Starcraft Universe: Ghost Academy

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Pryde
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Starcraft Universe: Ghost Academy

Post by Pryde » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:08 pm

Unlucky Thirteen, a young girl from the planet Haji, had never really had a chance at life. She grew up normal like most kids her age, but then again normal for her was always relative. You see, she had a knack for knowing how people were feeling, a trait that began to manifest itself around the age of seven. From then on people had just assumed the young girl was just abnormally perceptive (how could they have known any better? The planet was poor, after all, education was a luxury that many could not afford). For most of her life empathy had been her only power but about the time she turned thirteen she first got word that her parents had been killed by a Sons of Korhal attack. UNN had claimed they released a poisonous gas in a public plaza, the very same plaza her parents had visited that day, and when she heard this she had quite literally exploded.

By the time Thirteen, whose real name was Elena, had gotten the news she had already known that her parents were dead. In her shock and grief the full potential of her psionic abilities manifested themselves. The first victim was her cat followed shortly after by the twenty or so people who lived in the small apartment complex in which she grew up. The damage from the psionic attack had been so devastating that the support struts (weakened from years of rotting) were utterly destroyed and the whole building came crashing down around her. Somehow, by some miracle, she had survived the collapse but only just. From then on things had gotten progressively worse for her and she had changed her name to Unlucky Thirteen since all of this had happened shortly after her thirteenth birthday. Eventually, that name got shortened to Thirteen, which is the name she continues to use to this day.

Even as a member of the Ghost Program her bad luck continued to plague her. At first she didn't want to be taken for the program but it wasn't like the Wrangler had given her a choice. On the one hand he had gotten her out of a very bad position, but on the other she would have preferred to stay back on Haji. It was where she grew up and the only place she ever wanted to be. In a way it almost felt like she was close to her parents when she was there, even though they were dead. But she was here now on Ursa, training to become a Ghost. The preceptors kept telling her that she was becoming something greater than herself, that she was serving an important purpose, but still, only a couple of days into the program, she was finding herself less and less convinced. How could she serve an important purpose when all they were training her to do was kill? She had done enough killing back on Haji and she didn't want to do it any more, but then it wasn't like she was given a choice, was she?

**********

"Hey, Thirteen, slow up," Jonas shouted as he hurried to catch up with her.

Elena sighed in exasperation, blowing absently at a lock of her auburn hair before turning to face Jonas. "What is it, Jonas? I'm kind of busy right now.

Jonas looked at her in confusion then glanced at their surroundings. They were standing in the middle of the hallway after one of Preceptor Soohoo's history classes. "Busy? Out here? With what?"

Avoiding you, she thought, thankful that she had her psi-screen on. "It doesn't matter, just hurry up and tell me what you want."

"Look, you got a 60% on the C-10 test today, right? I barely got twenty. I was wondering if you could, you know... Help me."

Elena's green eyes hardened then she shook her head. "No."

"No? Whaddya mean no?" Jonas asked incredulously, "C'mon, Thirteen, you and I are on the same team, remember? We gotta start working together like one. That's what Preceptor Lagdamen keeps sayin', right?"

She set her jaw, what is it with everyone asking me for help? "Look, I don't have time to coddle you through every training exercise. If you can't figure it out on your own then maybe you should wash out."

"That's harsh, Thirteen, totally harsh."

"Tell it to someone who cares," she said then she spun on her heel and stormed away. This five member team initiative Director Bick had started was more trouble than it was worth. Elena preferred to operate alone, the others were too noisy and often distracted her and when they weren't doing that they were busy fekking up the mission anyway. Only their team leader seemed to have any real skill, but she hated to listen to him preach about teamwork.

Lagdamen can say whatever she wants. I don't need those fekking slikes to become a Ghost. I'll do it all on my own...

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Re: Starcraft Universe: Ghost Academy

Post by Pryde » Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:22 pm

Later that day Jonas found himself in the mess hall with the rest of his team, Jaster, Deek and Carrie. He absently spooned at his food, pushing it around rather than eating it. He glanced up at the others then at the empty seat next to Deek. Thirteen had opted not to sit with them again as was usual for her. Scowling at the empty space that should have been a young, auburn-haired girl he scooped some food onto his spoon then deliberately stuck it into his mouth.

"Something wrong, Jonas," Deek asked him, glancing at the boy out of the corner of his eye.

"I don't get Thirteen," Jonas exploded, "It's like she's on our team but she ain't, ya know?"

Deek just shrugged, taking a sip of his framberry juice. "She's different," he said after wiping his mouth with one hand, "Back on Haji she'd been panderin' her way through gangs, murderin' and killin'. People like that think they're better'n everyone. Makes me sick."

"That's enough, Deek," Jaster spoke up suddenly. He hadn't taken his eyes off his food but the tone of his voice was firm. "Thirteen is part of our team now, so you're just gonna have to deal with it.

"See you say that but I don't think she's figured it out yet. Stupid slike's got a Psi Index over ten, the most powerful member on our team--Hell, probably the most powerful person in the program. We could rock this place if she'd just play ball, but she ain't interested in teaming up. Probably just as well too, I hear she's unstable."

"Now where did you go and hear something like that," Carrie asked him dubiously, "She seems fine to me."

"Well, word is she ain't fine. Can't even do a simple levitate without launching the thing into space and she's still wearing that psi-screen, you know? You're only supposed to wear the thing for seven hours max and she's been wearing one ever since she got here. Thing's making her more panbrained by the minute, I tell you."

"Look, Thirteen's just new at this, like we all are," Jaster replied, "Trouble is poor girl's got more power than she knows what to do with. You know how teeps over PI 8 can't help reading your mind at times. Well, imagine being in her shoes."

"Tch, I'd rather not. I could do without the Preceptors looking at me like I'm some kind of freak. She's dangerous, Jaster, and I mean seriously dangerous. You heard about that incident on Haji, right? Well, people been saying it was her. One wrong step around her and this whole place could go up in smoke just like that," he snapped his fingers for emphasis.

Jaster dropped his fork onto his plate and scooted his chair out from under the table before standing up. "Then you better get used to the idea of working with her on a team, Deek. Otherwise you may be the one to set her off."

He scooped up his tray then stalked over towards the nearest trash receptacle. When he turned back to the table his eyes caught Thirteen, she was sitting in the corner of the room and she was looking right at him. You don't think she... He shook his head, she probably just saw him by chance but still... In a room full of telepaths, how stupid.

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Re: Starcraft Universe: Ghost Academy

Post by Pryde » Tue Aug 17, 2010 6:59 pm

Jaster had spent the rest of that evening working out in the gym. Thirteen was in there with him but she kept mostly to herself, running laps on the treadmill. Jaster kept watching her out of the corner of his eye, wondering what her malfunction was earlier at dinner. Finally he got fed up with trying to figure this out on his own and hopped down off the weight machine. He crossed the room over to Thirteen, trying to look inconspicuous but utterly failing.

"Look, Thirteen, about today's exercise--," he started but she cut him off.

"That's not why you came over here."

Of course he couldn't hide it from her, he doubted there were many at this institution he could hide it from. He held up his hands, "Alright, alright, you got me. I just wanted to talk to you about--,"

"You think I'm dangerous too, don't you?" It was more of an accusation than a question. "Everyone thinks that. They're thinking it all the time and I can't make them stop."

She was starting to get upset and he could feel that. He felt a tinge of sympathy for her, it must be hard for her to cope with her powers. "I don't think you're dangerous," he said, trying to make himself believe it.

"That's a lie," she snapped, hopping down off the treadmill and storming away.

Jaster resisted the urge to roll his eyes. This is getting seriously frustrating.

"Well, I'm sorry for being such a problem," she threw back over her shoulder as she left the room.

Jaster hurried to catch up with her but kept silent when he did. He didn't know how to approach this situation and didn't want to risk saying something that could make her angry. Still, he was vaguely aware that his mind was saying more than enough for the both of them.

"Hey, Thirteen, all that stuff we said at Dinner today was just talk. None of us were actually thinking it."

"Deek was and Jonas believed him.'

Okay, that much was true. He should have known she'd teep the whole thing. Why'd she even have her psi-screen off, anyway? I've never seen her take it off except on missions.

"I was ordered to," she told him and immediately his mind was bombarded with memories of being pulled into Superintendent Angelini's office.

It took him a moment to realize it was her memories he was seeing. She was thinking of it right now.

Guess even the top brass were worried that thing was making her panbrained.

"I am not panbrained," she screamed, "I just want things to be quiet. Why can't it ever be quiet?"

He looked at her in surprise then tried to lay a reassuring hand on her shoulder but she shrugged it off. Jaster sullenly shook his head then sighed. "Look, Preceptor Ryke is teaching you how to suppress your telepathy, right? Just give it some time, okay? You'll get the hang of it soon enough."

He could sense her feelings of impatience and frustration. Thirteen was trying her damnedest to control her powers but she just wasn't getting anywhere. On missions she restrained herself, afraid she'd hurt one of them if she tried to teek something and when she wasn't training she avoided them. She didn't like to hear people's thoughts, but it didn't matter whether she wanted to or not. There was nowhere at this academy she could go to hide from all the voices. That realization made him feel a bit sad. He wanted to help her but he just didn't know how.

"Hey, we got some time before curfew. Whaddya say we get the rest of the team together and go over our strategies," he asked her.

Thirteen just kept walking in silence but he could tell she was thinking about refusing. "Come on, Thirteen, we all want you to be part of the team. We need to work together if we're going to survive out there."

'Out there' meant outside the academy but that wasn't just what he was talking about. If any of them had plans to graduate they would need to set aside their differences and work together.

"I'm going to the library," she said finally and she turned down a hallway heading away from Jaster.

"Hey, slow up, Thirteen, I'll come with you," he called after her.

"I'd rather be alone," she told him and her tone left little room for argument.

Sighing to himself he turned his back on her and headed back towards his bunk. I'll get through to you yet, Thirteen, you just watch.

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Re: Starcraft Universe: Ghost Academy

Post by Pryde » Wed Aug 18, 2010 6:47 pm

Elena had lied about going to the library, Jaster knew it but he also knew she wanted to be alone. He was concerned about her, they needed her on the team but she didn't need nor want them. Every time they were around she couldn't stop herself from hearing them. She'd only been at the institution for almost a week and suppressing her telepathy had been one of the most challenging things for her. At best she could quiet the voices down to a dull roar but even so that left her sitting in a dark room listening to a sound she thought might have been similar to that of the ocean. She'd never seen the ocean, of course, but others had and their memories of it were very clear. She wished they had been her memories, hell she wanted to be there right now. Anywhere was better than here, surrounded by all these people.

I don't have time to sleep, I have to study for (That stupid slike Hartley,) Ain't no way I can (he's always picking me) This history exam is utter garbage (Next time I'll give him something to) complete propaganda. (I'm tired of all this crap) If I get another 10% again I swear they'll...

Elena slapped her hands against her ears even though she knew that wouldn't help. Everyone shut up! Shut up, shut up, shut up! She had her eyes shut tight and her knees pulled up to her chest. One of her hands started reaching for the psi-screen until she realized it wasn't there. Preceptor Ryke had confiscated it to encourage her to properly suppress her telepathy. He was afraid she was becoming too dependent on it and that's why she wasn't having much success. I can't sleep... I'll never get to sleep. The voices are there, always talking to me. Why won't they shut up?

She fell onto her back and rolled onto her side, staring blankly at the wall. She hated being a teep, she wished she was normal, wished she could go back to her old life and the way things were but she knew if she could do that things would be--worse. She probably wouldn't have been able to survive without her powers. Hell, that's the only reason she got anywhere at all. She was only thirteen, she wasn't that intimidating and she certainly couldn't afford a weapon. Even if she had one people wouldn't have taken her seriously, but a teek gone loco, on the other hand, people stop and listen. That's how she got food, food enough to help her survive, and clothes at times. That's also how she got noticed by a crime boss known as Vic. The two of them had developed a partnership of sorts. He kept her well fed, clothed and sheltered and in return she informed on his subordinates. If anyone was ever lying she'd catch it and that person was summarily punished. She had a good thing going until a man named Silus, who was once Vic's most trusted lieutenant, killed him in cold blood. Elena never saw it coming.

Somehow Silus had gotten a hold of something he stole from the military, something he could use to keep Elena in line. With the Confederacy in shambles and the Terran Dominion rising up in its place securing extremely rare relics from the army became a lot easier for those who were willing to pay. Silus had been skimming off the top for weeks and had managed to get himself a psi-screen, an item the Confeds used to protect themselves against teeps. He used it on her the first time she defied him and every time after that, but he was smart about how he used it. He had people on Tarsonis he used to talk to, before the Zerg had wiped the planet clean of life. He heard talk about a crime lord there that had found himself a blond teep. He also used a psi-screen to keep the girl in line but he never took it off for fear she'd fry his brain. As a result he became increasingly panbrained, killing people for no good reason. Silus had learned from his mistakes and only wore the psi-screen for the recommended seven hours. When he wasn't wearing it he kept her locked up and surrounded himself with habheads, whose thoughts were so distracting she could never separate his thoughts from theirs. She'd probably still be there now if it wasn't for the Wrangler who brought her in, for which she was partially thankful for but at the same time resented it.

All of a sudden it occurred to her that the room was silent. She sat up in her bed and looked around. She couldn't have made the voices go away, she'd never succeeded at that before so why now? She moved to the edge of the bed and listened very intently. No voices could be heard, nothing, everything was quiet. She breathed a sigh of relief then fell back onto the bed. She was just thinking that she just might get some sleep after all when the first fragment of a dream entered her mind. It was followed shortly after by others and instead of listening to people's thoughts she found herself watching their dreams. Throwing a fit she flapped her arms up and down on the bed a few times then lay silent as she stared at the ceiling. She laid like that for hours it felt like until exhaustion had finally run it's course and she drifted off into a deep and fitful sleep...

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