The following short story occurs a cycle (in Earth terms, a year) after the events book two.
A forgotten Black Guard base rests under a dark cloudy sky of a remote planet at the edge of the furthest explored galaxy. The Black Guard has been ripped from power nearly a cycle ago. Many of its remnants have splintered into separate cells and all movements are still monitored and reported. The distance to Outpost: Deviant does cause significant delay in real time status reports.
A human male with short cut gray hair and referred to as Captain Newnight entered the command center. He seemed overcome with stress and work. The Black Guard’s fall was impactful and many of the still functioning facilities like Outpost: Deviant were operating with no support and funds. All that was available to such a remote outpost like this one was its on hand finances, supplies, and the few remaining Black Guard forces that knew of its existence. That was also a reason that it still stood unaffected and unknown by the new government. No tracking of forces and finance. It had also benefitted from a top-secret classification. Its only regular contact had been with the fallen Dark Lord Epitaph and Black Guard starships that had utilized its base facilities.
Captain Newnight asked for a report. A young lieutenant delivered the same news he had heard for rotations now. Many splinters of Black Guard forces remained operative but the number was decreasing. Some had been defeated and others had just ceased operations. The Fright Agency commanded by the former Fright Agent Maddo, seemed to be the strongest and most defiant. Its closest opposing factions were the Death Deck commanded by a former low-level lieutenant now dubbed as Butcher Mont. The other was faction called Deep Scar and most of the rumors of its command structure seemed to change on a rotation’s basis.
The Black Guard was only strongest when it was united and under the command of Epitaph. It was dubbed as an unbeatable regime. That term had been proven false, but its effectiveness as a united force was still unargued as now the many splintered factions could not seem to co-exist. Disputes within its own ranks as well as the newly seated government would prevent any strong and lasting resurgence. Captain Newnight only wished to hear something new in the reports. He then sighed before asking for the perimeter security reports that also came in as normal.
He was bombarded next with dropping morale reports and requests for duty dismissals. He was ready to abandon the outpost himself at this point. The problem was that there was quite literally nowhere to go. The outpost was designed to receive Black Guard starships but had none of its own to escape with. There was not even a better location on the planet they had not even assigned a name, other than Outpost Deviant. It was a planet far from any sun or starlit source. The only difference between its daytime and nighttime was the dim and cloudy sky versus pitch black darkness. The majority of the planet’s surface was swamp and rock. There were small animal lifeforms that scurried the surface and were hunted as food supply. The dismal environment, lack of activity, and extreme limited access did not provide any hope for a rise in morale at the actual outpost.
Captain Newnight was about to leave the command for another long walk to his quarters when he and all others in the room were shocked and frozen by an alert of a sudden incoming transmission. Captain Newnight retook his seat in the command chair and asked an officer at the comms station to acknowledge. He then introduced himself, “I am Captain Newnight of a lone cell of the fallen Black Guard. This is Outpost Deviant. To whom am I speaking? The reply remained silent. Captain Newnight exchanged a silent look with his comms officer, who acknowledged that the transmission was received and the line was still open. Captain Newnight repeated his question and again silence was the response. The comms officer reported that the message had went through but the transmission had been abruptly halted at the other end. Captain Newnight asked why they would have sent a hail at all if they had no intention to answer. A science officer replied that it could have been an echo comm. One that had been sent out some time ago and only through time and distance in space was now finally received. That would mean that their response could take just as long if not longer to get back to the original sending source. Captain Newnight replied that they could not wait another cycle for a reply. He asked for reports of the farthest Black Guard assignment before the fall. There were many that came back and all were classified to Fright Agent level. Captain Newnight then ordered a transmission sent out to former Fright Agent Maddo of the Fright Agency faction. He added that they required information that only a former fright agent could give them. He then retired to his quarters.
Another two rotations had passed by without a reply from former Fright Agent Maddo or the mysterious source that had contacted them. The comms officer reported to Captain Newnight as he again took the command chair, that they had no direct line to former Fright Agent Maddo or any of the splintered factions. Their communication was put out with some purposeful distortion to protect their origin and would still travel through many communication outreaches. He added that it would likely take several rotations for anyone under Former Fright Agent Maddo to receive their comm. The comms officer’s report was not well received and met with much built up frustration from Captain Newnight. He was only silenced again from another incoming transmission. “Fear not Outpost Deviant. You are still under command of the Black Guard and its new commandant, Fright Agent Cuthren Scarn.” The communication was again ended. Everyone turned to Captain Newnight. He was reminded that Epitaph, before his demise had terminated the Fright Agents and any left were to be executed. All reports stated that there were only four fight agents in service at the time and the only one that had survived was former Fright Agent Maddo. Captain Newnight responded, “There were clearly more than four. Perhaps Epitaph had sent some into unknown galaxies.” Another officer responded, “Perhaps someone had promoted themselves to assume the void in command?” Captain Newnight assumed no one would dare impersonate a fright agent. He added. “Especially with an execution order clearly declared.” The transmission came through again and this time was asked through a translation of the Rypanic language and inquired directly for Captain Newnight. The Rypans were a centaur-like race compared to Earth lore and driven from their home world of Hortis 3 by humans. Fright agents were not allowed to be human, so a Rypan of that ranking would make perfect sense.
Captain Newnight ordered a reply translated into Rypanic. He again introduced himself and inquired if he was speaking to a fright agent. The reply was quickly received again through translation, “I am the secret fifth and last fright agent. You may address me as Fright Agent Cuthren Scarn. An aide starship has been sent to your location. You will prepare your outpost as my new headquarters. At fastest speed I am twenty-one cycles away. My aide starship is much closer and shall arrive in two cycles. You will fortify your command and uplift your crew’s morale. The Black Guard will be resurrected to even greater power than before. You will receive updates from my aide starship on a rotation basis. You will be expected to reply. Do you concur?” Captain Newnight replied, “I do so concur Fright Agent Cuthren Scarn.” There was one more response from Fright Agent Cuthren Scarn before his silence, “Excellent General Newnight.”
THE END OR NOW
Fright Agent Cuthren Scarn will arrive in book 6 of the series. As for the splintered factions of the Black Guard, they will all be addressed in Book 4 that will go into edit very soon.
Short stories here will be back on track and with target dates around the 20th of each month. Some of the previous short stories will begin to be expanded on and connected from this point forward. Thank you to all my fans.