Space Journey chapter 2

Sep 8th, 2013
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  1. Chapter 1:
  3. >You are sitting at the bar waiting for Silver to return.
  4. >She needs to get Diamond Tiara's buy in for the next part of your plan.
  5. >Gilda wasn't at Applebloom’s biopod, so you need to attack Sweetie Belle's frigate.
  6. >You see Silver approaching.
  7. >It doesn't look like she has good news.
  8. >”Diamond isn’t here.”
  9. “Why can’t you authorize it?”
  10. >Silver frowns at this.
  11. >”We make all of our decisions together.”
  12. >You can tell from her voice that it’s a lie.
  13. >Silver Spoon has always played second fiddle to Diamond Tiara.
  14. >”She’ll be back tomorrow.”
  15. >You decide to change the subject.
  16. ”You did well out there.”
  17. >Silver blushes slightly.
  18. >”You’re just being nice.”
  19. >There were a few hairy moments.
  20. >Silver needs to practice using her tractor beam.
  21. “No, I mean it.”
  22. >”Thanks.”
  23. ”Let me buy you a drink. What’s your poison?”
  24. >”Cider.”
  25. >Cider’s going to be a lot more expensive soon.
  26. >You should buy a few crates.
  27. >It’ll be easy money now that Applebloom can’t produce anymore.
  28. >You wave over at Gustav.
  29. ”One synthol, and a cider for Silver.”
  30. >He quickly places drinks in front of you.
  31. ”Cheers.”
  32. >She clinks her glass against yours.
  33. >As usual, the synthol is rough.
  34. >But you like it that way.
  35. >It reminds you that you’re alive.
  36. >”I never thanked you for saving me.”
  37. ”You’re talking about the mining thing?”
  38. >”Yeah.”
  39. >That was a few months ago.
  40. >Why is she bringing it up now?
  41. “I didn’t think three against one was a fair fight.”
  42. 1/10
  43. >”But you didn’t have to do it.”
  44. ”They weren’t freelancers like you or I. They should have realized that you were trying to run.”
  45. >You take a sip from your drink.
  46. “They were just run of the mill mercs who thought they could make some money.”
  47. >”So you didn’t do it because… nevermind.”
  48. >You raise an eyebrow at Silver.
  49. “I didn’t take you for the kind of girl who liked to reminisce.”
  50. >She doesn’t answer.
  51. “I know we've fought more often than not, but things can get complicated out here.”
  52. >You think back.
  53. >You were returning from a mission from Captain Spitfire.
  54. >She needed some dirty work handled, but she couldn’t break the treaty with the Griffon Kingdom.
  55. >
  56. >”I’m picking up some ships,” Gilda informs.
  57. “Anyone we know?”
  58. >”One of the Stargazers, the other three I can’t identify. Probably griffon mercs.”
  59. >Diamond doesn’t work with mercs.
  60. “We should check it out. Send the coordinates to my screen, and start charting a course.”
  61. >Gilda presses a few buttons, and green dots illuminate your monitor.
  62. >You roll the ship to head toward them.
  63. >”Why? It’s probably nothing.”
  64. “We’re just going to take a peek.”
  65. >”Your intuition is kicking in again?”
  66. “Yeah. How’s the calculation going?”
  67. >Gilda pushes aside the navcomputer, and buckles in.
  68. >”It’s ready.”
  69. ”Do it.”
  70. >
  71. >When you arrive you see Silver Spoon’s ship fighting three light fighters.
  72. >She’s trying to escape, but one of the ships is trailing close behind her.
  73. >The two others fly on either side, as if waiting for her to turn.
  74. ”How’s her shields?”
  75. >”Hard to say. Maybe 60%”
  76. >Green plasma bursts create a rainbow of light as they explode against her shielding.
  77. >Silver turns her ship sharply to her right, but her move puts her right in front of a wingman merc.
  78. 2/10
  79. >The mercenary releases two cluster missiles and Silver’s auto-lasers spring to life.
  80. >They shoot down about half of the bomblets.
  81. >There are too many and some explode against her shielding.
  82. >A few more sneak through the battered field and hit her ship.
  83. >Silver dives as the third ship moves to meet her.
  84. >She spins to dodge more plasma bursts and is barely able to avoid the attack.
  85. >Her ship returns fire erratically.
  86. >”She’s panicking.”
  87. “I’ve seen enough.”
  88. >You hail the merc ships, but they don’t open their communicators.
  89. >Looks like they only understand one thing.
  90. >Gilda doesn’t wait for instructions and pulls out the combat computer.
  91. >Fighting in space is an art.
  92. >Computers can help, but they are predictable and their attacks are easy to dodge.
  93. >You have to lead a ship and any change in direction will upset the computer’s calculation.
  94. >A person is much more likely to anticipate a pilot’s flight pattern.
  95. >With Gilda handling the turret you focus on piloting the ship.
  96. >Silver sees you and flies past your fighter.
  97. >You fly to meet her pursuers.
  98. “Let’s play chicken.”
  99. >”Don’t do it, Anon. Our shielding won’t be able to handle that.”
  100. >You ignore Gilda.
  101. >She’s always too conservative.
  102. >A fighter turns to meet your charge.
  103. >You pull your trigger to fire as the other pilot does the same.
  104. >The plasma bursts pass each other and slam into your shielding.
  105. >He isn’t turning.
  106. >You push the thrusters to maximum.
  107. >You take several deep breaths as the other pilot continues on a collision course with your ship.
  108. “He’s actually going to do it…”
  109. >At the last moment the merc pulls away.
  110. >Claxons spring to life.
  111. >Shields down.
  112. >Fucker scraped his shields against yours.
  113. >You jerk the joystick to follow him, but he pulls too hard and crashes into some debris.
  114. >The monitor flashes brightly before focusing on a different ship.
  115. 3/10
  116. >As you turn another merc flies to meet you.
  117. >The ship shudders against his plasma bursts.
  118. “FUCK!”
  119. >Your armor plating won’t be able to take another salvo.
  120. >A high chirp indicates that shields are back online.
  121. >As he overshoots you, you pull to turn the ship behind his.
  122. >He anticipates this and reverses course to meet you.
  123. >The two ships fly in a scissors formation like spiraling dragons.
  124. >Each turn is sharper than the last.
  125. >Gilda fires the turret and weakens his shielding.
  126. >He tries to break away to avoid more damage, but it gives you just enough room to pull behind him.
  127. >You fire another plasma burst and the pilot ejects.
  128. >The third ships breaks away from his fight with Silver and uses his tractor beam to rescue his comrade.
  129. >You watch as they fly away.
  130. >There isn’t any point in pursuing them.
  131. >Your monitor springs to life and you see an angry Silver Spoon.
  132. >”I can take care of myself, Anon!”
  133. >The screen flickers off, and Silver jumps into subspace.
  134. >”Nice girl.”
  135. ”Yeah.”
  136. >
  137. >Back at Fair Haven.
  138. “Why wasn’t Diamond there?”
  139. >”We tried to run. She was able to jump into subspace, but I wasn’t fast enough.”
  140. >Silver taps her glass a few times nervously.
  141. >”Let me buy the next round.”
  142. >You wave a hand to say no.
  143. ”That’s alright. You don’t need to thank me.”
  144. >You think for a moment.
  145. ”Actually, you can. Get Diamond to agree to send some ships with me tomorrow to rescue Gilda.”
  146. >”That’s a tall order. Do you –“
  147. ”No, I only have a few chits left, and I promised to spend that on anti-matter.”
  148. >”We don’t work on credit.”
  149. ”You know I’m good for it.”
  150. >A minute passes in silence.
  151. ”Anyway, I need to get some rest. I’ll see you tomorrow?”
  152. >”Maybe.”
  153. 4/10
  154. >
  155. >It’s a short stumble back to your ship.
  156. >You don’t want to rent a room until your navigator can do the same.
  157. >It’s sort of a self-imposed punishment.
  158. >You don’t mind sleeping in Juno.
  159. >Her leather chairs can fully recline.
  160. >You’re careful not to treat her like a home, though.
  161. >Things would get messy.
  162. >Juno was designed as a cross between a heavy fighter and a light cargo ship.
  163. >The Griffons only used them for 10 years or so.
  164. >Newer models were created to fight against the Equestrian Navy.
  165. >Now these ships are a common sight in the Neutral Zone.
  166. >The door easily opens.
  167. >You are pretty sure you locked it.
  168. >”Hello, Anon.”
  169. >You turn to the voice.
  170. >It’s Scootaloo.
  171. ”How did you get in here?”
  172. >She smiles at this.
  173. >”Shorted out your panel. You really should get that upgraded.”
  174. >She flies the same class ship as you.
  175. >No doubt she has all the latest upgrades.
  176. “Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll get a mechanic to price it out tomorrow.”
  177. >You continue facing her.
  178. >One hand is looking for your hidden blaster.
  179. >”Looking for this?”
  180. >Scootaloo pulls out your gun with a mechanical hoof.
  181. >Her robotic limb gleams in the light.
  182. >Though her hooves usually look like a solid piece right now it's seperated into four sections.
  183. >That probably makes it easier to hold things.
  184. >She carelessly throws it behind her.
  185. “You thought of everything, didn’t you?”
  186. >Her raises herself with her robotic hind legs and takes a step toward you.
  187. >She’s nearly your height now.
  188. “I appreciate you dropping by, but I have to get some sleep.”
  189. >”You can sleep all you want in my ship, Anon.”
  190. >Another step forward.
  191. >Now you have to make a decision. Fight in your ship, or chance it out on the dock.
  192. ”No thanks.”
  193. 5/11
  194. >You try to punch her but she easily grabs your arm.
  195. >You lash out to kick her but she catches that with a hind leg.
  196. >Your hand rotates to grab her and you throw your weight down.
  197. >The motion easily flips her over you.
  198. >Scootaloo quickly scrambles back up.
  199. >You dash toward the blaster, but she’s too fast.
  200. >Two hooves grab you and slam you to the ground.
  201. >She's standing over you now.
  202. >”Get up.”
  203. >You take this chance to look around for something, anything that you can use as a weapon.
  204. >Your bag is in the corner of the ship, but there is no way you can get the knife out in time.
  205. >Still you try.
  206. >You push against the ground to jump toward your bag.
  207. >A hoof grabs you and pulls you back toward Scootaloo.
  208. >You swing again at her, but she’s too fast and easily catches your hand.
  209. >Another hoof grabs your elbow and you feel your arm being wrenched.
  210. ”No! Don’t do it!”
  211. >”Do what, Anon?” She says sadistically.
  212. >Her hooves again jerk your arm, and you can feel your tendons stretching.
  213. ”Don’t break my arm.”
  214. >”Just like you didn’t break my legs?”
  215. >Fuck.
  216. “AAAaaagggghhh!”
  217. >Her motion is quick and you can feel pieces of bone ripping apart muscle.
  218. >She lets go, and you move to cradle your arm.
  219. ”You crazy bitch!”
  220. >She just laughs.
  221. >”What about this one?”
  222. >She grabs your right leg and you try to kick her off.
  223. >Every motion sends sharp pain up your arm.
  224. >”Still feisty?”
  225. ”I’ll go, alright? I’ll go!”
  226. >She grabs your shirt and pulls you up.
  227. >”Com’n we’re going to my ship.”
  228. >You slowly let her take you away.
  229. >All you can do is cradle your arm.
  230. >
  231. >It’s a long flight.
  232. >Scootaloo doesn’t bother chaining you up.
  233. >She knows that you won’t be able to fight her off in your condition.
  234. 6/11
  235. >Maybe she gets a kick out of knowing that you can’t possibly beat her in single combat.
  236. >You open your shirt and snap the bottom button to the third from the top.
  237. >It’s difficult with one hand, but well worth the effort.
  238. >The makeshift sling helps keep your arm in place.
  239. >Still, you are careful not to make any sudden movements.
  240. >Scootaloo doesn’t offer any pain killers, and you don’t ask for any either.
  241. >
  242. >”What happened to his arm?” Sweetie Belle asks.
  243. >”It was the only way.”
  244. >Sweetie doesn’t look happy, but she doesn’t chastise her friend.
  245. >”How bad is it?”
  246. “It’s bad.”
  247. >She frowns.
  248. >”Follow me.”
  249. >The loading dock is fairly large for a frigate.
  250. >You could easily park four fighters here.
  251. >Maybe five if you were willing to accept some scratches.
  252. >Cerberus class frigates are truly beautiful ships.
  253. >Equestrian craftsmanship is far superior to the Griffon’s.
  254. >Ponies easily blend form and function.
  255. >Griffons just want their ships to work.
  256. >They spend very little effort on aesthetics.
  257. >As you walk down the corridor with Sweetie, you try to make a mental map.
  258. >The engine room is directly next to the loading dock.
  259. >Next are a few mechanical rooms.
  260. >They are unmarked, but you assume they are either environmental or for the servebots.
  261. >Restrooms and crew quarters are next.
  262. >Finally you arrive at a small medical bay.
  263. >There are two beds and a single examination chair.
  264. >A servebot is charging against the wall.
  265. >All servebots are easily distinguished by an insignia showing their specialty code.
  266. >You can tell this one specializes in medicine by its articulated hands and the white badge with a red cross.
  267. >It also has improved optical sensors.
  268. >It’s possible to have any servebot perform any function.
  269. >All it really takes is installing a new control module.
  270. >Their replaceable nature quickly made them ubiquitous.
  271. 7/11
  272. >It takes a moment for this one to wake from hibernation.
  273. >”Have a seat, Anon,” Sweetie says.
  274. >The servebot moves toward you.
  275. >”[Request] State nature of visit.”
  276. “I have a broken arm.”
  277. >The servebot scans you before stuttering to a halt.
  278. >”[Statement] Subject not recognized.”
  279. >You should have expected this.
  280. ”Treat me like a griffon.”
  281. >The servebot makes a few chirping noises before returning to the examination.
  282. >Its small digits quickly undo your sling.
  283. “Fuck, be careful.”
  284. >The servebot makes no verbal response, but its motions are now slower.
  285. >It lightly moves your arm into position before scanning.
  286. >”[Diagnosis] Broken limb, arm, right, multiple fractures.”
  287. >It scans again.
  288. >”[Recommendation] Inject 20cc Hydropriaxzine. Apply regeneration splint.”
  289. >”[Query] Do you accept treatment?”
  290. “Yes.”
  291. >The servebot goes to the backroom to retrieve the supplies.
  292. >You want to ask why Scootaloo didn’t just get her legs fixed, but you stop yourself.
  293. ”Is Gilda alright?”
  294. >”She’s fine, Anon. We treated her very kindly. I didn’t want you to be upset.”
  295. ”You should have taken me.”
  296. >Sweetie frowns at this.
  297. >”We should have,” she concedes, “and, you shouldn’t have blown up our biopod. It’ll take a while to get a new one. We’ve both made mistakes.”
  298. >The servebot returns and injects you with Hydropriaxzine.
  299. >It’s a localized analgesic and your nerves quickly calm down.
  300. >With the pain gone the servebot easily fits the regeneration splint.
  301. >It goes past your elbow and locks your arm at a ninety degree angle.
  302. >As the servebot fills the splint with blue fluid you turn to Sweetie again.
  303. >Her look of concern has changed to uncertainty.
  304. >”[Statement] Refrain from sudden movements. Return in one week for splint removal.”
  305. >The servebot returns to its charging station.
  306. >You move your arm cautiously.
  307. 8/11
  308. >Pain only returns when you try to form a fist.
  309. >”How do you feel?”
  310. “Much better. Can I see Gilda now?”
  311. >”Soon enough, Anon.”
  312. >She motions to you to follow her.
  313. >You both continue down the corridor.
  314. >The crew mess is the next door you pass.
  315. >The next looks like a recreation room.
  316. >Finally you arrive at Sweetie’s quarters.
  317. >This is the moment you have been dreading since you were forced into Scootaloo’s fighter.
  318. >”Do you want something to drink? Some cider perhaps?"
  319. ”No, thank you. I don’t think alcohol and pain killers mix.”
  320. >”You won’t mind if I have some,” she says as if she is telling you, not asking.
  321. >She pours herself a glass and magics it over to her nightstand.
  322. >Sweetie takes a seat on her bed and motions for you to sit next to her.
  323. >”I’ve waited a long time for you, Anon. Can’t you see that we are perfect together? I can handle anything with you at my side.”
  324. ”I’m sure we would Sweetie, but that can never happen."
  325. >”Why not, Anon?”
  326. “If you hadn’t forced yourself on me, then maybe one day I would have come around. But any chance for that is long gone.”
  327. >”Just think about it for a moment.”
  328. >She takes a sip from her glass before leaning against you.
  329. >”All of this could be yours. All you have to do is be mine.”
  330. >You shake your head.
  331. >Sweetie frowns at you.
  332. >She places the drink back down on the nightstand.
  333. >”Think about your friend. You wouldn’t want us to hurt her, would you?”
  334. >This girl is insane.
  335. “No.”
  336. >”Good. Now we are getting somewhere.”
  337. >She smiles widely and nuzzles into your chest.
  338. >Her magic forces your left arm to hold her.
  339. >She’s soft.
  340. >”We can do this the easy way, Anon. We’ll be one big happy family. I think you will even enjoy it.”
  341. >She lays back and motions for you to lay next to her.
  342. >It would be easier to just give up.
  343. 9/11
  344. >You tried your best, but it wasn’t good enough.
  345. >You move to lay next to Sweetie.
  346. >”I know you’re hurt, so I’ll be gentle this time.”
  347. >She lays her head against your chest, and her magic removes your pants.
  348. >You close your eyes.
  349. >
  350. >When she finishes with you, she has a servebot take you to the brig.
  351. >She wants you to think about your new place in life.
  352. >”Is that you, Anon?”
  353. “Gilda?”
  354. >”Yeah.”
  355. >The voice is coming from the cell next to yours.
  356. >Instead of bars, a force field keeps you locked away.
  357. >”I knew you would come for me you cocky bastard.”
  358. >At least she’s in good spirits.
  359. >”Of course you would pretend to get caught.”
  360. “Gilda.”
  361. >“You always had a thing for theatrics, but leaving me here for seven days? Com’n I’m not that bad.”
  362. “Gilda.”
  363. >“You smuggled in some explosives didn’t you?”
  364. “Gilda!”
  365. >”What?”
  366. “I was caught, alright?”
  367. >”Gustav always said you were full of shit.”
  368. >Her cell's force field buzzes loudly.
  369. >She probably kicked it.
  370. >She has some anger issues.
  371. “I know."
  372. >”Anon, we can still do this. We just need to think.”
  373. >You hear her claws grinding on the floor as she slumps down.
  374. >”Who caught you? Scootaloo?”
  375. “Yeah.”
  376. >”She got me too.”
  377. >You don’t know how to break it to her.
  378. >No one is coming for you, and neither of you will be missed.
  379. “It’s over... We’ve lost.”
  380. >
  381. >
  382. >Be Silver Spoon at Fair Haven.
  383. >Anon isn’t at the bar.
  384. >Maybe Gustav knows where he is.
  385. “Is Anon still here?”
  386. >”He should be. His ship is still in the dock,” Gustav says without looking up.
  387. “Thanks.”
  388. >You get up to visit Anon.
  389. >You hope your mane looks alright.
  390. >When you arrive at his ship you knock on the door.
  391. >No response.
  392. “Anon?”
  393. >Still nothing.
  394. >You undo the latch and ask again.
  395. “Anon?”
  396. 10/11
  397. >You enter to find a disheveled ship.
  398. >There was obviously a fight here.
  399. >Anon doesn't have any enemies besides the CMC.
  400. >Theres a few drops of dried blood next to his bag.
  401. >You take a closer look.
  402. >Beside it are multiple dents in the old metal.
  403. >You place a hoof beside it.
  404. >It almost looks like a hoof in four pieces.
  405. >Scootaloo.
  406. >He was probably beaten here.
  407. >You have to save him.
  408. >
  409. >"Absolutely not. We had a deal with Anon and we finished it.”
  410. ”Di, when we first started we said that we would make all the decisions together.”
  411. >You slam a hoof against the table.
  412. “Instead you decide everything. Why can’t you just listen to me one time?”
  413. >”I do listen to you. You always go along with what I think.”
  414. “That’s just to be nice.”
  415. >Diamond slinks in her chair.
  416. >”Anon is nothing.”
  417. “He isn’t. When you left me in the lurch Anon was the only one there to help me.”
  418. >”It’s suicide. There is no way I’m going out against a sixth rate!”
  419. “Just once I want you to trust me!”
  420. >”I’m not doing it.”
  421. >You quickly finish your drink and slam it down.
  422. “Fine, I’ll go by myself.”
  423. >You get up to leave.
  424. >”Wait, Anon isn’t worth it.”
  425. >You frown.
  426. “Anon saved me once. I owe him.”
  427. >”Then buy him some synthol next time you see him. It's like you have a crush on him or something."
  428. “No I don't!”
  429. >Diamond frowns.
  430. >Diamond is your best friend, but you have never told her how you feel.
  431. >You were mean to him when he saved your life.
  432. >It’s the least you can do.
  433. “I do,” you say without looking at her.
  434. >Diamond sighs.
  435. >”Am I going to regret this?”
  436. >There is a time to speak and a time to be silent.
  437. >You don’t respond.
  438. >Diamond sighs heavily.
  439. >”Get our ships ready.”
  440. fin
  441. 11/11
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