[Kaimee]: 5.Short stories.Lena
© Kate-Aimee Conrick. All rights reserved!
Huh. Sure. Yeah right. It was just another junk offer for cheap interstellar travel. Like that’s ever gonna happen, she thought as an illicit advertisement scrolled across her holo screen. Everyone knows the Junkers putting out those offers work for the slavers and well, once someone’s even seen a slaver; everyone near them gets pulled in somehow. Like… no. Some things seem real, you know? Even when you know they’re not, or, if they ever were, can’t be anymore. With a resigned sigh she leaned back in her chair, stretching her arms out behind her head and into the dark. The only light came from her personal screen, a blue-green glow that cast her face and hands into a mimic of an elf or some other alien. She stretched out as far as possible until she heard her shoulder blades crack, breaking the heavy silence, made up only of the hum and white noise of the machines surrounding her. With another, far more contented sigh, she let her arms drop to hang behind her and above her head, forming a graceful arc, and relaxed.
Her head hung backwards, upside down below the head of the fully reclined chair, set above the ground on a small command dais. Things look different upside down… I could almost be back on alpha…hiding in Mika’s office, listening to the buzz from the workshop… She let her eyes drift closed and considered the work that had kept her up so long after all the actual people, not to mention their holos, had left.
The new subspecies of ELF, an alien species, which, in itself was difficult, not even mentioning any of the subspecies they were prone to; mutating easily in any atmosphere slightly different from their home planet, wanted an Independent Declaration. Coming up with a diplomatic way of saying bugger off and solving their problems so they’d have no grounds for appeal had taken up most of thirteen days, with not enough time even to sleep and the only time left to take the chemstrips that allowed her to delay the exhaustion that was due to set in. I almost hope it would, then they couldn’t make me keep working. Damn. She knew that the second it did set in, she’d be out, because with the amount she’d had to use recently, she was due at least two and a half weeks down for sleep. An image popped into her head and she grinned. Her supreme commander, an elf himself, had been furious at the holos of fairy tale ‘elves’ circulating the board rooms holo views. “ELF!’ He had yelled, his already greenish skin going black with rage and offended dignity, “ELF. E.L.F. Energy Lowering Fields. We have ENERGY BLOODY LOWERING FIELDS you FUCKING stupid humans… ELF! Get it?!’
The species was relatively new to their confederation, having joined only a couple hundred years ago, and was still suffering from the jokes and puns a new species always occasioned. That someone had remembered and dug up ancient Terran fairytales of ‘elves’ hadn’t helped their humour and only a rare few of the species in question could join in the fun without trying to defend themselves. That someone had noted the similarities between the alien and the mythical being, apart from their names, and created the rumour that perhaps humans and elves had ‘met before’, hadn’t helped the elves situation anymore, it had only added fuel to the typical musings.
“Blerp’ she said aloud. She often wondered if the monitoring devices spent any time actually trying to work out her nonsense words. She giggled. Bloody hell. I’m becoming hysterical. Another chemstrip. With one hand she rummaged around in a pouch on her shoulder, leaving the other arm dangling above her head. She froze for a second as she heard a noise, unconsciously arming the neural signal weapons that ran down her arm to her firing hand. Not daring to look around she waited. After what seemed like forever, she turned back sighing to her chemstrip, chiding herself for being afraid of the dark.
At first a whisper, then she jolted as she realised her name really was being spoken aloud. “Lena…” she whirled, feeling someone grab her wrist, and twisted, wrenching it and falling backwards and sideways.
She rolled, felt her shin scrape on the sharp side of her dais and came up kneeling, against the side of the platform, peering out through the base and wires of her chair. “Lena” he murmured again, letting her focus on where he had to be in the dark. She lifted her firing hand and punched in the stun commands on the pad near her shoulder. ‘Madlen’ he said, louder this time in a singsong voice, but over there, to her left this time. Shit he moves quickly, she had time to think before the next ‘Lenaaah…” this time a hiss behind her ear and she listened, her body unresponsive, as the hiss faded into darkness.
‘Arrrrrrrg! You stupid good for nothing bloody crappy piece of machinery! What the hell is wrong with you?!?’ she stood fuming, staring at the old fashioned riding stimulator her uncle Mika had brought back for her from his trip to capital. Shed been messing around with scraps and parts since she was 7, pottering around the workshop pretending to be grown up. She sighed and leant to check the wires again. She couldn’t even find a handbook, this thing was so old and she had absolutely no experience with wired machinery. The oldest stuff shed seen before this was phorphyaych. And even that was old, the word used so long its initials, 4VH had been routinely slurred into one word. She sighed and leaned back till she could see through the door. Mika was still sitting there. It had been days, him just sitting, staring blankly, occasionally tears overflowing his eyes and running down his cheeks, unnoticed. Shed been there when the sector commander had asked, clearly awed, if they would grant the Supreme Commander Harlin audience, even his holofigure trembling with excitement. Lena had worked directly under Harlin and knew him well enough to joke about the elves but the Sector Commander had never met him and could only feel admiration for a member of an alien species rising that high among human ranks. Pfft, she’d though, Sector Borhl would brown nose anybody. But she’d been there when Harlin’s image appeared, nervously pacing too and fro, the sharp tips of his ears almost purple. She’d been there, watching her uncle’s face when he heard about Lena, his features crumbing. Harlin had cleared his throat, the image turning away but he had continued on to the responsibiliti
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Piece © Kate-Aimee Conrick. All rights reserved!