Greetings friends! It was only a matter of time before I would get started on a short story for my latest endeavour and figured "why not just get it out of the way, I'm sure you guys are ready for it!"
Like a sleek bullet the United Earth Fleet Goliath roared to it's intended target. At the helm ensuring every turn and manoeuvre was celebrated just right was it's captain and pilot; Paul Holmes.
Paul was a Bounty Hunter by trade and one of the best available owning some of the most prized after sites in the settlement of Free Port; one of the most successful, if not the only successful, Human colonies in the Outer Fringe. Officials from all around new that if they needed something done right and off the books then going to Paul was the best, and in some cases, only way of getting it done.
Sat behind him in the gunnery chair was his good friend Red Six, the two had been through more scrapes then they cared to tell stories about and always come out on top. Before joining up with Paul, Red had belonged to a group of Pirates; the Red Raiders. In the Raider's complex hierarchy he had been the 6th rank and therefore had the title; Red Six, but mostly now just went by Red. Paul had thought about asking about Red's real name but he figured that if Red wanted him to know that, he'd have volunteered long ago.
Along for the ride was their Ghost; Charlie. Charlie was one of the best Hackers either Paul or Red had ever seen and by the time he was 12 had already tapped into the Free Port security system, something the Free Port authorities to this day have been still trying to figure out.
Their latest job was an interesting one; the Free Port authority had recruited the team for a job. On paper the job was going to be easy; locate a missing Ghost operative who's ship had turned up free floating in unoccupied space and was not responding to any coms-traffic, secure the Ghost and their ship and then high tail it out of there and back to Free Port. Seemed easy, on paper.
When they had arrived the crew of the Goliath soon realised that things were far from easy. Before them floated their target; the UEF Patriot. It was a small ship, capable of holding only a single crew member, but it housed the pinnacle of Mankind's latest technological devices; the Phase Loop Drive.
Paul had often heard about these devices, or PLDs as they were called. Capable of opening rifts in space allowing a ship to simultaneously move from one point of space to the other. This was why he had brought Charlie with him. As well as cracking the door to the ship open, Paul hoped that Charlie would be able to record he schematics of the PLD down and later recreate it for the Goliath. When they arrived however it became obvious that they were not the only one interested in the PLD.
Surrounding the ship were at first count a total of six INI drone ships, all working in unison to try and crack the code on the ship and take control of it's AI Core. Responding to the imminent threat the Goliath now hurtled into range of the drone ships and locked on with it's particle cannons.
The Goliath unleashed it's weaponry on the Drone Ships with everything it had and in the first volley alone four of the ships ceased functioning, either shutting down from a lack of higher cognition or detonating all together. The remaining two drones, reacting quickly started their thrusters and banked away from the Patriot.
The first drone banked hard bringing the Goliath into it's sights. Drone ships were physically weak but they were undisputed in their agility. Readying it's single cannon it targeted the Goliath's engine and fired a single well placed shot.
The attack pierced the Goliath disabling it's Faster Than Light travel. Even of they wanted to, there would be no way of jumping out of this fight. The Goliath responded with another volley from it's forward cannons and destroyed the first drone in a flash of liquid fire.
The second drone; following standard programming protocol activated it's FTL drive and retreated at full speed. The wake of the jump rippled out and crashed into the Goliath.
"Well shit!" shouted Charlie, scrambling across the cockpit trying to reach three different consoles on opposite sides of the chamber.
"Just get on it!" Shouted Paul "We need this ship operational if we're going to get this job in on time!"
Red stood from his chair and stumbled his way over to Paul.
"We good boss?" Red asked, a slight slur from alcohol in his voice.
"Yeah, we're good" replied Paul. The Hunter paused for a moment and then continued "Charlie, I'm going to need you to crack the seal on this puppy, think you can handle that as well as the engines?"
Charlie paused for a moment before pulling out his Holo-Unit and started pressing what appeared to be random symbols before replying.
"On it!" The kid replied, an almost distracted distance in his voice.
The Goliath brought itself to a stop alongside the Patriot and began to attach it's boarding umbilical to the partnered ship. From his console Charlie operated his Holo-Unit before he began to recite what was being displayed.
"Ok, we got zero life signs" called out Charlie "as in literally shit-nothing in there". Charlie paused for a moment "However I am reading organic traces. I think our Ghost is inside, out for the count" he looked at his other readings before continuing "and looking at the Tox readings in there, I think he's out permanently".
Paul stood and brushed down his coat before addressing his crew.
"Gotcha" he said smiling and nodding at Charlie "Red, you're with me. Charlie, stay here and keep working on the engines, but stay alert; we may need you inside".
Paul paused for a moment, collecting his thoughts before stepping towards the umbilical and the waiting Patriot. He couldn't place why, but something didn't feel right about this job.
And that ends part one of the first part of Forgotten Ghosts. I hope you liked it, and I should be putting out part two in a day or two. As an idea each section is aimed at representing the narrative of a single mission, however I may remove some bits that would be present in a game but would make for a boring story - we've all played games of X-Wing and Attack Wing where we've spent 20 mins circling each other trying to get the enemy ships into your LOS, and frankly that would make for a freaking boring story!
- On a side note, I've had an idea about the game's name, I'm currently thinking of First Law: Override. It's referring to the struggle that takes place at the heart of the game; Mankind vs the INI.
Anyway, would welcome feedback, and until next time, see you Fringeside! (Get it? Because the game takes place in a region of the galaxy called the Outer Fringe!)
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley