Lase Mooray: Origins
K. B. Knight
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Copyright 2015 K. B. Knight
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Lase Mooray – Origins was created using assets and imagery from Elite: Dangerous, with the permission of Frontier Developments plc, for non-commercial purposes. It is not endorsed by nor reflects the views or opinions of Frontier Developments and no employee of Frontier Developments was involved in the making of it.
Table of Contents
Starting life in an industrial system with no habitable planets is always going to be tough and my parents didn’t exactly have loads of cash. We lived on Luiken City in the Reshas system. My mother worked in the industrial production lines and my father flew the transports to and from the planet we orbited. Reshas 1 is a high metal world, full of precious minerals and the system was fortunate to be rich enough to be independent of the Federation or Imperial governments.
The times I enjoyed most was when my dad took me on a trip to pick up the metals for processing on the station. It was amazing to leave orbit and experience micro-g for the first time. That said it wasn’t often I experienced a full one gravity (or G) either, we just didn’t have the money to be able to get accommodation that far down in the station. Where we lived gave about three quarters of a G, with my parents giving me medication to help make sure my body developed so I would be able to cope with more.
I loved being up on the landing bay in the center of the station. Watching the ships come and go, anything from a Sidewinder to the huge Anaconda. My dad flew the Type-6 transporter, “Bloody box with thrusters” he would whinge every time he got back from a run. The Eagle was my favourite ship, it was so elegant and, with the right upgrades, a small wing of them could take on a larger ship.
When I turned sixteen I was old enough to work. All I wanted to do was fly but we didn’t have the money to put me through flight school. I ended up working in the pit with the maintenance crews fixing and repairing ships. At least I got to work on the ships even if I didn’t get to fly them. I spent a large amount of my free time in the sims, playing fighter jock; I was pretty good. By no means was I candidate for any navy but I could mostly hold my own.
Then the pirates came. The system was hounded by them. Ships coming into the system were attacked and either dropped what cargo they brought with them or just turned tail and ran. We are a confederation, we make up lots of smaller parts into a larger government. Mostly this was fine and we lived in an easy peace. However getting the representatives to agree on anything was a nightmare. Some wanted the pacifist approach and hoped they went away, others wanted more aggressive tactics. In the end patrols were increased around Reshas and traders, those who were willing to pay, were given escort to either of the systems stations. I spent most of my days working sixteen hours just to keep up with the repairs to the station’s defence fleet.
So far I haven’t said much about my mother. During this time everyone was working longer and longer hours. Eventually an accident had to happen. First, one of the repair crew cross connected a feed on a Viper’s Frame Shift Drive which led to a catastrophic overload in the maintenance bay. The damage was extreme, I had never seen so much carnage before. A third of the Viper was just gone and the bay around it was so damaged it compromised the structural integrity of a fifth of the station. The second accident happened in the manufacturing plant.
My mother was a forewoman in one of the industrial plants. As they came under greater pressure to produce more for the repairs to the station, as well as the ships, the managers started taking shortcuts. Money was getting ever tighter as the fighting went on and the station had to make savings. The cost cutting finally had a disastrous effect in the production area, where my mother worked, with shoddy parts for the machines. One of the power transfer modules, which manages the flow of power to the different machines in the sector, was made under-spec. It wasn’t able to handle the amount of stress being placed on it and eventually gave out.
It’s amazing how much concussive force there is in something that is meant to be able to deal with two gigawatts. As the unit exploded it sent shrapnel hurtling down across the work area, like someone had shot off the galaxies largest shotgun. Most of the pieces were small, acting like pellets and managed to kill twelve people outright with mostly head wounds. My mother got hit with a larger section of the outer casing. The twisted metal fragment slammed into her severing her left arm and leg. By the time the rescue teams found her she had bled out.
My father was never the same after that. Gone was a grumpy but funny man, replaced with someone who I hardly recognised. He withdrew into himself, barely saying a word to anyone, least of all me. He got fired from his job for not turning up and my wages couldn’t cover our living costs. Station security started to ask, then require, anyone able to hold a flight stick to fly a ship. I volunteered with the condition that my father could stay in our accommodation while I flew for them. Given my scores in the sims they were more than happy to agree.
I was given an Eagle and put into a wing of four. The wing consisted of our wing leader Sebastian Ericson, Sara Grusson, myself and Sam Ancher. While Ericson moaned about having a bunch of kids assigned to him, he made sure we were able to fly. As an ex-bounty hunter he shared many of his tricks with us to help keep us alive. Despite his constant whinging about our ages he took on the role of a father figure. I think he saw us as a surrogate family, we certainly felt like one. Our fourth mission out we were to escort a massive Lakon Type-9 to the station.
The mission started as all the others had. We met the Type-9 at the navigation point. Linking our ships to the Ericson’s navigation computer we jumped into frame shift. Luiken City is only about five hundred and fifty light seconds from the star, a journey of about ten to fifteen minutes. About five minutes into the flight the alarm sounded indicating the Type-9 was being interdicted. The standing order was for the Type-9 to submit, to reduce the time for its frame shift drive to cool down and reset, and the escort would drop out with them giving them cover.
Being a subordinate part of the mission I didn’t have a cargo scanner so couldn’t scan the massive freighter and had no idea what they were carrying. It must have been expensive; there were two Pythons and a couple of Eagles waiting for us when we all dropped out of frame shift. Ericson ordered Ancher, who piloted an Eagle, to stay with the Type-9 until it was able to spool up its drives and get out to the station. Ericson and Grusson turned their Cobras towards one of the Pythons. I was ordered to take on the Eagles, which I was pretty evenly matched to in my own.
I turned up my power to the weapons, leaving only a pip of power for systems and engines, boosting towards the nearest Eagle. It was only equipped with a couple of multi-cannons and started peppering my shields. The small calibre weapons aren’t that powerful on their own, however firing at eight shots per second they soon mount up. I opened fire with my beam lasers watching my counterparts shields drop rapidly. They collapsed just as my weapon capacitor depleted and my lasers shut down, so I switched over to my own multi-cannon. The chatter of my weapon firing filled my ears as the enemy Eagle tried to manoeuvre away causing it to fly straight over me. I switched off flight assistance, spun around then hit my own afterburner to chase it. By the time I caught up my weapons capacitor had recharged and I opened fire with my beams. His shields had only just come back online and quickly went out again. The twin beam lasers started slicing through his hull. I watched my HUD showing his hull drop down to thirty four percent; then he exploded! I must have caught his power plant or ammo store. Still, one for me and a 4,000 credit, or CR, combat bond bonus to boot. I turned and headed for the other Eagle, who was in pursuit of the Type-9 and Ancher. Laser beams were volleying between both Eagles when one exploded. Quickly I checked my scanner, no emergency beacon. Damn it, Ancher was gone, only an angry red blip of the enemy Eagle remained next to the Type-9.
Every drop of energy was directed into my engines as I boosted towards the enemy Eagle; its lasers peppering the shields of the freighter. Over the comms-channel I heard Ericson say one of the Pythons was down, not destroyed but dead in space. I engaged the Eagle bringing its shields down. Just then the Type-9, following orders, jumped out and Ericson ordered me to follow. I punched my console which Ericson must have heard.
“We’ll take care of him for you.” He said, meaning they would deal with the Eagle that had killed Ancher.
My navigation computer locked onto the freighters wake and I spooled up to frame shift. I caught up quickly, ordering the Type-9 to go to full speed and arrived at the station only a few minutes later. Once within the no-fire zone of the station, I left the Type-9 to dock. Now that they were under the protection of the station’s massive guns, they offered their thanks and condolences for the loss of our pilot. I checked my sensors, there was no indication of a wing beacon, meaning I didn’t know where the remainder of my wing was. I headed back out planning to jump into frame shift and scan for their signal when my comms crackled and then Grusson’s voice filled my cockpit.
“It’s over.” She said.
“Where is Ericson?” I demanded, not caring about the tone of my voice. I could hear her smile with the reply.
“On his way, with a present for you, two actually. Go ahead and dock, we are to go to debrief.” She ordered.
I grumbled but spun my ship around, asked for docking clearance then headed for my allotted landing pad.
I was in debrief for two hours waiting for Ericson or Grusson to show. All I was told when I asked flight control was that they had docked and I was to wait, and to stop pestering them. Finally the door opened admitting Ericson, Grusson and a wheelchair bound Ancher. I nearly dropped to the floor seeing him, so certain that he was dead. Ericson sat down at the table and ordered us to do the same.
During the next few hours I found out that just before Ancher’s Eagle exploded he ejected. As he hit vacuum his remlock mask activated, covering his face and ensuring he could survive. The system was about to activate the emergency beacon when Ancher remembered his training. Ericson drilled into us, never turn on your emergency beacon while the battle still rages, without a ship you are an easy target. You’ll either be vaporised by a ships lasers or scooped up and sold as a slave in some Imperial brothel. So Ancher, only 19 and scared witless, told his suit to deactivate the beacon and waited until the ships disappeared and the laser fire stopped. Only then did he risk turning on the distress beacon. Ericson saw the alert and picked him up. On the ship Ancher suddenly became aware of something the suit hadn’t alerted him to, one of his legs has been severed just under the hip. It just sealed it off and then gave him pain killers. I asked why the suit hadn’t alerted him before.
“He wasn’t in immediate risk of death from it, why worry him more than he already was?” Ericson said with a shrug. “Oh and here.”
He tossed over some item towards me. I caught and looked at it.
“It’s from the Eagle that slagged Ancher’s ship. We got him and that came in with him,” he pointed at what was in my hands, “as a souvenir.”
It looked like part of the main engine assembly, maybe a plasma injector or something. Hard to tell it was so beaten up. After that the meeting finished up and I went back to my father and our quarters.
That’s how it was for months. Go out, escort a few ships from the inbound hyperspace point back to the station and repeat. There was the odd skirmish, some with even bigger ships than we fought that first time. What I didn’t know was that the Python that got disabled in that initial fight didn’t self destruct, as all the others had before it. The crew had been unable to get it working and jumped into the life-pods to get away. The security section pulled its computer to bits trying to find out all they could. Eventually they found what seemed to be a base of operations for the pirates. It took weeks of planning, getting ships into positions so they didn’t make the pirates aware of the mission or the plan. Eventually we were ready to strike and we did, in over whelming numbers.
The fight was intense, we had over 80 ships ranging from my Eagle up to a couple of Anacondas. There were station security pilots, drafted pilots like me and many more volunteers from bounty hunters to well equipped merchants. I had never seen anything like it. Despite all the planning and preparation once the battle started only the most seasoned pilots stuck too it. Most of the drafted and merchant pilots just went after any enemy they thought they could handle. Some ran not long after it got serious. My wing was charged with taking out one of the three Anacondas that served as the pirates main bases of operation. I had two Eagles and two Cobras in my wing. Alone none of us were strong enough to take on such a massive and powerful ship, but together we buzzed it. Nibbling at its shields, each of us taking turns so our shields could recharge before our next run. I have no idea how long it took, long enough that I lost the pilot in the Eagle. Eventually we got there, its shields went down and we just targeted its power plant. Volley after volley with lasers and cannon fire, racking up huge bills in ammo costs but we got there. With only three percent left on its hull integrity the Anaconda’s life pods jettisoned and the ship exploded.
Once it was gone we picked up all the survivors we could and then moved onto the next ship and then the next. The losses on our fleet were great, in just four hours we lost fifty ships and nearly eighty good people and friends. I didn’t know at the time, Ericson was lost as his ship was damaged, weapons failed and thrusters dying, he rammed a Python destroying it. It hit me like a punch in the stomach, he had become more like my father than my own was.
The pirate survivors were all put on trial. They were found guilty and put to work in the mines of Reshas 1 and 2 for the rest of their natural lives. There were ceremonies honouring the dead and their sacrifice for the station. They went on for months.
I was given a Cobra Mk III from the pirate fleet, it needed work but it got me started. My father is being looked after by the station as payment for the accidental death of my mother, I try to get back and see him from time to time. Now my home is my ship. Once I could leave I went into the black to see what was out there.
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read Lase Mooray: Origins short story. If you enjoyed it, it would be greatly appreciated if you could take a moment to leave a review for me at your favourite retailer!
K. B. Knight
After writing many little tales here and there K. B. Knight is taking his first tentative steps into the big world of writing.