This great little spacer story is based in the Elite franchise universe. The game imprint was published in the Elite Plus Manual for the IBM PC . We have put the first chapter up so you can get introduced to the story and hopefully be motivated to downloading and reading the game imprint.
It was a time of wonder. The Divergence of the 27th Century recaptured discovery as an ideal. The realms of adventure into the unknown were represented to a race that had grown intensive in stagnation. In a short span of generations, the Human Race was exciting once more and they came forward, revitalized; ready to make an imprint upon the Universe.
Excerpt from Hahris Moersven's proposal speech at the
passing of the Galactic Co-operative of Worlds' Charter, Tibionis 2696 A.T.
Debris dulled on the scanner; glowing embers lifted on a night breeze. Quiet entropy was met by elation inside the Boa.
"That's a registered kill. We're at Condition Yellow."Whaahoo !"
"Nice shoot, Ino."
The bridge was still operating under Combat Reserve Conditions, dull orange lighting creating its own colour spectrum, catching the scene like a sepia-tinted photograph. Relieved bodies fell back into the bucket seats, arranged in a chevron forward from the command recess. The figure there was gripped by an involuntary spasm and he glanced around to see if anyone had noticed, sweat running in rivulets down his creased features, a couple of drops shaken loose and now seeping into his jacket below his chin. Commander Vanirrens knew he wasn't getting any younger and inter-system trade routes certainly weren't getting any friendlier. He was approaching 74 and although he'd managed to secure one regime of Bio-Assertion Therapy in a Ceesxe centre, he wasn't sure his body or his credit rating would stand another. He returned his gaze to the astrogation console, aware that his mind had wandered.
"Realign for Lave approach: Ino, can you check price data and confirm cargo secure. Meridian, take over at cannon."
Two figures moved whilst others carried out a flurry of system checks on their monitor boards. Lave, cool and comfortingly close, rotated enigmatically into the main scanner view.
"Cargo safe and secure. Prices are good, Commander. Excellent margins on the run", said Ino, "We might just make a killing here."
Bad timing. The brief "Condition Red" warning sounded.
"3 right lateral; 20:40. No comm return. No IR confirmation. Definite intercept."
"Hear you Warniss", said Meridian, turning to the armaments board. Ino looked at Commander Vanirrens; should he take cannon? Vanirrens shook his head, gesturing towards Meridian's back that she would keep the laser system controls. Meridian was scrutinising the co-ordinates fed across from the navigation boards.
"Too far out to run", said Vanirrens, "Prepare for combat: Wiv, you have navigation." Wiv dumped velocity and brought the Boa around. The three raiders were closing, identified as two Kraits and a Sidewinder, all in-system craft, waiting for prey.
There was still no structural definition on the Main Scanner, just dots amongst the stars. Meridian nominated the Sidewinder as Target One, aiming to cut the opposing firepower at the weakest link. Wiv rotated the craft right and climbed slightly.
arget confirmation. Meridian opened up with the Pulse Laser. The Sidewinder maintained trajectory.
Its shields voided and the craft erupted.
"Yes", Vanirrens seethed between clenched teeth.
The two Kraits were now inside their designated approach zone and banked; one high and one to the left. Wiv kicked the drive looking for an elliptical to counter the pincer movement. Rolling to the right and banking suddenly, the Boa was beginning to come to bear on the climber. Meridian was resetting the laser controls and readying relative projected co-ordinates as the Main Scanner skewed across space and the system star briefly lit the bridge.
"Tend", came the spacer exclamation from one of the system boards, running tracking, "three's cutting back in, we're vulnerable; side-on !"
Wiv made a decision to continue for a shot, maintaining velocity and curve. The target Krait was slowing to clear the intercept and the 'live' Krait, out to the left, had anticipated the follow through; its run uncompromised, it opened fire.
Distilled tracking data was fed to Wiv and Meridian. Wiv tried to flux speed, a bluff on the live Krait whose first rod had just spent wide.
Meridian got one bolt away in return. Accurate, a crack on comm from the target Krait's shields.
Meridian got one bolt away in return. Accurate, a crack on comm from the target Krait's shields. Second shot from the live Krait: the fuzz of shield interference. They'd taken a hit. Wiv sacrificed speed and tried to climb but the live Krait held them on intercept and a second blast wracked the Boa. Energy levels had never picked up to optimum after their last sortie.
"We've got a malfunction. Shields are compressed. Hull's vulnerable to secondary", said Warniss.
He was right. Another bolt brought the shock of hull damage with the white-noise of shield stress.
"Oh no", groaned Wiv, his voice wavering on the edge of real terror, "we've got motor damage. Sixty down after compensation."
The target Krait, perceiving advantage, dared a head-to-head bearing and another bolt impacted, nobody aware of Meridian's accurate ripostes tearing the Krait apart as all navigation systems crashed. Wiv's console went dark and he turned to Vanirrens, his face half apologetic and half apoplectic at the implications.
"Abandon ship", said Vanirrens, already moving from the command section, to the left of two corridors receding into the ship from the bridge chevron. Bodies left seats and were carried across the bridge by another blast from the remaining Krait. Shields had failed: the Main Scanner and surrounding astrogation instrumentation exploded, slinging cleon shards and metal past and through bodies. Ino landed in the command recess, crumpled, in ribbons. Vanirrens bounced off the corridor wall, crushed against a seal. Meridian hadn't left armaments and the rear of her seat bore the brunt of the blast. She moved to follow Warniss, his shoulder and neck torn open.
Warniss opened the capsule door and Meridian stooped to pull Vanirrens in with her. No one else followed up the corridor. The capsule sealed and disruptors tore it away from the hull.
Warniss fumbled for the support systems and the scanner came alive; the Krait passing over them to finish the stricken Boa. Eight friends and family lost inside. Vanirrens opened his eyes, his breathing shallow and his chest burning. He looked up at Meridian who was rifling through the medical locker, her face set; only concern showing through. The cousin of his nephew, Ino, she had been on ship with them for over four years now, since the Commander had returned briefly to Diedar on a trade run and she had talked her way onto the "Land", fresh back from Lave with her license.
"Ino, the others ?", He forced his lungs to give him the words and they bubbled in his throat. She looked down at him. Fixing him with her pale grey eyes, obviously surprised by the extent of his injuries. He knew the answer and Meridian said nothing, mopping at the blood he was breathing over his lips.
"Say a prayer", he hissed.
Warniss looked across at her, holding a pad to his shoulder. They knew that the Krait was out there and they were hanging on its decision; cargo or the capsule. As Meridian gave the Commander a pain-killer, one of his old spacer rhymes came to mind:
"Against the odds,
a foe in tow,
That's the way we all go."