Based on a strange dream I had.
The Treasure Planet of Marion.
"The legend dates back to the height of mans expansion into space. A time when humanity exceeded itself to the point where planets and ports where so far out, that the space between them was impossible to control. It was a time of advantage for those without morals, for there were so many ships vulnerable in the night, perfect for attack and then such vast space in which to hide from the consequences of crimes. The authorities of the age were soon in discovering that they could not police a universe so immense, no matter how clever and brutal they were.
"One of the most feared and hunted criminals to rule these night skies was the Dreaded Pirate Marion Groovy and his crew the Small Faces. They say he began with lone cargo ships or small passenger carriers, but even with these early ventures his cruelty and mirthless ways were well known. As the years went by his crimes grew more planned and precise as he chased after objects of only the greatest value or attacking people and even planets merely for the challenge.
"It seemed no one was safe from his assault and there was nothing that could be done, that is till the human race began to return home. They retreated to a smaller area of space; the six central systems to which we have remained to this day. And as the home of the humans became smaller, so did the opportunities for criminals such as Marion. Every act of piracy was a risk but none the less he would not give in, seeing it only as a fresh challenge. Eventually it was the betrayal of one of his own that destroyed him. You see the-"
All attention was stolen from the grey haired storyteller, as the stern voice of the ships captain came over the internal speaker. "Okay everyone, I would just like to inform you all that we have just gone beyond communications range and are now officially in deep space." There came a click as the message ended and suddenly the room was unnervingly quiet as all present considered his words. Even Edward Simms, who had expressed several times the ridiculousness of the fear of deep space, lowered his data pad and stared thoughtfully at the communal rooms patchy red carpet.
"Officially in deep space," sighed Victoia, subconsciously rubbing a small silver necklace between her fingers. The plate of food before her suddenly seemed too much as all apatite was lost with the realization of just where they were.
"Officially alone." Victoia looked over at Gar, the wiry, dark haired engineer. They had been travelling onboard the Ennaxor for just over a week and this was the first time she had seen him looking remotely serious, which only served to deepen her unease. His glance flicked from the unseen table he sat at to Victoia and he smiled. "Well, alone with four history geeks and the Captain, could be-"
"Hey, I'm not a history geek," piped up the young man who had been leaning forward on the table, his head resting on his folded arms. "I'm…"
"A computer geek." Gar smiled as the young man glared irritated at him before sitting up and stretching feeling/use back into his arms. "Still," continued the engineer cheerily, "could be worse. There was that time we ferried a group of politicians from Rigal 12 to a conference on Earth. Now they were dull and a tad higher class than themselves. At least you guys have some good stories, enough I hope for the next four weeks, starting now, Gene, if you would go on with Marion and his mates."
"Oh yes." Gene Austin was in his early sixties and was an expert on myths and legends dating back as far as three thousand years. It had never been a popular subject amongst his peers, most historians looked more towards the political and social side, at how humans forever tried to destroy themselves or how cities, countries and nations evolved. Gene had never been interested by this, ever since a child he had been taken by the individuals, the heroes, the villains. Other historians often demanded some form of proof or documentation but to Gene those stories that travelled the ages with little more than word of mouth were as interesting as anything definite. He believed a myth could tell you a great deal about the people who tell them and what he loved most of all was the different versions, how each person could tell the story differently. Now as he leaned comfortably back in his chair, he tried to recall where he had left his own tale. "It was the betrayal of own of his friends that finally ended his career. One of his own men worked with the authorities and together they prepared to trap Marion by the third moon of Tara using a cargo ship filled much desired objects as bait. Only when the cargo ship arrived there was no attack, all they found was the dead body of the traitorous crewman. So they failed in capturing the pirate and yet in a way their plan did indeed work. You see that betrayal implanted a seed of doubt in the mind of Marion. He could no longer trust those around him and as his paranoia grew he turned on those who had served alongside him for so many years. Most were found dead on the outer planets and the survivors were hunted down. It is here that Marion disappears from our history."
"Ah ha!" cried the engineer triumphantly. "Is this where the much searched for Treasure Planet comes from. My mum used to tell me that somewhere out there in Deep Space was a lost planet filled with all the treasure and wonders of the universe, then my Dad would always add something about the core of the planet actually being filled with precious jewels and you'd barely have to dig to find jewels the size of your hand. 'course I did used to know this pilot, a tad eccentric, who claim that it government experiment gone wrong and anyone who steps foot on the planets will be turned into solid gold. So is that what we're really chasing? The Treasure Planets of Marion?"
The storyteller smiled and cast a knowing glance at Victoia. "You have hit it spot on Mr. Evans."
Gar laughed. This had to be a joke, there was no way that the Captain would enter Deep Space in search of a myth and yet Gene's eyes looked quite serious and the amusement softly curving on Victoia's lips did not suggest to him that she was having fun messing with his mind but one of superior understanding. Gar noticed how even Edward was looking over at him from his corner, his expression blank as he waited for the conversation to continue. Gar leaned back and folded his arms, a nod indicating that Gene should finish his story.
"The last of Marion's crew to be captured was a man called Bob Garrek and this man claimed that his Captain had lost his mind and returned to a planet on which they stored their plunder. Of course this man never told a soul where the Planet was located and many say that was due to the fact that Captain Marion never revealed it's location for fear of mutany. Others say it was because the man still felt loyalty for his crazed captain whilst most claim that he never told of the location because there was no such planet. Whaever the case, the legend of the Treasure Planet, as you call it, was born and that planet is where we are hopefully headed."
"There have been hundreds that have gone out to find this planet and many of them never returned. Why are the odds against you any different?"
"Because about a hundred years ago an explorer called Adrik Masters disappeared into Deep Space," explained Gene. "Then a year ago his ship was discovered drifting through the Jenna system. The ship was barely held together, most of the computers erased or destroyed. As far as could be told the destruction was not accidental, it had been caused on purpose by Masters who had then been found long dead in his bed. Of course the reasoning behind his acts were lost with the damage of the ships computers."
"This is where I come in," said Trix proudly, raising his hand in the air as though to assure everyone of his existence. "My father owns the company that found Adrix ship and I was the one that worked on fixing the computer systems. You see it took a lot of time on my part but I managed to patch together some of the systems and retrieve data, data that included the co-ordinates of the so called Lost Planet of the Pirate Marion."
"And then that is where we came in, being the only experts at hand willing to look into all this," joined Victoria. "Once we had looked over everything we knew that we had to follow the co-ordinates and with the backing of Trix's father that is exactly what we are doing."
Gar frowned and leaned questioningly forward. "So let me get this straight," he began doubtfully, "you're all traveling into Deep Space on the word of a dead guy. How'd you know you wont end up in the middle of nowhere? What if he was lying, or a nutter?"
"Do you really think us so dull that we would venture so far without any form of evidence Mr. Evans?" It seemed that Gar's assumption of lack of effort in this project called for a reply from the usually unsociable Edward. He stood as he spoke but did not approach them at the dinning table. "We took great care in our research, not only with the legend itdelf but also into the reliability of Mr. Adrik Masters and the authenticity of the number of priceless objects found in the cargo of Mr. Masters ship. Yes objects were found and discovered to be objects that were known to have been stolen by the Captain Marion. So Mr. Evans why don't you stop doubting our abilities and just concern yourself with ensuring that this ship reaches the destination you have been paid to get us to. Now if you'll all excuse me I am going to retreat to my room so that I can read in peace."
"Have fun," called Gar as the tidy suited man walked out of the room.
Victoria giggled. "Why do you always have to antagonize him?" she smiled. In truth Edwards stern, organized ways had, at first, made her somewhat uncomfortable, but slowly she got used to ignoring these traits and began to appreciate the earnest way in which he could delve into his work. It seemed to her that he really did enjoy what he did. "He's not that bad once you get used to him, but if you keep this up it's going to end up in disputes."
"I got to have something to amuse me on this trip and people without a sense of humour can be some of the most amusing people in the universe. Anyway away from him and back to the story."
"I am afraid that is the end dear Gar," said Gene sadly. He had been enjoying telling the story. "There is nothing more to say."
"But that's not really true though, is it." All eyes turned to the young computer technician. He grinned mischievously. "There is the question of the missing crewmen and the warning we found from Adrix Masters himself."
"Ah this sounds more like it. Do continue." Before Trix could explain there came a click from the internal speaker and in came the Captains voice. "Gar, I am reading a spike in the second right engine, I'd like you to go check it out." Gar sighed and resentfully heaved himself from his chair. "An Engineer's work is never done, particularly with me as the engineer. Hold on to that story for me." And with that he left the company to return to his second home: the engine room.