Corran Antilles is having a bad life. Schlepping cargo for the Federation doesn't pay. Even worse, the corporate hauler assigned to him malfunctions inside Trevithick Station. Before Corran's ship-trouble costs him his life, he's able to land, but at the price of his job.
Down on his luck, with no money and no way to get home, Corran thinks he’s hit the jackpot when a stranger approaches and offers him the chance of a lifetime. But of course, nothing in the Federation is free, and there's always a catch
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This maybe the last of the FREE published stories that I've won an award for so pay attention! Below is CHAPTER 3 of "Dangerous Gamble".
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Last we saw our hero he was sitting in a cantina when Felix approached him with a shady proposition. Now, Corran has his own ship but at what price?
An Elite Dangerous FanFic
© 2015 S.N.McKibben
As stars went by I sat back in my pilot’s seat, marveling at the Sidewinder’s supercruise ability. This was so cool!
My fifth job put me in Imperial space. I figured if my patron was an Imperial, maybe I should be there too. Silly logic, I know, but I felt a certain amount of obligation to Felix. Another part of me was, as they say, waiting for the second engine to blow.
For now, I was trying to find jobs. A harder prospect than I’d thought. They were increasingly difficult to get. Trust was never my strong point. Maybe it had to do with that.
The Sidewinder rattled and stuttered. Shit. Here it comes. I was so used to ship malfunctions I wasn’t looking at my controls. Everything reported normal. What the hell? The blue sheath that normally surrounded me in supercruise shifted in a whirlwind like I was caught in a twister. Great. I’d heard about this, but I’d never thought I’d be victim to one. Traveling from planet to station never involved interdictions.
“Bask in the Emperor’s glory—by crashing into a sun, you nerf herder.” I swung towards the escape vector, trying to turn left and down. It felt like pushing string through mud. My Sidewinder shuddered and pitched right.
Spiraling for my escape, the guy behind me stayed on my tail.
“You’re good, I’ll give you that,” I said.
My ship was pulled out of supercruise. The frame shift drive wouldn’t recharge in time to get away. I was stuck out here with this ass.
A voice filled with hostility came over the comm. “Who the hell are you?”
“Excuse me, dickless wonder, but you interdicted me.”
“Dickless wonder? That’s rich. You didn’t even bother to change the paint job. You thought you were so high and mighty you’d shove it in my nose, didn’t you?”
What the hell was he talking about? “Who are you?”
“I’m Aurellio Crown, and you’re in my damn ship.”
There it was. If something was too good to be true… it usually was. “I swear I didn’t swipe your ship. It… it was given to me, okay?”
Aurellio howled. I heard a crash, then crackles on the comm. “Fucking Felix!” he hollered.
“Hey! Don’t talk about Mr. Wulfhart like that.” If what Aurellio said was true, I felt sorry for him, but I wasn’t going to hand over my one chance to get out of the hell I’d been born into. “Look, I don’t know what’s up between the two of you, but this ship is mine now.”
“Hello?” With my luck, he was getting ready to blow me out of the galaxy.
“You’re right,” Aurellio said finally. “So, I got replaced by you?”
“Felix is your patron now?”
“Yeah.” This whole situation smelled fishy. “So wait, was he your patron before me?”
“Well, he’s not my patron anymore.”
Did that mean the same thing would happen to me? Would Felix dump me after a time? What had Aurellio done to lose his favor? “Why would he do that?” I mused, mostly to myself.
“Because he’s an Imperial ass.”
“There has to be more to it than that.” And stop calling Felix an ass. But before the same happened to me, I was going to find out how to avoid or prevent it. “You did nothing to lose his favor?”
Aurellio sighed. “Not unless being the best is cause for it.”
“Oh, the best, huh?”
“A little space rat like you wouldn’t know who I was, or my reputation.”
True, but… “Well if you’re so high and mighty how come I haven’t heard of you?”
A pause. “The hell! Did you not hear my name? Aurellio C-R-O-W-N.”
“I’m the Senator’s son.”
“Are you incredibly dense? You’re in Imperial space. That means, if I wanted, I could kill you without recourse.”
Well this conversation turned dark fast. “So why haven’t you?”
“Because I’m better than that.”
“Then why do you want this starter kit back? Why don’t you get your daddy to buy you a super-cruiser like a Clipper?” Some guys were just born into wealth. Meeting Aurellio proved I never wanted to come across another rich kid again. Prick.
“It’s a matter of honor. You wouldn’t understand, space rat.”
“Hey, Sunshine, I bet if I had a privileged lifestyle like you I could do better.”
“Meet me at the Star and Garter,” I said. If we went back to the start maybe I could find some answers.
“At Trevithick Station?”
“That’s the one.”
“Tsk. Before all this I’d never been there,” Aurellio uttered sourly.
“Sorry for making you come down to the slums, Sunshine.”
Some guys always had to have the last word. I wasn’t that petty.
Part 3 END
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