William stood beside his command podium, a hologram of the Vitae projected above the table. He eyed it, he had been aboard this ship since there was anything to be aboard. One of the very first people to live aboard his vessel he knew it better than just about everyone, it was his job to know it. Not only was he responsible for the safety and wellbeing of it's crew, but he also had to worry about the passangers and the precious cargo. Those in cryo. He remembered when Admiral Constantine had approached him with the concept of the Ark, he had found it crazy. He detested the very idea of it, to run? Where as the honour in that. That was until he had seen the sensor readings, what was coming for them was far too much and so... they had to save what they could. Twelve Arks carrying the best humanity had to offer through the Eye of Thea, a FTL Gate. The very technology that had doomed them, was destined to save them.
He sighed, zero hour was approaching. Billions would die, his home would be destroyed. Amandas body, left behind and forgotten. Humanities survival was a heavy burden, but he couldn't do anything about that now. People were counting on him, he'd save them. He'd find them a new home they could all appreciate and when they did... their children and their childrens children would know of the sacrifice made by those who were left behind. "Status update." Different colours appeared on the hologram as N.O.4.H, the ships A.I, ran checks and calculations. William hadn't really worked with an A.I system before, having only worked with virtual intelligence systems, however he had to appreciate how intuitive Noah - as the crew affectionatly named him - was. In fact the A.I system was almost like a friend at this point.
"All systems are reporting operational, ground control has cleared all Arks for launch and Admiral Constantine is requesting to open a line of communication to all twelve Arks." Locke nodded, turning his head to face his XO, Captain Joanne Carter. Blonde Bombshell, Brilliant Pilot and a pretty good strategist. He was truly lucky to have her. She was eyeing her own readouts, before turning to nod at him. Good, they both agreed. It's not that he didn't trust Noah, he had come to trust the system immensley. He kind of had no choice on that count, but it was still better to have facts checked and double checked when embarking on a mystery into the unknown. After all it wasn't as if they would get a second chance at this if something went wrong.
William stepped forward and pressed a button on his console, whatever sound systems were active throughout the ship they all fell silent as a buzzer played. He spoke, crisp and clear. His voice echoing throughout the ship. "Attention all hands-" He inwardly minced. Force of habit, he'd have to think of something else to say when addressing everyone aboard. Not everyone was military, while he didn't like that he'd sure as hell have to get used to it. "-This is the Admiral. Shortly the Devastators will reach Martian Orbit, Admiral Constantine and the United Fleet are there to halt their advance and buy us time. Let us make no mistake, this journey will not be easy. It will be full of trials and hardships, but this crew consists of the very best humanity has to offer. We will find a new home, and we will honour the sacrifices made for us. Of this, you have my word." He took a deep breath, and noticed Joanne making eye contact with him. Returning it, she merely nodded in support.
"So man your duty stations, Civillians report to your designated areas for takeoff. Locke, out." He cut the feed and then raised his voice so that it could be heard over the organised chaos that returned to the room as soon as his speech was over. "Helm! Engage launch protocols, Navigation have backup jump co-ordinates prepared, and ensure a clear path to the Eye of Thea. There's a lot of ships struggling to find somewhere to go up there." He nodded as he heard the chorus of 'Sir!' to his orders. He tapped on the console before him, the hologram zooming out to a much more plain diagram showing where the Vitae was now, in its berth alongside the other Arks, and where the Eye of Thea was. He could see the blips of various military and civillian vessels frantically moving around, despite all the preparation they had undertaken in the past twenty years panic still took hold in the face of the end. Nobody was ready for it, not really. There was nothing he could do for those people though, they had to find their own way. Still wishing he was fighting instead of fleeing he hit the comms button, the hologram being replaced again. This time by the eleven other Ark Commanders and one other, in the centre of it all was the legendary War Hero. High Admiral Roland Constantine.
Everyone watching the Hologram paused, William being visible via hologram actually saluted. As did the other Ark commanders. He nodded to the collection that he no doubt saw before him on a similar display, on the Judicator. The biggest warship ever created by the human race, William felt they should have built more of them instead of the Arks but then that wasn't his call. "Ladies and Gentleman. The time is upon us, Genesis Protocol is now in effect. Begin your launch cycles immediately-" The admiral sighed. His demeanour changed from that of a rigid military man, to that of a tired man. Ready for the end. "-Our hopes go with you, godspeed everyone." With no more said, or needing to be said the hologram flickered out. William noticed that the command centre had went silent, everyone stood looking where the hologram had been moments before.
"Well you heard the man!" Joannes harsh voice cut through the silence. Before she could say anything else everyone had returned to whatever it was they were doing before. William had been skeptical about her, he had originally filed for Commander Elijah Ross to get the job as his XO. The highers up however felt it sent a better message if the commanding officer and executive officer weren't from the same place however, it probably didn't matter to the pavers from Earth though. In their eyes both he and Joanne were colonists. He'd make it work, he had to make it work. He watched as the Rejuvination pulled itself out if it's cradle, lifting gently towards the stars without effort. It's takeoff smooth and graceful despite its size, the Arks were truly magnificent. The entire Ark shook slightly below his feet as the engines primed and began to charge to full power. It wouldn't have been noticable if he hadn't been waiting for it for months, the moment where everything finally came together.
"Release docking clamps-" As he spoke he was bringing up an external hologram of the ship, seeing that as soon as he said an order the Vitae was already detatched from it's berth. "-Fire engines." The ship shook more noticably this time before the inertia dampeners kicked in and the ship pulled itself skyward.
"YES ALL OF THEM!" He was pushing the comms button down so hard he thought for a moment he'd break it.
Crew Chief Keith Sullivan called while he ran back and forth from station to display, monitor, to NOAH readout. Sullivan wasn't the Chief Engineer yet, but he might as well be. His boss had his own problems doing some final checks on the Jump Engines, meaning it was up to Sullie to make sure that a thousand different plasma impulse reactor and engines were working. He was doing about two weeks of work in less than four hours and was lighting a fire under everyone's ass to do it. Lift off was pushed forward three months, than 2 weeks, than another 5 days, until finally all hands on deck a mere 22 hours prior.
Frigging aliens, couldn't even give them a few more days before they tried to kill them all.
"If we turn on the main engines and we got a blowout on any of those little ones, we could have a plasma leak anywhere on the ship, and then we're gonna look real damn stupid when we can't even get off the ground! We're cleared on the ground and cradle, get them primed to test fire!" Sullivan designed and installed some of these systems himself, but he couldn't be everywhere at once. He trusted his team, all these guys and gals were hand picked and they've been working together for a few good years now. Hell he and his family were living on that ship that entire time. But most of the time, it was just scaffolding and some plating. He got to see the skeleton grow organs, flesh, a beating heart. He knew that everything was going to work out. He knew that everyone did their job and everything was brand spanking new.
Unfortunately in this case new meant untested.
The hum of the spare reactors kicked on, the coils worked to make their plasma. The Hydrogen containers were loaded, hundreds of them, all the size of a bus. His screen lit up with green lights by the second, the console monkies screaming out updates, readings, crews that were finished, engines that were primed. Every single piece of sun smoldering fire was being relayed to a single persons command. For a shining moment, he was more captain that that soldier boy 24 decks above him who was probably coming up with his motivational speech. Sullie waited for that phrase to be called out from his immediate subordinate. 'All impulse engines primed.'
"Conduct test fire on my mark!" He did one last pace. They would work, all of them. "3!... 2!....MARK!" There was a thunderous BOOM followed by a groan then a woosh as dozens of injectors clicked on within the range of a second. Every display, every camera of every single work station all jumped to life as the bright flow of plasma kick started the engine. The split second of gas exchange made each engine explode to life, sending out blue flame into the spaces of its docking cradle. Outside it would look like the entire VITAE sneezed blue all over its hull no doubt surprising alot of dock workers who wouldn't know just how loud it would be. And after a flash, they all fell back into dormancy.
No malfunctions or leaks detected, the stations all reported green. Sullivan heeved a sigh to the hopeful crew. "Great job! Moving on! The sub-reactors and cooling systems! Statuses report people! Assholes and elbows!"
They were about as ready as they were going to be when the boss boss of this whole shabang went over the loud speakers. It was the first time in a day that the Engine level was relatively quiet. Each and every one of them, sweating, tired, covered in grease and burns and god knows what else looked up to the voice. All of them filled with overwhelming pride and heart breaking sorrow of what they were leaving behind. It was this moment where a few finally broke down, cupping their hands over their face to give a soft whimper. It was expected, and there was no shame in it. They would barely get a second tear before the call was made. Duty stations, the crews were exactly where they needed to be.
Sullivan gave his Chief the good news, all green, good to go and he knew the old codger would be sending that right up to the Bridge. Some of the techs were getting to their strap-in seats, or latching themselves to security lines and handles. Sullie grabbed one such handheld in preparation. It was going to be a bumpy take off. He had the reactors going for an hour now, and the power flow was steady but it would be those skyscraper sized engines that would be the big test if everything was going to mesh together. The second test. If they kicked it off, theyd be in space. If one thing went wrong, well it'd be a real expensive fireworks show. The order was sent down to start the engines and throw on the dampeners. The Pilot had the key, it was up to them to monitor how it worked. If it didn't, maybe Sullivan could tell everyone they were about to die a second before it happened.
The VITAE shuddered, rocking just enough to make everyone nervous and then, it breathed... its the only way to describe it. The VITAE was alive with the roar and grumble of those engines and it was ready to take its first step, and now she just had to shake the sleep from her eyes. The loading cable was off and there was a massive shock as force took hold of the ship, knocking over cups and papers and probably making everyone's heart skip a beat. But it eased, as every ship does, and took to the skies. Sullivan watched the pressure, the flow put, the fuel lines, the power output as they steadily grew... the gauge transitioning from white to green, and hoping to god they dont go to yellow beyond. "C'mon you fat bitch..." he whispered. He knew it would work. It was his design. He trusted his big booty'ed beauty, no matter what names he called her.
The ship would jerk again and then gravity would feel off, as the pull of the earth wasnt quite the same as the pull of the gravity generators at the bottom of the ship. They were canting upward, they were flying. And suddenly a whole deck was filled with another sound that rose above the 3 10^27 Terra Joule output Plasma Engines roaring behind the ship.
It was the deafening cheers from the men and women of the VITAEs engines. They did their jobs.
It had been a long time coming. Years of blood, sweat and tears had been poured into every inch of the twelve massive arks that now embodied the last hope of all of humanity. The whole time, man had kept an eye to the heavens, praying that the enemy did not come. Praying that they would be able to finish the Genesis Project before they arrived. Their prayers fell on the ears of a deaf god, for Devastation was upon them. Riding in chariots of living flesh, that spewed nuclear hellfire from their gaping maws, came the enemy. Some believed them to be demons. Monstrous creatures from beyond the veil of the natural world, coming to reap the souls of men. Others thought they were a force of the divine. They believed that man had committed a grave sin when it first sparked to life the wormholes that brought the Devastators upon them. This was, supposedly, their punishment.
Total and complete extermination.
The enemy had gathered at their gates. Ships of impossible design numbering in the thousands were descending on Mars even then. Even as Commander Elijah Ross waited with baited breath for the Vitae to launch, they came. Holographic view screens floated in the air before the commander, drawing his gaze between them.
Each one showed something different. A Federation news cast detailing the launch of the Arks was playing to his far left. On it, a beautiful looking young woman was trying to deliver her script between her broken sobs. Opposite that was a live feed from Mars orbit. Every last military vessel humanity had to offer had joined together above Ross's home. Millions of sailors and Corpsmen manned thousands of warships, waiting with hate in their hearts and fear in their souls for the monsters that would tear them all to shreds.
Directly in front of Elijah was a cast of High Admiral Constantine and the twelve Ark commanders as he delivered the last words any of them would hear from the man. A hero in every sense of the word, Roland was the perfect choice to lead the fight against the Devastators. He was the only choice. Men would die in the millions for him. As Ross sat in the bridge of the Nyx, he couldn't help but think he should be one of those men. He should've been sitting at the helm of a frigate alongside the rest of the Martian Unity fleet.
Elijah should be dying to protect his home.
He took in a sharp inhale, air rushing into his lungs through the respirator he wore. The heavy duty appliance was modulated to the Prometheus exoskeleton he wore. Elijah's shoulders shuddered with each breath. The weight of his assisted breathing device only compounding with the heavy sense of guilt he felt for abandoning his people. His planet would die. Billions along with it. 'What gives me the right?' Ross kept asking himself. 'Why in God's name do I get to live while everyone else...'
He could only imagine how many more deserving people there were that were trapped on his homeworld. He could practically see them in his mind. Millions of children with terror in their eyes as they clung to their mothers and fathers in Martian disaster bunkers, wondering what will become of them. There were billions of others who could be sitting where he was. Younger men with families of their own who were healthier and stronger than he. Why couldn't Ross take the place of some other captain in the fleet? Some bright eyed, hopeful commander who would live for sixty more years to lead the remnants of humanity.
It wasn't right. It wasn't fair. They were all going to fucking die. Every last person on Earth, Mars and beyond that wasn't on one of the arks was going to be slaughtered.
The holographic screens before him were sent away with a swipe of his hand. Elijah motioned, bringing up a televised feed on Arcadia. He had grown up in those streets. He had played on them, worked on them. And now, years later, they'd be filled with the bodies of good Martian men and women who deserved better. "God damn it." Ross rasped, his hands clutched together in his lap. They were clammy with sweat. Every inch of his body ached with an overwhelming desire to act. Elijah wanted to command his crew to disengage the locks, to force open the hangar so that they could fly out and join the fight. It was a stupid desire. Ross had his duty, and he could not- would not- abandon his post. To do so would be to spit in the face of every other man that had been doomed to die and not even given the chance to climb aboard the arks.
No, Elijah had to go through with this. He had to give this mission his all. Thus was his duty to mankind. His duty to the Martian Unity.
Thus, was his duty to Mars.
With how large the Vitae was, Elijah could barely feel the engines kick-starting. He was only made aware when his engineering officer called it out. The man's voice had shaken as he spoke those few words. Everyone else on the bridge remained dead silent, save for the quiet sobbing of one of the petty officers. Her family had been denied a place aboard the Arks. There just wasn't enough room.
What Elijah wouldn't give for that officer's husband to be standing in his place.
Ross kept his eyes on the view screen. He watched an empty Arcadia, listening to the klaxons play through the dusty streets for no one but him to hear. Everyone had been move down to the shelters. It only offered the illusion of safety. The enemy wouldn't be stopped by a few hundred feet of rock. No underground bunker would help stop this. This was the end for them.
The Engineering Officer pulled something up on the main screen. Ross tore his eyes away from his home, looking up to the stars. He had brought up the feed pointed toward the Eye of Thea. That was their last hope. A portal to God knows where. Behind that swirling eye lay an unknown host of obstacles that stood between them and survival. A long journey lay ahead of them. It was entirely possible that each and every Genesis Ark would be destroyed before they found a suitable planet for colonization. This voyage could very well be the last effort to touch the sky for a species that was being dragged kicking and screaming into the mouth of hell.
With tears in his eyes, the old war dog looked back to Arcadia. Barren, empty, and facing it's end. Ross flipped the screen back to the fleet in orbit, watching a squadron of fighters flash by the camera as they made their way to the front. "Give 'em hell, boys." Elijah growled. Those were the final words he spoke as he shut down his personal screens. His gaze moved back up to the Eye of Thea.
Though this was the end for his home, it was also the beginning of their journey. The beginning of hope.
It had come. This was it, the day he had dreaded for years. Not only did it made his stomach turn inside out but it made his entire body endure a pain he had never felt before. This was the day all ended for his home, billions of life sacrificed, up in the skies ships of all shapes and sizes going to stare at the eyes of death itself. What they wanted from us was not resources, or technology, no, they wanted us all dead. That had become clear the first time around and now they were back like a cancer that had always loomed in the dark matter of the brain. This was the day humanity died as it once was, billions giving their life for a chance, a speck of hope, something that could survive beyond the years of pain. He was one of those who would make that come true, he wanted to, for her and for him. For all of them. But he could only see as humanity stood against impossible odds in order to make their own survival possible. He wanted to be there, to fight alongside the men he had called friends, his brothers in arms, his fellow soldiers. But he could only watch, watch as death itself loomed upon them like a bed sheet, he had escape death but he could not escape the disgust at his own self as he simply watch across the glass at the embodiment of destruction tearing apart his home, his fellow men, her resting place.
He couldn't do it anymore, watching as it all fell apart. Yet he had to fight, not only as he was trained to, but fight the feeling of dread and despair as he now had not only his own blood that depended on him, but thousands more. He had made a promise, he would keep that promise no matter what. Set aside the emotions, don't allow them consume him, fight as he always had.
"Captain Lopez, Company A and B are ready for action, sir. Platoon 3 is already at the main garrison armory as you ordered." A voice spoke from behind him. Matthew kept quiet, looking down on the only thing he had left from her, the cross that once belonged to her now in his hands. The heart consumed him with a pain that couldn't be alleviated, a pain that he couldn't describe yet he knew what it was. He made a fist, covering the cross, pressing hard enough that he almost felt it piercing on his suit's armored glove. He stopped, turning around to face the 1st Lieutenant, the Captain's armor bulkier and much more rugged and equipped than his. His helmet on his right hand while keeping the cross on his other hand. He walked along the railing next to the massive glass window which began to seal shut.
The Captain walked without fear or doubt visible at all, his face one of a man that was ready for anything and capable of what he was set to do. Matt stopped right in front of the hundreds of men and women under his command, the Marine Contingent of the Vitae, as all Arks had one, he set his hands on his back and spoke loudly "We have our orders ladies and gentlemen. The admiral depends on us to fulfill them and we shall do so at the best of our abilities. I want platoons 4 and 5 to head to the Armories perimeter and make sure its well guarded, no one goes in or out without proper authorization. Platoon 3 is already guarding the main contingent armories, but I want you to provide double guard. Lieutenants Aguirre, report to me when you have the armory secured." This was most definitely an important assignment, with security busy with the civilians the military armories had to be secured in case of any attempts to be stormed by hysterical masses, the marines knew what had to be done. The heavy equipment was located in Complex 02 while most of the regular gear was at Complex 01 and 03, Platoon 3 would need more men to make sure all three were secured.
"Platoons 9, 10, 11 and 12 will go to the hangar, ready with all defensive systems. And make sure no deserters try their luck with a ship. Lieutenant Collins, report to me when you have the hangar secured." This was probably the biggest group to be assigned to any area of the Vitae as most of the ships were located here and it was the biggest section of the Ark. They had to make sure it was well secured in case of any attempts by anyone to leave the ship or in worse case scenario, an attack. It was improbable, but Matthew didn't like to make a bet on it with the current circumstances.
"Platoons 4, 6, and 7 to engineering. Give them a helping hand if need be, but priority one is securing the area and detaining anyone without proper authorization." The Captain took a pause as he set his helmet on, securing it and ready for action. "Lieutenant Foster, report to me on all matters."
"2nd and 8th platoon remains here on HQ. Keep it guarded and be ready for anything. Lieutenant Donovan, report to me on anything."
"1st platoons is with me on the Bridge with 1st Lieutenant Harrison." Before the contingent mobilized, Captain Lopez added a few words of comfort. Looking at the rows of men and women who would follow his orders for an indefinite amount of time. They were his soldiers, the people under his command who second to Admiral Locke needed his guidance.
"I'm not one for speeches people, but we stand at a moment that I myself know not where it will lead. We all made sacrifices, we have all lost something, or someone." He walked among them, all in their armor and their equipment strapped in their back looked at their captain with sorrow, yet their respect for the man was apparent despite him being newly assigned to them. Many were holding back tears, all kept a disciplined and straighten composure as their captain walked among them. He was one of them as well, a soldier, a father, a son, a husband, who had given up his home and the honor of battle in order to assure humanities future, a soldier who followed a soldier's duty despite all emotions.
"We are here because we are humanities future, we will assure a home for our next generations, we will continue on as a species. Because we live not only for every single human on this ship, WE LIVE FOR THE ONES OUT IN THAT HELLHOLE FIGHTING THOSE FUCKERS! We stand united today, humans no matter what nationality." His voice got louder and more passionate.
"Live for your families, for your fathers and mothers, for your sons and daughters, live for them. ORAAH!" Pumping his chest and raising his fist into the air, Lopez's gesture and cry was followed by everyone else.
"Double time people. Let's get to it."
"Sir, yes sir!" Their voices echoed through the Headquarters Building as the different platoons began to march to their designated areas. The Arks were starting to take off, the images of Admiral Constantine on the screens of the Vitae. Captain Lopez had no time to hear him, as much as he wanted to he had to keep concentrated on the task at hand. He looked behind him, 1st and 2nd platoons marching right behind him. He made sure to single out Sergeant Locke among them.
"Lieutenant Harrison." Lopez said as he approached the elevator to the bridge.
"Yes sir." Harrison answered, keeping next to the Captain.
"Make sure Sergeant Locke is on level head at all times while at the bridge. She may be the Admiral's daughter, I respect that, but she's still a marine." Lopez continued walking, faster than most.
This was not a moment of glory for anyone, this was survival, making sure Humanities future was secured. This was humanities moment to fight for it's place in this universe as a species, they were all part of that now.
Maeve knew that it would happen. In truth, she always knew that something like that could happen without a second warning, after all, the Devastators were always there, always just waiting. But unlike other times, this time it wasn't just a story. It was really happening... Her parents... All her friends in the Martian Military that loved to hear her sing or the ones she saved with her medical skills... Most of them were left behind. She would not attempt to fool herself or to try to sugar coat it, she knew what would happen with them... There was only one possible outcome for all those who were left behind... They were going to die, so the human race could continue to live... It was a price that needed to be paid for the survival of the human race. She knew that very well, but that knowledge didn't change her feelings or the fact that for her, all that was so incredibly unfair...
As the engines began to power up, shaking the entire ship, their sounds mixed together with orders being shouted by soldiers and engineers only made it even clearer that Maeve had nothing to do there. Admiral William Locke was still in the middle of his speech when Maeve stopped paying attention and simply began walking idly through the Hub. Just as Locke said, the Devastators would soon get on Mars' orbit and Maeve simply didn't wanted to think about that. It wasn't something to get surprised over. Everyone knew that it would happen sooner or later. Maybe a stroll through the Hub while everything was still getting prepared to the departure would prove to be a bit more enjoyable to just stand there doing nothing.
Surprisingly enough, the Ark was bigger than Maeve previously thought and only when walking through the Hub that she really realized that. It was really a city inside a ship. Nightclubs, restaurants, movie theaters... It was really... similar to a normal city. But again... That was expected, since nobody knew for how much time they would stay inside the Arks... People would certainly need that in order to try and have a normal life, to try and gather what's left from themselves and get the strength to get up and continue walking towards the future. Maybe that was one of the reasons why Maeve was selected and not another medic or surgeon... Her voice certainly would be able to help some but right now, it most certainly wasn't the case. She truly enjoyed singing, but she simply couldn't sing with an cold and indifferent expression like that. She knew that very well...
Lost in her own thoughts, Maeve didn't realize that before, but now that she was getting closer to the center of the Hub, she saw something that escaped her attention a while ago... Right in the middle of the Hub, there was a very peculiar location. Just like the name suggested, it looked almost like a little piece of the paradise. The green color that filled the Eden contrasted with the rest of the Hub. Grass, trees... Even looking at it from the outside, Maeve could see the leaves moving, almost like if there was real wind and weather inside. It looked incredibly peaceful and tranquil... Silently observing the gentle sway of the leaves, Maeve wondered how that wind would feel on her skin...
"Umm... Miss...?" A member of the staff interrupted her thoughts, looking at her with a confused expression. He was probably one of the guards that would take care of the Eden. "You should be going to your quarters. We will soon start the takeoff procedures. May I ask your name so I can direct you towards your designated area?" The man asked, still looking to Maeve.
"I'm sorry... I got a bit distracted. My name is Maeve, Maeve Katz. I'm a surgeon and a doctor. You don't need to go all the way there just to escort me, I know where I should go... I was just... Thinking a little bit. That's all." Maeve said, finally stopping looking at the garden and looking at the man, with a sad smile.
"Wait... Are you... the Maeve Katz? I heard a lot about you from my friends back in the Martian Military!" The man said, with a surprised expression as he looked to Maeve again with increased curiosity.
"You... helped a lot of people back there... Both physically and mentally. My... My brother always said that he owes you his life." he said, with a distant look on his face.
Hearing that, Maeve's only reaction was to look down and away from him. She didn't feel like she deserved such recognition and praise at that moment... And above that, she didn't want him to see her with that face...
"No..." Maeve said, still looking down. "We all owe him and everyone who stood behind our lives. They sacrificed themselves so we could live. So..." Maeve continued, rubbing her face with her hands and lightly slapping her cheeks before looking at the man again with a tranquil smile on her face.
"We should all be grateful and enjoy the chance they gave us to keep living. If it's too painful to remember, you should forget. There is no shame in forgetting the past and looking to the future. We will honor their sacrifices not by making their memories an anchor to weight us down, but as wings to free ourselves from our past and carry us to a better future." Maeve said, before realizing that she was again looking to the gentle movement of the leaves on the wind inside the Eden.
"I'm sorry... I'm just a bit emotional today. I know where to go... Thanks." She said, with a discreet smile before walking away without even giving him the chance to say anything.
"So man your duty stations, Civilians report to your designated areas for takeoff. Locke, out." Admiral William Locke's voice continued being broadcasted through the ship. While she was walking through the Hub and observing the Eden, she had really forgotten that the Admiral was talking, but this time, Maeve paid a little bit of attention on what he was saying. Apparently, it was already time... Time to leave everything behind, forget about everything and start anew in search for survival and a brighter future...
"Forget everything..." Maeve said to herself, looking up. It would be hard, but not impossible. Her parents, the guys at the Martian Military who were left behind to fight...
"Not an anchor... but wings to carry us to our future..." She continued, repeating what she said a few minutes ago to the man near the Eden almost like if those weren't her own words.
"I can't believe that those words came out of my mouth... I guess I really AM a bit emotional today..." She continued, with a snicker. She usually wasn't that emotional, so it was only natural that she was feeling a bit weird and not herself...
"I guess that there is no problem in being a bit weird today..." She muttered to herself as she finally arrived on her personal quarters.
Opening the door, she found the few possessions she choose to bring with her. A bookshelf filled with all sorts of books, her notebook, decorated with black and velvet stickers, her VR kit and the thin daggers laying gently right on the middle of the table. Throwing herself on the bed, she simply laid there, looking at the ceiling with distant eyes. She needed to forget about the past so she could start a new future...
Just as the engines started, shaking the entire ship, Maeve started to hum to herself the same tune her mother used to hum when putting her to sleep. That music had no lyrics, nor it was a famous or a classic song... In fact, it was just something her mother came up on her own. She used to hum that when putting Maeve to sleep or even when distracted with her books... As she continued humming to herself, tears started to gently roll down her face. If she was on public, she would be very embarrassed, but she was alone right now. That was her private moment... At least that day, she could afford being a bit sad.
"Good bye, mother. Good bye, father." she thought to herself, remembering the smile on their faces when she got out of home for the first time when she was called to serve the military... It was the same genuine smile that they gave to her when she told them that she was selected to go aboard one of the Arks. There was no fear or regret on their faces. Just a pure and genuine happiness that their little child was going to survive...
"Thanks for everything that you ever did to me. Rest in peace." She said, closing her eyes as she continued humming.
Rear Admiral William Locke Command and Control Center
It was organised chaos in the CiC as the ship followed the path that the Rejuvination hard carved out toward the heavens. Already the battlenet was filling with chatter as the Devastators pushed through the various defences placed around Mars to try and slow their advance. It was all designed to make Mars a more difficult target, a more alluring one. In the past the Devastators had always been systematic, moving inwards slowly. Never moving onto a new target until they had finished with the last, it was the hope of the council that this trend would continue. Meaning that the longer they held the Devastators at Mars the longer the Arks had to escape. It also gave time for the Federation and Conglomerate to institute their individual survival plans. How many Arks could they have built if all nations had truly worked together? If they had been united could they have saved everyone? Could they have prevented all of this from happening? William pushed such thoughts out of his head, it didn't do to dwell on the past. The reality was that he was responsible for what would be one of the last colonies of man, and the second he went through that wormhole he had to assume that he was responsibly for the last colony of man. He couldn't dwell on what could be, or what was, merely what is.
The reality was that he had picked his crew from a candidate pool of millions, picking people who he felt were the best suited and would work together in the best fashion. This crew of the best was put on a vessel, the very first to be built by members of all mankind. The technology within it being superior to anything else man had ever built: Weapons, shields, FTL and even communications were to a level that nothing else built by mankind even came close, bar one exception. He shrugged off the thoughts agian and focused himself on what was ahead. "Noah." The hologram of the very plain masculine individual appeared. "Cut battlenet access to all stations, except those under command authority-" That basically limited access to his and Carters station, as well as that of Ross aboard the Nyx. He had told him that having the ship crewed was unnecessary, if it was launched then the chances of them escaping were slim to none. He had insisted, and William had to appreciate that. The willingness of sacrifice, the necessity of routine and the requirement of some sense of control.
Either way William had had Noah magnetically seal the hangar doors, and the clamps. As well as revoke access to the Nyx. Meaning that it couldn't leave the hangar without his authority, short of blasting it's way out anyway. Having the overall command override was a rather useful tool. While he initially wasn't too fond of Noah, being Martian he preferred to deal more with V.I than A.I. Overtime however he had learned to trust and even depend on the construct. He trusted his crew, depended on them... however sometimes the fact that Noah could comply with his request in a mere instant was beneficial. He tried not to depend on him too much, he was very much a crutch for him and his crew and they all needed to be on their toes. "Status?"
"We're passing through Earths Exosphere now Sir." There was a brief pause before Joanne spoke again. William looking directly at her. "We are now officially in space." William turned up to look at the hologram, projecting their course to the eye. The Rejuvination was already on final approach to dock, as the energy began to build within the strucutre.
William moved closer to the hologram as something caught his attention. "Somethings happening-" He took a deep breath and hit a button on his console, immediately an alarm sounded throughout the ship. Lights dimmed, flickered and turned off. Replaced by red emergency lighting. "-all hands battlestations. Route all non-essential power to engines and shields. Have engineering prep the FTL drive but don't charge it yet-" The only issue with FTL technology. Once you charged a drive you had to jump, there was no other way to expel that kind of energy. "-NAVIGATION!"
He heard a sir from nearby, Lieutenant Andrews. Chief navigation officer - who like many of the heads sat close to his console. "Calculate a course, if we do need to jump out of here the old fashioned way there needs to be a course already laid in." Joanne moved closer to William, moved around his side of the console. He leaned towards her as she leaned in to speak, she didn't want to be heard.
"Sir, what exactly is going on?" William in any other circumstance would have smiled at getting to show off his tactical skills. Now was not the time however. Instead he merely raised a finger, indicating she should wait a second. Then right on cue...
"CONTACT!" William didn't really need to hear the call, he knew it was coming. The change in fleet movements above Mars, a ship from the Devastators attack had jumped. A massive vessel, which is what caused the fleet changes above Mars. He focused Noahs scanners on it, looking up at the hologram of the vessel. It's physical size rivalled that of the Arks, bigger than any Devastator ship they had ever seen and likely just as deadly. So far it seemed uninterested in them, as ships around it managed to compensate for it's arrival and began firing on it. Sister Arks opening fire on the ship that stood between them and escape, there was nothing William could do now but hope that they could last long enough to stall the monster of a ship. His orders had been clear, no turning back under any circumstances.
Instead he just leaned back closer to Joanne. "Have all fighters, bombers, drones, gunships, frigates and even the cruiser prepped for launch. Also contact engineering, see if we can't get more juice out of the engines." Typing into his console he brought it back to the view between Earth and the Eye of Thea. "We're going to need it."
A pair of aged blue eyes stared nervously out the side window of the colossal ship. It seemed as if were built by the Gods to escape incoming damnation. An unknown enemy which came with no explanation, only to deliver a sea of death and destruction. The dark humor of it was not lost on Dr. Ethan Phillips, the fact that humanity's last remnants were fleeing on ships named 'Arks' in a protocol called the 'Genesis Project'. He wondered what cruel god would allow this fate to bestow the human race, or at least 99% of it. If the universe had randomly spawned these monstrosities so appropriately dubbed 'Devastators' or if an intelligent creator made them. Both possibilities were endlessly terrifying to think about. So, the elder doctor tried to block out such answer-less questions, attempting to focus on the positives, the very, very few that existed in this situation that humanity found itself in.
The admiral's inspirational, but deeply somber words seemed to enter into one of the scientist's ears, then slip out the other. His mind was clear, even as his eyes were towards space, where Mars was. Every single person that was left behind on that world was going to die. Then Earth would come next, even humanity's fleets assembled together in one colossal display of unity and strength would not be enough to stop or even slow down the alien foe. It was utterly cruel that humanity's first encounter with extraterrestrial life would be in the form of warfare. So much of their history as a species was drenched in war. It was just another bitter irony brought by the Devastators. He just wondered if anyone would survive on their worlds? The last ones breathing, stuck under piles of rumble that used to be breathtaking skyscrapers and cities. Like that Phillips once more found himself mulling answer-less questions.
He tore himself away from the window, turning towards the science department's area behind him. Here his colleagues would work tirelessly, trying to help humanity's last survivors here on the Vitae. Dr. Phillips hoped they weren't scared, though he knew every single one of them was. He desperately hoped they weren't in tears or praying to whatever Gods they believed in that they'd make it to the gate then through it in one piece. Praying that the Devastators would have a sudden change of heart, then turn back and forget the genocidal destruction they were going to deliver. He feared these prayers would go unanswered. He himself was scared, but he tried to banish those negative feelings, he had to set an example for everyone else in his department. Every person that looked up to him, or at least looked to him for guidance. The lead scientist walked calmly down a corridor to his right, alone in the hallways the only noises he could hear were his own footsteps.
Dr. Phillips stepped through a door which was heavily marked with signage that it was only for designated personal only. As he went through that doorway he felt as if he had crossed an invisible barrier, like he was about to do something which could help save humanity. Following a short walk down another hallway he found himself before a second set of steel doors. On the right side of it, roughly at his eye level was an electronic device. A retina scanner, the only way to get the sealed doors to open. Dr. Phillips let out a deep breath, then stared briefly into the scanner. Inside the device wires, switches and gears activated, acting in turn as a minuscule low-energy infrared light emitted from it, casting briefly onto the scientist's open eye. The entire action took less than a second, then the doors came open slowly. Phillips stepped inside, finding only what he had expected inside of a otherwise empty room. At first it appeared to be a coffin, in shape and size, but rather it was more akin to something on the opposite spectrum of life. A being would be 'born' here.
"Greetings Dr. Ethan Phillips! Are you sure that you wish to activate unit MHSA276012?" Flashed across the top of the thick metal 'casket', on a hardy glass cover. Below it was an option to simply choose 'yes' or 'no'. What was inside of it was blurred by the glass, though Dr. Phillips was one of the few which truly knew was contained inside. The anticipation was starting to creep up on him, it was now or never.
He moved his hand carefully towards the screen, then pressed the 'yes' indicator with one finger. It read his fingerprint, then the glass screen cleared way any text. The front of the container slid to the side, as gas seeped out of it. Phillips waved some away from his face as the vents in the room inhaled them, clearing it as the smoke rose towards the ceiling. It was a preservative fluid designed to keep what was inside fresh and sterile. As his vision cleared the scientist gazed upon his creation as it awoke from its former slumber. It was a man, no, a synthetic being, an android. Convincingly human to an almost eerie degree, every single inch of the machine man was designed to be a perfect recreation of a human being. Dr. Phillips felt a tinge of pride flow through his bones as he looked upon the android Michael.
Flawless pale white skin, medium length brown hair, currently shut eyes of ocean blue. Its facial features were utterly masculine, they reminded him of a face he had not seen in a very long time, though it still had a feel of difference to it. Cables ran through the inside of the case, locked onto sections of the android. Unit MHSA276012, or rather, Michael was a convincing creation indeed. As the container completely opened the cables seemed to shake lightly, one sent an electric shock right into the back of the android's head. A signal, like an alarm clock going off inside his mind.
Life flickered into Michael, at first it came in the form of code which moved far faster than any human could comprehend. Then his synthetic eyes saw what the world around him looked like as they opened for the first time. The deep blue irises adjusted perfectly to the light, as gears turned and his systems initiated a heads up display appeared inside his head. In one corner the temperature was indicated, a comfortable 70°. As he took his first stare forward at Dr. Phillips he flashed through his data banks in a millisecond, perhaps less. He had just read the man's entire biography. Though he instantly recognized the man's face, he had been programmed to long ago. This scientist who had just awoken him was his leading creator. Michael briefly wondered where the others were, but his files gave him no information in this regard. He breathed in slowly, taking in air that he did not need to survive. As the breath entered his nostrils, the chemical composition was calculated. It was the ideal mixture for a human being: 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% argon, and 0.03% carbon dioxide. With this breath he also noticed the bland scent of the room, the faint stench of contained chemicals on shelves to his side, Dr. Phillip's deodorant and the last bit of smoke dissipating that had filled his chamber.
"Hello." The android simply stated, a friendly smile creeping onto his face as he lifted himself up from his prone position inside his metallic case. On his fingertips he felt the cool, smooth steel, inside of himself his skeleton was made of a similar metallic composition.
"Greetings, Michael. Do you know who I am? Do you know where you are?" The scientist asked his creation as he watched the machine man fully lift himself out of his casket, taking his first steps. Already clad in a sleek grey jumpsuit and white sneakers, Michael was ready from the moment he awoke to get to work on the Vitae
"You are Dr. Ethan Phillips, one of my lead creators, you are one of the most acclaimed living scientific minds and were instrumental in my creation. We are aboard the Genesis Ark, Vitae. It is the 21st of April in the year 2216." Michael replied, clearly and calmly stating all which Phillips had asked of him.
"Excellent, we ar-" The scientist began to reply, then paused as an alarm sounded loudly inside the room and throughout the ship. Michael stared curiously, a single eyebrow raised as the lights above them flickered a pulsing red. Phillips spoke again as he walked out of the room, Michael staying there for a moment, unsure of what to do. "What the hell?"
"Jesus Christ..." The scientist muttered as he approached the same window he had been at before. He adjusted his glasses, staring in disbelief at the enormous alien spacecraft which had appeared over Mars. For a brief moment Phillips believed he was hallucinating, the ship in sight was far larger than any of the other Devastator vessels.
Michael approached calmly, glancing at his surroundings as he walked. Then his eyes too were drawn the alien starship hovering over the Martian planet. The android blinked, then moved closer to the window as he stared. He did not speak a word, instead attempting to analyze the ship's design from the distance they were from it. He pressed one of his hands against the glass, leaving false fingerprints as it laid gently on the window. Then Dr. Phillips turned turned towards him, a tinge of fear in his face.
"Come on, we should get into the labs. They have everything under control, those monstrosities won't get to us." He stated with a cautious smile, attempting to ignore the massive ship that had appeared and slightly complicated the launch. He saw no fear in Michael's eyes, the android listened to his creator fully. He had been practically programmed to be positive.
With one last glance before they moved away from the glass he stared briefly at Earth. It would more than likely be the last time he saw his homeworld, humanity's homeworld. The human race had beaten the world in the past, he wondered if the planet would survive this 'test'. If the Devastators would utterly annihilate the entire world with laser hellfire, leaving it as little more than a barren rock akin to the moon. Phillips took in the vast blue seas, the swirling white clouds and the natural green forests which covered much of the land. As they walked back into the lab he kept that picture in his brain. He'd try to remember the world as that, something of pure beauty and grace.
ois was making rounds--again--on both the Hydroponic Center and Eden. While all the reports had repeatedly come back pristine, she needed something to do to distract her from the reality of the situation that she was leaving behind everything that she had come to know in the past twenty-eight years. So she would check it all again... and again... and again. From the current stocks of manure to the already budding fruits and vegetables. They couldn't very well leave Earth--her stomach lurched again at the thought--without already producing a steady gross of foods and herbs for the working crew. What they brought fresh would only last so long and the reserves were for emergencies, not because she couldn't get the botany team together.
Thankfully, the gardens had been seeded several months ahead of the intended launch date to ensure everything would be going strong from the start. She had nary a problem to truly concern her, since she had not only the best technology at her disposal but also the best teams of scientists and botanists she had ever had the pleasure of meeting. It was astounding what the Genesis Project had been able to do with everyone working together. She wondered that it had taken nothing less than the threat of humanity's total extinction to bring everyone together. She didn't understand people most times and she wasn't sure she ever would in her lifetime. Especially now that the majority of them would seen be wiped out--
Just stop. Stop thinking about it, before you drive yourself insane. It always came back around to that. She was already struggling with the survivor's guilt and the deed had yet to be done. But she knew that it would come to pass. They made sure that everyone knew this wasn't a drill. This was actually happening. No one was going to wake up tomorrow, back in their old lives. None of her brothers or sisters or the kind couple who had cared for her back on that small farm would be joining her. Who was left to care for the orphans created from the Devastator's first contact with humanity? The Holts had been one in a million as far as Rois was concerned; that's one reason she took their last name as her own when she came of age. Nevertheless, she hadn't been able to bring them with her on this trip. They didn't meet the requirements.
Moving away from one of the monitors that listed the approximate moisture and nutrients present in the current subsection of the garden, Rois moved to gaze at the apiary. It eased her mind to watch the bees buzz from bud to bud, and before long her mind was drifting off into nostalgia of her time growing up. She would always be grateful to them for getting her here. There weren't many in her situation that had been given the opportunities in life that she had, and she knew it. She'd taken every chance and ran with it. As fast and as far as she could, and look where she was now. The head botanist for the whole Ark. She knew they were proud of her, and that helped get her through it. She had to focus on the positive because it was too easy to let the negative become overwhelming.
It wasn't long before the sounding of the ship's alarm brought her back to the crushing reality. Rois was confused as the red lights shown around the room, and she ran to access one of the nearby consoles only to find that they were locked. She heard the call overhead. "...battlestations..." and her eyes went wide. They weren't supposed to be here yet, not unless Mars had fallen. At least, that was her limited understanding of the military's strategy for all the Arks. A force was sent to be a distraction while the Arks made their way to the Eye of Thea. Could the Devastator's have broken through their line already?
No satisfactory answer would come, so all Rois could do was seek the nearby designated shelter positions or a bunker. She ran through the rest of the labs at hydroponics, making sure all personnel heard the call and left the areas. She couldn't save anyone not already on the Vitae, but she would damn well take care of her own people. With the areas emptied, she'd follow and take her own shelter in place at the designated spot. After securely strapping herself in, she nervously began to whisper out all of the names of every type of fungus known to man in the hopes of keeping her disquieted mind preoccupied while whatever was happening... happened.
Gunfire in the distance. Muted shouting within the brush. The blood was caked along his skin. Sticky and old. From yesterday. Hal coughed and sucked in a breath of air, sick with soot and the smell of burnt flesh. His squad under heavy fire for hours. He could not recall when he had water last. It was what he had been trained to endure. But the death of his soldiers...that was something he was unprepared for. He could still see their faces when the Napalm detonated...
Hal awoke with a start, which to most would still seem as if a ghost had aroused. A 'start' was him taking a small intake of breath off beat from his usual sleep pattern, and his eyes opened without listening to see who was nearby. In the Central American jungle, where you slept and ate and shit while under the threat of enemies not three paces away in the dense foliage, he had been hard wired for efficiency and discreteness.
Hal sighed, and swung his legs off his bed. Rubbing the center of his forehead with his palm, he decided to go get some food first off. It still didn't feel real, the realization that he would never again step on terran soil. But he would need to get used to it. A quick dress and outfitting later, and he stepped out of his room in dutiful gear. The uniform and helmet fit snugly on his body, and his primary weapon was lazily held in his hands. It was an M356 Assault Rifle, the heavy caliber grandchild of the old M16.
Once he checked in, he went on duty. He passed through the corridors of the living areas, followed by the hanger sector. Surveying both twice would take the entire day. But he did not see the end of one round of his service before the alarms went off, and his world was filled with red and black as the signal was given. Suddenly his comm was flooded with incoming information of the impending Devastator attack, and crowds of frightened personnel suddenly appeared in his vision.
"Attention!" He cried over the throng of shouting and frightened people. His voice a powerful and commanding beacon of noise that drew the eyes and ears of those around him. "Get to your designated stations. Proceed calmly and in good order! Move!" He ordered, and repeated the orders as the crowd turned into a rough line, rank and file. "Move move!"
The ship shuddered as weaponry from the Devastator vessel chassing them lashed out against their rear shields. Williams knuckles turned white as he gripped onto the console, he was looking at the hologram above him. The Eye of Thea was still too far off, and each shot drained their shields significantly. Even while diverting as much power to the engines as they could take, they weren't going to pull away from the Devastator vessel. It was going to tear through there shields long before they reached the Eye. He turned to Joanne. "Prepare codes for Exodus Protocol. Don't send the codes yet-" The keyword was yet, they locked eyes and both knew what activating the protocol now would mean. The Rejuvination had made it through the eye. The other ten Arks were ruins still on the landing pad. The Vitae was the only other Ark with the possibility, with the chance... no the hope to make it. "-but prepare the nuclear option."
She nodded, despite the other hightech weapons the Vitae weilded it's nuclear warheads were by far still the most powerful. Far more devastting than what had been used on Japan and the European Confederacy during the second and third world wars. Each missile held several warheads, as well as decoy warheads to try and prevent point defense systems from taking out each of the lethal warheads. William never thought he'd be in the position to fire a nuke, but then again he didn't think he'd be flying what was one of the largest ships humanity had ever created housing what would become one of the last flickers of humanity.
He minimised the holographic display, bringing it down from a large hologram that everyone could see down to his and Joannes eyelevel, making it less distracting and ominous for everyone else in the room. In front of him he began looking through reports on all the ships systems, despite being heavily taxed the shields were still putting up a fight. There was something to be said for cooperation in technologies afterall, if the shields were any indication. "Shields at 80%!" He nodded as the helmsman made his callout. At least their screens were displaying the same data. The Nukes would slow the Devastator vessel down, maybe. Though there was still no way they would make it to the Eye in time, they could jump traditionally but they ran the risk of being followed. They couldn't jump to the Eye itself as it was far too close. He could launch everything he had at the Devastator vessel but even then that wouldn't do them much good, it would just get people killed and drones destroyed. Which wasn't something they could really afford at this moment in time.
"CONTACT!" The entire ship shook, William had to grab onto the console before him to prevent himself from being knocked to the floor. Several others around him fell out of their chairs, the entire ship groaned in protest. Whatever ship had jumped in was big, and had jumped in close enough that the spacial displacement had knocked the entire Vitae.
Williams voice cut through the noise, clear and commanding. "What have we got?!" He looked at the hologram as it tried to stabilise. He couldn't help but break a smile as he saw the ship on his scans. The Judicator.
"It's the Judicator sir! Admiral Constantine is here." Admiral Constantine, ever the hero. He watched on the readout as one of the massive plasma cannons fired up, lashing out a beam of energy at the Devastator vessel. Tearing into it, but not knocking it out. They would make it now, but with the Judicator here he knew that Mars wouldn't last much longer. Admiral Constantines vessel was the backbone of the fleet, and with it here to help out the Vitae... the fleet was doomed. He couldn't dwell on that though, he had to make use of the sacrifice. He wouldn't let it be in vain. "They're hailing us Sir."
"Put it through." A hologram of the Admiral appeared on his console, as the display of the battle minimised to Joannes side of the console.
"William. It looked like you could use a little help. Get out of here, that's an order."
He couldn't help but salute the Admiral. "Yes sir, thankyou sir." He started to look back to Joanne, before turning back to the transmission. "And sir?" Constantine nodded. "Goodbye, and goodluck." With that Constantine returned the salute and the transmission ended. He sighed.
"Lets get out of here." He couldn't help but watch the battle as the Vitae continued to get clsoer and closer to the Eye. The Judicator was dishing out the pain but she was loosing ground, anyone could see that. As the finally began the docking procedure William placed his hand on the scanner. "Initiate Exodus Protocol." None of them could see it but electricity began to arc around the Eye of Thea the second the Vitae entered the event horizon of the wormhole. Once the entire ship had croshed the threshole of the Wormhole, the Eye blew up.
As sparks through all around the bridge of the Judicator a tear fell down the cheek of Admiral Roland Constantine. Many considered him to be humanities greatest hero, but what he did paled in comparison to those that had just left Earth behind. "God speed Rejuvination. God speed, Vitae."
William sat on the sofa in his office, coupled with his quarters it had a desk and shelves in one corner. A door to his personal shower and sleeping units and two sofas facing eachother with a small coffee table in the centre. He lived more lavishly than others did aboard the ship, yes. Did he fully agree with the concept? No. In the Martian Navy the Captains quarters didn't differ than those of anyone else. It was expected that they were able to live in the same conditions as everyone else. Still, the ship was years ago now so there was no point dwelling on it once again. Though he couldn't help it with the current climate and attitudes aboard the ship, five years travelling through the abyss of space. Jumping to one location, scanning every nearby system for a couple of weeks before making another jump and performing the same routine over and over again. He had lost count of how many jumps they had made, no doubt Noah would be able to tell him if he asked. Though he wasn't entirely sure he wanted the exact number in his head. That would likely only fuel the despair and depression that was spreading through his ship like a cancer, he had already heard of Security arresting individuals for illicit substances.
Even the best of humanity could fall, under stressful conditions. He took a sip from his cup of tea, placing down a tablet and sliding it over to Joanne. His forever trustworthy XO. "They're calling for elections now." She looked up at him and raised an eyebrow.
He nodded. "Mhm. We've got HR representatives for the Fleeters, Feds and the Cons and they're pushing for elections. The only ones happy with the current status quo are the Martians-" He realised his mistake before he made it "-and the Fleeters." Despite five years, he sometimes still forgot that Joanne Carter, was a Fleeter. Born and raised. "Though as you're aware, the Fleeters are having their own identity issues." William sighed, Joanne nodded. "So what we've got is Federation and Conglomerate citizens claiming that we're living in a Martian Military Dictatorship, despite the fact that you're a Fleeter, and not every high ranking military position is held by a Martian-"
Joanne raised a finger as she interupted. "A lot of them are though. The third highest ranking officer is Ross, Martian. The Marine Captain, Martian. Yes I know you didn't choose who got a place, and who got which position though we need to look at both sides. With unrest growing we need to do something, my kin don't care whose in charge. Most of us are still adjusting to life stuck aboard one ship and living to the laws of society."
"You weren't lawless Joanne."
"I know that Sir, but even after five years a lot of us are used to settling our own minor disputes. Lawmen only ever shown up if it was a serious offense, security are very proactive. Much to the credit of Chief TreVayne, he keeps on top of things."
"Still, we need to focus on the matter at hand. If this unrest keeps growing, we're going to end up with protests and riots. This isn't something we can really afford."
"You can't step down though in lieu of elections, you are the most qualified person to run this ship-" William raised his hand to stop her.
"Exactly. Run this ship, the military. Not the civillian personnel. What I'm suggesting is we hold elections, for a civillian President or Prime Minister or... whatever they want to be called. Someone who makes decisions for the civillian populance. Like opening Sector 21, lifting the current ban on pregancies, adjusting credit income or food rations, security procedures. Basically anything to do with the hub and the habitation areas becomes their jurisdiction."
She paused as she read over what was onfront of her, William watching her intently. "It could work. It would certainly take some pressure of us having to make all the decisions."
"Exactly. We've got enough going on, no-ones abandoned their posts yet but tensions within the military haven't been great recently either. People are loosing hope, but thankfully I've got something to help that." He pressed a button on his datatab, changing the screen on Joannes to show a sensor output.
"Is that what I think it is?"
"It is indeed, a planet with breathable atmosphere. It isn't ideal, largely water based but sending a team down there is going to do wonders for morale. I doubt we'll end up settling there, but it's progress and a sign of things to come. I've already told Elijah and Matthew to begin picking their crews for the operation, I'm going to brief them tomorrow morning at 0530. I expect them to be underway by 1200hrs."
He sighed as he leaned back in his chair. "I think that's all for today though Joanne, the rest can wait till tomorrow." He checked the time. "You're watch in the CIC starts in an hour anyway, go grab something to eat or a drink or something. I'll finish up the paperwork."
Joanne stood up, and offered a quick salute. "Sir." He responded in kind to it, as she then turned and walked out of his office.
The holographic body of the ships A.I appeared hovering above the table. "Yes, Admiral?"
"Play music file, twelve."
"At once sir." The music started playing over the speakers int he office and he sat and closed his eyes. Tears forming in them as he thought back to his last days with Amanda, before the Three Day War. It was so long ago now, him and his beloved. Watching their daughter try and chase a holographic butterfly. Then scowling at him when she found out that he was the one casting the projection. Those days were so long ago, Amara was a grown woman now and Amanda was left behind on a world that was now dead. He took a deep breath, centering himself.
She would be proud of him, that's what William told himself at least. She was always about saving lives, for as long as he had known her. Don't start crying now Will, you'll ruin your eyepatch. He chuckled to himself, that was exactly what she would say about now. Everything happens for a reason, it's up to us to be the reason for stuff happening.
He would be the reason, they had five years of bad luck. Though now they had found the first system capable of hosting human life, he'd be the reason for humanity finding a new home. William would make sure of it, for his daughter Amara. As was his promise to his wife on her dying day.
It was dark, very dark, an empty void with nothing for the eye to see. The emptiness made his body shiver with a cold feeling in his back, Matthew didn't know where he was, he never did. He looked around for a few seconds, circling around like a maniac in a locked room trying to find his way out. Nothing still, just darkness that covered his vision to the point that he couldn't even see his own body. Then a figure down in the distance, a light shinning up above the figure making it some sort of silhouette.
Matthew approached the silhouette with caution, who was it, or what was it? He began to hustle up as he began to get closer to the silhouette he could make out a female figure. He finally got to it, with tiresome eyes and losing his breath he approached the figure.
As he got closer to it, he could see the familiar face of a women. It was hard to tell as the light was over the shadow, the figure was still much of a silhouette that he could barely make out.
"Matthew, my love." She said.
Matthew was taken aback by the voice of Crystal. The women he had loved for years, she was there in front of him and he didn't know what to do.
Raising his hand to touch her face, Matthew said "C-Crystal..."
Then as he touched her face, he could feel her skin wasn't the soft and smooth canopy he knew, in fact it felt rough. It had a harsh but also delicate feel, like sand. He pressed his hand on her cheek, taking out a massive chunk of ash. Crystal's figure began to fall apart into ash, down on the floor making a mound. Matthew was completely aghast by this, with tears in his eyes as he crumbled on the floor and tried to gather the ashes like if he could do anything with them, a strong wind then took them away from him and his hands.
"Why didn't you come back?" A voice said.
"Why did you leave?" Another one said.
"You promised to fight with us!" One angered voice yelled.
Matthew began to run away from the shinning light on the sky, as the voices grew in intensity and loudness that he couldn't make out what they were saying. He tried to cover his ears but it was as if they pierced right through them.
Matthew then screamed, he let out a scream of pain as he felt his head getting crushed by the noise, so many voices that he heard, all well too familiar.
"STOP!!!" He pleaded.
Then he opened his eyes, rising from bed with sweat covering his face and bloodshot eyes. His breath was uncontrollable as he looked around his bed and around the room, it was nothing but the same room he had been sleeping on for the past 5 years. He looked out the window into the multicolored vacuum of space, a sight to behold indeed, if it wasn't the same fucking sight for 5 years straight. Matthew rubbed his face as he went over to the bathroom. The nightmares were getting progressively worse, but this one was different, it felt real, maybe too real. He didn't know what to make of them at all.
The light turned on automatically and heading to the mirror, same face as always, he was still him like always and that reassured him on some level, he didn't know why. First thing he did was wash his face, undress and jump into the cold shower. Stepping out of the shower, Matthew noticed it was 4:30 AM lights on was about to begin in half an hour for the rest of the contingent. He was right on time as he dressed up in his uniform.
As he readied himself for the day, the Captain called out the AI of the ship. As much as he disliked the thing it had it's little perks.
"Noah." He said.
The hologram of the AI appeared at the middle of the room "Yes Captain Lopez?"
"Call Harrison." Matthew requested as he walked right through the hologram up to his drawers.
"Of course sir. I hope you have a fantastic day." The hologram disappeared and then the voice of Harrison was connected to the intercom of the room.
"Yes sir?" the lieutenant asked. He was always a quick to answer, dependent for whatever one asked him. A good assistant to have, and Martian like Matthew, he wouldn't trust anyone from any nation with being his right hand man. That's why he could relatively tolerate being in the Ark for so many years. The military was what he was used to and the men who were his commanders and fellow soldiers were of his planet. It was better that way, Feds would've killed them with bureaucracy and the Cons would most likely had tried to make the ship a moving company in space. The Fleeters were not so bad, but they were still a nuisance from time to time. Martians understood how this whole thing had to be, how to keep order while out here looking for a new home. It may seem harsh but it's a necessity and to fuck around is not an option at all. That's what many don't understand.
"Make sure the Companies are ready for a new exercise. Also make sure the patrols at the Hangar and the armories are properly relieved by 0600 hours. Locke wants me to ready an Operations team, probably an away mission coming up soon or just another joint exercise with Ark Sec. Either way I want a team ready for tomorrow." The Captain finished up getting ready.
"Yes Captain. I'll make sure its all ready sir." Harrison answered over the line.
"Hopefully today goes without a hitch, I'm getting really fucking tired of the recent protests calling for 'Elections'. Yeah, my ass, they want elections like we're some sort of nation state, inside a ship in the middle of space. Uhummm, I know that shit Drobov has something to do with it, always yapping about the little man and shit." Matthew was ready to head out the door.
"Yeah, I've seen that during leave. Protest and calls for elections, I don't really care about politics. I never did, but I feel like what we have is working. I don't get the the fuzz." Harrison answered.
"Me neither... well I'll get to you in a moment lieutenant. Gotta get off now." Matthew opened the door out of his quarters.
"Call Ended." The voice of Noah said as Matthew closed the door behind him into the large hall of the Officer's quarters, his room at the very end of the large hallway. He was ready for another day of routine.
The mask really had been designed well - it fit around her chin and over her nose easily, as soft and snug as a glove. It was comfortable enough that she knew she could easily fall asleep in it, but that was a bad habit - she might come to rely on it, if she kept it on too often. Three hours when she woke up in the morning, and three hours before she went to bed. That was what the doctor had said.
Audrey took a few breaths, experimentally, feeling the cybernetics in her chest whir as her lungs expanded and contracted. With one hand, she brushed the hair out of her face, shuffling across her room to her dresser and selecting one of her many black bodysuits; not for the first time, she wondered who had decided that clothes made to fit chest augments should almost all be skintight.
In the corner of the room, the Black Box stared at her, its unblinking holographic 'eye' casting a dull blue light over the otherwise dark room. It wouldn't do for it to be so creepy, not if it was to fulfill its intended function. Maybe one of these days she'd ask Maeve or Rois for ideas on making it look... friendlier. "Black Box," she called out, "Run To-Do Program."
The monolith's holographic eye shimmered. "To-Do Program," it repeated in a voice identical to Audrey's own, "Enhance my translation protocols: pictographs, effective? Debug summary subroutine. Complete main-drive AI programming. Manufacture self-repair system. Acquire a suitable definition for the term, 'love.'"
"Is that all," Audrey muttered, pulling her tablet off her bed and flipping to her private messages. She'd need to let the hub supervisor she reported to know that the bartender-bot she'd been supposed to fix and which was currently laying on her floor in several pieces would take another few days. "And how are you doing today, Black Box?"
"I am doing ice cream."
Audrey sighed without looking up from the message she was drafting. "You are not doing ice cream, Black Box. You are doing well."
"Error: Files show ice cream is synonymous with well."
"Ice cream is not synonymous with well. Try again. How are you doing today, Black Box?"
"I am doing chocolate bar."
Audrey brought a gloved hand to her face, the metallic sound of her breathing through the mask filling the room. The Black Box had come a long way since the planning phase, but it (she?) had even further to go if it was going to serve its purpose. Once it was done, it would serve as the last, worst hope for humanity - a final creation to educate those who followed about their lives, their triumphs and failures, to prove that they had existed. If the worst happened, there would still be one human voice in the stars - a high-pitched and Australian one, but still.
She sent the message with a tap of her finger and skimmed through her inbox. There was one unread message, from Dr. Ian Ferguson - a young man who'd worked with her on Project Prometheus. He was one of the most outspoken members of the unrest groups calling for elections, and was always trying to get her to come to one of their meetings. I'm doing this for you, the message read. What happens if these damn Martian soldiers outlaw cybernetics? How will you breathe?
She flicked the message away and turned to the Black Box as someone knocked at her door. "Go away, I'm dead!" she shouted, without looking away from the tablet.
Things have been, better lately. And that's odd considering the general malaise of hopelessness that had befallen the VITAE of late. It was the anniversary. Five years... Five years since the launch. Year one was a celebration, a celebration about survival, things still going strong. Year two, the crew tried again but one could feel the mediocrity of it, the substance of what it represented. Year three was a worthy attempt, people pulled out all the stops to prepare a great show, a great bonding experience for everyone but a recent tragedy made the celebration taste foul on everyone's lips. It became a day of rememberance, for those lost since the trip started. Year Four... it was more a funeral than a celebration, Sullivan fondly remembering his Engineering Officer died in the line of duty. A hell of a woman. He poured out a bit for her, and then drank himself into Oblivion with the rest of the bottle. This year, Year 5, no one had anything planned. It was no celebration or even morning, but a time of tension. A time of decisions. Hope was starting to slip, people were starting to wonder if the VITAE was going to be the only home they knew. This was okay for those of the Rare Fleeter backgrounds, but for others, growing up with open skies and solid ground, this was a very drastic dramatic shift. It was likened to homesickness, and every death particularly suicide among the thousands of crew sent out a ripple to the rest of the population. They could very well be the last peoples in existence. That was a scary thought.
The policies in place didn't help either. Security was cracking down on the fights, breaking up the riots in the Hub, and giving disciplinary measures to those who didn't follow the rules. The mandatory pregnancy ban was one that particularly stung a thorn in peoples side. There were lovers all of the ship now, looking to eachother for entertainment, for hope, for comfort. One of Sullie's crew had to get the treatment four times already and impact was weighing down her spirit pretty hard. I guess that's why he was arrested the first time, actually speaking out against the policies and maybe causing a disturbance in the process.
Than it was just the hardships of when survival becomes routine. People forget they are fighting for their lives and things just become the norm. Normal means boredom, boredom means you get creative or you start getting bad habits. Sullie had helped organize morale events in the past, but not so much since his boss died. He didn't realize how important those movie nights or bar mixers were for the crews until he found himself in the middle of half a dozen workplace scuffles on the engineering deck alone. One of him, he actually started when someone just mouthed off at the wrong time. The guy went to the med bay, he went to the brig for the day.
It was probably that last bit that got him to attend weekly counsiling sessions with one of the psychologists. Dr. Melanie Larson. Their first session was all smiles and getting on eachothers nerves when it came to how they both operated. He used art to express himself, and she was efficient about finding the trauma in his life, at which point both came to moments of confrontation. This was actually par for the course for over a month.
And then Sullivan asked his Doctor to attend an impromptu party to celebrate some entire system overhaul of one the frigates. He tried to make it into a whole ship wide thing and invited her personally. Then he invited her to the next event, and the next.
Over time, their talks actually became quite pleasant. They had different backgrounds but they could easily find comparisons and it turned out they liked alot of the same things. Sullivan found his weekly trips to his councilor incredibly therapeutic. Like he could just let himself go and let his mouth and mind wander. It was debatable if that was the intention but mind games or not, he liked it. It put a little pep to his step as he approached her office door.
"Hey Doc, what's the good-"
A man was there, still professional, still very well kept, and still probably very good at his job. "Keith Sullivan correct? I'm Doctor-"
"Where's Mel?" Sullivan asked, a bit of irritation and confusion pressing on his mind.
"She's requested your transfer. I'll be your doc-" he was interrupted as the door to the office was closed abruptly.
"Oh what the hell!?" He shouted, his beard positively bristling. He hands were fists and his face was almost flush with red. "She can't do this to me! I swear it's the only friggin relief I get on this stupid ship!" He knew walking away from his meeting would get him some kind of talking to, but to be honest he wasn't really worried about that. He was more in touch of giving that woman a piece of his mind.
He touched the interface of the implant between his ear and eye. "Contact Dr. Melanie Larson." There was a couple of beeps, some chirps, and then the line was put through, and it went directly to voicemail. Sullivan paced back and forth, his free hand on his hip. "Hey Doc what gives?" he asked with some annoyance behind his voice. "I thought things were going great! Why dump me like this?" He thought he deserved atleast an explanation. He made a hurmph sound before he finished up the message. "Please call me back when you can. If its about the last session, I'm sorry I talked about cartoons for thirty minutes. I thought you liked them to. Ugh- I mean, just give me a call when you can." He hung up and leaned on the wall, banging his head. "Dammit..." He felt like he lost something, again.
Mandatory Evaluation and weekly sessions here after. How did the Chief Engineer, hell now the Engineering officer get into this. Sure, he's been hitting the bottle lately, but that wasn't on any workshifts. He encouraged some of his men to fight out their differences, blow off some steam, but apparently security didn't like that either. Finally he himself got into a fight, well fights. One pissant was mistreating one of his friends, almost grabbing at her. The other was some flyboy that called him a wrench monkey at exactly the wrong time. He knocked him on his ass, who wouldn't? Keith Sullivan had been acting out ever since his impromptu promotion. He had been promoted to Engineering Officer, with the bridge being his work station now ever since a disaster coolant explosion killed the previous officer, his superior, and several other members of the work crew. According to the files, Engineering Officer Samantha Gertrude and Sullivan had a stellar relationship, similar to a trusted Officer and their NCO. Their work was as corgial as it was professional. Then she died in the line of duty, and something within the Chief just kind of snapped after that. Still, Sullivan seemed to not give two cents about what the director of security said. He was right and he knew it. This was just all par for the course. Whatever, he decided to take these hours as mandatory relief. He had a mountain of work and this was a great opportunity to shirk it foe a little while. He entered the office area in the medical wing, a woft of lemon scents assailing him. "Cheif Engineer Keith Sullivan reportin'" He stood in the doorway saluating. He was a gorilla of a man, very hairy, tall about 6'3", beard and hair all curls. Hell he even had a slight irish accent.
From within her office, Dr. Larson received a notification that her next patient had arrived. She clicked on the screen to open up her patient's file. Keith Sullivan, Chief Engineer. Further reading provided her with the details behind the appointment. Leaning back against her chair, Melanie tapped her fingers on the armrest, mentally preparing an outline as how she would like their first session to go. This was far from her first meeting with a patient having to deal with alcoholism, but she tailored her sessions according to her patients, as every good mental health worker should.
A moment later, Melanie stood up, heading for the door and then walking down the small corridor. From the other side of the panel glass, she saw him standing outside. He was every bit masculine as he was tall. Hard to miss features as depicted on his personnel file photo.
"Mr. Sullivan, I'm Dr. Larson. This way, please."
She held out a hand, prompting him to follow her. They exchanged pleasantries, shaking hands and such, before Melanie walked them over to her office. She immediately offered him a couple of options as to where to sit before she headed to her desk to grab a notebook and pen. Once she had what she needed, she pulled up a chair across from him and took a seat.
"I always like to start by asking my patients their expectations for these sessions, as well as the results they want to achieve at the end."
Sullivan shoke her hand, firm formal. The usual. He noticably winced when she called him Mr. It was a title he never really was comfortable with. "Please, you can just call me Sullie. Everyone does. Unless you're my crew." he added in with a bit of grin. He followed Dr. Larson and then took the couch opposite her desk. He made sure to stretch out, feel the upholstery and be as comfortable as he could. It was difficult though, he knew his brain was going to be poked and prodded, his behavior questioned, and he would have to answer a whole bunch of uncomfortable topics. He sighed. He'd have to make the best of things. Sullie crossed his legs and let one arm drap across the couch. She asked him a fair question and Sullie perked his head up, guaging her for a moment before he spoke, his eye contact breaking every so often. "My expectations." he repeated stroking his beard. "Truthfully, what I expect is to spill my guts about everything I know. Get some stern talking to about how my behavior was unacceptable and how I should go meditate or medicate or whatever." He shrugged. "What will eventually happen is I just get a clean bill of health and go back to my job, where I get to herd about four hundred or so cats to keep this place up and running." He took a breath. "So do what you got to do Doc. Everything I know and say is wrong in some kind of way, and I ain't going to try to prove I was right or play head games right back. I can already tell you I'm going to lose that game." He waved both hands out with a big friendly grin. "So I'm an open book. Whatever you need to hear about I'm all your. I'm just going to consider this an excuse to talk about myself. It's one of my favorite subjects." He almost wanted to chuckle at his joke.
Melanie smiled, finding some mild humor in Sullivan's words. He very closely described the stereotypes people held regarding the interactions between a therapist and their patient. Needless to say, most of it wasn't true, but they didn't know any better.
With that fleeting thought slowly dissipating in her mind, Melanie jotted down a few analytical points on her notepad, then looked back up at Sullivan.
"Well, Sullie, we're going to do things quite a bit different today. And no medication is required, I can promise you that much. Now, this is going to sound extremely cliche, but I want you to tell me a bit about your childhood. More specifically, any traumatic experiences you may have had growing up. If you don't remember them, that's fine, but if you do, I'd like you to share them with me." Melanie stopped for a moment to shift her weight on the chair since the two of them were about to engage for the next hour or so, and she needed to be comfortable. "I know a lot of us have our embarrassing or shameful moments from our past, therefore if at any point you'd rather not disclose that information to me, then you have every right. I don't want you to feel pressured by any means; on the other hand, think of these sessions as a break from the world out there," she motioned towards the wooden door, the one matching her desk which enhanced the overall design of her office by playing with the various earthy tones. "I invite you to think of me as a close friend of yours whom you're simply sharing some stories with."
Melanie then nodded at Sullivan, giving him his cue to start. He looked rather comfortable already, but Melanie always liked to communicate some quick instructions to her patients. It made the job easier for her and hopefully, a little bit less stressful for her patient.
Sullivan chuckled. "You're right, that is cliche." He let her finish her explanation and he was visibly relieved by that. "Aww shucks, you're making me feel right welcome." He knew it was work to her, and whether she'd like it or not, he intended to give her what she asked. He grinned before he thought, crossing his arms, making a bunch of motions in his chair, looking up to the ceiling, closing his eyes, making a bunch of audible thinking sounds. "Childhood. Childhood. That's a bit tricky to explain." He snapped his fingers. "Wait I got it!" he then leaned in before looking left and right. "You have a paper and pen? It's going to be easier to explain if I get some kind of timeline going. The facts are thirty years old and I want to make sure I'm not missing anything."
Presumed to get what he desired, he leaned over his paper and began to draw. They were crude shapes, but with rather amazing techniques of curves to straight lines. He was drawing a list, a list of what looked like spaceships, very simple in scope but each fundamentally different in design. He spoke while he did this. "Now, correct me if I'm wrong, you weren't a Fleeter right Doc?" he called her rather informally.
"No, I was not, but let's stay in topic if you will. Remember, this session is about you, not me."
But Melanie already knew his type. A jokester who didn't take things too seriously. She could very easily write him off and let his chain of command deal with him, but that wasn't the reason they were both there, and she'd rather maintain the integrity of her job. "Now, Sullie, I hope you realize that I can see right through that paper," Melanie went on, her pen pointed in his direction as she gave him the look similar to that of a mother who caught her child doing something they weren't supposed to be doing, but she nonetheless loved them and just had to deal with them. "If you need some pen and paper to jog your memory with notes, that's more than fine, but I can't allow you to doodle within the brief timeframe we're allotted, no matter how much you tend to excel in your artistic talents."
Melanie then took a few moments to write down some more of her notes before turning her attention back to Sullivan. "Let's try this again, shall we? Can you recall any particular incident from your childhood that back then made you feel more uncomfortable than usual?"
He raised his hands defensively. "Hey hey I don't mean anything by it. I'm a fleeter, and you need to understand that crews aren't just crews to me. They're family. You have to make that known and you have to open yourself out like that. Some of the ships I were from, they aren't like the VITAE, they have parts held together with chicken wire and duct tape. Sometimes the cockpit can only tell the whole ship what to do, and then its a million moving parts all coming together. So you gotta-"
She interrupted him. He rolled his eyes like a child to her motherly tone. He took a pause and explained. "They aren't doodles, they're the ships I've been on. Its how I like to remember things, I'm a visual learner or whatever." He held up his paper to her, a list of 'doodles' from top of the page to bottom, all of them different. He used his pen to point at one. "I was born on this one. I served on this one to do-"
She asked again, this time focusing on the negatives of his past. This time he felt his skin bristle a little bit as he looked at her, almost scowling. "Okay... fine. My dad died on this one following a mining accident." he went back to pointing to his paper. "My mother and brother died on this one getting me to this one before those damn aliens showed up. Grandparents on this one when I took their place on their escape shuttle. Then I lost my fam- I mean my crew..." He paused, wanting to use another word for them. "On this, this, this, this, and that one." He pointed at each ship down the page, except for the last one.
"So yes I can now recall quite a few incidents from my childhood that made me pretty damn uncomfortable." He took a deep breath and waved his hands out as if calming down before looking back at her with a forced smile. "But past is past right? We all lost someone. So I'm not going to complain about it. Not bitter or anything." He looked away, trying to find something to look at on the wall while he tried to get comfortable again.
"Well, thank you for sharing," Melanie smiled slightly, scribbling away some more. "I can sympathize with you, Sullie...I too lost my parents prematurely," she went on, her eyes glued to her notepad. "I was devastated, but like you, I just had to move on, you know? Try to make the best out of a terrible situation and--"
Just then, Melanie was interrupted by the emergency tone on her watch. "Excuse me for a moment, please." She put her stuff down beside her before tapping on the screen. Apparently, there was a code 3 call within the medical bay due to one of her patients. He was demanding she go talk to him, but no more details were provided.
"I'm sorry to have to cut our first session short, Sullie. I have an emergency call to attend to." Melanie got up, gathering some stuff from her desk before rapidly walking to the door, advising Sullivan to follow her outside. "You can reschedule to make up for this session, I'll send a note up your chain so they know you showed. Sorry again!" Melanie walked off in a hurry, putting on her coat to adjust to the sudden chill outside of her office.
Melanie received the notification right away, as she'd predicted. But she couldn't deal with Sullie at the moment, not with everything else she had on her plate. One of her patients, Eddison, had had a full-scale meltdown in the ward. One of the psychiatrists had terminated the dosage of medication Eddison received on a daily basis due to unrelated health concerns, and when Melanie sided with Dr. Roberts on the decision, Eddison lunged at her, believing he was betrayed by the one person whom he could trust the most on the ship. The incident didn't rattle her any; she was well aware it was a mild hazard of the job, but she became momentarily unhinged when she learned Eddison had been released not too long after the incident. The medication stopped, and so did his symptoms...or so they say. Eddison wasn't fully cleared for duty just yet--he was reassigned to another psychologist who would do an evaluation to give him the clear to fly again, but of course, his command would have the final say. Nonetheless, on the rare occasions Melanie and Eddison crossed paths since then, she could sense him staring at her for longer than socially possible. She was terribly close to making a stop at the security office to hopefully put an end to it since for some reason, her own co-workers didn't really believe her.
"Another shot, please," Melanie called to the bartender, her finger impatiently tapping on the bar top. She knew she would have to return the call, but it was easier to put it off. On the other hand, she could get it out of the way, or maybe...
"Thank you," Melanie downed the shot in one go, making a face for only a split second before scanning her payment. As she walked off, she chose the option to deliver a voice message. "Hey Sullie, it's me. Listen, I'm in a bit of a rush right now but I had no choice other than to transfer you. Most of the guys at the office have started talking about you and I, and you know it's extremely unethical if I were to start dating one of my patients. All these events and gatherings you've been inviting me too...it's getting a little too personal, and my guys know. Trust me, they notice this behavior, it's what we do. If you'd like to talk, then just get a hold of me. All right, I guess I'll see you around."
Melanie then ended the message very abruptly, a sigh escaping her lips as she made her way within the crowd.
Maeve wouldn't lie to herself. Morale was still a problem on the Vitae. Even after 5 years, people were still getting used to all that. It was undeniably, a very sudden and radical change. But Maeve liked to think that she was helping a bit at that too. Sure, she was only one person, but she was most certainly doing her part. The only thing that she wished it could change was the daily limitation of only one hour per person on the Eden. That place was undoubtedly, one of her favorite locations on all the ship since the first day in the Vitae. Every single day, Maeve went there to simply lay down under a tree. Maybe take a nap or simply feel the artificial breeze on her skin. Most of the staff that was responsible for guarding the Eden already knew Maeve, as she hardly spent an entire day without going to the Eden at least once.
"See you tomorrow!" Maeve said to the man guarding the entrance to the Eden with a tranquil smile on her face.
As she walked away, she smiled to herself after seeing the guard smiling back at her. It was refreshing to see that even small actions, small things like talking to others like she did, could change their expressions, maybe even their day, for the better. Even as she walked through the Hub, it was good to see that at least some who knew her due to her music opened a smile after she waved back for them.
Talking about the Hub, it always surprised Maeve on how many people were there at all times of the day. Maybe it was because it was due to the nightclubs, bars, movie theaters & etc. or maybe it was because it resembled a 'real' city, like the ones back on Mars or Earth. Whatever the reason was, people were naturally drawn to that location. Maybe even more than the Eden.
But as much as Maeve would like to stop by one of the cafeterias and get some hot chocolate or buy some sweets, she knew she still had her duties as a doctor. Even though there weren't many people who needed surgery or any more 'serious' medical procedures, there were still many other things that Maeve needed to do other than consults. One of them was checking on certain patients who had more fragile health compared to others. One of those was Audrey Knight. Only a few years older than herself, Audrey was a brilliant roboticist and Ai scientist. Maeve didn't know much about those things, but judging by what other scientists said about her, she had a very promising future ahead of her.
Unfortunately, Audrey was born in a generation known as 'Generation Sick', victim of the airborne pollutants in the Conglomerate. Due to that, she had to use a respirator in order to breathe and had a very fragile health. To make things even more complicated, Audrey had a tendency to isolate herself and was not that good in socializing with others. That meant that Maeve had to most of the times, search for her to check on her health.
"Maybe this time I can even persuade her to try going to the Eden to relax a little bit?" Maeve thought to herself as she finally arrived on the corridor where Audrey's quarters were located.
"Let's see... Audrey..." Maeve mumbled to herself, searching for Audrey's quarter.
In front of her door, Audrey would find a red haired woman, knocking on Audrey's door with some food and orange juice on her hands, presumably for Audrey.
"Oh, also searching for Audrey?" Maeve asked to the red haired woman, surprised to see another person in front of Audrey's door.
"She doesn't even get out to eat by herself, doesn't she? She really needs to take better care of her health..." Maeve said, shaking her head in disappointment.
"Go away, I'm dead!" Audrey's voice could be heard coming from inside.
"If you keep acting like that, you soon will be... Well, first you will have an appointment with me and my scalpels..." Maeve replied, with a provocative tone.
"Come on Audrey... You know you need to see me at least once a week... It's just a quick medical checkup. I promise it will be quick." Maeve said, trying to convince her to open the door.
"You know... I even gave up on drinking some tasty hot chocolate on that cafeteria I like on the Hub just to come here check on you!" Maeve said with a discreet giggle as she waited for her answer, hoping she would at least open the door.
"Maybe I should have brought some for her?" Maeve asked, looking to the red haired woman, inquisitively.
"Oh, my name is Maeve by the way. Maeve Katz. I'm... well... I'm a lot of things... Surgeon, singer, medic... But I'm also in charge to check Audrey's health... If she lets me, that is..." Maeve said, with a sigh.
Audrey was a... complicated patient, but she was one of her patients nonetheless. Maeve hoped that one day Audrey would open herself to her a bit more. Isolating herself like that wasn't good neither for her body nor her mind...
Riley Cavill groaned groggily. She shifted ever so slightly and ended up kicking both the blankets off her legs and an empty whiskey bottle off her bed. The sound of the breaking glass actually made her open her eyes. It took her a moment to realize where she was. Five years had not been long enough to get used to the fact that she was on a massive space colony in the middle of nowhere in the vastness of the universe. As old world as it sounded, she had never been into space before she had been accepted into the Genesis project.
She lingered a few more moments, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. Then the small console next to her bed began to flash and beep annoyingly. With a heavy sigh she sat up, and reached for it. The bright light of the screen in her dark room made her squint.
“Lights On” she said and the lights immediately did she asked.
She returned her attention the console and realized that she was receiving a call from her superior officer, Lieutenant Harrison. She quickly pressed that the answer call button on the screen; not paying any attention to the fact her hair was disheveled and she was still in bed. She didn’t want to make him wait any longer than she already had.
“Sir!” She said the moment he appeared on her screen.
“Morning, Master Sergeant,” he paused for moment apparently amused at her appearance. “Have your team up and ready on that new training module ASAP”
“Yes Sir!” Riley said without question even though she obviously had some. Her small team had begun the training already but she had the assumption that it would not be implemented for a while. Apparently, there was something she didn’t know yet. It was not her place to question. She figured she would know if she needed to. Though she knew her team would be agitated by the upped time table.
“Master Sergeant, I expect nothing but the best” Lieutenant Harrison said with a smile before ending the call. Riley let out a deep breath and then rolled out of bed. She liked Lieutenant Harrison. He was one of the few Martians that didn’t treat her like some dirty Fed. She got a different feeling about Captain Lopez. She had never really understood the whole nationalist mentality, especially now. Humanity was all that mattered.
After stumbling over to the coffee maker to make a cup she got into her wardrobe to pull out a crisp uniform. She laid it out on her bed before heading into the bathroom to freshen up. 25 minutes later she had on her uniform and that cup of coffee in her hands. She took a sip and grimaced. She looked around and then dug into a few of her drawers. Once she found what she was looking for she returned to her coffee cup and poured a shot of whisky into it. She took a sip and sighed. After she finished her cup she headed out to wake her team and get the day’s training started.
The day was like any usual one, with all platoon lieutenants and master sergeants waking up their units, many already marching towards the training complex. The military head quarters of the Vitae were quite impressive, sizable and professional enough that Matthew eve felt at home at times, Martian tech offered nothing but the best after all. As the captain walked through the hallways of the military complex several rows of soldiers passed by him, chanting the usual morning song as they saluted their commander with respect. Matthew liked to keep discipline even with ranks, at the beginning years there had been some issues with Fed soldiers who were not very keen on saluting a Martian, but Matthew had made his command clear since then. Personally confronting anyone that questioned his command or Locke's for that matter, there would be no insubordination in this vessel, no matter what nation any soldier came from. Most soldiers already knew Lopez was of a take no bullshit mentality and though it was clear some resented him most kept the same level of respect expected in any regular military force.
For his part, Matthew respected each soldier according to their abilities. He personally had good ties with Harrison, sure he could come off a bit soft, but he was of a much more even mannerism and most soldiers would follow him under command of Lopez, and Locke by extension. Still, it was clear to Lopez that five years inside a ship floating through space ever so infinite could take a toll on anyone, including himself. He was not surprised that there was a clear lack of morale, he couldn't blame the men and women serving in the Vitae to feel frustrated after so long drifting aimlessly in the emptiness of space, even with away missions to planets it was hard to keep all soldiers on a day to day active basis other than training, marching, patrolling, sleeping, repeat. They all still had leave time, but still years with the same casino, hub, and overall the same monotone environment was bound to get tiresome on anybody despite the convictions they might posses. At least it was better than fighting... them. In some away missions the teams had encountered hostile creatures, but that compared nothing to what was out there, hunting them, wanting their complete destruction, even Matt shivered at the thought.
Matthew came back from his dozing off as he arrived to the training complex, a massive room with several dome like structures, each structure was a modular combat and environment simulation system. Once going into one of these domes, a very real simulation would commence, either planetary surface combat, away exploration, or even space operations such as raiding an enemy ship or rescue operations. The MCESS were formidable for training any military force, though a bit ironic given that Lopez would prefer training that was more hands on and less of a video game, but Harrison had been able to convince him that this was the next best thing rather than putting the men and women that were supposed to protect the Vitae in active danger. Matthew could see the sense in that, at least in these domes his soldiers could still have the exercise and preparedness for battle they needed.
Matthew entered the Training Complex, revealing himself up on the platform overlooking the domes, several units and teams were already on deck, either awaiting their turn in their domes or doing the obstacle course that surrounded the four massive domes.
The captain smirked a bit, it seemed like old times back on Mars. The blue somewhat greenish sky and the combination of green formatted earth with red rock were the only things absent. The captain made his ways down the stairs leading down on deck, lieutenant Harrison was already present, soldiers formed up near him.
"ATTENTION! CAPTAIN ON DECK!" Harrison said out loud as Lopez stood in front of the row of soldier who quickly straightened and the sound of their feet hitting the floor all together was indicative of their discipline as Marines of the Vitae.
"At ease people." Lopez said, subsequently the soldiers went into a more relaxed mannerism.
"Who's in command of this team lieutenant?" Lopez asked Harrison, who was standing right besides him, fully armored already, same for all the soldiers.
"That would be Master Sergeant Riley Cavill, sir." Harrison answered.
"They seem like a well kept unit. Best you could find, right?" Lopez added.
Harrison made a bit of a smile, "Yes sir. Cavill and her team have been scoring high on the latest simulations. I think her team would be adequate for any operation that is incoming sir."
"That is for me to judge lieutenant." Lopez said with a strong and firm voice, he then called for the master sergeant herself.
"Master Sergeant Cavill. Do you believe in your team's ability to perform in potentially hazardous or hostile environment at the best of their abilities?" The captain waited for an answer, looking directly at the sergeant.
hand reached out from under the strewn about covers, groping for the alarm clock which was shrieking somewhere on the floor near the vicinity of her bed. After several seconds where her hands only found crumbled notes and dirty laundry, Rois finally threw the covers from her with an exasperated breath. She was definitely up now, as she half-leaned out of the bed to find the source of her frustration. Finally turning the damned thing off and returning it to her bedside table, she sat up in bed and glanced at the time: 0600. She had meant to push it back a few hours since she'd had to make a late night inspection in her center the previous night. Of course, late night meant nothing in this place except that someone was up when they were usually sleeping.
"May as well get up, I guess." She mumbled to herself as she finished stretching and stood, moving to her bathroom to shower the rest of her sleep away. A few minutes, and she felt somewhat refreshed for the day. Brushed teeth, combed hair, and a few sprays of the water bottle for her terrarium. Stopped to give a frown at the state of her room as she turned from the tank. It was about time for a clean up, so she corralled all of her discarded notes into a corner and tossed her used clothes into another. That would do for now. She'd take care of the rest later. It's not like she ever had guests, anyways, besides her myconids--and they didn't mind at all. She slid into the last clean work uniform from her closet, clipped her badge on, and headed for the door.
She stopped short, as she always did these days, to stare at the small faces huddled excitedly next to a sign that read 'Lorne Farm'. It had only recently been hung here and hastily so as Rois had 'lost' it in her own detritus for a time. When she finally got around to cleaning, she had found the picture frame cracked and ruined. Thankfully, the picture inside was undamaged. She reframed it and hung it at the door so she wouldn't forget again; she couldn't forget herself or those she left behind. They made the monotony of every day a bit more bearable. "The ship is running, so it's gotta be a good day." She said halfheartedly. It wasn't the original phrase, but that one didn't work here. There was no 'sun' to 'rise'. Just the Vitae and her lights.
Her daily ritual complete, she started for the cafeteria from her living space near the Hydroponics Center. She decided that she would walk today. It made her feel like she was going somewhere sometimes, especially if she changed the route up. Maybe she'd walk around the far side of Eden or past the Archives. Anything to make her feel like that she wasn't doing the same thing day in and day out. The tiny changes made a big difference. Today she wanted to walk past all the vendors as they received their shipments of food. It was nice to see the literal and metaphorical fruits of her labor. When you spent all day staring at plants and dirt and irrigation systems, it was easy to forget why she was here. Sure, it was smooth sailing for hydroponics at the moment, but they'd had their challenges with rampant disease, malfunctioning sensors, and even a few deficiency scares since launch. Nevertheless, she felt like she hadn't had a real challenge in some time. The thing she most looked forward to these days was whatever Dr. Wolfe's@Nieszka latest idea was, and most of that was hands off for Rois until a viable product was produced.
As she finally arrived at the cafeteria, she smiled to think of the friends and acquaintances she had made over the last five years. Dr. Wolfe was just one of them. Rois approached the serving counter wait her turn to collect food. When it was finally her turn, she requested two; a request the veteran serving staff were more than used to at this point. Rois was in the habit of taking another of her friends a meal tray at least once or twice a week. It was about that time again. "Thank you." She filled a large reusable bottle with some fresh orange juice before clipping it onto the edge of her work suit and heading off towards the direction of the Fabrication Center. That is where she would most likely find Miss Audrey Knight@Cairo. She would take the transit this time to speed things along and keep their food from getting too cold.
On the way, she passed some rather disgruntled looking citizens standing loosely around another individual who was harping about the current political climate. It had been building for some time now, but it wasn't until recently that the civilian population became bold or disgruntled enough--or both--to make their voices and opinions public. There was unrest towards the current power structure; a structure in which the people had no say. Rois struggled with her own thoughts on the matter. While she may sympathize and on occasion empathize with some of the points that were laid out, she was also a straight-forward and logical woman and recognized the multitude of goodness the military skeleton afforded them. Alas, a large amount of the crew were not military born, raised, or trained--such as herself. She didn't know what the answer was, but she hoped it could be found peaceably if at all possible.
"Excuse me, you're blocking the bus ramp which is rude and--if I may also point out--a safety hazard." The harper and his onlookers gave her a disapproving look but moved aside to let her pass. She took her seat on board, taking care to tuck the covered food neatly onto her lap while she waited for the bus to arrive near the Fabrication station, where she would disembark and navigate the familiar halls to Audrey's room. Upon arrival at the appropriate door, Rois gave a quick knock and was about to push the door comm when she was addressed by another woman who seemed to share the same destination. @13org"A-Ah, yes. Just here to make sure she's eating properly. She takes such care of the automated machinery, it's the least I owe her."
Rois simply stood in the hallway and watched the way the new woman seemed to completely overtake the whole corridor with her energy. Whether forced or natural, this woman had maintained a formidable amount of cheeriness considering the somber attitude that permeated the rest of the ship. She supposed such bright spots had their uses during times as these. While Audrey was presumably engaged with the other visitor, she turned to hand the food and drink to the newcomer. "Feel free to give her these as a bargaining tool for the door. It works pretty well for me. Ah, sorry. I haven't introduced myself yet: Rois Holt, botanist. Pleasure to meet you, Dr. Katz." She would offer a hand in greeting but either hers or Maeve's would be busy with food and drink to balance. "I'll head out so you can see your patient. It's about time for Eden's check up anyways."
Facing the door a quick moment before she left, Rois called through the intercomm to Audrey. "I'm leaving your food with the good doctor here, so open up and eat something." Then she turned to make her way back to the bus station and on to the Hub. According to Rois, Eden was always due for a check-up. It was her eternal excuse these days to spend more and more of her technically off-the-clock time on duty. The space was the most therapeutic on the ship, and sometimes she wondered if it wasn't the only thing keeping her sane these days.