Stellar Dust 3 - Press-Ganged by Isaac Orr

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SUMMARY: Short on choices, Stryler joins the pirate crew.

"A freelancer without a ship is pretty useless. You may want to consider joining my crew."

Loramy's offer barely registered with Stryler, who was busy absorbing the shock of discovering that the Duster was gone. The Duster was not an amazingly unique or special ship, but he had worked his butt off to own it and it had been his home for several years now. Freelancers weren't exactly mercenarys, and not quite private eyes, but fell somewhere between the two in terms of the roles they filled throughout the galaxy. They were the problem solvers, some with less respect for the law and with looser moral codes than others. One thing was common amongst all of them though. The job required travel, lots of travel. Without a ship, Stryler was out of business. Not only that, but he couldn't get anywhere where he might even be able to make an attempt at starting over.

"What if I don't want to join?" He asked Loramy.

"I space you."

"Doesn't sound like I have much choice then, does it?"

Loramy chuckled. "Sure you have a choice. It's just that you probably find one of them far less acceptable than the other. Of course once you get to know my crew, you may wish that I had spaced you in the first place."

Stryler was cornered, at least for now, and he knew it. "Where do I sign up?"

"Consider it done. Doran."

"Yes sir?" The guard in red armor to Stryler's left spoke up.

"Show Stryler around and get him settled in."

"Yes sir." Doran moved to lead Stryler out of the control room. As he was about to follow, Stryler turned back towards Loramy.

"I have one more question."

"Yes?"

"When I was dealing with the enforcers, I didn't see any sign of your ship on my scanners. Something happened to my hopper, I have no idea what, but it was bad enough for the system to throw me out of teleconnect. Right then the Anomaly appeared out of nowhere. I'm just wondering how you managed to pull that off."

"Ah. I think we emerged from plus-c pretty much right on top of your position," Loramy replied calmly.

Stryler raised his eyebrows. "You plus-c'd into the system? Right next to a belt?"

Loramy nodded. "We were hanging just outside the system to take a peek before we went in to retrieve the package. When I saw the fight going on, I decided we might benefit from intervening. Coming in plus-c gave us a certain advantage of surprise."

Stryler now understood why he'd lost teleconnect and the hopper had malfunctioned. A ship emerging from plus-c, faster than light travel, caused a large physics field disruption as everything snapped back into "normal". Anyone close by would feel the effects of the fluctuations in normal timespace as that happened. The disruption could cause the navigation sensors of any ship to loose their bearings and the gravitic propulsion system and the physics damping fields to malfunction, just to name a few potential effects. If you were too close, your craft could be ripped apart by the forces involved. Usually this wasn't a problem because people only ever traveled at plus-c in interstellar space where the chances of actually crossing someone else's path were infinitesimal.

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