Other works:
Grant's Flight
The Flying Cat
The New Guy
Stuck On Red
StarCreese

DreamPhase

The following is part of my book DreamPhase. If you would like the rest of it, just contact me.  You can order the Kindle Edition here :)

She woke with a start, sitting up she looked around the moonlit room. The room was a 10 by 10 foot room. At one end of the room there was a very large window which gave a magnificent view of the city outside. At the other end of the room there was a steel door; next to the door was a small keypad. The walls were very plain, only having a slight variation in the color so as to make them not seem so harsh. She looked out the frost covered window at the moon, trying to figure out what time it was. She guessed it must have been about 4:00 in the morning. Slowly she stretched her legs before quietly climbing out of her bed. She quickly got dressed and tip-toed toward the door. As she neared the door, she pulled a rubber band off of her wrist and put her strawberry blond hair back into a ponytail. Upon typing a code into the keypad, she heard a small beep. She let out a sigh of relief. She slowly opened the door. The door cracked open allowing a reddish light to fill the room. She stepped out the door and closed it behind her.
            Stepping out into the dimly lit hallway she started walking off to her left.
From what she could remember of last night this was the way she had been brought into the room. She continued walking down the hallway passing doors similar to the one she had come from. When she reached the end of the hall, there were two doors, one for the stairs and one for the elevator. She opened the door to the stairs and slowly descended.
About ten minutes later she reached the bottom floor. She peaked around the corner at the bottom of the steps. There was a guard standing next to the exit. She knew she wouldn't be able to get past the guard, so she looked around the room for something to use as a distraction. Brushing back a piece of hair that had fallen from her loose ponytail she heard the elevator next to the stairs chime. The door opened and a janitor came out with a mop and bucket. The man pushed his bucket with the mop handle across the floor over the exit. The guard stopped him. "Hey, I was told there were two of you, where is your partner?"
"She is cleaning the last of the windows and should be down in a few minutes."
The guard gave him a confused look, "I thought cleaning the windows was your job."
"It is, but today I had lot of stuff to do, so I had to start late. I wanted to get done on time, so I asked one of my fellow workers to give me a hand tonight."
"Okay, I'll see you next week."
"Yep, sure thing."
            With that the janitor left. She had an idea. Running back up the steps, she came out on the second floor. This floor was empty. She ran down the hallway as quietly as she could until she came to a supply closet. She opened the door and found a squeegee and some window spray. She kept digging and found a spare change of cloths the janitor kept there. She put them on, but they were too big for her thin body. She looked around some more and found a small cord that she was able to use to tie the pants up. The shirt was a little big, but she couldn't do anything about it. She grabbed the squeegee and window spray and made her way down the steps. When she reached the steps she changed her mind and went to the elevator. There was no reason for her to use the steps with her disguise.
            She heard the elevator chime as she reached the bottom and the doors opened slowly. She then remembered the patient ID bracelet on her wrist. She pulled it up her arm and hid it under her sleeve then she exited the elevator. She walked over to the door. The guard stopped her. "Aren't you a little young for a janitor?"
"I am 17 and I am still training, that is why I am using this, instead of the power-sprayer." She said holding up the squeegee.
"Alright."
He let her pass.
            Once out side she looked back through the glass doors. The elevator doors opened and a janitor stepped out. Looking away from the building she began to run. She couldn't let them catch her. About an hour later she was exhausted. She slowed her pace. As she breathed heavily she could see her breath. It was cold; her fingers were starting to go numb and she had an immense hunger growing in her stomach. She had to find someplace to go.
            She looked up at the sky. The sun was starting come up and colored the sky with a light shade of yellow, it must be later then she had thought. Her eyes fell back down to the street level and she noticed the open sign on a dinner a few blocks ahead of her. She made her way to the door and looked in. There was only the waitress and the cook, other than that the diner was deserted. She opened the door and walked in.
            On the inside, the diner had an old fashioned style to it, even though the diner itself was located in the bottom of a newly constructed sky scraper. The moment she stepped into the dinner, she felt better. The restaurant was warm and it felt good on her cold checks and her fingers were becoming easier to bend.
Walking up to the counter she climbed on to one of the stools.
"Good morning Miss, what can I get for you?"
"Well, I don't have any money on me. Do you accept direct bank transfers?"
"Sure we can do that." He reached under the counter and pulled out a sheet of paper. "Here is the account info."
"Thanks," she said taking the paper from him. "Is it alright if I transfer a little extra, because I need some cash?"
"Sure, what would you like to eat?"
"How about some scrambled eggs and sausage?"
Sure, I'll have it ready by the time you’re done with the transfer.
She got up from the stool and walked over to the phone at the end of the diner.
Picking up the phone she dialed the number to her bank.
            Back over at the counter, the cook placed a plate of eggs on the table just as she sat back down.
"Here are your eggs."
"Thank you. I transferred the money into your account."
"Enjoy your meal; I'll bring you your change when you are done." said the cook taking an order sheet from the waitress who was now busy with the other customers that had come in from the cold. She ate her meal; the eggs were made just how she liked them.
About 15 minutes later she finished her meal, got her change then left the diner.
Upon stepping out into the street she was blasted with a cold breeze. The wind blew right through the baggy janitor clothes. I have to find some new clothes, she thought to herself.
She walked down the street looking for a place to buy clothes. The first place she saw was a thrift store; they should have something she thought as she opened the door and stepped in. Her nostrils were filled with the scent of dust and musty old things. She looked around; the clothes were located in the back of the store. As she walked to the back of the store she noticed a sign. All items that have blue on them are 20% off.  I guess I am going to be wearing blue, she thought as she looked through the different racks of clothes. She found a few shirts that she liked, but knew they would be inappropriate for what she would be doing. She knew it would be easier to find a job if you were dressed nice and she was going to be trying to find one very soon. After looking through most of the clothes and trying on a few different items, she settled on a light blue dress shirt and a pair of black dress pants that had a blue tag on the inside.  As she walked back up to the front of the store she passed a rack holding an assortment of jackets. Remembering how cold it was outside, she looked through the coat rack and picked out a black leather jacket. The jacket didn't have any blue on it, but it was the nicest jacket she found and it was barely used, so she was willing to spend a little extra.
After paying for her clothes, she changed and then sold her janitor clothes back to the thrift store. They weren't worth much, but it made up for the extra she spent on the jacket.

Now that she was in normal clothes she would try to make it back to her house so she could pick up some of her stuff. 
            Yesterday and today had seemed like an eternity. Early yesterday morning life had seemed so simple, but now everything seemed more complicated. It happened when she revealed a project she had been working on for months. It was called DreamPhase. DreamPhase allowed people, while in REM sleep, to be able to either link with another persons dream, or link to a computer. Now it did take some learning to be able to use the DreamPhase technology. She had been working on it for a research thesis she was going to turn in for her doctorate. She had worked hard her whole life, always wanting to be an astrophysicist. She had been dual enrolled and graduated from high school early. Because of the amount of time she put into her schooling she didn't have any really close friends, but she figured that at the age of 17 with her doctorate she would be able to spend more time on her friends. The day she showed her family DreamPhase, they thought she was crazy. Because she was successful in creating it, a lot of people were willing to pay a lot of money for the device.
She was the only person that knew how to enter the DreamPhase, so a lot of companies started offering her money for the information on how it worked. She turned them down, wanting to start her own company based on the technology. There were a few companies that tried to capture her, luckily for her, they had all failed.
Later a very large company called Cromwell Inc. offered her family a large amount of money if they turned her in. Her family wasn't her real family, she had been adopted as a young girl when her parents both died. They betrayed her. The company framed her for a murder. She had no evidence of what Cromwell Inc. had done because her family destroyed the proof.  She would have been sentenced to life in prison, but she pled guilty under grounds of insanity, due to the dream experimentations she had been working on. That was how she ended up in the mental hospital. What Cromwell Inc. didn't know was that she had the proof backed up. The problem was she had sent the proof to a computer on another planet then told the computer not to reconnect to the internet. She had managed to escape from the mental hospital, but still had to get to the other planet to get the proof.

Stepping out into the street again, the wind didn't seem so harsh with the new jacket. She started walking down the street again, this time heading to the hover train station.
The train station had two levels, with one hover rail to each. The bottom level was almost empty, but the top was full of people waiting to board the train. She walked up the wide stair case that led to the upper level. As she reached the top step, she noticed there were police standing at all the entrances. She would have to sneak past them somehow. She looked around the station, trying to think of how she would get past them. Off to her right were a few different store fronts and food stands. The hover train was off to her left. People were crowding the large room.  At the end of the room on the right side was a pharmacy. If she was lucky, they might sell her a pair of glasses off the display shelf.
She made her way through the busy room, heading for the pharmacy. She stopped to look up at the clock. She still had 20 minutes before the train was going to leave.
Inside the pharmacy she was able to convince them to sell her a pair of display glasses.
            After getting the glasses she purchased her ticket. She approached the boarding entrance. A policeman stopped her and compared her to a picture he was holding. She got a glance of the photo and saw that it was a picture of her. "Miss, Could you remove your glasses for me?" "Sure." she said pulling them off and getting ready to run. The man compared her to the picture. "Sorry to bother you, you looked like the person we have been searching for, but your eyes clearly separate you. Here take this, so that we don't bother you again." said the policeman, handing her a yellow tag. "Just show it to an officer when they are checking people."
Taking the tag from him, she smiled and replied. "Really, it was no bother, but thank you."
She walked onto the train and found her seat. She was confused as to why she hadn't been caught. Then she remembered, he mentioned her eyes. Her eyes changed colors depending on what she was wearing. In the picture the officer had, her eyes had been green, but now her eyes were blue because she was wearing a blue shirt. The sale at the thrift store had saved her. She sighed in relief as the train started moving forward slowly.
The train ride was uneventful. She slept most of the ride. When the train reached its destination, she got off. A policeman was checking the passengers as they got off. She was stopped and pulled off to the side. She gave the officer the yellow tag she had gotten earlier. The policemen apologized and let her go.
When she stepped off the train, she knew exactly where she was going. She had the layout of this whole city in her mind. This was the place where she grew up. Walking down the street towards where her old house was. She knew what she had to do, but that didn't make it any easier. The closer she got to the house the harder it became to suppress her emotions. She kept walking; she had to get the rest of DreamPhase.
She stopped in front of the house that used to be her home. She looked in the windows; she could see people moving around. Luckily for her, she had moved DreamPhase out of the house and hid it in the back of an old car that was kept out behind her old house. She ran to the back yard where she found the car. She opened the back door and climbed in. she checked under the seat and found a bag, just how she left it. She took the bag and left.
At first she wasn't sure where to go. Who could she trust? The police were looking for her. Everyone thought she was a murderer. She wished that she had taken more time to form relationships with her piers, maybe if she had, she would have someone to turn to, but insisted she had spent her time getting a degree, that wouldn't do her much good anymore.
It was when she was thinking about school that she remembered her physics teacher.
She got along great with him. He had assigned her to many different projects he was working on. And most of those times, she had been able to solve something that he hadn't. He had encouraged her when she was ready to give up one semester. Since that day, she had worked harder and learned so much from him. He didn't say it until all of her classes were finished, but he told her that she was one of his best students.
Of all the people she knew, he was the only person that she could think of, that she might be able to trust.
Now that she had her bag, she reached in and pulled out a small cell phone and a small headset that looked like a piece of wire. She turned on the phone on then put it back in the bag. She hoisted the black backpack on to her back and then placed the headset behind her ear. She started walking again. Tapping the headset she spoke. "Dr. Steve Shaum." there was a pause for a moment. "Hello?"
"Hello, this is Rachial Williams" the voice on the other end interrupted her. "Hey, are you alright, I heard about what happened. Is there anything you need?" "I am okay, I would like to talk to you and can I meet you?" "Sure, I have three more classes today, but I will be free for the next two hours, so you could swing by the campus."
"Okay and thanks."
"No problem."
The line cut out and the headset went dead.
She wasn't sure what she was going to tell him, but she was planning to ask him to take DreamPhase for safe keeping. She didn't want to be running around the universe with a very valuable piece of technology. She also didn't want it to fall into the wrong hands because she wasn't sure what it could do, or what it limitations were.
Twenty minutes later outside of Dr. Shaum's office she knocked on his door. There was no response, at first so she knocked again. This time she heard him call out. "Come in, the doors unlocked."
She opened the door to find him seated behind his desk helping one of his students.
"Oh, hi Rachial have a seat." he said motioning to the open chair next to the student he was helping. "I was just helping Josh with one of his problems. Maybe you could explain it to him."
"I can try." she said leaning forward to look at the papers lying on the desk.
She then proceeded to explain the problem to him. Once he was sure he under stood, he thanked her then left. "I think you would make a great teacher." said Steve. "Thanks, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen anytime soon." she said taking in her surroundings. His office hadn't changed much since she had been here getting help with one of her own problems. "Not at the moment, but I am guessing you have a way to prove you’re not guilty?"
"Yes, I backed up the proof onto a computer on the planet Aeolus. Then I told the computer to permanently disconnect from the internet. I would have asked someone to retrieve it for me, but you are the only person I can trust and I knew that you were busy with classes."
"Well, at least you know where the proof is, so you only have to get to it and not search for it. You do realize that the police will be after you the whole way there?" "Yes, I will also probably have bounty hunters hired by a few different companies after me. My plan is to leave the planet to get the police off of me and then I will work until I get enough money for the fuel to get to the planet where the data has been saved. The only problem is with bounty hunters."
"They are after DreamPhase?"
"Yes, I got it 100% working. A few companies tried to get me to sell them the technology, but I said no. that is when they framed me."
"I knew you wouldn't have done it, but I wasn't sure why somebody would want to frame you."
"Yeah, that is kind of why I am here. I don't want DreamPhase to fall into their hands." She lifted her backpack onto the desk. "I would like you to take DreamPhase for safe keeping while I am gone. You can use it, or work on it. I just don't want these companies to get it."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes." she said pulling a laptop and small black box out of the bag and placing them on the desk. She opened the small box and pulled out a handful of rubber bands. "The DreamPhase blueprints are on the laptop. These rubber bands have DreamPhase built into them. If you wear one of these when you fall asleep, you will enter DreamPhase. The rest of the information is on the laptop."
"Okay I will look it over."
"Thanks. I had better get going." she turned to leave. "Hang on a second." he said leaning over and digging something out from one of his desk drawers. He pulled out a small memory card and handed it to her. "Take this, you might find it helpful." she took the small card and examined it in her hadn't. "What is it?" "I designed it a year ago when I learned about the DreamPhase project you were working on. I figured that if you completed it, there would be a means of implementing it. I haven't had a chance to test it, but if you load it into DreamPhase you should be able to learn everything on that card. It is filled with every piece of knowledge I could find on piloting and flying."
"Thanks, I'll have to try it out." she slipped the card into her pants pocket then left.

A few hours later she was sitting at the pilots' seat of her newly purchased vessel. The ship had cost her complete life’s savings. The ship was an old military vessel, a Wombat class fighter.  It was a very small ship, only large enough for one person. There wasn't any cargo space either, just a small compartment under the pilots seat. The ship wasn't equipped with any weapons and only had a shield system capable of protecting her from radiation. The ship did have a working communication array, but it was the older kind so it wouldn't reach very far. The engine system was working without any problems and that is what she figured she would need the most. It had a class two portal engine. It wasn't the fastest, but it would work. The ship used to be a military fighter, so the engines were faster then most engines out there. She just hoped that the engines would be enough to out run the police, if she encountered them. But for now she was worried more about learning how to fly. She didn't think it was that complicated, but she knew it required a lot of practice and that was something that she didn't have a lot of time to do.
She had the pilot's manual resting on her lap, but some of it didn't make sense. She reached into her pocket and pulled out the memory card she had gotten earlier from Dr. Shaum and then pulled the rubber band out of her hair. She rapped the rubber band around the card. A small portion of the rubber band lit up a blue color. The spot flashed. Then a few seconds later the blue flashing stopped and turned green. The green light flashed twice then stopped. Rachial then removed the rubber band from the card and place it around her wrist.  Now to see if this works, she thought to herself as she settled back in the pilot's chair. She closed her eyes and tried to relax. It was hard after that day to just slow down. She wanted to quit her mind to help her fall asleep, but her mind was racing with the things that had happened today. But finally she started to dose off. Within a few minutes she had entered sleep.

About an hour later she awoke in her dream. Instantly she took control of the dream world and linked it with DreamPhase. She was standing in a large open area. Below her were thousands of what looked like scrolling strands of text, on what appeared to be a screen. There were walls made out of text also. The whole world was bluish. The walls were covered with sheets of paper. Each sheet of paper had a title and then a description below in a finer print.  Some of the walls had more paper on than others; she walked over to a wall that only had a few pieces of paper on it. She reached out for the piece that was furthest to the right. The paper title read: Flight school, Complete ED. she tapped the paper twice.
Then the world around her changed, just this time was seated in a class room with a bunch of students the teacher was at the front of the class, explaining to the students why they were there. He told them, that he was going to teach them how to fly.
The world slowly sped up, everything started moving
Quickly, within moments, it was a complete blur.
But not for Rachial, her mind was following every event that happened, as if it happened in normal speed.
The blur kept going for a few minutes and then it slowly started returning to normal speed. Rachial was standing on a landing platform. There was a man wearing a flight suit standing in front of her. "Congratulations, you have just passed the entire test, you now have your pilots license." the man told her. Then the world started to fade away, it slowly returned to the blue text like world. But as it did, she heard a disembodied voice. When she heard it she recognized the voice as her teachers. "Hey, congrats, you now know how to fly. The only problem is that since you have taken all of these classes and practiced only in your dream, you will only remember it as a dream. When you sit down in the pilot's chair, just do what seems natural, unless it is something crazy, you should be doing the right thing. Bye." the voice left and Rachial woke from her dream.

Rachial looked down at her watch; it was 7:00am. It seemed like it should be later, she had so much stuff pour through her mind. She felt a little dizzy. She looked out the window of her ship, the sun had just come up and the sky was a beautiful purple color. There were no clouds to be seen. After a moment the sensation of dizziness passed. She looked around the cockpit of her ship. Things that had looked foreign to her last night now looked very familiar. She even knew what they were for. She would have to contact Dr. Shaum sometime to tell him that it worked.
She tapped a button and the cockpit opened. She climbed out. She was going to have to buy some food for her journey. So she set off to find a grocery store.

She returned to the ship twenty minutes later with a small stack of M.R.E's, she was probably going to need them when she got to the planet because she was going to have to eat while she tried to find a job. She climbed into the ship and loaded them under the seat. Then she strapped in and did the preflight checks. Everything checked out working, so she started the ships power plant, then started up the antigravity engines. The ship slowly rose from its spot in the used ship lot. As soon as the ship had gained a high enough altitude, she engaged the main engines. The ship started moving forward quickly. As the ship started going, she increased the speed quickly and left the atmosphere, so as not to draw attention to herself. As soon as she left the atmosphere she engaged the portal engine. She watched as the portal formed around the front of her ship. She knew how Portal travel worked, but had never actually seen it before.
Once in portal travel, it would take her about ten hours to reach the next way point. She became bored rather quickly. She decided the best use of her time would be to work on DreamPhase some more.
Before she had been captured she had been working on getting DreamPhase to work while you were awake. She was almost certain it was possible, but hadn't been able to configure DreamPhase correctly yet.
The reason is because day dreams are harder for the system to grasp, because they are concentrated in a different way.

Rachial worked on calibrating DreamPhase for the next 7 hours that was when she had done it. She had entered DreamPhase while she was awake. She had to concentrate to do it, but it had worked. She did a little more fine tuning to do. Then she had another when she had an idea. What would happen if she linked DreamPhase to the ship? She started working on a design for the interface for the ship when an alarm started going off. She looked up and the HUD was flashing the ETA, at one minute. The portal drive was faster then the sales man had told her. That was nice; it would make her journey quicker. She dropped the ship out of its portal and gave the breaking thrusters a quick fire. The ship slowed just as it reached the planet. She brought the ship into an orbit above the planet Ecstasy, as she waited to get clearance to land. She got the clearance moments later and flew the ship down to the spot she where she had been told she could land.

Once the ship had landed she paid the small fee before she took her bag and left the hanger. The search for a job began. She knew it was going to be hard to find a job where she wouldn't need to tell them who she was, but that didn't discourage her; she knew she needed to get one. The first thing she did was set up a fake account so that people would think she was a citizen. After that, she started walked down the street and applied at every place that was open on the first block.
            An hour later she had finished and went to the second level. The city was very large, so there were multiple levels of streets. The second level had raised walkways running along the side of building and connecting the corners of separate buildings. There were four levels in all. She spent the rest of the day applying everywhere she could. After the first twenty places she applied at, she got very fast at filling out applications. Having skipped lunch she was getting quite hungry around supper time, but there were still a few places left on the third level before she was finished. She applied at an outlet store, a janitorial service center and only one remained; a cargo delivery service. She walked in and grabbed one of the applications. The manager saw her grab it and called her over to the counter. "Are you looking for a job?" he asked. "Yes Sir." she answered.
"Have you ever flown a ship before?"
"Yes."
"What kind of ship did you fly?"
She explained that she had flown her ship before and told him that it was an old military fighter.
He was very intrigued by this. He asked if it was a Wombat fighter.
 She told him that it was.
"Well I might have a job for you. We have the cargo pod for one of those fighters, but our pilots all have trouble flying it. The last time someone tried using it; they crashed and destroyed the fighter. The cargo pod is fine, but we don't have a fighter to connect it to. If you can figure out how to fly the ship with the cargo pod, you can have a job."
"How much would it pay?"
"The pay would be $100 per hour and your time would depend on how many deliveries you have to make. You see, we were using the ship for our express delivery, but the pilot died a few years back. We tried to put other pilots in his position, but they were never able to fly it and the last pilot crashed it. Since then we have been contracting our express shipping to other companies."
"I'll take it. When do I start?" she said knowing that $100 was far more then she was expecting to make at any other place she had been to. She just hoped that she would be able to do it.
"You can start as soon as you figure out how to pilot the ship. You can start practicing as soon as you bring your ship here."
"Okay, thank you... um." she hesitated remembering she didn't catch his name.
"The names Al." he said offering his hand in a friendly manner.
"Rachial." She supplied her name.
"Okay, how about you come back later with your ship and I'll show you where the cargo pod is. I’ll also bring the paper work that you will have to fill out. "
"Okay, I should be back in a little while."
She left the building and started heading back to her ship. On her way back he stomach made a deep grumble reminding her of how hungry she was. Back at the ship, she had some M.R.E's, so she didn't stop at any of the restraints that lined the streets. When she arrived at her ship, she climbed in and pulled out one of the M.R.E's. it wasn't the best food she had ever had, but it was filling. After she finished her meal, she found a trash can in the hanger and threw out her MRE wrappers. She then climbed into her ship and started up the engines. The whole piloting thing still seemed a little strange. She just hoped that she would be able to pilot her ship with the cargo attachment. She would soon find out.

Ten minutes later she was climbing out of her ship, onto the huge deck of the delivery services hanger bay. Al was coming across the hanger deck, to greet her. "Hello, I see you brought your ship." he stated as he ushered her into a small office that was connected two the large hanger.
"That means you will be able to start training after you sign some papers. Don't worry; I'll walk you through it."
Minutes later she had signed an 8 month contract with Galactica transportation. She had also learned that Galactica offers their pilots room and board at no charge. She was very excited about this because she would be able to save the money to fund her trip, so she would be able to continue sooner. She was also glad that she would not need to search for a place to live, because she had no idea where to start. After she finished signing the papers, she was brought into the hanger again. Al walked over to a small hover car outside of his office. They both got in and he started it. Moments later they were flying through rows and rows of ships. Finally they reached the end.  At the end there was a ship that looked like an inverted version of her ship. On the front it had one cargo door; there was a similar door on the back of the ship. "That's it." he said stopping the hover car. "It has its own booster system, so it won't slow down your ship at all. That is why we use them for shipping, they are very fast. This one has a class 4 portal engine." "Well, I'll see what I can do."
"If you are able to figure it out, I am going to want you to teach some of the other pilots how to fly it, because one express delivery ship isn't going to be enough."
"We'll see how I do first."
Al brought her back over to her ship. "I'll set up a room for you while you try it out. Just ask someone about it and they'll show you where it is."
"Thanks." She said climbing out of the hover car and climbing up into her ship. She then flew it over to where the cargo pod was sitting.
She positioned her ship above the imprint on the cargo pod and lowered her ship down. There was a small shudder as her ship docked with the cargo pod.  As her ship docked to the cargo pod a panel in her cockpit opened and revealed a row of buttons. There were marks below the buttons indicating what the buttons did. Undock cargo pod, open cargo doors, close cargo doors and enter cargo hold, link\unlink engine systems. She was very nervous, what made Al think she would be able to do it? She didn't know but hadn't told him that she had only flow a ship once before flying it over to the hanger. Maybe flying with the cargo pod attached wasn't much different then flying without it. If that was the case, then the program Dr. Shaum had made was amazing. But she couldn't bring herself to think it would be easy. She decided the best thing she could do was take it nice and slow. She hit the Link engine systems button and she heard a small beep.
She activated the antigravity engines and the ship slowly rose off the deck. Easing the throttle forward, the ship slowly moved toward the hanger bay doors. She tapped her comm. button and radioed for clearance to leave the bay. It was granted and the bay doors opened to the city. The city was colored golden from the sun that was now setting. She moved the ship forward out of the hanger. The ship moved out into the sky and maneuvered between the massive buildings that were standing all around like trees. Avoiding other traffic the ship slowly rose above the buildings out into the open sky.

            The ship was suspended in the midst of small clouds that were positioned like water splattered onto a hard surface. Most of the clouds had a golden color to them, but some being shadowed, were a dark grey color. The sun was reflecting off the hull of the ship, giving it the same golden color as its surroundings. Rachial sat in the cockpit checking some of the readings from sensors. Everything looked good.  She decided that she would see what the ship could do.  She slammed the throttle forward and the ships engines rocketed the vessel forward. The ship was very fast. The inertial dampeners had taken a few seconds to adjust to the sudden change in speed.
            She sent the ship into a few different maneuvers. When the ship spun or flipped around it looked like a flashing light because of the way the sun reflected off of it.  After about twenty minutes, when she thought she had gotten enough control over the ship, she piloted the ship back to the hanger. Was she was in the hanger she landed the ship where it had been before then undocked her ship and flew it back over to where it had been earlier. Getting out she walked over to the manager's office. He was nowhere to be found. She turned to leave and almost bumped into a man standing behind her. The man looked to be in his early forties.
"Are you looking for Al?"
"Yes, do you know where he is?"
"Yeah, you must be new here. Al goes home at7:00pm."
"Oh, he didn't say how long he would be here. Yes, I am new. I just started today. "
"Well, welcome to Galactica," he extended his hand "I'm Charles."
"I am Rachial, thanks." She said accepting his hand.
"Al will be back tomorrow at 6:00am. But I might be able to help you, what did you need from him?"
"I was going to tell him I had mastered the ship and I was ready to take the test."
"Which ship are you going to be flying?"
"I am flying the wombat fighter over there." She said pointing to her ship."
"Ah, you must be the new express delivery pilot. Where did you get you training from? I have heard that ship takes a lot of training to master."
Not wanting to tell him about DreamPhase, she answered him, "I learned from a friend." It was true, her teacher had given her the memory card, but she didn't like deceiving the man. "Oh, I thought you would have gotten it from the military that is where most people that fly those ships get it from. I can't help with the test, only Al can give someone the test, but I wouldn't worry about it. If you can fly one of those ships, it should be a cake walk."
"Okay, do you think you could show me to the pilots rooms? Al said he would set up a room for me before I left earlier."
"Sure."
He led her through a maze of hallways then to an elevator. He stopped outside the elevator and spoke again. "The men's rooms are on level 44 and the woman's rooms are on level 42. The hanger is level 41 and the package processing is on level 40. Oh and the mess hall is on the hanger level. You will have to ask somebody else for help finding your room though. I have to go now, see you later."
"Thanks for your help." she said stepping into the elevator.
            The elevator doors opened on forty-second floor to an empty hallway.
Rachial stepped out of the elevator and began looking for someone to ask about her room.
There was a bulletin board hanging on the wall off to her right. She stepped over to look at it. There were different notes posted all over the board, most of them having to do with delays in shipments. But a new note on top of the others had her name on it. "Rachial, your room number is 207. I will be back tomorrow at 6:00am to give you your test.- Al."
She pulled the note free and took it with her as she walked down the hallway in search of room 207.
            She found her room and opened the door. The room was very small, about seven feet by seven foot room. There was enough room for a small bed and small dresser about the height of a desk. There was also a small chair. The bed was up against the far edge of the room. Behind the bed was a small window that gave view to the now dark gold colored city. She set her bag down on the bed and dug around until she found her tooth brush and toothpaste. She then left the room to find the bathrooms.
About ten minutes later she returned and climbed into the bed. She set the alarm on her watch to wake her at 5:30. Then she lay back and went to sleep, wondering what tomorrow would bring.

            The next Morning Rachial woke to the sound of her watch alarm.
The sun poured through the windows lighting the small room. Rachial pulled a bottle of shampoo and another pair of cloths out of her bag and left her room to find the bathrooms again. 10 minutes later she came back to her room and put the shampoo along with her other toiletries in the top dresser drawer. She would have to buy some more cloths today, because she only had two sets right now. But that would have to wait till later she thought looking at her watch. She had a few minutes to grab breakfast and get down to the hanger. When she reached the hanger level, she went searching for the mess hall. It wasn't hard to find. She just followed the trail of people carrying their breakfast with them as they rushed to get to their ships. She went in and decided on a breakfast bar. After eating she went back out into the hanger. 
            The hanger was very busy this morning and a lot of the ships that had been there yesterday were nowhere to be seen. Rachial walked over to Al's office and looked inside. Al was sitting at his desk talking to one of the other pilots. She knocked lightly on the door. Al called for her to come in. Upon seeing who it was Al told her to take a seat and that he would be right with her. A moment later the other man left.
            "Are you ready for the test?"
"Yes, I believe so."
            "Good. Then right out this way." He said getting up from his desk and walking out into the hanger. Once out in the hanger he walked over to her ship. "I am going to go get my ship; you can pick up the cargo pod. I'll meet you outside the hanger."
"Okay." Then he walked away.

Rachial climbed into her ship and flew it over to where the cargo pod was. She slowly docked her ship with the pod and then piloted the ship over to the hanger bay doors.
After getting clearance the doors opened to the outside. She moved her ship just outside the door and then stopped. Seconds after she started waiting Al's ship came out. The comm. system started beeping, indicating an incoming transmission. She tapped a button to open a channel. "Alright here is what we are going to do. Once we get above the city, I am going to deploy holographic beacons. The beacons are going to create a few different test courses that you are going to have to fly through. If you are able to do all of them without crashing the hologram you will pass."
            Al's ship started moving upwards. Rachial gave her ship a little down thrust to follow his movement.  After clearing the city, Rachial could see little beacons being fired from Al's ship. She watched as the little beacons created the holographic test course. In a matter a seconds a huge test course was in the air in front of her. There were three different courses each with their own colors. The one closest to her was blue and the one furthest from her was red. The one in-between the red and blue courses, was green.
"Okay, you will fly through the blue course, then the green and then the red. If you crash into the wall on any of the sets you will fail. You will get one retry for each of the course levels. You can start when ever you are ready."
            Rachial moved her ship into the entrance of the blue course. She then gave her ship some thrust, moving it forward. As she entered the course, holographic instructions appeared in front of her ship. She followed the directions as they lead her through basic maneuvers. She was able to complete the course without any trouble. The next course consisted of different evasive maneuvers, docking and landing procedures. The last courses had her pick up some cargo and then deliver the packages. While she was on rout the simulation put obstacles in her way and even had simulated smugglers attack her. She had been able to pass all of them with one try, but it had been really hard for her. At one point, she started doing a maneuver that she didn't realize she knew until she did it. It was clearly from the memory card.
            After Rachial completed the last course the holographic images from the beacons faded away and she could see the beacons heading back to Al's ship.
"Good job, you passed. Now all we need to do is set your pickup and drop times." came Al's approving voice over the radio. "Thank you." She responded.
            After the test was done, they flew back to the hanger where Al went into his office and started working on setting up the express shipment service again. Al had told her to go grab something to eat while he worked. He said that when she came back, he would give her a run through of how the system was going to work.
            She decided that since the food was paid for, she should eat in the cafeteria. For the most part, from what she had seen, the food was about the same at it would be buying someplace else.  She entered the cafeteria not sure what she was going to eat, but after looking over the many different options she decided on getting mash potatoes and gravy with some type of roast and peas. Finding a table she sat down and started eating. As she ate she looked at the other people that were eating. There were two guys that just sat down at a table with the rest of a group. The first man exclaimed "Wow that stinks. What is that?" the rest of the guys around the table laughed.
"It's not that bad, I like the smell." said the man trying to defend himself.
On the other side of the room, another man called out.
"It's so bad; I can smell it over here." There was uproar of laughter.
            Rachial laughed with the group, but she didn't smell anything. That was how it had always been for her. When she was younger she had seen the doctor about it and he told her that her nose was permanently damaged, but her told her that because of this, her other scenes would try to compensate making her have better hearing and better vision. She had wished many times that she could smell something especially when people she was around would talk about how something smelled. She had learned to just go along with the groups, or other person's opinion of the smell, since she really couldn't form her own opinion. Once she finished her meal she brought her tray over to the stack of other dirty trays and placed it on the top of the stack. She then headed back to Al's office.
            After Al had shown her everything she needed to know about the deliveries, she went back to her room. She had almost begun to think that it might not be too bad, that she would just have to work until she could pay for the fuel required to go to the other planet. She figured that by the end of the eight months she should have enough money to pay for the fuel and possibly weapons systems, or better shields for her ship. She knew that when she reached the planet she was going to encounter problems with the police. The reason being the same government that was in charge of the planet she had just fled was the government in control at the planet she needed to get to.
She had been giving it a lot of thought, but had yet to come up with a plan of how she was going to get through the security on that planet. She had been lucky when she left the planet a few days ago.
But she tried to put those thought out of her mind as she went back to her room.
Today had gone good and it looked like tomorrow was going to be similar. But she knew it wouldn't last.
            She entered her room and grabbed her tooth brush and toothpaste and left for the bathroom. After she finished brushing her teeth, she came back to her room and climbed into her bed. It was only 8:00pm, but tomorrow she would be delivering packages. She wanted to get a good nights rest so she could be at her fullest tomorrow.
            She woke the next morning to her watch alarm. She didn't bother to check the time because she remembered what she had set the time for yesterday.  The early morning was a repeat of yesterday; she took a shower, went to the mess hall and got something to eat. Then she went down to the hanger bay. She reached Al's office at exactly 6:00am. This time he was alone in his office. She knocked lightly on the door frame. "Good Morning. Are you ready for your first day?"
"Yes I am."
"Good, it looks like today you only have two deliveries to make, so it shouldn't be too hard for your first day. The packages are already loaded into the cargo pod, so you just need to pick it up and then do the deliveries. You'd better get going."
"I'm going now. Thank you."
Rachial left his office to go find her ship. Once she reached her ship, she climbed in and powered up the engines. Then she flew her ship over to the cargo pod and docked with it. After she completed docking she took off and flew to the hanger bay door, where she waited a few moments to get clearance before she flew out into the city.
            The deliveries went over without much trouble, although she did have a little bit of trouble finding the second place, it had only taken her a few hours in all.
As she was heading back to the Galactica hanger, a warning light started flashing.
Out of reflex she jerked the control stick forward. As her ship dived she looked out her windows to see a missile fly past her and slam into one of the skyscrapers. It was the memory card that had trained her to do that, because she had no idea what the alarm meant. She flew the ship in a few more maneuvers, but the light came on again. She pulled off to the right this time. And another missile flew past her into another building.
She had to do something so more people wouldn't get hurt. She sent her ship into a dive and flew all the way to the surface. She leveled her ship at about 100meters above the ground. She checked her sensors and the ship was still behind her. She pulled a few tight turns but the ship was still behind her.
            She would only need to go a little further for her plan to work.
She was flying right into the planetary security area. Their base was just a little bit ahead of her. About half a mile for the base, the other ship stopped perusing her. She waited a while then flew her ship back to the hanger. She guessed it was a bounty hunter. Someone had been able to track her.
When she arrived she was asked how it went. Not wanting to tell them about her encounter with the other ship she told them that she had had a little trouble finding one of the drop points, so it took her a little longer then she had expected. It was true, but it was not all that happened. She landed her ship in the spot where the cargo pod was stored, not wanting to bother undocking it. She then used the moving side walk to get back to the elevator. She was going to have to come up with a plan to keep from getting caught by bounty hunter, or better yet, survive against their assignation attempts.
            She reached the elevator and stepped inside. She pressed the button for the 42nd floor. The elevator started to move and she felt something hard and cold pressed against her neck. A hand reached down and grabbed her arms and positioned them behind her back so that she couldn’t try to escape.
"Nice piloting back there, but that isn't going to be good enough to loose me. You are worth far too much for me."
Here fears had been confirmed, it was a bounty hunter that was after her. She was starting to be over come by worry, what was she going to do? She didn't know how to fight and the bounty hunter behind her probably had years of training.  She watched as the bounty hunter reached forward and pressed the button for the top floor. But the elevator stopped on the 42nd floor. Before the door opened the bounty hunter whispered into her ear. "Don't try anything, or I'll kill you and whoever steps on." there was nothing she could do. She nodded her head slowly. The door slid open and Charles, the man that had helped her the other day, stepped into the elevator. "Which floor are you going to?" the bounty hunter asked. "The 41st floor." 
"I'll let you go first then, so you don't need to waste time." Said the bounty hunter clearing the button he already pressed and hitting level 41.

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