Got Space Opera? No? Well, here you go.
Here is Chapter 20 in its entirety. Please excuse the grammatical boo-boos and typos, this it it, raw, right out of Suff Blowing Up in Space.
What do you think? Comment below, my 9.3 readers.
“Princess, you are not trained for rescue operations. We’re hot docking to a heavy cruiser that may lose gravity compensation and turn everyone inside into pasty goo. I request you stay on the ship.”
Leiesha stared at James. He was being oh so respectful and oh so proper.
She was going to oh so bite him.
“Captain. That is the flagship of Aoe Sector. Let me be very specific with you. If it goes up, I’m going with it. So if you value my love, and my life, your S&R operation will not fail.”
“Mitty and Kitty won’t leave…”
He shut up.
She glared at him. “Damn it, James, stop being so formal. We’re alone in your conference room. It’s just you and me.”
He gave her a little smile and her heart actually started to beat faster. Did the male have to be so good looking?
“I was trying to spare you the horrors of war, Leiesha. When was the last time you saw a dead body?”
She bit her lip.
“You have me there, James. But I have to grow up sometime.”
He paused. “Aye, I just, this bond thing. It makes me want to hold you and shelter you and tell you that everything will be okay and I will fix it.”
She smiled. “You are so romantic.”
She gave him a little kiss.
She should have stayed on the Coolidge.
Bodies with shrapnel wounds from exploding electronics.
Bodies cut in half by slamming blast doors.
Bodies left like so much litter because the living had better things to do. It was obscene and grotesque.
That’s when she saw Koiea.
She had met Koiea at some Navy function on Aoe Station. The sish was young, and Leiesha had felt a pang of attraction when the young officer marched up to her while everyone else was ignoring the grumpy Princess, and started telling jokes. Leiesha even considered sneaking off with her and making out, but Palace Security had a grip on her lips just as they did on her sex.
Young Koiea was dead. A bar of metal had detached somewhere and impaled her right below her belly, right through her suit. It looked like she died trying to pull it out, hands wrapped around the protrusion.
Koiea’s face painted the tale: she died in pain, from blood loss and alone.
Leiesha opened her faceplate, leaned forward and puked all over the deck.
Mitty and Kitty were right there. One helped her stand straight and the other gave her a .water pouch.
“You’re doing better than I did,” said Mitty. “I puked on body two.”
She rinsed her mouth out feeling monumentally stupid. “What? I thought you came out of the womb wearing armor and spitting hell fire.”
The marine chuckled. “That was Kitty.”
Leiesha could not stop looking at Koiea.
Kitty came up to her. “Ma’am, we need to focus on the living.”
Leiesha gave herself a little shake. She looked at Kitty.
“Let’s go fix this deck’s net and see what’s what,” she said, trying to hold onto something besides the body in front of her.
“Aye, aye, Space Marshal.”
No sooner had they plugged in the new net module then Sergeant Koltsov was in the all-channel.
“Listen up, people. We’ve got enough new and repaired nodes to get the missing decks in the battle net. Be lively, the engineers are really busy, and if you asked me how this thing is still under helm control, I really couldn’t say. I guess they got a hamster somewhere and a wheel. Here it comes…”
“Ma’am, watch your inputs, Fleet armor integration is a little different,” said Kitty.
“Thank you, Kitty. You can call me…”
Suddenly her brain was the ship.
“Little different, she said,” Leiesha mumbled running down a corridor with her marines in tow. “You think? No, really, a little different?”
“Well, Kitty has been known to be a master of understatement,” said Mitty.
Leiesha snorted as the corridor ended in a closed blast door with red flashing lights over it.
“I don’t know where I end and ship begins,” she said as her armored hands flew over the manual controls, as the automatic ones didn’t respond.
Atmospheric leakage, hull integrity degraded. Magnetic locks engaged. Override required.
“Hey, this door is a better conversationalist than Kitty,” Leiesha quipped.
Leiesha had the override panel open.
“Is this what a battle net feels like in ground combat?” She knew she was babbling but the talking grounded her where she was. It made her feel more real rather than the feeling of being a networked computer node.
“Mostly, minus the oh Goddess we’re going to die, oh Goddess, oh my Goddess,” added Mitty.
The override wheel was difficult to turn. She put a push into it and it started to spin.
“Ma’am, save the telekinetics. Use the power assist in your armor,” said Kitty.
“Right. Sorry, I’ve trained with power armor but never anything so light.” She did as the marine suggested. “I can’t even feel the tube in my butt.”
“Yeah, that’s kind of a bummer,” Kitty said wistfully.
The door came open and wind started whistling past them. The armor was so sensitive, it actually felt like wind on her skin.
“That’s not good,” Leiesha said. “Right? Wind on spaceship bad?”
“Yes. Wind on spaceship bad,” said Mitty.
They were past the blast door and it slammed shut behind them, magnetic locks going clang, clang, clang.
They had a sudden wave of vertigo as they stepped forward. The gravity on this deck was much lighter.
“Just so we’re all on the same page, gravity changes while spaceship is moving also bad,” Mitty added.
“Hurry, they are this way,” said Kitty and they ran down yet another corridor.
Goddess of Space, does the ship have to be this big?
“Whatever you three are doing in that section you better hurry the fuck up, because according the laws of physics it shouldn’t even be there,” said Sergeant Koltsov in her ear.
“And to round if off, that’s really bad,” Mitty said.
They were looking at the cabin through a bulkhead, which showed up in her vision as a high-detailed wireframe with structural problems shaded from green to red.
The cabin was yellow with large red cracks over all the surfaces.
Three sish were in the middle of the cabin in slim-suits. They were floating off the floor, arms linked, in a circle facing each other.
“Ma’am, what are they doing?” asked Kitty.
“They’ve, um, this is hard to explain in Common,” Leiesha took a deep breath. “You can say each user of telekinesis operates on a different frequency, unique and not like anyone else’s. If you’re lovers, though, especially with a linked ovulation cycle, you can be in telekinetic harmony.”
She nodded in their direction. “I can feel the push coming from them. They are holding the structural integrity of this hull section intact by meditating and using each other’s strength as an amplifier of their own.”
“Ovulation cycle?” Mitty sounded confused. “I thought sish didn’t have periods.”
“We don’t, but when you really love someone and that person wants to go into heat, sometimes you don’t have a choice and go along with her. Those three are lovers.”
“Awww, that’s so sweet.” Kitty said.
Suddenly the push fluctuated and the entire deck around them groaned.
“Um, Mitty? Gonna remind you that if the structural integrity goes in that section, the intact gravatonics will squish everything inward” said Koltsov over the squad channel.
“Copy that. Death by squish imminent. Sarge, we got ourselves a situation here, we’ll get back to you.”
“Copy that. Shut up and let us think,” he said.
There was another groan and this time Leiesha could feel the deck vibrate.
“So, they’ve been doing that for a long time—almost an entire day-cycle. How long can they keep this up? Can they last until we dock?”
Leiesha bit her lip. “They should have been dead hours ago. We have minutes, maybe less.”
Mitty actually frowned. “Poop on that. Options?”
“I’m leaned towards sheer panic and outright hysteria,” Leiesha said.
“That works for me,” said Kitty.
This time the deck buckled. Her wireframe extended out to the corridor they were in, most of it yellow, and she could feel the deck bend beneath her boots.
Leiesha’s mind whirled. The Goddess of Space spared those three. She would be damned, literally in her mind, if she wasted their efforts. Maybe she could augment their push…
A red crack appeared at the end of the corridor along the wall near the floor.
She had a sudden thought.
“Okay, I have a plan. It is clever and heroic as it is stupid and mostly impossible.”
Mitty nodded, “Hey, you just described life as a Fleet Marine!”
“Awesome,” said Kitty.
Leiesha activated the ship-to-ship channel. “Coolidge, Coolidge, Coolidge, depressurize your aft passenger airlock and open the outer door. We’ll be there shortly. Now here’s the very important part. Don’t open the inner door after we depressurize until Mitty or Kitty gives permission to proceed. Got that? “
“Copy that. Aft passenger airlock depressurizing, door open shortly. Marines give the go for inner door,” said James.
Why does Fleet repeat everything when the armor records it all, she thought, and then told her brain to shut up because they all were about to die.
“What’s the plan?” asked Mitty. She sounded causal, but Leiesha could tell it was an act as the world around them turned a computer generated yellow and red.
Leiesha turned to the short and tasty marine. “There’s going to be a big hole in the bulkhead in front of us and we’ll need to grab those three real fucking fast.” She waved her hands and labeled each sish 1, 2 and 3.
“And then?” Mitty just raised an eyebrow, her face through her helmet a forced blank.
I can appreciate fake calm, thought Leiesha.
“And then I’m going to pull some funky sish shit,” she said, hoping she had rid her voice of all the panic she felt.
“I got 2,” she said.
“I got 1,” said Mitty.
“3,” said Kitty.
Then the deck split in half.
Leiesha pushed and pulled, her telekinetics pouring forth as the ship tried to crush them. She forced a tear right into the bulkhead, which wasn’t too hard since it was breaking apart, defeated by the undamaged portions of the cruiser’s gravity field.
The three sish in the cabin held each other tightly, but they turned as the other three of them skipped and ran over the buckling deck.
RELAX THIS WILL STING A LITTLE came a thought from Mitty, very loud, and right before Leiesha slammed into sish 2, the slim-suited sish turned and looked at her with very wide, hungry eyes.
Wham! All three of the sish were in armored embraces, and the cabin was open to space. The hull seemed to crush in around them.
Leiesha pushed. She pushed outwards in all directions as she had never pushed before.
The hull exploded. It just—exploded—outwards and she screamed with the effort. They were in space, wreckage flying away.
Leiesha reversed her push and latched on with telekinetic tendrils to her two marines. They snapped close to her and she noted dimly the three slim-suits were trailing atmosphere, most likely tears from the exploding composite decking and armor.
Leiesha pushed again and the three of them flew in a tight formation, and she reversed their direction by doing a loop and spinning her body along her long axis.
They flew. They flew back to the cruiser, and then along the hull only meters away from it, faster now. Faster.
“Weeeeee!” shouted Mitty as the hull zipped “underneath” them.
“Goddess in Space! Goddess in Space!” Kitty yelled.
They looped around the entire ship, and there was the Coolidge.
She flew them along the Coolidge’s hull.
Slow down slow down slow down!
They stopped right before all six of them hit the first inner door.
The outer door slammed shut.
“Pressurization!” yelled James.
The three sish were struggling with their suits. Leiesha set her sish on the deck as she clawed at her helmet release.
“Mitty, Kitty, stay suited,” she said in a shaky voice. “This is going to be very ugly. You need to just leave them be while…” she swallowed.
“While what, Space Marshal?” Mitty asked in a command voice.
“While they, um, feed,” she said as she undid the memory seams of her armor.
Leiesha saw that Mitty now understood that the sish were not merely taking off their helmets to get air.
She and Kitty pulled out their stunners.
“No! They can still die! Leave them be. Leave me be. I’m trained for this.”
Leiesha took off her helmet.
“Her” sish crawled to her and jerked at her armor on her leg, peeling it off. She latched onto a calf and bit.
“Ah!” the pain was intense as another ripped at her sleeve and bit her arm. Leiesha started to cry. It hurt. It hurt a lot. The three were indeed in deep need.
The third sish was crying and crawling along the deck.
“Should we help?” Kitty asked, looking very sour.
“No. It… is important for her… to… to … do herself.”
The crawling sish on the deck took a deep breath and slowly stood up.
She was the center, thought Leiesha. So strong.
The sish took faltering steps. She walked behind Leiesha, and with trembling hands, peeled the combat suit away from her upper torso.
Leiesha felt fangs go into her shoulder.
“Oh, oh. Ah,” Leiesha started to pant. It hurt—Goddess did it ever hurt.
“Leiesha! This is terrible. We can’t let them do this to you!” Kitty practically screeched.
“Sorry, my bond… mates. No time… explain. Leave be.”
When do we make them stop, Mitty thought at her. Her telepathy was sharp, almost as if it had an edge.
You don’t. I will do that, she thought back.
She felt the humans’ empathic link as if she was drowning in a sea of their emotions. The marines were sick with worry, the ascension bond causing them mental anguish at her pain. Their suffering was almost too much.
Almost done, my loves. Almost done.
Just a little longer.
Let them take a little more…
As the world faded, Leiesha heard the snap-hiss of stunners, a fist of pain slammed into her, and she thankfully felt no more.