Anyway, This is a free build for the Marauders faction and part 1 of episode 9 of season 2 of my series.
Also I apologise for how long it took to post this, it took way too long to finish thanks to the holiday season.
Hope you enjoy this episode.
Cordelia Cahill: “Ugh! It's like he's a ghost or something!”
Things had been rather hectic for Cahill after last month's “Glitch King” Incident on Toliv. She had been tasked with searching for any information on his whereabouts and had found nothing. Although it was just as much her wanting answers as it was the GI.
She went over the notes she had made on the mission to the research station one more time to see if maybe she overlooked something…
“After meeting up with Connery and his squad at the abandoned research station we went in to confront this “Glitch King” ourselves only to find the base completely empty except for one room that was lit only by the green light of the computer that sat in the center. The screen displayed the word “POLYBIUS” followed by the numbers 22,11,32,34,44, and 23. There were no fingerprints, clues, and the computer files had been completely wiped with the “Polybius” message in place of the “blue screen of death” as they used to call it.”
Ever since then she had been trying to figure out what it meant. Maybe it was a reference to that legend about that arcade game that appeared in Portland Oregon in the 1980s. But then where do the numbers fit in? They certainly weren't coordinates...
Suddenly her Com-link began ringing.
Cahill: “Hello?” She answered before realizing she was talking into her breakfast bar.
Cahill: “Sigh, I really need to get some sleep after this case is over…”
She quickly ate her breakfast and grabbed her com-link off the computer and saw it was Lieutenant Connery’s office.
Then a hologram of the imperial symbol appeared followed by Connery's voice.
Lieutenant Connery: “Cahill? Are you there?”
Cahill: “This is Cahill.”
Connery : “Listen, I did some research and found some mentioning of another Glitch King in some old military files.”
Cahill: “Glad to see you've found something on him.”
Connery: “Not exactly, You see back in the 50s there was an incident with a rogue AI called the Glitch King. Apparently it was built by Captain Jack H. Brickton.”
Connery: “You have heard of Captain Brickton haven't you? “
Cahill: “I’m afraid I haven't.”
Connery: “He was an Aurelian Privateer who raided GI ships in the Gulf of Mexico until he was captured and imprisoned in 2085 by none other than Ivan Henderson.”
Cahill: “So Henderson got the plans for this droid from an Aurelian pirate?”
Connery: “It's possible. Although it's very unlikely for Brickton to have helped a GI.”
Cahill: “Interesting, but it's not much help. It's not like I can talk to this “Brickton” person.”
Connery: “On the contrary, He cut ties with General Convo and Aurelia back in July.”
Cahill: “How do you know this?”
Connery: “He posted a photo of himself punching Convo in the face online right before a bomb was dropped on an Aurelian base on Flouron. Trust me, he is no Aurelian.”
Cahill: “so you're telling me this “Brickton” character who was an early supporter of Aurelia that escaped prison is now fighting against them? And then walked out of Weller Base alive after attacking The leader of Aurelia?!”
Connery : “Correct.”
Cahill: “Ha ha ha, Wow, you had me going for a minute sir. But there's no way he's still alive. I mean even if he was he'd probably be in his 80s or something.”
Connery: “he's 97, and he's not alive. He's a fully robotic cyborg.”
Cahill was intrigued by this information. If she could speak to the man who designed this droid he might be able to help her capture it.
This could be the break she needed…
Cahill: “And where do I find Captain Brickton?”
Connery: “Rumor has it he is hiding out in Gamoth City on Rerador. So I'd check with the Gamoth police.”
Cahill: “Then that's where I'm headed…”
Date: Thursday October 31st 2097.
Location: Gamoth City Police Station. Rerador.
It had been six months since Dushka was last in the gamoth police station. And in her opinion it was six months too soon… But the guy they had hired to help find Jack insisted on meeting them at a GI station…
Dushka: “How do we know we can trust this “Phil” guy? He's a GI after all, this could all be a trap. “
The old Cyborg chuckled at The young Con-woman’s nervousness.
Jack H: “Because they think you're dead…”
Dushka: “Excuse me?!”
Jack H: “Look, when you and Jack launched yourselves at that cruiser the cops assumed you were dead and closed the case. So you've got nothing to worry about.”
Dushka: “I just really don't like police stations… Especially this one.”
Jack H: “Why do you think I'm reading an actual newspaper? To keep my mind off where we are.”
Dushka: “Read anything interesting?”
Jack H: “Well, there is this one article about some kinda “Collective Registration Act” that Governor Judas Boan wants to put into action.”
Dushka: “Boan? The Governor of Qoter with the scar on his eye from the junkbot?”
Jack H: “Yeah, although I still don't see how a junkbot could've done that. They were nowhere near coordinated enough to make that clean of a cut. Or sneak past security for that matter…”
Dushka: “Anyway, you were saying?”
Jack H: “Right, “Following a Collective terrorist attack that resulted in the death of Followers of the Universe High Reverend Eldwar Regus, Governor Judas Boan has proposed an initiative called the Registration Act that would see every member of the Collective register their power levels. Should it be passed, every member of The Collective will be required to take an examination which would determine the level of their capabilities and strength. This information would then be compiled into a database, accessible only by the “relevant authorities.” so they can monitor high-powered individuals, and be able to step in if needed to prevent any acts of evil.”
Dushka: “Huh, For once the GI have a good idea…”
Jack H: “Wait, You agree with this?”
Dushka: “Of course, I mean, most of the collective I’ve met are nice people, but there’s people like the Pi’row clan and other Azgoth loyalists that are complete maniacs and almost unstoppable. If we had every member’s power levels on record they could know what “good” mages to send to stop the “bad” ones.”
Jack: “But it's an infringement of their rights! Besides, A mage’s power grows as they train. So a mage could be able to bend reality and they’d be listed as barely able to bend a spoon! And what's keeping people from cheating this “test?” You of all people should know by now that isn’t anything people won’t try and cheat at.”
Dushka: “You have a point, but what if they implement a “Licence” system that is renewed every few years? Like the pilot licence tests.”
Jack H: “Ha! I doubt the Archmage will ever agree to THAT. If this is passed I wouldn’t be surprised if it started another war with the collective!”
“Maybe that’s what we need to end this stupid Aurelian war…”
The two marauders looked up to find Jack standing in front of them.
Dushka: “Jack!” She exclaimed before running over to him.
Dushka: “What happened to you?” She asked examining the tears, rips, and bullet marks in his jacket “You look awful!”
Jack: “It’s a long story, I’d be in worse shape if it weren’t for my new Imperial Emigo here.”
Phil: “You'd have more holes than your jacket that’s for sure! Ha ha!”
Jack turns to Phil and shakes his hand.
Jack: “Thanks again “Falco.” It was a pleasure working with you.”
Phil: “Likewise, I look forward to working with you again. Preferably under less stressful circumstances.”
With that Phil exited the station and headed back to his ship.
Jack: “So… Did I miss anything important while I was gone?”
Jack H: “Let's see, Aurelia put a 3,000 credit bounty on your head, Iron Bones found an old Nintendo Holo-boy at the junk shop in perfect condition-”
Dushka: “And you owe me 400 credits for the tickets I bought to the Swoop-racing finals before you went and got yourself kidnapped!”
Jack: “Sure, I'll just add it to your next paycheck.”
Jack H: “Paycheck? What, did you win the lottery or something?”
Jack: “Actually, While I was away I managed to earn some credits turning in a bounty.”
Dushka: “How much exactly?”
Jack: “5,000... It was 10,000 but I split it with Phil since he helped pull it off.”
Dushka’s eyes lit up upon hearing the original number.
Dushka: “10,000?! What did you do? Kill Jakor or something?!”
Jack: “Not quite, but we won't have any more bounty hunter problems.”
Dushka: “Wait, you mean you- you killed Desilijic Tiure?!”
Jack H: “Whoa, not bad kiddo. How’d you two get away with that?”
Jack: “It's a long story, let's just say he should've quit while he was ahead...”
Meanwhile deep within Sal’ant’s base...
Sal’ant Pi'row. Self proclaimed War Mage and leader of the hands of the void stood in the darkness of his personal chambers gazing out the window contemplating his next move when suddenly he felt a shift in the room's atmosphere.
Sal’ant: “Hello Aldynos…”
Capt Ravenscroft: “You wished to speak with me sir?”
Sal’ant: “Yes…” The mage replied in a much softer tone than usual. “I have important business to attend to on Rerador and I may not return…”
Ravenscroft: “Sir, may I ask what this “Business” is? And is it really worth the risk?”
Sal’ant: “I am going to confront my brother. He needs to be brought to justice for his crimes…”
Ravenscroft: “why can't you just send one of your mages, or that bounty hunter of yours? Surely Cyclone can handle such a gamble as this better than you.”
Sal’ant: “No, I can get closer to him than anyone else. Besides, My new apprentice shall be accompanying me.”
Ravenscroft: “Apprentice? Since when do you have time to train an acolyte?”
Sal’ant turned to face Ravenscroft revealing himself to be no longer under the influence of Lessekamine.
Sal’ant: “When I decided to step down from my position as Leader of the Hands of the Void…”
Ravenscroft: “Stepping down?! No offense sir, but your daughter is by no means trained enough to lead an army!”
Sal’ant: “Which is why you will be the one to take my place…”
Ravenscroft stood speechless after hearing the mage's last sentence.
Ravenscroft: “Are you sure I'm ready? I'm just a Captain.”
Sal’ant: “Maybe in the eyes of General Convo, you and the rest of Aurelia, But they do not know of everything we have done. Or of the training I have given you. In Convo’s eyes our entire operation is purely to strengthen relations between Aurelia and the Collective. You are more than ready…”
Ravenscroft: “What about your mages? What's to prevent them from rebelling against me? I don't have any authority over them. They might think that I'm unfit to lead or-”
Sal’ant: “Calm yourself Aldynos, You have nothing to worry about, my mages shall go with me to Rerador. I need their assistance in training my apprentice should I not survive the confrontation. You will only be leading the non collective.”
Ravenscroft: “I see… It will be difficult without you but I think can manage.”
Sal’ant: “Excellent. Now then, there is something I'd like to give you before I leave…”
Sal'ant reached into his cloak and pulled out a dagger like weapon and presented it to Ravenscroft.
Sal’ant: “It is a collective cross dagger. My first weapon…”
Ravenscroft: “Thank you, but I thought these were mainly used by arena fighters.”
Ravenscoft: “You mean you were-”
Sal’ant nodded slowly before responding to the Aurelian’s puzzled look.
Sal’ant: “My past is a tragic tale, and it's one that I refuse to tell. But if it weren't for that blade I wouldn't be standing here before you today as a collective mage. Now, I need to prepare myself for the challenge ahead and I suggest you do the same…”
Ravenscoft: “Yes sir, and best of luck with the new apprentice, I look forward to meeting them once you return.”
With that Ravenscroft exited the room.
Sal’ant placed his helmet on his head and made his way out the door. He was going to need more than just “luck” if he wanted to win this one…
Meanwhile in Gamoth City...
After leaving the police station we went to an old storage building where Grandpa had set up a “base” of sorts. In the chaos of trying to find me he had forgotten to pay the rent on his apartment. But seeing as how the police raided it last week looking for him a remote warehouse in the industrial district was the best place to be.
Jack H: “So, what do you think of our little “bat-cave?”
Jack: “Looks great Grandpa, but…”
“What happened to Kain?” I asked pointing to the pile of parts and the half assembled droid shell lying on the table.
Jack H: “Oh, we uh, had a little “accident” in system 55, but he'll be as good as new in no time…”
Jack: “System 55! Dang it! I forgot all about the Senator! I better call her and apologize. Uh, where's my data-pad?”
Jack H: “Yeah, we kinda lost it somewhere…”
Jack: “You what?!”
Jack H: “Don't worry, we'll find it soon enough, and it's not like anyone can get into it without the password, in the meantime you can make calls on the console over there.”
I looked at the console next to me and inspected it, it had no monitor or mouse, and the keyboard just had some strange characters I had seen on signs of buildings in Qoter.
I walked over and pressed what I assumed to be the power button and a large holographic display appeared.
Jack: “Um, how exactly do I work this thing?!”
Dushka: “You’ve never used a Qoterian computer before?”
Jack: “I have but they had English on them. And a keyboard...”
Dushka laughed as she responded to my confusion.
Dushka: “Those characters are the alphabet they used before us “earthlings” showed up. They were basically fazed out after the GI merged with the Qoterian government.”
Jack: “WeIl which one do I press to call Senator Atyra Toryn?”
Suddenly the computer began making a buzzing noise and a picture appeared on the blank blue screen.
Soon a holo-projection of Senator Toryn appeared.
Atrya: “Capt Brickton? Where the heck have you been? I've been trying to get ahold of you for months! Aurelia has been attacking the Husk mining operations in response to the attack on Titan base. We might be dealing with a full scale war if it escalates further. We could’ve really used your help.”
Jack: “I know, I signed up to be your escort and let you down, but your “assistant” lead me into a trap! And I was put into cryofreeze for two months before being thrown into an illegal games tournament! I barely made it out alive.”
Atrya: “Why am I not surprised? I apologize for the inconvenience Captain, you'll be pleased to hear that Miss Pyron has been let go and replaced by a much more trusting Mage. Now then, as for the escort, I need an escort as much as Dracios needs more snow. It's just a mandatory requirement of being senator of a planet full of criminals. And thanks to your employer I found someone else to fill that position.”
Jack: “Y-you did? Who is it?”
The Senator turned and motioned to the person off screen.
Atrya: “John, come over here will you?”
To my surprise none other than Johnathan Tonnerre, (the bounty hunter who accompanied us to Fuyoria when we went took down Herman “the Leech” Von Leich.) walked into view.
Johnathan: “Well if it isn't the Black Vuur himself.”
Jack: “The Black Vuur?”
Johnathan: “That's what the natives of Flouron are calling you, they think that you're a dragon or something after that number you pulled on the Aurelians.”
Atrya: “Now, just because I don't need you as an escort doesn't mean I don't need your assistance Captain, the Senate has decided your skills are better suited to the role of a Privateer.”
Jack: “Oh no, I've been there before with Aurelia. There's no profit in privateering.”
Atyra: “That may be the case for Aurelia but keep in mind that they are a very new group compared to the Deltarian system and have very little in the way of funds. You will be rewarded for every enemy ship you capture or destroy, and you will have full military protection should you be attacked by the imperium.”
Jack: “What's the catch?”
Atyra: “No catch, other than the standard risks that are present when attacking ships, so do we have a deal?”
Jack: “On one condition, do I get a cruiser?”
Atyra: “Ha ha, You just keep up the good work and I'll see if I can commission you one. Now, your signal appears to be coming from Rerador. Is that correct?”
Jack: “Um, yes ma'am. Gamoth to be exact. Why do you ask?”
Atyra: “Well you have to sign a few papers before you can officially be a privateer. Luckily, Pyron’s replacement is in Gamoth tomorrow on personal business, I'll arrange a time for you to meet with him. Best of luck Captain.”
I let out a sigh of relief after Atyra ended the call. It was nice to finally have some good news. In fact, I believe this calls for a celebration.
Jack: “Hey Dushka? You got any plans for tonight?”
Dushka: “Not really, why do you ask?”
Jack: “I was wondering if you would like to go to dinner or-”
Suddenly I was interrupted by a call coming in on the computer.
I answered the call and an excited Stingray appeared on the screen.
Stingray: “Brickton! Glad to see you made it out of that arena alive!”
Jack: “How did you know about that?!”
Stingray: “Word travels fast, especially when it's about the death of one of the biggest kingpins in the system! I want all the details after you finish your next job.”
Jack: “Next job?! Look Sting, I'm beat, I need a few days to relax before I pull off any deliveries.
Stingray: “I understand completely, but this is not a delivery, you see, after you whacked Desilijic his second in command “Doven Ryger” took over the operation. And he wants to negotiate a partnership with Stingray enterprises!”
Jack: “Are you sure it's a good idea? I mean he was Desilijic’s right hand man, he's probably just as crooked as his boss!”
Stingray: “On the contrary, Doven has been trying to take down Desilijic for years, he just never had the chance, and thanks to you, he's the richest mobster in Gamoth.”
Jack: “I see, so you want me to go with you to meet him or something?”
Stingray: “Actually, Doven wants to work out the agreement with you, he told me to send you to his nightclub on Carkoon street. He's invited you to some kinda “Halloween” party tonight where you can discuss the details.”
Stingray: “Listen, I gotta run, I’ve got a meeting with a weapons dealer in five minutes, I'll send you the address in a bit, any questions?”
Stingray: “Well you'll have to ask me later, my client is early. Good luck with the agreements!”
Before I could object the old man had already hung up.
Dushka “You're not seriously going to that party are you?”
Jack: “I am, Sting’s counting on me to settle these negotiations, but he didn't say they had to be peaceful...”
Later that night...
As soon as I entered the dank strobe light lit mess that is “Ryger’s nightclub” I was taken back by the stench of what I assumed was the scent of cigars, alcohol, and various illegal substances blended together into some kind of super stench. It was clearly being made by the crowd of criminals and drifters in the club enjoying the drinks and the “entertainment.” If there was one thing I have learned in my time as a smuggler it's that the three things pirates can't resist are Money, Women, and Booze. I on the other hand am only interested in the first one. So the sooner I can find Doven, make this deal and get out of this “sin-shack” the better.
As I made my way to the back of the club I was stopped by a waitress in a pirate wench costume.
Waitress: “Ahoy there Capt, I've been expecting you…”
Jack: “Oh you have, I had the impression that Doven was a man.”
Waitress: “Ha ha, you're a funny one. Doven wanted me to make sure you took your time and enjoyed yourself, and I can't wait for us to get acquainted…”
Jack: “Sure, I'm Jack Brickton, a Pirate who is highly against this sort of establishment and you're going to point me to the direction of Ryger’s office before I turn hostile…”
The waitress stepped back disgruntledly and pointed to a door at the back of the club that led to a storeroom.
Jack: “Your cooperation is appreciated…”
I quickly walked towards the door but I was stopped by Rodney Timms on the way.
Rodney: “Brickton?! What are you doing here?!”
Jack: “None of your business, but I recommend getting out of here. Things are about to get ugly…”
There in the back of the storeroom sat Doven Ryger himself, with what I assumed was one of his “entertainers” smoking some kinda space spice blend.
Doven: “Ah, Captain, glad you could make it. Sit down, enjoy yourself.”
Jack: “I'll enjoy myself After we talk..
Doven: “Business before pleasure eh? No problem. Excuse us for a minute sweetheart…”
Doven's girl walked out of the gallery room as Doven sat up straight on his couch.
Doven: “I must thank you for taking out Desilijic back on etrion. If it weren't for you I’d still be just another one of his pawns.”
I pointed my cutlass at Doven with the blade’s tip placed on his nose.
Jack: “Now I'm only going to say this once, I killed Desilijic to make Gamoth a safer place. NOT to help a pimp like you! I see now that here in the fire pits when one kingpin falls another rises up… So unless you want to see your boss tonight I recommend you shut down your operation and-”
Suddenly I heard the sound of blaster-fire coming from the other room followed by screaming.
Jack: “Now what?!”
Doven: “Damn it! It must be Besadii’s gang!”
Jack: “Do I even want to know who”Besadii” is?”
Doven: “Besadii is one of the most ruthless gangsters in the system! He gains his wealth by extorting and robbing other crime lords! He's been after Desilijic’s haul for years!”
Jack: “Sounds like my kind of guy. I'll be back to deal with you later… If you so much as move I'll-”
Doven: “Yeah, yeah, you'll “look for me, find me and kill me,” I saw the broadcast just get out there and make sure those gangsters don't hurt anyone!”
I dashed out into the main room and was greeted by an imperial blaster pistol pointed directly at my face.
Cahill: “Drop the sword and put your hands over your head!”
Jack: “Take it easy! I'm not the one you're after, Doven’s in the back room.”
Cahill: “Oh I'm not here for Ryger, I'm after you. Jack Brickton, you're under arrest for for smuggling, piracy, grand theft auto, breaking and entering, murder, treason, tax evasion-”
Jack: “Look lady, I haven't got all night. Just say “Crimes against the Galactic Imperium” and leave it at that.”
Cahill: “More like crimes against humanity! It'll be a pleasure breaking you down during interrogation! You've got a lot of questions to answer...”
Jack: “How about we skip the interrogation and you ask me your questions over dinner?”
Cahill: “Sure, so long as you don't mind dining in jail.”
Jack: “No thanks, I hear the service there is awful...”
Cahill: “Enough! There is no escape. Either you come peacefully or we use force!”
Jack: “Oh there's always a way of escape…”
Only trouble was I haven't thought of one yet...
Suddenly I was saved the trouble of planning an escape when a portal opened beneath my feet and I fell through the floor. As the imperial began to fire her blaster.
Cahill: “What the heck?! Quick! After him!”
But it was too late, the portal had closed before she had a chance to jump in after me.
Cahill: “You! Get the station on the com line, I need a full sweep of the back alleys and rooftops in a five mile radius of here! And I need every rail station and shuttleport in the city on lockdown! Brickton just crossed the wrong Cop…”
A few minutes later in an unknown location…
The other end of the portal landed me in one of Gamoth’s many back alleys. Given the smell of ink in the air I assumed it was behind the Newspaper Press. Which was on the clear opposite side of town from the nightclub. There was no way that Imperial would be able to find me. But the question still remained as to who helped me escape…
I picked up my hat and sword and tried to figure out how it happened. The only mage I had met who could use portals to travel was Sal’ant, and last time I checked he wanted me dead, So the most logical answer short of “divine intervention” was Anna- I mean Nara’n’s replacement. But I can find out when I meet him. Right now, the night is still young and I have a lovely lady waiting for me to get back to the safehouse.
“Sorry Brickton, but your date with Evazorn will have to wait…”
I turned around to face the direction of the voice I heard to find none other than The man I had barely escaped from the clutches of a few weeks ago.
Always great to read more from you mate, glad to see you back! A fantastic episode to be sure, especially with the lighting. I also really like the addition of the Qoterian alphabet, as well as how it was mostly fazed out. Some good lore-building there. Nice work!