The Flights of the Silver Orchid

The Silver Orchid is a frigate-class privateer vessel under the command of Captain Silas Thatch, who currently works for the Outer Systems Alliance (OSA for short). This story follows the adventures of him and his crew as they battle against everything that the universe throws at them.

The Silver Orchid drifted in the void of space, about half a gig off planet, awaiting docking permission from the spaceport authorities. In the vast mess hall in the center of the living quarters the crew drank the last of the ship's grog supplies and played cards as they awaited the plunge planet-wards. The wait since their last shore-leave had been a long one, and they were anxious to be back on solid ground, eat decent food after weeks of processed ready-meals and indulge in the local night-life.

Captain Silas Thatch sat behind his ornate desk and gazed vacantly at the array of plasmatic screens that covered his wall, constantly monitoring the status of the ship: fuel levels, hull pressure, supply levels, damage status and ammunition levels for the ship's 8000 caesium cannons. To Silas' left a huge cleersteel panel gave a veiw of the planet below him, even from this hight the lights from the city of New Francisca, the Hydria system's largest space-port. could be seen. To his right, a door lead out to a balcony overlooking the mess hall, from which he could address the crew. All around him were glowing lights, flashing panels and illuminated dials, all currently unattended, which were normally manned by the navigation control crew, who had joined the rest of the crew, with strict orders not to drink anything. So now Silas sat on his own in the control room, and waited for the message that would alow the Silver Orchid to head planet-side.

The Orchid was, as it's name suggested, silver. It was a medium class ship, half a kilometer long and shaped rather like a bird of prey in an attack dive. The ship was named after Silas' family crest, and had been stolen by him many years earlier, and re-designed to suit his needs. It had two side batteries of 250 guns either side, another battery of 200 down the spine of the craft and the remainder clustered at the bow and stern. It carried a crew of 2000, all highly trained and loyal to Slilas, and a small hangar, just large enough for twelve one-man fighters. It had four large anti-matter engines, very rare on any ship under capital-class, which allowed the Orchid to out-run and out-manouvre all but the fastest, most nible ships in it's class. It's computer systems were some of the best in the galaxy, mainly due to the skill and ingenuity of its captain.

Captain Silas Thatch was a technoid, a race of humanoids that  practiced robotic grafting, which involved the implantation of robotic components into the skin and body, and insertion of computer chips into the brain. The technoids had been practicing this for centuries, and, although grafting was oficially illegal, the technoids continued to design and attach all manner of 'accessories' claiming that they had a right to 'practice their culture'. Within the inner systems this excuse rarely cut it, but their popularity in the outer systems as technicians and computer fanatics in the outer systems meant that the OSA had never yet charged anyone.

Slias himself had an extra pair of arms grafted to his sides, one which functioned as a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and ammunition storage and the other which held a personal communication device and was strong enough to punch through a brick wall. He also had a ultra fast computer, with a 50 terabyte harddrive, wired directly into his brain, giving him greatly increased mental capacity. The computer panel took up most of the lefthand side of his head, giving him an odd, half-faced look, as hair only grew down one side and only one eye was natural. His robotic eye allowed his to alter his vision as he wished, a feature he had found invaluble during many battles and duels. His hair grew long and brown down the right side of his head, and his natural eye was a deep, blood red. His face bore the scars of many years of combat experience, and, although he was still young, at 150 he still had several hundred years ahead of him, his face bore a certain 'aged' quality, which had been especially useful to him and his friends in his student years, when he had managed to procure alchohol before any of his peers. He was six feet tall, an avarage hight for a technoid, and often wore a battered, faded trench coat, with his ranking badge stiched onto the sleeve.

Now, the coat draped over the back of his chair, hands behind his head and robotic limbs lying limply on the arms, he watched the screens constantly, waiting for the spaceport to reply, and tell him that he could finaly take the ship down.

The End

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