MoboReader> Sci-fi > The Life, Death and Life of Amelia Hollow

   Chapter 21 Science Class Continued

The Life, Death and Life of Amelia Hollow By EJBowman Characters: 16904

Updated: 2017-12-27 12:04


I was truly sick of porridge by this point. The robots had tried to 'spice-up' my meal by giving me an orange juice, but it wasn't real orange juice. It was more like a flavourless orange Gatorade.

The other cadets seemed just as excited about their food as moi. Henn poked his dead eel with a look of dissatisfaction. None of us were going to be able to survive five more years of eating crap that looked like real food.

"So, " Ams began awkwardly, "I heard Alk's going to be making us fight in a zero gravity simulation."

"Think you're 'fit to fight' today, Am?" Kel asked condescendingly. He was obviously referring how I had been repeatedly been passing out recently.

"Fuck you, " I muttered, "I'm feeling fine."

Chorst was observing moi and Kel from a distance. It was impossible to figure out what he was thinking, but he most likely noticed that our Dub crew was completely dysfunctional. Hell, everybody could see that our crew was dysfunctional.

I stared back at him. Once our eyes met I glared at him as if to say 'what are you looking at?', but he didn't get the message. His planet must have been quite hard to live on if they could not even read body language.

All of us examined the new science 'teacher' as we walked in the class. The robot was a tall and gangly Cyclops with one red eye. – I missed Frek already.

"Greetings cadets." The robot said formally. "I am AI624. While Lord Frekostillion Hes Canamao is on leave I will be taking science class."

I did not hear the robot say 'lord' because I was too busy thinking about all the cadets in this class. Out of the corner of my eye I could see some of the cadets glaring at me. Right, it was my fault that Frek lost control of his Bennu presentation. They had no clue what I saw in that tear. Hell, I have no clue what I saw in that tear. If only I could remember and then I would have all the knowledge in the universe and beyond it.

"Am?"

I stopped resting my head on my fist and looked up. A single cold red eye stared down at me. – Could robots get angry?

"Please pay attention, Am." AI624 asked politely.

I did not pay attention, but I was skilled at looking like I was paying attention.

The only time any of us really started paying attention was when AI624 pulled out a large metal contraption. At a closer look it looked like one of the giant turrets that had been cut directly down the middle so we could see the inside structure.

"This is a basic automatic turret." The robot explained. "You will see these on all standard USM spaceships which is why you have to learn how they work."

I don't understand how anything works! I screamed in my head.

The only interesting part of the lesson was when the robot called Zand up to help with the demonstration. Some would say that firing a turret in the middle of the class was ludicrous. – Some would be right.

"USM turrets have perfect precision. Dub Cap Zand will demonstrate how accurate the aim is by holding this." AI624 passed Zand a small metal tile no bigger than my palm. "That is tezerdon. A metal that is commonly used to build the shell of USM spaceships."

The robot put up on display what he was typing into the turrets control system. We were supposed to note what he was programing down on our desks, but I couldn't be bothered.

I instead watched Zand awkwardly stand in front of the demonstration turret. Judging by her tense body language she did not trust the robot. On her planet AI robots were banned because her species had a conspiracy that robots would evolve beyond them and take over. Man, I had to get that girl to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? or watch Blade Runner.

"Zand, please stand perfectly still with the tezerdon tile held out in front of you." The robot asked politely. Zand complied, but kept her Jell-O fingers at the very tips of the tile in hopes she would not get her fingers incinerated.

"We will start the laser beam off at eighty-five megs which means the beam will be two centimetres in diameter."

Zand flinched when the laser beam shot out of the turret. The little piece of tezerdon began to glow as the laser aimed directly at its centre. The metal was glowing red as it began heating up, but AI624 had chosen Zand in particular for the demonstration because he knew her species was far more immune to heat than others.

"Now we will increase laser beam by twenty megs per second." AI624 for stated as he reprogramed the turret. "Once the diameter of the laser beam surpasses the area of the tezerdon tile the turret will automatically switch off. The built-in safety system will detect Zand when the laser surpasses the tezerdon tile." Zand didn't like this idea. "This safety system was installed so that the USM spaceships could spare as many lives as possible. The turret could be programed to aim at organic life forms, but only the captain of the USM Naval ship can deactivate the safety sys–"

Zand suddenly exploded.

Magenta blobs of Jell-O splattered against the white walls and desks. I ducked before an

to the window as if we expected to see the smuggler ship reappear magically.

"Nothing to see, " a voice said spontaneously, "back to your seats."

We all turned to see Frek striding over to his desk. Dark purple and green blood splattered his armour and uniform. Nor and Jee from Mar along with some other cadets gasped quietly before looking at Chorst. I was obviously missing some bit of information that connected Chorst to the smuggler ship.

While Frek was removing his armour I sent Donn a message: "Why is the blood on Frek important to Chorst?"

Donn looked at me solemnly before typing back: "You know the whole trinord vs. trinard thing?"

"Yes."

"Trinords have red blood. Trinards have purple blood. I think there was some trinards on-board that smuggler ship. I'm not sure about the green blood, though."

I looked back at Frek and the stains on his grey uniform. I thought the trinards had been liberated, but I guess nobody could stop the trinords from making more. It had to be horrible for Chorst. His teacher had just killed some of his kind and he had such a tortured mind that he could not even express his feelings. He just walked quietly back to his desk and continued the work from earlier.

Frek slid the black briefcases back under his desk, but he didn't sit down. Like my brother, he could not hide his emotions. His downcast eyes explained enough.

"Can we speak outside the class, Chorst?" He asked.

The pale boy was unresponsive for a moment, but a trinard could not deny a request of their superior so he complied. As soon as the door slid shut, half the cadets leapt from their desks and crowded around it. – We weren't a very sympathetic class.

I was torn. A part of me knew it was inappropriate to listen in, yet I was incredibly nosy. I squished in next to Donn and pressed my ear against the door.

"… I was the one who pointed the spaceship out to you." I heard Chorst say in a muffled voice.

"That was the right thing to do, " Frek reassured him, "but if I… If it was known ahead of time that there were trinards aboard I would have let USM security deal with the matter. They were not leading the attack. I believe the goverens had bought them off the black market to maintain the ship. I tried not to kill them, but I was in the engine room where a lot of them were so…" His words drifted off.

Frek was being careful about how he phrased his words. He had to make sure he didn't give any expression of his own thoughts. He was quite a good teacher that way. All the cadets had different psychologies and he had to familiarize himself with all of them.

"Your actions were appropriate." Chorst said impassively.

There was silence from Frek for a moment.

"The matter will be brought up in the next council meeting. If the trinords are responsible for the cloning of the trinards on that smuggler ship then they will have a price to pay."

Chorst did not answer. Then again, he wasn't expected to. Frek knew Chorst would not say anything if he did not find it necessary.

We all scattered when the door opened again. Frek scowled at us, but he had no right to judge anyone at the moment seeing as he just slaughtered some trinards.

"Right, " he clapped his hands together, "I think that's enough madness for one day. Let's try and finish this lesson without any more death."

We succeeded.

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