Saturday, May 25, 2013
Road to Hyperion
The sun peaking over the horizon, it’s light racing along the ground, illuminating the torn landscape. The twisted wreckage of homes, businesses, transports and bodies. The rivers, lakes and tributaries polluted with death and destruction. Life giving plants blasted from the land. Wildlife dead and rotting. The sun rises over this scene of destruction until it’s rays of light advance up a small building. Improbably still standing, though torn and twisted. The light leaking through the cracks and rents, slowly travels along the inside, reaching the armored boots of a form in a dark uniform wearing dark armor that is badly damaged. As the light slowly travels up this form, small shiny squares collect the incoming light. Behind the opaque visor of the forms helmet a slowly flashing red glow starts, barely visible outside of the visor. As more light is absorbed by more squares, and more squares become bathed in light. The red glow increases in brightness and speed. Soon the form is bathed in full light, and the glow changes from flashing red to a constant yellow. The form moves finally. It is in a humanoid shape. It slowly rises to its feet and faces the morning sunrise.
Chapter One: Act One
BEEEEEEP, BEEEEEEP, BEEEEEEP!! He opened his eyes as the alarm started its wail. He reached out with his left hand and shut it off. 0515 time to get ready to try to get off this station again. He rubbed his eyes with his right hand as his left turned on a glow lamp. He pushed himself up to a sitting position, careful not to strike his head on the ledge running along the side of his pod, which held almost all of the possessions he had managed to recover after being rescued. The dream he had been having was slowly fading from his mind. The dream was the same one he had had every night since the U.W. had pulled him and the remains of his unit off of Avsrenica. He woke up after the massacre of his unit and walked out in to a field of devastation. Only the fact that his team medic had put him under and put him in that old outbuilding after he had been wounded had saved his life. His E-Suit and Armor were badly damaged; his power mains had been short-circuited by the plasma blades of the enemy. Only the Med-Mics had been able to save him from being killed with the remainder of his unit. The morning sun has charged his ST Caps enough to bring him out of the microbe-induced coma the Medic had put him in. With enough power he was able to get his Mic-Assys to start the repair of his E-suit and Armor, allowing the Med-Mics to repair what they could of his body. Over the next three days, he was able to scrounge enough parts and materials for the Mic-Assys to repair his Suit-Comp enough, so he could use his comms system to find a beacon. He still couldn’t transmit, but he could lock in on a beacon and set his E-suit and Armor to walk him there, while the Med-Mics worked on repairing the damage to his body.
It took 11 of the Avsrenicas 27-hour days to get to beacon. The problem was, it wasn’t one of his beacons. It was a U.W. beacon. The United Worlds Federation wasn’t even supposed to be there. This was matter between Avsrenica and Maltane, the U.W. had no legal authority to be there. And yet, there they were. Three days later the U.W. shipped him up to the heavy cruiser that was serving as a medical frigate until more ships could arrive. His armor had been locked down and all of his weapons stripped. The tried to wipe the RRR files from his Suit Comp, but it was so badly damaged they would have to wipe everything to be sure they got them. In the end they just powered down his armor to stand by status and secured it in their Cold-Morgue. Six weeks later he found out that Maltane and Avsrenica were both being quarantined. Avsrenican renegades had used the bio-weapon they had used against his unit against his home. Poisoning 93% of Maltanes population. Those without Med-Mics and IM-Comps died within 36 hours of the weapon being used. Women, children, animal’s even insects died. Most of the Militia and habitat personnel survived, but Maltane went from a population of forty two million to just over three million in less than 2 days. Avsrenica got it worse. Of the sixty one million on Avsrenica less than two hundred and twenty thousand are still alive. And many of them are very sick. The war is over. Both of the planets in the war are almost uninhabitable, their space infrastructure almost destroyed, both are now quarantined protectorates of the U.W.
Philbin Station, a trans-shipment station just off the L-3 LaGrange point in the Arcturus system. Philbin orbits Celios the sector headquarters for the U.W, from here it is only 3 jumps to the Sol system. Earth, mankind’s birthplace. Originally they were going to send the 14 other survivors and me from my unit to Earth to testify to the U.W Committee. However we all still had traces of the Bio-Weapon that killed so many in our bodies, so there we sat in Celios giving interviews, testifying and being medical curiosities. After six months the researchers figured out it was the fact that we had already been wounded and our Med-Mics, Oh, sorry, Medical Microbial Units, were already rushing through our bodies to repair the damage, that allowed us to survive. All of us has been put into Mid-Mic enhanced comas to repair the damage, so when the Bio-Weapon got into our bodies there were too many Med-Mics already running around for it to do much damage before it was neutralized. With working Comms, the Med-Mics were able to send the necessary protocols to fight the weapon to Maltanes. That is how so many survived. Avsrenica however, they don’t believe in Med-Mics. They aren’t fools who use Nanos like the U.W. used to before it got out of hand. They don’t believe in any type of technology that could be even close to the Nano machines, and Medical Microbes, Microbe Assemblers, IM Comps they are all banned technology on Avsrenica. I guess you could say they are sort of neo-luddites, or were as it may be. In ten years everyone will probably forget why Avsrenica and Maltane were fighting. They will only remember that millions of people died from a new sort of bio-weapon that renegade Avsrenican scientists had created. Today though, I hope to get off this station and away from the U.W.. Corporal Sandeis was able to get off, but without his armor. It will take his E-suit months to build him new armor. That is, if he can get his RRR files re-installed. Otherwise he’ll only have an E-suit like everyone else, which means any job he would get would limit him to either station or habitat work. I intend to go back to what I was before the war. A professional soldier. For that, I need to break out my armor somehow. It’s still in the Cold-Morgue of Philbin. Since my Suit Comp was so badly damaged, the graynecks, sorry, the U.W. Treaty Enforcers couldn’t wipe my RRR files without dumping everything. And that would be a treaty violation right there.
Article 215, Section 34, Provision E:
“No Persons, or Beings Suit Software shall be wiped, purged or tampered with, by any member of any Nation, without Judicial Committee Authorization.”
It goes on to say that if they want to wipe my Suit Comp they have to give me a trial, to defend why I don’t want my Suit Comp messed with. At their cost too, not mine. So not many T.E Commanders will try to wipe a suit comp, since one of the punishments for doing it without authorization is a minimum 3-year sentence at a labor camp in the outlying territories. Heck, more graynecks go to the labor camps than anyone else does. What do you expect of conscripts? Well time for me to move. I got dressed in my mostly repaired E-suit in my pod, which is kind of hard to do when you have less than 2.5 meters length and 1 meter in width and height to move around in. The pods support systems and very limited storage take up a lot of room on the inside. Finally I finished getting dressed, so I popped my hatch, checking for the blue tell tales first, it’s always a good habit to make sure there is atmo on the other side of a hatch, and clambered out. My pod was the number three in a 5 stack, so I had to use the handholds getting down to the deck. I secured the hatch to my pod before leaving it, and headed off down the gangway to the main transient’s section. There I could use my meager funds to have my pod serviced, recharged and stocked. It will be a tight fit but I’ll get the full 3-cycle servicing. That will give me a full 30 days of food, oxygen, hydrogen and have my power converter serviced and refueled. After that, I’ll only have enough creds for 2 cycles here on the station. Or if I have my pod moved out to the Zero G habitats, I would have enough for 11 cycles. I’ll let the section manager think I’m going out to a habitat. It will give me a bit of a cover, for when I break into the Cold-Morgue and recover my armor. After that, if I’m lucky I’ll be able to get my pod as well and get on to a tramp freighter out of this system. Right now I’d take anywhere over Philbin Station. But I’m not leaving without my armor. With my armor, the pod isn’t really necessary. Sure with having the pod serviced and my armor I can survive 23 cycles before I run out of power. With no power, no air and you know what happens when you run out of air. That is a really bad way to die. Without the pod and just my armor, well as long as I don’t use my thrusters, and I keep my power usage low I can go 10 cycles, before my E-suit and armor systems can’t reprocess my outflow and, well you can imagine what happens then.
I watched as the workers collapsed my pod to move it out to the habitat. I slipped the supervisor 5 Centals to put it in the lockers by the fifth subsidiary-docking ring. I told her I hoped to be able to find a short term contract, so I wouldn’t have to go out to one of the habitats and I wanted to hedge my bets. She gave me a knowing smile, and told me good journey. So I headed out toward the commercial section, where you can purchase almost anything, from some gleet, or companionship to a discreet or not so discreet murder. I knew that I needed to lay a false trail. I mean, breaking into a U.W. Cold-Morgue? That would get you shortened real quick. But I’m not leaving without my armor. It took 6 years to grow my armor, 3 years of scrounging the materials and RRR files for the Wave Caster, and 6 months to grow it. It took me another 3 months to learn how to use it properly and add my own tweaks so my power generator could handle the increased load without melting. All the modifications, the larger than normal ST caps and collectors, the command E-Suit recycler modification for my E-suit. I have a lot of time, effort and Creds tied up in that armor. I am not going to lose it like Corporal Sandeis and the rest of my unit did theirs. But first, I have to lay a trail so when I do break in to get my armor, I will be the last person they think would have taken it.