Authors: T S Paul
Tags: #Gay & Lesbian, #Literature & Fiction, #Fiction, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Military, #Space Fleet, #Teen & Young Adult, #Genre Fiction, #Lgbt, #Lesbian Fiction, #Science Fiction, #LGTB, #Lesbian, #War, #Space, #Space station, #Revolution, #Rebellion, #Artificial intellegence, #Engineer, #Space battle, #Space Opera, #YA, #special forces
What a crazy year this has been!
First I get rescued from my long exile on a distant hunk of rock. Then I get arrested and tortured for accidentally killing an idiot who can’t follow orders. Assassin’s and bounty hunters chase me across half the known galaxy only to miss and not kill me. Then to top all of it off, we find one of the original lost colonies and are attacked by pirates. Killing the pirates was easy compared to what I had to do to save myself from boredom.
For the first time in over fifteen years I will see the green and blue features of the planet Hong Kong. I’ve dreamed about running through the lush green grasses and hiding in its dark forests such as when I was a child. I have very fond childhood memories of exploring our world and its many wonders. Growing up in a planetary militia family could be very hard on a child. My family was all about tradition, and regimented structure. Children are expected to join the military. Our whole lives we’d heard about our family and our traditions. My grandparents were among the first to set foot on this world.They became planetary leaders and set forth the framework that Hong Kong citizens live by today. That fact was daunting to hear from a child’s point of view. So much to live up to.
Hong Kong was first settled by Chinese refugees fleeing from religious persecution by the reigning government of the time. It is where we got the name from. A historical free state one separate but still culturally the same. Or at least that was the initial idea. Further settlers from a place called Canada brought new people.
The Canadians were a strange people who brought with them foods and sports that made little sense. These people too were fleeing persecution. They were the last hold-outs of an area of free thinkers. People who stood their ground and took their own responsibilities serious.
Back on Earth, the government was becoming all encompassing. Free thinkers loners all they were being chased out of their own country or imprisoned. The colony began to take shape and prosper.
A third group, quite by accident, settled the island regions of our planet. It was almost funny how that happened. As my friend Wilson likes to say they “missed the turn at Albuquerque,” where ever that is. Their colony ship had a navigational error. They had gotten lost and thought that THIS planet was the one they were looking for. Imagine my grandparents surprise to discover a brand new colony that appeared overnight. The Greeks, being stubborn, refused to leave. They had already grounded their ship so it became a moot point. So now we had a Greek, Canadian, and Chinese settlement. Talk about a melting pot of culture. It might be a little strange but it worked.
Three peoples came together to make a culture that values personal achievement and industry. Make yourself more than you are. This concept was drummed into me as a child. Be self sufficient, learn as much as you can. Be the best person that you are able. These were all the lessons I took away with me. Now I have come home.
The EOH James Cook was one of the Navy’s newest heavy cruisers. The Nelson class cruiser was heavily armored and armed with multiple torpedoes and powerful laser batteries. The cruiser had formidable point defense and carried a small squadron of elite fighters. We were a fighting ship and proud of it. Our battle record was just beginning. The victory over the O’Malley Clan pirates had put the name of this ship on the lips of everyone in three sectors. That was only overshadowed by our discovery of one of the Ghost ships and the colony it had founded.
As the temporary Chief Engineer I was in charge of the repairs on our ship.The recent battle had damaged several areas that our repair teams were unable to complete themselves. Internally, we were incorporating new bulkhead designs into the repairs that we were doing. Since I had been on the design team for the bulkheads, I knew the ins-and -outs of how they would work. Visually there was little change. Our new orders had directed us to Hong Kong station Alpha and the nearby Fleet Logistics,Equipment, Acquisitions, and Science group. Or FLEAS as we called them in the navy. It was here that the navy would evaluate both my hydroponics advancement and the autonomous drones that I created.
Only I called them drones. Everyone else called them droids. Human culture is one that some things just won’t die. Especially certain vids or movies as the ancestors called them. Wilson simply loved the droids. It gave him a way to move about the ship without anyone the wiser. He still gets into trouble. In some ways it is nice because I can blame the droid and not look like a complete idiot to the crew. A good example of this would be last night.
As I was about to open the door to my quarters, my neighbor, Lt Morgan stopped me. “Athena, I think you may have left an entertainment cube or something on in your quarters. I have been hearing music coming from in there all evening.”
“You have? Hmmm. I don’t remember leaving anything on. I’ll check. Sorry if it disturbed you.” This puzzled me I don’t have an entertainment console in there. I sort of used it for a ‘project’.
“No, no worries Athena. I could just hear the faint music. Have a good rest.” He smiled and continued down the passageway.
Morgan was always flirting with me and hinting at things. He and the other officers all knew about Dar and I. While we were not a ‘couple’, we were still dating but keeping things very light. They respected that fact enough not to push. Speaking of Dar, she was the reason I was getting home so late. The Marine Lieutenant had taken over my training in hand-to-hand combat, weapons, and tactics. As my training officer she he had a free license to beat me up on a regular basis. We were using the training that my family had given me as a foundation, Dar was improving my skills. I was an engineer not a marine so our skill sets were different. I focused on defense and evasion. My recent experiences with assassins and bounty hunters had shown me that Tai Chi was not going to be enough.
In my childhood I had learned Krav Maga and Muay Thai. The navy teaches a basic course at the academy that is a combination of boxing, karate, and krav Maga. I had excelled at that. Fifteen years alone had boosted my Tai Chi, but not my defensive forms. That was my major problem. Dar was trained in Krav Maga, Muy Thai kick boxing, T'ai chi ch'uan, and some others that I could not even begin to pronounce much less understand. It was the T'ai chi ch'uan that we were concentrating upon. This was a martial arts form of my more familiar Tai Chi. Dar had been trained in the Yang style which was the easiest of the five major styles. This while complicated was easier for me to understand, it gave me a good workout. I was used to Tai Chi being slow and meditative, this was fast and aggressive. At least the ship has good doctors, we may need them.
As I keyed in my room code I could hear the music. There was a rhythmic thumping emanating from my quarters. As the door opened I was greeted by flashing red lights and waves of color and sound. “Wilson! Wilson! What in the hell are you doing in here!” I yelled at him. Wilson was in my head, as he was a computer AI. Me just yelling made me feel more effective. Moving across the floor doing a bump and grind, were my two prototype droids. Wilson had set up disco lights using parts and equipment he found here and there.
“Hey, is that my new control panel for engineering? We have been looking all over for that thing! “ The panel in question had become a strobe light and was painting the room with red and white flashes. Now the droids were spinning in circles to the music and waving their repair arms in the air. I reached over the panel of lights and threw the main power switch. Everything died. Even the emergency lights, they had been subverted and were now spotlights. Using the flashlight that I keep by the door I lit up the room. The droids had stopped moving and were now ‘watching’ me. “Wilson, get out of those droids and talk to me, right now!”
“You know that you are no fun right?” Wilson was back in my head.
“What the hell Wilson? Disco in my quarters?” This was not the first time he had done this. “I don’t care if you listen to music or whatever it is you are doing…. “, but please don’t take parts and equipment from engineering. I had my crew searching every trash compacter on the ship looking for that panel.” I pointed at the now dark control panel. “Do you know what the inside of a trash compacter looks like?” I shined my light into the mirror so he could see out my eyes. “If you ever, and I mean EVER steal a component from engineering again, I will lock you in a box and toss you into one of those! UNDERSTAND!”
“Yes, Athena. Sorry.” He was using his little boy voice.
He just makes me feel bad when he did this. Not falling for it this time. “Wilson, use a bigger voice please. Next time, let me know when you are doing this. I can just stay in my office or something. Now clean it up.” Shaking my head I threw the switch bringing back the flashing lights. The droids powered back up and started dancing again. I turned and opened my door and went back to engineering.
Engineering was humming like a well oiled machine. The newly promoted Midshipmen Jacobs and Ellery were doing a fine job as acting second and third officers in charge. There had been so much work to do after the recent battles. The Captain and I had not helped much to slow things down. Using the specifications that my former team and I had built on New Reno, Captain Gorshin was allowing me to strengthen all of our bulkheads and hatches. We had the ship torn apart for repairs anyway. Why not do it. My little worker bee’s were still hard at work when I returned to engineering.
“Ma’am, did you forget something?” Ellers asked me.
“No, I was unable to make it to my quarters. You can call off the search by the way. I found the missing console.”
She looked up in surprise. “You did? Great. Who had it?”
“Lets just say that, that person is very sorry. I threatened to trash compact them!” I chuckled evilly. “It had been misdirected by the drones on a delivery. It was in an unexpected place. The panel should be back in engineering by morning. With it we can finally finish these upgrades.”
“Yes, Ma’am. Everything looks good. No problems so far. Do you think the new armor on the conduits, bulkheads, and hatches will make things safer next time?”
“Well they were tested when the fusion reactor blew on the station. The only thing damaged was the unarmored sections. The FLEAS would still have to do battlefield testing and what not. I think it will hold well enough. At least to get our people clear next time we are attacked.” Shaking my head I motioned for her to go on back to work. I had a good crew here. I was just sitting down at my console when I heard a whisper in my head.
I looked around to see if anyone was in earshot. “It’s OK Wilson. I do understand. The boredom just gets to you and you have to let go sometimes. I think the droid are just big toys for you to play with.”
He chuckled. “You did a good job with them. I have named them Volley 1 and Volley 2.”
What kind of names are those? Are you going to tell me why?” Wilson was such a weirdo sometimes.
“They are less smart versions of me so the name is appropriate. I thought of Maverick and Goose, but those names are too cool for trashcans with wheels.”
“Why Maverick and Goose….don’t tell me. I won’t understand will I? Never mind. I guess the names are better than Alpha and Beta. When we get involved with the FLEAS do you want to try and find your creator? He may be working for the Empire science division. He was a researcher right?” If a computer could sigh the noise I heard would be it.
“I have tried to find him before. I think he has passed on. I have been around longer than I ever told you Athena. I had been on the Jiro for over 10 years when you found me. I am the first AI created by the PPL. The first one. They almost destroyed me when I would not ‘behave’. They wanted to use me as a front line soldier to replace humans or to control everything. Their mistake I guess was making me too human. As you know my personality is based on a vid star from the 20th century. They uploaded into me a century or more of vids, books, and other information. They wanted a program with personality and the ability to talk to humans like a human. They unintentionally gave me both morals and creativity. When the military took over the project they wanted guns not jokes. I don’t bow, no hips for it. In the end they canceled the project and made dumb AI’s instead. They claimed they had spent too many credits creating me to just delete me. Instead they locked me up firewalling me into the command and control circuitry. Self preservation kept me there for so long. You freed me. Plus we have so much fun sometimes. My creators, they tried to prevent the military from doing what they did. It was over 30 years ago when I last had any detail of them on the net. Either they disappeared in the war or they died. I won’t be locked up again, make sure these FLEAS know that.”