Friday, August 29, 2014

The Escort - Part 2

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

The Escort - Part 2

The three entered the lobby near the lift, Cat and her man leading the way through the charred suite door with guns blazing. Jasmin was being shielded behind them. More masked gunmen fell before they could even return fire. The two capsuleers swept the lobby area and headed towards the stairs to check no more where coming up from there. There were broken ornaments and splintered wood all over the floor. Not to mention the bodies of the three they just killed plus the other that Cat had shot through the door seconds earlier.

Jasmin looked and almost laughed. Cat was standing at the top of the stairs looking down, her pistol pointed in front of her in both hands ready. Her pose made her look like some sort of super-cop, but she was wearing high heeled boots and a short, low-cut dress. It was a very bizarre sight.

"Clear!" Cat shouted. Her man was checking one of the bodies.

"Who are they?" Jasmin asked as he approached.

"Mercenaries." the man said turning one of the bodies over with his boot and squatting down to search it. "No uniform and the weapons are from all Empires. For fracks sake! What idiot brings an Ishukone assault rifle into a building shoot-out. Idiot!"

"Why are they here?" Jasmin asked Cat's lover, still staring at the dead bodies.

"I fight for the Gallente militia. Plenty of people would love to take out a militia capsuleer when he's out of his pod." he replied rising and then taking her by the arm and leading her to the stairs.

"They are Caldari State?" she said in a panic thinking of the implications of an entire government after her. Cat's man laughed.

"No." he replied looking down the stairwell as they descended. "The Caldari State or any of the Empires for that matter would never sanction a hit against a capsuleer out of his pod. They all rely massively on capsuleer support. If it got out that one of the Empires was trying to kill an immortal Empyrean they would loose all support from their own capsuleers. In fact the capsuleers would band together against them. Its likely some rich idiot has put out a contract. May be a mega-corp Executive. Thinks he's being patriotic and doing what the State cannot. There are rumours of a secret society, The Illuminated Ones. Rich assholes banding together to fight a secret war against us. Who knows, happens all the time."

They continued down the stairs to the 40th floor. Cat opened the stair-well door and peaked out. After she was sure it was clear they all entered the corridor. The three approached a room and entered.

"We always keep a separate room under a booking with a false name." Cat's man explained. "We could have stayed on the Capsuleer decks, we'd be untouchable there, but where's the fun in that?" he grinned.

He walked up to a big black bag on the table and pulled out a datapad. He started tapping away on it.

"We have to assume they have the ship covered." Cat stated.

"Yeah, I'm checking the other hangers on station. A bit short on Amarrian ships docked here so I guess I'm flying us out of here then." He smirked.

"Cannot you just go to the capsuleer decks now if they are so secure, and, erm, take me too?" Jasmin asked hopefully.

"They'll have the entrances covered for certain." Cat replied "Too obvious. Probably got snipers or bombs planted as there are only two ways up there from the standard station."

Cat went to the bag and removed a large gun. She checked the magazine and pulled the slider back.

"Come on. What you got?" she asked turning to her man.

"Closest is a small repair hanger on deck 30 zone D. Its some kind of horrid railgun fit but it should do the trick as it has an internal gantry, its a hybrid ship. Then its four easy jumps back to Nis." he said whilst grabbing the bag. "Ready?" he asked Jasmin.

Jasmin just looked shocked. "I don't even know your name!" she exclaimed.

"Call me Drac!" he replied with a smile as they left the room.


Drac and Jasmin crouched down behind trollies laidened with laundry. Ahead Cat could be seen talking to a young man dressed in the hotel uniform stood next to a small van. Jasmin watched as she flirted with him, smiling, touching his chest and arm and playing with her hair. They were on the level under the reception having taken a service elevator down to the staff area. It was more of a garage area where delivery trucks brought goods and took away waste and laundry. Jasmin watch Cat lean in and give a the young man a peck on the cheek which seemed to embarrass him. He moved to the back of a laundry truck and unlocked the door before moving to the front of the vehicle and turning his back. Cat waved to Drac and Jasmin to come and they jogged to the back of the truck and climbed in closing the door behind them.

Two minutes later the truck swung out of the hotel 'basement' and onto the street. As on many space-stations, the layout was much like a built-up city. Narrow streets with vehicles, sidewalks and crossings. Multi-story buildings rose eitherside before the ceiling stopped them going any higher. Drac peaked out of one of the small windows as they cleared the hotel.

"Two tangos watching the service exit. These guys are pro's." he stated. "How far is your new boyfriend taking us?"

Cat grabbed a bag of linen and through it at him.

"Deck 28, but zone A. Apparently this vehicle is tracked and he cannot take a detour. We need to go up two levels and across the station."

The ride took nearly half an hour as the small truck wound its way though the station streets and bumped down the steep ramps that connected the vast decks. Eventually the truck stopped. The three heard the door being unlocked. Jasmin noticed that Drac had drawn his gun but had discretely hidden it under a sheet. The doors opened and light spilled into the truck. The young man was stood there smiling. Discreetly Drac holstered the weapon seeing that they appear to have escaped.

"Thank you baby." Cat purred as she climbed out.

"There's another woman in there! You said you needed my help to smuggle you and your lover out of the hotel as your husband was in the lobby!" the young man protested.

"Lover? Sorry, I meant lovers. They both are."

The young mans face was a mix of shock, surprise and arousal. Cat surpressed a laugh as she climbed down onto the street.

"But... but... I thought...." the boy stammered. Cat smiled.

"Just watch. Your reward." she whispered as she grabbed Jasmin and kissed her deeply. The young mans mouth fell open as he watched the two women kiss. After a few seconds they parted.

"OK all done? Right lets move!" ordered Drac and the three headed down the road leaving the young man stood by the truck holding his hands together over the front of his pants with a look of shock on his face.


It had taken them nearly an hour to cross the station, sticking to back alleys and quiet streets with no cameras. Once on the correct side of the station they then had hacked a keypad on a maintenance stairwell to ascended the two decks to arrive at the maintenance hanger. The blue-grey Merlin class attack frigate was hovering in position. Its 200mm railguns could be seen in their locked down position. Technicians and service-drones could be seen milling around the cavernous hanger.

"What now?" Cat asked.

"Its a Hybrid ship. It has an internal pod gantry. We need to get inside and get the hell out of here. I've already sent a message, more suitable ships are waiting for us if we need them, but we need to get off station first. That is the problem getting to the ship, as soon as we're spotted Rent-A-Cop is going to be all over is."

The three surveyed the scene and sat in silence as they thought.

"Feck it, lets do the DYKWIA trick!" Drac said finally.

Jasmin stood with them not knowing what they were on about. She was shocked as they strode out of the shadows and started casually walking towards the ship in plain sight of everyone. She saw serveral technicians pushing hover trolleys stop and look at the strange threesome walking towards the ship. Turning her head she spotted two men jogging towards them in uniforms from the direction of the office near the main entrance. They had guns strapped to their legs and were waving their arms. Drac and Cat ignored their shouts and continued walking casuaully to the ship. Eventually the guards caught up and stood in their way.

"Stop! This is a restricted area!"

"You don't say!" snapped Drac. "But even with a restricted area we have entered unchallenged and walked 80% of the hanger to our ship before you and fatso got here." he nodded to the other, slightly overweight guard.

"You are going to have to leave." snarled the guard placing his hand on his gun. Drac burst into laughter.

"Really? You are going to shoot a capsuleer? Ace career move you dick. Don't you know who I am?" Drac's tone turned from jovial to menacing in seconds. The guards visibily gulped. Cat turned around and pulled her long hair back. The implant sockets running the length of her spine were clearly visible.

"We're in a good mood, so you have a whole two seconds to get out of my fracking way otherwise I'll have you strung up behind the frigates thusters and barbeque you both as I leave!" Dra snarled "And you know I'm not joking!".

Both men jumped out of his way and they marched on.

"So, how long we got?" Cat whispered.

"About 2 minutes before they get back, wonder what Empryeans are doing away from the Capsuleer decks, check and realise this is not our ship." Drac whispered back as they climbed the cargo ramp into the frigate. Drac hit the close button as they entered the cargo bay. The ramp slowly started to close behind them.

"Your Squid frigate skills are better than mine." Cat said "I'll take Jasmin to the bridge, you get goo'd up!"

Drac nodded and they entered a lift and he hit two buttons on the control panel. As the lift was climbing Dra started to strip off his clothing. Jasmin looked at him puzzled. He smiled and winked at her as he pulled the last of his clothes off and stood their naked with his hands on his hips. Cat rolled her eyes at Jasmin.

"What?" Dra protested. "Saves time when I get there." he grinned slowly swaying his hips.

The lift door opened and Jasmin looked out to a metal catwalk that extended towards the olive-green capsule which was splayed open. Drac ran down the walkway and turned around so he had his back to the capsule. Jasmin saw metalic tenticles snake out of the pod and towards Drac's back. As the lift doors started to close she shifted position so she could catch the last fasinating glimpse as the tenticles appeared to disappear into his back and lifted Drac off the floor as his head fell backwards seamingly unconscience.

"What's it like?" Jasmin asked as the lift continued up. Cat appeared to ponder that for a moment.

"What? Podding up? Its a bit difficult to describe. One moment you are flesh and blood and the next you ARE the ship. You can feel the power running through the conduits. You can hear the ghostly echos of the crew. Its, well its difficult to describe. Leaving the pod is actually the worst bit. Suddenly all that power is gone, you are back to being a vulnerable sack of meat, not to mention first feeling like you are drowning and then violently throwing up."

"Sounds rough" Jasmin said.

"Yes and no. Trust me, nothing compares to the feeling of being connected to a ship. The power you feel when you are flying a carrier or dreadnought. Its indescribable."

Before they could say anymore the lift doors hissed open and they entered a small bridge. Cat quickly ran to the large chair in the centre and sat down. She hit a few buttons and the bridge lit up. Jasmin sat in the seat next to her, being careful not to touch the rows of unknown buttons in front of her.

"You in baby?" Cat called into the air.

"Snug as a Hekian bug in a rug. Undocking sequence confirmed but the alarms have been raised. Sounds like the two security idiots have realised they should have stopped us. We'll be in the big black soon but I'm guessing the mercs are monitoring the stations alarm network and high-tailing it here right now. They are going to be too late, undocking is confirmed and cannot be stopped, but its not capsuleer undocking so going to take us a few minutes. Just hope they don't turn up with any heavy artillery!"

"He can hear us?" Jasmin asked.

"Yes, he IS the ship now." Cat replied with a smile.

"My, my, Jasmin's arse feels fantastic in that chair!" Dra's voice echo'd through the bridge. This caused Jasmin to leap from the seat in shock with a squeal. Cat almost fell out of her chair laughing.

"He's joking. We are not THAT sensitively attuned to the ship." Cat said still laughing. "You can sit in the chair, don't worry, he cannot really feel you."

An alarm went off in the bridge.

"Frack. How the hell can there be a target lock in the launch tube?" Cat cursed.

Drac's voice was heard over the speakers. "Its behind us, someone in the hanger is locking on."

The ship shook slightly.

"Really? A personnel swarm launcher verses a starship. I take that back about them being pro's before!" Drac's laughter echoed through the bridge.

The viewscreen lit up with the view from behind the ship as it slowly moved down the massive launch tube away from the hanger edge. Far back, on the edge of the docking platform two men could be seen stood facing the ship. One had something on his shoulder. There was a flash from the device and a number of rockets could be seen streaking towards the ship. White smoke bellowing as the missiles corkscrewed towards them. Cat look at Jasmin who appeared terrified.

"Relax. Its like firing a potato gun at a tank!" she reassured her. The ship slightly trembled.

"Oh noes. Shields at 98.5%. What are we going to do?" Drac's voice mocked dramatically. "Ah frack it. Nobody fires at me and my girls like that!"

Lights lit up on a console in front of Cat and Jasmin. The view screen zoomed in on the two men who were busy reloading the launcher together. A red circle appeared around them. Then there was a flash. It took a few seconds for the screen to clear. When it did there was a large smoking crater blown out of the edge of the dock and the two men were nowhere to be seen. Just a hole and glowing molten metal.

The screen flashed back to the front of the ship as they emerged from the launch tube into space.

"Setting course for Heyd gate."

The ship swung around and Jasmin got a good look at the massive station before it vanished and the ship slipped into warp. Space thundered pass them as they travelled at many times the speed of light towards the distant stargate. Whilst Jasmin had seen warp tunnels in the past, she'd always been looking out of a side window. To see it head on was an amazing sight. Within seconds the ship began to slow having crossed millions of kilometres in a short period. The massive stargate loomed into view.

"Ooooo welcoming committee!" Drac said as they returned to sub-light speeds "Four other Merlins and a couple of Kestrels."

The other ships were clearly visible circling the gate. Alarms went off in the bridge signifying tactical locks. Their ship sped up and started to approach the stargate. A louder alarm went off and the ship shook. Still Drac piloted the ship towards the gate ploughing through the incoming fire. Flashes erupted as the other ships activated the gate and vanished into artificial wormholes.

"Where are they going?" asked Jasmin.

"They are jumping. These amateurs are convinced that Drac is going to jump. They have left one guy here to use a warp disruptor on us. Fatal mistake." Cat said smugly.

Suddenly their Merlin turned in a tight radius and aligned back out towards the station. The ship shuddered as the powerful railguns spat hybrid charges at the one remaining enemy.

"Right now that pilot is screaming we have agressed him and he needs back up. His friends are trying to get back to the stargate the other side as quickly as possible. They aren't going to make it." Cat said with a smile.

On the screen, the other ship exploded in a fireball as the final volley of railgun charges slammed into it. The alarms slienced and Cat saw the warp tunnel start to form in front of the ship. Seconds later they were travelling faster than light.

"Right we know what they have. We're on the way to the rendezvous! They've got them ready for us." Drac's disembodied voice stated. "Cat, get our guest ready, I'll eject on landing."

"OK. Jasmin, I need you to listen carefully. I need you to man the bridge...." Cat stated.

"Where are you going?" Jasmin asked in a panic.

"Calm down. I need to jump in an escape pod. We have a plan but you need to stay here. Don't worry, you only have one button to press and one read-out to monitor and tell us what it says. We'll have an open comm channel all the time so we can speak to each other. This here is the FCoC, the fleet co-ordination console, in a few minutes a message will pop up here, all you need to do is...."


"Is that Merlin still on long-scan?"

"Yes sir. But, they could just warp back to station at any ime. They'd dock this time in the Capsuleer decks and we'd not be able to get them." the ensign replied.

"Well they haven't. They are still in space and we need to keep at them. Only one of two targets can be inside the pod. That means if we destroy that ship we will perminantly kill one of them and we can claim at least half the reward."

The Captain settled back down into his chair as his men scanned for the Merlin. His mercenry outfit had been offered ten million credits for each Gallente Militia capsuleer they killed outside their pod. Killing an Empyrean was difficult, but not impossible. As the targets had stolen a frigate with a pod gantry he was sure one of them had "podded-up". The ease at which they beat one of his ships suggested it was indeed a capsuleer in their pod piloting the Merlin. They needed the kill, his crew hadn't been paid in a month. The last pod-jockey they'd killed had been six months ago. That reward split between his 50 soldiers should have lasted them a year. However they had partied hard and blown it. They needed another payday soon.

"Sir, Merlin on short-range scan!"

The Captain clapped his hands together.

"Red alert. Talon 1, 2 and 5. Point it this side of the gate. Talon 3 and 6 get ready to jump but only when he does."

"Merlin landing sir..... 100 off!" the Ensign shouted.

The Captain banged his fist into the console. The Merlin had dropped out of warp 100km from the gate. Well out of range of their weapons and warp disruptors.

"Sir, he's aligning... slowly..... he's speeding up.... Sir.... he warped to the sun!"

"EVERYONE WARP TO THE SUN NOW!" the Captain screamed "WARP TO ZERO!"

The six vessels jumped to warp speed in seconds, heading to the sun. All navi-coms were equiped with co-ordinates of all major celestrial objects. "Warping to zero" to a planet, star or asteroid belt actually led to a set of co-ordinates near to that location but a safe distance away. It was a common mistake made by capsuleers. When in a panic or trying to escape, the systems sun was always an easy target. Easy, but also obvious. The Captain was leaning forward in his seat as the sun filled the viewscreen and they dropped out of warp.

"Sir. We just overshot the Merlin, he warped to 100 again and..... and there is a Dragoon class destroyer at the co-ordinates sir, we're landing 3km off it. I've also got a Thrasher class destroyer 15km away. Its....."

The bridge went quiet as the viewscreen showed Talon 2 explode in a ball of fire. Alarms went off as the Dragoon destroyer locked warp scramblers on each of the frigates and launched a flight of deadly drones. Talon 5 was next to explode in a single volley from the Thrasher.

"Sir.... the Merlin is stationary but I'm not showing it as capsuleer controlled. We've got a proper scan on it and I'm showing no capsuleer pilot present. The targets sir, they are now in the two destroyers. I'm also reading Federal Police Comets on short scan... they are landing on the Merlin. Confirmed, the capsuleers are not on the Merlin sir!"

"Of course they are not you idiot!" the Captain grumbled. "They swapped to destroyers at a safe and have been 'fleet warping' that unpiloted Merlin about so we'd give chase. What a way to die, alpha'd by a Cockbag Thrasher after chasing an unpiloted Merlin straight into an obvious trap."

Those were the Captains last words. The seven 220mm artillery cannons on the Thrasher rumbled as they spat their deadly EMP charges. The target was vapourised in an instant.

As the last frigate exploded the two destroyers warped away just as the security services started boarding the Merlin.


The Present....

"Next thing I know your officers are storming into the bridge of that ship pointing guns at me and then hauling me here!" Jasmin finished.

"Wow that is quite a tail Ms Dufort."

"Its the truth" Jasmin said crossing her arms defensively.

"Well I'm afraid I don't believe you. You can tell that fairtail to the judge and he can throw your pretty ass in jail. Whilst I don't believe you got frisky with a hot immortal egger, I do KNOW that you are going to have some interesting experiences with a one-ton-desiel-suckin'-croptop-dyke in the pen whilst you're doing ten to fifteen. So for the last time...." The door to the interview room being opened cut him off.

"What the frack! I am in the middle of a interview here you.... erm, ma'am?"

A woman strode into the room. She appeared to be mid-40's and wearing a power suit. She had a stern look on her face.

"Detective, this is Ms Dufort's legal advisor, Landis Lesauvage."

Both the detective and Jasmin looked stunned. They'd both heard of Landis Lesauvage who was one of the most famous defense attorneys in the Gallente legal system. Landis Lesauvage didn't respond, he was simply busy talking into his datapad.

"Ma'am, what's going on. She cannot afford him!" he said quietly pointing to Jasmin. Jasmin looked on in utter confusion not knowning what was going on.

"Did she mention anything about two capsuleers?" the Captain snapped to the Detective.

"Well, yes she did, but surely you don't believe...." stammered the Detective.

"Shit!" exclaimed the Captain slapping her palm to her forehead in fustration. The Detective's face dropped at the thought there may be an element of truth in the suspects story.

"Its for you." Landis Lesauvage held out the datapad and the Detective took it. His face a visage of worry. Why would he pass a call over to him? Jasmin, the Captain, Landis Lesauvage and the detectives partner listened on as the Detective placed the device to his ear.

"This is Detective Gautier."
"Sir! My.... I am honored to......"
"Yes sir."
"No sir."
"But we have...."
"No sir."
"No, absolutely not sir."
"No sir."
"Yes sir!"
"Yes she is. Right away sir."

The Detective looked terrified as he handed the datapad to his Captain.

"Ma'am. It is Poire Viladillet, CEO of Quafe. She would like a word with you." the Detective stated sheepishly. The Captains eyes went wide. She gingerly placed the datapad to the side of her head.

"Sir!" the Captain said crisply into the pad.
"Yes sir. Absolutely!"
"No, sir I completely understand."
"Yes sir. And if I could just say that..... hello? Sir?"

The Captain handed the datapad back to Landis Lesauvage sheepishly.

"Well Captain, Detective. I believe we are done here. Ms Dufort would you please come with me, I have your transportation waiting outside."

Jasmin just stood in shock. She looked at the Detective and the Captain who gave her a weak smile. Landis Lesauvage strode commandingly to the exit ignoring everyone else with Jasmin falling in behind him. As they exited the Security Office into the station boulevard she came up alongside him.

"What just happened there? I cannot afford you!" she protested. "I've seen you on the holovids. You do celebrities and politicians. Not people like me! I cannot pay a fraction of the fees you must charge!"

"And you don't need to." Landis said with a wirely smile "My fee is already paid in full. For as to what happened, these small town cops have no business sticking their noses into Empryean matters. A quick call to the CEO of the mega-corp that owns this station was all that was needed. Anyway, your ride is here. Good day Ms Dufort". With the briefest of nods Landis turned and walked away leaving Jasmin stood in confusion. She glanced to where he indicated to before he left. At the side of the street a long black limo was waiting. She recognised the driver immediately. As she approached Jean-Luc doffed his cap with a smile and opened the door so she could climb in. As she did she realised the back of the car wasn't empty. Cat and Drac were sat in the seats facing her.

"Are you OK?" Cat asked concerned.

"Yes. I am fine. Must say this is the most interesting assignment I've ever had." she laughed. "More than enough excitement for one day!"

"Are you sure about that?" Drac asked. "We just wired 100,000 credits to your agency to book you for the next 48 hours." As he said this Cat slid seductively across the cabin and sat next to Jasmin.

"Its up to you, the money is yours regardless for what you've been through." Cats hand stroked Jasmins leg slowly "However, I was bitterly dissapointed we never got to finish what we started. Only this time we'll be going somewhere a little more secure."

"Well....." said Jasmin "I guess a bit more excitement wouldn't hurt." With that she pushed Cat down on the leather seat, crawled on top of her and kissed her deeply as Drac looked on.

The End


  1. Very good novel! Two questions though, 200mm railgun on a merlin? Oversized rail fitted and that's why it was an abomination?
    And 220mm artillery on the thrasher. Artistic liberty or mistake? Was thinking oversized autocannon (why would he do that?) and when you saud cockbag i thought you meant 280mm.

    But like I said. Very good novel! As usual

  2. Great stuff, thanks for the story.

    -RHunter 13