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Fighting Time

by on October 2, 2019

“Sorry,” the admiral said dispassionately, “The fleet’s full.” With that, the viewscreen went blank. The room fell silent. The brown-haired woman sat stunned in her chair, staring at the screen where the admiral’s face had been.

Lucy was completely thrown. This wasn’t in the plan. Everything had proceeded to plan so far. She had worked her way through academy like a trooper, class after class, assignment after assignment. She had graduated academy with highest honors. Commendation from Skeever himself. Then, ensign on the Borpion. Then up through the ranks, month after month, ship to ship to ship, until she had finally made captain of a transport. She’d spent years slogging away on that thing. Even her choices of partners had been carefully planned, so much so that on one memorable occasion she had written out the moves and dialogue she intended her partner to use during an encounter that turned out to be a lot less romantic than she had hoped. Finally, after all her hard work, now she had the resume, the quals, the recommendations, even a potential first officer recruited, everything she needed. But the exploration fleet had turned her down flat. It made no sense.

“What do you mean the fleet’s full?” she said to the empty viewscreen. She knew the statistics by heart. Earth Fleet had enough ships to hold its own in a scrap, if it came to that, but there was a crying need for more fighters, not to mention more captains for them. The raids on the border planets kept getting worse with each passing year. It made no sense to keep her stuck as a merchant pilot when they had a surplus of those already.

“What,” said Lucy with rising fury, “do you mean the fleet’s frickin’ full?”

At that very moment her viewscreen came alive with an alert. Another raid. It happened to be one of the border planets closer to her. She made a few quick calculations on a pad. It would be hours before the nearest Earth Fleet fighters could get there. As it happened, her transport could beat them. She had a stock of emergency weapons. She had a crew. She was, if anything, over-prepared. But she would be in violation of at least five different regs. They’d never let her in the fleet if they found out.

Lucy smiled slightly. “If.” She picked up a comm. “Pete? Lu. Busy tonight? No? Swell. ” She paused. Heck, she’d gone this far, throwing her usual workman-like devotion to plan to the winds. “Incidentally, before I get to the main reason I called, you seeing anyone?” When he said no, a little startled ,she sighed. “Ah, well. Anyhow…”

She made her battle plans swiftly with Pete, then clicked off the comm, rose from her chair, and stalked out the door of her room, pulling on her flight jacket. “I’ll show ’em the fleet’s frickin’ full,” she snarled under her breath as she stormed down the corridor towards the lift. “I’ll show ’em.”


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  1. Nicely done. I found this to be a good character sketch while also a satisfying story. Also, I love that she has such a feminine name but is a badass (like Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

  2. I like your MC’s drive. Have to wonder why they made excuses to keep her out.

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