Velocity jolo vargas spa.., p.1

Velocity (Jolo Vargas Space Opera Series Book 1), page 1

 

Velocity (Jolo Vargas Space Opera Series Book 1)
 


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Velocity (Jolo Vargas Space Opera Series Book 1)


  Contents

  title

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Velocity

  Jolo Vargas Space Opera

  Series Book 1

  Copyright © 2016 by J.D.Oppenheim

  All rights reserved.

  Scifiwriterjdo@gmail.com

  Dear Reader,

  Thank you for downloading Velocity. Please leave a review if you enjoy the book!

  —J.D.Oppenheim

  Chapter 1

  The deafening roar tore through the man’s mind, vibrated through his body, down his legs, his hands instinctively covering his ears. His eyes popped open and he saw nothing but pitch black. Straps across his chest, waist and legs pinned him to a bed. Where am I? he thought. Sick bay capsule? Some sort of full-body scan? But then everything started shaking and he could feel motion. A turn. It got hotter inside and he started to think something was wrong. He put his fingers to his eyes so he knew they weren’t closed, but saw nothing but darkness. He reached out blindly: dense padding all around. A tight, confined tube. He pushed up hoping there was a hatch that would open, but nothing moved. He yelled, his voice lost in the roar, but then, above him, he saw a flash of light. And another. Small white sparks that finally gave him focus, gave him an anchor to hold him in place.

  And it was then he realized he wasn’t in a sick bay scanner. The small bits of light were stars flashing past a porthole window. And the sound was the roar of a thruster. It was like he was sitting on top of it. He was in some kind of probe or escape pod traveling through space. Where, he did not know.

  He tried to remember how he ended up in the pod, but nothing came. His last memories were a blurry mix of bright lights at night and men screaming. Blue uniforms. Lying on a beach in the sand, a pain in his side so bad that death would have been a relief. Funny trees with three large leaves hanging over. He thought he was going to die there. But then another idea hit him: maybe he’ll die here with no memories at all. He started to scream but couldn’t hear his voice, so he screamed louder and he thought he could just hear himself over the thruster. He cried out until his throat hurt.

  And then he just lay there in his own sweat taking deep breaths, trying to calm down. He started feeling around in the blackness with his hands. Sometimes he could get his fingers between the inner padding and feel the curve of the fuselage. Strapped in, his face was about a foot from the dense, square pads. His shirt had a collar and some kind of patch above a pocket. He wore pleated pants with a belt and then he felt a tube coming out of a hole of his right pants leg. It was taped to his skin. There was another, smaller tube taped to his arm which he figured was intravenous. In and out, he thought. Someone wants me alive. Meanwhile the noise had started to subside.

  He got the chest belt off first, then the other two. It felt good to be able to move his body and legs. He tried to move his knees up to his chest, but his legs hit the inner wall, so he bent them as much as he could. He wiggled his toes. Rolled his shoulders and stretched his neck.

  He accidentally yanked on the IV tube, so he settled down and reattached himself to his “bed” with the waist belt. He figured it’d be safe to let his legs and upper body float. Then he gently probed with his hand to the piece of tape holding the thin line that fed into the artery in his wrist. He felt around and decided it was dry. No blood. No leaks. That’s the food tube, he thought. Lose that and slowly starve to death.

  He took a few deep breaths, enjoying the freedom of movement, trying to imagine he was in a larger space. He wasn’t claustrophobic, but he could feel a tug at the back of his mind: escape, break free. He had to maintain control and not go crazy in a space no larger than a coffin tube. Is this a coffin tube? They have thrusters, he wondered. But in the end he decided to call the thing a probe. C-tubes weren’t meant for inter-stellar travel. This pod was going somewhere.

  He looked out through the porthole into the blackness and decided a little assessment was in order.

  So what’s the status, Captain? he said to himself.

  Well, he replied, we are in a tin can flying through space. We must have just done a pretty good burn, but now have settled. We have food, sort of, but for how long, who knows? We have no idea where we are headed, or even if this little boat was designed to handle a drop through atmosphere and then glide us home or if it’s gonna try to find another ship to dock with. And we can’t see a thing and have no navigation.

  So basically, we’re screwed.

  Yeah, that’s it.

  Oh, one more thing. I have no idea what my name is.

  Excellent.

  He fastened the chest belt and tried to rest. He opened and closed his eyes several times. He saw the same thing: black.

  ……

  When he slept the man dreamed of a girl.

  He saw her in his mind, passing him in the tight lower corridor of the gunboat. She saluted, thin arms, dark hair in a pony tail. It was the first time he had really noticed her pretty face and the curvy figure he could make out even in her mechanic’s coverall.

  He marked her presence with a nod like he was supposed to do. And even though she was near the bottom at G-7, didn’t even have her two-year star yet, he wanted to speak to her, to be near her. He always made a point to greet his crew in the hallway, but right then he didn’t know what to say. Didn’t know what to do, didn’t know where to put his hands. So he reached for the cold metal wall as if to steady himself. He decided he’d ask about the inductor coils because even though he never was much of a mechanic, especially when it came to the newer Federation engines, he knew they had an inductor coil.

  “Ensign Voss,” he said. She turned, brown eyes, smooth skin, her beauty striking against the gray ship and her light blue uniform. And just then the wall hit his head and he yelled out in pain.

  He awoke thinking he was in a bunk and tried to roll out but there was nowhere to roll. He was in the pod, but something was different. The engine noise was down by half. He yelled and heard his own voice and was surprised to hear it. Like it was someone else’s voice. Deep and strong. He said a few words just to hear himself, then suddenly had an urge to sing, but couldn’t think of a song. He must know a song. And then a thought drifted up into his consciousness: Did the pod have a computer?

  “Computer!” he shouted.

  Nothing.

  “Computer!”

  Still nothing. I just want a song, he thought. What’s a good song to sing when you are lost in space and can’t remember anything? And then a strange thing happened. A song popped into his head. The lyrics flashed into the front of his mind like they were on a computer screen.

  The lady from Sarnos with golden hair.

  Dreams of a man from Col du Faire.

  Run along, run along, Gunboat man.

  Long live the Fe-der-a-tion clan.

  Neural network? He thought.

  “Computer. Are you connected via nueral net?” And then he remembered that didn’t work, so he asked in his mind. Computer, are you connected via nueral net?

  There is no nueral net, came the reply.

  Computer, the man thought, What’s my name?

  No data.

  Where am I?

  Logic functions beyond simple query unavailable.

  What kind of boat is this?

  Please supply serial number and year.

  He read the first line of the song slowly. The lady from Sarnos with golden hair. And he listened to the sound of this voice he couldn’t remember. Everything was new. Was it coming fr
om him? It must be. And then he laughed at the thought and surprised himself again at that new sound. It was a good sound.

  He said the first line again a little faster. Then again. Then he full on belted it out:

  The lady from Sarnos with golden hair.

  Dreams of a man from Col du Faire.

  Run along, run along, Gunboat man.

  Long live the Fe-der-a-tion clan.

  There were more lines and he sang those. His arms and legs moving. And he smiled and sang, his heart a little lighter. And right at the end there was a big crescendo.

  We’ll blow your ass right out of the sky.

  Fe-der-a-tion man ain’t afraid to die.

  And he raised his glass, and someone said, “JV don’t do synth-ale.” Blue uniforms in a large hall. But there was no glass, and his hand hit the inner padding of the pod.

  “Computer!” And then he remembered. Computer, who said, JV don’t do synth-ale?

  Invalid search parameters.

  Who is JV?

  Invalid search parameters.

  What kind of shite computer are you?

  Vellosian Mark V prototype, v. 25940912.4

  Vellosian? said the man out loud to the computer. And then in his head: From Vellos?

  Yes. Rigel 5, First of the three moons, Vellos space.

  Are we going to Vellos?

  Functions beyond simple query logic unavailable.

  The man reached down with his right hand to scratch his foot, discovered he was wearing boots.

  Who are the Vellos? he asked the computer.

  Digest or full-text, came the reply.

  Digest.

  The Vellos are a humanoid race from the Halafor sector, formerly under Federation protection, known primarily for agricultural production, meat synthesis for human consumption, and synthetic humanoid generation.

  Synth-humans… Oh, shite, he thought. I’m a synth!

  Am I a synth? he thought.

  Invalid query.

  Am I a synthetic life form?

  Please state your name and serial number.

  I don’t have a serial and don’t know my name, he yelled.

  Then he took his right hand, the non-food tube hand, and eased it down between his legs. If it ain’t there, I’m pulling the tubes out, he thought. He released the waist belt holding him to the side of the pod and gently probed between his legs.

  “Oh, thank you, God,” he said, holding his private parts gingerly, careful not to bother the tube sticking down into his penis.

  “Hey, computer. I’m human. Log that in your shite database!” Then he reattached himself to his bed with the waist belt, and took a few more deep breaths, a smile on his face. And he was happy. He lay there for awhile content. But soon the triumph of him actually being human, of having a penis, faded a bit, and the hand protecting his human male parts slowly let go.

  He hummed the song again. His hand tapping out the beat on his leg. He searched for a smooth bit of fuselage he could knock with his knuckle, but there wasn’t any spaces large enough between the padding.

  He tried to remember his name, who he was. Where he came from. It was like opening a familiar door, but what was supposed to be everything he knew, his place in the worlds, was formless and gray. No data.

  He remembered waking up. Remembered the loud noise, the burn, the stars through the window above him. He wanted to track time so he could check his memory. He guessed his short term memory was good.

  Computer, he thought, Do you have an onboard clock?

  Functions beyond simple query logic unavailable.

  How about a simple, No? he yelled. Then he started thinking. The computer is a dumb database. Nav’s gotta be separate. Assuming there’s a nav computer. No nav and I’m dead.

  Computer, do you have a timestamp function?

  Yes. Elapsed time is 3,628,923.2 seconds.

  How long is that in days?

  42.0014 days.

  42 days, he thought, reaching down with his right hand to scratch his foot. His fingers couldn’t make it all the way so he just rubbed his boot on the padding. That’s good data but I have no idea where this pod originated from, he thought. He scratched at his beard, wishing he could shave.

  Computer, can you generate a star map? he thought. A large 3D map opened up in the front of his consciousness. It was there, right in front of him. He saw it clearly with his eyes closed. It was strange, having the map in his mind.

  Locate Vellosian space, he thought. The map spun and zoomed in. Two worlds, three moons, near a dense nyanya field. One planet, Rigel 5, was displayed as a 2d circle, the rest were nice 3d renders like on the ship.

  He sat up quickly, but his head hit the padding and he settled back down. The ship, he thought. I’ve seen star maps like this on a ship. It was a memory. Just like the battle, just like the girl, Voss.

  Why is Rigel 5 just a 2d circle? he asked.

  Rigel 5 no longer exists.

  Where did it go?

  Rigel 5 was destroyed by BG in 2586.

  Who are BG?

  Digest or full-text?

  Digest.

  The BG are a mechanized race from the Grahna system. Formerly at war with all planets in Federation space, but currently policing commerce in the core Federation worlds via the Re-Unification Accord of 2589.

  What color are Federation uniforms?

  Blue.

  The girl, Voss, wore blue. So did the men on the beach at night. So did the men in the big hall…

  Who is Ensign Voss, from Federation space?

  There are 4,249 Voss’s in the Federation.

  Women only, he said, trying to narrow down the search.

  1,234.

  This is ridiculous, he thought. Then he had an idea.

  Under 50 kilograms.

  723.

  Brown hair.

  318.

  Beautiful?

  Invalid parameter.

  Display all 318 one at a time at 2 second intervals.

  Women, mostly in the standard blue Federation uniforms, began flashing across the “screen” in his mind. Most he could rule out immediately. Too old. Too senior in rank. His Voss was younger, a new recruit. Some wore the gold-trimmed collar of a colonel or an admiral. Occasionally he screamed stop and nothing happened. Then he’d curse. Say, stop in his head, then rewind. He thought he had her once, but she was a navigator on a Fed frigate and her first name was Marica. The name wasn’t right. He didn’t know how he knew, he just felt it. So he moved on.

  Finally the images stopped and an end of query message popped up. He wanted to break something, but there was nothing to break, so he thrashed around. He pushed at the padding inches from his face, surrounding him like a cocoon, or a coffin. He pushed until his arms started to shake, then he beat it with his fists. The padding moved a little, and for a moment he had gained a few extra inches of space, but soon the padding regained its original shape.

  He moaned for awhile. Realized that his mouth wasn’t dry. Why wasn’t his mouth dry. He took a deep breath. The air near his head was moist. Who put me here? Why am I here? he yelled. He pushed up with his hands so his feet found the bottom of the tube and he started kicking. His boots hit metal and he could hear a drum like sound, like knocking the side of a gunboat, especially down in engineering where there wasn’t much insulation.

  He strapped his chest to his bed. Deathbed, he thought. Just so he could feel his back on the padding. Like a bed. I don’t want to die in this can. He looked up towards the smooth porthole window and he stared out into the blackness. He wanted to see something with his eyes. He wanted to taste real food. To feel sunlight on his face. To talk to the girl. I don’t want to die in this can, he thought.

  Chapter 2

  Deep space.

  For the second time he dreamed of the girl.

  In his mind he made his way through the mess hall, then down into engineering. He carried a portable screen so everyone would think he was in the middle a general inspection. The
crew hated inspections, and he did, too, but HQ demanded it. And what HQ demanded, they got. Usually it was Filcher, the number 2, who ran around harassing the crew on the minutia of Fed gunboat protocol: lower deck air filters must be replaced once every six months, relay contacts on all critical entryways needed cleaning twice a year. After a run through a dense particle field the outer hull needed a visual inspection. Most of it was bull.

  But it made great cover for the captain because everyone cleared out of his way if they knew he was coming with a port-screen. He made it down to the lower engineering quarters and stood in front of 4-B. Her quarters. He hadn’t been down here in forever and wondered at how tight the doors were together, how small. The door slid open and there she was.

  She was wearing short pants and a T-shirt. He took a deep breath, and couldn’t help but look at her cute legs. She snapped to attention: “My apologies, Sir. I wasn’t aware there was going to be an inspection.”

  Just then the head of engineering, an old fat salt named Franklin Barthelme, came cursing down the tight corridor mumbling to himself. He had on the black coveralls from his days in the bowels of the older Galaxy Class Fed Destroyers. He looked up, saw the captain and saluted, his long sleeves had burn holes which revealed a mechanical arm, a gift from the Vellosi after an early battle with the BG.

  “Appreciate if you’d hold off a sec, Cap’n,” he said.

  “Everything alright? We’re going to warp soon.”

  “Be fine in ten,” he said, glancing at Voss in her shorts as he passed.

  “Ensign Voss, general inspections are, by design, unscheduled,” said the captain, sounding like an officious ass, he thought. But it was all a show for the chief. The big man passed out of sight and the captain relaxed.

 
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