(Author’s note: This story takes place within the “Just Another Day At The Office” storyline. I would highly recommend reading it before reading this story)
Before I get to the story, let me introduce myself. My name is Fred and I work for IGCBCS in New Liberty. I’m good buddies with Sam, the guild leader for A shift.Yes, that Sam. So anyways, last month I went on my first vacation in forever down to the Southern Continent - you know, to tour the “historic sites”. So there I am, enjoying my vacation in Atlantis. It’s gotten quite touristy these days, ya know. So after touring the Museum of Antique Warfare, I head over to a local bar on the waterfront at Warlock Bay to have me a drink or two. Hey, it’s my vacation, I can do what I want, right? So anyways, there I am, minding my own business when I spotted him. He was sitting alone, nursing a drink. I could swear I knew him from somewhere. Then it hit me – sitting not ten feet away from me was Captain P.J. Nath! Yes, the Captain Nath! So I went over and introduced myself and we struck up a conversation. And what a conversation it was! As long as I kept buying the drinks, he kept right on talkin’. He made me swear never to let it get to the media or the net, but I can share it with you guys - it’s one helluva story! Just don’t go telling anyone where you heard this, okay?
(As told by Captain P.J. Nath)
First of all, I’m no hero. The medal makes me uncomfortable and I never take it out, let alone wear it. I often wonder if people knew my past, would they still have given it to me? Would they still think I’m a hero? Somehow I don’t think so.
Did you know I used to work for IGCBCS? Yup, worked right for Jeremiah back in the day. Until the “incident”, that is. Yeah, so I hit this user whose guild was NAP-ed with us. Oops. It happens, right? As if I was the first guy to make that mistake. Well, it nearly kicked off a war, even after I paid the guy back in debris. I got demoted for it, and booted to the night shift. Jeremiah fought for me, he was always good to me. But the higher-ups wouldn’t hear it, so I said “to heck with it!” and cashed in my chips. Sold my house and my hover-car, and bought the Alyra. I liked that she had her own power plant and I didn’t have to depend on anyone but myself. I planned to go live off the sea for a while, by myself. No more computer-based combat, or stupid bureaucracy. Here’s to doing it on your own! [drinks]
Ah. So that worked for a little bit, until the money dried up. So I thought to myself, “what do I have that can make me some cash?” So naturally I spent my last few credits on stealth upgrades for the Alyra and went into the smugglin’ business. Oh don’t look so shocked. Why else would someone own a super-fast ship that was totally off the grid? Here’s to fast ships! [drinks again]
I know what you’re probably thinking. No, I’m not a bad guy. I took just enough jobs to keep me afloat – mind the pun, ha! So for a while that’s what I did. I ran everything and anything: guns, illegal stim-packs, booze, alien porn – even some endangered species. Back and forth across the Great Sea, just me and the Alyra, it was great. Until the Drekons landed, that is.
One thing about being off the grid: I didn’t even know there had been an invasion until Jeremiah contacted me, can you believe that? I was out on the Great Sea minding my own business, never had any inkling we were under occupation. Anyhow, during that infamous trip to Atlantis, I watched that Sam fellow access the IGCBCS and a part of me felt wistful. I missed it a little – the thrill of making hits, scooping debris, all of it. They were good times and it was a good job, until the end anyways. But that life is over now. Sam can have it. I hear he’s guild leader now, good for him - he deserves it. To Sam! [another drink]
Since the liberation I’ve upgraded the Alyra with an even bigger fusion plant. Remember that movie they made about us? “Heroes of the Republic?” I wish the guy who played me had been a better actor. And better looking. Anyway, since then I can’t get smuggling work any more. I make my living now by running legitimate cargo and passengers. I sometimes even get booked for guided 6-day tours recreating the famous “Expedition: Atlantis”, if you can believe that. Folks want to ride on the world-famous Alyra and see the sights the heroes did. 6 days of nothin’ but ocean. Man, what some people are willing to pay for! The money’s good, but part of me misses the solitude and excitement that came with the old ways. Unfortunately there’s no going back. I’m too damned famous now to get any smuggling work, so I’ve gone legit. To smuggling! [yet another drink]
Hey, it’s getting late, but before I go I wanna tell you a story. About the weirdest smuggling job I ever took. You’re not gonna believe this when you hear it. Like I said, I used to smuggle anything they wanted. But the hands-down, number one strangest and most difficult item I’ve ever smuggled had to be this one: a real, honest-to-goodness, bona-fide princess! You heard me right. Her name was Vash and she came from a planet called “Risa”. Never heard of it. You’ve got to believe me though that she was the hottest, most drop-dead gorgeous creature you’ve ever laid eyes on! Apparently she had been carrying on a secret love affair with someone pretty high up in the Cestus 3 planetary government – a married fella, too! Her daddy – yup, the King – did not approve when he found out. He caught wind of the affair and had all the spaceports under surveillance. And so did our own government too! They sure didn’t want another sex scandal all over the holo-vids. Princess Vash desperately wanted to get off-world but with everything locked down they had to turn to “unconventional methods”. So she was snuck out of New Liberty and onto the Alyra in the middle of the night, and off we went.
Those were the hardest three days of my life, I tell ya! And it wasn’t because the governments of two planets were all-out hunting for us. No, it was because Her Royal Highness, was the biggest royal pain in the arse I’ve ever had the grand misfortune of meeting! Ridiculously beautiful on the outside, ugly and foul on the inside. She complained about everything. The food, the variety of the on-board holo-vid collection, even the temperature of her Royal Bath Water! Nothing I did was right or good enough. She treated me like a slave and insulted me and the Alyra every chance she got. God, I hated her. But she was mighty easy on the eyes, that’s for sure. Half the time I was too tongue-tied to answer her back. Probably a good thing, cause I would not have had anything pleasant to say!
By the third day, I was more than glad to rendezvous with her shuttle in the middle of the Great Sea and get her the heck off my ship. I’m telling you, one day more and the fair Princess would have met with a rather unfortunate accident at sea! Maybe a rogue wave, a rabid dolphin, pirates – I would’ve come up with something. It would almost have been worth forfeiting the huge payday and having to dodge assassins from Risa for the rest of my life. Almost. Honestly I don’t know what our guy saw in her. Oh wait, yes I do... you shoulda seen her sunbathing on the top deck, when she wasn’t barking orders at me. Hoo boy, did she look good in that micro-bikini! Here’s to smuggling evil, annoying - but gorgeous - princesses in tiny swimsuits! [one more drink]
So there you have it. The scandalous adventures of Captain P.J. Nath. What do you think of me now? Like I told ya, I’m no hero. Nope, I’m just an old smuggler lookin’ for an honest day’s work. Cheers!
Story sent by Shpilkus for the AE Stories event.