Saturday, April 23, 2016

Lucinda's Story Part Two

Yay, time for part two of Lucinda's Story. My Science Fiction tale about a shy, young woman who is deaf yet is going off planet and ends up in more of an adventure than she planned-it's will be up to her to save the ship they are on.

For those who missed it last week I wrote this story over five years ago. I've learned more about writing since then and so have spent time revising it, to make it more readable and enjoyable. This week I think I got all of the Point of View changes but can't say for sure.
One thing. 
This week is 2,334 words long
Part one is under this if you go back to the main page of my blog
And as with all of my posted stories I don't mind comments and real criticisms.

So enjoy:

After reading the signs her friend said, "Lucinda is as excited as I am, she wants to shake your hand, but is too nervous to ask. She wants me to thank you for saving us from the invaders."
     He said, "Thank her for me and tell her, I did what needed to be done. It was obvious where the invaders were headed, and it was equally obvious that the combined fleet would not be ready."
     After a pause during which he shook Lucinda's hand he asked,     
    Chelsea signed for Lucinda that he asked "But what about you two? Why are you two young women going on this trip?"
As she signed Lucinda knew she also spoke to the General, "We are going to a conference on a planet in the Blearier star system. Part of the conference deals with deaf people and the different opportunities they have."
     Answering his unasked question she said, "Lucinda was born deaf. Out here in the boondocks, we don't have the medical knowledge like they do in the main sector. If we had, they could have found the problem before she was born and fixed it."
     They talked a moment further with Chelsea translating for her friend. Hackney apologized for having to end the conversation, but he had to get going.
     Both teens nodded. Chelsea said they would see him later and Lucinda gave a short wave just before he walked off.
     The purser-tour guide motioned for them to follow him as he led them on a quick tour of the ship on the way to their cabin. After a minute of quiet he signed some but also said in words that Chelsea signed when he explained that the ship had two decks. They were on the first one or Number One. The six staterooms as well as the cafeteria-lounge, the med center, and some cargo holds were all on Deck One. The bridge and larger cargo holds as well as engineering, what there was of it, were on the second or Number Two deck. From a diagram on a wall Lucinda saw that deck Two covered only half the area of One. The Captain's cabin was on deck one near the bridge which was in the nose.
     When they arrived at the cafeteria he opened the door showing them which button to push as he did. He explained that even though one needed to push the button to get in the doors were set in special grooves which made them easy to slide. That was so anyone could slide them sideways by hand, in case of an emergency.
     Chelsea signed that he said, "This is the cafeteria and lounge where everyone eats. We do all the cooking on board the ship, which includes snacks. The lounge has a couple of video games in one corner plus an old fashioned foosball game. We have a lot of movies in the computer's library, but you can watch those in your cabin."
     They stopped for a moment so that Chelsea could translate for Lucinda. He apologized for not knowing enough sign language to tell her himself. 
     Again Lucinda watched Chelsea’s hands, ”The Captain knows more then I do as you will see when you met him, probably at dinner tonight. He is a bit eccentric but he's a good captain and he is friendly. He's very busy right now with preparations for lift." 
     There was a pause while Chelsea finished translating for Lucinda. When she was done they continued. Lucinda noticed that both Chelsea and Ferdinand turned their heads in the same direction. Chelsea used a sign for voices.
     Then she finished with, Ferdinand said there are cards for card games.
     Even before she finished Lucinda saw them turn , she followed and saw that in one corner where two people seated at a table talking. One was dressed in the same burnt orange jumpsuit that Ferdinand wore. 
     Chelsea translated, This is Tommy, the medical, communication and morale officer. The other man is one of the other passengers.
    Lucinda held back. She finally let Chelsea urge her to follow the guide to where the two men where seating. 
     He led them up to the two men and Lucinda watched his mouth move, he said, "Tommy and Jackie Lei. This is Lucinda and Chelsea, our last two passengers."
     The men looked up at the newcomers, then stood. 
     Tommy said, "Good to meet you."
     While Jackie said, "Hello fellow travelers."
Both stuck out their hands. Lucinda watched Chelsea shake the offered hands and knew she had to too. Then she watched Ferdinand explain that they were on their way to a conference on the fifth planet of Blearier's Star. They would be attending one area of a large conference dealing with hearing issues. After a short chat Ferdinand led them on the rest of the tour, ending up at their cabin. All three went in and he showed them where everything was than after saying he would be around to help he left. 
     Before leaving he moved his hands saying good to meet you, to Lucinda.
     Two hours later after an announcement that Chelsea translated for Lucinda that all of the luggage along with the crew and passengers were on board, the Captain ordered the ship to lift. On a computer monitor in their cabin Lucinda watched the ship take off. It rose straight up, pivoted, its nose tilted upward as it did. When the ship reached the right direction it took off, using the vessel's magneto drive to blast its way through the atmosphere. In half an hour the ship was in space. The moment it left the atmosphere both girls could feel the magneto drive shut down and a new vibration begin as the Space drive took over. The space drive had two modes. One for sublight speed, and the other drove the ship faster than light. 
     For their first dinner aboard the ship the girls wore their best outfits, calf length, loose fitting dresses. Lucinda's wore a solid blue and Chelsea's put on a red dress with purple trim. During that dinner all the passengers were able to met the captain. Lucinda saw a  man in his fifties with shoulder length red hair and green eyes. 
     As they were seated he said, "Hello, I am Captain White owner of this fine vessel."
     He then faced the girls as he said, "You must be Chelsea, 
nice to have you on board," just before sticking out his hand.
     They took turns shaking it. White explained with words and with his hands that he had been busy with making sure the last minute cargo was loaded right, and all the "paperwork" finished, and sent to the spaceport's administration.
     Lucinda took a moment to smell the food, a chicken dish from her planet, that surprised but decided it might have been done on purpose to make everyone feel more comfortable.
    She halted her thoughts on food though for the Captain had started to sign, To help make up for not being there to see you, I invite you to the bridge anytime during the next few days.
     Lucinda nodded and said, We will be happy to see the bridge
     Chelsea responded first with her mouth, "That would be first star" then moved her hands, We will be there whenever you are not too busy.
     Lucinda and Chelsea meet the other passengers during that meal. One was a couple on vacation and another confessed to being a salesman headed for his home base. 
     During another dinner two days after leaving the planet, General Hackney was seated at the same table as Lucinda and friend. This time the main dish was a lamp stew from a recipe from Armenia  on Earth. She endured more conversations, with Chelsea translating.
     "I don't mind playing cards, as long as it's a game I know," he said to respond to a question dealing with what he did all day, "I also read, and chat with people." 
     After some urging by Chelsea Lucinda joined the conversation by asking through her friend. "Where are you going on this trip?"
     "To the same conference you are. The section I'm going to be speaking at deals with security issues. No navy ships were going my way so the military had to buy a ticket for this trip,” he shrugged, “It’s happened before."
     "You don't have your own ship?"
     "Not anymore, I pilot a desk now."
     Lucinda explained that this was her first time in deep space, she had been to two of the stations above New Nevada, but never to other planet. 
     To a question put to her by Liee she said, through her friend, "My parents are sending me on this trip even though they can't come."
     They talked more throughout the dinner with Chelsea continually having to get Lucinda to participate. During the first part of the trip Lucinda stayed in her cabin, only eating in the cafeteria, she felt too nervous around the talkative strangers. Gradually she spent some time in the lounge even when it wasn't meal time.   
     Three days into the trip the two girls arrived at the bridge the tour of the ship's command center, The Captain had promised. They were surprised to see General Stephen Hackney standing just inside the door as they entered. The room seemed cooler than the rest of the ship, Lucinda thought, and it smelled. Old popcorn of all things, and sweat as well as something she thought might have been a cologne. The popcorn scent reminded her that their cabin had various flavors of popcorn, maybe she would try candy-cane later.   
     Chelsea said to Lucinda, why would he be interested in this ship's bridge? After all he has seen the bridge on many different types of warships, I'm sure most of them were more modern than this one.
     He greeted them then, said as if he knew what they wanted to ask him, "As you probably have figured out I have seen many command centers. Most though have been on war ships, only a handful have been on civilian ships. It is a curtsey to check out a captain's bridge when you’re invited, but I would come here anyway. I'm interested in how various command centers are set up."
     As Chelsea translated that he looked around at the walls and said further, "This one seems to be within a cocoon of protective armor. You may have noticed as you came through the door that the doorway was over a foot thick. I would imagine that this ship was built during a period of heavy piracy."
     The Captain, now wearing burnt orange trousers and shirt, was seated before a console. His hair was pulled back in a ponytail with a wide, orange tie, that could be tied dyed.  
     He paused while pushing buttons and then according to Chelsea said, "You are partially correct General. The armor surrounding the bridge isn't as thick as you think. There are access tubes, circuits and other components between the armor and the inner walls. The computer core is there also. The people who built this vessel thought they needed extra protection also, if the ship was attacked. But you are correct in that the extra shielding was because of pirates and other marauders.”
     He got up and walked to where the three were standing.
     After Chelsea and Hackney shook hands White turned to Lucinda and moved his hands in a greeting to her. 
     She smiled and signed back, Good to meet you.
     He started the tour pointing out the work stations. “In this size ship there were only four. A console for navigation-helm; one that combined communications and sensors plus a spare station, that was usually used as a regular console, and lastly the Captain's chair”
     He explained what each panel did. While he was speaking to Chelsea and Hackney he signed for Lucinda.
     As they stood by his chair he said, "I don't have a full Captain's chair like many larger ships, with repeater screens and communications within in easy reach, but what we have serves our needs. You have probably noticed that there is no main viewing screen for everyone to use. We don't need one since each station has it own set of monitors. However we do have a newer computer that is a lot handier to use then our old model. It even has a visual record input."
     He showed them a lens that was embedded in the wall close to his chair. 
     He finished with, "The computer is programed to ‘see’ things and to react as necessary."
     He moved his hands, Lucinda to tell the computer something.
     Lucinda looking unsure turned to face the video pick up and moved her hands.
     A voice was heard saying, "Ship's time is 0800 hours, Earth, Greenwich time."
     Chelsea tapped Lucinda on the shoulder and after she turned, explained to her the computer had told them the time.
     The Captain said to her, Try something harder, more complex.
     Lucinda signed, What?
     Try a small course change. Tell it to move a quarter degree to starboard.
     She moved her hands, but the computer said, "Unauthorized command, I cannot comply.”     
     "Of course, she's not a member of the command crew... Here let me tell the computer she has the same standing as I." he spoke with both his hands and his voice.
     He quickly moved to a console, typed in a code then typed in a command. 
     He said, "I could verbally tell the computer to do this or even use sign language, but I prefer to type my commands in, unless it's an emergency."
    Lucinda’s eyes went wide as he signed that the computer knew signing. When he was done he straightened, then moved his hands, Ok now tell the computer to change course one half a degree to starboard. 
     Lucinda turned back to the lens. She moved her hands in a 
quick dance and the computer beeped.
     It said, "Course changed as ordered,"

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