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  • 📅 December 2022 is YE 44.9 in the RP.

RP [YSS Koun] From Pilot To Helm

HarperMadi

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RP Date
YE 44.3, just before the departure of the YSS Koun from Pisces
RP Location
Pisces Station
It had been a long road, and the girl sitting in her bunk was just coming to the realization of the true significance of it. Her ship was healthy, her grandmother saw to that. Soren would fly for as long as it took, and she would be waiting when Aliset came home.

Thunk-thunk-pap!


The ball bounced against the door, idly snapping back to her hand as she had calculated for gravity, resisted the urge to wait for the ball to sail past her, off the back wall and ceiling and door and floor as it would have in zero gravity. No, she was getting used to this. Too used to it. Gently thumbing a piece of honey colored metal in her hand, her eyes started to glaze over. Two men lost to her in her service. No. Two husbands.

Thunk-thunk-pap!


She remembered why she had left Soren. The ship where she rarely left the bridge. Never let herself out there. Too isolated, pushed too hard to accomplish too much, coddled and protected by a man who had lost his wife and was left only with the only child he’d ever had. The same route, the same songs. Then there was YSS Tokyo. Aliset Tokyo. Levente’s smile as he played the guitar for her, and how the Nepleslian always had a pat on the head for her and gentle words of advice. Nicol, her childhood friend who had fostered aboard Soren after the loss of his ship. Who she had sung home after her Trials, and he had docked her ship, scraping the hull to leave an ugly grey smear of paint. She hadn’t seen him until she joined that crew. How happy he was when she presented him an ingot of her mother.

Thunk-thunk-pap!

When Levente had promised her a new Service knife made of burial steel that had been allowed his use, and she had given him her own. The only piece of him she ever got back. The broken husk of his sister when she had returned the knife… Irene had felt cold as she clutched Aliset like a survivor clutching to the last airtight chamber of his ruined ship. Only to see her sister in law recalled to Yamatai. She still remembered the explosion, when her bomber took a hit and lost power. She had looked back to check on her crew, seeing Nicol give her the look.

The look of a man who was going to die, and knew it was the only way to make sure everyone got out.

Thunk-thunk-pap!

That was his steel in her other hand. The compass on her night stand always pointed to it. Even after the ingot of her mother, shards of her family had been folded down. She remembered how she had been the only Senti on the ship again. How the video feed with Soren was her somber faced grandmother, who had fought for her right to earn Aliset’s training to do this, and lost, walking her through the burial rites. The construction of Nicol’s casket and the assembling of burial steel around his prone form, sealing it, feeding it into the reactor. The waiting, the assemblage of his closest friends and passing of hammers. She hadn’t expected it to still look like him, white hot and shimmering with heat, No one ever did, their first time. Or so her grandmother said. A window into Senti culture, the researchers had said.

Her eyes glazed over as she fell into a rhythm, deep into her thoughts, feeling her heartbeat slow and the sting around her eyes. And now to Koun.

She’d had to get off Tokyo. Just as she’d had to get off Soren. So she’d transferred. Anywhere. Some little nowhere Plumeria where she could work on her career without falling in love. Without building a family that would be stained with death. Without building a family for the time being. No more love. No more chasing her lust. Now she waited for orders to return to Tokyo, not knowing if her transfer had been approved.

She didn’t realize the song as she sat, throwing the ball. Floor, door, hand. Thunk, thunk, pap. Something ancient and primal, a song about the ghosts of the steel and song of the hull. But she didn’t notice it. Call it meditation. Call it working through her trauma. She preferred to think of it as wishing for some way she could have done it right. But just like the first time. It wasn’t her fault. There had been nothing she could do. And that prospect somehow hurt worse than being the direct cause, the killer of every man she had made the mistake of loving.

Thunk-thunk-pap

Then there was this last shitshow. She hated what her ship had done. Stealing her from her vacation, as forced as it was, given a new suit to match all her ranks in blatant disregard for regulation, and had her wear it to the International Relations Conference. As a Shuristan diplomat. Alastair had found her walking to a requisitions officer buck naked, shivering as she asked for a proper uniform. Her suit had been left in his lost and found. No, she wasn't going back to her people. Yamatai was her people, now, no matter if space was her home.

Thunk- She didn’t notice the ball not coming back to her hand, but in stead bouncing off the wall, past whoever had opened her door before knocking into a small display case she kept beside her bunk that held her modest collection of awards and patches, letting an in progress panel of a burial steel space suit clatter to the floor.

“Yes?”

“Hey, Ali,” some bright eyed shoi at the door gave a soft wave. “Hey, wanted to let you know that you’re not going back to the Tokyo. Congrats on the transfer. We’re loading up the Koun for a cruise, you want to help out?”

“Thank gods. What’s my new ship?”

“Well, if I’m reading these orders right, you’re on the Koun. Do they have a shuttle?” The younger officer started flipping through the file. “Why do they need a pilot if… Yeah, their shuttle’s short range and the captain, Alastair Belmont has a license to fly one… So’s most of the crew.”

“Only thing I can think is they’re gonna be either using the shuttle a lot or they want me as something else.”

“I mean, there’s an Itto Hei pilot also on these crew orders… So I dunno. You ever fly a Plumeria?”

“I qualified on the controls in flight school. They’re kinda simplistic.”

“Cool. Yeah, let’s get down there. I’m sure the loading crew is gonna want to hear some of those exotic working songs you know.”

Standing, Aliset picked up a uniform top, quickly slipping it over her head to dress herself. “Please don’t call them that, they’re a cultural thing. It’d be like if I said something about those funny skirts you folks are always trying to get me to wear.”

“Please, it’s not that bad. You’d look great!”

“That’s… Fine, despite your refusal or incapacity to see my point,” she effortlessly switched from Yamataigo to Shuristan, straightening her uniform and securing her belt, the one that cheated the eye with very carefully selected burial steel that easily passed for the brass of the standard uniform. Not like anyone had noticed. “My personal effects already en route?”

“Yup!” The Shoi gave a bright smile, “By the way, what did you say, there? I don’t speak Shuristan.”

“It wasn’t worth translating. Go on ahead. I’ll catch up”

In stead of catching up, Aliset packed her things, carefully packing it away a bag slung on her back. That small ingot slipped into her pocket as her bag slipped onto her shoulders, her first husband’s guitar on a strap over her neck. That guitar which she strummed casually en route to her new ship.
 
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