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Darrin Tobruk
Stonecutter's Guild
Posted - 2004.03.17 03:34:00 - [1]

Edited by: Darrin Tobruk on 17/03/2004 03:40:42
Edited by: Darrin Tobruk on 17/03/2004 03:39:15
Edited by: Darrin Tobruk on 17/03/2004 03:38:47
Ok, it's been a while since I've written creativly, so I hope you'll forgive me if this seems a bit crude compared to some of the other posts here. But, this is an idea I've had in my mind for quite a while now, and I've finally jotted it down. Enjoy Very Happy

Darrin Tobruk fidgeted on the sofa as the holoreel droned on in front of him. Vacation, it seemed, simply did not suit him. He had tried to relax himself; he had visited the pool, the games of chance, the squash court, but none had really held his interest. He was a man of action, unused to partaking in such trivial pursuits. He would much rather be hard wired into his ship's systems, hunting pirates in star systems that barely passed for being civilized.

"Off," he told the holoreel and it obligingly shut itself down. He absently wondered how he was going to make through the next two weeks of this "percribed" nuisence of a vacation. "Doctor's orders," he grumbled to himself.

"Excuse me, Master?" said a decidedly mechanical voice behind him. Darrin started, until he realized it was only his personal serving robot, ITX-113 or Harvey, as he had named him. The 'bot was an even six feet tall, metallic grey in color with a cylindrical head supported by a surprizingly narrow neck pole. Function over form, the ITX model was nothing if not basic with limited social behavior protocals and enviornment awareness programming with a large block of empty memory space which the buyer could fill as he wished, to perform as he saw fit. As a result, the ITX wasen't as imaginative as some models, although Darrin, like most buyers of the droid, had programmed in a basic AI with the ability for learning. Darrin, true to his Caldari heritage, wouldn't have had him any other way.

"Sorry, I was speaking to myself," said Darrin.

"No appology is necessary, Master."

Master, Darrin mused. He had never been able to get the droid to stop calling him that. Probably some Amarrian programmer having a joke at the expense of all the Minmatars the model was sold to anually. Some of the software was Amarrian in origin, but the droid itself was largely exported to the Republic. The galaxy was nothing if not an interesting place.

Darrin wandered over to the window as the droid began rearranging the pillows on the sofa, and looked out into the blackness of space. The doorbell chimed, but Darrin paid it no mind; Harvey could handle the hotel staff. He let his mind wander for a while, until the clamor at the door drew him back into the present.

"I will see him NOW!" someone roared.

"I am sorry, but my Master is indisposed at the moment, and does not wish to buy any magazines or make a charitable donation." Harvey responded mechanically in the face of the man's growing aggravation.

"Let him in, Harvey," Darrin sighed.

"Ah, Mister Tobruk," the Amarrian said as Harvey showed him to the sofa. "I come to you on behalf of my employer, the honorable Toranen Kalle, a thousand blessings upon his name, to thank you for accepting his sponsorship in this year's Exploration Race."

Darrin stared at the man for a moment. The Exploration Race was nothing more that a Gallante reality holo show which was broadcast across all the empires of the galaxy. It consisted of thirty teams being dropped on an unexplored world on the rim of empire space with nothing more than a hoverjeep, thirty days of rations, and as much weaponry as the team could fit into said jeep. The selling point, however, was that, not only were the teams competing against each other, but the planetary wildlife; the larger and more predatory the fauna (and in many cases the flora as well) the better. Despite
the danger from the enviornment, the teams were also required take surveys of their specific landing areas and route to the finish line. All within thirty days, all without outside assistance.

"I'm afraid you've made a mistake," said Darrin after the shock had subsided a bit. "I never signed up for this. I've never met your employer either, to be quite honest."

"Unfortuanatly, our records indicate differently, and it's far to late to back out now," said the man with finality and before Darrin could even react, he pulled a stun pistol from his pocket and fired it into Darrin's chest. Color exploded before his eyes and he fell back against the arm of the couch.The last thing Darrin remembered before the darkness took him, was the man turning to his two slaves by the door and commanding them, "Bring him."

Darrin Tobruk
Stonecutter's Guild
Posted - 2004.03.17 03:42:00 - [2]

First, I'm never copying from Windows Notepad again.

Second, I hope Pulgor doesn't mind that I stole his droid (well, the model anywya.) Very Happy

Posted - 2004.03.17 07:57:00 - [3]

hehe, I noticed you used the ITX model. That's fine by me, it's a good droid. Well worth the money if you can put up with minor annoyence. Just make sure to keep a droid controller with you incase he decides he wants revenge for something. I had a problem with that.

Darrin Tobruk
Stonecutter's Guild
Posted - 2004.03.20 03:05:00 - [4]

Edited by: Darrin Tobruk on 20/03/2004 03:13:13
Welcome back for another bit of the Exploration Race. Very Happy


The voice seemed very far away. His mind wandered for a moment in an attempt to remember what had happened. Pain lanced through his head as slowly recovered from the effects of the stun pistol.


The stun pistol. It all came crashing back. Darrin sat up and instantly regretted it. He opened his eyes, slowly, and became aware of Harvey standing faithfully next to him.

"Where are we?" asked Darrin.

"Aboard the holoreel station's starship, Master. You have been asleep for hours, since that dreadful man attacked you. When I saw what had happened, I tried to assist you, but he had a driod controller as well. He forced me to come to the ship." The driod said mournfully.

Darrin looked about the cabin. It was actually quite well appointed for a starship; with an honest to God synthwood vanity in one corner (cunningly bolted to the floor so that it wasn't obviously anchored, as was the bed), plushy carpet, tasteful wall decor, and satin bedsheets. Two small doors took up the other side of the room; one a small closet and the other the head.

Darrin leaned back onto the bed. "A Gallante ship," he stated.

"Yes, Master. An Vexor class ship, Golden Thrush, bound for deep, unexplored space. I have found, that the ship is owned by the holoreel company that produces and distributed the Exploration Race."

"'Exploration Race,'" said Darrin quietly. "Exploration is not a friking bloodsport."

"Excuse me, Master, but reality shows as a rule, have nothing to do with reality in any sense of the word." the droid looked up suddenly at his Master. "Did you say bloodsport?" A new feeling seemed to be working it's way around the area of his memory banks devoted to emotion. Harvey beleived it to be dread.

"yes, Harvey, I did. I guess you've never seen one of these races before. The contestants are allowed to take weapons with them for defence against hostile wildlife. Unfortunatly, since the only real rule is that the race be as entertaining as possible, it usually degenerates into teams sniping one another. Goram Kesser, the defending champion is famous for it. A shining monument to how cheap human life has become in this day and age of cloning and memory downloads. I want no part of it."

The cabin door suddenly swished open and skinny Amarrian tumbled over the threshold. A bottle rolled away from him as he gathered himself and attepted to stand. He failed miserably so he decided to look for the bottle instead. He groped around for the ellusive bottle for a moment before corraling it and finally looked up at Darrin.

"Shorry," he slurred drunkenly, "I appear to have the wrong room."

A large Brutor trotted in, grabbed the Amarrian by the collar of his shirt and pulled him to his feet. The bottle tumbled from the Amarrian's hands again, but the Brutor's hold on him prevented him from recapturing it.

"Excuse me," he said in a friendly tone. "My friend here seems to have a problem holding his drink. Pardon the intrusion."

"You call an Amarrian your friend?" asked Darrin.

"Well, he was buying the drinks, and I tend to take a light hearted outlook when I've had a few. My name is Meska, and this is Dalton. I would shake your hand, but I have a sloshed Amarran in them at the moment. Well, I'd better get him back to his room. We only have a few hours left until we make planetfall. Good bye, and good luck."

The Brutor began to pull Dalton out of the cabin. "Meh brandy," he said.

"No more for you," said Meska and forcefully draggen the Amarrian from the room.

"What a strange pair," said Harvey after the doors had swished shut.

"That Amarran will probably wake up with a broken neck," mused Darrin. There was a long, bloody, and hate filled history between the Minmatars and the Amarrans. That a Minmatar would call an Amarrian 'friend' was almost unheard of, although Darrin had heard of a few instances of such relationships.

The comm system on the desk beeped, indicating an incoming call. Darrin let it beep a couple more times before seating himself and pressing the accept button. The face that appeared on the viewer was quite possibly the most arrogent that Darrin had ever seen; high cheeks dominated by a hooked nose and accentuated by his short cropped, receding hair. But it was the eyes that drew the attention away from his other features. Hard and cold; a man who believed himself to be the superior of all but a sacred few. A true Amarrian noble.

"Mister Darrin Tobruk," he said flatly. "How nice to finally meet you. My name is Toranen Kalle, govenor of the Bagodan star system, and your sponsor. I see the stun effects are wearing off and that you suffered no permanent damage?"

My pardon, sir, but I must inform you that I have not signed up for, or asked for sponsorship in this race..."

Darrin Tobruk
Stonecutter's Guild
Posted - 2004.03.20 03:07:00 - [5]

Edited by: Darrin Tobruk on 20/03/2004 03:14:41
"You were signed up by a *representative* who asked to remain anonymous. I assure you..."

"I will not race, Lord Kalle," Darrin interrupted.

"Oh, but you most certainly will." Lord kalle's face remained as stoic as ever, but the man's patience was beggining to thin. Darrin decided to press him a bit more.

"I refuse," he said simply.

The Amarrian's eyes narrowed ever so slightly. "Let me explain to you the price of disobedience, mister Tobruk. I will have your corparation anulled, it's assets, including the rogue slaves you 'employ' seized, and the personal finances of each of it's members frozen. I will have you jailed on charges of breach of contract under Caldari law and members of your corp not being relocated to my mining colonies put out on the streets without a single isk to their names, except for your pet Amarrian, who will be put to death for consorting with escaped slaves."

"You have it all figured out, don't you," said Darrin angrily. "You think you can simply walk into a Caldari company and take everything? My government wouldn't allow it."

"Your government won't lift a finger to help you, mister Tobruk, as it no longer carries any authority over you. Your company has relocated to slave territory, has it not?"

Damn, but the man had him. Stonecutters had moved around quite a bit after it's founding. It had finally settled in Minmatar space after finding a quiet little corner to call home. But, in doing so, had voided any rights to lawful Caldari protection. The Republic's corperate laws were a bit less... involved than that of the Caldari.

Darrin bowed his head and asked: "What do you want from me."

"I do not expect you to win this race, mister Tobruk. You must simply finish it. Even if you do not survive the race, if you amuse me enough, I may spare your friends and your company."

"Is that all?" said Darrin softly.

"Not quite. You will take my son, Dalton, along with you on the race. I have no feelings one way or the other if he survives. He's a worthless, drunken halfwit with no sense of family loyalty or honor, but being of noble heritage, I cannot simply arrange an appointment with the biomass recycling facility."

"Anything else?"

"One more thing. I'm afraid there has been an accident at the facility that handles your cloning contract, and several memory files have been lost, including yours." Kalle smiled wickedly. "Makes things a bit more interesting, don't you think?"

"May I ask you one thing, Lord Kalle," said Darrin. "Why?"

"Why?" Kalle mused. "Your harboring of rogue slaves for one, mister Tobruk, but also, because it amuses me. Good day to you, and of course, good luck."

The comm system shut itself down as Kalle broke the connection, but Darrin remained by the desk; head bowed, shoulders slumped, and eyes closed: completely and utterly defeated.

For his own amusement, thought Darrin. Life was indeed, cheap.


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