Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century – JenEric Movie Review

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Hello Cinephiles,

Today we’re talking about the 1999 film Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.

Story

At it’s core, this story is one that Disney and countless others have done a million times before and since, painted with a shiny sci-fi veneer.

It includes my most hated trope, parents who don’t believe their children.

Score: 0

Characters

The parents are frustrating and made me yell at the TV, but I enjoyed Zenon herself. She was confident, smart, amazingly lucky, and competent. Despite the overuse, I do like the competent child trope.

Score: 0.5

Dialogue

The dialogue is both fascinating and cringe-worthy. The made up slang mixed with turn of the millenium slang just really interests me. I like that they made sure to have seperate styles of slang for earth vs the space station. A lot more thought went into this than I would have thought.

Score: 1

Visuals and Music

The special effects were okay for the time period despite some major misunderstandings of physics. The costuming was clever and the music was ok.

Score: 0.5

Fun

The parents and adults being about as smart as rocks took some of the fun out of it for me. I enjoyed the main character and the other kids.

Score: 0.5

Overall

The movie is a fascinating time capsule of retro sci-fi that has a wonderful main character. Unfortunately, the entire story is overly dependent on the aggressive stupidity of the adults and them not believing her.

Score: 2.5 Stars out of 5

Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist – Chapter 4

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 4

“Brave coming back to your ship after so long.” The Specter’s monotone was either bored or appreciative.

“I can honestly say it wasn’t by choice. I was kidnapped by this crew and forced to work with them.” Sometimes telling the truth is a great way to throw people off. In this case I was stalling trying to get to the magnetic spanner, a fancy little wrench that was designed to return to the owner if it fell off into space.

“According to my psych profile for you, that’s not really surprising. I was never expecting to find you. You probably set up shop as a mechanic in a backwater world. Maybe even convinced yourself you liked it.”

I sighed loudly and dramatically. “You’ve got me. I actually enjoy not being yelled at by commanders and I especially enjoy not being ordered to kill civilians.”

“There is only the God and the Cause!” he replied.

I spit at his feet and replied, “No God of mine.” I found the spanner and tossed it at the Specter. As expected, he activated his phase and the wrench went right through him. With my hand hidden behind my back, I pulled it back just in time. The Phasing tech drained a lot of power; combined with the fact that he couldn’t hit me if it was on, he turned it off.

My timing had been perfect and I heard a small gurgle as his body tried to understand how a foot long piece of metal was inside it. He fell to the ground right after the spanner burst out of his chest like an alien in a bad movie. 

I cleaned the room and spaced the body, keeping the extra stun grenades. His sidearm was keyed to his genetics and would explode if I tried it.

The next thing I did was check on Onyx. The ship’s diagnostics were years ahead of anything else and it told me he had a major concussion. With a few flips of switches I was able to fix the damage. He’d have a hell of a headache, but no other side effects. I watched him sleep a little, the contours of his cheekbones and perfect skin. He was beautiful. Of course the moment I thought it, he released the most ridiculous snore, something between an old gas engine and a wild animal.

Placing Diamond and Sphene on the other bunks, I had time to move the Mountain, whose girth, if not his height, lived up to his name, and his crew back onto their ship before everyone woke up. The stun grenades have a massive range and if you don’t have shielding, you’re going to be knocked out. 

The old man, who I still didn’t know his name, came over the coms sounding groggy, “You all alive down there?”

“Hey, it’s Garnet. Onyx took a pretty hard blow to the head, but everyone else was just knocked out.”

“Well well, good job new guy.” The man sounded impressed but didn’t offer his name. “Is the ship working?”

“Yes. All good to go.”

“Great, then follow me and let the princesses dream.” He undocked and started out of the sector. I ran to the pilot’s chair and followed Diamond’s ship. From the outside, I could see it’s name on the hull, Revenge.

“Uh… Revenge. Where are we going?” We couldn’t just fly the Rainbow through any commercial gate and without a psychic, there was no way I could get her to jump safely. 

“Just follow me. Diamond’s got a trick up their sleeve.”

I watched as the Revenge piloted right into a large asteroid and disappeared. “A hollow emitter masking a gate? How much money does Diamond have?” I said to myself.

“Very little, but I do have a map to all the hidden gates in the system,” Diamond said from behind me.

“But… How?” I asked as we came out of the moon of Tryo. I activated the cloak on the ship and continued to follow the Revenge.

“Honestly, I don’t know. The gates are hundreds of years old. A secret lost to all but a few Diamonds.”

The ship shook and Diamond sat in the engineer chair. I checked the sensors as she worked the automatic repair drones. “Looks like the Specter had a partner. There’s a 2-12 Aurora following us.” I swore.

“What’s that? I’ve never heard of it.” Diamond sounded worried.

“Spector attack ship. Three pilots almost as fast as a Rainbow and twice as well armed.” I checked that our cloak was on; it was and it did nothing as we got hit by a second barrage.

“Revenge, are we close?” Diamond asked.

“Two seconds.”

I mentally counted to two and spun the ship around. I watched as the dark blur that was the Aurora was attacked by four asteroid mounted guns.

Not wanting to take any chances, I joined in with the Rainbow’s weapons. The other ship exploded in a dramatic display.

“Hidden weapons? Are those ancient too?” I asked.

Laughing, Diamond replied, “No, I added those. You never know who’s going to follow.” She paused and asked, “Anything we can salvage from that, you think?”

“Not unless you want to blow up or wait around for more.” I fired at all the pieces bigger than my head. “When it comes to Black-Sun there’s no such thing as overkill.”

“You’d know as well as I could, Engineer First Class.” She winked at me and said, “You locked down the ship, but didn’t secure the database. Nothing there really but the crew manifest.”

“How long have you known?” I asked.

She shook her head. “I suspected when you first got on board, but wasn’t sure until I saw how comfortable you were in that chair.”

“What now?” I asked. The penalty for harbouring a Black-Sun deserter was death, of you, your family, and anyone dumb enough to call you friend.

“Us deserters need to stick together.” She smirked and added, “Now let’s get to the base and plan a Heist.”

Read Next Chapter (May 2020)


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist – Chapter 3

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 3

“A fight?” I asked.

“Yeah, scavenger rules say that the first person to a wreck has the rights to it,” Onyx said, shrugging, grabbing a bag and filling it with medical supplies.

“Yeah, but we ain’t scavengers we’re thieves!” exclaimed the teenager from earlier. She had a long loose coat and I could see several guns and a lot of knives.

“What does that mean?” I asked, trying to sound timid and hide my excitement. It had been a while since I’d been in a fight.

Diamond answered as everyone started strapping themselves into seats. “It means we dock with the Rainbow and beat the shit out of the Mountain and his crew.”

The older man came over the coms, “We’re about to dock. Hold on. This is going to be bumpy.”

“Why not blast them?” I asked.

“First off, my ship doesn’t have weapons. Second, if they did we’d be risking hitting the Rainbow and that’s a terrible idea. Third, I want to teach those chumps a lesson and no one learns when they’re dead.”

Onyx leaned over to me from his chair and said, “Don’t worry. You’ll stick with me and I’ll protect you while you’re making the repairs.” I glanced at his bare shoulders and the contour of his arms. He was in good shape, good enough to make my heart do double time anyway, but a seasoned fighter he wasn’t. The tell was in how he leaned away from the gun on his own hip. Like he’d rather be anywhere but touching it.

Trying not to sound condescending or fake, I said, “I’m glad to have you watching my back.”

“Um. I think he’s been watching a lot more than that,” said the teenager.

“Sphene, shut up.” Onyx blushed as he chastised her.

“Oh come on, brother. That man is very good looking and obviously has a thing for you. Now you both know you like each other and that should make things easier.” It was my turn to blush.

“Goodness, you’re young,” Diamond said and whistled. “Nothing is going to make these two’s affection easier.”

“We’ve docked. May the sun shine on you,” the voice over the coms said.

We all unlatched our restraints and Diamond got a large familiar case from the corner. “Here’s your favourite tools. Should be everything you need in there.”

As we got ready to open the airlock, Diamond put on her holo-emitter and pulled out a long stun baton. Sphene was holding a large bat of some sort. I have no idea where she was hiding it.

The door opened and we were off. 

The Rainbow wasn’t large; it had a bridge at the front with three seats, a triple bunk room, a washroom, a tiny nook that served as the kitchen, and an engine room in the back.

The ship was designed to be piloted by three people; an engineer, a gunner, and a psychic. The jump drive attached to the ship could go anywhere in the solar system in seconds, but without a psychic, there was no way to do the math required. Most regular ships used the jump gates that took the math out of the equation, so to speak.

The two airlock hatches were between the kitchen nook and the engine room. The other crew had docked on the starboard and we’d docked on the port. The double docking ports allowed for the ships to connect and do longer jumps. At least that was the theory. I’d never been involved in the inter-system jumps and never met anyone who’d come back. It also allowed for adding storage or personnel carrier pods.

The Mountain must have been more cautious than Diamond because we were already onboard and ready to protect the small ship before they opened their airlock. Diamond was on the side of the kitchen and living quarters, Onyx tried to look intimidating on the other side, blocking me from view as I fixed the engine, and Sphene stood in our airlock.

I expected a gunfight, instead I got a tense standoff. The first person I saw coming out of the airlock looked less like a mountain and more like a hill, or bump. He came to midway up my chest. His deep voice however left no ambiguity as to who he was, “Diamond you old jackass, did you really risk decompression and the cold of space to beat us to this thing?”

They’d had no idea that the ship had air or that it didn’t have any hole to the outside. That was either reckless or brave. Not much difference there.

“Yeah and my bet paid off, as usual. You gonna fight us? Sphene would love another shot at your daughter.”

I tried not to laugh as I ran diagnostics. I had disabled the ship and added a code that no one but me could know. With enough time and the right computer it could be unlocked, but I didn’t need either.

“You can’t possibly think you can fix this thing or pilot it?” The Mountain said. I punctuated his words by turning on the ship’s main power. “Well, you can’t possibly pilot it.”

“And you can?” Diamond asked.

“I can’t, but I hired someone who can.” The words made me go cold. The only people who could pilot this ship were Black-Sun agents or Black-Sun deserters like me.

I turned on the protective shield for the engine room a split second before the stun grenade went off. Diamond, Sphene, and the Mountain fell to the ground. Onyx yelped and walked into the forcefield. “Why would they knockout their own people?”

“They didn’t. They invited Black-Sun to the party. Probably a Specter.” 

Onyx pulled out his gun and tried to look brave. Specters were Black-Suns assassins and cleanup crew. They were the boogeyman that other boogeymen feared.

“Clever turning on the shield to stop the stun grenade, but you won’t live long enough to gloat,” the Specter said as he walked through the shield. They had a form of phasing that let them go through anything. 

To Onyx’s credit he threw a punch that connected and I heard a crack before he fell to the ground unconscious.

Read Next Chapter

While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist – Chapter 2

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 2

This time I woke up on a bed. It was a raised hospital bed, but still a bed. I smelled the spaghetti before I opened my eyes.

“I’m not tied up. You must trust me.” I just lay there trying my best to stop everything from spinning. “Can you ask the pilot to stop doing loop-de-loops?”

A laughing voice replied, “That’s not the ship. You’re having a bad reaction to the sedative. Did you know you have an incredible immune system?”

I risked opening my eyes as I replied, “Doc, I just met you and you’re already checking out my immune system?” I was rewarded by a great smile.

“Will he be able to work?” Diamond’s voice was tight and she sounded worried.

“He’ll be fine. He needs some food and drink, but by the time we get there he’ll be fine.” The doctor sounded protective.

“So, Garnet, are you up for the challenge of repairing a ship that doesn’t exist?” Diamond asked.

The smart answer when the galaxy’s greatest thief asks you something depends on who you are. If you’re into adventure, you answer yes, if you’re not, you don’t. I, well, I chose to not be smart. “Why do you need the ship?”

“You’re so clever, you tell me.”

Shoving a bowl of spaghetti and a fork in front of me, the doctor made an eating motion. Maybe he thought I needed time to think or that I needed food before I fell unconscious. I answered before my first bite. “You need to steal something.”

The spaghetti was amazing. It might have been the extra garlic, the side effects of the sedative, or that I was a crappy cook, but it was like pure love and joy in my mouth.

“That was an easy guess. Try again.”

“Doc, if you cook like this all the time, I might have to marry you,” I said, ignoring Diamond.

“My name’s Onyx, at least it is here. First time I’ve been proposed to over my spaghetti.” He was blushing.

Sighing, Diamond said, “Wait until he tries your cheesecake. Now, if we’re done flirting?”

“Fine. I assume you need the ship, which I’d guess is high military or Black-Sun to infiltrate a government facility and steal something. Since it’s a small ship, I assume military tech, probably the schematics and not the actual thing.”

Diamond nodded. “They’ve apparently created a  device that can use the atoms from waste matter and reuse it to create nearly anything.”

I had never heard of any such tech, even in my time with Black-Star. If what she said was true, this tech could help millions in the outer planets with medicine, food, construction material… The possibilities were staggering.

“What do you plan on doing with it once you have it?” I hadn’t meant to say it in a challenging tone, but there it was. 

Diamond walked up to me and she smiled. It was a predatory smile, a smile that screamed mischief. It was probably meant to scare me or intimidate me, but it actually put me at ease.

“I aim to make sure every server, every computer, every watch with a stars-damned chip in it has a copy of the plans. I want this information spammed across every world in the system and I want everyone to have one of these things by the end of the year. If every household can make its own food, building material, medicine, and weapons; the government and cursed Black-Star will not only be brought down a peg, but they might have to start respecting the people.”

I’m not sure if she expected me to demand payment or act impressed, but she seemed pleased with herself. I simply nodded and replied, “I’m in.”

Onyx whooped with approval and brought me a glass of milk. “Milk?” I asked.

He shrugged and said, “You need the proteins and sugars. Also, it goes great with spaghetti.”

Once I had eaten, showered, and gotten dressed in fresh clothes, I heard Diamond’s voice over the ships PA; “Garnet to the bridge.”

The bridge wasn’t much more than a four person cockpit with standing room, if you crouched and didn’t mind being jostled. I took the engineer’s seat which gave basic readouts from the engine room.

Out the viewports, I saw what looked like a massive debris field. I recognized the emblems and makes of a dozen ships, Black-Star, government, Independents, and Zombie Raiders. The last weren’t zombies, or really raiders, but rich hippy environmental activists that liked to think they were important. 

“Where are we? This looks like quite the battle.”

“We’re around Yreld, at what was the site of the largest inner ring battle that no one knows about. You probably heard that Yreld had been devastated by a mutant locust plague, but the truth is much worse. The Independents had a base there and the Government decided to make an example of it. The planet and its three moons are now lifeless. No one who’s gone down to salvage has come back. Looks like the Independents and the Zombie Raiders didn’t go down without a fight.”

I knew all this. I was there. It was where I decided to defect from the Black-Star and fake my death. The ship flew into a hard to navigate section and through the view ports I saw my old 16-19 Rainbow, the ship that shouldn’t exist.

I was so fixated on the ship that I didn’t see the salvage ship with the big red crossbones painted on it’s hull. 

“Well shit. Looks like the Mountain made it here before us. Alright folks, get ready for a fight.”

Read Next Chapter


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist – Chapter 1


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 1

The blindfold was soft and smelled vaguely of strawberries. I could tell I was on a ship from the vibrations I could feel through my hands and feet, which were tied to a heavy metal chair. The smell of strawberries from the blindfold wasn’t strong enough to cover the smell of cooking. 

“You’re obviously not Galactic Police or Army,” I said wishing I was back on Viol. I had come to think of the backwater planet as home.

“Why would you think that?” The question was asked by a woman; she had a deep voice and sounded amused. 

“From the vibrations of the engine this is a Raft class ship with augmented long range engines.”

“Impressive.” The voice didn’t sound impressed but gloating.

“Also the police and military don’t use that much garlic in their tomato sauce.”

The woman laughed and so did three others. So there were four of them. From the laughter, the woman was joined by a young girl, an older man, and a younger man.

“If you aren’t military or police and you’re certainly not Black-Star, who are you and what do you want?” If they’d been Black-Star, I’d be already dead.

I’d figured out the knots on my hands but didn’t want to release them without knowing more of the layout and where everyone was. 

“If you had access to a 16-19 Rainbow that was broken, could you fix it?” The Rainbow was treated as a myth but I’d not only seen them, I’d piloted and fixed them.

“They don’t exist, but if they did, I could,” I lied. Never admit you know a myth really exists, it only leads to more questions.

“Cocky. Fine. There is a problem with this ship. What is it?” She asked the question with conviction, but I knew it was a trick.

“There’s nothing wrong with this ship. It’s purring great.” I paused before adding, “However, in order to add augmented engines on a Raft ship, you’d have to rebuild the engine hold. I’m going to guess that whoever did it was more concerned with speed. If you tried to activate your aft or fore thrusters for an emergency turn while in a jump, the entire ship would shut down.”

Another voice, the old man, “Well shit, that’s what happened?”

This was the point where I had to make a choice. It seemed like they wanted me because of my mechanical knowledge and experience. Did they know who and what I was before? Did they know the things I’d done? If they did, I’d have to kill them all and hope I could cover the traces up well enough.

“Can we trust you?” asked the woman.

I tried not to laugh, but I failed and it came out as a choked giggle. “I’m tied to a chair, I think you drugged me, and the only thing that smells stronger than the garlic in that sauce is the smell of ozone from your laser rifles. I’m the one who should have trust issues.”

“You can’t fault that logic. Although I’m a little offended at the shots about my sauce.” There was the younger man, he had a wonderfully light voice, like he didn’t have a care in the world. I wondered if it was an act or if he was genuinely that innocent.

“Fine,” the woman said and took off the blindfold. It took me a little longer than I expected for my eyes to adjust, maybe that was the sedative they gave me. When they did, in front of me were two older men, a young man, and a teenage girl.

All but one of the men were dressed as delivery people. The one who wasn’t wore silver tight pants with a shiny black shirt and a domino mask. I recognised him from the films and novels. It was the galaxy’s most notorious thief, Diamond Stars.

“So Diamond Stars is a woman,” I said, seeing the faint glow of the holo-emitter around the man. 

She turned off the holo and shook her head, “You saw the glow or you counted voices.”

“Both. What does Diamond Stars want with me?”

“Well you see… that’s kinda my fault.” The old man looked sheepish but I recognized him as one of the landowners on Viol. “I heard your reputation and sent a friend over with a puzzle for you.”

“The jump limiter. I thought that was odd. Wouldn’t tell me what ship it was for. It’s definitely not this one.” I took a few moments to pretend I hadn’t already guessed and then added, “Oh you’ve found what you think is a 16-19 Rainbow and want me to fix it.”

“Damn, he is good.” My eyes turned to the man who I’d deemed the young man; he was in his early thirties like me and was standing at the galley kitchen with an apron and a chef’s hat. The hat had the words, Kiss the Chef written on them in permanent marker.

Other things were said at that time that I didn’t hear, when my eyes fixed on his face everything else became noise. He had a little black stubble on a strong jaw but what made him truly handsome were his eye crinkles and smile lines. He was a man who’d laughed and smiled a lot, his deep hazel eyes and perfect bronze skin didn’t hurt.

The man suddenly dropped his knife and ran around the little kitchen island. He grabbed a bag from beside me and I was vaguely aware of a loud thumping. Was it my heart or my ears? I wasn’t sure.

He mouthed something about a sedative and I did something I had never done before, I said the first thing that came to my head, they came out slurred,  “You’re pretty… Pretty good looking… I like your smile… well, not that one… it’s much too upside down for me.” My perception tilted wildly as if the ship were being thrown around but no one else moved and then the world became all bendy and I lost consciousness.

Read Chapter 2


While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:

Serial Story 2021 – Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist

Hello My Imaginary friends and readers,

I asked you what you wanted for this years serial story. You were very clear in what you wanted.

What should be the genre of the 2021 Serial Story?

Romance 42.31%

What should be the setting of 2021’s Serial Story?

Future Science Fiction (Star Trek, Firefly, etc.) 33.33%

What should the main character be?

Regular Human 37.50%

What should be the conflict?

Character vs. Self 44%

With that I give you this year’s serial story blurb:

Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist

Garnet never expected he’d be kidnapped, especially not by the System’s most notorious thief Diamond Stars. He was supposed to be in hiding from his previous life and employers, living quietly as a glorified spaceship mechanic. Diamond wants him to join a heist; it’s a bad idea but there’s something enticing about the offer and it’s not just the handsome Doctor. 

Can Diamond’s crew pull off the greatest heist in the galaxy or will they be sidetracked by what they discover along the way?

This should be an interesting and fun year.

Thank you,

Éric

Vote Travelling TARDIS and Friends

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Please consider voting for The Travelling TARDIS in this years Aurora Awards. Voting ends tomorrow at midnight.

I’d also like to suggest you vote for Nothing Without Us for best related work and Nathan Caro Fréchette for Best Artist (Nathan is nominated for covers done in 2019 including Everdome.)

Voter’s Package

The majority of nominated works are available in the voter’s package now. Simply make an account, pay $10, and you’ll have access to a wonderful library of Canadian Science fiction and fantasy.

The Travelling TARDIS isn’t part of the package because you can access it for free on this site but Nothing Without Us is available.

The Travelling TARDIS

The Travelling TARDIS moves, with the power of timey-yarney crochet, through time and space visiting and taking pictures with cosplayers, landmarks, celebrities, and cute babies.

Okay. Go Vote!

Thank you,

Éric

Travelling TARDIS Nominated for Aurora Award

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

So proud of my wonderful wife and the Travelling TARDIS Blog for their THIRD nomination!

Voter’s Package

The majority of nominated works are available in the voter’s package now. Simply make an account, pay $10, and you’ll have access to a wonderful library of Canadian Science fiction and fantasy.

The Travelling TARDIS isn’t part of the package because you can access it for free on this site.

The Travelling TARDIS

The Travelling TARDIS moves, with the power of timey-yarney crochet, through time and space visiting and taking pictures with cosplayers, landmarks, celebrities, and cute babies.

Voting

If you think The Travelling TARDIS is worthy of your vote, voting for the Auroras will be open on June 20th.


Thank you to everyone who nominated and especially to everyone who reads and enjoys our content.

Thank you!

Éric

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 12 – Conclusion


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 12: An Imposible Mission and a Conclusion?

The Techno-Mage ships sat in space like darker versions of themselves. “What are they waiting for?” Jan asked. The ships had arrived almost an hour ago and seemed idle.

“The Techno-Mage had said about a day and it’s only been half that,” suggested Annie.

“Okay. That means we have less than half a day to get us a way out of this. Any thoughts?” The Captain rubbed his bald head as he asked. The man was a decorated stations captain and this was supposed to be his last command. When Hokulua Station was finished inspections, the real captain was going to take over and he was going to retire to a cushy quarters.

Seren raised her hand. The senior crew looked at her father and he shrugged. She started by explaining a little about the repository, “The repository runs like a translation AI for the Mother-of-All-Suns just like Hoku does now for our micro-sun. Hoku proved that they can take over some of the stations systems and that was before they had complete integration with the AI. Now they could take over any system they want.”

“So it can kill us at any time? How can we trust it?” the Doctor asked, sounding incredulous.

Annie laughed loudly enough to stop people murmuring and said, “I can kill you at any time too. Any of us is capable of murder. Why would a micro-sun be more inclined?”

“Yes, but we enslaved it.”

“We can either give up space travel or take the suns at their word that they don’t hold a grudge and won’t kill us,” Seren said before going on, “The only reason that Hoku was able to communicate and take us here was because of a glitch in the AI that let them access it. The changes we’ve made since to help relieve their pain, give them better control, and better communicate are all easy software updates.”

Mr. Plentyn smiled and added, “She’s right. It’s a small update and could easily be applied to other ships. The update would also allow the station’s suns to talk to each other. What my daughter is suggesting is that we upgrade the Techno-Mage ships and let their micro-suns take over.”

The Captain smiled, “We’d have to leave the Techno-Mages to the mercy and justice of the Mother. Great, sounds like a plan. Push the update to them.”

“Well…” Mr. Plentyn started but trailed off.

“We’d have to push it locally,” Seren finished.

“You’re telling me you have the perfect solution but we have to somehow get onto each of those ships to implement it? That’s suicide.” The Captain sat down.

“It can be done by drones but they’d still have to get close.”

Annie stood up, smiling, this caused her brother and her flight group to groan and look worried. “I can get the drones there. The new ship has limited stealth tech. All we would need is a distraction.”

“Can the repository make more of those ships? Or maybe a cruiser?” the Captain asked.

“I’ve already requisitioned a dozen. They’ll be ready within the hour but that’s the best it can do. It only has that design because of Annie’s help.”

Standing up again and looking not at all confident, the Captain said, “You all have until those ships arrive to be ready. Commander, with Annie’s help, prepare a dozen pilots for the new ships and a battleplan that the Techno-Mages won’t expect. Plentyn, get everything ready to deploy. The rest of you, prepare for combat.”

As they were leaving, the Captain stopped Mr. Plentyn and Seren. “The Techno-Mages have a reputation of being all knowing and able to hijack computers. Are you sure they don’t know what’s coming?”

“When we linked up with the repository I had it and Hoku scan for bugs, trojans, and any back doors. We cleared them out before the meeting.”

“So you’re sure?”

“As much as I can be.”

The next hour on the station almost made it feel like it was fully crewed. People were rushing everywhere and getting everything ready. When the ships arrived and it was time to go, Seren brought Annie the drones. 

“You have four drones per ship. Try to space them out…” Seren trailed off looking worried.

“Don’t worry. I’m the best pilot here.” Annie took Seren’s hand and kissed it. “I’ll come back.”

“You’d better.”

The hardest part of the mission was being quiet. Annie missed the radio chatter, but she had to disable her coms both incoming and outgoing in order to avoid detection.

The trip was quiet and space felt bigger than it ever had to her, despite the relative smallness of that solar system. When she arrived at the first ship, she gently dropped her charges. She expected resistance but her stealth tech seemed to be working. The same near boring procedure occurred for the next two ships.

On the way to the last, and furthest ship, she wondered if she should have started on the far end. Her thoughts were interrupted by a blast to her aft. A small pirate ship had seen her and now she was being chased by a squadron of fighters. 

She dodged and evaded the ships and thanked the Mother for her shielding. One impressive dodge also had her avoid a direct shot from the last station. Had she not avoided it, she would have been destroyed. The Techno-Mage ships had weapons that could implode a sun; her shield meant nothing to it.

It was starting to look and feel useless. Every time she got close, the station would fire and she’d have to move back. She was about to retreat when the other stations started firing at the last one. They took out all the guns and Annie was able to fly down and drop the drones.

As she flew back towards Hoku she saw hundreds of fighters and escape pods leave the stations. It seemed the Mother-of-All-Suns was feeling merciful and they weren’t shot out of the sky. By the time she made it back to the station the cloud of pirate and Techno-Mage ships had left the system.

Seren was waiting for Annie when she landed. They hugged and both blushed. Jan rolled their eyes at their friends.

The Captain came by and shook Annie’s hand. “With the stations and Hoku no longer blocking coms we reached the council and given them all our information. I think the Techno-Mages are done. The council has also agreed to work with the Mother to make things right.” He smiled and sighed. “Alright. You two get some rest. We’re headed back on our original course. We have a few million crew to pick up.”

Surprisingly, it was Jan who spoke up, “Sir. Are we leaving a team to work with the Mother and the Repository?”

“Yes we are. A small engineering group, some archeologists, and a fighter wing.” The Captain smirked.

All three of them started volunteering at the same time.


Thank you for reading.

If you’d like to read more serial stories please have a look at the previous years versions.

Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station – Chapter 11


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 4.5 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12


Chapter 11: Mothers and Suns

“Pirates? How did they find us?” Jan sounded annoyed. “How do we stop a sun from exploding and defend against pirates?”

There was silence over the private channel. Seren was thinking. The situation did seem dire. With the Techno-mage gone, there was no way of interrogating him to figure out what he’d done. He’d said, “You can die when the sun implodes.” But hadn’t specified which sun. There was the micro-sun that powered Hokulua Station, the Mother-Of-All-Stars in the centre of the planet, and the small yellow sun that planet was orbiting.

“I don’t know, but we need to figure out what sun he meant.” Seren said.

“Any of them imploding would cause enough damage to trigger either a black hole or a chain effect in the other suns,” Mr. Plentyn theorized.

“Yes, but he’d have to use some sort of tech to collapse the yellow sun and that seems unlikely.”

“Right, and if the repository is as sophisticated as you say, it should have defences.”

Jan exclaimed. “So it has to be Hoku.”

“We have to get the repository talking to the station instead of just receiving data. If we can do that then we can hopefully get the station to figure out what the Techno-mage did.” The first enemy fire hit the station as he was explaining.

Jan cursed and explained, “This is a massive fleet. We’re outnumbered fifty to one. The captain says we’re not going to survive this and recommends evacuation.”

The words hung heavy over them and both Seren and her father said the same thing, “What if we get the star-ships to help?” It would still mean being outnumbered ten to one but those were better odds.

They were about to formulate a plan when Jan cheered, “Whatever you two did, it worked. The star-ships and the repository just joined the fight.”

“We didn’t—”

The sound of Annie’s voice flooded to coms, “Woohoo! This is MOAS fighter A, requesting permission to join the fight.”

While Jan and Seren had been teleported to the station and where they’d been thinking of before teleportation, Annie had been thinking of piloting a ship.

Deep in the repository was a fabricator that could create nearly anything. With Annie’s knowledge of fighters and the repository’s impressive fabricating, they’d created a new type of fighter.

“Annie is that you?” Tower command asked.

“Yes big bro it’s me and I’m bringing some friends. You concentrate on defence and we’ll start picking off the bombers and long range gunners.”

The new ship slipped around the pirates, making them look slow and clumsy. The weapons from the repository were its biggest weakness. They were half as effective as those from the pirates and the defending force. The people who became the Mother-of-All-Stars weren’t as vicious as those who’d enslaved her children.

Annie relied on her speed, shields, and gravity ray. The gravity ray worked like her tractor beam on her regular fighter but faster and with bigger objects. She quickly discovered that weapons were not as effective as hurling the enemy’s ships at each other.

Everything was quiet while Seren and her father worked to network Hoku to the repository and the rest of the station worked on repairs and defence.

“I got it!” Mr. Plentyn cried over the sound of alarms.

“Jan, tell the captain that Hoku is running a diagnostic as we speak.” Seren turned from the coms to her Dad. “So do we turn off the AI interface?”

“No. The micro-sun has been interacting with it and the two are working together. It’s like the repository and the MOAS. The AI will interpret and help us understand each other.”

The computerized voice of Hoku said, “Thank you, Mr. Plentyn. You have been quite kind. Diagnostics are complete. I did not find anything in my systems that could create a chain effect big enough to destroy me and mother. Mother has done the same. I’ve also scanned my brother and he has no technology or way of being imploded.”

“Then what has the Techno-mage done?” Seren asked.

“I do not know. However, I have compiled a list of systems that cause me pain and how to alter them to not hurt me.”

Not knowing what else to do, they looked over the list.

The battle outside the station was quickly ending. The Pirates were taking heavy casualties and the Hoku fighters weren’t. Annie’s tactics made her a target, but the advanced shield made her almost invulnerable. Even with that, the ship would need some serious repairs.

The Hoku pilots cheered as the remaining pirate fighters retreated and the entire fleet moved away.

“Why aren’t they leaving the system?” Annie asked as she held patrol while the other ships returned to the station.

Her answer came quickly when four massive cruisers appeared in the system between the pirates and the station. These cruisers looked like the standard stations, if they’d been built for war instead of exploration.

The pirate flag on the side of the ships was quickly replaced by the Techno-Mage flag.

“They didn’t have some sort of bomb of self destruct! They’re just planning on blowing us up the old fashioned way.”

Read Conclusion


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