Friday, March 25, 2016

The Delivery Boy - Part 3

Fiction Friday - Escape pod here.

The Delivery Boy - Part 3

The structure rose out of the frozen tundra of Caldari Prime hundreds of metres into the air. Ylle craned her neck to try and see the top through the windshield of the small car. They'd found a vehicle dealer in the small town where they stayed the night that was happy to take the hover-bike as part exchange for this old deathtrap and not ask too many questions. When Jullynes signed the papers in the name of Jaques Roden the owner simply lifted an eyebrow which was then lowered when Jullynes placed an extra 200 credits on the table.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Its an orbital launch facility. It puts goods into orbit for collection. The capsuleers use similar installations to extract resources from planets and get them off world. Of course they are not allowed to place them here on the core planets, but the Federal Government saw the money to be made. The installed a few test sites in remote, uninhabited areas of Caldari-Prime to see if they can be profitable."

"How do you know all this?" she asked surprised.

"I've been here. Field trip with the university. Like the capsuleer versions these facilities are fully automated and run with a simple AI. We work with these programs at the start of the course. They are not identified as a conscious AI, technically they are just very advanced computer programs that verge on being an AI but don't really cross the boundary. However they call them simple AI's for ease."

Slowly they wound around the various extractors, reaching the command centre and launch facility a couple of hours later. The surface was icey this far away from the terraforming facilities used around the cities however the facilites themselves appeared to be heated.

They pulled up next to a door in the launch facility and Jullynes got out telling Ylle to stay put as it could take him a while to hack the system. She watched from the warmth of the car as he hooked his datapad to the control panel next to the formidable looking door. Seconds later it was open and he waved her in.

"That was quick!" she said as they walked down a plasteel corridor.

"Yeah. A little too quick." he said, uncertainty creeping into his voice.

"You don't think....."

"No." he said quickly. "No way they could have tracked us here. Even if they did why let us in here? Easier to just seal the door and take us down outside. Must have just been lucky I guess."

"I'm not a big believer in luck." Ylle grumbled.

They passed huge conveyor belts moving freight containers towards a massive robotic arm. The machine loaded these into large rockets that were on their own slower moving conveyor.

"So what's the plan?" Ylle asked nervously.

"We need to look at the specs of these rockets to see if there is a passenger compartment. Or perhaps in one of the freight containers. I read a story once about some miner who escaped a pirate attack on an asteroid by hiding in a passenger section of a freight container and convincing a pod jockey to destroy the mining outpost."

"What, you don't know any of this for sure?"

Jullynes stopped and turned to her.

"We have a corrupt police force and the fracking Serpentis after us. If you have a foolproof plan laid out I'd love to hear it!" he snapped.

Ylle looked guilty. "Sorry." she muttered and they continued into the structure.

"What are we going to do when we get off-world?" she asked.

"We need to get to a Cromeaux Inc office."

"No! I'm not changing my body!" she gasped.

Jullynes shook his head.

"No, I'm not planning that! You've heard in the news about these new capsuleer skill extractors? Well Cromeaux Inc has adapted the tech. Its still in its infancy but they can also extract memories and digitise them. They are offering the service to people who want to share a memory with friends or people who just really want to forget things."

"They'll remove the memory of me watching the recording?" she gasped.

"Yes and put it on a holodisk. Upload that to the GalNet and we're clear. The story will be out and you'll not remember a thing about the actual video. Free and clear!" Jullynes said pointing to a stationary orbital launch rocket at the end of the line.


"I do worry about you sometimes Carvaire!" the Captain said as he entered the room.

Carvaire just shrugged, the bloodied shears still in his hands. The sleeves of his white shirt were rolled up and he had spots of blood over his arms. His black jacket rested over the back of a chair. Awel was still tied to a chair with her head hung forward. Her damp hair covering her face as she wept quietly, her throat raw from the screaming. Both hands were just stumps now, all ten fingers gone. Her shirt had been ripped open and her bra cut away. Thin red lines on her skin indicated he was threatening to carry out cut 'number eleven' but had not.

"You're not finished?" the Captain remarked surprised he'd stopped at 10 questions.

"I am. We've got everything she knows, I'm certain. Thought she'd be useful to us alive and not sure how much more she can take today. Surely the kid will give up the girl if we offer to trade his own mother. Once we have them both I'll finish up with her." he said with an evil grin. "Whilst that boy watches of course. Only fair given all the problems the little scrote has caused us!"

The Captain suppressed a shudder. Many of the corrupt officers on the force were in it just for the money. Carvaire appeared to enjoy the freedoms he had when questioning suspects that would disappear once they had given the information needed. The man was a sadistic prick, but a useful one.

"What do we know?" he asked.

"The son and the girl turned up at her work. He's got about five thousand cash on him that she gave him. So they are good for money. He's also a computer geek and apparently really good. He was on an old type 45 hover-bike and the techs are tracing it. Agencourt and his team are out checking locations. Other than that she has no idea where the kid is. Bit of a loner. No friends, girlfriend or any other family to run to. He's on his own."

The Captain smiled. This was good news. With no friends or family to help they'd be a lot more exposed and vulnerable.

"We have all exit points covered?"

"Yes sir. Every port is on the look out for them. Even with fake IDs they are unlikely to get through as the facial scanners will get them. The region is locked down tight so we just need to wait for them to pop up."


Reuvo slipped out of bed and pulled her red satin dressing down on. She looked back at the man in her bed. Angry red scratch marks covered his back. He'd been a good one, new to the agency. She'd need to remember him.

She crossed the room and entered the office, holoscreens activating as she entered. Scanning the latest police bulletins she could see the girl was still missing and they had no idea where she was other than they believed she'd escaped with some delivery boy. Her own agents were on top of things. The Serpentis had men and women everywhere. She was confident they'd pick up the girl before the Police. It was just a matter of time until they popped up on the radar. The money they'd save would be huge. Paying off the cops was an expensive business but if they had a hold over the Captain, there would be a lot less bribing needed. Satisfied her underlings had everything under control looking for the girl she checked the overnight losses to capsuleers. 14 sites had been attacked in the adjacent systems. The Mega-Corp agents were always hiring capsuleers to attack their assets. Loses were expected operating in this area of hi-sec space. However the Serpentis were a massive organisation and the mega-corps were fighting a losing battle. Yes they could hire capsuleers to slow their spread but they wouldn't beat them.

She wandered across to the large window that overlooked the planet. She suppressed a shiver. Caldari-Prime was still a cold world and she much prefered the station. It was also safer. They pretty much ran this small outpost and she felt secure here. It wasn't often that the regional commander of such a large pirate outfit felt safe.

Checking the time she saw there was no rush. She headed back into the bedroom to inflict some more damage on the back of her toy for the night.


The small shuttle sat in orbit. It watched the small rocket burst from the atmosphere and establish a geo-synchronous orbit. The pilot inside cursed. The small cargo bay was too small to scoop the rocket and no way to attach itself with it.

He replayed a message through the fluid-router network. The faster-than-light message informing his employer of the situation. It was then he noticed the industrial ship that was approaching. A Epithal class hauler designed for hauling planetary communities. He scanned the ship and quickly relayed the details.


Ylle and Jullynes looked at each other nervously as the rocket shuddered. They could see nothing in the small passenger compartment. The rocket landed on something hard and with resounding clang. Wherever they were, they now had gravity. Jullynes unfastened his belt and walked to the hatch. Ylle followed. A second later the hatch opened and two Gallente men appeared in the hatchway pointing guns at them.

"Stay were you are!" one shouted touching his ear. "Yeah Capt, as the scan said, two stowaways. Gall kids. Want us to throw them in the brig until we dock."

There was a tense silence.

"OK yes. We'll throw them in the.... what? Repeat? OK. Holding."

The other man looked at his crewmate questioningly.


"I dunno. Capt was telling us to throw them in the brig when he got a message and told me to hold a minute."

The man put his hand to his ear. Jullynes assumed the Captain was speaking again. The man quickly lowered his gun.

"Put that fracking thing away!" he hissed at his crewmate. The other looked at him in shock. "Lower that thing now or you're going to get us killed!" he hissed again. His confused crewmate dropped the gun to his side.

"I'm so sorry for the misunderstanding. Let me show you to some quarters you can use until we reach the destination. The Captain wonders if you would be so kind as to let us know your prefered station?"

Jullynes looked at the man in disbelief. As soon as he realised this was not a joke he thought quickly.

"Erm.... the Duvalle Labs Factory?"

The man nodded with a smile like some concierge at a posh hotel and touched his hand to his ear.

"Captain, its 3 tack 1. Yes, the Duvalle Labs station."

Jullynes and Ylle followed the two men in shock. He tried to listen in on what the men were whispering about to each other but he only caught a few words.



"Lieutenant! We have a hit!" The female officer burst into Carvaire's room.

"We picked up an emergency broadcast from the Sauternes in low-orbit. It's a hauler contracted by the Federal Government to collect the output from the Cerasix Inc installation up north. They broadcast to the Navy Police that they had scanned two life forms on one of the automated rockets and were requesting assistance. A few minutes later they said it was a scan error and there was nobody aboard. Sounded fishy so I contacted the contractor in charge of the launch facility here on C-Prime. They checked their logs. Someone hacked into a door at the facility two hours ago. There were no staff on site at the time!"

Carvaire stood and grabbed his jacket.

"Where is the Sauternes now?"

"Heading to the 3-1 station!"

"Lets go!" he barked.

To be continued....

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