tagSci-Fi & FantasyAsk Alice Ch. 04

Ask Alice Ch. 04

bylostindavoid©

Notes from the author:

Hello reader. Welcome to part four of Ask Alice. In the first three installments I left the reader with a relatively complete tale. Part four got a little long so I'm breaking it up into two installments. Hopefully it's still a good read. The next half will be published as soon as possible.

*****

Part One-Imperial Navy Space station orbiting planet New Nippon... sometime in the future.


So this is what zero gravity feels like, Alice thought with delight as she floated with a slight spin above the floor of the space elevator. Her best friend Joy Maeda floated next to her giggling like a fool.

"We were told to keep our seats," a stern and slightly ill looking young woman said. She was strapped snugly in a seat in a line of them to Alice's right.

"Come on Ishani," Joy said to the woman." loosen up, have some fun."

The mention of the young woman's name caught Alice's attention. Two mirrors ago Ishani was the makeup girl at a movie set Alice visited. Like the other Ishani, this one was dark skinned and very beautiful even though she was on the verge of being ill.

"Watching you guys spin is really gonna make me barf," Ishani said, she shut her eyes and took a deep breath. "Told you I wanted to take the full gravity ride up."

"Where's the fun in that?" Joy said as she spun in a circle, her long dark hair floated around her head in a goofy halo that made Alice laugh.

A chime sounded followed by an announcement.

"Gravity will return in thirty seconds. Please make sure that all possessions are secure. If you are not in a secure seat, make sure that your feet are oriented correctly. Blue surfaces will be the new down when the elevator stops."

Alice scrambled to get back in her seat. Joy and the few other brave floating people propel themselves to the blue wall at one end of the elevator. None of them seem overly worried about the returning gravity so Alice turned and pulled herself along the seats to join them.

"Gravity returning in ten seconds," the announcer said over the steady chiming. "nine... eight... seven... "

"We would never be allowed to do this on a regular civilian trip up," Joy said as she pressed her back to the the blue wall.

Alice did the same and she frowned... Did Joy just say civilian? Are we in some future army or something? Alice's stomach did a flip flop and it had nothing to do with the returning gravity. I'm am so fucked if I'm in some futuristic space army, she thought.

Alice's weight returned and her back press down onto the blue carpeted floor. What she had thought of as the floor seconds before was now a yellow carpeted wall. The rows of harness seats stretched above her. A mechanical whine filled the space as the seats reoriented themselves to the new down.

"Please exit through the glowing orange hatches," the announcer said.

Alice watched the people in the seats above her file off to their right in the direction of flashing orange doorways.

"You getting up lazy ass?" Joy asked standing over Alice. Joy offered a hand and pulled Alice to her feet. Joy wore a black cotton skirt and a nice comfortable looking gray top. The Joy Maeda of this world was physically identical to Alice's best friend from two mirrors ago. Alice was barely five feet but that still put her a couple of inched above Joy. Alice's slim figure with A-cup breasts seem voluptuous compared to Joy's petite frame. Alice had her beat in every bodily category except perhaps the butt. Joy's ass was always ripe and kicking to Alice's opinion. That particular feature of Joy was well displayed as Alice followed her up a ladder to get to one of the flashing orange exits. Alice couldn't help but notice that Joy wore bright pink panties.

"Stop looking up my skirt you fucking pervert!" Joy said.

Alice laughed for the Joy Maeda of her world would have said the exact same thing.

They stepped into a white luminescent hall that curved and wound upward opening up into a large light infused space made of glass and steel that looked a lot like a shopping mall. Hell it WAS a shopping mall! On a deck above them Alice saw a sign for McDonald's. On her level, next to a place called No Kill Kobe Beef & Sushi was a Starbucks!

"All honorary Imperial cadets gather here please," a tall blond woman holding what looked like a razor thin I-pad called out.

"That be us," Ishani said standing joining Joy and Alice. Ishani was an inch taller than Alice. She wore a florescent skirt, fuchsia tights and a lime green top. The combination of colors made Alice's eyes hurt. Ishani's eye makeup and lipstick was just as flashy as her outfit. Most the group of so called honorary cadets were dressed in the same gaudy fashion. Oddly, even the men wore eye make.

"What are you wearing?" Ishani asked Alice frowning at the the Rolling Stones symbol of lips and hanging tongue depicted on her t-shirt. Alice rolled her eyes. She now wished she had put more thought into picking her clothes back in 1983 Los Vegas... barely an hour ago for her.

"Blue jeans and a holy stone t-shirt," Joy answered for her.

"Rolling Stones," Alice automatically corrected.

Ishani said, "Nina, search Rolling Stones, please."

Alice looked around for this Nina person Ishani was speaking to.

Ishani pulled out a wafer thin cell phone and pointed it at Alice's chest. "Search that image too."

"The Rolling Stones were a popular rock n roll band in the mid to late twentieth century Earth," came a soft female voice from the cell phone. "Would you like to hear a song?"

"Sure, Nina," Ishani said.

'Sympathy for the Devil' came out of Ishani's phone and Alice barked an involuntary laugh at hearing the old familiar rock tune in this strange futuristic place.

"That's by Nova Sin from Orion II," Joy said.

"No," Ishani said, "it was done by an older band. I think it was Red Sand from Mars."

"Both those bands made covers of Sympathy for the Devil," said, Nina's voice coming from Ishani's phone. "But it originated with the Rolling Stones from earth."

"Thanks, Nina," Ishani said.

Alice wondered if Nina was a friend or relative of Ishani's.

"Didn't know you were into old Earth rock bands," Joy said.

"Um... the Stones are great," Alice said lamely. "I like Nirvana too." Weirdly, Alice had considered those bands to be ancient history back in 2014.

The blond woman with the razor thin I-pad spoke over everyone else.

"Orientation for all skin-fighter trainees will go with Carmen."

"That be you and me," Joy said to Alice with a lusty tone and a gleam in her eyes. The Joy Maeda from Alice's world used that same expression when checking out hot guys.

"You guys are gonna ace this," Ishani said, excited for her friends. "Especially you Alice. All time highest marks for a civilian trainee."

"Bet you get a free ride at Imperial Academy," Joy said sounding a little envious.

"It's because she studies," Ishani said. "Unlike you party girl."

Joy gave Ishani the finger.

Oh my God, Alice thought, I'm gonna ruin this Alice's career because I know shit about being... what did I-pod blond call us? Skin-fighters? What the fuck was that! Do we strip down naked in this future world and duke it out in some kind of arena? Visions of Mad Max and the Hunger Games flashed through her mind.

"None skin-fighter trainees come with me," I-pod blond yelled as she backed up and waved for people to follow.

"That be me," Ishani said and shuffled off with the larger group of people.

"Johannes, Kang, Matisse, Mihara, please stay here for a special interview," Carmen, the person in charge of the skin-fighters called out. The skin-fighters not singled out followed Carmen.

"Already, standing out," Joy said. "Goddess be with you." She hugged Alice and then trotted off with her designated group.

Panic gripped Alice as she watched the Joy Maeda of this strange new world walk away.

"You four come with me," came a stern female voice.

A tall, dark skinned woman with Polynesian features stood looking at the cadets with an expression of bored contempt, she had long black hair done up in tight dreadlocks, her eye were painted pure black with sliver highlights giving her a stern almost sinister look. She wore a dark blue, skin tight outfit that left nothing to the imagination. Every plane and curve of her body was well define. Fortunately for her she had one hell of a body. In her hands was a I-pad thing like the blond had. The woman turned crisply and strode away. The three young cadets, all female, fell in step behind her. Alice considered not following. Perhaps she could hide out in the Starbucks just a few feet away. Its familiarity pulled at her like iron fillings to a magnet. She quickly nixed running off for if she truly were in some kind of space army they would probably just arrest her for desertion. Alice broke into a run to catch up with the group and fell in step.

"Look at her butt," one of the cadets whispered.

It was hard not to. Their guide had what Joy would call a sprinter's ass, round full and solid.

"Those are the new skin-suits," another in the group whispered.

"I think that they're obscene," another commented.

"All Navy personnel will be wearing these by years end," their stern escort said without looking back. "It's form fitting because the skin-suit is the essential first layer in operating a space suit. Before these new skin-suits came along a person had to remove their standard navy jumper, put on the old skin-suit and then the space suit. With a hull breach who has that kind of time? In fact, these new suits can serve as an emergence space suit in a pinch. And I agree with you Johannes, the new skins are obscene... but that's what I like that about them."

Cadet Johannes' face flushed red.

"Excuse me ma'am," another in the group said.

Their escort stopped abruptly. The cadets stopped too all colliding into each other like a pileup on a highway. Their guide in blue turned and got in the young woman whom had just spoken.

"You will address me as Lieutenant Haiku. I know you are all just honorary Navy cadets but you had best learn to identify officer ranks. Also, both sexes are addressed as sir so cut the ma'am shit."

"Um... yes, ma'am! Lieutenant Haiku... um, sir!" the young woman sputtered, red faced.

"So what is your question Honorary cadet Matisse?" Lieutenant Haiku asked still standing inched from the poor girl their noses nearly touching.

"Um... Lieutenant, sir, have we been singled out because of our high scores in the simulated skin-fighter drills, sir?"

" I don't give a shit about how well you play holo games," Haiku said. "As far as I'm concerned you are all over privileged, over pampered inner Cluster wastes of time." The Lieutenant looked away from cadet Matisse and her eyes sought out Alice. "You Mihara," the lieutenant said, "are the only one in this brat pack that earned her way into the program. Your scores were exceptional."

Fucking great, Alice thought. I'm some kind of space astronaut prodigy. They're going to send me into battle against marauding aliens! Images of giant insects tearing people into bits danced through her head. Alice was so wrapped in her morbid thoughts that she didn't see the other cadets giving her looks of resentment. Lieutenant Haiku turned and strode off. The group followed.

"Your accent is very lovely, Lieutenant Haiku, sir," said cadet Matisse. Where are you from?"

"Nobody likes a suck up, Matisse," Lieutenant Haiku said. "You are all worldly women. What planet do you think I'm from?"

"Oceania," Johannes, said immediately proving that she was the most comparative in the group.

"Obvious guess," Haiku said, "and wrong."

"New Nippon," said the last unidentified member in the group. "I hear some of that in your speech pattern."

"I'm an Imperial Navy Officer, cadet Kang," Haiku said. "ALL officers train here, so wrong again."

"Planet Nimitz?" Johannes barked.

"Do I look like a whore to you?" Haiku asked.

"No sir!" Johannes said immediately with a look of fear.

"So you think I'm an escape convict then?"

"No, Sir!" Johannes barked again.

"You're not playing Mihara," Haiku said giving Alice a quick look as they turned a corner and went into a tunnel glowing with defused white light.

"Not good with accents... sir," Alice said just above a whisper.

"Go ahead, guess, place me, Mihara."

I truly know nothing! Alice wanted to scream at the woman as the fist of panic grew tighter in her chest. In desperation she said, "You sound like a local from Hawaii, sir."

"Very good Mihara."

"Earth?" Kang asked sounding surprised.

"My parents took me on a holo trip to Hawaii," Johannes said.

"I'm sure that makes you an expert on the subject," Haiku said. "And it's the Kingdom of Hawaii or the KOH as we like to call it."

"Are we going to the Navy docks?" Matisse asked with awe and excitement. A lit sign overhead read, Imperial Space Navy check point. Navy personnel and authorized civilians only.

"You are a master of deduction, cadet Matisse," Haiku said clearly not meaning it.

Beyond the check point, the tunnel opened up to black sky and a billion stars.

"Look! It's the Miami!" Kang blurted out.

Part two-Aboard The Imperial Navy Spaceship Miami

Beyond a skyscraper tall curving glass wall loomed a silver, white and blue structure so massive that it would dwarf a modern day aircraft carrier from Alice's time. The words INS Miami were painted crisply in bright blue letters on the ship's side. It was right out of a science fiction movie. Alice gawked awestruck at the massive spaceship.

"Can someone tell me her history?" Haiku asked as she handed her I-pad to a guard at the entrance to the space dock. Cadet Johannes started droning off stats.

The guard hardly gave Lieutenant Haiku's I-pad a glance as he handed it to another guard next to him. Alice's eyes widened. The other guard was clearly a robot and Alice stared like an idiot. It was shiny dark metallic blue and kind of looked like C3PO from Star Wars only smoother. The letters INI were etched on its chest in gold. Unlike the clunky movements from the movie robot though, this robot moved with perfect human grace. The others paid the robot no heed whatsoever so Alice forced herself to look away too.

"Welcome back Lieutenant, the robot said in a sexy deep male voice.

"Thanks Marko," Haiku said flatly as she took back her I-pad from the robot.

Alice's heart skipped at the mention of the robot's name for she immediately associated it with the crazy gangster Marco Delamo from Las Vegas in 1983. In her odd span of existence, she had said her goodbys to the sadistic gangster just a couple of hours ago.

The robot scanned the group of honorary cadets with its unblinking eyes. "These are the ones for the guided tour of the Miami?" the robot asked.

Alice was convinced that the robot WAS Marko the gangster. In all her other mirror travels, personalities repeated in one form or another. But a fucking robot? That was too much.

"We're going to get a tour of the Miami?" Kang asked with girlish excitement.

"Yes," Marko the robot said in his silky smooth baritone. He pulled out a gun and pointed it at Kang. Alice flinched and stepped back. A light flashed and the gun threw a circle of green light on Kang's face. The robot did the same to Johannes the next cadet in line. Marco scanned Matisse. Alice, the last, held back unmoving. She was convinced that the green light would some how prove that she wasn't the Alice Mihara of this world.

"Mihara, step up!" Haiku said. "I'm on a schedule!"

With crawling skin, Alice subjected herself to the flash. She just about held her hand so that they could slap the cuffs on her.

"You are all cleared to board the Imperial Navy battleship Miami," Marco said sounding cheerful.

Haiku said, "You will be taken on a tour of the main bridge, the skin-fighter bay and the drive chamber. Do not stray to areas not on the scheduled tour. If you do, the ship's computer will see you as a hostile, seal you off and gas you. Understood?"

Everyone nodded.

"Will we get to meet Captain Kahakaloha?" Johannes asked.

"Yes," Haiku said. "The legendary Captain Kahakaloha will put aside his important schedule with planetary command and the Central Cluster Administration to meet with four honorary cadets."

Johannes and Matisse bubbled excitedly. Cadet Kang and Alice exchanged a look for both had caught Lieutenant Haiku's obvious sarcasm. Haiku rolled her eyes and herded the cadets through the security gate. Alice had the distinct feeling that Marco the robot was eying her up as they walked away.

They stepped onto a gangplank leading up to an open hatch. The gangplank was made of glass and white metal or plastic. Most of the traffic moving to and from the ship were machines. Some had vaguely human forms like Marco but most were oddly shaped with strange appendages. Alice caught the familiar smell of pizza just as a squat boxy robot with bright red, green and yellow trim zipped by, the words Papa John's Pizza magically scrolled in a circle around its head in green and red letters. Alice found the smell and familiar logo comforting and wanted to chase after the zipping machine to hold it close.

Almost all the people wore the same tight outfit as Lieutenant Haiku in varying colors. She did her best not to stare at the men's well defined crotches as they passed. It made her think of a ballet performance she went to in high school were she couldn't take her eyes off the male dancers crotches. She remembered how she and Joy giggled about it through out the whole performance. Unfortunately, some of the Miami's crew were not in excellent shape like Lieutenant Haiku, but enough were to make for some interesting eye candy. Perhaps here in the future men and women were beyond silly adolescent perceptions of the human body, she thought.

The interior of the ship seemed no different from the corridors of the space station, all white and clean with defused overhead light. Haiku herded the cadets into a large elevator big enough to park a full size SUV in.

"Bridge," Haiku said.

Seconds later the door opened onto a space that screamed futuristic starship command bridge. Alice scanned the busy bridge looking for pointy eared guys and voluptuous green skinned women. But everyone on the bridge appeared human... aside from the robots.

"Officer on the bridge!" one of the bridge operators barked. Everyone, including a hand full of robots stopped what they were doing and stood at attention.

"At ease," Haiku said and sat in what was clearly the command chair.

"Anything to report, Crewman Norman," Haiku asked.

"White fish and yellow rice for dinner, sir," A woman said.

"Fuck that, I'm eating out," Haiku said.

Crewman Norman cracked a smile. She was dark skinned with tight sexy curves. Her silver skin-suit showed off a rigorous workout regime, her dark hair was up in a bun, her movements hinted at tight military discipline. The only thing that belayed her over all look was her eye make up. Like Haiku's it seemed too heavy and elaborate. In Alice's time, no military organization would allow such a thing. Yet in this future world, even the men wore heavy eye makeup!

"Crewman Tago, give the kiddies a view," Haiku said.

A man in a skin-suit the same color as Haiku's seated at a sleek control panel nodded, his heavy eye makeup gave him an avian look. The curved white blank walls all around the bridge became transparent windows looking out onto the space station. Several other spaceships big and small were docked here and there. Yet, as spectacularly as the docked spaceships were, it was the bright blue planet that held Alice's attention most. It wasn't Earth she knew... and her heart pounded at the thought.

Alice looked around worried that she was behaving out of character but the other cadets seem to be just as impressed with the view. Barely knowing she was doing it, Alice walked to the nearest window to get a better look. She put her hand against the glass to brush her fingers over the distant blue ball. It looked so much like Earth! Fresh panic seized her for she had no idea what the name of the planet was.

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