From the author: This is a chapter that was originally cut from Anstractor Vestalia. It was meant to show the type of warrior that a Jumper/Phaser was, and how incredibly difficult they are to defeat. Camille YAN is one of the prominent characters in The New Phase, but this was a little too much for the book so it had to be cut. I hope that if you enjoy it you would consider giving Anstractor Vestalia or Blade of The Lucan a read.
“Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death.” – Miyamoto Musashi
Camille YAN had not been herself for months. She felt out of body most days, and she was extremely depressed. The standard procedure for soldiers who felt the way she did was a trip to the psychiatrist, who would provide treatment and therapy to stabilize her mood. Part of her problem with seeing a psych, however, had to do with her fear of facing up to the terrible things she had done as a jumper hopeful.
She had known that their induction into the program would find a way to tear them apart, but it had never dawned on her that her stability as a soldier—no, as a person—would suffer in the way it did now. She spent most of her time in the armory, priming weapons, upgrading her favorites, and, in her mind, reminiscing about past times when it was just she and her fighter ship.
The happy days were when she was “the Golden Chameleon” scourge of any enemy foolish enough to face her in aerial combat. She liked being respected, and while she was respected for her rank, it only paled to the respect she got when she was just a fighter jock.
She snapped herself out of the mental journey and looked around at the supply room. There were weapons lining the bulkhead, and the skylights shone down like miniature suns. A sound brought her silver eyes up, and she realized something was wrong.
She removed the heavy jacket, tightened the straps on her suspenders, and pushed open the door to make her way to the bridge. The lights in the hallway were blinking rapidly, and she couldn’t understand why the loud siren had not reached her ears while she sat there fiddling with guns.
Racing down the hallway now towards the door leading to the bridge, she felt a frightening bump that let her know that her little ship was being boarded. She was still frazzled. She had slipped, and whoever was coming aboard was now about to violate her ship.
“No, no, no!” she kept saying to herself, but then she heard the blast doors open. She burst through a port, which connected the passageway, and let several shots fly towards the invaders. It did not matter to her who was coming through those doors. The boarding without hailing, and the outline of what appeared to be a Seryac pirate ship let her know that the invasion was not going to be a friendly one.
Multiple blasts were sent back at her, and she fell to her stomach while returning fire rapidly. Her shots shredded the reinforced darsteel walls around the door and thumped against the armor of the four figures that were on her ship.
Rolling to the side and then springing up to flee, Camille placed the pistol back into her holster and dashed towards her bedroom. When got inside, she hurriedly stripped. Her nerves causing her to fumble with the clips. She put on a 3B suit and mask then grabbed a plasma detonator.
She knelt in the corner and evoked her last rites. Once she was finished with the ritual, she activated the suit’s “cloak” and disappeared into nothingness. She slipped back into the hallway and back to where they were boarding. The blast doors had shut and there were eight humanoids onboard, and they scanned every corner of the deck with their large, hip-mounted guns.
Camille tested their visuals by walking across the port in plain view, but with no stealth detection, she remained invisible to them. She slipped past them to gain the bridge, and hopped into the pilot’s chair. With a number of hacks, overrides, and lucky guesses, she turned off the alarm, and killed the internal lights to trap them all in darkness.
The invaders went ballistic and charged onto the bridge and into adjoining rooms trying to find her. She killed the onboard oxygen next and then slipped into a corner to allow her suit to recharge. On several occasions, she had witnessed the demise of marines who relied too heavily on cloaking only to get themselves killed when it malfunctioned and they were revealed.
The invaders were throwing out flares, and one of them was in the pilot’s seat doing his best to repower the vessel and turn on the lights and oxygen. Noticing that he was alone, she powered on her las-sword, slid behind him, and cut the rubber that molded his helmet to his chest plate. There was nothing a las-sword couldn’t cut, and the rubber evaporated like paper when held to a flame.
Black ichor spattered across the ship’s HUD, and she dragged the body back to a corner where it would be out of sight. The other pirates were looking for her, and she let the body lie in a way that left his arm visible to anyone who came onto the bridge.
Camille climbed to the ceiling and wedged herself in the corner to wait for the next invader who would come to check on the progress. She didn’t have long to wait, as an impatient pirate burst onto the bridge cursing, and upon seeing the pilot’s seat empty, he scanned the room and noticed the hand.
“Zola! Vas e rojan!” he announced loudly.
Camille heard the stomping footsteps coming and realized that she was about to be flushed out. The biggest invader produced a canister, which he started to unscrew, eyes set on the area where she hung. She knew that it would be her end if he got a chance to throw it, so she had to act fast.
Pulling the pistol from her holster, Camille fell from the ceiling while firing off two precise shots. One hit the canister, causing it to explode, and the contents melted the armor of another pirate that was standing too close. The second shot hit the neck of the large male who commanded them. He fell dead on top of the pilot’s chair.
Camille cloaked and dashed past them silently, her jumper training coming into action now as the other five pirates shouted angrily while looking for her. With the discovery of their necks being the vulnerable part of their suits—a common flaw in the modern design of spacer armor—Camille felt for the first time that she would make it.
She knew that in time they would find a way to get out, cut their losses, and escape. So when the pirates began anew to look for her, she slipped back onto the bridge and aimed a torpedo at the open bay port of their ship—it would be the only place that was not protected by a shield.
The torpedo did wonders, causing an explosion within the bowels of the ship. She didn’t hang around long to admire her work since three of the remaining invaders were sucked into deep space by a hole that had resulted from the other ship’s destruction.
Blast doors quickly sealed off the hole, and the ship took on an eerie silence. The remaining two pirates burst onto the bridge and she held up her las-gun to place them under arrest. The smaller one made the mistake of reaching for his weapon, and she let the fire loose into his throat, causing him to fall and retch about violently before dying.
The other one raised her hands, and Camille placed her inside a tiny holding cell at the rear of the ship. The girl was human and had short-cropped blue hair and a scar across her eye. She watched Camille like a hawk, waiting for her to slip, but the Golden Chameleon would not give her an inch.
Jumping back into the pilot’s seat, she sat there for a time, thinking about what she had done and how absolutely crazy and impossible it was. Rafian would be proud of her, she thought. It was one of the things they shared and loved about each other. She smiled a bit, thinking of her prisoner and how amazing it was that she managed to take one alive.
“Wow!” she said, exhaling slowly. “I just thyping did that.”
When the adrenaline subsided and she was back to her normal, sullen self, she fired up the radio and dialed in the Helysian. The military guard wanted Camille to bring the pirate to them for interrogation, and while she hated having to see Rafian so soon, she knew that the girl would have to be placed inside a real jail somewhere.
“I should have just shot her,” Camille whispered coolly. Then she set the coordinates to Helysian and went to the kitchen to prepare herself a mug of Finian spiced tea.
When she docked and brought out the blue-haired thief to turn over to the marines, Camille was met with thunderous applause and numerous accolades for what she had done. Had the pirates taken the ship, they would have been able to use its signature to dock at military posts, rob them, commandeer them, and even worse.
It would have meant heavy losses in supplies to the ships such as Helysian that were on the frontlines. She gave up the prisoner, whose name turned out to be Rhet LeFau. She was wanted on several systems for war crimes that were as scary as they were brutal. The way the intelligence read, it sounded as if Camille had stopped a crew of some of the most wanted criminals in the galaxy.
She accepted the Honor Medal but turned down the invitation to party with the Helysian marines. All she wanted was a long mineral bath, one of those ice-cold ones, and then she would retire to a couch with a tall bottle of port and the pleasant company of herself.