This is a pre-Pull of Gravity story featuring Nike.
To the Stars
Smoky haze permeated throughout the training area. Nike crept into the fake jungle. A bird called toward her right, and she just barely resisted the urge to cover the area in laser beams. The weapon felt cold and heavy in her hands. She much preferred her knife, but she’d have to get her scores up, if she wanted to be accepted for Mission: Colonization.
A cardboard alien popped up to her left, and she spun around. Two quick blasts charred the effigy beyond recognition.
When a trap dropped toward her, she rolled and blasted two more cardboard creatures. A fourth popped up, but she held her fire a split-second before she realized it was a supposed crew member.
Don’t mess this up.
She rose to her feet and was about to continue forward when the lights came up.
“Nike, a message came for you. It’s urgent,” a voice called over the loudspeaker.
“Dammit,” Nike muttered under her breath as she jogged to the door. She blinked into the sterilized white light when she entered the corridor. The lieutenant strode over to her with a slim piece of paper in her hand.
“Thought you might want to see this. It’s about Mission: Colonization.”
“Thanks,” Nike said, taking the letter. It appeared too thin to be what she’d been praying for. Why hadn’t they given her more time to prepare, to prove herself? She swallowed the lump forming in her throat. Her finger slid underneath the envelope’s opening when she really wanted to rip it to shreds. Certainly she’d failed, right? Her ticket off this dying planet was slipping through her grasp.
Her hand trembled as she pulled the paper out. She unfolded it, and tears sprung into her eyes. She couldn’t read after that first word: Congratulations.