"Out of bed daisy head!"
Her eyes opened slowly, softly, as she sighed sadly, reluctantly waking up from a good dream. Still, she didn't want to miss today, since her dad was going to finally make it in time for the ceremony (not that he misses a lot of them, but it'd taken some effort to make sure he'd be there). That's why she'd set the alarm, choosing the audio file matching the alarm from the century-old movie Sister Act.
She pulled the covers off her body as she went over to her closet, choosing the right clothes and armor for the day.
What she once was would have scoffed at her, calling her nothing more than a spoiled bitch.
Luckily, she'd grown up. Found out a few things. And most importantly, gained a measure of self-confidence.
She could be proud to be herself, rather than afraid.
She looked into the mirror and let her smirk come to her face. Today, it was proud of her accomplishments, and anticipating with no small measure of glee the coming day.
She studied the face in the mirror for a moment.
Small, cherubic, arrogant to a point. A thin white scar running through her right eye, though the weapon had missed the brown eye itself (lucky near miss and a bit of a bitch to get at the time, but it helped to add an air of mystery). Dirty blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail, but not quite
to military regs.
Nothing, nowhere, could she see that scared little child that Faith Lehane was in her face.
"Commander, you're needed on deck."
An amiable expression came over her face, the smirk never quite leaving. "Vi, I told you, call me Faith."
"Aye aye Commander."
She chuckled and shook her head. One of these days. "How soon?" She did one last check on her armor. Wouldn't do to have an unlocked set of armor in space after all. Wouldn't want to be sucked out at a moment's notice like in those extranet vids, after all.
Or get caught off guard by a raider attack and end up dead because your ship blew up and you forgot your helmet or a few seals. Details.
"We're approaching the Citadel now. Approved approach vectors were just granted to docking bay 432."
A small part of the plans of the known parts of the Citadel came to mind. Each of the five 'arms' of the Citadel had an array of docking bays. Bay 432 was on the same 'arm' as the Council was. That was important information to know, especially if you need to know where your species' embassy was or if the Council, the three beings in charge of the workings of much of the known galaxy, required your presence for one reason or another.
Humanity being such a relative newcomer on the galactic field, they didn't have a place on the council. In fact, the higher ups in the Alliance, the main founders of the space program once it began to cost too much for any one nation on Earth to support, would easily (if not exactly freely) admit that they'd had to fight tooth and nail for every scrap
of power and recognition they'd gained to date.
Still, getting put onto the 'arm' with the Council and embassies... This could get complicated.
Especially since she'd, more than once, insulted several species whose cultures weren't exactly peace-loving, including the ambassador for the human race himself.
On the bright side, if she really
needed to hide out, maybe Sha'ira would be willing. It'd be a great way to talk to the Asari Matriarch, which was something she'd been meaning to do for a long while. Ever since she'd made Commander, in fact.
And Barla Von owed her a few creds for a bet or two, the sneaky little cretin.
"What do you think? Are we going to be asked to be asked before the Council?"
The face of the hologram was fairly neutral as she said, "I am sorry, but offering a personal opinion is outside of my programming."
She snorted fondly and without rancor. "Smartass." Her face softened a bit as she patted the terminal, the closest she could come to actually patting Vi on the back or shoulder. "Keep the engines hot for me, would ya?"
The hologram struggled to keep from smirking. "Aye aye, commander." Then it winked out of existence.
She left the room, ready for just about anything.
Everything but anything that could jeopardize Vi's existence. After all, she wasn't exactly
legal in Citadel space, since AI research was strictly illegal, and only VI's instead of AI's were allowed to be used. Understandable rule. Smart even. But it would mean that one of her closest friends would be deleted if anyone not willing to look the other way found out.
She left her quarters and went up to the Combat Information Center station of the ship, a nice and shiny frigate with a few strong guns on it by the name of the SSV Miranda ("Odd name for a frigate in this day and age" Faith thought to herself. "Usually, they're named after significant battles in Earth history."). There she met with the captain. "So what's up?"
He raised a silent eyebrow at her informality, to which she always replied with a 'What can you do?' shrug (old practice, and often done with all her Commanding Officers, past and present), before saying, "The Council has requested my presence regarding our last mission."
The commander's eyebrows rose to meet her hairline. "The Council? Why?"
"Your guess is as good as mine Commander." He turned his attention to the forward windows, as did she a moment later. Seeing the Citadel in all it's glory was amazing, awe-inspiring, as always.
It also reminded her of her first time here, for a surgery that was at least halfway important.
A painful tickle in her throat made her cough.
"You okay there Commander?"
She smiled at the captain. Such a caring individual, especially compared to some of the brass she'd met over the years. "'M fine sir." She said around the coughs. Two coughs later, a vision of some sort blinded her, and she realized the real reason the Council was requesting him.
They'd found a Prothean Beacon, and a working one at that.
The Protheans were beings that came before all current spacefaring cultures. They had been so advanced, that it made Faster Than Light travel and communication possible, to the point of intersystem, though not extragalactic (to the techies' knowledge), lengths. In fact, they had relays powerful enough to go from one end of the galaxy to the other in a couple of days. It takes light a few thousand years just to go from Earth to the nearest star system. They had even made the Citadel, a massive space station capable of housing at least 80% of Humanity's currently overwhelming population with plenty of breathing room on just one
of the five 'arms' (even after including the large number of large colonies Humanity has and the rather severe amount of overpopulation on Earth, Luna, and Mars)!
The Beacons were the Protheans' basis for their version of the Extranet, or Internet as it had been called on Earth a century ago. One Beacon would be analogous to several servers the Internet had, both in terms of general use and in information contained within. One could have the plans for an unimaginable amount of amazing technology that none of the currently great races could even guess at!
Well, that's one
It was exceedingly rare to find any
Prothean technology still working, let alone something as fragile as a Beacon, just from the sheer amount of time since they vanished.
Oh yeah, and because it'd interacted with her, thus probably shoving all sorts of information into her, the Council probably wanted to pick her brains about it. That vision had probably come from the information from the beacon. Like the Ancient Library in that old show, Stargate SG-1. (Yes, she was an old fiction buff.)
The fact that they'd found it was probably in large, bold, capital letters in the final report on the mission, which is why the Council would want to talk.
She shook it off, and when she came back to reality, she noticed that the captain was a little closer to her. Definitely concerned for her.
She brought her smirk back, reassuring him this time. "I'm alright sir." Then she added to herself in much quieter tones, "Just some more of the old Lehane luck."
She turned to the middle of the CIC, where the holographic map of the galaxy, or in this case the Citadel, was shown. "Vi, do I have the time to go splash my face?" She asked of the shipboard 'VI' imperiously. "I don't want to go in front of the Council without a clear head and make a fool of myself."
"There is enough time for you to go to your quarters and compose yourself before you would be officially summoned if the scenario of your being brought before the Council came to be."
Faith nodded at the information and left the Combat Information Center to go to her quarters. She really needed to splash her face with water.
Ensign Peter Davies sighed as he watched Commander Faith Malcovich leave the CIC. As much as he tried not to, he couldn't quite
keep his eyes from falling from her back and hair to her ass.
The executive officer of the ship, a one Executive Officer Michael Carpathian (an Earthborn Albanian with a criminal past, but not a record who'd met and bonded pretty well with a one Peter Davies during training) was of a slightly different opinion. "I am so sick of her!"
He gave his friend a not-so-gentle nudge in the ribs. "Not where she can hear you dumbass!"
"I don't care. I'm just so sick of her and her arrogance!" If voices were drinks, the hull would've been breached an hour ago from the acid venom in the XO's voice.
"She's not arrogant." Davies responded. "She's just had a much harder life than us." When his superior officer shifted his ire from his
superior officer to him, Peter took his chance. "When she was 3, she lost her mother. Blown up right in front of her eyes."
That hit home. Mike's brother had also been an soldier on the front lines. Once, he'd had to deal with a terrorist-hostage situation in a hospital. He'd been directed to the maternity ward, where terrorists were keeping the mothers in labor under guard. First thing he did was neutralize the terrorists with radios, then he dealt with the rest of them. When it was all said and done, there was him, the mothers (mostly unhurt other than the one killed to make a point and the one roughed up to keep them silent), and the cooling bodies of the terrorists.
Then the grenades stuck to the women's bodies blew at the leader's signal. He'd find out later that there had been a monitor strapped to his chest set to blow any and all charges set during the operation the moment his heart stopped. His leader killed their leader, and the women disintegrated in front of his eyes.
Corporal Carpathian never recovered. They gave him an honorable discharge based on a psychologist's recommendation after 3 days of observation. He was given his pension pay and "Veteran" status and sent home to his family.
Pretty words for saying "He cracked because he saw something wrong and just couldn't handle it. Not that we blame him, because seeing someone disintegrate, let alone multiple people at the same time, due to explosives right before your eyes is only not completely fucked up in fantasy."
The shrink had likened it to an article he'd read out of an old magazine about how sometimes soldiers at the turn of the previous millennium might lose their hold on reality because they saw a baby just sitting there in the ruins of Baghdad or some other Middle Eastern city they were searching for terrorists in before a live grenade just rolls up and kills them and that's it. No rhyme or reason for the child's death, just a bad toss with "Wrong place wrong time". They couldn't wrap their minds around it, or just couldn't handle the fact that the tiny little life with an entire future ahead of it was just snuffed out because of a grenade.
Didn't mean anything to Mike then, doesn't mean anything now. All that matters to Mike is that his brother saw something and died. Then his body came back to their home a day before it shot itself. He never left that spot in the ward, just died.
With Mike's swallow and nod, he accepted it and shut up. He wouldn't explode on her yet. And, maybe not at all.
Well, odds on him not exploding at her at some point were about 35:4 against. So, he'd need to calm him down again eventually.
There were other things that he knew to shut up his friend, but until it got back to this point, he'd keep silent about them. Like how she'd also lost her voice in that same explosion that had taken her mother. How, despite the trauma of losing her mother and her father almost at the same time, she'd managed to get the equivalent of a high school diploma while she was zipping around, learning things a spacer would learn on a cargo ship filled with retired thieves before she hit 7. And that she had some of the greatest amount of biotic power ever seen in a human, as confirmed by a certain Asari he was friends with. One who'd seen the beginning of Human interaction with the rest of sentient civilized creation, as they knew it.
Or that she 'owned' an illegal AI and kept 'it' in her room, connected to the rest of the ship and the extranet through her terminal. And that 'it' kept her alive, acting as a replacement for the mother Commander Malcovich, Faith, had lost as a child.
A/N: Quick note: To any soldiers and their families who had to go through what I described: If I got it wrong, don't hate me. I never had the misfortune of going through it myself through a friend, thankfully in a way, but I used the fact that it has happened and used an approximation to try and get the message across. If I insulted you in any
way, then from the bottom of my heart, please forgive me of any and all mocking I have unintentionally done to you.
(I need to change the subject. This was supposed to be a quick note, and if I go any further, then I'll go onto a rant that none of you probably want to see.)
So, moving along.
Tell me what you think. Did I write the chapter well, did I shoot myself in the head with my beginning, did I not do enough, did I do too much? Did I not even make a story that anyone will like?
I can't know without your comments. And I can't know if you like it, love it, or hate it's guts unless you report through pushing that tiny little button!