For those of you who may be following the RP thread that I and a few other Commanders have been diligently working on, “Off Station”, I decided to build more of Kaisla’s back-story prior to the current events. If you haven’t been following, then I would encourage you to do so (that is, if you enjoy stories involving complex characters with an in-depth and riveting plot).
“You’re a chicken!” Fordy lisps through his chipped tooth.
“I ain’t so!” The young girl exclaims.
“Listen, Kai, if you can’t do it, you can’t do it. Some people were just built knowing how to fly and some weren’t.” Astro says, a slight red-head with wild hair and a face so littered with freckles, it looked more like a constellation than a face.
The girl sitting at the flight controls, about twelve years old with her own compliment of freckles, a wild streak of silver splitting her brunette hair and a determined, set jaw, starts to turn red in the face. Whenever she got angry, she always looked more childish with her curled up round nose and ice-clear blue eyes. That’s how she looked now as her face grew increasingly red, burgundy splotches forming around the collar of her hand-me down flight suit.
“I ain’t so! But what you guys are saying is stupid!” Kaisla continues to grow more irritated.
“Hey, Tommy did it last week. Now that kid can fly! He almost got scorched doing it before the sec forces chased us off but it didn’t scare him.” Fordy comments leaning more heavily on the console.
“Yeah well, Tommy is an idiot and he couldn’t fly his way out of an orbital.” Kaisla sneers back at Fordy.
Fordy raises his arms as if to show he didn’t mean any harm. “Well, obviously he’s better than that if he could run the gauntlet.”
The gauntlet in particular, was the access corridor that ran the length of Secret Eagles Acres, the agricultural orbital hanging in a lazy orbit above Eravate 2. The corridor itself was nearly perfectly square, intersected with separate sub-corridors and provided an easy means for service ships to access the various resource and support structure necessary to enable the orbital to sustain prolonged agricultural growth. All available surface area on the exterior of the orbital was open to expansive green house structures that could optimize the near-constant light source. On a determined schedule calculated from the planetary’s orbit relative to the system star, the orbital would sequence a series of rotations maintaining a day/night schedule and enabling accelerated plant growth.
In order to maximize the potential growth real estate, the access corridors were constructed along with a complex network of lifts and pressure bays. As the crop would mature on its regulated cycle, mature pods would be sequenced off-line, the elevator structure shifting thousands of tons of plant life to the sub-bay where it would be off-loaded for shipment. Immediately replacing it, a new crop that had been seeded often a week in advance, would be positioned in place and then “lifted” to the surface of the pod. The access corridors that laced the “interior” of the pods, gave access for ships to freight in new soil, nutrient mixtures, pressurized gas and supplies for re-stocking the pods. Prior to any ship navigating the corridors, tug ships would be staged and Marshall in the freighters to ensure sufficient flow of traffic and accurate timing through-out the ships normal activities.
Now, Kaisla, Astro and Fordy sat in Kaisla’s fathers older Type-2. A tiny skip, the ship was well used. Kaisla’s father used it primarily for quick trips from planet-side to orbital. The Type-2 had neither FSD or shields and much of the paint had been worn off from a long-life of re-entries. The pressure system on the Type-2 was prone to act up and sometimes the wiring would short out. Although Kaisla’s father allowed her to use the skip for local flights planet-side, she was strictly forbidden from taking it up in vacuum. The Type-2 sat now 50 light seconds off the orbital with its three passengers peering out the expansive canopy, Kaisla sitting in the cockpit seat with Astro and Fordy on either side leaning up on the tiny control console. Fordy absently picking at a bead of pro-seal, a purple rubbery material sealing the canopy to the frame.
“Just face it, your scared. Its okay to be scared Kai - after all, your only a girl.” Fordy says while he flicks the bunched up pro-seal from underneath his finger nail.
Kaisla shoots Fordy a look. “You might want to hold on to something,” She slams the thrusters to the stop and rockets the little Type-2 forward. Fordy, still pre-occupied with his pro-seal booger, tumbles backwards, running into the tiny cockpits bulkhead. Astro grabs the edge of the dash panel as he feels the acceleration pull him from the canopy.
“KAI! We were only playing! This is stupid in this old bucket of bolts!” Astro yells, white knuckles tingling as he grasps the panel tighter.
“Don’t make jokes if you don’t think I can do it,” Kaisla dead-pans, vision fixed straight ahead at the looming corridor. Fordy mumbles something before trying to right himself and then, upon loosing grip, falling back down.
Kaisla flicks the control column over gently sending the Type-2 in a slow right turn, just barely clearing the sub-structure as the little ship passes into the corridor. Right behind the Type-2, a Cobra jets into the corridor in hot pursuit. The older screen on the dash of the Type-2 starts to flicker blue and red, indicating the Cobra is hailing them on short-wave communications.
“Uh, Kai, there’s a cobra chasing us!” Astro calls out between stealing glances at the console and back out at the windscreen as the interior rushes by the cockpit as close as ten meters away.
Kaisla glances down at the console before snatching her eyes back up to the corridor, sub-structure lays exposed out in front as one of the pod bays is open, a Type-7 being carefully marshaled into a docking position, the precarious balance between cargo on-load and off-load half in the corridor, half in the bay.
“You’re not going to make it! There’s not enough room!” Astro shouts to her left.
“Watch this!” Kaisla exclaims as she flicks off the flight assist and rolls the Type-2 hard through a left roll. The Type-2 clears the Type-7, just barely misses the Marshall Adder and barely touches the sub-structure from the docking bay doors. With the flight assist off, the Type-2 jolts mid-way through its roll and then starts to careen in the opposite direction. Fordy, still trying to re-gain his balance vomits noisily into his hat. The Type-2 is still in an aggressive spin as the top-most stabilizing fin strikes another wall of the corridor and tumbles the craft faster, still rocketing at 300 meters a second through the corridor. Astro’s grip gives free and he plows into Fordy, jolting his hat out of his hands. Vomit splashes along the inside of the cockpit. Kaisla depresses the paddle beneath her finger to re-engage the flight assist in an attempt to stop the spin. Nothing happens.
“Shit! The flight assist won’t re-engage!”
“Turn it back on!” Astro screams. Fordy is turning an interesting shade of green.
“I’m trying! It won’t work! Old piece of shi-“ Kaisla yells back.
Finallly, after mashing the button as hard as she can, she feels the switch beneath her finger push through whatever gunk was fouling up the contact and the flight assist engages. The ship violently rights itself and the flight controls go rigid as the computer over-rides lock them out to stop the tumble. In her panic, Kaisla leaves the throttles up against the stops.
She looks up from fumbling with the control column as the opposite wall of the corridor speeds toward them. Its a t-junction that runs the lateral width of the orbital. Without thinking, Kaisla mashes the flight assist again and boosts. The ship controls go slack and she yanks the control column with all her might, bracing it behind her arm and pulling. The veins in her neck strain and her freckled face turns pink as she pulls the Type-2 as hard as she can. The Type-2 jinks hard right and the boost propels the ship harder into the right turn. The little skip barely misses the opposite wall, snapping a relay antenna cleanly off as they propel toward the opening. Kaisla mashes down on the flight assist as hard as she can, feeling her knuckle crack in her finger. The flight assist re-engages and the ship stabilizes on its new vector toward the opening and the black space beyond. Two Cobra’s emerge, blocking out the star-field on the other side of the opening and she rolls the ship hard left to avoid the closest one as the Type-2, debris and the chasing Cobra rocket out of the orbital corridor.
A red blast of energized ion scorches in front of the windscreen. Kaisla yanks the throttle to idle, the Type-2 drifting to a stop as the Cobra’s establish a security position around the tiny ship.
Back on Cleve, Kaisla’s father had arrived quickly. He strode through the station, hardly glancing at Kaisla as he was escorted into the security managers office. She looks down at her boots after the glance from her father and continued to sit there in silence, idly examining her hands. The Type-2 is in impound. Fordy’s parents arrived quickly and retrieved him on account of how sick he had been. Astro was sitting against the opposite wall, also sitting on the waiting room chairs not looking at Kaisla or speaking to anyone. His parents hadn’t arrived yet. Finally, the door opens to the security office.
“Kaisla...” a deep voice booms, “Get your ass in here.” Astro glances up as Kaisla stands, a look of apology in his eyes and quickly looks back down. Kaisla turns and steps into the office. “Sit.” Her father commands.
The watch Commander glances at Kaisla and then looks back to her Father. “So, the Federation is not seeking to press charges. The Type-2 didn’t do much damage. The pressure fitting for the docking bay, one communication antenna and some scraped up metal. She scared the shit out of that poor Type-7 pilot, but all in all, it could have been a lot worse. You understand that young lady?” The security manager asks Kaisla bending his head down to make eye contact.
“Yes Sir.” Is all she can manage to reply.
“It will be a cold day in hell before she ever see’s another set of flight controls.” Her father growls.
The security manager abates, “Well, yes it could have been a lot worse but its just kids being kids. I have enough paperwork as it is just to get these repairs ordered, I don’t need more by locking up some junior space pirates. I would just ask that you keep her on a tight leash. I’ll be making the same recommendation to the other parents as well besides, I know it can be tough on families farming out here and taking an extra set of hands out of work can do more harm than good.”
Kaisla’s father face runs a silent series of emotions thinking about the upcoming harvest. “You’re quite right Sir. Kaisla, go wait outside. I’m going to clear up the paperwork from your mess and we’ll discuss this further on the ride home.”
“Yes Sir.” Kaisla stands and leaves the room. By the time she’s back in the waiting room, Astro is gone. His mother having retrieved him a few minutes earlier. She plops back down on the chair she was in.
A man sits at a tiny desk in the corner glancing at Kaisla and organizing his flight gear before shoving it in the tiny locker beside the desk. He stands, adjusts his uniform and approaches the chair, “So...your the little aviatrix that was flying the Type-2 huh?”
Kaisla looks up, “Yes Sir.” The man looks to be about 30 with a stocky build, close-cropped blond hair and a square jaw.
“What you did was really stupid,” He says while leaning down. “I was flying the Cobra that was chasing you through the corridor.” Kaisla notices that his silver name tag pinned above his right chest pocket says Johnston. “But I will tell ya, up until you lost it, that was some good - stupid - but good, flying.”
Kaisla avoids eye contact, remaining silent.
“Don’t let this incident dampen your thrusters kid. Just....make smarter choices next time. Being the best pilot in the universe will do you no good if you’re dead.”