Friday, October 25, 2013

There is Always a Bigger Fish

Fiction Friday. This is the last of the 7 blog posts I queued up whilst I was on holiday. I should be home pretty much the same time this posts!

There is Always a Bigger Fish

Chan's heart almost stopped. A Black Raven. Of all the cards his opponent could have turned over last, that was both the most unlikely and the worst possible.

He was sat in a small gambling den in the spacestation orbiting the first planet in the Grinacanne system. Down on Deck 4 very few police dared to tread. This deck and the ones below it were almost over-run by the criminal elements on the station. Between the immense generators and life-support plants dozens of illegal establishments had sprung up. Just like then one Chan had visited and now was regretting. He knew he had a problem with gambling, he was an addict. But just because he knew didn't mean he could stop. The beautiful Caldari woman sat opposite smiled sweetly even though she had just taken him for everything he had and more, much more.

Chan swallowed. This was it. His amazing 'cannot loose' hand had just lost and he'd staked a hundred times what he had on this unbeatable hand that had been beaten.

"So Mr Chan, I want that million credits by this time tomorrow station time. You don't have a problem with that do you?"

Chan just sat like a deer in the headlights. A bead of sweat dripped down his forehead.

"You do have the money right?" she purred ideally fingering the chips on the table.

Chan just sat there not knowing what to say. If he said yes she'd know he was lying and probably kill him. If he said no, she'd probably kill him. Well, in all truthfulness she wouldn't herself, but a click of her fingers would indicate to the massive Brutor bodyguards behind her that they should snap him like a twig.


She leaned forward, Chan wondered how long he had left to live.

"Oh Mr Chan. I'm sure you can come up with something. I mean you work for a small financial corporation. A lousy million credits should be easy to get hold of."

Chan sat there still. He wanted to shake his head. The fact she knew where he worked should have sent alarm bells ringing in his head, but he was too scared to think. The idea that he had been set up never registered. He was to busy thinking how he could get a million credits in 24 hours and save his own life. He was a low-level manager in a Caldari financial institution. He didn't have direct access to the money and, as with all people at his level, they were watched carefully with all data access being carefully monitored. They were a very small institution, so monitoring was easy. A million was no more achievable than a trillion.

A snap of the woman's fingers brought Chan out of his trance and made him jump. A Matari man emerged from behind a curtain. Chan almost gasped. This wasn't a man, it was a hulk. One of the scariest Brutors Chan had ever seen was standing there, his body oiled up, in a loin cloth. The sight was absurd. He looked like an entrance for the Mr New Eden Power Lifting event. Immense rippling muscle gleamed in the dim light of the room.

"Olaf here is my favourite employee." the woman said smiling as she rose and walked over to the man "He is a very useful man to have around."

The woman walked over to the Brutor and ran her hand down his oiled chest tracing the muscle groups with a bright red fingernail. She reached his loincloth and untied it, letting it fall to the floor. Throughout this he never moved and simply stared straight ahead.

Chan just looked at this, mutant of a man. The only thing that was more scary than his muscles was what was swinging between his legs. It looked the size of Chans forearm. He'd never seen anything like it, not even in those contraband Gallente holovids that were passed around. He was now terrified of what was to happen next.

"As I said, you have 24 hours to get the money. Olaf can be a very considerate lover, I know. But he has a dark side, a very, very dark side. 24 hours Chan, otherwise Olaf will be introduced to your daughter."

Chan's eyes went wide with terror. His head was spinning as two bodyguards gripped him by the shoulders and threw him out of the door.


"JOLI? JOLI?" Chan shouted as he burst into his apartment. He raced to her room. She wasn't there, the vivid pink decor hurt his eyes. He should never have allowed her free reign to decorate her own room. It looked ridiculous. However, after the loss of his wife and her mother he knew he had spoilt her. Something out of place caught his eye. It was a holovid disk laying on her bright pink bedsheet. "Watch me" was scralled across it in red letters. With trembling hands he placed it in the entertainment centre at the foot of her bed.

The black screen was replaced by a picture of a naken man in a mask. Whilst the mask hid his face Chan knew exactly who it was, it was the same unnatural body he'd seen in the last hour.

The camera panned round. It looked to be somewhere on the station. A dark, dingy room in the lower decks. In the corner was a filthy mattress and a woman was laying on it. Chan breathed a slight sigh of relief when he saw it was not his daughter. The woman was much older and stick thin. Chan assumed may be one of the girls from one the 'establishments' down there. She looked broken and malnourished. Probably a flood-head, addicted to the hallucinogenic narcotic mindflood. On the screen Olaf picked up a knife and started over to the girl in a menacing walk, his fists balled tight.

When the short clip was over Chan rushed over to the waste bin and threw up. He needed to watch it but it was the most horrific thing he'd ever seen. He never knew pure evil could exist, but that Olaf, he was evil incarnate.

Chan composed himself. The video had stopped and the last frame was frozen on the screen. The lifeless, broken body of the woman was shown in the corner, but in the middle of the screen was a clock on the wall. It showed 21:00 hours, the deadline to get the money. Although the video had stopped the screams of the woman still rang in his ears.


Chan stood outside his bosses door. He had hardly slept and looked awful. He looked at the clock on the wall which read 09:00. Twelve hours to get one million credits. There was only one way he could see in getting the money. Plead with his boss and pledge his life to service.

He knocked on the door and entered.

Five minutes later two security guards rushed in and pulled a kicking and screaming Chan from the office. As he was dragged through the premises co-workers rose from their seats peering over the cubical walls. They saw the boss standing angrily in his office doorway watching Chan being dragged towards the exit who was screaming something about the boss killing his daughter.


The lift appeared to be descending faster than usual. Chan knew it was just his perception. He knew what was coming. After being thrown out of the office he had stripped his appartment of all of his goods and sold them. He had a bag containing 85 thousand credits and an empty shell of an apartment. The lift door opened and stale warm air flooded in. He stepped out and started towards the club.

Various workmen passed him, some giving him a knowing glance. How many times had the labourers down here seen the same thing. A dead-man walking to his execution, hoping that they will spare his daughter. Chan tried to be positive. He knew he was dead, but 85 grand was still 85 grand. May be it would be enough to buy her freedom.

As he approached the clubs entrance the two bouncers stepped aside. He was clearly expected.

The club was not very busy, it was still early. However, a number of men sat around tables as Matari dance music pumped out of the speakers. Several scantily clad girls danced provocative around poles hoping to attract attention. Chan noticed curtains drawn across some of the side alcoves where no doubt the dancers were entertaining clients.

He saw the owner sat with her bodyguards in an alcove at the back. He slowly made his way over.

"Ah Chan, just in time. I was thinking you wasn't coming. Oh, that looks a small bag." she purred seductively.

Chan placed the bag on the table and one of the men took it he opened it and glanced inside.

"Looks about 80 or 90k" he said.

Chan simply stared into the woman's eyes.

"Oh Chan, why did you have to make this difficult?" she sighed "You did see the holovid right? You know Olaf needs to blow off steam once in a while?"

Chan finally broke down.

"That is everything I have." he sobbed "I tried, I tried everything and everybody. I now have no job, no possessions, no future."

The woman eye'd him carefully with a slight smile.

"You are very right on that last point. You see I cannot let people see that I can be taken for ride. Especially not over debts of a million credits."

Chan sobbed pleading for her to spare his daughter. The woman nodded at a bodyguard who stepped forward and punched Chan in the stomach. He dropped to his knees gasping fopr breath.

"Give the girl to Olaf. Make sure it is filmed and he gets to watch as it happens. Then airlock him and his daughters corpse. Put the holodisk up for auction, such a disk should make back most of the money I am owed from the sicko executives who get off on that."

The bodyguard nodded. Suddenly a red dot appeared in the centre of his face and the wall behind him became splattered with red. Before the other guard moved the same happened to him. Chan looked up, finally regaining his breath and saw the woman staring impassively with her bodyguards dead on the floor. Chan turned around to see the 'patrons' of the bar on their feet with guns pointed towards the woman or the bouncers and dancers around the room. The people on the club floor were soon rounded up and taken to a back room. A Caldari man with a pistol trained on the woman approached.

"Do you know who I am? You are making the biggest mistake of your soon to be short life. I am Akari and I own this station!"

The man lowered the gun slowly which started to draw a smile from the woman's face. As the gun dropped he squeezed the trigger. The woman's face turned to one of horror. A red stain started to spread from her stomach.

"I know who you are. What you didn't know is who I am or that the company Chan here worked for was actually one of my organisations laundering fronts."

Chan looked at the man in shock.

"We do not take kindly to low-level whores encouraging our employees to steal from us. Mr Chan here only has his spine in one piece still, unlike you, because rather than try and steal from us he begged the manager for help."

The woman was indeed paralysed from the bullet that had severed her spine. Her eyes showed fear and her open mouth gasped for air.

"I'd say let this be a lesson to you. But I don't think you'll learn."

The man stepped forward and shoved his pistol into her open mouth. Her eyes flickered in terror. He pulled the trigger one last time.

Chan stood there frozen. A shrill cry of "Daddy" made him spin around as he daughter approached with a suited man beside her. His daughter ran into his arms and they embraced.

The man who had shot the woman walked over to them. He handed Chan an envelope.

"You cannot stay here, but the Syndicate appreciates your honesty. There are instructions there to meet a ship that will take you to your new home."

Chan gaped wide. The Syndicate? The Serpentis Syndicate? For the past five years he'd been working for one of the largest criminal gangs in the Cluster and had no idea. He looked down at the envelope and then back to the corpse of the woman. He wasn't going to argue with him.


Three weeks later.

"How was school darling?" Chan asked as he entered his apartment. His daughter was sat on the sofa crossed-legged eating a big bowl of popcorn and watching a holovid.

"Boring daddy. I thought pirate school would be cool, but its same lessons as before."

Chan smiled. The Serpentis Syndicate station that they now called home was full of surprises. He expected some sort of anarchic base with no law or order. School lessons on cooking mindflood and drop boosters. What he actually found was a highly civilised and ordered society. To an outside observer the outpost could belong to any of the major empires. Police patrolled the streets, the school lessons were standard Gallente curriculum, the shops and entertainment were better than home and law and order was maintained well. Chan himself was now a financial manager and was supervising his old manager as well as several other establishments back in high-sec. He sat down next to his daughter and put his arm around her. She snuggled into her father, not taking her eyes off the cartoon.

"Yes" thought Chan "Its the pirates life for me."


  1. Wow! I was genuinely surprised by that one! Keep up the writing like this, you'll do great in the writing contest!

  2. Nice! I did not see that coming!

    I'm going to be jealous in a corner now.