A'Tuin's Wild Ride

Easy Things Come Hard

It’s never easy, killing someone.
At least not emotionally – taking the life of some slob with a disruptor and an ego’s actually pretty straightforward.
But the impacts of it, those never get less. I can still feel that hunters emotions as he realizes he’s going to die. The little flicker of surprise, the wild surge of fear, the tidal wave of pain and then the silence.
Stars, it’s never easy, even when they probably deserved it.

Ever since I got that package, there’ve been so many dead. Friends, enemies, faceless drones hunting me for reasons I don’t understand and allies who’ve sacrificed everything to keep me alive.

It looks like Fifties has a few more secrets than I thought – probably at least as many as I do…unless they were after my gift to him?
Well, wouldn’t be the first time I’ve put someone in harms way, and I guess it won’t be the last.

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On Death's Bed

Wen Yanbo awoke, upright and already walking. The strange land he found himself in had a familiar feel. Dark. Dusty. And the air … It was then that he noticed he wasn’t wearing his breather, which had become an extension of himself after decades of not removing it.

He was on Dorin.

One realization led way to another: There were dozens of other Kel Dor, of all ages, walking in the same direction as him. He turned to the Kel Dor youngling walking to his right and, in his native Kel Dorian tongue, asked, “Child, to where is everyone walking?”
“To see the Masters, of course.”
“I apologize, it’s been so long since I’ve been home, the Masters?”
“What do you mean? You’ve always been here,” she said puzzled. “Come, the Master’s are expecting you.” She took his hand in hers and guided him forward as wind whipped through the clearing. In the distance he could see a rock formation around which everyone was gathering.

He felt a soft touch on his left shoulder. Walking beside him was male Kel Dor old enough to be his father, but probably much older. “Child,” the frail man said, addressing Wen Yanbo, “the Baran Do have been leaders, mentors, and practitioners on Dorin for thousands of generations. Now it is your turn.”
“But I don’t know how. Besides, I’ve sworn a …”
“You’ve spent long enough foraging in the Outer Rim, separating yourself from the toxicity of society, and finding your own connection to the living force. The Baran Do way is not much different, now learn to separate yourself from your own senses and truly see the world around—and ahead of you.”

With that he stopped. They had reached their destination.

There was a Kel Dor male guiding the congregation in meditation, teaching them to separate themselves from their senses, and open themselves to the world around them. Wen Yanbo joined in the mediation, which seemed to last hours on end. The past, present, and future were beginning to blend. Making the exact amount of time they had been meditating hard to discern.

When he opened his eyes Wen Yanbo noticed that there was a human man standing next to the Kel Dor sage. He immediately recognized the soft face of his Master. “Master! The atmosphere, it’s not safe for you here. You must return to safety.”
His master did not seem worried. “Wen Yanbo, it’s time to go. There is still work to be done.”
“I’m learning so much. The Kel Dor use the force to predict the timing and direction of violent storms. Please, let me stay awhile longer.”
His Master shared a friendly, familiar smile with the Kel Dor sage before saying, “It is not your path, not yet.” He pointed to the cave in the rock formation, from which a bright, orange light was emitting. “Quickly! You’re needed.” Wen Yanbo walked slowly toward the cave, as he turned around he could see the bodies of the Kel Dor that had gathered slowly fading away.

“Oh and Wen Yanbo,” his Master added, “do be safe.”

Wen Yanbo closed his eyes as he walked into the cave, and as he opened them he found himself in his cabin with the bright, orange light of the nebula flooding his room, his body still aching from the day’s unfortunate encounter with the wrong end of a missile tube, and the familiar beep of the ship’s intercom ringing in his ears.

It was Mek, “Hey Wen Yanbo, we could use you up here on the scanners.”

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Target Practice

The EVA suit was a problem. It’s bulk limited his speed, the magnetic boots altered his stance, and the helmet interfered with his peripheral vision. Still O-In drew smoothly, slowly at first, but faster and faster as he learned to compensate for the impacts of the suit, the effects of zero-gravity, and the odd motion the ship was making as it approached Nerin III. Hitting a switch on his suit, the swarm of micro-droids flattened the targets they had been holding aloft, and scuttled into the airlock ahead of him. Having Fifties make these little guys was a great idea, allowing him to practice in non-standard environments – basically anywhere the A’tuin found itself. He could even practice on the exterior of the ship…as long as he didn’t miss.

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The Birth of The A'Tuin

*click*

The last access panel cover slid effortlessly into place. Now, finally, she was done. Oh, sure, she’d been spaceworthy for a while now, and Mek had finished all the hyperdrive tests 2 weeks ago, but this was far more important.

He moved past the galley towards the cockpit, checking his work as he went. Reaching the main computer terminal, he pulled a datacard from his pocket and plugged it in. This was the final test. He momentarily held his breath, and then punched in a few quick commands.

On cue, the pulsing synth rhythms of Red Shift Limit’s new album Limited Warfare echoed throughout the ship. Taking a quick tour of the ship to verify that all the various speakers mounted throughout were working properly, Mek couldn’t help but grin. He’d be taking the A’Tuin on her official maiden voyage soon, and leaving Mon Cala for who knows how long.

At least his new home would sound right.

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