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Past Is Prologue

Posted on Thu Jul 2nd, 2020 @ 1:02am by Commanding Officer Mickey Serendipity

Mission: Ticket To Rhea
Location: SS Albatross, Crew Deck.
Timeline: Before One Among The Vastness.

He had found it on his bunk, neat as a pin, and as deadly as a coiled viper.

A box the length of a man's forearm. Encased in polished black leather, like an expensive business case, it was embossed with a simple five-pointed star. It was tucked under one of the restraining belts on the bunk, the sort of thing one might put on to stop floating away in micro gee if the ship made a sudden stop.

He’d closed the door upon seeing that box, and spent the next thirty minutes going over every inch of decking and bulkhead looking for anything else. Camera beads, audio pickups, plastic explosives and smart shrapnel mines. He even looked under the bunk in the draws for a VRAM warhead, the improvised explosive of choice for those with access to mothballed Vacuum Rated Anti Material weapons.

But there wasn’t a conical snub-nosed warhead hiding under the bunk with a hand terminal duct tapped to it. The bomb was the box.

He opened it like he was pulling off a plaster, ripping past the pain of memory to reveal the contents. A long-barrelled revolver made not of cheaply printed alloys but machine turned and computer modelled finery. Black gene tweaked shark skin coated the handle, and the angular cylinder fed into two barrels one atop the other. Two rows of ammunition lined the bottom of the case, one row being narrow ballistic rounds, whilst the lower row were three thumb-sized metal slugs.

VacStar Tanto 12: When you strap on VacStar, you’re making a statement about your personal security.

Just like he’d seen in Johnny’s Wall Diver shop. Held on by a friend from the old days, just in case a man now calling himself Mickey Serendipity came back.

But this time, the boxes contents contained a message. At first glance, it looked like simple card stock. One unch by two, cream coloured. But the moment you touched it, feeling the soft grain of it, the heft in it, you knew it wasn’t card. You knew it wasn’t plastic, or metal, or even wood. It was cool, with a slight give to it.

Ivory. Bone. Something whittled, carved and worked into a business card for a very particular client. And laser-etched into the fine grain of the gristly card was a message.

‘Prepare For Unforeseen Consequences.’

The moment he read the phrase, hearing the words echo in the old mans voice, he put the card back in the box with the Tanto 12 and slammed it shut. He stared at the black leather of the case, the five-pointed star seeming to glow in the overhead lights.

“I am not your dog,” Mickey said under his breath.

But he didn’t believe it.


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