Vandread: Mejalian Knights
A while back, say, 6 months or so, I got spiritually constipated, so I pulled out my laptop, some British Television, and dropped a steaming load of words directly onto the chest of the internet. Well, that's how it started, anyway, but now I think this might be the one story I might actually enjoy having in my corral.
Warning, this starts really slow, and has pretty much nothing to do with anything for the first 8 pages, then does for a while, the back off for a few more pages. Not sure where it's eventually land, butt it's will probably focus on the character introduced in thee first two words of the story.
(ReReading, so I thought I'd Once Over it.)
Disclaimer: I don't own Vandread.
Casey Chambers awoke with a small start, her eyes snapping open, but without otherwise moving. The rumpled sheet was a vast hilly landscape in the moonlight to her roving eyes, serene in the soft light, and the airy tune wafting gently from the ceiling speakers. She tried to figure out what woke her. Maybe it was the same thing that had been waking her at all hours of the night for the last 2 months. But she was finally done, and tomorrow afternoon… Her train of thought tapered off as her attention landed on a small growling noise she thought she might be imagining. It continued intermittently, and, after a minute, rose quickly into a little snarl, and a dark shape leapt from the shadows, landing on her exposed fingers with a stabbing pain.
"Ow!" She yelped, sitting up and snatching her hand away from her small, furry assailant. "Damn it Sprinkles, that hurt." She scolded, sticking the sore finger in her mouth, as the orange and white ball of fur and retractable claws discovered that it had the need to catch his tail. She watched him absently for a moment, nursing her finger, her own woes temporarily forgotten as the kitten tried to commit tail-i-cide. After another moment of valiant effort on the kitten's behalf, she flipped back the sheet, and got up. The soft fiber carpet felt good under her bare feet as she walked to the window, and gazed out at the rolling plains of grass undulating gently in the bright moonlight.
Casey stood at just under 5'9 and weighed 124 pounds as she stood now, barefoot, and wearing only matching Black bra and panties. The moonlight shone in her slightly too large brown eyes, and made her reddish-brown hair shine as it rested on her shoulders. Her features rounded out with a slightly upturned nose, a strong, but not dominating jaw, and modest B cupped bust tapering to a slim waist. She knew she was, as her male acquaintances were never shy about pointing out, strikingly beautiful.
But, not far beneath the outer brilliance, lay a veritable lake of inner brilliance. At only 22, she was turning in her final paper of her scholarly career. She would be considered a genius, except that she was far too modest to label herself as such. And, as she had once pointed out to a date who would be extremely disappointed by the news, lacked the disregard for the sexual mores of her culture that always marked a genius.
She stared at the grass, her right forearm across her navel, the left hanging down her side, absentmindedly scratching her leg. She yawned, bringing up her hand to stifle it, and when finished, reached out and pressed a button next to the window. The grass darkened faded to black. Then, it snapped into a sprawling jungle of skyscrapers and flashing lights. She sighed and looked weary, and in the lights of the city, small wrinkles seemed to appear under her eyes.
She lived in room number 4 on the 83rd floor of the "Executive Arms Apartment Center" in habitat 21 on the southern hemisphere of Mejale. She didn't rent, partly because she liked the security of owning a plot, and secondly, because she was a good electron pusher. She owned the entire 83rd floor, also the top, and had the entire plot of the twelve rooms connected. The elevator in the lobby didn't even go to the floor without her own special key or combination. She had developed the window she had in her bedroom, and it was quite popular, and made her quite well to do. It was no surprise that it would sell well on Mejale, with it's dependence on aesthetics, but it also sold well on Tarak. She guessed it must help their morale to be able to look out a window and see something other than bleak, red desert.
She sighed, and touched the window screen, a wheel with the six main colors appearing. She pressed the blue, and it irised out into a box with several icons appeared. There was a little tree, a tuft of grass, a mountain, and a little snowflake. She clicked it, and turned away, heading through the adjoining door and into the bathroom. The bathroom was a spectacular display, and often dazzled the few visitors she had. All marbled porcelain and rich, velvety carpeting, and so large it took up the space of 2 rooms. The tub was huge, partially sunk into the floor, so that the rim was knee high, with graduated lounging shelves going down, with the maximum depth set so the water would sit just below her breasts. It combined the best parts of a tub, Jacuzzi, and pool, with build in bubble bath dispensers. It was the perfect thing to help unwind after a stressful day. She did her business, and went through another door into the main living room. It contained everything a modern day girl could ask for: couch, recliners, lounging area, enormous Television, and the deluxe cat tree entertainment and activity center, the did everything but prevent the occasional midnight mauling.
Through one more door and she arrived in the kitchen. Opening a cabinet, she entered her code in the face of a small locking door. It swung open, reveling an arangement of small, colorful bottles. Pulling out a blue one, she closed the door, and twisted off the neck. It was a perfectly measured dose of Boucher Merlot, the perfect nightcap. She threw it back, tossed the bottle parts don the rubbish chute, and treked back to the bedroom, the calm sense of easy pulling her back to sleep. She crawled back into bed, laying on her side, and as she drifted back to sleep the kitten purred and curled up next to her stomach as water gurgled softly through a stream in a frozen landscape outside her window.
The sun rose,sharp reflection dancing on the field of snow, shooting the sky with reds and oranges. A pack of great grey and white wolves paused to drink, alternately raising their heads and loosing mournful cries that reverberated through the room.
"…urrrr-right, I'm up…I'mup." Casey mumbled, arm sticking awkwardly out the rumpled bundle of sheets. The kitten sat on the pillow, paws resting on her forehead and it lookred down at her nose. At her voice the wolves looked surprised, and dashed off into the snow. "'scuse me Sprink, but your standing on my face, and I need to get up." The kitten purred and started kneading, and that prompted a quick move on her part. She got out of the bed, stretching with her arms up as she walked to the bathroom. 8 minutes later she walked out into the living area, refreshed and dressed.
Her hair was tied up and held in place with a series of ivory colored ornate sticks, and a pair of black rimmed reading glasses resting above her brow. She had a white jacket like top, long sleeved, cut upwards in an inverted V, but folded over and buttoned in the front, and a knee length black skirt, leggings, and flat black dress shoes. She walked quickly to the front door, grabbed her Personal Electronic Data Device, or PEDD from the wall socket, and tucked it into a pocket on the small of her back, and walked out and into the elevator.
The Shuttle arrived in front of a spiffy looking series of buildings spread across neat sprawling lawn. Numbers were glued on the tops of the buildings, and Casey walked on the path cutting through the heart of the structures, and into the building in the very center of the area.
"Damn, Casey, running late?" A green haired woman in her thirties said as she entered the door to the café. Casey lifted her watch and examined it.
"I'm only 14 seconds after. My cat decided that he wanted to use my head to exercise on, and held me up for a while." She walked up and took the coffee that was waiting, swiping her Credit code through the scanner, and then sat next to the older woman. "What's it like in there today, Stacy?"
"Buncha bloated stuffed shirts that would know a good show if it was sitting on their faces."
"…so, the usual, then?"
"yep, but they have no idea the bomb that your gonna drop on 'em in there. They'll either love you, or lynch you so no pressure."
"Alright, either way, you game for drinks after at the house?"
"Sure." Stacy finished her coffee with a big gulp. "Alright, don't want to be late for your own execution, let's go."
Casey slid her glasses down over her eyes, and data scrolled over the lenses. It identified the half dozen people arrayed at the table in front of her, and the controls for the projector board behind her. She eyed them quizzically over the top of her half moon glasses, touching her stylus to her lips. The people were her friend Stacy, who was the head of the college, and 4 other very prestigious schools on the planet. 2 were male, and the final member of the group was merely labeled as "Col. Verning" and was stoop shouldered and gray haired. This was big, she thought, if the military was involved. The thing about this presentation was it wasn't a doctoral thesis; she had already earned her doctorate. This was more along the line of a job interview. She cleared her throat, and the final lights went out.
"Prestigious ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for coming to this presentation. My name is Casey Chambers, and I have over the past years been colleting and correlating data concerning the great heroes of the Harvest War." She cleared her throat again, and as if on cue the screen glowed to life. "I have titled this presentation, Mejalian Knights: The Unification of the Planets of The Epsilon Vega System."
"600 years ago, the neighboring planet of Tarak launched a refurbished colony-class ship refitted into a battleship. This ship was named the Ikazuchi." The screen displayed a grainy image of a blocky ship. "From old reports, partial logs, and a single, partially burned book entitled "Man vs. Destiny: The Amazing Tale of How Bart Garsus Saved the Galaxy" which seems to be a mostly fictitious autobiography penned by the pilot/navigator of the pirate ship Nirvana, that a male stowaway was arrested while the ship was on a parade demonstration. This stowaway was named Hibiki Tokai. On the way back to the surface and the execution, the ship was attacked by a group of female pirates led by Magno Vivan and a male spy codenamed B.C. During the battle, the Male Prime Minister of the males broke the ship apart, and fired upon the boarded section of the ship. During this, something that no one has record of, the ship and all aboard vanished. The pirates we not seen or heard from in over six months, and were presumed dead until a pair of message torpedoes arrived, claiming a robotic race bent on slaughter and consummation of the human race. In just under another 5 months, the pirates arrived in orbit around Mejale, and were promptly arrested. And, promptly, they were freed by a second group of pirates, and reunited with their ship. Shortly there after they made contact with the leaders of both planets, and the robots arrived. The fleets of several other systems and the two planets defenders rallied and managed to defeat the enemies. The pirates, in honor of their service, were to be the first experiment of uniting the men and women. They recruited people of both sexes, and departed on a mission that has no remaining records, but it is speculated that they went to find the origin of the robots. They were never seen or heard from again, and neither was any trace of the robots in any explored arm of the galaxy. My complete findings have been given to you in the packets of info you were all given. Thank you.
Stacy Wattsman looked at herself in the full length mirror, comparing herself to her best friend with a little bit of envy. She was 34, tall, pretty, and cynical well beyond her years. She was extremely bright and driven, which was one of the reasons she was the head of a very prestigious school, and was respected, if not very popular. It was also one of the reasons why she was able to connect with Casey. When Casey had first applied at the college 4 years ago, she had seen the something in the girl that she liked. She hadn't liked the interviewers, and had somehow hunted her down while she was at lunch off campus. Stacy had been slightly impressed and let her join her, and by the end of lunch Casey was enrolling, and Stacy had a good friend.
She turned from the mirror as Casey walked in with a basket on hooks, filled with assorted bottles of wine and a trio of glasses.
"Wonder what's taking Jane so long, she said 5 and its now…" She checked the clock on the wall, "23 seconds after 5." Stacy turned from her reflection.
"How inconsiderate of her. Turn on the walls and lets start relaxing." Stacy said rubbing her stomach, the taking the basket and latching it to the side of the lounging tub. Casey moved around to the other side of the tub and fiddled with some dials. The lights dimmed and went out as the stars blinked into life and the moon rose against the left wall over above a brushy hill covered in snow. The whole room was transported into a brightly moon lit clearing in the middle of a rolling forest. Stacy cocked an eyebrow quizzically at Casey. "What's with the all the snow?" She asked.
"You ever had drinks in a hot tub on a night with a full moon in the snow? It's magical." She replied, and the room temperature started to drop as they heard their third member announce her presence. Casey snuggled deeper into her downy robe and strode out to greet Jane. Stacy shook her head and shucked her own robe, leaving her in a green bikini almost matching her hair, and hung it on a hook. As she climbed into the tub, the agitation jets shuddered to life. A few seconds later, Casey and Jane walked in, Casey shucking her robe and hanging it, revealing a black bikini, and climbed in. Jane placed another bottle of wine into the basket, and then shed her street outfit, leaving her in a white bikini with blonde hair. They all giggled, talked, and got sloshed for a good portion of the night, blowing of the steam of a stressful week. On the walls, the moonlit forest came to life as they fell asleep. Rabbits hopped through the snow, birds roosted in the bare trees, and a trio of wolves rolled around playing with each other.
It was about two in the morning, a herd of elk were marching through a well plodded game trail. The largest male stopped and looked toward the passed out women, its enormous branching antlers shedding velvet. If anyone had been capable of thought, they would have admired the majestic beauty of the animal. The elk let out a low, mournful cry, so deep that the air reverberated. Casey stirred slightly, and readjusted, too blitzed and comfortable in the warm water to wake at the message received tone the elk was conveying. The message flashed up in the sky on the wall behind the tub, the stars swirling around to form the words.
It was one line and a name. Will be at residence at 0800. – Verning.
An owl hooted loudly from a tree, trying to illicit a response from the sleeping girls. It tried 3 more times unsuccessfully, and then the whole forest joined in, and continued until Casey finally came around enough to make noise in a directed fashion.
"urrrgh-ut?" She groaned, eyes opening, then closing quickly in the morning light. A male voice answered from nowhere.
"Management ma'am, your visitor has arrived." The tight voice that said paper shuffler replied.
"I don't know, ma'am, she didn't leave a name, she just said you were expecting her."
"Arrite, shenderoop." There was a small click that sent all the animals scurrying. Casey rolled her head, and slowly pulled herself out of the tub, hating every move she made until she had managed chew and swallow the small orange capsule that was an anti hangover drug. As it took hold (hunted down the poison and forced it out of her system, and yes, that's exactly what it means) she tried to remember what the message could have been. She finished refreshing, and grabbed her robe, and squirmed into it as deeply as she could, going from hung-over to professional in a single move. She strode to the only hallway leading door and moved to meet her guest at the elevator door.
The doors parted with a small bing, and a small, grey, stoop shouldered woman walked out. Casey eyes widened slightly in surprise, "Colonel Verning, this is a surprise." The old woman grinned, her face wrinkling pleasantly.
"Really?" she asked in faux shock, "after that presentation yesterday I would have thought you'd be surprised not to see me. Is there a place we could move that isn't so… public?"
"I own this hole floor. No one can get in without me allowing them, or if they have a key, and the only two that have those are sleeping in my lounging tub.
"Ok then, I'll make this brief. After myself, and a staff of the formost experts on the subject of the pirate ship Nirvana, and we have determined that you have managed, by yourself, without any apparent aid, to have amassed more relevant data then the entire Navys of both planets. Long story short, we would like you to join our intelligence unit, in hopes to find out what happened to the ship." Casey stared at the small woman standing in front of her for a minute before responding.
"But, Ma'am, all my data was given to you in my report, I don't know what more help I can be." To her surprise, the Colonel chuckled.
"Please don't insult me, dear, because we both know that someone as smart as you would never play all her cards at once like that. After almost 32 years of reading reports and pure bull crap, I can tell when there's more that isn't being told. Here's a dossier for the operation, containing ALL of our work on the subject, as well as an overview of project Resurrection. Look it over, and then use my calling code to let me know your answer." Casey cocked an eyebrow quizzically as the Colonel returned to the elevator.
"Does a Colonel usually go on recruitment ops, ma'am?" Casey asked, unable to see the large smile that meant she knew she had her. She kept her back turned.
"Extraordinary times, child." The Colonel turned, smiling even broader. "We've found her, Casey, We found the Nirvana!"
El finito, Capitulo uno. And really, I hope the one or two, or even none, people who will eventually get around to looking at this enjoy it, because I actually like this one, and I hope it show. It should be an interesting next chapter, so stay tuned. Been reading a lot of Michael Chriton and halo, and as always, I am influenced by what I see, so expect some suspense, and some good old space age combat.