The San Philip

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Postby deathblane » Thu Aug 07, 2003 9:20 pm

Ok, this is my first attempt at a scifi story, so here goes...

It was a time of chaos. The collapse of the Terren Alliance and the devastating advance of the Haradine war fleet almost 60 years before led to destruction on an unprecedented scale. The opportunistic expansion of countless minor alien races and groups of humans had filled the resultant power vacuum with a patchwork of worlds and confederacies.

The bar was typical of portside taverns all over the human inhabited worlds. Dim lights partially illuminated the crowded interior, human and non-human shapes alike sitting or standing in small groups, drinking a bizarre variety of drinks. Metal and plastic tables, muted local music and ingrained grime that no amount of automated cleaning could remove.
Canner paused at the entrance to hand his pistol to the automated security door, rare in places like this. ‘Probably why he chose this place’ he muttered to no one in particular. He scanned the room for his contact. It took a moment before he saw him, a small business type, standard human, sitting alone in a corner. Several burly types standing in a group a few paces away looked suspiciously like bodyguards.
He brought a drink from the bartender, a vaguely squid like alien, but still better than a machine.
When he sat down the contact seemed to start, though he must have seen Canner as soon as he entered the bar. He extended a hand, ‘Mr Sorovitch I presume, I was beginning to think you would not come’ He had a thin dry voice, with a hint of an oriental accent. Canner ignored the hand.
‘I had some trouble with the port authorities’
Actually he had deliberately delayed to see if the contact would wait around for him.
‘I see. Well I’m sure it’s all sorted now. My name is not important but you may call me Mr Sans. Since you have decided to meet with me, I must assume that you intend to undertake a job for my employers.’
‘That, depends on the job.’
The small man cleared his throat slightly and furrowed his brow.
‘Unfortunately details of this mission can only be released if you decide to accept the job.’
‘Look Mr Sans, if you know of me then you’ll know how I work. Just in case you have forgotten, I like to know details before I accept any work. At all.’
‘That would be unfortunate, Mr Sorovitch. Considering the sum My employers are prepared to offer.’
Canner had stood up to go by this point.
‘300,000 credits Mr Sorovitch. That is I believe a lot of money’
Caner stopped, if experience had taught him anything then accepting blind jobs, even, in fact especially if they came with a huge price tag attached. Still 300,000 creds, you could do a lot with that sort of money.
‘I want full expenses’
‘Of course’
‘And a complete overhaul of my ship, before we leave’
‘I believe that that can be accommodated, I have been given some flexibility with arrangements’ he reached inside his jacket and produced a contract. Canner almost left again when he saw it, if you thumb printed one of those things and didn’t fulfil the terms…
Instead he bent down and pressed his thumb firmly onto the appropriate sections. ‘Thank you Mr Sorovitch. Our employers will be most appreciative.’ He produced a small data chip and a hand viewer and handed them to Canner. ‘This viewer is required to decode the contents of the chip. Keep both items safe. All of the details you will require are on that disk, including the access codes to a considerable credit account. Time is of the essence here so departure within the next three days is required. That should be sufficient for you’re preparations. Goodbye.’ With that he left, followed shortly by one of the ‘bodyguards’.

Canner sat for a while longer, savouring his drink. He fingered the data chip. What had he let himself in for here? Finishing up he went to the entrance and collected his gun, a beautiful little plasma pistol almost eighty years old. Accurate and light, it still had the Terren Alliance symbol on the grip, worn slightly over the years. They didn’t make them like that any more. In fact they didn’t make many things as good as they used to, which was probably what this mysterious job was about. A little way along the passage way outside he noticed another of the ‘bodyguards’ following him. Sighing he paused and spoke into the communicator on one collar. ‘Local, three way call. Sice Consrat, and Kep Hendel.’ ‘One moment’ the bland voice of the local computerised exchange spoke back to him. ‘Connecting in 3, 2, 1’ the computer cut out. ‘Captain, is that you?’ It was Siece, she sounded pissed off. ‘Look, we just got here so this better not be another fucking ‘back to the ship now or else’?’
‘Not quite, but we’ve got a job and you and Kep need to get back, uhhh, some time tonight.’
‘I knew it, I fucking knew it’
‘Where is Kep anyway?’
‘Sitting next to me, and kind of busy. Look we’ll be back sometime tonight. Maybe. Out’
Canner grinned to himself, that was Siece all right. He doubted that she’d be back anytime before the next day.
It took him about 20 minutes to get back to the ship. His tail kept up with him, but then he expected no less.
The Starseeker was an old ship. Originally a scout for the Terren Navy she’d been shot up during a minor skirmish. When Canner had found her, crashed on an uninhabited world the crew were long dead. Desiccated corpses on an arid planet. Most of the ships systems were operational, the majority of the damage being confined to the main ion thruster array.

The ship had been chased by two of its contempory’s in the Haradine navy. The shields were down and no amount of manoeuvring could keep the anti-matter beams of the pursuing craft away for long. Being more aerodynamic than the enemy craft the crew had hoped to be able to draw them down into the maze of sheer mountains that covered part of the nearby planet. Just as they were entering the atmosphere, one of the enemy scouts scored a direct hit. For a brief few seconds the beam annihilated the thinner nutronium plated armour of the aft section and crippled the ship, which promptly crashed with enough force to smash the crew at their stations. Under orders not to reveal their presence the Haradine ships elected against complete annihilation of the wreck, contenting themselves with a low level flyby before accelerating away from the planet to their similarisation distance.

When Canner had entered the system, his shuttle had detected a weak distress call. The old ship’s computer had waited until the Haradine vessels had similarised out before activating the beacon. Landing next to the wreck he had cannibalised his own craft, jury-rigging its engines to the back of the Terren ship. Charging up the main power and generally making the vessel at least partially space worthy. It was pure luck that his repairs held enough to take the ship into space, and it took a month of preying and minor emergencies to take the ship to space smooth enough for the similiser jump to work. The engines finally failed as he attempted to take the ship into space dock, but as he was towed in he felt an awesome relief. The ship was his now, and it would serve him well.

The ship was parked in a general hanger, stretching away for almost a mile and high enough for two levels of airborne traffic, the main entrance led out onto a major passageway, big enough for freighters and liners kilometres long. Smaller openings, airways, doors and windows pierced the remaining three rock walls and the roof. The Starseeker sat in it’s own pit, one among almost a thousand. It took up less than a quarter of the space available, but was now surrounded by multitudinous machines and pipes. It hadn’t been like this when he’d left, but then he hadn’t asked for a full refit then either. He chuckled, whoever he was working for must be important to obtain such prompt service.

[size="1"][ 07. August 2003, 09:21 PM: Message edited by: deathblane ][/size]

"there's nutrients in that beer"
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Postby InocPrime » Fri Aug 08, 2003 2:07 am

Enjoyable. Nice atmosphere.
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