Part two of my space opera.


United Naval Space Corps

I step out of the suite and make my way down to the main deck levels of the ship. On the main deck I spend some time looking around the ship at the various attractions. I find a space history museum towards the aft of the ship, and follow the guided tour, listening to the guide describe the history of man in space.

Stepping out of the museum and into the harsh artificial sunlight, I squint and look around me at my surroundings. Something glittery catches my eye at the bar across the pavilion. And from what I know, there is only one person who could wear something that sparkly. I make my way across the pavilion and towards the bar.

Stepping up to the bar I signal the bartender I’m ready to order. “A MAC Cannon and a Hell Bringer on the rocks please.”

The sparkling monstrosity that I sat next to stops flirting with the guy next to her and turns to face me.

“Sarah? What are you doing here? Aren’t you a bit too young to be drinking?” Her comment makes me crack a grin.

“And aren’t you too old to be acting innocent and pure?” A look of shock spreads across her face.

“What! Anyways, do you even know what a MAC Canon shot is? It’s not something for someone like you to be drinking. Only a real adult can drink it!” If you look at the seams of her dress you could see her self-pride inflating, stressing the seams of her dress.

“Excuse me ladies… Two MAC Cannon shots. And young miss, the Hell Bringer on the rocks will be ready shortly.” A man dressed as an old-fashioned butler sets two metal shot glasses wrapped in a silicone sleeve in front of Anita and I. Faint sparks could be seen bridging the gap in between the two shot glasses.

I look at my sister with another sideways smirk. “All right fine then. Take your shot, pull the trigger and bottoms up! And no discharging the shot!” I grab the shot glass closest to me, with Anita mirroring me a second behind. The hair on the back of my hand stands up from the static electricity the shot is putting off.

“In three… two… one… fire up!” At the same time both of us tip the glass and our heads back and down the shot as quickly as we dare. Or at least we try to. The moment the glasses touch our lips, a jolt of electricity hits us like lightning. Anita immediately pulls the glass away from her face and try’s again.

For me though I let the sharp mix of alcohol and electricity slide to the back of my mouth before swallowing. As soon as I slam the shot glass down on the bar, all the men in the bar jump up and start cheering. It’s not every day they see a woman down a MAC Cannon shot in one go. Anita took her sweet time and finally finished hers in four tries’, and no one gave her the time of day.

The shot only consists of the purest of clear vodkas, moon shines, and tequilas, mixed with a touch of medical grade silver slurry. Not only does the shot consist of almost pure alcohol, the entire drink, metal glass and all are charged with several hundred thousand kilovolts of electricity.

“Now, now big sister. I thought you were the one who was going to show me how it was done?” With her mouth and tongue effectively tasered, Anita was only able to reply in unintelligible sounds.

Between my sister’s unintelligible slurs and mumbles, I hear a pair of boots walking up behind me.

“Now ladies, I don’t see the reason for competition here? Unless you are both bored, then I might be able to find something for you both to do that is more constructive? And bartender, can I get a Degaussing shot over here? It appears this lady is a bit frazzled.”

I turn around only to find John standing behind us. “Well if it isn’t Captain Stardrop himself! Did you finally wreck something so bad they put you on administrative leave?” I Smirk at John and watch his face for a reaction. Though as usual I am disappointed in the results of my insult.

“No, they rather have me working currently. Running an escort for a luxury liner. I just thought I might as well check on board during my time off. And when I saw that your name was on the passenger list I decided to give you a visit. And why don’t you introduce me to the lovely young lady that your trying to murder?” I roll my eyes so hard they almost flip over.

“Well it sounds like you are slacking off while on the job. But the sparkling gorilla that can only speak in grunts is my sister, Anita Keys. Anita, the space worm standing here is Captain John Starlock. Captain of the UNSC something or other with a name that if I tell you I will be forced to kill you, or something like that. Whatever. Haven’t you already met her when picking me up?”

“I’m the captain of the UNSC Night Panther. The names no secret, just the rest of the ship is.” John says to Anita. He turns towards me, “And no, I’ve never met her, you haven’t even let me out of the car when I pick you up. And you’re always rushing everything.”

“WAIT! Sarah, you never mentioned you knew a UNSC Captain! Why haven’t you introduced me earlier!?” Finally, the sparkling gorilla speaks.

“I don’t know, I just couldn’t be bothered to. He’s just some guy I ran into while jogging in the park.”

John looks at me with a look of shock on his face. “And since when did I just become a person you just ‘Ran into’ at the park? Here I thought there was a little deeper connection?”

“Whatever. Actually, your correct. You’re not some guy who I ran into at the park. You’re the guy that ran into ME at the park!” Smirking, I wait for Johns smart come back… Which never comes.

“Anyways, what are you doing for dinner? I just happen to have reservations at a special table on the ship, and I’m one-man short for my reservation. Would you care to join me?” John winks me with all the subtly of a sledge hammer, however I quickly understand the hidden meaning.

“Well I think there might later be plans to either find a snack at a buffet, or the slim possibility my family might try to invite me somewhere, so I wouldn’t mind checking out these ‘special’ reservations for you!”

I turn around to the sound of my sister choking and spluttering on her drink.

“Wait a dam minute! Your inviting her??? And not me?!”

John reply’s with just a sly smirk and a nod of his head.

“Why?! When I am obviously prettier! And im the older sister! I should have the invitation first! I would be the better company during and after dinner!!”

I’m giving it my all to not bust up laughing and fall off my barstool. John on the other hand I can see start to have trouble keeping his composure as he nods his head again, slower this time.

“That’s totally not fair! Your supposed to ask me first and if I decline then your supposed to ask her!”

“Ok then, will you decline to go to dinner with me?” I can see where he is going with this.

“YES!… NO! I would love to go to dinner with you!” John frowns at her answer.

“You know I was hoping to go to dinner with your sister as we have a little something in common, and I sort of do owe her a nice dinner for running into her again at the park.”

“NO FAIR!!!” At Anita’s outburst, everybody in the surrounding area look over towards us.

“So anyways Sarah, would you so kindly accompany me to dinner at the captain’s table?” Johns smile has grown a mile wide knowing the awkward situation he has created.

“I would be honored to! What time is dinner?”

“I have been told to report to the captain’s table at twenty-one hundred hours, so I would think to arrive about thirty minutes before that. So how about let’s settle on two ought thirty at the main dining deck fountain.”

“NO FAIR!!! IT SHOULD BE ME!” Anita has taken to throwing a tantrum in the middle of the bar.

“I will meet you there! Ill be sure to wear my finest.”

A loud and stearn voice suddenly speaks up from across the bar.

“What is going on!? Sarah! What did you do to your poor sister this time!”

“Daddy! Sarah’s being mean! She stole my invitation to dinner with the captain! It’s no fair! I wanted to go but she just trampled over me and acted like a slut to take the invitation from me!”

“Sarah! Is this true? You know how your mother and I feel about people of lesser behaviors! I suggest you apologize to your sister right now!” I can see my father’s face turning a darker and darker shade of red.

“Uhm, would you happen to be Mr. Keys?” John once again trying to defuse the situation.

“Yes? And just who the hell might you be? This is a family matter so please just stay out of it!”

“I’m sorry for not introducing myself. Captain John Starlock of the UNSC Night Panther at your service sir.” John gives a short bow towards my sister and I’s father.

“Oh, I do apologize! You must be the captain offering dinner to my eldest daughter! I’m deeply ashamed at my youngest daughter’s behavior. Try as we might, we can’t seem to get Sarah to play nicely with her sister. Every time they are left in a room together for more than five minutes, Sarah tries to pull something against her sister.”

“I see, you must be going through some troubling times currently. To appease the situation, I will rescind my reservations to a later date once this issue has been settled.” Johns wrist watch beeps twice. “I’m sorry I must excuse myself, however I must be going now. I will hopefully see you lovely young ladies at a later time and date.”

Dad bows his head towards John. “I am so sorry for wasting your time. I am sure Anita will be looking forward to hearing from you again.”

John starts walking away.

“You still owe me a dinner!” I shout right before he gets out of ear shot.

“Young lady, you are in a heap of trouble! Disgracing this family’s name in front of someone so important! I am so appalled that I am ashamed to even call you my daughter! You are not to leave your cabin for the rest of this cruise you hear me?” I pick up the glass that the bartender set in front of me while my sister was throwing a tantrum and take a long sip.

“Young lady! Are you even listening to me?”

I take another sip and set the glass down on the counter.

“Yes, I hear you. What you are saying is that effective immediately I am placed under restraint for the remainder of the cruise? You could probably convince the crew to let me stay in the ships brig for a few nights. Wouldn’t be too difficult. If I understand what Anita said correctly they could place me under arrest for soliciting prostitution to a Captain of the UNSC, attempting to impersonate a guest of the captains to gain access to important events.”

“I don’t think this is a situation where you would need to be taken to the ships ‘brig’ or whatever that is. However, you are grounded to your room for the rest of the cruise. If you so much as step outside or your room you will be grounded for the rest of the year. That means no going outside with your friends and no more trips with your friends. And what in the world are you drinking? That better not be alcohol. You’re not old enough to drink. I’m filing a complaint with the cruise line for serving alcohol to a minor.”

“Well dad, Stateroom Alpha three seven. You can find me there until the end of the cruise I guess. And I am so kicking Johns ass the next time I see him.” I get up off my stool and leave the bar, tipping the bartender before I leave. Before my father can even follow me I blend in with the crowd and disappear. Looking at my watch I see that I have an hour before its time to meet with John at the fountain as he said earlier.

I quickly make my way to my stateroom, making up my mind on what I am going to wear. As soon as I am in my room I pick out my dress and start readying myself.

“Mia, have you ever heard of a UNSC Captain being grounded to their state room before? Also would you mind helping me with my hair?”

Mia shakes her head no, and starts brushing my hair. Mia is so quiet that most people don’t even notice her in the room. Only someone who has almost lived with her for over a year would be able to sense her presence. After Mia helps me with my dress and hair, I turn around and help her with her hair, and squeeze into a matching dress.

Unlike most women, Mia and I usually wear matching outfits to events to signify that we are a matching pair. Tonight, is just like any other night, and we are both matching, with sleek form fitting black dresses with a daring V-neck, yet a modest length that stops just below the knees, yet has a split traveling up the side.

After ensuring that we are both ready, we leave our suit and make our way towards the main dining areas fountain. The two-story trickling waterfall fountain is the main focal point of the main dining area, and makes for a wonderful meeting point.

“You know for a moment I thought you were not going to show up. I thought that for sure your daddy was going to ground you!” John walks up behind me laughing at his own joke.

“Oh, ha, ha, ha, very funny. One, of course I am going to show up if the captain of the ship requests it. And two, I am grounded to my suite for the rest of the cruise. And three, if I’m caught out of my room then I am not allowed out of the house for the rest of the year. So would you mind being my escort to dinner?”

John reaches out and takes my right arm in his left an Mia’s Left arm in his right, he gently guides us to the glass elevator that rises from the front of the room. As soon as the three of us step into an empty car and start rising I scan the crowds for my family. I figure that it would be just like them to be enjoying a nice dinner while I am supposed to be trapped in my room on a cruise that I helped book.

“Third table on the left from the fifth pillar from the right.” Mia quietly points my family out to me. I can see them sitting at a table for four, enjoying the so called expensive wines the waiters are serving.

“As if I really need to keep track of where they are.” The elevator dings at its arrival to our target floor.

Just before we step off the elevator I take one more glance down toward the dining deck. Besides being about three stories above the dining room floor I catch my sister staring at me and we make eye contact. Putting off the feeling that she saw me I step off the elevator and step towards the dining table.

The dining table that we are directed to and seated at is set with only the finest crystal and porcelain. And the heads around the table are only of the top of the classes. Politicians, actors, billionaires, and most importantly a handful of UNSC captains. Truly a table of important people. Studying all the faces as John helps me to my seat I can clearly tell who the invited persons guests are. Obviously, the people who are nervous are the ones who were not actually invited by the captain.

Chatter fills the room as the guests at the table chat with each other. With John seated on my left and Mia seated on my right, I look directly across the rectangular table to the guest seated in front of me.

A man of about twenty-two years of age sits in front of me. His greased black hair and pale white skin contrast sharply with his maroon and pale blue captains suit. One of the few captains at the table wearing his dress uniform. His eyes turn towards me and catch me staring at him, and a smug grin spreads across his face as I feel and watch his eyes eye me up and down like a butcher eying a good piece of meat. On his right is an obviously uncomfortable young brunet wearing a similar uniform, but rather than the standard issue dress pants, she is wearing a rather outdated dress skirt that has been hemmed up too short.

“Captain Keys! I’m so glad that you could make it!” A voice booms from the head of the table on my right.

“Good evening Captain. It is a fine pleasure to be relaxing aboard this fine ship! I pray that we have smooth sailing for this journey?”

“Ha! Don’t you worry! Between our escort and I we will have smooth sailing for the rest of the year! But if you finally get your own ship? I suspect we will have fine smooth sailing for centuries!”

“Captain. I think your over estimating my abilities here.”

“Oh that’s hogwash! You have got to be one of the finest junior captains I have ever seen! And if the admiralty get their way, you’ll be the youngest captain ever to have her own ship! Not to mention the youngest and prettiest captain in the fleet!” The smile on the captains face shows that he is proud to have me at the table.

The greased snake of a captain in front of me smirks. “Oh! So we have a new captain amongst our  ranks! If you would like I could help tutor you back in my cabin and show you some of the finer points of captaining a vessel?” The brunet on his right looks like she is visibly disappointed in her captain.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name. Judging by your uniform, you’re a captain for the interplanetary freighters Union?”

“Why yes! I’m captain Braggart, One of the most skilled officers in the unions to date! And what kind of small craft do you happen captain?” The smugness in his voice is starting to get irritating.

The captain turns towards Braggart. “Son, I suggest you shut your trap, before you make an ass out of yourself.”

“Oh don’t be so stuffy, there is no harm in asking her what ship she captains?” I smirk at his response.

“You know, I’m actually in between ships right now, but I hope to be assigned my own one of these days. But your right, the ship I was just on last week wasn’t all that big of a ship. The UNSC Monitor is only a light dreadnought class ship. There are plenty of bigger ships in the fleet like the Supper carrier, UNSC Aphrodite. That’s not to mention some of the compressed liquid fuel tankers of the merchant fleet.” Captain Braggart is visibly uncomfortable with the conversation now.

“W-well, I didn’t realize-“

“Oh cut the bullshit Braggart. That right there was clearly sexual harassment. Captain Keys has all her rights to detain you and try you at a UNSC tribunal. Plus the UNSC admiralty has their eye on her. I’m not going to stick my nick out for you again if you get yourself crossed up with the fleet admirals.” The captain of the cruise ship berated Braggart.

John chuckles next to me. “You know I am surprised to see that there is someone in the interplanetary freighters Union that doesn’t know her name. Union Twenty Four has an interesting nickname for Captain Keys if remember correctly?” I look up at John, wondering what nick name that would be, at the same time wondering who do I need to beat for messing with me.

“Captain John, Captain Keys, I don’t believe I introduced myself to everyone. I’m Captain Marty Whittom. Captain of the United Naval Luxury Cruises Nebula Princess. And Captian Braggart here is my nephew, he is the captain of the IFU Seventy Two Delta medium interplanetary dry goods freighter between Mars and Terra. I’m sorry for any offense or trouble he might have caused you.”

“Captain Whittom, no worries. As the crew of the Monitor found out two months ago it takes a lot more than that to make me upset. However I am a big fan of very liberal punishment. That kind of behavior under my command would have achieved him his entire stay on the ship with latrine cleaning duty. Perhaps you could put in a recommendation to his superiors?” I grin at his obvious discomfort.

“Well Sarah? Would you like to make the toast?” John raises his glass to me.

Standing up at my seat, I clear my throat to command the attention of everyone at the table. “Here’s a toast to the many brave men and women piloting out in the darkness of space, being mans greatest explorers of the new frontier! And may the seas of stars be calm and peaceful for the future!” As soon as I finish creams erupt around the table and the sounds of glasses clinking can be heard over the commotion.

After my toast, the dining hall settled into cheerful conversation about family, work, and our future dreams. Various captains told funny and embarising stories about their fellow captains and bridge officers. After listening to all of the stories being told around the table with a glass of wine in hand, one could tell that the collection of captains at the table ranged from UNSC officers to small mom and pop traders sailing the smallest cargo vessels.

The dinner itself was a generous selection of the best cuts of everything. Much, much better than the food aboard the UNSC vessels, and afterwards was select deserts made from artisans from around the world, paired with fine aged wines.  After enjoying an absolutely luxurious dinner, the table was cleared from the floor and a small orchestra played as members of the dinner waltzed and dances across the floor in the dim light.

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