The verse went crazy. Emperor election, fights at GrimHEX and smuggling to Microtech. Could all this go well?
This damned emperor election. The people in the verse went crazy when a new emperor was elected every 10 years. Brubacker had persuaded me to participate in a discussion round that was broadcast live on Verse24. Actually I wanted to stay in the background. But this was an opportunity to give the free peoples a voice. A voice that was otherwise not heard.
The 5 Emperor candidates were represented by one citizen each in the discussion. I was there as a representative of the free peoples. I found the candidates’ programs one-dimensional. Either it was exclusively about economy, science or personal interests. The candidates and all the politicians were an elitist circle that lived in a bubble and only cared about themselves. Interestingly, every now and then a point of view of mine was taken up in the discussion. Then it was explained how the election program of a candidate could help me and the free peoples. I heard the words well, but I lacked the belief that anything would change. In the end only the citizens of the UEE profited anyway. Civilians of the UEE and free peoples were not allowed to vote, so why should a candidate do anything for these people.
After the discussion round the hard reality hit me on GrimHEX like a sledgehammer. The violence around the asteroid station escalated. The ongoing space battles threatened to get out of control. Ships were fired at even in the hangar when gates were open. So Wallace’s job to smuggle something to Microtech came at just the right time.
I sat in the hangar in my Cutlass and booted up the systems. As soon as the ship produced a measurable signature, I was switched on by a fire-control radar. On my displays I could see that the enemy ship was taking position in front of the closed hangar doors. Great, the start could be uncomfortable. With the hangar doors closed, I programmed the navigation computer. After the shields were at full power I took off and hovered a few meters above the ground. Only now did I open the hangar doors. With a loud croak the huge metal gates pushed themselves to the side. They weren’t quite open yet, just enough for the Cutlass to pass through, so I gave full thrust and pressed the boost button. The jet of roaring engines created black spots on the hangar wall. I didn’t care. I’d rather the hangar was charred than me.
My surprise tactic worked. I came out of the hangar at top speed and thundered through the asteroids. The enemy ship couldn’t turn fast enough and attack me. On the radar I saw that it was already in a fight with another ship. What a shitty time. Everyone was fighting everyone. Had they all lost their minds?
Without further incident I arrived at the planet Microtech and landed in New Babbage. There I was, standing in the spaceport at customs, terrified to walk through the scanners. The drug package was very small, but I had no idea how powerful the scanners were. The odds were 50/50. Either everything went well, or the job came to an abrupt end here and now. Fuck it, I thought and walked with firm steps towards the scanner. The bright light of the machine embraced me. Nothing happened. I tried not to let my relief show.
After a short ride on the train I arrived at Wally’s Bar. I wondered if I would get to see Eddie Parr this time. Wallace had advised me to contact him on my first flight to Microotech. Eddie didn’t show up this time either and remained a mystery. I had to throw the package into a trash can. It was the same trick as my smuggling to GrimHEX.
After my job was done I flew to the orbital station Port Tressler. In the planetary system Microtech everything seemed to be peaceful. Very different from Crusader. I decided to stay here for a while and rented a Hab.