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 Life's A Pitch

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Phlegm

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Number of posts : 751
Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: Life's A Pitch   Mon 29 Jun - 12:21:44

Life’s A Pitch
A new mission comes winging our way in the shape of a call from one Yodmani Rey,* who invites us to a meet on Madhu, a planet that lies a disturbing number of jumps away from our current locale.

*Sister to Sting and Sugar

Owing to recent inflationary pressures, the cost of life support has recently gone up substantially, making the cost of travel unrealistic without a paying cargo. We managed to find a commission for the Ross Society, the well-known scientific group, and definitely not a Friends fan club.

Unbelievably Captain Scrap Maverick appeared at this point to overcome the continual malfunction in the Nav systems and we made no fewer than four successful jumps before meeting with the huge globular RS ship the Six of Wands.

We docked and a contingent of faceless individuals came aboard with grav lifting gear to remove the extremely heavy coffin like object that had graced our cargo bay for this period. We speculated that we had transferred some dormant hideous life form in stasis for fiendish amoral experimentation which might explain the strange disappearance of Thud of course, but we had been paid for no questions asked and we were very scrupulous about the sanctity of contract law.*

*If not any other law

Still, having completed the transfer of the no doubt completely harmless fluffy bunnies, we were free to continue, showing a modest profit on the deal. To add to the general good mood, our friendly if occasionally cack handed medic was able to cure my burning penis and I no longer had to dip it in ice cream every night.

We had now left the relative safety of the Sunbeam Union controlled space, and arrived in the sector containing Padwa, capital of the True Terror Prime Empire. The Marquez Alliance or Rimaldi Shogunate would have been nicer of course, but no, we get the destination including the word ‘Terror’. Of course.

Instead of the friendly chatter and commercials on sunbeam channels, there was now nothing on our comm channels; in space no one can hear you advertise. Facing the need for more funds we decided to exhaust all legal options. And after that five second pause we began to search for the Taslini Consortium’s frequency.

Thanks to my security skills I was able to detect a covert channel used to seek out smugglers and it directed us to the tech level one planet Zarakos, no doubt a stronghold of everyone’s favourite inter-galactic crime cartel.

So this innocuous beginning was the start of our exploration of the world of people smuggling. We took on 120 passengers, loaded cattle like into a cargo hold whose size guaranteed we would probably lose at least ten percent of them in transit, thanks to the crushed conditions and fact that life support would be at levels unlikely to sustain a family of gerbils in the hold for the duration of the trip.

Luckily we didn’t have to take them anywhere heavily defended or noted for being the centre of the most ruthless fascist empire in the quadrant. Oh wait, that’s exactly where we were going, Padwa. Of course.

As we approached the afore mentioned cargo with our unwilling / unhappy/ unhealthy cargo, we noted significant elements of the largest battle fleet we had ever seen orbiting menacingly. Had they been broadcasting a message it would have been along the lines of ‘What planet are you lookin’ at?’

Well, unfortunately we were looking at their planet, more fortunately, our medic piped up at this point, unbelievably he knew some important official in this system, and he duly made contact with a mysterious person known only as ‘Bob’, calling in an old favour dating from some youthful misdemeanour.

Bob, without sounding terribly happy listened to Sar D’Tak’s elaborate tale about a pressing need to visit a sick relative on the planet discretely without any paperwork or tiresome customs delays, and even more unbelievably arranged for an orbiting battleship (number 1) to tractor us through the defence perimeter. I piloted us smoothly into the atmosphere and reports that we nearly burned up are highly exaggerated.

Landing we offloaded around a hundred passengers successfully and about twenty corpses, before having the cargo bay hosed down to make it habitable again. We were now ready and solvent enough to travel to Madhu.

Now the old navigational system problems returned: Captain Maverick took us on a circuitous route and with life support short Skarl and I reluctantly accepted the need for us to sleep to save energy. Sar had to don a space suit and burn most of his power cells to further conserve ship systems, and with just twelve days supply of atmosphere left we arrived at our destination.

Rather than resuscitate us, Maverick and Sar went looking for the contact themselves, finding a planet in some turmoil. There were crowds arguing on the streets, fights and the occasional stabbings going on as they headed for their rendezvous, it seemed that the indigenous Sikh population were having strong differences of opinion with followers of Billy May. Then, unexpectedly, a tearful reunion with Thud Wondrous, our missing man.

Tearful that is for Sar, who was kicked in the nuts by Thud and wrestled to the ground. It seemed Thud, having tracked us down through contacting our former employer Jesus had been waiting on the planet for some weeks (making quite a comfortable living thank you very much), but harbouring thoughts of revenge against Sar who had abandoned him after a heavy drinking session.

Sar explained that he had thought that Thud was aboard and had only realised too late that we had abandoned him. Thud, not one to bear a grudge seemed to accept this eventually and the trio proceeded to the meet. The assignation took place at a bar called the QVC Channel, where Yodmiri Rey explained that her planet was being flooded with rampant Billy May devotees extoling their ‘Life’s a Pitch, then you buy’ philosophy of rampant free marketeering.

The Marquez Republic could not act officially against this capitalist invasion of the Brotherhood of Billy, but an unofficial resistance group, the Besran Collective could and would carry out whatever actions were necessary to correct the situation. The 100,000 credit bounty for destruction of ships which was the lucre that had lured us here in the first place, referred to three specific coloniser ships loading with over a million fanatical followers of Billy May on the nearby planet Survinda.

To demonstrate just how committed she was to the expunging of the Billy May blight on her planet, Rey pulled a couple of SMGs and began hosing the bar with automatic fire, supported by half a dozen associates she had previously placed around the place.

Sar heroically leapt under the table at this point, claiming later to have lost a contact lens, whilst the others were attacked including an Indiana Jones moment for Scrap who took out a scimitar armed dervish. Thud killed a shotgun wielding fanatic and Scrap took another in heroic fashion involving a bar slide that was the last action the bartender would ever see. In moments it was over, Rey, four terrorists and three newly designated terrorists namely Sar, Scrap and Thud, remained standing.

Fighting meanwhile had exploded outside the bar with the gloves clearly off for both sides. Our intrepid trio now equipped with a mission brief made their way back to the ship through the carnage, where Sar attempted to inflict more pain with a botched revivification effort on me that put my back out something chronic.

They briefed us on the situation, Rey, whose deranged homicidal tendencies had now earned her the nickname the ‘Turbanator’ had offered an additional 50k per ship for maximum loss of life. The only restriction placed on us was no link back to the Shogunate which was easy enough. Each of the settlement ships loading on the target low tech planet had capacity for half a million passengers, so we were talking about murder on a grand scale here.

But more importantly, we were also talking about a lot of money, so these things kind of evened out in our minds. We arrived on Survinda and landed an unfeasible distance for the assembly point for the next wave of colonisation. There our comrades from the Besran Collective furnished us with transport and explosives a plenty to carry out our plan.

Our non-existent plan. We discussed a number of options as we travelled towards our target: Sabotage of the spike drive; poisoning the water supply, triggering a reactor overload, venting the atmosphere catastrophically; placing of charges on vital systems; some or many of these involving taking over the ships’ computers.

We still weren’t quite sure of the plan when we abandoned our vehicles and began to walk for the last few miles towards the vast sea of humanity around the three vast ships, each kilometres across. We infiltrated the vast mass where groups seemed intent on competing for the most fervent sales pitch.

I decided to chance my arm and discovered a strange affinity for the holy sales incantations of free P & P and after a few minutes of pitching my extendable pole, I had gathered my own entourage of dedicated followers, and I began to build a strong bond with them in my own inimitable way. The next ten hours are something of a blur, but I was filled in later.

Thud, witnessing my adoring followers decided that anything I could do, he could do. Sadly he managed to convince them only that he was the so called Anti Mays and in moments he had spread a growing wave of consternation and fear that spread through the crowd like wildfire.

In the confusion, Thud Scrap and even Sar managed to kill three guards and take their uniforms. Accompanied by Skarl and loaded with explosives, they boarded the first ship, pausing to send me a brief text. Ascending the entry ramp which was a thousand metres wide itself they passed a king accompanied by a retinue of knights.

They then headed for the engineering section of the vast city ship, apart from Thud who visited the toilets and planted explosives there. The plan was still in debate, but reaching the key core area our team suited up in heavy duty radiation suits.* They planted bombs on all three ships in this fashion, but it was only after the first two that it occurred to anyone that our remote detonator devices had a range of only four miles and the estimated destruction zone was one or possibly two hundred miles.

*Though the jury remains out as to just how heavy duty those suits were.

Oops. So on the third ship we went for a timer. Brilliant idea you might think, unfortunately Sar set the timer, and decided that ten hours was plenty of time. To get off the ship without being detected; find me in a crowd of over one million; find and steal some transport and put two hundred miles between us and the largest explosion this planet has ever seen.

So, no time even to congratulate Phil on winning the 2016 CUNTRA for most stupid Act involving an explosive or possibly any device, we hightailed it out of there, all of us exhausted, though for different reasons.*

*And they thed that I wath the motht thtupid member of the party

Ten hours later as we continued to flee through the mountains the sky behind us flashed brilliantly as the ships and a million and a half souls ceased to exist in a moment when the temperature touched some tens of thousands of degrees for a millisecond, causing everything within a hundred mile radius of our handiwork to instantly cease to exist.

So, job done! Paid in full with a bonus, half a million credits. Lucky none of us has a conscience. Still I will miss Lily and Marianne and Sheila and Daphne, and Michael* and all the others…

*Hey it was dark in that tent alright?

27.6.15

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