In High School they called her "The face that barfed a thousand lips." That is, until the ringleader found a live rattlesnake in his locker one day. After that, they all called her "Snake." She seemed to prefer it.
She also seemed to prefer being left alone. Not liking to talk much, she perfected what she called her "killing stare," a withering gaze delivered by her large, pale green eyes. She had few friends, choosing to spend her time deep in books or with her pet snakes. When pressed, she simply said "At least they don't lie to me and pretend not to be poisonous."
She wasn't an ugly girl growing up, not by any means; she simply wasn't pretty. That was mostly due to her refusal to wear makeup of any kind, and her insistence upon wearing her hair tightly pulled back and braided into submission. This, combined with those large and expressive eyes, gave her face the unpleasant illusion of skin being stretched taut across her skull.
She wasn't sure if being named after a famously beautiful woman was her parents' idea of wishful thinking or a cruel joke. What she did know, however, was that she refused to take any shit about it. Her father beat the hell out of her for the rattlesnake incident, of course (even though the school could prove nothing), but she didn't care. For once she had been on the giving side of venom, and found she enjoyed it.
She developed a slightly cruel, almost sadistic sense of humor after that. People leave alone that which they fear. She studied psychology, learned to read people, to deduce what they feared. A poisonous word here, a killing glance there, and a reputation as a girl crazy enough to play with serpents all but guaranteed her freedom from reprisals.
She could have had a career as a psychologist, but instead chose to join the Colonial Forces. When asked by the recruiting officer why she wanted to join, she simply stated "I want a job where I can kill people and not go to jail for it." She had the qualities of an assassin: cold, patient, methodical. The rush of power she felt when observing a target from a distance was addictive; putting a round through it made her feel like a god.
If she'd been stronger or tougher -- i.e., a man -- she'd have been made a Marine sniper. But she was perceptive, and fast, and best of all smart. She was pegged for Officer Candidate School and Flight Training. Most of the nuggets there wanted to be Viper jocks; she wanted to be a Raptor pilot because "no one expects them to be trouble, and their missile pods carry one hell of a sting."
She stung a lot. A more than capable recon pilot, her true strength lay in ambush. She could lie in wait for hours on counter-piracy operations, floating silently in space on minimal power while waiting for her prey to take the bait and attack the slow-moving, unarmed freighter. She permitted herself a wicked grin before unleashing her full complement of Javelin missiles.
She was "The face that smashed a thousand ships."
The Fine Print
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