written by Fyren
Money isn’t enough. A good career provides something else. Some measure of investment and perhaps something from which one might derive even a slight amount of self respect or a sense of worthiness. I’ve run several packages by now and made a good amount of credits from it working with the Red Wind delivery service. I’ve contracted with Crusader Security on several occasions, destroying pirate threats much to my profit. However, I’m still looking for something more. So, perusing through the list of odd jobs available while enjoying a nice drink at the Green Imperial HEX base built into an asteroid over Yela, I found something that piqued my interest and my sense of adventure.
Someone wanted a private investigator to look into an insurance matter. Straight forward enough I suppose. I’ve never been an investigator before so I decided to try my hand at it. Covalex Shipping Hub had been destroyed and I was to poke around the broken station to find what caused all the damage. When I arrived, sure enough there were bit of scrap metal drifting through the space. The entire station was vented and depressurized. Oddly enough, the station still had power despite the look of it. Most of the lights had been broken and some doors were jammed. Shards of glass glittered as they floated past like deadly snowflakes. Office chairs and vending machines drift around, bouncing off the industrial walls painting a murky image of what the shipping hub may have been.
The investigation begins in a fairly mundane manner. Pulling logs from the few terminals that weren’t broken. I start to get the picture of what happened here. A technician was late to work and the station was experiencing some anomalous power surges. Nothing too exciting until I find the technicians habitation pod. In it, a mostly empty bottle of liquor and a log of plans from the night before the incident to drink way too much at a birthday party. That explains his absence and it could explain the damage to the station. A man, hungover or possibly still drunk, messing around with a power system that is already experiencing issues. I continue to explore the ruined husk of the station. Searching every single habitation pod reveals a record of some illegal activity. Security codes, bypasses, forged manifests and a person on the inside giving smugglers a window to move their illicit goods through the shipping hub. It just so happened, one of those illegal shipments contained something a bit unstable. I found the culprit.
I call that a win. Winning makes me confident. I like to think I’m one of the good guys but I’m not really sure what side of the law I want to be on. The side that resides in the shadows tends to pay a lot better. More than that though, it also tickles my sense of adventure. So, I take another odd job. This time to dispose of a body. A corpse. Again, it should be easy enough. I get the coordinates for the pickup spot and head out to the middle of nowhere on Yela. When I get there, the body is already prepared. It has been… disassembled. The pieces placed into two separate bags. I grab the first and load it into my cargo bay. I go back and grab the second. Just as the cargo bay door closes behind me I hear gunfire and flames spray from the floor beneath me.
Confusion sets in and affects my dexterity and vision. I drop the second half of the corpse in a hurry as a second wave of cannon fire slams into my parked ship. Flames shoot from the ceiling as I sprint towards the cockpit. The chair shakes as the cockpit displays light up. I try to take off, but my shields are already down and one of my engines has been blown completely off. I slam the throttle down and the ship lurches and spins unexpectedly. The one remaining engine struggling to provide a semblance of stable flight, I skid sideways across a few rocks on the surface sending a shower of sparks and an array of dancing flames into the darkness. After a few agonizing seconds of careening out of control across the stones I manage to get oriented and airborne. I see a gunship making a turn and coming around for another pass at me. I open fire without hesitation. In a matter of seconds thousands of lasers and plasma bolts find their marks on my unknown attacker. All of them dissipating harmlessly with familiar blue glow of shielding.
I think to make an escape, but before I can even begin to maneuver my fate catches up with me. In a blaze of cannon fire I find my end. A large boom rocks the ship as the enemy fire finds my reactor. The flames dance before my eyes as if to the rhythm of the incoming munitions. As my body is torn apart by the bits of glass and shrapnel flying all around in a maelstrom of my own making, the bits are turned to ash just as fast by the ensuing explosions. I don’t leave any family behind as I go. Instead, my last thought is that I completed the mission I was hired for. The body is destroyed in the wreckage of my ship. I close my eyes as the last of my precious vehicle disintegrates around me and I accept that this the end.