You can now buy my book, Fighting Hero of the Galaxy




I am making it now available. I had been awaiting a proper cover, with stuff that's actually in the book, but things didn't turn out that way.

Buy it, I'll wait.

Oh, you kept reading. On the offchance you didn't already order several copies, I'll try to convince you.

Based on the ridiculous classic Star Oddysey,  Fighting Hero of the Galaxy is a rousing space opera. If you like Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Mass Effect, Aliens, Species Friendshipismagicpornelmo Freeblowjobhacksobama or other such space faring stories, you'll probably enjoy it, because it's better than all those. It follows a young cadet that holds the fate of humanity in her slender shoulders.  And also a robot gets it's head kicked off.
Original
Newfangled

You buy now.

Sheesh, tough crowd. Look, I took a silly story that doesn't really make that much sense, and I turned it into a somewhat more serious deconstruction of what it means to be the hero in a space tale, and what it really takes to survive in the darkest of times. And it's got robots, Lesbians, evil aliens, space guns, space swords and mind control. What more could you want?

Okay, go ahead and buy, now.

Still not convinced, huh? Howsabout this: I will give you half the book to read in this here poorly formatted blog, after the jump, and you can buy it later, huh?





Chapter 1
Escape from Sol 3A pastoral land, drunk in bucolic sunlight. A land where children run among blades of
grass, where common people earn a living pushing ahead. A land  where smiles
where the default. That's what it was.
It might have been called a promised land, where it not that  the year is 2264, and
humanity  no longer considered nomadic activity a big deal if spacefaring wasn't
involved. Truthfully, to find a planet with a suitable environment for humanity to
establish a colony was not particularly easy. But after years of struggle, they had
managed. They called it Sol 3. A few humble  buildings stood on the surface, a slew
of roads would take people between them. That's how it was.
High above the citizenry, above the atmosphere, hovered the space station Yuko's
Valor. One of the few surviving models from before the Psychic Wars, the fortress
protected all kinds of colonies in it's heyday. Now, it mostly served as a training
school for cadets who joined Earth Command under trumped up promises of
adventure.
"Who knows? Maybe we'll be the first to shake hands with aliens!" asked a female
cadet as she stared down at the planet from a  view port, sarcastically half citing the
flowery propaganda  that brought her here. "What do you think, Hollywood?"
But she wasn't being heard.  In truth, Cadet Olivia Carrera A.K.A "Hollywood" was
too busy  watching media on her Star-Link viewer, and was fully disconnected from
reality. She was so enveloped in the action of Fighting Hero of the Galaxy, that  she
would  twitch her freckled face slightly when he shot, she  flexed her pale thin arms
when he punched, and she would often be caught moving her mouth in parallel to the
words of her hero.
A yell of her nickname jolted her out of the fantasies.  She looked  at her bunkmate,
her eyes focused but her ears having not fully arrived.
"Are you watching cartoons again, Holly?" said the girl, frustration causing  her to
wince in that way that's mostly exclusive to those of East Asian heritage.  Oliviaplayed down the situation as best she could. She picked up  some compacted
breadfruit cubes and chewed on them. "I was just accessing media on my link and..."
"If you wanted to watch cartoons, why didn't you stay home?" Replied the girl,
putting on her blue  uniform . Olivia, in a quite severe state of undress, got up to
reply. "I want to be a hero, just like in Fighting Hero. I want to see different planets,
help people. But as of right now...I'm on my break." She said, promptly plopping
back into her seat.
"Actually, that was a minute ago. The call came through for the next drill. I suggest
you put on some pants or something." Said the girl as she made her exit. She was
right. She was so busy watching media, the drill siren went right past her. She
hurriedly grabbed all the clothes she could remember were part of the uniform. She
slipped into them and jumped for the exit, disparately trying to work all the
adjustments as she worked her way up the halls in a haste.
The inside of the ship was  workmanlike. There is little room for beauty in space
military installations, especially ones that need as much repairing as Yuko's Valor.
There  where clearly clashes between what the official  manual said, what the
engineers wanted to do, and what they actually had to work with. Gunmetal
walkways, and  the gleam of polished iron where a constant reminder of the effort it
takes to keep a station like this viable, with the flittering blue of holographic access
points to break it up. Square  ventways and square ceiling lights  failed to adorn
square patterned hallways where function reigned undisputed over form.
A knot grew on  Olivia's throat as  she approached the room where the drill was
supposed to be taking place in. It had already started, and Commander Barr disliked
tardiness with a passion. She could hear the echo of his baritone voice describing
already  the day's training.
She lined up herself right to the last cadet, hoping she could avoid further
embarrassment. Hoping in vain. They all wore the same uniform: a small cap,  a long
sleeved outer v-neck shirt with  small black shoulder pads over a thinner, long necked
undershirt. and long blue pants. The commander's uniform was a darker azure color,
and had a black star on his chest that signified veteranship. The fact was the late
arrival 's uniform was shoddily put together, and she stood out. The Commander
stopped describing the parts of UCS class 7 energy dilator to address her, every
molecule of his oak colored face focused on  driving the message to the offending
student's bone marrow. "Did I order you to take that place at formation, cadet?" He
boomed, monotone. She knew the answer, but she hoped she could cut the situation
short. Hoped in vain.
"Uh no, sir but..." she began, but he quickly interjected: "No, I did not, because you
where not here when I assigned them. If I had been assigning places to  drop off
points, you'd be staying. If I'd been assigning places to maintain gear during conflict,gear wouldn't be being maintained. If I was assigning places to evacuate, you'd be
dead."
Before he could continue to delight her with the tale of  Private Seamus, who died for
not double checking his atmosphere suit, the corner of his eye caught Second in
Command Callahan standing at the door. He had never looked at her seem so lost. He
could see that under her gray hairs, under her stern arched eyebrows and over her
sharp angled nose where rather confused eyes that where clearly searching for an
answer.
She approached Commander Barr. "Commander. We need you at the front hull. We
have a situation." She said, in vain attempting to mask the concern.  Barr was trying
to not lose his students with  this second diversion. "How serious is it? Asked the
Commander, hoping it would be something he could tell them how to do.  "Everyone
else was called already." Replied Callahan.
Barr quickly informed the students that the drill was on hold and to await further
instructions.   He walked hastily away from the room, being quickly followed by
Callahan. That's when Olivia woke up.  Somewhere before Callahan's arrival she
began daydreaming about  what life as a space hero could be.  She saw herself, Igniter
Gun in hand, leading the charge against  odds unlikely and unhuman.When she returned to  what was happening, she saw Commander Barr leaving, and
assumed she should be going too. She thought she might not have too, but then again,
the last she remembered was how much he was telling her about following orders.
She started trying to catch up.
Barr's arrival at the main Hull was met with relieved sighs. Most of the attention of
the present crew was fixed on the  center display,  a flittering holographic cube that
hovered on the center of the room supported by two vertical half-pillars . In it,
simulations of the  below planet and of the space station, as well as other  space
objects floated with  number indicating several characteristics by numbers that
haunted them .
"We detected the incoming craft  as it approached the edge of the galaxy. It started
making it's way directly to the station at about half an hour." declared Callahan,
pointing at the exact  coordinates on the  Center Display where the ship would be.
The object had the shape of a symmetric cross with six  spikes coming from the back
of it.
"What is it?" asked Barr. He had never seen this kind of design. "We where hoping
you'd tell us, sir" replied back Callahan. "You are the most experienced officer on the
station. We figured you'd have seen something like it before. It...It came from sector
3MG7, sir."
Barr was aghast. "Virgin Space? That's impossible. No ship has ever come back from
that far from the center. No human has ever returned. It can't be..." He hesitated.
Commander Barr wasn't one for baseless speculation, though he felt terrible holding it
back.  "Dispatch two Falcons and intercept the ship. Try to establish communication
before it gets here."
Just outside of the main hull, Olivia watched intently.  She looked out of the small
windows  in the hall as the two brick red shapes blasted away from their launch pads.
She regretted she could not hear them. Ships in space in Fighting Hero of the Galaxy
where always blaring with power and menace. Alas, there was no sound in space.
However, inside the hulls of those ships there was, perhaps too much noise. The
Motion Displacer, and  the Small Atomic containers that powered it made a specific
kind of noise that could be heard nowhere else. Like a howling that tries to become
chattering. And the moving parts of the ship's primary A.I. handler constantly moving
parts and restoring them was like hammers making an imperfect symphony. While
ships where made to be fully maneuverable in the vacuum of space, maintaining them
there and operational required too many quick decisions for  the pilots.
Outside, the ships where like large reddish birds with blue lines across them, leaving
behind a trail of blue excited atoms. Different protrusions outside caused an
impression like Aztec design, but every  pattern of squares in the ship's exteriors was
purposely thought and had intended reason..As the Falcons approached the object, the chief pilot tried all the known channels of
communication. Failing that  they stopped in front of the approaching ship  line in
line, which is understood  by most Earth Command as universal code for "halt".  The
ship stopped in front of them, which gave Commander Barr hope that the ship was
manned.
However, from the points of the object's cross small dancing lights started forming.  
Then it started focusing those lights into a translucent triangle in front of itself.
Steadily, the triangle began growing. pulsating blue energy zigzags crossing it.
"Unknown energy detected, sir." Said one of the crew, as he watched  the indicator's
become overwhelmed by so many new things to which to assign numbers. "The
coordinates are getting confused. It's like it's skipping to beyond Virgin Space without
moving.   Do we prepare defensive options?" Barr furrowed his brow. Lives might
depend on what he did next. Then it occurred to him just as he said it.
"Your coordinates are right. The object must be opening a doorway in space. Prepare
engagement protocols." He said, with the security of what he said overlapping the
insecurity the implications of it gave him. Callahan looked at him in disbelief.
"But...that's only ever been proposed. Humanity doesn't  have that kind of technology
yet." Barr looked at Callahan sternly, and just said "It is not from humanity".
Callahan was unable to reply.  She was one who, like many, staunchly held to the
thought that if humans hadn't found major non-human life forms in 2264 somewhere
out in space, then there probably was no such life to be found. But everything about
this seemed to make her question. She could only watch the energy triangle grow
larger, and hope for the best.
The triangle stopped growing. At this point it was so large, Olivia could see it from
the window port. Watching it filled her heart with a cold uneasiness only a first
encounter could give. Everything just  stopped for a moment in the Hull. Everyone
was expecting a something, but did not know what.
Then like a knife cutting thought a handkerchief,  a form began emerging from the
blue energy triangle. What seemed like a  smooth series of ovals with an extended
translucent  triangle  in front of it slowly emerged. The width of the triangle easily
rivaled the Space station. Yet the oval shape of what seemed to be the main craft was
not  as large.
"Falcon's 7 and 8, is there no response from the craft?" Said  Barr into the Direct
Communication Module. " Negative sir.  I'm...Did you hear that?" He said, panicking
as he looked around his cockpit for an answer. "We are not getting any incoming
communications, Falcon 8."returned  Barr. The pilot overtook his words: "It's
speaking into our minds. It's psychic, sir. It's saying...I'll transcribe. Lord Kess
of...Kovold claims this planet, and all the life forms in it for the... for the Kovold... It'ssaying...It's saying we should stand down and not interfere with the assimilation or
they'll be forced to...put us down."
"Put us down? Did I get that correctly, Falcon 8?"Said Barr, a cold shiver running
down his spine. "That is correct sir. All it's saying now is 'this is a captive planet'. Do
we...engage?" said the pilot, quaking uncontrollably. The Commander thought this
was the best course of action, but he  was a  strong believer in protocol. "Negative,
Falcon. Engage in First Encounter Protocol."
The pilot desperately drew forth the Oath of Humanity.  Every ship had the oath to
allow any potential first contact scenario to hopefully play out smoothly, as imagined
by group of high ranking military types and corporation executives. The oath was  a
small , simple poem. " We are humanity, children of Earth.  We mean  you no harm
and we hope to be heard. We hope this encounter is a peaceful reunion. May all our
differences make this an union."
While the shaking and sweating did not allow the pilot to sound as sincere as they
taught it in Cadet training he did conclude the poem. For a while the ship stood
unmoving, in front of the comparative mites that where the Falcons. The pilots where
looking into the translucent  yellow triangle, when all of a sudden it started.
A dart of energy flew from the triangle straight into the  Falcon, suddenly turning it
into a small ball of light. It pulsated in place for awhile, and eventually the pulsations
gave way to a horrifying spectacle: The pieces of the components of the ship  floating
away from the ball. As they flew, they could clearly be seen separating into smaller
pieces, eventually  becoming a fine dust. The screams of the pilot eventually gave
way to his gargling death throes and gasps, the prelude to silence. The second ship
turned tail and tried to return to the imagined safety of the station, only to be met with
the same grim fate, as the ghostly ray teared apart ship and pilot into very literal
shreds.
Barr became extremely agitated. "Initiate conflict routines!" He practically yelled
"Set external shields to optimal ratio, calibrate the A.C to enemy coordinates. and
prepare more fighters. This is an all-hands situation!"
A rush of movement filled the halls. Callahan manned the emergency call. Every
officer knew what their station was in case of such a situation. Except, of course, for
Olivia, who would have learnt what her station was had he not arrived late to her drill.
She continued to stare out the window port in disbelief at what had happened. And
she could notice that the very far away ship started growing closer. She was immobile
in her dread.
The scrambled Falcons started pouring out of the station like bees out of an rattled
beehive. They swarmed around the  enemy ship and blasted  it with the main  weapon
of Earth Command:  Guided  Particle Missiles. When they hit a target they expandedinto a wave of energy that usually could take a good piece of a ship, possibly
disabling it.
On this ship, though, the missiles proved ineffective. They exploded in the surface of
the ship into blue impact spheres, not affecting it in any significant way.
The effort became even more desperate in the hull. "Status, Callahan!" yelled  Barr,
sweat coating his forehead. "Our fighters are ineffective against the craft, sir. We've
lost 20% of our fighting force and  we are getting reports of craft grafted to us in
several sectors. We have an estimated 5 minutes before the main ship is in  range of
the Atomic Cannon's blast."
The Atomic Cannon  was a desperate last option. A blast of superheated energy
blasted from a 35 miles long cannon, it would accelerate the protons on any  solid
matter enough to make it explode, even in space. Barr disliked using this weapon, but
the situation was proving to be quite hopeless.
Olivia watched as the edge of the cannon started  to glow with unimaginable energy.
She had heard of atomic cannons blasting half the surface of a planet into a loose
collection of radioactive rocks. However, she also knew that if they where using it,
things where really bad. The targeting lasers created a beam of light leading straight
into the center of the object.
Callahan stood up: "Commander Barr, we have go on the Atomic Cannon. We fire on
your command." Barr took 5 seconds. Then muttered to himself. "So much for good
first impressions." He closed his eyes and clenched his fists.  Then he nodded. "Fire
on Target!".
A blinding trail of green light shot out of the cannon, cutting a swath through the
blackness of space faster than the eye allows to see. When it hit the target, Olivia's
eyes lit up. She had never seen so much white in space.
"Confirmed hit, sir. We have a confirmed hit. Intensity level 3." informed an officer.
"Target is..." he was stopped short. He looked at the Center Display, which caused
everyone to follow suit. "Target...is not destroyed. Target is confirmed moving."
When the  energy settled,  even Olivia could see the  enemy  was still alive. It  had
removed it's translucent triangle, but it slowly started regrowing as the ship moved
ever closer. "Oh, God!" Olivia could only say. She  made for the imagined safety of
the hull, where a full-on frenzy was going on. Out of the cacophony she managed to
get to Commander Barr, and ask what was going on. Barr  put his hands on the girl's
arms and said "We're engaging a vastly superior force. I'm activating an evacuation
code for all non-essential  personnel. That's you. Get to the Emergency Machine
Lander Bay, cadet. That's an order." He then turned  his attention back to trying to
regain control of his crew.Then out of the translucent triangle, smaller, claw-like ships started coming into view.
They where unconcerned with the Falcons. Instead, they  made their way to the
surface of the station, where they clamped to the metal and started  projecting an
energy into the ship.
Olivia just bolted to the E.M.L.B. Every Cadet know how to operate a Machine
Lander, even her. It's the second thing they teach in the Academy. A Machine Lander
isn't build for speed, but it can carry 20 people and lands itself. She fully trusted
things would turn around, like that episode of Fighting Hero of the Galaxy where the
Marked started destroying the Capitol Fleet, but just as it seemed all hope was lost...
"What am I thinking?" she thought. She had just been given the order to evacuate the
station. It meant nothing. She could be dead really soon. The blaring of alarms, the
desperate masses of people making their way through the crowded halls and the
disembodied warning voices  detailing orders and warning of which sectors of the
ship had hostiles in them: This was what it looked like when people in Space Stations
where about to die. It was exactly like "Under Attack" with James Palican. But of
course, James Palican never lets them kill his characters.  She finally  arrived in the
E.M.L.B. when she noticed a blue glow in the wall.
She approached the light cautiously. She could see the slight echo of movement
behind it. Then it started coming out.  What could be best described as a metallic hoof
with red veins  running all over it made it's way through the blueness. Then another.
Strange hands with two thumbs and  two digits reached out of the blue portal. Olivia
fell back in shock. She could barely drag herself away from the sight, as the rest of
the inhuman bipedal form presented itself.
The being presented the basic framework of a human, except  taller than usual, and
thinner, with bone white metallic plating barely covering fleshly innards. Where a
human head would be instead was a horizontal half bowl with a red pulsating triangle
as it's "eye". It moved  in mechanically precise fashion as if each movement was a
luxury. The twisted thing even smelled like burning flesh.
It  set it's attention on Olivia.  It tilted it's head, in what we might interpret as
curiosity. Then it  reached into it's side and drew from a compartment a circular
object Olivia did not recognize. It held it in her direction, but she was too distracted
from the creature to notice.
Then everything went black for her. She felt reality leave her. She thought she was
dying from fright. Was this it?
After what seemed 5 seconds, she reawaked. She was being dragged from under her
arms, and in  a fright she shook out of her captor's grip. However, rather than the
nightmare being she was sure she just saw, she was being dragged by more familiarhands. It was that girl that she met, her bunkmate. She never did learn her name, and
she was in no state to start now.
"Hey! HEY! Take it easy!" yelled the girl, trying to hold Olivia's face still for focus.
"It's okay. We got you out. I dragged you 2 floors into the Machine Lander Bay." She
could hear Commander Barr just out of sight ask if the girl knew her. Olivia felt a
burning sensation in her shoulder. And reached for it, feeling indeed a very serious
burn on her body and the warmth of blood.
"I know it hurts, but they where taking you away. I blasted it." said the girl, staring
into nowhere in specific. She was shaking uncontrollably. "They take us to the
portals. They shoot us with this thing that just shuts you down and you drop to the
ground and they take you. And if they can't take you whole they take pieces." She
clutched a V2 Ogre Model Personal Gun in one hand, and a small, charred, ochre disk
on the other. She was quite haggard. "They shoot THIS into you!" She said, waving
the disk that still had what she did not yet recognize as her own flesh in it.
"Cadets!" Yelled at her Barr, who along with Callahan and several others boarded a
Machine Lander. "Get into the Machine Lander! It's primed to launch in  20
seconds!"
"We got more coming!" Said the cadet, desperately. "I can't stop them with  the gun.
They are...The gun doesn't hurt them. I got this far blasting them out of the airlocks.
I..." The sound of metallic steps  drew her attention. She stepped up and walked over
to the airlock control. As she stepped near the control panel, she took back one last
glance at   Olivia, who was just managing to pull herself out of the floor. And she said
"It's not like your cartoons, Holly."
Then she felt the tug of Commander Barr dragging her toward the open hatch of the
M.L. Everything became the blur of motion. She could see the creatures approach  the
Cadet as she kicked her legs. She heard shots and saw her bunkmate on the ground.
She was then thrown into the M.L. just before the hatch closed.
Then she noticed one of the ochre disks was now attached to Commander Barr's
chest, and when he looked at it, he collapsed. He was evidently alive, but in a
paralyzed state. Pretty much all the other 13 or so people in the  M.L. jumped to his
aid. However, Olivia could only think of the pounding on the hatch. She  jumped on
the pilot seat and blasted away.
She took the M.L. far beyond the suggested speed the instructor told her about. As
she pulled away, she could not help but look behind and see that the airlock the Cadet
was going to open was actually open, and that several unidentified objects  where
drifting out it into space.
"Head for the surface." ordered Callahan. " We have to prepare a topside offensive."
Olivia  was not listening. The only plan she had was fly until they couldn't  see theenemy flagship anymore. Several warnings of incoming craft spared her of explaining
her strategy to a superior officer. Two of the claw shaped ships where in active
pursuit.  They where easily faster than the  M.L., and tried to   latch on to it. But
Olivia spun the smaller craft, ensuring they got only pieces.
"Cadet, land this vehicle!" yelled Callahan. However, Olivia saw the three natural
satellites around the planet and had an idea. "There's Anti-orbit Automatic artillery in
those moons! If I can get between the  planet  and the moons..." she began, but was
interrupted by Callahan's objection: " This is not made for that kind of flight! Stop
playing!"
Olivia yelled as the steered what was left of the M.L. in to a mad roll into the moons.
She knew everything depended on what happened now. While the cockpit viewport
became a swirl of what was formerly simply celestial bodies, outside, automated
machinery detected the enemy craft and pelted them with plasma fire. This did not
damage the craft, but did send one of them careening to the planet surface. Then the
other returned to engage the artillery, which enabled the Machine Lander to escape.
Olivia watched the whole, horrid scene get smaller and smaller. But the more she got
away from it physically, the worst it became in her mind.  What was formerly her
place to learn how to be an adventurer was being torn apart by unknown creatures.
What was formerly people she knew where now dead. What was her new home was
now a captive planet.Chapter 2
Indirium AlliaWhen the rescue crew that answered  the Machine Lander's distress beacon pulled
Cadet Olivia Carrera out of the cockpit, she had been crying for 3 hours. She was
only 18, but had never expected to be a part of something like the fall of a planet.
Commander Barr had had the paralyzing disk removed in a rather  less painful way
than she had that  was still not entirely pain free. Both received medical treatment for
their injuries in a Earth Command facility  orbiting  the former Rogue Colony of
Davina E-14.It was known as Reiko's Redemption and it was a post of higher security
functions where important dignitaries and other leaders of post-planetary concerns
where know to gather, and as such it was a far cry from the utilitarian Yuko's Valor.
Potted plants and soothing  light attempted to detract from the claustrophobia of the
halls, and  most of the basic maintenance was done by automatons. The medical staff
treated them for their wounds, and sent them over to military staff for questioning.
That's when they began grinding them. They asked about exactly what had happened
in excruciating detail, multiple times. They did cerebro-scans and psychological tests
and blood tests. Barr, knowing the workings of the E.C., had an easier time with the
process than Olivia..  After a full day of rest, both of them where summoned to an
audience with the heads of Earth Command High Council Chairman.
The head chairman started: "I understand you both have been through quite a lot. The
situation in  the Sol 3 colony is extremely strange and extremely discomforting. We
have been getting scattered reports of what is happening in the planetside. However,
yours, Commander Barr's and Cadet Carrera's, have been the most complete, if true."
Commander Barr approach him, incapable of holding out anymore. "It's all true, Mr.
Chairman.  I have here physical proof that the attackers in question have access to
minerals we have yet to discover that are impenetrable by any modern technology."
He pulled out the disk that was removed from his shoulder, and set it on a table." If
this enemy, this Kovold...if they decide to attack any other of our colonies, we will be
defenseless. If they decide to attack all of them, it will mean our doom."
The Chairman toyed with the ochre colored disk, it's design and feel  not alike
anything he'd seen. "This disk" the chairman said, pointing at  Barr with it: "I feel
some psychic energy in it, but not like Psywar tech. It seems we will have to take an
unorthodox approach to this enemy. We need someone who is an expert in psychic
energy to help us understand this tech." Barr nodded "I agree, sir" The Chairman
approached him.
"We need the best at it." he said, hinting at an idea that sent Barr reeling. "With all
due respect, sir, I don't think that's an option we should consider." Said Barr, more
serious than usual. The chairman replied "Your respect is not going to free Sol 3 from
our attackers,  Barr. We need to get Morley."
Olivia gasped. She remembered the psychic wars. She remembered  her grandfather
and her mother  fought in it, the earlier to never return. She remembered Morley's
face on the public access view Star-links, along with amounts of people he'd killed forrefusing to allow psyterapy on themselves.  She remembered the documentaries about
Morley. Morley the dictator. Morley the Mass-murderer. Morley the megalomaniac.
Morley the captured. Morley the banished.
Her gasp did not  change the conversation a whole lot.
"Morley will never agree to work with us. Not after the wars. Not after we banished
him." Continued Barr. The Chairman turned his attention to the other person present.
"No, he will never agree to work with you. I do believe if we send your Cadet,
Miss...Carrera, was it?"
Olivia Nodded insecurely. "Cadet Carrera does not have the history you and Morley
have. As an aside, we will need you  to help us plan an mass  offensive. People are
starting to wonder, Barr. We've done our best to cover this up, but it's going to wreak
havoc our markets if it gets out. We need to exhaust every option available to us.
Oversee that  Ms Carrera get to Sioul because before a standard week it's gonna be a
full scale war." Barr nodded insincerely. " I will do everything I can, sir. I just hope
this doesn't blow up in our faces again."
And so it was agreed.  In two hours, Cadet Olivia Carrera was on a small personal
transport ready to  take off to Sioul, a small, disconnected colony on the complete
other side of charted space.  What a strange thing. She had hoped to become a space
hero, and within her first 3 months she had already fled a battle and was on her way
to reunite with the closest thing real  life had to a supervillain. However, she
understood, and was forewarned that this was imperative to the survival of millions,
maybe billions of humans. She guessed if the Fighting Hero   was willing to work
with his enemies from time to time to save people, so should she.
As her ship took of, though, she had no idea that a scene right out of her stories was
developing right then, with the frightening difference that this was real life. Far
beyond what space humans had traveled willingly  on a distance so far we'd have to
make new measure types just for it, lies a  jet black sphere, a cold coliseum where the
representatives of different planetary races gathered to discuss issues of mutual
interest.  Inside it is a lit room of  jet black spires and columns that contrast with the
light blue floor and details. They called themselves the Union of Planets. Their
current speaker was Kess of the Kovold species. Like all  Kovolds, he had an
enlarged head with large white eyes, and green to yellow skin  dotted with a pattern
of small squares, and covered his mostly unused arms and legs with a long flowing
robe. Like most Kovolds, he had learned to depend heavily on technology, telepathy,
and the work of other beings: He floated rather than walked.   Their current debate
topic was...us.
"I understand you are concerned."  spoke Kess in the agreed universal language
spoken by the Union: Tatcharrian, which we would only  recognize as having rolled
rs, zs, and vowels. "The Kovold value intelligent life as much as you do. But we havedone extensive research on the earth natives, and they are not to be considered peers
to our intelligence. Their ways are brutish, and they know only violence. Our attempts
to  see them on mutual terms ended on aggression on their part. They are animals,
unable to achieve higher cognitive thought."
The crowd listened intently. Kess of Kovold was a highly charismatic speaker, and
when rhetoric failed he was known to a powerful mindcaster and ruthless. He was one
of the few Kovold left, and his slave holdings made him one of the most important
members of the Union.
"I counterpoint to Lord Kess" spoke a voice from the crowd. It was G'sha,
representative of the Farrican race. Seemingly  a 7 foot tall, jet black hued woman
with a prolonged head absent of  any facial features but eyes, with three long fingers
in each hand, G'sha's people had long been at odds against the Kovold.
"None of us have been in contact with natural earth beings that have not been treated
by Kovold mind procedures, which I do well to remind this audience, are powerful
against even the cultured races our advanced Union belong to." Said the Farrican,
causing a ruckus among the reunited.
"You do well to remember my power" retorted Kess, an air of menace in his voice
"But we use it only for the benefit of the members of this Union. The Earth creatures
are not members of this union. They are not comparable to our grand achievements,
and they contribute nothing to us except as slaves. If  the leaders of  Earth creatures
ever set foot on this reunion chamber and request to join, we will certainly look into
it..."
"Lord Kess would be in a most difficult position" interrupted G'sha. "To allow one of
the species he sells as slaves and biological parts to join the Union. Can we trust Kess
of Kovold to remain impartial to the rights of what he considers one of his bigger
exports? We need to face facts. Any possibility of contact with the Earth natives is
blocked by the Kovold's fleet. Everything we know about  Earthfolk comes from the
ones who most benefit from their subjugation. I demand an uncompromised member
of this Union is sent to ensure that the Earth-natives are given a fair opportunity. If
Earth-kind  are truly animals, we will continue to consume their lives. If not, we all
most agree to ensure they join this union, unimpeded by the commercial value they
now hold."
Kess recognized the Union members where starting to sway towards agreeing with
G'sha.  The Farricans and the Boros had both been once considered to be inferior
races that deserved no mind except as servitude and now both had representatives.
The Kovold's history with slaves was a long one, and difficult to ignore.
"Then I propose Representative G'sha visit the captive planet and see for herself that,
beyond the capacity to travel in space,  this beings are instinct-based  and unable to
contribute anything but harm to the rest of the societies of this Union." pontificatedKess,   bringing the whole situation under control. The gathered agreed. "I will take
this humble task" began G'sha. "I will  observe the Earth-folks in their natural
environment, and report to this Union. We depart in 15 cycles. Let the Union excuse
me."
Such where the movements of the advanced races of space, that they, like  a Roman
senate, decided whether we were to be thrown to lions or given a voice.  But Olivia
did not know this. She just knew  she was landing on a planet called Sioul that looked
teal and gray from above the surface, and a mostly silvery kind of desert after she
landed.  Compared to this,  the simplistic, sleepy colony of  Sol 3 looked like a
bustling city. As she descended on the  designated space, she noticed a crowd was
approaching her ship. They did not seem to get much visitors in Sioul's main port.
They seemed mostly curious. However once the hatch opened, revealing in Olivia's
cadet uniform the colors of Earth Command, their tone changed.
"E.C.! It's an Earth Command bitch!" Yelled a voice in the crowd. This caused a
riotous frenzy that inspired Olivia to immediately try and close the hatch. Her
nervousness delayed her enough that the crowd grabbed her and dragged her out of
the ship. Life became a swirl of punches and insults for a while. Olivia was being
manhandled by a group that didn't even agree on the kinds of aggressions they liked
more for her. Suddenly, everyone got very still. Olivia  could see them all paying
attention  to someone far from the crowd, but she was too battered to make it out.
However, soon the group dropped her and dispersed. And among the people leaving,
she could see a lone silhouette back-dropped by the sun approach.
"Are you alright?" Asked the mysterious woman. Olivia had always disliked it when
people asked this question to an obviously  distressed person.  "I...I was just mobbed.
I think they wanted to rob me!" replied Olivia, lost for more words.
The mysterious woman inclined as to better communicate with Olivia.  The hot wind
blew on her curly hair strands  as the sun illuminated her dark-brown complexion,
and  made her brown and red robes dance. "They weren't out to rob you. They just
don't like Earth Command very much." she said. Olivia tried to save face. "Well
tough cookies for them, huh?" She said, checking her nose for the now ever-present
blood. The woman was unfazed. " I don't like Earth Command very much myself.
What brings you here, friend?"
Olivia tried to regain her composure. She checked  the now partly torn uniform and
wiped  the silvery dust from her legs. She assumed a position of hands behind the
back and face forward, as if she where addressing a superior officer. "I'm Cadet
Olivia Carrera, Earth Command. I came here seeking Prof. Morley for confidential
reasons. Do you know where I might find him?"
The woman's curiosity grew. "Uh.. at ease? Yes, I know where you can find him.
What I don't know is why I should tell you. What does Earth Command want with
him?" She rebutted, with no small amount of concern.Olivia could tell the woman was afraid Earth Command had nefarious purposes
against Morley. What her concern was, though, was not fully clear. So Olivia took a
page from her heroes and put forth the common good first. "I am not at liberty to
discuss the reasons" began Olivia "But trust me in that if lives where not at stake, I
would not be here to speak with that monster."
The woman was taken aback by the bold answer. "Well, if lives are at stake, then we
should not waste any more time. He lives in a small cottage  south of here. I'll take
you. By the way..." she near concluded. "...I'm Irene Morley. I'm the monster's niece."
"Smooth, Hollywood" though Olivia, teasing herself with her school nickname. "You
just managed to offend the third or fourth person to save you in the last 50 hours."
They took an old Land-Master model through  the desert, as Irene explained how life
was here in Sioul.  Very few people willingly lived in  this underdeveloped planet that
was very reluctant to allow comfortable life.  The main population was those that
where forced by Earth Command and those that where hoping to avoid Earth
Command. It put the whole riot and near lynching that Olivia faced in proper context.
"And how do people feel about having someone like Prof. Morley in here? " Asked
Olivia, hoping to get a feel of what to expect. Irene replied as the vehicle moved over
the rugged terrain "He is well regarded. To people who don't know him he might be
the mastermind behind the Tarsium Attacks and the Red Purge. But to people here,
he's one of the few reason's this colony is tolerable."
Olivia was ever-learning. She would have thought the man who declared the
inferiority of non-psychics would at least be looked at with suspicion. But here in
Sioul, the priorities where different.  She surmised that is why E.C. must have exiled
him rather than execute him, as many demanded.
But those thoughts where interrupted when Land-Master pulled up into an run down
old shack. Surrounded by the parts of former machines that awaited repair or reuse
but found only decay, it was an unassuming place to find a once widely known war
criminal. In fact, until she was prompted about it, Olivia had no idea they had arrived.
As she was lead inside, she felt the air was different.  Cooling fans spread a
comforting breeze, and  a bundle of unusual combinations of smells assaulted her.
She could smell crushed aromatic plants. Perhaps for food. She could also smell
several industrial chemicals. Like the kind she had gotten whiffs of near the engine of
the Yuko's Valor during it's maintenance.
And then he came out. He seemed taller and definitively older than the last time he
was seen in the media links. But what was she thinking, of course he was older.
However, there was a strange air about him. He was an old bald Black man with
smile carrying a something or another, wearing the simplest of clothes. One of his
eyes had been replaced by a blue hued synthetic eye. He didn't seem to be the one onthe speeches, or the one on the news links. He seemed somewhat more real. But what
was she thinking, of course he was real.
His reaction to his niece was warm: He hugged her. That settled it: genocidal maniacs
did love their nieces. However, his reaction to the cadet in torn clothes was more
dismissive.
"I gather I should surrender. I thought they'd send someone older to eliminate me."
He said, though Olivia  was unsure how much this was in jest. "What is your business
here?" Olivia understood this situation required  authority, so she tried to sound as
natural as she could, and repeat verbatim what Barr had instructed her to say.
"Earth Command demands your assistance in a most important issue that..." Morley
interrupted her, snickering. "Wait just a minute, miss..." She did not like being called
miss when she clearly had a rank. It was lowly, but a rank it was. "Cadet. Cadet
Olivia Carrera, sir." Morley was unimpressed: "Cadet Carrera...I do not work for
Earth Command so I do not care 4 digits for what your rank is or what Earth
Command demands.  They created me. Then they fought me. Then they exiled me.  If
you expect me to care about this, 'Earth Command demands' is not what you need to
be saying. Now dispense with the formalities and tell me...what are you here for?"
Olivia understood the script she was given to work with was mostly out. She would
have to be upfront and honest. She liked the script more, though. "Humanity might be
in great danger. The Colony world of Sol 3 was attacked by an enemy we cannot
defeat. We believe they are an advanced non-human type of life from deep within
Virgin Space. We need you to help us, Prof. Morley."
Morley stayed thoughtful. His niece, thought, was just plain offended. "The nerve!
Your Earth Command  has no business asking my Uncle for favors. Is this some sort
of trick?" she belted out. "It's no trick, Irene. I was there. Their ships and soldiers are
made of near invulnerable material." She continued, drawing out the disk that had
paralyzed her. " They shoot this into people, and freeze them."
Olivia told the story in great detail to Morley, who held the smooch ochre disc. He
passed his hand through it's surface. He then looked at Olivia straight in her green
eyes. "Indirium..." he began "Never did I ever hoped to see it again." He had a spark
of nostalgia in the eye he had left. " Tell me, girl, did they ever tell you about the
Rembrandt 1? No, I'm sure they don't teach Cadets about the dark parts of  Earth
Command's history. The Rembrandt 1 was a colony  carrier.   The colonists of
Maruawanna, powerful psychics of an overly religious society,  thought to feel a
powerful psychic connection  from beyond Virgin Space. So they boarded the
Rembrandt, 34 million strong, with the hope of finding   the answer to life. Their ship
went missing for decades. Everyone assumed they'd died.  The Rogue Colonies could
not put together the effort to fund  a rescue operation and Earth Command wouldn't
lift a finger for those they can't control."Morley was mistaken, though.  Olivia had heard tales of the Rembrandt 1 from her
mother. She would always say that what everyone assumed  was the arbitrary
decision not to explore further into Virgin Space had a darker reason.
"Finally, during the Psychic Wars I found it. One of our raiding parties followed a
distress beacon just off the edge of Virgin Space. And we found the Rembrandt. It
was empty of life, drifting and badly damaged. It had a strange ship tethered through
it, and also disks like this one where found inside. Both made of the same material. I
called it Indirium."
He set the disk on the table. "I thought Indirium would win us the war for sure. It is
virtually indestructible, and could be shaped only by a strong telepathic force. Our
strongest telepaths disassembled the alien ship and made it into a workable fighter,
faster and stronger than anything the Earth Command had. I called it the Shahani
Wing. Alas, it was caught docked before it could be used or replicated. Not that we
would have been able to without more Indirium."
"Are we hopeless against a force with Indirium Frigates and Fighters and infantry?"
Asked Olivia, fearing  she had just heard humanities death sentence. "Perhaps"
replied Morley, who was still thinking about it "But that is if we're just trying to fight
them in a conventional manner. If the Earth Command are willing to do their part, I
will try to do mine."
After Olivia set up the Star-link, the conversation  with Commander Barr began.
"Morley..."  half muttered Barr from light years distance "What do you need to
complete your research on Indirium?"  Morley sat back on his repurposed passenger
seat. "I'm uploading my requirements now." Barr's face changed to one of incredulity.
"I would ask if you're insane, but I guess  I already know the answer. I am in no
condition to provide any of this to a war criminal. The whole Council is looking at
your list of demands and groaning. I'm  willing to suspend your exile and let you
come to our most advanced laboratories. That's it."
Morley put his hand across his face in frustration. "I like how the reward for helping
you is getting to help you. Listen here, Barr: You are not holding the upper hand,
now. You need me. Either provide me with this simple demands and let me work, or
let the boogeymen from Virgin Space come and take your children and your wives
and have their way with them. I don't believe we have any further to discuss,
anyway."
As the connection severed, Olivia felt   things where just getting worse. Someone had
to  do something. Maybe her.
"What did you demand?" asked Olivia, truly curious as to what was causing this
stalemate. "My old team and access to the Shahani Wing, mostly."  replied  Morley,
smirking. "So I guess that's it. You aren't going to help, are you?" asked Olivia.Morley shook his head. "With access to my team and the Shahani, I could be getting
underway in no time. Without that, we're just wasting our time." Irene also intervened
"In any event, uncle, it's not any of our business."
Morley turned to Irene. "That's where you're wrong. This disks they shot... they do
not just paralyze. They are made to detect psychic power. This invaders aren't just
looking for gold and land. They want our power. And I fear that puts me and you in
danger, Irene. I will never let them hurt you. I will die first."
He turned to Olivia "I need your help. I realize it's not fair to ask you to risk your
freedom and life, but we need the Shahani Wing. Are you willing to help us, Olivia? "
Olivia felt the most doubt she had ever felt. She felt  a swirling in her stomach that
she translated to "I think this is a bad idea.". However, after thinking it for a while,
she just nodded. She thought of Fighting Hero of the Galaxy and how what made him
a hero was his willingness to supercede his own safety and well being  for that of the
others. She felt that it was her turn to be a hero.Chapter 3
The Heist of the Shahani WingThe Reiko's Redemption welcomed back Olivia's ship with open arms. Barr was
ready to receive her as soon as she left the hatch. Not with open arms, though.
"What happened to your uniform, Cadet Carrera?" he asked. She expected more
concern with her life. "They mobbed me. I was almost killed out there." said Olivia.
"I didn't know they hated Earth Command in that planet," Barr was ever serious. " I
had heard as such. Thankfully you survived. Do not worry, after today, you'll get to
return to your Cadet training and put this whole horrible episode behind you. We
even have a new uniform for you at your quarters." Olivia did not enjoy his
dismissive attitude. "What about the Indirium and the Shahani Wing and Sol 3?" she
asked. "Don't worry about it, Cadet. Earth Command's higher branch is involved, and
with them involved, you know things are serious. We are reuniting right now to create
a plan of action." He looked at her, trying to be reassuring. "We will fight to the end.
You watch."
She returned to her  quarters. The plan was set. She was gonna do whatever it took to
get the Shahani wing. And so , she wrote a respectful but serious essay directed to the
Chairman  about how their best hopes rode with giving Prof. Morley access to
Shahani Wing.
Meanwhile, the Chairman was having a meeting with the Chief Delegates of Earth
Command Colonies High Council. For them to be there in person, it had to have been
important. And it was.
"Word is getting out about Sol 3, Mr. Chairman. There needs to be a feeling we can
answer to an invading force with an appropriate retaliation. Or else, it could
destabilize every one of our systems" Said the Councilman from Sirena. The
Chairman  crossed his arms. "I'm more concerned with this force overtaking all our
colonies. If they invade another..." The Theta Councilwoman interrupted "We are not
sure what the scope of their armament or fleet is, and we are unsure what their
intentions are. If we mobilize our entire  fleet against them and just overwhelm them,
they might open to reason." However, the Councilman from Amon Bay was unsure.
"And if they overwhelm us, we'll be defenseless." And yet the Theta Councilwoman
rebutted "Well we can't just sit on our hands, now, can we? I say we take the attack to
vote!"
Commander Barr, slammed the table to end the bickering. "I strongly advise against
an attack of such nature. We do not understand anything about the enemy, and
committing all our forces against them with technology that has already failed is
probably the worst thing we could do. If you take this idea to vote and it wins, I will
personally lead the attack on the enemy ship. But I hope the council  will not take
such rash actions in haste."Things where significantly less heated in Olivia's quarters. However, as she got to the
paragraph about how we couldn't let the past get in the way of  the future wellbeing of
humanity, she heard a grunt outside the door. When she peeked outside her chambers,
she spied a pair of legs sticking out of the corner and the trail of a shadow moving
further down the corridor. She approached the downed man: he was part of the
Praetorian security force. He was shot in the chest, blood slowly oozing out of his
armor. She took his gun, hoping to protect herself from whoever the assailant was.
She cautiously snuck across the hall, finding two more bodies, each still twitching
from the accurate shots. Suddenly she heard a voice behind her yell "Stop right
there!"
When she looked back, it was a  a Praetorian. He must have thought that the killer
was her, since she was standing near two dead guards with the gun of another in her
hands. An understandable mistake. She proceeded to explain, but the Praetorian was
more interested in that she got put the gun down. As far as she could tell from his
barks, anyway. She began to, when she heard a blast.
Her first suspicion was that she had been shot. Then she heard a distorted voice say
"Hey, hero: Don't let your guard down."
When she turned around she saw the strangest thing: A person in silver armor
standing over the body of the guard. He had  a helmet with a visor that almost got cut
across by angular shapes coming from the mouth and  forehead areas. Behind the
helmet was  a strange crest pattern of had wing-like protrusions and on his chest
armor he had a spider design. He reminded her of a mix between "Brutas Staff" from
"Stellar Bellic Conflict", "Major Leader" from "Angel Wings", and "Sammy Aramis"
from "The Parasitoids". He was like...something out of  one of her shows.
"Who are you?" intuitively belted out Olivia. The strange figure made it's way toward
Olivia.
"I'm Dirk. We have a mutual friend: Prof. Morley. He sent me to help you secure the
Shahani Wing." Olivia was still unsure what this was about. "But...he told me to talk
to the Chairman. I was writing this essay and... " Her words did not stop Dirk from
bolting into the next hall. She followed.
When she arrived, he was knelt in front of a door. She practically tiptoed toward him.
"What are you doing?" she asked.  He got up. "I'm setting up a powerful explosive.
Can't you see?" He snarked, running away from his handywork. Realizing you're in
front of a powerful explosive is always bad thing, in Olivia's mind. She ran away,
cursing up a storm, until  the explosion blew the purposely well crafted door into two
pieces.
Behind the extremely hot debris of the former door lied the Shahani Wing. Like an
ochre  dome with silver wings, it defied all design aesthetics of the Earth Commandfleet.  Olivia wanted Dirk to stop for a minute and reflect, but he was already getting
inside the Shahani Wing. She ran up the platform, as a general alarm began blaring.
"Warning" it began "Hostiles in sector G. Cadet Olivia Carrera is  to be considered
enemy  fighter. Treat with extreme prejudice. Warning: Explosion in Hall 2G East
block. Warning: Explosives found in  hangar bay. Warning... " Her choices where cut.
Everyone thought she was a responsible for those deaths and those bombs.
"You put explosives in my ship? What if they'd blown up before I got here? " Asked
Olivia as she jumped into the experimental craft. The masked man simply replied:
"Then I'd still have to buy more explosives."
The controls felt familiar for Olivia, thought that was a surprise. However, there was
a problem: " Somebody needs to open the hangar doors!" Yelled Olivia to Dirk. He
stood there silent for a moment, then flew to the hangar controls,  fire blasting out of
wing-like protrusions on his back  and leaving behind small lines of smoke. He stood
at the controls, when suddenly a host of guards burst into the room. "Go, just go!"
yelled Dirk, as gas erupted out of the opening hangar doors  and the suction of a
vacuum began working it's way into the room.
The endless stars across the hangar bay, they beckoned young Olivia. She pulled the
starter circle. She knew this wouldn't be like the Machine Lander or the small barge
in which she had just arrived.
Then like lightening itself, the Shahani Wing blasted out of the bay. She was awash in
lights and sounds. The ship's engine sounded like a mix between a whistle and an
elephant. She felt  like space was trying to hug her.
Meanwhile life in the Colony world of Sol 3 life was becoming increasingly difficult.
Those that where unable to run away, where already getting herded into preservation
chambers when the portal that let  Kess into the surface. Many buildings showed
signs of the fight that took place as citizens tried in vain to protect themselves and
their loves ones. Kess was greeted by his overseer Soumjai, a Boros. Boros are
renowned for their great strength and short temper, rather than their intelligence and
good manners. In strictly earth terms, we'd say it stands and walks like a gorilla,  has
the skin of an alligator and  has the head of a frog. Of course, it's not quite like that.
"Most of the Earthkind are on storage, awaiting shipment. We are looking at about 3
trillion Union Units." grumbled Soumjai,  uncomfortable with the weather. He would
rather breath the air of his own planet unassisted that  let the filters under his neck
allow him to live on this one.  Kess , however, was focused on something else. "The
money, it is unimportant. Did you find any like I asked?"
The Boros chortled to clear his throat of all the oxygen. "Not among them. Mostly
beasts of burden to work the lands. None with mind abilities. Perhaps the ones that
escaped into the desert, but I doubt it. Is something the matter, Lord?"Kess put aside his disappointment for a moment and  focused on another matter "That
blasted  G'sha is coming here to snoop on our operation. I trust you can take care of it,
Soumjai." The Boros Chortled in agreement. He knew what that meant. He's done it
before.  "Try to make it  the Earth folk's fault, though. Make it a lesson so they don't
forget that these savages are dangerous. " added Kess
The Boros felt some doubt: "Won't the Union of Planets investigate?"  but Kess was
unfazed. "They will. I will make sure the investigation goes in my favor. I grow
weary of the Union: It hinders me too much. This is why we need to keep searching,
Soumjai. Earthkinds are the key to my glorious future. I will claim them all, but I will
need to leave for Kovold, so we can get the proper tools for the job."
Just as he finished saying that,  a message crossed galaxies as.
"What the hell have you done, Morley!" Yelled Barr into the Star Link Com-box,
causing distortion in the lower tech version Morley had. Morley was clearly amused.
"I have no idea what you are talking about, Barr." When Barr was able to get
anything across that wasn't profanity he said: "You made Carrera steal the Shahani
Wing, you old dirty bastard!" Morley did the least believable impression of a
surprised person. "Why I'm shocked that the advanced military machine of the Earth
Command's would let a cadet steal such advanced technology. After all, they are the
same people that defeated me..."
Barr raged further:" I have half a mind to have a platoon  arrive in your house and put
your murderous ass out of misery. But we need our resources to fight the real threat.
Stay out of this one, old man. Oh, and maybe you don't remember, but we defeated
you because your own blood sold you out."
Morley cut the connection.  He allowed many events to be thrown in his face, but not
that one. Not by Barr. And what the hell else did he have to say? Things where going
his way, and by his estimate, humanity's way.
Meanwhile, the Shahani Wing cut through the blackness of space.  Olivia figured
going directly to  Morley was a bad idea. She knew that if Earth Command  was
going to look for the Shahani Wing, that's the first place they would look. Suddenly,
she received a message through the ship's star-link.  There, the familiar face of Irene
greeted her. "I can see you decided to help uncle. I'm sending you the coordinates to a
safe haven. Did Dirk make it out okay?"
Olivia did not know how to relay the bad news that Dirk was unlikely to have
escaped. "I...didn't see him escape. He's pretty resourceful, though." said Olivia,
trying to downplay the grimness.
The Shahani landed in the Rogue Colony of  Leigh, where many still held bitterly to
the promise that one day psychics would take what they considered their rightfulplace. In this verdant planet, Morley is still considered a something of a minor deity.
His niece, thought, was a divisive figure among the quarreling, furious leaders-to-be
of the awaited return of the Psychic Empire. Which is why she met with Olivia in
secret and wearing a long hood over her head, in a mountain range, overseen only by
two moons.
Irene and Olivia made their way down the mountain. The cool air of the morning
bringing an unexpected comfort. "We  have to walk to my barge,  Cadet Carrera. "
said Olivia, wet dirt and pebbles under her shoes nearly interrupting her words with
their crunchetty-crunch. "Since Leigh became disavowed by Earth Command, things
like Land-Masters have become a luxury. "
Truthfully, getting any mechanical equipment for colony development was a luxury,
as most of the minerals used to for them it where fiercely guarded by Earth
Command, which in turn nearly never allowed "Rogue colonies" access to them at
any fair prices. Any colony set in a planet that did not have iron or gold or diamonds
in great quantities would have to bargain with Earth Command to ship them either the
equipment itself or the core materials to make it, and Leigh had yet to be explored for
such minerals.
"Haven't Leigh's folks tried to join Earth Command?" asked Olivia, peering the great
green horizon. Irene looked back at Olivia. "Leigh cannot simply settle with the
conditioned comforts Earth Command can provide for it. It needs to be free for it's
people to take it in the direction they want. This is one of the places that supported
my Uncle's revolution and they're paying the price for it still. " Olivia became
unusually serious. "I guess the struggle for freedom sometimes requires subjugation
and death of the people they mean to free, right?"
Irene did not reply.  She spent a good part of the rest of the walk silent as well. Olivia
felt some slight guilt over this: she had obviously touched a nerve. She looked at the
sky, wondering what was going on through the minds of the alien invaders. Did they
believe in freedom? Did they think they where doing a right thing? Did they place
any value on life? Did they have any feelings?
The actual answers where staggering. Far beyond Virgin Space,  the crystalline
surface of Kovold gleamed with a shine that could be seen from across space.
However, it's inhabitants, much  like the planet itself, where rather black-hearted.
The Kovold  evolved psychic powers billions of years as a way to cope with the
threats from their own planet that preyed on their mental energies. As such, once they
left the planet, they quickly discovered they where able to use such powers to get
other species under their control and sell them for profit. They would soon turn on
each other, enslaving their own kind. After all, why sell the slave when they could
sell the slave-maker?Because of the infighting, there are very few Kovold left, their numbers hovering in
the low thousands. And in their planet, a cold, synthetic place of golden streets and
glass seas, in an indirium spire as wide as Mexico and as tall as the Empire State
Building,  a report came for Lord  Kess, from his right hand Boros, Soumjai.
"My Lord" Began Soumjai, smashing his enormous arms into his chest as a sign of
respect. " Our scouter-feelers have detected an unusual  energy traveling deep
throughout the   Earth -Being controlled space.  It moved unusually fast for Earth
Being design. I believe it may be what  you where looking for. Do we pursue and
capture it?"
Kess started breathing through his teeth in excitement. "No. Continue to trail,
Soumjai. The craft will lead us to  what we're really searching for."
Soumjai shook his head. "All respect, Lord. Our parts processing branch is the most
successful it has ever been, we ship more slaves than  Lord Garr of Tolku, and our
drones are the most advanced of the Union species. With this new planet we have
enough fresh slaves for a hundred generations.  Why are we searching for more?"
Kess hovered toward  Soumjai. "You do not understand, because your mind is merely
inward, Soumjai. Every time I'm at the Union of Planets, I have to peer into the minds
of inferior weaklings that have banded together to establish an order that is not based
on who should be above all, but on some invented notion idea of similitude. Speaking
with them on equal grounds is the worst offense I could endure. "
Kess shook his contorted face. "Lord Kess of Kovold is above them, and they know
it. I will stop the charade and sweep forth with an army to make them beg me for
mercy." Soumjai was surprised at his Lord's secessionist ideas..
"But Lord Kess" began Soumjai. "They have the same slave-drones as you do. We
sold them those drones." But Kess was unabated. "They have the ones we have now.
But once I discover a way to transfer psionic power into the drone's brains, I will
create an  force that will be unrivaled!"
The Boros nodded as much as his species could. "I stand with you, Lord. But is this
too risky?" but  Kess merely chortled. "This is why you serve  me, and not the other
way around, Soumjai: because I am never willing to settle with what I have. Let us
return now to the captive planet, and make haste. I have what I needed." he said,
pointing  to a contingent of his drones, now armed with bright glowing blades on their
hands.  And so departed the two beings through a portal.
"I'm sorry you had to get in trouble for this." apologized Irene, breaking off the long
silence. "I'm sure  you had a bright future at Earth Command."  "I don't mind, Irene"
sighed Olivia as she left behind the stolen goods that brought her here. "My mom
always said you can't have everything in life. I should be apologizing for not having
brought back Dirk." Irene snickered slightly. "He's all right. He got away scot free. "Olivia was pretty amazed. Even with what she'd been through, she did not consider
the situation she left Dirk in "escapable".  She found that everything that Dirk did was
unreal.
"Just who is that guy anyway?" Inquired Olivia, true curiosity pouring out of her
pores. "Dirk Laramie is a legend." declared Irene. He's a mercenary: He'll kill anyone
for the right price. My Uncle hired him several times during the war. Beyond that we
don't have more than that. They say he's a master gambler. They say he never takes
his helmet off. They say he's a  Supersoldier from Sparta 0. They say he's great in
bed. I can't vouch for most of  those, though."
Olivia wanted  to know exactly what parts of that she could vouch for, but she was
also kind of afraid. The truth is, Dirk was like a collection of elements from her
favorite media, that happened to be a jerk to her. Like her own dreams disliked her.
But then again, her space adventures so far involved escaping from danger, helping
former dictators, leaving a man to die and stealing a ship from the good guys to
deliver it to the less-good guys.
Or perhaps that's what being a space hero was like: selfish gain and unsubtle attitude.
Perhaps there really isn't room left for altruism in the galaxy anymore. Still, she was
bound to the idea that if justice could only be chased, it was her duty to pursue it.
Irene guided her to her own ship, where they could return to Sioul.Chapter 4
Siege of Moon SpaceSol 3 was no longer comparable to positive places in human history.  Buildings laid
decimated, the signs of battle everywhere.  What children had there been where not in
sight. And occasionally, bright flashes coming from the bigger pieces of the Yuko's
Valor entering orbit could be seen.
The earth rumbled slightly as the Farrican ship's glowing blue bottom landed on Sol
3. Farricans had yet to develop the portal technology that the Kovold had mastered
and their ships weren't considered the most advanced the universe had to offer.
Although, to be fair, the Farrican's hadn't sold most of their own people to get their
technology.
So, the turquoise, snail shell shaped craft that brought Representative G'sha  kissed
the ground. Awaiting G'sha was Lord Kess.  The meeting was about as friendly as
one would expect from one between a Farrican and the one that had Farricans
enslaved.
"Lord  Kess" began G'sha, playing down the lord part as much as possible and
continuing to walk along. "I came to see the earth beings, yet this settlement is empty
of them." Lord Kess  floated along the Representative, rubbing what his species still
had for arms under his robe. "Most of them have already been processed and placed
in the storage silos. However, I have some here you might want to look at. Soumjai!"
As he said that, Soumjai pushed forward a  trembling woman  and similarly disturbed
young boy. They where put in front of G'sha. "Try to communicate with them."
challenged  Kess "Try and get them to tell you something about how awful this is for
them." G'sha pulled forth from her belt what we would best compare to a plastic cakeknife with blue lines zigzagging across it. She  put it in front of the woman's face, and
it began vibrating. "It's detecting language, Kess. They have language."
The woman's face lit up. Through the technology involved in G'sha's device, her
voice, a series of clicks  and glugs and hisses, became the words of a woman
acknowledging another woman's capacity for language. Excited that one for these
strange beings could  understand her, she opened her mouth. She forgot that, half an
hour ago, both her and the boy  had the nerves of their vocal cords singed. The noises
that came out of her mouth could be called many things, but words would not be one
of them.
G'sha looked at  Kess. It would be fair to say suspiciously, but G'sha never ever
looked at Lord Kess with trust. Lord Kess tilted his head slightly. "Your device must
have malfunctioned. It's not unusual for this beasts rattling mating calls to beconfused with language. Here is one thing they are good for:" As he said that, he
focused his telekinetic powers on the boy.  In swift moments, he separated the boy
from his skin, then his muscles, then his vital organs. "Parts." declared disdainfully.
"Parts for our drones. Parts for our ships. Parts that are made by a material we can't
run out of."
As she watched the horrifying spectacle, the woman  began to cry uncontrollably.
This did not go past G'sha. "They think only of reproduction, this animals.
Disgusting." said Kess. "Disgusting, indeed." retorted G'sha. "Are there no other
ones, Lord Kess? Ones that you haven't actually manipulated? Wild earth-kind?" she
demanded. Kess ignored the accusation, because he felt it would soon not matter and
she had just opened up the cue he awaited. "Well, we haven't caught the ones on the
badlands just East of here. But..." he paused, pretending hesitation, awaiting until he
felt he'd created enough dramatic tension. "They are very wild, Representative G'sha.
They are not beings to be trifled with. If you must go, I insist you take Soumjai with
you."
Every slimy word struck her as two-faced, but G'sha was determined. She agreed to
take a cargo-sphere to see the strange creatures, a rare kind of safari for her kind and
for ours.
Olivia had no idea this was happening, though. Back on Sioul, back on the shack, she
was slowly coming to the realization that she was now no longer Earth Command.
She was becoming more like the people in the room. with her:  a criminal, an assistant
to criminals,  a bad guy. She did not like this feeling. She wanted to  be a hero, not a
villain. But the situation hadn't called for a hero like the ones in her media yet.
"What's the next hit, doc?" asked Dirk, toying with his gun.  He was resting  from a
wall and adjusting different parts of his gun, occasionally quickly pointing at different
parts of the shack. "There will be no next hit!" yelled  Olivia, her eyes focused on the
silvery armored man. "We're gonna get the rest of  Prof. Morley's team and we're
gonna free Sol 3: No more crimes, no more killing, no more of that!"
"I'm afraid you aren't completely right, there, Olivia. We are missing  an important
part of the team, Shaun and Bridgette. But they are currently being held at Moon
Space penitentiary. I'm afraid we are gonna have to spring them out, and violence
might be unavoidable." Replied old Morley.
Olivia had heard of Moon Space, and how no one had ever escaped from it alive. A
prison built as a cavernous maze inside the Earth's only natural satellite, anyone who
goes there is deemed too dangerous to the safety of all humanity. She suspected this
Shaun and Bridgette people where not the nicest people to meet.
"With the Shahani Wing in tow, it should be a cinch to just blast our way in and take
them." Said Dirk, not interrupting his shooting simulacrums.  Morley nodded in
agreement, while Irene seemed bothered with the plan. Olivia put her disagreementon the table. "We should probably find another way. We could lose Shaun and
Bridget like that. And I may be a wanted criminal,  but I don't want to add more
crimes to my rap sheet. Dirk looked at Olivia with what could be assumed as renewed
interest. "Is there a bounty on your head?" He asked.
It was a quiet  time in Moon Space, when the unidentified craft showed up in the
hyper-radar. Control asked what business  the ship had with  a penitentiary, and
warning of  how likely they where to attack.
"This is Dirk Laramie" the garbled voice replied " I come to deliver a prisoner in
exchange for bounty. Name of Olivia Carrera."
After revising their records they allowed the small personal transport to dock. And
out came the wanted fugitive Olivia "Hollywood" Carrera, wanted for murder, acts of
terror, theft of Earth Command property, treason to humanity, and  many other
charges, being escorted by Dirk Laramie. The more she thought about it, the more she
thought this was the kind of place she should be taken to. She was taken to the
warden who had her escorted to  her cell, while Dirk went to the  human resources
offices to await his money.
The reason why this prison was inescapable became clear to her.  Prisoners where
held most of the day in suspended animation inside small  honeycomb-like structures.
Once a prisoner was inside the ray, it became impossible to move.  She was fitted
inside, like laundry into a washing machine. Then the ray made her immobile. This
was it.
She experienced the effect for half an hour, but she felt she had 20 days to reflect on
the events that led her there.  She got to thinking. About Irene and Dirk. Whenever
Irene mentioned him, her eyes seem to widen, and her lips seemed unable to fully
close. Just like Princess Naport whenever she spoke about Jeycloid in "Stellar Bellic
Conflict Volume 1: The Ghost Threat". However, maybe SHE should be the one in
love with Dirk. Maybe she should compete for his affection, like in "However Late it
Happens to Be". However, she was getting out of her area of expertise with the
supernatural romance novs. Plus: everyone knew Lindo was going to get with  the
ghost from the start and the whole mummy fakeout was a fiasco.
Meanwhile, in Sioul, Prof. Morley once again spoke with Commander Barr through
the technology that allowed such a thing. "Earth Command's Council has agreed to a
precision military strike on the enemy target using the entirety of Earth Command
Fleet." Begun Barr, disconnected from his own words . "We regret we could not
strike a deal and cooperate."  Morley was as cynical as always. "This will soon not be
your biggest regret. Your council is putting politics over common sense, and you
pretty much have to put your life on the line for them. What else is new?"Barr  conceded: "It's an all or nothing bet for them. Look, you taught me a lot
before...this whole thing. But this is already the plan, Morley. Promise me you won't
continue to intervene."
Morley merely grinned and closed his eyes.  "If there is anything I hoped you'd learn
so far, is that promises and hope are the gullible's doom."
Suddenly, everything went dark for Olivia, and the effect that paralyzed her was
gone. She felt ridiculous cramps all over her most important muscles. She barely
crawled out of her room, when red emergency lights lit up the room in a crimson hue.
She could see she was surrounded by other men and women. "Criminals", she thought
but then added " like me".
She saw how all the other prisoners started to run in a single direction, and while she
was unaware what led them, yells suddenly warned her: riot guards where arriving to
put them back in their holes. The guards, outfitted with armor from head to toe and
armed with shock batons, rushed in formation towards the crowd of inmates.  A full
on riot occurred, with guards clashing with prisoners.
Olivia's desire not to get trampled overpowered her desire to leave the place, so she
hid in  the same hole she was in, as if she'd never escaped. When all of a sudden,
hands pulled her out.
"You're her, aren't you?" asked a woman in her 30s in the prison standard white
jumpsuit, black and white stripped hair  flowing to the back of her head. Olivia didn't
know what 'her' she was referring  to, though. She continued "You're the one Morley
sent? I'm Bridgette. It's about time. I'd hate to miss the party thought."
As she said that, a guard  rushed her. She overturned his attack, took his shock baton
and  struck him in the face, sending a spark of pain through his body that made him
contort and collapse. The threat clear,  Olivia made a beeline for the exit. But, when
she looked back, Bridgette was still savaging the guard with hit after hit, a wide grin
across her face. Olivia was beginning to understand the nature of Bridgette.
"Hurry! Hurry!" yelled Olivia. A disappointed Bridgette  strolled after her. They
made their way up the red tinged halls, until they arrived at  a closed door.
Olivia tried to be reassuring: "It's part of the plan: We're just gonna have to wait until
Dirk does his part of the plan and opens up this door.." A few awkward seconds
followed.  Olivia got to thinking that she didn't know this woman or why she was
being held. But surely, if she got to know her better...
"I haven't hurt anyone in a while." suddenly she spoke. Olivia did not know what to
think of this. "That's good. Maybe we can get out of this without anyone else getting
hurt." replied Olivia."No, that's bad. I have to hurt some people right now, and real bad. Say...can I hurt
you?" Olivia knew the answer to that, she only needed the proper wording.
Fortunately, the door opened, revealing another escaped prisoner; a man in his 40s
with quite a few silver hairs and Dirk. Bridgette smiled at the sight of the man as if
she clearly knew him. "Shaun" she said, relieved at the sight. And then she hit him in
the kneecaps with the Shock baton.
She jumped on him like a wildcat on a fawn. They rolled on the floor fighting. Olivia
was glad that what seemed like it would be her fate had passed on to another, yet she
needed this to end so they could finish escaping.
"Are you gonna kill me, Bridgette? Because I believe I've told you that I want my
death to be more than good!" said the man, finally restraining her arms. She had a
sadistic smile and laugh at what she knew was his pain. "I don't care if you die as long
as it hurts!" retorted the woman.
"No, no, no! Nobody is going to die! We're all going to get to the hangar bay and
we're all going to escape!" Interjected Olivia. The strange couple got up from the
floor, regaining their senses slightly.
"The girl is right. We should head for the hangar before the power returns." remarked
Shaun. The four of them  raced towards the hangar, but just as they where about to
enter it, they noticed a contingent of guards in front of it. Dirk took to the front of the
group. "Here's where I earn my money!"  he said, and without consulting anyone
began blasting the soldiers with accurate blasts to the head.  He used his wings to
float and swoop, avoiding their shots while keeping his enemies confused. Soon, they
all lied dead.
Olivia was saddened that it had come to this. They where supposed to be saving lives,
not ending them. She knew even if Fighting  Hero of the Galaxy  had to kill
innocents, he would at least feel extremely sad about it. And that's about all she could
do.
The ship blasted out of the hangar bay. It headed in a straight line away from the
Moon Space Penitentiary. However, it was soon intercepted by Lunar Patrol ships.
Upon being warned that inside where 3 dangerous criminals, they pelted it with
plasma blasts, turning into small, undistinguishable pieces of floating space garbage.
What would they have thought of the scene unfolding in Sol 3? A scene in which
what we would call a floating wagon carried two unhuman beings on a safari where
the fauna is us, and where only one is almost sure to return?
"Tell me something, Soumjai" Requested  G'sha, the desert sun gleaming in her
deeply dark skin. "why are you a willing servant to Kess?" She was of course,
referring to the fact that the Boros, like humans now, where once considered  marketable property rather than beings by the Union. Soumjai chuckled "I am a
willing business partner.  I make units enough to return to my people with greatness.  
What about you?" The question was strange to G'sha "What do you mean by that?"
This drew large laughter from the Boros' mouth. "Why are you a willing servant to
Lord Kess? Everyone knows the Union members have to answer to Kess, either
because they don't want to stop buying slaves, or because they are afraid of him."
G'sha gave it some thought. "I am in the Union because my people fought to be in it.
We had to break 200 years of slavery from the Kovold. I don't want Earth-kind to
wait that much. I'm not afraid of Kess."
The Boros smiled. He knew that right now would be the perfect time to grab his
weapon, a sort of spear with what could be best described  as a flame at the top, and
kill G'sha.  But he hadn't accounted for what would happen next.
Their transport was hit by a massive underground explosion that overturned their
vehicle.  Desert dust flew everywhere.  The systems that kept the atmosphere  outside
failed, changing the comfortable cool of the inside for the heat of the explosion.
When  the dust started to settle, G'sha was half a mile away from the vehicle. She
could see a battered collection of primitive, chemically propelled vehicles approach
the downed transport. The Earthkind had struck. She did what she considered
appropriate and ran away.
Commander Barr received the news while he was sleeping. It said that a vehicle
carrying  Shaun James, Bridgette Langdon and Olivia Carrera had been destroyed. He
immediately departed for Moon Space. He had to see for himself.  But when he
landed on Moon Space's Hangar bay, he didn't suspect what was happening on the
other, less illuminated side of the moon: that four figures  walked in protective suits
away from those that thought them dead. Eventually, they boarded the well hidden
Shahani Wing.
What a thing it was, for Olivia. She went from cadet to criminal, and now from living
to death. She thought how they would tell her family. She thought her mother and
father would be severely disappointed and sad. But she'd rather they be disappointed
than caught by the invaders. She was quickly learning that those where the hard
choices a space hero had to make.
The Shahani Wing blasted off, it's living cargo unscathed. It's mission closer to being
done.

Whoa, there. It's kind of half the book! If you're interested in the rest of this story, buy it now! Otherwise, how am I gonna fund my gritty Wasp Woman remake?

0 comments:

Follow by Email

Tell the Worlds!

What are you guys watching?