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JUL/AUG The True Fortune


Tobias Walker
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Enjoy the story everyone, fell free to dro pa comment or two.

"How the hell did I end up here." Kyle spoke to no one in particular as the first phaser blast shot by him. He increased power to the engines and nimbly dodged the next volley of fire that the patrol craft launched at him.

"Unidentified Vessel, This the the federation patrol vessel Cerberus, disengage your engines and prepare to be boarded. Failure to comply will result in forcible measures to apprehend your ship." The voice over the intercom was stern and lacking any inflection.

"Cerberus, this is the Merchant Vessel Venture, I'm carrying medical supplies that are on a time urgent schedule, If you would kindly disengage phaser fire, I think the colonists that need this medicine would be grateful." Kyle was hoping this bluff would work. He wasn't carrying any medical supplies, hell he wasn't even carrying any supplies or cargo except for some stolen goods that he had been contracted to run between Dertian II and the Merkian Colony in a near by star system. It was supposed to be a milk run that would bring him a great deal of cash to replace this rusting bucket he called a ship.

He was in an old, almost ancient space frame cargo ship, not much bigger than a federation runabout, it was more engines than holding space. And the only thing that held it together were little pieces of wire and good intentions. With this delivery of Kelbonite, Kyle would be set for a long time.

"Negative, Venture, you WILL stand down and prepare to be boarded. Our scanners indicate that you're not carrying any medical supplies, but contraband materials."

Kyle dodged the next volley of phaser fire aimed at his engines. He could see the displays starting to creep into the red zone as the hull was being stressed due to the evasive maneuvers. He caressed the console whispering, "Keep it together girl, and ill get us out of this."

Kyle keyed his console and replied to the nameless starfleet officer in pursuit of him, "Contraband! What the hell, I was told it was medicine. There’s one thing we can agree on, someone needs stopped... The dock master who loaded me must have put the wrong cargo back here. I'd like to file a complaint!"

The taunting was having it's desired effects as the phaser fire was getting more inaccurate with the banter. Several shots brushed by the tiny ship as the pilot was able to swing it back and forth to stay out of the line of fire. He could keep running but it would be pointless, eventually the patrol craft would land a hit on him and disable his engines. And he would be spending the rest of his life in a penal colony, which would put a huge dampener on his plans of a life in luxury. He needed a rabbit hole to hide in and he needed it fast.

"Ship, any thing out there we can hide in?" He asked.

"The Theron Nebula is 1.7 light years away," The computer replied.

The ship had the ability to go to warp, but not a fast warp, but with luck, fast enough to beat his pursuer by a few minutes. He would hide in the nebula until the Cerberus would give up, or the ship would be destroyed. At this point Kyle really didn't care which.

"Cerberus, see you around," Kyle laughed as he keyed the intercom and engaged his warp drive. A glancing blow from of the Cerberus’s dorsal phaser array almost dashed his dreams of escape as the warning lights started to flash. Severe structural damage, and damage to the antimatter containment system. Everything told him to just surrender and take that fate he deserved rather than allow him to be killed with his ship. Kyle wasn’t that kind of person, he was defiant, proud and would risk the odds to get away.

He engaged the warp drive again and as the computer stared announcing errors, he was counting down the minutes he needed to get to safety, praying and hoping that the ship wouldn’t fall to pieces around him. His hands flew across the console as he kept diverting power. He jumped to his feet and headed back to the cargo area, attempting to repair what damage he could.

It didn’t look good, with the smell of burnt conduits and melted wiring. His worst fears were confirmed when he removed an access cover and the overpower smell of toasted electronics and he could see several control boards that were burned beyond recognition, let alone repair.

“Two minutes to destination.” The computer announced.

Kyle wasn’t sure that the ship wouldn’t hold together for the next two minutes, but that part he left up to fate. Conduits were overheating and the risk of major failure was eminent.

“Hold together, just for a few more minutes, please?” He pleaded with the console in front of him. He was jumping wires and bypassing damaged components to keep the SIF fields up and hold the rusty tub of bolts together.

“Thirty seconds.”

Kyle jumped back into the pilot’s chair as the ship started shaking, he buckled himself as the ship exited warp and appeared inside the nebula. The turbulent gases and plasma storms were rocking the ship, but as far he could tell, his sensor array didn’t pick up the chasing ship.

“So far so good...” The ship was being bashed apart and it was only a matter of time before the core would be rocked beyond the ability of the shields and dampeners to compensate. He navigated towards the edge of the nebula, hoping to get a sensor lock on anything other then the nebula or himself.

Several sweeps had confirmed that there was another vessel out there, but there was no way for him to get any identifying signals or even knowing that the other vessel had spotted him. He was flying almost blind, which he used to his advantage. He plotted a course away from the sensor echo towards the far side of the nebula. It wasn’t a safe course but it was the only option that he had, besides surrendering.

Inching forward at a near crawl, Kyle deftly piloted around the pockets of ionized gas that could make his getaway trip an exercise in survival. He slowly increased speed until he was drafting around larger and larger pockets of the explosive gas. He could see the edge of the nebula several thousand kilometers in front of him. The ship kept shuddering more and more the closer he got to the edge.

“Warning, antimatter containment failure imminent, venting overboard.” The klaxon sounded following the announcement. A stream of anti hydrogen began flowing from the port side of the vessel. Kyle slammed the throttle to full speed. A stream of antimatter interacting with a cloud of gas would be game over on his escape plan.

He could feel the blast behind the vessel as another link in the chain of disaster broke. A churning pocket of gas collided with the antimatter and the resulting combustion and tossed the spaceship end over end. Warning lights and alarms were flashing and the computer readout wasn’t encouraging. Structural integrity and inertial dampeners were failing and it would be a matter of a minute or two and the ship would tear it self apart.

Kyle had to make a split second choice: stay with the cargo and die, or get to the pod and get out alive. Without hesitation, he unbuckled and fought his way to the escape capsule in the aft of the ship. He took the survival kit and strapped himself in.

“So much for fame and fortune,” he muttered then pressed the eject button. He was pushed back hard against the back wall of the tiny pod, were he was forced into a standing position. Before his would went dark, he could see himself passing out of the turbulent nebula through the tiny polymer window on the frond of the escape pod.

Six years later, aboard DS9:

Darong slammed his beer mug against the table and laughed, “So how did you ever get out of that mess? And better question we all want to know is, how do you think that story can top all of our tales of latinum?”

The four men sat at a table in the top level of Quark’s bar, tales of latinum and fortunes abound, as they did every few months, they would meet with tales over cold drinks and the one with the best tales of adventure and wealth would be the victor and the others would buy the rounds, which lasted well into the night. Kyle had usually been the buying party, but he had always held this story in reserve, until now.

“A Merkain science vessel, the same vessel that was in the nebula found me pod and drug me in.” Kyle explained.

“That still does not answer our other question, hew-mon. I see no latinum.” Pharn was his usual Ferengi self, sneering with his supposed superiority.

“Boys, there are some things worth more then latinum,” Kyle offered.

“Such as? You were shot at by the federation, lost the cargo and your ship blew up, sounds like a total loss to me.” Ennis asked, his Bajoran features reveling little.

Kyle took a huge swig of his mug, “There are somethings worth way more than money, I might not have earned any latinum that day, but I did earn something a lot more valuable,” he sat the glass down and paused a second for retrospection, “experience...”

Edited by Tobias Walker
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