Jump to content
    Topher Lydon
  • Author
  • 3,738 Words
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

The Falcon Banner - 29. Chapter 29

Tinker, Tailor, soldier sailor,
rich man, poor man,
beggar man

-Anonymous 'Terran nursery rhyme'

Trade Liner Million Tears

She dwarfed the Excalibur, a giant freight train that touched the stars, connecting them together and offered them a way to trade for things from across the stars. Excalibur sat along her dorsal hull connected by docking pylons and support framework. A powerful warship made to look like a child's toy alongside the immensity of the Tradeliner.

Darien hadn't bothered to change; he continued to wear his shipboard fleet uniform and leather jacket with its distinctive Striking falcons, his hand resting on the PKD strapped to his side as he walked out of his ship escorted by Mayfair. The Marine Major making his presence felt escorting the Captain onto the Orion vessel.

The negotiations had been conducted by Nazzien. The Orion Imperial officer secured them forty eight hours of dock time with the Million Tears, long enough for the Excalibur's crew to enjoy some small slither of leave. Lauren had spent much of the past three hours drafting up Liberty Passes for the crewmembers, and assigning acting MP's to assist the Orion shipboard security in case of trouble.

Darien took a deep breath and smiled at the Orion Captain that was standing in from of him, "Permission to come aboard Captain," He stated with a smile.

"To a hero of the Empire? I say you're welcome." Tirana said with a broad smile, she was an aged old crone with a wide smile and a fond twinkle in her eye. Darien knew instantly that he liked the old woman; something about her told him she was a good person.

"Thank you," Darien replied with a nod, "Are you sure you want my boys over here terrorizing you bars and restaurants?"

Tirana laughed, "It wouldn't be the first time I've had a bunch of drunk sailors on my hands, so long as they follow the rules it should be fine." She nodded and motioned for Darien to follow her, "So tell me Captain, are all the rumours I am hearing true?"

It was Darien's turn to chuckle, "I'm afraid they've all been embellished a little for dramatic affect..."

"Good," Tirana stated with a grin, "Embellished stories are the best kind. They're more fun that way." She nodded, "Come I've had our cooks prepare a hot meal for you and you can tell me all about this business of yours."

Darien nodded, "Thank you Captain."

* * *

Lauren held up her hand encasing the straws, "Ok there's four of us, three long straws and one short one." She said glancing about her, "The person that pulls the shortest straw..."

"I have an alternative," Kit materialized on the bridge and looked down at the collection of officers drawing straws to see who would be remaining behind on the Excalibur to stand watch while the rest earned liberty passes.

Lauren turned, "Ok then lets hear it," she said arching an eyebrow sceptically.

"I am a command level officer," Kit replied gesturing to his silver oak leaf insignia on his collar, "Technically I outrank all of you with the exception of the Captain."

Lauren looked thoughtful as Nazzien shrugged and asked, "You sure you can handle this?"

Kit gave the dark skinned Orion a sobering look, "I have been a commander for a very long time, I think I can handle sitting watch for two days in dock. Besides, the Captain will be back soon and I doubt he wants to stay away from the ship too long."

The officers of the Excalibur glanced to the First officer who was nodding to herself, "Go," She said with a smile shaking her head and looking up at Kit standing in front of the command chair, "If there's any trouble call me."

"I give you my word," Kit stated with a warm smile as he adjusted his glasses, "Go, shop or whatever it is you organics do for fun these days."

Lauren chuckled as she set off for her cabin, smiling to herself as she did so. It would be good to get off the Excalibur and stretch her legs, and definitely good to get out of her uniform and into something more comfortable. She stopped short when she saw Kendrick leaning on the door to her Cabin.

"What do you want?" She asked as she walked past him into her neat room, pulling out a few items from her chest of draws and tossing them onto the bed.

"I wanted to say I'm sorry," Kendrick replied leaning on the doorway, "About the restaurant on Eisenhower, about the pilots, about everything."

She turned slowly studying his face, those eyes that bored holes through people now just looked tired, his face worn and drained. He was a man that was haunted by something, a man that just wanted a rest from what ever that was.

"Right..." she nodded after a pause, her mind wondering at his sudden change in attitude, was it that he had simply had enough of being the hot shot pilot and wanted to become part of the crew again? She found herself hoping that was the case, she missed him.

"Mayfair still off with the Captain?" Kendrick asked carefully.

She sighed and nodded, "Meeting with the Captain of the tradeliner, Darien hopes to get Intel about the Polians from her. Mayfair's the closest thing we have to a military specialist so he volunteered to go along."

"That means you have a few hours alone," Kendrick said nodding to himself, "Do you want some company?"

Lauren eyed him suspiciously, "Are you...?"

"Yes," Kendrick replied with a faint smile.

* * *

Kyr looked out of the window of his office, and looked at the many ships coming to and fro from the massive trade liner. He pondered going off ship for a while, then shut his eyes.

"Too much to do," he muttered turning back to his piles of files, trying to create medical records for the entire crew took work. Most of them had been pulled off of Karin out of slave markets where they had been treated little better than cattle. Diseases and a myriad of other ailments plagued them, one or two even suffered from scurvy.

Irritably he pushed his hair out of his eyes as he reached for a new file. Relax, the Captain had said. Kyr leaned his head in his hand. Sure. Easy as pie.

Elias burst into Sickbay, Hawaiian shirt un-tucked over top of a tee shirt, wearing dark sunglasses on his nose and a pair of khaki shorts. He pointed dramatically at the doctor. "And here we have the lucky winner of the first annual Mathew Pierre Elias appreciation club member of the year award. The prize being an entire day with yours truly, a day of shore leave and relaxation on the tradeliner of your dreams..." He stopped and shuddered, "Ok maybe not of your dreams...but we'll get a tetanus shot first."

Kyr turned and looked at Elias, and couldn't help but laugh out loud. Damn, that was an odd sight, the small engineer with his wild hair sticking up at odd angles grinning at him with a toothy grin and an excited look on his face.

"Elias..." he said, tone apparent from first sound that he was about to turn the engineer down. Reluctantly.

Elias ignored it as he sauntered over to the desk, fumbling around in the beach bag he was carrying with him, pulling out a bottle of Coppertone and tossed it over to the Kaynin, "Fine, you want to turn me down then I get to ramp up the lights in here until they're as bright as a Californian summer day, toss a bit of sand down in the corner, set up a deck chair... It's not a real beach, but if you're going to be a spoilsport then I am going to have to improvise. Personally I'd rather do some shopping on my shore leave and check out the trade liner, but if you would rather have sand..."

Kyr caught the bottle, and looked down at it. What the hell was Coppertone? Thinking it might be some sort of skin dye; he looked up at Elias, and gave in - willingly.

"Okay, but we can't stay too long I have to get some work done..." he sniffed the air, Elias smelled funny, "What's that smell?" he murmured.

Elias grinned, "We can talk about it after you get changed, I want you in what ever passes for outrageous tourist costume on your home world... oh and bring a camera. I'll meet you in the airlock room in half an hour."

Kyr watched Elias shoot out the door, almost a blur. He took a deep breath, and then quietly started for his cabin.

* * *

Kendrick smiled at her as they both stood on the upper tier of the shopping pod, she had changed into what she considered a pretty summer dress and was allowing herself to be escorted by the dashing fighter pilot who was earning a few appreciative stares from a few of the trade liners female passengers.

"Are you having a good time?" he asked charmingly as he looked down at the shopping levels below them.

Lauren looked down at the shopping bags she had acquired, mostly essentials she had been doing without ever since she had joined Darien's intrepid bunch of explorers, it would be nice to use a non-caustic shampoo for a change. "I'm having a great time." She admitted truthfully.

"Good," he said affixing her with a firm smile as he took her gently by the arm and walked on, "Because I want to buy you lunch."

"We are getting bold," Lauren replied in amusement, reaching up to place a hand on his, "All right, so long as we aren't eating Orion cuisine I'll be happy."

Kendrick smiled and guided her into a small restaurant he had spotted earlier, and Lauren gasped with surprise at the recreation of an old Irish pub, 'Val MacGreggors' she looked at Kendrick in wonder as she sat down smiling, "I'm impressed."

Kendrick smiled as he sat down across from her, "Real home cooking's a rare find out here. Lets face it, Chef doesn't know how to cook anything more complex than instructions on a carton."

She laughed and nodded, "Why is it you become all sweet and charming when no one else is around to see?"

Kendrick smiled as he ordered a couple of pints of larger, shrugging out of his flight suit jacket and leaning forward, he made to reply but saw her looking at him in shock, "What?"

"It comes off," she said with a coy grin, pointing at the jacket, "Shale and Nazzien were betting you had it surgically attached."

Kendrick's face clouded a little at the mention of the others, but he replaced it with a confident smile, "I'm just proud of my Squad."

"Team Captain, huh? Next thing I know you'll be telling me old football stories," She chuckled, "So Wing Commander," she stressed his rank, "why the sudden change?"

"Pretty girls have that affect on men," Kendrick replied accepting his drink.

Lauren grinned back at him as they ordered, he was trying hard, and she had to give him points for effort. "So," she said trying to steer the conversation away form his flirting, "What do you think of the ship?"

"Honestly?" Kendrick said mulling the question over while looking into his beer, "Darien's a good Captain, you don't do the things he's done and not earn some respect. It's just..." he sighed, "I think we need to do more, instead of playing hide and seek in the back end of nowhere we need to be making a push for Earth..."

"Excuse me," a gruff voice interrupted them, and Kendrick turned to look up at the pair of humans standing there, each dressed in dark fatigue uniforms, a golden lions head insignia on a royal blue arm band decorated each of their right arms, "But you're an officer from the Excalibur?"

Kendrick turned slightly his eyes flicking to the armband then up into the eyes of the two men, "I am," he said cautiously, wondering if he should have stopped by the armoury before coming aboard the trade liner.

* * *

Kyr stepped in, a big wide smile in place. Kaynin "outrageous" wasn't his forte, but the form-fitting vest he had on was an indecent shade of aquamarine, with highlights in a terrible shade of orange he supposed was all the rage during the festival season. It laced up at the front with thick orange strings, which he'd left loose and untied. His pants were the same lurid orange and the material was so light. Sandals finished the outfit, and he bowed to the Marine standing guard on the hatch, who stared at him outright.

"Uh, sir?" the chief said.

"I'm meeting Commander Elias here, we're heading to the Million Tears."

The marine nodded, and stared studiously at his panel.

Elias bounded into the airlock room and up to the airlock, "Come on," he said excitedly, "Apparently there is a racketball shop on the Trade Liner and I desperately need a new racket. And Tog's, you have to stop at Tog's Lauren was telling me its one of the biggest fast food chains in the Orion Directorate, best Tourva root in the known universe did you know that..." he paused for breath.

Kyr laughed, moving up and through the airlock into the connecting bridge that would take them into the Trade liner, "Speedball is good. I don't know what Tog's is. But there's this pub, called Val's..."

Their conversation paused as they were checked through the Orion security system to ensure Orion Security guard say "eyesore."

The Commercial district, a common sight on most Orion Trade Liners, vaguely resembling a land based "Mall" the multileveled shopping area was bright and neatly kept. Not exactly the excitement he had been expecting.

"Ummm..." He stated as hi enthusiasm levels dropped, "I somehow expected more."

Kyr looked at him, and blinked, "It's fairly out of the way, Elias." He smiled, "Compared to some of the places I've been to, it's paradise." He rubbed his bare arms, "And y'know, it's not exactly warm here, either." He glanced at Elias, and tried for chipper. "Speedball first?"

Elias pointed to the bar, a gaudily lit monstrosity of a room with obnoxiously loud music drifting from the door and large numbers of Marines, Orions and other unsavoury sorts moving into and out of it. "There's the bar... you sure you wouldn't prefer the beach?"

"Actually this was your idea." Kyr smiled, "but anything to get warm..." He moved over to the registry and started reading, then, "Um, Elias... there's supposed to be a speedball tournament in there." He pointed to the large group of obnoxious Orions and marines and Trade Liner personnel.

"And me without my bug spray," Elias muttered glibly, "How about we avoid the..." The group of loud, drunk beings that marched directly towards them, "Ahhh crap it's Kergel...."

"Who?" Kyr hissed, interrupted by the arrival of a group of drunken aliens.

"Look, Grell! It's Jorten's little glob-fly engineer!"

Kyr blinked, and looked at Elias with a "What the hell?" expression.

"Don't ask, just know he is big, mean and has a chip on his shoulder when it comes to me." The aliens fanned out to surround the two vacationing officers, Elias smiled cheerfully, of all the places in the universe, he had to be here at the same time as Kergel, "Hey, if you're looking for the restrooms, I'm sure they're in exactly the opposite direction, you know back the way you came... "

Kergel towered over Elias, looking down on him, "Little human, if we were not 'working together' I'd send you for a rest," He raised his huge hand, formed a fist, "It would only take a moment..."

"He actually has a whole lot more energy than that," Kyr said brightly, "And doesn't need much rest."

Kergel got a confused look on his face, and glanced at Kyr for the first time.

"A Kaynin," he said, and it didn't sound flattering.

Elias grinned as he pulled out the stun wand from under his shirt and jabbing it neatly into Kergel's stomach. The big alien collapsed gasping as Elias took a step back and waved the baton menacingly, "Lesson one, engineers always know how to sneak weapons through metal detectors..."

Kergel groaned and sat up, "Don't just stand there, grab him..."

Elias grabbed a surprised Kyr by the shirt and dragged him away from the aliens, "Run!"

Kyr took a moment to shoot a confused look at Elias, and then broke out into a run. An alien got ahead of him, and suddenly, with perfect clarity, Kyr was remembering his xeno-biology lessons back in medical school. He stepped neatly aside the bellowing warrior, and delivered a jab to the alien's nerve bundle in his neck. It barely slowed the alien, and hurt Kyr's hand a lot, but he kept running, and the alien didn't.

Elias let out a whoop and vaulted a stand displaying wares; landing at a run he skipped around the corner Kyr was point towards.

"I read the map!" Kyr yelled, "This way!" He dove into the crowd.

"Don't worry Kergel's not dead, he's electroencephalographically challenged." Elias supplied as he pushed his way through the crowd hoping to loose the aliens in the mass of people.

"You're crazy," Kyr sighed, "You know that?"

Elias chuckle as they duck behind a large communications booth. "I should explain that."

"Yes," Kyr nodded, "You should." He felt hyper-aware, and felt off- balance again. Great.

"Jorten was my former...employer, Kergel worked for him, and since I no longer work for Jorten... accidentally helping Darien to steal a ship and giving him the slip at Haligonian station... yeah he doesn't much like me." Elias glanced about him and pointed to a door that led into an exotic store of mysteries, "VENI, VEDI, VISA: I came, I saw, I did a little shopping."

Kyr smiled and here he was thinking shore leave on a trade liner would be boring... He grinned enjoying the rush of blood through his veins the ability to just run and be free. He glanced at the shop Elias was pointing, "Sure."

Elias nodded and pushed his friend into the antiquities store, smiling at the familiar smell of incense. "Come on we should browse."

Kyr nodded gratefully, and looked around at the antiques that went back many hundreds of years, some of them older than that. He smiled, and picked up an incense holder, "Look at this. If I'm right, the symbols on it date back to the -" he caught Elias' look "-most boring period of the blah-blah civilization of Yawning- Prime."

He grinned, "Sorry, science geek attack." He put the incense holder down. "Funny though, familiar smell." He smiled, "Scents are important to my people, they are the most powerful emotional trigger, you know."

"Yeah? Then what was the crack about my cologne about in Sickbay?" Elias grinned and leaned on the counter playing with a small brown and white creature with enormous ears in a cage.

Kyr's cheeks reddened, and he leaned in to look at the creature. He'd never seen one before, (it cooed at him, and reached out a little hand for food), and tried to use that to distract him from the cologne. And the smell under the cologne - the engineer himself, and oh he needed to think about something else. He focused on the creature and tickled its ears, wondering if he let it loose on the Excalibur how long it would take Shale to hunt it... bait.

* * *

"Tempus," The taller of the two men confirmed sitting down at the table uninvited, "Our ancestors were marooned there when the Empire fell. We had no ships, nothing. When we finally managed to cobble enough parts together to build a ship it was too late, Kardiac's fleet was gone and we were cut off from the rest of the empire."

Kendrick stroked his chin, "We have to help them." He said looking across at Lauren.

"I'm sorry," Lauren said shaking her head in surprise, "We only arrived at the Trade liner this morning, how did you know we were going to be here?"

"We didn't," The shorter man replied with a tight smile, "We were just about to depart, we were aboard trading for parts and supplies when we saw the Excalibur dock... An Imperial warship... His warship..."

Lauren nodded her head, "What do you need from us?"

"Nothing," the taller one said with a tight smile, "It's just we've been waiting for a long time for some sign that some small part of the Empire might have survived, that we weren't alone..."

Lauren continued to frown; something didn't sit right with her. It was all too coincidental, and while the universe was a small place sometimes, it certainly wasn't that small...

Kendrick however was nodding along, agreeing with everything they were telling him. "We'll come, help out as much as we can, I'll talk to Captain Taine personally..."

The shorter man smiled, "You'd be welcome, any news of the Empire and a chance for us to help you liberate Earth..."

Lauren frowned sipping her drink, vowing to have words of her own for Captain Taine. She couldn't explain her feelings; she just had an inkling that there was something seriously amiss.

* * *

Darien sat and listened to her concerns carefully, weighing them against Kendrick's impassioned speech. He shook his head, wondering at the risks and looking up at his first officer he nodded.

"We have to go, even the chance at a safe haven is something we can't afford to pass over. We can't re-supply at the Trade liner, we just don't have time, and they are technically a neutral port." He chewed his lip;"I will however keep the ship on standby alert keep the marines ready. First sign of trouble we get the hell out of there." He promised, offering her a reassuring smile.

Lauren bobbed her head, still in the pretty dress but looking every inch the Imperial officer, "Yes sir, I'll notify the crew once we're ready to depart."

Darien nodded thoughtfully tapping his finger on the Intel disk the Orion Captain had provided him with about the Polians.

Copyright © 2011 Topher_Lydon; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 16
  • Love 7
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
You are not currently following this author. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new stories they post.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

I think Damien should listen to Lauren.  He needs better information on these people who claim they are Imperials who survived.  I suspect a trap.

  • Like 1
  • Love 3
Link to comment

Veni, vedi visa. Lol. 

Well let's hope that is a sign of things to come, and rhat like Ceasar, they will conquer. 

Lauren is right about these 2 strange men. Something is amiss.  

  • Like 3
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    Want to keep up to date with all our latest news and information?
    Sign Up
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..