Evochron: The Beginning
TITLE: Evochron: The Beginning
AUTHOR: Siege (firstname.lastname@example.org)
DISTRIBUTION: The Evochron System's Registry,
Anywhere Vice wants to put it.
DISCLAIMER: Evochron and associated terms belong to StarWraith 3D Games LLC
SUMMARY: The first part of a series of stories based in the Evochron Universe.
FEEDBACK: That'd be nice :)
RATING: 15 for language and violence and my usual fare.
SPECIAL NOTE: For the best Space Combat games in the genre please visit :-
This includes the very cool Evochron, which is an immersive space combat simulation with trading, combat and a huge universe to play in and some of the best Multiplayer Action in the genre.
DATE: Started: 21/05/2005 - Completed: xx/xx/xxxx
WORD COUNT: Circa 30,000+.
This is my first story which is mostly original fiction. So feedback is even more than usually appreciated.
I would like to thank Shawn from Starwraith games and the creator of Evochron for letting me play in his universe. To help me thank him, please check out Evochron and buy it if you can, it really is a very good game.
Michael 'Hud' Hudson sat back in his cramped chair and winced. He still vividly remembered the feel of his F144-Es' (The Starwraith) fitted and cushioned piloting chair snugly hugging his back as he fought Vonari A-50's only a few months ago. Then once the war with the Vonari had apparently been won, there had been little room for pilot's. Even pilot's who, like he, had been there at the end and had fought the Vonari to the death. So he had been given his paper's and found himself at a total loss for the first time since joining the Alliance in the first place. He'd gone in straight from school on one of the few and highly sought scholarship placements. It had originally been his plan to get his officer training, with all of the skills and technology diploma's that entailed and then slip quietly into the private sector. Ex-Alliance officer's were a highly sought after commodity in the private sector, their training was second to none.
Yet, when it came down to it. Hud had found he 'loved' to fly. The rush of the powerful engines and even more powerful weapons at his command was just second to none. He had first found his life's aim when he had been marched out onto a windswept airstrip one cold morning on Earth. There it had been, still top secret and still experimental the F144-E had stood in all of her angled beauty. He had once heard from one of the instructors that the true test of a space fighter was that if it appeared to be doing 2,000 kilometre's a second when standing still then you had a fighter you could be proud off. Well the Starwraith had looked to be in full fulcrum drive enhanced flow.
He and his team member's were to be the first to use the Starwraith and as such had to be specially trained, it was after all the best fighter of it's class ever to be built by the Alliance.
Then, when his world had fallen down around his ears he had found the market suddenly flooded with other officer's and the private sector was filling up so fast it was like watching a K'atper race on Rigel 7, including the flying fur and blood.
Then a whisper had started to spread though his circle of friends. 'The Evochron Sector' had been the whisper. An almost mythical sector of space that spread from Sapphire all the way out another 999 planets. The first twenty or so were all in known space, but after that it was anyone's guess. There had been stories of ghost ships, pirates and a host of other things not generally seen in more civilized sectors of space.
Captain (Retired) Michael Hudson had then traded in all of his worldly belongings and managed to purchase a second hand Glider of all ships and then flown himself out to sapphire to take a look. That had been six months ago... Now he wished he'd stayed on Earth.
It wasn't at all romantic, or mystical. It was in fact difficult and more often than not life threatening. This was frontier living at it's hardest and whilst it did, he had to admit, have a certain draw because of that, he missed the order of working in the military, the strict timing of it all. Out here he sometimes flew for three day's straight just to pick up enough cargo to return to a Station.
Hud's small glided trembled slightly as he made an erratic turn all of a sudden as an asteroid loomed out of the nebula at him. He cursed fluently to himself and promised himself a trip to New Hope shortly to pick up his new craft. He had been saving to the point of starvation to get himself an upgraded ship. The glider was great for starting out, but his had seen better days before he had got a hold of it and now it was held together with hope and chewing gum. He had in fact managed to negotiate a good trade in price for it but he hadn't had the capital there and then to get himself an Archer which he knew, was a good all round ship. He was a little worried that he need more money for the purchase anyway. An encounter with a pirate Javelin last month had put his little ship through the ringer. It had only been his skill with the stick and guns that had got him out alive at all, but his ship had paid the price. With that thought in mind Hud smoothed out his turn and turned on the inertial drive and let the old ship coast through space.
His ETA was about 3 hours to get from his jump in point to Talison's Station. He had been doing trade runs from Onyx to Talison for a week or so now and despite the fact the systems were run by what appeared to be some sort of pirate organisation, he had not had too much trouble as yet.
The systems also had the advantage of offering contracts to him, many of the other systems wouldn't offer contracts to him due to his popularity with the various factions that operated in them. Which was an annoyingly backwards way of looking at things that ran rife in the Evochron sector. So he travelled out a little further and despite the danger it had turned out to be worth it.
Trade was fine and good for making a steady income, but one of the best way's of making money was to take on contracts from the stations. They paid well and, even though they did effect his rep with the local factions, they were usually easy money to a pilot of his calibre. Not that he had been able to take the really well paying contracts. Fighting a full sized transport ship and it's guard was not one of the most sensible things you could do with only an antiquated Glider for protection.
Hud made another quick movement of his hand that was as automatic to him as breathing and used his thrusters to angle him away from yet another asteroid before correcting his course with another almost lazy movement of his hand and fingers. He glanced down at his radar and cursed the thick nebula he was in. It limited the effective range of his sensor's to around 500 meter's in some places. If a pirate was ghosting him he may not know until his shields were buckling from a full frontal assault.
If there was something Hud disliked more than being in his old rust bucket of a ship, it was pirates. They preyed on the weak and bullied everyone until they were either forced to run, drop their cargo or dropped it automatically when they exploded. Hell, some of the low lives even made their prey pay a tax just to be let passed.
Something made the hair's on Hud's neck stand to attention as old combat instincts came back to life. Yes, there was definitely something out there in the purple swirl of nebula mist. He knew it.
But was it a pirate?
It COULD just be a trader such as himself, but then after the last contract he had taken it could well be a member of the Trade Federation out for a little revenge. Frankly he didn't loose any sleep over taking out that blockade. The Trade Federation were as much pirates as the Pirates, who at least were honest enough to call it like it was. The Trade Federation made themselves sound like a corporation but were in fact ripping off people left and right just like the damn pirates were. In some ways they were a lot more dangerous than the pirates. At least the pirates didn't have any true organisation, the Federation seemed to be trying to take over and the Alliance didn't have much of a presence out in the Evochron sector. There were a few outposts that seemed to guard some sort of top secret that no one was too clear on, but they were under staffed.
That feeling of impending adrenalin pump returned in full force and caused Hud to sit up a little straighter in his chair. He smiled, flashing pearly white teeth despite the dirty and somewhat messy look he was currently sporting. THIS is why he was still out here. In Alliance space there hadn't been the sort of combat opportunities there were out here, obviously except for the Vonari war. He didn't like killing other pilot's but this was a dog eat dog sector and it was generally fight them to the death rather than chase them off. It was sad, but it was them or him at the end of the day.
He glanced at his Radar, which as he knew it would, was showing nothing at all.
"Damn this Fragging Nebula," Hud muttered still smiling despite his words. The nebula just added a new aspect to the combat. Someone, a federation ship he suspected, was out there ghosting him just outside of sensor range. They had to have a better ship than he, which he had to admit wasn't hard. Because they must know he couldn't see them but they could see him. The Federation always did like to have the latest and best for themselves.
His eyes narrowed to slits that shone bright green out of a grime encased face. Travelling in an old ship had caused him to often use his rudimentary knowledge of mechanics and land on a planet to make his own repairs. He had managed to buy a repair system but it was C1, bottom of the range and in most cases useless. Stations did repairs as well, but charged the earth for the privilege.
His gaze seemed to pierce the nebula as he sought out his temporary nemesis. Worse case scenario he could be facing a Javelin. He hoped to god he wasn't, he had taken one out, but that had been a very close run thing, and he was loaded with cargo now and still damaged from the last encounter he'd had with one of the mighty edge world craft. A Javelin was not something he wanted to deal with today, not on the last run before he made the jump to New Hope to pick up his brand new Archer. It wasn't like he could walk after all. If he could just get to the station he could drop his cargo and jump away to New Hope. He could jump to the station, but that would mean a recharge before he was able to jump again, if the Federation was after him, that pause could cost him his life.
"IF it is the Federation," Hud said to himself, "This could be harmless" he further commented. Then frowned, "Talking to yourself again Hudson old boy, not a good sign."
Hud's hand twitched, his finger flicking off the inertial drive and his mind clicking into full combat mode. Two missiles whistled past him to the right and his hit the Countermeasure's switch and dropped two of the em blocking packet's next to the missiles. The two deadly lances immediately attacked the CM pack like shark's in a feeding frenzy and the glare of the resulting explosion filled his screen for a moment. He flicked the inertial drive back on and swung 180 degrees to face the rear and sliding backwards. The hauntingly muscular Javelin filled his screen even as it's presence was finally found by his sensor system. A collision alert blared even as Hud's finger tightened on the firing stud sending out tightly focused energy bursts towards the attacking craft. As he fired Hud mode a careful note of the craft's markings. It wasn't Federation, in fact it didn't appear to hold any faction markings he knew at all. Federation craft generally had red flashes whilst most general craft had blue. This had black markings instead. It could be a bounty hunter, he was sure there was a price on his head by now. The strongly armoured craft took his shots on it's frontal shielding, which flared slightly under the battering but otherwise showed no real effect from his assault.
"Ah Fragg!" Hud cursed; killing his backward motion by turning off the I-Drive and hitting his afterburner. He then jinked to the left with his thrusters and made a dive to the right on full burn with a thruster control, zig zagging under the aggressor Javelin and bringing himself around in a sweep to come in behind it. He managed to get a missile lock and quickly loosed two Echelon missiles. He hoped they would have more luck than his twin FlareBeam canons.
The other pilot let out two CM's in quick succession that countered his missiles and left not a scratch on his unusual paint work. The Javelin then moved in a graceful arc so it was moving straight up and started to climb at full burn, moving away at an alarming rate.
Knowing what the other pilot was trying to do Hud followed as closely as his strained engine was capable of and let loose with his canons, punching out repeatedly at the attacking vessel. The rear shield flared constantly under the barrage but Hud knew that even if his weak energy weapon punched through the shield he still had to get through the thick armour plating below. He looked at his Head's Up and frowned when he noticed he only had two missiles left.
"Not good, not good at all." He told himself in a strained mutter.
The Javelin swung round on it's axis to face him and ice white beams of energy lanced out and strafed his shield. Michael Hudson watched his shield energy being drained at an accelerated rate with a gleam in his eye. This was the hardest battle he'd had since arriving, he was almost enjoying himself.
However, this was not a battle he could win. Quickly punching up his nav console he programmed the fulcrum drive to jump him right on top of the station. It was a risky proposition at the best of times, and this was not the best time. He let his shield take the battering as he watched his energy levels come to a balance and then with a mental salute and a promise to meet again to the Javelin pilot he hit the button to activate his Fulcrum drive.
The world dissolved into a spinning vortex of white for a glimpse of time before his entire ship seemed to scream out in shock.
Hud pulled back on his stick and hit reverse thrust for all he was worth as the large station loomed very large in his cockpit window. He held his breath and counted down from ten, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 he let go of the reverse thruster and hit his directional thruster's bringing the nose of his glider up at the same time as he hit his afterburner.
The small, banged up glider slid smoothly into the stations docking tractor beam range and was pulled down onto the pad as if nothing unusual had happened.
"Welcome to Talison Station" a female automated voice told him even as he breathed out a heavy breath.
"Hey yourself" he managed to say after taking in a gulp of air, he hadn't even realised he had been holding his breath. He quickly used the trade console to rid himself of his cargo and watched with one eye as the trade robots removed his burden of anti-matter. His other eye watched his energy climb at a steady rate, and to give it a little boost he used his remaining shield energy to top it up. He then programmed in a destination that would bring him dangerously close to New Hope's single planetary body and sat back in his chair and waited. Bots spidered their way across his ship as they searched for anything illegal and generally snooped around his ship.
He had half a mind to supercharge his shield to burn them off, but that would annoy the station manager. You didn't annoy the station manager unless you wanted to pay hefty fines the next time you docked.
A flash of light attracted his attention away from the oddly shaped robots and over to his left. His breathing caught as the strangely marked Javelin came serenely down and docked right next to him. He looked at the darkened cockpit and tried to make out the pilot, but it was like looking into a pool of crude oil, totally impossible to make out what was at the other side. He smiled slightly as he watched the maintenance bots crawl over the craft. At least he had managed to hurt it after all, it was then refuelled and he noticed the Countermeasure pod was refilled as well. The muscular ship then just sat there, waiting apparently for him.
Hud looked at his energy gauge and smiled wolfishly. Perhaps, just this once he could afford to annoy a station manager, just a little. Jumping off of a station's docking platform wasn't illegal after all. Just frowned upon. He turned his craft to face a free section of space, and signalled that he was going to leave station. Docking clamps dropped off of his ship and sank back into the pad with a whisper of well oiled machinery.
Then with a quick mocking salute at the Dark Javelin, Hud hit the jump drive and went from 0 to more than two thousand KPS in a blink of an eye. Her knew that it was impossible to scan the destination of a jump, and the destination could be within anything from 1 system to 5 from the current location.
He had brought some time, time he hoped to get himself a better ship. He had a feeling that he would be seeing that dark Javelin once again, and only one pilot would leave alive.