Project Description

A BOUNTY of GOLD

Steven Koutz

This short story takes place sometime after the events in books 1 and 2 of the Shadowed Stars mature read science fiction book series

 

          The Black Guard has fallen from power and a new government lies within infancy as the shattered pieces are slowly attempted to be reassembled. The Honsho Piracy through Vally Wait, now has an ambassador and a voice. Gold Gatling, being the leader of the Gatling Legion and the largest and most powerful legion in the Honsho Piracy, has attained an elevated status of power. His new role of leadership though does not erase his past. There are still many legions that would benefit greatly by the demise of the Gatling Legion and the glue that bonds it, Gold Gatling himself.

The small freighter starship, the Rockshot has been docked for three rotations. It was an older vessel designed to haul minerals and elements from mined asteroids. For the last few cycles, it has been a bounty hunting vessel. The pilot was Haze Allura. She was a beautiful blonde human female about five feet in height with a fabulous and curvaceous figure. She had just finished her wild riding action on her seven-foot-tall human lover named Bear Kron. She kissed his rugged and heavy bearded face once more before climbing off him and the bed. She dressed quickly into her tight gold leather one-piece bathing-like suit with transparent plastic see through slashes. It also had a short skirt attached. She accessorized it with scarves of gold satin-like material wrapped around the top of her head, upper arms, and legs. Haze answered a comm on the ship’s wall and stated that the person was late. She then granted access to the boarding hatch as Bear sat up naked at the side of the bed. Haze instructed him to hurry. Bear delivered a light slap on her firm ass as she exited the quarters.

Haze walked to the cargo area and met a female Wobmat with a male Honsho that stood at each side of her. She had a curvaceous figure as well, and her companions sported the simple muscular look. The Wobmats had the standard human look but with full yellow eyes. They were a race that was simply ignored and unnoticed by most of the races in the known galaxies. The Honshos were immune to that racial trait and not only noticed the Wobmats but effectively used them as spies. Some special people, however, could notice them. Haze and Bear were obviously among that special grouping. Bear had just entered behind Haze donned in black and gray powered battle armor and strength enhancing gauntlets. The male Honshos at each side of the female Wobmat were standard humanoid form except for long dropped chins over their throats. Each of their hands also had three fingers and two thumbs. They all wore insignias that identified them as the members of the Salign Legion. It was the second largest and powerful legion in the Honsho Piracy. The female Wobmat tossed a small bag of various gems to Haze. It was an upfront payment for a larger bounty on Gold Gatling. The female Wobmat then reported that Gold would be conducting a scavenging of the now abandoned Beggar Colony Worlds over the next few cycles. Haze asked how they were supposed to get Gold alone on either of the three planets. The Wobmat stated with a rarely displayed strength from the race, “That is your problem. You have been given the whereabouts; the bounty hunting is your game.” The Wobmat then declared a meeting location of a tavern called The Deep Pit on Odreshi for the delivery of Gold Gatling. Haze inquired if the bounty was still for Gold being alive. The Wobmat laughed. She then stated that the bounty would be paid on a dead or alive status but suggested that even catching him alive would be the challenge of their careers.

It had taken only a few rotations when the Rockshot exited a hyperspace portal just outside the far orbits of the Beggar Colony Worlds. Primitar was the former administration planet. Seda 1 and 2 were the actual trade planets. The Black Guard had bombarded all three planets with various bombs. Many structures were left decimated. There were many starships in the orbits with landing parties sifting through the remains. Many were simple scavengers but there were also freighters from various legions of the Honsho Piracy. There had been an agreement that the actual act of piracy was banned in assigned routes to and from the Beggar Colony Worlds. There was also a schedule designed for the legions to have allotted scavenge times. Haze had picked up signatures from the Gatling, Kensbarr, and Reppitar Legions. The Gatling Legion being the larger of the three was focused on all three planets, while the Kensbarr Legion seemed to operate on Seda 1 and the Reppitar Legion concentrated on Seda 2. Bear stated, “There has got to be a better time and location to try and snare the most elusive Honsho pirate.” Haze agreed that it would be difficult but she was certain that no support would come from the Kensbarr and Reppitar Legions. She also figured there might be a lack in Gatling Legion response, as the removal of Gold Gatling would benefit those wishing to advance. She added that the Honshos had loyalty only when they could not ascend in fame, rank, and favor.

The issue at hand was finding Gold Gatling on planet. He would likely stay on one of his freighters. Haze had been scanning the planets and noted a flaw in Bear’s claim. There was a literal goldmine on Seda 2. She figured Gold Gatling would not be able to resist such a prize mineral that shared his name. His reputation for wearing gold jewelry was also well known. Haze started to plot a course.

The Rockshot landed away from an assembly of three Honsho freighters around the goldmine. Haze and Bear used the rocky and mountainous terrain as cover to advance. They overlooked many Honsho pirates, male and female, entering and exiting the mine. Those that exited were carrying sacks and crates of actual gold nuggets and rocks. Bear asked which group they should follow. Haze noted that they were stockpiling three piles and assumed the largest one would be delivered to Gold Gatling himself. Bear had an excellent suggestion that Gold Gatling may not fully trust his crew and might just be in the cave supervising the mission personally. Trying to predict Gold Gatling’s moves had proven extremely difficult to impossible for all that tried. His reputation of the most elusive pirate was legendary. Gold Gatling had contingency plans for his contingency plans.

They continued to observe the operation. The Honshos had started to transport the gold through their teleportation portals. The flashes of white and yellow lights from deep inside the cave were expected to be teleportation portals as well. Haze and Bear realized that not only were they outnumbered but they were out teched as well. This mission was proving more difficult as time passed.

Suddenly two portals of yellow and white light opened behind them. The portals closed as two Honshos stepped out from them. Haze and Bear turned to face the Honshos. Haze stated her customary prebattle words, “I love you.” Bear replied, “I loved you first.” Bear then charged one Honsho and laid him out with one punch to the Honsho’s long dropped chin from his strength enhanced gauntlet. Haze had fired a few stun blasts from her small blaster rifle. The Honsho had taken cover behind the rock and retaliated with electric streams shot from his famed handheld Honshon stick. They resembled a standard short rod. They were primarily stun weapons and much more effective in melee as opposed the ranged status. More teleport portals opened and a Honsho stepped out from each of them with Honshon sticks already engaged. Bear was being struck with the electric streams from both melee and ranged attacks. His powered armor was absorbing the energy and he was knocking each melee combatant to the ground. He was eventually outnumbered and overpowered. He dropped to the ground. Haze hollered out, “Sweets?!” She was preoccupied herself from multiple and merciless electric shots all around her pinned down location. She was eventually hit twice and dropped unconscious.

It was some time later when Haze and Bear awoke together in a containment cell. Outside the electric door barrier stood Gold Gatling. He looked like all other Honshos except his blonde hair was short and spiky. He wore his legion’s colors of dark blue with gold trim. He also wore sixteen gold rings. Two on each finger and one on each thumb. He wore three golden chain necklaces as well and three gold loop earrings in each ear. He spoke directly to Haze, “I applaud the color of your outfit.” She replied, “Most people do not notice the color and only applaud the revealing areas.” Gold laughed and admitted that feature was also not lost on his view. He lowered the barrier and entered the cell. Bear stood quickly behind Haze and despite his armor and gauntlets that had been removed, he was ready to charge and brawl. Gold Gatling raised his Honshon stick but it was more likely that Bear was held back by Haze’s palm to his chest. She said calmly, “Easy Sweets.” Gold Gatling admitted that he had heard of them and inquired of the price on his head. Haze replied, “200,000 dead or alive.” Gold let out a brief chuckle and then seemed almost insulted that the price was not higher. He then offered to double the price in gold if they let him go and revealed their client. Haze replied that they were not new to the trade and admitted that if they took offers like that, they would not be in business long, not to mention find a bounty on their own heads.

Gold Gatling admitted that their integrity would get them far but it would not get them off his ship alive. Haze stated that she had read a great deal about him and cold-blooded killing was not in his file. Gold stated that he only killed when he needed to do so. He then admitted that many of his legionnaires did the hard killing for him. There were clearly two choices, Gold would be captured or Haze and Bear would be killed. Gold then leaned against the open doorway and asked Haze if she had another suggestion on how this matter could be resolved. Haze admitted that they appeared to be at an impasse. Bear spoke from behind Haze and suggested to Gold that they could work for him. Haze seemed shocked at the statement. Gold smiled and stated, “Brains from the brawn of the team.” He added, “No other legion leader had their own bounty hunters and it would only add to my fame and rank. Not to mention, keeping your reputation in the green.” Haze looked at Bear and asked if he knew what he was getting them into. Gold answered the question for him. Gold stated that there were others that hired exclusively in the galaxy. He added that he had no problem with them freelancing. They further considered the advantages together. They would be known as primary bounty hunters for Gold Gatling and with his reputation, they could even raise their prices when they freelanced for others. It would also not only strengthen Gold Gatling’s fame, rank, and favor but the wealth, intimidation, and strength of the Gatling Legion as well. The blemish on the reputation of Haze and Bear for passing on a bounty and betraying one client’s anonymity would be insignificant compared to what they would gain. It would also guarantee Gold Gatling would have two less bounty hunters to worry about because nobody would dare risk sending them on a bounty against him or his legion. It was a golden win for all.

The only thing left was the small matter of the client’s name that sent them after Gold. Haze admitted that the Wobmat messenger came from the Salign Legion. Gold doubted that it came from Niketo. He was too smart to risk an engagement, despite being leader of the second strongest legion in Honsho Piracy. In addition, he figured the 200,000 bounty was set too low. Niketo would have offered more realizing all he would gain. The agreement between Gold Gatling, Haze Allura and Bear Kron was set.

It was a few rotations later that Gold Gatling’s face was displayed on a monitor. The face he spoke to was a beautiful long blonde haired Honsho female. She was stretched across her command chair in a most seductive pose. He addressed her as Challis Batteray. He commended her on the attempt to capture him and blame the Salign Legion. Challis at first asked if he was certain, it was not Niketo’s brother, Fraden. She claimed that Fraden would benefit most over a war between Gold and Niketo. Gold admitted that he investigated that fact first. He stated that Fraden usually worked through two Helven sisters. He then added that he had come across some information that the Wobmat assigned to the deception was named twelve. Challis had the reputation for designating her Wobmats by number. Challis seemed shocked and revealed her guilt by stating that the identity of the Wobmat was never revealed to Haze or Bear. Gold laughed. He admitted that Challis was correct but he knew that Twelve was her messenger. She knew immediately that he had tricked her into the reveal. She then asked what Gold had planned for that knowledge he had just extracted. Gold smiled and told her that he felt comfortable that that the Batteray Legion would remain number three in the Honsho Piracy. He added, “For now anyway.”

THE END

More of the intrigue within the Honsho Piracy will be revealed in upcoming Shadowed Stars books 4 and 5. Further adventures of Haze Allura and Bear Kron will continue.