[ISS] Stupid O'clock (Mar 2.9)



It's three hours before assembly.

It's two and a half hours before breakfast.

Two hours before your alarm goes off.

Corporal Rys is standing over your bunk. Shaking it until you wake up. The noise wakes Aiden, too, and he groan-whines a little. You think Rys threatened to turn on the lights, but maybe you're just hearing that? You had a dream about purple clouds and sitting with Ashlee watching flying whales, but then you drifted off, but someone else was there, wearing your skin like a suit.

And Rys, don't forget him.

What do you do?


  • image
    I roll myself up in my covers and mumble a protest, turning to face the wall, "Mmff, snuh... skywhales."
    I feel instinctively that Rys will not accept this as a reason to go away.

    I roll onto my back and open my eyes as far as I can, which is not much. "Rys, whaaaat."
  • image "Training time, Corporal Candidate Larsen." Rys says it with a sadistic glee, or maybe that's just in your head. "Patrol, quiz, and exercise, all before breakfast. Come on, noob." He kicks the bunk again, then steps back.
    Aiden groans and Rys pops on a flashlight, shines it in Aiden's eyes, "Don't worry, Larsen won't be around to bother you much longer. Until then, stow it, alright?"
  • edited June 2016
    I can't say I'm surprised. This is where those double training sessions from last season come back to haunt me.

    I roll out of bed. My sheets are all wrapped around my legs. I lever myself upright like a mummy emerging from the sarcophagus. That's the image that springs to mind, and it makes me think of what Pris said. "I saw you die, Mark."

    My memories are incomplete. But I can feel the truth of that. I'm not sure how it makes me feel.

    I unwrap myself and put on the first set of clothes I can find in the dark. A T-shirt (no clue what colour), what feels like my black board shorts with the electric blue swoosh. Socks and sport shoes.

    "Okay, okay, let's go."
  • image Corporal Rys shakes his head at your attire, "That'll do until you're fitted. After that, you'll wear a uni, like mine, but with no insignia." He heads for the door to the corridor, saying over his shoulder, "Back to beddie bye, Aiden Gamble."
    Once you join your trainer in the corridor, he starts walking you through patrol step-by-step, where to check, the route, the list, the infringements worthy of demerits, the ones he normally looks over "for the harmony of the pod", which seems like short-hand for his judgment on what will cause the most trouble or push-back form the students and what will maintain their confidence that "everything's okay".

    Who does it seem like Rys goes easiest on?
  • edited June 2016
    It seems like Rys is less concerned about... I guess you could call it white-collar crime. He knows that Aiden learns stuff he probably shouldn't, for example. But that's largely invisible.

    If it shows up on camera, it matters.

    And if I had to see a pattern in who he lets slide, it'd be people who, for lack of a better word, fit.

    Like, Aiden is someone that Rys has pegged as a particular kind of person. So that's OK. Same with Ourania, Zola - and me. But I get the feeling that if, say, Pax got caught hacking the adult feeds like Aiden does, Rys would throw her in iso without blinking.
  • image Corporal Rys leads you to his room where he's set up his desk and chair as the "quizzing station". He passes the SecOps Approved Training Quizzes One through Four onto your Navi, and sits on his bunk to monitor you as you take them. "You've got a half hour. Get through what you can. You'll finish up after Speedball practice. Oh... how was your late night training session in Pod Eight?" He asks casually.

    When you take a SecOps test, roll Cold. On a hit, you're passing. On a 10+, you're acing it!
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    A home-made quizzing station. What a dork. Rys is loving this. Loving it.
    The first few questions are pretty easy. But they get harder.

    "I... didn't know you knew about that," I say without looking up. "It was OK."

    (Rolled: 2d6+2. Rolls: 5, 5. Total: 12)
  • image "Heh, rookie." Corporal Rys scoffs. "I know everyone who leaves the pod. You will, too." He pulls your answers onto his Navi, looks them over.

    After a moment of reading, he gives a low whistle, "Well, somebody studied hard. This is a good start, Mark. You'll be Corporal Lar soon, won't you?" He gives a smirk, then laughs again. "Alright, let's go for a jog, hit the gym, then shower."
  • image
    I'm about to complain about "Corporal Lar" when I realise there are less flattering three-letter strings he could choose from my name, so I leave it.

    I have no idea what corp name I want. Maybe an unpronounceable set of consonants. "Corporal XXX" has almost certainly been taken already.

    I stand up quickly and take my Navi back from Rys. Can't wait to get out of here.
    "Jog and the gym sounds great," I say. "How many of these quizzes are there anyway? Like, in toto."
  • image

    You head out and start a light jog down the corridor, doors opening at intervals before you have to wait for them. Once you hit the gym, you see that Jace is already there, running through some simulated speedball drills. Jace ignores you, focuses on his work.

    image "Now that Pax is coming along," Rys says when you two are out of earshot, "Is Jace worth keeping? He's timid now, favors his arm even though it's drokking healed. Maybe we actually use Ashlee a bit?" He glances over at you to see if you agree.

    What do you do?
  • image
    I look over in Jace's direction and then back to Rys.

    "We have a tissue-thin squad as it is. Can't afford to drop anyone. Pax is competition for Tabitha, not Jace. Though I'll most likely start Pax instead of him. He can switch up with Zola."

    I'm glad Rys is on board with the idea of Ashlee playing. I thought he'd put up the second most resistance, after Zola.

    "I want to keep it low pressure on Ashlee at first. Make sure it's fun. You know? I dunno, maybe she's tougher than I think."
  • edited June 2016
    image He nods, agreeing with the change for Jace and Ashlee. "Ashlee's important, Mark." He says it with some emphasis, maybe concern. "I don't have the clearance, but there are eyes on her from up top. Moving her onto the team is an approved action. She's already on the roster, we should train her. See how she works out."

  • image
    I frown, a little puzzled. Why would Ashlee be important? I mean, sure, we're all the future of the ship and so on, but apart from that.

    "She's like a walking speedball encyclopaedia. If she can turn everything in her brain into reality on the court..."

    We will have to be careful, though. Someone like Gams could snap Ashlee like a twig.
    I grab the handles of the weight machine and set the gravity direction to 180 degrees.
    The difficulty ramps up slowly. I start a few easy reps, holding myself away from the ceiling for a count of ten each time before I drift gently up into the rest position.

    OK, I may as well ask.
    "Why is Ashlee important? If you had to guess."
  • image Rys is doing pull-ups, He hits his tenth before he drops down to hang from the bar before answering you. "I dunno, man. There's something about her... but I don't know why the Authority would care about that. Let's just say Science Division wants to see how she reacts under stressful conditions, and Tek's put her on the "friendly" list. Same as Ourania. When they do stomm, we look the other way. Get me?"
  • image
    "Yeah, I get you."
    I sit down and flip the gravity to help with some deep stretches.

    "Assuming I don't screw up the candidate period, where d'you think I'll end up as corp?"
    I don't really want to leave Eight. I like it here. I'm used to it, at least. But a deal is a deal.
  • image Rys gets back to pull-ups, knocking out a couple more before he hangs down for a moment, then drops. He claps his hands together, shakes them out, "There aren't any open spots right now, man. There's a group of kids about to hit their teens, they'd take Pod Three. But then you're with a bunch of fourteen year olds." He makes the kind of face you imagine you're making at that thought.
    "I think we can build a case for keeping two Corporals in Sixteen. But we'll need to document more problems, you know?"
  • image
    The possibility of becoming kindergarten corp does not fill me with joy.

    "Take Ourania off the friendly list and that's job done. But somehow I don't think that would go down too well. Better look for something else."

    I do have that lead on Pax. But I only just got her onto the speedball squad. In the butterfly pose, I put my chin on my ankles and ponder the possibilities.
  • image Corporal Rys walks over to stand near you, to spot you if you need it. "Ourania is completely off limits, man. Commandant's daughter, in good standing. She's more important than me, or you." Curiosity gets the better of him and he glances to make sure you're still alone. He reaches for his stun stick, and clicks a button, then asks, "What stomm do you have on Ourania anyway?"
  • image
    That's ominous. I wonder which button he clicked.

    "Nothing you don't already know about. Most people would only just be getting out of iso now, with those violent conduct demerits she would've got the other day."

    I wonder what it would take for Ourania to not be protected. She'd probably have to kill someone. Someone she wasn't told to, I mean.
  • image "Oh, Jace's arm, that's nothing. Self-defense and she's friendly." Corporal Rys explains like he's done the math a hundred times. "What else?" He moves closer, eyes narrow.
    "You're holding back." His voice gets a little harder, "Out with it. Could be a chip for us to use later, and if you spring it on me, I won't be able to back you up."

  • image
    "And what am I, chopped liver? Assault is a week in iso, no matter how inept. We're talking about if she wasn't on the friendly list."

    I shake my head, stand up.

    "Everything else she's done, I'm pretty sure she was told to do it. Ordered. Breaking into our room, the thing with Pris. So it wouldn't make any difference."

    I shrug. "Look, to be frank, Rys, I think she's a danger to herself and others. She had a drokking breakdown in class that day, but she hasn't received any medical attention, far as I know. And you know what she's like, she won't admit she needs help."
  • image Rys scoffs, "Right. Counseling for Ourania Fabre." He turns back around to slide into the sit-up bench and starts doing crunches. After he knocks out a quick twenty, he looks over at you, "You just want to drokk her, right?" He stands up from the bench, heads over to check his stun stick, then looks up, curious for your reaction.

    What do you do?
  • image
    I'm holding the bridge position when Rys asks me this (it's a good stretch for building flexibility as well as strength) and I have to lower myself to the floor, because I can't deal with that kind of dumbness while my head is upside-down.

    "OK, let's see. A -- No, and B -- just imagine what your life would be like afterwards. No drokk in the world is worth that."

    She's pretty, I guess. But. Too drokking scary. Although... I had that little flash of intuition the other day and she confirmed it. Hah. I smile to myself.

    I start to knock out some crunches myself but I'm only up to twelve when I have to stop and turn to Rys again.

    "Wait. Is this some kind of coded cry for help? Don't do it, man. Consider this: even the best-case scenario involves family dinner with the Commandant. And if it's a one-off... you're going on a list." I turn away to get back to my crunches. "You should be safe anyway, she's not exactly DTD, you know?"
  • image "What? Me?" Rys laughs. He waves a dismissive hand. "No, man. Not for me. Even if she was interested, I'm far to used to working with her. And... her mother scares the stomm out of me." Rys seems pretty genuine about that, especially the fear.
    "She's DTD. Maybe not with us." Rys checks his stick again, then moves closer, "She hooked up with Bea. We have orders to keep eyes on that. Bea's in Iso. They want to see if Ourania will do anything about it."
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    I laugh in disbelief. "Bea? That poor girl."

    I think about what happened in the resyke bay and think that maybe I do mean "poor girl" more seriously than I said it.

    I stand up, back off a little. My eyes flick down to Rys's stick for a moment.

    "Anyway, let's get out of here. I'm starving."
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    End scene
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