January 1st, 2552 In a heartbeat
Pilot Katherine ‘Kat’ James Reporting
My name is Kat James, I’m a Pilot on the Vision Project – a deep space exploration mission consisting of one Space Station, the Valhalla, and seven sister ships: Freyja, Norn, Valkyrie’s View, the Edda, Twilight of the Gods, Thought, and Memory.
I’m a conscriptee assigned to the Valkyrie’s View and I am one of the lucky ones.
I know people in my situation say that they’re innocent, that the system failed them– that it wasn’t their decisions that brought them here– not me.
I know that every decision I made, informed and ill-informed has led me to this ship, this job and my position on board. The judicial board thinks I’m mercurial at best, a high risk. I guess it’s fair. I’ve been convicted of felony kidnapping and murder. I could say I’m innocent, but the law is very clear.
I might have thought I was part of a rescue operation– but it was a kidnapping, which is a felony– especially when the woman we rescued/kidnapped was a computer specialist who happened to be worth a lot of money to certain authorities, so I guess that also means I’m guilty of espionage.
I wasn’t even part of the original crew, and I definitely wasn’t in on the planning. My brother and his friends had concocted this mission and their pilot was arrested running drugs to one of the penal colonies. They needed a pilot– and that’s where I came in.
I could blame my brother for that– but again, I knew the kind of things he was into and I should have known he’d lie to me about what was going on. He’d justify it as ‘protecting me from the truth’ but it really didn’t protect me when I was arrested.
I could have gotten them away safely, but by then I knew this wasn’t a rescue. My chance to change things came when one of the pursuing officers went into cardiac arrest and his ship’s systems took over, landing him on the nearest rock and sending out a distress beacon. I couldn’t let the man die- so I landed my craft next to him and rendered aid.
The kidnapping victim and I got off, I believe there was some gun-waving, but in the end, they ran and I rendered aid. I was arrested once the ambulance crew arrived. The rest of the crew were caught a week later. There was a shoot-out and two of the crew died.
The law was very clear – death associated with the commission of a felony is murder, and every guilty party is part of that murder. So… I had a lot of conflicting things going for and against me.
I was part of a kidnapping. I saved the victim, and an officer, someone died… I was part of it.
With the victim’s testimony and that of the arresting officer, I was given a choice – Penal colony or space exploration. Guess which I took?
In a heartbeat!