Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 5 up 3/5/14)

Hello everybody,

I’ve occasionally lurked here over the last few years. I’ve been needing a creative outlet lately, so I’ve decided to write at least one story to give back to this community and others.

I’m pretty new to writing fiction (I write a lot, but it’s all technical), so I’m interested to see what kind of feedback I get here. Constructive criticism and questions are welcome.

Here goes!

Chapter 1: Astrid in the Asteroids

“Yep, just your basic nickel-iron core with a layer of ice on top,” Astrid muttered to herself. She leaned back in the pilot’s couch and ran her hands through her shoulder-length brown hair. She supposed she should refine her scan of the rock her ship was pacing, but there were about a million more just like it in Xantir’s asteroid belt. The Xantir Mining Company paid for any orbit/composition report on an troid, but they definitely paid better for reports on… more lucrative finds than this one.

Sighing, she recorded the report in her scan log. She’d heard that another mining scout had turned in a report on a pure iridium troid 6 months earlier… and had made enough to buy his own ship. She hadn’t been that lucky. She was 22 years old, and almost a year out of pilot training. She already did own her own ship, but she was barely making ends meet with the pay from scouting reports.

Astrid picked up her mug of coffee and sipped, then turned to the long-range sensor display, and looked for another target. As she manipulated the controls, the sensor unit cut out. With the screen blank, she cursed. “Come on, baby, be nice to me. I’ve got to find more troids, or I’m not going to be able to keep you fueled!”

She hit the reset on the sensor console, and breathed a sigh of relief as the unit restarted normally. She picked out another high mass troid nearby, and swung her ship around towards it, adding thrust to move herself into position to scan it. She felt the smooth thrum of the engines as they responded to her commands.

The Panache, Astrid reflected, was a mostly solid ship. She’d bought it with her inheritance as military surplus. The ship was 20 years old, predating the Fourth Jumpgate War. It had been built as a military scout. Lightly armed, but fast and long-ranged, scouts like it had been designed to find enemy ships and relay that information back to dedicated combat units, rather than to fight. As such, the Panache actually made a rather good mining scout, even if it was a bit of a comedown from military service. The only fly in the ointment was that the sensors had been getting steadily more erratic in the months she’d been scouting.

Astrid finished her coffee and set the mug down. She was starting to feel the need to pee a little from all the coffee, but she was already coming up on the new troid. Something flickered on the long-range scan screen, but when she turned her head to look, nothing showed but troids to the edge of sensor range. She shook her head. She was going to have to spend some serious money to get those sensors repaired, and soon. She just didn’t know where she was going to get it. Well, maybe she’d find an iridium troid of her own…

She turned back to the short-range scanners with a snort. Sure, she would. The scanner was just starting to report back when her comm unit beeped, indicating an incoming transmission.

Astrid started. There shouldn’t be anybody within comm range… not this far out into the asteroid belt… the comm unit beeped again. She keyed it for audio only.

“This is XMS Panache, Astrid Koppel commanding,” she said.

“Panache, this is Menace Alpha! Shut down your engines and prepare to be brought onboard, or we’ll blow you out of space!”

Astrid whirled to her long range scanner, and was shocked to see what the computer read as a light cruiser and a scout entering standard beam range. Her sensors should have picked them up a million klicks out! She cursed. Of course, they were malfunctioning! Now what was she going to do? Menace was one of the worst gangs in the system, and she was sure she didn’t want to find out how they treated women they captured.

She looked at the scan again, searching desperately for some way to escape, but they were already in beam range. Then she saw it. She’d never pushed the Panache as hard as this would take, but she didn’t see any choice.

“Negative, Menace! This is a Xantir Mining Scout, if you interfere with my operations you’ll have to deal with them!” she said, nosing directly toward the troid she’d been scouting. She pushed her throttle all the way forward and gasped as the full thrust of the engines crushed her back into the couch.

“Like we care about XMC, little girl! They haven’t done anything about the other 24 scouts we’ve picked up this month except hire their replacements! Now cut your thrust or we’ll destroy you!” screamed the man on the other end of the comm connection.

“Too late for that,” Astrid said to herself with a tight smile. Within seconds, the troid would cut off their line of sight, giving her a precious second or two to maneuver unobserved. As the Menace ships fell behind the troid, she swung the Panache through as tight a turn as she dared, pulling 8 full gravities of acceleration. As she turned, she was strained by the tremendous apparent weight she had, and she also felt warmth in her seat and hoped that her “mostly solid” ship wasn’t going to pieces on her. A few more seconds, and the Panache was on a course directly back to the previous troid… there was a trick she’d heard about from an instructor that just might work.

She glanced at the sensors as she hurtled toward the troid, and saw the Menace scout coming into view and trying to match her maneuver. Making the turn unobserved had bought her time, but the Menace scout was coming around, and was starting to gain. It would be back in beam range quickly enough, that was sure. But that was alright, the Panache’s shields would hold for long enough… she hoped.

The Menace ship opened fire, splashing lasers across her rear shields. Astrid ignored the warning buzzers, and concentrated on targeting a torpedo on the troid in front of her. She finished programming it, and fired. The torpedo lagged behind the Panache, just as Astrid had wanted. Moments later, she flashed around the troid, and pulled into another hard turn, though not as hard as before.

The torp impacted on the troid, and raised a cloud of ice crystals and iron fragments… right into the path of the Menace scout ship. It’s forward shields flared red, then went down, and Astrid screamed in triumph as it exploded in a ball of flame and debris.

“Now to get the hell out of here,” she said, glancing at the sensor screen, and seeing that the Menace light cruiser was just clearing the first asteroid. No light cruiser was a match for a scout in speed, it seemed. She shoved the throttle back forward and put the cruiser directly behind her, and gleefully watched it recede into the distance.

Finally, she relaxed. And became quickly aware of a damp coolness between her legs. She looked down, and saw that she had wet herself quite thoroughly.

“Great. I’ve pissed myself like a child,” she said, disgusted with herself.

Re: Astrid and Miriam

And since I’ve already got it, I’m going to go ahead and add chapter 2. Apologies if this complicates life for the admins!

Chapter 2: Astrid on the Station

Astrid double checked the long range sensors to make sure that nothing was following her. Nothing showed up, though at the moment, she wasn’t sure how far she would trust it.

“Apparently I can trust my sensors more than my bladder, anyway,” she said. She set a course for Xantir Prime, the space station that Xantir Mining Company was based on. She’d been out for a week hunting troids, and was about due to head back anyway, but certainly she wanted to head for safety after running into Menace. Autopilot engaged, she left the cockpit to go clean herself up. As she walked she was uncomfortably aware of the dampness between her legs.

The living quarters on the Panache were on the cramped side: military designs didn’t go in for a lot of creature comforts. She’d done what she could, though, and among her decor pieces was a full length mirror on the inside of the cabin door. She’d added it to try and give the small room more of a sense of openness, but as she looked into it now, her eyes were inexorably drawn to the wet stain between her legs.

Astrid’s ship suit was two pieces, light blue with red piping. At the moment, her crotch showed a darker patch from where she’d wet herself. She turned around and looked over her shoulder into the mirror, and the stain was even bigger on her bottom, covering the entire seat of her pants. Normally, she thought she had a nice figure, if a little skinny and boyish. But she knew anyone who could see her now would be laughing at the wetness rather than appreciating the view. She sighed.

She started to take off her pants. This wasn’t exactly the first time she’d ever wet herself. She often had little leaks when she sneezed or lifted heavy objects. But this was the first time she’d ever had her bladder just completely empty itself without any warning. She picked her pants up off the floor and shoved them into the small cleaning unit.

Her panties were white, and clung to her curves, especially where they were wet. She stepped out of them quickly, still disgusted with herself. They went into the cleaner with the pants, then she dried herself with her towel and changed into her clean pants with a fresh pair pair of panties underneath. She gave herself a quick once-over in the mirror, and nodded, satisfied that all traces of her accident were removed…

Astrid headed back to the cockpit, and had almost sat down in the pilot’s couch before she noticed that the upholstery was also soaked. She cursed.

“Ugh. Still can’t believe I did that,” she muttered. She went and retrieved the towel, and placed it on the couch so that she could sit. She checked the sensors, which showed nothing of interest, and the autopilot, which had her reaching Xantir Prime in 13 hours. She settled in to wait.

Astrid walked down the upwardly curving avenue that ran down the center of the hab ring of Xantir Prime. Various bars, stores, and hostels lined the avenue. She had paid the docking fee and arranged to have the Panache refueled and restocked. She spotted the understated marquee that announced the scout relations office of XML, and headed for it. She had a number of things she wanted to get done while she was on the station, but she needed to get the credits for her reports first.

A quick trip into the office netted her a little short of a thousand credits… a disappointing amount, especially given the next trip she needed to make. Torps certainly weren’t cheap, and she didn’t want to leave Panache’s magazines under filled, not with the previous day’s reminder of how dangerous the less traveled parts of Xantir could be.

She made her way to a light armaments shop a section over. Inside, a large man was tending the counter.

“Can I help you, miss?” he asked.

“I need to buy a torpedo. Spent one out in the asteroid belt yesterday,” she replied, giving the man an even gaze.

“What class are you looking for, we’ve got models up to a class 4, though we’d have to special deliver those.”

“Nothing that big,” she replied. “My ship’s just an old scout. I’ve got a class 1 launcher, and I’d love an Artemis 2a if you’ve got one.”

“We certainly do. Any way I could interest you in the Mod Charlie though? Better tracking and maneuverability on that model, you know…”

“I wish I could afford one. Someday, maybe… for now, a 2a will have to do.”

“Fair enough. Just give me a minute here,” he said, and disappeared through a doorway into a back room. He came back a moment later with a metal cylinder about 2 feet long and 4" in diameter. He handled it with the ease of practice and well-used muscles, placing it gently on the counter in front of Astrid.

“Give me a moment myself,” she said, looking over the torp. The sensor cluster looked intact, the guidance chip was in place, warhead was still safed, the thruster nozzle looked to be in good shape, and the fuel tank sounded full when she rang a knuckle over it. She silently thanked her instructors back at pilot school once again for teaching her the fundamentals of armaments. “Looks good,” she said. Are these still 520 credits?"

“530, actually. Plus you’ll probably want to rent a handtruck for 10 more to get it back to your ship,” he said. She knew he was right about the handtruck… torps were dense, and while she could lift one, she didn’t want to carry it a quarter of the way around the hab ring back to the Panache.

“540 it is then. Getting expensive to be a pilot these days,” she said, with a sigh.

“That it is. Sorry I can’t cut you a deal.” He pulled a handtruck around for her.

Before he could, Astrid grabbed the torp and hefted it, to put it on the handtruck. As she strained to balance the full weight of it, she felt a spurt of pee escape her and soak into her panties. She looked down reflexively before she could stop herself, and started to blush. She set the torp on the handtruck a little heavily, and straightened. Still blushing, she looked at the man, trying to discern from his expression whether he’d noticed her accident. Was that a little glint of amusement in his eyes? She didn’t want to know.

She hurried out of the store. Once around the corner, she looked down to inspect the damage. Sure enough, there was a small wet patch on her pants…not too big or noticeable, but definitely there. Her blush intensified as she realized that she’d now wet herself twice in as many days.

She made her way back to her ship, paranoid that every passer by was seeing the evidence of her accident. No one said anything to her though. She took the torp onboard and loaded it into the magazine, after changing her pants.

After dropping the handtruck back off at the armaments shop, Astrid paused. She had had a couple of accidents in the last few days, and it wasn’t like it was the first time. She had a few extra credits at the moment, maybe it was time to try and do something about it. There was a personal supply store across the main avenue… she hesitated, but she needed to stop having wet patches in her pants, or no one would ever take her seriously.

In the store, she walked slowly, looking for some kind of absorbent products section. She found it, and was momentarily taken aback by the sheer number of choices. She could see pads that looked meant to be worn in underwear, and also garments that looked more or less like underwear themselves. She also saw a surprising number of different brands of what could only be described as diapers… she didn’t know why so many people aboard the station would need them. She certainly didn’t, she just needed something to catch her little spurts and keep them from advertising her lack of control.

She saw a girl a few years younger than herself enter the aisle. In embarrassment, Astrid grabbed one of the packages of pads, and walked quickly toward the checkout. The female clerk said nothing about her purchase, and simply looked bored. Astrid left the store as quickly as she could.

She went to check on the Panache’s refueling. Restocking was complete, but a few hours remained until the ship would be fully refueled. Since she still had credits in her account, she decided to spend the rest of the time at one of the bars near her ship. She could use something better to eat than the rations she could afford for aboard ship. And after the last day or two, she could really use a beer. Or three. And who knew, maybe she’d meet somebody worth talking to…

Re: Astrid and Miriam

When I first noticed it was Sci-Fi, I wasn’t as interested but you pulled me in anyway. I like the story, I’m interested in where you’re going with it.

Grammatically you rely on commas too much and, sometimes, they’re used incorrectly. I share that problem and wanted to advise you to remain conscious about where and how you use them. Just wanted to let you know in case it weren’t conscious of it.

However, your narration style is a lot of fun and I feel like you’re developed the character by using the circumstances of her accident, which is great. My eyes tend to skim paragraphs that have too many future terms: 'troid, 'torp, etc. I know that’s a common trope of Sci-Fi writing so, while it’s not exactly a flaw from a literary point of view, I would personally prefer if you introduced them very slowly.

Great story, glad to seeing you posting. Hope to read more soon.

Re: Astrid and Miriam

Chapter 3: Miriam and Paul

Astrid sat at the bar of the The Slow Burn, a bar across from the Panache’s dock. She was nursing her third beer of the afternoon. She’d had a spiced chicken dish with her first one, and had been impressed. For a bar, the place had good food. Certainly better than her ship rations. And the beer was good too. It felt amazing to cut loose for a little while and rock a bit of a buzz. She could never afford to fully relax aboard the Panache… too many things could go wrong in space.

The bar wasn’t crowded: it was the near the end of the station’s main work shift, so most people were either still working, or getting ready to work the alterday shift. That was fine with her… she felt a little lonely sometimes working by herself, but she was used to it.

Astrid was just starting to think about going to the bathroom and then heading back to her ship when the front door of the bar opened. Hearing it, Astrid looked over her shoulder to get a glance at the new arrival. She did a double-take, looking closer at the woman who had appeared.

A tall, stocky woman, with short blonde hair was walking through the door, carrying a heavy duffel over one shoulder and pulling a rolling case of some sort with the other arm. Astrid couldn’t guess what was in either the bag or the case, but it was the woman’s face that caused her to start. It was dominated by a large nose and alert blue eyes. The thin lips were set in a frown. Astrid’s eyes misted. This woman looked almost like her mother had.

“Hey Miriam, what brings you in here with your kit? Don’t tell me you’re shipless!” asked the bartender.

“Yep. Finally had it with those shitbags. I singlehandedly kept that outhouse they call a freighter out of the junkyard for two years. Two fucking years! And half an hour ago, the damn purser let slip that they’d been holding out on my share of the profits the whole goddamned time! Gimme a whiskey, Paul. A double, dammit, and keep the bottle out!” Miriam said, taking a seat two down from Astrid at the bar.

“What’s your problem, girl, never seen another woman spacer before?” Miriam said with a glare.

Astrid realized she’d been staring. “Huh? No, I just… you just remind me of someone,” she said and turned back to her beer and took a swig. She didn’t see Miriam’s glare soften and turn speculative.

Paul poured Miriam’s whiskey and slid it over to her. “Tough break, Miri. Hard to find people you can trust these days.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Astrid saw the woman drain her glass in a single gulp. She’d never seen someone do that before. It was impressive… and said frightening things about her alcohol tolerance. Or her mood. Or both, just possibly.

“Fuckin’ assholes. Cannot believe I stayed with them as long as I did. I mean, it was a job, but ship was a complete piece of shit. And if I go the rest of my life without shipmates talking to my tits instead of my face, it’ll be too soon. Gimme another,” said Miriam, pausing. She sighed heavily. “I remember when I was this girl’s age, you could trust a fellow spacer. 'Course, that was before the war.”

“Too true. We lost too many good people. And friends,” said Paul. He slid another glass to Miriam and then poured one for himself. “To absent friends, and better times.”

“I’ll drink to that,” said Miriam. They did, and fell into a brief silence.

Astrid broke in, “Did you fight in the Jumpgate War?”

“That was a long time ago, girl,” said Miriam.

“Astrid is my name. Astrid Koppel,” said Astrid, turning to face Miriam.

“Well, Astrid. You could say we fought,” said Paul. Astrid looked at him. “We both served on the Eagle.”

“You were on the flagship?!” Astrid said, looking back and and forth.

“We were before the god damned Jasonites destroyed it above Xantir 5,” Miriam said. “We managed to make orbit in an escape pod before the wreck hit the surface. Spent a month waiting to get picked up, too. Wasn’t exactly glorious, let me tell you. I love this old bastard to death, but you can only play so many hands of poker with two players.”

“Still… that’s amazing. The Eagle’s task group was the only time we ever got any revenge f–” Astrid broke off as the door of the bar slammed open. A man walked in wearing a grimy dockhand’s uniform. Several more in similar attire followed him. Astrid looked at the clock, and saw that mainday shift had just ended.

“Hey, take it easy on the door, Taz. If I have to replace it, I’m gonna bill you for it,” said Paul to the newcomer. Astrid noted that he seemed less enthusiastic to see Taz than he had about Miriam.

“Yeah, yeah. Hey, who’re these two? They’re awful fine lookin’ for the Slow Burn,” said Taz, leering first at Astrid, then Miriam. He started walking toward Astrid. “You looking for a good time, sweetheart? 'Cuz I sure am!”

“No, thanks. Taz, or whoever you are. In fact, I think it’s about time for me to head back to my ship,” Astrid said, standing up. “You can close my tab, Paul. Can I say it’s been a pleasure to meet you?”

“You can, miss,” said Paul. “Taz, why can’t you just leave my patrons be? Why do you always have to go all caveman with the ladies?” As Paul spoke, Taz continued to walk towards Astrid, followed by the other dockworkers.

“Caveman is it, Paul? You hurt me. I just want to show a lady a good time,” said Taz. He was only a few steps away from Astrid now.

Suddenly, he lunged for her. Acting on instinct from self defense classes she’d taken years earlier, Astrid sidestepped his lunge. She grabbed his shirt and used his own momentum to slam him into the bar itself. The bar, being structural metal, didn’t yield in the slightest. Taz went down hard. Astrid turned, looking to run for the door, but Taz’s minions had blocked her way.

“Shouldn’t have done that, girlie,” said one, advancing on her.

Astrid backed up. She knew this was getting dangerous, and didn’t know how she was going to get out past 3 men who all looked to be twice her size. Then she heard a crash as one of the whiskey glasses shattered on the floor. Astrid and the dockhands looked over to see Paul land on their side of the bar after vaulting it. At the same time, Miriam threw a barstool, knocking one of the men over completely, then brandished a wrench, seemingly pulling it out of thin air.

Astrid took advantage of the confusion by kicking the nearest man in the groin as hard as she could. The man doubled over in pain, letting her put a knee into his face. He fell to the ground.

The lone dockhand standing tried to hit Paul with a right hook, but the bartender brushed it aside with one hand and then hammered his other into the man’s solar plexus.

The man Miriam had thrown the stool at finally disentangled himself and ran for the door.

Paul shouted, “You’re not welcome in the Slow Burn anymore!” at the retreating figure.

Suddenly, Astrid was grabbed from behind. Taz had gotten back up, and had a handheld laser out and pointed at her temple, his other arm around her neck. “You little bitch. I’m gonna kill you for that,” came his voice in her ear.

She had a moment of absolute terror as she realized she was out of options. She was going to die. She felt fear like she’d never felt before, not even in the asteroids with a Menace scout on her tail. She started to shake. And then she felt warmth in her crotch as her bladder let go, pouring three beers worth of piss into her panties. She’d worn one of her new pads as a precaution, but within seconds it was soaked and her urine was flowing down her legs.

She almost didn’t see Miriam move. In a flash, the woman threw her wrench. It passed right by Astrid’s ear and crashed into the face of Taz. He crumpled. Astrid was left standing there still wetting herself uncontrollably.

“Fucking shitbag,” was all Miriam had to say.

“Astrid. When you said ‘your ship,’ did you mean you own your own?” asked Paul quietly, but urgently.

Astrid stood there, shaking. She was no longer peeing; her bladder had emptied itself completely into her pants. “I… god. Yes. I own the Panache free and clear,” she said. A puddle had formed beneath her and the legs of her pants were stained clear to her boots.

“Then go. Now. I think Taz may be dead. You do not want to be mixed up with security over this. More important, I don’t want Miriam involved… not if she doesn’t have a ship to fall back on. Do you think you could ship a mechanic? She’s the best with a wrench I’ve ever seen.”

The earnesty in Paul’s voice was compelling. Astrid tried to ignore the fact that she’d just humiliated herself by pissing herself once again. She needed to think. She had never run afoul of station security, and she had heard stories of spacers losing their ships for infractions less important than accessory to murder, which this could turn into even if it had been self defense. After all, the dockhands were stationers themselves, and station security might be more inclined to believe them than a 22 year old spacer girl.

“I’ll do it. Miriam, my ship is docked right across from here. I can at least get you to one of the jumpgates, I owe you that much for saving my life,” said Astrid.

“Well, you handled yourself pretty well, wet pants and all,” said Miriam. Astrid blushed. “But what about you, Paul?” asked Miriam, intensely.

“Don’t worry about me. I know some folks in security. They’ll come through for me, but I don’t trust them to come through for my friends. You take care of yourself, Miri.”

“You too. Don’t let the bastards get you down,” Miriam said, with a tight smile for her old friend. She walked over to Taz’s body and retrieved her wrench. “You never know when this’ll come in handy.”

Miriam then grabbed her duffel and case and said, “Alright, Astrid. Lead the way, and let’s get the hell out of Dodge.”

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 3 up 2/8/14)

Good :slight_smile:
More please!

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 3 up 2/8/14)

This is the first sci-fi story in this community that I’ve gotten into (in all fairness this is the first one I’ve found that isn’t an automated nursery story so it’s not a fair comparison). I can’t wait for more.

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 3 up 2/8/14)

This is a surprisingly good story. Hope you continue!

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 3 up 2/8/14)

Hey guys. Glad to hear people are enjoying this. I certainly plan to continue: I’ve got a fair amount of material mapped out. Will be at least a few more days before I get the next chapter up.

@whetoric - thanks for the feedback. Tried to do better with the commas this time around. Also, the shortened words are indeed a stylistic choice that I’m planning on sticking with. It just feels right to me.

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 3 up 2/8/14)

This story is on its way to being one of my favorites.
Great work and I’m glad to hear you’ll be continuing.

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 3 up 2/8/14)

Finally, as promised:

Chapter 4: Astrid and Miriam on the Panache

Astrid crossed the hab ring with Miriam in tow. Astrid tried to ignore the slight squelching sound her feet made in her boots and the cold clamminess of the wetness of her pants. She didn’t know how long it would be before station security arrived, and she wanted to be well clear of The Slow Burn before they did.

Within moments, the two had reached the Panache’s docking port. Miriam quickly walked to the viewport next to the entrance.

“Oh, a Reflex class scout. Haven’t seen one of those since the war,” said Miriam. “Solid design though. Outside of combat, anyway. And the little fuckers are fast enough that they can usually avoid it.”

“I know, Panache’s speed saved my ass just yesterday out in the asteroid belt, actually,” said Astrid, keying the lock to the docking port. The door to the ship slid open without complaint.

“You were out in the belt? I guess that makes sense. A Reflex would make a good mining scout,” Miriam said, following Astrid onto the ship and closing the hatch behind them…

“Yeah. Can’t say it’s been a great gig, but it’s kept me in food and fuel. Not sure for how much longer though. Had to replace a torp after yesterday, and that ate into what I was hoping to put away for the future,” said Astrid. “Here’s the cabin, you can leave your things there while I start preflight.”

“Got it. Plenty of space for the two of us… these used to run with 4 crew in the war.” So saying, Miriam carried her duffel and gear case into the cabin, while Astrid headed for the cockpit.

Astrid started running through the list of preflight necessities, starting the ship’s small reactor then starting the main computer and letting it work through the subsystems. The computer reported no abnormalities in the ship’s operation.

“Next time we dock, lemme take a look at that reactor… something sounds off. One of the coolant pumps, I’d guess,” Miriam remarked, coming onto the bridge.

Astrid looked at her. “Are you sure, the computer doesn’t have show anything wrong…”

“The computer only has feeds from a pressure sensor and an inductance sensor on the lube lines, won’t necessarily tell if the pump’s about to go unless it starts oscillating or reducing flowrate. But from the sound, there’s a bad bearing or something in there. Can’t do anything with it running, and it’s safe enough… worst comes to worst, the safeties’ll cut the reactor flow off before there’s any real trouble,” said Miriam. Astrid noted that she seemed remarkably nonchalant about the possibility of the reactor shutting down on them. She supposed it was a matter of experience.

The main computer beeped. Both women looked at the main readout. It showed a schematic of the ship, with all subsystems in green.

“Alright, we’re ready to go. Go ahead and take the second console, Miriam,” Astrid said. Miriam nodded and took her seat, powering up the secondary console that Astrid had never used before. Astrid settled herself in the familiar pilot’s couch, wincing as the act of sitting reminded her how soaked her pants were. She swore she felt the pad in her panties leak a little bit more as her weight settled on it. Shaking her head to clear her thoughts, she brought up the controls and satisfied herself that everything was ready. She keyed the comm.

“Xantir Prime Control, this is XMS Panache requesting undock,” Astrid said.

“Panache, this is Control. Negative on undock at this time,” came the reply.

“Control, request clarification.”

“Roger Panache. We have a security lockdown in your section. All undocks have been suspended. Should be cleared up shortly.”

“Uh… roger Control.” Astrid killed the comm, then looked at Miriam. “I think they’re onto us,” she said.

“No shit. Well, it was too much to hope for that we’d get away clean.”

Astrid thought furiously. Control wasn’t going to let them launch with clearance, so…
“Miriam, get down to the lock and hit the manual override, we’ll take our chances with no clearance,” Astrid ordered. Miriam looked at her for a second to make sure she meant it, then stood and headed for the lock.

Astrid brought up the station schematics and the short range scanners. She was going to have to plot her own course away from
the station, since Control wasn’t going to be supplying it. She noted the station architecture. She was docked on the axial side of the main hab ring, so as soon as Panache disengaged, it would go flying off on a tangent by inertia… and crash straight into the debris shield that surrounded the hab ring, if she didn’t boost immediately. She checked the scanners, eyeballing a trajectory straight perpendicular to the system ecliptic. No ships were in that line of flight, or headed that way, so that should be safe enough.

“Override’s ready!” came Miriam’s call.

“Hit it!” Astrid cried.

With a clunk, the docking clamps disengaged and Astrid’s stomach flipped for a moment as the Panache’s internal grav generator compensated. As quickly as she could, she triggered the nose maneuvering thrusters and started building a vector to clear the debris shield. She glanced up as Miriam sat back down at the secondary console.

The comm beeped. Astrid ignored it. That would just be Control yelling about how many regs she’d just broken… she didn’t have time for that now.

The Panache was clearing the debris shield. Astrid turned the ship to point straight out of the ecliptic like she’d planned and boosted hard.

“Looks like we’re clear, kiddo,” said Miriam, grinning. “I can handle a ship this size for a bit, why don’t you go change?”

Astrid blushed once more. “Y…yeah. Okay. Take us out of sensor range of the station on this heading, then we’ll head for the jumpgate,” she said.

“Sounds good.”

Astrid headed back to the cabin. For the third time in two days, she was having to change her pants after peeing herself. She just hoped that her other pants were actually dry already.

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 4 up 3/1/14)

i love this story! i got tripped up on what a “hab ring” was though

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 4 up 3/1/14)

It’s short for habitat ring. The idea is that the station is built as a ring and spun to simulate gravity. If you’re standing on the ring, what you feel as down is actually radially outward relative to the ring.

Hope that helps. :slight_smile:

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 4 up 3/1/14)

Anybody ready for another chapter? :slight_smile: In all seriousness, I am a new writer, and feedback of all kinds is really great. I would love to know what you think of this story.

Chapter 5: Heading outsystem

“Well, we’re on course for the jumpgate complex,” Astrid told Miriam a few hours later in the cockpit. Fortunately, Astrid’s pants had in fact been dry in the cleaning unit when she’d changed. She’d worn another pad in her panties, just in case. And she’d blushed as she realized that she’d left the package of pads out in the open on her bunk… Miriam couldn’t have missed them when she’d left her kit in the cabin. Trying to shake the memory, she continued, “Have you thought about where you want to go after this?”

Sitting once more at the secondary console, Miriam looked thoughtful. “Yeah. Been thinking about Sannen, mostly. The Sannese’re snooty assholes, the lot of them. But they know how to keep a system in order from what I hear. Might be a nice change of pace from this shithole.”

“Maybe. I don’t know about the Sannese… wish they had
gotten involved in the Fourth War sooner. But still, maybe I should think about joining you… It’s going to be hard to make a living here if I can’t dock at Xantir Prime anymore,” said Astrid. With the course change locked in, she could relax a bit. She looked over at Miriam and was struck once again by how much the woman resembled her mother.

“You might be right, kiddo. Sorry you got mixed up in this,” said Miriam. “But I’ll tell you this much, the Sannese may be bastards but their economy is cooking right along… there’s bound to be a place for a fast little ship like Panache here.”

“Here’s hoping,” replied Astrid. She looked back out the viewpoint. They were truly in the middle of nowhere… no planets were close enough to show a disk. She noticed suddenly that she was tense. It only took a quick look at Miriam for her to realize why.

“Miriam… I didn’t get to say this at the Slow Burn,” Astrid started. She paused trying to decide how to continue.

“Well, spit it out kid,” Miriam replied, eying the younger woman speculatively. There was more gentleness than irritation in her manner though.

“Thank you for everything you did on the Eagle. Everything that left more of those fucking Jasonites dead!” Astrid said in a rush. Her eyes started to mist.

“Trust me, it was my pleasure,” Miriam said evenly. “But where did that come from?”

“My parents worked on the Xantir 2 orbital station. When those fanatics bombed it, they were both killed,” Astrid said, her voice breaking. She looked back to the stars and tried not to cry any more.

“Shit, kid. That was a rough break,” Miriam replied. She looked out at the stars as well. “I remember when that all went down. The orbital station, two naval depots, half the fleet destroyed at dock. Then the raids on freighters. We thought we were done. Admiral Burke was the senior surviving officer, and I don’t know whether he had anything on his mind but revenge.”

“I don’t care. Those battles were the only time Xantir did get revenge for my parents,” Astrid said.

“Still wish we’d been able to do better. The system government still hasn’t recovered from losing all that hardware and personnel. Thats’s most of the reason the fucking pirates are so bad in the outsystem.”
The conversation trailed off. Astrid was thinking about her parents, while Miriam remembered the desperate times during the war.

After a few minutes, Astrid asked, “Can you handle the ship for a few hours? I think I need some time to myself.”

“Sure thing, kiddo. We’re just goin’ in a straight line at this point anyway.”

Astrid retreated to the cabin. She winced as she saw the package of bladder control pads lying in the open on her bunk. She quickly stowed them underneath the bunk, then laid down. She couldn’t believe how the week was going. A few days earlier, she’d just been a mining scout, trying to make her fortune. Now she was on the run, with her deepest wounds torn open. She fell asleep curled tightly into a ball.

Astrid swung on a swingset. The ground pivoted crazily around her. She giggled. On either side of her, kids were swinging to different rhythms. On the apex of every forward swing, she could see the sun playing tag with the clouds in the blue sky.

On one swing she looked up to see the orbital station coming out from behind a cloud and moving quickly across the sky. Suddenly she was standing on the ground staring up at the station. A light flashed and suddenly the station was breaking into pieces and spreading across the sky.

Astrid could only watch in horror as she watched her parents’ station be destroyed. Around her the other children continued to play, oblivious.

The scene changed without warning, and she was back in the Slow Burn, with a gun to her head once more. She had a moment to look down and see urine streaming down her legs before the front door of the bar opened. She could see stars through the door and the air began rushing out, taking her and Taz with it.

Astrid screamed. Then she opened her eyes to see the comfortingly familiar view of a bunk above her.

“Oh god. I hate that dream,” she said out loud, remembering the vision of the station breaking up. She hadn’t had that dream in years. In fact, she hadn’t had it since she used to…

Astrid’s hand shot to her crotch. It encountered an all too familiar cold wetness. She teared up. She had wet the bed.

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 5 up 3/5/14)

Poor thing. i’m very into this. do go on please.

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 5 up 3/5/14)

Thanks, OCT. I know I’m being mean to her right now, but I will be nicer eventually, promise. :slight_smile:

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 5 up 3/5/14)

Thunderbunny your story is well written and you are not being mean. I love the depth of your characters and the effort you have put into your story. please continue to write and share your wonderful creations with us here.

Re: Astrid and Miriam (Ch. 5 up 3/5/14)

This has become my one of my favorite stories don’t feel bad about being mean to your character it just adds more realism to your story, look at anyone’s life and you will find hardship.