Reddit WritingPrompts – Can You Fly a JX-7?

The title of this prompt struck me a few ways, and decided to add a bit of intrigue and other stuff to it. It originally was meant to have more than one part, which I unfortunately was never able to finish. I’ll need to do that someday.

Done in October 16, 2019.

Note: My writing for Reddit writing prompts is different for brevity. While this is a good example of my writing, I often omit backstory and several details to create a concise post. Please look at my other works if you’re looking for my more regular style of writing.

Huschens is an Easter Egg nod-off to Angry Cops.

Original Post

OP

I wrinkled my eyebrows at the person who interrupted me, clearly not enjoying be pulled away from my drink. It was Gunnery Sergeant Huschens; clean chiseled face, camo fatigues and a drill instructor hat. At first his voice sounded official and very commanding, but upon hearing me answer affirmatively, changed to that that half New Jersey accent, ushering me with an informal hand wave.

I sigh heavily, grabbing my cup of coffee and making my way across the hangar.

It has been a bit since I flew a JX-7. Old Earth tech, Old Earth lethality that the galaxy feared. Most of them have been refit with the new alien tech a few of our new allies have given us, but I was at the stick when they still had aerospikes and ion thrusters.

As I got closer to the door, I could hear some sort of commotion going on. There was definitely a woman’s voice among a few men carrying on in what seemed to be an argument. I made the voice out of the base’s gunnery sergeant, the base commander and three other people I couldn’t identify.

Huschens seemed to scrutinize me for a second, squinting at me in a half-jesting manner.

“You might be worth your value in gold if that yes is solid,” he remarked.

“What the heck’s going on in there?” I ventured.

“It’s a total shitstorm. I don’t want to keep them waiting, but let’s just say someone got handsy and is now just screwed a major relationship over.”

This had my interest. Fraternization? What did that have to do with a medium-range bomber refit?

“Okay, as long as I’m not getting pinned for nonsense, let’s see what this is about.”

While I tried to enter cautiously into the shitstorm I was walking into, I knew I somewhat sauntered in casually, coffee cup in hand.

Upon entering the lobby room, I was greeted upon the sight of two MP’s, the B.C. and some guy I was sure I had seen a few days ago. Facing them were four Notikans; very human, with big tall fez hats and long robes. The foreign and proper tinge in their voices cut in the air, making it quite distinct when they spoke. Despite my Earthly origins, I was familiar with their way of life for various reasons.

It was then I realized that the guy I didn’t identify was in handcuffs, a sullen look on his face.

Huschens piled in behind me as I stared at the spectacle. The Notikans were an old man, his wife and another woman which looked to possibly be his daughter; the “parents” were busy screaming at the B.C. while motioning to the guy, while the woman sulked in the corner with arms folded. The MP’s glared at me for a second, but upon seeing who I was with, relaxed.

“Tribunals mean nothing, Leadsworth! This excuse of a person you call your pilot dared to even speak to my daughter in such a manner! It’s unforgivable!”

“Sir, I understand-“

“You do not understand, Terran!” The wife interjected. “Our daughters are holy vessels of light and knowledge, to carry on our legacy to the next generation. For her to be sullied with such despicable fornication, has violated the gift that the Celestials bestowed upon her.”

‘Leadsworth’ rubbed his head, clearly taxed by what was going on. Upon straightening his poster he saw Huschens and I, which made him groan. The Notikans had noticed me, ceasing their shouting match.

“A’ight boys, get this guy outta here. C’mon.” Huschens jerked his thumb over his shoulder.

The MP’s hustled the guy out the door. As he passed he locked eyes with me, conflict and anger flowing through them. I glanced back at the party, daring to take a sip out of my coffee mug to jar things up.

“Bennett,” Leadsworth greeted me.

“Commander,” I glanced at the Notikans each in the eyes before turning back to him.

“And what is this that you dare to present before us? Another fallen, immoral broken man who has no care for duty or craft?”

I twinged a little, realizing that he was assuming I was loose because of how I behaved. He rightfully assumed I was a pilot due to the flight jacket, but was probably put off that I wasn’t in a uniform or snapping to a salute.

“Governor, Flight Commander Bennett is adept pilot I’m grateful to have been on this base at the right time. You’ll find that he’s quite capable for your requirements.”

“Rubbish, deceit! No man can field such a craft with such character!”

I honestly was losing my patience at this point, a little terse.

“Commander, what the hell is going on here? Seriously?”

The room became silent. Even Huschen’s eyes widened, having not expected that out of me.

Leadsworth coughed, attempting to get back things on track.

“Governor Estidialus has been cooperating with FleetComm on a special project for two years now. As he holds a seat in one of the higher Notikan castes, he’s been offering us technological aid on two test platforms for previous-generation vehicles.”

Ah, that Governor. I see.

“And…what’s this with a JX-7?” I half-motioned with the cup as if addressing the entire room,

“Part of the program is to field a hybrid bomber with Notikan weaponry. Of course because of the power requirements, it requires a fusion drive, which means some knowledge of Notikan vehicles or technology.”

I nodded in understanding, still keeping my half uninterested demeanor.

“And lemme guess….you need a new pilot, or someone to teach someone how to fly it?”

“Pretty much.”

Leadsworth looked relieved that I didn’t address the elephant in the room. Honestly I sort of didn’t care, but was definitely curious as to what happened. Was this a case of falling in love in the Governor’s daughter and being found out? It certainly seemed that way.

“I refuse, Leadsworth. I will not risk this project with someone as such. If it’s all good with you. I prefer a more upstanding soldier, and perhaps a Notikan.”

My jaw clenched, pretty much almost losing it right there.

“Ma’am, Bennett isn’t enlisted in the United Earth Forces on commission. And I can assure you there won’t be an ‘incident’ like this one.”

Both parents squinted in confusion, focusing their attention to me.

“And why is that? What is this ‘guarantee’ that he will not have an affair with my daughter or any other women of the project? And what about his skill, his dedication to the task?”

I took two steps forward, deciding now that I’d drop the bombshell.

“Does the name Monarch Vatharian mean anything to you?”

Both their faces turned to shock. Even Leadsworth jerked his head up in surprise, recognizing the title.

“I know the name but it doesn’t mean much. Why do you invoke her title?” Estidialus spread his arms apart.

“Well, I’m her paladin on assignment.”

The man scoffed, while the woman reeled back in disgust.

“How dare you! Impossible. You, an unimportant Terran?!”

“Apparently. She did the whole poke me with a sword thing on her starship bridge.”

I mimicked the effect with my mug for added effect. Leadsworth and Huschens were trying not to smile. The couple was silent, at a loss of words.

“Or if you don’t believe me, maybe I should get my edict out for you to read, shouldn’t I Commander? Better yet, maybe I should just ring her to stop by.”

“She’d like to stop by, for sure. I think I owe her a few things from the requisitions office come to think of it.”

“Impossible.” Estidialus sputtered.

I plopped my mug on Leadworth’s desk, walking forward with my hands becoming folded within my jacket sleeves, as silly as it looked.

“So pray tell, Governor. I have experiences that had brought the Monarch’s attention upon me. I have a relationship with figures within both Earth and Shinja Notika, which lands me in situations to use either technology at times. And lastly, I carry the Monarch’s authority and blessings upon me.”

My voice had a formal, dictating tone to it, similar to how they had spoken earlier. I slipped back into my normal dialect, yanking my hands out of my sleeves and placing them on my waist.

“Oh, and I’m also married, and to a Notikan woman too, which the Monarch approved. In fact, you can say she fixed me up with her. But that would answer your “no dating my daughter” thing.”

“In other words, Governor. The perfect pilot you could ask for.”

The daughter glanced at my for the first time, jealously and anger in her eyes. She stormed out of the room, clearly upset. The mother looked like she wanted to faint, the governor’s face red.

“I…do not approve of this. We will be in touch about this matter.”

Estidialus nudged his wife forward, folding his hands inside his sleeves like I had done earlier.

“So does that mean that you still want to call this thing quits, and want your hardware back?”

“That was my intention….but now I am sure your beloved Monarch will stick her foot in our affairs and perhaps even run it herself. I may need to reconsider this.”

“Well, a caste that can build their own dreadnought starships have that luxury you know.” I offered helpfully.

“Which I do NOT need to be reminded of. This discussion is ended.”

With that, he stormed out of the room.

When he was gone, Huschens snickered. Leadsworth shook his head in disbelief, looking relieved. I sighed as I leaned against his desk, reaching back for his coffee.

“You know the sad thing is, he actually is going to not believe you and research that, only to find out it is real.”

Huschens folded his arms and looked out back at the hangar.

I took a sip of coffee. Good, it didn’t cool that much.

“Yeah, I know. Joke’s on him, though.”

I looked at Leadsworth apologetically, shoulders sinking a little.

“I hope I wasn’t too abrasive or nonchalant, Commander. I figured that’s what you wanted me here for.”

“No, you did great. You seem to rub them wrong the right way. I figured that “paladin” junk would’ve rubbed off and let you bust their chops.”

“Heh, well, at least your ass is good for something around here!” Huschens lightly punched my shoulder.

I raised my mug.

“Amen to that.”

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