Another Fine Mess

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Adventures of Kyle & Mad

Chapter 5: Another Fine Mess

“The Beta Quadrant Free Zone is a cluster of star systems located in the Beta Quadrant of the Milky Way Galaxy. This particular area of the galaxy includes numerous independent colonies and outposts governed by none of the star powers present in the other quadrants. General lawlessness, smuggling and private enterprises with no visible limits are all allowed. Extreme caution is advised while visiting this area, since kidnapping and extortion are day-to-day activities for the inhabitants of this sector.”
- Extract from the Galactic Tourists Guide (18th revised edition)

The Hawk of the Galaxy had spent several hours in hyperspace under Kyle’s helm. Den and Mad had circled around the ship, and found that the previous owner had used the vessel for all sorts of illegal activities ranging from smuggling to piracy: the ship included hidden compartments for storing smuggled stuff. Most likely the Hawk of the Galaxy had belonged to a raider or a pirate of some sort.

“I have a bad feeling about this vessel. If we keep on digging around, I bet we’ll find the body of this Guimer or whatever his name was” Den chuckled to Mad as the two looked around the ship’s main cargo compartment. “The cargo those pirates wanted is long gone, though” Mad replied as he looked around the vessel. After a few moments, the two returned back to the bridge, where Kyle was sitting.

“I’ll take the helm for you” Den said as Kyle awoke from his slumber. “Sure” Kyle replied. “So, who are you, anyway?” Kyle asked the question that had apparently been almost forgotten with all the formalities. “I’ve been doing all sorts of odd-jobs for anyone willing to pay me around here. You might call me a mercenary, or an intergalactic handy-man.” Den replied somewhat jokingly. “I see,” Mad replied. “The real reason I’m out here, though, is because of my father’s murder” Den said after a short pause. This caused both of the Gigerdians some difficulties on coming up with another topic, so they just looked at each other quietly. “I never knew who killed him, but when it comes to this place, it could’ve been anyone” Den explained quietly. “I’ve been trying to hunt my father’s murderers for some time now, but it rather seems like whoever did it was a goddamn ghost.” Den said grudgingly. “We’re both very sorry” Kyle managed to spurt out.

“That’s ok. It’s just that the killer, or killers, left very little in the way of clues to follow on. For all I know, it could’ve been a bunch of ghosts killing him in his own home, and then flying off in the winds” Den held a small pause after these words. “Anyway, back in Demole Station I saw you two enter the bar, and figured that pair of very clean-looking Gigerdians like you two couldn’t survive for very long, and decided to help out”. “How can we repay you?” Mad asked instantly. “I’m not interested of money. I’ve been thinking about leaving my past life behind, and you two with your quest just seem like the sort of people I’d be willing to team up with” Den replied quickly. “I know this place fairly well, and you two are in need of another crewmember, right?” he continued. “Yes, that is true. You’re welcome to join our crew, as I said a few moments back.” Kyle replied. “Alright, I’ll try to be useful” Den replied with a smirk.

“Anyway, I fuelled this bird back in the depot, and the way I see it, it won’t need another refuel for awhile. Luckily this ship is so old, that the fuel for the reactor costs very little” Den stated as he checked some data off the screen in front of him. “We’re coming out of hyperspace in two minutes, so you two better take your seats” Den said to the Gigerdians. “Can this repairman on the moon be trusted?” Mad changed the topic somewhat clumsily. “Sure, I’ve visited his establishment several times. He has been helpful in the past” Den stated.

The little freighter exited hyperspace and found itself close to the seventh planet of the 6724-1XB system. This planet in particular was, in mild terms, a miserable piece of rock with terrible windy and cold weather. The moon, where Weeqo’s starship repair service was situated, was really no different. As the Hawk of the Galaxy quickly accelerated its’ engines and quickly moved closer to the moon, Mad and Kyle observed that the sun of the system had already set. As the ship reached the surface of the moon, a small bunker-like establishment with a runway situated near it could be observed on the ground. “That’s odd, all of the lights of the compound are off” Den commented as the ship dived ever closer to the surface. Puffs of smoke emanating from the compound could be observed as the ship drew closer. “What has happened here?” Mad pondered to himself while looking out of an observation screen inside the ship. Den maneuvered the ship a kilometer away from the compound. The Gigerdians and Den moved out of the vessel with a few flashlights in hand. Den took a sidearm with him just in case.

The surface of the moon was rocky and slippery. The three walked all the way to the compound. As they reached it, they could observe that the repair compound had been hit with beam weapon fire from the orbit. “They had no way of knowing about the attack” Kyle said to Den and Mad. “True, death came real quick to the people here” Den said as he scanned the horizon with his gaze. “There’s still smoke coming out of that underground structure” Mad stated and walked closer to the burned entrance. “Wait!” Kyle replied and ran after him.

Mad went closer to the entrance, and he could see two charred bodies lying right next to the door. Suddenly he heard a noise from inside the door, but as the voices came, so did more smoke. Kyle caught up with Mad. Out of the charred door came a very tall and dark figure. It was wearing an immense black armor decorated with strangely glimmering red and crimson diamonds, and on its’ massive belt it had a large red skull of some unknown being forming the belt buckle. The head of the black figure was probably the scariest, since the feminine sleek face had a pair of red glimmering eyes buried deep within. The hair of this monstrosity was pitch-black, and as it drew closer to the Gigerdians, it could actually be observed that its’ hair was alive and snapping vigorously at different directions. The Gigerdians started to slowly back away in horror, as the monster just walked out of the door. It noticed the Gigerdians, and took out something from it’s’ belt. The being lit the handle that he had taken out from the belt, and a blade made out of energy came out in crimson color.

“Nobody told me that there would be more here!” the obviously female being shouted angrily. A few seconds later additional black figures emerged from inside the door, and drew their weapons. These were clearly Bacterian infantry, but their female commander was something that the Gigerdians had never seen before. The two Gigerdians drew their hands up, and the Bacterian soldiers hurried to restrain them. “What are you doing here?!” the tall Bacterian female demanded with her booming voice. “We came to get our ship painted, because it has raider markings, you see..” Kyle managed to spill out in panic. “Shut up, you green fool!” the woman shouted again. “My lady, we should execute these two survivors as soon as possible” one of the Bacterian soldiers holding Mad suggested. The female Bacterian pondered at the idea for awhile.

“So be it”, the woman growled. The Bacterians tightened their grips on the Gigerdians. “You should’ve posted sentries to inform me of any runaways!” the woman shouted at her troops. Then she turned her head towards the Gigerdians: “I’m going to let you choose the way of execution”, she said as she moved closer to the Gigerdians. “You want your heads cut off with this rapier, or perhaps a shot to the head?” she suggested eerily. Suddenly a grenade was thrown unto the foot of the Gigerdians, and one of the Bacterian soldiers obviously detected it. “It’s a grenade! It’s going to blow!” the soldier shouted as he dashed for cover. The Gigerdians also scattered to another direction. The grenade exploded with a powerful bang and for a moment the entire planet seemed to shake terribly due to the powerful explosion. As the smoke cleared, the Bacterian female just stood at the same spot it had before. The living hair on it’s’ head seemed to screech in pain. “That didn’t even scratch my armor, you fool!” she shouted as the two Gigerdians ran farther away from the compound. Den Kylek emerged from the smoke in front of the two Gigerdians: “We’ve got to leave this place, and fast!” he shouted. The three ran back to their ship, which had been waiting quietly in the background. Kyle jumped to the helm and guided the vessel out of its’ parked spot and into the air. Several Bacterian soldiers were firing at the ship from the ground. “Give me full speed!” Kyle shouted as the ship sputtered for awhile and then accelerated its’ battered engines again.

As The Hawk of the Galaxy reached the orbit, Den shouted from the navigational console: “sensors are reading a group of four ships coming our way!”. “What class?” Mad shouted back as he took weapons control. “This thing won’t tell, but they’re big, alright!” Den reported back.

Indeed a group of four large capital ships emerged from the dark side of the moon. Their black organic hulls made no mistake about their owners: The Bacterian Empire. “Two of the capital ships are launching fighters!” Den reported again. “Divert power from all auxiliary systems to the engines!” Kyle ordered Den, who now sat a few paces away from Mad & Kyle in the navigator’s seat.

The Bacterian fighters swooped ever closer to the freighter, and they opened fire on the aging vessel. The shields attempted to absorb the damage, but the caliber of the Bacterian particle and beam weapons were too advanced for the old ship to take with ease. The entire ship shook with every hit it received. “Get us the hell out here, Kyle!” Den shouted as Kyle performed evasive maneuvers on the helm. Another explosion shook the vessel, but this time the jump engines of the ship calibrated right, and the ship jumped out of harm’s way easily. “And we’re out of here!” Kyle shouted happily.

Mad took a small fire extinguisher from the nearest bulkhead and proceeded to extinguish a small flame that had apparently started from one of the computers in the left side of the bridge. “Is everyone ok? You got a damage report?” asked Kyle as he stood up from the helm. “Our back shields aren’t in doing too well, and some of the consoles blew up from all those discharges hitting the hull” Den explained. “Where’d you sent us anyway?” Den asked Kyle after eying Mad completing his little fire drill in front of them. “I plotted a course two systems away from this one” Kyle replied. “Great. And while we’re waiting for our arrival, I sure hope you two are good mechanics” Den replied and patted Kyle on the back grudgingly.

Mad put the small fire extinguisher down, and looked at the two: “First of all, what the hell are the Bacterians doing here?” he said with a slightly confused tone of voice. “I’ve never seen any information concerning a Bacterian presence in the Beta Quadrant” Mad continued. Kyle sighed: “By all accounts, I don’t think that they’re even supposed to be here. Yet, here they are.”

“Maybe we should inform our own government about this.” Mad suggested quickly. “Your government has no jurisdiction over here. This isn’t your space, and when push comes to shove, I believe that the Bacterians have as much the right to be here than we do” Den Kylek replied. “Den, you saw what they had done to that place on the moon of that planet. It had been destroyed” Kyle explained.

“Come on, nothing in the No Man’s Land is what it seems. I knew that the manager of that crappy starship repair shop was a little crooked on the edges. It’s quite possible that he finally ripped off the wrong customers” Den explained to the two Gigerdians. “There were four battle cruisers out there, Den” Mad snapped. “There sure were. But, that’s what you get from trying to rip off the big players here” Den replied with an indifferent tone. “Boys, I think it’s time we concentrate on more important matters now: like getting our ship repaired” Den cut the conversion off. Mad and Kyle nodded, accepting Den’s somewhat weak reasoning in order to concentrate on more immediate matters.