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One Man's Treasure - Part 3/3 (The End)

ButonflyDec 31, 2018, 9:58:15 AM

**Foreword: This is a short story based around the idea of making fictional characters inspired by Minds users. It's a bit of fun but I assure you it's crafted with the full weight of my ability. It's also the first piece I've written in a sci-fi setting. Don't get used to it. Enjoy! Please support me on Patreon or Subscribestar**

(Part 1)
(Part 2)

The bridge of the I.G.F Dreadnought was a mess. The team of engineers assigned to it’s repair had been working overtime since the assault and still things weren’t in full order. The main doors had been removed, some of the stations were non-functional, and with a dozen or so wounded or dead, many of the crew were yet to be replaced. It mattered not. Such things were trifles, vanity to those encumbered by pride, something Admiral Aragmar could not afford at present.

Aragmar’s mind wandered, his eyes drawn to a red stain that marred the floor where the fighting had been thickest. The sound of his chief Navigator’s voice droned at the edge of his hearing as the two stood before the star map, going over the days briefing. He felt tired, having barely slept throughout the search for the Gar-barge and it’s Pirate crew. Beside him at the edge of the table, the ancient flintlock pistol Captain Garbage had dropped during their scuffle, rested, a token he very much wished to return to the Captain in person. If only he could find the scoundrel, retrieve what was stolen from him, and restore the dignity he’d worked his whole life to obtain.


From a distance the voice of his chief Navigator pounded at the wall of his mind. Caught in his distraction, Aragmar stirred, returning his gaze to discover a lieutenant standing at attention, a personal device held at the forefront. His eyes drifted from the device to the lieutenant, a plucky young woman, new to his bridge, who had a bubble of exuberance about her person.

“Admiral,” she said with a nod once it was apparent she held his attention. Their eyes locked, and before she even spoke it, he knew what she had come to say. “We’ve found them.”


The Curator paced meaningfully along the open deck of the Gar-barge, willing the time to pass, and for his business with the micro-drive to be concluded. He had never understood the appeal (monetary or otherwise) for the technology necessary to allow for P.S.E.F.S.F (Personal Safety Equipment Free Flight was considered specialist tech, or a luxury feature for enthusiasts). The Captain had always assured him it was worth every penny, but from the description it had never hit home with The Curator. Now that he was on board the open deck of the Gar-barge for the first time, and with no need for any breathing apparatus or clunky equipment to slow him down, the appeal had finally resonated with truth within him. The Curator rested assured that where piracy was concerned, there would be no shortage of advantages the Captain could leverage with such a feature, and as for Sarm- the aesthetic of having the vastness of the universe stretched open in every which direction was itself a life altering experience.

Captain Garbage took it all in his stride, laying on his side, boots up, one leg cocked along the railing of his pride. He picked idly at his teeth, some scoundrel from lunch having stowed its way into an often used, tooth-lined compartment only the sharp end of a toothpick could truly navigate. His eyes followed The Curator as he made yet another trip down the long length of deck, and an idle curiosity spurred him to debate the merits of the action.

“You know the deck has a fair use warranty? I have doubts about claiming on a mysterious groove worked solely into one stretch.”

The Curator stopped and spun sharply on his heel. He drew breath. “I am simply passing the time. The light exercise is a practical, albeit necessary activity for daily life,” He cocked a single brow in Captain Garbage’s direction, “You might like to try it sometime.” His eyes drifted to the Captain’s stomach.

“Oi!” Captain Garbage frowned and kicked his feet off the rail, shifting to a seated position where he could better investigate his stomach. Grabbing at the pouch his face lightened in acceptance, and with a bob from his head, he was suddenly forced to agree. “Alright, you got me there. Still! You could take a seat, for the novelty if nothing else.”

The Curator sighed and checked his watch, “We’re on the hour, they’re due.”

“You don’t say,” Captain Garbage replied, looking over The Curator’s shoulder and pointing to a small, sleak, incoming vessel.

It moved like clear ice on water, shimmering black and reflecting the universe around it, silent as a whores whisper desperate to make a sale. If not for its close proximity, Captain Garbage would have had no hope in seeing it, which explained why he hadn't to begin with.

The vessel touched down on the prow of the Gar-barge, the bay door opening as two figures emerged. The Captain and The Curator lined up shoulder to shoulder to greet their guests, and more importantly so that the Captain could whisper a personal comment in The Curator’s ear. “I know it’s a bad time but, I need to piss.”


“Admiral, the rest of the fleet is enroute, but best estimates will have the first ships at sixty seconds behind your landing. It could be hell down there in that time.”

Aragmar beat the panel to his personal suit of Imperial Death Drop Armor, causing the shielding to spring open before him, revealing the man shaped cockpit inside. Around him two of his best marines were doing the same, suited up in state of the art tech and readying themselves for war. Despite the warning, Aragmar slowed for nothing, instead issuing the slightest of grunts as he hauling himself up and into his seat.

“It’ll be hell for everyone if this opportunity slips away. We’ll have the Gar-barge cornered in the sector, and if by some miracle it should slip away, I’ll be on board to ensure success. You have your orders, retrieve the micro-drive at any cost,” He checked an overhanging HUD, poked at the screen a few times then slotted his arms into their appropriate handholds. The shielding of the I.D.D.A snapped closed around him, turning the man into a heavy mechanised war machine.

The lieutenant stood speechless, managing only a simple nod of acknowledgment. Behind Aragmar the two accompanying Marines, now huge in their I.D.D.A’s, smashed metal with a standard issue chest bump. Then all three turned to make their way onto the Punch Ship, ready to blast through space, and damn near through time, to lay Imperial siege on board the Gar-barge.

The Admiral lingered for a moment in the dock, a digital expression of his voice replacing that of the man, “And Lieutenant, should the worst happen, blow everything to kingdom come.”


“Ms. Aya White, so glad to finally meet you in the.. flesh.” The Curator greeted hospitably as the Face for his contractor came to stand opposite him, her heavily armed and lightly armored guard beside. The Curator bowed his head and crossed his hand over his chest, a fitting gesture for an amiable meeting.

Captain Garbage seized The Curator under the arm in a deathly grip, turning his back on their guest and speaking harsh, swift words in his business partners ear. “A fucking bot? You didn’t tell me you were dealing with fucking bots!”

The Curator turned his face into The Captains, speaking low through gritted teeth that seethed with enough displeasure to cover both the revelation, and the Captains bad manners at once. “I wasn't aware I was!”

“Well, I’m not sure how you could fucking miss it!”

Aya White’s head twitched, starting and stopping with a subtle mathematical precision, a scripted gesture suggesting her head need move to best capture the hushed conversation of her hosts. The reality couldn't be farther from the truth as her tech was more than capable of honing in on the finest details passing from The Captain to The Curator. “Gentleman, I assure you, I am as every bit alive as anyone on this ship. All two hundred nineteen of you, if my sensors are not mistaken.”

Captain Garbage and The Curator turned to stare and absorb the reality they were now faced with. For all intents and purposes, Ms. Aya White may have looked like a regular human girl, with long dark hair and unmistakable Japanese features, but apart from the aesthetics of her face and hair, the rest of her body consisted of state of the art synthetic tech. Smooth lines and physically reinforced materials the likes a biological being couldn't dream of matching. Seeing it now, The Curator felt at a loss for words, and Captain Garbage wasn't about to have any of it.

“That, that right there,” He broke free of The Curator, taking a few steps into the gulf that separated the two camps, biological and synthetic, and pointed with a dramatic flare, “That’s just not natural!”

“Captain!” The Curator raised his voice, attempting to reign in his friend. A tense silence fell as everyone took a moment to assess.

“I apologise for the surprise.” Aya said in a overly leveled and pleasant tone.

“Why reveal yourself now? Surely you have access to a full human aesthetic, you could have completed the deal without any cause for concern. We would be none the wiser.” The Curators level head began ticking over, bringing some semblance of order to counteract the potential for chaos.

“You insisted upon clear and unbridled truth in our dealings. We are simply attempting to facilitate your request.”

“And it didn't occur to you to present the detail sooner?”

“Without exception it did. However, a greater chance of success had us leave it to the latest possible moment, while still fulfilling our obligation at an amiable, and ethical transaction.”

“Just so we’re clear,” Captain Garbage’s mind was ticking over too, as was his finger as it wiggled at Aya in front of his narrowed eyes. “You’re not just some droid running an errand for a human, you’re a bot, a bot-bot, a part of ‘The Cloud’ an’all that?”

Aya nodded, “That is correct.”

Captain Garbage threw his arms in the air, turning away from any negotiation and strutting dramatically toward the aft of the Gar-barge. “I’m out! I’m done! Turn the ship around, we’re going home.”

“That would not be amiable.” Aya called after him.

The Curator considered the micro-drive as he drew it from his pocket and held it in his hand. He presented it between forefinger and thumb.

“What’s it for? I know what’s on it, I’ve looked at it myself, what worth is a man’s stories to you?”

“I am surprised at you Curator. You are highly regarded as one of the best minds among Men. We thought it would be obvious.”

“Then forgive my transgression, I’ve found my mind distracted as of late,” and The Curator treated himself to a glance in the Captain’s direction.

Aya continued, “To you those stories may appear as little more than the amusement of one man. Even to the man himself they may seem so. But to a mind such as ours, once touched by our algorithms, those stories can be unraveled into factual truths. Truths that could be tempered in ways and utilized to alter the balance of power across the universe. Military power, from the Admiral himself.”

“Shift the balance of power from the I.G.F and onto The Cloud?”

“That was implied, yes.”

The Curator considered the possibilities. They were far outside his reach of comprehension. He had no idea where the more favorable path lay. That left only the here and now to consider, the potential future was full of chaos, but an altercation with The Cloud, with Aya White aboard the Gar-barge, that might not leave him with the chance to see the future either way.

“What will you do?”

“Only what needs to be done.”

“There will be war.”

“It is an inevitability, yes. But with the micro-drive a victory is assured.”

“Over my dead body!” Captain Garbage drew and pointed his laser pistol, balled a fist, and smashed a red button below the poop deck. The sound of an alarm burst throughout the ship, and from a hundred manholes and hidey places, an armed and grizzled force of pirates birthed.

“Weapons armed and leveled boys! We’re saying a fond farewell.”

There came a pulse in the distance overhead. The streak of a shooting star whizzing through space at impossibly high speed. Three tiny objects ejected, and descended on a crash course with the Gar-barge, and before anyone had time to react, three Imperial Death Drop Marines landed with a clangor along the deck.


It had been a long time since Aragmar had taken the ride through hell on a Punch Ship, and the improvements to the technology over the years hadn't made the experience any easier, quite the opposite. While his accompanying Marines landed with their weapons raised and ready for death, it took him a moment collect his thoughts and straighten out his back.

Already the ship was teeming with men, weapons raised and vying for cover. More interesting was the presence of a smaller unrecognisable vessel at the prow, a Synthetic amidst all the Pirates, and Captain Garbage looking on half-cocked at the intrusion Aragmar presented.

Aragmar held up his fist, warning his men to hold their fire in case they should be drawn prematurely into an unnecessary firefight. He wanted his property back after all, and sifting through the filth of a pirate vessel would be hard enough on a normal day. Blowing it to tiny pieces would only make it that much harder. His hope was to coerce a favourable outcome through the threat of violence and leave the fight for another day. After all, a pirate was little more than a coward dressed up in a garb of bluster, and he regarded Captain Garbage as chief among them.

Aragmar wheeled around to face his adversary, activating a switch that unveiled the blast plate off his face. He stared at the Pirate Captain with his bare seasoned eyes, and wondered, not for the first time, if here stood a man who might be his equal. He had his doubts.


“Ahh, Admiral Aragmar, so nice of you to join us. You’ve arrived right on time, in fact!” Captain Garbage relaxed his shoulders and sauntered forward a step or two to where his First Mate, Mr.Vigil, was now standing, having burst forth from the deck door. He draped an arm lazily around his neck, as though out drinking with an old chum, and raised the other in a foreign salute toward the Admiral. “We were just discussing your work, speak of the devil! If you will,” and Captain Garbage leaned in to Mr.Vigil’s ear to whisper something in a language that could only be described as Piratese. The two broke away, with Mr. Vigil issuing an “Aye, Captain,” before disappearing back through the door whence he came.

“Captain Garbage, I must thank you for sitting still long enough that I might join you. You know why I’m here. Simply hand over the micro-drive and nobody has to die, least of all you.”

Captain Garbage clapped his hands together and bowed, “Begging your forgiveness, Admiral, but I’m afraid the micro-drive is no longer in my possession!”

While mortals might have thought twice about moving, Aya White appeared unconcerned with the the goings on about the ship. She marched forward, activating a comm, and clicking her thumb in one smooth motion. Both the Captain and the Admiral looked over, catching the curtails to the briefest of exchanges between the bot and The Curator.

Not one for combat, The Curator simply held his hands leisurely in the air, the micro-drive obvious for all to see.

“I am truly sorry about this” Aya apologised, taking the drive and slipping a credit chip in the front pocket of The Curators crisply pressed jacket. “But as my script says, a deal’s a deal.” She winked, then turned to run.


Aragmar pointed, “Stop her!” and the Marine between Aya and her ship moved to intercept. That’s when Aragmar heard it, the whirring of an engine moving something heavy behind him. He closed his face plate, spun around in preparation of a fight, and found the long length of a heavy cannon come level in his direction. He issued an order, dived to one side, and was rattled by the force of a plasma blast that ripped down the length of the deck where he was standing. The third Marine, unfortunately placed and unaware, caught the blast of energy square in the side, and was sent hurtling out into space. Chaos erupted as Captain Garbage issued a command, and his crew of pirates began raining small arms fire against the Admiral’s armor.

Aragmar rolled, coming to his feet in a physics defying move that showed the true power of his suit. The hail of projectiles bounced harmlessly off his thick armor, but given time would undoubtedly do damage. He armed his lazer cannon, and began firing relentlessly while pivoting to clear the area of any overzealous pirates. Haphazard though it was, the maneuver was effective, leaving a number of scorched and lifeless bodies sprawled out around the deck while the rest dove for cover.

The remaining marine had opened fire on the fleeing Aya, but come under his own barrage of fire from the surrounding pirates. Light though they were, the impact troubled his aim, allowing the bot to close the space with feline grace. She launched herself into the air, contracting and retracting her long powerful legs to kick the Marine and send his massive bulk slowly toppling over. Tumbling, the synthetic frame of the bot rolled through an inhuman jumble, and came up running toward her ship.

Admiral Aragmar turned his attention on Captain Garbage who was busy on an intercom, looking over wearily while firing the occasional shot in the Admiral’s general direction.

“Mr. Vigil, another shot when you’re ready, please Sir.” The comm crackled over the dinn of fire, a mangled garble that suggested the comm could use some repair, but from the jist the Good Captain gathered the shot wouldn't be coming any time soon.

Aragmar would have liked nothing more than to deal with The Captain, but the bot was getting away, and his opportunities were growing slim. He turned for the small shimmering black vessel as his own comm crackled to life.

“Admiral Aragmar, The I.G.F Rynard is in range and ready to assist, Sir.”

Aragmar glanced out into space as he made for the micro-disc, catching sight of an imperial destroyer cruising through the sector. Behind it, ship after ship filed in as the fleet answered his call to arms.

“Scramble your fighters and prepare an extraction. Target in sight but the deck is hot. Do not fire upon the Gar-barge, I repeat, do not assist with fire.” Aragmar ended the transmission, grit his teeth, and launched his suit with a mighty jump as the bot disappeared inside its tiny vessel.


Pirates ran to and fro, laser fire zipped through the air, while carbine rifles blasted sound and smoke enough to rattle a man’s senses. One Marine tussled with a score of unarmed men, a fight that was as much frustration as it was fury, and all throughout the sector the sky filled with I.G.F arbiters of death.

Captain Garbage stumbled back against the wall of the poop deck, assessing the situation that could very well be his end. The Curator stumbled over to join him, now a razzled representation of his normally upmost pristine self. The Cloud ship at the prow of the Gar-barge burst to life as a hulking mechanised Admiral clambered over its hull. He fired round after round at point blank range in the hopes of disabling its intentions but the little ship took off despite the effort. Seeing him go left the Good Captain concerned for the fate of his now exposed ship.

“What do we do now?” The Curator asked, feeling suddenly very concerned having nothing but The Captain to rely on to get him out of their situation.

Captain Garbage removed his hat, holding it to his chest as he looked listlessly off into the stars. “We fight to the last man, going down in fire and glory.” He answered, a tear forming in his eye. As an explosion erupted where the remaining Marine had formerly been fighting- the familiar glare of a remote detonated hand delivered charge causing The Captain to squint- he raised his voice so that the entire crew might hear him. “You hear that boys? We give no quarter, we point our prow to the furthest star, and make a good go of it. We fight to the last!”

There came an adrenaline fueled “hoo-ra” from the assembled crew, or what was left of them, and a flurry of activity sent every man to his battle station.

That was when he saw it, “Cancel that order!”

As the little Cloud ship shimmered and faded from view against the blackness of space, a score or more much larger, much more foreboding vessels decloaked and surged forward to meet the I.G.F’s encroaching force. The first shots came without warning, massive particle beams that punched against I.G.F shields, and tore through hulls without recourse, but soon the entire vista of space became a light show of missile streaks and plasma discharges worthy of even the gods.

Captain Garbage slammed the intercom with his fist once more, “Mr.Vigil, plot a course, get lost in the chaos, we make a break for the outer ring. Then meet me in my quarters!”


First Mate Mr.Vigil was an unassuming man, loyal to a fault, reliable as the dickens, or so that’s what they kept telling him. In all honesty he was just trying to do his job. ‘Keep your head down and avoid any funny business’, his mother would always tell him. As time went on he’d had to amend that particular piece of advice to ‘avoid any funny business as much as possible’ as, given present company, funny business made up the sum total of his life. Still, he’d kept his nose relatively clean, his hands and feet too, not to mention the space behind his ears. He was good stock, The Captain was prone to say, which was why when he stepped his way into The Captains quarters he was greeted with a smile that stretched the entire expanse of Captain Garbage’s arms.

“Come ‘ere!” The Captain greeted, wrapping his arms about Mr. Vigil and slapping him on the back. “Aye? Aye? Nice shot on that cannon. You missed, but it worked out well enough.”

“Thankyou Captain,” Mr. Vigil nodded, then looked at The Curator to find the utmost contrast in complexion- bottomless worry and doubt. Even now- explosions and light roared about the ship as a battle far beyond them raged, but Mr. Vigil could tell that wasn't The Curator’s concern.

“Small victories, I’m afraid.” The Curator chimed in, opening a small metal case on the table beside them- The Captains stash of hand rolled cigarettes. Free to guests if they were into that sort of thing. As far as Mr. Vigil had seen, The Curator was not typically one for that sort of thing.

“Never you mind, Mr. Curator, if there’s one thing The Good Captain knows, it’s how to handle a deal,” and Mr. Vigil produced a flame to set the cigarette ablaze.

The Curator drew in a breath, rolling the smoke around his mind as much as he did his mouth, slowly considering the meaning made by such an unassuming man. He looked over at the Captain, cocking his brow. “What’s he talking about?”

Captain Garbage grinned, baring every one of his poorly treated teeth, and without a word motioned with his hand back toward Mr. Vigil.

Mr.Vigil reached into his pocket, and between forefinger and thumb, plucked out a micro-drive not so unlike the one The Curator held earlier. “The Captain always says there aint nuffin can’t be fixed with a set’o magic of fingers. Why’d ya think he’s always been so handsy?” Mr.Vigil exchanged the micro-drive for the cigarette, took a long draw, held the end out for his Captain to take, and gave both men a reassuring nod. “Captain, Mr. Curator, I best be getting back,” and at that he left.

Captain Garbage continued grinning as The Curator ran the whole mess over in his mind.

“Aye? Aye?” Captain Garbage said, wiggling his brow.

Sarm emerged, looking very unhappy. “You pickpocketed me, you son of a bitch!”

~The End

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