Taxonomy upgrade extras:
To win the race, I'll do anything!
By Shiina Ai
"Whoa! This is awesome!" I express my appreciation at the holographic image of weapons and gadgets I have access to as 1st Lieutenant.
My fingers swipe up and down, left and right as I browse through the various categories and varieties of equipment that I can acquire. Where someone with the rank of recruit only have access to sidearms, as 1st Lieutenant, I have access to automatic weapons, advanced gadgets and even a car. Each stuff requires points expended before it can be taken out. So although I have the rank to take it out, it's pointless because I don't have the points to commission its creation.
As 1st Lieutenant, I start with 400 points. These points can only be used for the commissioning of equipment. Although there are equipment such as emergency ration included, big sis Kin told me it's much cheaper to buy something similar in a normal shop. So it's better to use the points to commission special equipment that I can use during the mission.
Hm, let's see. First I need a weapon, right? Although it's usually a good idea to get the most powerful weapon, this mission is classified as training mission, so that's probably not necessary. I probably won't even get to use it. Plus, the most powerful weapon uses 300 points. If I get that, I won't be able to afford other stuff. So I simply choose the most basic weapon at the cost of 0 point, a semi-automatic ballistic pistol from the era of Old Earth. Instead of normal hollow points, I choose plasma-charged bullets and cartridge at 2 points, which should allow me to handle anything I may encounter. Let's also get a stun rod at 10 points as well, just in case.
Next, let's look at gadgets. It's further separated into escape gadgets, ambush gadgets, communication gadgets, survival gadgets and miscellaneous gadgets. I'll need communication gadgets to communicate with Sunflower and HQ, escape gadgets in case I'm compromised and survival gadgets in case I'm injured or stuck. Ambush gadgets doesn't look at all special. After all, I only have access to a variety of flashbangs, smoke grenades and stun grenades. Anyone with elementary knowledge of chemistry can build any of these. Plus, I'm supposed to be covert. There's nothing covert about these. As for miscellaneous gadgets, most of them look like useless junks while the interesting ones such as network hack are too expensive. Maybe I'll get new inventory once I rank up or something.
I want to get personal armour too, but they're all too expensive. Kevlar is free, but kevlar is only useful against balistic weapons and shrapnel. It does nothing against plasma or particle weapons. Both weapons commonly employed by crooks these days. So unless I can afford one of the energy shields, I'd rather rely on my natural charm. Thank you very much.
Alright, after getting the weapons and gadgets, it's time to get the transport. Wait, why is it all greyed out? Huh? I only have 40 points left? Did I go overboard with the gadgets? But they all look useful. They can't expect me to walk everywhere, right?
Oh, there is something at the bottom that I can afford-
[6 months train pass]
What kind of spy takes the train? Ah, nevermind. It's the only thing I can afford.
I resolve myself to accept my decision and press 'confirm'. One after another, the replicators built into the wall goes to work, 'printing' matter at high speed before robotic hands come out from the back panel to assemble them into usable items. Watching these replicators at work is always a delight to me. Because of them, the empire managed to expand to encompass the entire Trappist system and even the neighbouring systems through limiting waste. Where in the past, Old Earth needed huge land area and pollution to handle waste, nowadays we simply put them into a trash recycler and any trash, even the smelly organic ones can be reduced to its basic atoms. Some university in the west has even claimed that they can produce materials out of energy alone instead of using energy to manipulate matter.
The replication of my equipment only takes only about 10 minutes in total. I grab the carry bag and dump everything into it. There is no fear that these gadgets will break from this level of rough handling. It's a military replicator, they get the best of everything.
Opening the door, I come face to face with the hottie. I mean my backup. She looks equally startled.
"Hello," I say with a wave.
"Hi," she say as she try to make a smile.
"Yes, that's me. I didn't expect to work with you on my first mission, Swallowtail."
"Yeah, me too. Did you just come out of the fabrication room next door?"
"No, I was in the one two doors away. You settled your business quickly."
"I only needed to replicate some small stuff. It didn't take long. What did you get?"
"This!" she says with a bright smile, showing what looks suspiciously like a luxury broomstick.
The length of the shaft seems made of solid tritanium with matte finish, suggesting that it's the type of tritanium used in high-stress insulators. The fifty or so long bristles at one end appears to be made of some kind of crystalline material. Unfortunately I don't know much about crystals, so I can't say for sure, but if I were to hazard a guess, I'd say it's probably some type of quartz or clear diamond. On one part of the shaft at the lower end close to the bristles, there is a flat padding thing that I can only see as a bicycle seat.
"You replicated a broomstick?" I ask with some confusion.
"It's not a broomstick!" She denies it, looking very offended with a cute pout. "This is the S700 Single-seat Levitator. It's like a hoverbike, but better, because you won't get shameless classmates asking you for a ride. Don't you have people using this at your old school?"
"Nope, never seen it before."
"You must have seen it on TV or holoboards before. They're the new rage! I've been wanting one since I first saw it on the holoboard last year, but it was so expensive!"
"So, is it something like a functional toy?"
"This is not a toy. It's military grade."
"There are military-grade broomsticks?"
"IT IS NOT A BROOMSTICK!"
"Hey, hey, she's descending!" Mel says pointing at the screen, "I always love this part."
'This part' that Mel just mentioned is none other than the closed up shot of our dear beloved monarch, Empress Ayana Foxtail's grand descent from her floating palace, the Dawn Beyond The Horizon. It must've been a spectacular vision forty years ago, when she floated down from the Battlecruiser Emergence like a goddess from the heavens. Fox goddess in her case, but it was a very impressive sight. Nowadays, everyone simply expects it every time she's supposed to make an appearance.
"My grandma said she wish the empress would share her fountain of youth with the rest of us. She's been looking as young as my little sister since my grandma was the same age as my little sister," Mel adds without being asked.
Indeed, the empress may look like a 13-15 years old girl, but she is absolutely not that young. She is most definitely older than 60. Some would even speculate that she was born around 80 years ago during the 'Grey Calamity' that ripped apart Trappist Prime and forced the creation of floating island of lighter-than-air rocks. This theory suggests that she was just a normal child of the previous empress before being transformed by the rampaging wild nanites back then into something not quite human.
"People say she's not human." Mel says again as if conversing with my line of thought.
Of course there is another theory that says she was never human in the first place. Webizens recently found old obscure texts from a hidden historical archive called Wikipedia that mentioned briefly about long-lived magical fox women prevalent in countries like China, Japan and Korea of Old Earth. The theory suggests that when we left Earth, some of the kitsune came onboard alongside normal humans. As they can take human form, they would've masqueraded as human and only recently assumed their true form.
A kitsune. Empress Ayana Foxtail appears to have only one tail. In reality she actually has more, but that's for future stories in this universe.
Apart from our fox empress, we also have catfolks, dryads and angels. The catfolks are characterized by their pointy ears and long tails. The dryads are all green or reddish colored females depending on the season and can blend in with their surroundings, like chameleons. It is unknown if they're different species, but some dryads have normal human ears while some others have long, pointy ears. Angels are basically just humans with oversized dove wings.
A catgirl, I'm pretty sure everyone already know how they look like.
Can't find a proper dryad picture. Just take this elf and imagine her either having reddish or greenish skin.
Devilic and Angel race.
Yeah, I don't know how our evolution ended up on such a strange path. It's not even 200 years since we've been on Trappist Prime. We shouldn't have evolved new races that quickly.
"Citizens of Trappist Empire. Since I took the throne years ago..."
More like decades ago.
"... we have bravely pushed past all obstacles, overcame all adversities and came together as one people. Humans, cat ears, dryads, angels and devilic..."
"Devilic?" Yes, that there is one word I have never heard of before. Is it another new race?
"They're the people who colonized Trappist 2 and 3."
"Trappist 2 is a ball of fire and Trappist 3 is almost as hot. The only things you can find there are the Luciferia smelting hub and Luciferia Shipyards."
"Which human do you think would work at those hellholes?"
"You mean they're manned by these devilic people?"
"That's what the webizens said."
"Webizens? So it's conspiracy theory?"
"With the lighting of this flame," Empress Ayana Foxtail points her left hand at a giant torch 500 metres in front of her, "Let the great race begin!"
The screen switches to a close up of the giant torch as small sparks appear. The giant torch catches fire and immediately burns ferociously. A long siren follows, before it is switched into the rousing tunes of the Flight To The Stars. It was the same song our ancestors sang when they left Old Earth about 180 years ago. It detailed the oppression by the rich, persecution by the strong and prejudice by the majority. It was a song about finding hope in a place so far away that the greedy, corrupt and destructive hands of Old Earth would never be able to reach us.
To many of the older generation, it is the tune that brings them deep feelings of comfort, happiness, fulfillment and accomplishment. To us of the younger generations, it is just a song. After all, we never saw what they saw, never experienced what they suffered. But they probably still remember, since there are still so many of the cryo ships generation still alive.
While not common, there are hundreds of those who were born on Earth still alive. Many of them are still healthy at over 200 years old, courtesy of our nanotechnology-assisted healthcare. Technology is great.
I press the transmit button before speaking into the mouthpiece of my headset. "Hek, you're clear to take off. You will use route 6-6-2 from Trappist Capital. Please be at your position 3B on the starting line within 3 minutes."
"Roger that, sweetcheeks. Taking off. Say, how about we go have dinner after this is over? Just you, me and... well, just me. Hahaha."
"Get in line, Hek. I asked her first!"
"Only because I wasn't there when she replaced Seki. Oh my good friend Seki, may his soul rest in peace."
"Amen," Mel said as he put his palms together.
I'm not dead yet, you damned bastards! In the first place, patrolling the wild forest of Ukuan is not a death sentence. There are at least a hundred border watch personnel undertaking the same mission and they're all doing it on hoverbikes, not on foot. The only threats they'd face would be from razorspines, beakhunters and acidraptors. There were only two deaths last year, and it was only because they crashed against the head of the huge cloud dragon. Why they would ride their hoverbikes that high, I have no idea.
Rubbing my forehead, I tell them, "Can you boys stop talking? You're giving me a headache."
"Mel, Sera has a headache! What have you been doing, you useless rich fatass?!!!" Hek's loud voice blared through the earphone.
"Screw you, dumb jock!" Mel moves his chair closer to me with his feet and grabs my hands, "Sera, do you need to lie down? I can have my butler take you to my home. I'll tell him to have the maids take care of you. Don't worry, I'll handle Hek for you."
"You asshole! I'm turning back, damnit!"
"The race has started, Hek!"
"Fuck the race!"
"Fuck you! The grant was under my name, you jerk!"
"God damnit, race security! Get off my back! A girl's chastity is under threat here!"
"Wahaha, suck on that, Hek. Bleeehhh!"
"Please... just stop talking..." I say as I feel like tearing up.
Big sis Kin, can I quit this job now?
*Hi all, how are you all doing? This is the second part of Cross Race Destiny. The third part is half written and I can probably release it next week, if I don't have sudden workload increase.
**As always, your feedbacks are very appreciated. Praises help me write faster, constructive criticisms help me to write better.
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