Orlando the Adventurer pulled a Scimitar from beneath his Robes and smiled...
Saturday, 30 December 2017
Childrens Books: Ardora the Usurper
Ardora existed in light.
The killshot had ripped through the Red Vangar's engines from behind leaving Ardora blinded by the deathray burning through the Red corvette from stern to helm as the crashfoam enveloped her.
She played me like a fool. Delistra’s Gold Corvette had performed a twenty gee manouver that was impossible with a pilot. There had been no pilot aboard the Gold Corvette.
Conciousness gave way to oblivion.
In the distance a whisper of voices, out of reach, inaudible. Her mind cleared until wraiths loomed in the light coalescing in form until they were shadows, their voices tantalizing as though a young lover whispered. She smiled, her mind candyfloss. The shadows continued to draw into focus, their darkness hardening, blocking out the light, comming and going with urgency. Frantic urgency. The whisper growing until Ardora recognized something familiar. A saw? A whir of a high speed motor? The engine of her Red Vangar Rocket Ship winding down, and the inevitable explosion of the engine ripping her hearing apart. Her ear drums ruptured at the raging, furious sound of the Quantum Resonator shattering, and the silence returned, Burning replaced by a numb sensation. The shadows danced beyond her reach.
"Begin the mind scan." Darkness gave way to light. A twenty face polyhedron drifted in her sights, and then the point of five triangles opened from the center folding outward as a selection of colours which, on settling, divided and merged anew as the petals travelled outward from that distant centre. Wave upon wave of rippling, shifting colour petals rolled across Ardora's mindscape. A firestorm of memory burned in Ardora's mind until every moment in her brain was a raped and broken thing.
"Must I father?" Governor Sajen looked down at his daughter now tucked up in bed. "Yes my space princess...you must." He had diplomacied Ardora into her bed and sealed the deal with a kiss to her forehead.
Ardora waited. Waited until he had closed the door behind him. Waited for the sound of his feet to vanish into the distance. Waited for the house A.I. to power down the lights and shift the house to sleep mode. Waited for the kiss of her father on her forehead to put her into a slumber that would carry her to the morning yet it burned like rocket fuel on her skin and in her brain until she could take no more.
The only noise the thrum of defense net around the governors . Ardora retrieved the wilderness survival pack from within her closet, removing the roll of cables and ladder rungs as she entered her father's security code, and assured the residential defense net was down, lowered the emergency ladder from the window sill and slipped over the edge.
Tomorrow her father would take her to Pilot Assessment. Ardora smiled and ran along the path toward the spaceport. She had every intention of ensuring that would be a mere formality. Six personal hours that she could spend with her busy father.
Warmaster Reylar descended from the Passenger Transport Klarion to the Starport and collided with a child. The girl, no more than twelve, pausing to look up and lock eyes with the Warmaster in a moment of respect for his uniform, saluted.
"Who are you and what are you doing running around the Starport?" Reylar queried her presence taking the time to adjust his uniform.
"Ardora, Pilot Assessment, Sir!" Ardora continued to hold the salute waiting on the expected response. Reylar noticed the salute and the immaculate crimson and black recruit's uniform and rewarded her attention to such detail.
"As you were Recruit." Reylar returned the salute and disengaged from the moment allowing the child to continue on her way. Reylar smiled recalling his own childhood on the docks of the Spaceport. Ardora, Pilot Assessment. Instinct told the old Warmaster he should keep an eye out for her assessment listing but his attention focused on the four naval officers awaiting his arrival.
"Warmaster." They saluted.
"Gentlemen..." Warmaster Reylar returned the salute. "How say you?"
"Nothing ventured.” Reylar nodded at the code, assessing the four young officers before him. “Nothing gained."
Reylar breathed the evening air. It had been a long time since he walked the City Promenade to the Governor's Mansion.
Ardora found herself invigourated at having met a real live Warmaster and he had saluted her and called her a recruit. Now...all she needed was the right rocket to undertake her Pilot Assement.
The Space Navy hanger past the crowded passenger docks was open. The space navy rockets were all a dull gray. Which one should she take? Ardora passed the heavy gray corvettes and spotted something shiny and red. A Red Corvette. It was an older, sleeker model than the gray corvettes designed for transporting troops into heavy fire drop zones. The Red Corvette Vangar. It was beautiful.
Ardora starred at the code key standing in the way of her future testing. A finger tapped her lip before she experienced a moment of insight and she entered her father’s personal code releasing the hatch. Smiling, Ardora climbed aboard.
In the pilot's seat Ardora activated the corvette's systems bringing online the assessment simulator.
"Welcome to pilot assessment."