PANDORA
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PANDORA

By: Jenna Perez OngoingSci-Fi

Language: English
16

Chapters: 13 views: 1.0K

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The genetic engineering is used to strip all sapient species of disability. But when humans have a brief fad of natural birth disabled children start reappearing.

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13 chapters
Chapter 1
I watched the Nīpa's whiskers twitch and forced myself to take deep breaths, so my satisfaction wouldn't show on my face. He wasn't the first Nīpa I'd encountered with that particular tell. Most people never noticed, because the Nīpa's constantly sniffing noses made their whiskers twitch all the time. But this was a different kind of twitch, one I'd picked up on in nearly a decade of lingering in gambling dens. It followed a fast, short rhythm, tick-tick-tick, and made the Nīpa's pointy, rodent-like muzzle wrinkle. "Nīreep," the Nīpa said. His whiskers tick-tick-ticked all the faster. Ante-up, basically. I shifted my Kāchik bag in my hand, letting the stones roll beneath the worn leather as if contemplating. I knew what was in my bag. If this bluff went wrong, I'd have to make a run for it, and this was the last gambling den in the sector that I hadn't thoroughly plundered. I'd have to move, find a new shithole for me and my birds to live in. And I knew at an
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Chapter 2
The chips paid out.Suddenly I had a month's rent plus extra burning a hole in my pocket, thanks in part to Captain Chui. I paused at the stairs up to the restaurant, patting the pockets of my cargo pants. Yes, there was the small butterfly knife I always kept with me. I carefully slipped it from a lower pocket to a higher one. Yeah, I knew I didn't stand a chance in hell of fending off this woman if she got violent, but maybe the knife would be enough to stop her from doing so. I wasn't going to survive everything I'd been through only to be done in a restaurant. Like fuck.I climbed the stairs, my arms folded across my torso, my fingers playing with a hole in the elbow of my hoodie. Damn. I'd have to get it replaced soon.An assortment of smells assaulted my nose as I stepped into the hallway of the restaurant level. My stomach growled furiously, reminding me that once again I hadn't eaten all day. I tried going over the numbers in my head, wondering if I coul
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Chapter 3
Maybe it was because of that smile, which warmed her features considerably and made her body language seem less closed. Maybe it was just pure shock. I stared at her, a frank, blatant stare that would have gotten me a slap back home."Are you completely space-fried? What could you possibly want with me?"The captain leaned forward and gestured to my plate, which I hadn't touched in a while. Obediently I cut into my roast beef. The faint warmth coming off the plate itself kept my food from getting too cold, so it still tasted fine, but it was hard to eat. My heart pounded with anticipation, though what it was anticipating, I wasn't sure. I chewed quickly and thoroughly, swallowed past the lump in my throat, then cut another piece, waving it on the fork to demonstrate that I was following orders."Tell me, Xandri. Your opponent down there...how did you know to bluff?""Oh. Um..." Shit. The food churned in my stomach, along with disappointment. She really wa
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Chapter 4
I held the bag of leftovers close to my side as I made my way home. Wraith's young, bright sun was heading for the horizon, spreading darkness along the streets, and I wanted to be safe in my apartment before night fell in earnest.A lot of the busted up, pitiful shop stalls were closing for the night, but other things were coming alive, filling the space around me with noise and presence. I shrank in on myself as a pair of shutters banged open nearby. Next to me the lights flickered on in a pawn shop, and a short way down the sidewalk, someone let out a growl of frustration. Deep, triumphant laughter followed the sound."Sorry, my friend," I heard a voice say as I neared the spot. "Looks like your luck's run out."I glanced over, peering through the crowd and spotting a shell station. Ugh, shells. I didn't play shells anymore; couldn't make enough money off it. Generally the game runner let you win for a while, let you build up confidence, and I was pretty damn
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Chapter 5
Think she'll come?"Captain Chui Shan Fung glanced up from her holo-slate. Akcharrch, her Ongkoarrat companion, sat at the foot of Mr. Spock's ramp, scratching her belly with one of her three-toed feet. I suppose that might more properly be hands, Shan Fung thought. Aki had six, after all, and had never once expressed a preference.In truth, there were many things the Ongkoarrat never expressed preference on; they simply couldn't be bothered. They had no concept of gender at all, and the crew of the Carpathia had ended up calling Aki "she" due the pitch of her voice, which was-especially to human ears-vaguely feminine. Aki didn't seem to care what they called her, as long as her pilot seat was always ready and her copilots weren't utter rust-brains. For despite her vague resemblance to a bulky, two and a half meter long sloth-bear and the fact that she walked on all sixes, Aki was one of the best pilots in the known universe. It was an Ongkoarrat thing."I hope so," S
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Chapter 6
I watched every second of takeoff. There were small round windows in Mr. Spock's spherical sides, and I sat by one, my nose practically pressed to the glass. As Mr. Spock's powerful thrusters engaged, pushing us away from the planet's surface, my heart sped up. My pulse pounded a drumbeat, a chant: freedom, freedom, freedom. I'd longed for the freedom of space most of my life, and now it was right before me.Up we went, powering through the atmosphere and then out again, out among the stars. I bit back a laugh. Wraith dwindled beneath us, quickly changing from planet to small, bluish ball, smothered in heavy, swirling clouds. Those clouds had earned it the name Wraith, for it seemed almost ghostly against the black backdrop of the universe. If it weren't for this solar system's bright, young sun, Wraith might well be unlivable."I hate getting off this planet," Aki grumbled. "All these damn grav-tracks.""It's the commerce and tourism," I said quietly. "Wraith h
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Chapter 7
"There's our Carpathia," Aki announced. She didn't have to tell me. If it wasn't for the fact that she'd ordered me to strap in, I'd have had my face against the front viewscreen like a kid plastered to the display window of a candy store. A Crystalliad-class troop cruiser. I'd never expected to see one up close, mainly because they were all decommissioned years ago. She was built along typical lines, in the almost arrowhead-like shape favored by the Sanavila. Opaline shimmered in an ever-shifting array of colors along the curves of her hull. She didn't have some of the dramatic flair seen in other ships-her tails were curved back and only slightly longer than her spindle-but then, she was a warship; she didn't need flair. "She's beautiful," I breathed. Captain Chui chuckled. "I'm glad you appreciate her. Some people think I'm space-fried, cruising around the galaxy in a ship this old." "We-ll...I might have upgraded her hull to opaline-d, mys
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Chapter 8
Music drifted out from R&D as the door slid open. I tilted my head to listen; the guitar had a sound unlike today's synths, so I thought it might be Ancient Earth music. R&D was a singular room split up into six stations, with the largest one taking up a fair bit of space against the right-hand wall. There was also all kinds of machinery I didn't recognize, aside from the 3D printer. Most of the work stations had two people at them, working in what seemed like relative harmony; a bit of chatter here, a little teasing there. Only the biggest work station was occupied by a single individual, and since it looked vaguely like the wreckage of a fire bombing, I figured the man there had to be Diver. He had his back to me, fiddling with something on the table and swaying his hips to the music-which, I noticed, came from a podcaster at his station. I approached quietly, fascinated by the way the light glinted bronze in his shaggy, fawn-colored curls. And by the fact
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Chapter 9
Argh, I'm gonna be late again! Which way...damn it! It was only my third day aboard the Carpathia and I'd already discovered-the hard, humiliating way-that I was in no shape to navigate the grav-tubes. So I went everywhere on foot and spent most of my time lost in the ship's gleaming corridors. So far I'd been late for every meeting with the Xeno-liaisons team. Sure, I could've asked Carpathia herself for directions, but I didn't want to bother her. Being a starship had to be time-consuming. "Lost again, Ms. Corelel?" I managed to clamp my teeth around my first impulsive response-are you stalking me or something?-and turned to face First Officer Magellan. Like most Kowari, Magellan towered over me, standing, I figured, around two meters twenty-five, give or take just a little. Sometimes humans referred to Kowari as Viking kangaroos, and I guess I could kinda see why, though I didn't approve of the term myself. Their bodies were somewhat kangaroo-like
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Chapter 10
Shan Fung sighed as the door slid open without her permission. She knew who it was, of course. She had scheduled his meeting for this hour and, as usual, he had arrived on the dot. I suppose if nothing else, he's never late. She briefly considered pulling her sidearm on him-as she would have with most of her soldiers, to remind them that her lenience had limits-but he was the one member of her crew who might just be dangerous enough to give her a run for her money."You rang, O' Captain, My Captain?" he said, putting on a mockery of oozing salesman charm as he stepped through the door.She pursed her lips; he was also one of the rare members of her crew who could test her composure. "Good afternoon, Mr. Diver."He fell into an at ease position-even the civvies on her ship learned basic military stances and how to salute properly-and grinned at her. She was not unaware that he was good-looking, or that he was a genius; but he was also a pain in the ass, and for t
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