Out of time… Prologue

I stood outside the door of The Thargoid and Fer-de-Lance. This joint was famed the galaxy over and if there was anywhere that I would be able to start over again, then this would be the place. It was a popular haunt for those with nothing to lose but everything to gain and that attracted the good, the bad and by looking at some of the clientèle… the ugly as well!

Some looked like they were either here to forget their pasts or running away from something; I guess I fitted both those categories… Fenris Wolf, one time smuggler, hustler, hired gun and assassin. But that was before I met her and the job that not only cost me my leg but also the woman I loved.

Date: October 15th 3216

It was only six months ago and I was still not over her. The look on her face as the bomb detonated, a bomb that my client had placed as a backup unbeknown to me, just in case I didn’t get the kill.

Five weeks in the Empire’s medlabs as they built me a new leg and repaired other parts.

Five weeks lying there wishing I was dead, just like Elizabeth.

Five weeks planning revenge…

It took time to set the plan in motion. Revenge can’t be rushed and my ex-client would be prepared for me to strike back at him. So I waited… and when I felt the time was right, I struck. Infiltrating his station was the easy part. After all the surgery I’d had no one would have recognised me and going in as a Technician (Second Class) to repair the soup dispenser meant that no one would look twice.

The kill was sweet. My client realised it was me just as the poison took hold and his blood started to boil. Getting out was the hard part, nearly destroyed me and my ship… Seems that he must’ve had some security system linked to his life signs. As soon as he hit the floor, lights began flashing and a lock-down was initiated. Panic had spread through the people on the station and in the mayhem I was able to get to docking bay before the armed guards caught up with me.

It was like a scene from one of the vintage sci-fi movies from the 20th Century, except I didn’t have any helpful robots or a 6ft gorilla to back me up. What I did have though was remote guns on my ship. A quick voice command through my wrist communicator and the guns locked on and wiped out the guards. Not as spectacular as a fight to the death with blasters, but I needed to get out of here… and quickly.

I climbed into my old Cobra and started her up, lifted off the floor and aimed towards the docking bay doors. I boosted the shields expecting to have to fight my way out of the bay, but a strange silence had descended. I looked around and could see people falling to the floor as a wispy gas flowed around them and plasma bolts started to discharge all over the bay as well. It looked like my ex-client had more than just a back-up bomb in his station, he’d planned to take the whole station out along with me.

I only had one choice, I hit the navicomp system and activated the hyperspace drives, no course planned and no destination set. Dangerous, but it was either that or die in the destruction of the space station.

I was nearly at the bay doors, an electrical whine was building up behind me.

I clipped the ‘toast rack’ as I got out, knocking my ship in to an uncontrolled spin and throwing me out of my seat.

The whine was getting louder and louder and the temperature around the station was building.

Not sure which way I was facing, I leapt for the boost to try and get away as the station went nova.

The hyperspace engines kicked in as the explosion washed over my ship. I could hear the alarms for shield failure and hull breaches, automatic systems chiming as life support struggled to keep going.

I felt the ship lurch as we sped away from where the station used to be. I had to get to the navicomp to make sure everything was okay but as I tried to stand, I lost consciousness. The last thing I remember as I fell back to the floor was the computer announcing “New Destination Locked. Course Corrected”.

I woke up later, still on the floor. I tried to stand but my right leg, the robotic/cyborg implant that I’d had grafted to me back in the Empire was barely functioning. Grabbing on to the equipment, I made my way to the flight seat.

The ship was quiet. We’d dropped out of hyperspace and seemed to be orbiting a K5 star. I glanced at the navicomp and didn’t recognise any of the system names on the read out. Where the hell was I? I just had to hope that I wasn’t in Thargoid space. We’ve been on ‘friendly’ terms with them for a few years, but I wouldn’t trust one of them bugs out here in the blackness of nowhere.

Turning back to the computer, I set it searching for a inhabited system and routes back home to the Empire as I went to check on the rest of the ship.

It wasn’t good, half the systems were down and those that were working weren’t talking to each other. This was going to be a difficult journey. Returning to the main cabin, I checked the computer. It had found a few systems that showed as explored but no outposts. Strange, as I couldn’t remember the explorers getting this far out in the galaxy, but I was relieved to see that I would be able to plot a course back to civilised space.

Though what to do when I got back was another problem, one I’d have plenty of time think about on the way home. I chose a system that I knew and set the navicomp to auto to get me back there as I carried out repairs on my leg and the ship. There seemed to be a few issues with the navicomp communicating with the nav beacons, but I guessed that there might be some damage to my computers as well. Another thing to add to the list!

Well I made it… Almost.

As I dropped out of my final hyperspace jump, the Power Distributor failed sending feedback to the Power Plant causing an explosion in the reactor bay. My ship was dying, she’d got me home and now she was saying goodbye. I grabbed my guns, my pad and jacket and headed for the escape pod. Closing the door to the pod I thought I heard her cry as her hull split open. As I was jettisoned from the Cobra, I saw a flash of light as she exploded around me… A scream echoed around the pod, I wasn’t sure if it was me or the ship. And then she was gone, the last link to my old life. I was alone again.

I drifted slowly towards the station as the local security forces flew out to greet me and bring me back. I must have passed out, as the next thing I remember was coming to in a hospital bed with an armed guard who stood silently beside me, not answering any questions.

I sat up as the door opened and two people walked in. One looked like a doctor, the other Head of Station Security. Standing next to the bed, he dismissed the guards and after they’d gone the questions started.

Who was I?
What was I doing here?
Who was I working for?
How long have I had the cyborg leg?
Where did I jump from?

I tried my best to answer, I gave my name, said I’d had a hyper drive accident and found myself out in deep space in a badly damaged ship. I wasn’t working for anyone and that the leg was a replacement for one I’d lost in an accident.

There were more questions, but the doctor managed to get him to stop. The Head of Security looked at me and said that we still have unfinished business and that I wasn’t to leave the station without permission.

I looked at the doctor and asked what had happened since my ship blew up. He told me that they couldn’t find a DNA record for me and I had no valid ID chip as the one in my neck belonged to someone who had been reported dead eighty-four years ago.

I asked them to repeat that… Belonged to someone who had been reported dead eigthy-four years ago!

An odd tremor passed through me, bracing myself I asked the doctor what day it was. November 14th 3300. I fell back to the bed. Eighty-four years?

The explosion from the destruction of the space station, the hyperspace jump, the ship lurching and new coordinates locking on. The explosion must have ripped time and space as the ship slipped into hyperspace. A jump of hundreds of light-years and more importantly eighty-four years in time!

What was I to do? The woman I’d loved and lost six months ago had now been dead for over eighty years. Hell, everyone I knew was probably dead. Exhaustion and shock took over and I slipped back in to unconsciousness.

New Date: November 15th 3300

I awoke early this morning. The doctor said I could leave the hospital and that security would find me later. My clothes and belongings were in the cabinet, so I got dressed, thanked the doctor for this help and looked for somewhere to get a drink. I checked my wallet, just under 1000 credits. That wouldn’t get me far, but it would get me drunk.

And now… here I am standing outside The Thargoid and Fer-de-Lance. I checked my weapons, took a deep breath and walked up to the bar; the bartender looked up and I asked for a pint of Old Earth Ale…

“Old Earth Ale?” she replied, “We haven’t stocked that for years”.