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

   Chapter 23 Back in Black

The Life, Death and Life of Amelia Hollow By EJBowman Characters: 31143

Updated: 2017-12-27 12:04


It was awkward to run into Kel in the hallway. He had been striding down the corridor until he realized that he would accidentally catch up to moi. The algrin tried to speed past me, but the little mouse-like robot in front of us was blocking him. I did not even know what the little robots were for, but they did remind me that I was on the real life Death Star.

This awkward walk alongside Kel could have been avoided if I had not wasted time in the chambers. As a gift for Chorst, Veck and my new Dub crew I was giving out those Ray-Ban sunglasses I had taken to Starside in my duffle bag. Who would need sunglasses in space? Awesome people. That's who.

"Thanks for letting me swap crews." I murmured as Kel and I strode. We were both already half an hour late to class.

Kel did not answer. He just stopped in the middle of the corridor and swung one of his suitcases into my stomach. It was such a spontaneous attack that I didn't even have time to realize what had happened before I fell backwards. Thank God I had kept all the sunglasses in their cases. Otherwise the lenses would have broken.

"Fuck!" I coughed when air flew back into my lungs.

Kel was already walking away again… What a phallic.

I scrambled to my feet without dignity and quickly picked up my suitcases and the sunglass cases. There was no point in trying to get back at Kel. He knew very well that I could knee him in the groin again.

"Looking good!" Donn shouted when I arrived at the archway to the simulation room. "Black's really your colour."

"Thanks." I held out a small black case. "Have some sunglasses."

I knew the glasses wouldn't suit his head shape. Even if they did, his eyes were too large for the Caravan style. Hell, his eyes were even too big any Earthling glasses! I had not planned on giving him a pair, but I had enough to go around.

Donn accepted them happily. He looked inside the case with a confused expression.

"What is it?" He asked.

"Just a souvenir from planet Earth." I told him as I put on my own sunglasses. – I had the Olympian style.

(Some of you may think I'm advertising for Ray-Ban, but I'm not. I just like retro sunglasses.)

I walked into the simulator's overview room where the other cadets were. Ket was currently doing the spaceship simulation. San was next like always and then Gall. At first I thought about going when Gall did, then I remembered I was in Mar now.

Alk acknowledged me with a nod as I entered before returning to watching the simulation. I was about to be a tattletale and tell her about Kel hitting me in the hallway, but a robot interrupted moi.

"May I take your armour?"

"Sure, whatever." I said before chucking it both black suitcases and striding toward the overview window.

Veck suited the Gall uniform. It matched her white skin, black makeup and tattoo. Henn and Gom did not look very happy standing next to her. Henn was tall and Gom was strong, but Veck was tall and strong. Kel just ignored her completely. The only person who was happy to see her was Ams because she wanted somebody to be able to boss Kel around.

I slipped in-between Henn and Veck to watch look through the window into the simulation room. The layout was exactly like the bridge of the Titonic except slightly smaller. Four members of Ket were in there while the fifth member was in another room that simulated engineering.

There were at least ten people besides the four members of Ket in there working the non-officer jobs. At first I thought Alk had brought in people to help with the simulation. Then I noticed Merr pawing at some of the aliens walking by. His hand went right through their sides. They were simulations… This was about to become the most awesome lesson.

"How ya doing Veck?" I asked after I got a good look at the simulation room.

The pale woman smiled: "Excellent. Like the new uniform?"

"Hell yeah." I held out the black case holding the Balorama sunglasses. "Here, for your troubles."

Veck took the gift with an intrigued expression and opened the case to look inside.

"What do they do?" She asked.

"Protect your eyes from light."

She let out a low laugh. Veck's black eyes worked better than any sunglasses in bright conditions. Her planet did not rotate as it went around their sun so one side always had day and the other always had night. Veck's eyes were adjusted to both darkness and extreme brightness… She had no need for sunglasses but she accepted them graciously anyways.

Chorst and Nor were watching moi from the other side of the room. My new dub crew looked nice. The only one I had problems with was Jee. He was one of those 'accelerated intelligence' cadets that I could see easily getting on my nerves.

"Hello." I said awkwardly when I reached Mar.

Nis waved frantically and made a happy squeaking noise. I'm not one for cute and cuddliness. However, Nis was just about the cutest thing even with his big goggles on. Sadly, I knew his own innocence would lead to his destruction. Why would the USM even bring to a naval academy? I had no doubt he would see something horrible while on a USM spaceship. It was unavoidable.

I stiffened when Nor grabbed my hand with both of hers. She looked similar to Chorst except a lot shorter and more bird-like with her beaky nose. They both shared the same black hair and white skin… Maybe that was a trait among nocturnal creatures.

"I just know we're going to be best friends." She said in an over-enthusiastic English accent. God, she was going to get annoying quickly.

"What are those?" Jee bluntly while pointing at the black sunglass cases.

I threw him the Clubmaster pair. Not much point seeing as he had three eyes. He held the sunglasses up and watched them shine in the light. Like expected, he did not seem amused by them once he figured out they were not electronic.

"Gifts from my home planet." I joked. If Earthlings were going to be known for anything, it was our sense of style.

"Ooh." Nis and Nor said simultaneously.

Nor got the Wayfarer pair while Nis got the Shooter. The little golden boy probably would never wear the glasses seeing as he had his goggles, yet he seemed amused by their shininess.

What did I give Chorst? Predator. He did not say 'thank you'. It was not something his species said because they expected the thankfulness was implied. I was a little sad that I could not see his amethyst eyes, but he still looked damn good with the dark shades.

"Thank you Dub First Off Am!" Nor squealed. "I needed these."

I raised an eyebrow: "Eh?"

"Nocturnal eyes are sensitive to light." Chorst explained blandly. "The USM does not provide eye protection to second-class cadets so these will have to suffice."

The way Chorst said it made him sound as if he was displeased. Then again, he always sounded displeased so it was hard to tell if he was being gracious or not.

"You're welcome." I muttered quietly.

It would have been wise to bring gifts for all the cadets. My father offered to buy moi nineteen pairs. My concern was that it may have had made me seem condescending and pompous to give everyone free expensive gifts. Well… I was both those things, but I didn't want everyone to know that straight off the bat.

I did not notice Chorst when he snuck away. Nor was busy telling me about how many bones she had broken since she reached Starside Academy. I only realized the pale boy had returned when he grabbed my ponytail and tugged on it. Before I even turned there was a swishing noise and my head felt a lot lighter.

"What the?" I gasped loudly when I saw Chorst standing behind me with a sharp knife in one hand and my ponytail in the other.

Okay, I was beginning to get the idea that the trinard was a disturbed creep. Try to give me brain damage in a duel, sure, but nobody touched my hair. And people did not just cut my hair. One time back in third grade a boy pulled my hair in a soccer game and I tackled him to the muddy ground. Poor Sven had to run onto the field and pull me off him. That boy never returned to soccer practice.

Alk and the cadets turned around when they heard my fist make contact with Frenchy's cheek He did not try and fight back. Chorst just absorbed the hit and stumbled backwards.

"What the hell?" I screamed like a little girl.

"Am!" Alk snapped before she noticed that my hair had shortened dramatically. "Oh, wow."

I felt a little bad about my impulsive hit when purple blood seeped from the corner of Chorst's mouth. He did not seem to notice it. Then again, he didn't care how badly his body got damaged.

"It's requested for USM personnel and cadets to keep their hair short." The trinard said like he was reading from the USM rule book which I am sure he studied relentlessly.

"I'll deal with my own hair." I snapped. "What makes you think you can just cut my hair?"

Alk rubbed her temples and breathed in heavily. She was beginning to wonder if I was going to get along with any of the captains. I'd already punched Zand (although she didn't about that), Kel and now Chorst… Donn was next.

"Trinards don't care about bodies." She explained. "He sees no damage done."

I ignored her and kept my eyes on the pale boy. He stuck his purple tongue out and licked up the blood off his lower lip. My hands went to my

it out. Again, it was not my own voice musing. The tear in the space time continuum hadn't just shown me everything about the universe; it had also implanted something in my mind… Or maybe I'm incredibly paranoid. Yeah, that seems like the more logical answer.

The monitor returned to showing the silver ship when the trinords abruptly cut the connection. Little bastards were probably going to try and fire on us. Funny, I always presumed the trinords would be smarter than Chorst because as they were the father race. It seems that was not the case seeing as they thought they could take on a USM Naval ship.

No, they had better ideas. The ship turned on its cloaking device. It would have been idiotic to try and cross the border while cloaked seeing as we could predict their direction. Trinords were a little smarter than that. The invisible ship turner around and used their dega-drive to speed away. – Cowards.

It was a slap in the face when I realized that we had not saved the possible trinards on-board and therefore, had failed the simulation.

Chorst's grip on the armrests tightened. We all looked at him wondering if he was physically expressing emotion. He relaxed his fingers after a moment and stood up to leave the bridge.

"We could try and go after them." I said softly, but it was too late. The simulations were already dissipating.

The trinard practically stormed out of the bridge. Man, for a guy who couldn't express emotion, he expressed a lot of emotion. I ran my fingers through my hair awkwardly before I remembered my new hairstyle.

Alk bit her lip. She felt guilty about not changing the simulation. That was an unfair simulation for Chorst seeing as it had hit him on a deeper level. The fact he had not been able to save the trinard slaves aboard was a blow to his self-esteem. Her hand trailed to the panel when she decided to note why Mar had failed the simulation.

"Excellent work." She said honestly when we all returned to the overview room. "You handled it well."

Ket and San had one more go each before the first half of the class was over. Ket got a harder simulation this time and they barely succeeded. According to the statistics; thirty per cent of the crew was dead and fifty per cent was seriously injured. – Zand was displeased.

Chorst was back to his usual impassive self within a couple of minutes. He was smart enough to know that it was just a simulation. It was more the fact that it could happen in real life. The fact he had gone tense at the end of simulation suggested he may not be fully trinard. It was very likely he had some trinord in him which was the part expressing emotion.

Donn looked bewildered as he walked back into the overview room. San had gotten another hard simulation which ended in Donn having to activate the self-destruct sequence after an alien bug queen decided to use their ship as her nest and implanted her eggs in the crewmembers. Yeah, it was a pretty strange simulation to watch.

"Well…" Alk chose not to finish her sentence when she saw Donn's puzzled face.

She was saved from telling Donn the results when Frek came in from outside. A thick silver bag was slung over his shoulder and his boyish expression suggested he was excited about what was to come. This worried moi. The last time he had that smile was when he wanted to show us Bennu, and we all know how that had ended.

"No need for that look." He laughed when he saw my expression. "You'll all enjoy this, I promise."

His hand went into the bag and came back out with what looked like a bronze-covered chunky old cell phone. And I don't mean 'chunky' as in the cell phones of your time, I mean the brick cell phones.

"These are mainly for the science officers, " Frek confessed as he and Alk led us down the hall. Two robots followed behind with our suitcases on a hovering cart, "but I think it would be best if you all knew how to use the science equipment in case the chief science officer is not present."

The bricks were scanners… Very chunky scanners. I guess new slimmer scanners weren't in the budget.

"You all know how to read map coordinates right?" Alk asked when we reached the hangar.

There was a mumble from the crowd of cadets. People like Jee were very sure of their map reading skills. People like Donn were less confident. That was not Donn's fault. On his planet maps were not needed because sadamonts instinctively knew the ocean like the back of their hands.

Alk shook her head condescendingly: "Well all you have to do is let the ship drive. Don't worry."

We all stood around Alk and Frek like children in kindergarten. The harsnic passed out the bronze bricks until all of us had one. Well… almost all of us. Poor Yeek from Ket missed out seeing as Frek was one short of bricks. The green alien's eye stems hung low in disappointment.

"You have all been assigned to primitive planets –and moons– in the Dalowit System for your scientific research." Alk explained. "You are to mainly focusing on geology today. Each group should collect at least three different samples today which you will be examining thoroughly tomorrow in science class."

"So get some good samples." Frek joked.

I questioned how we could find various samples on a moon seeing as they were just lumps of rock. Oh well, I sure hoped Mar didn't get a moon.

Two minutes later: "… Mar, you get the second moon of Eferos." Frek said casually before sending synopsis of the moon to our wrist computers.

"Yay." I muttered sarcastically as I skimmed the synopsis.

Some would think I had to be quite an arrogant snob to not be gracious for even getting to travel to a moon. I am an arrogant snob, but I've been to Earth's moon. Me, Sven and Geraldine visited the Moon five years ago to visit the Neil Armstrong memorial centre. The memorial centre and the colonies were awesome, but the moon itself was incredibly boring. How different could the second moon of Eferos be?

"How is this combat?" Donn asked. Good question.

"Knowing you Dub Cap Donn, " Alk paused for effect, "you'll run into an aggressive alien race and then it'll be combat."

The fish boy let out a hesitant laugh. It would be just his luck.

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