FREELANCER: RETURN OF THE NOMADSPLANET MANHATTAN, NEW YORK SYSTEM, LIBERTY SPACE
One year later...
Edison Trent sat alone, slowly sipping at his Sidewinder Fang. He had finally convinced the bartender to stock some of the fine liquor, and the bartender had finally obliged. Trent had lived on Manhattan for the past year after accepting Orillion's proposal to be the "eyes and ears of the Order in Liberty". Trent was not one to develop loyalty to anyone, but he felt that he owed this to Orillion after what they had been through together.
He had not heard from Orillion in six months.
Trent had been a busy man since that final battle with the Nomads. He had become one of the most well known freelancer pilots in Liberty, with a track record unmatched by anyone else. But along with his success as a law-abiding freelancer, he had also found success working underground for some of Sirius Sector's most dangerous criminal agencies. Orillion had suggested that Trent, being a freelancer, may be able to develop working relationships, or at least contacts, with underground organizations that may have useful information for the Order. Trent saw an opportunity to make some big money, and had made a name for himself in criminal circles, going by the name of Carter Logan. Trent found it amusing that many of the acquaintances he had made in the LSF spent a lot of time hunting for Carter Logan, never realizing that many times he was flying on their wing.
He had money. He had fame. He still had the reliable Anubis that he had been given on the Osiris. There was only one thing that Trent's fame could not give him:
Edison Trent and Jun'ko Zane had discovered that after the Nomad war, their feelings toward one another went beyond mutual respect and friendship. There had even been talk of marriage, but she had discovered Trent's double life working for criminal organizations in Liberty and had confronted him about it. She refused to believe his explanation that he was doing it for the Order, which even though Orillion had given him the suggestion, he realized that it wasn't his primary reason. He was in it for the money. Oh well, he thought at the time. C'est la vie.
And now, six months after she had left him, the LSF and moved to Kusari, he realized that for the second time in his life, money had cost him someone he held dear. The first time had been the deal for a million credits' worth of Boron that went up in smoke with Freeport 7, and now, his links with the criminal element.
He had to admit, though, that his contacts with crime had paid dividends that were more than mere credits. During one of his excursions outside of Liberty he had made his way to the Omicron Alpha system, home of the Outcasts, who because of his criminal contacts regarded him with indifference. He had learned of a place the Outcasts used as a burial ground of sorts for their finest warriors, believing that they would be protected by "the Spirits." He had originally decided to go to this mysterious place to do a little "grave robbing", as it were, because the Outcasts always left valuable possessions with their deceased warriors. When he arrived, he discovered a jumphole that took him to a previously uncharted system surrounded by Nomads who apparently didn't like his presence there. He fled back through the jumphole and had returned to Manhattan to transmit his findings to Orillion.
Trent downed the rest of his drink and turned to leave. He felt a slight vibrating on his wrist from his wrist alarm, indicating he had an incoming message on his neural net. He turned and made his way to one of several privacy booths along the wall made specially for neural net calls.
"This is Trent."
"Trent, this is Orillion."
"Orillion! It's been a while."
"Yes it has. I have a new assignment for you if you're interested."
"Do you remember the information you transmitted to me six months ago?"
"Trent, you've uncovered something that could change the way we deal with the Nomad threat. I will explain everything later. Meanwhile, I want you to meet King on Pittsburgh. You'll be escorting a...guest to the Osiris. King will brief you further."
"Wait a second, Orillion. Who is this 'guest'?"
"I can't reveal any details right now, but King will fill you in. He's waiting for you now. Good luck."
Trent switched off his neural net and walked out of the bar. It would be good to see King again. They hadn't seen or spoken to one another since the Nomad battle a year ago. Trent had tried to contact him several times, to no avail. Must've been on duty somewhere secret, Trent thought to himself as he strapped himself into his Anubis.FORT BUSH, NEW YORK SYSTEM
Trent eased his Anubis toward the trade lane entrance that led to Pittsburgh. He was ready to engage the trade lane when his comm system activated.
"Carter Logan, this is the Liberty Security Force. You will power down your ship and prepare to be taken into custody!"
What the hell? Trent thought to himself. Had his cover been blown?
"LSF patrol, this is Freelancer Alpha 1-1, Edison Trent. I am not Carter Logan!"
"Freelancer Alpha 1-1, you will transmit your neural net file to us fo verification. Hold your course or we will open fire."
Trent transmitted the data and waited. What was going on? Trent was ever so careful about covering his tracks when working for criminal organizations and had always masked his neural net transmissions.
His comm system activated again.
"Freelancer Alpha 1-1, we have verified your identity. We apologize for the inconvenience, Mr. Trent. You're clear to proceed."
Trent slowly let out the breath he had been holding and entered the trade lane.PLANET PITTSBURGH, NEW YORK SYSTEM
Trent made his way to the docking ring of Planet Pittsburgh. The encounter with the LSF still weighed heavily on his mind. Why had they suspected him of being Carter Logan? Sure, they were right, but what had happened? Trent had not used his alias for several months, deciding that he wanted to take life easy for a bit and enjoy his fame.
Trent forced his attention back to reality. The mining facility where he was to meet King was coming up. He activated the landing sequence and set the ship down on the landing pad. Ten minutes later, he was in the bar.
"Good to see you again, Trent."
Michael King sat at a table with a man that Trent could only assume was the 'guest' Orillion had told him about. The man looked strangely familiar to him.
"Good to see you, King. How's things?"
"Oh, you know. Same old thing. Have a seat."
Trent sat down across from his old friend and noticed that King looked a little worse for wear. A rather large scar ran across his forehead. Trent wondered what King had been up to.
"Oh, Trent, allow me to introduce you to Ernesto Chavez. He is our guest, as it were." Trent and Chavez shook hands.
"It's good to meet you, Mr. Trent. I have heard many stories of your exploits. According to Mr. King, most of them are actually true."
"Speaking of which," interrupted King, "I heard you were actually mistaken for Carter Logan."
Trent felt a twinge in his stomach. He actually felt guilty lying to King, but he couldn't let his guard down now.
"Yeah, I thought it was a little weird myself."
"From what I hear, he's got a pretty good bounty on him. He's raised quite a bit of hell around here. I'd like to take him down, I could use the credits."
Trent wasn't sure he liked where this conversation was going, so he decided to change the subject."
"Orillion said you would tell me what's going on."
"All right," King replied, "business it is. We'll be escorting Mr. Chavez to the Osiris. She's currently in Sigma-13, doing a little surveillance. Mr. Chavez has some information he has agreed to share with the Order."
"I see. It must be pretty important information to warrant an escort and a direct meeting with Orillion."
"It is," replied King. "It is information that is as significant as the discovery you made. Am I correct, Mr. Chavez?"
"That is correct. You see, Mr. Trent, I am an Outcast. And I know why the Nomads leave us alone. Shall we be off, then? Orillion is awaiting us."
To be continued…..
That's it. Sorry for the cliffhanger. R&R please!