This was something I was working on way back in 2004.
For the life of me I can't recall the game, but it was an MMO style and the ships were pretty cool and the game play wasn't too bad.
My character was a smuggler and that was the basis of the story. The locations were from that game but could just as easily be here in ED
The air has a slight scent, as usual; this is my favorite time of the year, mildly warm with a soft breeze coming off the many lakes. I love to take a quiet walk in the evening, after the chaos of the day is behind me, and enjoy the 'quiet time' as I call it. Wearing only a loose gown, I can feel the cooler air of the coming night touch my skin and it feels so good. Suddenly I hear a loud siren noise with great volumes of air pushing against my body, I spin around in a panic to see what is going on, as my quiet revere is shattered…!
I feel my body compress as I am pushed into my command chair and my ship rocks from side to side as yellow and red plumes of fire engulf my hull! “God damn it, what the hell is going on? Lucky, are you there?” My eyes begin to clear and my dream comes to a sudden end. The space around Trader’s Fort was reported as clear not more that 3 hours ago. “God Damn it Lucky! Where the hell are you?” I’m shouting. “Riolana, I’m here. There is no need to raise your voice, as you know I can…” A male voice answers. “Shut up, can’t you see we are in trouble?” I’m shouting, almost losing my voice. “Yes, I see, as you know I see everything. My sensors pickup…“ he counters, but I cut him off. “Lucky, SHUT UP, and get us out of here!”
My words are cut short as my port side camera shorts and the screen goes blank. The ship begins to spin as the gyros try to compensate. As I regain control my left hand flies over the nav controls and my right hand slams down on the arm controls for my weapons. “Lucky, auto evade until I can get a target lock!” As I watch my targeting computer search the darkness, I tighten my grip on the firing triggers. Once I get a lock, whatever or whoever is out there will meet their maker. The ML-X10 Plasma missiles, I recently purchased will make sure of it. At the far corner of my scanners I see my attacker, an unknown design that looks almost like an insect. It seems to have a huge energy reserve, but it appears to be slower than I am. “Let’s see what kind of shields you have.” I think to myself as I Squeez the triggers and let loose a full volley of 6 missiles. As the tracer plumes from the rockets trail back to me I start a second volley and set the launcher to auto load. Whatever it is, it’s really pounding the hell out of me. Gglancing at my shield meters, my face goes pale as the snow "12 %!" “C’MON, damn missiles are so slow…JESUS…” As I hold my breath, I see my enemy unleash what appears as a plasma bolt. My missiles are almost upon him and strike just as the plasma engulfs my ship. There was a very old video I remember seeing at Net-7, something about “in space no one can hear you scream” well I screamed anyway and you know what? No one heard me!
“Riolana, can you hear me?” Lucky waits patiently his memory banks keeping track of elapsed time. As the hours turn into days he manages to make enough repairs to make the “Black Market” partially functional. When Riolana recovers she will be able to dock and make proper repairs. Lucky’s sensors check the cargo holds and logs that cryogenic systems were not damaged in the attack. When you are in the business of moving genetic material you need a reliable freezer system.
I slowly open my eyes, then shut them tight against the glaring light from outside the cockpit. Carefully, I move my fingers and then my arms … everything seems fine. I slowly lift my head and it feels like someone is stabbing me in the back of my skull. Jesus, I must have a fracture…again! I swear my whole body is held together with synthetic tissue, dura steel pins and maybe some tape and staples for good luck. “Lucky, system stats and repair lists, I have a shipment to pick up and I am very very late! See if you can spot the beacon and get us planetside as quickly as possible and see about that cloak device we bought on Paren’s two days back and also…” I stop short realizing that Lucky already knows all of this and I just sigh and stop talking. “Riolana, I know I‘m a machine, but please give me time to respond to your commands”, he answers with lowered volume, trying to calm me down. “Just shut up and do what I tell ya, okay?” I hear my ships version of a sigh. Of all the crazy things, I have to end up with a ship computer that has feelings. Typical male ego, needs to be told how wonderful they are and how I could never get along alone. Well yea, they do have their uses…recollections of how I “used” my last shipment come to mind and I let out a laugh.
“Riolana…. Are you there? “, the voice on the coms channel is shouting at me “Traders Fort to Black Market, acknowledge on this channel!” I lean forward and answer the call, “Yea, I’m here Lars, ran into a welcoming committee but I’m fine and landing in a few.” Lars, the trade manager of Traders Fort as he calls himself, starts shouting at me “You’re LATE, I told you NOT TO BE LATE!” Still angry about the attack, I almost lose it “YEA, uh huh, well tell that to the ship that attacked me and cut through my hull, like it was paper. Who’s gonna fix Lucky … Huh? YOU?” Ruthless as he is, I could have guessed his answer. “Don’t give a damn about your problems, just get your butt down here and do it now, damn it”
I just stare at the coms panel and give it the 'finger' then strap myself in and start the landing sequence. As my ship starts its slow spiral to the landing point, I calculate the damage against the expected profit and grimace at the revelation that I am in red again! “Looks like I’m gonna die out here Lucky, I’ll never see the light of day at this rate” I say, breathing out slowly. “Riolana, remember there are never any problems, just opportunities. I know you will figure something out and I will be here to help you and all will be well in our little corner of the galaxy.” I look up from the landing monitor and actually give Lucky a smile. I haven’t smiled in a good number of weeks.
As my ship touches down, I can see through my hull camera a small group nearing my ship and also a short train of auto-bots with my apparent cargo. “Lucky, scan those objects! What do you get on them?“ He answers with calm lowered voice “Scanning ……… metal containers, heavy dura-alloy bonded with light armor. The armor is blocking my scans.” "Interesting, armor protected cargo; is that to keep things out or to keep things in?" I say to myself. A loud banging against my hull disturbs my musings and I look up to see someone banging a metal pipe against the hull. “Damn you Lars.” I yell into the communication station, as the heel of my hand comes down hard on weapons’ toggle. A light neutron gun pops out of the belly of my ship and swings in the direction of the group near the loading lift.
Neutron guns are about the sweetest weapons I’ve ever used. Great against biological, worthless against anything mechanical though. They destroy the molecular bond of the atoms and a body literally falls apart. All that’s left is the belt buckle and other metal items. Ya know I have a ton of buckles here in the ship, anyone have any belts? I continue laughing as I think of Lars as just a pile of odd metal bits and pieces. “Okay, now that I have your attention, stop beating on my already beat up ship and load your crap and let me get out of here.” Lars stops in mid swing and stares into the barrel of the neutron gun pointing at him. He looks up at the ship and lets out a string of words in four languages, all of them very derogatory about me, my ship and my attitude. “C’mon Lars, ya know you love me. Its okay, you can say it.” I try to tease him. “I’ll never admit that to anyone Riolana" he growls, then he continues “This cargo has to get to 61-Cygni in 3 warp days, and this time don’t touch the goods. I mean it…. Keep your hands off the merchandise" and he throws me an angry glance. “Yea yea, you loading or flapping yer gums?” As I close the cargo door, he shouts through the radio “All loaded and locked down, get yourself and your excuse for a ship out of here! And ya know what else?” he smiles. “No, what else Lars?” I ask, already knowing the answer to that question. “Be safe, you are a royal pain in the butt, but you are also the sexiest trader in the quadrant and I’d miss ya” he answers. “Yea, I’d miss me to, see ya in few Lars!”
“Lucky, lift off shortest trajectory to orbit, calculate route to 61-cygni, and lock down for warp!“ I say to Lucky. “Riolana, what are you going to do while I am doing all that?” Lucky asks, trying to tease me. “Excuse me, but I am the captain here and you are the computer, but if you must know I am going to see what’s in those armored boxes.”
Lucky sets about the chore of getting the “Black Market” rigged for extended warp and Riolana swaggers down the corridor loosening her flight suit as she goes. Deep in the cargo bays of the Black Market cyro steam rises off the crates and unknown to pilot or ships’ computer one of the crates has a split in the metal and clear fluid leaks slowly onto the deck!