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Monday, July 13th 2009, 8:54am

The Life of a Liberty Rogue...

Chapter 1: Lawless

Sean O’Donnell awoke groggily to the noise of alarms screeching and yellow lights flashing. At first he was confused and disoriented as he rose to a sitting position on his bunk. He swung his legs out of his warm bed and planted them firmly on the steel deck. As he looked around his quarters he saw his bunkmate and wingman, Kirst Hollman, in roughly the same condition; only he was already out of his bunk and frantically putting on his flight suit. Sean looked at him with a puzzled look on his face.

“What’s going on?” asked Sean.

“Don’t you hear the announcements? We’re under attack!” replied Kirst.

“By who?” Sean asked.

“The Xenos. They brought an entire gunship and three whole wings of fighters! Now hurry up and get your ass out of bed! We launch in ten minutes!” Kirst yelled to be heard over the wailing alarms.

Sean hauled himself out of his bunk with an eager anticipation because of the huge battle to come. He rushed over to his flight suit and rushed to put it on. Once he finally got it on and checked, he and Kirst rushed out into the hall at a full sprint. At that moment, a huge explosion rocked the huge asteroid that was their home and base. The lights flickered and dust fell from the natural rock ceiling only a meter from their heads. The artificial gravity generators surged and gave out from the sudden power fluctuation and everyone in the hallway suddenly began to float in the air.

Still needing to get to their ships, Kirst and Sean firmly pushed off of the walls and continued on to Shadow Squadron’s hanger. They emerged only moments later into the large cavern that served as their hanger. He and Kirst pushed off the ground beneath them toward their waiting ships. Sean reached his Dagger with a thud and punched in his personal code in the pad right below the canopy. As soon as the canopy opened with a hiss Sean clamored into the pilot’s seat and strapped himself in. He paused for a moment as another explosion rocked the base. He looked over to his right and saw Kirst hurrying through his preflight checklist.

Sean snapped back into reality and began checking his systems. He began by activating the Dagger’s modified generator. As his hands danced over the controls the generator hummed to life. Next he brought up his life support systems and activated his main computer. Lastly he typed in his engine startup code and the single oversized engine roared to life.

Next Sean activated his comm gear and checked in. There was a buzz of activity going on, damage reports, squadrons checking in, and battle tactics from those few squadrons that had already deployed and were engaging in the fight. Sean flipped the switch over to his squadron’s channel. Everyone was reporting all systems green.

“This is Shadow nine, all systems in the green.” Sean reported.

“Shadow ten reports a minor generator fluke; I’m only at 98% total power. Wait, I got it. All systems green.” Kirst said with satisfaction in his voice.

“Roger that Shadow squadron, Buffalo Control, this is Shadow One, requesting launch permission.”

“This is Buffalo TacCom, you’re clear Shadow Leader. Kick some Xeno ass out there.”

“Roger TacCom, Shadow lead out.”

With that Shadow one rose off the deck and began maneuvering out to the airlock. The rest of Shadow squadron expertly followed his lead and emerged out of Buffalo’s airlock doors into the poor visibility offered by the Badlands.

Sean and Kirst formed up with the rest of Shadow squadron as Sean began to power up his combat systems. He went through a checklist as he brought his shield generator up and began powering up his weapons. He checked the display as the status of each of his four guns and one turret came online. Everything seemed to check out, all systems green.

“Alright Shadow group, we are the best the Liberty Rogues have to offer, and this time the Xenos have overstepped their boundaries for the last time. So stay tight, watch each other’s sixes, and call for help if you need it.” Shadow one said.

Sean sped at the huge furball ahead of him, and began tracking all the carnage going on in front of him. His scanners still picked up the gunship lingering just outside the hot zone, and a little more than two whole wings of Xeno fighters. And there were only two Rogue squadrons still in the fight, and they were taking heavy losses.

“Break and attack!” Shadow Leader shouted.

“Roger that, Kirst stay with me.” Sean said, barely able to hide his excitement.

“Don’t worry, I got your six.” Kirst replied coolly.

Sean snap rolled out to port and kicked in the engines at maximum thrust. Kirst mimicked the move perfectly and pulled in tight slightly behind and to starboard of Sean. Sean targeted a Startracker and when the range clicked off to around nine hundred meters, Sean opened up with a deadly barrage from his lasers. His shots peppered the shields and began to wear them down. But Sean let off a few well placed shots with his turret and the protective barrier around the Startracker vanished with a pop. Now Sean’s deadly bolts were uninhibited and went straight through to the enemy’s feeble armor plating. Sean shot one more shot that gutted the Startracker all the way through the engine compartment and the craft vaporized and congealed into rapidly cooling blobs of metal.

Now Sean was in the thick of the dogfight, and with his explosive entry he began to draw some heat. Sean attracted two of his first victim’s wingmen who expertly maneuvered onto Sean’s tail and began to fire their red beams at Sean’s aft. Sean looked over his right shoulder and became aggravated that Kirst was nowhere to be seen. Once again Kirst left him on his own to go ace some unsuspecting target of opportunity.

Fine, I don’t need him. I can shake these guys no problem. Sean thought.

Sean rolled his craft to port and stomped hard on the right rudder and yanked the stick all the way to his breast bone. Pinned in his seat by his artificial gravity generator, Sean gritted his teeth in a predatory smile. The Dagger began a lopsided barrel roll combined with a corkscrew maneuver that Sean expertly controlled. This maneuver made him harder to hit and gave him time to calculate his next move.

Suddenly, Sean abruptly stopped his ship’s spinning and killed the engines. He yanked the stick hard and the ship began to flip end over end until the Dagger’s nose was pointing at its attackers. Carried on by the ship’s forward momentum, Sean stayed out in front of his pursuers. He targeted the ship to starboard and shot straight at the ship’s nose, where the shields are often weakest.

It only took Sean a few well placed shots to hull the ship, and it began to vent atmosphere at the same time it caught on fire, effectively cooking the pilot alive and rendering the ship unmanned. It sped off into the Badlands where Sean lost sight of it.

Continuing his flip until he was facing straight down from his original position, Sean reengaged his engines and sped down relative to his original plain of flight. And the remaining pursuer didn’t follow him. Sean saw his chance and snap rolled his fighter into a tight loop to get right on the sole Startracker’s aft. Once he got a solid target lock Sean opened fire and tore right through the puny craft’s shields. Sean shot at the now exposed craft’s engines and was rewarded with a fantastic shot that went right up inside the Startracker’s. The doomed craft exploded into a shower of sparks and shrapnel.

Sean circled around back toward the still potent dogfight and saw Kirst had a ship on his tail. He also noticed that the enemy’s shields were overloaded, so Sean maneuvered in behind his prey and tried to get a good shot. But this pilot was good, he kept making his craft jitter and shake in Sean’s crosshair, making him hard to hit. Sean couldn’t pull off a good shot without hitting Kirst on the other side of his enemy. So Sean thought of a quick way to smoke this guy.

Sean quick keyed his comm, “Kirst, break to starboard on my command. You’ve got one on your tail and he’s givin’ me a hell of a time.” Sean ordered.

“Ok. Ready when you are.” Came Kirst’s reply.

“Alright. Get ready….”

Sean placed his crosshair about twenty meters to starboard of the enemy’s craft.
“Break now!”

Kirst executed and elaborate snap roll to starboard and the enemy drifted right into Sean’s waiting sights. He opened up with everything he had and he was rewarded with a giant fireball and a satisfying explosion afterward.

“Thanks for saving my ass Sean” Kirst said, half teasing and half meaning it.

“Anytime” Sean said with a hint of contempt in his voice.

“Attention all Rogue Ships, This is Shadow one. Focus all your attacks on that gunboat!”

Sean and Kirst looped around to get a lock on the massive ship. They closed rapidly on the ship, and its massive turrets and point defense guns opened up on their comrades in an attempt to swat them out of space. And the massive ship was rewarded with a few scores.

“Damn, there goes Renegade Four.”

“Focus Damn it! We don’t need to lose anymore people!” Shouted Shadow one.

Sean and Kirst began evasive maneuvers as red bolts of pure destruction went whizzing by their dancing ships. When they got into range they fired on the hulking brute of a ship. Their lasers pierced through the armor, but didn’t do much serious damage.

Sean and Kirst looped away from the giant death machine and lined up for a second run. Shadow one and his wingman danced their way right to the bow of the ship and pierced the bridge’s view screen. The ship vented its atmosphere explosively, sucking the crew out into the cold expanse of space. The ship began to list lazily to port, but the turrets were still blazing.

“Shadows Nine and Ten, Go for the power converter connector on the top of the ship.” Shadow one ordered.

“On our way sir.” Sean replied.

Sean and Kirst closed into firing range, still evading the ruby beams of destruction. At the same time, Sean and Kirst fired on the small target along the ship’s dorsal structure. The connector exploded violently in a shower of sparks and concussive force that cracked the ship right down the middle. The ship’s turrets sputtered and stopped firing, and the lights on board the ship flickered and died. The gunboat slit violently along the giant crack in its side and began belching fire and launching flaming bodies and equipment into space.

“Great shot Nine and Ten! Now let’s mop up the rest of them.” Said One with enthusiasm flooding into his voice.

With the sight of their mighty ship in flaming pieces, the Xeno ships started to flee in a desperate attempt at survival. Sean and Kirst followed them, as did the rest of Shadow squadron and the majority of the other Rogue ships. Shadow squadron scored a few more kills, but most of the Xeno ships were already out of range.

With the battle over, Sean and Kirst formed up with Shadow Leader as did the rest of the squadron.

“Shadow One to Buffalo, we need the EVA crews out here on rescue detail.” Requested Shadow Leader.

“Roger Shadow One, EVA crews are on their way. Great job out there.”

“Thanks Buffalo, we’re comin’ home.” One said.

One kicked in his cruise engines and the rest of the squadron followed him in perfect formation. Sean finally let out a sigh, trying to expel the adrenaline that still pumped through his system. He removed his helmet and brushed the sweat from his brow on the sleeve of his jump suit.

As they approached Buffalo base, the squadron began docking procedures, with Shadow One being the last one to settle to the deck. Sean shut down his Dagger’s systems and set his flight helmet on his seat as he emerged into the cool air of the cavern that served as Shadow squadron’s hanger.

He closed his canopy on his fighter and jumped down from the latter attached to the side of his fighter. As he settled to the deck, he was met by Kirst who slapped him on the back.

“Hey let’s head to the bar, I owe you a round for savin’ my ass out there.” Kirst said with a boyish grin adorning his face.

“Ok, sounds great to me. I get to drink for free. It might actually prove to be a good night after all. Now if we could get some decent looking girls on this rock…” Sean said while rubbing his neck.

As they went to exit the hanger, Shadow Leader, Corbin Foust, strode over to Sean.

“Hey Sean, wait up a second!” Shouted Foust.

“Hey what’s up Lead?” Sean said still, grinning about the thought of women.

“You did really well out there today kid. How would you like to meet a friend of mine? He might have use for you…” Foust said with a cool smirk on his face.

“Sure. Where is he? And what does he want with me?” Sean said, generally perplexed.

“He should be here within the next few hours. His name is Edison Trent. And he’s a representative of The Order in Liberty….”

To Be Continued……

Hope ya Like it! 8-)

Duffy

Enjoy.

knightj60

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Monday, July 13th 2009, 5:30pm

Re: The Life of a Liberty Rogue...

lol you followed the storyline...

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Monday, July 13th 2009, 8:10pm

Re: The Life of a Liberty Rogue...

Yeah, I thought it would be more interesting if I got technical and followed the storyline. Have you, or anyone else who has read this post, read the Star Wars X-wing series books? Cause thats the type of feel i'm going for.

Anyway, its not perfect, but i hope it gets better as it goes on.

I'd like to hear other feedback, so i know what to fix. Lol. But just tell me what you think, and maybe any suggestions.

Thanks

Duffy

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Thursday, July 16th 2009, 3:36am

Re: The Life of a Liberty Rogue...

Ok, i just finished the second chapter. Its a little bit longer, but i developed more of the story and characters.

Here it is. Hope you guys like it...

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Thursday, July 16th 2009, 3:46am

Re: The Life of a Liberty Rogue...

Chapter 2: Deadly Ambush

Brian Wilkes sat with his back to the wall in a shady booth where he could see all of the bar’s patrons. Across from him sat his brother, John Wilkes, who had been his wingman since they left Bretonia nearly fifteen years ago.

The bar was a maelstrom of hushed conversations, laughter, clinking glasses, and business. Manhattan’s richer folk were assembled near their usual tables in the middle of the bar where all could see their fancy clothing and fancy jewelry. There were those people, most likely freighter captains and their escort details, who sat right at the bar with their Liberty ales, talking about their recent runs and their various encounters with smuggler raids. Then there were those more shady folk, like John and himself, who sat in virtual silence, just surveying the general commotion occurring around the bar.

Brian was particularly interested in a man who just entered the bar, and hadn’t sat down. He just stood there, just to the right of the bar’s only entrance, surveying the place with all the determination of a man on a mission. He paused at every face, as though he were looking for someone in particular. Then his eyes met Brian, but unlike most of the patrons, he didn’t look away. This surprised Brian, because he usually got weird looks, but only for a moment, before those who gazed upon him looked away in horror.

Brian was a physically imposing figure, tall and well built. He stood just over two meters, and easily weighed 250 lbs, all of it rock hard muscle. His head was shaven bald, and he had strong facial features. He had a strong protruding jaw, and sharp angular cheek bones, and a brooding brow that made him look like he was always mad. However, people always looked away because he was horribly disfigured. He had a huge gash that ran from slightly above his left ear, up over his head, and cut across his left eye, and finally finished just below his mouth on the left side. He also had another one that started just above his mouth on the right side and ran to just below his mouth on the same side.

But this man didn’t seem to care; he made his way through the crowd, bumping and brushing people aside with all the grace of a clumsy school girl. He finally reached the dimly lit booth that Brian and John occupied. Brian gave John a nod to let him know someone was approaching. John’s right hand drifted down to the blaster pistol that rested in its holster. Brian heard a barely audible click as John armed his weapon.

The man finally came to a stop at the edge of the table and looked at both men and gave a curt nod.

“Hello gentlemen, my name is Samuel Harrison.” The man said with a c0cky attitude.

“Yeah, so?” John said with contempt obvious in his voice.

“John, let the man talk. He may have something important to say” Brian exclaimed. “So sorry for my brother’s rudeness, my name is Brian, and this is John, how can we help you today Mr. Harrison?” said Brian, obviously toying with the man.

“You are the Wilkes brothers correct? The galaxy famous bounty hunters?”
“Yes we are. You didn’t answer my question however, which is very rude on your part Mr. Harrison.” Exclaimed Brian, now obviously agitated.
“My apologies Mr. Wilkes. I am here because the company I represent would like to request the use of your expertise. And you were referred to me by the Guild. The Bounty Hunter’s Guild?” Said Samuel with a smirk on his face.

“Oh really? And just who is it that you represent? If we are to be working for you, we would like to know.” Said Brian.

“I represent Samura Industries. And I was told to find the best, as the target is a very distinguished and experienced combat pilot.” Said Samuel with a hint of doubt in his voice, he needed to hire these men, so he tried to insult their pride to coax them into agreeing.

“Well if your man is as good as you say, our fee will be high, you realize this, yes?” Asked Brian.

“Of course. I am prepared to pay you one million credits for this man to disappear.” Said Samuel, feeling triumphant.

“That’s a lot of money. Just who is this target?” Asked Brian, now genuinely intrigued by the offer.

Samuel reached into the pocket of his golden colored jacket and pulled out a small arrow shaped device. He set it on the table and its three pieces unfolded and became parallel with the table top. The device hummed to life and projected an image of a handsome blonde headed man who wore a tan leather jacket.

“That is your target. Edison Trent. He is an extremely experienced pilot; in fact he won the famed Lone Star medal for quote, ‘exceptional flying skill, and going above and beyond the call of duty in the defense of Liberty and all her colonies.’ Unquote.” Explained Samuel.

“Yes I remember hearing of this man in the news all over the colonies. He will be a challenge worthy of our skill.” Exclaimed Brian with a hint of a smile playing across his face. “We accept your offer.” Brian said, his ego brimming at the chance to take down one of Liberty’s legends and heroes.

With that Samuel and Brian shook hands, sealing the deal, and Samuel scurried off into the crowds of the bar and out of sight. Brian rose from his seat and began to stalk out of the bar, leaving John behind with his drink, Which he downed in one large gulp, and hurried to catch up to Brian.

---------------------------------------------------------------
John climbed up the latter attached to the side of his Hammerhead. He pushed the panel next to the door, the seams revealed themselves and it opened with a hiss. He stepped inside and closed the hatch behind him. He walked across the deck and plopped into the command chair and strapped himself in. He checked all his systems while he engaged the startup sequence. Engines seemed green, generator operational, weapon systems all clear, and shields up and running. Everything was good to go. He looked across the landing pad to see Brian climbing aboard his Hammerhead, the Decapitator.

John keyed his comm and locked into his and Brian’s personal channel.

“Come on Brian! I can’t wait to smoke this guy! Hurry up will ya?” Said John eagerly.

“Calm down John, and for once could you take this battle seriously? No wise cracks. This one’s gunna be tough.” Said Brian with condescension in his voice. He hated it when he had to scold his little brother, especially in public.

“Jeeze, way to take all the fun out of everything. You need to lighten up and live life.” Said John with an annoyed look on his face.

“I just don’t know about this one John, it doesn’t feel right.” Said Brian with doubt.

“Aww, don’t tell me your scared. This is gunna be a milk run bro.” John said teasing his brother.

“I’m not so sure.” Exclaimed Brian.

John sighed, and rolled his eyes. For always acting like a hardass, Brian sure gets emotional sometimes. John thought.

“Alright John, my systems are green. Let’s get off this rock.” Said Brian, all hints of doubt now gone from his voice. John could tell he was still nervous, but now he was in his killing mode, icy and cold to the core.

“Yes! Finally!” John yelled.

John kicked in his engines and lifted off and instantly headed skyward. Once he climbed to skyline level, he brought his thrust up to 25%, and left the city of Queens behind.

They rapidly approached the major city and capitol of Manhattan, and ascended to the planetary docking ring over the planet. Once they cleared planet Manhattan, they headed towards Rochester base, the home of the Junkers.

Brian took the lead and kicked in his cruise engines and sent them on a direct path through the debris field straight to Rochester. As they approached, Rochester Flight Control hailed them on the common channel.

“Attention Bounty Hunter ships, this is Rochester. We have you on our scanners. Please identify yourselves.”

“This is Gold Four, we hail from planet Manhattan, and we are looking for a man. Maybe you’ve seen him? Goes by the name Edison Trent, call sign Freelancer Alpha 1-1.” Said Brian.

“Gold Four, this man left our base only moments ago, headed toward Manhattan.”

“Thank you Rochester. Gold Four out.” Brian said with a cold voice.

Brian led them away from Rochester and out towards Manhattan. He activated his cruise engines once more and together he and John sped toward their mark. Once they cleared the debris field, they headed toward Manhattan.

Now within visual range of all the hustle and bustle that surrounded Planet Manhattan, John checked his scanners for any sign of the freelancer. He scrolled through his contact list on his Heads Up Display, but he came up empty. Trent wasn’t here.

“Brian, the little rat isn’t here!” John said with a hint of playfulness in his voice.

“Roger that John, Trenton Outpost, this is Gold Four, has a man by the call sign Freelancer Alpha 1-1 come through here recently?” Brian asked, annoyed that their mark wasn’t here.

“Gold Four, the ship you are looking for just entered the trade lane to West Point Military Academy.”

“Roger Trenton. Thank you for your assistance.” Brian let out a sigh of agitation.

Brian and John followed a flight of Navy Defenders into the trade lane. As they hurtled through one of the main arteries in New York, Brian opened up a comm link with John.

“John, be ready, I have a feeling that this will be challenging.” Brian said coolly.

“Don’t worry about it man, we’re the best there is!” John said with a smirk on his face.

“Yeah, just stay frosty.” Brian said, rolling his eyes.

Brian and John exited the trade lane and instantly started scanning for the Freelancer.

“Brian! Brian I have him! He’s entering the trade lane to Ithaca station!” John said, barely able to contain his glee.

“Roger, move in John!”

“Roger boss.” John said, now completely focused on his prey.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Edison Trent swallowed the last of his drink and shook King’s hand.

“It was good to see you again King.” Trent said.

“Yeah, you too.” King said. He really never was one to show much emotion.

“Well thanks for the data. I have to meet someone down on Buffalo, so I should get out of here. Why don’t you come with me King? I’m gunna need your help on this one. We all are.” Trent said, trying to plead his case.

“Yeah no problem, but this sort of thing isn’t for me. Besides, the LSF needs me.” King said.

“Fine, but it would be nice to fly with you again, just like old times.” Trent said with a chuckle, remembering all the adventures he and King experienced together.

“Well, you could always come work for the LSF. We always need good pilots, and with your rep, I bet you could probably come in at Captain if you wanted to.” King said with that boyish grin on his face.

“You know I can’t. I’m needed elsewhere.” Trent said.

“Yeah I know. Take care of yourself Trent. And watch your six.” King said as he downed the last of his drink. As he turned to leave, he slapped Trent on the back. Trent took the small data chip off the table and shoved it into his jacket pocket.

He exited the bar and took a left around the bend in the hallway and came to an intersection. He took the elevator straight ahead of him down several floors, and stepped out on the twenty fourth floor: the flight deck. He opened the door straight ahead of him with the code he was given on arrival, and he emerged into the hanger that served as his ships resting place, for the moment.

Trent briskly headed toward his waiting fighter and opened the hatch on the side of the craft. He stepped inside and headed toward the Anubis’s controls. He sat down in the pilots chair and donned his helmet as he powered on the systems and punched in the activation codes to his ship’s three massive engines. They roared to life and the hanger glowed ruby red.

“This is Freelancer Alpha 1-1, requesting launch permission, over.” Trent said very calmly.

“Roger, clearance granted.”

Trent eased his fighter out the hatch and into the launch tunnel. Once the doors opened in front of him, he brought up his engines slowly to full power.

“Freelancer Alpha 1-1, this is Rochester, everything’s a go for launch, good flying out there.

Trent emerged out of Rochester’s launch tube and instantly kicked in his cruise engines and headed around the far side of Manhattan. Once he rounded the planet and emerged over the sun-side of the planet, Trenton Outpost and Newark Station came into view. Trenton Outpost hailed him as he sailed by, headed for the trade lane to West Point.

“Unidentified ship, this is Trenton, please identify yourself.”

“This is Freelancer Alpha 1-1, I’m headed to West Point.”

“Roger, pleasant flying 1-1”

“Thanks.” Trent mumbled.

As he neared the trade lane, he began docking maneuvers. The auto-pilot steered his ship through the ring and the trade lane engaged, hurtling his ship at near super-luminal speeds.

He began wandering off, getting lost in his thoughts. He began thinking about Juni, and how it will be great to see her again. He hadn’t seen her since she said goodbye, and headed for Kusari.

The trade lane brought him right to West Point, and the station loomed below his ship. He activated his cruise engines and headed for the trade lane to Ithaca Station. Just as he was nearing the trade lane, his ship was rocked by an impact that shook the ship and deactivated his cruise engines, causing him to be launched forward right into the main consol. His vision began to go dark for a moment, but it came back just as quickly as it had left. However, there were specks of something on his helmet’s visor, and he tasted copper. He removed his flight helmet to find he was bleeding profusely from the forehead. He quickly wiped it away and began docking with the trade lane, hoping to avoid an unnecessary fight.

He reached the trade lane and made it into the badlands without to much damage. As he emerged on the other side of the trade lane, he made a hard turn to port, and kicked in his cruise engines, headed for the Rogue’s base. As his cruise engines activated, he was again attacked from behind.

They must have followed me through the trade lane. Huh. I guess I’m not surprised. Trent thought.

He deactivated his cruise engines, deciding to teach these punks a lesson. He turned to face his opponents, but was surprised to see two Hammerhead fighters staring him in the face.

Bounty Hunters? What are they doing here?

“Mr. Trent, this is Gold Four, stand and fight. This is the end of the road for you. Someone doesn’t want you around, and they paid us to make that wish into reality.”

“Who are you guys? And what did I do for you punks to attack me in open space?” Trent asked.

“We are the infamous Wilkes brothers. And you are toast.” Gold four said with pleasure in his voice.

The Wilkes brothers huh? Jeeze I should have guessed from those colors, Black and Red. This is serious! These guys are the best bounty hunters in Sirius. If it was just one I could deal with it, but the two of them? I need to call in some help on this one. Trent thought as he keyed his comm.

“Buffalo, this is Trent, I need some help, send fighters to my location!” Trent said with nervousness creeping into his voice.

“Roger Mr. Trent. We are sending Shadow squadron to assist you”

-----------------------------------------------------
Sean again found himself in the same situation as he was in only a few short hours ago. He was in his quarters, rushing to put on his green flight suit, as Kirst burst through the door, in the same predicament.

Sean and the rest of Shadow squadron were in the bar, celebrating their victory when the distress call came in. As Sean and his squad-mates joked and told their tales of their elaborate tactics and maneuvers, Foust came to a sudden halt just inside of the bar.

“Shadows! Get ready to launch in five!” Foust shouted to be heard over the commotion.

Sean and Kirst looked at him with a quizzical puzzlement on their faces.

“That’s an order! Now move, move, move! I’ll brief you in space.” Foust said with all the authority of a drill instructor.

Everyone dropped their drinks and hustled out of the bar at a dead run. Sean and Kirst were among the leaders of the pack of stampeding pilots as they reached their room. Sean was the first into the room and immediately started dressing.

Now he and Kirst hustled to finish applying their suits. Sean got his on first and rushed out of the room, headed strait for the hangar. Kirst appeared a few seconds later hot on his tail.

When they reached the hangar, Foust and a few others were boarding their fighters and going through preflight checklists. Sean and Kirst sprinted to their fighters without stopping.

Sean jumped and mounted the ladder, already a few rungs up. He rushed up the ladder, taking two and three rungs at a time, and reached his already opening canopy. He plopped into the seat and donned his helmet as he activated his generator, then his main computer, then finally his engines; the same way he always did.

All systems were green and he looked to Foust who was already in launch position. As the rest of the squadron arrived and completed their checklists and activation processes, He and Kirst assembled right behind Foust.

“Shadows, this is One, launch when ready.” Foust said over the squad comm.

“Shadows Nine and Ten, you’re with me, we’re One flight. Switch to my comm channel.” Foust said.

“Roger, switching now.” Sean said as he flipped the comm’s selector switch.

“One? You read me?” Sean said.

“Yeah, I’m here. Now listen up, we’re helping Trent. He’s in some hot water with some bounty hunters, the Wilkes brothers.” Foust said in a cool, icy voice.

“Yes sir. We have your back.” Sean said with reassurance.

“Buffalo, this is Shadow One, requesting permission to launch for One flight.”

“Roger One flight, you’re clear.”

With that the massive round door parted and slid aside, allowing One flight to launch. Foust sped out of the tunnel like a bat out of hell, not bothering to activate his sublight engines first, but instead firing his cruise engines right off the bat. Sean and Kirst hurried to catch up with him.

They formed up on Foust, Sean being behind and to port of him, while Kirst was in a mirror position out to starboard. As they sped through the Badlands, they dodged the large asteroids and other moving bodies that made high speed travel through the Badlands a death sentence.

However, despite the obvious dangers, Foust maneuvered them expertly through the purple haze that was the Badlands. Sean kept one eye on the path he was flying, and the other on his HUD, looking for any sign of Trent on the scanners.

After what seemed like eternity, but was only a few minutes of nail bightingly close maneuvering, Trent’s signature came up on the scanner. As they closed on his position, Foust opened the comm.

“Stay alert you two, and make sure that one of you is always with the other, if you get alone, they will tear you apart. I’m gunna be Trent’s wingman. Stay frosty you two.” Foust said as he sped off ahead of Sean and Kirst.

“Roger. Alright Kirst, lets do this.” Sean said with determination clear in his voice.

As Sean and Kirst approached Trent’s position, they saw three ships; one was unlike anything he’d ever seen. It almost looked like the Defenders that the Navy flew; but there were clear distinctions. It had the same basic fuselage and c0ckpit of the defender, but it had the wings that were distinct to the Corsairs. It also had a short, stubby dorsal wing that sported a turret.

Sean targeted the ship and the profile snapped onto his display. The ship was an Anubis, the heavy fighter of the organization, The Order. Whatever it was, it was impressive, and the pilot handled it well. He danced the ship in what, at a first glance, seemed like completely random vectors. But as Sean studied the movements, he realized they were carefully calculated maneuvers that kept his pursuer guessing as to his next move.

Foust was now targeting the other two ships, both of which were Hammerheads, the favorite killing machine reserved for the use of the best of the best in the Bounty Hunter’s Guild. In Sean’s opinion, they were ugly, unwieldy craft. They had a relatively cylindrical body that started in a broad, almost oval shape at the c0ckpit, and narrowed down to house the ship’s only engine. Jetting out from the top and bottom of the craft were large fins that angled towards the front at their tips. The ship also sported two broad wings that faced forward and tapered to become points at their tips.

These Hammerheads were well equipped, six guns and one turret completed their deadly arsenal. These ships were also known for their strong armor, and their ability to take a beating. These ships, however, were unique in their own way. They were painted jet black, with crimson tears adorning the fuselage and wings.

Foust maneuvered into a firing position on the ship at Trent’s six. He opened fire on the ship, but he dodged all the shots with an ungodly fastness. As soon as he was sure of his safety, the enemy, Gold Five, used his only turret and opened up on Foust’s bow shields, causing him to execute evasive maneuvers and break off his pursuit.

Meanwhile, Sean and Kirst began their assault on Gold Four, who was equally skilled. Every shot they fired at him he dodged with quick sideslips out to port or starboard. Sean realized this, so he fired at him to see if his theory was correct, and Gold Four side slipped out to port. He fired again and he moved the same way. Next Kirst opened up on him and he broke right.

Yes! I am right. Every third sideslip is to the same side! Sean thought, proud of himself for realizing it.

“Kirst, listen to me, fire on him again.” Sean said, determined to ace this guy.

“Why? He’ll just dodge it.” Kirst said with aggravation thick in his voice.

“I know, I’m counting on it.” Sean said, sure of himself.

Kirst fired on him with a brutal barrage from his cannons, and Gold Four broke to starboard. Sean opened a comm channel to Kirst, “Listen, aim to this guy’s port, he’ll sideslip right into your sights, use a torpedo.”

“Are you sure?” Kirst said, doubting Sean

“Yes! Just do it!” Sean yelled back.

“Ok. Ready.” Kirst said.

Sean opened up with a missile, and was rewarded with a hit that brought his shields down, and Gold Four dodged to port, albeit late. Kirst had already let off the sunslayer, and it pierced his ship and burrowed deep into the generator housing. At that moment, the c0ckpit disengaged from the fuselage, and sped away on a pillar of flame, powered by the tiny rocket on the back.

As Gold Four abandoned the doomed ship, the sunslayer detonated in a brilliant cloud of shear destructive force. The hull was sheared away as the explosion ripped the ship apart from the inside out. Once the brilliant flash died, all that was left of the once mighty bounty hunter ship was a white hot debris cloud of twisted metal and glass.

Sean, with Kirst just behind him, sped through the cloud and emerged unharmed.

“Kirst, Sean, break now!” Foust cried over the comm.

Sean side slipped to port and executed a half roll that spun his ship so his cockpit was facing down, relative to his original position. He yanked back on the stick hard and brought the ship around in a tight loop until he sped back the way he had come. He looked around for Kirst, but he was nowhere to be found, instead he found the other Hammerhead at his eight o’ clock and heading away from Sean. Behind him was a rapidly expanding fireball, which spat debris in every which way.

The realization of what had happened to Kirst hit Sean like a brick, he had been taken down because of him. He had told Kirst to fire the torp at Gold Four, which had undoubtedly drawn the attention of his wingman to Kirst. Kirst was dead because of him.

Sean turned to avenge his wingman, however, Gold Five was tractoring in his wingman’s escape pod and making his escape. Foust flew over to Sean with Trent just behind him.

“Come on Sean, don’t beat yourself up. Kirst’s demise isn’t your fault. There’s nothing you could’ve done. What’s happened has happened, it’s not your fault. Now come on, let’s get back to Buffalo.” Foust said with sympathy in his voice.

“Deep down, it feels like I failed him. I gave him the data to let him take out Gold Four. It’s my fault he died.” Sean said, full of remorse.

“You couldn’t have known that his wingman was after you guys. It was my fault I didn’t see what he was doing when he began maneuvering toward you. It’s my fault that I didn’t warn you sooner.” Foust said, firm but soft at the same time.

“Maybe, I…I don’t know…” Sean said, his voice getting thick because of the lump forming in his throat.

“Come on, let’s get back to base.” Foust said.

Foust turned toward Buffalo base, and Sean formed up with him and Trent. He didn’t say a word as they headed for their base. All he could think about was the sight of that bounty hunter’s ship as he sat helpless in his seat.

As they docked and settled to the deck, Sean powered down his systems but didn’t get out of his fighter. He couldn’t. He felt like he was going to throw up right there in his lap, and his limbs felt cold and numb. His heart was racing, and so was his mind. Hot tears began to flow from his face as he remembered all the good times he and Kirst shared. Being bunkmates, they learned almost everything about each other. Sure they had their share of disagreements, but they always worked them out. They were the closest type of friends, but now his friend was gone forever.

A tap on his canopy snapped Sean back to the here and now. He looked over to see Corbin standing on the latter next to his fighter. Sean opened the canopy and a rush of cold air flowed into the c0ckpit, half drying Sean’s tears on his face.

“Come on Sean, let me help you outta there.” Foust said offering his hand to Sean.

Sean reached for Foust with a shaky hand, and barely grasped it. Corbin grabbed him and hauled him out of his c0ckpit and helped him to the deck.

“Listen Sean, Kirst was my friend too. I may not have known him as well as you did, but he was still one of my pilots. I know what you’re going through, I’ve been there before, more times than I’d like to admit. But he knew the risks of getting involved. He knew the risks of being a Rogue. He was a damn good pilot, and so are you. But every time we go out there, we take a huge risk of not returning. And Kirst understood that, maybe better than any of us. That’s why he wouldn’t want you to mourn his death, that’s the way he would have wanted to go, fighting in the name of the Rogues.” Foust said, a sad expression on his face.

“I know, and I know that there is nothing I could have done to save him. I just need some time to be alone and think.” Sean said, not meeting his commander’s eyes.

“I understand, and when you feel up to it, Trent would really like to meet you.” Foust said.

“Maybe later. Right now I just need some rest.” Sean said, suddenly feeling the most exhausted he’d ever felt.

Sean walked off, Foust watching him all the way to the door. As he stepped out of the hangar, he heard that man Trent say, “Is he gunna be ok?”

“Yeah, he’ll be just fine, he just needs some time to sort things out.” Came Foust’s reply.

Sean headed straight for his bunk, passing many of his friends on the way. Most of them were too drunk or busy to really stop and say hey, But it didn’t bother Sean. Right now he just wanted to be alone.

He reached his door and opened it and quickly stepped inside. He closed it just as quickly, and stepped over to where his dresser sat in the corner of the room. He stripped out of his flight suit and dropped into his bed heavily. He let out a loud sigh, and lay there motionless.

He tried to go to sleep, but sleep wouldn’t come. Instead, the tears had no difficulty finding their way out of him this night. He lay still, sobbing into his pillow, and wondered why he had to die……..

To be continued……………

  • "Shadow Viper1" is male
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Thursday, July 16th 2009, 10:21am

Re: The Life of a Liberty Rogue...

Can you space the paragraphs on the 1st chapter, thanks, the words all over the place, so far, a good story.

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Friday, July 17th 2009, 12:58am

Re: The Life of a Liberty Rogue...

Yeah, sorry about that. :D Anyway, thanks for the feedback. And keep it comin'! There'll be more soon.

Duffy

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Friday, July 17th 2009, 11:22am

Re: The Life of a Liberty Rogue...

Very, Very good Daniel san, I will watch this space with interest, keep it coming my good man. :mrgreen:

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Friday, July 17th 2009, 8:05pm

Re: The Life of a Liberty Rogue...

Thanks man, glad you liked it. And I'll start on Chapter Three tonight. So hopefully i'll have it up by tomorrow.

Duffy

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