Though I am pretty buttoned down now that I'm getting older, I think everyone holds a secret rebel streak somewhere inside forever. Well, I just can't hold back anymore, so here it is; Deep down inside, I really want to be a space pirate. So, what , you may be asking, is a space pirate ? Well, let me tell you. Basically I wake up one day, its pretty early, still dark. Maybe even winter. I go through a pretty normal, if slightly futuristic (holo mirrors) morning routine. I take the dog out, drink a coffee, have a smoke, and look at the moon as it hangs in the remaining blackness of this days revolution. Then it happens, everything gets a little weird. I double check my carry on, I open the closet and put on my metallicish pressure suit. I fire up the portable life support box and plug in. Everything is ready, except the helmet. I kiss my puppy on the head and tell him I'll be back... and I love him. I go out to the barn and get in my spaceship. Only a few people know about it now, but soon, everyone will know its name forever. I pause and think. Think about so much. Check my watch. It is time.
I power on the computer and watch it boot. The engine ready light is activated, and I depress it. The gentle hum of operational activity is both comforting in its innovation and perfection, and terrifying in its purpose. I depress the flight controls activate to manual button, the controls present themselves on mounted tablet computers at the 'end of the chair arm' in my tiny cockpit in a very natural and comfortable position. Everything is next gen. Everything is crisp. I vent the startup plasmas then put on my helmet.
Slowly the craft rises 2 feet from the pad. I press the departure gate opener and it opens as seamlessly as the slickest suburban garage door in july. I slowly guide the craft forward out the door. I double check the systems as me and her pass through the portal, life looks good, emf systems, kenetic dampeners, everything's green. Away we go, I switch the viewscreen to split views and begin to guide it up. Radar and EF on. Up it goes, steadily. About the height of a small plane the view and feel is familiar to flying such a plane, except the rate of vertical climb. Not terribly fast, but pretty much direct, just rising like a guided balloon with nearly 360* view... prety neat. All systems still green. I increase the rate of ascent, but not enough to appear ballistic, the last thing I want is a domestic military confrontation, though that may be a foregone conclusion - I'm not sure why my overlords are sooo determined to keep me here, but I guess we'll find out... up, we go...
Past the point of normal propellor effecincy now, I worry more about detection, though I have taken precautions for stealth, they have had to be offset with concerns of safety, like radio, broadband, computer systems... I know I'm noticible at this level, I have taken precautions to remain outside normal air lanes, but that may in fact be the problem... I know I'm flying an unregistered craft, but I feel like I belong to something bigger than a petty regulation, any of them, I am ascending all the little problems of that world. As expected, the radio comes alive. There is a cordial though firm request for identification, the time has come... I contact the few journalists that were pre-arranged to receive the downlinks. My little ship is covered in corporate logos as a peace offering, but we'll see how it goes. The journalists are already tracking it all on civil viewing satellites from orbit and I'll get this front line footage out to them starting now... we're recording and broadcasting to youtube, all so indie. I identify with my radio digits, and go to some length to drag the process out as I continue to ascend, nothing on radar yet, must be a base... I'm so excited I forget their callsign....
They process my info quite quickly and inform me I am not cleared for anything of the sort i am attempting, but they do not understand that THAT is the very essence, a requirement of the act itself. How should I be so restrained from coming and going to and from the Earth as I please. I have taken every precaution, I created my own technology and vessel... today is the day, no such permit even exists for what I'm doing here... what else are the options... this is how innovation lives...
They advise me to alter course to about 50,000 heading W and hold. I decline with a proper ettiquite and begin to explain the situation, but they do not want to listen, so we tie up the radio bickering and getting emotional, then an IM "incoming". Shit, I don't see anything on radar, a stealth fighter and missile, I drop three flares and frost-shield the ship. About 20m below me they detonate... from that info the computer works out the planes likely location and shows me... 3 F35s, shit, SHIT ! I am on the radio, a few messages are coming in, and the journalists are going live.... suddenly we're plugged into a few thousand computers around the world as this unfolds..... todays the day !
The jet interceptors scream past, very close... either intentionally or as a result of their speed and the small size of my craft... such a barbaric technology... they are circling back....... I know I can out yaw them, but I dont want to push the speeds to high.... I ascend more quickly and engage an evasive movement pattern, but they are fast, and the pilots are good.... they are firing some shots at me now... shit... I dont have much defense against such a savage kinetic attact if it hits, just destiny, but either they're warning shots again or I'm too small..... if I can hold out for another few minutes I can get too high for their engines to work... another missile, shit, I breathe deep and cut a hard 90* the missle goes screaming past and I flare out while the internal cockpit spins away the incredible g's by flinging me through some centrifigual training. Once I get my bearings I hit it, I am accelerating very very quickly, my body is not happy about any of this.... I feel dizzy, sick, sweaty and shitty... I wont survive many more volleys like this, but I must get out of here either way.....the jets pursue me as high as they can straight up, they keep good enough pace but after 75k, its over, they go wild with missile fire, but I can easily flare them out from above... I am pretty safe now. I check life support, green, I take off my helmet...get the bonnet and puke my face off.... water, I need water... this damned ship is hot as hell... I drink... I breathe.... Then I look up........... Majestic... the beauty of the planet, our existance, everything, revealed. This was why I did this.... I dont know what it means, but this is why.
Suddenly as if lightening hit me (or was about to) I snap out of it and realize that my radar is going INSANE ! You ever wake up and then you realize there are noises happening, and they were happening the whole time, but you had blocked them out or something. Well it was like that, a hundred blinking warnings, all cameras tracking, incredible velocities.... shit, the debris ! I am not entitled to any charts of the entry holes, so I knew this would happen, luckily my craft moves in complete 3D, and has a pretty quick computer.... I set it to navigate me up a few dozen km and hold on tight... the computer knows what my body can handle, but I've been fucking with this AI on my own too and it knows that sometimes there are acceptible margins of risk within parameters... otherwise it probably wouldn't have let me lift off.
The craft is jerking wildly left and right, I winch up my suit belts but I risk restricting my organs and causing a rupture if I press it too much.... I decide on prayer instead.... I know that the recordings of this probably dont look too good at this point, but shit, you know, you only live once, right ?
finally the jerking deminishes its frequency. just the odd little bump of the last few course corrections as we enter the more useful spacelanes. The viewer maps out locations of various satellites and objects in this layer with ease... eventually the ship stops, and the previously breathtaking view is outdone by the nearly entirely spherical view before me.... I know its a bit of a stretch but I cry... The ship is just a ball in space... beside another ball in space... the whole thing gets very existential, but I digress... I am shaking. Panicing.... I feel so strange being away from the Earth... my internets are cutting in and out because of the debris field below.... I didn't realize the power I would need to blast through it with integrity, but we're still able to get online for short bursts here and there... I am getting IMs.... I dont know how to respond.... I dont know if I'm okay... I was just shot at, shaken up and now am, well, lost in space.... what am I gonna do ?!
Shit, okay, I need to get to the ISS... I look it up, I can make a rendezvous in about 27 minutes... I plot it. Not to dock , but to synch up... communicate... ask for advice.... I take some time now to take proper photos... check the systems...drink... shit, I'm getting low on water... its so heavy, shit.
The ISS enters my ranges, and I theirs..... I set my radio and broadcast over a traditional STAR TREK hailing sound (lol) ... I resend as I approach and begin synchronous orbit with the station... I know there is a live broadcast happening, so maybe they will not be able to take my call right away, I'll pop in the coupola..... the radio lights up before I am in view of the coupola, its another request for ID, from the ISS.... I explain the situation a little... there is no response... I'm in the coupola now.... I can see the startled astronauts looking slack jawed for a couple minutes, then another one shows up and they start fiddling with the camera.. cutting the feed, I know. The radio is back, I am frought with emotion and cannot properly articulate what I wish to convey... the IM arrives ... "got it" I was on NASA TV ! everything is going according to plan.... and now the next step... whats the plan.
The ISS eventually comes back on and advises that I return to Earth immediately, that I may be in violation of many laws and I will soon be contacted by authorities... I should also retreat from the ISS ... as if I have any intention to harm anyone !
I comply and indicate I will be standing by. I retain a close orbit, but I am racing in my mind for what to do next... going back to the earth seems like a bad idea all of a sudden... I knew the airships would try and stop me, but I thought I'd get here and something amazing would happen, but I feel very trapped, scared. I bring up info on the moon... shit, the water...