A Pirate's Gambit

11. Gambit

Pirates Gambit

Commander Norton hoped the item was worth the price he had paid for it. He knew he would take a loss by giving it to this woman, but the alternative of a slow, lonely death on the lunar surface wasn't very appealing. He took out the canister from his backpack and showed to Calvert, who raised her eyebrows.

"Diamonds? C60? Tellurium?"

"Not really, Governor, this is something far more valuable! You know about the Raiders, right? Most everyone does."

"Yeah, I do. We had a skirmish or two with them in the past. Not only they outnumber us but they possess a rare alloy that makes for ultra-strong armor." Calvert smashed her fist on the table in frustration. "My technicians can't figure out what it is. We can't hurt them, so we avoid them as best as we can."

Norton smiled again, this time genuinely.

"Well, Governor, this is about to change."

12. Research Time

Pirates Gambit - Research Time

The scientist pointed at the complicated schematics on the big screen.

"Governor, this is indeed the fabled Astartium!"

Governor Jane Calvert as well as her military and scientific advisors looked at Commander Norton.

"Where did you get this?" asked Calvert.

"I... uh... let's say I'm an expert at procuring certain rare items of value. If you really want to know, this particular item came from a Saturnian trader."

"A trader, eh? Something tells me the deal wasn't exactly to his liking, Norton! Nonetheless, that's more than enough. I believe..."

The alarm cut through the middle of her sentence, deafening them. People scrambled left and right.

"What's going on?" shouted Norton over the noise.

"Incoming attack!" replied Calvert.

13. A New Hope

Pirate's Gambit

Commander Norton stood near Governor Calvert, as she surveyed the battle on the monitors. A squadron of Hover Tanks were advancing from the north, while ground troops clashed just outside the western colony walls.

"Who are they?" asked Norton.

"I was disillusioned with the Global Earth Government, so I sought a better place for me and those like myself. Not all of us colonists are like that. Some simply sought a quick road to riches. The GEG was more than happy to get rid of such criminals, mafia bosses, underground ring leaders and people smugglers. I believe this attack is from one of them, a guy named Andy Rashus. He is the governor of a colony not far from here. We had problems with him since day one..."

As Calvert spoke, three fresh Astral Eagle squadrons engaged the enemy fighters in the dark sky and the battle was soon over.

"What's he hopin' to gain from all this?" asked Norton.

"That Rushus guy, he's too lazy to produce his own stuff. So he's after our resources, food, minerals, you get the idea. We've repelled his attacks so far, but he's growing bolder. My people are growing tired of this war of attrition. I'm afraid one day he's going to crush our defenses and then it'll be all over."

"Jane..." said Norton.

Calvert turned to look at him but said nothing.

"Jane, now you can fight back. You have Astartium!"

He paused briefly and then continued, as if talking to himself.

"Now we can all fight back!"