They left me. The bastards turned tail and ran and they left me in this godforsaken on this lifeless ball of rock.
I’ve done good. Or as good as a man can do on these worlds. My parents died on Terra, in the same city-state-conglomerate they’d been born in. It was a place where as a kid you learnt protein paste was worth more than a flashy bubblecard or deck-of-nine.
I hitched a ride on a Valance-class frigate. The captain was a mean drunk. He sold me to slavers on Deimos, but not after getting his fair share of use out of me. That’d be enough to make a man lose his soul, but I like to think the fairer sex is made of stronger stuff.
I got out. I got a crew and a ship and we did a little trade, maybe a spot of piracy now and again. I found a life of my own. Not an honest one. Ain’t nobody in the world ever made it by being honest. But I didn’t kill anybody. That was my rule. We board a ship and we take everything but the CO2 scrubbers and the rations.
Towers didn’t like that. He didn’t like that one bit. A dog can be loyal and useful, but if it bites you, just once, you’ve gotta put it down. Because it’s tasted blood. It knows it’s master is not the alpha anymore. Towers bit me on the Valley-Cesa job. Shot two ensigns and I didn’t space him for it.
They left me on a ball of rock in the Belt. Took the ship and any crewman who volunteered. The rest got a micro-gee air-start pistol round to the upper cerebellum. I wasn’t so lucky.
I’ve got one way out. Plunder from an old job, the kind you keep in the CO’s vault and don’t let the crew know about. Someone blabs at a piquet game and the next thing you know there’s a Fed interceptor squawking for your transponder.
It’s a little black cylinder. Larger than a plum, smaller than a pear. There’s one button. No instructions or little stick figures showing not to insert it into bodily orifices or use as firewood.
Just a little button and the warning from the shiptech I took it from.
“They call it the Dorothy. Just tao the red button and it’ll take you home. Wherever you’re thinking about. One time use.”
Simple enough. Transporter tech wasn’t new but it was huge and grossly expensive.
“This isn’t your everyday genie-in-a-bottle,” the tech had said, watching everything in the stately ship be torn apart for scrap value. “You use this, and it’s not you that comes out on the other end. The combat troops who’ve field tested it? They don’t do so well after.”
I pressed a gloved finger to the top of the cylinder, felt the little red dimple of the button ease under the pressure and, in the split moment before sense could take hold, watched the stars scream into my face and the world fall from my feet.
I was home.
The city had barely changed in twenty years. The tower blocks still rose a mile into the sky, the air on Terra passing for somewhere between the output of an electrical fire and a rotting corpse, but it was home. The twenty-seven hundred block. Home to six thousand people.
From here I would plot. I would find where my ship was and every man who had stayed on the crew that day. I would hunt them all down, across the entire system if necessary.
And I would kill them.
Prompt originally posted by I_Pavlov on reddit and received 3 upvotes.