Bridge of the UNSF Jotunheim
Her eyes scanned the floor of the room, only peeking up occasionally to see the judging looks of her superiors. The stale air and slight taste from smoke left her mouth dry, but water was far out of the question at this point. The steel walls and few windows, peering out into the starry abyss, had now become her courthall. The old men around the room whispered amongst themselves, passing glances and daggers out the corners of their eyes.

“Isn’t that Knowles’ kid?”

“How much trouble is she gonna give us this time?”

“Who can say?”

Their muffled words rang in her ears clear as day, her sweat covered palms tightly gripping one another behind her back. Her head sunk further, biting her lip while she attempted to hold the tears welling up in her eyes back. Nothing could prevent what was about to happen, her fate already removed from her small hands, their judgement could only be one thing and it certainly wasn’t the promotion she had been dreaming about. The grand bridge of the Jotunheim, where she was to be crowned a hero in the future, had lost the wonderful glow it always had in her eyes growing up. The stars behind the windows, had seemed to lose their shine.

A rough pair of hands clapped once to silence the room from beyond the long table before her, only her heartbeat pounding filled her ears now. The man from the other side straightened up, his chin resting lightly on his interlaced fingers, “Well than, shall we get started. Ms. Knowles, I take you know why you’ve been called hear.” The man’s deep monotone left her speechless. Once a very warm and supportive voice, now called to her with a cold accent. Her shoulders reached up as if to comfort her sinking head. Her knees shook uncontrollably until a firm slap from her hands stilled them.

“According to the report you and a few other recruits had been hanging around the Burroughs again, even though you had been warned multiple times to avoid doing so without alerting at least you’re superior officer.”

“Typical kids, never listening.” One of the gruff voices, now slouching in his seat scowled.

“Upon arriving you all had decided to visit some of the local bars, although none of you were of legal age to do so. Is all that right so far Ms.Knowles?” The man inquired, putting the report down briefly to examine her response.

She remained frozen, unable to move or respond. Each attempt only met with the tight grip of her situation strangling her words. Her tense grip on her fidgeting arms was the only thing holding her together.

“Ms. Knowles please answer the question.” Another voice reached out, slightly kinder in tone, but still seeking a response she did not wish to give.

“...Yes...Sir”, she let out in a meek voice unable to project confidently.

A sigh resounded throughout the room, “Lord Tammy...”, one of her father’s many friends let out from one of the seats. Her face scrunching back at the comment.

“Let’s get back on topic shall we. Ms. Knowles, from there you all are said to have encountered a bizzare Arorem asking questions to some senior officers, also present in the Burroughs.” The cold voice continued from the other side of the room.

Tammy almost leapt out of her skin, but kept herself grounded, only setting off a few alarms from the eyes around her. “...Damn alien freak.” she leapt escape in a low irritable voice.

“The group with the Arorem seemed to have left the Burroughs and headed towards the dead Baleshi present on the asteroid.” He dropped the papers once again and looked back to her. “Strange as this is, it doesn’t explain why your little group followed them out. You’re all fairly against the continued existence of these aliens, so that could explain quite a bit.”

“Kids were probably hoping to find some conspiracy or stop a rampaging alien. They’ve always had their heads in those damn war time simulations. Now they can’t tell the difference between the two.” The man, sitting next to the interrogator, made light of the situation, but only managed to draw the attention from Tammy for a few moments.

“Enough.”, The man at the end of the table began again. “We still need to get through the rest of this incident.”

Tammy’s eyes searched around the room as she fidgeted in place. Like a trapped rat she began to panic at the piercing gaze of her captors, mind racing, unable to notice the constant call from across the room.

“Ms. Knowles!” The cold interrogator’s hand slammed down on the table, the sound reaching out and dragging her back to reality. “May we continue now that you’re back with us?”

“Y-yes Da-, I mean Sir...Sorry.” She squeaked and tried to return to attention.

“Then recount for us what happened after that.” He sank back in his seat and folded his hands back onto his waist.

Tammy let out a large sigh, body sinking and centering herself once again. Eyes to the floor she begins to force what words she can. “W-we saw them in the whale talking in front of this giant pile of fleshy tubes scattered throughout the part we were in. The Alien had covered himself up, different from their usual weird clothing. They were talking about something but we were too far to hear what exactly they were saying. I decided to get closer to hear a bit better.” She paused, the dryness in her mouth returned and her breath shorter.

“When I got closer, the alien showed a strange circular mark on it’s arm to the others and mentioned that he probably was going to die soon, as a sacrifice for one of the elders. Claimed that the elder wasn’t a fan of him wanting to explore the dead Baleshi. But he wanted to finish exploring before they came to get him. Goddamn Ali- *Ahem* It really irritated me hearing that.”

“Ms.Knowles this doesn’t explain what occurred next. Please explain why you shot Lieutenant Amata.” All heads turned, all faces plastered with confusion and shock at the statement. Beads of sweat fell from her brow, she bit her lip, trying to mask the pain welling up in her chest. “Not even the other Lieutenant on the site can fully grasp why you, an avid Xenophobe trying to rise in the UNSF ranks, would attack a senior officer.”
The room remained silent and Tammy stood motionless, unable to retort to her superiors. How could she respond when the truth was already out in the open.

“We’re waiting for a response Ms. Knowles.”

“...Some other aliens...the really big ones...They ran in out of nowhere, and seemed really off. There was a weird smell as well emanating off of them that made me feel pretty nauseous. Without a word they went to grab the floating alien and knocked the other Lieutenant to the side. A fight broke out and the others took off without me...The Lieutenant, who got hit, had a few ribs broken so I pulled him to the side while their attention was on Lieutenant Amata and the floating alien. One of the creatures threw something at Lieutenant Amata and let out some strange gas near him. She fell to the ground coughing but managed to knock over one of the large tubes from the whale, crushing the two large Aliens underneath.”

“From the sounds of it, the situation was put back under control and Lieutenant Amata saved all of you. So then why did you attack him?” Admiral Knowles kept his calm demeanor, unphased by the danger that recently befell Tammy.

Her knees jittered once again before finally giving out, face in palms, unable to hold back the tears that had been welling inside. “...He almost killed us. His eyes were red and he didn’t hear anything we said , but he just kept shooting and shooting.” coughing kept cutting her off as the tears kept flowing down her cheeks. “He just kept screaming incoherently at the floating one, not even caring if we got hit or not. Some debris came down because of it and it caught my leg underneath.” Her face scrunched in a pain, yet an air of disgust rang in her words. “The floating one tried to get my leg free..It got hit somewhere on it’s lower body and fell to the ground.”

“We don’t have a report of what happened to the arorem afterwards, was it killed by Lieutenant Amata?”

“...No, Sir. It got away.”

“From what you’ve been telling us it doesn’t sound like the Lieutenant would have failed to do so.”

“...I...I grabbed the Pulsar on the ground...and I...shot Lieutenant Amata. To save the alien...” All heads reeled back in shock, mouths were gaped open except for the Admiral. He had sat straight up, eyes widened and confused, the sound of his spilled coffee, dripping to the hard metal floor, was the only sound that could be heard throughout the room.

“You? You shot a superior officer to save an alien?” All heads searched the room, looking for some answer to this strange turn of events.

Tears still welled in her eyes, she looked up to the crowd of superiors circling the table. “How was I supposed to just sit there and watch someone get killed after trying to save us. You all raised me to protect those who can’t protect themselves. What would it all have meant if I let someone who tried to save us die!” All heads remained fixed, no one able to respond to such a statement.

The Admiral sank back into his seat and flipped through the report. Again and Again he searched for something, but seemed to no avail. He placed it down on the table, pinching the root of his nose before making his declaration. “This council will discuss this further at a later date, until then you will remain under strict supervision until we come to a verdict. You are dismissed Ms.Knowles.”

“...Yes, Sir”.