First Flight

TheJoshie

Spaceman
(I'm going to post on a chapter by chapter basis in this thread.)

Chapter 1


For as long as she could remember, Christina Blair always wanted to fly. Maybe it was instinctual, the genes of her parents passed down to her. Maybe it was defiance, as being a pilot was a farcry to being the farmer her Aunt and Uncle wanted her to be. Or maybe it was something more. Something embedded to her soul at birth that was bubbling to be released. It was no secret that she was special. At the age of seven, she was able to operate close to every piece of heavy farming vehicle on her guardian's farm.

The only reason she couldn't operate all of them at that point and time, was due to her inability to reach the foot pedals.

Christina was indeed a prodigy. And now, two years after graduating from high school, the prodigy was still chained to Nephile like a Mud Pig of Loki IV. The closest to freedom being the Wing Commander Arcade simulator nestled in the corner of ACES bar and sky lounge.

She spent hours on end here, hustling flight jock after flight jock of their money. She didn't really care for the credits, but it was the only way to coerce them to fly with a "teenager who never stepped into a advanced astrophysics classroom". It was comments like that, that made Christina think of her college application to Bluepoint Unerversity, filled out and ready for transmitting, as soon as her Aunt could hire enough farmhands. Yes, as she proceeded to blow her latest victim to smithereens, courtesy of a Heatseeker up the exhaust, Christina smiled. Soon, maybe even this year, she will get off this rock.

Christina saw the sim screen end. It was scary, how even with her mind as clouded as it was now, she was able to take out a fresh academy grad. "I do believe you lost."

Christina busied herself in unstrapping and sliding back her chair, hearing her opponent do the same. She got up the same time he did. He had a smile on his face. "You're pretty good... I don't believe I caught your name."

"That's because I didn't throw it." Christina recognized the venom in that comment. Venom the pilot didn't deserve. "...you can call me Christina."

It worked. The frown on his face flipped itself back again. He dug into his pockets. "Here's the 75 credits. You really should consider joining the Naval Academy."

It wasn't as if she never thought about it. In fact, she would love to be a fighter pilot. "No, prefer a simpler life."

"Come on, there's more to it than that."

"There is. I don't want to die." It was a horrible thing to say to the man, especially since he had yet to get a ship assignment. But hey, he asked. "Good in a simulator is one thing, good in real life, that's something else."

He was silent for a few seconds, and Christina was content in just pocketing her Credits and starting another game before he spoke again. "Hey, want a drink? Happy Hour is starting soon."

"You're kidding! It can't be that late!"

"What, it's only 1800 T.C. time."

"Nutbunnies!"

Christina hopped out of the seat and began jogging. When she was outside and saw that both of Nephile's suns had setted, she broke into a full fledged run. Her head pulsed, as she felt something coming from her right. She narrowly dodged another sprinting body, managing to balance her sprawling body onto a nearby wall.

Zachery Colson. From bad to worse.

"Fancy meeting you here, pilgrim."

Christina bristled at the name tag. Not much the word as it was how it was said. "Not now, Zachery."

"Oh indeed now. Any other time, this would be less... impactful."

"What are you talking about?"

"Simple, freak." Jazz continued on, despite Christina closing her eyes to will her self not to flatten him. He was only sixteen, she willed to herself, he's only sixteen.

"I've been accepted to Hilthros."

Christina's eyes bulged open. "w--What!?"

"I know. I'm good."

Christina couldn't believe what she was hearing. "You're also only sixteen. How the hell did you get accepted into the Terran Confederation's most prestigious naval academy?"

"Simple. I'm the best. At least, the best this planet has to offer..." Zachery paused. "...correction, the best human this planet has to offer."

Christina smiled. "Well, let me be the first to congratulate you. Good luck in getting blown to bits by the Kilrathi. They will be doing the gene pool a favor."

Zachery's smirk vanished. "Don't you dare speak about the gene pool. Your very existance is owed to a flaw in it."

"I'm not a pilgrim, Zachery."

"I'd say that too, especially when My father helped the cat's take McAuliffe!"

This time, Christina didn't hold back, she swung, high and wide, towards Zachery's temple from his left. He ducked and countered with a straight jab, a jab that she barely dodged. She retreated a few steps.

His smirk returned. "Anyway, pilgrim, I wanted to ask you. How does it feel to still be stuck on this world?"

It was as if they didn't exchange punches. Yet the fight wasn't over. Zachery's latest attack stunned her. She knew what he mean't. Her friends from childhood, all the way up to High school, were gone. Zachery, sad as it was, was the last link to what she considered to be a 'passable life' on Nephile. Once he leaves...

"I was always better than you, Christina. Now I'm primed to beat you off this rock. Once I ace my entrance exam, I'm off to greener pastures, while you'll continue to tromp on fertilizer."

Zachery was about to say more, but instead, he smirked and ran off. Annoying snot.

And the worst part was, he was right.

How could she let him get away from insulting her father like that. So what if she was a Blair?

She was tired of these chains.

She was tired of being bound.

At that moment, Christina came to a decision.

***

Only to second guess it when her aunt's glare penetrated her. "Absolutely not."

Christina was prepared for resistance, but not of this intensity. "But Aunt Jenni..."

Aunt Jeni, full name Jennifer Blair, was every bit as calm and collective as she always been. That made the sudden edge that appeared in her voice that much more difficult. "No."

"All of my friends are gone... and..."

"That's no excuse to throw away your life. I've lost a husband and a brother. If I lost you, I wouldn't know what to do."

"I'm not really going to sign up for career... Six years as a reservist, then I'm able to fly a crop duster. It'll save tons of credits on your expenses."

"Reservist still fight."

"But not on the front lines."

Jenni face softened and she calmly massaged the bridge of her nose as she slid back the bowl of half-eaten stew. "If you were requesting to go to Bluepoint, as we agreed on, then maybe I would've agreed. Two years alone on an isolated planet like this, it was bound to happen. But the military? Christina, what have gotten in to you?"

"I'm tired Aunt Jenni. I'm tired of the looks. I'm tired of the prejudices. I practically have to hide my last name just so people can look me in the eye. Bigots, who swear that they know me cause of my father, treats me like I'm from the dark ages, complete with the black death."

Christina released the spoon in her grasp that she forgot she had. "Maybe I'm a pilgrim. Maybe I'm not. But I'm somebody, damnit."

"And joining the military will solve that? How?"

"...I'm hoping to find that answer as I go. And even if I don't... I'm not going to run away from my past any longer."

Aunt Jenni stood up silently. "One condition. You go upstairs, and you sleep on it. I want you to think, long and hard, on the decision. Your father, my brother, didn't jump to the decision as fast or as foolishly as you did. I doubt he even would want you to. If, by tomorrow afternoon, you still want to go... then go."

Christina rose to say something, but Jenni left the table, leaving her stew behind. The way she closed her eyes tightly, as if to hold something back, said everything.

Christina gathered the two bowls and placed them inside the refrigerating unit in the kitchen. It woul make a hearty breakfast tomorrow. As she moved to head upstairs, she found the path blocked by the soggy haired watchdog known as Maverick. The canine was lazily sprawled along the second to last step without a care to the world. "I envy you."

Maverick barked, and Christina smiled as she petted the dog. Tail wagging, he got up and attempted to tackle her, his tongue aiming to plaster itself to her face. Not today.

"Down boy, come on, lets get you something to eat."

Back to the kitchen she went, Maverick in tow. Like a trained pet, he plopped next to his bowl and waited as Christina took out a can, opened it, and poured the contents into the tray. "I bet you heard everything, huh? Tell me, old friend, am I being foolish?"

Maverick managed to sneak a lick in before going to his food. Christina smiled again. "Maybe I am."

She watched the dog devour his meal, all the while spinning her aunts last few statements.

Your father, my brother, didn't jump to the decision as fast or as foolishly as you did. I doubt he even would want you to.

"My father fought and died for people who once were hunting him down. Would I make the same sacrifice?"

Death. It comes back to that, didn't it? Her father wasn't a reservist, that was for sure. Yet Christina was willing to overlook that fact.

Would that make her a coward?

***

Barking. It was all she could hear. One moment she had an awkward yet pleasant dream of her and Luna Jones, the next she was roused by the insistent barking of Maverick. What was strange, was the fact that something in her, something instinctual, was screaming for her not to ignore it.

She sat up in her bed and listened. Besides the barking, she heard nothing else. The voice screaming at her to not ignore Maverick was now relaying a new message: It was too quiet.

And it was right. This late, or early rather, quite a few species would frolic around, looking for ways into the cabbages and the carrots. Maybe the stillness spooked Maverick. Either way, someone had to calm the dog down.

She walked out of her room in nothing more than her bra and underwear and for a second, she felt a chill. the dark narrow hallway connecting her rom with the stairs and her aunt's room was dark as dark could be. There was no light at the mement, and something about the darkness made her skin crawl. Yet, the voice once again kicked in. Don't turn on the light. The barking stopped. By now she was at the top of the stairs contemplating on whether or not she should still check on him.

Then came the clicking of steps. The were slowly paced and deliberate, but they were there. Oh God, it was a burglar. Or worse.

Christina, naked of both weapons and clothes, wanted to scream. She didn't need that voice to tell her that was a bad idea.

Well, at least she could solve one problem. Her aunt always had a
laser pistol behind the bookshelf, just incase a situation like this occurred. The problem was, the bookshelf in question was past the staircase. Should she risk movement to get the gun?

There was no voice this time. Good idea.

She ran towards the book shelf.

Bad Idea.

Five feet from the bookshelf, she heard the steps quicken.

Three feet, she heard those same steps click onto and up the steps.

When she reached the book shelf, she heard a growl, low, and feral. Any thought that it belonged to Maverick was immediately silenced by a louder, more distinguished growl that was deeper than the first.

Then as she turned, aimed and fired, all she saw were the glint of claws, and eyes that were as fierce as Nephiles summer cycle.

Whether it was from fright, or maybe even death, Christina passed out.
 

Mjr. Whoopass

<FONT color=lightblue><B>I was going to say someth
Hmm.. suspenseful ending... I wonder what would happen? Could be Kilrathi- but what would they be doing on Nepehle- maybe it's Hobbes or someone like that? Good job leaving people on the edge of their seats. I liked the simulator in the bar. It makes sense that those would be around in the type of environment a decades long war would create.
 
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