[ISS] Storm's a Coming (Mar 3.6, Our 3.4, Tem 3.4)

edited July 2016 in ISS Tsiolkovsky
image

Mark and Temperance,

It's breakfast when you two are both in the cafeteria.

Pod Sixteen students present:
- Corporal Nul
- Temperance
- Aiden
- Bea
- Jace Hyo
- Mi Sun Hyo
- Nadja
- Olivar
- Torrence
- Trish
- Tunde

Pod Eight students present:
- Corporal Eff
- Ezekiel
- Gams
- Gen Yu
- four unnamed students

Temperance, who are you sitting with? I assume the T's, but do you invite anyone else? You could squeeze in one more, and you know Mi Sun's watching from her seat by her brother.

Mark, you handed over Pax without issue, she went quietly. Before you went to bed, you received a note of congratulations from your father, you've received a commendation for excellent service. This morning, you received a message from Corporal Tek that Tabitha will be taken for testing. Oh, and who are you sitting with? Gen Yu offers you a seat by her team, of course.

Comments

  • image

    Well, I wouldn't want to be rude. I sit down next to Gen Yu.
    About a second later I realise I ought to have sat with Nadja but, eh. Whatever.

    I wrote a message for Tabitha on the way here, didn't send it yet. I do now.

    To: Tabitha Smith

    Hey, heard u r going for testing. Good luck.
    See you on the other side, I guess.

    Mark

  • image

    Mark,

    Gams looks up to see you come over, and gives an exasperated little sigh and scoots to give you room by Gen Yu. Ezekiel gives you the "guy nod" hello.

    image Gen Yu smiles, "Hey Corporal Nul, you look nice in your uniform. How are you this morning?" She scoots closer to you as you sit beside her on the cool metal bench. Across from you is Ezekiel. He's munching away on an actual bagel.

    How long has it been since you saw a bagel, Mark?
  • image

    I smile at Mi Sun, make a gesture with my head to invite her to join us. "Hey, Torrence, how is it sharing a bathroom with Corporal Null?" I know it's three letters, but I think of it with the second "L". "He hasn't tried to do a surprise body-cavity search or anything, has he?

  • image

    Temperance,

    Mi Sun wipes her mouth with her napkin, says something quickly to her brother, then joins you, smiling and thanking you. Tunde's busy chuckling at your bathroom joke, but he gives Mi Sun a polite nod.

    image "No, not yet. He's fine. Gets up real early to jog or workout or plant cameras in showers or something, I dunno." He scoops up some granulated substance and takes a bite, makes a small face, then munches on it. After a drink of water, he says, "Temp, I think Eff's pretty funny. Thanks for suggesting I chat with her. Too bad she's the enemy, you know?" He munches some more on his foodstuffs.
  • image

    The whole definition of "enemy" is much more ungraspable, after that talk with Pax. She made points. Valid ones. And implicated someone I grew up trusting as believing the same way. Someone to talk to about this would be great, but it's not going to be the Ts or Mi Sun.

    "Maybe I didn't send you over to undermine a wall, Torrence. Maybe I sent you to build a bridge. If you like Eff, go for it. Maybe she'll actually talk to me at some point, instead of looking for demerits. But... if she doesn't, you've got a friend in Corp places." At least Torrence won't get stung if Pax's other side contact comes out. But we may all need allies.

  • edited July 2016
    image

    It's been so long since I saw a bagel it actually takes me a while to recall the name for it. I don't think I like bagels, but I can't remember for sure. Maybe I would now.

    It makes me think of family breakfasts, the smell of coffee and rugbrød.

    "Hey Zeke... where did you get that?"
  • image

    Mark,

    image Ezekiel grins, "Well, I don't know about Coach Simms, but our coach actually likes us." He takes a bite of the bagel, chews noisily. It's mocking, but he has this playful tone to it. With his mouth still slightly full, he covers it with a hand, asking, "We trashed Pod Nine, did you hear? Worked on all the weaknesses you guys pointed out, and took them to school." He raises his left hand, and Gams slaps it for a high five.


    image "The uniform looks really nice on you, Mark." Gen Yu says with a smile. "You should come practice with me again. Got some new moves to show you." She looks at you for a little too long, and Gams sighs and shakes her head. That gets Gen Yu's attention and she turns back to her food, which is a yellow paste. "They say this helps build muscle." She says it with a hint of distaste before shoving a spoonful in her mouth.
  • image

    Temperance,

    image Torrence does that thing where he watches you talking, Temperance. He hears you, but he might not be completely listening. "Sure, right," he munches some more. "I think I can get with her, if you know what I mean. That's a good bridge, right?" He grins widely, then munches some more, drinks his water, then looks over at Eff and flashes a smile.

    Trish shakes her head sadly, saying nothing, but crunching her foodstuff with a spork.

    image "Temp," Tunde begins, using his familiar name for you, "Did you hear about Tabitha? She went across this morning. They had her suit up, and go straight into the adult section of the ship." He lowers his voice for just the table to hear, "I heard that's where Ashlee Rai was taken, too. They're experimenting on them. I've heard it's for the plague. But I've also heard they're testing them for enhancements. That Ashlee's a clone, too. And they messed with their genes when Science Department created them. Now that they're almost adults, they want to see if the next breed is viable."

    Mi Sun sinks, Temperance, looks nervously around, uncomfortable about this topic. You know Ashlee was her friend, but you sense there might be something else.
  • image

    I notice Mi Sun's discomfort, but not really feeling the need to push on it now. "Huh. So they mysteriously spirited Ashlee out, and Tabitha got suited up and walked through the lock in full view?"

  • image

    Poor Ezekiel. So desperate for approval he thinks a drokking bagel is a sign of love.

    "If you mix it with blue paste, it's not bad," I say to Gen Yu. "It's weird, it doesn’t mix into green paste. Just goes yellow and blue stripy. Tastes pretty nice though."

    I don't think my ego could take another practice session with Gen Yu even if that was all she meant. Dunno what Gams has a problem with. Depends what Gen Yu told her, I guess.
  • image

    Mark,

    Gen Yu listens skeptically, but she does scoot out her chair to head up to the dispenser and get some blue paste.

    image "Did you want something... corporal?" Gams asks with a surly look. Ezekiel seems a little nervous at Gams' direct questioning. "We're talking like team strategies and stomm." She explains it flat, like she doesn't much care if you believe her or not. She places a hand flat on the table. "You should be fraternizing with us, right? What about Nadja? She's your girlfriend, I hear."

    What do you do?
  • image

    Temperance,

    image "Right, " Tunde answers quickly. Trish seems curious about this, but unsure. Tunde, however, is very sure. He's good with hunches, so much so that he has a strong confidence in the rumor mill. "We need to get in touch with our parents. This new breed. They could be replacing us. Find a way to generate the next generation, then they can keep us here until we all die, and never worry about the plague again."
  • image

    I fix Gams with a level stare.
    "You know what I hear about you, Gams? Nothing. Ever."
  • image

    Mark,

    That's a Shut Down, Mark. Let's see you roll it.
  • (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 1, 4. Total: 7)

    +1 xp
  • edited July 2016
    image

    Mark,

    Gams' mouth opens slightly in surprise with that insult. Zeke chuckles, and Gen Yu, who just returned with her food, she titters slightly, covering her mouth. It gets to Gams, the whole table turning on her like that, and she grabs her bowl of paste, stands up, then marches right out of the cafeteria, shoving her spoon in the bowl and munching angrily.

    Zeke whistles low, like "oh stomm, that suuuucks", and even though he laughed, you can sense that he blames you for it. No words, but yeah, there's a feeling of unease.

    image
    "Mark," Gen Yu says low. "I mean, Corporal Nul. That was a little harsh, right? I mean... not wrong, but it's not like she can saying anything back." She mixes her paste together and munches on the swirled food.


    Mark and Temperance,

    Ourania walks into the cafeteria, and Gams passes her.

    Ourania,

    You woke half an hour ago. Your body has been healed and restored, but you're still slightly weak from the taxing week that's passed (you're at 1-Harm). Dr. Lancome was not present to check on you, so Haladay was there to fill in for her. He released you back to school.

    As you walk into the cafeteria, Gams from Pod Eight passes you, scowls, then shoves a spoonful of paste in her mouth and continues into the hall. Tabitha isn't here.

    What do you do?
  • image

    "Yeah. Maybe," I mutter, and eat a spoonful of green paste. "What's her problem anyway? I never did anything to her, I mean not until, like, that just now."

    I watch Ourania's entrance with interest. So she's in the clear as far as Gwen goes. But still very on the hook for Pris, far as I'm concerned.
  • image

    Mark,

    image Gen Yu leans over, dropping her voice. Zeke and a couple others at the table, even Kellek, look away like she's sharing a commonly held belief. "Gams is a real trooper on the court, but it's pretty much all she has. We let her hang around because she's a teamie, but outside of that, it's like you said, she's a nobody. So, she's real protective of us all. It comes in handy sometimes, she'll do pretty much anything for us. Anything."
  • edited August 2016
    image

    Well, that's a pretty tantalising way to phrase things. To qualify for 'do anything' status, there must something in particular she's done in the past.

    I keep my voice low too. "Anything like... like what?"

    I play it cool, like I'm just interested, not investigating as a corp or anything. Which is true, I just want to know.
  • image

    I still feel sluggish with the tiredness from being sick. Halliday all but brimmed with venom that he couldn't vent, I presume because of what Mother visited on him last time. Instead he was textbook polite. Nicest interaction I've ever had with the man, honestly.

    I'm not sure where Gwen got to. I'm only hoping she's still around somewhere. I wish she'd... possessed me or whatever. Just so I didn't lose track of her.

    I'm disappointed not to see Tabitha. I take note of Gams scowl as she moves past. Before it might have raised irritation in me but now... well now it just adds a little to my sense of tiredness. I feel for her a little. I think I feel for everyone stuck in this drokking hothouse.

    I casually look over the room as I get some paste. My appetite still isn't grand so I don't even take the full ration. I see Larsen and Gen Yu huddled together. From some of the glances from the tables I'd say they were talking about Gams.

    I see Temperance and her crew... We've always been nominally at odds. Differing forces in the tug of war that is the power structure on the ship. Like me, the girl has some reach. But where mine is narrow and specific, I think hers is more diffuse... and possibly useful.

    After standing for a minute and finishing my survey I head for Temperance's table. If Mark looks my way I give him a calm, neutral, nod of acknowledgment. Arriving, I stand across from Temperance, behind Mi Sun and Trish. I can feel the instant rise in tension at the table.

    "Hi" I say to Temperance with a slight smile. I look at each of the others briefly and then return my gaze to the alpha.

    I'm offering her the perfect opportunity to cut me in public and I know it. So does she.

  • image

    That stomm yesterday was at best unnerving, and I trust Ourania and her mother both about as far as I could throw them, and I don't mean in the low-gee access tunnels. Still, she has fingers in pies that I don't and she's not stupid. I meet her look, accept the bare-throat moment she's giving me, and nod. "Ourania. Hope you're feeling better. A lot's been happening while you were in Med... anyone filled you in yet?" Olive branch. "Keep your friends close..."

  • image

    Mark,

    image Ezekiel hedges for a few moments, like he's not sure how much he wants to brag to a corp. You can tell he's holding back something, but he does share, "Well, she's our headhunter. If anyone is giving us trouble on the court, she will take them out, regardless of the penalty. And during un-school she volunteers for the worst tasks, just so we don't have to do them. She's saved back food for us sometimes when one of us was in trouble. It's like, you know, this team's her whole life. That kind of thing." The others nod along, agreeing with Zeke's description.
  • image

    I can see why they don't want to talk about it. An enforcer is one thing. Taking advantage of someone's fear of isolation, making them into your skivvy because you can... Well, if you'd asked me before which team would be like that, my first guess would have been the Power, so stereotype confirmed.

    I nod, acknowledging Ezekiel's admission. I don't need to tell them how cruel they're being. And now I wish I'd been kinder to Gams.

    "That kind of loyalty is rare," I say, glancing from Ezekiel to Gen Yu - and then over to where Nadja is sitting. There's some one-sided devotion for you. I've been trying to keep my distance. She seems more fiercely attached than ever to the idea of us as an item.
  • image

    She's giving it a shot then. The tension at the table seems to lower a tad but I still feel like we're tigers circling each other.

    "I am better, thanks." I say. "And I am right out of Med, so I haven't heard stomm."

    The question is open in my face.

    I sweep the table with my eyes again. It's full. Who is she going to dismiss to talk with me?

  • image

    Mark,

    The Power team doesn't dispute your observation about the rarity of loyalty. When you excuse yourself from the table, nobody objects. You can almost feel a sigh of relief when you leave them.

    image When you join Nadja, who's sitting by herself at the edge of a long table, like she's some persona non grata. She flinches when you come near, and her hand shakes a little as she picks up her cup to drink some water. "Mark. This is really you, right?" She drinks the water and looks up at you for a moment, then away, back down to the cool metal surface of the table.

    What do you do?
  • image

    This sounds like something serious. So I am careful to keep out any tone that might sound like I'm making fun of Nadja when I reply.

    "Yeah, it's me. Why would you... did something happen?"

    I reach across the table and hold her hand.
  • image

    Mark,

    image She flinches when you touch her, but doesn't pull away. You can feel the tension, she's like a spring, tightly wound. "I'm... I'm on a bad trip or something. Maybe Ourania slipped me some Tramahex. Don't. Don't know what's going on." She takes another shaky drink of water, clears her throat. "Everyone looks so. So awful. And last night, it was even worse. I keep hearing voices. I'm freaking out."
  • image

    I keep holding onto her hand, and lean in closer to murmur in her ear.
    "It's not Tramahex. It's something way weirder than that. She can... do things to people. She did something... something different but similar. To me. I only found out a little while ago."

    I look over to where Ourania is sitting with Temperance. Maybe it would be better if this all just came out in the open.

    "Okay, wait here a sec. It's time to fix this."
    I kiss Nadja on the forehead and stand up, letting go of her hand.
  • image

    Mark,

    Nadja simply listens, her nerves too worn to offer objections. She closes her eyes again when you kiss her forehead and lets you leave without complaint, simply sinking into herself and munching on her foodstuffs.

    Are you headed over to Temperance's table?
  • image

    Temperance,

    Your table's full right now. Who do you ask to get up so Ourania can sit down with you?
  • image

    I look around the table. Would be easiest to send Mi Sun off, but also not the most hurtful. "Torrence, you mind giving Ourania your seat? Maybe you could talk to Eff."

  • edited August 2016
    image

    Ourania and Temperance,

    Torrence looks at you Ourania, offering a nod of greeting, but he does push himself up out of his seat, and ambles over to slide in beside Eff, who seems surprised, pleasantly.

    Mi Sun stiffens at this invitation. She doesn't seem to be Ourania's biggest fan, Temperance.
  • image

    I get that Mi Sun and Ourania aren't friends, but this is what needs to happen right now. I give Mi Sun a sympathetic look, but not one that invites disagreement.

    "So, Ourania, like I said, a lot's happened. Tunde, why don't you share what you heard about Tabitha?"

  • image

    "Thanks," I murmer to Torrence as he gets up. Sitting next to Mi Sun isn't exactly comfortable and I glance at her as I sit. "Hey" I say softly.

    I look to Tunde for his information.
  • image

    Ourania and Temperance,


    image Tunde looks at you, Ourania, offers a slightly nervous smile, then nods, "Yes, well, I heard that Ashlee didn't escape, she was taken. And I know for certain that Tabitha went to the other side this morning. They did some stomm to Ashlee, which was part of her problems relating to people. And Tabitha's a failed clone. They're trying to make a new breed here. Some way to skip the plague and leave us all here to rot."
  • image

    I'm watching Ourania's expression as Tunde makes his recitation. Mi Sun's, too, since I was paying attention to the words, the first time around. I wonder what either of them actually knows?

  • image

    My eyes drop a moment at the mention of Ashlee. I really didn't treat her very well. And I certainly wouldn't put it past them to have done some kind of experiment on her. And now they've taken Tabitha across... I know they needed her, I saw it, but now... now I wonder if she'll come back.

    I look up again. Shake my head. "I don't think so. I know why they took Tabitha. And... they think they're close to solving the plague."

    I didn't see Pris when I woke up. I assume she's been transported somewhere. I don't know how long I have to help her before she dies.
  • image

    "Why, then? I mean, why take Tabitha?" I lean forward a little, intent on her answer. "I assume you got the information from your mother?"

  • image

    I glance around at the other faces, wondering about the wisdom of divulging this information. But isn’t information control part of what I’m angry about?

    I return my eyes to Temperace. “Some of it.” I say. “The ship is trying to navigate an asteroid field and the bridge is seriously understaffed. I don’t think they’ve told us the extent of the personnel shortage over there. They need a pilot. A good pilot. My guess is that they came for Tabitha because her… er… her template was the last pilot that could interface with the AAU.”

    They need better navigators too. Tabitha is good, or will be, but crappy nav might negate her advantage.

  • image

    The AAU. Ourania's being pretty forthcoming, maybe I should be, as well. I wonder what Pax told Mark, though, so maybe I'll hedge that bet for now.

    "That makes sense. Nul arrested Pax, by the way. I talked to her before, and she said something about the skill pool on the other side getting slim. Red Five... I think they're more... organized? connected? than anyone thought."

  • image

    Ourania and Temperance,

    Tunde clears his throat. It looks like Corporal Nul is headed over to your table.

    Mark,

    You catch Tunde giving "the warning signal", which used to be for Rys. Now? It's for you.

    What do you do?
  • image

    I sit down at one end of the table where i can see both Ourania and Temperance. I don't wait for anyone to get up, just make everyone kind of scrunch up on the bench so that I can perch.

    "Hey, Ourania, I need to ask you something," I say, not waiting for any what-do-you-want interjections. And it's "Ourania", not "Fabre": it's me asking, not Corporal Nul. "Could you please undo Nadja's hallucinations? I'm not so worried about the thing you put on me. Honestly I've kind of got used to it. But it's kind of super not zeng for Nadja. I don't think she's slept since you did it."

    In the little breathless pause at the table that follows, I address Temperance. She's the one that matters out of her little gang, after all.

    "Oh yeah, you're new in the pod so maybe you don't know yet. Ourania has magic or psychic powers or some stomm like that."

    I get a warm, tingly feeling in my stomach - things were getting too settled down around here. The rock having been thrown in to the still pond, I half-stand as if to leave.
  • edited August 2016
    image

    I carefully don't react to Mark's bombshell. I've done too much stuff now to really deny it, but sometimes people still just won't believe. It's up to them.

    "Mark, wait." I say. He's going to talk to me like a person, I'll do the same. I glance across the room at Nadja, looking the worse for wear, then back at Mark. I stand and move to him, put a hand on his bicep... his firm bicep... which reminds me of Tabitha... Damn it, focus, Fabre and look up into his eyes at close range. It reminds me of when I cursed him. I thought his eyes were pretty then too. I wish I had those lashes. "I'll do it on two conditions. One, that Nadja apologizes to Bea in public, for drokking with her like that." She should apologize to me too, but I won't make her. "Two, that you come and have a talk with me..." I hesitate and glance at Temperance. "...and Temperance in private."

    The slight stress on the word should convey that I mean unmonitored.

    I'm spending a string on you, Mark (Now down to one string, one token), to offer an xp.
  • image

    I will take that xp.

    I nod, slowly, looking into Ourania's eyes. Her best feature, by the way. Not sure what Johns has to do with this, but OK.
    "I can't speak for Nadja, but I'll tell her. Meet me in ten minutes at..."

    Yeah wait, my room is no good for this. I look up at the ceiling light, thinking. I look down and there's Tunde right in my line of sight. Oh yeah. The old empty room. He got that, right? No, Torrence, the other one. All these Ts, I can't keep them straight.

    "Meet me at Torrence's room. Mine is miked up."

    I'd ask Torrence for his permission, but I can get into his room without it. And besides, I think Temperance's permission is close enough.

  • image

    All,

    I assume you agree on talking about this in Torrence's room. Mark's right, of course. Trish backs up Temperance to Tunde and Mi Sun keeps her mouth shut. Torrence was already over at Eff's table, so that's settled.

    A few moments later and the three of you are in Torrence's room. It's sparsely appointed, a few pictures on the desk of his family - mother and father, little baby sister. A stressball that looks like a green skull. A box of ancient comic books beside his bed with some barbells on either side. A pull-up bar by the door to the bathroom he shares with you, Mark.

    What do you do?
  • image

    Comics. What a loser. I go over to the door and do a couple of pull-ups, out of habit.
    I turn to face the girls, massaging a kink out of my neck with one hand.

    "I declare this secret meeting open. What's up?"
  • image

    Ourania doing "magic" doesn't surprise me. I've heard the rumors, and saw what happened yesterday. Not sure there isn't a better explanation than "magic," but it's good enough for shorthand.

    I know Ourania "called" this meeting, but I'll go ahead and speak up. "Mark, what's the situation with Pax at the moment? My father is going to take some interest in Red Five, since they're drokking with the Network."

  • image

    I lean against Torrence's desk.
    "Pax is in detention. Not iso, far as I know. They need her awake to answer questions, name names. Nothing out of her yet, they'd have told me."

    Round about now Pax should be figuring out that naming me won't work. Question is does she think it's because they don't believe her, or for the real reason - that Tek is in on it too.

    Thinking about Pax I start to daydream a little. There's something really hot about a girl who isn't impressed by you at all. Drokk, wonder when she's going to get back out...
  • image

    I survey the room without really seeing it. Sort of working up my courage. I’m not entirely sure why I brought Temperence along… maybe to help diffuse the intensity of the situation. Maybe to try to gain more allies at once. I lick my lips as Mark flippantly opens the dialog… and kind of freeze a moment, my heart seeiming to thump louder in my chest.

    Temperance sort of saves face for me by asking about Pax first.

    “We may need her back, Mark.” I say. “But first I need to…uh… say this.” I take a breath, fold my hands together to keep them from shaking. “What is happening to Pris is my fault. I… was told to put the stuff that made her sick into her food. And I did it. They didn’t tell me why or what it was, and I should have asked.” I pause, looking between them. “I’m… done with doing what they say to do.”

  • image

    When Ourania makes her confession, my mouth goes dry. I knew it. I drokking knew it. Being right, in this case, doesn't feel very satisfying.

    I take a deep breath. My expression is blank.

    "I see. Was there anything else you wanted to talk about?"

    My fists clench and unclench.
  • image

    I look between the two, tempted to back away before I get into cross-fire that I didn't earn. Instead, I speak up. "There's a stomm-load to talk about, personal issues aside. I know it doesn't seem important to you right now, with Pris on the table, but... Ourania's people aren't the only ones manipulating us, and maybe even the adults. The AAU... I think it's active, and manipulating some of us. Adults included." And then I do take a step out of the way, in case Mark's twitchy fists decide to lash out.

  • image

    "You're not the first person to tell me that, recently," I reply. "Pax found it, she says. Someone else told me they're in touch with the AAU as well. I don't think its goals are our goals, but it might help us."

    I don't mention that I hear the AAU too. I can't lie but I can hold back information. The voice said I was never to mention him. Telling Pax didn't seem to do any harm. But I'm still afraid of what he might do.
  • edited August 2016
    image

    I gape at Temperance a moment. I turn to look at Mark.

    “The AAU is active? Stars…”

    I cast about. How much does this change things? I don’t know.

    “We have to work together on this. We have to do something. I say to both of them. “The ship’s in trouble. The crew is low on people in critical roles. The adults aren’t telling us stomm. They…” I swallow. “they did this underhanded thing to try and fix the plague. We can’t do this anymore.”

  • image

    Ourania seems pretty serious about all this. Maybe this isn't just a play for sympathy.

    "So what do we do instead? I know a way out to the adult decks. I think. You have to crawl through some tunnels. But then what?"

    Also, there are robots in the tunnels. We can cross that bridge when we come to it, if we decide to break out.


  • edited August 2016
    image

    “I don’t know. I don’ t see what crawling over there would do, unless there were enough of us. Maybe all of us.”

    I pace back and forth.

    “We do need to unite, as much as possible, that would give us some leverage. They can’t afford to punish us all. If we could take over something critical or take someone they can’t affort to lose…. or get ahold of Pris, maybe, since she’s their hope of curing the plague. Something.”

    I look between them.

  • image

    I fold my arms and lean back against the desk again. Pris is safe for now. Safe-ish.
    I don't want to risk anything happening to her.

    "A hostage situation isn't ideal when the authorities outside control life support. Something like that, though. Is what we need."

    I remember what's in my pocket.

    "What if you had Pax's Navi? A copy of the contents. Could you do something with that?"
  • image

    I listen to the back and forth for a minute, then when Mark offers up Pax's navi, I cut in. "There's someone on the other side, an adult, who's been working with Red Five. One of my father's people. Think we can use that somehow?"

  • image

    I nod to her. “They could be allies, maybe. I don’t know. I don’t know much about them other than that the Commandant considers them subversives. Red Five does get into the computer though.”

    I pace more. I run my hands through my hair.

    “First I need a way to stop them from killing Priscilla. If…” I can’t finish the sentence. Then another thought occurs to me: What mother gave to me. I turn to Temperace. “I have a small explosive. Mother gave it to me. Do you or the other T’s know how to rig a remote key as a deadman switch?”

  • image

    "Trivial. I could probably do it, but Trish would do it better. What's the goal, though? Explosives, closed environment, vacuum of space... how do we use what you've got?"

    I think I just agreed to help with a revolt. Guess I'm not going to message father, after all.

  • image

    Explosions. This seems more my speed than hostage negotiations.
    No more defensive crossed arms. I'm listening.

    "And who's going to hold that switch?"
  • image

    I look at him a moment and glance away again.

    “Me. Mother will know that I will set it off if it comes to it.” I say. Then to Temperance, “I’ll need to get somewhere critical, where the price is too high for them not to give in. The threat of my death is not enough for this to work, it has to do potentially cause some serious damage.”

  • image

    This has escalated pretty quickly. I keep silent, watching Ourania avoiding eye contact.

    The potential for chaos is exciting, but I can't enjoy it. I'm thinking about the debt hanging over me. The voice hasn't stuck his oar in yet; maybe that means all this matches what he wants. Or he's busy with something else. Pax, perhaps.

    "Resyke is easy to get to. Maybe too... robust. Aiden does system work during unschool. He might have some ideas."
  • image

    All,

    Seems like you have the beginnings of a plan here. Do we wrap scene here?

    What is the next step for each of you?
  • image

    I need to find Nadja, tell her about Ourania's deal. Then Aiden, to ask him some "casual" questions about vulnerable ship systems.
  • image

    Mark,

    Please go here.
  • edited August 2016
    image

    I need to get the detonator altered into a deadman switch.

    Convey to Temperance the need for her to recruit the quarantine kids into a more consolidated group, her being the one with Charisma and who isn't compromised by association with the authority.

    Get Temperance, Pax or one of the T's to help me access the virus treatment logs, specifically the selection of the optimal test subject. I'm skeptical that Pris was the only suitable individual for this protocol. If forced, I'll try it on my own.
  • image

    I'm really not convinced that explosives are a good way to prove a point, but Ourania's intensity is... compelling. I guess my next thing is to get Trish working on the detonator and see what else I can do to help. If we can make progress without threatening to blow up the only world we have left, well, that's the approach I'll take.

    "Ourania, I know we're not besties or anything, but thank you for trusting me."

  • edited August 2016
    image

    I start, having been staring into space for I'm not sure how long when Temperance speaks, and look at her.

    I give her a small smile. "Maybe we should have been, you know? But maybe trusting is hard when you are constantly taught the opposite." I glance down at my hands. "When mistrust becomes the air you breathe and the food you eat. You just... You don't question it anymore."

    Instructor Malcolm was doing his best. Skating the edge of what mother would think of as subversive. I'm actually grateful to him now, for a lot of his lessons, now seeing them in a new light. I've spent the whole last week--When I couldn't think about Lucas or Gwen or Pris anymore--thinking about the larger system, questioning it, and examining my place in it.

    I look up again, smirk. "But don't get too excited. You're really the only one in my pod I havn't personally drokked over somehow.

  • image

    I nod. "Yeah, I can see how you might feel that way. I'm no angel, either. It's just usually less obvious when I mess with someone." I look at my hands for a moment. "So, what's next? You're the one with the bomb and the drive for revolution."

  • image

    "Well," I say, thoughtful, "We need to alter that switch. And I need a couple more things: I need to see the reports on genetic compatibility for the plague vaccine experiments; and I need to find where they took Pris. Can you or your people help me with those?"

    I look at her. "And after that, you need to be recruiting. You're popular, and you don't have my associations." I pause.

    "Are you with me on this? Because if I'm the only one driving, we're going to be in trouble."
  • image

    I look at Ourania. Really look at her. "No matter what, you're not the only one driving. AAU is behind Red Five, AAU wanted Tabitha, or someone like her. For a system we were told was off-line, AAU is pretty active, don't you think? The adults must have known it wasn't down and out. Another lie, but one that takes on some real significance. The question isn't whether we fight the powers-that-be, it's who the real powers-that-be are."

    I pause, take a breath. "But yeah, I'm with you. One way or the other, it needs to be us that starts making some decisions. It's a generation ship, for drokk's sake. We're the ones that have to live with whatever happens. Even if it's death in the cold vacuum of space. I'll get my crew on your things. And... Trish's mom might be useful, if I approach her right. As far as recruiting... you come up with a message that makes sense, and I'll sell it."

  • image

    "That's it. 'We're the ones who have to live with it.'" I say, gesturing at my myself with both hands. "It's our ship too. We should have some freedoms, and not be shocked into submission and thrown into iso when we put a toenail outside the lines. We should know what's happening, for real. We should have a voice. We're not even allowed to date openly for drokk's sake. Which is ridiculous because we've all had the shots to avoid pregnancy and the only disease that matters, we already carry. We're in prison for no reason."

    I stop, breathing heavily a bit. My voice has been rising. I've been making animated gestures.

    "They won't ask us for help." I continue, more calmly. " I saw what the navigators had for courseplots through the asteroid field Tabitha is piloting us through right now. I could do better in my sleep! Probably you could too." Techies get higher math, right? I probably should have been one. I collapse my back onto Torrence's bed, half-sprawled off it, letting off a big sigh. It all seems so huge. "If you think we need things to show, I could testify on disk to what I did to Pris, and other things, on Mother's orders. Or we could show vid footage of the skeleton crew bridge or... I don' t know, we could just collect injustices from the surveillance net... mass them into one undeniable ball, take over vid screens with it.... demonstrate what we're talking about."

    I look over at her.

    "And the AAU. Drock if I know what to do about that. How could we even know if it's really the power on board?"


  • image

    I shrug. "You're right, we can't know anything except what we know. Which is stomm. So, I'll get the Ts working on some things and decide on a few key people on this side that need to be on board. Send me a message if you want to meet here. I'll make sure Torrence knows to be ready to give us the room if we need it. Use the word 'purple' in your message, and I'll arrange things."

  • image

    Ourania and Temperance,

    Sounds like you have a bit of a plan. Where do you each go next?
  • edited August 2016
    image
    I give Temperance the detonator thing. She doesn't have the key sequence to activate it... and I'm pretty sure she doesn't want to blow a random hole in the ship so it should be fine. I'll go find Nadja to remove the curse. Even before she's apologized to Bea. After that I want to see about accessing the nav data system.
  • image

    Ourania,

    Please go here.
  • image

    I send messages to the T's Navis, calling a meeting. Seems I've got some marching orders to hand out. Mi Sun I'll talk to individually, afterwards. Might as well have Trish, Torrence and Tunde come here, where there isn't any surveillance.

  • image

    Temperance,

    Please go here.
Sign In or Register to comment.