A Pirate’s Life

He hated the silence. The stillness in the air made his skin tingle with the loss of movement. It meant no action, no challenge, nothing but his pulse in his ear. Darkness surrounded him in the cockpit, causing his hands to shake above the controls. But they had to wait. Had to be silent, at least for a few more minutes.
It wasn’t his fault they were early to the rendezvous. He was just that good, that was all.

“Time?”

“Should be in range in another twenty seconds, if it left port on time.”

“Oh, I’m sure it did. Vex, you ready?”

No answer from the third member, but there never was.

“Alright, dish is in position. Mark it at ten and counting.”

That made him smile. Ten seconds, the normal amount of time it took to go from blackout to deadly for his baby. At the mark, his fingers graced along her buttons as he shook the headphones down onto his ears. As the music began to awaken his senses, so too did every switch flick and button press bring a rumble to her heart that he could feel in his boots.

“Three…two…one…Blast it!”

On the cue, the cacophony in his brain exploded with energy, double bass hammers slamming skin and guitarists summoning demonic screams with six strings. But what he felt was the shuddering thunder of the wave disruptor dish focus and fire on a single point in space not but a cosmic breath away.

And just like Deter said, there it was, right on schedule. A sweet, juicy apple, fallen out of the slipstream and drifting as its on-board computer tried to put together what had just happened to it.
“Yee-ha!” he howled as her main engine fired to life and sent them hurtling right toward the prey while words of the fires of battle looped through him to the fingertips. With practiced precision, he slammed the control sticks down and over, so she would spin up to her belly and swing that shapely ass around as they circled the stunned freighter. Two piercing thuds told him that Vex had a hit with the mag-grapplers, so while the wonderfully chaotic solos from talented hands made his shoulders rock to them, his touch cooled her heartbeat down and brought her down to kiss their prey on the soon to be open hatch.

The moment he felt the click and slam of the airlocks connecting, his butt was out of the seat with pistol in hand. Sure, he wasn’t on the raiding team, he never was. But if he gets a hole blasted through him, there’d be no one left with the touch she needs to fly them out of here. Besides, all that tally-ho and initial pirate jackassery, that was Deter’s thing. Though he had to wonder who enjoyed it more, their brave captain or Wyvorn.
No, his job was simple. Guard the hatch and make sure no unfriendly faces doubled back. Last time it had happened, Wyvorn had taken a couple solid hits to the spine, and he’d never hear the end of it now. Oh well, the solo was dying down and the crescendo was upon them. Indeed, two sets of sidearms came blazing back towards the hatch, one of them doubtlessly with a bloodthirsty grin. All that meant was that he needed to get his butt back to his seat.
He could feel the slam of the hatch closing in his boots as Deter yelled “We’re on! Bust it!”

She roared back to life and pulled up and away from their target, the groan and cry of weakening metal echoed through his touch as the music began to come down from its crown. With a snap, she was free, cradling the prized innards of a now dead hauler. On the final drum beat, she came alive at full power and raced away from the kill.

“Yeah! We got this shit! Looks like it’s payday, boys!” Deter cheered though the halls of the ship.

Anon leaned back from her controls as the autopilot took over now, beginning their slipstream calculations. He loved a job done right.

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Because sometimes, we all just want to raise a little hell every now and then. >:D

I hope you all enjoy.

The Armor-Piercing Question

“Why are you here?”

It was a question he had not expected to hear, especially from what he could only describe as a spectre, so it took a moment to register. Still, the answer was simple enough, ”Because it’s home. Don’t most people go home, or see their lives flash before their eyes, when they die? Or did I miss the light at the end of the tunnel?”

It gave him a puzzled look as it hopped down from its windowsill perch and went across the room to the mantle where he leaned. Not so much with a walk, more like a glide across invisible waves. “It depends on many things. How and when they cease to be seems to effect what is here.”

That part made at least made some form of sense to him, as much as it could to the deceased. But that did not answer the question, “So, why are you so confused? I’m the dead guy here…”

It leaned against the mantle match him at eye level. “You speak of your family, those you claim to love. This is expected. But, they are not here with you. Here, you are alone. Why are you here? Why are you empty?”

That was the question that took him back. Maybe he hadn’t noticed it until now. Maybe he did and was trying to ignore it. Still, it was right. Here, in his life, in his death, he was alone.

He thought of them, all of his once and mortal happiness, all of his lifetime of love. He could rebuild the house they stood in nail by nail. He could see their faces, smiles beaming with gaps caused by missing teeth for his youngest or that more cocky grin that came from being an older brother. He could feel her touch along his arm, the softness of wife, the warmth of a mother.

Yet nothing appeared before him, nothing to fill the void within the walls where they stood. Only it remained, fixed to him with curiosity. Or was it impatience? How would he even tell?

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So, it’s been a while since I’ve revisited this on-going scene. But it’s one that continues to grow as our dearly departed comes to know what exactly it means to be shuffled off from their mortal coil.

I hope you all enjoy

100 Word Scrap – The Horsemen

They came in the night, steel shoes sparking on stone and soil. Their braying hymn stilled the air and froze the souls who dared walk under the lamp’s glow. Panic was scared into the darkness and horror had no courage to send them running. So they had come again, the white horses were galloping in. And on them, the four riders of sin and chaos incarnate from the souls of mortals.
Love, ever crimson and bearing the Scythe.
Joy, affixed with the smile and the Morningstar.
Bliss, formed from the Daggers wielded by the heart.
And at their helm, Death with its Rose eternally blooming.

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So, this was a fun little jaunt that came up a few days ago while I was thinking about a 100 Word Challenge a little bit ago while at work with nothing to stare at but fools and jesters. It was delayed fun, but fun nonetheless.

I hope you all enjoy

Five Sentence Fiction – Anchor

The un-oiled hinges of the battered screen door creaked one last time as he stood at in the entrance he had known for so long. On his shoulder, the bag stuffed with the last bits and pieces of his life shifted as he sighed. For all the weight upon him, it was paled by the gravity within. He traced his fingers along the pitted wood and weathered nails that had been a home once, and would always be to him even if emptied. Still, it was time for the words he had never been able to say aloud, only ponder as they touched one last time “Goodbye mom…I love you.”

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Guess who’s back. At least for a little bit anyway before I move around the world once again in the name of duty. I like to think I’ve learned a lot in this time of absence, mainly just how much my plate can hold before it shatters. So now it’s time to get back to me, to remember why I do what I do. And it all starts here.

I hope you all enjoy!

And as a side note, I promise my mom is alive and quite well :) This was simply what came into shape with this week’s prompt.

Fenrir

In the beginning, they were four mercenaries.  Souls bought and sold for blood and money.  Whatever reasons they had to seek the mercenary way meant little to whomever had contracted them, so long as the job was done.   The first time they had first fought against each other high in the skies of Balkor, it was clear to each of them that they were kindred, not opponents.  And though they had taken each other down in flames, the drinks and praise were well shared the next time they had met.  Now they were more than just the four, they were Fenrir Squadron.

And it was those adventures he reflected on while gather water and soap with a rag to wash her back.  Carefully, he splashed the lather along an arching spine and let it pull away all the dirt and grime of the day.

“Been a hell of day, hasn’t it?” he murmured to her, bringing the rag to her cheek.  But he stopped short at the wolfen emblem on her nose and the rows of silhouettes under it, one for every machine broken and life taken.

“This is it, our legacy.  Not a man, or a machine.  Just dealers of death for coin.” Smiling to himself, Slypher shook his head and took the rag to the wing of his MiG-31BM2 Foxhound.  There was still a lot of aircraft left to clean before their next run.

 

“Hey man, you comin? We’re about to start!” A voice yelled across the way as he left his polished beauty to dream.  Instead of acknowledging the bootsteps thumping towards him, Slypher let hazel eyes track the sun as it dipped beneath snow-capped mountains to the west, towards the warzone, towards home as he understood it until recently.

The approaching figure came next to him and stared off at the same sight, but he knew for much different reasons. “See that? That tells me payday’s a’coming.”

He had to chuckle at that, even if it was laced with a hint of sadness. He couldn’t expect anything less from someone with a callsign of Pixy . “You think so? I’m starting to wonder if gold weighs more than blood or not.”

“Spill some to get some.  It’s how the world works, mate.” Then the tone caught up with the flyer, “You thinking about retirement?”

“Maybe.” Slypher said at first, before looking down the flightline towards were the rest of Fenrir Squadron stood sentry and waited for their next target. Towards the laughter of the two other members under his wings.  But only one of those voices grabbed his chest and wrenched it sideways.  A voice tied to a smile he could carve into clouds, if only it didn’t cause them to rain down on his world.  Perched on the wingroot of her Su-37 Super Flanker were thin crimson bangs topping a valkyrie he knew all too well what it was like to wrap his arms around.  But as with all good things, it hand to come to an end.

 

He continued after only a beat, but it did not go unheard. “Or maybe it’s time to take on other kinds of work.  The civil stuff always makes good coin, and no one is shooting at you.”

Pixy saw right through him “Still hurts, don’t it?”

Slypher shook his head. “Not as much.  Razor’s happy, and as long as she stays that way, that’s all that matters.”

“Well, you’re a far more noble man than I.  Personally, I would’ve kicked Boomer’s ass back to that jungle in Balkor where we all met up.  But that’s why you’re lead and I’m on your wing.”

Slypher chuckled. “Come on, let’s go earn our next keep.”

 

As with every mission they had been on since taking the contract, the briefing was long and overdrawn with how the mission fell to them after the regular military couldn’t pull it off.  Their target: a known weapons storage yard, complete with makeshift airstrip for any aircraft that could handle such things.  To Fenrir, it was going to be simple. With his Foxhound, Slypher had the speed and the altitude to get in, but not the agility to dance.  For that, in would step Pixy and Razor, their duet of Eagle and Flanker making short work of any airborne opposition.  And when it was time to bring the fire to the ground, in would sweep Boomer and his Tornado GR5 to rain steel.  Simple, clean, and very profitable.

 

But even twenty minutes later, with thirty-five thousand pounds of raw power pushing him into the blue, Slypher couldn’t shake a whisper from his gut that something wasn’t quite right.  Sure, there were plenty of anti-air and missile defense against them, and there were reports that a few high-end dogfighters were currently there, but putting the odds in favor of Fenrir would just be cruel.  They even had the night sky and a coming cloud front on their side to mask their approach all but completely.

“Fenrir One to Fenrir Two. You awake over there?” he called over to Pixy.

The F-15I waggled its wings to him. He knew that his wingman wouldn’t say much, but he’d listen at least. “You thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?”

“That this job is worth way more than what we’re spending to do it?  Yea, something ain’t right.”

 

“Lead, Four.” Boomer called out to them, slowing down from the pack “I’m getting a red on my EW gear.  Something’s tracking us, but I don’t see anything.”

“Copy that. Two, break with him and go trail-and-follow.  Three, stay on me.”

“Got it.” Razor declared, while Pixy popped his brakes to fall back. Granted, it didn’t take very long for her speak her piece that he knew was coming.  “You know, I can take care of myself and Four.  It’s not the first time…”

“I know that.” Slypher cut her off “But, this is about the only time you’re ever alone anymore.”

“And that’s not something you need to worry about either, Tony.” There was more to it than that, but the beat to catch her breath smoothed the harshness from her voice. “Look, what we had was wonderful, I won’t ever say otherwise.  But we both knew it wasn’t going to last forever.”

“Funny, I seem to remember a deceleration to the contrary.”

“Then why bring it up now?”

“Because when this job is over, I’m leaving the squadron.” Slypher blurted out before he really knew what was coming from his lips. “I just…look, call me a sentimental bastard if you like, but I want to remember things how they were when everything made sense.  Even if it’s just for…”

 

“Contact, zero-one-zero at twenty! Something’s in the air and closing fast!” Pixy broke over the airwaves, muting anything else but business.  Now it was time for their fangs to speak. Slypher could see whatever had spotted them on his own radar, but it was faint and fuzzy. Which to him meant it was likely built for stealth, so he flipped primary weapons over to infa-red to sniff it out instead.  Not that it helped much, but it was enough to separate their challenger from the clouds.

 

What they did not expect was for a sudden beam of golden death to pierce though the night and rip through Razor’s frame like so much tissue paper.  Off balance and glowing from molten metal, the Flanker began to tumble clumsily downward.

“Damn! Fenrir, break and engage!” Slypher yelled to his comrades, but only Pixy responded as he should.  While the Foxhound roared for speed and the Eagle began to weave, he saw their Tornado roll and begin to circle around the breaking pieces of their teammate. If she had ejected, they could not see.  “Boomer!  Get your ass in the fight! Get in the trees and give us a bearing!”

“But Ash is…, I mean, Three needs someone to find her chute! I’m not gonna…!”

A second snapshot of light illuminated the sky not but a few yards from Slypher’s cockpit.  Revealed were sharp angles, a sleek frame from nose to compacted tail, and forward swept wings, yet he saw no other weapons beyond what had blinded him.

 

But what had merely stunned Slypher was not so kind to Boomer.  Catching him right in the spine, the beam snapped the aircraft in two and let the forces of physics shred the rest as it dropped to the earth below.

“Fenrir Two, Fox Two, Fox Three! Eat it!” Pixy cried out as he fired at their opponent. Though the radar-seeker flew stupidly off into the darkness, the heat-seeker found something and screamed after it faster than any human could outrun.  So their enemy did not try, instead it rolled and dove for the forest below, Pixy in pursuit.  And at full power, their enemy quickly reversed and snapped skyward again, sending the missile harmlessly into the ground and putting itself nose to nose with an enraged Eagle.

 

Slypher could see the fire belching from his friend’s nose, sending lead into the darkness, and the glowing sparks that something had indeed hit home, yet before he could cheer, it fired back.  Pixy almost slipped out of the line, but the shot was just too quick and bore through one of his wings and engines.

“Dammit! Losing… handle’s stuck… not going out…” Finally static announced what he could see as he lined up his Foxhound with whatever demon they were now fighting.  It was a gamble, and  very stupid one.  But his source or rationality now lay mangled in steel and dirt below.  Now was a time for violence.

“You want me? Come on! Come on!” Slypher tensed at the throttle until his knuckles ached, but it seemed to pay off, as the glow of his impending doom gazed directly upon him from the very belly of the beast that had surprised them.  Missile after missile dropped from his wings as they raced towards each other in a joust that laughed at gravity.  The bright and unforgiving ray tore open the fuselage next to him and smoke bloomed outward from a now-dead engine.

A small price to pay for honor, as finally one of his heat-seekers stuck home and forced the beast to choke on its own light, giving the night sky a new star for but a few satisfying seconds.  His wings, though lighter and broken, seemed to sigh in relief.  For though they would never kiss the sky again, the name of Fenrir would not simply be a word.  With a sigh of acceptance to that, Slypher pulled his own ejection handle and was tossed clear as his Foxhound dove into a hill and crumpled as if it were paper.

 

It was going to be a long walk back home, boots now weighted by a heart of stone now cracked and fallen to join its compatriots resting with the earth.  But he would return here, for now this speck on the map was the resting place of three hounds of glory.  And perhaps, in time, they would rise once again.  For their journeys he would remember, their victories he would sing, and for the fallen he would toast in a now-vacant hanger where only their spirits would join him.

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And this was my final submission for my recently-completed class. Some of this will be recognizable from some of my earlier posts, with the names and faces changed a bit, but I liked being able to expand on an idea and make it into something more.

I hope you all enjoy it, too.

Screen Play Scene – On The Run

Dramatis Personae:
Tesh: (Human soldier in the 77th Infantry “Reapers”, no augmentation. )

Alaphor: ( canine-augmented warrior, built tall, wide and muscular. 2nd generation genetic modification, bring more canine features out like the amber eyes, fangs, full greyish scruff along the jawline and neck and most importantly in attitude. Bred to fight and not afraid of anything, but treats every enemy as a challenge to be beaten.)

Silik: (avian-augmented sniper, wide yellow eyes and quick, twitchy head movements. 1st generation augmentation leads to mostly human like appearance beyond the eyes, sharp facial features and natural instinct to fight from altitude. Knows the best way to take down an enemy is the element of surprise and has no problem keeping his distance from the scrap.)

Randis: (Human medic, injured during escape and now has a broken leg.)

Scene: Earth, the year 2477. Midnight hours, in a half-destroyed cornfield outside of Oklahoma City.  Having been cut off from their unit by the Assimilated, (people and organisms corrupted and taken over by a technological plague created by unknown origin) everyone takes refuge next to crashed starfighter to camp for the night.  Randis is tended to by Tesh, while Alaphor and Silik make camp with whatever they can find.

Begin Scene

Silik: And let there be light (cue small campfire).  Ahhhh, much better.   (Removes the rifle from his back and begins fiddling with the scope.)

Alaphor: (sniffing at his rations) Yea, well some of us don’t need light to find food.  (Snarls as he tears open a bag) Course, some hot wings don’t sound too bad either…

Silik: Yea, yea, you’re barkin’ up the wrong tree, fuzzy.

Tesh:  (calling up from the top of body of the wreck) It’s no worse than his bite.  (Turning back to Randis) Least you’re on the rebound, mate.  Best get you some food, get your strength back.  (Slides down the frame onto the ground)

(Beat)

Tesh cont’d:  So, what’s for dinner?

Silik: Dog biscuits.

Alaphor: Birdseed.

Tesh: (chuckling) Right, right.  Stupid question.  (Grabs his pack from next to the wreck)  Let’s see… oh, looks like it‘s gonna be a steak n’ taters night here! All right!

Alaphor: (big toothy grin) I’ll grapple you for it.

Tesh: You mean you’ll grab me and then Silik will take it.  I don’t think so.

Silik: He’s got a point. (clipping the scope back to the rifle, then grabbing a handful of nuts from his belt pouch, never letting go of the weapon.)   So, who wants first watch?

Alaphor: I’ll take it.  I’m not the one who needs beauty sleep.  (leans over to Tesh to whisper) How’s Randis?

Tesh: (shrugs, not whispering back) I’ve done everything I know.   His leg’s too busted up to walk on, but I’ve patched up the frag wounds.   Armor took most of it, so those should heal up all right.

Alaphor: (nods) Good.  Seeing him take out that slag-tank on his own…it would be a shame if it had the last word in the end.

Silik: Getting sentimental, fluffy?

Alaphor: Well, in case you missed it while your feathered ass was too busy picking off husks and slammers, our two pure-bloods here out-thought AND blew up their heavy hitter.  So I think they should stick around and tell it themselves.

Silik: Hope there’s a spot in there for me for those two leeches I shot off your back while you were busy trying to bum-rush it.

Alaphor: (laughs) Sure thing, feathers.  Just need to work on your…

(A loud blare cuts through the air, making all three uninjured members stand up and draw their weapons; Silik with his rifle, Tesh his pistol and Alaphor his shotgun, and face outward in three directions. Focus stage lights on them).
(In the darkness, but illuminated by soft backlight, Randis sits upright, quickly and stiffly, then rolls off the starfighter out of sight of the three and the audience)

Tesh: Damn!  Never heard a Gatherer this close before. Must’ve found something.

Alaphor: Or something found it.  And here we are, stuck in a field…I say we go help it long to whatever hell it came from.
Silik: Even better, we stick to the plan, stay alive and meet up with Hax and the rest of our guys tomorrow.

Alaphor: Provided they aren’t what that beast found and is not so kindly chewing on?!

Tesh: Then you really think we’ll be able to make a dent in it?

(Stage left: cue deep red lighting and thunder rumble sounds, along with the distant echo of explosions.  Panning right to left, the screech of something coming down through the atmosphere at haphazard speeds, complete with crashing sound, also centered on stage left.)

Tesh: Oh, THAT didn’t sound good.

Alaphor: (stiffening in the back, with a whispering snarl) Something’s here…and it’s close.

(Beat, letting the characters scan anxiously around them)

(Something loud bangs on the wreckage, before the sound of metal being torn from metal and heavy breathing.  On reaction, Tesh shoots the wreckage, sending out a loud ping into the night.)
(While everyone aims the same direction that he shot, then stage right, Randis moves from behind the wreck, stage left.  His right femur is exposed and torn through his skin, and red foam drips from his mouth)

Alaphor: What the…?!

Silik: Dammit!  He’s turning! (aims rifle)

Tesh: Wait! (grabs Silik’s barrel and lowers it) Maybe…maybe we don’t have to kill him…

Alaphor: And what?!  Let him feast on us so we turn into that?  He’s my friend too, Ben.  But he’s gone!

Tesh: (curses under his breath and puts both hands back on his own pistol, still hesitating) I’m sorry, brother…

(All three fire at Randis, who stammers back and is staggered, but gets close enough to lash out and strike Alaphor with one last swipe before he goes down. Alaphor yelps at the hit, but breaks free and gives the finishing blow.)
(Once the rush wears off, he clutches his arm in agony and drops to his knees. Tesh and Silik rush over to help, but he waves his weapon at them.)

Alaphor: Don’t…get close.  Monster got…me good.  Feel fuzzy…

Tesh: (shaky in disbelief)No, no no no… Not you too!  There has to be something…ANYthing we can do…!

Silik: (reloads his weapon) You know what’s gonna happen if he turns too!  He’ll kill us right here!

Tesh: No! I won’t…

(Interrupted by another loud blare from the distance, stage left. Cue bass beats to indicate the approaching steps of something very large)

Alaphor: (labored, snarling/breathing) Listen…gotta get clear…you gotta….fight. Go, while I’m still…me

Tesh:  (hesitates, looks to Silik, who is backing away , stage right, with his rifle leveled on Alaphor. Shaking his head in defeat, Tesh runs. Exit Stage Right)

Silik: I’ll try not to beat you in kills…by much (runs, Exit Stage Right)

Alaphor: You’re…not that lucky, feathers…(places shotgun under chin).  And Tesh… give em’ hell for me (pulls the trigger. Cut stage lights.)

End Scene.

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Here’s a little dramatic scene I wrote for my latest college course, and it’s something I’d never done before. Working within the limits of the stage is a wonderfully frustrating challenge. And I kind of want to try it again someday.

I hope you all enjoy.

Trinity – A Captain’s Burden

The Back Of the Hanger was thumping when they walked in, just as they hoped, or would make it do before long.   A normal Friday night there was already well packed, as it was the best place on Kennedy Joint Fleet Training Center to blow off some steam besides the gym, but tonight was so much more.  They had walked into the club five strong two years ago as fresh Lieutenants from their first tour on the destroyer Bellafountaine.   Now they walked in as Captains, masters of their own vessels and leaders among their crews in a war hundreds of light-years away.

Not that any of that mattered tonight.  Right now, it was time to vent, to drink and to remember what it was they had pushed themselves so hard to protect.  And to remember what not being stuck in lectures or drills for ungodly lengths of the day felt like.

“Alright, ladies and gents…and Theo, first round’s on me!”  Freddy Theron announced, doling out the various brews and smaller shots to toast properly.

“Yea, yea, you’re just jealous you’ll be doing convoy runs with the Warsaw, while me and Gabe got on a frontline ship,” Theodore Rennal retorted, stacked bronze frame leaning back on his seat.  “Don’t worry, we’ll send you some deep-fried crabmeat, won’t we mate?” he punctuated by slapping his smaller cohort on the back.

Gabe Knotsworth smiled while adjusting light-framed spectacles, “Damn straight, though while you’re all snug on the bridge, I’m the one cutting up Bri’nell one fighter at a time…not that you could ever pull off a slam-turn around the course.”

“And a frigate is the smallest ship they could find to hold your heads inside their walls,” chimed in the woman at Freddy’s side, Annabelle Taylor.  Ginger locks played daringly over her eyes as she reached for her drinks, only to collide with Freddy’s hand. “Oh my… excited aren’t we, Mister Theron?”

Freddy chuckled and gave her a light shoulder bump, “Well, it is a big night. After all, next week we’ll be doing status reports and duty rosters and all that other boring mess. Oh yea, and something about a fight in there, somewhere…”

“Sure, only after the Bri’nell fill out the right paperwork,” Gabe added, air signing the forms in order.

“How does a freakin crustacean like that even write? Do they hold it in their teeth?”  Theo wondered aloud, miming pincers clicking closer and closer to Annabelle before she shooed them off.  “Do you really wanna know?”

“Not unless they come served with butter cream sauce.”

She just shook her head to that, “There’s something wrong with you.  Hey, Brook? You okay?”

Cerulean eyes suddenly jumped up from her wristscreen when Brooklyn Caine was summoned back to reality, “Huh, wha…?  Oh, sorry Anna, was just reading about the Charleston.  Did you know that her engineer got a commendation for overloading their drive core to escape a planetary collision?  Do you think he’ll put those modifications back in if I ask him to?”

“Really?”  Gabe asked.  “What did he do, jam open the injector chambers to dump in more fuel?  I wrote about how that might be doable in our Tactical Command Maneuvers class.”

“Even better, he actually reinforced the compression chamber with spare shielding plates so it could take almost triple the intermix pressure and…”

“Okay, okay…didn’t we establish a two-drink minimum on technobabble?”  Theo injected with a raising of his shot and a grin.  “To the crews who entrust us with their lives,…”

“…to those who came before, and to those who will follow…”Annabelle continued.

“…we take the sword and shield of valor and pride…” Gabe followed.

“…and we will uphold our duties to the highest honor…” Brook sustained.

“…and so earn our title and traditions as ‘Captain’.”  Freddy finished, leading to the clinking of a quintet of glasses and five different recoils for the unrelenting burn of a fine cut tequila.

Suddenly, the bass thump went dead, with conversations slinking down to low whispers of confusion.  They all looked to each other with shrugs and furrowed brows when the command cut through the night and brought tension en masse along with it.  “ATTENTION ON DECK!”

On trained instinct, everyone in the building snapped to proper pose, drinks set down or clenched tightly with white knuckles.  Within the silence came the heavy bootsteps of an aged, but not old, man in full regalia.  The crowd swiftly parted to let him pass as Freddy whispered to Gabe “Admiral Fawthorne?”

“Yea, Commanding Officer of the entire Unified Space Command…what’s he doing here?”

“Must be big news,” Annabelle added as the senior man took center stage.

Before he spoke to them all, Freddy watched the Admiral scan the room from wall to wall, which made his blood chill.  For all the instructors he’d had and all the answers he’d given on a prayed that they were right, never had he felt so apprehensive about what he was about to hear.

“Captains,” the Admiral began, “Ensigns…Marines and their riflemen…Squadron Leaders and their pilots, and to all those who serve their world.  The order I am about to give is a heavy one, and it is a burden I must lay upon you all, the finest men and women to wear the uniform.  Into your hands, the people of Earth commit the future, and into your hearts I call you all to arms. Because they need you to… and because I know you will succeed.”

With that, the leading officer took a pad from his pocket and read the order, “To all personnel of the Unified Space Command, I , Admiral Carl Fawthorne, initiate Recall Procedure Omega.   All crews will report to Nassau Space Control Complex in three hours for deployment to their assignments.  All leaves and other service releases are rescinded until further notice.”

Again, he scanned the room to see them all, however stone-faced they were on the outside. Freddy could feel his pulse in his temple, could see Brook’s eyes wide with anxiety.  This is it…this is the push we’ve been waiting for! Time to drive those damned crabs back into the void!

“Good luck to you all out there, and may the angels of mercy watch over you all.  Company, DISMISSED!”

In a fluid wave, the Admiral snapped his salute to them, as they did to him with the only response they knew they could give “YES, SIR!”  And just as he had come, their commander left in restrained atmosphere.  And no sooner was he gone than the frenzy began.  Conversation exploded anew as surges of bodies made their way to the closest doors. Freddy made sure his grip was steady on Annabelle’s hand as they swam through the masses, with Gabe, Brook and Theo right behind.  The streets were packed with people rushing for their rides or to their dormitories, so Freddy led them around a back walkway just to get them out of the crush.

“Holy…shit…” was the best response Theo could muster once they were outside.

“No kidding, bro! We must’ve found a way though their lines!”  Gabe pondered aloud with no small grin.  “Time to pay those bastards back for Antares!”

“Oh, hell yes!  I’m gonna drive the Seiryuu all the way to the Bri’nell homeworld!  See how those bastards like an orbital bombardment!”  Annabelle added, as much excitement as it was venom.

“Guys…” Brook piped in, barely a squeak in the wind, but it caught them all with a punch.  Following her eyes to her wrist, they found her staring at the Memorial Wall, that sacred display where all those that had fallen since the war began were honored.   Each of them could remember in exact detail when it came their turn to upload a single name into that Wall, a heavy lesson in duty and the weight of being a Captain.

And it was suddenly several dozen feet longer than what it was yesterday, with thousands of new names burned into the holographic display.  “The Charleston… the Warsaw… the Seiryuu,” she read with breaking sobs.  Each name carrying the weight of the hundreds who served aboard them, along with one they had come to know so very well already.

“The Bellfountaine! Those monsters took it too!”  Theo growled.

“They even destroyed the Valhalla! That was our newest carrier!”  Freddy stuttered after snapping back into reality.  “It was the flagship of the Polaris Fleet…if it’s gone, then…”
The realization hit them all with ice.  Gabe had to brace against the wall, Brooke rubbing his arm.  Theo quickly ran behind a corner as to not sicken the others.  Freddy simply fell onto his tailbone next to Annabelle, “They’ve destroyed the Polaris Fleet.  All of it.  Two hundred ships…thousands of people…dead.  The only thing left between the Bri’nell and Earth is us…”

“That’s not entirely true.”  Another voice answered them from the shadows,   cloaked in a longcoat and capped in fedora.

“Who the heck are you?”  Brook was first to ask, to which the stranger tipped his hat.  “My name is Dr. Sanrah, Space Command Special Projects.  And you are all coming with me.”

“Yeah, no.  We don’t have the time to go do, well whatever it is you want us for.  We have a planet to save.”  Theo injected as he wiped his lips clean.

“You have no idea how right you are.”  The doctor grinned,  “In fact, you five are going to do more than the rest of the Fleet combined.  I dare say, you five are going to win this war for humanity.”

“How?” Freddy asked dumbfounded.

Sanrah responded simply with one word, “Trinity.”

———————————-

This was something I wrote for my Creative Writing course that I wanted to share, as this idea has evolved quite a bit since the first sparks and doodles oh so many years ago. I do hope to show you more of this universe as well in the future.

And I hope you all enjoy!