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

   Chapter 33 Saving Life, the Universe and Everything

The Life, Death and Life of Amelia Hollow By EJBowman Characters: 59982

Updated: 2017-12-27 12:04


It was quite obvious that the USM had taken Tamarax Station swiftly. The USM Naval spaceships had already obliterated half the station. Luckily, they had not destroyed the hangar I was heading for.

Chorst said nothing as he followed me through the station. Even when I jumped on the conveyer belt he followed. I was truly following my gut instinct. All of the henchmen ignored Frenchy and I as we walked down the final corridor. They were all far more worried about their own lives. For good reason. Despite the fact that most of the personnel at the station were not exactly there by choice for various reasons, the USM would kill them all the same. If Cacey had not been travelling with us, then he would have likely been shot. USM marines were allowed to be ruthless. The phrase 'we don't negotiate with terrorists' was taken to a whole new level and was changed to 'we don't negotiate with terrorists. We wipe them out remorselessly'.

Even the rhino-like creatures were running for their lives. It was unfair that I associated their species with evil as they appeared to be giant dumb grunts. In true fact their species tended to be very peaceful and intelligent. Sadly, they were a third-class species who had to make a living in the galaxy so half the soldiers here were poorly paid creatures while the other half were slave clones sold on the black market. Even if they survived the demise of Tamarax Station, they would still have to pay the price of working for one of the largest terrorists in the galaxy. That could either be with their lives, or with jail time that would take away their lives. That was what Sven, with the help of the MCIAA, was going to have to fight when it came to Cacey. The blue boy had been with Tamarax, but they had to prove he had actually been held there against his will and that he had never committed any major felonies. In the USM it was never easy to predict how the cases would turn out. Sven knew that which was why he was happy that Della was his friend.

"Confused?" I asked Chorst as we reached the giant doors. He was looking at the map on his wrist computer and could not find the hangar we were at. "Of course Mel would park in a place that wasn't on the map."

I looked up at the camera sensors above the large doors, and then I noticed the panel to the side that was flashing red. The sensors had been made only to allow access to Tamarax and personnel of her choice. Obviously, the screen was flashing red because Mel had changed this setting. Once we were in range the giant doors opened. The dim lights came on slowly as we entered, however I did not need them to see. I was drawn to the small square in the centre of the hangar. All that protected Chorst and I from getting sucked into the vacuum of space was the thin electromagnetic field in the square.

"There you are." I muttered triumphantly as we reached the edge of the square. The overhead entrance to a lustrous silver spaceship was just barely inside the field with its hatch wide open.

I could now see the whole exterior of the ship, but I got the feeling that Mel liked to travel in style.

"She left the hatch open on purpose." Chorst said as he walked across the plank that led to the hatch to get a better look inside. "Otherwise it was imprudent of Mel to leave the fastest spaceship in the galaxy with a hatch open."

"Told ya she trusted me." I said in a childish tone.

The poor trinard was probably screaming inside his head. He had so many questions to ask and yet he couldn't get anything out. I watched him for a moment as he looked down at the ship from the plank. It was strange to think that he would probably be the last person I ever saw. I thought about the mind meld we never got to have… I thought about everything we never got to do or say. I wondered if after today Chorst would miss the experiences we never had. Maybe not. I didn't understand anything about his mind. I just made assumptions that I knew what he was thinking. I gave him human emotions when I thought about what he was thinking. Maybe he did not feel the same emotions humans did. Maybe Chorst actually hated moi and was only drawn to me because of the red blood in my veins… Maybe I was overthinking this.

"You sure you want to come?" I asked him seeing as he had made no attempt to jump in ship. As soon as I said that he leapt in.

I hopped on the plank and followed him down. The hatch closed instantly as soon as I got in. I can now see why he was intrigued by the inside of the ship. Like the outside, the interior was lustrous and silver. What was interesting was that the walls had a strange decorative border that almost looked like writing. You would think that my earpiece would translate the writing into English for moi to understand.

"It is an artistic version of the Destin-Hey language; Hey. That is why it does not translate." Chorst explained.

The writing looked like Egyptian hieroglyphics mixed with Mandarin Chinese characters. I bet you thought those two could never mix, yet the product was quite beautiful and curious. It was even more interesting when I found myself being able to read it despite the fact it had not translated. The effects of Bennu were obviously why I could read the artistic language. From what I could tell, it said nothing important. I believe it was a Hey-monk poem or hymn. It would make sense for Mel to have the decorative border of the walls in Hey. She was very close with the people of Destin-Hey. I do not know what species Mel was, but she likely associated herself with them the most. In the history of the USM class we learned about the monks of Destin-Hey. I knew Mel was not of their species as the creatures had four arms and long prehensile tails. They kind of looked like lanky hairless monkeys.

The ship was not that large. It was only about the size of an Earthling airplane of old except according to the silver model of the spaceship on a podium we walked by, it was a delta-shaped ship. It was a very aerodynamic shape that did not seem very necessary seeing as we were in space.

The cockpit must have drove Chorst insane. There were no panels, no buttons, nothing electronic. Just below the windscreen (or that's just what I'm going to call it despite the fact there is no wind in space) sat a sat a blank desk. The top of the desk stirred like a silver ocean. As soon as Chorst tried to touch the surface the stimulated silver went rigid and smooth. The trinard was displeased that the metal would not react to him.

"This ship is un-flyable. Only Mel and Hey-monks could fly this." He complained in his usual bland tone.

I took off my helm as he said this and attached both sides of it to my belt. The muggy atmosphere inside the helm had made me sweat and I hated the feeling when my hair felt damp because of it. Looking down at the metal surface I saw my reflection. Dry blood painted my nostrils. Quickly, I licked my glove-covered thumb and index finger –a disgusting taste– and tried to discretely clean up my nose. Chorst did not seem to notice. He was too busy running his only hand across the smooth silver and trying to understand why it would not respond to him.

I took a seat at the silver egg chair associated with the desk. The silver rippled under my finger accompanied by what sounded like a harp being strummed. It was surreal. I placed my whole hand on the surface. This time the ripple was larger and the harp sound was louder and a little harsher.

"Mel programmed the ship to respond to you." Chorst stated.

The logistics behind how to fly this ship would not make sense to anyone with a normal brain. Luckily, I did not have a normal mind. I couldn't explain it, but I knew how the ship worked. This was an artistic ship not based on math or physics as we know them in this universe. Chorst would not understand that. He thought ships had to run in a particular way. Mel had a 4th dimensional mind that did not obey space and time, so why would her ship obey space and time? It did not for the most part. Her ship did whatever the hell it wanted to. It was like it had its own mind.

"Can you fly it?" Chorst asked demandingly after I had been silent for so long.

A smile cracked my complexion. "Chorst… guess what?"

No answer from the trinard as my hands dances across the silver surface. I did not think, I just acted. Literally, I was making music as the harp noise became more elaborate.

"Guess what?" I repeated.

Again, no answer, so I continued. "I've got the need, the need for…"

Too late. We were already there. 'Where' you may ask? Why, right next to the giant comet/ship Tak was in. When Mel said this ship was fast, she meant it was damn fast. This ship had no dega-drive. It did not need one because it could travel at any speed it wanted. After going far faster than the speed of light, the ship was now travelling at the same speed the comet was. We were so close to the giant rock that through the fire surrounding it that I could make out its details. Right next our left wing was a small, barely visible hatch.

"Where are we?" Chorst asked.

"Flying alongside a dangerous comet." I replied as my hands continued to dance across the silver surface. Even when I took my hands away the music continued to play. I had just told the ship to keep its current speed and stay as close as possible to the comet.

"Why?"

"Because I'm gonna go inside that comet with the Bennu Bomb and then blow the crap out of it before it reaches my system's star."

Chorst did not look at moi. He just stared at the spaceship/comet. And he thought that he had been confused before about what I was doing. Now he was really confused.

"Why does it need to be blown up?"

"Because it just has to be."

"Elaborate."

"No. But once I'm inside I need you to drive this ship back to Tamarax Station."

"You are coming back with me."

I sighed. The trinard was a little confused when I stood up on the egg chair so I could look at him at eyelevel. Surprisingly, he did not stop me when I cracked his helm like an egg and put both parts on the silver surface. I wanted to see his eyes one last time. They were beautiful if that has not been made clear by all the previous times that I complimented them.

"I'm not coming back with you." I said in almost a whisper.

"Why not?" He asked coldly.

"Because I have to go inside that comet with the Bennu Bomb."

"Explain the task, and I will do it for you."

I shook my head. "Chorst… you're missing a hand."

"What is the purpose of this task?"

"Nothing big." I laughed hesitantly. "I just need to save life, the universe and everything."

"From what?"

"That comet."

"That comet will not affect the universe."

Oh Chorst, I thought as I leaned forward and kissed him right his pale lips, if only I could explain it all to you. No shock that the trinard did not kiss back. He just followed my eyes. Now he could see how insane I looked. A part of me was still the Amelia he had originally met, but the other half was something more mysterious that even I did not understand.

The kiss meant nothing to either of us. It was cold and passionless. I was just wanted to do it before I died. I now understood why father had warned me to never have sex with a trinard. Physically, they had warm bodies, however they were very icy on-touch. So when Chorst had sex with Nor or Sven had sex with Jac it must have been terrible and not enjoyable. It would only serve one purpose (you know what that purpose is) and nothing more. Kind of like the current kiss.

Oh well, the kiss was mainly a distraction while my hand went to my holster. I pulled back just as electricity ran through Chorst's body. His expression did not change as he fell. I tried to stop his falling, however that was difficult whilst standing on the egg chair. All I did was slow the fall.

"I gotta do this, Chorst." I told him as I stepped off the chair and kneeled down next to him. I did not feel great about stunning a one-handed man, but he would have tried to stop moi from completing my task otherwise.

I sniffed as I felt blood running through my right nostril. This was accompanied by a throbbing headache. I was breaking down. The condition of my body would not matter providing that I confronted Tak with the Bennu Bomb in-hand. Do not question how I intend to use a 4th dimensional element to destroy a 4th dimensional creature. It makes sense in my head so I don't need to explain it to you!

There was now just one problem with my insane plan. The ship. With Chorst paralyzed how were he and the ship going to make it back to Tamarax Station? I needed to control the ship automatically so that I could drive it close enough to the hatch on the side of the comet, then I needed it to turn around and fly back to the station.

"Data?" I asked as I heaved Chorst into the egg chair.

"Yes Dub First Off Am?"

"Can I use you to fly a ship automatically?"

"Yes. Please state the liscence of the ship and the authorization passcode."

"Eh?"

Chorst had planned to automatically control a ship before… How had he planned it? He had known the liscence of Mar, however dub spaceships did not have authorization passcodes. What would the passcode to Mel's ship be?

Once Chorst was securely in the egg chair, I went to the little silver model of the ship on the podium. Thankfully, the liscence was on the model ship. It was a strange liscence. Actually, just a very egotistical liscence.

"The liscence is M-E-L-0-1."

"Confirmed. State the authorization passcode."

I bit my lip and thought. What would Mel's passcode be? It could be something personal or just a random bunch of letters and numbers.

"Bird of fire." The voice that was not my own stated.

"Confirmed. Accessing ship controls now."

Bird of fire? That was the passcode to the fastest ship in the universe? Anybody could guess that! But that was not the only interesting thing about that passcode: Mel had what looked like an Earthling mythological phoenix printed on the front of her tunic. Could that be the 'bird of fire'? Then again, Bennu, the 4th dimensional element was also the name of a mythological heron that was considered to be the Egyptian version of a phoenix and the decorative writing on the walls resembled hieroglyphics while Mel was wrapped-up like an Egyptian mummy and… wow. I really sound like a conspiracist on cannabis don't I?

"You'll understand why I have to do this… someday." I told Chorst as I waited for Data to access the ship's controls. "Ask Frek… or Mel. They'll tell you."

"Error." Data said calmly. "Unable to access MEL01 automatically."

"Explain." I said while going into the pocket on Chorst's belt for the Bennu Bomb. I sat there for a moment toying with it, but then snapped out of my 'power crazed' moment and put it in the pocket on my belt.

"The system cannot be controlled wirelessly."

I thought for a moment. "Okay, what if I could plug you into the ship somehow and then give you commands from my earpiece? Would that work?"

"Possibly, however the ship runs on different software to mine which may cause difficulty."

"Let's give it a try anyways."

The real question: how did I plug Data into this ship? I knew he had a pull-out plug, but there were no jacks to plug it into. Damn it, I should not have stunned Chorst so early. He would have known what to do.

I took the black cuff off followed by the wrist computer and then put the cuff back on. Unsurprisingly, there was no ripple or harp sound when I placed the computer on the silver surface. I had not expected it do anything. I really hadn't expected the wrist computer to be absorbed by the silver liquid. My hand reached out to grab it, but I was too late.

"Data?" I asked. "Are you connected to the ship?"

"Yes."

"Righteous."

Had I really just said that?

I put my helm back on as I headed for the door closest to the comet. We were down to mere minutes before Tak collided with the time energy. I patted my pocket just to make sure the Bennu Bomb was still there. It would be horrible to travel into the comet and meet Tak without even having the bomb.

"Data, expand MEL01's atmosphere to the comet we are closest to."

By doing this, I would not be left behind when I tried to hop from one ship to the other. Both ships were going so fast that even a second out of the atmosphere and I would be lost alone in space forever.

"Warning: The nearest body is not a comet. It is a non-USM spacecraft."

"Understood." I nodded. "Expand MEL01's atmosphere to the non-USM spacecraft."

"Task complete."

I walked back to Chorst for the last time. I was surprisingly calm about the fact I was going to die. Then again, I would probably be more terrified when I stared death right in the eyes. I mainly felt guilt around my father. I had hugged him goodbye and told him I would be right back. When Chorst returned to Tamarax Station Sven would learn the truth: he hadn't even seen his daughter's face one last time before I left him.

"When you return to Tamarax Station… tell everyone I'm dead." I told Chorst with a hint of sadness. "Also, tell them I'm sorry." When I said 'them' I meant my father, but everyone else probably needed to know that I had died too.

Chorst just stared up at moi. Even though I was wearing the helm, his amethyst eyes still somehow managed to meet mine. He could not say anything, though I doubt he would have said anything even if he could have.

Okay. Time was up. What were my final worlds going to be to Chorst?

"Live long and prosper and may the force be with you."

Yes! I can die now. I did not even have to care about how much dignity I lost by saying that because I was going to die within a few minutes anyways! Damn, if only I could have watched Star Wars and Star Trek one more time…

I left the trinard alone in the egg chair without another word. I do not think

I was to Sven.

The aldoren jumped when a hand was put on his shoulder. He turned to see a harsnic dressed in the typical black and red MCIAA security officer uniform. His eyes changed from solemn to fearful. Was he in trouble?

"Sorry to disturb, " he whispered, "but we've got to get you registered."

"But Sven is sad."

The harsnic cocked an eyebrow. He had no idea who Sven was. Then he figured it was probably the sad sack on the ground up ahead.

Cacey decided not to make a scene that would distract from this sad time. He left quietly with the harsnic security officer. While walking up the ramp to the ship, he looked back once at Sven. How he wished he could've said goodbye. Even though my father was getting a ride home on the same ship, Cacey doubted they would see each other again. Sven would be sitting with Della in the lounge while he was on one of the lower decks being registered.

"We will prepare you a ride back to Earth…" Mel said to Sven as she watched the shuttle with all the cadets and Frek on it flew up to the Titonic.

"We will take him, ma'am." Della said, gesturing to the MCIAA ship.

"Understood." The bandaged woman replied. Without another word, she strode away from the awkward scene. Now there was no one in range that could explain why I had died.

As soon the woman was a good few metres away, Della and Cameron raced to my fallen father. Cam was a little surprised to see that Sven was not crying. He was still in great shock and the tears would come later. Probably for the best; Cameron did not want his father to be humiliated by crying in front of marines. Sure, his daughter was dead, but the marines were ruthless on second-class citizens. They had even been pointing and laughing when Donn was in tears.

Cam supported his father's weight as they walked to ship. Della tried to help as well. Sven was acting like a lifeless corpse; unable to move his legs properly. The walk was silent. Neither harsnic knew what to say.

Surprisingly, out of the three, Della was the most confused. She had only just arrived when the news of my death came to them. She did not even understand how Tamarax Station had been found by me in the first place. I do not recall ever directly speaking to Dell. After all, she had only on very rare occasions spoken to my father via holographic chat sessions. And in those cases, she had usually just walked in to discover Cam sneakily chatting to his father and then she would tell Sven and Cameron off.

"Cap Gor?" Cam tapped his wrist computer.

"Yes, En Cam?" The jolly overgrown mantis replied.

"Do I have permission to assist in escorting Sven back to planet Earth? I will be back aboard the Titonic within the day."

Gor was silent for a moment as he thought. He was not aware that Cameron wanted to deal with his grieving father. All he knew was that Cam had a lot of work to do when he got back. Plus First Off Tek wanted to have a chat with him…

"I do not see why the MCIAA would need assistance in escorting Sven back to Earth." Gor said honestly.

Cam sighed. "My sister just died. I am requesting today off for family matters."

'Family matters' were not an excuse for taking a leave in the USM, however Gor was going to give in this situation. He was aware that I had to have died literally within the hour seeing as the Titonic had come to Tamarax Station because of moi. Of course he had to give the brother of the hero a day off to console his grieving father after the hero's abrupt death; Gor would have to be a jerk not to.

"I expect you to be in your regeneration chamber at the thirtieth hour mark."

"Understood." Cam replied. The Hashtish Alliance MCIAA spaceship was fast so he did not have to worry about time.

"Drace?" Della asked after typing on her wrist computer. Everyone who worked in the USM had a standard wrist computer, but the harsnic had taken her computer a step further. Hers had a gold covering that made it look more like a piece of jewellery. It was the same for her earpiece, but nobody knew that due to her hair covering it. Ambassadors got away with that sort of thing because they were not forced to wear any kind of USM uniform.

"Yeah?" Drace replied via earpiece from the cockpit of the ship.

"I'm sending the coordinates for our first stop, then we go back to Starside."

"Yes ma'am."

Sven was so distressed that he did not even noticed Cacey standing on the other side of the Plexiglas. The little blue boy ran to the window when he saw my father and got no response. He and the two harsnics just continued toward the elevator. One of the harsnic MCIAA officers in the room with him requested that Cacey return to his seat. They still had to get all of the boy's general information. Then it got into why he needed asylum, previous crimes he had committed and his relationship to Tamarax and her station. And that was only the first part of the form-filling. Up next he had to go to Starside where the MCIAA and the USM would come to a conclusion on his fate. – The poor boy. All he wanted was to feel safe.

The Hashtish Alliance had the largest of the MCIAA spaceship which was not large by USM standards. Only three floors with the capacity of an Earthling supermarket. The first two floors were for the asylum seekers with the registration offices, temporary beds and the medical area. The third floor was primarily for the Hashtish Alliance MCIAA representatives. Della, like the other high-ranking representatives, had their own little apartment aboard the ship. Their job often required them to be away from their actual homes for long periods of time so Della had made it her third home. Her first home was on Hashtish 4 while her second was at Starside. Truly a busy woman. She had only become the primary MCIAA representative after Cam was born which meant that he had only had ever call two places home instead of three. The constant commuting had been difficult on him as a youngster. Like all harsnic children with travelling parents, his schooling had been done through correspondence. That was probably why he had such a lonesome childhood. He was surrounded by adults all the time and rarely saw children his own age.

Sven was in a daze. The harsnics were on each side of him on the dark grey sofa. He had not been like this since the death of his brother. After Frank died Sven was silent at first, but then once realization set in, he would prefer isolation so he could cry alone.

"I'm so sorry, dad." Cameron said. He really was not sure what else to say.

"Where…" Sven choked on his sentence. He knew that as soon as he opened his mouth he would start sobbing… and he did. "Where's the bathroom?" My father asked in one breath before he went back to sobbing.

"At the end of this floor." Della said while pointing. "I'll take you if you wa–"

Nope. Sven was sprinting down the hall. Cameron felt hesitant about leaving his father alone when he was so unstable. Suicide was a galactic problem and to the harsnic, Sven seemed at that state.

"He just needs a moment to himself." His mother reassured him, squeezing his shoulder. "He's a clever boy. He wouldn't do anything like that."

She had read his mind. Cam just looked at his mother, he felt like crying himself. Partly because of my death, and partly because he hated seeing his father so sad.

"How do you know?"

"He's got you to live for." She said with a reassuring smile.

The boy shook his head. "I'm not enough."

"Of course you are."

"No. Amelia was his real child."

"You're his real son." She gently stroked away one of his tears with the back of her hand. "Never doubt his love for you."

"We've only met twice in real life. All the holographic calls we had weren't enough. He had a connection to Amelia which he could never have with me, mum."

A burst of regret suddenly hit the harsnic woman. Even with all the calls they shared –which she had originally condemned– Cameron still felt like he was not a real child to Sven. There was a lack of connection between the two and Della knew it was her fault. Now, with Sven having lost one child, she did not want him to lose another.

"I'll go check on him." She kissed her son on the forehead before standing up.

Cameron did not say anything. He just wiped a rogue tear from his eye. Looking at him, Della was happy she had a child. She was glad it was Sven's child as well. Thinking back, she could not imagine what life would have been like if she had given Cameron up before or after birth. Life for her simply would not have worked without him. That was how Sven felt about me. Della knew he would be deeply saddened if it had been Cameron instead of me, but it still would have been different because the death would have had less of a physical impact on his daily life. Sven had been sad when I left originally for Starside Academy because the mansion felt empty. Now, his life felt empty. His life was hollow, you could almost say. Della wanted to fill that emptiness. She felt obliged to.

Cautiously, she knocked the door. At first there was no reply which worried her. She listed the items in the bathroom. There was nothing poisonous or dangerous in there that Sven could hurt himself with. She knew that much. But if somebody wanted a way out of life, they would find a way. Della hopped Sven had no started searching just yet.

No. He opened the door. He would not do that sort of thing publically. He did not want to ruin other people's lives by taking his own. If he killed himself, there and then, Cameron –and possibly Della– would have been permanently scarred. They would both feel guilt because they would feel that they failed to save him. Or in Cameron's case: that he wasn't enough to save him. Sven was miserable, but he would never ruin the lives of others for his own relief.

My father's eyes were red and puffy even though he was not crying anymore. He tended to cry in short bursts instead of letting it all out at once.

"You're going to be okay." She whispered while hugging him.

He was unresponsive to the hug. He was busy thinking about the fact he would never see his daughter again.

"When you get back to Earth… I want you to pack your things." She said.

"Why?"

"Because we're likely going to give your little aldoren friend asylum on Hashtish 4, and I think we can make some arrangements for you as well. You probably won't fit the criteria for an asylum seeker, but you should make a fine citizen."

Sven shook his head. "Seconders don't get to do that. We don't get to leave our systems."

"Darling, " Della ran her fingers through his hair harmlessly, "I don't think you are going to be a second-class citizen for much longer."

Sven gave her a questioning look. So she continued. "Your daughter saved the universe. Mel said so herself. You honestly think humans will be seen as second-class after today? I bet that right now they're already planning the proposition to bump Earth up to a first-class planet."

My father looked surprised. He had not considered that, yet he was sure Della was right. Then his brief moment of hopefulness faded and he went grim again. "I don't think moving planet would do much for me." He said coldly.

"What about starting a new life?" She asked with a small smile. "I think Cacey would like to have somebody visiting him at the asylum… and I think our son would like to be able to visit both of his parents during his days off work."

Our son. Sven thought. As he recalled, Della had always referred to Cam as her son. She wanted him to be closer to Cam, he knew that. She could never repay him for all the years she had kept him separate from his child, but at least she was trying now.

My father did not say anything. He didn't have to. Della smiled when he hugged her back. If all went well, they would start the next chapter in their relationship. Not as lovers, or rivals for Cameron, but as friends who shared a child.

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