Honor Among The Thieves

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is just a little something I wrote for a class I'm taking, hope you guys enjoy.

Submitted: September 28, 2012

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Submitted: September 28, 2012

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Honor Among The Thieves

“If I can direct your attention off the port bow you will see the H.M.S. Torrent, the jewel of the British galactic fleet.”

I craned my neck to see the ship my pilot was talking about, “Topher” I said as the Torrent came into view, “Topher if that was ever the jewel of anything other than this patch of black then I'm the king of all Undinia.”

“It is more likely that whoever the poor bastard was that called himself that ship's captain referred to his baby by words one would not repeat in polite company,” said Topher as he guided my ship carefully to a stop directly beside the Torrent.

“I'm flattered Topher, never knew you thought of me as polite company.”

“No offense sir but I was thinking about my daughter more than you.”

As Topher said this a small girl of 17 stepped out from behind me and took her own look at the Torrent, “don't look like much” she said in her perfectly blunt way.

“Well you stealthy little thing, good things come in small packages,” I said after being surprised for the hundredth time by her, she was scary stealthy.

“That's what I keep trying to tell the ladies.”

That last remark came from Atton as he bounded up the stairs to the cockpit, Atton was a just a kid although he looked younger than he was since he had never shaved and if he weighed over 150 that was pushing it but he knew how to fight, I'd never seen him take anyone on where he didn't come out on top.

Topher turned around, “if my daughter is one of those ladies take a long look at your new home.”

Atton didn't reply but flashed a roughish grin at Topher's daughter, Kora just shook her head, she was a smart girl it would take more than a smart remark or two and a couple smiles to get her.

“Well” I said, “before you space Atton we have a job to do, you guys know what you're doing so get to it.”

They all scattered except for Topher, I followed a few moments later after making sure Topher had gotten a soft seal on the Torrent's airlock. I found Tick down in the cargo bay checking his guns for the hundredth time, I had never seen a man as big as him as nervous about anything but he never went anywhere with quietly freaking about everything, especially his guns for at least an hour before. “Tick., buddy, this ship has been abandoned for almost a decade you don't need to even take a gun if you don't want to, much less your whole armory.”

Tick continued his meticulous inspection for a moment then he paused and looked up at me, “you remember the last time you told me that?”

“No, no, no. You can't pull that card on me!”

“We were on Tucon and you said, let's see what exactly did you say? Oh right you said and I quote, 'It's gonna be a milk-run, in and out, nobody gets hurt, you won't even need a pea-shooter.' you remember what actually happened?”

“No I don't actually, my memory is failing me in my old age,” I tried to walk away after I said this but Tick jumped up and got between me and the door.

“I ended up getting pinched by the Goons and didn't get out until you guys had finished the 'milk-run,' almost a whole day later, during which several people needed a trip to the hospital if I remember rightly.”

“Fine, fine! You can bring your whole armory, you can take anything you want as long as you carry it.”

Tick took a step back, “even my grenades?”

“Even your grenades.”

“What about some C4?”

“You can take a dang nuke for all I care!”

He looked a little offended, “I'm not crazy you know, Buda.”

I laughed and shook my head, “no. No one could ever think that,” I stepped past him into the crew area and climbed down into my cabin.

I buckled my pistol belt on and threw my coat on over it, I hesitated as I turned to climb out of my cabin, it didn't matter how many times I did or how much of a milk-run it was, every time I pulled a job I felt the same excitement and fear I felt the first time. I took another breath, grabbed that first rung and climbed out.

I pulled my shoulders back and rolled my neck as Kora finished helping me into my pressure suit, “Ok,” I said looking back at Tick and Atton who had their own suits on, “ok, let's go get rich.”

Atton snorted, “rich, yeah, maybe we can have three meals tomorrow.”

Half a day later we were landing on Milly, just a small planet but it was like beehive for naughty men like us. It had a couple docking bays arranged like spokes around the main spaceport which was mainly bars and brothels or some combination of both, not, as Topher would say, “for polite company.” But I knew we could find a buyer for our salvage here and besides I completely hate everyone on Milly and I'd only shot or been shot by about a dozen of them, in other words, one of the safer places I was likely to find.

The first place I looked for a buyer was behind a little bar called the Surly Mermaid, a guy called Ack Merron ran a little salvage shop in the back but he didn't have the coin to buy my haul so I kept looking. I found a buyer just a few hours later, she was a massive black woman who captained a black market cargo ship that ran goods into the central systems. No one around here knew her real name we all just called her The Fat Lady, because believe you me ain't nobody that crossed her lived to say anything after The Fat Lady sang.

It happened after she'd paid us, after we'd loaded it all on The Fat Lady's ship, after none of us had any connection or interest in that salvage anymore, so we had no reason to even take a second look. It happened so fast that I almost didn't believe what I'd seen, we were heading back to our ship when we saw about thirty armed men bust into The Fat Lady's cargo hold and pack all the salvage we sold to her onto a couple hovercraft and book back it back out of the spaceport. The thing that I didn't believe was that The Fat Lady just stood and watched it happen, she didn't fire a single shot or swear a single time. “I could be wrong,” I said as I walked up to The Fat Lady, “but I don't think those guys paid you what you paid us for all that.”

She then proceeded to do her expected but wonderful imitation of a sailor. There truly are few people who can speak the English language such a colorful way and I told her so when she had finished. “Thank you hun but my colorful speaking don't seem to impress the Gracken much.”

“Gracken? Never heard of them.”

“You remember Mick Toren?”

“Sure, I ran a smuggling stretch with him for a while.”

“Him and a couple of other captains and their crews took over that old Goon base on the island on the other side of the world, started calling themselves the Gracken and have been stealing and pirating and then selling it all off world for a couple months now. They don't exactly have an army but they have enough firepower that most people would rather pay to keep the Gracken off them instead of fight to stop it all.”

 

“We already made good money off this! We don't owe her anything! We...”

Before Atton could finish that last remark I laid him out on the floor of the mess with a smooth right, he made to rise and I knocked him back down with just a glare. “First of all Atton,” I said, “it's my ship so shut up. But Atton isn't wrong,” I said to my crew, “we don't owe The Fat Lady anything which is why I won't be forcing any of you to come with me, those who do want to help, meet me in the cargo bay in twenty minutes and,” I looked at Tick as I said this, “make sure you're ready for a tussle.”

“What made you come with me, Atton?” I asked him.

He shrugged, “maybe this is my way of admitting I was wrong but maybe I'm just hoping I'll find a Gracken girl who likes small guys.”

I laughed and smacked him on the back, “I hope you do and more than that, if you do find one I'll let you take her back onto the Madden for a night.”

“You really mean it cap?” He asked me that like I had just promised him the keys to the Union's treasury.

“Of course I do! I wouldn't kid about something like this. But for now just forget about the girl and remember what you're supposed to be doing.”

“You've got it Buda! I won't let you down!”

Ahh youth.

I didn't have a spotting scope so I had to use the rifle to check Kora's progress, it felt wrong training the crosshairs on such a sweet innocent girl. This was the part of the plan that Topher was the least enthused about, not only did it mean he had to be separated from his daughter, which in of itself was a miracle, but she was also in a greater amount of danger than I wanted to admit. We had made it onto the island easily without being seen and had even gotten to a treeline less than 50 yards from the base without seeing a single soul but now Kora was up. She had to get past the two guards patrolling the base and then onto the roof to plant several explosives, again, all without being seen. As wrong it felt I kept the crosshairs glued to Kora until she had finished placing and arming the charges and then somehow to gotten past the guards again. “At least I'm not the only one she sneak up on” I said lowering the rifle.

As soon as Kora made it back to us I radioed the rest of my crew, “start the countdown Topher, ten minutes.”

Me and Atton burst out of the woods just as Tick put two pieces of lead through the guards heads, I pulled the detonator out of my pocket and blew the roof off the Gracken base. Tick shouldered his rifle and fired a rocket into their comm tower as me and Atton jumped down through the ruined roof. We landed in their mess hall, it was late evening so the only people there were the two poor souls who were cleaning, Atton dispatched one with his knife and I shot the other through the eye. We dashed down the hall toward a side door, there were a couple guards who fired a few shots down the hall so we took cover and waited. It took about two seconds. Tick blew the door open and stunned both the guards, we made short work of them. We grabbed the bags Tick had and kept going down the hall, we met a couple guards along the way but they were all still too surprised and spread out to present a problem. We made it to their storage area and found salvage, weapons, ammo and food supplies all stolen from hard working thieves like The Fat Lady. Tick opened one bag and began placing charges on all their ammo and explosives, Atton started gathering up the stuff we sold The Fat Lady and I started putting charges on the ceiling. By now the Gracken had realized what was happening and had started cutting through all the doors we had sealed behind us, as soon as we were all done we took up a position by the door to the storage area, we had left this one open which gave us a clear shot to the last door we had sealed. It had been almost eight minutes by now, Topher would be here in less than three. The Gracken made it to the last door and started cutting, as soon as there was a large enough crack we poured hot lead through it for a good five seconds and that put a stop to it. “They're gonna blow it,” I said, “they'll be back before Topher gets here so get out the big guns.”

For me and Atton this meant a high powered, automatic rifle for each of us but for Tick...for Tick this meant overkill in the utmost, my god, it was like an art to him. He had somehow found a way to carry, along with all the explosives and other guns he had, a fifty caliber machine gun, tripod and all. “Screw the bombs I say we just let Tick take this place apart himself,” said Atton and I couldn't help thinking that really wasn't that bad of an idea.

I was right, in less than a minute there was a tremendous explosion and the door shattered and the Gracken started firing down the hall toward us, trying to pin us down but they hadn't reckoned on Tick. As soon as he opened up with that fifty cal there were no more gunshots from the Gracken, just screams and sounds of men trying madly to find somewhere to hide. Just then we heard the sounds of a ship's engines overhead, “Topher's here, Atton start loading.”

First Atton blew the ceiling and then Topher lowered a platform down into the room and Atton started putting all of The Fat Lady's salvage onto it and then Topher pulled it back up into the Madden. Just then a Gracken jumped around the corned and fired a rocket toward us, he missed and hit the floor a good ten feet in front of us showering us with debris. The mistake he made was that tried to do it again, he reloaded and jumped out again, my bullet nailed him in the forehead and Tick sprayed his torso, he dropped without a sound. “Tell Topher to step on it or we're gonna be eating rockets soon,” I yelled back to Atton.

Topher finally lowered the platform back down and Atton jumped on, “come on guys,” he yelled, “let's get outa here!”

“Tick, leave the gun!” I yelled as Tick was trying to fold up the tripod, “dang it! Leave it!” The last two remarks were made after I had dropped two consecutive Gracken who were trying to feed us more than our daily serving of TNT.

I dragged Tick away from his fifty cal and we both jumped on the platform, he looked back like he was leaving his kid as Topher pulled us back into the Madden.

Topher started pulling up, “Blow it!” said Atton

“Kill them bastards, don't let them get my baby.”

“Wait!” Screamed Topher over the intercom, “wait! They have Kora!”

“Where?” I asked.

“They've got her out on the roof,” he said, “they're trying to trade her for whatever we took.”

Before I could say another word Atton grabbed the rifle and jumped down out of the Madden back down onto the Gracken base. He dropped the two men holding Kora before they even saw him and by then it was far too late, he killed two more of them with the rifle and then his pistol got another. Kora had found a gun and did her share of damage as Atton took out the last Gracken with his bare hands, throwing him off the roof to end it. We dropped the platform again and pulled them both up, “we're on Topher! Get us outa here,” said Atton.

“Roger that,” said Topher and we started to climb.

I took one last look back at the base before I blew it, Milly's moon was rising right over the lake surrounding the island, casting a blue hue over everything, it was beautiful. I hit the button.

I kicked off my boots, stretched my feet, cracked my ankles and sighed. It had been a long day, it wasn't everyday a man like me got to do something he was actually proud of. Yeah I'd killed a lot of people today and yeah they had it coming but hell so do I.  The point was that at least for a little while honest robbers like me could live without fear on Milly, that for at least a little while there was honor among the thieves.

 


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