Fiction

Location Unknown 03

“Can you trace his last location?” said Murrdurr? “You know, like, do that tricky computer wiz stuff you do?”

“I’m looking now, I’ve got a bug inside most of the ships we use should someone take off with one. It’s a good way to ensure we either get the ship back or at least the person who took it.”

“Have you bugged mine Dwaigon?” Murrdurr asked with a suspicious tone, his eyes narrowed.

“Yes, everyone. All ships we fly.”

“But how did y…”

“Besides the point, anyway, it says here Ithicas ship was destroyed only a few hours ago. That might explain his lack of being here”

“Well, hasn’t he picked up a new ship?”

“I don’t see any of his other ships moved and he hasn’t spent any money since then so unless someone just gave him one I doubt it”

“So he must be floating around in his pod somewhere then, right, lets go pick him up. Where did he lose the ship?”

“Looks like the Tama system.. huh, that’s strange. I can’t see who destroyed his ship. Normally that information is logged but here, there’s nothing”

“His ship just destroyed itself?”

“No, obviously not. Not unless he activated the self destruct mechanism on his own ship but I disabled that on most of his after he almost blew that Orca up for a bet when he was drunk”

“I remember that, he canceled it on, what? One second was it?”

“Yeah. Which is why I’ve disabled it on his ships. It’ll still countdown so he gets all happy about the game but it won’t actually blow up. Looks like he lost his capsule too. No records here either. This is weird. I’ve never seen anything like this”

“Well, shouldn’t he be back at base then if he lost his capsule? He’ll be busy raging around the place as usual, that’s probably why he’s not here.”

“Hang on, I’ve bugged the medical system too, let me check”.

Dwaigon tapped and swiped away at his wrist mounted computer for a few seconds before he stopped, staring at the screen. He shook his head slightly and continued tapping. Another pause, this time he looked up and straight at Murrdurr.

“It says his mind attempted to download back to Ishomilken where he had set it to but was diverted away. I didn’t even know that was possible. It shouldn’t BE possible.”

“Well, where did it get diverted TO?”

“It doesn’t say, there’s just a station ID code but there’s no corresponding station in the database. Either it’s a new station that’s not been listed yet, unlikely, or its a station someone has gone to great efforts to keep hidden. I’ve not seen or heard of that since the war. We need to speak to Nashh”


“Right, I understand” said Nashh with the air of authority of someone who has employees to understand for him.

“Do you?” came the hesitant reply from Dwaigon.

“Yes. Totally”

“You don’t understand do you.” sighed Dwaigon.

“Uh… it really depends how you define ‘understand’ in this situation.”

Dwaigon glared at his CEO as he pulled out a crayon and paper.


“What are they doing there?” asked Zephyr Blackhawk, his one eye staring at the door to the office of Nashh Kadavr. His other eye, a white sphere now twitched in its socket as it too span round. He activated the retinal implant hidden inside, augmenting his vision with the heat signatures of both Dwaigon and Nashh in the office, exactly as they had been every time previous.

“C’mon, I have things to do” he exclaimed as he stomped back to the couch and flung himself down next to Mr Spaxi who only just moved his legs in time.

“What, exactly do you have to do?” Spaxi inquired.

“Things. Important things. I’m have projects”

“I thought you were just hounding an industrial corporation in a wormhole?”

“That’s an important thing to do. I’m training them in ship to ship combat.”

“Do they know they are being trained?”

“Good point, well presented, no.”

As Mr Spaxi was about to press further into the nature of Zephyrs ‘training’ program he was interrupted by the sound of the deadbolts sliding back from behind the office door. It flung open and Nashh strode out with an exhausted Dwaigon in tow. As Mr Spaxi started to puzzle why Dwaigons fingers were appeared to be coloured Nashh stopped in front of the assembled pirates.

“Well?” said Takeda Kashada “Da fuck did you call us in for?”

“Men, boys, Zephyr”

“Fuck you Nashh”

“We have an issue. Dwaigon informs me that Ithica has disappeared. It seems his ship was destroyed by and unknown force which then also destroyed his capsule. His mind was then diverted from its attempt to restore from his clone here in the medical bay and, instead, appeared to go to a station that doesn’t exist”

A group of puzzled faces looked back at him. He paused and then realised that a pause might invite questions. He continued quickly.

“Stations, as we know, have to exist in order to be used, therefore, we have a hidden station somewhere. Someone is hiding an entire station for some reason and that can only mean one thing: something worth hiding.”

The group of faces looked less puzzled now, some were starting to smirk greedily. Classic pirates, so easy to predict. A humanitarian mission would interest few of them but a chance to make bank? Well, that’s a different story.

“I propose we find Ithica, in doing so, we will find this hidden station. By finding the station we find whatever is worth hiding an entire station for. When we find that, we steal, destroy, kidnap, ransom or extort whatever it is we find.”

“And how do you suggest we start?” said a strong, quiet voice from the back. Nashh looked up to see Zimzat lounging on a chair with his feet up on top of the TV.

“Zimzat, my old friend” said Nashh, “Good to see you again. What brings you back here?”

“I got your broadcast. It sounded intriguing. Enough to warrant at least making an appearance. After all, you still owe me. Maybe if this goes well, you can settle your debt.”

“One step at a time. Lets find this station first and we’ll talk later”. Nashh and Zim locked eyes, neither willing to look away first.

“When you two have finished eye fucking each other maybe you can tell us where you expect us to start” said Known Associate. Glad of the excuse Nashh turned to face the assembled pirates once again.
“We believe the only way to hide a station these days is in a wormhole. I suggest you start there. Any questions, direct them to Dwaigon. I have an important thing to do.” With that, Nashh span on his heel and retreated into his office before Dwaigon could protest.

Advertisements
Standard
Fiction

Location unknown 01

“What the hell was that?!” exclaimed Ithica Hawk as he pulled himself from the rejuvenation tank. Wiping himself off he span around, arms thrown out in frustration to his waiting audience of… no one.

“One minute I’m… where the fuck is everyone?”. The pirate captain stomped over to the entrance of the medical bay and flung the door open. Suddenly aware of his distinct lack of clothing, Ithica sheepishly poked his head around the doorway. The corridor stretched away in a gentle curve limiting the view to maybe fifty meters. The other direction was much the same, brushed aluminium brightly lit by glowing panels on the wall. There were sleek doors, similar in style to the simplistic, industrial design of the walls. They appeared to be at regular intervals, recessed slightly from the corridor itself. Beside each door, at approximately where you would expect to find the handle, was a small screen glowing dimly. Exactly like every other medical facility in every other station he’d ever been in.

“um… hello?”, his voice didn’t even echo down the hall, it never did in these places. Slightly frustrated Ithica ducked back inside and flicked the door closed with his heel. The door slid shut with a pneumatic hiss, robbing him of a satisfying slam. Ithica sighed as he glanced around the medical bay, it seemed like any other medical bay he’d ever woken up in except for one thing: there were always people doing… stuff. Ithica didn’t pretend to understand the science behind the ‘coming back from the dead’ trick that capsuleers like him were able to perform. He just knew that it worked and there were people when he woke up. He presumed they were important to the process.
Leaning back against the cool metal he rested his head back and felt the low, ever-present hum emanating from the station. He had to admit it, he was a bit puzzled.

Usually reanimation was a standard affair. He’d wake up, angry with himself and whomever had managed to get that lucky shot off on his escape capsule. He’d stomp around the medical bay for a few minutes shouting at the poor staff who put up with his outbursts with that souless professional smile they have, all the while nodding sympathetically and uttering phrases like “Oh, how tragic”, “You were just unlucky” and “You’ll definitely get them next time”.
Ithica knew they didn’t give a shit but the ranting helped him cool off.

He’d never woken up to no one before. In fact, he was sure there was some law against this. Not that they where in a CONCORD enforced station but that was beside the point. Last time Ithica had woken up in a station within High Security space he’d had a hell of a time explaining to the local authorities that he wasn’t actually ‘the’ Ithica Hawk (feared pirate captain don’t you know) but actually just a relative who looked remarkably similar. The tattoos and bionic arm were, of course, purely a coincidence.
The eyes of the CONCORD official showed that he didn’t believe Ithica’s yarn in the slightest but a quick donation to the officials personal wallet made his voice, and paperwork, tell a different story. A couple of suspect papers later and Ithica was safely stowed away on a transport ship belonging to an ‘colleague’. Selene Silverblood was technically not a pirate, in the eyes of the law that is. The fact that she held a position of power within a feared pirate training school and supplied a number of such criminals with weapons, ammo and other nefarious items was bye-the-bye. She, personally, hadn’t committed any illegal activities within the realm of the omnipotent CONCORD and was, therefore, an upstanding citizen. Ithica was always sure money traded hands in order for the port authorities to look the other way but he had no proof and Selene would never admit to it anyway. Stubborn bitch. He liked Selene but ‘liking’ someone is a long way from ‘trusting’ them. He’d slept in the ammo hold, an illegal handheld blaster never more than an arms reach away.

That particular ‘outing’ had been arranged by Ithica’s boss and fellow feared pirate captain, Nashh Kadavr. He’d pulled a series of strings to ensure that Ithica would wake up with the authorities in close proximity. It was Nashh’s idea of a joke. He found the whole scenario simply hilarious when Ithica stumbled off the freighter stinking of oil from the cargohold. It had taken weeks to get rid of that smell.

Quickly checking his limbs were all where they were supposed to be and examining his features in the mirror Ithica had a thought, “Aura, which system am I in?”.
Aura, the artificial intelligence that all capsuleers had implanted when they gained the ability to rip death a new one, was usually useful with straightforward questions such as that. However he had an instinct that the answer would not be what he expected.

“Current location: unknown”

“Huh… well that’s new.”

—-

Pulling on the clothes from the medical bay, Ithica stepped cautiously out into the hallway.
He frowned, “what sort of feared pirate captain ‘steps cautiously'” he muttered under his breath.
He quickly slid back into the medical bay, making a show of checking the cupboards and drawers once more just incase anyone was actually watching before strolling out once more with a brazen swagger.
Immediately there was a problem: which way to go. Ithica hadn’t planned anything further yet but he couldn’t stop now. Plus it’s very hard to swagger brazenly on the spot. He spun to the right and set off down the corridor.

The first few doors he passed were either locked, and no one seemed to be inside to answer his persistent knocking, or they opened to empty medical bays exactly like his. All seemed to be in order, clean and empty as if they had never been used. There wasn’t even a layer of dust. He poked around the drawers and cupboards but all were either empty or had the same bland scrubs he himself was currently wearing.

“This is stupid. Nashh, you are stupid.” he exclaimed to no one in particular.

Ithica entertained himself with the imaginative ways he would get even with Nashh as he searched room after room of the facility. Perhaps he would remove the ammo from Nash’s weapons and replace them with fireworks. Just think how funny it would be when Nashh tried to ransom a passing merchant ship only to provide the amused sailors with wonderful display.

He was chuckling quietly to himself when the hairs on the back of Ithica’s neck suddenly stood up. Ithica had always prided himself on his instincts and, right now, they were telling him something wasn’t right. Freezing in the middle of the corridor his eyes darted around searching for anything out of the ordinary. His ears straining against the background hum.
His hand instinctively dropped to his hip for his sidearm but found nothing. Silently cursing the lack of his weapon he span round. The corridor was as empty as it had always been, the door control panels glowed softly in the bright artificial light of the hall.

A nervous chuckle escaped from Ithica as he backed against the wall, presenting a smaller target to whatever the perceived threat may be. His brain was telling him there is nothing there but his gut said otherwise. And his gut was not often wrong.

Ithica was starting to question his gut, perhaps it was just something he had eaten on his last patrol, when he heard it. A soft clicking sound. Every few seconds or so, yes, there it was again. So soft that he hadn’t continuously noticed it at first.

Without warning there was a sudden searing pain behind Ithica Hawks eyes. The captain dropped to his knees as the world went dark.

Standard