a glance to the left. a glance to the right. there’s nothing showing
on the map. only ship in the sector.

a flicker on the map. not far now. heavy on the thrust. an azure trail
left by the burner glows bright, and brighter.

the docking station looks somewhat sturdy. the void and war have both
left their indelible marks. collapse and decay are prevalent here.

the innards visible from space. looks like navigation remains a possibility
though. seems empty enough. evac happened as protective fronts fell in succession.

quick tap of the wrist unit. takes seconds for the nanobot swarm to assemble
into the MSA-06 suit. bright red, gorgeous curves, no possibility left unguarded.

signs of life. nothing dangerous though. solitary cleaning droid fights the inevitable
decay. with a broom. i have to admire the unintended, unaware endeavour.

lift shafts and stairwells all sorts of collapsed. beyond the floating debris
the vast plain of space. beautiful. onwards though. work to do. thrusters working overtime.

some of the crew never left. space isopods the size of dogs render clean remains
cleaner still. crumpled photos provide evidence of better days before.

the MSA renders the command door a futile obstacle. station leader now isopod fodder.
picture of a bright, clear uniform with family. little time for sentiment.

red ring of a burner. looks like a small ship though, and passes by regardless.
ready for a battle if it came to that. evasion is always better though.

the blueprints passed through here. not long before the lines fell.
i’ll keep following the trail. in a moment though. the view demands admiring.


remnants of a distress signal. it’s where i need to be anyways.
probably not going to be as quiet as the last stop.

four raiding vessels. matching insignia. already there’s a great hole been
carved into the station. docking time saved there. thanks to that kind soul.

blood splattered military uniforms littering the gangways. shouting heard up
ahead, paired with shooting. this isn’t a rescue mission though. no sentiment.

that sound? a billion minuscule united in crumpling a mans rib cage.
the other sound? the same robots concaving the same mans face.

giant hole aside the structure seems more or less intact. internal systems seem
to have stabilised the gravity. aside from the sentry i’m staying out of trouble.

the crew must have been caught unawares. bodies appearing more frequently.
with fleets spread ships can’t be assigned to faraway space.

three shot bursts. the rifle adjusts for the opponents next moves. probability based.
comes in handy. no kill shots. lets see who has information.

knowing where the hostiles are located means for a safe navigation. knowing where
the data banks are makes for a quicker navigation. still, kill shots when necessary.

command centre ravaged. people in parts. data points in many, many bits.
lucky if the plans are still here, or even traceable.

the one place that isn’t a wreck. the blueprints left here just
after the distress signal. onwards.

whoever’s left can have whatever’s left. i need to move fast now.
too soon to think about getting paid now.


i’d be feeling lonesome if not for the fleetful of ships behind me. i’ll
exit light speed first but still, we may be looking for the same thing. great.

those space stations aren’t worth checking. no point in being on board
when those ships start on deconstructing them.

flying low flying fast. touching the treetops. not giving the anti-aircraft
fire any chances. touch down in a nearby valley. work beckons.

sending the blueprints through backwater routes didn’t work. guess they’re
just jamming them under tonnes of steel and concrete now. worth a try.

every section seems to be on alert. a lot of manpower. a lot of tech.
i can’t take this place on my own. but, wait for it. wait for it.

little flickers all over the sky, blossom into long shimmering arcs. whistling
fills the jungle air. dark grey pods smash into concrete. armours ready. go time.

a whirring sound, then mech units and soldiers pour out. 20 metres of metal suited
fury. slide down the hill, rocket jump the wall. remember, confusion is my friend.

it’s all gone batshit. running under great mechanized legs. bodies everywhere.
a mech all tumbled and broken. at least no ones focusing on me.

the entrance was heavily guarded. now there are many entrances.
and by entrances i mean glorified holes.

inside there’s soldiers running around, defending rabidly. just keeping my head down.
things are in a process of falling down. but the core seems intact. for now.

get to that core. that’s where the blueprints are being held. any attempt to send them
elsewhere will now be fruitless. that’s in my favour, if not a lot else.


beam rifle fire rattles through the corridors. bodies barring different insignia
slump against walls, rest on the floor. must be a quieter route.

empty rooms. damaged equipment. i can hear the outer layers coming apart.
and the echo of footsteps heavy.

“hey, commander says that every sold – wait, you’re n – ”
keep distractions to a minimum. non – existent if possible.

got it. got it. got it. S.I.E.18 blueprints. now, to root through dead mens
item kits. i have my reasons. some of them must have explosive things.

all the data stuff is rigged up. found a safe distance. and detonate. no trace
of my being here. lets hope that those heavy footsteps sounded out the blast.

putting a man through a wall reveals no exit. damn maze.
a mecha coming through the wall. that does.

running up the metal arm. over the vast shoulders. down the trailing arm.
the base below now a fire pit. a good time to kick on the thrusters.

traverse this other mechas arm. hold still dammit. back of the head a blind spot, and
finally climb down the back. and run. like it was the only thing i was born to do.

the noise is horrendous. the smoke thick, and thicker. seems like the mechas are
triumphing. but really, i have little idea of the happenings behind me.

nights fallen. lights splinter on the trees. someones combing the forest for
survivors. keeping low til the morn. just hope no one finds the ship.

flying high flying fast. everyone’s too busy mopping up and or fighting back.
now just to clear the light year thick fleet that’s out there.


with a blockade like this standard military protocol can range from capture
to firing upon any ship trying to leave the area.

i’m in the only ship leaving. the ruins of a cruiser drift on by. deep joy.
laser marked every which way. i’m telling myself smaller targets are harder to hit.

barrel rolls. and more. there’s plenty guns here. i really should have set
the light speed co-ordinates before leaving, cause multi tasking is a tricky thing.

this is no good. the shield cannot function indefinitely and a crippling blow
is inevitable at some point. damn law of averages. pretty laser show though.

in amongst though, they cannot fire lest they risk crippling themselves.
just like zipping through the canyons back home. just rendered in metal over stone.

bouncing from ship to ship i can see open space becoming close, and closer.
flying low flying fast. not long till the jump now.

everything slows. the stars stretch. stretch longer still. and like that, i can see
the derelict space station again. halfway home now.

two sectors clear. for the first time in a long time i can just let the ship drift.
space is a beautiful place, all lost in starlight.

touchdown. armour up. just in case. credits come first, then the blue prints.
not my usual clients. explorers, classifiers of faraway fauna.

a lot of trouble for engine blueprints. overheard the words no more fuel in passing.
if that’s true, a great many people would be after that.

payday is a good day. always followed by the hiding days. people can get angry.
just one burner out in space, heading towards the backwaters. for a little while.


all in one place.

music listened as i put this together:

breaking madden is love breaking madden is life.


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