Author Topic: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction  (Read 33473 times)

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Offline JGZinv

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Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction
Chapter 3

Toshiro focused on the sensor displays as his ship approached the end of the subspace tunnel. Small graphics, showing subspace readings, relative speed, estimated time for arrival, subsystems status, reactor output and many other sets of information flickered in front of his eyes, floating on the transparent HUD. He was meticulous and disciplined, always perfectly following protocol - and the protocol was really strict this time. Two minutes before reaching the edge of the subspace tunnel, he started all the sensor adjustments required for the data acquisition on the other side, and transferred a good amount of the generated power to the engine system.

He knew what had happened to the subspace probe, and didn't really know if this fighter, even with it's impressive capabilities, could handle the absurd forces that stormed outside the safety of subspace. For a few seconds, he wished that the tunnel was longer. Holding the main controls tightly, he activated the subspace drive, and the deep black ship reentered freespace.

The view was simply beautiful. Purple-blue beams of light drawing long curves across the skies, with multicolored streaks here and there, a large mass that appeared to once have been a planet slowly falling apart - all of this suddenly disappearing in a pitch black ring that seemed to house death itself. Toshiro was distracted for a few seconds, enough to have his ship dragged towards the singularity. He quickly realized the situation, and rerouted even more power to the engines, trying to stabilize the small vessel immense in a sea of overwhelming gravitational forces. Unknown to him, the enormous stream of power passing through his craft's propulsion systems started to generate a series of small subspace pulses, compensating for the gravity acting on it. Also unknown to him, something that rested nearby detected those subspace pulses and began to move.

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Andreas sat on the bridge of the Zephora, monitoring the little information arriving from the Nyx. His science crew was still trying to determine the location of the system on the other side, but the distortions caused by the gravitational pull of the black hole were creating a major hazard on this aspect.

"Where the hell does this thing lead to?" was the main thought on his mind, as he stared into the bridge's main display that showed footage from the Nyx - a few seconds delayed due to the subspace relaying. Every minute or so, a new wireframe figure popped up on the image, showing the location where the science crew determined the existence of another probable jump node. There were too many nodes, too many different locations, too many possibilities - but too much danger.

"We don't have the resources to control this many systems," thought the admiral. In fact, the GTVA didn't have enough resources even to explore all those systems in practical time - and they were only able to explore this first system thanks to the Nyx. No other ship could sustain the forces acting on the other side.

"Captain, we are losing signal from the Nyx," spoke the communications officer, calling the admiral's attention back to the real, immediate world.

"Reroute power from the navigational arrays to the sensors. We must keep track of that ship. And relay the same recommendation to the Mohses," replied Emer, ignoring all complaints from his first officer. The ship would become almost unmaneuverable if the nav systems lost more power. He didn't know that this very order spelled doom for his fleet.

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Gigantic cracks started to form on the surface at an unprecedented rate. Thousands of cubic kilometers of pure rock shatered in a matter of minutes, opening huge gaps on the surface. The planet cried as a massive portion was ripped off from it, and swallowed by the black hole. Streams of magma flowed from the wounds, forming a morbid pattern in the black and distorted skies. Toshiro stared in awe as the scene unraveled before his eyes in a matter of minutes. And in a matter of minutes, everything was as before.

The Special Operations Command pilot suddenly realized that he was not monitoring the readings and adjusting the sensors as the mission required, and that surprised him. He was never distracted during a mission, and he had never failed a mission. The fact that he had succumbed to the first brought to his mind the possibility of falling into the second. For the first time on a mission, he started to get scared.

He quickly verified all monitors, and readjusted the sensors - the ship had been drifting for quite a while, and had gained a significant distance from the jump node. Toshiro maneuvered the ship to head back to his exit point, but as the Nyx started to move, they appeared.

Jump points opened everywhere, and streams of laser fire completely engulfed the black fighter. Reacting by pure instinct, Toshiro quickly maneuvered, aligning his ship to the side of the attacking force. As he struggled to remain out of the firing line, he had a first glimpse of the attackers: Shivans.

The black and red ships swarmed the skies, moving as if the black hole wasn't even there. At first Toshiro was able to avoid being hit - most of the systems on his ship were deactivated - but his luck couldn't last long. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemy craft, he was once more immersed in a river of death-dealing energy bolts. This time the Nyx could no longer ignore the threat. To Toshiro's surprise, after taking a few shots the ship came to life, and all systems were brought online. He lost control of the vessel while it maneuvered wildly - almost forcing the pilot to unconsciousness - and struck back at the Shivan forces.

Pulling hard up and quickly banking to the left, the ship was in a perfect attack position, and Toshiro noticed the lights in his cockpit dimming as a bright swirling blue flare started to form at the tip of the bottom wing. The Shivans started to break formation, but it was too late - the Nyx had opened fire.

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"What do you mean by that, officer?!?" screamed the admiral, unable to believe the words he had just heard.

"Exactly that, Admiral - we have lost contact with the Nyx. Our last readings showed several unidentified contacts on his sensors," replied the communications officer, knowing that the admiral was not really angry, merely surprised.

"Who could it be? Sure as hell no standard GTVA ship could handle the gravity there," thought the admiral, staring at the replay of the last minutes of sensor data sent by the Nyx before contact was lost. They had not been able to get a visual confirmation on the ships, and the sensor data was too vague. All it showed was a collection of energy readings - but it was perfectly clear that those were ships, not debris or sensor glitches.

Emer contacted the Mohses, and ordered the deployment of a craft into the node, to relay a link to the Nyx. A few minutes later, a modified Hygeia support craft - clearly showing the distinctive features of a subspace probe - left the destroyer's fighter bay and headed to the center of the jump node location. Soon after, a white flare swallowed the small probe, and it left normal space.

The small craft travelled through subspace with all reactor output directed to one single system: communications. Monitoring all possible frequencies for any signal from the Nyx, the modified Hygeia slowly approached the exit point of the node - finding no signs of a single message from the pilot that boldly ventured into the unknown and dangerous system. The crew of both the Zephora and Mohses knew that the probe wouldn't last long on the other side, and it probably wouldn't be able to scan the area from where the last message from the Nyx had been transmitted.

"Come on, Toshiro - I know you are alive out there. For God's sake, say something!" thought the admiral, as more than twenty minutes had passed since the probe entered the node. He couldn't believe that their best pilot had been killed, and he simply couldn't believe they had lost years of research on the Nyx fighter. That was the only prototype he had access to, and as far as he knew, it was the only one ever obtained by the GTVI.

"It could be a squadron of Nyx fighters..." - the thought suddenly struck Andreas, and he considered the possibilities. He had full information clearance on the RIP 0131, but he was never able to find a single reference to the origins of the fighter.

"We might be at the fringe of finding an answer to that, if only we...". He was never able to finish this thought, though, as numerous jump points started to open and a swarm of black and red ships started to pour in from the subspace node.

-----------

Toshiro woke up, and instictively checked the sensor display. It was blank. He had been rendered unconscious by the brutal maneuvering of the ship, and couldn't remember anything from the moment that blue glow started to form. Checking his instruments, he found that the ship hadn't moved at all, but it was badly damaged. The comm system had been completely destroyed, and he had no way of warning the fleet of the impending threat.

"Damn, what the hell did this ship do?" thought the pilot, as he tested the controls to check if he was able to command the ship again. The ship moved, but nothing near the speed and maneuverability it had before the battle. The engines must have been damaged. Toshiro looked around searching for the controls for the auto repair system, but found nothing.

"This was only a prototype, and the systems had not been installed yet," he thought. Examining the rest of the ship he noticed several blast marks on the cockpit, and heavy damage to the left section of the main hull and bottom wing. In fact, he couldn't believe that the fighter still moved and maintained life support systems.

"Thank God this thing doesn't work like a normal fighter, or I'd know how a black hole looks like from the inside," he said to himself, maneuvering the ship to return to the jump node. He constantly checked the screens, but no signs of the Shivans existed at all, and his damage reports showed no critical damage to the sensors subsystem.

The Nyx reached the node after a few minutes, and initiated jump sequence immediately after reaching a viable distance. Toshiro felt strangely safe inside subspace - different from the last time. He was tired, and was barely able to adjust the autopilot before falling once more into unconsciousness.

The pilot slept on the seat of his battered fighter, and dreamt of blue planets, of red and black ships that carried the call of death throughout the universe. He dreamt of battles that engulfed entire star systems in fire, of a titanic storm that spread fear and destruction, and of thunder that roared even in the vacuum of space. He dreamt of melted metal and shattered bones, of rotten flesh and torn souls. He dreamt of war.

He saw a veil of darkness surrounding the entire alliance, as the enemy blackened the stars. He felt the wrath of revenge, the heat of battle and the coldness of death. He saw the blood of his compatriots painting whole worlds red, as streaks of energy crossed the land.

He saw the rest of his life before him, fighting a lost war.

He felt the fear of a whole race.

Toshiro was awakened by the jump alarm, sweating, confused and frightened by his dream - everything seemed too real. He felt as if the ship was trying to warn him, and struggled to recover his senses as the fighter reentered normal space.

The view before him was shocking - he had arrived too late.

-----------

Chapter 4

"Set course to the jump node, and get this thing working as soon as possible!" screamed Jeremiah Locheart, captain of the GTCv Proximus. A few seconds earlier he had received a distress signal from the GTID Mohses, a Hecate class destroyer serving the Terran branch of the GTVI, commanded by Boris Gurievich - a puppet in the hands of Admiral Andreas Emer. This same ship had, alongside Emer's own flagship, the GTID Zephora - expelled Locheart and his corvette from the immediate neighbourhood of the new jump node discovered by the Proximus task force. He remembered the feeling he experienced the first time he saw the Zephora, when it arrived in place of the GTD Asamonov. He knew all along that the GTVI could only bring trouble.

Jeremiah sat back on his leather chair, trying for a few nanoseconds to forget the whole situation starting to develop around him and focusing on the comfort provided by the single place where he still felt like he had control. Auxiliary lights on the bridge had turned to a light yellowish tone, replacing the usual blue and white light that filled the room. A low humming sound could be heard - indications of a soon to happen subspace drive activation. He could only imagine what would be found at the subspace exit point, but he had a fertile imagination. The low hum slowly built up to a high pitched monotonic noise, and the well known white and blue flare engulfed the Deimos class corvette while its captain wondered what could be happening on the other side.

During the few seconds that the ship travelled through subspace, Locheart's mind analyzed a myriad of possibilities - from a pirate attack, catching the destroyers off-guard, to an undercover corporate ride to capture that miracle ship he had come to know about - imagining every possible consequence and means to counteract the threat. His thoughts were interrupted by the voice of his sensor officer as the ship exited subspace, though, and he awoke to an even worse reality.

"Multiple hostile contacts in range, Captain - at least two Shivan Moloch class corvettes and over two dozen strike craft!" screamed the officer, almost panicking after the surprise.

"Both GTVI destroyers have their weapon systems offline, and one of them is suffering heavy damage," he finished the sentence, trying to calm down. The situation, though, was not calm at all. Several bombers were already in range of the destroyers, and had unleashed their payload. Huge dents could be seen on the surface of the Mohses - it was suffering a heavier attack than the Zephora - indicating that it was not the first strike. Steam and fire emerged from the cracks, as the ship's self-repair systems tried to contain the damage. Unseen by the crew of the Proximus, the faces of helpless crewmen on board the Mohses watched through the windows as another bomb impacted its surface.

A sole wing of Perseus struggled to keep the bombers away from the destroyers while the fighter bays were brought online, but it was having a terrible time against the Shivans own fighter escort. As one of the friendly fighters banked left and dropped to intercept a Seraphim bomber, three enemy Maras lined up behind him, releasing a wave of warheads that tore throught the fragile hull of the interceptor. A screaming pilot still tried to deliver a few last shots to his target, but it was too late. The aft section of his fighter had been disintegrated, and fire engulfed the rest of his ship. As if time stood still for a few moments, he could see the flaming ball of gas and debris slowly devouring his fighter - the outer hull melting, internal components vaporizing or being shattered, and the main structure torn apart by the fury of the explosion. The pilot screamed in rage for a last time before the orange blaze swallowed him.

A small distance further, both Moloch corvettes were maneuvering to bring their main anti-capship weapons to bear against the closest destroyer, and were reaching firing range fast. Locheart knew he had to do something, but the situation limited his possibilities. He didn't have the time to intercept the corvettes before they reached the Mohses and activated their forward beam cannons, but he had an idea.

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Most crew on board the Mohses and Zephora were relieved when the Proximus appeared. For the first time since the arrival of the Shivan forces, there was actual hope of survival for them. By taking most of their systems offline, the Intelligence Hecate destroyers were almost defenseless, and a few critical minutes would pass before any weapon could be reactivated. That Deimos class corvette could just buy the time they needed.

Rear Admiral Boris Gurievich, comander of the GTID Mohses, walked around his bridge, considering the situation. His ship shook with another direct hit, and he noticed the main engineering display as several green and yellow marks turned red. Without saying a word, he signaled his first officer, who pointed a number on his personal screen. It read four hundred and twenty seven. Four hundred and twenty seven casualties on his ship, after only six minutes of battle. He thought for a while about all of these people, their families and how vain were their deaths, but this was soon wiped from his mind.

"The mission," he whispered to himself while sitting down. It was the only thing he needed to worry about. He was already so deep into the scheme being run by Emer that he didn't even consider focusing his attention on anything else. The slightest mistake could lead to disaster - not for his ship or for the fleet, but for himself. His own fear forced him to ignore the pain being inflicted upon his own ship and crew, and concentrate on evaluating the true obstacles on the twisted path of their plans. And to his best judgement, the main obstacle - this time - was not the Shivan force.

From the soft leather captain's chair of the Mohses, he watched right through the fury of the bombers tearing his helpless ship apart, into the corvette jumping in a few kilometers away. Staring at the GTCv Proximus, he knew that it was the only thing keeping them away from total annihilation. He pondered the consequences, and came to a conclusion. Leaving his crew to handle the reactivation of the ship, he ignored the almost constant shaking caused by the impacting bombs and proceeded to his personal quarters, were he would contact Andreas.

-----------

"How long for our jump drive to recharge?" asked Locheart, almost screaming. His crew knew that he had something on his mind, and it was not about escaping.

"Fourty four seconds," came the reply from main engineering. It was fast enough for him.

"Lock coordinates on the closest Moloch's current position, and prepare to activate the subspace drive as soon as it's fully charged." The crew acknowledged the order, and executed it with utmost precision. When the Deimos came out of subspace, it was positioned perfectly on the middle of both Shivan corvettes, and had most of it's heavy weaponry perfectly free to fire - while the enemy ships faced the destroyers and would have to turn at least forty degrees to effectively engage the Proximus.

"All batteries, open fire!" ordered the captain, and immediately several points on the surface of his ship started to glow, as the ship itself seemed to gather energy to face the overwhelming foe. Instants later, multiple beams of blue and green light formed, each carving holes through both enemy corvettes' hulls. Feeling the damage being inflicted by the Terran vessel, one of the red and black ships began to turn about, while a bomber wing broke off the attack against the Mohses and started to move towards the Proximus' position.

Jeremiah watched the raging battle and wondered what chance they had of actually leaving the battlefield alive that day. His single Deimos class corvette was facing at the same time two Shivan Molochs, and at least four Seraphim bombers, with absolutely no fighter support. In a standard situation, he would have absolutely no possibility of surviving, but this was no ordinary battle. He had caught the enemy by complete surprise, and would be able to inflict heavy damage to those corvettes before they even had the chance of returning fire with their big weapons. His confidence dropped, though, when he saw the first bomber reaching firing range.

The eyes of the Proximus's forward heavy beam gunner widened as the Seraphim bomber turned toward his position with no fighters pursuing it. All flak guns that could cover his position were already occupied, and his weapon couldn't get a lock on the relatively small ship. He had already closed the blast doors and was bracing for the impact, when the red dot disappeared from his screen. Lowering the shields, he stared out just to witness what once was the Shivan bomber being completely disintegrated. A blue lightning still searched through the remains, crossing the space before him, coming from absolutely nowhere.

-----------

Lieutenant Kenzo almost jumped from his seat, shocked by the view of the battlefield. The two destroyers that had brought him and his fighter were suffering heavy bomber attacks in the distance, and standing completely still. Closer to him, a Deimos class corvette fought two Molochs and a few bombers, and was apparently taking the lead on the battle. Recovering from his forced sleep, he tried to get back to his full senses, and brought his sensor display to the HUD. It registered exactly twenty three contacts, only six of them were friendly. The situation surely seemed desperate.

Realizing what had happened to the GTVI destroyers, he checked his damage readouts - the ship was almost back at full strength, except for the hull - and engaged full burn towards the Mohses. He knew what that black fighter was capable of, and this time he intended to have control over it. What he would soon learn, though, is that for this ship his will didn't matter at all. Toshiro contacted Admiral Andreas Emer, and asked for a full situation update.

"All power had been redirected to sensors. We're bringing the weapon systems and fighter bays back online, but it's still gonna take a little more than one minute..." came the reply from the Zephora communications officer. He said something else, but Toshiro ignored it. He knew everything he wanted to know, and it was bad enough as that.

As the Nyx moved toward the battle scene, Toshiro tried to concentrate and devise a plan of action. He achieved no success at all. His own mind seemed to be unwilling to help, too tired from the previous encounter with the Shivans.

Struggling to remain awake, he once more witnessed gigantic battles, glimpses of a reality that was yet to come. He heard the ship talking to him, telling him that the Destroyers were returning for a last time. Telling him that this time, mankind stood no chance. He was pulled from his daydream by the Nyx itself, as the ship brought all standby systems to life once more and pitched hard, heading for the closest Shivan craft: a Seraphim bomber initiating an attack against the Proximus.

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"Just what the hell is that?" shouted Ezequiel Adams, also known as Zeke, the navigation officer of the Proximus. Everyone on the bridge realized what he was talking about, as a shadow rocketed past the main semi-holographic display's field of view, firing a blueish beam of uncanny appearance. No one really knew what to think about, except Locheart.

"Nothing that you should care about. Concentrate on this battle, we must take these corvettes down!" said the captain while one of the beams from his ship moved through the surface of one of the Molochs, directly hitting it's main reactor - almost if ordered directly by him. The power core of the corvette started to leak a dense stream of energy, apparently collapsing on itself, only to cause a massive explosion that opened a large gap in the central section of the vessel. Power conduits were overloaded by the blast, forming a glowing web-like net through the Moloch's surface, and a few seconds later the main engine section of the ship gave up and exploded in a huge fireball, creating a series of shockwaves that took the whole corvette with it. Locheart smiled.

"Just one more to go."

Watching the RIP 0131 fly by, he believed for the first time the information showed to him by that hotshot Special Operations Command pilot. The ship was everything the specifications said, and more - it seemed to be even faster and more agile. Through his personal control pad, he ordered the Proximus to do a heavy scan on the Nyx's surroundings, but nothing came up. The only readings showed residual radiation caused by his own ship, the GTVI destroyers and fighters, and the Shivan force. Otherwise, he had scanned only an ordinary section of deep space.

"It's impressive! Even the Pegasus leaves some residual traces, but this thing is invisible!" he thought, while following the shadow with the external cameras. He knew that he would never find that ship if he didn't know about it in the first place, and if it had refrained from actively engaging the enemy forces. It moved and maneuvered faster than any other Alliance ship, even if apparently being almost the size of an Ursa bomber. Such a ship would be a great asset to the fleet, or a terrible weapon if in the wrong hands. The captain's attention, though, was quickly brought back to the immediate battle scene, as a beam from the remaining Moloch hit his ship near the bridge, causing a small tremor.

He ordered a tactical repositioning of the Proximus to properly counteract the Shivan corvette, bringing the majority of its anti-capital ship weaponry to a position where their firing arcs could reach the enemy. Several beams of light emerged from it - eating the Moloch as they strode through its now helpless surface, opening several flaming gaps on the redish hull. The battle would soon be over.

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Chapter 5

The pitch black ship maneuvered wildly, ignoring the limitations of its pilot's body while charging it's main weapon and locking on the closest enemy bomber. Swirling particles soon gave way to an intense glow, almost immediately casting a lightning-like beam that crossed the void to impact its target's surface. The Seraphim's hull seemed to scream in agony, as the powerful stream of energy drew an almost straight line through it, completely ignoring the shields and melting the extremely resistant materials as if they were nothing but hot butter. In less than a second, the bomber was perfectly divided in two, being torn apart by the explosions in it's missile bays and engines. Moments later, nothing occupied that area of space but a few burnt pieces of metal. The streak of light remained active, roaming the battlefield toward its next target.

Toshiro fought with all his strength just to remain conscious as the fighter that carried him unleashed its fury upon the ancient enemy. He could feel a torrent of emotions passing through him, as if coming from the ship itself. The fury against the now almost desperate attackers, the relief of thousands of people as they witnessed a beacon of hope shining through what seemed to be an endless sea of darkness, the primal fear of an elemental force that had never faced such powerful and committed resistance. He was scared, but somehow felt warm and comfortable again. The cold feeling had passed.

Multi-colored beams formed intrincate patterns in the sky ahead of the Nyx, as the Proximus exchanged fire with the remaining Shivan corvette. The Terran ship still had the advantage, and was using it well. The Moloch was already feeling the burden caused by the damage it suffered in the initial stages of the battle, as it ignored the Deimos to advance toward the disabled destroyers. Locheart exploited such a mistake to the fullest, and his ship was now just moments away from complete victory. Toshiro's eyes captured a last bright flash from the battle as a beam from the Proximus hit a critical spot on the Moloch corvette, and was able to understand a last communication from the Zephora before falling into unconsciousness again - it had its fighter bay and weapon systems back online.

He awoke to find the ship standing still by the side of the Zephora, no hostile contacts at all on the sensor display. Extremely tired from the stress caused by the high G forces experienced while the Nyx ignored him to fight the Shivans, he was barely able to bring the fighter inside the destroyer's fighter bay.

-----------

"What do you mean by this?" shouted Locheart through the communications system, while staring right into the eyes of Admiral Andreas Emer on the main screen.

"Exactly what you heard, Captain. You are ordered to surrender your vessel and prepare to be boarded. This attack will not be left unpunished," replied the Admiral.

Jeremiah was starting to understand it. He shouldn't have received any information about the RIP 0131, let alone be allowed to witness it in action. The same applied to all of his crew, and the GTVI could not let such information slip through their fingers. The presence of the Shivans had only made things worse, as now they had the perfect excuse to capture the corvette: it had attacked them uprovoked while both destroyers had their weapon systems down for scientific monitoring.

"We are deploying a shuttle carrying a security team. You will allow them to dock and will oblige their directions. The GTCv Proximus and its crew are now on the custody of the Galactic Terran Vasudan Intelligence, under charges of high treason. Follow our orders, or you will be destroyed," came another message from the Zephora, directly from the mouth of the Admiral. Locheart couldn't allow his crew to be captured under false accusations - not by the GTVI at least - and more than everything, he couldn't allow the Intelligence to cover the presence of Shivan forces in GTVA space.

He discreetly signaled his communications officer to add some noise to the transmission, creating the opportunity for him to tap a scripted order into the ship's main computer. Bringing the transmission back to the normal status, he sent his reply to Emer.

"I know that this is not true, you know that this is not true, and most of all, our signed combat logs show that this is not true. We will surrender, but we'll prove our innocence. And we'll show everyone the truth behind your actions."

Emer didn't even have the time to think, "What a fool." Locheart knew that his crew wouldn't be awarded a fair trial. He knew that most probably they wouldn't even face judgement. Execution was more the way of the Intelligence, so he activated the program.

All at once, the Proximus fired all of its beams on both destroyers communications systems, and engaged its subspace drives. In both intelligence vessels, the almost magical precision of the corvette's beams brought the target systems offline, while also creating a major and essential distraction. Soon the battle-scarred corvette was inside subspace, while the Mohses and Zephora were unable to send any long distance communications to the rest of the fleet. As Locheart's ship vanished into the white and blue whirlpool, a last message arrived at the Zephora's bridge.

"This is not the end."

To be continued...
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction

“Daily Dissorts”
by
VA Griffin Moone


The Daily Distort, Issue #1
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Volume #1, No. 1 July 2002


"Don't Funk Up a Good Story With Too Much of the Truth."

VOID ALLIANCE STILL PRETTY NICE

Today in the news, most clanners Fringe-wide came to a pretty general conclusion= The Void Alliance is still pretty nice.

"This is a shocking development." Skaare said, who has been a pilot in VA for almost two years. "We have firmly dedicated ourselves to being nifty, or perhaps even keen. It comes as a bit of a shock that we are nice. Our best social scientists are now in deep study to figure out how to show the Fringe that VA plays hardball, or at the very least, a swell game of Cricket."

New Dawn was in Jumpgate, and was unavailable for comment.

IK leader Maverick had this to say.

"What do you mean, they're nice!!? Griffin Moone and Icefox have gone on more flaming sprees in the past few months to burn Antarctica to steam!!! I don't get it! Decon Frost would tell people he didn't like their shoes, and General Phoenix would call us the evil empire...but VA is completely bulletproof. It's unfair. They have to have done something bad in the past couple of years...maybe we have to stop deleting threads at our boards so much."

VA's niceness was never quite apparent, for some time, but recently studies show that their benevolence has been at an all time high.

Icefox allowed himself to be interviewed.

"Well, yesterday Moone and I were having Kool Aid and ice cream, and came to much the same conclusion. It's a matter of press, I believe. But we all agree it's time for a change. As of next week VA is going to war with someone, I guess, if no one minds too much, and we fully intend to sic Moone on some pilot or some clan, soon. Of course, I could nuke a pre-school and everyone would forget in a week because my sig is bright blue. Colors are funny like that."

Skaare has attempted to help VA appear more "dark" in past years, to little avail.

"I don't get it. It's like we are the Disney corporation. I post pictures of my personal arsenal at home...Griffin Moone writes up fifty pages of scathing prose on (X)...we make our color scheme the same as the Nazi party...but no one buys that we are menacing! It's no use."

Neechi Kitana had this to say.

"It's because Griffin Moone is so cute. He looks like a chipmunk, or maybe even an Osmond brother. He's cuddly. Very Keebler. How can he be so evil if he looks like that?"

(X) BUYS RABID CHICKEN CAPITAL LETTERS


(X) celebrated the formation of their new clan by finally purchasing capital letters for their legendary pilot, Rabid Chicken.

"I had a bunch of extra cash lying around from the advertising deal with Vivid Video" Decon Frost said "So I thought, what the hell, why not?"

"He seemed comfortable with it, so it was never brought up in the IK Overlord Council. I had read e.e. cummings in college, so I didn't think anything of it. But then Powersurge made us all feel guilty, so we bought enough capitals to fund him for a century. He's worth it. We still haven't got any w's, though."

"I call it discipline" former IK pilot MisterFour said. "I freak out if I don't hit the shift key at the proper moments. I think I'm nuts. I posted in lower case one time...and it kept me up all night. I got up at three in the morning and did an edit job like you can't believe. That was a test of will I failed."

"It's a bit different." Rabid Chicken said. "I don't know if I am entirely comfortable with the change. A lot of people I post to don't know if it's really me. werewolf still won't believe me. But the world will see that this is a change that is here to stay."

"It's the end of an era, let me tell you. His laid back style of prose typified the easy going nature of the guy and seperated his work from the rest of all the posts out there. If he ever hits the caps lock and posts that way, my whole paradigm will crack into forty six fist sized pieces." MisterFour commented.

When asked if a similar donation would be made to Squiggy the Vorpal Bunny, Decon Frost said, "Not likely."

FRINGE WISHES IK WOULD CRACK AT THE SEAMS AGAIN SO THERE WOULD BE SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT

There has been an alarming trend of nothing to talk about since the IK break up came and went, and people are starting to get desperate.

Black Knight had this to say.

"It came and went so fast, we were left breathless. This is how manic depressive people must feel. There was almost 100 posts or more in a single day, and now it's all over! What are we going to talk about, now?"

"Serves 'em right." Rabid Chicken said. "what are they going to say now? Nothing. Bad news gets the most press, it's been that way since time began. well, they are going to have to hope that some other clan has problems...(x) is doing just fine."

New Dawn was unavailable for comment, since they were all in Jumpgate.

"The situation is dire, indeed." VA Captain Scarlet said. "People are beginning to post satirical newspaper type articles out of desperation. Something has to be done, fast."

"I'll think of something." IK Lucid said. "If it gets any worse, I'll post the damage for the lightsabre in every single stance for Jedi Knight II...but it's not got to that point, yet."

"Sorry, Fringe, we did our best, but we're kind of out of scandals right now." IK Maverick told a reporter. "How about doing a story on VA being so damn nice?"

GRIFFIN MOONE DECLARES WAR ON ADVERBS

"I'm tired of them." The VA pilot said, furiously speaking at a press conference Monday morning. Reporters interviewed him, asking their questions carefully.
"It's like some insidious plot that creeps up silently. I am sick of it. Why not just say, "He said." ? Why does it have to be, "He said, breathlessly" ?"

"I counted 186 such vile specimens in MisterFour's "Burning Void". I drove fast quickly over to the cafe' and told Twilight Jack about it. He listened attentively, but I still don't think he understands completely the danger we face, unknowingly."

MisterFour had this to say.

"Yeah, writing with too many adverbs is uglier than a burlap bag full of mashed gorilla as*holes, that's for sure. I need to re-read an MLA handbook again, totally."

Icefox, the legendary VA pilot, said, "Huh?"

Griffin Moone clenched a nice fist and hit the podium in a cute display of wrath.

"I've been warning the Fringe futilly for the last few months. Eventually, it will be too late."

DECON FROST STILL "THROUGH" WITH MISTERFOUR

In a post on Fringe Station, Decon Frost, formerly of IK, announced he was "through" with MisterFour, also formerly of IK.

Some curiosity still abounds over what "through" means.

MisterFour was reached for comment.

"I felt pretty bad about all that mess, and I was reading a book, eating a cheeseburger, and drinking a Coke, and then when I was done, I realized I was through with the book, through with the Coke, and through with the cheeseburge...and I got confused."

"How can you be "through" with a person? It's all so very confusing. It's kind of surreal." MisterFour said, perplexed, utilizing a spare adverb much to the consternation of Griffin Moone.

"what's there to understand?" Rabid Chicken said. "when Decon says he's through, he's through. I don't blame him."

Decon Frost agreed to a phone interview.

"Through, as in, done. I mean, over with. Let me explain, I won't communicate or game with guy anymore. Is that hard to understand? When he apologizes, it just makes me madder. I am not mad at VA though...they are pretty nice. But I'm through. I'm also through with this interview."

TygerBlueEyes had this to say.

"When Decon says through, he means it. I remember one time when the Rams lost, way back in the Eighties. Decon set down his beer and said, "I'm through." I thought it was the beer, but later on I realized he didn't like the Rams anymore. Then he said he was through with Tachyon, and again I thought he meant that he had solved the game. But I never saw him fly again. When he told me he was through with Ralph Nader, after the last election...his true intent in utilizing the phrase finally sunk in. He's certainly through with MisterFour."

"I have regrets over the whole thing, but there's nothing more to do." MisterFour said. "I will simply have to admit to my mistake and add the phrase to my vocabulary of slang. It has a nice ring to it. "I am through with you." Gotta love it. Very zen. Oh yeah, the IK/X thing sucked too. I apologize."

"I am really glad that I was able to read it. If it had been said, I would have really gotten confused. "I am threw with you." ?Get it? What a difference the placement of vowels can make. Glad it was written down."

...that being said, this reporter is through with this story.




=dAb= Arcanuum, The Crawling Chaos, Himself


The Daily Distort, Issue #2
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
THE DAILY DISTORT


“All the news that printed to fit.”

HEADLINES

VA BEATS (X) IN CLAN VS. CLAN MATCH


In a series of five controversial clan vs. clan matches, the Void Alliance beat Excalibur 4 to 1.

“They were some tough opponents. (X) is small, but as potent as a neutron bomb. Still, I think we did quite well for ourselves…despite the communications mix-up.” Icefox reported.

“Yeah, I think next time we should read the boards a little more carefully. Still, we were all there, and we wanted to fight, so fight we did…LOL!” Said Decon Frost, who now goes by the title Cypher Zeros.

The miscommunication being that the Void Alliance thought the match was to be in MW4, while (X) thought it to be Jedi Knight II. Still, both parties fought it out, much to the amazement of Captain Scarlet.

“I was in my Thor, ready to rock-n-roll, and Osiris was in an Argus, and we were starting to get board, hanging around in Palace Gates…than we see these tiny figures running towards us…I toggle the zoom, and I realize they are all carrying lightsabres.”

“well, i thought, screw it. we wanted to fight, right? besides, an argus ain’t so tough, once you hack at it a while. push sure doesn’t work on a daishi, though.” Veloramus said, shortly after the fight.

“you don’t want to go trying to force pull a clan lb20x from a thor, either. what happens if it actually floats your way?”

Veloramus has recently experienced his own difficulties, having run out of consonants, despite the large purchase made by (X).

Captain Scarlet was still amazed by (X)’s valor.

“Arioch had somehow got his hands on a missile launcher and was starting to dent Osiris. So I stepped on him. But Veloramus actually was able to force leap up to my cockpit…”

“you’d think they’d armor the cockpits better…i jumped up there and just cut a hole in it. after that, it’s not like it was tough killing a guy in a glorified easy chair. zap zap zap.”

“After that,” said Icefox, “We kept them at a distance.”
Highlights include an ERPPC shot from a Loki that obliterated Cypher Zeros (“Ouch, kind of like lightning…”), a MRM20 shot that hit Arioch, despite his dodging (“Ran into a damn wall…bleh.”) and an ER laser that took out Veloramus, much to his surprise (“damnit, you’d think you could block that @#$^%#.”).

Arioch was still ebullient.

“Yeah, we took quite a beating…but the last match sure went our way! Heh heh heh…”

Scarlet had to agree.

“Yup yup. We got smushed.”

The last match being that the Void Alliance force ended up on Gator Bait, which was upon a planet that was nearby a Death Star.

Arioch seemed pleased.

“We got kind of confused, at first. I mean, there we were aboard the Death Star map, and no VA anywhere! I figured they were on the planet outside the window, so Cypher Zeros screwed with the station’s computers, trying to get it to fire, and then…”

Captain Scarlet was still shaken.

“There we were, trying to decide if the match was a dud or not, and then I noticed this thing in the sky…I thought to myself, ‘Hey, ain’t that the thingy from the first movie?’…and then there was this really bright light…”

“Yeah, the score being 0 to 12,334, I’d say we mopped up.” Arioch laughed.

“Good game, (X)!” Icefox said, congratulating the newly formed clan. “Next time I’ll have a lightsabre to defend myself against Veloramus, no doubt…”

Veloramus was in agreement.

“screw that, i’m ready for a rematch. let’s all break out our tach ships and fight ‘em on that moon. my cutlass has three rails to punch through a cockpit with…and cockpits are huge on those damn mechs. shoot, I got ecm’s…they can have all the lrm’s they want.”

MICROSOFT RELEASES DROPSHIPS FOR MW4

“I am soooo happy. My Daishi wasn’t big enough. It’s about time!” A MW4 pilot, Dumbphuc, reported.

“I hated having to move and stuff. I always wanted more guns. The Daishi wasn’t big enough. Now I have everything! Yippee!” He said, his chincup full of drool emptying upon his lap, in his excitement.

Dumbphuc is one of a growing legion of mentally challenged MW4 players who want more tonnage with less thinking, and Microsoft is granting their wish.

A MW4 designer had this to say.

“Yeah, well, there’s a market, so we got to work. Don’t know why they use those damn things. Oh well.”

The Droppod is at least 5,000 tons, and is quite large, to say the least. Sporting 56 omni slots, it’s more than a match for a lance of mechs. Players like Dumbphuc are overjoyed.

Another pilot, Phuchead, had this to say.

“I like to play and not think too much. Me like big mechs. Atlas no big enough, Daishi only 100 tons. Me now have lot’s of guns…still overheat, though. Me sad.”

Dumbphuc was quite elated at the possibilities.

“I have 34 configs set up. I also have 100 clan LB20X’s. That’s a lot of damage. I wish I could count that high.”

Captain Scarlet, of the Void Alliance, had this to say.

“What the f*ck-?”

EXCALIBER DESIGNS THEIR OWN OPERATING SYSTEM SO THEY WON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT PLAYING ANYONE ELSE EVER AGAIN

Cypher Zeros was available to comment.

“Well, we’d thought getting our own passworded server, getting away from EZ board, and separating ourselves from IK would be clue enough that we wanted nothing whatsoever to do with the outside world…but some as*holes just don’t get it. So I’m through with them.”

The operating system, called, appropriately enough, X, was designed chiefly by TygerBlueEyes, who also re-wrote Jedi Knight II for it.

“This’ll keep those people away. I was sick of all the posts on our board, and even the potential chance someone might guess the password…so this’ll seal the deal. Besides, if someone could even run a search for (X) and find us, that was waaaay too much. Now I don’t have to deal with any idiots ever again. If this isn’t enough, we’ll all move to a mansion in Calcutta, live together, and play over a LAN. Shoot, what if someone comes over, though? Now I gotta think…”

Cypher Zeros was ecstatic.

“It's like everyone thinks we/I am supposed to play other f*ckers from other clans, forever. Hell that's just stupid. It's been over 2 years and excuse the hell out of me, but I need a change.”

”Why form a clan? To play your friend and not have to look at any other dumb faces and deal with their sh*t...if the 8 of us are going to remain friends and hook up to play anyway, then why the hell not? Isn't that what we would be anyway…an 8 man clan, club, or whatever you want to call it? Now, with our own operating system to keep out the inferior riff-raff, we can at last play forever in relative peace. So long, losers! We won’t be revealing the source code anytime soon, either!”

TygerBlueEyes still had other reservations.

“Microsoft is really pissed. I mean, it’s been an action flick. They keep sending ninja’s to kill me. They are afraid this is going to be the next Linux, and they have enough to worry about between Torvald and Macintosh. But f*ck them…if I have to dodge ninja nerds for the rest of my days to keep us from having to interact with any other player in Jedi Knight II ever again, so be it. I just shot a lawyer from Microsoft who tried to give me a service of summons for copyright infringement. Seven ninjas and one lawyer dead? It’s been a good week.”

Veloramus agreed.

“i’m glad. really. i was always paranoid before, like maybe any second someone else would come in from ik or va or jra and ruin our fun. but now, we’re safe. with no one able to contest us, x is the best clan, ever.”

“i still don’t trust those bots, though…”

=dAb= Arcanuum, The Crawling Chaos, Himself
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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  • The Last Dual! Guardian
    • The FringeSpace Conversion Mod
Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction

“Fist or Fate”
by
SoulCrusher06 of the Devil's Fist


CHAPTER 1

SoulCrusher06 looked up from his datapad as the incoming message alert sounded. The data encryption algorithms processed, and a similarly encrypted face gazed at him from his viewscreen. "06, we have a contract. Do not reply. A pilot in your sector has been suggested to us as a potential contract due to his decidedly amoral conduct concerning honorable battle. Here is an excerpt from the formal contract.

'The pilot known as Johnny Rebel was seen pumping rocket after rocket into a nearby Galspan model fighter as the pilot was composing a message to his superiors regarding a recent escort run. The pilot barely escaped with his life, and the attacker, who's ident broadcast identified him as "Johnny Rebel" was heard laughing uncontrollably over the open comm as his intended prey fled.' Needless to say, 06, this is a dangerous individual, although not overly skilled, to be attacking idle ships. Dispatch this individual and upload the completion data and ident match to the usual location. Hull that reprobate! Reamer00 out."

06 inhaled deeply, then exhaled with a visible slump to his shoulders. He stood up, and surveyed his quarters with a regal air, as he exited toward the hangar area. On his way, he passed several of his clanmates, and greeted them with false bravado concerning the upcoming arena matches with their rival clans. Yes, they were going to kick some @$$. No, they werem't going to stop at anything to win. And so on and so forth. He had other things on his mind. He was used to killing. He was a combat pilot. The world in which he had embroiled himself was another matter altogether. To kill, not for the honor of his clan, not for his ideals, not for pride; but merely because someone asked a pilot dead. Of course, his victim was an idiot. He had tried to kill an unsuspecting pilot like himself. But somehow, this was different. The Devil's Fist was not your usual group.

He climbed inside his Galspan Pegasus fighter under pretenses of patrolling the border of the Twilight Region from attack. Yes, he replied to the command section query, just adding an extra shift because he couldn't sleep. No, he wouldn't let his guard down due to sleeplessness. Of course not. He powered up his fighter, the vibrations from the mighty engines rattling the entire hangar, but strangely distant to him in his padded and heavily shock dampened custom seat, inside his vibration and soundproofed c**kpit. The engines roared, and he tore out of the hangar at the top speed of the Pegasus, (which is considerable). He glanced at his own personal motto, mounted on a plate to the right of his instrument panel. It said "Fly with courage, with chivalry, and with skill. No matter the outcome, your honor will be without question". Tell that to my victim, he thought.

He arrived at the Devil's Fist hangar, which as usual, which was devoid of any signs of life, being tucked away deep in the all-encompassing fog, and pulled his fighter in without incident. The rows of menacing black craft shone with a deceptive gleam as he took in the view inside the voluminous hangar. He landed behind his own personal collection of ships he had purchased with his newfound credits. Blood money, all of it, he thought fleetingly. Enough of this. This pilot was an idiot, a danger to others and himself. it was time to hunt. He walked over to his locker with a deceptively easy stride, and gathered his Devil's Fist flightsuit and all his equipment. Nothing should identify him. As he pulled on his sable gauntlets, and pulled his jet-black helmet on, he truly looked a killer. The Devil's Fist is feared throughout the Fringe. Sure. If they only knew who we were, he thought.

He selected a Warhammer for Johnny's demise. Only fitting. See how he likes plasma rockets decimating his shields, he thought to himself. He powered the ship up, and slowly pulled out of the hangar. Once safely away from the secretive base of operations, he began to scan the comms for signs of his quarry's whereabouts. Nothing on the RG comms, nothing from IK. This might take a while. He continued to scan through the comms. There! Void Alliance frequency, one "Captain Scarlet". "That damn Johnny Rebel's playing with plasmas again", he heard from the comm. 06 smiled to himself. Gotcha. He swung the ship around to the new heading, and as he passed through the gate, his last thought was, Poor bastard. Wonder what else you did to piss people off? The Tachyon gate accelerated him to impossible speeds, and the jet black 'Hammer elongated, then disappeared in a flash of light.

He emerged from the gate with a euphoric rush, and shook his head huriedly to clear the effects of the jump. Within seconds, he had a lock on his victim. "Oh Johnny....", he said over the comm. There was an abrupt break in comm traffic as the current occupants of the sector took in the black lines of the Hammer's outline. He caught the tail end of an encrypted message from an Ik pilot. "There's one ... those ... scum. I say ... take him, and take ... the garbage .... him." Damn, he thought. Just what I need. An IK patrol flight to deal with too. Ah well. Take what comes. Two Pegasus' and an archangel. Great. Let's see; Target at 240, IK at 160, VA at 230, on the target's ass. The base is what he's heading for. Let's see what this baby can do. "This is Devil's Fist SoulCrusher06 on contract for Johnny Rebel. Stand down and allow me to complete it, please", he said in his most authoritative voice. "DF slime, take your contracts back out in the fog, where you both belong. get out of the Fringe!" The IK patrol leader said ominously. So much for the DF mystique.....

The IK fighters were closing, and fast. He still had 35 klicks on the targets, and the IK patrol was almost within range. Damn. Just then, came his break. Captain Scarlet scored a direct hit on his starboard engine, slowing him down considerably. Closing... 20 klicks. IK in range. God of plasma, he prayed, don't let me down. The two pegs roared past him as he kicked the Hammer into full reverse. His shields still whined in protest as two single deimos still scored. Down to 65. Damn. He kicked on his burners in an attempt to close the gap. it succeeded, until he realized one crucial thing he had missed. The sturdy ship bucked in space as quad blast torps scored direct hits on his shields! The *(&(*&() Archangel! Damn him. 10 shields, 60 hull. Crap. Still at 10 klicks out. Closing... damn peggies are coming back around. He reversed his lats haphazardly, in an attempt to buy himself some time. Another deimos took what little was left of his shields. There goes the rails, he thought, as he transferred laser power to his shields to keep himself (hopefully) intact. 7 klicks... as another deimos hit him aft. 4.... plasmas away, clean quad shot. The rockets hit Rebel's aft shields in an explosion of light, and brought him to critical on 06's scanner. 06's ship rocked as a blast torpedo found it's mark once again. Damnit! Another clear shot... and another set of quads turned Rebel's ship to stardust. He immediately turned his transmitter on to upload the evidence, in case he didn't make it out of this one. (He was beginning to doubt the outcome. Most assuredly)

Captain Scarlet suddenly burst out of nowhere, almost directly on top of him, and caused him to duck involuntarily. He distinctly heard hull armor blow up. Galspan hull. He drained the last of his laser power, and hit his slide button once oriented toward the gate. He rotated around his vertical axis on his way back past the IK fighters, and let loose several volleys of plasma on his way by. The second pegasus was not keeping up anymore, he noticed. Now he rotated fully behind his slide path, and let loose with the remainder of his plasma rockets. Busy dodging the lethal hail of rockets, he dropped back a whole 5 klicks. 06 could almost feel the deimos shots as they scattered around his overly large (or so it seemed now) profile. Why did I bring the Hammer again? He asked himself. A large explosion echoed in his ears, leaving him temporarily deaf. The peg had caught back up. The acrid smell of an electrical fire, as well as the distinct feeling he was losing velocity, began to work their way to the front of his mind. Oh crap, oh crap, oh crap became almost like a mantra. This was it. His luck had run out. Seething energies surrounded him, took hold of his conscious mind, and he knew no more.

------------------------------

CHAPTER 2

06 was just your run of the mill pilot. A journeyman in a world of prima donnas. Nothing like Twilight Jack, with his rock star flair, or Werewolf, with his snarling angst. No, he was just a pilot. Better than average, but still just barely hanging on by the skin of his teeth in a hotshot's world. He wondered sometimes why he had been selected out of hundreds to be a Devil's Fist candidate.

During a long Fenris Arena Match, he had emerged victorious with a 20-5 record. Not a record-setting performance by any means, but not bad for a relative rookie. Soaked in perspiration, and exhausted from the concentration required to make it through such battles, he noticed, out of the corner of his eye, a dark figure, towards the edge of the crowd that always gathered to congratulate the pilots after their matches. Almost gave him the chills when he realized whom this mysterious person was watching. Him! He decided he'd skip the showers and backed warily, almost hurriedly, toward his craft. He'd heard about those pilots. This "Devil's Fist". Nothing good, either. They were said to be killers - assassins, mercenaries for hire. They also numbered among them some of the top pilots in the fringe, leading a double life. Clansmen in their day to day lives, they also filled a darker role as their alter-egos; the dreaded "DF". He evaded the dark-cloaked figure this time, he thought. Little did he know they would become an obsession.

He logged hundreds of hours for his new clan - a wise choice considering his lack of experience in space combat. He participated in several battles with, and without his wingmates. Some he excelled in, others not. But he was a young pilot as of yet. He grew in skill, and flying acumen, learning his ship, and the Fringe itself, his new home. He fought to contain the missiler threat, against outlaws, pirates, other clans, yes somehow remained unscathed through it all. He considered himself lucky. Then one day, it happened. He entered his barracks, to find a comm waiting for him. As he plopped down in his chair, he noticed the message would not immediately initialize. Coded to my DNA pattern? He thought. Must be some new orders. He decoded the message, and initialized it. That wasn't his wingleader. Grinning hideously at him from the viewscreen was a white, deathly pale face. He wore black leather, a mockery of a flightsuit, and looked to have a forest of pins sprouting from his ghostly head.

"Greetings, Pilot." Said that grinning face. The face of Cutter01, the Infamous Breaker Wingleader. "I have been monitoring your progress with great interest. With a little time and experience, I'd like to have you join us." The message continued, but his mind was racing. He was aghast. Him, a killer? No sir! He closed the terminal with a bang, and headed to the simulators to work out the issues running through his head. He'd NEVER be a killer! So he thought.

Almost compulsively, nearly against his will, he began reading all he could find about the Devil's Fist. A group shrouded in secrecy, yet thinly guised as a mercenary group, they policed the Fringe as no one else could. With fear. With intimidation, and the strength of their reputation as cold-blooded killers. Founded by one known only as "SoulReamer", the Devil's Fist burst upon the scene just prior to All Hallows Eve; a traditional night of forbidden magics and sorcery. The other two wingleaders, SoulReaper and SoulReaver were instrumental in the group's establishment. They silently began their work. Few in number at first, but deadly fliers, all. Accept the contract, fulfill it, and post proof for the solicitor. "An evil business," quoted Reamer in an earlier text, "But necessary. Would you feel safer knowing your own wingmen are accepting these jobs, and not some unknown quantity? Better the devil you know..." Interesting.

Their numbers grew, and chief among these new recruits was a pilot assigned to the "Cutters" wing. Originally "SoulCutter02", his bravado and panache displayed in his piloting, and the artistic flair with which he displayed his kills quickly earned him the "01" position in his wing, and eventually his own wing, the "SoulBreakers". Suffice it to say, our "hero", (if you will) had a bit of a falling out with his clan. A faux pas, I suppose you would call it. The offshoot of his involvement was this; in an insane moment of frustration, he contacted Cutter01 concerning that job with the Devil's Fist. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on his state of mind when thinking of it) two members of DF left; one over DF's methods of taking and completing contracts, the other over a missiler in a private arena. Quite an ugly scene at the time, but regardless of the outcome, that left DF two pilots short. He got the comm the next day. "Your application to the Devil's Fist is hereby approved. Stand by for confirmation codes, and the route to stronghold. Welcome, SoulCrusher06, to the Devil's Fist."

------------------------------

CHAPTER 3

He awoke with a start, almost injuring himself against his seat restraints. He took a deep breath, and could nearly taste how close he had come to death. He was alive, however, and he intended to stay that way. He glanced toward his nav computer, hoping he could make sense of his present position in his groggy state. Damn! Smoke lazily drifted from it's twisted casing. Ok... next plan. He checked his comm systems. Thank the void, they were still functioning. he patched himself through to his personal ship's comm, triangulated his position, and he and his damaged ship slowly limped toward their destination. As he had nothing better to do, with a busted up ship, and on half thrust he checked his personal comms. Message from Reamer thanking him for yet another completed contract, yada yada... Message from 03 about needed support in an upcoming battle, (yada yada again) Breaker00 asking for support in his plan to bring new leadership to the Devil's Fist, and a list of demands... WHAT!? Scroll back. What in the void was he thinking? Reamer will have his hide, he thought.

He was wrong. Once safely back at DF HQ, he was assaulted with propositions from every newly formed faction, all with their own agenda, it seemed. This was ludicrous! "New Blood", "Old ways are dead", "Strong leadership", "Back to what we were" - some of the slogans he encountered. Then the typical Devil's Fist rhetoric (some people took this too seriously, he thought occasionally) - "They will drown in blood". "Their screams will echo in the void for eternity", "they will be as lambs at the slaughter", and similar rubbish. By the end of his reading, three uneasy alliances had been formed. Breaker00 had initiated the split up with his noisy public argument over policy with the other wingleaders. Who in turn themselves split into two groups. Longtime allies parted over how to discipline the upstart. He had to admit, Breaker00 was a likeable rogue with a penchant for winning people over, despite his adopted evil persona. oh, and there's the message from IK outlining their support of the Breakers. Explains the attack a while ago. This could be a problem.

The Crushers, led by Reamer, were championing the decision to keep DF's structure, goals, and operating principles essentially the same as they were before this fiasco. We had been decimated by recent LOA's, public opinion reversals, and other besetting calamities, so this was a terrible time for this sort of thing to happen. The Breakers wanted a complete revamp of DF - top to bottom. With Breaker00 in charge of the "reconstruction," probably. Then the young, impetuous Stealers and Cutters. They very nearly sounded as if they wanted nothing but anarchy. Wow. Quite a day. Of course, he sent a comm out to Reamer affirming his loyalty to the Crushers' ideals, and explaining he needed a rest before doing anything. He wasn't kidding, either. About the rest, or his ideals. He slowly walked out to his ship, set the autopilot for an evasive route out of the fog, and back to his patrol route. Only five hours had passed since he left his barracks. Strange how so much could happen in so little time. But stranger things have happened in the Fringe.

06 arrived at base only slightly late. Not late enough to engender suspicion, thankfully. He blamed his tardy arrival on a malfunction in his autopilot. Easily explained by a purposeful failure to update the command protocols issued by the a/p manufacturer (remedied by the concealed datadisk still hidden in his flightsuit cargo pocket). He reported no unusual activity in his patrol sector, verified by the faked data provided by the drone he he had activated to mimic his patrol and his ident. Upon arriving home, he promptly collapsed in his bunk. He didn't want to see what other messages he had waiting.

Not surprisingly, he woke to see the message light blinking on his comm terminal. It seemed the Fringe was truly up in arms over this "internal disagreement", as it was being called. There was gossip flying everywhere, stating everything from power struggles to petty bickering as the reason for this (too public by any account) dispute. Rumors flew over the tachband as to the true identities of the pilots that comprised the DF wings (more than usual...).Almost as bad as the rumormill concerning sigtings of Susan's elusive "Lance". He hadn't seen the comms so live since the Bora/Galspan war, in fact. He shook his head and walked out to the hangar. Under pretext of making a cargo run (an independent contract) to deliver goods to a (secretly) DF controlled cargo hauler, he set off (in an Archangel this time) for the hidden base once more. His circuitous route led him deep into the twilight, away from civilization, toward his second home.

------------------------------

CHAPTER 4

The Present...

06 lay across his bunk, pointedly ignoring the persistent message light and the incoming comms sent his way. He had been quite vocal on the comms lately, both denouncing Scadian Wraith, and in silencing the Voices. It had been a draining few weeks, both mentally and physically. The numerous scorch marks still on his ships in both his clan hangar and the DF hangar could attest to that fact quite vividly. The Fringe had become a hotbed recently - a veritable cornucopia of passionate viewpoints about every subject under the Fringe's many suns. All he wanted to do was take a break, leave his alternate persona behind, and retire completely. He had the money, now. But as they say - there is no rest for the wicked. As if determined to prove the sage wrong, he slowly drifted into a deep, yet troubled slumber, eyes moving rapidly, perhaps thinking of the blurred and strife-torn days of recent weeks.

The Past...

A whirlwind of activity in the Arena. BreakerXX and Stealer03 engaged in ruthless combat. Taunts, plasma, and blood flow freely this day. Anyone venturing too near is vaporized almost instantly, as if swatting flies. We have 1 Breaker... one Stealer... and one Crusher. Him. Damn. Only himself, versus two of the best the Devil's Fist has to offer. Thoughts of the future, of a hope-filled new beginning crumble to dust in that split second of recognition. Steeling himself against the coming armageddon, he races inexorably toward the titanic battle between these two great pilots. He couldn't help wondering what he was going to do in a pegasus versus two behemoth Hammers. But too late. He was in range.

He dropped both his blast torps directly at the spot between the two ships. Far outdistancing the scream of the torp in seconds, he switched to lasers, and squeezed off a shot at XX on his way past, but doing little damage in comparison to the awesome array of weaponry on each Hammer. He heard the torps detonate behind him, watching in satisfaction as both ships suffered moderate damage from the blast, and pulled a high G turn to return to the fray.

Now, it was a matter of survival. He had to get one to destroy the other, and pick the winner off. He rolled quickly with a lat reverse to avoid a rail coming his way, but only partially succeeded. He darted nimbly *between* the two huge ships, and got a hit on 03. Glancing at his HUD, he saw 03 was getting dangerously low. Madly transferring to keep his shields up, he dropped under and behind XX, strafing his rear shields with bolts of crimson fire, then burned up and through the melee to regain his bearings.

Damn! Thinking too much, he said under his breath, as two sets of quad plasmas streaked toward him. Almost as an afterthought, it seemed. Damn, they were good.

With a tight barrel roll, he latted and burned his way around to a better position. But not before one of the rockets hit him, shredding his shields and reducing him to 75 hull in seconds. He transferred half his burners and lasers to shields. That will have to do, he thought. He dodged, corkscrewed, and reversed wildly, trying to spare himself that random shot that spelled his death. He spiraled in with full burners, reversing directions, trying to get the shot in, taking advantage of his low profile to avoid most of the fire. Arrowing in on 03, he dropped three lasers squarely in the center of their ship, on his way by at 2000 kph. XX's engines nova'd with a blinding flash, as four plasmas slammed into the rear quadrant of his ship, and the pilot ejected out with a pillar of flame trailing behind, as the dying ship jerked convulsively, then exploded into a brilliant flower of light. Down to 03, and himself. The huge Warhammer was dangerously low on resources, but a wounded beast is the most dangerous.

06 reversed course back in the Hammer's direction. With a cry, he was thrown back into his seat as he kicked in his burners for a pass at the menacing Hammer. Just enough power for one torp. It left his ship with a scream, 5k out from his target, and zeroed in on the hulking black shape. They circled each other, dancing and sizing each other up. The torp impacted with a roar. The Hammer was down to 35 hull, no shields. Only wounded the beast further. It came roaring at him with ponderous grace, closing in for the kill. Twin rails caught him off guard, and reduced him to a meager 30 hull. Into the fray! He burned up and behind the Hammer, trying to stay behind, and reduced it's newly charged shields to ribbons with a couple well placed shots. He smiled coldly, and prepared for the coup to grace. He hit the burners, and ... Nothing. He watched four plasma rockets gracefully arc their way toward him, and watched entranced as they beelined for his ship. So pretty. DAMN!!!! He punched his eject button, and rocketed out of his doomed ship just in time, as the rockets vaporized the paper thin pegasus. 03 flew through the wreckage, saluted mockingly during a victory roll, and headed for the gate. The adrenaline wore off. That was close. Way too close. Damnable Hammers.

------------------------------

CHAPTER 5

Through the rest of the Civil war, he was involved in dozens of battles. Some they won, others they lost. But the time passed in a blur of agonizing bloodletting. After some time, Cutter01 admitted defeat. He was demoted, the crisis passed, and the Fringe rested to lick it's wounds. Life is a constant struggle, it seems. But peace was not to be. The Voices arrived. Two Voices emerged first. Voice of God, and Voice of Doom. Foul-mouthed, abrasive, and arrogant, they made enemies quickly. Led (in name) by Agnostic Angel, their presence was initially accepted, if not enjoyed or encouraged. Voice of Hope... Voice of Greed... Voice of Anger... Voice of Death... Voice of Revenge... among others.

But they became the hunted rather quickly. They were attacked mercilessly everytime they entered Fringe space. Mostly due to the actions of Voice of God, the whole clan was decimated within days. Several defected or fled within those first few days and were branded as traitors by the Voices. The taunts, and the profanity still continued.

What can you say about the Voices? Those who participated in the cleansing to follow came away sick at heart over the wholesale butchering of the innocent along with the guilty. Sick to death of the vileness that was Voice of God. Of the arrogant commentary spouted by Voice of Doom. Many were judged by the actions of a few. They were judged by fire. To forestall another Firestorm. To prevent another bloodbath. They slaughtered them. To save ourselves, to save their community, to save their precious Fringe - they slaughtered them. God have mercy on their souls - and ours.

Greed, the new pilot. Hope, the victim. Revenge, the veteran with a taste for clan blood. Doom, the arrogant. God, the foul-mouthed ringleader of the vicious crew - the pseudonym for Scadian Wraith, a member of the very clan the Voices vowed to destroy. A traitor, turncoat, and fool. With the mind of a cretin, the temperament of a rabid dog. The Void Alliance welcomed the refugee Voices with open arms - Wing Zero, and Dark Ice. The Voices swore vengeance, and invoked another chapter of the Fringe's dark history. The infamous General Phoenix of the bloody Firestorm. It came to naught, as even he would not endorse their foolish course of action, and Scadian's insanity. But his shadow still lingers. Abated, perhaps, but still fresh in the mind of many.

Was there a rhyme or reason to their actions? Perhaps not. A deeper purpose behind the quest for order in the Fringe? Perhaps so. Only time will tell, and History judge the actions taken to quell the Voices' tide of infamy.

The war involved three courses of action. The vendettas - Mr4, Captain Scarlet of VA, King Dano, who went through VA and IK before settling into RG, and our own 06. Perhaps most vocal of all. The Clans - VA, ND, DeathWing, and finally every clan in the Fringe at the end. A united front to combat a growing threat to stability. The Voices - espousing a hopeless cause, following a clueless leader. Soon to be relegated to anonymity and steeped in disgrace. Does this not strike a chord of sympathy within our bleeding hearts? Get on its knees and wail for the forgiveness and understanding of good hearted individuals everywhere, deep within our psyche? No. For we are heartless killers. All of us. Hiding behind the facade of genteel civility, is the steel gauntlet, and the hardened heart of the practiced assassin and combat hardened contract killer. What is gentility? What do we mean when we say "civilization"?

How do you reconcile that with the ravenous beast that cries for blood?

The Present...

06 pondered these, and many other questions as he fought his way back to consciousness. The world appeared in a rush as his eyes snapped open, a heady influx of stimuli as the world reached into his mind and bade him rejoin. He hit the message light on his comm station. A voice, strangely familiar, yet alien as well, came quietly, but relentlessly from his speakers. "Hello SoulCrusher06. You've improved a great deal since last we met. Unfortunately, I'm under contract to eradicate you all. Who am I? I am Perfect. Independent Contractor. You are my first victim, 06. Prepare. " He shut off the comm station, ignoring the insistent blinking. They didn't matter. Probably just tell him he had a contract on Perfect INDC, anyway. Time to get this over with. Atonement, that's what it was. A chance for atonement.

Finally.

06 slowly dressed in his sable flight suit, and strode thoughtfully toward the hangar. His crew chief had perfectly duplicated his former pegasus. Even down to the skull looking menacingly from his stick handle. He rocketed out of the hangar in a swirl of heat and accelerated wildly. He almost managed to assuage the chill, growing all too familiar, in his soul.

To be continued...
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“Foreclosure”
by
Reaper of Neechi


Reaper stealthily glides across the floor on a cushion of fog that seems to appear from the air around his feet and takes a seat at the bar. He notices that Kitana is currently distracted by a phone call from her sister, Wandaa.

"What a disgrace", Reaper thinks. Dragon won't even pay a Jake Logan wannabe to clean the dust off the vid screens, much less off the bottles. If it wasn't for the fact that Kitana was so damn cute in the Dragon Lair Uniform (Leather backless tank top and matching tight leather pants) he probably wouldn't pay her either. Even then she hardly made any credits due to the fact that the place had a higher patronage of rats than paying customers.

While Reaper's clan leader was a great warrior and tactician, Dragon couldn't run a business to save his ass - literally.

You see, what Dragon failed to realize, due to the immensity of his current obligations with the clan's new recruitment drive, was that the bank had foreclosed on the Dragon Lair Tavern. After a long drawn out bureacratic process which, of course, included the standard 120 S.E.D (Standard Earth Day) period of assessment of assets, the bank held a sealed bid auction to liquidate all properties that once belonged to Reaper's beloved leader.

When Reaper stopped in at Wandaa's place to have a few shot's before going out searching for Super Bad - again - he overheard the CEO of Cozmik Chaos, drunk and fondling a virgin, discussing the auction with one of his print editors.

Well, when Reap heard the shocking news he pondered for days the best course of action the he should take - one that would be beneficial for all Neechi. Naturally, Dragon would not answer his VID-Phone or reply to his Tach Pages, so Reap did the only thing that he could think of: He went to the bank and transferred all his credits from savings into his business account and then walked down the hall to the collections department. There he filled out an auction ballot, had it verified and sealed by the receptionist, and then left to go try and find Razor's Kiss for their weekly SOL training.

Well, 2 weeks later Reap gets a tach-mail that says he was the high bidder and that he needs to go to the bank to fill out the appropriate paperwork.

2 days later, here Reaper sits, pretending not to look at Kitana's ass (and failing miserably, by the way) and trying to get up the courage to do what must be done.

"Dammit!" he mumbles to himself.

Reaper rises from the bar and floats down to where Kitana has just finished her conversation with Wandaa. He pulls out a piece of paper and slides it across the bar.

Looking confused she hesitantly starts reading the legal document. After a moment she stops reading the paper and looks up at Reaper with a mixed look of puzzlement, confusion, and shock.

"You're ****tin' me, right?"

"No Kitty, it's official."

"But this can't be right. Are you sure this is what you bid on?"

"Absolutely." Reaper grinned mischievously.

"Alright, but I think your an absolute nut." Kitty said shaking her head in disbelief. "I'll be right back." She walked to the back storage room and disappeared from sight.

While waiting Reaper glanced around another time and the untidy establishment and something caught his eye on the mirrored shelf behind the credit scanner. Closer investigation revealed it to be a Screen Shot of a Devil's Fist agent blowing up Dragon's nephew Buck.

"Damn!" Reaper breathed. "Those sick bastards! They sent him a picture of the hit..x" His train of thought was interrupted by Kitana struggling with a rather large and apparently heavy box, trying like hell to get out of the storeroom doorway. Reap rushed over to her aid and helped her set the parcel down on the bar.

"Well, there ya go Reap. That's all of it."

"Thanks for getting it all, Kitty. I should have helped ya."

"I don't need help from a man, Reap. If I can handle an Archangel just fine, I can handle this crap no-problemo"

Reaper grinned to himself, the year 2236 and the feminist movement still hadn't reached it's destination. Oh well, there were worse things in life than a woman with a chip on her shoulder.

"All right, Kitty. I gotta take off. If our illustrious leader should put in an appearance sometime soon, tell him to drop me a line, I just finished up the new insignia for the clan and I want his opinion before I put it on the clan boards."

"Will do, Reap. You're still gonna spin this Friday at your place?"

"Yes, Ma'am. I'll be there doin my 'wicky wicky' thing... I'll see ya then?"

"Yup, me and Wanda are gonna stop in and have few drinks and maybe dance a little, she's all pissed off at Vec right now so she wants to get out."

"Poor bastard, glad she's not mad at me."

"No Sh*t!"

Reaper leaned over and tried to conceal his excitement as he gingerly pulled the lid open on his newest possession. As he lovingly looked on the contents of the package a smile spread across his face. It was a smile of utter and complete happiness, like joy in the heart.

There in the package, for the price of 1 credit per bottle, a savings of 22 credits per bottle mind you, was every bottle of Jaegermeister that the bar had.

Reaper had never known such bliss, and he drifted out of the bar into a future sure to be hazy and vaguely tasting of black licorice.
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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    • The FringeSpace Conversion Mod
Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction

“Jading the Fringe”
by
FyreHeart of the Void Alliance and Scadian Wraith


In the dawn of a new age the warrior's heart leads many a fine pilot to the war drums' rage of battle. Today would be no different from any other glorious day, as war grips the Fringe and tries to strangle the freedom that everyone fights for. The fight would continue and the war would march on to the thunderous blasts of plasma rockets and solaris torpedos. Today many would lift up their banners and charge that imaginary hill to do battle for their honor and ethics. Today many would die and a few skilled and lucky pilots would live to continue on the struggle for freedom. This once peaceful fold of space and time, has seen many brave warriors fall, and the lamentations of women can still be heard echoing thru many a space station or capital ship. Today was no different than any other day I can remember.

Yes, peace had ruled the Fringe before the arrival of man. Now something else has come. Something - other. Perhaps these were the original inhabitants. Perhaps they come from somewhere yet unknown and space unexplored. Regardless, they have rocked the petty clashes between clans and created a united front. Humanity of the Fringe comes together to hold on to what has become theirs.

And somewhere in Bora space, a young girl is born.

Lovingly her parents cradle here, and christen her "Jade". Little do they know the significance she is born for.

They had come from nowhere with no destiny. They flew strange craft to hide their features from the prying eyes of the human aliens they were boand to conquer. The invasion had begun. Their enemies had united. This was a formiddible drawback, but they must continue - wipe them out!

ATTACK ON HUMAN BASE, TAUROS, 2264: 20 YEARS AFTER FIRST INVASION.

The battle was nearly over. There were just 5 enemy craft left that they would have to destroy the to protect the base. They attacked. 4 enemies left.

"Damn! They've taken 2 of ours. We cant hold out!"

Suddenly, a black fighter came out of the endless night of space. Firing an array of modified Bora and Spanner weapons, the remaining 4 were mincemeat.

"Damn, man, nice shooting! We owe you!!"

The mystery pilot spoke, "I'm a woman, and my callsign is JADE."


She vanished as quickly as she had come. Her black ship seemed invisible - untraceable.

For days afterward, TachBand was alive with murmurings of "Jade." Who was she? Where had she come from? What did she want? The few who knew her fell silent - once she was Bora, but now...

Then, another report. Another battle almost lost, turned around by the enigma of Jade.

In the weeks that followed, every human victory was reported with the name "Jade." A battered and bruised humanity had found a new messiah - a new cry to rally around. Under the banner of "Jade", piece by piece humanity began to reassemble the fractured space it once claimed.

Sitting aloft in his menacing, stealthed capital ship the mysterious leader of the invaders sits in his chair in deaths silence,looking over the holo vid of the last battle.He sits in his chair,which is more like a massive titanium throne,and he soothes his pet jaraych,that lies in his lap.This small, furless reptilian creature,spreads out its squid like tenticals,oozes, and wraps his appendages around his masters torso and thorax,trying to confort him after feeling his initial pulse of insult and rage.The master sits amused and uses his free hand to run over the controls on his throne to see what his skilled warriors did to meet defeat on this cold day in the vacuum of hell.The holo vid unit flashes,erupting blue and red light from the apex of the unit,filling the desolate command room. The last battle is displayed in the air before the strange master,as he analyzes the attack and views the slaughter of his seemingless inept pilots.

"hmmmm" crackles the mysterious master,"looks like we have a new thorn that pierces the side of our conquest.Should I send a legion of the dimension shifting, scadian wraiths to find this menacing shadow that lurks and halts our path to victory or perhaps I should take my ship and meet this JADE head to head in armed combat" the master speaks telepathically bonded to his most favored and cheerished pet.The creature now has a firm grasp on his master,and is feeding off of his negativity,filling itself with the delicious energy his symbiotic master is nonchalantly feeding him.The flow of energy crackles and courses thru the two beings uniting them as one mind and one spirit.As the negativity fills the small jaraych,it starts becoming translucent revealing all of the cosmos to its master scanning form.

Floating in the void of his astral form, Melniborax shifts thru the many tangents that line his present path,looking for a reality in which he can best this new threat,this JADE.The path of conquest he seeks is blocked by many foggy illusions,causing the master to strain his innate mental abilities almost to his sundering point.Even utilizing his pets cosmic awareness abilities,he seems unable to break this shimmering, blue vortex that blocks his path to this forbidden knowledge.The master's mind races frantically as he flexes his mind as he would any other muscle in his corporial form,and trys vainly again to unlock the barrier that lies in his path."This jade is strong in the arcane ways,perhaps she is an older breed of being such as we are my precious pet?",the master relays to his raptured friend.

Melniborax recedes from his cosmic probings and ponders. If this creature - this "Jade" - is as ancient as he, she may be beyond the reaches of his probing. But there are others greater than he. He flicks at the controls on his mighty chair and reads the instantaneous response. It tells him that he has yet a few hours to model his new reality. A few precious hours to prepare. The creatures morph and warp into the chamber, bending reality to their will rather than obey its dictates. The group of Ancients exchange the timeless greeting, and begin their work. Each jaraych morphs toward the others, while remaining affixed to its master. They join in the center, become transparent, and open their masters' minds to each other and the cosmos. Together, they search through the mere 10 dimensions of this little continuum, searching throughout space and time itself. Together, they would bend the models, probe the possibilities, and shape the reality that would defeat Jade. Yet the oldest of the Ancients would be shaken by what they discover...

In a far of corner of space in a remote section of the fringe,on a tranquil and beautiful planet, a ship descends cutting the atmosphere in a blazing path of fire.The ship slowly sets down and the hatch opens with a hiss,as the air pressure inside the ship finds a confortable equilibrium with that of the natural world.A red haired, fiery spirited woman descends from the ship and looks around her surroundings.She is wearing a pair of black,multipocketed cargo pants,a red silk tunic,and a par of titanium mesh vambraces.At her waist on a black leather belt hangs a blaster and a few assortments of technology and equipment that have more than once served her well.Her belt holds shut her black multipocketed vest and on her feet are strapped a pair of leather thigh high boots.

The woman touches a button on her wrist/vambraces and the tail-end of her ship opens up.She hits another button and a hover cycle emerges from the depths of her craft.

The woman looks around,smelling the clean air,and she is glad for the oppurtunity to be out of the cramped ship that has been her home for the last few weeks.The artificial air in her craft is not as clean as natural air,and the beauty flex's her neck sky ward feeling the warmth of the sun on her face.The sun bathes the woman and she starts feeling the cosmic flow of life that surrounds and penetrates everything.She takes another deep breath and starts to concentrate on her mission at hand.

The lovely creature reaches into here canvas sack that is slung like a bandaleer over her vest,and she pulls out a leather hide scoll.She opens it using an old incantation that renders the runes that protect this scroll obsolete.A flare of blue energy passes from the woman and into the parchment and the scoll opens,revealing a map.The map is thousands of years old and the strange markings on the parchment are from a time when man walked as apes.

She sits back and reads the parchment outloud.

"Behold the end of times come when the nightmares from the sky devoure the worlds of all things.Behold the end of times when the one shall rise from the apes and stand alone to combat this curse and evil.Behold the temple of the spirit that shall be the weapon and the knowledge for the salvation from these cursed creatures.Behold the three gems of power that when united will be a weapon that shall bring light and justice to the people of this time.Behold the lamp of knowledge that shines forever in the minds of many,and behold the power that will cleanse the universe"

In a mere second the parchement glows and a beam of shimmering blue energy,erupts from the parchment and a straight beam of light marks the spot where the woman is to begin her quest for the three stones of truth,light,and love.

She jumps on her hover cycle,hits another bottom on her wrist that turns her ship invisible to the normal light waves that most creatures see,she primes the throttle,and is off on her quest to save the known universe from the ancient evil that seems never to stop.


The Ancients recede from their cosmic probings into a stunned silence. Jade was merely a child. An infant in the Cosmos. Yet she alone could tap three power centers that were as ancient as they themselves. She was the key that united and focused them.

The power centers themselves had evaded the Ancients' detection, and even now confounded their modeling and shaping. Reality would not bend to their will, for it was already bent around this timeless force. They would have to proceed blindly, trapped in linear time like the lesser beings that infested this universe.

Melniborax was ejected from the cosmic probing, his jaraych settling contentedly in his lap. "Melniborax," the Ancients intoned together, still joined, "you shall seek this Jade. All the resources of our race are yours. Destroy her. Let her not unlock the timeless force."

"So be it. I shall retrieve the power centers. We shall absorb them into ourselves and break the chain she seeks to create." The plan he voiced was an old one. Countless realities had fallen to the Ancient Ones by this strategy.

"Impossible," the Ancients responded. "The timeless force defies our detection and control, and you lack the essence to obtain it. Destroy the child. Without her to focus the energies, the timeless force cannot oppose us."

Melniborax bowed deeply and left the room.

********

The planet's thick foliage swatted Jade and clawed at her flowing red hair. Halting in a marshy clearing, she dismounted, picked debris from her hair, and stuffed the unruly mass under her helmet.

She retrieved the ancient scroll and stepped away from her hover cycle into a break in the forest canopy. It flickered with a life of its own, and the runes morphed and blended until the beam of blue light again split the sky. Squinting against the blinding sun, she singled a peak out of the distant mountains. Aiming her wrist vambrace at it, she tickled the controls and a coherent light beam dashed forth and bounced back.

"'Bout blasted time I could image that spot," she muttered. "Finally I can use my tracking computer."

She returned to her cycle, carefully sealing the scroll according to runes only she could read, and hid it away. She closed her faceplate, hastily clawing at some of the stains plant stems had left on it, and continued her quest.

********

Late in the evening, she again gazed at the scroll under the light of her campfire. In the midst of the runes was the image of a woman. The colors were faded, but Jade imagined the woman to have red hair. Beneath her feet was a tiny image of a temple pyramid. The woman stood tall, arms outstretched, with shining beams coming from a finger on each hand and merging at a spot on her forehead, which glowed with an ethereal radiance. Together they formed a kind of sacred triangle which mimicked the pyramid beneath her feet.

Suddenly, her head shot up, ears probing the darkness. Something was amiss. Quickly she sealed the scroll and locked it in her hover cycle. She then stepped back into the firelight, gazing intently into the darkness. The night seemed to darken and encroach on her senses. There was an enemy here, one she could not see or hear. Quietly, she loosed the thong securing her blaster, and primed her vambraces to emit their energy shield. Tense, with the fire to her back, sweat trickles down her perfect face as minutes slither by. Silence.

A blue glow catches her eye, emanating from within her cycle. As she nears it, she senses the darkness being driven back, and suddenly clarity comes. The enemy is not like her. She cannot fight it with shields and blasters. Tonight, its weapon is fear.

Jade stands tall and takes a deep breath of the cool, wet air. There will be no sleep tonight. She secures her blaster, disables her energy shield, and mounts her hover cycle. Before closing her helmet's faceplate, she looks into the darkness and grins.

"You lost this one," she breathes, and her cycle shoots away into the darkness.

Sitting in the flora and the dense foliage,a dark presences glares at its target,waiting for the right moment when it would pounce and make its victim a meal.It's eyes flare an unholy blue fire,that seems to scan the endless ways and the jungle around it.It watches as it's prey speeds away into the darkness of the jungle on it's metal beast.The creature ponders to itself the most logical course of action to best kill this threat.

The creature slowly starts focusing on it's preys mind.Trying to open up this humans head would be an easy task,but this human is not ordinary by any legends standard.The creature flexes its abilities and slowly an image starts to fade and appear in the monsters minds eye.The image starts to take shape, of a temple with ancient runes at the apex of the local mountain."Very interesting" the creature reflects."This is the warrior who has awakened my ancient rest.I hope she can last longer than the others who have tried to steal my treasure," the creature sneers to itself.

The creature focus's again and its life memories start to flood thru its thoughts.Ancient times and ancient promises,rush to meet its masters commands.This ancient creature can remember when the temple was occupied by scholars and spiritual leaders,healers and dreamers.It can remember a time when the stones of power were used to help ease the suffering of people and light a beacon for all to see throughout the universe.It could rememebr a time when the darkness and vastness of space were all united to defeat another enemy of evil.It could remember the day,it was summoned and its bargain was struck with the leaders of the temple.For the greater good of every living species,the creature promised to guard that temple for all time.For only he knows the fullest power of the three stones.He knows that this untrained human,could destroy the cosmos if she did not have complete control and understanding of the stones.

The monster sits back and thinks,it's ethereal form partially phases thru the tree it rests upon."If i could make an allegiance with this woman,and train her,then perhaps I could have her do my bidding.Yes i will train this human,take the lost light of knowledge,and hold it secure to only my whims".

The creature closes it's eyes and fades back to its resting spot in the temple."SHe will be here soon.......hmmmmmmmmmm......what shape shall i assume that will not threaten her?" the creature asks itself.Slowly the creature takes the form of a small male child that is badly hurt.It's form becomes solid,as the beast morphs into the appearance of the small child.The child curls up in the center of the room,and falls asleep awaiting the time when the woman would find him.


Melniborax watches the creature as it sets to lure the girl and smiles. His essence hovers around the planet, looking for other servants to capture and place in her path. To challenge such a lowly creature seems almost unjust, but his race must feed on this reality to live. She will not be allowed to challenge them.

Jade forces her hover bike over the last steep rise onto a steppe. Her guidance computer blinks excitedly, alerting her that she's near her goal. The journey has been exhausting, but as a dark maw gashing the mountainside looms larger before her speeding bike, her pulse quickens with anticipation.

Dust clouds swirl up around her as she pulls her bike to a halt. She switches off the guidance computer, it's frenetic blinking long since trying her patience, and retrieves the scroll. The blue beam fires deep into the cave, and she slumps on her seat, satisfied. Stuffing the secured scroll in her pack, she makes her way into the darkness.

And inside, a tiny boy has seen the blue light, and smiles an inhuman smile...

In a deep covered area of space,in a dark matter nebula,a huge Caldorian battle cruiser dips and dives,avoiding the debris of space.Bright flares of laser fire proceed the huge craft,destroying the huge chunks of rock and other space matter that rise and fall as the ship passes.Explosion after explosion can be felt as the debris and asterioids become nothing but dust.The ship is silent except for its automated laser cannons,the ion trail it leaves disapates as the ship slowly trudges thru the cold vaccum of space.

The captain sits in his chair.His eyes are still laden with the sleep one accumulates after decades of hyber sleep.He sits there at his bridge controls,trying to regain some memories of the last 75 years.Slowly his memories start flooding him,and he is once again aware of the episode that cost him and his crew 75 years of their lives.The man is tall for a human,coming in at an amazing 6 feet 7 inches.He is wearing a long mongolain style vest that splits at the front.His green multi pocketed, cargo pants,are wrinkled and faded.His once bald head is now covered with waist length black hair,His black goatee has been transformed into a beard that nearly touches his stomach.

Wiping the sleep from his eyes,the man slowly starts to take the ship off of automatic pilot.He hits button after button,gives many a retinal scan,and voice imprints to lift the encryptions his ship used to protect them as they slept.

"Morning captian" a friendly computer says,startling the man for a brief second."I have been un able to establish a link with the local time beacon,so I cannot aprize you of the current date and time.Records indicate that it is 75 years past our last time together"

"Greetings and salutations Dora,I hope these past 75 years have given you the time you need to repair and time to get all our malfunctions under guidance?" the man asks as he proceeds to look over the past 75 years of mission logs."It seems we were permitted to sleep an additional 10 years past what I set the hybernation units too,what is the reason for our extended sleep Dora?" he remarks as he looks over the log.

"Your sleep was extended to give the repair droids and myself time to heal.After we fell into that black hole,I needed more time to repair the ship,then was originally predicted.The repair druids have needed that extra time to mine this secluded asteroid belt,and they required more time to manufacture the materials needed to fix myself.I am up and running to full capacity captain,and I await your commands" the ship says in a soothing female voice. "Please waken my men Dora,and store the ship from auto to manual controls.Have you been able to provide me with any information as to are current location?"

"Sir the best I can figure is that we are 50,000 light years from home.That black hole acted like a quantun mass accelerator,throwing us off course for what I fear will be the rest of our lives.I have calculated that it will take us approximately 75 years to reach our solar system,at maximum speed.I have also been processing vast amounts of communications I have been recieving from sources outside of this dark nebula.It appears to me Captain,that a war is being waged and thousands if not millions of life forms in this corner of the universe are being extermintated at an alarming rate."

"So basically what you are saying,my beloved Dora,is that once again we find ourselves in another mess?" the captain painfully speaks,the lines of worry can be seen underneath his pelt of dark hair.

"Yes sir I am afraid we are not in the best of arenas at this time.Captain,I have intercepted an energy reading that I have never recorded.The energy reading comes from a small planet,located 2 light years from our current position.The readings are unknown to me and none of my hypothesis can direct how to reproduce this source of energy.The science computer has been analyzing this source for the last day,and it has come to the conclusion that with this source of power we could create a device that would act like a quantum mass accelerator that could get us home in a few weeks.I have plotted a course to this planet,shall I activate the manuevering thrusters and proceed to this heading captain?" the soothing voices inquires?

"Dora,please show me what information you have gathered on this unknown power source," he asks as the hope for returning home once again rushes thru him.He reviews the logs,the charts and the energy matrix of this new and potentially usefull source of energy."Dora,please awaken the crew and when they have regained their senses alert them that our new destination is that small planet.Have you witnessed any activity from the aggresors of this war we are about to join?" he asks as he sits in his chair drinking a black substance that smells of almonds and butterscotch.

"Sir I have been monitoring this war for the past 7 years.I am afraid the force which is destroying these people are stronger and more complex then any force we have ever encountered.Their craft are faster and sleeker than our own,but their weapons have nothing on our own weapons.I predict that if we entered this campaign we will sustain heavy loses,but we do have a chance at turning the tide of battle to help these humans that are being exterminated.I have been working on a few new ideas,and I have increased the power of our shields to 1,000 trimes what they use to be.The star drive is up and running and It is also 500 times faster then when you and the crew entered hypersleep.If we are cautious and wise,we can help these people in this galaxy,and perhaps claim an area of this galaxy in the name of the Caldorian Empire."

The captain sits in his chair thinking,he ponders over the equation,and quickly settles on the idea that he is a warrior and as such he will join this crusade and help this beings in this corner of the galaxy."Dora I am gonna go get in uniform,please keep the ship at a stop halt until my men have a chance to get on thier feet."

"As you command Captain Gyllian ",the voice replies.


The Captain gets up from his chair.His legs are weak from the 75 year slumber and as he rises he can feel the gravity of the situation all about his form.He proceeds thru the blast doors,and they close behind him wish a swoosh.

Jade's headlamp plays across the craggy terrain. Her progress is slow. Around her, the cave walls are littered with religious art, and amidst the rubble at her feet are many a treasured possession offered to a beloved god. Something in her senses the power in this place, and it invigorates her.

Presently, the walls smooth out, and the cave takes on a more temple-like appearance. The art takes on a higher class, clearly done by devout professionals. She weaves her way through the debris and entry chamber, and the cave opens into a massive anteroom.

As her awe gives way to reality, a faint sound catches her ears. She looses her blaster from its holster and stealthily moves toward the sound. As she moves closer, the sound resolves itself into a quiet weeping. She moves more quickly. Huddled behind a shrine, she finds a small boy, crying softly. Quickly, she holsters her weapon and touches him lightly on the shoulder.

"Hey," Jade whispers tenderly, "hey, are you all right?" The little boy starts and rolls over to see her, suddenly shuffling backwards with a look of fear.

"Hey, it's OK. I'm not going to hurt you," she coos, hands outstretched. "Can you speak? What's your name?"

He sits up, and bites his finger, eyes wide. Jade shuffles closer and sits down. "Hey, are you hurt? Can you tell me your name?"

"I..." he starts, then bites his finger again.

"Yeah? It's OK. I won't hurt you."

"I... ungy," he says, and dots his hand to his lips.

"Ungy? Oh, hungry! Sure. Here ya go." She swings off her satchel and reaches in for a morsel. The boy cranes his neck to glance inside as she's rummaging through, and sits back satisifed, having seen the scroll.

"Here ya go." The boy reaches out tenatively and takes a cautious bite of the bar she offered, then devours it.

"There ya go. See? I'm not so bad, am I? Can you tell me your name?"

He offers a shy smile, and says "I Ilyam."

"Ilyam? Do you mean William?"

The boy shakes his head, "yust Ilyam."

Jade shrugs, "OK. So how did you get here? What happened to you?" The little boy smiles and just shrugs.

"Tell ya what," Jade continues, "I'm going to get you outta here, but first I have something to do." She stands and turns toward the altar platform to begin her search for the first gem, but Ilyam clings to her leg.

"No leave! No leave!"

"Look, I said I'm not going to leave you, I just need to look for something first."

"No! No leave!" and the child clings to her leg tighter, punctuated by a shrill wailing. Jade tries without success to pry the boy loose, but finally resigns herself to dragging him along. She lifts him from the waist, turning him upside down as he clings to her leg, and makes her way awkwardly toward the altar.

The altar had a raised platform of sorts on it, presumably from which the officiating priests harangued the worshippers. As she made her way behind it, Ilyam loosened his grip on her leg. She sat him down, and he scuttled over to the platform and sat on it, watching her. She shook her head, and began her search, looking in each compartment, in the crags, in the holy receptacles preserved for whatever worship this temple housed. All came up empty. She finally descended to her knees and began crawling about, searching the seams between the bricks and cracks in the floor.

"What you doing?" Ilyam's voice echoed in the massive stone hall.

"I told you, I have to find something."

"You no tell me that. What you find?"

"A... gem. A bright stone of some kind."

"What it look like?"

Jade, frustrated, spun on her heel. "It looks..." she began, reaching in her satchel for the scroll, then she caught herself. She let go of the scroll and rummaged through her bag for some of her jewelry. "It looks something like this," she concluded, producing an artificial diamond earring.

"Oh, you look for shining ring," Ilyam replied. He slid off the platform and ran to the left wall. His hand disappeared inside the wall for a moment, and then a grinding sound commenced above Jade's head. She jumped back and looked up. A door was opening in the wall above her head, from which a red glow emanated. She swung up on the platform and looked in. A ring. Upon it was mounted a red gem, which glowed in and out, as if it was breathing.

Jade hopped down from the platform and drug a pot over to the wall, turned it over, and stood on it. She could just reach in the hole. As she fumbled with the ring, it seemed to be moving on its own. When she drew her hand out, the ring was on her finger.

She held her hand out straight and gazed at the beautiful stone mounted on her finger. It seemed to speak to her, warming her, and its glow grew to fill the room.

********

Captain Gyllian strode onto the bridge with confidence, decked out in full uniform. Where it was dark a few hours ago, it was now light. Where there was solitude was now abuzz with activity. Darkened consoles were now manned and vibrant with activity.

"Dora! Status report," Gyllian commands as he settles into his seat.

"All hands accounted for," intones the computer's feminine voice. "All systems go. We await your command."

"Helm?"

"Course laid in, Captain. Should be a short trip."

"All ahead full."

"Aye, sir."

Within moments an angular mass solidified out of the dusty nebula, swirls of space dust and particles of the vacuum bounding out of its way. From this short distance, the target star loomed bright in the viewport, and then the Singularity Drive flexed its power. A wash of nausea crept through each crew member, and the ship sped on its way.

It seemed but a moment's breath before the Singularity Drive switched off, gracing the crew with another wash of nausea. Before them lay a beautiful blue-green orb.

"Helm, take us into orbit. Dora, scan the surface."

"Aye." The ship's chemical boosters fired, and the ship slowly began to move into orbit around the little planet.

"Scan complete, Captain," intoned Dora, "significant life form readings. Few appear sentient. The large energy source appears to be atop a mountain on the northern continent. Also, I am detecting a faint energy signature matching the enemy I advised you of earlier."

"Acknowledged. Thank you, Dora. Please do a threat assessment while we prepare a landing party."

"As you command."

********

Jade and Ilyam emerged from the rubble strewn cave a bit battered. Again in the sunlight, Jade gazed at the ring now on her finger. She sensed - something - from it. She felt her essence searching, as if for an activation switch.

"If only I could figure out how you worked," she whispered to the stone.

"I show you," Ilyam replied.

Jade started, surprised that he overheard her.

"Ok." She shrugged. Ilyam made a show of trying to maneuver himself around her hand, trying to get in just the right spot to "activate" the ring.

"I no do. You take ring off. I wear."

Jade's eyes narrowed. Something felt wrong, but she didn't know what else to do. So, she reached to take the ring off. She pulled. She twisted. It stayed firm. The ring could not be removed.

The creature that was Ilyam receded for an instant. It had not expected this.

To be continued...

True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“MisterFour”
by
MisterFour of the Iconian Knights


MisterFour was recently asked why he never included himself in his stories.
This was his answer...


Mr.4 woke up aboard the IK Capitol Ship Hecate and lay there, thinking about his Warhammer and the conflict ahead. His dreams had been disjointed and full of blue deserts and moons of molten brass...weeping suns like Dali paintings... He shook his head and made his coffee, knowing that if space were an ocean, then the Hecate was going into treacherous, blood-filled waters. The outpost station known as Trindicate had been sending reports of sporadic conflicts with Mercenary Bandits, and then communications had been completely lost.

The Mess hall was largely vacant, all personnel manning stations or performing last minute maintenance on their ships. Every pilot possessed an instinct, a sense for when there was going to be battle...you couldn't see it straight ahead, only in corners or behind closed doors, shuffling and pacing like a minotaur, bellowing it's rage in Minoan labyrinths of stone and blood.

Mr.4 looked at his simple bowl of oatmeal. He felt calm, as if he was on the uppermost floor of some Earth city structure, gazing down upon tenemant apartments far below, as if he were the CEO of some mega corporation, a millionaire, and not an Archon Knight about to go into conflict. Then there was the klaxon wail of impending battle. A few eye blinks and he was striding to the main flight corridor, followed by Squiggy the Vorpal Bunny.

"Sir, we have reports of fighting just outside of Trindicate Station...interceptors report several wings patrolling the area, and the wreckage of the Metropolis Capitol Ship...all hands lost..." Disturbing, he thought. That means the Mercenary Bandit group known as the Skell had finally made their move, after years of heightening agression, all because of a dispute over ripstar fields. He knew it would come to this.

"Squiggy, I want you to stay near the Ghostrider's. I have been informed I have to go solo."

"Sir, that's impossible! Who will be your wingman?"

Mr.4's answer was cut short by Overlord Bloodstar.

"Gentlemen, it is war out there...the Skell have finally crossed the line between honor and brutality...Trindicate station is in ruins..." There was the sudden sound as the pilots started speaking at once, horrified...

"We count the dead in the thousands, with casualties on both sides...the Skell have even fired on Medical Freighters, despite treaties a hundred years old..." More cries of outrage echoed in the hold.

"Knights, this is a punitive mission, now. Make those bandits pay in blood..."

A voice of triumph, everyone felt the rush, the adrenaline.

"All of you shall form a part of a pincer maneuver, we shall trap them between the teeth of our firepower, the Hecate on one side, with all of the combined wings of our ships, and Mr.4 on the other." Everyone murmured their approval. RabidChicken patted Four on the shoulder, and more than a few congratulated him. The flashes of cameras everywhere, and Four posed a little.

"Hey, what can I say." He said to a nearby ensign.

"Knights, show no mercy..."

There was the sudden rush as the men and women of the Iconian Knights boarded thier ships, the Hold was a cacophony of hydraulics, warning sounds, ship systems powering up and vidscreens lighting up, showing battle reports.

Mr.4 signed several autographs and then made his way to his Warhammer, refitted with the words
"[censored]" on each side. A couple of reporters shouted questions to him.

"Hey Four! Are you nervous about the conflict?"

"Hell no, I got the funk. I'm psycerifico. They're all doomed. I think I'll fight with my eyes closed. Tell you what, remove my lats, technicians...I wanna make this interesting."

While the techs went to work another reporter asked, "Four, what do you plan on doing after this battle?"

"Oh, I finally finished some medical research I have been working on. I have synthesized a chemical compound that will allow humans to live forever. So I cured Death, good job, huh?"

"Any other advice, Four?"

"Yeah, humility is for people who aren't the greatest frikkin' pilots in all of Fringe space, like me. I totally rock the house. Oh by the way-" Four reached into his back pocket and threw a manual into the throng of reporters.

"I was bored so I managed to construct the Unified Field Theory. I also disproved Quantum mechanics. Turns out it's all based on ether. Oh yeah, the Earth is hollow and it was the man on the grassy knoll. While I was at it, also turns out that with a few simple quadrilineal algebraic equations I was able to prove that Stephen Hawking was totally way off. So somebody publish this. God I am beautiful."

Four put on his helmet and closed the hatch of his Warhammer, the afterburners filling the ship with a vibrational hum, the HUD flashing to life in an electric rush of polygons.

Four maneuvered his starfighter out of the Hold and into space, the cold and endless night all around him...he was complete, here, at home. The first wing of Skell interceptors came ahead of a Capitol Ship, the Gargoyle, bristling with weaponry, steel and black in the vacuum reaches.

"Aww, man, I gotta fight all that. This sucks. I need a toothpick. Waitaminute, how about some theme music."

Four made a few quick adjustments, the interceptors closing in, sharks in the sea of stars that was space.

The Peter Gunn theme filled the cockpit.

The first 52 Interceptors were pretty difficult, even by Mr.4's standards. At last, as he was swerving hard, completely out of plasmas, his shields torn to so much galactic dust and light, his fingers constantly hitting the S and D keys because he kept forgetting he had no lats, his ship was utterly annihilated with a lucky nuclear weapon. As the white light engulfed his craft, he realized that it was a bad idea to use a trackball instead of a mouse...

Floating outward from the explosion, he tore off his flight suit to reveal a blue costume, red cape and a red S on his chest. He flew forward, the interceptors firing streams of missiles, and he used the Force to send them back, destroying the remaining starcraft. Then red heat rays shot from his eyes and cut the Capitol Ship Gargoyle completely in two. The explosion was spectacular, done by Industrial Light and Magic, it took one thousand hours to do, was done by one hundred Korean children in sweat shops working for a bowl of rice a day, and still put the entire production way over budget.

Hurtling towards the earth at time-rending speeds, Four flew around it until time stopped and went backwards, so he was able to prevent the destruction of the Trindiate station as well as World War II.

Finally, sitting in a lawn chair at the Playboy mansion, surrounded by adoring Playmates, Four congratulated Hugh Hefner on a good fiscal year, as well as a perfect vodka martini.

MisterFour: There, I wrote about myself! Happy??
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“Ode to No One”
by
Griffin Moone of the Void Alliance


Scooby Doo and Havik sat quietly at a long, pressed wood table, in uncomfortable plastic chairs. Havik thought perhaps they'd been designed to straighten the kinks that tend to develop in zero gravity out of one's back. Scooby knew they weren't designed with hangovers in mind.

In front of each a silver tray, too battered and scratched to reflect much more than dim colorizations of the pilots, held a conglomeration that neither would have described as food, prepared as if edibility were an afterthought. It simmered, and seemed to congeal before them under the harsh, bare lights above. Havik poised his fork above a brownish slab of solidity, looking like a hallucinogenic steak, wondering if prodding it may stir it back to life. Scooby, after letting his hand slip from underneath his chin and his head drop for the fifth time, stared through half closed eyes at the coffee cup, fifteen miles away, at the other end of his tray. Suddenly the relative quiet of the cafeteria was shattered by a blood curdling-scream. A figure, tall and thin, rushed between the tables in a ducking run. He charged towards them, rolling around other patrons, his eyes running madly over the room. Havik saw Zajj a second before he leapt onto their table, grabbed a knife from off Scooby's tray, waved it above his head and screamed "Die!!!!!!!!!" He then charged out of the room, knocking down two unknown pilots as they swaggered in.

"I dare ask, who was that boy?" Scooby seemed a fraction more alive than a moment before.

"I'd love to tell ya, Scoob," Havik said, "but no one has quite figured out how to pronounce his name."

-----------------------

Werewolf closed up the access panel on the side of a glimmering Orion, one with its original paint job from Galspan intact. He smiled a wide grin at its owner, leaned back and said, "There you are, Jake, all setup for ya."

The pilot, a bit nervous and excited, pumped Werewolf's hand at a rate that under slightly less-optimal gravity conditions might have induced flight.

"Thank you so much mister Werewolf, sir," he gushed, "I don't know what I would have done without your help."

"No problem," Werewolf yanked his hand away, "Helpin' new pilots is what I do best." A few minutes later, his face still frozen in that smirk, Werewolf was standing behind a thick piece of plasiteel, guarding against the vacuum that was soon to occupy the hanger. Hannibal was standing next to him, complaining.

"Man, I don't get it," he tapped on the glass at the Orion as it began to slowly lift off, "all these new pilots show up, can't fly there way out of a paper bag, all calling themselves 'Jake Logan'. Why? Because some space cowboy decides to announce to the galaxy that he single-handedly won the Galspan-Bora war. Suddenly, everyone wants to fly, and use his friggin' name. And you're out there helpin' 'em. Telling 'em how to fly, what to put on there ship. All our best tricks, man."

He gazed down at the open containers that once held components that could easily be attached to both Bora and Galspan fighters.

"Look at that," Hannibal continued, pointing at the boxes. "You gave him all the newest reserve systems, top-of-line missile defense systems, and, oh my god, you gave him the brand new booster from PPS. I don't even have one of-"

He stopped in mid-breath, suddenly realizing a box was missing, one that should have been with the rest. Slowly, his face turned upwards into a grin as well.

"You didn't give him lats. You evil, evil bastard."

Werewolf turned and walked out of the room, and almost seemed to whistle.

-----------------------

"Commander on the deck!" a yoeman called out as Decon passed through the sliding door.

"What the hell is it?" he barked, annoyed at having his breakfast interrupted. He'd been in command of a convoy for the past three days, as it traveled from spaceport to spaceport, making the long journey to Iconian territory in the Fringe.

"Sir, a warhammer is playing havoc with the front line escorts," a junior officer said after dropping his salute, pointing to a screen.

"Whose?" Decon stepped forward and bent to read the screen. He disliked being irritated, particularly before his coffee, but if asked in private, he would admit that the yelling part wasn't so bad.

"Sir, it's one of ours sir," the officer almost dropped dead from the gaze he received. He hastened to continue, "The ship is designated as MisterFour's, sir." Fifteen levels, almost straight down from where Decon stood, a loud buzz awoke MisterFour from his sleeping bunk. Spilling sheets to the floor, he turned over and reached to flip the comm. switch.

Three minutes later, he passed through the same door Decon had, but with less fanfare. He was still holding one of his boots, not sure whether or not flight boots were necessary without a ship to fly.

"Is that your hammer?" Decon pointed to a screen, a video feed from one of the capital ships near the commotion.

Four blinked through the daze of sleep and immediately recognized the battle scars on his warship.

"Yeah, but..."

"Then who the hell is flying it?"

"I... I..." Misterfour shook his head to clear it of sleep; still the only thought that seemed to circle his mind was the fact that he'd let his cat out the night before, and it hadn't returned.

-----------------------

Rah Rah Rasputin tumbled through restless sleep. The nightmare had returned. He was alone in his warhammer, facing a thousand ships. They were armed with missiles, guided torpedoes, rockets filled with plasma. Some of them were so tricked out they seemed to hold infinite amounts of armaments, some flew at incredible speeds, and some, he knew, had almost supernatural accuracy.

"I can't hack it!" he screamed in the silence of his dream, as the ships, one by one, began to engage him.

His radar screen flashed from target to target, designating each as a pilot he knew. He'd flown with them before, had read their bulletin posts, flash messages, and almost thought he'd call them friends. The call signs, all familiar, the clan designations; some even matching his own.

The dream usually ended here. But this time it continued for a few more moments. And in those moments he realized that every pilot in the Fringe besides himself, was Scadian Wraith.

-----------------------

"What do you mean, they won't show it?!" he was furious. How could they do this to him? He was once the famed Nasty Butler. He was practically a god! Was he not the king of puns, the prince of the solaris torpedo?

The TNS reporter shrugged as she packed her things. Although the interview was thrown together at the last moment, she thought perhaps she could have pulled it off. But after finishing and sending the shots over a tachyon communication line to the main office, she'd received a curt denial almost immediately.

Had the original pilot for the interview shown, this would never have happened. But Razor's Kiss was notorious for his lack of scheduling, and the reporter was told he could be anywhere in the New Dawn sector.

"Hey, I've flown forever. I could probably fly circles around Razor. I got wit, I got spunk, and besides," he leaned in closely as if he were telling her a secret, only privy to her, "I don't have a philosophy that bases happiness around a Mexican entree."

"The station decides what it will and won't show. I thought you did great, but it's not my decision," and she meant it. He was witty, spunky, and even kind of cute, for a dirty space pilot. But how could she explain to him that the real reason the station refused to air the story? Hell, even she thought it was a tad silly. I mean, she thought, could the public buy a story about a feared pilot in the Fringe who actually called himself Yellow Snowman? How ludicrous is that?

-----------------------

Griffin Moone stumbled back to his table with SuperFurryAnimal and Twilight Jack. Of course, Jack was in disguise, even this far out in The Fringe. One of his music videos played silently on the television behind that bar.

SuperFurry was sipping at a Nitrolite-n-Vodka, his eyes moving slowly over the thinning crowd. Despite a minor duel he'd fought with Moone over a girl, the two remained friends. Mostly, he thought, because they were both bitter enough over women to have something to talk about on the nights they both struck out.

Jack was musing over a gin and tonic, quickly forming the sounds of the bar into a sort of rhythm; he added a beat, in his mind, using clinking bottles and silverware. Laughter became melody, murmured voices, a good bass line. He thought of a few hypnotic lyrics; within four minutes, he'd composed his song.

Griffin, who couldn't tell you what he was drinking had his life depended on it, closed one eye, then the other, trying to decide if the focus could somehow be stopped on a solid object. Finally he noticed that his glass was empty. With one hand on the glass for support, he spun his chair, and half stepped, half fell to the bar.

Upon his landing he smiled largely at the bartender, pointed down at the glass, nodded and when he was at least partially sure the man had seen him, turned to lean his back on the wooden surface. The corner of his eye caught the figure standing next to him, looking up at the television, waiting patiently for her drink. It took him a moment, but he recognized Valkyrie Princess.

"Hi there," he nodded to her, with a boozy grin.

"Oh, hi," she turned slightly to speak, then looked towards the door. Moone was about to continue the conversation when movement behind him caught his attention. She looked over and her face brightened.

Griffin turned to see what was so special, and Razor's Kiss cold cocked him across the jaw.

-----------------------

That's it. That's all. No more. Good day.
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction

“Reponse”
by
VA Misterfour


I sometime look upon the fading old suns that are the stars, stars that cast forth light even though they may be long dead when they reach our eyes, and I see them as old, tired friends. It is now, older and not wiser, that I look upon the vault of sapphire that is my sky, my roof, my cyanic prison, and wonder at the children bored by the stories of a tired old man and his Warhammer. The reporters and writers come. They want tales of glory. Stories of noble times, fables of the Voice War, legends of what it was to be the hunted, by both the now departed Devil's Fist or the Fringe Pirates, and I can only squint into the sun filled sky and try to make it all sound like it was not. I think they are polite to an old man. I tell them how God mocks me, how I can no longer fly, and all of the stars are lost to me, I only have this giant sun and it's blue paradise that promises so much, and leaves so little in it's wake, by night. Night is my friend. I can see space, then, the nebulas, the voice of galaxies and the rhymes of all those silver jewels, a vacuum hymn with the poetry of distant universes. But I am not mad at reporters, just like I am not mad at God. Old as I am, I have come to see the Deity as an old gambling partner, who wins often and drinks beer with me. He takes my money but at least I am not bored, and we can laugh at each other's jokes. I tell the reporters not what my head remembers, but what my heart recalls. I tell them of legends, of the academy, when I was but 17, in halls of shining admantium and faux consoles with HUD's gleaming like rubies. I paint it all with a varnish of nostalgia, I make it all sound so promising...and not frozen and black, with faces contorted from rad exposure, like the the ones we pulled out of Skarsik 10. Shall I tell you about it?

Wait, let me finish my first thought. I am old. My mind wanders. I do not mind that Old Gambler taking my life. I only wish he would leave me my memories and mental processes until I finally take that final jaunt. The long goodbye. My head lies. It is sad, I guess, and it filters all my memories to where even the worse bits are shiny and full of gold and glittering amaranthine stardust. I one time heard a reporter for TNN talk wistfully of living out of a Mako, selling all the money you have might have spent on food and instead putting it on a heavy laser or essential components, looking at a console like it was a rosary and praying to the Great Space God for one good run, one big pay off that will set you right. By the time I was 23 all of my old partners were dead. I look at old holos and wish... I listened to the reporter and looked upon a face who only remembers silver days of shining electrum dawns...of ships like Christmas ornaments against the promising jewels that are those long lost stars...those long lost stars that eclipse above me and tell me of wine and days of gossamer light. I drink sometimes and rage at them. I want to strangle them for all the dreams they promised me. I told the reporter...yes, it was just like that, but let me tell you... Here.

Look at this. It's a museum piece, now. See? The rivets upon it's aft? I took hits when I was in Phobos space...those laser burns criss crossing it's belly are from a run in near Madorian space. I was there, when Comerca fought Argentum at the Vault...or was it Phobos? Oh, the engines. I had those rebuilt fifteen times. Blood Pirates took my engines from me. I had named it the Reponse. Why, you ask? Those rails are old, now...as old as my pilot's suit. I should put my helmet in this museum. I should just sit there, on a small wooden stool, motionless, sipping my water and my scotch and not move, so young pilots can ignore me, like they do in the classroom...I laugh. Yes, this ship is mine. I donated it, one day, when I realized that space was not mine anymore, and than I was now consigned to this big grave called earth until I am ready for a smaller one. Here, let's sit inside. I can do that, you know. Rank has it's privileges. I see guards approach like mirthless vampires and I wave my IK Overlord Tags at them like it was a crucifix blessed by some pious archbishop and they flee, thanking me. The Hero. Shoo! Off with you! Ha ha. They leave.

I knew two people aboard Skarsik 10. Reponse and another man, who is revered, so I will give him another name. What is yours? Then that shall be his name. Milazzo. Italian. What is Italian? Never mind... I was 25. Skarsik 10 was the premier Rogue Trader vessel, Miles upon miles of admantium/derridium, of novacannon, Quasartz class missiles and flex shields. It was a Capitol Ship. Remember those? Of course, the micronization that technological advancement brings. Nothing is big, anymore. Well damn it, big ships have balls. Big iron balls. Not like those dainty Flinters I see so much of, shivering in space like chihuahas, quaking like greyhounds. Capitol Ships made you feel like Man could fold space up and put it in his pocket. I bought this Hammer there. They made it for me. How? How did I afford it? I killed a man. I was paid for killing him.

Shocked?

I found him in an asteroid field, chasing old radio communications. I opened with a laser shot...I was in an Orion...you don't know what that is? It was a Galspan ship, pup, smaller than this, like a Flinter...ha ha. I had disguised my flight signals. It was illegal, Star Patrol would arrest you for that, but you could do it with a screwdriver. Now you need a Ph.D and a micro particle accelerator. Ha ha! He was is a peg...a Pegasus...you know that? Good. He was a god. Like Hermes or Balder. I have never seen such a display. We fought for a long time, three minutes...oh! You think it's longer, like in those action vids! Your naivette make's me feel young, Milazzo. I tried to circle him, to overwhelm him at close range, and he slipped free, his lasers were burst of prismatic light, and if energy had been frozen solid and then burst into slender spikes of destruction. There is a feeling in your bowels like frozen water when your shields are gone...you expect the Rail shot at any moment. He was good. Better than me. He should have lived. But God took his life instead. He killed the artist and left the charlatan alive. The bastard. He was a sliver of titanium in space, his engines thundering like neon green and silver burning conflagrations, propelling him at speeds that only pilots know and civilians can only dream of. He paced me, keeping up a constant hail, and I fired back, carefully, my mind on my blast torpedoes. I imagine him in his cockpit, watching me flip and arc, a bullfrog flopping across the desert that was the vacuum. He picked his shots carefully whilst I fired erratically, I had hit him once, his shields a flash of lightning, a shade appearing and then whishping away, and he transferred energy and hit me back, like a hammers shatters the crystalline shell of some shiny princess's bauble, my shields torn away. I may have hit him once, he was moving in for the kill, he had me, I was dead, my limbs frozen as if my limbs were filled with formaldehyde-
-and he latted into an asteroid.

The Old Jokester put it there, millions of years ago. He impacted upon it, rolling, a steel peregrine above a cyanic sea, he still moved erratically, a poet with a pilot's instinct. But I had blast torpedoes and he did not. They floated upon him, like Furies, and he weaved and afterburned like a seraphim and they caught him.

I was paid enough to buy a Warhammer and ended up aboard Skarsik 10.

Reponse avoided pilots. She had skin like soap, pure and fresh...she didn't look fashionable or synthetic like girls look these days...artificial...generic.

She had skin like milk and I loved her hair. It was a golden red, like fire, like a solar flare arcing from some star, miles across space and back again. I met her and she told me of where she grew up. In New York. Her father, I knew from rumor, was a commander. On this ship. He was out on a mission of sorts.

I do not know why she loved me. My persistance? I still had fire in my blood. Emotion flames the veins and makes your heart a fist of radium when you are young, clenched and foreboding, like a Titan. Like Capitol Ships. It gives you big iron balls...ha ha! Skarsik 10 was close to Madorian space, before the truce, before the Vault Incursion. She was lonely, I suppose. A rich girl. brought out by a rich father and here, in space, tutored by private doctorates and given the finest in nanotechnological enhancement. She could drive a nail into a sheet of bedrock with her little finger. We talked about Weeger and Bach, about the Skashere and politics. I played her father's piano. It was a glossy white, constructed from clone wood. I took her out once in this ship. She sat where you do now. She had never been this far into space. I was a fool...the Madorians could have attacked us, after all, and she was a civilian. But the suns look different, out this far into the void. You are naked to them...you trust them. You stand before them, innocent and wide eyed, and they bask you in electrum rays and silver luminescence and reward you. Her features were laughing, I had made her laugh. That night, it had been a month...I had been with her for a month. I had to be stationed at the Vault, light years away. But we still had the night. We drank deep of each other, young man.

Then, she was naked, and she was talking on the comm. Then she was on the floor, crying, crying. Her father had died. They had found debris and identified it. She told me his name, and she quaked and I felt helpless and I heard the Old Gambler laugh, the bastard. She shook, helpless, and I could do nothing while my love suffered, while I suffered.

A week later the Vault was attacked, and we rode the corona of the Carpathian's Tach field into Phobos space.

My wing was killed quickly. They were refitted, armed and heavily shielded. I had come upon three. I remember long lines of swarms coming upon me. My shields battered by killing physics. A missile klaxon creates a sensation of morbid fear that no pilot shakes off. You are eating, and then the accursed Barghestian howl is heard and your stomach becomes a block of ice. Your spoon becomes dense matter, and your balls freeze. It is the sound of Death. I killed the one with quad torps. Pure luck. The other destroyed my power array with a volley of swarms and lasers. In my mind he is there, and I am flipping and turning, I am latting, my blood jackhammering. My torps catch his side and then I rail him. He becomes a steel corpse in space, bleeding torrents of fire...

The other raced about me. He was good, too. He kept his distance, hitting me twice for my once. He could have left me floundering, my shields gone, my grid array in tatters, my afterburner reserve long depleted. But he was a lion, the Madorian, a matador and I the bull. He waited patiently for his kill, heedless, and then my console went up in a coruscation of sparks and metal, almost took my left hand off, my blood hit the windshield, and like rampalago a line of light crossed upon him, like a bolt of scarlet and yellow, my railshot, and he died, no fire, no spark of explosion, just the sudden drifting, dead, the pilot inside spaced.

Skarsik 10 was destroyed shortly thereafter. Several Madorain Carrier/Interceptors set upon it, along with a few wings. They fought well, I am sure, but the carcass of the once proud Capitol Ship was found floating in the nearby asteroid field that I well recognized. I was permitted to go in my space suit and sift through the ruins. I insisted. I found her, in her room, in the griseous blackness. The light cut lines across the room, across the piano, floating weightless, the black blood spattered weightless across my suit. She was dead, all of her joy and life gone. She was frozen. It was a nightmare, a nightmare. She was like glass, like ice, delicate as her beauty, and stupidly I tried to hold her and weep pathetically and she broke to pieces and there was nothing left. She was a celebrated artist, I later heard. The only daughter of a fighter-ace and officer. He had been one of the greatest Pegasus pilots of all time, they told me. His name?

Milazzo, I must call him. Milazzo...
Milazzo.
Milazzo.

Milazzo.
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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  • The Last Dual! Guardian
    • The FringeSpace Conversion Mod
Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“The Return”
by
VA Madcap


Chapter 1


Earth looks like a blue pearl from space. Do I really look like that? Man I'm a mess. I wonder how much has changed on Earth. I wonder how Krystal is, I wonder were she is right now. Will she remember me? I turned from his reflection in the shuttles window, to see a dark haired woman about his age sitting next to me. She had been there since they had left the Hub.

The shuttle landed in Paris. Aside from this being my quote Vacation end quote, I was do negotiate several contracts with Sol Based corporations. Ghostsword must have figured that I was an excellent choice to get the sol projects going as he would know the territory. If there was one thing I never wanted to do it was work with civilians on a civilian project. I was a Vice Admiral. Not some supervisor.

After I arrive at his hotel room I showered, and unpacked. An hour later I received a message to contact Ghostsword. I finished putting on my uniform and activated the laptop.

"Sir, what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?"

"I just wanted to remind you what your first job is. Don't forget to get that contract with Oberon, it's essential."

"Sir wouldn't one of VA's commercial advisors be a better candidate?"

"Julius, you know what earth is like, that is why I sent you."

"Sir, I am a military officer, not a God Damn corporate supervisor!"

"Admiral! Do you job! Ghostsword out!"

The comlink blinked out. The door chimed.

"WHAT!?" I snapped.

A muffled voice on the other side responded.

"May I enter?"

"Yes" I responded with a sigh.

The door opened to reveal a dark haired woman with intense brown eyes. She wasn’t very tall, but she was pretty. It was the woman from the shuttle.

"What are you…Who are you…"I stammered.

"My name is Jessica Johnson."

"Uh…my…my…ahem. I am Admiral Julius A. Maximus. Although everyone calls me ADCAP, it's my call sign."

"I know, ADCAP."

"Oh, so how can I help you?"

"Ghostsword send me to help you deal with the corporations."

We talked about the upcoming weeks for several more minuets before the door to my room was flung open and Azn Dragon, my assistant, rushed in.

"Azn, you're late."

"Sorry sir, alarm didn’t go off"

"It's forgiven. Azn Dragon this is Ms. Johnson. She will be helping us."

"It’s a pleasure to meet you."

"Likewise Azn."

Introductions given we continued. We had to get the Oberon contract as quickly as we could. Then we had to purchase several cruisers from Galspan. This all had to be done rather secretly, the sol government did not recognize VA's right to purchase and sell goods in Sol. While we were hammering out the details of the Oberon contract we picked up some help from Jessica's sister, Kirsten, who was a lawyer. She made sure that the contract was legal up to the point were VA was included. Within two weeks we had gotten both contracts. I sent Azn home with the first Galspan cruiser. Jessica wanted to stay behind for awhile and spend some time with Kirsten. I choose to take that vacation I was promised.

After doing some digging I found Krystal. I also found in my searching that Twilight Jack was going to be in concert tomorrow. I called Griff over the comm link. The person that answered wasn’t him.

"Hello?"

"Um...yeah…is Griff in?"

"Yeah just a sec. Grriiffff!!! Julius on the comm link!!!!"

An unshaven, tired looking Griffin Moone appeared on the comm link.

"Hey ADCAP, what's goin' on?"

"Who's that?"

"Her? Oh that’s Kelly."

"Oh okay. Anyway do you have Twilight Jacks number anywhere?"

"Um yeah why?"

"He's gonna be in concert here and I want to take somebody."

"Oh lemme give em a call ill get right back to ya."

A few minuets later and I had a set of backstage passes and tickets to the Twilight Jack concert. I called Krystal up and asked her if she wanted to go. I don’t know what surprised her more, to hear that I was in Paris or that I had backstage passes to the concert. The whole night was perfect. Twilight was great. We walked along the Seine after the concert.

Several days later as I was going to see the Arch de Triomphe I paused to look at the Obelisk of Luxar. As I was standing there, I felt a hand on my shoulder. Startled I turned to see Amun Ra standing there.

"What are you doing here Ra?"

"Got a few days before the cruiser I was sent to get leaves."

"You were sent to get a single cruiser?"

"Not just a cruiser. It’s a whole convoy. The cruiser is going to escort the first shipment from Oberon."

"Oh."

"Ghost wants this shipment bad."

"I wonder why that is, most of it is just machinery parts. I should know I made up the contract."

"Whatever these ships and parts are for its so top secret I haven't been told yet. I just know that I have to get that convoy back to VA space."

"I wonder what the secret is. I guess we will find out soon enough. I'm going to the Arch de Triomphe, want to come?"

"I can't, I really should get back to work, I just wanted to see this before I left Earth."

"Okay see you back in VA."

"Will do."

After we parted ways I rode the one and a half miles to the Arch. It was incredible to think that here was seven centuries of history. In the 1910's Soldiers had marched here after the First World War. During the 1940's Nazi's from Germany had paraded here. After Chagne's attempt to conquer all of Europe and Asia failed in 2184 people danced here. With the announcement of the formation of a one European nation people celebrated here for days. In 2361 the Arch was the site of another parade and celebration as the Sol government was officially formed.

Chapter 2


After about a month on Earth the Excalibur arrived to pick me up and escort the last convoy from Oberon. This convoy I figured was the most important as those six freighters contained orians, Pegasus's, phoenixes, and archangels. These fighters were essential to the defense of VA. I sat in the command chair on the bridge of the Excalibur as I waited for the convoy to get ready for the jump to the Hub.

"Sir, all vessels report ready for jump."

"Signal all ships jump is go and engage the Tach drive."

"Aye sir."

Space warped into the familiar blue and purple tunnel of Tach travel. It would be an hour before the jump was complete.

Chapter 3

Upon arriving in the Hub sector the Excalibur docked at Alpha station to allow the crew some R&R while the freighters were checked out by Star Patrol. The bow of the Excalibur had yet to be repainted were the warped and twisted metal of the hull had been replaced. The gleaming silver contrasted with the solid black of the rest of the hull.

A day later the convoy formed up and we headed for Void Alliance space. Two hours into our journey a freighter in the convoy said it had to drop out due to engine trouble. I had the Excalibur call for a couple of frigates to cover the convoy while we covered the disabled freighter. The damage to the freighter was worse than expected; the whole Tachyon drive would have to be replaced. That would require another freighter coming out and delivering the drive to the disabled one. It would take four hours to get the replacement drive here.

Chapter 4


An hour later the pirates came. They didn’t expect a destroyer to be guarding the disabled freighter. They made a few passes at us before they retreated. I ordered the Excalibur along side the freighter. Several minuets later a freighter dropped out of hyperspace.

"Excalibur this is the Void Alliance freighter San Francisco. Super Bad commanding."

"Super am I glad to see you. Get over here and begin installing the tach drive."

"Aye sir."

As the San Francisco moved along side the pirates reappeared.

"Excalibur to San Fran, we'll cover you."

"Alright"

"Launch Red and Gold wings."

"Aye sir."

"Sir, I'm picking up weapons fire onboard the other freighter!"

"What?"

"Sir Freighter 54 request assistance they claim they are being boarded!"

"Super what the hell are you doing!?!"

"Sorry Admiral." And the line went dead.

"Launch blue wing, have them attack the San Fran."

"Aye sir."

"Lock weapons on Freighter 54."

"Sir?"

"Just do it. We can't let the pirates have those Phoenixes."

"Weapons locked."

I hesitated, those were VA personnel on board that ship, but if I didn't fire the pirates would get those fighters. The Ensign interrupted my thoughts.

"Sir, what do you want me to do?"

I sighed. "Fire." I'd worry about the court-martial later.

Freighter 54 exploded taking with it the San Francisco.

"Alright lets get our fighters back and get the hell out of here."

"Yes sir."

"All fighters aboard sir."

"Take us home."

"Tachyon drive engaged."

I slumped into my chair. I was not looking forward to telling Ghostsword that I had lost a freighter. Not to mention that I had destroyed it myself.
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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  • The Last Dual! Guardian
    • The FringeSpace Conversion Mod
Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“Running The Void”
by
FyreHeart of the Void Alliance



Chapter 1

Onyx Eagle was bored. He was born in the Bora colony of New Gaia, but by the time he was old enough to fly, the war with GalSpan was over. His parents didn't approve of his love of space, but he managed to convince them to let him go to flight school, under one condition...

...but life as a freighter pilot was almost as boring as he had feared. Back up the freighter, oversee it being loaded, check inventory, fly through a few sectors (which the autopilot could do), back it up, watch it being unloaded. Then, do it all again. There was some occasional excitement when a pirate attacked, but they were rare in the Hub and Star Patrol was usually on them quickly - no fancy piloting required.

When the opportunity came to transport a shipment of "sensitive material" to the Frontier, he jumped at it. He didn't have the experience of many of the older pilots, but most freighter pilots weren't types to invite danger. He won the job.

------------------

Onyx had pushed his freighter to the limit, and finished his run with two days to spare. It wasn't much time to explore the Frontier, but it was better than nothing.

New Vegas starbase was all glitz and show. The excessive neon and gaudy adornments proliferating the starbase spoke of the many fortunes that exchanged hands within, most being handed over to the casino by its patrons rather than the other way around.

The atmosphere inside the starbase, though, contrasted with the cold peace of space outside. The air was filled with heated tension. Small groups of people could be seen everywhere, huddled together and speaking in hushed tones. It filled Onyx with an anxious excitment, generated by both fear for himself and anticipation that his dues as a freighter pilot were almost paid up.

As he sat at the bar, he strained his ears to hear some of the hushed conversations. After most of the day, too much cheap beer, and several trips to the lavatory, the best he could deduce through his booze-bubbled brain was that two mercenary groups were at odds, and their collective disagreements were on the verge of breaking out into open war.

The next day, Onyx hung around the station, trying to look inconspicuous. He desperately wanted to ask someone what was happening, but fear and caution held him back. After a fruitless morning, he resigned himself to packing up his freighter for the trip home the next day. Crowds in the corridors thinned as he made his way to the freighter docks. As he turned a corner and headed down the stairs, a face caught his eye.

"Hey... haven't I seen... Yeah! I saw him at the restaurant at breakfas... and the bar, and... uh oh," he thought.

Onyx forgot about his freighter, and took several random turns, doing his best to catch sight of the stranger inconspicuously as he rounded corners. The stranger stayed behind him, never getting close, but always visible. Unsure what to do, Onyx made his way back to the crowded main deck and seated himself in the courtyard where he could watch for the stranger to emerge from the stairs.

As he waited, a few others sat around him. One bland looking fellow ordered a lemonade. He glanced around at the faces, keeping one eye on the stairwell. Suddenly, he started and leapt to his feet.

The stranger smiled and offered him a seat.


------------------

Chapter 2


Onyx sat tenatively. "Um... why have you been following me?"

"Get to that in a minute. What's your name, son?"

"Um... Onyx. Onyx Eagle. Who are you?"

"I'm called WhiteFox. I've been watching you for the past few days. You're new to the Frontier, aren't you?"

"Yes. Yeah, I am."

"It shows. That could be dangerous." Onyx squirmed in his seat. "It looks to me like you've been doing a lot of listening the past two days."

Onyx sat forward defensively, "Maybe. So what?"

"So, what have you heard?"

"What do you care?"

"I think you're confused, and I'd like to help. Perhaps explain some things to you. But if you're not interested..."

Onyx leaned forward excitedly. "No! No, I am. OK - this is what I can figure from what I've heard. It sounds like two rival merc groups are at each others' throats and something big is about to go down. One of them's called 'Void' something and it seems like most people want them to win whatever this is."

WhiteFox smiled a smooth, knowing smile. "It sounds like you've got good ears, Onyx. May I call you Onyx? What you've heard is true. Two of the many mercenary clans in the Fringe are having a conflict. We have very different - ah - philosophies about how to... do business. Those philosophies have led to repeated conflicts between us, and we fear that those conflicts have reached a level that's going to lead us to war."

"Wow," Onyx breathed in awe. "So... so you're part of this?"

"I am. I represent the clan called the Void Runners."

Onyx's heart leapt. "That must be the 'Void' clan everybody's been talking about," he thought. "They must be something to have so many people behind them. Boy, I'd love to fly with them - if just for a day."

WhiteFox interrupted his thoughts. "You seem like an observant, insightful ladd. Those are valuable traits. Are you a pilot?"

Onyx sat bolt upright, his spine rigid with excitement. He debated with himself over what his answer should be, but finally his lips let out a quivering "Yes" that conveniently avoided mentioning anything about flying freighters.

WhiteFox only nodded. "I'm afraid the Void Runners have a rigorous recruiting policy, but if what I see in you is there, I think you might make it through. That is, if you're willing to try?"

Onyx spurted out "yes" before he could think.

-----------------

Onyx sat in back of WhiteFox's Pegasus as they made their way to Void Runner space.

"So, what's the story about this other Merc group?" he asked.

"The Alliance? They're lead by a pilot named 'WitchKing', if that tells you anything. He recently changed his name to put a better face forward, but their tactics have stayed the same."

"Like what?"

"Well, if anyone pays in advance, they often take the money and then refuse to fulfill the contract. They're so rich and well equipped that no one wants to stand up to them. They extort money from the casinoes, spy on smaller contractors like us, and kill anyone who gets in their way."

"Whoah."

"And that's not all... they use guided missles in the Fenris Arena."

"No!"

"It's true. So you can see they're completely dishonorable pilots who make up for their lack of skill with money, firepower, and deceit. I'm just glad the Runners found you first."

"Me, too," Onyx thought, but silently looked out the window at the stars.

---------

For the next week, Onyx Eagle was put through the paces, learning combat flying on every type of ship the average Fringe Merc could afford. He was dizzy with excitement as he was finally able to follow his lifelong dream. Piloting a fighter was not much different than flying a freighter to him, though he felt more comfortable in the heavier ships.

"OK, kid, this is it," WhiteFox said. "Gotta tell ya that an ArchAngel isn't my ship of choice, so you're lucky, but if you can disable me with that EMP, you're in."

Onyx took a deep breath and responded, "Got it."

"OK. Come get me," WhiteFox said, then switched to a private comm channel.

"Think he can do this?" WhiteFox asked.

"The kid obviously had no combat experience, but he's a heckuva pilot." The voice on the other end belonged to DoomStag, one of the chiefs of the Void Runners.

Another voice over the comm added, "and he's learned fast. I don't think you need to be too easy on him."

"Yeah, but if he doesn't beat me? We still want to use him." WhiteFox said.

"We cross that bridge if we get to it," DoomStag said. When the comm switched off, DoomStag turned to Earthquake and said, "We wanted a fall guy, but this kid may turn out to be one of our best pilots. I think he'll take WhiteFox easily."

Outside the station, Onyx and WhiteFox were rapidly approaching dueling distance. When his radar pegged 10 clicks, Onyx engaged lateral thrust, just as he'd been taught. Dual EMP cannons flashed from WhiteFox's ArchAngel, but flared by harmlessly. As WhiteFox lined up again, Onyx rolled between the EMP blasts and latted above the Angel, then opened fire. The EMP fired so rapidly and accurately that WhiteFox's shields were down to 40% before they passed. Onyx engaged slide and spun around to face WhiteFox, and took the rest of his shields down while flying backwards.

WhiteFox was enraged. "No snot-nosed brat is going to take down my sheilds on one pass and get away with it!" he hissed, then he switched his primary weapon to Sunspot missles and his secondary to Tesla EMP missles. As he slid around to line up on Onyx, DoomStag came over his comm.

"I know what you're thinking WhiteFox. Don't do it. If that kid sees a missle lock on his console, it could blow our plans."

Bitterly, WhiteFox switched his weapons back to EMP projectors. As he lined up, Onyx was already coming his way. He dove, then slid his nose up to tag Onyx in the belly. Only a few shots connected before Onyx latted out of the way. WhiteFox rolled and EMP flares flashed above his cockpit. He transferred afterburner energy to his shields, then lined up on Onyx again. When the first blast hit, Onyx pulled up just as WhiteFox anticipated and ran headlong into the second blast. His shields dropped to 12%. WhiteFox smirked and pressed his advantage, burning in close to get behind Onyx, but Onyx just kept pulling up, and ended up staring down WhiteFox's nose upside down. The blast he unleashed finished WhiteFox's shields, and a spark flew from his afterburner control. The EMP had disabled his flagging burner.

"No matter," thought WhiteFox, "it was almost gone anyway."

WhiteFox slid around to face Onyx again, but no one was there. In a panic, WhiteFox glanced down at his radar, but it was too late. EMP flares from below tore into his ship's systems. Sparks danced over his console, and he knew he'd been beaten.

"Outstanding, Onyx," came DoomStag's voice over the comm.

"He went easy on me," Onyx said.

"Nevertheless, fine flying. Welcome to the Void Runners."

-----------------

Chapter 3

WhiteFox licked his wounds and put on his best face as he ferried the Void Runners' newest member to the New Vegas shipyards. Part of the Void Runners' ritual was buying a new recruit his own ship. What was unusual this time was that Onyx was going to be allowed to pick his. WhiteFox made sure to let him think that was standard policy.

As they checked in to the New Vegas hangar, the agent stopped them. WhiteFox took this nervously.

"You said Onyx Eagle, right?"

"Yeah, that's me," Onyx replied, stepping up from behind WhiteFox.

"You got a message at the freighter dock few days ago. Says it's urgent."

"Oh," Onyx said, and his heart sank.

WhiteFox excused himself, ostensibly to the shipyards to fill out paperwork, as Onyx made his way to the freighter dock. He checked in with the agent and was handed a viewpad with three messages on it. One was dated yesterday.

"Onyx Eagle, we received confirmation of successful shipment from DiaMann Industries, but you were due to return to the Hub yesterday. Is everything all right?"

Message 2: "Onyx Eagle, I don't need to tell you that your tardy return and failure to respond to calls does not reflect well on your work record. Management is considering severe action if you do not respond immediately."

Message 3: "Onyx Eagle, if you want to keep your job, you must respond by close of business today. If we don't hear from you, your employment will be terminated and you will be prosecuted for theft of our freighter."

"Slag," he thought, "that was yesterday. Guess I'm an 'employee' of the Void Runners now. Wonder if I can return this freighter to get them off my back?"

He returned the pad and made his way to the shipyard.

---------------

At the shipyard, Onyx caught up with WhiteFox. Apparently he had filled out whatever paperwork he needed, 'cause Ed, the manager, was ready to sell. Onyx selected a WarHammer. It was a nice, big ship that reminded him of flying freighters, but still felt like a fighter. WhiteFox placed no limits on him, so he got a full loadout: Lateral Thrust, Boosters, Railgun, lots of Plasma Rockets. He almost fell over when Ed handed over the access crystal. His own fighter! This was almost too good to be true.

"There you go, kid," WhiteFox said. "Do us proud."

"What... you're leaving?"

"Yeah. Got responsibilites."

"So... what happens now?"

"You're free to check the New Vegas job board, get the feel of your ship, y'know. Just make sure you show up at Void Station in the next few days."

"OK, good," Onyx sighed. He explained the situation with his job and that he needed to return the freighter if he wanted to avoid an arrest warrant.

"Eagle, they're not going to come after you. Star Patrol doesn't exist out here. Why don't you just keep the freighter - we could use it."

Onyx was shocked, "Uh..."

"Look, I need to run. Think about it, OK kid?"

"Uh... yeah. OK. See you at the station, WhiteFox."

Onyx was still stunned. He almost forgot to thank Ed for loading out his ship.

He flew around New Vegas sector, doing loops around the starbase and flexing his Hammer's muscles. He finally tore himself away from the thrill and parked the Hammer in the freighter's cargo bay.

He arrived in the Hub at about 4 pm, local time - still an hour before close of business. He hid out in the scrapyards for over an hour, waiting for most of his former coworkers to leave. When he felt he could make a safe run, he backed the freighter into it's docking bay, left a quick note about a "new job opportunity in the Frontier," and settled into his Hammer.

As Onyx made his way to the Frontier mega gate, he picked up some comm traffic.

"Hey, look at that ship! A Runner in the hub. Let's take him down."

Three Piranhas descended on him, lasers blazing. Onyx wondered what kind of deadbeats would attack a lone clanner unprovoked. He rolled and burned downward. The Piranhas lined up behind him and opened fire. As his shields flared, he slid around to face the Piranhas. The first volley cleared with his shields down to 38%, and he opened fire. The Piranhas barely put up a fight before his Hammer, but one of them put in a call to Star Patrol before he ejected. Onyx burned toward the gate, but Star Patrol burst into the sector in moments. They ordered him to halt, but he faked radio static and made his escape.

--------------------

Back in New Vegas, Onyx enjoyed his fill of the casino life. He hung out at the bar, ate some fine food, and even tried a slot machine or two. After he'd had his fill, he perused the job board.

"Arena match? A bunch of pilots slugging it out in the Fenris Arena? For pay? Gotta try that."

Onyx accepted the job. It was several hours before the match was to begin, so he looked over the board some more and then killed the rest of his time in the bar.

A little tipsy, he stumbled down to the hangar and pointed his Hammer toward his first Arena match.

-------------------

This was one of many qualifying matches for the tournament, so an eclectic group of pilots was in the arena: everything from Makos that had been resurrected from the scrapyards to the latest GalSpan had to offer, complete with its shiny, original paint job.

"Welcome to Qualifying Round 8 for this year's Arena Tournament Season!" belted the announcer over the TachBand P.A. system. "The contestants are in the Arena. Let's begin!"

Onyx's Hammer seemed to be moving slower than normal, so he burned toward his nearest opponent, flying a Bora Dagger. He hit 10 clicks, and let off the burner. As the Dagger's first volley flared from its hardpoints, he rolled and then latted above it, the blasts passing harmlessly. One Plasma Rocket from above and a perfect rail shot took the Dagger out of the match.

Next in line was a little Mako - one weapon mount, one missle mount. The little ship didn't have a prayer. Onyx chuckled as he closed in and lined up. A Plasma Rocket and its shields were down. The little ship darted about in a few evasive maneuvers, but Onyx had no trouble keeping his aim. A split second's hesitation by the Mako and his finger tightened on the trigger. The rail gun rocked his ship with a perfect shot, and the Mako was gone.

Onyx's shields flared almost immediately, and he checked his radar.

"What th'?"

His eyes bugged out. The Mako was still alive! He swung around again and drew up on the little ship. Another beautiful rail shot, but the Mako wasn't there. The little ship darted above him and unleashed a minor torrent of laser fire, steadily draining his shield energy. Onyx slid this time to face the Mako quickly, but he couldn't line up on it. The ship darted this way and that, always just evading his aim while unloading a seemingly limitless rain of laser fire. Worse, while Onyx struggled to trap the ship its shields were recharging. Finally, he was able to lat behind it and buy enough time to squeeze off a rail shot. The Mako's shields fell and its hull dropped to 48%. Onyx quickly let go a Plasma Rocket as the Mako feinted to the left. The proximity detonator blasted and the little ship was gone.

Radar showed another ship incoming. It looked like a GalSpan Phoenix - a tough ship to crack. Onyx took stock: hull still green, rail energy low, shields only recharged to 21%. He ran. A zigzag course with full afterburner shot him away from the Phoenix and out of its firing arc. The big craft burned in pursuit. Onyx was able to keep just out of range. As he neared the Arena boundary, he spun. His shields were up to 43%. It would have to do. He disengaged his slide and burned toward the Phoenix, closing the gap quickly and firing two Plasmas before latting out of its firing arc. The ship was big and clumsy, so the two rockets connected easily. That only brought the shield down to 23%, though. Onyx rolled as the Phoenix lined up on him and came alive with its awesome firepower. He jerked his stick, fired his lats, and punched the afterburner. Much of the assault connected, though, and that one volley stripped his shields. Onyx continued latting to the side of the ship, moving faster than it could turn, and fired another Plasma Rocket. The Phoenix's shields were down. Quickly, he fired the Rail Gun and then burned out of the way. The Rail shot connected, but the Phoenix was still alive. Another downpour of firepower, but Onyx was ready this time. He dodged, spun and fired the rail again. The Phoenix's hull showed red. Onyx hit his burner and rammed the Phoenix out of the match. The crowd went wild.

Three other ships were fighting it out on the far side of the Arena. Thankful for the respite, Onyx cut his throttle and sat in space, letting his ship's systems recharge. He closed his eyes for a moment, and only then noticed that he had a nasty headache. He struggled to open his eyes again, and as they came into focus he saw a blip on his radar. One of the ships had broken out of the fight and was coming after him! He throttled up and hit his burner, but the burner only sputtered. Not enough energy! As the ship closed in, Onyx saw that it was a Piranha. He aimed the Hammer straight for it, and as it opened fire, he let go three Plasma Rockets in rapid succession. The Piranha blew.

Onyx continued toward the other side of the Arena, but kept his throttle low. This time he kept close watch on the dueling ships. A Bora Mace was dancing with a Posidon. Both pilots had talent, but the Posi finally succumbed to the Mace's speedy maneuvers. Filling out a smooth arc from its final volley, the Mace came for him.

Its shields were low from the drawn-out fight with the Posidon. Onyx throttled up, took aim, and fired his Rail Gun just as the ship got into range. The shot was perfect. Without shields, the thin hull of the Mace burst before the Rail Gun's power.

Onyx blew breath out of puffed cheeks and slumped against his pilot seat. Then he noticed that Tachband had come alive with wild cheering. The announcer's voice shouted over the deafening crowd, "We have a new Tournament contender: Onyx Eagle!"

----------------------

Onyx hobbled back to New Vegas starbase exhausted. The "thrill" of destroying actual ships felt much different than he imagined. It didn't help that he was having trouble holding his liquor. He ordered a room for the night and collapsed into bed.

His only thought before falling asleep was, "Tomorrow, Void Station..."

---------------------

Chapter 4

Onyx awoke with a throbbing headache. The beer had felt good before the Tournament Match yesterday afternoon, but it sought its revenge now. As he looked at his bloodshot eyes and tousled hair in the mirror, he thought, "This life is going to take some getting used to."

He washed up as best he could manage and wobbled upstairs for breakfast. A table in the common area barely caught him before he met the floor, and he ordered a painkiller and black coffee with breakfast. As he pored over his food a group of giggling girls fluttered up to his table.

"Are you Onyx? Onyx Eagle?" one of them asked.

He tried to smile, but it felt like his lips were oozing down his face. "Yeah, that's right. I'm him."

The girls giggled. Another said, "We saw you in the match yesterday. Wow!" She could barely get the "wow" out before falling into giggling again.

"You were incredible," the third continued. She seemed slightly more level headed than the others and added, "I'm Tisha."

"Call me Onyx," he said, extending his hand. She took it.

"Um... we better go. See you around, Onyx," Tisha said. With that the girls flitted away.

"Er... yeah. Take care, girls."

Onyx had forgotten all about his hangover.

-------------------------

Down at the hangar, Onyx settled into the pilots seat of his Hammer. After yesterday's match it was starting to feel like home. He went through the formalities of launch clearance, and the blasted out of the station toward Void Runner space.

It was a short trip. His week's training with the Void Runners had given him a familiarity with the station, so he made his way to the command deck to see what was happening. He didn't quite know how to react to the flexibility of the job, he was so used to keeping rigid freight schedules.

As he entered the command deck, most of the Runners there were watching a dogfight on the huge viewscreen. A War Hammer was battling a triple-rail equipped Cutlass. The Cutlass bobbed and pitched, dodging the flood of Plasma rockets flowing out of the Hammer, but the Hammer pilot seemed to know just when to roll or lat to dodge the Cutty's rails. As Onyx approached the commanders, Doomstag leaned over to him, eyes still riveted on the screen, and said, "The Cutty's ours. The Hammer is one of the newer Alliance pirates - Dark Ice." As they watched, a pair of Plasmas finally connected with the Cutlass. Then a Rail Gun erupted from the mount above the Hammer's cockpit, and the battle was over. The viewscreen flickered off, and DoomStag and WhiteFox turned around, both wearing a look of disgust.

"When did that happen?" Onyx asked.

"Two days ago," WhiteFox answered, "The V... uh... the Alliance has been recruiting quite a few new pilots. We try to watch them fight and learn their style, so we know how to defeat them."

"I saw the broadcast of the Arena Qualifier," DoomStag said. "I'm pleased with your flying." Onyx blushed. "I would encourage you to continue flying in those matches. The Arena can be an excellent training ground."

"Really?"

"Absolutely!" WhiteFox said.

DoomStag continued, "We have an assignment for you in about two days. In the meantime, keep flying contracts. You'll need all the experience you can garner."

"Um... ok, but..."

"Yes?"

"Well, where do I live. The rooms at New Vegas aren't cheap. Neither is the food. And, I mean, I know I could earn some from the contracts I take, but I gotta maintain my ship, too, right?"

"WhiteFox, you haven't shown Eagle his quarters?" DoomStag said, turning.

"Um... well, not exactly."

"Well, let's be exact." DoomStag turned back to Onyx. "Eagle, this station is your home now. You are welcome in your personal quarters, in the canteen, in any public area. We do insist on a certain - dues payment - to maintain the station, but consider this home."

"Can I fix up my ship here, too?"

"Of course. We have crews that are members of the Runners. You won't have to pay Vegas's prices ever again. WhiteFox, show this man his quarters."

"Ok, come on. You remember that room you spent your first week in?"

"Yeah."

"Call it home now."

Onyx was thrilled.

--------------------------

Onyx spent most of the morning settling into his quarters. Once he felt they were comfortably personalized, he took his Hammer back to New Vegas to take another look at the Job Board.

The first round of the Arena Match was tomorrow, so he signed up without hesitation. There were all variety of jobs available, from bounty hunting and contract killing to escort runs to even more esoteric requests from the Asteroid Barons. He noticed that most of the contract killing was taken by a group of pilots with ominous names, all part of a group called the "Devil's Fist." That made him nervous. He felt a certain closeness to the freighters, though, and selected a modest-paying escort run as his first contract.

He went back to the main deck of the starbase and ate a quick lunch, making it down to the hangar a few minutes before he was supposed to check in for the escort run. He checked the loadout on his Hammer and ordered up some more Plasma Rockets, got launch clearance, and met the freighter outside the starbase.

"This is freighter Antares to pilot Eagle. You there?"

"Copy Antares. I'm right with you."

"This ought to be a simple run. We have to pick up some supplies from Foothold and ferry them Bora space. Just keep an eye out for pirates."

"You got it."

Freighters were notoriously slow, and with the mega-jump to Bora space the run was probably going to take all day. Onyx wondered if he'd made a mistake. It struck him as odd that just a few weeks ago he'd been in the freighter pilot's shoes and would have thought nothing of an all-day run.

The trip to Foothold sector was uneventful. Everyone expected it to be, though. Only a foolish pirate would jump an empty freighter. Rather, the risk was getting from Foothold to the Bora space jump point. The Skav sector stood between Foothold and the mega-gate. Of the pirates in the Fringe, the Skav were probaby the tamest. They were a loose group of disgruntled employees, some fired, some just between contracts, who used their piloting skills to jump freighters for extra cash. The Skav weren't murderous, just greedy. Onyx himself probably stood the greatest risk of being harmed.

Onyx emerged from the gate shortly after the freighter exited hyperspace.

"Nothing so far," the Antares said.

"Copy."

Skav space was littered with asteroids. An ambush would be hard to see coming. They churned through the sector at the freighter's slow pace with nothing happening.

"Half way. This might be easy pay," Antares said. Onyx chuckled.

Nothing. The Antares was almost to the jump point, so Onyx broke off and headed for the TCG gate. He was within 5 clicks of the gate when a flash caught his eye. Wary, he pulled up hard and spun toward the Antares as his comm crackled to life.

"Eagle! Eagle, we've been rammed!"

A huge fireball was dissipating from one side of Antares. The freighter was beginning a lumbering, uncontrolled spin. The blast had knocked them off their trajectory toward the jump point, and they were sitting ducks until they could get the ship under control and back on course. Onyx hit his burner.

As he got within range, he saw two wings of Mantas - the Skav's trademark ship - dancing around the freighter. One wing was targeting the ship's powerplant while the other generally harassed them. He cut in close behind the freighter and placed his Hammer between the attacking Skavs and the Antares's powerplant.

A steady drizzle of laser fire was coming from the Mantas, along with an occasional Tiger missle. Nothing too frightening. Onyx unloaded several Plasma Rockets and a couple of Rail shots, and the Skav were minus one wing. The second wing broke off their harassment of the freighter and came for him. He ran, trying to take the battle away from the Antares. As he ran, his comm began to chatter.

"Hey, boys! A Runner!"

"What's that freighter carrying that YOU'RE covering its butt?"

"Runner-boy's probably gonna tell you it's none of your business."

"Hey, listen - what's your name? Eagle - sorry for the mix up, OK? We'll let you go back to babysitting your freighter. Just warn us next time, got it?"

...and the pirates vanished into the asteroids.

The rest of the run went without incident, but a sense of foreboding was descending on Onyx. He began to wonder if the Void Runners were all that they appeared.

-------------------------

Chapter 5

Onyx awoke from a restless night's sleep, anxious to see what his first assignment was going to be. His time in the Arena had been exhilirating, but his heart was no longer in it. Breakfast passed in silence, and with a rising lump in his throat, he went to see DoomStag.

"You're early," DoomStag exclaimed, looking up from his console. "I'm pleased. Just give me a moment..." DoomStag tapped away at the console for several more seconds, hit the "Enter" key with a certain finality, and spun in his chair to face Onyx.

"Sit." Onyx did. "Well, Onyx, the time has come for you to show the Void Runners why we invited you in. Are you ready."

"Yeah."

Onyx thought he saw DoomStag's eyes narrow slightly at his listless response, but he continued, "Good. We'll start you off easy - this is just a reconaissance mission. We want you to fly into IceRink sector and hide in the asteroids. We are expecting the Alliance pilot Dark Ice in that sector sometime today. Get a full scan of his ship: weapon loadout, upgrades, modifications, anything you can find out. Get us a mesh of his build and cockpit layout, too, if you can. We don't know who or how many may be traveling with him, so keep a low profile. If he's alone, though, don't be afraid to engage if it becomes necessary."

"...and if I do have to engage?"

"Kill him if you can. We wouldn't need the data then, would we? But either way, come back alive. That's first priority."

"Got it. When do I leave."

"Immediately. Don't come back and don't break comm silence until you've found him. Good luck."

-----------------------

Onyx didn't like the situation he found himself in, but he didn't know what else to do. The Void Runners had given him his ship, his training, his home in the Frontier - his new life. But was that going to be a life worth living?

"At least I don't have to kill the guy," he thought, standing before the hangar door. That was poor consolation, though. He set his jaw and went in.

----------------------

Onyx's head bobbed for the third time. The sound of his eBook clattering on the floor jarred him awake. He grimaced as he removed his stiff legs from the console and bent down to pick it up. As his eyes grazed past the radar, he saw the blip.

Forgetting his eBook, he spun his darkened Hammer toward the blip and targeted it. It was him - Dark Ice. A Hammer flying alone. He powered up his own Hammer, anxiously watching the console as systems lazily came to life. Flipping the scanner on, he moved out of the asteroids, slowly gaining speed so as not to attract attention. He had a tough job: the scanner had a range of only 10 clicks, but his EW Jammer would protect him up to 8. He had to stay between 8 and 10 clicks until the scan was complete. At least Dark Ice was alone.

Onyx eased up behind him and began active scanning at 11 clicks. He pulled within 10 clicks, set his ship to match speed, and watched the scan data play across his console.

The plasma volley caught him completely unaware. Dark Ice had sensed something amiss, and spun around in a slide. At the sight of a Hammer on his tail with full jamming on, he opened fire. Frantic, Onyx fumbled with the controls. The second volley hit. Cold instinct took over and Onyx dove and slammed his burner, then, without bothering to look at his readout, transferred energy to his shields. He spun to face Dark Ice and jerked his trigger manically. Dark Ice bobbed, pitched, and retreated. Onyx had time for a shallow breath and a glance at his console. Shields gone except for the energy he had transferred and hull yellow. His frantic play to get Dark Ice to retreat and buy himself time had depleted half his ordinance. Things looked bad.

He switched off the scanner and glanced at the radar to find Dark Ice. Without hesitating, he latted and burned as another volley of Plasma Rockets descended from Dark Ice's closing ship. Only one connected, but his shields were down. He spun and unleashed two volleys of four Plasma Rockets each in rapid succession with accuracy only panic can inspire. Now Dark Ice and he were on level ground, and the duel began.

A rail gun furiously split space, the flash blinding Onyx as he narrowly dodged. Onyx fired a lone Plasma Rocket wildly to give his eyes time to clear, and then responded with a rail shot of his own. A miss. Dark Ice was superior to the pilots in the Arena.

Onyx noticed on his scanner that Dark Ice had shields again. An energy transfer - the like of which he didn't have the luxury of any longer. He cut loose with Plasma again. One connected. He fired again. Proximity detonation only. Dark Ice's shields had gone red, but refused to fall. He jerked his stick and rolled as another volley rushed in from Dark Ice's Hammer. He countered and fired.

Nothing happened. He was completely out of Plasma. Desperately, he switched to lasers and rail gun, aimed, and fired. A hit, and Dark Ice's hull integrity dropped as the power of the rail gun forced its way through his flagging shields. Onyx held his finger down on his laser trigger as he pitched an rolled to avoid Dark Ice's onslaught. His hull went red. Dark Ice's shields dropped. He latted, burned, rolled, latted again, and fired his rail gun as Dark Ice's Plasma bore down on him. A jerked stick, a roll, a frantic lateral, and he was still alive. He spun around to face Dark Ice again, and ship debris clattered on his viewport.

He had won.

---------------------

Onyx limped into Void Station and pushed past the gate attendant without a word. Back in his room, he locked the door, collapsed on his bed, and sobbed himself into a fitful sleep.

To Be Continued...
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

  • Moderator
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  • The Last Dual! Guardian
    • The FringeSpace Conversion Mod
Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“Line on the Sand”
by
VA Madcap


Chapter One

The bridge of the VSS Excalibur smelled of fresh carpet a new electronics even two weeks after its commissioning. I always loved that smell; even after commissioning fifty ships I never got used it. The Excalibur was the newest addition the Void Alliance Fleet. She was a refitted Galspan Destroyer. She was armed with the latest heavy pulse lasers. Her outer hull was made of nanotubules and reinforced with titanium. Her shields were a new technology barely tested. The Excalibur had hardly finished its shakedown run before I had been ordered to take her to the extreme edge of Void Alliance space. There were some unconfirmed Tachyon Drive Emissions that we were to investigate. VA could spare no more ships. Adm. Robertson had the rest tied up protecting his pet project the VSS Constantine.

"Alert me when you have anything on those tach emissions, I'll be in my quarters."

I headed to my quarters to get some much needed rest.

 

Chapter Two


"No!! I don’t wanna GO!!!." I awoke with a start. It was that dream of when I had to leave my family to go to the Academy because the Sol Military said I had potential. They came to my house while early one morning. I didn't understand completely why I should leave my only home. A man in a Sol Military uniform said it was a great opportunity. So I agreed to go. I was only fourteen, one of the youngest at the Sol Military Academy. I was too be trained according to my area of knowledge. This was soon to be discovering as strategy. The Academy was located in Paris, the seat of the Sol Government. It was easy to get into the routine of military life at the Academy.

I rolled over and went back to sleep. The sound of my Executive Officer, Captain Johnson, calling to me from my doorway brought me back to conciseness.

"Sir?"

"Yeah, XO what is it?" I replied only half awake.

"Sir we are receiving some kind of interference form a probe of some sort. I thought you might want to have a look at it."

"I'll be there in a few minutes."

"Yes sir, its in hanger bay two."

Five minutes later I walked into hanger bay two, there on the floor was a silver teardrop shaped object.

"Do we know where it came from?" I asked.

"No sir." My XO replied.

"Do we know what its doing here?"

"It appears to have several observational instruments." Replied Ensign Talbert.

"It also has several powerful transmitters. One of them keeps repeating its transition." Said Lieutenant Roberts.

"Could it possibly be a homing beacon of some kind?" Asked Johnson.

"Possibly, its regular enough." Replied the Roberts.

"Well find out what you can from it, and send it on its way if its not doing us any harm."

"Yes sir." All three replied.

As I headed for the exit I paused. I looked up at a Pegasus that was black with red trimming a had the VA insignia painted on the wings. On the nose was painted Krystal, below that was a picture of a crystal with silver lightning bolts coming out of it. That was my Pegasus, Krystal. Why the name Krystal? I'll tell you. Her name was Krystal Adams. I met her two year after I arrived at the Academy. It is hard to describe something so perfect. Her hair was about shoulder length, and was like gold. Her eyes were of a dark brown, I could look into those eyes a loose my self and forget there was anything but her. She had a smile that made the sun seem dim. I only have two pictures of her. One, just of her, sits in the cockpit of my fighter and the other, of both of us at my graduation ceremony, is in my room.

After I left the hanger bay I headed back to the bridge. As I rode the lift to the command deck I rested my head against the cold metal wall of the lift. The chill of the wall reminded me of the cold of space as I drifted off.

Chapter Three


"Get him off my six! ADCAP to Boxer where are you??"

I sent my fighter into another twist and roll maneuver as more laser blasts shot past me. My wing man and I had been jumped by four pirates and now one of them as after me.

"Damn it Boxer! Hurry up!"

I heard a scream then static as my wingman's ship exploded.

"****! Now it's 3 to one!"

I rapidly latted and hit my afterburners. I had only bought myself a few more seconds. I tried to burn then slide so that I could bring my lasers to bear but I could hear the missile lock warning.

"OH ****! Here goes everything!"

I pulled the eject lever as the missiles slammed in to my craft. I immediately blacked out. When I finally came to it was hours later on board the cruiser that had picked me up. It took weeks to get rid of the chill of space. It had gotten to my bones, I had to wear a jacket in the middle of the summer, but I was alive.

The whoosh of the lift doors opening awoke me, I was shivering. I stepped on to the bridge of my ship once again.

"Sir, Commander Scott wants you in engineering."

"Thank you," I looked at the young officers rank, "Thank you Ensign."

I turned around and went back into the lift. The trip to Engineering was longer than the trip up from the hanger. When I walked it to Engineering my chief engineer Commander Scott, was busy yelling at a group of technicians. I waited patiently as Scott's temper was well known throughout the fleet.

"Ahem"

"Oh Admiral! I dinna see ya standin' there."

"You said you wanted to see me?"

"Ah yes, I was runnin' a diagnostic on the new boosters we installed and….."

"Is this gonna be a long story commander?"

"Well anyway, I thought you might like to know I found a way to increase the output of the boosters without taxing the cold fusion reactor anymore."

"Can you do this for the shields and lasers as well?"

"Oh I should think so. Hmm lemme see, if we reroute the…." He muttered to himself as he trotted off to work on his latest improvements. I sighed to myself as I headed back to the lift again.

"This could be a long day." I muttered as I stepped on to the lift.

 

 

Chapter Four


Graduation at the Academy was always a city wide event. It seemed that half of Paris showed up for the graduation ceremonies or the reception afterwards. I was eighteen at the time I graduated I was the youngest in my class. I was given the rank of Ensign in the Sol Military. I would receive my assignment in a few weeks. After the reception I went for a walk with Krystal, although we weren't seeing each other I still enjoyed being with her. She was one of the few people I knew that were my age.

My first assignment was to the Sol Military headquarters on Mars. There I met many influential Admirals, General, and politicians. Four months later I was transferred to the command ship Conqueror. There I worked with Admiral Halsey on plans for the defense of Mars. I spent about three more months aboard the Conqueror before I was transferred back to Earth. This time I was located in San Francisco.

I awoke slowly. Memories of sandy beaches and sea gulls fading like the morning fog. I looked at the clock next to my laptop. It read ten hundred hours.

"Damn!" I had over slept. But my XO waking me up at three fifty hundred hours hadn't helped any. I quickly put my uniform on and headed for the bridge. This was already a bad day.

Chapter 5


"Sir Fleet Admiral Icefox is on the main COM for you sir."

"Put it on the main view screen." I turned to see John Robertson on the main screen.

"Vice Admiral ADCAP, what did you discover?"

"Nothing here except radiation and asteroids. But we did discover a probe of unknown origin. We scanned it, pulled it aboard, studied it and let it go."

"What did you find out?"

"Only that it seems to have a homing beacon built into it."

"Interesting."

"If you say so sir. Commander Scott has managed to increase the output of the shields and engines along with the warp thrusters and lateral thrusters by fifteen percent."

"Excellent, my compliments to Mr. Scott. So I can expect to see a demonstration by the Excalibur tomorrow?"

"Tomorrow!?"

"Doesn’t that work for you Admiral?"

"Uh…I mean tomorrow, yes sir she'll be ready."

"Good. I'll meet you half way. Icefox out."

That was the last thing I wanted to hear. We were still working the bugs out of a new propulsion system I had suggested. The warp thrusters, as the new system was called, allowed a ship to make short tach jumps with in a system. Icefox distrusted this new technology stating that it was untested and unproven in combat. If he was going to be here tomorrow we only had twenty-four hours to get everything ready.

Yes, this was going to be a very long day indeed.

Chapter Six


After six months there I was transferred to Paris. While there I worked closely with many politicians. I learned there the ugly truth behind politics, its all for money. Politicians bribed one another for votes on their plans and agendas. Even the President of the government was paid to issue pardons for several pirates. After four months I had had enough. I resigned my commission as an ensign. I said my good-byes to Krystal and all my other fiends and bought a one way ride on a freighter headed for the Hub.

The Hub was the central point of all travel between the Sol system and the Fringe. Once I arrived there I purchased and outfitted a Pegasus with my remaining money. While on a mission one day I ran into my current boss, John Robertson better know as Icefox. He told me about the Void Alliance. After I returned from my mission I proceeded to submit my application to join VA. It was a week before the accepted me in to their recruitment program and a month before I officially joined them. As I already had training I didn’t have to go to the VA academy, but I was still and Ensign.

Six months later VA and another clan by the name of Enhanced Breed got into a war. The war didn’t last very long as EB was relatively new and VA had numbers and skill on its side. EB quickly sued for peace and the war was over almost as quickly as it had begun. I was apart of the opening battle, EB was obliterated, I myself picking up a few kills. But as time when on I grew bored with my current position which was now a Lt. Commander. I spoke to Robertson about helping him out in running the War Ministry. He quickly accepted my proposal. Now as a Vice Admiral I am in charge of running and maintaining the fleet. But I have made the Excalibur my pet project.

"Engineering to Command Deck"

"Yes Mr. Scott?"

"I'm takin the engines of line to do a wee bit of alignment, they is rattlin' a wee to much for me tastes."

"Acknowledged Engineering Bridge out."

With the engines of line we were not gonna be doing much moving so I decided to inspect the outside of the ship. As I left the hanger I could feel the vibrations from the engines through my seat. You never get over the thrill of being pushed back into your seat as you engaged the afterburners. I flew a distance out cut my engines and spun my ship around for a look at the ship. Her hull was solid black with red trimming that highlighted the different parts of the ship. The VA insignia near the front was red and outline with gold. If it hadn't been for the red trimming and the lights from the command section and her running lights she would have blended in with her background. After circling the Excalibur a few times I landed my Pegasus in the main hanger.

As I headed for my quarters I crossed paths with one of the few women on board. Commander Spear was one of the highest ranking female officers in the fleet and was a highly qualified pilot. She commanded one of the Excalibur's three wings. When I reached my quarters I immediately hit the shower. After changing I sat down at my laptop to work on the always dreaded but necessary paperwork.

Chapter Seven


The alert klaxon sounded snapping me out of the day dream I had been having. I sprinted for the lift, as I arrived I met Johnson.

"Wasn’t the drill scheduled for another two hours?" He asked me.

"That’s what I said, nineteen hundred hours."

"Then what the hell is going on?"

"I have no clue."

As we stepped on to the bridge chaos greeted us. I headed for the command chair but did not sit down.

"What the hell is going on here!?" I demanded.

"A frigate and a minelayer tach jumped almost on top of us." Spears replied.

"Why didn’t we know they were coming!?"

"Because the sensors were offline for a routine system check." Stated Johnson.

"Damn! What's the damage?"

"Minimal damage to the shields, that’s more than that minelayer can say. It will need at least new shields and new laser turrets when it gets back to its base." Talberts stated.

"Okay everyone lets find out who they were, where they came from and what the hell they were doing in VA space. And turn that DAMN NOISE OFF!!"

 

A few hours later I contacted Icefox and alerted him to the situation and that the ships that attacked us were of Bora make. But they had Fringe Raider markings on them. FR was a rival clan that was making false claims on parts of VA space. It appeared that these Tachyon Drive Emissions were FR ships. Icefox informed me that he would arrive at my current location in twelve hours and join me aboard the Excalibur. I then retired to my quarters to catch up on some sleep.

Eleven hours later I was awake and putting the final touches to my dress uniform. It was solid black with gold rank stripes on the cuffs and red trimming on the seems and edges of the collar, and cuffs. Rank was on the shoulder in gold. The pants were black as well with a red stripe down the side of the legs. All the buttons were gold as well. With one last look in the mirror I headed for hanger bay one, were Icefox's shuttle would be landing. After he disembarked from the shuttle I proceeded to introduce him to the officers that were present.

"Admiral I believe you know my XO Captain Johnson. And these two are my wing commanders: Commander Spear and Lt. Commander Defiant. This is our navigation officer Lieutenant Jackson. This here is my security officer and weapons officer Lt. Commander Rome. Well gentlemen and lady, shall we head for the bridge?"

"Hey you forgot me!"

We all turned to look were the voice had come from, and there stood my good friend Griffin Moone.

"GRIFF! Hey man what are you doing here?"

"Thought I'd drop by and see your new pet."

"Well let's go have a look."

The hour long tour finally ended on the bridge. The bridge officers had gone back to the bridge after leaving the hanger. Griff seemed impressed, he also seemed to make pretty good friends with my Chief Engineer. Icefox on the other hand was a bit skeptical. He didn’t seem to trust all the new technology we had installed mainly the warp thrusters. These enable the ship to make short tach jumps with in a sector. I tried to lay his fears to rest but it seemed to me that only a demonstration would do.

Chapter Eight


Icefox informed me that the fleet was spread thin at the moment. The reason being that IK was running military maneuvers again along all its boarders, EB and NB were stirring up trouble again and BK was raiding outposts for the fifth time this year. That meant that the Exalibur was the only ship available to deal with the FR threat.

In response to the new information I ordered several probes launched so that we may be given advanced warning to any possible attacks. A few hours later we received a report from one of the probes indicating that it had discovered a fleet of ships. Before it could say how many or what kind they were or who they were the transmission ended abruptly. I ordered a peg stripped of all weapons in place of those given more shields and as much speed as we could give it. Then I ordered Ensign IZ to take the modified pet out to the last know location and determine what exactly had happened. I had my hunch as to what had happened but I wanted a count of those ships too.

An hour later IZ reported that he had arrived at the last location of the probe. What he found didn’t make Icefox or I happy. He hadn't found any warships but he had found twenty transports, five heavy freighters and ten light freighters and five mech transports. It was an invasion fleet of forty ships. What puzzled us all was were the warships had gone to. We would find out soon enough in the worst possible way.

Chapter Nine


I told IZ to get back here as fast as he could. Moments later our sensors picked up Tachyon Drive Emissions. Then two carriers, five cruisers, ten destroyers and four minelayers completed their jumps. Suddenly our sensors were filled with the fighters of those twenty one ships. I ordered all our fighters scrambled. I also ordered Dark Ice to take the shuttle Icefox had arrived on out with the hope that it would draw some attention. Then I ordered the ship to prepare for battle.

"Everyone find your seat belts, we're in for a rough ride!" I announced over the broadcast system.

"Admiral, what's goinin' on up der?

"We've found the enemy fleet, Scotty. Or should I say they found us."

The whole ship shuddered as all our pulse lasers opened up at the same instant, vaporizing the first wave and clearing the way for our fighters.

"ADCAP to Spear."

"Spear here."

"Do me a favor."

"What's that sir?"

"Waste the ****ers."

"With pleasure."

After our fighters had cleared the hanger and were out of our range the lasers fired another volley and proceeded to fire at will. The constant firing continued for about a half an hour with out much damage to the ship. The shields had absorbed a lot of punishment but the new armor on the hull was holding strong. Finally I had had enough of just sitting there.

"Jackson prepare the warp thrusters! We're gonna take the fight to 'em."

"Yes sir." A pause. "Thrusters ready sir."

"Okay drop us between the two carriers."

"Between them!? That’s suicide!" Objected Icefox.

"Let me handle this. You wanted a demonstration, well here it is. Okay Jackson do it!"

The Excalibur disappeared in a flash of light only to reappear between the two enemy carriers. Our pulse lasers opened up again with a roar. The Carriers were caught completely off guard. Our lasers made short work of their laser turrets and shields leaving them defenseless.

"Give the carriers one more volley and then jump over to the minelayers."

"Aye sir!"

That finally Volley was followed by several minor explosions from the carriers and as both of them exploded the Excalibur

s the were helpless. Instead of finishing the minelayers off I chose to attack the cruisers next. I ordered the Excalibur to jump to the front of the cruiser group. As we came out of that maneuver two destroyers made a suicide dash at our ship. I ordered Jackson to maneuver as close to the two nearest cruisers as he could. When the kamikaze destroyers were about to hit our ship I ordered her to jump behind them. The two cruisers never knew what hit them. all four ships went up in a massive explosion. The three remaining cruisers turned tail and tach jumped out of the system. With the retreat of the cruisers the remaining eight destroyers attempted to pick up what remaining fighters of theirs there were to be found. Our fighters let them be and finished off the minelayers. I ordered the Excalibur to take on the four nearest destroyers.

"Admiral! We canna use the warp thrusters! They’ve burnt out!"

"Alright Scotty! We'll have to make due with out them."

With out the warp thrusters we lost the advantage of being everywhere almost at once. As we took on the four nearest destroyers they called for help and pretty soon the Excalibur was under fire from eight bora style destroyers.

"Admiral!"

"Yes Scotty we're kinda busy up here!"

"I know Admiral, but…" His words we lost as the shields failed and several circuits on the bridge and in engineering exploded.

"What was that Scotty!?"

"I said she can't take much more of dis, she's packin' quite a wallop!"

"Acknowledged! Bridge out!" I yelled over the noise of a fire extinguisher. We were running out of options fast. I had an idea, it was crazy, but it might work.

"Jackson! Target their strongest ship. Focus all our fire on it!"

"Aye sir!"

"When its shields get to twenty percent I want to ram it!"

"SIR!?"

"RAM IT!? ARE YOU CRAZY!?" Demanded Icefox.

"Just crazy enough to get us out of hear alive!" I snapped. "You heard me Lieutenant! Just do it!"

"Yes sir."

Seconds later the Excalibur slammed in to the nearest FR destroyer. She didn’t explode but she started to move back.

"Increase power to the engines!"

"Sir they’ve transferred all their remaining energy to their engines."

"Admiral! If ye push her any harder the whole ship will blow!"

"Acknowledged Scotty. Bridge out. On my command fire all forward batteries into the bridge of that ship! Put a couple shots through their hull were we are touching them as well."

"Weapons targeted sir!"

"FIRE!"

The enemy ship exploded and the Excalibur shot through the area where it had been. By this time our fighters had returned form destroying the minelayers and were harassing the remaining seven destroyers. The enemy had had enough. All seven destroyers, what was left of them, tach jumped out of the sector.


Chapter Ten

The battle was over. We now took stock of our casualties. We had lost eight fighters and the shuttle Dark Ice was piloting. The warp thrusters were completely burned out and would need to be replaced. The bow of the ship would need to be rebuilt, and our shields were completely gone, but we were alive. Scotty was complaining about the mess that the battle had made of engineering. I spent the next two days typing up reports and doing the hardest part of being a commander: writing letters to the family of the deceased. Funeral services for the dead were a solemn occasion. Icefox was quite impressed with the performance of the ship and its crew. He opted to ride the ship all the way into space dock instead of taking a shuttle back to the Vigilance. As the crew exited the ship to low the repair and refit crew to have they received a standing ovation from the staff of the dock. The crew was even treated to a round of drinks on the house at the Pulsar. The crew was given two weeks of shore leave. I choose to go back to earth. I had some loose ends to tie up.
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“Showdown in Antares”
by
Hannibal of New Dawn


The void of space that could be seen through the window from which Admiral John McCurrie was peering was lit up with green, yellow, blue, and red beam fire. The explosions from fighters and bombers could be seen even though they were 20km away. The Admiral looked on with sadness, for his most beautiful ship, the GTD Carpathia, began to crumble into many smaller pieces from the exploding shivan bombs which tore through her hull. Never had the Admiral seen such destruction since the Battle of Sol almost two years before.

A single tear rolled down his face as he watched his beloved Carpathia began to make a port role towards the single gas giant that orbited the nearby star. The ship's hull began to buckle as she entered the atmosphere of the planet called Antare Prime. Soon the Carpathia was completely engulfed in the atmosphere of the gas giant, and all you could see was a small dark spot where the ship had entered the atmosphere. Then a giant ball of gas and debris shot up from the planet, leaving mostly parts of the engine as the Carpathia's tomb stone.

"What have we done to deserve this?" the Admiral said to his first officer.

"I don't know, sir. I - I really don't know."

"How could a civilization such as ours, which took thousands of years to develop be destroyed in a matter of six years?" The Admiral looked on as another marauder-class cruiser began to collapse in on itself.

"Sir, Captain Brutherford is requesting that we withdraw now or face a total fleet decimation," the communications officer to the Admiral's left said.

"Tell them to withdraw to this position. Here is where we will stand our ground. I think our three destroyers, two corvettes, and 4 cruisers, plus several fighter and bomber wings should be able to hold off another wave of Shivan reinforcements." The admiral gave the communications officer a wave of his hand to signal him to proceed.

"Captain Brutherford, withdraw all forces to our position as soon as possible. We are going to make a final stand here."

"But we won't survive another assault even if we had another colossus-class ship with us." The captain was enraged about the idea.

"Those are the Admiral's orders, Captain."

"Very well then, Ensign."

The four destroyers, which were badly beaten, began to enter subspace when a heavy red beam shot struck the GTC Thanatos, a mentu-class cruiser, sending molten metal into the void of space. She then collapsed on herself in a ball of expanding gases. Meanwhile, the other vessels, including corvettes, cruisers, fighters, bombers, and other smaller modified transports and freighters, began to exit subspace near the Admiral's own small fleet of ships.

"This is it commander. This is our last stand..."
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“The Light Show”
by
Dragon of Neechi


The Angels of Death were limping back from a well fought but hardened battle with the Loki resistance. Since the end of the Galspan/Bora war the ships from both sides became available on the open market and all the clans of the Fringe took advantage of the strengths that each manufacturer had to offer. The combination of the two technologies proved to be lethal and the alliance of Sol grew stronger than ever. But alas there is no rest for the weary, for just as one peace is founded another threat will always be waiting behind the curtains.

The Loki were slowly being crushed by all the forces of the Fringe but the new campaign was not without difficulty. Many good pilots were lost and new factions of evil doers were taking advantage of the disruption caused by the resistance. The Fringe, it seemed, would never be a safe place to fly alone.

The AoD, lead by commander Scythe, consisted of three Hammers and a Peggy but from the damage they incurred, it was doubtful they had three complete ships between them. Wildfire's Peggy was only held together by the dirt and grime that he'd let build up on it. One more shot would have done the cleaning he often neglected to do and now it paid off. Or so he liked to think. The hull integrity alarm was driving him crazy, and he couldn't shut it off because the main coupling array was fused to his life support generator. The throbbing grew deafening and he wondered if people back on Neechi could hear it.

Val and Maximus brought up the rear with their damaged hulls facing inwards towards each other in case of stray debris, all forming a protective circle around Wildfire as they slid their way towards home. One sector was all that remained as a barrier to safety and comfort... and the victory party with all the CoME groupies and live Industrial. Yes everyone's thoughts were well past the last two tachyon gates and rapidly pre-living in their minds what they would be doing tonight. A hero's return was always guaranteed to get you laid.

"AD 1 I've been painted," cried Val. At first no one heard him so he had to scream it over the comm. "Damn it guys wake up! I got bright eyes. We're being targeted."

"Full stop!" Ordered Death Scythe. Any thoughts of celebration quickly evaporated for them all as they focused on the new developments.

"I'm going after them!" cried Val as he jammed his afterburners.

"Stand down AD 2! That's an order." came Death's reply.

"WTF?!?" No way Hosé. I'm going down fighting!"

"Don't you think your in deep enough water with the Hierarchy as it is?" asked Death in a more civil tone. "Don't add disobeying a direct order to the list."

"A lot of good it'll do me if I'm dead," he complained, but nevertheless he was falling back into formation.

"Umm, this is AD 3," stammered Wildfire. "I got four small craft at just over 120 clicks. Undefined, must be pirates. They know were hurtin', too."

Despite the undesirable odds, Commander Scythe was suddenly and genuinely relieved. He'd take on a band of vagabonds over an organized assault squad any day. The four new ships were advancing, but slowly. Perhaps they would just go on by but that was highly unlikely. The pirates in this region kill for sport and salvage any undamaged parts that remained. He had to act fast.

"AD 3 prepare to board me!" he shouted.

"Umm, sir?" asked Wildfire.

"You heard me, get that helmet on and seal up. Your going for a walk."

"With all due res..."

"Now Wildfire! We don't have time for this. Drop your shields and pop your hatch on my command. Stay strapped in until you have the grappling band in both hands. Copy?"

"Roger," said Wildfire a little unconvincingly. "You better not drop me."

"I have a plan but I need your ship. It's our only chance with our ships as banged up as they are," explained Death Scythe as he maneuvered into position. "Remember the fun we use to have at the end of our training sessions when we first started out?"

"You mean the light show?" asked Wildfire.

Death chuckled at the memory of that name Wildfire had given it. "Yeah, that's the one"

"AD 1, Bogies at 100 k," reported Val as he and Maximus held their positions and monitored the approaching threat.

"Roger that AD 2, OK Wild, transfer all flight codes to remote and send them to my ship."

Wildfire flipped a few switches and keyed in the commands on the console. "Done."

"Double check your harness and pop the hatch. I'm right above you," prompted Death as he popped his own hatch and started at the sudden temperature change despite the protection of his flight suit.

"Aww man, it's freezing out here," complained Wildfire as he wrestled with the grappling band and finally got a good grip. "OK boss, here I come."

He unbuckled the harness, the only thing holding him down, and when he began to rise he instinctively pressed his feet down but failed to get the desired results. He rose a little faster than he expected so he tried to grab the edge of his hatch and dropped the grappling band. It drifted just out of reach and taunted his clumsiness.

"Damn it Wildfire!" said Death.

Inside his helmet Wildfire looked hurt. "What the hell are you complaining about? I'm the one floating here."

"Please hurry. Pull yourself back in. Your just gonna have to jump for it. I can't unstrap now."

"Hows about I pull myself in and stay in. I'll take my chances," said Wildfire.

"That wasn't a request AD 3. Do it, now! I'll..., catch you," he said and almost laughed at the absurdity of it. "Let's go pilot, they're closing fast."

Without further argument Wildfire launched as hard as he could and drifted aimlessly in the wrong trajectory. He was going to miss the Hammer all together. He'd hardly begun to curse himself when Death boosted a lateral thrust to his left and caught Wildfire like a game saving pop fly. Wildfire hit the deck with a clump and Death slammed the hatch control like it was some kind of bug.

"Nice catch commander, but what now?" It was Maximus. "Those mine grubs will be here in less than a minute."

Scythe immediately started barking orders, possibly his last. "AD3 Take my helm. I'm on the Peggy!"

They quickly swapped places as Death took his position at the main computer and continued with his plan. "Alpha Recoil X21 Execute on my mark. Desired coordinates 0437 mark 5291. Copy?"

"AD 2, I copy."

"AD 4, I copy."

Their fate was closing in to just over 10 clicks when Commander Scythe barked to commence. The crippled yet agile Peggy shot backward at lightning speed as the three Hammers split off and engaged the laser throwing guest that had just arrived. The skilled pilots of the AoD were quickly able to lead their dancing partners in a ballet of evasive maneuvers . Holding their fire to gain speed, they needed only to avoid any direct hits and simply lead their prey in the waltz of death. Their commander would take it from there. He'd promised, so it would be.

Val, Maximus and Wildfire, now in Death's Hammer, shot around and through the four pirate ships and converged within half a click of each other and latted in a three point circle. What seemed like minutes was only seconds before they were surrounded and under fire, and heard the crackling command saying "NOW!" coming over the comm. Death had counted on their gloated overconfidence and smiled as they closed in on the Hammers. He watched as the scene turned 90 degrees and fell away behind them in a rushing blindness. The AoD squad executed textbook moves and shot their relatively harmless medium lasers in a shower of diversion. Seeing the weak lasers and being momentarily confused about who's target shot where, the pirates regrouped in the spot that they had been lead to.

Death had programmed the auto pilot in the Peggy to travel to the same spot at the same time doing 1196 kpm. The same speed as Solaris Torpedoes. He transferred all power to weapons and did some fancy engineering to the core emitter transfer route. Now here she came, out of nowhere surrounded in the bright blue light of twelve fully charged sols. A fiery projectile wrapped in a blanket of destruction, she hit the first ship and it blew up immediately, taking the pirate with her. Seven Sols hit the next two targets and they were space dust. The last ship escaped the brunt of the assault but caught one Sol on his starboard shield. He ran, but didn't get far as Wildfire closed in and scraped up enough power to fire one last rail to blast him out of the galaxy.

The threat was gone but not the adrenaline. The others were hooting and hollering and remembering the party that awaited them but Wildfire was silent.

"What's wrong bro?" asked Death.

"You didn't tell me you were gonna blow it up. I still say we could have taken them, and I would still have my ship."

His squad mates just laughed and assured him Dragon would make sure he got another one. Then Death looked at his longtime friend and said, "That was one hell of a light show though. Wasn't it?"

This made Wildfire grin and say, "Come on, let's go party!"
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“Under the Gun”
by
VA Misterfour


BOOK ONE= THE CREW

 
”Bou liubis, a cherta ne drazni.”

-Old Russian Proverb

”Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”

-Matthew 27:40

""I think of this war as it really is, not as the people at home imagine, with a hoorah! and a roar. It is very serious, very grim…"

-Manfred von Richthofen



Part 1= ”Hyperbole”

Hey, what’s up? I’m Automatic and I am in the middle of something. Try to keep up, will ya?

I gotta hand it all to the man in gift wrapped iridium plasteel, that guy Dragon, head kahuna of Neechi, knows how to throw a party. I got all my gang stuffed into a freighter owned by the Star Pirates (what a dumb name), make that, used to belong to the Star Pirates. They don’t know we’re here, right? So here we are, like lobsters in a tank at a restaurant, and they let us Tach jump right to their base, hidden away in the corner pocket of the universe on this planetoid, just barely an atmosphere, and we jump out and bash out their relay, wham, bam, thank you, good bye and then the Star Pirates know the gig is up. I mean, I only got six guys, but they know that it’s too late, we’re on to them, and then Neechi receives the coordinates and come out of space, it folds and unfolds like a conjurer’s trick, and there’s their premier Capitol Warship, the WitchWyrm, all cannons and admantine hull gleaming, a brooding, gruesome monster aloft in the void, drop pods like copper eggs descending onto the planetoid’s surface, starships drifting away to gun their afterburners and engage the Star Pirate’s beleaguered forces.

Let the games begin, man.

My plan was thus, true believers…

Hit ‘em hard and hit ‘em fast. Beam the coordinates through the encrypted Tach gate (something Neechi did not know how to do, thanks to the sophistication of the Tach gate coding, how do you think I got the gig?) and smash their communications grid until Neechi arrived.

What if Neechi did not arrive?

Try to fly through the Tach gate and get away.

Yeah, right…

I maneuvered my Hammer…scratch that, you don’t maneuver a Hammer, you chuck the sucker through space like a brick and hope you don’t soak up too much fire, anyways, I moved…f*ck it…my Hammer swung into some Star Pirate Orions that had engaged our flank, odd shaped mothers, painted gold and red, with the mechanical skull icon on each side, and I let the first one eat some plasma, sliding and following up with a rail shot, pretty damn perfect, and he became fire and metal parts.

The other two buzzed me, strafing by and igniting my shields with las fire. I caught the WitchWyrm out of the corner of my cockpit, magnificent, it’s weapons fire painting the starry black scarlet with ordinance, the defensive stations around the planetoid’s perimeter reduced to cinders and scrap one by one from the Capitol Ship’s assault.

Oops, blast torps, one sec…

Ouch, close, where’d my shields go? Not so smug now, are you, Otto?

I gave the first Orion plasma and rail, watching it’s reactors ignite, pop, pieces of it plinking against my hull. Quick lat, slide, the whole machine vibrating with physics, transferring power into shields, here he comes, the las fire scorching my hull, and then firing plasma…

He flipped gracefully, but still caught a few, the shields reacting milky bright, the planetoid blue-white behind…

My rails were like fire-and-gold bolts, battering the Orion in half, they went in opposite directions, into space forever.

”Machine! Gimme some good news!?” I said.

”The perimeter is not yet neutralized.” She said.

”Ok, Sixers, form on my wing. Dead clients don’t pay.”

”Copy.” Machine said, her voice breaking up as the conflict escalated around us.

I moved quickly, rerouting power, wondering if the Star Pirate’s headquarters was getting’ stomped yet. I imagined the lances of the Neechi smashing into the Pirate’s mechyards, those 80 ton monstrosities tearing up the forces like Zeus putting the swat down on Typhonaeus, Dragon had been very sure of the plan, and I have to admit, no bad code in the program, there…

I could see Machine and Sorcerer, both in slate gray Orions, come up on my 4 and 8, respectively. They were packing blast torps, nasty nuke beasties, and I never really thought about their choice of ordinance until they decided to cover me-

Whoops. Explosion. Wow, pretty lights…

Sorcerer’s voice through a squelch of static.

”Otto? You alive, man?”

”Sec!” I said. Sorcerer can be such a mother when he is not being a motherf*cker…

”Pegs, wing, comin’ at us fast, like they do best.”

That was Dos, calm guy, doesn’t get all dramatic in a fight. He was in a Bora Cutlass, you can tell by the rails whacking into ships like the hand of some deity. Whammo. There goes one, now.

I had gotten smacked with a blast torp, hull fine but a little beaten, shields recuperating, there they were, two gold and black Pegasus interceptors bearing down on me, those Star Pirates liked speed, fragments of las fire on all sides, couldn’t see Dos anywhere, the space a satin black, with the violent and yellow blossom that was the distant Augustus nebula spreading all magnificent beyond the Star Pirate stations, the crescents of distant explosions, the haunting shadow of the WitchWyrm eclipsing space, stark obsidian with the sun behind, the pegs swooping in with a buzzing whirr, I’m twisting, keeping them in my sights, don’t want them shooting at my ass, then my plasma falling down on one, a flash of electric yellow and molten blue…boom…

Then an X of rails, Inferno and Dos teaming up on the remaining Interceptor. Bye, bye…

”Hey, Boss, I think the mop up is over, but the WitchWyrm needs some help, they want to do the bop on an incoming Dropship…”

Inferno’s voice brimmed with a self assurance that came from the vitamins he ate or somethin’. He was born to sound so confidant as to be arrogant to most. But he moved a Hammer around like he was born in the saddle. I fly them, and even I think their ugly. Like blocks of beaten iron, so un-aesthetic, ya know? But is you know what you are doing, you can be such a terror, despite the speed at which other ships can maneuver…

Did it really matter?

”Hu, you alive?”

His voice was calm, like Dos’s.

”I think we’re all here.”

”We’re too good to kill.” Inferno said.

”Hail, hail, the gang’s all here.” Machine added.

”Statistically speaking, we should have lost SOMEBODY…” Dos jumped in.

”I saw a quad plasma salvo bounce off Inferno’s ego…” Sorcerer put in his line.

”That was my c*ck.” Inferno quipped.

”Yeah, let’s take this show on the road. C’mon guys, business, war, the important stuff?” I had to be the big boss, sometimes.

”Automatic, you copy?”

Dragon’s voice was even, authoritative. Like the way Sorcerer could sound.

”Right-o, Dragon. How goes the punitive mission?”

”We appear to be winning, but that will mean little if we don’t stay on top of the ground war.”

I could see the ruins of the defensive platforms-gruesome, battered and rent asunder in the cold starred black.

”Ok, where are the bad guys?”

”We’re the bad guys…” Inferno’s two cents plinked onto the intercom.

”Shaddup Inferno, Dragon is giving us commands.”

”Uh…yes, well, there is a Dropship on course, intercepting your position, we need you to slow it down…”

”Roger, copy, come on Sixers, let’s get nuclear…”

The Dropship was closing, it’s guns already sending crimson bolts of disruptive energy into our wing. Ka-blam! Pretty ballsy of them to send it in with no protective fighters…pirates must’ve been desperate…

We closed in, it’s hull burnished gold in the interstellar sunlight, I knew that some twenty mechs were enclosed within it’s armored chassis, waiting.

I sent torps into the propulsion systems, las fire igniting my shields. I caught the flash of rails out of the corner of my eye, and could just discern Sorcerer and Hu hitting the Dropship’s other side.

Dos took a hit. I lost him from my radar.

”Dos!!?”

”Hey.” His voice was scratchy. ”I’m messed up, no systems, retreating…”

”Yeah, go for it, we’ll cover you.”

Las fire hit my ship, and I afterburned instinctively, to the rear of the megalith, it’s engines like burning brass, it was bring, sun-bright, I turned my eyes from it.

Dragon, on the comm..

”Automatic?”

”Yeah, just a sec.”

Hu flew past me, his ship sparking, and I afterburned, pulling shield energy into the burners, then up and over, the guns still blazing, Inferno up close and personal with the thing, and then our rails descending like gold/red cables onto the buzzing systems box, a cement colored dermoplast unit, and it went up with atomic force.

I think I told the wing to retreat, the dome of the Dropship left behind. I saw it, as I looked back, an orb of dermoplast and admantium, slowly rolling to a shuddering stop as the pilot engaged retrorockets uselessly, ion steam like silver foam, drifting in clouds about it…

My wing fell back, safe from the paralyzed Mech-carrier’s weapon’s fire…

Mission complete, pilgrims…



Part 2= ”Catalyst”

Aunt Aggie looked into the pot of soup she had made for the family. Joe, Oscar and Tolio were gathered around the table.

Try as I can, what precisely the Iscariot looked like always escapes me. I remember it from when I was young, and I only remember the outside of it once, a shadow against the naked burning face of the sun.

I remember the inside, especially where we lived, in Olsom Cellers. That’s where you lived when you were rust-poor.

Faddah was working late that night. It was just us, like always. Faddah-Dad, but I called him Faddah- would work late, like that. He had to. He was a space cargo trucker, and the work was dangerous, intermittent, and didn’t pay much.

Our home was deep down in the Iscariot…I remember walls the color of rusted iron, always leaking water or coolant or worse…there was a atmosphere problem, never knew why, but it could go steamy humid or bone numbing cold, depending on the orbit.

We were packed into the cube like rats. Three rooms, side by side. One bath. The rooms were small…Faddah and Aggie shared the one room, then the middle, where we ate, and then Joe, Oscar and Tolio. And me.

Aggie had gone begging to put that soup together. Shreds of cloned meat, some rat, cloned vegetables…and potatoes. Always potatoes, a vegetable that seemed remarkably suited to the environment. To this day I f*cking hate potatoes.

Joe and Tolio had snuck out and stolen some bread. Aggie turned a blind eye to it.

I remember the sodium burner above the table. It gave everything a garish shine…the drip of the sink…rat bites. Always rat bites. They crawled in from the drains.

Deeper down, in the sumpsters, they got as big as raccoons. One of my friends died from a bite, when I was small…

Aggie’s face had deep lines of concern, but cooking made her younger, somehow. I just remember her seeming to relax into a mode, the sweat beading on her forehead, the corners of her mouth smiling, somehow.

Oscar was just a baby. He cooed at the table and hit a plastic rattle with a clown face on the table.

Metal. Everything metal. And plastic. Even our clothes were plastic woven. Thick taxes prevented us from shopping in the upper levels, where one could purchase cloned cotton weeve.

”Bah bah bah bah bah.” Oscar said, cooing to himself.

Joe looked at me, squinting, his ugly mouth crooked.

Joe always hated me…I felt it. When I stared at a vid or Aggie, he would look at me sidelong, his mouth in a scowl.

Which made no sense because we were half-brothers. Our mom had died having me, she gave birth to Joe years before, and his dad had died, murdered by dealers I found out later. Faddah had met mom, then I came, and then Aunt Aggie had moved in and Faddah and her had Oscar, then Joe.

Oscar always looked sullen, his face slack, almost. He had a piece of chalk, and occasionally put it in his mouth.

”Stop that.” Aggie said. She took the chalk from Oscar, and then brought the soup to the table.

We had no bowls. Instead, we all spooned from the soup.

Joe’s ugly scowled face beamed, almost.

”What’s in that, ma?”

Aggie looked at us all, proud. She could feed her family, and give them wonder.

”Pepper. It’s pepper. I found a cube that someone dropped…”

I taste pepper, sometimes, when I think of those walls, in that colony, long ago. It burns the roof of my mouth like red giants burn planets too close to them.

Pepper.

Rust…



I gave my report, in full, to Neechi command.

The rest of my company had retired to celebrate.

We were aboard the WitchWyrm, in orbit around the tan and green planetoid that was once the home of the Star Pirates. TNN reporting craft had come in like locusts, beaming results through encrypted tach channels across the galaxy, covering the ”the major coup against the Star Pirates by combined mercenary and Neechi fighters.”

That really nukes me. Mercenary. They couldn’t get my name right? The Sixers…how hard is that? Phuc.

But my stock had gone up (I’m a corporation…you can invest in me. I’m worth 154 credits a share…compared to Galspan’s 2345 credits a share) and my shareholder’s were pleased. High numbers this quarter, double what we made to date last year. We also had a combined interest approval rating that promised big dividends at the rate we were going.

The board room was all chrome and dermoplast…the table a gravitized disc of rose quartz, flecked in gold. I felt out of place, my rad-proof flight suit lined with wires and cables, covered in soot and rust stains. The collar was high on my neck. I just wanted to get the meeting over with and be with the crew.

It felt good to look at these guys, for some reason. They gave questioning glances to my rank, not realizing that the gold stencil bar code was meaningless…just an advertisement for nitrolite (you laugh, but that ad for nitrolite is an extra 50,000 credits annually, according to our contract).

I felt battered and proud and silly and sick with andrenaline, but I gave them all the specifics, and we watched the film report from the comm. panels all of our ships carried for such a thing.

I was told then that the leader of the Star Pirates, Oslovo, killed himself rather than be caught. He would have been convicted of criminal conspiracy as well as war crimes, probably would have gone to the disintegration chamber, so it’s just as well the sick phuc cut his throat open with a sharpened piece of iridium.

The Neechi officers wore crisp blue uniforms of the finest materials, medals and ranks in perfect order. They looked like officers in the vids, perfect complexions, sharp eyes like flint, stern, commanding features. They looked like they made more money than I did and slept in better beds and had better hookers. Their academy rings all gleamed in the light, the platinum burnished and flecked with obsidian.

I didn’t get to go to the flight academy.

Credits were transferred via tach gates in banque-galactique code and we were officially paid.

Dragon seemed impressed by my presentation.

He sat back, aloof, his uniform positively festooned with medals, indicators of rank, and assorted trophies. I sometimes believe looks get you where you end up, he looked regal and calm, like some sort of predatory bird, perched high above it all, surveying his domain, not missing a detail.

But then the presentation was over, and they were getting up, all of them, and I realized, by the way they smiled at each other and shared inside jokes, the silence of the business atmosphere now discarded, that I was a merc and they were what they were: clanners. Clanners in a big time clan, too.

Now I really wanted to be back with my crew.

I packed up my bronze coloured titanium palm top and checked my bank account.

Hell, yes.

I looked out into space, through the shielded dermoplast that kept us from all eating vacuum.

So vast, so utterly void and yet stirringly beautiful, like the cold face of a woman from across the room who is married to a multi-billionaire and you can never have her. But she is there, full of stars and suns, whole planets within those infinite veils. Standing this close to space, I always feel like I might fall through the dermoplast and just disappear into the galactic nothing. It is night that will never know day, forever.

Then I blink out of it, and I am no poet, I am Otto, of the Sixers, one of 5,837 merc groups in the galaxy. I am a space dog.

Dragon had said something to me.

”What? Sorry, I feel tired.”

”I said, Automatic, would you like to accompany me to the Main Hold? I want to show you a prize the Neechi have recently required.”

In person his voice had a dark lilt to it, accented, like those Earth Brit pilots a century ago might have sounded like. Formal, baroque.

”Yeah, sure. Got some coffee? I need to clear my head up…”

”Of course.”

We walked out of the room and into the cold corridors that were the interior of the WitchWyrm.

The only thing I like about the Neechi is the fact that they don’t get overly aesthetic about the interior of their ships.

Naw, I mean, they paid me, and they showed up for the fight, and they were professional enough to make up for my lack of it, but some clans got fruity really quick with their ships, like they were on some bisexual love cruise (which, don’t get me wrong, are great fun if you are high on methamphetamines and half way through college) but the Neechi used a blue steel gloss and oiled brass design that made you feel like you were in the darkened Victorian walkway of a Jules Verne submarine, the electric burners giving an eldritch glow to the smoke-dark corridors, comm. panels and sensor arrays glowing like wet neon…

Then I realized he was talking.

”…was a huge success. Far greater than our best estimates. Our investors are pleased.”

”Investors?”

”Yes, Automatic. We are a corporation, and we operate in conjunction to other corporations for mutual profit. We are still humanitarian, however, and mercy missions make for good public relations…”

”Eh.”

”Not to worry, I own a large enough percentage of the stock to call the shots. We are still a clan, we just operate according to more economic ethics.”

”Supply and demand.”

”Yes.”

”So why f*ck up the Star Pirates? Why not strike a deal with them and make a profit off of an organized protection racket? The smuggling alone would have put you in gold bath tubs for life. You would have made money off the baronies, smaller corps and merchants, plus the less powerful clans…”

”Sound like an organized criminal conspiracy.”

”Cops are thugs, married women are prostitutes.”

”What-?”

”Uh, I mean, it all depends on how you look at it. Star Patrol don’t wanna have all the criminals disappear, they would go out of business, ya know…but there’s always a profit. Ya follow the profit.”

”Well…the line between being a pirate, a merc, and a clanner is blurry indeed. But regardless, the Star Pirates took human life, civilian human life, and endangered peaceful trade routes. So they were eliminated.”

”Yeah.”

”It’s quite a shame Star Patrol is on strike, otherwise we would not have been involved, and our energies could have gone to our current war with the Furnace Brigade. But the pay is appreciated.”

”Yeah.”

I felt rusted and lumbering in those corridors, marching with the Commander of Neechi past saluting officers and callow faced recruits so perfectly clean shaven ya’s think they were eleven years old. They were bleached and polished, free of so much as a mar. Here I was, my suit frayed and rad burned, the coils of my couplers in bad need of a resurfacing…

We left the soft warm dark of the WitchWyrm’s corridors for the harsh cold neon brightness of the Main Hangar. It was all hollow acoustics and machine echo, the voices of one hundred conversations rebounding off of ferroconcrete walls. White cotton shirted technicians mothered the Neechi star ships, checking arrays and reloading weaponry.

Some pilots were still close to their ships, swapping tales with other pilots. I realized that with Neechi spread out from here to Sol they probably only communicated through Ezboards, and now here they were, face to face for the first time in years.

Dragon seemed proud, and he had a right to be. I scratched at my neck, realizing I needed a shave (and a beer).

Twenty salutes later we were looking out into Space Dock, through a dermoplast window so big a Claymore could have barnstormed through it.

”There.” He said, gesturing towards the sphere of sea and land that was the Star Pirate’s former planetary stronghold. It had not been huge, as military installations went. No bigger than a small Earth town, most of the planet untamed wilderness. It would be populated by exodites and drifters in a week. On corporate loans, of course. Ain’t it funny how the world works?

”Yeah. Nice planet. I saw a desert planet once. I always wanted to pilot a mech, ya know? Go around and tear up the real estate…”

”No, that cruiser there.”

I looked at a ship, smaller than any of the Neechi’s, pitted by ordinance, with a face that was brooding and worn. It was a maverick design, a Frankenstein’s Creation of old and new tech- Madorian arrays, Gal weaponry, Bora reactors…it’s skin was unpainted, burnished, glowing chrome in the dying light of the Augustus Nebula.

”Yeah. Kind of tore up. Look’s tough. Ex-pirate, eh? Spoils of war, well done, Dragon.”

”Actually, quite some time ago Neechi downsized it’s operations long enough to refit many of our ships, so as to make for easy repair and maintenance. All of our bases are designed by Godcraft, and all of our cruisers, freighters, fighters and destroyers are manufactured by Gauzzi. This craft, being a conglomeration, would ill fit in with the rest of our ships. So it’s yours.”

The top of my head felt like it had flipped off. Holy f*ck.

”Holy f*ck. You mean that? Jesus, I don’t know what to say, I mean, our contract said nothing about spoils. Are you sure?”

Dragon seemed please that he was playing the benefactor. He beamed like a jinn granting a wish.

”Yes, quite. Neechi has no need for it. Additionally, our contract only called for you rendering their relay sensors ineffective, as well as beaming us the required coordinates for our assault. But you took out that Dropship, and if it had landed that could have blown the entire operation. This is your reward, thank you.”

Wow.

”Wow, thanks, this puts The Sixers in the big time bracket. We don’t have to hire Guild Freighters anymore to lug us around. Wow. Those things are easy to fly, I know that chassis design. Like a Claymore. Wow.”

He seemed amused at my gratitude.

”Make no mention of it. Let’s see the inside, shall we?”

It was what you expected in a carrier freighter/carrier. Not as polished and pristine as the insides of one of the Royal Guard’s ships, but it had everything you needed. There were GUI controls, redundant energy transmitters…and it was big enough to carry ten fighters.

I noticed a few las burns in the dermoplast, but didn’t ask Dragon about it.

Oh, it was no pleasure cruise ship, we weren’t going to be doing guided tours for the rich and self indulgent, but it was better than what military operations normally required, and that was good enough for me.

The Deimos batteries were the most current thing on the ship. It carried an unusual amount of cannons for a ship with a reactor grid that size. I wondered how much it taxed the systems…

”Damn, Dragon, this works. Damn fine…”

”We are still doing a few repairs, but I knew you would be impressed.”

He stood there, the starlight upon his features, looking over the computer’s mainframe. The wall behind him was cut by black emissions coupling, the color of old nickel. I sat in one of the ceramite chairs, my thumb digging into a quarter sized chunk that had been shot out of it.

He turned, the half-light making him look regal, as if he was the Emperor of Space or something. Like royalty.

”What are your plans now?”

”I am going to sleep and meet with the team after that, surprise them…I have been working out some business plans, some new stuff that will make us all rich in a few years…we’ll all take a break and plan our next job. Nothing too extreme.”

”You going to be planetside on Haglogg?”

”Yeah, the crew needs some earth under their feet. I don’t think any of ‘em are spacers. I was born in space, they weren’t…”

”I may be able to refer a future job for you…are you interested?”

”Eh? Yeah, ya gotta make money, ya know…”

”So why aren’t you in a clan?”

”It clashes with my drinking schedule.”

”No, really.”

I had my reasons.

”No reason, just not my style. This way I can see more of the universe. Excitement, adventure…”

We left the ship, whose name I was just now starting to mull over (Mijionar? Nah. Sixgun? Nah. Death-Octopus? Nah.) and went back to the crowded area that was the Main Hangar Bay. I could hear the sounds of welding mechanics in the distance, and the groaning of engines being tested and refitted.

”We should be at Cix station in 14 hours.”

”Excellent. Yeah, I am gonna sleep.”

”Dobriy vyecher, Otto. Za vashe zdaroveeye ee blagapaloocheeye.”

I felt a bolt of ice pound it’s way into my spine.

”What?”

He looked confused.

”I said that-”

I stepped forward a bit without intending to.

”No, I didn’t hear what you said.”

”I meant, I mean, do you speak Russian?”

I tried to calm down but that never works.

”No, no, I don’t speak that. I didn’t understand you.”

”Oh-” He said, blinking. ”-I had thought that-”

”What? You thought what?”

I backed up a bit, in my mind. Easy, Otto, this guy just gave you a carrier…

I turned away a little and tried to ameliorate things on account of my attitude.”

”Listen, Dragon, I am tired, I’m sorry, I didn’t get it. I mean, naw, I don’t speak Russian. Ha ha. It just threw me off a little.”

He still looked like he did not know what was going on, but he shook my hand and acted with a lot more aplomb than I would’ve.

”Sorry, Otto. I think I heard you were Russian somewhere…”

”Eh, forget about it. I should have been more educated. You take it easy, I am going to sleep before I embarrass myself further. Thank you again, I am in your debt.”

I shook his hand again and staggered past some rad-suited technicians messing with a jade green Phoenix bomber…Gal Span design, like some Behemoth of Space, loaded to the gills with ordinance. They spoke French to each other, joking about the battle. When you are alive, and nobody you knew personally died, it’s all a grand joke, maybe.

I looked at my scarred reflection in the mirrored steel of the inside of the elevator, seeing the exhaustion there.

The Neechi had great officer’s quarters. Even had running water and a lion-sized vid screen, with 3,000 channels.

I crashed, and dreamed of Russian winters and wolf haunted snow swept steppes of blue and white…
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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  • The Last Dual! Guardian
    • The FringeSpace Conversion Mod
Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction
Part 3= ”Theory”

Faddah was an angry man.

The Iscariot was built eighty years from when I was young, by Spillark, Inc., before Spillark got bought out by Godcraft Industries.

Stations get built in weird increments; especially the way really big stations like Iscariot get built. Spacer technicians move in and build the preliminaries, then you move in workers and add to what you have created. It’s fundamental, and usually takes ten years after that date at which the base is first started to really finish.

Faddah’s own faddah had come over with the Russian workers to build the final stretch of the Iscariot. I find it ironic, now, that after granddad broke his ass to do outer space construction on the Seseki Towers Suites, he stuck around to raise a family.

There’s more, but I always felt Faddah hated me in some small way, hated everybody because the early builders, all Russian, had been screwed over by those megacorps, left behind and buried in the bowels of that station. He was cruel to ma and all of us, but I don’t hate him for it, he knew no other way, maybe. It was that ribbon of hate, wound through the bloodline, and sometimes he would come home out of his mind form the bar and blame us…

All of this is old news. Everyone has a cry story, even the people I do jobs for.

No one has a right to *****. Everyone has a cry story.

Screw it.



Wanna know something sick?

I had a brother, not the youngest.

About two years ago he was killed.

Now, we weren’t too close, I hadn’t talked to him in quite some time. You lose track of things like that. The universe is too big, I guess. One day it’s all over, and you wonder what happened to the hours, mawkish, but true.

He was killed by some Madorian guy named Fontaine.

I heard about it later, it was just some alley fight or bar brawl…but my brother was a softy. He didn’t fight. He was the guy who smoothed things out, ya know? So I was told that it was some argument, that the Madorian officer pulled out a knife and got him right in the neck.

Stupid, just stupid. Senseless.

I had it all set up. Fontaine, while wanted in several systems, made a trip every year to some huge fencing tournament in Pleides. A big one, I’m told. Quite a deal in fencing circles.

I had a simple plan to take Fontaine out. Two fist long pegs, three-fourths an inch wide, drilled a hole in the middle of each, ran some piano wire through and made it about a yard. I had worked it out, running it around in my mind at the funeral, in all of those bars, at the bottom of a bottle…it kept me sane, that direction. I looped it around his neck, in my imagination, one thousand times.

”This is for Vinscenzi.” I would say. ”You will be in Hell, soon…”

Then some Iconian Knight officer named Argentum killed him.

I feel worthless, somehow. Like I failed in some way.

I even hate that man, the one who killed Comerca. I hate him, even though I owe him.

People are funny, somehow. We know we are wrong, but we know ourselves too much, somehow. I think in my head that I am a fool. I had not even talked to Vinscenzi for half a decade. But in my stomach I wanted to kill Fontaine, and I hate that IK pilot for taking that closure from me.

I am a fool. An old fool.



I woke up late.

My dreams were of gossamer stars, velvet space, piss-yellow flames engulfing ships. I saw Capitol Ships foaming blood colored flames, in my dreams. Images of planets and suns, collapsing, the glaring neon of the hud, the nerve splicing klaxon of the missile lock warning. This is the audio elegiac a pilot is left with, I suppose.

I looked at the titanium colored walls. I turned on the vid screen, I activated the coffee machine, I downloaded a business channel on the stereo. I paced for a bit, organizing my thoughts…

I had a Capitol Ship. A cruiser.

Not a big one, mind you, but it could haul my entire crew, we could ship real cargo, we could smuggle things that could get us either rich or jailed for the rest of our lives. We were big time.

You have to understand that five years ago I lived out of my ship, a jade green Orion called the ”Pretty Baby.”

Now I had a Warhammer, a whole wing of pilots with decent equipment, and a Cruiser.

I sipped my coffee and watched a TNN reporter inform me and millions of business people across the universe that stock in nitrolite was falling down by a single credit. Some more news, mostly about a new clan that had been formed, they called themselves New Dawn, and had been instrumental in the success of a moon rebellion somewhere.

I sat at the foot of the bed, listening to the distant electric drone of the ship I was in, alone in the vacuum, bringing me back to Trilithon Station.

I had a bagel with cream cheese and lox, and blueberries and milk.

It struck me as funny that at the exact moment I was sitting there, as I came to the decision I had just put together in my brain the night before, I could have been anywhere in the galaxy, on any ship, going to any destination. I could have been anyone, I was generic and alone, even the coffee I sipped was clone to 100,000 across the firmament.

In that precise instant, although I was completely unaware of it, because I am a stupid yutz, sometimes, I was as happy as I was going to be for a while.

I had never heard of Joshua, or the Hollis Ring.

I had never heard of the Levitcher Rebbe or any Hassidic Jewish Luddites or the Lucero Corporation.

I hadn’t the slightest shred of logical evidence that Hugon was a moon that was completely without atmosphere that orbited the gas planet, Jupiter II.

I had certainly never heard of Thurio Muzgen.

I can’t blame everything now on that exact moment aboard that Neechi starship. There was no real precise instant the Fate was decided.

Blame on the black star, blame it on the fallen sky, blame it on the satellite, or the color of Earth water, or the manipulation by corporate scientists on the very molecules of the planet they had built for an eccentric millionaire, who would later have an epiphany because his wife was Jewish, and had died, and he was near dying, and so he performed one last act, a good deed, to somehow settle his life up until that point. And so he bought and gave away an entire planetoid, and became Cyrus or Nebuchadnezzar…

Lost, yet?

Don’t blame ya.

I envy your ignorance.

I wanna be where I was, again.

The vid screen had 3,000 available channels. It gave me so many facts and statistics about everything that I was left with nothing. It became a blur of silver static and frozen neon, reflecting upon me with no impact, numbing; invisible.



The Trilithon was a structure that always stood out from any other station I would ever see.

A great, vast cylinder, with grooves on the side, flickering lights of smoked green blinking across it, four miles wide, ten miles across, thirty levels, with administration being the top level.

Not too well policed, but not the hell-furnace I grew up in. This place was business, of all types, bring your guns and knives, but everyone around you is carrying, too, punk.

The constables here are polite, reasonable; a detective in a platinum colored longcoat shows up and makes requests, investigations, whatever he needs to do…and he is calm the whole while. But outside are helmeted, masked, cerramite armored gents with repeating gyrojet rifles, and while they are waiting outside, the detective shakes your hand, the ring he is wearing samples your DNA, and then sends the specifications to his friends outside. Now those gyrojet rockets are programmed to home in on your genetic code, and they are the size of a cigar and explode after they enter your body. Hiding behind a wall for cover does not help.

The cops don’t have much trouble, here…but it’s not like people call the cops, ya know…

Crime? Yeah, there’s crime. Show me a station that ain’t got it. That one, you say? Liar. All stations got ‘em. The ones that don’t are corporate controlled, and that’s the worst kind of crime. The kind you think are straight. Corporations take money, and governments are in on it, too.

Forget about it.

People absolutely freak about the Trilithon. Like, it’s not supposed to be that big. As if there is a limit to how big stations should be.

There’s plenty of room in space. That’s why they named it that. Otherwise, people would have talked about launching a man into the hall closet.

Ha!

The Trilithon has art museums and Zen rock gardens and restaurants. It has docks for ships beyond description, it has zoos and movie theatres. It has public schools and a downtown section. You look up and there is that metal cave ceiling, all aglow with construction, lights and commerce. The place is always night.

What else?

Casinos.

Two universities.

Four churches and a mosque.

A baseball park.

Malls. Big ones.

You get the point. Any more nouns and you’d stop reading.

So yeah the Trilithon is big. But it’s also, well, it’s hard to put. Ya see, I have seen movies by folks who have always lived on planets and never go into space. People who don’t go into space, in this day and age? So they don’t go, so they don’t know space. They show you a black expanse, with stars. Cute little white ones. And they twinkle. Aw, how f*ckin’ cute.

Space is big, REALLY BIG. But you see things, get it? Amaranthine clouds of distant nebulae, silver and milky blurred crescents of distant galaxies, The vivid black against black of dark matter, the dotted and rock speckled mystery that were asteroid fields, remains perhaps, of planets long ago. The blue, emerald, violet and copper orbs that are planets, and it’s all around.

I wanna big glass ship I can see through, and I will fly way out there, and be surrounded, and feel like God, space above and below and all sides. Emperor of the great big universe.

You can see that from the Trilithon. For those of you who have lived on planets, and you go way up into you're cute little mountains and think space is so clear, your wrong. It’s here, in the stations and in the starships and where I work and breathe, not on some planet, buried under atmosphere, crushed by oxygen.

That’s it.



We had all taken a shuttle in from WitchWyrm. I had a Neechi pilot drop my new ship off at the Trilithon. None of us had said a word in the shuttle. We never did. After combat, unless we lost someone, no one ever said anything to each other. It was just exhaustion. Combat exhaustion. We would celebrate, but later. For now, we just all took quick looks at each other and departed our different ways for other places to get our heads on straight.

What’s wrong? Oh, it’s been ten pages and you want an action sequence. I almost forgot.

I grabbed Esprezzio by the collar and in one swift move broke all his front teeth with a cue ball. CRACK!

He went over backwards, almost taking me with him, and I gave him another before I let go and he dropped…

How’d I get here?

I lit a cigarette and stood on the wet gloss of the street in front of Moe’s, the glare of distant businesses lighting my way, the ground choked with trash, old electrics and discarded nitrolite cans. I kicked a beer bottle, checked a leather wallet lying on the ground for money, and made a phone call.

That being done, I entered Moe’s with a clean resolve, although my conscience certainly did not follow suit.

I wore my best Sixer’s flight jacket, a shiv and my best blank look. I just kept my eyes mean. That’s the key, you’re not a tough guy, you’re not an easy mark, but you can f*ck it up with the best of ‘em.

I shoulda been an actor.

Moe’s was ten black pool tables, overhead ruby quartz sodium burners, the downtown smog of cigarette smoke and hashish, and the cold comfort and numbing promise of the bar.

Chrome, plastic and blued steel, that was the bar.

You dropped in just recently, but let the record state Esprezzio had left us to hang. People are f*cking dumb. They make deals with mercenaries and don’t follow through, hoping mercs like me will die and they don’t gotta pay us. Ha ha! We’re mercenaries, don’t they get it?

Esprezzio was with two mooks, probably hired muscle.

He looked at me like I was the second comin’ of Christ, and he was an atheist, and it was time to pay up.

”Esprezzio, where was our rockets?”

I owe it to him, he played it as cool as Siberian December.

”Otto, I owe you a drink and an explanation.”

He was wearin’ a steel colored suit, alligator boots and red tint contacts. Had black spiky hair, probably thought he was the frikkin’ devil. What a punk.

”Rockets, punk. Fifty plasma deals, Bora make, with 6/66 marks. Where were they? I had to pay up, big time, and you said you’d have them at our last jump point. I paid you large, and what happened?”

”I couldn’t get them. Cops grabbed it. Sorry.”

One of the mooks grew a voice.

”Hey, this is our game.”

Some music came on. Something with heavy bass and synth, pulsing like jungle drums, with a voodoo organ back beat.

”Ok, Esprezzio, you know the drill. Twenty five large, plus five for making us sweat.”

He looked side to side like I was some nerd at a party, embarrassing Mr. Popular.

”I do not have the money now, Otto. I will have it next week.”

The mooks began to shift.

And I got it. They were with him. He took my money and got muscle.

I should have called Inferno, but my blood was up and there was no backing down, so-

I smiled, touching my tongue to the roof of my mouth, knowin’ what I know, that I had pair of brass knuckles and a shiv, and-

”Esprezzio, I am going to ask one more time, and then it’s nuclear war. So, pretty please, my money?”

He took a step forward, as did the mooks, one of ‘em was a big curly haired guy in a mining guild uniform, the other had a crew cut and veteran tattoos.

”Otto, you are embarrassing yourself. I will pay you when it is convenient. You are a filthy mercenary, and you should know your place. You are a bottom feeder, and I will summon you when I-”

I grabbed Esprezzio by the collar and in one swift move broke all his front teeth with a cue ball. CRACK!

He went over backwards, almost taking me with him, and I gave him another before I let go and he dropped…

There was the demented drunken carnival glare of red and blue, his teeth like white pearls on the crusted floor, the mook whipped the pool cue around and opened my head.

There was stars and the other swarmed me, I went down a bit, covering up, the other trying to bring the cue to bear-

Then I had the brass knuckles. I swung up, feelin’ it connect, mining guild uniform going back with a roar of pain, then tattoo boy whipped the damn cue around like a God-damned Shao-lin monk and I backed up, blood on my head, on the back of my neck, I had the shiv, the knuckles in my left, tattoo boy moved forward, there was a blur-

-and I ducked almost under the pool table, hearing the thing stick clatter above me, people were screaming, the bouncers were on their way, and I brought the knife up across his face and made his plastic surgeon a rich man. Then I gave him a swat with the knuckles, and his face looked like a mask of blood, the rooms spinnin’ from all my adrenaline, I felt weightless, I kicked Esprezzio for making my team sweat it out when we realized we had no rockets, and then the bouncers landed on me and the cops that I had called earlier landed on all of us.



An hour later they had me in the back of a hover car.

”Your are a damned meshuggenner, you know that, Otto?”

My head was a helmet of pain.

”F*ck him, I had that bastard steal those rockets for me fair and square, and he ditched out, took the money and spent it on narcotics, I know it. Jesus, it’s getting to where you can’t trust a crook anymore.”

They had a good laugh and handed me more coagulants and painkillers.

Mirosky, the cop I had called, looked at me with big watery blue eyes. He had thick wrist and a thicker neck, a cop from the old school, fifth generation in a family of them.

”You gotta slow down, Otto. You are thirty, remember?”

I gave them both five large for their service, and they dropped me off.

I try to co-opt when it comes to law enforcement. It’s so much easier, and such good business.

Everything was cool. Everything.

Tomorrow, I would tell the team we were big time, with our own cruiser. No more lean times for us.

Later, I held a cold beer against my aching skull and made some calls, stayin’ one step ahead of Esprezzio.

Just business.

Dragon gave me a call, before I got home.

More work.

Part IV= ”Catalyst”

Oh, yeah, I never mentioned the planet that Trilithon orbits, Baalbek.

How should I say it? What poetry come to mind?

Ah, the words that rise from the depths of my wisdom, here they are, emerging…

F*ck that place. I hate planets. Starbases have air conditioning and planets have pollen that give me allergies. Besides, I have never had good luck there.

So f*ck it. No adjectives for that place. Look it up yourself.



Vinscenzi was born after Oscar, by a year.

I remember first looking upon his face, cooing at the light of the sodium burners, above.

Faddah, like I said before, was an angry man, prone to fits of just pure rage, but I don’t think he was a bad man. He was a man of his environment, a cargoman, one of the thousands aboard the station we grew up on. It was tough, bonecracking work, working outside the station, attached to rocks or ships, then inside the vast storage houses in the station. Sometimes he would leave for jobs, and Aggie seemed to dread that, as if someday he would not return. But he always did.

Faddah was not a bad man, he was just a man who was not very good.

He looked like a tractor. Big, broad, with a paunch from beers and the heavy protein diet all cargomen got from the companies. Bald, his hands huge and clumsy, he walked with a slouch, he seemed to have little neck, just a mass of muscle.

His face was dour, always dour, and his eyes were black, almost beady, but I don’t like that word. He was not dull, he was just compulsive, with little patience outside of his job. He seemed to trudge through life, all imagination gone, his joy had become drink, long ago, and he saw no reason to change that.

Faddah beat a man, once, because the man had caught me lifting his watch. I had come home, my eyes black, Joe and Oscar in tow (Tolio had died a few months earlier of a fever that killed him is only two days, while Faddah had begged his bosses for the medicine that might save him. A lazy clerk kept forgetting to make the order, and three days after Tolio died, it finally arrived.), and Faddah had seen the marks.

”What’s at for?” he looked at me, his big face starting to scowl.

Joe put in his piece.

”He tried to lift a watch, Faddah. Man catch him and punch.”

”Z’at so? Huh? You do nothing? You and the lump, there, watch Ottavious get hit? You no help?”

Fadddah’s Russian accent would become more pronounced as he lost his temper. His face would become pale, not rosy when he was in a good mood.

Joe was in the light in a way he did not intend to be.

”But…Faddah, Otto…”

”I DON’T CARE! You don’ get it? We are family, eh? Not like some bastards who do not’ting. You always take care of family!!! So he get hit, you do not’ting!? Eh!?”

My head was a big block of clay, the pain like a hand grabbing at me with talons. Every noise seemed muffled, except for my father’s voice. As if my head was underwater.

Vinscenzi had stopped cooing, watching the whole drama with unconcerned, baby interest. He turned his little head, big eyes regarding me, eyebrows slightly arched.

Then Faddah was stomping down the corridors I had grown up in, I was crying, almost, but he just dragged me, his hand engulfing my own small one, and then we were upon the station depot center, where a great deal of traffic came through, to other ships, different parts of the station. Back then it was all gray green, with walls of lockers, huge screens of advertisements and station news comms, the floor that same rusted metal surface that our room seemed carved from.

Throngs of people, then the station trains. Huge things, the color of coal, with mirrored windows, the distant shadows of people behind it.

I had run here, earlier, and then, goaded by Joe, had tried to grab the watch as the man had set it down beside him. I did not even realize at the time why I was doing it.

The man was still there, a military man, it seemed. His uniform was a deep, rich brown, like chocolate.

The man seemed calm, aloof. I remember thinking maybe I should not say anything, just follow Faddah for a few hours around the sweat and stick of the corridors, but I knew he would be a volcano all night, so-

”Zat him?”

I had been staring, paralyzed with fear, I guess. Behind all of us was a fountain, and a church, with stained glass pictures of Jesus and cherubs. Above, vast and away, the glint of machinery.

Faddah had pulled me alongside him. People drifted past us. Other cargomen, personnel, vendors wearing paper aprons, whores with smeared make up…

”YOU! With the fists??? Hit my boy!?”

The crowd parted around us. I remember being embarrassed and afraid. Everyone seemed like giants, looking down upon me. I wanted to sink into the floor and disappear.

The military man wore tags, of sorts. I remember thinking, what if he had a gun? But of course no one did, where we lived.

His voice was crisp, almost British.

”Your boy should mind his mitts. Keep to his toys, not other’s items.”

”So? You hit him!?”

”Good dose of manners, sir. Perhaps he has none at home. Next time, I’ll keep his ears, like they do in other, less forgiving stations.”

I can’t remember what the man’s face looked like. It seemed obscured, somehow. I remember just his voice, the curt way it sliced through the air.

Then I remember the man pulling a hook-knife, smoothly, and then Faddah had simply punched, there was the sound of a brick, fragmenting, people were gathering, and I watched as the knife hit the ground and spun in a semi-circle, Faddah was upon the man, who lay on the ground, and I could see his fist-

The thuds seemed to echo about us, and Faddah stepped up from the man, kicking him, I realized he was a soldier, there was an insignia of sorts on his chest, and Faddah kicked him while the crowd watched.

Then he stepped back, breathing heavily.

The soldier looked as if he had simple fallen asleep, but he was breathing, a choked, thick sound.

I could see blood in smear and streaks, the train arrived, roaring beyond us.

Faddah stood there, watching, his bared teeth glinting with spit. Then he grabbed my arm.

I remember wondering, stupidly, where the knife had gone. Then the throngs of people gathered themselves and entered the train. A deluge. I could not see the military man, anymore.

Faddah turned and looked down at me.

”You good?”

I looked up at him, dumbfounded, and then I nodded.

”You take care of your brothers. Always remember that. See him?-” He pointed at where the man was, somewhere under the throng of miners, merchants and toughs. ”-He had nobody, so I could land on him. No family, nobody, you get landed on. What you think?”

I looked up at him, and for the first time in my young life I saw it, at the corners of his eyes and mouth, the way he regarded me so small below him.

Compassion.

There was never any police, this far below. As long as the wageslaves paid taxes, the oxygen didn’t get shut off, and the cops didn’t care who wasted who, I guess. The soldier had been down for whatever, and had gotten beat. Maybe the cops arrested someone else, I don’t know. This far down, cops just did not care.

A week later, Faddah beat Aggie. He had come home late and drunk, and she had cursed him for being so. I heard every bit of it. I remember the next day, Aggie rocking back and forth, holding a small green plastic ball that had been Tolio’s, crying with some abandon.

Joe and Oscar had been somewhere else.

She had been feeding Vinscenzi, glumly, and then had picked up the ball, set it in her lap, and put her face in her hands, quaking, making dry, shuddering sounds.

”I am sorry, Aggie.” I had said after too much silence.

She gripped me, then, tightly, and I realized just how miserable this all really was, so little food, so little of anything, even each other. There was nothing down here, nothing. Only rust and rats, steel and plastic, and dead people with long faces. The chemical smell, the sodium burners, the constant rumble of distant mechanics, all of it.

”It’s not that, Otto. It’s…I worry. One day I will not be here. Who will take care of you all? Who will take care of Vinscenzi?”

I didn’t know what to say. I was young.

”I will take care of Vinscenzi, Aggie. I always will.”

She told me what a good kid I was. How I had a soul, even down here, and how God was with me, and that she loved me.

For whatever reason I don’t remember anyone ever telling me that, until that point.

But it wasn’t always a big horror story or nothin’. Faddah got a raise, once, and a bonus of sorts. We took a vacation, to the planet our station orbited.

I remember seeing the station retreat from view, and being on some beach, with sand, water, and the giant blue sky above, with it’s two suns, and the trees. Big, leafy palms swaying cheerfully.

Aggie and Faddah had just watched us as we ran in the wet sand, amused by our play. We spent a week in that little village, I don’t even know where it was or what it’s name is, only that we could not afford anything, but it did not matter. Faddah and Aggie spent money on fish and beer, and we all loved it so.

Tolio and Joe had raced each other, and then Oscar had thrown a ball, it had gone off by the trees, and I ran to catch it.

Some man had been walking by, then stopped to watch us. He picked up the ball and handed it to me.

I took it, looking up at him, an old guy with sad lines around tired eyes, and then Oscar had run up beside me.

”Tolio and Joe are in the water!” he said it with great cheer, because Tolio had been afraid, for the last few days.

I ran, my feet sinking into the sun drenched sand, and looked back at the man, who seemed to wave at us, at the ocean, at all of nature around and above us.

I remember being happy, chasing after Tolio, who stood waste deep in the blue green sea, arms raised like some boy-Poseidon. Happier than can really be compared to, even now.



I woke up.

My head was split to the core. Ouch!

Oh, yeah, and I had a hangover. Oh, God.

The other cop had used a dermal stapler for me. Glad I don’t have much hair.

I took a shower and a ton of painkillers. All the pain went away.

I had a bagel with lox and cream cheese, and some raspberries with milk.

A pot of coffee soon followed.

Then it hit me.

Oh, yeah, I was down ten thousand bucks, I still had to do something with Esprenzzio.

But I had a Carrier, you get it? Sent down from God on high to Dragon to me, too bad for the cause of good.

I made some calls and summoned the team. My boys (and one girl), the Sixers.

We met at Cynosure.

Overlooked the downtown section. Exquisite, the streets before you like a Christmas Tree. The ceiling above like the stars past them.

The architecture of Cynosure was that weird white steel, subtle holograms and black alabaster 2200 style, art deco meets Flash Gordon meets retro. Carpet, the color of bronze.

I dressed corporate as a joke. Gloss shoes, black slacks, white long sleeved shirt and a tie the color of titanium. Even styled my hair.

We got a room to ourselves.

The waiter was Han. Mandarin, he could guess your Chinese astrological sign and make a damn good Martini.

They staggered in.

Sorcerer. Flew an Orion. Into computers, has bionic eyes and a bionic hand, intensely political. Had weird pet peeves, like this week, he despised hypermediazation.

Is that even a word?

So, what is hyper mediazation?

”The extent at which the media as we know it will over cover every single aspect of a story drowning us in details so we miss the big picture. It’s a form of crowd control. Can’t trust the media.”

Thanks, Sorcerer. Are the Bora terrorists?

”No, they are freedom fighters. Because they won.”

Wow. I am smaller in your presence.

But Sorcerer was older than I was. He had been around the universe and lived to tell the tale, and sometimes he gave me an insight my young age would not allow. I valued that, man.

He wore blue jeans and a white t-shirt, exposing circuitry tattoos. His hair was stark white, he had a paunch, almost, and he was in his forties. Oh, yeah, he killed a Devil’s Fist pilot, long ago. He doesn’t talk about it.

Machine, next. I didn’t know much of her history, it bleeds out, sometimes. She has a nice ass but she is more like an older sister, to me.

She had a husband. He died. She cries, sometimes, but she won’t tell us why. Or how, or for what, or when, and we don’t ask ‘cause she will kill us.

She loved chess and hated drugs, even the soft ones.

Had two great Danes. Fed ‘em quite a bit. They were fine beasts, about the size of draft horses. They jumped me one time and knocked me down and licked my face and I pissed myself in utter terror.

She could paint, and consumed as much ginko and lecithin as could be safely ingested by a human being. Oh, yeah, she was a black belt in silat. She carried a knife, a nice one, and could carve her initials in your forehead before you got your gun.

She wore a black jumpsuit with Sixer marks. And a leather bomber jacket. Sorcerer was always polite enough to not stare at her butt.

She had long black hair, with a streak of white. She had mature features, but she was only 23.

Hu Jing-De.

He was into Rinzai Zen, Taoism, Bauldelaire, and anything else remotely French literature. He was a master of the kusuri-gami, no, really, he could sling it around and hit an apple on your head from ten feet, he could hit anything the size of a quarter from any conceivable angle around him, even under his own leg.

He was a quiet guy, mostly.

Merc Quarterly had named him, ”…one of the most proficiently deadly Pegasus starfighter in the galaxy.” He had turned down B.C., twice.

Hu Jing-De hated Inferno. But they were both very professional about it.

He was smiling, his pale Japanese features regal and calm. He wore black slacks and a coal gray long sleeved shirt, with a bracelet of platinum. His head was shaved, with a thin layer of black hair.

Dos came in, beaming.

Poor, dumb, friendly, nice Dos. He held doors open for people, he treated women like they were fragile diamonds. He was exceedingly polite. He had a great deal of friends who were women, who thought he was the perfect guy, but would never date him. When you first met him, you were stuck by the notion that this was a guy you could trust your wife, you woman and your wallet with, than it dawned upon you that he was a push over you could piss on, and he’d apologize for preventing the urine from hitting the concrete.

F*cking Dos, he was the best of us. He was.

Inferno loved tearing into Dos. Any way he could. To Inferno, as it was with the rest of the f*cking universe, politeness was equated with niceness, and that was itself equated with victim. So he victimized him. Took his coffee, called him secretary, cut him off in conversation…to Inferno, Dos was the little brother, there to be picked on.

One time, though, a year ago, we had hired another mercenary group to help us with a supply run to some Bora rebels who were getting ready to rearrange the molecules of some Galspan folks in a bad way. We had stood in a vast depot hangar, wide enough to hold a fleet, composed of corrugated iron, filled with armoring machinery. Our voices reflected off discarded beer bottles and exposed and sparking cables.

I remember the whole place smelling like fluorocarbons and dermoplast.

They were a tough group. The macho, in your face, ”I kill everyone” type. Even wore those bad assed aviator sunglasses, the kind that make you look like you have no eyes, and you are a murdering robot head? Well, like those.

So one of ‘em, a bad assed guy by the name of Durolt, had stood with us on a ledge overlooking our ships, back when I still had a Bora Cutlass. It was a thirty foot drop, easy, to the scarred and pitted surface.

It had been Inferno, Dos, Durolt, and myself, all going over the final tactical evaluations for our run. Durolt had pointed out something I can’t remember, something like the range of the lasers on the Capitol Ship we had to go past, and Dos had corrected him, genius for statistics that he was.

So Durolt had told him f*ck you.

Dos had apologized, slightly cowed, and had walked off.

Now, that’s just attitude, no big deal, right?

But something had set Inferno off, the way Durolt had looked in the direction of Dos, as he walked away. The narrowing of the eyes, the clenching of the jaw…this was a guy who put people in the grave the way you bought milk at the supermarket. I had felt the tension just go up.

To Durolt, Dos was low man on the totem pole, because we treated Dos as the low man, get it?

So Inferno goes, you should kill him, teasing.

And Durolt say, I think I will, later. Dead serious.

So Inferno just pushed him off the ledge, no dramatics about it…he shoved Durolt to his demise like you would throw a paper coffee cup into the trash.

He didn’t make a sound, just disappeared. I blinked, thinking Durolt had never even been there. Just like that, presto chango.

Durolt did not even get a chance to make a sound, he was just at the bottom, a look on his dead face like he was going to say something, but now he wasn’t.

Those mercs, can’t remember their names, must not have liked that guy too much. We had already paid them, so it’s not like we had an angle. We told him Durolt just tripped, and they divided the money from Durolt’s share amongst themselves. They even stripped his body before they dumped him into a disintegrator. Calling the cops is not an option for mercs. Bribing disintegrator operators is an old business allocation, easy as pie, no matter how many psych evals they went through.

So, to Inferno, Dos was a second class citizen, he got reamed because he was an easy target. But only by us.

Poor Dos. He was Jewish, loved hardware, really loved to re-engineer complex electrics. He was a writer, mostly business theory, and handled all of our accounts. What a guy. Mellow, he was even a veterinarian. Can you believe that? Most meat was cloned, and here he was, not eating it.

But the guy was a born in the seat Cutlass pilot, and I think between Inferno and myself, we were mean enough to make up for the lack of that specific quality in Dos.

Just ask Durolt.

Dos wore what he always wore, those black mechanic’s jumpsuits. And, as usual, he had that goofy smile, like a dog you had just finishing patting on the head. It made me hate him, and hate the universe that devoured people like him, and the people like me who ate nice guys as appetizers, and the women who wouldn’t bang him because he wasn’t a caustic a**hole like even Sorcerer could be. It made me loathe the negative traits that kept me alive in the business.

Yeah, that was Dos. God bless him, and God damn me.

Inferno came in, his gait casual and as self assured as always. He wore a black business suit, dark steel colored plastisoft shirt, kevlar weave shoes. His hair was in a perfect pompadour, black with cyanic streaks.

He was Bosnian, I think, with sharp features and a forehead that was always smooth with a sort of sociopathic uncaring. His aristocratic eyebrows never so much as knitted or beaded. He kept himself cool, Satan cool, and as clean as a pampered housecat. He was our immoral compass, a constant reminder that ultimately, no matter how much we tried to believe we had a conscience, we existed to make money and kill people, in whatever order it took.

Inferno wasn’t too well liked, by Hu, by Machine, probably not by Sorcerer, certainly not by Dos. But he called me ”Boss” and was very loyal to the group. He knew a Warhammer like nuns know the Bible, and had his finger on the pulse of the anything criminal. People owed him favors, wherever we went.

We had picked him up a year ago along with five others. New faces, all of them, he had been teamed up with a guy called Benzick. Well, everyone else died, including Benzick, and I think it just made him crazy, not in a frenetic way, but in an ice way, like in the way people die in their sleep, quiet.

He made the team uneasy. He used f*ck like a comma, smoked as much as two packs a day, cut you off in conversation and had a tone of voice that could make you feel like an idiot, or a small child. He was abrasive, surly, aggressive-assertive, and as polite as a shark in a feeding frenzy.

But he didn’t make mistakes, bagged girls in the three’s and didn’t care about dying, what you thought of him, or whether or not you even liked him. I envied that, in some way. He reminded me of Konstantin, I guess, and he was a credit to The Sixers, even if half of us wanted to beat him to death with a concrete ash tray. I can’t begin to tell you what he had done to folks who crossed his path in the wrong way in the years I had known him. No, really, I am not trying to sound like I am some hardened veteran in the company of spooky assassin types.

I could tell you stories, man.

He had claimed to come from Old-Earth royalty, or Europe, or somewhere in the Fringe, or on the edge of Sol government, or from Martian politicians, or from Luna. But it hardly mattered, he worked with us, and there is little more else to say. You’ll see the rest.

Inferno took a seat to Machine, who scooted three inches away from him. He lit a cigarette.

I lit the holo of the Carrier, which I had decided to call the ”Time Baby III,” for personal reasons.

It flickered there in the artificial light.

”People,” I said, ”We are now in business for real.”

Moment of silence.

”Is that our next target?” Inferno asked, breathing out a stream of smoke.

”No, it’s ours.”

They froze.

Having their attention, I told them the story.

True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

  • Moderator
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  • The Last Dual! Guardian
    • The FringeSpace Conversion Mod
Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction
In due time I broke out the holo of our new cruiser. Then, after the ooh’s and ah’s had subsided, I broke out the vid of the sucker, beamed in from outside the station. Sitting there in space, attached to the side of Trilithon’s coppery solar paneled surface, I felt another stab of pride. This was our ship, after all.

Stations are kind of on their own, no matter what, right? Well, all stations have a policy called the Compartment Clause. You set aside room for shipments to the ship, and bring in cargo anually; you get a corporate grant of 100,000 credits. Straight up. Well, I had received it this morning.

Sorcerer summed it up.

”We are high time, now. The big boys.”

”Yup.” I said.

”But that means we have to contend with big players, as well.”

Something in the way he said that made me feel ill at ease.

Hu threw in his bit.

”We can capitalize on this. I got notice of a few jobs this morning, and this changes the stakes, indeed.”

”Don’t get too frisky with the jobs, I just got a call from Dragon, of the Neechi clan, and he is kind of on the A list at this point, dig?”

”What’s the job?” Dos asked, his hands clasped in front of him.

”Don’t know, but the guy didn’t get to the top of the clan because he won it from a sweepstakes. The guy probably is going to want something pretty stiff, and we are all going to devote ourselves, ok?”

”Don’t like the idea of clanners.” Inferno said, his voice low and confident. He hated clans, never said why.

”We call the shots, gang. The paperwork is done, but I owe him, ya know?”

”You’re the boss.” Inferno said.

”About that-” I filled up my coffee cup, then manipulated the smooth plastic controls of the built in holo display.

I broke out some crystal shot glasses and poured everyone some whiskey.

I lifted up my glass, and they followed, looking at me as if I had grown a little strange.

”Gang, The Sixers are now four years old. As you know, my stock is up. But I have since reviewed the articles of corporation on me, split up my share and made you all equal partners. It’s a democracy now, with me as chairman of the board, and you guys are all, well, the board.”

Machine knitted her brows. ”Why?”

I paused as a cleaning ‘bot outside stalked up the building and rinsed the windows with foaming tentacles, domed eyes glinting myopically, it’s body was the green color of old Coke bottles. For a moment, as my back was turned, it felt as if it was raining outside.

”Why? I’m tired of being the boss. Ain’t my style. There’s enough of me to go around, and you guys have been there. On the right of the 6/66 logo you can see how much you all have in terms of the corporation. From here on, we stick together, as we always have. Anyone who wants out can hit the road and give up their shares to the rest. If not, we all sign a five year contract with a retinal pattern scan.”

There was another pause.

”I’m in.” Said Sorcerer.

”Same here.” Dos said.

”Sounds good.” Hu Jing-De reached for the scanner.

”I gotta look at all of your ugly faces for five years?” Inferno said, also reaching for the scanner.

”I feel like I am getting married again.” Machine looked up at me and gave me a tired smile.

I hit a button and summoned Han.

He strode in with a smooth gate and bowed slightly.

”Han here will be the witness.”

We went through the formalities, and I felt an electric buzz in my spine, a familiarity, a realization that I had journeyed so long, so very long to be here…and it was only the beginning of a new jaunt.

I lifted my glass, the 6/66 logo, a gold and black swirling hologram, floated elegantly above us.

”To you all, gang.”

They raised their glasses. Even Inferno resembled something that might have been happy.

”To the Sixers!”

Han watched us all with a cool, impassive wisdom, and then bowed, honoring the ceremony.

Outside, downtown Trilithion station was hued in a thousand colors= golden neon advertisements, emerald rustling gardens of bamboo, the deep cyan of the koi ponds, the champagne hash braziers, the scarlet Indian curtained windows of cafes and shops juxtaposed with the mirrored corporate offices, like steel cubes, black in the station’s faux day.

Above all that the gravitrans and hovertaxi’s continued their days work, beneath the station’s ceiling that was their metal sky



Sorcerer noticed the back of my head.

”What happened?” He asked, eyebrows raised.

I downed my coffee and told them the story.

”Geesh, Otto, next time tell us so’s we can give you some back up.”

”I paid off the cops. Besides, it’s just Esprezzio, not Al Frikkin’ Capone…”

Hu stabbed at me with his finger.

”No, boss, Esprezzio is getting bigger, and we need him around. He won’t make a jump to nail you, but we are going to have to at the very least get our munitions elsewhere, until he gets busted or swallowed up by the Yak cartels.”

Yakuza. They’re everywhere, even here.

”Listen, I will take care of Esprezzio, not to worry.”

That being said, we called it a date and agreed to get together later, to party.

”Oh, Machine, Hu, you guys wanna come with me to the meeting with Dragon? One big happy family, ya know…”

”Sure.” Machine said, checking her wrist comm. ”Where at?”

”I told ‘em Ichiban’s.”

Hu looked up from the printouts of our new Carrier.

”See you then.”



Part V= ”Variables”

I bought myself a new gyrojet pistol, one of those shiny brass colored Iztech designs, and put it in a shoulder holster. It had a baffler and a silencer, with a digital display, no less. We had our own cache of weapons, but the sucker had been beckoning to me for quite sometime, so I splurged.

They checked over my permit without so much as a murmur.

I footed it up Berthold’s Lane, had an espresso and some pasta, and checked out the latest stock reports.

I made a few more calls at a holobar, watching the crowd around me. Mostly maroon suited station techs, some College students, and more than a few pilot’s. Some looking for jobs. They sipped at glowing drinks in the darklight, looking sidelong for possible future employers.

The walls were crushed dark blue velvet decorated with hammered steel plaques commemorating old fights and awards. I recognized a few faces. The rest of the bar was gold mirrored panels and black leather furniture, the music retro techno with a lot of percussion.

Independent Mercs shared a disjointed relationship with clanners. They don’t like us, we don’t like them, but both sides have a respect for each other. We were on opposite sides of the fence, and the line that separated the merc from the pirate from the clanner was a single atom thin.

To say nothing of your corporate pilot…

But Mercs went to clans and corporations for money jobs, rich jobs. You got well funded and made some good cash. We got the awful jobs, yeah, but after the cordite cleared from the air you had made more than you could ever get from a criminal element or normal citizen who might hire you.

I had a whiskey sour and some pretzels, thinking, watching the holovid project the latest news about the Void Alliance, that hotshot clan centered near the Madoran sector. They were quite an event a few years ago. Movies were made about their exploits. They used to be kind of backwater, located in one small area of space, but then they hit a kind of technological renaissance and were big, now. I occasionally ran into their pilots. Word was they wanted to branch out here, but…

Their leader, RedStorm, had gone into hiding (probably retired), they had gone through a changing of the guard since then, but nothing violent. Word was there was some strife with Iconian Space, but that all passed.

I finished my drink and turned my head away. Holos could make you dumb, staring out at them like a hypnotized dog…

I paid my tab and hit the streets.

It would be evening, soon. Or it’s equivalent, deep in this station. You forgot where you were, sometimes, in space. Floating in orbit, adrift, alone with the stars.

I could see some dealers in plastic business suits shifting in the shadows of alleys. A police hovercar above, ignoring the refuse below. The dermoplast streets cluttered with empty nitrolite cans, a few hubcaps, a severed and eyeless doll head, a broken down street sweeper, the color of tangerines with black striped construction bumpers, left to rot. It’s husk spread a shadow over me. I had walked into the part of the station polite people didn’t go to. In the distance, street walkers, began to peddle their flesh, while high above amidst girders, cables, wiring and piping and electrics did their turn, recycling water and air to the inhabitants of Trilliad, moving information at a billion bytes per nanosecond.

A few bums, hopped up on something deleterious to your long term health, eyed me as they warmed their hands around a electric heater unit. They had plugged it into a receiver somewhere in a wash drain, duct taped it to a moddy, and had given themselves a nice amount of warmth, because down below, where I was, even in the midst of a bounty of technology it got so cold the rats died.



Our heater unit was an archaic thing, left over from the former century that had birthed it. A burnished titanium, with a huge cable that was taped up in places, with old station bar code acid etched into it’s surface. I didn’t trust the cable, it sparked occasionally, and when it did the whole burner would shudder, as if it were possessed by some djinn.

Supposedly, you could set the things to whatever heat you wanted, but ours only worked on it’s highest setting, so the top of it glowed with a piss yellow light, it’s radiance drawing lean shadows on the walls of our dwelling.

A few years later, one time, Faddah had taken off, and I think Joe was running out in the streets, maybe stealing something, like he was apt to do, without Faddah around to kick his ass.

Aggie and I were with Vinscenzio and Oscar, and Vinscenzio had been playing with a puppet I had found for him. It looked like a little boxing man, with a bulldog scowl, cartoon like five o’shadow, and big gloves. There were tiny levers inside, and if you hit them the hands popped out, like he was throwing a jab.

I had found an old out of date flight manual by the trains, and was reading it voraciously.

Oscar had been staring at the new toy for about ten minutes.

He groped for it, mouth slightly open, the glow from the heater unit reflecting in his eyes.

”Stop it, Oscar. Vinscenzio is almost done with it.” Aggie said.

Oscar still sat there, staring at the toy.

On the table in front of me was a steaming cup of nitrolite (Joe had stolen it and given it to Aggie, but she didn’t like them) and a wooden dowel we kept for clubbing rats that wandered up from our sink. You could put a grill, there, but they eventually gnawed through it.

Oscar pawed for it again, and Vinscenzio started to cry. He still gripped it, as Oscar finally just held onto the puppet and pushed Vinscenzio down so hard the back of his head hit the floor.

Vinscenzio began to cry, more, and Oscar put the puppet it, grinning at the boxer’s jabs.

Aggie picked up Vinscenzio.

”How DARE you, Oscar!? Give me that!” She reached for it with one hand.

Oscar punched here with it, in the nose, hard. She let out a cry and began to bleed.

Oscar laughed, seeing some joke, there.

I hit him in the back of the head with that wooden dowel so hard I figured the thing would crack. Now his head was bleeding, and he got up off the ground and turned to look at me, blubbering, rubbing his head with the puppet.

”Why you hit me, Otto???”

I looked at him, confused.

”You hit Aggie!” I said.

”But Faddah hit Aggie?” He was drooling, snot dripping from his nose.

”Well, you ain’t Faddah.” I said, still holding the dowel stick like a baseball bat.

He turned from me, took the puppet and threw it into the heater unit. It began to melt, the microwaves agitating it’s molecules.

My logic seemed to work on Oscar. He never hit Aggie again.

I realized that he was a lot like his dad. He didn’t have any real malice behind his violence, it was just something he did reflexively. No evil, no cruel intentions…he just lashed out at that which could not hit back.

People do that.

The boxer seemed to regard me with an infinite sadness as it simmered and melted into the machine, as if I could have saved it, if I had been faster.

We grew older, all of us. Faddah’s company began to sink, and he was reduced to working only a few days a week. But Joe had found a job somewhere, and shared some of his money.

I began to understand the system, then. Education was only for families who could afford it. The entrance exams into higher station levels and better paying jobs were vicious, requiring a lot of money and training. Lacking a higher level education, one could only take deep down station jobs, but you were then in debt to the station, paying stiff fees and stiffer interests. It was a perfect system, keeping the poor poorer, and far down below, while the rich upstairs never saw what went on. Faddah had been a victim of it, Tolio had died from it, and now I was next to put my arm (and soul, along with it) on the chopping block.

Joe got meaner, no doubt. He had found work, like I said, but it seemed to twist and warp him even more. With dad’s sour moods, the only the thing that snapped Faddah out of it was alcohol, and Joe seemed to always have a bottle.

One time, I saw Joe whispering in Faddah’s ear, leering at me the whole while.

I had been reading more books on space flight (I had found a few of them, but one time had just mugged a student for them, thinking he was carrying money. I had gotten bigger, and mugging was just easy).

Joe had always given me a hard time, never where I could see it coming, but from the edges, taking my food, telling on me, stealing from me. It was a behavior he had not grown out of, but had grown more into, you know? Like, whatever he had against me had surfaced all the more.

Faddah had been staring into his glass, and Joe spoke in his ear, looming like a buzzard, hissing like a possum.

I realized that suddenly, I was afraid, so afraid that I felt like I had been riveted to the seat. My hands gripped the book, and I felt a curtain of steel on my shoulders and head, trapped.

His fat head was a ball, and his teeth were gritted, he was a hulking mass of muscle, knuckles scarred from fights, acid, burns, intense work, and they both were clenched into tight fists that lay upon the table.

Joe had stepped back, almost delighted at whatever it was he had done. Faddah was a volcano, seething, he began to shake like one, and then-

Aggie put a bowl of hot soup in front of him.

”Here you go, let it cool, it’s very hot.” She said, oblivious, kissing him on the forehead.

His attention, drunken as it was, wavered, and he looked away from me, seemingly losing interest.

He put the spoon into the soup.

Aggie put a similar bowl if front of me. Not helping myself, I stared at Faddah.

He took a spoonful of the pepper soup and put the steaming liquid into his mouth.

Aggie smiled at me.

Faddah made a choking sound, a chortling, gurgling noise in his mouth and throat, and rose up, holding his face, and then spat the mess of it onto the ground, wailing from the burn he had received.

He stood there, coughing, soup drooling down his significant chin, and we all gaped in horrified silence.

Then Oscar began to laugh, like a f*cking idiot.

Aggie came forward, holding a napkin to his mouth, and his eyes were huge, drunkenly rolling in their sockets, and he hit her.

He had hit her before, and she had always just stumbled back. But this time she just dropped.

Then everything stopped.

No one moved.

Faddah seemed to calm down, the rage draining from him, and crouched down, looking at her.

We all stopped breathing, watching.

He shook here, and then turned her over.

She was breathing faintly, with small, shallow gasps.

He picked her up, his eyes squinting, and set her on the lime green couch Oscar and I had found in the subway tunnels a few months before. Joe has duct taped the portion of it, and it had sat in our living area, ugly, but functional.

Faddah sat on a chair, looking down at her, shaking, rocking, and I realized he was crying, silently at first, the tears rolling down his fat face from his squinting eyes. He was saying something in Russian, I think a prayer, but I could not tell.

Joe looked at me, and then grabbed his coat and left.

I ushered Oscar and Vinscenzio into our room.

We waited, listening, for hours, until the lights dimmed. I fell asleep, drifting off, Vinscenzio and Oscar curled up on a tattered mattress.

Later on, in the shadow of the living quarters, I got up, and crept from my room to the couch where Aggie still lay.

Faddah was still on the chair, asleep, snoring in the dark.

I put my hand on Aggies, and then on her forehead.

She was cold…very, very cold.



Have I ever shared with you my theory that mankind is dumb?

We can travel the stars, go light years in a few second, we have mined the moons of Neptune and perfected cybernetics. We cured cancer a hundred years ago, and that used to be a big deal. Hell, there are whales on Pluto because of us (in big aquariums in bigger stations) and it’s not like they were going to get there anytime, themselves.

I mean that no matter how far our science goes, or how fast towards the future it takes us, we will always be stupid in the common sense department.

Take firearms, for example.

In the early days of space travel firearms weren’t really a big idea. If you fired a bullet, it would go through the station’s wall, and then you would die as you and the person you were shooting at and everyone around you would get sucked out into the vacuum. Bye-bye.

Not that it mattered, they were all a bunch of geeky science types, anyhow.

Well, when stations were small it was no big deal. Then stations got bigger. Still no big deal. Then the cops and the military wanted to be up there, probably so they could arrest and start wars with people, so the scientists let them up.

So the cops and the military folks wanted to have firearms, and after the scientists explained that they were kind of a bad idea, what with the vacuum outside and all, the cops and the military dorks went back to Earth to figure out a way to kill folks in space, as if the environment was not dangerous enough.

Back on the Iscariot, after I fell in with some people that I will talk about later, we did not have guns, really. Oh, we did, but they were all in the upper levels, the lower levels did not have guns, because if they did, there might have been a revolution or something, I dunno…at any rate, we were in the Dark Ages, you wanted to whack someone then you had to hit ‘em, or kick ‘em, or stab ‘em, or hit ‘em with something hard and heavy, or garrot them, or whatever. I mean, you had to really work to whack someone, and it wasn’t pretty, afterwards. People bleed and scream and try to crawl away when you whack them (some even have the audacity to fight back…the nerve of those people!) so it takes a little more chutzpah, compared to just point and click.

But the upper levels of the Iscariot, and the rest of the universe, have weapons like you can’t believe, thanks to those cops and military guys.

You’d think that mankind would have just thought, ”Ya know, shooting each other is kind of dumb, and dangerous, so let’s just get along, right?” Yeah, right. Instead military researchers just developed new and more fascinating ways of taking somebody out of the equation= sonic disruptors, neurotoxin sprayers, airguns with little pellets filled with neurotoxin, pneumatic aircannons, rifles and shotguns with ammo that would stop if it hit a station wall, lasers that do nothing to ferroconcrete or plasteel (once they invented that stuff), gyrojet weapons that fire miniature rockets that stops when they hit the aforementioned substances, zap guns that fire electricity that just shuts the poor bastard down, even those masers that fire microwaves that broil off a 6” by 6” section of flesh, fries ya over-easy, but does nothing to surrounding objects, because that would be ”dangerous...”

Don’t get me wrong. Mankind experiments with various alternatives, but it always turns back upon him, our own natures are like our won shadows, you can’t outrun them, they are always with you, connecting to your heals under a distant sun.

Baalbek has a ban on all firearms, period. Only police and military are permitted firearms of any kind whatsoever, and you had better believe they use every tool in the shed to prevent anyone else from using them= code words, DNA locks, chip implants…

Your standard citizen cannot own so much as a crossbow. Ha!

Oh, don’t get me wrong, a few folks tried initially to own guns, despite the heavy customs security. But Baalbek laws are swift and absolute. Illegal possession of any firearm whatsoever is met with the death penalty, three days later, you can set your watch to it. Same with dealers.

There are scanners at every doorway of any major corporate or government building that can locate a pistol from about twenty feet. Cops have similar scanners that run automatically from their units. Satellites overhead do the rest. They can find a gyrojet pistol through one mile of concrete, no matter where you are, it seems.

Someone eventually finds their way around it, for a time. Photo cryptography, anti-scanning EMP chipsets, whatever. But it does not last long.

Because the next day the whole lot of ‘em, plus the dealers who sold them the hardware, all get televised disintegrations.

So here is a whole planet, a complete industrialized society, without any pistols or rifles. Must be pretty serene, right?

Wrong. The crime rate is through the roof. Only citizens get whacked with baseball bats, chains, machetes, swords, knifes, hand held sonic projectors, whatever. Burglary has risen steadily at a %15 rate every years, as has auto theft, muggings, robbery, etc.

What does it mean? I don’t know and I don’t care. We did not have firearms for the most part where I grew up, but that didn’t make life easier. I think a gun is a crutch. It allows you to shoot back, ya know? Well, here is the difference between people who have used guns in a fight and people who have not. Your normal stooge who watches too many vids gets shot at, and pulls his weapon and fires back. Your military man goes for cover, then fires back.

Well, chances are, if you are behind cover, you can probably run for it, too. Most people can’t hit the broad side of a Claymore from distances longer than ten feet.

Yeah, I carry, most the time. But I ain’t stupid…

Think the laws will change on Baalbek? Naw. A disarmed society is an easily policed society, and you had better believe that members of the government get to travel around with their own cadre of police bodyguards, armed with whatever ordinance is chic that year. They argue in Baalbek senate meetings espousing ”…the glory of a free and peaceful unarmed society, and the merits thereof.” Then they walk out with armed guards to armored hoverlimos and fly far above the crime ridden areas below to fortress mansions far in the mountains, as safe as the angels in Heaven.

So that’s Baalbek. But the rest of us in our stations and bases, in our cities and planets, still have our pistols and rifles, thank God. I think.

Don’t get me wrong, it can get a little out of hand, over in Station #542, deep within the worst part of the Fringe, that place is out of control. You can rent a piece for 100 credits and hour, and they sell disposable gyrojet pistols out of vending machines, in designer colors. Go figure…

So, yeah, we didn’t get the hint, we just made weapons to blow each other away in space, rather than just not shooting at each other. Inferno had the right idea. People were really kind of an evolutionary error, for every two steps forward that science takes us, eventually our own nature takes us three or four steps back, sooner or later. Eventually, we pull out weapons and blast, stab, or bash each other, it’s only a matter of time…



Why did I mention all that?

Well, I was on the mobile phone, I walked out of bar, ducked into an alley to grab my favorite shortcut to meet with Dragon, and there’s Esprezzio, surprised like me, only he whips out a slim gold gyrojet pistol and holds it to my gut.

You know what it’s like to almost walk into a spear point? You kind of stop, your feet and head move forward but your stomach lags behind, and you do this dumb I-don’t-want-to-get-shish-ka-bobbed dance and waddle back? No? Well neither do I but I bet that’s what it is like because that’s what I did, only I had my hands up and now realized that I was f*cked, perfectly, I couldn’t run away, I couldn’t rush him, and I had holstered my own pistol inside my jacket, and then like the perfect moron buttoned by suit coat up, swell, just swell…

So I stood there, hands up, feeling scared and dumb, but more latter than the former.

Esprezzio was shocked, holding the pistol. He was wearing these black and red sunglasses, his hair slicked back.

The cell phone chimed.

I honestly didn’t know what to do, except get shot.

”Answer it.” He said.

I kept my eyes on the barrel of the pistol and answered it.

The panic in me was making my ears ring, and I couldn’t comprehend who it was or what they were saying.

”I’ll call you back later.” I said, my voice hollow to my ears, and hung up.

We looked at each other.

”Alright, get it over with, I ain’t gonna kiss yer ass.”

Esprezzio blinked, and then put the pistol away.

I looked at his face.

”So…why don’t you?” I still had my hands up, like a total jack ass.

”Because I wanted to do business with you, and because of Inferno.”

Inferno. Oh, yeah. He was the machine, to the underground in Trilliad. You put in a living human being, pushed his button, and ya got a corpse.

”Ok, what do ya want?” I put my hands down, trying not to shake.

”Here.” He threw me a cred card.

”What’s this?”

”It’s the money I owe you for your rockets.”

Man, it was money day.

”Ok, so what?”

”I took out of it for the money it took to patch my guy's face up and repair my mouth.”

Well, he didn’t shoot me, so…

”Fair enough.”

His lips were a little yellowish, from the healing process. Modern medical science could patch you up quick, if you lived.

”Listen, I need to pick up a weapons shipment, and you have a cruiser, so we should work out a deal…”

”Why should I work out one with you?”

”’Cuz I am the only one who deals weapons here, now.”

Wow. I was impressed. Esprezzio had been a busy monkey.

”So I could just buy them legally.”

”Yeah, right.”

He knew me too well.

”Ok, Esprezzio, seein’ as how you were polite enough not to shoot me in two, I will get the shipment for you, providin’ I get first pick of what you get.”

”Deal.”

He put out his hand.

I shook it, and then he probably had trouble turning his head to the left, because the side of his nose was now pressing hard into the barrel of a gauss pistol held by a gloved hand attached to an arm belonging to Inferno, who was wearing a pair of Armani mirrorshades, his eyebrows beetling behind them, his teeth slightly bared.

”Say the word, Boss.”

Esprezzio seemed shocked by the turn of events.

”No, it’s taken care of.”

Inferno pressed the gun into Esprezzio’s face a little harder.

”Easy, gent, I could have shot him and just left.”

”You would not have gotten far.” Hu Jing-De said, stepping from the other side of the garbage choked two way alley, lightly holding his kusuri-gami in his left hand, his features impassive and dangerous, slightly smiling. They hated each other, but when Hu and Inferno worked together, the results were not bad.

So they had been keepin’ tabs on me. Ok.

I let go of Esprezzio’s hand and backed off.

”Guys, don’t worry, he just set us up with a job, and besides, we have to work with him.”

Inferno seemed to push his face a little with the gauss pistol, and then holstered it behind his back.

I stood there, a little dizzy, and then I remembered something, a half glimpsed shadow of a memory, I had been in an alley, before, looking at Joe, Oscar and Vinscenzio, I had held a pistol, and so had Joe, and he was screaming at me, and then everything-

”Boss?” Inferno asked, knocking me out of it.

”Naw, I was thinkin’, I gotta meet with Dragon. You guys come with me. Hell, I’ll call Dos and Machine.”

Esprezzio rubbed the side of his nose. ”I’m out of here, then.”

”Yeah, Esprezzio, call me about the specifics, and get your hounds off me if they are sniffin’.”

”Ya.”

Inferno stared at Esprezzio, hard, and Esprezzio backed away and walked briskly down the alley, past an old barrel shaped oxygen converter someone had tossed.

”One day I am going to step on him.” Inferno said, his voice quiet.

”You goin’ with us?” I asked.

Inferno looked out into the street.

”Naw, I got a few things to take care of. Call ya later.”

He left.

Hu shrugged.

Above us, the traffic of several hundred hover cars continued on as it had been for fifty years.

True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

  • Moderator
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  • The Last Dual! Guardian
    • The FringeSpace Conversion Mod
Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction
Part VI= ”Theory and Law”

Here we were, in formation around the Time Baby III.

The Deep Space Cargo Freighter, Soul of Osiris, was en route, I had been told. ETA half an hour.

I was in wing formation with The Sixers, and the Neechi starfighters were to my left= Dragon, Wildfire, Veliceraptor and Princess.

We had set Time Baby III for auto pilot. I doubted if we would have to worry about it, but it’s defense grid proggies would blast away at any unrecognized ships within four clicks around it…

We had made the jump from Baalbeck, and the swirling silver and violet bubble of the Tach gate was a distant marble against the silver specked velvet beyond.

The moon Vaspere was a solitary, grey giant, flecked with quartz, pock marked with craters wide and small from a millennia of asteroid hits.

The powder blue ionized derridium skeletons of half constructed space stations and power relay grids stood slim and black against the reflected solar light from the moon’s surface, silent and alone. Ten years before, Galspan had began construction of the stations, only to abandon the project in their war with the Bora. So now they stood here, unused by civilized space, but a nice drop off point for people who wanted to be left alone.

Another Tach gate stood nearby the, from an unspecified sector of Sol space. That is where we expected our rendezvous.

The Neechi ships were in disguise, their marking painted over, their clan tags encrypted. Outside channel not on our precise frequency would see them as Doves 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively.

Sorcerer came through on my HUD.

”Automatic, I am getting strong readings from the Tach gate, but I got some signals from behind Vaspere…might be an echo, but…”

”Yeah, I think we know what’s going on.”

Inferno came through.

”It’s going to be a pincer move.”

”Think so?” My pulse was goin’ up.

”That’s what I would do.”

”Dragon, ya hear that?”

”Yes, Automatic, shall we split off?”

”Not yet, but get ready. If we have to, then have your wing protect the Osiris and my wing will hit anyone comin’ out of that base.”

”Copy.”

Then, a silvery-white incandescence, as if an atomic had detonated, the Soul of Osiris, emerging from it’s jump, an old SteelJack, Inc. design, glittering with communications lights, it’s hull an unassuming moon dust gray, it’s surface lumped with redundant systems, navigational mechanics, shield transponders, communication routers, and ablative armoring. I could not see any weapons, but I knew from the rear coupling and exposed turbine arrays that it could take a hell of a beating, good for it because from the looks of it the thing had taken a hell of a beating, some of it’s systems were smoldering, and I could see freshly blackened marring from blast torp detonations…



Ichiban’s was a blend of the old and the new, run by Peter Kishii, a stout Japanese fellow who always had a leather cap on his head, tattooed forearms and a cigarette, unlit, dangling from his lower lip.

Peter Kishii had been here longer than anyone, and had two stories for every one you might offer him about Trilithon. Don’t bother trying to guess his age. He looks forty, but people swear he could be 60 or 70. If you ask him too much, he buys you a beer or kicks your ass out, depending on how much he likes you.

I love the place. Koi ponds, rock gardens, paper screens and bamboo growing in great glossy black pots, decorated with golden dragons. Silver Buddha’s looked at you from alcoves, along with those cool-assed money frogs you always see in Asian bars, shops or restaraunts, carved from wood, painted red, with a coin stuck in it’s mouth.

I loved the floor, as well. Solid jade, it’s depths swirled with cool green and subtle quartz. Peter also kept statues of Confucian sages and displays of katana’s and o-yori armor, with occasional engravings of Musashi or Confucious.

Ichiban’s had three levels, but each booth had a clear view from the front stage, where Peter always gave over to local bands. Sometimes it’s jazz, sometimes it’s synth rock, and Peter never tells folks ahead of time, he says it’s like life, unpredictable.

I dug the fish tanks in a big way. Hovering on Void Alliance anti-gravs, only a centimeter of clear plasteel separating the water from the air.

In it’s clear liquid space, above an earth of shimmering platinum sands, upon which sat aqua and ruby hued coral, were fish from earth, some painted like flame, or deep Sargasso greens, titanium purples…

Naw, it’s all about the octopi, their eyes brimming with some cold intellect, lazily waving their tiger colored tentacles with the faux currents. The fearsome blacks and oranges of their bodies stood out in sharp contrast to the fish about them, as if they were royalty, and the rare and precious piscine hoards above them were but paupers to their princedom…

Hu Jing-De arrived with Machine and Dos.

I had called Dos earlier, asking him to go. Why not?

Hu wore a glossy black suit, his tie satin with gold bamboo print.

Dos wore a dark blue jumpsuit, his pockets stuffed with minor electrics and more than a few pins. Almost as if to emulate Inferno, he wore these sharp black ”I-am-going-to-kill-you-and-roll-around-in-your-blood” glasses, but still had this goofy smirk. His boots were military Kevlar weave, and I wondered for a second if he was packin’, like I was…

Machine was…

Wow.

Skin tight leather jumpsuit against sleek curves, she probably did one thousand crunches a day, the front zipped low, exposing some nice, ample territory. She was wearing a perfume-jasmine.

”How are you, Otto?” She said. Her lips were a near black purple.

I’m slobbering on myself.

”I’m good, just waitin.’”

”Good.”

I pushed the vision of Machine’s fine body out of my mind (with a mental hand on her ass, I might add) and looked past the dark and silver neon to see Kishii, smiling, as he shook Hu’s hand.

”Peter.” Peter said, beaming.

”Hu.” Hu answered, smiling.

Old joke, that. Peter Kishii was Chinese, but had a Japanese name. Hu was the opposite; Japanese with a Chinese name. Also, by exchanging names, Hu had told me, it confused evil spirits.

”Business or sport, Automatic?” Peter said.

”Business, we are being contracted, I think.”

”Ah, I will make you look unlike the lazy drunk ass you normally are! Ha!”

”Thanks, Peter, where would I be without you.”

”Sober and hungry, with no place to go when you have money.”

We all laughed.

Peter left us, and drinks were brought to our table.

I looked through the smoke swept dark and saw that Dragon and three of his others had arrived.



Faddah came home.

It was far afterwards, after Aggie had…

I was in front of the heater unit.

The others were out, and it was just me.

I had found a job as a coffee vendor, I was just some punk, trying to find my own place. I still crashed at home, but I was older, now. Fourteen, I think.

The place was still the same, we were one family, contained in it’s stained copper walls, the ever constant ozone air enclosing us, deep in the station.

All of Aggie’s things, her books, her pens, her dolls, her cooking utensils, everything that was evidence of her, had been thrown out long ago.

Except for a picture, a small one, no bigger than the palm of your hand, that Faddah held occasionally and stared at.

The electrics had all fallen into deep disrepair, from not being used. We never cooked, I could remember. Just those garish sodium burners above, their salty yellow light coming down on us, on the dusted table, the unused chairs, the threadbare carpet the color of dirt, on all the nothing we owned, and there was less of it since Aggie was gone.

The heater unit was really screwed.

The heater units cord had long frayed, it’s wires starting to show through the rubber, it’s copper ligaments dangerous. I threw tape around that part, meaning to glue it later, and then he was home, and staring at me.

There were stains on his shirt, red and brown, and he had gotten fatter over the years.

His eyes were black and purple pitted things, his spittled mouth a hole that his yellow gray teeth pushed through.

We saw little of him these days, when he wasn’t working, he was drunk, mad drunk, as if he was a beast incapable of sorrow or remorse, but he could find solace in that rot gut piss stuff they found in the lower levels.

He staggered towards me, weaving slightly, and I stood up.

Something was different, this time. It made my gut curl and twist like a snake in it’s own coils.

His right hand held a slim glass bottle of sodiate, for the burners. His left held a larger bottle, probably of alcohol.

”Ottavious.” He growled.



”Otto.” Dragon said, in the club, shaking my hand.



”Automatic.” Sorcerer came through on the comm., I had been somewhere else, gazing out upon that scarred gray carrier, and then the sleek silver forms of Pegasus Interceptors followed, in pursuit, their hulls burnished violet in the permanent twilight.

”Yes?”

”We have traffic from the remains of the station. More craft.”

”I got my eye on it.” Inferno said.



He staggered, seeing me, saying something, I can’t remember, the words are so much smeared greasepaint on the canvas of my memory, it was a non-noise, just white sound, but he was just bellowing, his eyes bleary, his gait like a machine that needed a tune up thirty years ago.

”You think you know!? What’s it’s like!? Seeing your ridiculous faces? I have to work, and work, and then look at you, knowing that you saw-”



”Auto? Like in, the vehicle? Or are you Otto, with an o?”

”Eh, whatever. Good to see you, Dragon. Who’s the crew?”

He introduced them.

Wildfire was the first. Amiable looking, with tousled brown hair. He wore a simple flightsuit with a leather flight jacket and =Neechi= tags, platinum with gold rivets.

”Yo, everybody.” He said, half waving to us all as he sat down.

The next was Amia, she wore a military style leather jacket and tight black shorts, with a knife on the side. Probably a monoblade. High boots, Kevlar, with a simple white shirt over a nice bosom. Yummy. I mean, there ya go.

The next guy was Veliceraptor. He wore baggy slacks and striped shoes, like the kind kids wear, and a baggy red shirt with a target on it. How coquettish.

Dragon himself wore leather pants, a titanium mesh shirt and a leather jacket. It was a classic kind, they never went out of style. Some company on earth four hundred years old just cranked them out, over and over…

Dragon himself had a few days growth of facial hair and looked more like a rock star then the leader of an incredibly powerful clan. But then, he was slumming, so I guess he could look any way he wants.

”Have a seat, guys, and we can talk about what’s up. Give me all the angles and I can tell you what shape it’s like.”

Dos looked at Amia.

Amia looked at Dos.

”Hi.” Said Dos.

”Hi.” Said Amia.

The space between them seemed filled with more than the air that was in the place, more than the dark that mimicked the starry void that our business was done in. I wondered what that was like, seeing someone that saw you and…

Wait.

Where am I?

I’m-



Staring at my father, he’s yelling incoherently. He’s towering above me, bellowing, I am young again, fourteen again, or whatever age I was. I am holding the tape as if it was a lifeline, and he is holding in his left hand that 40 oz. bottle of gin, and he’s a mess, I feel so small, so…

”I did what I could! But everyday there was this door, far ahead, I wanted to go through it but I was always held back, I stayed, and stayed, and pissed it all away on you brats, I could have been somewhere else…!!!”

He took a draught of the gin, it’s contents cascading out on his chin, on his hand, sloshing on the ground.

He staggered, his pig eyes squinting and red.

”Joe told me, and he was right!!! You! You were always looking at me, as if I did not measure up, like I was an ox or some animal, and it made me miserable! You looked like her, that night that she had you, she looked at me, like you are now, I was scared, like you are scared, because she was so afraid, slipping away like that…”

He sobbed, taking another draught.

There I was, standing in front of him, shaking, afraid, I am there, I am always there-



No, I am in space, and the Osiris is barreling down on me.

I feel dissonant, then a voice cuts through my comm. link.

”Automatic?”

”Chimera?”

I knew Chimera from the Dead At Birth War. We’d been on the same side, then, workin’ for the Madorians.

I saw five blips come up from the shattered station. Add eight that were following Osiris and that makes thirteen.

”Jesus, where you been, Automatic?”

”You know this guy?” Sorcerer said.

”Yeah. Who ya workin’ for, Chimera?”

”Auto, you have to leave, now.”

Well, what do you know, everything is getting ugly.

”I’m workin’, Chimera.”

Long pause, farther than the space between the stars around us.

”So am I, Auto, so am I.”

Inferno’s voice, the devil in my ear.

”Punch it.”

No.

”Punch it.”

”Chimera, we don’t gotta do this…”

”He’s charging sols, punch it.”

Chimera afterburned, and then I saw a blue electric flash…



”Automatic, are you there?”

”Naw, I feel like I am in three places at once. Tell me the story, Dragon, and then we will all get sushi and get tanked.”

”Excellent, to the point. The consummate businessman. Let me ask you, have you ever heard of the Levitcher Luddites?”

Boy, have I. Remember what I said about cry stories? Those guys are the one’s with the biggest cry story of all. I can *****, but they got the right to *****. Hell, they can *****, and you gotta buy them a drink. Jesus.

It’s like this but I am going to mess up the story anyhow, but I will tell it to ya and if I mess it up then I will just clear the details up later, when and if I feel like it.

I normally, really don’t give a damn about Luddites. Some mercenary groups, like The Devil’s Fist, won’t attack them, but who cares? They’re Luddites. They still live in the year two thousand some odd, and it’s not like they have ships that are hard to shoot down. Correction, they don’t have ships, they get carted around by freighters, paid by donations.

Who can figure Luddites?

So anyhow, the Levitcher Luddites are an Hassidic Jewish group ran by the Levitcher Rebbi. He’s a pretty big deal, wrote a lot of books, yadda yadda yadda. So they all started out on the planet Reimos, but the place got pretty much blasted during the Dead At Birth war. So the Rebbi says, ”Screw this place, time to go elsewhere, and we’ll come back after the Iconian Knights and Dead At Birth (and everyone else) stop shooting at each other.”

Well, he didn’t say THAT, but you know what I mean.

So him and his people, about a thousand, go wandering around on some sort of Jewish Star Trek until IK and DaB stop blastin’ away at each other, and when they come back to the planet another nation has already claimed it.

So, the Rebbi says, ”Hey, can we live here, again?”

Well, the nation is pretty much a Muslim government, and they say, ”No.”

So the Rebbi attempts to whip up support for his cause, but folks are tired of fighting, so no one helps.

So the Luddites go packin’, dispossessed, nowhere to go.

They wander around some more movin’ from place to place, but there’s really no place for them. Luddites take up a lot of space, they are non-industrialized, they need to farm and move chickens and cows around (these guys are really, really, Luddite, I might add. They don’t even have radios). There’s always a prejudice for these guys, ya know?

Wanna hear a joke?

How many Luddites does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Answer= Why the f*ck are those guys still usin’ lightbulbs?

Why did the Luddite cross the road?

Answer= He didn’t, the whole population died of some advanced disease because the dumb f*ckers don’t believe in utilizing smart nanotech antivirus technology.

You get the point, I’m sure.

So no planet really wants them, and there ain’t a lot of planets in this system.

Finally, they end up going from camp to camp, station to station, Capitol Ship to Capitol Ship, and at one point actually lose about three hundred when a fleet of Cruisers carrying them get’s blasted by Sol government over a horrible miscommunication. Sol thought the Cruisers were carrying biological weapons.

So here they were, Jewish Luddites, far away from their culture or any evidence of who they are, no plowshares, barns, horses or vast fields of grass, surrounded and transported by a cold, unfamiliar technology, which generations of soil and sun had left them unprepared for. Eventually, there was another diaspora, and they were separated here and there, in various pockets across the universe.

I could imagine friends and family embracing each other for the last time, in depots and stations, boarding alien ships to travel, reluctantly, light-years away from each other, for decades…

There is more, but, I can safely say, yeah, I had heard of them.

”What about ‘em?”

Dragon sat back in his booth, smiling enigmatically.

The band started, the guitars backing up whispering vocals, pulsing bass and a synth that kept the pace, weaving in and out of the beat like a cobra; hypnotic, lethal, exotic…

”Theres about fifty of them coming to this base in a cruiser from Bora space. They need protection.”

Protection?

”Why? Who wants to scrag a bunch of Luddites?”

There was a pause. I could tell Dragon was holding back, keeping something concealed, but that’s what clan leaders do, you know.

I looked over at Dos, who was deep in conversation with Amia. Wow, he was really hitting it off, with her. They looked like school kids in the midst of their first crush. How the hell did Dos become a chick magnet?

I downed my Cape Cod and looked at Dragon, who was staring past me, thinking.

Dragon seemed to come to some sort of decision, so I played it cool, like I was scarcely interested. People are weird, like that. You act like what they might reveal is the biggest secret since the Rosicrucian’s inventing space travel, and they clam up. You act like you don’t care, and suddenly they reveal all, some sort of egoism, they want to hold your interest.

There was a game going on, here. Like chess. Not against me-Dragon was playin’ something against someone bigger-and now Dragon was developing his pieces.

”The Lucero Corporation.”

”Why?”

”No one on the planetoid, they get the place. So they want to kick the Luddites off. They can’t really move in and gun people down. But they can prevent more people from movin’ in.”

Damn.

Lucero, Inc., was big, on their own respective block. But this was the Fringe, past the Fringe, and they were new in this place. They were setting up a toe hold, even though I am sure they were already around the Fesbo system, where that planetoid Joshua was.

We could guard the cruiser, once, But we couldn’t go up against a mega corp. Mega corps noticed when small time ops did that, and tended to eliminate the competition in the worst way. But a hit-and-run would reap benefits. Plus, I was still in Dragon’s pocket. I had to play the role.

”Why don’t you Neechi jump in?”

”Because we are currently working with the Sheffeld Industries Corporation on a negotiation for a deal on some starbases. Due to numerous cartels, monopolies that Sheffeld has in place, they are the only company who can build those bases where we need them. Sheffeld is owned by Lucero, and-”

”-and if Neechi causes flak, it will screw the deal.”

”We’re going to be there, Auto, but under alias. We’re also going to communicate through encrypted channels while we are out. But I got a feeling that Lucero is going to use it’s own mercs, for this, to keep their hands completely antiseptic.”

The bands tempo went up a notch, and more drinks were brought to us. The music was rising, now. A wavelength that was picking up, guitars punctuating, the rhythm and synth an electric flash that-



-I narrowly avoided, burning and latting, taking my ass out of the path of those craft-killing sols, I rotated the hammer, rockets igniting orange/blue on the edge of the Peg’s shields and the space around are ships, between the mercs, my Sixers and the Neechi became a storm of ordinance and light.

Chimera launched off to the floating ruins on magnetic grav-assisted burners, a silver streak en route to the floating ruins, as a wing of Madorian Class Darts appeared, and I gave pursuit.

”Inferno! Cover that cruiser! Hu, cover him! Sorceror?”

”Copy.”

”Stick to the Neechi. Dos, stay wide and rail the wounded. Machine, follow me.”

”Gotcha.” She said. I could hear additional laser fire through her comm. She was already in the thick. Darts are fast, but they are porcelain. One shot and poof! But you gotta land that shot…

A Dart swung in to me, it’s chassis like an oil slick, lasers igniting my shields. I got him wit a handful of rockets, the rails cutting his cockpit in half a beat later. Missiles coming in, my klaxon screaming like a petulant child, there was the moon Vaspere, then stars streaking by, the wreckage a smear in my vision as I dropped ecms like baby suns and burned left, shakin’ them, then I dove behind some of the wreckage, searching for Chimera.

Beyond those twisted fragments, through the rumbling of my Hammer’s systems, I heard an atomic rumble of blast torps, with the answering drone-scream of Deimos. Machine, doing her part. A Dart flew past, I picked it off with twin rails, a flash of a magnetic propelled uranium slug and then the distant explosion. He probably lost his shields and backed off from the furball to recharge.

There ain’t no safe haven in a combat zone, punk. Look for an exit, and someone will open a door for you, nine outta ten, and it won’t be the door you want…



Kishii’s dance floor was a 25’ by 25’ grid of brass colored steel, burnished and glowing in the neon twilight. Small, so it easily got crowded. The band was playing a dance beat, stratocasters picking it up in places, like a dynamo spinnin’, then the vocals from a violet haired hottie in a silver mini skirt, her singing like the chant of seraphim, hypnotic, electro-voodoo, intoxicating, scintillating…not for the audience or upon the audience, but with them. I caught a flash of machine as she whipped her hair back, letting herself go to the music.

Dragon and I had our pocket comps out (his was an admantine deal with a shark skinned cover, a Fiur/Oxico no less, made mine look like a cd player…) and began to set up our strategy.

”They are going to have company.”

”Yeah, the bad guys.”

”So we have to have ships close to the gate.”

”Of course.”

”Think anyone will be waiting where we are?”

”I keep thinking there is an abandoned station nearby, we may have to split off.”

”Yeah.”

Basically, we both knew that the Sixer’s had a mixed contingent of ships (multirole bombers, heavy assault craft, interceptors…) where Neechi’s group were more of the fast variety. They would boogie around and make the most of their mobility; my Sixer’s would stick to the enemy and rock n’ roll.

But the fat truth of it all was that Dragon and I had been in the deepest f*ckfests of combat and knew that any plan was just a list of things that didn’t happen; no strategy survived contact with the enemy.

”Just protect the cruiser.” I told him.

”Cool, I am going to drink over at the bar and look for women who can keep up with my alcoholism.”

”Really?” Now THAT was a plan.

”Hey.” Inferno said, standing at our table, as if he had dropped from the sky.

His hair was dyed platinum blond and spiked. He was wearing an ice white suit, gold mirrored sunglasses, and a glowing laser blue shirt. His skin had a shiny plastic quality to it…maybe as a result of some chic designer drugs. He seemed…focused?

”Dragon.” Dragon said, introducing himself.

Inferno.” Inferno said.

”We’re working together, tomorrow.” Dragon stood up.

”Yeah, you’re a clanner.”

”Yeah, ain’t I, though?” Dragon turned to the bar and left.

I looked up at Inferno after Dragon had left.

”Easy, Inferno, we’re working together.”

”Yeah.”

”What are you on, Inferno?”

”The ride of my life.” He grinned, showing lot’s of teeth. ”Living the myth. We’re murderers, we’re rockstars, we’re fighterpilots. We’re the living embodiment of our culture. Young, wealthy, victorious, stainless steel angels, one wing dipped in blood. And if we fail, we die, and are remembered as being eternally beautiful. We’re anointed human sacrifices on an Incan alter to Quetzacoatl, ready to have our hearts ripped out. Ain’t it great?”

”Where’d you go?”

”I met a girl who drugged me up and took advantage of me.”

”My heart bleeds for your misfortune.”

”We got the job?”

”Yeah. Big money, big prizes.”

”So it’s on, tomorrow?”

”Yeah.”

”One more thing…”

”What?”

”How did Dos become a stud?”

I looked over at the guy, who was beaming at Amia, they were dancing close together. I had not even had a chance to talk to her before Dos had swooped. Wow.”

”Uh…someone called a vote?”

”The world has changed. I am sober, now.”

The music accelerated, taking us all with it.



No, wait, I am in space, and Chimera is on my radar, finally. It’s all gloss vinyl colored space marked gold and silver by stars, and he is closing fast, laserbolts searing the eternal night, impacting on my shields. I am turning, rockets armed, launching, I am here, I am here, and the Soul of Osiris is on my radar, the blue dots that are our forces mixed with the red dots that are Chimera’s mercs. I can’t tell who is winning…



But then I am standing in front of my father.

He had stopped, his eyes twisted cruelly shut, quaking, sweating, pathetic, making sounds like a whining hinge. I loathed him and fear him, hate him and can’t know what to say, how can I?

He was falling apart, tears running down fat cheeks. Like a large, pathetic baby. No, he was a rabid, confused, toothless bear, he began to shudder, to seethe and quake like a pot boiling over, he put both bottled hands to the sides of his head, as if to keep it from cracking apart.

”Faddah…please…Faddah, you…you…”

But I didn’t make sense, either. Call it what you want, I was frozen scared out of my ass. I couldn’t move, only shuffle backward and cry, too. The hoary grip of fear had me by the balls, then.

The slim glass bottle of sodiate gleamed in his clenched white knuckled fist.



Chimera twisted and came in, too fast, too fast... My plasma arced past him and I latted around, avoiding a twisted spike of cerramite at the same time.

Then the blue electric of sols, sliding towards me, I am too slow, trying to move this big, big target, but they only graze my shields, I could have died, I could have died…



”I hate you.” He said, whining and grunting. Who had he been thinking about?

I had wanted anyone to come home, to break the hex and let my run. I wanted to run, past him, take my ass our of there and go down the corridor. I would have given anything, anything to have had anyone walk in…even Joe. But there wasn’t anybody.

”I hate you.”

”I hate you.”

”I hate you.”

”I hate you.”

”I hate you.”

”I hate you!”

”I hate you!!!”

”I HATE YOU!”

”I HATE YOU!!!”

His eyes opened, the squinty bloodshot beady glared rabies-shine of a maddened boar.



My shields were gone, now, his lasers a deadly rain upon me. Chimera was everywhere I couldn’t be. I couldn’t get a bead on his ship, I was the elephant, being stung to lifelessness by a gnat, another flash and sparks ignited the inside of my cockpit. I heard a Dart pilot go to his death with a curse, somewhere beyond, the sound was intense, I was firing randomly, I afterburned back-



The sodiate bottle, burning from the light above, he swung it down upon me, it was silver, it was silver-



Chimera’s silver peg flitting for an instant in front of me, his lasers-



The impact, like a steel spike driven into my face, under my left eye, it was a stunning hit, I had fallen back, almost flat, and there was my blood all over the floor, on my hands, covered in it.

Father was horrified, the broken sodiate bottle falling in slivers to the floor, covered in my blood, most of my cheek and face hanging as I held it up with my hand, I was screaming, crying, I couldn’t see clearly, just one eye as Faddah stepped backward upon the cord, the bottle of alcohol falling nerveless from his left hand, his body soaked in some of the nitrate, a spark-



The ignition of afterburners, and then Chimera was bobbing up, without gravity, on magnetic siroccos in the stardust sands of space, his lasers flashing, he was going into my rockets, I had fired them without realizing it.

The detonation, my cockpit flooded with neon yellow light, all my vision white with fire-



Faddah went up like nova, one second he was whole, and then the bottle popped, there was the scent of liquor, and dad wasn’t there anymore, just a melting, screaming, dripping, blazing wax creation, it took my eyebrows off and I staggered up, fell back, the oxygen burning from my lungs, sensors screaming with me, Faddah lurched, a burning and charred thing, as if his skin had turned to napalm, he was roasting in front of me, I couldn’t move, I was on my side and people were rushing into the room, my vision had become a single circle with Faddah’s crisping body cackling within it, my face was a numb pane of ice and then he dropped, right before the water hit him I saw his face, burned to the skull, his eyes searing from their sockets, he was crying blood, and then he plopped down onto the metal floor and they doused him with water, I remember the slick fire-proof plastic jackets of black helmeted emergency teams pulling me away, I was staring up, and the circle became a single, floating pin prick, my pain consumed-face pulling away-



Chimera was blasted to particles, I could see the night beyond, I remember the beach, I remember Tolio, waist deep in night-blue salt water, a spigot had been opened and I was drained of everything, my sweat beading on the inside of my helmet. Damn, that was fear-

I afterburned towards the cigar shaped spindle that was the Soul of Osiris, plucking off a Dart as I drew in, I saw Dos shoot another one down-

-Wildire accelerated, his lasers falling on their target, another peg, it was a sheet of metal and flame and he flew through it-

-Inferno’s rockets found another-

-Dos’s rails cut a Merc in twain, his screams cut short-

-Blast torps, probably Veliceraptor’s, tearing another pilot to so many flaming particles-

-and then it was clear, the star bright like the Vaspere, and we were alone.



Later, all were accounted for. Dos was roughed up, and my ship was pretty banged to f*ck, but all in all, we were intact. We escorted the cruiser, full of it’s human cargo, and back at the station I remember being dazed, Dragon and his crew had flew off to stay hidden, and we had waited while they docked, the hangar-bay too big around me, I suddenly felt aware of the nearness to the killing vacuum of space.

The pilot had shook my nerveless hand, I couldn’t hear him, but he was a young guy, I watched with a vague sense of shock as the Time Baby III, my ship, MY ship, came to a shuddering halt beside the Soul of Osiris’s bulk.

I was led aboard, and there they were.

Children, small ones, some two or three, some almost 12, staring at me, mouths agape, space pale beneath the fluorescents, the dermoplast a mint green, they all wore simple outfits of black, real cloth, hand sewed, the girl in dowdy cotton dresses.

A man got up from amongst them, and the crew was behind me. I remember something in Sorcerer’s eyes, a longing or a memory, making him older. Hu seemed to look at the children in equal amazement.

The scene was surreal, like something in a movie…had we saved these people?

He shook my hand. He was dressed the same way as the boys, austere black and a white cotton shirt. He smelled…natural?

”Mr. Otto, we are in your debt. I am Nyman. Please call me Nyman.”

Huh? What?

”What’s all this?”

He turned from me, and looked blankly down, as if unable to really formulate words.

”Our children, Otto. The Lucero Corp. had taken our children, for tests…but they were not tests…”

I looked at one child’s head, stubbled as if it had been shaved a month ago, with an X of a laser scalpel upon it.

What had we gotten into?

Somewhere beyond, a turbine began to roar, mournful and foreboding in the hollow of the hangar. The echoing plink of a rock, dropping into the well that was my soul.

END OF BOOK I.
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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  • The Last Dual! Guardian
    • The FringeSpace Conversion Mod
Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“Tachyon: The Mineral War”
by
Banzai Lemming


I'm going to start up the interactive storyline. Calling it "Tachyon: The Mineral War." I want a list of squadrons and groups that would like to be involved in this story (I just included BC in this teaser story... they may or may not join). Any group, from IK to MyK Lance to ~hive~ can sign up. Groups will be given starting sectors and bases, along with money and resources. I will figure out (with the help of others, hint hint) prices for transports and capital ships, and the prices for fighters will be according to the prices in single player.

Any group can be affiliated with Galspan or Bora, but then they will be given fixed ammounts of ships and salaries, and I will give them missions to perform instead of allowing them to do everything by themselves (the missions will be vague and will allow a lot of leaway, but they will still have purpose).

The story will be located in the Tachyon Database Warstories section... just for those who want to play.



***Five years before Jake Logan was sentanced to the Fringe***

Decompression alarms were going off for the third time in five minutes.

"Engineering, seal off the reactor room NOW!"

"But sir, there's still people in there!"

"Lieutenant, seal off that room before we all lose our air!"

"Yes sir..."

This battle was not going well. Out of the nine galspan capital ships and the seventy-two fighters involved in the third invasion of Bora space, only four warships remain and a measly thirty-three fighters are capable of flying. It seems like the Bora were ready for the invasion. It was almost as though they knew precisely where and when the galspan forces were going to arrive.

Captain Forge Vox looked around the deck. His first mate was dead, and the weapons officer was seriously wounded. One of the two helmsmen was dead, as well as the communications officer. All this, from the result of four remote sappers positioned two decks above the bridge. Forge was lucky. He escaped with only a slight laceration on his right forearm and a hydrolic leak from his robotic right leg.

The Captain attempted to look at the damage report through the flashing red lights. Slowly, being given minimal lighting once every five seconds, Forge was able to determine the latest damage report. One of two propulsion powerplants was destroyed, as well as the shield generator powerplant. This was not looking good. In addition to two powerplants destroyed, there were hull breaches on thirteen of the twenty decks of the Galspan Destroyer Virpent. Hull status was estimated at eighteen percent and falling with every sapper detonation.

And now, with his ship's TCG reactor room decompressionized, there would be no way to determine the condition of the ripstar core.

A voice sounded through the alarms. "Sir, radar detects three claymores vectoring in this direction. Location is thirty degrees by ten degrees."

Forge looked through the deck, and could see the three claymores with his unaided eyes. They must only be a kilometer away, Forge thought. "Fire all fore and starboard lasers in their direction."

"Engineering, sir. We just lost our weapons powerplant!"

Forge cursed. "Evasive maneuvers! Head towards the nearest jump gate!"

"SIR! The claymores are firing plasma rockets!"

"BRACE FOR IMPACT!"


***Meanwhile, in the Twilight Region***

"Come on, Drizzt, I don't like this. You know the Twilight Region always gave me the chills."

"Suck it up, Frogman. We were given orders to patrol this sector, and that's what we're doing."

Frogman noticed something on his radar. Bringing his cutlass into a half-spin, he brought his railgun into aim of the object. "Hey, sir, I got something. Looks like a fighter drifting in space. Maybe it's a trap."

"Well, Frog, let's find out, shall we?"
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“A Pirate and a Clan”
by
Mossman2


As the ten BC claymorees entered the TCG, Icefox could only think of the day before, he had to go to Alpha control, and liberty base to get the 80 helios rockets that they needed, it cost over 480,000 credits, but the job was from SOL and Star Patrol, they were paying the sqaud 1,000,000 credits and would pay for half the weapons cost.

As they emerged from the gate, they saw there target, a spanner frigate moving towards the TCG. It was unathorized to come within 30 SLU of the gate to SOL region. Icefox spoke loudly into his microphone,

"Alright, there's the frigate, break formation, go for weapons plant first, then go for engine powerplants, Icefox out."

As icefox' team prepared for the assault, a lone warhammer entered the sector.

"Warhammer, identify yourself or you will be fired upon!" Icefox said with a low and cold voice.

"HA HA HAA, you, fire on me?" the pilot replied laughing out loud, I am Blade Runner, the nutorious pirate lord. The frigate is mine! Any problem with that ?!?!?!"

Icefox had heard that name before, then he said aloud, "You are the pirate who hulled two Star Patrol cruisers!?!?!"

"You read the news 'bout me."the pirate lord replied as if he was having fun with the ten claymores."

"I bought 80 helios yesterday and im gonna use one, I'm taking the weapons powerplant, I dont care what you do to the frigate after that." he said with his same cold voice.

"You bought 80 helios? HA HA HA HA, I could destroy that overgrown slug with one of my spire rockets! But go ahead and take the generator." Blade Runner said laughing to himself.

"How do you destroy a frigate with a spire?" a pilot said more to himself then to anyone else.

"It's not a regular spire, has a special rod which allows it to pass through shields, fire it up through the engine outlets and have a barbeque!" the pirate said jokingly.
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod

 

Offline JGZinv

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    • The FringeSpace Conversion Mod
Re: Stories of the Fringe - Tachyon Fiction


“The Lance: Bitter Betrayal”
by
*TL9* Kamikrazy


TL1 mossman2 brought his Warhammer up alongside the Sol transport vessel. He still wasn’t comfortable using The Lance as contract pilots, but Susan gave the orders, not him. The war with Galspan was starting to take a large financial toll on the Bora, so Susan decided to use The Lance and some of the Bora’s top pilots as a way to raise money for the cause. This mission was especially important. It paid a whopping 500,000 credits if it was completed successfully. The objective was to escort three Sol ships transporting a top-secret cargo. Redship Rory had been getting bolder and bolder in his attacks, and the Sol government feared the worst. It had contacted Susan a week ago with the request for a convoy escort, and with the kind of money that was being paid, she couldn’t pass it up.

Sol had asked for six pilots for the job, two for each ship. Mossman2 had brought along the best The Lance had to offer: TL2 Luca, piloting a Battleaxe, TL3 VG9FTW, piloting a Warhammer, TL4 The Ranger, piloting a Mace, TL6 *****SLAP, piloting a Warhammer, and TL7 Joker, piloting a Mace. Joker was a rookie, but he showed great potential judging from his score of a 100 on the Letzer Ring Course and his expertise in Combat Training. Mossman2 expected a lot out of him.

“Okay Lance, this is it. Remember that the mission objectives are to escort the transports. Joker and I will take Transport 1, VG9FTW and The Ranger will take Transport 2, and Luca and *****SLAP will take Transport 3. You all got that?”

“Yes Sir!”

Mossman2 stared out the portside of his cockpit at Transport 1’s engines. They cast an eerie green glow on his controls. His mind began to wander...

“Lance leader, this is Transport 1. The convoy is ready to jump. Is The Lance ready?” The voice snapped mossman2 out of his daydream.

“Uh, yes, Transport 1. The Lance is ready and waiting.”

“Okay then. The convoy is now entering hyperspace.”

“Roger that.”

The three ships vanished into the distance as they jumped. “Everyone through the gate now!” mossman2 commanded. Timing was critical. They had to keep up with the convoy. The squad went through the TCG, not knowing what awaited them on the other side....
*******

Mossman2 shook his head as he appeared on the other side of the gate. He would never get used to that feeling.

“Okay Lance, pair up and meet with your transport. Let’s try and keep this clean.”

As the squad split up mossman2 scanned the sector. Scans showed a large asteroid field to the right and nothing but open space in all other directions. If someone attacked it would be from the asteroid field.

“Well Joker, are you ready for your first mission?” mossman2 asked, trying to make conversation.

“I guess so Sir. I gotta admit, I’m kinda nervous.”

“Don’t worry, that’s natural.”

Mossman2 glanced back at the nearby asteroid field. Scans showed that it was mostly lead ore, and that made further scanning difficult. If something were inside it, then The Lance wouldn’t know about it until it was too late.

“Hey boss, so far so good. Looks like this mission is pretty cut and dry,” *****SLAP said over his comm.

“Don’t make assumptions *****SLAP; this mission isn’t over yet,” mossman2 replied.

“Ahhh, what could happen now? We’re almost halfway through the sector.”

As if on cue, twelve Redship Nighthawks emerged from the asteroid field. “This is Redship Rory. Hand over the transport ships now, or you will be killed. Wait a sec, I’m gonna kill you anyway. NEVERMIND!! HAHAHA!!!”

“Lance, assume defensive positions. DO NOT leave the ship you are escorting!” mossman2 shouted. He had a feeling that this would happen.

The twelve Nighthawks advanced and split into three groups of four. Each element then launched a volley of missiles at the transports.

“Take out as many of those missiles as you can!” mossman2 yelled. No one answered; they were already busy destroying the missiles. None of the missiles hit their target.

The Nighthawks then launched an attack on the Lance fighters. Mossman2 engaged a random pirate. Laser fire burst all around him. He skimmed along the length of Transport 1 in pursuit of his prey. A few clicks away he could make out other Lance members fighting. The Ranger and VG9FTW were keeping the pirate element well away from Transport 2. *****SLAP was busy dodging missiles, and Luca was making short work of a pirate that was obviously lacking talent.

“This is Joker!! I need some help over here!! I have three fighters swarming me and I am taking heavy damage!!”

“I’ll be there as soon as I take care of this guy,” mossman2 replied. He had his own problems.

Mossman2 rounded the end of Transport 1 and fired his pulsars and couple of plasmas at the Redship pirate. The hull gave way and his ship exploded in a ball of fire. Pieces of his ship clanged off of mossman2’s hull.

“I’m on my way now Joker,” he said over his comm. Off in the distance he saw Joker futilely trying to fend off the fire from his attackers. He watched as two of them came in close. Suddenly a blast ripped out from Joker’s Mace. He had fired his Corona Device. The two ships caught in the blast radius were instantly hulled.

“Take that you bastards!” Joker was obviously pleased with himself, but in his excitement he had forgotten about the third ship.

“Joker, watch your six! Remember that the CD drains your shields!” mossman2 yelled. He watched in horror as the Nighthawk fired five swarms at close range.

“Oh God, what have I do----,’ static filled the commlink as Joker’s ship exploded. Light from the fireball reflected off the Nighthawks hull.

“You called him Joker, huh? Well he’s not laughing now. HAHAHA!!!” Redship Rory cackled over the comm. He had landed the fatal blow.

"You will pay for this Rory. Prepare to die!!” Mossman2 had never lost a member of The Lance. The thought of Joker’s death filled him with rage.

“Stand down mossman2, this is Commander Obulu of Star Patrol. Leave Rory to me.”

Suddenly the cargo bays of the three transport vessels opened to reveal a Star Patrol Enforcer sitting in each one.

“This is the precious cargo we were supposed to protect?!” said The Ranger.

“Yes,” Obulu replied. “Washington and Carver, you two help The Lance. I’ll take care of Rory.”

“Uh oh, I think this is my cue to get the @#%$ out of here. It’s been fun Lance.” Rory’s Nighthawk darted toward the TCG, but Obulu’s Enforcer beat him there. Obulu quickly disabled Rory’s ship. Within a matter of minutes the rest of the pirates had been hulled.

“Dammit Obulu, I demand an explanation as to why The Lance was lied to about the nature of our mission! We lost a man out there!” mossman2 shouted over his comm.

“Mossman2, the Sol government wished for as few people as possible to know about this mission. The more that knew, the greater the chances that Rory would find out. I am sorry for the loss of your pilot, but we did what we had to do to capture Rory. We have been trying for a while you know.”

“I’m going to talk to Susan about this Obulu. I highly doubt that the Bora will ever work for Sol again.”

“That’s okay, because I highly doubt that we will need you anymore. There are many contract pilots out there. Goodbye.” The transport vessels, one which held Rory, and the Enforcers left the sector.

“C'mon Lance, let’s go home,” mossman2 sighed. It was going to be a long trip back to base.
*********

Mossman2 watched the news in his quarters at Freedom Base. He had talked to Susan, and she sent a message to Sol politely telling them to go to Hell. She made it clear that the Bora would not deal with them for a long time. He still had to inform Joker’s family about his death. It was not going to be easy. To make matters worse, Joker’s wife had just sent a message informing him of the birth of his son. The boy would grow up without his father...

“This just in from Tachyon News Service vessels in the Hub. Apparently the infamous pirate Redship Rory has escaped the clutches of Star Patrol yet again. His pirates freed him in a daring raid while he was being transported to Sol to stand trial for his numerous crimes. Star Patrol Commander Obulu declined to comment....”

Mossman2 shook his head. He wondered how he would tell Joker’s family that he had died in vain...
True power comes not from strength, but from the soul and imagination.
Max to PCS2 to FS2 SCP Guide
The FringeSpace Conversion Mod