Year 13

A crooked deal

by Escher - 7th Aug 1999
Commander Orion sat alone in VDS-1’s sophisticated war room. For the moment, the computers were quiet, the holoscopes dim. Yet another battle had been won, another skirmish chalked up, but still the situation was grave.

Six more pilots lost. Wave after wave of attacking robots had been destroyed, but the tide was still against them. Those half-dozen pilots were irreplacable, while the robot army swelled it’s ranks with every passing hour. Sometimes, when he closed his eyes, he could imagine them rolling off the assembly line, a mechanical tsunami waiting to strike.

‘Sir?’ A voice interrupted his thoughts. ‘Sir, we just received an automated distress signal from the Dulwich. She’s gone sir.’

‘Gone?’ Orion racked his brains. ‘Dulwich, Dulwich... The fenrisian special ops team? Damn.’ He slammed his fist down on the arm of his chair.

The ensign flinched. ‘There’s no sign of it, sir, either it was destroyed outright, or it’s broken up in planetfall.’

And the Meks with it, of course. Orion had personally spent almost a day talking to Fenrisian high command before they had agreed to loan him the squad, and they were dead already. More losses. Orion sighed.

‘Thank you, ensign. Let me know if anything turns up. I’ll be in my office.’


Thirty minutes later, his door beeped. He looked up from a stack of damage reports, and spoke. ‘Come in.’

Duty officer Haynes entered, frowning. ‘Sir, we have a Kalai vessel on comm channel five, she insists on talking to you in person.’

Orion blinked. ‘I’d rather not be disturbed right now. Is it important?’

‘It’s about the Dulwich, sir.’ Haynes looked uncomfortable. ‘She also said something about wanting to speak to the organ-grinder, not the monkey, sir.’

Intrigued, he nodded. ‘Patch her through.’

‘Yes, sir.’

Orion swivelled his chair to face the com-screen. The screen flickered briefly, then settled into a dull beige.

‘Who’s that?’ demanded a female voice.

Orion whispered to Haynes. ‘No picture?’

The man shrugged, puzzled.

‘This is Commander Orion of VDS-1. I believe you have some information -’

‘I wanna speak to your boss!’ interrupted the voice.

Duty officer Haynes winced.

‘Captain, as the commander of this base, I AM the boss.’

‘Oh, okay.’ The voice sounded slightly mollified. ‘I’m Aruna Kodan, Captain of the miranda-class cruiser Carnosaur.’

‘Right. Very good. I believe you have some inf-’

‘You just lost a ship over Vendoria, Orion.’

‘I... yes, we know. I was told you have some -’

‘Only there’s a communication drone here, and I figure your boys left it. I reckon you got yourself some survivors, probably on the planet.’

Orion’s heart soared. Survivors! He turned to Haynes again. ‘We need to arrange transport, and get them out of there. We need those Meks.’

‘We don’t have anything available right now, sir.’

The battle had left the fleet badly in need of maintainence. ‘Damn, we need to get those meks out of there!’

‘I can pick ‘em up, if it’s worth anything to ya.’

They both looked at the blank screen. ‘Captain, Vendoria is an occupied planet.’

‘Aye, I know that. S’not a problem.’

Haynes quietly handed him a datapad, and Orion studied it quickly.

+++ Aruna Kodan, pilot, Miranda-class vessel ‘Carnosaur’.+++
Mercenary, transport, affiliated with Ruchai Trammerden.
Ref. Melmar incursion; Patton IV food riots; Khome operation.
Ref. E81280-AWM2919/1
+++ end +++

Orion entered another search, and smiled. ‘Captain, is Ruchai Trammerden with you at the moment?’


His smile fell. ‘Damn.’

‘He’s asleep.’ continued the voice. ‘Why the hell would he be awake at this hour?’

Orion shook his head, unsure what to say. Haynes rolled his eyes.

‘Anyhow, Meks, you say? If you give me the keys to their comm channel, I’ll whistle ‘em up and they can cadge a ride. I’m not far from Vendoria now, you can have ‘em back, cleaned up tidy and debriefed in time for lunch. How’s that sound.’

‘That sounds very good, Captain. Thank you.’

‘S’gonna cost you, though.’

Orion groaned inwardly. Mercenaries. Typical.

‘Nothing major, mind, s’only a little job, after all. I just need some fuel cells, some of my shields are burned up, stuff like that.’

Orion thought for a moment. ‘Captain, you bring me those meks, and I’ll have your ship serviced. Do we have a deal?’


‘Done.’ he sighed.

‘You certainly have been. See you in a few hours, commander. Nice doing business with you.’
21 Jan 19, 19:09
cdsqdv says:
20 Jan 19, 09:12
daisejlx says:
25 Oct 18, 08:23
18 Mar 18, 22:30
MikeL says:
Read the five chapters of Mike in onw sitting and enjoyed them SO much. TY! :)
18 Mar 18, 21:50
Mike L says:
I will be looking at the new stuff and i am sure i will like it. Hope u r well <3
18 Mar 18, 21:50
Mike L says:
Sorry i have not been checking in. I am always thinking about your website and your screations.
1 Oct 17, 09:02
E.E. says:
Another chapter up. More coming tomorrow.
29 Sep 17, 09:41
E.E. says:
Okay, here we go, something new: crossover fiction.
28 Sep 17, 07:42
E.E. says:
Ugh. Forced to update Skype to include the latest rubbishy unwanted nonsense.
19 Sep 17, 13:07
E.E. says:
Funny thing: while assembling his StormWolf model, Isegrim somehow managed to put one of the parts in his mouth and chew it up.
4 Sep 17, 07:16
E.E. says:
Thanks, Mike. I'll be posting up something soon.
13 Aug 17, 16:50
MikeL says:
So what i am saying is, you just do what you want, :) --- a supportive reader.
13 Aug 17, 16:50
MikeL says:
At the same time, Whateley websites are always being plagued by people who are rude and crude and uncomplimentary and even abusive of the authors. Famously, it is said that this is why Diane Castle left. And her stuff was awesome!
13 Aug 17, 16:48
MikeL says:
TY 4 your post. Don't feel bad about "Dawn". I bet DaVinci had a bunch of paintings in his attic he didn't try to sell because he thought they weren't up to snuff.
16 Jul 17, 17:26
E.E. says:
I'm still alive! The Dawn story got some bad feedback on the Whateley forum, so Ive backpedalled a bit. Working on something new.
3 Jul 17, 22:34
MikeL says:
Just want you to know i still think about you, about the characters in Verity's Ark, and hope things are going well for you.
21 May 17, 06:27
JimmiXzSq says:
19 May 17, 13:28
MikeL says:
i should have said "hopefully in favor of nice real life stuff you like". <3 :)
19 May 17, 13:26
MikeL says:
I'm checking for updates/new chapters on Dawn. I know that you are winding down your web stuff hopefully in favor of real life. Lots of thanks and compliments and love.
2 May 17, 18:45
MikeL says:
Just wanted to say thank you for everything :)
20 Apr 17, 17:12
MikeL says:
I found more of Dawn on the Whateley site and enjoyed reading it very much :) ty!!
20 Apr 17, 02:02
MikeL says:
Read the first chapter of Dawn and the only criticism is it was too short! I was done reading it too soon. More, please. :) Most enjoyable!
5 Apr 17, 21:45
MikeL says:
You know how much I like the Whateley universe and how much i like your writing so "Dawn" is going to be, i am sure, the greatest mixture of two good things since peanut butter and jelly. Will be following it intently. :)
2 Apr 17, 16:58
Barnypok says:
1 Apr 17, 23:11
Barnypok says:
11 Mar 17, 15:58
MikeL says:
And thank you. I feel honored that you give me clues and name me. :)
11 Mar 17, 15:55
MikeL says:
no more Verity's Ark. All good things must come to an end and V.A. was THE BEST!!!! Congrats on your writing. :) Love you.
6 Mar 17, 07:58
E.E. says:
And that's the end of my NaNoWriMo story.
11 Feb 17, 10:14
E.E. says:
Progress is good on the new story, but I don't want to give away too much. A clue for MikeL, though: the working title is 'Dawn'
9 Feb 17, 20:33
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