Blood Bonds II

YC111, 27th July
Gonditsa IV, Moon 8, Aliastra Retail Center

The door gave in splintering as Romain’s studded leather boots unerringly directed the imitated wood into the foyer behind it. With the noise faded away in the hall’s widths and silence filling them again, Romain took back a step and revealed the lean Ash.

Ash closed up to his long year friend and together they traversed the hall. Except a few more or less modern vases to the feet of the columns sustaining the high ceiling the room was completely empty; light green marble walls – at least they looked like marble – dominated the scene.

The pair went for the door on the opposite wall, checking the corridors to their sides from their eyes’ corners. The moment they arrived Romain went to repeat the procedure on this door, but Ash stopped him with a short gesture.

“Never forget, we’re nice guys,” Ash said smiling sardonicly and knocked at the door.

Romain nodded grimly and backed downed a step, his hand on his gun.

Somewhere behind them something clanged, but apart from that a heavy silence reigned. The door didn’t move in the slightest. Ash put his head back, sighed quietly, and knocked again. Romain grinned, baring white teeth, and started to count down:

“Three … Two … One …”

He looked at Ash questioningly. But Ash intensely stared at the door.

“A half …?”

Romain went for the doorknob, but he was locked. Ash kept fixing his gaze on the door.

“A quarter …”

Ash continued ignoring him.

“A Eat-me!”

Romain took a run-up and kicked the door; it bowed under the sheer force but withstood after all, although the hinges on the sides were damaged considerably. Even if one tried to open the door conventionally, it would’ve been jammed anyways.

“You-”, the Khanid kicked the renitent wood again, “piece”, it began to splinter, “of”, he took a few metres run-up, “shit!” and slammed his massive shoulder against the door, which instantly exploded into a thousand pieces.

Romain slowed down a few feet into the room and scanned it instantly. No-one there.

Ash elegantly climbed over the debris on the noble, small tiled floor and went for the back of the room. In front of panorama window stood an old desk, pretty much like those in old crime movies.

Watching his surroundings he took out his pistol and walked over to said furniture. Romain followed a few feet off, with his gun drawn as well.

“I expected a few more guys here …”

“I shouldn’t have disfigured this boy from yesterday so much – although the hole was so neat …”, Ash replied muttering.

Romain nodded grumbling.

Ash rummaged the drawers tapping the wood with his pistol’s barrel, but even the hidden cases were empty.

“Mh.”

He went over to the window and watched the moon’s grey surface shimmering in the sunlight.

“There’s blood back here”, Romain said from a side door, pointing at the door’s frame.

“Oi.” Ash thought for a moment. “Well, nothing of interest around here, let’s get moving.”

“What about the blood?”

“Is it yours?”

“No…”

“Neither is it mine, so it’s got nothing to do with us.”

“You’re strange”, Romain commented dryly.

“Indeed. Besides that, please take the ID card from under the flower pot behind you.”

“How the -?”

“Just do it.” Ash grinned. “And don’t ask.”

Advertisements

Blood Bonds I

YC111, 26th July
Korridi IV, Hedion University School

With an almost merciful expression Ash’s eyes rested at the corpse in front of him. A hole in the victim’s temple, about a finger nail’s size, and the tiled bathroom’s wall covered in wet red, spoke volumes. He used a towel to clean his pistol, pitch-black with a crystal inlay in its barrel, and hid it in his belt.

He prostrated, whispering a few words and closed the dead’s eyelids.

After a short moment of quietness and devotion, he got up again and brushed his now dark hair out of his face. He noticed the metal scent of the blood on his fingers and also that he had smeared blood onto his forehead; he quickly used the sink to clean his appearance of that flaw.

Quietly closing the door to the bathroom behind him he traversed the flat with measured steps and entered the busy corridor. Students from all over the Empire bustled here, off the auditoriums and their teacher’s watchful eyes they were wild, the just so strict rules everywhere else merely touched them here.

Not even a tall man wearing a long, dark grey coat blazing his trail through the people would attract any interest around here, firmly but not aggressively pushing students out of his path.

GYC: Heresy

YC111, 9th June
Egghelende VII, Moon 20, Federation Navy Assembly Plant

Ash sat at the bar, his leaden head resting on his hands, in front of him an empty glass. A quiet, wistful music drifted through the room, infusing the spotlights and tapestry and drifting out through the window into the park.

From the corner of his eyes ash could see the park, the artificial meadows and patches, the lake … and the corp’s rooms’ windows at the opposite side.

He lifted the glass and watched the last drops of milk trickle down the glass as he lifted it, eager to save even the tiniest drops. When he put back the glass his datapad vibrated.

With one hand he stroke through his ruffled hair, with the other he draw the pad out of his breast pocket. One new message. Nursultan.

Without further thoughts he opened it.

Armageddon in belt … Jifftoolabahh. Might have friends near.

Ash slowly slid off the barstool and stretched his body. The message had to find its way to his brain first before he fully realised its content.

When the realisation hit him he rushed for the exit dictating a scarce answer. On my way.

A few moments later he arrived at the corp’s hangars. The logo was painted in semi-transparent white onto the grey steel gate and Ash quickly identified himself at the door’s console.

The well lubricated door slid open and gave view on the vast hangar. Several frigates and cruisers waited fully fitted to be fielded in combat. The crew idled near a stack of massive wooden crates, apparently the last market delivery.

Hey!” Ash shouted through the hangar. The workers reacted immediately, jumped and hailed him militarily with their hands at their temples. “You guys have one minute to get the Vexor ready!”

Instantly life entered their bodies, some rushed for the bridge, others for the loading bays to get last ammunition stocks aboard. Ash hurried through the organized chaos and entered the ship. The crew, all in black uniforms with rank, name and the corp’s logo, swarmed around the hangar like ants and not long after the ship’s thrusters fired up.

Ash had entered the pod in the meanwhile and was connected to the ship’s computer via numerous interfaces. Nurse sent him the exact data and as the Gramps left the docks he immediately initiated warp to the given coordinates.

Hi Nurse. I am in warp to you and will arrive in a few seconds.”

Hi Ash,” a heavy accent marked Nurse’s voice, “A Rifter came also … Geddon seems to rat.”

Okay, Rifter’s primary, then the Geddon’s drones.”

In this very moment the warp tunnel collapsed and Ash arrived in the belt. The asteroids, large as ships, quickly came nearer and the Vexor decelerated with full power.

He came to a hold right next to the slender hull of the battleship, the ship’s system instantly locked both targets. Ash freed a flight of light Warrior drones that went after the Rifter.

Did you already kill the Geddon’s drones?” Ash asked profoundly.

Nope, it didn’t have any out until now …”

Oh,” Ash commented.

Facing the drones’ massive damage the Rifter quickly left the belt and both cruisers went for the Armageddon.

Ash scooped the warriors and put out a flight of Hammerheads to face the battleship’s massive tank.

Go close and underrun the turret’s range!”

Slowly but surely the armor plates gave way while the ship barely fought back. The laser turrets only scratched Nurse’s comparatively small Rupture and even the Energy Neutralizer, that killed both Ash’s and Nurse’s capacitor on a random base didn’t have much of an effect.

Minutes later the hull broke and the ship ceased to be in a blazing explosion of flames and debris that were spread in the nearer surroundings. The Rifter returned just to see its mate explode quickly experienced a similar fate as warp disruptors stopped it from escaping again while drones and turrets of the two pirates ripped it apart.

While the aligned and re-scooped their drones the scanner integrated into the ships’ hulls searched the wreck for loot and quickly loaded it into the cargoholds.

Ash entered warp tunnel first leaving the small battlefield behind.

We just rule”, Nurse commented dryly.

Ash nodded in the silence of his pod liquid.

GYC: Heat

YC111, 19th May
Eggehelende VII, Moon 20, Federation Navy Assembly Plant

Ash looked into the retina scanner, in one hand a basket smelling of fresh buns covered with a linen sheet, in the other one a tablet with some chosen delicacies.

A short beep signaled Ash the opening of the door and he entered the apartment. He put the tablet on a small dresser to his right and closed the door quietly behind him. Slowly he went for the rooms at the back, past an apparently unused kitchen into a dimly lit bedroom.

The blanket was literally crumpled-up and exposed large parts of the body under it; long, slender legs testified Lamelias’ presence. Ash smiled as he put the basket aside and grabbed a pillow from the ground.

He held it with both hands and buried his nose into it, inhaling the memories, before he threw it at the bed’s top in a wide arc.

Lame startled and rolled off the bed instinctively. She already had her hand in the nightstand’s drawer when she realised Ash.

“Someday you’ll be shot, right between your eyes.”

“Not very unlikely …” grinned Ash. “I brought something for us,” he roughly pointed at the buns. “Interested?”

“I am always hungry.”

“Evil to her who evil thinks …” He took the basket and lifted the sheet, spreading the smell in the room.

“Mh, I like being evil.” She stood up and stretched herself, presenting her well-formed body.

“Ah, I see, we’ll come to no good here.” Ash turned to leave the room with the basket but Lame was at him with only a few strides. She laid her arms around his upper body and whispered quietly into his ear.

“You don’t want to go, do you?”

Ash looked at her and gave her a soft kiss on the forehead. “Of course not … but you have to set priorities.”

“My priority is standing right in front of me … we couldn’t even greet each other yesterday evening.” She steered him backwards towards the bed and with one hand loosened his grip around the basket until it fell to ground.

“Just because you had to-”

Lamelias put her finger at Ash’s mouth. “Shh … you talk too much.”

“But-”

“No.” She pushed him playfully on the bed and kneeled next to him on the soft duvets.

GYC: Warmth

YC111, 16th May
Egghelende VII, Moon 20, Federation Navy Assembly Plant

Lamelias’ quite familiar face flickered slightly as Ash stood up and went to the window. He could literally feel how the monitor turned and showed his back.

“I know, it was a mistake to give up back then. But I think … I think I learned a lot in the past months, tactics as well in combat as when confronted with other pilots, and the officials. I am giving myself a second chance.”

“You’re right … but we don’t want to rush things, do we?”

Ash turned and leaned at the window sills.

“Don’t rush things … I see.” He hesitated. “I’d like to see you up here again, and I don’t think you’re really happy down there in Fountain.”

“If you think so.”

“Yes, I do think so. Even when I just hear how they went wild when you shot a Blackbird of theirs -what’s the point of that? I mean,” he sighed, “well, you know what I mean.”

“I do, indeed,” Lame commented sirupy.

Ash scratched his head sheepishly. “Now with Nal here I don’t need the more or less friendlier pilots around here as much as before – someday I want POINT to be able to cope with things more dangerous than some newbie’s frigate.”

“That’s quite redolent of die totengraeber …”

“With good reason; POINT is its direct continuation. Although without the hangovers … no standings, no tradeoffs, no nothing. If we were just running after a dream, we now have the net to catch it – we only have to tie meshes tight enough to actually hold it.”

Lame snorted and the blueish image flickered again. “In all honesty?”

“Of course.”

“You got this unbelievable talent to say things always in the best possible moment. You’re right, basically I don’t like it here very much. Too many ‘blues’, too many things I have to watch out for. I am afraid they’ll tell me to use only dextrorotary ammo some day…”

Ash had gone back to the desk and rested on his elbows, the tip of his nose nearly touched the holograph.

“You don’t care how your ammo rotates?” he mocked her.

“No, I don’t care. Anyways, our Carrier pilot still got some ships he wants to bring into border system, some of mine are there, too. I’d like to have them back, before I put them straight on my quit.”

“Okay, alright. I’ll initiate everything so it goes smoothly, without any interferences.”

“That would be nice.”

“Now, if you’ll excuse me my renter wants to know if I am serious about the corpses.”

“About what-”

“The corpses. He doesn’t like the thought of a … larger cold room, I am afraid. Well, I’ll see how much he costs.”

“Ugh … okay.”

“As it used to be,” said Ash smilingly.

“As it used to be,” nodded Ash and threw a kiss to Ash. “I’ll see you in Egghelende.”

“Yep. See you there.”

GYC: Reunion

YC111, 15th May
Egghelende VII, Moon 20, Federation Navy Assembly Plant

Ash took a sip from his glass and looked at Nal.

“I’ll spare the preamble, ’cause you know it already,” he said smiling. “The modalities are pretty much the same as during the times of die totengraeber, but I did some changes to the … logistic parts in the last days.”

He pressed a button at the console inset into the table and hologram appeared above the polished stone. With his index finger he navigated through the menus until he was at an overview of the corp’s premises.

“I rented a warehouse near the hangars where we can store all our modules, without having to worry about those Navy freaks trying to sabotage them … it wouldn’t be the first time, after all.”

Nal grinned. “Yep, what happened back then is just too bad … but, it’ll be okay this time.”

“For sure. The hangars are heavily secured, don’t get the idea of going there without being able to prove yourself. I know you have a clone in system but I won’t scrape your remains off the walls.”

“Okay …”

“Oh … and Romain brought the stuff you ordered. He nearly went pop ’cause some idiots had to camp the gate in Amamake…”

“Than-” he hesitated. “Romain? Since when is he here?”

He turned just in case Romain would appear in the door.

“Basically he founded this corp … but as I joined, the camouflage was blown away so we swapped positions. I think he is in Odette right now, kicking Serpentis’ asses.”

“Highsec…?”

“Yes, Highsec. He doesn’t have a too large interest in killing everything and everyone …”

“Carebear.”

“A not too large interest doesn’t mean there’s no interest at all.” Ash bared is teeth.

“Understood.”

“It’s better this way.” Ash lunged for the glass and took a sip of milk. “Apart from that … he is attending scanning courses at the moment, I think that will be of some use.”

“Yep.”

“I’ll take a break at the Fridge, the last days were quite unrelaxing.”

“Have fun.” Both stood up and left the room.

The heavy door snapped behind Ash, Nal went for the lifts down to the hangars, Ash went to the bar located at the same level.

GYC: Homecoming

YC111, 3rd May
Egghelende VII, Moon 20, Federation Navy Assembly Plant

Ash hesitated for some seconds before he placed his hand on the console next to the door. A quiet beep signalized a working scanner and seconds later the creaking steel door slid open. He hadn’t visited the office for months but it almost looked as he left it the last time – no new owner had bought the rooms in the meanwhile and Ash could rent them again for just a small amount of money.

The massive desk made of black stone still occupied the opposite wall and the soft leather armchair still felt pleasantly soft. Ash dusted down the chair and subsided into the leather that had already begun to harden at the sides.

He blew clouds of dust off the table and underneath laid the polished stone surface. Ash stroke the letter opener with the totengraeber logo engraved into it and raised it. It weight heavy, nearly as heavy as all those not always positive memories Ash had of this place.

He put it back with a clack and opened the console set into the marble. The protective hatch slid . away and a hologram was materialized into the sticky air. He entered his data and the interface of the Corpse Collection Point corporation was loaded.

Ash entered a short command and a loading window opened to download the newest data from CONCORD and GalNet. While the progress bar slowly filled itself Ash got up and strode through the vast room. Several metres above the massive floor hung a candelabra, spider webs connected its numerous arms and waved in the air conditioner’s breeze.

A giant window to his right let in bright light, emulated bird calls came in from outside. Ash went to the window an opened it, the curtains were blown out into the small park, this oasis in the middle of a gray and drab colossus.

He leaned on the windowsill with its partially flaking paint and breathed the air that was interspersed with artificial aromas. A little bug crawled onto his fingers, Ash raised his hand to the face and watched the creature.

It protruded via his skin on six small legs, its faint red shell reflected the light. He stretched his hand out of the window and the bug scuttled to his finger tip. It seemingly hesitated and then spanned its transparent wings, and ascended fast.

Ash returned to the desk and stroke its edge searching for something. Moments later he found it: A hidden drawer, that opened as he touched it. Bedded on black velvet laid a pistol, in its grip an inlay of morphite forming the initials RR. Ash weighed the surprisingly light gun in his hand and tried targeting at the candelabra.

He pulled the trigger and made a noise as if the unloaded gun had shot, then put it on the table. At the other side was a inlay too, this time a slightly convoluted A that refracted the light and projected a faint rainbow on the dark stone. The morphite’s dark red shimmered subtly as Ash removed the velvet from the drawer.

Under it laid, fitting perfectly into the stone, a magazine, a dozen rounds waiting to bring death; and a leather belt with holster.

He put on the belt, tightened it and closed its silver buckle, then reloaded the gun with exercised movements and stored it in its holster, ready to use. Ash closed the locker and went for the door.