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Author Topic: Portraits of a Lost Child  (Read 3326 times)

Jennifer Starfall

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Re: Portraits of a Lost Child
« Reply #15 on: 18 Aug 2015, 10:40 »


Jennifer sat with her head down, the side of her face pressed against the surface of her workdesk. She watched a drop of Quafe slowly form on the lip if a tipped over bottle. As the purple bulge grew and quivered, she thought "What a waste... I need that."

A thin, slick black tendril snaked into her vision. Jennifer sat up, adrenaline hammering through her body, causing her to blink owlishly. She shook her head, and the tendril was gone.

She reached for another bottle and popped the seal. She quickly gulped down the contents, grimacing at the taste and the memories it brought. She dropped the bottle on the floor, where it clattered among it kin. She blinked her eyes and tried to focus, once again, on her Neocom. Anything to occupy her brain.


Jennifer sat with her head down, the side of her face pressed against the surface of her workdesk. She watch the light diffract and scintillate off the white powder in its crystalline box. The glittering play of the light promised a rush, a sharpness incomparable outside the Cartel. She thought, "Don't want to waste it... not yet."

A sharp, searing heat snaked across the back of Jennifer's neck. Jennifer jumped from her chair, adrenaline pumping, causing her skin to itch. Her foot landed on one of the myriad bottles scattered across the floor. Jennifer lost her footing and crashed to the floor, stunning her momentarily and sending bottles clattering like so many bones. Jennifer felt at her neck, fingers searching for the burning tendrils, finding nothing, not even blistered skin. Only the cool metal of her neural sockets.

She reached for the last bottle and popped the seal. She quickly gulped down the contents, no longer grimacy, her tongue inured taste, her memories a fog. With some ceremony, befitting the last of its kind, she dropped the bottle to the floor, allowing it to at last join its spent kin. She rubbed her red, hollow eyes and stared at her Neocom, willing it to allow her to stave of boredom and sleep once again.


Jennifer sat with her head down, the side of her face pressed against the surface of her workdesk. She stared at nothing, the emptiness mere meters beyond the seen. The emptiness promising oblivion if she only gave in. "What a waste you are."

She saw the slick black tendril moments before it struck, their searing tips burning across her cheek as they sought the sockets at the back of her neck. She grabbed the tentacle with her right hand, halting it's lunch, mere inches from her neck. She slammed the tentacle against her workdesk, the pain lancing through it, numbing it. The instinct of countless drills took over, and she grabbed her combat knife and lashed out at the tentacle where it emerged from her left forearm. The incoherent scream of a terrified and injured child tore from her throat, and at last, she willing succumbed to the black oblivion.


"Jenn! Jenna!"

An acrid, piercing smell invaded the cocoon of her unconsciousness. Stephen's concerned, almost angry face swam into view.

Her mouth felt like cotton, and it was an effort to form words "Giff me a stimbulant. Can't sleep..."

Stephen sat back, satisfied that his friend and employer was conscious. He made a last check of the smart bandage's progress on stopping the flow of blood from her lacerated arm. Satisfied he started packing up the medkit.

"No, Jenna. I will get you help."

She struggled to sit up, but her body weak from blood loss, her hand slid on the congealing blood, her blood, smeared across the floor. "No, leave me be! No one will want to help me."

Stephen's expression softened. "You know that's not true, kirjuun."

Tears started to flow down Jennifer's cheeks as she triggered a well-used neural pathway and activated the communications circuit of her implants. "Bel... help me... please."

Stephen sat back, relieved. He had found her just in time in a pool of her own blood, flowing from a deep cut in her arm, almost as if she had been trying to cut it off. He hoped Bel would offer his friend the comfort she clearly needed. All he could do was wait and see.

Jennifer Starfall

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Re: Portraits of a Lost Child
« Reply #16 on: 18 Aug 2015, 10:42 »


Jennifer lounged in the seat of the InterBus shuttle musing over the day. Despite the fact that it required her to squarely face the motives behind her abduction of Borkstar, she felt good about the testimony she gave for the inquest into his being declared anathema. She felt like she had finally channeled her hate and anger in a positive direction. Instead of fighting against society and the laws that contained it, for a change she had worked within their bounds. Well, if she were honest with herself, she'd used it as a weapon. Still, it felt good to act in a way that wouldn't cause her Amarrian friends to cringe.

She was also glad that she'd gone to Samira, even if it the start of the visit had been awkward with both Charles and Aldrith there. She'd been worried about her. The anger she'd been showing on the IGS were a sure sign that things were wearing on her. But Jennifer need not have worried; Samira had seemed to pulled herself out of the personal hell she'd spiraled into months... had it really been that long?

Jennifer chided herself. She could be a terrible, neglectful friend, even if she would be willing to do anything for those she held close.

But still, she was pleasantly surprise. Not only had she not found the usual criticism she could expect from Samira. Instead she found understanding, empathy. A kindred spirit.

Perhaps, Jennifer mused, if Samira's been able to rise up from the ashes and wreckage of her past, perhaps there was hope for herself. Well, maybe not as meteoric a rise, she allowed, but it gives me some hope to measure against.

Jennifer didn't pay much mind as a small shudder ran through the shuttle's hull, indicating it's arrival at its destination before the pilot announced it. He sounded strained, tired perhaps, exhausted at the end of his duty cycle.

Jennifer got up and exited the shuttle. It wasn't until several moments after the shuttles doors closed behind her that the specifics of where she was registered with her tired, distracted brain. This wasn't the Lai Dai station in Kakakela. She glanced around at the unfamiliar Matari construction, her skin prickling as adrenaline flooded her bloodstream.

A split second before she could react, a strike as hard as steel struck the back of her leg. Years of practicing Taikiken kata took over, as smoothly as the balance needed to stand up from a chair. Her leg buckled, and she allowed herself to fall, rolling into a standing position, facing her would be attacker. Her muscles flowed like water, the current's flow disrupted by her immobilized arm. She cursed to herself as she sized up her assailant. The ugly expression above a classic Civre chin combined with the tattoo of a death's head with rabbit ears tattooed on his arm could mean only one thing. Guristas.

Jennifer forced a smile on her face as she tested her leg. "I don't mean to trespass. My shuttle appears to have landed by mistake in the wrong station. I used to fly with Ethan Verone, perhaps..."

The Gurista thug cut her off, hefting the wrench held in his right hand. "Wasn't an accident, girly. And Veto's gone."

Jennifer reached for where her combat knife would usually be and swore, out loud this time. "Damnit, Scherezad."

Her eyes darted about the area looking for anything to be used as a weapon to counter the two feet of metal wielded by her attacker. "What do you want then?"

The pirate grin in anticipation, "Chairman Kirkinen wants a word with ye."

"What?" The color drained from Jennifer's face and her knees nearly gave as she simply stared at her attacker in shock. She didn't see his partner lash out from the darkness, catching her square in injured arm. Pain exploded outwards from her arm, stunning her as effectively has the revenant of her past, personal hell. She found herself on the floor, gasping in pain.

"Careful, mate. Zainou won't pay if their property is damaged."

Jennifer struggled to rise, to flee. But her traitorous muscles refused to comply. Instead all she could do was beg, "Please... no..."

She whimpered like a terrified child as an electric pulse coursed through her body, causing it to convulse into unconsciousness. She knew that when she awoke, she would be in hell.

Jennifer Starfall

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Re: Portraits of a Lost Child
« Reply #17 on: 06 Sep 2015, 12:21 »

Credit for this must go to my beautiful RL wife, muse of my heart.
Limitless Horizon

Like a phantom limb, my Astero
itches my interface.
My spine burns -- tingling
points of distant connection.
Like walking on numb feet. And yet --

I swoop, a valiant plume.
Speed-drunk, winging
past dark worlds. At such
times, I leave
behind the straps and probes,
my chemical-soaked memories.
I am only the ship -- or
the ship is me, unrestrained,
awash in the wonder of streaked stars.

Only as I dock do I thump
back in my body, my
neurons afire. And throbbing
doubt hits me with a thwack.

I am myself.
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