Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any and all similarities with persons, organizations, and groups are purely coincidental!
Johny was drowning. The stench and taste of chlorine consumed his senses and the thought that he would die lungs full of toilet water didn't help either. In his yet waking consciousness, he noticed suddenly that the desire to live was no longer there. What was the point of it all, really? To come back the next day and face more of the same? He'd spent his years in high school surviving the most brutal forms of bullying. Day after day, his torturers envisioned and implemented more pain and suffering. His entire body was always sore, covered with all manner of small bruises and cuts. What was worse - nobody cared. The one time he actually spoke about it and told a teacher got him detention and then constant visits to the creepy Dr. Bider, the school psychologist. The useless idiot paraded him before the entire school and dropped a speech of how everyone had to fight bullying... and of course, it got worse after that.
Was Johny not like the other kids, and even in some way repulsive to them? At first, he tried desperately to appease his bullies, spending his meager allowance showering them with treats. Spoke to them with respect, not that they deserved any, but to spare himself from more humiliation and more pain. Didn't work. They toyed with him even more. He tried talking like them, walking like them and even listening to the same music. Felt even more depressing and in some way Johny sensed how his mind and soul got stained irreparably by that.
Back home his mom didn't care that much about him either, it was his sister who she had with another man that his mother cared more about. Johny was living in his late father's garage and slept in his old car. During winter's harshest and coldest nights he desperately fought with his tired and sleep deprived body. He'd read all about the white death in the school library and feared that if he did lapse, they would find his frozen corpse later. After he misses a week or two of school maybe...
This time, however, his torturers decided to let him go. Johny fell to the dirty bathroom floor and inhaled. His oxygen-deprived brain registered the cheerful laughter of his bullies and someone said - "Quick, take his clothes off! I want to see his cis ass running around naked!" - the rest chuckled and after one more sound kick to the head, Johny was forcefully stripped from his clothes. They took his old pants, ripped his shirt to pieces and stuffed the raggedy shoes in the toilet. Then they kicked his battered body in the outer hall and locked the door behind.
Crawling Johny somehow got to the school yard. Luckily he missed most of the other students since they were already back in class. Next to the yard shack, shaking, Johny met old Kirby, the school handyman. He sighed and gave the kid one of his spare shirts, work pants and one pair of old rubber boots.
Back home his mother went all ballistic on him for losing his clothes and went on a tirade how she was providing so much for him and he was just an inconsiderate rowdy brat. Listening to her and seeing the disgusted facial expression of his half-sister, Johny finally snapped, stood up and simply left the house, disappearing into the night. Lying to rest near some garbage bin later, Johny uncovered one old, rusty axe and looking at its blade made his final decision.
Next day during PE class his bullies saw Johny approach them. He was carrying something long, wrapped in a bunch of dirty rags and they immediately started laughing. He got closer, eyes empty, his face an emotionless mask as he pulled the rags apart and swung with all of his strength. Soon the death screams of his bullies filled the schoolyard. They ran away from him, but he ran faster. "Beautiful at any size" didn't help when you had to run for your life from somebody with nothing to lose wielding an axe dripping with the blood, brains, and guts of your friends.
Johny was shot by the cops, but much later, after he'd axed to death all of his tormentors.
The next day school psychologist and headmistress organized an anti-axe rally. It was mandatory for all and students who came with their own posters received extra credit...
"Battleaxe"! Hey, Johny boy wake up! You got two on your six!" - the voice of C&C echoed in his ears as Johny executed the best rapid turn he could under the circumstances and fired his starfighter's twin laser cannons. Sliced in two, the enemy ship exploded and he shouted back.
"C&C I can see only one on my scanners, repeat the number of attackers again please!" His snarky answer was met with a murmur only because C&C was under the command of his father.
"Cocky little bastard isn't he?" The second enemy fighter tried to evade him, but his piloting skill was far superior, a split second later another streak of blue laser beams found the target's engine exhaust.
"Don't know dad, you and mom should know better" - Johny noticed something on his scanners - one small starship was about to exit hyperspace very close to him. He changed course, pushed his starfighter's engines to the limit plotting an intercept course. Switched off his life support system and directed all energy into his laser cannons. The ship's heatsinks began to show critical overload, but Johny didn't care much. He had his duty to his family, to his friends and loved ones back home. The enemy starship slid out of hyperspace exactly where his calculations predicted, and Johny, aiming straight at the unshielded bridge unleashed the overloaded laser beams from point-blank range. Enemy energy shields came on after a split second and then waned - their entire bridge melting and burning, the starship careened off course. A few seconds later two of the light bombers swooped towards the rudderless, unshielded corvette, ripping its hull with a couple of torpedoes.
"Good job 'Battleaxe'! That's your third assist for this flight alone! Don't you think it is high time to transfer from Interception to Bomber command?"
"Naaah! You, jokers, can have all the fun stuffing enemy warship bellies full of torps. I like the chase better!" - he responded to the cocky bomber pilots and checked his sensor screens again. Yet another hyper jump! Johny quickly shouted on their comms:
"Another one boys! Big one this time. Get stealthy and wait for me to attack first!"
"Roger! 31/52 C&C 'Battleaxe' and 'Dagger one' are executing a silent attack. Condition Stalker." Johny and the two bombers deactivated all of their main systems and aimlessly drifted in space, their ships cooling - stealth armor making them almost invisible. In the background from all that distant shots and explosions, radiation was beginning to affect spaceship sensors. And so the enemy vessel slipped out of hyperspace with Johny and the two bombers right beside.
Johny rapidly activated all ship systems and his machine streaked towards the enemy, catching them completely unawares. During the precious seconds they needed to raise shields and aim their guns at him, he managed to strafe their hangar bay. Multiple accurate hits from his two laser cannons melted and bent the closed doors, denying their ship any and all fighter support. Time was working against them now... and with bombers close by, that ship could defend itself with guns only. Again and again, he strafed the hull, carefully aiming his lasers, each time destroying more of the enemy cannons. Soon, both of the bombers launched their deadly ordinance and the three of them darted away on full engine burn, huge plasma ball behind them.
The skilled teen, now a veteran fighter pilot, eagerly grasped his starship's controls and came to a sudden realization. He was, and always would be a Starfighter!
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