Author Topic: Paperchase  (Read 892 times)


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« on: May 09, 2013, 11:42:30 AM »
Raige Meson leaned back in the commander’s chair, putting his feet up on the command console in front of him. Once again he was alone on the bridge, well apart from the drunken, sleeping form of Jiny, laid out on the deck with her jacket as a pillow as was her habit.
Pulling himself out of his chair, Raige walked quietly over to where she was sprawled and picked up the bottle that was tipped onto its side next to her, taking a swig for himself before putting the cap back on and setting the bottle back down by her arm.
He slumped back into his chair, and gave himself a wry smile as the high grade alcohol began to warm through him. A lot had happened in the time since the attack by The Darkness, they had repaired the ship, evaded their alien pursuers, made and lost a fortune…two in fact. They had been to some amazing parties, committed acts of derring-do and come face to face with the most powerful person in the galaxy and no matter how much he thought about it, Raige still didn’t know why he didn’t try to shoot her…
With all that in mind though, they were in no better a position than they had ever been, wanted in more sectors, pursued by the Federation and possibly losing their safe havens but also having made some friends and allies.
But still they were free, still they had the Stiletto and still they could turn the future of the Federation one way or another. But still he didn’t know where best to apply their fulcrum to get the best effect, or even one that wouldn’t simply end in disaster.
They had even taken to some modest piracy so as to keep their ship flying, but it would need more than that to keep it maintained properly…and now they were charting a course into Sector 8 where, to a point in space that was off the ships charts all on the paper trail of the dangerously paranoid Kerr Avon.
He looked over at the bottle next to Jiny again, considering its merits.
They had been made an offer too, by the disgraced puppeteer that had so badly let Servalan down in her efforts to capture Blake. An offer perhaps just tempting enough for someone else to consider, but the puppeteer had misplayed his hand, misjudged his audience. No doubt he would claim to be lacking in essential data like they always do.
They wanted the ship and Caro back, in exchange for not actively hunting them…but like all offers from the Federation it wasn’t worth the air taken to make it. Raige had no doubt that within a week they would all be mindwiped and fed back into the grinder again, no doubt sat around some alternate Blind Spot wondering where their next red pill would come from. He sneered at the thought. That would be typical of the Federation and their sense of humour.
No. The ship had to remain theirs, and Caro was a free, thinking being. If Caro had been nothing but circuits and A.I. then it wouldn’t matter so much, but inside that plexiglass case and its winking lights was a living brain, another victim of the Federation, stripped of its identity and personality so it was just another weapon in their arsenal. To Raige, that made it one of the crew…
He had told the puppeteer as much, and told them they needed new identities that would see them unmolested in the Federation, a huge sum of cash to keep them comfortable and assurances they would be left to go free…in exchange of course they would stop being a thorn in the sides of the Federation.
He chuckled. It was a counter offer that was as likely to be accepted by the Federation, as was the Federations by them. Still, it kept them thinking. It kept Raige thinking too…
He rubbed his eyes and stood up again, walking back over to the bottle by Jiny so he could pick it up to take another drink. At least, he thought, taking the cap off the bottle as he looked down at her, he had gotten over that particular obsession, that had gone with many other fragments and errant thoughts after his encounter with the Darkness seemed to have resolved the patchwork that had been his mind.
As the warmth of the drink spread through him, he gave a smirk at the thought that followed... Not that he would turn her away if such a thing came to pass…
Claxons shattered his thought, making him drop the bottle as he scrambled back to his console, diving for the controls as collision warnings, target warnings and radiation alarms all screamed for his attention.
They had dropped out of hyperspace too close to the star in the system they had been heading for, his astrogation must have been out. Raige diverted all the ships power to changing course, hurling it away from the heart of the star they were now careering towards at near light speed. Worse still the system was awash with debris. Rocks, satellites, plasma clouds and solar flares, all of which had to be avoided as the ships inertial dampers failed to keep their own gravity even under the strain as the powerful, agile ship screamed round into an orbit over the nearby planet.
“We’re here”, he broadcast over the intercom…