It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
The trill of the alarm was like gloved fingers releasing a constricted throat. A gasp of sudden awareness was replaced by silence intersticed with an infinite darkness. The constant susurration of the ship’s propulsion impellers drummed in the background as a rasping struggle for breath and orientation ensued. There came a frantic tap, tap, tapping of aggravated fingers searching for the snooze button on the nightstand. Soon, a desperate slap was followed by the clatter of the clock on the padded steel floor. The alarm surrendered.
Alexandra could not stop the moan of consciousness stripping away the fugue of dreams that tossed her body through the night and twisted her military issue sheets into untraceable knots. A dim, blue light winked on from the low ceiling like a cheap imitation of an early eastern sky rimmed by the Carpathian Mountains of a long abandoned home.
No, it was more like the blue light of folding space her ship sailed through; endless, dark, sad, and lonely. Running her fingers through her hair, Alexandra moved from the bed to the ancient piano a step away. The wear polished wood felt cool against her nakedness. She flipped through the torn pages to a soft melody played in pianissimo, her favorite.
On this endless mission, Alexandra found that the piano let her leave all of her emotions on the keyboard, clearing her head for the bark of orders and concentration on the finest detail. Only after she played through the song three times was she ready to face another day of boring space travel. There was only artificial night and day managed by the ship to keep her human crew from becoming unbalanced. She wondered if the routine wasn’t working.
The delicious scent of coffee followed the sound of gurgling steam coming from the server cube. The cup was befitting a Battle Captain – gold rim atop a deep blue stripe on a cream background. Royal Sovereign Ship Wolfsbane III was emblazoned on the steaming cup in gold lettering.
The cabin light switched to a soft amber and forced the shadows to the edge of the curved outboard walls. Alexandra sat in her chair by a large oval portal. It sensed her presence and shifted from opaque to translucent. She looked at her reflected nakedness and held the coffee cupped in her hands on her lap. The warmth reminded the captain of her missing soul mate.
Alexandra sipped slowly and watched as the ship threaded through astral bodies using the gravitational pull of each lifeless form to slingshot her ship through space. The vastness of the universe was breathless in its beauty and terrifying in its power to obliterate whatever it chose. Alexandra knew that the world ending power of her ship and it’s 5000 synth fighters was nothing to the event horizon of the smallest black hole. And that was where she was headed to search out and destroy her enemy.
It made no sense to try it, to risk the ship to destroy an outpost of the Nihilist hiding there was a huge gamble. It must be quite important to someone in the Republic to have the Admiral pay her a visit prior to the battle. She looked forward to it. He was just what she needed.
After reading the ship’s log of events that took place while she was asleep and finding nothing worth the time to read, Captain Dragana took a sonic shower and got dressed.
“Synth 1, send the Air Boss to the bridge to meet with me. Tell her I want to go over the fleet battle readiness preparations.”
Captain Dragana made her way to the control bridge and greeted the Synth crew manning all of the control stations that flew and fought the 2 kilometer long Battle Cruiser; one of the Republic’s finest machines of infinite destruction.
A bosun whistle piped the Air Boss onto the Bridge. Dari sat down in her seat next to Alexandra.
“You don’t look your usual sunflower self, girl. What’s up?” Dari asked with feigned concern.
“It’s my time of century again,” Alexandra joked.
“Oooh, well don’t worry, in a week you can always borrow one of the Battle Synths to scratch your resurging itch.”
“I don’t want one of those beasts. Speaking of beasts, how is Marius coming along getting the Synths ready for the fight?” The Captain poked back.
“Don’t you get any funny ideas about my man,” Dari warned.
“You need a rest anyway, Alexandra continued. You can’t concentrate on getting all the fighter craft launched with him plugged into your backside. I’ll take him over for you.”
Dari poked her chest out and lifted her chin in a show of indignation. “You better grab your thumb and blow your tits up if you want Marius. He’s particular you know.”
Alexandra laughed and slapped her friend on the arm. “Don’t pick on my boobs.”
Both hardened warriors looked over at one of the female synths who seemed to be choking. They looked at each other and shrugged. Maybe her respiration synthesis was faulty.
“Yes, Captain.” answered the ship’s omnipotent personality.
“Send 37 to sickbay for cardio-pulmonary scan,” Alexandra ordered.
The coughing Synth departed the bridge hiding a smirk and another one took her place.
“Where were we?” Alexandra asked.
“You were complimenting me on my exceptional accomplishments while assigned to the Black Wolf carrier group aboard RSS Wolfsbane III,” Dari answered matter of factly before cutting a mischievous eye over at the ship’s captain.
“Ah, so I was. Gods below, I’ve become such a boring liar.”
Dari frowned. There was another insult in there somewhere she needed to ferret out.
“Are we ready to launch, Dari?” Alexandra’s tone was suddenly serious.
“As ready as we can ever be, Captain.”
“And Marius has the Synths ready to go?”
“Yes, Captain. We should go over the battle plan together to synchronize our forces with the Battle Group.” Dari offered.
“Agreed. Let’s go see Marius in the troop hold. I want to have everything nailed down tight before the Admiral translates in. He’ll be staying on the Wolfsbane as his flag ship during the battle.”
Dari smiled at her eternal friend and touched her hand. They entered battle together again. This was the first time they felt like they had the odds in their favor and finally, victory would be theirs. She knew Alexandra would be her best with the Admiral here with her.
The Captain and Air Boss left the deck with 30 pair of Synth eyes watching with devotion, ready to face the terrible destruction for their leaders they admired and respected.
Authors Note: Greetings dear readers. I thought I would introduce the prologues to The Agony of Ecstasy Book II and later, Book III to give you a broader picture of the story’s trajectory through time. In Book II our Revenants are now further transformed by their life experiences and seemingly unending conflict. Their relationships with each other are more solid with their immortal spirits bonded together for a binary purpose; love and war. Feel free to let me know exactly how you feel about all this in the comments below. I do listen and my feelings are never hurt. I’m weird like that.