Author: Evan Alexander
On the last remaining colony on earth, a now desolate and fiery landscape, two men steal the STRATOCYCLE. The only hoverbike in the galaxy with a faster-than-light drive.
The last colony, Offworld, is a bustling epicenter of business, yet a seedy underbelly of bribery and thievery lies below the surface of this burning terrain.
”Are you sure they aren’t tracking us?” asked Pember, his eyes forward looking through the fiberglass helmet on his head, his hands tightened against the handlebars of the stratocycle.
”If they were tracking us, we’d be shot out of the sky by now,” said Orion, the secondary man who held his arm around Pember’s waist for dear life as the stratocycle zoomed through the air. Orion’s fingers pressed the tactile keys of the omniphone – off worlds compendium for hacking security systems. He held the omniphone tightly against his loose-fitting jet-black leather jacket, attempting to shield its circuits from the barrage of rain.
The shields on their helmets were illuminated by the neon effervescent signs of the business district of Offworld.
”Once we sell this thing to the highest bidder, we’re going to get out of here and never look back. I’ve got a wife and she’s expecting my son, so we’d better cover our tracks,” said Pember.
”You and I both know it’s not that easy. If we pull this off, the FTL drive will be sought after by every faction in the Galactic Peace Accords. We’ll be wanted criminals for the rest of our lives,” said Orion.
”That’s a risk I’m willing to take,” Orion said as he crunched the numbers into the omniphone, covering his tracks using a virtual proxy, and then sending a request for payment from the highest bidder on the Omni-net.
”That’s a risk you’re willing to take, but I never signed up for this, any of this. You may have nothing to lose, no family back home, but me, I’ve got a future, Pember. I’ve got people that need me, people that rely on me.”
The two heard sirens behind them, as the Offworld Police Force arrived, hovering in chrome armored cars.
”You used to talk about how you loved the risk, the chase – now you’re talking about being a family man. You’re not the same guy anymore.”
”And we’re not as young as we used to be Orion.”
”We’ll have to talk about this later if there is a later,” said Orion.
Orion’s hands fiddled with the omniphone, the payment had come through from the bidder, and the man whose arms were wrapped around the other’s waist, fiddled with the device as he delivered the money to two offshore accounts. Their fates and futures were sealed, for better or worse.
”We have you surrounded – do not attempt to flee, or we will open fire,” said a loud, authoritative voice overhead.
”You might have to shoot them,” said Pember.
”If it comes to that,” said Orion, as he pulled his BR-97, a six-shot light phaser out of his jacket holster.
”You might have to shoot them now,”
”Just a couple more seconds.”
”We don’t have a couple of seconds, Orion,” said Pember. ”Shoot them now.”
”Wait for it..” Pember’s hands revved on the handlebars, knowing it was now or never, and all of a sudden…
a hue of light painted the air, splitting the night sky, a fantastic, cerulean blast of energy – as the stratocycle zoomed past time and space, faster than air, faster than light.