Summer, 1996: I was thirteen, and my mom, brothers, and I were living at my grandparents’ house until our new house was ready to move into. It was a good summer for many reasons (sword battles with curtain rods come to mind, for example), but it also marked a milestone in my life:
It was the summer I wrote my first novel.
Holed up in my uncle’s old bedroom with its olive green carpeting and slightly sunken mattress, I spent night after night hunched over my mom’s word processor, listening to *insert 90s bands here* on the radio and composing what I hoped would be a science fiction masterpiece.
Said masterpiece was entitled, “Fighting For the Galaxy,” and was my first foray into the glorious realm of the Mary Sue. It starred 25-year-old Commander T.J. Baer of the Galactic Military, fighting alongside her best friends, Jen and Jessica, against the murderous Sffon Collective. It featured space battles, aliens, romance, betrayal, intrigue, inexplicably bikini-clad maids, and a guy named Rendar. And it was, I felt at the time, the finest thing I – or, quite possibly, any other author in the history of mankind – had ever written.
The other day, while going through a box of old writings, I found Fighting For the Galaxy. And I am here now to tell you that it is both phenomenally bad and completely hilarious. For those reasons, I will be sharing it here on this blog as part of a regular installment I will be calling…
Of course, today is Thursday, but why split hairs when there’s awful, hilarious pseudo sci-fi to be shared?
Fighting For the Galaxy
by (13-year-old) T.J. Baer
In which we meet our heroes, are told of the future of mankind in the far-off year of 2007, and realize that T.J. is the only person in the whole damned military who is capable of spotting an obvious trap.
Commander T.J. Baer ran as fast as she could down the hallway, fastening her flight helmet onto her head as she did. She was 25 years old and had been in many battles. Most of them they lost, but you never knew what the outcome would be. She was a proud member of the Galactic Military, fighting against the Sffon Collective.
For a long time, the people of Earth had assumed that they were the only beings in the entire galaxy. They were wrong. There were trillions of other beings out there, all kinds of other life forms on other worlds. The most dangerous were the Sffon, mainly because they looked on the outside to be pretty much identical to humans.
The Sffon had decided that they weren’t going to try to enslave the people of the galaxy like most tried to do. No. They were going to destroy every single being in the galaxy that was not a member of the Sffon Collective. On every planet the Sffon took over, the citizens, one by one, would be inspected by a mind-reading computer. Only the people who sincerely wanted to join the Collective and help them to destroy all other beings were spared of being executed. Needless to say, they didn’t spare too many.
Whenever the Sffon had attacked a small planet just outside the Milky Way galaxy, a member of that planet managed to escape in a ship. Her name was Sonda Ghhi. The Sffon hunted her down, and she accidentally led them to Earth, which was in uncharted areas. The ship that had been chasing her shot her down, and she plunged into Earth’s atmosphere.
She landed safely not too far from Washington D.C. and tried to explain her predicament. Unfortunately, she did not speak English. By the time scientists figured out what she was saying, it was too late. The Sffon returned with reinforcements to take over the planet that housed so many humans. Believe it or not, there were many other humans around the galaxy not native to Earth.
Luckily for the third planet from the sun, the Galactic Military had picked up Sonda’s radio signals for help and showed up to defend Earth. It was one of the few battles the Sffon lost, and they were definitely upset about it.
That meant that the Galactic Military had very little time to get the people of Earth ready to join the fight for the galaxy.
The many races of the Galactic Military spoke many different languages, and English was one of them. All humans who enlisted in the Galactic Military were implanted with a special translator. It was a tiny microchip that Military surgeons connected to the human’s brain. That way, no matter what language was spoken, they would understand every word because they would be hearing their native language.
When the Sffon attacked Earth, the humans were ready. A huge space battle lit up the sky that night, and the Sffon lost again. T.J. Baer enlisted when she was 17, the day after she graduated from high school, with her two friends, Jennifer Edwards and Jessica McKinney. T.J. very quickly earned the rank of lieutenant while both her friends were still ensigns.
Somehow, Jessica, Jen, and T.J. managed to stay together, both serving in the Santol Squad, a commando team captained by Torel Abrigio. Captain Abrigio was a 40-year-old human from the planet Kraelia. He had joined GaMi (abbreviation for the Galactic Military, pronounced “gamma”) at the age of 33, and was one of its most trusted members. He promoted T.J. to the rank of commander when she was 24, and Jess and Jen to lieutenants the same day.
Finally, T.J. arrived at the hangar bay, the huge room that housed all of GaMi’s ships, including the young commander’s fighter, the Silver Bow. It was the fastest ship in the whole fleet.
She climbed into the Silver Bow and strapped herself into the pilot’s seat. After that, she delicately lifted the headset off the armrest and placed it over her ears.
“…to lift off,” Lieutenant Quimby was saying from the control tower. “I repeat; all pilots prepare to lift off.”
T.J. adjusted the headphones so they were directly on her ears. “Lieutenant Quimby,” she said. “Do you read me?”
“Affirmative, Commander,” he reported back. “Are McKinney and Edwards in their crafts?”
T.J. strained her eyes. “I think so. Wait, let me check.”
She hit a switch on her headset so she could communicate ship to ship and with Quimby. “Jess? Jen? You guys on communique yet?”
She heard some static, and then Jen replied, “Yeah, we’re in a two-seater, and Jess is at navigation. I’m piloting.”
Jen, a year or two older than both T.J. and Jessica, was a better pilot than Jessica, so whenever they shared a two-seat ship, Jen usually flew while Jessica navigated.
“So, what exactly is going on?” Jessica wondered to no one in particular as she put on her headset.
Lieutenant Quimby answered, “The Sffon dug up some old Yyughn Haulers, and they’re trying to attack the colony on Saturn.”
Jen furrowed her eyebrows. “Ship names aren’t my thing. What are Yyughn Haulers?”
“They’re huge ships almost as big as half a good-sized moon that the Yyughn used to use to haul equipment and food. At least until the Sffon dominated their planet. They took the Haulers and built some damn good weapons systems into them to use in their attacks,” Jessica explained as she typed the coordinates for Saturn into the computer.
Jen nodded as she absorbed the information.
Quimby cleared his throat. “Back to the present business, it’s time we got this defense under way. All ships, this is Quimby speaking. Prepare to lift off and form squadrons on my mark. Ready…now.”
T.J. revved up the engine and gripped the joystick that controlled the Silver Bow in her right hand. She was just as nervous as she always was when entering a space battle. And mainly because there was always the chance that she or one of her friends might not come back. It was a constant worry for everyone in GaMi, because you just never knew.
The young Commander was the head of Squadron number 6, so she maneuvered her fighter so it was in the position in front of the other five ships. They were presently in star formation, directly behind Squadrons 3, 4, and 5. Each squadron formed a star, and all of them together made a huge diamond shape that was the most effective for battle. There were nine different squadrons in all.
Jessica took a deep breath and closed her eyes, resting her finger on top of the firing button.
“Good luck, everybody,” T.J. said into the microphone on the headset. “Remember, keep your heads on straight and keep your distance from the Haulers. The Cruisers will take care of them. Just worry about the fighters and your squadron members.”
In Jen’s opinion, the worst part of the entire battle was waiting to get there, not knowing how many ships there were or how close the Sffon were to getting into Saturn’s atmosphere. She held her breath for a moment as Saturn swung into view, then let it out when she saw that the Sffon had not even attacked the colony yet. There was only one Hauler there, nothing else.
Through her front window, T.J. was observing the same scene. “What the?” she murmured to herself. “Carrington, see if you can get a reading on the far side of the planet.”
Jolena Carrington typed the commander’s request into her keypad. “No, I can’t,” she said in surprise.
T.J. shook her head. “Neither can I. Either both our computers aren’t working right, or someone doesn’t want us to know what’s over there.”
She straightened up in her seat. “All GaMi ships, this is Commander Baer. Please withdraw from attacking the Hauler until my command.”
As she had expected, she soon got a priority one message from Captain Abrigio, who was on the Cruiser beside the fighters. “Why have you ordered the fleet to stop, Commander? You’d better have a good explanation for this delay.”
“I do, Captain Abrigio,” she replied. “No one in my squadron can get a reading on the other side of the planet. This is obviously a trap orchestrated by the Sffon. They’re trying to lull us into a false sense of security so they can spring the trap on us whenever we attack that Hauler.”
Abrigio sighed. “Trap or no trap, we have to defend the Saturn colony, Commander.”
“But if they have enough ships, they can destroy us.”
“They won’t,” Abrigio said surely. “All ships, this is Captain Abrigio. I order you to continue with defense procedures.”
“We can’t, sir,” T.J. protested. “The Sffon will spring their trap, and we can’t afford to lose any more ships to them.”
“Those are your orders, Commander,” Abrigio said firmly. “Are you going to follow them or not?”
“Not,” she said, hoping that he wouldn’t court martial her for this.
He cleared his throat. “Then I hereby relinquish you from command of your squadron. You will return immediately to the Cruiser.”
She sighed in defeat. “Yes, Captain,” she said, turning the Silver Bow to the right and flying straight for the larger Cruiser’s open bay door.
“All fighters, continue,” Abrigio said.
T.J.’s headset crackled with static as another fighter contacted Abrigio. “Captain, this is Lieutenant McKinney. I agree with the commander, and refuse to attack.”
“Number one, we are defending, not attacking. And number two, we don’t have enough time to sit here and argue. Either follow my orders or you can join the commander on board the Cruiser. That goes for the rest of you, too.”
The two-seater fighter carrying Jessica and Jen turned around and followed the Silver Bow. Only two other fighters left the diamond besides T.J., Jess, and Jen.
“Now, all other fighters move in to make up for those missing and attack that Hauler before it destroys the colony.”
“I thought he said it wasn’t an attack,” Jess muttered to herself as she watched them go.
“Maybe I’m wrong,” T.J. said. “Maybe this is just like it looks. There have been times when more than one ship’s systems screw up at the same time.”
“No, T.J.,” Jen said. “There’s definitely something weird going on here.”
“Yeah,” Jess agreed. “We wouldn’t have left the fleet if we didn’t think you were right.”
At that moment, the five deserters landed one by one in the Cruiser and exited their ships, awaiting the captain. As they waited, T.J. stared out one of the large ship’s windows. That particular Cruiser was the only ship that hung back; the rest had already reached the Hauler. No shots had been fired yet.
Just as Abrigio entered the hangar bay, the huge Hauler exploded.
The Sffon had left the ship in orbit around Saturn, jam-packed with over 600 bombs, all set to go off when the fleet arrived. The sensors on the GaMi ships had been messed up so that they could not tell whether life forms or bombs were on the ship.
The explosion was so bright that it blinded everyone in the hangar bay for a few moments. When T.J. could see again, she looked in horror at the sight before them. The multiple bombs had had so much power that the entire GaMi fleet except for Abrigio’s Cruiser had been destroyed, including most of Saturn. All that remained of the planet was about 1000 miles of ground that floated freely through space and would eventually crash into either a planet, a star, or a ship.
The only good thing that came out of the incident was that they now knew that there was no way the Sffon could obtain that may bombs again for awhile. It took a lot of money and effort to obtain that many explosive devices, even for the Sffon.
It was not likely that they would blow up any other planets, anyway, because they only needed to kill the people – they wanted the planets. It was strange; the Sffon actually thought they were doing the galaxy a great service by murdering everyone. Overpopulation had long been one of the worst problems they faced, so this was the Sffons’ perfect solution to it.
Captain Abrigio grimaced. “I’m sorry, Commander,” he apologized. “I should have heeded your warning and ordered the fleet to halt until a better reading could be taken.”
T.J. was really ticked off, and even with the threat of a demerit or a court martial, she had to let her feelings be shown. “Well, I’m glad you’re sorry,” she fumed, spinning away from the window in anger. “But your apology won’t bring back the ships or the people who were destroyed in that blast. Maybe next time I have a hunch, you’ll look into it further than you did this one.”
Surprisingly, the captain did not yell at her; he simply hung his head and said, “Come, we must report back to GaMi command on Earth.”
They all nodded. The five of them, Captain Abrigio, and the crew of the Cruiser were practically all that was left of GaMi’s fleet in this solar system. Jen knew that Abrigio was not going to get off easy on this one. T.J. had given him good advice and a good warning of the possibilities, and he had not listened to her. And hundreds of innocent beings had died because of his blunder.
TO BE CONTINUED…!
Tune in next week for the thrilling second chapter, in which T.J. meets her violet-eyed love interest, Rendar, and Jen throws a happenin’ late-night party (despite the fact that hundreds of people and the majority of the GaMi fleet have just been blown to itty bitty bits).
Until next time~~~!
Click here for chapter two.