II - The Maverick Hunter
young woman sweated profusely in the dark room: training. Her tempo
of breaths showed her enthusiasm as the training bot, apposing her,
wielded a Dorvlyn wooden sword. She was hunched over, her brow
furrowed and her skin was red from the heat of the room. The ground
was diusten and black in color, spots all along it from droplets of
perspiration. She wore little to keep herself from overheating. A
training bra, black and tight shorts. She leaned back from her hunch
as the bot was waiting to retaliate. Her hair whipped slightly but
immediately went back to a rested drag towards the floor. Each
movement was a struggle as trails of long water drizzled down the
uneven abdomen of the young woman. Her thighs were trembling and her
hands could barely hold onto the splintering dueling sword. In the
dark room her aubern hair color was masked along was her facial
features. In her shaking hands was a long wooden sword that was
pointed down at the moment. Slowly raising it as did the auto trainer
she swung at it painfully with a grunt. The bot parried it as was
it's programming. Her sword falling to the ground out of her hands
with an abnormally loud thump.
artificial voice came over the intercom. "You've exhausted a
dangerous amount of water, emergency shutoff initiated."
it Alanna you scare the graces out of me when you do this." said
an elderly woman who rushed in after the lights came on signifying
that gravity had returned to normal. She nearly slipped in the soaked
permacrete floor. Her dark red heel skid for a milisecond which was
enough to cause her to change posture, but she played it off quite
had facial regeneration which made her look young, but her naturally
grey hair showed her age. Something she could have dyed but kept
natural to obtain more respect. She wore clothes that couldn't be
mistake for anything but nobility. Lots of greens and reds,
curvaceous and appealing.
sorry, Sarah." not calling her 'mother', as was requested of her
father after he remarried. Something she prefered to avoid talking
about at all costs. Though Sarah's very presense was a constant
disregarded her statement and was quiet well at hiding her annoyance.
Having a glass of water in her hand which was quickly given to
Alanna. After a brief moment to breathe air and drink the water,
Alanna moved to where Sarah was viewing the console. "Don't."
had already checked the records to see what level she was training
at. "One hundred and fifty meters per second squared. Fomech
Alanna! When will it be enough?"
was quiet, knowing quite well that her motives were tied to her
father's approval. Something she didn't care to admit, especially to
her step mother. She was passively biting her lip while she attempted
to come up with something to say. She was cold now, since her body
was now acclimating. The console in the middle of the room had an
orange handle which contrasted greatly with the smoothed silver
had her wet hand on it before turning it thirty degrees to the right
and pulling out a white rimmed square package that was covered in the
clear plastic that held it vacuum sealed. Across the room there was a
spot on the floor that was a drainage area.
was buffeted briefly by the sudden rinse of water and smart chemicals
to do various tasks such as clear her skin and pores and transmutate
harmful or order causing bacteria. Zipping open the package she
dressed herself in a form fitting uniform. It was pearly white from
head to toe and form fitting. Her designer had put tribalistic black
designs as per her request in a certain fashion that accentuated her
curves and muscles. Only a confident woman would wear such an outfit.
paused briefly to look back at Sarah who had just recently turned to
her. Her pose suggest worry but with a hint of anger. Alanna's job
wasn't the safest in the galaxy and Sarah wanted nothing more for her
to retire and just enjoy the rest of her days.
door slowly dissolved into nothing the closer she approached it. She
paused for a moment to look back at her mother and gave her a
reassuring smile. The door was sixty percent transparent at this
moment and she could see outside. "You're talking to the senior
Maverick Hunter, Sarah. You should really be worrying about my
father." The door was completely gone by the time she walked
through it and in a quicker flash it was back to the same door it was
floor outside of the chamber was sloped up steeply towards ground
level, steps were there for easy access as she walked up to see Grand
Cid. The largest city on Barnard III, in order to maintain liquid
water on this planet there were means to heat the planets core. The
Benard star was a red dwarf and even after terraforming the planet
much of it was too cold to live on.
were constructed to evaporate much of the ice in various locations on
the planet. These pillars got a nickname from the Barnardian citizen
based on their shapes; Bolts. The causing effect created many
thunderstorms which then struck the Pillar and super charged it. This
allowed for a sustainable means to keep the pillars usable as well as
sending much of the heat down to the core where this warmed the
planet. It's construction has been lost as much of the technology has
been outdated and there have been better inventions used on similar
planets. The pillars were over a hundred stories high and a mile
wide, sitting at the centroid, and foci of each ocean. The rapid
cooling of the water caused many hurricanes in the past before wind
regulators caused any such to move towards the poles. The results
restricted population from living in such places.
city was dark with the dark purple and black clouds swirling
overhead, it was going to rain soon. Skyscrapers were paved with
advertisement, restaurants, and landing pads for various means of
transportation. A few hundred meters away she could see worker bots
building a new skyscraper for living purposes. They were just
starting but would be done within the standard week.
there were a few organic and some artificial plants in a designated
area that was off limits to normal population. This of course was
apart of the terraforming and thus vital for the survival of the
people living here. Past the garden she could see a station where a
human or AI could regulate and check the status on the elemental
status of the garden.
was good for her and in such she didn't mind the mile walk she was
making to get to her place of work. The flawless permacrete roads
were getting spotty before she realized it was starting to rain. The
dynamic pavement adjusted to the rain opening pores in the street to
collect water that would then be transfered to the water distribution
for purifying. Before seeing the building she was heading towards she
glanced across the lake at the massive bolt that kept the water below
liquid and managable.
doors slid open, the technology not being as advanced as the training
center. Inside there were few people of various skin tones, standing
in the lobby, most chatting with one another. The red and green rug
absorbed the few amount of water she had on her steeltoe black boots.
government officer approached her. "Alanna, Kyjorvik San."
annoncing his name and showing his rank with the common approach of
touching ones chest. He was a tall man and his name suggested he was
Cha. His skin was tan from that planets proximity to the sun. He was
in a dark suit and white tie, very run of the mill. With broad
sholders, but an unformitable chest he wasn't intimidating. He had to
have some sort of high attributes to make it to rank four. Strength
wasn't one of them.
pryed "Mind if I see your dossier...Kyj-"
interupted "San is fine and yes you may." He swallowed
briefly in his throat as if worried. Handing her a teratab which was
generally see through and were unreadable by video capture device
which was very beneficial for governmental business.
wasn't sure if his sign of worry was for her reputation or if he had
something to hide.
Extraverted Feeling." she started reading parts outloud. Reading
ahead before coming to the section she wanted to find.
knew why she was hesitating on reading this section, her temper was
well known. Unsure of how she was going to react he waited patiently,
rubbing his thumb and middle finger around the other wrist.
sorry, what was your reason for stopping me again." She had to
hear the words for herself.
your new partner." he said out the side of his mouth, his jaw
slightly tilting to his left. A clear sign of uncertainty.
thoughts were racing towards why they had picked a person like him to
be her partner. She didn't even take the time to process how
attractive he was to her. "No trained skills what so ever, but a
9 in luck." Her voice getting progressively louder as she pushed
her was past him and towards the opposite end of the room where a
humanoid stood behind a caged window.
do I even start?" Should I call it luck that you ended up a rank
a bit harsh." he said briefly trying to match her pace. A
wrinkle in his suit from the jerked movement to turn and catch up to
her. Which was quickly pulled down at the waist to straighten out.
going to have to change too, there's no way I'm taking you into
combat dressed like that." she snarked.
going to take that as advice instead of an order." trying to
avoid the now well know fact he had not seen true combat. He had seen
her record of numerous semi successful combat encounters. Her veteran
status was hinder though by the sheer amount of partners she had
lost. She wasn't pleased by the phrasing he had used and expressed it
greatly through her face and body.
going to need two breathers, at least three power flashes, he's going
to need an exo with a regulator." She was speaking to the armory
bot who didn't ask for clearance.
polite person might ask if he had any evos that would allow him to
survive the planet they were going to.
was a shortened way most people refered to evolutionary
modifications. Governmental regulated evolutionary traits that
improved upon the unevolved human body. The range extened from the
ability to breathe in space to being able to see through walls, or
clothes assuming that was your intention. Evos prices were expensive
and few lower class' went without. Few saved up.
breather was an equipment that was cheaper than an evo. Lightweight
and filtered most known toxins through smart chips and a thermal
batteries drawing on the heat of the human to function. Many personal
devices used thermal batteries as a clean and indefinate source of
flashes were primative but worked against Mavericks especially well.
Handheld and spherical in shape and can be selective or set to all
burst. The targets would be buffeted with selective blasts of
absolute magnitude -25.5 through zepto sized barrels. Sure the
blindness would be permanent without medical attention, thus their
use was strict.
or exoskeleton, was a thin layer of woven transparent wolfram,
extremely durable and with a melting point easily beyond walking in
lava. It did cause some discomfort and without modern marvels of
technology it would oxidize and turn yellow in color. In this
particular case he would use the exo to survive the gravity and
atmopherical pressure. She asked for a regulator which was an
internal coat for the wolfram that kept the temperature comfortable
regardless of outside sources. Almost a must have for planet jumpers.
also like a..." pausing uncomfortably long before finally
deciding on the words. "abtronic personal tool."
human response was appropriate for such a bizzare request, she
squinted her eyes and furrowed her brows. The automoton stared for a
moment, processing the request and appropriate response.
you'll have to mark for that."
nodded and pressed his thumb to a small pad where it took a dna
sample. Signaling that he would have to pay if it was destroyed. He
had not built up any credit with the government unlike her.
confused look slowly crept into a smile as she realized he was
seriously out of his element at the moment. It was only at this
moment she considered him more than just another casualty.
long the automoton was back with the various equipment and a turned
around preventing entrance but moved the equipment to the other side
of the wall. His heavy belt-like tool was waiting for him, next to
the exo with a regulator already installed, miniturized to fit inside
of a brief case. The power flashes and two breathers were placed
through the small opening at chest level.
pulled at her belt revealing loops that were once sealed within the
suit itself, hooking the ends of the power flashs for easy pull and
toss. The breather was masklike and form fitted to her mouth and
neck, it needed to be large for processing power. There were smaller
versions of the same object but she would have to buy one. It was
flimsy and able to slide into her back pocket which appeared once
reaching back. Her suit reacting to her motions and creating pockets.
pulled the belt up and around his waist with awkwardness. The weight
of the belt was off setting and unexpected, this would be his first
time wearing one. He took this moment to ask her a question that had
been plaguing him like the outcome of a virtual romance show.
are we going to a gas giant in the mid core?"
retrieve an AI."
there a particular reason? Sure AI's are expensive but this seems
like a waste of government time and resources."
killing a load of mavericks and retrieving a genius artificial
intelligence. It's not like the mass' will know. They're too busy
playing Open World or some other VR game." she said with a hint
rain changed slowly to a rolling clash and thunder. The soothing
continuous sounds of mostly water hitting the permacrete inbetween
the clack of lightning. Small grooves, naked to the normal human eye,
carried the water down, past a built in filter, to a large collector
below the city. The lumination of the room changed artificially to
accommodate the lack of natural light. Alanna now opening a tab in
her personal suit towards medication. Above, opium and beneath
epinephrine was ibuprofen, selecting by pressing gently against the
cartiledge on her skin.
continued her previous statement a bit more casually than before,
slowing her speech, and breathing more. "Look, there's a bigger
play always going on. Why mavericks would pick a gas giant to build a
bunker on is more than reason enough to investigate at least. We
can't pull troops out of the demilitarization zone. You know how
frequent attacks are in that sector.
either one of their left hands a small red flash showed itself
briefly enough for both of them to notice something was up. Commoners
lacked the sufficient knowledge to know what this meant but for the
two of them the case was just the opposite. San dropped the case he
had moments before just picked up. Alanna, having already put
everything away, was already at the door a few steps ahead of him.
rain did little to stop the visual ahead of her. Looking out over the
lake ahead of her she could see the Bolt sticking out of the water as
usual. On either side of the hexegonal head of the pillar she could
see the reflection of the star in the ultra durable polycarbonate
window of the two maverick fighters.
MVK Mark III was a fast and agile space ship that used less
conventional means of transportation. It's maximum crew was one,
which usually was a downfall for mavericks. With the upgrade to Mark
III the hull was replaced with a lighter more flexible frame that
allowed for both manuverability in atmosphere and in the vaccum of
space. The ship was shaped much like the common language's letter
"T." At the end of the ship were pivotable engines allow
for unconventional and nausiating turns. The ships were cheap but
training was the challenging part. Pilots had to go through rigorous
training to withstand the sudden gravity changes when pivoting the
engines. The pilots were at the middle base of the ship where the
weapons were hidden under the pilot with two twin turbo lasors on the
opposite ends next to the engines.
mind raced and couldn't come up with the best possible solution so
her next actions were based solely on instinct. Lundging outwards in
a full sprint towards the lake, her boots hitting the sand with a
cloud of particulate being ploomed behind her. "San! Keep up."
She yelled back, not taking the time to look behind her. Upon looking
though, she would have seen San running behind her at a slower pace.
Not by choice. She kept her gaze on the boat that was swaying back
and forth with the current.
a small female child was running in the sand. Her small pink and
white shoes barely leaving any indent. Her hair was long, and
unkempt, signling a small sign of poverty. Her facial features were
very similar to the man she was now jumping into a hug. Free falling
into his arms she squeezed him tightly. It had been some time since
they were together. Her feet dangled at her father's knees.
there Shorty." he said not being able to express the
overwhelming joy he was currently feeling.
this the boat you've been saving up for? A real artifact!?"
is, I've almost fixed her up."
you can sell it and we can afford the house we've been wanting?"
She slid down out of the hug, headed towards the edge of the boat and
as if touching fragile glass she gripped the edge.
just nodded once she glanced back with that huge smile she had on her
face. She had to live off world due to medical issues. Barnard was a
middle class world but the atmosphere was harsh and though a medical
cure was available for her ailment the government always placed the
cost at extreme. This was their home and where their family lived.
She was currently living in the only place they could afford. Barnard
IV. A baren world.
solution to keeping his daughter on Bernard III was to buy a condo
that was enviornmentally sealed. An expensive venture that he had
only a month left to finish. The builder bots were already working to
build the massive skyscraper apartment complex. His gaze had moved
towards where the construction had begun across the lake.
let me show you what I've done."
lifted her over the side of the boat and went in behind her. The
floor was recently done and cleaned. The white paint was fresh but
dry. The classic ancient engine was the last thing on his list. It
had taken him quite some time on the holo-library to figure out how
these worked. There were no repacement parts and in such he was
tasked with fixing it from scratch. If it worked he could sell it for
more than he could earn in a years worth of saving. The maximum the
government would allow you to save. Enough to buy them the condo he
despirately wanted for his daughter.
was rushing along the docks, the sway of the plasti-wood almost
caused her to miss a step and stumble. Seeing the man who was
cleaning up inside the boat. "Sir, I'm comondeering
this...boat." She had a hard time saying it, due to it's extreme
age. She was used to the turboboats she would race for fun and
adrinaline. Hopping into the boat, with one hand planted firmly on
the edge of the boat. It swaying a bit to accomodate her weight. San
not far behind her. She headed towards the helm and attempt to turn
it on. San was in the boat now and the owner was pleading with her.
you don't understand, this..."
if you don't leave immediately I'm going to have to detain you for
interupting a government official."
said while not looking at him, mostly ignoring the pleads. Her hands
moving around the main console trying to figure out what all the
knobs were there for.
me do it..." San said moving into the spot she once held.
Shoving her slightly with his hip was he turned on the boat with the
key and pushed the throttle to it's maximum. The man stood at the
edge of the docks having stepped out at the last moment. His hopes
and dreams riding away, unaware they were heading towards a terrorist
when do you know how to opperate ancient devices?"
hair whipped in the violently wind, causing her to squint. She moved
her hand to her brow as a shild from both the wind and sun. Not
looking to her pilot but rather the tower.
mother requested that I learn the ways of the old. She's commited to
the idea that the government will collapse one day and chaos would
rule the galaxy for the first time."
always used to say 'good things never last forver.' I'll dock there,
you go ahead-"
was already leaping out from the boat to the ladder that lead up the
long pillar to a small dark entrance. She had a habbit of doing
before thinking and in such she was leaving him behind. The boat
drifted quietly back and forth next to the pillar occasionaly bumping
into it. San made his way up the ladder behind her.
was a superb human in atheltics. Her main hobby was improving herself
physically. She did this for various reasons, one of them was the
current situation. He wanted to yell out to her to wait up. She was
going to enter the next room alone and he was a few minutes behind
her at most.
made it to the top of the ladder which wasn't even an eighth of the
way up the pillar. She caught her breath quickly and stared into the
darkness. On the other side of the narrow pillar was an expected
opening on the opposite side of the pilar. There was the soft small
red glow of the lift. The door opened with a quiet swoosh.
men walked out with primative lasor rifles. Their clothing was
Maverick in origin, they typically didn't wear modern clothes.
Mavericks still used linen to fashion themselves. It looked heavy and
difficult to move in. She was used to seeing them, though not in this
light. She couldn't make out their faces even while leaping towards
them before they had a chance to point their rifle and submachine gun
towards her. Grabbing both while using her head to break the nose of
the larger of the two. His body was lardy and muscular but his nose
was just like any other, breakable. The other man was startled by the
sudden attack and was spraying lasor fire out into the lake towards
few moments earlier.
structure 11.25 has insufficient permacrete. The next shipment will
be delayed due to the terrorist attack currently happening."
up brain-bot, if I wanted excuses, I'd ask my wife."
apologize sir, but I do not understand."
administrator and sole human put on the job of constructing the
building was a horrible man. If the labor bot was observant enough to
be considered human it would notice how red the mans knuckles were.
His jaw shifted slightly and his eyes narrowed across the lake
towards the bolt.
Mavericks." Drawing his attention back to the labor bot which
was awaiting orders. "Overriding command gamma. Build structure
11.25 regardless of permacrete supply."
sir, estimating a 97% chance of building collapse in the event the
mavericks are successful."
if this building doesn't get done on time, I could lose my job, and
if the building collapses then I get another job and I can just pin
the blame on the mavericks."
sorry sir, but my logic processor cannot make sense out of that
see what I'm dealing with over here."Speaking to a different
labor bot who was overhearing the conversation and had turned his
attention once it was registering that it was being spoken to. He
used hand jestures as he spoke which triggered a bit of pain from the
back of his hand. Reminding himself of what had caused such pain in
the first place.
spent your credits on luxury food and then you make me this garbage!"
he was shouting while standing over his wife. His wife had curly
brown hair that when straightened would go down to her waist. At the
moment it was spiraled up to her shoulders. She was wearing mostly
white Barnardian polysilk, designed to reveal as much as socially
acceptable as to appease the tyrant above her.
was on ber back, elbow lifting her off the floor while the other was
out, pleading to her husband. She had commited a permanent marriage
to him. She was deadly in love with him, even though he beat her.
tried...I swear." She said between getting her blows to the
I don't care if it kills me, we're getting this building finished
automotons were unsure what to do with what happened next. The man
collapsed, hit by the stray lasor fire coming from the pilar. Hitting
him from behind it obliterated his lungs. Gasping for air that went
no where he fell to the floor with little to say and the wounds
having already cauterized.
robots were irony impaired.
to the action.
larger of the two Mavericks dropped the rifle from his hands grasp to
instinctually move towards his now broken nose. Recoiling in pain and
sight of blood. Alanna now had a rifle in her off hand, her left. The
other Maverick realising he was over reacting from the grapple now
tried to punch at the woman with his offhand.
connected with a thud, his hand now throbbing with pain. These must
have been peons thrown at this pillar. Maybe as a distraction. These
were not top teir Mavericks. Her skin was tough and she had taken her
fare share of punches in her life, conditioning her skin to the pain.
Kicking the man back towards the archway with her brief moment of
opportunity; she turned the rifle around and fired at his chest. The
two parts of the man fell down towards the water below. The collision
splashed water into the ancient motorboat.
reached up and over the last ladder step and saw her standing with
her arms at the throat of a Maverick choaking him vigerously. She was
screaming at him. "Where is the real play?" She relaxed her
grip long enough for him to say what needed to be said.
snapped his neck, killing him instantly. San was take back at her
ruthlessness, knowing she wasn't into taking prisoners. The phrase
plquqhu, pronouced [pl'kwe'kyoo] was a common Maverick slurr that she
had heard numerous times with her type of profession.
does that mean?" San inquired, hoping she knew more of the
language than he did. There was not an autotranslator for that
language yet as there was no living person who would be willing to
translate it for the government.
he didn't have a good mother and father."
gave her a perplexed look before she was done searching his body
quickly. She leaned up from her bent over position, her hair soaked
from the rain. It seemed more brown when it was wet, than the typical
didn't have time to waste, heading towards the elevator. Inside the
cold steel frame was odd to see, having been built many years ago.
The expected collumn of stops were three. Assuming the middle would
be the maintance room she pressed that one. The doors closed.
was given the laser rifle who's owner was the recently departed
maverick. Alanna opened a pocket in her suit and pulled out flexible
carbon fiber Kote smart-gloves she had obtained from a raid on
Mercant Prime. Pulling the gloves over her fingers and immediately
made a fist. She ordered him, letting him know what to do. She knew
this would be his first combat situation.
going to give me cover fire as I take care of the boss. If you can
hit them, great. Find the first peice of concealment and continue
your overwatch there. Got it?"
was silent but a small nod showed his confidence. Weather it was
justified or not Alanna cared little, focusing on the task at
hand.The elevator was comfortably silent as their entrance was going
to be vital to stop the attack.
reluctantly dinged and Alanna was already pushing her way out of the
narrow gap, her speed incredible and still caught San off guard. The
room was small enough so that within a second she was upon them. San
looked around for cover while shooting at the enemy. There was large
pipes that lead upwards along side a hard plastic ladder. It must
have gone all the way to the top. There was a large generator and
alternator on either side where San took cover. Alanna was inbetween
the two men swinging her massive haymaker at the one she needed to
stop first. The engineer who was working the console, since he was
caught flat footed she was almost guaranteed to hit. The mans face
was smashed into the screen sending shards of plastic and glass to
the floor. The back of his skull bleeding profusely as her smart
gloves upon impact shot out and retracted five inch spikes within a
nanosecond shreading anything that she hit.
of the two men behind her was radioing to their backup that someone
was here. He was in the middle of talking when he was hit by lasor
fire from San who had taken his time to shoot. Alanna turned to the
uninjured man and jumped onto his back wraping her arms around his
neck. Speaking inaudiably to the man as San noticed the combat was
coming to a stop once the man disarmed himself.
man obviously spoke Common based on the reaction he was giving.
the real play?" she asked.
is the real play. This is happening all over the planet." he
responded uncomfortably with the gloves surrounding his face and
neck. He knew that he could die if she increased the pressure and
released the spikes.
here, why now, why so far into empire space?"
remained quiet, still trying to cope with the now know fact he had
killed a man. His fingers trembling which made him want to set down
the gun. Whispering quietly to himself, "Pull yourself together
have orders, we don't deal with tactics. Please, I have a family."
was plagued with the decision now. Leaving him here could cause some
potential harm to the pillar and it be as if she was never there.
Bringing him with them could mean that she could be caught off guard.
The second choice at least left her the chance to fight back.
She said bringing him towards the ladder they had used to get to the
room. The climb was going to be intimidating from the electrical
charges going off. At least the ladder was not conductive. The man
unwillingly started up the ladder while Alanna followed behind not
ordering San to do anything, letting him come when he's ready.
climb was terrifying for most people, the electrical charges that
dispursed when lightning struck the tower caused a random assortment
of cables to light up and send the power down the pillar.
Occasionally the cables would sway so much as to come close to
touching one of them but luckily never striking them. The heat from
the area was almost unbarable. The hatch at the top was open and they
made their way out to the flat top.
were two other men watching the three ships that had landed. Having
not seen the third one land and she wasn't going to risk leaving them
there. By the time she was out of the ladder the two men were
shooting at her. Wishing that San was there to help she pushed the
unarmed man to the side crippling his legs in the process and darted
towards the two. These two were not grunts, their aim was better, but
her dodge was incredible. She took a hit in the shoulder just as she
was lunging both fists out at the two men. Both of which made the
same face of confusion and shock as she extended both of her arms out
hitting the two in the face, killing them instantly. The pain from
her shoulder was extreme as was the expression on her face. She
stifled a scream before rolling over onto her back and let out a cry
of both happiness she had succeeded and pain from her shoulder. Her
arm hanging on by a minimal ammount of cartiledge.
was there in a few seconds standing over her and radioing to
headquarters that Pillar 12 was successfully saved.
was no response from headquarters.