A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fury - Part Three

Part one is here.
Part two is here.

Fury and Liliana get into a little trouble at a meet and greet for the university.

Liliana returned a few minutes later, dressed in one of Fiera's new outfits. It was a little tight on her but it was more decent than torn clothing. Fiera was in the food prep unit cooking. “That smells wonderful,” Liliana said. “I don't think I've had food from the colonies before. Everything I've had came from the replicator.”
“I hate replicator food,” Fiera said. “I don't like the synthetic taste.”
“What are you fixing?” Liliana asked.
“Pasta with vegetables and some balsamic vinegar and garlic,” Fiera said. “It's quick and easy, and I have all the ingredients handy. It's also one of my favorite dishes, which is probably why my father made sure I had all the necessary ingredients.”
“It sounds interesting,” Liliana said.
“It can be intense if you're not used to fresh food,” Fiera said.
“Do you have anything to drink?” Liliana asked.
“There's water, or you can look in the fridge,” Fiera said.
Liliana opened up the fridge. “You have real juice in here,” she said.
“Help yourself,” Fiera said. “I don't mind.”
“I've only had real juice twice in my life,” Liliana said. “I never could afford the good stuff, and I've only had it when friends bought it for me.”
“You'll have to look around for the glasses. I had to hunt for the pans. I'm not sure where all the dishes are yet,” Fiera said.
Liliana found the glasses and poured herself some juice. “Do you want some?” she asked.
“Sure,” Fiera said.
“All right,” Liliana said, pouring a second glass.
Fiera finished cooking and dished up the pasta. “So, what are you studying at the university?” she asked.
“Economics,” Liliana said. “It's one of the approved areas of study for a Ward of the Planet, and it's one that I'm fascinated by. I'm hoping to get a job as someone's private accountant when I get done in a few years, but I know I'm going to have to find work between now and then just to get the experience.” Liliana tilted her head to one side. “What are you studying?”
“Biogenetics and Intergalactic Studies.” Fiera munched happily on the pasta. “It's something that can help my father so I went ahead and picked it.”
“Is it something you can enjoy?” Liliana asked as she nibbled on her pasta.
“Oh yeah,” Fiera said. “I'm not big on politics, which is why I'm not going for the political side of IS but I love history and the only way I could get the history classes I wanted was to pull the double major in biogenetics and IS.”
“How long are you going to be at the university?” Liliana said.
“Five to seven years,” Fiera said. “It all depends on if I decide to pursue both my majors or drop one. I'll have to wait and see how well I can handle the classes.”
The two women finished eating in silence. When they were done, Fiera cleaned up the kitchen. They settled down together to watch the news. “It's all so depressing,” Liliana said after a particularly saddening newsbyte about a devastating bombing taking out a daycare center and the surrounding park and office buildings.
“Things are better in the colonies, though I won't say we don't have our share of tragedies,” Fiera said.
“What's it like living in the colonies?” Liliana asked. “I've only ever met core worlders. I don't think colonials live in the dorms.”
“Not if they can help it they won't,” Fiera said. “Though don't expect most colonials to have a house like this. My dad has access to a lot of things and we run a fairly successful farm and school so we've got credits.”
“What's it like?” Liliana asked again.
“Well there's not nearly as much tech out on the colonies,” Fiera said. “We have some but most of what we have is simple mechanics, not the hard core computerized things in the core worlds. We've got some of the best shipyards out in the colonies though, precisely because everything is made to order. Some colony worlds have replicators while others don't. Sorus, where I'm from, doesn't. The farms on Sorus provide most of the food. We ship in some from other colony worlds, but the twin suns give us a long growing season.”
“It sounds interesting,” Liliana said.
“Well, if you're interested, and I make it home for the holidays rather than just staying here, I'll take you home with me one of these days,” Fiera said. “Everyone should visit the colonies at some point in their life.”
“Is it true that core worlders resent colony autonomy?” Liliana asked.
Fiera sighed and nodded. “It's an ongoing fight between the colonies and the central worlds,” she said. “The central worlds want to move in and strip the colonies of anything useful and turn them into technological wrecks like the core worlds. We colonials aren't willing to give up our freedom so we're constantly in conflict.”
“Isn't it dangerous for you in Sio?” Liliana asked.
“You saw what danger means to me,” Fiera said. “I'm a fighter, not a socialite.”
“I'm not big into the social scene, but I do make it to some of the events,” Liliana said.
“I'll make you a deal,” Fiera said. “You attend the events and tell me what you hear. I give you a place to live and keep you fed.”
“Will I still have to help with expenses?” Liliana asked.
“Unfortunately yes,” Fiera said. “This place is massive and I doubt my dad intends on paying for the whole thing longer than he has to. We're not poor but we're not central world elite either.”
Liliana laughed, a lovely musical sound. “You're better than the dorms,” she said. “I'll stick with you.”
“Good,” Fiera said. “It's getting late and I just got in today. I'm off to bed.”
“Yeah, it's late enough that I should probably get to sleep too,” Liliana said. “Good night, Fiera.”
“Call me Fury,” Fiera said. “Good night Liliana.”
“Call me Lil,” Liliana said. Fiera nodded and the two women headed into their rooms.
The next day Fiera took Liliana to the same shop. The shopkeeper was more than happy to outfit Liliana with new clothes as well. Fiera remembered to buy sleep suits and the women headed back to the house. “So what do you do for fun?” Fiera asked.
“I attend parties,” Liliana said. “Something it sounds like you won't want to do.”
“I don't do parties,” Fiera said. “But you don't go to parties unless you're taking an auto cab there and home. If I have to pay for it myself I will. I don't want you walking the streets without me.”
“There's the university meet and greet tonight,” Liliana said. “That's something you're going to have to go to.”
“Frak,” Fiera said. “Do I have to?”
“It's a requirement,” Liliana said. “I don't have to go but I will. It's generally for the first year students.”
“What time and where?” Fiera asked. Liliana told her. “All right. We'll go. But we're not staying long.”
“All right,” Liliana said. Fiera went off to her bedroom. She cranked up the music and turned on the sound shield. She started working out, running through several fight routines before she stopped. Sweat dripped from her forehead and her hair was stuck to the back of her neck. She jumped in the shower.
When she was clean and dressed she turned off the music and the sound shield. She walked back out and found Liliana watching the e-vid screen. It looked like an old movie of some sort. “Hungry?” Fiera asked.
“Yes,” Liliana said. “I wasn't sure what was safe to eat and what needed to be cooked.”
“I think I'm going to have to tell dad to put us on the replicator,” Fiera said. “Either that or you're going to get a crash course in cooking.”
“I think I'd like to learn to cook,” Liliana said.
“Well get over here then. We'll give you a first lesson,” Fiera said. Liliana came over and the two women prepared a light brunch.
Fiera and Liliana spent most of the day watching e-vids and chatting about life in general. When it got closer to time for the meet and greet, they both changed into dresses and caught an auto cab to the student union building. A computerized sign told them where to go.
There weren't many people there when they first arrived. “We're early,” Liliana said. “It'll fill up soon.”
They walked over to the table where food and drink were laid out and helped themselves. As Liliana had predicted, it didn't take long for the room to fill up. Hundreds of voices echoed in the room, each shouting to be heard above the others.
Fiera stayed close to Liliana. It was obvious the other woman was feeling just as uncomfortable as Fiera was. After about an hour, Fiera turned to tell Liliana that she was ready to leave. But the other woman was gone. Fiera muttered swear words under her breath as she back tracked along the path they'd been following. She saw a knot of people and made her way over to see what was going on.
Liliana was trying to pull away from a young man, who had a grip on her wrist. Fiera noticed that there wasn't a flaw on his perfectly handsome face. Liliana was looking panicky. Fiera stepped up and grabbed hold of the man's wrist. She squeezed and twisted, forcing him to release Liliana.
“That was a mistake,” the young man said. “What I want I get.”
“She was obviously not willing and I'm not going to let you force my friend into anything she doesn't want to do,” Fiera said. She let him go. “Now why don't you go play with the other genetic wastes that make up this party and leave her alone.”
“She's a Ward of the Planet. She doesn't have the same rights as a high born. Now why don't you run along and leave us alone?”
Fiera put herself between the man and Liliana. “She has the same rights as everyone else,” she said. “We're leaving. Get in our way and get hurt.”
“Do you have any idea who you're talking to?” the young man asked.
“Someone who's parents paid a fortune to perfect him,” Fiera said. “It'd be a pity to make them pay for it again.”
“I am Kuen Nakano.” The young man peered down his elegant nose at her.
“I'm Fiera Rezouac,” Fiera said. “My name probably means as much to you as yours means to me.”
“Rezouac isn't a core worlder name,” Kuen said.
“No it's not,” Fiera said.
“What's a colonial bitch like you doing here?” Kuen asked.
“Attending university,” Fiera said. “You central worlders aren't the only ones with money and a desire to learn.”
“Well, a lesson for you then,” Kuen said. “Free of charge. Crossing me is very dangerous. It can lead to all sorts of problems.”
“Funny, I was going to say the same thing about messing with me,” Fiera said. “And with those who are under my protection.”
Kuen rubbed his wrist. “I won't forget this, or you,” he said.
“Good,” Fiera said. “I'd hate to have to remind you again the next time I see you.” She grabbed Liliana's wrist and dragged her away from the gathering crowd.
“Fury, that wasn't smart,” Liliana said. “Kuen is the son of one of the wealthiest and most well connected families in the core worlds.”
“So? I'll challenge anyone who causes me or people I'm protecting problems,” Fiera said. “Let's get out of here. I've had enough of the genetic wastes.”
“You're a really strange person,” Liliana said. “Aren't you worried about what he can do to you?”
“I'm not afraid of anyone,” Fiera said. She flagged down an auto cab. “I'm ready to go home. I have a headache.”

“All right, Fury,” Liliana said. They got into the cab and returned to the house.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fury - Part Two

Well, Fiera's made it to her new home. And she's on her way to making her first friend as a chance encounter turns into just the kind of situation Fiera loves - a fight.

It took an hour to get from the space port to the house her father had procured for her. She stepped out of the cab and just stared. “What does he think I’m going to be doing, inviting half the city to live with me?” she asked. She punched in the security code and walked inside.
Lights came on as she passed through the entryway. The house, what she could see of it at least, was fully furnished. The food prep unit was fully stocked with fresh fruit, vegetables, and non-synthetic protein. That had to have cost her father a small fortune here in the core. Fiera walked through the house, counting bedrooms and checking out the other amenities. When she was finished, she sighed and leaned up against the wall.
She went to the comm unit. She checked the time on Sorus. It was late enough in that planet’s day that her father should be at the house. She tapped in the comm code and waited. Her younger brother answered the call. “Hey Fiera.”
“Hey squirt. Where’s dad?” Fiera asked.
“He’s right here. I’ll get him,” her brother said. He vanished and a moment later her father moved into view.
“So what do you think?” Eire asked.
“I think you’re insane for renting me a house this large,” Fiera said. “I don’t know that I’ll find enough people to share the expenses with.”
“I didn’t rent it. I bought it. And your expenses won’t be that much because that house has all of the latest tech in place to keep costs down,” Eire said. “I thought of the fact that you’d be a while finding housemates to help you cover things. So how did the flight go?”
“I never want to spend that long on a transport ship again,” Fiera said. “It was horrid. Not to mention the sneers I got from people who were forced to sit next to me. I mean you told me that core worlders don’t like colonials but I didn’t realize just how bad it was. I also have no clothes and all my e-vids and holos were destroyed because I’m a colonial.”
“Really? Did they give you anything to replace them?” Eire asked.
“No,” Fiera said. “They told me it was up to me to replace everything.”
“That means you’re going to have to wear core worlder clothes,” Eire said. “I’ll transfer some more money onto your card. You’re going to need it.”
“Frakking core worlders,” Fiera said. “Why am I here again? I could’ve gone to school on Qotania and stayed in the colonies.”
“I put you there for a reason, and you know what that reason is,” Eire said.
Fiera sighed. “Yes dad. I know.”
“I know you don’t like it. That’s why I want you to make friends. Let them do the socializing,” Eire said.
“You know how picky I am about my friends,” Fiera said.
“I know how protective of people you are,” Eire said. “You’ll find friends faster than you think, Fiera.”
“Oh yeah, dad, remember Jontan? I told him if his job didn’t work out to come talk to you,” Fiera said. “He was headed for Aglyyria, to the shipyards.”
“I remember Jontan,” Eire said. “I’m surprised he hasn’t come home yet. Want me to do some checking?”
“Yeah, because I thought he’d be home by now. It’s only two weeks out from Sorus,” Fiera said. “Now I’m worried. Will you let me know what you find out?”
“I’ll call as soon as I know something,” Eire said. “Anything else?”
“No. I’d probably better go get this over with. I hate shopping,” Fiera said.
“Stick to the mid level shops,” Eire said. “The ones with three to four on their rating scale. They’re well made but they won’t break the bank. If you need more money, let me know.”
“I will. Thanks, dad,” Fiera said. “Give mom my love and tell the rugrats to behave themselves or I’ll come home on holiday and beat them all at whatever I feel like challenging them to.”
“I’ll tell them,” Eire said, laughing. “Try to stay out of trouble as much as possible.”
“Yes dad,” Fiera said. She waved to him before cutting the link. She sighed. She went to the other console and tapped in her search requirements. A three dimensional map of the city appeared in the air in front of her, with several buildings highlighted in green and her house glowing red. She frowned as she twisted the map around, looking at all the angles.
There were two shops within walking distance of her house, both on opposite corners from each other. Fiera looked at the fairly simple path to take and decided she’d rather walk than call for one of the auto cabs. She tucked her credit chip into her pocket and walked out of her house.
The first of the shops was closed, but the second was open. She walked inside. A young woman glanced up at her. “Oh honey, colonial wear is so last decade,” she said, coming around. “You really need to modernize your wardrobe.”
“I don’t have a wardrobe,” Fiera said. “That’s why I’m here. The Port Authority destroyed all my clothes.”
“You mean you’re actually a colonial?” the woman asked, a look of horror on her face. “And you’re in my shop?”
“I need clothes, don’t I?” Fiera asked.
“Well, if you need clothes,” the woman said. She motioned for Fiera to stand on one of the platforms. “Let’s see what we have to work with here.” Fiera climbed up the three short steps and stood in the middle of the glowing disk. Light flashed around her. A three dimensional image of Fiera’s body appeared above a panel. “Any particular places you’ll be spending your time?”
“I’m a university student,” Fiera said.
“Then you obviously aren’t as poor as that outfit makes you look,” the woman said, relaxing a little. “Now, I’m not the best out there but I’m far from the worst. What I do is simple but elegant.”
“All I care about is can I move in it, can I fight in it, and is it decent,” Fiera said. “No dresses. I hate dresses.”
“Honey, if you’re going to be a university student you’ll need to attend some of the parties that are thrown,” the woman said. “Trust me, you’ll need at least a few dresses.”
“I’m a fighter, not some socialite,” Fiera said.
“It doesn’t matter. There are social engagements that are required of university students,” the woman said. The woman played with a few things and then nodded. “All right, step down and I’ll show you what I have in mind.” Fiera stepped down and walked over to where the woman was standing. She did something and a series of outfits appeared on the image of Fiera, each one different from the last. “These are what I think would work well for you.”
Fiera argued each design with the woman, changes being made to each of them to suit Fiera’s tastes. Finally Fiera settled on seven outfits and two dresses. “So how long will it take to have these ready?”
The woman looked surprised. “Why honey, they’re ready now,” she said. “I invested in the finest technology so there would be no wait once a final design was decided on. It’s helped me out so much.”
Fiera shook her head. “Sorry, still used to the colony way of doing things. No tech out there. Clothes are handmade,” she said.
“Nothing in the city is handmade,” the woman said. “Well, nothing except what you might get at the really expensive restaurants. You know, the ones where you have to have a reservation months in advance before you can get a seat? I’m pretty sure those are the only places you can get handmade goods in Sio.”
“Interesting,” Fiera said. “I’ll have to remember that.”
The clothing was taken out of the processing unit, all folded and sealed into individual packages. The woman tucked them into bags and handed them to Fiera. “That should do it for you. Now, if you’ll place just tap your credit chip on the pad we’ll have you on your way.” Fiera did as she was told, wincing a little at the expense of the new clothes. She took the bags and started home again.
A terror filled scream stopped her about a street over from her house. She dropped her bags and turned towards the sound. Three men in rough clothing had a petite girl cornered. They were pawing at her and Fiera watched as one of them tore the girl’s shirt. “Frak this,” Fiera said. She jogged over. “What do you scrag heads think you’re doing?”
“Mind your own business, bitch,” one of the men said, turning and glaring at Fiera. “Or we’ll do you next.”
Fiera’s foot lashed out and caught him in the knee cap. He yelped as he went down. She drove her foot into his crotch and whirled around to face the next man. She caught his wrist in a tight grip and turned, flipping him over her shoulder. He too got a boot to the groin. The third man took off running.
Fiera grabbed the swaying woman and looped one of her arms over her shoulder. She went back along the street, stopping only to pick up the bags of clothes she’d dropped. She half carried the other woman to her house. She keyed in the entry code and dragged her inside.
“I don’t understand it,” the other woman said, looking up with fear filled eyes. “Why did you help me?”
“You were about to be raped. I’m sure as frakking hell not going to stand by and let that happen,” Fiera said. “Now, what’s your name and where are you supposed to be?”
“Liliana,” the woman said, pulling the tattered remains of her shirt over her chest. “Liliana Farriday. I was on my way back to the dorms when I ran out of money. They’re not that far. I was just going to walk home. Then those men cornered me and I don’t know. I was scared and I couldn’t do anything.”
Fiera took hold of the other girl’s wrists. “You’d be broken in two if you tried to fight,” she said, turning the thin, delicate hands over. “Where are the dorms?”
“East of here, I think. I got turned around running,” Liliana said, tugging her hands free.
“Well I’m sure as hell not going to let you walk out of here,” Fiera said. “Why didn’t you call a friend to spot you the credits for the cab?”
“I don’t have very many friends. Most people don’t like me because I’m so strange,” Liliana said. “I just try to keep to myself and not bother anyone.”
“Do you have anything that can’t be replaced at the dorms?” Fiera asked, looking around the house.
“No,” Liliana said. “Just my clothes, and tomorrow I can go get my stipend and buy new ones.”
“You live in the dorms. Are you there because of a partner or because you’re a student?” Fiera asked.
“Student,” Liliana said. “I just finished my first year.”
“Then you’re staying here,” Fiera said. “I’m not going to let someone as fragile as you wander around loose without a protector. I’m surprised you’ve made it this long without getting raped or beaten.” Liliana paled. “Frakking hell, you have been assaulted.” Liliana nodded. “Did you ever report it?”
“No,” Liliana said in a small voice. “I’m not wealthy. I’m a Ward of the Planet. That’s how I was able to pay for school and how I get my necessities. No one would have listened to me.”
“You are not going back to the dorms. And we’ll get you some new clothes tomorrow, on my credits,” Fiera said.
“Why are you doing this?” Liliana asked. “Who are you?”
“My name is Fiera Rezouac and I’m starting at the university in a month,” Fiera said. “I’m also now your protector.”
“What if I don’t want a protector?” Liliana asked.
“You want to be assaulted again?” Fiera asked. Liliana shook her head. “You need a protector. Now, either you can take my offer or you can find yourself a boyfriend to do the same.”
“I don’t like men,” Liliana said. “And none of the other women are any better than I am at defending themselves.”
“Then take my offer and stay here with me,” Fiera said. “All I ask is you help with the expenses of the place. And after tomorrow, you’ll take care of your own clothes. Food is debatable. Depends on if my dad is going to keep supplying me with food from the colonies or if I actually have to break down and use the replicator. If dad’s going to keep us fed, then you don’t have to help. If it’s the replicator, you help buy the feeds for it.”
“You just met me and you’re already willing to do so much to help me,” Liliana said. “Why?”
“Habit,” Fiera said. “I tend to pick up defenseless people and want to protect them. If you don’t like the offer, I’ll pay for you to get back to the dorms.”
“No, I’ll stay here,” Liliana said quickly. “I don’t like the dorms.” She shrank in on herself. “Too many boys there.”
“Pick a room and settle in for the night. Oh frak,” Fiera muttered. “I forgot to buy sleep suits. Oh well. I’ll just sleep in my clothes tonight. I can pick some up tomorrow.”
“What am I going to do for clothes?” Liliana asked.

“You can borrow one of my new outfits tomorrow, until we can get you into a shop and buy you new ones,” Fiera said. “You hungry?” Liliana nodded. “I’ll fix us something for dinner. Here are my bags. Pick something that somewhat fits.” Liliana took one of the packages out of the bag and slipped off down the hall.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fury - part one

A new story for you all, something not from my fantasy world for a change. I don't know how much of this I'll post or how far it will go. I don't even know how long this story is going to be. But I'll share what I can.

Fiera sighed as she settled in one of the seats of the transport shuttle. As she leaned back, she heard a little cough at her elbow. A well dressed woman that practically screamed central worlds was staring at her. “Excuse me, dear, but I think you’re in the wrong seat.”
Fiera glanced at the seat number. “I’m right where my father paid for me to be,” Fiera said. “So no, I’m not moving.”
The woman’s pleasant smile faded. “I am not spending my trip sitting next to a piece of colonial trash,” she snapped. She turned to one of the staff. “Move this girl out of my seat immediately.”
“Young lady, do you have your boarding ID?” the attendant asked.
“Yeah, and if you want me to move you can take it up with my father,” Fiera said.
“And who is your father?” the attendant asked.
“Eire Rezouac,” Fiera said.
The attendant blanched. She scanned Fiera’s boarding ID. “I’m sorry, ma’am. But Ms. Rezouac is quite correct in this is the seat that she paid for. We will not be asking her to move. If you wish to move, we can find you a seat back in third class.”
“I demand a new first class seat,” the woman said.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. But first class is full,” the attendant said. “You can either take the seat you were assigned by the port authority or you can move back to third class.”
“I can’t believe this,” the woman said. Her voice was getting louder. “You’re telling me that I’m going to have to spend the entire trip to Ismillon next to some unlettered colony brat?”
“Oh, you’re only going to Ismillon? Then I don’t mind if you sit next to me. I’m heading to Sioayama,” Fiera said.
“To take work on one of the indent gangs no doubt,” the woman said.
“Actually I’m starting at the university,” Fiera said. “Biogenetics and Intergalactic Studies.”
The woman actually started sputtering. Fiera smiled sweetly up at her. “I insist that I be moved to another seat in first class,” she said finally. “Make someone else sit next to this person.”
“I’ll gladly switch with you,” a young man said. “You can have my seat.”
“Thank you,” the woman said.
The young man slipped in next to Fiera. “He got to you, didn’t he, Fury?”
Fiera laughed. “Hey Tan. Yeah, dad got to me. He’s getting his way, as usual. I’m off to university.” She made a face. “I’m going to study, get my degrees, and get out. I am not lingering in the core worlds for any longer than I have to.”
“Wish I could say I was going with you,” her friend said. “I’m off to Aglyyria to work at the shipyards.”
“Jontan, that’s not a safe place to be,” Fiera said.
“Don’t worry about me, Fury. I’d be worried about all of the socially elite you’re going to have to deal with on Sioayama,” Jontan said. “How are you going to deal with their stupidity for six years?”
“Seven,” Fiera said. “I’ve got an extra year because of the fact my courses of study don’t share that many similar classes.”
“Did your father pick your study track too?” Jontan asked.
“No,” Fiera said. “I picked my own.”
“Where are you going to live?” Jontan asked.
“Father’s made arrangements with some contact he’s got. I’ve got a house to myself, though he says he hopes I’ll eventually invite some ‘nice friends’ to live with me,” Fiera said. “I’m a little worried about how big the place is.”
“I’m more worried that he thinks you’re going to find friends among the genetic wastes on Sioayama,” Jontan said.
“I can’t be the only colonial at the university. I’m sure I’ll find someone I can share living space with,” Fiera said.
“You’ll probably fill your house with people you have to protect,” Jontan said. “That’s how you usually do it. That’s how you made friends in school after all.”
“Dad says if I get kicked out for fighting he’ll understand, but I’m supposed to refrain from starting anything if at all possible,” Fiera said.
“Fury? Not start a fight? That’ll happen,” Jontan said, snorting.
“Hey, I don’t start fights. I finish them,” Fiera said.
“Yeah, right,” Jontan said. “Remember who you’re talking to.”
“The annoying brat who used to follow me around,” Fiera said. “Who am I supposed to be talking to?”
“Come on, Fury. Seriously, how are you going to get through seven years without getting kicked out for fighting?” Jontan asked.
“I have no idea, Tan,” Fiera said. “It’s not like I fight all the time.” She paused. “No, really, I do fight all the time. I know it. This is going to be a test of my self control, that’s for sure.”
“I predict you’ll make it a year, maybe two, before you get blasted home,” Jontan said.
“I predict you’re going to get your ass handed to you on Aglyyria because of the work gangs,” Fiera said. “We’ll see who’s right when we both go home.”
“You’re on,” Jontan said. “The only problem I have is if I don’t make it on Aglyyria, I don’t have a dad to give me a place to work or a farm to return home to.”
“If you don’t make it on Aglyyria, go see my dad,” Fiera said. “He and mom are always looking for extra farmhands, and he does teach mechanics at that school of his. You might be able to help out there too.”
“I’ll talk to him if I go home,” Jontan said. A loud and annoying sound cut across their conversation, effectively ending it. The two of them fastened their harnesses. The ship’s engines roared to life and the ship shuddered as it lifted off.
The trip to Sioayama was a long one. Fiera spent the time studying or sleeping. She chafed at the enforced idleness and whenever they stopped over for any length of time she got out and stretched. Six weeks after getting on the transport, Fiera walked off of it for the final time.
The main city on Sioayama was simply called Sio by its residents. The colonists had other names for it, and most of them weren’t complimentary. The sprawling mega metropolis offended the sensibilities of those who preferred life on the wilder planets. Most of the colonies were agrarian with very little of the intense tech that the core worlds had. Simple lives and basic living were the rule rather than the exception in the colonies, a fact that the core worlds didn’t appreciate.
Fiera shouldered her bags and walked out towards the doors. “Excuse me, miss, but if you came in from that shuttle you have to go through decontamination before you’re allowed to enter the city,” a man in the uniform of the Port Authority said, stopping her.
“Why is that?” Fiera asked.
“It’s not known what kind of viruses or bacteria comes in from the colonies,” the man said. “You have to go through decon to protect the residents of the city. Can you imagine what would happen if a disease from one of the colony worlds broke out in the city?”
“Colonials tend to be a healthier bunch than core worlders,” Fiera said. “But if it’s a requirement I’ll do it.”
“Your things will have to go through their own decontamination. If any of them are found to be contaminated by anything, they will be destroyed and you will be responsible for replacing them yourself,” the agent continued, guiding Fiera towards a series of booths.
“What? You destroy my things and I have to pay for them? Isn’t that something the Port Authority should pay for?” Fiera asked.
“It’s a risk you take visiting the colony worlds,” the agent said.
“I wasn’t visiting the colony worlds,” Fiera said. “I’m from a colony world. Born and raised there.”
“Then you most definitely have to go through decon,” the agent said. He took her bags from her and shoved her towards a booth. “Step inside and hold still. The process will only take a few minutes.”
Fiera did as she was told. As soon as she stepped in, the booth closed and locked behind her. Rings of light repeatedly filtered over her until her whole body tingled as if she’d been out in the light of the twin stars of her homeworld too much. Finally the door unlocked and Fiera was able to step out.
The agent handed her a small bag. “Where are my things?” Fiera asked.
“Your credit chip and your pad are in the bag,” the agent said. “The rest of your belongings were full of hazardous biological material and had to be destroyed.”
“‘Hazardous biological material’ my ass,” Fiera said. “There was nothing wrong with my clothes and personal effects. You destroyed them because I said I was from the colonies.”
“Be glad we didn’t destroy what you’re wearing as well. Now please leave. There are shops in town where you may purchase new clothing, things far more suited to life in the core worlds,” the agent said. He roughly pushed her away and turned to the next person, who seemed eager to go into the decon booth.

Fiera muttered curse words under her breath as she stalked out of the terminal and into the city. She coughed a little at the ever present miasma that came with the industrialized worlds. She hailed a auto cab and climbed in. A computerized voice asked her what her destination was. Fiera rattled off the address her father had given her. The cab eased itself into traffic and headed deeper into the city.