Chapter 1: Fetching The Deer
Wednesday, June 30, 2004

This is a vastly unfinished story about captain Nate Brisco of the salvage ship Mariner, Deerfetch class. Chapter 1 of this story is written along the lines of "Out Of Gas" in the sense that it skips time periods at almost random intervals.


Chapter 1: Fetching The Deer

"Captain.... I'm picking up a faint reading... looks to be about 50 clicks off port. A debris field." Creek motioned for the Captain to take a look.

* * *

"Salvage. After all this, I'm after SALVAGE? You're kidding, right?" Nate looked absolutely peeved. He'd pissed off his CEO somethin awful (This translates into one giant middle finger and yelling of the yellow-bellied variety), and now his most loyal soldier was telling him he was going to be the new Captain of a salvage vessel. A 20 year old, derelict salvage vessel. Lisa Fish had gotten word of a merchant selling this ship for dirt cheap. "Nope. It's salvage or the alliance. And I heard they got it in for you, Cap'n. Especially that finger of yours," winked Lisa.

* * *

"I don't like this... I don't like this one bit. Any other ships around, or are we it?" This was one giant debris field which should have been picked up a long time ago. "I've run some passive scans, but it's cold so far. No ships." Creek answered carefully, as she was still thumbing away at the controls. Everything was checking out. No heat... no sign of any life... no sign of anything at all, really. Except of course the large chunks of metal, at least a month old. "What was it?" "Whatever it was... it was very big..." More thumbing of controls, followed by a few computer calculations. "Hmm.... interesting" "Shin-shee, stop ho-haaing and spit it out." "It 'twas an Alliance Transport. Large... very large. About six times the size of the Mariner... yup, no doubt about it. See that hull plate over there? I recognize the marking." "The hell could happen to an alliance ship without drawing a cruiser to clean it up?" thought Nate. Unsettled, but damn well not letting the crew see that, he switched the button for intra-ship comm. "This is the captain. Lisa, Hadjet... get up to the bridge." Several seconds later their footsteps could be heard climbing the stairs to the bridge. "What's up, cap'n?" The always cheerful Lisa walked over to the console and leaned forward, sporting the usual grin. "We've got a salvage mission of our own, it seems. Looks like an alliance transport damn near scattered its inarrds all over this sector and we're the ones to clean up the mess. Extend the arms and grab the nearest chunk. I want to see it before we go into full swing," Nate said with his usual sureness. No way would a pit feeling in his stomach get the better of him. After all, it's just a simple salvage operation. Illegal, but simple.

* * *

The Alliance had always been one sided. Nate knew this, as well as Lisa. Heck even the good doctor, Marina, knew. Life on the core planets was sweet as your momma's apple pie, but life on the border planets was as bitter as a cold winters day. Only thing a man could do was find a job and make some money. Sounds easy, don't it? Well... jobs are scarce, credits were scarcer, and good people even more so. Desperate circumstances make for desperate people, willing to do whatever they had to. Whatever was neccessary for survival. But sometimes it wasn't just survival that came to their mind; sometimes it was need. But "need" can be stretched and stretched till horses flew to saturn, and that's quite a ways for you uneducated folk. Survival at least is something life or death, but need translates into greed in five different langauges. The language of the Alliance most definately included.

* * *

Graceful arms extended out from a gorram ugly ship. This was the kind of ship that was built with one thing in mind: purpose. Everything else was secondary, as a ship is only as good as the money it can make for the crew. Good money means a running ship, and a running ship means a happy crew. This crew, oddly enough, loved their ship. It grew on them, as would a three legged dog to a pitied soul. A three legged dog was indeed a good description to this ship, as there were three engines to it: two large maneuvering thrusters and an enormous acceleration drive in the rear. Two short range retrieval/transport shuttles were stored in each of the two arms that extended out beyond either side of the spacious bridge. Tucked under each of these were the salvage arms along with space in front of them for extra wreckage should the need arise. This was hidden from view by plain cargo doors which opened automatically when the arms were engaged. These salvage arms were controlled from the bridge by the engineer, Hadjet, and would load valuable wreckage into the cargo bay which was located directly underneath the bridge and in between the arms. While being loaded, the cargo bay would be sealed off from the rest of the ship and be opened to the vacuum of space to allow the arms to drop in salvaged pieces. Only if the cargo bay was needed by the crew would the salvage arms then use the space located beneath either shuttle for storage. "Alright... that piece looks good, Hadjet. Pull it into the cargo bay and close it up when it’s loaded. Creek, keep scanning for ships... I don't want any surprises. Lisa, let's have a gander." Nate issued his orders and headed off down the steps towards the cargo bay.

The debris field looked absolutely peaceful floating against the stars. Even with a ship hovering over it, it still gave off the impression of being the only thing worth mentioning in the known 'verse. However, this peace did not last long. The entire debris field lit up in a blaze of fire which completely enveloped the salvage ship. The Captain was knocked down a flight of stairs in the explosion, which gave him a long gash down his square jaw. His first mate, Lisa, was more nimble then he and managed to catch herself on the railing before she fell. The crew who were on the bridge were not so lucky, as several instruments exploded. It seems Miranda would be very busy today. Groaning, the Captain shook his head and got to his feet. "Someone want to tell me what in god's name that was?" After a pause, he received his answer from Creek. "Looks like it was too good to be true, Captain... our debris field just... exploded! I don't know.. oh no... no no no..." groaned Creek. She heard the Captain racing back up the stairs. "What??? What is it?" "Reavers..."

* * *

The cold autumn day of Whitefalls was no comfort to Nate. He and Lisa had been standing about all day long waiting to hear from a contact of theirs. They needed a ship. They needed to get out of there. "Cap'n, how long is this sung-mao-yeow gonna make us wait?" "I'm a cap'n to ya already? Damn... I must have an aura of wiseness to me!" Nate said that last part with sarcasm so thick it stifled the air. "Wiseness? Look behind you." Nate gave a funny look at his future first mate and promptly turned in his seat.


"That's for making me wait!" Yelled... someone. The Captain couldn't make out the stranger's face from all the dancing lights. "You... wha... huh?" this was all the mighty Nate Brisco could conjure up in reply. "You said noon gorramit. NOON! It's well past 3 o'clock. You made me late, so now you pay extra. Got it? GOOD!" The stranger was furious. He really had been waiting quite a while. "I... whoa.. okay.... " Nate rubbed the side of his head where the backhand of the stranger had left an imprint in his skull. "I sure did say noon, fellah. High noon, and at the exactly place im standing. It appears YOU have made us late. And using your own reasoning, I expect to be compensated for my time." "What??... you said..." "I said right here! Now..." Nate rose from his seat to use a classic intimidation tactic. "WHERE'S the ship?"

After two long hours of trudging down dusty, rocky slopes filled with scrawny yellow planets, they arrived in a deep bowl shaped canyon. The entire area looked like it was flattened down by a giant spoon, as there was a narrow break in the cliffs used as an entrance. Through this entrance entered Nate Brisco, followed by Lisa Fish, followed by their plump seller. "There she is, Brisco. A fine ship... she's faster then any salvage ship I got and haul's twice as much!" The fat merchant spoke up in a usual auctioneer-type manner. "Sure got a lot of rust down the port fuselage... what'd you do, try to give the thing a bath?... you could've used the water yerself" Nate said this last part rather quietly, more to Lisa than anyone. Her grin got even wider. "No no no Captain. Her last mission was around the oceans of Ariel. This rust'll come riiight off with a good scraping and a nice coat of paint!" "Interesting... well, i'll tell you what! How about..." With a large grin, Nate drew forth his alliance tags as well as his favourite pistol (nicknamed Bear, but he'd never tell anyone that). "You tell me what you're doing with stolen property. And maybe I won't haul you over to the cell we got niiice and empty back at the base. Whaddaya say?" "Mr.... Mr. Brisco.. you can't be... sir! This.. I..." stammered the excessively well-fed merchant. He was definately in no condition to give a chase. "Now," said Nate, levelling the gun at his would-be seller. "Why would you be hiding such a ship? Seems like a regular enough ship... so why is it tucked neatly away in this canyon? Out with it!" "Look... sir... it was a cheap purchase. The number of credits I got it for, there was no WAY it was legal. So I hid it... kept it quiet... I needed this job. Please.. please don't tell anyone." To this, Nate kept the gun steady. "Get out of here, old man. If I catch you dealing with illegal goods again, I WILL bring you in. Now go." The old man whimpered, then scrambled as fast as his meaty limbs could carry him through the canyon entrance.

The second the fat old man was out of sight; Nate relaxed, tossed his alliance tags as far as he could, and burst out in a fit of laughter. "Sir, what the hell was that?" Lisa was NOT amused. "Whaaat? This is our ticket offa here. We saved a load of cash, and stopped a potential theft. It's not our fault we ain't gonna bring this fai-yu back to base. Think of it like an extended test flight... Oh, and NOW you can call me Captain" "But Si... Captain... Whatever. WE would've been the thieves! Hell, we ARE the gorram thieves!" "Nooooo, Lisa. We came to the rescue! Now let's see what this ol’ girl can do." "Sir..." A subtle push to her back was delivered by her new Captain. "Sure... Captain."

"So... how did you know it was stolen?" This question had been bothering Lisa the whole damned time that the two of them had been browsing their 'newly aquired' ship. Tossing a piece of scrap off one of the bridge consoles, she glanced over at the Captain for an answer. "Ariel... Ariel was a dead give away." Nate pulled out a large chunk of wiring which was protruding from the bridge's entrance. After pulling out a significant amount of said wiring, he decided it was probably vital to the ships operation. "Uhh... we need a mechanic." Lisa grimaced at this, then swung her head around to get a good look at the bridge. It was a unique design to say the least: six huge windows were slanted running the entire ceiling of the bridge, the helms station was located in the middle and off to the right, and an operations console was to the left of this. "Ariel? Why would Ariel mean it was stolen?" "You saw the rust, right?" To this, Lisa nodded. "Why would a salvage vessel work around an ocean?" "....that's it?" "I thought that was purdy gorram significant!" "I can think of a million reasons why a ship like this would be there! Maybe a ship was stranded and needed to be towed, maybe there was some underwater wreckage, maybe.." Nate cut her off with a sharp yank of the wiring. The bridge lights dimmed briefly, then winked out. "Yup...... definately need a mechanic."

Several hours later, the ships twin engines flared to life, throwing dust and and small rocks past a short figure walking towards the ship. No one had thought to close the main loading ramp just yet, as it was only the prelaunch sequence and they weren't afraid of being found while they were this well hidden. Apparently, they had miscalculated.

Sneaker's Note: This is a story I put together almost 6 months ago, and I thought I would finally post it. It's still VASTLY unfinished, but I wont have the time to work on it further for a few more months.


Thursday, July 1, 2004 4:11 AM


I am hoping that somewhere along the line this story will actually feature our Big Damn Heroes. Fingers crossed it does. Ali D
You can't take the sky from me

Thursday, July 1, 2004 11:48 AM


Actually pretty good. The time/place shifts took a little time to get used to (they are usually easier in a movie or on tv). Like the ship design and the characters sound interesting. Look forward to more


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Chapter 1: Fetching The Deer
This is a vastly unfinished story about captain Nate Brisco of the salvage ship Mariner, Deerfetch class. Chapter 1 of this story is written along the lines of "Out Of Gas" in the sense that it skips time periods at almost random intervals.