(A spin on an idea I’ve been playing around with on here. There’s no cohesive narrative, so just fucking around because there’s nothing else I want to write about)
What made their bird so special wasn’t just the Eternal Shield. As much of a leap in technological mastery as that was, it wasn’t the only innovation that truly made the Killer Bee a marvel of engineering. There was also the interface on the bird. It wasn’t something that the average person would notice. Outside of the crew who piloted and maintained the vehicle, it was classified.
See, most birds have some kind of operating interface. A typical Variable Armor has so many working components that have to be kept track of that an interface with the machine is required. But this isn’t that. Typical interface is a kind of virtual intelligence system that assists with smaller tasks or keeps track of things like various munitions, particle fuel, or battle data that was relevant to what they were doing. The interface would link into their suit and feed them data as needed. This system wasn’t like that.
Killer Bee had a system that linked directly with the mind of the pilot. Using special nodes inside of their helmets, they were able to feed information directly into the mind of the pilot. This was especially useful for Kate. As it was her job to keep the Eternal Shield going, she had to keep constant track of the battlefield. Her job truly was something no ordinary person could do.
The thing is, all of the data that would go into her mind could easily overwhelm her. That’s where Quinn comes into play. The second mind is able to take some of the mental load off. Handle some of the mental stresses. Only between the two of them is the system able to function properly. This machine couldn’t be used by any one person. Unless they truly did find a superhuman.
This was why they had to be so in sync. Not just for doing their essential functions, but if their minds are in conflict, they can’t handle their respective duties. It was what had fueled their anger so much in the first weeks of their efforts. However, once the two put their differences aside, it was like they were two completely different women. Positive and negative, the system was having a very real effect on them.
As such, they were having a hard time staying away from each other. They did almost everything together. They went to chow together, studied together, simed together, and there were rumors about how at night the two would try and find reasons to not be apart. One night their CO had to order them to their respective racks. The rumor mill was buzzing about what the nature was of their relationship.
There were other differences as well. When they first met, Quinn had no interest in studying and only wanted to be in the sim. But Command was noticing how she was now almost eager to study. The opposite was true. Kate would be racing her into the simulator. The ship’s psychologist had opened a file to track the personality changes in them. The code name for it was based off of the name of the interface – the Neural Shift Effect.
“Let me get this straight,” the Rear Admiral said, looking up from the report, “the system is rewriting their minds?” In his voice was not just incredulity, but also a hint of nervousness. They had, potentially, created an interface that could change a person’s mind. If the general public ever got word of this, first thing all over the Net would be talk of mind control.
Shaking her head. “No. It’s more than that. I’ve done brain scans of these two for two months. Now that they are in sync, it’s so much more.” Leaning over. “Sir, my scanners are starting to have a problem differentiating the two’s neural patterns.”
It couldn’t be. “What?!”
“If I didn’t have their biometrics in the system, and only went off of the brain scans, sir, I couldn’t tell one from the other. Their minds have been rewritten to the point that it is effectively scanning the same person.”
A look of disbelief on his face. “How is that possible? There are so many things that make a person who they are. It can’t just be changed like hitting a light sensor, right?”
“The human mind is a labyrinth. Even now, with all the neural scanning technology we have, it’s still a mystery. How the mind is mapped to neurons is not fully understood. This system seems to have tapped into something in the human mind.”
“What did it tap into?”
This confused the Rear Admiral. It was written all over his face
“I can explain. Psychologists have found that when a large group of women are in the same place, their menstrual cycles synchronize. Many have theorized that this is because women tend towards empathy. We are cooperative by nature. It’s how we survive. Makes women very good commanding officers. Women who have accents tend to lose them in an environment with a completely different one. Our minds are wired to mesh with a community.”
Hard science. This made more sense. “Okay. How does that explain what the Neural Shift System is doing to them?”
“Well, these two have to depend on each other in battle. They’ve had drilled into their heads how their cooperation and coordination is paramount in battle. Otherwise they will die. Given those parameters, and the fact that both of them are women, their minds sought perfect synchronicity. As they saw it, it isn’t just a good thing. It’s a requirement. Otherwise they have failed. Honestly, sir, I think only two women could pull this off. Male minds are much more solitary. They favor individuality over group cohesion. It’s blind luck that these two are the pilots of Killer Bee.”
Leaning back, rubbing his chin thoughtfully, the Rear Admiral looked back at their pictures on the report.
“Is it dangerous to them? What are the long term consequences of it?”
“That’s what we don’t know. This is entirely uncharted territory, sir. We’re going to be keeping steady watch on them, but what happens next in anyone’s guess. We’ve observed that they are starting to finish each other’s sentences. It was just a couple times before, but now it’s getting more common. They also will do anything to avoid being apart. Lead to some interesting rumors below deck about the nature of their relationship.”
The Admiral chuckled. “Think there’s anything to them?”
A long pause. “Lt. Jelineau’s profile shows she is straight. Lt. McKenna’s shows otherwise. All scientific knowledge indicates sexual orientation is hard-wired into the brain. Likely genetic. At face value it sounds untrue.”
“This system is rewriting their minds so that the two are as one. Who knows what that means for their sex drive. It doesn’t appear as if they are fraternizing, but on the inside? I genuinely can’t say. Anything that happens is all new territory. As a psychologist this all fascinates me. As a sailor…it scares the hell out of me. We have a lot riding on these two, and now it’s too late to change course.”
Still looking at their pictures. “Yeah…”
There was light everywhere. Stars, shimmering all around. They were at a cloud of space dust. Beautiful. From her panel, Kate looked up. Every time they were out, she spent the entire time looking at her console, to synchronize the shield. Only now, staring out at the lights did it hit her.
“It’s beautiful,” Quinn said.
Yellow and purple clouds in front of them. The nursery where stars are born. A remnant of where they died. Bright lights inside showing the birth happening. A process of billions of years. The longest infancy of anything in the universe.
Then they changed. The clouds started moving around them. Dancing, swirling, and the stars all around were playing in the light. Was this real? Was it not?
“Does it need to be real?” Quinn asked.
How does she know what I’m thinking?!
“Can’t you feel me, Kay?”
Taking in a breath. “What do you mean?”
“Can’t you feel me inside you?”
“Don’t you finish my sentences? Like I finish yours?”
“Is that all?”
Uncertainty. Nagging at her.
“Don’t you feel me there?”
“Feel you where, Quinn…?”
Looking up, she was right in front of her face. Then, her eyes started glowing.
A twisted voice. “INSIDE YOUR MIND!”
Sitting up suddenly, breathing hard. Her face was covered in sweat. Every night these days, vivid dreams. So real that she was having a hard time discerning reality from what she saw there. At least when she was alone. But then she’d be with Quinn, and she knew in that moment what was real and what wasn’t.
Their time apart was getting harder and harder. For whatever reason, she felt her heart stop beating so hard and her mind focus better when the two were together. When they weren’t, it was like her brain wasn’t fully turned on. Briefings that she would have to listen to, or duty assignments their CO gave them, she couldn’t concentrate on anything. It didn’t feel right.
Then they were in their bird, fighting, and it felt right. When they were working in tandem, fighting, training in the sims. Anytime they were in Killer Bee, she felt normal again. She theorized that it was their interface system. At first it was unfathomably difficult to deal with all the input. Didn’t help that at first Quinn’s mind was fighting hers. The headaches were unbelievable. Made her queasy each day. But once they bonded, and the interface did its job, she had never felt a closer connection. Her brother, her sister, her parents, none of them could match it. It was like knowing a person, but deeper than that.
She could feel her. That’s the best descriptive term she had. Whenever she was around, her mind could sense it. And when she was away, her mind knew that too. It didn’t like it. They had to be interfaced! It was what they trained to do! What they were supposed to do. This need, this dependency, on some level it registered as wrong. But what other option did they have? This is war. Their crew and their friends were depending on them. A sailor’s first duty is to their comrades. Besides, if they didn’t do it, someone else would have to. Not something she could do.
The battle was heated. Particle beams everywhere. They had engaged a carrier and two escort frigates in orbit around a moon in Directorate space. They had taken a terrible risk coming here, and now they were going to pay for it with their lives. Armors everywhere, along with regular fighters. Their ship was with two others. Long-range artillery and a frigate “wolf pack” was moving to attack the enemy.
Killer Bee was moving with purpose. Quinn snarled as she closed the distance on a foe and cut it in two. They shouldn’t be here if they don’t want to die! Her belief was always that the only people who should fight are those who aren’t scared of dying. She never had been. And since she had Kate with her, she knew that she never would. Ever. Their Shield was perfect. So long as they didn’t over-exert in battle, they could keep this up for hours. TD Blankets on the particle generators kept them from overusing particles.
“Two armors, from Point 525!” Kate announced.
Moving fast to engage, she blasted the first down, moving to pursue with the second.
“Loathsome coward!” Kate snarled.
That caught her off guard. When she ever been so blood-hungry? Odd. No time to focus on that now.
The battle carried on. Enemy forces were petering out. Their defenders were running out of steam. It was over before it began. A white flare. Over already?
“All units, pursue! We have our orders. No ships escape!”
Quinn and Kate smiled. Now the fun got started! Changing over to fighter mode, she hit the accelerator and headed toward the enemy. Their ships moved to engage as well. It was a fucking slaughterhouse. Even if they could have rallied some kind of defense, it was too late now. Fire on all sides. The cruiser with so many holes in it. Pouring out oxygen, like blood from a wound. It was grotesque in the worst way.
Taking it in, Quinn heard something. A little voice in her head.
This battle is almost over!
Shaking her head, she shifted form and moved to engage one of the few Armors who was still fighting. They must know it was a losing battle by now. Trying to take as many with them as they could? Not the worst way to die. This enemy was skilled.
“He’s mine!” she said. They danced among the increasingly-destroy wreckage of the enemy ships. Her mind was focused on destroying the enemy in front of her. The enemy armor, yellow with black on it.
Why stay and fight? Run, you idiot!
What was that?! It was fucking with her mind.
Just then, from the disemboweled starship, there came the remaining teeth of the enemy. Seems that they weren’t just going to lay down and die. A ton of Armors came rushing out, all headed at Killer Bee. So few of their own fighters were in range, as they were staying out of range to avoid friendly fire. The enemy surrounded them. Quinn did all she could to dodge. It was taking all her skill to stay out of the line of fire. But this enemy was determined. They knew the score. All of them were likely going to die anyway. Why not take out the enemy’s powerful new model?
“Dammit, dammit, dammit!” Quinn snarled. Her hands and arms were growing tired at the controls in a big hurry. There was no way she could keep this up for long. The interface was feeding her so much data. It was endless. Too much. Her mind was operating on some kind of instinct now. It was hard to comprehend. Like she knew in that moment that if she was able to push out the individual, embrace the system, her ability in battle would grow exponentially. It was working.
This feeling was so surreal. Like she didn’t even exist right now. There was just the interface. Just the Killer Bee. That’s when she felt it. Another consciousness touching at her own. A strange feeling. What was this strange mind? It had to be Kate. How did she get here?
Behind her, Kate was doing nothing but working at her console. Entering calculations on the system to keep the shield in position with speed you’ve never seen before. Typing to the point that her pressing keys were a beeping kaleidoscope. As she worked, she found herself letting go more and more. Then she heard something.
If I don’t do something, we’re going to die here! I’m going to lose her!
Who was that? Such a strange sound. Something in the interface told her to accept it. The data pointed to her accepting this mind into her own. If she did that, their chances of victory went up exponentially. There was so much tension in the mind she felt. Could she quell it? Could this mind be tamed by feeling the calmness of her own?
Quinn was getting exhausted. Fear was nibbling away at her. What could they do? Was there a way out? Dodging, but the fire was everywhere. The Shield was holding. The enemy was moving out to a range where they could hold position and fire. It was like a giant sphere around them. That’s when Quinn knew, they were surrounded, and there was nowhere to run. Nowhere to dodge. They could only stay there and die.
A sudden feeling, calm and soothing. What was this? It was talking to her.
It will be okay, Quinn.
What?! The voice was inside her. Not just in her head. It was in her body.
I can handle this. Trust me. But I need your help.
Something inside of her told her to reach out.
What do I have to do?
I feel you! Good. Let me into you. Join with my mind! Together, we can do this!
The feeling was so strange, as Quinn did as bidden. Opening all of her thoughts and senses to this other women. Giving her complete access to every part of her mind.
I can do anything when I’m with you! You give me strength, Quinn. I want to be as strong as you. You aren’t afraid of anything.
I’m afraid of one thing.
If she was going to give her strength, she’d have to open up her thoughts to it.
Of losing you.
That’s when the thoughts flooded into Kate’s mind. Images of her in Quinn’s eyes. Them laughing together. How her pilot would study not because she enjoyed the task, but to be with her. Memories, emotions. Feelings of uncertainty. Was it just bonding over their military obligation, or something else? So much confusion. Then other thoughts. Passionate ones. Images, flashes. Thoughts? Dreams? Speckles of thoughts through her companion’s eyes. Was that her? What was she doing? Closed eyes, only to open and see her face. So close. What are they doing? That’s when she realized – they are kissing.
What was this? She explored the passion. It was beyond kissing. Images of her looking over at her while they changed, feeling the desire deep inside. Shame too. The conversation they had when she was talking about her boyfriend. Sadness. Thinking that this person could never feel the same way. Intimate thoughts, juxtaposed with the sadness of what she could never have.
Quinn felt naked, exposed in every way that matters. Her heart was laid bare before this person who had to depend on her in battle. Since she couldn’t dodge anymore, her hands hung from the controls as tears ran down her face.
Why did you never tell me you felt this way?
Because if I did then you’d hate me. We couldn’t work together. It would get too awkward.
Don’t you trust me, Quinn? I’m a big girl. I can handle this.
That’s when she realized, it was working. They were soothing each other, and her fingers were flying over the controls. Their Armor was shimmering with little octagons as the shield deflected particle beams. A sphere of attacks all around, impacting and deflecting. To the outside perspective, it was a marvel to behold. Red beams lancing inward from all sides, going out. One of the enemy Armors was destroyed by their own attack.
Feel me, Quinn. Reach into my mind.
As bidden, she reached inside. Seeing the anger at first, because Quinn wasn’t who she wanted. It hurt.
No! Keep going! Past this!
Now she saw more thoughts. Admiration. She wanted to be just like her. This pilot who seemed to have no fear. Who would charge into the enemy’s attacking forces without a second thought. Who charged into Hell to protect a pilot whose bird was damaged. She would protect this warrior woman! This strong, daring, fearless woman.
Then deeper. Now she could feel the sensation of their minds linking before. In the simulator. But was it just there? There was a memory, of them being in the shower together, and Kate asking her about her tattoos. It would normally violate uniform regs, but the code changes so often that it’s hard to know what is right and wrong. At least she had gotten away with it. The one on her back, of the midnight wolf with the glowing blue eyes. It captivated it. A thought – I want to trace my fingers over that.
Uncertainty thoughts now. Her wondering what she felt. Years of loving men, being intimate with them. Having a man who she loved with all her heart. Was it just her thoughts? It was like something was pressing on her. A need that wasn’t her own. Quinn realized that it may be the interface. How they could help ease each other’s burden by taking in battle data. Was it just data? Was there more to it? All of this was way too smart for her.
Do you feel it now?
Yes. What happens now?
We survive this battle. Then, I don’t know.
From the bridge, the Rear Admiral saw the display and was in awe. This was the true power of the Eternal Shield! So what if their minds are basically meshing together. For results like this, it was worth it.
Meanwhile at her console, the ship’s psychologist was reading the scans. It was impossible! They weren’t registering as separate people anymore. Their minds had completely meshed. These two women, for that time, had become one. Two bodies, one mind. What did this mean?! The implications were both fascinating, and terrifying.
Reinforcements made short work of the attackers. Their efforts had failed. When the beams stopped and the last of them tried to flee, only to be destroyed, the Killer Bee was still standing.
Inside the cockpit, the two women let go of the bond. It was hard to do. In that instance, there was a feeling of completeness that was impossible to describe. Both of them were breathing incredibly hard. To those on the outside looking it, the way they breathed and felt, it would be more like afterglow than anything.
“Kate?” Quinn said.
“Oh good, just making sure you are still with me. Are you okay?”
“You know the answer.”
Indeed, she could feel it inside. She was. Her body and mind were okay.
“I couldn’t have done this without you,” she whispered.
A warm smile came to her face. “I’m glad.”
The comm buzzed. “That was incredible, Killer Bee. If there isn’t a commendation already made for that, there should be. Head back to the ship.”
Quinn grabbed the controls. “Aye-aye, Command!” Entering the trajectory into the system, she turned on auto-pilot.
Things got very, very quiet as they headed back. Neither woman said a word. Just heavy breathing. Exhaustion hit both of them hard. Right as her mind was drifting into unconsciousness, she felt something in her lap. Opening her eyes, she saw Kate moving on top of her. She rested her body onto her lap, with her very rounded hips and bulky ass settling on top of her. She took her helmet off and pulled Quinn’s off as well.
Laying her head on her pilot’s lap, she whispered, “can I stay like this? Can we go to sleep like this?”
An awkward few seconds, then her arms went around this tired body. No words in response. None were needed. Both of them knew each other’s mind now. Closing her eyes, and wrapping her fingers into her partner’s, the two drifted off to sleep.
Until next time, a quote,
“Trust is for old married’s Buffy. Great love is wild, and passion, and dangerous. It burns and consumes.” – Spike