• Published 5th Jul 2017
  • 1,773 Views, 151 Comments

Purple Point: His Life in Space - Alden MacManx

How Purple Point manages his life in space aboard the Cosmic Lotus, and how others handle him. Let the battle begin!

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Boarding for Parties

Distance from the Far Star: two light-days (at best guess, he’s an engineer, not a naviguesser)

First Contact having been made, and the ship stopping its deceleration for the time being, Radiance Point had the decel team go to stand-by mode, meaning if the call came to resume deceleration, the duty section at that time would take over. Until then, they were to go back to their regular jobs.

Sunrise Flight caught up with Radiance at dinner. “Have you heard what’s going on? The Captain is taking an advance party over to the aliens’ ship for a visit!” she squealed eagerly.

“Who’s going with him?” Radiance asked around a mouthful of hayburger.

“Amethyst Scroll, Eon Path and Phalanx. Hopefully progress will be made today!’

“I hope so, too. It’s not like we can go anywhere fast now. Keep an eye on the clock, and remember when you are on decel duty. I have the system primed for immediate startup.”

“We will be ready, brother dearest. We’ve come this far, we’re going all the way!” Sunrise said with enthusiasm.

“Got that right.”

Several days went by as the Cosmic Lotus drifted through space, communicating with the unknown ship, which they learned was named Pegasus, a name that sent Sunrise into a fit of laughter. When the Captain announced that he was going to host a party for the others, to be held in the Park, Sunrise eagerly volunteered to help set up the party, while Radiance occupied himself with keeping the ship maintained. The job list had been steadily getting shorter, thanks to the trained team of engineers.

Before the party, Radiance submitted to Amethyst Scroll’s language lesson spell, as did many of the others on board. While most of the visitors would be at the party, one could encounter a visitor while on duty. “Definitely different. I wonder what sort of profanity exists in this tongue,” he remarked to Amethyst Scroll.

“Point, only you would ask a question like that after a language lesson,” Amethyst replied.

“Hey, I have a reputation to live up to, true?” Radiance said as he left the lesson room to go back to work.

Radiance was not part of the welcoming committee, that being Starry, Galen and Galena, but he managed to look in at the meeting while Captain Path went to fetch the second group. Looking at Admiral Kline, he felt a rush of atavistic fear wash over him, a wash that threatened to engulf him in its grip and carry him away. He called up his adamantine will to cause the fear to wash over and past him. It worked, but he remained locked in place for almost two minutes before being able to look at the Admiral without worry. “Definitely unusual,” he muttered to himself as he went back about his business. “May that not be an omen.”

As the party went on, Radiance found himself at work, fixing one of the last chores on the to-do list. As he was cleaning up, Crystal Twist called to him. “Hey, Radiance, you up to a game of cards?”

“Always am, except when I’m asleep. Who’s willing to lose bits today?”

“One of the visitors says she is good at poker. I told her that if she was truly good, she could defeat you in a poker game. You up to the challenge?”

Radiance Point smiled in a way that reminded Twist of a predatory sea animal, one that promised the recipient an empty purse in a short time. “Oh, yes. Where and when?”

“She’s in the Park, and as soon as you get there. Gomez is willing to be a fourth for the game. Put up your tools and I’ll meet you at the entrance in a few minutes.”

“Shake a leg, lady, I don’t like to be kept waiting!” he said as he headed to the duty office to shed his saddlebags.

Twist shook her head. “Some things don’t change. He likes a fresh challenge,” she said to herself before heading to the park.

Crystal met Point at the park entrance and led him to a secluded area, where a table was set up. Gomez was there, chatting with a very tall cat who walked on her back legs only. Gomez smiled when he saw Point. “Our poker master has arrived. Doctor M’Lai Saarath, may I introduce you to Radiance Point, our Engineer’s Mate and slightly disputed poker champion aboard. Everyone has lost bits to him.”

“Is that a fact?” M’Lai said with an accent that only enhanced her voice, in Point’s ears.

Point bowed as gallantly as he knew how to. “Indeed, it is, Madam Doctor. I am highly skilled in playing cards, a talent I have cultivated since I was a teenager in the Merchant Marine, and have only improved on since. Shall we compare styles of play, as well as different games?” he asked.

M'Lai smiled at Point’s gallantry. “Of course. Let us begin. Gomez has explained your cards as well as some of your games. Shall we learn as we play together?”

The four sat down, chips were distributed, and the play began. Point began cautiously, watching M’Lai as she handled her cards and her betting. As they played, the two chatted about their lives, their ships, and shipmates. Crystal and Gomez realized that Point was being very selective in his tales, careful to not embarrass anyone on board, including himself. He never truly bragged, just described his achievements aboard the Lotus in a mild tone of voice, and listening attentively to M’Lai’s descriptions of her life aboard the Pegasus.

It soon became apparent to all that the skills of both Point and M’Lai were about equal. Once Gomez and Crystal busted out, they stayed to watch as the two masters slowly lost their politeness and started playing in a cutthroat manner, which for Point meant he was playing in his usual style. Back and forth chips went, stacks generally staying even with only a little variation. So intent were the two on their play that when M’Lai’s combadge beeped, it startled the two of them to the point where the chip stacks fell over.

“Kline to M’Lai. Party’s wrapping up, and we’re heading back to the Pegasus,” came from the little piece of jewelry on her uniform.

M'Lai tapped her badge. “Understood, Admiral. I shall meet you at the shuttle airlock in a few moments,” she said before looking at Point. “You play a very fine game of cards. May we wind up on the same team in any tournament.”

“Madam Doctor, you play a game of poker unmatched by anyone aboard, save myself and Sunrise Flight. It is to be hoped that we can play again, with a larger company so we can play more and different games. I thank you for the opportunity to play against you, and I do look forward to meeting you again soon,” Point said politely, extending a hoof, which M’Lai shook before departing.

As Point cleaned up the chips and cards, Gomez asked his friend, “What you think of her for real, Point?”

“I think she can be a very dangerous foe across a poker table. From what I gathered, she is as exceptional a card player as I am. Next time we play, I’m taking the gloves off and going after her hoof and tooth,” Point said as he racked the chips.

“I thought you were doing that today,” Crystal said with a smile.

“No, I was studying her and her reactions, learning her plays and tells. I did my best to disguise mine.”

“So, THAT’S what was bothering me! After I busted out, I thought you seemed a bit different,” Crystal exclaimed.

“I was. I’m not going to show ALL my cards at first meeting.”

“You sneaky demon…” Crystal muttered.

Point looked back at Crystal with a surprised expression. “It took you THIS long to notice?”

Some time later, deceleration resumed. Point was on watch with his team, two unicorns and a Chrome Changeling. Thanks to the delay from meeting the aliens, decel had to be ramped up to ninety percent of max, a rate one team could easily handle for a time, at a cost of putting the backup team on duty in a three-section rotation, and cutting watches to six hours. They had only just started when orders came down to shut down deceleration, with no explanation forthcoming. Point looked at his crew, Clarion Call, a white unicorn mare, Red Light, a red unicorn stallion, and Danorax, the chrome changeling. “Looks like we wait until we find out what’s going on upstairs,” he told the crew. “Something’s come unbonded somewhere.”

“But, what could it be, Point?” Clarion Call asked.

“Pick a spot and start there. If it’s from the aliens, then it could be anything.”

It was not for a couple of hours that the call came to resume deceleration. Point acknowledged the order, and had the system tuned to fire, when Danorax just said “Trouble!”, pointing to where the port team would be.

Point looked over his shoulder to see two columns of sparkling light appear right behind him, a large one and a small one, gradually resolving into one of the big creatures Eon was drinking with, and a smaller foxlike one. He didn’t hesitate. Leaning against his console, Point lashed out with his right back hoof.

“Everybody, you are UHHH!” cried the large catlike being as Point’s hoof caught the being solidly in the lower part of the body, dropping the unusual device in his hands. Point followed up the kick with a blow to the face, but by then, the catlike being was on his way down. Danorax took care of the smaller being with a stun blast from his horn.

Point checked over the fallen big catlike being. “No matter what the species, a kick to the bits is going to ruin your day,” he said before applying a stun blast of his own, to keep the being down. “Looks like it’s repel boarders time.”

Danorax smiled. “Not any more. Captain got the warning out through the changeling network. Fornax took care of the one that appeared in the engine spaces. Boarders throughout the ship have been neutralized. Captain will be coming around to send these losers back to their ship.”

Point picked up the device the big cat was holding. “I wonder what this is,” he said, holding it in his glow.

“A weapon, Point.” Danorax supplied. “One was trying to shoot the Captain with one like it. He had a shield up, so no harm came to him.”

“A weapon, eh?” Point snorted. He dropped the device in a convenient drawer. “Think I’ll confiscate this, so it won’t hurt anyone. Someone help me get these losers out of here?” Point then looked at Danorax, then at a coil of wire. “Book them, Dano.” The changeling quickly trussed the two in knots of wire.

All three of the team worked with Point to get the two fallen invaders out of the decel room. In Engineering, Fornax, the Chrome Changeling duty tech, was moving a large four-legged catlike being towards the hatch to the main part of the ship. “This one here tried to get the drop on me. I dropped it.”

“Good thing, Fornax. These two came in to Decel. Didn’t last long. Let’s dump them in the corridor, shall we?” Point said sarcastically. “I would dump them overboard, but I’m sure they don’t have any vacuum protection like we do.”

“Good riddance to bad trash,” Red Light said angrily.

“Now, now, Red… we are in their space. I’m sure they have their reasons to come in like this. Obviously not good ones, or they would have talked first. Maybe they will learn to play nice with us,” Clarion Call said.

“We shall see,” Danorax said as he opened the hatch. “Captain’s coming to send them home.”

“I would, but I don’t know where they came from. I’d likely miss. Captain’s been there.” Point grunted as he dropped his big load out in the passageway.

“Indeed, I have,” Wandering said as he came around a corner. “Point, give me the weapon you took off this one. I’m trying to play nice with these folks, and taking a weapon would not be nice.”

Point sighed. “By your command, sir.” He went back into Decel and fetched the weapon, bringing it back to the Captain, who teleported it back with its owner.

“Just because they tried something nasty does not mean we should.” Wandering said as he sent the other two back. “Get ready to start decel on command.”

“Will do, Captain.”

The four filed back into Decel and waited. Soon, they felt the mass-cancellation field come up, followed by the call from Playbitz to resume deceleration, which the team did with enthusiasm and skill, firing off a concussive ball every twelve seconds, geared to have a bigger blast than before. It wasn’t long, no more than a few minutes, before Playbitz called back down, this time to suspend operations.

“What’s going on up there, Playbitz?” Radiance Point asked.

“Negotiations,” was the terse reply.

“If I was in charge, I would be negotiating with a spanner wrench and my hooves.” Point muttered, neglecting to shut off the intercom.

“That’s why Prince Destined is handling it.” Playbitz informed him.

“Prince Destined is here? Good!” Point said with a little joy. “He can get us some comm crystals, so we can call home again.”

“Right now, he’s more concerned with the others. At least he can bring word back home about us.”

“That’s true, Playbitz. Decel standing by.”

Point looked at his team. “Prince Destined has arrived, and we are no longer alone!” he declared to cheering from the unicorns. Danorax already knew, but didn’t say.

Author's Note:

The aliens want a party? Point has his own way of partying. He so hates to lose...