes line."

"I thought we had agreed you weren’t going to spout those old goner sayings anymore?"

"I don’t remember agreeing to that, and even if I did, it would have been before you tried to get me killed, so call it one on account. Well daft sayings apart, I’m really tired and so I’m going to go to bed. I’ll see you tomorrow"

"Yeah, see you tomorrow." Tarron sat back and finished his drink at a more leisurely pace than Nirisa had.



After retrieving the cylinder from his ship, Tarron went to the medical laboratories and found the head physician with his head buried in a text on some rare disease or another.

"Doctor Chiun?"

The doctor looked up. "Yes? Oh, Mr Gan, what can I do for you?"

"I wanted to ask you if there was anywhere that this cylinder could be opened without the contents mixing with the stations atmosphere?"

"Yes, I have a chamber set up over there." He pointed to an out of the way corner that no one else seemed to be working near. "It is a strange request though, and it makes me want to ask why?"

Tarron gave him a brief run down on where the cylinder had come from. "So you can see why I want it opened in a contained environment."

"Yes indeed. I must confess I’m intrigued as to the contents myself now. That chamber that I pointed out will be perfect for this. It is completely hermetically sealed, and it’s connected directly to the outside of the station by a pipe. So even if there is anything within this container that could be harmful to the station, I can vent it directly into space. Even with that option I shall need time to analyse the contents of the cylinder to see if there is anything potentially hazardous before I attempt to open it. Forewarned is forearmed after all."

"OK, how long will that take?"

"Oh about two and a half stazuras. I would come back sometime tomorrow if I were you."
Tarron wasn’t happy about leaving the cylinder behind, but he had no choice. He was too tired to hang around. "Ok Doctor, I’ll see you in two and a half stazuras." Tarron turned and left to have a nice long shower and some sleep.



Two and a half stazuras later Tarron retuned to the Medical Labs and approached Doctor Chiun from behind. He was sitting at a desk holding what could easily be mistaken for sheets of paper if it wasn’t for the metallic sheen. From his posture it was quite obvious that he was reading from them.

As Tarron got closer Doctor Chiun sat up, he had just finished reading.

"Doctor Chiun?" Tarron called out to get the mans attention.

The Doctor seemed to jump six inches in the air. Tarron rushed over to him to see if he was all right. When he reached the doctors side he could see that he was as white as a sheet.

"Doctor? Are you OK? Doctor!"

Eventually the doctor turned to look at him. Then with a quick glance down at the sheets of metal/paper that he was holding, held them out for Tarron to take. "I th…think you had better read these."
Last edited by Solaias on Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
Don't you ever tame your demons, but always keep them on a leash.
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Solaias
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Re: Living ship. (Not SC related)

Postby Solaias » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:25 am

Chapter 5: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...


Blue One slumped down into his chair exhausted; he needed sleep in the worst possible way. ‘Blue One’ was not his name but his designation in his fighter wing, and he was not human. On their distant and only briefly scouted world, humans did not even exist yet. The Earth itself was still, as far as life goes, in a very early stage of development. A few of the single celled life forms had only just decided that working together to create a more efficient combined life form would be a good idea; and none were big enough to be seen by the naked eye.

The race now commonly known as the Ancients was not in fact a race, but a conglomerate of many worlds and races working together as one for the common good.

Blue One was a member of one of these races and a genius, he never thought of himself as one, but anyone looking back through history agrees that this is true. He was the first person in the history of the Ancients to create sentient artificial intelligence. He had advanced the field of S-A.I. by having an extremely in-depth knowledge of computer chip design and biology. It was the combination of both of these fields, which made the first S-A.I. possible. It only had the intelligence of a two year old, but it was fully sentient none the less. It was now 3 months after that miraculous discovery, but the work had progressed no further. Approximately 10 hours after the first S-A.I. had been turned on, a new race called the Sohnen had been found. Unfortunately they were not friendly.

From that moment on there had been war between the Sohnen and the Ancients. It was not a war that would last much longer. The Ancients combat craft where far superior to the Sohnen ones, and the only reason the war was still continuing was due to numbers. The Sohnen were fighting close to their core sectors and had thousands of ships to call upon to support the war effort, and more were being made at an astounding rate. Even though the combat kill ratio was approximately 100:1 in favour of the Ancients, the Sohnen always seemed to have the same amount of combat ships in all classes available. Where as this particular race of the Ancients was very close to the extremities of the Empire and had very few combat worthy ships to hand.

More ships were on their way, but on their way was not here and fighting.

So for now the former scientist waged war from the cockpit of a fighter.

He looked down at his desk without really seeing it. He was having a small internal debate with himself - should he go to bed or not. He knew he should, and he would get a better rest in bed. On the other hand, could he really be bothered too raise the energy to haul himself back out of the chair he had only so recently, and gratefully, managed to sit in.

After another minute or so of debate, and with a weary sigh, he managed to return to a standing position and headed for his bed.



He awoke with a jolt. The station was blaring the attack alarm, the Sohnen were coming again. Glancing down he realised that he still had his clothes on; he must have forgotten to remove them in his exhaustion. Unfortunately there was no time to change them now.

He glanced at the clock as he rushed past it grabbing his jacket on the way out of the door, and returning once again to the cockpit of his fighter. 3/25th of a cycles sleep, he really needed another 6 before he would even begin to feel rested. ‘A cycle off would be nice.’ He thought to himself wryly, knowing that would not happen until reinforcements arrived.

He turned left out of his accommodation and ran along the corridor to the pilots’ crew room to get his flight gear. As he entered so two of the three other pilots in his wing greeted him, the third was just coming through the door behind him.

“Any idea what we’re up against this time skipper?” Blue Two asked.

“No, not yet. I was asleep when the alarm went off.” He replied. “Just as you should have been.” He finished with a good-natured smile.

“Aye, I was. Didn’t please the wife though, I can tell you.” Blue Two laughed.

“Aren’t there enough little ‘Blue Two’s’ running around already?”

“You wouldn’t think so the amount of fuss my wife kicks up when I come home too exhausted for anything but sleep.” He said winking.

Their commanding officer entered the room cutting off any further banter. He looked quickly around until he saw Blue One and then motioned for him to follow. They stopped just outside the crew room.

“Sir?” asked Blue One.

“Here are your orders Blue One.” The C.O. said handing a small data chip over. “It’s the usual stuff, nothing special.”

“Then why are we out here in the corridor?” Blue one inquired.

“Your Wing has seen the most action over the last two weeks, and I just want you to keep an eye out for any mistakes that might crop up due to exhaustion. Either from lack of sleep, or from combat fatigue. Unofficially I want you and your group to try and stay out of the thick of it today if it’s at all possible.”

“I understand, but I doubt we can stand by and watch if we’re needed.”

“I didn’t mean that, just take it easy today. I don’t want to lose good men just because they are tired. Just stay out of massive fur fights if you can help it.” He finished smiling.

“Yes Sir. I understand.” A wicked smile crossed Blue One’s face. “I’ll keep them on straggler duty Sir.”

The C.O. smiled. “That should do it, and I’m glad that it’s you that’s got to listen to the complaints.”

“I tell them the order comes from you. That should stop any girlie whingeing.”

The C.O. laughed at that, then turned and left.

Blue One re-entered the crew room, clapped loudly a couple of times and then raising his voice to be heard said. “Blue Wing – Listen up. We are on straggler duty today, so bring a book.”

Blue Four looked up and said. “**** skipper, couldn’t you have got us out of that?”

“What are you complaining about Blue Four?” asked Blue Three. “You want a medal every time you go up?”

Blue One jumped in before an argument started. “I for one am glad about getting straggler duty. I don’t know about you lot, but I could do with the rest.”

Blue Two and Three smiled and nodded in agreement. Blue Four looked thoughtful for a couple of seconds and then replied. “Aye, you’re right. I could sleep for a cycle quite happily.”



Straggler duty was important, but boring. It involved hanging around behind the battlefront and picking off any enemy ships that broke through the lines before they had a chance to turn and attack from the undefended rear. With the power, speed, and weapon superiority of the Ancients ships, this infrequent event happened even less.

Because of this Blue wing, apart from two very brief skirmishes, had spent the last 4/25th of a cycle doing nothing but patrolling backwards and forwards across the rear of their lines.

Blue Two opened the inter-wing communication channel and asked. “How long ‘til they decide to go home again do you reckon skip?”

Blue One thought for a minute then replied. “The gate hasn’t activated for quite awhile, so I suspect that it won’t last much longer now. We can go and get some sleep then.”

“That would be nice!” Blue Three chimed in sarcastically. “It’ll be better than falling asleep at my flight stick anyway.”

“If you fall asleep at the stick, I’ll push you into an asteroid myself.” Blue one retorted in good humour.

Blue Four interrupted the banter. “Heads up! The gate is activating again, just as we were getting bored…”

All four of the pilots in Blue wing kept an eye on the gate and watched more and more wings of fighters coming through it.

“Close up girls, this doesn’t feel right.” Blue One said into the comm. and then changed channels so he could speak to ground control. “Multiple wings of fighters are coming through the gate.”

“Anything else appearing through the gate?” Ground control asked.

“No, not as yet, but there is a hell of a lot of fighters suddenly in-sector and they are still coming. I don’t like the feel of this.”

“Thank you for your report Blue One, but please keep your personal opinions to yourself.”

“When you’re stuck out here watching all these ships coming through the gate, rather than sitting pretty down there on the planet, you will find that personal opinion from experienced pilots is the best gauge of what’s going on!” Blue One snapped his comm. off in anger. “Idiot!”

“That’s one way of getting out of straggler duty skip. Get yourself busted so far down the ladder they won’t let you near a fighter again. You’ll probably get to fly a nice new garbage scow.” Blue Two laughed over the comm. channel.

Before Blue One had a chance to reply two Sohnen ships broke through the lines near Blue Wing.

“Heads up, two hostiles through the lines. Three and Four take the one on the left. Two, you’re with me. Weapons free everyone.” Blue One ordered over the comm.

Three lights on his wing leaders panel lit up signifying the weapons on the other ships had changed from ‘Safe’ to ‘Live’. There were no replies of confirmation over the comm. they weren’t needed.

The four ships split into two pairs and progressed towards their designated targets. Blue One lined up the Sohnen ship in his sights, and when the range was right he launched a missile. Blue Two’s missile trail could be seen following in the wake his own, and to the left another two missile trails from Blue Three and Four could be seen paralleling each other towards the other Sohnen ship.

Blue Ones missile missed, but Blue Two’s hit the Sohnen ships shields. They didn’t drop completely, but a sizable chunk was now missing. The other two missiles also missed and Blue Three and Four engaged their ship with lasers. Blue One returned his attention to his Sohnen ship and opened up with his own lasers. Blue Two followed suit and they managed to catch the Sohnen ship in a cross fire which stripped the ship of it’s remaining shields and left a brief expanding ball of flame and debris. Turning as one, he and Blue Two went to help Three and Four, but as they finished their turn the second Sohnen ship also erupted into a ball of fire and was no more.

Blue One started to comm. his wing. “Right, form up and lets get ou…”

The onboard computer interrupted him. “Inbound missile..Inboun..In..In..Inbound missile.”

Five missiles had been launched at him in such quick succession that the computer was stuttering trying to keep up.

“****!! So much for keeping out of a fur fight.” Blue One pulled hard to the right trying to shake the missiles lock on him.

“Three more bad guys have made it through and are hassling the skipper. Lets make them regret it lads.” Blue Fours voice said over the comm. system.

Blue Three and Four hurtled passed Blue Ones’ cockpit windows, one on either side of him. They were so close that his ship shook in the wash of their engines. There was a brief flash from behind him and the computer announced. “Missile destroyed.” Blue Three or Four had managed to remove one of the missiles from the running. Only four to go.

Blue One pulled back on the stick starting a half loop, bringing the ship around to face the direction he had been coming from. Blue One suddenly threw the control stick into a different position, a manoeuvre which if he had be in an atmosphere bound plane would have caused him to go into a flat spin. Manoeuvring thrusters and attitude jets screamed in complaint, and the whole ship rattled and shuddered at the unexpected move. Through his left window Blue one saw a missile go past and continue onward into open space. By the skin of his teeth he had missed being hit and had managed to break the missiles lock on him. He reversed the flight sticks’ position back to where it had been and continued his loop. Another flash from behind him. “Missile destroyed” the computer said. Glancing back he could see Blue Two chasing the pair of remaining missiles that were still on his tail.

The comm. came alive. “Blue three here. We could use a hand if you have finished playing chase. No pressure, just if you have time and all that…”

While weaving and trying to throw the last two missiles off his tail, Blue One looked out of his cockpit towards where Blue Three and Four were dog fighting. They needed help all right. Instead of the three Sohnen ships he was expecting to see, he found Blue Three and Four engaged with seven ships. More must have broken through the lines while he was busy dodging missiles.

There was flash of white light that filled his view, which was accompanied by the ship being violently shunted to the left. “Shields 73%.” the computer dispassionately reported. One of the missiles had got him. He pushed down hard on the flight stick and sent his ship into a reverse loop. He saw the last missile fly past overhead, but then begin to turn to the right back towards him. He had just missed being hit by that one as well, but hadn’t managed to shake its lock on him. He pulled the stick back and to the right pulling out of the reverse loop and into a banked roll. Lasers shot past his cockpit window and made him slam the flight stick to the left. Glancing at his scanner Blue One found that he now had two more Sohnen ships to deal with as well as the remaining missile.

“Ever felt like you shouldn’t have got up this morning?” He said to himself.

He swung the ship back to the right to take himself underneath the two newest Sohnen ships. He didn’t like to ignore the missile, but the Sohnen where a much higher priority. His shields were high enough to absorb another missile hit if they had to, but a concentrated attack by the two Sohnen ships could quite easily end his cycle early. As he passed underneath the two Sohnen ships they also turned trying to engage him. Through the top of his cockpit he saw the Sohnen that was directly above him take a laser barrage to the shields. Good, Blue Two was still out there.

Blue one looped around the same Sohnen ship trying to bring his own weapons to bear from a different angle and help Blue Two. Lasers lit his shields up; the second Sohnen had a bead on him. He yanked the ship about hard and opened his throttle to maximum. Shooting between the two Sohnen ships he pushed the ship into another loop bringing him all the way around the second Sohnen ship until his lasers could get a shot off at the first ship but removing himself from the firing line of either of the Sohnen. Blue Two was still engaging the first ship and another stream of weapons fire struck its shields taking a huge chunk out of them. Blue one also opened up on the first ship with his lasers, and buy the time he had to turn away from the Sohnen fighter so he didn’t fly straight into it, the shields were almost gone. Pulling hard on his flight stick he started to circle around the stricken Sohnen ship ready for another run, when it surprised him by suddenly exploding seemingly of it’s own violation.

The comm. came alive with Blue Two’s excited voice. “Fantastic flying skip, the way you took the shields down to almost nothing and then brought that Sohnen ship into the path of one of their own missiles. Years from now people will still be talking about that move. Brilliant!”

“That wasn’t deliberate, that was luck.” Replied Blue One. “Keep your mind on the second ship. I don’t want to have to write to your mother about how her son got himself killed cheering during battle.”

Blue Two’s answer was to send a stream of laser energy towards the second Sohnen ship. With Blue One and Blue Two taking turns to fire at the second ship, and then circle away until they were in position for their next run, the second Sohnen fighter didn’t last very long.

As soon as the second Sohnen ship exploded Blue One looked at his scanner for further enemy ships. There were none, so he instantly checked on Blue Three and Four. They still had 5 of their 7 original Sohnen fighters swirling around them, but their shields were starting to get into the dangerously low region of the energy dial.

Blue one opened the wing wide radio channel. “Blue Two form up on my wing, lets go and help Three and Four, I don’t see why they should have all the fun.”

“Aye aye skipper.” Came the reply from Blue Two.

“I see you two are going to turn up fashionably late as usual.” Blue Three quipped over the open channel.

“Well you know how it is honey. You ask people to the party and they always bring uninvited guests with them.” Blue One answered him smiling. “And I just couldn’t do a thing with my hair…and I had nothing to wear…I laddered my tights…and then the cab was late…I nearly sprained my ankle in these damn heels…then I realised I’d left the iron on and had to go back to switch it off. It’s just been one of those days sweetie.”

Blue One could hear the other three chuckling over the comm. system. Good, he had been able to make them relax a little.

As Blue One and Two neared the battling fighters, Blue Two asked. “What’s the game plan here skip?”

“If it isn’t one of ours and moves – shoot it!”

“Aye aye.”

At the same moment that Blue Two finished speaking, Blue One and Two came within missile range and two missile trails could be seen stretching away from both fighters. Both of Blue One’s missiles hit their target and Blue wing had one less Sohnen ship to worry about. Only one of Blue Twos missiles hit their target, but the second missile had maintained its lock and started to turn back towards its intended target.

Blue One and Two entered the fray and immediately had to concentrate on not being hit by the maelstrom of laser fire, while adding their own lasers to the deadly soup of space battle. It was an even match in numbers, the four fighters of Blue wing vs. the Four Sohnen ships. Unfortunately for the Sohnen the Ancients fighters had the upper hand when it came to technology. From a tactical stand point, the Sohnen, within seconds, had gone from the winning position of five ships to two ships, to the losing position of a matched number of ships with a superior foe.

Blue One dodged and weaved amongst the other fighters; there was just no way to keep a constant position for prolonged firing at any one Sohnen ship. All you could do was make sure you weren’t hit and snatch shots at any enemy fighter that passed through your reticule. Both tasks being easier said than done. To the left of him Blue one watched another of the Sohnen ships rapidly become component parts of the whole - another one down. Out of the corner of his eye he saw another ship on an attack vector for him. Quickly reacting he jinxed his ship down and to the left, at the same time that he did this the attacking ship jinxed in the opposite direction as if it was also trying to avoid having its lasers trained on Blue One’s ship. Blue One looked up at the ship as it passed overhead. His instinct had told him that it was an enemy ship, but looking at it he realised that it was a ship from his own wing. That explained the other ship also trying to get him out of the sighting reticule. Blue One returned his attention to the view in front of him and immediately slammed the flight stick to the side, but it was to late.

The last thing Blue One remembered of that battle before passing out, was spinning off into space in his ship; right after the wing had been torn off in the collision with a Sohnen ship.
Don't you ever tame your demons, but always keep them on a leash.
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Solaias
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Re: Living ship. (Not SC related)

Postby Solaias » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:26 am

Chapter 6: A return to the land of the living.


The male slowly became conscious. He was wondering if he was awake or not, when he realised he must be awake to be wondering if he was awake. His mind was not clear though; it was fuzzy and seemed to work slowly. He was lying down. Funny, he didn’t remember going to bed last night. It must be early the room was still dark.

‘No, it might not be dark; I still seem to have my eyes shut. God I wish my brain would wake up as well.’ The male thought to himself.

He tried to open his eyes but they wouldn’t cooperate. It seemed like an enormous amount of effort to raise his arm and his body felt stiff, but slowly he managed to get his hand to his face.

‘Oh, I seem to be wearing a set of bandages. I wonder if you actually wear bandages? You can’t exactly think of them as a fashion accessory. Bandages… that must mean I’m not at home. I wonder where I am? Obviously it must be a hospital, but I wonder which one? Is it military or civilian? Why would I think that particular question? Have I ever been in the military? I suppose I must have been at some point for that to be a natural question to ask myself. I doubt that anyone who has not been in the military would wonder what type of hospital they are in, they would assume a civilian one. I wonder if I got whatever injuries I’m healing from now by serving in the military? If I did then this will probably be a military hospital. If I’m in hospital, I’m most likely to be under the influence of drugs and/or painkillers. That at least would explain why every neuron fired seems like it has to pass through syrup before it can connect up at the other end. I wonder where I learnt about neurons? Come on brain! WORK! OK, so my eyes are bandaged, they must have received damage of some sort. I wonder if I’ve become blind? Hmm, lets cross that bridge when I get to it, I don’t actually know what happened so there is no need to speculate and worry about things before I know if they’re true or not. I shall only get myself worked up and panicky for nothing. My eyes may not work, but my ears do.’

He listened to the room around him. The unmistakeable low hum of cooling fans in machines seemed to permeate the room. It was quiet enough that he could not pinpoint the source or sources. It seemed to be coming from everywhere at once, blanketing the room with a constant undertone of noise. Easily ignored unless you were listening for it. Unfortunately, apart from his own breathing, that was all he could hear. There didn’t seem to be any other sounds at all.

‘I suppose I had better call someone and let them know I’m awake.’

He knew that there must be a call button somewhere close to him, so he started to feel down the edge of the bed for a switch of some sort. He managed to find a whole set of buttons attached to the side of the bed. Unfortunately he was, literally, working in the dark here, and didn’t know which one was which.

‘Well one of them must be right, I’ll just try each one until someone comes.’

He pressed the first button. Nothing seemed to happen. He waited a short while in case he had lucked out and got the right button first time, and it was just taking time to reach his room. No one appeared. So he tried the second button. The head end of the bed started to raise itself into a sitting position. He swore to himself, he had found the bed controls and not the call switch. He pressed the first button again and the bed lowered itself back to the horizontal position it had started from. He counted the number of buttons on the control panel. There were four of them. Two for raising and lowering the head of the bed, and two for doing the same thing to the foot of the bed he surmised. He continued to search for the call switch by feel alone. After searching around the edge of the bed he waved his hands in the air above the bed head in case there was a pull string. Nothing. It was no good, he was going to have to get out of bed, open the door (once he had found it) and call down the corridor outside to get someone’s attention. As he went to move he felt something tug at his chest. Pausing, he felt his chest and found wires attached to it with small sticky pads. So they had him connected to an EKG. He lay back again. He couldn’t move without removing the pads, and removing them would… A grin crossed his face.

30 seconds later someone came rushing into his room.

“Hello.” he said quite calmly, but in a voice croaky from disuse.

There was a silence, the type of silence that comes from confusion. Then a female voice said. “So you haven’t died then?”

“No, not yet.”

He heard her move to the side of his bed. He felt her gently press two fingers against the inside if his wrist, she must be taking his pulse.

“I thought that modern medicine would have had machines to do that sort of thing by now.” He commented.

“We have, unfortunately they tend not to be able to keep an eye on things when the patients have pulled the monitoring connections off their chests.” She responded flatly. She was obviously not amused at his unique solution of alerting someone he was awake.

She let go of his wrist and took hold of his hand and turned it so that it was palm up. He felt a small plastic control pad placed on his palm, and he closed his fingers around the object so it didn’t fall when she let go.

“That is the alert button. I’d be grateful if you use that the next time you need anything.” Her voice was still flat and un-amused. “I’ll go and get you something to drink, you must need it by now.”

He hadn’t realised it until she mentioned it, but he was thirsty. He heard her leave the room. He lay there waiting for her return. After a short interval he heard her come back into the room and move to the foot of his bed.

“Good morning.”

He jumped, the voice was male, it wasn’t the nurse returning after all.

“Is it morning? What time is it?” He asked the new arrival trying to cover his mistake.

“I’m Doctor Shime, just so you know who your speaking to.” He replied in an amused voice. He had obviously seen him jump. “I’m afraid I haven’t got my watch on so I can’t give you an exact time, but it’s about mid-morning, and before you ask, the cycle is Banath. You have been unconscious for two cycles. I suspect you are wondering what’s wrong with you. You were in an accident, quite a lucky escape actually you should have been killed. Fortunately for you fate stepped in and you are here with only one major injury and a lot of bruising - which is why your body probably feels stiff. You are on painkillers, which is why the bruising isn’t causing you any pain. A blow to your forehead, which fractured your skull, caused the major injury. Your eyes are fine, the position of the fracture meant we had to place bandages across them. The fracture is healing nicely and with the medical nanites helping the process, you should be fit to leave sometime later today. The blow to your head also caused some bruising to the brain. This is not serious, and will heal itself. Until it is healed though, you may experience memory loss. This will also pass so don’t worry about it for now. If you need anything please summon the nurse with the alert button, but I would wait a short while if I were you. She hasn’t got over the shock of seeing a supposedly stable patient flat lining yet. Have you any questions?”

“Actually on the subject of memory loss, who am I?” The male asked.

Doctor Shime chuckled and then replied. “We haven’t got your records through from central admin yet, so at the moment we have had to use the name that was on your flight suit.”

“Oh, so I was a pilot! OK, so what am I known as at the moment?”

“Blue One.”




Blue One sat up in bed holding his head still while the nurse carefully removed the bandages. His head had lost the fuzzy feeling that he had when he first woke up. Once the bandages were removed he carefully opened his eyes a fraction. He felt his pupils contract and he waited for his eyes to get used to the unaccustomed light coming in before he opened them any further. He looked around the slowly emerging room. It was a typical hospital room, antiseptically white with the bed half way down one wall and perpendicular to it so medical personnel had easy access to both sides of the bed. To his right was a small bedside cabinet, which had a glass and pitcher of orange juice on it. To his left there was a machine, which he assumed to be the EKG that he had been attached to when he woke up earlier. In the far left corner of the room there was also a chair, and a male in military uniform occupied it. This surprised Blue One as he had not heard him enter the room or sit on the chair. How long had he been sitting there?

He asked the obvious question. “How long have you been sitting there?”

The military man looked up from the data pad that he had been using and replied. “Since about 1/25th of a cycle before you regained your senses.”

Blue One looked at him stunned. “You mean you have been here the whole time? You saw me struggling to find the alert button? Watched me pull those EKG wires off? Have seen me laying and sitting here for half a day and you have not said or done anything?”

There was a small pause before the man answered. He waited until the nurse had left.

“The main reason I am here is irrelevant until you recover, but I have secondary orders to protect you as well, so I had to be in this room with you. You don’t know it yet, but at the moment you are one of the most important men on this planet, a unique planetary resource you might say. I doubt you will be left alone and unguarded for a long time to come. As to the other matter, I watched what you have done without interference because it is always interesting to see how a person copes with the unknown. The primary reason I am here relates to something that involves problem-solving skills, and I wanted to see how you dealt with your situation. I must say that your solution to not being able to find the alert button was very amusing. I don’t think I would have thought of doing that myself, and even if I had I’m not sure I would have had the bare-faced audacity to carry it out.” He finished almost laughing.

“So why are you here?” asked Blue One.

“I am here to protect you while you recover. Once you are released from hospital I am to take you to see some people that are in need of your skills. They will fill you in on the details, I can’t tell you any more than that at the moment because of security restrictions.” He finished with a shrug.

Blue One looked at him and paused thoughtfully before replying. “I know all about security restrictions, so I won’t waste my breath with futile questions trying to prise more information out of you. Can you at least tell me your name?”

“Laiban”

“First name or last name?”

“Does it matter?” Laiban asked.

“No I suppose not, just curious, and your rank?”

“Let’s just say it’s higher than yours.”

“I assume we are getting into security restriction territory again. Hmm, thinking about it I would also lay money on your name not being your real name either.”

“An astute observation. I would keep that just between us for the time being if I were you.” Laiban said smiling. “To work that out that quickly you must have an analytical brain.”

“No, I just know how the military mind works. It’s not that hard to work out if you think about it for a couple of seconds. You just have to be ultra suspicious and the answer presents itself to you on a plate. At least when I’ve had to deal with the intelligence service before that attitude has always served me well.”

Laiban’s head snapped up and he looked at Blue One frowning. “How did you know I was from the intelligence service?” he demanded.

“I didn’t for sure until you just confirmed it for me…. Captain.”

Laiban’s jaw dropped. “How the hell did you work that out?”

“I’m a Lieutenant. You said you were a higher rank than I am. A Colonel, or higher, wouldn’t be baby sitting me.” Blue One said in a matter of fact voice.

“I suppose you do realise an intelligence officer is well within his rights to kill someone who finds out compromising information about him?” Laiban stated without any inflection in his voice.

Blue One looked Laiban directly in the eyes. “I do, but you won’t kill me. If I am as important as you say I am, you would be committing treason by killing me. I am also meant to be under your protection. It wouldn’t look to good if someone you were supposed to be protecting died at your own hands would it? So you can stop trying to intimidate me. I have faced death more times than I can remember, this episode only being the latest in a long line of close calls. It will take more than you, Captain, to scare me.”

Laiban held Blue One’s gaze while thinking how to continue. He had underestimated this mans intelligence; he was obviously more intelligent than his current occupation of pilot suggested. Before Laiban could comment Blue One spoke again. “I won’t give anything away, Laiban, but don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m stupid again.”

Laiban noticed Blue One’s deliberate return to using his pseudonym rather than his rank. “I didn’t think you were stupid, but you are right in thinking I didn’t realise that you were quite so intelligent. A truce then? I think we will work better together as comrades rather than opponents.”

Blue One paused before answering. “Agreed. I won’t try to get any more information from you either. You have a job to do, and me making it harder on purpose isn’t fair.”

Laiban didn’t get a chance to say anything in return because Doctor Shime entered the room at that moment. He performed some tests on Blue one and then said. “Well I can’t find a reason to keep you here any longer. You are free to leave as soon as you want."



Blue One sat in an antechamber waiting to be called into a meeting. Laiban and himself had been driven from the hospital to a building that is unofficially known as the headquarters of the intelligence service. In other words, everyone knew that it was the headquarters of the intelligence service, but officially it was denied. During that drive Blue One and Laiban talked to each other on a wide range of subjects. They deliberately stayed away from talking about anything relating to what was currently happening by mutual unspoken agreement. Instead their talk ranged from films, to music, to art, to travel, and a whole host of other small talk topics. In doing so they slowly began the first tentative steps towards a friendship that neither of them could have foreseen.

When they arrived at the headquarters they had to go through a rigorous and time consuming identity and security check, which took even longer because Blue One had to be issued security clearance, and a clearance card had to be made for him. When they had finally finished with that, they had been escorted to the antechamber, and told to wait until they were called into the main meeting room the chamber was attached to. Laiban was called in after a short while, but that was just over 4/25th of a cycle ago.

Blue One was bored rigid, and he needed the toilet. Finally he had had enough of waiting and opened the door leading to the corridor looking for a toilet. A female was walking down the corridor away from him. “Excuse me.” He called out to attract her attention. She stopped and turned in his direction.

“Can I help you?” she asked.

“Could you tell me where the nearest toilets are?”

“They are through the door to my left.” She responded indicating the door she meant with her hand at the same time.

“Thank you.” Blue one said as he let the antechamber door shut behind him. He walked up the corridor, entered the toilets and did what he needed to do. When he had finished he walked back down the corridor to the antechamber, and placed his hand on the handle ready to open the door. He paused as he heard a commotion from inside the room. He placed an ear to the door trying to hear what was going on, but the chamber was too resonant and the door to thick for him to make out any intelligible sounds. All he could tell was that someone was angry and shouting at others. He shrugged and opened the door. There was a large overweight male standing in the centre of the antechamber haranguing a group of four people standing along one wall. To Blue One’s left one of the large double doors leading to the meeting room was open, and in it, hidden from the large males view by the open door itself, stood Laiban. He saw Blue One glance in his direction and grinned a mischievous grin at him.

Suddenly the large male turned to Blue One and started to shout at him. “Who are you? Do you know where the person who was occupying this room is?”

Blue One’s hackles went up. Who the hell was this male that he thought he could just speak to anyone in that manner? “No I don’t know where he is.” He said in a bold tone. Talking to the large male as an equal and not as a subordinate, he knew that this tone would annoy the large male as he was obviously used to people cow-towing to him. Blue One saw, out of the corner of his eye, Laiban smothering a laugh with his hand so as not to give his location away.

The large male looked at him and again shouted. “Why don’t you go and look for him then instead of just standing there like an oaf.”

Blue One looked the male directly in the eyes, held that gaze and then, in the most insulting way he could manage, slowly let his eyes move down the male’s body to his feet and then back up again until he was again looking at the male in the eyes. “You are the one who seems to have lost someone. Why don’t you go and look for him?”

The male couldn’t believe his ears. He was so angry that at first he had trouble speaking. When he did finally speak, he was no longer shouting, but talking in a deathly quiet voice. “What did you just say too me? Do you know who I am?”

Blue One replied in an equally quiet voice. “No I don’t know who you are, but I do know what you are, and it is quiet in here you heard me quite clearly. You are a male who has no manners. You couldn’t be civil to someone unless it was to your advantage, and even then it would be a false civility. I have met dockworkers that had a better idea how to treat a fellow person than you do. You talk to me as if I was something you have just scraped off the bottom of your shoe, without even knowing who I am. For all you know I might have been the person you were looking for. What a good impression you would have made.”

Blue One hadn’t thought that the male could have got any angrier, but it seemed he was wrong. He stood there no longer able to talk at all, all he could manage was spluttering. Suddenly the spluttering stopped and the male roared. “You’re fired! Get out of here! I don’t want to ever see your face again!”

Blue One continued to look at the male with unconcealed contempt. “You can’t fire me.”

“Give me one good reason why not!”

“I don’t work for you.” With that Blue One turned on his heel and walked out of the room.
Don't you ever tame your demons, but always keep them on a leash.
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Solaias
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Re: Living ship. (Not SC related)

Postby Solaias » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:26 am

Chapter 7: Acceptance


Blue One opened his eyes and looked around his room. It was the first time in nearly two weeks that he had managed to sleep until his body decided it had had enough, and wanted to wake up again. He had no idea what the time was, and for the first time in years, he didn’t care. He was still signed off from active duty due to his injury, and would be for the next 6 cycles.

Lazily he turned over and swung his legs out from under the covers onto the floor. After standing and having a good long stretch, he headed for the bathroom and had a long, hot, luxuriant soak in the bath. It made a change from the usual rushed showers he had been forced to have, since he became a pilot on constant alert.

Finishing his bath, he wandered back across his bedroom and opened the door into the lounge. He stopped dead in surprise. Sitting on the couch, the coffee table pulled close to him, with 3 different data-pads and a mini-computer sat on it, was Laiban.

Laiban looked up from the data-pads that he had obviously been working from, and smiling, said. "Good Morning."

"How did you get in?" Blue One asked, more out of curiosity, than alarm.

"It’s a military base, all doors have an emergency override code so that emergency services can gain access to any room. It’s also useful if you can sneak in on a spy while they are sleeping, of course." Laiban finished with a smile and a conspiratorial wink.

"I see." Blue One said. "I suppose that this code is not universally available?"

"No, it’s not. I have to give credit to your commanding officer; he really didn’t want to tell me the code. I had to get a special order before he would give it to me. Even then, he phoned through to central admin to make sure that the order was real. It’s not often you come across a commander that gives that much of a damn about the men under him." Laiban held up his hand to forestall the protest that Blue One had opened his mouth to give. "Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that a commander doesn’t care about the men under him, but usually when a member of the intelligence service asks for the door override code, it is given. Sometimes you get one that won’t give the code to you until you have a special order, but this is the first time in all my years of service, that a commander has actually phoned central admin for confirmation that the order is real." He finished with a small laugh.

Blue One felt slightly put out. He didn’t mind Laiban being here, but it would have been nice to have let him in, rather than finding he had waltzed in as if he owned the place while he was asleep. He did find the trouble Laiban had in obtaining the code for the door satisfying though. "So what are you doing here?"

"I told you that you would not be left totally alone for a long time to come. I meant it."

"Have you been here all night?"

Laiban smiled and shook his head. "No, I have to sleep as well, you know. There was a guard outside your door though."

"Well that’s one way to get talked about I suppose, have a goon with a gun standing in the corridor outside your door." Blue One said wryly, with a grin.

"I meant your bedroom door, not your front door. Your bedroom and bathroom have only one way in or out. That door." Laiban pointed to the bedroom door Blue One had just recently come through. "In here though, unlike your bedroom and bathroom, there are a number of windows which could allow access to you if a guard was outside. I told you at the Hospital yesterday, you are far too important to leave unprotected. I can see by the look on your face that you’re not happy about that. I understand, I would hate an invasion of privacy like this as well, but before you get angry and start shouting, think on this. What would you rather have? A ‘goon’, as you like to call him, or me here - or a stiletto being pushed into the base of your skull and right up into your brain while you’re dreaming nice things? It’s quick, quiet, and efficient, the victim has no chance to call out... or make any noise actually. It’s a favourite of assassins." Laiban paused for a couple of seconds, while he let that sink in. "I know at the moment you probably feel that this is overkill, but last night after things had calmed down again after your brilliant show, I finally had a full briefing as to why you’re so important, and what it is you will be involved in. I have to say that now I know, I’m not happy about you being here, and not in a more secure location. As soon as word gets out about what you are involved in, and believe me it eventually will, an assassin in the night will be quite a realistic possibility."

Although this was said in a conversational manner, Blue One felt the very real and serious undertones of what Laiban was saying. "So exactly what am I supposed to be doing? I have heard about how important I have suddenly become, but not the reason why?"

Laiban paused before replying. "It’s frustrating for you, but you’ll have to wait a short while longer before you’re told. This location is not secure enough, to discuss this openly."

"We are in the middle of a high security military base, and you think this place isn’t secure enough?"

The serious look that Laiban gave him, said it all.

"I’m sure my commander would be happy to hear that observation." Blue One said with a chuckle. "I have time for breakfast before we go wherever it is we are going, I assume?"

"Yes. In fact, I think that from now on, you will be able to pretty much dictate your own schedule, as long as it’s beneficial to getting the job done. You didn’t hear that from me though." Laiban grinned.

"Hear what from you?" Blue One said, with exaggerated innocence.

Laiban laughed. "I suggest you make it a large breakfast, it’s probably going to be a long day. Oh, and I also suggest you put some clothes on. You have a good body, but I’m really not that way inclined..."



Blue One sat in the same anti-chamber as he had been in the day before. This time however he was called into the meeting room almost straight away. As he passed through the doors that separated the two rooms, he saw that there was a long, broad table with about 20 seats spaced around it. This room was obviously used for what the name implied: meetings.

Near the door, but with his back turned away from it, sat the same male that Blue One had seen the previous day. As Blue One moved around the table towards a chair that Laiban had indicated would be a good place for him to sit, he came into the field of vision of the large male.

The large male glanced up at him, and then back down at what he was writing. After a second his pen paused, and the male looked back up at Blue One with a surprised look on his face. "You?!?"

"Yes, me."

Blue One watched as the male paused, considering this new turn of events. After a few seconds, the male nodded with acceptance of the situation, indicated the chair that Blue One had already been heading for, and said in a matter of fact tone. "If you could sit down please, we have a lot we have to go through, and we lost some time last night without you here."

"Yes, we have lost time, but that was not my doing, was it?" Blue One replied while seating himself in the chair.

Yet again the male paused while considering the situation before speaking. "I would hope that we can put last night to one side in this time and place. However we may feel about each other personally, it should be left outside of the door behind me. What we are doing here is more important, and while we may not like each other, I hope we can work well together professionally."

Blue One looked sharply at the male. Laiban had indicated that something important was going on, but up until this point he had not realized how serious it was. If a male like this could swallow his pride and let what had happened stay outside and not influence what was going on in here, then Blue One was in it up to his neck without knowing it. "You’re right, we should co-operate with each other, not work against each other. So why am I here?"

The male nodded in acceptance of what Blue One said and then replied to the question. "What we are about to discuss does not get spoken of outside of this room and one other place which I will tell you about shortly. Even when you are in this room you do not speak of this if there is anyone apart from Laiban or myself present. Due to the nature of what we will be doing, if you accept this position you will be placed under maximum security conditions. This basically means that you will have a guard with you at all times for your protection, you will also have to live away from your home in a set of rooms purposely designed with the security and safety of the occupant or occupants in mind. This is necessary for your own safety. Before we proceed any further, do you understand and accept these conditions?"

Blue One didn’t reply straight away. This wasn’t a decision you took quickly or lightly. Laiban and the male also knew this and sat quietly, giving Blue One as much time and space as he needed to decide. This again emphasized to Blue One, how serious this situation was.

He knew that in this type of situation, and with these conditions, he could quite easily be stuck working on this project for the rest of his life. It was never the intention for these projects to last more than a few years but sometimes this type of project would end up continuing for a very long time, and by accepting these conditions, Blue One would in essence be signing up as a volunteer prisoner.

The large male watched Blue One running through this in his mind and then said. "I apologize for the manner in which this must be done. I know you have not been told anything about this, and I have to admit that while I have asked some people to accept these conditions before, they have always known exactly what they are getting into before they have to decide. I wish I could tell you more so that you didn’t have to decide blind, but I am afraid that this time it is not possible."

Blue One looked at the male. He didn’t feel like the male was lying, and he appreciated what had just been said. It didn’t make his decision any easier but at least everyone knew exactly what they were asking of him. Blue One made his decision. "I will accept your conditions on the acceptance of one of my own."

The male sat back in his chair. He had been through this before; they all tried to get something in return for accepting these conditions. Usually it was something along the lines of a day outside once a month, or a weekly visit from their husband or wife. He had expected this, and he understood it, anyone would try and do the same if they were about to willingly imprison themselves. "I can’t promise anything, but state your condition and I will do what I can."

"I would like Laiban as one of my guards."

The male paused. This request was not what he expected. He turned and looked at Laiban. "What are you assigned to at the moment?"

Laiban blinked in surprise at the condition as well before replying. "Well apart from being a consultant on the Reban investigation, the only thing I have is the protection of this man here." Laiban indicated Blue One.

The male sat back in thought lightly tapping the pad on the desk in front of him with his pen. "Reban… Reban… Oh yes, I remember. Well that sounds like fun. Exactly how much consulting have you done?"

"Apart from two cycles of questions in the first week, none at all."

"In over a month? Hmm, I doubt they will miss you then. You have the advantage in that you already know what you are getting into, do you accept this condition?"

Laiban thought about the question for a short time, he did know what he was getting himself into and had less reservations about the decision, but it still wasn’t an easy one. He would effectively become a prisoner too. He looked at Blue One and tried to read the man. He knew very little about him, and was puzzled by the request. Like the large male he had witnessed a few of these decisions, and while he had also expected a condition this one had caught him off guard and surprised him. From what he had observed of Blue One, he knew him to be bold, almost confrontational at times, but he was also honest. He said what he thought and didn’t care if it upset someone. This would be an advantage in the task that was ahead of them. Laiban looked up from the desk his eyes had drifted down to while musing and looked at Blue One again. "Why?"

Blue one looked back at him and held his gaze for a couple of moments before replying. "Because you are the only one here that I feel I can trust. You know what you are getting into, if you are willing to accept these conditions then I will trust your judgment and accept also."

Laiban nodded. While he didn’t like the fact that he now had to make such a defining decision for someone other than just himself, he also had to respect the trust that was being placed in him. This was an intelligent man, he had proven that at the hospital, and would be well suited to the task ahead. "Very well, I accept."

The male looked at Laiban in surprise but said nothing. Then turned to face Blue One. "And you?"

"I accept as well. Now, will someone please tell me why we are here?"

"We have captured the first intact Sohnen."
Don't you ever tame your demons, but always keep them on a leash.
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Solaias
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Re: Living ship. (Not SC related)

Postby Solaias » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:27 am

Chapter 8: Moving


Blue One considered this revelation and felt slightly confused. "What do you mean by ‘Intact’? Surely you must have captured a Sohnen before now?"

"We have had captured Sohnen here before yes, but they have all, without exception so far, had a small detonation device implanted into their heads which when they are captured is set off destroying the brain." Replied the male.

"I know I keep asking this, but why am I here? What purpose do I serve?"

"Unknown to the general populous at this time, the Sohnen are a race of machines. Their brains are actually supremely advanced A.I. that is sentient in nature. Your unique skills from your previous occupation are perhaps the only chance we have of understanding how this technology works."

Blue One raised his eyebrows in surprise at the information, but made no comment. He thought about this new information, it was an amazing opportunity to advance their knowledge of S-A.I., jumping ahead of the game so to speak. Assuming that it was not so advanced in construction that it was impossible to even determine how it was built, let alone how the programming etc. worked. "How did you manage to capture an intact S-A.I. if they destroy themselves with an explosive charge?"

The male opened his mouth to reply, but before he could Laiban leant forward in his chair and addressing the male said. "May I?"

The male paused. It was obvious that Laiban and Blue One already had established a tentative rapport, and they were going to be spending a lot of time together in the near future. The male nodded at Laiban and once again sat back in his chair.

Laiban turned to Blue One. "Ironically it’s you that gave us this opportunity. The Sohnen ship that you collided with in your last battle was very badly damaged. The Sohnen, being machines, are directly connected to their ships while they are piloting them. As you can imagine this is a very efficient way to control your craft, you think what you want to do and it’s already being done; Instantaneous reactions to any situation. Basically you and the ship are one and the same, you are the ship, and the ship is you.

The collision caused, as I have said, massive damage to the Sohnen ship and its systems. Simply put, this damage had the effect of totally disabling and shutting down the pilot. So the detonation device didn’t have a chance of being set off and destroying the brain. We have removed the explosive from the Sohnen, but it has not been reactivated yet. We felt it best to have the needed specialists on site before that happened.

Not having previous experience in this field, we also felt that whoever was working on this project may wish a chance to study the brain before, or even instead of, reactivating it.

As the only person in our history that has actually built, or maybe created would be a better term, a sentient A.I., how we proceed with this is entirely within your control.

We have already assembled a small but hand picked support team for you to get started with. Most of them you will already know as they are from the team you originally worked with. If you need anyone else, ask, and we will try to get them for you.

We can’t force anyone into accepting the same conditions that you have just had to accept, any more than we could force you, so we can’t guarantee that you will get the people you would like. All we can guarantee is that we will try."

Blue One looked at the two men and then said. "Luck."

The male looking confused asked. "What do you mean?"

"This whole situation has arisen from pure luck and coincidence. The odds against this happening are too great to be worth computing. Has the Sohnen been fully scanned for any other possible explosive devices and/or booby traps?"

The male grunted and nodded. "Using previous Sohnen that we have dismantled for study as a guide, we have concluded that this Sohnen is no different in construction from any of the others. As far as we can tell the only difference is the fact that we have an intact brain. I am suspicious of coincidence as well, and I had the Sohnen gone over with a fine-toothed comb to be sure it wasn’t planted here on purpose. The way it came into our possession, combined with the unusual tactics, for them anyway, the Sohnen exhibited in that battle made me wonder if this was just a little bit to fortunate for belief.

We can’t completely rule out the possibility that there is something else that’s different with this Sohnen compared to others, to do so would be idiotic, but to paraphrase your own words, the odds against it are so high it’s not worth calculating them.

This doesn’t mean that there isn’t still a danger though. The difference may be in the brain itself. We have never had one intact before, so we obviously have no way of knowing if it is different from a standard one. All we can say is that if you decide to reactivate the Sohnen, extreme caution is advised. Even conversing with it, if that’s at all possible, could be dangerous. I can’t imagine an artificial intelligence would have any form of telepathy, or ESP abilities of any nature, but this cannot be ruled out at this time."

"Hmm. That’s one possibility I hadn’t considered. I agree that ESP abilities are improbable, but not impossible." Blue One responded.

After a short pause the male spoke again. "You now have a basic outline of what is expected of you, the current situation, the circumstances leading up to this situation, and the possible dangers that may be involved. I don’t think any more discussion at this point will further our aims, and I expect that you would like to go and have a look at the Sohnen for yourself. So unless you have any further questions, this meeting is over."

"You’re right, I would like to go and see what all the fuss is about for myself, and also where I will be living from now on. I can’t think of any other questions that are pertinent at the moment, so let’s get going." Blue One said smiling.

The male nodded. "I shall stay here. I had originally intended to show you to the research lab and to your new home myself, but Laiban will be just as good a guide as I would have been, and I have more than enough work to do here. I shall see you again soon enough though as I will be checking on progress regularly."

Blue one nodded in acknowledgement and then turning to Laiban grinned and said. "Lead on oh guide extraordinaire."





Laiban and Blue One spent most of the next 8/25th of a cycle travelling. First they returned to Blue One’s current accommodation to collect personal items and clothing for Blue One. Then a brief stop at the base commanders office to give him Blue One’s release from pilots duty and transfer orders, and finally to a military airport to catch a plane to their destination.

The research labs and Blue One’s new home were in a remote area of the planet, and had their own landing strip for moving personnel and supplies in and out.

After landing and disembarking from the plane they visited the base commander’s office. Laiban nodded at the soldier that had shown them the way to the office in thanks and then knocked on the door.

"Come in." said a female voice from within the room.

Laiban opened the door but indicated that Blue One should enter the office first. As he entered Blue One glanced around the office. It was spartan and had few furnishings. To his left the wall had a row of filing cabinets along it, but apart from the base commanders chair and desk, and two more chairs for visitors to sit in, there was nothing else in the room. The right wall had floor to ceiling windows in it which gave a view across the base airstrip and the grassy expanse beyond. Due to this the relatively small room had an open and airy feel with plenty of light during the day.

Blue One stopped in front of the desk between the two chairs and saluted the base commander. "Blue One reporting for duty."

The commander who had been watching the whole time smiled. "This may be a military base, but its primary purpose is research, as such we are less formal than normal. Please relax and take a seat."

Blue One nodded and sat in one of the chairs. Laiban, who had followed him into the room, passed a large, thick envelope he had been holding to the commander and then sat in the other chair.

The commander opened the envelope and scanned the first page quickly, then smiling she looked at Blue One. "According to this you shouldn’t be saluting me anyway. It seems that you were recently promoted to a rank that’s higher than mine, perhaps I should be saluting you sir."

Blue One opened his mouth to reply, and then shut it again. He couldn’t think of anything to say.

Laiban laughed at the surprised expression on Blue One’s face. "I thought that might be a shock, which is why I saved it."

The commander raised one of her eyebrows quizzically and looked at Laiban obviously amused. "I take it this is news to the General then?"

Even more speechless than before Blue One looked at the commander, then at Laiban, and then back at the commander. "General? I think this must be a mistake, I am… was a lieutenant. I am grateful that I should warrant a promotion, but jumping that many ranks must be incorrect."

Laiban still broadly smiling at Blue One’s shock replied. "No there’s not a mistake, you now outrank me. I’ll explain the reasons behind it later, but for now just accept it as the truth… Sir."

The commander looked at both men, she was also still smiling at the joke played on Blue One. "It’s getting late. May I offer you both something to eat in the officers mess?"

Blue One, recovering his composure a little, replied. "I don’t know about the Captain here, but I for one could quite happily eat a rather large meal. If you could arrange for someone to take my belongings to my new quarters, I would be honoured to join you."

Laiban also nodded his agreement to food. The commander pressed a button on her intercom and ordered someone to collect both Laiban’s and Blue One’s belongings. They then followed her out of the office, along a corridor, down two flights of stairs, along another corridor, and finally into the officers mess.

"I see they don’t want you nipping out for quick snacks." Blue One said wryly to the commander.

"Good job too. I have enough trouble keeping the weight off sitting behind a desk for most of the day as it is." She replied with a slight smile and in an amused, conversational tone.

The officers mess was no better furnished that the commanders office. There were eight or nine square tables in the room with seating for 4 people at each table, one on each side. On the far wall opposite the only door was a large serving hatch, through which you could see the mess kitchens. The only clue this was the officers mess rather than the general one was the chairs around each table. They had good padding and were obviously designed with comfort in mind.

"Not exactly what I had envisioned when you said ‘Officers mess’ I must admit." Blue One grinned.

The commander laughed. "As I said, this is primarily a research establishment, and too much furniture takes up valuable floor space that could be used to scatter bits of paper over instead." She finished with an impish grin.

They reached the serving hatch, and once they had chosen and received what they wanted to eat, the commander led them to an empty table and they sat down with their meals.

After a couple of minutes of eating, and with the edge taken off his hunger, Blue One looked at the commander and said. "How much do you know about what I will be doing here?"

The commander looked at him and paused before replying. "I probably know more about it than you do at this current time, but this is a matter that should not be discussed while we are outside the ‘Sink’."

"The sink?"

"It’s what we call the ultra high security area of the base. I’m not sure how it originally got its nickname or why, but that’s what everyone calls it. The sink is mostly underground with only two stories above the surface. They are used as accommodation for the sink’s security forces, and from the air they look like just another part of the base and give no indication of what is beneath them. The first five subterranean levels are nothing more than ammunition stores, this gives an excuse for the increased security around the sink, and as far as most people are concerned that’s all that’s there. The next seven levels down are unusable. The first two are filled with shock absorption and deflection materials, just in case the ammo store is ever hit by some sort of weaponry and explodes. It protects the levels underneath. The other five levels are the scrambler levels, and as the name implies they are filled with equipment to block any kind of transmission entering or leaving the sink. That includes radio, magnetic, radiation, even just general noise etc. As far as anyone who might be listening is concerned, nothing exists below those levels. Because of all the sensitive equipment, apart from maintenance access those levels are unusable.

Below the five scrambler levels are twenty-eight more levels where the various research projects are carried out. The top six of these are all accommodation for the researchers and for any extra personnel needed, like the captain here." The commander indicated Laiban with a movement of her hand. "The floor between the accommodation levels and the main research levels is given over to large rooms which can be used for anything else that’s needed at will. There is a gym in there, but mostly the rooms are used for meetings and presentations. That leaves twenty-one floors that are dedicated to nothing but research. Forty-two floors in total"

"An impressive set-up." Blue One said with genuine admiration.

The commander smiled at the compliment. "The equipment in the sink is reviewed once a year, and anything that has been updated or improved upon within the past year is replaced with the latest version. On top of that there is also a permanent twenty strong research and engineering crew that is dedicated to improving the equipment you already have, or to design and build anything you may require that doesn’t yet exist. You will always be using the latest cutting-edge equipment in the sink."

"That must cost a fortune to run." Blue One said thinking of the funding trouble he had while his team were building the S-A.I. He didn’t try to hide his astonishment.

"Actually the sink tends to break even on expenses most years. There is a large initial outlay once a year for new or improved equipment, but the in-house improvements and/or alterations often made to that equipment, coupled with new specialised equipment that is built in the sink and then sold to other research establishments over the year, tends to bring in enough income that the sink can pay for itself over the long term." Replied the commander. "It fluctuates slightly from year to year, sometimes we make a healthy profit and sometimes we pay out more than we can reap back, but over the last ten years that I have been commander of this base the sink has actually shown a slight positive profit margin when taken as an overall figure."

Blue One glanced around the mess hall and at the few other people that were also eating. "I suppose this must be fairly common knowledge among the officers as you are discussing it openly here."

"The sink itself is yes, but not the projects that are being carried out inside. Only I know exactly what is going on in there. Each team knows what it is doing, but only I know about everything going on in the sink. On this base anyway, obviously higher ups also know." She finished with a smile.

Blue One couldn’t think of anything else to ask that could be discussed openly, and the commander seemed to have said all she wished to without further prompting. They all finish what little remained of their meals and returned their plates and cutlery to the serving hatch.

"What would you like to do now?" The commander asked Blue One as they were walking along the corridor to the stairs that led back up to the commanders office. "Would you like to see your accommodation, see your new team, or perhaps see why you are here?"

"I have been awake for a long time now, and the Captain has been awake even longer than I have. As curious as I am to see the reason that I am here, I think that should wait until I have slept and feel refreshed. I’m still a little hyped up from the large changes I have gone through today. With moving homes, changing jobs, meeting new people, and all the travelling, I’m not quite ready for sleep yet either though. So I think meeting the team would be a good move. I also think that I have another bodyguard to meet as well as the Captain needs to sleep at some point." Blue one finished with a grin, and glanced over his shoulder at Laiban who nodded his willingness to meet the team as well.

The commander nodded "That’s fine, you have both already been issued security clearance for the sink, but we will need to return to my office first to collect your clearance badges which arrived on the plane before yours. The security access they give you surprised me at the time, but I understand it now. Due to your rank General you have been given a clearance level which allows you to enter any area of the sink. This is not normal and most teams are restricted to their own project areas. The Captain would normally have restrictions as well, but as he is your main guard he will also be allowed free reign within the sink. This means that apart from myself you two will be the only people on this base that could potentially have complete knowledge of all the projects currently being researched in the sink. Please do not abuse this privilege gentlemen."

"I cannot see us needing to be in areas other than those our project covers, but your warning is noted. We will not abuse this relative freedom of movement." Laiban said from behind the commander and Blue One. Blue One also indicated his willingness to keep the peace.

Once they had reached the commanders office, she moved to the back corner and stood in front of a filing cabinet that was two in from the far end. Taking a small key ring from her pocket the commander unlocked the filing cabinet, and to Blue Ones surprise, pulled the whole cabinet away from the wall. Behind this there was a safe sunk into the wall, the commander opened this as well, and removed a strong box from the safe and placed it on her desk. She then walked around to the front of her desk, the side that visitors would normally be sitting at, and placed her hand under the front edge. There was a small click and a hidden draw that was only about 3 inches square slid out. The front of the draw had merged perfectly with the front of the desk and had been invisible to the naked eye. From this draw the commander took another key which she used to open the strong box. Finally she handed Blue One and Laiban a small credit card sized badge each, which had their picture on it. She then reversed the process.

Once the room looked how it had when they had first entered, the commander turned to them, and grinning said. "If you think that’s a pain try losing your card. It’s a really quick way too get into my bad books."

"I’ll bet." Said Blue one smiling at the commanders half joke.

"When we reach the sink you will need to have a voice sample taken, a retinal scan, and a DNA test so these details can be added to the cards smart chip. That should only take a couple of minutes to do though." The commander then picked up the phone on her desk and dialled a number. "Commander Trivi here. I will be escorting the General and the Captain. We will be there momentarily." Then she hung the phone up. "If you will follow me gentlemen, I will take you to meet your new team."
Don't you ever tame your demons, but always keep them on a leash.

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