Freelancer Community Network
Reminder: Internet Explorer 6 or below are NOT supported.
HomeHome
ForumForum
WikiWiki
DownloadsDownloads
ForgeForge
Multiplayer Connection Tutorial
Collapse/Expand Random Image
Collapse/Expand Login
Username:

Password:

Remember me



Lost Password?

Register now!
Collapse/Expand Chat
Collapse/Expand Who's Online
71 user(s) are online (47 user(s) are browsing Forum)

Members: 0
Guests: 71

more...
Collapse/Expand Donations
Monthly costs: -30€
Income (ads): +5€
Donations (last month): +165€

Current balance: 105€
(last updated 02/2021)

Please make a donation if you want to help keeping The-Starport online:

Thanks!
Collapse/Expand Links
Collapse/Expand Advertisement
There are currently 76 users playing Freelancer on 40 servers.
April. 11, 2021

Browsing this Thread:   1 Anonymous Users



 Bottom   Previous Topic   Next Topic  Register To Post

(1) 2 »


Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
Note: This was written as a RP story line for Topfreelancers RPG Server. Apologies if it doesnt make sense to all.

Friggin' coffee. I hate coffee.

Annoyance filled his thought as he struggled to make a simple cup of coffee. It's not that he hated coffee, he enjoyed it. It was the building of a cup of coffee that challenged him most.

The true cause was in the events of the past few weeks. Since his return to command, Blackheart had been fixed on one mission alone; the strengthening of the force for the sake of Justice. That had always been his mission. But on days like these, that became all to easy to forget. The frustrations of his service on the Council made even the simplest tasks rife with vexation.

It dawned on him that he had an aide who could manage it. He yelled at the door, "Walters, coffee!" The orderly entered and the colonel turned with water and pot and in hand. Walters ran into him, spilling ruined coffee down the front of his white shirt.

"Son of a ---"
_____________________________________________________________

Blackheart threw his gear into the side kitty in the cockpit and climbed in. Dropping into the seat, a yawn blew through him.

I wanted coffee.

As he lamented his loss, he turned his attention to the flight plan in the datapad. In perfect predictable pattern, the datapad shorted.

"What the hell? Get me a hard copy!" He flung it to the floor.

A sigh passed his lips and he began to remember simpler days.

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:33
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
Luxury Liner Hawaii

Just remember Roo, you did the right thing. It's all fine. Everything will work out.

Roo paced the corridors outside the office door of the new CEO of Sirius Diversified, Inc.

He will do fine. But he needs your help. SDI will survive... but it can survive without me.... no it cant... well it could... Ah blast it.

The office door swings open and Roo is beckoned into the room by the CEO's personal assistant. Once inside Roo is lead to another room. Stepping through the second door Roo stands face to face with the Matsumoto.

"Avery! You took your time! You were supposed to be here 6 hours ago!"


Great... first day with a new boss and I am already in the crap!


"I am sorry boss, but things at the SCC took longer than expected. I tried to leave but was mobbed by Journalists. You know how the press are. SNN were there trying to buddy up close.... The reporter left with a bloody nose. But that wasn't me."

"Well how did they take it? I want details damn you Roo! What are they saying about your announcement. What will Blackheart do?"

"What he always does... boss... he will look out for the publics best interest. If that means cooperating with us in Kusari then so be it."


A beeper goes off on Matsumoto's desk.

"I have to get that Roo. I will be in touch. You can see yourself out."

-------------------------------------------------------------------

Back in Roo's Coffee House


13th Jan

Walking into "Roo's Coffee House"... my coffee house. Things feel better. Before Spectre departed he handed me the deeds to this place. It is no longer run by SDI. But me, Roo Avery. At least I have somewhere my own.

I had to go to the new boss today after the SCC announcement. I have to say, he is organized. Well planned. Dedicated. But heck, I don't know.. maybe I just need too "re adjust" and change with the times...

The problems with the SCC and Police are wearing me down. But tomorrow is another day, and right now I need to sleep.


Roo closes down his Laptop, switches of the desk lamp and heads to the back door leading to his personal quarters.

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:33
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
It was uncharacteristically quiet in the neighborhood. It was unusual for the trade lanes to be so quiet in Frankfurt. The escort team had been in position for 6 minutes, perhaps not long for the average pilot, but a lifetime for experienced naval officers, excepting the poise of their leader. The Rheinland admiral raised his hand and pushed back a glove to reveal the time on his watch, then glanced forward at the mission clock.

Moments later, a group of vessels appeared exiting the trade lane some 20 K from Munich. Checking his scopes and verifying the signatures, Tieg Junge was satisfied they could prepare to move.

Right on time.

"An das Zeit, Alle," Junge noted to the squad in a thick Rhein accent, easing their tensions. Of course, he was still required to proceed with the formalities.

"Attention trader convoy, this is Rheinland Navy Gordon-3-8. You have entered Rheinland space. Identify yourselves. Over."

"This is Police convoy Beta-2-0. We're escorting the Rebel Alliance on a trade mission from New Tokyo to Leipzig Station."

"Copy that, Beta-2-0. How was the ride, BH?" inquired the young admiral.

"Uneventful. Unusual, I thought. No one's complaining. Transferring control to Gordon-3-8."

A smile crossed Junge's lips. "Roger, Colonel. Have a safe return."

The Police troopers drove forward from the convoy and looped back in an about-face to return to the trade lane. Blackheart stared back at the convoy on the rear view display as they left.
_____________________________________________________________

Not much later, the colonel and his troopers disembarked from their fighters and headed to the locker rooms. A deck officer approached Blackheart.

"Message from HQ, sir," he stated, handing him a datapad.

Blackheart dropped his gear and took it. I think there is collusion, it read.

Was no trader to be trusted?
_____________________________________________________________

Waylander stared at the hologram of Matsumoto. He didn't trust him. Not a bit. He trusted Avery a little more. He wondered why it wasn't him leading the corporation.

"My lord, I don't understand. We've had perfectly solid evidence of what was going on there. How can you, in good conscience, tell us to withdraw the fine when there is much more we could prosecute?"

The image of Lord Nedelor leaned back in his chair, folding his hands. "I understand your concern, Sergeant Major, but this matter is best left to the higher ranked officials appointed for those roles. I don't want to hear another word on it from this command without indisputable evidence. Enough damage has been done."

Restrained indignation built up behind Waylander's cool exterior. He would speak with the colonel. This wasn't the end of the affair. Not by a longshot.

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:35
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
SDI Intelligence Department 1 - Classified Location

"Sir, Intel reports everything is quiet again. TFL Police dropped the fine. Waylander was reported to have taken the news badly. There has been an unusual amount of contact between a unknown source and Waylander. We are working on tracking down this unknown source as we speak."


"Good job guys. What off Blackheart?"


"Sir, Blackheart is on his way to New Tokyo as we speak. He was reported to have finished a Trade Convoy to Rhienland and then headed to NT unescorted, which is unusual. We are tracking him as always."

"Good, keep me updated ok. We have taken a bit of a beating recently, but it is only minor. If things go to plan, Matsumoto and myself should be able to deal with anything that arises."

"Sir, if I may?"

"Of course, speak lad."

"A message has come in on Spectre's old encrypted line. But it is addressed to you Sir."

The young Intelligence Traffic controller hands Roo a small datapad.

"....... I must depart. Have my Corvette ready to leave. Contact Hawaii, tell them I will be changing ships there. Tell them to have the old bird ready to fly on my arrival. Keep me updated at all times, you hear me?"


"Yes Sir!"

"Yes Sir!"

New London to Cambridge Jumpgate

"SDI Sir Avery. This is Zeta wing flying on behalf of his lordship. You are requested to cut your engines and prepare to be scanned."

"Zeta wing, that is understood. Let's make this quick, there is a lot of traffic today."

"Sir Avery, you are cleared. We will continue to escort you the rest of the way to Hawaii and then onto your final destination."

"Thank you Zeta wing, let's hope we are not to run into too much trouble."

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:35
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
"Sir Avery, it has been a pleasure flying with you"

The leader of Zeta wing holds out his hand. Roo reaches out and shacks it.

"If it wasn't for you and your men, I might not of got here."


"Well Avery, you are welcome. You are to wait here. The Captain of the Lord's Private guard will be along shortly. Farewell"

Roo takes a glance around the waiting room. It had been a long flight and there had been more than one encounter with Outcasts and Corsairs. But the men of Zeta wing were seasoned pro's. Only the best men flew and worked for Lord Nedelor.

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:36
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
A screaming sneeze blew through the colonel. He reached across his desk for another tissue. The mound in his receptacle was becoming impressive.

He pressed the intercom button on his desk console. "Wilgins," he muttered miserably.

"Yes, sir," came back the healthy, wide-awake trooper. Blackheart scowled at his wellness.

"Brig me the latest reports and the trade authorizations for tomorrow, and mage hot tea."

"Right away, sir."

Several minutes later, the orderly appeared with a platter in one hand and a stack of datapads in the other.

As Wilkins began pouring, Blackheart began shuffling through the datapads. He always looked for the red-lettered headings. They indicated an attack somewhere. The words Gordon-3-8 flashed scarlet, catching his attention.

That's interesting. It was attacked by Bundschuh, but not Outcasts.

He nodded in affirmation of a theory that was forming in his mind. Wilkins placed a cup of tea near his hand. "Anything else, Colonel?"

"That'll be all, Lieutenant," he punctuated with a sniff and an envious glance.

Recruit applications, trade authorizations, patrol orders and complaints; and among the lattermost was a submission from the Sergeant Major. Waylander was banging the drum against Lord Nedelor. The conflict between the enlisted man and the commissioner was growing. Blackheart feared the rift it could cause, and not simply between himself and these two men. If the dispute were to leak into the ranks, there was no telling what polarizing effects it could have.

Wouldn't it be easy if I could pin this on Matsumoto? he thought. That really was the catalyst that spurred the situation. And there was no telling what SDI was going to do next. If Lord Nedelor was forced to side with the traders once again, there was no telling what his troopers might do next.

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:36
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
"Avery, please... take a seat"

Roo holds out his hand to Lord Nedelor, but the Lord of Justice doesn't extend his out. Roo slumps down into the seat offered.

"Nice place here Neddy" says Roo looking around the office.

"It is Lord Nedelor Avery."

"Well Lord, it is Sir Avery."

Both men are silent. It is Roo that breaks the silence.

"You did not bring me here to bicker about titles. What is it you want?"

"Avery... Sir Avery sorry, where is Spectre? And tell me, why is it a Transporter fresh out of the SDI training program the new CEO? Surely Roo, surely you would of been picked to take that spot?"

Roo chuckles. Sitting up straight in his chair and unfolding his arms...

"Lord Nedelor, Spectre is gone. Do I know where he is? Does SDI Intelligence provide your police force with 90% of their Intel?"

"Well, why Matsumoto?"

"There is no one better than Matsumoto my Lord. He is a fresh cut man, full of ideas and full of life. Damn, he is so full of life, it seems your boys want him behind bars. Neddy... I mean Lord Nedelor, I can not lead SDI. Think about it, I am gone days, weeks, months on Operations for Intel. And plus, come on, I can barely control that jerk Revan in the coffee house. How do you expect me to run a Corporation the size of SDI?"

"Matsumoto will be the death of SDI Roo. You know this, don't you? I saved your bacon in the Council Chambers, and trust me, I almost had a revolt on my hands. I can not save you again. SDI will have to deal with the crap next time they screw up."

"Matsumoto the death of SDI? Well, if he is, lets make sure we go down with a bang shall we....."

"... Look, Matsumoto is the CEO. I will stand by him, and I will be the voice of SDI in the Council Chambers. If the voice of Matsumoto is the voice of SDI, so be it. That is my job my Lord."


"And what off my offer?"

Roo removes the small datapad the Intelligence Traffic Controller gave him.

"Why did you send it on Spectre's line?"

"The only was to ensure Matsumoto did not intercept it."

Roo looks back down at the datapad in his hand. With a flick of his wrist he launches it at Lord Nedelor.

"Keep it. I can not do what you ask my Lord. You know why...."


With that Roo stand and makes his way to the office door...

"Avery....." snaps Lord Nedelor

"Think this through... remember what it is you stand to lose...."

Roo looks up at the door in front of him and reaches out to the handle. Opening the door he steps half way through it. Without turning uttering just one word, Roo leaves the office.

".... everything...."

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:37
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
All wild on the eastern front, mused the colonel.

Standing in the command strategy room, gazing into a holographic map of the space between Rheinland and the Sigmas, the confetti of color had once again become the norm. Only weeks ago, there was a conspicuous absence of activity in the area of Sigma-13 and Frankfurt. Even Dresden had lightened up, yielding only a slight increase in Bundschuh attacks. The notable red icons denoting heavy KAOS assaults had seemingly disappeared.
_____________________________________________________________

Since the attack on the Rheinland trade convoy Gordon 3-8, formerly known as Police convoy Beta 2-0, Blackheart had been piecing together a theory. It reflected that if there were no Outcasts harrassing Alliance traders, then one of two things had occurred: either the traders had paid off the pirates in order to deliver their cargo unmolested; or, they were smuggling for them. Both options were undesirable.

Further investigation was conducted by the colonel himself. After several days of drilling Rebel Alliance corporate officers, it was learned that the former had taken place. Antilles himself had offered resolution, informing Blackheart that he had since terminated the arrangement. If only the admission had given the weary commander any peace.

But where one doubt had been put to rest, another arose. The concern before him now harkened back to an issue he had thought put to rest. Had SDI, the most intricate and dependable intelligence-gathering source in the Sector, erred in tracking this threat? Or worse; had they intentionally forgone the sharing of critical data that might have saved lives?
_____________________________________________________________

I don't know.

He continued to ask the question. He needed an answer, and nobody had one. In the lounges and locker rooms, words flew like 'vettes as everyone shared their theories on why SDI did, or did not, or could not do something to help prevent incidents just like Gordon 3-8 from happening.

More than once Sergeant Major Waylander had to discipline troopers for taking that information into the public forum. It was beginning to have an effect on the image of the Police. It reflected on his troopers, on his officers, on himself. There were those who began to criticize Police organization, even competency. Some thought the Police needed help, a new influx of strength and energy. Others were talking of giving up on the Police entirely.

Among these were the Rheinlanders. After an alledged assassination attempt on one of their ambassadors, the Empire was adamant on reparations and resolution against Bretonia's supposed negligence. Blackheart had come out in support of Bretonia's lack of culpability in the matter, angering officials within the Rheinlander government. Now threats of leaving the Council over the matter were coming out, and peace between the two Houses was strongly in question.

Odd how they forget that we spilled blood for them, too. Most neglected, my joystick.

A spiral of rage was beginning to spin. There was seemingly nothing that could be done.
_____________________________________________________________

And now it seemed like Lord Nedelor himself was standing in the way. Blackheart could tell from their latest conversations that there was apprehension on the part of the Sergeant-at-Arms. When asked about why better tabs were not being kept on the trader group's infamous intel corps, the commisioner became shielded and distant. He seemed to prevent any potentially incendiary episode from occurring between the eyes and hands of the Council. Why should Avery and Matsumoto be so inaccessible?
_____________________________________________________________

"I don't have an answer."

Standing at the front of a half-full command room, Matador gave a reply to the question that had been plaguing him in briefings for over a week.

"As far as intel knows, the Bundschuh were operating on a random hit-and-run. They would go out of their way to harrass convoys of little importance simply for effect. There was little or no way to assess predictability."

"And we find that acceptable?" asked one of the frustrated precinct captains. "The colonel has given us little to counter the fallout from local conflicts. Citizens are beginning to take matters into their own hands."

Another, motivated by the cathartic comment, followed suit. "Indeed, even some local military officers are speaking up. Down in Frankfurt we're being referred to as the "poor richard's" of security forces."

"Commanders, you've received your orders and implemented the changes as they've come down. Political ramifications from broad area effects are best left to Command and the Council. We appreciate your patience these last few weeks. Dismissed."


The room emptied to the back, oblivious to the presence of the colonel and his wingmen standing in a side hatch.

"Sir," said Matador.

"Head to the hangar, Goldie. I'll be there in a minute."

"Yes sir."

"Maty," said Blackheart in a hushed voice, glancing down the hall after his wingmen to be sure of distance,"this is about all I can take of this "local" trouble. The people are losing faith in us. I don't know how to give them the force they want."

Maty stepped in close and leaned on the wall. "We can't see our own feet in front of us. We're blind out there. We can't tell who's our enemy, who's our friend."

Blackheart nodded sullenly. He breathed a sigh of resignation. "I gotta fly. I'll be back in 8 hours."

Maty offered a crisp salute, as was his custom. Blackheart returned it, then proceeded down the corridor.
_____________________________________________________________

Still in the hangar, sitting in his cockpit, going over the new hard copy for the flight, Blackheart glanced up at his blank scope. That's how men all across the Sector were feeling now. Why had SDI seemingly abandoned them? What could he do?

He rubbed a gloved hand over his face and leaned on his elbow for a moment.

Finally, he switched on his comms.

"Foxtrot 4-10 to tower, this is Lead."

"Go ahead, Lead."

"I'm making a revision to the flight plan. Patrol will terminate at Sigma-19, Sector D-5."

Blackheart fired up his starfighter and put on his helmet. The revving of engines filled the hangar.

The tower came back. "Confirm, termination point to be reached at Luxury Liner Hawaii?"

"Roger that. And notify Captain Maty to send a coded communique to Sir Avery at SDI. He's going to be receiving several visitors very shortly."

Blackheart suddenly caught the reflection of his badge in the cockpit window, then glanced up ahead at the blackness of space opening before him. Then he punched his thrusters, firing he and his wingmen off into space like angry red bullets.

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:37
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
In a darkened room, Waylander stared out of a window after the outgoing flight. He saw red engines glowing hot, then turning blue with the blazing fury of cruise speed achieved.

He gazed at the far off star of the system, a blue dwarf that coolly highlighted every surface in the sector. It was reaching the end of its life cycle. It was almost sad to Waylander, watching this faithful source of life and light wane.

Of course, in terms of human lives this meant relatively little. It would exist for some millenia to come. But these were the days that one questioned whether his service made a difference, whether he also was a faithful protector of life.

As he came to, Waylander realized he was staring into his own eye. Regaining his senses, he decided to turn his attention to more current matters and lifted the datapad in his hands before him. It described the loss of a convoy in Dresden some weeks ago. Normally, a loss such as this would be accepted as a typical loss. That didn't make it any more acceptable per se, but anyone who traveled the trade lanes knew the dangers inherent in them. But for some reason, the colonel had become fixated on this one attack. And there had been others. Waylander wouldn't have been any more troubled than usual. He was just following orders.

Notes on the growing tensions between New Berlin and London were included. At least this was current, but no more understandable than his commander's request. What was the use of dividing alliances when the problems in each House were so evident?

Waylander tossed the datapad on his desk. He leaned on his shoulder with a fist to his chin, contemplating whether there was any wisdom in Rheinland's moves. Long moments passed standing there at the window. Finally, a theory began to form in Waylander's mind.

Rheinland navy were escorting Gordon 3-8 into Dresden when it was attacked. They were known to have been present at a transaction with RA in New Tokyo system while KAOS were in the area. The latest demands made of Bretonia seem like a power grab for the Omegas, a perfect foothold for Outcasts. Through conjecture, it's possible to surmise that the Imperial Guard are somehow sanctioning Outcast activity, or even working with them.

Waylander nodded subtely at the thought.

Then he shook it off. "Nah."

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:38
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
Private Quaters - Luxury Liner Hawaii

The room was still and quiet as Roo entered. Everthing was as he left it weeks ago. Things had been busy. The Coffee shop, Spectre leaving, Matsumoto taking over, the SCC, and of course Lord Nedelors offer. Roo was tired, no, not tired, exhausted. He had been on the move for weeks. He walked across to the small leather sofa at the far end of the common room and switched on a small side light. He slipped backwards onto the sofa and sighed deeply. It was only seconds before sleep had taken over completely.

Waking suddenly, Roo felt a presence in the room. He slid his hand down to his boot and removed an ornamental knife. It was a Knife Cerun had given him years ago when Roo was working undercover for SDI intelligence and investigating the Blood Dragons. The knife had since seen much blood shed, none of it spilt with out remorse. Roo was not a violent man by nature.

He slowly stood from the sofa and made his way into the centre of the room.


"You need not have a knife out Roo. It's not exactly how you welcome friends is it?"

"Spectre?"

"Who else where you expecting? Yes it is me."

A light went on in the room, and there he stood. Spectre looked the same as before. Although it had only been a number of weeks, Roo had expected him to look different.

"Nedelor made you the offer then?"

"You know of the offer?"

"Of course. Before I vanished from sight, I spoke with him. At much length. Roo, the Police are scared. SDI Intelligence is not working with them, this worries them. We have always provided them with the Intel they need. Nedelor is worried, and this is affecting Blackheart. Waylander too is feeling the pressure. Waylander may just snap."

"And what I am to do. If I do what is needed of me, I lose. I lose everything. I lose SDI, I lose my life, the Coffee house, the respect. Spectre, if I go through with it, I disappear, I am no more. Do you understand that?"

"You think I dont know what it is like to lose Roo? Look at me now. SDI is no longer mine. The company I built up. The Intelligence department I started with you, the whole system we had going. I too have lost Roo. Sacrifices need to be made. I have made mine, and now I have to go. Look around, look at Sirius. Is this still a place that SDI Sir Aver belongs too?"

Spectre starts towards the door. Once reaching it he turns around.

"You wont see me again for a long time my friend. I will be in touch however. Do what feel rights. Do what is needed, and what you know your needed for."

With that Spectre disappears through the open door, and closes it behind him. Roo is left standing still. His hand shakes. His body shakes. For the first time in years, he is stuck for an answer. And this scares the Head of SDI Intelligence.

After what feel's like hours, there is a small voice heard over an internal Intercom.

"Mr Avery Sir. There is a message for you. However, it is not recognisable. It is a code of sorts. I believe it is from Captian Matador of the Police However."

"Thank you Matthew. Send it through to my console. Matthew, please arrange for Daeros to be contacted, I need a long chat with him. Oh, and I hear Spankey reported for Duty recently, get him here aswell."

"Will do Sir."

Roo crosses to the Console on his desk and opens the message Matthew had just sent. Roo recognised it straight away. It seemed Blackheart was on his way to visit... with guests. Roo looked out the window and spotted on the horizon a small cluster of ships... it seemed Blackheart was already here.

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:39
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
Heavy boots fell on the decadent floor leading to the office of SDI's own Sir Avery. Flanked by his men, Goldar and Alpha, Blackheart was tightly escorted with an urgency approaching emergency.

A sharp turn right down another corridor and the group was bearing down on a cold durasteel blast door. It looked terribly out of place, at odds with an entire setting of comfort and beauty. The foremost guard lifted his wrist to his lips and spoke something unintelligible. Then the heavy door rotated and parted, revealing ornate wooden doors more appropriate to their surroundings. Two of the other escorts moved forward and opened the doors, gesturing for the colonel to enter.

Goldar and Alpha moved to follow, but were stopped short when the escorts quickly closed the doors and stood before them with hands clasped in front. The troopers looked at each other and scowled.
_____________________________________________________________

The Police commander couldn't have been less concerned, unfortunately. His mind was full of questions, accusations, and other intentions. He could barely hide the frustration on his face as he stared ahead. Behind the desk set against the open field of stars sat the man he had come three systems to see - Avery.

Blackheart stepped forward, moving steadily, as much for effect as to keep himself from doing anything irrational. Avery stood in acknowledgement.

Blackheart stopped several feet before him. They were sizing each other up, profiling each other's appearance and body language. Blackheart's black fatigues couldn't conceal his discomfort. Avery, on the other hand, was calm and collected.

"Welcome to the Luxury Liner Hawaii, Colonel Blackheart. Please sit." Avery motioned to a slim but comfortable chair that rotated up out of the floor.

"I think I'll stand if it's all the same to you," he said with slight condescension.

"Very well," Avery replied, taking his own. The sounds of a nova-classical orchestra were playing. "Do you like the symphony, Colonel?"

"Not at the moment."

"That's a shame. Would you like a drink?"

"What are you doing?"

"Trying to help you relax. I prefer to keep my guests comfortable to facilitate conversation."

"Or let their guard down."

"Tosh. Do you want to discuss what is on your mind?"

"Where has my intelligence gone?"

"'Where has the intelligence SDI provides you gone?' you mean."

"What else?"

"What do you know about RIG?"

Taken aback by Avery's sudden change of pace, Blackheart blinked and said, "I know they're about to perpetrate a war based on unjustified accusations. Why? Do you know who killed the Rheinland ambassador?"

"Yes I do. I also know why. But that is not what is important right now. What is important is the Empire's involvement with pirates. Until now we've been unable to prove it. But I've had a theory-"

"That they've been in with pirates?"

"Perhaps indirectly. Perhaps complicitly. Or perhaps not at all. That's what I need you for."

"Need me? I came to you," insisted the colonel, irritated.

"I'm afraid you don't follow, Colonel. If I were to venture into an investigation that calls into question the integrity of an entire House government that until now has been vehemently anti-pirate, I risk the legitimacy and safety of our entire operation. But if a high-ranking official of the SCC, such as yourself, were to come forward with similar concerns, then I can safely initiate a full investigation without jeopardizing our reputation."

"You want to conduct a full investigation?"

"Don't you?"

"Of course, but I could never get SCC backing. It would have to go through too many channels. The Rheinlanders would find out before we passed Munich and turn us right around."

"That's why we aren't requesting SCC backing."

Blackheart began to slowly take the seat he had refused. "Are you proposing-"

"A covert operation, yes." A grin crossed Avery's face as he leaned forward and clasped his hands.

This is nuts, thought Blackheart. Mere minutes ago he wanted answers. Now he was terribly reluctant to hear any more.

He hesitated for what seemed like minutes. In reality it was only seconds, but the ramifications of every scenario began to enter into his psyche, traversing the dimensions of the political, military, and diplomatic realms. Until he remembered the one reason why he came here.

"Justice."

Avery smiled. "Justice. And a chance to stop what could become the most heated conflict since the Figureheads arose."

Blackheart nodded in agreement. "We'll need to leave immediately. I have two men with me."

Avery stepped around his desk with a datapad and handed it to him. "We've already prepared alibis and identities for the three of you. We'll be departing on a Republican armored transport in 8 hours."

"Then I need to contact command. The captain needs to know what's going on."

"No, nobody can know. If you tell anyone, this is off."

The colonel glanced aside as he began to realize the depth of the situation he was becoming involved in. "I understand."

Blackheart began to turn to exit the room when Avery siezed his arm. He looked straight at the officer. "Do you?"

The colonel nodded in quiet resignation.

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:39
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
Roo turned back towards his desk and slowly made his over to it. Walking around to the chair, he lowered himself down into his chair. He reached down and opened a draw, he pulled out a single glass and a bottle of Jack Daniels Whiskey. This wasn't the cheap stuff they tried to simulate, this was the real thing. Hard to come by, it had cost Roo $500,000 for this single bottle.

"So it is all in place then?"

Lord Nedelor walked out of the shadows next to the desk. Roo unscrewed the JD bottle and poured himself a larger than normal glass full.

"Yes."

Roo bought the glass up to his lips, he looked towards Lord Nedelor, nodded and finished the drink in one deep gulp.

"And what if things go wrong?"

Roo placed the glass back in the open draw. He screwed the lid back on the JD bottle, and placed that too in the draw. He closed it and stood.

"Then it is over, and I lose."

"You have made plans then? I mean, in case."

"In case I die you mean?"

"..... yes..."

"The plan is for Spankey to run the Intelligence Department. He doesn't know it yet. But when he gets back to HQ he will."

"And Blackheart?"

"He suspects nothing, which is how it should be. He knows all he needs to know, for the greater good. Maybe when this is all over you can tell him your part in this....."

"..... I have to be going. They will be waiting for me already. You can see yourself out."


Roo walks out the doors. He faintly hears a murmur in the distance. [i]Good luck
. Yeah right thinks Roo as he makes his way down to meet the others.[/i]

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:40
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
The armored transport floated beside the streamlined luxury liner, connected by a transparent umbilical bridge. Passengers of all kinds crossed over. But mixed in with the crowd were four who had a mission. They blended in well. Fashionable, but not flashy; confident, but not snobbish. Each man carried his own baggage. There wasn't much, though.

And so they crossed on the umbilical.
_____________________________________________________________

On the Republican vessel, they sat in pairs. Goldar and Alpha sat on one end of the compartment, Avery and Blackheart on another.

Avery leaned back, pretending to be reading holonews. "We'll be switching transports at Frankfurt. Out ID's will change there. We'll take a shuttle to Mainz where a repair ship will be waiting for her crew to come on duty. We'll be taking that shift. A quick shot over to Mannheim Station, then join up with a Daumann Shipping crew bound for Dresden."

"We're just asking to get jumped, aren't we?"

"Without announcing it, yes."

"Mhm." Blackheart looked out the window almost regretfully as the Sigman sun receded into the clouds.
_____________________________________________________________

Arriving at Frankfurt, the passengers disembarked anonymously. One by one, each of the covert operatives slipped out of the crowd and headed to a secluded location. They would return looking quite different, each in a dark green work uniform. They moved together quickly and walked briskly into the service shuttle hangar. A group of laborers were already boarding the shuttle for their daily commute to Mainz. The transition was seamless.
_____________________________________________________________

When the troopers arrived at Mainz, they put on their flight helmets almost immediately and moved to the nearest lift. It carried them to a sub-hangar where several repair ships waited for their crews. Avery stepped beneath the hatch and flipped open a hidden keypad, then entered the activation code. The hatch opened and the men climbed up inside the ship.

As they exited the station, Alpha opened a channel with the tower. "This is RSS Blue 7 clearing the hangar."

"Roger, Blue 7," came back the tincan voice of the tower operator. "Have a good one."

The engines kicked into blue flame and sped off toward Munich.
_____________________________________________________________

The group had been safely nestled on board their Daumann transport for several hours. The ship had just cleared the New Berlin jump gate and was fast approaching the capital itself. Finally, it came into view. Blackheart watched it grow large in the window and reflected on whether he would return to it as a friend or foe. It was a shame it couldn't be simply as a protector. A whole world couldn't be guilty - could it?
_____________________________________________________________

The ship had now entered Dresden. All there was left to do was wait. If all went according to plan, they would be attacked somewhere between the jump gate and Bautzen Station. It wouldn't last long. If the crew followed standard operating procedure then a surrender would be offered within 30 seconds of the first shots. That was, unless a police patrol responded. But Avery assured Blackheart he had seen that the patrol would be occupied well enough elsewhere. The colonel didn't ask for details.

And as they entered the trade lane, they knew that their capture would provide the perfect opportunity to find out the secrets of the pirates known as the Hessians.

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:40
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
The crew showed signs of discomfort when they learned it was a battleship patrol that was inquiring of them. The captain knew it was irregular for anything over the size of a patrol to stop a single transport with minimal escort. More than that, he was puzzled at the request. He opened a channel to reply.

"Charlie 1-0, this is Blue 7. Our personnel manifest is completely accurate."
_____________________________________________________________

Junge wasn't satisfied. He knew something was not right. And he wasn't take any chances.

He touched his fingers to the communicator on his ear. "Commander Bird, you may engage the transport. I want it intact and its crew alive."

"Roger that, Admiral."

A smile blossomed on Full Bird's face. "Hessians, let's get busy."
_____________________________________________________________

In moments, the transport shook violently. The crew were frantic, dodging to avoid sparking consoles and splitting bulkheads. And in rear of the ship, in engineering, Blackheart and his men were struggling to brace themselves against the impact of missiles and cannon fire.

"This is Avery's idea of a smooth operation?!" yelled Alpha.

"Who said this was going to be a smooth operation?!" hollered back Goldar.
_____________________________________________________________

After several minutes under fire, the shaking stopped. Then throughout the ship a final shudder and clang. And Hessians began to pour into the hold. Uniformed pirates, it seemed, were filling the ship and spreading to every part of it.

The Police troopers were promptly apprehended along with the rest of the crew, and were brought to the rather large hole that had been cut in the hull. There they met Avery again, for the first time since they boarded. He had a small grin on his face. All was going according to plan.
_____________________________________________________________

They were blindfolded and gagged for most of the trip. They sat on the cold deck of a small space.

It's too small to be a freighter, thought Blackheart.

He didn't know how right he was. It seemed there was much Avery hadn't told him.

For the entire crew had been herded aboard a single Rheinland gunship, and they were headed for dreaded pirate haven, Vogtland Base.

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:41
Top
Re: Command and Compromise
Home away from home
Joined:
2008/2/9 19:57
From United Kingdom
Group:
Registered Users
FLServer Admins
Senior Members
Posts: 1118
Offline
A thick, strong hand jarred Blackheart's face. He had become quite familiar with the black glove of the officer over the last hour. His face was sore, but he took some small relief in realizing the worst pain would come after he'd had a chance to rest.

"Is it the Bundschuh?" inquired the Imperial Guard in thick Rhein accent. They'd been questioning him about his allegiances. It obviously didn't take them long to figure out who the unauthorized "crew" were.

I hope Avery's getting what he came for, 'cause I sure ain't.

Another impact sent him to the floor, chair and all.
_____________________________________________________________

Avery sat across from Goldar and Alpha in the detentionary with hands bound behind him. The two policemen had already been worked over. Avery would be next.

"Not to worry, chaps. This is almost over."

Moments later, the heavy durasteel door opened. Three officers stood there, one of them seizing Avery and dragging him out. Then the door was closed with a resounding clang.
_____________________________________________________________

The commander was being half-dragged down the hallway back to the detention cell his compatriots shared. He couldn't move without extreme pain. He felt lucky they had only broken two fingers.

They must be saving some for later.

It had been 3 hours.
_____________________________________________________________

As the group turned the corner, Avery heard a faint click. Moments later, it was followed by two loud plasma discharges. Avery halted as he felt the grip of his two escorts loosen and slide down his arms.

The third escort was not an escort at all.

Avery's bonds were deactivated and dropped to the deck. Taking the weapon of one of the fallen guards, he and the mysterious John Matrix began to run toward the communications center of the base.
_____________________________________________________________

The door to the comms room slid open quietly. Matrix and Avery stepped inside and quickly executed the five crew sitting at their stations with brutal efficiency. They approached one of the consoles and Matrix began to access it, while Avery fed him a code.

"Set to frequency Delta 1 and transmit: the cake is iced."
_____________________________________________________________

The readout was clear in Chang's cockpit. It was time to make a rescue.

"All craft, commence firing."

In a second, the space around Vogtland was filled with various rebel ships pouring ordinance into the station.

One craft, a Rhino freighter, made a direct line for one of the hangar entries. The impact was devastating, opening a gaping hole in the dock and sucking out the unlucky souls within.

Another wave of Mules approached at high speed and penetrated the dock mere seconds before the security shield could be activated. Half a dozen men poured out of each of the four transports and opened fire.

They took up offensive formations and moved forward on the ill-prepared soldiers in the hangar. Those few who were there were eliminated in short order. One group proceeded through the main hatch, fighting their way to the control deck of the hangar. Another group followed, then soon broke off to take a lift to another deck.

A third group moved with purpose into the belly of the beast.
_____________________________________________________________

The corridors shook violently as the barrage signalled the beginning of the escape. Avery and Matrix quickly made their way back to the detention area to retrieve the injured troopers. As they approached they knew the guards would be ready for them. Matrix placed a small charge on the door. They just looked at each other, raised their weapons, then charged.

They blew into the room with guns blazing and dove to the deck. It took no time at all for the air to fill with smoke, and nothing could be seen but the green exchange of hot plasma. Small explosions went off as consoles sustained damage. Several screams could be heard.

Finally, Avery and Matrix stood up. The guard room was clear. They proceeded to track down the officers.
_____________________________________________________________

The two spies and their pulverized companions struggled up the passages toward the blown hangar. Suddenly they could see shadows and hear the heavy footfall of boots down the hallway. They put down the prisoners and took aim. But a coded flash of light showed the team to be their allies.

"Well done, boys. Let's get outta Dodge," quipped Matrix.
_____________________________________________________________

Reaching the hangar, chaos had again fallen. All squads but one had reassembled in defensive positions. But Imperial guards had arrived and were pouring fire onto the small team. One man was hit in the face. Another received a shot to the chest. Laser fire flew through the air. Guards took hits, some collapsing, others bearing the brunt with the help of their armor and continuing to pour on fire.

"Where's the last team?!" shouted Matrix.

One of the invaders yelled back, "They're on their way! Load up your boys, we'll wrap up here!"

With a nod, they rushed to the front of the hangar and lifted the officers and spies onto one of the Mules.

Just as they did so, the last team arrived, running like they had bulls on their heels. Two men took direct hits in the back and fell motionless. "COME ON! COME ON!" shouted the leader. With speed the remaining fighters backed away and boarded their transports.

At once, they all lifted and rotated to exit the hangar. At the same time a console in the control room was detonated and the security shield dropped momentarily. The remaining guards were magnetized to the deck. One fired off a rocket, which slammed into the rear craft, creating a bright flash of light and flame that died out as the shield regained integrity.

A sudden surge in motion meant they had gone to cruise. Aboard one of the ships, Avery activated a communicator handed to him by the pilot. He breathed heavily, speaking into it.

"All passengers are secure. Report."

"Data secure. Transmitting now."

Matrix received the data on a personal pad in front of him. After scanning it for a moment and hitting some buttons with his thumbs, he glanced at Avery and said, "It's Berlin."

"Ah," said Avery, flashing a cocky smile. "Then we're going to Berlin. Let Chang know."

The policemen had no idea what they were talking about. The troopers and spies looked at each other, exhausted and disheveled. They had made it.

Posted on: 2008/5/21 22:41
Top
(1) 2 »