Author: Demiser of D PM
A ship falls out of hyperspace at the most horrible of times, and soon the Heptite Guild is left to take care of the mess, which is complicated by the one survivor. In the process of revision, cause it sucks at the moment! Patience, pwease!Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi/Adventure - Chapters: 3 - Words: 15,048 - Reviews: 4 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 04-17-11 - Published: 01-10-11 - id: 6643430
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
When a person wakes up after vacuum exposure, there are usually a few well known symptoms, including, but not limited to: splitting headaches, oral and cochlear bleeding, and profuse vomiting. Any of those might have been expected in Chase's circumstances.
Unfortunately for the laws of physics, Chase didn't have time to care about the circumstances. He knew precisely what would happen to you if you stayed in vacuum for too long. Of course, what was portrayed in the tri-D horrors wasn't exactly true; you wouldn't explode, the way they showed in the movies. Instead your blood vessels would begin to expand as your blood boiled into space, eventually destroying your tissue and leaving you as nothing but a pink nebula of bloody mist spiraling through space. The thought of such a fate was plenty to keep even the most experienced spacer up at night, listening for the tell-tale popping sensation that indicated a pressure leak.
In other words, the instant he regained consciousness he was already moving, pressing against the wall moments later, his eyes darting from side to side and his body dragging in frantic gasps of life-giving air. Even as his conscious thoughts milled in confusion, the primal part of his brain looked frantically for a place to hide, identifying each and every nook and cranny in the room with utmost precision.
Slowly, however, his memory returned; with it came a slow relaxation of the pace of his breath; it faded slowly over a long minute until at last the only thing he could hear was the soft sighing of the ventilation system.
His voice echoed slightly, ringing off into the darkness of the ship, returning to him accompanied by only silence. Cautiously, he stepped away from the wall. For a moment, nothing happened.
A moment later, nothing continued to happen. Chase glanced around in confusion; the entire room—no, the entire ship seemed to have gone dark and quiet.
"Hello?" he called, trying again, "Are you there, Brainship?"
Something flickered in the corner of his eye; he spun to face it, hands up to defend himself…but all that was there was a faintly flickering monitor, glowing in the darkness. Cautiously he approached it, and looked down at what it displayed;
Two young girls smiled up at him from the screen, wearing identical dresses, and each with an arm around the other. Other than that, they were as different as could be; one had long light hair, the other dark and cut short and somewhat raggedly. One was smiling sunnily, while the other had an expression that looked slightly forced, as if she would rather be doing something else, but was humoring her friend. Chase thought their expressions were remarkably mature for their ages; they couldn't be more than five years old. In the background, a small group of people stood, waiting; the picture was too dim for his eyes to see clearly; he leaned closer, until his nose pressed up against the plastic.
Instantly the picture disappeared, and he jumped back as a bright red banner blared onto every screen in the room, accompanied by a metallic sounding voice; "Restricted Area: Authorization Required!"
A moment later the banner disappeared, replaced on every monitor by a single dark blue eye, immediately focused on him. "Please State your Name and Purpose." It demanded.
Chase stared up at the now bright screen with wide eyes, and without thinking, stuttered, "C-Chase! Chase Chance!"
The eye began to whirl, its gaze darting across the room before finally folding in on itself, "Password Accepted. Administrator Status Recognized. What may I do for you, Administrator?"
"W-What? Y-you're joking, right?" his eyebrows pulled together, "Why would my name be-Oh. Oh!" He glared up at the screen, "I'm talking to the brainship, right? This is just some big joke, isn't it? What is this, a game to you? I could have died back there!"
"Invalid, Administrator. Brainship currently suffering symptoms of remission, this-personality is security semi-personality SAL 4. I request your assistance, administrator."
Chase stared at the screen, nonplussed, for a moment, before rolling his eyes, "Fine, I'll play along. I guess I'm stuck here anyway...hmm." he paused for a moment, "What should i say...how about this; What is the status of the Brainship?"
The reply came back immediately, "Hull Integrity: Nominal. Armory Status: Nominal. Weaponry Suite: Nominal. Atmospheric Status: Nom-"
Chase cut it off, "Weaponry Suite? What kind of ship is this? Cancel request, computer! What is the status of the brain, not the ship."
The computer paused for a moment, then, oddly, replied with a question; "Program JAIVAS is requesting access, y/n?"
"What do you mean by that?"
"Program JAIVAS is requesting access, please confirm y/n?"
Chase rubbed his forehead wearily, muttering to himself, "I'm space sick, crash-sick, tired, in pain, and computers are asking me for advice and i still dont know what I'm doing!" He groaned, and then cracked one eye open, "First tell me the status of the brain, where is she?"
The computer went silent for another moment, then replied, "Access granted to JAIVAS. Function terminated, entering sleep mode..."
"No, wait!" The eye blinked out completely, and Chase punched the monitor, "Blast it, don't shut down...shards!" He kicked the terminal in frustration, "Stupid modern junk. At least the old stuff does what you tell the sharding thing to fardling do!"
"I feel as if i should be insulted." Suddenly, his ears were submerged in a deep male voice, rich with humor.
Chase froze mid-kick, then turned around warily, "Who are you?"
"JAIVAS now online," the voice replied with a deep british accent, "Also, you shouldn't be so hard on poor SAL, she was doing quite well for a semi-AI construct. Goodness knows she has enough stress put on her by our beloved owner." the words echoed ironically.
"Indeed. Perhaps i should introduce myself more fully; I am Jaivas 9000, personal advanced personality AI of the C-1001, and I am here for the same reason you are."
Chase looked quizzically back at the terminal, and asked, "What's that?"
"Why...to rescue Chalia, of course."
"I still don't get why I'm doing this." Chase grunted the words as he heaved himself up over another ledge; flailing above it, he finally managed to grab a tree-root protruding from the cliff face, and pulled himself up and over, panting for air as he did so. He tried to remind himself that it wasn't really air that he was breathing, but the illusion was too complete; his body felt like it needed air.
"Do I really need to explain this again?" The computer gave a deep sigh, "Very well, I'll explain, again, with smaller words. You, through some catastrophically bad bit of luck, have a name that is apparently the direct-access backdoor password to 1001's systems."
Chase glanced up at the sky quizzically, "What, you mean 'Chase Ch-'"
"Yes!...don't say it." Jaivas groaned, his voice irritated, "Why, oh why did it have to be this human?"
Chase began to climb again, "Well, dont - ugh - act like - ugh - I'm enjoying this any more than you are. I mean, VR worlds are all well and good, but how exactly does my name or a VR world relate to me climbing this Huge Cliff!"
As he spoke he hoisted himself over another ledge, and was finally able to see how far he had climbed; immediately he went green and turned away, holding his hands over his mouth. After a few seconds of deep breathing, he muttered, "There's no way this could be real!"
Jaivas sighed again, more patiently this time, "Your name, like I explained before, is the administrator password to all of C-1001's systems. The difficulty lies in that no single password should be able to shunt her into her personal VR world the way your name did. In fact..." he paused for a moment, giving Chase the eery feeling that he was actually a human, poring over some charts back in the ship, "None of the readings that were recorded in the moments before she restored the atmosphere and retreated to here make sense. Her entire emotional state went off the charts for several seconds, and she has specially made charts! And then to top it all off, she immediately retreated back into this Virtual Reality Construct, to what reads as the top of this cliff...which, despite your climbing, doesn't seem to be getting any shorter. This whole program is impossible."
Chase grunted as he pulled himself up yet another ledge, and then lay back against the cliff face, a small grin on his face as he panted to get his breath back, "Isn't that where you're wrong, though? Think about it; wouldn't a ship make their most secret password something with an emotional tie, such that it would be impossible to forget? Since regs keep them from storing it in their long-term databanks, that is."
Jaivas processed this, "Yes, my records indicate that might be possible. Unfortunately, that doesn't make this task any easier..." He paused, "What are you doing, Chase?"
And he was.
"Could i ask...why?"
Chase spun wildly, a large grin on his face, 'If I'm right, then that means that, at some point, a brainship had an emotional tie to my name!" He jumped, yelling, 'This is the best day ever!"
And then, as he landed, the rocks beneath his feet crumbled away, and he fell with a scream.
JAIVAS gave his unreliable charge almost five minutes of fun, before increasingly loud alarms finally forced his(metaphorical) hand; interupting what were clearly screams of enjoyment, he spoke directly into Chase's ear, "My sincere apologies, sir, but we're running out of time on this schedule."
"Whaaaaaaaaaaaaa~aaaa~aaaaaaaaa!" was the only response.
"It's time to get back to work, Chase!"
"I'M FALLING," He bellowed back, "HELP MEEEEEEEE!"
"Falling?" JAIVAS's eye cocked to the side.
"YES, FALLING! AAAAHHHH!"
JAIVAS's eye rolled, "Sir, you're not even moving. Look behind you."
"I'm..." Chase looked around frantically, and saw, to his surprise, the remnants of the ledge only a few feet away. "...what?"
"This is a personal VR world, Chase. The rules aren't exactly the same here."
Chase cocked his head to the side, and then spun around in midair, before glaring up at the floating eye, "You never said I could fly."
"You never asked, sir."
Chase groaned and slapped his forehead loudly. "Anyway, how do I get back to the cliff? And why is it so fardling hot all of a sudden?" He had suddenly noticed that his face was flushed, and sweat was pouring from his body; it must have begun at some time when he was 'falling', but he hadn't noticed.
"The art of flight in such simulations as this is often instinctual, and tends to differ based on a persons predispositions, so any advice i could give would be most likely useless. As for the temperature...unfortunately, your bad luck continues to influence events. You stated the system password in the midst of a course correction, which unfortunately has put us in a collision course with this system's sun. While it is not as hot as some solar bodies i have visited, it will still cause total destruction of the ship in approximately...45 minutes, 23 seconds, on my mark. Mark." He paused for a moment, "Of course, the ship will become uninhabitable to carbon based life outside of a protective surface such as a titanium column in almost exactly half that time."
Chase's eyes widened as he processed this information, then yelled angrily, "What! How can you be so calm about it!"
"It only means you must move quickly," the computer responded, "C-1001 can save us both the instant she is restored of her capabilities. Now move, quickly! Go!"
Chase nodded in determination. "Flight is instinctual...flight is instinctual..."
Finally, with a kick off the open air, he darted into the sky.
"Chalia! Wake up!"
The darkness around her seemed to lighten with each repetition of the name. Who was it calling her? For a moment, she almost thought it was a man calling it, but then it was overwhelmed by a voice she hadn't heard in three years.
"Chalia! Chalia! Chalia! Wake up, sleepyhead!"
Blearily, Chalia awoke from DeepSleep, to find a huge grin covering her entire optic channel.
"Eep!" She yelped, and if she could have jumped, she would have. "Don't Do that!" she said, annoyed, as she frantically adjusted her nutrient mix to calm her heartbeat, "You know I hate it when you do that!"
The other girl leaned away from her solitary camera and chuckled in a rather unladylike manner, "Okay, i guess you can just go back to sleep and let me go off without..." She faked wiping tears from her eyes dramatically, "Without even saying goodbye!" She buried her face in her hands and let out a very unrealistic sob.
"Alright, alright, i'm sorr-" Chalia froze, and then, her heartbeat accelerating, yelled, "They let you go!?"
Her sisters face cracked into a wide grin and she backed up, spinning in her custom C.S. uniform, "Yep! Accepted and everything! I already have my room assignment and everything and...everything!" She bounced on the balls of her feet in excitement, "I can't wait to go!"
"But...what about...Father?" Chalia replied, nervously, "You know that he has the final say on whether you go or not..."
Her sister laughed, "No problem! A few phone calls, a bit of clothing borrowed from a guy I met at a bar down in the local town, and five minutes of work, and i got this!"
She tossed a disk case onto the table in front of Chalia's camera, and Chalia inspected it curiously.
"I only wish you could've seen his face when he realized I was ready to release a death-synthocom record with my real name! Priceless! By the time i was done explaining exactly how far it would drag our family into the mud, he was practically begging me to join the Brawn Academy!" She winked, "Under an assumed name, of course. I don't doubt that he'll be back, asking me to take up my real name again once news of what we can do gets out! Not that i'll give that old man anything..." she laughed, a little harshly.
"So...you're going." The words came from Chalia's speakers with a slight distortion, as if they were being transmitted from inside a tunnel.
"Aww, don't be like that!" Her sister knelt down and put her hand up against her column, the same way they had talked as children, "I worked that out, too. You'll be off to the shipyard as soon as you're old enough to be a real brainship, and then I'll come and find you. We'll be together after that."
Chalia turned her camera up, hopefully, "Really?"
"Definitely. We'll show the galaxy how it's really done!" Her face turned thoughtful for a moment, then she grinned, "Remember that corny old phrase we used to use as a password?"
Chalia grinned, and they said together, "The Chance Sisters! We'll chase Chance to the End of the Universe!"
They laughed together for a long moment, until her sister stopped for a long moment to just look at her. Suddenly, she wiped a bit of moisture from her eyes, "I'll miss you, sis. I'll write you all the time!"
"How will i know when you're coming to find me?"
Her sister smiled seriously, "The next time you hear our password, you'll know its time for our names to shine, all across the galaxy. Okay?"
She smiled up at the column for a long moment, before glancing at her wrist unit and standing with apologetic look on her face, "The shuttle is leaving in 10 minutes, and it wont wait for me anymore. I've got to go." Slinging her carisak over her shoulder, she walked to the door and glanced back for a last time, "Bye, Chal."
She barely heard her sister whisper back, "Goodbye...Chria."
"Chalia! Chalia! Chalia! She wont wake up, what should I do?"
Chalia blinked tiredly as the darkness began to recede. Why wouldn't they leave her alone? She just wanted to get her mandatory 4 hours of DeepSleep..."Chria?" She muttered, "Is that you?"
The voice froze, and Chase turned back to her, "Chria? No, it's me, Chase."
"Chase?" She muttered to herself. Who was Chase? Somehow she felt annoyed at that name...
The voice continued to fade in and out of her hearing, "She's coming around, what do I do?" There was a breif pause, during which time some faint buzzing seemed to ring in her ears, followed by an indignant outburst from the male voice, "Medical attention! How, pray tell, do you give a 4 foot model of a brainship medical attention, anyway?"
Chalia tried to understand what he was saying, but everything seemed to be flying past in a blur. Also, why was she so hot?
Suddenly, her temperature alert appeared in her mind, flashing unrgently, and following it in a growing wave, all her senses returned to her, her memories coming back in a flash. Her eyes snapped open.
He slowly turned to face the miniature model of her ship, which was somehow levitating its way back to a vertical position, "Umm...yes?"
A bubble of anger built within her, finally bursting as she yelled, "Get out, Get out, get Out!"
In a thump, he found him self thrown away from the terminal and onto the carpet, twitching slightly as the helmet was yanked from his head, and a moment later a furious face appeared on the central column. "JAIVAS! How Dare you let him into my personal world! How dare you corrupt it that way! I aught to delete you right now you incompetent pathetic AI!"
"Don't you 'my lady' me! You're not getting away from this one, i can tell you that much!
"I've had enough of your lip, and your stupid british accent! Time for your personality core to bite the dust!"
"Both of you, Shut Up!"
Both monitors froze, and slowly turned to look at him, with a feeling of building lightning gathering around him. A tiny british accent whispered in his ear, "You've done it now, little human. It was nice knowing you."
Chase ripped the microphone from his ear and threw it at the wall, yelling, "Fardles, i've had about enough of this! Look!"
He pointed violently at the viewscreen on the wall, which was now solid white. "We went in there, to rescue you! Now the least you can do is get us the hell out of here!" He gestured to the other side of the cabin, where another screen clearly showed the surface of the sun mere minutes away.
Chalia blinked on the veiwscreen, and let out a tiny "Oh." of air. A moment later he felt the engines activating, and finally he lay back, and let out a heartfelt sigh of relief. "Finally! I can't believe how long it took you to wake up from DeepSleep, it didn't say anything about that in any of the things I read about brainships."
"Well, you'll find I'm not like most brainships." She replied snippily, making Chase look up at her column for a long moment, the corners of his mouth slowly turning down.
"Yeah...yeah, that's right. I thought brainships...they would never...would they?"
"What are you blathering on about? Shellcrack, what were you doing inside my personal world! How dare you go inside my personal systems, anyway?"
Chase's expression when he looked up at her column was black and angry, "How dare I? How dare I? How dare you violate everything that is supposed to be true about brainships, and then question me! Do you have any idea how far i climbed to try to save you! Do you!" Chase pulled himself to his feet with weary anger, "I don't particularly care if you try to kill me right now, I just want a bed and rest. You can kill me later if you like, but for now, leave me alone!"
With that, he stormed from the central cabin and towards the rooms, leaving a nonplussed brainship behind.
To his surprise, Chalia gave him ten hours before she sent a gentle pinging through his cabin. Without waiting for a response, she manifested a green eye on the viewscreen in his room, looking down at him with the tiniest trace of apology present in it. Chase glanced up at it for a long moment before returning to writing on an antique notepad he had removed from the inside of his clothing. Finally, Chalia spoke;
"Um. I guess i owe you an apology?"
Chase didn't respond.
"I just wanted to say...damn it, could you at least look at me when I'm talking?
Slowly, Chase looked over at the screen, and closed his eyes, as if struggling to control some sort of emotion, "Can you at least show me your face when you speak? I don't want to start thinking of brains as if they're AI's."
The brainship paused for a long moment, "...fine. Fine. But you're going to owe me for it, sometime down the line."
A moment later, a face appeared on the screen; Bright green eyes formed the center, surrounded with soft white skin, and enshrouded with a halo of golden hair, slightly wind-swept. Chase groaned and leaned his face into his palm, "So it was you."
"What on earth-or off it, for that matter- are you talking about? I'm just trying to apologize here, since Jaivas told me what you-"
"And I'm beginning to question whether i should have done that." Chase said, cutting her off, "Seems like it might have been better to just let is crash into the sun."
"What exactly do you mean by that?" Her tone of voice was very definitely dangerous, just before Chase exploded,
"Do you have any idea what you've done to me! Do you!"
Chalia's eyes widened in surprise, and Chase continued, ranting,
"Do you have any idea what the brainships are to the people out here on the rims? Seeing a brainship is like seeing an angel, for us. If a brainship could just see us, could just help us a little bit, everything could be better, a whole life could be changed just because a single brainship took the time to help just one of us! Nobody, nobody out near the rims would ever even dare touch a brainship, because if they did, we, every one of us, would destroy them. Life out here is too hard for us to be able to afford to have the brainships start to dislike us!" He paused, his breathing heavy, "So you have any idea what it means to me that you tried to kill me? All my life i dreamed of being a brawn. All My Life. And here, now,everything I thought i knew was a lie!"
Finally, Chalia's anger boiled over, and she yelled over him, "How dare you threaten me with your accusations! I don't particularly care what you think about all the other brainships, but I am not one of them! They can all go rot in hell, as far as I care. I was going to to thank you for saving my ship, but it looks like even that would go right over your head, so instead i'll just take you where you wanted to go! Sol, i bet, with the brawn academy there. Once you get there, I don't doubt that they'll teach you to Betray the people you love, too!"
Chase clutched his head, and blinked glancing around the cabin; The lights suddenly seemed to be much brighter than they had been before, "Could you please be a bit quiet-" Chalia ignored him and continued, furious,
"Yes, I'll say it. I'll say it! Brawn! Brawn! You seem to think that brawns are some sort of perfect creature, you're treating them like they're...like they're gods! But what are they, actually? When they're not actively treating you like the scum of the earth for the offense of having your own opinion, they will lie to you, cheat you, and stab you in the back, just for a biological function!" A sound of loud breathing broadcast over her speakers, along with a high pitched whine that emitted continuously, and for some reason she couldn't make it stop; Chase began to squeeze his head from the pain as it grew louder and louder. Even angrier, Chalia continued, "But go on! Become a brawn. Hell, go die, and see if i care."
Pausing for a long moment, she brutally choked her nutrient sources, crashing her vitals back to normal levels, and continued; "I will take you to Earth. I owe you that much. But after that, I owe you nothing."
With a flash of pure white on the monitor, and a squeal of hypersonic noise, she stormed from the room and left the entire ship in a mire of darkness.
Behind her, in sudden silence, Chase finally collapsed into unconsciousness.
Thank you for your patience. Your reviews are always appreciated. As always, my work is subject to changes at any time...on the downside, that means that the final work is probably about 2 points out of ten better than this work is. On the up side, it means you can read it multiple times and get a different, better experience each time!