The Fate of Terra Ch. 14byIntrepid_Fate©
Sun Mi was decidedly nervous. Not long after Michael had left her cell, a couple of armored troopers arrived and escorted her out. Warily eying their shock sticks, she'd been amazed when they had brought her to her old quarters and left. She remembered wondering what was going on and what she'd done to warrant such an upgrade.
Checking her terminal, she'd been astonished to realize she could still access the ship's network. She knew this wasn't an oversight --from what she'd seen, her captors didn't make mistakes. Not able to resist the temptation, she hastily typed a message to her father letting him know she was okay, but that her situation was undetermined. Sun Mi was unable to access any navigational data and a number of other areas were locked out. It was clear that she was still being watched... that she wasn't 'free.'
Her heart sank when she realized that all of her files had been altered to remove all of the sensitive data she'd stolen. They weren't deleted --no, that'd be too easy. It would have taken less than a minute to destroy or replace the memory and storage components in her terminal. Instead, they had chosen to break into her system and locate all of her hidden files, each with their own encryption programs, and go through them -essentially line by line due to her embedded text- to purge the system of just that particular information and nothing else.
No hacker likes to have their systems cracked, but the speed and ease in which this was done made it seem like they were laughing at her. Her carefully planned defenses, which would have been a nightmare for her to even consider penetrating, were casually brushed aside. The completely functioning terminal that remained was almost a challenge as they told her, 'better luck next time.'
Inspecting the pocket of the foam mattress, Sun Mi saw that the memory stick she'd hidden had been removed. The other one she'd had on her when she'd been captured was already confiscated. She sighed and looked around the room. Her eyes fell on the entrance hatch and she nervously approached. Expecting it to be locked, she almost let go of the button which cycled it open in surprise. She cringed as she expected armored troopers to rush in. When nothing happened, she curiously poked her head out into the empty corridor and frowned in confusion. Not quite brave enough to go exploring, she ducked back into her quarters and waited.
Now, a day and a half later, she was still waiting... She feared they'd lock her back up in a cell if someone came looking and found her missing, but with nothing to really do, she was seriously considering going out. The problem was that every time she convinced herself to leave, her imagination would run wild, conjuring up disturbingly graphic images of diabolical tortures and slow deaths.
It was becoming harder to associate her initial capture with the situation she presently found herself in. Meals had been delivered to her room and she had been left to her own devices in an environment she had felt quite at home in for over a month. She was actually starting to wonder if they had forgotten about her. Her mouth set into a fine line as she considered it. 'No... NO. They wouldn't have the audacity to- oh what am I saying... of course they would.' Sun Mi blew out her breath and slapped the top of the desk. 'Fine,' she thought with finality. 'Whatever happens happens.' She got up and marched towards the hatch.
She let out squeak of surprise as the hatch opened and Michael stepped through. Ignoring her 'hand in the cookie jar' expression, he handed her a cute champagne-colored dress and a pair of black pumps. "Aki picked them out," he told her with a smile. "Get dressed and be in the forward hangar in twenty minutes."
Sun Mi gaped at him. After all the waiting and nerves she'd had to deal with, she hated that he sounded so normal. 'Doesn't he have any idea what I've been through?' she wondered, miffed. "For what?" she managed to say.
"We're going to a party," he answered, already turning to leave.
"Wh-What?" she exclaimed, desperate to make some sense of this.
He mused aloud without turning, and by his tone she could tell he was smiling, "We could always find something to do that didn't require you getting dressed..."
"Twenty minutes," she agreed hastily, not caring where they were going so long as he stopped that line of thought.
Nodding, Michael exited and her shoulders slumped in relief. At the agreed upon time, she took the lift down and was amazed at the sight before her as she stepped into the open space. The enormous bay doors were wide open, revealing a clear blue sky. Walking up to the edge, there was a knee high barrier that was part of the frame which housed the internal shield that protected the hangar when it was open. It was currently deactivated and she looked over the edge, seeing a huge lake below that held pristine water which reflected the sky.
Wind blew through her hair and she felt invigorated by the icy air she breathed as she saw a ring of snow-capped mountains all around. Curiously, the lake wasn't frozen and there even appeared to be people swimming in it. "Pretty, isn't it?" she heard a voice to her right say. Sun Mi jerked in surprise, so preoccupied had she been in the view that she had failed to notice the approach of Admiral Lindström who stood next to her, looking over the side as well.
Nodding guiltily, not knowing how to face her boss who now knew she had been a plant, she asked, "Where are we?"
The admiral pursed her lips and answered, "An undisclosed location. It will be the site for the new Embassy of Extraterrestrial Affairs. It actually has its own shield system and will be considered a separate country outside of the Council's influence. Since we control the Aegis system, we figured we might as well control the first stop visitors to our planet will arrive at."
Sun Mi bowed her head in sadness, knowing she didn't deserve to be trusted with information the Council would obviously want to know about. "I guess they're not happy about having to go through you to have dealings with the aliens." she surmised. "I had no idea you guys had this much power."
Aurora scoffed, "They can go screw themselves. And it's not about power, it's about control. We're going to be gone for who-knows how long. We just want to make sure we have a home to come back to. Copies of Pandora will be monitoring Earth to make sure some self-serving authority doesn't try and collapse what we've worked so hard to maintain. We're even growing a new AI to handle the planet's defense if it comes to another attack. Our factories are extending further and further into the Oort cloud and production is increasing exponentially, just in case we meet a new hostile race that takes offense at our existence."
The commander that was well on her way to becoming 'battle-hardened' leaned forward and rested her hands on the metal construct. "Just because we won't be here doesn't mean that Earth isn't still our responsibility," she declared with a weary sigh, as if she and everyone under her command had accepted a lifelong burden they would carry even if it meant the death of them.
Sun Mi didn't know how to respond. The admiral made her feel small. She'd mistakenly considered the crew and the soldiers that fought for Michael as simple mercenaries that had decided to join his private army for better pay, positions they wouldn't be able to receive in the regular military, or whatever the case may be. She suddenly realized that they were just as devoted to the betterment of humanity than any government-run body, and in some instances more so."
"Come on," Aurora told her, face cheerful again. "The shuttles are leaving." Sun Mi followed along in silence wondering what her own goal was. What did she fight for? Was serving the Council who wouldn't even give her a decent chance what she'd struggled all her life for? These people were other going to kill her or let her go. Did she really want to be let go; to remain here on Earth as a noncom patrolling human space for the rest of her life? Who was she kidding... they wouldn't even allow that as it would leave her in a position of responsibility.
They had barely let her have an expendable job in intelligence, her mission almost certainly doomed to fail. Maybe in another decade or so things would change. But at 25, by then she'd be nearly as old as the Admiral. Could she really stay the course? Sun Mi shook her head as she entered the shuttle. It was definitely something to figure out. As her training officer had told her on her first day as a cadet in the Red Guard, 'she needed to get her shit together.'
When the shuttles had landed, they released their passengers into a veritable throng of people. There were over ten thousand aliens that had been brought on their two hundred plus ships and this constituted their going away party as they would all soon be boarding the Intrepid to journey back to their home worlds. They were eager to fight for their independence and were heartened by the efforts of the warlike Terrans whom they had nearly built up into a mythical status.
As the ramp of their shuttle lowered, Sun Mi turned to Aki, as the twins had sat on either side of her when she'd boarded, and asked, "Why are we having the party now? I thought we weren't scheduled to leave for nearly two weeks."
"We're not," Aki confirmed. "...but the Intrepid is going into dry dock tomorrow," Rin added. "...and the crew is scheduled to be back from leave the day after Christmas," Aki explained. "...so there really wasn't time to do it later," Rin finished. Michael chuckled, sitting across from them. They had started to do that as well as other things twins were famous for, like pretending to be the other.
He thought it had something to do with them finding their niche onboard and now they were experiencing all the things they had missed in their childhood growing up in their confined environment. Michael grinned as he thought of Aki's impersonation of Rin with her serious expression. Kat bumped his shoulder with hers, wearing a grin of her own, knowing what her partner was thinking of.
They got off and joined the mass of figures lining the beach. The water, artificially warmed, was in stark contrast to the ski slopes that seemed to go straight up to the peaks of the mountains that surrounded the secluded lake. Sun Mi was startled to see people riding the gondolas up to the top in their beachwear. Michael smiled as he noted the same.
Growing up in Washington, there was nothing he liked more than snowboarding down Mt. Baker in a T-shirt when the sun was out. They'd tried to get the weather perfect so that, while warm, it still had that brisk cool feeling you got when you went hiking in the mountains. The girls grabbed Michael's hands and led him away to play volleyball and Sun Mi suddenly found herself alone.
Hands on her hips, she frowned. Wasn't she supposed to be the prisoner here? "What the hell?" she muttered. Sighing, she walked along the beach and observed openings in the rock that dotted the mountainsides around the ring. They were no doubt the carved-out buildings that represented hotels, shuttle depots, office buildings, and warehouses that would be required for the visitors from outer space.
Sun Mi was startled when something that looked like a large, multi-colored bird flew by close to her face. She had gotten a close look at the sharp talons of the beats and gulped, once again wondering how the Felicians could have the deadly-looking things as pets. They had been dubbed drakes by humans, though she didn't know why since aside from their leathery wings they looked more like furry snakes.
Extremely intelligent, they were often seen as lazy by most outsiders as the only time anyone really saw them was when they were perfectly happy to drape themselves over their owner's shoulders and fall asleep. Once though, she had seen one eat a squirrel aboard the Intrepid and was well aware of how suddenly they could strike to great effect. You had to be of the warrior caste to have one and she knew it was considered a great honor to be given the chance to tame one. Unfortunately, she'd been told they had been killed extensively over the past century as poachers would hunt the drakes for their venom which had a variety of uses.
She watched as the drake flew over a crowd of children all screaming in delight and trying to grab it. The creature easily evaded the tiny hands and seemed to be having fun. She shook her head in amazement. Taking off her shoes, she continued her walk, enjoying the feeling of the surf coming up to her ankles and the breeze fluttering her long dark hair and flimsy dress.
* * * * *
Michael took off his shirt and served the ball, having trouble keeping his eyes off the image of the twins in front of him, bent over facing the other team. Their bikinis emphasized their curves and did little to hide the fact that their sweet, succulent asses were only a few feet away. Stacey nimbly returned the ball, aiming for a spot between Michael and Kat. Aurora, in front of Stacey, thought she was going to have it easy being much taller than the twins.
She was thus completely surprised when Rin hoisted a running Aki who then spun and spiked the ball Stacey had hit between the admiral's legs, their speed making it appear like they had pulled off the maneuver with ease. Dejah gave a raspy chuckle and said, "Aha, so that's how you want to play. Yes, enhancements would make things more interesting."
The twins ran to each other and did a chest bump, their tits mashing together. Michael groaned and Kat, whose own mouth was watering at the display, warned them, "Careful girls... or we're never going to make it through the game."
Michael laughed. "Look who's talking?" Indicating her skimpy black thong bikini, he said, "You purposely wore a size too small to tease me."
"Two sizes," Kat corrected him with a wicked, unrepentant grin.
Aurora piped up, indicating the rising indentation they could all see on Michael's boardshorts, "Perhaps we could move this game into the water to... err, hide the temptation."
The twins laughed at her. Rin said, "You just don't want aerial acrobatics to play a part in the game."
"Besides," Aki declared, looking at Michael's hardening cock, "who would want to hide 'that?'" Nevertheless, after the game in which Michael's team had won, they agreed to move to water volleyball.
Aurora's team won that one and they were debating whether to go best out of three or board the cycle of shuttles that were rising and descending in the middle of the lake, allowing people to jump off them from great heights, when Stacey asked, "Where'd the twins go?" Looking around, they could see no sign of them and began scanning the beach, packed with aliens and the crew of the Intrepid.
Suddenly, Michael choked out, "F-found them..." All the girls looked to him and then down at the ripples around his waist and grinned. After nearly a minute, Rin came up coughing and sputtering.
"Holy shit," she rasped. "Aki can really hold her breath."
Michael just murmured, head leaning back, "Best. Blowjob. Ever..." The girls all perked up at this and decided they weren't going to let that statement pass without a challenge. Kat raised the stakes when it was her turn to go underwater by removing her top and using her considerable breasts to her advantage.
A naughty smile crossed Stacey's face and she slowly backed up from the group, silently submerging herself. Seconds later, Dejah let out an, "Oh!" and suddenly the game was on to see who could bring off whom without letting the people around them know what was going on.
* * * * *
Sun Mi had been walking for about an hour and was surprised to see she'd only managed to traverse maybe half the distance around the loop. This was truly an impressive installation. She paused when she observed a group of different races of aliens surrounding a young girl. The girl seemed to be fighting three at once and she made to intervene. Before she reached them however, it became obvious that this was an arranged match and that the blonde girl didn't need help from anybody.
Mara beamed at her student as she wiped the floor with some of the best fighters in her company. Granted, she was enhanced now, but she wasn't using her full strength and her technique was flawless. Mara had talked to Michael and knew he had plans for Tanya. She would soon be practicing with some of the other teens her age that had shown promise. Michael had assured her that by the time the girl was sixteen, she'd be in charge of her own company.
Tanya deftly evaded a kick, pivoting to keep her two remaining opponents stacked and in each others' way. She made to charge the opponent closest to her and when he stopped his attack to put up a block, she dove and took out the knee of the second one. Spinning around the grab of the first, she brought her knee up into his chin in a lightning fast maneuver that had him collapsing to the sand, knees wobbly.
Tanya made an effort to calm herself, knowing she was getting too eager and brought her hands in to focus herself as she faced her remaining opponent. The four-armed mercenary got to his feet favoring the leg she'd kicked, but still able. Tanya waited for him to work himself up and just as he shifted his weight to go on the offensive, she exploded forward, sending a long leg driving towards his midsection.
The kick winded him, but he managed to get his two lower arms around her leg, locking it in place. A silly grin crossed his face as he thought he had finally gotten her. He should have been watching her other leg as she bent backwards like a contortionist and pushed off the ground with her hands, sending her other foot driving upwards into his temple with a 'crack.' His hefty frame fell as if in slow motion and the surrounding mercenaries cheered wildly.
Sun Mi was stunned at what she'd seen. The girl was soon surrounded and congratulated on all sides. Soon however, the crowd dispersed and she heard mention of the 'Terrans' providing different kinds of beer from all over the world and that they 'needed' to try each one before they left. Mara, the last to leave, picked Tanya up and gave her a big hug, something she'd picked up from the humans. "You were wonderful, little dragon." Leaning down she kissed her atop her head and whispered, "I will see you at the dinner."
Tanya bowed her head. "Thank you for bettering my life," she said in a way that made it sound like a ritual parting she repeated after each of her sessions. After her teacher had left, she looked around and saw Sun Mi watching. She ran up to her with a big smile and asked, "Hey, you're the spy right?" The way she said 'spy' didn't make it sound like the curse she'd come to expect with its connotations.
Sun Mi looked surprised, but nodded her head --if a bit sheepishly- and admitted, "Yeah, I-"
She was cut off as Tanya yelled, "That's so COOL!" Completely oblivious to the stunned expression on the woman's face, she grabbed her hand and pulled her along. "So, how'd you do it? Did the Council remove your old life and give you a new identity like in the movies? Did you learn all that infiltration stuff from when you were in North Korea? Rin says you should be running the Council's intelligence branch because they don't know what the hell they're doing... How did you manage to copy the files? I thought most of that stuff was stored in the AI cores..."
Completely speechless and unable to make herself respond to even one of the flurry of questions she was being bombarded with, Sun Mi was thankful that the young girl was agreeable to keep talking right along. Over the course of the afternoon however, the inquisitive teen managed to pull from her just about everything she remembered about her situation and much that she'd forgotten. As the sun dipped below the horizon, the operative, whose place in life was undetermined, shook her head in dismay.