A New Space Iteration


    Lana Tessler as Min Pauvre

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    Lana Tessler as Min Pauvre

    Post  Admin on Mon Jun 06, 2011 6:14 pm

    Marapala, New Riviera was so pristine and so pastoral, it was hard to believe it wasn’t man-made. Dreamflight Destinations had stumbled upon it back when they were an independent survey contractor, immediately bought the land (bankrupting themselves for it), changed their business model to a resort company and proceeded to become the largest and wealthiest vacation conglomerate in the galaxy. All because of Marapala, and all with good reason.

    The sands were opalescent – not the creamy or ivory white of the Bahamas, but so soft and pure they gave off shimmers of rainbow as they stretched along the shoreline. The water was a deep, jewel emerald, and every single piece of flora, from fruit trees to weeds, was so vivid in color as to saturate every square foot. It was unparalleled beauty, and people paid exorbitant amounts to come and be ensorcelled by it.

    Marapala was an all-inclusive resort – a flat rate got you seven nights, all your food (made solely from the indigenous plants and wildlife and as delicious as the setting was gorgeous), a room in the sumptuous Hotel l’Artemis and a plethora of concerts, excursions and other entertainments. It seemed the last place anything so utilitarian as a doctor would be required…but it was where Lilan found Min Pauvre.

    The doctor’s offices were spacious and airy – instead of walls, she had wide, long slatted screens that opened onto a deck which ran all the way around the medical building and overlooked a garden with the sea beyond. The furniture was comfortable, the examining rooms crisp and immaculate, with every technological gadget available for her use.

    She was finishing some sutures on a surfer’s knee when the nurse entered and said Lilan Dia was here to see her. Min knew the name – Lilan was an actress with a solid career in vids behind her, who had spent the past decade earning accolades on the stage. Celebrities were far from uncommon on Marapala, but few ever needed to see her – they were careful not to injure their precious bodies.

    With the sutures finished, she sent the resort guest on his way, and went to greet the actress. Lilan, in a sarong and sandals, rose from her seat in the waiting room and extended her hand. “Doctor Pauvre, thank you for seeing me.”

    “You don’t look like you need a doctor – something internal?” Min asked, shaking hands gently.

    “No, no. I’m not hurt or sick. I actually…” she glanced around. “Could we go into your office?”

    Min nodded, curiosity piqued, and led the way. Once settled in the large room, Lilan smiled faintly. “You know, the irony’s not lost on me, Doctor?”

    “Pardon?” Min asked, canting her head.

    “Your last name – Pauvre. It means ‘poor’ in French, doesn’t it?”

    Min chuckled. “Yes, it does. I know. It an alien term here, isn’t it?”

    “Here, yes. But, correct me if I’m wrong, it suited you at one point in time, didn’t it?”

    She saw Min stiffen, almost as if in pain. “It’s hardly your business, Miss Dia.” It wasn’t said nastily, just matter-of-factly. “That was some time ago.”

    “Only seventeen years. I’m not trying to dig into old wounds, Doctor,” said Lilan sincerely. “Believe me, steering this conversation back to the past does have a point.”

    “Enlighten me,” suggested Min.

    “You were one of the Far-Gone passengers.” It was a statement, not a question.

    “Yes,” replied Min. “The only one to survive.”

    One…out of one-hundred and sixty-two, she remembered. The Far-Gone had been traveling for over fifty years. She had been born on that ship. It had been the only mission of its kind since the Icarus nearly two centuries before. And, like its predecessor, it had failed catastrophically.

    They had known the mission would be a failure twenty years in. The scientists and officers had conferred and knew the self-sustaining protocols which had proved feasible in theory and testing would not last here in reality. Variables which had been improbable had come into play. Some of the crew had developed Pandorum – a variant of HSDD dealing with prolonged space-flight without hyper-sleep. A murder had been committed. They had decided to turn around and come back.

    And then the mutiny happened.

    Thirty-one people dead. Comm. and nav ops destroyed. Captain killed. So much destroyed. And the survivors left with no course charted, no direction. They could only go the way they’d been going and pray.

    They had been lost for thirty years. She had been born ten years before they were rescued. Her mother had died in childbirth. She never knew who her father was – none of the men would claim responsibility for impregnating her mother. She’d been raised by an old woman named Ella, who made sure she was safe and fed.

    Eight years after Min’s birth, another massacre occurred. This time it was just one man, but he was mad from Pandorum and flooded the vents with poison. Those who managed to be in a safe part of the ship were hunted down and mutilated to death. The only other child on-board besides Min was Henry, a babe in arms. His mother and father were slaughtered, but Min managed to hide him with herself in the ducts of the science lab, which was air-tight and operated on a different ventilation system for safety reasons. Eventually the madman killed himself…and Min and Henry were alone. Two out of one-hundred and sixty-two original crew and passengers. Forty-eight years had passed since the Far-Gone had launched.

    She tried to take care of him. She tried so hard. She was only eight years old and terrified. She didn’t know what to feed him, or how to change him, but she did her best. She found formula and tried to learn how to mix the right amount. She bathed him and rocked him. She sang him lullabies and did everything she could to take care of him.

    It made no difference. He died anyway. She just didn’t know how to take care of him. She was only eight years old.

    When Henry died and she was alone, she was nine. And she spent another year wandering the empty ship. She had long since dragged the corpses of the crew into the brig and shut them up. She remembered how long it took, how hard it was to move all those bodies. She remembered the stench of the rotted flesh.

    After that year of being alone, she was rescued. Somehow, by some miracle, the ship had finally come back into civilized space, on the fringes of the outer colonies. It had been, of all things, a sixteen-year-old boy who’d stolen his father’s small yacht and taken it for a joy-ride who’d found the giant ship initially. And, in the way of rebellious adolescents, had declined to send a comm. to authorities about the vessel, instead docking and boarding on his own.

    He finally found Min, the only survivor. She remembered seeing his face – the first living human being she had seen for a year. He had been surprisingly kind, coaxing her from her hiding place. He said his name was Baxter Briggs. She had clung to him so tight she actually cracked one of his ribs. He didn’t seem to care. He took her off the Far-Gone and onto the yacht and brought her back to his family.

    This parents called the GAF immediately, and a ship came to take possession of the Far-Gone. The news made headlines. Min was suddenly famous. Within 48 hours, a social worker came to claim her. That day was almost worse than the day Henry died. She screamed and fought. She clung to Baxter. He, too shouted at the social worker, furious. His parents had to restrain him as Min was pried out of his arms. She was taken to a facility, a psychiatric hospital for children, and evaluated before being put into round-the-clock care.

    She never saw Baxter again.

    The Global Administration paid for her healthcare, her therapy and her schooling. In a year, she was forgotten by the media – the sensation had worn off. She trained to become a doctor and was hired by Dreamflight, who agreed that Marapala’s idyllic surroundings would be soothing to Min’s psyche. They were right.

    “Doctor, I’m here to ask you to sign aboard with my crew,” Lilan said, jerking Min back to the present. “I’m in need of a ship’s doctor, and I would like that doctor to be you.”

    “Why?” Min asked. “I make excellent money here, it’s a beautiful place and I’m happy.”

    “Content, maybe,” countered Lilan. “Not happy.”

    “Either way, I don’t think doctoring aboard a yacht would improve my general mood,” Min replied a little tartly.

    “It’s not a yacht. It’s actually a small frigate. An older Georgian-class vessel, the Embry-Riddle. We’d be doing passenger and cargo transport. You would have a two-year contract. I’ve spoken to the management at Dreamflight and they’ve agreed to offer you a sabbatical. You can come back here after the contract’s completed.”

    “None of this makes me want to abandon my job, Miss Dia,” stated Min. “What made you think I’d consider this offer in the first place?”

    “The fact that Baxter Briggs is my pilot,” Lilan replied without fanfare.

    Min went very still. “I…I’ve been looking for him for years,” she stammered. “I could never find him…”

    “That’s because he ran away from home shortly after you were taken from him,” Lilan explained. “Changed his name and got a job piloting for…well, that’s his story to tell. He hasn’t been Baxter Briggs for a long time. Only recently changed his name back.”

    “Two years? You want me on board for two years?” Min was fidgeting.

    “Look – come with us for one run. If you hate it, you can come back to Marapala.” Lilan smiled encouragingly. “But I don’t think you’ll hate it. I’ve picked a very interesting crew, Doctor Pauvre.”

    Min nodded. “Okay. One run. That’s all I’m promising.”

    “That’s good enough for me,” Lilan said.
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    MinPauvre

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    Re: Lana Tessler as Min Pauvre

    Post  MinPauvre on Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:42 am

    Min had no idea what she was thinking. The ship was small and while it was clear everyone was attempting to make it as homey as possible, it was still *a ship.* Her skin crawled as she got closer to it - she avoided even the transports whenever possible, the hum of the engines almost nausea inducing until they became familiar enough to tune out.

    The sounds of being in space always brought back the horrors, the weight of the dead bodies, the smell. She didn't shut down aboard vessels - not even on The Far Gone. But they weren't places that made her happy and she knew, clinically, she was at risk for depression if she wasn't careful. The worst had been the biting, echoing loneliness. Baxter had broken through all of that.

    He was, in the end, the reason - the only one - she'd agreed to this. She had long ago rationalized that her choice of careers was a direct result of the loss of Henry. She had been unable to save him, and so she tried to save who she could, devoted her entire life to healing what she could never heal in the past.

    But Baxter remained a loose end, uncomfortably untidy and yet longed for.

    Her quarters, which she was told she would share with the ship's mechanic were smaller than she'd like. She'd become accustomed to open space and light and air - they calmed her, soothed her and it had been the first thing the doctor's had suggested after evaluating her all those years ago. She was determined to bring as much of Marapala to her quarters as she could, setting up the small sun lamp and ionizing fan, draping her walls in the chiffon and colorful fabrics and saris that dominated Maripala's beaches. In the end, it was as open and vibrant as she could make it while still keeping the corner soothing.

    It would have to do, would have to help override the rest. And Baxter. She would see Baxter again. That alone would be worth it though the emotions conjured by his memory were too complex to name. Yes, that too would help.
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    MinPauvre

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    Re: Lana Tessler as Min Pauvre

    Post  MinPauvre on Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:58 pm

    Min put the datapad with the newsfeed down, forcing her fingers to unclench and her breathing to slow down. She could feel her blood pressure rocketing upward and feel the blood pounding in her ears.

    Belatedly, she sat down as she tried not to black out, taking a few deep breaths to keep herself from doing so.

    New Generation Ship Project Announced!



    Not again. Oh God, not again. But then when had God ever cared about anything she asked?

    She didn't care that they thought they could eliminate the risk of Pandorum. She knew the risk was too damned great. All those lives. The madness. The murders and dead, those who went mad and did atrocious things before they'd been brought down. She had been very young and she still remembered it like she was watching a vid feed in her mind. Nausea threatened to overwhelm her and she threw open the windows in the small house on Marapala, letting the breeze from the ocean rush in and kiss away the smell of metal and blood and rot.


    “Certainly that was a contributing factor, but the real culprit was a combination of enzyme deficiency and improper ventilation.”


    Improper ventilation? Min looked at the ocean and knew that people were simply not meant to live in space that long. For all the adventure, they needed ground and sun and air and light. Enzyme deficiency? Why hadn't she gone mad? She should have.

    Maybe she had. Maybe this was all a hallucination.

    Painfully, she gripped the sil of the window, forcing herself back to hear and now, going through a meditation series that had become second nature whenever the panic or the memories sunk in. Being at Marapala had helped more than she would ever admit to the GA doctors.

    in one out of every seven individuals who exist in such conditions. Those who spent a great deal of time in hydroponics were less-susceptible.

    Had she spent more time there? had her mother? had anyone? She couldn't remember. Those details were too foggy, too lost to terror. One in every seven? She wanted to scream at this damned doctor what that one in seven had done, what that had meant for hundreds of people. One in seven. So clinical. Min was no stranger to clinical diagnosis but then she didn't have much of that here at Marapala. Skinned knees. Sun burn. An occasional heart problem or jellyfish sting.

    “we’re never going to be able to make any significant discoveries or advances in the realm of space exploration.”
    The project is set for completion in a year, with all-calls for crew and passengers expected to post within the next three months.


    Hadn't the Icarus and the Far-Gone been enough?

    Min resisted the urge to call the vids and scream at them all to run far, far away.
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    MinPauvre

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    Re: Lana Tessler as Min Pauvre

    Post  MinPauvre on Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:10 am

    She lay in her bunk, the sounds of ocean filtering through the ear-buds, focusing on the scent of the ocean from the reed diffuser and the ionized air filter sitting next to her bunk. None of it was entirely convincing but it helped take the edge off the panic that always lurked just behind her thoughts. A matted teddy bear lay tucked in the crook of her right arm, its familiar presence comforting. It was the bear Baxter had given her years and years before and she hadn't been without it for a night since. The social worker, still bloodied in the nose from her ten year old fist, had wisely not taken that away as well.

    Baxter and the ship were the two predominant thoughts in her mind. They'd reach Portico in the morning and he'd asked her, hesitantly, to dinner. She'd agreed for while the crew was teasing them both mercilessly, Min had no idea what was between Baxter and herself. The feelings, deeply rooted and full of clinging need and panic, were as complex as anything she'd ever felt. She had no idea if it was desperation or need or the beginnings of love or deep friendship. She knew he made her feel safe and secure and that she liked holding his hand. Logically, she also knew that she knew almost nothing about him.

    Her people skills, outside of her skills with her patients, were limited. Min had made very few friends in college and even after when working at Marapala. Her co-worker, Lisa, was the closest friend she'd had in the last eighteen years and while there had been a few college friends that had not really been confidants, and a a casual date here and there, she had by and large kept to herself. She'd had a boyfriend for two months her senior year of college but he'd dumped her for being too withdrawn and taciturn and "deflecting with humor." At Marapala, Lisa had managed to pry her out of her solitude a bit but even that was limited. The feelings she felt for Baxter were, comparatively, terrifyingly complicated and the crew, already working its way past her defenses, was even more frightening. Logic, distance, sardonic humor and gentle but distant kindness had always been safer than risking another moment like Henry or Baxter.

    It wasn't that Min disliked people - far from it - but she had a hard time letting herself be drawn into the emotional wreckage of being closer to them and no basis of deep relationship to work through much of this. To say that she had no idea what to do with Baxter was the understatement of the century. The potential relationship he'd had with Carmen - or any of the other women she knew he must have been with - only confused her more because she had no right to cast judgement on such things, or even to care about them. She didn't even rightly know if she *did* care about them.

    What Min could figure out, as she stared at the dark ceiling, could be summed up in under a minute:

    Baxter made her feel comfortable.
    She liked holding his hand and being touched by him.
    She felt comfortable enough to smile and laugh with him and mean it.
    He made her relax enough to be able to talk to and open up to the rest of the crew with more ease.
    She liked his eyes.

    The last made her confused, trying to unknot the desperation of eighteen years of searching from deeply rooted need for his friendship with a healthy dose of what, she clinically realized, was physical attraction.

    "Are you in love?" Hector had asked pointedly.

    She didn't have an answer for him, not understanding it herself. She was thankful beyond belief for Lani's interference, but she had not the slightest idea of what to *do* with any of it.

    That, more than the need to overcome her terror, made her stay, the need to unwind the knot of relationships into something she understood and could accept, the need to have people accept her after twenty seven years of avoidance and pain.

    Baxter holding her hand seemed like a bonus to all of that indeed.

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    MinPauvre

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    Re: Lana Tessler as Min Pauvre

    Post  MinPauvre on Sat Jan 14, 2012 11:25 am

    Min lay in the dark with the bulkhead thrumming above her. She fumbled in the early miorning dark for the earbuds and shoved them into her ears, thwacking the datapad and letting the sounds of waves soothe some of the worst of the nightmare away. She did not want to wake kit.

    merry Christmas, she thought blearily.

    She tried not to go back to the dream, but given kits line of enthusiasm the night before it was difficult. santas not real right?

    No kit, no he isnt. No matter how desperately we may wish otherwise.

    She remembered the echoing empty halls, the dark and cold, the care with which she had hung the scrap of green fabric and pinned old broaches and found earrings to it for ornaments. The display lights shed hung onto the curves of cloth werrent like christmas lights but they would do. She had even wrapped a present for Henry. She had been too small to know where the ships actual tree was kept, and too young to find or move it anyway.

    On christmas morning she had bundled henry up and dashed down to the mess hall where she they had left the tree and the ration packs for cookies. Min remembered laughing and giggling, unable to hold in the youthful hysteria of santa coming in the night. She had asked for three things: someone to take them off the fargone. Some formula for Henry and a teddy for him, and a stuffed bear for herself. She had been meager in wishes, putting the letter into the airlock even if she did not know how to space it because when mother had been alive that was what the children did.

    Her footfalls echoed anlong with her laughter and she slid into the tree room with henry in arms.

    "look santa-" the words came out before reality struck. The cloth tree hung limply, its bits and bobs gleaming dully in the emergancy lighting. Henry cried weakly in her arms. There was nothing under the tree. No presents. No people. She stopped believing in many things in that one moment, santa, rescue, anything. She did not lose her faith in god until after Henry died a few weeks later.

    "its a really nice idea kit," she had whispered into the dark the night before. It's just not true.

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