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Darkness - Sci-fi novel

Okay. Here it goes. My English isn't perfect so bear with me...

And if you have any comments or questions, just post. I can take'em...

[b]Darkness – Sci-fi novel[/b]
[b]Prologue[/b]

”You know, the first time you get into space, it feels so great. The completely clear sky surrounds you completely and all you see is stars and the a huge, beautiful planet behind you. Leaving Earth atmosphere is the ultimate buzz. You can’t really imagine it. You have to feel it. But after a while (and it’s a very long time) it becomes routine. It isn’t that great anymore.

And now, after two years in space, I gaze again into the darkness. I really can’t see anything glamorous in it anymore. It’s just darkness. The stars don’t feel so distant anymore. But the universe is still huge, I can’t deny it. I’m just a little breath of life in the void, surrounded by 3500 tons of metal and electoronics. It’s really sad if you think about it, but I try to forget it.

Our ship Brimstone was originally just ZW-8989. I don’t know what it means, but the captain thought the serial number was too meaningless. After all, we would live in that particular ship for many years to come. So he asked us to think of a name for our ship. Boig’s idea, Pussycatcher, didn’t really please the captain, neither did Newman’s Google Woogle. Then Der, who usually isn’t social and keeps his ideas to himself, came up with ’Brimstone’. It sounded cool enough for me, so I agreed. Naturally, Donovan, who’s always kissing my ass (don’t know why, I thought she was married), agreed too. We managed to shut Boig’s mouth and Newman didin’t even disagree with us. The other’s didn’t care much, although some agreed with us. So the captain named our ship Brimstone. We bought some champagne and smashed the bottle to the wall at the Domus spaceterminal. It was really fun, I’ll tell you that. The liquid floted around the station and some people went on and started catching and drinking the champagne from mid air. We got into a little trouble, but nothing serious happened.

The Brimstone is a cruiser. An ACD Blitzgrieg to be exact. And yes, it’s a German ship. It’s an unmodified one, so all the controls and everything else is in German. It’s kind of difficult, because I don’t speak German. Actually Monk, our engineer, is the only one who speaks German fluently. The captain speaks a little German too and Der’s trying to learn how to speak it, because he doesn’t want to ask Monk to translate every word he happens to read on his screen. Of course, everybody knows what the things that pop on their screens mean, but it’s still really complicated. We are trying to get a software update as soon as possible, but it’s going to cost us a lot. The main reason why we bought the ship was because it was so cheap. You can’t get a good ship for less than 100k, unless you know people. The captain has connections all around, so we got the ship real cheap.

The ship isn’t brand new and it isn’t the most dangerous vessel around, but it loads a big punch. 325 meters from bow to stern, the Brimstone is only a bit smaller than a standard USC Hulk. We’ve modified the ship’s weaponry a lot and we’ve reinforced the armor plating. It doesn’t look good, but the looks aren’t everything (according to our captain). The ship is now twice as effective as an USC Hulk and much more effective than a standard OmniTrade heavy support vessel. The crew has 28 members, including the pilots and marines, which narrows our manpower onboard to 16.

I really do think that our crew is the best non-military crew on this side of the Oort. Our captain, Rodrique Ramiez was in the Brasilian fleet for a couple of years. For some reason, he quit. I really don’t know why and he doesn’t want to talk about it. Nevertheless, he’s very skilled and best of all, he’s an excellent strategist. He’s a nice guy, but I think he’s a bit boring. I don’t think he even has a sense of humor.

Henrick Wilson’s the helmsman. He’s a cool guy and and he manages to keep his head together in any situation. But he’s not really good with people. He knows what to do but he doesn’t really know how to tell his plans to other people. He’s quite quiet, but not as quiet as Der.

I’m his lackey, the second helmsman. My job is to keep the whole goddamn cruiser in one piece when Wilson can’t do it. I’m the person other people look when they need someone to do their dirty work. I actually like my job. I know everybody on the ship very well and some people even like me.

Mark Boiger, Will Newman and Cole Frandrack are all weapon officers. Boig takes care of the endless missile supplies of the Brimstone and distributes it evenly to everyone who happen to disagree with us. But I think that Boig’s an idiot. He actually thinks that every single female in the universe worships him and his ”excellent” sense of humor. Sometimes I really want to punch my fist through his forehead sometimes. But I can live with him. But then again, I don’t have a choice, or do I?

Cole’s the man with the flaks, bombs, mines and everything that goes boom and isn’t smarter than Boig. He’s an ex-commando, so he knows a lot about explosives and ground weapons and he carries at least six pounds of bugterminators with him when we land. He’s a nice guy and he’s an outstanding mathematician and tactician. Nobody else can predict the movements of asteroids as accurately as he can.

Newman coordinates the four plasma cannos with his four highly skilled AI-gunners, Ula, Nina, Maya and Amy - all of them actually have a virtual bodies (really good looking ones of course) and Der programmed a social AI for them all. I think Newman seriously thinks that they are [i]real[/i] people, he’s always talking about them. It creeps the hell outta me. Newman’s a bit odd in many other ways too. Sometimes he spends his time trying to make magnets orbit around small metal balls or writing in the air with milk. I think he’s unstable, but that’s just my opinion. He’s a really good friend of Der’s, and he’s probably his only friend.

Der. What can I tell you about him? Sadly, I don’t even know his real name, everybody calls him Der. I haven’t talked to him much, but only few people around here have talked with him. He isn’t always on his spot like the rest of us, but he’s there when he needs to. He’s saved our butts several times. When something breaks apart, he manages to fix it with his computer (which by the way is overclocked beyond standards). Nobody really talks to him – except Newman – but he doesn’t really want to talk to us either. He’s the navigation officer, but he has got everything on his shoulders. We’ve renamed him the ’data officer’ of the Brimstone, because he’s always fiddling with his computer. Hopefully he doesn’t disagree, but if he does, he’s too afraid to tell it. He’s adjusted and tweaked the computers and the sensors [i]a lot[/i] so he’s a great asset to us.

Mike Riddlemont, a.k.a. Monk is the head engineer, but he’s the only real engineer around here too. And I don’t think we need another one. He spends his time repairing everything that’s broken or just a bit messed up. I don’t think he even has a life of his own, he lives for the ship. I haven’t seen him doing anything else than fixing or eating. Actually, I’ve never seen him sleep and frankly, I don’t think he’s normal. Come to think of it, I’m [i]sure[/i] he isn’t normal. As I said, Monk’s the only person around here who speaks German fluently, so we all have to rely on him. The other problem with Monk is that nobody understands a word he’s saying. He’s always using words that nobody else understands and just to make things more difficult, he doesn’t speak clearly, he mumbles and mutters.

Of course, there are some other engineers, who manage the fighters and the fighter bay, so they don’t leave their sector very often. They’re good friends with the pilots and they’ve formed their own little group with them, which isn’t that bad. They do their job and we do ours, so everything is fine. Sometimes Monk needs the help of the fighter bay engineers, so he knows them better than me.

Major Isabelle Donovan is the leader of the marines onboard the Brimstone, but she spends most of her time with us officers. As I said before, she’s always kissing my ass and she agrees with everything I say. And I really don’t know why. He leads the marines very efficiently and she’s an excellent soldier. She used to be in the French foreign legion, but she was kicked out of there because one of the authorities didn’t like her. And I can tell why: she’s annoying. And not just a bit annoying, she’s a major pain in the ass. She does what she wants in combat, so you can’t rely on her and her squad to be in a specific location in time. But she always manages to get through any obstacle, enemy or anything else that happens to stand in her way. And she’s one of the few women around here. She’s not that pretty, but as Boig says, she’s got the one and only thing he really needs nowadays. Then again, I don’t really care what Boig wants.

I haven’t really talked to the other marines. And I don’t really want to, because they are a bunch of egoistic, self-centered idiots. I don’t know how Donovan manages to keep her dogs under control, but Boig says he can very well imagine. I couldn’t care less for Boig’s sick fantasies, so I don’t even want to know his idea. Cole’s basically one of the marines, as he goes down with them when we send them on the surface. So Cole hangs around with them a lot and he knows them well. There are eight of them onboard the Brimstone and that’s all I need to know about them. They spend most of their time in the gym, so I don’t like to go there. If you’ve ever heard space marine humor, you’ll know why.

Kyusuke Nawasake is the only female officer on the Command Bridge. Nobody can pronounce her name right, so we call her Navy. She didn’t like the nickname at first, but she got used to it after a few weeks. Navy’s the communication officer and she’s the only person around here who can speak Japanese (and a few words Chinese), so she’s a big asset to us. Navy has told us that she had an accident a few years ago, where she suffered permanent brain damage. She told us the damage was so severe that she lost her memory completely. She didn’t remember anything prior to the accident, so the only things she remembers is stories told by her friends and family. She says that she has a few vague memories about her past, but she isn’t sure if they are just her imagination. Navy’s definitely the most beautiful woman onboard. She’s good-looking, smart and she’s an optimist. She’s the girl of everyone’s dreams, but she’s not interested. She has already rejected Boig (good for her) and she refuses to leave the ship when we dock somewhere. Everybody else goes to relax and party in the station, except her.

Then there’s Rob. Rob isn’t… well… very social. Actually, he talks to himself a lot, but he doesn’t talk to us that much. He’s the fighter coordinator and the pilots must be the only people he talks to. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to him. I don’t even know his whole name. But for some reason, Rob thinks that he and his pilots are all invincible and absolutely indestructible. I guess all pilots are like that. They have to be, because is they fear for their lives, they get fried.

When I tell about our crewmembers one by one, they sound like a terrible combination. But because of some odd miracle, we make a great team. We aren’t that great by ourselves, but when we are all put together, we’re a hell of a combination.

That’s all for now. We’ll be docking to ISS Homeros in a few minutes, so I’ve got to get going. Send your next letter here and direct it to the Brimstone, but write quickly, because I don’t know how long we’ll be staying here. I’m dying to get to know you better.

Sincerely yours, Alan Damson.“


The next one is coming in a few weeks or so, if I have the strength and will to write [img]http://216.15.145.59/mainforums/smile.gif[/img]

And please, give me constructive comments... I really need them...

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This is not a subliminal message. Keep walking. Thank you for not noticing.
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