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The Glory Star Project: Finished Chapters

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ONE

Glory Star had heard all her life that there was nothing quite like the purple and green auroras that emanated throughout the night sky on Regulus Prime, but she was just not the sort of a girl to take things at their word. She longed to step off the world of her birth and explore others, to see them for herself.

It was a longing that her parents simply didn't understand. Once again, her mother admonished her that she must find work and become a productive member of society as the two had dropped her off for the evening at the Community Center.

She wasn't eager for the job searching, but she welcomed the opportunity to spend some time with her friends.

Just in time to pause for a look at the vista in question, though she knew better than to linger when oxygen was in such limited supply. On a world with an unbreathable atmosphere, rocks so sharp they could cut right through your outdoor suit, and a class structure which was strictly adhered to, it was pretty much unheard of to sneak off somewhere else instead of doing what one was told, yet that's exactly what Glory did within her mind. At least they had not invented a way to prevent a girl from dreaming of a brighter tomorrow.

Glory went in and waited for the airlock to stabilize before she stepped into the dressing area to remove her suit and run a brush through her long black hair. She glanced briefly in the mirror to make sure her clothes were right and apply some lip balm before she stepped into the main portion of the biodome.

Thankfully, the job feeds that were constantly shown on the computer monitors were open to all classes, even if the jobs themselves were not. Glory, who had spent the last four years of her life training as a technician and mechanics specialist, was uniquely qualified for jobs both on the planet or in space. And though her parents did not want her to seek employment off-world they could not stop her from seeing what was out there. The trouble was, the more she looked, the more she wanted to take one of them.

She spotted Lacey and Venus as they stood together by a console near the far wall. Both girls were about the same height, one blond, the other red-haired, sporting a similar build and even a similar body language. The two of them were laughing excitedly about something as she approached.

"Hey, you two," she called out as the two girls pointed to the machine feed, discussing one of the jobs. "See anything good on there?"

Lacey said, "I should'nt even be attempting to help you with your rebellion, since your success would mean my loss, but I just saw something come up on the job feed I really think you should be looking at."

"What do you mean?" asked Glory curiously as she moved to have a look at the ad her friend had spotted. She read it out loud. "Starship Captain in need of a new assistant to help maintain his vessels, plan for the future, and generally keep him sane. Previous assistant has decided to marry and remain on Regulus Prime. To apply, come to Luna One this Wednesday for an impromptu hiring event. Only persons willing to travel to other sectors need apply."

"He may as well have written the thing for you in particular, right?" said Venus, her smile quite wide as she flicked strands of wayward red hair out of her eyes. "We have got to get you up to that interview somehow. We're talking about the rest of your life here!"

"Wait, who is this guy anyway? I'm not going to up and traipse off across the universe with just any starship captain. Not all of them are very nice," Glory pointed out. She tapped on a few cyberbuttons and the panel came to life, bringing up hologrammatic details of both the captain looking to hire and information about his ship and crew.

"He's pretty hot," Lacey exclaimed, leaning closer. "I'd assist him myself if I had the balls to leave home. Of course, we all know that I don't. It's up to you, Glory, to pave the way for the future generations of Regulus Prime. Maybe once our parents see that you're successful there will be hope for Venus and me."

"What are you, crazy?" Glory asked, scoffing at both of them. "How am I supposed to go to his interview? My parents are already breathing down my neck to take a job and do my part for Regulus. They're not going to authorize me to take a trip to the moon."

"You graduated at the top of our class," Venus reminded her. "You could tell them that we've invited you to take a little time to yourself before starting at a new position. Make sure you drill it in that you've earned it. I know it's sort of like lying to them, but what's a little white lie compared to the chance to follow your dreams?"

"And did you look at him, Glory?" Lacey added, fanning herself dramatically.

Glory had not looked at him. She'd been too busy reading the data. Captain Xavier Richards apparently made a career of visiting galaxies that could be reached using the wormhole. Which meant they would spend only minimal down time in cryostasis, and most of their time actually experiencing life on the various planets. Better and better.

Then, to placate Lacey, she glanced at his hologram. Strong, chiseled features, a pair of no-nonsense eyes she couldn't quite see the color of, and a shock of golden hair, trimmed up short on the sides, but pulled back from the top into a shoulder-length braid surrounded by some remaining long hair at the back. And yes, he was as hot as a sun. She could tell even through the regulation GalactiCorp uniform that he bulged in all the right places.

"Oh, you're right, he is pretty hot," she agreed, attempting to keep her tongue securely in her mouth rather than drooling all over the place as she checked him out. "Not that I would take the job just to enjoy the view or anything. I'm trying to start a career of my own, not take a back seat to someone else's."

"Yikes, I don't know about this," said Venus. "That guy seems pretty alpha. I'm not so sure he won't end up just using you to bring him his coffee. Wouldn't that be a tragedy?"

"Shut up, V, there's no way I'd let anybody treat me that way," Glory boasted. "In fact, I've just made up my mind. I'm going to do it. I'm going to tell my parents we want to go on a one-week joy ride on Luna, and I'm going to go do an interview with this guy. Even if he doesn't give me the job, at least that way I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that I tried."

"Stars, Glory, you're actually serious," Lacey marveled. "I could never do something like that in a million years. I don't know if I should be excited by your set of balls, or bummed out because they'll probably get you hired, and then we won't be able to see you anymore."

"I'm getting off this rock in any case, Lacey," Glory insisted. "If not with Captain Xavier Richards, then certainly with somebody else. Enough is enough; it's time for me to go!"

"Speaking of time to go, it's five clicks already," Venus reminded them. "Our parents will be back to get us at any moment. We probably ought to get back into our outdoor gear so we don't have to keep them waiting. Come on, girls."

When they had on their air suits and had thoroughly checked each other to ensure they were properly sealed, the three young women headed for the airlock, waving good-bye to the ten other people who were in the room at large. Some of them returned the gesture while others completely ignored them, not that Glory cared. The three people in question were the children of entrepreneurs, whose families did not even reside in the city itself, but rather isolated themselves among the wealthy folks out in the desert. To be more precise, the entire world was a desert, its atmosphere too toxic to terraform, its soil unable to grow plant life. Everything the thousand people on Regulus Prime used to sustain themselves had been brought in from other places. People and synthetics lived in multi-family domes, and they were easily classified by the color of their clothes. Now that they had graduated from four years of tech training Glory and her friends' clothing was all in gold tones, while the snobby kids were all wearing purple.

The significance of that color choice was not lost on Glory. Centuries ago, it had been the color favored by royalty, and most of the desert dwellers fancied that was exactly what they were.

Three different ATR units drove up, each one sporting a different family crest to help them identify the vehicle they were heading for. The Star family vehicle was easily discerned by the huge, reddish colored starburst pattern painted all across the wide expanse beneath the windshield. ATR vehicles were only eight feet tall, but because Glory was barely five feet tall herself she was dwarfed as she reached the entry door and waited for her father to depressurize the interior so she could join him inside.

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