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Orion Blastar: How I Pondered Becoming a Space Pirate
I can recall some of my early adventures before I became a space pirate. I'll spare you my childhood and teenage years, I'll save those for later. I wanted to join up with the Imperial Navy when I was 18, but they rejected me because I didn't have a high enough social standing. I guess that meant that my parents were not cousins and that we did not suffer from centuries of inbreeding to keep the Imperial Power in the family. I once met a Count with six fingers on each hand who tried to convince me that it made him super human.
Anyway I joined the Merchants. I worked my way up to Captain, and I made 20 years of payments on a 40 year mortgage on a Far Trader. It was hard keeping ends meeting, and I had to pay crew salaries to avoid a mutiny. I can recall my first visit to Winston, in the Deneb sector.
We landed on the star dock, and after that the crew went to have shore leave. Winston is a tech level 7 planet. Winston had just first discovered nuclear power, inhabited by mostly rednecks. The Third Imperium was able to take it over like most planets they conquered. I followed the usual leads, and found that there are prospects willing to trade cargo and credits at the Dead Spacer Bar and Grill just across from the star port.
My crew went to a sporting event, a Baseball team named the Blasters. They were playing against the Chasers from a nearby planet. I am not much for baseball myself, hockey is more my sport. Anyway I had business to attend to.
I entered the Dead Spacer; it had a Vac-Suit with the face plate broken on it mounted above the door. I am sure that is someone's idea of humor twisted from a real life tragedy. It is everyone's fear when going into space, having a Vac-Suit tear or break. The nitrogen in your body expands and well without going into too much depressing detail, it can be said it gets messy after that. It is not a way anyone would want to die, not like that. Anyway I was to meet with some Merchant named Johnson who had a lead for me. It was mostly fruit, but a nearby planet has a health kick going on. The cargo was some kind of grapes and banana type fruit. I couldn't get the local translation correct on them due to not paying attention in linguistics class on local dialects.
Anyway while I had met Johnson, two Naval Officers were nearby and spotted our Merchant uniforms. "Merchant Cunts!" yelled the Ensign, "Yeah stinking Merchant Cunts" echoed the 2nd Lt. in a loud voice. It was no secret that the Imperial Navy did not like Merchants, they always felt that they were better than us. They were already quite drunk, and so I decided to ignore them. Last thing I needed was to get into a fight and end up in jail on a planet I am trying to establish a good reputation on, because nobody knows who I am here. Not that I couldn't take on the two Naval Officers, when I was younger I was a bit of a brawler and got into martial arts like ninjitsu, but I decided to walk a different path than violence if I could help it.
Johnson gave me a map, with an address on it. It was for Quentian Grocers Wholesale, the contact was Herbert Quentian who was a Merchant and could give me a good wholesale deal on the fruit. I was to go for an appointment at 09:30 at their headquarters located on the map. Then they would negotiate a deal, and we could have the cargo loaded to my ship at the star dock. I paid Johnson his finders fee and I left.
I got there at 09:15 but the doors were locked. I figured that maybe they opened up at 09:30 or they were running late. 09:30 arrived and the doors were still locked. This seems weird, I thought. I'll wait 15 more minutes just in case. Well the Sheriff arrived with a few deputies, he was tall and wore a cowboy hat. "If there is one thing I cannot stand, it is a loiterer. If there is anything worse than a loiterer, it is a vagrant. You son, appear to be both." spoke the Sheriff. "I am here on business, I have an appointment. The person I am meeting must be running late." I replied. The Sheriff laughed "Ain't nobody wanna meet you, Merchant Puke! You ain't no good old boy, you ain't no local. I'm taking you in." At that moment a Deputy had snuck up behind me as I was talking, and hit me on the back of my head with his club. The lights went out.
I woke up in a jail cell. I figured I had been set up. The law in this town must be seriously bent, and holds Merchant Captains for ransom and forces their crew to pay bail or something. I had been had. One of the guards slides a tray into my cell, it has a hamburger on it. "Here you go, your last name is Blaster, right? We got a baseball team named the Blasters and they are in a losing streak. This here is a Blaster Burger, a loser hamburger for a loser." I replied, "My last name is Blastar, B-L-A-S-T-A-R, there is no 'e' in it. It is Vilani for mighty warrior." The guard just laughed and said "Blaster, Blastar, whatever you both are on a losing streak." and he went into a back room.
"Hey can I have some ketchup for the burger?" I asked, but the guard replied "Quiet, I'm trying to jack off!" I decided that if I get him angry enough, he'll open the cell and try to beat me, and I can beat him and escape. I replied "Well don't let me interrupt your personal habits!" He replied "It is lucky for you that I am in a good mood, or I'd have to beat you." I replied "I'd like to see you try." He whined "My momma didn't raise no sissy, I just don't want to fight today." I answered "Isn't it true that your mother is a well known whore in these parts?" He said nervously "Yes, so what?" I started to wonder what it took to get this guard upset enough to try and beat me up, so I could try to escape.
I decided to fake being sick on the Blaster Burger, I stuck my finger down my throat and puked and then fell to the floor. The guard smelled the puke and saw me lying on the floor. He opened the cell door and when to examine me, and I grabbed him by the neck and bashed his head on the floor and knocked him out. I took his keys and uniform, and was ready to talk out the jail wearing sunglasses and the guard's uniform.
Just then one of my crew, Hunter, had set off 100 pounds of C4 on the wall to my jail cell and the guard's office. I am just glad he didn't use 300 pounds or he'd take out the whole jail. The guard's office took most of the blast, and I had to hurry out before the walls and ceiling caved in. "Took you long enough, thanks." I said. Hunter just smiled and said "I figured 100 pounds of C4 was cheaper than paying the millions the Sheriff wanted to bail you out." I said with sarcasm, "Well at least you didn't blow me up in the process. I was about to escape without blowing up the jail, thanks." Hunter said "I don't like this planet, the next time we come here, let's bring nukes or something."
I spoke "Well the Merchant life isn't doing us much good. I can make crew payments out of the savings, but without getting cargo we can sell, it will be hard to make the mortgage payments on the ship." Hunter smiled, "The crew was discussing a change of profession, while you were in jail. Trading fruit does not seem to be too profitable. We need to find new ways to earn money." "You mean Piracy? Once we go down that road, there isn't any way of coming back." I said. Hunter smiled and said "We don't have much of a choice; the Imperium taxes Merchants heavily and makes it hard for us to earn a living. If you won't go in with us for piracy, we might just mutiny." I replied "I'll think about it. I've had a bit of a rough day. Let me sleep on that and I'll get back with you and the rest of the crew in the morning."
Portions of this story use ideas and materials from the role playing game Traveller. Traveller is copyright and trademarked by Future Enterprises and Far Future has nothing to do with this story or its author. This science fiction story is based on actual Traveller game session events that happened over fifteen years ago.