Nathan peered at his card and sighed. The Coraco T5 cargo barge was the slowest and weakest ship imaginable. He and Marti saw a steady parade of these rusty hulks moving in and out of the star port every weekend.
They were so dull.
'Displacement,' said Nathan finally. 'Fifteen thousand tons.'
Marti, Keil, and Benjik dropped their cards on to the table and scowled. Nathan beamed as he picked up cards for the Viper escort, Kathan frigate, and York light cruiser. In a moment, they disappeared to the bottom of his growing pile. The T5 might be slow and ungainly, but it was bigger than all of those navy boats.
Nathan picked up the next card from his pile, an A7X battle cruiser. Multiple missile batteries and bay mounted fusion guns.
'I'm calling weapons class,' said Nathan with a smile. 'Seven hundred and fifty.'
Marti blew a raspberry. 'No chance, Nat.' He slapped his card on the table and made an explosion sound, his hands simulating debris flying around. 'Lazloi transport aces your warship any day.'
Keil rolled his eyes and slumped back on his beanbag. 'Adding that new card to the game sucks,' he whined. 'The Lazloi space ship pisses over everything!'
Nathan, Marti and Benjik gasped and then laughed at Keil's swearing. He was so lucky having an older brother. He knew lots of cool words.
'You saw the battle over the star port,' said Nathan. 'Those Navy ships couldn't touch it.'
Marti started picking up the cards and putting them under his pile. 'I can't believe nobody got killed. That Lazloi ship cut one of the cruisers in half.'
'That's because they're angels,' said Nathan firmly. 'They have special powers.'
Keil imitated Nathan's tone. 'They have special powers, woo!'
Nathan shoved Keil off his beanbag. 'Your Dad's ship was totally owned.'
'Is that its real name?' Marti held up the offending card. 'It's so girly.'
'Dunno.' Nathan shrugged. 'I think all their ships have stupid names.'
Marti looked at the picture closely. 'Good picture Nathan, how'd you get all that detail?' he said with a frown. 'Must have taken you hours to draw.'
Benjik looked up at the ceiling. 'Where do you think they went?'
'Deeper into the Autocracy,' said Nathan. The other boys looked at him in surprise. 'At least, that's what my Dad said,' he added awkwardly.
The game lasted another half hour before Nathan's mother sent his friends home. Later, after supper, he stole upstairs to his room and waited for the house to go dark and silent. Satisfied everyone was asleep, he opened his bedroom window and felt around the window sill outside. After a moment of scrabbling in the dark, he retrieved a rag-covered box.
Hiding under the bedclothes, he carefully lifted the plastic lid of the box and took out a blue metal ovoid and laid it down on the sheet. He sang the alien words he had learned so carefully, and moments later a tiny cloud of lights and symbols swirled around him.
It was a thing of wonder, a gift from an angel who had caught him hiding in the trees near her ship. Instead of punishment, she sat with him for hours; hours spent drawing her wondrous and alien craft.
Sketch and Toon shader experiment of an original model created in Cinema 4D.
Scene assembly and final rendering in Cinema 4D R15 Visualise.