Authors: Drew Wagar
Tags: #Adventure, #story, #short, #space, #opera, #oolite, #elite
A short story based on the
space trading game Oolite.
Written by Drew Wagar.
You are free:
To copy, distribute, display and perform the work
To make derivative works
Under the following
must give original credit to Drew Wagar
You may not use this work for commercial purposes
you alter, transform, or build upon this work,
may distribute the resulting
work only under a licence identical to this one
For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others
the licence terms of this work
Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission
from Drew Wagar
Wyvern, Disembodied and Clym Angus – some of most excellent of Oolite writers.
great work of theirs appearing on the Oolite BBS.
Check it out!
– and go to the 'Fiction'
section. Keep writing fellas!
If so, you’re one of the lucky ones.
My Oolite books will always remain free to download and
read. I deliberately make no financial gain from them. However if you enjoy
them and would like to show your appreciation, I would like to suggest a
donation to a charity local to me: the Ashford Dyslexia Centre.
Dyslexic children and adults find it very difficult to
access the written word, particularly in the traditional ‘black text on white
background’ format adopted for most printed material. This can cause acute
. It’s been estimated that the dyslexic
brain has to work around four to five times as hard to process text when
compared to a non-dyslexic. Imagine trying to read a block of text when the
words keep shifting position, change size, re-order themselves and go blurred
at whim – that’s what traditional books look like to a dyslexic person.
In children this can lead to behavioural problems as they
are not able to understand why they can’t access text as easily as others.
Schools are typically unequipped to detect or deal with the needs of dyslexic
children. As a result children are frequently labelled as ‘stupid’ or ‘slow’
despite overall high intelligence. Given that most teaching and testing focuses
around the written word (clearly you have to be able to read the question in
order to answer it) dyslexic children are disadvantaged on all sides, unable to
demonstrate the abilities they do have. Writing is also problematic.
Often, dyslexic children have far superior non-verbal
reasoning, logic and sequencing abilities. They often demonstrate higher
degrees of musicianship, creativity, entrepreneurial and empathic abilities.
Crucial to getting support to help people with dyslexia is an expert diagnosis
and the subsequent recommendations. There are many ways to help;
readers, special glasses, additional time for exams
and so on.
The Ashford Dyslexia Centre exists to
diagnose, support and provide specialist teaching for those affected by
dyslexia in my home town. People with dyslexia may have a problem with
traditional books, but they still love stories. Please consider helping them to
access what we take for granted as book-lovers.
You can donate at http://www.wagar.org.uk
Thank you. .
world around him appeared through a flash of chromatic light. Consciousness
returned. He panicked, trying to remember where he was and what he'd been
fire flashed around him; collimated energy striking dangerously close by.
Where am I?
Knowledge seemed to flood back into his brain,
as if being downloaded from somewhere: memories, impressions, skills. It was
accompanied by a vague sense of familiarity.
This has happened before...
was no time to think. He was strapped into a flight chair, a dizzying array of
instruments and controls before and around him. Instinctively he knew what to
he was an Elite
How did I know that? I can't even remember
He spun his ship around. A length of dark hull
panel flashed past the viewer, followed by a cyan exhaust plume.
What are you doing? Are you
hurt?' a voice demanded from the narrow-band
That's me, I'm
A pirate attack! He must have been knocked
unconscious for a moment, perhaps a missile impact or a collision with another
ship. More memories returned as they were required – yes a missile. They had
been attempting a trade run through a feudal system. Three pirate vessels had
A desperate fight.
triggered the laser. The ship before him spun, losing control and abruptly
One hit? Was that all?
Thought you'd bought it there for a moment!'
voice belonged to his partner in crime. Both tagged as 'offenders' for some
minor smuggling offences. It had been a mistake. Anyone could shoot down an
offender without fear of retribution, honest traders, pirates, police, anyone.
It sure made life interesting.
We were travelling from.... (
pause) … from
. Carrying a
cargo of …. (
pause again) narcotics... what? No,
can't be – we wouldn't! (
That was it.
The scanner showed only two ships.
One belonged to his
the other was the single remaining pirate. Those cowards had bitten off more
than they could chew! The pirate vessel was attempting to flee.
opened the narrow-band and hesitated.
I must have been hit harder than I thought!
I can't even remember her name! Funny how my head doesn't hurt or anything, I
better get myself checked out station-side. I can't afford to black out in the
midst of a fight!
The name came to him moments after he thought
Let them go. They've learnt
way, they cost us three missiles and a ton of cargo. That's coming out of their
hides!' was the immediate response.
ship fire its injectors, thrusting forward
in pursuit of the fleeing pirate.
pirate vessel turned, attempting to escape, veering onto a different
trajectory. Laser fire flashed in the depths of space.
plaintive cry echoed across the wide-band.
we're sorry! We surrender! Don't kill us! We're desperate, we didn't mean any
harm, you don't know how it is, we're broke,
Don't, it's not worth it!'
was a distant flash of light, the signature of a dying ship.
One of the indicators on the scanner
flickered and disappeared.
!' came the cry of triumph, 'Twenty
ship came blazing back towards him, neatly sliding into
formation alongside his own vessel.
where's the 'right on, commander'?'
demanded across the narrow-band, 'Are you sure you're ok?'
fine.' he replied, 'You didn't need to kill them.'
had it coming.'
. A bit of mercy today might payback in our
the rejoinder. He
could see her in his mind's eye, a pouting face, framed by flaming red hair,
'Kill or be killed. They attacked us, remember?'
...' he paused again, the familiar word not
immediately being recalled, 'Torus drive with me. Let's get station-side.'
fees and transfers paid, permits
checked, licenses renewed. The business was complete.
sat sipping an
gin in the station bar.
is the matter?'
asked, looking at him, trying to
hide some concern.
replied, 'I don't feel right at all. What
happened in that fight? Did I take a hit? There's no damage to the ship. I
can't remember things properly.'
paused, as if trying
to recall herself, 'They attacked us, two Sidewinders and a Python. We took a
Sidewinder apiece. I didn't see a missile hit you.'
'Must have been something.
My mind feels like mush.'
been working too hard.' She leant forward and gave him a suggestive kiss, 'You
need to relax.'
think I should see a medic.' he said seriously, 'I passed out in that fight!'
pouted, 'Do the drugs if you need to, I'll be waiting!'
grinned at her, and took a deep slug of the
gin, 'I'll be there. Just you...'
Gin must have been stronger than he thought. There was a flash of
light and he felt himself slipping away.
'He's fine.' the medic said, looking over the
instrumentation one more time, 'Overwork, stress.
over for a few days and
replied, he felt uneasy, as if he was
fly the ships buddy, leave the
.' the medic replied, 'You flew a long stint, had a
, traded for hours non-stop and then consumed
nothing but intoxicant and you wonder why you passed out. You're exhausted.'
nothing else wrong with me?'
medic seemed very relaxed, 'Nothing that some bed rest won't cure.'
coming to bed then.'
scolded him, 'Now!'
said 'rest'!' the medic said with a grin, 'Or at least, let her do all the
asked, smiling coyly from beside him. The
warmth of her body was intoxicating, the heat of their lovemaking slowly
fading. She was still draped across him, holding him closely.
looked at her as if for the first time. Her bright red hair and cat-like eyes,
the result of genetic experimentation from centuries ago; the curve of her
neck, her dusky complexion and the smooth skin he'd enjoyed. She was gorgeous,
a talented lover, though she never said where she'd learnt some of her
techniques. There were some aspects of her past she didn't wish to revisit.