Summery-This story takes place roughly 625 years ago. It is a prequil side story for describing how the Houjin kingdom expanded out into the galaxy and it is needed for giving some back ground information about the Houjin people and the Kaizoku. It is also just for fun. I am a new writer, and I have been told that the fourth chapter is so far the best.

Gindoaw Hitati must fight for survival against hostile forces in a desloate part of the galaxy far from home.

Chapter oneEdit

Gindoaw gazed out at the stars, their beauty, majesty, and especially their mystery calling to him.

The year was 725 A.R During the the rule of Shogunate Akidaro. (1475 A.D) 25 years after the the existence of underspace had been proven. He remembered the broadcast on the com net and the excitement of the space riders. Soon, transit through the void would not take months or years and be far less costly, even with all the mining operations.(for naquadah/trinium, diamonds, iridium, palladium, germanium, gallium, tungsten, molybdenum, and other relatively rare things.)

He remembered their expansion phase. Now, with f.t.l capacity, the blueprints for generational colony vessels could be scrapped. They could really venture out into the universe. It was something Gindoaw had not expected to happen in his lifetime. Although, it had to happen in someones lifetime he mused.

"Gindoaw, they are waiting for you in section 12." He heard a voice come from behind him. He turned and saw Shakekio, his secretary.

"I know. I was just enjoying the moment. Inform them I am on my way." He said.

" Yes Karkari Gindoaw. " She replied as he walked down the corridor. He had made his way to section 12 of the first Seken space station.

When he passed junior officers they saluted him, even superiors gave him an acknowledging nod. He was going to be the first Houjin to face the large void around the edge of their territory. Years of testing with probes had finally given his team the data they needed to build the first probe which had successfully made a two way transit through the void in a reasonable amount of time. Refinement had allowed them to build a probe which passed the void as well as could communicate with homebase. Now, the first manned craft would be launched, with himself as the pilot.

The honor for him and his clan was immense. And if he did not survive, his family would be well compensated. He had reached section 12. He saw his vessel, named Storm runner sitting in its birth, being looked over one last time by teams of technicians. Security forces held back eager reporters. Good he thought..he had already given countless hours to interviews. Daimyo Houjira the commander of the station, who was standing near Storm runner turned approached him.

"Karkari Gindoaw. I know your training has been extensive and that you yourself designed much of the technology being used for this mission. But how have you prepared yourself personally for the journey ahead? " Houjira asked. He himself was unsure if he would be willing to undertake such a mission. Of course, he could not show that to this Karkari.(Karkari-noble, official, overseer.)

"I have. I have offered the ritual prayers to the Sora kamigami at the temple of Kokoro. I have meditated in the inner chambers of Kokoro and had my soul purged by the monks. I am prepared as I ever shall be." Gindoaw replied.

"Very well. All the preparations are made. You have clearance to board your vessel, the Arashi Sousha, also known as Storm runner and begin pre-flight procedures." Houjira said. Gindoaw gave a half bow in respect and approached his vessel.

Part two of chapter one.

Intro- This part introduces the Kaizoku Karuteru, a offshoot of the Houjin. They are a group of pirates, smugglers, and remnants of dishonored noble houses. The main adversary of the Houjin people for many years.

Light years away from Gindoaw, deep in the heart of a highly ionized nebula.... Kaizoku Mikiko stared at the man in front of her desk with disdain. The whelp had recently lost an entire shipment of liquid form Ahenahtu. He had been in command of a small group of drug freighters bound for the outer world colonies. A Houjin destroyer had ambushed them from behind one of the moons of their first drop off planet.

"Mistress, we ran three sensor sweeps of the region, scanners did not pick up any unusual e.m or subspace fluctuations. I deemed it safe to proceed with the deal. We had no intel about any large warships in the region...." Kortari began.

"You should have been more patient Kortari. If you had been for thorough in checking the system with probes before you entered you would have found that warship waiting for you. " Mikiko said to him.

"I did not launch probes because of the time it would have taken for them to return! We are already behind on all of our shipments because of the Houjin navy's desire to destroy us. Their vessels pursue us all over space. I have failed in my duties. I have failed the Karuteru. I have failed you house mistress. I beg your mercy, provide me a chance to reclaim my honor! " Kortari pleaded.

"And why should such a chance be given you? " Mikiko inquired of him.

" I have always served the Karuteru to the best of my abilities! I have been loyal to you and your house! " Kortari replied.

"I see. And yet with the first wave of missiles the destroyer launched at your fleet you turned tail and escaped in your personal craft, abandoning the slower cargo ships to the Houjin. You are gutless. A coward without resolve or honor. " she stated to him as she pulled out a Wakizashi.(Small sword) as fast as a snake, she was over her desk and holding the blade to his throat. He gasped, he had not even had time to blink.

" If it were up to me, your head would decorate my ships bow. However, it is not. " Mikiko moved the blade away from his throat and slowly walked back behind her desk. Kortari collapsed on the floor.

Just then, the doors to Mikiko's chambers opened up and a procession of noblemen strode in. "Son, are you all right? What did you do to him?! " the man in the lead of the group demanded to Mikiko.

"Nothing. I did nothing to this nothing."she said, gesturing at Kortari. " Your families financial support is still key to our operations. Because of this, I grant your request to spare your sons life. " She finished.

" Yes. Yes it is. Do not forget that without our help, the Houjin would have closed their noose around your houses neck decades ago! I take my leave of you now." the man finished.

Mikiko said nothing as all the men left with the whelp. What was happening to the Karuteru? The Houjin were tightening the net. It was becoming harder and harder to pull a profit, to survive. But were could they go? The void prevented them from leaving this region of space for greener pastures. How would the Kaizoku survive....

End part two.

" All systems ready. All lights are blue. I repeat, all lights are blue. Requesting final authorization to proceed with operation Defiance. " Gindoaw Hiati spoke through the com.

" Authorization granted. Docking clamps released. You may proceed. " came the reply.

"Acknowledged. " Gindoaw said as he activated his ships sublight drive. The Storm Runner bounded forward out of the station and into the vast void of space. As soon as Gindoaw cleared the planets gravity well he would activate the ships F.T.l system, his course set for the disturbance.

His mind wandered. He thought about his mother and how she would be praying to the Sora kamigami. She was among the Houjin that still believed in the gods, that they watched over the Houjin people. He thought about Lady Kioto Kusabana. His head of house wished him to marry her and join the Kioto and Hiati houses together. He enjoyed spending time with her. They had interesting discussions.

His control console beeped. He had cleared the gravity well. Now the jump into underspace would be easier on the drive. Gindoaw entered the proper coordinates and activated the ships F.T.L system. Power throbbed through the ship as the reactor reached maximum output. Gindoaw braced himself. Underspace travel always made him nauseous. A hole was torn in space, and Storm Runner leaped into the inter-dimensional rift.

Kortari Oukoa sat at his desk reading shipping data. He had been reassigned to data review after his failed mission. His father could only do so much for him after all. At least he was still alive. If you could call this life.... That blood bathing hag Mikiko....Kortari imagined her dying slowly from Vilshi venom, or perhaps having an accident the next time she took her yacht out.... How dare she threated the life of a son of house Oukoa! She would have to pay. Somehow. But even if he did mange to kill the whore, Kortari knew it was likely she would have sealed orders for her own people to kill off her rivals, just to make sure of her revenge.

Just then the door of his office opened and a Musha came in, escorting a courier. An actual courier? Kortari thought. This was uncommon. Couriers were only used when there was extremely sensitive information being transported, so sensitive it could not be risked even over a secure data link.

" Why do you disturb me Musha? " Kortari asked the warrior.

" This man has a data crystal for you. He says it is from your father, I had it scanned for dangers and found non. " he replied.

" Alright, give it here then. " Kortari ordered. The courier stepped forward cautiously, gave a half bow and handed the orange crystal to Kortari.

" You are dismissed. " Kortari said, the two visitors bowed and left. Kortari picked up the crystal eyed it.

Whatever information was on this very important. He slid it into a data port on his desk. A hologram of text appeared and he began reading. His pulse quickened. " By Milshu's katana...." Kortari muttered.

Gindoaw looked out at the blue tunnel of underspace. His ships F.T.L system was the most robust and powerful ever devised by his people, it would not take long to reach the eighth boarder outpost. Although the eighth boarder outpost was heavily fortified, the Shogunate and his council had felt it best to keep project long haul based at Arata Seken, for supply and security reasons. Gindoaw felt they were being paranoid..who was going to attack him? Why would anyone attack him? The Kurohayamimi had not been heard from since he was a boy, the Kaizoku would have to be mad to attack a fortified target like outpost eight, and the Aobozu were busy trying to rebuild and prevent total anarchy in their solar system.

Gindoaw believed everything would go off without a hitch. They had retested and retested and run countless simulations. He closed his eyes and went to sleep.

Chapter two.Edit

So, the Houjin had finally done it. Invented a drive system that could allow one to leave this part of the galaxy without dying from old age or boredom...who knew what wealth lay out in the universe! Being able to leave their prison....he had to give credit to Houjin engineering. The data on his crystal had told him all about the research that had been conducted over the past few decades, who was involved in the project, and most importantly, when and where the test ship, the Storm Runner, would emerge. Now he understood why the heads of their organization had been calling in every able ship and blade from all over the kingdom.

All of those men were being promised a big haul. And it was a valuable target. With the ability to leave the kingdom the Kaizoku could get away, far away from the Houjin and finally be free to do as they pleased. No more raids on their drug storage facilities and arms depots, or surprise searches of their cargo vessels. And he, Kortari, would be a part of the assault on border outpost 8, and not just any part, he was one of the four Raptor class vessels going after Storm Runner. His father had managed to barter back his old ship for him, the Dawnblade, and put together a crew of his own family house as well.

Retrieving Storm Runner and its drive intact was vital, the pilots life preferred but optional so that he could be interrogated. Well his attack force saw to that, the rest of the fleet would distract the warships in the area, as well as border outpost eights weapon systems.

He should be leaving anytime now....

" Kortari Oukoa, report to docking birth 12 immediately. " came a voice over the com.

Kortari pressed the com button. " I am on my way." he replied. Kortari left his office and made his way to docking birth 12.

Part two chapter two. Storm Runner excited subspace in a blaze of color and light. Gindoaw opened a subspace com channel to border outpost 8.

“This is Karkari Gindoaw Hiati requesting permission to dock. Clearance code blue 11879 Kioto 78. “ Gindoaw said into the com.

“Granted. Proceed too docking birth 3 . Welcome to outpost 8 Karkari Gindoaw. “ Came the reply .

“Thank you.” Gindoaw said. He powered Storm Runner forward towards the base. A few minutes later docking the procedures were finished and Gindoaw entered the outpost. A fellow Karkari official and an aid were waiting to greet Gindoaw.

“Gindoaw, we have eagerly anticipated your arrival. Storm Runner will be refueled and checked over again for malfunctions or other problems, should take a few hours. Feel free to use the rec room on floor 5. You have been assigned quarters on deck 4, room 20.“ he said to Gindoaw. "Sarasha, show our honored quest to his quarters." he finished.

“Thank you. “ Gindoaw said hefting a backpack over his shoulder. The servant led him down the hall. Gindoaw hopped he would have time to meditate before he left.

“Attack wing B through D set your helms to assume base assault formation as soon as we excite underspace . Wing A, wait 30 seconds a short jump away from outpost 8 and then go for Storm Runner. ” Korkari heard Hioko order over the com.

“ Jilkar! Jilkar! Get a handle on that faulty guidance array…you want to shoot down one of our own ships?! “ Korkari said addressing his T.O. The missile targeting and guidance system had been having what Jilkar called “hiccups” lately. If Jilkar was not so good with ordinances he would have had him shipped to a naquadah processing plant for incompetence in his maintenance duties.

“ Yes Lord. “ Jilkar said and he bowed well hurrying to do his masters bidding.

“ All wings, initiate pre jump procedures.” came the voice of general Hioko. Hioko had been banished from the Houjin military for unknown reasons. Well, unknown to Korkari. Hioko was among the best tactical minds the Kaizoku had at their disposal.

The assault fleet moved in unison. Power surged in all the vessels, and they leaped forward into hyperspace.

Korkari sat in his command chair. He could not wait to get into the thick of things. It would take hours to reach the outpost, more then enough time to finish getting the bugs out of his ships systems . He had thought about reporting them to get a larger a larger maintenance team but he did not want to risk being left behind. He was not worried. The bugs were not that big of an issue anyway.

In the control room of outpost 8, everyone eagerly awaited the test of Storm Runners F.TL system. The said vessel was currently making its way away from outpost 8, a safe distance away incase something went wrong with the ships drive. Large amounts of energy were being manipulated here after all.

“Kokiara, what do you make of this? “asked the officer stationed at one of the sensor monitoring consoles. He pointed to a mass of subspace fluctuations nearby.

“Hmm. Could it be related to the Storm Runner? “ Kokiara asked.

“No mistress I doubt that, one, they are in the wrong area, secondly Storm Runner has not activated its drive yet. “ he replied.

“Activate the defenses and prep the weapons systems, this may be an attack. Alert Storm Runner to return to this base.” Kokiara ordered.

“Yes mistress. Who would attack outpost 8? “ he asked her.

“Fools with a death wish.“ she replied.

“Gindoaw, come about and re-dock with the station by order of Shuseki Kokiara. “ one of the com officers said to Gindoaw over the subspace com.

“May I humbly inquire as to the reason? “ Gindoaw asked.

“There may be an attack force closing on the base. If it proves to be nothing the test will continue, but I want your ship safe within my outposts shields. “ Kokiara replied herself.

“I see. Coming about.“ Gindoaw replied. Storm Runner started making its way back to the base.

“Mistress, the subspace fluctuations continue to close on our location. “ came a report.

“Alert the Destroyers. Have them surround the base, overlapping fields of fire. “ Kokiara ordered.

Meanwhile…“We will arrive at our location in 15 seconds. 14…13….” Came a countdown from Kortari’s helm officer.

“Battle stations! All hands brace for jump into normal space! “ Kortari yelled into the ship wide com.

The Kaizoku assault fleet leapt out of hyperspace bristling with weapons, shields powering up.

“Target acquired. All wings initiate the attack plan!” Hioko ordered over the com. The fleet sped towards outpost 8.

Part three of chapter two.

“Mistress, we have multiple contacts closing fast on our location. They are not transmitting any IDF signals, however sensors are detecting energy spikes from each vessel as well as active sensor scans directed at this base. The vessels are approaching in pincer formation.” The T.O reported to Kokiara.

“Then regulations direct us to consider them hostile and begin firing as soon as they are in range. Arm all weapons systems. Alert headquarters to this attack also inform any nearby vessels as to the situation. “ Kokiara commanded.

The com officer typed at his consol for a few seconds. “Mistress, I am unable to transmit a strong enough signal to reach headquarters, the enemy appears to have brought along a group of subspace E.W vessels. The combined power of their interference is too much for our f.t.l transmitters. I shall attempt to break through the interference mistress. “ the com officer said as he continued working fervently.

“Work quickly. Deploy half of the stealth bomber drones to take out the E.W vessels. With all the interference those ships are emitting our stealth drones will be even more difficult to detect using subspace sensors. Let us use their tactics to our advantage.“ Kokiara ordered.

“Mistress, I believe a group from the aft side of the pincer has broken off from the main group, their trajectory shows them to be on an intercept course for Strom Runner. There are approximately 4 vessels. If I had to guess as to what class, I would say class 2 Raptors. “the T.O reported.

“Acknowledged, dispatch 2 destroyers to take care of them.” Kokiara told him. Something troubled her, this attack style was familiar. A surprise attack with a flamboyant main assault, but along with it a secondary goal. Throw in a long range com blackout. She had seen it before.

“They will be within weapons range in under a minute.” The T.O stated.

Kokiara knew that the attackers must be Kaizokou, pirates, robbers and thieves. They must be after the new drive developed for use on the Storm Runner. Stealing what they could not devise themselves. In this case , a way out of the Houjin navies tightening grasp. An ancient warrior poem came to her mind.

Why can’t they seem to get it?

The same thing that I learned?

That anything you accomplish

Must be fought for and earned?

Part four chapter two.

Hioko sabashi watched the target outpost eight seem to become larger on the holographic view screen. Outpost eight had been built into a large asteroid which was almost solid nickel-iron. The base was reinforced with nano armor and force fields. Outpost eight was a solid fortress , his fleet would take devastating losses before breaking it, especially with his daughter commanding the defense out outpost eight. Fortunately, that was not the goal of this attack.

The fleet knew that once the splinter group had acquired Storm Runner it was all ships fall back. Just a matter of acquiring that vessels technology now and then he and the other Kaizoku leaders could be safe from the Houjin navy.

Gindoaw was feeling perturbed. Not only had he been called back because of upper echelon paranoia, but now no one was telling him anything. He could not get a clear signal through to outpost 8 and his sensors were not giving him any useful data. He rubbed his temples, he was getting a migraine. He tried to contact outpost 8 again. “This is Karkari Gindoaw calling outpost 8 please respond. What is going on? Can you hear me? “he transmitted.

The response was in the form of a peppering of rapid fire auto-cannon rounds across his hull.

“Surrender your vessel and prepare to be boarded Gindoaw.” he heard over his short range com. “Repeat message, who is this?” Gindoaw transmitted back.

“Shutdown your drives and prepare to be boarded you Bakayarou!” was the reply.

“How about no? ” Gindoaw said in return as he raised shields, kicked his drives into overtime and began random evasive maneuvers.

“This is your last warning you ketsunoana. “ the mysterious voice said over the com again.

Gindoaw sped away as fast as his little ship could go, but his sensor readings showed whatever ships were pursuing him seemed to be keeping up with Storm Runner. Storm Runner shuddered, sensors registered hundreds of impacts from explosive auto-cannon rounds, his shields were being drained. Storm Runner only carried a few blaster lasers and an X-ray laser cannon for shooting down asteroids, these were obviously warships pursuing him, he was no match for them. Warning lights came on, signaling his shields were losing integrity. He saw only one way out. He flipped the f.t.l drive activation switches, power hummed through the ship. Here go’s nothing.

On board the Dawnblade…. “Kortari, sensor readings of the Storm Runner show a major power level increase.” Jilkar stated.

“Is it a weapon?!” Kortari asked worriedly.

“I do not believe so, it is a similar energy reading given off when we power our f.t.l system.” Jilkar responded.

“No! No no no no….your not going to escape you little worm! Charge the towing field emitter! We have to try and stop him! “ Kortari leapt forward towards the helm consol threw the posted officer over his shoulder and punched in a direct intercept course. He was going to stop Gindoaw from escaping…he was not going to escape and ruin Kortaris mission! This was his mission! He deserved this glory and would not be denied it by a whelp like Gindoaw!

Dawnblade came up very close to Strom Runner, auto-cannons blazing, subspace towing field generators powering up. Storm Runners f.t.l drive kicked in the exact same moment that the Dawnblades field generator activated. Both vessels disappeared in a blaze of light.

Chapter three.Edit

“Deploy the Vokami and the Makasui to assist the Kokoto, it is under heavy fire. Divert power from fusion cells…7 through 15 to reinforce plasma lance arrays. Tighten the beam coherency and direct the targeting computers to lock onto the highest concentrated energy emissions those should be the main power cores of the Raptor vessels. Shoot down those retreating bakas. And tighten up sector 4! There is a hole in our point defense fire.” order after order came from Kokiara and her officers responded with clockwork precision to make sure each one was carried out.

“Casualty reports coming in.” she herd someone say.

“The Lakoio is dead in the water and requesting assistance.” someone else said.

“Mistress, the pair of destroyers you dispatched to aid Storm Runner managed to get a garbled report through the interference, they say that one Raptor was destroyed, two fell back and one disappeared along with the Storm Runner. There was more detail but the transmission is distorted.” A com officer reported.

That would explain why the Kaizoku were falling back. The mission had been accomplished. The Kaizoku must have towed Storm Runner away. Kokiara closed her eyes. Outpost 8 had been severely dishonored this day. She took a deep breath and her eyes shot open, they could reclaim their honor by rescuing Gindoaw, retrieving Storm Runner, and killing as many thieving Kaizoku as they could find. “Open a channel to Arata Seken. Inform them of what has transpired. Begin rescue operations for our own men and vessels, and dispatch ships to bring in any surviving Kaizoku they can find. We need information.” Kokiara ordered.

Gindoaw was quite worried about his survival. He had activated his vessels drive at the same time that the enemy ship had activated its towing field, and now they were hurtling through the chaotic energy tides of underspace together. The mass and other “contaminations” caused by the other vessel was seriously disrupting Storm Runners highly tuned f.t.l field making for a very unstable ride. Gindoaw had already bit through his lower lip on accident. He had already tried to “dislodge” the other vessel from his own without much success, he had tried a kiron pulse from his reactor but it had had the opposite effect. He had tried exciting underspace but somehow the other vessels towing field would not let his f.t.l. field be destabilized, so he could not excite underspace. Now he was trying to cut power to Storm Runners drive but the safeties and securities he had designed were stopping him. If he cut power flowing into the active drive then it could create a feedback pulse of energy into other systems or the reactor, causing an overload surge. So, he had to shut down the naquadah reactor. Stop power from being produced. He was finishing the final shutdown procedure now.

His finger paused over the button…..but what then? It would take time to restart the reaction and power up the drive. He had activated Storm Runners drive in the heat of battle, with no time to reset the travel coordinates. He was hurtling through the void towards his mission target. No help around. Outpost 8 had been surrounded by warships according to his sensor data logs when he left. Would they be gone if he managed to evade the ship attached to him if he dropped out into the void to reset his trajectory? He had no idea. Besides, how would he evade the ship in the void long enough to power up again with nothing but space particles and radiation around? He could not fight the ship. Gindoaw saw only one logical course of action. Finish his mission. Cross the void. There was a star system on the other end of this journey according to his science team’s lab calculations. Perhaps he could hide in an asteroid belt or some such stellar phenomenon until his ship powered back up. It would take a few days to finish the journey. Gindoaw entered a meditative state in which he would finish the trip.

On board the Dawnblade. “Jilkar….Hadoko….you both had better find a way to get us out of this mess you got us into!”Kortari stated to the only officers onboard with science training.

Jilkar wondered how it could have possibly partially been his fault. He had just obeyed orders to activate the holding field. Frankly, Jilkar had no safe ideas to get them out of this situation. Nether did Hadoko, and she was an f.t.l field specialist. They had brought her along for when they captured Storm Runner so that the Kaizoku could immediately begin understanding this new technology, even if all she could do was analyze sensor scans.

Kortari was to blame for their predicament and everyone knew it. Kortari had been the one to plot the intercept course for their cursed quarry. But then Kortari had always been like that. He could find ways to shift blame on others in his twisted mind, and then run to daddy who always “fixed it”. Jilkar was surprised he had not been dragged before the lady Mikiko earlier. Kortari was a fumbling fool and a danger to the Kaizoku. Not for long however. Not to much longer. Lady Mikiko would be quite pleased soon. He just had to wait for opportune moment.

Kokiara had been communing with Daimyo Houjira, adding a personal touch in addition to the data burst of their predicament. “I see. And I agree with your assessment. The Kaizoku cannot be allowed to get away with this. It will only embolden them in the future. The war council is deliberating over the data burst you sent, but as far as I am aware they are currently for pursuing the raiders and reclaiming Storm Runner and Gindoaw before the Kaizoku can take ether apart to learn about our new f.t.l technology. I will contact you when there is more news to report.” Houjira replied to Kokiara. He bowed and reached to cut the connection.

Kokiara bowed in return. Kokiara sat down in her desk chair. She reached up and undid her hair bun, and then ran her hands through her jet black hair. They had to move quickly. Even with his mental conditioning Gindoaw would not be able to hold out against the Kaizoku pain technicians for very long. The captured Kaizoku were yielding little useful information. She had ordered the initiation of HMSM procedures but those took time. They had to set everything up.

She got up from he desk and shuffled over to her tea table and activated it. Well that brewed she could start unwinding. She walked to her closet and looked for a nice Kimono. By the time she had changed the tea was ready. She took a cup and sat at her desk. She sipped her tea, savoring the subtle flavors. Alright, time to start going through the latest reports she thought as she activated her desks holoscreen.

Gindoaw was awakened by his vessels automated alert system. Before he had gone into meditative stasis he had set it to wake him up 30 minutes before the calculations said he would reach the star system at the end of his journey. He checked his consol…yes his reactor was still ready for the shutdown. He grinned. During meditative stasis he had an idea, to shunt all the energy he could from the shutdown procedure through his defense grid towards the ship he was towing with him. It would probably fry his shield emitters but it could seriously damage the enemy craft and stop them from pursuing him well he waited for his f.t.l system to recharge. It would not be long now.

A short while later the two conjoined vessels excited subspace in high orbit above a mysterious world.

Chapter FourEdit

Kokiara was reading the latest tactical report on her holoscreen. Another contingent of warships had arrived and they were requesting supplies to continue the hunt for more Kaizoku bases. They had gathered as much intelligence as possible about said bases from what Kaizoku prisoners they had collected before they had been executed as traitors to the Houjin kingdom and enemies of the people. Unfortunately the intelligence they had gathered was not substantial. Only higher tier members of the Kaizoku Karuteru knew the relative spatial coordinates of any of the more valuable or larger Kaizoku bases for obvious security reasons, and the two that had survived in partially intact damaged raiding vessels had possessed implanted jisatsu devices and had died before ever coming close to the interrogation chambers.

That was so inconvenient Kokiara thought. She had no sympathy for the Kaizoku, although she knew them to be devious and crafty opponents. They were all were traitors and virtually all were honor less, and many of them were murderers, thieves and exploiters, willing to do whatever it took at any cost to improve their personal profits. The Kaizoku were dangerous to everyone. They had to be eradicated from Houjin space!

The only good quality about them that Kokiara could think of was that they had kept the kingdom on alert. Who knew what dangers lay beyond the void between the kingdom and the rest of this galaxy? Especially now that they would be able to build vessels that could cross the void efficiently. The Houjin people could not afford to grow soft. That could mean the end of the kingdom she cared about and had dedicated her life to serve and protect.

There was still no word of Gindoaw or Storm Runner. She sighed.

Gindoaw performed every maneuver he could think of and a few random ones, but Dawnblade refused to give up its pursuit of him! They would have him in a holding field in a few moments….he checked his reactor. It was stable but still needed more time to energize his f.t.l system.

Auto cannon rounds and laser bursts were especially dangerous to him now that his main shielding system was inert. His navigational deflector did not do that much to protect him from weapons fire. A disturbing series of impact pings echoed inside his cabin. He banked a hard left just in time to avoid what his sensors told him was a sizable volley of laser bursts. He was not sure if it was a good or bad thing that they were not using their heavier weapons on him. One direct hit from a fusion cannon and he would probably end up as space borne particles. Perhaps he would live just long enough during the process to feel his flesh being incinerated. He dodged another volley of weapons fire.

On the other hand, they were obviously trying to capture him, which meant they would torture him to try to acquire the secrets of Storm Runner more quickly then they could on their own. Well if that happened perhaps when he died at some point in time he could come back as an angry spirit and make their lives miserable. He chuckled at his own joke. Why am I laughing at a time like this? He thought.

All of a sudden Storm Runner shook violently from a series of impacts! Gindoaw saw flashing crimson and violet warning lights on all the displays! His propulsion unit had taken a direct series of auto round impacts and was only at 24% capacity. He was losing relative velocity…and Dawnblade was closing fast! No…no…no I don’t think so. It is not going to be that easy. He came about hard and directed Storm Runner right at Dawnblade.

“Lord I regret to inform you that we can no longer pursue Storm Runner.” The helmsmen said.

“Why not, did that swine flee into underspace?” Kortari demanded looking up from a holo unit he had been studying. He went pale when he saw the image on the main holoview projector.

“ Hard to port evasive maneuvers! Now! “Kortari yelled. It was too late to prevent all collision however. Dawnblade swung to the side and Storm Runner grazed its main propulsion units. “Main engines have been disabled, perhaps permanently! Power surges are occurring all throughout the propulsion system! With all the damage we already sustained…lord Kortari we are on a collision course for the world below.” Hadako stated grimly.

Both vessels were about to be involuntarily introduced to the planet below.

Mikiko was on the bridge of her vessel Soul seeker. She and a flotilla of raptors were escorting a large fleet of transport vessels to a new base location. Much of the loyal Kaizoku fleet was distracting Houjin warships across the kingdom, the rest were escorting transports to new bases like her group was. The honor less traitors were in hiding, waiting for this storm to blow over. They were fools. The Houjin did not give up easily, and would never give up such a crusade as they had undertaken. The Houjin had finally lost any tolerance for the actions of the Kaizoku. They had poked the dragon one to many times. The Houjin meant to eliminate the Kaizoku once and for all.

Mikiko had understood the need to find a way across the void, but she had voiced her concerns for the now failed mission to outpost eight at the council meeting and had been shut down by the other high ranking Kaizoku. She had known that weather they failed or succeeded to capture Storm Runners technology it would likely be the last grain of rice that broke the peasants back. And she had been right. Two dozen of their safe houses had been bombed by Houjin war fleets in the past few weeks, and one of their main bases had been assailed by nuclear ordinates until the whole moon was a molten radioactive orb.

The Kaizoku simply did not have the direct military resources of the Houjin kingdom, and besides having fewer vessels then the Houjin the ships they possessed were designed for quick strikes and ambush tactics not grappling with heavily shielded and armored warships.

“Alert, Houjin base ship and its escorts detected exciting underspace!” the T.O yelled.

“All hands battle stations! Initialize combat maneuver 8. Transports initialize f.t.l escape jump, plot a course for the auxiliary site. Raptors provide covering fire and protection and prepare to jump after the transports are away. “Mikiko ordered.

“Very powerful active scans detected. They appear to be targeting our vessels. Incoming missiles detected! Defensive tracking system engaged and I am deploying anti missile chaff counter measures. Mistress I must divert more power to our own sensors...and apparently to our com system their scans are so strong they are causing interference.” the T.O informed Mikiko.

“Acknowledged as soon as the fleet can escape into underspace do so. ” Mikiko ordered. She was tired of running. Intel had said the asteroid they were heading towards was currently uncharted by the Houjin exploratory guild. She thought that must be far too convenient to be true but they had to try anyway. She was tired of being right.

Gindoaw awoke in the cockpit of his vessel. Sunlight was beaming right in his eyes and he had to blink a few times before they adjusted. Odd he thought. The blast shield should be over the…exoglass. He saw that the glass was shattered and the blast shield had been ripped off and was laying a few yards away on some rock. It must have been one incredible impact to do that kind of damage. He was very thankful he had diverted all power to his internal inertial dampeners.

“Erg….” he groaned in pain. His entire chest felt like what the exoglass looked like. He undid his safety straps and tried to stand up…and received a massive head rush. He bent over and vomited all over the consol. Hmm, red vomit was generally not a healthy thing to produce.

He reached up and opened up the above cargo compartment and got out one of the gear bags. He rifled through it and found the first aid scanner. He activated it over himself. After a few minutes the results came back. All his ribs were cracked or broken but healing, and he had internal hemorrhaging which was also regenerating. Mine as well give his body a helping hand though he thought as he reached back into the bag and pulled out an injector. Now he thought well rummaging through the bag. Where the….ah there they are. He pulled out a cartridge of medical nanites, slipped it into the injector and dosed himself. They would speed up bone healing and help prevent infection until they all broke down. Then he pulled out a cartridge with glowing green fluid inside. Ahhh Mikipine a great painkiller with minimal side effects he thought. He gave himself a small dose.

He looked through the cargo compartment. There were two more bags. He had only had space for standard emergency and survival supplies. Including……he pulled a hand gun out of one of the bags. My customized Hekai-45, he smiled as he regarded the weapon. He strapped the gun holster around his waste.

Now let’s see here he thought well checking out Storm Runners control board. It was all offline. He bent over and pried the protective alloy panel off. The interior looked like the shattered exoglass of the cockpit viewport. All the crystals were broken from ether impact or power surges. He did not have enough spares of specific type to replace them all. He would have to actually redesign the software after reconfiguring the ships hardware. Programming new operating procedures would take a very long time. He sighed and looked upward out of the shattered view port, and saw a pillar of smoke on the horizon. Of course he thought that Kaizoku ship did not just disappear! They must be here on the planet with me. That complicates matters quite a bit….

“Jilkar!” Kortari screamed.

“Yes lord Kortari?” Jilkar replied looking up from the com unit he was patching.

“I want this mess cleaned up now. I want my ship back in working order as quickly as possible you understand!” Kortari screamed at Jilkar and a group of engineers.

“We are working as hard as we are able. If our speed is not to your liking perhaps you can request a new engineering team from Kaizoku command. The subspace com is fully operational again.” he said as he gestured to the device. “Just be prepared to wait a while for their arrival.” he finished.

Kortari shot him a death glare. “Just get my ship working again Jilkar.” he said and he walked to the subspace com. He powered it up to maximum and directed a encrypted hidden subpsace signal towards what he figured would be the closest Kaizoku safe house but it would still take a few seconds for a reply. He had to make a report and let them know that he had not yet failed his mission and that Storm Runner was still within reach. And perhaps after he should have them let his father know he was still alive.

Jilkar was busy patching a damaged data conduit. He knew he should not have antagonized Kortari like that because now Kortari would act more fiercely towards them but he had been unable to control his tongue. He was sick of that useless eel of a Kaizoku. But his plan was already in place and Kortari would be out of the way soon. A Raptor class vessel only had so much space available for its energy conduits. Conveniently there was a mid sized conduit that ran right by Kortari’s quarters. He had planned a partially controlled overload of said conduit. The damage would be a minor inconvenience to repair and well worth it to be rid of Kortari. Lady Mikiko would reward him well for this service as she always did. He just had to wait for Kortari to finish up with the com and head to his chambers. Jilkar kept one eye on Kortari behind his engineers safety mask. Patience, have patience Jilkar. Wait for wind to cause the ripe Gobo fruit to fall into your hands. Don’t climb the thorny tree to pluck it. Good things come to those with patience.

That was odd Kortari thought. He had not gotten any response from the safe house on the boarder of the Houjin kingdom. He had boosted the power to try and reach a few others but he had not got any response from them ether.

He shot a suspicious look at Jilkar and wondered if the insubordinate engineer had actually repaired the com or if he was lying. Perhaps Jilkar did not wish anyone to report to the Kaizoku….but why? Surely Jilkar could see the importance of contacting their fellow Kaizoku. Unless Jilkar thought Kortari was planning to tell higher ups of his insubordinate ways. Of course Jilkar would be correct in assuming that. Yes that could be it…

“Hadako, get over here!” Kortari yelled at her.

Hadako put down her diagnostic kit and walked over to Kortari.

“Yes lord?” she inquired.

“Inspect this com unit. Is it fully operational?” Kortari asked.

Hadako looked over the display consol. Then opened up the unit and poked around inside. Then she ran a diagnostic. “Yes lord. It is operating at full capacity.” she said.

“Then why am I unable to contact any of our bases to inform them of the situation?” he asked in an irritated tone.

“I am unsure. Perhaps your subspace coordinates are off.” Hadako replied as she checked them. They were fine.

“I know were our bases are Hadako.” Kortari said gritting his teeth.

“Well then, ether the signal is not reaching its destination somehow or there is no one to answer it.” Hadako stated. “I see. You are dismissed. Go back to whatever you were doing.” Kortari ordered. “Yes lord.” Hadako half bowed and walked back to her diagnostic kit. Kortari was troubled.

Chapter five.Edit

Several days later…..

Kokiara was glad that the war council had finally convinced Shogunate Akidaro to pursue this campaign. Kokiara was on a warship making its way towards a gathering point for a renewed purge assault on the Kaizoku infestation. Things were progressing well. They had eliminated many Kaizoku bases including several major outposts. One of the major outposts that had been discovered had been inside the massive Aoakaaka nebula, right under their noses so to speak hidden by the ionization. The battle had lasted for three days well they played games of hawk and serpent with the Kaizoku.

Over two dozen transports had managed to escape however. The navy was being stretched thin…Houjin space was vast. There were thousands of convenient hiding places. But even if the Kaizoku managed to hide, what life was left for them? Pursued and hunted, unable to resupply or do business enough to sustain them. They would die off eventually. Perhaps they would kill each other. The Kaizoku were finished. All they had to do was pick them off scattered group by scattered group.

The Houjin navy had no knowledge of the specific number of Kaizoku raiding vessels in the kingdom, but they had already encountered more then twice as many as were previously suspected to be in existence. All they had to do for an easy victory was keep them divided.

Mikiko was onboard the Soul Seeker scouting for new relocation sites. They had a handful of new safe houses up and running but Mikiko did not know how long they would remain safe. They were being pushed and pushed. She had already overseen an operation in which five biomaterial transports had had their cargo units been retrofitted to keep Houjin alive in stasis and then were launched out of Houjin space. They would each reach their destinations at some point. The journey itself was not long enough to make a Houjin die of old age, but it was far more economic to put a crew in stasis rather then stock up enough supplies and things to keep them occupied during the journey.

They had to survive. Houjin society had no place for the people that made up the Kaizoku Karutru. To strict and un-accepting of views on certain matters that did not agree with their own mainstream ideologies. Well, with one acception. In the scientific fields they were very open minded she had to grant that to them. But other then that…and then there was the fact that many Kaizoku saw that the Houjin had so many environmental and health regulations it made it so much harder to pull out a profit. Never mind the profits from addictives that were possible without humanitarian regulations. Her vessel would be arriving at a newly charted asteroid soon. Long range sensors had found it in a fluke, the Houjin did not know about it. It could make a good safe house. Soul Seeker sped onward.