Carpathia III: Epilogue 1 - Shuttle

Forest Clearing

The group doused the fire and packed their belongings while the Yserians continuously cast furtive glances at the shuttle, not sure what to make of it. The Lieutenant returned the favor, not sure what to make of Keast, Roose, and Azrael in particular. Had he not been so focused on them, he might have also noticed the elves in the party.

Entering the shuttle was a revelation for the Yserians, who gazed around in awe of their surroundings. Binh gently prodded them to leave their belongings in the storage lockers and ascend the staircase to the seating area.

Reuli: Hey, look at this! This thing blows air around!

Reuli continued playing with the air vent, constantly switching it on and off while the others similarly played with the rest of the passenger functions. Finally, Binh was the last up the stairs.

Binh: Alright, have a seat, everyone. We're going to take off.

Quilyon scrunched up her face in puzzlement.

Quilyon: Take off? What does that mean?

Kaoru: It means we're about to fly.

Quilyon's eyes widened and she directed her immediate attention to the youngsters.

Quilyon: Reuli, Wolfram, Aten! Sit down!

Quilyon's stern voice was enough to get them to do as she said. Once everyone was seated, Binh joined the other pilot at the controls. Quilyon gripped the armrests tightly as the engines powered up and the shuttle lifted off the ground. Once they were flying, Binh called back to the passengers.

Binh: We'll be arriving at the base in about an hour. Feel free to move around.

With the flight now buttery smooth, Reuli and Wolfram pressed their noses against the glass, watching the landscape pass speedily underneath them. Kaoru marched up to the cockpit.

Kaoru: I've never seen a shuttle like this. Is it new?

Binh answered without taking his eyes off the controls.

Binh: The Ventus is a new type of support shuttle built for the NCCS Shadowdancer, which is now under construction.

Kaoru: Oh! Does it use the same Griffon V1710 engines that the old shuttles use?

Binh: Nope. Those are being retired. This shuttle uses upgraded V2710 engines.

Kaoru's eyes widened with delight and he whirled around, looking at the back of the shuttle.

Kaoru: I wanna see!

Kaoru trotted down the aisle, headed toward the engine room, and Binh immediately took off after him. Kaoru only got about halfway down the aisle before Binh grabbed him.

Binh: No! Do you have any idea what it's like to do a decon on an engine room?

Kaoru hung his head sheepishly.

Kaoru: Sorry.

Binh gently pulled on Kaoru's shoulder, turning him around.

Binh: I'll show you the engines after we've gone through decon. For now, we have to keep that room sealed.

Kaoru's face brightened immediately at the news.

Kaoru: Okay!

Binh strode back to the cockpit and pulled a tablet from the console.

Binh: I'll go ahead and take your basic information so that we can contact your families.

Jaze perked at the sound of families and raised his hand.

Jaze: Could we borrow a phone? I'd like to talk to Mom and Dad.

Binh shook his head.

Binh: Sorry, but we're not allowed personal communication devices while on duty. I will take your information and relay it back to base. Your families will be contacted immediately.

Dejected, Jaze plopped back onto his seat with Toma. Binh started with Kaoru.

Binh: Name?

Kaoru: Kaoru Romanov.

Binh tapped Kaoru's answer into his tablet.

Binh: Species?

Kaoru: Human.

Again, Binh tapped Kaoru's answer into the tablet and did the same with all of his subsequent answers.

Binh: Occupation?

Kaoru: Um... student, I guess? At least, that's what I was here.

Binh: And age?

Kaoru opened his mouth and suddenly realized that he had nothing to say.

Kaoru: Actually, I don't know. I was 19 when I left. I'm sure I must be a few years older by now.

Binh tapped and swiped at his tablet a few times and smiled at Kaoru.

Binh: That's okay. This will do.

Binh moved to the front of the shuttle and faced Adell.

Binh: Name?

Adell: Adell Amaranth.

Binh: Species?

Adell grinned mischeviously.

Adell: Sex god.

As though he were ready for it, Artemis immediately slapped Adell on the back of his head.

Artemis: He's a dumbass human!

Binh rolled his eyes and entered the information.

Binh: Occupation?

Adell: Devil Slayer.

Right away, Binh's shoulders dropped and his head rolled around on the top of his neck. Artemis finished Adell's part for him.

Artemis: Adell, dumbass human, student, and he doesn't know his age either.

Binh sighed and entered the information before moving to Wolfram.

Binh: Name?

Wolfram: Wolfram uh...

Wolfram looked back at Zet and then at Binh again.

Wolfram: Arapaesis, I guess.

Binh: Species?

Wolfram: Nekohuman.

Before Binh could continue, Keast came running from the back of the shuttle.

Keast: And bat!

Wolfram froze and everyone else in the shuttle took notice.

Wolfram: What?

Keast playfully pinched Wolfram's ears.

Keast: Just look at these ears! You don't get these ears from just being nekohuman, you know. Don't you agree, Roose?

Wolfram, suddenly self-conscious, put his hands over his ears.

Roose: Not to mention the tail.

Wolfram swished his tail in front of himself for a better look.

Keast: Yup, nobody knows why, but sometimes a little bat gives nekomi a super floofy tail.

During this entire conversation, Binh just stood where he was, face scrunched up and tablet drooping from his hand. This was a man who had no idea what to make of the conversation.

Kaoru: Mr. Pham, I think it's worth mentioning that a lot of the people here basically have no home to go to. Refugees, I guess you'd say.

Binh scratched behind his ear and surveyed the unusual assortment of passengers on the ship.

Binh: I was expecting that, yes. I suppose you all have quite a story to tell and I hope I get to hear it sometime. For now, let me just get your basics and we'll sort the rest out at the base. I'll switch on the monitor when I'm done and you can catch up on current events or something.

Binh held out his tablet again and was nearly ready to finish with Wolfram before he suddenly stopped and glanced at everyone in the shuttle again.

Binh: Oh, and by the way, for those of you who are refugees, welcome to New Carpathia. Our mission is to learn about new life, but I daresay I did not expect to encounter it right here!

Binh continued taking everyone's information in turn, this time asking who would be filing for refugee status. The deeper into the group he got, the more interested he was in the assortment of new species he encountered, with the possible exception of Azrael, who intimidated him severely.

When Binh finished, he returned to the front of the shuttle and took over the controls with his co-pilot. As promised, he switched on the ship's monitors, which was playing a news program. The image on the screen was a pile of wreckage with an announcer's somber voice playing over the image.

The Tokkastran government is expressing profound puzzlement over the moderate earthquake that appears to be centered directly beneath the keyhole monument. Initial injury reports are relatively minor so far, with no deaths. Several tokki have been taken to the hospital with scrapes and broken bones. According to a statement released by the First Minister's office, there has never been any known seismic activity in that area before today but that they were at least fortunate that the incident happened after tourism activies had ceased for the day.

Jaze watched the broadcast with his mouth hanging open, but it was, perhaps, Toma who best summarized the feelings of the rest of them.

Toma: Oops.

Commissioned art in this episode from:
Atomic Clover
Kay Jay 97

All city pictures from SimCity 4

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