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   Chapter 22 Battle of the Sexes

The Life, Death and Life of Amelia Hollow By EJBowman Characters: 25029

Updated: 2017-12-27 12:04

History and tactics were a blur. We probably learned some important stuff, but it wasn't important enough for moi to care. I knew enough about the USM after Frek destroyed the smuggler ship. – It was a bad government.

Food during the leisure hour did not appeal to me. I instead took a trip to the regeneration chambers and pulled my old Earth phone out of the duffle bag. There was no way to charge it at Starside so I had to be careful about how long I left it on for. Right now I felt like playing Tetris.

The lights flickered on when I stepped into the cadet lounge. I got the feeling I was the only one who ever hung out in there. The room still had the 'just cleaned' smell.

My phone beeped to inform me I had a new message. I raised my eyebrows in suspicious. That was impossible seeing as I was light years from home. Elisa, Kim, Tanya and Aiden had all texted moi goodbye messages just before I beamed up to the Titonic.

A small bittersweet smile spread across my face. Even if I was hated at Starside, I still had friends out there.

"Am?" A female voice said.

I jumped off the couch: "Holy fuck!"

Chorst and his first officer, Veck, stood in the doorway. I resisted the urge to blush. Obviously I had overreacted to their presence.

Veck was supposedly a hermaphrodite, but her appearance suggested she was a girl for the moment. She was tall and pale like Chorst, but she was also more muscular like Alk. She would look like a Goth on Earth with her black uniform, eyes, lips and dark eyeliner. Veck even had a Gothic Rorschach tattoo on her scalp that looked like a withering flower.

"Why weren't you hungry?" She asked as she dropped on the couch across from moi. Chorst chose to stand. – I presumed he had a stick up his butt.

"The food is crap." I replied jokingly. Veck smirked as well even though she did not have taste buds.

Chorst was not here to make chitchat: "You and Dub Cap Kel cannot function together."

I was not surprised by his abrupt statement. He had been monitoring me and the phallic since breakfast. My real question was why Chorst thought it concerned him.

"I'm aware of the situation." I said casually.

"Chorst and I have a proposition." Veck began. "I don't think Gall is going to survive under you and Kel. You have a better shot of making it through this academy if Chorst is your captain."

Oh, how I would love to have the pale Frenchy as my captain, but I doubted that was going to happen.

"I don't think we're allowed to swap groups." I muttered.

"Cadets of the same rank are allowed to change dub crews, " Chorst stated, "provided that they get permission from their captains."

Yeah, that proposition wasn't going to go down well with Kel. Even though he did not want moi in his crew, he certainly would not want Veck to replace me. She was almost a foot and a half taller than him and could beat him to a pulp without even breaking a sweat. It would be true humiliation for him to have her.

A sat up properly: "Even if we convinced Kel to let us trade, I couldn't do that to you, Veck." I sighed. "He's annoying to the point where you'd want to throw something at him."

Veck let out a low laugh. Her black eyes sparkled with amusement.

"No, you see I want to trade with you just so I can deal with Kel." She explained. "I think I can put him in his place."

"You think I can't put him in his place?"

"I'm sure you could, but I want the pleasure of breaking him." She said with a sadistic smile.

The idea of 'breaking' Kel intrigued me. Although I hated Kel, Veck could really hurt the guy.

"I'm kidding." Veck said after a few moments when I didn't respond. "I don't want to get expelled."

My fingers explored my scalp. It was surprising how luscious my hair was now that I slept in that blue gel. Not that my hair was actually that interesting. I was just stalling so I wouldn't have to give an immediate answer. The other members of Gall would most likely think I was a 'quitter' for abandoning them. Then again, they abandoned moi when Kel and Gom chose me to be their personal sacrifice.

"Fuck 'em." I grumbled. "I like your plan."

"Now all we have to do is get Kel to agree." Veck said hesitantly.

"That shouldn't be too hard." I joked.


Kel did not say anything. His black and yellow eyes suggested he was more amused than anything.

"Although that sounds great, " he began with a smirk, "I think my answer is… no."

I shot a glance at Veck to say 'I told you so', yet she didn't notice. She just shifted her position and crossed her arms sassily.

"What's a matter Kel, " she began mockingly, "afraid you wouldn't be able to control me?"

"He's having enough trouble controlling me right now." I mumbled.

The other four members of my dub crew sat across the table awkwardly. We had most likely ruined their leisure hour, but I did not feel too sorry for them at the moment.

Donn watched from his table a fair distance away. He hoped Kel would accept the offer. The fish boy would have made the same offer if he hadn't liked Or so much. I was fine with that. The two of us would actually get no work done if we were allowed to be in the same dub crew.

Kel scoffed in Veck's direction: "I have one-thousand wives. Handling you would be easy."

The main reason Kel did not want moi to trade with Veck was because it would look bad on his captain's record. In the future the USM would see on his record that I had requested to move dub crews in the first weeks. Then if Veck challenged him for power, the USM would see that Kel was unfit to be captain of his own crew and ship.

"Veck may be strong-minded, " Chorst began calmly, "but she will find a way for your dub crew to function properly."

Kel's eyes narrowed: "How very kind of you to offer my crew help." He said sarcastically. "But what's in it for you?"

"The exchange would mean all dub crews worked and that we would all have a better chance of graduating from Starside Academy. Am and you don't coincide because of the difference in your belief systems. Veck has more experience with… bigamists on her planet." Chorst said, almost as if he regretted adding in the final sentence.

"I have two husbands." Veck laughed.

The algrin was somehow more offended by Veck than moi. Sure, I was unnaturally produced and was raised by a man who married a cross-dressing man, and yet he could not comprehend the idea that a woman could have two husbands. What annoyed him more was the fact that Veck and her husbands could change their gender at any time so there was no dominant sex in the relationship.

"And I presume you think that Am will work better in Mar because she fawns over you?"

Not only was I offended because Kel had implied that I had a crush on the pale boy, but he had asked Chorst about his thoughts. Everyone knew you did not ask a trinard about their thoughts or feelings. I reacted with some sort of oh-no-you-didn't look that made Kel smile.

Chorst was lost for words… literally. He opened his mouth to speak and then quickly closed it. Trinards had to be careful about how they answered questions without revealing their thoughts or feelings. Chorst had to really think about what he was going to say.

I decided to save him from answering. My hands slapped the table as I stood up.

"That's it." I snarled. "Me and you in the battle room now."

Kel was surprised, but he kept his cool. He figured I was bluffing. – I was not.

"The battle room is

"You bet against me?" I asked, appalled.

She shrugged: "Frek had dibs on you so I didn't have a choice."

I was Frek's first choice. I thought with a small smile. I can't tell if that's endearing or disturbing.

"Speaking of you and Frek, " I began cautiously, "are you two… together?"

Alk smiled: "Depends on what you mean by 'together'."

I dropped the subject quickly. It was not any of my business.

Even though the body-glove covered moi from the neck down, I still felt incredibly naked. I closed my legs and crossed my arms over my chest. Alk did not seem to notice.

"So… What happens now?" I asked after a long pause.

"We're currently getting you and Veck new uniforms." Alk said before sidestepping away from the bed. "I'll see you in combat. Remember that we're starting out in the simulation room today and not the battle room. Dub Cap Chorst will give the full details when you get there."

"Yes ma'am." I said, trying to hide my excitement.

As soon as Alk left I scoped the room for Kel. Despite my pride, it was best that I apologized to the little douche.

It felt strange to touch the floor without my boots on. The boots usually lifted moi an extra inch off the floor so that I stood at my father's height. Sure, we had almost exactly the same DNA, but I was still one a little smaller than Sven. Not that I was short… unless you consider six feet to be short.

My index finger hooked around the white curtain and gently pulled it back so I could see the other side of the medical centre. Kel was on a bed at the far end with Frek beside him… I had not been aware that could algrins cry.

"I've got to go back. H-he's going to kill her a-and keep the rest for himself." Kel sobbed.

Frek put a hand on the miserable boy's shoulder. He did not look very sympathetic. That was because of his own bias against algrins and their insane belief system.

"Mel isn't going to let that happen." The harsnic said in a soft voice.

"When was the last time Mel gave a fuck about algrins?" Kel snapped. "The USM and algrins signed the fucking second-class treaty that says they won't intervene in our issues."

Frek kept his condescending voice: "Jaedorra is not an algrin. That treaty doesn't apply to her. She's a first-class species so the USM will protect her even if the rules of the treaty are breached."

I really should not have been eavesdropping, but I'm a bad person.

Kel looked at the harsnic in suspicion: "W-what about my other wives?"

Frek used his free hand to run his fingers through his hair. He really wished somebody else could answer these questions for Kel. But he knew the phallic would not go to either of his other teachers because they were both women and 'wouldn't understand'.

"They're not protected by the same laws." He said quietly so I could barely hear.

"Your uniform, Dub First Off Am" A robotic voice said behind me.

"Gah!" I leapt away from the curtain and spun around. Hopefully robots did not know what eavesdropping was.

The robot had not seemed to notice. It just held out my new folded up uniform. The USM logo was the only colourful part. The black diamond in the logo was practically invisible on the lustrous black uniform. Only its silver outlining proved it was there.

"Hell yeah." I gasped under my breath as accepted the new uniform.

I was actually a little too excited and I accidently let the beret and one of the boots slip off the top. The robot bent down to pick up the fallen objects but I got in first and swept them up. A part of moi was worried that the robot would take them away if I let it touch them. Nobody was taking this uniform away from me now!

Another 'gah' escaped my lips when Frek drew the curtains open. He looked displeased. Kel was still on the bed on the other side of the room with his arms wrapped around his legs. He wasn't crying anymore. However he still looked miserable.

"You were eavesdropping." He stated. Surprisingly, he did no sound very annoyed.

I stared blankly at Frek for a moment.

"I was… just checking up on him."

"Uh huh." The harsnic muttered. "I think it would be best to avoid Dub Cap Kel for the next few hours."

"Did he really concede?" I asked curiously.

Frek shrugged: "You didn't give him much choice. If you had damaged his reproductive organs then he would be useless on his home planet. He doesn't want to risk another fight with you if you're going to aim for his midsection."

I smirked inappropriately. Why should I pity a phallic who tried to give me brain damage?

I raised the folded-up uniform so it was covering my chest. Body glove or not, I didn't want my science to have any idea about my chest size.

"So apparently you bet on me?"

Frek laughed: "I did indeed. Not to say Kel is incapable of beating you, but you've proven to be more of a risk-taker."

"And it's not considered bad for teachers to bet on students?"

"Not in the USM." Frek said slyly.

This place is messed-up.

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