Monthly Archives: January 2015

2-1 Maciia

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Laurie leaned back in the chair, sinking under the weight of the last few days. “As much as I’d like to stick it to that bloated toad, I only have one crewmember left, so we’ll get him patched up.” The Bartender nodded. “As you say, captain.”

She nodded and addressed Scorch. “Why don’t you head below and power down for a bit?”

“Yes, Captain.”

She swiveled the chair to face forward, looking out at the stars as they drew away from the Fuesillian sun. She pushed the throttle to its limit and watched the sky fade to a soft glow as The Venturess accelerated. Stars rectified themselves to proper points of light as the ship slowed. Maciia was a hot, dusty planet, covered in shifting sands. The natives Maciian were a small species, rarely even a meter tall, with pale skin the color of the sands which covered their homeworld. They were hairless, and had comically oversized ears, giving them a gnome-like appearance.

They were natural tinkerers and inventors, and in spite of their diminutive stature, had long been traveling the stars. They made strong economic alliances with nearly every race, and Maciia had evolved into one of the major trading centers of the galaxy.

Laurie brought the ship down to the surface, landing on a stone pad in one of the many spaceports. She lowered the rear ramp and descended to her quarters, grabbing a cloak to ward off the dust, and a black goggle which clipped onto the side of her cybernetic eye, protecting her good one. Scorch stood idle in the cargo bay, powered down. Burn marks decorated the reflective metal, the right arm bearing several large holes.

“That was an adventure, wasn’t it, buddy?” His head was squat, recessed into the high shoulders. It looked something like the helmet of an ancient warrior, with a thin ridge running around the crown. She reached up and felt for the power switch at the back of his head. Nothing happened. She swore loudly, and toggled it back and forth. Still nothing.

“What’s wrong?” The Bartender stepped into the bay. “Scorch won’t start…” she trailed off as a dark thought occurred to her. “Is this your doing?” Her hand went to her holstered pistol. He put both hairy hands up, palms to her.

“No! Certainly not! What reason would I have to hinder you? You saved my life.”

“I’m not feeling particularly trusting at the moment.” she tried the switch again. “What the hell is wrong with him?” She circled around in front of the motionless construct and put her hands on her hips, looking intently into the dead eyes. “Maybe he was worse off than I thought. Nothing should have damaged his critical systems.”

She inspected the damage without any result or clue as to why he wouldn’t turn on. Something moved behind her, a brief sound and motion as something tried to hide behind a crate. She drew a pistol and slowly approached the crate. “Come out now,” she said, trying to get a look behind it. She drew near, moving quickly around the side, leveling her aim to where the creature should have been. It was already gone. She scanned the room with increasing apprehension. “Do you think someone came along uninvited?”

The Bartender shrugged. “I don’t see how anyone could have. We all knew who was on the platform, and it would have been impossible for anyone to sneak onto it without us seeing.”

Suddenly, Scorch came to life. Laurie whipped around, pistol aimed at him.

“Scorch,” she said in as even a tone as she could muster, “Is there something you should tell me?”

[Voting is closed! Check back on 02.06.15 to read & vote on the next chapter!]

1-7. Fuesillian Standoff

A stiff breeze blew across the platform, making the only sound as the tense figures stood in silence. Laurie’s eyes were cold, staring down the worn barrels of her pistols, sparing the occasional glance for the others around her. The bartender kept shifting his gaze to the Fuesillian agent, who in turn, stood coldly with his weapon trained on the bartender.

The assassin appeared unconcerned, his gleaming gun held in a sinisterly casual fashion. His thin mouth was twisted in a cruel smile, and Laurie was sick of it.

The screech of the laserblast split the cool air, charge burning a hold into the forehead of the assassin. He crumpled, lanky limbs askew on the cold steel. A host of shots rang out from the agent, and Laurie turned to return fire. A blast caught Chip in his abdomen, and he fell, clutching his gut. Between fire from Laurie, Scorch and the bartender, the agent fell, and the platform fell silent again.

Laurie rushed to Chip. He was curled on the platform, hands over the hole in his stomach. “Stay with me, boy,” she urged him.

“Sorry, Cap,” he said, tone low with pain, “I don’t think I’m coming with you.”

“Don’t give me that. You’ll be fine,” she lied, kneeling next to him.

He tried to say something else, but instead could only manage a feeble cough. His blue eyes looked up at her, taking all his effort to do so, pleading hopelessly. It hurt where her left eye should be, tear ducts that were no longer there were trying to work. Tears flowed freely from her right eye as she cradled his head and tried to find more lies to comfort him.

His lungs filled with liquid, and she could feel the rattle through where her hand held his head. He gasped one last time, and he was gone.

Laurie lingered, kneeling over Chip for a long moment. The bartender tentatively approached.

“You should be going. No doubt the agent had called for backups, and they will be here soon.”

Laurie nodded, wiping the tears from her good eye. “Scorch, get him on board.” Scorch didn’t move for a moment, and made an odd noise when he did. “You alright?” she asked.

“Yes, Captain. Just some damage from the fight. It can be repaired.” The large construct crossed and picked up Chip’s body, carrying him up the ramp.

“Sorry I didn’t listen to you earlier,” Laurie said to the bartender when they reached the Venturess.

“Understandable. I was trying not to alert him at the same time. I am sorry about your friend.”

“Thank you. He was just a kid, you know?” She paused. “Hell, two dead kids on this job. What a waste.”

“They were casualties in a war. The rest of the universe doesn’t much care, but we are constantly oppressed by our own government. Their sacrifices will be remembered.”

“That’s some comfort, I suppose.”

The Fuesillian looked uncomfortable, casting his large black eyes downward. “I hate to ask, but…”

“What is it?”

“Well, if I stay here, I am a dead man. Would it be possible to have transport to another world? I will find a way to pay you for your troubles.”

“Come aboard. No charge.”

He followed Laurie up the ramp and into the cargo bay of the ship. Laurie continued up, taking a seat in the pilots chair where Chip usually sat. They reached orbit without incident, and she laid in a course that would take them near the sun.

A few moments later, she stood near the aft airlock, Chip’s body having been placed inside. The sun filled the small window.

“I suppose I should say a few words,” she said, feeling lost as to what those words should be. “He was a good friend, and good pilot. He always wanted to be among the stars, so I hope he’s happy here.” She suddenly realized she was speaking to someone who didn’t know him, and a robot. She sighed. “Happy sailing, Chip.”

She pushed the button and the airlock opened, the body bag sucked out into space. She closed the door and returned to the cockpit.

“Where will you go?” The bartender had followed her up.

“Good question. Where should we drop you?”

“Well, Captain, it occurs to me that we have a common enemy.”

“Oh?”

“The one who hired you- he wanted Yoss dead, and he set you up to take the fall for it, or die in the process.”

“Captain?” Scorch stood at the door to the cockpit.

“Yeah, Scorch?”

“I have sustained some damage in the recent fighting. If it pleases you,may I suggest a world where I can obtain parts?”

“We do have some money to spend, and this baby-” she tapped the console of the Venturess– “could use a few things. Maciia is nearby, and is a good trading spot. Or…” she tapped a finger to her chin “or we could go after Knoff.”

[Voting is closed! Check back on 01.23.2015 for the next chapter!]