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Dirty Work and Dirty Play

By: Joshua Wang

Miles took a swig of his Carrion Cocktail, a small fight brewing behind him. He’d just spent the last week of his life infiltrating the most secretive bandit group in the entire solar system, the Red Right Hand, and he was in their main mothership. Though, the more Miles looked around, the more it seemed like these were no ordinary bandits.

Never before had Miles seen advanced technology on par with the authorities: shining wave equalizers, radon disassembling sonars, and even a citadel level ship, the largest out there. Normal bandits could never afford this, let alone get close to one. Even when he expected his room to be somewhere in the cargo bay, he found himself in a suite on par with the highest standard of living.

The Red Right Hand has always been a strange group, they’re rowdy sure, but they’ve never actually shot first, it’s always in self-defense (at least, that’s what the court says). All the steps leading up to this point, all the rumors of the inner machinations, none of it connected in Miles’ head. He distinctly remembered his way into the gang, a clean checkup, and a quick questioning, that was it. Unlike some other groups, who stuck Miles in a fight pit, or a humid cage, all he had to do was find the Red Right Hand to get in.

Whatever the case was, he got up from his chair and made his way towards the bridge to begin his investigation. He started with the first rumor he’d heard, that the mothership belonged to the Head. No way the authorities would just hand over such an advanced ship for free, nor did bandits have the power to overthrow them, so he suspected this rumor to be false.

Most bandit ships had a couple signs that they were stolen, and Miles had seen it all before. Broken machinery, beaten up pipes, bullet ridden doors. Yet the only thing he saw were pristine alloy walls, secure N Corp reinforced glass, and machinery that flowed smoothly. He then looked for a crudely painted insignia, as most bandit ships had that spray painted everywhere. The walls were still in perfect condition, so Miles, in a risky move, decided to check one last thing, the Power Generator. Most Bandit ships run on basic ionizing fuel, quite bulky, and usually a mess of pipes, pulleys, and gears (at least on bandit ships). The compacted indivisible particle smashers of most modern citadel ships simply were out of the question for those being hunted by the Head. Of course, Miles wasn’t allowed to just walk in the engineering department where the generator is held, so he had to find another way in.

Miles made his way to the engineering department, making sure that most, if not all of the crew had gone to sleep, only the red striped, yellow walls around him. He made his way down the hallway, but unfortunately the airlock doors between him and the engineering room was tightly shut. He could’ve opened them, but there were locked down too, most likely due to the engineering team just getting off work. Miles knew he didn’t have much time to think, but he worked with what he had, and what he had was almost nothing. He reached into his pocket for anything of use, but all he found was a syringe of compound I4S, strong enough to put any adult male in a deep sleep. Miles waited patiently, with only the sound of soft thrusters and whirring vents filling the room, until he heard footsteps. He didn’t have anywhere to hide, nor could he possibly run away, as the only exit was the single hallway he entered through, so Miles decided to play dumb. He turned the corner to meet a gristly old man with a bright yellow jumpsuit and black safety harness on.

“Oh, hey! What are you doing here, you’re not part of the engineering team.”

“I’m dearly sorry, I'm new here and was trying to find my way around the ship,” Miles replied.

“Well, you’re in the wrong spot partner, but it happens to the best of us, c’mon, I'll show you where you’re headed.”

Just as the man turned around, Miles stuck the needle into his neck, and then the man promptly collapsed on the floor. After a little rummaging through pockets, Miles found what he needed, a silver keycard with a yellow stripe on it. Miles slid the keycard into the panel connected to the airlock, turned off the lock, and opened the door. After a short disinfection from the airlock, Miles made his way into the generator, using the same keycard as before, but after entering inside, the worst of Miles’ fears was right in front of him. It wasn’t a mess of pipes and gears, nor was it a clean particle smasher, it was a perfectly stable singularity core powering the ship. This level of technology was unbelievable for a bandit group, there is simply no way this level of technology would be on a bandit ship. Unless, of course, this wasn’t a bandit ship, and it actually belonged to the only people with access to a ship with a singularity.

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