You could say that now my writing skill has improved... significantly. This is a project which I have already been wroking on for some time, so it probably won't be forgotten easily. Enjoy chapter one!

All characters are mine. Yaaaaaaaar!

A Life in Progress

"Watch your six!" The bounty hunter swerved behind the dagger and opened fire. The dagger rolled and flipped backwards, sending the bounty hunter careening way beyond it. Its weapons tore through the shields and hull, sending the hammerhead into fiery oblivion. A sabre joined up with the dagger.

"Well done," its pilot said.

"There's no need for flattery, Santiago," the dagger's pilot said.

"But your piloting skills truly are unmatched. You are an idol to all of the aspiring pilots of the Outcasts," Santiago said.

"I would give to disappear for a week or two," the dagger's pilot said.

"Really, Sanja…" Santiago said. "You are needed here. Without you, many shipments of Cardamine would have gone astray." Sanja sent her ship into cruise speed, leaving Santiago behind. Santiago sighed.

"Go that way," he muttered. He sent his own ship into cruise in the opposite direction, towards the Omicron Alpha jump hole. The warp of the jump hole went by like a flash, and he emerged in an asteroid field near Malta.

In a little while he had landed on the surface of the planet. He took off his helmet gleefully. He hated wearing it, along with the stupid little Cardamine inhaler he was forced to wear.

One of the elders approached him.

"How is she?" he asked.

Santiago shook his head. "Unstable."

The elder looked at him solemnly.

"Still?" he asked.

Santiago nodded.

"I can't imagine why she is. We offer her only what an ace pilot deserves. She has many who would die for her if that were what she wanted. Nothing seems to help though, it only seems to make her more miserable," Santiago said.

The elder nodded. "I see. Anything else?" he asked.

"Yes, one thing," Santiago said, "she said that she wants to disappear. She would like to go somewhere else and relax for a little while."

"That she may like, but if she really wants to relax, she can do it here on the planet, not somewhere where she might be out of the safety of our patrols," the elder said. "Remember that you can't let her know that you're monitoring her."

Santiago nodded. "I do remember," he said. "How I remember…"

"You can't continue to jeopardize your wing like this," the navy captain said to a recruit.

"I'm not jeopardizing me wing. They just happen to be in the wrong place at the long time. They're me friends, and I wouldn't want to see them hurt," the recruit replied.

"Raeve, I know that you have good intentions. But I think that using a torpedo at point blank range is a little too much–"

"The bloody rogue was practically breathing up me nose! What was I supposed to do, let 'im open fire on me first? I killed 'im, right?" Raeve responded angrily.

The navy captain was silent for a couple of moments.

"I suppose yer going to kick me out now, right?" Raeve asked.

"No. I'm going to send you on a mission," his captain replied.

"This is a joke, right? No captain in his right mind would send me on a mission of importance," Raeve said to nobody in particular.

"All we want you to do is go to the galactic north of Kusari space and do some reconnaissance," the captain said.

"We? Who's we?" Raeve asked.

"The Liberty Navy," the captain said. Raeve nodded.

"Okay... Well, in that case, I have no choice but to accept," Raeve said. He headed for his defender.

"Just come back in one piece, okay?"

"Don't worry, I will," Raeve said half-heartedly.

He hopped into his fighter, put on his helmet and launched from the academy. Space was particularly silent to him right now. Not that it never was, but the echoing silence stood out a lot then. He swerved into the trade lane and was catapulted forwards at hundreds of millions of kilometers per second. He came out at the other end a couple of seconds later.

"I am never going to get used to that," Raeve muttered. He took the next trade lane, to Fort Bush.