The evening was spent in relaxation. Senia, Clarfax and Hary familiarized themselves with the working of the station, the boundaries of the prison complex and the small civilian area that surrounded the headquarters. The complex itself showed signs of wear and tear. Hardy recognized most of the systems weren’t up to date, save for the weather control system that protected the entire complex, civilian and prison areas included, from the harsh environment of the small moon. Centuries ago, the first Vulpine ships discovered the moon was habitable; or rather, just habitable. Those many years ago, it was discovered the moon held a precious ore used in the fuelling of the deep space vessels that made up the bulk of the Royal Vulpine Fleet. Mining operation began, and for a few centuries, they were successful. But over time, the ore became obsolete, and so did the colony.
The main command of the Royal Vulpine Authority deemed it necessary to find some other purpose for the facility. The suggestion that came was a logical one. The prison system on Vulpine was ancient. Contractors did not wish to build new facilities, fearing the empty buildings would have nothing to be used for except turning back to nature. Yet, the present conditions of the prisons were in a state of disrepair and deemed unlivable. A report issued said the only thing they would be of any use for would be construction facilities for the new line of Maverick fighter jets.
A use for the prisons was made, but where to take the prisoners. The report also detailed a complex plan to turn the old mine into a new prison system. Work began right away, and within five years prisoners were shuttled from Vulpinia’s surface to the new facility on Pau Theta II. The Main Authority was commissioned, guard details and unit transfers arranged and eventually even merchants agreed to locate new shops to the moon. A thriving community began to form.
As the three fighter pilots saw from their small, self guided tour, that community saw a great disservice over the years. Even the shops looked as worn and ragged as the Main Authority’s compound. Felanus and Vulpine civilians had banded together to make sure supplies were shipped frequently and on time. Because, over the years the Fleet Command began to forget that the civilian population even existed. They did survive, however, with the assistance of the bounty hunters.
After the eye opening tour, the three turned in for the night to their spartan quarters. Each room, set up in close proximity, had a bed, a table and chairs, a food dispenser, a desk and a shelving unit. They weren’t meant for long stays. They felt more like crew quarters on a star ship than a home on a planet. But at least they could rest.
The morning came quickly enough, and each pilot prepared for the day. They remembered; 0600 hours for briefing. Hardy was the first to exit her quarters and she waited in the hallway for the other two. Slowly, they made their appearance, Senia first, followed by Clarfax.
“How was the night?” Hardy asked in a low voice as the three walked down the hallway to the briefing area.
“Did either of you hear the pipes knocking in the middle of the night?” Clarfax asked as he stretched his arms to get out the kinks.
“I did,” Senia replied with a sigh. “Thought I wath thtill on the Nighthawk and there wath a malfunction.”
“I think I’d have prefered that,” Hardy replied with a chuckle, then moved to dodge a large form that walked through the trio of pilots. “Hey!” she called out, quite annoyed. The figure stopped and turned to look at her. A Lupine, tall and muscular, his eyes were piercing as they glared at her through thick, black fur. His ears pinned down to his head and he appeared as though he was about to lash out. He looked nasty, as they identified two pistols, a rifle and several bladed weapons being carried by this Lupine. And that didn’t even include the spear he held with a firm grip in his left hand. “Or… carry on. I’m good with that too,” Hardy said as she decided to change her tone, feeling the need to shrink back a bit. The Lupine turned and stomped his way into the briefing room and the three Vulpine breathed a collective sigh of relief.
“See you’ve already met the strong, silent type,” a cheery voice called out. They turned to see another Vulpine approach them. She was a black furred vixen, and appeared to have the look of a veteran about her. She was walking with an equally skilled looking Felanus. “Don’t mind him.”
“Me an’ Spike here have been on this rock an’ part o’ this crew for seven years,” the Felanus added. “In that entire time since we’ve known Range Runner, he’s only ever said four words to us.”
“Yeah, and that was ‘get outta the way’,” the Vulpine added with a chuckle. She nodded toward the three and held out her hand to them. The pair of veterans nodded, not to surprised when the three pilots looked shocked hearing the name Range Runner. “Your the new recruits, I take it. Saw the bird land yesterday. Good lookin’ ship. I’m Constable Tilly Everet. But, as Shauna here said, just call me Spike.”
“Constable Shauna Quickfoot,” the Felanus added and exchanged a friendly greeting with the three. “Spike’s right. That Nighthawk’s an impressive one ta be sure.”
“She ith indeed,” Senia replied with a nod. “Left-tenant Thenia Felix.” She coughed and cleared her throat. “That’th ‘Thenia’, with an ‘Eth’. I’m aware I have a thpeech impediment.” She sighed but got the feeling the two constables understood, and continued on with the introductions. “Thith ith Corporal Hardy Maynard, and Corporal Clarfax Billingth.” Nods of acknowledgement were shared around once more. “Glad to meet thome willing to share a bit of information. Thank you.”
“Me an’ Spike have made it our business ta make sure ta greet new recruits,” Shauna replied with a nod. “We don’t get many ’round here ta begin with.”
“True ‘nough on that,” Spike added with a nod as she motioned toward the briefing room. “But we can talk more ’bout that after the briefin’. I’m sure the Colonel’s got his usual for us.” The three kept pace with the two veterans. Senia felt a comforting hand on her shoulder. “An’ no need ta worry right off. Colonel usually only hands out small stuff ta the newbies. You’ll be fine.”
“An’ if ya do get in a bind,” Shauna added as she opened the door to the briefing room. “Just call on me an’ Spike. Though, with you three on board that fancy ship, don’t be too surprised if it ain’t us callin’ you for some help.”
Trigger warning for a discussion of rape
I don’t often write more serious toned posts on this blog (I leave that for my tumblog where I can get all ragey… just kidding). But this is something that really stuck with me.
It’s a problem that has persisted for a long, long time. It’s something that comes up in conversation a lot. It’s a word that we use, without thought to it’s present day meaning. I’m talking about rape, but more specifically, the use of rape as humour.
The act of rape, the violent assault that is perpetrated upon a woman (and let’s face it, women face this in greater percentage than men do) is not a laughing matter. Murder isn’t even a laughing matter, but there are more jokes about rape than there are about murder. Over on tumblr, some users manage to toss around comments like “that bitch needs to get kneecapped and raped” without thought of how that will affect a reader.
We need to step back and really examine the use of the word. I know that in years past the word rape was more commonly associated with “rape seed” or the plant that we also call canola. That’s gone by the way side, as the word has been used more often to describe a vicious assault.
Rape victims are the only ones who face shaming, and even blame for being raped. Which is why a good number of rapes do not go reported. The victim is often accused of wearing the wrong clothing. From what I’ve read the wrong clothing is anything. It’s more that the offender couldn’t and didn’t want to stop himself. Rape is an act of control and power by the offender. They often times will know the victim.
We live in a world that has created a culture of rape. Where women are taught how not to get raped, but men are never taught to not rape.
This is related, and while may be seen as sort of light hearted, I think it’s a good idea for anyone that’s tired of rape jokes. Instead of getting into an argument about rape, simply do this. First, download this business card template. Print off on a set of Avery labels (business card sheets, ten to a sheet). Keep them on you in a small business card carrier. When someone cracks a rape joke, hand them a card.
They look like this. Here’s the front.
And here’s the back.
The wording on the back might be a bit harsh, but it also might grab attention.
Maybe it’ll also change a few minds.