Monday, 4 January 2010

Graduation Day

Mierisi Ratmoh, that name had floated around the corridors of the Imperial Acadamy Training School since that day 4 years ago when I had walked into the recruitment hall. He was of course the CEO and Archbishop of the largest training school in the Amarrian Empire. Most students only caught a glimpse of him entering or leaving some assembly hall surrounded by a crowd of hooded monks and other figures who, no doubt, were necessary in the running of the acadamy. It was said he even had the ear of the Empress herself, many things were said, some of them possibly had a glimmer of truth to them.

There was however one fact, one truth, apparent to me at this moment. Mierisi himself stood before me upon a pedestal at the head of the graduation parade, each student approached him, nodded a quick bow and accepted their certificate before passing through the portal to who knew where. Graduates always kept themselves seperate from students, being as they were "official" pod pilots, the elite of the elite.

I shuffled forwards in the queue, praying to my God and my Empress that I wouldnt trip over the heavy cloak I had borrowed for the occasion, tryng to catch a glimpse through the portal as each new pilot passed on to the next place. Reaching the head of the queue I stepped up, nodding my short bow he looks at me, not just at me, but you know right at me, "Well done Miss Incarn8, your future awaits". I hadn't seen him look anything up, he couldn't possibly know me? could he?. Frozen to the spot it took a slight tilt of his head before I took my Diploma from him and walked to the Portal.

I step through.

8 small changing rooms, each with a discrete occupancy indicator. Entering the closest free booth I am presented with a standard immersion suit, stripping off the cloak and the lightweight jumpsuit beneith, I slip into the suit, aligning all the implant connections along my spine, pulling the hood on leaving my face as the only visable skin. I had always felt self-concious wearing these, the skintight material didn't leave much to the imagination. As I stand infront of a a small mirror I notice one small difference to the standard suit that meant I would have proudly worn it before the entire acadamy, a single word printed across my left breast in small golden letters, "Pilot".

The changing boothes exited directly into the rear of the Acadamy hanger, no crowd, no tutors, no guidance, simply a narrow walkway out into the void. Sat clamped into the docking clamps at the end of the walkway an Impairer class frigate. A small frigate, the smallest currently in service with the Amarrian Navy, but not just that, the tiny hull represented far more than you would expect of such a cheap hull, it was a future of my own choosing, fame, infamy, wealth and possibly if not probably death.

I walked up to the hull of the ship, scarcely large enough to accomodate a Capsule control system and a basic fusion propulsion system, the golden hull gleaming in the station spotlights, the armour, spotless, straight from the acadamies own manufacturing wing. A ship of my own, a dream realised.
I turn to the squat brown orb sat on the walkway next to the ship, totally alien, the Jovian Wetgrave, the capsule that makes a Pilot into a Pod-Pilot.

Stepping into the egg that I may well spend the next few months entombed inside. I turn, crouching against the restraint bar I lower myself onto the first of the implant connections in my lower back. I lean back, the suits adaptors ensure the implant connectins snap into place running up my spine like a zip, each one submitting additional parts of my body to numb paralysis. I slip my hands into the hard plastic gauntlets I shall use to transmit commands and that in turn restrain me, I leave the final connector, the big one at the base of my skull, untill last. Instead sending a command into the pods limited interface closing the shell tiny lights burried in the hull provide enough light for me to push my face into the mask, still dark without a connection to the ship. I bite down onlt the breathing tube and the pod slowly fills, drawing the ectoplasm from the stations storage tanks. I feel the fluid fill up my chest, a reassuring and terrifying feeling at the same time, it had taken me many attempts before I could use the acadamies VR training chambers that use a similar system. Finally I press my head back against the resraint, the final connector snaps into place, my body sags, dead to the world.

Meanwhile; The capsule now filled with both pilot and shock resistant ectoplasm, it is lifted by the docking bay cargo cranes and loaded into the Impairor. The instant the pod is locked into place, the onboard computer powers up the pod.

I reawaken, I am the ship, I feel its idling reactor, I feel the docking bay grip as if it were on my own arm.

"Good Morning Evil Incarn8, I am Aura, your ships computer pleased to meet you".

We undock, and fly out into the future.

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