SLAVE TRADE - Chapter II: The Scourge
The Scourge landed on the surface of Sakers Holding in Calhuacan
15 SEP 3305, Sakers Holdings, system Calhuacan.
(Thump) Is this thing working? (Thump) I think so. This is Jav Marlo, on board the Scourge, or what is left of it, this ship is a derelict. Well, I think I have managed to restore power and to activate the main console. All these systems are pre holofac display technology. This piece of junk has probably been in service since the days of the Galactic Cooperative of Worlds. It is a miracle it holds together. Most systems are inoperative, the hull is totally corroded and full of breaches negligently covered with patches, and the cargo hold is a gallery of horrors. They lied to me. This Python was not a slave trader. This was a slave hunter.
This devious ship is equipped with beam laser turrets, multi-cannons and collector limpets. The cargo hold is filled with cages, and I have found a room fitted with all kinds of instruments which only purpose must be torture. I have reviewed the records of the ship and I must say that its list of previous commanders is quite colourful, not precisely model citizens, and the number of bounties on it is unattainable. It seems that in the pass years it has operated mainly in the Pegasi Sector; not precisely a vacation destination. It is a miracle it has survived so long. I cannot imagine the horrors that this cargo hold has witnessed.
Time is of the essence, they said. I need to get to Asimov Bastion before the real slaver arrives and abducts the Sunflex pilots. But I cannot fix this ship. Not here. And I cannot carry this mission with the ship in this state. I am not even sure if it will be able to take off. I have no time, nor the necessary pieces and systems in this port. And that is not all. Anahi Bailey, my contact with the Golden Dragons, called me and said she was coming to help me with my looks. She says that I do not look like a proper slaver, whatever that means.
Resuming log. Damn it! Nothing is working here. I do not know what most of this levers do. I wonder how could they operate these things before holofac tech? I need to get this ship airborne and fly to some place where I can fix it properly. Wait. Anahi Bailey is outside. She wants me to let her in. I should have brought a pistol with me! What was I thinking when I accepted coming here? That woman gives me the creeps.
(loading ramp opening noise)
To what I owe the pleasure of your visit Ahani?
Shut up and follow me. You’ll not get very far with that looks of pretty commander.
You see this scar on my face. It was a bar fight.
Ok. I follow you.
Torture room? I’m not su…
Shut up and sit on that stool.
(sound of a knife unsheathing)
That’s it. And… for the final touch, I need some engine grease… Perfect. Not so pretty now.
That’s it? They said you’ll help me build my slaver character. You’ve just cut my hair and stain my face. How I am supposed to act, to walk, to talk?
Just remember… try not to be yourself… (chuckles)
Look, I really doubt you will complete this mission. And this naive Sunflex friends of yours used to pay me well for information regarding slavers routes in the past but, since their recent demise, I don’t think they’ll be paying anymore in the future. So I’m not putting more effort on this affair. It’s not worth it.
Perfect. That’s just perfect. Then leave me. I’ve got a lot of work here fixing this piece of junk. I bet you have important criminal stuff to do somewhere else. I'll carry on alone.
Damn it! Now she’s laughing at me.
(loading ramp closing noise)
Jav Marlo posing as a slaver
11.82 light years. Yes, that might serve. Just 11.82 light years. Maybe I could make it there. I have been working for fifteen hours straight on the ship thrusters and FSD. There were some modifications there that I did not understood. There is an industrial system nearby, LTT 1739, which seems to have a Coriolis station, Clarke Port, very well equipped. A much more civilized place. If I only could make the 11.82 light years to there I could buy new systems for the Scourge and outfit it properly. I have no time to travel there with the Electra, buy the parts and came back here for the repairs. And, besides, I need the dock facilities too so, I will have to take the Scourge there. I just hope for a quick death if this ship has a malfunction in the void.
I think I am ready to depart Sakers Holdings. Yes. Maybe there is a chance I could survive the trip to LTT 1739. If I manage to arrive there it will be fine. Before leaving I visited a weapons dealer and got myself a pistol. Small and manageable, easy to unsheathe. Anahi Bailey came to see how I was doing. She seems to know her way around a ship and carefully checked all the modifications I made to the Python. I told her that I was continuing with the mission and I will be departing within the hour. She detached the big Ghurka knife from her boot and gave it to me. “To complete your disguise”, she said. I thought I saw a glint of respect on her eyes when she left, or maybe it was just disbelief.
The Scourge leaving Sakers Holdings (Calhuacan)
Well. I managed to take off so far. All systems holding or, at least, not exploding. No hull breaches too. Wait. What is that? That must be that modification I saw in the thrusters. My contrail is red. What can be the purpose of that… well, I guess it makes the ship look more dread. Locking on system LTT 1739. The moment of truth. 3, 2, 1, engage.
The Scourge arriving to Clarke Port in system LTT 1739
I found almost everything I needed at Clarke Port. I was able to change most critical systems in a matter of hours. I changed the control console, installed an A rated power plant and distributor, a proper frame shift drive and decent thrusters. I switched the multi-cannons for fragment cannons, personal choice, and tinkered with systems to the best of my abilities to improve the jump range and cruise speed. I did not touch the hull in order to keep the dreadful slaver appearance of the Python. Anyhow, despite all its patches and breaches it made it so far. Feeling much safer, I departed Clarke Port.
The Scourge departing Clarke Port in system LTT 1739
Plotting a course to system HIP 32135. I am surprised I made it this far. I managed to fix the Python and in a couple of hours I will arrive to Asimov Bastion, the maximum security prison where the pilots from Sunflex Group Limited are being held. Maybe there is still an opportunity for these guys. The mission seems simple: locate the slave trader, eliminate him, pose as a slave trader myself, make a deal for the prisoners of Sunflex, take them on the Scourge and deliver them back to Nauni. Something tells me it will not be so easy.
To be continue…