Genres: Science Fiction
The Carmel B Crazies
by Rick Kennet
On the day she turned seventeen Cy De Gerch peered through a window into rusty red desert and saw her future squatting darkly in its launch cradle.
She’d been discharged from hospital an hour before and had made her quick way to Styx City Starport. Standing now at the window into Launch Cradle 3, her bag slung over the shoulder of her new Martian Star Corps tunic, she gazed through the glass like a kid outside a toy store. Utopia Plain, her new toy, smooth, black, ellipsoid, seemed to squat in its cradle amid a patch of the red desert of Mars. Recently repaired after a battle with Xenoid warships at Rigel, the starship’s liquid lines were unbroken but for the pressure tunnel extruded from her forward hatch. A thing of space, it seemed to sit impatient to lift into the pink-brown sky and the void beyond.
All her fears and excitements came flooding back – a feeling of elation at this new beginning aboard her first ship; a scary feeling too of coming adrift, separated from her family on Phobos and the surrogate family of her space cadet section, training days ended.
Inspecting herself in the window’s reflection, Cy adjusted her tunic sporting its new lieutenant’s bars and ran a hand through her short dark hair, wondering if she’d surprise her new captain with her age. She thought that she might. She was the first of her breed – a product of the Gartino genetics experiment – to qualify for active service. It all depended on what Captain Ralph Brown was like. Would he understand and appreciate her as a purpose-built person, trained and schooled seventeen years for this purpose? Or would there be suspicion and mistrust?