Charon's Opus ::
Previous Next

El Supremo

Posted on Sun Oct 4th, 2020 @ 5:29pm by Client The Narrator & Executive Officer Kenneth McTigue & Passenger Emma Yonkers

Mission: Ticket To Rhea
Location: Above The Maxwell Gap in Saturns Ring
Timeline: Four Days Out From Saturn For The Albatross, Six Hours Before 'Point Of No Return'

The executive shuttle was a sleek, aerodynamic delta wing designed for the thick atmosphere of Titan's hydrocarbon laced skies. And when compared to the venerable Saturnian Confederacy Navy Ship Xipe Totec there was no question as to which was the more graceful craft. The old Perth-class heavy cruiser had been top of the line when her fusion plant had been laid down in Luna orbit in 2250 nearly a century ago. Her two rail gun turrets fired slower than their modern-day counterparts, and her eyes could see only so well through aged radar domes and LIDAR arrays. But the missiles and PDC arrays were newer, if not brand new.

And Marcos Cortez, Commodore of the Saturnian Confederacy Navy, had belittled every UN Adjusted Dollar and Ceres New Yen spent on upgrading those systems. More used to life down a gravity well in the power halls of the SCN offices on Titan, he subconsciously tugged on the hem of his dress uniform jacket. The velcro lining that kept it from floating around in null gee hissed a little.

He detested space travel, but it was nice not to feel the years and weight of his calorie-laden bulk. The airlock cycled, releasing him out into receiving bay of the flagship of the Confederacy.

Captain Citlalic Navarro floated in the receiving bay, standing as close to at attention as one could in nil-zee. "Welcome aboard Commodore, I hope your flight was comfortable." She saluted before reaching out to help pull the Commodore to the grab bars for the corridor to the rest of the

"Indeed it was Captain, indeed it was," Cortez said with a smooth delivery polished by years of being a more political than a military-minded officer. He found the grab bars and was only momentarily unsteady as he locked his mag boots to the deck plate. He chuckled at his stumbling gait. "It has been many years since I had the opportunity to stretch my space legs. So many of the Confederacy's problems can be solved from behind a desk, it is good for an old sailor to get back into the swells is it not?"

"Sir I do not know." Citlalic responded as she kept a hand out for him. "I havn't ever been stationed anywhere but ship. Though I did have issues last time I visited my family. The gravaty felt off to me." She lead him through the ship to her ready room. It wasn't much more then a pair of couches facing each other and a fold down table. Sitting down she pulled the straps over he shoulders so she could remain there.

"Sir may I ask what has brought up up to the Xipe?"

"A matter of Confederacy security," Cortez said with an air of utmost seriousness. He leaned closer. "Perhaps not to be spoken of here yes? Your day cabin will suffice for a private meeting."

The day cabin was a simple affair, grey walls covered in padding so that if one was free floating in it bumps were lessened. The only personal adornments Citlalic ha added to it were an antic sextet, gifted from her father when she received her pilot certifications. Along a wall was strapped an old wooden sword edged with obsidian teeth, and a simple book laid upon a shelf.

The door chime buzzed, and five seconds later the door slid open. A slender, silver haired man entered the room behind a little trolley. His hispanic features had weathered gracefully over his more than six decades of life. His uniform was spotless, the perfectly pressed example that are included in every training manual ever written by the ConFed navy and every manual ignored by cadets. His trolley had a delicate porcelain-looking teapot and two equally delicate looking tea cups on saucers.

"Captain, commodore, it is tea time." The senior steward of the Xipe announced in a tone that disagreeing with him would insult the whole naval tradition of this Navy.

Cortez nodded agreement to the man's offering as he settled into the padded chair, the thrust gravity the Xipe was now under letting him lounge comfortably.

With a smirk Citlalic lowered the table, and helped her steward place the tea pot on the table, but didn't dare touch the tea cups. She learn long ago her steward prefured that to be his job.

Cortex reached into his uniform jacket and pulled out a data chit. Placing it on the table linked it into the day cabin's information systems, and a holographic interface flickered to life atop it. With a deft flourish, Cortez activated the chit, allowing a small cloud of data panes to open up in a floating tableau above the tea set.

"Four weeks ago the SCNS Tlaloc intercepted a tramp steamer entering Confederacy space. The ship had no flight plan filed with space traffic control, and when ordered to cut thrust went to a three gee burn," the pudgy rear echelon officer gestured to one of the panes. It displayed a pretty standard medium freighter, the sort of rectangle with an engine at the correct end that was so common in the sky. Pessimistic Venture was the name stenciled on its side in English and Hindi script.

"As you can imagine they could not keep that rate of acceleration up for long and seemed to suffer a mechanical casualty that resulted in them dumping their core. When the Tlaloc matched their vector and boarder her, well they made quite a discovery," Cortez reached out and took his teacup.

One of the panes showed images from a helmet suit came, a view the SCN captain would have seen countless times in her career from any boarders she had sent to secure a ship. The image replayed the moment one of the troopers had entered the cargo bay of the Pessimistic Venture. Secured to the deck and bulkheads with magnetic clamps were light blue coffin-shaped boxes. In the image, two more SCN Marines, one marked with the universal red cross and crescent moon symbol of a medic, were carefully opening one of the crates.

Revealing the pale form of an arm from within.

"Human trafficking," Cortez said distastefully as he mulled over the taste of his tea. He then looked to the steward. "Do you have any lemon extract?"

"Of course, commodore." the steward replied, taking a small bottle from his trolley and dropping in several drops of the precious extract. While doing so, he studied the boxes on the screen for a moment before straightening.

Cortez smiled as the essence quickly mixed with the dark tea.

"Obrigado," Cortez said in thanks and took a sip. "The container they opened had a fail safe designed to kill the victim, a neurotoxin cooked up in a European chemistry lab no doubt. The other seven were saved and taken to Titan onboard the Tlaloc. The crew of the smuggler ship were sentenced under interplanetary and Saturnian Confederacy legal codes and were summarily spaced. As befits such despicable human beings, do you not agree?"

"I agree that it is a despicable act, to haul slaves. It disgusts me that the use of slaves still exists." She took a sip of her tea, her steward made it exactly as she liked it, as he had since she took command of the ship. Citlalic felt the need to rinse the bad taste of the concept of slavery out of her mouth. "These are troubling times, and to find that more ships are running such things," She lit a little shiver coarse through her body. "So is that why you came to my little ship today? We going to go hunting for slavers?"

"They told me you were sharp one Captain," he took a sip of his tea, nodding approval at the taste yet again. "You can have cut to the heart of the matter in a way. Following an investigation by Confederacy Intelligence, we were to find the buyers of the cargo, a cartel running out of the criminal favelas of Rhea. These locations were raided, and intelligence gathered spoke of such a shipment coming into Rhea from the Inner System."

He reached out a manicured fingernail and tapped the data chit.

"Both the flight plan, and the particulars of the slavers are on this chit. I want the Xipe Totec to burn for them, apprehend them, and deliver the justice their ill-gotten cargo deserves. Then we will transport the sealed cargo back to Titan where we will hand them over to a private medical facility charged with safely reviving them," Cortex leaned back in his chair. "For too long the Confederacy has been as a joke, a tourist government allowed only to function with the good humor of Earth and Mars. I want you to help the Confederacy send a message to inners that we take care of our own."

"Yes Sir." Citlalic responded before picking up a phone off the wall to call the bridge. As she waited for her XO pick up she sipped her tea. "Xo, please make for the ship at," She gave the information for the ship's location. "Please work up a best speed intercept and an one gee burn. ... Yes, Thank you." She placed the phone back into it's locked cradle.

"Well Sir they will be starting the burn once the intercept is created and you give the word."

Cortez smile did not reach his eyes as he took up his tea cup.

"Good," he said. "The word is given Captian. Or perhaps commodore might be in your future if this operation goes well. The rewards of fighting the good fight, no?"

The steward quietly sighed to himself as he collected the empty cups and saucers. He knew he would soon have more work to do and was already running through his mental checklist.

 

Previous Next

labels_subscribe