Kiran was used to falling. Her heart still rattled and electricity still danced under her skin, charged by adrenalin and endorphins and god-knows-what-else, but it was all familiar. A survival response, Em called it when Kiran had asked - purely biologic. She understood that. There was something innately, primally terrifying about the slow tumble through the void, the distant stars and planets spinning slowly around her as whichever astronomical mass with the greatest gravity in the vicinity dragged her to its core. Kiran used to look for it as she fell, trying to identify what was pulling her along through space, but she didn’t, anymore. There wasn’t any point; she could never find it anyway.
Debris knocked into her, little palm sized bits of planet and starship leftover from an ancient war. Kiran tried to remember the details of it that Inna had told her over dinner yesterday, but they were washed out by the events that had just transpired. They broke across her consciousness in disjointed flashes - the landing, the separation, the explosion, the rescue, and now, the falling.
She spent so much of her time falling.
Kiran twisted out of the way out of a drifting piece of metal twice her size, flicking the thrusters on her elbows on for the briefest of moments to aid in the maneuver. Something flashed orange in the corner of her vision and she hastily brought her wrist up, faltering when she saw how low the levels on the power gauge had dropped. The metal caught her hard on the shoulder but the pain barely registered, drowned out by the panic blossoming behind her ribcage and crawling up her throat. The thrusters had drained more power than Kiran had expected, her suit too damaged to function at its normal efficiency. She wasn’t going to make it.
“No.” Kiran was surprised at the strength with which she said it - it was her commander voice, the one she only used when training new knights or arguing with nobles. Or, apparently, when arguing with herself.
She took a deep breath. The clinical, dry scent of recycled air filled her mouth as she wiped away the dust that had built up on her helmet’s viewing window. Kiran paused, held the breath for a five count, and then let it out. She glanced at the power gauge again. It wasn’t as bad as she had first thought. They would be coming soon, and she had enough power to last her until then if she didn’t touch the thrusters again.
Power. Energy. That was what the war had been about. Inna’s words filtered back to the forefront of her mind. One empire had drained all its natural resources, sucked its planets dry of oil and gas and struck out at its prosperous neighbor in an attempt to get more. The borderlands of each civilization were entirely wiped out before a ceasefire was called to preserve the lives of those who remained.
The empires were completely gone now, though. Inna hadn’t even blinked, had simply brushed her curtain of long white hair behind her ear as she told Kiran, conversationally and with all the casualness in the universe, that the two interstellar powers had burnt each other to dust long before humans had even come up with a word for the stars.
Kiran was falling through all that was left of them.
Something else beeped and flashed, this time a soft pink on her right wrist. A message. She tapped it, then grinned broadly when the holographic screen popped up.
LILIYA: coming 2 get u!!! :-)
SOOOO i'm revisiting this universe, except in a slightly more serious manner and with new characters. everything's a bit rough at this point, so some characters names might change - i'll update the posts if they do. i'm not going to be writing consecutive parts for a while, until i can flesh out a plot, so i'll sort of be posting nonlinear bits and pieces, like mar's been doing with her story (which you should read).
idk!!!! we'll see how this goes. arthurian legend will still tie into this story/universe, it's just not featured in this part.
OH also: fer, liliya, and inna all use she/her pronouns. fer and liliya are girls. inna is NOT a girl - she doesn't have a gender. em uses they/them pronouns and is nonbinary. whenever i introduce a new character, if i don't mention their gender/pronouns in the story part, i'll note them at the bottom.
umm also i guess b/c they might be hard to pronounce: fer is pronounced like fair, liliya is pronounced like lily-ah, and inna is pronounced like ee-nuh.