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Adventures Across the Starways - 1
By
Kari

Adventures Across the Starways - 1

She is what is known as a Con Artist, Jack of all Trades...whatever! She does have a way with words.

By Kari and Khadaji

Chapter 1.

Jason DeBois watched the last of the cargo off-load onto the dock for the client's inspection. Now came the moment of truth. Was this one honest or would he try to cheat? Jason had already ordered the steward into the dorsal turret with instructions to have it pointed near the client's vehicle. Not at it, no need to be rude. But close enough to blast it into next week if something went wrong.

Jason came down the ramp from the converted scout courier he owned. It began service as a long-range exploration vessel. When he'd taken it in lieu of his pension he'd finangled getting some modifications done. With the sacrifice of some fuel bunkerage he'd gotten four small 'staterooms' put in with a communal refresher suite to share between them. The cargo deck had been expanded at the cost of smaller engines. She wouldn't go the length of known space in one go anymore, but she could carry passengers and cargo along the way.

Once on the ground he went to the client with the manifest and the cred-reader. This exchange actually went smoothly for such things. The client quibbled a bit about condition, Jason pointed out everything was within contract spec, and the client swiped his cred-stick authorizing payment. Jason watched them drive off, then turned to his pursar. "Find us another cargo if you can. We've got the shipment to Lacuna already lined up, but it's less than half our tonnage. I'll see if anyone's looking for a ride to Lacuna, but that's going to be iffy. Not many are heading that way unless they're bound in-cluster toward the Center. Government control gets pretty tight the closer to the Center planets you get, and I'm not going closer than Lacuna."

With that he strode off to the Portmaster's office to register his sale and post a notice looking for passengers bound to Lacuna. He was an average man in many ways: brown eyes, black hair, 5' 10". His frame reflected years of the military now slowly trending to middle-age muscle tone loss. His hair was glossy, yet showed a strand of silver here and there. His skin, gleaming in the bright light of the planet's sun, looked like a cup of milk with a teaspoon of coffee stirred in and showed lines around his mouth and eyes where he smiled and frowned. He sighed as he walked, wondering if they'd find enough legal cargo to make the run to Lacuna. He knew a few people he could contact for...less than legal loads, but the risk would be higher. He prayed to whomever might be listening that he'd find a passenger or two. That would help the bottom line for sure.

As Sive looked over her cards she tried not to show her nervousness, she was down to her last credit. She causally looked for the nearest exit, if things went bad she was going to have to high tail it out of here pronto. She smiled looking at each of the players, they were a rough bunch, she didn't want to have to find out just how rough. Her luck had finally run out, when the cards were laid down she came up short. The winner, Ricky owner of the bar looked at Sive and grinned, "Pay up Short Stuff ". 

Sweat broke out on Sive's temples, but she smiled at Ricky and replied, "I don't have all the credits on me, what do you take me for, an idiot? The rest of it's back in my room, I'll go get them for you now." At this everybody at the table howled in laughter. Sive eyed the exit again, suddenly she jumped up and bolted. Ricky reached out as she was just passing him, grabbing her wrist and twisting it. "Ow! Ricky let go, you know I am good for the money I owe you, just let me go to my room and get it." Again Ricky and his buds roared.

Standing up, he twisted Sive's arm behind her bringing her up against his big belly. His eyes travelled to her cleavage, "Oh yeah Short Stuff, you will pay me either with the credits you owe me or I'll take it out in your hide. In fact how about some advance payment right now?" Ricky licked his lips, "What do you guys think?" Another round of guffawing was heard.

She curled her lip at Ricky growling, "Don't call me Short Stuff, you pot bellied low life." She struggled, until she got into the position she needed to bring her knee up with all the force in her small body. Ricky fell to the floor like a giant jellyfish, moaning. Seconds later Sive was making for the exit.

Running down the back lane, Sive knew she had to get off this planet, her luck had run out and she still didn't have enough money to get her small ship the repairs it needed. Her only option now was to find some kind of transport ship leaving soon, it didn't matter where it was heading. Sive, (rhymes with five) age 27 is a striking woman, slim athletic build, eyes dark green, height 5 ft. 2 in., hair dark brown, curly, half way down her back, (usually worn in a pony-tail). She has a few tattoos, cat on right butt cheek (don't ask), one on left shoulder running down her arm, and one on small of her back wrapping around her waist (Celtic symbol). Oh and she likes to wear tight fitting black leather outfits, with matching boots.

She is what is known as a Con Artist, Jack of all Trades...whatever let's just say she has a way with words, (could sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo), has also been known for being light fingered on occasion. She grew up on the shady part of town, mostly learning what she needed to know on the streets. Got on the wrong side of the law a long time ago and has been running ever since, picking up aliases on the way. She has excellent fighting skills with all kinds of weapons from knives and swords to various laser weapons. But there is another side to Sive...a secret side to her that is the real reason she is on the run.

Sive heard running behind her, quickly looked back and saw two of Ricky's cronies in pursuit. She turned and headed down a lane she was not familiar with, "Oh geezz, a dead end!" Back against the wall she reached for the knife in her boot, preparing to face the thugs.

Walking to the Portmaster's office involved going a block off the Spaceport proper. Jason despised that fact as the block intervening was seedy. At best cheap bars, cheaper women, dealers all vied for the space available to relieve every inbound spacer of as many creds as possible as fast as possible. The unwary often found themselves koshed, or worse. In this place Jason wore his laser pistol and combat knife openly.

Then some young girl disappeared into an alley at a run, followed by two goons with harm on their minds. Without thought he stepped into the alley behind the two men who'd apparently missed (or dismissed) him. He watched the girl pull a knife from her boot. Gallant, but probably stupid. These two gorillas would take her toy away and work her over good by the looks of them. So, he acted.

Drawing his pistol he flipped the scabbard of his Bowie knife open. "Don't move, boys or I'll laser you where you stand. Hands up!!" His voice cracked like a whip and they complied slowly, reluctantly. "Turn around if you think I'm bluffing." They both turned to him, faces crumpling a bit when they saw the weapon. It bore the marks of use and care, a soldier's weapon. "Now, I don't know why you're chasing the lady. Probably good enough reasons by your lights, but I'm not one to cotton a girl being whupped on by two grown men. If she owes someone something you can find her at the “Tainted Angel”, which is my ship. She's gonna stay there for a bit, and you're not going to hurt her, understand?"

He moved back to the opening of the alley, giving them room to leave without passing within arm's reach of him. "Now you boys get, and let whoever sicced you on the girl here know what just happened and where you can find her. Tell them if they come to the ship all business-like we'll talk. Now git!"

Once the goons cleared out he turned to the girl. "Now, lass, suppose you tell me what kind of trouble you've gotten into to have those two bruisers on your tail."

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