Here comes the next oneshot, this one centered around Nav's first
meeting with Aurora. It's taken from the following quote in Chapter 32:
"Actually, I met Aurora first. The crazy chick blew up my ship after I
siphoned off some of her fuel during a reconnaissance mission above
some uninhabited planet. I don't particularly remember the details,
considering I was marginally stressed out over the complete and total
vaporization of my personal property. But Aurora, being the incredibly
caring and warm individual that she is, managed to fish me out of the
wreckage and take me prisoner."
So yeah, don't read it until you've gotten to chapter 32, or it won't make sense. On another note, this takes place chronologically before the last oneshot, Aurora's capture, even though the scenario isn't mentioned until later in TOSOT.
13:44 Dec 17
**tap tap** Testing...testing...one two three...is this thing on? Hello? Echoooooo...echoooo... hmm, is that red light supposed to be blinking?
13:45 Dec 17
Whoops. There we go. Soooo. *Ahem.*
I have a motto: When life gives you lemons, shout "Hey, sweet! Free lemons!". Then, make off with as many as you can carry, and make a bundle selling them to ignorant customers at jacked-up prices.
Well, life just gave me lemons, and it gave 'em to me by the bucketful. Wouldn't you know it, I went and got myself taken prisoner. One second I'm munching on junk food and thinking about how rank my socks are starting to smell and that I should probably do some laundry, and the next, BOOM! My ship explodes. Which by itself isn't such a big deal, since that piece of crap was on its last leg anyway, but I did have some pretty valuable contraband on board. I demand compensation, you hear that? I stole that stuff fair and square, and you blew it up for no reason!
OK, so maaaaaybe I'm not being totally straightforward. I was technically siphoning off some fuel when it happened, so you could theoretically make the argument that the retaliation was justified. I still think it was overkill, but what do I know? I'm just a poor, lowly captive scraping tick-marks onto the walls of my concrete cell. Woe is me!
Actually, for a brig, this place is pretty ritzy. It looks more like a cheap motel room than a dungeon, and it kinda smells like **sniff sniff** – what is that? – **sniff** some sort of girly shampoo. Which isn't that surprising, since it was a girl who threw me in here in the first place. She's also the one who gave me this recorder, in case I "changed my mind and decided to confess something". I told her I didn't want a voice recorder, I wanted color crayons, but I don't think she took the joke too well, because she slammed the door in my face. Ah well, you can't wow every crowd.
So ya. I guess that's all I've got to say for now. I'm stuck on a strange ship in orbit around an alien planet, and nobody else in the whole damn universe knows I'm here or would care two licks if they did know. **Sigh** I'm going to give my throat a rest. I inhaled a lot of smoke earlier, and I might hack up a lung if I keep monologuing.
...Man. Now I want a glass of lemonade. What a total bust this day has turned out to be.
11:18 Dec 18
Dear Diary, Mickey finally talked to me today! He told me I have pretty eyes, and my heart could barely believe it. He thinks I'm super nice, and he wants to know if I...oh, wait. Wrong narrative.
Dear generic digital recording device, I'm still in the slammer, and I'm bored as all hell. Hey, if anyone's listening, you guys think you could just hurry up and do whatever it is you're going to do to me? Throw me a bone here. No, seriously, that wasn't a metaphor. I haven't had anything to eat or drink in like 12 hours. You'd think people with advanced space travel capabilities would know enough to feed their prisoners, but apparently that's asking too much.
Still haven't gotten that lemonade yet...though I'm sensing the need to dispense some lemonade of my own, if you catch my drift. **sigh**
21:20 Dec 18
I just played bad cop-bad cop with that blonde chick from earlier. She threatened to waterboard me if I didn't answer her questions, but she also fed me some really delicious soup, so I can't really complain. I wish you could get a load of this girl...what a piece of work! We've known each other all of five minutes, and she handcuffs me to a table and starts to interrogate me: What's your name? Nav Aksha'at. Where are you from? Numeria. What business do you have on P34-611? P3-what?
I mean, you'd think I'd committed mass murder by the way she handled the inquisition. Jeez.
I tried to get some information out of her while we were talking, but she just deflected my questions. When I asked for her name, she said "my name is irrelevant"...so of course I addressed her by the name "Irrelevant" for the remainder of the conversation. I think that little bit of brilliance may have inspired a chuckle...or maybe she was just contemplating all the ways she's going to torture me over the next couple of weeks. Who knows.
Either way, not bad for my first interrogation. Let's hope she wants to go for a round two tomorrow. I enjoy having someone to talk to, and she is pretty easy on the eyes.
8:43 Dec 19
Still cooped up in solitary confinement, and it's starting to get really old. Why is it that I find myself thinking of passages from our Holy Book at times like these? I bloody hate that thing. It hasn't done one iota of good for Numeria, but I guess all those years of indoctrination are hard to beat, even for a raging heretic like me. I wish Irrelevant would come and visit me.
20:34 Dec 19
I'm so sick of this room I could projectile vomit – but then I'd just wind up stuck here wallowing in my own filth, since nobody here seems to give a flying crap whether I'm left alone all day or not. I already had to, erm...water the potted plant in the corner, and I'm beginning to worry that I may have to fertilize it as well, if this situation isn't rectified soon. Haha, rectified. I crack myself up. Wow! Two butt puns in a row. Excellent.
Anyway, Ka'ha Madrahadras.
10:50 Dec 20
So apparently Irrelevant IS monitoring what I say on these recordings, because today she asked me what "Ka'ha Madrahadras" means. How do you explain Ka'ha Madrahadras? It doesn't make much sense when literally translated. "Go with your head down" is probably the best I can come up with, but it's really more of a traditional way to say goodbye. Whatever. Somehow I doubt she was interested in Numerian culture; she probably just wanted to make sure it wasn't a set of code words or something.
In other news, I was able to deduce a bit of what's going on based on the questions she asked. As far as I can make out, bad stuff – and I mean crazy bad stuff – just went down on P34-611 (apparently that's what humans call the planet we're orbiting. And she must be human, because she sure as hell isn't Numerian), and she's trying to figure out whether or not I'm involved. Which of COURSE I'm not...you hear that, you obsessive snoop? I'm just a thief and small-time terrorist, nothing to get all worked up about!
Irrelevant got pretty inventive with her interrogation this time around, I've gotta say. Threats, cajolery, questions designed to divert your attention from the REAL question...this girl's a pro. She even tipped my chair over and let the blood run to my head when I got smart with her. I'm pretty sure she's military, but I can't imagine how she could be an upper-tier soldier at her age. She looks 15 or 16, tops. And my God, what a death glare! I could tremble in fear of her all day long. I'm tempted to say what else I could do with her all day long, but that would be disrespectful to so fine an interrogator. Ka'ha Madrahadras., my inquisitive little minx. I salute you!
16:08 Dec 21
Well, at least I'm in a new room now. And this one's got a toilet! I guess I'm moving up in the world. It's nicely furnished, too – I could definitely make a weapon and maybe even a bomb from the stuff they left lying around in here, so I think it's safe to say I'm no longer ranked high on their baddy list. But if that's the case, why don't they just let me go? It's hard keeping up my sweaty, exhaustive, rock-hard-muscle-sculpting exercise regimen in the confines of this cell. Did I mention "sweaty" and "rock-hard-muscles"? Ya, that's me. Please, ladies, don't all tackle me at once.
7:29 Dec 22
I think I'm beginning to go nuts. I was so bored earlier that I performed a Numerian marching song, complete with a dramatic twirling leap from atop my bed. I'm starting to wonder if I perhaps pursued the wrong profession.
Here, let me sing it for you: Kaaaaa'haaaaa~ Madraaaaahadraaaaasssssu~!
17:17 Dec 22
Finally, something to DO! Irrelevant must have taken mercy on me, because around lunchtime she brought me a small TV and a box full of like 50 old Earth movies. I've seen some interesting foreign films in my day, but Earth movies really top the list. Humans are geniuses when it comes to cinematic entertainment. I just sat through two Hong Kong gangster films, and this John Woo director guy is one hell of a class act. I've never seen so many guns and car chases and fist fights and explosions in my life! Man, if this is what Earth's really like, no wonder Irrelevant is so badass. I'd be badass too if I lived on a planet where gangsters are constantly shooting at each other. Back to watching!
21:59 Dec 22
Oh man! Despite his hilarious name, Chow Yun Fat is a LEGEND! I just watched True Colors of a Hero, and I swear, I've never had such a gigantic man-crush on anyone my life. He wears this freaking epic trenchcoat everywhere he goes, even in blazing summer heat – hold me while I swoon! Be still my beating heart, hush my distempered breath! I swear, I was born on the wrong planet.
23:30 Dec 22
"Care Bears"? The hell is this shit?
2:01 Dec 23
Hahahahaha, "the Knights who say 'Nee'!" Bahahaaha!...also, to answer your question: yes, I can paint with all the colors of the wind.
16:55 Dec 23
Ugh, I'm pretty sure my brain is rotting from the amount of television I've been watching. I just saw all three Star Wars movies back-to-back, but it was definitely worth it. I fell out of my chair when I heard the immortal line: "khhh, khhh, Luke...I am your father..." What a punch to the gut! I never saw that coming. I think I'm in love with Earth culture – all our planet produces is vapid religious propaganda. This stuff is brilliant! Also, where can I get a Wookie?
Ka'ha Madrahadras, young Padawan.
8:22 Dec 24
I finally reached the bottom of the movie box, and what should I find there? Three color crayons. Thank you, Irrelevant, for being the most amazing jailer a guy could have. I'm going to cry great, glistening tears as soon as I'm done drawing boobs on the wall.
8:36 Dec 24
God, I wish I knew her name! It's driving me nuts. I can't keep calling her Irrelevant, since she's anything but. Would it be corny to start calling her "Relevant" instead? I feel like Prince Eric when he's trying to guess Ariel's name in The Little Mermaid. Mary? Anna? Rachel? Vanessa? Leia?
I need to do something drastic, something to earn her trust – then maybe she'll tell me her name. Haha, maybe I could lounge on my bed, spread-eagle, in nothing but my underwear, then wait for my favorite blond-haired interrogator to walk in, see my flab, and be scarred for life. Now that would be one for the ages. ...Not sure how it'd help me get her name, though. **sigh** Talk about non sequitur failure. I'm a hopeless case.
17:49 Dec 25
I've been set loose! As long as I don't mess with any essential systems and don't bother Irrelevant while she's working, I pretty much have free run of the ship. Pfft, fine by me! Anything's better than another day cooped up in that smelly room, watching John Wayne swagger across a TV screen.
How did this happen, you ask? Well, around lunchtime, Irrelevant strolled into my cell, handed me some keys, and blandly informed me that she was "sorry for the inconvenience, but it had taken longer than anticipated to confirm I wasn't dangerous". I was about to point out that I am in fact dangerous, especially to individuals of a feminine persuasion, but then I thought better of it. She laid out some ground rules, and bam! walked away. I spent most of the afternoon exploring. According to the user's manual I found in the engine room, the ship is a Gorlock model. Which is kind of odd, since I haven't seen any Gorlocks around...come to think of it, I haven't seen anyone else around... Weird. At any rate, all this snooping is making me hungry, so I'm gonna follow my new handy-dandy manual to the kitchen.
19:55 Dec 25
So I walk into the kitchen, and who should I find there? That's right, the one and only. Irrelevant was sitting at the table, eating dinner by herself, and she looked so unbelievably glum that I lost my head and blurted out "what's wrong?" She jumped a good foot in the air before replying that it was "Christmas", which I guess is some sort of big holiday on her home planet. No one should have to spend a holiday alone, so I offered – oh so smoothly, I might add – to keep her company. She looked like she wanted to give me the boot right then and there, but I guess she changed her mind, because after a minute she motioned for me to pull up a chair. She synthesized me up some meat and a plate of weird, mushy lumps called "mashed potatoes", which I have to say, remind me of wallpaper paste in both taste and consistency.
And we just sat there, all through the meal, without saying a word. We were digging into some red and green-frosted cupcakes when I finally worked up the balls to ask her about this "Christmas" business. I'm glad I did, because whoa, I thought Numerians believed preposterous crap! Elves and reindeer and caroling and wrapping presents and babies in mangers and trees in your house? Sign me up for this madness! Trying to be cute, I pulled out my color crayons and doodled a couple of evergreen trees and gift-wrapped packages on my napkin. "Happy Christmas!" I said, and pushed the napkin across the table to her. "From me to you."
I've never seen anyone get so pale so fast. Judging by the look on her face, I figured she was seconds away from cutting off my head, frosting it, and eating it like a cupcake. She jerked her arm toward the door, and I hopped up and evacuated ASAP. I'm still not entirely sure what I did wrong; I must've hit a nerve, but which one? I feel like I'm missing something big here, but it's not like I can just come out and ask her.
Guess I'll just sit in my room by myself...Ka'ha Madrahadras.
12:01 Dec 26
Operation Irrelevant commences today! By God, I'm going to get to the bottom of this.
15:03 Dec 26
I can't believe I didn't realize this earlier, but...Irrelevant is the only person manning (womanning?) this WHOLE ship. I mean, I thought it was kind of weird that I never saw any other soldiers, or a pilot, or mechanics, or ANYONE...but for whatever reason, I didn't put two and two together until today (it equals four, in case you were wondering). I happened upon her as she was attempting to fix a shorted-out relay in the engine room. She was balancing on a kitchen stool, covered in globs of oil and dirt, digging through a tangle of wires dangling from the ceiling. At first I couldn't understand why some random underling wasn't doing the grunt work, or at least helping her, when it dawned on me. She is the random underling. She's also the pilot, the engineer, the head of security, and every other conceivable personage on board a spacecraft. There's a part of me that wonders why she would allow a strange man to wander unattended around the ship, but then there's another part of me that's not the least bit surprised, since she could probably kick my ass from here to Numeria if I tried anything.
Now I'm into this deep. What the hell is going on here? Who is she, and what is she doing alone on a Gorlock spacecraft, orbiting an uninhabited planet for days on end? I'm at a loss.
1:00 Dec 28
Remember how I said that Irrelevant conducted my interrogation as if I were a mass murderer? Turns out that assessment wasn't too far off. Yesterday, she finally caved and told me what's going on. This planet we're orbiting wasn't always uninhabited. Just a few weeks ago, it was the site of a mass killing – all 3 billion inhabitants vanished into thin air, and she's been charged with reconnaissance. Guess who the perp is? This Dictator doucheface I've been hearing so much about. I knew he wasn't a pleasant fellow, but the extent of his power really escaped me until today. Sad, I know, but you can't really accuse me of willful ignorance, since Numeria censors most outside news. So, note to self: the dude Irrelevent is chasing kills people. Lots of people.
14:17 Dec 28
I heard her singing today. Her voice isn't gorgeous or anything, but for some reason I just can't get it out of my head. The way she sang was just so damn sad...it was like she turned every song into a funeral dirge. What happened to this girl? Whoever hurt her, I'll kill 'em.
3:40 Dec 30
I can't sleep. Irrelevant and I had a long conversation this afternoon, and now I know what happened to her. She didn't tell me outright, but I know. Irrelevant came from Earth...the same planet as the Dictator, it turns out. From the way she talked about him, it's obvious that there's something going on between them, something beneath the surface conflict. I'm not the brightest crayon in the box, but if there's one thing I can spot, it's when a woman has been through five different kinds of hell because of a guy. I see it every day on Numeria; it's unmistakeable. I mean, think about it. If the stories I've heard are to be believed, then he killed everyone on Earth – that must mean her family and all her friends – but he left her alive? That just screams "personal" to me.
But God, the way she talked about him. There was a kind of madness in her eyes I've never seen before.
Ka'ha Madrahadras. My head is certainly down.
12:59 Dec 30
Whine whine whine. Wine. Cheese.
18:22 Dec 30
Aurora! Her name is Aurora. I could dance a friggin' jig. She's named after the twisting, wild colors of the atmosphere – it's perfect! But then again, her name could've been Flatface McButtsniffer, and I'd still be wildly elated. Because she TOLD me! She told me her name.
Ka'ha Madrahadras. Au-ro-ra. I wonder if she has a nickname?
13:55 Dec 31
Happy New Year's! Aurora tells me that today's the final day of the human calendar, and is usually celebrated by staying up until all hours and toasting with alcoholic beverages in small fluted glasses. Sounds like my kind of party. I tell ya, if they taught us xenoanthropology on Numeria instead of incessant vapid theology, I wouldn't have had such a hard time in school as a kid.
16:30 Dec 31
So I may or may not have been invited on a date. Aurora asked me to join her on the bridge around 23 hundred hours to count down the final moments of the Earth year while watching meteors streak into a nearby planet's atmosphere. I wish I had something to wear besides this grubby old work suit, but captives can't be choosers. I wonder if she'll change into something other than that military uniform she's been wearing. Not that I have a problem with her "look", but I would like to see her with her hair down at least once. There are some other things I'd like to see too, but I'll refrain from commenting, in the unlikely event that she's still monitoring these recordings.
00:45 Jan 1
Uuugh. Aurora 1: Nav 0, and I have the black eye to prove it. I'm an idiot. We were having such a good time on the bridge that I began to labor under the delusion that she actually liked hanging out with me. She even laughed a couple of times. I was regaling her with some of the more darkly humorous aspects of Numerian culture, and I thought she was digging on me, so when she left the bridge for a minute to – well, I don't know what – I posed myself seductively by the entrance and waited for her to come back.
You know those moments in life when you instantly know you've screwed up? As soon as I saw her expression, I knew this was one of them. Wham!, fist to the face, and down I went. It felt like getting walloped by a hammer wearing steal knuckles. Our ensuing conversation went something like: "Ow! The hell did you do that for?" "Get out of my cockpit." "Ha, that's what she sai–" "OUT!"
Pfft, Happy New Year's indeed. I think I'll skulk around my room some more, since that's all I can on this damn ship.
11:11 Jan 3
Well, what do I say? I guess Aurora's Dictat-o-meter finally went down or something, because she's called off all further surveillance. Sigh, talk about anticlimactic. Three days, and nary a word about what happened on the bridge. She sure isn't very good at this whole "conflict resolution" thing, is she?
At any rate, now that our little adventure is drawing to a close, Aurora offered to drop me on Numeria – but since that would kind of be a death sentence for me, I've requested a prisoner transfer to Planet Gorlock instead. I'm terribly interested in this whole business now, and besides, there's probably a lot of weird alien loot that I can steal while I'm there.
I want to learn more about Aurora, and about this whole rebel movement... I'd never join their stupid organization, but maybe they could use my talents as a free agent? I'd like a new hobby. Ha ha, and maybe while I'm at it I can piss off the Dictator enough to make him wanna blow up Numeria...just kidding. Kind of.
Well, my saucy little voice recorder, it looks like this is goodbye. I promise to to give you a nice, honorable death by chucking you into space.
Ka'ha Madrahadras. Later!