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Marathon

 
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Lirssa Sarengrave
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 29 Jul 2007
Posts: 735
See this user's pet
Jobs: Performer
Can Be Found: Rhydin
38982.98 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2015 10:12 pm    Post subject: Marathon Reply with quote

It's not how fast you can go
The force goes into the flow
If you pick up the beat
You can forget about the heat
More than just survival
More than just a flash
More than just a dotted line
More than just a dash
- Marathon, Rush


Lirssa leaned on the panel, looking over the course she had plotted. Moxie was humming her happy motion. The ship was glad to be out in the black again. Cargo filled the back half of the bay. Just a portion of the entire haul, of course. Each ship, twenty-three in all, were taking part in the contest. Fastest, surest, safest to the cargo drop would win the contract.

Another review of the course, Lirssa set new coordinates through the computer for analysis. They were just slight adjustments. If she aimed a little closer to a nebula, or passed at just the right angle to a planet, she could shave off some time. Or, as the computer relayed to her at the end of its computations, she could explode.

A scowl, she looked up and out to the distance. There was nothing nearby for now. No, she scowled more, there were exactly twenty-two other things nearby. Gateway station was not that far behind. The beginning leg of the journey, there was not much variety in course one could manage. So all the ships in the contest were cast like bones from a cup ready to take their gamble.

Breathing in slow and deep, Lirssa banished the scowl and relaxed into her own plan. It was all she could do. She could only control herself, make her choices. The first choice would not come up for another three hours.

A wide armed stretch, the reminder of her weariness stung her eyes. Lirssa had stayed out late to see the play at the Shanachie. And so she was tired, but it had been worth it.

Besides, it was just her and whatever messages blinked up on the monitor. Not expecting any, she could get some rest. A flip of a switch locked in the plotted course in its current state. Pushing away from the console, she pressed the auto-pilot. One last look over the screen, she headed back past the hillock of cargo and to her bunk.

Laying down, not bothering with the blanket, she draped an arm over her eyes. A smile twitched the corner of her mouth. After weeks in town and at the Eye, she had forgotten how metallic being on ship smelled. It wasn't barren of scents. But the riot of sound, smell, and sights were diminished. Each could be parsed out from another. The engine's soft song, the whirring of the ventilation system, the scent of cinnamon and apple -- her shampoo.

She didn't think she would actually sleep. What she thought and what happened were two different things.
_________________
Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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Lirssa Sarengrave
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 29 Jul 2007
Posts: 735
See this user's pet
Jobs: Performer
Can Be Found: Rhydin
38982.98 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a test of ultimate will
The heartbreak climb uphill
Got to pick up the pace
If you want to stay in the race
More than just blind ambition
More than just simple greed
More than just a finish line
Must feed this burning need
In the long run...
- Marathon, Rush


The proximity alarm shrieked Lirssa awake just before the jolt. She crashed against the wall of the ship, bounced away, and rolled to her feet. Another jolt sent her lurching away from the helm. "What the hell is going on?" She'd berate herself later for such a prosaic oath. At that moment, she focused on scrambling into her seat and taking control of the situation.

If that was possible. Information was flying across the monitors and ships were flying across her screen. "Dregs. Scum. Baby poo. Snake piss." Yes, she was not getting much better. Another thought for another time. She took the helm and hit hard to starboard, pushing down at the same time. It rolled her away from another strafing run.

Her brain clicking in time with the information at last, she saw that only seven of the other contest ships were around her. It was nearly five hours into the race, so some of the ships had likely pulled ahead and others made different route choices.

The trouble was they had bonus ships blasting at them. There was a nebula nearby. Likely they had hidden just at its horizon where sensors would have misinterpreted and ignored their presence. "Pieces of burnt haggis!" Well, her cursing was getting a little better.

Another of the rogue ships tried to force her off course. Lirssa grit her teeth and aimed straight for him. She had more confidence in her flying than others. At least, she thought she did. Might not be the best time to find out.

No, it absolutely was the best time. She kept going. The closer she was to him, the less shooting was going to be aimed her way. Of course, the oncoming ship was shooting, but that was easy to avoid. A tilt on axis, the realignment with the canon blind lines, and she was ready to smack the other ship head on.

And the other guy flinched. Probably wet himself, too. Lirssa grinned. She also felt the wave of the other ship's propulsion engines give Moxie a quake. A hard turn at the helm, and she avoided the brunt of the wash.

From the new view, she could see the rogues were, only wounding. Not a one was truly aiming to kill. Engines seemed to be the primary targets. Meant most would be coming up her tail. Unpleasant.

And draining. She needed to save fuel. She couldn't burn it dancing around these strikers for long. Hiding in the nebula was a no go. She would lose time there. Like a ribbon dancing through the wind, she flicked her attention over the scene and the monitors.

There. A large ship. She'd sit like a remora fish attached to a shark. She dove underneath and then shadowed beneath it. It's evasive maneuvers, due to its size -- and a not so great pilot it would seem, were easy to follow.

Lirssa giggled in glee. Sure, she'd have to take whatever course this ship was going to take out of this mess, but she'd not burn her fuel. Bright flashes came in from either side of her screen. On the monitors, a ship code disappeared.

Bad shot.

A slow breath, Lirssa did not think about that. But the breath caught when her com pinged. "Lulu -- what the--!"

"Ansel? What...where are you?" Lirssa hunted for Boatswain's signal and did not find it.

"In the ship you're using for cover. Get the f--- off!"

"Can't you be more clever with your cursing?" Lirssa snapped.

The series of words that came over the com were, Lirssa had to admit, colorful and distasteful. "Well, okay, that works." She matched the ships change in course. "But why should I?"

There were plenty of reasons, of course. Competitors, her drain of their shields as she claimed some space they were not built to cover, additional target. "Because I'm asking you to, Lirssa."

His voice was soft and calm.

"Ansel. You are lower than the slime of a snail's belly." Lirssa jerked the helm, and she peeled her ship away from cover.

"Still above dirt." Lirssa could hear the laughter in Ansel's voice.

A blast landed close enough to send a shimmy through Moxie. Lirssa snarled and punched it up, playing the same hopping, balancing game she would on the edges of rooftops. It was all about balance as she aimed for passing through the mess of rogue ships.

Closer to a planet. Maybe a supernova. She'd save fuel and time somewhere. Or she'd explode.
_________________
Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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Lirssa Sarengrave
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 29 Jul 2007
Posts: 735
See this user's pet
Jobs: Performer
Can Be Found: Rhydin
38982.98 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From first to last
The peak is never passed
Something always fires the light that gets in your eyes
One moment's high, and glory rolls on by
Like a streak of lightning
That flashes and fades in the summer sky

Your meters may overload
You can rest at the side of the road
You can miss a stride
But nobody gets a free ride
-Marathon, Rush


When Lirssa next woke, it was of her own will and to the comforting sound of her ship cruising along. She blinked and rubbed at her eyes. A blur remained. Using knuckles, she rubbed again. Fluttering sore eyelids open, the view was not improved. More gingerly, she touched at her eyes and found nothing to wipe away.

What was in front of her was disorienting. She knew it was the top of the cabin, but she could not confirm that visually. The periphery was clear, and yet the moment she turned her attention directly to the left or right, the reality of it disappeared.

She was seeing. She knew she was seeing, and yet she was not. Not what was right in front of her face. The giggle came in spite of the situation. Not seeing what was right in front of her face. A few people could accuse her of that, no doubt. Maybe more than a few.

Whatever was going on, there was no use in panicking. If the course was right, and since she had not exploded she was going with it was right, she would be to the rendezvous point within the next few hours. Almost three days out and likewise back. She’d be tired for her lessons, but she would be there.

That is if she could focus on the monitors in front of her. Lirssa sat at the helm. One eye closed, then the other, she tested them individually. The condition remained. Right in front of her was something. She could not quite make it out. So, she looked away and tried to make it out from the corners of her eyes. Other than seeing there were words on the monitor, she had no way of knowing what they said.

Her fingers brushed over the console, discerning shape and texture, the limited vision helped her with color. Most of her work on the console was by touch anyway, but she had to get her bearings first. With a sigh, she rested the ring finger of her right hand over a small, yellow button nearest the monitors. “Nothin’ for it,” she muttered and gave the button a push.

Moxie’s voice protocol was rarely used. It took longer for the computer to read out what was on the monitor than for her to suss out what she needed to know and move on. “Proxy delivery ten minutes ago. Sent two days ago. Sender: Raza al Amat.”

“Raza?” Lirssa blinked to the monitor as if she might suddenly see her little brother’s face there. Instead, it was just a nondescript wavering of letters and empty screen space. Raza must have found the letter she left for Maman and Steve.

The computer continued, ignoring the interruption. “Where are you? Liked you home. Miss you. Be home for your birthday?”

Hearing the computer voice -- while a very pleasant, male, Terran posh accent -- speak her brother’s question made her heart sore all the more.

Her birthday. It was soon. End of the week after she gets back. She had not exactly forgotten. Maybe that was the thing. “Yeegads, am I to analyze myself now?” Her fingers moved over the keys and typed in a response. I’m pretty far out in the black. But yes, I’ll be back for my birthday. Promise.

With that sent on its long journey back, Lirssa punched through some details and brought up more information.

The computer read off the new information. “Rendezvous point in ten minutes.”

“What!?” As if the computer could answer. It could not. Not without more input. Lirssa was too busy slowing the engines and taking hold of the helm. How was she going to pilot the ship with her sight like it was? What if there were more rogue ships out there? She set the engines to counter her forward thrust to bring her ship dead still.

Punching in new information, the computer read out. “Warning: Course selected is 3 kilometers inside hazardous red star gravitational pull. Warning: Course selected is 2.56 kilometers inside hazardous nebula gravitational pull. Outcome: inconclusive. Extrapolation: Explosion or biological damage. Time saved: 7 hours.”

“Well, I know which one happened.” She set the cool tips of her fingers against her eyelids. Just seven hours. She saved only seven hours.

“Greetings, Motley Moxie.” It was pre-recorded. It was too smooth and without weariness or mocking. It seemed to fill her head as much as her ship. “Thank you for participating in the Maglift Company Race. We are sorry to inform you that you have come in third. We appreciate your participation. Please await orders to transfer your portion of the cargo. Have a nice day!”

There were words. Colorful interpretations of bodily functions. Most of the true anger in the words were aimed at herself. And the recorded voice.
_________________
Cirque du Soliel contortionist -- skills similar to Lirssa's

"Anyone can handle a bad girl. It's the good girls men should be warned against." - David Niven
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