Jesse James

A Pink Dormouse Production

 

Yeah, I’ve got auto-repair circuits; and bio-repair nanobots; and probably a range of other stolen alien technology that Space Command neglected to tell me about. I suppose you could call me a prototype for a project that lost its funding when they had a change of Supreme Commander. I think Servalan wanted to revive the project but then we had an Alien Invasion and the money went into building ships to replace the ones the fleet had lost.

Blake and Avon killed me? Not a chance. It would take a lot more than a couple of direct hits and a hundred metre fall to do that. I stayed on the base while I recovered; there were enough supplies to feed a full complement of people for at least a year and I was the only one left alive. By the time I was fully functional again and able to make my ship operational the war had been over a couple of months. Plenty of crippled veterans out there looking for work; who’d notice one more?

I had one advantage over the rest of them; I had money. Few words in the right ears and I was able to cash in the bounty on myself. I was actually quite surprised that none of Blake’s crew had thought about putting in for it themselves immediately the war was over. So I bought myself a better ship, put most of the remaining credits aside for later and started hiring myself out.

Of course I worried about being recognised at first and I didn’t want to dip into the ‘retirement fund’ for plastic surgery but it’s amazing the difference a coloured contact lens and a change of hairstyle makes. If anyone asked I just denied everything. And then made sure they didn’t stay around to ask again.

I kept track of Blake’s people too. They caused the Federation quite a few problems for a while then they just vanished. It must have been a year after I last heard any news of them when I was sitting in Deano’s Bar and Grill wondering if it was really worth my while to hang around or whether I should move on and look for work on some other hellhole station. I saw a good looking blonde walk up to the bar, obviously packing some serious heavy weaponry but I assumed she was looking for a new contract and took very little notice until she sat herself down opposite me with two drinks.

"I hear you’ve a ship for hire," she said. Pretty little thing as trained killers go but then a lot of them are, makes it easier to get near the target. I wasn’t about to ask where her money was coming from or who her backer was, assuming she had one. She offered me well over my usual price up front so that reduced my questions a bit further. And then she told me she was fronting a team, which saved me having to find a crew on Barker’s.

"Guns, explosives, security systems and a pilot." The way she said the last gave me the distinct impression that she was looking for a replacement as soon as possible. That didn’t bother me, I’m used to doing all the flying myself. Don’t exactly need much in the way of sleep these days.

Of course I bedded her. What do you take me for? Seriously, she was willing, I was willing and it was good a way as any to close the deal. Plus it meant I could keep my eye on her in case the whole thing was a set-up.

So it was the next day when I met the rest of the crew. Vila recognised me straight off but had the sense to keep his mouth shut- more or less- I think I’ll have words with him later. Tarrant, I’d never actually met when he was in the Service and anyway I’d gathered the night before that he was on his final warning before Soolin kicked him out. And there was no real reason for the Mellanby girl to think I was anything other than a survivor of the Galactic War that had been invalided out of the Service.

The Federation’s gone to the dogs since the war anyway, it’s about time someone like me shook things up a bit. Soolin’s unlikely to kick me out of her bed any time soon and I don’t need to worry about money for a while. Yeah, I think I’m going to enjoy being a hero again.

 

 

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