~*~ H20 ~*~
The never ending black of space was beautiful, clean and unbroken except for the occasional flicker of a distant star. Beautiful and also painfully boring. Angel had been staring out into the blank darkness around her for almost two weeks straight and she was sick of it.
"Patrol my ass." She mumbled to herself unhappily. When she'd first joined the Interplanetary Police Force the instructors had told wild stories of action and adventure. Sitting in a Space Cruiser in the middle of no where for a month with nothing to do had never been discussed. "Join the IPF, be the best you can be, sit on your ass and baby sit uninhabited planets… yadda yadda yadda " Angel mimicked the well known slogan bitterly.
She turned her attention away from the glow of nearby planets and watched as her com screen went through its usual arsenal of useless information. When not being used for official IPF business the screen displayed the photographs of the Ten Most Wanted interplanetary criminals. Their mug shots would appear on the large monitor, followed by an outline of their crimes before quickly switching to the next villain. Angel knew them all off by heart, it was the only distraction there was from the monotony of space.
The screen flickered suddenly and she snapped to attention.
"Good morning Officer Manning." Her Commander greeted her formally, conducting his daily assessment meeting.
Angel saluted with less than appropriate enthusiasm.
"Your uniform is not in regulation mode Officer Manning."
Angel sighed and stared down at her nanotech black and silver IPF uniform. The physical appearance of the uniform was controlled by specific voice commands, which would cause the temperature controlled fabric to cover the wearer in a dozen different styles. All she had to do was say "IPF regulation uniform." And the material would shoot up her arm, covering her left side with black and her right side with silver. Even the badge was automated and would appear just above her heart, shiny and silver against the black of her uniform. The suit was supposed to be the cutting edge in technology and comfort. Temperature controlled, self cleaning, pre-perfumed to any desired scent… But the sleeves where long and tight, and the matching black pants uncomfortable and constrictive. She'd set the uniform to 'Short Sleeve Casual' this morning and had forgotten to turn it off. Damn.
"Sorry sir." She apologized smartly. "IPF regulation uniform mode." She mumbled and the material complied instantly, lengthening her sleeves and generating the holographic badge.
"Status report Officer Manning?"
"Nothing has changed since my previous report sir."
The Commander nodded thoughtfully. "When was your last re-fuel Officer?"
"A week tomorrow sir."
"Excellent Officer Manning, you're fine then. I'll speak to you tomorrow, at 0900 hours." He said, saluting.
"Yes sir." Angel mumbled, saluting back quickly as the screen faded to black. "Excellent he says… He's not the one sitting out here bored off his ass…" Angel sighed unhappily. Maybe she should have taken her mother's advice and gone into business. At least the Stock Market involved interacting with people… something she hadn't done in the last 6 days.
"Nothing is ever going to happen out here, what a colossal waste of my time." She muttered.
"Warning." The computerized voice cut into Angel's self pity suddenly. "Warning. Impact with unknown object of sizeable mass in- 98 seconds."
"Wha-!?" Angel hissed. "That's impossible." She tapped her finger onto the screen in front of her and a rather disturbing image appeared on the screen. "Holy crap."
A rather large space craft was hurtling towards her. Not a good thing, especially since there were no scheduled flights in the region. Which probably meant the ship was flying illegally. Angel sighed and strapped herself into her seat quickly. There was no time to do anything else.
The lights went out and Angel started screaming.
Bright… Something was very, very bright. Which was odd, since space was so- black… And her space cruiser had what she affectionately termed 'mood lighting'. So why the hell was a bright light being shone into her eyes?
"Shit!" She shouted suddenly, trying to stand. She was still strapped into her seat though and she groaned as she yanked her shoulder painfully. "Goddamn, son of a bitch, shit, crap- Christ!" Despite the fact that she was still in her seat, the seat no longer appeared to be attached to her ship. In fact- it looked a hell of a lot like she was dangling from a tree branch.
Angel glanced around her curiously. She'd obviously landed on some planet, unless she was dead and this was Heaven. But she doubted very much Heaven involved dangling from a coniferous.
"OK… what the Hell is going on? There are no inhabitable planets around here." She mumbled. Angel wracked her brain, but as far as she knew every planet in the region had been rated "U" by the Interplanetary Government. Uninhabitable, meaning death was inevitable if you so much as stepped foot on the planet in question. "But I'm breathing…" Angel looked down. Maybe the ground was made of molten lava? "No… looks like grass and lots of it…" And unfortunately there was only one way down.
"Dear God…" Angel began sarcastically. "Thank you so much for breaking the monotony of my day. If I get out of this tree without breaking my neck I promise I'll sacrifice a goat in your honour. Or burn down a church-..."
Angel twisted herself around in the seat and pushed up against the seat belt strap which was holding her down. She moved her legs up and thrust them over the belt, grabbing onto it with her hands as she felt her body falling. "OK, so there's gravity here too…" She glanced over at the branch nearest to her and reached out for it, her legs dangling beneath her. "Hmm, three meters to the ground. Lovely." She sighed deeply before letting go of the branch.
"Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!" Angel moaned, rolling around on the ground in agony. "Son of a bitch that hurt!" Another flaw in her supposedly perfect uniform. "Impact padding my ass!" She hissed, moving slowly onto her knees and standing unsteadily.
"I'm still breathing…" She glanced around. "No vapour clouds… No acid rain, yet… So far so good."
Her first priority was to find her cruiser and activate her Interplanetary Tracking Device. Otherwise they'd never be able to locate her. "It's probably broken." She muttered, looking around in frustration, having no idea which way to go. Instinct told her to head out slowly and cautiously, trying to keep in mind that she'd crashed into another ship which possibly meant other survivors. Survivors who had been flying illegally and were most likely smugglers of some sort. "On the bright side though, maybe everyone's dead." The thought cheered her up but seemed highly unlikely.
She continued to trudge thought the trees, amazed at the thickness of the forest around her. She was completely surrounded by lush jungle and couldn't understand why the planet had been classified as uninhabitable. "Oh well, plenty of time for something horrible to happen."
Angel pushed a branch aside and smiled happily. "My ship!" She exclaimed, her smile slowly fading. It didn't look too good. In fact, it looked like it was in several pieces. Several, tiny, burning pieces…
She started to whimper. "Why me?" She muttered, just as something crashed against her skull and she crumpled to the ground.