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Everlast ( 01:20:33 SunDec 7 2003 )

This is my first big writing project. I came up with the idea, but found that it would be difficult to start were I wanted by just writing a big story. So, I've been working on shorts to act as a prelude. I plan on three shorts, which I'll post first (duh), and anything I write after those will be chapters, in a way, to the story. I'm doing some conseptual art aswell, so that may be in latter attachments:wink:

/\ thats Commander Larinti BTW:wink:

  
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Short One ( 01:22:23 SunDec 7 2003 )

AAY 463, Third Revolution, Fourth Block, Approximately 62.50 cycles.
One revolution into the first Endi’ta-Human conflict on IP01 (the savanna planet).
{note on time: 1 year=10 revs. 1 rev=10 blocks. 1 block=100 cycles. 1 cycle=100 min. 1 min=100 ticks}

“Alright people, we’ve got twenty ticks before we land. When the ramps are down I want everyone out within five ticks. I won’t have any cowards from my units lollygagging about while we have wounded to get to. And remember; there is always a chance.” So the Med in Command Filmes was telling them. New recruits, every last man on the drop ship—barring him and the pilot. Just through the inner atmosphere on a hostile planet, they needed as much of a morale boost as the injured below needed them. Medics. Most likely the most technologically equipped men on the battlefields, since the discarding of high velocity projectile and explosive weapons after the Armageddon…”Five ticks!” The medics already lined up ay the dual ramps and braced for the landing, holding tight to their kits and placing their hands on their helms. “Four!” The sounds of the battle could be heard now, however faint over the engine noise and through the meter and a half thick drop ship’s hull. “Three!” They could hardly hear Filmes’ count now. The wind from the engines was whipping up a small gale outside the ship, and all were now looking to the ramps expectantly and fearfully. “Two!”, Filmes shouted, though no one heard him over the bolt locks opening on the ramp doors. As the ship touched the ground Filmes shouted out again, “One! Go, go, go, and remember, we leave no one!”, which even he didn’t hear over the howling of the engines and the wind produced by them. No one needed to hear him though. They needed no reminder to never leave wounded behind—no matter how bad. It was hammered into their heads from day one.

The medics were out of the ship within three ticks, the ship leaving, and facing thousands of wounded to tend to. Half of them went directly to the putridly crimson-coated field, the rest behind the lines to tend to those already brought back. Pettycoreman Johan Semit was one of the former. Setting out straight northeast to the line, optical camouflage trailing behind him, he picked out the nearest down man. The form was under what looked, from the ship, to be the tattered remains of optical camo similar to his own. He saw it move. Picking up the pace, Semit broke into a sprint, oblivious of the Endi arrows whistling past him. He was going to reach this man, and he saw going to get him back behind the lines. He was no more than three meters from him now. Just about to slow himself, he caught his boot on an exposed root of a treelike plant, sending himself tumbling toward his patient. Once the world righted itself and Semit had expelled a quantity of blood-drenched grass, he looked up into the eyes of his patient.

Large butter-yellow orbs with vertical slits met Semit’s very large round pupils. He ran his eyes quickly over what lay before him…an elongated head…golden brown and orange scaled skin…clawed hands…backward jointed knees… “Endi!”, Semit jumped and fell backward cursing himself profusely. He had just rushed to the aid of an enemy soldier! He paused for a moment, looking over what lay before him. An Endi’ta warrior. Obviously a male, and of high rank by the facial markings and extravagant pauldrons. Semit could see why this one was down. There was a huge gash running from its chest down to below the ribs, bleeding profusely were it went below them. A decapitated human corpse lay but a meter past, presumably the man who inflicted the wound. Semit’s thoughts and observations were interrupted by a strained, guttural voice.
“Why does thee linger, human? Finish me…and be on thy way.” Semit stared in fascination and horror. The thing was talking to him! Quickly thinking over the words of the Endi’ta before him. Only one thought came, and Semit made it aloud.
“Leave no one.” With a stone expression of determination in his features, the medic brought fourth the case which was his kit and extracted a gray pouch and proceeded to dump the granular contents over the worst of the Endi’s wound, receiving a fierce hiss in return. Ignoring this protest, the medic proceeded to clamp both hands on the scaled skin over the wound, using the pressure of his body weight to staunch the bleeding. This done, removing pressure, he proceeded to place a liquid solution over the wound. With the wound sealed, and the human about to make his leave when he was spoken to again.
“Why does thee do this? Why does thee heal me, thy enemy?”
“We leave no one to die.”
“Who is thee?”
“Pettycoreman Johan Semit.” Adjusting the helm on his head and the optical camouflage around him, the medic jumped up and sprinted across the crimson fields again to his next patient.

  
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Short Two ( 01:23:14 SunDec 7 2003 )

AAY 463, Ninth Revolution, Sixth Block, Approximately 23.30 cycles.
Six revolutions after the initial Endi’ta-Human conflict on IP01.

More than a few hands strayed toward their owner’s blades. Not surprising, seems how three armed Endi’ta warriors were walking down the main hallway to the main bridge of the Megladon—the satellite base for all of the human operations on IP01. Even donning heavy leather and titanium boots, the clicking steps of the Endi echoed down the halls. No one spoke. The Endi weren’t quite as tense as the humans watching them. They knew why they were here; most of the humans did not. One of them walked ahead of the others. He wasn’t visibly taller or bigger in any way than the other two—the endi differ very little on size from individual to individual. On closer inspection one would make out the complex orange scale patterns on his head and shoulders. Marks of a leader. More obvious to the untrained eye was the elaborately engraved set of pauldrons and greaves he sported, opposed to the brushed metal ones of the other two. More prominent than his markings or his armor was his scar. From the chest down diagonally to a point below the ribs on his left side was one long scar.

At the end of the hallway, a door stood open. The three entered the room, taking in their surroundings. There was a long table with one chair on one side, and three on the other. In the single chair sat an elderly human. “Please have a seat Commander Larinti…”, the man gestured to the empty seat across from him. The endi commander, Larinti, took the seat offered him. The other two took the ones beside him. “We have much to discuss, but first I would like to apologize on the behalf of the human race for the initial…incident which began the war between our people. From what logs we could recover, the vessel which first encountered your planet was a prison ship. The prisoners somehow escaped, taking over the ship and thusly obtaining weapons, armor, and transport to fuel their barbaric bloodlust.” The man frowned at the memory of the incident that had caused both him, and the being seated across from him so much pain.

“Your apology is accepted with honor, though it was relatively unnecessary. Once our communications probes attained a more…modern version of your language, intercepted communications about the said incident informed us of the critical error on the part of my people. Now, General Tain, let us speak of the terms of peace to end this disaster.” The general didn’t pick up a stack of papers prepared or spew fourth a list of redesigned terms. Instead Tain looked into the eyes of the man across from him. Could he even call him a man? He was not of the race of mankind. Yet this male of the endi’ta race was his equal, and soon to be his ally. Yes, he could call him a man.

“As I have relayed to you before, this agreement will be one of openness and friendship. Terms are nonexistent. Neither of us really needs ‘terms’. What we need is a peace. All we need from this peace is a mutual understanding of one another so we can exist peacefully as allies. What I propose is not just a setting aside of arms, but open trade, communication, sharing of knowledge…”, the general paused for a moment,”...open sharing of everything, between our people.” Damn, I’ve made a speech of this… Tain thought to himself, and waited for the response from Commander Larinti.
The endi nodded his reptilian head in satisfaction, “I agree with your views. I believe that we have much to learn from each other, particularly in the way of medicine… This peace between us shall be infinite and open. Let us put this time behind us and look to a stronger future.” Larinti reached up and scratched his orange-laced head. “It will take some time, and effort of the behalf of both our races to learn to accept one another…though I have an idea…one that would allow for much exchanging of information…” The commander of the endi’ta people tilted his head to one side. The elderly human raised a gray eyebrow.

“Anything that would bring our people together is of great value, what sort of idea is it”

“I propose that together we build a ship, one of great size. Then, we man this ship with a crew of half endi’ta and half humans. This would share technology, culture, and knowledge all at the same time. All this would have to wait until after the war has completely died out, obviously.”

“Hmm…a very good idea indeed…this shall be put into motion.” With that Tain rose, “Let us go to our people and end this war, and then perhaps we can share our knowledge of drinks, ” he said, smiling and extending his hand to a new ally and friend.

Larinti rose and shook the hand of his new ally, as he had studied was custom, “There will be much to do, and much to share when it is done.”

  
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Short Three ( 01:58:45 MonDec 8 2003 )

AAY 463, Ninth Revolution, Fifth Block, Approximately 36.30 cycles.
One Year after the end of the war.

The Everlast was awash with nerves. Rightly so. Commander Larinti and General Tain had just left after giving the christening speech. The leaders of the combined Human-Endi’ta nation had been aboard since the ship was pressurized. The ship was the brainchild of Larinti. It was also Tain’s hope for uniting the once opposed military forces of the nation. The two were great friends, as well as allies and leaders. Many expected that they would captain the ship themselves to be sure that its purpose would be served. The ship’s crew and inhabitants of two thousand was made up of exactly one thousand endi and one thousand humans. The crew was hand picked to represent everyone. Officers, enlisted, and civilians of both races were aboard, working hand-in-hand. Thus was the purpose. To bring humans and endi together and put aside differences from the past.

From the very first it had looked as if the idea was going to be a failure. Racism from both sides had jeopardized cooperation to build the ship at first. When the ship was finally built, racism among the crew threatened the peace aboard the vessel. Tain and Larinti had put a stop to much of the problem with strict discipline, but even so, there were some who could not set aside their prejudices. When it came time to choose personnel to staff the medical facilities, there was much concern about malpractice on the behalf of racists. Larinti carefully chose six human and six endi personnel. Eleven of them only after long questioning about their views on racism. The other was a field medic the commander vouched for personally.

Those who could overcome their differences partly did so because of the support of their leaders. Only at the christening ceremony had the co-captains of the ship been selected, and many were afraid that they would not be enough influence to maintain the peace. The chosen captains weren’t quite sure about that either. Captains Marks and Irinti had been aboard the Everlast making safety checks…according to what their orders had been. Both were quite shocked to find that they were to captain the first fusion of endi and human technology, but the shock soon subsided as the reality of the situation sunk in.

“We have quite a job on our hands, you know…” Irinti stated with a sigh, making her way though the crowd in the landing bay.
“Which job? Running this ship or keeping its crew on friendly terms?” Marks returned, following in the path cleared by Irinti.
“Both, but the latter is the one I was referring to…I don’t know how they will act with the Commander and General not around.” The two entered an elevator, Irinti pressing the level five button with a clawed finger.
“Its up to them…I know there are plenty who share our belief that the war is the past, and we can all be friends,” Marks said, leaning back on the railing, “they just have to spread that to the rest…”
Irinti let out a sigh as the elevator reached level five, “But will they?”
“Corce they will…and we are also part of that ‘they’, and we can be the ones to start.”
“True….why do I have the feeling that this is going to be a bit like watching children on a long shuttle ride?” she asked, stepping off the elevator.
“Because it will be.”

  
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Everlast ( 02:37:55 WedDec 10 2003 )

{this begins the main part, it takes off a few cycles after short three}


There was quite a buzz of activity onboard the Everlast. With some crew and civilians arriving last minute, final supplies loaded, and flight preparations being made, everyone’s nerves were getting tested. The security teams had a few problems with the force barriers around secure areas, but nothing else noteworthy. Pre-flight checkups of the crew hadn’t turned up any medical emergencies. Engine tests that had been running for two blocks still showed green. Overall, no one reported problems.

“Helmsman, prepare for a course to UE3. Bring engines to thirty-five percent and begin set course,” Captain Irinti ordered in a calm voice, receiving several replies of “Ay, mam.” The first orders for the Everlast were a set of reconnaissance missions to unexplored planets and moons. Most knew that there were just trials, but they were to be treated with utmost seriousness. Captain Marks walked around the bridge, having the bridge crew run checks.

“I’m gonna run down to the galley and get some coffee,” he said, standing next to Irinti,”could you send someone to come get me before, oh… cycle fifty?” There was an obvious edginess in his voice. When the barriers to the level four engine rooms went down, Marks went to assist in modifying the software that ran them. He had been up for eighteen cycles straight. He needs sleep more than coffee, Irinti thought.

“Actually…I don’t think I’ve ever had this coffee drink…I think I’ll join you if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all. There’s almost as much to variety to coffee as there is to whiskey. You’re sure to find something you’ll like,” he replied with enthusiasm. Irinti gave this a very human grin and chuckle.

“Sounds more interesting than engine temperature reports every five minutes…Lutenant, take over.” She let Marks lead the way.

“What you really need is sleep, you know,” she said, stirring a kind of cappuccino she had taken a liking to. “You’ve been awake for nearly nineteen cycles now. You can’t function properly like this…” She pointed the stirring stick at Marks menacingly. He knew that she really didn’t care how effective an officer he was as much as she cared about the well-being of her friend.

“Your right…I should get some sleep instead of more coffee…” he looked into the bottom of his mug, “I’ll be back on the bridge by fifty though,” he said, getting up and heading for his quarters.

  
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Re: Everlast ( 00:39:42 ThuDec 11 2003 )

The lights turned on, creating a dim glow, as Captain Marks waved his hand over the light panel next to the door in his quarters. Being an officer and one of the most important people to the running of the ship, his quarters were spacious and well outfitted with every creature comfort one could desire. These things mattered little to Marks. He wasn’t the type that would shun luxuries, but he didn’t have the time to enjoy them. Not with his eyes open. Walking to his bedroom, he bypassed the coffee machine and the mini bar. Irinti was quite right, he thought, looking in his bedroom mirror. He was a mess. He had dark circles under both eyes, and puffiness to accompany them. Marks wasn’t a handsome man, but not an ugly one either, and he never did pay much attention to the way he looked. Not that the standard officer’s uniforms gave much variety, and his hair stayed however the military barber cut it.

Turning away from the mirror, he practically fell on his bed, removing only his sword belt beforehand.

* * *

Marks awoke to the sound of his computer at around 48.70. He couldn’t tell exactly what time it was; he just knew he set the alarm for 48.70. Stretching, he jumped up and ran in place for a few ticks to wake himself fully. Stepping onto a perfectly white tile about one meter across, a bright light flooded him, leaving him and his uniform clean. Now fully awake, he bent down and picked up his sword, which lay on the floor were he had left it. Strapping it on, he stepped out of the door to his quarters, and nearly ran headlong into the lutenant Irinti had left in charge of the bridge.

“Sir,” the lutenant snapped to attention, a scaled hand flying to his brow in salute.

“At ease lutenant, you’ve got something to tell me, I assume?” the captain said, proceeding to walk down the hall to the elevator.

“Yes, sir. We have reached UE3. I was sent to tell you that a landing party is being put together,” the endi responded, falling in behind the captain.

“Have all preliminary scans been made? Have probes been sent?”

“Yes, sir. The results came back nearly a cycle ago. The planet’s atmosphere is made of approximately ninety percent nitrogen, five percent oxygen, and five percent of an unknown element. So far tests have been relatively inconclusive, but it appears to be chemically similar to carbon monoxide. There is plant life, but no detected animal life. Average surface temperatures range from—“

“Breathe Orin…” Marks cut in,”a yes or no would have been just fine, I’m not a scientist,” he added with a chuckle.

“Right, sir,” Orin muttered, stopping at the elevator. He was an executive science officer, naturally put out when anyone didn’t want to listen to every scientific detail to everything. Heaving a sigh of obvious disappointment, he reached forward and hit the button to call the elevator.

* * *

The doors to the bridge opened with a slight hydraulic swoosh and captain Irinti turned around to meet Orin and Marks. “Ah, I was just cleared the landing party that’s been assembled. They’ll need time to suit up for the atmosphere down there, so they won’t be descending for a few minutes. We still can’t tell for certain if the atmosphere down there is safe to breathe…,” she said, turning to Orin, “and I’ve made sure all the proper testing equipment and people to operate it are going.” She turned to watch the team’s drop ship in orbit around the planet, hoping that she had chosen the team wisely.

  
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Re: Everlast ( 16:48:15 ThuDec 11 2003 )

The drop ship shuddered, cutting though the first layers of the thick atmosphere of the planet below. Two endi’ta stood by the airlock door, fully suited in bioprotection suits. Their suits were designed specifically for this; exploring places with potentially unbreatheable air or dangerous air pressure. Two humans sat in the cockpit, one navigating the ship, the other adjusting sensor settings. “We’re almost though the atmosphere,” the pilot announced over the intercom. One of the endi by the airlock turned to the other.

“We are to set up the equipment as quickly as we can and start transmitting back to the ship so Connors can relay the chemical data to the Everlast…it’s not orders that we make haste, but I don’t like these suits much, so I’d like to be done asap.” The shuddering of the drop ship stopped as it fully entered the atmosphere.

“Alright, I see a clearing, I’m setting down there. Brace yourselves.”

“Are we in for a classic Jess landing today, sergeant?”

“That’s master sergeant to you, Tear,” master sergeant Wiles stated teasingly, switching off the intercom. The semi-cylindrical ship hovered over the clearing in the foliage and the landing skids extended. Switching off the primary engines, Wiles slowly let the ship down, though with a slight jerk as the ship’s full weight rested on the skids. Removing earpiece and microphone, she exited the cockpit though two sets of pressure doors and the short walkway connecting it to the ramp and equipment bay, leaving specialist Connors to calibrate the relay channels. Sergeant Tear piped up as the corporal next to him stiffened in salute to sergeant Wiles.

“How come you don’t have to call me ‘master sergeant Tear’ then, hm? Nice landing by the way, me and Yil didn’t have to hold on to anything,” he jested, closing the visor on his helmet. Wiles shook her head and turned her attention to the corporal standing at attention next to Tear.

“At ease corporal. Right, now we all know the plan so lets get to it. I’ll get the door for you,” she said, stepping over to the keypad next to the airlock, keying in the pass code to open it. Hefting their equipment, Tear and Yil stepped into the airlock. The latter sealing his visor first, the doors sealing behind them with a hiss and a bang. Tear stepped to the other end of the small, stark white chamber and keyed in the code for the outer door on a pad across from the one inside. Slowly, the doors opened and the two stepped outside, using the vertically opened door as a ramp.

Tear and Yil looked around them at blue foliage that must have been one hundred meters high. They quickly tore their gaze from the plant life and began searching for a good place to set up their equipment. Spotting a high rock outcropping, Yil pressed the radio bar on the side of his helmet. “What about that outcropping, sir?” he asked, pointing out the forenamed site.

“Excellent,” the sergeant replied after studying the rocks. “That will do,” he confirmed again, and started off.

  
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Re: Everlast ( 03:32:33 SatDec 13 2003 )

The rocks actually turned out to be large hexagonal crystal formations emerging from the moss bed topsoil. At first, the two found the climb to the higher branches of the crystal easy. Later they found out otherwise. The higher formations were smooth; they hadn’t been weathered near the bottom, but the higher portions showed erosion from rainwater. Several times Yil slipped, and once Tear slipped and lost a piece of equipment and had to climb back down to get it. The platform were they began setting up the equipment was smooth as glass, resembling a huge red gemstone.

With Yil setting up and calibrating the equipment, Tear stepped back to take a good look at the planet. For kilometers around, almost nothing but bluish vegetation could be seen on the ground, sometimes jutting up in gigantically tall bushes with huge circular leaves. The only visible water mass appeared a vivid green among the blue flora. Here and there red crystal formations similar to the one under them jutted up through the foliage, contrasting awkwardly against the calm greens and blues of the surrounding terrain. Looking up, Tear could see why the ride down was so rough. The sky was a very dark shade, indicating that the atmosphere was a dense one. “Everything is set, I’m transmitting to the drop ship now…” Yil reported, bringing Tear’s attention back to the mission.

“Good, then it should be only a few m—,” the rest of his sentence was lost as a crack opened about a meter behind him. Showing off the great acrobatic skill possessed by all endi’ta, he leaped from the falling crimson fragment, landing lightly on a lower structure. Yil hadn’t had time to react. On the outer edge of the branch, there was no time to react. He cried out as the branch fell from under him, fragmenting as hit impacted other branches. Falling in the wake of the broken stone, Yil hit the lower branches, bouncing off them like a rag doll, fortunately cushioned by his suit. He gasped for breath and in pain as he slammed into the ground, fragments of shimmering red gem piercing his suit and tearing into his left leg. Tear, jumping heedlessly from branch to branch, was soon by the side of his wounded companion. “Ah, damn…not good…” he said to himself, seeing the fragment piercing Yil’s leg, “We’ll have to get that out when we’re back aboard…”

“Right, sir…” Yil replied, obviously addled from the fall. Putting his arms around the younger endi, Tear lifted him up and began carrying him back to the drop ship. Realizing that air would be escaping from Yil’s suit, tear used his own prehensile tail and wrapped it around Yil’s leg. Holding tightly above the wound, he hoped to prevent air from escaping until they were in the ship.

Coming in sight of the ship, Tear noticed the airlock doors were shut. He tilted his head to the side, depressing his radio bar with his shoulder, ”We need in, now! Bring the medical supplies to the doors!” The outer doors of the airlock were opening by the time Tear reached the drop ship. Running up the ramp-door, he nearly ran headfirst into the secondary hull doors. He could see Connors inside through the reinforced windows. “Connors! Get this door open NOW!” he shouted over the radio. The specialist reached for the keypad, then stopped, shaking his head.

“No…I’ve stood by long enough,” he said distantly, eyes glazing over, “Watching your kind slaughter mine not a year ago…no…its your turn to die toads—“

“Connors, what the hell is wrong with you?! Open that door!” Wiles broke in. Ignoring Wiles, Connors jabbed a finger at Tear through the windows. “Damnit!” Wiles leapt up from her seat in the cockpit, storming down to the airlock with a look to kill. Tear stood, staring at Connors, then looking down at Yil in his arms. Looking up again, he could see Wiles enter the equipment bay and scoop up a helm lying on the floor…and promptly swing it around, bringing it across the side of the manically grinning human.

Dropping the helmet after dropping Connors, Wiles turned to the keypad and opened the outer door, taking a medical kit from the wall.

  
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Re: Everlast ( 02:03:09 MonDec 15 2003 )

“I don’t know what the hell is running through that mind of yours,” Wiles was saying, ”and I’ll be sure to see you court marshaled and thrown in this brig for the rest of your life for it.” She said acidly, turning away from the man behind the plexiglass cell door.

“It doesn’t matter,” came a confident voice. “The others will carry on…the Anti look after one another.”

“Whatever Connors,” she said, walking away. Waving to the security guard to let her out, Wiles decided to go see Yil, and most likely Tear as well. Talking the elevator back down to the crowded docking level, then going down the hall to the medical facilities, she found the two.

“They say that he was mildly poisoned by something in the air of that planet. It wouldn’t be a problem for a healthy person, but its not helping his other wounds one bit. Least that’s what their telling me,” Tear said with a sigh, looking through the glass of the intensive care room were Yil lie sleeping. “If it weren’t in your duty, and you wouldn’t point that out, I’d thank you for doing what you did.”

“You know me well,” Wiles replied with a smile. “I didn’t expect I could get the bastard to snap out of it. He’s a racist. They don’t think,” she shook her head, “Even sitting in a cell, they don’t think…” she trailed off. What was it he had said? The Anti, yes, that was it…the others will carry on, the Anti look after one another. “Oh no…” she realized the meaning of what Connors said. It made sense. The Anti. They had to be a racist group. But on the Everlast? That couldn’t be possible…could it? She started running, the captains had to know…

* * *

Rounding the corner, Wiles practically ran through the bridge door, attracting the attention of a few security personnel. Coming to a halt and catching her breath, Wiles stood at attention. “Sir, Mam,” she addressed the captains, “I believe I have some insight as to the motives of Specialist Connors that could be of utmost importance.”

“Well, what is it sergeant?” captain Marks asked, eager to know anything useful against the man who, in his opinion, should be run though.

“I’d rather speak about it in private,” Wiles returned with a glance around the room. “Sir,” she finished belatedly, thankfully to the notice of no one but herself.

“If it is that important, then we can talk about it in the office,” Irinti said, leading the way to a room just off the bridge. The room had two desks, one for each of the captains. Sitting at her desk, Irinti motioned for Wiles to sit in one of the chairs across from her. Marks stood at the end of the desk. “Now, Wiles, what is it?”

“Something Connors said to me when I went down to the brig to, if I may speak frankly, to bitch at him.” Both Irinti and Marks grinned slightly. “He mentioned something that I only realized the importance of afterwards,” Wiles continued, and relayed everything Connors had said, and what she theorized.

The captains remained quiet the whole time, listening intently. Then, saying nothing, the two of them hurried out the door, leaving behind a very bewildered sergeant Wiles.

  
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Re: Everlast ( 01:31:02 FriDec 26 2003 )

After waiting for about half a cycle, Wiles decided that maybe she ought to find the captains. Why had they left so quickly? Perhaps they were trying to get more information from Connors…or alerting security personnel to a possible threat… The former was likely, but the latter would be an inadequately planned gesture of panic. Discarding the other ideas she came up with, Wiles decided that they must be having a conference. Yes, that seemed likely…what else would they do with such information? It was too little to act on, but enough that speculations could be made. Rising, she figured that if she was needed, she would be summoned. With that, Wiles lift to finish her visit with Tear and Yil.

“We all knew something like that would come about eventually,” Tear was saying, “so close to the end of the war…” he shook his head. “I do wonder what the captains are doing… If they were having a counsel they surely you would be in it to repeat everything.”

“So do I… Whatever they are doing, it will be taken care of—”

“But will these people kill someone first?” he cut in, “Will he die?” he asked, his voice trailing off as he looked at Yil.

Everyone knew Tear and Yil were friends, but not as many knew that they had been since before the war. Yil was younger, and not long after the two had met, they had bonded like brothers. Wiles looked at Tear, then Yil, and back. She knew how close they were, though she didn’t treat them differently because of it. If Yil died… She shuddered at the thought. She liked him too. He was a quiet one compared to Tear, but he was an intelligent conversationist when there was something of interest to talk about. Sure, Tear was the outgoing and chatty one, but he tended to be too much at times… but now… If the younger endi died because of Connors, not only would Tear be devastated, but he wouldn’t leave it to security and the judges to serve justice. “Course not,” she said confidently. “The medics will fix ‘im up just fine. Don’t worry too much.” She put a hand on his shoulder, which was still covered with his bioprotection suit. “Now I’m going to order you to go and get sleep, like in all the clichéd stories,” she said, grinning.

“Yes master sergeant.” Tear said, grinning as well. He rose from the ledge were he was sitting, and clunked out the door, heading to bay level to get rid of the uncomfortable suit he had been wearing the past six cycles. He would have stood at attention, saluted, and walked stiffly out, as he had been given an order… but the order had come from a friend, there was no need for that. Those things were for showing respect, were they not? He thought. What more respect does one need to show a friend?

  

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