Episode 1.1: The Rescue

The hull damage was severe and the prisoner transport shuttle, a CX Navigator mark IV known as the Harbinger, was adrift far outside the orbit of any habited planet. The pirate ship that had blasted the engines approached. The Captain looked above him as the ship prepared to dock, board, and who knew what after that. Part of him hoped the large, hijacked cargo vessel would blast a hole in his bridge and spare him and his crew from whatever horrors awaited them. Another part of him hoped they’d be taken prisoner, as opposed to suffocating in the vastness of space.

He saw the weapons power: a vibrant red glow spawned from the rear of an after-market cannon. He closed his eyes and held his breath, preparing for the inevitable. He couldn’t hear the blast fire and he didn’t expect to. But he felt it strike. His vessel shook violently and all the monitor lights and overhead lamps burst. He and his shaken crew were left in the dark, all sorts of sirens blaring and a dim, blinking red emergency light briefly allowing them to see their surroundings. The pirates certainly had a smart shooter aboard who knew exactly how to cripple a ship and keep it intact, thought the Captain. His heart pounded as sweat poured down his face. His vessel shook again as the pirate’s cargo vessel docked.


Gravity simulation is an expensive commodity in space. Smaller class vessels don’t usually generate enough value to warrant the upgrade. Thus, for the Harbinger, only the bridge and its surrounding corridors were equipped with artificial gravity. The four prisoners being transported by the Harbinger floated in their cells, chained to the walls by their ankles and wrists. They were suspended and trapped in the center of the cell with no possible way of escape. Until the lights turned off, and the electrical circuits responsible for powering their cuffs and cell doors died. Both the doors and the cuffs opened slightly, just enough for each prisoner to pry their way out. A faint red light blinked off and on offering them little visibility.

“Well now,” said one of the floating prisoners as he squeezed his way into the hall, “that’s just wonderful! Isn’t it?”

“The bumps and bangs and crashes and sparks beforehand suggest otherwise,” said another who had just entered the hall himself.

“If we’ve been attacked, the outcome can’t be worse than scrapping for Zochan on Gardron IV,” said the first escapee. The two of them had then approached one another and floated next to each other, very closely as they weren’t able to gauge their proximity well. “What’s the name?” asked the first.

“It’s Jeath,” he replied. “Yours?”


“Who else do you suppose is in here?” asked Jeath as he looked around the hallway, scarcely lit by the red light.

“I’m here,” said a strained and wearied voice.

“Where’s ‘here?’” asked Nax. His voice was light but carried a lot of confidence.

“Stuck,” the voice grunted. “In my cell door.”

A wiring sound could be heard coming from the door when Nax and Jeath pulled themselves along the wall toward the man stuck in the doorway.

“Guess the doors still got some juice,” Nax said. He wedged his arms in between the door and the frame, just above stuck man’s head and pushed. Jeath joined in as best he could, and the two were able to slide the door open enough to allow the man to float through.

“Thank you, sirs. My name is Pellan.”

“Now how do you suppose we should—“

Nax’s voice was interrupted by an explosion. You see, the prisoner wing of all CX Navigators are entirely closed off the rest of the ship. There is one hatch that is accessible from the outside of the craft and only by the receiving port at the vessel’s destination. The idea was that in the event of a catastrophe, the crew wasn’t to waste time in rescuing the prisoners. The pirates didn’t care: they came for everything on the ship.

The explosion sent forth no shrapnel, the only sight of it was a burst of light and then an uneven rectangle appeared in one of the walls. The burst of light faded but a bleu hue was leftover. The blue light was caused by a fluorescent lamp atop a man’s head who floated in the newly formed entryway.

“I’m guessing you four want out, heh?” said a rugged voice.

Nax could only see his silhouette and thus he turned and saw there was indeed a fourth member accompanying him, Jeath and Pellan; a female with short black hair floated at the other end of the hall.

“Leave the talking to me,” he whispered to his fellow captives. “I’ll get us out of this.” He turned back to the man with the blue light. “Yeah!” he shouted. “I guess we do.”


The four prisoners followed the pirates through the halls of the Harbinger and onto their cargo ship. Nax looked into the bridge as he passed by and saw it was empty. There were six other beings of different kinds along with the presumed Captain—the man with the blue light. When the eleven of them reached the threshold between the Harbinger and the pirate’s ship, the door closed behind them and instantly they were engaged with artificial gravity. The pirates and Nax were prepared for this of course, but Jeath, Pellan and the female fell onto their stomachs. The other door opened and the four of them were escorted into the cargo bay of the foreign vessel. Pellan, having never undergone the adjustment from zero gravity to the simulation, bent over and heaved. He had barely any contents in his stomachs so it was mainly stomach fluid.

“Welcome to my ship! I’m Husk, the captain of this fine ship and your rescuer!” said the man as he took off the blue lamp that was strapped to his head. “Now—“

He began but Nax stepped forward introduced himself. “I’m Nax and I would just like to commend you on your fine vessel here and thank you, from the deepest portion of my heart, for the rescue.” He said this with a bow.


“Short for Nacadolius,” replied Nax. “But that’s a hard thing to say when trudging through the trenches doing battle with the corporate system giants, eh?” he said as he swung is fist upward. “So it’s just Nax.”

“Well, Nax, we wanted to extend the invitation for some of you to join our crew. If you’re worth it,” said Husk.

“Oh we’re worth it!” exclaimed Nax. He stepped even closer and turned his head, presenting the side of his face. “Go ahead, try to lay one on me.” Nax wore a cheeky smile.

Husk, as if flattered by the challenge, stepped toward Nax and went to swing with his right arm. Nax went to dodge the foreseeable blow, but Husk quickly shifted his weight and struck Nax’s face with his left fist. Nax stumbled back and fell upon a few metallic crates nearby. He slowly got to his feet and then quickly took hold of a smaller crate and threw it at Husk. The distraction was enough for him to strike the pirate back. The brawl ended with Husk pulling out his blaster and pointing it at Nax.

“So?” Nax asked, his hands held high while smiling.

“So, I need some proper introductions.” Husk eased himself but kept his blaster pointed at Nax.

“You’re pirates aren’t you?” asked Jeath. The sudden question seemed to open the conversation on both parties.

“Businessmen!” piped up on of Husk’s crewmembers.

“Guns for hire, is more like it,” said another.

“Opportunists,” said Husk in finality as he shifted his blaster to point at Jeath for a brief second and then returned it to Nax’s attention. “Now who are you? What’d you do to be imprisoned by the Tirandians?”

Jeath shifted his stance and stood straight. “I’m Jeath. I was a toymaker for children. I made a product so intriguing, the leaders of my planet wanted me to mass-produce it so every child on Tirandi had one. I built in a small, undetectable device that would send an electromagnetic pulse off when I wanted it to. Well you see, some local enthusiasts thought this would be an amazing opportunity to launch an attack against the—“

“Well then, Jeath the talker,” interrupted Husk. “You’re a revolutionary with a thing for tech. It’s no wonder they expelled you.” Husk looked at Pellan. “I want no lies from you.” He slowly moved his blaster and pointed it directly at Pellan’s head. “You’re a priest! I can tell by that mark on your forehead.”

Nax stepped in blocked Husk’s blaster path with his chest. “Hey now! Tirandi is a religious cult of a planet. There is no way they’d imprison their priest!” He turned back to look at Pellan.

“I,” Pellan started shakily. “I was indeed a priest.” Jeath looked to his left at the man who looked no different than him with disdain.

“Well he’s obviously not a very good priest,” said Nax as he turned again to face Husk. “Why else would they imprison him?”

“Let the man speak for himself!” shouted Husk. “Why’re you here?” he asked Pellan.

“I no longer believe,” he replied silently.

“Fair enough,” said the same crewmember who claimed to be a businessman.

“And you,” Husk gestured to the female who had stood silently the entire time, “what’s your story?”

She looked up at him and opened her mouth. The inside was dry and to everyone’s surprise, she was without a tongue.

“Can’t talk, heh? The only woman I’d trust to be around then, right boys?” Husk jested. The crew bellowed out all kinds of strange sounds of laughter. “Well then, prisoners of Tirandi, you’re in luck! We’ve got a job coming up and three crew members were fried on our last. We can take in three of you, but the fourth will have to take a look at the airlock.”

“Space the priest,” said Jeath coldly.

Nax quickly snatched the blaster from the distracted Husk and, within the blink of an eye, had fired one shot at the chest of the self-proclaimed businessman. Husk stood in shock while the other five crew members aimed their blasters at Nax. The Businessman fell to the ground, limp.

“See, now we’ve got a fourth spot open,” Nax said as he smiled and returned the blaster to Husk.

Husk let out a laugh, took hold of his blaster, and put his arm around Nax’s shoulders. “Welcome aboard, sluggers.”