The Dark TriadNarcissism, Sociopathy, and Psychopathy. SummaryThrough a series of miraculous events, an inhospitable star system, not far from earth, becomes a refuge. Over time, the planets in the star system become populated and an interconnected society forms. This system has a violent history and is built around corruption and intrigue. Those who live under the ever-changing governing powers must kill or be killed and lives are preserved through lies; this star system is called The Horus System.
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The Dark Triad
Narcissism, Sociopathy, and Psychopathy.
Through a series of miraculous events, an inhospitable star system, not far from earth, becomes a refuge. Over time, the planets in the star system become populated and an interconnected society forms. This system has a violent history and is built around corruption and intrigue. Those who live under the ever-changing governing powers must kill or be killed and lives are preserved through lies; this star system is called The Horus System.
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Somewhere around 3000 A.D. Earth discovered travel between star systems and a new frontier formed. Around this particular time, the frontier stretched halfway to the Milky Way core. Two groups governed Earth Space -- the EU and EUB. The EU, or Earth Union, was a conglomerate of all the governmental powers on planet earth. Under this system, Earth dictated laws and maintained order in those systems that the EU reached. The EUB, or Earth United Bank, was the hidden force behind the EU and both organizations worked together to establish ever increasing control of Earth space.
A small fleet of ships, escorting the Bonnie and Clyde, were a few light years away from their destination; the frontier. The Bonnie and Clyde, two high profile prison ships, were heading to the frontier to offload their large criminal population into the ranks of the sorry souls pressed into labor on the frontier. The area around the Milky Way core was a vicious and dangerous place but the EU and EUB wanted the boundless resources and free space located there. The FS3000 Desaix protected the Bonnie and Clyde. The backbone of the Bonnie and Clyde’s transport fleet, the FS3000 Desaix was a command class ship that operated as both the fleet command and the main protection against aggressors. The ship was built with state of the art technology and in the region of Earth known as France. Backing up the FS3000 Desaix were three spotter detachments first, second, and third squadrons.
In second squadron, the Caduceus was dwarfed by its partners. The ship, built from the design of an old space shuttle, was retrofitted with all up to date hardware. The ship stayed ahead of the others as it was both the smaller and faster of the four ships in second squadron. The ship’s belly bore the symbol of the Caduceus. It was originally designed as a medical craft but repurposed for warfare and the hired mercenary crew that ran it simply named the ship after its symbol.
“It’s all clear over the com.” One of the Caduceus crew barked to the ship’s captain the routine update. The Caduceus, specifically its AI, knew this not to be entirely true. A star system not far away was colliding with another but the crewmember hadn’t felt the need to tell the captain as it wasn’t particularly important.
“Were getting updates from the other squadrons!” another crewmember burst into the Captains quarters with the alert.
“Well…what is it?” a tired and fatigued Captain, who thought he had been flying through uncivilized space for too many years, wearily answered the crewmember with a question.
“All clear…” the excited crew member was obviously hoping for something different but apparently it was the only news the other spotter squadrons relayed; although the Caduceus knew differently about that subject as well.
“You better relay back to command…” the exhausted old captain returned to his literature; titled, Memoirs of a Few Good Men. The Caduceus knew all too well that it wasn’t completely quiet on ‘the western front’. Radiation and debris was spilling over from the colliding star systems and a cloud was beginning to form in front of the fleet. All three-spotter teams, which flew in a prong formation ahead of, command received the data long after the ships detected it; since the crew never bothered to listen to the AI anyway, Caduceus let the crew figure it out on their own.
“We have to divert course!” the pilot relayed to the communication chain.
“Tell command…,” the tired answer returned down the relay back to the pilot.
“Command…” the pilot opened communications only to find something strange happening on feedback. There was no response and Caduceus was worried as well.
“Bonnie, there been no reply from…” the pilot, cut off as shouts came over the com.
“The Desaix was just hit!”
“What?!” the pilot began to panic and the ships information relay transferred the news to the captain. Caduceus rerouted some minor systems in order to boost communication and the fearful voice of Bonnie came out clearer.
“We’re under attack!”
“What happened?” The Caduceus knew what happened but decided not to interrupt.
“It didn’t happen, it’s happening!!” The transmission began to break up as explosions came over the communications speaker.
“Calm down! What’s happening?!” The Caduceus thought it was ironic that the pilot was yelling for the Bonnie communicator to calm down.
“It looks like a fleet…” another explosion rang over the frequency and screams began to come from the other side. “It took us by surprise…” the transmission began to break in places and the panicked communicator was panting. “Destroyed the Desaix before she could put up shields…” more static, “we barely got ours up…” more static, “heavy losses.”
“I’m going to contact the Clyde. Hang in there Bonnie.” Without waiting for another reply from the Bonnie, the pilot switched communication to the Clyde. This time the voice came through clearer.
“We can’t talk right now Caduceus…we’re communicating with your command ship the El Dorado.” The Clyde cut off communication to the Caduceus and the pilot was unsure of what to do.
“Who is responding?” The Captain shouted down the ships information relay.
“Apparently only third squadron…” The Caduceus already knew this since third squadron headed to cover the Bonnie and Clyde as soon as the Desaix was destroyed. The Caduceus also knew that the Bonnie had already been destroyed but didn’t feel like burdening the panicking crew with the news.
“What’s first squadron doing?”
“Holding course…” the pilot seemed to calm as the captain continued asking questions.
“We need to open group communication…” the pilot began to state as he manually attempted to reach all allied ships. The Caduceus knew an easier way to open group communication but didn’t bother since the pilot wouldn’t listen and liked to do everything himself.
“Were taking heavy fire…” the Caduceus knew that the Clyde was running from the attackers. The prison ship was both injured and barely holding out against the heavy bombardments.
“Third squadron en-route… just hold on Clyde…” The USS Chesapeake, the ranking ship in third squadron, was directly communicating with the Clyde but oddly not with her own squadron.
“H.M.S. Pitt responding…”
“USS Lincoln responding…” the USS Chesapeake had calculated right as her squadron followed their leader; the Caduceus knew they were heading to their deaths.
“The Carmen responding…”
“Is that the last ship in third squadron?” the pilot ran his question up the relay and the captain replied back ‘yes’.
“Open communication to H.C.S. Ontario…” the captain, sounding oddly thoughtful, more asked his pilot than ordered.
“This is H.C.S. Ontario, how does your ship fare Caduceus?”
“The crew’s shaken but otherwise we’re awaiting orders…”
“Good you should listen in on our communications with your command ship…” the H.C.S. Ontario didn’t wait for a reply and transferred coms.
“The Chesapeake is bloody stupid!” The voice of H.C.S. Ontario’s captain came through loud and clear as he addressed second squadrons ranking ship; the E.S.P.S. El Dorado. “They’re going to destroy their entire squadron with their actions.”
“Yes but the entire squadron responded so they chose it as well…” the argument went on for about a minute as the two captains hashed out what they should do. Both ships and squadrons stayed course; heading straight for the colliding star systems.
“USS Cotton, are you listening to this?” the captain of the Caduceus had taken his rightful spot on the helm.
“Is that you Archie, how is the Caduceus?” The USS Cotton, whose crew all hailed from Georgia, didn’t seem shaken at all by the battles; at least whoever was on coms didn’t.
“Why does everyone ask that…?” the captain sounded like he really wanted to know but didn’t allow time for a response. “What are you planning on doing?”
“Even if we’re ordered to turn?” no answer came back until the ARA San Martin joined in.
“How is your ship Caduceus?” the Caduceus felt like screaming since everyone seemed to ignore its opinion; but the pilot had put the ship’s AI on mute.
“Its fine, can anyone stop asking that?” this time a reply came back.
“It’s just that your ship is designed after a space shuttle…”
“It’s a retro look…” the Caduceus had grown worried that none of first and second squadrons’ captains seemed serious about the current situation.
“They’ll need to make a decision soon…” the San Martin’s captain changed the subject back to current circumstances.
“Either way what will you do?”
“Are you crazy? I’m not going back there! We’d be facing a fleet of at least twenty high end space warships.” Actually, the Caduceus knew that the exact number of in the attacking fleet was thirty and that they all carried EUB designations.
“Well who are they?” Another ship joined the communications and the Caduceus felt like screaming again.
“Nice to hear from you GSAFS Opobo…” the San Martin offered courtesies as something new began to develop.
“Help! We can’t hold on much longer!” The Clyde was frantically firing distress beacons. “Thank god third squadron!” the Clyde announced the arrival of third squadron as cheers could be heard over the com coming from the Clyde.
“Well hold them off! Follow the other squadrons!” The Chesapeake began barking orders to the Clyde as the sounds of battle came over the coms.
“Don’t need to tell us twice; thank you third squadron…” the Caduceus watched the Clyde move away as third squadron was enveloped in the enemy fleet.
“Follow us!” Both the El Dorado and Ontario barked orders to the Clyde in unison. With nothing else to do, the rest of the squadrons followed.
“What’s the plan?” the worried voice of the Clyde addressed the question openly; the Ontario announced the next action.
“We’re going to head into the colliding systems. The fleet won’t follow us in there.”
“Are you mad? There’s a reason they won’t follow us in there; we’ll be facing a wall of gas and debris…” The El Dorado loudly voiced its disapproval. In fact, the Caduceus, who had been monitoring the star systems, had discovered that the debris was in fact inter section newly formed asteroid belts and on the other side was clear space; well except for the planets and two suns on the other side.
“Any suggestions then? We’re caught between a fleet and colliding systems; only way out is forward.”
“I’ll follow whatever they plan.” The reply came from the Clyde and so the two squadrons led the Clyde into two colliding star systems. The resulting action was beyond insane. The entire fleet, although wounded, made it through the first belt only to find a second asteroid belt. The El Dorado, San Martin, Cotton, Caduceus, and Clyde all decided to head through. The Ontario ordered that first squadron head back but only the JDS Iwo Jima complied. The RFS Kruschev, GSAFS Opobo, and ITS Borgia, all disobeyed orders and headed after second squadron and the Clyde.
The solitary skeleton of an old space ship rested perilously among the decaying carcasses of so many other ships on the Eternal Planet. The ship had seen many ages and a few centuries go by with the various comings and goings of different ship models. The skeleton had been shrouded in the customary darkness of the Eternal Planet for so long it had almost decayed completely. The old material it was made of came from the distant bygone Earth-- a planet not spoken of since the founding of the Horus System. The material was different than the kind found in the Horus System and could withstand the years of neglect the skeleton had endured. When the ship had been decommissioned, its resting place had been a small plot of undiscovered land. After ages the crash ship had seen the small hill it rested become surrounded by a field of many types of metal and other unwanted pieces of machinery.
A solitary boy around the age of eighteen found himself traversing a graveyard of forgotten space ships. He wondered why he was here and more importantly, why his mentor sent him here. He knew his mentor had told him to get an unflattering ship but sending him to a graveyard seemed pointless since nothing here would be intact much less work. The solitary boy breathed heavily. He had been riding in the gravity boat for hours and was feeling tired and depressed with such a field of decay around. The driver didn’t even seem to notice his passenger but the boy wasn’t surprised because he was used to such treatment. The boy was a prefecture in the training program, for graduation into the College of Paudrinos, known as Purgatory. The grav-car’s, as most people called them, driver recognized the mask of Purgatory. Every student in Purgatory was required to wear the high-tech multipurpose neural masks, which worked to both hide their identities and discover others.
“Stop!” The boy gave his order to the driver with the authority that drilled into him by his mentor.
“By your command…” the driver replied with the customary response to anyone from a position of office. “Did your command spot something?” The driver surprised the boy as the driver hadn’t asked a question, nor spoken a word, the entire ride; this was customary when dealing with such types of people as the boy.
“Perhaps,” the boy lied. The boy was actually tired of riding but since the boy had been trained to neither show emotion nor tell the truth, he simply replied with an open answer. “I must follow this feeling for a few moments.” The boy lied again since he only wanted to stretch his legs. With his black Purgatory social wear, designed after the Eternal Planet style, becoming hot and stuffy the boy felt the internal conditioner kick in.
Back in the grav-car it had been cool but out here, exposed to the boiling hot surface of the Eternal Planet, everything heated rather quickly. The surface of the Eternal Planet appeared much like the Archaic Earth surfacing known as tarmac; except that the Eternal Planet’s surface was made of a different material, which soaked up the heat from the planets volcanic core. The Eternal Planet, surrounded by multi-layered fields of asteroids, hadn’t seen sun since it had been in the old system; so the planet had adapted to feeding off the volcanic heat dredged up from the core.
The boy was grateful no sun touched this desolate ship graveyard until he spotted something in the distance. The boy wasn’t sure if something had moved in that direction but he knew he would feel safer with his weapon out; after-all scavengers and the wild creatures of the Eternal Planet frequented the area. The boy feared creatures more than scavengers since his weapon wouldn’t work on any creatures from this planet. With no one else around to see him activate his weapon, an action deemed only a last resort move by his Purgatory training; the boy sent a thought to both his arms. On his left side, a shimmer ran up the boy’s arm and reflected a small oval radius, which covered the boy’s entire left side. The air around the boy’s right arm charged with static and the glove that had been hidden by the boy’s cloak, began to dance with electricity. The boy felt safe now but quickly realized his mistake; allowing emotion to dictate an action was a sin of Purgatory. The boy calmed himself and sent another though to his arms; deactivating the weapon and shield.
After a few minutes of walking, the boy approached his destination and now stood before a small hill. Atop the hill was the skeleton of a ship that the boy did not recognize. This intrigued the boy. The boy could clearly see the ship’s front but because of the angle by which the ship rested, he could see the ships underbelly. On the doors of what the boy guessed to be the ships launch bay was a single fading ancient Earth symbol; twin snakes wrapped around a sceptre. The boy immediately recognized the symbol and knew what he would call the ship.
The boy surveyed the region while he sent a thought to the communications attached to his compression helmet. A few moments later the driver of the grav-car answered.
“I’ve found it…” the simple response which the boy spoke into his mask was enough as a few moments later the grav-car pulled up to the hill. The driver didn’t bother driving the car up the hill but simply waited as the boy descended the hill. The two didn’t speak; in fact, the driver didn’t acknowledge the boy’s existence as the boy leapt into the passenger seat. The boy reached across to the consol and activated the long-range communicator. The other end picked up almost instantly but the boy had to wait the prescribed amount of time before answering.
“Mercury has discovered his shoes…” The boy, who went by the name Mercury when not in private company, didn’t see any reasonable explanation for this ridiculous code that his mentor required; since the boy’s neural pathways could be hacked and then listening in on transmissions would be pointless.
After a few moments of waiting another, longer and faster, gravity boat pulled up next to the boy’s grav-car. The newly arriving grav-car was flat and wide, designed for multi-terrain transport, but it only allowed for one passenger or driver. Out of the boat stepped a slender and tall imposing figure. The figure was dressed in robes similar to Mercury’s but coloured a dark purple; meaning the figure was from the College of Paudrinos.
A lone woman, swallowed by a sea of traffic through the sub-terrain city of Eclipse, made her way to her typical hangout. The radiation bar was usually crowded so Roma could lose herself in the atmosphere of gossip and the human landscape. Roma was part of the Eternal Planets ethnic group known as Eternals; a genetically enhanced people group with jet-black skin. This particular ethnic group did not feed themselves the way spacers did but instead utilized the indigenous adaptation to the Eternal Planet; they fed off heat and volcanic radiation.
Roma entered her favorite establishment, the Radrocks Café, and headed through the crowd towards the bar. Once at the bar Roma took a seat and ordered a drink called Eternal Water; an alcoholic drink sold only by places with the Triad stamp. Roma looked around at the other patrons; some were relaxing in the lounge, some were of high enough stature to pay for the private chambers, while others were mingling or dancing on the floor of lights. All were drinking both liquids and the radiation cast by the floor and ceiling lights. The Radrocks Café was one of the few establishments in Eclipse, which tapped into the boundless supply of heat given off by the planet’s core. Roma breathed a sigh of gratitude as she decompressed her breathing suit. Her black skin began absorbing the heat and radiation immediately. Her arms, legs, and the upper half of her face exposed to the light but she never removed her mask. Only a few removed their masks. It was a personal preference among such a large crowd but most had reasons for not openly showing their identities.
Roma’s Eternal Water arrived and she held it up to her mask that covered her nose and mouth. Sending a thought to her mask, she let the liquid pour through her temporarily open mask. Roma sighed and sat forward on her stool. She contemplated what her next move would be. Roma had just been expelled from the EFA, Eternal Flight Academy, and being a prestigious and regimented space flight school on the Eternal Planet Roma knew she had made a mistake. Roma’s addiction to an inhalant known as Jajuice was the catalyst to her dismissal. A man who flew all the way from Opobo both grew and sold this particular strain of the drug. Roma depended on the drug to fly because otherwise, she couldn’t have cleared her head but it didn’t matter now that it had gotten her expelled. Roma pinched the bridge of her nose while glancing around the room for her dealer. He was a half ghafcan half spacer and would stand out in this crowd. She spotted him after a few seconds walking in wearing his normal Earth styled attire with breather mask.
A day earlier Mercury and his mentor, Athena, stood in front of a skeleton of a ship which Mercury named Caduceus. The two were using their tactical readers and toggling through settings while scanning the ship for any threats. Mercury knew the driver of his grav-car was impressed but wouldn’t dare speak with a member of the College of Paudrinos present.
“We should call for back up… I can’t trust that this ship isn’t infested with something; smugglers use these old designs for a reason.” Mercury agreed with Athena but he was trained well enough that he never spoke to Athena unless a question was posed. “You can say something Mercury.”
“I could but you trained me well. Should I call in then?”
“Yes but use the com in my ship; it’s more secure.” Mercury didn’t reply but turned and headed for Athena’s grav-car.
“Mercury is sending an orange message…” Mercury once again thought of how stupid the code was but the receiver on the other end understood.
An hour or so after the call had been made a huge Planetary Assault Lander, known as a Long Boat, came down from the atmosphere. A group of about thirteen members of the Paudrino Guard dropped from the Long Boat; all wore full terrain combat suits. The Paudrino Guard had multiple detachments each assigned to a Paudrino and this one, detachment twelve, was assigned to Athena.
“Phantom squad reporting to command!” The largest of the group stepped forward shouldering an assault ion paralyzer, which resembles the rifles of Earth. Only the Triads ever carried firearms and when they did, they used non-lethal weapons.
“Phantom squad received!” Athena saluted the captain in her customary solute; known as the solitary solute, given by members of the college and conducted by crossing the hands behind the back and bowing while maintaining visual contact.
“Phantom squad requests orders by leave of command?” While the captain posed the question as a statement, his team was busy setting up a perimeter, the routine action taken every time a detachment of the Paudrino Guard landed.
“You have the leave of command to lead your two commands through the ship behind us.” Athena waved at Caduceus while the captain shifted uncomfortably.
“By leave of command, this captain wishes to state the danger involved in taking such high level persons aboard such an apparently treacherous spacer ship body.”
“The captain might want to check his language!” Mercury lashed out as soon as he heard the captain let slang slip from his concealed mouth.
“Relax Mercury; the twelfth isn’t accustomed to being completely regimented but they get the job done which is all I am concerned with…” Athena calmly chided Mercury before sternly returning to the captain’s insubordination. “Command respects the captain’s opinion but chooses not to follow it. Phantom squad’s duty is to carry out orders laid down by command so follow orders spacer!” Athena was the one to use slang this time and it made Mercury cringe; Mercury wasn’t used to seeing this side of Athena and began to learn how things were conducted outside of Purgatory.
“As command dictates!” The captain’s displeasure showed through his tone but he followed orders as he gestured to his team and then opened communications to the Long Boat. “The captain of Phantom Squad opens communications to PAL Socrates.” The reply was muffled but both Mercury and Athena knew the customary reply given by the lander. “The captain of Phantom Squad requests six personnel with a heavy mobile paralyzer.” A few moments after the captain had given the order a group of six dropped out of the dark sky along with heavy mobile paralyzer, which resembled a single man turret, which soldiers from Earth carried.
Heavy resistance from scavengers met the inspection of Caduceus but the twelfth prevailed easily in a matter of minutes.
“Guard this ship and call in pickup…” Athena relaxed on formalities as the less then damaged Phantom Squad went about their orders. “This ship needs a crew...”
“Where will we find anyone with the ability to fly or for that matter repair such a vessel?” Mercury felt stupid for interrupting but Athena was patient a trait, which Mercury was unaccustomed.
“Don’t worry about that just worry about finding our pilot. I’ve set up a meeting for you at the Eclipse chapter of the EFA. Meanwhile I will track down our mechanic.”
“Where are you headed?” Mercury was feeling apprehensive even though he struggled not to show it.
“Off world to Jana, I’ll be back in a week. Try to not get in too much trouble.” Athena didn’t wait for Mercury but briskly headed for her grav-car and hopped inside. The car’s cover slid closed and the car, taking only a few seconds to come alive, exploded into motion and was gone. Mercury, feeling abandoned during his first day outside of Purgatory, headed for his own grav-car.
“Where does command request my services next?” Mercury was starting not to care about formalities but since the driver persisted, he kept them up.
“Command requests transport to the tunnels; about time I got off the surface…” Mercury cynically commented his opinion to himself while making sure the driver didn’t hear.
“This driver requests which quadrant?”
“The Northern rails,” Mercury’s reply was bland and short but the driver understood and set the grav-car in motion, which acted and moved considerably slower than Athena’s.
In the sub-terrain city of Eclipse, Mercury found himself staring at the vents that lined the Eclipse roof and let out large jets of steam.
“Come in, come in, you shouldn’t be standing out here!” An energetic dean of pilots ushered Mercury in. The man was an overweight spacer with the customary pale skin but he had a beak nose with curly light blonde hair. Mercury suspected the man, who wore robes of very low office, used some sort of Geno enhancers to get his hair to change shades when exposed to motion; creating a very odd shimmer which acted contrary to lighting.
“You know who I am?”
“Of course, you were expected; I apologize for the lack of courtesy. Someone’s getting whipped…” the last part to his sentence the dean whispered but Mercury still heard it and chose to ignore the statement. “It’s just its exam day and we have many pilots graduating; everyone is busy.”
“I’m not here for the courtesy. I’m here to see my pilot.”
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