Short Story : Herald's End.

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OneoftheLost
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Short Story : Herald's End.

Post by OneoftheLost » Fri Nov 27, 2009 6:22 pm

As an experiment in writing skill and fanboyism, I decided to put a small short story up in parts. Not what I originally planned, but my job's insane hours give me something like forty minutes of time to write. So, I give you, forty minutes of un-edited writing! Hopefully more parts will be added as time goes on. Any criticism would be greatly appreciated. Not very good at this sort of thing.

:D

Thanks for reading!

Image




My god, the stars...

Hundreds of the blinking lights shone through the infinite blackness of the abyss. The three viewscreens in front of him where filled with them. Slowly the pilot leaned back in his chair. Eyeing the left viewscreen with a hint of concern, he pushed the steering yoke forward, pushing the ships' nose downward, and hopefully out of the 'lane' of traffic going into, and leaving the station.

At its pilot's bidding, the Python class frieghter sunk downward. The pilot pressed a button on his console, and the center viewscreen's view suddenly changed. Now it showed a perspective from the rear of the ship, allowing the pilot to see a spinning decahedron shaped mass. The engines where at 'full-burn' and a trail of yellow and blue partially obscured the Coriolis space station. Just behind it, a massive green blob filled part of the screen.

Lave

The planet was infamous. Or more accurately, the system where it made its residence. Many a spacer had started his or her career here. The Lave Academy qualified those with the credits for space flight. Licenses where issued by a rather surly frog aboard the orbiting space station.

Having just left a rather heated encounter with just such a dockmaster, the young pilot gave a scowl. This promised to be an interesting trip. Putting the ship onto a course aiming directly at the sun, Orin Minea'r leaned back into the pilot's chair and observed the deck around him.

The only being on deck, Orin was alone. The first thing one noticed when entering the bridge was how run-down it looked. Frankly, this ship had seen better days. What little paint was left was mostly old and mottled. The bridge was now a scuffed steel plated floor, with hull plating making up the sides and ceiling. Broken illumination panels flickered, and a lone dented locker sat to the rear next to the entry door. Three consoles made up the area all of witch looked in various states of dis-repair. The front left was for damage control and combat. A single screen showed ship schematics and various gauges, showing the overall health of the ship and her componants. (with most parts of the ship in a discouraging yellow, and a few in a rather alarming red.) The front right, where Orin was sitting, contained a condensed verion of this on the viewscreens. Front and aft shields, all seven of the energy bank bars, the IFF scanner, and fuel, cabin temperature, and laser temp. readings gave a wealth of information to the pilot. The final console, in the middle rear, was for the captain, and gave a read-out of cargo, licenses, system information, trade route plans, and other much needed trading information.

Lounging back in the chair, Orin Minea'r made for an interesting sight. A spacer through and through the young man carried the look well. He couldn't be more then twenty season cycle's of eage, and was dressed in a fleece long-sleeved shirt, and baggy grey 'chino's. Thin red sneakers covered the feet, while messy black hair topped the head. Numerous watches and bracelets adorned the right arm, up to the elbow. On the neck, the top of a tattoo was just visible.

Suddenly the front viewscreen gave a beep. Orin sat up, and grinned. Flipping several switches, he leveled out the yoke, and then pressed a button to his right with his thumb.

A countdown slowly started.

15s until Witchspace jump...
14s until Witchspace jump...

Orin turned and opened his mouth to speak into a headset hanging from the chair.

Then he paused and watched the countdown.

10s until Witchspace jump...

Tapping his fingers, he waited until the timer hit 4s, and thumbed the mike.

"Aigh't ye' loverly crew looks like we'll be makin' a jump. O'ld on."

His think accent was barely discernable, but it got the point across, and then... blue rings.

More accurately, multicolored rings that the viewscreens portrayed as blue, purple and black. The feeling of weightlessness was common, as was the horrible wrenching as the ship re-imerged from Witchspace into realspace.

Orin was no scientist, he didn't have any idea how Witchspace worked, just that it had been discovered a long time ago, connecting the various planetary systems. In this case, Orin had just issued a jump from Lave to a rather rich system known as Zaonce.

Grinning to himself, the young man awaited the rest of the crew's arrival, he hoped they had been around the table eating, or maybe sleeping. Technically he had given warning...

Suddenly the IFF scanner beeped, and two red blips appeared, as well as a third below the scanner. He had been targeted.

Orin shot a nervous glance torwards the captain's console. Did they have a bounty? Zaonce was an infamously safe and high tech system, for pirates to be here...

Orin pushed the acceleration lever up to 'max' and pressed a small button with his free hand. A loud beep sounded, accompanied by red lettering along the screen.

'INSUFFICIENT FUEL FOR WITCHSPACE INJECTOR USE'


What in the?

Orin cursed himself for a fool. Ulan must not have fixed that fuel leak!

"Ae' nae... CAPI-TAAAAAN We mightn' have an issue."

The last was half spoken, half chirped into the headset as Orin pulled the yoke into a hard left. The Python spun on its axis, and then performed a 'twist' as Orin dodged several blasts of red laser fire. They where pretty far off.. he just couldn't FIND them yet.

Lining up the red grid of the scanner, with the first red bleep, Orin squinted at the view screen, searching the endless black for SOMETHING, ANYTHING.

His heart racing, Orin squeezed two red buttons atop the steering yoke. The old Python shuddered as a single pulse of red light shot forth, and then fizzled out.

No. Way.

Sure the python was OLD, really old, but it SHOULD have fired a continuous beam... unless the captain sold the Beam laser for a Pulse? For cash?? Orin closed the right viewscreen out, and activated the equipment screen in its place.

About this time the first of the enemy laser fire slammed into the nose of the freighter.
______________________Part 2_______________________________________


Sluggishly she turned over.

Not now. Why now?

Sitting up she studied her surroundings. It took a second for her to realize what had originally woke her up. A young man's voice was spilling from the intercom near the door.

“ -ight have an issue.”

Rising from the futon she made her way over to a small dresser adjacent to her sleeping area. Overall the quarters where cramped, consisting of a bunk, dresser, and door connecting to the bathroom. She pulled open a drawer, and withdrew a neatly pressed and folded uniform. Her movements where robotic, tired. As she turned she studied herself in the mirror above the dresser. The woman looking back looked much older then she really was. What had once been beautiful blonde hair was now tattered and hanging down to her shoulders. Her once gorgeous blue eyes showed lines of weariness and worry. The high cheekbones where more pronounced with enunciation. Frowning, she pulled a white T-shirt over her head and bra. The blue Galcop Navy jacket was pulled over the shirt, but not buttoned up. The name tape on the shoulder read 'Jeffries' with the single black bar of a liutenant pinned just above. Adjusting the yellow-pin striped, cuffs, she drew out the pants and held them out at shoulders length.
Suddenly several blue 'pop's where heard as the ship's shields actively repelled something

Brianna sighed, reaching into the drawer, the woman withdrew a pair of old-fashioned jeans and pulled them on as she stumbled towards the door.

Making her way down the corridor, she passed several other rooms, and paused to slam her hand on one of them, before continueing to a stairway. Making her way up old, rusted railings, she emerged into a small commons area. The couch and table where a blur as she started to run. One more portal and she was in another hallway. A few more turns, and one more staircase, and Brianna was on the bridge.

Breathless, it took a few seconds for her to grab the Captain's console and figure out the situation. An experienced combat pilot, it only took the shield indicators and a few seconds to realize that they where under attack. Judging by how fast the aft shield was failing, and how depleted the forward shields where, Brianna guessed that it wasn't going well for her ship. Looking over Orin's shoulder she found the young man was flying straight, obviously trying to line up a shot on their attacker. The young pilot was leaning forward in the seat, staring into the black, trying to line up the crosshairs with anything that looked like it was moving.

“There, left.”

She saw it first, but Orin was already firing as the shape came into view. It was very fast, and the small frame made for a hard target. Despite this, Orin thumbed the yoke and sent several more red beams of light in its direction.

“It's small, and dark.... a re-painted Asp?”

Brianna frowned, replacing the cargo screen with a copy of what Orin was looking at. It definatly bore a resemblance to the infamous hexagonal ship. In fact, with that speed, there wasn't much else it could be.

“Maybe, seems a likely pirate vessel.”

She thumbed her free screen and gave Orin a sharp glance. No wonder she had trouble getting up, he had just made a witchspace jump to the Zaonce system.

“Orin, have you called the authorities?”

The pilot suddenly cursed, and threw the yoke into a hard left, in less then a second, the entire ship careened and twisted, several of the lights flickered. Still gripping the railing, the Captain yelled at the pilot.

“Damnit Orin! Hit the injectors and make a run for-”

She didn't finish the sentence as Orin repeatedly tried to activate the fuel injectors. He didn't even look back, instead letting the read lettering of the ships warnings fill the screen.

'INSUFFICIENT FUEL FOR WITCHSPACE INJECTOR USE'
'INSUFFICIENT FUEL FOR WITCHSPACE INJECTOR USE'
'INSUFFICIENT FUEL FOR WITCHSPACE INJECTOR USE'


Brianna clenched her fist and hit the intercom.

“Engineering, as I am sure you are already aware, we are under attack, could one of you kindly take the time to dump one of our reserve fuel cannisters into the tanks?”

Ulene and Javis must have been off duty, or eating. Still ONE of them should have been down there to at least notice the damned fuel leak. The jump to Zaonce shouldn't have drained the tanks.

Nobody bothered to respond, and Brianna turned her attention to Orin, who was getting rather animated in his piloting.

"Rat-bastard, slimy, yellow-toed grizzle wonky!"

He practically spat each word at the screen, his nose inches away from the cross hairs. He punctuated each breath with a pulse of laser fire. The second ship was now visible as an old first generation Cobra. The Asp was a proven combat ship, commissioned for Navy combat, its lithe frame was designed for space combat. The Cobra however, was more of an all-purpose ship. The very first solo fighter/trader ship, it had light defense capabilities, and an average speed. Orin focused on the lesser of two evils, and turned to face the Cobra head on. The cross hairs crowned and flanked the incoming pirate. Orin took several deep breaths, and repeatedly thumbed the yoke.

The results weren't immediate, as the Cobra's shields absorbed the fire. Then a small bright light appeared towards the rear of the ship. The enemy pilot pulled up, and turned to run. Orin was relentless, firing again, and again. In a matter of seconds, super heated metal, and other parts where ripped from the ship, and then a reddish glow appeared on the hull. Suddenly the ship was consumed in fire, the engines glowed, and then died. Just as fast as it had started the fires dissipated as all available oxygen was sucked into the void of space. The wreckage of the ship was all that remained. Brianna exhaled.

However, Orin wasn't done, and the python was still taking hits. The rear shields suddenly gave a whine, and a warning blare filled their ears. Cursing, the young man whipped the ship to the left, and then again. He was slowly twisting and spinning towards the enemy. All the captain could do was hold on to the railing and hope for the best. Her world spun, and she had just righted herself when the intercom came online.

"Captain, fuel's filled."

Orin sang with glee.

"Hyaa! Oh, Hey, Hey Captain Jack!!"

Brianna winced, recognizing the old song immediately, it was a particular favorite of the old Captains.

"Meet me down by the shanties' and the shacks!"

The Python suddenly shot forward, as Orin activated the fuel injectors. The fuel bar slowly drained as the young man raced directly towards the Asp. He wasn't stopping.

"Orin...."

Bracing herself, Brianna watched the front shields dissipate under the Asp's withering fire.

He was oblivious, repeatedly firing at his enemy, the man was absorbed.

"Put a blaster in my hand..."

The Asp pilot suddenly realized what was happening, and moved to pull up. The freighter was slower, but significantly bigger then the fighter craft. Its cargo bays alone could probably fit an Asp inside. A head on collision might damage the Python's nose, but it would also decimate the Asp.

Having lost his support, and now with reduced shields, the Asp pilot suddenly turned tail. Brianna grinned as two purple flag-blips appeared on the radar. The police had finally arrived.

"I wanna be a killing man."

The last was whispered as Orin leveled the ship out, and aimed for the planet in the distant part of the view screen.

Brianna watched him, and said nothing. He made no acknowledgment of her, or the two sleek police craft giving the Asp chase.

He simply hummed the tune to his song.

Brianna sighed, and made her exit.

There was no point in chiding the young man. He simply didn't listen. Ever since the loss of Frank, the Captain, the whole crew was 'on the fritz' as he liked to say. Brianna paused in the hallway, and put her hand on the wall. Captain Frank Jarn had been many things, but most of all, the heart of the ship. He didn't really need any of them, an experienced spacer, the man had taken them all in at various points during his travels. Orin had been with him since the beginning, and had known him the best. They both had been part of a salvage crew, and had moved on to other, bigger things. The young man had been born on a Boa class freighter. He was a spacer in the truest sense, rarely going planet-side, he made a living on spaceships, or working on the docks. An endless drifter, he had fallen in with all sorts of folks, and knew a damn sight more then he should at his age. Despite this, or maybe because of it, the young man had a childish attitude, and a temper to match. His moods went from one extreme to the other, Orin lived his life to the fullest, and thought little of anyone who didn't.

In truth, Brianna knew little about him. Frank had picked her up at a station bar. He had been looking for a crew member, and had found a lover. For her part, she was ex-military. Once a Navy officer, she had served during numerous pirate and Thargoid conflicts. After a few short months, she had been first mate, and it was a source of personal pride that Frank had always turned to her when things got tough.

They usually did. Frank was a trader through and through. He took any chance at a profit, and this had led to rather dangerous parts of the galaxy. His crew a collection of mis-fits, his ship a floating hunk of junk, Frank had lived a tough life, yet the man had never bent down, never taken orders from another being, nor had he ever let his spirits waiver. A source of inspiration for his crew, his loss had been devastating. He couldn't die, this was HIS ship.

Brianna turned, her eyes stinging. She needed to see Javis. One of the other 'pillars' of the small crew, Javis was the chief engineer. He was another experienced spacer, and longtime friend of Frank's. He had operated on the space lanes longer then some of the newer ships had been in service. Frank had called him a 'wise-old man.' Orin had called him a 'relic' Orin's distaste for the man was obvious. Javis had never commanded his own ship, always working for others. He had originally worked as a head technician for Zorgon Petterson Group, and was rumored to have been involved in the failed re-make of the famous Fer- De-Lance luxery transport.

Brianna made her way past the crew quarters, and down to the engine room in the rear of the ship. It was dark, and various fluids covered the floors around the massive metal shapes before her. Numerous cages of tools flanked her entrance, and she could make out the generators to the sides of the reactor. To the far rear, she could make out the top of one of the massive engines.

A small figure was standing near one of the cages, Brianna recognized Ulene as the girl was pulling at her overalls, frowning at some black substance that had found its way onto her left shoulder-strap.

Ulene was a mystery wrapped in an enigma consumed by silence. She never spoke, and Brianna had the distinct impression the girl had been 'rescued' rather then recruited. Frank never spoke of her, and Orin knew little. She doubted the captain's intentions had been entirely pure, she'd caught more then a few guilty glances going her way.

Brianna wasn't an idiot. Frank had done some very bad things before he'd started trading, and this was how he had met Orin. She knew Frank was smart, and whenever she brought up piracy or theft, Orin actually laughed at her. She hadn't pressed, and after what she had seen during service, had just been happy to find a man.

Still sometimes she wondered...

Turning, Brianna was startled by Javis emerging from the opposing cage. he gave her a warm smile as he rubbed a part with a rag.

"Evening Captain, did we win?"

The man wore another set of overalls, and the only hair visible was his graying goatee.

"A Viper patrol came along, although Orin got one of the bastards. Did you know we jumped?"

The man nodded, creasing his brows in worry.

"He called it before-hand. You didn't?"

Turning, the captain regarded Ulene.

"No, I was asleep."

Javis put one hand on her shoulder, she flinched at his touch.

"Listen, if there's somethi-"

She turned, her face expressionless.

"Don't finish that sentence. I am fine."

The words where forced, but he got the point.

"Alright. Fuel's good, the leak happened during the jump. One of the rear stabilizers caught and tore at the tank plating."

She creased her eyebrows. Not being an expert on this ship, or its inner-workings, she barely pieced together what he was saying. Common sense told her it shouldn't have happened however.

"Aren't there things in place to prevent that?"

The man snorted, and moved towards the reactor.

"Of course, the gyro bolts are supposed to keep the stabilizer's in place, however... to be frank, its been a long time since this ship has seen proper maintenance. I'm good. Very good, but sometimes these old ships just need a complete servicing."

She turned to the exit.

"I thought these damned things can run forever."

Javis laughed, leaning down and into an open vent on the reactor's outer-casing.

"They can. With proper maintenance and services."

Brianna Jeffries gave a sigh, and turned to leave.

"Don't let it eat you up."

Startled she turned to address him, but Javis was already gone. Only Ulene stood, still absently picking at her shoulder strap. She looked up and Brianna, her face un-readable.

---------------------------------Part 3------------------------------------
{E/N: About to go on a business trip, won't be bringing my laptop, this next part is short, and was only spell checked. I'll probably fix it, and do more updates on the 'road' Again, thanks for reading.}

Javis hummed as he walked. The ship had just docked, and each member of the crew was making their way to the command deck. Behind him, he was aware of Ulene, she kept a couple paces behind him, but never enough to let him out of sight. He knew nothing about her. She had been on the ship almost as long as Orin had. He paused at the door leading into the common's area. Looking back he waved his hand forward, motioning for the girl to take the lead. She paused, her arms hung limply at her sides, she looked up from the ground. The pale face was framed by locks of curly black hair. The eyes where devoid of any emotion, they studied him. It was hard to tell if she was displeased with the notion of taking the lead, or if she simply didn't know the way. Whatever the case, the girl did nothing, waiting instead for the older man to continue.

Frowning, the old mechanic continued on his way. Several more corridors, and they arrived at the portal to the bridge. The portal was open, and voices could be heard.

“Dammit Orin! I've had about enough of your attitude. Suck it up and drive on.”

“Scuse' me soldier girl?”

From the sounds of it, someone had just gotten to their feet.

“Frank is gone. I'm in charge now, we need to kee-”

“Who in the hell put you in charge?! Did we vote? Was there a vote?”

Javis heard Orin raise his voice with the last.

“No. You where just his squeeze, just another floozy. You have no right to this ship. I've been around longer, I've fought longer, and I'll be damned if you are going to-”

Someone snapped their fingers.

“Do what? DO WHAT!? Fly? Trade? Pirate? You don't even have a plan. You fly by the seat of your pants, waiting for the Captain to rescue you. This ship has COSTS. You-”

Orin snapped, finishing the sentence for the acting Captain.

“-have been flying a hell of a lot longer then you. Just another Growlsoon.”

Javis winced. The term was a spacer's term, and mainly used in bars. It was not a kind word, and never used in polite company.

The silence lasted for a few seconds, then a foot step was punctuated with the sound of a loud smack. Javis hastily made his entrance.

The Captain was standing less then a foot from Orin, her arm hanging down diagonally in front of her. His cheek was a bright red, and his eyes seethed with hatred. The edges of his mouth started to part as a hideous smile started to form.

Javis coughed.

Both figures froze, Orin turned and snarled.

Then his whole body language changed, from the loose hunter's coil, to a tense almost embarrassed stance. He was eying Ulene. Javis watched the younger man. Orin regarded Ulene as his only family. He'd never accepted the other members of the small crew. It had been him, the Captain, and her. To him, there was nobody else worth knowing. When Javis had first joined the crew, Orin had been going through a phase. He had been convinced that Ulene was trying to bottle everything up, and that he could help her. He'd tried various things over the weeks. Jokes, innuendo, friendly competition in the engine room, even poking. Nothing had gotten through. She never smiled, never held her breath. She blinked every once in a while, and this was the best he could get. For whatever reason, he'd grown attached. He called it a relationship. Said he was dating her. He wasn't very well socialized, and had spent too much time on the space lanes. Javis felt sorry for the young man.

“What do you want you old fossil?”

Javis may have been old, but he had been an avid body builder in his time, and still kept his body trim and cut, even now at fifty-six cycles old. He was build like an ox, and any sort of physical responses Orin may have had planned for the Captain, where put on hold.

“Are we docked?”

Not being able to get a rise out of him, Orin snorted.

“Of course. I'll be shopping.”

With that, the young man was sliding past the captain, and towards the exit. He only stopped to blow a kiss at Ulene.

Brianna's chest was heaving and she was clenching her fists.

“Damn whelp! What the hell does he think he is doing?”

“He is grieving. “

Javis emphasized the last, and turned to her.

“So are you.”

Brianna opened her mouth, and then closed it. She spoke through gritted teeth.
“I'm fi-”

“Lavian excrement. You haven't left this ship at any of the last six stops. Your quarters in the last four.”

Brianna turned to Ulene, looking for something to say.

“Whatever happened to you in those faraway battles, they are still affecting you, and Frank's death has only intensified that. Not to mention the workload as of late. We are all putting in extra time just to keep this old girl afloat. What we need are some new crew members. Someone to help pull the weight around here.”

The trick was to keep Brianna focused. She was a soldier through and through, and you had to keep things simple, give her missions, something she could put all of her energy into. The Navy had never taught her how to grieve.

“I- Fine.”

The woman slumped her shoulders in defeat. She made her way towards the exit as well.

Javis turned to Ulene.

“Well, now is a good a time as any to pick up some gyro bolts, and check out the showcase.”

Javis led the girl to the exit, and waited as the ship's airlock depressurized the two of them. The process only took a few seconds, and then they heard the hiss and clank of the airlock opening. Javis stepped out, and onto the Python's exit stairs. The ship itself was absolutely massive. With a 100 tons of cargo space, you could easily fit a small planet side building inside the sizable hull. It took several minutes for the remaining crew members to get down, and on to the docks.

The 'docks' where little more then various berths and magnetic couplings holding ships in place. Dozens of hoses and clamps sealed the ship and re-fueled and performed diagnostic checks on the spacecraft. Dozens of movable walkways connected what was known as the 'catwalks' together between ships, and helped get the crew where they needed to go. Each space station was the size of a large asteroid, and each side of the station held a small city sized area of buildings and architecture. In this case, the 'ceiling' was actually the core city, containing diplomats and various other important people's and their residences. The 'bottom' contained most of the visiting peoples and ambassadors, as well as traders, and the people accommodating them. Markets, engineering shops, stock buildings, brokers, bars, and various other services for the average spacer.

The 'showcase' has it was known, was where all of the latest and greatest in spaceship technology was flaunted before the general public. A massive area dedicated to the newest models and most expensive of spacecraft.

While Javis could have sat for hours studying each stat and performance value of the beautiful craft filling the floor, he would have to pass them up in favor of getting to his favorite machine shop on time. Ulene was a close tail as they moved through the crowds. It was 'high noon' on the station, and everything was complete chaos. Javis quickly maneuvered past a small crowd, and ducked into one of the auxiliary walkways. Making sure Ulene was still with him, the old mechanic grabbed hold of a passing aerolift, and grabbed Ulene's hand. In moments the two where swept through the traffic, the various denizens moving out of the small vehicle's way. Javis and Ulene where unceremoniously dropped off in front of a tattered and beaten old warehouse. The neon sign read “Milan's Machine Shop.”

Javis had just grabbed the door handle when a commotion was heard from farther down the walkway. Ulene looked over, and tapped Javis. The source of the commotion was easy to spot. A bar by the name of The Space Dredger. Javis knew the bar, and the name wasn't too far off the mark. With a little sigh, he remembered that this also happened to be a favorite of Orin's.
_____________________________Part 4______________________________
An explosion, the abundance, and then absence of light. This short lived saga served as the precursor to what followed.

The room was familiar to him, the steel locker against the wall. The hinge-bed with its metal frame held against the wall by two black straps. The small lock, a makeshift nightstand. Atop the lock was a small pistol. It drew the eye, not because of the shape, more the age. More a relic then an actual firearm, the revolver's barrel was framed with gold, while the massive cylinder held intricate designs. The pearl handle continued the tale, this was obviously a custom tailored weapon. It felt good in his hand. His arm's length ended at the barrel of this gun, as opposed to the fingertips some angry deity had bestowed upon him. It was as short walk down the corridor. He was standing in the bridge now. Two figures turned to greet him. One, the captain. His captain. The other, a woman. Blonde curls framed the perfect face. The delicate features accented with just a hint of age. The blue eyes showed the warmth of greeting, which quickly changed to confusion as he drew the gun and looked down the sights at her. He lined up the rear stubs with the single front stub. Three white dots lining perfectly, side-by-side.


It was an easy thing to pull the trigger. Even the recoil of the weapon kicking against the palm of his hand, was barely noticeable to the young man. She fell forward, the cherry red lips opening in a small gasp. The pistol followed, and one more report was heard within the cabin. Something slammed into him. Frank stood up, looking down at him, a look of horror on his face. In one swift movement he was at her side, trying in vein to stop the twin red rivers running down her blouse. His own mouth agape, Frank screamed silently.


Orin tried to look at his captain, to speak, but it was an effort. The other man's modified arm was strong. Strong enough to cause the 'crack' sound Orin had heard as he fell. He assumed that was his ribs giving away to the other man's adrenaline powered attack. It was all so ...fast Not like the holovids at all. Nothing worked, and for a long moment a silence fell over the bridge. Then, a whisper so soft, it could barely be heard over the whisper of the ship's engines.

"Frank, she was one of them."

Frank didn't even look up, instead cradling the corpse in his arms. His face buried in her neck. For a moment her golden curls framed both of their faces, and then he looked at Orin.

"I know."

Then he was sobbing again, leaving Orin disoriented and confused.

A second explosion. Nothingness became reality, as color was sent forth, covering the area in more then a green tint. It was a long moment before Orin realized that he had been overwhelmed in memory. Perhaps he had been unconscious? It was a fortunate thing that his senses where slowly returning, because now he could feel the fist slam into his face. It happened with startling regularity, in fact, it was so frequent that Orin could hardly feel the pain anymore. Almost. Then, it stopped. Yelling. A roar followed closely by a wet smacking sound.

Someone grabbed his shirt collar, and started to pull him. Orin slowly spat blood onto the floor as he groggily tried to stand. The pair of hands conceded, and a moment later the young spacer had just managed to rise to his feet. Blinking his eyes, Orin breathed heavily, a single hand jabbing at his sore nose. It was covered in warm liquid. Inspecting the stuff between his fingers, Orin deduced that it was blood. What a great detective he would make! He must have been grinning, because a familiar voice growled at him.

"Did you enjoy yourself?"

Eyeing Javis, Orin simply continued to smile his dumb smile. He reached a shaking hand into his pant pocket, and withdrew a small card. It was the universal gambling chip. Used in seedy bars and casinos around the 'verse, the chips where loaded with a pre-determined amount of credits, to be changed upon winning or losing a gambling session. Judging by his expression Orin had done well. Javis had just dragged a rather large looking fellow off of the young man's face, so he assumed it hadn't all been entirely by the rules. Still, he was a big man, and Javis prided himself on his fighting ability. Rubbing his jaw, the man said nothing for a long minute. Orin was a great many things, and stupid wasn't one of them. The kid obviously had a plan, and this gambling somehow paid into it. Giving a small sigh, Javis looked about. The two where standing outside the Space Dredger bar. The denizens within where quiet, obviously trying to start another game to earn their lost credits back. Out on the walkway, dozens of various lifeforms could be seen under the luminescent glow of the neon lighting. An insectoid here, an aging feline there. A pulsating amoebae blinking at a weathered old woman. Two plant-like humanoids waved long green stems at each other in some sort of greeting as they passed. Javis frowned, Ulene was nowhere to be seen. Looking at Orin, the older man simply shook his head. Then he was approaching the machine shop, not caring if Orin followed or not.

It was some time before the two emerged, and even longer before they found themselves in the shipyards. Javis looked up longingly at a brand new Boa. Fresh from the shipyards, the massive vessel wasn't actually in the station. Instead, a life-like hologram hovered over the showspace. A display for the real vessel, intended to show off the features and abilities of the spacecraft. If you actually purchased the vessel, it would be delivered along the ship docks. Most of the time after a three to four day wait. This particular hologram depicted the much touted Boa II Clipper. The stats read like a spacer's dream. An improvement over the already stellar Boa Class Cruiser, the Clipper had a significantly improved top speed thanks to a third stardrive. It also boasted stock fuel scoops and heat shielding for sunskimming fuel, and long distance traveling. The improvements came at a cost, allowing for only 150 tonne cannisters of cargo space. Still, the cargo space was ample enough for most cargo contracts. Javis winced as he compared the maximum speed of 0.362lm to his own Python's. The aging freighter could only get up to 0.20 on a good day. With 100tc of cargo space, the python was an ideal trading vessel. However, it still didn't stack up to the much faster, and much newer Boa line. In fact, the old pythons where no longer in production, having fallen to the way-side during the recent boom of space vessels. At one point in time, pythons had formed the back-bone of civilized space. Now, they where a cheap relic from an older time. Much like himself.


Javis grinned as he turned to survey Orin. The younger man had moved further down the show floor, and was surveying a smaller, hexagonal craft. Javis recognized the craft immediately, it was almost as old as the Python. A Cobra Mk I. The craft was infamous for being the ship that had started the 'single-trader' revolution, eventually culminating in the Cobra Mk III. Nowadays, these first all-purpose craft where dated, but still useful as cheap fighters and miners. Hadn't Brianna mentioned them fighting off a pirate version of this very ship? Shaking his head, Javis surveyed the stats on the Mk I. It told of a 0.26lm top speed, and 10 tc's of cargo space. It also boasted a price range of 100,000 credits. Why was Orin so absorbed? Studying his enemy? Not bothering to ask, Javis continued to look about for Ulene. It wasn't uncommon for her to disappear on a station, especially if given time to herself. Still, he would have though she was at least close at hand. Giving a shrug to nobody in particular, Javis found himself eyeing a refurbished Python. It never failed to shock him how much a seller tried to pawn off the old ships for. Give a new paint-job, and a few new generators, and they seemed to think people would buy them for 200,000cr. It was ludicrous. Looking over the stats on the read-out, Javis found his view kept focusing on the required crew section. 20-30 people where standard for such vessels apparently. It was complete hogwash. Javis had never seen that many people on a Boa let alone a Python. Now, an Anaconda maybe, but who other then corporations could fly and maintain those damnable things?


Javis thought back to their ship. Frank was gone. In fact, what had once been a crew of fifteen had been reduced to four in a matter of two jumps. He hadn't talked to Brianna in a spell, but Javis was fairly certain they where in pretty dire straights monetarily. Maybe she had gone to the accounting department for a loan? Maybe they would be reduced to begging the black monks for some credits? Shuddering at the thought, Javis turned to find himself facing a still-bloodied Orin. The kid had managed to wipe off his face, but bits of red could still be seen around the bruising that was starting to form along the nose.

"We should find Jeffries. I have an idea."

For once the kid was speaking without that silly accent, which meant that he was very focused on something. Javis simply fell into step as they found another ride, this time to the docks.

The familiar outline of the Python came into view. She had once been named Angelus Lacrima, based on some old, dead language back on earth. Now however, the laser scarring covered up the name, and Javis could hardly make out the cursive lettering. They had stopped using the name when the captain had died. Still, the massive vessel was quite impressive. The vids, and holograms never showed how BIG these space constructs where. They seemed to go on for a mile at least. Javis couldn't even make out the engines of the famed 'space porcupine' as they walked up the entrance ramp. Entering the airlock, Javis couldn't explain it, but he suddenly felt much better aboard the ship. Almost as if he was 'home' again. A strange feeling for someone who had spent the better part of a millennium jumping from ship to ship. The two found Brianna in her quarters, mulling over spreadsheets of some sort on her personal computer space. The 3d display shone from her desk, various numbers and symbols where highlighted next to a line representation of the ship. Entering the small room, Javis thumbed his comm-device. He was told they looked like old pagers, except that one could send various messages and sounds at the touch of a button. One of his pre-loaded messages he sent to Ulene, along the lines of, 'get over here'. Then he was watching Orin and Brianna. For a moment neither said anything, and then Orin sort of kicked at the floor, and eyed the cieling. Then, he withdrew the credit chip again, and placed it on the compu-desk.


"So. I'm thinking, that we shouldn't be ruled by ghosts."

The accent was back, and the voice was husky. Javis watched Brianna's raised eyebrows, he couldn't tell if she was shocked at his appearance, or the fact that he was in her quarters. She gave Javis a look he knew all to well, but let Orin continue. After a moment, the young man did.

"Space is vast, anna' we been doin' one thing. Not very adaptive. Our ole' mantra told us to trade, but there is so much MORE to what we can do. I think we should start taking on o'other' jobs. Ah' think we should.."

He paused, squinting at Brianna and wringing his hands.

"Maybe do other things. Mine, accept contracts, annae' maybe head to one of the other 'quadrants' of the verse."

Javis blinked at the last part. The known universe consisted of 8 'quadrants' located throughout the massive galaxy. This was the limited of space travel, and to reach the other quadrants specialized, expensive, drives where required. Javis watched as Brianna rolled her eyes and stared Orin down.

"What the hell are you babbling about? Can't mine without a laser. Can't take passenger contracts without passenger births. Can't leave this damn quadrant without an Intergalactic Hyperdrive. All of these things require money."

The woman paused, brushing something off of her navy dress jacket.

"Which, I shouldn't have to tell you we do-"

Orin interrupted, with a wave of the hand.

"We are standing on a hundred and fifty something thousand credits. Plus the twenty thousand credits the captain had in savings."

Brianna blinked, looking at Orin as if she where looking at a small child.

"You want to sell the ship? Frank's ship?"

Orin nodded.

"A ghost ship, suited for tradin' and not much else. We could use the money to pick up a used Cobra One, and another, smaller vessel. Get a mining laser, and hit some of the un-charted asteroid fields near the Dyno rift."

Brianna simply frowned at Orin, while looking at Javis. She had no idea what the Dyno rift was, and Javis only had a passing knowledge.

"A natural wormhole near a dead star in the Stellios system in quadrant 2. Its uncharted because no known navigational equipment works due to the nebula interference from the dead-star."

Javis supplied the last, having had time to wrack his brain while Orin formulated his own response.

"Sort of. Frank an' I charted an escape route through there. Found an asteroid belt in the area, with a mean ol' rock hermit."

Javis hadn't heard of anyone living out there, but he wasn't suprised by anything anymore. Space was truly a strange place. Suddenly his comm-device beeped. The man reached down, and blinked.
Brianna eyed him.

"What?"

Javis could read the subject of the message, but instead he held up the circular device, and pressed 'play.'

A silky, feminine voice could be heard.

"This is Ulene. Thank you. Goodbye. Elfeesio, delmarco"

The last words where a common spacer phrase, used in parting, basically wishing a safe-voyage.

For a long moment nobody said a word. Then Brianna just sort of shrugged. It was bound to happen sometime. Most of the other crewmembers had left several jumps ago. With nobody to hold the crew together, it was beyond Brianna's control to keep them on a dying vessel. A vessel that they really didn't have the manpower to crew effectively. Turning, she waved the two men out.

"Leave me be for a bit. We will discuss the future at supper."

The crew's formal dining in the mess-hall was about the only time they got together on a regular basis outside their duties. Javis bowed out, and waved for Orin to follow. The youngster was impatiant, and obviously unhappy about being put-off, but he caved, and instead of starting a shouting match, made his way torwards his own quarters. Javis wasn't suprised, getting the tar beat out of you, tended to take the energy as well. Shaking his head, the mechanic ducked into his own living space.
Last edited by OneoftheLost on Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:12 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Post by DaddyHoggy » Fri Nov 27, 2009 9:32 pm

A good start!

Good pace - intriguing.

A few typos, interrupt the flow on ocassion, but I liked a lot.

Well Done.

(and nothing wrong with a short stories in Parts - that's how I did Lazarus - I just kept editing (appending) to my original post)

Looking forward to part II
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Post by ClymAngus » Fri Nov 27, 2009 10:09 pm

Pirates, always a problem. I eat them. But then that's just me. :D
http://www.aegidian.org/bb/viewtopic.php?t=6035
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Post by drew » Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:35 am

Good start! Keep it going! Do the typo check, and (for me) the stylised speech is hard work. I'd rather be told they had an accent and then be able to read it normally.

Zaonce eh? You want to be careful in that system, all sorts of bad stuff happens there! :wink:

Cheers,

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Post by OneoftheLost » Sat Nov 28, 2009 6:24 pm

Well hey there, wasn't expecting any reads this early on. My original plan (of which I have a bit already completed) had a complete storyline, with various plot points and such already thought out. However due to time restraints I can't pen the story in the style I would like, so I decided to put the story on hold and start something new, and less intensive and detailed. Instead of focusing on plot points and the environment, I'm putting all of the effort into the charectors, their backsories, and cobbling them into various situations. We'll see how it works.

Thanks for the idea, Daddy, I'll amend and typo check the first post before putting up the second part. Thanks for suffering through it,
I'll try to put some spell checkage into the next part beforehand.

Drew, thanks for the read! :oops: I just finished both of your works, as well as the Dark Wheel, which inspired me to start my original story.

Anyway, very tired. Next part in a day or two. (most likely longer.) Thanks for the suggestions everyone.

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Post by drew » Sat Nov 28, 2009 8:43 pm

Looking forward to more! There hasn't been much fiction in recent weeks, so I think we're all a bit parched!

All the best,

Cheers,

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Post by OneoftheLost » Wed Dec 02, 2009 6:39 pm

Minimal update.

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Post by CptnEcho » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:41 am

Keep writing, please. 8)
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Post by DaddyHoggy » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:36 pm

ship's shields actively repelled something
Active shields? Shields, by their very nature are passive surely?
before continueing to a stairway
continuing
Damnit Orin!
Dammit
letting the read lettering of the ships warnings fill the screen.
red lettering
The Asp was a proven combat ship, commissioned for Navy combat, its lithe frame was designed for space combat.
Combat x3
or the two sleek police craft giving the Asp chase.
?? ...giving chase. ...chasing down the Asp. ??
Fer- De-Lance luxery transport.
Fer-de-Lance luxury yacht. (the FDL is definitely NOT a transport!)

**

Other than the fixes - I'd just like to say, the story is progressing very nicely!

Looking forward to part 3.
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Post by Kaks » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:44 pm

DaddyHoggy wrote:Active shields? Shields, by their very nature are passive surely?
Well, there's already patented active armour in RL, so active shielding might not be too much of a stretch! :P
Hey, free OXPs: farsun v1.05 & tty v0.5! :0)

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Post by DaddyHoggy » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:57 pm

Hmmm, as somebody who used to work on the other side of the coin (anti-armour) - I'm just going to take this pinch of salt and move it over here...

At best, even as an idea - this is reactive armour and we've been using that for a long time now - detecting something incoming prior to impact (the point of Explosively reactive armour is that ERA has to be hit before it goes off) is you may have a few tiny fractions of a second to scan an incoming missile - determine it's nature (shaped charge, tandem, HE etc) magically and then do something about it, somehow - more magic, but you're still screwed if you get hit by a KEP, or a DU, or a pancake round fired at you ballistically...

Plasma/Electric armour is the way to go for a lot of protection - screws up shaped charge rounds and can screw up your radar cross-section too if done right - of course - visually - you still stick out like a sore thumb - but I saw some really clever ideas about that too.

But I digress from the theme of the thread!
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Post by OneoftheLost » Thu Dec 03, 2009 5:45 pm

Are you sure its Dammit? The word is Damn, so I swear its' Damnit. I would hate to have been wrong all these years. :(

As for the Fer-De-Lance I was looking at the original Elite manual desc, and it seemed to be a personalized transport for rich executives... and I for the life of me couldn't remember how to spell Yacht.
ship's shields actively repelled something


Active shields? Shields, by their very nature are passive surely?
I wrote that in reference to the 'popping' sounds. You don't hear the shields doing their job constantly do you? So when the shields are activly being tested, or fired upon, they make noises when doing their job, bad wording on my part. The rest will be fixed.

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Post by Disembodied » Thu Dec 03, 2009 6:59 pm

It's definitely "dammit". Adding the "-it" puts too much emphasis on the (otherwise silent) "n" in "damn". The double "m" helps keep the sound of the exclamation.
letting the red lettering of the ships warnings fill the screen.
should be

ship's warnings

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Post by ClymAngus » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:55 pm

Excellent work! Keep it up!

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Post by OneoftheLost » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:02 pm

:?

Learn something new every day.

Thanks for taking the time to read her through, and spell check as you do, I am eternally grateful! (Terrible at spelling and catching my own mistakes.)

Will get to work on the next part, and on fixing the current one. Hope everyone enjoys.

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