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The Crimson Heart part 1 by Cameron Olson
SUMMARY: This is the first part of a novella dealing with one mission undertaken by Marsden Security, a small starship security company existing in 2413 AD.
::Private Thoughts of a Character::
The Crimson Heart
Part 1: "Money Troubles"
//Your part would be simple. Hyper in, neutralize the station's defenses, then take over the freighter and hyper out while the main body of their forces is away responding to our distraction.\\
Captain Tevvin Marsden stared at the computer-masked face of the man talking to him over secure vidlink. He sighed and said, "Understood. However, my company doesn't go in for illegal blackops. That's the part that won't work."
The man on the computer screen chuckled. //The company facility you'd be raiding belongs to a Targani corporation. The Sol Alliance has no laws against what I'm proposing and none of us are subject to the Targani authorities. It's hardly illegal.\\
"Immoral then," Tevvin said and was about to give a polite refusal when a figure listing a large amount of Solar Alliance Standard Credits appeared on the bottom of the screen.
//I believe you'll agree that's quite a sum, Captain. That's the base pay my group is offering for this mission. That's not including the salvage value of the freighter itself, which we would of course award you as soon as we received the freighter and its contents.\\
Tevvin could tell the man was smiling and he hated himself for even considering the offer. The open hostility and lack of any formal treaties between the Sol Alliance and the Targani Tribal Union in no way justified the act of outright theft this man was proposing. However, Tevvin's company was in desperate need of a well paying job, and the money the man was offering would cover all the expenses from the disaster of their last mission and then some. ::Lord...:: he thought, ::you really do make things hard sometimes. Or maybe I just make it hard on myself... you provide, Father.::
"I apologize, but I can't accept this contract," Captain Marsden said, his regret almost genuine. "Marsden Defense is just that. We specialize in security work, not blackops. There are several good companies I can recommend that do that kind of work..."
//I see,\\ the man said and reached forward. //Well then, I'll leave you alone. Good day, Captain.\\ At that the link cut off and Tevvin leaned back in his seat with a deep sigh.
A moment later the computer beeped with an incoming call. Tevvin groaned and hit the enter key to accept it. The smiling face of Nick Whitefeather, one of the head engineers of Wildcat Customs, appeared. Not only was Nick one of Wildcat Customs' top engineers, he was also one of the owners of that same contracting firm renowned for their quality work on anything technological.
//Hey Tevvin!\\ Nick said.
"Hello, Nick," Tevvin replied tiredly, but with a smile. "What's up?"
Nick's smile changed to a more serious look and Nick said, //Well, it's about the repairs.\\
"I'm sorry I've been behind on the last two payments," Tevvin started but Nick cut him off.
//It's not that, Tevvin.