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8 NOVEMBER, 2225 12:25:00 TAI


“It was communicated to me,” that goddamn Reggie bastard calling himself an expert on children said on the stand,“ by one of Alexandra’s teachers, that her mother’s homosexual relations with Rhonda Whitman was causing her to act out and rebel, possibly even leading to another Girasol incident in the near future.”


“Mama,” Lexie whispered to Susan Watson,“ that’s a goddamn—”


“There will be none of that in my courtroom, young lady!” the judge barked at them, Susan gently squeezing her oldest daughter’s hand.


“Please continue, Mister Spiers,” he said to Horace’s three-time fucking loser politico of a lawyer, the chief administrator of Flynt County, Franklin McKinley Spiers.


“I’ve nothing further to ask of this witness, Your Honor,” Spiers replied.


“The defense may cross-examine,” the judge said, Susan getting up, Spiers saying,“ I renew my objection, Your Honor. The defendant is not a lawyer and has no business—”


“Miss Watson,” the judge said, looking down his nose at her,“ if memory serves, this court instructed you to secure the services of an att—”


“I can’t afford one,” Susan replied.


“That is no excuse,” the judge replied,“and your obstinate refusal to secure the services of someone competent to conduct your defense speaks volumes about your ability to be a fit mother for these children.”


“Excuse me, Your Honor,” sixteen-year old Rose of Sharon spoke up,“ I believe you are editorializing, and that’s not allowed under the—”


“As does,” the judge snapped,“ your children’s lack of discipline and self-control.”


“No,” he concluded,“ I am going to have to agree with the plantiff’s expert witness—”


“He hasn’t offered one solid shred of eviden—” Susan objected.


“—these children are all clearly suffering the effects of Stockholm syndrome; it is obvious they—the three girls in particular—have all been brainwashed by their mother and her alleged lover, and thus are incapable of making an informed decision concerning who they wish to live with.”


“The social worker—” Lexie started to say.


“One more word out of you, you goddamn little bitch, and you will be in YDC until you’re old enough to draw fucking Social Security!” the judge roared.


“You don’t call my sissy a bitch, you goddamn motherfucker!” fourteen-year old Joshua said, on his feet, his face red.


“Those outbursts,”the judge replied, Susan feeling her heart sinking,“ just prove the poisonous influence the lack of a male role model in the home has on the developement of young ladies...and young men.”


“As any of the children, though they are of the age of consent, are clearly incapable of making any informed decisions for themselves,” he concluded,“ the court has no choice but to set aside their desire to remain with their mother and her alleged lover and make its ruling based on the facts in the case.”


“The witness,” he added,“ may step—”


“I have the right,” Susan insisted, knowing she wasn’t going to get anywhere,“under the law, to—”


“You open your goddamn mouth just one more time in my court, bitch,” the judge screamed,“ and I will fi—”


“Don’t you dare call my mama a bitch!” twelve-year old Suschenka screamed at the motherfucker.


“Bailiff !” the judge screamed.“Take that little whore down to the boot camp, and you fucking tell ‘em to teach her some goddamn manners, any way they ha—”


“You ain’t got no right to do that to her!” Susan screamed, clutching her baby to her and holding on tight.


“This is my courtroom,” the judge said, a man-mountain of a fucking tarbaby grabbing at Suschenka, trying to pull the screaming child away from her mother,“and, in my courtroom, what I say goes!”


“Gimme that dam’ child, bitch!” the Gnat snapped at her, Rhonda getting up, telling him flat out:


“You’ll have to go through me first, tarbaby!”


“Use your goddamn nerve pistol on ‘em, you goddamn fuckin’ nigger!” the judge shouted. “Use your—I thought I said no goddamn reporters in my courtroom—National Policemen—”


“Not,” Jay Todman, one of the most famous journalists in human space said, a 2.5-millimeter rail pistol in his right hand aimed dead at the fat pig calling himself a judge, his sensorshades recording every second of what was happening now, “ a very good idea...nor is having that icewarrior there tear a child away from her mother, not unless you want images that are right up there with those of Bearclaw Station going up in smoke—or Guy Zellner in his underwear—splashed all across the Net.”


“Things ain’t bad enough these days,” the judge groused,“ without the goddamn Commies and their bitches havin’ to make ‘em worse.”


“Fucking let ‘em go,” he growled. “This court is in recess until nine o’clock tomorrow morning.”


He banged his gavel, everyone heading for the door as quickly as they could, Susan, still holding on to her youngest daughter, walking out of the courtroom, her other children and her lover—her only reasons to live—beside her, as they walked down the hall and through a sliding clearcarbon door leading out of the annex.


The Gnats were out in force, holding back a whole bunch of people waving signs around, cheering when Susan, Rhonda and the kids came out, chanting “Justice for Susan!” almost drowning out the Gnats, nervously clutching their assault railers, ordering them to stay back or else.


When Horace and Spiers came out, escorted by half a dozen Terranovan Security and Intelligence Directorate goonboys in full tactical gear, someone in that crowd started booing, another shooting a bird at them...then, everyone started booing and heckling them.


“C’mon,” she said, walking towards the parking lot,“ let’s go, y’all.”


The six of them walked towards where Rhonda’s ‘20 Windstar family transport vehicle was parked, Gnats less than kindly shoving back reporters wanting to talk to them...she could swear there were more people out here than yesterday...why they were here at all cheering for her was something Susan still couldn’t understand...and wasn’t used to....


Turning away from the crowd, Susan walked around to the front passenger side door and got in.


8 NOVEMBER, 2225 12:32:15 TAI


“There were no survivors,” Shelli Krebs’ barely-restrained angry, grieving voice said to a a packed-out house.


“Those Yanker sons of bitches,” she said, the veteran Commonwealth Broadcasting Corporation reporter’s voice taut,“killed them all.”


To which a regular exulted,“Hell, yeah, turn it up!”


“’Bout motherfuckin’ time!” his friend choursed from their perch in the stretch end’s middle booth.


“Should bomb the hell outta all dem bitches, like Toby X say do!” a tarbaby sitting at the high counter shouted out, to which Loudmouth Jim Hunter added a “y’damn skippy we should!”


“That’s always been the problem with Guy Zellner and his whole fuckin’ crew,” Marc Bevill sagely observed over his tenth large to-go cup of Moot House coffee’“always worried bout what everyone else was thinkin’, when they shoulda been sayin’ ‘fuck y’all’ and do what they gotta do.”


“Damn straight,” ran the equally-sage wisdom of David Bell, seated with his fellow wits at the stretch end’s middle table.“Look where that bullshit’s gotten us, jackin’s in the middle of the fucking street, gangs runnin’ wild, kids going out and killin’ other kids, fuckin’ dykes telling everyone it’s all right for lickety-split to be fuckin’ raisin’ our goddamn children, and the courts goin’ right along with ‘em...sheeit, they let the goddamn Commies get up in our business, tellin’ us what to do, after we done went and kicked their asses at Tau Ceti ten years ago!”


“How the fuck is that for ya?!” Loudmouth Jim asked, shaking his page-boy cut head.


“They took the prayer outta the schools,” old Calvin Hobbes farted off from his seat at the low counter,“ gave the women everything they wanted, let them kill their babies and leave their husbands and eat each others’ pussies just like that, and now, the fuckin’ Commies are tryin’ to force our courts to enforce their so-called fucking lifestyle, to let their kind fucking raise kids and brainwash them into bein’ dykes just like them, and they have the nerve to wonder why we attacked them.”


“We all goin’ to Hell,” was Charles Dunlap’s sole observation, taking another bite of his bacon scrambled cheese, at the same time he shook his head.


Carson Selkirk, cutting into one of his four pork chops, could only nod his head in agreement, his eyes fixed on the dark sky outside and the bloated red scab of a planet hanging in it...every eight years, Judas, Delta Trianguli’s second planet, came close enough to Terranova to be seen in its night sky, both of them....


“Certainlly is the weather for it,” he remarked.


“Yeah,” Charles’ wife Wilma said, Miss Sarah bending over to recharge Carson’s large to-go cup of coffee, mixed with hot chocolate, chocolate milk, vanilla flavoring and Corona Real cola, Wilma sighing, remarking bitterly,“gonna be another fuckin’ war, mo’ people kilt, and fo’ what?!”


“So Toby X can write more jingoistic drivel,” Carson observed equally bitterly, as Toby’s latest rap,“Courtesy of the Red, White, Blue and Green(Terranova Gonna Give It To Ya) ,” replayed itself on the jukebox for only the nth fucking time since the news of Rover Four getting blown out of the fucking sky had first come over the Net...this was it then, Carson felt it in his bones, the war that really was going to end all wars and everything else too was just around the corner...everyone had thought the 9YW had been the Armageddon foretold in the ancient tales....over three quarters of a trillion dead on the fucking deck, trillions more missing and probably better off dead, the economies of half a dozen nations, including the Rude Union’s, trashed out, and, it had all been just a warm-up...now with the League’s collective military forces rebuilt to five times what they’d been before the war and the bloodbath at Tau Ceti a decade behind them, every hardened politico, convicted media talking head and the dumb SOBs tuning in to their every word were all swearing up and down that they coulda whupped those damn Commies, if only....


He sighed, feeling the crap rattling in his chest as he looked up at Judas...his older brother’s daughter, his niece, had been right there at the start of 9YW, defending Bearclaw Station, buying time for most of the Midnight Sun Resources Cooperative personnel stationed there to get the fuck away from those out to get them...not all of them, though, that had torn at her, especially after Unbroken had stumbled onto fucking Mont Noir eight years later...his son of a bitch brother had run over her mum, nine and a half months pregnant with Jami’s unborn sister, got the Martinez County Kangaroo Court of Inferiors to pin the blame on Jami—amazing the damn things one could do with four stars on his shoulder—and, supposedly, she’d been sent to the YDC in Flyntsboro...in reality, they’d packed her off to that frozen hellhole, fucking Witch’s Tit, from which she’d never fucking escaped, not completely....


“That cold’s gettin’ worse,” Wilma remarked...neither of them were stupid, he’d been having lunch with them, on and off, at the old Moot House in Owensboro for the better part of three decades...they knew, they just hadn’t confronted him with the lie he was telling everyone, that it was just a cold, even though he’d had this “cold” since September...same damn thing which had taken its time killing his Mum ten years ago, all those years slaving away at that fucking sweatshop in Ford’s Valley for fucking nothing a week....


Another sigh, the bass drivings of Toby X’s latest crime against humanity pounding in his skull, the holo of him gyrating in front of the Union Colors floating over the jukebox.


“Say we gonna put a boot up in dat ass,” rapped Toby X, to the accompiment of gastric noises,“ ‘Cause dat the Terranovan waaayhay. Terranova gonna give to ya Terranova gonna give it to ya Terranova gonna give it to ya yay yay! yay yay! Evil gonna fly there gonna be some hail, when ol’ Guy Z. start rangin’ yo’ bell Terranova gonna give it to ya Terranova gonna give it to ya say T-Nova gonna give it give it to ya....”


“Yeah,” Carson whispered,“ it’s getting worse.”


8 NOVEMBER, 2225 12:38:20 TAI


“Gentlemen,” Dick Grissom said to a roomful of N.L.A. cops, the series’ theme, “Who Are You?” playing in the background,“you are to expirience the most fascinating field of police work: The world of forensic medicine.”


All the iceboys fainted dead away on cue when Grissom pulled back the sheet and showed them the deader underneath it, that scene dissolving to those of him doing his job and finally to one of him on the deck of his AG sailer with the stripper bitch—who was wearing very little—putting her titties all up in his face.


Nodding his head, Malone relaxed on the sofa in Atlanta Three’s relief deck, sipping on a self-chilling bottle of Red Dog Genuine Draft, watching a shitcanned ep of Dick Grissom, M.E., absently studying the ship’s status report displayed on his holopad...Walden’s flight engineers had managed to install a replacement AG shield generator, and most of the rest of the hurt that Commie dyke bitch had put on his bird had been fixed...there wouldn’t be a fucking scratch on him when he broke out in the New Whitehorse corridor, cruising into atmosphere on his AG drive, surrounded by every camera bird the Movie Board could muster up for the occasion; he told Walden to make damn sure the internal cameras were up and running when they broke out, the whole command staff were going to be standing at attention, their blue suits neatly pressed, all the medals in place...been a while since he’d stood in the South Garden of the Governor’s Mansion and had a medal pinned on him, and this merited at least a Distinguished Flying Cross, if not another Medal of Honor.


They were going to be national heroes, the first in too long, and too long overdue...everything had gone straight to hell ever since his Union had gotten their asses kicked at Tau Ceti ten years ago, goddamn bitches were running roughshod over the government, had total control of the fucking media, infiltrated the military, weakening it even further than it had been during 9YW—that had been the whole problem right there from jump, goddamn dyke feminazis forcing affirmative action down the thorats of the Union Security Council, couldn’t have been no other outcome than defeat—fucking bitches being allowed to eat each other’s shit, fuck each other with dildos and raise kids without a fucking man in sight.


Yeah, things had been going wrong for too goddamn long, too goddamn long, until now...taking out Rover Four had sent a message those Commie dyke bitches had better fucking take seriously, if they knew what was good for them, it wasn’t like it was ten years ago, his peeps were gearing up to do it all over again, and, this time, they had everything they needed to fight the war right this time.


They’d all just better fucking get the message.


8 NOVEMBER, 2225 12:41:45 TAI


She watched the streamers of ghostly bluish-violet in the master holodisplay, the fingers of her wife’s left hand surely, deftly playing across the buttons on the astrogation holodisplay, constantly feeding calculation after calculation into the Rittermark generator to keep Unbroken in hyperspace...the best she’d ever seen....


The best, period...Jami smiled slightly, as she kept watching her pilot the Commonwealth Forces frigate through this spacetime composed entirely of tachyons...it would be twenty years next September, and she still didn’t know what she’d done to deserve having Stevie in her life, she certainly hadn’t made it easy for her, especially when they’d been in Academy together, and she’d been so messed up she’d actually tried everything she could to hurt her and push her away....


She sighed, the smile fading....


...up against the railing, the guard pulling her panties down, pulling on her matted, tangled hair , keeping her from moving, shoving his nightstick up in her, slapping her ass and telling her to fucking....


“...stop your goddamn fucking crying, you spoiled, goddamn little brat!” Daddy screamed, clawing her face as he just kept on shoving himself into her.


“You fucking brought this on yourself, bitch!” he shouted, slapping the twelve-year old girl across the face. “I fuckin’ told you what was gonna happen if I ever saw you talkin’ to that goddamn little slut Sunni fucking Smith, I fuckin’ told you, and you go and fuckin’ talk to her anyway...your goddamn manager called Rahman out at the fuckin’ base, told him every fuckin’ thing you two sick little fucks were doing in the bathroom of the goddamn Poot House, and he fuckin’ called me in his office and told me all about it!”


“I said, shut up!” he shrieked, slapping and ramming her again.“Shut up! You ain’t the fuckin’ victim here, bitch, do you know what you’ve done to me?! Rahman told me I might not get my fourth motherfucking star, that I might even be in line to fuckin’ get hit by a motherfuckin’ truck , all thanks to your stinking little motherfuckin’ ass going down on that other goddamn, fuckin’ little whore and lettin’ her do God only knows what kinda sick shit to you.”


“Goddamn you, I said shut up!” he kept screaming at her, grabbing a handful of her hair, smashing a pillow into her face, tearing into her even worse. “Shut up, you goddamn, lazy, stupid, good-for-nothin’ sick goddamn fuckin’ little piece of shit, or by God....”


...he was really going to give her something to cry about.


She sniffled, swallowed, forcing herself to concentrate on the master holodisplay...they follow that Yanker warbird back to Terranova, fucking blow it out of the sky, then she could let it go.


Another swallow...the astro deck was red-lit, quiet, even given that it was in vacuum...her commlink was silent, none of the flight crew saying anything, and given what had happened, who could blame even veterans of the fucking 9YW for still being shocked at innocent civilians—people under their protection—getting murdered in their own backyard...they had just come off of a long patrol cycle, incidents beyond number over the past six months, on final approach along the New Toronto corridor for rest, relaxation and a much-needed overhaul, when Rover Four’s distress call had come in....


No rest or relaxation now, not until after they’d made those sons of bitches answer for what they’d done...probably not even after that....


...Bearclaw Station’s broken body tumbling end for end into Sirius C, shedding blue sparks of itself into the red sun, enemy machines moving in to capture those who hadn’t made it out in time....


...probably not even after that, she thought to herself, as Unbroken continued onward to Terranova.


8 NOVEMBER, 2225 13:12:21 TAI


“While the bleeding-heart liberals,” California Broadcasting Service’s Juan Rivera’s holo said,“and the rabid bull-dykes controlling the Vargas Movie Board will no doubt attempt to denounce this as an act of terrorism, there are still those of us who see it for what it truly is, a blow for liberty, democracy, common decency, and a strike against the politically-correct claptrap the feminazis have been forcing down our throats for the last decade or more.”


“Correct,” his co-anchor, Sawyer Forrester, added. “They knew they could not defeat us militarily, so they decided on subversion, knowing that was the very thing which provoked the last war...I mean, just how stupid is Angelique Gault...is Mistress Babylon really willing to sacrifice hundreds of billions more innocent lives to make the same mistake twice...even she has to admit the feminist-lesbian social expiriment has failed, it failed two centuries ago, it failed ten years ago, it is failing now, simple as that.”


“Simple,” Rivera said, the footage of Atlanta Three smashing Rover Four into trillions of blue sparks replaying in the background behind them,“as that.”


Pointing the mouse at the HV projector in her living room, Susan switched the damn thing to another feed...Terranova Media Syndicate, Rachel English telling the worlds:


“—national heros by a unanimous vote of both houses of the Common Legislature, Governor Zellner immediately signing the resolution into law, announcing that he will personally award the Atlanta Three’s commander and flight crew with the Union Medal of Honor upon their arrival in New Whitehorse this afternoon.


In Rittermark, Hong Kong Prime Minister Roger Tarrant, Chairman of the Executive Council of the League of Interstellar Republics, has just announced a passage of a joint statement by the League supporting the attack on Rover Four:”


Behind her, the holoimage of Roger Tarrant said:


“If Mistress Babylon’s people choose to follow her, then they must suffer the consequences...in willingly remaining under her thrall, they have ceased being innocent bystanders, and have become unlawful enemy combatants engaged in an unholy war to bring down civilisation itself and replace it with depravity and feminine perversion!


They do not merely seek our eradication, but our feminisation as well, they can never be like us, so they intend to lower us to their sta—”


Now, the goddamn phone bleeped for her attention...Horace again, he couldn’t fucking wait until they were both at work to start in on her, he had to do it now, show her he still had power over her....


“Bitch,” Horace’s voice said,“ I kno’ you there, and I kno’ you can hear me. You gonna lose ‘em kids, ain’t a dam’ thang you—”


“Phone, fucking shut up!” Susan snapped.


“Block his NPI!” she added.


“The Net Protocol ID for this person has been blocked,” the phone told her, same as all the other fucking times. “All further calls from this person will automatically result in immediate disconnection.”


“Sure they will,” Susan commented bitterly, sighing, shaking her head, her eyes throbbing from the pain.


She felt fingers gently massaging her scalp muscles...she looked into Rhonda’s dark brown eyes, and that smile...she and the kids, only fucking things that had pulled her through the dark times, everything was just starting to come together, and, now....


“Baby,” her lover said, with a faith Susan envied,“we will get through this.”


“We will,” she repeated firmly,“ get through this.”


8 NOVEMBER, 2225 13:51:36 TAI


“As education professionals,” that fat bastard John Jimson said to Terranova Public Broadcasting’s William Charon, “our hands are tied by teachers’ unions, parents groups, and, of course, the feminist movement. On top of that, we have the government come in and take God out of the classroom...the question shouldn’t be why Girasol happened, but why it doesn’t happen more often.”


Behind the principal of Flynt County High, a line of girls standing in the middle of the gymnasium began taking off their clothes as male teachers, coaches and a tac unit of Gnats all stood there fucking ogling them...Amendment fucking 42 in action, Gotchanow Guy’s response to the slaughter at Girasol nearly two months ago, mandatory locker, backpack and strip searches of female students, with a trip to YDC—if they were exceedingly lucky—for anything which could be even remotely construed as a precursor to another Girasol...no surprise that “anything” included even the merest hint of lesbiannism...last week, in McDonough, a seventh-grade girl who’d lent another girl her inhaler when she’d started having a bad asthma attack on the school bus ended up being sent to the regional boot camp in Concord, the Henry County Board of Education having decided her act of common fucking decency was the same thing as some bastard peddling kike rock in the fucking projects, and thus had invoked their right under Amendment 42 to incarcerate her without even the pretense of a fair trial.


“That’s exactly what’s wrong with the schools today,” Jimson continued farting off, the men behind him groping and pawing the girls, slapping the ass of one of them when she whimpered in pain, “ the feminists have come in there, set the females free, and look what happens...some girl seduced a young man with a bright future ahead of him, forced him to give her a child, sued him for sexual harassment, won, and, in his anger and rage, the poor boy—”


“Goddamnit, shut the fucking thing off!” Carson snapped, the HV projector in the living room fading to black...TPB had been the only feed not covering the murder of Rover Four and its nearly 400 scientists, scholars and students...he’d just gotten off the phone with Jay Todman, who he’d known from the Jolian War...FedNewsNet had sent him here to cover Susan’s custody battle, after word of it had already spread like wildfire across the Net, after her co-workers at the plant, Lexie’s and Rose of Sharon’s unit manager, assistant manager, district manager, division manager, area VP, fellow associates and regulars at the Moot House in Wesley, and mutual friends of Susan’s and Rhonda’s had all petitioned the Baldwin County Kangaroo Court of Inferiors, the Supreme Court in Atlanta Three, the Attorney General, Micheal Bauer, in New Whitehorse, the Union PM, Terrence Marc Coleman, and, even Guy Zellner himself, in favor of her keeping her kids...hell, the social worker sent to try and find a reason to take her children away from her had told the truth instead, and not just in court either.


Which, of course, had completely destroyed any career she’d had, Orson Perdue, Zellner’s attorney, boot boy and Minister of Family and Children Services, had seen to that with a quickness...and, it had only stirred things up even more...the Commonwealth had nothing to fucking do with it, just a case of the people who had put Zellner and the rest of his fucking crew into power getting fed up with business as usual in New Whitehorse.


Carson sighed, his chest rattling even worse than before...the Commonwealth was going to have a hell of a lot to do with it now, that was for damn skippy...Jami was on Atlanta Three’s trail and she wasn’t going to stop until that son of a bitch was spread across the stars in a shower of blue-hot sparks...and the Commonwealth Forces were not going to let this go unpunished, a retalitory strike was on its way from Cor Leonis, three aerospace divisions, nine thousand Commonwealth Forces frigates under Chief Tilghmann’s direct command, coming here to smash every military, economic and government target into little bits...Angelique Gault had personally led the last strike against Terranova ten years ago—from the Unbroken’s astro deck—pounded the Governor’s Mansion right into the fucking planet and chased Guy Zellner down Terranova 29, poor bastard not even having a chance to get dressed before running for his murdering, miserable shit of a life.


Another sigh, Carson reassembling his Commonwealth Forces-ish Browning M2 rail pistol, carefully checking the AG accelerator coil for any signs of heat damage or gravitic stress before hooking it back up to the AG generator's first-stage and infinite mass compression units and placing the entire assembly carefully inside the weapon...he’d been out back, in his own private shooting gallery, working off frustrations by vectoring two and a half millimeter hyperdense monocarbon slugs at the speed of light into holographic enemies...during the 9YW, especially, this weapon had saved his sorry ass more than once; it would doubtlessly be called upon to do that again, a few more times before the fucking virus inside him finished its work of killing him.


He smiled...no regrets, everything had worked out the way it was supposed to, even if it hadn’t seemed that way at times...he was going to miss Annesha like crazy, she’d been the reason he’d been able to find his way back at all, and he could never repay that...he’d seen his niece grow into her own, and he was proud of her...if only Dunstan, his twin brother, could find someone special...he’d told him, flat out, last time they’d talked, it just wasn’t worth it without that someone special in your life....


Nodding his head, Carson finished putting his weapon back together.

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