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    Thread: Humanities Future

    1. #1
      TXU Sr. Member kevin398's Avatar
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      Default Humanities Future

      Humanities Future

      The far Future....circa 4230.

      After 2,000 years of researching and exploring, life in space is now a reality. Cities that both sit in one place and thrive, or travel from place to place, all happen daily.Domes shaped Cities made of the most transparent, and strongest materials ever created, travel space doing their work, from major educational facilities, to Capitols of commerce, they all have one thing in common...they are owned and operated by someone...many times what used to be called Corporations, now only groups with a common name, and what was once governments on land, now families in space.

      The only land they need is what their ships contain, and resources abound in space, so getting anything to operate a business is as easy as moving to another location. The Golden Age of Government is at hand, with each and every Family capable of building and running a City can be the Rulers there, and each City becomes a State on it own merits, selling goods, and buying from others, so the land grabs of the previous centuries are long gone now, and the rich are now the rulers of their own small Kingdoms , while no one would ever say such a thing right out loud.

      During this time many people with conflicting ideals still exist, and by now Humanity agrees, as one, that they always will. There are still enemies to deal with, and pirates and military dictators that never seem to own enough ships or cities to make them happy, and even a few perfectionists, that turn their backs on Society as a whole, saying that people don’t deserve their help or attention, because Humans in general are not capable of acting like respectable people and so little Utopias exist (to those that believe in them) and try their best to stay hidden or just out of arms reach of the fools they despise.

      Some are so good at it their names have become Legends,and when they do show their faces, things change, mostly for the better.These are the Elites, and they are well known across the galaxy. Where their bases are is never known for sure, and they travel to keep it that way. But when something bad is happening, or about to, its not impossible for them to appear, do a job, then disappear again.They seek not wealth for helping, or fame outside of the deed itself. But they make a difference, or hope to,and for some thats the real Legend right there.


      Chapter 1: Home


      Carl made his scheduled stop at the Industrial Station and had his cargo unloaded and paid for. His freighter was OK’d for departure, and he left and set a course back home. He followed standard procedures and jumped away from the station, then stopped in dead space and activated the security protocols. In seconds drone of all sizes from human sized maintenence drones to microscopic security drones flooded the ship, and soon discovered the devices hidden there by the station. It was a pain being from a Hidden City, their ships were unmarked and unknown, and while people always welcomed them,they were watched carefully,and often followed.

      “Damn it to Hell...” Carl said to himself as one was found, and after a few minutes it disappeared, absorbed by the ship itself, and its constituent parts became food for the Replicator or repair systems. Now the ship showed as clean and he turned again and jumped... and then again... and soon got the call as his Grandmother, the head of the Family, smiled and asked if he got the job done, and Carl smiled wide and agreed.

      “ 1.32 million Galactic credits..” he said all smiles, as she left out a long sigh, and his face fell.

      “Didn’t John tell you..nothing less than 2 million credits? Honestly, what am I going to do with you Carl...” She declared as he demanded the man at the station said... and she nodded to hear it all again. “That man is a professional businessman, something you’re supposed to be training to be. He took advantage of you and made a huge profit, and is probably laughing at you right this very minute.” She explained, shaking her finger at the screen, as Carl growled and said he’d go back and kick his ass then, as she just shook her head no, and demanded he come home.

      “Let this be a lesson to you...again...” she said softly as Carl looked sad that he had done it to the Family again. His skills were in piloting and hand to hand combat, but his Grandmother forced him to do business stuff, even when some of his brothers and cousins were much better suited for it. “Dock and get some rest, then come to the business meeting tomorrow morning just as planned.” she said as he asked if he had to, and she laughed and agreed saying he had to face his own shortcomings, and he nodded and closed the link.

      He docked and left the ship, looking very sad and tired, and even without asking a few that saw him had some idea what was happening.

      “Why does she make him do that stuff, its obvious he’s no good at it.” One might ask, as some just shrugged, and an older man smiled as they wondered why.

      “Its BECAUSE he’s no good at it...even he has to learn sooner or later.” He said as many chuckled and one mentioned that his failures ran them short for the month though, and the older man agreed, seeing that, that load took a weeks work to mine... and he could only guess what had happened on delivery.

      At the meeting the next day everyone sat waiting for the weekly report and when it came many were saddened and Carl refused to look a few in the face, as his Grandmother announced their weekly profits, and everyone knew why it had dropped substantially from her previous estimates.

      “Don’t go off half cocked...” She demanded as some just smiled,” if its anyones fault its mine, so let that be the end of it!” She demanded and seeing her standing up for him made Carl feel even worse.

      The meeting ended, and they all went their own ways, and Carl and his brother John walked along as Carl explained what happened... and John just shook his head at his brothers naivety.

      “I’ve told you, everyone needs to make a living, so people will purposely lie to you to make more money. Its a game, Carl and you need to learn to play it better.” John mentioned as Carl agreed he was no good at this game at all.

      While that was going on Grandmother Clare was getting news that she really, really wasn’t happy about.

      “Charles and Carey are...dead?” She asked as the person on the other end agreed, sadly.” How could this happen, we had deals with them, and we were in charge of security at their City?” she asked as the person said that none of their security people could be reached, and she saw that it was a well oiled plan from the beginning.

      “What about their children...James and Christina?” She asked as she was told they were away at school, and she nodded and smiled that they were alright at least. “They will be rushing home to see what happened, they need protected.” She said as the other person agreed.

      “I’ll send someone else, you get me all the info about whats going on and why.” She demanded and closed the link. And set a plan into action that would help protect her old friends children, and a great ally they had had for many years now.

      She knew right away what needed done,and she called a meeting to set it in motion. She called Carl in, while he was not the best negotiator they had, when it came to flying fighters and hand to hand, he was one of the best.

      “Carl will be set adrift in their path,” She explained as she showed the route their ship would take to get the kids back to their home city.”The beacon will show them right where it is and once on board, Carl will make sure he stays close to them and watches over them, because if their parents were murdered, then the kids are next in line to own the city, and we have a good idea who is behind this.” She said as another picture came up.

      “Juan Carlos, Charles’s brother and Uncle to the Carlos children. He’s been after them to militarize for years, and they refused every time. Now it seems he’s making his move to take over the City.Once he’s in power then he’ll have the right to change anything he wants, and our last security person on board says he’s set himself up as leader while the kids are away. Even demanding they stay in school until they graduate,and by then, there will be no home to return to.” She added as Carl nodded, looking at the man’s face. To him the guy didn’t look trustworthy at all, and he couldn’t see why anyone would let him into a position of power.

      “The word has gotten to the school, and a ship is taking them home even now. We’ll send Carl to this position... here... and he’ll wait in his pod until they get in range. Once they pick him up then he will see whats really going on and maybe help protect the children until something can be done about Juan.” She said as everyone agreed.

      “One more thing...they must never know who you really are... or why you are there, so this is an intelligence mission, got that?” She demanded as Carl happily nodded agreement.

      “What if they don’t stop to pick me up? The pod only has 6 hours of life support at a time.” Carl asked as many chuckled. it was Galactic standard to stop to help anyone in distress, but many there smiled and said he had always been the kind and trusting type up until now.

      “Just trust them to do it, thats what you do isn’t it?” one man said as Carl nodded it was true, and even his Grandmother saw that this would strain his own beliefs a bit, and she smiled as he took a hit to the forehead for looks, and he was placed right where they coudln’t possibly miss him.


    2. #2
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      Chapter 2: Just as Planned..Almost


      Carl got picked up just as planned and, as planned, he faked amnesia to the surprise of everyone there.

      “It must have been the trauma of the attack.” One man said as Carl nodded sadly, and everyone on board heard the news, and Carl was added to the guests list and went to sit with the others until they made it to their destination.

      He noticed James sitting there but as hard as he might, he coudln’t see Chris at all. So he smiled and sat down next to James, and he asked him if he was alright after the terrible attack that... obviously... left him this way.

      “I’m Carl...I think...” Carl said and chuckled as they both laughed, at least he was handling it well, and that would help his rehabilitation later on.

      “I’m James,and we’re on our way to my City, once we’re there I’ll see you get the best medical care, I promise.” he said as Carl smiled and agreed, saying with a little rest and good food his memories might return, and they both sat back for a while as the ship ran on.”My parents had a terrible accident this past week and my uncle took control until I can return, so everything should be fine when we get there.” James added softly and even Carl could see that he wasn’t really sure himself.

      But since Carl knew for a fact no such ‘accident’ had happened, he was pretty sure what was going to happen next. Once they docked a team of men ran in, guns drawn, and demanded to see James,and Carl mentioned maybe he better hide, as the ships security tried to stop them, but failed.

      James slid down behind his seat and Carl made a dash for the door connecting them to the command center and as one man ran in,looking everywhere, Carl decked him in a second, to the amazement of everyone there. He then took the mans gun and ran forward, and after seeing two other men manhandling some passengers looking for James, he stunned them both, and left them to wait until he had more time worry further about what to do with them.

      “Get the ship away from the docks right now, we’re under attack!” he demanded on the intercom, as the pilot agreed and the airlock seal was broken before anyone else could get on board. They turned on a dime and started back to the school, as calls came in demanding they come back and give up the young Carlos, and the pilot said it was his responsibility to see his passengers got safely to their destinations,and this City most certainly wasn’t one of them. As he went to emergency jump, and left the system before fighters could be dispatched.

      Now Carl went back into his act and was taken back to his seat, as James looked at him with wonder in his eyes.

      “I guess...I was a military pilot..?” Carl asked as many there nodded agreement and James decided he had found a friend for life.


      The call went out and a military patrol joined them and escorted them back to the Scholastic City. Once docked, everyone was asked over and over what happened and James left them know that they were looking for him, but only a few brave souls helped have his life,and so the questions stopped with the realization that a Family City was in peril, and that a civil war might be upon them.

      Carl was led away for some serious talks and a thorough examination, and after a while he reappeared...as a student at the school. His classes seemed to overlap a lot with either James’s or Christina’s, and no one thought that odd in the least. He got a private dorm room and a part time job...to help cover his expenses they said...as school security, and he was seen walking along with his fine new uniform on, as many there smiled wide that this odd young man had shown up so quickly, and was doing so well.

      He sat in class daily, and watched the Carlos children out of the corner of his eyes, as many there asked him a million questions about his past, and his apparent amnesia made telling them anything impossible,and many saw that as mysterious,and exciting,and he got a reputation as a nice guy with a mysterious past,and a few girls there started watching him too, since he was a new face, and not a bad looking one at that.

      “Did you hear? Carl saved everyone on that Liner from an attack by terrorists! Isn’t he dreamy?” The girls were saying when no one was around, and Carl saw his chances at being seen with a pretty young thing go up a bit, as did his chances at being wherever the Carlos kids were at any one time. James agreed Carl was a wonder, just when he needed one,and even said that if he never remembered his past James would see he had a job for life, and many there thought that was only right,and James’s reputation went up too and he smiled and waved to his many friends as they went through their day.

      But Juan wasn’t having a very good week at all. His plan to settle the problem of his brothers children in one fail swoop had failed, and now a pair of heirs were out there, and his job as Regent was in jeopardy. So long as they weren’t allowed access to the City, he was in charge, but once they graduated then they would return... and that would be the end of his job... and his ambitions.

      Even the military got into the act, demanding to meet with him and investigate the disappearance of his brother and sister in law. But Juan said he had started a deep and thorough investigation already, and he’d share all his findings with them when it was finished.They seemed happy with that, for now, and he sat back thinking they really didn’t want to get involved anyways. One small City Sate more or less wasn’t going to hurt the economy a bit, and so they wouldn’t step in unless something very serious happened and he was in charge of what they would see or hear, so he felt happy about that, and sure that his position was secure for the time being.
      Meanwhile Carl got a call from home and took it while all alone after classes. His Grandmother smiled a lot, and said they got permission for him to have a ship there, and she gave him his docking numbers and permit. He thanked her saying it was hard to keep them safe inside the school if enough pressure was put on them here. Juan might pay to have them assassinated, or kidnaped, and if they followed their carefully laid out schedule, then it would be easy to snatch them up at anyones convenience.

      “This will give me options...” He said as she agreed and the link went down. He went to see his new ship and was surprised and impressed to see a Luxury Shuttle sitting there, and his face lit up at the sight. They were used many times for long range escorting of important people. They had rooms on board and small weapons mounted in turrets that auto targeted for defense.With enough supplies on board a person or persons could live in one for weeks, and he saw that as an option if things got too noisy here.

      He went on board and checked it out. It was made for a small crew, but he knew alone he could pilot it, and that was all that was necessary.He took it out for a spin and after deciding it handled pretty well, he returned and made sure some food and medical supplies were on board, and then set the security and left again for a while.

      Now he had the means, but he wanted more. He went to the library and while everyone thought he was studying there, he was looking for lost or damaged stations ,mines, or cities that were considered lost or just scrap. In the thousand years since they started being built, many still existed, and since rust can not occur in the vacuum of space, only physical damage made any difference, and he wrote down the coordinates of a few that were not too far away, and made a emergency plan to escape there if needed.

      Of course he needed to make sure they had some accommodations that still worked, like a docking area for the ship, and maybe emergency power, so he waited and went searching on his day off from school, and to make it look legit with the Family, he offered to show James his new ship, and he was glad to go along and gush about how nice it was, as they flew along looking at old wrecks and stations barely hanging onto their orbits.


      Chapter 3: Surprise and Sadness



      After a couple hours they were looking at a small orbiting station that still had some emergency lights and auto beacons on it, to keep it from being run into by passing ships that were on auto, or pilots not paying attention.

      “It has a decent docking port,” Carl said after the scan, and James nodded he understood.”but I’m not sure, in an emergency it’ll work, but its very precariously orbiting the planet. Scans show it has no life support equipment at all, parts were probably stolen by salvagers ages ago.I’ll put it on the list but I just dont like it.” he said as James still didn’t know for sure why they were doing this, but it beat sitting around the dorms on a day off.

      “And... why are we riding around looking at old scrap again?” James finally asked, as Carl stammered for a reason and finally found one.

      “I got a part time job as security, and with the problems you and a few others might be having, I thought an emergency escape plan might be in order.” he said as James smiled and nodded, saying he didn’t know anyone else was having Family problems, as Carl waved the idea away, saying people always have problems, and some are too embarrassed to admit it, and James nodded sadly, and said he knew how they felt, and Carl just smiled and was glad that James was as trusting and nieve as he was.

      “With the possibility of war to get back some Cities that were wrongfully stolen, people like you and Christina are a target for assassins or terrorists. People in deep trouble will pay huge amounts of money to make their troubles go away.” Carl mentioned as James admitted that might be true.

      “That reminds me, why does Christina always look so upset? I thought it was about your uncle, but some of her friends say she’s always like that.” Carl mentioned as they flew to the next place.

      “My sister was born pissed off at the entire universe, its just who she is,” James said with a sigh, as Carl looked a little surprised to hear it. James was easy going to a fault, but Chris was the exact opposite, so maybe it made some sense somewhere. “Since we were little kids, she’s always been in a foul mood. Mother made every attempt to find out why, but she just walked away saying it was nothing to worry about.Mom finally gave up after a dozen tries, and Chris has been that way ever since.” he admitted as Carl just smiled and shook his head. James had his job cut out for him, thats for sure.Being the older brother he had to learn to control his City, and with Chris as his partner it would be hard to do. Now if he was smart, then some jobs fit her perfectly, like contract negotiations. Sitting across the table from THAT would definitely have an effect.

      “Here we are,” Carl said as they slipped back into normal space and as they approached... a smaller City sat there... resting against some very large asteroids, and even from a distance it was easy to see one panel of the dome was knocked loose and hanging precariously inside the frame.

      “A City State thats abandoned?” James asked looking surprised, as Carl just laughed.

      “More like an old prototype thats been discarded.” Carl said as they moved in closer. It was small in comparison to others they had seen. The newer more advanced styles were a standard size, sort of egg-shaped at 5 miles wide and 10 miles long. This one was much smaller, maybe half that, and Carl read the information the scanner got when they checked it.”Model 007, first style with running water from a small 5 acre lake. Its 500 feet tall inside and has a capacity for just over 3000 people. Not a City State at all, more like a small town.” Carl said and even he was surprised.

      “Might be a cosy little place if it were fixed up a bit.” James mentioned, as Carl laughed and asked if he had any idea what it would cost to repair something this old, and James laughed too, but admitted that he was surprised someone hadn’t by now.”With people willing to kill for their own City, to see this sitting out here just made me wonder, thats all.” James added as Carl nodded he understood.

      “According to records, there are 20 like this, drifting all over space until they crash into a sun or planet somewhere.” Carl mentioned as James looked surprised.

      The interior layout was more like a tourist attraction than a real City. There were a few hills along the one side and some were 200 feet tall and Carl laughed saying if it were repaired and run at 25-30 degrees F, it could become a ski resort, and James thought that was a great idea, as Carl just laughed it off.

      “Computer what does it need for emergency repairs?” Carl asked as scan after scan was run and Carl told James not to be too surprised when it was done, and when the computer finished HE was the surprised one. “For emergency repairs, dome repairs, then electrical repairs, water needs replaced, a minimum of 3 million gallons to start, Main docking areas are secure and only needs electricity restored. Just repairs themselves equals cost of...3.5 million Galactic credits.”

      “Then why is it still sitting here? Thats a steal for someone to own their own City.” Carl mentioned as the computer said it had been a prototype for a new, smaller personal habitat and the corporation that built it went out of business when it became wrecked and refused to fix it.”What about salvage rights?” he asked as he was told that it just now became eligible for salvage, in the past 10 years, since no one from the Corporation had ever returned to claim it and the last of them had all died off just recently.

      Carl sat back and smiled wider than before and James waited to see what he would do now.

      “Computer, what will it cost to claim it as salvage or for repairs and put it into my name?” he asked as James nearly screamed, as he started to laugh.

      “ Registration and Claim Forms, 100,000 Galactic Credits.” She said as Carl thought hard. He had been working for the Family for a while now and he had it, but once he owned the thing what would he do then? “Do it...” Carl finally decided, as James slapped him on the back and said now he owned a City too, and Carl laughed and waved to the window as they looked out at it sitting there.

      “THAT...is not a City by a long shot... and it might take me the rest of my life to repair it, but I like fixing up old things...I think..” he said almost forgetting who he was talking to,but it was true. He started as a kid and still had several old ships he restored back home, and this was going to be his biggest restoration yet...if he ever finished it.

      “Commissioner Jacobs on the link sir...” The computer said as Carl answered it, and the man looked very oddly at him and asked if he was sure, and Carl agreed.”We were going to sell it for scrap this year, now that its come due, but this fixes that problem for us.Welcome to the owners list of City States young man. The deal is done.” And Carl got a new link to his official papers and he had them memorized and made part of his personal files, and he sat back looking at the big thing in shock, and wondering why he ever thought he could fix this up.

      “Congratulations,Mayor ...what is your last name anyways, I didn’t see it on the papers?” James asked as Carl smiled and said..’I don’t remember’...and James just left it go... again.


    3. #3
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      Chapter 4: Fix one Problem at a Time


      James sat back looking very satisfied right now, and he asked Carl for his coms unit and he handed it to him without thinking.

      “Just as I thought, you’re nearly broke now, that 100,000 was nearly all you had.” he said as Carl nearly grabbed it back, and James typed a little on it and then his, and handed it back, and now Carl had 256,000 credits in his account, and he was never more happy that he had removed his last name, since he had ‘amnesia’ now, and the bank manager had allowed it.

      “James no, you cant do that, you’ll need every credit for legal fees before this fight is over.” Carl insisted as James left him know that the very first settlement they offered him was a dozen times bigger than that.”You’re going to settle? I thought you wanted the City back?” Carl asked as James looked tired and smiled weakly.

      “To avoid a war... we might settle it. Christina said she doesn’t care, she wont live there now that mom and dad are dead, and if we get a settlement that lets us live the way we want the rest of our lives...why not?” James asked as Carl agreed,and figured that maybe his job wasn’t going to be too hard after all. “Besides, you did save my life... so this... is for that.” James mentioned as Carl finally just agreed.

      “That might let you get started anyways, maybe get a few rechargeable drones for maintenence and get them running, that will slowly help.” he said as Carl agreed. Thats exactly how it would be done, just like when they were made, using drones and robots to work around the clock until it was finished. The only thing he’d need right away was power, and his scans showed no fuel rods for the reactor on board, they were generic and cheap, and that would be his first step towards a new life on his own.

      They went back to the school and James laughed and said he’d keep this a secret until Carl allowed it, and he got thanked for it. But he knew that he couldn’t keep something this big a secret from everyone, and when he got out of the shower a call was waiting, and he smiled and took it.

      “Yes...Grandmother?” He asked as she gave him a really odd look and asked if it was really true, and he just laughed.”I always liked fixing up old things, remember?” he asked as she admitted he did.

      “But your own City State? Thats too big a project for one man.” She announced as he just smiled and said he had a lot of friends, and some people that owed him favors too, and she smiled and agreed that might help a little.

      “Model 007...so old its a single number... so small that its barely a town, not a City State at all.” he announced as she quickly looked it up and sat there nodding.”Computer says: 3.5 million for emergency repairs, but with a little help... I can do it for a fraction of that.” he added as she asked about his REAL job, and he laughed and said that James and Christina were considering taking a settlement, and so no wars or assassins need be involved.

      “Well...” She said thinking seriously,” I guess that might help. But we’ll keep a close eye on them to make sure, so no slacking off.” She said as he agreed and the link went down and she sat there smiling and shaking her head. He was a serious troublemaker for sure...his own City...well, if anyone could do it he just might, and she left it slip what he was doing, and then left things happen on their own.

      She called maintenence and had a team go look, and when he wasn’t around a few drones got dropped off. Not the newest or best, but for basic repairs they got the job done, and a small generator for them to self- recharge on, and Carl saw it the next time he came and knew his favors were starting to pay off, as some wrecked panels got repaired and replaced and the docking area started looking better and more usable.

      Since that was happening, he walked in, in his space suit, and loaded some fuel rods into the reactor that had originally run the City. It needed set up properly and after a little cheat, by jumping a small amount of power from the generator that magically appeared, the reactor started again. So he set it to idle, and that brought many emergency lights on and gravity back at the lowest settings, and even then he could here crashing, as things that had been floating inside for ages dropped back to the ground in an instant.

      Now back to the school for a few days as more work could be done now that gravity was back on, and when everything looked fine at school, back out there to drop off two brand new maintenence bots and set them to begin repairs to the dome, with his and the few that he got help from it just might work, and a week later he saw that the large panel was slowly getting moved back into place. Once again a few more drones dropped off and by the end of the school year, there was life support again for the first time in ages.

      “So...its working, Thats great.” James whispered as Carl agreed and James never stopped asking if he remembered anything else, and Carl would sadly say no he didn’t, and they’d both look sad.”I have a meeting tomorrow with an agent of my uncles with another settlement offer. If it goes up as much as the last one, we decided to take it.” he whispered as Carl nodded saying it might be for the best.

      “I was going to offer you a job for life after saving me that day, but with this new deal of yours, you might be offering me one instead.” James said as they both laughed and Carl said it might make a passable retirement facility when he was done, and James said he’d keep that in mind.

      Juan Carlos was having a meeting too, with his Chief Negotiator, who wasn’t at all happy the way things were going.

      “You’re avoiding a war...one where the Security Council of the Galaxy might well get involved...so making sure they take a deal is far,far better than fighting over it.” he mentioned as Juan demanded that he would not be blackmailed into giving up his fortune, wither he got it honestly or not.

      “Sir...the City has a gross income over 100 million a month, you aren’t giving away anything at all.” He announced as Juan asked him who HE was working for, and the man looked sorry he took the job.

      “20 million is my final offer...take it or leave it!” He demanded as the man nodded agreement and left for the meeting, and Juan sat back thinking his plans for turning the City into a military powerhouse were well underway, and he’d need every cent to make it happen before anyone decided to stop him.

      The meeting started with the two negotiators and James sitting there in the back ground. His man said they would be happy to sell out their interest in the City, for a fair settlement, and the other man nodded sadly and they both knew this one would not be it.

      “ 20 million...one time offer...take it or leave it.” he said softly as the other man looked sad and closed his computer and got up to leave, as James cleared his throat and the man tried to stop him from talking.

      “ 10 million...” He said loudly as his negotiator looked faint,” every MONTH... and its a deal.” he said as the man turned to the other and waited, and after a minute he asked for time and got it. He sat there softly tapping away so no one could hear what he was saying and after a LONG time working the deal they agreed...on 8...and it was signed on the spot. It seemed that Juan Carlos liked having people relying on him. It made him feel even more powerful... and lets face it...he’d drag his feet on every payment. But the deal was done and the first payment sent, and James knew enough to have his half split off from the main account, since Christina had waited a long time for this and he saw a rabid shopping spree coming, and he wanted his hid safely away first.

      He made a deal with the bank and every month the deposit went into their joint account, and from there his got sent to his private account immediately. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust his sister, he knew exactly what she was capable of. But she never saved for anything, and never worried where her next meal, or fine outfit, would come from. But he was a realist, and so he wanted proof that he wouldn’t be out on the street when he graduated, and she just assumed she’d always be taken care of.


      Chapter 5: Planning Ahead


      Juan knew they would get a lot more than he had hoped this way, but it wasn’t all at once, and you better believe he was going to cheat them at every opportunity. He had someone ready with a hundred excuses every time, and he smiled when they got away with it once or twice. It was now a game, and he loved games.

      Graduation came and with it James and Christina were now adults and on their own. Carl was still there, of course and never ‘regained’ his memories a bit, to the sadness of his many friends. But all went well. The Carlos kids got a nice settlement and every month more came in. James saved as much as he could, knowing he’d use some some day and he wanted a secure future. But Chris went through it like water through her fingers, and more often than not was standing in front of James with her hand out before the first of the month, and after a while he started to refuse her.

      “You never learned to live like a normal person.” he commented as she threw her head back and got her nose in the air.

      “I’m NOT a normal person, I’m a Princess or did you forget?” She asked as he reminded her it was only symbolic, because when they settled the estate they lost all right to use any titles, as she loudly refused.”I have certain standards I live by, and now that I’m an adult my fans and friends demand more from me.” She hinted as he sighed and nodded agreement.

      “They take advantage of you at every turn, You’re such an easy mark, every con man or woman in the system knows you well.” he hinted as she demanded it wasn’t true and he demanded it was, as she looked shocked.

      “You want proof? Go out there and tell those fools that are waiting on you even now, that there’s a problem at the bank, and you wont have any more money for a month, and see how many stand by you until then.” he demanded and waved her away, as he went back to watching his Market Account and she saw she wasn’t getting free money today. But he gave her an excuse to use, and she walked out of his office to a crowd of people that were waiting and told them just what James had said, and 2/3 of them walked away grumbling, and a few others stayed, to laugh at her for saying she controlled James, and his money.

      “What a fool...” She heard someone whisper as many others slowly walked away, and she found herself standing with 2 other young women and she asked if they were going to abandon her too.

      “Come on, I’ll buy you a coffee,” One girl said laughing, as Chris looked sad and agreed.They went to their favorite little place and she asked if they thought she was nieve, and they both agreed.”we’ve been friends since way before you had money, and we’ll stay friends even when you’re broke.” She heard and hearing it, made her feel a little better.

      “Next time, my teat,” The other girl said as Christina nearly cried that she had to rely on anyone else, and they saw it right away.” we’ve gotten many great things from you Chris, and I saved them and told my Mother they were gifts from a friend. If you ever need money I’ll give them back, and you can sell them if you like.” She added holding Chris’s hand as she thanked them but even now she didn’t ask for anything back.

      “I’ll be OK again in a few weeks, then things will get back to normal around here.” Chris added as the girls just laughed and asked if she would ever grow up, and she looked shocked.

      “Do like James does, budget yourself, save maybe half every month for emergencies. Then at times like this you wont be broke, and for Gods sake don’t try and buy things for everyone. Only the criminals out there want that, we just want to be friends.” She said as Chris teared up a bit and for the first time she saw what James had meant. Out of 20 people that followed her everywhere, she really only had 2 true friends and she declared right then to change, as they rolled their eyes and nodded...they had heard it all before.

      Meanwhile, Carl was doing a little better. With life support on in the base, he found that the computer system was ancient...no surprise...the system there was big and bulky and slower than his personal coms device, which made him laugh. He brought in a generic computer bought at any electronics store, and it had 3 times the speed and 10 times the storage of the old one at a small cost. He then sold the older model to a collector, and it was the first time he had actually made a profit on his investment.

      In his years of work with the Family he saved a few things from being scrapped. One medium fighter that now patrolled around his base, and a smaller freighter, with 2500 cargo units in size, less than half the newer models, but it was in good shape now, and docked here at his base also. He paid 25,000 credits for a new mining beam and after a lot of work, the computer announced the City was ready to move, and he stood there in the control room looking a little worried, as he laid in a course that got them away from the large asteroids that twisted and turned precariously nearby and out into the system where another, smaller asteroid field awaited.

      It was carefully done and slow, it was a City after all, and nearly out of fuel for the engines too. It ran on Hydrogen Fuel and that, normally, came from the water supply, something they didn’t even have now. So instead of moving at a decent rate, it had to consider all options, and slowly the big thing crossed millions of miles of space, at a speed just a tad faster than the rocks it passed. But it made it there in a day, and as Carl saw the white/blue rocks scattered ahead he smiled and ordered stop, and after a few minutes it was sitting along side many smaller asteroids and his ship went out to begin bringing in the millions of gallons of water that the lake, and water system would require.

      “So...it moves now...” His Grandmother said, as her intelligence man said it did... barely... as she just laughed.”He’s put every credit into that old place for months now, even his salary from me. I can see a stubborn young Mayor appearing where a lazy little twit once stood, and thats not a bad thing at all.” She announced as everyone at the meeting laughed and a few cheered for him, and she thanked anyone who helped him even a little, for their support of a friend.

      “About 1/3 of the rocks in that new belt are ice asteroids of varying size...” She heard as she waited for more,” In a few weeks he’ll have water... and with that, fuel... on board. Its a big thing now that it can be moved from area to area.”


      “Does anyone know what he really plans to do with it?” She asked as one person said that Carl had laughed about making it a vacation retreat, and she laughed too, saying it might be interesting to see what he comes up with, and the meeting was adjourned and two new robots appeared like magic on the docking bay floor a few days later.

      Pipes were checked and nozzles cleaned and filters cleaned or changed. Carl was broke, or nearly so, but his little towers were gleaming in the sun as it reflected off the metal and glass that made them. It was like an ancient city from the past, all metal and glass and small support buildings around the edges with one larger ,taller tower in the middle.But it was his and paid for, and even now there was a tiny puddle starting to form in the middle of the lake, after many,many ships full of ice had been dropped through the outer wall by the tubes that unloaded the freighter each time.

      Since the Carlos twins had settled their estate with their uncle Carl was now just a friend, and to this day no one had asked again what his last name was, just thinking that he would never know. But some businesses knew, and people that had worked with his Grandmother or Family in the past knew too, and kept it a secret under old agreements that had been around for many years. So Carl just smiled and figured that it would come out soon enough, since he was getting ready to announce the City to the galaxy.

      He was watching over the first time the fuel recycling system had restarted working, and with a few bugs to work out, it was doing OK. Now he’d not have to worry about fuel, but the lake had to have 4 feet of water in it just to reach the nozzles, and it just now got that. But today the fuel gauge moved, probably for the first time in a very long time, and the computer scans showed no leaks and he was thrilled to see it.

      He heard a beep, and turned to see a small craft approaching, and he left them dock and unload their wares. Food and a few medical supplies that he would need later... another 10k spent... but now he could live here too, and his apartment was set up even now and the replicators and cooking devices were all online, and any repairs were done. Now he could tell the galaxy he was in business, whatever that might be later on, and his friend would get a real shock. Since the announcement would be the first time anyone had heard the new, registered name of his city... or his last name... since they had met him.


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      WEEKEND EDITION

      Chapter 6: Coming Out


      As work got done, Carl felt ready, knowing he had his own place now and that many people would be shocked, including his Grandmother when she heard the new name. He called a news conference and after a second or two for pictures, he announced the opening of his City, a small, and old fashioned place for people to go to relax, and be with Nature. It had a 5 acre lake, still filling, and some trees and grass and soon he’d make up his mind about other things, and they all nodded and smiled wide for him.

      “I own the City myself and will be the Mayor here, and it will be advertised as a vacation resort, but remember... this is all new to me...so be kind.” he said as many laughed and one asked the new name...officially...and he smiled wider still.

      “My name is Carl Pendragon...and my City is...Avalon.” He said seriously as many stopped short and even his Grandmother looked ready to faint. It was a name from the far distant past, and a name that matched theirs absolutely, and with some good reason, if Legend was to be believed. But to call it out on galaxy wide news was a shock even to her...and she knew only he would have the nerve to do that.

      “ P..p..p..pen...dragon?” Christina stuttered as many people with her weren’t much better.”THE Pendragons?? Owners of their own City State called the Hidden City? What the Hell was he doing acting all wounded and having amnesia for all those weeks, and why didn’t he tell even US?” She demanded as James just smiled and nodded, and said it was because he was a Pendragon that he came, and he didn’t ask for anything but friends, just as it should have been.

      “He came to protect us...like his Family has done for others in the past...” James added as she looked surprised, and Carl’s reputation went through the roof.”And now, I can tell everyone about his City...Avalon...because he made the official announcement.” he said as Chris asked when he knew, and that took some time to explain, as a crowd gathered to hear, and everyone was just as shocked as Christina was.

      “He took an old wreck and made a Traveling City out of it? That must have cost millions.” One young woman said as one young engineering student said closer to billions, and James just smiled and left them guess.

      “But...as a Pendragon... he must be insanely wealthy.” Christina said as many agreed, and James bit his lip to keep silent.”Maybe..." she started, as the wheels started to turn and everyone could see,it.”Maybe we should go visit him, for old times sake. He said it was going to be a vacation resort, right?” She asked James, as he reminded everyone that it had just been named... officially...so it wasn’t ready for business yet.

      “Then he’ll need advice from people who know how great vacation spots are supposed to be.” Chris added as everyone saw her running to get first crack at Carl, now that she knew who he really was.

      “Its a traveling City,” James mentioned, as everyone agreed,” did you hear him saying where it was right now on his broadcast? Nope...so I’m telling you its not ready yet.” he declared as even Chris had to stop to think about that.”We’re his friends we’ll know when he’s ready, don’t worry.” he added and walked away as Christina grumbled that someone might beat her to him before then, and everyone laughed and some guy mentioned since no one knew who he really was, maybe he was married already, and that put her into the doldrums for the rest of the day.

      But around evening, James got a call, and Carl asked if he saw the big announcement, and he laughed and said he did.

      “Sorry I couldn’t tell you earlier,” He said as James just smiled and said that he wasn’t that surprised... after he thought about it a while.

      “You showed up just as we got into it with our uncle and then just as we settled it all, you started to fade away. I see that as pretty much average for your Family.” James mentioned as Carl rolled his eyes and agreed, but added that things were going to change though, for him.

      “I hate living in a vault, so my City will be open to everyone, and I have some plans that just might be unique.” he added with a wink as James asked what they were.”On the old Earth there were special places where the Seasons changed every few months, I think my City will be like that. I’ll set an orbit that allows it to vary the distance from the sun, and make changes in temperatures like snow some times, and rain and warm sunny days. The lake will be big enough for a beach, maybe a hundred yards long or more, so lots to do for the select few that come for the weekend or week or whatever, just nothing loud and flashy, no casinos, no shopping malls, nothing outrageous, just a nice relaxing place to rest.” he added as James nodded that many business people would love it, some place quiet and far away from work.

      “I’m supposed to ask if we talk...are you married?” James asked and laughed out loud, as Carl’s face fell into the pits.

      “Don’t even think about it,” he added as James mentioned that Christina was ready to rush right out there and jump him before anyone else, and Carl rolled his eyes and added... softly... that she didn’t EVER need to consider that, as James looked away smiling.

      “When can we see the place then?” James asked as Carl looked tired and said he was still getting the little things done, like grass growing and the sprinkler system working, so not for a while.

      “You can tell everyone you meet what I said, start getting me a little advertisement if you will. I’ll be working around the clock getting it ready but when you come don’t expect a lot the first time, because even I don’t know what to add yet.” Carl mentioned as James said make sure they had a place to gather and talk and maybe a screen running news or entertainment to break up the quiet a bit, and Carl laughed and agreed and the link went down, as James turned to see his sister sitting there looking very upset.

      “What do you think he meant by that, exactly?” She asked looking hurt, as James cleared his throat and tried his best let let Chris know that she just wasn’t Carl’s type.

      It might have hurt her feelings a little but reality was slowly setting in for Christina. Her friends had been teaching her that throwing money at people didn’t get you true friends, and James was hinting that with her current personality then some, if not many, impressive young men might shun her as being too crude or loud. To her this was the end of her existence, but her friends gave James a good wink once or twice and he stepped back to let them work on her for him.

      If she wanted to have a good, happy life, then she knew now she would have to change, and so James wished her well, and stood back and watched from the sidelines.


      Chapter 7: Trouble Brewing



      Juan Carlos was sitting through another meeting when the first ads and video of Carl’s new City came up in passing. He wasnt sure what to think of it, until he was told this was the young man that captured three of his security men that first week of his new Leadership.Because of him, Juan was now locked into paying monthly payments forever, and he wasn’t too thrilled about it either.

      “A Pendragon...” He said softly as many there agreed.” They worked with my brother a few times and seemed to became close. I suppose it was asking too much for them to stay out of this.” He hinted and many there looked sad they had gotten involved.

      “Now that the deal has been struck, he’s pulled away and started building...or rebuilding...a small City of his own. Our research shows it was once a prototype for a smaller, personal Estate, only about half the size of a real City State.” He was told as he nodded and looked at the specs on screen.”He’s saying he’ll make it into a retirement or vacation resort, since its too small for heavy industry.” Juan heard as he smiled a smile that made a few there nervous.

      “But...wouldnt it make a fine traveling military base instead?” He hinted as many there smiled and looked away.

      “I doubt he’ll sell it, even for a good price, he seems quite taken with just fixing it up for himself.” He was told as he gave a good laugh and everyone saw trouble coming.

      “After what he did to me...I wont be making any offers that he can refuse.” he said and many there looked away and hoped he wasn’t saying anything they didn’t want to hear.

      “Sir...if I may add...” One man said as he rose to his feet across the table from Juan,” a war with the Pendragon’s would be a terrible waste, they have been a Hidden City for ages, and have been known as security men and women for decades, they are NOW, what you had hoped to create someday, but we aren’t ready for a war against them just yet.” he said and sat back down while Juan pondered what was said.

      “Then we must get ready,” He finally said as many there nodded sadly.” If we win a war with them, then we will rule in their place. The mighty Pendragon’s fall and the Carlos Kingdom rises in its place. Start recruiting pilots immediately! I want 4 squadrons of fighters ready by this time next month!” He said as many agreed and silently a message got sent, and Juan’s plan got explained to people all over the galaxy in an instant.

      Grandmother Clare looked sad that he was going to be like this...and so she sent her message to Galactic Security...telling them what was about to start, and they too got upset by it.

      “We don’t need a major war right now, things have just settled down from the war between the Ellis City and the Industrial Park.” The Major said as she agreed.” Is there any way to avoid this, do you think?”

      “If he were to know that he would be fighting not only the Pendragon’s but Galactic Security as well, then the sheer thought of it might stop him from doing anything rash.” She hinted as he nodded agreement.

      “Consider it done,” He said as the link went down and Juan got a call just minutes later, saying that he was being watched and he better not be planning any violence. or the entire military would drop down around his neck instantly, and he declared loudly that he had no idea what they were talking about, as the link went closed, he screamed that he had a spy on board...and a witch hunt started right away to find this person and silence them for good.

      But the spy had been in deep cover for a while now, and as the hunt got started they found a large number of bugs and cameras, and nothing else. Finally Juan decided that the other spies that he had gotten rid of had bugged his entire City before they ‘left’ and that he hadn’t been careful enough. So now rooms got scanned weekly, and buildings had surprise inspections, looking for things that shouldn’t be there, and even coms links and messages were stopped and checked and soon getting information out was nearly impossible.

      “You cant be serious...” Juan heard at the next meeting as he gave the man a really dirty look for asking. “If Galactic Security finds out the City will come under direct attack, and you’ll be overthrown by sheer military force.” The man said as Juan said he was going to be more careful then that.

      “That little City is space worthy now, and as such, can be flown anywhere in minutes. The water systems and others are working and life support is active. I want a blitzkrieg attack on it...a full squadron of fighters and a freighter full of marines.Board the station, take it over and then fly it into deep space. No coms gets out, no fighting, no noise of any kind, just in and out, in minutes, and we gain a new military base, and the Pendragon’s lose face, that they couldn’t protect one of their own.It’ll be the worst loss for them in ages, and they wont be able to prove a thing.” he said laughing as many there looked sad... but a few were catching his madness... and they too laughed and cheered for their first ever military operation.

      And because of the latest crackdown on messages, no warning was possible, and a full squadron of fighters ran out and disappeared into space, and the spy hoped that her warnings had been believed when they did get out.

      Carl was working at his desk when alarms went off a while later and he opened the screen to see a force running towards him, and he heaved a huge sigh. They were early, by his count, but then no one seemed to wait for him to get ready anyways. He called for security alert, and before the fighters could get to the dock, the massive dock doors slid closed and the squadron Commander swore that they had been seen too soon.

      “Halt and identify yourselves!” Carl demanded, but no one said a word, as he scanned their ships and found no ID of any kind, and he saw they planned this well ahead of time. “This is an armed station, be aware that boarding will result in an attack against you.” he declared as the freighter with them ran in and tried forcing open one airlock along one side, as Carl ordered security to that hall and when it was ready, the door opened and in jumped a load of marines...to be met with a light machine gun mounted on a robot vehicle, and they were caught by surprise as three men fell in the first instant, and they were in the middle of a long hall, and as ammo poured their way many more were injured as they withdrew back into the freighter, and tried moving somewhere else.

      But try as they might they couldn’t get enough men on board to overcome the robotic security there, and one by one men and women fell trying, until the Commander called it a loss, and the entire group withdrew back into space.

      Carl had Security there minutes later and they agreed he had acted properly under the circumstances, and no charges would be filed against him. 4 dead men and women were carried out and 6 wounded went to the Prison Ship for medical care and questioning, but no one said a word, and even the military had to admit they had little to go on, but even now they knew what had happened and that their troubles had just begun.
      Chapter 8: Undercover Asshole


      “It appears he’s dumber then we had hoped, and thinks we haven’t noticed yet.” Clare said as the head of Galactic Security nodded sadly.”A full scale invasion of a neutral and almost unarmed station. If we hadn’t sent some of our forces there to hold it, they would have won.” She insisted as he said they had men on the Carlos station right now checking every ship looking for unmarked and unregistered vehicles, but none were being found.

      “He’s holding his cards close to the vest.” he hinted as she agreed that Juan was acting very seriously about this whole thing.”Being repelled so easily his first try, has to be grinding on him though. He was planning on a smash and grab attack, and the City would just be gone by now, and probably under military control.” he added as she nodded it was true.

      “Our last communications from inside the City said he was hiring pilots by the droves, but there aren’t that many there now, so he has them staged somewhere.” She hinted as the man agreed saying he’d check into it. Hiring pilots was not illegal, but once the number gets excessive then he had something to say about it.”I’m sending a few pilots to Carl’s City, they will stage there until we see whats really going on.” She said as the officer agreed again, and the coms link went down again.

      In an hour a wing of attack fighters ran in and docked and Carl welcomed them to his little corner of the galaxy.

      “So this is the free station you got?” His brother John asked, as Carl huffed and said he had no idea what he was talking about..he had plenty invested in this place... as everyone laughed.”But from what I heard its worth 20x what you paid right now, thats a plan for an early retirement don’t you think?” he asked as Carl mentioned that he wouldn’t have anywhere to go then, since this was going to be the best retirement/vacation place around, as everyone laughed.

      They left their ships there and Carl gave them a ride to their ‘barracks’ in a small electric bus, and got them settled in. The main hall was just 2 blocks away and food, drinks and entertainment was there, and so thats where they started hanging out, sitting drinking coffee, eating meals or watching the 5 foot screen Carl had mounted on the one wall, with lots of chairs for everyone to sit comfortably on.

      “You know...” One big man whispered as John looked at him and smiled,” I could get used to this.” he mentioned as everyone chuckled to themselves.”If only we could place bets from here on the big games and races.”

      Just then a pic in pic popped up in the left corner of the screen and a man asked what bets he was asking about, and his mouth dropped open as he admitted it was just a passing thought, and the man nodded and the screen went back to normal.

      “Damn...” The big man said softly, as even John looked impressed.” I might just move here.” And the room laughed, and a few others agreed.

      “I could put in a good word for you with the owner,” They heard as Carl walked in and everyone got a chuckle about that. “Private rooms with self-contained showers and kitchens, and one or two bedrooms, 5k a month with free electricity.” Carl added as a few had to stop and think about that.

      “I got the grass growing and a man from the Water Department is coming in to see the system. I had it checked already and since I loaded it with space ice, its more pure than what the standards are for a City this size.” He went on as many said he had done a good thing getting this, it seemed to suit him running it.

      “ 5k huh? I just might take you up on that.” The big man said and John saw Carl getting his first new tenant. “Now to convince the Wife...” he whispered as someone said a weekend away might do it, and he smiled and agreed.

      Just then Carl’s coms buzzed and it said to meet the Water Inspector at the lake, and Carl took his leave to go see him, and the man had test tubes and scanners out and was crawling all around seeing what was really there, as Carl pulled in, in his electric vehicle, and the man got up and smiled wide.

      “You’re doing really well for just starting out.” He said as Carl got to sigh in relief,” You haven’t added any biology to the lake yet though have you? In all the centuries we never figured out a better filter system than living things in a lake this size.” he said as Carl looked shocked.

      “You mean, snakes and lizards and things like that... here?” Carl asked as the man got a good chuckle at that.

      “Fish...” The man said and after making a call, one tube came on and hundreds of gallons of fresh water came running in as the man said that as a new City Manager with a brand new system, they had certain standards for starting out, and because he had done so well so far, the Starter Pack was free.” Silver minnows,suckers,crayfish and carp...a small sampling to get you started. A lot of City owners open the lake for recreation later on, and make good money from swimming and fishing, even having monthly tournaments with cash prizes.” he went on as Carl just shrugged and smiled, that he didn’t have to pay anything for it.

      “See what people like to fish for, and get some stocked later on. Then charge for fishing, and even have weekend specials and tournaments, you’d be surprised what you can charge for entry, and that alone pays for the winners prize money.” he added with a wink as Carl just smiled and agreed.”Well everything looks to be in order so here you go, you are now accepted as a safe water system by the Water Commission, have a good day sir.” And he sent Carl a file for his records and then left while Carl had time to think about all the things he had been told.

      “Sure. I know many lakes have fish in them, I even saw a news crew doing a story on some big money Tournament one day a few years ago.” John added as Carl nodded seriously.”If you intend on doing what you said, entering an orbit that gives you Seasons and not one solid temperature all the time, then you’ll need to ask around about what fish might be best for a place like that.” He added as Carl agreed that he had to work on that for a while yet.

      “But the system passed inspection, so I can now...officially...advertise apartments and homes for rent.” Carl said with a grin, and John could see doing everything himself had drained him badly.

      “Good for you, and we’ll see to it everyone we know finds out, so don’t be too surprised...” One man added as Carl thanked him and went to do some research into fish, and temperatures they can stand, as the pilots all sat back smiling and saying that in a few more weeks this place was going to be a paradise.

      But the Security Commission found nothing out of the ordinary at Carlos City, so after a short speech about being a good trading partner and friend to all...Juan sat back all smiles.They thought they’d catch him so soon? What fools they really were, and if his plans came to fruition, then he might not be too frightened of the Security Commission either...later on. His calls were getting answered, and his ideas getting shared. Now it was just a matter of time before he really was in charge of a big chunk of the galaxy, him and his allies, and he put every credit into weapons and ships and waved towards the growing pile for his friends to see, and they too gathered more to keep up, until only a great war would be enough to lower the tensions and use up all the hatred they had built up until now.


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      maybe finding a new niche...not as cheerful more realistic, less harem and less childsplay, a little darker maybe. Not long stories but with a real story and the ending isn't always gaurenteed to be what you might think.


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      Chapter 8: Undercover Asshole


      “It appears he’s dumber then we had hoped, and thinks we haven’t noticed yet.” Clare said as the head of Galactic Security nodded sadly.”A full scale invasion of a neutral and almost unarmed station. If we hadn’t sent some of our forces there to hold it, they would have won.” She insisted as he said they had men on the Carlos station right now checking every ship looking for unmarked and unregistered vehicles, but none were being found.

      “He’s holding his cards close to the vest.” he hinted as she agreed that Juan was acting very seriously about this whole thing.”Being repelled so easily his first try, has to be grinding on him though. He was planning on a smash and grab attack, and the City would just be gone by now, and probably under military control.” he added as she nodded it was true.

      “Our last communications from inside the City said he was hiring pilots by the droves, but there aren’t that many there now, so he has them staged somewhere.” She hinted as the man agreed saying he’d check into it. Hiring pilots was not illegal, but once the number gets excessive then he had something to say about it.”I’m sending a few pilots to Carl’s City, they will stage there until we see whats really going on.” She said as the officer agreed again, and the coms link went down again.

      In an hour a wing of attack fighters ran in and docked and Carl welcomed them to his little corner of the galaxy.

      “So this is the free station you got?” His brother John asked, as Carl huffed and said he had no idea what he was talking about..he had plenty invested in this place... as everyone laughed.”But from what I heard its worth 20x what you paid right now, thats a plan for an early retirement don’t you think?” he asked as Carl mentioned that he wouldn’t have anywhere to go then, since this was going to be the best retirement/vacation place around, as everyone laughed.

      They left their ships there and Carl gave them a ride to their ‘barracks’ in a small electric bus, and got them settled in. The main hall was just 2 blocks away and food, drinks and entertainment was there, and so thats where they started hanging out, sitting drinking coffee, eating meals or watching the 5 foot screen Carl had mounted on the one wall, with lots of chairs for everyone to sit comfortably on.

      “You know...” One big man whispered as John looked at him and smiled,” I could get used to this.” he mentioned as everyone chuckled to themselves.”If only we could place bets from here on the big games and races.”

      Just then a pic in pic popped up in the left corner of the screen and a man asked what bets he was asking about, and his mouth dropped open as he admitted it was just a passing thought, and the man nodded and the screen went back to normal.

      “Damn...” The big man said softly, as even John looked impressed.” I might just move here.” And the room laughed, and a few others agreed.

      “I could put in a good word for you with the owner,” They heard as Carl walked in and everyone got a chuckle about that. “Private rooms with self-contained showers and kitchens, and one or two bedrooms, 5k a month with free electricity.” Carl added as a few had to stop and think about that.

      “I got the grass growing and a man from the Water Department is coming in to see the system. I had it checked already and since I loaded it with space ice, its more pure than what the standards are for a City this size.” He went on as many said he had done a good thing getting this, it seemed to suit him running it.

      “ 5k huh? I just might take you up on that.” The big man said and John saw Carl getting his first new tenant. “Now to convince the Wife...” he whispered as someone said a weekend away might do it, and he smiled and agreed.

      Just then Carl’s coms buzzed and it said to meet the Water Inspector at the lake, and Carl took his leave to go see him, and the man had test tubes and scanners out and was crawling all around seeing what was really there, as Carl pulled in, in his electric vehicle, and the man got up and smiled wide.

      “You’re doing really well for just starting out.” He said as Carl got to sigh in relief,” You haven’t added any biology to the lake yet though have you? In all the centuries we never figured out a better filter system than living things in a lake this size.” he said as Carl looked shocked.

      “You mean, snakes and lizards and things like that... here?” Carl asked as the man got a good chuckle at that.

      “Fish...” The man said and after making a call, one tube came on and hundreds of gallons of fresh water came running in as the man said that as a new City Manager with a brand new system, they had certain standards for starting out, and because he had done so well so far, the Starter Pack was free.” Silver minnows,suckers,crayfish and carp...a small sampling to get you started. A lot of City owners open the lake for recreation later on, and make good money from swimming and fishing, even having monthly tournaments with cash prizes.” he went on as Carl just shrugged and smiled, that he didn’t have to pay anything for it.

      “See what people like to fish for, and get some stocked later on. Then charge for fishing, and even have weekend specials and tournaments, you’d be surprised what you can charge for entry, and that alone pays for the winners prize money.” he added with a wink as Carl just smiled and agreed.”Well everything looks to be in order so here you go, you are now accepted as a safe water system by the Water Commission, have a good day sir.” And he sent Carl a file for his records and then left while Carl had time to think about all the things he had been told.

      “Sure. I know many lakes have fish in them, I even saw a news crew doing a story on some big money Tournament one day a few years ago.” John added as Carl nodded seriously.”If you intend on doing what you said, entering an orbit that gives you Seasons and not one solid temperature all the time, then you’ll need to ask around about what fish might be best for a place like that.” He added as Carl agreed that he had to work on that for a while yet.

      “But the system passed inspection, so I can now...officially...advertise apartments and homes for rent.” Carl said with a grin, and John could see doing everything himself had drained him badly.

      “Good for you, and we’ll see to it everyone we know finds out, so don’t be too surprised...” One man added as Carl thanked him and went to do some research into fish, and temperatures they can stand, as the pilots all sat back smiling and saying that in a few more weeks this place was going to be a paradise.

      But the Security Commission found nothing out of the ordinary at Carlos City, so after a short speech about being a good trading partner and friend to all...Juan sat back all smiles.They thought they’d catch him so soon? What fools they really were, and if his plans came to fruition, then he might not be too frightened of the Security Commission either...later on. His calls were getting answered, and his ideas getting shared. Now it was just a matter of time before he really was in charge of a big chunk of the galaxy, him and his allies, and he put every credit into weapons and ships and waved towards the growing pile for his friends to see, and they too gathered more to keep up, until only a great war would be enough to lower the tensions and use up all the hatred they had built up until now.

      Chapter 10: Prosperity...at a Cost


      Grandmother Clare was watching too, and she had placed a note on the Cities Bulletin Board telling people they had a place to go if they wanted , on their time off. It was a little shameless advertisement for Carl and everyone knew it, but she just smiled that a member of her household actually went out and got a City of his own.

      By all accounts that meant the Pendragon Family now owned 2 City States, and even though this one was publicly open and easy to find, it WAS owned by a Pendragon, and so the Family got credit for it, even though Carl made it clear this was his place, and he owned and operated it himself. Of course Clare mentioned at some Family meetings that if she hadn’t dragged him screaming to business meetings and sent him out on missions to deal with other businessmen in the past, he might well be broke by now, as many laughed that she was so happy for him.

      But the word got out, and by the time fruit started growing on some trees and flowers were in full bloom around the little park in the center of the City, people were coming and going steadily, and Carl’s perfect little town started getting a little more noisy, and a few troubles popped up.

      Now he needed to hire Police, to help with disturbances like couples fighting, or fist fights over stupid things like who won a bet, or who’s team was best. Even on their days off people got too excited, but then drinking and spending money was happening a lot faster, and soon Carl had everything he wanted fixed or set up just waiting, and when Fall came to his City, people rushed in to see the changing foliage and over a hundred were there for the first Fall Fishing Derby, with a 1,000 credit reward.

      It appeared that people who loved to compete thought nothing of spending a day outdoors with their friends cheering for them, even at 20 credits a day, to get 1,000 credits for winning...if they won. But it was fun, and a small building right near the lake served drinks and sandwiches and Carl walked along smiling and waving, as even James got in on it and did catch a fish...his first ever...and had a picture taken with it that now hung in the snack shop right next door. The winner also had a picture taken and it too went on the wall there for everyone to see,and soon Carl found out that he got requests to do it more often, and he started planning for a Derby every 3 months, and people agreed it would be fun.

      Now he had 100 renters full time, and many more who rented and only came on weekends, and his money troubles started to fade away. But his personal troubles were just starting, and he saw that many young women, even some he’d known for years, were set on becoming his wife...or ‘significant other’ that many had. He did date...he was a man after all...but he refused to say if anyone was his favorite and a few got upset he was dragging his feet so long, and Christina was the loudest among them, even though she had never gotten him alone yet.

      Even though Carl openly declared they would never be more than friends, she wouldn’t give up... as James said... when Carl asked if she had a brain tumor or something that stopped her from seeing the truth... and they both laughed.

      “She’s really changed over the last year or so, though...” James hinted as even Carl agreed it was true.” I owe you for that...she thought she could just roll over anyone she wanted... and you refused her and walked away. It made her consider that her attitude had to change or she’d be alone for a very long time.” James hinted as Carl just smiled.

      “She’s a pretty girl,” Carl whispered looking everywhere to see if anyone heard that,” but she’ll never change THAT much, her hair should be bright red, it would suit her attitude on life better.” he hinted as James looked away chuckling and Carl laughed openly at his own joke.

      “Maybe..should I tell her that?” James asked softly as Carl rolled his eyes and tried seeing Chris with brilliant red hair..and just gave up.

      “Don’t you dare...it’ll just encourage her more.” Carl added as James nodded it might be true.

      “She really does like you, you know...maybe too much to just be friends,” James mentioned as he looked over his coffee cup at Carl’s red face.

      “She made the statement ages ago that she’d be my Woman someday... no matter what I thought about it... and demanded it to be true.” Carl mentioned as James smiled and agreed she had,” If I ever give in to that, then she’ll go right back to being the way she was before, and she’d have learned nothing.” he said as James nearly choked on his drink, that was the worst logic he had ever heard, and maybe, just maybe, Carl was grabbing at straws to keep from admitting he liked her too.

      “Only time will tell,” James added and Carl agreed and went back to work, as Chris came sneaking over to get the latest news from James, and looked sad that Carl was still thinking that way after all this time.”You said it loudly...and in public...like it was a demand, not a serious request.” James said as she nodded sadly that she had.

      “That man has too long a memory.” She hinted as James laughed and said he did say she was pretty, but that he never thought her attitude would change from the screaming monster she used to be, as she nodded and sat back looking sadder yet, and James wondered what she’d try next to prove Carl wrong, and why she seemed to care so much what he thought.


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      no idea what happened to 9..lol


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      WEEKEND EDITION

      Chapter 11: Conflict and Profits


      All the time that the young people were worried about childish things, a war was going on all around them. Juan had men and women in nearly every City that would allow it, and they did exactly whatever he said, and soon everyone thought the others were after them, and they asked for more protection, and he gladly provided it.

      The more worried they were, the more fighting happened, even if it was between his own men... it made it look good... and many people took the list of ‘kills’ from every battle as truth, even though many times not a single ships was destroyed.

      But attacks on convoys were on the rise, and people were clambering for the military to do more, and Juan insisted that the private sector was best to handle this, and many finally agreed. He certainly didn’t want the military too involved, not yet, it might cost him ships to have them jump in when his own convoy protection wings were pirating convoys they were hired to protect. But he carefully kept that a secret, for now, and had meetings with other Mayors that thought they too were worth more than they were getting, and soon an unofficial Alliance was formed of men and women that knew, beyond a doubt, that they were born to lead the weak and helpless. And Juan was at the head of the table when they finally showed up for their first meeting, and he showed them that profits were everywhere, just waiting for the picking, and they smiled wide, and agreed, and soon he had all the resources his factories could handle, and his military machine went into high gear.

      His next purchase was a blueprint for a medium sized, semi-military looking ship, called a Patrol Carrier, or Escort Carrier depending on who you ask. It was the first real combat ship he could make in his factories, and he had orders for as many as he could get in the first week.

      “This isn’t good...” Clare said as the Military Commander agreed.” he’s got 5 City States on his side now and fights are spreading at a fantastic rate! And when we get a call for protection...even before we can send ships out...they call back saying they found protection cheaper, and its always Juan Carlos.” She said sadly as the officer nodded he understood.

      “There is an investigation under way right now. We get calls all the time saying attacks have happened and ships lost, but when we investigate, there is little to no wreckage at all. Certainly not enough for a real fight to have taken place. I believe that he’s manipulating everything for his own gain, and some of these so called fights are really just him making things sound bad.” he mentioned as she nodded and thought seriously about that.

      “Things may be worse than we thought then...” She hinted as he asked how.” He might not be a total idiot at all, but a seriously sick individual that only cares about profits and power. If he can balance all these attacks...and convince everyone they are real. Then he’s got a real tactical mind going there, and we underestimated him badly.”

      “If everything we see is correct, he’s building a force that rivals even us...and thats never good.” The officer added sadly as she agreed.

      “Open war...” Clare hinted as the officer looked sad to think it. “when he thinks he cant lose...thats when he’ll strike, and we’ll all feel his wrath for causing him trouble in the past.”

      “I thought the same thing a week ago, and decided we needed to stock up on ammo and weapons.But...our suppliers say they are getting behind on manufacturing because of the skirmishes all around us...there’s a 3 month waiting period for shipments.” He hinted as her eyes opened wide.

      “So...there it is then...” She mentioned as he nodded he thought so too,” He’s getting set up for his big push, and it needs to start before we can stock up ourselves.”

      “Three months, or before.” The Major added as she agreed, and she went right away to make sure her factories were running smoothly and they were making what she felt they were going to need...in great abundance.

      Clare made sure every ship was in top condition, and well armed. Then she offered their services to anyone who needed them, and even with Juan calling saying she wasn’t needed, some Cities that had worked with her before agreed, and she had wings set up in a few places, watching and waiting.

      “The Pendragon’s are making their move to counter us...” Juan heard as he laughed out loud. A few wings of attack fighters meant little to his plans, as the second small Carrier rolled off the assembly line and the robots started on the next.

      “We have 6 full squadrons, and now carriers for more. There are a dozen more soldiers in training and new ships waiting for them. Many of you have your own fleets, from fighters to small capitol ships, there’s nothing they can do to stop us now. Even the Military will step back when we make our move.” he demanded as many agreed and went out to gather every ship they could get, new or used, and get ready for the battle of a lifetime.

      It was a great time to be a weapons dealer...and many smiled really wide at the prices they could ask...and get. Guns... from ships armaments to personal handguns... were selling faster than they could be made, and people that bought them asked for more and orders were lined up weeks in advance. Juan Carlos was selling everything he could get as fast as he could make it, and even called in more help to run supply runs and mining operations to help keep his massive factories going.

      He sold one carrier for double its worth and his personal fortune went up again, and his name was being dropped as the Businessman of the Year, around those circles. And he heard it all and walked around waving and smiling and acting like he was already the Ruler of the Galaxy, and many knew he was hoping to be, after this was all over.

      And it wouldn’t be just from fighting either, that was just for the Masses to see and worry about. He was getting signed agreements with City after City, and his business became second only to their own, and through that he controlled many that were too polite or weak to stand up to him, when he started demanding things.He was a master negotiator, and he had a staff that was equally skilled. His plan had always been to own everything in his grasp, and while the military got ready for a war, he sat back signing deals that would last for years, decades after, and they didn’t even see it coming.


      Chapter 12: Plans and Counter Plans


      Clare now turned to other things. In a war two things are needed badly, weapons and medical supplies. Her State grew its own food, as did many others, so that wasn’t going to be a problem. But medical supplies would be, because she had every building running military supplies for herself, and the Security Commission, and still needed more.

      So she made a plan too...and called Carl for some help... and he looked oddly at her when she offered to give him blueprints for medical equipment that would sell like wildfire, and he asked why not build them herself, and she looked embarrassed to admit it.

      “I have orders for everything I can make from the Security Commission, and the war is just getting started. Medical supplies will be needed by the ton, and I don’t have any empty buildings left to set up production in.” She explained as he finally nodded he under stood. “You don’t have any economy there but Tourism, so why not? Surely you have an empty building, or a small warehouse your not using?” She asked and waited, and he admitted he had, and she smiled wide.

      “Guaranteed orders for whatever you can make, no pressure. just do as many as you can. The way things are going it might be a good idea to get more security for the City too, and arm them, the war is just getting started.” She said and sent over everything he’d need to know, and he set up a small warehouse and bought 6 light labor drones and loaded all the info for them. Now all he needed was some resources, and his ship went out mining, as he made sure everything would be ready when it returned.

      It took a few days to get things going. The asteroid belt was close, but not that close, and it took a day to get a decent load. He mined silicon, and metal ores and after a few trips, started production of the necessary parts and then ordered one drone to assemble them. He wasn’t good at this stuff, and it took longer to get things made that were within tolerances for sale, but by the end of the first month, he had a business, and hundreds of pieces of medical equipment... all nicely miniaturized... were being built and sold.

      Scanners for first aid kits, injectors for medications,even nano-bots that were injected to speed healing, and close open wounds. All these tiny things were in demand, and even he was surprised at what he was getting paid, per hundred pieces, by the Military.

      It made his Tourism money look nice, now that he had a second income, and he got deals for supplies for months in advance, and ships started docking and leaving weekly as orders got filled and his production lines got more help, and became more efficient.

      He had been doing everything himself up until now...and running raged doing it... but now even he admitted he needed help, and put out an ad saying he wanted a receptionist and a business manager, and was shocked to see James and Christina show up one weekend and ask about the jobs.

      “Having money is fine, but boring with nothing to do.” James mentioned, as Chris said she loved dealing with businesses, because her time was mostly spent buying things, everyone knew her... and Carl just laughed saying that might very well be true.

      “But...come on guys...” Carl said as they looked very serious about the thing.”I cant pay you enough to make it worth your time here.” He finally said as James just laughed, and Chris asked how much he COULD pay, and when Carl told her, she accepted right away...and he started dragging his feet saying there were ‘other applicants’... as she just smiled and said she’d wait and see, and James winked as Carl walked away, looking shocked and tired again.

      But he had said it once before...Chris could very well be a great Business person... especially in negotiations, no one wanted to sit across from her when she got started. It was both shocking and tiring to deal with her, and in this situation, that might not be too bad.

      He got 5 people that were interested, and every one had problems he found out about right away. One drunk was looking for a new City because he got thrown out of his last job, and City, one with a dubious reputation for handling other peoples money, and a few that had no experience, no skills but were looking for a place to start out, and he decided that he might hire them for something, but not something this sensitive right off the bat.

      So after getting more than a dozen calls he gave in, and James and Christina moved in and started work a few days later, and Carl never knew having someone doing most of the work would make his life soo much easier than before, and he walked around talking to people and waving and acting like a big business man, while James smiled and talked to people about rent, or maintenence or Security, and Chris went hog wild dealing with customers and companies that were ordering, or picking up orders, and James had to tell her to slow down at least once when he walked into her office to hear her screaming that someone’s order would be resold if they weren’t there to get it in an hour.

      “Don’t get upset and cost us orders...” he said as she slowed down a bit...but the freighter got there in time...breaking at maximum speed to get docked and Chris thanked them softly and politely for being on time...now...and James rolled his eyes and went back to his Managers office to see what else was happening.

      The Cities income jumped to an incredible amount, and Carl was never so happy. His Grandmother called and thanked him saying that even the Military was impressed how fast he got going, and she reminded him that if he got ahead on orders that he could sell to anyone who wanted them, but they asked he refused Juan Carlos, because of his past crimes.

      “That wont be a problem,” Carl mentioned as she nodded agreement,” James is my business manager and Chris helps run the business...a little more than I had planned... but she’s doing a good job of it.” he remarked as she chuckled and asked if they were a ‘thing yet’ and Carl reminded her that he had said...absolutely...that he had no interest in her that way, and she just waved him away like a spoiled child.

      “Don’t you think she has what it takes to make you happy?” She asked as Carl growled, then got a big grin as she waited to hear what he had to say.

      “She certainly does...a huge attitude and bad temper...I think shes doing a great job right now, so, no reason to change things looking for more.” he said and closed the link before Clare could say another word, and she had to admit that maybe he was being serious, but she didn’t think he had a girlfriend at all, or boyfriend for that matter, and at his age she knew he wanted one, so it was just a matter of time before that wall of stubbornness came crashing down.


      Chapter 13: Wins and Losses


      Juan Carlos couldn’t keep his plans hidden forever, and soon enough one of his thieving fighter wings got caught, and destroyed by the Navy. They were in the process of dragging in an entire convoy of weapons they were supposed to be guarding, and a Navy destroyer jumped in in time to see it. They thought they had it made and attacked to drive the ship away, but the heavy weapons came on and the Navy ship wiped the floor with them, and left nothing behind but scrap.

      6 fighters and crews, gone in an instant, and Juan Carlos had to face up to the fact that the war just went from fantasy to reality, in his City at least, and he made sure that any publicity from the attack was ignored by the Cities involved, saying that the Military was getting into the action too, and even mentioned that they might be part of the problem... stealing convoys themselves...or trying to use their own attacks to blame others.

      “They’re afraid of our new Alliance...” he insisted and he had a dozen reasons all lined up why they should be, and everyone at the meeting agreed that they had trusted them for too long, “they have always lorded over us by sheer numbers and with forethought, but now we are standing up for ourselves and that frightens them.” he went on as many even chuckled at the childish way that the old Military Leaders had used them, for so very long.

      “Never again!” One man screamed and jumped to his feet in excitement, as Juan agreed loudly.” We’ll rule ourselves from now on, the old ways are disappearing, and the old Leaders need to go with them!” And Juan agreed to everything, and even without him bringing it up, an agreement was passed that Navy ships were to be chased away when seen, or destroyed, their choice, and the room cheered for their new independence. And Juan made sure they knew that it would take a long time to settle this, and there would be losses.

      But they were so sure that they would win, even thinking about losses of ships and crews didn’t faze them now...and Juan Carlos went home all smiles and decided he could sit back and watch the fun, while others ran full force into the old ways they wanted to overthrow so badly.

      Clare got a message a day later just saying ‘beware’ and she nodded she understood. Her ships were at the ready and when her allies got hit, she joined in, and soon fighting was seen on every news channel, and ships were destroyed daily, and Mayors of cities that were asked why it was happening all screamed about old ways that needed to go...and the Leaders on the Home World saw it for what it was...a revolution to replace them...and new ships rolled out to replace damaged ones and new crews were in training, and the battles only got bigger as time went on.

      But the rhetoric spun by Juan Carlos was winning hearts and minds among the few Mayors that wanted to live tax free and prosperous. If they won, then every cent they’d make forever would be theirs and theirs alone. If they lost...there were plenty of people to blame...and they felt they’d make it through untouched, or relatively so.

      So in one short year, Juan went from a pair of allies that he convinced needed help, to 6 City States, all ready and willing to fight to oppose the main Government. The war would be long and bloody...and he’d sell to everyone...both sides if possible, and try and keep his face out of the news, and let others take ‘credit’ for the Revolution. It was the perfect plan, he thought, and his wealth started to impress even the Government itself and they watched as the local skirmishes got bigger and more deadly, and intelligence left them know who was making all those weapons, and Juan’s hope of secretly becoming richer and richer went out the window, as charges started piling up for everything from Treason...to exciting to riot...and it became known that without him, this Revolution would never have gotten started.

      When the war ended there would be a reckoning, and Juan Carlos would be front row center wither he liked it or not. But for now they had to think about settling this Revolt, and they sent negotiators to Cities to talk, and some were thrown out, and one went back in a bag, and they saw that it wasn’t going to be easy, or settled, anytime soon.

      James was working out well for Carl, and he appreciated it. The factory was now more than a dozen robots making a hundred pieces of each type a day. Thats not a lot when you think that nanos are used by the thousands, but these were not that tiny, they were more for emergency work, and not for full time injection into a host body. By being used in a spray right on open wounds, for instance, they could be 5x bigger than the ones injected inside. They did the work of stitches and bandages and even a hundred could save a mans life.

      But he still added more workers and soon production doubled, and then again, and he started getting a reputation for good work and getting orders out on time. And James had no trouble finding orders, and Chris made sure they got out on time, and Carl sat back smiling and watching the rest of the system going mad over the war, and was glad he had stayed out of it.

      By now, his Grandmother was in full swing. The ships from Home went out daily and did a lot of damage too. There was talk of dozens of destroyed ships a week, and soldiers telling stories of massive military buildups in every City, and Carl looked sad he had been around to see a Revolution against the Government in his lifetime.

      He had no trouble with them, for the most part they sat back and did little. Maybe too little seeing how things were now. But they were the Old Elite, the men and women that made their fortunes and then retired to the Home Worlds. Many were old and didn’t want involved in anything any more, and their kids and grandkids were out trying to make a name for themselves and some never did return, no matter the reasons.

      But they were the ones that made the government what it was today, and had left the City States become as powerful as they were now. So in one way, this revolt was their fault too, for not doing their jobs and watching over the civilization they helped create. They had hoped that letting the Cities have more power would take anyway any reason they were needed, and it had, but they still demanded their share of the profits, and that alone made many City Managers angry.

      If they wanted paid, then by God they needed to earn it in some way, and they never had. So now all those young people that made their own way without help from Home, were screaming, with every attack,’we wont pay for nothing any more!’ and the Government saw it right away and had to decide what to do about it, if it wasn’t too late.


      Chapter 14: Throwing it all on the Solar Winds


      In a few months the Government saw that they weren’t doing well at all. Since a major military had no longer been needed, they didn’t have one. Now the Galactic Security Service was more of a Police Force than a military, and against 7 angry City States, they were not doing well enough at all.

      Their entire lives at Home had become about who had the most money, and here they were , throwing good money after bad, and they were screaming mad because of it.

      “If we can keep trading lanes open, and pull back our military, let them have their damned Independence!” One old Senator screamed as many nodded agreement.

      “Our income comes from trade with the Colonies, let them fight among themselves all they want, but getting ships destroyed at a billion credits a pop...ludicrous!” Another screamed and even the President had to agree. They had pulled back from Governing for so long, they were no longer good at it...and if they persisted, then the war might even come here...and that would be a terrible idea.

      “They’ve always thought of themselves as Royalty, let them be one. Lets pass a law saying anyone who agrees to end the war will be given Royal status, make them Kings, or Barons maybe, and let them live out there where they belong, and we don’t have to pay a cent to support them if they are self-governing. We will still keep the Trade Lanes open for ourselves and withdraw from any responsibilities out there, is it agreed?” The President asked and hands went up and he didn’t even need to count.

      “Then it is done...lets finalize the wording today, and get back to our retirements.” he offered as a cheer went up, and everyone rushed to get out of this job and back to living the rich life they deserved.

      The law was quickly drafted and it showed. It basically said that anyone who controlled more than 1 City could be crowned King if they all agreed. Anyone owning one City and controlled the area around it, out to 1 lightyear, could be crowned a Land Baron, and these new Royals were totally responsible for their own Cities, from the maintenence, to health care and food. Nothing would be provided from the Core anymore, in exchange for their new Titles, and people cheered that they had won, and that the Revolution was over, but that wasn’t Juan’s plan, and even though, with his Alliance he was now King...he wanted more..more profits for sure, and at meetings he mentioned that they had only partially won, since many enemies still existed.

      And a few agreed, saying that the Security Division had to go...completely...no Garrisons anywhere that could be found, and they attacked any ships they found and some were destroyed, and the Commander screamed on open coms the war was over, but they wouldn’t stop, and soon even they had to withdraw back to the Core...leaving nothing to replace them, and the new Frontier sectors started looking a little like the old Wild West, where anyone with a gun could be in charge... and Juan liked it that way, and finally he left the war end. For now, knowing that hot heads would never be happy until they got revenge...on anyone and everyone...they felt had wronged them. And he would still make a good profit without doing a thing himself.

      “Lazy *******s...” Clare mentioned as many at the meeting laughed.”Royalty...really? They think they’ll buy off these fools like that? I mean sure...Juan is happy... they gave him exactly what he wanted. But we don’t care about that ****! It was our City from the start, why do I have to be crowned Queen now just to run the place?” She went on as everyone chuckled as a government official placed a crown on her, giggling and angry head, and a picture was taken showing she officially ruled the Hidden City now.

      “Preposterous...” She was still grumping as Carl and John walked over, laughing.”Don’t you laugh...Mr. Land Baron...” She added as Carl just smiled wider and said they finally realized his true worth, and many nearby laughed along, and Clare stopped grumbling for a second to smile too.

      “Its all a mirage...you know that...you were always the Queen here, just ask anyone.” Carl whispered as her face grew red and John agreed. “Just do what you always did, no one else cares what they think. The Government officially dropped all relations with the Frontier sectors now...so someone has to get the blame for anything that happens now.”He added as she nodded it was true.

      “And the war will never end now, Juan Carlos will see to that. He has too much to say about too many Cities, and he’ll use that to his advantage... forever.” Carl whispered as even John agreed. “With the Security Commission gone, his Alliance is next to the top in power. He’ll use that to grab even more, wait and see.” And with that statement Carl walked away, smiling and waving his way to the docks and back to his City, and Clare suddenly realized just how fast he had grown up, and she smiled too.

      But Carl wasn’t any more happy than she was. The Alliance set sights on every City State, and with the withdrawal of the Government from military operations, they’d get them too. It was just a matter of time.

      But he had his own ideas. He had seen a great civilization come, and now go, and anarchy was reining now everywhere. It was nothing for fighters to attack a City without warning, and have to be driven away. Weapons were getting mounted on the outside of the Cities themselves, making them the next generation of war machine, and he hated even the thought of what was to come.

      Open warfare, Genocide and death...for generations...and he almost cried thinking it as he flew back home.He did have an idea though, one that had not been done for generations, and he wanted more information before he decided one way or the other.He docked and went into his office and started a computer search and left it run for days. Then went to see what else might be needed here, and ordered a few things.If he was right, then his days were numbered and his Home City too, and he would not settle for a fight to the death, he loved this old place and its people too much, so he was looking for alternatives, and he was pretty sure he had only one.


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      Chapter 15: Upgrades


      James was surprised that Carl was going on a spree buying new equipment. He had a company come in and replace many of the lights mounted on the dome with sun lamps, saying that it was better for everyone to get the right amount of sun,no matter the orbit they were in. It did make sense, so it was done, and Carl went on about rebuilding one of the engines that had been working poorly for a while, and good maintenence was its own reward, and James agreed again.

      In 6 months the old place was like new, and James and even Christina noticed a new side of Carl. He was a man on a mission...and only he knew why.Nearly half his income and savings went into a total rebuild of the old City and people cheered as new and better equipment went on line.

      It was becoming a more modern place, and James started to wonder, since being old fashioned and quiet was Carl’s idea of relaxation.This new push had nothing to do with relaxation, it seemed, and James watched him out of the corner of his eyes for signs that Carl was ready to talk about it, and soon he was.

      He held a Town Meeting online, and said, with great sadness, that his retirement city was closing, as many looked shocked.

      “The current state of our civilization is soo bad, that we will be targeted soon, and without the Security Division to protect us, it will be open war again, forever, or until the Alliance conquers every City State in the area.Of course they know exactly how many there are...and where they are...except for my old Home city, that moves constantly.I will be doing that too, moving constantly, so things will change here. I will guarantee the safety of anyone who wishes to stay with me, and people that want an adventure, instead of a place to retire.” Carl added as a few decided they needed to go... but many decided to stay... because an adventure sounded exciting, and seeing new things and going new places didn’t sound bad at all.

      Out of the 720 people living on the City now, over 500 stayed and Carl thanked them all for it. Then they left the word out that they would be traveling, and seeking adventure, and another hundred friends of those ran in and joined. These numbers suited exactly what Carl had in mind, and his little farming area would more than be enough to feed everyone now.He called and told his Grandmother he would also become a moving target, and she agreed it would be for the best, but she felt bad for his plan to retire and rest for his long lifetime, but things had changed and even now her City was being tracked, she was sure, because being the leading military base left made them a huge target, and she knew that time was not on her side.

      “We probably wont be seeing each other again...” Carl went on, as even she looked shocked,” but remember, we Pendragon’s are a hearty bunch.” He said, with a wink, and as she smiled a code came across her screen. It was 12 layers deep in coding, and even after the message ended it took her an hour to decode it, and there was only this: 01-12-3313...and she wondered what that meant and had a search for any combination of numbers that matched these and soon got a reply.

      “Last day colony ships left the Home World traveling to the Frontier searching for new worlds to colonize, January twelfth, 3313.” The computer said as she looked odd thinking it, the last day they sent colony ships out. It hadn’t been done since then, and the colonies became the City States of today.

      ‘No...it cant be...” She whispered and went back to work, as Carl’s City turned from its regular path and accelerated to max speed, and then disappeared into deep space.

      Carl loved the peaceful life, and his future there was anything but that. So he felt he had no choice, and so he left the systems behind and went looking for his own place, his own world where peace could prevail. It might take him years to find it, this wasn’t quite a star ship even though it had a quantum drive, but they had the time, raising their own food and their own families...another generation of adventurers... out looking for a new life, and even when Clare’s City fell to the hoodlums that attacked it constantly, there was no mention of Carl and his City anywhere, not even in her personal notes.
      And questioning everyone there got them no closer to the truth either. Juan Carlos might rule the Frontier and demand respect, but the galaxy knew respect had to be earned, and the stories of a City that had never surrendered and was never found, went on for many, many years, and the name Pendragon meant adventure and Honor, once again.

      And even as Carl his people settled into his new world very,very far away, and James took a wife and Chris gave Carl a baby of their own, they knew that they had done the right thing, and that, someday, their world would see the expansion of the old world once again. So they preserved their culture and their technology... and after a while... as generations past, Fleets began to patrol the system and new colonies sprang up on distant worlds, and the legend of the Pendragon’s went on, as their forbearers had intended for it to do all along.


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      ok, done, I thought there was more than that...lol


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