This is just something I've been thinking about for some time and I finally put it on paper. This is the first of a two part pilot that I'm trying out. If you guys like it, great, I might write more on it. If not, well, then I won't pursue it. And for all you A Marine's Story fans out there: Don't worry, I'm still writing the next part and will hopefully have it up soon. Until then, enjoy Deadly Tide...
Captain Jennings idled his engine and drifted silently through the vacuum of space. His eyes scanned through the cockpit of the Wraith fighter in search of his prey. They stopped on a fairly small group of asteroids. Jennings smiled and checked his radar, “That’s where the bastard is.” He slowly eased the throttle forward and activated his cloaking field. Quietly flying through the asteroid field, he kept his eyes on a sharp look out for any minor visual distortion. Slipping past a rather large space rock his eyes landed on something strange. A medium sized asteroid sitting at his one o’clock had an abnormal bend in its side. And as the rock turned, the bend stayed in the exact same spot.
Jennings let a lips curl into a wicked grin. He quickly lined up the bend in his gun sights. As soon as the crosshairs fell over the spot, Jennings pulled the stick’s trigger. Laser blasts erupted on either side of his wing tips and set rounds slamming into the asteroid. Jennings released pressure on the trigger, his heart was racing. A familiar form faded into view. The enemy Wraith’s engines lit up and it sped out of Jennings’ line of fire. Slamming his throttle forward, Jennings gripped the stick with both hands. The chase was on!
Weaving around the slowly spinning asteroids he armed his missiles, Jennings lived for moments like this. As his missiles were gaining their lock, he sent short laser burst at the enemy Wraith in the hopes of intimidating the pilot. Jennings glanced at the computer as it flashed “Missile Lock”. Smirking, his thumb pushed the button down. Two Gemini missiles screeched from their racks and accelerated off to intercept the fleeing ship. Franticly the Wraith banked left, behind the cover of a passing asteroid. The missiles were absorbed by the rocks immense size. Jennings cursed as he pulled up and rolled over it.
Spotting the Wraith exiting the asteroid field, Jennings saw his opening. Without the asteroids, the Wraith had no protection from his missiles. Jennings sped off after him and chuckled at this rookie mistake. Shaking in anticipation, Jennings bit his lower lip. “Missile Lock” appeared on his computer and he pushed the button once again. Jennings’ heart slammed against the inside of his rib cage. This was what he lived for, the few seconds when the enemy’s luck just ran out. He tensed in anticipation as the missiles closed range. Blinking was completely out of the question, he couldn’t miss a second of this.
Just as the missiles were about to impact the Wraith, everything around Jennings went black.
“What the fuck?” he whispered to himself. Looking inside of this pitch black tomb, a pleasant female voice sounded, “Simulation interrupted”
Slamming his fists down angrily on the control panel he screamed, “What the fuck!!!”
A low hiss came from his left as the wall moved up, spilling blinding white light inside the simulated cockpit. Jennings pulled of his gloves and threw them heatedly to his feet. The silhouetted form of a man filled the opening wall, “Captain?” his voice called.
Jennings got to his feet and stormed out to meet the man, “What in the fuckin’ hell is wrong with you people?” his eyes winced as the adjusted to the light, “I’ve told you a thousand times never to interrupt me when I’m in a simulation!”
The man smiled, “I know it better than anyone, sir.”
Still angry, Jennings sighed and massaged his sinus, “What do you want, Famine?”
“Well, Death,” Famine chuckled, Jennings didn’t call him that very often, “Your wife’s on the line. She wants to see you.”
His head quickly turned to face Famine’s, he was still smiling. “Wipe that stupid grin off your face.” Jennings ordered as he began walking out of the training room.
“Right away, sir.” He followed.
Jennings took in a deep breath as the cool air of the base washed over him. The walls around him were all painted white and the floor was made up of glossy black tiles. This base was far too bright for his liking but what could he do about it? “So how were you doing in there, captain?”
“God damn it Ken, you couldn’t have interrupted my in a worse spot.” Jennings complained.
“Ahh, so that’s where you were.” Jennings sighed and shook his head.
He looked over at his best friend and wingman. Ken Valletti had come to this base 2 months after Jennings did. Having just turned twenty a few days ago, he was still a kid in Jennings’ eyes. Thinking back to the moment when they first met, he couldn’t help but smile.
Randomly walking down the hallway to the mess hall, he spotted some middle aged superior officer and Ken arguing about something. The boy’s dark blonde hair fell into his eyes and he shook it away. “Lieutenant, that hair cut is unfit for this military, we are not some rag-tag pirate militia, and I will not have one of my men looking like that!” The officer pointed to his own hair, which was short and neatly trimmed, like any stereotypical military commercial would portray, “This is what you are expected to have, that is completely unacceptable!” he pointed at Ken’s bangs, “Now march your ass down to the barber and get your hair cut, boy!” Ken couldn’t take it anymore, and Jennings could tell, “Look you son of a-” “Hey!” Jennings interrupted them, “Is there a problem here?”
The officer turned and looked as if he was about to start yelling at Jennings, but seeing that they were equals he calmed down, “This, recruit, has to cut his hair to match military standards.”
Shaking his own dark brown bangs from his eyes, Jennings said, “Well, as long as he keeps it out of his eyes, he can fly with me.” The officer’s eyes were bulging from their sockets, “You want him?” he thrust a data pad into Jennings hand, “You take him!” he stormed off, appalled.
Jennings shook his head at the officer’s back and looked down, “What’s your name kid?”
Still looking after the man, he said “Ken, sir.” He faced Jennings, “Ken Valletti.”
“Well, Valletti, you’re in luck.” He looked him straight in the eye, “I’m in need of a new wingman.”
Ever since that moment Jennings and Ken were always together. He helped Ken learn the basic layout of the base, how their squadron was formed, and ran him through countless simulations to advance his skills. He was elite now, almost as good as Jennings. “So, you taken me home with you next time we get leave, Sam?” Ken asked dodging fellow pilots as they stepped onto the elevator.
“I think so. Unless Sara says otherwise, you’re more than welcome.” Jennings punched the button for the lobby.
“Cool, you guys just had a kid right?” Ken leaned up against the wall.
“Yeah, he turned two yesterday.”
Jennings nodded. The sad thing was he had never met the kid. Sara gave birth four months after he left for his new post, and with all the pirate activity around Earth these days, he hadn’t had a chance to get leave until recently. The elevator finally stopped at tower 3’s main floor. Ken and Jennings departed quickly to free up space for those who wanted to get on. “Is she on a private or public line?” Jennings asked, navigating himself through the swarm of people.
“Private, you should be able to catch her at POC 1.” Ken bumped into a short, aging woman and spilled the papers she was carrying all over the ground, “Sorry ma’am.”
Once out of ear shot he said, “Old hag needs to learn how to walk.”
Jennings chuckled, “Or maybe you should be more careful about where you’re going.”
As they neared the hallway that lead to POC 1 Jennings stopped, held out his arm to block Ken’s path, and pointed toward the mess hall.
Ken was confused, “What? I don’t get to come?”
“You most certainly do not. Now go grab me some lunch, I’m starving. I’ll catch up with you later.” He motioned down a different corridor.
“Fine, whatever man. See ya later, Death.” Ken strode off towards the mess hall. Under normal circumstances Jennings could have cared less about whether or not Ken came with him or not, but this was a special occasion. This would be the first time he’d get to lay eyes on his new son. Jennings resumed his long walk to POC 1. As he neared the room he saw the door open and a short skinny man exit. “Pest?” Jennings called out.
The man turned to face him and smiled, “Hey Captain.”
Jennings crossed his arms and looked at the room’s door, “What were you doing in the Private Officer’s Communication room?”
“Well you see, sir,” set a box down next to him and explained, “apparently, even though I’m supposed to be a full time pilot, someone left slip the fact I took a maintenance course back in basic. Now whenever something breaks down, instead of call the maintenance MAN, they call yours truly.”
“What were you fixing?”
“Oh, some computer was acting up and not taking commands properly.”
“You know, you’re right. They should call our maintenance men away from their non-important days of making sure we have clean air, heat, and a working gravity generator to fix a malfunctioning communication computer.” Jennings smiled sarcastically.
“Shut up, Cap. Anyway she’s all fixed so enjoy.” Pest picked up his box of tools and gave a quick salute before leaving.
Pest’s full call sign was Pestilence. He was one of Jennings’ four flight leaders. Despite the fact he was an extremely gifted pilot, Pest was not what you’d call a “good person”. In his civilian life he had a long criminal history of robbery, assault, battery, and sexual harassment. He could never shut up either, not even if his life depended on it. No matter what you said to the guy one could not get him to leave you alone. He’d keep telling the same disgusting stories over and over and over again, thus earning him the shortening of his name.
But, pest or no pest, every man in the squadron, including Jennings, owned his life to him. As soon as he got into the cockpit, his personality flipped. He turned serious, calm, quite, and did his job with deadly efficiency. His number of kills were second only to War’s.
Jennings opened the door to POC 1. Thankfully, it was empty. In a matter of seconds, Jennings had his wife’s face staying back at him through the computer screen. “Hey, Sam.” she said pleasantly.
“Hey baby.” Jennings took a seat in front of the screen and stared at his wife. She was beautiful, and at the age of 26 she was four years younger than Jennings. Her red hair glowed as the sun set through their kitchen window. She had brilliant brown eyes and smooth sexy legs. Something caught Jennings’ eye as he looked his wife over. A small hand reached around from behind her and gripped his wife’s right pant leg very tightly. “Is that…?” Jennings started. She nodded and smiled, “Come on.” She pushed his son gently out from behind her; “Say hi to your daddy.” The little boy had thin brown hair and looked scared. He took a quick look at the screen then darted back behind his mother. Jennings heart sunk but he managed to grin. “It’s not you.” She said, seeing right through his smile, “He’s incredibly shy.”
“He’s standing?” Jennings asked.
“He’s walking.” Her smile widened.
“You’re kidding!” Jennings blurted out, “Are you serious?”
“Yep, don’t worry I got it on video. I’ll mail it to your personal computer when I get a chance.”
“Thanks babe.” Jennings was extremely pleased to hear this, “So how have you been?”
“I’ve been keeping busy. The little guy might not look it but he’s a handful.” She turned serious, “When are you coming home?”
“Two weeks.” Jennings frowned, she wasn’t pleased.
“Two weeks? Can’t you get off any sooner?”
“That’s the soonest I can get, baby. We’ve pretty much crushed pirate moral and the only reason that happened was because of me and Ken.”
“You and Ken?” she asked, confused.
“Oh right,” the reporters only interviewed Ken after the event, Jennings wasn’t upset at all though, he didn’t care for publicity, “I’ll explain when I get home.”
Sara picked up their son and walked out of the screen. She returned a few seconds later and leaned in close. “I miss you.”
“I’ve been all alone these past two years.” She smiled coyly.
“You have a lot of time to make up for you know.” Leaning over more, she allowed some of her cleavage to show. Jennings raised his eyebrows, her breasts were perfect.
“You got that right.” He smiled sheepishly, “You have no idea how badly I want to just reach into this screen.”
The door hissed open behind him. Jennings closed his eyes and clenched his jaw, “Don’t be him, don’t be him, god damnit if it’s him I’ll kill him.” He thought as he turned.
“Hey Captain.” Ken was standing in the doorway, smiling, “Hi Sara.”
“Hi Ken.” She smiled and backed away from the screen.
“Do you remember when I said you couldn’t have interrupted me in a worse spot?” Jennings growled.
“Well, you’ve managed to.” Anger bubbled inside him once more.
“I’m sorry sir, but, as always, I have a reason.”
“Spill!” he ordered.
“I was just about to get you and me some lunch when I was interrupted by Lieutenant Colonel Matthews. He wants to see you ASAP.” Ken explained, entering the room.
“Son of a bitch, I’ve been sitting here for two weeks bored out of my mind from the lack of things going on around here and today I get a call from my wife and my fucking C.O.” Jennings sighed.
“Hey, you can’t talk like that anymore, you’re a father now!” Sara scolded, “Ken, make sure he stops swearing.”
“Yes, ma’am.” A wicked smile grew on Ken’s face.
“I’m sorry baby but I have to go.”
“I understand, I’ll see you two in a few weeks then.” She gave one last wave and turned off the monitor.
Jennings walked out of the POC with Ken at his heels, “Did he say why he wanted me?”
“No, just that he was at the top of tower 4.” They got back into the main lobby of tower 3, “How’s she doing?”
“And your son?”
“From what I saw of him he looked alright.” Jennings was getting annoyed. Ken could tell, “Don’t take that tone with me Captain.” They boarded an empty tram and were soon on their way to tower 4.
“Well fuck, Ken!” Jennings yelled, “You couldn’t have waited five more minutes before coming to get me?”
“Oh please, did I interrupt something special? Didn’t get to see enough of her? You’ve been fucking lying to her!” Ken retorted.
“So what if I have been? That’s none of your business.” Jennings stood up.
“Well then don’t yell at me for interrupting you on official orders. You’ve had more than enough chances to go home. I’ve been saying the same thing over and over, you’re addicted to your work Sam, you need a break!” Ken stood too, they were face to face.
“The only reason I stay is because I’m defending my planet; defending my wife; defending my son! If I had taken the last leave they offered me you wouldn’t be standing here right now!” Jennings expelled those last words with such force, Ken took his seat.
“I never said otherwise, Sam. And I haven’t let a day go by without telling you in one way or another how grateful I am that you were there.” He spoke softly.
Jennings took in a deep breath and exhaled, “I’m sorry, Ken. I didn’t mean to snap. I’ve just been so stressed lately,” he looked out into the black vastness of space, “I really do need to go home.”
“Then why do you keep choosing to stay?” Ken asked. Jennings didn’t answer right away, “Because this world is supposed to be safe. I never want my son to know what I know, to see what I’ve seen. I want his life to consist only of peace and I’ll stop at nothing to achieve that, even if it means giving up my own life.”
The rest of the journey to tower 4 was spent in silence.