Slowly I’m piecing together the body of work I have scattered over the Internet.
It’s fun to look back and see where my head was at in those days.
So here’s an 11 year old piece that of course… Was never finished.
24 Jan 2004
Location: Ringo Moon – The Clockwork Bitch
Infinity’s Edge: Prologue : Rask
Priest’s Pity 11:08:56 (Ship time)
The Bayamon was his pride & joy, it’d taken him just over a year to get it, legally… well almost. Bloody Teladi, making everyone switch to jezuras or whatever, he couldn’t care less; The Bayamon kept Boron time and that was the way he liked it. The spaceweed runs didn’t seem as long that way.
He’d show them, the Argon he had locked up at the base was nearly finished the next step, the one that would make him rich, he could buy
his own base and get someone else to bring his spaceweed.
It was getting risky now, the bounty on his head had increased to 10,000 creds, he wasn’t even sure the wife wouldn’t turn him in for it, he kicked the S.E.T.A. into high gear, no sense being out here longer than he had to.
His head hurt where the Paranid had implanted the chip, but this only made him smile, he’d found it by accident, it had been in a box under his bunk, in with all his grandfather’s things. It had been clearly Paranid in design but like nothing he had ever seen before.
That was when he had kidnapped the Argon Nutter, genius yes, but he didn’t need the weed to …well, it was irrelevant, over the past few months he had made a machine that churned out 50 per day. Yep the Argon was crazy but it worked, and the rest…
His thought train was interrupted by the Scanners going Haywire, he was under attack, probably some hotshot after the bounty,
“Oh so you want a fight, I’ll Give you a fight!” he roared into the comm,
The fighter looked Argon, certinally wasn’t police issue, the insignia was strange, a swamp crab with a broken infinity symbol above and it was all he could focus on as the second volley of shots killed his shields, he couldn’t turn fast enough to bring his guns on the other ship.
His engine shot to hell, the shields gone too, he bailed out, to hell with the space weed,
“Please don’t hurt me! Here take everything I own!” he whimpered as the comms ceased working.
All he could do was sit there helplessly in space while the fighter loomed over him. He thought he saw a moments hesitation on the face of the pilot, hard to tell with Argons, then the craft advanced on him, so he was to be scooped up and sold, that was ok, he could easily get out of the markets. He sighed, at least he’d see his 6 kids again, the little one really looked like him, he was sure it was his…
An odd sensation again interrupted him from his thoughts, his tentacles seemed to be extending of thier own accord it was then that his frazzled mind noticed the pain as he realised what was happening…
He was being compressed, all the mollecules in his body would be compressed to the size of a nostrop seed. As the pain increased he knew he was doomed, but instead of crying out in pain he simply smiled. The pain became too much for his consciousness to hold, Rask Ackabar was spared his final agonising moments as he passed on to the next plane of existence.
Priest’s Pity 20:42:16 (Ship time)
The life sign’s vanished from Junka’s scope, there safe and sound in the cargo bay, he’d drop him off at the next station. Quite why he’d had this sudden attack of conscience he wasn’t sure, maybe it was time to quit bounty hunting he thought as he grabbed his hand laser to go greet his ‘guest’. Sure the guy’d be pissed, but he was still alive, he should be grateful. Junka shrugged, strange, the computer wouldnt let him into the cargo bay, he pushed the button again, still it wouldn’t let him in.
Da Junka paled, the console read:
‘ ENTRY FORBIDDEN
SUBSPACE CARGO COMPRESSION … ACTIVE
CARGO BAY LIFE SUPPORT SYSTEMS … MODULE NOT FITTED’
He could hear his mates now; “you did WHAT??”; but none of it would help this poor sod now, mollecularly squished by the guy trying to rescue him after blowing him out of his ship.
Sometimes the universe had a perverse sense of humour.
Junka trudged back to the cockpit vowing to get life support installed in all his ships, and set a course for Argon Prime.
In a quiet storage unit on pirate base IDOYD-98 two thousand stasis tubes opened, the occupants all stepped out, shivering from the cold.
“IT WORKS!” they all cried as one, then looked confused as to where the noise had come from, as they realised what had happened they all smiled …
Ringo Moon, Asteroid XI304, The Clockwork Bitch.
CJ had bought the place cheap, and it was huge, that was the beauty of a hollowed out asteroid, you could sit practically on top of the police and they wouldn’t notice.
Well that had been his idea to start with, back in his wilder days. Now the place was where the elite hung out; the veterans, the gifted, the rich and those that were just plain lucky, yep they all ended up here.
There were two reasons for this:
Number one being the station’s bar; ‘The Clockwork Bitch’; named after his first ship, a Buster that seemed to be held together by hope and had been the reason for his being broke many times. The ship it’self had been ripped apart in the Xenon war and had been towed back, where in a fitting tribute it had been made into the entrance to the bar. It was here that you could find some of the more ‘Interesting’ jobs in this part of space, it kept the bar busy nearly 24 hours a day.
Number two being that two ‘Engineers’ had taken up residence and having bought some hangar space as a lab, and started producing some of the wildest modifications anyone had ever seen. Ultra high cargo compression, Engine mods that meant you didn’t need S.E.T.A. , and all manner of weirdness eminated from Stone’N’Slocket’s Chop Shop.
Life was good these days, at least it would be if it wasn’t for the recent Khaak Incursion. It as a thorn in the side of business all over the sector. So far it’d only made business better, everyone was coming to get ‘souped up’, ready to rain all hell down on the next one that appeared. And Stone had been missing for a few weeks now, not that it was unusual, just that he had also been out of contact, now that was unusual.
He had last been seen in the bar with a Boron, some pirate trying to sell him a chip for the price of Argon One,
“The Key it is” he’d said waving his tentacles wildly, nearly spilling his ‘fuel, after that they had left, no-one had seen him since.
Maybe he’d to fire up the Barracuda and go looking for the missing tech.
UNCC Command Meeting, Temporary Headquarters: The Clockwork Bitch
Admiral Acidic had pointed out the flaws in the Nova from it’s blueprints onward, now what had they done, the fools had dishonorably discharged him from the Argon Navy! For what? Pointing out that an unarmed freighter could outperform it? Surely they could see that?
No there had only been one course of action to be taken from that point onward, he would confiscate every last Nova in existence, then they would see that he was right.
The Universal Nova Capturing Confederation had been born that day.
6,492 Nova’s they had aquired since that day. Surely they could see the sheer futility of building the damned things by now. No… they had just slapped a Bounty on his head.
He surveyed the five faces round the table before roaring at them,
“Now who would like to tell me who left Two THOUSAND Novas where they could be stolen!” his face going purple.
The faces just stared blankly back at him, all damned good officers,
“Admiral they were taken from the equipment dock and shipyard in Ianamus Zura, they were being repaired after capture Sir. All happened at once Sir, nothing I could do. Before i could do anything there were two thousand sets of guns targeting the ‘Venture’. I only just made it.” Captain Quattro added, obviously fearing for his life.
“What do we have on the thieves?” Acidic hissed, his face returning to it’s usual beetroot red complexion.
“That’s the odd thing sir, it just doesn’t make sense. They were each piloted by a Boron, the scans showed clearly two thousand borons, but the id scans threw me…” the Captain hesitated,
“Spit it out Quattro! You are trying my patience”
“Well the id scans said the same person was piloting each craft, the really weird thing is he’s supposed to be dead. The bounty has already been collected, 10,000 credits paid to a Mr Da Junka for the death of Rask
“Bring him here, Mr Junka has some questions to answer!”
Cloudbase Southwest, Goner temple
Two Jazuras had passed since that fateful day, Junka had stopped in to the temple whenever he was in the system. Not that he was particularly religious, he just came to talk to one of the brothers about the ‘Incident’. Each time he would be told it was part of the greater plan, that the universe knew what it was doing.
Junka was skeptical, the universe wanted Rask to have been compressed? Still it made him feel better to talk to someone sympathetic.
His friends had been less so. He had told them in the bar the day after, and they had laughed till they almost passed out. Over the following Mazura’s they had nicknamed him ‘Squish’, made up ‘The Compression Song’, and generally poked fun at his sudden outbreak of morality.
‘The Compression Song’ had been heard being sung in various bars, and some fool had jazzed it up, released it commercially,and it was recieving requests by the thousand over the various radio comms stations.
He had become something of a celebrity, everyone knew the name Da Junka through that bloody song. People would say:
“Did you really compress that guy?” to which he would merely nod and head off to the nearest bar, and that would be a mistake because someone would recognise him and it’d start all over again.
If he could do it over again he’d just have passed by and not thought about the bounty.
Every day the credits rolled in from the 5% of the song he had been given by the courts when he’d tried to get it banned, they thought the cred’s would pacify him. Blood Money he thought, and he hated spending it.
The universe was a cruel place, so it didn’t come as any surprise when there was an official looking person standing outside his ship.
“Mr. Junka, you’ll need to accompany me, I have orders for your detention.”
Junka merely nodded and followed…
Chapter 2 : Stone
Pirate Base IDOYD-98, Priest’s Pity, Time Unknown.
The room was white, the lights hadn’t been turned off since he was imprisoned so time had no meaning here.
When he was tired he slept, when he was hungry the food dispenser shovelled out nourishment.
The equipment here was top of the range, which meant it was probably stolen.
Dee Stone would have been in heaven if he were not a prisoner.
Now he felt like the creator of hell.
The principle had been simple enough, Take a hydro-stasis unit, Bolt on a Nanotech Creation Engine and insert sample DNA, and grow something. The law said you could use one as an advanced med-unit; Stone had used it to create a major problem…
He’d met Rask Ackabar.
The Boron had in his tentacles one of the rarest objects in the Universe… an unused LooMankStrat Super Slave Chip. Obviously he had no use for it, Boron Physiology meant it was damn near impossible to put it anywhere in his body, but the possibility remained….
Rask had offered him the chance to study the chip, find it’s potential uses, that alone was worth risking his life for…
He should have seen it coming, Rask was after all a known Pirate.
Research had progressed steadily on the chip, Stone had no reason to leave the lab, he hadn’t wanted to leave the lab, so he hadn’t noticed the door being locked when Rask left.
It had taken about 6 mazuras before he had noticed that he was a prisoner, it had been the day of the first successful prototype. He’d only wanted to run out to the bar and drink himself under the table.
The unthinkable was within his grasp…
He’d needed a drink that day.
Rask had returned a few tazura’s later, to find an enraged prisoner instead of his ‘pet’ scientist.
A bloody Pirate… he should’ve known better…
Rask had watched over him like a Teladi looking after his credits since that day.
Work had continued…
This was where it had turned highly Illegal, Two Thousand stasis units had been moved to the adjoining storage bay, where Stone had carried out the modifications.
It had been nice to be in another room.
Now the tricky bit was reached; to create a ‘blank’ genetic clone capable of being any of the local species and implant one of the chips in each ‘Blank’.
Rask had promised him his freedom if he completed the task…
Stone had complied, Rask had gone to have the chip implanted by a Paranid expert who he didn’t need to stand over with a gun.
Stone was almost finished the final version of the program that would recieve the information to the ‘Blanks’.
The principal was simple enough, besides all the extra power of the original Paranid design, the chip would store a master copy of the DNA and record the synaptic patterns constantly.
Upon the subjects ‘death’ the chip would sense this, burst transmit all the information across the communication’s network where it would be filtered to an awaiting Blank, the Blank would then grow into the newly deceased, with all their memory intact.
Stone had spotted a glaring hole in his coding…
Before he could fix it the stasis units had all recieved the appropriate information…
Before he’d finished the final coding sequence Rask had died…
Of course Stone didn’t know this until he was faced with Two Thousand newly ressurected Rasks.
He’d needed a drink that day too…
He’d been unceremoniously dumped into one of the recently emptied stasis units, it’d filled up with oxegenated fluid and he’d been put in stasis. It was a strange feeling, most people were unconscious when they were put in, not Stone, wide awake and helpless in a transparent tube.
There was no way to tell how long he’d been in it, the frustrating thing was he couldn’t close his eyes.
Left alone with his thoughts Stone stood, immobile, in a see through tube, in a medium sized white room, in a Pirate Base, less than a hundred meters from the nearest bar…