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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, '15, 10:05 pm
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New Elysion, Vamár – Present Day

The flood of memories had come upon Althea so suddenly that she forgot what she had been doing in the first place. Her eyes refocused and she remembered, seeing her reflection in the polished black metal of her arm as it rested on the table, the artificial skin peeled back and the armoured plating removed for a quick check-up and maintenance. A series of wires ran from a small box into her arm to monitor her work. She picked up a small tool and poked at the innards for a few minutes, watching the hand move in response to her probing. Satisfied, she re-sealed the arm and replaced the skin, applying the foul-smelling paste that would knit it back together. She reconnected it to her brain with a mental command, waggling the fingers and flexing the artificial muscles.
She sat back with a sigh and stared blankly at the tabletop. She and Flynn had come a long way in the last years since that day. More so than she could have ever guessed. They would advance to the ranks of Sergeant and Captain respectively, serve together in many more conflicts both on the ground and in space and do all they could to follow each other wherever the other went. Such was her loyalty.

Recent events had proven their friendship to be one that would last the years, no matter the challenge. Against his insistence, she had followed Flynn into a blizzard on Mystoke as he went to the aid of Claire, a long lost friend, only to watch her die from her injuries, having arrived too late to help. Everything that followed after that made her dizzy just to think about. It had all started with their ship, a cripple from the last war that had been forgotten by the navy and left to rot, dubbed Star Wind by their pseudo-chief engineer Chloe.

Chloe was a name Althea knew well enough before they had started, having served during the same war that had left the ship adrift in space. A cyber criminal or 'hacker extraordinaire' as she liked to call herself, she was known for her use of outlawed data memory technology that allowed her to store and retain computerised data much like memories. Only without the forgetfulness. She had been assigned to the war effort as a civilian specialist, using her talents against the enemy in return for a pardon that she was never given.
The shortage of skilled technicians willing to work for nothing and her knack for machines, combined with her illegal technology made her the ideal choice to oversee repairs of the ship. All she wanted in return was a place to hide, which their ship conveniently provided.
Althea smirked, thinking about how the girl had changed since the beginning. Her unfortunate choice of things to stick in her brain had landed her with being unwillingly chosen to become the last living person to know the secrets and memories of an extinct ancient civilisation. That she would also become the controlling intelligence for a ship the likes of which humanity had never seen before would never have crossed anyone's mind. But Althea didn't blame the ship's architects for making her such. Nothing so powerful could simply be allowed to fall into the hands of just anyone. Yet despite the changes to her mind and body, Chloe remained much the same as she always had been and was now using the ship to help with relief efforts across the system.

Change was not something that had come so easily to everyone in their group, however. A picture on the wall next to the table showed Flynn shaking hands with a smartly dressed woman as she presented him with one of the several commendations and awards they had all received, all with a well practiced 'photo shoot smile.' Here Althea couldn't help but laugh a little, for the woman in the photo was none other than Skye Ladrone, Governor of New Elysion and Flynn's only other childhood friend besides Claire. The little brat's all grown up. Can't believe that's the same person who disguised herself as one of my troops and almost puked on my feet....
Daughter to one of the planet's wealthiest tycoon's, Skye had wanted for little, if anything at all. Her well-to-do life certainly hadn't stopped her getting in trouble with the law in her younger days, such was her penchant for causing trouble. When she had gotten wind of what had happened to Claire, there was nothing that was going to stop her from joining Flynn on his mission. But being wealthy and well known to many elements of society, savoury or otherwise, had served them well, for Skye had been the one to find most of the manpower for their mission as well as providing most of the funding.
Skye was also one of the ones to suffer most. Separated from the others in space thanks to a power outage that left her drifting on a hulk, she had been captured by the very people they had been hunting. A tip off from one of Flynn's friends had led them to a daring raid on the space fortress of Degnin, a massive military stronghold. Skye would have been interrogated and tortured before finally being put to death had they not come to her aid. Indeed Althea could remember the moment she had broken her out of her prison, the chamber vented of all air to suffocate her to death when they knew they were under attack. During their escape, Skye had been separated from the others in the battle, a move by Flynn meant to buy her time to escape. When the fortress was destroyed, they had all feared the worst when she didn't reappear. It would be another three years before she would re-emerge in the ruins of Elysion, searching for her father's legacy, a source of unlimited funding that had been gathered prior to when humanity had left Earth that she now used to rebuild their world.
Groomed by the Order after they had taken them in, Skye now had her eyes set solely on becoming the Vamárian President. Though Althea never liked to say it out loud, Skye had grown on her.

The assault on Degnin was a memory that would live on in Althea's mind forever, one that had left her with many sleepless nights, for it was also the day she had died. Buying time for Flynn and the others to escape, she had held back the enemy soldiers for as long as she could and had killed herself before she could be overwhelmed, taking as many of them with her as she possibly could. She had never intended to live past that day. But Flynn had been desperate and recovered her remains from space in the heat of the fighting, placing her remains into stasis. It would be three years before she would awaken to find she had been transformed into a cyborg. Though she was ultimately thankful for the new lease on life, it made her shudder to think that what remained of her from the neck down had been removed and cast aside like so much rubbish. But those had been desperate times.

The sound of a door closing followed by Flynn's voice snapped her out of her daydream. Reliving her memories of other people and events that surrounded them would have to wait for another day. Her main concern these days was Flynn himself. Though she couldn’t place it, it seemed almost as though his manner changed at random, as if he had let down his guard and some new personality he kept hidden had briefly emerged. And his new habit of taking baths.... Bubble baths, of all things. Where did that come from?
She shook her head and dismissed the thought. It was harmless enough. How he relaxed was really none of her concern. And, like her, he had been through a lot. It was as plain as the large scar over his left eye and the cybernetic eye in place of his old one. The sudden onset of peace after everything they had experienced was bound to change him.

“Al,” Flynn called from further in the house. “Where are you?”

“I’m in the study. Just a minute.”

Flynn had once told her that Claire had visited him in the final days leading up to the attack on their homeworld to console him, but also to tell him that everything that had led up to that moment had been her doing. Though not so skeptical after recent years as to disregard the tales that Claire could see into the future, she found it hard to believe that, as she had told Flynn, she had created the future they now lived in and had given up her own life to set it in motion. Althea wasn't entirely sure whether she wanted to believe that the thoughts and actions of one person were responsible for the lives they now led. Part of her didn't want to believe it. She knew what she had done was by her own choosing, consequences damned.
The thought of it began to anger her. But she calmly set it all aside and extinguished the light above the desk before heading for the door. Regardless of where everyone had ended up, or how, she only wished to remain distant from such affairs and enjoy a quiet life. She and Flynn now owned a house in an up and coming suburb of New Elysion. She had all the time she needed to relax and enjoy the peace she felt she had earned, all in the comfort of the massage chair she had always dreamed of owning. Life was good.
Her only dilemma now was dividing her time equally between Flynn and her new love, a motorbike based on an ancient design from the days before humanity had left Earth. Though unclean and obsolete by about two thousand years, she found the aesthetics of the vehicle exciting, the roar of the engine every time she fired it up, and the sheer speed it could obtain as it tore along the streets scaring passers by, all too appealing.

Let someone else do the heroics next time. So long as I'm far away when the fireworks start.

Flynn was waiting for her in the hall. "Hey. You weren't napping, were you?"

"You know I don't nap. Not with this body. Eight hours of sleep alone sometimes feels like it's too much." She paused. "What's up? You sound excited."

"More nervous, if I'm honest."

Althea folded her arms and shot him an inquisitive glare. "...Wait. No."

"'No' what?"

"Every time you've been like this it's because we've got more publicity stuff to do. Usually being paraded in front of people and such. What is it now?"

"Uh...well do you know that talk show called 'Good Morning Elysion'?"

Althea was momentarily struck dumb. "Oh no. No, no, no! Flynn, I'm not appearing on TV. Live TV!"

"Oh come on. It's not as if it'll be just you and me. Chloe's been invited and Skye's going to be there as well."

"And Malcolm?"

"He's retired and...well he was pretty clear that he wanted to be left alone unless-"

"So because he's a bit older than us and now retired he gets out of this stuff?" She placed her hands on her hips and huffed. "That's hardly fair."

"Hey, it's not like I volunteered you for this. You know how people are with these things. If they're going to choose between the doctor or the soldier, they're going to pick the soldier every time, especially if said soldier is viewed as, say, a hero across three planets? Besides, Skye could probably talk so much she'd need her own show and Chloe won't say much, if anything. They need you.

Althea kept glaring at him. "Okay, fair point. But you referring to me as 'hero' won't change my mind."

"Oh come on Al. You love it and you know it! You might not have been the most sociable commando on any unit, but you loved to show face, especially when it came to showing off your skills. Think about it." Seeing Althea wasn't changing her mind, he pressed on. "Besides, do you really want Skye to get all the attention? How about if you got to tell them how you launched me from a shuttle and into a ten foot wide gap in the orbital platform above the planet? Believe me, it was scary, considering I only had one eye and was just going on momentum with no way to steer."

"Skye doing all the talking sounds painful. I would rather talk about how I did most of the grunt work."

"And think about all the soldiers who'll likely be watching. Some might even recognise you. 'Hey, that's my sergeant. I served with her for a of couple years.'"

"Or more like 'How the hell did she get so lucky? I should've been there instead. I bet she screwed her commander!'" She nodded thoughtfully. "Yeah, you know what? I think I will. If anything but to give a lot of the doubters and jealous ones who don't know how hard it was a two-fingered salute."

"So you'll go?"

"Yeah, why not?" She headed off towards the lounge. "I'm going to vegetate in my chair for a while. Better start thinking about how I can embarrass Skye on live TV."
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