Class D

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
When everything you love is taken away from you, sometimes all you have left...is your badassery

Submitted: June 23, 2013

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Submitted: June 23, 2013

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I heard the rooster yelling.

It was a biting case of irony. Here I was, a guy who just lost everything because he wanted to fight for the right thing, and yet that rooster clucks on, not giving a crap. I didn't even know how I could still be breathing. I'd been locked into this bunker for...how long? My memory's a little too fuzzy to remember. Anyway, the rooster keeps clucking on, I'm still wondering why I'm still alive, and then I see the door. O dusty, metallic door with the rays of sunshine streaming in from the sides! Lead me through to whatever hell lies beyond!

I stepped over something big and heavy. Could be a dead comrade or a sack of potatoes for all I know, but my mind is focused squarely on the door. To my suprise, I find that my joints didn't ache in the slightest when I kicked down the door and went on into the bright, sunny abyss ahead of me.

The scene slowly comes together. They're dead guys in front of me, dead guys to the left and right, oh, and I did step over a dead guy in that bunker after all. They're all wearing the same dress I'm wearing. We lost the war, big time.

I hear a distant screeching noise. That must be the starships. Here to survey the scene. Pick off the living and the dead. Of course, there'll be too many for just one round. They'll need to return for more.

My suspicions get confirmed when they fly into view, large, sexy red plus signs for all to see. I hear a voice in the distance shouting "Thank God!"

"WHOSE SIDE IS GOD ON?" I reply, though nobody'd really give a shit at this point. I fell down to my knees. If they're going to execute me for war crimes, they'd better make it quick.

What I did get sentenced to was a year of community service. Apparently, the Systems Alliance which kicked my sorry ass decided to look up the meaning of mercy after they'd blasted most of my battalion to death. Yeah, well, avenging the death of your loved ones is great, but getting a minimum wage gig for a whole year is even better. I'll worry about overthrowing the evil empire later.

Seconds trun to minutes turn to hours and so on. You know that saying, "Time passes by like grains of sand or something." The community service is pretty good. I'm tending to the wounded, delivering meds from one spot to the next. After a point, they even let me oversee the management of some of those refugee camps. Then things get ugly, with there not being enough food for everyone, and people dying of diseases and shit. That's what you get for not picking a side, I guess. I'm sorry, I've got nothing better to say about this. War and aftermath are war and aftermath.

The pay gets pretty good as I move up the ranks. I guess they need all the ex-soldiers they can get, 'cause we're so sharp and disciplined and everything. Soon, I'm able to set up my own shack, and after two months of saving up I finally buy my own ship, Class D. I'm gonna call it "Fairy" you see. In memory of that valley I was in the day the war ended.

And then the year ends. My sentence is over, and so is my one paying job. Last time I checked I was still 29, so no retirement benifits for me, although whether those things still exist in this world might be questionable. I decide to rev up my ship for business.

At first, I keep it simple. I'm ferrying passengers from place to place. No identity checks, no Government verification. If you've got the cash, just hop in and I'll take you there. Some of the passengers turn out to be ex-Resistance fighters, same as me. Because they're inherently compassionate Samaraitans, or being on the same team as me makes them such, they decide to stay on and help me. That makes things a whole lot easier.

But the earnings are meager, even though we're almost always packed up. Somehow, I feel the insane fuel prices may have something to do with it. War fucks up every kind of commodity there is, and fuel's no exception. The rates for Class D ships had been jacked up the most, and I'm beginning to regret not invesing in a ship of greater quality.

It's then that Husky-yeah, that's his name-brings home an offer. Some guy's willing to pay good for a bunch of artifacts that were lost in the Grenada belt during the war. The guy who wants them doesn't own a spaceship, but would happily hire one willing to do the job. I instantly agree, we launch into the belt, find the artifacts in an abandoned hull floating in vaccum, and return them.

The pay's more than what we ever made in all our years of taking passengers. More such deals come along. We become a kind of retrieval team. Guy needs something stashed away someplace, he calls us. Again, our no questions asked policy keeps us in good stead. We don't know if the job we're doing is legal, we don't even know if our employers are collectors or criminal masterminds. If you've got good money to pay, we're there for the job.

It was four years of this kind of life when I got the toughest job of my life, though I didn't know it at that time. It started out real simple. A bag of candy bars-what we like to call those tasty food rations the Alliance keeps trafficking around-was lost in the Solar System, where our great-great-great grandfathers used to live before they inevitably sucked old planet Earth dry. Our emplyer Rusty wanted them. Don't care why, 'cause the price is good. Let's go and get 'em.

The ship carrying the candy bars was branded with an Alliance sigil. I felt excited when I should have felt worried, and proceeded to weld open the door. Sure enough, all the candy bars had been branded a "Top Priority" consignment. The message was clear- we were stealing from a major Alliance shipment, and the consequences of being found out would be severe, much more severe than was the case with any prior job we'd done.

But that still wasn't why this became the toughest job of my life.

We go back to old Rusty with the goods, only to see him surrounded by his henchmen. Somehow, he's got files and folders on me and all of my crew members on the table.

"What's the meaning of all this?" went my obvious question.

"Yeah, well, I'm a bit of a selfish man, you see. I always put my own business ahead of everything else." he replies.

"What are you getting at, Rusty?" says my first-mate, Noah.

"Well, I decided to check if there was more money in simply hiring you buggers, or in selling you out." Rusty says, and throws a folder at me. "I'm beginning to see the appeal of the latter option."

"You've got to me kidding me!" I say, shocked, "We do what you tell us, we don't even-"

"I know, I know, 'we're so obedient and shit, why couldn't you just leave us alone?' I'm afraid I don't have much of a moral code like you do. My bad."

"Rusty..." I say, fiercely resisting the temptation to shoot him. "What did you do?"

"Made a call to the Alliance, told them their candy bar shipment had been stolen. There's been a regime change, you see, and the new guy in charge is a bit of an asshole. Rumor has it he's got a bit of a grudge against you, and other ex-Resistance soldiers, Captain Wayne Reynolds."

"So you basically gave him everything he needs to prosecute me, did you Rusty? How long until they get here?"

"Oh, they're not coming here." says Rusty, "I just told them you were on planet Persephone. I thought I owed you guys at least a heads up before you went down. In fact, maybe you'll outrun them if you start, like, now."

We turn tail and run all the way back to our ship. On the way, I decide to keep the candy bar shipment, too worried about the money we'll lose if we abandon it. We lock the ship and take off.

And then I get the shock of my life.

"Captain, we have a stowaway." says Noah.

"What?" I turn around and see a terrified man carrying what looks like a cryogenic refrigerator.

But that isn't the most shocking bit.

"Stay where you are! All of you!" booms a voice, and I see another guy appearing behind the stowaway, with a gun in his hand.

"Agent Robert Coulson, Spectre Corps." said the guy with the gun. "You're all under arrest."

A Spetre Corps agent. This did not look good.

"Alright, what do you want, officer?" I said, raising my hands above my head.

"Well, I wanted your stowaway." Officer Coulson replied. "In fact, I chased him all the way to this ship. But bless me that it belonged to none other than you, Captain Wayne. Why, isn't that our ration shipment right there with you?"

"We're in serious trouble, boss." Noah stating the obvious.

It's then that I saw our mechanic, a kid by the name of Kyle peeking in. Nobody knows he's here. But he can get to the armory quieter than a mouse.

I discreetly nodded, and he headed on his way.

"Well, what do you work for, officer?" I began, trying to stall. "Is it money? You see, your candy bars are worth a lot. Probably more than what you make in a year. We could-"

"What do you take me for?" retorted officer Coulson, visibly offended. "You think Spectre soldiers have no integrity? That you can just buy me off?"

"Hey officer, I really respect the Spectre Corps." said Noah, "But let's face it, not everyone in your line of work's like a Commander Shepard."

Commander Shepard might possibly be the only Alliance soldier I admire.

"Just stop with your stupid offers, Captain," said Coulson, "I'm turning you in, and there's no-"

The dialogue turned into an inense screech, as officer Coulson fell to his knees. I looked ahead, relieved that Kyle hit him in the kneecaps. But that relief quickly vanishes when I see Coulson reaching for the holster at his boot.

A shot to the head from Noah ends his life, and he falls back, limp. For a moment we're all in shock. Then the stowaway's sigh of relief breaks the silence.

"Alright, we just killed a member of the Spectre Corps." I began, horrified. "We need to dump the body, and we need to do it ASAP. Any ideas, anyone?"

"We could try the star system of Nova." said the stowaway.

"Nova?" my crew didn't know of such a place.

"It's located really far out. Nobody even lives there, actually, and they aren't going to look for him that far. I'm not even sure the Alliance knows of its existence." he went on.

"How do you know all this?" asked Noah, clearly suspicious.

"I...I used to be an astronomer. Listen," he said, "The Spectre Corps are after me. You really think me turning on you guys works in my favor?"

"Alright." I conceded. "Give us the coordinates."

We dumped the corpse of Coulson on a dry, barren moon. According to the stowaway, it's name was Darwin. And then the focus shifted to the stowaway.

"My name is Stephen Queen." he began, "Like I told you, I used to be an astronomer, and people used to say I was very...gifted. I was a law-abiding citizen throughout my life. Until...until my sister was born."

"Your sister?" I said.

"Yes." he replied, "She's been cryogenically frozen by me. We sent her over to an Alliance academy, thinking she'd have the best education possible. It didn't take me long to figure out something was amiss when the tone of her letters to me changed."

"Let me guess, she spiralled into insanity?" I said, incredulous.

"Yeah. You've landed in the middle of what could very well qualify as crackpot conspiracy theory material, Captain. Except it is true. All of it." Stephen said.

"What's going on? What did they do to your sister?" I pressed.

"I honestly don't know, Captain. All I need to know is what you're going to do with me."

"I guess you're stuck here, Stephen. The way I see it, you going out in the open could end up badly for all of us. As for now, that's all I can say."

I left Stephen and went over to the cockpit. I hadn't forgotten about the candy bars. In fact, I needed the money from them more than ever.

"Great news, Captain." said a cheerful Noah, "Turns out old man Patience was alive all along, and he's been dying to see you. He claims to be mayor of his own planet, so maybe he'll take the consignment."

"Oh, that's good news," I said, feeling anything but cheered up.

"I guess our biggest job's about to be over soon, isn't it, Captain?"

"No, Noah. It's only just begun."

 


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