DIVA: Captain Calamity #1: A Little Extra
deucexm at gmail.com
Wed Sep 21 12:43:03 PDT 2016
A transhumanist tale-in-the-making I've been working on for a while now, with a
great deal of promise but much yet to be written. I think this will do for now!
Captain Calamity: A DiVerse Alpha Chronicle
by Colin Stokes
#1: "A Little Extra"
Time seemed to slow a little in the young girl's eyes, everything blurring and
gaining clarity at the same time. She could see it - the possibilities stretching
out before her in all directions, the wooden stick descending. It was so easy! All
she had to do was push with her own arms, and-
Barely eight years old, Aile Calamity scrunched up her face and tried not to cry
from the pain as she gripped her own staff tightly. She hadn't blocked in time,
and her dad had given her a blow to the head, however light. But still - she had
seen it! She had seen the future this time!
"Aile." It was a warm and gentle voice - her dad had held back all but the tiniest
part of his strength. "Did you find what you were looking for?"
Looking up at the tall, toned figure blotting out the sun, Aile nodded, little
tears in the corners of her eyes. "I saw it!" she exclaimed, with a little quiver
in her voice. It still hurt, but she was a brave girl. How was she going to be a
super-awesome hero if she let something like this hold her back? "I saw the
future, dad! I just couldn't get there in time..."
Her dad let out a quiet sigh, and lowered himself to one knee, gathering the little
redhead into his arms, kissing her forehead, right above the Third Eye that was her
birthday present - the only thing she'd wanted. 'I couldn't get there either,' he
didn't say. She didn't need to hear that from him. She didn't need to hear how
much she reminded him of Jane, how much it hurt to see her in pain at all...
"You did good, sweetie," he murmured quietly, giving her a soft hug. "I know you
want to be super-awesome-" it was her favorite word, after all, "-but you can't
expect that to happen right away. I bet you know what you /can/ do, though, don't
Aile sniffled a little, wiped her tears away, and nodded firmly. "Get a little
better, every day!" she exclaimed. "Do a little extra! That's how you became so
strong, isn't it, dad?"
Her dad smiled. Do A Little Extra: DALE, his name, and also his life lesson to a
daughter who would one day be - he knew it as if he could see the future, too - a
"That's my girl."
Keeping up with school had never been a problem for Aile, especially once the
planet came under the Nilium Collective's influence and the teachers started using
the new Educational Skills Tree. It did mean a bit more of a commute, since the
new educational complex was a little closer to the nearest big city, but Aile was
fine with that and her dad was too.
Some of the teachers were the same, some were new. Aile thought they were all
pretty good; they let her go at her own pace, and select the subjects she was
interested in. Within a single turn of the seasons, she'd finished the Core
Learner achievement, and then started dabbling in magical theory and classical
Aile had taken her dad's words to heart, and constantly pushed herself to learn a
little more, be a little faster; do a little extra, every single day. She grew
quickly, and her teachers praised her speaking ability and her willingness to help
the people around her, big or small. She even ended up saving a worker's life one
hot summer day at her construction job, when she identified a metal cable that was
seconds from snapping and pushed him out of harm's way.
Her dad hugged her tightly that night, so tightly she'd wondered if he was ever
going to let go of her; and the next morning, he surprised her with an
extra-special breakfast, one of her childhood favorites with buttered toast (in
triangles of course) and jam and bacon and eggs, and beamed as he told her how
proud he was of her, how brave and selfless she was. "That's my girl," he said,
again, and kissed her forehead before sending her out the door.
When Aile had left on her scooter, he held his head in his trembling hands and let
himself cry. She was every inch her mother's child. It terrified him to think of
anything happening to her sweet little smile and the stars in her eyes - the same
stars, the /very/ same ones that Jane had held in hers so long ago...
One evening during dinner, Aile looked across the small table at her dad, wondering
how to bring up the topic she had in mind. She'd been thinking about it for a
while now, and her mind was made up; but she knew what it would mean, too, and it
was hard to say the words that would end their comfortable little routines.
But Aile wasn't the kind of person to hold back, not forever. "Dad?"
Dale looked back across the table, hearing the steely resolve underneath his
daughter's single quiet word. He'd known this day would come sooner or later, when
his daughter finally asked him for something significant; it had been nearly ten
years since she'd asked for the Third Eye, and nothing had come up until today.
"Dad, I want to be a pilot."
Memories of Jane flooded his mind as he looked at his daughter and the new stars in
her eyes - passion, tempered by practicality, but bright and shining passion
nevertheless. The resemblance was so strong he had to hold back tears as he
reached across the table to take Aile's hands in his, gently, to feel her warmth
My daughter is alive, right here, right now, and that's what matters most, Dale
told himself with finality. And she needs my support. "You already have a plan,
don't you? But you wouldn't be this hesitant unless there was something more to it
than that." He smiled at Aile's expression of surprise. "I'm your dad, sweetie,
and I know you well enough to tell that much. So let's hear it."
"The easiest thing - for me, I mean - would be to move into the city," Aile began,
unflinchingly, as she looked up at her dad. "I'd be a little farther from the
construction site, but that job's almost done and I'll need to find another soon if
I want to pay for training and licensing, and start saving up for everything else.
A place in the city would help me find a variety of jobs, and that's what a pilot
needs: all sorts of experience."
"Well, I suppose that makes sense," Dale murmured, the gears turning in his mind.
"But it's for you too, dad," she continued. "And maybe it's not my place to say
this, but..." The young teenager hesitated for just a moment, and gave his large,
warm hands a soft squeeze. "I just feel like... maybe mom wouldn't want you to be
like this. Out in the country with only a couple neighbors for company. Maybe you
could come to the city with me, and... make a new start. Doing something you want
to do, for yourself, instead of hanging onto memories."
Dale looked across the table at his daughter, at the earnest seriousness in her
eyes, and sighed softly. "That's a lot to ask of me, sweetie. Can you give me
some time to think it over?"
Aile nodded immediately. "Of course. It's just that, well..." She smiled a tiny,
almost sad smile that had 'Jane' written all over it. "I want to see the stars,
and all the wonderful, crazy things out there beyond this world; but I don't want
to leave you all alone when I go, dad."
With a gentle smile of his own, Dale squeezed her hands softly in return. "I'll
think about it."
"That's all I can ask."
Dale looked up at the ceiling, unable to sleep. He knew the decision he was going
to make eventually; it wasn't a question of yes or no.
It was a question of why he was going to say yes.
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