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Distress Call 44701

Tell us about your adventures, amazing stories, wow us with your wit...use your imagination, tell us some of the greatest moments in your life.

Post Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:37 pm

Distress Call 44701

This is a story I've been writing for a while. I don't even have chapter one completed! Anywho It's kinda self explanatory, I'll post it in parts so mods, don't get mad at me.

I could tell you exactly what had happened, but it would be best to start from the beginning. To some, the beginning was Distress Call 44701, some would say it started with the Von Lowe Expedition, some with the New Galactic Initiative, some with the New Inter-Terrestrial Initiative, but I do not. It started with the Old Inter-Terrestrial Initiative. If it wasn=t for the ITI, the NITI, NGI and the Von Lowe would never have existed. For it was the ITI that planned to cut down on Space Piracy, forming the American Galactic Fleet. When the United States merged with the Northern Alliance Contingent, the NAC tripled the size of the American Space Fleet, making space no longer the last frontier, but rather government property.
With this new threat to the unlimited freedoms interplanetary homesteaders were facing, they formed the Galactic Front, a loose-knit militia of space forces created to stop government encroachment into the far worlds. The NAC responded with the NITI, which ultimately said: AIf you=re not with us you=re against us@. A few years later, in 2242, the NAC bought the South Alliance Contingent. I know none of this is making sense, but it will soon. Then, the combined superpowers formed the Universal Front, and began the First Great War. Now, the Galactic Front proved that an Army without a Country can defeat that which belongs to an all-powerful and all-resourceful corporation. After the six months of that war many heroes were made, and many heroic young men and women lost their lives. Just eight months later, the Universals launched an attack against the planet Attica, the home base of the Galactic Front.
I was not born yet when Attica was attacked, the siege of Attica lasted fourteen and a half years, and I was not born in that time either. When the Universals gave up on Attica, they turned to nearby Trinon, beginning a four month siege. When Trinon was captured by the Universal Front, I was born on the evacuating ship. When the Trinonians reached Attica, I saw my first Privateer - the Triton B. Little did I know that during my youth on Attica, that Galactic and Universal fighters held the only skirmishes that remained during the first lull of the Second Great War. When I was 18 years old, the war had been going on nearly 33 years. I was now able to gain my pilots license. This is where my story begins.

Edited by - Eh_Steve on 11/24/2004 7:37:08 PM

Post Wed Nov 24, 2004 7:48 pm

Chapter 1
"Look at that Trident go!"

"This is Attican News Ten, I'm Amy Knox."
"And I'm John Parker."
"We are now happily able to report that the Trident-D triple engine Personal Transportation and Combat Craft is now on sale to the public with a valid Class II Attican Pilots License. How much do those things cost, John?"
"Well, Amy, those are going on a release sale for only fifteen thousand credits apiece. You can't buy a Trident-C for that much at the spaceport!"
I shut off the Television in my apartment, I didn't need any more convincing. Andy, my roommate hollered at me.
"How many seats is in them things?" He proceeded to wolf down his sandwich before joining me at the door. He grabbed my jacket and threw it at me. "It's cold out there, wet season."
"They're two-seaters, plenty of cargo space to haul our junk." Andy cracked a smile, then it widened into a huge grin. "You stay here and pack, and you're paying for the extras." As I left I heard him shout something about his inheritance, and I knew that his mother would go ballistic if she knew that the thousands of credits she left him when she passed on would go to outfitting a spaceship. I thought of the bright side: no rent. Our rent was eating away our incomes, I a computer technician and he a restaurant waiter. Her forty-one grand would give the two of us a new start, freelancing.
I arrived at the lot with a new confidence that I was doing the right thing. I had only piloted a Trident-Class ship once out of the atmosphere, and that was just for about a half hour. Only the best pilots made it into the homestead worlds, the Universals cut it off. Weekly convoys helped move those that were less fortunate through the blockade. I told myself this as I advanced in the door of the sales office of the New Columbian Craft and Coffee Sales. The man at the desk called me over. He asked me what I needed.
"Do you have the new Trident-D's in stock?" I asked, nervously glancing around.
"Yes sir, would you like to take a run down our track with one?"
I smiled, I would be the first person in my family to fly something above a Trident-B. "Why of course I would! This thing blows my mind!" The man saw how eager I was to fly something. I would have bought the SAF by Winston, the cheapest atmospheric flier, for 2,300 credits if I wanted to, but I didn't. I would test-fly the newest, most high tech, fastest, and safest ship in this side of the galaxy.
"Here's the course, the only large one in the known territories without an entrance fee. Here are the keys, there's the ship, take her for a spin." Deep inside I was eight again and flying a trainer back at the park. The trainer's top speed was a mere 60 miles per hour. These things reach atmospheric speeds of up to 250 mph. I had kept a close eye on the testing stages and the stats, this baby was mine. The man that had shown me around dropped into the copilots seat next to me. The ship was equipped with long range sensors, graphic and infrared mapping systems, on-screen computers, communications with a range long enough to contact someone behind Trinon, and the works. For the moment, I honed in on the controls.
"First, we need to request clearance to begin, go on and do that." The man, Rod, told me.
"What do we name this thing?" I was still jumpy from the fact that I was even in one of these.
"Make one up." Rod didn't seem to creative.
I thought a bit, "Tower, this is Penguin One requesting permission to begin."
The tower operator came on the screen, this thing had the video communication too. "Roger that Penguin One, serial 3410-8914, you may begin when ready." Rod nodded at me, and I mumbled a short comment about the speeds I was about to reach. My right hand shifted the ship into gear while my left steadied the controls. Soon both hands were on the controls and my foot pressed down the accelerator. Rod braced himself in the seat next to me, I laid back and readied for the jolt. It hit me like a concrete wall. I felt skin peeling away from my face, Rod started laughing in the seat next to me. I hit 180 mph after about 15 seconds. Then the hoops started, I ran through each one and then bolted to get in position for the next. The course ran out onto just a long straightaway. I watched the speedometer inch its way up to the 230s.
Rod settled back as the loops came up. He felt confident and I=m not sure he knew he was the only one in the ship that felt that way. The last thing I wanted to do to cause my death was to die in a test flight, I at least want to own the ship I crash. All I could think of as I steered my way through those steel loops was the fact that the computers in the front would light a spark like a giant cigarette lighter to the fuel in the back. I managed the loops one by one, and then looped back around for the landing. This was it, I was going to buy this ship right now.
Rod hopped out, slightly dazed and shaking. "You okay?" I asked him.
"You fly that thing like a military pilot, boy! I'm used to people bypassing the loops and just taking a few free turns in the air, maybe climbing a bit. You took every obstacle head-on." Rod was in utter amazement at my flying ability. I doubted his comments. He was making a sales pitch. I knew in my heart that Rod the salesman's little sales pitch would not encourage me to anything greater than what I had not already intended to do. I had only taken the test flight to get the thrill out without fear of prosecution if I crashed it. Now I was paying for my own. I wouldn't walk home, that spot in the garage would at last be filled with a vehicle that wasn't collecting taxes or rent.

Post Wed Nov 24, 2004 8:31 pm

“Port Victoria Center, this is Andrew Carter of Privateer Red Penguin Serial code 52109, requesting permission to land.” Andy was the navigator and this was his job. I had watched him fly before and he wasn’t worth his weight in toast. They opened the gates and I guided it through into the main landing zone.
“Andy, you know the drill. Drink, repair, drink, eat, sleep and then buy stuff. Don’t buy stuff first, Port Victoria is full of crooks and bums. This is where they say the ship loaded with all the Trinonians who lost everything in the siege ran, and they would kill for a burger. Watch your back, keep that pistol ready.” I was very afraid of this place, I was jumped a month ago, when we were here last. We had been bouncing around the stations towards the border fighting crooks since then.
“I hear you, tomorrow we’ll get some 30 mm ammo, 22 mm rockets, a few 45 mm torpedoes and a few new disks for the cameras and computers right?”
“You’ll make some woman a good butler some day.” I brought the Red Penguin down on the platform, and a taxi came and hauled us into a garage. We were put between a “Golden Lord” Fighter and a freighter hauling something that smelled horribly, like manure or something like that. I don’t know why people haul manure. Makes no sense. Andy got out and ran towards a young girl who was standing out on the runway selling cigarettes. I heard him scream something about smokes and he was gone. I walked around to the back and pulled out our suitcases, taking mine with me to the elevator, watching to make sure Andy grabbed his. He saw me leaving and walked back to the Penguin, tobacco-girl in one hand, cigarette in another.
A man stopped me at the elevator, he told me to open up my suitcase. As I asked him for his ID, to make sure he was security officer, I heard Andy closing the garage and walking towards me. The security guard showed ID, and he probed my suitcase with some strange metal detecting rod. Andy hollered at someone coming out of another ship. Someone he knew, maybe a friend from Attica, somebody he saw out in the borders. I hopped in the elevator, tobacco-girl came too, but no Andy.
“I’m Annie” It sounds better than tobacco-girl, don’t it? “Who are you?”
“Jack Caldwell, Andy out there’s my navigator.” She seemed disinterested in him at the moment, Andy hadn’t had a girlfriend in over a year, and it showed in his attitude at times. At least I was peaceful, and it gave me more right to drink.”
“You’re a pilot! I love pilots! What’s it like, flying all around out there in space?” I’m thinking: ...score? “Do you fight the Universals? I hear lots of the pilots who aren’t good enough that go against the Universals die in their first few months.”
“Thanks for reminding me of my odds.” She started to apologize, “Don’t be sorry, I need to be reminded of things like this. It helps me stay on top of things. I fought against the Universals for nine months before moving out here to relatively safer turf. What do you do for a living?”
While she started answering the elevator door opened up into a lobby. “I sell cigarettes when I’m not working the desks here. I quit smoking after I bought all these cigarettes, so I’m pretty much on the way up.” There was a line stacked at the desks, people paying for rooms, food, anything they needed. The garages were free with license, but hotels weren’t.
“You’re pretty alright... I mean on the way up.” She smiled, then started giggling. “Freudian slip, I think they call that. God, look at those lines, so many people. This will be a while, you don’t have to stay with me.” She was reaching for my hand, she took it and started pulling me away from the crowd.
“You can stay at my place, I have two extra rooms.” No, I thought, tell her no. You aren’t ready for this, you’re a fighter pilot, you can’t have this. Another part of me was telling me the opposite, that I loved this girl already.
“No, no I can’t. I have a responsibility to the Alliance. I should stay here in the rooms. I’m only going to be here a night anyways.” Thank God for common sense, where would I be without it?
“Alright, but the lines are shorter a little later in the day, and that’s when they drop the prices to get more tenants in for the night. Trust me, I work these lines every day. Come back to my place for an hour or two, you can get used to Port Victoria, see the whole place from my window.” She was begging me, I had to accept.
“Okay, but only for a few hours. You don’t happen to have any alcohol there do you?” I was so nervous I could puke, but she told me she had some wine. It’s not necessarily border whiskey but it’ll do the trick. “Let me call Andy and tell him where we are.” I dialed the number on my watch-phone gizmo I picked up on the border. Andy answered, puzzled.
“Where are you?!”
“We’re in the lobby, headed toward the doors, we’ll meet you outside the front entrance, at the subway entrance.”
“Alright, be there. Is that girl with you?”
“Yes, Annie’s with me. We’re going to her place to chill. You coming?”
“You know me better than anyone else in this world, have I ever turned down an invitation to a girl’s apartment?” I knew the answer, it wasn’t what I would tell him here, but there was a story behind it.
“I guess not.” Just a week ago, he had. He was drunk and craving a cigarette. He said no to everything except tobacco. A girl came up and asked him If he wanted to come to her apartment to sober up, and he said only if she had a smoke. She didn’t and he refused.
Anyways we caught up with him at the subway entrance and took the train to her apartment. It was a wonderful place, beautifully decorated, perfect view of the Port Victoria Space Dome. Anyone who walked in would think it was the home of a wealthy merchant, seeing the golden sculptures and expensive furnishings. The decorating spoke of great trips across the galaxy carrying valuable cargoes. I was utterly amazed that a teenage girl could afford all of this, then it hit me, this girl didn’t work for the desk. She didn’t sell cigarettes for spare cash in her free time. All this was her job, all of this technology, that office full of computer equipment and monitors running with code, the view of the entrance, security cameras, it all made sense. I decided to ask her what she did again.
“You said you work at the desk in the Space Dome? Are you off today? Tomorrow?” I was using a tactic I use when dealing with merchants who overcharge for goods. I was attacking her with multiple questions. Then she would think about why I was asking her all of this and not how she would respond. About a third of the people I use this on tell me what I want. Luckily I chose the right person.
“I hack... I mean yes, I’m off tomorrow.” She was sweating, knowing she had just blown her cover. Hackers don’t just tell anyone, there are secret agents out there that would do exactly what I just did.
“Don’t worry, Annie, I’m not going to arrest you, I want to give you a job.” Andy nodded in agreement, he knew what I was talking about.
“What is it?”
“About four months ago we were engaged in a battle with two other wings against a Universal Freighter Convoy headed to Trinon. My wing, Red Wing, was able to bring down the defenses and board. While Andy and I stayed back to guard the ships in the bay, we saw a computer console nearby. It was a mobile one, one of those old notebook computers and the battery was almost dead, and It held only one file. I took a disk from the ship and put the file on it, hoping that someday I’d find somebody to decrypt the file and see what it was. I haven’t been able to and a few close friends couldn’t get close. Do you think you can?”
Annie had a shocked look on her face, amazed at how fast I had gone from a dashing pilot to a promising employer. She would have fun doing this, and she knew it, she just needed more info. “Tell me about the ship.”
“It was a Class 9 Freighter, carrying cobalt to Trinon for use in explosives and engine fuels. Well defended, had a powerful communications system, one of the few ships I’ve seen with long range radio transmitters and receivers. Had no logs though, as if Trinon was not it’s last stop, like it would go farther into the wild territories. I wouldn’t send a whole fleet out there if I had a choice, there aren’t just bandits, us pilots say the area is cursed. There are ghost ships, ghost fleets and so on. There was a priest we captured there, said they had gotten through the bandits and the ‘ghosts’ before. I kept an excerpt of his testimony with me on my handheld, hold on a minute.” I pulled out my handheld computer, and began to read from it. “‘My brother, John Von Lowe, took a fleet through, It was costly but it worked. We were to be next, the relay ship. If John sent a message back, we were to receive it and send it back to Trinon, now all of this equipment will go to waste in some hardware store on Attica, won’t it?’ I didn’t quite understand, but It was apparently enough for the Atticans, who shot him after he said that.”
“What protocol of Universal Encryption is it?” Annie knew her stuff.
“I think 9a. It’s got a serial code access screen when you run it as an application.” Annie ran to her office, bringing out a small notebook computer and an external drive. She put the disk in the drive and began typing furiously. After just a few minutes I heard a few beeps followed by a mechanical voice telling us that we had four messages. We listened to them, they detailed the mission of the freighter. At least the first three did. The third was an extremely choppy sounding file. We were able to understand a few phrases from it. We heard a frantic voice calling for fire extinguishers on the third deck, a call for help that the “spirits were coming”, and then an all clear signal. It didn’t make much sense to us, but we didn’t have time to think. There was a knock on the door.
“Andrea Carlson, open this door. This is the Port Victoria Police Authority! We have a warrant for your arrest! Come our promptly and peacefully and you’ll get out faster... if you get out at all!....” While they pounded on the door, Annie ran to her office and pulled out all the hot swap drives, disks, keys, and everything that held something important. She threw in her notebook and a disk reader and then ran to the window.

Leave you guys with a little cliffhanger while I work on the rest of chapter 1.

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