Project Description

SECRET RIVAL

A short story that occurs before events in book 2 the Reign of the Black Guard

Steven Koutz

 

Sorlin Garrison had just entered the circular command deck of his Honsho freighter. The Honsho freighters were commonly two decks high. They were longer in design for speed but that same long design sacrificed maneuverability. Sorlin, like the entire race of Honshos was a pirate. His fame, rank and favor had placed him in a high status of the Gatling Legion, the most powerful and wealthiest in the Honsho Piracy. He was second in overall command of the legion to its leader, Gold Gatling. Like all other Honshos, Sorlin also had ambition to attain his own legion. That was accomplished most easily by betrayal of the Honsho at the top and there was no higher ranked Honsho than Gold Gatling, at least not yet. Sorlin was like all other Honshos in humanoid form. He had long dirty blond hair tied back in a tail and braided into four smaller tails. The only real difference between the Honshos and the humans was their long-dropped chin that stretched much longer than a human chin and shielded the throat. They also had two thumbs and three fingers.

Sorlin had walked past the command chair and directly to the Honshos at the helm. He inquired on the distance to the Helven freighter. The leading Honsho pilot was a female and reported that the Helven freighter was exiting hyperspace and that they would be exiting right behind it. Sorlin looked to the viewscreen and saw the hyperspace portal open just ahead of them and the portal that the Helven freighter had used as an exit had just closed ahead of them as well. He turned to his first mate, Burnun Norinco. Burnun was the only Honsho that was bald and as a result stood out from the rest. Sorlin asked for a hail of the Helven freighter. Burnun nodded to the Wobmat male at the comms board. Wobmats were human in appearance except for thier full yellow eyes. The Wobmats also seemed to have an ability to be ignored or not noticed by other races other than the Honshos. It was a trait that helped them easily place themselves into positions as infiltrators and spies. The Wobmats could be seen by special members of other races but that number was fewer than one might think. The Wobmat stated that the hail was open.

Sorlin ordered the Helven freighter to stop and prepare for boarding. The response was several rear mounted lasers fired across the Honsho freighter’s forward arc. Burnun called for the satsur guns to be fired. Rapid and multiple flashes fired onto the simple Helven freighter. The impacts caused engine rhythm disruption and the freighter was brought slowly to a halt. Burnun declared that he would lead the raiding party but Sorlin called him off. Sorlin wanted to lead this raid personally. Six Honshos, three males and three females, along with two female Wobmats activated their jump bands on their upper arms. Portals of yellow and white light opened either ahead of them or behind them. Each member of the raiding party stepped into the portals of light that closed behind them. Sorlin and Burnun had shared a deep stare between each other before Sorlin had vanished into his portal.

The portals of yellow and white light opened at multiple locations across the Helven freighter. The Helvens aboard, had been ready for the teleportation boarding that had become a legendary practice of the Honshos. Helvens all were humanoid in body form. They were tall and thin in build with long pointed ears that extended past the top of their heads. They greatly resembled the Elves of Earth folklore except for their cat-like nose and mouth. The only other difference between the Helvens themselves were that the males had pale white skin and long blond hair, while the females had a much darker brown skin and long black hair.

The Helvens had been ready and had opened fire with blaster pistols and rifles. The Honshos had also perfected their teleportation boarding techniques and had exited their portals of light with their anticipation of resistance. This anticipation allowed them to be alert and practice quickly deployed dodging and tumble techniques. They also had their Honshon sticks already drawn.  They were the primary weapon of choice for the Honsho Piracy. They produced stunning electricity if a target needed to be taken alive or was later deemed as more valuable in the alive state. The voltage was heavy enough to be a long-lasting effect. They could be used in melee combat but still had the range option. They measured from twelve to fourteen inches long and their padded handgrips were molded to the wielder’s primary hand. Their activation was swift with either a button or lever trigger depending on the wielder’s preference.  T

Two of the Honshos had failed in their dodge attempts and were blasted heavily as they exited their teleportation portals. The Helven male and female approached their fallen intruders. They were each struck by Honshon sticks touched to the sides of their necks by the Wobmats they had failed to notice and once stood beside them.

Two other Honshos had exited teleportation portals near the engine area at the rear of the freighter. They were fired upon and evaded the blaster bolts with successful tumbles. They had sprung quickly to their feet and had taken enough cover to successfully retaliate with streams of electricity. They were each able to separate the electric streams into two and strike the other two oncoming Helvens as well. The four Helven males were struck and entwined with what appeared to be constricting electric snakes that dragged them to the freighter’s floor. Once they had fallen, the electric streams continued to constrict around them to a slow deactivation. The two Honshos headed into the engine area. Their area of expertise was restoring the engine damage that the satsur guns had inflicted just in the case the starship might be more valuable to take.

Two male Helvens exited the cockpit of the freighter to join their female captain and defend against Sorlin Garrison and the two other Honshos of the raiding party. They were quickly taken down by electrical streams as well. Sorlin however had engaged the female Helven captain in melee against her short sword offense. She was quite skilled and even delivered a few grazing scrapes through Sorlin’s dodging maneuvers. In the end though, it only took one touch of the Honshon stick to her upper leg to drop the defiant captain. Sorlin and his Honshos had returned their Honshon sticks to the sheaths on their upper arms opposite that of their jump bands.

Voices came over the comms. The Helvens had successfully repaired the engines. Another Helven from outside the cockpit asked Sorlin if they were taking the freighter. Another voice over the comms made Sorlin’s decision. Burnun had sent a comm from the Honshon freighter that Gold Gatling was a few sectors away and on approach. Sorlin’s irritation at the statement was clear. He then opened his comm to his entire raiding party and declared them to gather all the valuables they could find. He then looked to one of the Honshos as he retrieved a blaster pistol from one of the fallen Helvens. He fired it with a blaster bolt straight to the Honsho’s head. The other Honsho next to Sorlin delivered a quick look to Sorlin and his fallen comrade. He then continued to his loot gathering duties as though nothing had happened. Burnun’s voice had again came over Sorlin’s comm and asked if they were leaving Jagg behind. Sorlin looked at the Honsho he had just killed. He then replied that Jagg would no longer be secretly informing Gold on their actions. He kicked the body over to lay face down and Sorlin began his own loot gathering.

It was a fast-paced raid and the teleportation portals of light again appeared on the Honsho freighter’s circular command deck. They again closed behind the exiting Honshos, Wobmats, and their gathered supplies. Burnun nodded to the helm and the Honsho freighter started the long freighter’s slow departure from the raid site. Burnun then informed Sorlin that Gold Gatling had instructed them to meet him halfway at the Wayneyev system. Sorlin seemed even more irritated at the sound of Gold’s name. Sorlin fought through his irritation and considered his options. He was tired of working for the Gatling Legion but he was still not wealthy or strong enough to make his move. He quickly glanced over their reported value of the confiscated claim. It was not a lot. Gold Gatling was no fool and expected Sorlin’s betrayal at some point. His best method to keep Sorlin from betrayal was to continue sending him on useless raids. Sorlin instructed Burnun to take forty percent of their stolen loot on a shuttle to their haven in the Nyx system. Burnun was surprised at the forty percent. He stated that they have only been holding twenty back from Gold. He added that thirty might be a safer gamble. Sorlin replied that Gold sent them on the low loot raids on purpose. He added that Gold did not expect much from these raids anyway. He felt the gamble was worth the risk. His fame, rank, and favor were already on the rise but to truly build his own legion from under Gold’s own watch, he needed to build his wealth before making his move.

As if by cue, a Honsho at the comms board stated that Gold was hailing. Sorlin looked around the circular command deck. He had removed his traitor and all in his sight were loyal. Sorlin issued the names of the three Honshos lost in the raid and smirked as he added the name of Jagg Jaast as the third. The third name prompted the Honsho at the comms board to report that Gold was requesting Sorlin personally answer him. Sorlin rose from his command chair and started to walk off the command deck. The Honsho at the comms board asked, “Sir?” Sorlin looked back and replied, “Tell Gold that I am counting his newly acquired claim.”

Not truly the end. Sorlin Garrison’s plan to raise his own legion continues in Shadowed Stars the Reign of the Black Guard book 2 in the series.