Adventures in the Imperium

A short story

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Vykk Dreygo looked up from the status panel on the bridge of his starship, the 'Swift Thunder'. He had only had the smallish freighter/trader for a few days and she was sheer beauty in motion. The young Human trader (and occasionally freelancer) allowed himself to reminisce whilst he ran another scan on the ship's systems.

Tall and thin, with youthful, ruggedly handsome features, Vykk had been born on a poor backwater colony of the Imperium, a dry, dull, thoroughly boring planet called New Leeds, in the England system. 'Leeds was a very industrial mining planet, full of smog, and filth and noise. There was nothing there for an intelligent young man seeking excitement and adventure and Vykk refused to work in a factory, manual labour wasn't for him. There had been very little decent schools on Vykk's homeworld, and he was taught at home as his parents could not afford the fees of the big schools. However, without the proper education, there was no chance of Vykk being accepted into the Imperial Space Academy. Vykk would dearly love to become an Imperial Officer, to be respected and well known, having adventures, fighting off pirates, discovering new planets, having fun, making friends and wearing the sleek Imperial uniform with pride.

He knew only the highest scoring cadets were accepted, and he couldn't learn what he needed to on Leeds, so when he was 18, he bought a passage off New Leeds on a rust-bucket of a bulk freighter, called the 'Antwerp Dream' and signed on as a crewmen on the trading ship. It was there that he learned how to fly, both compact shuttles and gigantic trading ships, he learned how to navigate the spacelanes and how to make a profit trading. He studied the advanced maths, galactic history and geography, the cultures of the major alien species, and a little of their languages – all the things he needed to enter the Academy. His mentor, Captain Tal said he was a natural leader, and made Vykk his second in command after only 3 years, teaching him the basic aspects of command. After 3 years, Vykk thought he had learned what he needed to apply and the Academy tutors would handle the rest.

At the young age of 21, he decided to leave the 'Antwerp Dream' and pursue his future among the stars. Tal had been very sad to see him go, but he knew how important his dream was to his young protégé and wouldn't stand in his way. He gave Vykk the best parting gift he could have thought of; Vykk's rightful 40 cut of all their dealings since he had been welcomed aboard the freighter. Vykk had been amazed to find over 3,400,000 credits, enough to buy him his own ship. The 'Swift Thunder' won his heart from the moment he set eyes on her in a dealership on New Liverpool, a planet with an enormous fleet construction yard, that Vykk had travelled to after leaving the Dream. Liverpool was also an industrial planet, and it had reminded Vykk of home. Despite this fact, he didn't give his new ship time to collect dust.

Vykk hated being poor although his parents had endeavoured to make sure that he wanted for nothing. As a result he had grown up with the strong belief that family was something to be valued far beyond personal possessions. Vykk's family were immensely important to him – he knew in that aspect he was very wealthy; surrounded by people who supported, respected and loved him.

Now he had the chance to change his situation, and to make something of himself – a new life among the stars.

The beeping of the ship's computer snapped Vykk out of his revieve – the system check was complete. Everything was running perfectly as he knew it would be, he only ran the test as force of habit, his father had always drummed it into him – if you don't check a system and keep it in repair, it may not work when you desperately need it. Brushing his sandy brown hair out of his eyes, Vykk descended the steps to the cockpit. Double-checking the ship's heading as he entered, Vykk beamed to the ship at large. In another hour he would be landing on the Capital World of the Imperium itself, Manhattan Prime. Home to 50 Million people, (huge compared to the 800,000 that inhabited New Leeds) and a cosmopolitan smattering of alien species too.

Vykk had never been outside his home solar system until now, and now he would be entering a whole new sector, the North American Sector. There would be plenty of time to explore all it had to offer, as the officer's course at the Academy was 4 years. He just couldn't believe that he would soon be a student there, learning new skills and well on the way to fulfilling his dream of becoming a Captain, and commanding his own ship. He'd make hundreds of new friends, protect the innocent and bring justice to evildoers. He would win great honour, both for himself and for his family, win the respect of his peers and the men serving under his command, and make his family ever so proud of him.

Vykk had always been a young man searching for his place in the galaxy, now he felt he had found it.