|lillywhite1||08:33 pm - Newbie!|
I am new to the community and I wanted to post my story. If this is not the type of thing that's welcome, just let me know. I haven't been able to find anywhere to post original works of sci-fi outside of a fandom.
Title: None yet... Chapter 1: A Bad Beginning
Rating: Overall story - R for language and sexual situations and violence
This chapter - PG, just the set up, language
Description: Science Fiction, some fantasy
Summary: One hundred years in the future, a hot young government agent's life is battered unrecognizable by her virtual termination and her duty to a mysterious child. Alien planets and creatures, inter-dimensional space travel, androids, and a race against time to stop an event that may lead to the destruction of the very galaxy...all suffered by one bewildered woman just trying to have a career...
Last chapter: Um...this is the first one.
This chapter: Introduction of Terran Sloan, hottest agent in the Unified Earth Investigative Coalition and her unique situation.
Word Count: 4,141
Author's Notes: This is a work in progress. Chapters will be long and posted infrequently. Sorry guys, I'm in grad school, but hopefully the prodding of my fiancee will be enough to churn out a chapter every couple of weeks, except for finals week.
Chapter 1 – A Bad Beginning – year 2095
Terran Sloan forced open the front doors of The Unified Earth Investigative Coalition with a generous shove and strode purposefully into the corridor. She gave a wink to Allen, the security guard as she swiped her hazel eyes over the optic scanner and punched in her seventeen letter ID code. Next, she swiped her key bracelet over a brightly lit crystal screen as her information and photo displayed themselves for security. The NRI machine gave her a quick up and down and cleared her to enter the building. She nodded to herself, swaggering a little as if entering the building was an accomplishment. Several people’s heads turned as she walked to the central staircase, and why shouldn’t they? Terran smiled as she swung her hips a little more. Let ‘em look.
Her skirt flapped a little against her knees, but it was tight in all the places that mattered. She also wore a violet camisole under her suit jacket that sported her flashy new badge: Agent 3432 – official badass. She tossed her head slowly even though her auburn hair was securely pinned up. She liked showing off her long neck.
“Hey, Agent Sloan’s back.” Came a familiar voice. The coffee room was buzzing with activity and Terran chose now to make her deserved, though flashy reappearance. She glanced at Agent John Banidez – the one who had remarked.
“And after only three months.” He continued as he stirred the over-sugared swill in his mug. Terran grabbed a cup. “That’s pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say, McAddams?”
“It’s not bad,” Agent McAddams mumbled from the small table he shared with Banidez. He didn’t glance up from his crossword, “for a femmie firstie.”
“Terran frowned at McAddams. He was a sour, short man with skin redder than a baboon’s ass and half the amiability. Banidez on the other hand, was tall, dark and handsome. She knew he found her immensely attractive. She found him charmingly typical.
“Probably just luck.” McAddams finished his coffee and left without so much as a nod.
“Prick.” Terran swore probably louder than she should have.
“He’s just cranky.” Banidez was standing beside her and smiling too broadly.
“He’s just an asshole.” Terran stirred her cup of hot water and malice.
Banidez chuckled, “What? You thought the place had changed overnight? It’s the same way it was when you left three months ago, except I’m a little happier to see you.”
“C’mon, Terran. You’re the first woman agent in two years. You’re going to be harassed, especially by no-talent hacks like McAddams who prefer their vaginas wearing collars and little white gloves. But I’m different. I’m a feminist.”
“I don’t know why HE of all people gets to me.” Terran tossed another sweetener cube in her cup. “I really worked hard on that case. They told me it was going to take years.”
Banidez nodded, “I heard you did nearly everything yourself that last assignment. You didn’t even tell Stucci what you were up to until you had the drug-dealing, smack-heads tied up and ready for transport.”
Terran shrugged, “He kept getting in the way.”
Just then, the TV on low in the corner was turned up. The captain was on the news, telling the public what he could about the successful round up halfway across the world of one of the most dangerous organizations in history. His white, bald head shining in the camera glare – the leader of the Coalition. She would look like a billion dollars standing next to that pasty face. He was a nice enough old man, though. He’d been the one to assign her in the first place. She had to remember to thank him first in her speech. Banidez wasn’t paying attention to anything but her.
“Terran, he’s your superior, not to mention mine and probably three-quarters of the agency. You can’t just cut him out of the loop. Those kinds of showy, cowboy tactics are going to land you in very hot water.”
Terran mistook Banidez’ good-natured concern for further harassment by male colleagues, and turned away from the television with a sting in her tongue.
“I got the bad guys, right?” She stared him down with her flashing green eyes, “Screw protocol, screw Stucci, and screw you, Banidez.” She began to walk towards the door before he grabbed her arm.
“Terran, please. You know what I’m trying to say. It’s going to be tough for you in this line of work no matter what. You don’t need to make things harder on yourself by trying to top every power-driven, red-faced pig in the place. You won’t go far if you don’t learn how to play the game a little. Please, for your own sake.” His voice carried an obvious note of apology, but Terran wasn’t in the mood to hear it. She simply nodded so that he would release her and she was bursting out of the coffee room with unnecessary fire.
She checked her watch. It was nearly 10:00. She hustled to the lifter and down the second floor corridor to conference room C. She didn’t know why they’d scheduled to have the press release in there. There probably wouldn’t be enough room. Her spirits soared again. She couldn’t wait to stand there in front of the cameras and flashing lights smiling as the captain praised her up and down for the best job done in a generation. She could feel the assorted compliments rolling around in her mouth like little hard candies and each one as a distinct and wonderful flavor. She’d worked so hard for this moment she could barely control herself.
Savoring her accomplishment all the way to conference room C, she checked her person before entering the room from the side door – stage left. Smoothing out her skirt and breathing deeply she clicked open the door expecting to hear the din of thousands of cameras clicking and voices chattering.
The room was not only silent, but also dark. She stepped slowly out onto the hardwood floor hearing her modest heels clomp against the floor, walls and ceiling. This couldn’t be. Perhaps they’d moved to another room.
A white light flashed on in the back of the room barely illuminating several seated figures from behind.
“I must be in the wrong room.” She bent, meaning to excuse herself.
She stopped in her tracks, “Yes?”
“You are in the correct room.”
Terran swallowed. She didn’t like the sound of this. She approached the long table of shadowy silhouettes. She stood loosely at attention.
“Agent Terran Sloan, you are aware of the events leading to the arrest of several Sallieri family members that occurred three days ago in Rome?”
She smiled to herself only. “Yes, I am, sir.”
“You are aware that your actions in said assignment were insubordinate and unreasonable in nature, nearly jeopardizing several years of under-cover work and the lives of those under-cover agents, as well as the lives of many agents also involved with the case?”
“Sir, if I could--?”
“You are also aware that had it not been for the exemplary intercession of your superior officers that you could have cost the agency not only the lives of those agents but several million dollars invested in the case over the past twelve years?”
Terran’s heart was sinking fast. “Sir, please if—”
“Quiet!” Snarled the man. “Simple yes or no answers are all that is required at this time.”
Terran could feel the world threatening to collapse beneath her. “Yes, Sir.”
“Are you also aware that such actions cannot go undisciplined by The Unified Earth Investigative Coalition?”
“Yes, Sir.” Terran began to sweat under her purple camisole.
“Then you are permanently relieved of duty as of now, Terran Sloan. You are to leave the building within the next hour. I don’t want to see you at this organization or any of its branches ever again. Dismissed.”
SmartPens of various color signatures scattered noisily in the box. They were joined with mini SmartLedgers, pads of clear polypaper and several de-smudgers. They landed with a crash. A buttoner fell with a loud bang as did a tasteless polyweight with some unrecognizable logo. None of these things really belonged to Terran, but the need to throw objects was greater than this small realization.
She rattled open her top drawers tossing miscellaneous toiletries, botanical lotion, extra snack bar, and nail clippers all in a fury into the rapidly filling box. She whirled on the shelves behind her desk, stacking video-frames of family members without reverence: Her sister and her husband in front of their new house, keys in hand, grinning and snuggling. A picture of her parents from three years ago alternating between smiling at the camera and at each other. Bucky, the family dog chasing snowflakes in the backyard and mutely barking for the camera-person to come play. And finally, in its deluxe, gilded mahogany frame hanging behind her desk proudly was her certificate of graduation from the Institution of The Unified Earth Investigative Coalition.
She touched the hard wood lovingly – the hardest thing she’d ever had to work for; The hologram seal rippling with untarnished beauty; The ink black and bold on its real paper. She kissed its well-crafted mahogany and threw it towards the back wall with as much force as she could generate. It shattered with a wonderful crash and made a hefty dent in the wall. Terran smiled triumphantly at it crumpled on the floor in quiet agony, and then pendulous tears began to run down her face.
The tears splashed one after another on her lapel, dampening the expensive synthetic fibers. She tried to hold them back, but it seemed the harder she tried, the quicker they came. She grabbed tissues from the desk and collapsed in the swiveling, ergonomic chair behind her desk, bowing her head. The corners of her lips twisted in abject sadness. She let her body rock with the repressed sobs that threatened to take her over, blind her, and wipe out the world she had worked so hard to build.
“Terran?” Banidez was knocking lightly at the door.
“Please…please just go away, John.”
Banidez opened the door slowly and saw her folded in the chair. “Shit. Then it’s true.”
She laughed, a little maniacally, “Yeah. Oh yeah, it’s true.”
He silently closed the door behind him as she wiped her face and dumped her mess in the garbage bin. He came close, perching on the corner of the desk.
“Don’t say you’re sorry because it’s not your fault. It’s mine.” She covered her face with her hands, “Oh, god, I’ve thrown everything away.”
“You did well!” He knelt by her side, “You did so well, Terran.”
She looked at him, he was so sweet to her and she’d been a relentless bitch the entire time all through the Academy.
“You got the job done. You got the bad guy and you did what you were told to do. No one got hurt. They don’t know what they’ve done, letting you go.”
For a moment, Terran got the impression that Banidez wasn’t just talking about the job anymore. She had barely begun to reply when the door opened again.
“Ms. Sloan,” the security guard in his micro-armor suit and panel-glasses cracked open the door with cold indifference, “It has been requested that you leave the building immediately without further damage to company property.” He turned his huge, cube-like head towards the back wall where the gilded frame of her diploma was still embedded in the plaster.
“Fine. Fuck.” Terran grabbed up her jacket and took her box in her arms. They had walked out into the marble lobby before the security guard stopped her with an unyielding hand on her shoulder.
“Miss, I’m going to need your weapon, key codes, and badge before you leave the premises.”
A couple of people by the lifter doors turned to stare. More and more people hesitated as they walked by. Terran could feel herself growing red.
“Can’t we walk back to the room?” She mumbled.
“Right here is fine.” The security guard’s eyes were unmoved under their plastic shielding.
Terran unholstered her handweapon – a gorgeous thing made from modern dreamers. Only government agents were allowed to carry lethal hand weapons. She’d come to love the dark metal under her fingertips. She’d named him Hector, and now she handed him over to this buffoon that enjoyed making a mockery of her in front of passers by. Snide prick.
She then held out her wrist with the key-bracelet hanging off it. The security guard grabbed her roughly and nested the edge of the bracelet into the crook of what looked like a compact nail-gun. A deafening clank was heard as the machine severed a large chunk from the bracelet and it was wrenched off her arm leaving angry red scrapes. As the sound of the gun echoed off the marble, more people began to stare.
“Your badge?” he held out his meaty hand.
“I know! I know, you stupid ape!” Terran whispered angrily. Banidez looked on despairingly. She fiddled with the clasp as the badge came away in her hand. Looking at it for a moment, she silently said goodbye when the horrific security guard swiped it from her palm.
“Now if you would please leave the premises without further trouble.” He nodded towards the solar paneled doors.
Terran was too angry to bite back at this over-muscled meat-head who was so enjoying her humiliation. Her tongue was tied in frustrated knots and she grabbed her box and walked out the front doors without another word. She headed to the track of Public Oscillatory Deliverer cars parked at the curb.
She was leaving Banidez in the dust. “What do you want, John?”
He stopped when she turned. She could see herself in his eyes: flashing green eyes, statuesque and just as much of a bitch as she ever was to him, only this was their final goodbye and she wasn’t softening at all for him.
He looked disappointed, “Good luck.” He started to back away, then shoved his hands in his pockets and trudged back towards the front doors of The Unified Earth Investigative Coalition.
Terran pitied him, she really did. All this time, he’d been hoping for some sign from her, some bare indication that she cared. She did, but she cared enough for him not to let him in. She had her own issues and that was plenty reason to keep him out, but more so, she cared too much to let him get run down by everyone else in the establishment for being her friend. That was probably the cruelest she could be.
Terran tore her eyes off his rapidly shrinking form and approached the P.O.D. The door swung open for her and she punched in her home coordinates. The car slinked off at a moderate speed till it hit the highway and accelerated generously. Terran wouldn’t have known how fast the car was going if it weren’t for the visible speedometer inside the P.O.D. The ride, as always, was smooth and soothing, though it didn’t seem that way today. She pressed her hot forehead against the cool glass of the window. Maybe she’d go to the river and feed the ducks like she used to when she was a student. Maybe a turn on the playground swing would restore a little playfulness and meaninglessness to her current situation. Or maybe she’d just have a drink and soak in the tub for an hour or two with a cheesy romance novel – one of her old favorites like Her Tour of Duty or In His Service.
The P.O.D. dinged happily. She opened her eyes. Her apartment building was looming before her. She swiped her ID card and the little machine dinged happily again as the door winged up and open. She checked her balance. They’d deposited her last paycheck already. Relax today, find a new job tomorrow.
Swiping her ID card again, the door of her apartment sprung open and closed quietly behind her. The cardboard box found a home in the corner by the dining room/living room. It would probably stay there for a while.
Shoes discarded by the front door, jacket tossed on a chair, hair pins in an untidy pile on the dresser, Terran tried her best to relax and not worry about tomorrow, but tomorrow came and the day after that and the day after that with startling speed. She did her best to look for a new job, but every time she brought up the sites on the uniscreen, she just sighed and turned it off. In fact, whenever she did turn on the damn thing, there was her sister or her mother or some other concerned relative appearing on the talkline. They all looked so distraught in their little pop-up windows, telling her that she shouldn’t let this be the end of her life and so on.
“Mother, really, I’m okay.”
Karen Sloan’s mouth tightened into a contemplative line. Her blue eyes were worried under furrowed eyebrows. “Why don’t you come home, honey. We miss you. You look like you could use some caring.”
Terran steeled herself against her mother’s very inviting words. She was an adult and shouldn’t be running home whenever something didn’t go as planned, “It’s okay, Mom. I’m fine.”
“You’ve got huge circles under your eyes. Have you been sleeping?”
“Nearly twelve hours a day,” Terran rubbed her face, trying to chase away the unexplained exhaustion, “I just can’t seem to get rested. I guess it’s those all-nighters I pulled during the academy finally catching up to me.” Terran tried to laugh, but it came out tinny and pathetic.
“Well, fine, dear. If you change your mind, you know we would love to see you.”
“Love you, Mom.”
“Love you, Terry.”
It had been nearly three weeks since her termination when Terran came home from grocery shopping. She’d decided to cook her favorite stew from an old family recipe. It had been ages since she cooked. Locking the front door behind her, she set the bags down on the floor.
“Terran?” An unexpected male voice broke through her thoughts.
She spun violently. It was her old captain from UEIC.
She let out a loud breath, “Captain Droux, sir.” She snapped to attention, and then realized she wasn’t an agent anymore and felt confused as to what to do.
“It’s alright, Sloan.” The captain smiled a little at her, though for once it didn’t seem genuine, but perhaps it was just a sad smile. His bald, white head and resonant voice reminded her rather of her father. She’d always liked the captain for his paternal qualities, among other things. He was an older man of perhaps sixty, but still commanded authority when he put some energy into it. To his left was an agent – low level, but probably had 3-5 years of service under his belt.
“Can we talk?”
“Of course.” Her heart jumped, perhaps he had a job for her or maybe a way to get her back into the Coalition. But he said nothing, so she did her best to clear her head and pay attention. She sat beside him, and he nodded to the agent who walked out the front door and stood outside.
“I trust him, but this is a matter of which he is not a part.”
Terran leaned in. The Captain sighed and ran his fingers over his bald head, probably a trait left over from when he’d had hair. It was endearing.
“Terran, we have a job for you.”
“I knew it!” She nearly jumped out of her seat, “I knew it was a total show, the way that guard made me strip down in the main lobby. Oh.” She sat down again, “Thank God.”
“Yes, dear girl, it was a bit of an act. We need you to go undercover and no one can know that you work for the Coalition. Even if they find a connection, they need to believe you were fired and dishonorably discharged. This would raise less suspicion of our involvement.” He smiled at her, “Sorry to let you stew for so long. We needed the news of your termination to settle before we took you away.”
“Yes, sir.” Terran was nearly dancing with joy. She couldn’t wait to see the look on McAddam’s and Banidez’ faces when she came waltzing back with another snappy assignment completed in record time.
“Terran, please.” The Captain glanced around uncomfortably and sighed. “We need you to guard a very precious parcel for us.”
Terran’s eyebrows rose and fell. It was low-level stuff, but beggars could not be choosers. “Alright.”
“We’re going to need to relocate you to the Teslan moons.”
Terran’s quickly lifting heart plummeted. “But, sir. That’s worlds away, not to mention far from the reach of the Coalition. How would I report back? How would I call for backup?”
“I’m afraid, Terran, that this mission is one in which you will not have any backup. It is a solo mission. We need you to be far from the reach of the Coalition. It’s part of the cover.”
“Yes, but,” Terran got up and paced the hardwood floor, raking her fingers through her hair, “surely I don’t need to be on the fringe of explored space to prove that I’m not an agent. Why not one of the settlements on Moitgan or Cerus? They’ll at least have access to supply routes. I’ll have nothing in the Teslan system.”
“It’s not the fringe of explored space, Terran. You are exaggerating. It is remote. That is very important. Also, the less traffic in your area, the less chance there is of you being found by certain undesirable characters.”
“That’s another thing, Captain. What is this package, who am I guarding it from, and how long do you expect me to remain banished to the far reaches of the star quadrant?”
The Captain stood and patted her shoulder. “I’ll explain on the way to the Shuttleport. Now, pack your things. Don’t take anything personal that can trace you back to who you are. You’ll be undercover. I suggest durable clothes.”
“And the Teslan terrain?”
“You won’t be on the surface.”
Terran cursed. Floater colony. “You want me to protect a fragile package from certain undesirables by myself in a colony made of run-down old ships woven together by outlaws and criminals? Screw the clothes. I’ll need firearms.”
The Captain’s brown eyes lit up a little, “We’ll provide everything you need, of course. Just take anything with you that you can’t bear to leave behind.”
Terran looked about her much neglected apartment. She filled a suitcase in under three minutes and zipped the thing up tight. “Ready, Captain.”
The car ride was a flurry of unanswered questions and mysterious details. The Captain was distracted and unusually downtrodden, and this distracted Terran. She spent so much time thinking of reasons why the Captain was upset and whether or not to ask him about it that she forgot to ask some very important questions up until they reached her Shuttleport gate. Flight #421: The spaceport, and then on to Tesla with stops at Elizabeth, Khurho, and Ximata.
“So where is this package?” Terran was almost afraid to ask. It was probably something lethal in origin like a Rhombetic bomb or blueprints for a weapon too destructive to leave on Earth for the time being.
The Captain spoke briefly into his lapel and a plain-clothes agent emerged from the crowd carrying a bundle. Terran’s heart sank. She’s imagined something horrific and delicate in nature and in some way she was right.
The agent slowly transferred the warm, dainty cocoon of steril-O blankets and ruffles into Terran’s unwilling arms, paying particular attention to the placement of the bundle propped up against the crook of Terran’s left elbow. The baby could not have been more than a few days old, and it was sleeping peacefully.
“We’re counting on you, Agent Sloan.” He said with the utmost authority in his voice.
The disembodied voice of a crew-member announced that the Shuttle was leaving shortly. The Captain and his agents began to walk away. With horror, Terran suddenly turned, having forgotten to ask a very important question.
“How long will I be gone?”
The Captain was nearly a hundred feet away when he turned with that shattered look in his eyes that had been troubling Terran all day, and suddenly she knew this wasn’t some snappy little case she could wrap up in a few months. She was being banished to uncivilized space with a newborn child for the duration of her entire career.
Current Mood: calm