View Full Version : Story A different kind of hero

19-12-2012, 11:41 AM
A Different Type of Hero Emerges

Chapter 1: The X Universe as Never Seen Before

The trading station in Omicron Lyre was always a bustling place with traders from all over coming and going, and the station owner trying desperately to keep things in stock. Sebastian Slater owned the station and had for 20 years. He was the best businessman in the core, and everyone knew it. His families wealth was beyond all others and he walked around with his nose held high and spoke like a King to the people that were clearly beneath him in the business world.

His Family, including his lovely wife Helen, the Queen of the social set in the core sectors and his children, Maximilian and Clare, were always being watched to see what the best of the best were doing and that’s where his troubles started.

Clare thought herself a Princess and acted like it, but Max was not what he had been told to be. In fact, he went out of his way to do things that his father hated and made them all look bad, or at least, that’s what Sebastian thought.

He went to school and stayed after many times, since he plainly stated that the curriculum was too easy and he studied with friends in higher classes and even got permission to jump a class once to find something that he wanted to learn. His skills were every bit the skills of a young businessman on the way up which pleased his father to no end, but he had other skills, that he should ignore, he was told but he wouldn't, and he studied electronics and computer systems for 'fun' as he said and even as his father told him that business was the families bread and butter, or champaign and caviar as it were, he just laughed and said that he wasn't interested in being a regular business man, he wanted more...more challenge and he took lessons in the Market and did very well there too, and Sebastian liked that, since he had no skills in that area and paid big bucks to have someone else do that for him.

If he could get Max to settle down, study what was needed and let these childish ideas of freedom go, then the Family would be set for another generation. But the way things were going, he wasn't at all sure it would work out, since Max did whatever he wanted and whenever he wanted to and it was costing his family big bucks to keep up with his incredible expenditures. Once, a good friend had his computer stolen right before finals week, and Max saw that someone was out to get him, so the day of the test, a new one was at his desk and no one asked where it came from and he never said but it was 10x the computer that had been stolen and because of that the young man was now top of his class and Max smiled a lot and walked along beside him talking about the Market, ships and of course girls, as the school stepped back to see where these two massive talents would be going in just one more year.

Then there was the time that he held a party for a girl he liked, and rented a TP class with all the trimmings and even handed out free chips at the door, with pretty girls giving away free drinks and food all night long while they cruised the sectors closest to the core,and Max made sure that he got his share of fun when she gushed all over him about his wonderful gift. No cost was too high when he wanted to have fun and no favor too hard to ask for. Many times his father had favors saved up from helping the local security men or military out but those slowly got used up as Max got arrested more than once for things that his father barely knew about if at all, and soon he was at his wits end with him.

“Hacking the Sector Security Chiefs personal home computer!?” Sebastian screamed as Max came walking out of the holding cells.” what were you thinking?”

“His daughter Holly has a birthday coming up so I was doing some early prep for her present, or the message about it anyways,” Max mentioned as he got his belongings and smiled at the officer who just smiled back and waved him away. He had been here often enough that he had friends here, and that was something that his father hated worst of all.

“There's a reason he has the highest security of any computer in the system...” His father said seriously while Max just smiled and got a chuckle from it.

“Not anymore,” He added while they stared at each other and had a serious talk about his place in the Family all the way home.

“These illegal activities have got to stop, you'll ruin your reputation and ours with it.” His father said as Max just waved that idea away.

“This wasn't even meant to be an illegal act, it was going to be a joke, the man has no sense of humor.” He added while Sebastian looked tired saying the same thing over and over.

“Maximilian...” His father said seriously as Max looked his way to see the very,very serious nature of what was about to be said,” I wont be there for you next time. If you insist on being the black sheep of the Family, you'll do it on your own, I'm tired of it! You've made trouble for every one of us at one time or another but I stood by you all this time, and you never heard a word I said. So, this is it...if you persist then its on YOUR head, not mine so don’t call me for help again.”

“I didn't call you this time,” Max mentioned and turned away and his father looked sad for him and them all.

“I'm putting a limit on your card too,” He added as Max looked positively shocked.”It'll have enough for school and some spending money but the limitless spending stops here.”

“In that case,” Max said and stuck the card into his fathers shirt pocket,” keep it, I don't need your help any longer, I can make it on my own, you just sit back and watch me.” The ship docked at the station and max walked off and gathered his things and moved into a small apartment by himself, and his mother asked what had happened and Sebastian just shrugged and said nothing but he knew that Max would be crawling back in a few days, his son had never worked a day in his life so getting cash wasn't going to be that easy, and he went back to work and waited on the other foot to fall.

Chapter 2: Maximum Profit

But Max had seen this coming for quite a while and he had money besides that card. He had his Market account for instance and it had a good amount in it. He worked it harder than normal for a few days and made sure he could get along for a while on it, and then went back to his old habits of going to school and doing pretty much what he wanted, while his father waited for him to come crawling home, which didn't happen and he looked surprised. Max's grades actually went up and the teachers were shocked by that. With his father leaning on him he had been upset by it all but now that he declared his freedom, it was on his own shoulders and he worked harder than before and he was by no means a normal student to begin with. Now he had a serious shot at valedictorian when he graduated and his Family got the reports from the school and his mother looked proud of him while his dad looked upset that he was doing better now that he had left the Family to be on his own. It wasn't the way it was supposed to be, but that was just like Max to do something like this just to upset him, and he got angrier than before.

First, a week went by, then a month and soon graduation was near and Max still had never returned home. His mother was worried as any mother would be, and his sister... but she never mentioned that she had been to see him and he was doing fine. If it was between him and Father then she'd let them settle it but for her part, she was thrilled that Max had finally stood up for himself, something she was planning on her own. Her father, though well meaning... was a small tyrant, and a man who just couldn't be wrong, even if he was. That kind of pressure made everyone around him walk on eggshells, and that kind of tension isn't good for you.

Max got out from under his thumb and was working to stay afloat while in school but with graduation a week away, his future was at hand and she wondered what he would do after, when all his time was his own. It was recognized as normal to give presents when someone graduated, and while Clare mentioned it to her mom, she wasn't too sure what Max would get, if anything, from his father. He had to get something or the whole school would see, and his reputation would suffer and Max knew it as well. What he thought he'd get away with, or use as a punishment for the way he was acting, was unknown to everyone but him and they all stood back waiting to see.

The day came and the Family was there, watching as Max gave the speech that he had prepared. He spoke of the future... the multitudes of ways to make a good living, of his friends and their support of him after his fall from glory, and his Family, that he hoped understood that he had to do things his own way, and after the speech, the room was on their feet applauding, and Max gave a bow and took his seat while the school dean gave his speech and everyone waited to see the big party after.

The speeches were done and the groups of students and parents rushed together for hugs and gifts. Max walked over slowly and Clare and Helen rushed him and gave him hugs and said how proud they were of him and he thanked them while some friends watched from a few steps away.

But now the big showdown came as they stepped to the side and Sebastian stood there with an envelope in his hands and a sad look on his face. Even now they refused to make that few steps to get closer and Max waited while the older man cleared his throat and the area around them got silent.

“You always were a stubborn little fool,” He started as even the people nearby saw that he wasn't ready to give up just yet,” but I guess you made a point, albeit a small one. You can make it on your own, and I guess that surprised me. Heres something that might help a little, and you know where your home is when your ready to return.”

With that small speech he threw the envelope and Max caught it and Sebastian walked away, like he had just fired an employee, and his wife nearly screamed at him for it, but Max stopped her, saying it was alright, he didn't expect anything more. He opened the envelope and inside were the codes for a small freighter. Not an expensive gift at all but something, maybe hinting that this was his future, but Max thanked her for the gift anyways and said he'd multiply this by 5 in no time, and she smiled and nodded with tears running down her cheeks. If that was what he wanted then she'd just wait and see and they went home and Max went to the shipyard to get his new ship, and start a new part in his life.

22-12-2012, 01:15 PM
Chapter 3: Working It

Max took a small amount from his Market account and used it to do a few runs with the new ship. It was OK, but it was slow and the profits were small compared to what he liked. His travel time from area to area was long and gave him time to do other things while he waited. His computer skills were second to none and even as he traveled he messed with a few others for fun. Once he had the lights on another ship go off and on in rapid succession and sector security stopped them to ask if they were alright, and Max got a big laugh out of it. One other time as a pirate patrol was attacking a ship right next to him he hacked one fighter and it lost control and slammed into an asteroid and the pilot barely had time to eject. But being the nice guy, Max swung back around and picked him up and gave him a ride to the nearest station...where security was waiting and Max got a nice reward for his capture. That gave him some ideas, and he kept an eye out for other ways his skills could help him and he wasn't going to be too picky about the letter of the law.

He got some cargo for free, floating after fights, and sold that. He made a station think that there was a shortage of materials in sector so the price went up then sold his and ran before he they caught on. His little escapades were making him some cash and better still were fun during boring and long trips. He really could buy another ship now but he didn't as he waited to see what else he could get into.

Meanwhile the Holidays were approaching and Max's cousin, Casey came home from the military to see the family and was shocked that Max wasn't there.

“It's been over a year...” Clare mentioned at the dinner table as Sebastian added he knew where they were and could come home any time, but they knew better and even Casey looked sad.

“What's he doing for a living?” She asked as Helen saw her worrying and she smiled. They might be family, cousins actually but she always liked him even though she was a year older.

“No idea...” Sebastian mentioned,stubbornly as even Clare got a good laugh from that.

“We watch him constantly, don’t let dad fool you, he's working the Market, and running a small freight business...he even brought in a known felon for a reward. It seems hes doing OK.” She said while everyone but her dad got a little chuckle by it all.

“Sounds like Max...” She added as everyone agreed.”maybe I'll check on him sometime.”

“Tell him we miss him.” Helen added quickly,as she nodded she would, and the discussion ended right there.

But Casey was a woman of her word, and as she left that afternoon, she called in a favor and found out where Max was spending his holidays. That's a perk of working Intelligence, and she smiled and went to see him as he came walking back to his ship, a bit under the weather, but with a huge grin when he saw her.

“Casey!” He called as she smiled and he threw his arms around her and gave her a hug,” It's been ages...”

“I heard your getting into trouble as usual,” She added as he started to laugh.”your moms worried about you.”

“I'm fine...better than fine, I'm free!” He said loudly as people all over the docks started to laugh and she dragged him on board to finish their discussion.”I've been having fun and making a living, and even inventing some new things to help out.”

“Your INVENTING?” She asked and laughed while he waved a finger in the air and made a tsk,tsk, noise and she smiled at his childish,drunk nature.

“Let me show you...” He said as they backed away and went for a ride and she smiled that even drunk he was a good pilot. They flew around for a few minutes then he pointed to a TL going by and gave a little chuckle and it went nuts as he fed some info into his custom computer setup. The ship started calling for help, and weapons came on and they stopped what they were doing and started running towards the nearest gate as Casey looked surprised and asked what was going on.

“They're running from a Khaak invasion...” he added and then went shhhh, and laughed as she looked impressed. There were no Khaak in sector, none... but they thought there was, in a war this would be very useful and she decided that she might mention it later to her boss.” I can make them see things... or not,” and he did something else and the ship stopped running wildly and returned to its first course, acting a little embarrassed as the captain demanded better maintenance be done, and everyone in the sector could hear it on the coms.”I can also take total control but we wont bother these poor guys anymore...but under some conditions, I can make anyone bail, even Xenon ships will soon be my toys.”

This was huge, and Casey saw a time when a single ship with his new technology could win a war and she made him return to the base and she put him to bed to sleep it off. She then made a call and the Commander of Intelligence was more than interested.

“This is all new stuff, no one has ever been able to control other ships remotely against the Captains wishes before.” He added looking thoughtful while she made sure he knew that Max was an inventor and that sometimes he got a little carried away, but meant no harm.”I understand, genius cant be thought of as normal, we've seen that before, believe me.” he added as she fought to keep from laughing.

“You have a new assignment, stay with Captain Slater, and watch his progress, using it in the war on pirates alone might be worth it if this new technology works as well as you say. Once we get it all figured out, then we can use it on every ship, and Argon will be a lot safer.” he said seriously as she nodded that she understood what he meant.” Call from time to time and let us know how things are progressing, and keep this discussion to yourself, for now.”

The link went closed and Casey went to get some of her things. It looked like her and her favorite cousin were going to be shipmates, and possibly, change the rules of war, and that didn't bother her one bit.

Chapter 4: The Irresponsible 'Professor'

When Max woke up, Casey was there, in civilian cloths making him dinner and he looked really surprised. She made sure he got something good to eat and then started asking him about his new invention.

“Its not a real invention...” He added having some argnu that she prepared with gravy and potatoes,” hmm this is good, I never knew you were this good a cook.”

“Why isn't it an invention?” She asked, guiding him along.

“Because, its a TOY,” He added and laughed as she looked shocked. He had no idea what he was making but he did it for fun, and maybe to make a buck or two, but...mostly for fun. She had to think about that for a minute and finally she cleared her throat and asked what all he had tested it on so far.

“Well I do live in a freighter...” He mentioned as she nodded,” so running towards pirate patrols and Khaak clusters might be a bad idea. Once I get some more cash then I'm going to get a new ship, or at least a bigger one with some guns on it.” He explained while she agreed it was a good idea. “ even a MK1 version of say...the old Centaur would give me enough protection to experiment on other ships.”

“You'll need a few million for that, I know where to get MK 1 version ships, but its still not going to be cheap.” Casey added while he asked her if she was ever going back to work again, and she just smiled and said she had leave.

“So, you came to spend your days off with me, how nice...” He said holding her hand and after a minute she slid it away but her face was pretty red as he could see.

“So, (ahem) you need more money before you can test any further, maybe we can use this as another test, there are pirates everywhere, and small ships aren't that big a threat for an armed freighter.” She mentioned while he laughed and said he never had any weapons added to the ship and she looked surprised he had been working hauling like this.”No missiles either?”

“Nothing, I'm no threat to anyone, besides, I know half the guys out here, we drink together.” he added while eating and she looked more than shocked. He was working safely because they knew him and left him alone, but sooner or later an agreement like that would fall apart, it had happened before.

“You are nuts you know that?” She asked looking worried while he burst into laughter.

“Thats never been proven..at least not conclusively,” he said, and he laughed and she couldn't help but join in.”if we need some cash maybe we can bail a few pirate ships in other sectors, that would even give me more rep here, since they are rivals.”

“But first, we add some weapons, even a PAC in the rear will help, and maybe a few wasps, that will help too.” She said as he just shrugged and she heaved a big sigh and went to see what they could get, free or cheaply, and he watched her out of the corner of his eyes and smiled to himself. It appeared he was getting noticed, or intelligence wouldn't have given him such a nice gift.

She made a few calls and got a used PAC for a song and had it mounted and then bought 5 wasp missiles to back it up. Against heavy ships they were worthless but against anything that had been weakened with weapons fire they were a good 'finisher' if need be. Then Max just smiled and agreed they were as ready as they could get and they drifted away from the base and started out into open space to test his new 'toy'.

Back at the home sector, a fashion show was going on, and Rachael was doing her best to make the new yearly line up of military cloths look like anyone could wear them and look good. It wasn't easy but it was her deal, as her dad and manager, had thought that as a young officer in the military she could get the 'patriotic' vote as well as jobs from regular clothing manufacturers for wearing their new lines. It had worked so far and as a military officer, in name only, she not only showed off their ability to make uniforms that had a certain 'fashion sense' but also the military got big credit for having a famous fashion model join their ranks, and enlistment went up.

It was long hours of walking around with a fake smile that hurt her cheeks after a while, as hundreds of pictures and videos were made for publication, and after a while she had to get away for a little bit and she walked out to the overlook to grab a bit of fresh air while the camera crews got ready for the next one. She really needed a break, and vacation time was way too far away, but her dad kept pushing and her account went up and up, and she wasn't a fool, so did his. She was his Golden Goose, an expression mentioned because of her short blond hair, and he wasn't about to let her out of his sight.

Just a year or two ago she was a struggling model, working for next to nothing when her dad had this idea,and talked a few friends into it that he had known in the military. Now her name was on all the news and her pictures in every magazine. She was a smash, and she did owe him a lot, even though she was starting to feel like a slave after all these months. She went back inside and back to work as they called for her and she smiled as best as she could and the work went on, and her dad made even more contracts that guaranteed to keep her busy for quite a while yet. While she set a plan of her own into motion.

The freighter pulled back into the station a day later and Casey was very impressed. They had gotten a TP class ship from a well known smuggler, and it was docking at the shipyards even now. That was going to be a big jump in cash and they talked about going back out later to try again.

“But first, time off for good behavior...” Max said as he changed into better cloths and she met him at the door, looking pretty good herself.

“Where are we going?” She asked as they walked off the ship and got into a cab and he smiled widely.

“To see an old friend,” he said as she wasn't at all sure she wanted to meet some of his 'old friends', but she just smiled and away they went.

But she was very shocked as they pulled up in front of a convention hall with a big sign on the front saying: 'Yearly Military Uniform Fashion Show' as her eyes popped. He was taking her to a fashion show?! That really surprised her but she just smiled and they went in. The officers they met shook their hands and even her boss was there, as he smiled and turned away and she acted like she didn't see him as well. They got seated and the show went on and the new cloths did look pretty good, but they were just new uniforms after all and she wondered why they really were here, since Max was a private ships captain and no military man at all, but as she looked over to ask she saw he had changed and she didn't notice until now, his normal cloths had a new, clean Captains coat over the top and she wondered when he had picked that up, and how.

As soon as the show was over, they got up and made their way to the back stage party, and she was impressed that they got in... as the door opened and they stepped inside, he called loudly,'hey,Rachael, you little slut'..and she cringed at the sound of it but faked a big smile as he ran over to give her a big hug.

“Don't ever call me that again!” she whispered a little too loudly as he burst into laughter and she followed as Casey stood by looking too shocked to speak.”get me the hell out of here,please, I'm begging you.”

Max nodded and took her hand started for the door when her dad, and several photographers stepped in front of them and asked where they were going. But Max had planned for this and as they stood there, he loudly stated that Lt. Hawks had volunteered for a top secret mission to help test new military hardware and that he was her new commanding officer, but at that her dad disagreed saying he had a deal, and the news crews stopped what they were doing nearby to hear about this.

“Your daughter is an officer in the military isn't she?” Max asked pointing to the Captains bars on his suit, and the man nodded agreement,” then as her commanding officer, I'm taking her for my crew. I guarantee her safety and she'll be back shortly.” He added as the news crews jumped in asking a million questions and her dad ran to make a call in private and Max saw he was short on time.

“Many of you don’t know that the Lt. is not only a very beautiful woman but as a military officer she works secretly for Argon intelligence, and her next assignment is starting right now! We must be going, but I assure you, that she'll be back better than ever, now if you'll excuse us...” Max said loudly and he dragged her away with Casey running along side and she saw her boss looking oddly at her and she nodded and winked, and he made a call too.

23-12-2012, 12:34 PM
Chapter 5: Crew Mates

They made a quick trip back to the docks and they got on board and left at best speed, after taking a few minutes to sell the TP they had brought in before. Their account looked a lot better, but still not enough and as Casey sat the navigators position Rachael sat in the weapons masters seat and looked things over from there.

“Did you really expect this to work?” She asked as Max informed her it had, she was free, at least for a while.”no you moron this...” She said pointing to the console as she explained that the weapons they added hadn't even been calibrated yet and were way,way off the side.

“So, your an officer after all,” Casey mentioned as they gave each other a serious stare.

“Not really,” Max added as she looked his way,” Rachael has always liked big guns, haven't you dear?” And with that Casey gave her an even more serious look and she looked away to keep from sharing it.

“I had to study a lot of stuff to cover for my dads deal, in case the news asked me.” She whispered as Casey got a big grin, so she had studied ships but never served on one.

“Don't worry shes no dummy,” Max added as Rachael smiled at him and he gave her a big wink.

“OK, 2 questions, first...where did you two meet, and second...where did you get that Captains tunic, your not even in the military.” Casey asked as they all laughed.

“We met long ago, right out of school, we went to many of the same parties back then, and she gave me the tunic, it was waiting for me at the door, so we could get back stage.” Max said as Casey nodded, so they had planned this all along.”You might not know it, but modeling 12 hours a day is hard, and her dad's a jerk, always was, so long as the money kept rolling in.” Max added as no one said anything and Rachael decided to try her hand at calibrating the rear gun while they went looking for something else to do.

It took a few trys but finally she was happy with the results. The back gun wasn't a big one but it would certainly help, if it hit anything, and she made sure that at the optimal range it would.

“Thats better,” She said after running a simulation and Max nodded and gave her a big thumbs up, while Casey just sat back and smiled.

“If you hang around a while, we're working our way up to some bigger ships and guns. The Pirate problem is out of control and they need every ship they can get.” Casey added while Rachael seemed pretty happy to be doing something different for a change.

“This is the most rest I've gotten in weeks,” She added as she stretched and sat back all smiles,” I knew I could count on you.”

“I help my friends,” Max said seriously as everyone there nodded agreement, “and speaking of pirates, here comes a nice little Harrier, all alone, maybe a courier.” He said as they called across and the pirate refused to admit he heard them at all, but 3 minutes later, and he was floating, swearing profusely as the girls looked surprised it had happened so quick.

“Now we can say that our team successfully got one pirate vessel, so that Rachael wont get dragged back so quickly.” Max mentioned as Casey chuckled and nodded it was true and Rachael just shrugged not really knowing what just happened.

“We're testing new software and hardware for the military,” Casey mentioned as Rachael looked impressed, “if it works this well every time, then pirates will nearly be a thing of the past. And other enemys like the Xenon and Khaak will be on the run, saving many lives.” Casey went on as Max smiled, of course the military man that brought this new technology in would be a general or admiral for it, but he wasn't planning on leaving it out of his hands so quickly, as he smiled and they sent the little fighter back to sell.

“Little things like that aren't a challenge,” Max said as everyone looked around,” they lack even the slightest hacking protection, so we'll make a few credits off those. The really serious ships will have better computers and software and will not be fooled in a couple seconds.”

Casey nodded right along as she memorized every thing he said. If that was true they had a long way to go yet and her report would state that. Max also saw her eyes running back and forth in her head like a typewriter, making notes. If he wanted to keep control of his inventions or his life for that matter, then he needed to walk a tightrope, helping on one side and withholding a little on the other. This was his idea and his future, since it would be worth billions in the right hands, but he'd see to it that, like many other great discoveries, no one but him would know the exact workings of his plan, and that would be where his business sense came in.

“I need a better control system,” he added as they agreed, “ I have some ideas we can work on, lets go to the equipment dock so I can get some better computer hardware,” And with that they made a turn and left the system, looking for the 'better equipment' that Max said he needed and Casey sent in another report saying that the first stage of the plan was working and that their team would be sending more pirate ships back as time went on.

Chapter 6: Improved Machines

Max got a new wide screen about 18 inches across and a special mount and had it mounted to the side of his command chair, so it swiveled, around out of the way and back when he needed it to. It also was a touch screen with all his controls getting added so he could see the scanner screen in full size and control his hacking equipment while watching it all happening in real time. It looked impressive as he got it going, and he messed with a few local ships just to make sure that everything was going as planned. The whole thing took two days and no one was complaining since they were at a major station and could do pretty much as they pleased.

Max was getting a well deserved bath and as he sat in the hot tub the door opened and Casey walked in covered only by a towel and he smiled and mentioned he had reserved the bath for the next hour.

“You think I'm paying if you already reserved one?” She asked as she slid into the water and he looked a little excited to be this close after so long a time.

“Is this a good idea?” He asked as she smiled and shrugged but she didn't leave and he looked everywhere but straight at her and she started getting upset.

“Am I that ugly?” She demanded as he laughed, she certainly wasn't but they had known each other for many years and if they stepped across this line, they could never go back again. Not to mention their parents would have their hides on the wall for this.

“We're all grown up now so sharing the bath means more than teasing,” Max hinted as she smiled and slid over, just as the door opened again and Rachael came in carrying two drinks.

“They didn't have diet, so I guess I'll live dangerously today...” she was saying as she looked up and her and Casey locked a good hard stare and Max sat back looking embarrassed by it all.

“Its not what you think,” He started as Rachael threw the drinks down and stomped in and Casey got up to meet her.

“Oh, its EXACTLY what I think,” she said as they stood, looking very upset with each other.

“We didn't do anything, really, we've been friends for years and have never done anything like that.” Max added quickly as Casey gave him a hard look and grabbed her towel and stormed out looking very upset.

“And YOU...” Rachael said, pointing at Max so angry she could barely hold still,” are a moron, get a clue will you?” And with that she too left and as the room got much,much quieter, after a minute to consider,Max decided that renting it for an hour was a waste now, so he got out and slowly got ready to go back to work.

The rest of that day the tension around the ship was thick, as Max tried more than once to make a joke of it all but it just didn't fly.

“Alright!” He yelled, finally as both girls looked around from their stations. “I had a date with Rachael and Casey walked in. I was caught flatfooted and more than a little embarrassed...” He went on as they both waited for him to go on.

“Rach and I have been seeing each other...on rare occasions... for almost 2 years now. Its not serious, we both agreed, but Casey and I have been best friends for even longer, and I have tried hard not to think of you as just another girl, so that was a real surprise.” He added and his voice dropped in volume as he spoke, and she finally smiled and Rachael nodded she understood. “I may have to reconsider a few things, when I get the time. But for now lets just get along OK?” He asked as they finally agreed and everyone went back to work.

“It could be a little more serious if he left it....” Rach whispered as Casey just smiled.

“Good luck with that,” She answered as they both nodded, Max wasn't getting serious about anyone yet and they knew it all too well.

The new machine was ready soon after that and they went out to try it and get some more credits into the company account. They flew into a few other sectors and after a while Max said a loud 'Aha!” and they looked around.

“Smuggler ship approaching, in range in 3 minutes,” He said as they watched and after a minute the shape of another freighter became clearer and clearer. “TS class, loaded with...oh,oh, PAC's 12 of them.”

“That would help,” Casey added as he agreed, the ship got into the 5 km range and he started his 'magic' and a minute later a coms message came in, and a very angry ships Captain.

“Hey stop that, what are you doing?” He demanded as Max looked surprised.

“I have total control of your ships systems,” Max added quickly,” so get out or go to the trading station and have the ship searched by security.” He said as the man looked seriously pissed.

“And if I refuse?” He asked as Max just shrugged and said the prison planet was in winter right now...and the man shut down the coms and bailed out. Max then sent the ship back to the core sector and Casey called ahead to say another one was coming, with a nice bonus for them all.

“Well done...” The Chief of Argon Intelligence added as she said that Max had just modified his machine again and this was the first test.”Its worth it having your team out there just to cut down on smugglers, but those guns are a nice bonus too, they'll come in handy for sector security.”

“He had a little trouble with this one, obviously his system still needs work,” Casey mentioned as the Chief nodded he understood.

“It might take years to work all the bugs out but his capture ratio is better than anyone else's now, we will be very happy to see his system finally working up to full strength.” He said and waved as the link went closed.

“Sounds like the boss is happy so far,” Max said as she looked around and nodded.

“You aren't supposed to be listening in,” She added as he laughed, like he didn't know ages ago, and she smiled back knowing she had never fooled him for a second.

“So...” He asked quietly,” as a good little spy was that bath thing part of the job too?”

Casey looked sad that he mentioned her as a 'good little spy' but she finally whispered that , that was her day off and had nothing to do with work and he smiled and thanked her for the thought and she saw that maybe it wasn't a lost cause after all.

“You grew up well,” He added with a wink and he turned and went back to work.

23-12-2012, 12:35 PM
Bonus for Christmas...a pair of chapters a day...so two more tomorrow, Happy Holidays everyone. This story is a little short anyways, so dropping it quick isn't a problem.

23-12-2012, 05:22 PM
Thanks Kev ;-)

Merry christmas mate and to all who visit .. have a great time, safe and full of joy (and hangovers hehe)

Thanks for keeping us entertained :-)

24-12-2012, 01:40 AM
At my current age and in my current condition, this is about all I can do, I'm just glad I found something that makes people happy from time to time, Happy Holidays to all.

24-12-2012, 12:07 PM
Chapter 7: Slight Adjustments

“So why did that guy see through your hacking attempt before you got control?” Rach asked as Max sat there playing around inside his computer case the next day.

“Professional smuggler...” Max added softly as she smiled and waited,” he had better software and counter measures than I gave them credit for, good thing it wasn't a heavy fighter or we would have been in a little trouble.”

“Will we be ready for those soon?” She asked as Max looked around and smiled widely.

“Once I see what everyone is using, we'll be able to cap a corvette class,” He added as Casey smiled wide as she walked in.

“Anytime soon?” She asked as he just laughed out loud, the old freighter was livable but not very comfortable and he had noticed too.

“You know, I was thinking, a heavy fighter has room for a crew of two , and a M3+ is next to a corvette in size..so we could probably work well in one of those.” He said as they both got a good chuckle from it, it appeared he was getting tired of the little ship too.

“A regular heavy like a Nova or Falcon is really only made for a crew of one and not very comfortable...however, they are worth a million for salvage, sometimes more.” Casey stated as everyone nodded and looked happy to hear it.

“Well we're doing alright so far, we wont be starving anytime soon, but now that I've seen a serious counter measure, I think we're ready to try something bigger.” He said as they both agreed and he made a new plan. He'd hack a bigger ship but if it went badly, they'd jump away at the last minute and the plan was set and ready as they started a new day of patrolling.

They had barely got started when a message came in,a station was under attack next door and they ran that way to see.

“This isn't a fighter we cant really help much,” Rach mentioned as he laughed out loud.

“Oh we're more than a fighter,” He said as the girls just shook their heads and waited for the next step to get started. They ran in and it surprised them to see the main force was at the station some distance away. Three M4's and several M5's were making it look good, but they weren't fooling anyone, they didn't have the firepower to mess up a station so it seemed like they were just giving a warning to the owner, when the gate opened again and a bomber came through and started past them towards the station.

“Hades...” Casey mentioned as Max yelled..'whoaaaa momma!” as the big ship went by just 1 km away and ignored them completely. “Max! Thats a bomber, one missile and we're all dead.”

“Then don’t let them hit us, missile defense up...” he said as he looked thrilled and made a big point of waving his finger in the air and hitting the button, the one that Casey was sure would end their lives right there.

“The morons...” He said a minute later while Rach looked around and asked him why he was screaming like that,” its brand new...it has 50 meg in shields and PRGs in the turret, and not a single missile on board, its all a scam, they were faking the whole attack.”

“Those fighters aren't fake,” Casey mentioned as they seemed to notice them following along behind the bomber as the crew bailed out and Max took command and started it back home.

“Jump...now looks like a good time!” Max said as they entered the coordinates just as the fighters got within range and one light missile was fired. They barely made it out of the sector in one piece and as they docked at the trading station, Max was still watching his latest possession as it worked its way back toward the core sector.

“theres a wing of fighters on its way to take control and follow it in.” Casey mentioned as he nodded but he was looking very happy right now.

“Thats one good looking ship,” Max mentioned as they all agreed, “ and with all that cargo space we could turn that into a really nice base.”

“Its a bomber, Max,” Casey said looking sad for him as he went on and on,” it is worth a lot though, maybe we can get something bigger and more powerful now, then you can remodel that to suit yourself.”

“A new TP class...” he started again, as he went on about the nicer looking ship, and the 'luxurious interior for after hours' so they wouldn't need to rent hot tubs and luxurious rooms in stations.

“You sold one of those already,didn't you?” Casey asked while he admitted they did, they needed the money then, not so much now, as the account showed the deposit made it in and he looked like he'd go spastic.”Besides, we're making a living messing with people, pirates, Khaak anyone we meet, and a TP class is nice but no more powerful than what we have now.”

“Darn...” Rach added as Casey saw that she was the only one thinking ahead and she just shook her head at their crazy thoughts of luxury and fun when their lives were at stake.

“A Split TP, they'll have more weapon mounts...” Max tried as she stopped him again.

“NO MAX!” She said loudly as he looked totally defeated and Rachael looked sad too.

“Alright then, you choose, but it better be more comfortable than this,” Max said as she finally agreed and they made a trip to another sector and docked at an older looking station there, and she took them to talk to someone who specialized in ships of all types and sizes and they weren't always your 'run of the mill' fighters and freighters.

Chapter 8: Changes

The salesman came out with a huge grin, wringing his hands and welcoming them to his station,and before Casey could say a thing, Max jumped in, saying they needed a better ship as he threw a finger over his shoulder towards the freighter sitting just down the dock, and the man smiled wide and said that wasn't a problem.

“It needs more weapons and shields and must be comfortable for long trips and have some luxurious rooms and maybe a nice bath,” Max was going on while Casey tried to hide her face from the embarrassment.

“No problem... we have that,” The man said as she looked up, surprised,” Right this way.”

They were led into another area and there, sitting halfway down the dock was a large ship, bigger than the freighter by a factor of 6 at least but it looked worse for wear.

“Do you have any idea what this magnificent vessel is?” The salesman asked, with a wave of his arm, as Max nodded and stepped right in.

“MK1 Talon,personal yacht, first made over a decade ago for some pirate scum Captain, and now made in 3 slightly different styles depending on what you plan on using it for.” He said very seriously as the salesman looked surprised.

“You have a good eye for ships,” The man said as Max gave him a little bow and Casey actually stepped back and left him go, this was Max's territory and she wouldn't do any better, but she winked at Rachael who looked lost and they waited for the real deal to start.”This vessel was the property of a very well known mercenary,” he said with a wink as Max nodded and waited,” he has since, well, past on..so to speak and we got this vessel from his estate.”

“So, let me get this straight...” Max started as the man stopped to hear,” the man who owned it died in it and you got it for scrap and then decided that for its size you'd resell it.”

“It was never proven he died in it, never,” The salesman said quickly especially towards the shocked looking women there but Max didn't flinch a bit.

“So then what are you asking?” Max asked as the man turned his notepad around and Max burst into laughter and the girls nearly did as well.”Thats insane its half the price of a new one.”

“I assure you, that’s no where near this price, these are very hard to come by ships and have great resale value.” He went on with his nose held high.

“With bullet holes in them?” Max asked as the man whipped around immediately to see , and found out he had been caught looking towards one certain area and Max walked over to see some rather crude repairs that had been done.”Are these repairs up to government standards for safety?” At that mention the price went down, quite a bit.

“Any guns on board? As I recall this first design was low on firepower, and PAC's aren't much good against corvettes as I'm sure this guy found out.” Max added as the man looked sick and the price came down a bit more.”a jump drive on board?” Max added as the man looked sad and said nothing.

“Does it even fly!?” He asked loudly as the man assured him it was quite safe and Max just threw his hands in the air and started away.

“Wait...” The salesman called as they stopped at the door,” at least look inside... it is very nice.” And at that Max nodded and they walked along the side as a door opened and they all stepped in and Max made a bad choking sound that made the man jump back, looking scared. Rachael immediately stepped up and gave him something and he popped it into his mouth and a minute later, stood, leaning on the wall, as the salesman and Casey, looked scared for him.

“Its an old lung problem, he gets it when he smells burning plastic or wires, theres a lot of toxic fumes off those and hes very sensitive.” She added very serious as they both nodded and looked sad for him.

“I'm sorry, they should have aired it out better after the repairs,” The salesman said as Max got back to his full height and asked what part of the ship had a fire in it, and the man looked sadder than before.

“It wasn't the Command section was it?” Max asked as he stepped back towards the door and the man stopped him.

“The Command is fine don’t worry, it was engineering they had a minor fire there when he met his doom, but everything has been repaired.” He added quickly as Max nodded and stepped back out onto the dock edge and seemed to breath a little easier.

“So, what price were you asking last?” Max asked as the man looked like he'd throw up, but he messed with the numbers a bit more and turned the screen around to show him and even Casey nearly laughed out loud.”half down and the rest in 90 days.” Max said as the man agreed and they shook on it and they went to get the paperwork done and Max whispered to Casey and she agreed and her and Rachel went on board and started moving things over from their old ship while Max kept the salesman busy.

The old Talon had no JD, but it did now, as they transfered everything they needed including Max's computer station and all the energy cells and the two PAC's they had in the back. Then all the software using the transporter, and then the transporter itself. In a little while Max was seen walking back and the salesman shook his head thanked him for his business and as he walked on board, the door closed and Max ran to the Command center smiling and told the girls to leave the dock as soon as they could. The big ship very slowly backed away and turned and started towards the gate then jumped as the salesman wondered if it really did have a JD on board or not.

“Worked like a charm,” Rach said as he sat down and started looking for wires to hook up his computer to the new seat.

“I never knew you had allergies to smoke,” Casey added still looking sad for him.

“I don't,” He added with a big grin,” but Rachael was dealing with a nasty car salesman some time ago for a nice used sports car and they were giving her a hard time, after we worked them over she got it for a song, so I figured she'd remember.”

“It was a con?” Casey asked as both Rachael and Max smiled.

“He's a professional salesman, if we didn't do him, he'd do us,” Max said as Casey finally caught on and they drifted into the equipment dock, to start redoing all the computer work and getting the new ship ready to live in.”but we need to get this working quick, because right now we're very nearly broke.”

“Does it have a hot tub?” Rach asked as Max nodded smiling.

“deck two.” he added as they all laughed and a lot of time was spent repairing and cleaning the big ship until they were finally happy with it, and they settled in for the long haul.

24-12-2012, 07:17 PM
Been playing 'the secret world' for a few days. not a zomie guy myself but its not too bad, but the idea of the game is this: All the ideas,legends,creatures, and conspiracies that you hear about are true...and they're coming out for everyone to see. There's a story in their somewhere, I'm sure, so maybe we'll see something like that.

25-12-2012, 12:31 PM
Chapter 9: Scrounging

They left the station the next day and went for a ride, not so much to capture anything, more like to see how things were working. The scanners seemed OK, and the turrets, while mostly empty, worked, and Max had the computer he built mounted so he tried that as a freighter captain came on the coms screaming the there was a Khaak cluster right next to his ship, then apologized when it suddenly disappeared.

“Its the ghost of Khaak past,” Max added over the coms while the guy swore that he had seen it on his scanners and Max nodded seriously and left it go.

“You need to quit messing with people,” Casey added as he admitted he did it more for fun than anything else. “so things are getting back to normal then?”

“yes, definitely, except for the fact we have only 2 PAC's for defense, and only 200 megs in shield, and the engines are only running at 75%, other than that, we're fine.” He added looking upset as she smiled. Max was used to having his own way and even getting it this time, they lacked the money to get a lot of the things done they needed, they were operating on a shoestring here.

“Theres a message from the sector next door,” Rach added as they listened in, another station was under attack but they were serious this time and the sector security was asking for any help they could get.

“Lets go...” Max said with a big grin while both girls looked at him like he was nuts.

“We don’t have the guns, and barely minimum shields, to go help.” Casey added as he laughed along.

“We're not going to help, we're going to gather supplys,” He said as they looked sad but the big ship went through the gate and started looking around as a medium fighter ran their way and started shooting.

“I told you...” Casey said as Rachael started getting a few shots in from the one turret and Max got a lock on him and hacked his machine as the fighter drifted to a stop just 2 km away.

“Take everything he has on board we can use.” Max said as a few missiles came on board and 4 small weapons that went right into the turrets. He then sent it back for sale and went about seeing what else was happening as Rachael got happy putting the new guns where she thought would do the most good.

“Energy cells off the port side,” Max called as the transporter grabbed them and they went on as another M5 ran their way but the new guns made quick work of it as Max mentioned they were there to gather things not kill them.

“Sorry got carried away,” Rachael said with a big grin, and having guns to play with seemed to bring out the monster in her, as Casey sat there laughing to herself. They got a couple more missiles before it was all over, and sector security thanked them for showing up to help, even though they could clearly see they needed a lot of work themselves.

“We do what we can,” Max added as they jumped away. The M4 went to the shipyard and was sold and the account had a little bit in it again, but even that didn't last as they got more work done on the big ship, making their speed just a little better.”its going to be a money pit for a while, I'm afraid.” he added as everyone agreed.

“And what else do you owe that needs paid in the next 90 days?” Casey asked while he rolled his eyes, and looked away.

“Don't mention it,” he added as they all laughed and went out looking around for anything they could find to help out. They kept going, looking at every gate and moving from sector to sector,and after a while they started back home. They found a few mosquito missiles,and some cahoonas, and random other small things that might help a little later. But as they were ready to dock the salesman from the shipyard came on saying they had gotten their first payment and a few more like that and they'd be all set.

“Yes, of course we aim to please,” Max said as the link went down and he looked suspiciously at the girls sitting in front of him.

“Don't look at me, I didn't do it,” Rachael said as he looked to Casey instead as she laughed at his surprise.

“Colonel Hastings said thank you, that pirate that bailed had a bounty on him and since sector security picked him up, we get the bounty.” She added while he looked a little happier than before.

“Doing the right thing pays...who would have guessed,” Max said sitting back as the girls got a good laugh, and they docked to sell what they had found.

Chapter 10: Getting By

A few thousand here a few hundred there, it wasn't a lot or even enough to help with ship upgrades, but it was keeping them in food for a while at least. The ship was now traveling at 80% of total speed, had the one 200 meg shield and 6 dragonfly missiles and a dozen mosquitoes. It wasn't exactly helpless but the little PAC's it was using wasn't enough to keep it safe either. Any major pirate patrol would be a big threat and because of that, they didn't get any chances at new ships for a week straight, and it seemed like they were degraded to salvaging for a living, for a while.

“If we could take out these PAC's and use HEPT's instead, we'd be fairly safe to start back to work,” Rach mentioned as Max nodded and looked sad. Doubling their firepower would be great and getting another shield certainly wouldn't hurt either, and make them all less on edge.

“We'll get them don’t worry,” Max added as they all smiled and nodded and went back to patrolling through one sector they had found stuff in pretty often. It didn't take long before scanners showed a ship, an older freighter drifting nearby and they made a turn to see if they needed help.

“Its the Samson's Toy, a freighter out of Treasure Chest,” Casey added as the scan results came in.

“Any life signs?” Max asked softly as she shook her head no.

“It appears the front command center took a hit, there is no command center left, by any standards I can tell, and the scan shows no life signs, or bodys on board, they must have drifted away after the attack.”She added as he nodded and looked thoughtful.

“Missile damage then?” He asked as she checked the scans again and was a little surprised.

“Nope, the weapons signature shows Khaak beam weapons hit it multiple places along the hull and the front.” Casey said looking surprised that the Khaak were seen this close.

“Better report that then and we'll stop here and see what Command wants to do with it.” Max said as they stopped along side and the message was sent. As they waited for an answer Max had the crew stand and did a short service for the men that had died in the incident.'Its the least we can do,' he said as everyone agreed and they waited a bit more until Command got back to them.

“The scan results show near total destruction,” Colonel Harris said as Casey agreed,” salvage whatever you think you can use and we'll have a ship come tow the rest in for scrap.”

“OK, is there anything worth having?” Max asked as the scans were looked at again.

“Theres a PRG in the rear turret, and a few mosquitoes,” Casey said as she looked carefully,” and....a single 500 meg shield, they might have made it a little longer but power failed and the shield went down, but it's still in working order.”

“Fantastic...” Max said as she looked sad they got help this way but it would help, as they beamed it on board and right into the shield slot, and it slowly started to bring up their defenses.

“How many shields are we allowed?” Rachael asked as Max reminded them this was the oldest of the Talon ships, and it had the smallest shields. But even at that they had some room yet, and they were pretty happy to hear that their defenses were getting better, and that they could get back to work now.

“Not sure the PRG can be mounted but will check, maybe do a little modification if theres a problem, we'll see when we get back.” Rach mentioned as Max thanked her saying even if they needed some 'Teladi engineering' they certainly could use the new gun.

“Beats a PAC by a bunch,” She mentioned as he agreed and everyone got a smile. Thats how space travel is, the weak or careless die, and the strong survive. It isn't always fair but it seems like Nature even out here, had to have the last word.

As they started back Max suddenly yelled for them to slow to ½ as Casey jumped on the controls and asked why.

“Khaak Cluster off the starboard side and coming this way, its between us and the gate. If you want to report something, nows a good time.” Max added seriously as Casey made the call and a fighter patrol was dispatched to help out.

“Turn us around and stay away from them until help comes.” Max added as the ship turned and started the opposite direction at best speed, but just as they moved away the cluster broke up and fighters started everywhere.”crap, here they come!” He called as the fastest small fighters started hitting the shields with their beams.

“Can I shoot them?” Rachael asked with her hands balanced over the controls, and Max said 'knock yourself out,' and the turrets came on line and small fighters started popping all around the ship.

“These M5's aren't a big threat but every cluster has a heavy and that can kill corvettes,” Casey added as Max got a lock on the big fighter as it ran their way. It wasn't too fast either and with them running away it gave them some time. “shields are starting down, if he gets within range, we'll be done for.”

“Oh my,” Max said activating his computer and smiling,” look at all the new toys...”

“Max!” Casey screamed as he started to laugh and a M4 drifted to a stop just 1 km off the side, and she saw while he was being a jerk, he was working after all. “get that big one, its worth millions and we cant take his hits.”

“Already working on it,” Max mentioned as Rachael was going nuts on her turrets and small fighters popped all around, and the total from the Law License was definitely going up, and Casey watched thinking that if her fans saw her like this, what would they think then?

“Thats ten so far...hehehe...” She went on as even Max looked up shocked at her getting off on killing Khaak.

“And...” Max added a minute later, just as the big fighter got his first couple of shots against their shields,” this one is mine in....3-2-1...” and the ship shut down and drifted to a stop.

“Thank god,” Casey said looking exhausted as Rach looked around for something else to shoot but they were all gone. In a minute she was back to being her old prim and proper self and Casey gave her an odd look that she ignored completely.”You couldn't have sped that up a little?” She asked as Max was deep in thought and he reminded her that was his first attempt at hacking Khaak ships and she just left it go while he dove head first into the new data and soon the argon patrol ran in to see the mass of scrap and ships sitting everywhere.

“I thought you needed our help?” The patrol commander asked as Casey agreed saying that there might be a few stragglers around and they had 2 ships that needed escorted back to the shipyard as the young Lt. agreed and they made a sweep while Casey finally got Max's attention and he ordered the ships away.

26-12-2012, 10:50 AM
Chapter 11: Recognition

Casey got a message as they worked their way back home and her Commander looked pretty pleased with the way things had been going.

“A Khaak heavy fighter, in perfect condition, we get one from time to time but combat messes up a few things. This one is perfect and our researchers are thrilled.” He said as she thanked him for the praise.

“It looks like his process is getting better and better,” he added as she agreed but mentioned that it was their first attempt at a Khaak ship and he had to reset many of his controls because they were different than he had imagined.”I have faith that you'll do great things out there and we, through you.” He said and the link went closed.

She was pretty happy with that too, as she turned to see Max mumbling to himself about 'field this...and density that' and she smiled. He could be serious when he wanted and she felt a little tug for him that she had fought off for a few years now. Here she was, on board a ship traveling with Max all over space and she had made a move that surprised him badly. But she wouldn't take it back, she had made her mind up, even if it didn't work out, Rachael wasn't getting her way all alone here.

“It must have been the flux...they must use different flux in their electronics....” he was still going on and she noticed Rach was watching him closely now too and they seemed to smile at one another and a silent deal was made.

The next report they got showed a remarkable change in the account as Max looked like the weight of the world was lifted off his shoulders and everyone could tell. They stopped and had some more work done on the ship and it started looking a lot better and well defended compared to where they started. Every turret had something, maybe not something big, but they weren't empty anymore, and they all smiled a lot more when they started working pirate ships or random Xenons. Things were getting pretty good now and as they stopped for some rest one day a call came in and Casey got it and was surprised to see a room full of officers looking back.

“We have a new assignment for you...” The officer on screen started as she looked surprised and mentioned she was assigned here until further notice.”This assignment is for all of you, theres a new civilization we just discovered out near the Rim and they want to join us in trade and technology exchange. They are a very odd group... they live in a civilization where a Priestess governs their world, and they claim to have some kind of physic abilities or other, but more important, they have almost unlimited medical prowess with people there living into the hundreds of years old. This alone makes them worth joining with, so please, jump out to these coordinates and dock at the equipment dock there. A young woman will be waiting to come here and talk to us. We dare not look too militant so a military vessel is out of the question but yours is both non military and better suited for long distance travel with a dignitary on board. Please bring her back to the core sector and you'll be well paid.”

“Of course sir, we'll begin at once,” Casey said as the link went closed and she found herself having to explain to Max why his ship was being sent on a taxi mission.

“Priestess huh?” He asked looking thoughtful, “is she cute?” and he laughed while the other two both looked sad he was like this.”alright then lets load up on energy cells and jump there right away. I'm sure they're in a hurry, as always.” It was agreed to and in an hour they were ready and made the jump. The stations there looked very different from Argons and Casey made sure they got some video for the officers they worked for. They found the equipment dock and were given permission, and as the door opened and they stepped out, two massive warriors were seen standing on either side of a small girl, not more than 12.

“Hello, we're here to pick up a representative of your government to go to Argon Space? Will that be your mother?” He asked almost bending down on one knee to talk to her while the guards looked appalled he could say that.

“I AM the Representative,” She said with a smile,” my name is Cora, and I will represent my people in these negotiations.”

“Thats quite an honor for someone so young,” Max started as Casey elbowed him in the ribs and he smiled his best smile and welcomed her on board, as the guards sat her baggage down and walked away, sure that they had done their job.

“You appear much older than I am, so I can see how you'd be surprised,” She said as the girls each picked up one of her bags,” So, please ask me anything you'd like to know. We need to get along on our long trip after all.”

“Oh it wont be a long trip,” Casey mentioned as they looked at each other,” our jump drive will let us get you there in less than a day. An hour or so really.”

“Very impressive...” Cora said looking surprised,as Casey smiled back at her,” but I'm in no hurry, I want to get to know what Argons are like, so please, lets take our time returning. I have many questions, and I need to understand your peoples side of things before the negotiations start.” She said as Casey looked a little surprised, but Max just nodded and took her hand and they walked on board, like he had found a new little sister, and Rach smiled and waved for her to come along as they took her to her room and made sure she was OK with it. Then they all went to the bridge and started back, at full normal speed, traveling from sector to sector, while Cora asked all about Argon life.

Chapter 12: Testing

After a few days, Cora was like a second skin for Max and the other girls noticed , but not in a good way.

“I can't believe she'd walk in here and put the moves on Max right in front of us...” Rachael said looking upset as Cora sat next to Max and shared bites of her breakfast with him, and even Casey started wondering how a little girl like that knew just how to upset them so quickly.

“Calm down...shes just a little girl, sure shes acting a lot more mature than her age, but that’s probably just the way she was brought up, after all shes got to be what? 12 certainly not more than that, so shes perfectly safe for Max to have her around. Its not like they can do anything, or that she even knows how, and Max would never take advantage of a little girl. He probably thinks its nice, since his younger sister is grown up now. Hes remembering what its like to have a 'little sister' and she seems pretty happy with it, so the Argon negotiations should go very well.” Casey went on as Rach settled back down a little but looked upset anyways, as Cora looked their way and smiled and waved and Rach got up and went to the bridge.

But Casey's training told her there was more here than met the eye, and she decided to watch things more carefully too, as she too left for the bridge. Max saw them go and said they should hurry, they were passing the halfway point and if things got bad, and they ran into pirates or enemys they'd have to jump home for her safety as Cora just smiled and said that they wouldn't have any problems, and Max laughed at her calm way of looking at things.

“I'm a survivor, theres nothing to worry about, Big Brother,” She said and hugged his arm as he laughed and made her get up and go to the bridge too, but she decided to take a bath first, and he nodded as he went forward and she went down to the hot tub while everyone was busy.

Cora walked in and after a minute got undressed and slowly settled into the bath. It felt great this morning and she was under a great deal of stress, those girls were constantly watching her and she had to be careful but she was having a good time too. Max was a nice guy and very bright. His new invention would help keep his people safe for a long time, but he wasn't in any hurry to let them have it, since it was his personal project, and he wasn't ready to retire any time soon.

If they had met under different circumstances then she wouldn't have to go through all this, and after a while setting there her mind relaxed and the camouflage she was wearing ran off like dropping a cloth that covered a rare treasure. Her mental powers were second to none and so long as she wanted them to see a 12 year old, they would, but this was reality, as she washed her hair, the long black hair that ran down almost to the middle of her back and her breasts, as large as any on board, and she smiled that these two were worried about her as a child, if they saw her this way, things might get ugly.

But something caught her eye, or her mind... as after a second she looked up to see a small almost invisible red light blinking, and she realized they had caught her, as Rachael and Casey stood, looking at the security monitor on the bridge and acting shocked, trying not to let Max see ,she instantly sent them a message, 'come here' and even as they fought it, they went, and she got out and finished drying off and got dressed again while they walked in, looking very stiff and robotic, trying their best to resist.

“So, in a moment of weakness you caught me,” She said as Casey smiled even now and Cora was impressed by her mental training.

“I knew, something wasn't right about you. Little girls don’t tease grown men.” Casey managed to get out while Cora smiled and looked like she again had been caught doing something naughty.

“Let me make this clear, until we reach Argon space, you'll not say a word about this, if you do, unbelievable pain will result, got that?” She asked as for a second they were brought to their knees, as Casey looked up again and smiled even now.

“I when it does come out, what will Max think of you then?” She asked as she could clearly see that Cora liked the attention and didn't want it to end.

“What do you think?” Cora asked as she stood there, shook her head and let her long hair fall down again and her true self was seen as the girls looked sad, knowing that once it came out Max would forgive her, even for this, but not for using pain and torture to get her way,Casey thought as Cora looked her way instantly and the pain went away.

“I might have gotten carried away a bit, but its important, your people need our medical technology, and we need your space craft tech, so we all gain, right? Just let it go for now, I'll explain it all some other day.” Cora said as the restraints on them ended and they stood up looking a little upset.

“It doesn't take a mentalist to see you like Max,” Casey mentioned as Cora didn't deny that,” but he's a terrific guy who cares about people, and he'll never forgive you if you use your powers to force people around him. If you intend to make friends in Argon Space, do it naturally, sooner or later it will come out and we as a people are a very suspicious lot.” Casey said seriously as she walked away with Rachael right behind and their minds were a mess of profanities,as Cora decided that maybe she carried the act a little too far,and went to get dressed and see Argon for what it was, on her terms of course.

The 12 year old was in the bridge a while later but she took Casey and Rachael to the side for a minute to talk and they decided that they could get along. Her orders were to be like this, children get more respect than you'd think, but she admitted she had gotten carried away and apologized for it.

“We can respect your position,” Casey added as she thanked her,” but not if you abuse it.”

Cora agreed, and after a little talk, they jumped to the core sector and made their delivery, and as Cora walked away she smiled and waved and Casey felt really sure that they hadn't seen the last of her.

28-12-2012, 10:47 AM
Chapter 13: Back to Work

The mission was over,and they got well paid. The Talon was looking like a new ship, and the turrets were full for the first time since they got it. It was very nearly up to full strength and everyone was pretty happy about that.

They got word that the negotiations with Mentron were going very well, and that Cora mentioned that they went out of their way to make her feel at home,and Argon Intelligence was thrilled to hear it. If things continued like this, then everyone would get what they wanted, and Max and his crew would have a huge feather in their cap for their part in it.

“Its nice to be back home though,” Rachael mentioned as everyone agreed, “ just pirates and Khaak and xenon to worry about, nothing special.” She added with a wink as Casey tried hard not to laugh out loud.

“Isn't that enough?” Max asked as they all laughed and Rachael had to agree.

Later that day they were back in dock and Max disappeared and everyone knew where he went. It became his thing to soak after a trip and he was in the hot tub downstairs. The two girls watched each other carefully and as Casey disappeared towards her room to get ready herself, she mentioned that Rachael had a call waiting for her and she went to see who it was, and as she opened the link her father was screaming at her for not keeping in touch, and she saw she was set up.

“But father, I'm on assignment here I cant just stop the research to model any time I want,” She went on as he demanded she come home at least for this one job. It was spring time on Argon and the biggest and most famous designers were getting their new lines out, a time when no self-respecting model would miss, and she admitted that she had lost track of time and he ordered her to be there, and the link went closed.

She immediately checked the coms links and she got upset. There had been 27 attempts by her father to get through, and her block on his calls had helped a lot, until today... and for some reason her block was deactivated, and she saw a plan in action.

“Damn you Casey,” She said and ran to get ready for her bath as well. She seemed to have a bad day as everything, even her room locks seemed against her and she got more angry as time went on, and finally after much hardship she got undressed and walked into the bath to find it empty, completely, totally empty, and she saw that all those interruptions had bought just enough time for her to miss out, this time, and she got bathed and went to have a word with her crew mate, who swore that she hadn't done a thing, but she was smiling all the while and seemed to have an almost incomprehensible glow about her as she walked away looking very smug.

“A job?” Max asked as Rachael looked very upset but admitted that if she was ever to go back to modeling she dared not miss this one, and he agreed and they made it home in time and she was whisked away to get ready for the session. Her father was going on and on about her time with the military being almost up, and how he would not allow her to reenlist, and so she would be modeling full time again soon, as many people there smiled wide and welcomed her back.

But Rachael didn't agree with everything he said and that upset him badly. He was always in charge, and now she had ideas if her own and that made him look like he was a tyrant, which, he was...but he had hidden it for years until now. He watched as she got ready to go on stage and saw Max and Casey sitting right up front, watching the show and he got even more angry. He was the one that changed her and made her feel like she had the right to talk back and stand up to him. He had seen her talent years ago and spent every waking moment working to cultivate it, and he'd be damned if this man was going to ruin his life's work, and he started a plan to get her away from them 'for her own good'.

But Rachael and Max were not fools either, and there were plans in place even as the show ended with the most popular models taking the stage and getting one final bow. Rachael was there of course as the room cheered for her and her father all but salivated at the sound. They were making it now, his millions, and he would not step back from the plan. As he walked out beside her she looked surprised but he gave her a big hug as the cameras recored it all and he acted the part of the perfect father while they could be see.

“My little girl has come back to me,” He said as the room got a big Ahhhh, and Rachael looked like she'd throw up at his weird behavior.

“Do I look like a little girl to you?” Rachael asked as the room laughed out loud and Frank looked like he'd scream at her for ruining his moment.”I have a life now, and this....is just a part of it. I'll be back,” She said as the room cheered,” after my work is done, and not before.”

She gave everyone a big wave and walked away, leaving Frank to stand there, dumbfounded as the room laughed at him and he finally caught his breath and waved and walked away to catch her before she escaped again. But back stage wasn't any safer for him as news reporters asked a million questions and Rachael was giving them answers, some that he never wanted to be let out. They didn't know that he had been her manager since childhood, mostly because he said so,and that he had never really sit down and made an official contract for her. It was all his word and she wasn't happy with that any more, as she soon said and his eyes nearly fell out.

“So, I have a new Manager an Official one, on paper and officially registered,” she said as everyone looked surprised, not the least of which was Frank. Just then Max walked up gave a bow and Frank saw his world collapsing around him.”This is Maximilian Slater, my new manger, his offer to help me with my modeling career will make me even more successful.”

“Impossible... how can he help you more than me?” Frank demanded while the cameras ran on.

“Well for one thing, we were just talking last night in the tub...” Max started as Rachael slapped him silly and the news crews saw a new story coming their way but Max didn't stop,” we were talking, and she mentioned that modeling wasn't as lucrative a job as one might think. All those dozens of jobs and she had barely enough in her account to pay her bills.” Max said looking towards Frank who seemed to step back to get out of the lime light for a second.

“I checked, and saw she was working 12-14 hours a day, without time off for weeks on end, and was getting only 20% of the income. Her 'manager' father took everything else for himself.” Max added as even Rachael looked his way and Frank started stammering about saving it for her until she got older.

“I'm 22 how old do I need to be FATHER,” She asked as all the cameras were now on him.”I can see how things have been going now, and anyone who wants me to model from now on, can reach me through Max, I'm dissolving my relationship with my former manager due to suspicion of embezzling my funds.”

“You cant...” Frank started as Max stepped forward and smiled right in his face.

“Bet me, its been done,” And with that he laid a copy of the contract on him that they had made and it showed that Rachael from now on would get 75% of any revenue that she made and he decided that it was time for a long vacation, and him and his personal yacht disappeared into space.

“You really going to press charges on him? Casey asked as they walked back to the ship.

“No, hes my father after all, but he'll never make another credit off me again. He's got millions in his account to live on. Thats enough to pay for all his hard work for me. Today, I am a free woman and can make my own plans.” She said as they all smiled and she got paid for the last job, since the news crews made sure everyone knew that Frank never had a contract with her to begin with.

“Well you made a few bucks today, lets go home and plan for me to make a few tomorrow,” Max said and he walked towards the ship with a lady on each arm.

Chapter 14: Her Other Self

Rachael was in her glory now and she did make deals to do a few more shows, but with weeks of travel and excitement in between. Max was being the perfect manager, making sure she was well taken care of and she was more than happy with that as Casey saw clearly. She would work the ship for a couple weeks then they'd take a day off and she'd model again. It was the best of both worlds for her and she loved it.

But she wasn't the only one to keep an eye on the Talon, as the negotiations were finally over and Cora got a new ship of her own, a TP class to take her home, and for her people to use for a technology sample. She was pretty happy with that as were her people,and Argon got a first shipment of the new medicines that would all but make illness disappear in their lifetimes.

There was a big dinner celebrating Cora's return and her Family was there in mass. They danced and talked and she told storys about the Argons and everyone agreed that they sounded like good people, and they hoped for more relations later on, if things went right.

“The new ship is wonderful,” She added telling everyone that it got her home in less than a day, to the astonishment of all there. The party ended right on time and everyone got a good night sleep, and when Cora woke up the next day she made it a point to go see her father and meditate with him for a while.

She walked in, dressed in the white robe they wore at times like this and saw him sitting there, in his meditation room on top of several pillows, and looking very serene, and she smiled that at his age he meditated more and more and she less and less. She walked over and sat down and took her position and started to meditate herself while her father waited until he was sure she was busy and opened one eye to see why she had come so early today. It wasn't like her, she enjoyed her rest and many times even at this age the maids nearly had to throw her out of bed if she didn't have anything important to do.

“I'm honored you joined me today,” He said softly as she smiled and said she was in a good mood and wanted to talk to him anyways.”So....you've met a young man I see.” he added as she opened her eyes and looked at her cloths and wondered how he thought that and he pretended not to see her surprise.

“Its not your cloths....” he whispered as she sat there looking at him with his eyes closed, acting the very part of the all seeing elder.

“No one in particular, I met a lot of young men while I was there,” She said and got back into her pose again.

“No one....special?” he asked as she didn't answer right away but she finally disagreed saying no, no one special at all.

“You'd lie to your old father after all these years?” He asked as she looked shocked and a bit surprised he was being so insistent.”who is he then if not someone special?”

“A young Captain, of the ship that came for me and took me to Argon space,” She finally said as he smiled wide and she struck her pose and ignored him for a while.

“Does he like you?” He asked after a while as she got really quiet.

“As a 12 year old, maybe, I was in disguise, and had to hold that for the negotiations.” She said sadly as he started to smile even wider, so this young man had no clue what she looked like or who she really was.

”If he treated you so well even then, maybe we should invite him to visit, and you can meet him all over again.” He said as she looked thoughtful but said nothing after a while and he wondered why.

“He's a young inventor,” She said softly as he opened his eyes and smiled very wide indeed as she tried not to look his way for now.

“A Thinker, wonderful! And I was worried you had fallen for some soldier,” He said as she looked away and said nothing.

“He's trying to invent a way to stop enemy ships without destroying them, and his military is waiting patiently for his research to conclude because they want to use it themselves.” She added almost silently as he nodded he understood.

“But for the most part, he's a peaceful young man though, right?” he asked as she finally agreed,” then I see nothing wrong with seeing him and seeing what he's really like.”

“But Mother would...” Cora started as the older man started to laugh, yes, the Queen was a pistol and she would definitely have to act that way seeing someone new. But he was sure they could control the situation, and he mentioned that he'd take care of it, and she kissed him on the cheek and ran from the room while he sat back and chuckled to himself. His youngest daughter had found a man, what a wonderful surprise, and even her mother would be shocked to hear about this.

29-12-2012, 05:57 AM
Excellent as always!
Congrats! I see one of your stories made into the Galatic News Service for XTC 2.0.

29-12-2012, 12:19 PM
Really? had no idea..no one said..but then I wrote a bunch just for the GNN...I see you wanted to see something a little darker, I think I can handle that, just wait till this ones done, which is real soon.

29-12-2012, 12:21 PM
Chapter 15: Visitation

Max got a message a day later saying that the Mentronians were asking for him to visit and the Argon Government was very pleased that he had gotten their attention.

“They want you to meet the Royal Family and be thanked for being such a good host to the young girl they sent here to deal with us for technology. If the mature Mentronians are even more impressive than the young girl they sent, it'll be a great opportunity for us to see them on their own world and show we can be friendly to our new partners.” The Colonel went on as Casey nodded agreement to everything he said. “Record everything but be subtle about it, don’t be mean or nasty no matter what happens after all, they are a totally new civilization so The Maker only knows what they will expect of you, or what their ideas of food or drink are, so be prepared.” He said and with a wave the deal was done and the link went closed and Casey had the job of letting Max know their presence was needed on the Mentronians home world.

“Why? We're right in the middle of something here...” He started as she looked shocked and rolled her eyes at him. He was ALWAYS in the middle of something and even her military contacts were getting tired hearing it after all this time.

“Its diplomacy...” She insisted, as he finally agreed and they all made sure they had full dress uniforms to wear, even though Max wasn't in the military at all, it was forgiven this time.”We're ready and the jump is laid in. We'll come out of jump on the Eastern frontier and have to run through uncharted space for a day to get there.”

“Yes, yes, I remember...” Max said as they jumped and turned to the south and started the long run to Cora's home world. As they ran on the message got to the Royal Family and Cora went into spas about Max seeing her 'like this' after her having lied to him during the first flight.

“If he doesn't know it was you, don’t tell him,” her dad mentioned as she decided that she had to, it was important and he looked happy she was so serious about anyone or anything after all this time. The ship docked and as she went out to meet them and lead them in, she stopped to welcome them all to her home, and Max looked impressed with her and her cloths.

“Excuse me, do I know you? “ He asked as she took a big breath and smiled and in a second she was 12 again as Max stepped back, surprised at the change, and a minute later she was again a tall young woman and Max finally nodded he understood. “it was all a mirage, that’s very impressive.”

“Thank you for understanding,” She said as the other two girls smiled and saw she was trying to keep things above board from now on. “Now come and meet everyone, they're waiting for you.”

And with that, Cora walked into the hall down a long isle, lined with onlookers, and up to a slightly raised platform where an older man and woman were standing, in full dress garb, obviously and looking down on them from their high perch.

“Ahem,” Cora said loudly as the room got quiet suddenly.”Let me introduce the Queen of Mentron, Queen April, and her husband King George...my mother and father.” She said almost as quickly as she could get it out and Casey and Rachael went into shock while Max took it all in stride.

“A pleasure to meet you,” Max said with a deep bow and everyone smiled that he had such good manners for an outsider.

“This is Captain Maximilian Slater,and his crew, Casey and Rachael, from the argon vessel Talon.” Cora said stepping to the side so the Royal Family got a good look and they all gave them a proper bow while Max stood there smiling at Cora who tried hard not to notice.

“I'm not impressed,” Queen April started as her husband the King tried to rein her in before she made a serious political blunder. “I don't see what Cora sees in these Argons anyways, machines aren't the measure of a civilization!”

“But I AM...” Max stated loudly as she stopped nearly in middle of a sentence.” To think Cora had such power to hide this,this....shear beauty from me for all that time, and now to see how terribly young and beautiful her mother is!!! Unbelievable!” Max went on while the Queens face lit up like a switch was thrown and Casey and Rachael looked around like they couldn't believe what was happening.

“Young, really?” The Queen asked softly as Max gushed about her face and figure and even Cora looked away to keep from laughing out loud, but April was all ears and she stated right there, that Argons were definitely a master race, to have such fine machines and still understand sheer beauty at its best.

“Show these fine people to their rooms, we will be having a feast to celebrate their arrival this evening, so make sure to bring a good apatite,” She said as they were led away and she stood there all smiles while Cora excused herself and went to see they were well taken care of. But the King was beside himself. To see through Aprils ego so fast was outstanding and he was sure that Max could be a Prince here any day now even if April had to marry him off to another daughter to keep him around.

But Cora made a quick trip to make sure they were alright and as she walked into Max's room he was just taking off the tunic that the military had given him to wear.

“Princess Cora, its a pleasure,” He said with the same serious bow and she smiled and waved it away.

“Please forgive my mother, she's a little old fashioned and when I was sent to Argon she nearly had a fit. But now that she's met you, I'm hoping we will all get along better.” She explained as Max nodded he understood.

“But to hide all....that....” Max added waving his hand as her face grew red, “ and we shared meals and you hung on my arm when we walked like a little girl...” He mentioned as her face grew red and she apologized for that but he just smiled and ignored her. “If it hadn't been for that day you nearly fell, I would never have known.”

“Nearly fell?” She asked as she rushed through her memories and remembered holding his arm and then tripping over something as they walked onto the bridge and he caught her and made sure she was alright.

“A 12 year old couldn't weight more than 50 pounds soaking wet,” He exaggerated while her face got redder and redder,” but when I caught you, I nearly went over too, that was not a little kid tripping, so I did some research and found out what they meant by ' some strange mental abilities' they warned me about earlier.”

“So, you knew...” She asked as he smiled wide.

“Not for sure, but I had a good idea. It wasn't my job to see through your plan, intelligence had that job, I was just the ships owner.” he added as she smiled and apologized again and he just laughed.

“You can hang on my arm anytime,” he whispered as she looked very happy and said that dinner would be about an hour yet, and she left the room looking like her whole day had just turned around.

Chapter 16: Earning Respect

At dinner the conversation was fragmented at best. Queen April kept coming on to Max while he gushed about his good luck and her amazingly good looks. But he apologized to her saying that it wasn't his place to be seduced by the Queen of another world and her husband made sure he got his 2 cents in on that subject too, so she slowly settled down as Cora buzzed all around Max asking if there was anything she could do, or anything he needed while Casey and Rachael sat back, shaking their heads and watching it all play out. This was something that they'd have to live with for a while after, as Max's head grew out of proportion from all the attention.

But they got through it, and as they went back to their rooms for the evening, Cora made sure she walked Max all the way back, while Casey and Rachael walked a few paces behind, watching them closely.

“Is it alright for a Royal princess to be so attentive to a stranger?” Max asked as she smiled and said that she was the official negotiator, and as such their needs were her responsibility.

“Would that be ALL of our needs or just HIS needs?” Rach got into the conversation as Cora looked around like she had completely ignored them until now.

“Why all of yours of course,” She insisted as they gave each other a soft little chuckle that seemed to echo down the hall.”Ask anything, if you like I'll even have some nice strong young men come and keep you company for the night.”

“No thanks,” Rach jumped back in,” we brought our own.” And with that she stepped in front of Cora, took Max's arm and walked into his room, while Casey looked shocked and a little embarrassed by it all.

“I see now,” Cora added almost silently, as Casey thanked her for the dinner and she too went into the room, to have a long talk about what they were supposed to be doing, and what was really going on.

“I cant help it, she was being slutty,” Rach mentioned while Casey disagreed saying she had acted the cheapest there with her constant harassment, and Cora was after all a Princess, and to have her take this serious an interest was good...for Argon, as Rachael added that Casey wasn't far behind coming up the hall either, and she looked embarrassed and admitted that she was a little worried too.

“You two have nothing to worry about,” Max added as they both gave him a hard, serious stare,” shes a friend that’s all, so stop acting like little kids.”

“She wants to be MORE than a friend,” Rach added sourly as Max just laughed and even Casey stopped to see why.

“And you don’t?” He asked as she got quiet and finally mentioned that they had a previous claim, and Max looked embarrassed but happy about the whole thing. “ I care about you both very much and we've been getting along quite well, but Cora isn't any different than you, sure, shes Royalty, but she lives here, so while we're here if she wants a little extra attention, she has that right. But we'll be leaving soon, and then it'll be just us again, so be nice for a few days, OK?”

“I will, “ Rach finally agreed,” but I don't have to like it.” And with that she walked out leaving Casey there giving Max a hard stare.

“Don't start anything new Max, sooner rather than later, your going to have to choose, and that decision will be final.” And with that she too left and Max laid back on the bed and looked sad. Things had been going nicely, he thought... but now the pressure was on, and he'd have to do something or lose everything, and he wasn't about to do that.

The next two days Max was the perfect Ambassador, talking about Argon and their agreement and even saying that he'd help them out if they had any questions about the new ship or any of its components. He did give a short talk to some engineers about Argon technology, and they gave him a nice round of applause after, but he made sure that he didn't antagonize the girls any more or let himself be caught alone with Cora, or April for that matter.

“He really is quite the Thinker,” King George mentioned during their morning meditation class as Cora nodded sadly but she said nothing as he gave her a big grin.”you expected him to fall at your feet, or that someone so worthy had no one watching him already? How childish is that?”

“They both care for him and would marry him and give him children if he but asked,” She added very seriously while he nodded it was true, they were truly in love and he had not pushed either one away, making him a formidable young man, in the Kings eyes.

“And you think you cant compete?” He asked as she looked shocked he could say that, the man was obviously already spoken for.

“Its not that,” She started as he asked what it was like then,” hes spoken for, they are even now trying to get him to settle on one or the other, and if I jump into the fray, then it'll look bad for me and the Family.” With that the King got a good hard rolling laugh that shook the little room as Cora gave him a dirty look.

“The Family will survive this, but will you? Will you forget so easily or will you hold out some small hope without even trying to see what could happen?” He asked as she went dead silent. “This is personal, not a Family matter, now if you were already pregnant, then it would become a Family matter...you aren't are you?”

“NO, absolutely not! We've never...done anything like that.” She jumped in as he just nodded he understood.

“But you would...given the proper chance?” He asked as she refused to say but got very embarrassed. “If you never try how will you know it was a waste of time? You need to think about it differently. If you give up now and he goes home and gets married and never returns, how will that make you feel?”

“Bad, very,very bad...” Cora whispered as the King just smiled and pulled her over and kissed her forehead as she smiled for a second.

“Then try harder...you can only lose, or not, but doing nothing will ruin the rest of your life, and cause doubts about 'what could have been'” he added as she agreed and they finished their meditation in silence as she sat there, making her own plans that he could hear easily from his spot right beside her. It was a bold plan but she was willing to try, and he gave her credit for that, as well as credit to Max for his handling of the whole situation. He wasn't sure at an earlier age, he would have had that foresight to do and say what he had, and he wished him the best, no matter what happened.

29-12-2012, 12:36 PM
Chapter 17: New Missions

There was a meeting that day, about the final information they would exchange and when the Talon would leave. But when the talk was nearing an end, Cora jumped in and mentioned that she had a special request, and that they had sent out probes, their fastest machines, ages ago, and a few small systems nearby had been partially mapped by them.

“I'd like to, as the first Royal Family member to travel space, to go there and see these new worlds. New planets that we might well colonize now that we are negotiating for ships with the Argon.” She mentioned as her mother looked shocked but her father thought it was a great idea. Her reputation with the normal people was high already but to do such a thing would show great forward thinking, and he approved it immediately.

“If possible, I'd like the Talon to take me there, our only new space craft is being studied right now and wont be ready to use for weeks yet,” she added looking embarrassed as the girls looked a little suspicious about that but Casey finally agreed, saying that they could be there in a few days, if that’s what she wanted, and the new mission was agreed to and the King and Queen wished them well.

Cora was on board and ready in an hour or two and they moved away from her world as she laid out the course they'd need to use and the ship started that way at full speed.

“There will be some asteroid fields between here and there, and maybe we'll see a comet or two as well.” She said looking very excited and even Rachael thought maybe being first to explore space was her real intention after all.

The Talon was, after all not a real starship in the way that an explorer would use. It had the normal drives but jump drive was useless unless you had a coordinate to use to jump to. Since no one had ever been there before, that was impossible, but luckily the new system was right beside her home system... so close that the gravity from some of the worlds was detected there, so that’s why they knew they could sent their small probes there to explore. It would still take a few weeks even with the Seta running at max, but they were doing alright, and soon they got into a nice comfortable rut of eating and talking and watching for new things and sending the information back to the home planet.

“I'm a little worried,” Casey mentioned during one meeting as everyone looked her way,” we should be within scanning range in a few days now, but we'll be out of supplies soon, and we're a long ways from any supply base.”

“We'll be fine...” Max added as she said she wasn't too sure,” we have a replicator that can make emergency supplys if needed, they wont be a great meal but they'll keep us alive, and once we get there we can jump back, since I set a jump coordinate near the planet in our memory bank.”

“OK, that was a great move,” Rachael added with a grin as Casey agreed.” we can get the job done and jump back that'll save us days or weeks of travel time.”

“I guess we'll be OK then,” Casey said looking like a heavy weight was lifted from her shoulders.

“But you did the right thing,” Max added as she smiled,” you were watching for troubles well ahead, that’s your gift, and we all appreciate it.”

“I try my best,” Casey added softly as even Cora saw her getting embarrassed by his praise.

The meeting ended and Max went to the bridge with Cora right along side. Casey took time out to go over their supply figures again and instituted a 'no snacks' policy until they got back. It would help a little and Max agreed that they really hadn't planned as well as he might have liked. But in a few days the scan results started coming in, and the new system was seen laid out before them for the first time. It had a white dwarf star, and several planets, two of which were gas giants and two smaller rock type planets close to the star. They started that way and after a days travel time they agreed that one was a water world, just the right distance from the star to be habitable, and that it needed closer inspection. They were in orbit in less than a week, with Casey mentioning, again and again, that they were nearly out of food, as Max just laughed it away and they dropped a probe onto the surface and Casey looked shocked they even had one on board.

In a few hours the results were in. The new world was indeed habitable, and not only that but 2/3 of it, mostly around the equator was very nice indeed, with a small ocean and some lakes and rivers, it might have looked like Earth or Mentron many, many centurys ago.

The girls went nuts getting every scan and making sure that there weren't any bad bugs there and after some time, Max just couldn't wait to go see for himself, as Casey mentioned that they couldn't waste much more time here, they were going to starve eventually and Max just laughed it off, she didn't like nutribars, so to her eating emergency rations might be worse than death.

But Max insisted,and soon he was in a flight suit and jumped into a light fighter he used as a shuttle, and was off. Casey demanded that when he got there, not to remove his helmet, since tests were still going on in the probe about some microbes that were being detected, but he just laughed and said he'd consider it when he got there, and she knew he'd do what ever he wanted, no matter what she'd say.

He landed a few kilometers from the original probe and took a little walk to look around. The scanners on his ship also added more details about the new world and Casey was working furiously to make sure that there weren't any disease carrying microbes that this fool was about to find, but all the scans showed normal and she finally took a deep breath and reported to Max that the air, water and other things there were pristine and pure, something she had worried about from the very beginning.

He thanked her for her worry, and opened his helmet and looked around and took his first ever breath of pristine air, and he smiled a lot. He could hear sounds now, small noises like birds and the wind rustling the grass nearby and he walked over to a small stream and saw fish jumping and running at his approach and he mentioned he needed a fishing pole and the girls all laughed.

“This will be a great addition to the Mentron system,” He added as Cora immediately jumped in that, that wasn't possible now. And he asked why.

“You've gone to the surface and seen and did all the necessary scans for colonization already,” She said with her head held high,” by all our laws and standards, this world belongs to you now. It will be named after you and you'll rule here as the new King or whatever you want to be called.”

“What!!!” Max screamed as everyone on board did much the same but Cora was sure and they sat there looking down on a new world, an Argon world and Max's new world, as Rachael looked like she'd faint.

Chapter 18: Growing Up Quick

The official report was sent immediately since Cora demanded it, and both Argon and Mentron found out at the same time that Max owned his own world. He was by now, pretty happy. And was marching around the Talon with his nose in the air, looking very noble and a little smug. As he went by Casey's station where she was still busy documenting all the new planetary information, she reached out and gave him a soft slap along the back of the head and brought him back to his senses.

“Your acting like a jerk,” She insisted, as he finally agreed but he was still smiling very wide.

“King Maximilian the First...” He said with his nose up and she reached out again and he grabbed her arm and gave her a soft little kiss, that Rachael looked shocked about right there on the bridge.”what? Don't want to be my first Queen on the new world?”

“Is...is that a proposal?” She asked as he finally agreed and Rachael looked badly defeated.”I accept!” Casey said giving him a huge hug while everyone else looked on.

“And..you can be number 2,” He said as he stepped away and Rachael looked surprised, but she accepted too.

“Wait a minute....” Casey jumped in,” whats going on here?”

“As a King on his own world, he can make up all the laws for the planet,” Cora mentioned and Casey could see the light at the end of the tunnel coming as fast as a freight train towards her.”If he so desires, he can have a hundred wives, many Kings in the past have, my father has 20.”

“So, this was all a plan then,” Casey mentioned as Cora said she had no idea what she was talking about.

“You wanted to marry him too,didn't you?” Cora asked as Casey, looking embarrassed admitted it.”and you did too...” She mentioned as Rach looked sad but nodded it was true. “and me too, so there had to be some way to make this happen, legally.”

“Wait, you too?” Rachael asked looking upset while Cora just smiled wide and nodded and Max looked shocked,and a little tired thinking it.

“The reports have been filed, the world registered in Max's name, and his net worth has skyrocketed. Can you even imagine how much a single planet is worth? The land alone would be billions, trillions maybe, so the Royal Family will never be broke or need for anything ever again. And Max's name will go down in history as a great explorer.” Cora added while they all looked a little shocked by it all.

“So, Cora dear...” Max asked as he put an arm around her,and she looked happy to help,” what does the planet REALLY look like?” He asked as she looked shocked.

“Its exactly the way you see it, you think I'd send my beloved down to a world that was unsafe?” She asked as Max finally smiled.

“But it was you that gave me the idea to go see myself...” He said as the others looked her way, suspiciously.

“Scanning from orbit gave us rights, but actually exploring the surface was the lock we needed.” Cora mentioned and bowed to Max and apologized for making him do anything he didn't want to do.

“Oh, I'd go anyways, everyone here knows that,” He added as even Casey nodded it was true, smiling widely thinking of it, ” so this time you just got in a hurry, like the other night.”

“What night?” Rach asked as Cora looked away and Max just laughed.

“Wife 3?” Max asked as Cora nodded with a huge grin and they decided they needed supplys and construction bots to make their new world into a place where they could live happily forever, and they went home, to Argon and bought what they needed and disappeared into space once more, and no one asked a thing, since it never occurred to them... and even the military forgot why he had worked for them in the beginning and who Casey even was....

“You need to stop this...” Casey mentioned a few days later,when Max was busy as Cora looked away and asked what she meant by that. “I haven't gotten an order to report for days now and it's well overdue, don’t you think I know its all your doing?”

“They seem to have forgotten you,” Cora added with a big grin as Casey looked ready to scream.

“I don’t want them to forget me,” She insisted while Cora looked shocked,” I have a reputation, an officers title, and Max has a unfinished job there, before we can move on we need to finish what we started, then we will have an even greater reputation back home. Isn't that necessary for a new King?”

“But your reputation is great now...and theres no need to do any of that.” Cora added as Casey sighed a huge, heavy sigh, and Cora could see that she might be helping a little too much.

“Don't make us new lives, Cora, let us live the ones we have,please.” With that Casey walked away and Cora looked tired. She was doing her best to help, but maybe it was too much and she removed the restraints on everyone she had placed, and Casey got her call an hour later.

“Cora did all this?” The Colonel asked as Casey nodded on the coms.

“Her powers are staggering, but we did find a new world and claim it, Max will rule here, but we'll finish the work we promised, that I'll guarantee.” Casey added while the Colonel looked thoughtful then finally nodded he understood.

“We need to get better acquainted with Cora's people, if they can do all this...” He whispered as Casey saw his meaning,” tell Max we expect some thing soon, and we'll start negotiating with Cora's people for officers for the military. With their people, we wont need Max at all.” With that, the coms went down and Casey went and explained to Max that before he got caught up in colonizing the new world he still had past problems to fix and he agreed.

The next time they went back for parts and supplies, he dropped off his 'Basic Unit' to the military with a booklet explaining how it worked. They were pretty happy with that and Max gave them a bill that made his colonization program look pretty good too. Then he started advertising his new world and people started asking about it and some moved there. It seemed that their plans were going to work after all, and with Max at the helm things started running full speed towards the future.

First a small town popped up, then a mansion for the Royal Family, then other towns and farms,and within a few years, people couldn't remember a time when something wasn't for sale with a marking 'Made on Compromise'.

“I still don’t like the name you chose,” Casey whined as they sat down for dinner one night.

“It says what it is, Cora had to compromise not to use her mind powers all the time, Rachael had to travel so far to model, giving her something to do, and you had to give up the military to become my wife, so yes...thats the name live with it.” Max said as everyone else got a big laugh and Casey joined in. It would go down in history just like that, and she wasn't sure they couldn't have done better, but she was happy and they left it go as children were born and grew up Royalty, from one mans need to be on his own, and prove his worth.

30-12-2012, 12:45 AM
Was watching 'Banner of the Stars' today for a while, and I thought..".not bad but I can do better..." maybe my ego is running away with me, we'll see. lol