Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Easy Ones

Frank had stolen literally thousands of spacecraft. He didn't keep them all. Hell, he didn't keep most of them. He had about 50 that are personal that he never gave up. Most of the time stealing a ship is work. It's lots of time and planning. But sometimes it's wonderful.

Frank's favorite easy one was so easy he's not even sure if you can call it a theft. In fact they were just like "here, take it.". He probably shouldn't count it.

He had flown a big cargo ship stolen from hundreds of light years away with the intent to fill it up with Zeta Reticuli saucers on Z4. He knew they had no security to speak of, and no alarms.

"It's amazing man. They just offer the things. They are everywhere. You trip over them. There is literally a public machine where you push a button and it makes them for free."

He didn't want one of the pieces of shit. He just wanted to sell a bunch to get what he really wanted. He knew many suckers that would shell out for what was almost a disposable flying saucer. 

What he wanted was a Plegaren disk.

The Plegaren disks have five main advantages over the Zeta shit:

1) Designed to also withstand crush pressure
Try taking a Zeta disk to the ocean bottom. Leave a note.

2) Better looking. The Zeta stuff literally looked like something off a classic hollywood set, and not in a good way. Looks matter.

3) Time Dilation field for travel. You can negate most time effects for travel. It's a great idea. It stops things from happening like that time that Jeff left on a 115 run and got back 19 years late because he stopped to fuck with a neutron star for a few minutes. Yeah. Inconvenient shit like all your friends growing old and dying on you after a few trips becomes a thing of the past.

4) Not designed to fail. The Zeta disks are all enclosed and non-tool. You can cut them apart, refuel them when they run out after 5-6 years, fly them another 20, but they were never designed for that. Critical components will start failing after six years.

5) Easier fuel. Still a pain in the ass. But at least not so hard you risk death.  


landing pads of Z4 are these massive sterile looking affairs. Just huge white slabs you point your ship at. The material itself unknown, but designed to stop a malfunctioning ship from destroying much more than itself. They are thought to be indestructible.

Frank proved this theory wrong by cracking the hell out of them. He only had a few days in the hauler. He didn't time the landing wrong so much as just ignore 3 important steps. The end result was hairline cracks spreading out in every direction from the extended landing claws. Thankfully it seemed to go unnoticed. They either didn't know or did not care.

Frank then went about the business of opening up the side. It resembled a giant kitcher refrigerator on it's side as the top and bottom doors opened outward. Frank was literally planning to just ride his little electric kick-scooter around, steal a ship, fly it back, and land it inside. Rinse wash repeat.

Suddenly a beautiful violet glow from the next pad bathed all. Frank turned and gasped.

He'd never actually seen a Plejaren craft in person. He'd seen video that did no justice. It was a bright that you thought would hurt your eyes but didn't. It touched down absolutely perfect as if picking on him for cracking the tile, clearly automated. Frank noticed that despite there being a huge open area to set down, they parked right next to him. He had met Plejarens. They could be... well.. it's a good thing they made a pretty ship. And what luck. A simple large circle appeared in the side of the ship and two figures stepped out. Sitting still and powered down it appeared to be made of hand blown glass.

"Hey, that's a gorgeous ship." He called towards the tiny blonde humanoid dragging what looked like a male exotic dancer behind her. She literally had him on a leash. He looked quite drunk.

"Thanks old timer. You should do something about your oldness." she said and smiled at the same time.

They met halfway at the dark line separating the pads.

"You don't have to be old. I'm not old anymore." she said.

"I like being old. I was shitty at being young. I'm Frank." He said.

 "I'm Jemsase. You can call me Jem. This guy is Ted. Ted is very stoned."

"I can see that" He said. Frank wasn't in the business of rescuing men from attractive women. That could get you beat up by an attractive woman.

"You sure you don't wanna shed some years? You are tall and you got great shoulders. Strong features." she offered.

"I think you misunderstand. I choose to look like this. I have for a long time. In my line of work it helps."

"And what kind of work is that?" she asked.

"Oh, I steal spaceships like yours." Frank smiled. Frank also found it was dangerous lying to women. Especially women that took trophies.

"Been doing that for a long time?" she asked.

"Oh yeah. But time is kinda weird now. I mean if I math it one way I've been boosting ships for over 500 years, but another way and it's closer to 11 years. But physically I decided to stop aging about 40 years ago. Or 300 years ago depending on how you do the math."

Jem busted up laughing. "Yeah, it's hard shaking the temporal thinking. You are doing pretty good. It gets easier."

"So what, you start herding us in high school?" muttered a very inebriated Ted. 

"What do you think all those tests are for Ted?" asked Jem. "Say hi to our new friend Frank."

"Hi Frank. Are you a clone too?" asked Ted.

"That might be cool. I don't know Ted." said Frank.

"I like your attitude Frank." said Jem and she genuinely did.

"So what brings you to this backwater?" asked Frank.

"Shopping. I know, very cliche. But I fucked this Ted up bad. So I need some illegal tech to make it right. I um, I fell in love with this one. I can't just throw it away now. He's family now!" 

You could see genuine concern and caring in her crystal blue eyes.

"Well, there's illegal and th" she cut Frank off.

"The federatzies send me back to DAL. One way trip."

"Jesus" said Frank. 

Imagine a public library staffed by executioners instead of librarians. Where punishment is completely automated and immediate. Where you can literally have no real fun. Now imagine an entire Universe like that. DAL was the "completely structured Universe" of your nightmares.

"You must really love this guy."

"He was my first." she said. Frank giving her a knowing look she recognized. Jem busted up laughing "No, silly, my first Ted". Frank smiled. He thought she genuinely meant well. 

"What tech are you chasing?" asked Frank.

"Here's the thing... I wanted the perfect Ted and I got one very close, but he wasn't perfect perfect. So I broke some rules and mucked with his code and now some things are very very broken. I'm already fucked if they check him, and I'd like to be able to take him in public. I love him the most. So I have to use a temporal fix..."

Frank understood now. Time tech was ferociously protected. For the big huge reasons, like avoiding a paradox that destroys all existence, to the tiny petty things like assholes that would use it on a part that fails, then resell the part to some sucker not knowing it's going to fail. 

"You'll reset him. You'll have to start over fresh." said Frank.

And that's when Frank saw a Plegaren woman weep for the first and last time in his entire life. But a thought occurred to him. 

"Do you have some sort of storage technology I'm not aware of? How were you planning to get a temporal device out of here? Also, what do you have to power it?"

"What?" asked Jem. She hadn't considered this.

"I mean, I'm assuming you have some sort of miniaturization tech? You might fit some of the smaller stuff. You'll need a power source also unless you have something advanced you can use already."

"Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. I don't even know where I'll work yet." said Jem.

Frank smiled.

30 minutes later Frank eased himself into the temporal field in his new Plegaren ship. The sell was easy.

"There's your shipping, and your lab in one package. Hell, get a power source and some goodies and some supplies, have a designer build a nice apartment in there. Go hide in space. Fix your man."

Jem quickly looked up the ship as he was making the pitch. "It's STOLEN" she said. "Duh, ship thief." said Frank. "But that's perfect! If I get caught I can claim I was kidnapped or any number of things!"

Jem took the time to show him around his new ship. "I have three of them, all identical. Do you hate the color? You can change it like this." Frank watched as she rolled the pad of her thumb over the raised ball on the silver fob. He noticed the ship matched her outfit and accessories.

"No, please. Leave it alone. I think it's beautiful." said Frank.

Jem smiled.