Between the Stars And Far Away

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U.P. Cinnabar
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Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

Foreword(and forewarned): This story may not be suitable for all readers. There's some not nice stuff going on, though I've tried to avoid it as much as possible. For that, gentle reader, I apologize in advance.

WARNING: He's not joking. This contains massive amounts of racism, misogyny, anti-LGTBQ rants, all wrapped in religion. --LadyTevar

01) I Knew You In This Dark
“’ I am the enemy you killed, my friend.
I knew you in this dark, for so you frowned
Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.
I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.
Let us sleep now....’”

Wilfred Owen, “Strange Meeting”

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:30:31 ZULU

“What did you guys find?” Doctor Joanne Leavitt, director of the University of Sol’s Roving Observer Four asked the two astrophysics graduate assistants manning the spectroheliograph in the top dome, now engaged in a close-up study of Sol.

“Oh,” Joanne said, when the spectrum revealed traces of refined dysprosium, cryogenic lithium and tungsten-artificial neutronium core alloy,“ okay. Sienna, let’s see what the radar telescopes come up with.”

“I’m reading a mass of refined dysprosium and cryogenic lithium sandwiched between two layers of tungsten-depleted uranium composite at zero degrees solar latitude by eighty-three degrees solar longitude, and 28.522 kiloklicks inside Sol,” Sienna Kyle, a second-year astrophysics student, reported,“ total thickness thirty centimeters...there’s another layer of lead behind the superconducting composite, also thirty centimeters thick, not even darva[detection and ranging via ansible] can scan clearly through it. Shape’s rectangular, total mass is 7.22 metric tons, length two meters, width one meter, total volume two cubic meters.”

“Ops, Leavitt,” Joanne said into her artificial intelligence implant’s laryngital microphone. “Jess, I need you to calculate a firing solution for the starboard MHD beam array, and retrieve an object at solar coordinates zero by 83, 28.522 kiloklicks inside the star itself.”

“I see it, Doc,” the holoimage of Jessica Shane, a third-year engineering student, replied. “MHD beam firing solution ready, starboard MHDs ready, firing.”

Joanne watched as the magneto-hydrodynamic beam emitters(firing magnetically-contained “cold” plasma) on Rover Four’s starboard side stabbed into the Solar equator, and snagged the object in question, slowly pulling it out of the Sun and toward the observatory’s starboard vehicle bay.

She could see it better now...a box, featureless, matt-black, devoid of markings.

It looks a lot like a c—

She never finished that thought, as Sienna suddenly screamed in her head:

“Starcraft in tr—”

then everything exploded.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:32:00 ZULU

“We’ve got to make damn sure no one survives,” Colonel John Patrick Malone said, watching those meddling, goddamn DirtCommunist bitches get exactly what they had coming to them.

“Governor Zellner’s orders,” he added, smiling as he watched Republican Union Starcraft Atlanta Three’s ten track-mounted 203-millimeter massdrivers and 25 track-mounted 50mm massdrivers smash the roving observatory apart with bomb-pumped hafnium-isomer warheads detonating and spitting out graser pulses 300 kiloklicks downrange of the target.

“Sir,” the Atlanta Three’s fire control officer, Captain Kevin Welch reported,“ am detecting multiple spaceplane and escape vehicle launches from enemy combatant.”

“He said no survivors, Captain,” Malone said calmly, still watching pulses of hot light tear into that ass.

“We’ve got another problem, ” Lieutenant James Bohannon reported from the defensive countermeasures station. “They’re sending a 303-X comm out, the Sullies are bound to know—”

“He wants them all to know ,” was all the master of the Atlanta Three would say to that.

“He wants them all,” he repeated, as ten more eight-inch bomb-pumped graser warheads flew toward the doomed observatory and those trying to escape their intended fate,“to know.”

“...Mama?!” the thirteen-year old girl screamed, kneeling over her mama, holding her hand...she was bleeding from the ears and the mouth, her chest was all crushed, legs bent out of shape...she wasn’t moving.

“Mama,” Jami pleaded, hearing the engine roaring, tires squealing as he turned around again, “ you gotta get up, now, please, he’s comin’ back, Mama, please, please, you gotta get up.”

The roar of the gasburner’s engine grew louder, he had gotten up speed, Jami felt the headlights burning into her as he charged back down Long Street, horn blasting the first few notes of “Glory to the Union,” into the night, he’d be on top of them any second now, out to finish what he’d started doing.

“Mama, please,” Jami sobbed,“please, get up, please get up, please—”

Hot, burning white lights....

...flooded comcon, more alarms screaming in her head, Ozzie, Casshole and Yanker warbirds everywhere she looked in the flickering master holodisplay...they didn’t have a hope in hell’s chance of making it out of this alive....

“MHD shielding reduced by 95%!” Senior Lieutenant Micki Phillips, Unbroken’s starship engineering officer, shouted inside her head. “Primary and secondary electrics are fried, teritary electrical system 78% disrupted, plasma-core torch severely damaged, no better than five grav max burn possible, antimatter reactor containment and thermopile both shorting out, auto-repair system off line, massdrivers Alfa Two, Alfa Four, Bravo One, Bravo Three and Bravo Four all knocked out, MHD beam forward and starboard emitters destroyed, starboard AKV bay destroyed...heavy casualties, 11 dead, 132 wounded.”

“Skipper,” she pleaded,“ I know you want to save as many of them as you can, we all do...but—”

“All excess power to MHDs!” the frightened senseless 21-year old girl at the conn of this busted-up warbird screamed.“ Shooter! Guns! Countermeasures! Return! Fire!”

“—you’re the Skipper,” that bitch of a chief flight engineer fucking had to remind her,“you have to think of your ship and crew as’ve done all you can, you have to....”

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:32:31 ZULU

“...battle ready, battle ready, flight crew to stations, skipper to comcon, at the double!”

Flight Captain Jamieson Sue Lanier, officer commanding, Solarian Commonwealth Starcraft Unbroken, was already out of her quarters, fumbling with her suit of Commonwealth grey, trying to seal herself up, halfway down the red-lit corridor to the one of the staircases and airlocks separating the spinhab from the command and control center in the hub by the time her 2ic had started shouted over the intecom for everyone to come running.

Jami had learned long time ago to sleep light...

She barely acknowledged Executive Officer Claudia Littlejohn’s cry of “Captain on deck!” inside her head, barely even heard Commander Michelle Phillips telling her “transferring command to conn,” as she sat down at the center of commcon’s lowest level, belted herself in, felt her ship cycling in and out of hyperspace a trillion times every second, as her Rittermark quantum-tunnel generator downcycled from max translight to max sublight, and the ship hurtled headlong at an analogous hyperspatial velocity(ahv)of 210,000 kilometers per second(kips) toward...

A Rover...what was a Rover, now just twisted, shattered bits of starship falling slowly into the Sun filling up most of the master holoproj, the Yanker Musocgee-class strike cruiser who had killed her now turning his track-mounted 50mm secondary massdrivers on the escape vehicles and shuttles full of people just trying to survive.

Someone using her voice screamed,“Kill the motherfuckers!” ten 203mm BPG warheads, and a pair of ten-ton Raptor.AKV2 autonomous-kill vehicles(AKVs)hissing of the veteran Solarian Commonwealth Star Force frigate’s twin quintuple-turreted primary massdrivers on the slope of her forward wedge and the two AKV bays on the chin, the Raptors each salvoing a pair of eight-inch BPG warheads from their massdrivers, as the bastard turned and counter-burned during his instant or so in norm to engage Unbroken, and bluish-white-hot flashes erupted all along his MHD shielding, turning it into a shimmering rainbow, spotted with black where some of the graser pulses had burned through his MHD beam arrays and into the fifty-one centimeters of cryogenic aerogel, MHD shield generators, nanites and tanc plating comprising his fusela—


Commcon went dark momentarily, and more alarms howled inside Jami’s head, as her starship engineering officer, Senior Lieutenant Ariel Dixon, shouted from her station on the upper level,“MHD shielding reduced by 83%, primary electrics 64% disrupted, secondary electrics 41% disrupted, internal heat 62 degrees, rising—”

“Return fire!” Jami screamed. “All nonessential systems to secondary power, all excess power to MHDs!”

“Shooter, Guns,” she then said to her senior weapons engineering officer, Senior Lieutenant Stephani Alguinado, and her junior, Lieutenant Marisa Partridge, “hit the son of a bitch again!”

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:33:04 ZULU

Malone laughed, even as his own bridge smoked, sparked, and burst into flame.

“That’s got ‘em, for damn skippy!” he exulted, Welch reporting:

“Primary power grid’s 100% disrupted, secondary power grid’s 88% disrupted, teritary power grid 82% disrupted, primary massdrivers two, three, six and nine knocked out, AKV bays destroyed, all birds lost, hangar bay destroyed, plasma-core torch badly damaged, no better than three and a half grav max burn; multiple penetrations in engineering spaces, upper gundeck, and outer spinhab, heavy casualties, sixty-one dead, 123 wounded, recommend we—”

“Death is merely gain, Mister Welch!” Malone told him point-blank.

“Bring us back around, Mister Snead,” he told Major Phillip J. Snead,“ we’ve got our—goddamn!

That interjection had been forced out of him, Atlanta Three taking a blow which threw his commander forward to the limit of the straps about to cut him to little pieces, before slamming him hard back into his chair.

“We’re fucked now,” Captain Andy Walden’s holoimage shouted in Malone’s head. “Forward MHD shield generators just gave up the ghost, Colonel, I think it would be a real good idea if we—”

After uttering a word beginning with the sixth letter of the alphabet, Malone told Snead to upcycle as fast as he could, his helmsman upcycled the Alcubierre generator to 97.29 gigahertz, or 97.29 terakips, with a thought and a teeth-rattling whine.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:33:57 ZULU

“No, you son of a bitch!” Jami growled, as the Yanker strike cruiser went NGE.

“Intercept vector and upcycle, Number One!” she ordered, Micki’s plant already wirelessly linking with the helm station’s holodisplays, transmitting the thought which had Unbroken’s own Rittermark generator upcycling its ingress/egress cycle from 210 hertz to 97.29 gigahertz, sending the 14,523-ton Solarian Commonwealth warbird hurtling in and out of hyperspace at 97.29 terakips ahv.

If her wife had anticipated correctly—and she had, she was the best Jami had seen—Unbroken would run his sorry ass down, and finish the job she’d started of sending him straight to Hell to burn where they all fucking burned best; Habitat hadn’t settled a goddamn thing, twenty years of war, all those trillions of people dead, worse than dead...

...oh, dear Jesus F. Carpathia, she was a skeleton with skin, just covered in sores, bruises and welts from head to toe, her eyes vibrating with fear and fever as she got up to the limit of the fucking chain around her neck, kneeling on a floor full of piss and shit and hoarded food amongst the crap...

...hands tearing her panties off her, ripping open the tank top, grabbing her arms and legs, slamming her down onto the cold ferrocrete as she stupidly tried to climb the walls, opening her mouth to scream as they held her down and shoved themselves into her, only to have someone ram a strap down her throat, telling her ”bitch, that whut yo’ fuckin’ mout’ good fo’....\“, not now, damnit, not now...later, she could give in, but right now, she had to be the commander of this bird, directing the efforts of 199 other women and men towards making those murdering Yanker animals pay for what they’d done.

Only thing they could do, they’d fallen down on the goddamn job, 432 scientists, scholars and students murdered in the freaking Solar System, because she had not gotten there in time to... what remained of Kohoutek dissipate, along with the Dyson tree colony it had hoped to contain.

She just had to direct the view aft, to all those she couldn’t save, as a thought from Commander Mary Catherine Rhoads upcycled Unbroken to max translight velocity....

...sons of bitches had to die, only thing she and hers could do.

It wouldn’t even come close to being enough.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:33:57 ZULU

“It was communicated to me,” that smug Ozzie bastard calling himself an expert on children said on the stand,“ by one of Alexandra’s indoctrinators, that her mother’s non-Canon sexual relations with Nastasha Gipson was causing her to act out and rebel, possibly even leading to another training and doctrine opportunity in the near future.”

“Mama,” Lexie Winslow whispered to her mother, Kishana,“ that’s a goddamn—”

“There will be none of that in my courtroom, young lady!” the sheriff barked at them, Kiki gently squeezing her oldest daughter’s hand.

“Please continue, Sheriff Johnson,” he said to Horace’s three-time loser politico of a lawyer, the Sheriff of Flynt County, Walker Francis Johnson.

“I’ve nothing further to ask of this witness, Your Honor,” Johnson replied.

“The defense may cross-examine,” Baldwin County Sheriff Robert G. Owens then said, Kiki getting up, Johnson saying,“ I renew my objection, Your Honor. The defendant is not a lawyer and has no business—”

“Miss Winslow,” Owens said, looking down his nose at her,“ if memory serves, this court instructed you to secure the services of an att—”

“I can’t afford one,” Kiki replied.

“That is no excuse,” Owens replied,“and your obstinate refusal to secure the services of someone competent to conduct your defense speaks volumes about your ability to be a fit mother for these children.”

“Excuse me, Your Honor,” sixteen-year old NaTanya spoke up,“ I believe you are editorializing, and that’s not allowed under the—”

“As does,” Owens snapped,“ your children’s lack of discipline and self-control.”

“No,” he concluded,“ I am going to have to agree with the plantiff’s expert witness—”

“He hasn’t offered one solid shred of eviden—” Kiki objected.

“—these children are all clearly suffering the effects of Stockholm syndrome; it is obvious they—the three girls in particular—have all been brainwashed by their mother and her non-Canon sexual partner, and thus are incapable of making an informed decision concerning who they wish to live with.”

“The social worker—” Lexie started to say.

“One more word out of you, you goddamn little bitch, and you will be in YDC til your fuckin’ grandchildren are old and grey!” Owens roared.

“Those outbursts,” Owens then added, Kiki feeling her heart sinking,“ just prove the poisonous influence the lack of a paternal authority figure in the home has on the proper development of young ladies.”

“As both children, though they are of the age of consent, are clearly incapable of making any informed decisions for themselves,” he concluded,“ the court has no choice but to set aside their desire to remain with their mother and her non-Canon sexual partner, and make its ruling based on the fa—“

What the fuck?!” he then shrieked, as the entire Baldwin County Courthouse shuddered, blew out its lights, windows, and doors, and everyone started running in every direction at once.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:33:57 ZULU

“For too long,“ Guy Thomas Zellner, Governor of the Union, shouted, his voice taking the fire and brimstone quality even his fathers would’ve been proud of, “ we have allowed the radfems and their sojus soyboi fellow travellers to poison our minds with their radfem claptrap and their femsex dogma...for too long...far too long...we have allowed ferals to corrupt our girls, luring them away from the civilized path we would have them take, telling them it is acceptable for them to fall back into savagery, fall back into depravity, fall back into predation, fall back into misery, damnation and death!”

The Governor of His Most Perfect Union paused for effect, his dark brown eyes glaring straight ahead for a few moments, before he resumed his speech:

“The consequences of our tolerance of their perversity are all around us. Yesterday, as a matter of fact, one of them committed unspeakable acts of wanton violence against her indoctrinators and fellow students, because they have turned all of our training and doctrine facilities into pits of fornication, drug abuse, violence and depravities beyond number, unsafe for young people who want to learn to learn!”

Another pause, the true Israel looking round the floor of the General Assembly, at the members of the lower house of the Common Legislature, the members of the House of Commons, his Cabinet and all the Media Committee’s floggers(video bloggers) currently on Terranova, all assembled for a special joint session to honor the men of Atlanta Three for a job well done indeed.

“Now,” he said, calm, soft, firm,“they are trying to force our sheriffs to accept their so-called lifestyle, to legalize them being allowed to corrupt the morals, the very souls of innocent children, to turn them into ferals like they dare they denounce what we did today as an act of terrorism, when they have been the terrorists all along,” he stoked up the fire now,“we are guilty only of committing an act of self-preservation, ladies and gentlemen, self-preservation against Mistress Lilith Angelique Babylon and all her dark coven hellbent on destroying everything we hold dear, we are not terrorists, and those were not innocent bystanders, we are the persecuted, they are the harlots out for our blood, and we need to stop cowering in fear and bomb the h—”

The whole fucking Capitol shook, right down to its foundations, the lights expiring in a shower of sparks, the Governor of the Union knocked into his podium, holding on for dear life, painfully aware of something wet and warm soaking the crotch of his fourteen-thousand dollar TSC grey Armani slacks, the fucking building continuing to shake, the crash of glass shattering almost, but not quite, overwhelming the sound of explosions outside and entirely too close by.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:34:00 ZULU

This was why starcraft did not cycle in and out of hyperspace in atmosphere.

The inside of Jami’s head was alive with alarms, Micki fighting Unbroken, as she rapidly cycled in and out of hyperspace...eight and a half freakin’ klicks over New Athens, more on top of the enemy machine they’d been pursuing than they wanted to be, the sky livid with psuedo-tachyons streaking down to earth to detonate with all the massive energy they had before they could decay into photons and van Gripstra particles, those tachyons which had had time to decay upon emission from hyperspace making for one hell of a light show as their component parts continued raining down and wreaking more havoc; the dome of the Capitol had a gaping wound bleeding molten tanc composite and dyprosium foil down its sides.

“Countermeasures,” she snapped at Claudia, “redirect the 50s against every military, economic and government target on planet, and take ‛em out, divert all excess power to MHDs, take all nonessential systems off line! Med section to local power!”

The 19-kiloton saucer and inverted wedge Yanker strike cruiser they’d been hunting down was wheeling about to bring his guns to bear on Unbroken’s turreted wedge, cone and spiked bell, his MHD shielding radiating blue, indigo, violet, even black in some spots, emitted psuedo tachyons passing right through him, blasting massive holes into his fuselage along the dorsal section.

“Shooter, Guns, take him down!” she snapped, her senior WEO not needing her order to hose that bastard with a hundred eight-inch warheads from fifty of her Raptors, Micki’s thoughts playing across her controls, twisting and turning in every direction at once in an attempt to dodge the dozen or so 50- and 203mm BPGs Atlanta Three had vectored their way.

The master holoproj flashed blue-white, the ship shaking, more alarms going off, Ariel shouting “MHD shielding reduced by 72%, primary electrics 100% disrupted, secondary electrics 58% disrupted, reactor containment and thermopile destabilizing, internal heat 73.2 degrees—”

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:35:00 ZULU

“—reinforcing MHDs!” Bohannon said, finishing the litany of motherfucking disaster, as the bridge continued burning and sparking, Snead desperately trying to dodge all those BPGs being vectored towards Atlanta Three, not quite succeeding, the already-stressed MHD shielding flashing blue-white in way too many places, more black spots appearing in the field of magnetically-contained plasma, the ship shaking and blasting himself to pieces all around Malone, crushing the arms of his chair underneath his hands, breathing raggedly, not smiling when a trio of eight-inch BPG detonated, and struck home with hot gras against that Sullie feral’s forward shielding.

Nothing to fucking smile about, she’d managed to punch at least fifty more of her AKVs, and her 50mm point-defense massdrivers were pumping low-yield, but still incredibly destructive, BPG warheads on the planet below them, while Atlanta Three’s own arsenal of 390 King Cobra AKVs, and 12 SF-71B Predator starfighters were now just so much junk in the twisted wreckage of the ship’s hangar and missile b—

The master holoviewer went out in a shower of sparks, a more massive explosion propelling pieces of the turbolift doors through the air like lead pellets from an ancient shotgun, one of the fragments neatly slicing through Snead’s helmet and his smoothly-shaven, perfectly-black skull with no effort at all, embedding itself on the bulkhead just above the forward escape hatch.

Malone himself was slammed back into his chair, the wind knocked completely out of him, the only one alive on a deck lit up only by fire...the only one alive, period, he craned his head to look through where the turbolift had been and saw only Judas staring back at him, what remained of Republican Union Starcraft Atlanta Three plummeting rapidly towards Terranova entirely too fast for his comfort.

Unbelting from his chair, Malone struggled to reach the forward escape hatch, pulling down on the lever to the left to cycle it open, stepping through it into the shitcan nestled inside it, sitting down in the chair, echoing the commands into its holodisplay which would blast him free of this wreckage.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

Foreword(and forewarned): This story may not be suitable for all readers. There's some not nice stuff going on, though I've tried to avoid it as much as possible. For that, gentle reader, I apologize in advance.

WARNING: He's not joking. This contains massive amounts of racism, misogyny, anti-LGTBQ rants, all wrapped in religion. --LadyTevar

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:37:11 ZULU

“Uh, Skipper….” Exec Claudia Littlejohn said slowly, as more enemy warbirds streaked up to take the place of the one they’d just blasted out of the sky “…I think they’re pissed at us.”

BPG warheads and AKVs streaked past them from both ground and orbital defenses, Micki just barely managing to evade them all, a volley of 203s slamming into a Yanker Columbia-class heavy cruiser, smashing through his MHD shielding, vaporizing his 56,000-ton saucer, inverted and twin nacelle spaceframe into trillions of molten droplets raining down onto the planet below them, bouncing off the forward shielding of another heavy now hosing the sky down with his forty track-mounted 203-millimeter massdrivers, launching a brace of King Cobra AKVs, and all 228 of his fifty-ton Predator manned starfighters out in front, Stevie and Marisa ripping salvo after salvo from the Raptors and 203s in reply, the ship shaking again, more alarms howling, her starship engineering officer rattling off the damage and status, Stevie and Marisa returning fire, Claudia reinforcing the MHDs, small showers of moleten rain indicating the remains of the heavy cruiser’s fighters, the heavy itself taking one hell of a pounding, sheathed in nova-hot explosions where gras had burned into, and, in several cases, through his MHDs, through his fuselage in multiple flashes, the Columbia tumbling as he went down, more coming up to take his place.

The battered Solarian Commonwealth Star Force frigate continued cycling in and out across the sky, Micki taking her ship into the midst of more enemy warbirds, Marisa and Stevie having their choice of targets to drive gras into, bringing down enemy machines left and right before Micki flew through them, into momentarily clear sky.

Unbroken staggered as a heavy cruiser jumped her, and nailed her good with a volley of 203s.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:38:22 ZULU

“Hell yeah!” exulted Commanding General Jefferson Davis Selkirk, Chairman of the Union Security Council, as his flagship, Republican Union Starcraft Enterprise, scored a direct hit on that little bitch, “that’s the fuckin’ way to do it!”

Ungrateful goddamn little fucking whore, she was finally gonna get payback for everything she’d fucking done to him, every motherfuckin’ thing.

Goddamnit, he’d had his problems—all caused by his bitch of a wife and his licentious howling whore of a daughter—but, he’d done the best he could for that ungrateful little tramp, bailing her black ass out every time the Gnats had arrested her, trashing his career, because of his constant worrying about her running around, getting drunk, smoking pot, nosecoking redbud, whoring herself to everything that moved, running with that gang of girls in the CLM, being a fucking femperv and eating the ass of that goddamn Sunni fucking Smith; he could’ve been one hell of a lot more than what he was, if only he hadn’t pissed it all away worrying about that nasty little slut, constantly bailing her out of jail, worrying about the girls at the YDC turning her out and making her even more of a hardcore feral-ass femperv than she had been.

He’d even kept up with her career, not that that spoiled-rot little black bitch of his would ever even acknowledge that, or the fact that she wouldn’t even have ended up in the service in the first place if it hadn’t been for what her daddy had tried to do for his little African princess, in spite of that miserable bitch of a wife always dragging him down, holding him back and making excuses for why she wasn’t anything more than a worthless piece of a—

“Goddamnit!” he screamed, Enterprise lurching from a fusillade that useless as bull titties fucking bitch of a so-called helmsman had steered them right into.

“If you can’t fuckin’ drive,” he snapped, Enterprise’s fire-control officer returning fire with the heavy cruiser’s twenty-three working 203s,“ fuckin’ turn the wheel over to someone who can!”

“Sir,” that simpering chimp Captain Anton T. Merriweather started to whine, “I—”

”Always ready with the goddamn excuses, aren’t you, bitch?!“ Selkirk spat back in reply, his flagship staggering from another brace of 203s smashing through the MHDs; goddamn fucking North Coast rich daddy’s boy piece of fucking shit, almost as fucking incompetent as that stupid, pretentious little bitch of his when she tried to drive, and ended up wrecking the fucking cars she boosted for goddamn joyrides...goddamn mint-condition 1986 Monte Carlo SS, won it with five aces in an all-night poker game, an honest to God gasburner, worth over a half meg cool silver, and that bitch had gotten stoned, stolen it right out from under him and ended up wrapping the goddamn thing around a motherfucking lamp post on Long Street, just after using it to run down her bitch of a mother, nine and a half months pregnant with another goddamn bitch she’d made him give her.

She’d done eighteen months’ YDC time for that little joyride, eighteen months of her being banged and beaten down by girls bigger and harder than she was and learning how to be just like them, ending up going before Sheriff Owens for beating down one of the new girls, raping her ass with a goddamn broom handle and forcing her to eat her spoiled little black ass, and say she loved her before she strangled and mutilated the little hoochie, and, all the sheriff had given her—because she was a girl, and they literally got away with murder—was a choice between the service and being some Helga’s sweet little Darling Childe in pri—


That one tore right through the MHDs, blew everything to hell, Selkirk thrown forward and slammed back into his chair by the force of the impact.

“Pedersen, you useless bonesmoker,” he screamed at his defensive countermeasures officer, Lieutenant John Pedersen,“why the fuck didn’t you reinforce the goddamn MHDs?!”

“I did, sir,” the fucking bitch had the unmitigated fucking gall to fucking lie to her damn daddy,“but—”

Selkirk was out of his chair, jumping that miserable, lying goddamn little bitch and giving her exactly what she had coming to her for lying and for not accepting responsibility for her actions—the back of his goddamn hand—screaming:

”All the hell you know how to do is make fucking excuses for your incompetence, and I won’t stand for it anymore! Goddamn you, bitch, my daddy taught me to fucking take responsibility for my God, when old Chief Master Sergeant Richard C. Selkirk caught your ass doing something, you said, ‘yes, sir, I did it, sir,’ pulled down your britches, bent over and thanked him, sir, for taking out his belt and using it to make your fuckin’ boy p—“

Enterprise’s bridge exploded, hurling Selkirk through the countermeasures holodisplays and onto the worthless bitch of a so-called officer, both of them slamming into the bulkhead beside the master holoviewer, alarms by the dozen screaming inside the head of the Chairman of the Union Security Council as he continued shaking Pedersen, slamming him into the bulkhead, calling him a good-for-nothing, useless goddamn fucking bitch over and over.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:40:36 ZULU

“Starcraft in transit,” Claudia shouted, absolutely the last fucking thing Jami needed to hear,“inside the New Athens and the Atlanta Three orbital-approach corridors!”

A pause, before Unbroken’s defensive countermeasures engineer added,“ 9,360 Commonwealth Star Force Dauntless-class frigates plus 9,360 Federation of Midnight Sun Polaris-class destroyers, all downcycling to low sublight, and moving towards atmospheric insertion.”

“Oh, hell yeah!” Jami exulted, as Marisa put another volley of 203s right into that heavy, loosing another ten bomb-pumped graser warheads into a couple of Yanker strike cruisers trying to come to the aid of their larger cousin, sending them down to burn where all their kind burned best.

“Additional starcraft inside inside New Athens and Atlanta Three corridors,” Senior Lieutenant Michiko Fujiwara, Unbroken’s intel officer, reported, as Stevie’s Raptors accounted for another four enemy heavies, “ new arrivals are 9,360 Jolian Alliance Jeanne d’Arc-class warbirds, 9,360 Confederation of Horizon Talon-class frigates, 9,360 Japanese Self-Defense Space Forces Yukikaze-class destroyers, 9,360 Cydonian Halifax-class frigates, 9,360 Donovanian Kira Donovan-class frigates and 9,360 Cosmogradian Kirov-class autonomous vehicle-carrying star destroyers, all on atmospheric insertion vector...incoming communication from CDS Tilghmann, aboard SCS Dreadnaught.”

“Let’s hear it,” Jami replied, as Unbroken blasted three more enemy warbirds out of the sky.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:40:50 ZULU

“To Terranova Governor Guy Thomas Zellner from Rebekah Lee Tilghmann,” the holo of Angelique fucking Gault’s goddamn little girlie said as she stood on the floor of the General Assembly,“Chief of the Defense Staff of the Solarian Commonwealth Armed Forces. Under your direct orders, Republican Union Starcraft Atlanta Three carried out the wanton, cold-blooded murder of 432 defenseless civilians, our own citizens, in Solar orbit!

She paused, the Governor of the Union, his Cabinet, the members of the Common Legislature and the MedCom floggers all struggling to gather their wits.

“This,” the red-headed bitch spoke again,“ is unacceptable, and simply cannot be allowed to go unpunished. Therefore, as of this date, all space within 1.875 kiloklicks of any Terranovan world or orbital facility is now under blockade; all warships within these exclusion zones will be shot down without challenge. All commercial transports entering or leaving these exclusion zones, save those carrying food, clothing, medical supplies or similar such materiel, will be challenged, crippled, boarded and their cargoes dumped into space. All starliners and medical starcraft will be allowed to enter or leave unmolested.

The blockade will remain in effect until such time you choose to apologize. That is all, discomming.”

“That’s all?!” commented Attorney General Micheal Bauer. “Goddamn, that’s enough.”

“We aren’t just going to take this lying down, are we, Guy?!” whined his Minister of Human Resources, Orson Perdue, as he stood beside his man.

Israel was already on the line with Jeff Selkirk, the image of his fallen black buck standing directly in front of the Governor of the Union, instantly telling him,“sir, we can take ‘em, just give the word, and—”

“Stand down,” his Governor ordered him.

“Sir?!” his Security Council Chairman asked.

“Fucking stand down!” the Governor of the Union bitterly spat the words out, his voice echoing in the pitch-black of the General Assembly chamber.

“For now,” he added quietly.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:43:05 ZULU

“Enemy warbirds standing down,” Claudia reported,“ and they are RTB.”

“Recall Raptors in flight,” Jami, her whole body starting to shake in spite of her, said,“ stand down from battle ready.”

She could just barely control her trembling hands, her fingers fumbling with the buckles of the command conn’s restraining straps, managing to undo them, her knees almost going out from under her as she stood up, eyes on the master holoproj and the snowfall of glowing blue junk and exploded bodies, on her own shambles of a command and control center, on the afterimage of the final casualty report holoprojected in front of her station.

Sixty-seven people, one-third of Unbroken’s crew complement, weren’t coming home alive, because of her insane, futile, pathetic fucking need for closure.

“Effect repairs,” she said quietly into her plant’s laringytial mic, as she turned and rapidly walked towards the airlock. “T-transferring....”

“...c-command to 2ic,” she whispered , as....

...white light blinded her, his voice, stinking of alcohol, screaming at her, calling her a bitch, grabbing her, turning her around just so he could knock hell out of her, Jami making the mistake of trying to get back up, Daddy stomping her into the pavement, kicking her, hauling her back up onto her feet, slamming her up against the hood of the car, unzipping her jeans, pulling them and her panties down, laying into her ass with his belt and his boots, his breath coming in ragged gasps as he called her a murdering goddamn bitch, telling her she did it, she did it, she was the one who’d run over her own mama, because she was a chickenheaded goddamn feral-ass femperv bitch who hated other feral-ass bitches, even the one that gave birth to her, and how dare she fucking try and put this all off on him.

Blue and red lights were strobing in the darkness, another black man telling Daddy,” we’ll take care of it from here, General Selkirk, go on back home and sleep it off,“ someone grabbing hold of her hair, shoving something hard, metallic up her ass, Jami screaming her head off, pissing herself, every last nerve in her body on fire, a gauntleted hand reaching up into her t-shirt, snatching off her bra, grabbing her tits, another hand slapping her ass, wrenching her arms behind her back and snapping on a pair of neural-paralysis handcuffs, pushing on whatever had been shoved up in her, before pulling it out and throwing her down into the street, the same man who told her Daddy to go home screaming for her to get up, you sick piece of shit, get the fuck up, as he stomped on her, kicking her ass as hard as he could with his boots...

...Jami falling down onto her hands and knees on the now-repressurized and restarted spinhab, gakking up all over the floor and herself, her body heaving and trembling, her stomach tearing itself apart, her breath coming in ragged sobs, Unbroken’s skipper unable to do anything else except puke, shake.

And cry.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

Foreword(and forewarned): This story may not be suitable for all readers. There's some not nice stuff going on, though I've tried to avoid it as much as possible. For that, gentle reader, I apologize in advance.

WARNING: He's not joking. This contains massive amounts of racism, misogyny, anti-LGTBQ rants, all wrapped in religion. --LadyTevar

02) And, To That Land, I Still Belong

“Funny, I’ve been there.
And you’ve been here.
And, we ain’t had no time to drink that beer.
‘Cause I understand,
You’ve been running from the man,
That goes by the name of the Sandman...”
—America, “Sandman”

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:47:00 ZULU

“ SCS Unbroken,” the holo of the traffic controller said, as Unbroken downcycled into norm 393 klicks from Venus, “Maxwell Montes Tracking; you are free and clear for final approach; switching you over to Commonwealth Forces Base Maxwell Montes, please stand by.”

Her holoimage was replaced by that of a Commonwealth Forces LogCorps master technical sergeant telling Flight Captain Jameison Lanier,“we’ve got you five by five, Unbroken, you’re cleared for approach to gantry C-920, repeat, gantry C-niner-two-zera; please lock your nav comms onto the appropriate locator.”

“Nav comms locked onto locator Charlie niner-two-zera, CFB Maxwell Montes, starting decel burn,” Commander Michelle Phillips replied, a thought from her plant to her controls smoothly flipping the 14,523-ton Dauntless-class frigate on her short axis, and firing its torch to start its decel burn toward the greenish-blue marble of the Solarian homeworld.

“Welcome home, Unbroken,” the controller added, Jami mechanically thanking her, no joy in either the homecoming or the view of her adopted homeworld.

Sixty-seven of her flight crew were coming home in boxes draped with the Sunburst of the Commonwealth, each guarded by a section of the ship’s surviving Starmarine company.

Most—fifty-three—had been those starship techs caught in the ‛tween decks, effecting repairs, when Jami had let her ship get ship get beat all to hell, just for her petty need for revenge and closure.

Most of those...were just kids.

Kids who hadn’t known any better, so they’d trusted her to get them through it all alive.

I bet they fucking regret that, Unbroken’s skipper thought bitterly.

“All running lights on,” she ordered softly, as Unbroken reentered atmosphere over the city of Maxwell Montes, capital of the Solarian Commonwealth of Nations, altering vector slightly so she was descending slowly over the Commonwealth Forces Base reservation ten klicks to the east of the city center.

“All running lights on,” Micki whispered in reply, taking them down.

...she tried to struggle, to free herself of him, but he had her pinned to the bed with his sheer mass, his every thrust bringing forth more blood, more pain...she just couldn’t keep him from hurting her.

Making her say what he wanted her to, as he hurt her...

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 12:00:00 ZULU

“...fuck,” Sunni Pate whispered to herself, snapping to full wakefulness as she sat in the office of Chik n’ Waffle #464, cursing herself for falling asleep, sniffling, mopping away tears on the right sleeve of her grey pinstriped Chik n’Waffle multi-unit manager uniform shirt, gulping down some of the coffee she’d poured for herself, looking through the one-way mirror into the customer area and backline, listening to the audio information transmitted by the nanobugs planted in the front of the store sighing.

Kimmie O’Connell was sitting down at the low counter again, smoking up another fucking doobie on her clock, whining about her feet hurting and her fat ass not making any money, when her section was slam full of customers that Sarah, Lorelei and Amy Smith—no relation, thank God—were all running around trying to serve, and, of course, fucking Ibrahim, struggling on the grill, wasn’t doing a damn thing to her, and he(and those idiots from MiniHumRes) wondered why Sunni had to constantly keep throwing down on his sorry brown ass.

All her fucking managers were worse than useless, all of them had to be watched every damn minute or they’d fuck her sales, her food costs, her money and her associates...Debi would cheat like a son of a bitch on her 2/2’s, Form 4s and Black Book, Austin’s crew ate him out of house and home, and he always wondered why his store ran thirty, thirty-five percent in food costs, and Ibrahim had been in this store nine months and still couldn’t get it right.

He’d been the fifth manager in here since Neesha decided to up and fucking walk out on her two years ago, after every goddamn thing she’d done for her ungrateful black ass.

Everybody left her...

“...loves you?!” Daddy asked, shaking his head.

“Loves you?!” he repeated, laughing at her as he stood over her. “Is that what the fuck you think, that that little feral black bitch could actually love you?”

Laughing some more, he told her:

“You really are a....”

...Sunni nodding her head, wiping away more tears, cursing herself for crying when she’d done it all to herself...who the fuck had she been, telling Jami not to put up with that shit anymore, to stand up for herself when Sunni had never known the first fucking thing about doing that.

Dryswallowing, Sunni picked up the screamer she’d left in here...the updated Flyntsboro Telegraph, a half hour old, she’d echoed ten bucks to the Net just to have something to try and keep her awake and distracted.

She started re-reading the screamer’s front page:


the headline read, the picture splashed across the front page that of a woman, naked except for a red t-shirt with the Greek letters ΧΩ on the front, her ankle-braceleted foot on the back of another girl, naked except for rings on her hairless cooch and her right titty, a pair of shackles and a collar; the other woman was holding on to her leash, keeping her down on her hands and knees, tearing into her ass with a fuswhip.

The caption read:

“Operatives of the Terranovan Security and Intelligence Directorate’s Special Victims Unit arrived just in time to save eighteen-year old Jessica Lynch, a first-year student majoring in women’s studies at Terranova College and Republican Union University in Wesley, from being reverted to her feral state at the hands of this brutal and sadistic woman, a known antifasicst radfem terrorist, according to sources within the TSID’s SVU. “

Sunni reading part of the accompanying story:

“’To think,’ said Major Doctor Horce Rumph, an internationally-recognized expert[internationally-recognized son of a bitch, Sunni thought angrily to herself] in the field of evolutionary gyneopsychology and supervisory special agent in charge of the TSID’s Special Victims Unit, ‘of the terrible fate which awaited that innocent girl and others like her, the nightmare of prostitution and femsexual enslavement at the hands of the radfem, sojus, Jewnazi, Bilderberger elites and their interstellarist, corpo-religious deep state, of how they would’ve been brutally abused and brainwashed to the point of reversion to their feral state, forgetting what it is to be in a loving relationship with a man at the head, forgetting every moral, decent value their fathers, brothers, and husbands had painstakingly taught them, surrendering to their innate perversity, turning back into brutal, savage animals like their dominatrices, preying on the weak and the innocent, like their abusers preyed upon them, and so makes decent men shudder just thinking about it...’”

“...I said, fucking put ‘em on, now!” Randy screamed, knocking her over the coffee table, hauling her out from between the table and the sofa by her hair, slapping her across the face, slapping her again when she was stupid enough to beg him please, baby, please, not tonight, not tonight.

Smashing her face into the carpet, he beat her ass with his belt, hitting her harder when she cried, telling her to quit her goddamn pretending, bitch, screaming for her to stand up, stand up, or he’d do worse than beat her.

She stood up.

“Now,” he asked, “are you going to put them on, or do I have to...believe me, wife-girlie, if I have to, you sure as hell...”

...why the fuck was she crying?!

She didn’t deserve any fucking better than what she got, there was a reason why everyone in her life left her or shit on her or shit on her and left her...why Jami had gone away and hadn’t bothered to even try and get in touch with her in almost forty years.

Her mama would still be alive, her sister would’ve been born and had at least half a chance at being alive, Jami herself wouldn’t have had to deal with so goddamn many snakes in her head, if only...

If only she hadn’t come up with the nerve to love somebody who just wasn’t worth it.

”...Sissy?“ the eight-year old boy said, peeking in his older sister’s was Saturday, ten o’clock...Sissy should’ve been up by now, she was supposed to be babysitting them...Jeff was over at his friend Cam’s house, sleeping over, Mama and Daddy both had to work today...Daddy had hollered at her this morning, before he had left for the base, told her that the house had better be clean, and the twins had better not have gotten into anything, or, by God, she was gonna get it good.

Carson went in the room, walked over to the bed.

”Sissy?“ he said, shaking her gently by her exposed shoulder. ”C’mon, Sissy, you gotta get up, you gotta get up.“

She wasn’t moving, wasn’t making a sound...Carson couldn’t even hear her breathing.

”You gotta get up!“ he shouted, hysterical, shaking her even more roughly, ”Please, Sissy, get up, get up, Daddy’s gonna hurt you if he comes home and finds you still in bed, you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta—“

He choked on this plea, as the little boy’s eyes fell upon the empty brown bottle on his older sister’s nightstand...she had told one of her indocs how Daddy had been hurting her, and she had told the National Police, who had told a man in a grey suit and tie, who had talked with Mama and Daddy, with Jeff, with Abby, and with Carson and Draco...Carson and Draco told Captain Zellner everything, and Captain Zellner had called them both liars, telling Daddy on them, and Daddy had called them liars and washed their mouths out with soap.

Captain Zellner, Daddy, and another man in a blue suit had told Sheriff Johnson that Sissy was making it all up, that she was sick, and needed to go to a hospital to get all better, and Sheriff Johnson agreed...Sissy had gone away a real long time, and, when she had come back, she sleepwalked all day, with her eyes open...the pills in that bottle, the ones she was supposed to take every day to make her all better, were what made her sleepwalk all the time...she was only supposed to take one of them at a time...

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 12:15:22 ZULU

“...Carson?” Annesha Griffin’s voice whispered from behind him, Carson McCullers Selkirk feeling his wife’s gentle hand on his right shoulder, as he stared out the bay window of his house.

“Baby?” she whispered, worry evident in her voice.

“Off,” Carson whispered to the HV projector and that bastard Horace Rumph telling the worlds lies of the alleged sex-slave ring they’d supposedly busted up in Wesley, how they weren’t quite done yet, still had a ways to go before they openly tied this in to Kiki and Tasha, innuendo being more than sufficent right now to carry the day.

He sighed, patting the hand his heart and soul had laid on his right shoulder, telling her,“ it’s all right, babe...just thinking.”

“Now, who’s fooling whom?” Neesha chided.

“Trying to anyway,” she added.

“Homesteaders were picketing outside the Capitol again,” Carson said, changing the subject to the ongoing dispute between the Homesteads on the Terranovan continent of New Patagonia and New Athens. “Gotchanow’s threatening to put the boots to ‛em, now that Smitty’s flat out refusing to enforce Amendment 42,” or the Training and Doctrine Defense Amendment, which further put the screws to the female inmates of what passed for education in the Rude Union of Backstabbers,”and, knowing Gotchanow, it ain’t gonna be just harsh words, not for too much longer.”

He shook his head, turning away from the window, looking into the beautiful face of his personal redeemption, smiling.

“There will be time enough for that,” he whispered. “Right now, why don’t we have some does pancakes and sausage sound?”

“That’s fine, baby,” Neesha replied, smiling back as she brushed a tear from his cheek.

“It will be,” she repeated softly,“just fine.”

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 12:22:01 ZULU

“Did we get ‛em all?” asked Guy Thomas Zellner, Governor of the Union, as he turned from the window in his office—one of the few left unshattered by Unbroken’s terrorist attack—and faced his Cabinet ministers.

“Most of them,” Donalbain Van Pelt, Minister of Feminine Rehabilitation, replied.

“’Most of them’ ain’t good enough!” snapped the Lord and Master of his worthless life. “How many got away?!”

“Of the 2,927 faculty and students who signed the petition in favor of the feral and her non-Canon sexual partner being permitted to rear children,” Jeff Selkirk replied, his rich African baritone still thrilling his Governor even now,“ the TSID and the Special Forces Command succeeded in rounding up 2,184 for transport and were forced to terminate 727 of the remaining 743.”

“Sixteen at liberty,” Ras Tafari Makonnen replied. “That, I can live with...Raleigh, George, get with Damien d’Souza and the rest of your running buddies on the Media Committee, tell them to do what they can to play them up as the worst thing to happen, since the United States of America and the Tricentennial War.”

“Ten Most Wanted,” Raleigh Baxter, CEO of Terranova Media Syndicate, said,“is already planning to produce a special series of shows dedicated to them and to Kishana Winslow as well; the first airs tonight.”

“I’ll want to see it before you echo it,” Zellner replied. “Heathcote, arrangements on your end?”

“All seven transports plus escorts have already lifted from Atlanta Three and New Athens on vector for their designated coordinates,” Sir Heathcoate Saint John, Home Secretary of the True Britannic Republic of Oswald replied.“ It’s all been echoed to your plant, if you’re really curious as to their final dispositions.”

The Governor of the Union nodded his head.

“I’ll review it at my leisure,” he said, nodding his head, liking the Ozzie home secretary as much as he disliked the runty, four-eyed little bastard.

“Hopefully,” he added,“this will prove an object lesson to the rest of them.”

“That,” Saint John replied,“is entirelly up to us, Zellner.”

“Entirelly up to us,” he repeated.

...her eyes were rolled back into her head, Jami cradling her against her breasts, telling her over and over it was going to be all right, pleading with her to get up, ”Glory To the Union,“ getting louder, closer, the headlights getting brighter, hotter...brakes squealed, a door opened and slammed shut, a hand...

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 12:27:08 ZULU

...grabbing her from the shadows of her mind, Jami almost losing control of the Sable 1500 motorcycle, cursing herself for allowing herself to be distracted as she just barely managed to keep the motorcycle from crossing over from the V219 motorway’s rightmost lane into the lane next to her and colliding with a ‘56 Bravo dualie-dualie pickup loaded down with farming gear at over 550 klicks per hour.

With no one ahead of her, she kicked the motorcycle up to 570, its magneto-hydrodynamic turbine and jet exhausts making one hell of a racket, hopefully enough to drown out her thoughts; she still had seven more calls to make, all in the Mackenzie River Territory, on the other side of Ishtar Terra’s continential divide.

The MacGregor family farm was 300 kilometers due southwest of MaxMons, a beautiful, sprawling, still largely untamed land, capable of growing anything; their nearest neighbors were the Mennonite community of Providence Springs, ten klicks away, their holdings overlapping with those of the MacGregors’ and the other members of their extended family, both groups sharing that same land amicably in the two and a quarter centuries since the British, Euros, Israelis, and Japanese had terraformed Venus.

There was an enclave of Yoders on Terranova as well, the only other place in the worlds where they still existed, between Marshallsboro and Huascar, along Terranova Highway 26; Daddy had taken them to their restaurant on the way back from visiting her Grampa Ricky at Sumterfield when she’d been about six or seven...

“...goddamn fat fuckin’ cooter!” he shouted, after knocking her to the floor, standing over her, stomping on her when she tried to get up, Mama telling him,“baby, please, don’t, not in fr—”

“Bitch, fuckin’ shut the fuck up!” he screamed at her, Jami cringing as her mama started squalling, telling over and over him she was sorry, Daddy beating the crap out of her anyway, until he was red-faced and heaving, and she was sobbing.

Then he picked up Jami’s plate of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy and broccoli casserole, spitting on her as he looked down.

“Goddamn fat, fuckin’ pig,” he told her,“ you wanna eat so goddamn much, you can fuckin’ wear it!”

Pinning her to the floor with one hand, he mashed the plate into her face, getting it all over her, into her hair too, before he picked up the saucer with the piece of shoofly pie, mashing that in her face, grabbing Mama’s plate off the table, dumping meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy and string beans on her, using his hands to smear it all over Jami’s dress and tights.

“Now, sit your stinking little black ass down!” he told her, grabbing her hair and getting her good across her face when she started....

...crying, cursing herself again for allowing herself to be distracted.

Half-blind with tears, she made it over the bridge spanning the Vesper River at Kylien Falls, pulling off into a rest area just past the bridge, about a kilometer and a half shy of Three Rivers’ Junction, just inside the Mackenzie River Territory, parking her bike along a railing spanning a canyon overlooking the Vesper as it flowed eastward to meet up with the Keenan and the Mackenzie; she sat there, looking down at the river, at yellowflowers and jackapple trees growing wild all along its banks, children picking the fruit off the trees, the petals from the flowers, laughing...

“...c’mon over here, darlin’,” Joe Keane said, grabbing Jami’s arm, the two coffee cups in her hand dropping onto the floor, shattering into a million pieces, the couple they were meant for cursing her before getting up out of the two-seater beside Joe’s booth and walking out, the twelve-year old girl struggling to break free of the old man’s grip, only causing him to hold on tighter, hurting her more, his buddy Carl slapping her ass hard as Joe jerked her around, telling her,“don’t act like you don’t want it, darlin’, everyone knows a Chik n’Head’ll give ya head in the bathroom for five dollars, I seen it myse—ahhh, goddamnit, you stuck-up little black bitch, you’re really gonna get it now!”

Pulling the fork out of his left hand, Joe ran her down before she could make it to the backline, jumping her, slamming her face down, hard, into the low counter, Jami struggling against him as he grabbed hold of the backs of her slacks and her panties, pulling down with a single, violent motion, the snap and the zipper of her slacks giving way as they came off, Joe slamming her face down into the counter again when she squirmed, unzipping himself at the same time, chuckling.

Then, screaming and cursing, Sunni telling the dirty son of a bitch to leave her alone, Joe snorting his contempt, replying simply,“ so, that’s the way it is, huh?!” Carl chorusing, “hell, Joe, whaddaya expect, this is the Chik n’ Head,” Jami hearing the swinging door slam open, Phillip shouting,“oh, hail naw!”, cloth tearing, Sunni....

...sniffling, the commander of the Unbroken shook her head as she looked out into the canyon...a hero, according to those who didn’t know any better, and she didn’t even have the courage it took to face her.

If it hadn’t been for her, Sunni wouldn’t have ended up spending nearly five years of her life in femrehab, and God only knew where else, before she’d been sold like a fucking side of beef to the bastard she was forced to call her husband; all Jami’s fault, though, when all was said and done, Daddy and everyone else blamed Sunni for supposedly turning Jami the way she’d always been from the day she was born.

Sighing, she bit down on her lower lip; she wouldn’t even had known what had happened to her, if it hadn’t been for Uncle Carson telling her when she’d visited T-nova for Nana’s funeral ten years ago, right after bloody fucking Habitat.

She’d looked for her everywhere CCI’s archives could search when she’d been in training, during Perisher, and just before Kohoutek had been blown to hell; when she’d had an opportunity to see her again...goddamn, Micki had told her it was cool, she hadn’t even had that excuse for chickening out.

What the fuck kind of hero was that?

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 12:38:52 ZULU

“Nothing but goddamn terrorists,” Calvin Hobbes said, holding court from his seat on the low counter,“ that’s all they are, e-gressin’ hyperspace inside the atmasphere, blowing up everything they can, attacking civilians, then running away with their tails between their legs, when they actually hafta stand and fight.”

“Nothing,” the old man reiterated,“ but fuckin’ terrorists, plain and simple.”

“And,” he added, after a pause to chew on a piece of overdone pork chop,“ I know the little black bitch what did it, too.”

“Didn’t she,” Billy Raines, sitting at the last booth on the stretch end,“ kill her mama?”
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

“Ran over her,” Calvin said, repeating what Sunni knew was a fucking lie,“and her unborn child with a fucking gasburner car over on Long Street in Curtis LeMay, three goddamn times,” he held up three of his bony fingers for those who couldn’t count(most of the people in the store right now),“fuckin’ sheriff didn’t even give her nothin’ for it but eighteen months in goddamn YDC, said she was still a child and didn’t know no better.”

“Knew enough to kill her own damn mama,” David Bell, sitting at Miss Polly’s usual table—the last of the two middle booths—remarked.

“Damn sure did,” Calvin replied, nodding his balding head. “Goddamn Sullies made sure she didn’t even stay there that long, just long enough for her to turn into an even harder-core feral than she already was.”

“Ibrahim, you stupid bastard!” Sunni, caught between taking one order, cooking two others and refilling coffee for three people sitting at the high counter, snapped at her latest cross to bear, just as he was about to let four orders’ worth of food burn up on the three-foot grill. “You need to watch your damn food, instead of tryin’ to hit on my girls!”

“’Zactly what I mean, right there,” Calvin said loud enough for Sunni to hear at the same time Billy shouted for her to “leave that man alone, and let him do his job for a change!”

“Bitch don’t even try to hide what she’s doing,” the fiddle-abusing old fuck then elaborated on his comment,“or what she is...her girls...y’all heard it, straight from her filthy fuckin’ mouth, same as she was when she was in basic, beatin’ up on other girls, makin’ ‘em douche her out in the goddamn girls’ bathroom, ‛fore she took the strap to ‛em.”

“What fucking makes you think they’re gonna want that bacon, Ibrahim?!” Sunni demanded of the brainless little brown fucker sliding burnt-to-a-crisp bacon onto a saucer. “They wanted it limp, limp, like your tiny, brown fuckin’ dick!”

“Even Jimmy Green’s bored with her fat ass,” Calvin continued shouting over customers, waitresses, jukebox and Ibrahim’s heavily-accented, goddamn whining. “I heard him go at her up one side and down the other, yesterday, told her she was on her last legs, that he was tired of her incompetence and her goddamn, fuckin’ stupidity, and that he was gonna let her go.”

“He’s seen enough of what she got between her legs,” Ken Birdsong shouted out,“ and he’s getting tired...”

“...of you thinking you’re any fuckin’ thing other than a brainless goddamn piece of ass!” Jimmy shouted, backhanding her, laying his other arm across her windpipe, as he just kept shoving himself into her.

“Why do you always make me do this to you?!” he shouted, Sunni not even able to scream as he tore her apart. “Why does it always have to be this way?! Why can’t you just be a good girl and do what the fuck you’re told to fuckin’ do, instead of tryin’ to be something you’re not, something you could never fucking be?!”

“Why, goddamn you?!” he demanded. “Answer me!”

“They’re all like that, Jimmy,” Randy, sitting on the edge of the bed, beer in one hairy fucking paw, his prick in the other, going at it, as he watched Jimmy go at her,“ you know that...don’t even know why we bother with them in the first place, men are—”

“Because, she just fuckin’ will not mind me!” Jimmy, pulling out of her, grabbing her by her hair, shoving her face down into the pillow, half-growled.

“By God, I won’t fuckin’ have that!” he screamed, shoving himself into her ass, the monofilament rope binding her wrists to the headboard tearing into her almost as bad as he was tearing into her.

“I just won’t....”

“...oh, hell no!” she screamed at Lorelei Hicks, just as she was about to go through that fucking swinging door and fire herself up a fat one. “Bitch, you ain’t fuckin’ taking you no goddamn cigarette break, not when I have to fuckin’ do your goddamn work for you!”

“Get your dead, lazy ass out here on this floor and start serving your customers!” she snapped, finally shoving Ibrahim out of her fucking way and taking over the grill herself.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 13:36:16 ZULU

“....they claimed,” Telenet 424’s Nathalie Fox said,“ it was a rape crisis centre, however, operatives of the Terranovan Security and Intelligence Directorate now know it to have been the processing centre for new recruits—”

The holovid cut to TSID goonboys and Special Forces Command butchers jumping unarmed women in what had been Terranova College and Republican Union University’s student counseling center, torturing them with fucking nerve pistols amid upset tables, chairs and desks, the women twitching, screaming, bleeding, defecating and urinating uncontrollably, Yanker sons of bitches tearing at their clothes, grabbing their breasts, molesting them, sodomizing them with nerve batons, before they beat on them with their own fucking pricks.

“—a processing center,” Nathalie had little choice but to do her lines,“ for impressionable young girls they tricked into lying about being raped by men, as they subjected them to both intensive ‘turning out’ sessions and brainwashing, until they were ready to become the eager, adoring, obedient, panting, willing femsex slaves, ready to be prostituted to other radfemnazis throughout Terranovan soil and throughout the human worlds.

TSID and Special Forces Command personnel, encountering fierce resistance from these women, equipped with the latest in military firearms, supplied to them by operatives of the Solarian Commonwealth’s State Security Buerau, had to resort to standard riot-control techniques to subdue them, resulting in the deaths of thirty-seven TSID agents and nineteen Special Forces Command operators.”

“Motherfuckers,” Carson whispered, shaking his head... the first bomb-pumped gras sleeted into the advance fire base, blowing everything in their path to hell and gone.

“Move it people, at the double!” Carson screamed at the top of his lungs, rolling out of his tent, firing wild bursts from his Heavy Mass Driver 13, no goddamn time to aim, too much heavy shit coming down.

“Give it up!” an entirely too goddamn familiar voice shouted from the direction of the all the hostile fire...his full attention on the enemy now, Carson saw that miserable bastard Horace Rumph leading a platoon of Special Forces Command butchers towards them, all guns blazing.

“You son of a bitch,” Carson roared, firing directly at Horace, “you son of a bitch, you son of a bitch!”

Horace ducked, still firing.

“Team, Six,” Cressida Hodges’s voice said over the comm. “get the hell out of Dodge, make for—”

“NO!” Carson roared, getting up, charging the motherfuckers, firing deuce and a halves right up in them, “Team, Sarnt Major, let’s go kill us some Yankers!

He headed straight for that bastard.

Only to be yanked back by the scruff of his neck, half-dragged in the opposite direction...the only person who could do that was—

“Goliath, goddamn you, let me go!” Carson roared, still firing in the direction of the enemy,“ let me kill the son of a bitch...that is a direct order!”

“Sorry, Sarnt Major,” Derek Brickner replied, still half dragging him, firing his SPAM130 at the same time . “Mister Hodges ordered me to get you the hell out of here any way I can, even if I have to carry you over my shoulder...”

...old Whore Ass was standing in front of him now, telling the worlds:

“The entire university’s infested with liberal radfem, sojus, Dirt Communist NatSoc, interstellarist Jew agents, which is to be expected, it did begin life as Terranova’s first public women’s college during the Enosis over 150 years ago; who knows how long they have been reverting females into ferals such as themselves...or, even how extensive their underground....”

”...leave me alone!“ Li shouted, as Horace came up from behind the eleven-year old girl, shoving one hand inside her shirt, trying to unzip her pants with the other...Li was trying to break free, even biting down hard on one of Horace’s arms, the one reaching up under her shirt...that just made him twist harder, making her yelp in pain.

“You got some nice tits, baby,” Horace whispered in her ear.

”You’re hurting her!“ Carson shouted at the other eleven-year old boy, as he got up out of his desk. ”You leave her alone!“

He half-ran towards Horace, fists balled and at his sides...Li was his best friend, and if Horace hurt her...

Fat Merle Aldridge, one of Horace’s friends, shoved Carson back into the last row of desks, looking in the direction of the indoc’s desk, but Miss Wright, the third substitute indoc Miss Cramer’s science class had had in the six months Miss Cramer had been in the hospital, was too busy trying to keep order elsewhere in the classroom to pay any attention to what was going on here.

“You just sit your scrawny ass down, little prok,” Merle said,“ and let us men handle this.”

All Carson could see was Li whimpering, struggling against Horace, as he undid her pants and started reaching inside her panties, kissing on her, telling her “I love you, baby,” and “You gonna gimme some pussy, ain’t ya?”

Daddy always used that word when he used to hurt Sissy, Carson thought, as he leapt up from the floor, swung, busted that fat son of a bitch good in the mouth, swung at him again, hit him again, knocked him into and over the last desk on the fourth row.

And, Freddie Barker, Norm Williamson, David Griswold and three other boys, all friends of Horace’s as well, jumped on Carson, as Horace dragged Li under the table by the bulletin board; she was screaming, hollering “rape!”over and over, trying to break free of him, and Horace smashed her face down into the floor, breaking her glasses, pulling her pants down....

And Carson just kept swinging, just kept on hitting, kicking, biting, even as the rest of the boys in the class jumped on him, beating the hell out of him.

He couldn’t give up, he had to keep Horace from hurting his friend...he didn’t fight hard enough, they all closed in on him, grabbing his his arms, his legs, holding them fast until all he could do was bite down hard on whatever he could get his teeth into, even as they were pushing him down on the cold floor, pinning him down, kicking and punching him even harder now that he couldn’t fight back, slamming his head repeatedly into the floor.

The last thing he remembered was Li screaming, crying, begging Horace to stop, as he....

...balled up his fists, tears running freely down his face.

“...nothin’,” Daddy repeated, as Ariel buried her face in her pillow to muffle her whimpering,“ but stinkin’-ass fuckin’ pussy...thinks she got a head on her shoulders, but the only head she’ll ever have’s between...”

“...your fuckin’ legs, bitch,” Mistress Kym snapped, spitting on her twat, standing over her in the cage, men on all sides cheering, as she fired up the fuswhip and....

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 16:52:11 ZULU

...the Rittermark quantum-tunnel generator buzzed like an angry swarm of bobblebugs, Senior Lieutenant Ariel Dixon cursing her own stupidity as her plant communicated her throughts back to her station in the upper comcon, resetting everything back to default, trying this again.

She was alone in Unbroken’s command and control center, acting as the frigate’s officer of the day, while her 26 surviving techs were all in Maxwell Montes, enjoyimg probably the only leave any of them would ever get for a while.

She didn’t have time.

The monthly calibration of Unbroken’s Rittermark generator—and the replacement of its hafnium-isomer capacitors—was long overdue, but Rover Four had been smashed into nothing, and they’d gone after the Terranovan strke cruiser who’d done it, so she had to do that now.

Sighing, the twenty-four year old starship engineering officer continued working the Rittermark jenny’s control holodisplay, adjusting variable after variable, sending in nanos and roboteks from the ship’s auto-repair system to rebuild the quantum-tunnel generator to handle the revised specs; there, everything was as it should be, now, all she had to do was update the frigate’s tech base, so the auto-repair system and her team would both know how the generator was supposed to be fixed next time it took damage., the four massive hafnium-isomer blocks which provided the energy needed to make macro-scale quantum tunneling practical...these were reaching the limit of their 31.5 year service life, and had started to decay significantly during that last fight; there was nothing for that, except removing the blocks, and replacing them with fresh ones from the stockpile underneath the gantry, Ariel dispatching half her teks to remove the near-expended blocks, while the others fet—

Alarms screamed in her head.

God damn it, she’d forgotten to disconnect the fucking direct-power feed cables from the blocks back to the reactor’s thermopile; more than enough juice in those damn things to induce gamma emission, and with nowhere else for the resulting energy to go to—since she had sense enough to disconnect the jenny—she would’ve likely blown the ship to Kingdom come.

She sighed.

She really didn’t know...

“...what the fuck you doin’,” Ken Armistead shouted at her, as her replicator fucked up again....

”...I don’t care,“ Mister Garry said, getting in her face, “what a bunch of liberal know-nothings up in New Athens say...everybody knows that the Governor’s Honours program is just another one of them feel-good programmes the radfems forced on us, that them girls that get Governor’s Honors don’t really do all that well in tradoc, they’re just given the award, just like the radfems controlling the Terranovan Association of Indoctrinators make us give you lazy ferals As and Bs when you all deserve Ds and Fs...when you’re only here to make a boy get you pregnant, so you’ll have a free ride for the rest of your life...don’t you dare contradict me, Miss Dixon, unless you want to spend the next ten days at Brown University...that’s the only college any of you can get into without anyone giving you a leg up, Brown Univeristy...”

...sighing, sniffling down the tears as they came, dryswallowing, as she finally got everything right, and the near-expended hafnium-isomer blocks were rapidly, smoothly, and, above all, safely exchanged for n—


Her fusion beam cutter was already out of its sheath and fired up before she even thought to go for it, screaming at whoever had fucking put her hands on her that she’d just fucked u—

Or, she had...big time, Mister Phillips was standing less than a centimeter from the beam of sun-hot plasma Ariel had aimed at her right eye, her No.5 Starcraft Working Dress’ MHD shielding shimmering red and orange in that one spot.

“I’ll remember next time, Drives...sorry,” was all she said, Ariel shutting down her cutter and putting it back in its sheath.

“My f-fault, s-sir, I—” she started to say.

The 2ic held up her left hand, shook her head.

“It’s all right, Ariel,” she said, in that husky Commonwealth accented-voice of hers, the older woman smiling, looking at her; damn, she was gorgeous, long blonde hair spilling down in ringlets from her black uniform beret, tall, at least a meter-eighty, light hazel eyes in a round, kind face used to laughter rather than...


Ariel rapidly looked away from Unbroken’s second in command, down at her own big feet, blushing, dryswallowing.

“S-sir, I-i...” she stammered, trailing off, Number One blowing it off, remarking,“ you’re obviously in need of some grub and some kip.”

“I-i’ve got a lot to do yet,” Ariel managed to say, turning back towards her station,“ s-sir...I-i...”

“Your first job, Mister Dixon,” Number One replied, tone brooking no nonsense... they talked about Meredith, pointing not so discreetly at her...

“ to look after yourself,” Mister Phillips finished. “Otherwise, you’re sod-all use to anyone on ship, least of all yourself.”

“I’ll take over here,” she added. “Off you pop. Grub, then kip.”

“Off you pop,” she repeated, making it an order without saying so.

“Yes, sir,” was all Ariel whispered, turning round, looking up, trying not to cry, as she descended the ladder, and walked out of comcon.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 17:23:22 ZULU

Mechanically, Carson’s fingers tore down the Personal Defense Mass Driver 13 he’d purchased, when he’d run away from home, lied about his age, and joined the Forces over five decades ago.

Still don’t know, he bitterly mused, looking down the 13mm barrel largely comprised of the powerful helical motors needed to boost a forty-gram guided, torch-assisted, bomb-pumped, hafnium-isomer round 2.5 klicks downrange, before it detonated and released a 40.11GJ graser pulse, if it was because I wanted grand adventures, to get out of a shitty situation, or just to piss off the old man.

Probably a combination of the three, he concluded, as he always did, laying the barrel assembly aside, checking the manual trigger group, carefully handling the electronics which allowed him to fire the weapon via plant, then making sure the forty-round mag slotted into the weapon’s receiver had a full charge on its hafnium-isomer battery, before he laid the parts and pieces of PDMD aside, and sighed into the gathering gloom, as the suns outside began setting again.

What happens when you shoehorn a sixteen-hour, thirty-six minute rotation into a twenty-four hour Earth day, he mused, trying to take his mind off what was actually going through it...

...his sissy only looked like she was sleeping, but Carson knew she wasn’t...she never clutched a Cross to her breast when she slept...all these flowers...the smell of them made him sick to his stomach...he started to cry.

Daddy smacked him upside his head, pulling on his hair, dragging him from the viewing room, slamming him against a wall when they got outside in the hallway of the Heritage Memorial Funeral Home.

“Nothin’ but a goddamn baby, you know that?!” Daddy growled at him. “Only bitches and goddamn fucking babies’re supposed to be a man, not no goddamn fucking baby!”

“Bitch,” Carson heard another man say, the eight-year old boy watching Rosalind’s daddy drag her out of the viewing room, slapping her hard with the back of his hand, spitting on her, hitting her again, jerking on her arm, pulling her to him , telling her,“goddamn sick little fuck, I warned you what was gonna happen, if I saw you even shed tear one for her, I warned you....”

....miserable black son of a bitch was laughing, even as he went down with a goddamn hole in his chest the size of a grown man’s fist....

...because, of course, to bastards like him, death was only gain.

Breathing made Carson’s chest rattle painfully, and he went into a paroxysm of coughing which brought up bloody, bluish phlegm.

It wouldn’t be gain for Carson, he and Drac having had the misfortune to be proks—procreated, rather than cloned from the splicing of male DNA with male DNA—and, it was coming soon, the same damn thing which had taken over two years to kill his mom, the virus unique to T-nova, known to the worlds as Lindsey’s disease.

Known to the worlds as incurable, and ultimately fatal.

He didn’t—couldn’t—fret about it, for Neesha’s sake, for the fact that it wouldn’t do a damn bit of good, for the fact he didn’t want anyone fussing over him, especially at the end, when all he could look forward to was confinement in an automedic.

Another coughing fit, more bloody, bluish mucus...Mom hadn’t even been herself at the end, barely lucid, kept alive by tubes and pumps and drugs, if that could be considered alive.

Fuck it.

He breathed deeply through his nose, his chest only hurting a little, as he checked over the parts of his PDMD again, looking for wear, foreign object damage, the like, before painstakingly reassembling and reloading his weapon.

He couldn’t fret.

Not when, as the old saying went, he had promises to keep, and many, many klicks to go, before he could sleep.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 18:04:22 ZULU

“She’s still here?” Ronda Pate, her sister in law by marriage to Randy’s brother Mike, leaned over to ask Jody Harbuck, as he simultaneously cooked four orders, and waited on three more tables while Douglas MacDade sat his sorry ass down in the stretch end’s back booth, smoking a fucking cigarette and chowing down on her groceries on her clock.

“Uh, huh,” Jody replied in that annoying goddamn Gomer Pyle voice of his, Ronda finally shaking her fat ass on to the back room to clock in, telling Sunni hi as they brushed past one another on the tiny backline, Sunni telling her flat out she needed to get on the goddamn floor, she was already an hour late as it was, Ronda whispering “bitch,” behind the district manager’s back as she continued her progress to the back, Sunni barking out,“Doug, you need to stop feeding your goddamn face, and eating cigarettes on my time, and start serving your customers, instead of letting Jody do all the fucking work!”

“Yes, ma’am,” Doug replied condescendingly, taking his time to raise his bony ass out of the booth and walking over to his tables to check on his customers, Sunni eyeing the mess in the dish pit, telling him,“ you need to get this mess straightened out too, before you leave this building tonight.”

“Fuckin’ bitch about why you ain’t getting no hours,” she added, shaking her head, more customers coming in, as the rain poured down relentlessly,“ when you can’t fucking be bothered to come into work
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

when you’re scheduled to, let alone do a goddamn thing except eat my fucking groceries on my goddamn clock.”

For lack of anything better to do, she began doing the fillups on the stretch end, starting with the ketchups, pulling new bottles from the condiment stand at the end of the backline to replace the partially and mostly-used down ones in the caddies, pouring ketchup from the mostly used-down bottles into the partially used ones to make full bottles, replacing them in the caddies which presently didn’t have ketchups, moving on to the steak sauces...these were the ones the salespeople were most likely to overlook, because the bottles were made of dark glass, of the same color as the sauce, and you had to hold it up to the light to see whether or not there was any sauce left in the motherfuckers...Doug, of course, was no exception, she could hear that little blonde bastard whining about he hadn’t had fucking time all day to do his sidework to Ronda and Jody, when even he knew damn good and well this was the busiest the store had been all second shift....

....he was waiting for her in her room, holding an ugly purple-lace teddy in his hands, along with a pair of lavender stockings, a garter belt and an awkward-looking pair of high heels.

“Take your goddamn clothes off,” Daddy told the eleven-year old girl,“ and put this on, now!”

She started backing away, trying to reach the doorway, shaking.

NOW!” Daddy spat at her, getting up from the bed.

She tried to run...she hesistated for just a second.

Just a second.

And, he was on her, pinning her arms behind her, dragging her back towards the bed, bending her over, tearing off her skirt, pulling down her tights and her panties, slapping her butt hard

“When I tell you to do something,” he screamed,“ I expect it done! A good little girl does what her Daddy fuckin’ tells her to do.”

“But,” he said,“ you don’t know nothing about that, do you?”

“No,” he added, Sunni hearing him unzip his pants,“you don’ don’t ever wanna do right for the man who only fuckin’ brought you into this world, who busts his ass ten fuckin’ hours a day putting food on the table, clothes on your back...I thought I told you not to fucking try out for the goddamn femball team...I did say that, I know damn good and well I did—”

“Daddy,” Sunni made the mistake of saying,“I can—”

“You can what, you goddamn little bitch?!” Daddy, spanking her again, asked. “What can you do? Answer me that, just what the fuck,” he shoved his thing right through her, “can you possibly fucking do? ”
“You’re a fuckin’,” he huffed, shoving his thing even farther into her, Sunni whimpering,“feral, that’s....”

“...all the fuck you is to me or anyone muthafuckin’ else,bitch!” Jami screamed, pinning Sunni to the floor of the cell, as she and three other black girls from the cellblock’s crew took the strap to her, the guards sitting outside and watching.

“What the fuck are you?!” she demanded, as she shoved her tool all the way through Sunni.

“Bitch, you better fuckin’ answer me?!” she ordered her. “Fuckin’ tell me what the fuck you are!”

“I’m,” Sunni sobbed, Tasha backhanding her across her face, Sunni sniffling, starting over:

“I’m nothing but....”

“...stankin’-ass goddam’ motherfuckin’ pussy!” a white boy dressed up like a goddamn tarbaby said to his three little wigger friends, as Sunni set them and their four companions in the other middle booth up with silverware.

“For fifty megs cool silver from what they said on the news,” the wig on the left-hand side of the first one spoke up.

“Fifty million goddamn sterlings,” the one across from the second wigger said,“ for her and her bitch to lick each other out, and strap each other in the bootie for fuckin’ iPorn.”

“An’,” the last of them chipped in,“ they got the motherfuckin’ nerve to be tellin’ folks they good mamas for dey dam’ kids.”

“That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” the first wigger told the others.

Sighing, her plant projecting a blank ticket in front of her right eye, Sunni sniffled and asked,“same check or separate?” as she began taking their order.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 18:18:37 ZULU

Commander Michelle Phillips sat at the command station at the center of the lower comcon, all ship’s functions run through multiple multi-function holodisplays before her.

Her attention only partly on any of them.

She had to fight the temptation to use the ship’s cams to see if Ariel had obeyed her order to feed herself, and get some sleep, not wanting to give the wrong impression to someone who was a valued member of the command team, in spite of herself at times.

Four years, she mused idly. Had it only been four years, since we found her in that cage being abused by a dop in some sodding “gentleman’s club” in Mount Baden, on Oswald?

Poor thing was half-frightened out of her mind then, too, she further remarked, when she wasn’t killing herself in basic training, Starcraft School, Officer School, and Tech School, then working her way relentlessly upward, so she could run herself into the ground boning up for Perisher.

Micki smirked, sighing again.

So, of course, she thought, Jami sees herself in that girl...

She trailed off, paying somewhat more attention to the displays in front of her, before she called up an image stored on her plant.

Thirty years already, Micki thought, gazing at their wedding holo, the pair of them in No.1 dress whites, with garlands of flowers vice the saucer hats, as they stood outside Micki’s quarters...they’d both gone through hell to get to that point, Jami...Jami was a mess, the scars still opening up and bleeding out from time to time, and she had to fight herself not to push Micki away, bottle it all up inside, or, literally, fall back in the fucking bottle, and...

She found her fists balling up in memory of all that frustration, Unbroken’s senior pilot relaxing; she knew Jami couldn’t have helped it, but, it still hurt, all the things that she’d said and done to try and make Micki resent her, and, there had been times where she’d almost succeeded in making her say to hell with her and moving on.

Six months after Kohoutek, it had all come to a head..Jami’s drinking had gotten worse, after what would’ve been the first Dyson tree colony had been brutally murdered.

She’d lashed out at everyone around her, at Micki most of all, til, finally, one day, when she just couldn’t see the way out, she’d found herself at Micki’s doorstep, and, it had all come tumbling out of her, everything, she’d finally put words to all that pain, all that terrible pain that should’ve brought her down for good, but hadn’t—she was the hero of the story, after all.

Micki sniffled, letting the tears blur her vision, had been another month before they’d made love, both of them scared blind—it had been Micki’s first time as well, and she didn’t want to fuck it up—Jami even more so, and who could have blamed her, they’d sicced distorted clones of their own sodding wet dreams on her the whole time she’d been on that frigid shithole Cocytus, and, on that other gopping reptile-infested shithole, Terrnova, those goddamn fucking Yankers.

Her fists hurt and shook, as she balled them up again, Micki taking another deep breath.

Whispering “goddamn fucking Yankers!” aloud, as she continued standing watch in the deserted comcon.

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 19:30:02 ZULU

He pulled his silver ‛56 Terranova Motors Mountaineer 8×8 pickup into a c-store just before the Union Transit toll plaza intersecting Inter-County Highway 49 and Terranova 18, and kicked up the heat just a notch, as he left the MHD turbine idling.

Neesha squeezed his hand, and Carson looked into her almond eyes, then at the California-Winchester M19 5mm massdriver pistol she carried openly in the cross-draw holster under her left armpit.

“Gotta hide that a little bit better, baby,” Carson cautioned needlessly. “They won’t even ask no questions, if they see you with the Franchise.”

She just smiled at him.

“So, I’ll stay in the truck,” she said, half-serious, ”while you go in the store, and get us some coffee. You know how I like it.”

“Yes, dear,” Carson smirked, unbelting himself, giving his Neesha a peck on the cheek, before getting out of the pickup, checking the PDMD13 he now carried openly on his right hip(since even a prok was still considered man enough to be trusted with the Franchise...for now, at least)before walking into the store, and making a beeline past the bored girl counting cigarettes behind the counter to the coffee maker, Carson pulling down two large foam cups, pouring black coffee in one of them, and ruining perfectly good coffee in the other with tons of cream and sugar.

She used not to drink coffee, Carson recalled, smiling as he thought of that. Guess I ruined her in that way.

He chuckled to himself, as he put lids on both cups, then his plant talked to the point-of-sale machine at the counter(six damn dollars for two cups of coffee, fuck!)at the same time a pair of Gnats from the Jones County Command entered the store, one of them caressing the handle of his holstered M19, as he approached Carson, and said “that your pickup out there, old timer?”

“It is,” Carson said, affecting calm, resisting the urge to draw down on the two National Policemen.” Is there a problem, Corporal?!”

“Need to query your plant, if that’s all right with you,” the Gnat corporal replied, in a tone which made clear he didn’t give two shits if that was all right with Carson, at the same time his plant talked with Carson’s.

Is there a problem, Corporal?” Carson repeated himself.

“I haven’t decided yet, prokboy,” the Gnat noncom contemptiously informed him, as his partner openly snickered.

“Watch the fucking truck, dumbass!” the corporal snapped, as the inside of Carson’s head beeped. “Ain’t no tellin’ what the feral in there’s liable to do, since she ain’t got a real man to make her do right.”

Deep breath, Carse, Carson thought, breathing deep, trying to calm the urge to go apeshit on the corporal and his partner, the corporal snapping out “kinda late for you to be out here, itn’t it?”

“I work midnight to noon, and I sleep til seventeen,” Carson equivocated.”This is pretty much my only free time.”

“Where you work at?!” the corporal demanded information that he already had.

“The Excelsior plant in Gibson Valley,” Carson replied. “I run one of the industrial 3D printers, make all sorts of—“

“Long way from home, ain’t ya, prokbitch?!” the corporal demanded.

“Visiting a friend in Gray,” Carson replied, the corporal replying “what’s his name, and is he gonna corraborate your story?”

“Alan Miller, and I don’t see why he wouldn’t, Corporal,” Carson answered.

‛Think we should go ahead, an’ call him?” the other Gnat asked, the corporal deliberating a second or three, before answering:

“Naw, it’ll be all right. But, I got your transponder, an’ I’m gonna have my eye on you, prokboy, so ya best stay outta trouble, get me?!”

“Yes, Corporal,” Carson replied, starting to head for the door.

“That’s ‛sir,’ goddamnit!” the corporal barked.

“You’re not an officer, Corporal,” Carson replied sweetly, the corporal growling something about how he “oughta” do whatever, but letting Carson pass by him, and leave the store.

“I was worried there, for a minute,” Annesha said, as he got in the cab and belted himself in.

She took the ruined cup of coffee with shaking hands.

“Nothing but a thing, baby,” Carson cheerily assured her, as he pulled carefully away from the parking lot, waiting til he was past the toll plaza to access what had made his plant beep.

“Mmm hmm,” he remarked, turning left onto Terranova 18, and letting the vehicle drive itself a moment.

They’re at the Chik n’ Waffle on 129, the resulting decompressed, decrypted, deciphered and decoded message said, before Carson deleted it and overwrote that space in his plant’s memory with zeros and ones.

“Of course they are,” he remarked, as he resumed control of the vehicle and drove toward the intersection with Terranova 129.

Everyone ends up at the Chik n’ Waffle, sooner or later,” he remarked, with a slight chuckle.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

03) Why Sit They Here In Twilight?

“Put a candle in the window.
‘Cause I feel I got to move.
But I won’t, won’t, lose my way, no, no,no, no.
Long as I can see the light.”
—Creedence Clearwater Revival,“Long As I Can See the Light”

8 NOVEMBER, 2276 23:00:16 ZULU

“...shocking revealation that Kishana Winslow and her non-Canon sexual partner,” Oswald State Media’s Elisabeth Slayden mouthed,“ agreed to pose in the nude for a series of explicit photos for iPornphotos featuring, amongst other things, homosexual sadomasochism and the rape of a young girl by both women—for a sum of fifty million Oswald ster—”

“Off,” Lilith Angelique Gault, Secretary General of the Solarian Commonwealth of Nations, whispered, the afterimage of what was supposed to be two young black women shagging a schoolgirl with sodding straps still burned into her brain, as she closed her eyes, massagaing her throbbing head, opening them back to all the work piled on the workstation of her home office.

Injustice delayed, but not denied, the Officer Administering the Lawful Commonwealth Government mused bitterly, as she took a sip of oolong tea still kept warm by the cup’s heating circuit.

She looked again at Commonwealth Combined Intel’s report on the Rover Four incident.

Of course Guy Zellner had ordered its destruction to send a message to an eighteen-year old girl with a first-class mind unchained by a calculated, deliberate lack of education.

The same message he’d sent thirty years ago, with the wanton destruction of Kohoutek.

The same message his people had sent with the sneak attack on Joli, San Roque, and Mons Calpa thirty-two years before that, at the dawn of the Translight Age.

Miserable bastard.

They were all miserable bastards.

Zellner’s fathers, Benjamin Zellner and his lover Roger Tarrant, had completed Earth’s long descent into Hell, when they’d overthrown Ocasio-Cortez’s Presidency and William V’s reign, and re-ordered the former United States and United Kingdom into the United Sovereignties of America, kicking off the Tricentennial War which had utterly devastated the cradle of humanity, leaving nearly four and a half billion dead on all sides and the work of rebuilding Earth which contiuned 190 years on.

Another sigh, her head pounding even worse than before, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth closing her eyes, cradling her head in her hands...

Strong, sure fingers massaged her scalp and shoulders.

“Take a break, Naiad,” whispered Chief of the Defense Staff Rebekah Tilghmann.

“Too much to do, love,” Angelique whispered.

“Your own damn fault,” Rebekah told her.

“You take too much on yourself,” she added.

“I am the Secretary General, as much as I wish I weren’t,” Angelique reminded her. “That means—”

“I know,” Rebekah whispered.

“I have to head back to the War Room,” she added,“in a half hour or so, thought I’d take a break myself and be with you.”

Nodding, Angelique whispered:

“Yeah...I think I will take a break.”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 00:06:19 ZULU

Flight Captain Jamieson Lanier stepped through one of the airlocks connecting the spinhab with comcon, taking off the blue greatcoat which went with her No. 1 dress whites, folding it underneath one arm, as she walked toward the command station.

Surprised to find Micki sitting there.

“Hey, sweetie,” Jami whispered, leaning her cheek in against Micki’s helmet.”Where’s—“

“Asleep,” Micki replied softly. “I hope. She was worn to a frazzle, when I checked up on her.”

“Fuck,” Unbroken’s skipper replied. “I should’ve known, should’ve taken her off OOD duty—“

“You had other things on your mind—“ Micki started to tell her.

This ship and her crew,” Jami reminded her,”should be the first, last and only damn thing on my mind, no matter how bad everything else gets.”

“—and, that was part of my job to begin with,” Micki reminded her. “I should’ve done better.”

She unscrewed her lid, giving her wife the slightest, softest peck on her cheek.

“If you can forgive me for not being perfect,” she whispered,”I can forgive you for the same. Kay?”

“Deal,” Jami wearily conceded.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 00:36:22 ZULU

“—this brave Sovereign Oath Keeper, commander of the basic training center’s SRCL franchise, died today, from wounds sustained in the defense of students targeted in the vicious, brutal, savage acts of murderous violence inflicted upon the students and indoctrinators at Ernest R. Anderson Basic Training Center in Ezra, by eleven-year old Annamaria Godinez, just two days after she helped offworld mercenaries and crisis actors instigate violent radfem protests over the statutes of Saints Barack Obama II and Donald J. Trump in Flyntsboro’s Poplar Stre—”

“—goddamn so-called Sovereign Rifle Association, and their political cockwhores on their Dirt Communist NatSoc, Jewnazi, corpo-religious, deep-state, bankster payroll, letting them have the fuckin’ Franchise, so they can go light up little kids and fuckin’ indocs, just cause they hate everyone so goddamn much—“
“—just another false-flag op by Killer Cyndi’s radfemnazi, sojus, Illuminati, Bilderberger, DirtCom, Jewnazi, corpo-religious, deep-state bankster conspiracy, whose sole purpose is to blame our Sovereign Franchise for all their killin’s, an’ get our guns taken away from us, so we can’t resist bein’ made to love their bulldykin’ witch-dominatrix jackboots on our fuckin’ throats—“

“—a known fact the SRA’s shillin’ for the Bitch Queen Of Bibb County, bankrolled by her radfemnazi, sojus, antifascist, KKK, BLM, NOW, KGB, MOUSE, Illuminati, Bilderberger, corpo-religious—“

“—Jewnazi, DirtCommunist, deep-state bankster elitist witch-dominatrices to—“

“—force the government to give them the Franchise we have shed our blood, our sweat, our toil, an’ our tears to earn and maintain for ourselves, just so they can terrorize us into just surrendering our rights t’them—“

“—while they impose our laws—the ones we enforce on them for their own good—impose those laws on us, t’enslave us—“

“—enrich themselves, at our expense, as they impose the will of their gynocratic State—“

“—their femracist Southern Democracy, their democratic, slavocratic, seditious United States of AmeriKKKa on all of us, an’ use the Franchise they’ve stolen from us—“

“—t’crush our will t’resist, as they turn us into more of them!”

“That,” both FaceIIFace commentators then said as one(as they were one and the same),”is the expert fuckin’ FACT, of a well-incentivized science officer in the Terranovan Security and Intelligence Di-rectorate’s Fundamental Fysiks Group, with twenty years’ accumulated paid time off for services rendered to His Most Perfect Union, an’ three Ph.Ds t’boot, including one in social engineerin’.”

“Where’s the old man?” Sunni asked, startling Annesha, as she watched the news unfolding six inches in front of her right eye.

“Work,” Annesha replied, as she turned off the news and faced Sunni. “Midnight to noon til Thanksgiving, then it’s back to noon to midnight til the new year.”

“Oh,” Sunni said, yawning.

“Girl,” Annesha asked, concerned,”just how long have you been here?”

“Almost the whole day,” Sunni replied, as a ticket projected itself in front of her right eye(the one Randy had put a fusbeam cutter through).” What are you having?”

“Meat lover’s pork chop dinner with four pork chops,” Annesha said, her plant flashing warning that she was dangerously close to exceeding her daily Caloric intake limit,” tomatoes instead, light Italian for the salad, and unsweet tea to drink.”

With the hashbrowns deleted and a nonfat salad dressing chosen, her plant told her she was now well within her limit, and wouldn’t end up in femrehab.

For now, at least.

“Thank you,” Annesha commented nastily to the voice in her head, adding, “not you, baby,” for Sunni’s benefit.

“Why you here so long, anyway?” she asked, knowing the answer already.

“Can’t get anyone to come in, an’ fuckin’ work,” Sunni groused. “So, I gotta cover for them, even if it means overtime penalties eating what little check I have.”

“I understand that,” Annesha replied, yawning herself.

“Vacation wasn’t long enough,” she explained. “I gotta be at work at eight, and I don’t get off til midnight.”

“Damn,” Sunni remarked. “You and he are gonna miss each other.”

“Yeah,” Annesha agreed. “I’ll be dragging butt through the door, when he’s dragging butt at work, then I’ll be at work, when he drags his butt home.”

“Too old to be working like a Hebrew slave,” Sunni observed.

“I’m only sixty-one,” Annesha defended, smirking,”and you aren’t that much younger.”

“Ten years,” Sunni said, before adding, “lemme get this order called into the grill, so Marcus’ drunk black ass can get it cooked before Monday.”

“I still can never understand why you gotta call it in,” Annesha said,”even after workng here.”

“Chick n’ Waffle Way, baby,” Sunni gave the pat answer, before walking back up the line to stand on her mark, and call her friend’s order in to Marcus Green on the grill.

Annesha snickered at Sunni’s reply, then grimaced as Marcus’ drunk ass screwing up what Sunni just said, Sunni repeating the order, even though it had already been echoed to the grill computer, which had Marcus slurring “speak mo’ clearly next time, you dumb bitch; I can’t hardly unnastan a word you sayin’, like you don’t know how to speak English or sumptin’”

“She spoke just fine, Marcus,” Annesha replied,”and Sunni’s your boss, you need to—“

“Bitch, shut the fuck up!” Marcus replied. “You ain’t the manager here no mo’—thank God fo’ that—an’ you can’t push me round like you do that prokboy you call a man. I’m a real nigga, and I gonna sho’ ya—“

Show me what, bitchboy?!” Annesha, rising from her seat at the low counter, retorted, balling her fists up. “Huh?! Show me what?!”

“It’s all good, baby,” Sunni said, putting her hands up to forestall Annesha charging up the backline. “Marcus, you’re right, I’m sorry; I’ll try to be more clear the next time.”

“Goddam’ well had better,” Marcus grumbled, as he began cooking Annesha’s order, Annesha herself slowly, reluctantly, sitting back down.

Cursing inwardly at Marcus, Sunni, and herself.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 02:16:27 ZULU

“There you are,” Natasha Gipson whispered, padding her way along the front porch to where her wife—in fact, if not by law—was sitting, staring up at the rising suns, blurred by the tears in her eyes.

“I was worried about you,” Tasha added, sitting down on the swing next to her, helping her move it slowly along with her feet.

“Baby—” Tasha whispered, taking Kiki’s left hand in her right.

Don’t tell me,” Kiki half-sobbed, shaking her head,“it’s gonna be all ain’t gonna be all right, do you understand that?!

It is not gonna be all right.”

Tasha sighed along with her, Kiki bitterly remarking, after a pause,“wish we did do those damn pornos...fifty megs would at least be enough to get off T-nova, get us anywhere but here...get Lexie, whose only sin was to be born in this world, out there, exploring the stars, like she always dreamed of.”

Biting down on her lip, Kiki closed her eyes, still looking up to where the suns were rising.

“I’m so sorry I got you into this, baby,” she whispered in a trembling breath. “Horace is gonna hurt you too, just like he hurts everyone I care about, cause—”

“Baby,” Tasha whispered, gently squeezing Kiki’s hand,“I got me into this ten years ago, knowing damn good and well what the score was...but, we will pull through this, together, I promise.”

“Honey,” Kiki told her,“I really wish I could believe you, but I don’t see how, unless God Himself lends a hand, and it don’t look like He’s listening to anyone’s prayers these days, let alone mine.”

“I know,” Tasha whispered back, giving Kiki’s hand another squeeze.

“Even if, by some miracle,” Kiki said, after a long silence,“ we do get through’s just me, Lexie, an’ NaTanya bringing home paychecks now, now that Excelsior’s fired you, fined you your last paycheck, froze your bank account, and reported you as ineligible for employment...and, that’s just for a star—”

“We’ll find a way,” Tasha, with the simple faith Kiki always envied in her, whispered.

“We always find a way,” she said softly.

“Always,” she repeated.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 04:16:27 ZULU

Jami awoke from reliving her mother’s death, sobbing against her breasts, whispering she was sorry, baby, so sorry.

Micki whispered that she had nothing be sorry about, not a sodding damned thing, as she stroked her long, dark hair, and held her close.

Her only true love trembled against her, whispering in a shaking voice,“ Baby, it ain’t right, just ain’t right, m-me always leaning on you, while—”

“Bollocks,” Micki whispered, kissing the top of her head, the two of them moving closer together as they lay side by side, intertwined on her rack in the darkness.

“Bollocks,” she repeated. “’For better, or for worse,’ remember?”

“Y-yeah,” Jami whispered, snuggling still closer to her,”I-i just...“

Jami trailed off, Micki continuing to stroke her hair, cradle her head against her breasts, simply letting her simply feel safe in her wife’s embrace.

“I do love you, you know?” she whispered, after a long silence. “I don’t always show it, or tell you, not as often as I should, but—“

“I love you too,” Micki said softly, gently kissing the top of her lover’s head.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 04:37:26 ZULU

Her eyes were fixed onto the master tactical display in the War Room, 2.7 klicks beneath Mount Maxwell.

Chief of the Defense Staff Rebekah Lee Tilghmann could not afford to sleep, her job kept her here, just as her Naiad’s kept her close to Government House...there was no weekend for either of them, Parliament were in emergency session, and the Commonwealth Forces were on full war alert, all leaves cancelled, all reservists reporting in, all the reserve warbirds being reactivated and manned, all those about to be retired or otherwise discharged from the service being told their plans for a future outside said service were now on indefinite hold.

Sighing, Rebekah sipped at the cup of coffee she’d poured for herself in the canteen, the cup’s heating circuit keeping it at just the right temperature, wondering what it would be like to just be an ordinary person, with an ordinary opposed to an ordinary person thrust into this bloody job for the last decade...if Angelique...

Another sigh...her Naiad had tried that, twice, the second time not even waiting for the ink to dry on the Treaty of Habitat, before resigning as CDS ten years ago...only to have the Commons, the Heads of Government and all the Ministers elect her Secretary General against her will, six months after she’d retired, two days after Amelia Seldin’s mum had been killed by an Ozzie State Security operative on Habitat.

So, here they both were, not doing what they wanted, but what their people demanded of them, what they both knew they needed to do, love of country and the obligations of that love making any other choice impossible for either of them.

Her eyes were fixed onto the double star system Delta Trianguli, on the third planet orbiting the binary pair, home to the most powerful and most viciously evil of the American successor states, truly a land with more snakes than people infesting its surface.

And to think her Commonwealth had been stupid enough to believe the Yankers had really wanted peaceful co-existence; 62 years ago, almost immediately after first contact, the bastards had shown their true colors, launching brutal sneak attacks against Joli, San Roque and Mons Calpa which had caught her Commonwealth off guard, and had led to the thirteen relentless years of the First Interstellar War.

Naiad and she had lost far too many friends in that war, then they’d lost three daughters during the two decades of the Second Interstellar War kicked off by the Kohoutek Massacre, and ended by the bloodiest battle in history, round another Dyson tree colony, this one in the Sirius system, which had offended Guy Zellner, simply because people other than his kind had built the shagging thing.

She sipped some more of her coffee, eyes still fixed onto the holorepresentation of Delta Trianguli; on top of everything else, the Homesteaders were pissed off and rightly so, screaming even louder for either representation in the Common Legislature or full independence, in the wake of Amendment 42, and the mad emperor Zellner gearing up to solve that long-standing problem through his usual, violent means.

She looked away from Delta Trianguli, and closer to home.

The recovery efforts in Solar orbit, in particular.

A Star Force frigate had brought the object which Rover Four had tried to retrieve to Magarathea, in geosynchronous orbit, 393 klicks over Maxwell Montes, headquarters of the Venerian Multinational Cooperative which had terraformed Venus, and expanded into mining, research, and exploration over the past couple centuries.

Meanwhile, other Star Force, Cooperative, and various civilian starships worked together to recover what bodies could be recovered from the faintly-glowing wreckage of Rover Four and its various small craft and escape vehicles, even as said wreckage spiralled ever deeper into the Sun.

Bomb-pumped graser volleys generally don’t leave too many bodies to recover, the CDS observed darkly, as she sipped at her coffee, especially against an unarmed and defenseless target.

Too many families won’t even have bodies to bury, she further mused, eyes fixed on the War Room holodisplays.

Too many more won’t have bodies to bury either, she concluded, and too many more will, as this continues down the only path it really ever could have gone.

The end of one or the other of us.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 04:45:18 ZULU

“In other news,” the TMS anchor said, his clean-shaven, boy-next-door untrustworthy face floating in front of Carson’s right eye, “ Assemblywoman Cyndi McKinley addressed the Bibb County chapter of the IAACP, asking minority voters to oppose the fifteen and one half billion dollars in aid which the proposed sales tax initative will bring to Bibb County’s beleaguered training and indoctrination system.”

“Yeah,” Carson said, wheezing, as he spoke to the air,“ right.”

“She claims,” the anchor said,“ that the special local option sales tax, or SPLOST, is discriminatory against minorities, which is a rather odd claim to make, considering eight of the city’s and county’s ten basic training and secondary training centers are in majority black neighbourhoods; it is interesting, though, that she had chosen to take the same position on this as Training and Doctrine Minister Gilda Schrenko, who has openly pursued a racist and homophobic agenda, in regards to the Union’s training and indoctrination system, since her taking office eight years ago, even going as far as to lobby for the dismantling of the training and indoctrination systems in all 159 counties before both houses of the Common Legislature.

Governor Guy Zellner had this to say:“

The holo dissolved, refoccussing on the tall, hypermasculine, greying at the temples, proudly homosexual Governor of the Rude Union of Backstabbers, as he addressed the General Assembly, the former Chairman of the Union Security Council and forever head of the TSID clutching his mace of authority in his hands like a second...well, no need to explain that particular simile:

“It is obvious what motivates Killer Cyndi, Minister Schrenko and all the other shrill radfem agitators in their opposition to the Bibb County Training and Doctrine Board’s perfectly-reasonable request for more money: They have refused to reinstitute the misguided program of social promotion which only serve to benefit the academically-challenged amongst the students of Bibb County, a program which tells ferals, ‘it’s all right, you don’t have to work for anything at all, we’ll just give you whatever, and you won’t even have to break a fingernail.’ ”

“Just,” the son of a bitch added, oblivious to the obscene gesture with which Carson favoured his holoimage,“ as the all too powerful, ultra-millitant army of feminine racists, with their cries of ‘rape,’ and their witchhunts, conducted with false accusations of sexual harassment against men and little boys, and hysterical charges of sexual abuse against the fathers who broke their backs sixty, seventy hours a week for twenty years providing their ungrateful daughters with the necessities of life, have made it so that their kind do not have to succeed in the workplace...all they have to do is show up, and their fellow ape-primitives will give them jobs, even if they have to steal them from far more qualified men, and if any man dares speak out, he will be haxxed, bullied, and destroyed by the same breed of cold-blooded feral who persecutes men with cries of, ‘murder,’ ‘rape’ and ‘sexual harassment’ while forcing others of her subhuman kind to pay for her beneficence with—”

The refrain to “The Man Comes Around” blared in Carson’s head, as a Personal ID Codestring flashed in front of Gotchanow’s frozen holo.

“Yeah, Smitty?” Carson asked the holo of Micheal Smith, Cahill Point’s head of security. “What up, blood brother?”

“They’re here,” was all Smitty’s holo would say. “They’re safe..for now.”

“Look,” the Excelsior Corporate Security senior exec then added,”I may have to go dark soon, things are...well, you’ve been keeping up with the news, bro, so...”

“Yeah,” Carson whispered, looking round the break room to see if anyone was watching him,”yeah, I’ve been keeping up. Just...keep your head down, all right?”

“That may not be an option, Carson,” Smitty told him point blank. “I put a real big bulls-eye on my black ass by refusing to enforce Amendment 42, and getting everyone else in the Homesteads to go along with that.”

“Yeah,” was the only thing Carson could say to that.

“Fuck,” he then whispered.

“Is what it is, blood brother,” Smitty sadly replied. “Is what it is.”

“Anything I can—“ Carson started to ask, even though Smitty reminded him:

“Ain’t anything you can do, ‛cept keep your own head down, and not send me any more strays, since I may be one myself—“

If he’s lucky, Carson thought, taking a sip of Corona Real.

“—if I’m lucky,” Smitty finished.

“Gotta go,” he added. “Just wanna give you a heads up, while we can still talk. Take care.”

“Do the same, Smitty,” Carson said mechanically, just before Smitty’s image blanked, and Zellner started speaking again.

“Off,” he snapped, and the news disappeared, leaving Carson staring out into the leaden sky of first sunrise, hard cold rain coming down and flooding the parking lot, as he finished the last of the double patty melt plate he’d bought for his lunch, drained the can of soda dry, got up from the table, and walked out of the break room through the lower factory floor to the two-kilometer long industrial 3D printer(or replicator)he was assigned to, the wireless connection between his plant and the replicator workstation firing it back up, and cranking out more Model 250 electric golf carts to add to the 800 or so the lift drivers still hadn’t bothered to stack neatly for shipping.

“Need six hunner an hour!” Ken Armistead’s fat, black, four-eyed ass boomed and pounded in Carson’s ear, Carson not bothering to remind his line boss that the replicator could only output two hundred an hour, at most, depending on the job run.

Six hunner an hour!” Ken Doll boomed again, in anticipation of the reply. “Don’ wanna hear yo’ excuses, prokboy! You need to fuckin’ produce, that all I care about!”

“Yassa, massa,” Carson found himself replying, as he checked the queue, saw he had another thousand or so more of these to run, and noted he would have at least a half hour’s downtime while he reconfigured the machine to run ‛77 Terranova Motor Corporation Retro Kar 4×4 pickup trucks.

That hate speech!” the fat little man shrieked, jumping up and down, stabbing at Carson with his finger. “That muthafuckin’ hate speech, prokboy! I can give you a jury trial right here an’ now for that! Understand?! That death and damnation right there!”

The fat pig actually grabbed hold of his hip-holstered 13mm Colt Smith & Wesson Model 58 auto-revolver massdriver pistol, as he ranted and raved.

“Mmm, hmm,” Carson said, not really concerned about the blustering fat man or his prosthetic penis, even as his right hand casually drifted to the butt of his holstered PDMD13.

You fixin’ to drop the ball, prokboy!” Ken then warned, taking his hand off his weapon.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
User avatar
U.P. Cinnabar
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

“Fixin’ to drop the ball!” he repeated, before turning and walking quickly away.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 05:02:31 ZULU

”So, Alfred,“ Bravo Entertainment’s Bill Griggs said, flashing his best Polident smile, as he interviewed Alfred White Mann, one of Skywalker Ranch’s most successful media content creators. ” tell us about your new series.“

”It’s called Happy Days,“ Mann replied,” and it’s a concept which has never been done before. I was watching the news, all the crimes, all the dirty politics, all the violence and rampant immorality caused by the radfem ferals being allowed to take charge and by the concurrent decline in the masculine temper which has sustained our civilization all these years...we have lost our way, Bill, as a race, and I feel we need to recapture and rediscover our past, to return to simpler days, when crime was punished, when there was economic prosperity and jobs for everyone who wanted them, and, most importantly, when men were real men, who knew how to keep the ape-primitives in line and instilled with a healthy sexual attraction for men, as per Canon, and none of the femperv behaviors the radfems and their sojus prokboys who control our training and doctrine systems, churches, governments and mediacorps have all told us is normal and natural.“

The damn nostalgia kick again?! Jami thought nastily, as she sat, curled up in her workstation chair, watching the news via plant, with the audio output direct to her auditory nerves, as not to wake up Micki.

”I am talking, of course,“ Mann added,” about the American Golden Age, from the late twenty-teens to the early 2070s; in those days, Bill, people didn’t have to worry about wars or the economy. They could go to bed at night without having to lock their doors, because the laws were enforced, and the criminals punished by a justice system that was man enough to do both. Ferals then were much happier and healthier, for they accepted their Nature and God-assigned roles as men’s companions and helpmates, and rejected, as nonsense, the apostasy which was radfemnazism...they never even thought of being deviant back then, fact, according to my historical research, the average woman of the American Golden Age found the idea of femperv unthinkable.“

”You had to have encountered tremendous opposition,“ Griggs said,” from the radfems and sojus prokboys on the Media Committee.“

”The Committee has always been against those unafraid to speak the truth,“ Mann replied, stroking his scraggly beard as he spoke,” as their suppression of Bob Simon’s reports from deep inside DirtCom soil has made all too clear.

They have forced Damien d’Sousa himself to support Ellen de Grassi’s feminine perversion and of her attempt to package her savage, feral, sexually predatory behavior as the sole acceptible expression of sexuality.“

”You mean,“ Griggs asked,” by allowing her to break her word to Disney Group’s Lifetime Division and use her situation comedy as a forum for her femperv and intellectual honesty?“

”That is exactly what I mean,“ Mann replied.

”If,“ he added,” I could show the viewers a clip from my new series.“

”Of course, Griggs replied, turning to face the holocams.

”This is from the new series, Happy Days,“ he added,” which premieres tonight on the Net.“

The holo dissolved to a rapid-fire montage of leather-clad, greasy-haired boys riding ancient gasburner cars and motorcycles...

...white hot light, “Glory To the Union,” hitting her at over 250 klicks per hour, Jami tumbling over the hood, onto the ferrocrete, hard, more white light just before everything went dark...

...girls wearing skirts with images of a long-extinct breed of dog on them, the same greasy-haired, leather-jacket clad boys and poodle-skirted girls dancing and eating greasy hamburgers and even greasier french fries at a drive-in fast-food restaurant.

In the background, the following song was playing:

”A one, two, three o’clock, four o’clock rock! A five, six, seven o’ clock, eight o’ clock rock! A nine, ten, eleven o’ clock, twelve o’ clock rock! We’re gonna rock! Around! The clock tonite....“

The clip played itself out, and the holo dissolved back to Mann and Griggs in the Bravo Entertainment studios.

”Wow,“ Griggs said. ”Alfred, as usual, your research has proven impeccable. How did you find out so much information about the American Golden Age, given the pains to which the femnazi-controlled training and doctrine machine have taken to wipe out all knowledge of the past—“

Like we were the ones behind the fucking United States, Jami remarked to herself, sarcastically adding, wait a minute, yeah, we were, weren’t we?!

She snorted her contempt, while Mann replied:

”It was a struggle trying to obtain accurate information concerning this era of our past, since the radfem establishment, their United States of AmeriKKKa, and its successors, the Dirt Communist State, the People’s Democratic Republic of Cyndonia, and the Fascist Federation of Midnight Sun, all combined not only to cast us down into darkness but also to eliminate all knowledge of the light.“

Oh, my dear Baby Jesus F. Carpathia, Jami thought to herself, sighing, Mann continuing:

”However, there are a courageous few amongst our academics who remember what it was to be true to science and scientific accuracy, who are willing to risk their careers and worse just to stand up to the rising tide of radfem orthodoxy overwhelming our universities and turning them into drug dens and whorehouses, men such as Doctor John Thomas Whitebird, professor of history, American literature and gyneopsychology at the State University of Oswald, head of the Commitee for Rational Enquiry and Education operating in the underground of academia; it was he who provided much of the information for—“

“Shut up,” Jami said, A. White Mann went away, Jami sighing as she shifted position in the chair, the fingers of her left hand—the cybernetic one—drumming ”The Girl From Iphigenia[that was what she thought it was called]“ on the workstation desk of their own voilition, Jami stopping the second she realized she was doing this, not wanting to wake Micki up.

Though, she was already stirring in the rack, carefully rising, so as not to bump her head on the chest of drawers above, then scooting to the edge of the bed and stretching herself.

“Damn, baby,” Jami said,”I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“You’re fine,” Micki replied, with a smile like the sun coming up. “If anything, I overslept a bit.”

“Which reminds me,” Jami said, remembering she actually was this ship’s skipper. “Ship, where’s Senior Lieutenant Dixon?”

“Asleep in her quarters,” the collective voice of Unbroken’s shipwide artificial-intelligence network(shipnet) replied. “Should I wake her?”

“Negative,” Jami replied.” Just slip in a note telling her I’d like to speak with her, when the opportunity presents itself.”

“I’ve added that to her message queue,” the shipnet replied.

“Thanks,” Jami replied, disentangling herself, rising from the chair, and stretching, before reaching into her wardrobe above the rack for some underwear and her greys.

“Buy you breakfast?” she playfully asked Micki, as she headed for the cubbyhole of a washroom.

“Sure, why not,” Micki replied, getting up from the rack, holding Jami close, and giving her a proper snog, Jami holding her back, and returning the favor, the two of them then separating.

“Don’t use all the hot water,” her wife then added mischeviously.

“Showers are all sonics, and don’t use water,” Jami quipped.

“And, breakfast is free,” Micki told her, grinning ear to ear.

“It’s the thought that counts, isn’t it, baby?” Jami asked.

“That’s what they say, love,” Micki answered.

Jami grinned back.
“Does it count that I think of you all the time?” she asked.

“Everything you do counts with me, poppet,” Micki whispered in reply, as Jami stepped through the door to the washroom, and stepped into the shower.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 05:38:19 ZULU

The Governor of His Most Perfect Union smiled His Work to see.

In particular, at some little brat who’d been permitted delusions of being anything other than what she was, stripped, whipped, penetrated in all her holes(like all ferals wanted, for that was Canon), urinated, defacated and jizzed on, as she was being dragged from the death house, down Factors’ Walk, toward one of many tertraskelion, alabaster Crosses lining the promentory overlooking Midnight Bay, the little feral jerked up by her hair, arms and legs broken to fit the arms of the Cross, before His Sovereign Citizens, His brave Oath Keepers, spiked her into place to spend the next several days dying, as all her subhuman kind were doomed to do(for that was Canon as well), while He and His would, after a millenium of loving judgment and final punishment inflicted upon their enemies, ascend to that pinnacle of His Intelligent Design of Evolution that was Deo sapiens.

It warmed His soul seeing His People gathered by the flag-waving hundreds of thousands to see her suffer, to pelt her with bottles of piss, globs of shit, rotten fruit and vegetables, and sundry other trash.

One of them started chanting His Sovereign Anthem, and, slowly at first, then more enthusiastically, the words of “Glory To the Union” built into a boot-stomping roar of exultation both in the crowd below and those watching this online.

As the Great Seal of His Union on blue and black Saint Andrew’s Cross on white fluttered defiantly in the breeze and the light of the risen suns.

And their Governor smiled His Work to see.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 06:00:00 ZULU

Slowly, the Sun rose over the horizon, turning the sky blood-purple, then, gradually, to royal blue, as Angelique leaned over the railing of the Fairweather, the most popular restaurant in the city, if not on the entire planet, watching, agape...she’d lived in the city almost her entire life, and still...

She sighed, sipping at her glass of orange juice—real orange juice from the only place in the worlds where the bloody things grew anymore—listening to the combined background of music, the news, multiple conversations going on at once—it was just now six o’clock and the place was almost full, mostly Commonwealth Forces personnel, a few Ministers, a territorial legislator who came here at precsiely five-thirty every morning before she went to work...Rebekah should—

”Morning, Naiad,“ her sweet voice whispered, a gentle hand on her shoulder, her lips lightly touching the base of her neck, Angelique, still looking at the sunrise, clasping Rebekah’s right hand with her left.

”Hello, luv,“ she whispered, starting to cry, sighing the tears away...all they really had anymore was this hour to themselves, before she had to walk to Government House nearby, and be her people’s SecGen, when all she really wanted to do was to take the sailboat and go out there in the middle of the Mare Sappho, just the two of them, like they hadn’t done in too long.

”We both have to do what we have to do, Angelique,“ Rebekah whispered sadly, completing her wife’s thought,”there’s no changing that.“

”No,“ Angelique replied,” there isn’t.“

”There isn’t,“ she repeated, holding Rebekah’s hand in hers as they looked upon the rising sun.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 07:18:25 ZULU

“...son of a bitch,” he heard some whore’s voice exclaim softly, as he awoke inside his coffin, holograms floating above him, fibre-optic lightguides piping in sunlight.

“Son of bitch,” the stupid cunt now looking at him repeated; she was wearing some sort of spacesuit, blonde, green eyes, not half bad in the titty department, but he already knew right then and there he had been asleep entirely too goddamn long.

That his Sovereignties no longer existed.

They’d won; in spite of everything, they’d won, that realization hitting him like the beam of the cutter which had burned through his heart and long ago was that?

There was a date-time stamp on one of the holograms, the one displaying his EEG readings.

Nine November...2276?!

Motherfuck, had it really been 190 years, since his weak, worthless, epileptic, ungrateful only begotten son had stabbed him through the heart like some little bitch?!

“His vitals,” another whore said to the first,“ are strong and steady, blood pressure 120 over 90 and rising, pulse 84 and steady, respiration normal, blood oxygen 100%, heart rate 75 and rising.”

Then, he heard something which gave him hope things weren’t irretrievably fucked up...a man’s voice in the background, shouting into an intercom.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
User avatar
U.P. Cinnabar
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

04) Abominations Of Old Days

“Coldly, they went about to raise to life and make more dread.
Abominations of old days, which men believed were dead.”

—Rudyard Kipling, “The Outlaws”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 07:20:00 ZULU

“Security to Med, stat!” Zebidiah Ezekiel Golden, senior medical doctor of Magrathea, said into his plant’s larnigytal mic. “Security to Med, stat!!”

“That’s not really necessary, is it?” his chief surgeon, Kendall Strangis, asked him.

“Fuckin’ look at him, and tell me,” Zeke snapped, eyes on the dark blue uniform, the silver shield and ribbons on his left breast, and, most importantly, that face.

The face of a man who’d should’ve died 190 years ago.

The doors of the main ward opened, eight women assigned to Mags’ security team moving around a tall, white-haired, heavily scarred man, bringing their 13mm Midnight Sun Arms M2166 heavy massdrivers to bear on the coffin Rover Four had dug up from Chort’s atmosphere an instant prior to being blasted to hell and gone by the Yanker warbird Atlanta Three yesterday.

“Zeke,” John Keller, CEO of the Venerian Multinational Cooperative(VMC), asked,“ what’s—”

“I see,” he said upon looking at the man sitting up in the coffin, looking at all of them with a far less than bewildered look in his dark eyes, the veteran CPM’s right hand near the butt of his M2140 PDMD.

“Ain’t no need for all that,” the corpsicle that was Benjamin Israel fucking Zellner said, in an almost, but not quite, Yanker-accented voice, raising both his hands up when he saw all the firepower aimed at him.

“Why should I believe you, Commissioner?” John asked, straight to the point.

“Y’all got the guns, man,” the Devil Jesus Christ Himself replied. “I ain’t even armed...what could I possibly do to you?”

“I know I’m in the year 2276,” he then said,“ according to the holodisplay there,” he gestured at the one with the readout on his EEG,“and, since y’all letting them play doctor, it’s obvious my Sovereignties lost—”

“And, thank the Lady and the Living Force for that,” Zeke commented, the elder Zellner ignoring him, asking:

“All I wanna know is where am I, and how did you guys find me?”

“You’re in the medical section,” John replied,“of the Magrathea orbital colony, headquarters of VMC, in geosynchronous orbit, 395 klicks above Maxwell Montes, on Venus. A mobile astronomical laboratory found your coffin in the Solar atmosphere yesterday.”

“Mmm hmm,” the elder Zellner said, digesting this information, the senior medical doctor definitely not liking the look in that bastard’s eyes.

“Benjamin Israel Zellner,” he said, extending his hand,“High Commissioner of the United Sovereignties of America an’ Warlord-Comissioner of the Sovereignty of New York, though I gather you know that already.”

To which John simply replied,“ Twenty-four hour armed guard, and if he does anything you don’t like, kill the motherfucker.”

“ Zeke, Kendall,” the head of VMC then said,“ come with me, please.”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 09:11:01 ZULU

On the HV set into the ceiling/inner rim of the ship’s spinhab, See BS’ Brian Garrett was running off at the mouth:

”As you all know, solid information on the true state of affairs inside the Dirt Communist State is nearly impossible to come by. The femnazis and their sojus fellow travellers who control the Media Committee would naturally have you believe that the DirtComs live in a paradise, wanting for nothing, free to do and live as they please; however, our sources from deep inside the high command of the DirtCom government tell us a far different story, as this holofootage smuggled out by decent, God-fearing men fighting against incredible odds, clearly shows:“

The holofield dissolved to scenes of ragged, dirty men huddling together against bitter cold over guttering fires, digging up food from garbage cans, coughing their lungs up, as what were supposed to be Commonwealth Gendarmes, all blonde women wearing knee-high boots and black leather, beat the shit out of them for their troubles.

”As you can plainly see for yourselves,“ Garrett’s voice said in the background,” despite the lies of the ferals and their fake radfem sojus liberal media, life under Communist rule is a harsh struggle for existence against terrific odds. Many brave men have taken to the hills, the slums and the underground passages of their cities, staging daring attacks against their feral oppressors.

Many other men have taken to the skies, in whatever starcraft they can steal, taking on overwhelming numbers of Dauntless-class frigates, the most efficent killing machines ever seen in the human worlds, in underarmed, ill-maintained, obsolete machines made more for the commerce of peace than for the far grimmer commerce of war which these deadly ape-primitives practice with the brutal efficency of the preadators from which they were descended.“

”Brave men,“ he added, after a pause,” you who risk everything to fight your enemies, do not think we have forgotten you. Our own Bob Simon has been secretly moving about inside the DirtCom capital, and he has a live report on the current situation.“

The holo dissolved to a picture of the reporter in question, a pre-terraformed image of Venus, and a caption saying ”BOB SIMON, MAXWELL MONTES.“

”Brian,“ a tinny Oxford-accented voice was saying in the background, ”the DirtComs are becoming more desperate by the day. A recent raid by the Resistance in Maxwell Montes against the largest of the female re-orientation camps has prompted Angelique Gault to cut off all food supplies to her captive poulation...already three food riots in Maxwell Montes have been bloodily suppressed by the DirtComs’ dreaded Amazon shock troops with the use of—“

”S-skipper?“ Ariel’s voice stammered, tentative and shaking, as she stood in front of Jami’s table, trying not to fuss with her whites,”Y-you wanted to see me—“

”Why don’t you sit down, sweetie,“ Jami said, her starship engineering officer sitting down, continuing to stammer:

”I-if it’s about Number O-one relieving me of duty last night—“

“It is, “ Jami replied, before Ariel could start blaming herself,”and it was entirely my fault and Mister Phillips’ for letting you stand watch, when you were dead off your ass like that.”

“It’s all r-right,” Ariel started to say,”I—“

“It’s not all right,” Jami told her point-blank, resisting the urge to just shake some damn sense into the girl. “It’s my job, and Mister Phillips’, to make sure you don’t kill yourself in the performance of your duties. And, part of your job, as one of my officers, is to take care of yourself, and stand up for yourself, so as to set a good example for your team. You will not let yourself go like that, and you are expected to speak up, if you feel we’re pushing you too hard, understand?!”

“Skipper, you’re n-not pushing me too hard,” Ariel insisted,”I’m just—“

“No,” Jami told her, before she could say she wasn’t good enough or some shit like that.

“Have you eaten?” she asked.

“Not since yesterday afternoon,” Ariel replied,”before I laid down, and took a nap...well, it was supposed to be a nap, but—“

“But, nothing, young miss,” Jami told her.”Go, get some breakfast.”

“I-i’m not really hungry,” Ariel lied. “Besides, I’m gai—“

“I’ll go with,” Unbroken’s skipper replied, getting up from her chair, and picking up her dirty dishes. “I’m hungry enough for seconds, and we’ve got a long day ahead of us.”

12 NOVEMBER, 2276 09:20:00 ZULU

”How old is he?“ John Keller asked, his department heads gathered round him in the station’s assembly hall.

”Seventy-five,“ Kendall replied,”give or take 190 years.“

”Damn,“ Etienne Tiger Morrison, VMC’s senior operations engineer said with a whistle.

”He’s unmistakably Benjamin Scumbag Zellner,“ Zeke replied. ”DNA’s an exact match, unmutated by cloning.“

”Also,“ Kendall said,” he’s cybered up with redundant organs, including a backup heart and an implanted metastas autoinjector; looks like someone took a fusbeam cutter and stabbed him through his original heart, about 190 years ago.“

“And,” she added,”it just keeps getting better.”

She paused, bringing up a holo of Zellner, zooming in on his left shoulder, peeling away the holoimage’s uniform tunic and undershirt for a virtual rendering of his exposed shoulder...badly-healed flesh, all puckered up, Kendall going further, peeling away holographic skin to reveal a crude shoulder joint, made of plastic and rubber, welded into place between the humerus and the collarbone.

”At least,“ the VMC’s chief executive officer observed,” two, three hundred years out of date...I remember seeing something similar to this in a holo back in med school.“

”They weren’t in widespread use back then either,“ Zeke remarked.

”And,“ he added, putting the skin back on the shoulder, zooming in to show it on the cellular level,” that’s not all.“

That was an understatement...the cells around the shoulder had been exploded, blown up, scorched in the process, in that telltale way only 40.11GJ of bomb-pumped gras could.

Which would explain the new shoulder and the scarring, but...

”This happened when?“ he asked.

”Carbon-14 and neutrino analysis put the time of the incident,“ Zeke replied,” at precisely 15:01:01 Zulu, twenty-ninth January, 1986, or, precisely 290 years ago.“

”BPG round did that,“ Tiger, slowly saying what John refused to believe. “From a massdriver.”

”It damn sure did,“ Zeke replied, nodding his head. ”Fired from at least two, three klicks downrange; otherwise, he’d have been a smoky grease spot on the deck.“

”No,“ John said, voicing his doubt. ”A weapon from the twenty-third century—“

”No one say,“ Tiger reminded him,”it come from our time.“

”—blew out the shoulder of a man in the twentieth century?!“ John concluded.

”We’re only telling you what the evidence shows,“ Zeke said.

”The jury’s still out,“ Cordelia Monson, VMC’s head terraformer, spoke up,” it seems.“

”Oh, yeah,“ John said.

”Y’all got enough telemetry to run ballistics?“ Tiger asked.

”I think they do,“ Chynna Peel, VMC’s chief of security, replied. ”I’ll have my people give it a go.“

”Get a biopsy,“ John said,” from the shoulder area, use that for the ballistic analysis; check all weapons registries, ours, Commonwealth, Fedders, everybody’s; if it is a weapon from anywhere in the last three centuries, we should be able to find that out.“

Taking a sip of coffee, he added:

”Standard safety and enviromental protocols still apply. Zeke, I want him moved to medical isolation, and the whole iso-wing posted off-limits, do it now; Chynna, you will post a twenty-four hour guard outside the airlock to the iso-wing; no one enters or leaves that area, unless I say different. The staff working the iso-wing will have to find something else to do until we get Old Man Zellner squared away, I don’t want anyone but bots in there with him.“

Zeke and Chynna both nodded their heads, Zeke already giving the necessary orders to his people.

”Tiger, flash the Defense Staff on Venus,“ John then said,”use the latest random encoding, enciphering, encryption and compression protocol. Since he’s not dead, like we’ve been taught—“

“Unfortunately,” Tiger remarked.

”—there’s still a warrant pending for his arrest for crimes against humanity,“ John replied.

”And, we get to see the son of a bitch hang,“ Zeke commented,” like he should’ve 190 years ago.“

”Yeah,“ John replied.

”I could go for that,“ Tiger remarked.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 09:27:22 ZULU

”Fuck!“ Guy Thomas Zellner, Governor of the Union, interjected, as the Ozzie home secretary told him the absolute last thing he wanted to hear.

”You sure about this?!“ he then asked the sawed-off fucking runt.

”Pueblo’s[the Ozzie stealth escort now on station in the Solar System]commander was quite sure,“ Sir Heathcoate Saint John replied,”about the data in the communication he intercepted between Magrathea and Maxwell Montes...the Maggies did distinctly say ‘Benjamin Scumbag fuckin’ Zellner.’“

”Should’ve done a better job of burying the body, little Guy, “ the little Ozzie runt then had the indecency to remark.

The Governor of His Union vaulted from his desk, and pinned the little Ozzie bastard against the far wall by a forearm throttling his pale throat.

”Boy, I’d watch that smart mouth of yours,“ the true Israel hissed in warning. ”Someone’s liable to shove his monkey up in it to shut you the fuck up!“

”Temper, temper, little Guy,“the Ozzie bastard had the balls to mock him in a croaking, gasping voice. “Wouldn’t want to prove Daddy right about what a little bitch you are, now do w—”

His Governor applied even more pressure with the forearm to shut him up, the Lord and Master of his worthless Ozzie scumbag life watching, smiling, as the pathetic little thing struggled for its next breath.

Then, with a chuckle, he let Saint John go.

”That’s fine,“ the Governor of the Union concluded after another chuckle at the Ozzie’s expense, before telling the head now floating in front of his right eye,”put me through to the commander of the RUS Excelsior, priority one, Gubenatorial-level E3 protocols.“

”Do it now,“ he added.

12 NOVEMBER, 2276 09:30:36 ZULU

Israel sat in the chair of his new quarters, watching as much of the Net as he could, thirty channels’ worth of it at once, at the same time he was accessing Vermin Incorporated’s historical database, trying to figure out just what the hell had happened while he’d slept almost two centuries’ of his life away.

After his worthless excuse for an only begotten son had murdered him, that is.

It soon became apparent that, with only Roger left holding the reins, shit had immediately hit the fan, with the DirtComs and the other troublemakers launching an orbital, overland and amphibious assault on North America, forcing the Others to execute the bugout plan, cramming every spaceship full of who and what they needed, as they detonated emplaced one-gigaton nukes to deny their enemies victory, and boosted to ninety-five percent of light speed on their way to colonize Oswald and to supplant the previous colony on Terranova(colonized via the first plasma-core torch-driven sublight vehicles during the 2050s by the then-Canadian government)with a more effective and perfect Union.

And, that, somehow or another, in spite of all the measures the Others and he had taken, his good-for-nothing only goddamn begotten son had managed to claw his way to the top of the heap.

Israel’s attenton then turned to the holoprojection of some talk show on OSM, the guy hosting it announcing his next guest:

”With me now in our Skywalker Ranch studio, is Doctor Sir John Thomas Whitebird, Franklin McKinley Professor of Evolutionary Gyenopsychology, Vernon Egger Professor of History and Jerry Jenkins Professor of American Literature at the State University of Oswald.“

”Thank you, Corin,“ Whitebird said, as he sat his four-eyed fat ass down beside the Ozzie.

”Now, Doctor,“ Corin asked,” we’re all wondering what is about ferals which requires their special handling. You, being the foremost expert in the psychology of ape primitives, are the best judge of what goes on in their minds.“

”You see, Corin,“ Whitebird said,” we have let ourselves commit a grave error in letting ferals have equality, in even believing they are actually human beings.

Studies by prominent names in the field of gyneopsychology, such as Richard Speck, Charles Manson, Albert di Salvo, Theodore Bundy, Randall Terry, Rupert Leary, Russell Dewey, Fred Tokars, Paul Hill Jr., Wayne Felker, Montsignor John Salvi IV, John Bobbitt, Benjamin Allen, Paul Bernado , Marc LePine, Richard Ramierez, Alan Bloom, Charles Stuart, Larry Flynt, Bob Guccione, Hugh Hefner, Orenthal Simpson, Franklin McKinley, William H. Cosby Jr., Muhammed Omar, Odai Husayn, Micheal Blagg, Kobe Bryant, Russell Williams, and, of course, recently by Guy Zellner and Horace Rumph,[what, Israel thought angrily, not one fucking mention of my ass...ungrateful don’t even begin to fucking cover it....] studies the radfems and their sojus fellow fascists, for obvious reasons, have labored to suppress, just as their liberal allies in the government, academia and the mainstream media have attempted to destroy the science of evolutionary gyneopsychology, have clearly shown ferals to be weak, inferior, both physically and mentally, unable to control their emotions, as is evidenced by both premenstural syndrome and post partum depression—which those silly DirtCommunist savages, with their sub-primitive knowledge of medical science and of the workings of the ape-primitive mind, have tried to say are just political inventions of ours—and innately dependent on a father figure to give them guidance.

Note, Corin, ferals wrote the Bible and the Koran, two of the root causes of the World Trade Centre massacre and the consequent rise of the femracist Alexandra Cortez’s Southern Democracy, ferals were behind the Judeo-Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, National Socialist, Communist, Manson Family, People’s Temple, Hari Krishna, New Age, Taliban,Al-Qaida, Islamic State, and Antifa corpo-religous movements, and the ape primitives are more likely than we are to be fanatic followers of religions with supreme father authority figures at their centre.

“That is Canon,” Corin replied.

“And, Canon is truth!” a trillion voices shouted out to give Israel hope.”And truth is Canon!”

“And, truth,” Whitebird smugly repeated,”is Canon.”

“Amen, brother,” Israel whispered almost raptorously. “Amen!

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 10:01:22 ZULU

She never even visited Mama’s grave.

Unbroken’s skipper thought about that as she stood in the pouring rain in front of 67 caskets draped with the Sunburst of the Commonwealth and the Black and Pink of Venus, reciting the Forces’ burial service.

She’d failed to bring her kids home, so she had to send them off.

”...nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised,“ a part of her said mechanically, hating herself for not coming up with a more originial way to say goodbye to these people who had meant a damn to someone,”and his words are not heard.“

I’m sorry, if these words don’t fit everything you guys were, she thought, as she went on with the rest of the words from from an old book no longer considered Canon by its beneficaries.

” doth a little folly outweigh all wisdom and honor,“ she finished, pausing, looking at the caskets again, her uncle’s 1 Section of 1 Troop lined up beside it, HMDs at the ready, Senior Lieutenant Draco Malfoy Selkirk(Grampa must’ve been really drunk, when he’d come up with that name) standing at the foot of the first casket, fusbeam cutter in his right hand, keeping it all in, like he always did, so much unlike his twin brother, always quiet, calm, buttoned up, didn’t shed a single tear when they’d buried Nana ten years ago, while Uncle Carson couldn’t stop crying, Auntie ‘Neesha holding onto him, keeping him on his feet...Daddy had found some excuse not to come, which had been good, since Uncle Carson had beat him down bad the day before.

”One Section!“ Uncle Drac barked out, firing up his cutter.

The nine women under his direct command snapped to attention with a stomping of feet and clacking of rifles.

”Re-day!“ Uncle Drac snapped.

”Haim!“ he added a pause after his command section came to the ready.

”Fire!“ he then said, chopping the air with his fusbeam cutter as nine HMDs fired into the grey sky over the Maxwell Montes Military Cemetery.

Doing so twice more at the order of their Six, her uncle barking out, ”orders, hut!“ returning the cutter to its sheath on his left hip, snapping to attention and saluting, as Sergeant Major Harriet Mangione began piping “The Flowers of the Forest,” while she and the rest of the command team silently approached the caskets in time to the pipes, each picking up and folding a pair of flags triangularly, holding them cerimoniously as they approached the grieving families.

Whispered the words duty required of them, and how sorry they were for their loss.

The losses Jami herself had caused.

A final trembling sigh, a final, folded pair of flags to a final set of loved ones, who thanked her for sharing in their sorrow.

Then, as the pipes died away, she turned again to face the coffins, waited a few beats, then whispered, tremulously:

They shall grow not old, as we who are left grow old. Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the Sun, and in the morning. We will remember them.”

“We will remember them,” the assembled mourners all promised.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:07:19 ZULU

”M-mind if I-i—“ stammered Senior Lieutenant Ariel Dixon, motioned towards the recliner next to the sofa where Senior Lieutenant Draco Malfoy Selkirk, commanding Unbroken’s company of Solarian Commonwealth Starmarines, was sitting with a one-liter can of Saint Micheal’s Red Label in his hands.

”Sit where you want,“ he replied, his attention on his niece, by herself right now on the opposite end of the living room, Micki having gone to freshen up,” I don’t really give a rat’s ass right now, Drives.“

”You’re worried about her, aren’t you?“ she asked, sitting down, a cup of coffee trembling and sloshing in her left hand.

”If,“ she added,”I may be so bold, sir.“

”Smoking lamp in the spinhab, Ariel,“ Drac replied, still watching Jami, who was fucking up a heaping plate of ribs and chicken like it’d been the only food she’d had in twenty years, two equally-heaping plates of poutine and a bowl of shrimp and cheese grits sitting on the table in front of her, the veteran Commonwealth Forces Starmarine officer taking another generous swallow of black rum, 180-proof Cascadian Floodplain grain whisky, licorice, root beer, black cherry and vanilla colas.

”You need to eat, Ariel,“ he added.

”Not hungry,“ she lied, not looking at him.

”I’m too fat anyway,“ she added, Drac involuntarily snorting at that observation.

”I am,“ Ariel insisted.

”You bumped your damn head,“ Drac replied,” all I’m gonna say to that.“
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

Another toss of Red Mike down his throat, Drac finally answering Ariel’s question:

”I always worry about her...Carse and I are the only family she’s got left...more precisely, Ariel, we’re the only blood relatives left who give a damn about her one way or the and Keisha, Annesha’s daughter, our niece through the Rumphlethinskin side of the poison family tree.“

”Rumph, as in—“ Ariel started to say, catching herself.

”The very same,“ Drac replied, another slug of Ol’ Micheal burning in his chest, Number One coming into the room, hugging Jami round the shoulders, his niece hugging her back, sobbing, Micki stroking her hair, shushing her, tears running down her own cheeks at the same time.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Ariel sneak a look in their direction, then quickly turn away, holding her coffee cup in both shaking hands, biting down on her lower lip.

Jami and Micki had been the ones, four years ago, who’d charged into that cage, Jami pulling ”Mistress Kym“ off Ariel, damn near beating the dop to death, Micki cradling Ariel in her arms and telling her it was all right now, everything was going to be all right...that had been all his Commonwealth had needed to tell the Fedders to go fuck themselves once and for all, once they’d found out the truth behind what had been done to Ariel.

And the truth had been one ugly son of a bitch indeed, not the kind of thing the good people of Ezra, Gibson Valley, or anywhere else on T-nova, invited into their homes, preferring instead Gotchanow’s ”happy truth“ that Ariel had swung herself a reprieve from the death house, spending four years in some women’s prison straight out of iPorn, after which she’d gotten her old job back, and was living in the Bottoms somewhere with a girlfriend she supposedly raped and beat down on a nightly basis, while poor crucified Eli fucking Feldmann had been scapegoated and spiked for the rape-murder that everyone was sure he hadn’t committed...

When the real Ariel was scared of her own shadow, and, of her feelings for a certain Master Pilot Rhiannon Moseley, who exchanged surreptitious glances with the ship’s starship engineering officer from across the room; hell, there was no denying she was sweet on her.

Unless, of course, it was Ariel herself doing the denying, trying to, at least.

He sighed over his second can of Ol’ Mike, a man-mountain of a Cajun coming into the room, saying hi to Jami and Micki, Micki hugging him, Jami nodding, not saying a word, the Cajun nodding back, walking towards the sofa where Drac was sitting, taking his extended hand in his.

”How you doin’, mon frere?“ Tiger Morrison asked him, sitting down at the opposite end of the sofa from Ariel.

”’The heavens blaze forth at the deaths of princes,’“ Drac replied bitterly,” while good old Jesus F. Carpathia sees fit to piss on the graves of good and decent people.“

Taking a pull from his can, he then added,” Et toi?“

”Half n’ half,“ Tiger said, repeating himself.

”Heard you guys have a gringo corpsicle up top,“ Drac said.

”A bad memory from the past,“ Tiger replied, his skinny grey tie hanging between his legs,” that Rover Four dig up befo’ they got theyselfs kilt, a bad memory that probably gonna get worse befo’ everything done with.“

Drac nodded his head.

”Benjamin Israel fuckin’ Zellner hisself,“ Tiger said, Drac telling him that was what he’d heard, the big man—an old friend of Carson’s and his from IW1—saying,” man been in that coffin damn near two hundred years, stabbed right through one of his hearts, but that ain’t the pisser, not by a long shot.”

He paused, remarking “you might want to take a healthy swig fo’ this.”

“Somehow,” Tiger then continued,”back in nineteen hunner an’ eighty-six, that fucker managed to get hisself shot with a weapon from our time.“

”Do what?!“ Ariel spoke up.

”He got hit by a—“ Drac started to say, after damn near choking on his drink.

”Two hunner ninety years, ten months, two weeks and six days ago, pre-cisely,“ Tiger replied. ”An’ it looks like a 13mm PDMD what did it too.“

“Son. Of a...” Drac trailed off.

“Oh, yeah,” Tiger intoned. “It is, and he is, fo’ dam’ sho’.”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 12:22:31 ZULU

John simply nodded at the data holoprojected before him in the security center’s crime lab.

”Margin of error?“ he asked Chynna.

”Nil,“ his security chief replied, looking at the same data, two ballistic spectrographs standing side by side, data streaming underneath, Chynna adding,”my techs have run the tests three times like a Topaz, and, every time, we’ve come up with the same thing. The weapon which did the damage was a Solarian Commonwealth Armed Forces-issue PDMD13, serial number 202100201JulietSierraLima, issued to Flight Captain Jameison Lanier, currently officer commanding Solarian Commonwealth Starcraft Unbroken, and star officer commanding, B Flight, Number 515 Frigate Squadron; patterns are a 100% match.“

”And, you’re sure about the date?“ the CEO of Venerian Multinational asked, no doubt even in his mind.

Chynna nodded.

”That’s what I thought,“ John told her, sighing.

”What I thought,“ he repeated, as he got on the line with the Defense Staff on the planet below.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 12:28:17 ZULU

”In a further development of the femsex trafficking scandal at Terranova College and Republican Union University,“ some slope bitch said with a British accent,”several female co-workers of former National Police Major Michelle Schneider testified before the Terranovan House of Commons in New Athens concerning her abusive and sadistic non-Canon affair with National Police Corporal Darah Lynn Bittick, her flagrant abuse of authority as commander of the University’s National Police contingent, the misuse of her position to protect femsexual predators operating on the University campus and the bullying and coercion of her male and feral subordinates.“

Israel listened to this, while contemplating his situation...there didn’t seem to be anyone in this part of the orbital but him and a few robots scrabbling around on their tracks and spider legs...the door to his room wasn’t locked, but it didn’t need to be, not with slabs of TDU composite and MHD shielding sealing off the only way into or out of the the isolation wing, the other end of which was doubtlessly heavily guarded.

The one workstation was behind thirty meters of clear tungsten-depleted uranium composite, also sealed off with MHD shielding, not that it mattered a damn, since the workstation itself was powered down, and the only thing he could access was the Net.

”I felt,“ another feral said on HV,”I had to complete her manual for her; she made it perfectlly clear I didn’t have a choice in the matter, not if I knew what was good for me.“

”The manual,“ the slope bitch spoke up again,” to which Sergeant Major Myers was referring is the Terranova Criminal Investigations Course, successful completion of which is required by National Policemen and TSID operatives once every six months. Others in Schneider’s command testfied that they attempted to come forward with what they knew concerning her affair with Bittick, only to be ordered by Baldwin County Sheriff Robert G. Owens and, in one case, by Training and Doctrine Minister Gilda Schrenko, to remain silent or be terminated; Sheriff Owens has been relieved of his duties by Attorney General Micheal Bauer pending an investigation by a committee of three other sheriffs into any potential misconduct.”

One way or the other, the Others—Roger in particular—would come for him, of that, Israel had no doubt...they simply wouldn’t leave him in enemy hands, now that they knew his useless excuse for an only begotten son had failed to kill him.

Sighing, his shoulder throbbing in memory of that black bitch having shot him, the Rightful Heir of the New Jerusalem concentrating on his initial plan of escape from here.

If they did come for him, they’d have to attack this orbital, and he would make his attempt while the enemy’s attention was focussed on that; helping himself to their weapons and one of their starcraft should pose no problem for the He who had once ruled the Earth.

Only question was, where did He go from there...His kingdom had been hoplessly fragmented, the United Federation of Sovereign Star Nations which the United Sovereignties’ successors had formed was a fractous union at best, dealing with them would be like Mickey Mouse dealing with the magic broom split apart by the axe.

Terranova was right out of the question, but he could hide on Oswald, in the Procyon system, for as long as it took for Him to come up with a plan of attack which would restore His kingdom and put His people back on track where His Work of Evolution was concerned.

For right now, however, He would simply bide His time.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

05) By a Rocking Cradle

“The darkness drops again, but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep were vexed to nightmare
By a rocking cradle.
And, what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches now towards Bethlehem to be born?”
—William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 13:07:31 ZULU

“The Commons,” her implant announced, at the same time Starcraft Captains Mary Catherine Rhoads and Phillip Wallace walked into the living room of the Phillips family home,”the Heads Of Government, and the Ministers of the Solarian Commonwealth of Nations are pleased to announce the promotion, with immediate effect, of their most loyal subject, Jameison Sue Lanier, to the rank of Senior Captain in the Solarian Commonwealth Star Force; she is further instructed, at once, to assume command of No. 515 Frigate Squadron.”

“Fuck,” Jami interjected, certainly not expecting this, sure as hell not expecting Micki to unpin the flight captain’s single silver sun from her collar and remove the blue-edged silver shoulder boards with the same rank, then replace them with the twin silver suns of a senior captain in the Service.

“You were expecting this, weren’t you?” she accused Micki.

“About a half second,” Cat defended, grinning ear to ear,”after Phil and I were informed, which was when Statesman and Tactician touched down a half hour ago.”

“Damn it, Cat,” Jami groused,”I fucking hate surprises.”

“Sorry,” Micki whispered. “I was under orders not to say anything til it was gazetted.”

“So, you wouldn’t run away,” Statesman’s skipper quipped. “As Cat tells it, it was the devil’s own time tracking you down, after word got out about your promotion to flight captain.”

“Fuck you, Phil,” Jami whispered venomously, closing her eyes on more unpleasant memories, as she took a deep breath and asked:

“What about Senior Captain Nylund?”

“SVA[Star Vice Admiral]Nylund now,” Cat explained.”She was appointed commandant of the Starcraft School by unanimous decision of the Defense Staff. My understanding was she wanted out of the field for a while.”

“Yeah,” Jami replied, with a sigh.”Can’t half blame her there. That leaves Gritte Ekhardt commanding the Vicky, doesn’t it?”

“And, Caroline Gallo and Vigilant commanding what’s now D Flight,” Micki replied, nodding her head.

She then gave her wife a light peck on the cheek, telling her,”you’re not the only one getting bad news today, luv. I’ll be just a moment,” before she walked off in Uncle Drac’s general direction.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 13:08:18 ZULU

“You bumped your goddamn head,” Senior Lieutenant Draco Selkirk said flat out to the Cydonian standing in front of him and the Cajun sitting beside him.

“Either that,” the commander of Unbroken’s Starmarines added, holding still another half-liter can of Red Mike in front of his face,“or I’ve had way too much of this shit to drink.”

“Facts,” Etienne Tiger Morrison told him flat out,“is facts, Drac, drunk o’ sober.”

This ain’t facts,” Drac replied, referring to the ballistics data displayed six inches in front of his right eye.“This is some bullshit, mon frere, no matter how you slice it.”

“What is?” Micki asked, as she joined them.

“According to Popeye and Sweetpea over here,” Drac said, gesturing at Tiger and Zeke Golden with his left hand,“your wife somehow tripped through the big stone donut of forever back to 1986, and shot Ben Scumbag Fuckin’ Zellner through the shoulder with 40.11 gigs of bomb-pumped gras.”

He then echoed the “data” to Micki’s plant.

Micki nodded her head a couple times as she went over the “data” for herself.

“Please, Baby Jesus F. Carpathia,” Drac implored his niece’s wife,”tell me you think this is all bullshit.”

“We thought the elder Zellner was dead, remember?” she said, perfectlly matter of fact.

“Fuck,” Drac interjected, as his plant relayed still another unpleasant surprise:

“The Commons, the Heads Of Government and the Ministers of the Solarian Commonwealth of Nations are pleased to announce the promotion, with immediate effect, of their most loyal subject, Draco Malfoy Selkirk[Pops must’ve been nosecoking some potent shit, when he’d thought of that name, Drac mused as he cringed inwardly], to the rank of Commander in the Solarian Commonwealth Corps of Interstellar Marines; he is further instructed, at once, to assume command of 515 Starmarine Regiment.”

Biting her lower lip, Micki mumbled “sorry,” as she exchanged a senior lieutenant’s twin golden suns for a commander’s triple gold suns.

“No, no,” Drac objected, as Micki changed out blue-trimmed gold shoulder boards. “Take that shit away, baby, I’m too goddamn—”

“You took the Commonwealth’s solari,” Micki reminded him,”so where ‛the Commonwealth points, you obey.’”

“’Between the stars and far away,’” Drac groused, draining the can of Red Mike dry in a single gulp. “Shit.”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:07:16 ZULU

“Sir!” Coloniel Charles W. Lightfoot barked as he snapped to attention, saluting his superior as he transportaled aboard the Terranovan Republican Starfleet’s newest and most advanced heavy cruiser, Commander John Patrick Malone looking all round him, and stepping down from the transportal stage before deigning to return Lightfoot’s salute.

“You have our orders, Coloniel?” Malone asked.

“Echoed from General Nim aboard Excelsior,” Lightfoot replied, falling into step behind the patròn of the RUS Saint Brian P. Kemp, as they entered the turbolift at the opposite end of the payload and hangar deck, and ascended to the Columbia-class heavy cruiser’s bridge, “while you were in transit to King William’s World.”

“May I see them?” Malone asked, Lightfoot echoing the orders to Malone’s plant.

Walking over to the chair beside Lightfoot’s at the center of the bridge, Malone sat down, smoothing the creases in his old-gold Starfleet management team jersey, before strapping himself in, while the holoimage of the Governor of his Union appeared immediately before him:

“It seems we need to send them another message,” he said, coming straight to the point,“ The 116th Heavy Cruiser Squadron is to proceed to the Solar System, egress hyperspace ten klicks from Magrathea, destroy it, leave no survivors, avoid all contact with enemy combatants, and return home. That is all.”

Nodding his head at the rapidly-disappearing holoimage, Malone asked,“status?”

“Ship and crew ready for space, mi patron,” Lightfoot replied crisply. “Flag reports squadron ready for lift.”

“Engineering, seal locks, retract umbilicals,” Malone ordered, Walden, at the bridge engineering station, reporting, “Locks sealed, umbilicals retracted, plasma-core torch ignition successful.”

“Helm, lift ship,” Malone then, Snead, at the helm of this impressive machine, replying “Lifting ship, ”as Kemp’s twin antimatter plasma-core torches raised him effortlessly from the surface of King William’s World and into space.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:07:16 ZULU

“I said bend over, now, bitch!” Alexis Kolby said, one of her pretty little Scandinavian girlies bending over, grabbing her ankles, the skimpy maid’s uniform lifting up to expose her pert little white ass to her mistress, dressed in leather riding gear, sitting on the corner of her desk, slapping the riding crop in her hands, as her girl trembled before her, whimpering about how sorry she was, old Alexis having none of that crying bullshit, laying into that stinking-ass pussy with her crop, the camera zeroing on that pretty little ass, as Alexis whipped it raw and bloody, slapping it once with her leather-gloved hand before screaming for her slave to go down on her hands and knees and fucking lick the goddamn floor clean with her tongue.

“Yes, Mistress,” the little girlie whispered demurely, going face down, ass up on the floor, lapping up that polished marble like it was her mistress’ rancid cooch, Israel staring at that holo and that one alone as he went at it.

They hadn’t changed, He thought to Himself, not one goddam bit, not one goddamn bit, not one goddamn bit...animals, every goddamn one of them, especially her, even if she always did think she was better than even His people, let alone better than any of hers.

Not one goddamn bit, he thought, heaving, sweating, Alexis stomping on that bitch’s ass, because she was Mistress, and what was on the floor licking up dirt was fucking Hers to do with as she pleased...all alike, preying on one another, strapping one another, licking out one another’s nasty fucking holes, that was how they were from the beginning, nothing but a bunch of depraved, half-savage, fucking Yahoos needing their goddamn daddies to come make their stinking-a—


Just as it was starting to get good, the damn thing dissolved to a scene of some half naked chick lying on a couch somewhere and a breathy female voice telling him “this is Lifetime, holovision for women, a division of Disney Group, LLC.”

And, Israel held Himself limply in His hand, as the commercials came, His attention drifting to one of the other holoprojections, something calling itself Viacom Headline News, some little redheaded Chink bitch telling him:

“In New Athens, the Terranovan House of Commons voted unanimously to increase the reward for the capture of Commonwealth Forces Senior Captain Jameison Sue Lanier to ten and one half million Oswald sterlings, or 73.5 million dollars Terranovan Standard Currency, following her recent terrorist acts against the Terranovan people.

Yesterday, Lanier—already a fugitive from Terranovan justice, following her escape from the Union Feminine Rehabilitation Colony on Cocytus 35 years ago—ordered her ship, Unbroken, to egress hyperspace 8.5 kilometers above the Terranovan capital of New Athens, that action alone causing severe damage to the city, before giving the orders to attack civilian targets, her crew and she carrying out the cold-blooded murder of over 39,700 men, women and children before being forced to withdraw by units of the Terranovan Republican Starfleet.”

By God, there She was, right behind the little Chink howler, eyes as cold and dark and clear, as they had been when she’d dared shoot Him down all those years ago, wearing an ice-white dress uniform, and a silver-frilled white saucer cap on her knappy head.

It was Her, the One who always came to wreck His plans, thwart His ambition, put Herself in the way of what must was the Harlot, Israel’s sworn enemy, just as it had been written, just as it had come to pass, just as it would be now.

Of its own free will, the hand which had held him clenched into an impotent fist.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:07:16 ZULU

Grabbing her bitch by her long, blonde hair, the coal-black Yanker bull—clad in a crotchless leather bodysuit and all over tats—bent her girlie over, forcing her to douche out her stinking taint, while another of her girlies fingered her bum, slapping her bare brown bottom repeatedly with a leather-gloved hand, before the bull screamed for her to go down on her knees and lick out the other slag, a command the dark, curly-headed bitch was only too eager to obey.

Flight Captain John Sprague, commander of the Oswald Republican Starcraft Pueblo, watched the femperv holoprojected before him on the wardroom’s workstation terminal—purely for intel purposes, mind you, he wasn’t into that shit, not like them, his kind couldn’t even begin to think like them—his bloodshot brown eyes locked onto the little blonde tart going “mmmmmm” as she slurped up her little girlfriend, pink tongue probing as deep into her rosebud as it would go, the black bull screaming for her to “go deeper, bitch, dee—“

Bloody hell!

“Wot the fuck is it now, Number One?!” he demanded of his 2ic, Flight Lieutenant Simon Parkinson.

“Incoming communication from Mount Baden, sir,” Parkinson replied.

“Zed priority,” he added, before his commander could reply.

“Fuck,” Sprague replied, pausing the Net-zine Fall Line Ferals, and accepting the incoming comm, the image of Roger Selwyn Tarrant, High Commissioner of the True Britannic Republic of Oswald, standing before him.

“Sir!” Sprague said, snapping to attention, saluting, the HighCom telling him,“as you were, Flight Captain.”

“Change in plan,” he said. “Benjamin Zellner is to be ported aboard Pueblo, and brought directly to me in Mount Baden.”

“The Yanker assault—” Sprague started to ask, the HighCom cutting him off:

“Is still on, as far as I know. You’re to use that as cover for getting him off the orbital and into our custody. Any further questions?”

“No, sir,” Sprague replied.

“Good,” Tarrant replied, discomming and disappearing from view before Sprague could say anything else, Pueblo’s OC then unfroze Fall Line Ferals, and resumed watching it with a single thought.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:07:16 ZULU

“Whose fucking idea was that?!” demanded the Governor of the Union, glaring at the others in the conference room of the Hilton Head Island Resort.

“Mine,” Theodore Wilson Krantz, State President of Mountaindove replied, the ugly fucking troll of a man staring back at him through horn-rimmed bifocals. “Got a problem with that?”

“Damn skippy I do, you Cassie son of a bitch!” his Governor snapped.

“He outlived any usefulness he might have had to the Work,” he added,“ almost two hundred years ago, and he’s in their hands; two damn good reasons in favor of his permanent retirement, or at least I think so.”

“You,” Sir Albert Drake, Prime Minister of the Dominion of Nova Virginia, chuckled, and remarked,“thinking. Now there’s a novel concept.”

“Bitch,” the Lord and Master of his worthless Ginnie life spat at him,“shut the fuck up!”

“Guy’s right,” Harrison Braidwood, President of the California Free State, spoke up. “Benjamin Zellner is no longer an essential part of our plans, hasn’t been for a long time.”

“We’ve continue to venerate him,” Rashad Malcom Muhammed, President of the Secret, Supreme, Exalted High Committee of the Thirteen of the New Confederate Order, observed, “for purelly sentimental reasons, at best...whatever debt our race owes him for his services in the beginning, we’ve repaid a thousand fold.”

“We’ve long since passed the point where we can prosecute the Work without him,” Leopold Eichmann, Fürher of the Deutschesnationalsocialismusbund, added. “We’ve been doing so, quite successfully, I might add, for the last 190 years.”

“You would think so,” Heathcoate Saint John, Tarrant’s deputy, commented archly,“ wouldn’t you?”

“Roger,” he added,“ feels differently, as do I.”

“Like I give a rat’s ass concerning your feelings, runt,” Israel commented. “As for Pops, why ain’t he here?”

“He didn’t give a reason,” Saint John replied, Krantz speaking up:

“He’s right, though... the wars we’ve prosecuted in an attempt to thin the herds have ended up costing us dearly, their numbers are rapidly increasing, in spite of our best efforts, while we’re talking about total extinction in seven years’ time.”

“Morale,” Maximillen Lange, Président Premiére of the Gallic Republic, spoke up,“amongst our people is at an all-time low.”

“And, they’re getting ready to pounce,” The Prophet Norris Romney, President of the Quorum of Thirteen of the Christian Identity Church of True Israelites, temporal ruler of the State of Deseret, remarked.

“We’re having difficulties keeping our people in line,” Damien d’Souza, Chairman of Skywalker Ranch’s Media Committee, said,“and I don’t mean just amongst the rank and file either.”

“All our attempts to circumvent the hard limits imposed by the cloning process,” Guillermo Calderon, President of the Argentine Republic, spoke,“ are meeting with flat failure.”

“Same with us,” Samuel Charles Bush, President of the Republic of New Liberia, said. “And, more of them are being born, at our expense.”

“The same is true,” Saint John said,“ for all of us, I have the reports here if you—”

“I have access to the same fucking reports, thank you very much!” the Governor of the Union snapped.

“You seriously think he’s the solution to our problems?!” he asked.

“He was the one who united us,” Saint John replied,“ gave us the means for their subjugation, gave us purpose...simply put, we would not be here discussing his usefulness to the Work, were it not for him giving us that Work to do in the first place.”

“And,” Israel replied,“ when the bitch got out of hand, we—I—was the one who had to put him down to keep that Work from going off track. I don’t think there’s anything more which needs be said.”

“You’re the one who went, and made him a God, little Guy,” that runty Ozzie bastard snarked.

“And, the majority of us here feel we need that God more than ever to unite and guide us,” Krantz said. “Deal with it.”

“Oh,” the Lord and Master of Krantz’s worthless Casshole life smiled and replied,“I will.”

“You damn well better believe that,” he added.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:07:16 ZULU

This was the kind of burning in his chest which should’ve discouraged any alcoholic.

Struggling to his feet, spent , shaking and sweating, Drac cursed himself for his weakness only for the nth motherfucking time since the first time he’d ended up doing the same exact motherfucking thing he despised in his father and continued to despise in his oldest brother and himself, the same trap his niece and twin brother had both somehow managed to find a way out of.

He looked in the mirror above the washbasin.

He was allergic to purganol, the end result of the industrial strength version of nodopz cleansing his bloodstream of the noxins he’d chosen to ingest being him throwing up in the nearest toilet.

Even bioplastic eyes could get bloodshot, and his were real beauts right now....he looked like shit, vomit still on his breath, something he hoped shoving the washbasin’s sonic cleanser down his throat would take care of, hair a mess, dress uniform fucking ruined, sweat still pouring out of him, carrying with it the last of the Red Mike he had been drinking.

Every funeral, the same fucking song, he’d stayed together just long enough to bury more people, before finding the nearest bottle and drinking himself blind, after which, he’d either end up shaking off the effects of the purganol or lying in bed all day from the hangover he’d wished would just finish the job of fucking killing him.

Ironically enough, it had been Pops who’d gotten him started down that road...eight years old, while Carson had been bawling his eyes out over Abby’s suicide, Drac had been a “man” about the whole thing, keeping it all inside, draining the glass of Corona Real and Heaven Hill burbon his father had handed him after they’d gotten back to the house, asking for more, watching Jeff sweeten his with a little redbud he’d bought from his fix in Gibson Valley.

The sonics had done their job, he couldn’t taste the puke in his mouth anymore; stripping off the dress whites, he stepped into the sonic shower, the ultrasonic waves making his teeth ache as they cleaned away the rest of the signs of his latest binge, all but the eyes, something a couple drops of saline solution would take care of, no problem.

Twenty-ninth January, 1986.

That was the day Jami had shot Ben Scumbag Zellner, and, he still didn’t know why that date stuck out in his mind, even with most of the alcohol chased away from his grey matter; he tried foccussing on that day Miss Henley had talked about it in history class ages ago, but, it had been ages ago, and most of his tradoc he’d chosen to blot out, better that way.

Much better that way.

Except, for now, when he needed to remember just what was so damn important about that particular date, aside from his niece having jumped there through the big stone donut of forever to put gras through Old Man Zellner’s shoulder.

He sighed, just as the sonics cut out, and he stepped out of the shower, walking out of the washroom into the living area of his quarters aboard Unbroken, squeezing himself in between the bed and the workstation, pulling socks, a t-shirt and a pair of boxers from the top drawer, taking his greys from the bottom drawer, laying them on his bed as he sat down and put on his underthings...his commando green beret, with its Lion, Golden Sunburst, Silver Anchor and Crossed Rifles, was sitting on his night table, right next to Vash the Stampede with his foot in Jameison Kirk’s chest, his Frank Marlon Special pointed right between the Fed starcraft captain’s beady fucking little eyes.

Technically incorrect, since Vash had gone out of his way to avoid taking life, tried to, at least, but that hadn’t sunk in when he’d made that diorama at the age of eight.

Twenty-six years before Jami had been born into a world and to a goddamn spoiled brat hellbent on her destruction...

...she was flopping around on the deck, unable to help herself, Drac brought up short by the sledgehammer-blow realization that the skeleton covered in shit and blood, pissing, bleeding and crapping in her G-string right this instant was, in fact, his niece, the one supposedly let out of YDC after a year and half...

The dop jazzing her with the heavy nerve projector smiled, stomping on her crotch and telling her to shut the fuck up, Jami flipping over onto her stomach, the goddamn thing about to put its bootprint on her ass before Drac recovered enough of his wits to close the firing circuit and send ten 13mm BPG warshot from his HMD to detonate and burn into its armor’s MHD shielding, one of the gras pulses penetrating and spraying the bonesmoker all over the Ginnie starfighter carrier’s shambles of a bridge... the diorama reflected his idea of Vash, instead of his long-dead creator’s, fair enough, every hero, fact and fiction, ended up the reflection of their fans’ own impotent wishes, why should he be any different?

He suited up, taking the equipment belt from where he’d left it hanging, buckling it on, ejecting the PDMD13 into his right hand, hefting it, ejecting the mag from the weapon, catching it before it could hit his foot, stripping the considerably-lightened pistol down to its component parts, carefully examining each one of them for any sign of dirt and wear, before reassembling and reloading the weapon, holstering it, getting off the bed, picking up the HMD13 next to the workstation, laying it on his lap as he sat on the workstation chair, stripping it down into its component parts, examining them.

They would be engaging Yanker heavies in less than an eyeblink, the rest of his company already at their initial stations at both airlocks, prepared to defend the ship against anyone gating in to try and take it.

She’d sound battle ready in a few moments, blowing out the ship, killing spin, bringing the MHDs—beam arrays and shielding—on line, charging and loading the 50s and 203s, and releasing the hounds.

Unbroken was already in motion, burning hard toward escape velocity and the rest of her squadron at almost twenty-six grav, lifting the instant she’d gotten the word from CCI.

The battle-ready klaxon blew off, Unbroken’s skipper shouting for her crew to haul ass to their stations, Drac reassembling and reloading his HMD, slinging it over his right shoulder as he sealed up his suit, rose from the chair and walked out of his quarters.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:07:52 ZULU

“Ship and crew at battle ready, Skipper,” Micki reported reported, Jami staring straight ahead at the master holoproj, nodding her head in acknowledgement, as they cleared atmo, began cycling the Rittermark jenny at 100Hz, and joined the rest of the squadron cycling in and out of hyperspace on an intercept with the inbound heavy cruiser squadron.

“Squadron,” Micki added, even as her mind vectored the ship past Magrathea, orbiting 395 klicks from Venus,”at battle ready.”

“Shooter,” Jami ordered Stevie,”twelve Raptors, max sublight, hold them close to the ship for now.”

“Twelve Raptors away,” Stevie Aguinaldo reported from the AKV control station at Micki’s left,”all birds running straight, hot and true at max sublight.”

“Defense Stars going active,” Claudia Littlejohn reported from her station at Micki and Stevie’s right.”Frigates and carriers lifting from Venus and all orbitals, starfighters launching from Venus, all orbitals, and all carriers.

“Skipper,” Senior Lieutenant Michiko Fujiwara reported from the intel station at Stevie’s left,“am detecting an artificial Hawking hole, moving from Solar orbit on vector for Magrathea at a constant fifteen kilokips ahv. Initial telemetry indicates it is an Oswald Republican AstroGuard Blackbird-class stealth escort, possibly ORS Pueblo.

Jami nodded her head, Marisa, from her gun station immediately at Micki’s right, adding,“ Defense Star 227 has acquired him, Skipper; he shouldn’t be any—”

Multiple starcraft in transit, now entering Solar System!” Claudia shouted out. “Zero by five, one-four-one teraklicks downrange, closing at nine-seven decimal two-niner terak—“

“All Raptors, open fire!” Jami shouted into her plant.”Squadron, fire at will!”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:09:48 ZULU

Just as the little bitch started bragging to Pussi Willows about how she stabbed the creepy old cat lady through the heart with one of her own knitting needles, the red alert klaxon blew off, Brigadier General Nim John Wayne pausing the rerun of Dick Grissom M.E., slowly rising to his feet from the couch on the Excelsior’s wardroom, zipping up his black armored bodyglove and his trousers, pulling on his boots and his old-gold management team jersey, as he walked through the airlock onto the bridge, barely acknowleding two red-armored Starfleet Security contractors shouting “General on deck!” at the same time, as he strode past them to the center of the bridge, and—

Fell inelegantly to the deck, as the lights went out, and several bridge stations exploded, sending jumpsuited contractors and supervisors screaming to their deaths.

“Report!” he demanded, Excelsior’s first officer, Colonel John Harriman, quick to respond:

“They bushwhacked us, mi patrón. Essex, Midway, MacArthur, Saipan, and Franklin D. Roosevelt either deadstick or destroyed!”

The GCG shielding flashed bluish-white hot, the heavy cruiser shaking, the bridge again sparking, smoking and falling down all around Nim, as he made it to his chair, alarms screaming inside his head, Major Tupac Amuru reporting from engineering, “primary and secondary power grids burned out! Teritary power grid 67% disrupted, starboard Alcubierre generator offline, starboard plasma core torch severely damaged, primary massdrivers one to nineteen dismounted and offline, secondary massdrivers 32 to 78 dismounted and offline, multiple penetrations, both gun decks, all three spinhab levels, radiators four through ten destroyed, internal heat 71 degrees, rising!”

The bridge continued trembling, more sparks and things falling down from the ceiling, Amuru reporting,“Hangar bay destroyed, starboard AKV bay opened to space, MHD shielding reduced by 92%, inter—oh, crap!

Oh, crap, indeed, Nim swearing under his breath as he caught glimpses of a electric-blue on grey DirtCom frigate rapidly cycling through hyperspace across Excelsior’s vector, the fifty-two 203mm bomb-pumped graser warshot meant to destroy Vermin Incorporated’s headquarters orbital instead...bouncing off her forward shielding and beam array like hailstones, the tachyons she emitted each time she ingressed and egressed hyperspace streaking straight for the badly-damaged Terranovan heavy cruiser, as her 50mm massdrivers shot down the AKVs Excelsior had spaceborne with rapid-fire BPG ordinance.

Harriman screamed, “evasive manuvers, Mister Highsmith, eighty seconds emergency burn!” Captain Kenneth Highsmith wasting absolutely no time firing the surviving torch and RCS thrusters while Excelsior was in norm, and wrenching the ship out of the path of inbound DirtCom ordinance.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:10:51 ZULU

“MHD beam forward emitters are fried,” Ariel reported,“ MHD shielding reduced by 98%, diverting all excess power to reinforcing it, primary and secondary electrics 100% disrupted, teritary electrics 63% disrupted, massdrivers Alfa Two, Alfa Three, Alpha Five, and Bravo Three offline, auto-repair system off line, internal heat 70 degrees, rising, antimatter containment and thermopile both shorting out; Magrathea Ops reporting heavy damage from emitted tachyons—”

“Fuck!” Jami swore, shaking her head.

“Fuck,” she repeated.

“Ozzie stealthcort’s dropping stealth, cycling its Rittermark jenny!” Claudia shouted, Jami almost dead certain what it intended to do.

“Number One, intercept vector, and upcycle!” she shouted, Micki replying,“too late, Skipper, he’s egressed one kiloklick from the station’s Northwest Cylinder; hostile at unassisted telegate range!”

“Advise Mags that the Ozzies are about to gate in and try to grab the old man!” Jami shouted to Claudia. “Number One—goddamnit!”

“Skipper, another heavy!” Stevie told her needlessly, a Yanker heavy cruiser closing to twenty klicks from the orbital’s East Cylinder, badly-damaged but still operable, the 56-kiloton behemoth slewing about on his torched and RCS thrusters to bring his remaining guns to bear.

“Fire!” Jami screamed, Marisa already vectoring ten 203mm BPG warheads right down his throat, as Stevie’s Raptors fired twelve more at him.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:12:00 ZULU

“Primary and secondary electrics gone!” Tiger reported amidst the wreckage of Magrathea’s ops deck. “MHDs off line, Dorsal an’ South Cylinders open to space, heavy damage to Dorsal and South Habs. Reactors one, two and three gone, emergency venting kicked in before all hell could break loose; containment, thermopiles, all gone, reactor four isolated itself from the other three, auto repair system on line.”

“Comm from Unbroken,” Rosa Thornton, one of the ops engineers, said over John’s link.“They’re reporting—”


“Security teams to med isolation, stat!” John shouted over comms. “Security teams—”

“Chynna already head of you!” Tiger replied .“She gated in six security teams the second she heard the Ozzies invited theyselfs to our house!”
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:14:07 ZULU

“This way, sir,” a Brit said to him, Israel turning to face him and nine other men, a shimmering like heat off the pavement behind them.

He asked no questions, following the Brits through the spacetime rift of a transportal focus and onto its one-yard diameter circular stage.

Just in time to be slammed down onto the deck, alarms hooting everywhere, the Brit who had called out to him telling one of his comrades to “get him up on his feet, an’ in the brig, fast!

“C’mon, you,” a big son of a bitch said, hauling Israel to his feet like he was nothing,“ brig’s t’at way,” he gestured towards a turbolift at the opposite end of the transportal stage with a pointing finger the size of Israel’s dick.

Motherfucker would pay for his insolence in just a few moments, Israel thought to himself, half-staggering off the teleportal stage, walking unsteadily over to the equipment locker at its foot, getting it open, feeling an plasma torch pulling all his blood down to his feet, as the ship it was driving turned sharply, and accelerated rapidly, as he reached in the locker for one of the neatly-racked heavy massdrivers.

“Uh-uh,” the large, ugly man said. “Not fer you, mate.”

Ignoring him, Israel took the rifle anyway, the big man saying,“I said—”

Nothing which meant a damn in this life or the life to come, Israel turning on his heel, walking the weapon across the room, most of the resulting bomb-pumped gras stopped by the personal MHD shielding of his surviving would-be captors...most....the ones that got through....Jesus, what a mess.

And, he was out of ammunition, the spent magazine ejecting itself from His weapon, only the first Brit still left standing, smiling as he trained his weapon right between Israel’s eyes.

“Guess you got me,” Israel said, dropping the now-useless weapon to the deck, putting up his hands.

“Our orders were to deliver you to Mount Badon, alive,” the Brit—no, not a Brit, an Ozzie, he’d just said as much—said, sorely tempted to disobedience.

“Turn round, and move!” he ordered, Israel meekly complying, walking slowly towards the turbolift.

“In ya go,” the Oswaldan ordered him.

“Sure thing, man,” Israel replied, starting to enter the lift.

Then turning round and grabbing hold of the dumb bastard’s head, twisting until he heard the neck give way, all before the SOB could even think to splatter him all over the deck with his, Israel’s weapon, along with the pistol and the fusbeam cutter hanging from the deader’s equipment belt, which he now buckled around his waist before getting in the turbolift and ascending toward the bridge.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:16:00 ZULU

“Philippine Sea withdrawing from battle!” the avionics contractor reported, as the Brian P. Kemp staggered from another hit, more 203s detonating, punching still more 133.7TJ gras through the weakened MHD shielding to burn even bigger holes through the heavy cruiser’s fuselage.

That made five down, four deadstick, one hauling ass back to Willie World, and the Kemp, along with the Excelsior, being pounded to shit by that same goddamn DirtCom feral who had blown his Atlanta Three out of the sky over New Athens only yesterday.

“Who gives a shit?!” Malone shrieked. “Fuckin’ kill the goddamn bitch! Mister Snead, Mister Welch, bring all our guns to bear on her, now, goddamnit!”

The greviously-wounded Columbia-class heavy cruiser altered vec to face the Unbroken and bring his sixteen remaining 203s to bear on her, Malone screaming for Welch to fire before the ship had completed its turn, sixteen more eight-inch BPG warheads shooting out towards the Sullie warbird, along with a baker’s dozen of SGM-56 King Cobra AKVs, to burn it out of the stars.

She would have to evade or shoot down nearly all that inbound ordinance, while the Kemp staggered from another hit, this one—

“That was one of the Defense Stars, Commander,” Bohannon shouted,“took out our—”

The heavy cruiser shook again, Welch telling him what he already fucking knew, the goddamn DirtCom feral had been practically right on top of them, scraping hell out of the paint job, as she pumped more 203s into the saucer and the stern hull in passing, Malone screaming for Snead to turn them around, ordering Welch to “fire as we bear!”

“With respect, Commander,” Welch asked,“ with what?!”

“Both AKV bays have been destroyed. All remaining massdrivers now dismounted and offline,” he added.

“Both Alcubierre generators,” Snead reported,“ still online and cycling, Commander.”

“Then use ‛em, Major,” Malone replied bitterly. “Get us the hell out of here.”

The Columbia-class heavy cruiser had already upcycled to max translight, even as Malone said this.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:17:19 ZULU

“Primary electrics 100% disrupted,” Flight Officer Richard Osbrey reported,“ secondary electrics 91% disrupted, teritary electrics 83% disrupted, Alcubierre generator off line, plasma core torch badly damaged, no better than one grav max burn, reinforcing MHD shielding.”

“Bugger,” Sprague mouthed bitterly, Parkinson desperately trying to evade the Commie frigs’ murderously precise fire, Pueblo’s defensive countermeasures engineer, Pilot Officer Micheal Carew, reporting,“we’ve got Raptors coming in ‘ard an’ fast, Flight Captain, zero by seventeen decimal niner-three, one-zero-zero kiloklicks downrange, closing rapidly at 210 kilokips...Dauntless-class frig, plus ten by six, also one-zero-zero kiloklicks downrange, closing us rapidly at 210 kilokips.”

“Turn us round to face those AKVs, Mister Parkinson,” Sprague, making the only logical choice under the circumstances,“WEO, Countermeasures, fire as we come to bear!”

“Altering vector to intercept,” Parkinson replied.

“Locking one-three-zeros on incoming Raptors,” Flight Officer Declan Sharpe shouted,“commencing fire!”

As Pueblo’s weapons engineering officer said that, the 7,000-ton stealth escort shook again, sparks and fire briefly blossoming into life all round Sprague, the master holoproj briefly winking out and coming back up, Osbrey reporting,“MHD shielding reduced by 94%, primary mass—’ey, wot the f—”

Sprague turned round in his chair just in time to see his WEO and DCO both explode in firey sprays of blood, bone and grease, compliments of their supercargo, now busying himself with shooting down the rest of the bridge team where they sat(or stood), Sprague himself having just enough time to say,“bugger me,” before he too exploded in a cloud of blood, grease and bone.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:19:02 ZULU

Drilling the helmsman, before he could even turn around, Israel sat at the now-vacated command conn, a few commands entered into its holodisplays via his outdated, but just barely compatible, AI implant transferring all functions to this station, the Rightful Heir of American Destiny directing the fire of the stealth escorts’s two surviving turreted 130mm primary and ten 50mm secondary massdrivers against the unmanned aerospace vehicles trying to stop him.

Fast approaching behind him was Her ship, of that He was absolutely sure, and it was fine with Him, the two of them would settle accounts once and for all, once and for—

The holo of one of the ship’s engineers floated in front of him, saying,“ Bridge, engineering, Alcubierre generator’s back on line, suggest we—wot the fuck, you’re not the Skipper, wot the—”

“No time to explain, boy,” Israel, activating the ship’s internal defenses, replied, the engineer screaming for the brief instant it took for him to explode, the once-High Commissioner of the United Sovereignties scanning the inside of the hostile frig, the lifeform readings confirming what he already knew, his fingers already programming the Alcubierre generator, inputting the final vector this ship would take.

“This ends now, bitch!” He exulted, activating the ship’s external comms. “Once—”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:22:41 ZULU

“—and for all!” the bastard exulted, just before his image disappreared from Jami’s right eye.

“Wait for it, Number One,” Unbroken’s commander said to her wife, just as the battered Ozzie stealthcort began cycling its Rittermark jenny.

“Now!” she snapped, her frigate already upcycling to low translight, then downcycling two kiloklicks from where she’d been, Micki’s thoughts rapidly flying across her holodisplays, Jami barking out,“Mister Partridge, fire as your guns—”

“Starcraft in transit, zero by zero, one hundred kiloklicks downrange!” Michiko shouted in Jami’s head, as the stealthcort transitted the point in spacetime where Unbroken had been, only to be blasted to bits by the final Yanker Columbia-class warbird closing on an intercept vector, the hostile heavy cruiser then going upcycling to translight, before Unbroken’s surviving 203s could be brought to bear on it.

And, Jami began to shake.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 14:25:08 ZULU

“You son of a bitch!” Krantz screamed at him, the Governor of the Union calmly replying:

“You told me to deal with it, Theodore, and I dealt with it.”

at the same time he drew his 20mm California-Winchester M2149 autorevolver massdriver pistol from inside his blazer, aiming it straight at the Casshole’s four beady little eyes.

“You have a problem with that?! I hope?!” he asked, part of his attention still on the HV in his suite, displaying real-time footage of the scene on the South Lawn of his Capitol, all those ungrateful, goddamn Homesteader bitches on the front steps, screaming “GIVE US A VOICE! GIVE US A VOICE!” over and over.

If that was what they wanted.

“Excuse me for just a second, Theodore,” the Governor of the Union said, a thought connecting him with his Attorney General, simply asking Micheal:

“Are they in position?”

“Ready to go when you give the word,” Micheal’s holoimage replied.

“I’m giving it,” Zellner replied, Micheal then saying,“All units, you are authorized to use Delta Level protocols to disperse the crowd, I say again, Delta Level protocols.”

On HV, five ACV-137U Spectre IV airlifter gunships of the National Police’s New Athens-Clarke County Command rose up from behind the Capitol, turning their 152mm massdrivers and 50mm triple-barrelled automatic massdriver cannon on the Homesteaders, cutting loose before the miserable goddamn bitches had any fucking chance to make a run for it, National Policemen pouring out of the Capitol’s front entry, guns blazing, hunting down and killing anyone unfortunate enough to survive the firestorm of bomb-pumped 1.34- and 16-terajoule gras issuing from the flanks of those gunships.

Fucking served them right.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

06) Are You Aware Of the Fire Beneath Your Feet?

“How long can you be agile, dancing between the altar and the mercy seat. Now, here’s a chance to make a choice, are you aware of the fire beneath your feet?”
—Indigo Girls, “1 2 3”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 17:14:28 ZULU

“Maan,” K.C. Oliver asked his fellow wits seated with him at the stretch end’s middle booth,“just what the fuck is their problem anyway? It was our taxpayers’ money that helped settle ‘em bitches in the fuckin’ woods, and this is how they repay us.

So what, if they don’t have no real represenatives in the Common Legislature, an’ New Athens gave Excelsior the right to do whatever they had to to make ‘em some silver; man, it wasn’t like it was Pharaoh coming in, and killing off all their first-born sons, or anything like that.”

“Shit,” he added, after a sip of his large to-go cup of Moot House coffee,“as far as I’m concerned, Guy Zellner can kill all of ‘em off, nothin’ but a goddamn bunch of troublemakers and crybabies anyway.”

“Damn straight,” Joe Keane chirped right up,“ you damn straight they are, nothin’ but a buncha crybabies, every damn one of ‘em, bitchin’ ‘cause we have to come in there and fuckin’ make them do a little bit of work, and tryin’ to train ‘em...shoulda shot all of ‘em dead years ago.”

“Y’damn skippy,” Jim Hunter said. “Need to send the goddamn Third Shock Army in there and knock all their fuckin’ heads around, that’s what they oughta fuckin’ do.”

“How ‘bout some more coffee there, darlin’!” Joe hollered out to Candace Hill, the salesperson working the stretch end today, the dirty, goddamn leprechaun son of a bitch banging his cup on the table, knowing damn good and well Candace was busy taking the orders of a family of four in the booth behind them.

“Maan,” K.C. observed,“can’t get no good service round here.”

“Hey!” he shouted at Candace.“ The man said he wanted some more fuckin’ coffee! How ‘bout you shake that fat ass of yours over here with the coffeepot?!

“You need to do somethin’ ‘bout them girls, Sunni,” Carl Eustis, Joe’s running buddy from way back in the Pleiocine Era, said to Sunni Pate, as she brought the pot around, refilling all four men’s cups. “Gettin’ to where you can’t get a cup of damn coffee without having to wait an hour and a half.”

“She was waiting on other customers,” Sunni replied, feeling Joe’s eyes zeroing in on her ass as she turned round to go back behind the line.

“Always got a damn excuse,” Jim commented, Joe telling him,“it’s a fuckin’ Chik n’ Head at the fuckin’ Chik n’Head, Jim, whaddya expect?”

“More than what I get, for the money I have to pay to eat here,” Jim whined in reply. “I mean, look at this shit, goddamn three dollars and seventy-five cents for a lil’ bitty ol’ sliver of softshell pie, goddamn three fuckin’ dollars for a cup of coffee that don’t fill y’hollow tooth and almost twenty damn dollars just for two bacon cheeseburgers and greasy-ass hashbrowns.”

“I know, brother,” K.C. replied,“ it’s just ridiculous how much you have to pay...goddamn three fuckin’ dollars for a cup of coffee.”

The Chik n’ Waffle district manager choked on what she wanted to say to them, listening to Candace call in her order to Jody Harbuck, the second-shift cook, as she sat back down at the low counter and got back to work on next week’s schedules for all three of her stores; Ibrahim’s sorry ass was supposed to be here at half past nineteen, but it would probably be more along the lines of a quarter to twenty-one, before he even bothered to come in the fucking door, and he sure as hell wouldn’t be sober in any case.

Sighing, Sunni turned her attention to the tickets Ibrahim had stuck Amy Smith—no fucking relation, thank you, Jesus—with auditing, the responsibilty, of course, having gone straight to the point on her fucking head, no surprise there....

At least, she was trying to turn her attention back to the tickets, hard to do with Bobo X booming through the store, Canadace’s idiot co-worker, Scott Ogles, having echoed ten dollars to the jukebox just to hear that song over and over, ad infinitum(as Jami used to say).

Five years ago, Bobo used to be one of her cooks, making $36.75 an hour; now, he was making millions per second—in real money—three fucking houses, the one he had on Skywalker Ranch big enough for the whole town of Ezra to fit in its horse barn.

How the fuck was that for irony?!

“....evil gonna fly there gonna be some hail, when ol’ Guy Z. start rangin’ yo’ bell Terranova gonna give it to ya Terranova gonna give it to ya say T-Nova gonna give it give it to ya!” the “artist” once known as Boris Beauregard Dalton rapped, his holo gyrating in front of the Union Cross,“Brought to ya courtesy of the Black, White an’ Blue, numba one in da hood, gee!

“O’,” Scott, looking oh so pretty(fucking useless)leaning on the condiment stand on the office end, shouted,“hail yeah!” as the song restarted.

Another sigh...Bobo had been just as good—or as bad—a grill operator as he was a rapper, at least on the nights when he hadn’t been too geeked out on rapture to put in a performance at the grill; and, clean or stoned, you could forget about putting him on weekends—which reminded her, she still needed a cook for third shift, Ibrahim doubtlessly having not troubled himself to call someone in for little Johnny’s worthless ass.

Okay, back to the tickets...their plants automatically priced and totalled the fucking things for them, wasn’t like they were still doing them all by hand, like waitresses—sorry, salespeople(what a fucking way to pass the buck)had during the Chik n’ Waffle’s infancy over three hundred years ago, yet, whennever food costs got a teeny weeny bit too high, the Cn’W2 specfically called for her to audit the master ticket file, which held all the tickets written in the last 21 shifts, and go over those tickets for any sign of error, when the only fucking error the girls(and two guys)could make was in inputting the wrong abbreviations...that, of course, being entirely possible, especially considering no one ever bothered to train the new girls on just what the proper abbreviations were to begin with.

Not that even her veterans knew themselves...add cheap and shitty voice and thought-translation firmware—as well as out and out dishonesty—to the mix, and there was always a slight chance of someone charging the customer the wrong price...

“...I didn’t—” Sunni started to say, knowing it wouldn’t be any use.

“Bitch,” Jimmy spat back at her, jerking a hand at the holoproj floating over the office workstation,“ don’t you even think of fuckin’ tellin’ me these ain’t your fuckin’ errors—if they are, in fact, errors...can’t be nothin’ else, but yours, sweetpea, program only charges the prices based on the abbreviations you input into the fuckin’ thing , so it can’t be its fault.”

“Chargin’,” he added, tapping the holo,“ for a grilled cheese plate on four on ticket 223, when I know damn good and well you called in a T-bone dinner on two, a pork chop dinner and a ribeye dinner for that same you realize just how much money you fuckin’ balled up and threw away on that order?”

“Goddamn,” he added, looking right between Sunni’s legs,“if you didn’t have...other redeeming qualties to you, I’d have fired your skank ass long time ago....”

“...the rule of law,” the PM’s holoimage said, as he stood with Horace Rump and another TSID op on the Capitol’s still charred and bloody steps,“simply does not apply to enemy combatants, and that was what those people were, plain and simple, rabid bull radfem, sojus troublemakers, instigated by Donna McIntyre,” the chief administrator of the Cahill Point Homestead,“ Killer Cyndi, other influential radfems and sojus warriors within our own government, and their jackbooted mistresses within the DirtCom and Middie governments, to create problems where none existed. Yes?”

“Jamie Murdoch,” a balding man, medium height, wearing a brown suit, spoke from the middle of the mob of floggers standing in front of Ervin George Nathaniel “Sonny” Kemp, Prime Minister of the Union,“ California Broadcasting Service. Sir, what about the Homesteaders wanting sovereignty or representation in the Common Legislature?”

“You goddamn fake liberal media talking heads are something else indeed,” Sonny Kemp replied,“ willing to parrot every word put in yo’ damn mouths by the radfems controlling the fuckin’ MedCom.”

“Goddamn,” he added, shaking his head, pausing for a few moments before finally answering the Californio reporter’s question:

“It just so happens, Mister Murdoch, that the majority of Homesteaders—as opposed to all the instigating rabble rousers, most of whom are not even from Terranova, let alone from the Homesteads—are perfectlly fine with the way things are now; if you don’t believe me, then check the Ministry of State’s own AIs for the results of the election held the first of this month, you’ll find that 73% of the Homesteaders voted no on Amendment 46, which would’ve given them the independence they supposedly wanted, and 77% percent voted no on Amendment 49, which would’ve granted each of the Homesteads county status, along with the representation in the Common Legislature the fake liberal media keeps telling folks they all want.”

He paused again, to allow the floggers to laugh at what he’d just said, concluding:

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 17:17:00 ZULU

“And, for those of y’all still believing the radfems’ bullshit that we somehow made all that up, let me clue you in on a dirty little secret...the Secretary of State is one of—”

“Off,” Senior Captain Jameison Sue Lanier said, Commonwealth Broadcasting Corporation going away from her right eye, Solarian Commonwealth Starcraft Unbroken’s skipper sitting on the rack in her quarters.

Right now, Unbroken sat in airdock of Commonwealth Forces Headquarters’ Orbital Facility Whiskey’s Southeast Cylinder, the orbital’s tech crews making good the damage from the fight around Mags...six wounded, no one dead, not this time, thank you, G.F. Carpathia, for that small favor.

The Defence Staff had commed a few minutes after all the shooting had stopped, captain’s eyes only, Star Chief Admiral Treadwell ordering Jami to report directly to Government House.

Which was why she was busy putting her dress whites back on for the second time today, Jami just now pulling on her shoes, after Headquarters had commed, reminding her that Parliament was waiting for her to get a move on.

Something she had to do before gating downside...the SecGen would understand—hell, this had been her bird once—most of the Commons, Heads, and Ministers as well.

Anyone who didn’t, she thought to herself as she finished tying the laces of her black dress shoes and got up from the bed, can go fuck themselves...I am the skipper, there are some duties I can’t delegate.

She was through the door and in the main corridor heading for Med Section, when she’d finished this thought, nodding her head at Master Technician Riana Tarpley, as she passed her and said,“ Skipper,” in greeting.

“Master Tarpley,” Jami said in reply, stopping a moment to talk with her. “How are you this evening?”

“Fine,” Riana replied,“ thank you. And, you, sir?”

“Half and half, baby,” Jami replied, foot on the bottom rung. “Why aren’t you on planet with the rest of the flight crew?”

“Heading there now, sir,” Riana replied,“ after I go to my quarters for a shower and a change into civs.”

“How ‘bout your officer?” Jami asked, the younger woman shaking her head, smiling:

“Skipper, she’s pretty much a lost cause; she’s still somewhere in the ‛tween decks, working her ass off after chasing us out; you’ll probably find her in the weapons hull, working on getting all the 203s back on line, after which, she’ll find something else to keep her buried in the guts of the ship.”

Jami nodded again, telling Riana to have a good time planetside before following the circumference of the spinhab’s main corridor the whole way round to the main ward of the frigate’s medical section, Surgeon Senior Lieutenant Jillian Pollock immediately rising up from her workstation and saluting her skipper.

“Baby,” she said, as she entered the main ward,“ sit down; I just came to see how they were doing, before I have to gate downside.”

Walking past her, Jami sat at the bedside of Ariel’s senior-most starship tech, Executive Technician Indigo Myles, recovering from electrical burns all along most of her face, arms and hands; she’d been in the weapons hull when a hit from a 203 had knocked out four eight-inch massdrivers in both turrets, sending massive current arcing all over the place, with only her suit’s MHD shielding preventing her being fried to ash.

“Skipper,” Indigo said, half her face still covered in burn ointment and aerogel bandages. “Hello.”

“Hey, baby,” Jami whispered, gingerly patting the other woman’s right hand, also wrapped in aerogel.

“Anything you need?” she asked.

“A million solarii,” Indigo joked.

“Can’t help you there, baby,” Jami replied, chuckling, patting Indigo’s hand again.

Indigo laughed, smiling slightly.

“Hell of a first day on the job,” she said,“if the Skipper doesn’t mind my saying so.”

“Who?” Jami tried to joke. “Me?”

“Me, sir,” Indigo said.

“I know, baby,” Jami whispered, nodding her head.

“I know,” she repeated, patting Indigo’s hand a third time.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 18:10:17 ZULU

“You know Jay Todman?!” a perpetually-shocked and surprised Ibrahim Dimetry asked Carson Selkirk.
“From the Great IW, raghead,” Jami’s uncle replied, grinning. “Commanded a FedArmy mech infantry squadron; his people and my recon—”

Of course, K.C., still sitting in the stretch end’s middle booth, nursing his fifth large to-go cup of coffee, would have to contribute a,“ maan, you wuhn’t in no damn IW 1, or in no recon neither, you need to stop telling all ‘em lies.”

Carson’s sole reply was the extension of his right middle finger in K.C.’s stupid face.

“How you like that bird cooked, prokboy?” Marc quipped.

“Before I was so rudely interrupted by a self-hating soyboi,” Carson said, ignoring K.C.’s comment,“Abe, I was telling you ‘bout the first time I met this character,” he carelessly threw his right hand in Jay Todman’s general direction,“which was...just when and where the hell was that?!”

“Royally Misfortunate,” Jay, sitting opposite Carson in the stretch end’s back booth, replied, K.C. grumbling something about,“kick ya damn ass.”

“Yeah, that shithole, smack dab in the middle of the anal spinchter of the Universe,” Carson said. “It was a bar in Tommy Town—”

“You were drunk,” Jay contributed.

“I was fucked up,” Carson replied, pointing at the Mid reporter,“ he was drunk, both of us singing ‘Never Been To Spain’ in the key of off, accompanied by air guitar, only non-Ozzie sausage smokers in the whole fuckin’ place—”

“Maan,” K.C. grumbled, barely audiable, “why don’t you shut the fuck up?”

“Something you’d like to share with the rest of the class, K.C.?” Carson asked. “Or, would you prefer we leave you to sit over there, and play with yourself?!”

“I’ll kick ya goddamn ass,” K.C. threatened,“tellin’ everybody you were in the fuckin’ Great Interstellar War, when you ain’t been no further than grumble grumble grumble grumble.”

’Wars make not one great,’” Carson quipped, instead of acting on his first impulse to mop up the floor with little Kenny’s worthless ass.

“Bet you don’t even know where that quote’s from,” he added, Kenny Doll the Second surprising him with “of course a prokboy like you, and that nosy, fake media Mid motherfucker, are into that Star Wars shit. Ain’t even fuckin’ realistic, let alone Canon.”

“Buncha radfem, sojus, intellectually-honest virtue signalling an’ warmongerin’,” K.C. further groused,”not like Star Trek, and its optimistic future of peace, sceintific advancement, technological innavation, and brotherhood amongst men.”

“And,” Carson quipped,”you like that brotherhood, don’t you? That real intimate brotherhood.”

“Nononono!” Ibrahim, his accent thicker than usual, said, putting up his hands to stop K.C. from getting up and scrapping with Carson.

“’Sall good, Papa Abraham.” Carson told him, putting up a hand of his own, replied, his face split by the same grin Sunni had only seen on one other face in her lifetime.

“Canadace,” he added,“ just got through sweeping and mopping, and blood’s damn hard to get out of those tiles with just hot water and dish soap.”

“Bleach,” Sunni, still auditing tickets, spoke,“will get it out, baby.”

“Y’all got some bleach?!” Carson asked. “For a change?!”

“Truck came yesterday,” Sunni replied.

“And, y’all still have some today?!” Carson said, apparently not believing his big Earther ears(Jami has ears like that....).

“Daaaamn,” he replied, nodding his head, as he resumed his assault on his remaining half-raw ribeye, Ibrahim asking what he always asked Carson,“My God, how can you eat it like that?”

“Juicy!” Carson said.

“I think,” Jay said, his face twisted in disgust,“I saw the damn frickin’ thing move.”

“Hell, yeah!” Carson, slicing off another hunk of barely-dead cow meat, replied. “Makes it taste better, when I got to catch it.”

He then mooed to the hunk of meat he was holding an inch or so from his mouth, K.C. grumbling something about how he’ll moo him.

“Always thought you were a bit on the sweet side there, K.C.,” Carson replied.

“You’re the only damn soyboi I see,” K.C. shot back.

“Or, maybe,” he added, “I should just say feral.”

“Just jealous,” Carson quipped,“ ‘cause you can’t get a man, with that attitude.”

Sunni damn near choked on her coffee at that one.

“I ain’t into no monkeybone,” K.C. replied.

“Could’ve fooled the fuck outta me, soyboi,” Carson rejoinded. “Every conversation you have, could be on steamed hash browns, for all that matters, and, before too long, here you are talking about men having butt sex.”

“That’s fuckin’ hate speech,” K.C. hissed, rising out of his booth, and reaching for the California-Winchester M502 13mm massdriver pistol snugged underneath his left armpit,“and a motherfuckin’ ju—“

“Are ya sure?” Carson, still grinning, replied, his PDMD13 suddenly in his right hand, and trained right between K.C.’s beady little eyes.

“If you fuckin’ think you can, Gay Cee,” Carson, no more smiles in a voice as cold and sharp as his bottomless obsidian eyes(were Jami’s like that now?), then whispered, his PDMD13 rock-steady in his hand.

Well, soyboi,” he added.”I’m waiting.”

“Heyy, brother,” K.C. said, holding up his hands and backing down like he always did when the fight was fair,“ didn’t mean nothin’ by what I said, I was just talkin’.”

“Like you always do,” Carson replied, holstering his weapon.

“Juust talkin’,” K.C. repeated, before telling the Universe in general,“yeah, Carson’s a good guy, been knowin’ him for years.”

“Look,” Sunni said, changing the subject, and pointing to the HV up in the corner of the store above the jukebox,“there’s Lyle Hammond’s interview with Bobo X.”

“Must be re-running it from this morning,” Carson said.

“This day could use a little low comedy,” Jay remarked.

Lyle Hammond, the host of Mid-Morning Cascadia, Telenet 26’s highest-rated holovid talk show, was sitting next to Bobo, dressed in a bright blue, white, and black button-down shirt, oversized jeans held in check by a belt with a huge torquoise buckle, cowboy boots made of genuine river chomper hide, seven or eight humoungous 14-karat dysprosium chains with either sterling symbols, dollar signs, Chrisdent Crosses or Demon Guns(the Cali-Winchester M4016 15mm rotary-barrel massdriver pistol) for pendants and a black cowboy hat larger in all dimensions than his small, round head.

” I am being persecuted by the ferals,“ Bobo said to Lyle,”They are out to get me, trying to stop what’s inside of me, ‘cause they are jealous or envious of who and what I am.“

”Why do you think they’re jealous, Bobo?“ Lyle asked.

”I am a black man who has made it to the top,“ Bobo answered, with an absolutely straight, boyish-pink face,”who has had to struggle for everything he has, and what are my enemies? Spiteful ferals and their soyboi subsluts who hate what’s inside theyselves, knowing they can never be what we men are capable of being, no matter how they try to influence the law and the po-lice to persecute us. They are jealous of me, because I am so talented and focussed in my mind and my body and my heart and my soul and my spirit, and I, and all men, have in us, everything they lack, such as love, compassion, gentle feeling, tolerance for others, self-control and maturity. They’re just little children who are jealous of what they can’t have, and jealousy breeds hatred.“

“Oh, my Jesus F. Carpathia,” Carson commented.

”Yes, it does,“ Lyle said, nodding his closely-shaven head in assent.

”And,“ Bobo went on,” they hate me, ‘cause I tell the truth; they’re all whores, as He said they were, always trying to seduce and rape.

Note that all the ferals in His Received Canon were all prostitutes; His own Word says they either seduce men, betraying and destroying them in the end, or they hunt down other ferals and try to make them their slaves.“

”It sounds like you hate ferals, Bobo,“ Lyle observed.

”No, no, Lyle,“ Bobo said. ”I don’t hate the bitches; I dislike what they do and what they are, but I don’t hate them; Canon says they can’t help being what they is, for they were made depraved, which was why Adam Yeshua ben Yaweh told His Biological Sovereigns to prune ‛em and to keep ‛em pruned, as they was to keep the rest of nature pruned, and when they weakened, and showed mercy to their ape-primitive creations, that was when He retaliated, and denied them the Blessed Hope that was Deo sapiens, til they did what needed doing to ‛em.“

“ ‘No, no, Lyle,” Carson mocked,“ ‘I don’t hate the bitches.’ ”

“He’s not black,” Ibrahim observed.

“Noticed that right off the bat, didn’t ya, Papa Abraham?” Carson replied.

“How can he say he is a black man, when he’s white?” Ibrahim asked.

“His claim,” Carson explained,“ is that his daddy was black, and that, somehow, an evil white devil woman tricked him into having a baby by her.”

“Both his parents,” Sunni said,“ are white.”

“Well,” Jay remarked,“he also claims to have grown up on First Street in Curtis LeMay.”

“He’s just another damn Lizella boy,” Carson replied,“ ashamed of the white-trash shithole he came from.

Of, course, if I was born and raised in Lizella, claiming to be from First Street in the CLM would be putting on airs.”

“His mother was in the General Assembly, baby,” Sunni said, shaking her head in disbelief.

“And, Pops was Jackson Varnadore’s MiniNatRes,” Carson said,“ and a minor something or other for Gotchanow.”

“He’s the Delegate to the Terranovan Homesteads,” Sunni said wearily.

“So,” Carson quipped,“he’s a very minor something or other; helluva long way down, I tell you what.”

“For a rapper, though,” he added,“ he makes a dandy grill op.”

“If you say so, baby,” Sunni replied.

“Really,” Jody remarked, taking the seat next to Sunni’s on the low counter.

“You still here, Jody?!” Jay asked.

“Uh, huh,” Jody replied, firing up a Doobie Brothers Primo Hydro. “How you’ve been.”

“Shocked and amazed I’m still in one piece,” the Middie reporter replied.

“I know what you mean,” Jody commented.

“In other news,” the Viacom Headline News anchor said,“ Terranova Governor Guy Thomas Zellner announced that an indefinite air, sea and space blockade of the Terranovan Homesteads would go into effect at once, ordering units of the Terranovan Sovereign Rifle Association, Navy and Special Forces Command to the waters off the continents of New Patagonia and Eldorado.”
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

“Motherfuck,” Carson whispered, no more laughter in his voice(Jami probably didn’t laugh too much anymore, either....) the anchor continuing:

“Governor Zellner also ordered the closing of the orbiting transportal relay stations between Eldorado, New Patgonia and the main Terranovan continent of Basseterre, announcing that no one will be allowed to enter or leave the Homesteads, with anyone attempting either to be shot on sight.”

6 NOVEMBER, 2276 19:18:29 ZULU

“The Ya—” Director-General Cressida Hodges of the Commonwealth Combined Intelligence Service, said into stark silence,“I mean, Terranovans, have replaced the Excelsior security forces in the Homesteads with Special Forces Command personnel; Special Forces Command personnel also now occupy the public gates and the downports in both Eldorado and Cahill Point.”

“Fuck,” Jami heard one of the Heads of Government softly interject.

“As of now,” the Director-General added,“ no one knows the whereabouts of Cahill Point’s chief administrator, Doctor Donna McIntyre, or even if she’s still alive, let alone still in the Homesteads; the Yankers,” she didn’t correct herself that time,“are instituting a full-scale manhunt for her throughout the area and are posting a reward of eighty million dollars, Terranovan Standard Currency, for her capture. Also missing is the former head of security for Cahill Point, Adjutant General Micheal Smith—late of the Terranovan National Police—relieved of his duties by Governor Zellner, when he refused to enforce Amendment 42 of the Terranovan Articles of Union; his cabin, twenty kilometers west northwest of Cahill Point, was burned to the ground at the same time the demonstrators in the Capitol were being slaughtered by the Gnats; they did not find his remains amongst the ashes.”

“Who’s running things now?” Jackson Hope, prémier of of the Commonwealth Federated Republic of Venus, asked.

“The vice-president of Excelsior’s operations in the Homesteads, Kent Lang, Mister Prémier,” the Director-General replied,“ with each of the Homesteads themselves being run by his subordinates; the manager of the Cahill Point ore-processing facility, Richard Tanner, has been made the settlement’s interim CA by Gubenatorial order.”

“Resistance?” a young, blonde woman sitting in the very back row of the Commons benches asked.

“We don’t know,” the Director-General replied,“ the Yankers are jamming all comms into and out of the Homesteads; everything we know comes from the four VMC hydrolsis rigs operating in the Sea of Martinez, one hundred klicks southwest of Cahill Point, and the information they’re getting’s sproadic at best.”

She paused again, briefly, continuing:

“However, we’re reasonably sure the Homesteaders are putting up a fight, outmatched, though they may be.”

“The four Maggie rigs?” another woman, a short, fat redhead near the middle of the room, asked.

“The Yankers have given the Maggies exactly one hour to evacuate them, or face the consequences,” the Director-General replied,“the consequences being the whole of the Third Shock Army.”

“But,” the redhead said,“the Treaty of Habitat—”

“My understanding,” the Director-General said,“is New Athens have formally aborgated the Treaty of Habitat, as of 15:30:00 Zulu time.”

“Fuck,” the redhead said, echoing all their sentinments.

Secretary General Lilith Angelique Gault rose slowly to her feet, taking the podium from her spymaster, looking dead into Jami’s eyes as she said:

“We’re planning on sending Standing Star Forces Five through Eighteen to reinforce our units already in Terranova orbit; we also plan to deploy First through Third Army Corps—with support from the Navy, Aerospace Force, Logistics Corps, Medical Corps, and Orbital Artillery Corps— to defend those rigs, and the rights of the Homesteaders against Zellner and his mob.”

“The Terranovans—” Peter MacFarlane, President of the Commonwealth Republic of LeGrange 5, started to object.

“Will see this as a violation of their sovereign rights,” the SecGen completed MacFarlane’s objection.

“Of course,” she added,“ they will, and the rest of that gimcrack Federation of theirs will agree.”

“Slaughtering civilians,” she added,“ and trampling on the civil liberties of law-abiding citizens is most certainly not a sovereign right, no matter how much Guy Zellner may want to believe it is. Moreover, the Treaty of Habitat ceded all waters within 402.35 kilometers of those Maggie hydrolosis rigs to VMC as partial reparations for the destruction of Kohoutek.”

“As for our right to become involved with Terranovan internal politics,” the Secretary General of the Commonwealth reminded everyone in the room,“ the Translight Age has seen us irrevocably tangled up in the Yankers’ internal politics from the beginning.”

“Hear, hear!” shouted Senior Captain Jacqueline Lacey, from the opposite end of the Commons gallery from Jami and Micki, Undersecretary of State Amelia Seldin, Premier of the Commonwealth Republic of Utopia Planitia, rising from her chair near the front of the room, pointing out:

“We might not have created this monster, but, it damn sure is out to eat us. We mustn’t forget that, nor must we ever forget those murdered on Joli, San Roque, Mons Calpa, Kohoutek, and in Solar orbit yesterday, all out of one man’s petty fear, and the petty fears of the men who put him where he is.”

The entire room echoed with thunderous applause, Jami clapping her white-gloved hands with the rest of them.

“So, we follow the path straight to another fucking interstellar war,” Jaden Fine, prime minister of the Commonwealth Orbital Republic of Eureka, quietly asked, after the applause had died down.“Is that it?!”

“Wherever it leads,” Irma DeLong, CEO of British Broadcasting Corporation and former SecGen, replied.

“Wherever,” she repeated to the now-quiet room,“it leads...I’ve lost too many of my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to too many wars, and this last one...”

She sighed, shaking her head.

“But,” she said softly,“ we simply cannot let that stop us from doing what we must do, if we don’t want to lie down, and wait for those bastards to slit our throats, while we sleep.”

“It is,” the Commonwealth’s oldest living citizen then said,“ up to us.”

“Yes, it is,” the SecGen said softly to the still and silent chambers of Parliament and to the equally-mute holoprojections of those who could not be there in flesh but were linked up with their fellow citizens via the Net.

“I leave it in your hands,” she said, “Do we fight or back down?”

She then sat down, Jami watching the holoproj behind her and the rest of the Commonwealth Ministers, Unbroken’s commander echoing her vote to Parliament’s network via plant.

It wasn’t long before the results were displayed for all to see...a single vote had decided the outcome, it was that close.

Nevertheless, two out of every three women and men in the Solarian Commonwealth of Nations—including Jami—had said “fight!”

Looking at the tally displayed in front of her right eye, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth whispered:

“Very well...we’re going in.”

“A final matter to attend to,” she then said, rising to her feet, a Commonwealth Gendarme handing her a sword.

“Senior Captain Jameison Lanier, if you would, please,” she said, advancing to the foot of the steps, nodding her head, Jami shaking, taken completely by surprise, unable to rise from her, she thought to herself, this isn’t what—

“Go on, luv,” Micki, sitting next to her, whispered in her head on a private channel, giving her right hand a gentle squeeze. “Don’t keep us all waiting.”

I-i.... Jami tried to think, unable to complete her thought, Unbroken’s skipper struggling to her feet, trying to keep from staring down at them, willing herself to descend the stairs, putting every ounce of effort she could into not tripping over herself, into not shaking so bad...

“,” Sunni whispered, taking her gently by the hand,“ that man ain’t gonna wait all day for you.”

“You keep your goddamn filthy hands off my bitch!” Curtis Diers snapped, everyone’s heads turning towards them, as he attempted to wrench Sunni’s hand from Jami’s.

The head of the Terranovan Science Olympiad Committee called Jami’s name again so she could come up there and receive her silver medals for the orienteering and paper airplane events, and, even with Curtis letting go of her arm, she still couldn’t move...all she could do was look at all those people in the Godsey Chrisdent Univeristy auditorium, knowing they were going to see how much of a stupid, fucking bitch she really was the moment she got up there in front of them, how much she didn’t deserve to even place in any of those events...she was looking back towards the exit at the top of the stairs....

...thinking of making a run for it, as she stopped midway along the stairs, all eyes locked dead on her.

On top of everything else, she thought, feeling the perspiration running down from her forehead, I’m sweating...that has to look real fucking good.

I’m no hero, she thought, her legs moving her towards the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth on their own, certainlly through no will of hers.

“It will be all right, poppet,” Micki encouraged her via plant.

Jami continued down the stairs, her knees buckling, as she managed to kneel at the SecGen’s feet, without falling on her ass.

“This,” Micki’s aunt said, lofting the sword high,”has been a long time coming, but Jameison Lanier has well earned this; the reasons why are a matter of public record. She has earned our love and admiration, through her selfless example of service to her Commonwealth, so now...”

She trailed off, gently tapping each of Jami’s shoulders with the flat of the blade.

“...rise,” commanded Angelique Gault,”knight commander of the Order of Sol.”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 19:28:22 ZULU

“More Corona Real, baby?” Sunni, on her feet, hand out for Carson’s empty glass, asked.

“Yeah, thanks,” Carson said.

Carson looked at the ticket displayed on his plant, asking Candace Hill,“you got his on mine, right?”

“Yeah, Carson,” Candace, looking away from the customer at the high counter for just a second, replied, Sunni snapping at her:

“I had to fuckin’ wait on your damn customer!”

as she refilled Carson’s glass, Candace trying to explain she was busy getting the man at the high counter a cup of coffee to go.

“You did remember to charge gratuity, didn’t you?!” was Sunni’s nasty response to that.

“Yes, ma’am,” Candace said, Sunni reminding her that she needed to include that in her coffee count at the end of the shift, as she brought Carson’s refilled drinks back to their table, barking at Ibrahim to get after his salespeople and make sure they did their fucking jobs.

“Thank you, Sunni,” Carson said, as he took his drink back, Sunni chasing Jody out of his perch in the two seater across from the other three booths on the stretch end, reminding him, in a most abusive, humiliating and unprofessional way, that he needed to “fucking brick your goddamn, nasty-ass grill!”

“Don’t you fuckin’ start!” she snapped at Carson, glaring at him.

“I haven’t said anything,” Carson reminded her.

“You were going to,” Sunni snapped. “Either you, or that bitch of an old lady of yours always have some smart thing to say, like either you fuckin’ know more about running my goddamn stores than I do, telling me I shouldn’t be so hard on my associates or my managers—”

“Not their fault,” Carson told her point-blank,“you run your stores like your own private charity, taking in every stray dog that follows you home, then getting all pissed off, when they turn and bite you in the ass, like you knew they would all along.”

“Like you can do any fuckin’ better!” Sunni spat back, before charging up the backline and slamming her way through the swinging door.

“Daaamn,” was Papa Abraham’s sole contribution to the entire discussion.

“What in the fuck was that about?” he then asked Carson.

“Long story, Papa Abraham,” Carson replied, sighing, his chest rattling.

“Long story,” he repeated, nodding his head.

“She needs to fuckin’ grow up, all that is,” Jody replied, heading back to his grill.

“Don’t be so hard on her, Jody,” Carson said softly.

“She don’t want it no other way,” Jody replied,“you an’ Miz Neesha know that better than I do.”

“True that,” Carson said, feeling more than a little bit regretful for how that exchange had gone.

“You’ll have to ask her, Ibrahim,” he added, attacking the buttery, sour creamy, peanut buttery, strawberry. and chocolate chip waffle he’d ordered for dessert with renewed verve. “You’ll just have to ask her.”

“You think he’s gonna be all right?” Jody asked, changing the subject.

“Jay?” Carson asked. “He’s been at this most of his adult life, and he’s still not dead.”

“But,” Jody remarked,“you’re still worried about him?”

“Yeah,” Carson, whispered, nodding his head.

Jay was en route to VMC Hydrogen Processing Rig #3111, doing a live flog in the face of overwhelming firepower.

Which, of course, was the main downside to Jay being FedNewsNet’s number-one flogger, always being asked to stand in harm’s way for the sake of a story, and he hadn’t exactly avoided making enemies over the years.

Hell, for Zellner and his crew, killing the Mid reporter would be the cherries jubilee on top of the ice cream of flattening those four Maggie rigs, then grinding the Homesteads under their heels for good.

Still hadn’t heard nothing from Smitty, he gloomily mused, not since the news almost gleefully reported his cabin being burnt to the ground this afternoon.

He warned me he’d have to go dark, Carson reminded himself, nibbling at his waffle and sipping his soda, but warning me, and it actually being the case...

He sighed; he was fast running out of people close to him, and there wasn’t a fucking thing for it, except try and make the most of the ones still around.

And, to do the mission.

Always the mission.

Speaking of which.

“Did you find out what I asked you to, Ibrahim?” he asked.

“I did,” the youngest son of one of the Islamic Empire’s ten richest and most powerful men—and the little brother of its caliph—replied, nodding his head, looking round furitively to see if anyone in the now-nearly deserted restaurant was listening.

“Half past twenty tonight, at the aerospace port near Lockwood,” he then said. “They’ll have a transport landing directly there, a military one, I think; it will be met by Oswaldan destroyers in high planetary orbit round Judas, and they will proceed from there, to...I do not know where.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Carson said, determination in his voice, as he echoed a twenty-dollar tip to Candace’s plant, and another twenty to Jody’s.

“I’ll get a to-go box for that waffle,” Ibrahim said, nodding his head.

“Thanks,” Carson told him, with a nod of his head.

12 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:23:59 ZULU

“Any time now,” Jay Todman said softly into his plant, looking out into the night from his vantage point on the edge of VMC Hydrogen Processing Rig # 3111.

“Any time now,” he repeated,“ the Yanker Third Shock Army, currently 402.35 kilometers from us, will hit these four rigs, either to capture or destroy them; same as thirty years ago, the Maggies will be the first ones in their line of fire, nine million hostile troops, to little over two thousand workers on all four rigs, and myself, of course.

FedNewsNet’s number-one flogger paused, his gaze fixed on Judas, hanging there red and bloated in the night, then on the Sea of Martinez, trying to think of what else he could say, remarking silently how much the water looked like blood in the reflected light of Delta Trianguli’s second planet, another part of his mind trying to remember where in the Bi—

“Incoming!” someone shouted, Jay seeing the billions of electric blue bolts streaking towards the rig, unable to do anything but watch them all smash into the MHD shielding with a roar of bluish-white.

Before the deck went out from under his feet.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

07) The Voice Of Them That Weep

“When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.
My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.
I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the congregation.
I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.
My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat.
My harp also is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep.”
—Job 30:26-31(KJV)

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:24:30 ZULU

Hell, yeah, turn it up!” exulted Joe Keane, sitting with his son Brian, Lyn Jennings, Scott Ogles and K.C. Oliver, all their eyes, and those of Ibrahim Dimetry’s, all glued to the HV in the corner by the jukebox, as it showed the opening salvo of what the Terranovan government was labelling—

“—Operation Terranovan Freedom,” California Broadcasting Service’s Jamie Murdoch, reporting live from the bridge of a Terranovan Republican Navy heavy PARAWIG cruiser in the Sea of Martinez,” the Terranovan military’s campaign to drive out the alien influence in the Terranovan Homesteads. Juan, I’ve just been told that the TSRA Third Shock Army’s 48th Infantry Division has just secured all four Venerian Multinational Cooperative hydrolisis rigs illegally placed in Terranovan waters, following the Treaty of Habitat that radical feminists within the New Athens government compelled Governor Zellner to sign ten years a—“

A roar of light washed over Murdoch’s holoimage, the Californio reporter’s voice violentlly interjecting,”motherfuck! I thought we were supposed to be outside the goddamn combat zone, what the h—”

Another explosion knocked him offline altogether, the HV dissolving back to CBS’ studios in Vargas, Juan Rivera and Sawyer Forrester both seated at the anchor desk on Skywalker Rance, Rivera telling the worlds,”we hope to have more from CBS’ Jamie Murdoch in a moment. From CBS Interstellar Headquarters on Skywalker Ranch, this is Juan Rivera, bringing you continuing coverage of Operation Terranovan Freedom. Coming up in this half hour, we will have live interviews with several residents of the Terranovan Homesteads, who are—as a plebiscite held just last year so clearly shows—adamantly opposed to either independence from New Athens or any voting representation within the Terranovan Common Legislature—”

“That’s right, Juan,” Forrester finally spoke. “In fact, the Homesteaders who have been agitating for either independence or representation are not Homesteaders at all, but crisis actors, radfem and sojus agitators recruited from offworld by Donna McIntyre, former chief administrator of the Cahill P—”

“Sawyer, I’m sorry to interrupt,” Rivera said,”but we have a live report from CBS’ Cal Goldberg, with the TSRA Fourth Shock Army’s 21st Infantry Division; Cal, could you please repeat what you’ve just told me, for the benefit of our viewers?”

“Juan,” said the holoimage of a balding man— his salt and pepper moustache giving him a walruslike appearance—standing in broad daylight, AG-118 Seminole panzers passing behind him, a unit patch displayed in a window in the upper left-hand corner, ”the 21st Infantry Division’s Stryker Brigade has just secured Cahill Point, the chief town of the Terranovan Homesteads, after only negligeble resistance from what one Homesteader described as ‘hooligans’ brought in from offworld by Donna McIntyre, these offworlders having known ties to various radfem organizations throughout the human worlds, and, possibly, to either, or both, the Commonwealth and Midnight Sun intelligence services as w—”

The biggest goddamn fist in all Creation came down hard, the lights, jukebox and HV all going at the same time, the windows and the glass in both front doors flexing, warping and finally shattering into trillions of varying shards of shrapnel flying everywhere, same with all the globe lights, the exultations of the moment before replaced with hysteria, Ibrahim wasting little time ducking underneath the low counter, putting his head between his legs and kissing his ass goodbye—as Carson, Father’s friend from the Great Interstellar War, would’ve put it—Lyn replying to K.C.’s semi-coherent “Man, what the fuck’s goin’ on?! “ with a deadpan,”I guess they’re bombin’ the base, K.C..”

Ibrahim finally understood why Father had sent him to this shithole planet to study business, rather than allowing him to follow his five elder brothers into the military.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:26:04 ZULU

MHD beam forward emitters coming on line!” Claudia shouted, at the same time Marisa vectored a firestorm of 203mm BPG warheads from Solarian Commonwealth Starcraft Unbroken’s ten eight-inch massdrivers at every enemy warbird and piece of ortillery the frigate’s targeting systems could acquire. “Max apeture, max deflection, MHD shielding at 182% of rated field strength! Fifties on line, tracking inbound fighters, AKVs and ordinance!”

“All birds away! Running straight, hot and true!” Stevie reported, Raptors streaming from both bays, salvoing more 203mm BPG warheads into enemy machines and orbital-defense platforms.

“Shuttle fired, all nonessential systems offline, med deck on local p—” Ariel started to report.

The Commonwealth Star Force frigate’s forward shielding was a sheet of blue-white fire, Ariel rattling off damage and status, Marisa and Stevie returning fire, even as Jami shrieked the order to do so at the top of her lungs, Unbroken’s senior pilot—Jami’s wife—Michelle Phillips, shouting,”flight crew, 2ic, stand by for in-atmosphere hyperspatial cycling!”

The ship trailing blue -shifted photons, van Gripstra particles and tachyons, as she ducked into and out of hyperspace six hundred times a second, and twenty-five klicks above the continent of New Patagonia, raining fire down on a squadron of Yanker Musocgee-class strike cruisers, novae blossoming into being against their shielding and Unbroken’s, the frigate shivering from the shockwaves of direct hits in atmo, as Ariel screamed:

MHD shielding reduced by 81%, primary electrics 84% disrupted, secondary electrics 65% disrupted, teritary electrics 49% disrupted, massdrivers Alfa Two, Bravos One and Three off line, auto repair system off line, radiators two through five destroyed, internal temp 64 degrees, rising— “

“All excess power to MHDs, continue firing!” Jami snapped, Unbroken cycling in, cycling out, jinking, burning, firing, cycling in, cycling out, jinking, burning, firing, her AKV controller detonating a pair of 203s and driving 31.96-kiloton yield graser pulses through a Yanker Columbia-class heavy cruiser a hundred klicks over the continent of Basseterre.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:26:42 ZULU

“You goddamn, stupid, fucking waste of jizz! Commanding General Jefferson Davis Selkirk screamed at the fucking bonesmoking, useless-as-bull-tits goddamn fucking excuse for a helmsman, the Chairman of the Union Security Council struggling to his feet and resuming his trek towards his station on Republican Union Starcraft Enterprise’s whooping, red-lit bridge.

“Mister Malcolm,” Coloniel Stephen Mecklenburg, the heavy cruiser’s equally worthless excuse for a first officer, barked out, as Selkirk took his seat and belted himself in, “ fire as we bear!”

“Too fuckin’ late, you stupid son of a bitch!” Selkirk spat, watching that goddamn little bitch of his dance out of weapons lock on Enterprise’s master holoviewer, just as the heavy cruiser had slewed round on its RCS thrusters to bring his weapons to bear on her, launching a dozen King Cobra AKVs in pursuit at the same time.

Fuckin’ get after her!” Selkirk screamed at the goddamn spoiled North Coast fucking brat of an helmsman, Merriweather finally finding his dumb black ass with both hands and a map, and vectored the 76-kiloton Columbia-class heavy cruiser to run down that ungrateful goddamn little howler; he’d done everything a father could possibly do for his little girl, everygoddamnthing, and the only fucking thanks he’d gotten from her for al—

“You fuckin’ worthless excuse for an animated goddamn dildo!” he raved, even more of the bridge coming down round him, as that little bitch whipped her ship around, upcycled, rapidly closed Enterprise, and let fly with her 203s.well inside his own guns.

“Open the goddamn range, Mister Merriweather!” Mecklenburg shrieked at the same time, the fucking chickenheaded little goddamn psycho whore staying with them, keeping just inside Enterprise’s guns, just close enough for the heavy cruiser’s MHD shielding to offer no protection whatsoever, Merriweather finally thinking to break contact, and get some distance, Selkirk shouting to his fire-control officer—fucking useless like all the rest of the so-called officers Selkirk had been saddled with—”Mister Malcolm, fire the instant you have a targeting solution!”

Captain Reed Malcolm complied with his commander’s orders, firing 29 BPG warheads from the heavy cruiser’s 29 working 203s; of course, they streaked right through empty space, fucking Merriweather losing sight of the goddamn target, just as Selkirk fucking knew he would.

Goddamn you, find her!” screeched the Chairman of the Union Security Council. “FIND HER!”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:27:09 ZULU

Five skull-helmeted Yanker soldiers jumped Jay Todman as a 150-ton Commonwealth Forces Greyhawk AC.20 assault shuttle dove down on the burning, exploding rig, vomiting fire from its twin 50mm massdrivers and sextet of Raptor AKV.2 combat drones, and 100 Solarian Commonwealth Starmarines dropped from its belly on vectored-thrust harnesses.

An old friend from a war too many screamed “A-VENGE! KOUHOUTEEEEEKKK! ” at the very top of his lungs, as he hit the deck running, a PDMD13 in his left hand, a Heavy Massdriver 13 in his right both vectoring blue-hot streams of forty-gram BPG warshot into enemy soldiers, some of that ensuing nine-ton yield gras punching through MHD shielding to explode murdering Yanker sons of bitches all over the Sea of Martinez.

The FedNewsNet reporter doing the same when he finally had an opportunity to get his right hand on the grip of his Midnight Sun Arms M2165 heavy massdriver, his antagonists too close to him for their powered armor’s intergral MHD shielding to stop the bomb-pumped gras pulses ripping through them, Jay vectoring another ten-round burst into more of the bastards, as he took off running toward them.

The deck shook underneath his feet, as more enemy fire sleeted through the rig’s badly-stressed shielding and found its mark, shaking even more as two of the rig’s turreted 130-millimeter massdriverss fired 9.59-kT yield BPG warheads nonstop into 120-ton AV-118 Seminole PARAWIG merkavas to explode them, their crews and their mech infantry squads across the blood-red waters lit up by the full Judas.

More mechies, propelled by their VT harnesses, swarmed all over the edge of the drilling platform, one of the DirtComs, a squat fireplug of a woman wielding a 5.303-ton SPAM130—goddamn thing’s twice as big she is,he had just enough time to think—charging towards them, her weapon sending blue-hot fire downrange to eviscerate Yanker backstabbers in their hundreds.

Hundreds more still standing in spite of the fusillade, Jay not having time to wonder how, it didn’t matter, they were still standing, that was all he needed to know.

All he needed to know.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:27:41 ZULU

Should’ve fucking known coming home would be like this, Lianne Nielsen had just enough time to observe, as she jinked and burned hard over the Sea of Martinez, the twin 130-millimeter massdrivers which had been a part of Venerian Multinational Cooperative Scoutcraft Lil’ Dog for the last ten years of her life banging away at Yanker panzers, mechanized artillery platforms, armored support vehicles, ironhorses, gun jeeps, frigates, destroyers, light cruisers, heavy cruisers and AKV carriers, attack submarines, starfighters, atmospheric fighters, and airlifter gunships, as he alternately ingressed, egressed, juked, charged, fired, ingressed, egressed through them, while maintaining a constant altitude of ten meters above the Judas-tinted waters of the Sea of Martinez.

The master holoproj flashed white, more of the SC-8B’s bridge collapsing onto the floor/bulkhead, another broken fiber-optic cable dangling in front of her, arcing photonic current, her senior operations engineer, Margo Dixon, reporting, “MHD shielding reduced by 94% , primary and secondary electrics are trashed, teritary electrics 87% disrupted, Rittermark generator off line, MHD beam forward emitters off line, external communications off line, drop and probe bays severely damaged, telegate off line, lab and life support decks both destroyed, auto-repair system off line, automatic targeting system off line!”

“Going manual,” Diandra Childs, manning sensors and probes, as well as the weapons, snapped, the 130s continuing to blast everything in sight.

“Reinforce MHDs, Margo,” Li said, not needing to give that order, taking Lil’ Dog up and a bit to the left to dodge incoming enemy fire, Diandra reporting,”starcraft in atmospheric transit, plus ninety by zero, two-five klicks above us; they’re assault transports, Commonwealth Forces Chevalier-class and Midnight Sun Federal Spacelift Service Tom O’Bedlam-class, carrying seven army corps between them; am reading multiple gate-ins throughout the Sea of Martinez and on New Patagonia itself.”

Another hit, more alarms screaming in Li’s head, the attack sub that had nailed them taking a direct hit to the gun tower it had raised above the surface of the sea, the 130s which hadn’t demolished it streaking through its wreckage to raise a Terranovan Republican Navy PARAWIG AKV carrier out of the water, and smash it to bits.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:29:00 ZULU

“I shouldn’t have been so hard on her,” Carson whispered, Annesha reminding him,” it be that way with her sometimes.”

“And,” she asked, as Carson finished limpeting the last of the viral charges onto the hydrogen tanks less than a hundred meters from the landing pads, hangar facilities, and gantry of the National Police aviation company based at the Lockwood-Gibson Valley Aerospace Port,” what about you?”

“I should’ve told you,” he said, hunkering back down with his heart and soul behind a Ministry of Transportation work truck parked near the tanks, after setting the timer on that last charge for ninety seconds.

A warm touch on his left shoulder.

“I understand why you didn’t, baby,” she said, before they both fell silent.

Fifty seconds before the Ministry of FemRehab airlifter touched down on one of those pads, two full tac units of Terranovan National Policemen, one each from the Flynt and Martinez County Commands, waiting, along with Horace Rumph, Major fucking Rat Bastard in the Terranovan Security and Intelligence Directorate, to transfer the woman on board that airlifter to a 95,000-ton Cascadian Starlifter-class assault transport occupying the aerospace port’s sole gantry, 85 meters from where Carson and Annesha were hiding.

The antifa on planet didn’t have the resources or the manpower to take the transport, not without too high a price all round, Carson therefore concentrating his efforts on getting on board that CV-137 Prometheus airlifter, when it touched down, liberating its prisoner, at the same time creating enough of a diversion for Neesha to transmit a burst message about the Casshole and the Ozzies waiting for him in Judas orbit to the Commonwealth and allied machines fighting it out with the whole of the TRSF’s Coreward Command upside.

Goddamnit, he just had to spare a glance at the ice-blue winter sky, at all the stars being birthed above him, wondering if one of them was his niece and twin bro—


The whole fucking planet shook following the blinding lightning and the mushroom cloud, thick black smoke rising from the direction of Ford’s Valley, probably from where a 203 had scored a direct hit on the Excelsior pl—

More lightning, more clouds, another planetquake, and Horace loudly took the Lord’s first and last names in vain, that WHABOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM! coming from directly behind them, along Thompson Road, where the Graumann Defense Technologies plant was.

Used to be, rather, Carson thought.

Thirty more seconds.

Carson heard the whine of magneto-hydrodynamic vector turbines, spotting the airlifter as it began its descent onto the landing pad, Horace shouting,”all right, y’all, look alive!” just before the sound of the MHD vector turbines went from loud to deafening.

Carson kissed his wife’s cheek, drawing his PDMD13 with his right hand, picking up and gripping the HMD13 with his left, Annesha getting up and hauling ass away from the truck, her husband coming round its front bumper field, just as the first of the charges detonated, releasing cryogenic hydrogen held under immense gravitational pressure into the 1.5-atmospheric pressure, oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere of the planet Terranova.

The resulting explosion sent him flying, the truck behind which Annesha and he had taken cover hurling past him to crash into the midst of Horace and the two tac squads of Gnats, those of whom were still standing, at least, the Cascadian assault transport wasting no time firing up his torch, and lifting ship as quickly as he could.

Carson managed to hit the ground in a way that had him rolling onto his left knee and blazing away with both weapons at anyone moving, Horace, spotting him, screaming,”you bastard!” at the top of his lungs, taking aim with his CW M32A2 HMD.

Carson got there first, drilling him through his upper right arm, before scrambling up onto his feet and hauling ass for the Prommie’s open side cargo hatch, as the CV-137 started lifting up and away from him.

With both guns still blazing, Carson jumped off on his left leg, doing the whole Vash the Stampede thing, taking out the bastard firing at him from the open hatch, Carson’s PDMD13 thudding into the gut of a Special Forces Command thug screaming for someone to “fucking kill the goddamn bitch!” the instant his feet touched the deck, Carson closing both triggering circuits, the plane booming and shaking as all that bomb-pumped gras found its mark at a range too close for shielding to do any good.

Both mags clattered empty onto the deck, and Carson looked down, wishing he hadn’t.

G.F. Carpathia, she was trembling, face-down, ass up on the goddamn floor, shackled, collared, her body bruised, bloodied, brutalized, desecrated, fucking stinking of piss, shit and jizz, her hair cut short, matted, the grey MiniFemRehab-issue G-string panties and tank top cutting into her body, twisting it all out of proportion.

A clank! reminded Carson that other people were still on this bird...dropping the Hammer, he turned, slotting a mag from his armorjack duster’s pockets into his PDMD13, the fat piece of filth emerging from the plane’s flight deck committing the terminal error of charging him like a bull rhino instead of shooting him down where he stood, Carson only having to close the circuit once to blow the bitch up in a fiery shower of blood, bone chips and Crisco, triggering the weapon a second time as he advanced towards the open hatch to decapitate the next motherfucker stupid enough to try and come through it.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:30:45 ZULU

“Skipper!” Michiko shouted, Jami seeing the Casshole assault transport bulleting through the Terranovan atmosphere in the master holoproj. “Cascadian Starlifter, minus 23.5 by zero, 589 klicks downrange, exiting atmo, cycling his generator at 210 Hertz!”

He lifted from the aerospace port in Lockwood, Jami thought, looking at the telemetry in the command conn holodisplays, doing the math, Unbroken’s 203s pounding a Yanker cruiser trying his best to pound her, aerospace ports aren’t normally set up to handle starcraft, except on an emergency basis...

“...bitch, what the fuck do you think you’re doing?!” the Ginnie screamed, Jami trembling, as she lay face down, ass up on the deck, hearing whimpers, boot striking flesh, the thud!s of someone’s head being stomped down into the floor
“Goddamn filthy fuckin’ slag,” the Ginnie kept screaming,”didn’t all that time getting tuned up by ferals on Cocytus teach you anything?!”

“Your own motherfuckin’ tribe don’t even give a shit for you,” he added, the sound of whimpering growing fainter by the second,”don’t you fuckin’ get it by now?!”

“Why the fuck were you loo—” he started to ask, instead demanding to know,”bitch, what the hell do you think you’re—”

Jami didn’t know herself, didn’t know how she’d managed to get on her feet, break the neural-paralysis restraints hobbling her, jump the Ginnie son of a bitch stomping that black girl to death; she didn’t even know how she could take the nerve collar jazzing her full force and not feel a fucking thing as she kept driving that bastard’s head into the deck, until blood, hair, skull and brains were all over her bruised and swollen hands, one of which was now holding the dead Reggie soldier’s massdriver pistol, as she got back up onto her swollen, bruised, bleeding feet, turned round, pointed the weapon at another Ginnie cursing at her in slow motion, as she crushed the weapon’s manual trigger...

..Micki had already altered Unbroken’s vector to intercept the Cassie Starlifter, as it punched through the planet’s atmosphere, and fled into space at six hundred kilokips.

The son of a bitch cycling to max translight, the instant he realized Unbroken was coming for him.

“Skipper,” Michiko reported,”just before he ran, he commed somebody; comm was encoded, enciphered and encrypted using a variation of the Cascadian Internal Security Buerau’s Magenta E3 protocol.”

“Squadron! On me!” Jami snapped, her frigate upcycling to max translight in pursuit.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:30:45 ZULU

“Merriweather, you goddamn stupid fuckin’ prokboy excuse for a man!” Selkirk screamed, as Enterprise arrived just in time to watch that bitch upcycle to max translight.

Fucking don’t just sit there with your bonesmoker hangin’ open,” he barked at him,”plot an intercept vector, and go after her stinking ass!”

“Now!” he added, Merriweather telling him” upcycling to max translight, Commanding General,” as he took Enterprise in and out of hyperspace after the goddamn ungrateful little bitch who had gone out of her fucking way to make life miserable for her daddy, the one motherfucker in all the worlds who could ever love a vicious, conniving, spoiled rotten little piece of shit like her.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:30:45 ZULU

“Soddin’ get after ‛em!” Squadron Leader Robert Brakenbury barked out, the instant he received the Cascadian transport’s comm.

“Sir!” Flight Lieutenant Jared Quinn snapped, ORS Entkedu upcycling to max translight an instant after the order had been given.

They had to get that shipment back, before Unbroken and her squadron got to it, or, at least, destroy the Casshole transport carrying it; his superiors would forgive the latter contingency, if the alternative meant it falling into their hands...that, needless to say, was unforgivable, nothing for it but—

Better if he’d not think about that, thinking about the consequences of failure was the same as admitting failure, and he was not about to do that.

“Ten and a half megs,” Quinn then thought out loud,”split 513 ways.”

“Ay was thinkin’ more ‘long the lines,” Flight Officer Darren Kellogh commented,”of all that tail, split five ‘undred and t’irteen different ways.”

Everyone else on the bridge at least chuckled at Kellogh’s little joke; they were thinking the right way, the way Brakenbury himself should be thinking.

“Wotn’t there somet’in’ in the Bible ‘bout t’at?” queried Flight Officer Claiborne Chiles.

“Judges, chapter 19, Officer,” Brakenbury replied quietly, eyes fixed on the master holodisplay.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:30:45 ZULU

The deck shook beneath his feet, his HMD13 blistering his hands through the gauntlets, Commander Draco Selkirk continuing to walk the weapon across the edge of the Maggie rig’s drilling platform, driving BPG through the shielding of mech infantry, merkavas(what the enemy called panzers), airlifter gunships, and ironhorse cavalry still coming his way, the mag, spent and glowing with heat, throwing itself clear of the weapon, the nearly four and a half decade veteran Commonwealth Starmarine officer blindly reaching in his medium-grey No.5 Powered Combat Dress’ web gear for a fresh mag, looking out of the corner of his eye at Sergeant Major Harriet Mangione, commanding Unbroken’s 2 Troop, picking up a 64-round, 498-kilo mag for her SPAM130 single-handed, snapping the damn thing into the forward-mounted receiver of her weapon, and driving on like it wasn’t a damn thing.

Which, of course, it wasn’t, not for her, not after two decades of war and a decade of not exactly peace had changed the sixteen year old girl he’d helped train into a forty-six year old woman with way too many scars for her own good.

Most of Unbroken’s flight crew had been aged by one fucking war too many, not the kind of Pygmalion-like transformation he would’ve a—

Interjecting a word rhyming with duck, Drac snapped his attention back to the here and now, banging away with his HMD at the squad of Yanker mechies who’d almost made it on board, that crazy Mid bastard next to him adding his fire to that of Unbroken’s Starmarine commander’s, spraying more blood, grease and bone chips onto the chomper-infested, Judas-lit sea between the two of them.

The rig swayed from another explosion...not on board, nearby, one of the MAPs Second Army Corps and the Middies’ Fourteenth Army, deployed in a line around and between the four hydrolosis rigs, utterly annhilated by counter-battery fire, as the surviving friendly MAPs savagely returned the fire of the enemy mech artillery platforms still in it, 105s, 130s, 152s and 203s all lighting up the darkness with electric blue fireworks and distant white hot flashes.

Another explosion, this one on board, shook the rig to its underpinnings, and Drac heard the shouts of workcrews and med teams as they struggled to repair pumps and hydrogen feed lines, clear away wreckage, put out fires, tend to the uncountable number of dying and wounded laid out on the drilling platform beyond him.

Drac!” Jay Todman shouted in his link, Drac seeing the gun tower, with its quad-mounted 203s, starting to broach the surface of the water, as he aimed his HMD13 and cut loose , Harriet bringing her SPAM130 to bear on the tower as well, the weapon’s super-heating barrel spitting out a trio of 15.5cm BPG which struck the Yanker Navy attack sub’s shielding in the same spot, Jay and Drac firing their weapons into that one spot as well, the area round it shifting up the spectrum from green, to blue, to indigo, violet, and b—

The entire tower falling apart in a fury of blue-white heat and sparks, Drac aiming his weapon lower, at the sub itself; it still mounted a quartet of 203s in the bow, more than enough to blow this rig to Kingdom come unless Drac could do the same to the sub f—

His faceplate didn’t polarize fast enough for him not to be blinded by the massive explosion which sent a shudder throughout the rig and pieces of metal, blood and bone raining down onto the red-tinged waters of the Sea of Martinez.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
User avatar
U.P. Cinnabar
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:30:47 ZULU

“Got the bastard!” Stevie shouted two seconds after Unbroken broke out of hyperspace a million miles from anywhere, the Cassie transport nine hundred kiloklicks directly ahead.

“He’s sending that same comm, Skipper, slight variation at the end,” Michiko reported.

“Skipper,” Micki reported,”have a tenative location fix; according to passive sensor telemetry, we are between 2.7 and 2.9 gigaklicks from Tau Cet—“

“Starcraft in transit, zero by twelve, one-two-five megaklicks downrange, closing fast at six-zero-zero kilokips!” Claudia shouted.

“Fuck!” Jami spat out, as twelve dagger-shaped Ozzie Wu-Lung-class destroyers and one Yanker Columbia-class heavy cruiser closed rapidly with her squadron, Stevie launched a brace of Raptors to intercept them.

And the Starlifter ran like hell.

“Intercept vector!” Jami shouted, her wife immediately putting Unbroken on an intercept with the Casshole.

Closing to 120 kiloklicks behind it, a greyish-brown Jovian looming in the background.

“He’s sending the comm again, Skipper, same as the first two, varying from the others at the end,” Michiko reported, Micki telling her, at the same time,”that’s Gabriel—”

“Close to telegate range,” Jami ordered, the transport manuvering round a chunk of black ice the size of a small city, “Set forward MHD beam array for snaring and tow—goddamnit!”

That squadron of Ozzie destroyers maneuvered themselves between the transport and her squadron, Jami screaming for Marisa to “take out his drives, then—”

“Transport’s gone silent, Skipper!” Stevie said, pumping 203s from her Raptors into those enemy warbirds, Micki executing a series of hard jinks and burns during the intervals in norm to evade incoming fire from those Ozzie bastards and from Enterprise, 300 kiloklicks behind Unbroken and her squadron.

“Drives,” Jami shouted over comms, as the Oswaldan destroyers all launched Gryphon SF.3037 manned starfighters and Starhunter AKVs,” I need all available power to reinforce MHDs!”

Real fucking smart, Jami, she said angrily to herself, her deck shaking and falling down around her big ears, real fucking smart, leaving your fucking Starmarines behind, when you decided to go after that goddamn Casshole, never even once thinking to call for backup, no, no, you had to go charging off, half-cocked, not thinking it through, same as always, what the fuck good are you going to be to those...

“...shake that stinking ass, lil’ girlie!” the bull whipping her through the cellblock screamed, the frightened thirteen-year old girl running the gauntlet, other bulls lined up along either side, stomping, kicking, slapping, pinching, finger-fucking, handballing, titty-twisting, pissing, shitting, squirting and jizzing on her, telling her she was nothing but a filthy, fucking...

“!” she screamed, bolting from the others, jumping on those fucking hounds as they tore that poor thing apart, clubbing the sumbitches away from her with her fists, kicking a couple more squarely in their sides, Jami cradling the other girl in her arms, begging her to be all right.

Before a thought transmitted via plant had her on the ground, twitching, pissing and shitting herself, pain shooting up like fire through her every last nerve, the sixteen-year old girl screaming her head off, blood just pouring out of her, tasting metallic on her tongue, one of the guards, a lieutenant, screaming for someone to “dump the goddamn little howler in the fuckin’ tank....”

“...sssh, ssshh, baby,” Mama whispered through her own tears, cradling the three-year old girl against her breasts,”it’s just thunder, just....”

...thunder, the forward shielding flashing bluish white-hot in too many places, four of the twelve Ozzie warbirds nothing but bits of hot junk tumbling through space...five now, Unbroken’s Raptors smashing through his MHDs, bomb-pumped gras from their 203s punching through the hostile machine’s fuselage to crumple it like paper in fire.

Ariel rattling off damage and status, as Marisa returned fire with the primary massdrivers, and Stevie launched still more Raptors to join the ones already out there, while 203s shot past the twelve Commonwealth Star Force frigates to strike down a sixth Oswaldan warbird.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:32:06 ZULU

“That goddamn fucking Yanker trog!” Brakenbury shrieked, struggling to his knees, everything hurting like hell, God knew how many bones had been broken when that last hit had torn his chair loose and sent it slamming into the opposite end of Entkedu’s shambles of a bridge.

“MHD shielding reduced by 96%!” Flight Officer Peter Grainger reported,”Primary and secondary electrics are trashed, teritary electrics 84% disrupted, most systems on secondary or uninterruptible power, direct hits to spinhab and engineering spaces, MHD beam aft, port and starboard emitters destroyed, Alcubierre generator severely damaged, no better than sixteen gighertz max cycle possible, all decks opened to space, massdrivers Alfas Four and Five, Bravos Three through Five, Foxtrots One through Five, and Golfs Two and Four all offline, hangar bay destroyed, starboard RCS thruster banks severely d—”

“Where’s that soddin’ Cassie?!“ Brakenbury, now manning the helm, demanded.

“Unknown, Skipper,” Chiles reported, as ten 203s ripped the Osiris from space before the dazed squadron leader’s eyes. “It went completely silent right after intercept, no—”

Unbroken and her squadron upcycling, max translight!” Kellogh shouted.

“Looks like she has some clue where that transport’s gone off to,” Brakenbury sourly commented. “Tell the other machines to follow us in.”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:34:08 ZULU

“Get after her, Merriweather, you useless fuckin’ cockwhore, get after her!” Selkirk screamed, Enterprise’s piece of shit of helmsman replying,”plotting intercept vector, upcycling, max translight.”

The heavy cruiser upcycled in pursuit of that licentious fucking howler daughter of his, a goddamn ungrateful little bitch, who had done everything she could to hold her daddy down, hold him back, keep him from where he belonged, where he was meant to be, and here he’d broken his fucking back, killing himself trying to put food on the goddamn table, clothes on her fucking back, a roof over her head.

All her goddamn fault, he could’ve fucking been Governor, would’ve fucking been Governor, just as Guy Zellner himself had once promised him, if it hadn’t fucking been for her.

Enterprise downcycled, and entered orbit round a misshapen chunk of cratered greyish rock about five, maybe ten klicks in diameter, other misshapen lumps of cold rock dancing around it, some of them smashing into the first rock, adding more craters to its surface.

Bitch was nowhere in sight.

“Where the fuck is she?!” Selkirk screamed over his link.

“Sir,” the little North Coast spoiled fucking brat started to whine,”I—”

“No fuckin’ excuses!” Selkirk screamed. “Is that all any of you goddamn bitches are capable of, giving me?! Excuses why you can’t fucking do the jobs the goddamn Starfleet Corporate fuckin’ Welfare System pays you to fuckin’ do?! Huh?!”

“Answer me, goddamnit!” he shouted at all the miserable, goddamn excuses for men that passed themselves off as a starcraft crew; Benjamin Zellner himself would’ve been stuck doing KP for the rest of his life, if he’d had whorebags like Merriweather, Mecklenburg, Pederson, Malcolm, and Fluellen for subordinates, if he’d had a bunch of psycho fucking whores constantly dragging him down, holding him back, making him fuck ‛em and breed ‛em, driving him to drink and do drugs to escape the hell they put him through, as they laughed in his goddamn face.

“Damn all y’all!” he snapped, unbelting himself from his chair and walking off the deck.

“Mecklenburg, when you have something to fuckin’ tell me, I’ll be in my quarters!” he spat, just before he left what remained of the bridge.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:36:00 ZULU

“Set it down on that platform,” Carson Selkirk ordered the pilot of the MiniFemRehab airlifter, as they approached what remained VMC Hydrogen Processing Rig # 3111,”nice and easy, no bumps. Understood?”

“Yeah,” the pilot replied sullenly, the PDMD13 Carson had aimed at the base of his skull leaving little alternative save compliance, the Yanker manuvering the Prommie so that it was neatly lined up with one of the rig’s two landing pads on the drilling platform.

Jesus Carpathia, what a mess, work crews were working as hard to repair the rig as the enemy were to blow the bitch up, fires raging out of control all over the place...the dead, in bits and pieces, littering the deck and the surrounding sea...goddamn chompers were having a feast....

On the pad opposite the one they were landing on sat a shot-to-pieces Maggie SC-8 scoutcraft....

No, don’t even think that, he admonished himself, when that scoutcraft got him thinking about Li, it’s not her bird anyway, she’ s probably out somewhere as far away from T-nova as she can get, and I can’t say I blame her.
The CV-137D touched the pad with a butterfly kiss, no jolt on landing at all, this guy really knew his shit, which was why it would be best if Carson kept his attention trained on him instead on foolish thoughts about things he could not change.

His Earther ears picked up the sounds of boots clambering onto the bird...and, his twin brother’s voice, interjecting,”Jesus Fucking Carpathia...”

Before it hollered for a corpsman, Drac then ordering “1 Section, secure the craft!” as Carson heard boots running toward him.

“Drac?!” he shouted out to his brother.

“We got her, bro!” Drac shouted back.

“Count to a hundred, then lift, get me?!” Carson said to the pilot.

“You’re letting me go?!” the Ministry of FemRehab thug replied.

“No reason to do otherwise,” Carson replied, before exiting the flight deck, backpedaling through the cargo section, stepping out through the side hatch onto the landing pad, the pilot immediately lifting and turning back towards the continent of Basseterre.

“Hey, bro,” Drac said to his brother, the two of them shaking hands, then pulling each other into a bear hug.

Carson watched as two of the rig’s medical staff eased Michelle Schneider onto a gurney and wheeled her away.

“Angelique got Annesha’s comm,” Drac told him, after they’d separated. “Squadron’s gone after the transport, the Ozzie motherfuckers escorting it have gone after the squadron...and, so’s our dear, half-bastard brother.”

“Nobody knows,” he said, shaking his head, sighing,”where the hell they are.”

“Fuck!” Carson interjected.

“She doesn’t even have her Starmarines,” he commented.

“You know her,” Drac remarked,putting a hand on his twin brother’s shoulder.

“She’ll find a way,” he added, Carson nodding his head in agreement.

“How ‘bout—“ he started to ask, Jay Todman, joining the two brothers, replying:

“She’s fine; I just got off the net with her, she’s at an antifa safehouse, used a cloned PIC, and routed her comm through half the surviving commsats in orbit.”

Carson nodded again.

“Good,” he whispered, walking towards the entrance to the inside of the rig.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:37:32 ZULU

“Send it again,” Starcraft Commander William Seddon, commanding Cascadian Republican Starcraft Sweet Jasmine, said, as he sat at the command conn, the contractor at the comms station replying,”no can do, mi patron, external comms still offline.”

The master of the Sweet Jasmine sighed...not a damn thing he could do until Captain Kevin Jordan and his engineering team were through fixing what the Ozzies and Yankers had fucked up by cycling in and out of hyperspace so close to his ship, except, maybe pray that he could get at least the Alcubierre jenny working before those twelve DirtCom warbirds sniffed out his trail, and came for the shipment he’d been hauling round half a dozen star systems en route to its final destination, something known only to him, his first officer, and the commander of the Cascadian Republican Aerospace Force FALCON(Force for ALl CONtingencies) unit stationed in the forward payload module to keep the shipment secured until delivery.

Another sigh, as Seddon looked at the cratered black rock on which his ship now rested; its offical IAU designation was Tau Ceti Vwb10, what the Juanitas called Jalapa Line, a quarter megaklick from the outermost planet in the Tau Ceti system, the brown dwarf dubbed Gabriela, almost four hundred and fifty megaklicks from where he needed to be.

Every goddamn time he went to fucking Terranova, something bad always happened, never failed; this go round, Sweet Jasmine hadn’t even lifted ship from the surface of that miserable, reptile-infested shithole planet, before the disasters had started rolling in a pair of dice loaded to come up snake eyes or boxcars.

First, the feral they’d been sent there to pick up had been snatched by some antifa fascist troublemaker, right out from under the noses of the goddamn Yankers; Sweet Jasmine had managed to lift ship, only to get bounced by Unbroken—the Commies’ most-decorated warbird and the DirtCom Star Force’s best crew—and her whole damn squadron, forcing Major Rusty Wallach, his FO, to halfass plot a vector for the destination, which, instead, had landed them in empty space 2.9 gigaklicks from Tau Ceti.

He had time enough to send out a cry for help, when the Sullies’ 515 FrigRon had shown up, all ready to close with the Sweet Jasmine and board her, then the Ozzies who were supposed to have been escorting them and a random Yanker heavy cruiser had closed to three hundred kiloklicks off his stern, and sent emitted tachyons, photons and van Gripstra particles to blow holes in his ship, taking out the Alcubierre generator, the plasma-core torch, and about half a dozen other systems.

“How’s the cargo, Major?” he asked the FALCON team leader as he stepped onto the bridge.

“My men,” Major Montel Rivers replied,” are keeping ‘em quiet.”

“Outstanding,” Seddon replied.

“Has there been any reply to your communication?” Rivers asked.

“No,” Seddon replied,” and I don’t think there will be, Major, at least not in time to do us any good.”

“We’re in Hidalgan territory,” he added,”and you can bet your black ass that the Juanita Tacos—“

Mi patron!” the holo of his chief flight engineer shouted over his link.”DirtCom squadron inbound!”

“Fuck,” Seddon interjected.

“It’s too much to hope,” he added,”that you got the Al—“

“Three of the four hafnium-isomer blocks underwent IGE, then slagged to puddles of molten lathanide, mi patron,” Jordan replied,”and we ain’t got replacments for ‛em...the remaining block will allow us to cycle the jenny at one hertz, no more; also, we’ve got the torch and the 13—“

“Get your people back aboard, Mister Jordan,” Seddon replied.” FO, as soon as they’re inside, lift ship and haul ass, max sustainable ahv you can wring from the Alcubierre. Mister Jordan, stand by to jettison—“

“That is not an option!” Rivers screamed over Seddon’s link.

“—the payload deck,” the master of the Sweet Jasmine concluded, pointedly ignoring the FALCON officer. “The customer won’t like it, but he’ll understand, given the alternative.”

“Lifting ship,” Wallach said, the 95,000-ton Starlifter raising herself from the surface of the asteroid, heading out into empty space at an ahv of one kilokip.

“MHDs coming on line,” the Sweet Jasmine’s fire-control officer, Captain Tony Madrie, reported,”at 118% of rated field strength, charging and loading all 130s.”

“Maintaining one kilokip ahv,” Wallach said.

“Hostiles closing and upcycling!” 1st Lieutenant Simon Carmicheal shouted from the defensive countermeasure station.

“Get us the fuck out of their way, FO!” Seddon shouted. “Increase power to foward shielding!”

“Ozzie starcraft in transit, zero by twelve, ninety kiloklicks downrange, closing rapidly at six-zero-zero kilokips!” Madrie shouted, Carmicheal chorusing:

“Yanker heavy in transit, zero by twelve, 189.42 kiloklicks downrange, closing rapidly at six-zero-zero kilokips!”

as Sweet Jasmine shook and howled from even more hurt, Carmichael reporting,” that wasn’t as bad, Skipper, I managed to shift power to the aft shield—“

“Run like hell, FO!” Seddon ordered.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:39:15 ZULU

“The ape primitives,” Rashad Malcom Muhammed, the most powerful downtrodden black man in all the worlds, gassed off on HV,”are conspiring to keep the black man from fathering his own children, to turn those children against him, away from him, toward depravity, toward perversion, toward femininity unashamed!”

“The ferals,” he added, after a dramatic pause,” are unashamed, unashamed, that is what makes their threat even greater, that they wallow in their unashamedness—“

I don’t even think that’s a word, Carson, sitting on a sofa in the rig’s rec room, thought to himself, as he watched Rashad rant, rave and foam at the mouth from the studio facilities at the Hilton Head Island Resort:

“—in their own ape-primitive nature; not only do they forsake the shame Canon says they should feel for what they are, they seek to convert all those they can recruit or kidnap into females as well; that is what Kiki Winslow and her so-called lover are doing to Horace’s children, children unable to escape what is being done to them, children who suffer a nightmare of physical, psychological and sexual abuse designed to make them unashamedly feral...there are documented reports of how they force his girls to endure nightmares of femperv sadism, how they are paraded around half naked at their mothers’ nighly sex parties, rented out like merchandise to other ferals; those same reports, suppressed by Orson Perdue, the sissy, sojus subslut of Gilda Schrenko herself, document the systematic forced feralization of all the boys beaten, raped and tortured by those two girls into wearing skirts, dresses, bras and pan—“

“Switch,” Carson said, the President of the Secret, Supreme, Exalted High Committee of the Thirteen Rednecks giving way to old Gotchanow, foaming at the mouth with the best of them, as he pounded his pulpit in some other part of the resort, and screamed:

“Mistress Babylon’s answer is terrorism and force against her enemies, force and terrorism against those who dare say ‘no, harlot, we shall not drink of the wine of your fornication!’ and ‘ yes, harlot, we want a decent, moral life for our wives and daughters, for them to be free to pursue a healthy, Canon sexuality, free to love, honour and obey their men, in all things, free to wed them in unbreakble bondage, free to serve them, free to live their lives according to the civilized values taught to them by their fathers, their brothers, and their husbands!

And we,” grey-suited Death said, his breath coming in ragged, foamy gasps,”will not rest until their freedom has been secured against all those seeking to mislead and enslave them in the stinking pits of feral iniquity, until Mistress Babylon and all her horde have been driven from our worlds and cleansed from our skies! That is the message we have sent them tonight, when our forces met and destroyed their dark legions in the fie—”

“Hey, Carson,” said a voice from his past...

...nothing of her left, just a blank stare at him, before getting in the back seat of that bastard’s car, so far gone on that goddamn redbud, she fucking didn’t have a choice, it was either whore herself out, or die in agony...

“...L-li?” he said stupidly, unable to think of a damn thing else to say.

“It’s been a while,” someone who used to be his best friend whispered; that had been her scoutcraft on the landing pad after all.

“Yeah,” Carson said softly, nodding.

“Yeah,” he repeated, looking away from her, down at his shoes.

“Baby,” she said, after a long silence,”you don’t look so good.”

“No, I don’t,” Carson, nodding his head again, replied.

“That your bird on the landing pad?” he asked, just to make some attempt at conversation.

“Yeah,” Li replied.

“Looks like it’s been dropkicked by giants,” Carson observed.

“Just about,” Li answered. “It’s a lot worse on the inside. Spinhab’s all fucked up, and a 203 completely slagged the hafnium-isomer blocks, and triggered an induced gamma emission which blew the rest of Rittermark jenny to fiery molten bits no larger than your little finger.”

“Damn,” Carson said, shaking his head.

“We had a spare generator assembly, including four fresh blocks; Margo’s installing that now,” Li said.” She should have it charged, calibrated and ready to go in three, four hours tops.”

“I didn’t think you’d ever come back to this place,” Carson said, following another pause.

“Not my first choice,” Li said. “Home office had other ideas; ’just a quick stop,’ Tiger said,’on your way back out there, just long enough for you to drop off their mail.’”

“’Out there’ being?” Carson asked.

“Kocab Base,” Li said, trying to joke,”and points west.”

“That’s out there, all right,” Carson commented.

“Some days,” Li said softly,” ‘out there’ isn’t far enough away from here.”

“I know,” Carson said.

Another uneasy silence...fifty-six years and too many unresolved issues standing between them tended to do that.

He looked up at her...still wearing wire-rimmed round glasses, hair was a bit shorter, less coppery, more grey, lines round her hazel eyes...not laugh lines, she never knew much joy, at least not growing up on Terranova, probably not out there amongst the stars either; that hadn’t been where he’d finally found what—who—he’d needed to had taken four years of war, two more of psychotherapy, and another friend being murdered for him to finally realize...

He sighed, shaking his head.

“What?” Li asked.

“It’s just been a while, Li,” Carson said.

“Yes, it has,” Li replied softly.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:39:15 ZULU

“Primary electrics are fried!” Ariel reported, as Stevie and Marisa returned the fire of six Ozzie warbirds and one Yanker heavy continuing to run interference for the Cassie transport.”Secondary electrics 86% disrupted, teritary electrics 71% disrupted, MHD beam starboard emitters offline, radiators six and eight destroyed, internal heat now 77 degrees, still rising, antimatter containment and thermopile shorting out, MHD shielding reinforced to 180% of maximum rated field strength!”

“Where’s that transport?!” Jami demanded.

“In a transfer orbit,” Micki replied,” between Gabriela and Diablo, maintaining one kilokip ahv.”

“Don’t close with the transport, Number One,” Jami said. “Instead, put us behind Enterprise, as close as you can, without crashing us into him.”

“Got it,”Micki said, the Commonwealth Star Force frigate closing the Yanker flagship from behind.

“Reinforcing forward shielding,” Ariel said, as emitted tachyons, photons and van Gripstra particles blasted holes through Enterprise’s saucer, inverted wedge and nacelles, sending bits of him flying all over the place.

“Turn with him, Number One,” Jami said unnecessarily, Micki knew what she was doing, firing the RCS thrusters during normspace intervals to keep the frigate behind Enterprise, as the much larger heavy cruiser slewed round on his RCS thrusters to try and face his antagonist.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

“Wait for it, Micki,” Jami then said. “One of those Ozzie sons of bitches—“

“One of them already has,” Micki replied, upcycling Unbroken ,opening the distance behind the Yanker flagship to some three hundred fifteen kiloklicks, an Ozzie Wu-Lung closing the spot the Commonwealth Star Force frigate had just vacated, the 203s he had intended to drive into her at point-blank range instead punching gras through Enterprise’s saucer.

Marisa and Stevie letting loose fusillades of their own from the 203s and the Raptors, two dozen BPG warheads flying straight and true to their detonation point, and the resulting gras pulses ripped through his aft shielding in a series of nova flashes, blowing him away before he could react, some of the gras from that salvo still having sufficent energy to shred Enterprise’s port nacelle.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:40:52 ZULU

“You miserable bloody slag!” Brakenbury screamed at the DirtCom ape bitch as she upcycled an instant after blasting Garuda all over space, and putting even more holes into the Yanker heavy now turning round to face Entkedu, Brakenbury upcycling to the limit of his damaged Alcubierre jenny’s ability, before those trogs would’ve fired on them again, the Oswaldan Wu-Lung-class destroyer closing to one and one-half megaklicks from her arse end.

Just in time to watch her blow away the Elihu, the Gideon upcycling just before the 203s meant for him reached their target.

Only for one of the enemy squadron’s other frigates to shoot it down.

“Bitch!” Brakenbury swore, screaming for Kellogh to launch more Starhunters, and return fire, 203s from the AKVs and Entkedu’s surviving primary massdrivers flying out toward...a shower of tachyons pelting the forward shielding, some of them getting through, puncturing the dagger-like spaceframe, and not stopping, fucking up more of his flagship in their progress.

The bridge exploded, bits of turbolift...and Kellogh’s body, still belted into his chair...flying past him, Chiles reporting he had weapons control now, Brakenbury jinking, burning, and upcycling, before the next enemy salvo could strike home.

The battered Entkedu almost immediately found herself point-blank range from Unbroken, both machines firing, evading and upcycling at the same time, Brakenbury closing to less than a quarter megaklick from Unbroken—an instant after she’d blasted another of Brakenbury’s machines to Hell and gone—Chiles letting loose with a volley of 203s, as that fucking bitch practically scraped hell out of Entkedu’s paint job, and drove a fusillade of 203s right into his starboard turret, the Oswaldan Republican Astronautic Guard destroyer shuddering from multiple explosions, the bridge going dark, Grainger reporting:

“MHDs all offline, plasma-core torch destroyed, Alcubierre generator destroyed, antimatter containment and thermopile have both failed, emergency antimatter venting proceedures successful, all manuvering lost, all electrics disrupted, all massdrivers destroyed, Starhunter bay destroyed, all remaining systems on secondary or uninterruptible power.”

“Bitch!” Brakenbury spat, pounding the arms of the now-useless command conn.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:42:19 ZULU

The two remaining Ozzies burned hard for Unbroken, only to die under Statesman and Tactician’s guns and Raptors.

Now, Unbroken’s skipper, senior pilot, WEOs, defensive countermeasures engineer, and intel officer all frantically scanned the sky for any sign of Enterprise.

They didn’t have long to by 23.75, nine megaklicks downrange, the frigate’s psuedo-tachyon telescopes picked up an tachyon-emission pattern characteristic of a Terranovan Columbia-class heavy cruiser in transit.

And an emission pattern characteristic of a Cascadian Vancouver-class destroyer in transit.

Both of them were rapidly converging on the same point in normal spacetime.

“Oh, G.F. Carpathia, no,” Jami whispered, a fireball lighting up the darkness nine million kilometers away from Unbroken.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:44:01 ZULU

Selkirk was thrown from his bed onto the deck, the bottle of 180-proof Cascadian Floodplain grain whisky and the jack bag of redbud that fucking bitch made him do falling from the nightstand, reddish-brown powder and liquor making an ungodly mess on the carpeting.

An explosion shook the room, making it difficult for the Chairman of the Union Security Council to regain his footing, half-staggering towards, half-thrown against the workstation, Selkirk screaming into his plant’s larngytial mic,”goddamn you, Mecklenburg, what the fuck’s going on?!”

“We cycled in and out of hyperspace at the same time and place as another bird,” Mecklenburg’s holoimage replied, as it wavered six inches in front of Selkirk’s right eye. “We’ve taken heavy damage, heavy casualties...MHDs are all offline, power surges have shorted out most of the ship’s surviving power grid, fried all the shield generators and beam emitters in the belt, as well as the starboard torch; starboard Alcubierre generator is intact, the breakers tripped in time to prevent any damage, and—“

“Outstanding,” Selkirk, sealing up his bodyglove and pulling on his trousers and old-gold management team jersey, said.” Where’s Unbroken?!”

“With respect, Commanding General,” Mecklenburg fucking started to whine,” we are in no con—“

“Goddamnit, bitch, I fuckin’ asked you a question!” the Chairman of the Union Security Council screamed in reply.

“Answer me!” he ordered Enterprise’s piss-poor excuse for a first officer.

“Zero by two, 8.85 megaklicks downrange, sir; she’s comming us, asking if her people can be of any a—“

“Fucking shoot the bitch down where she stands,you hear me, Mecklenburg?!” Selkirk shouted back.

“Sir, as I tried to mention before, we are in no—“

“You disobedient, spoiled little piece of goddamn boy pussy, I fucking told you to do something,” Selkirk raved,”and, by God, I expect you to do it!”

“NOW!” he added, Mecklenburg saying in reply,”you heard the Commanding General, Mister Malcolm.”

“Fire,” he ordered.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:46:23 ZULU

“That’s fine,” was all Jami would say, as eleven detonated 203mm BPG warheads sent gras pulses sizzling downrange toward Unbroken.

“Upcycle,” she said, Micki briefly cycling them up to max translight, closing to within a kiloklick of and matching vectors with the Cassie transport.

Who promptly turned round and started firing 130s from the quad-mounted massdriver turrets on his dorsal and ventral centerline, Micki deftly evading his fire, Stevie’s Raptors returning it, the transport dodging all the bomb-pumped gras sent his way, as he twisted underneath Unbroken and started running back the way he’d come, Micki about to turn round and chase him, when Michiko shouted,”Skipper!“

“Son of a bitch,” Jami swore, as she saw Enterprise coming toward Unbroken on an intercept vector, ducking in and out of hyperspace thirty trillion times every second, volleying 203s at the Commonwealth Star Force frigate during his intervals in norm.

“His shield generators are gone, as are most of his systems,” Ariel reported, as Unbroken closed to within telegate range of the Cascadian transport.” Miracle he’s still flying, after hyper-ramming that Casshole warbird.”

“Fuck,” Micki interjected, as Enterprise rapidly closed both ships, both the frigate and the transport juking and burning hard during their normspace intervals to minimize damage from tachyons, photons and van Gripstra particles.

Daddy fucking dearest was, of course, having none of that, his flagship cranking off a volley from his remaining primary massdrivers at two kiloklicks downrange, Unbroken briefly upcycling to max translight three milliseconds before that salvo would’ve hit.

“Fuck this,” Jami said, as Unbroken downcycled to max sublight. “Guns, take out his remaining nacelle!“

A salvo from the 203s carried away Enterprise’s starboard nacelle in a series of strobing photoflashes which also sent the remainder of the heavy cruiser’s spaceframe spinning ass over tea kettle in the darkness.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:48:22 ZULU

Li was scribbling something down in a notebook—that much about her hadn’t changed, she did the exact same thing, when they were coming up; her legs were folded underneath her as she sat in the chair to the left to his sofa, eyes glued to that damn notebook, with an occasional stare up at the ceiling.

He was thinking about the last time they’d all been happy.; him, Drac, Smitty, Li and Deann, all winging along on the Flynt.

Doc Smith had bought the most expensive PARAWIG he could, with every conceivable geegaw, just to impress his very well-connected friends.

Smitty had gotten more use out of it than he had; Li’s twelfth birthday, they’d all decided to go tearing down the river at nearly 1,600 kph, Carson at the controls, getting them all good and soaked before he’d cut thrust, letting the wing drift lazily through the Lanes’ jackapple orchard, Drac and Smitty dropping a couple of lines over the side to try and catch some littlefish, or, if they were exceedingly lucky, a notturtle, Carson, Deann and Li sneaking onto the Lanes’ property to steal a few jackapples.

After that...after that, not a fucking thing went right, for any of them, Li most of all, and she had Carson, in part, to thank for that..too fucking stupid, too goddamn insecure, too jealous, to realize or want to realize she and Deann had something good and real between them, that Li could never love him, he didn’t fucking even know what that had been, didn’t want to see it between her and Deann, because that meant...

A sigh caused his chest to rattle, Li looking up from her notebook at him; her mom had died from the same exact goddamn thing which was killing him, leaving her utterly at the mercy of her old man—Jami’s fucking manager when she’d slaved away at the fucking Chik n’ Head in the CLM(the old one by the hospital), now Sunni’s boss, nine stores in his domain.

Li was right...not even “out there” was far enough away from the past...

Another sigh, another rattle in his chest; she knew what it was, and she didn’t say anything, just looked at him, tears pooling in her eyes.

She sniffled them down, wiping at her face with the sleeve of her suit, when she realized she was crying; that hadn’t changed either, unfortunately.

Growing up, she had to pretend nothing hurt, no matter how bad it was, and Jesus F. Carpathia help her if she had the indecency to fucking shed tear one, the men and boys controlling her world would give her something to cry about, that was for damn skippy.

Damn skippy.

Neesha’s favorite show on HV was that Ozzie sitcom, Keeping Up Appearances, everybody tripping on old Hyacinth Bucket—Boo’ kay—for always trying to pretend she was something other than what she was, when the joke was on all them motherfuckers, because they were just as guilty of being phony as she was.

Carson couldn’t stand the show.

“Penny for your thoughts,” Li said, her voice still choked.

Carson snorted.

“If you want to get gypped, go ahead.” he remarked.

“Still selling yourself short,” Li said.

“No,” Carson replied, shaking his head. “You’d get gypped, it wasn’t anything earthshaking, just an idle thought about Hyacinth.”

“I love that show,” Li said.” One of the few decent things OSM has on the Net.”

“So does my wife,” Carson told her.

“Yeah,” Li said,” Drac said you finally got married...and, you didn’t invite me to the wedding.”

She feigned hurt feelings.

“And,” Carson replied,”how in the fuck was I supposed to address your wedding invitation, when you were a thousand light years from the nearest post office?”

“You could’ve sent it to home office, baby,” Li rejoinded. “They would’ve gotten it to me.”

“How long have you guys been together?” she asked.

“If you mean as a couple,” Carson said,”47 years...married, ten...just after Mom...”

He trailed off, shaking his head.

“I’m sorry about Miss Jeanie,” Li whispered. “Lindsey’s is a terrible way to...”

Now, she trailed off.

“Not too many good ways, last I checked,” Carson replied, after another uneasy silence.

“Not too many good ways,” he repeated softly.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:48:22 ZULU

“Any sign of those DirtCom frigs?” Seddon asked.

“Not yet,” Carmicheal replied.

“Do we have external communications?” Rivers, standing behind the command conn, asked.

“Negative,” Carmicheal said. “Mister Jordan says it will at least another two and a half hours before he can get the external comm system back on line.”

“Wouldn’t matter anyway,” Seddon reminded the FALCON officer. “A comm from us would be like sending up a flare to those Sullie bitches; sort of defeats the purpose of us going silent in the first place, don’t you think?”

“We have to have at least one destroyer out here on patrol,” Rivers insisted.

“Probably do,” Seddon said. “ That’s the only hope we got , that the last comm we managed to send before the Ozzies fucked everything up at least reached the Tau Ceti Aerospace Force Depot in the Dolores planetary system...that’s only 180 megaklicks from where we are now—“

“Fifty hours out, at our max sustainable ahv,” Rivers observed.

“Unbroken and her squadron still have perfectly functioning Alcubierre jennies,” Seddon reminded him,”or, at least, we have to assume that’s the case; the instant their passive suites spot the Chernekov radiation , tachyon, photon, and van Gripstra particle emissions from our Alcubierre generaor cycling us in and out of hyperspace—and, they will spot it, Major—they’ll be on top of us like a bandsaw thumper on a doe-eyed donkey.

If Tau Ceti AFD got our comm, and they should’ve, they’ve got destroyers and battleships cycling in and out across this entire volume of space looking for us, and hunting down the Unbroken and her squadron—remember, their commander’s got a ten and a half meg pricetag on her head, not to mention other accounts she and the rest of the ferals on board that bird have outstanding with us and the rest of the Federation.

So, trust me, Major, the Aerospace Force is expending at least as much energy finding them as they are finding us.”

“Best thing we can do,” he finished,”is sit tight, with everything powered down, and wait for the Aerospace Force to find us and get the shipment to where it’s supposed to be going.”

“That smokes monkeybone,” Rivers objected.

“Not my problem,” Seddon replied, staring at empty space in the master holodisplay.

“My orders are to get the shipment to the customer,” he added,” by any means necessary; failing that, my orders are to make sure they don’t get their hands on the shipment...that’s my problem, Major.”

“At least,” he added,”the only one that means a damn right this minute.”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:51:08 ZULU

“Skipper,” Michiko reported, ”I’ve decrypted, deciphered and decoded all three of the comms that Casshole sent. They all say as follows: ‘Shipment in imminent danger of liberation by Commonwealth Star Force 515 FrigRon, request immediate assistance, do not reply,’ each comm ending with the transport’s distance from and declination and right ascension relative to Cascadia at the time of transmission.”

Jami nodded her head in reply, Unbroken and her squadron cycling in and out of hyperspace at max sublight, scanning the immediate area for any sign of the Cassie Starlifter; no Cherenkov radiation, tachyons, photons, or van Gripstra particle indicative of a Rittermark jenny cycling them through space, and no sign of an acceleration plume indicating the use of his torch, at least not within five and a half megaklicks of the vector the transport had taken, before Enterprise had bounced Unbroken, meaning he’d gone silent, and was riding on inertia.

“Skipper,” Michiko added,” Tau Ceti AFD’s about eighteen megaklicks from here, that last comm’s bound to have reached them.”

“And,” Jami said,” they mentioned us by name.”

“They did indeed, Skipper,” Michiko confirmed.

“Cassies probably got half the damn Aerospace Force out looking for us,” Jami observed.

“The Cascadians only have three divisions—2,160 machines—based at Tau Ceti AFD, Skipper,” Stevie remarked,”about twenty percent of their assets insystem.”

“That’s no ray of sunshine, Shooter,” Jami replied, sighing, cursing herself for the nth time for getting her crew—and her squadron—into this Starmarines, all twelve ships shot up, and only now starting to mend themselves, the enemy doubtlessly alerted to her presence in system and actively hunting her down.

She hadn’t thought it out, always her fucking problem, acting without thinking, that had put her people...her own wife...right in their fucking hands...

“...incorrigible,” she heard Warden Halliburton tell someone, as he stood in the doorway, letting a little bit of light and heat into her cell,”in spite of everything.”

“Then,” a Ginnie-accented voice told him,”we’ll just have to try something new with the little bitch, won’t we?”

“Get the slag on her feet!” he barked, two freaking huge monkeybones coming into her cell, one picking her up by her matted hair like she was nothing, the other snapping a leash onto her collar, binding her wrists and ankles with NP shackles, while his partner shoved his paw inside her panties, the sixteen-year old girl struggling against that, only to have the one shackling her hit her hard across her face with the back of his gauntleted hand before activating the restraints, jerking her forward by the leash, half-dragging her into the light, through a shimmering in the light, into a dimly-lit space stinking of shit, jizz, piss, sweat, and rot, crammed with thousands of girls like her, all of them face down, ass up, soldiers standing over them, guns, fuswhips, and voice controls to nerve collars via plant at the ready to enforce compliance.

“Face down, ass up on the fuckin’ deck!” the monkeybone pulling at her leash ordered, dumping her uncerimonously onto the cold metal, kicking her twice in quick succession, screaming,” I said, ass up, you licentious goddamn little howler, ass up!”

“Get over here and scan it into the system!” he then barked out to someone else, Jami hearing a beep! as....

...they entered her into their records, not by name, of course, she hadn’t had one at that point...the barcode was still there, etched by laser into her right buttock after the inital session in the tank thirty-eight years ago.

CCI never did figure out where they’d planned on sending her next, whatever records they had kept had been wiped out, the carrier’s shipnet and the AI implants of the dead and captured had all been blanked, no backups kept.

It would take more lasers to erase the barcode; there would’ve been traces left of it on her body, even if she’d gone that route, not that oblitering it would even come close to giving back what had been taken from her.

Micki kept cycling Unbroken in and out of hyperspace.

A linear distance of five and a half megaklicks translated to a spherical volume of approximately eighty-seven cubic exaklicks, a 95-kiloton assault transport making for one hell of a small speck inside that all that sky, even if every one of his systems had been up and running.

On the flip side, eighty-seven cubic exaklicks made for a very small amount of sky for one 14,523-ton Dauntless-class frigate to hide in, let alone twelve, not when it was full of hostile machines searching for them the same way they was searching for the transport...2,160 of them to be precise, 432 of those President-class battlesh—

“Skipper!” Marisa shouted, derailing Jami’s train of thought,”darva’s got something! Concentration of dysprosium and TDU composite, zero by three, one and a half megaklicks downrange, moving constantly at three decimal three-six kips!”

“Mass is consistent with that of the transport’s, Skipper,” Stevie reported, Micki wasting no time upcycling them on an intercept,”though we’re too far out to scan for life signs.”

“Close to one hundred klicks from the transport,” Jami told Micki. “Countermeasures, reset MHD beam emitters for snaring and towing; Shooter, vector your Raptors in first; have them fi—“

Stevie was doing precisely that, vectoring 203s from the Raptors in flight against the two squadrons of shovel-nosed Cascadian Vancouver-class destroyers closing rapidly on the twelve Commonwealth Forces frigates, their commander on the line, informing her:

“This is Coloniel Thomas B. Pendry, commanding the 778th Destroyer Squadron, to DirtCom warships. You have violated Cascadian space, and are ordered to stand down your weapons, surrender your command—“

“AVENGE!” Micki snapped. “KOHOUTEK!”

“AVENGE KOUHOUTEK!” Stevie, Claudia, Marisa, and Michiko all echoed, as squadron tacnet and external comms both sang:

Thy will be done!

For the grace and the might of our Lord! In the name of his glory! For the faith and the way of the sword! Gave their lives so boldly!”

and Unbroken’s gunner and AKV controller drove another 203s right into those Casshole pricks, before they dispersed, and the squadron fell upon them, cycling in and out of hyperspace, fring, cycling in and out of hyperspace, jinking, burning, launching more Raptors, firing, taking damage, cycling in and out of hyperspace, firing, cycling in and out of hyperspace, jinking, burning, launching still more Raptors, firing, taking damage, as more enemy machines piled on.

In Jami’s head, her wife whispered “if it ends here, luv, let it end in fire. You are not to blame.”

“You,” she repeated, as she sent Unbroken into the midst of six or seven enemy warbirds, so Stevie and Marisa could take them all with a single combined salvo,” are not to blame.”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:53:16 ZULU

“Motherfuck,” the fire-control officer of this Cassie warbird interjected softly, as he tried shooting down that goddamn little bitch,”I can’t believe she’s actually taking us all on—“

For the grace and the might of our Lord!” caterwauled over the 1-MC, and in Selkirk’s head. ” In the name of his glory! For the faith and the way of the sword! Come and tell their story again!”

“That sounds a lot like treason against your genetalia and your State, Captain!” warned the Cascadian squadron commander, Selkirk gripping on to the back of Pendry’s chair, as Cascadian Republican Starcraft Silver Falls cycled in and out of hyperspace in pursuit of the Unbroken, cycling in and out...right into the path of a dozen 203s turning into hot gras burning toward them at a hell of a lot less than point-blank range, the warbird’s piss-poor excuse for a commander screaming for his FO to upcycle just a little bit too goddamn late.

“—is paved! With salvation! They’re the 189! In the service of heaven! They’re protecting the holy line—“

The bitch of a fico flew screaming through the master holoviewer, the Chairman of the Union Security Council somehow managing to keep his footing as the fucking ceiling/bulkhead came down on top of him, a fiber-optic cable spitting fire right in his face, another dumb Cassie SOB hurling past him, seat and all, slamming with finality into the forward end of the bridge, Pendry shouting ”if you wanna make yourself useful, Commanding General, fucking take the guns, and return fire!

“—with dedication! No capitulation, annhilation!”
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

He’d deal with the Casshole’s insubordination later...right now, Selkirk staggered across the ruin of a bridge, towards the destroyer’s flickering fire-control holodisplays, the warbird’s Alcubierre generator finally kicking them into hyperspace, as the Chairman of the Union Security Council took his post.

In! The! Name! Of Goooddd!”

Silver Falls closed to less than fifty kiloklicks off Unbroken’s six, the crosshairs turning green, the word “LOCKED!” flashing from two corners of his plant’s holodisplay, the word “FIRE!” flashing from the other two, Selkirk grinning like a damn fool, as with a thought, he triggered the destroyer’s guns.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:55:00 ZULU

“Starcraft in transit, zero by twelve, six-zero-zero kiloklicks downrange!” Marisa happily sang out, Jami’s left-hand command holodisplay showing several dozen Raptors, a dozen twelve-ship squadrons of Commonwealth Osprey SF.35 starfighters—each launching six more Raptors—two squadrons of Hidalgan El Halcon-class frigates(license-built Cosmograd Kirovs), and a 72,615-ton Solarian Commononwealth Star Force Ark Royal-class starfighter carrier, blazing away with its twin quintuple-turreted 203s.

“It’s the Bess!” Stevie whooped, even as her Raptors killed the Casshole destroyer that had gotten the drop on Unbroken, Angelique Gault’s holo instantly appearing six inches from Jami’s right eyes, telling her:

“Unbroken, Queen Elizabeth, we’ll get these bastards; get after that transport!”

“Sir!” Unbroken’s skipper barked in reply. “Number One?!”

“Got him,” her wife replied, altering Unbroken’s vector and closing one hundred klicks above and in front of him.

“MHD beam array on line and reset for towing and snaring!” Claudia reported. “Routing through tailward emitters, reinforcing aft shielding.”

The frigate rocked, as the transport pummeled her with his 130s, Micki simply turning them round to bring the 203s to bear, Claudia shifting to the forward emitters, as Marisa knocked out his guns, torch, and Rittermark generator, leaving the payload module intact.

“Transferring all functions to helm!” Jami said, unbelting herself from her chair and getting up. “All available flight crew to the telegate stage, I say again, all available flight crew to the telegate stage!”

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:57:12 ZULU

“Engineering,” Seddon said over comms, the master of the Sweet Jasmine struggling to right himself amidst the ruin of a bridge,”jettison the payload module, I repeat, jettison the payload module!”

Holy motherfuck, what a mess; that last salvo had gutted the central hull, leaving bits and pieces and bodies floating all over the place, blood sprinkling down like baby powder...there was no shuddering, as there would’ve been had Jordan carried out his orders, and the explosive bolts had torn the forward payload module free of the mortally-wounded Starlifter.

“Mister Jordan, I gave you an order!” Seddon snapped.

No reply, probably because there was no longer an engineering space, and, therefore, no longer a Captain Kevin Jordan to carry out his commander’s wishes, meaning it was up to Rivers and his men to make sure that shipment did not fall into the hands of the DirtComs.

Every fucking time we go to Terranova, something bad always happens, he thought bitterly, slowly tumbling ass over tea kettle, not a goddamn thing to grab on to in here, never fails.

Never fucking fails.

9 NOVEMBER, 2276 20:57:12 ZULU

She wasn’t ready.

Over ten thousand women, girls...goddamn fucking little babies...emaciated, naked, covered in sores, welts, bruises, blood, piss, shit, jizz were cowering face down, ass up on the deck...and, nearly three, four thousand more were strung upside down by fucking meathooks shoved into their...Holy Jesus Lord Carpathia, the looks frozen on their faces...

She screamed, partly from anger, partly to rouse herself to action, partly because of the bomb-pumped gras that tore right through her left shoulder, Jami’s world outlined by a red haze as she charged those Casshole sons of bitches, hollering at one another to “initiate zero-survival protocols! NOW, goddamnit!”

From the corner of her eye, she saw Master Technician Riana Tarpley bust a huge fucking tarbaby right in his cocksucker with the butt of her fusbeam cutter at the same time her HMD13 fired without pause at twenty more sons of bitches seeking to snuff out their victims’ frail lives, the weapon glowing bluish-white, as it sprayed those murdering pieces of subhumanity all over the deck.

One of those pieces of fucking subhumanity screamed “Bitch, shut your goddamn crying!” as he pulled a G-string down off the bruised, bloodied body of a girl no more than thirteen, ready to shove a fucking nerve baton in her, Jami pistolwhipping the son of a bitch with her drawn PDMD13, scattering his snot across the deckhead/bulkhead, picking the bastard up with her left arm and hurling him straight at another one of those filthy pigs, driving BPG into both of them, as she charged headfirst and full force into a Cascadian twice bigger than she was, that one sailing over her back as she just kept charging, vectoring gras from both PDMD13 and HMD13 into a baker’s dozen of the butchering pieces of shit and a baker’s dozen more after that.

A fusbeam cutter cut its way across her chest, its owner—fucking jizzing on one of his victims— getting her right boot full in the face for his trouble and another taste of her right boot in the back of his thick neck for good measure, as she stopped three more charging at her cold with a burst from her Hammer.

Then another asshole tried a spin kick, screaming his bitch head off, when Jami wrapped her left arm around his leg, bent the motherfucker at the kneecap, and was not terribly unhappy to hear bone go snap!

Stupid bastard really is a neckbeard, part of her thought, putting BPG straight through the faceplate of some motherfucker about to use a nerve pistol on a young girl begging him, please, please, not to do that.

Another one went sailing through the air in front of her, slamming into the far wall/ceiling of the payload module...that was Ariel who’d done that...she could see Unbroken’s starship engineering officer, helmet gone, face bloody, skull fractured, going at it, bayonets and rifle butts, with six more Cascadians, Jami evening the odds a bit for her with the last fifteen-round burst from her HMD, while Exec Indigo Myles—who was in no shape to be fighting in the first place—in the middle of coldcocking one of those miserable bastards with her pistol, returned the favor with a volley from her HMD, which sprayed ten of the vicious animals gunning for Jami across her field of vision, giving her time to holster her PDMD13 and slam another mag home in the HMD’s forward receiver.

As she stood, face to face, with some coal-black, chrome-domed motherfucker holding a white girl—sixteen if she were a day— with one paw around her throat, the other holding an activated fusbeam cutter to her bruised, swollen, shaven crotch, the bastard getting off on her screaming at the top of her lungs,” please, please, I’ll do anything you want, swear to God, anything, just, please, stahhhhhhhpppp!”

“Go down on me,” the filthy, nasty fuck told her, as Jami took aim dead at him with her HMD,”in front of her, and if you do a real good j—you goddamn motherfucking bitch!”

Clutching his pulped, burned, weepy excuse for a left hand with his right, he released his intended victim, Jami having no intention of letting him off that easy, aiming the weapon low, three rounds smashing through his MHD shielding and the crotchplate of his suit, the son of a bitch howling as he got to wallow in the fucking victim state, just like all those quacks Daddy and everyone else dragged her off to always accused her of fucking doing.

“Your turn now, motherfucker,” she said, her voice cold, Unbroken’s commander kicking his worthless black ass, as he fell down onto his knees,”how the fuck does it feel, huh?!”

The goddamn nerve of him, just looking at her, fucking crying like a little goddamn, fucking baby.

“Bitch, fucking stop your goddamn crying bullshit, right now,” she screamed, kicking the bastard in the head, stomping him down into the deck,”right fucking now, you hear me, STOP IT!

“I SAID, STOP IT!” she shrieked, stomping on the bastard again, kicking him in the ribs, taking pleasure in hearing several of them give way with a wet crunch!ing sound. “ Stop it this instant, or by God, I’ll fucking give you something...”

“ fucking cry about!” he screamed, picking her up of the floor, shaking her, hauling off and hitting her in the face one, two, three, four, five times, before throwing the eight-year old girl onto the bed, reaching underneath her skirt, grabbing at the waistband of her panties, when she tried to squirm away, using them to drag her to him, the fabric tearing, Daddy pulling on her hair, mashing her face down into the mattress, screaming at her to “fucking quit your goddamn pretending!.We both know you fucking like making me...”

...she was sucking down air in great heaving sobs, Unbroken’s commander on her knees, her body shaking uncontrollably.

She couldn’t stop crying.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

08) Grey Dawn
“There’s the queen that closed the door the family that lies people who turn and the cat that has died the boy that O.Ds and a girl with a gun a world on its knees and a band on the run.”
—Indigo Girls,"Pushing the Needle Too Far"

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 03:31:19 ZULU

“Get some sleep, Micki,” Surgeon Commander Hadley Purvis said to Commander Michelle Phillips, as she sat at the foot of her sleeping wife’s rack in Unbroken’s Med Section, gently holding her right hand in hers.

“I'll be okay, Hadley, thank you,” Micki told her, looking into her Jami’s twitching face, her head tossing and turning on the pillow, Unbroken’s second in command shushing her, telling her everything was okay, no one was going to get her, she wasn't going to let that happen, not if the whole sodding Galaxy stood between them.

She sighed.

Like her ship, Jami was busted up, and shot to pieces; her left shoulder had been blown out by a 13 millimeter BPG round, her chest sliced open with a fusbeam cutter, muscles and ligaments torn as a result of all that adrenaline coursing through her body during the fight to secure the Cascadian transport’s payload module; her body was still covered in technicolor bruises from head to toe, Hadley using nanotechnology to re-build the shoulder and repair the damage to the rest of her.

It wasn’t just her body which needed healing though.

What she’d seen, while leading the boarding action, the memories it brought back, and the terrible things her pain had driven her to...

The Cascadian FALCON commander had been proudly tormenting one of his victims, and, Jami had come within an ace of killing the son of a bitch, something which had hurt and sickened her almost as bad as what she’d seen, and the hell she’d been put through.

Another sigh, Micki gently brushing strands of hair from her wife’s forehead, lightly, briefly touching her cheek with her fingertips.

It had been one bitch of a day, starting with 67 funerals for 67 of Unbroken's flight crew, then the fight around Mags, her receiving the Order Of Sol, the fight to defend the Homesteaders and those four Maggie rigs off the coast of New Patagonia, then, in the midst of that, Unbroken’s bouncing the Cascadian Starlifter carrying over ten thousand women, children, babies, to...they still didn't know where, but their expiriences—her expirience, especially— had taught them only too well that whereever they’d been destined, it wouldn’t any more of a happy ending than it had been at fucking Mont Noir eleven years ago...yesterday.

Micki found herself nodding her head.

Unbroken was at Heroicana Gabriela de la Vega Highport, orbiting La Zorra, the largest and closest moon in the Gabriela planetary system, and she was going to be there a while, undergoing major surgery of her own; especially towards the end, before the Bess had shown up with two squadrons of Hidalgan frigs, it had been a knock-down, drag-out, first with the Ozzie destroyer squadron escorting the transport—and, RUS Enterprise, who had followed Unbroken and her squadron to Tau Ceti—then with at least a wing of Cassie destroyers, dispatched from Tau Ceti AFD by the same intercepted comm which had led the Hidalgans to the transport.

And, of course, the boarding action; having left her Starmarine regiment behind on Terranova, Jami had taken the squadron’s flight crews into the Starlifter’s payload module, after Stevie had crippled it.

That had been the most vicious fighting...of the over 1,700 Cascadian Republican Aerospace Force FALCONs and dops opposing them, only seven had been taken alive, including the one Jami had beaten down.

Hidalgan Space Guard tech crews were repairing the battered Commonwealth squadron even now; the latest estimate was a week before any of them were fit for space again.

At least a week, the Hidalgans having yet to cease their amazment of Unbroken herself even being able to move under her own power, let alone making it to La Zorra, after the beating she’d taken.

“While the Terranovan government,” the anchor for EurekaHyperNews said, Unbroken’s 2ic looking up towards the holoprojector in the center of the main ward,”have yet to issue any formal statement, the Swiss Embassy in New Athens has confirmed that the Third and Fourth Shock Armies and the Coreward Command of the Terranovan Republican Starfleet have been ordered by the Union Security Council to cease combat operations and return to base, this order coming precisely six hours after the Hidalgan government’s announcement that the Cascadian military transport Sweet Jasmine was carrying over ten thousand female political prisoners to and from various human worlds, and was on vector to somewhere in the Tau Ceti stellar system, before its intercept and capture by 515 Frigate Squadron of the Solarian Commonwealth Star Force, though, no one in New Athens—in Mount Baden or New Vancouver, either for that matter—have made any comment, on or off the record, about what coded communications intercepted from the Sweet Jasmine refer to simply as the, quote, ‘shipment,’ unquote.

Hidalgan President Ramone Gutierez has announced a joint press conference with Special Attorney General for Human Rights Doctor Olivia Sifuentes for seven o’clock Zulu time, during which they will reveal everything they have been able to find out thus far concerning the Sweet Jasmine’s mission, including the identities of those being transported to parts as yet unknown.

Attorney General Sifuentes, in an interview with British Broadcasting Service’s Josie Tallman, reminded everyone that the sole hard data they have of the incident are the records retrived from the Commonwealth squadron’s shipwide artificial intelligence networks and the information from the artificial intelligence implants of the Commonwealth Armed Forces personnel involved in the actual boarding action, the transport’s own shipnet having been wiped clean during the engagement, and the implants of those charged with guarding the ‘shipment’ also having been purged of any useful information.

Attorney General Sifuentes added that the nine surviving members of the Sweet Jasmine’s flight crew and FALCON contingent have been sent on to the International Criminal Court in New Kyoto, on Ceres, where they will stand trial for crimes against humanity.”

Micki’s plant bleeped for her attention.

“Yes?” she asked.

“Sir,” Stevie’s holo replied, as it stood six inches in front of her right eye,”Ugly Duckling and our Starmarines are now in the dorsal exterior launch rails; also, SCS Queen Elizabeth has just entered airdock, and the SecGen’s requesting permission to be gated aboard.”

“I’ll bring her aboard myself, Leftenant, thank you,” Micki said, patting her wife’s hand one last time before getting up.

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 03:40:21 ZULU

“Ho-lee shit!” Commander Draco Selkirk interjected softly, as Master Pilot Rhiannon Moseley pivoted her Greyhawk assault shuttle, and gently backed her between the launch rails above Unbroken’s payload deck.

Hidalgan techs teemed throughout her spaceframe, patching scuffs, dents and gaping wounds, installing radiators on the bell...Jesus F. Carpathia, what a mess.

Drac unstrapped himself from the co-pilot’s chair in Ugly Duckling’s cockpit, stretching as he stood up, before propelling himself along the bulkheads to the troop deck, waving for his tired, banged-up, but, otherwise unwounded Starmarine company to unbelt themselves from their drop seats, and follow him down the ventral airlock hatch, through the matching airlock on the dorsal payload deck, and down another ladder onto the payload deck proper, halfass returning the salute of a Hidalgan starcraftman who’d caught sight of the three gold stripes on the cuff of his PCD.

His teeth rattled in the way they always did when the ship’s telegate was being brought on line, and Drac turned to watch the quantum tunnel forming in the twisted superconducting dysprosium arch set into the ventral bulkhead/deckhead, the 2ic at the controls to the left of the stage in front of the arch, feeding calculations via plant into the holodisplay in front of her.

Drac walked over to Micki, just as Lilith Angelique Gault, Secretary General of the Solarian Commonwealth of Nations, and this ship’s previous Skipper, stepped through the telegate focus, wearing the medium-grey No.5SWD and black beret she’d tried to mothball twice already, the wide silver and five thin solid gold stripes of a CDS on the cuffs, while a silver sunburst and a gold laurel wreath adorned her collar

“Bloody hell, “ she said, surveying the wreckage in front of her, shaking her head, all work abruptly coming to a halt, Micki and Drac both stamping their right feet, snapping to attention, saluting and shouting”Sir!”

The SecGen—looking like she had a hell of a lot more than six years on Unbroken’s Starmarine commander—wearily putting up a hand, telling the two Commonwealth Forces officers and everyone else ”oh, for fuck’s sake, stand easy,” as she descended the steps leading from the stage to the deck, walking over to Drac, briefly hugging him.

“Hullo, old friend,” she whispered, Drac hugging her back, replying,”Angelique,” Angelique letting go, hugging Micki, Unbroken’s 2ic. warmly hugging her back, the two of them separating, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth asking,”Michelle, how is she?”

“Mending,” Micki whispered, looking down at the deck. “It—this—hurt her more ways than one, Auntie Angelique.”

“I know, poppet,” Angelique replied. “I saw the telemetry from the boarding action; she’s going to get a fourth Bar for her Cross...Defense Staff’s....”

She trailed off.

“It’s not going to make her feel any better about herself,” Micki said,” or about what she had to do; hell, she doesn’t feel she deserved the Saint Micheal’s Cross, let alone two more after that, even though...”

“The best of us,” she added, after a sigh,”never feel worthy.”

“What about the situation on Terranova?” she then asked.

“The Yankers are standing down,” Drac said,”as you may have already heard; rest of the Federation’s talking tough, but aren’t getting involved, at least not for now.

Old Gotchanow’ll probably make believe the military’s still full engagement in the Homesteads, and that they’ve sent us packing with our tails between our legs, but, truth be told, we bloodied his nose pretty good; the Fourth Shock Army was encircled, and annhilated before it could even land troops on New Patagonia, and the Third...nine million men whittled away to less than a half meg by our forces, the FedArmy and the Maggies, before they finally got the order to bug out and return to Fort Colin Powell,” on the west coast of Basseterre, in the city of Muscogee,” and the Coreward Command’s almost as bad off, half their ships shot down by ours...”

His turn to sigh.

“And,” he said,” they bloodied our noses in return; the Middies lost over three million troops and starcraftmen, the Maggies another 980...and, we...we lost seven a half million people doing what we had to do...”

“Bugger,” the 2ic whispered.

“Too many people,” the SecGen remarked, staring past both of them.

“Too goddamn many people,” she repeated, her voice choked.

Drac noticing for the first time that she‘d been crying.

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 04:00:00 ZULU

Second sunrise, Delta Trianguli’s yellow primary closely followed by its smaller red companion as they ascended the horizon over the Sea of Martinez, a Commonwealth Forces FV.5250 Lynx merkava descending onto the landing pad recently vacated by the scoutcraft Lil’ Dog—on her way back out there—its vector jets shimmering in the air, a section of Commonwealth Forces mech infantry escorting a tall, lean, bald man in a waterlogged Armani armorjack duster and an equally-ruined expensive pair of herringbone slacks from the vehicle onto the deck, the man shivering in spite of the heat of summer.

Jami Murdoch, one of See BS’ best liars; he’d been on a TRN heavy cruiser 500 klicks beyond the Maggie rigs, thinking he was safe and sound from the actual combat, when a 203 had blown him out of the water.

Fifty-six years.

Nothing much for either of them to say to one another, which was what he should have expected, considering; now, Li was on her way back to Kocab and points west, as she’d put it, trying to put as many teraklicks as she could between the past and herself, knowing damn good and well nowhere in the Universe would be far enough away.

Carson not blaming her in the least for trying, though.

“ Should’ve left that lying, backstabbing son of a bitch to the chompers,” Jay Todman’s voice said from behind him.

“And,” Carson quipped in reply, watching Murdoch bitch and moan about his rights under the Media Committee Charter,”what have the chompers ever done to you, buddy?”

“’Sides,” he added softly, looking down into the blood , bone, grease and body part polluted waters,”they’ve got too goddamn much to eat as it is.”

“Yeah,” Jay whispered.

“Whole fuckin’ sea,” Carson remarked,”is like this, out to five, six hundred klicks from here, high as a horse’s ass, to borrow a line from the Bible.”

“Bridle,” Jay corrected him.

“Whatever,” Carson replied, eyes fixed on the sea.

“It’s over, at least,” Jay said.

“For now,” Carson replied, a CV-137D Prometheus flying past them towards the continent of Basseterre.

“Another Special Forces Command unit being airlifted out of the Homesteads,” Jay remarked, another Prommie on the tail of the first.

“Surprised the Homesteaders left anything of them to airlift,” Carson said. “From what little I’ve heard, they were giving the Special Forces Command hell almost the instant they hit dirt.”

“Not without cost, of course,” he added.

“Sixteen thousand Homesteaders,” Jay said,”not counting the ones Zellner and Bauer had butchered on the steps of the Capitol.”

“Nineteen thousand dead on the deck,” Carson commented,” though, to believe Gotchanow and his mob, they weren’t even ‘bout that?”

A third Prometheus flew past, Carson shaking his head.

“How ‘bout that,” he repeated softly.

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 04:21:16 ZULU

“...voted unanimously to award all 1,188 starcraftmen and officers the Saint Micheal’s Cross,” Irma DeLong’s holoimage said from the center of Med Section’s main ward,” For Senior Captain Lanier, this makes her fourth award in her three and a half decades on service, continuing her record as the most-decorated serviceman in our Commonwealth’s history.”

She paused a bit, Senior Lieutenant Ariel Dixon sitting up in her rack, as she watched the BBC newscast.

Unbroken’s starship engineering officer found herself looking at her commander, tossing and turning in fitful sleep two beds to her right and across from her...she was...

... the most beautiful woman she’d ever seen, coffee and cream skin, long raven hair, advanced on Mistress Kym, still on top of Ariel, grabbing her by her hair, slamming her down into the floor, arm across her windpipe, screaming for her to lay quiet and take it like a good little girlie, turning to the black shield maiden, asking her if she wanted to join in, the shield maiden replying by grabbing the bitch by her spiked hair, pulling Her out of and away from Ariel, and, with another scream, she threw Mistress against the bars of the cage, men all round cursing her as she just beat the absolute living shit out of Her...

...Ariel kicked the covers off her, she was hot all of a sudden, her heart fluttering, a weird feeling in her chest, her face on fire, as she looked away from Senior Captain Lanier—Carson Selkirk’s niece—trying desperately not to think about...

...a boot kicked her over onto her back, a squat, spiked black bull—Mistress Jami—her long red leather skirt spilt all the way up to her ass, studded leather halter top barely holding in her tits, standing over her, a sneer curling her lip...she spat on her twat, stomping on it hard, mashing her knee-high boot in it, hauling off and kicking her tits, one, two, three, four times when she screamed her pain, kicking her back over onto her back when the pain made her double up and curl up into a ball, stomping on her twot again, kicking her tits, spitting on her...., Ariel thought to herself, I don’t want that, I—

Of course you do, baby, another part of her mind whispered, giggling. You like girls, and girls who like other girls...

“...engage in various sadomasochistic perversions,” Sheriff Johnson said,” both as willing victims of other women and as the tormentors of other women; a feral desires rape, abuse and humiliation at the hands of another of her kind, while in turn, seeking other women she can rape, abuse and humiliate...”, Ariel insisted, that’s not me, it’s not....

Ain’t it, her mind whispered back, still giggling. Cocytus is full of ‘em like that, that was what the man said, and he was right about that, wasn’t he, you sick little fuck you?

No, Ariel said, no, those weren’t....

...the crew dragged her, kicking and screaming from her cell, threw her up against the railing, Meredith bitchslapping her , screaming “who fuckin’ said you can stand up, you worthless goddamn slut?!” before she wrenched one of her arms behind her back, bending her over the railing, another of her girls pulling her panties down, Meredith fisting her in her ass, shouting for her to shut the fuck up, bitch, shut your fuckin’ cooter, shut it, using her free hand to pull her arm even further out of her socket, shoving her other fist into her twat, crotch rubbing up against her bare ass, humping her, telling her,”maybe this’ll show ya....”

...what we’re all about, lil’ girlie, her mind said, laughing at her, what you’re all about—

No, Ariel kept insisting, no, I...

“...what we’re all about, lil’ girlie!” Ariel screamed, rubbing her crotch against her best friend’s bare ass, fisting her at the same—

I-i’m not like that, Ariel said over and over, her mind telling her, sure you are, lil’ girlie, you’ve got to be, you’re a sick fuck who likes

“No,” Ariel softly denied out loud.

And, that part of her mind just laughed at her.

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 04:49:39 ZULU

He lay in his bed, looking up, unable to sleep, in spite of the day he’d had.

The holoprojection of Margo Timmons softly sang a song called “Thirty Summers,” as she floated over the workstation terminal, just as she’d been almost three centuries ago, beautiful, voice that could melt Cocytus into the worlds’ largest mud puddle.

That voice usually could lull him to sleep when he had no alcohol on hand, and he hadn’t, he’d that much respect for his Skipper and niece...there was no part of Jeff in her at all...he’d never known Susan, so he had no idea what his sister-in-law had been like.

There was a great deal of Carson in her too, but the one she most favored—at least Drac thought so—was Abby; she was a dead ringer for the older sister who’d been dead and gone...sixty years today.

Sixty years today.

His twin brother hadn’t been right since, finding the sister you’d doted on since you were a baby dead from an overdose of blonde bombshells would’ve done that to anyone.

He sighed.

He didn’t get much of a chance to talk with his brother, before Unbroken’s Starmarines had left to rejoin the ship over La Zorra, both of them had other things on their minds.

In Carson’s case, the past, in the form of Li Nielsen; they probably hadn’t made things right between them, probably never would, neither of them could forgive themselves for being small and powerless in a world created for destruction...

His next sigh turned into a snort of derison at himself; too goddamn much manga and animé, he was actually starting to think like fucking Vash the Stampede.

It wasn’t a Trigun he’d laid his hand on, when he reached up onto the nightstand...a Cowboy Bebop, Japanese re-reissue from thirty years ago, authentic manga format—as opposed to the Western-style comic book format most of the manga from the twentieth had been re-released in—scripted in Japanese, not English; damn thing was worth a lot of money now, though not nearly as much as the originial Cowboy Bebops that had been drawn, inked and scripted 278 years ago.

Those were in an evacuated, MHD shielded, clear TDU display case in the New Imperial Museum in Mejii-to, on Ceres, under twenty-four hour armed guard, amongst the few artifacts left of life before the so-called American Golden Age, that alone establishing their net worth.

Number twenty-six of 26, ending on Mars, where it had begun...Spike loses Julia and pretty much has nothing else left to lose—or hold on to—on his way to the final showdown with Vicious, leaving behind a present which wasn’t a damn thing more than a broken dream of the one big score; all of them, Drac thought, thumbing his way through the book, were only chasing their tails, Spike after Julia, Jet after the fat bounty that always seemed to slip out of his reach—that bounty not necessarily measured in wu-longs—Faye after a past that wasn’t there anymore...

Unbroken’s Starmarine commander shook his head midway through Spike’s last dish of Jet’s special “beef” and bell peppers....Jesus, everything was symbolic with the Japs, Jet’s special dish being no different, alluding to their friendship, the past Spike was leaving behind for another past, the first session, the fufillment neither of their lives had ever quite achieved...

Beef and bell peppers sounds good right now, he thought, getting out of bed, putting the comic book back on the nightstand as he got dressed, and I haven’t had a damn thing to eat all day besides.

He walked out of his quarters into the spinhab’s main corridor, heading for the galley and the commons along the opposite arc, squeezing his way round the Hidalgans working on even this part of the ship, the lighting still set for night cycle, the smell of...beef and bell peppers frying on the stove immediately wafting its way into his nostrils.

Unbroken’s skipper was standing over the stove, stirring the beef and bell peppers into the riced cauliflower she was adding to the skillet...strange, seeing her in something other than uniform—in this case, a pair of blue jean shorts and a loose waist-length t-shirt with Voice’s distinctive hanging judge logo on the front..she had a recording of their concert at the Senate Dome in Polaris Station’s Dorsal Hab three months ago playing on the holoproj above, Kathi Dancer’s first song, “Laöcoon and Cassandra:”

“...beware of the man with an open hand she was the first of us enslaved first of us to diiiiieeeee laöcoon and cassandra story as old as time my friend laöcoon and cassandra I said it’s the horse always it’s the horse I tell ya it’s the horse all over agaaaaiiiiinnnnnn.”

The crowd just went nuts, Kathi and her wife, Jane Smallwood, more than a little taken aback by the cheering of millions of fans who’d jammed the Dome to the rafters just to see the two of them.

“You‘re not supposed to be up and about,” he said.

“And, if you seriously think I’m going to lay about in fucking Med,” Jami snapped, not looking away from her skillet,” then, you’re outta your damn mind, Commander.”

She sighed, relenting:

“Sorry, Uncle Drac, I just...”

She trailed off.

“Yeah,” Drac replied

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 05:04:28 ZULU

“Sit down,” Jami said,”and I’ll make you up a plate. Coffee?”

“Forgot,” she added, shaking her head,”Carson likes coffee, you don’t.”

“Water will be fine, thanks,” her uncle said, Jami cracking open the icebox, taking out the self-chilling pitcher of water, taking down a glass from the cupboard over her head and pouring a glass for Drac.

“There you go,” she said, bringing the glass over to the table where he was sitting, watching the recording of Voice’s concert in Polaris Station’s Senate Dome three months ago.

“Thanks,” Uncle Drac said, nodding his head as he took the glass, Jami turning back to her late supper, poking at the beef, riced cauliflower, red, green and blue bell peppers—the latter called bellezas, found exclusively in the Cascadian Floodplain.

“They fucked with that girl’s head something awful, Uncle Drac,” she said.

“Ariel?” Drac asked, Jami nodding.

She stared up at the ceiling, Drac telling her:

“Looking out for one of your own’s a mark of a good skipper, you know that better than I do.”

“I realize that, Uncle Drac,” Jami replied, looking back at the skillet,”but, I can’t come to terms with her sexuality for her, she has to do that on her own; as much as...I want to make it easier for her than it was for me...I can’t.”

“I’m just worried,” she added,” that it’s going to take her almost killing herself for her to let go and trust.”

“Like it did you?” Drac said, not asking.

“Like it did me,” Jami nodded, taking down a couple of plates from a cupboard, as the laser burner underneath the skillet cut out automatically, Unbroken’s commander using the spatula to scoop some of the beef , bell pepper and riced cauliflower mixture onto the plates, taking a couple forks from the silverware drawer, sticking them into the plates of food and bringing them over to the table.

“Thanks,” her uncle said, taking one of the plates from her, as Jami sat down opposite him, folding her left leg underneath her, laying the plate on her lap, taking a sip of the mixture of coffee, Corona Real cola and hot chocolate mix, following that with a forkful of beef and bell peppers...too goddamn much peppers, she always overdid it, couldn’t even taste the beef or the riced cauliflower(Sunni was the better cook of the two of them...)she never should’ve added the bellezas, the red and green bell peppers had been more than enough.

Uncle Drac was fucking up his plate like he hadn’t eaten all day...which, he hadn’t, come to think of it, she’d been busy making a pig of herself after the funeral service, while he’d been over on the sofa drinking himself legless.

“This is perfect, thanks,” he said, when he came up for air, burping.

“Damn,” he said,” excuse me.”

“’Sall good, Uncle,” Jami said, cursing herself for daring to think about Sunni, when she had a good woman in her life; hell, Micki had told her it was all right, she understood, but, that wasn’t the fucking point, she was married to her now, for better, for worse, for ever, if Jami had a damn thing to say about it, and she didn’t want to hurt her, not anymore, that shit was in the past, where it belonged, along with Sunni, she hadn’t the right to—

Her heart and soul—wrapped up in the blue-edged grey housecoat Jami had bought for her birthday five years ago—came up to her, gently kissing her cheek, softly chiding,”you’re supposed to be in Med.”

Nodding her head, Jami laid her plate on the table, starting to get up out of the chair, Micki whispering,”I know where everything is,” as she walked behind the serving line, and retrieved a plate and silverware for herself.

“Smells scrumptious,” she said, helping herself to what was left in the skillet, pouring herself a cup of coffee, stirring milk and Venerian miel de sangre into it, taking food and drink with her, as she sat down between Drac and Jami, balancing the plate in her lap, as she caressed her wife’s cheek, brushing away a tear Jami hadn’t even realized she’d shed, smiling, that alone enough to leaving her flushed and shaking, same as it had the first time she’d smiled at her, that first day at MTC, when she’d been sitting by herself at the Lake of the Eternal Flame, three and a half decades ago.

“I remember,” Micki whispered, that smile of hers, those big, bright hazel eyes, like the fires of space themselves; she had to look away from them, her eyes falling on the stainless steel wedding band hanging from the same chain as Micki’s gravemarkers, the blue sapphire stone set into it catching some of the spinhab’s muted lighting.

They’d put their lives in one another’s hands without a second thought, then or now, for it was as right, as natural, as freaking easy(after a fashion), as breathing.

Jami had hooked her right thumb inside her wedding band, turned round so the ruby set into it was facing her.

“Thank you,” she whispered. “I-i never—”
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

“You never had to,” Micki said in reply. “I’ve always known, even in the worst of times.”

“I’ve,” she repeated, holding Jami’s right hand gently in her left,”always known, luv.”

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 05:18:24 ZULU

“Bitch,” Randy spat at her,”get your goddamn ass back in this bed, now!”

When Sunni Pate wouldn’t move away from the bedroom window, he grabbed at her arm, jerking her around so he could bitchslap her across her face one, two, three, four, five times, shaking her, screaming,”just what fuckin’ part of the word now did your tiny fuckin’ brain fail to fuckin’ understand, huh, you spoiled-rotten goddamn lil’ brat?!”

She fucking made the mistake of trying to answer his question, her husband letting go of her, as he slapped her across the face one more time, knocking her down onto the floor, screaming “face down, ass up, now!” Sunni doing what she was told, no fucking choice, he owned her, could do anything he wanted, if she even thought of disobeying him...or trying to leave him....

Everything flashed white hot as he stomped her head into the floor, keeping her face pressed into the carpet, as she heard him fire up the fuswhip, screaming wordlessly, as he laid into her ass, stomping her face down whennever a whimper escaped her lips, Randy shrieking for her to ,”fuckin’ keep your damn critter mouth fuckin’ shut, you sick fucking piece of pussy!”

“You were thinkin’ about her again, weren’t you?!” he demanded, laying into her ass with the whip again when she hesitated, ordering her to “answer me, goddamnit!”

“What fuckin’ makes you think she could ever love you, anyway, you sick lil’ fuck?!” he demanded. “That’s all the fuck you are, nothin’ but a worthless goddamn piece of ass, all you’ll ever fuckin’ be, especially to one of your fuckin’ kind, a goddamn piece of fuckin’ ass, not even good for screwin’, that’s why she left your stinkin’ goddamn skank ass in the first place, ‘cause she was bored with slurpin’ up your stinkin’ fat fuckin’ cunt, and wanted some fuckin’ bone up in her shit!”

“What the fuck is up with that cryin’ bullshit, huh?!” he screamed, mashing her face deeper into the carpet, furiously tearing into her with his fuswhip. “You really fuckin’ think I ain’t wise to that shit, you goddamn lil’ fuckin’ brat, you think I don’t fuckin’ know how you use ‘em tears to fuckin’ get what you want?!”

She fuckin’ knows, that’s for damn skippy!” he added, a word for every lash that burned into her. “She fuckin’ knows how the fuck you are, ‘cause she’s your own fuckin’ kind, that’s why she fuckin’ hates you, why all females fuckin’ hate you, worse than I fuckin’ do, ‘cause they’re all just fuckin’ like you, all worthless pieces of goddamn pussy just like you!

He pressed her face harder into the floor, breath heaving as he added,”I am the only motherfucker who could ever love a goddamn stinking-ass piece of goddamn pussy like you! Get me?!”

“Y-yes, Sir,” she answered, trying to keep the sob out of her voice, Randy taking his foot off her head, driving it as hard as he could into her ass, telling her,”that’s for fuckin’ getting me out of bed at five o’clock in the goddamn morning!”

“Well?!” he added, a moment later. “Do I need to fuckin’ tell you everything?!”

“Of course I do,” he said. “You’re all twat and no brain, you wouldn’t know what to fuckin’ do if I wasn’t around to do your damn thinking for you . Isn’t that right, bitch?!”

“Yes, Sir,” Sunni said, still face down on the floor, not daring to move until she was ordered to.

“’Yes, Sir, what?!’” he demanded.

“I’m all twat and n-no brain, S-sir,” she replied,”I wouldn’t know what to do if you weren’t around to do my thinking for me.”

“Damn straight,” he said, kicking her ass again.

“Go get cleaned up,” he ordered her,” put some fuckin’ panties on, drag your stupid cunt downstairs and fix me some breakfast.”

Now!” he added, Sunni saying “yes, Sir,” as she got up onto her feet, staring at them as she walked to the master bathroom, closing the door behind her, avoiding her reflection in the mirror above the washbasin, as she got in the shower, turning it all the way up, letting the hot water scald her.

It was only pain, after all.

Sunni bit down on her lip, sucked in the tears before they could come out; he was still in the bedroom, she knew better than to think he couldn’t hear her over the shower...sometimes, he’d stand there, watching her, making her...

Trembling, she took the bar of soap from the tray, almost dropping it—God help her if he heard her dropping it—scrubbing herself, bearing down hard, swallowing, trying not to sniffle, he’d get her for that, she worked shampoo into her hair, scrubbing hard, fingernails gouging her scalp, sticking her head under the shower and rinsing it once she was done, cutting off the water, towelling herself dry as she stepped out of the shower, combed her hair, as well as she could comb her tangled curls, walking out of the bathroom.

Right into the back of his hand, Randy standing over her as she knelt in the doorway, telling her,”you were thinking about that black bitch again, I know you were, don’t fucking bother lying to me like you always do.”

“Fuckin’ put some goddamn panties on, you nasty-ass fuckin’ skank!” he barked, Sunni getting up on her feet, walking over to the drawer, pulling out the first pair of panties she came upon.

“Fucking go downstairs,” Randy said, sneering at her after she’d finished putting on her underthings, “and fix me some breakfast...goddamn, you’re fuckin’ stupid.”

“Yes, Sir,” she said, walking out of their bedroom, down the hall, down the stairs to the kitchen, switching the coffeemaker on, opening the refrigerator, taking out the flat of eggs , loaf of bread, butter, buttermilk, bacon and sausage, forcing herself to ignore the sounds coming from upstairs, Matt and James helping their daddy scream, kick, curse, grope and beat their sisters awake, Maria and Shelby whimpering, pleading, crying, being beaten and cursed for all that, Sunni going over to the potato box, taking out a half-dozen good-sized potatoes, putting them in the sink, washing her hands, switching the electric skillet on , opening up the bacon and sausage, putting them on, pausing to look out of the window over the kitchen sink at red Judas hanging bloated and big in the night sky...Jami and her mama had tried leaving, Miss Susan had wanted to take Sunni offworld with them, neither of them would’ve even been on fucking Long Street, if they’d left her behind like they should’ve in the first place...

They’d tried leaving...Jami’s daddy had run both of them over, killing her mama and her unborn sister...if only Jami had been so lucky...three years in fucking Cocytus, three fucking years, all Sunni’s goddamn fault, Belle Isle, the mines of Diablo, the clubs along Atlanta Three’s Skunk Alley, the auction on eBay...none of that even coming close to being punished enough for all the pain she’d caused her.

She didn’t deserve any better than what she was getting, she knew that.

Judas swam in her field of vision, Sunni mopping her face, turning away from the window, pulling down her largest mixing bowl and her mixer to make biscuits, programming the oven to preheat, going back to the refrigerator for the block of cheese, mixing the dough for the biscuits.

Diverting her attention to work; none of her stores probably did jackshit in sales, not with all the shooting going on, though she’d bitch them all out anyway for not making any money...she’d have to get a hold of someone in Construction, all three of her stores had suffered damage, though Hartley Bridge and 1086 weren’t nearly as bad off as had taken her six hours to clean up all that glass out of that store and the parking lot... store only had the small grill, one waffle iron and one of the eye burners working, both coffee makers were out, all the globe lights busted, panel 15s missing from all the front windows, both doors warped and missing glass...all of it coming out of her P&L, more bonus money lost, Corporate and Jimmy Greene would both bitch her out for her sales being off...closing the store was out of the question, Jimmy would just point out the line in the fucking Chik n’ Waffle Way that said Chik n’ Waffles stayed open 24/7/365 Zulu time, come hell, high water, or orbital bombardement.

She sprayed a cookie sheet with spray butter, started rolling the dough in her hands into biscuits, listening to see if the bacon and sausage were still sizzling, as she lined biscuits up in a 10x4 array on the sheet, the oven beeping to remind her that it was preheated and ready to cook, Sunni putting the biscuits in the oven, washing her hands again just as the bacon and sausage stopped sizzling, Sunni turning the sausage patties over, pulling the bacon out of the grease, draining it in her drippings jar, arranging the strips on a plate, adding more sausage patties...had to keep thinking about work, couldn’t think about her, not now, he’d know, and he’d punish her for it...Ibrahim would probably be drunk and late, always was, though Amy Bridges would have everything under control, she was a better unit manager than that useless raghead, that was for damn skippy, but she was going to be stuck being an AMC pretty much forever(if she was lucky), Sunni would be blamed for that too, because she was a woman in management, and any attempt to assign blame where it truly lay...

Best not to go there, either, she thought, reaching in the cupboard above the stove for the jar of cornstarch she needed to make sausage gravy.

Best not to go there, she repeated to herself, focussing all her attention on making breakfast.

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 05:51:59 ZULU

“Terranovan forces discovered a clandestine facility in Cahill Point,” OSM’s Sarah Martin had damned little alternative but to say,”used by offworld radfem organizations as a way station for the femsex trafficking ring exposed by the Terranovan Security and Intelligence Directorate in their raid on the campus of Terranova College and Republican Union University early yesterday morning.”

Carson , standing in the living room of what used to be Avon Man’s house in Powersville, realized he should not have been as surprised as he was that they would link the Homesteaders up with the alleged sex-slave ring originally concoccted to discredit Tasha and Kiki.

“—the residents of Cahill Point eagerly cooperated with their fellow Terranovans,” Sarah continued mouthing the words the fucking MedCom put in her mouth,“ not only in providing the location of the facility—located approximately one and a half kilometers underneath the town’s hospital—but also, in providing detailled accounts of the methods used by the radfems—known to have been trained, equipped and led by operatives in the Midnight Sun and Commonwealth secret services—to break their captives of every decent and civilized behaviour their men had succeeded in teaching them and turning them into both willing slaves of their femperv mistresses and the sadistic torturers and femsex rapists of other innocent girls.

The methods, according to Coloniel Aaron Darby, commanding the 1st Battalion of the Terranovan Sovereign Rifle Association’s elite 75th Ranger Light Infantry Regiment, and also the testimony of many of the inmates liberated from that facility, included starvation, incarceration in cages or in small, dark rooms with little or no ventilation, and a daily regimen of repeated physical, psychological and sexual a—”

“Turn it off,” Neesha, sitting on the couch, a cup of coffee in her hands, whispered, the HV in the living room switching itself off.

“I made biscuits and gravy,” she said, voice gone,” and coffee...eggs would’ve gone cold.”

“I know,” Carson replied, walking over to the couch, sitting down, taking his wife’s hand in his.

“Thank you,” he said.

“Jay with you?” she asked.

“He said something about taking a shower,” Carson said. “God knows he needs one; he looks rough.”

“Probably does,” Annesha said, nodding her head.

“I don’t know what to say, Neesha,” he said quietly. “In the long run, maybe we didn’t—”

“Baby,” she said, cutting him off,”we did what we could do, and that’s only so much, I know’s just...”

She trailed off, dryswallowing, staring straight ahead...almost fifty years they’d been tilting at windmills, and, some days, it seemed that all that oppression and robbery with violence was just too well organized for their efforts to make a damn bit of difference; that was, of course, what the enemy wanted them to believe, the excuse his citizen footsoldiers made for either depraved indifference or out and out complicity.

“A garden takes time and effort, baby,” his wife reminded him and herself.

” Time and effort,” she repeated, smiling now, as she turned and looked into his eyes.

“Go get you something to eat,” she said.

“Thanks,” Carson said, lightly kissing her left cheek.

“Again,” he added, slowly letting go of her hand as he got up.

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 06:25:16 ZULU

“G’mornin’, glory,” Master Pilot Rhiannon Moseley said, grinning that lopsided grin of hers.

“Mornin’,” Ariel, picking at her over-light eggs, whispered, as Unbroken's assault shuttle pilot pulled up a chair, and sat down beside her.

“Talked with Jilly,” Ree said, looking right at Ariel when she talked. ”She said you should be getting sprung from here sometime today; that crack you took on your noggin looked worse than it really was—hell, I could’ve told her and the Doc that you had a hard head...or, should that be you’re hardheaded...”

“Very damn funny,” Ariel said, chuckling in spite of herself.

“Nah,” Ree joked, ”just funny lookin’.”

She touched Ariel’s left knee ever so lightly as she said that...

“...maybe this’ll show ya, what we’re all about, lil’ girlie!” Ariel screamed, rubbing her crotch against Ree’s bare ass, fisting her at the same time, jerking on the arm she had halfway out of its socket, telling her to fucking shut her goddamn critter fucking mouth, now, you goddamn dirty fucking bitch....

“...Ariel?” Ree asked, worry in her cornsilk blue eyes.

“I’m good, Ree,” Ariel lied, Ree knowing she was lying, choosing not to confront her.

“Anywho,” her friend of four years then said,”I was going to ask if you want to go out somewhere later on, get something to eat, maybe take in a flick or go shopping—”

“I’ve got work I need—” Ariel started saying...

....reeking of stale cigarets and cheap liquor, Ree reached inside her brown chinos, fucking herself, hitting Ariel’s exposed tits with her belt, screaming for her to smile and shake her ass, bitch, shake your goddamn stinking, fucking...

“...stood down for at least a week,” Ree said,”while the Hidalgans fix the ship—”

“My responsibility, Master Moseley,” Ariel snapped,”my repsonsibility, and I fuckin’ take my job seriously, I don’t have the time you seem to have to fuckin’ go out and get drunk—”

“Where the fuck did that come from?!” Ree had the fucking nerve to ask her.

“You know damn good and well where the fuck it comes from!” Ariel screamed, jerking her arm in Ree’s direction, adding”bitch, just get the fuck out of my sight!”

“Okay,” Ree said, getting up from her chair,”okay, fine.”

“Fine,” she repeated softly.

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 07:16:28 ZULU

She brushed strands of blonde hair from her wife’s face as she slept.

Jami smiled, turning away, letting her sleep—God knows she needed it—turning her attention back to what she was doing, straightening up her Micki’s quarters, picking the housecoat up from the grey-carpeted floor, hanging it back up in her wardrobe, bundling up boxers, t-shirt, socks, as she picked them up off the floor as well, putting them in the laundry bag lying on the top part of her rack, along with assorted knickknacks and junk she’d accumulated over the space of three and a half decades, Unbroken’s OC hanging the laundry bag on the hook by the washroom, where it was supposed to be...

“ the bloody hell am I supposed to find anything, if you keep tidying up every time I turn round?!” Micki asked, as she went round her billet, undoing everything Jami was trying to do.

“Girl, if you were a little bit neater,” Jami said, busy undoing what Stevie had undone, “you wouldn’t have any trouble finding anything in the first place...” old and familiar arguement, she thought, smiling, as she rearranged the papers which had buried the workstation underneath them, putting them with the other papers in her filing cabinet—why, as she always kept reminding her, the damn thing was there for in the first place—closing her dogeared, nearly worn-out paperback copy of The Starborn’s Tale...pages were falling out of it, cover long since gone, Jami would’ve gotten her a new one, but Micki wouldn’t hear of it...

Oh, well, she thought, smiling, holding onto the book a few seconds, before putting it on the bookshelf where it belonged...Micki’s favorite book—written over two hundred years ago by an ancestor of Stevie’s, oddly enough—read, reread and read again a million times in the 35 years Jami had been lucky to have known her.

To think I fucked up, she thought, looking at one of the wedding holos projected in the cube at the exact center of the nightstand, and almost threw everything away, wasted all that time running scared, of her, of me, of what I knew was the real thing, but was too stupid to...

She couldn’t help chuckling.

The holo her higher power chose to project inside the cube was the one of the pair of them with wedding cake all over their faces, big grins all round; the SecGen, Irma DeLong herself, had married them, in Unbroken’s comcon, most of the present flight crew gathered thronging both levels, as they orbited Venus, while the reception had been in the commons, the weddng cake just a simple caramel chocolate cake, not one of those white-laced, multilayered monstrosities, the crew, led by Uncle Drac, chanting a three count, and, on three...

She bit down on her lower lip, grinning ear to ear as she’d done that day thirty years ago, holding her wedding band up and looking at the single ruby set into it, part of her still not believing she’d found what she’d needed to, in spite of herself.

Turning back to the workstation, Jami watered the sacré coeurs Stevie had in a pot of Triang Vert soil situated between holocubes of her parents, her older sister, her aunties; these red-edged purple flowers were a mutation of the coeur de feux(itself a genetic mutation first cultivated on Mags, when it had only been a single O’Neill cylinder), found only in the Lakshmi Planum, just outside MaxMons.

Like all Venerians, her wife had a green thumb, and she liked to be surrounded by living things.

A potted coeur de feux shared the nightstand with their wedding holos, the hanger Jami never failed to bump her head against holding a vanilla plant—Venus and Magrathea were the only two places in the worlds where vanilla grew anymore—red geranimums, the parent stock of the coeur de feux, sacré coeur, and the yellowflowers of the Keenan, Vesper, and McKenzie River Valleys, spilled out from another pot on top of the bookshelf, one of a pair of living bookends, along with a pot resplendent with violets.

She even had some starlights, native to the hot springs around New Athens, growing wild from another hanger at the foot of her rack, vines of transparent, fragile, odorless flowers almost reaching the floor, before curving back up toward the ceiling, soap-bubble petals refracting the light striking them into muted rainbows; when the lighting in here brightened to day cycle in another couple of hours, these starlights would be something to see.

Really something.

She sighed, shaking her head, sniffling away tears, smiling, as she watched her true love sleep.

Really something, she silently remarked.

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 07:21:19 ZULU

“I belong here,” Angelique whispered, as she sat at the conn of her old warbird, surveying the commcon, watching the Hidalgan techs working on every square centimeter of it.

“You’ve done all right as SecGen,” Drac remarked.

They’ve done all right,” his friend of days gone by said. “I’ve just been lucky...most of the time.”

“We make our own luck, ma vielle,” Unbroken’s Starmarine commander said.

“So, I’ve no one to blame but myself,” Angelique half-joked, 7,438,760 more dead weighing heavily on her soul...STANSTARFOR 2 had been annhilated , Standing Star Forces 5 and 7 had lost another eight hundred machines between them—that was almost 260,000 Starmarines and starcraftmen right there—while while the three Commonwealth Army Corps had lost roughly fifty-seven divisions between them—5,700 regiments, for 5.7 million squaddies—going head to head with the Third and Fourth Shock Armies, with Navy, Aerospace Force, MedCorps, LogCorps, Ortillery Corps, and Starmarine losses(aside from the ones who’d gone down with their ships) accounting for the rest of the death toll.

Those neither being the first nor the last deaths she’d felt responsible for.

Most certainly not the last.

Reservists would make up a new STANSTARFOR 2, filling the empty slots in the other units to suffer losses in last night’s fighting, more reservists being formed up into more army corps and standing star forces, ten more of each by the end of the month, putting his Commonwealth Forces back up to the strength they had by the end of IW 2.

While his former countrymen were leading the rest of the Fedders in arming for war.

Half the ships the Terranovan Republican Starfleet’s Coreward Command had been able to muster—72,000 strike and heavy cruisers—had been blown out of the sky in last night’s fighting, but the yards on Espérance, Duchovny, Capitan and Willy World were working overtime; those losses would be made good, before the week was out, and another 120 fleets would swell Coreward Command’s ranks before Thanksgiving, with another 120 fleets each already on station with the Rimward Command at Willie World, the Spinward Command at Viejo Mundo, and the Trailing Command at River’s End, ten times the number of warbirds they’d had before the Kohoutek Massacre, three times the number they’d ended up with when the ink had dried on the Treaty of Habitat.

He didn’t even want to think about ground troops; just last week, the Union Security Council had put ten brand-new shock armies—ninety million men—into the field; replacing the seventeen and half meg the Third and Fourth Shock Armies had lost between them would be less than nothing to them...

Drac breathed deeply, as his thoughts turned to Gotchanow’s scumbag father having been shot in the past with Jami’s weapon.

They were going to be down for a week, plenty time for him to use some of that leave he’d accumulated in four and a half decades’ on service to his Commonwealth to go poking round in CCI’s archives back on least, for a start...sooner or later, he’d have to go to the source, to Earth itself...

He regretted not taking his copy of Our Terranova—his seventh-grade Terranovan History textbook—when he’d come back for Mom’s funeral ten years ago, it might have answered his, no, on second thought, it hadn’t been in the book, Miss Henley never believed in regurgitating someone else’s text, and she‘d been dead thirty years now, died of a heart attack just before the start of IW2.

Li was in transit, wasn’t due to arrive at Kocab Base until sometime this evening, probably staying just long enough to take on supplies and offload mail for the exploration base’s personnel and other residents before heading out into the big empty to try and forget the past; she’d paid attention in class, smart as a whip, which, of course had been one of the reasons she’d been put through so much hell growing up.

She would know, no doubt of it, though he wasn’t so sure she’d want to be bothered just to answer his question about one date in the dim past...

He’d email her anyway, post it to Kocab Base’s AI net, and let her take care of it from there.

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 07:31:50 ZULU

“He’s asleep, finally,” Annesha said, as she walked into the parlor, sitting down in a chair opposite Jay Todman, as he sipped a steaming cup of black coffee, and went over the notes and holofootage for the story he’d just done.

“You should get some sleep as well,” Carson’s wife then suggested. “This old house has plenty of bedrooms.”

“Yeah,” Jay remarked, sipping his coffee, ”it used to belong to Avon Man—that’s what everyone round here called him, ‘cause he sold Avon products, like he really needed the did Carson—”

“Avon Man left it to him in his will,” Annesha replied,”when he passed fifteen years ago; place is full of old rooms and secret passages throughout and underneath the house—got tunnels under here that run for miles—making it perfect for us to use as a safehouse; before you ask, Horace or any of the other TSID don’t even know about this place. Avon Man didn’t have any living family, so it was just his lawyer and Carson at the will reading—in this very room, as a matter of fact—and, the Sheriff’s Court didn’t even fool with probating the will—”

“—since he had no living family to contest it,” Jay finished.

“Exactly,” Annesha said. “The will and the transfer of title are recorded in the clerk’s office in Gibson Valley, but Carson and—”

“Yeah,” Jay said,”him and Joe Wilder go back a ways, if memory serves.”

“They do,” Annesha said, nodding her head.

“This used to be the Gibson House,” she added, after a sip of coffee,”as in the man who Gibson Valley was named after; he was a brigadier general, I think, in the Sovereign Rifle Association’s engineer corps , retired to here just before the Enosis War broke out; he died, and a family named Powers moved in about sixty, seventy years ago—that was Avon Man’s real name, by the way, he was the last of his family—”

“They were the first ones outside the Solar System to realize the potential for telegate technology, “ Jay said,”built Terranova’s first public telegate system in the late twenty-two teens, ran it priviately as a limited lifetime corporation, before selling the whole shebang to the Yankers’ Ministry of Transportation in 2240 for, I believe, a half terr cool silver, two and a half trillion TSC, at the time.”
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

“How did you—” Annesha asked.

“I’m a reporter,” Jay simply said in answer to his friend’s astounded inquiry,” that’s what I do.”

He sighed.

“Fifty years I’ve been at this, “ he said,”ever since the end of the First IW—and, I thought that was the worst it could get.”

Another sigh.

“Every damn time I think that—” he said.

“—it gets worse,” Annesha remarked.

“Yeah,” Jay whispered, taking another sip of coffee.

“The Joint Military Command,” Annesha said, after a silence,”are maintaining their blockade, and—”

“—are going to leave their ground, naval and aerospace forces on planet,” Jay said, nodding,”to guard the rigs, and to keep the Yankers away from the Homesteads; there’s very little New Athens can say to that, at least not publicly, without admitting they got their sorry asses kicked all the way back to Basseterre.

The Union Security Council’s going to great lengths to keep that from ever getting out; they locked down Colin Powell,” the Third Shock Army’s home base, and the main TSRA Training and Doctrine Center,” had the Gnats close every road even going near it, including Victory Drive, IC 185 at the Cusseta exit and the Phenix City Causeway; they’ve even gone as far as to confine most of the military personnel and civilian workers to either the housing areas on post or to the stockade; even the post’s MedCom contingent’s been confined to the stockade, and Skywalker Ranch isn’t being allowed to get them out, or to bring any other floggers in.”

“Goddamn,” Annesha whispered.

“Yeah,” was the only thing the reporter could think of saying.

10 NOVEMBER, 2276 07:57:01 ZULU

“...absolutely no one,” Ibrahim Dimetry heard California Broadcasting Service’s Juan Rivera say, as he concentrated on backing up Sha Proctor on the grill, ”will be allowed on to or off of the Fort Colin Powell reservation without specific orders from either the Union Security Council or Governor Zellner himself, with anyone attempting to defy this order to be shot dead on sight, no questions asked, no warnings given.

Those of you who might think this extreme on the part of the New Athens government need to realize that the Republican Union of Terranova—in fact, the entire United Federation of Sovereign Star Nations—is at war, a war for its very survival against implacable, matriarchial enemies who will stop at nothing to destroy what they cannot have, and could never achieve.”

“Damn straight,” reamrked Calvin Hobbes, on his third or four cup of coffee, waiting for the place to get really packed out before giving Amy Smith—no relation to Sunni, as she herself would’ve made perfectlly clear had she been here—his order.

“Damn straight,” he repeated, Rivera continuing:

“To use an airlifter full of wounded soliders, booby-trapped to act as human timebombs, to carry out a coldblooded act or terrorism, to kidnap more of our soldiers, female doctors and nurses—their own kind—to do God only knows what to their minds and bodies.

Ferals are simply not human, they have no rights, we cannot allow the Geneva Convention or any other limp-wristed liberal, sojus so-called laws of war, to tie our hands in this matter—”

“Should fuckin’ kill every goddamn one of ‘em, “ David Bell, seated in the stretch end’s middle booth, remarked,”every goddamn one of ‘em, stop this bullshit about not attacking ‘civilian’ targets, not after rigging our guys up with antimatter charges, and turnin’ ‘em into freekin’ kamikazes, just so they can capture more of our women and fuckin’ turn ‘em into ferals like themselves.”

“Sheeit,” he concluded, shaking his head as he took another bite of his apple pie. “Only fuckin’ way you can win a war’s by killin’ civilians, especially when it comes to fightin’ ‘em fuckin’ DirtComs; anyone‘s ever been in a war’ll tell ya the exact same motherfuckin’ thing!”

“That’s the goddamn problem right there, if you ask me,” Calvin, banging his cup on the low counter to distract Amy’s attention from two middle booths full of travelers from the North Coast heading south to Midnight Bay,”they let the goddamn ferals in the military, got them to lower the training standards, got themselves into positions of power where they could weaken the Armed Forces, dissipate their strength in peacekeeping missions to Twice-Born and all them other fuckin’ shitholes, then tying their hands when they have to fight, so they can’t do a goddamn thing to the enemy except tell ‘em t’stop, or they’ll tell ‘em t’stop again.”

“That’s a good one, Calvin,” Amy chirped, a guy named Lewis, making his usual monthly run from the South Coast to the house he was building somewhere in the eastern part of the Fall Line, remarking,”and, you know who’s at the bottom of all that don’t you?”

Taking a sip of coffee, following that with a spoonful of Proctor and Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, he added:

“She’s the same person who made $100,000 on the ISEX last year, when all these coporations were folding, and Excelsior was busy shutting down manufacturing plants, because of the free-trade laws rammed down the Common Legislature’s throats by a radical and powerful minority—”

“The goddamn radfems,” David commented.

“—while half the Union’s wondering how they’re gonna put food on the table, or pay rent,” Lewis concluded.

“That bitch Gilda Schrenko,”Calvin replied.

“That bitch,” Lewis said,“ Gilda Schrenko, her, Cyndi McKinley, Donna McIntyre and all the other liberal, radfem, sojus, Illuminati, Bilderberger, antifa fascist, BLM, KKK, NOW, DirtCommunist NatSoc, interstellarist, corpo-religous Jew elites.

And, just how do you think they knew, when to buy and when to sell?”

“Why, insider trading, of course,” Calvin replied.

“Naw,” Lewis said, voice dripping with sarcasm,“ it couldn’t be that.”

“Of course it was,” Calvin replied, between sips of coffee.

“Couldn’t be that,” Lewis insisted facetiously.” Mickey Mouse Bauer’s done admitted there isn’t any such thing going on—”

“And,” Calvin remarked,”every one knows damn good and well that soyboi son of a bitch is theirs, body and soul; he was one of the main ones that forced Guy Zellner to let the Maggots—”

“—who everyone knows to be a pawn of the radfem Jewnazi elites running the Commonwealth’s State Security Buerau ,” Lewis added.

“—come in and put those so-called rigs in our territorial waters in the first place,” Calvin concluded.

“You seriously think,” Lewis asked,”those are just simple hydrolosis rigs, like the Maggies have sworn up and down they were for the last ten years?!”

“I’ve worked on hydrolisis rigs after I got outta the military,” Calvin replied,”and I can tell you right now, the gear that’s on ‘em ain’t for extracting hydrogen from—”

“Hey, Papa Abraham!” Sha shouted, distracting him from the conversation he’d been following, pointing to the first place on the left-hand side of the sandwich board.

“I need a order of raisin for that order poached well, and a Texas set-up for that Texas bacon egg cheese plate,” she added, Ibrahim dropping two pieces of raisin toast into one of the toasters, taking down a couple slices of Texas bread to butter them.

He was infinitely thankful to Sha for the distraction.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

09) Yet, Something Pipeth Like a Bird
“—These are men whose minds the Dead have ravished.
Memory fingers in their hair of murders,
Multitudinous murders they once witnessed.
Wading sloughs of flesh these helpless wander,
Treading blood from lungs that had loved laughter.”

—Wilfrid Owen, “Mental Cases”

....oh, dear Jesus God, she was a skeleton with skin, sores and bruises and welts all over her naked body, her eyes vibrating with fear and fever as she got up to the limit of the fucking chain around her neck, kneeling on a floor full of piss and shit and hoarded food amongst the crap.

She couldn’t be any more than six, seven years old, and they had her fucking chained by her neck, living worse than a fucking animal, doing God only knows what else to her.

“It’s okay, baby,” Jami said, her voice trembling, the little girl cringing, as she came closer, shaking, scared of her, begging Jami not to hurt her, telling her she’d do anything she wanted.

“It’s okay, baby,” Jami whispered again, stroking the matted fuzz on top of the little one’s head, as she used her sonic probe to try take that damn thing off her neck...

13 NOVEMBER, 2276 10:08:22 ZULU

...Senior Captain Jameison Lanier missing a breath, as the darva alarm brought her back to here and now, 323 klicks from the planet DeGaulle, strapped into Solarian Commonwealth Auxiliary Vehicle Ugly Duckling’s co-pilot’s seat, her assigned pilot, Master Pilot Rhiannon Moseley, smoothly upcycling the 150-ton Greyhawk AC.20 assault shuttle’s Rittermark generator from norm(zero) to 210 hertz(max sublight) inside the Mont Noir orbital-approach corridor in a shower of emitted tachyons, photons and van Gripstra particles.

A Gallic Normandié-class frigate loomed just 150 klicks downrange, closing fast at 210 kilokips ahv, its commander’s holoimage projected in front of Jami’s right eye, informing her she‘d,”violated the sovereign aerospace of the Gallic Republic,” in a thick, Frog accented voice, adding,”you will stand down your vehicle and prepare to be boarded; if you do not comply within ten seconds,”he grinned,”then I will forced to—”

She neither had the time nor the desire to argue the finer points of the Treaty of Habitat with this, or any other, son of a bitch, instead shouting “hard jink and burn, Master Moseley!” Ugly Duckling shuddering slightly, as she launched her six underbelly-mounted Raptor AKV.2 autonomous-kill vehicles, Jami taking control of all six AKVs, leaving Ree to fly and fire the shuttle’s onboard twin 50mm massdrivers, as she juked hard, and burned harder with the torch during Ugly Duckling’s intervals in norm.

Jami vectored her Raptors on either side of the the Frog warbird, ripping twin salvos from their 203s, while Ree hit him dead with a quick burst from her guns, the Gaul’s MHDs not doing him a damn bit of good, not when both shuttle and AKVs were practically scraping hell out of his paint job.

Putaine!” the Frog commander screamed as his bridge came down round his big Dumbo ears.

Bitch!” he spat before being knocked offline, Ugly Duckling, her Raptors flying escort, now streaking past the deadstick enemy machine at 210 kilokips.

Right into the path of six more of his friends, all rapidly closing from a hundred kiloklicks astern, all of them vectoring 203s, Mistral VIII starfighters and Exocet IV AKVs her way.

Ree momentarily upcycled to light speed, just before that incoming salvo would’ve smashed her bird into faintly-glowing junk, smiling slightly, as she heard Senior Lieutenant Ariel Dixon commenting,”she’s done bumped her fuckin’ head!” over comms, while the skipper of the Unbroken vectored her Raptors in between two of the six enemy warbirds, close enough to touch, and Ree came this freakin’ close to a third, falling away deadstick from her, as emitted photons, tachyons and van Gripstra particles holed him in a hundred places or more.

Ugly Duckling’s 50s pounded another enemy warbird fifty kiloklicks downrange, one of the bomb-pumped 320 ton-yield gras punching all the way through his MHDs to score a direct hit on the bell of the frigate’s drive housing.

At the precise location of the hostile machine’s Rittermark generator.

Ree flew the spaceplane through the resulting hole in the gutted spaceframe, while Jami sicced her Raptors on another enemy Normandie, and watched it fall apart before her eyes.

Ree juked hard up and to the left to dodge the fire of the last Frog machine still in it, climbing right up that bastard’s tailpipe to drive a stream of 50mm BPG warheads through his torch, before another brief upcycle to break contact.

Then, she reinserted herself into Mont Noir’s orbital-approach corridor, and downcycled to norm, the gutted enemy frig, tumbling end for end in the distance.

A woman in Middie FedAerospaceForce blacks now appeared before Jami’s right eye:

”Attention, unidentified Greyhawk in Commonwealth space! I am the warship Rasalgethi, of the Federation of Midnight Sun Aerospace Force! Identify yourself at once, or I will reply with deadly force!”

Rasalgethi, I am the Solarian Commonwealth Auxiliary Vehicle Ugly Duckling,” Jami said,”Star Force registry Foxtrot four-won-niner-niner-five-Alfa-zera-won, on final approach to Mont Noir.”

The Middie commander nodded her head, telling Jami,” Ugly Duckling, Rasalgethi . I read four lifeforms aboard your vehicle, including yourself; you will submit proper handshake before being allowed to proceed any further. You have fifteen seconds.”

“Ya’ll get up here,” Jami said to the two passengers riding in the troop deck, even she pricked her right index finger in her station’s genetic scanner.

“Lanier,” she then said to the Middie commander,”Jameison Sue, Senior Captain, Solarian Commonwealth Star Force, currently assigned Solarian Commonwealth Starcraft Unbroken as officer commanding, currently assigned No. 515 Frigate Squadron, as star officer commanding. Commonwealth Armed Forces authorization passphrase ‘Live to fight and fly!’ ”

“Dixon,” Ariel , standing behind her commander, said,” Ariel Saint Marie, Senior Lieuteant, Commonwealth Star Force, currently assigned Solarian Commonwealth Starcraft Unbroken as starship engineering officer. Commonwealth Armed Forces authorization passphrase ‘ Pretty words do not a poem make.’

“Moseley,” Ree then said,”Rhiannon Elizabeth, Master Pilot Officer, Commonwealth Star Force, currently assigned Solarian Commonwealth Starcraft Unbroken as assault shuttle pilot. Commonwealth Armed Forces authorization passphrase ‘The dream of the Red King.’”

“Gault,” Lilith Angelique Gault, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, then said,”Lilith Angelique, Secretary General, Solarian Commonwealth of Nations. Commonwealth Armed Forces authorization passphrase is ‘Playing in a travelling band.’”

The ebon, teardrop-shaped 14,523-ton Middie Polaris-class destroyer now loomed large in Ugly Duckling’s master holoproj, her skipper telling Jami,”Biometrics, idents and passphrases, all check, Senior Captain. Welcome back to DeGaulle; please initiate decel burn now.”

“Copy, Rasalgethi,” Ree said, as she flipped ship, and fired the torch. “Wilco.”

13 NOVEMBER, 2276 10:16:52 ZULU

“VMCS Nightengale Woman,” Derek “Goliath” Brickner said over comms, as the Maggie scoutcraft downcycled to norm 395 klicks from Venus and the oribtals girdling it, ”to Commonwealth Forces Headquarters, am on final approach to MaxMontes, requesting permission to land directly at the Headquarters reservation.”

Commander Draco Selkirk, standing directly behind the helm, felt the blood drain down to his feet as the SC-8B flipped over on its long axis, and its torch fired to decelerate the cigar-shaped, 280-ton scoutcraft into an orbital insertion vector over Maxwell Montes, listening as one of the people manning the War Room twenty-four hours a day cleared Goliath for final approach to the Commonwealth Forces Headquarters reservation deep underneath Venus’ highest mountain and the namesake of its capital city.

The ship shook slightly, as she re-entered atmosphere, the cherry-white tint made by the MHD shielding contacting the thermosphere giving way to brilliant royal blue, thin little wisps of clouds in the sky, the Sun high above the sprawling metropolis, and its network of walkways and canals leading out into the Mare Sappho just off to the north, and the massive parking decks along the outskirts of the city, next to the primary downport, leading out into the brilliant purple-red of the Lakshimi Planum.

Maybe, he thought to himself, I won’t spend all week in CCIs archives; it has been a good while since I got some fishing in; I could rent a wing at Shane’s Point, head out to deep water, drop a line over the side, relax a bit...should’ve brought my rod and reel...not a problem, I can buy some more gear and some decent bait at Shane’s Point as well.

That date still nagged at him; Goliath had an extensive library in his quarters, including three thick volumes of nothing but history, plus access to whatever was on the Net via ansible, but no luck trying to track down anything having to do with 29 January, 1986 anywhere.

He should’ve checked the public library and the University of La Zorra’s before he’d left, but...

Probably wouldn’t have found anything there either, he thought, Nightengale Woman now directly over the gantries directly servicing HQ, Mount Maxwell’s peak wreathed in a low-lying cloud presaging a coming storm, so much went up in flames during the Golden Age, and the subsequent Tricentennial War which damn near killed us all, to say nothing of the revising and editing the Holy Media Committee and the training and doctrine industries of the successor nations themselves had done in the intervening almost two hundred years, while the rest of the human race were busy colonizing the Solar System, rebuilding Earth, and generally cleaning fecal matter from the fan blades.

Nightengale Woman inverted herself, landing on her jets, as it were, the superdiamagnetic field shifting slightly underneath the deck set perpindicular to the ship’s thrust axis, so Drac felt little effect from the ship’s re-oritentation.

There were a few squat, low, bulky buildings on the surface, along with the gantries, with most of Headquarters either being underground, in orbit, or, in the case of the Military Training Center and its associated advanced specialist training schools(with the exception of the Starmarine School in Djbouti, on Earth)on either San Roque or Mons Calpa(and their associated orbitals) in the AD Leonis system.

Goliath eased the scoutcraft into the gantry’s umbilicals with a pair of barely perceptible clanks!

“Thanks, Goliath,” Drac said, slinging his duffel bag over his shoulder and walking off the bridge, climbed the staircase leading to the scoutcraft’s spinhab, the dorsal airlock’s inner hatch already irising open; Drac climbing down through it, stood a moment on the airlock chamber’s ladder, waiting for the lock to cycle, then climbed out of the outer hatch.

His old Six was waiting for him on the gantry catwalk, wearing No.3WC dress and a Starmarine commando green beret, same as he was, save her beret sported the Helm and Excalibur cap badge of the Special Reconnaisance Regiments as opposed to the Starmarine cap badge on his.

“You’re just as gorgeous as ever, Six,” Drac remarked, with a smirk.

“Oh, sod off, Dum,” Director-General Cressida Hodges snapped peevishly.

“That bloody Cajun,” she added,”talks far too much for his own damned good, you know that?”

“Come along, Mister Selkirk,” she added, gesturing behind her. “Haven’t got all shagging day.”

“...ssshhh,” Jami whispered, finally managing to get that damn thing off her neck, picking the little one up, cradling her in her arms and getting her the fuck out of this kennel.

“It’s gonna be okay now, sweetpea,” whispered the commander of the Unbroken, stroking her head again, as she took her to where Hadley and her people had set up shop....

13 NOVEMBER, 2276 10:21:23 ZULU

...right here, at the camp hospital, still standing, just as it was eleven years ago...everything had been left as Jami and her crew had found it, no museum, no gift shop, no town across the way selling bits and pieces of crap as antiques, no snack bars selling overpriced hot dogs, hamburgers, fries and sodas, no 256-bit true color holos describing the official Marvel version of events, no pretty landscapes or commemorative courtyards with streams, plaques and bas-relief murals depicting suffering male POWs...not even a MiniNatRes park ranger in sight to give a guided tour, or so much as single war veteran/former prisoner of war, talking about the good old days over beer and Q.

It had all been left as it was, Unbroken’s skipper, in No.1b dress blues, standing precisely between the hospital, one of the four deadline forts with 50s, 130s and a 203 or two pointed back towards the countless half-metre high armored boxes sunk into the muddy, stinking ground, the residential facilities for the camp’s originial garrison and “scientific” personnel, and, on a slight rise to her right, the administration building and the palatial residence of the camp’s commander, the animal now calling himself Attorney General of the Union.

Beyond the kennels, the various buildings where bastards inflicted “expiriments” on the inmates of this hellhole...and the recreation facilities where they’d been forced to provide “adult” entertainment for their captors and privileged others who’d known about this godforsaken the left of those buildings, the camp latrine, a mass grave for those her people could not save, bones upon bones upon desecrated corpses, over two centuries’ worth...LogCorps and FedArmy sappers were working to exhume those bodies and bones, carefully, reverently, laying them down into stasis tubes, loading them onto the backs of PARAWIG lorries for transport to the morgue, 250 meters to the east of the camp, as far away from here as the Middies and her Commonwealth could build the damn thing.

There, the work of over a decade continued nonstop...the cemetery, also in the Mid-Commonwealth part of Mont Noir, held 34,186,700 bodies of those the Federal and Commonwealth Medical Corps forensic identification teams had succeeded in giving names and faces to in spite of their murderers’ efforts...she could just see the flagstaffs—the Commonwealth Sunburst and the Silver Bear of Midnight Sun flying at half-staff—and the tops of the barracks housing the 200 artillery, air-assault, cavalry, and mech infantry regiments—half Commonwealth Army, the other half FedArmy—Commonwealth Gendarmes, Federal Police, and the others assigned here...

Thirty-four million women...not even one percent of those who’d been condemned to suffer and die in this miserable hole.

“Senior Captain?!” a woman’s voice asked from directly behind her, Jami turning to face her.

She recognized the commander of the Middie warbird who’d challenged her in orbit, wearing dress black and silver, with a black beret sporting a silver oak leaf cluster.

“Sorry about all the—” she started to say, Jami replying,”you were doing your job, Commander.”

“They’d stop at nothing,” she added,” to bulldoze this over like they did Sumterfield; that’s why our people and yours were both so hellbent on holding on to Mont Noir in the first place.”

The other woman held out her hand, properly introducing herself:

“Mason Cline, S.C. of the Rasalgethi...I ran fico on the T.C. nineteen years ago....”

The T.C.

The Tau Ceti.

John Keller’s old ship.

Nineteen years ago, she’d been the only friendly warbird insystem, when the Cassholes had decided to use the transports carrying people out of the kill zone which had been the planet Morning Glory for target practice.

Unbroken, Statesman, and Tactician, en route to somewhere else, had intercepted comms from that battle, and had decided to charge into the Williamsboro corridor, with all guns blazing.

“...known it was you,” Mason said. “Only the Avenging Angel of Kohoutek,” Jami cringed at the nickname,” the legendary commander of the Unbroken herself, would’ve taken on seven Frog warbirds while flying a Greyhawk IV.”

“I’m just me, baby,” Jami whispered, turning away from Mason, back towards the kennels.

“Sir,” Mason commented,” most of Rasalgethi’s crew, including myself, came from the T.C.; once the last of those transports had fled, you could’ve just as easily left us behind, the mission was done, Unbroken, Statesman, were all shot up, deep behind enemy lines, surrounded by more Casshole sons of bitches than any of us could count, and we weren’t in any position to could’ve—should’ve— gotten the hell out of there, no harm, no foul, but—”

“I did my job, Commander,” Jami said softly, sighing, trying to fight tears.”It just so happened, that day, I did it well enough.”

“Only just...” she started to say, trailing off, looking out into this recurring nightmare as it shimmered and wavered before her eyes.

13 NOVEMBER, 2276 10:42:37 ZULU

“You’re reduced one grade in rank,” Roger Selwyn Tarrant, High Commissioner of the True Britannic Republic of Oswald, Chairman of the Executive Council of the United Federation of Sovereign Star Nations, said, his back turned to the Republican Astronautic Guard officer standing behind him on Government House’s 303rd floor.

“Sir!” Brakenbury barked out, Tarrant hearing boots stomping the Grade One Axeminister at the same time, his sole reply was to order the two commandos guarding the lift doors to march Brakenbury out of his sight, the Oswald High Comissioner looking out the thirty-meter thick clear tanc at Mount Baden, garishly lit up to blot out the overcast night, dusky-grey sleet falling down upon Mount Baden Square and the rest of the put him too much in mind of an ancient Star Trek episode, “The Mark Of Gideon...” three billion people, a sixth of Oswald’s population, crammed into the City’s four wards and Startown, built on an island barely fifty kilometers long by just under five and a half wide, spilling out onto the plats choking Mount Baden Harbor and the Fabian Sea.

The Chairman of the Executive Council sighed, sipping his fourth waterglass of brandy in the past few minutes, listening to the lift doors slide shut, and the two Republic Special Astronautic Commandos resume their positions on either side of them with a clack!clack! and a loud stomp! Tarrant turning away from the window, walking slowly towards the sofa, sitting down.

Telling his plant to replay the final communication from Pueblo.

Watching his Israel’s face one last time, as he determined himself to trade his life for the life of the devilish black bitch commanding the DirtCom warship Unbroken.

This was, at least, partial confirmation.

Jameison Lanier, a clog round their feet all the years she’d been allowed to remain at liberty, was a far greater danger to the Work than he and the Others had given her credit for.

She could, in fact, be Its undoing.

The plant’s insistent bleeping derailed his train of thought, his Benjamin’s handsome image chased away by that of his annoying speccie git of a Deputy Commissioner.

“I shouldn’t tell you to sod right off,” Tarrant remarked,”why, Heathcoate?!”

Sir Heathcoate Saint John, Home Secretary of the True Britannic State of Oswald, and his deputy since the end of the First IW, replied,”the Others are concerned, Roger.”

“Over what, this time?” Tarrant demanded.

“That their leader is not on Terranova with them,” the runt bastard told him.

“I,” he added,” am concerned as well.”

“Their concern,” Tarrant replied,” and yours, Deputy Commissioner, means precisely fuck-all to me.”

“You’ve been tetchy for the last month and half now,” Saint John, never a one for just taking the fucking hint, told him. “Whatever the hell’s wrong with you—”

“Is my concern alone! “ Tarrant snapped.

Not if it endangers the success of the Work,” Saint John reminded him. “Not if you’re showing all the signs of going soft on us the way that fool Jackson Varnadore—”

“Is that what my son thinks?!” Tarrant demanded.

Not just him,” Saint John plainly said. “State President Krantz continues to be your most ardent defender, but even he is starting to show doubts—”

“Theodore can doubt me all he wants, I don’t give a fuck,” Tarrant replied, downing the rest of the brandy in one gulp.

“—concerning your committment to the Work,” Saint John finished,”and I’m not terribly sure he’s wrong.”

“Zellner’s bungling incompetence,” Tarrant’s deputy added,”has put us in a very bad position, as you are doubtlessly aware—”

13 NOVEMBER, 2276 10:46:00 ZULU

“—Roger,” the little Ozzie runt bastard had the nerve to say. “Your presence at the strategy session has never been more needed than it is now, and you just sit there, getting legless, while—”

“I got his bungling incompetence,” Guy Thomas Zellner, Governor of the Union, said softly, his voice echoing off the walls of the Terranovan Security and Intelligence Directorate’s Internal Surveillance Center, situated precisely two and a half klicks underneath the Star Trek exhibit at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Flyntsboro.

“He’s too honest for his own good,” said Micheal John Bauer, Attorney General of the Union, standing just behind his Governor’s right shoulder.

“Give that man a keg,” Israel commented. “First intelligent fucking thing you’ve said in motherfuckin’ ever.”

“He‘s also right to be concerned about Tarrant’s recent behavior,” Bauer then added.

“I’ll be goddamned, Mouse,” the Lord and Master of his life replied, his back still to his Attorney General,”you’re on a roll.”

“He is right to be concerned,” he then said,” we all are, but that’s our least worry at the moment.”

His eyes drifted from the Ozzie runt to the holo of the cameras positioned across Terranova Highway 154 from the Capitol’s South Lawn; fucking three times as many protesters as Thursday were out there bitching about Amendment 42, about their little rights being taken away from them, the usual bullshit.

What was worse, the Governor of the Union spotted MedCom floggers amongst them, covering the entire thing live in 256-bit true color, a blatant violation of policy, punishable by death of the offenders, their families, their associates, anyone who so much as bumped into them on the street.

“Damien did say the Media Committee was having trouble keeping their people in line,” Bauer observed ever so helpfully.

“Well, Mickey,” Israel commented, spotting fucking Jay Todman amongst the rabble,”you were on a roll.”

“Thursday’s solution,” Bauer said,”isn’t going to work today.”

“Brilliant deduction there, Mouse,” his Governor spat back. “Not with over a hundred thousand Commie, Middie, and allied warbirds sitting up top waiting to pound us into T-nova’s molten fuckin’ core, if we so much as say ‘boo!’ to those motherfuckers...and, with that nosy, meddling Mid bastard in amongst them, taking any sort of violent action against ‛em only gurantees the Commies an’ Mids stringing us up by our balls, before they shoot us full of holes, after they bomb every re-rezz site we have into a glassy smoking fuckin’ crater.”

“Leaving us one alternative,” Bauer said.

“Showin’ ‘em they need Amendment 42 as much as we do,” the Lord of all their lives replied. “Good idea, Mouse.”

“Does the operative fully understand what we’re asking of him?” he asked Bauer.

“Rumph has—”

“Aw, fuck!” interjected the Governor of the Union, Bauer repeating himself:

“Major Rumph has briefed the operative in full concerning his mission; the device he’ll use holds ten kilos each of matter and antimatter, which translates to a yield of precisely 215.1 megatons—”

The Governor of the Union’s only reply was a short, sharp whistle.

“A little overkill, ain’t it?” he asked.

“The more carnage, the greater the outrage, the more easily they’ll come to see the wisdom in Amendment 42, even if they weren’t given a chance to vote on it,” Bauer explained.

He was right of course, Bauer continuing:

“Damien d’Souza has alerted his people both on Skywalker Ranch and here on planet, the MHDs at the base in Curtis LeMay will engage just ahead of the detonation, time enough for it to protect the Security Council and Starfleet Corporate, but not so much in advance as to make anyone suspicious; similarly, this facility will survive the event without so much as dust being knocked loose from the rafters.”

“There will be,” he added,” little else left standing in Flynt, Martinez, and Bibb Counties by this time tomorrow, with Ezra and its 86,500 people, of course, being completely wiped out.

We’re estimating collateral damage within a 105.5-klick radius of ground zero, that radius including everything up to the Capitol in New Athens—nothing more than a few busted windows, perhaps a cracked column or two, a couple fires, some third-degree burns here and there.”

“Have you decided on a scapegoat?” Israel asked.

“The operative himself has taken care of that,” Bauer said. “TSID and Terranova Media Syndicate are attending to the details as we speak.”

“Outstanding,” said the Governor of the Union, not once turning to face his Attorney General.

13 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:01:19 ZULU

A relatively-ancient spacecraft falling to Earth in a cold, clear blue sky.

A contemporary jet-propelled atmo fighter plummeting into a blue ocean, its pilot floating down in what Drac remembered was called a ‛chute.

And, the unmistakable hullform—even in the grainy, low-res, black and white vid—of a Commonwealth Star Force Dauntless-class frigate, its shielding wreathed with explosions from the chemical and thermonuclear high-explosive ordinance striking it, diving down on the falling spacecraft, capturing it with its forward MHDs, pulling it in toward her, then rocketing the hell out of Dodge at twenty-six grav.

“Now,” Cressida asked him,”do you begin to understand, Commander?”

All Drac could do was shake like a wet dog, trying to formulate an intelligent response, sputtering:

“This...this is from—“

“The twenty-eighth of January,” Cressida slowly stated,“nineteen hundred and eighty-six. History records the destruction of the former United States’ Space Shuttle Challenger on that day, with the loss of all seven crew.”

“That’s actual, declassified footage,” she added,”taken by a surveillance satellite of the ex-Soviet, ex-Russian military intelligence service—“

“—the GRU,” Drac finished, as he tried to find his footing,”one of CCI’s parent organizations.”

“Correct,” Cressida said, after a silence.”Believe me, Dum, I thought that vid was bollocks, when I originally saw it, and I wasn’t the first; over the past 190 years, it’s been analyzed with an inch of its life, and analyzed again, then analyzed after that, before being classified Top Secret(Defense Staff Only).”

Still shaking, Unbroken’s Starmarine commander took a sip of coffee.

“Shit,” he managed to whisper.

“Shit, Tweedle Dum,” Cressida remarked,”is an understatement.”

“Mind you,” she added, following another silence,”we’ve had no corroborating historical evidence to verify the authenticity of what you just saw, just that the vid itself is from that date, and the technique used to record it is contemporary to that period.

We have nothing else to go on.”

“You have enough,” Drac managed to say.

“For concern, yes,” Cressida remarked, finally taking a sip of her coffee.”But, then, the bloody Maggies dropped their bombshells, and concern has, quite frankly, turned to panic. Real, actual, time travel, something scientists have hypothesized about even back in the twentieth century, and, we don’t sodding even know how that works, or if it was even deliberate.”

“There are those hypotheses you’ve mentioned,” Drac reminded her.

“Either pure bollocks,” Cressida replied,”unfalsifiable—which, for scientific purposes, is the same as pure bollocks—or unworkable, especially the one proposed by that religious loon who helped form the Fundamental Fysiks Group—“

“Tipler,” Drac supplied. “Frank Tipler.”

“That’s the loony,” Cressida replied. “At any rate, we don’t even know when , in our time, this event takes place.”

“Too many unknowns, therefore cause for alarm,” Drac remarked.

“Yes,” Cressida said. “And, we can’t go public with this, cause we’ve little to go public about, and we don’t need people thinking the Defense Staff and the Secretary General are all nutters, now, do we? We’ve enough nutters on the other side, for fuck’s sake.”
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

“So,” Drac asked,”where does that leave me?”

“You and your brother were both nutters to begin with, Dum,” Cressida half-joked. “Seriously, though, it leaves you with an upgraded security clearance, and direct orders from me to never, ever discuss this with anyone, not even the Defense Staff or the SecGen, and, especially, not with your blabbermouth mates Morrison and Golden; John Keller’s already had this convo with his people, and I’m having it with you now: Do not discuss this. Do not enquire further on this. not, period. Savvy?!”

“Understood,” Drac replied softly.

“Most definitely understood,” he slowly repeated.

13 NOVEMBER, 2276 11:33:26 ZULU

They were dragging a black girl out into the middle of the muddy field, ripping open her TSRA combat dress, stripping her naked, and making her go down on them before they strapped on, and...

...ganged her right there and then, not bothering with dragging her to the tank, Meredith and her crew taking turns ramming their tools into every orifice on Ariel’s squriming , struggling body, Meredith slapping her ass hard, grabbing onto her hair, forcing her to suck Mindy’s toy at the same time Meredith shoved hers straight through her....

“...that,” Terranova Media Syndicate’s Rachel English said in the background,“was Captain Ashleigh Bordleon, chief surgeon of Fort Colin Powell’s 4077th Field Hospital Unit, described by her father—himself retired military—as a decent, Canon-fearing woman, a homebody who liked to cook, who ardently believed in her country, and the just and holy cause to which every Terranovan should be committed.

At this time, her father, confined to an automedic due to exposure to Communist biological agents during the Second Interstellar War, has no idea as to his daughter’s fate, or whether even she still remains on Terranova.

But, from what we are witnessing now, carried live on all Midnight Sun and Commonwealth state media three hours ago, it is certain her ordeal will be an ugly, dehumanizing brutal nightmare of gang rape and torture designed to decivilize her, and revert her to her innately feral state.”

The child window depicting Shoshanna being raped shrunk into the background, another window opening and enlarging, this one showing the men of the 23d Shock Army—currently based on Twice-Born—assisting AFEG and Loyalist forces in running down and butchering women, girls, even little babies, in the streets of the captial city of Zellnersboro, the TMS anchor commenting,“in retaliation for these latest acts of terror, the commander of the Fourth Shock Army, General Colin Thomas Clarke, ordered his men to take no prisoners, and to show no mercy whatsover to what he termed ‘unlawful enemy combatants.’

In defending these orders, he said, quote,’the Geneva Convention simply does not apply, not to them, and, as the last three centuries should have so clearly shown us, we pay dearly every single time we insist on adhering to false covenants, and for giving in to our compassionate desire to avoid the shedding of supposedly-innocent blood. We simply cannot forget the lessons of history,’ unquote.”

“Goddamn motherfuckers,” one of the Middie starcraftmen sitting in the dining hall with Ariel, Ree and the Secretary General swore under her breath. “They don’t even hide what they’re doing.”

“Why should they?” the SecGen spoke up. “They feel perfectly justified in spilling innocent blood.”

“Giving people ideas,” another Middie sharing a table with the first, sporting major’s oak leaves on her FedAerospaceForce blacks, said,”is an act of war to those bonesmoking Yanker sons of bitches, them and the rest of those goddamn asshole Fedders.”

“Shit,” a third Mid, at a table to Ariel’s left, said,”you don’t even have to give anyone ideas to have those bastards take a shot at just have to have the indecency to build an’ dream something they could never, ever imagine.”

“You were at Kohoutek?” Ree asked.

“Not something I’d want to talk about to the grandkids,” the much-older woman replied,”but yeah...”

“Yeah,” she added, after a silence.

“I’d have been dead like the rest of those poor bastards,” she added, following another pause,”if it wasn’t for your skipper and the Unbroken, Master Pilot...helluva woman...”

“Oh, yeah,” the FedAerospaceForce major—Rasalgethi’s 2ic—agreed.

“You were on the T.C.?” the third Mid asked the major.

“Chief master tech sergeant, senior NCO on the engineering team,” the major replied, nodding her head.

“Your CO stayed behind until the last of us were gated aboard Unbroken,” she said, looking directly at Ariel,” the Cassies were piling on her three birds, pounding the crap out of ‛em, MHDs ‛bout gone, four of Unbroken’s 203s knocked out...once those transports were free and clear of the Cassholes, she should’ve gotten the hell away from Morning Glory, save her own skin, but—”

“She felt,” the SecGen said,”she’d abandoned too many good people to die already.”

“She didn’t abandon anyone,” the third Middie said. “She did what she could, but Unbroken was just one frigate, against over a thousand hostile freakin’ warbirds.”

“You’re not eating,” Ree said to Ariel, startling her.

“Yeah, I am,” Ariel, spearing a forkful of salad and dressing, insisted.

“Not much,” Ree, twirling spaghetti round her fork and spearing a misshapen meatball on the tines, replied.

“This is fine,” Ariel said, before crunching the bite of salad she’d put in her mouth.

“’Sides,” she added, after swallowing,”I’m...”

“...too goddamn fat as it is,” Hugh said, after backhanding her onto the floor of the break room, shaking his head as he looked down at her, adding:

“Fuckin’ hanging’ off ‘em thunder thighs, goddamn ham hocks on the ...”

“...fuckin’ hoof,” Ariel said, Ree looking at her like she’d lost her mind.

“Leave her alone, Master Pilot,” the SecGen said to Ree. “That’s an order.”

“Sir,” Ree said.

“It’s all right, Madam Secretary,” Ariel said.

“No,” Ree said, pausing over another forkful of spaghetti ”she’s right, I’m being a pest.”

“Sorry,” she said, briefly touching Ariel’s hand...

...grabbing Ree’s hair, using it to shove her toy in as deep as she could go, slapping her ass because she was screaming in pain instead of sucking off Mindy’s toy like she was..., Ariel said, clenching her jaw shut, shutting her eyes tightly, no, I’m not—

Don’t lie, sweetie, her other self whispered, of course you’re like that, you’re a sick fuck who likes girls, and, we both know what that—

“Mister Dixon?” the SecGen’s voice asked.

“Ariel?” Ree, concerned about a fucking thing like her, asked.”Ariel, poppet, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong,” Ariel said, opening her eyes, getting up from the table.

“Nothing’s wrong,” she repeated.

“I’m fine,” she said, turning on her heel and walking out of the canteen as fast as she could.

“, wake up,” Jami whispered, the little one’s whimpering gradually getting softer, like someone slowly sliding her finger across an HV’s volume slider...her little body turning ice-cold in spite of Jami clutching her even closer against her breasts.

“Baby, c’mon,” Jami said,”don’t go to sleep on me, you gotta open your eyes, c’mon, baby, you can’t...”

“No,” she found herself sobbing, falling on her knees in the muddy filth, just centimeters away from the steps of the base hospital,”no, baby, please, you’ve got to wake up, please, you’ve got to....”

13 NOVEMBER, 2276 12:00:00 ZULU

...wake up.

The commander of the Unbroken bit down on her lower lip, fussing with the flowers she’d just planted in the soil round the little girl’s headstone.

Erica Tull, her name had been Erica Tull, one of the first the CCI follow-up team had IDed...she and her mothers, buried on either side of her, though they never saw one another again after they’d been brought to this godforsaken place from River’s End by those TSID bonesmokers’.

Union fucking security at work, MiniHealth had alerted the colonial TSID office in Tullahassee the instant the birth was registered on the Net and...

Micki was better with planting things than she ever could be, Venerians could make anything grow anywhere, while all ten of Jami’s fingers were brown, she just had to breathe on a plant to kill it.

The Maggies had landscaped the cemetery, world builders putting their skills to something they’d hadn’t wanted to; round each grave, a border alternating white lilies and Schwarzsterns—a flower native to Joli— with soil enough between grave and headstone to plant living flowers....these were transplants from the sacré coeurs on Micki’s workstation, she’d said it was all right, it’d would go just fine with all the other things Jami and Micki had planted here in the past eleven years, like the bogbush at the foot of the grave, at the very edge of the cemetery.

That had been the first thing Micki and she had planted had been a sapling then, taken from the garden in Unbroken’s, it was more than big enough to shelter Erica and her parents.

Micki had to stay with the ship, just in case something came up, and they had to lift before Unbroken could be completely repaired, or in case she was repaired, and Jami couldn’t make it back in time, when something did come up.

She’d have taken her with, otherwise.

Unbroken was in good hands either way; Micki should’ve had a command of her own years ago, and it wasn’t for lack of offers from the Defense Staff that kept her where she was.

No, it was Jami herself, she knew that, even if Micki kept telling her she was where she could do her Commonwealth the most good; she stayed because of Jami always needing her, and that wasn’t right.

She sighed.

Micki would make a better skipper than Jami, no doubt of it; at least she’d actually take her own damn advice, instead of hearing it and not listening, like Jami had done.

She couldn’t help Ariel come to terms with either her sexuality or her feelings for Ree Moseley.

But, no, she had to fucking play Cupid, find BS reasons for the two of them to come with her and the SecGen; Ree really hadn’t been needed to pilot the Ugly Duckling, and Jami needed her starship engineering officer along for the ride, like she needed another hole in her damn head.

“You’re right about that, Senior Captain,” her former Skipper said from behind her, Jami realizing, with a start, she’d been thinking aloud.

“Skipper,” she whispered, wiping the dirt from her gauntlets as she got up, still looking down at Erica’s headstone.

“I chose my good intentions,” Jami added, after a silence,”over my better judgement, making things worse for Ariel—for both of them—in the process; it takes what it takes, I can’t change that.”

“Yet,” she said, sighing again,”here I am, trying to change that.”

“Sounds like me, long time ago,” the Skipper told her, gently placing her hand on Jami’s shoulder. “There were days when I had no sodding clue what to do with you, what to tell you, make it all hurt a little less.”

“I put you through hell,” Jami stated. “I’m so sorry for that, Skipper.”

“Kept me on my toes,” the Skipper remarked. “Never a dull moment with you.”

“I’m sorry,” Jami repeated.

Another silence, and the Secretary General of the Commonwealth said:

“Those miserable cocksuckers would’ve gotten away with burying that little girl and her parents in a literal shithole, forgotten by everyone, if it weren’t for what you did.”

“What I did,” Jami whispered, adding, after a pause:

“Skipper, that poor little thing died in my arms. Fact she’s buried in a nice grave instead of covered in bastards’ piss and shit doesn’t change that.”

“My mama,” she added,” died in my arms too; she’s buried in Sumterfield, under his name. She wouldn’t have even been on Long Street, let alone even thought of trying to get the fuck offworld, if...”

She sighed one last time before falling silent and staring down half blind with tears at Erica’s grave.

“...Meredith’s dad chose an apt place—and day—to bury her,” Senior Captain Lanier’s uncle whispered, anger and bitterness in his voice, as he looked at the casket, at Pastor Norman repeating ritual words, at Meredith’s Daddy, standing stiffly in his hunter-green and khaki National Police dress uniform, at the six National Policemen from the Macon County Command standing by heavy massdriivers stacked in a sort of teepee, one of them holding a bugle in his arms and standing away from the others on the left, another, a fusbeam cutter in his scabbard, stood apart from the others on the right side.

“Honour guard,” Carson grumbled, his eye on the Union Cross, folded into an equilateral triangle, black Saint Andrew’s Cross on white showing, sitting atop the casket in such a way the top point was facing east. “You’d think her old man was the murder victim instead of the girl he...”

He sighed.

Finally, the preacher stood back, and the Gnat with the now-drawn and ignited cutter wheeled about to flank the casket at its head, shouting, “Orders, hut!”

The four in the middle wheeled around, heavy massdriivers in their hands, facing the casket, the bugler wheeling around to face away from the casket, all of them stomping their left feet at the same time.

“Honour guard,” the one with the cutter, “ready!”


13 NOVEMBER, 2276 12:03:21 ZULU

“!” shouted the Commonwealth Starmarine officer in her No.1 Lovat pattern dress blues, her cutter coming down in a chopping motion, as the section under her command fired off one last burst from their HMDs, a long silence hanging over the most recent grave to be dug, before she, the rest of the burial detail and a few others came to attention, as the piper played “The Flowers Of the Forest.”

Four days ago, she’d watched her Skipper bury fourteen of Mister Selkirk’s Starmarines and 53 of Ariel’s own starship engineering team..

She’d struggled with the condolence comms and letters, not knowing what to say, putting it off til last night, when Ree had come by her billet to visit, helped her find the right words to express her own grief and regret at not having been able to be the officer her team had needed.

Sighing, leaning further back against the sad cypress on a hill overlooking the cemetery’s northern edge, she closed her eyes, trying not to think about Ree, about any feelings she might have for the first friend she’d let herself have since Meredith’s death eight years ago.

Why, why, why did she have fall in love with Ariel in the first place?!

And, how could Ariel have let herself fall in love with Ree, knowing how much those kind of feelings tore her apart?!

She’d promised herself, no more friends, better for her to live the rest of her life alone, than to wreck other people’s.

That no more friends bullshit had gone out the window, when she’d met Ree four years ago, just after passing out of Tech, Starcraft, and Officer Schools on Mons Calpa.

Goddamn, the girl had just sat right down at her table in the ship’s commons, and didn’t shut up for a second; on top of that, she’d shown up on her doorstep every other time, wanting to chat, grab some grub, go shopping, something, always when Ariel had a million and one things to fucking do, knowing damn good and well she had to work ten times harder than the rest of the crew, just to barely keep up with them.

Pain in the ass, that was what Ree had been four years ago, and it just got worse over time.


Her thoughts trailed off, Unbroken’s starship engineering officer watching a section of Commonwealth Army horse cavalry patrol the area, the troopers mounted on their Bergerons constantly moving their heads around, steering their mounts with their knees, their weapons at the ready.

Above her , a squadron of Solarian Commonwealth Aerospace Force Malestrom F.50s streaked across the sky, contrails streaming from their wings and exhausts, while over in one corner of the cemetery, where a monument would’ve stood if it had been Sumterfield, was a mechanized artillery platform, its six guns—their length alone told her they were 203s—pointed up at the sky, its chassis painted in the sky blue of the Aerospace Force...

Next to the MAP was a LAL(Launch And Land) platform carrying twelve Raptor AKVs, doubtlessly part of the same anti-aerospace squadron; ordinarily, a AAS had 24 LALs to 26 MAPs, with a LAL and a MAP assigned to protect a given sector from aerial and space attack, the two remaining MAPs assigned as “floaters,” adding their firepower to any sector which needed it.

Another freshly-dug grave, a space or two away from the first burial, a squad of FedArmy soldiers carrying a tiny coffin shoulder-high, an officer two paces in front of them, several others, some in uniform, some in civilian suits, two to three paces behind the cortege.

“I heard,” Ree’s voice said, Ariel looking over her left shoulder to find her standing there, eyes staring a thousand meters ahead,”they average two or three burials a day; sometimes, they get lucky, find living family to be there, when...”

She trailed off, sighing, Ariel following her gaze to the flagstaffs in the center of the cemetery, the Silver Bear of Midnight Sun and the Commonwealth Sunburst both flying at half-staff, fluttering softly in the breeze.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

10) Kindergedicht
“The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere,
The ceremony of innocence is drowned.”
—William Bulter Yeats, “The Second Coming”

“...c’mon, baby,” Mama, gently shaking her, whispered,”get dressed, hurry, before he wakes up.”

“Get dressed?” Jami, still half-asleep, asked. “What for?”

“We’re getting the hell offworld,” Mama told her.

“No,” Jami objected. “No, Mama, if Daddy finds out , he’ll—”

“Baby,” Mama, taking the thirteen-year old girl lightly by her shoulders, looking her in the eye, whispered,”I know what they’ll do to us if they find out...but, I-i also know what they’ll do to you, your sister...and, to Sunni...if I don’t at least try to get you all away from them.”

“Now, hurry up,” she added, Jami getting out of bed, finding her clothes by touch on the floor, putting them on as quietly as she could in the...

...headlights burning into her as he charged back down Long Street, horn blasting the first few notes of “Glory to the Union,” into the night, he’d be on top of them any second now, out to finish what he’d started doing.

“Mama, please,” Jami sobbed, holding her mother’s broken body in her arms,“please, get up, please get up, please...”

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 03:22:16 ZULU

...get up.

Sweat poured down Senior Captain Jameison Sue Lanier’s face, as she sat up on the sofa, her body shaking, her head pounding, blood roaring in her ears.

Her throat dry...had to get some water, something cold and wet...she’d crashed at Angelique and Rebekah’s enough times, that she didn’t need the lights to find her way around...thank God for that...Jami half-staggered off the sofa, making her way to the kitchen, stopping midway, considering comming Micki, rejecting it; she needed her sleep too, she wasn’t there to hold Jami’s hand whennever she needed her hand held, she had a life outside of her, duties to attend to, a ship to run in her absence.

She padded along the carpeting.

On top of everything else, her stomach was growling, spitting up acid...light was on at the top of the stairs...her former Skipper was working too late again, the light was coming from her home office, Jami nodding her head as she walked into the kitchen, moving as quietly as she could so as not disturb the twins, the daughters of Angelique and Rebekah’s oldest living daughter, Jasmyn, commanding the Swiftsure...or Ariel, upstairs, sleeping in the room which had been Audrianna’s before she’d enlisted three years ago...Skipper had offered Jami Elli’s room, but she didn’t feel comfortable sleeping in a dead woman’s old room.

She got the four-liter jug of water out of the icebox, taking a glass from the cupboard,pouring it full, replacing the jug, as she rummaged round for something to eat, settling on a plate of leftover hamburgers and hot dogs, taking that and her glass of water to the dining room table, sitting down at one end of the table, picking up a copy of the Maxwell Montes Times someone had left there.

Headline wasn’t good, the story it was headlining even less good, the Joint Military Command—which had coordinated allied military ops during the two previous Interstellar Wars—had been resurrected, they were going to have their first meeting at Cosmograd, the cluster of colonies orbiting the Lunar darkside, and sprawled across the Lunar downside.

Rebekah had been re-elected Joint Military Commander by near-unanimous decision, the CDS herself having cast the sole dissenting vote.

The JMC’s decision to reconvene after ten years of what, for the sake of argument, Jami called peace, not only meant war with the Fedders was just a matter of when, but that when was going to be real soon now.

New Athens was harassing starcraft inbound for Cahill Point, that was the next story she was reading, the Yanker Starfleet was going after any ship running supplies and personnel to either Cahill Point or the four Maggie hydrolisis rigs off the coast of New Patagonia, JMC warbirds doing their best to discourage such A-two, more depressing news, the Yankers were just about done replacing the losses they’d sustained five days ago, deploying almost twice as much ortillery to replace the platforms that had been shot down...CCI was estimating it wouldn’t be too long before they tried to invade the Homesteads a second time...

“You’re going to ruin your eyes reading in the dark,” her ex-Skipper’s voice softly chided, Unbroken’s OC looking up from the screamer into the haggard face of her Secretary General.

“There’s a light on over the sink,” Jami replied.

“Besides,” she added, munching on a hot dog,”these do come with a warranty.”

“They don’t let you see in the dark, “ Angelique, sitting down in a chair beside her, said. “You’ve been watching too many Lodi McQuaid movies...what are they up to, a hundred now?”

“Ninety-four,” Jami replied, going on to the next story, this one on page A-four...the surviving Rovers were heading back out into space, this time kitted out with MHD shielding, a squadron of Osprey starfighters, and quad-mounted 152-millimeter massdrivers...that was just as depressing as the other stories, in its own way.

“New one’s called Beg For Death,” she added, reaching for a hamburger.

“You’re not going to eat all those on your own, are you?” Angelique asked.

“I’m hungry,” Jami replied. “These are or Rebekah—”

“Neither of us are ever around the house lately to do any cooking,” Angelique said. “No, those are Jasmyn’s doing; her sisters and she had a huge cookout Friday, just before all hell broke loose in the Terranovan Homesteads...I think either she or Ellenor fried up some chips to go with those, if—”

“I’ll probably get to them after I eat these,” Jami, now on page A-six, said.

She paused to take a sip of water, finshing up the hamburger she had in her hand, picking another hot dog, her former Skipper chiding,”you’re going to get the hiccups the way you eat.”

“At least,” she added,”get some bread and make sandwiches with those.”

“This is fine, Skipper,” Jami said, reading the top story on page A-six...the Royal Avalon Space Defense Force had sent three fleets of frigates and three armies of ground troops to Twice-Born to put a stop to New Athens’ “peacekeeping” efforts, some of which the MedCom had openly aired on the Net yesterday in the guise of military ops in the Homesteads; the Principality of Avalon, as Cor Caroli’s binary worlds of Avalon and Alisande were now known since the rebellion twenty-six years ago which had liberated them from the Rude Union, were sending their second in command to Cosmograd, their commanding general choosing to lead the strike against Twice-Born herself.

“Avalon’s your homeworld, isn’t it?” the Skipper, peeking at the article, asked.

“I was born there,” Jami replied,”but Daddy was assigned to the base in Curtis LeMay, when I was two years old. “My mama’s native to the planet, though...bastard forced himself on her when he was attending Starfleet Academy—the former Starfleet Academy— in New Attica, and...”

“...what the fuck did I tell you about goin’ in her room, huh, you goddamn little bitch?!” Daddy screamed, backhanding Mama across the bed, grabbing her by her hair with one hand, pulling down on her panties with the other, spanking her hard before turning her round to face him, shouting:

“You think I’m fuckin’ stupid?! You’re the stupid bitch round here, I know what the fuck you were doing in here, fucking trying to turn her out, make her one of you—don’t you fuckin’ lie to me, goddamn sick, fuckin’ little whore,” he backhanded her again when she tried to say something, Jami curling up underneath the covers, clutching the Pooh Bear Mama had given her just now, after Daddy had gotten through...

...fucking her.

Jami’s hands shook the screamer as they crushed it round the edges...three years old, and she’d already known what that word meant...the print swam in her field of vision, as tears ran down her cheeks.

A light touch on her right shoulder.

“You’re thinking of going to Terranova, aren’t you?” Angelique asked aloud, Jami nodding her head yes in reply, expecting Micki’s aunt, her former OC, to object, to remind her she had a huge pricetag on her head, and she was going to be all alone in a hostile land.

In the end, though, all she said was,”I understand.”

“Be careful,” she added.

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 03:46:21 ZULU

Goddamn sick, little fucking bitch was mashing Kyla’s face into the pillow, holding on to her fucking hair, as she screwed her with a goddamn Oscar Mayer wiener, Kyla howling in orgasm, Iso slapping her ass, telling her to shut her filthy, fucking hole, did she fucking want all of fucking Cambridge knowing just what she was, her little Kyla squealing,”I can’t help it, mama, I’m so fucking bad, and I like it, deserve it, when my mama loves me enough to tune me up!“

Iso pulled out of Kyla’s fat, fucking cooter, jerked her onto her knees, clawing her titties as she shoved the hot dog down one of her other holes, screaming for her to ”fucking eat it, bitch!“ Kyla squealing, ”oh, yes, Mama!“ her pink, tongue-studded tongue licking it first before chowing down on it, squealing ”oh, it tastes so fucking good, mama, so fucking GOOD!“

Goddamn sick fucks, Matthew Pate thought as he watched the Viacom remaj of The Women’s Room, a bunch of sick shit some goddamn whining radfemperv bitch had come up with 300-odd years ago, his eyes narrowing on Kyla coming out of Iso’s room, her perky little titties bouncing up and down as she stood over sweet, sweet, little Clarissa, and told her,”your turn, bitch!“ taking her by the hand and leading her into the bedroom, Clarissa not even needing to be told to pull off the butt floss, as Kyla screamed for her bitch to ”assume the position, and beg for it, now, lil’ girlie!“

Now, lil’ girlie!” Matt screamed, the twelve-year old boy grabbing a handful of his younger sister’s hair, pulling her up off the floor onto her knees. “Fucking beg for it! Beg for it!”

Goddamn licentious little howler tried turning her head away from him, but he’d be damned if he was going to have any of that.

“I SAID BEG FOR IT, LIL’ GIRLIE!” he screamed at her, bitchslapping her one, two, three, four times, little Shelby whimpering,”please, Sir, do me with your big ol’ monkeybone, Sir.”

Matt bitchslapped her again, pulling harder on that kinky black hair of hers, barking,”what the fuck did I tell you about that cryin’ bullshit, huh, girlie girl?!”

“That it was trick us girls like to play on you boys, Sir,” his little one said.

“Damn skippy,” Matt replied. “Now, beg for it, and fucking mean it this time, you lil’ howler!”

“Grab ‘em titties when you ask me politely to stick my bone inside your fat fuckin’ cooter,” he added, his sister feeling on her nasty self, just begging for bubba to fuck her.

Slamming her down onto the floor, Matt jumped on her, shoving it as far up in the little slut as it would go, laying his right forearm across her windpipe, shoving himself into his little bitch, as that other little bitch on the HV was shoving it into her little girlie.

Shut the fuck up, lil’ howler!” he screamed, bitchslapping his sister as she screamed her delight at making her brother get his bone up in her shit, asking her,”goddamnit, bitch, you want Daddy to fuckin’ know how much you like makin’ your own brother fuck you, huh?! DO YOU?!”

“Answer me, goddamn licentious fuckin’ howler!” he added, shoving himself into her again, grabbing hold of her hair with his free hand and slamming her head hard into the floor to shut the little bitch up, screaming,” I can’t help it, bubba, I’m a bad lil’ girlie, just like Britnee, and I need ya bone to make me right, bay-bay, yes I do, otherwise, I’d make my sister strap it on me, make that skank bitch Krista Hicks douche me out in the girls’ bathroom, make her screw me with an Oscar Mayer weiner, ‘cause I’m such a sick fuck! “

“Ain’t that right, bitch?!” he asked, slamming her head down into the floor again at the same time he shoved it in deeper.

”I said, ain’t that right, bitch?!” he repeated, slamming her head into the floor when she wouldn’t answer her man.

Ain’t that right?!” he screamed, bitchslapping her, as he hung it up in her.

Ain’t that right?!” he demanded one more time, before his little Shelby finally whimpered,”yes, S-sir.”

“Yes, Sir, what, lil’ howler?!” Matt demanded, thrusting himself into her again.

“I’m a bad lil’ girlie,” she said,” just like Britnee, a-an’ I need ya bone to make me right, bay-bay, yes I do, otherwise, I’d make my sister strap it on me, make that skank bitch Krista Hicks douche me out in the girls’ bathroom, make her screw me with an Oscar Mayer weiner, ‘cause I’m such a sick fuck. “

“I know you are,” her brother told her, smacking her hard across the face again, as he nutted up in her.

...her face was contorted in horror, staring up at him out of melted, sightless eyes...what they had left of her body...

He fell down on his knees, puking and puking, until his chest hurt and all that was left for his body to do was heave and sob.

This had been Timmie Dawes, one of his own...she had just turned seventeen, only a couple years younger than he was...they had cut off her hands and feet, pulled out all her teeth, took her gravemarkers, then torched what was left with a fusbeam rifle.

Only Jesus F. Carpathia knew what they were doing to Deedee; she had been with Timmie, and shreds of her PCD and underwear were everywhere...but, she wasn’t here...tracks...heavy footprints left by mech infantry, and lighter, unevenly spaced footprints, made by bare feet...they were recent...heading southeast, back towards New Dieppe...

...and, there he was, the son of a bitch , his own goddamn half-brother, fucking laughing at him, even as he fell down, ripped to shit by every last BPG Carson had driven into his worthless black ass....

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 04:02:11 ZULU

...and, he awoke screaming, cursing Horace, Carson Selkirk’s right hand reflexively gripping a weapon that wasn’t there, trying to close its nonexistent triggering circuit, his wife holding on to him, whispering “baby?” over and over, until he finally came back to reality.

“I’m all right,” he whispered, his chest rattling as he struggled to breathe, Annesha handing him a wetwipe just as he started coughing his brains out for what only seemed like an eternity, a glob of bloody, bluish-green phelgm congealing on the tissue, Carson looking at it for a second, before chucking the damn thing in the trash can on his side of the bed.

“Thank you,” he said, his voice still sounding rough.

“I didn’t mean to wake you,” he added, just now aware of tears running down his cheeks, Neesha holding him closer against her, kissing the base of his neck, laying her head there.

“It’s all right, baby,” she whispered.

“It’s all right,” she repeated.

“You were dreaming about New Dieppe again, weren’t you,” she said, Carson nodding his head yes.

“I thought so,” she said softly.

“Nineteen years old,” she whispered half to herself,”and they—”

“Eighteen when they promoted me to Sarnt Major,” Carson corrected her.

“A baby,” Annesha remarked. “Just a baby.”

“You and I both know how far from the truth that is,” Carson said.

“I know,” Annesha whispered.

“There are no babies,” she added. “Either we emerge from the womb fully-formed, or we get there real soon after.”

“This is one hugely depressing train of thought,” Carson added, shaking his head.

“Mmm, hmm,” Annesha whispered, her fingers playing over his nipples as she held on to him for dear life, Carson’s Earther ears picking up the sound of someone moving about downstairs.

“Jay’s up and about,” he remarked, hearing the HV going in the living room and the coffeemaker brewing in the kitchen.

“Coffee,” Carson said,”even his coffee, sounds good right about now.”

“...Jessi,” he pleaded, even knowing her mind was already made up,”you have to you have any idea what they’ll do to you if—”

Laying a hand on the twenty-five year old FedArmy captain’s shoulder, the woman he loved looked him dead in the eye, shook her head no...

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 04:11:18 ZULU

...and, three weeks later, she’d been “found” at the bottom of the Rio Verde, inside a ‘27½ Jag which she’d supposedly driven off a bridge on Cascadia Highway 816 while stoned out of her skull on redbud.

And, there wasn’t a second of the last 49 years, when Jay Todman had not missed her.

Watching the coffee brew, the veteran FedNewsNet reporter was listening to the HV natter on in Avon Man’s living room...ironically enough, to Telenet 424, Julianna Chen retelling the Persian version of events unfolding on Twice-Born:

“...the AFEG’s officers and leadership are ferals from offworld, with ties to radfem organizations and to the Commonwealth’s State Security Buerau; according to reports from Terranovan Security and Intelligence Directorate operatives attached to the Federation peacekeeping force, they are all, quote ‘fat as pigs,’ unquote, hoarding the bulk of the AFEG’s resources and money—earned through forced prostitution and drug trafficking—for themselves, surrounding themselves with harems of femsex slaves recruited from amongst the most attractive of the ferals taken captive by AFEG forces.

The bulk of the fighting is performed by the AFEG’s commandos, mostly young girls captured, turned feral by AFEG true believers, then forced to fight for their oppressors.

TSID reports indicate they are often poorly-equipped and even more poorly-fed, but with a fanatic devotion to the AFEG’s radfem, sojus Communist NatSoc agenda, reinforced by—”

“Couldn’t sleep either, huh?” Carson’s voice said from behind him.

“No,” Jay replied.

“Avalon intel,” he added,” confirmed all our suspicions...Loyalists, AFEGs, and those asshole Fedders are all in it together, have been for all 56 years of their so-called civil war.”

“Them and the MedCom,” Annesha observed, Jay turning to face Carson leaning on the island separating kitchen from dining room and his wife sitting on one of the stools in front of the island.

“Yeah,” Jay said.

“JMC’s second act, after agreeing Rebekah should be Chairman,” he added,” was to support the Avalon intervention on Twice-Born; Senate’s deployed the 11th, 13th and 23rd Aerospace Divisions, as well as the 2nd , 19th and 25th Armies to Twice-Born, Commonwealth’s sending STANSTARFORs Five, Six, Eight and Twelve, as well as Seventh through Tenth Army Corps, the Cydonians, Hidalgans, Cosmos, the Japanese, the Jolians, and the Horizons are sending whatever they can spare, Yankers are deploying reinforcements from the Spinward Command to shore up their ‘peacekeeping’ mission on planet—”

“’—yet another example of a determined minority,’” Roger Tyrant’s voice shouted,”’ imposing its will upon the majority by any means necessary, and we simply will not allow that to happen. The Executive Council have authorized the deployment of additional forces from each of its members to further our efforts in supporting the lawfully-elected government of Twice-Born, and to fight the terrorists seeking to undermine it through acts of unparalleled barbarism—’ ”

“Rain,” Carson whispered, Jay hearing it come down in torrents against the roof .

“I hate rain,” he added, as the coffeemaker finished brewing.

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 04:23:28 ZULU

“This is a classic balls-up,” Roger Selwyn Tarrant, High Commissioner Of the True Britannic Republic of Oswald and Chairman of the Executive Council of the United Federation of Sovereign Star Nations, said to the Yanker trog put in charge of all the other trogs, at the same time he jerked his hand towards the holoprojection of events as they were acutally unfolding on Twice-Born.

“Tell that to Damien,” his worthless begotten son replied. “It wasn’t my idea his people use that footage to depict military ops in the Homesteads.”

“It sure as hell wasn’t mine,” Damien d’Souza, Chairman of the Skywalker Ranch Media Committee insisted, looking down his glass at the Cascadian Floodplain grain whisky still in it.

“My orders to TMS were crystal clear,” he added. “They were to use actors kitted out in replicas of Yanker SRA gear, all the excess actresses whose contracts they couldn’t afford to keep, and one of their holostages, rigged to look, feel and smell like the Tin Gods, to depict the Fourth Shock Army’s retaliatory strike against the Homesteaders, and it was to run after our dops got through tuning that black bitch up for the cams; Raleigh commed me before they aired, told me everything was ready, exactly per my instructions.”

“Apparentally,” Rashad Malcom Muhammed, President of the Secret, Supreme, Exalted High Committee of the Thirteen of the New Confederate Order, commented, as he drank vintage JD and Corona Real on ice,”there was a miscommunication concerning your instructions, Damien.”

“Indeed,” Harrison Braidwood, President of the California Free State’s Board of Supervisors, said over his tequila sunrise.

“Does Raleigh have an explanation,” Guy asked,”or can we just go ahead, and start the purge of TMS with his sorry South Coast crackerhead ass?”

“Raleigh’s passed the loyalty check,” d’Souza replied,”that I ordered Security to give him just after the story aired; no one’s leaving the building, Security’s got the whole arco locked down, and Syd Deal’s going over the internal-surveillance data personally, to see what they missed.”

“What about the offworld operations?” Theodore Krantz, State President of the Cascadian Republic, asked.

“Security units are shutting them all down now, as we speak, Excellency,” d’Souza replied. “The studios on Skywalker Ranch will gradually assume the role of manufacturing live ‘casts from offworld, with Security watching their every move.”

“That, however,” he said,” is only part of the problem. The footage of 23rd Shock Army ops on Twice-Born was echoed to TMS by someone within the 23rd Shock Army, then echoed to the wider Net without first being vetted.”

“Meaning we’re dealing with at least two traitors in our midst,” Guy said,”one on your end, Damien, and one somewhere within the ranks of a nine-million man shock army.

The second our reinforcements arrive on TB, we will withdraw the 23rd Shock Army from the field, round up all copies of ‛em, all records of their existence, and deal with them way we dealt with what the DirtComs left of the 3rd.”

“Your answer to everything,” Sir Albert Drake, Prime Minister of the Dominion of Nova Virginia, remarked.

“Whatever works,” Guy told him.

“How are the target audience reacting to this, Damien?” he then asked.

“Those who aren’t dismissing it as fake news,” the head of the Movie Board replied,”are, for the most part, either cheering what is supposedly the Fourth Shock Army cleaning out the Homesteads, or are cheering the 23rd Shock Army cleaning out Twice-Born. There have already been ten billion echoes of that particular vid off TMS’ online store, before Raleigh had it taken down, translating to five hundred gig cool silver.”

“Still others, however...” he added, trailing off.

As a thought from his plant dissolved the holofootage being shown to scenes from early last night, protestors by the hundreds of thousands thronging the Yanker Capitol on all sides, blocking the streets, waving signs about accusing Guy and his mob of fraud concerning their intentions on Twice-Born—claiming New Athens’ motivations to be either imperialism or greed—and calling for the Terranovan gov to “BRING OUR BOYS HOME!”

“Can’t sic the National Police on them, can you, Guy?” Krantz observed nastily.

“Not with over a hundred thousand hostile warbirds hanging over our heads, Theodore,” Zellner replied.

“But,” he added, smiling, all his pretty shark’s teeth showing,”I think I got something for all that. Mouse?”

“In less than six hours from now,” Micheal John Bauer, the Yanker trogs’ Attorney General, spoke up from the foot of the conference table,” one of our operatives will detonate ten kilograms of matter and antimatter, equivalent to 215.1 megatons of TNT, inside Ezra’s basic-training center; everything within a radius of five kilometers not protected by MHDs will be completely annhilated by the initial event, with collateral damage extending another 105.5 kilometers from ground zero.”

“Sodding hell,” was Tarrant’s only reply, Bauer continuing:

“We will wait three hours, before the TSID announces they have determined the identity of the perpetrator,” the holo of a little blonde bitch, no more than eleven or twelve, already sporting an excellent set of knockers, floated over the conference table’s master terminal.

“Her name,” Bauer said,”is Krista Hicks; her mother is some hashslinger at a local Chik n’ Waffle, a former stripper, multiple convictions for drug possession, suspected by the TSID of having non-Canon sexual relations with another hashslinger at the same Chik n’ Waffle, perfect for our purposes...our operative’s observations of the breeder in question, confirmed by the Ministry of Training and Doctrine’s own agents, is that, in spite of all measures taken against her, she exhibits a high intelligence and dangerous non-Canon tendencies, though when our version of events is uploaded onto the Net, she will be portrayed as the typical stupid breeder who planned and comitted cold-blooded mass murder both out of jealous femsex rage and on the orders of the liberal, radfem, sojus, Illuminati, Bilderberger, Communist NatSoc, corpo-religious, interstellarist Jew conspiracy.”

“And,” Guy remarked, taking back the narrative,” once we have incontrovertible proof their kind need extra discipline to avoid falling prey to their innate perversities, no one will be stupid enough to voice any opinion on Amendment 42, operations against the Homesteaders, our efforts on Twice-Born, that whole mess in Baldwin County, so forth, other than 100% approval of what we have to do.”

“ leave her alone!” Margo screamed, the five-year old girl jumping on Daddy’s left leg, holding on for dear life, causing him to trip and fall onto the living room floor, Ariel’s youngest sister trying with all her might to keep him pinned down .

“You goddamn fuckin’ little whore!” he roared, grabbing Margo by the hair, tearing him off her, hurling her into the wall by the HV unit, turning away from Ariel, the nine-year old girl begging and pleading, no, Daddy, please, don’t...

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 06:02:19 ZULU

...don’t hurt her, please.

The darva alarm howled inside the troop deck of Commonwealth Forces Auxillary Vehicle Ugly Duckling, waking Senior Lieutenant Ariel Dixon from her nightmare, Unbroken‘s starship engineering officer stretching in the drop seat across from Commander Draco Selkirk; only 42 seconds from the time they’d lifted from Venus to here, not enough time at all for a decent nap.

Naturally, Mister Selkirk snored like an onrushing frieght train, as he lay secured in his seat next to the cockpit.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

She glanced inside the cockpit, watching Terranova get bigger in the assault shuttle’s master holoproj, wondering why she’d said yes, when the Skipper had woke her up to ask if she wanted to come with, after Ariel had promised herself Hell would freeze over first, before she’d ever set foot on this shithole again.

Skipper’s probably thinking the same exact damn thing, she mused. There are things tying her to this planet, just as there are things which will always tie me to here.

My sisters, for one, Angela and Kay, neither one lucky enough to have found their way offworld like me and Margo have...and, poor Ronnie, the best and brightest of us, dead and buried six years now, Daddy and the others telling the same lies on her as they had on Meredith...Sheriff Johnson probably even made the same sp

The darva alarm screamed its head off again, Ariel watching a Columbia-class heavy cruiser pounding the living shit out of a Haruko Maru-class commercial transport on vector for Cahill Point, the Japanese captain’s pleas for mercy falling upon deaf ears.

Master Moseley,” Senior Captain Lanier snapped from the co-pilot’s station, as Ariel felt Ugly Duckling’s six-pack of Raptors drop from its belly,”am echoing a vector to you now! Boost to 16.8 kips, then upcycle, max translight!”

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 06:04:19 ZULU

G.H. Christ!” Commander Elton Thurgood heard someone shouting over comms, the commander of Republican Union Starcraft Legislator Charles J. Ellis III painfully looking up, sure he had suffered brain damage from whatever had picked him up and slammed him through the ficon holodisplay into the wall, because that simply could not be a Communist Star Force Greyhawk assault shuttle slicing its way thorugh what was left of his bridge at 97.29 terakips ahv.

Leaving it dark and dead, with a gash up top that Thurgood could see the sky through, the sky and the western hemisphere of his home world.

The full realization of what had been done hit him...whoever had flown that bird had actually been insane enough to cycle in and out of hyperspace inside the Ellis’ bridge...which was not only loony, but required a degree of precision that simply was not Canon, especially for some bitch too stupid to even comprehend the basic principles of starship handling.

And, yet...

No, no, he was suffering brain damage, hallucinated the whole damn thing, that was the only logical answer, because the only other answer, logical or illogical, was unacceptible.

Not Canon.

“ goddamn little bitch!” Daddy screamed, backhanding her out of the chair and into the wall.

“Think you’re so goddamn smart, don’t you?!” he demanded, grabbing the nine-year old girl by her hair, hauling her up onto her feet, slapping her again, forcing her face into his.

“You ain’t smart,” he told her .“You ain’t shit, you hear me, you ain’t shit, and you never will be , no matter how many fuckin’ math and science books you fuckin’ bring home from the goddamn library; you will never, ever, be a goddamn thing, except a stinking, fuckin’ piece of goddamn pussy!

“Say it!” he ordered her, pulling on her hair and slapping her across the face when she wouldn’t it.

“Goddamn you, say it!” he screamed in her face, slapping her again.

“Say it!” he shouted, Jami tasting blood in her mouth after he slapped her again.

“Goddamn you lil’ howler, fucking say what I tell you to say, NOW!” he screamed, shaking her, breathing Cascadian Floodplain grain in her face, shaking on her head some more, screaming for her to tell him what he wanted to hear, slapping her across her face one, two, three, four, five, six, seven more times before she did what she was told...

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 06:05:00 ZULU

“...that’s fine,” Jami said to herself, watching 144 Predator starfighters come straight at her, the twelve Musocgee-class machines who’d launched them upcycling to max translight.

Master Pilot Rhiannon Moseley doing the same, coming close enough to the nose of one of the Yanker strike cruisers to read his kill board, firing a burst of 50mm bomb-pumped graser warheads straight through all those flags, Jami vectoring the Raptors in against its nearest squadron mate, concentrating fire on a single spot in his MHDs, burning through them, then his spaceframe in a whoosh! of white-hot plasma scooping out his crew and interior spaces, even as it jetted the hollowed-out hulk into the surface of New Patagonia.

Predators cycled in and out of the same instant in spacetime as Ugly Duckling, the boosted forward shielding and MHD beam emitters serving as a bumper, plowing through the lot of them, the shuttle’s twin 50s taking care of any still functioning, Jami sending her Raptors against an enemy machine just as he was about to intercept Ugly Duckling, stopping him dead and cold, as a volley of 203s zipped past the Greyhawk assault shuttle from her six, while another volley came at her from straight ahead.

Ree upcycled momentarily to light speed, downcycling to max sublight behind an ortillery platform vectoring 203mm BPG warheads where the Greyhawk had been, the young master pilot close enough inside its MHDs to turn it into scrap metal, the darva alarm warning of hostileson all sides of her, Ree having just barely having enough time to upcycle, and run between a pair of enemy machines like the Starcraft Enterprise between a pair of Peep war cruisers.

Or perhaps like an X-Wing heading down the trench, two squadrons of Preads on her ass, Jami shifting the MHD output to the aft emitters, reinforcing the aft shielding, driving the Raptors through her targets, while Ree made a pretty light show cycling in and out across the sky, 18.6 klicks over the continent of New Patagonia, less than eighty klicks away from Cahill Point itself, a trio of Muscogees on her tail, with whatever Predators they had between them.

Ree altered vector slightly, moving away from the continent, giving herself some room to maneuver, 130s and 203s streaking past her and down towards her, a fourth enemy machine, his shielding radiating in the indigo, violet and black parts of the visible EM spectrum, joining the other three, converging on her at 210 kilokips; any time now, they would get it in their heads to—

All four of them upcycled at the same time, Ree waiting for it, reinforcing the shielding all round, the young woman’s mind working like mad, anticipating their moves, her countermoves, their countermoves.

Upcycling instantly and briefly to low translight the instant the forward tachyon telescope detected tachyon-emission patterns, not even time to pray she was right as she downcycled again, blindly firing the 50s, upcycling again, repeating the manuver three more times before downcycling to max sublight in the center of the globe made by sixteen Preds, vectoring a firestorm of 50mm BPG her way the instant she cut her ahv, Jami ripping through them from the outside with her Raptors, before Ree upcycled again.

Jami smiled slightly as she found herself looking down the barrel of a 203 after another downcycle, Ree slamming home a burst from her 50s, just as warheads were racing out of the opposing massdriver to meet them, the strike cruiser blowing itself apart, as Ugly Duckling turned sharply away, her two Raptors rejoining her side, and the two remaining Yanker warbirds, during intervals in norm, slewed about on their RCS thrusters to try and bring their weapons to bear.

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 06:23:21 ZULU

“Take the breeders into another room,” Mister Horace told Daddy. “I have business to discuss with young Matthew.”

“You heard the man,” Daddy barked, all his little bitches getting up and following his pointing finger out of the dining room, Mister Horace sitting himself in Daddy’s chair in the dining room, helping himself to one of the biscuits in the bowl in the middle of the table.

“You may go now,” the TSID officer said to Daddy and Matt’s older brother James, before putting one of his feet up on the dining room table, Daddy and James both looking at him like he’d bumped his head.

“I said go!” Mister Horace ordered them, the two of them walking out of the dining room, Mister Horace motioning to Chief Hugh, telling him,” see to it none of them come in here, until I say otherwise.”

“Yessir,” Chief Hugh replied, before leaving Mister Horace and Matt alone.

“Do you fully understand what is being asked of you?” Mister Horace asked, before dunking the biscuit in his hand into the boat of sausage gravy in front of him.

“Yes, sir,” Matt replied.

“Explain it to me, young man, just so that we are both clear on what is to be accomplished,“ the TSID major ordered Matt, after a bite of biscuit.

“At ten o’ clock today,” Matt said,”I am to detonate a matter-antimatter device inside the tradoc. The yield of the device is 215.1 megatons, enough to wipe everything in the town of Ezra off the map, including myself.”

“Does that bother you?” Mister Horace asked, finshing off the first biscuit, dunking a second in the gravy.

“I am a man,” Matt replied,” Mere death is only gain, especially in the service of His Work.”

That,” he added, “is Canon!”

“And Canon is truth,” Mister Horace said, before finishing off the first biscuit, and dunking a piece of country ham in the gravy,”and truth is Canon!”

“And truth is Canon,” Matt whispered.

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 06:30:00 ZULU

“Like Nemo and the whales,” Tarrant whispered, watching the holoprojection of the gored Yanker heavy cruiser tumbling end over end in the sky over New Patagonia, shedding fiery bits of itself as it died.

“You mean Jonah, don’t you?” his idiotic begotten son said from behind him.

“No, little Guy,” the Chairman of the Executive Council replied archly,”I didn’t.”

“She did all that,” he added, after a silence,”and, still—”

“Talk like that’s dangerous, Pops,” Guy had the brass to tell him. “Even for you.”

Especially,” he added,” for you.”

She’s the danger, you imbecile,” Tarrant replied, downing another brandy as he sat in the resort’s conference table, eyes still fixed on the data being echoed here from the Union Security Council’s underground command center three hundred klicks northwest of Hilton Head Island.

“Even if what you say is true—” Guy started to insist

“What I say is true,” Tarrant snapped.

Guy’s only reply was to snort contempt for the man who’d birthed him.

“Want my opinion, you’ve gone soft, Pops, same as Jackson; I never thought I’d live to see the day you, of all people, express admiration for one of them, for some little black piece of Fall Line trailer-park trash that—”

“Don’t insult my intelligence by saying it was all luck, little Guy,” Tarrant, recharging his glass, said to him. “Don’t be that much of a f—”

“Like I said,” his son, so much like Benjamin in his pigheadedness, replied, ”talk like that’s dangerous, Pops.”

“I should,” he added,” tell the others what you said, word for—” he added,

“Do as you please, little Guy,” Tarrant told him.

“—but, out of what little admiration I have left for you,” his troglodyte of an only begotten son finished,“I’m gonna hold my tongue, and hope you have enough sense to come back round to our side.”

“There are no sides, little Guy, ” Tarrant remarked. “Only the Work.”

“In any case,” Zellner said, ignorning Tarrant’s last comment,”she’s back on Terranovan soil now; the National Police and the TSID have been alerted.”

“Whatever she may be, if she’s anything at all,” he so arrogantly asserted,”the instant she sets foot one anywhere on Basseterre, we will have her.”

“If you say so, little Guy,” Tarrant remarked, watching the Yanker heavy’s death throes.

“If,” he repeated,”you say so.”

“ goddamn little bastard!” Daddy screamed, dragging him by his hair out of Sissy’s bed, Sissy begging him not to hurt Carson, he and Booger Bear only trying to protect his sissy.

“Bitch, shut your filthy fuckin’ mouth!” Daddy screamed, everything flashing white, hurting all over, the five-year old boy flying across the room and hitting Sissy’s dresser drawers hard...he could his Daddy hitting her, calling her a whore, a slut, a sick, goddamn fucking bitch...his sissy was crying....

With a scream, the little boy threw himself onto one of Daddy’s legs, knocking him slightly off-balance, Carson biting down as hard as he could, Daddy roaring, Carson barely aware of a crack!ing sound, another hot flash of white, his sister screaming, as everything...

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 06:38:20 ZULU

...went had taken six and a half hours for some ham-fisted raghead with a regen ray and an accent thicker than steam table grits to weld shut the crack along the back of his skull, which was what he’d deserved for a little boy’s stupidity.

Carson wiped the dirt from his hands, squatting in front of the violets he’d planted round Abby’s headstone, the wind and the rain both picking up, the suns blotted out by leaden grey clouds; he sniffled, as the tears just kept he gave a shit, it was either honest emotion or the fucking bottle, and he knew which one he couldn’t do.

His brother had taken the exact opposite route, twins in appearance only, he’d chosen to lock it all down, chase it away with whatever booze he could pour down his throat, when he was offship—he had respect enough for Jami and the Service not to break regs, and bring it on board her bird—his niece, until she finally realized it wasn’t the way to go, had done the same exact goddamn thing, though not in the last thirty years, thank G.F. Carpathia, Micki had been good for her...

He sighed, smiling, gently touching the headstone.

It had been raining like this when they’d buried her, Daddy had slapped the shit out of him for the cardinal sin of showing grief for his older sister; Jeff had had the decency to wait until he was home to call his fix to come hook him up with some premium redbud, which—as was still his fashion—he had with his late afternoon glass of Kentucky and bug juice.

A familiar light touch on his shoulder.

“You didn’t have to come out here, baby,” Carson whispered.

“I know,” Annesha whispered.

“Jay with you?” he asked.

“Left him on the front porch,” his heart and soul replied,”strumming his guitar, thinking about Jessi.”

“Fuck,” Carson interjected; his friend had been balls deep in dirty slush on the other side of Joli, when he’d gotten the word about Jessi.

She’d made the mistake of trusting the wrong motherfucker, a mistake you only had to make once to regret it. On his info, she’d gone to San Juan del Cascadia, in the Floodplain, and, when she’d met up with him again, the Cassie Internal Security Buerau, Evergeeked State Security, MedCom Security, the Californios’ Special Security Unit, the OSS, and, of course, the goddamn TSID had all been waiting to meet her.

All Armed Forces Intelligence had been able to do was to find out, in detail, just how much those bonesmokers had made her suffer, before finally letting her die, and, for what?

Not a damn thing, he answered himself. Not a goddamn—

Annesha squeezed his shoulder.

“At least,” he whispered,”I have someone; he has his work, his friends, all those years on the Senate , as President, and no one close like she was; bastards didn’t even have the common fucking decency to leave him with any good memories of her, they keep on killing her.

Those... Skywalker Ranch...dicksuckers are doing another movie about her on Lifetime, holovid for women, using psuedofem to lend creedence to all that crap they’ve been saying about her, power, influence, money, Dom Perigon in her hand and redbud up her goddamn nose, as she whores around with everything male and female in that tin-plated shithole.”

His cybernetic hand had balled itself up into a shaking fist.

“I only met her once; she was waiting for him, when Unbroken docked at Polaris Station with my team and his squadron on board—this was just before the order came down for the final assault on Joli. She looked just like what you’d expect of a Skywalker Ranch Sally, perfectlly blonde, body perfectlly distorted to the male paradigm, and, of course, she was young, same age as him at the time.”

“Jami’s on planet,” Annesha said, after a brief lull in the conversation. “She commed me via plant, as I was coming up here.”

“Fuck,” Carson swore. “What the hell could that girl be thinking, she knows—”

“She’s doing the same thing you are, baby,” Annesha whispered, cutting him off.

“Same exact thing,” she repeated.

...Meredith, acting like she didn’t have a brain in her head, talking with Liz Gassett about clothes and boys, about MHVid; Meredith looked like she was trapped, her blue eyes holding so much pain.

She was smart, compassionate, read a lot, and not the trashy fairy vampire romance books she was discussing with Liz right now.

They were both making fun of Ariel, running down other girls, and Ariel could tell Meredith didn’t like doing that either

Ariel quickly averted her eyes, before either Meredith or Liz saw her staring at them; they might think she was...

“...her death,” Sheriff Johnson intoned into a hushed auditorium,“ was a tragedy, a tragedy brought on by her condition. As you all know by now, Meredith Wallace was femperv, a feral who wished non-Canon sexual intercourse with others of her kind.

This is abnormal and can only lead to tears. We, His People, are the sons of Adam Yeshua ben Yaweh, and We, through the Process of Evolution, created them to serve Us, and those ferals who think it is natural to disobey this most fundamental law of Nature, and love, if you can call it that, love others of their kind, will end up either killing themselves, as this affliction of theirs consumes them utterly....”

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 08:07:11 ZULU

...there was a Chrisdent Cross on the headstone, her name, her birth and death dates, the words “BELOVED DAUGHTER OF MACON COUNTY SHERIFF DWIGHT WALLACE.”

The marble was discolored by grass stains, tallgrass growing wild all round it, covering up the pot of cut lilies someone had placed in front of the headstone, the lilies themselves starting to wilt and turn brown; this wasn’t as well kept up as Mont Noir, the MiniNatRes ranger who’d come up to them earlier had told them there’d been mandatory budget cuts, 25% across the board for low-priority ministries such as TraDoc and Natural Resources.

Looking up, Ariel could just barely see Senior Captain Lanier, eighteen rows of headstones further up, three or four graves to her right, kneeling over her mama’s grave, Ariel able to make out the lettering:

AUGUST 16, 2211
JUNE 23, 2238

on the back of the grass and mud-stained headstone, the tertraskelion of Chrisdentity above the words; her skipper was on her knees, talking to her mama, as she planted the white carnation she’d bought before leaving Venus earlier this morning.

“’Loving memory,’ my ass,” she heard someone say behind her, Unbroken’s starship engineering officer jumping three feet out of her skin, and moving her hand towards her power-holstered PDMD13 before she realized it was only Carson Selkirk.

“Jumpy thing, isn’t she?” he remarked to his twin brother.

“Yeah,” Mister Selkirk replied, grinning.

“So,” Carson then remarked, more than a little bit hot under the collar,”Drac, my brother, I thought your job was to talk her out of dumb shit like this.”

“She wanted to visit her mama,” Ariel said softly. “She didn’t have a chance, she—”

“Was rotting on that frozen fucking shithole,” Carson snapped,”when dear bastard half-brother Jeff spent nearly a half meg TSC to pretend he loved the woman he raped, tormented and finally murdered out of alcoholic spite.”

“Still—“ he started to say, Mister Selkirk remarking,”I ain’t never been able to talk that girl outta shit, Carse, try as I might. When she got it in her head to come here, and visit her mama, only thing I could do was tag along, and watch her back.”

“Out her goddamn mind,” Carson remarked.

“North-northwest, bro,” Mister Selkirk replied sadly. “North-northwest.”

“...I told her to meet us up at the Grub n’ Gas,” Mama said, stopping to catch her breath, bent over, holding her knees, just panting; nine and half months pregnant, she shouldn’t even be out walking like this.

“I’m fine, baby” Mama told her, noticing the look in her daughter’s eyes,”don’t worry about—”

A roar of an engine coming up the street behind them drowned out the rest of what she going to say...

...white light blinded her, his voice, stinking of alcohol, screaming at her, calling her a bitch, grabbing her, turning her around just so he could knock hell out of her, Jami making the mistake of trying to get back up, Daddy stomping her into the pavement, kicking her, hauling her back up onto her feet, slamming her up against the hood of the car, unzipping her jeans, pulling them and her panties down, laying into her ass with his belt and his boots, his breath coming in ragged gasps as he called her a murdering goddamn bitch, telling her she did it, she did it...

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 08:08:00 ZULU

...they didn’t make any mention of the sister she’d never got to see, probably because it would’ve been a girl, had she had a chance to have been born.

Unbroken’s OC sighed, wiping the mud from her gauntlets best she could, fighting with herself over whether or not to head on to Ezra, deciding against it; this was real time, not some recycled OSM sitcom, Lionel and Jean didn’t hook up after thirty-odd years and, all of a sudden, do the happily ever after dance.

Didn’t work that way.

And, she had no business trying; Micki was her heart and soul, the one she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, and she wasn’t being fair to her by still thinking about Sunni after all this time.

And, it wouldn’t be fair to Sunni either, not when Jami had someone in her life.

She sighed, as she got up off her knees.

She had no business doing a lot of things, she realized, as she saw Ariel staring down at a grave eighteen rows down from her, both Uncle Carson and Uncle Drac standing behind her.

Uncle Carson had been the one who’d told her about Meredith, after he’d heard what had happened four years ago, Jami keeping that information to herself, until Ariel was ready to talk about it...which seemed unlikely.

The inside of her head bleeped, Jami accessing her plant without a second thought.

The line of text floating in front of her right eye had the skipper of the Unbroken hollering for Ariel, Ree, and Uncle Drac to move their asses at the same time she was running toward where she’d parked her motorcycle.

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 08:11:05 ZULU

“The three of y’all, get your asses back to the bird! Fuckin’ moovve!his niece started screaming all of a sudden, as she hauled ass across the cemetery, Carson making the mistake of trying to intercept her, meeting up with her just as she reached the sad cypress under which she’d parked her Sable 1500 motorcycle, heaving and coughing up bloody blue phelgm as he managed to get out the words,” girl, what the fuck?!”

This, Uncle Carson,” Jami said, thinking the bike into roaring life, as she told her plant to display the message she’d just received.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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U.P. Cinnabar
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Posts: 3845
Joined: 2016-02-05 08:11pm
Location: Aboard the RCS Princess Cecile

Re: Between the Stars And Far Away

Post by U.P. Cinnabar »

One line of text, in Commonwealth Shorthand:

“Ball, 3,496.5 by -450, 1106.83.”

“Jesus Fuckin’ Carpathia,” Carson whispered, before a thought from his plant got his pickup’s MHD turbine roaring, as it pulled the Mountineer 6x6 round to him, Carson diving into the opened passenger-side door, sliding in behind the wheel and slamming down on the ‛dro, Jami rocketing out of the park ahead of him at nearly six hundred klicks an hour, as Ariel, Drac, and the other young woman all took off running towards the woods.

They had an hour and forty-eight minutes before Ernest R. Anderson Basic Training Center and God above only knew how much else of the Fall Line went up in a flash.

It didn’t take a hell of a lot of antimatter to make a really big boom; with MHD shielding, someone could store ten, even a hundred kilos in a size which was all too convenient to carry round...and, any damn fool could make antimatter from hydrogen gas, the mechanics were just that simple, though, when it all went down, they’ll say the bomber got it all off the Net...

“Annesha,” he said into his plant’s laryngitial mic, as he raced down Terranova Highway 49 at 518 kilometers per hour ,”baby, just listen to what I have to say. Get Jay’s sorry ass up out of his funk, have him and you meet me at the basic-training center in Ezra, ASAP—”

“Carson,” his wife’s holoimage asked worriedly,”what’s—”

“I’ll explain, when I hook up with you, baby,” Carson replied, the whining sirens of at least four National Police cruisers hard up on his ass. “Right now, no time, I’ve got Gnats on my back bumper field, four or five of ‘em, probably sent to arrest Jami.”

“Uncle Carson,” his niece’s holoimage, floating side by side with that of his wife’s, said,”Ree, Ariel and Uncle Drac are taking the Ugly Duckling upside to warn SVA Tom; I’m going to bring the Gnats to the party, you’re gonna run interference for me, so none of them can get close enough to drive a BPG through me.”

“Right,” Carson managed to say, more Gnat cruisers joining the chase at the toll plaza intersecting 49 and Terranova 26, one of the leaden clouds in the sky flashing briefly and raining tachyons down onto the surface of the planet.

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 08:12:59 ZULU

“Report, Number One!” Star Vice Admiral Katelyn Tom asked , sitting down at Solarian Commonwealth Starcraft Belle Poule’s command conn.

Ugly Duckling’s just achieved escape velocity, and has upcycled to max sublight,Skipper; now 1.87 kiloklicks ahead, closing us rapidly,” Commander Rebecca Charen reported. “Unbroken’s Starmarine commander, starship engineering officer, and assault shuttle pilot on board.”

“Senior Captain Lanier?” Katelyn asked.

“She’s on planet, sir,” Exec Margaux Saint-Marie reported from defensive countermeasures,”being chased by half the Yanker National Police’s Sumter County Command; her uncle’s close behind her. Am monitoring all National Police comm traffic, and echoing same to her plant.”

“Commander Draco Selkirk of Unbroken on the line, Skipper,” Senior Lieutenant Therese Magadieu reported from intel. “Alfa priority, captain’s eyes only.”

“Echo it to my plant, Leftenant,” Katelyn said, a line of text, in Commonwealth Shorthand, floating in front of her.

“Troop Six, Actual!” Katelyn screamed over comms.“I want them on my deck, tout suite!”

Mister Magadieu,” she added,”start scanning for antimatter at planetary coordinates 31½ degrees north by four decimal zero-five-four degrees west, do it now!”

“Sir!” Belle Poule’s intel officer snapped, as Unbroken’s assault shuttle pilot, starship engineering officer and Starmarine Commander stepped onto the lower comcon.

“Talk to me, Mister Selkirk,” Katelyn snapped.

“Sir,” Draco Selkirk explained,” the Skipper received the text-only communication you just viewed via plant, while on planet visiting her mother’s grave.

The source of the comm is unknown at this time; it was routed through the Terranovan orbital-defense system, ultra-compression microburst, using a commerically-available data-compression protocol.

It is legit, however.”

“Confirmed on that, Skipper,” Therese confirmed. “Passive suite confirms presence of ten kilos of matter and antimatter inside the basic training center in Ezra, estimated yield 215.1 megatons.”

Merde,” whispered the SOC, 51 Frigate Wing.

“Intel, flash all relevant data to commander, Dokdo,” she added. “Echo same to Defense Staff.”

“Number One,” she added, eyes locked onto the master holoproj,”kill spinhab, blow out the ship, and sound battle ready.”

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 08:38:19 ZULU

“This is Jamie Murdoch,” Jamie Murdoch’s holo said,”CBS News, live with units of the Terranovan National Police’s Flynt and Sumter County Commands, currently pursuing convicted serial femsex killer Jameison Lanier down Terranova Highway 49.”

“In 2238, Lanier, then thirteen years old and already in trouble with authorities for multiple femsex crimes and drug-related offenses,” the Californio bastard said after a pause,”ran over her pregnant mother three times with her father’s vintage gasburner automobile, for which she was sent to the Terranovan Feminine Rehab Colony on Cocytus for three years, three years during which she rose in the inmate hierarchy, through acts of unparalleled femsexual sadism, from bottom girl of her cellblock to its queen, the one in charge of all the other girls.

Black Jami, as her fellow inmates called her, ruled her prison queendom with a leather-gloved iron fist, terrorizing guards and inmates alike; in fact, one former inmate of Cocytus, in an interview with CBS News’ Harrold Osgoode, describes an incident where Lanier and her crew ‘punished’ a female guard for her dogged enforcement of prison rules by cornering her in one of the bathrooms, stripping her naked, gang raping her repeatedly with fists, broomhandles and sex toys improvised from bathroom plungers and ace bandages, before tying a belt around her neck and dragging her brutalized, sexaully-abused body through the cellblocks as both a trophy and a war—”

They did have 38 years to come up with this bullshit, Jami thought to herself, turning from Murdoch’s cast to the broadcasts on the National Police comm traffic Belle Poule was scanning for her.

Another blocking field was being raised and energized at the intersection of 49 and Moseley Road, fifteen Gnat cruisers and a UV-204 War Pig tactical transport arrayed behind it on all twenty lanes of the highway, weapons at the ready.

She figured she’d make for good HV so far, that was the point, get the icewarriors and the MedCom hot on her trail so that they’d follow her—hopefully—right to whoever was hellbent on obliterating the fucking Fall Line just to support Amendment 42; if Carson, Auntie ‘Neesha and President Todman did their part, and she did hers, New Athens would be caught with pants down and hand on pecker, and, good luck trying to explain this one as just crisis actors and another evil liberal, radfem, sojus, Illuminati, Bilderberger, Communist NatSoc, interstellarist, corpo-religious Jew fake news story...

First, though, she had to get around that field.

She was running flat out at 638 kilometers per hour, fastest she’d gotten up to; that MHD field the Gnats were deploying would smear her all over its surface at that speed, if she was lucky...

She was across the median strip, across the ten southbound lanes, and in someone’s driveway before her mind registered the fact that old grocery store , the one with the dirt floor and the hoop cheese, was still standing where it had always stood, just a half klick behind her; putting the desire for a Peach Nehi behind her, Unbroken’s skipper tore up the driveway, plowing through creeper vine and brush, skirting the side of another house, clipping the front corner of a Gnat cruiser who had thought too late to block off that approach, as she screamed onto Moseley Road and just as quickly off of it, cutting across farmland, popping a wheelie, as she came up on a sagging barbed wire fence that had probably been standing since the arrival of the First Colony nearly two centuries ago, Jami jumping it, landing on Bible Camp Road, two Gnat cruisers making the same leap, the others, especially the War Pig just now lumbering into the chase, turning onto Bible Camp from the Duke farm; she’d lost her uncle, told him to never mind running interference, just get to the tradoc, she’d lead the sumbitches there herself.


They’d brought in a pair of Spectre IV gunships, guappo!ing the area around her like Ghu’lam Death Gliders running down Jock MacGuyver and his team, as they made their weekly hundred-yard dash to the stargate.

Murdoch was probably aboard one of those birds, telling the worlds lies about her bringing Unbroken here to pump plutonium oxide gas and biologicals into the Homesteads to terrorize its Union-loyal population, ‘cause she was a terrorist as well as a femsex killer, and that was the kind of evil thing femsex killer terrorists did; she was counting on them not to fire for effect, just to try and rattle her, they wanted her alive, reasonably intact so they could...

Best she didn’t think about that right now.

Unbroken’s OC slid her bike back onto 49, fishtailing another Gnat cruiser on its way to join the hunt for her, Jami jumping the median strip, leaving polymer behind from her back tire as she cut across the driveway of a long-abandoned store onto Powersville Road, jumping the magrail cutting the road in two, kicking up gravel as she almost lost control in front of the Powersville Opry, the Sable giving her everything it had, as Jami raced past Lakeview Road and Avon Man’s house, momentarily losing all her pursuers save the two gunships.

Only momentarily, Jami regaining them and more when she turned onto the Terranova 247 Connector, heading in the direction of CLM; if she ‘d headed toward Ezra too soon, it would give up the whole game, and that would not be good for her or anything else in a three-county area not protected by some serious MHD; the fox had to keep the hounds guessing until the absolute last second.

The fox cut her velocity, when she saw she was starting to lose her hounds, down from 638 to just below 590 kph, as they passed the Love Cafe and the Aviator truck stop, the blocking field generators on both ends of the IC 75 bridge just starting to deploy, cruisers moving into position near the Exxon and the Circle K on the other side, Jami bulleting through all of them before they were ready, the road mercifully cleared of traffic, the Gnats following all standard pursuit protocols to the letter.

Including an attempt by them to hack the Sable’s AI, Jami telling it to use everything short of a berserker to defend itself, as she passed Gunn Road, popping another wheelie at the county line, drawing her PDMD as she came over the hill past the Chik n’ Waffle, snapping off a shot in the direction of the field generator on the right-hand side of the intersection of Terranova 41and 247C, vectoring another towards the jenny in the median strip as a just in case, Jami sailing through the now-deactivated field, round the hastily-formed line of Gnat cruisers and War Pigs, all of them now turning round to join in the chase as she led them down Watson-MLK Boulevard(what the 247 Connector was now known from here to its meeting up with Terranova 247).

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 09:05:59 ZULU

“Goddamnit, lil’ bone,” Chief Master Sergeant Hugh Hatcher’s voice said loud and clear over the headphones,”fucking wait ‘til you’re supposed to—”

“What part of comm silence did I fail to get across to you, Chief?!” that bastard Horace Rumph’s voice demanded, Hugh replying,”what fuckin’ difference does it make now?!”

“Until the operation actually succeeds, Chief Hatcher,” Whore Ass reminded him,”any breach of discipline makes all the difference in the worlds.”

Sure does, dear brother, Carson, keeping the lasdropper he’d cobbled together from all of Dad’s junk aimed squarely at the back windshield of Hugh’s zippy little white ‘77 GMT Cheetah coupe, thought to himself, adjusting his kneeling/crouching position between two parked cars in the Ernest R. Anderson Basic Training Center’s staff parking lot.

After his niece had told him to go on to the tradoc, Carson had stopped by the house to pick it up, figuring it might come in handy, and, so far, it had.

Thanks to it, they had all they needed to catch at least the TSID in the act of mass murder; they even knew who the intended bomber was, Sunni Pate’s youngest ratbag son, the one he never particularlly cared for anyway.

Sunni couldn’t stand her own kids, though she had to keep up appearences same as the rest, though, it would go a hell of a lot worse on her than just a snub from the Bucket woman if she dared show even a single honest emotion.

“The lil’ bitch’s feelin’ on her,” whined Matt Pate, whose twelve-year old vocabulary could curdle fresh milk and embarrass the hardest core rapper,” on my fuckin’ Shelby, tellin’ her everything’s—”

“Chief Hatcher told you to wait!” Whore Ass’ exapserated voice snapped, shutting the little bastard up.

When he’d been eight, Matt had sat right there in the fucking Chik n’ Waffle, and, in front of customers, associates and both parents, he’d told Mindy Singer ”Roses are red, lemons are sour. Open your legs and gimme an hour;” needless to say, Randy had laughed, everyone else, except Annesha and Carson, joining in, Annesha’s objections being readily met by,”he’s only a little boy, he don’t know what he’s saying...”

Carson sighed.

He had to wait as well; if they went in now, at best, they wouldn’t be able to catch the Yanker gov with its pants down and its hand on its bone looking at dirty pics; more likely, Matt or Hugh would just go ahead and wipe Ezra off the face of Terranova altogether.

Just a little boy...

“ can’t love her,” he insisted. “She’s a girl, you’re not supposed to love other girls, you’re supposed to love boys. That is Canon, goddamnit!”

“I do love her,” Li said, the twelve-year old girl starting to back away from him, Carson grabbing her, pinning her against the wall, the twelve-year old boy screaming,“she can’t love you! I love you...I’m a boy, goddamnit, you’re supposed to love me!”

With all his strength, Carson smashed her into the wall, kept her from moving , put his mouth on hers, started sticking his tongue down in it.

And, he let her go, Li falling on her butt to the ground, Carson crying, backing away, telling her over and over he was sorry.

Just before he ran off...

“ many ages hence,” Carson found himself whispering,”shall this our lofty scene be acted over in states unborn and accents yet unknown?”

“Huh?” Jay‘s voice said over the headphones.

“Both,” Carson replied softly,”very outstanding questions, old friend.”

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 09:32:59 ZULU

“Stupid, goddamn fucking bitch,” Guy, eyes glued to the chase being broadcast all across the Net, even by the non-Media Committee sources, commented, the holoprojected Jami Lanier leading her pursuers straight up Terranova Highway 247, past all the obvious turnings in the road which would’ve led her back to Ezra, Murdoch’s voice saying:”Units from the Bibb County Command are now joining in the hunt for convicted femsex killer Jameison Lanier[her father, Tarrant had found out, named her after Star Trek’s Captain Jameison T. Kirk], with two additonal Spectre IV gunships brought in from the 48th National Police Aviation Company based at the Fall Line Regional Aerospace Port in Flyntsboro,” the four Yanker Gnat gunships eagerly guappo!ing the crap out of everything round Lanier as she bulleted through another blocking field and underneath a bridge, sideswiping a PARAWIG lorry carrying beer as it pulled out of a warehouse on the opposite side of the road, the vehicle neatly jacknifing in the path of her pursuers.

Only momentarily slowing them down, Unbroken’s commander popping yet another wheelie, as d’Souza remarked,” even the Commie and Middie mediacorps are airing the chase, to the exclusion of all else; the numbers on this are just incredible, almost a 99 share , and they’re still tuning in.“

The Chairman of the Executive Council didn’t even bother to tell the MedCom Chairman or any of the others that was what she’d hoped for, that all the worlds would be watching, when she led the bloody Gnats right to the lad about to send over a quarter-billion people to perdition, exposing the Yanker gov’s involvement in the whole affair in the process.

“It seems,” Rashad commented,” you were wrong about her, Roger.”

“It would seem that way, Rashad,” Tarrant commented, Lanier veering sharply off of Terranova 247, down a slip road, and onto Terranova Highway 249, or Lake Martinez Road, at a speed guranteed to keep her ahead of her pursuers, though not so fast as to arrive in Ezra, until it was far too late for Guy and his mob to abort the operation.

“More than seem,” Tarrant’s imbecilic begotten son said, grabbing the arm of one of the resort’s scantily-clad waitresses, slapping her bare bum, when she squealed, at the same time he grabbed a drink off the tray he sent tumbling onto the floor.

“Well,” he said, turning the waitress loose, “fucking clean it up!” the girl falling untidily onto the floor, bending over to pick up the tray and glasses, the short dress she was wearing lifting up to expose her bottom to his foot, a situation he immediately took advantage of.

“Stupid goddamn little bitch,” Guy said to her and to Lanier.

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 09:44:06 ZULU

“Good, Master Moseley,” Mister Selkirk said, seated in Ugly Duckling’s co-pilot seat,”just keep her steady, short bursts from the thrusters.”

“Sir,” was all Ree could think to say, as the Greyhawk drifted ten klicks over the Fall Line of Basseterre, all systems powered down except for the bioscanner, the radio telescope, the jammers and the RCS thrusters—Belle Poule’s Starmarine company strapped into drop seats on the troop deck, ready to pull the Skipper out the instant the really heavy crap started coming down, while Ariel stood behind Ree and Mister Selkirk in the cramped cockpit.

Mister Selkirk and SVA Tom had both concluded Matthew Pate would likely detonate the device via his AI implant; the jammers would kick in the instant the radio telescope detected any wireless transmission from the little bastard, preventing him from detonating the device.


The jammers would at least prevent his backup from detonating the device—the two of them had determined there probably would be a backup—but, if Matthew himself was using a physical switch instead of remote detonation...

A little more kick from the RCS thrusters, lest they crash into the planet; radio telescope was picking up Gnat transmissions, keeping Ariel and the others abreast on her skipper’s part of the cobbled-together plan.

Right now, she was leading them straight up 249, right through the parking lot of Mike’s Corner Store and on a merry chase through the Liberty Chrisdent Church grounds, the Gnats slowing her up some, but, if she kept it up, Senior Captain Lanier should just barely be in time to lead the Gnats and Jamie Murdoch right up to the little brat, before he blew Ezra to Hell and gone.

No scans from the ortillery platforms topside, which hopefully meant the RCS thruster burns had gone undetected; either the orbital or the ground defenses could blast this ship out of the sky before she even had a chance to get her MHDs on line.

“Going aft,” Mister Selkirk told Ree, before heading for the troop deck, Ariel strapping herself into the co-pilot’s seat.

“Haven’t done a nolex since Djbouti,” Ree confided in her, the instant Mister Selkirk was gone. “And, that was dicey enough, having to match vectors with a moving, tumbling Earth-grazing asteroid the size of my gopping fist, in an extremely eccentric orbit, then pick off one person from the from the other side of it with my MHDs. In one pass, mind.”

Ree didn’t fire the RCS thrusters, when the Ugly Duckling began losing altitude, holding off on that until she had no alternative, three seconds this time, levelling the Greyhawk off less than three klicks above Basseterre, keeping an eye on the radio telescope readout, breathing again, negative acquistion from any Yanker radar, upside or down, thank you...

“...Adam Yeshua ben Yaweh’s gonna look out for you, honey,” Mammaw wheezed, holding the frightened seven and a half year old girl’s hand tightly in her frail, papery one,”you just gotta trust in Him, He knows what they been doin’ to you, He knows, baby, just gotta trust in Him, He’ll get ‛em at the end of days, you can be sure of that, He’s gonna get ‘em, and when it’s time, He’ll come get you, take you up to Heaven, and I’ll be there for you, like I always tried to be, and it’s gonna be...”

...all right.

Ariel sighed, fogging up her faceplate, trying to push that memory aside, all the thoughts it had brought up.

Neither the time nor the place for them.

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 09:51:18 ZULU

Down to the wire now.

Two more Gnat cruisers slid ahead of her, both deploying their slicksprayers at the same time, laying down carbon polymer with a coefficent of friction as near to zero, as twenty-third century science and industry could make it; eight more moved round her to lay down more slick along the other eight southbound lanes of 49, blocking fields up and active all over the place, cutting off access to 49 into Ezra, Lake Martinez Road at the stoplight, 49 back towards Vinson Valley, and Terranova 41, where it branched off from 49, Gnat cruisers and War Pigs swarming all over north and southbound lanes, Spectre IVs by the dozen in the air over her head, Unbroken’s OC stomping down on the ‛dro, breaking the sound barrier, jumping the median strip and heading straight for 41, six War Pigs manuvering into position behind the blocking field, forming a line from shoulder to shoulder, six tac units and twelve hellhounds spilling out of the transports, taking up firing positions in front of their vehicles.

She veered away from a direct approach an instant before she would’ve been splashed across the surface of the GCG field, instead roaring through the front lot of a long-abandoned burger joint—now a storehouse for various bits of rusted-out junk—up the hill, past where an old house had been torched ages ago, leaving behind only a crumbling chimney, through creeper vine threatening to snag her, toward the edge of the enbankment, about a meter or two above the highway, three or four meters beyond the roadblock.

She jumped it going almost 700 kph, the Gnats scrambling back into their War Pigs and turning them round to pursue her.

The Ozzies had put some serious powerplants in those hunks of junk, 200MW Excalibur IV magneto-hydrodynamic turbines, to be precise, whose thrust vectrals, combined with the ground effect provided by its flying wing desing kept those those mobile pillboxes off the ground and moving at over seveteen hundred klicks per hour.

Their single turreted 130s were just another thing to give her pause, as she hauled ass down 41, screaming onto White Road, hauling ass for Ezra with every Gnat on T-nova in hot pursuit.

Jami spinning a six-pack of their cruisers out of control when she thundered past the intersection of White Road and the Mayor James Williams Industrial Parkway and over the IC 75 bridge, Jami checking the Sable’s radar to make sure she hadn’t lost any of her pursuers, not even having to worry about that, three more Gnat cruisers joining the chase at Redtip Way, a couple more lying in ambush for unwary speeders at the ballpark and another at Elwood Circle adding to their numbers, Jami cutting a corner sharply near Gralan Avenue, ducking behind the pharmacy, rocketing onto the grounds of the basic-training center.


Five minutes to spare.

She had to go through with the rest of the plan, no time to abort now, the skipper of the Unbroken dismounting, running like hell for the nearest door, hoping she’d find the bomber before everything went up.

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 09:55:27 ZULU

Goddamn, Gnats all over the fucking place, Jami had led them here five minutes too early, Carson hearing Mickey Mouse screaming for Matt or Hugh to “do it now, goddamn you, fucking detonate the device, before everyone knows what we’ve tried to do!”

“That’s our cue, y’all!” Carson screamed, transmitting everything the lasedropper had picked up onto the Net before dropping the motherfucker, drawing his PDMD13 and running for Hugh’s pregnant roller skate with everything left in him, the big, bad chief master sergeant in the TSID pissing his expensive khaki slacks when Carson smashed in the passenger side window with his weapon, and his wife smashed in the driver side window with hers, both of them shoving gunbarrels in the blonde bastard’s earholes.

Hugh dropping the weapon he’d just drawn, grinning from ear to ear, reminding the two of them,”ain’t me y’all got to worry about, bitches.”

14 NOVEMBER, 2276 09:56:02 ZULU

You fucking leave Krista alone!” his Shelby dare say to him, as he approached them.

She would never,” the little howler screamed, stepping in front of the skank little piece of trailer-park trash,”do any of the things you made me say she’d do to me, and I would never, ever, do any of the things you made me say I wanted to do to her!”

“That’s fine, bitch,” Matt replied, stopping short of them, barely aware of dozens of running footsteps coming down the hallway towards him.

“Hope y’all enjoy lickin’ each other out,” he added, ”when y’all are burnin’ in H—”
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford
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