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Swimming to the Stars

PostPosted: Tue 18 Sep 2012 08:55
by Bolfry
This is only a rough draft and meant to be a sketch of sorts to get my head "into the game" and into my race's head... I just thought I'd share it. I'm sure it will continue...(side note: my formatting when I copy/past from word doesn't stay? I see indent in my post, but not in the preview :( )

Swimming to the Stars

The planet wobbled. The oddity of the action piqued Darkah’s curiousity. He learned the basics of astrophysics and astromechanics during his studies at Storah, the planet’s premier university; but actually seeing it was far different than crunching numbers. His head bobbed as he rehearsed the formula. It was a sweet lilting yet sorrowful sounding song. It carried well enough in the atmosphere of the space station, but the emotion of it was muted. The songs carried much better in the aquatic setting of a university classroom.

There it was again, and right on time! It was easier to notice as Home Fleet one passed the planet on the side opposite the space station in which Darkah stood. The wobble was slight, even insignificant, and required he activated the sensitive targeting system grown in his brain and eyes. Darkah did not actually see the planet wobble, but his targeting system registered a larger profile for the Kahri, the destroyer flagship of the fleet. The targeting system was a small “gift” from the Overclan’s military training facility some hundred miles below his feet on the dark side of the planet. Everyone graduating The Academy received one, no matter their rank.

In Darkah’s case, he was a higher level junior officer, the sum of both his academic training and the rank of his family. With only one level of officers below him, and six yet above, there was little to say about the authority or responsibilities which came with the small silver fish hanging from the chain around his neck.

The fish was nothing spectacular in the ecosystem of the planet below his feet. The Shala fish was neither a fierce predator nor common prey to others. It was the smart fish, able to sense approaching predators. Typically it would turn, darting at the predator and slicing them with a razor sharp fin as it passed in close proximity. Or, if it sensed them from a great distance, the Shala would spin as it swam causing the scales to take on the ambient color and temperature of the surrounding area. A fish stuck at the lower end of the food chain, often feeding upon the slower moving slugs feeding off the bottom.

The destroyer’s engines blazed, and the rest of Home Fleet One followed suit. Darkah imagined how it would feel, standing at his station on the bridge of such a vessel as it cut through the void heading toward the post. His chance would come as soon as Home Fleet Two returned from system patrol. He and the rest of his graduating class would be practicing zero-g maneuvers and shuttle operations while waiting out the month. Those who performed the best would be put into active service in the combat fleets. Those who passed would be assigned to ground stations somewhere in the system.

He would be assigned to a combat fleet. He hoped.

“What swims in your waters, Shala Darkah?” Hawey’s voice snagged his attention.

Drakah spread his webbed hands open and wide, in the customary greeting of friendship, as he turned to greet her.

“Vain imaginings of glorious service at a planet side post.” His pupils twittered playfully.

“Is that so?” Her stare was cold and hard. “At attention when your superiors enter your presence, Shala.”

Drakah stood rigid, struggling to mask his confusion. Hawey had never been this serious before in their years at the Academy. She was of lesser family rank, but had graduated top of the class.

“Apologies Kunray Hawey. It will not happen again.”

“It had better not. And I should not have to tell you why.” She lifted the golden predatorial fish hanging on her chain in front of his eyes. “Kunray hunt Shala. They eat Shala by the net. Do you know why you are only a Shala, Drakah?”

She leaned in closer, her nose brushing against his. Her eyes were yet cold and her tone harsh. Drakah tried to form a logical response but his tongue was faster than his mind.

“Because my father was the spawn of an unfertilized egg?”

“No!” She paused, recovering the wavering tone of her voice. “It is because you squandered your abilities while at Academy.”

“As you say, Kunray. For my superiors always speak the truth.”

“Do you know what it will take for you to be assigned to a combat fleet?”

Darkah dared to glance at her, glean some information from her body language. She was a stone.

“At attention means face forward Shala.”

His head snapped back to the observation port. Home Fleet One was no more than a speck of light in the distance where his dreams lived. He would make it out there.

“It means, you will have to best me in every single exercise we have this month. You know I do not lose.”

Drakah’s eyes dropped to the planet below. She never failed. Her performance was always flawless. Maybe his jest had been a warning from his subconscious mind.

No! He would not accept a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure. He would be assigned to a combat fleet. No matter the sacrifice.

“So my plot to bind you and leave you in the locker room won’t work?” He clamped down on his tongue too late.
She glided behind him in silence. He remained at attention, staring at the distant stars and wondered what was out there. But he would have to make it there first.

He strained to concentrate on his heart beating against his ribs. His tongue had slipped one too many times. The sound was loud, like hail impacting on the hull of a shuttle. Strong and rhythmical. But the sound was coming from the other side of the corridor, not his chest.

Hawey was oddly silent. She should be continuing his “encouragement.” He dared a glance over his shoulder and saw nothing.

He turned to see Hawey leaning against the wall laughing quietly, one hand striking the wall. Darkah took a tentative step forward and smiled.

“It pleases me to see I can still bring you levity.” He said.

She nodded frantically. The color returned to her face as she regained her composure. “It is good. Still, you really do need to perform to your full potential if we are going to be stationed together on the Harkara.”

“I know this to be true. And not because you are my superior officer and friend.”

Re: Swimming to the Stars

PostPosted: Thu 27 Sep 2012 21:32
by reddavid
I REALLY like this! I hope you write more.

Re: Swimming to the Stars

PostPosted: Fri 28 Sep 2012 01:26
by Vandervecken
I concur with reddavid.

Adding color such as this to a campaign, keeps it from being just an Geeky Accountant thing, Heehehehe.

Re: Swimming to the Stars

PostPosted: Fri 28 Sep 2012 01:35
by procyon
Very cool.

I will feel bad if Hawey and Darkah should happen to be turned into an expanding cloud of vapors.

So do - be careful... :|

And I hope to read more. Again, very cool, and very good. :D

Re: Swimming to the Stars

PostPosted: Fri 28 Sep 2012 12:44
by Bolfry
procyon wrote:Very cool.

I will feel bad if Hawey and Darkah should happen to be turned into an expanding cloud of vapors.

So do - be careful... :|

And I hope to read more. Again, very cool, and very good. :D

I would feel bad too. That's why there are escape pods? ;) Heroic deaths? :) Hauntings from beyond the grave? :twisted:

Thank you for your kind words. Encouragement is as welcome as a thoughtful critique!

And to keep with my word...since time has been tight late-er-ly. (Reading rules and textsbooks.)

Here's a short addition....

Myca-gum projectiles riddled the metal storage container in harmonic procession. They were aiming at him. Darkah rolled behind the container to his left. The symphony continued and he rolled again.

He checked his clip. Half full; more than his lungs. They screamed for him to slow down, but he refused. Darkah scurried around the corner, stopping behind the second container. Only an exercise…

He thought-clicked the HUD, another function of his internal computer. More than half of his team down and no one could see the other squad. He peeked around the box. No one down that row.

He stole a breath, a full breath, as he viewed a time-compressed replay of the drill. All kill shots had come from above. He looked up.

Nothing. No one.

He nodded as he slung the rifle over his shoulder. If up was where they were, then up was where he’d go. Darkah grasp the crossbeam above his head and pulled. His feet found momentary purchase on the middle support beam. It was slippery. He let himself down as quietly as possible.

More myca-gum impacts in the distance. The sound of fish on a beach. He checked his HUD again. They were down to three. There had to be a way to even the odds.

Darkah’s thoughts dictated a message to his squad’s HUDs. “Red Team, Red Team, this is Red Prime. Keep your eyes up. All kill shots have come from above. Move to higher ground. Our situation in this exercise requires us to compensate - greatly.

Darkah tugged off his boots. This should be like climbing the slippery rocks along the coast near the capital while still a pol. When the sun was bright and the breeze rife with pollen.

He climbed again, and this time it was easier. The microscopic protrusions of his skin clung tight, distributing his weight. He scampered up the support beam to the highest level then looked around.

He saw Blue Team. Five of them were massed near the center of the room on the second level from the top. Foolishness keeping a team clumped up when the only way out was down into the line of fire.

“Red Team, Red Team, this is Red Prime.” Darkah checked his HUD. His team was stationary.

“Blue Team is directly ahead of you on the highest level. I am in flanking position. Two of you stay center keep their attention. Kerlo assume the other flank at highest level.”

Acknowledgements came back, but he paid them no heed. Darkah slithered behind the containers to keep his head low until he reached the next section. He peeked around the box. Right where I want them.

“Red Team, barrage. Kerlo, assault on my mark.” Darkah pulled a practice grenade from his utility belt. Palm of death. The pin tasted awful, but he refused to spit it out.


Darkah leaped into motion, sprinting toward Blue Team. His arm swung wide as his battle cry roared from his lungs. Kerlo sprung up from her hiding place opposite him. Bursts of death rattled from her rifle.

The grenade flew. It exploded, covering Blue Team in yellow paint. The concussion forced them all to fall.

Unslinging his rifle, Darkah pounced onto a box overlooking Red Team. He and Kerlo had them covered, if any had not been taken out of the game. He could hear the rest of his team hooting as they rushed up to join them.

Darkah leveled his rifle at the leader of Red Team and grinned. “You have been beaten, Kunray Hawey. Confess.”

Her lithe frame wriggled emitting a soft groan.

“I confess…" Hawey twisted, her uniform spotless. "You are dead!” Her pistol materialized, spitting anger in successive peals of thunder around the room.

Green paint blinded Darkah’s sight. He could hear the vengeance of Kerlo’s rifle. He was certain his pride hurt more than the lump growing on his forehead.

Re: Swimming to the Stars

PostPosted: Fri 28 Sep 2012 20:36
by Cralis
Is it just me, or did you flip-flop the blue and red team at the end there? :)

Re: Swimming to the Stars

PostPosted: Fri 28 Sep 2012 23:07
by Bolfry
I may have forced a little something...but Darkah has to grow a little too, so it's good for him to lose at this point. ;)

Oh, I just noticed something. His name bears a striking resemblence to a particular SM around these parts. That was not intentional. I had/have no desires to involve another's emotions in a story to curry favor in a campaign. And regardless of what happens in the campaign - I'll find a way to make the story continue...unless they are the targets of genocide...but even then - there are possibilities.

Edit: typos, bad phrasing, and this: Again, I'm posting drafts. I tend to find more mistakes after it sets a day or two in my mind. I would rather share the excitement with you as I run through the passion of an initial draft. I'll be happy to share a polished draft when it gets to that point. So nit-pick away if you desire - I have thick enough skin.

Re: Swimming to the Stars

PostPosted: Fri 28 Sep 2012 23:15
by reddavid
Edit: typos, bad phrasing, and this: Again, I'm posting drafts.

sure its rough in the edit department but the important things are there in spades.

edit is the easiest thing.

Re: Swimming to the Stars

PostPosted: Fri 05 Apr 2013 03:28
by Vandervecken
Like all the Fiction - I would like more please. I singled this one out because I can't always complain to Procyon :lol: ; and a few of the others actually got a new add or 2 in in this last quarter. Do I have to pay you guys to keep writing !!! Um, please don't answer that, hehehee.

Thanks to all who do spend some hard to find time to write. And I do hope to see more of Darkah/Drakah soon, and Hawey too.