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"Exiting gate in t-minus 30. Hold onto your hats, boys and girls, this one's gonna be rough." The intercom crowed, the crowded freighter packed to the brim with refugees from their various worlds, fleeing the threats that now filled former Confederacy space. The deep, seismic thrum of the translight engines began to ebb, the shaking of the ship increasing steadily as the timer clicked closer to zero. Somewhere in the crowd, a baby's cries were hushed by a worried mother, not used to the translight gates or the turbulence they contained. The vibrating reached it's apex, and, almost as suddenly as it began, stopped. "Ladies and gentlemen," The intercom crackled, a voice drifting out into the bay. The side windows creaked, and the blast shutters slid upwards, revealing a dirty, city-covered world, surrounded by exoconstructs and myriad ships headed to all corners of the Sagittarius Arm with cargo of various types. "Welcome to Haven."

Much was the same all across what had once been regarded as "frontier" space, colonies that merely seemed to... exist. They served no purpose, other than simply holding the overflow of humanity as it spilled across the stars, pushing other, lesser races back into the distant, dusty star systems that populated the other arms of the Milky Way. Ask any human, and they will tell you that the Sagittarius Arm was Humanity's second bastion, a new empire to rival the ones of old. Haven? A backwater hive, corrupt and full of filth, human or otherwise.  Many of the passengers aboard had nowhere to go but further into the gate system, hoping they would eventually find a colony worthy of their inhabitation. Some merely drifted from world to world, running on booze and starship fuel as they reminisced about bygone days aboard their junkers that drifted among the nebulae and stars.

"Docking sequences are commencing. Passengers, you are now free to move about the holding area. Please collect all baggage and belongings, and move to the designated disembarkation points." The twangy, confident tones of the pilot's voice drifted from the shipcomm. "We wish you a pleasant journey, and thank you for flying Mike's Celestial Cargo!" He chuckled at his own joke, before the comm went silent again.

The doors, heavy, gear laden things that made an awful grinding sound as they slid open, began to slowly creak upwards as the familiar, metallic smell of scrubbed air drifted through, revealing a lit, immaculately clean passage towards a bulkhead, windows along either side of the passage showing just how close they were to Haven. The station, if it could be called that, was in actuality the headpiece to an orbital tether, heavy strands of ferrometals tethering it to the planet's surface using centrifugal force to keep it in orbit. Most of the newcomers were awed by this sight, but one, a weathered, rugged-looking man with a particularly military-looking holster beneath his longcoat, didn't seem impressed. Why should he be? He'd seen many different worlds in his time, many more after the collapse of the Terran Confederacy, many much nicer than this dirty world.

"So, where are you from?" A particularly excited young man asked him, either oblivious to his animosity or simply stupid. "I'm from Alastair, over in the Draconis XII system. Well. What used to be the Draconis XII system, before they came..."

The man merely sighed. "I'm voidborn. No colony to call home." He said simply, his voice hard and more than a little toneless. "And, if you'll excuse me, I have a lift to catch."

The main hub of Cradle Station, the nexus of the spacedock where the many crowds clashed and mingled, was a dirty, crowded atrium filled with hundreds of languages and people rushing from place to place, speeding individuals in the crowds along towards the massive tether elevators at all corners of the room. Neon and xenon lights lined the edges of the room, over the top of small shops and stalls, alleyways going off towards the massive arms of the station, serving as homes to the many beggars and drifters who floated from system to system. The man, rushed through this chaos by the flow of the crowd, grabbed a small plate of Khalini (A local dish made from a small aquatic creature found on Haven's moon. It is said to taste like calamari - if calamari was dragged in dirt first) at a small restaurant-stall near to the lift's access door.

"Haven't seen it this busy in decades," The man behind the counter said, struggling to make conversation over the din of the busy station and people as the recycled air that was blown into the room caused the displays and lights to swing, adding a bit more movement to an already hectic amalgamation. "People are saying whatever's causing the influx holding what they have. They won't dive into the SagNet, or the few fringe colonies that still exist in the Orion Arm or the core stars. Too costly, I say."

It had been only ten years. Ten years since the Confederacy had fallen at the hands of an open rebellion led by the nigh-mythical Callista Renmarr, who is believed to have died in the sacking of Mars when her flagship had been speared by a shot from the few remaining defense platforms from bow to stern, turning a once-proud ship into a million glittering fragments. Many still thought the Confederacy's defeat a folly, considering the Rebels had tech considered nearly obsolete by modern standards... but they'd managed a victory. Sheer numbers had overwhelmed Terra's defenses and burnt the cradle of Humanity into a charred cinder, splitting the once-sturdy Confederacy into numerous warring states as greedy enterprising factions attempted to fill the void, which then proceeded to be overrun by the rebels. The Terran Confederacy was now wild space, full of terror and outlaws, incursions to attempt a restoration of order from the Sagittarius Arm's autonomous government, the New Terran Republic, being far and in-between. But, now as more and more refugees flooded in from those outlying worlds, there was an unsettling undertone to it all. "So, want a drink with that? I've heard Khalini makes the throat dry."

"I'm fine." The man said, handing the cook his credit chip, then accepting it back after it was swiped and standing up to leave. "Have a nice day."

"I'm sure I will," He responded, smiling. "Actually, could I get some directions on this station?"

"Depends. What are you looking for?" The cook responded, leaning on the counter.

"The local NTR Constabulary." He responded, sliding his coat back on. "Turning in a bounty."

"Ah, so that's why you're so damned quiet." The cook said with a chuckle. "Near dock 2A. Next to the tether bays."

With a nod, the man vanished into the crowd once more, a destination now in mind.

Orbitals in this region of space were somewhat less of a dock, and more of a spacebound city. They housed everything from people and ships, to farms, marketplaces, and really anything else that could be thrown in. The design came from the very reason the planet below was packed to the brim- overcrowding. Extra space meant more people could be crammed in like cattle, and if it was cost-effective, it was liable to happen. Each was overcrowded, and many different types of people made their homes and lives there, brought by various reasons from myriad different worlds. As a result, each of these stations was massively diverse, cultures and languages blending in strange and wonderful ways as generation after generation was born, entirely native cultures developing to exist only aboard their individual constructs as the years passed. A floating nation, if you will.

While the bounty hunter himself wasn't fluent in the strange, Creole-like language known as Cradlespeak that was spoken in some parts of the station, most were kind enough to simply speak Inglis, a language based upon the ancient lingua franca of Terra. Stepping up onto the Constabulary's small step, he was greeted by one of the constables, leaving his post for a rather late lunch break. "Need something?" He asked, eying the holster beneath the man's jacket warily.

"Turning in a bounty, is all." The bounty hunter replied, moving his hands away from the holster and it's contents, just in case. "Might take a look around the planet below. See how life is in a shithole."

The constable's eyes flashed anger, but his face remained a rather forced smile. "Oh? Well, I'm guessing you're looking for the kiosk, then. Just inside the door, to the left." He continued out the door, before pausing on the steps "And, bounty hunter?"

The man paused, door half open as he turned back to look at the constable, curious.

"Shut your goddamned mouth."

He chuckled, and headed inside.

The constabulary wasn't much, and with a quick scan of his ID chip the bounty kiosk dinged an affirmative tone as it accepted the information he'd provided. CALVIN MATTHES, it read, in a big, blocky print, just under his picture as it compared the file and Cal's own face, the bounty hunter frowning to match the photo. Soon enough, he was standing back out on the little stoop that made up the front of the constabulary, stuffing the various ID cards back into the small wallet he kept in his coat, wondering how much passage was to the surface. Could always jump a crate down, He thought to himself as he watched one of the huge cargo crates glide along the overhead rails toward the station's port. Would probably smell better. Sighing, he re-entered the crowds that were hurrying along towards the tether bays, hoping at least that his trip to the surface would be worth it. They rarely were, after all, even back in the days as a Confederate Marine exploring new star systems and driving lesser races back into the stars. Dirt was dirt after all, nothing special. Cal had always felt more at home in space, metal beneath his boots and the stars beyond his window.

With a clang, the massive doors that separated the tether bays from the rest of the station slid open as the cars returned from the surface, crowds flowing out to mingle with the ones flowing in. Finding a small seat in the corner of the capsule, Cal waited for the small light built into the ceiling to change. Red, yellow, green, he thought to himself as it began to cycle through various colours, each representing a different check beginning or ending. As it reached green, the car was released from the Cradle Station's clamps, and began to accelerate downwards with it's cargo -human or otherwise- shaking and rolling as it thundered into the atmosphere, the first vestiges of dirty air burning against the duraglass windows that made up the edges of the platform he was sitting on.

Great. I'm riding a glorified meteor down to what is likely the dirtiest world this side of Alco Prime.

With a thud, the airbrakes deployed from beneath the pod, jolting everything aboard, throwing Cal from his seat into a rather unfortunately placed piece of luggage.

As the pod began to slow and broke through Haven's dirty, industrial cloud cover and Cal finished wiping the blood from his nose, he finally got his first glimpse of the city-planet's capital, New Prosperity. A rather ironic name, if you thought about it. It was a shining metropolis from the sky, towering buildings reaching for the obscured stars that overshadowed the rest of the city, giving the undercity it's name - The shadow districts. Slums, seedy establishments and clubs covered these lower levels, neon being the mItain source of light in the winding catacombs of alleyways and streets that wove a tapestry of asphalt and neocrete beneath the richer, 'perfect' city above.

Sliding the small dataslate out of his coat pocket, he inserted the small ID chip before thumbing through the various bounties listed on Haven. Most weren't too juicy - a measly 600 for a launderer, 4000 for a murderer, the usual. One, however caqught his eye.

Michael Stross, wanted for the theft of... something. It didn't list what was stolen, but the figure was quite heavy for a simple robbery; Sixteen thousand rolens, offered by the Lombard Corporation for his 'capture.'

Grinning to himself, he tapped the bounty, highlighting it in the pad for future reference as the massive car slid into it's dock in the shadow of the high city, doors sliding open to reveal dirty light and metal beyond.

So much for a vacation.
In Search of Solace
A story I've been working on  on and off for a few months or so due to a number of factors (school, lack of inspiration, general laziness), and have finally finished! Finally.

Anyway, it's set in oe of my many universes, this one in particular known as Frontiers. (names to be changed... eventually) It's a rather new one, needing lots of fleshing out and more backstory dedicated to it, which I'll likely do at a later date. If I can get around to it, might even continue it into something.

That's enough rambling for now.

Story/Universe belong to me, etc, etc.
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Illinath

Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
Welcome to this page. It's a nice page, huh? Made it myself.

So, I'm Austin, and I'm rather uninteresting. I'm a writer, through and through, and I'm hoping to eventually write and publish a book! (Maybe.)

I mostly write sci-fi and fantasy, but hey, there's always room for something new.



Aaaand that's about it.
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:iconi-hate-tucking-fypos:
Happy early birthday!!!!
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:iconillinath:
Illinath Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks. :giggle:
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WizzDono Featured By Owner May 1, 2014
fav.me/d7gra5e
Request's done!
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:iconcarriernovels:
CarrierNovels Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the :+fav: on The Key That Changed The World!
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:iconillinath:
Illinath Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
No problem! It's really good. :3
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CarrierNovels Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
:hug:
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:icondentora-tora:
DenTora-Tora Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Thanks for the watch~!!
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:iconillinath:
Illinath Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
No problem! :3
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WizzDono Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014
Foxes! by WizzDono
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:iconillinath:
Illinath Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Awesome! Thanks! :la:
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