Outlaw Star Fan Fiction ❯ The Dreamcatcher ❯ Take my Love, Take my Land, Take me where I cannot Stand ( Prologue )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

A/N: Greetings all… Well, here's an attempt of delving into the dangerous world of OC and such. Don't worry; there will be OLS characters as well. Like I said, there will be Jim/Aisha pairing as well as OC/OC. I am unsure whether or not I will be having Gene and the others enter. I guess I will wait and see what reviews I get (*hint-hint* suggestions are more than welcome ^.^) Anyways, bear with me on the Prologue, where I'll introduce the main OC. Jim and Aisha will come immediately after, I promise. So, enjoy and, please, review!
Disclaimer: I do not own Outlaw Star or its characters. Originals belong to me and permission was granted to me for names I use.
The Dreamcatcher
An Outlaw Star FanFiction
Prologue: Take my love, Take my land, Take me where I cannot stand…
Marvin did his very best to get away. With his fractured leg, and the intense, searing heat, he could only go so fast, as he noticed in his mind that his chances of escape were going from reality to impossibility. Still, he was alive and that is what had counted. Marvin realized he had made a mistake and wanted to make it off this planet to be able to correct that mistake.
Stumbling to the ground and wincing in pain as he gently rubbed his now-useless appendage, he sparingly looked over his shoulder to see if he was still being followed. His pulse raced and the adrenaline seemed to be the only thing keeping him moving on, but a new sensation now filled his body, one that he had not experienced in a long time: fear.
It was fear in the first place that had caused him to mess up, the stories finally catching up to his brain, casually knocking for an invite, and then proceeded to barge in and cause complete and utter chaos. Marvin had gone from a stone-cold killing machine to a shaky, uncontrollable little child as he shuddered in terror at the mere sight of his target. Of course, the 60 million Wong incentive had registered, but he had to ask himself… was his life really worth 60 million Wong? It didn't matter anymore, he would leave this place, recover, and finally find his target again and go in for the kill.
Marvin winced as he pulled himself up and once again tried braving the searing winds of this desert wasteland. Symka Prime should never have been able to harbor life again since the orbital bombardment of a Ctarl-Ctarl battle fleet so many years ago during the wars that his people and the Ctarl-Ctarl waged against each other. Thousands of Gagagan cannons fired from just beyond the atmosphere, completely annihilating the Terran military outpost stationed on Symka Prime during the Wars. There were extreme electro-magnetic disturbances from the continuous volleys of the Ctarl-Ctarl shipboard particle weapons that dealt extreme unnatural damage to the planet's ecosystem as a whole. Within weeks, bodies of water dried up, most plant life died, followed by all living, breathing sentient life. Sever electric storms raise hell across the desert wastelands that now cover the entire planet. The atmosphere was severally damaged, making it only capable of holding in small bits of air particles. The sun from the Symka star radiated the entire planet, creating day-to-day temperatures of around 120 degrees (F). The Ctarl-Ctarl had broken this planet.
And to think, that son of a bitch is doing all this for them! Marvin thought, as he squinted his eyes in an attempt to protect them from the searing heat. He felt as if he were trying to traverse a sand filled oven. The sky looked dismally dark and red, claps of thunder bellowing in the distance as an electric storm danced across the heated dunes of Symka Prime. Just a few more kilometers…
Everything had seemed perfect right up to the point where he had made contact with his target. He buckled under the fear and it had cost him his leg, a menial price considering who…what he was hunting. Marvin considered himself to have the devil's luck to get away from the Dreamcatcher with only a fracture. From a bounty hunter's perspective, his target was the ultimate prize: the Great White shark of bounties, if you will. The stories he had heard about this man, if you could call him a man that is, were enough to deter even some of the more famous assassins. Marvin even heard the infamous Twilight Suzuka had even declined this particular contract.
Apparently, the Dreamcatcher hated Terrans with a passion, which made absolutely no sense at all, being he was Terran himself. He would not hesitate to brutally murder another Terran in cold blood had he or she got in his way. And that was the other thing: no one really knew what he was after in the end. The Dreamcatcher would go after some bounties but would kill them, regardless if they were wanted dead or alive. And even then, he wouldn't even collect the bounties on those kills; he just looted what he could from the corpse and their ship if they had one. Somehow, he managed to get by.
There were rumors, as well, on what he looked like. The authorities could never really piece together a good composite of the Dreamcatcher, only silhouettes, as he very rarely left witnesses to tell the tale of his outlaw antics. Marvin had heard some big whoppers about the Dreamcatcher's appearance, as well. Some have said that he is something like eight feet tall and is rippling with muscles and carries an old Howitzer for a weapon while some have managed to go as far as describing the Dreamcatcher as some tiny, skinny swordsman who is faster and more agile than a Silgrian. None of the descriptions even came close to what Marvin had seen.
At first, Marvin had pondered the whole time to the Dreamcatcher what in blazes he was doing on Symka Prime. It was so desolate and dead and barren that even some Ctarl-Ctarl could barely endure a prolonged occupation on this planet. Then again it did make a lot of sense: the authorities would never have wasted the time or resources to search on Symka Prime for a criminal. The Dreamcatcher took advantage of this lack in law enforcement interest and decided to use it as a base. At first glance, the only structures that Symka Prime offered were decades-old rustic structures that were abandoned by the Terrans when the Ctarl-Ctarl destroyed the planet's surface. Still, that wasn't ample protection for a Terran to hold out for weeks while he hid from the Universe. This left the possibility of his ship…
And what a ship she was, Marvin thought, still reminiscing about that beautiful hunk-of-junk the Dreamcatcher was obviously Captain of. She was small, compared to grappler ship standards, but it looked dangerous to the point of it becoming gorgeous and mesmerizing. The sunning sight of the Dreamcatcher's vessel was probably another cause of getting Marvin off his guard, as he snuck up to the outlaw while he was performing maintenance on his ship. He should have shot him when he had the chance.
Marvin had his weapon drawn, cocked, and pointed at the base of the Dreamcatcher's skull. All that was to remain was squeezing the trigger and collecting in on the 60 million Wong posted on this outlaw's head. Pride got in the way, and of course, turned to arrogance as he planned to take his bounty alive. It was a personal choice that at the same time upheld his reputation that he struggled so hard to make out here in the depths of space. His arrogant pride, however, was going to be his downfall. When he got off this planet…if he got off this planet, he would do better to work on his overconfidence in his abilities.
The Dreamcatcher was down on one knee, fiddling with the landing assembly of his sleek, black ship. A cigarette dangled in his mouth, wisps of smoke pluming away from the end of it as he casually inhaled and exhaled the narcotic-wielding rolled tobacco. Marvin could not understand how he could smoke in this intense heat; it must have burnt his lungs like hell! Then again, he wasn't quite sure how Terran this guy was. Upon thumbing back the hammer of his pistol, and the gun making that ever familiar cocking sound, making it dead and ready to send bullets down range and killing a target of your choice, the Dreamcatcher just as casually turned his head to look at his foe. Marvin knew he was staring at what he considered to be the devil himself.
All Marvin could remember was the piercing gaze he received from his target, and they weren't even eyes. The wire rimmed sunglasses had lenses made thick golden glass, making it virtually impossible to be able to depict what kind of eyes this man had. Marvin could almost make out a shimmering reflection of himself pointing his gun, and immediately begun to shake. A smile tugged at the corners of the Dreamcatcher's mouth.
The Dreamcatcher slowly stood, the searing wind blowing through his long, golden blonde hair, howling like a wolf on the prowl. Marvin no longer felt like a wolf on the prowl, more of a harmless child fearing he had done some kind of wrong doing and was about to be severely punished for it. He tried desperately to search for some words to say to this man, an attempt to intimidate him before any real violence could ensue, yet he found himself merely stammering over his words, trying to get out “Reach for the sky,” or “Freeze” or something to get the Dreamcatcher to desist and submit. Sadly, this was not going to be the case.
“Wow, I'm impressed,” the Dreamcatcher said coldly, still slightly sounding extremely young for his nature, and giving a frightening smirk. “You came all the way to this damn wasteland to get me; you've got guts, man.”
“I'm taking you in, Dreamcatcher,” Marvin finally got out; sweat permeated on his brow and trickling down his face, making it extremely hard to concentrate. His face was hot, not just from intense heat, but from the blood rushing throughout his entire body. He felt his pulse pound deep in his head, making it very difficult to keep his aim steady, yet the Dreamcatcher did not even change his stance, merely widening his smile.
“I've got to really hand it to you, man. I never expected anyone to find me. I guess I'll just have to change my shit up, now,” the Dreamcatcher said mockingly, ignoring his question.
The pistol started to rattle in his hands, making a chattering noise from the loose metal that obviously constituted a problem within his weapon. Marvin desperately tried to search for a response to the mockery from the Dreamcatcher but the constant rattling thundered within his mind. All he could was look on and shudder at the humanoid nightmare that stood before him. Intimidation struck Marvin like a cruise missile onto a glass bottle, shattering his very will to do anything.
“That 60 million Wong is mine…so…so just give it up,” Marvin stated, bringing his other up to the grip of the pistol in an attempt to steady it.
The Dreamcatcher started to chuckle evilly, taking his cigarette in his hand after a long drag and letting the smoke blow out with each giggle. Finally flicking the cigarette away, he took small slow steps toward Marvin, the laughing ensuing. Marvin shuddered more, mirroring the Dreamcatcher's movements by slowly backpedaling, wanting to keep as much distance from his target as possible. He was scared to death.
“Don't! Don't move! I'll shoot…I swear it!” Marvin shouted nervously.
“If you were going to kill me, you would have done it by now. Or at least, you should have,” the Dreamcatcher replied, his brow furrowing in anger, giving him a cynical look combined with that dreadful smile. Not being able to look into his target's eyes truly bothered Marvin and didn't help his confidence at this point. “Your first mistake was thinking you could take me in alive, Terran.”
Finally, the Dreamcatcher dug his front foot in and lunged toward Marvin with unimaginable speed. He grabbed Marvin's hand gun with terrifying strength, phasing Marvin's entire forearm, and put the muzzle in a direction where it could do no harm to the Dreamcatcher. Marvin was surprised by how quick his movements were, it seemed almost inhuman. The Dreamcatcher brought his palm up and slammed it into Marvin's cheekbone, nearly shattering it, at least that is what it felt like. Immediately after, in one fluid motion, the Dreamcatcher snapped his foot out and struck Marvin's lower leg, earning a satisfying and sickening cracking sound. Marvin cried out as he dropped to the dirt and sand, clutching his leg with both hands, causing him to drop his pistol.
The Dreamcatcher returned back to a normal, more relaxed stance, looking down at Marvin with that ungodly smirk. Pain soared throughout Marvin's lower body as he winced and whimpered, clutching his useless appendage as if holding it tightly would have set it back into place and repaired it. He shook violently when it would heal and slowly looked back up at the Dreamcatcher, fear flooding back to all parts of his body. His mistake had gone from bad to worse.
“Bastard,” Marvin muttered.
The Dreamcatcher scoffed, “Good, you're finally learning, Terran. Turn your fear into anger and it will help you through any situation. Sadly, though, it will not save your life.”
“So, you're gonna play with me before taking my life? You're sick! No wonder your head is worth 60 million!” Marvin spat out through his teeth, sharply inhaling and exhaling the pain out.
“You have no idea why my head is worth the price they have placed upon it!”
Marvin noticed how efficient and poetically the Dreamcatcher had spoken. He must have had an insurmountable amount of intelligence; Marvin could derive just by conversing with him. Forcing a triumphant smile on his face, Marvin replied, “You would be surprised.”
“What?” The Dreamcatcher seemed to have been caught off guard, the smile not as tight as it was. Marvin figured he just bought himself a few more moments of living while his target tried to decipher what he had meant. Before he could question him any further, however, the Dreamcatcher turned his attention to the sudden beeps coming from the console outside his ship.
Using the sudden loss of attention, Marvin threw himself up and starting limping away as fast as his injured leg permitted. That was nearly ten minutes ago. Marvin had been so out of breath, sweat flowed from his pores, and fatigue weighed him down like a stack of weights as he tried desperately to get away. Every few moments he peered over his shoulder, looking for that deadly man that stalked his shadows. Honestly, Marvin had no idea where he was headed but kept pushing himself, feeling that the greater distance between him and the Dreamcatcher was safer.
Marvin collapsed though when he realized that the terrain underneath him was about to come to an abrupt halt, a barren ravine blocking his escape to safety. He almost started to cry, cursing the Gods for the immense amount of bad luck they have placed upon him on this particular hunt. Thoughts of throwing himself over the edge drifted across his mind, thinking whether or not it would have been less painful than if the Dreamcatcher caught up to him.
The blood drained from his face, however, when he heard footsteps grinding into the sand and dirt behind him, as fear engulfed him. Feeling as though someone was walking over his grave, he turned over, facing the dark silhouette of the Dreamcatcher as he slowly closed in on him. Marvin shuddered as he watched the man walk, his shoulders hunched, and his face indiscernible because of those thick sunglasses. The shadows hovering over the Dreamcatcher's face ebbed and Marvin could make out more and more facial features.
The Dreamcatcher dressed like any other outlaw, yet he was so unique. Black space-flight boots and black cargo pants covered his lower body, meeting with a black vest and hunter green shirt, all covered by a tan colored suede long coat that was lined with light wool. Black fingerless gloves engulfed the man's hands as he brushed them lightly along his coat as he walked towards Marvin. A black old style cowboy hat snugly sat atop his head, held in place by the mop of blonde hair that hung loosely to past his ears. A nasty looking, jagged scar was visible over his left eye, covered mostly by the golden lens sunglasses, but still looked as if it were extremely painful when he had earned it. The most confusing feature about the Dreamcatcher's ensemble, however, was the ball bell that hung from a leather necklace and dangled over his chest. Marvin could not make it out from where he was, but Ctarl-Ctarl artistry was etched into a design over the bell. He wondered about that one.
Finally coming to a stop about two meters from Marvin lay sprawled on the ground, the Dreamcatcher reached to the left side of his waist and pulled from a leather gun belt one of the biggest, meanest looking hand cannon-like pistols Marvin had ever seen a Terran use. It looked to be an old-style revolver from centuries ago, except for the modified barrel: rectangular and thick, tribal designs etched into it along with the manufacturing information. The Dreamcatcher aimed it one-handed right for in between Marvin's eyes and let his other hand rest on his hip. The pose was terrifying and Marvin really thought…knew this was going to be the end.
“Guess this is the end of the line for you, Terran,” the Dreamcatcher said, not moving any part of his body, his gaze and aim deadlocked onto Marvin's head, seconds away from blasting him into oblivion.
Marvin growled, “I don't get it! You're a Terran also! Why do you keep talking like you aren't one, damn it?!”
“I have the right to disown my own race if I want to,” was the Dreamcatcher's answer.
“That makes no sense! What is it about your own race that you hate so much?”
The question seemed to if not strike a nerve, it definitely gave it a little nudge. The Dreamcatcher lowered his weapon a bit, seeming to focus more energy into forming an answer for Marvin's thoughtful question. The smile was gone as well and he finally said, “You wouldn't understand…” It was almost barely audible, but Marvin still caught it.
“It must be something big, big enough for you to slaughter so many of your own kind. Do you have any ideas how many Terrans you have killed over the years, Dreamcatcher?!” Marvin shouted, clenching his fist and pounding it into the ground.
A thunderclap boomed in the distance. “You speak as if those Terrans were innocent. I'm no different from you; I only kill the ones who have committed crimes.”
“Against the Ctarl-Ctarl!” Marvin started, hoping he could get some answers to the unanswered questions that arose when he took this contract. “Every person you have killed has done something against the Ctarl-Ctarl in some way or another. You are hiding on a planet that was shot up by the Ctarl-Ctarl! And if I am not mistaken, that bell around your neck is a piece of Ctarl-Ctarl jewelry!”
The Dreamcatcher bit his lip, feeling almost like he was a young puppy that just did something mischievous. His free hand slowly rose up and caressed the bell dangling from his neck, a soft jingle emanating from it that looked to send cool feelings into him. Marvin was beyond intrigued. “What are you getting at?”
“Something must have happened with you and the Ctarl-Ctarl! I've heard things about you, Dreamcatcher. Some say you want to be just like them, wanting to integrate yourself into their culture, but I think it is much more than that isn't it? The Ctarl-Ctarl at the office where I picked up the contract talked about this space pirate who fell in love with a Ctarl-Ctarl and now roams the galaxy in search of her. They say it's just a myth, but I trust my gut when I say that I think that they were referring to you.”
Clenching his teeth, the Dreamcatcher said, “What the hell do you know? You're just a bounty hunter. I can't expect you to understand. No one will understand!”
“Why not? What the hell are you saying?!” Marvin said, pounding the ground beside him again.
“Terrans are all the same. They fear what they do not understand, masking it in hatred and channeling it into violence and propaganda. You can't take the time to try and look at the picture. You are all too engulfed in petty differences!”
“What?” Marvin said, confused beyond all recognition. “You are not making any sense! Why do you hate Terrans so much and give the Ctarl-Ctarl such a break?” Marvin didn't receive an answer, howls of searing wind taking its place. “Why do you protect them when they are the ones who put the bounty out on you and want your head on a silver platter?!”
“That bounty is false. The reasons for why they want me are not apparent to you scum because all they need to do is give you a price and you'll come after me and deliver me to the Ctarl-Ctarl, one Ctarl-Ctarl. He wants me the most,” the Dreamcatcher explained.
Closing his eyes and exhaling, Marvin said, “The Grand Marshal.”
Taken back and rather surprised, the Dreamcatcher asked, “What? How do you know?'
“Those Ctarl-Ctarl talking about that myth, they said that the Grand Marshal had posted the bounty personally and would stop at nothing to get you, saying you are one of the most dangerous things in the galaxy. The pirates don't even rate close to what you are capable of and have done in the past. What they said, about you falling in love, is that true?”
“…so what if it is?” the Dreamcatcher asked, resilience coming back and a blank look on his face.
“I don't understand that. They are hunting you to the ends of the galaxy and will stop at nothing to see you dead, yet you are in love with one and doing everything you can to help and avenge them. Why? They are nothing but a bunch of savage, emotionless animals bent on domination!”
The Dreamcatcher reaffirmed his aim, thumbing the hammer back, causing the weapon's chamber to revolve and cocking the weapon, ready to send a bullet flying. It sounded so loud and deliberate, done immediately after Marvin's little comment. This time, he had struck a nerve.
“It's talk like that that makes me do this. You are all the same and are the reason I cannot be happy! You sicken me, Terran!” The Dreamcatcher growled.
Marvin sighed deeply, a sad smile forming on his lips. “So, this is the end for me is, it. Well, I guess it's no harm in being civil then. They call me `Manhunter' Marvin.”
“I see. And I am, as you know, Orion `The Dreamcatcher' Desu.” The Dreamcatcher, or Orion, said. “Not necessarily a pleasure to meet you, however.”
A small chuckle escaped Marvin's lips. “Well, I guess you're right. Say, you really do love this Ctarl-Ctarl then. I can see it, maybe not in your eyes, but I definitely see that you are willing to do whatever it takes, even kill your own kind, to be with her and make that a reality. But is it really worth losing your humanity?”
Lowering the pistol slowly to his side Orion smiled faintly. “Humanity is a small price to pay for the one you love, especially when your race is filled with nothing but dirt bags who give no concern over their actions and cannot understand anything that even remotely blatantly obvious.”
Marvin frowned and clenched his jaw in anger. “What? Look around, Orion! The Ctarl-Ctarl did all of this! This planet used to be capable of supporting life and they just destroyed it in seconds! Do you think they thought about that while doing it? You talk as if the Terrans are evil but it them, the damned Ctarl-Ctarl, that are a bunch of monsters! They can all burn in hell!!!” He shouted.
Anger bubbled inside of Orion, forcing him to kill yet again. Within half a second of Marvin shouting, he brought his pistol up and aimed straight at the injured man lying helplessly on the warm ground. Orion squeezed the trigger six times in quick succession and with each squeeze came an ear-shattering boom that erupted in symphony with the thunderclaps in the distance. The bullets ripped into Marvin's chest, his eyes going wide with surprise. Blood and bits flesh blew from each gaping wound as Orion gunned this man down. Choking on once after once of blood before even the six shot had tore through him, Marvin leaned back dead. A pool of crimson bodily fluid poured out from underneath the corpse, soaking the already dead ground.
Orion spun the large weapon around his trigger finger with unprecedented speed and grace before finally returning his beloved Widowmaker to its holster. He didn't even want to bother with searching the remains for anything of value. That kill was done out of rage and anger, finding it difficult to keep control over it after what was said.
“Fool. He was a fool. Just like everyone else. The Ctarl-Ctarl are not monsters. Not all of them.” Orion said to one in particular. An image of a Ctarl-Ctarl female popped into his head briefly after his last words. “Were we any different in the past?” It was a rhetorical question, something he had always asked when someone decided to attack the Ctarl-Ctarl as a race.
Thinking no more about what had taken place, Orion turned back and walked back to his ship, his head hanging low. It didn't get easier, killing people like that. The scum of the universe, you know, the real cold-hearted ones, would say that killing gets easier with each person you go through. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. He found himself thinking heavily on what had happened back there, the image of “Manhunter” Marvin's corpse plaguing him with each footstep.
“I wonder what he was like. Does he have a family? Where is he from?” Orion, again, said to no one in particular.
Orion wanted to know these things but was unsure if the actual knowledge would have made murdering him any easier. Still, the remnants of his old life were imbedded in the very foundation of his soul and not even this life of crime and heresy would get rid of that. He felt sick to his stomach, especially after thinking about how buddy-buddy they seemed to each other before Marvin made that outburst. Yet, all Orion could think was…her. Upon hearing the word “monster” he lost all self-control, thinking as if Marvin was referring to her as a monster. He could not, would not tolerate that. He didn't even feel his Widowmaker kick after each shot.
Thinking about his weapons nickname made things worse. What if he had done just that? Made a widow out of somebody by killing Marvin? It was always crossing his mind, and it made him feel so terrible and caused him to wonder why he called his pistol such a cruel name. It made sense, however, to call it that because he obviously did turn a lot of poor women in this galaxy into widows, children into orphans, caused parents to become childless. The Ctarl-Ctarl weren't monsters, he was.
Finally, getting back to his ship, he finished up the repairs and decided it was time to leave this barren planet. Orion stepped aboard, closing all external hatches of his ship, Naughty Dog. Taking refuge in the pilot's seat at the front of the dimly lit cockpit, he let out a heavy sigh as he fished out another cigarette and dangled it in his mouth. Producing a silver lighter, he opened it and struck a flame.
Before lighting his cigarette, a voice called out from the darkness, “What have I told you about doing that in here?”
Orion stopped, opening his eyes. He paused and then lit his cigarette anyways, taking in a long drag and finally exhaling. Snapping the lighter close in one quick motion, he replied, “Lay off, will ya? I'm having a rough day.”
The voice called out again. “The gunpowder as well as your stress levels speak for themselves, Orion. Still, I doubt even the nicotine will help with your problems.” It was a female voice, cool and soft sounding with an English, or even Australian, accent.
“That's what the liquor is for, Tia,” Orion said, letting out a little chuckle.
“Whatever,” came the reply. “I think I've told you many times, as well, that the drinking will only make matters worse. I don't need any more of your bad days, Orion.”
Orion laughed, the cigarette bobbing in his mouth. He readjusted his hat up a little bit and sat back in his leather, ribbed chair and rested his feet up on the console. “Neither do I. How about you fire the Naughty Dog up and prep her for launch. I managed to fix the landing assembly, or as much as I could.”
“I can see that. Obviously, not a professional job, but then again you're a gunslinger, not an engineer.” The voice, Tia, called out.
“That's what I have you for, darling.” Orion smiled and gave a little wink.
Most ships nowadays have their own computer system that interacts with the crew of the vessel. In Orion's case, she is the crew other than himself. When he first set out on this bloodbath of a journey, Orion managed to get his hands on a state-of-the-art computer operating system for his ship to help operate it by himself being as a one-man crew would not cut it for a ship of the Naughty Dog's design. The Space Forces were not exactly happy to part with their prototype Tactical Intelligence Assistant, however, and it almost cost Orion his life in retrieving it.
A lot of times, people will just call the computer by the name of the ship. Orion didn't want to sit there and refer to his only “friend” on this voyage as a lecherous canine so he just came up with the acronym for her official title and caller her Tia. Orion considers her a person, though and through, considering Tia is a lot more interesting than many Terrans he's met over the years, not to mention the fact that over the years he has developed a strong friendship with her.
“Well, darling, I do not think the military intended me to be a grease monkey,” Tia responded. “I was created to relay tactical information to battle fleets, not repair things you “meatbags” break.”
“Ouch, Tia. You know, it would be more logical to refer to my people as “waterbags” being as there is a lot more water in us than meat.” Orion gave off another wink, tapping the ash from his cigarette onto the deck plates.
“Wow. I don't know whether to call you intelligent or a smart ass. And please pick that up. I really do what I can to keep the place tidy and it doesn't help when you walk around and casually trash it.”
“Yes, ma'am!” Orion replied mockingly. He tapped some more ash off to prove his point while the lights began to brighten some and the whole cockpit could be viewed. Above the main view screen, this was wrapped around the front half of the cockpits bulkhead, was display panel with an aqua blue colored scope line pictured on it that oscillated in various directions whenever Tia spoke. Below this display panel read Tactical Intelligence Assistant, marking her full technical name. Orion generally looked up at it whenever he was having a conversation with her.
Lights and gizmos began to illuminate all over the cockpit, Orion's main control console coming to life with various operating system version info scrolling across the screen as the Naughty Dog booted up and became flight ready. The two stations on either side of his seat behind him remained dim being as they were useless unless a person operated at them. Tia took care of most of the shipboard operations, navigation, communication, engineering type stuff and Orion flew the damn thing. She also kept a grip on the weapons systems unless the Naughty Dog went into grappler combat mode.
As the ship was starting up, Orion took a deep sigh and removed his hat, dropping it casually to the side and putting his cigarette out on the bottom of his boot. Finally, he buried his head in his arms and just thought about, well, everything in his life. Tia took notice to his change in mood as well.
“You want to talk about it?” Tia asked, at the same time running thousands of calculations and performing hundreds of operations to try and bring the ship back to life. The engines and computer systems all hummed as they were brought online.
“Nothing really to talk about,” Orion said, muffled through his arms.
“You only get like this when something is really bothering you, Orion. You can probably fool the people that don't know you, but not me.”
Groaning, Orion lifted himself up and decided to spill it. “I don't know. What Mar-…that bounty hunter had said to me kind of got to me, you know? Why am I doing the things I do, doing stuff for the Ctarl-Ctarl, when they are the ones who want me dead the most? I just don't know anymore.”
“Yes, you do. Don't concern yourself with what a nobody said. Even though the Ctarl-Ctarl want you dead, there is one who does not.”
Orion smiled warmly and genuinely. Just thinking about her simply filled him with joy and took away all the nightmarish thoughts that plagued his mind. Oh, how much he longed just to feel her touch or even to simply feel her warming presence next to him. “I know.”
“Münchhausen reactor on-line. Charging to 100% capability. Unsen engines on-line and ready for gravitational escape velocity. All systems green, Captain,” Tia reported. Whenever she commented on ship systems and important stuff like that, she always became more formal and addressing Orion as Captain because that's who he was. “In any case, though, you may have to think about it from the other side.”
Orion furrowed his brow, looking confused. “What do you mean?”
“Well, it's been about twenty years. Do you think Hoshi may have moved on?” Tia asked.
Sighing, he answered, “I don't know. I certainly hope not, that I don't. It would kill me if she no longer felt the same way about me. But I really don't think that's the case, Tia.”
“How can you be so sure?”
“I still have dreams about her, I still feel her within me. That type of connection is too powerful for her to simply lose feelings. Besides, if she had, I could probably get a decent night's sleep for once.” Orion chuckled a little and gave another warm smile.
“I suppose your right. Hoshi Hone-Hone is certainly lucky to have a man like you…well, will have a man like you.”
Orion nodded. “Yeah, you ever think we can be together without all this racial nonsense? From either side?”
“I believe in you, Orion. You know that. And for twenty years I have seen you do some pretty impossible things. Therefore, yes, I think in the end that you and her will be as happy as can be.”
“The end? Heh, whenever that is right?” Orion replied, smiling sadly.
“Correct. Destination, Captain?” Tia asked.
He rubbed the stubbly under his chain, earning a scratching noise, as he pondered. “Blue Heaven. I think it's time we pull into a dry dock for once and get the Naughty Dog refitted, not to mention the need for some social interaction.” Orion winked.
“Indeed. I've begun calculations for our FTL jump sequence, ready for takeoff, Captain.”
“Ok! Let's get going! Naughty Dog, Launch!”
A/N: Well, that does it for the Prologue. Hopefully, it answers some question, but I would imagine it raises hundreds more, heh. Anyways, I will be sure to answer them in the coming chapters, not to mention get some of the old people we know and love back into action *cough* Jim and Aisha *cough*. Any other questions, please feel free to ask and I will surely get back. As always, please review and let me know what ya think, what you don't like, and anything else. Till next time, guys!