Reply to topic  [ 18 posts ] 
New story - The LOPER 
Author Message
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post New story - The LOPER
Hello. Many of you know me from the Games folder and the RP and others from the entertaining/boring/whatever you think Poems. However, I mostly write stories.

I've decided to put the latest in a series of stories I write up in here. It's connected to the other stories simply by being set in the same universe but, with the exception noted below, it's completely separate. Comments (positive preferably) are always welcome and constructive criticism is also useful. It's NOT pet friendly. Although I'll try to keep deadly violence to a minimum, it can happen, even in Star Trek...

The universe is full of various races. The Canines, the Humans, the Felines, the Micans, (Mice), the Celicans (Foxes), the Osirans (Lizards), the Rabbits (or Lapinians), the Raitchians (Rats) and other races. They all have their core worlds and their colonies. Each colony has its own defence forces and the major races have their own defence forces and access to telepaths. Among the differences in the races is their diet. A Rabbitoid of pure lineage can be killed by a simple piece of meat whereas the Celicans quite like eating still living fowl. (Rabbits within a few generations of a parent from another species can eat meat but, generally, don't.) Helping to keep the peace established after the Prey Wars – Where the Micans, Rabbits and Raitchians allied and fought the Celicans, Felines and Osirans to a standstill – is the United Security Council. They are the equivalent of a Federal entity, with their own cross species space force and civilian investigative authority, the IOC.

One of my first stories, Voyage of the Fauntleroy, is referenced in opening episodes with regards 'the creature' they found in a destroyed ship...

Amongst the major recent events (Well, fifteen or so years back) was the discovery of a Squirrel race, the Jondahl and a final colony of Wolves, once believed wiped out in a major war with the Celicans. A few of them have ventured away from their home-world to work in the U.S.C. as it rebuilds following a destructive war with an empire from beyond Council space that was engineered by forces on either side to try and gain advantage. They failed but the Council lost a large number of ships.

Commander Hawle, Captain of the Loper, a trade route patrol Frigate, applied for the captaincy of one of the new ships of the line and was turned down for the third time. He's a bit fed up and no longer as straight-laced a Commanding Officer as he was....

PIRATES

Snow fell across the north of Lappara on the fourteenth day of winter, freezing the Autumn blooms closed and layering the grass white underfoot. Music echoed in the twilight of the city of Ganra, sonic crystals flitting through the falling flakes and down the street from the sole lit building in the area, the 'Green Paw' tavern. Everything else was already locked up, being past closing time for warehouses and out of town shopping centres and the park for the tavern was full of cars, bikes and hover style vehicles that the Police liked to take an interest in in the hopes of catching the drink drivers. It served as a sign of intentions that, despite the cursory presence of the law searching for drink drivers refusing to use the auto-driver facilities of their vehicles, the Paw remained the most popular of taverns in the city limits amongst a certain class of business person. The relative proximity of U.S.C. base Samperdown and the commercial spaceport of Vayle saw fit to that. Entry to the Paw was, of course, unregulated, but the local Police knew better than to try to get any agents in there. It wasn't worth the hospital bills.


A battered new vehicle thumped past the patrol car on duty and turned towards the bar, making the officer in the car sit up and take notice. A cursory scan of the plate reported that it belonged to Champney Hagan, a Lappinean of Southern extraction with a decent size inheritance from an import/export business and an ability to spend it. No record. The Officer squinted at the open top vehicle as it parked up and the lights switched off. He was sure there was someone in the passenger seat but... he couldn't be s... there was. “By the stars,” he said as the figure blotted out half the lights from the bar. “Bodyguard,” he said aloud. “Gotta be a bodyguard.” He became self-conscious and looked around himself to confirm he was just talking to himself.


The ground cracked and crunched under the impact of mighty brown boots as Hagen stepped towards the tavern, his ears hung low and he moved with purpose as his Burman confederate fell into step with him. He sensed her scanning for incoming threats like some old vid-screen cyborg as the pair of them entered the warm interior and their breath evaporated in the orange light. Hagen felt like choking on the fumes that suddenly assailed his nostrils but he took a stand and swallowed them down as his companion ducked under the door frame. They strode confidently to the barkeep and Hagen ordered a double HeathWater for himself and a double Soda water for his companion. When they were delivered, he looked over the room as he adjusted his bandoleer strap and removed a bulky watch to check the time.


He counted fifteen in the bar. Various races held court here, smoking in one of the few legal places in the city and striking their deals over the games tables where a Raitchian, a Canine and a Celican were keeping themselves to themselves conspicuously and he turned his gaze from them as they looked his way and a Canine slipped onto the seat beside him.

“Bloody hell,” the Canine said, looking at the nautical coat and bandoleer, “I realise you live the life but I never thought...”

“Thought what?” Hagan replied, taking a shot from his drink in one go.

“The... the look?”

“Who the hell are you, anyhow?”

“I..I'm Gordy. I'm, um, supplying the goods?”

“Right. Of course you are. You thinking I'm a pirate, 'Gordy'?”

“Well, um, kinda?” The Canine looked around before lowering his voice. “My fear is that the Police might well.”

“Only a really stupid pirate would be caught dead looking like a pirate in public, 'Gordy'.” Hagan said with confidence. “So I can go about in plain view, looking like one and no-one gets that I am one. Even with the epaulettes. They just think it's fancy dress now cut the crap, Gordy. I've just finished hauling fifteen Osiran Muhrkra for the zoo here and, frankly, I'm not in the mood.”

“Bloody things stink like Lentil excrement stew,” the Burman muttered with a scowl.

“Thank you for that,” Hagan said simply. “Now, 'Gordy', what's this about?”

“Not here,” the Canine replied. “Back room.”


The pair followed him through to the bars back room, where an item of hardware was lying on the table. Hagan immediately recognised it for a Mark VIIbV pulse laser as Gordy closed the door. “Mark VII,” he said appreciatively. “The new model even?” He raised an eye ridge. “How?”
“Never you mind. Can you get five hundred of these out of the system?”

“It'll be hard to get these past customs,” the Burman said, checking out the weapon.

“I'm quite aware,” Hagan said. “It will all be factored in, don't you worry.” He guestured to Gordy. “Got her uses, this one, but planning's more up my street. I take it you can get these things TO us safely? To the warehouse?”

“We wouldn't be meeting if I couldn't!” Gordy snapped. “but I need to know YOU can deliver!”

“We wouldn't be here if WE couldn't,” Hagan replied, examining a piece of the barrel. “We were recommended, were we not?”

Gordy nodded and the Burman glanced to the door. “Heard something out there!”

“It'll be nothing.” Gordy claimed.

“It's never nothing!” The Burman marched to the door, opened it and looked out, closing it quickly. “Cops!” She spat before picking Gordy off the floor with one hand. “You were followed, you moron!”

Gordy squeaked and wheezed. “That's not possible,” he said, choking on the word 'not' as the Burman tightened her grip.

“Well it wasn't us,” Hagan claimed. “I know how to lose a tail.”

“I...” Gordy coughed a little blood as the Burman deepened her grip, a furious look on her face. “I teleported in.”

“Liar,” Hagan said. “Only the council base has that facility.”

“I...I work there... please...I...I can sh...show you.”

“Boss?” The Burman asked.

“Drop him.” The Rabbit drew his gun as the Burman released her pressure. The Canine grasped at his throat and gagged before tapping his teleport tag and fading away with a smile as Hagan blitzed a hole through his 'ghost'.

“That went well, Captain,” the Burman said, licking her fingers.

'Hagan' put his hand up for silence and pulled a communicator from his coat pocket. “Get all that, Groven?” He asked.

<<Certainly, Captain,>> said a voice. <<The camera in the bandoleer was a good plan.>>

'Hagan' was put to the back of his mind and the compliment ignored as Commander Hawle resumed his life. “Notify Samperdown IOC that their traitor's one Gordano Kaval of the maintenance division and the teleporter chief's in on it too.” He stepped over to the weapon and assembled it before handing it over to his companion. “Raven's on her way up with a new gun for checking by the armourer before being added to our weapons locker. Teleport her as soon as you've sent the information pack.”

<<Wilco, Captain.>>

Hawle paused for a second. “Stop calling me Captain, Groven. “They won't let me have the rank when I'm ground-bound and I don't appreciate butt kissing.”

<<Of course, boss,>> Groven's voice said as Raven vanished with a hum. Hawle walked through the bar, blanking the barman as he held out Hawle's dropped watch. He stepped out into the cold and pulled his coat around him before he headed back to his car and pulled out. “Call,” he instructed his carcom as the dash clock shifted to zero. “Police.” He waited until he was put through. “You should send someone out to the 'Green Paw',” he said as he drove down the highway, “I think someone's let off a grenade in there!” He gave his fake name and address and grinned as he thought of the stun gas fun he'd just unleashed in there.


Half an hour later, Commander Hawle stepped onto the bridge of his ship, the U.S.C. Loper, and sat in his captain's chair. “Aren't we cleared to leave yet?” He asked.

“It'll be soon, Captain,” Sarina Raven, his first officer replied. He let it go this time as he was now, technically, the Captain as he was back on the ship. And she could crush him against a bulkhead if she wanted. “You're not getting changed?”

He fingered the old fashioned outfit carefully. “Nah! It follows all the rules for the rank so what the heck!” He shrugged. “What can they do? Put me on shipping patrol?”

SUPPLY STATISTICS

Captain Hawle sat back in his chair and crossed his legs, enjoying the feeling of fabric his barely regulation boots gave him as they rubbed together in passing. He looked out at a sight that was beginning to annoy him now.

The metal frame of Lappara Spacedock constricted his view almost half as much as the planet he could see in the viewer. Lappara. His homeworld and the place he'd been imprisoned for the first twenty years of his life. With the advantages of teleport tech, there wasn't a single place of interest there that he'd not seen and it had taken him less than a year to reason that, if everyone had the same culture, everything occurred in much the same way wherever you went. There was nothing stimulating for him here and he'd jumped at the chance when a Council recruiting office had passed through his town. Sure there had been tears from his mother but she'd had the other ten kids to help her over that.

And now he was back here. Back at his old home with his unwanted new one. “Are we still here,” he asked, “and, if so, why?”

“We're still taking on supplies, Captain,” the human on navigation replied, “and Lappara control won't let us go until everything's checked out.” She glanced back to the Captain and he caught a flash of her smile, “they don't want a repeat of the Cobry incident.”

“Ah, yes.” He flipped a switch and put himself on shipwide communications. “All stations, text report in on supplies situation. First priority.” He waited on the reports and, after receiving the third input, contacted the galley. “Two thousand Celican breadsticks, Garvin?”

<<That's correct, sir.>>

“BREADsticks, right? Last time there was a typo and you nearly killed half the Lappinians on the ship.”

<<Indeed, sir. No bloodsticks this time.>>

“Make sure. Eat a few. Get Groal to have one if you can't stomach it.” Hawle flipped the line off and considered changing his lunch order. “Sciences...well, the science Room reports all in as do weapons, engineering, the fighter bay, security, the starwheel bar and...” He sighed. “Where's the report from computing.” He flicked the switch again. “Computing department. Where's your report?”

Two floors down, a young member of the Jondahl race looked up from the computer screen and was thankful he'd turned the sound off as his avatar on screen delivered a deathblow to the avatar of a teenage Lappinian on the planet below. Harvey, sometimes known as 'twitchy' by the crew due to his forever moving tail, finally got around to sending the report to the captain regarding the new equipment he'd received a few hours back and was now 'testing out'. He could access any local planet's Galnet systems invisibly now and, if anyone asked, that's what the game had proven. The room was dark but he liked it that way. Fewer people to see him and fewer for him to see. The captain didn't seem to give a chuff but there were many who didn't like his people over some... unpleasantness a decade or so back so he liked a little private space when his duties allowed. As for now, though? Time to get back to the tournament. “Now, Lady Astira,” he said to his avatar, “who's next for the thunderfoot decapitator?”


“If he's playing games again...” Hawles noted the incoming report and decided not to press it further. “OK,” he said as his 2nd Officer put himself in his chair. “Ready to go, Harper?”

“Have been since you got back, sir,” the Black and White Collian said simply.

“We'd have been long gone if that weather hadn't bunged up our supply runs.” Hawle looked over to the helm. “Get onto your boyfriend and get us clearance, Chapston.”

“He's not my boyfriend, sir,” Sarah Chapston replied, flicking on the interstellar comm and waiting for a reply.

“Thought you humes stuck together.”

“I promise you, he's a Lappinian, sir,” Chapston protested with a resigned air as the memory of repeated conversations came to mind.

“Not with that accent he isn't,” Hawle muttered.

“Flynn?” Chapston said as the local control operator replied. “This is U.S.C 424356 Loper; requesting permission to depart, over?”

<<Sure, Loper,>> a cultured but accented voice replied, <<maybe next time for that beer, eh? Lanes're clear. Cop ya later.>>

Chapston couldn't help but smile at the attitude of the Antipodean ideal that guy represented. It made a change from the normal, dour and formal responses.

Hawle could feel an electronic eye on him and turned to look at his second officer. “Can I help you, Lieutenant Grovan?”

The electric eye panned back up to join it's living compatriot in watching the Captain's face. “I don't like the new outfit, Captain. You look like a pirate.”

“I'm reclaiming the look, Grovan. If you don't like it? Tough.” Hawle crossed his arms and looked front. “We're still here, Chapston. You should know by now I don't like looking at that place. Make it go away.”

“Aye, sir.” The human's hands moved across her panel quickly, tapping icons and idents and pressing buttons.

Hawle watched her work, then moved his gaze to the viewer. He paid particular attention to the closest strut to the right on screen and gave a small sigh of relief as the shaft of metal pushed silently away from his ship. Give it a few minutes, he thought, and they'd be turning away from here on full burner to the outer system. He took a moment to access reports. “OK,” he decided, “we have reports of a missing freighter just outside the system. Might as well make a start there, I suppose. Chapston, put us on these co-ordinates as soon as we're clear, yeah?” Hawles tapped numbers into his armrest console and wiped it across to the helm.

“Aye, sir,” she replied, pushing the Loper clear of dock. “Estimating five hours at full burn.”

“Five hours it is. Sooner if you can. I'm going for Lunch.” He stood from his seat.

“It's two AM ship time,” Grovan said.

“Bloody space lag,” Hawles replied grumpily. “A sandwich, then.” He left the bridge as Grovan allowed himself a small smile.

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Wed Jun 25, 2014 3:04 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
Comments - preferably positive or constructive - are useful, good people. (also lets me know who's reading(!))

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Thu Jun 26, 2014 1:56 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
DRIFTING

Hawle stepped lightly through his ship, practically skipping on his way to the bridge. Decent food, a couple of hours sleep and two caffeine tablets had a way of popping sleep from his head. It cleared his ears and even seemed to make the world a little brighter. Possibly, he thought, a bit too bright. He focussed on his hand to make sure it wasn't blurred and paged engineering. “Lights on A deck passage three seem to be set way too high, Groal, are you wasting power on me?”

<<I wouldn't do that, Captain. There'd be no point.>> The voice sighed. <<I'll sort it in a few minutes.>>

“If you could please.”


“If you could please,” repeated a grease smudged Celican after he cut the line to the Captain. He shook his head and looked over the console. “Bloody Rabbit. As though I don't have enough to do keeping the engine working?” He looked at the readout screen and huffed. “Carrot boy's right,” he told his confederates in the bay, “feed to the illumination systems is ten percent over throughout the systems. Someone's reset the computer baseline.” He mused on it for a moment, then reset the system before getting back to work on the engines to correct a minor imbalance. An Engineers work is never done,” he told the others, “now keep those emitters lined up or we'll need to halve our speed and you know how grumpy I get at half speed, fellas! One of you might get ate!”

“He...he's kidding, isn't he?” A Mican engineer whispered to a Canine.

“I've never been stupid enough to find out,” the Canid replied.


“Oh,” Harvey Winsome said to himself as the lights outside his room dimmed, “they finally noticed, eh?” He clicked his tongue. “They really should have found that earlier. I suppose I could tell them but they'd just ask why I didn't tell them earlier. Oh, well.” He turned back to the computer. “Now, where are you, my little pain in the buttocks?” He slapped his computing goggles on and spun his way into the computer matrix, on the hunt for something he'd noticed on his last sweep. He reckoned he needed to report it if it was what he thought it was but he needed to be sure it was what he thought beforehand. No sense annoying the captain with wild speculation unless... Oh, there it was. From inside the VR landscape it looked like a squiggle of energy, a row of concentric circles crushed together and wound to dizzying infinity as Harvey cornered it at the end of a passageways of damaged program files and pulled his Malware destructor cannon to bear on his opponent. It fired a bolt of power at him and he shifted aside to fire on it. His shot hit it dead centre and held it in place so he could release a quarantine trap from his pack and slide it across the floor to stop under the Malware and activate it. The Malware bot fought against the suction but lost and fell into the quarantine zone. Harvey huffed and picked the trap up. “Another one bites the dust” he told himself. “”Now to find out who brought you in,” he said happily, following the trail of damage back to the source as he whirled the trap around in a circle.


“How's space looking?” Hawle asked as he pushed himself down into his seat.

“Black and full of holes,” Raven said bitterly. “just like always, Captain.”

“Anything further from the freighter location?”

“Nothing from the Greymouse since 0300 hours, Captain,” Raven said, looking at her console. “Transporting five thousand tonnes of flour and grain to the Rapprach colony. They've had bad floods this year. Not to mention the snow. And the Grain weevils.”

“Regular catalogue of despair,” Hawle agreed, “makes them vulnerable. And pirates like that sort of cargo. Sells anywhere for good money.”

“Pirates don't usually hit this close to a system, though.”

Hawles rubbed his chin. “That's the part that's worrying me,” he said. He looked across the bridge to the helm station and the black Hared Human sitting there. “Can we see their last reported position yet, Ensign?”

The picture on the viewer changed from black with starspots to black with starspots in different places. “As close as we can get it, sir,” the human said. “We'll be able to tell more in five minutes.

“Scan the area, someone. See if you can pick up a trail.” He sat back and mused. They'd lost their last science officer to the explorer ship Kraksis and command, in their eternal wisdom, had told him he'd get one of the top graduates. In four months. So he had to make do with Doctor Jaques, who refused to leave the science room and probably slept in there and whoever could pinch hit up here. Generally that meant one of the Weapons officers at times like these. As it was, it was Ensign Cass who did the magics.

“There's a neutrino trail heading off at 196,260,10. Signs of weapons fire.”

“That's way off their scheduled route,” Raven informed Hawle, making him think of grandmothers and carrot growing. “Probably pirates took the ship over and hauled it away.”

“I'm not sure about that,” Cass replied, watching the screen. “There's no sign of another ship. The frequency of the energy blast matches the light defence weapons on the Greymouse.”

“I see the night course is paying off. Send the scans to Jaques. Get him to confirm them.”

Hawles turned to Raven. “If the freighter was firing...”

“What were they firing at?”

Hawles nodded as his thunder was stolen. “That's my concern, yeah.”

Chapston frowned at the screen in front of her and zoomed in on a small piece of debris she'd glimpsed reflecting the local sun. “What's that?” She asked, indicating the Grey and yellow piece of metal.

Raven pulled it up on her armrest screen and squinted at it. “I hate these stupid screens,” she complained, “they're too muffins and cookies small.”

Hawles chuckled. “It's either small screens or fifteen inch wide arm rests. Is that part of the hull?”

“It could well be. Get it aboard. Let Groal look it over.


Five minutes later, the Celican engineer stood underneath the fifteen foot diameter jagged chunk of hull and walked around one of the support struts keeping the five foot thick lump of metal and circuitry up safely. “We have score marks on the outside of the hull, Captain,” he said loudly.

<<Can you tell what caused them?>> Hawle replied from the bridge.

“I can take a pretty good guess, Captain,” Groal said, elevating himself on a platform so he could step on the outer hull. He looked at a splash of frozen red next to a curved blade trapped in the metal. “I'd need Doctor Barleycorn to verify but this looks a hell of a lot like a claw.”

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Fri Jun 27, 2014 10:38 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
HUNTERS

“Are you certain on this?” Hawle asked as he walked the small excuse for a medical bay and glanced at the ceramic cutting tools Doctor Barleycorn kept behind a glass panel.

The large blackfur mouse pulled the file up on her computer and bade him look. “I compared the results with anything on our records and got nothing,” she said, indicating the Keratin claw on the nearest bed. “I got no matches. So I contacted Central Medical and got a file so restricted I had to contact an Admiral to gain access.”

Hawle fixed his gaze on her. His jaw set and he looked ready to fight. “You went over my head?”

“More around the side,” Barleycorn said. “I know the Admiral and you don't. So you'd have needed me to call him anyhow. Would you like to know what the report says or do you want to be outraged for longer?”

“How do you have hold..?” He waved a hand dismissively. “Never mind. What did the report say?”

Barleycorn took a breath and read the details. “Roughly two decades ago, a ship called the Fauntleroy? Their doctor made details on a creature. A 'living weapon' before the phrase came to more common use. The thing could withstand the pressures of space by virtue of not breathing, it had thick, chitinous, armour that reflected attacks both physical and mental and its claws could rend flesh as easily as it could hull plating and it can operate flawlessly in zero gravity.”

“How'd they take it down eighteen years ago?” a new voice asked. The pair looked to the doorway where a middle aged Rabbit dressed in grey was leaning on the frame with her arms crossed.

“Being as you know the exact length of time I'm guessing you already know,” Barleycorn said, gesturing to the newcomer with a stylus. “The thing's invulnerable from outside but not so much from inside. It still took three blasts from a Laser shotgun to kill it.”

“Good job we have one of those aboard ship, isn't it?” The Captain grinned at his security chief. “You thought I wouldn't notice it hiding among the supply lists, Jaqui?”

“Oh,” the Security Chief said innocently, “you mean my dads old shotgun? I'll have to make sure it works.”

“Make sure in safety, Chief. And get it ready. If it took a shotgun to take it then, it might do now.”


Ten hours passed as the Loper chased down the Greymouse, the Cruiser's powerful engines eating into the freighters lead by the second until it came upon the ship drifting in space. Scans indicated the engines were dead and life support down aboard the vessel. Hawle didn't really need to read the logs for that, though, as he could see the scars and holes on the outer hull, even against the sun behind it. “You reckon they were trying to put themselves in the sun?” Raven asked.

Hawle shrugged. “Who can tell? Problem is we can't leave that thing in there.” He put his lower muzzle in the palm of his hand. “Anyone else who comes this way would be fair prey and WE can't stand watch over it forever. The Council can send a special team to kill it but that'd take a week.”

“Blow the ship?”

“That's Plan B,” Hawle admitted. “But that thing can survive in space. Who's to say it can't survive the explosion.”


The place was silent for the arrival, by teleport beam, of Jaqui Pangal and her four security operatives in sealed armour. She pulled up her main weapon, a double barreled energy cannon with notable nicks and dents along the barrels. She pushed aside a corpse that hung in the void and it slid away from them, splitting nearly in two along a line of crystal blood. “Throw up in your helmets and you're as good as dead,” she warned her people. “Stay close and keep your scanners primed.” She found herself silently hoping that the sensors now were better than the sensors then as they'd not been able to pick up the creature and the Chief on that ship had just survived the encounter because the thing had tried to bit his whole arm off when he had a gun attached to it. She wasn't fond enough of Barleycorn to have the halfbreed operate on her unless needed. “Stay close,” she repeated as she led the way to the bridge, magnetic boots clomping along quietly on the floor as lights shone to the fore and up into the torn hull.

“It fairly ripped the drok out of this place,” one of her team said.

“Cut the chat, we don't need commentary Raston,” Pangal warned, opening a panel net to a sealed bulkhead door. She pulled a tube and a 'T'-shaped piece of metal out, inserted the metal into the tube and began pumping the contraption up and down to open the door manually. After a moment of pumping, the door unsealed enough to be physically forced open and the group stepped into the hallway between the storage bays and the bridge. Lights burned across a lot of bare metal and nothing as silence hung over the scene. The team barely breathed loudly as they moved along, sweeping their beams nervously as they passed by another body in the air. This one had asphyxiated; enlarged eyes and protruding tongue proving evident of that. “It's here somewhere,” she muttered. Nothing was showing on her scanner but she knew the crew had tried to seal it in this area. The plan hadn't worked. One look up told her that. The thing had simply gone back through the hull. They'd even tried shooting it off and that hadn't worked. All it had done was knock a claw off. If that was what it took to even slightly injure this thing from outside...


The team turned into the main cargo bay and looked over a mountain of grain that hung in its place without any grain having direct contact with any other. They just hung there in front of them, undisturbed and unbothered. Pangal turned to leave as the thing probably wasn't... She stopped as she looked at the claw marks up the wall and followed the trail up the wall and onto the ceiling. She followed the track marks across the ceiling until they stopped halfway across. “Not good,” she said bitterly, readying her weapon as the black skinned, red eyed, creature exploded through the mountain bearing claws and teeth.

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Sun Jun 29, 2014 3:33 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
WARRIORS

It whispered past her head and she noted the icon in her helmet for Errolby flashed, shivered and died on her even before she could turn around. She saw the arm slowly hovering away from the figure as it fell back away from her, putting globules of blood into the void. Troop three – Galton, she reasoned, blasted energy after it as it made an exit through the door beyond and vaulted off the wall, heading toward the bridge. She gritted her teeth and led the pursuit as she heard someone say they couldn't leave Errolby. “Then you'll be just as dead as he is if that thing catches you...” The creature appeared and Pangal fired. Even as an energy cannon, the shotgun had something of a recoil as cooling cylinders charged and released to chill the fusion generators that added to the power. Even as she took a half step back, the creature sprung and took both barrels to the head. The forward motion of the energy blast overwhelmed its forward motion and it fell awkwardly to the floor on its back, kicked out in hope of catching someone with it's claws and flipped quickly to its feet before flicking it's eyes between Pangal and her guards for an instant as the guards fired on it. It seemed more worried now, the Chief noted. It knew they could hurt it somehow and it was guarding now as they fired. It bared its teeth and Pangal readied herself for the chance she'd been waiting for. It sprang again at the guards and Pangal twisted out of its way and fired. The blast impacted on the creatures shining flank as it went past. It landed side on on one of her guards and its claws cut through the guards armour, tearing up his face as is worked out who had the most powerful gun and hissed at her. That was the opening she'd been waiting for and she fired both barrels into the gap between its teeth. From this angle she wasn't likely to score a direct hit on the brain, she knew, but she needed to hurt this creature now casting a black shadow in the middle of sprays of red. The shots blasted and shredded the creatures' lower mouth and throat and the Chief was sure she heard it scream. As its mouth dropped open further, Galton dropped slowly to his knees and aimed upwards with his blaster as it turned towards him. One shot splashed against its teeth but the second went inside, inflicting damage to the creature so it dropped to the floor. Pangal stood in close and it waved at her weakly with a claw. “Could be just stunned,” she said, instructing Galton to lift the creatures head. “Careful,” she advised as she pushed the barrel of her upside down shotgun into the thing's mouth. She could see it scrabbling weakly on the floor plates and her dead trooper. She pulled the triggers and felt the backlash again as the creature jerked and lay still. She breathed heavily and put her hand to a bulkhead to steady herself. “Let's get to the communications system,” she said. “See if it's operational.”

<<Right,>> Galton replied hesitantly, standing shakily as the adrenaline rush receded.


One of the problems with the current combat suit supplied to patrol route vessels was the lack of ship-to-ship communications as standard. They were the cheapest suits for that reason and, by the time it was noted that range communications was needed, the company had sorted out the 'optional update' and charged for it again. Pangal hoped some idiot in procurement had been fired for that. She tried her system anyway. “Pangal to Loper, come please, over.”

<<Loper h..e,>> Chapston replied, her voice hissing through audio static. <<Putting y.u onto t.. ...tin.>>

She waited until Hawle came on the line to tell him the communications suite was worse than useless and she hated that she agreed with him.

<<Re..rt anyway, C..ef.>>

“We have two dead and we have killed the creature. Lock on to us and beam us back, would you?”

<<Co..ir..d. St..d by. Br..g it ba.. with you.>>

She cut the line. “Hell,” she said bitterly. “Grab the thing, Galton,” she instructed, “we're taking it with us.


Pangal and Hawles stood on opposite sides of two capsules as they lay outside the launch station. The chief growled at him as he readied a book. “Was it worth it?” She demanded. “Two dead for no muffins and cookies reason at all!”

“There was a reason,” Hawle responded hollowly as the capsuled began to move towards their launch stations. “According to Doctor Jaques, that thing was eating tiny amounts of grain and the crew, even though they were exposed to space. It could have lived there for ages until another ship came by with no clue as to what was in there. They died to save others, Jaqui. It'll say that, I'll make sure of it. One minor good thing has come out of this, though.”

“What's that?” Pangal didn't look as though she believed anything good could possibly come out of this.

Hawles thought she was probably right but he'd made the best of it. “I spoke to the Captain of the Celican Science Vessel Narravokal. They're going to take the creature carcass off us and do a full 'rip-apart' – their word, not mine – on it.”

“Not a U.S.C. vessel?”

“None in the area. But the Narravokal got some of the old, clunkier, security suits. They'll give us them in return for the creature.”

Pangal goggled at him, her mouth hanging open. “You did a deal? With Celicans?”

Hawle took on a bitter look and averted his gaze. “Can't always choose who you do deals with,” he said bitterly.

“You did a deal?”

Hawle looked exasperated. “So?” he asked, spreading his arms. “Not 'by the book'? The book got us this battle armour and see where that got us? The old stuff's better and I just got us a supply of it whilst getting that bloody thing off the ship two days faster than if we took it to Beqwal Research Labs which, by the way, is distinctly off our patrol path and why the hell am I defending myself on this? Decision's made and I think it was correct. Can you cope with that?” He stared at her.

Pangal thought about it for a moment before slowly nodding as the capsules slid into the launchers. “You did what you could,” she agreed. “Pity the price is too high.”

“Tell me about it, Hawles muttered before opening the book. “We commit these bodies to the deep from which we came,” he intoned, “to join with their ancestors in the celestial fields where there is no need for predation or pain or suffering. They are headed to a greater place than we can know and their passing leaves a wound in the universe that can only be healed by the new-coming generation living up to what has gone before. We are lesser for their loss and our memory greater for their presence there. We will miss them.” He pressed a button and two sections of the wall slid open and admitted the capsules. The room shook slightly as they ejected into space. Hawles activated his comms. “Hawle to Raven.”

<<Raven here.>>

“I don't want anyone looting the Greymouse. Barleycorn's got the crew in her morgue so obliterate that thing. Now.”

“When did Barleycorn get the crew?”

“When you were writing your reports I went over and tagged them.” He raised a hand to stop her protest. “Not by the book, I know but I respect my crew above any book. I respect them and I'll do my damnedest to bring the crew back, alive or dead...” He looked uneasily at the empty tubes. “...Unless they've requested other departure arrangements. I'm extending that to any other crews we can hold. Least I can do for them.”

Pangal looked surprised. “I wasn't going to say anything in argument, Captain! In fact, I agree with you.”

“Really?” Hawle looked surprised. “Well, um, good.” At that, he headed back to the bridge as the Loper's pulse cannons devastated the freighter in front of them.

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:44 pm
Profile
E-Quoll to Any Challenge!
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:09 am
Posts: 6030
Location: Down Under
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
This is looking great! I look forward to reading more!

_________________
My RP Characters

I am GM for 17th Century Fox and Redwall, the GM Liaison and a RP section moderator!

Avatar drawn by the incredible dragon-shadows.

Image Image Image


Tue Jul 01, 2014 9:03 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
Thanks, Hla.

I got a bit bored of doing 'by the books' types so I decided that, this story, the book should just about be visible in the corner. Under a pile of other books. With a potted plant on top.

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Tue Jul 01, 2014 3:15 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
ONWARD

Hawle stood in the small science room and looked over the vast array of samples and test tubes filled with various fluids as the toilet flushed in one of the side rooms. The occupant sidled out, doing up his trousers as he came. “Want a burrito?” He asked, opening the second door and entering his living room.

“No,” Hawle replied, “I'd rather gather an insight into this thing before my ears fall off with age. What have you discovered so far, oh shut-in genius?”

“I've learnt that you have no patience,” the portly Mican said as he returned to the science room, “and no fashion sense.” He looked down at the flop-topped boots and baggy trousers the captain was wearing.

“I'll have you know that retro is back in these days, Professor, and other bridge staff are copying it. Can we get back to the dead thing?”

“After I've finished insulting the military mind that says 'if the Captain does it, I have to', fine.” The Mican chomphed on the Burrito, spilling tomato sauce and a chunk of Chicken on the floor. “I'll pick that up in a moment.” He stepped over to one of the computer consoles and switched it on. “The thing's skin is impenetrable to everything we have here and probably up to a monobeam cutter. Its respitory system is incredibly efficient, recycling everything with virtually no redundant systems. From what I can tell from the blood samples, it can put itself into near stasis to survive the rigours of space. It can seal every orifice – and I do mean every orifice – for travel purposes.” He finished the Burrito and licked his fingers.

“I can't believe you're still single,” Hawle said with a shake of the head.

“I have trouble making connections,” Jaques admitted. “I'll forward on details to the Celicans and the USC medical facilities. I understand it killed people?”

“At least six.”

“What a horrible Universe we live in.”

I live in the universe, Professor, you never leave this room. You don't see the glories, we just send you the bad parts.”

“The universe is full of communicable diseases, Captain. I'm only here because I'm better in small spaces. No pun intended.”

“Didn't hear a pun.” Hawle remarked, heading for the exit before the smell got to him. He wasn't quite a pureblood so the eating of meat wouldn't kill him but he still loathed the smells and had to fight a severe gag reflex every time he was in close communion to the shredded, torn and cooked carcasses of meat animals. That, he knew, was one of the reasons he wasn't fond of Celicans. At least the others had the decency to kill their food first. Celicans had purposely bred Chickens and other small mammals that they 'snapped' at table and Hawle was thankful he only had one or two on board as they could use the sub galley.

“Captain on the bridge,” Raven snapped as Hawle stepped onto the familiar deck plating behind her.

“That I am, Commander,” he replied as he stepped around her to his seat. “Report, please.”

He looked forward at the vast, star-drenched, expanse of nothingness that lay in front of him and wondered where else those things might be lying in wait out there. Silent and deadly and waiting for people to turn off their shields off and let them in. He considered that as Raven told him of the latest crew updates and the connect time with the Celican vessel – just after their lunch, a timing he really didn't relish – and the latest news he'd missed by not tuning into the Gal-Net News Network over the past few hours. “What was that about the Jewel of Tara?” he asked, dragging himself back to the situation at hand.

“Raitchian traders took part in a bit of piracy. They stole the Jewel.”

“They stole it?” Hawle marvelled at the audacity. “How the heck does one steal a twenty foot tall jade Monolith?” he shook his head. “Gotta give them points for the audacity. I take it the local Canine colonies have already expressed an interest?”

“Not officially but the Mican colonial forces have requested back up to block any attempts at 'repatriation' of the colony now that the Jewel has gone. How close are we to Tara?”

Raven tapped a few icons on her computer and analysed the results readout. “Fifteen hours at best speed.”

Hawle sighed and tapped his teeth with his claws as he rested his elbow on the armrest. “Helm,” he ordered, “set course for Tara. Notify the Celican ship of our change of route and tell Command that we're off to wave the flag and see if we can find them some thieves.”

“Aye, aye, cap'n,” Chapston said, setting the new heading as the communications officer sent the news to Command.

“I'm not a pirate, Human, or you'd be walking into the core for insubordination, wouldn't ye?”

“Pirates are not a joking matter, Captain,” Raven warned.

“I know that, Sarina. I'm always serious about my job. You should know that.”

“I do,” she growled. “I just wish you were professional about how you do it!”

Hawle looked at her sharply. “Being professional about how I did the job hasn't got me anywhere, has it? So now I do the job and have some fun too.”

“So long as you recall where the fun ends and the work begins.”

Hawle snorted, but didn't raise his voice. “So long as you remember where jocular talk ends and insubordination begins, eh, Raven?”

The Burman swallowed hard, the concern showing in her face as she cooled down. “Aye, sir.”

Hawle patted her on the arm. “Don't worry about it, Commander. Occasionally I'm gonna need the boot up the butt and that's one of the reasons I asked for you.”

“What's the others?”

“You have to ask? After you picked that guy up at the bar with one hand?”

“Oh, right, that.” She allowed herself the vestige of a smile. “Can I do that again soon?” She saw his raised eye-ridge. “It... combats stress,” she explained quickly.

“Good plan. Oh, Chapston? You've been on duty eighteen hours. Go hit the rack, eat some of that... stuff you guys call food and hit a rack for six. Dismissed.”

“But...” Chapston thought about protesting but reconsidered. “Yes, sir.” She left her station and Hawle took over until her relief came by.

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Tue Jul 01, 2014 4:19 pm
Profile
Moderator
User avatar

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:33 pm
Posts: 2353
Location: Somewhere between 8:30 and the color red
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
Well Welsh, I have a few suggestions for you. You can count this all under 'constructive criticism.'

First: That little rant of information we needed before the story started. Specifically this:
Welsh Halfwit wrote:
Amongst the major recent events (Well, fifteen or so years back) was the discovery of a Squirrel race, the Jondahl and a final colony of Wolves, once believed wiped out in a major war with the Celicans. A few of them have ventured away from their home-world to work in the U.S.C. as it rebuilds following a destructive war with an empire from beyond Council space that was engineered by forces on either side to try and gain advantage. They failed but the Council lost a large number of ships.

Commander Hawle, Captain of the Loper, a trade route patrol Frigate, applied for the captaincy of one of the new ships of the line and was turned down for the third time. He's a bit fed up and no longer as straight-laced a Commanding Officer as he was....

Now I am not familiar with Star Treck, so I really don't know for sure, but these paragraphs seem to be explaining details of the circumstances of your story, not things that people who don't know the series would need to know. If all of this is stuff that people who watch the show would know without you explaining, you can ignore this comment I'm about to make, but I've always found it best to not just give a major info dump like that. You're better off letting everything come to light in the story itself somehow, not some note before it. There are many ways to do so, and it can really go a long way to adding depth to a story if you do it right.

Second: I read up to SUPPLY STATISTICS on your first post/chapter/whatever you're calling them. I had a hard time clearly picturing what was going on in my head. I think most of that comes from you trying to focus on exactly what the characters are doing and saying, but you aren't letting little details from the environment make their way in and you're rushing it all. Like here:
Welsh Halfwit wrote:
The pair followed him through to the bars back room, where an item of hardware was lying on the table. Hagan immediately recognised it for a Mark VIIbV pulse laser as Gordy closed the door. “Mark VII,” he said appreciatively. “The new model even?” He raised an eye ridge. “How?”
“Never you mind. Can you get five hundred of these out of the system?”

I know nothing about this room. Is there a back door? Skylight? Are their crates of stuff everywhere and it's a mess, or is it pretty empty? Maybe Hagan can make a few observations about the room when he walked in.
"As Gordy closed the door, Hagan noticed there was actually very little in the admittedly large room. Judging by the overhead doors, he assumed this was probably more of an unloading dock where trucks carrying less than legal cargo could do so in privacy. He turned around just in time to see Gordy pull a Mark VIIbV pulse laser out from behind one of the crates that was by the door.
We get an idea for the room now. We know more than just the fact that it has a table in it. You don't have to be specific in the size like "it was 48 feet long and 100 feet wide", just enough description that the reader fills in the gaps.

And third: There are a few errors in this story and I think you would benefit greatly from a proofreader. I saw a few places that needed commas, and even a few sentences that should have really been split up. It wasn't bad, especially if you didn't go back and look at it after you wrote it. Things like that are to be expected when writing something like this, it's just a matter of going back and catching them. Whether you do it yourself or have someone do it for you.

Well, that's my advice. While it's true the first two are really more my opinion than anything -- especially the first -- the second one is very common advice given to writers. So I would suggest that, at the very least, you look into that one a bit more.

_________________
The best cymbal player ever has spoken.
ImageImage

JeffCvt is a copyright of jeffcvt inc. and not to be reproduced without the express written consent of CBS and jeff cvt.


Tue Jul 01, 2014 6:03 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
The good thing about asking for constructive critisism is that, sometimes, you get it. If you have to explain something it helps you think harder on how to avoid the problem the next time around.

On the first thing you picked up on, one of the characters in the story is one of the Jondahl race and I felt a need to explain why he's the only Squirrel on the ship and, possibly, in the story. The second half of it, though, you are entirely correct on. That part I should have removed as entirely superfluous.

As for the second part, there are times I can be rather short on description as I'm more of a dialogue animal than I am a picture painter. Most of the time I put in enough to serve the situation whilst allowing the imagination to fill in the blanks but I should have referred to this room as being an enclosed, internal, one. It's just a back room in a bar, though, and may never be seen again.

And the proof-reading? I could stand to read things through again myself at times, I admit. I can't afford for anyone professional to do it, though, and I'd probably not ask a friend. But I'll continue to work on improving, Jeff. Thanks for the assist.

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:38 am
Profile
E-Quoll to Any Challenge!
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 27, 2013 5:09 am
Posts: 6030
Location: Down Under
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
Welsh Halfwit wrote:
As for the second part, there are times I can be rather short on description as I'm more of a dialogue animal than I am a picture painter. Most of the time I put in enough to serve the situation whilst allowing the imagination to fill in the blanks but I should have referred to this room as being an enclosed, internal, one. It's just a back room in a bar, though, and may never be seen again.

This point from Jeff is something I've touched on with you before. While your dialogue and characterisation are fantastic, your descriptions are a little lacking, as you yourself pointed out. There's nothing wrong with being better at dialogue than pictures but without sufficient description, it's like watching a TV show with the picture turned off. You can get a pretty good idea of what's happening but you can't really visualise it. Characterisation and dialogue are good but on their own they can't really convey a story enough to really help the reader understand it. Even though, as you said, the back room may not be an important setting, it's still important to give at least some description of it. It's not going to detract from your characterisation - rather, it'll enhance and support it. They way in which characters interact with their environment can tell you a lot about a person and in providing those aspects of characterisation you can provide a lot of detail, even indirectly about your setting.
I'd advise doing some reading and looking at how other writers show the environment. Another exercise that may help is to write some small descriptive pieces. Pick a scene or setting and write down everything you can think of about the environment. Be as detailed as you can and don't worry about the characters or dialogue, just tell the reader what you can hear, see, smell and feel. It doesn't even have to make sense or form a plot. Just get it all down. This is a good way to practise using descriptive language and if you do this from a couple of settings in your stories you can use the information you come up with to wok the extra description into your writing.
I think that the extra description will really give your writing a lift and make it much more relatable and understandable.

_________________
My RP Characters

I am GM for 17th Century Fox and Redwall, the GM Liaison and a RP section moderator!

Avatar drawn by the incredible dragon-shadows.

Image Image Image


Wed Jul 02, 2014 3:39 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
DOWNTIME

Chapston took the stairs down to the tiny on-board ships tailor on 'C' deck and rapped on the door. It opened after a moment and she let herself into the cabin to be looked over by the elderly Feline with the horn-rim glasses. “I'm going to take a guess,” she said as she looked over Chapston and dumped a box of fabrics onto her working room sofa, “you're here for a more piratical look to your outfit?”

Chapston nodded. “It does seem to be all the rage at the moment,” she agreed.

The old Feline tutted, wrapped a measuring tape around the back of her neck and pointed a ruler at the human. “It's that dratted captain has done it, isn't it?” She tossed the ruler aside and began running the tape around the human figure. “Him and his theme. I'm going to have to order reams of new material when we finally get to Larrous and I'm going to charge it to him!”

Chapston allowed herself a small smile as she considered this was still better than replicated clothes. With so many corporations in operation, Replicated clothes were only allowed to last for twenty-four hours so it kept tailor's and laundry's in business on every ship in the fleet to repair and replace clothes to maintain the crew. A thankless task, Chapston thought, and not one she'd like to do, judging by the array of computerised sewing machines at the back of the room, next to the sink and coffee machine. Live here, work here Chapston told herself.

“The only ones I'm not expecting to change at some point are the Celicans,” the Tailor added as she raised her eyes to the ceiling just above them and clasped her hands together. “Bless them and their love of minimal clothing.” She tapped Chapstons' nose with a finger and the Human wondered what that had to do with measuring her up. “Never thought I'd say that about Celicans,” the Tailor admitted, putting a finger-tip to her lower lip. “I'm thinking... the same style of jacket as his nibbles – don't tell him I called him that – but lighter in tone...”

“Don't forget the...”

“...White etching to denote your rank, yes, yes, yes. I do know, you know? What sort of trousers would you prefer?”

“Oh, nothing formal in colour or... what about Arctic Camo? I've always liked that sort of thing.”

“Oh, grief,” the old tailor complained, “yet another reel of fabric I need to break open! And the hardest. Why can't you lot be happy with blue?”

“It's boring.”

“It's uniform, of course it's boring! Have you ever seen one that wasn't?” The tailor stepped over to her computer and pulled up images of the design. “That do you?” Chapston nodded. “Good,” the tailor said. “Five hours. It would be four but I need to adjust for the disgraceful lack of a tailhole. Honestly, when will you Humans learn style?”

“When we get something to stick through the holes, Miss Hoyle.” Sarah gave the old girl a smile and exited for the mess hall.

“I don't get paid enough for this,” the tailor complained before rolling her eyes. “Who am I kidding? I don't see the money I do get paid!”


Even at this hour the Mess Hall was open and serving and she moved through the bustle to the front, behind a Canid pilot and tried not to listen in to his conversation. She didn't understand much of what he complained about anyway. She reached the front, accepted a plate of what passed for Spaghetti Bolognese or – rather – Hvrissa Straws with Meat Sauce from the Mican ranges. For afters, she took a Lemonade Cheesecake from a chef who liked to make Human dishes but wasn't quite sure how to do it. It was one of the few foods that got up her nose and the thought made her laugh. It also made her wonder where David was now. Food often did that as he sure could cook. Couldn't do anything else though so it had ended as her family had claimed and she'd left home, the city, the planet... Food wasn't one of her happier times and the only thing she was largely thankful for was the Celicans eating in a different room. The number of times she'd seen them walking around with feathers stuck to their faces... She shook the thought away and took a seat slightly apart from everyone else. The better, she thought, to watch people from. People just getting along, despite their differences and arguments and history. A canteen, it seemed, was emblematic of the hope the council was trying to promote. A universe at peace? She scoffed. It hardly seemed possible at times.

“This seat free?” Doctor Barleycorn stood to one side and nodded at the empty chair opposite.

Chapston looked around at the half empty hall and stirred her straws with a fork. “Amongst so many others,” she said.

“True,” the Doctor replied, taking the seat anyhow, “but I get fed up of seeing you in here, eating alone. Figured I'd try to make an impression.” The Blackfur took a bite of her Felkarmeat steak and chewed it.

Chapston thought about it and how the Doctor's steak was obviously tough and gave a small chuckle. She couldn't fault the ra...uh, the mouse... for the attempt and she appreciated it. “How's things in sickbay, Doctor?” She asked, by way of a conversation opener.

“Oh, going fine, going fine.” Barleycorn replied non-committally, adding a condiment to her steak. “And you can call me Night when I'm not on duty.”

Chapston looked at her wryly and didn't voice that she knew why the parents had chosen that name. “I'm Sarah. When off-duty.”

“Nice to meetcha properly. What accent is that?” She asked. “I know it, I'm sure...”

“West of England,” Chapston confessed, her face flushing slightly as she found out she'd not killed the accent fully. “Bristol. You've probably never heard of it.”

“On the contrary,” Barleycorn said, slapping the table as she grinned. “I once took part in a species exchange and ended up at the Uni there to study human anatomy for a semester under Professor Kirrin!” She put her muzzle into the palm of her upturned hand. “You know, I remember this bar on Whiteladies... The Anchor?”

Chapston clapped her hands and spattered herself with meat juice. “The Barmouse with the prehensile tail!” She laughed at the memory.

“Mixing three cocktails at once and trying to date every female he saw.” Barleycorn sniffed. “He was quite something.”

“Not really,” Chapston said, wiggling her eyebrows. Barleycorn nearly choked on her food at that. “Relax,” she added with a smile, “I heard it from a friend.” She suddenly realised the other conversations had stopped and people were looking at them. She laughed again.


Chapston left Mess hall in a better mood than she'd been in when she went in and hummed her way to her rack and sleep.



The clothes were there when she woke up, along with a note that stipulated she'd better not rip anything in the near future and she was halfway through pulling on her impressive new boots when her communicator chimed. <<All bridge officers to your posts,>> said the Captain's voice and she hurried out of the room, still tying up her laces.

((So it's known, this part was written a few weeks back. I have adjusted it in places to show I've listened to what was said. Future parts may be edited similarly.))

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Wed Jul 02, 2014 1:42 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
FIRST SHOT

Chapston stepped onto the bridge and relieved the Mican sitting her station of the duties so the Mican could return to comms control. She looked out on space and saw, amidst the pricks of light, an squat, angular, vessel pushing away from them at its best speed. If she wasn't mistaken it was a Raitchian Navrino class freighter but she couldn't recollect the exact model. Perhaps she needed to check the readings. Later, she decided. “Orders, sir?”

Hawle crossed his legs and sat back. “They've stolen the Jewel of Tara, Ensign. We're trying to stop them getting away. Lay in a pursuit course and make us faster than they are.”

“Aye, sir.” Her fingers flew around her panel, setting co-ordinates and approach paths to catch the errant vessel and boosting power to the engines.

“What are you planning to do once we catch them?” Raven asked.

“Well, I was thinking of asking them nicely if they'd send the Jewel over to us. Then I was thinking of arresting the thieves. If that doesn't work? I was thinking of transporting you over to ask them personally.”

“I like plan B,” Raven agreed.


The engines cranking up always gave Karvalan 'Karla' Groal a sense on immense pride. Sure there were other people involved in the maintenance – power relay specialists, welders, plasma specialists and general techs – thirteen people in all – but HE was the lynch-pin that ruled the roost. He kept them honest and kept the ship running and dealt with everything engine based at least three times a day. There wasn't one plate in the engine casing he didn't know or one circuit he hadn't buffed or replaced somewhere along the way. “Hear that?” He asked the Raitchian standing to his left.

“Hear what, sir?” Zayle asked, twisting his ears around to see if he could locate this errant sound Groal was going on about.

“The sounds of a perfectly functioning engine, Zayle.” Groal enthused, “perfectly calibrated and maintained, without need for repairs. It's a moment to remember.”

“Why so?”

“Ah, I forgot you're new here.” He chuckled slightly. “Let me tell you, it won't be pristine by the end of the patrol. We're going to be running smack into bad guys and other devastation on a daily basis.” He gestured to the engine. “This beauty'll have more cuts and bruises than a Mican in a Canine Street-fight den.”

“Should I take a photo?”

Groal put his arm around the back of Zayle and almost crushed him with a reassuring hug as the engine lights strobed rhythmically. “Hell, no. It'll just make you miserable in recollection.”


“Good, Winsome,” Hawles said into his comm-unit, “take what you can from their computers.” He ended the call and looked at his prey on the screen. “Are we within weapons range?”

“Confirmed, sir,” Grovan said.

“Fine.” Hawle nodded. “Hail them, would you?”

“They're not responding,” the communications officer said.

“Wasn't expecting them to,” Hawle admitted. “Send this. This is Commander Aldair Hawle of the U.S.C. Patrol Frigate Loper to the Agnosa. You're wanted for the theft of the Jewel of Tara. Heave to and prepare to be boarded.”

“They're boosting their speed, sir.”

“OK, Heave to and prepare to be boarded or we'll cripple your ship and arrest the survivors. Up to you, guys.” He indicated the weapons officers to power up. “You have three seconds to comply.” He instructed the comms officer to cut the line, confessed to an unimpressed Grovan that he'd always wanted to say that and told his weapons officers to fire.

Twin blasts of energy shot from the forward cannons and impacted the Freighter's shields, sparking yellow on the impact points and advising the Loper's crew of the illegal shield modifications the Raitchians had put in place. “Let's be a pain in their backside, shall we?” Hawle asked Grovan. “Put a torpedo up their tailpipe, would you?”

“Aye, sir,” Grovan replied, “it will take our stock below thirty.”

“I can count. Make sure you don't miss, would you?”

Grovan took command of the launch systems and fired. Since the War in the Patch had depleted the number of ships, the Council had decided to up the fire power of her smaller vessels with ship to ship missile launchers and Grovan had been the most proficient in all the tests. This was the first hostile test since installation so the Canine narrowed his eyes at the display and poked his tongue out of the side of his mouth as he pressed the firing stud, vaulting the missile from its launch tube and thundering it across space to detonate on the rear shields. The ship bucked and rocked on screen before falling still. “Smack their engines, Gunnies.”

Hawle looked his second officer in the eye. “You're getting as flippant as I am,” he said as Gunny fired her allotted cannons on target.

“Sorry, sir. Won't happen again.”

“Wish it would,” Hawle mused as he thought of how his officer needed a sense of humour. “Take a security team over there, arrest the lot of them and search that ship from top to bottom.”

“On it!” Grovan swept from his seat and the bridge, his tail a blur of colour behind him.

“He seems eager,” Raven grumbled as the second officer vanished down the passageway and called security.

“Give a dog a bone,” Hawle mused. He glanced at Chapston as she groaned. “You in pain, Ensign?”

“No, sir.” The Human replied. “Just a yawn. Sorry, sir.”

“Too right,” he sniffed.

“The away team's beam-boarding now,” Raven advised.

“Sir,” Chapston said, “we have three vessels moving on an intercept course.” She glanced at the readouts for confirmation. “They're Canine cruisers, sir.”

“They're hailing us and the freighter,” the Mican comms officer claimed. “They're demanding the jewel.”

“Send back the fact that we are going to return the stolen property to Tara,” Hawle replied idly. “And we don't need their help.” He turned to Raven. “You're a qualified fighter pilot, aren't you?”

“I am.”

“We're down a lead pilot. I think we need to go to launch stations.” He put his mouth behind his fingers. “I think we're about to have visitors to tea.”

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:30 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
RUNNING OUT OF TIME

“They're about half an hour out,” Chapston advised as she kept an eye on the approaching ships.

“Signal command,” Hawle advised his communications officer casually. “See if they can send us any back up.”

“Acknowledged,” the officer said simply, before turning to her console.

“The Lancer should be in the area,” Hawle advised Raven, “but I doubt they'll be close enough.”


On the Raitchian ship, the quiet of the cargo bay was cut in to with the screech of arrival as the Loper's second officer arrived with the security troop and made for the command deck. He looked around the spacious bay and had the distinct mipression it hadn't been this empty long. There was something about the smell... He led his team upwards, looked left and right in the purple silence and, after his electronic eye had adjusted, fired into the distance. A figure holding a weapon toppled forward onto its face and lay still from the effect of the stun blast. “Fan out,” he ordered, “and be careful. Looks like they're not happy to see us.” He made his way over to the fallen Raitchian and slapped a transport tag on him before picking up the fallen gun. “There should be four more according to the crew manifest,” he advised. “I want them all accounted for, dead or alive.” The fallen figure vanished in a hail of starlight headed for the Loper's brig and Groven led the group forward again, his electronic eye scouting for a light switch as they went.


“Welcome aboard,” Pangal told her new boarder as he materialized fully four feet above the ground in his prone position and dropped to the floor. “Hell, Groven,” she spat, “you keep doing this!” She slapped her comm. “Pangal to Barleycorn, got you a patient in the brig.”

<<On my way.>>

The chief cut the link and tapped a new one. “Pangal to Hawles.”

<<Go, Pangal.>> Hawles voice said.

“Groven's done it again. Sent me another unconscious one without resetting the height level.”

<<I'll have a word later, Jaqui. Things may be about to get a bit hairy here. Out.>>

Hawles cut the line as Barleycorn entered the security office with her kit. With a sigh, Pangal opened the door and let the Doctor into the cell to treat the wounded individual. She ran a scanner over the figure and rested his head on a mini-pillow from her bag. She reckoned it was better than him lying in his own blood after all. “Looks like he concussed one,” she remarked at length. “I'll get him to the medical bay.”

“I'll send one of my people to assist you,” Pangal said as Barleycorn summoned a stretcher, “And to cuff this scum.”


“Right,” Groven said to the assembled bridge crew as his security kept them covered. “Which one of you is the Captain?”

One of the taller Raitchians stepped forward. “Captain Graybe, at your service.”

Groven looked him over. “Not likely. Raitchians captains aren't normally so... quick to stand up.” He looked past at the other four officers. “Means you're the guy I can ask who the real captain is, though. It'd go better for you if you point the right one out. The judge would see it as co-operation, I'm sure.”

The officer cast a glance over to one of the others and Groven slapped the officer with a tag. “Tell the Chief all you know and you'll be treated well. Lie to her and you'll deal with me.” He punched the tag hard to activate it and strode over to the captain. “Up,” he ordered.

“What's this ab...” the Captain began.

“It's about the theft of the Jewel,” Groven snapped, poking the Captain in the chest. “It's you lot in a whole pile of the effluent.”

“What jewel,” the Captain grinned, letting his yellow teeth show as his breath curled Groven's nose. “We have no 'jewel' in our cargo. You would have seen it on your way up, yes?”

Groven breathed hot in his face. “We'll establish that truth later. You've also lied on your crew manifest – three of them don't seem to be on it – and ran when ordered to stop by a U.S.C. ship. When we check, do you think we'll find other warrants from other colonies?”

“How dare you..?”

“Aw, shut up!” He turned to the others he'd brought with him. “Maukin and Baynes, keep these gits here. The rest of you? Let's tear this thing apart.” He stomped towards the door but stopped and turned to the two Feline guards he was leaving. “If they try anything, you have my permission to shoot them as many times as you like.”


He headed straight back to the cargo bay and descended down to the deck. “For a merchant,” he said sharply as he looked over the largely empty bay, “they don't seem to have a lot of stuff, do they? In fact,” he noted, “they seem to have within the automobile all. Bit odd as they, apparently, had a load of other stuff from Tara as well as the Jewel. Rugs from the fabricants, spices from the west, a fair bit of ore and minerals to trade on Creganta Colony according to their manifest. So where is it all?”


“According to the Captain they were attacked by pirates some fifteen minutes before we arrived,” Groven reported back over the ship radio.

<<Do you believe them?>> Hawle asked.

“Not a word of it.”

<<Then issue them a summons to attend Stationhouse 14 for maintenance and courts. They'll have three weeks to appear. We keep the one you stunned on weapons charges and the other one's helping with enquiries. Get back over here.>>


Groven stomped back onto the bridge of the Loper and forced himself into his seat. “You gave up too early captain.”

“Oh, rarely. Whilst you were distracting them, Winsome was infiltrating all their computer systems, including navigation and the logs. Apparently there are Feline's involved in all this. They paid for the Jewel to be lifted.”

Raven grumbled. “NOT my people before you say it. More against me than you, probably,” she added, rubbing the black section of her fur as she said it.

“Oh, put our shields up and ready weapons, would you? Those Canines aren't stopping for politeness. Let's see if they stop when we tell them. Hail them.” He waited until the Comms officer nodded before he talked again. “This is Commander Hawle, Captain of the U.S.C. Frigate Loper again. The Jewel isn't here. Your presence isn't required. Go back to your space. Now. If you attempt to fire on this ship or the freighter we will return fire. Don't make us. We intend to locate the Jewel and return it and we do NOT support your claim to the colony of Tara!” He was almost shouting now, just holding himself in. “Any attempt to take the colony due to this manner of theft will be regarded as illegal and we will open fire on any Canine vessel attacking Tara. Send that message to Admiral Chegwiddick and tell him Commander Hawle said the second time's the charm!” He indicated that the line should be dropped before he turned to Groven. “I go back with the Admiral.”

“Good history?”

“Not really. I helped put his son away for ten years for murder. The prosecution had trouble with 'daddy' all the way. He seemed to respect my stance though. Especially when I found one or two things on his past service and refused to use them...”

“We have a communication coming in from Canis, sir,” the Comms officer said.

Hawle blinked. “Bloody hell, that was fast. Put him on.”

The screen lit up with the image of an extremely annoyed Alsace Canid. <<You have four days,>> the voice snapped, <<then release what you like, bunny.>> The line broke off.

“Let's not waste it,” Hawle remarked. “Let's...” His line was cut off by an incoming volley of fire from the incoming ships. “Battle stations.” He gritted his teeth. “The local governor must have over-ridden the Admiral. Lock weapons and fire!”

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Sun Jul 06, 2014 10:52 am
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
BATTLE POSITIONS

“Thirty degrees to Starboard and down bubble 9 degrees, Chapston,” Hawle ordered as the Loper closed the distance between herself and the incoming Canine ships. “Concentrate fire on the left flank ship. Let's see if we can cut the odds from three to two.” He sat back and appeared to relax as the ship shook slightly from the impacts on the shields. “Turn the alert lights off, would you?” Raven snarled and stabbed at a button to turn the lights back to normal from the red tint that had dominated the room. Across the bridge, Chapston entered the new attack vector and the Captain felt the shift as the starboard engine reduced power and the effect pushed the ship onto its new heading, giving it a better angle of fire on the Canine vessel, a chance Ensign Cass took pleasure in. She pile-drove shots from the forward pulse cannons onto the enemy ships' shields. Hawle watched them spark and glow on the screen and consulted his armrest panel to see the Canine ships shields were down twenty percent from the burst. “Launch fighters,” he added and Raven relayed the order.

Near the other end of the ship a security bulkhead opened onto a launch bay to reveal ten long nose, swept wing, fighter craft. The new mark 8 Star-lance fighters possessed dual pulse cannons, not on the scale of the frigates but more dangerous on the pinpoint damage. The ships powered through the atmosphere shield, looped around and below their parent ship and entered into the combat.

“You see?” Groal announced, throwing his hands into the air as the first damage reports came in. “I told you. The ship never blooming well comes back from patrol intact!” He consulted the read outs from the various points on the ship. The consoles were largely surge protected now, minimizing the chance of a blow out into anyone's face, but that still left miles of circuitry and metal that could twist and break at any second. Looking at the read outs, he could minimise things by... “Libric and Jazz, a readout relay's blown on B deck, section five. Get it fixed before half the navigation system falls over. Kafla, I'm getting reports of temperatures reaching fifty C in the medbay. Go sort it out. Now.” The engineers hurried off to their assigned stations as Pangal's security team moved into engineering. Groal never liked having armed troops in his domain but he knew the nature of things in combat. If you could board a ship via transporter, one of the obvious places to attack was the central engineering station. It was why he kept a stun gun close to hand. He held the console tight as the ship rocked and he analysed the readouts. The shield power, he noted, was down ten percent. He grinned. “Odds are three to one,” he told himself with pleasure, “but we have the technology on them.” He grimaced as the ship shook suddenly. “Provided we stop them hitting us, of course,” he added worriedly as he looked at the ceiling. He got to work with his console, manipulating a fluid run to bypass a damaged system on its way to the concussion cannon cooling systems.

“Times like this I'm glad I'm not a chief on one of the bigger ships,” Pangal muttered as she organised her troop on the causeway to the bridge. On those ships security had to cover shops, personal quarters and even the occasional school in addition to critical areas. Here she just had Engineering, Medbay, the cargo/fighter bay and the bridge to watch over. Suited her fine. “None get past us or we'll never hear the end of it from that Burman Rat,” she called, meaning Raven. They braced as the gravity systems were pushed again, the ship swooping around to starboard and pushing them down slightly. They heard the thrumming pulse of the plasma cannons around them.

“The lateral shields are failing on target, sir!” Cass called. “Instructions on targetting?”
Hawle pondered this for a second. “Engines and weapons, Gunny. Use your initiative; we're busy! Bring us around to 127 mark 015 in ten seconds, Chapston, so we get in behind the next target!”

After telling her to use her initiative, 'Gunny' Cass licked her thin lips and turned her sharp eyes back onto her screen. It took her barely a second to focus totally on the matter at hand and fire all the plasma cannons – two on the starboard side of the ship and two the port – on her victim. She watched as the powerful bolts shattered the hull just off the engines and she could see the power lines fluctuate and fires ripple across the wound she'd just inflicted before extinguishing in space. Then the entire engine housing split off from the rest of the ship and fell away, leaving the forward three quarters to tumble forward.

“I'm not paying for that,” Hawle declared as the ship shifted angles. “I told you to use your initiative, not break the ship in two.”

“Good shooting though,” Raven added.

“Was, wasn't it?” Hawle nodded. “Next time crippling shots, Gunny.” He braced as the ship took a fusillade of incoming fire. “They're co-ordinating now, are they? They might do some real damage.” He checked his system and noticed they were, indeed, trying to penetrate one particular shield zone. “I'm really glad these ships are colonial; not Canine Defence Force,” he said. “CDF'd have us bleeding by now. Do your thing, Gunny,” he ordered and Cass took her shot when the Frigate tight turned onto the tail of the second ship. The shot skimmed the shields of her target and the Captain pulled up sensor scans of the broken ship. He noted the life signs and hoped he'd be able to teleport the occupants out, given a clear moment. He braced as something exploded behind him.

Engineer Kafla cut the power feed to the relay he'd been working on just too late and the wall to one side of him rippled, warped and burst, fire and shrapnel sprinkled the hallway opposite and Kafla. He cried out in pain as pieces peppered his arm and face, the worst slicing through his muzzle and clipping the edge of his tongue. He whined but kept at his work as the area began to fill with the released gases, choking out the atmosphere. He rerouted systems manually, swallowing his own blood and feeling the pain of wounded fingers, until the breach was sealed and the flow shifted down a different route. He staggered across the wound, keeping clear from the sparking conduit, and tried to enter the medbay. The door didn't open. He strained as best he could on the screen door but it took the efforts on Barleycorn and her nurses on the other side to crack the seal and pull him in.

“Get him up on the surgery bed,” Barleycorn ordered. “I need to get to work now.”


“Try hailing them again.” Hawle ordered. “Perhaps they'll stand down to rescue their comrades.”

“I'm getting a new ship coming in,” Chapston reported. “Idents mark it as... A C.D.F. destroyer!”

“Oh crap,” Hawle said simply.

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:37 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
CANINE RELATIONS

The CDF ship moved in closer, readying weapons as it came, with Hawle watching it carefully and contemplating eventualities. “Keep us focussed on the Colonials,” he ordered.

“You'd be better off intercepting that destroyer, wouldn't we?” Raven asked.

“Nice mixing of pronouns,” Hawle muttered. “The Colonials are firing on us and the Destroyer isn't yet. Focus on the first enemy first. Besides...”

“The Destroyer is hailing, sir.”

Hawle breathed out slightly. “Lets see what the C.D.F. has to say, shall we?” He crossed his legs and indicated he was ready to receive the signal.


The figure of a distinguished Danian appeared near ten feet in height on the screen and huffed. <<I am Captain Salwick. Stand down your attack, Rabbit.>>

“Direct and to the point,” Hawle replied. “My reply should be the same. No. Your people fired first on ourselves and a stricken vessel. We are defending ourselves. They stand down first. Then we shall. Then we talk. Commander Hawle is the name.”

He cut the link before the Canine Captain could say anything else and waited...


A few seconds later, in which comms picked up several terse conversations between the colonials and the C.D.F. ship, the colonial ships stopped firing and Hawles ordered Cass to cease fire as well before Salwick called again. <<Now we talk.>>

“Do you need assistance rescuing the crew of the crippled ship?”

<<YOU crippled it...>>

Hawle could see the Canine Captain fight to get himself back under control and he watched the throat move up and down.

<<But you can assist if you like, Commander. Then you'll come over to my ship and we'll talk things over.>>

Hawle shook his head. “I'll not step foot on a Canine vessel right now, Captain, and I'm not in your service. You can come over here. You'll be safe.”

<<How do you figure that?>>

“One. I have no intent of hurting you. Two. You have 500 people and five times the fire-power. You really think I intend to try harm in these circumstances?”

<<Fair enough.>>


Hawle and Raven, flanked by some of Pangals' guards, stood as reception to the Captain of the Canine vessel as the shuttle sighed into the bay next to the crews servicing the Starlancer fighters and the door hissed open. It turned into a set of steps as it circled to the floor and two Canid guards stepped out and down to allow their Commander to exit and he took a look around before he stepped down and Hawle stepped forward after saluting with a hand out.

“Welcome aboard the Loper, Captain Salwick.”

The Canine accepted the hand with a growl. “I wish it was under better circumstances, Commander.”

“So do I. This is a dangerous situation, Commander. A lot of lives are at stake.”

“Here and on Tara,” Hawle agreed. “We have a lead on the location of the jewel, though.”

“We should discuss it in your office,” Salwick stated. Hawle agreed and led the canine out.


Pangal sat across the table from the Raitchian and mused on what to say next to get the sullen individual to co-operate. “You know, I normally like proving Grovan wrong but he said you were a smart one who'd like a lighter sentence and could be relied on for information. The sullen thing's not doing you much good, is it? So why not give us a hand? We DID just save your former shipmates from a certain death, you know?”

“They'd probably be better off if you'd let them be shot down,” the Pirate claimed. “I certainly would have been.” He looked up at her and let her see the shadows of worry in his eyes. “I need the sort of deal that keeps me out of prison now.”

“You want the explosive tag?” Pangal asked with surprise. “You want to be fitted with an ankle tag that will blow your foot off if you try to remove it?”

“House arrest on an armed ship or public prison with a lot of people you informed on?”

Pangal nodded. “I take your point. I'll run it by the Captain and see what he says. We'll need something as leverage though. And a name to put on the tag. Preferably your real one.”

“I can tell you this:- The Feline's might not have picked it up yet, y'know? They want deniability so we had to leave it in a safe place. Sort the deal and I might recall where that is.”

“Huh.” Pangal left the room and locked it.


“Understood,” Hawle said in response to a commcall from Winsome, “I'll get us underway shortly.” He cut the line and turned to the Canine sat on the other side of his small, cluttered, desk. “You don't mind, do you?”

“Not at all,” Captain Salwick replied, “thank you for asking. After the act of course.”

“They know I'm in a meeting hence any calls have to be important. Now. How many were lost in that fight?”

“Twelve aboard the destroyed Frigate. Several wounded on the other ships. Yours?”

“Three wounded, one seriously. We had assurances from Admiral Chegwiddick that...”

The Captain cut him off. “I know,” he said, “we were called when the governor ignored his call. Put it this way. They owe you an apology.”

“Ah,” Hawle waved a hand dismissively. “Forget it. I don't care for apologies. They were doing what they were told and the one guy who really should apologise will never mean it. I'll let your people deal with him without getting the full council involved. I just want to get underway and stop a small local war. My computer guy's given us the co-ordinates we need and...” He stopped as Pangal chimed her arrival on his door. “What is it, Chief?” he asked before muttering that it had better be important.

“Prisoner wants the tag deal. He's offering the co-ordinates of the Jewel as proof of intent.”

“We don't need it,” Hawle replied, “Winsome's got the location from their compu... No, wait.” Hawle considered. “Tag him. We'll then find out if he gives us the same location. If he does, we can work with that. If he doesn't? I'll let you take him with the others, Captain Salwick.”

“Oh, so I'm taking them, am I?” Salwick said, raising an eye ridge.

“You have more room in your brig,” Pangal remarked, from behind the Captains back, before getting a warning glance from Hawle.

“I imagine I have,” Salwick retorted. “It's customary to be in the eyeline of the person you're talking to, Chief.”

Pangal moved into sight and Salwick nodded as she apologised. “I'll let you get on with it while our lot clean up the mess.” He stood up. “Commander,” he said, not waiting for a response before heading out.

“There's one for the diplomats,” Hawle muttered, before noting Pangal wasn't moving. “Was there something else, Chief?”

Pangal sighed and slapped a pad onto the table. “Medical report,” she said. “The guy Grovan teleported over. A few feet up. After stunning him.”

“You told me about that.”

“His injuries are quite severe. Not from the stun but from the fall. A double break in the left arm, a fractured rib, severe concussion and minor internal injuries. Sir...”

“I don't like it when you call me 'sir',” Hawle said, trying to look busy, “It means bad things.”

She nodded. “In effect, Grovan has assaulted a prisoner.”

Hawle put his head in his hands.

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Sat Jul 12, 2014 3:37 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
PICK UP

“So,” Hawle asked, walking onto the command deck with a slice of cake on a plate, “what exactly do we have here?” He lifted the fork to his mouth as he looked out on a small metal sphere, about a hundred yards in radius as it hung in space. He chewed his food as he sat in his chair.

“I thought there were rules about eating on the bridge,” Grovan said with a smirk.

“My ship, my rules,” Hawle said, glaring at him. “Just like there are rules about assaulting prisoners.”

“I've apologised for that.”

Hawle huffed. “My office. Now. Chapston, you have the bridge.” He pulled himself from the chair, with his cake, and took it to the small office he occupied behind the bridge. He sat down and looked up as Grovan moved for the other chair. “Remain standing. This is a dressing down, not a discussion.”

“I put it all in my report,” Grovan started. “I admitted my mistake...”

“It's a mistake you've made three times!” Hawle shouted. “I can't excuse you this one! This one ended with the recipient in traction, for god's sake! You KEEP forgetting to adjust the settings on the transport tag to compensate for those lying on the floor! You do it so blasted often that I know you're doing it deliberately and, thus, I have to take action! I have to decide if I can deal with you myself or if I need to arrange a court-martial! Now, you can either answer to ME or to an official court! Which would you prefer?” He glowered at his second officer. “Your turn.”

Grovan twitched at the anger he could hear in Hawle's voice. He'd never heard the Commander like this before. He took a moment to gather his thoughts and nerves. “What's in my file, sir, is that the transport I was on when I was fifteen was attacked by pirates. They killed and slaughtered the crew and the passengers, stopping only when a Council Clipper ship chanced on the situation and intervened.” He hissed. “What's NOT in the file is that I was face to face with one of them at the time. I was...” He shook with emotion. “I was pulled out from where I was hiding and... and the I love you was going to shoot me straight in the face! He had his finger on the trigger when they teleported him out! And I just... stood there. I stood there and did nothing!” He clenched and opened his fists rhythmically.

“And you never went to therapy?”

Grovan slapped the table. “It wasn't needed!”

“I think we've pretty much established that it was,” Hawle replied languidly before eating another piece of cake. “My judgement has to be this. I'm booking you in for therapy sessions when we reach Raitche – which you WILL take – and confining you to the ship until then.”

“But...”

Hawle silenced him. “If I can't trust you to lead the boarding teams I can't put you in such situations. I get the feeling I can trust you with the lives on this ship. Any further action will be reliant on the therapists report.” He tapped the details into the computer before looking up at Grovan and pointing at him with the fork. “Are we clear on that?”

“Sir!” Grovan replied as Hawle finished his cake and stood up, leaving the plate and fork on the table.

“Judgement of the Captains court has been entered,” Hawle said, striding past the Canine, “so let's go resume what we were doing, OK?”

Grovan nodded mutely and followed.


“It's a locker,” Winsome explained, blinking as he stepped from the passage and took in the brightness of the bridge. “A small storage area the pirates can access and access and leave things in for pick-up later. They fit in cargo bays and can be beamed out by Transporters. It's almost undetectable unless you know where to look for it...”

“And that's generally only known to those who dropped them and those meant to pick them up.” Hawle looked at the young Jondahl as he started operating the communications console, ignoring the officer's protestations. “Who were you looking to impress with that bit of knowledge?”

The Squirrel shrugged. “No-one,” he admitted, glancing up at the screen, “just setting the scene. I'm trying to run my computers through the communications console to crack the command codes for us to bring it aboard.”

“I wondered why you were up here. I take it our guest didn't know?”

Winsome shook his head. “Nah. Wasn't in there or in the downloaded memory. Probably only the Captain and the buyer know it. Shame the C.D.F. took him. If we use the wrong code too many times it detonates...” Winsome lifted his head. “You know that, of course you do. Sorry, I'm too used to spending all my time alone. I talk to myself.”

“We noticed,” Hawle muttered “Any progress?”

“Well,” Winsome said happily, “nothing's blown up yet.” He worked around the Comms officer and, at one point, had his arms on either side of her head and his head quite close to hers.

“Sir,” she asked, “permission to bite the Computer specialist?”

“Denied, Martine,” Hawle replied, “we need him able to concentrate. Your fangs in his arm might distract him.”

“Done!” Winsome said, standing tall and putting his arms in the air above his head.

“You're expecting applause, Harvey?” Hawle tapped his communicator. “Hawle to Yalla and Groal. Teleport that thing to cargo bay two in fifteen seconds, Yalla,” he told the teleport control chief. “You ready to receive, Groal?”

<<Been ready for five minutes,>> The Celican replied from the passage outside bay two. <<Send it first class, will you?>>

“I'll attach a postman,” Hawle said. “Just get that jewel out in one piece. We're running low on time.”


Groal pushed the captured Raitchian in front of him up to the entry point. The prisoner's tag on the ankle of the captured Pirate bleeped twice and, to the prisoners relief, didn't detonate. “My proximity, prey,” Groal taunted, “If I'm in ten paces you don't lose the leg.”

“Then, err, stay close, yeah?”

“Oh, not too close,” Groal grinned, making the prisoner feel ill at ease as Groal's teeth glinted wetly in the gap between lips. “After all, the entry coder could be birdie trapped, yeah?”

“Zacharin Fontny,” the Raitchian said in conversation.

“What?”

“The name I want on my headstone if this doesn't go well.”

Groal raised his eyes to the ceiling and snarled. “Just open it, Rat.”


<<We have the Jewel,>> Groal reported to the bridge, <<as well as a lot of other things the bubblegum-munchers stole.>>

“Tally it up and get it out of the container. Put a note in there to the extent that we called but they weren't in so they're free and send that thing back out to space.”

<<Aye...um... aye, sir,>> Replied a confused sounding Groal.


“Got a ship coming in on an intercept vector,” Chapston said, turning towards Hawle as He cut his commline.

“Registers as Feline but it's got an odd silhouette.” Chapston looked from board to board.

“She's scanning us...”

“Block their scan!” Hawle demanded. “Chapston, get us on course for Tara. Maximum speed!”

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Sun Jul 13, 2014 2:28 pm
Profile
User avatar

Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 3:09 am
Posts: 2754
Location: Wales, a luverrly land with noisy neighbours.
Post Re: New story - The LOPER
RUNNING FOR HOME

Groal gripped the guard rail tightly and felt the shaking of the deck and the walls through his boots and his hands as he grit his teeth and watched the engines glow hot. The read-outs pushed into the top ten percent and the engineering staff worked to keep the coolant pumping to stop the engines overloading. He panted in the heat before slugging back the contents of a small tumbler of water before shifting down to lie on his back under the engines, using his tools to keep the plates in working condition. “How long,” he asked himself hoarsely, “is this going to go on?”


Chapston took an anxious look at the readout as the Loper tunnelled its way through hyperspace, the black and green curled walls of the tunnel seeming particularly ominous this time as the Feline vessel kept pace with them at the top end of the speedometer. Hyperspace velocity 5 made the frigate one of the fastest ships in the sector but she had a sneaking suspicion the Felines had a faster ship. “They're still gaining on us, sir,” she advised Hawle.

“Figured they would be, Chapston, they're in a top of the line ship but it doesn't matter. We're near destination anyhow. Slam the breaks on in thirty seconds, would you?” He tapped his comm. “General call,” he said, activating the P.A. “Prepare for emergency deceleration in twenty seconds.”


“Get them in the stasis cubicles!” Barleycorn shouted, pushing her most recent patient into one of the lockers,, turning him upright and slamming the door as the Nurses did the same with the second patient. The Doctor hoped that everything small and sharp was strapped down securely as she sat in her chair and strapped in with a second remaining.


Winsome whined and carried out a flash save on everything he was doing. He slipped the drive out into his hand and engaged the fast shut-down before turning his chair around and snapping the straps on.


“Oh, I hate this!” Groal exclaimed as he pushed himself out of the pit and scrambled for the nearest wall handles as the computer counted down the seconds patiently until it reached zero. He gritted his teeth as the engines cut out faster than they were normally designed to do and, just for a second before the momentum dampeners cut in, the pressure was incredible, feeling as though the front half wanted to meld with the rear of the body and the tongue tried to round itself down into the throat. Talking was impossible as the skin threatened to split around the muzzle and every muscle screamed dislocation. Then the opposite as the effect ceased and his body tried it's hardest to slam him into the wall. He just about managed to pull up short, his muscles screaming at him in pain. He released his grip and called for a damage and casualty report before reporting in.


“Getting minor casualty reports from around the ship,” Raven reported, “and I'm sure Groal put in some Celican profanities.”

“I'll tell him to shut up later,” Hawle said, straightening up his chair as Gunny was treated for smacking her head into her console. “Put us on course for the Mican fleet, Chapston. Comms, tell then we have the jewel and are returning it.”

“Won't the Felines have something to say about that, sir?” Chapston asked as she turned the ship around to face Tara and the assembled Colonial fleet of Mican ships.

“Probably not,” Hawle said. “First off they were going faster than us so it's going to take them longer to stop. Secondly they might notice fifty or so armed ships and decide they can't win and just keep on going.”


Hawle waited, tapping his finger claws on the armrest as the Loper pushed through the Mican lines. The ships were letting them through and the Canine ships were keeping a tight watch on things from further off The Feline was out there; he could sense it. Waiting for its chance to strike... “Any news from the planet?”

“Nothing as of yet, Captain,” the Comms officer replied before putting a hand up. “Hang on,” she added, “getting something now. Sir.”

“On screen.” Hawle ordered.

The figure of a smaller Mican popped up and spoke plainly. <<Midnight Moon, Minister of Cultural Affairs for Tara Colony. You are Commander Hawle?>>

“Indeed I am, Ma'am.”

<<Why are you dressed like a Pirate?>>

“It's historical Council and I happen to prefer it.”

<<Formal would be better for the reception after the Jewel is returned.>>

Hawle waved a hand. “I'm not really one for ceremonies...”

<<The Council is, though,>> Minister Moon replied, <<and, as you've upset the Canines it may be an idea to...>>

“You have a Canine consulate on Tara, I recall. I will attend if the consulate officer is permitted to attend, I will.” He held a hand up as she opened her mouth to protest. “You are totally correct in me wanting good publicity but having the Canine Consul there – or publicly inviting at least – will make it quite obvious we're helping maintain the status quo and not picking sides, wouldn't you say?”

Minister Moon swallowed. <<Every peace needs a first move,>> she admitted before glowering at him. <<This can be the Taran administrations' first move, yes? I'll make the offer and I'll see you in the citadel in FULL dress uniform. Today's full dress uniform, Commander.>>

“I think she likes me,” Hawle confided to Raven after the screen cut back to the planet-scape.

“I think she'd like to rip your ears off and beat you to death with them,” Raven replied.

Hawle sat back and looked at her in mock horror. “You really think so?” He sighed. “Well, we'll find out in a few hours, won't we? Arrange the relocation of the jewel to where it was nicked from and make sure your uniform's fully cleaned.”

“Right, I... MY uniform?” She looked at him, anger showing both in her eyes and her voice.

“My second officer is both under house arrest and a Canine as well. My Chief Engineer is a Celican, I can't take an Ensign down – no offence meant – the Chief's as subtle as a Torpedo at an anti war rally and these functions need two officers. So you're coming.” After all, he thought, if I have to suffer...

_________________
The Avatar is Kilo. He's a gentlemouse... "I am indeed, dear boy, and HUKLEY draws me perfectly"

Kilo - 2-8-3-9-10-2-5
Kilo
Leslie – 4-6-4-5-6-9-7
Leslie


Fri Jul 18, 2014 11:23 am
Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 18 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: zdflion96 and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
  • Advertisement
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by ST Software for PTF.