McLain's Misfits Ch. 04bykingkey©
Just then I remembered Wiz sitting anxiously over on the Loony.
"Mrs. O'Connor, my ship's engineer is very anxious to talk to you, and to examine your ship... if it's okay with you? He feels that some of the innovations you have developed could be of great importance, and would like to speak with you as soon as is convenient."
"Of course, have him come over, and I will be glad to show him our ship. I am very proud of the way it turned out."
Later, after Wiz had rejoined us, Mike elbowed me and spoke through a laugh.
"Look at Wiz! He looks like a kid in a candy store, not knowing where to start first."
"He does look eager. If we gave him a chance, I think he would probably try to dismantle the ship just to learn all its secrets."
"Either that or try to kidnap Mrs. O'Connor for himself. I've never seen him so fascinated with another person."
At that, Tom spoke up and said, "Wait a minute, there! Desirée is my wife. Is she going to be safe with this Wiz character?"
"Relax, Tom, she's perfectly safe. It's more just a case of admiration than anything else you see Wiz is one of those technology geniuses, and this is the first time he's ever met someone who's just as big a techie as he is."
"As long as she is safe with him. Okay, while Desirée is showing Wiz the ship, where do we go from here? I need to know when I can interrogate the prisoners. They have information pertaining to the whereabouts of Ambassador Timmons' daughter. I need this information badly, since there is a twenty-five million Galactic credit bounty on her safe return. And I'm sure that there are also bounties outstanding on the pirates."
"That's the problem. It seems we are both on the same mission, here. Our orders are also to effect a safe return of the ambassador's daughter. We will see to it that you get the bounty on the pirates. Furthermore, if you could think of a way to recover their ship you can also claim salvage rights on it. That should bring you much more than the twenty-five million credits."
"Commander, you're not really offering anything more than what we had before you showed up. Their ship was already disabled, and we were perfectly able to secure it on our own. As far as recovering the ship that would've been no problem it either since the ship is equipped with all the equipment necessary to tow another ship, as it was salvaged from a space tug."
Just as I was getting ready to reply Sheila commed, "Commander, we've just received orders from headquarters to escort the 'Luck of the Irish' to the nearest Imperial planet. And to await the arrival of representatives of headquarters and the Imperial Department of the Defense and Shipbuilding."
"Sheila, where is the nearest Imperial planet?"
"The nearest planet is Cyrus Three, which just happens to be the home planet of the O'Connor's."
"That's just fine and dandy. Do they expect us to sit on our ass for weeks, waiting for some representative to get there? What about our main orders for the ambassador's daughter's rescue?"
Then Tom spoke up, saying, "Just wait a damn minute! I'm a civilian, now. I don't have to take orders! I'm on track to collect a large bounty, and I'm not just gonna sit on my ass and let someone else collect it first."
Sheila spoke up and said, "The representatives will be at Cyrus Three within two days. They are arriving on a 'fast courier', very much to their own discomfort. Headquarters said it was very important that they speak with you O'Connors, and examine your ship."
"How the hell do they even know about us, or our ship?"
"Sergeant Willard transmitted his basic findings to them while still on the Loony."
"I still don't see what this has to do with us?"
Sheila then said, "Anytime there's a new concept that can make our ships better, the standing orders are to report as soon as possible. That is what Sergeant Willard did when he reported the way that your ship could cloak itself from our sensors."
"So we are supposed to sit on our asses, just because they are interested our systems?"
I could see the O'Connor's were very upset about this turn of events, so I said, "This is very important to the Empire. They will make sure that you are amply rewarded, and are not losing anything."
"Not losing anything? What about the ambassador's daughter? She's still being held hostage, and I still need to rescue her!"
"Our primary orders are still the rescue of her. However, we've also received orders to hold you at Cyrus Three, until the representatives have arrived. As much as neither of us likes it, orders are orders. I think after reading your service record, you should realize this."
"I know all about that. That's why I'm no longer in the Galactic Marines. Regardless of that, the Empire has no right to detain us or our ship."
"I may agree with you. However, I still must follow orders. We can take up some of the time interrogating prisoners, after which you can turn them in for the bounties on them. Also, by the time you can tow their ship to Cyrus Three, the representatives should be there."
As we approached Cyrus Three, we noticed a fast courier ship already in the local spaceport docks. Doc and Cyndi landed the pirate vessel next to the planetary authority's office after informing them that it was a seized pirate vessel, now owned by Tom and Desirée O'Connor.
Tom was negotiating with the planetary authority on ownership of the vessel. The peacekeepers stated that they needed to thoroughly inspect the vessel, before they could release it.
When I said, "That won't be necessary. The vessel was seized during an act of piracy in open space. It is not subject to your planet's rules, regulations, or laws."
After identifying myself, and showing my ID with the Imperial Guard, they seemed satisfied.
The representatives arrived. After greeting them and introducing them to Tom and Desirée O'Connor, they seem to get quite anxious to inspect the 'Luck of the Irish' and hear about all of her improvements.
After a quick tour, we all gathered around. The representatives were truly amazed by all the improvements.
Desirée said, "I don't see what the big deal is? Most of the things I've done are just common sense!"
"Common sense? All the improvements to your ship are just amazing! How did you manage to achieve stealth characteristics by use of the ship's shields?"
"I thought that because most ship's sensors read either a positive or negative signature of a ship's shield, that that would cause our shields to form two shields one inside the other. They start as one positive and one negative then alternate back and forth just trying to create a stronger shield. However, while it was doing this, I discovered that they create a field between them. It dampens most scanner effects, including ours, and has tended to render us invisible. The best solution I could find was to calibrate our sensors to read as the fields were cycling. This wasn't the greatest cure, although it did work somewhat better."
"It's truly amazing along with the way you automated most of the systems on the ship. We never thought that anyone could operate in interceptor with just two people, especially with all your upgraded systems. Your engines would make this truly the fastest and best armed ship in this sector, except maybe for this Sling-ship. We are prepared to make you an offer for your ship."
"I'm sorry but the 'Luck of the Irish' is not for sale. It is not just our ship, it's our home."
"We can make you a fantastic offer. Just the upgrades and inventions alone, could help save a lot of lives."
Tom spoke up, saying, "I'm sorry but our ship is not for sale, and I don't think you can seize it, since nothing in it is illegal. All the upgrades and inventions used in it are Desirée's own ideas."
The representative of the Bureau of ships then said, "All of the designs and ideas are just amazing. Is there any way we can talk you into working for us?"
"I'm sorry, but Tom and I are a team. We only work together, and the 'Luck of the Irish' is more than just a ship. It is our home and business. However, I do still have all my drawings and ideas, although I haven't had time to patent them all, yet."
"Don't worry about that. We are prepared to buy almost all of your ideas at a very high price! We are also prepared to offer you a contract giving us first option on any new ideas, at similar, or better, prices."
"I'm not sure how well that would work out. Most ideas I have, I think up for our own use."
"You would still be able to use them for your own use. Just think of your use of them as a final test. Besides making a huge amount of credits for your ideas, we will also help supply you with anything you need... within reason."
Desirée thought for a minute and said, "In that case... Sergeant Willard showed me the fembot's he modified to be used by the ship's AI as maintenance and support robots. I thought of a couple of ways that they may be used in combat, to help lessen the risk to human life."
This seemed to really get their attention, and a representative of the Department of Weapons said, "How can you use a robot for combat, since their basic programming would fry their brains if they were to cause harm to an intelligent being?"
"It's really quite simple. You don't arm them with lethal force. They are quite able to use something that would just stun or incapacitate the enemy. By being overseen by a ship's AI, they have a much broader range of computer power over their basic programming, therefore making them much more versatile."
"That's so simple! Why hasn't anybody ever thought about that before?"
"That's easy! Before Sergeant Willard showed me the way he upgraded some of the newest fembots, to have much larger programming capacity and to be able to interface with the ships AIs, nobody ever thought of it as feasible."
"I can see that the Imperial Department of Defense and you are going to have a long and profitable relationship."
"Just remember my first priorities are to my husband and family! All of this is just secondary."
After all that, Commander McLain, Tom, and the Representative from the Imperial Guard Headquarters got together for a planning session on rescuing the ambassador's daughter.
The headquarters representative started out by saying, "Mister O'Connor we have been observing you since your discharge on the possibility of recruiting you to the Imperial Guard. However, after seeing the way you have operated since you became a bounty hunter, it was recommended by Imperial Order that you not be recruited into the Guard. Rather you are to be recruited as one of the Emperor's Peacekeepers. You will remain undercover as a bounty hunter, as much as possible. You will, however, have the authority of a full Commander in the Imperial Guard. We are doing this because of the way you operate. You try to maintain the peace without undue bloodshed, and we appreciate that."
"I was unaware that the Empire had peacekeepers of its own. I thought all peacekeepers were planetary?"
"Most peacekeepers are planetary based. Imperial Peacekeepers are more the guardians of the Empire. They keep an eye on the many different planetary governments and organizations, always looking for corruption."
"So I'll just be mostly keeping an eye open? And what if I see something? I'm just one man. I don't think I can take on a planetary government all on my own."
"No, we want you to stay undercover as much as possible, unless you can see it's just a small case that you can handle on your own. If not, then you identify yourself to a higher authority, and let them handle it. If it is too big for you to handle by yourself, and you can't trust the planetary government, then you contact the Imperial Guard command. They will send troops to handle it."
"And in the meantime, I stay a Licensed Bounty Hunter?"
"Yes, that's about it. You will still be eligible to collect any and all bounties, plus you have the support of the Imperial Guard and the Galactic Marines. That includes supplying intelligence, support for you and your ship, and backup when needed."
We found out where the ambassador's daughter was being held from the captured pirates. She was on Wolf Three. We're just getting started on planning the upcoming mission, when Tom O'Connor walked into the room.
Tom said, "Good it looks like I'm just in time for the plan on how we're going to take the ambassador's daughter back."
"We are going in on this mission. We are grateful for all your help but this is a job for the Imperial Guard that's why we were assigned this case in the first place."
Tom said, "I don't care if you were assigned to the case! Desirée and I have a vested interest in this, too! I plan on carrying out the rescue, and collecting the twenty-five million credits, plus all the other bounties on the other pirates. I know that you're used to working alone. However, as soon as you land close enough to do any good, they will spot you as military. They will either harm, or kill the ambassador's daughter, or they will move her. With me using the 'Luck of the Irish', which is registered as a private yacht, I can land my ship right at the spaceport. That will give me a convenient base of operations."
"If it's just a matter of your ship, we could commandeer it for use on this mission, or use a different ship."
"What a short memory you have. Don't you remember that just a couple of hours ago, I was appointed to the Imperial Peacekeepers? In other words, this gives me the same authority to rescue the ambassador's daughter as you have!"
"I guess you have the authority. It's just that we are all used to working together and we don't like having to babysit a newcomer who puts this mission in jeopardy."
"Don't worry about me. I had enough experience while I was in the Galactic Marines. Just worry about your own newcomer, Lieutenant Jackson."
Edited By TeNderLoin