Tag Archives: The Evolution of Vaughn

The Back Room

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430th Year of
Emperor Valek Foger XXVI

 

Vaughn pulled out a wad of bills, and peeled off a hundred crench and handed it to her.  She stood up, took his hand and led him towards the back.  Inside the back room, dark red couches lined the walls.  Half the room was filled with Geraldinians, while Fresia danced in the center of them.

Amber took Vaughn to the other side of the room, pushed him down onto the couch, and started swaying her hips back in forth to the music.  “I don’t really like this song, so we won’t count this one,” she said softly, pulling her slinky dress up over her head.  Amber turned around, backed up a step, and started dancing, standing between his knees.  Vaughn looked around her at Fresia, waiting for her to give him some kind of signal.  She twirled her head around, smiling at him.  He’d seen her naked before; aboard, ship showers were limited.  Fogerians, with their non-existant sexuality, didn’t have any trouble showering next to someone of the opposite gender, and didn’t make any provisions for Human modesty.  Maybe it was the atmosphere, the thumping music, or the fact that a beautiful woman was grinding on his lap, but he’d never seen her in a sexual light before.  She was stunning.  Small, firm breasts jiggled perfectly as she danced.  She was obviously not as experienced as Amber, but she seemed to be perfectly comfortable being naked in a room full of men.

She winked at him, acknowledging his presence, and turned around.  Vaughn put his hands on Amber’s waist and steered her out from directly in front of him.  His grasp was insistent and firm.  She grabbed his hands and pulled them off of her, then shook her finger at him.  “No touching,” she said.

“Let’s just chat for a moment,” Vaughn replied, pulling her down to the sofa beside him.

“Uhh, okay.  Sure.  What line of work are you in?”  Her momentary confusion quickly masked by professional experience.  He’d very obviously been enjoying the dance, she’d felt proof of that when she sat on his lap.  Perhaps he was enjoying too much, thus the quickly moving her off of him.  Her experience in the job wouldn’t allow her to embarrass himself by getting overly excited.  She knew once that happened, he’d leave and she wouldn’t get another crench out of him.

Fresia swung a leg around quickly, lifting it high over the Geraldinians heads, spinning herself around until she was facing Vaughn.  She nodded to him and spun around again, this time kicking the first guy directly in the temple.  His head rocked to the side, causing him to hit the guy next to him, and Fresia pretended to stumble.  “Oh, I’m so sorry!”

The one she kicked was unconscious, leaning on his buddy.  Two of them started to get up.

Vaughn patted Amber’s leg.  “I’ll be right back.”

He lept off the couch and crossed the room in two steps.  The two Geraldinians had Fresia’s arms, and she frantically kicked one of them between the legs.  He dropped to his knees.  Vaughn, still with the element of surprise, stepped on the couch, jumped off and drove his fist into the base of the neck of the other one holding Fresia.

Now free, Fresia kicked wickedly at another one on the couch, then backed up.  She and Vaughn stood shoulder to shoulder facing five Geraldinians.

“I thought you’d never get here.  I had to dance for these bastards for thirty minutes!”

“I was right on time,” he replied.  The five men stepped forward, every one of them taller than Vaughn.  He looked up at the closest one, who happened to be the biggest, and tilted his head to the side.  “You’re a big fucker, aren’t you?”  Vaughn made a fist and drew his hand back in a feint.  The Geraldinian stepped into Vaughn to block the punch as he kicked forward and down with his foot, hitting the huge man directly in the knee.  Vaughn felt the joint give, and there was a sickening crunch.

Fresia didn’t waste any time, punching another hard in the gut.  She twisted her body, throwing her full weight into the punch.  The guy she kicked in the groin was standing back up.  Two others rushed Vaughn, who they took to be the bigger threat, and drove him to the ground.  Fresia took one step and kicked again, connecting with the head of the man she’d previously nut-shot, knocking him unconscious.

Vaughn, down on the ground, punched two times quickly with his left hand. When the ring connected with the Geraldinians, ten thousand volts surged through them, addling their brains and momentarily stunning them.  He followed up with two hard chops to the back of the head.

He and Fresia were almost backed up to Amber now, who was still sitting on the couch.  “Good.  Two left.  Look, fellas.  We don’t want to hurt you anymore. We just want some answers,” Vaughn said.

“How about we just kill you,” said one of the Geraldinians.  His voice sounded like he’d recently chewed up and swallowed a large mouthful of gravel.

Vaughn drove a quick left into his throat.  The ring shocked him, and he collapsed.

“Last chance,” said Fresia.  “How were you involved with Tomas Werts?”

“Is that what this is about?” the guy asked, holding his hands out in front of him.  “He was a runner.  Tried to sell us out to the ES.  Boss ordered a hit on him.  Jongus put him down.  Real clean-like, induced a heart attack.  Boss said the dude was old, no one would ask any questions.”

Fresia growled, “Where do we find Jongus?”

“He’s the first one you kicked.  Still on the couch.”

Vaughn stared the man down.  “Get out of here.  Tell your buddies the Alley Cat is off limits to your kind.  If I ever see you in here again, I’ll be back.  And I’ll have friends with me.”  At the very end, he lurched forward.  The Geraldinian turned so quickly he tripped over his buddy, scrambled along the floor and then ran out the door.

Amber stood up, walked to Fresia and kissed her on the mouth.  “I knew you weren’t a dancer.  But you’re welcome here any time.”

She turned to Vaughn to offer the same treatment.  At the last second, he turned slightly, and she kissed his cheek.  “And you.  You’re welcome to do whatever you want.  Damn, I love a man that can take care of himself.”

Fresia started to put her clothes on.

“Thanks, Amber.  I’m sure my wife would probably disapprove.”

“So bring her too.  I play well with others.”

Fresia looked up grinning. “Yeah, but he doesn’t.”

Vaughn grabbed Jongus, stood the unconscious man up and wrapped his arm around his shoulder.  “I’ll take him back to Halle.  You get this mess cleared up with the ES, and meet me there later.”

Vaughn dragged the Jongus out of the bar.  He slid a few crench to the bouncer.  “I don’t think you’ll have a problem going forward.  My friend here had a little too much moge.  You know how it goes straight to their heads.”

“Yeah, man…  No problem. I’ll get you a transport.”

The bouncer walked down to the curb while Vaughn propped Jongus up against the wall.  Vaughn could hear Empire Security sirens coming.  Finally, an open transport stopped.  Vaughn tossed the unconscious Geraldinian in the back-seat and climbed in beside him.  “To the docks, please.  My co-pilot’s had a little too much Moge.”

“Yes, sir.”  The transport pilot turned left at the end of the block, and they passed a line of empire security forces heading the other way.

Dockmaster Frailg saw Vaughn struggling to get the Geraldinian out of the transport and came rushing out of his office.  “You need a hand, Captain Troupe?”

“Nah, thanks.  He had a little too much moge.  That’ll teach me to hire a Geraldinian as a navigator.”

“I’ve heard that about his kind.  You sure you don’t need a hand?”

“Yeah, I signed a contract.  I’m stuck with this big oaf for the next three months at least.  If he’s going to make a habit of this, I’m going to have to be able to load him up myself.”

Vaughn struggled to get Jongus’ arm over his shoulders, and then started dragging him towards the ship.  When he got near, Halle lowered the cargo bay ramp, but it was too steep for Vaughn to get the Geraldinian up in that fashion.  He set the huge man down on his back and grabbed his wrists to drag him up backwards.

Jongus grabbed Vaughn’s wrists and heaved, tossing Vaughn down the ramp onto the dock.  He instantly regretted not searching the man.  The Geraldinian was on his feet in a flash, holding a small plasma gun.

Vaughn stood up just as the man fired.  The shot went wide and Vaughn dove behind a stack of shipping containers.

The Geraldinian fired several shots at the containers before Frailg calmly stepped out of his office again and walked towards the ship.  “You are in violation of the rules of the Fogerian empire and of this facility.  Lower your weapon.”

“Fuck you,” the Geraldinian replied.

Vaughn laughed and called out, “Big mistake!”  In all the years that Frailg had been in charge of the docks, there hadn’t been a single successful incident of piracy.  Frailg was small, but astoundingly nimble. His race was marked for their speed.

Frailg walked straight towards the man and Jongus fired at him.  He leaned his head to the side just in time for the bolt to pass by.  Jongus fired again, this time Frailg side-stepped and continued towards the Geraldinian.

“Last warning.  Lay your weapon down,” Frailg ordered.

The Geraldinian kept firing. Frailg moved so quickly he was a blur.  His blows didn’t contain a lot of power, but in the space of three or four seconds, he must have landed nearly a thousand.  He punched Jongus in the jaw, and before the Geraldinian’s head stopped its backward motion, Frailg was on the other side of him, punching it back the other way.  Blow after blow landed, Frailg was all around him.  Eventually the Geraldinian collapsed under the hail of blows, unconscious once again.

Vaughn climbed out from behind the crate.  “I’m sorry Frailg.  I have no idea what came over him.  I’ll get him off your dock.”

“I’m sorry, Vaughn.  I have to take him into custody.  Piracy is a serious crime.”

Vaughn saw the Geraldinian’s hand move.  He started to warn Frailg, but the Geraldinian reached out and grabbed the small man’s foot.  The Geraldinian picked the dockmaster up by his foot and slammed his head into the dock.  Leaving Vaughn with no other option, he grabbed the small gun off the ramp and shot Jongus in the chest.

He tossed the gun to the side and ran to Frailg.  Blood was pouring from a gash in his forehead. “Frailg! You okay?”

“Ugh…”

“He’s dead.  I shot him.”

Frailg opened his eyes, and the long slits of his pupils expanded to an almost perfect circle in the dark.  “You gotta get out of here, Vaughn.  Toss me the pistol.  I’ll explain it to the ES.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah, go.  How could you have known he was completely mental?  Glad we got him before you two were on the ship alone.”

“Thanks, Frailg.  You’re a good man.”

“You too, Vaughn,” he replied, holding his head.  “Get out of here before the ES shows up.”

Vaughn ran up into Halle and closed the ramp.

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The Alley Cat

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430th Year of
Emperor Valek Foger XXVI

Vaughn worked around the ship doing routine maintenance for the rest of the afternoon.  In the late evening, he walked downtown, towards the market to get a bite to eat and a change of clothes.

After growing up and spending the first half of his life in the military establishment, Vaughn was accustomed to wearing a uniform.  When he left the military, he’d adopted a kind of civilian uniform in a similar fashion.  Hanging in his berth back on the ship were five pairs of brown pants, each spaced five centimeters apart.  Next to that were five cream colored shirts with brown buttons.  Five soft, form-fitting shirts were folded on the shelf next to five pairs of socks.  His closet was a model of organization.  On this trip, he’d added a formal suit for the funeral.

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The Funeral

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AUTHOR’S NOTE:  This book skips around in time a bit.  Not in a timey-wimey time-travel sort of way, but through flashbacks and Vaughn’s memories.  The heading at the top of the page tells you the year.  The “main” story happened in 432, this chapter, for example, takes place in 430.

430th Year of
Emperor Valek Foger XXVI

Two years earlier, when Vaughn got word that his best friend Fresia’s father was dead, he set out that afternoon for Foger.  Matthew was sick, so Sarah stayed home with him.  She gave her husband strict orders to send Fre her love.  After the funeral, the pair walked a block over and two blocks up to a little bar called “Twinings.”  Vaughn slipped the bouncer at the door a few crench and he led them towards the back, past the stage where a Human girl danced, grinding on a pole to the bass-heavy music.  She peeled a tiny string-top off and tossed it to the side, shaking her breasts at Vaughn and Fresia as they passed.   “Hey, Fre,” she called.  “Who’s the hunk?”

Fresia smiled slightly as she looked at the dancer.  “Hey Skye. He’s an old war buddy,” she replied as she slipped into a booth.  The bartender arrived seconds later with two moges.  The thick, dark brown, malty beverages were their drink of choice.  “Thanks Bode,” she replied and took a long drink.

“I’m so sorry about your dad, Fre,” Vaughn said.  “He was a good man.”

“He was.”  Her eyes were distant as she dwelled on his memory.  Vaughn didn’t bother pushing her for conversation.  Eventually, her eyes refocused on her friend.  “That’s kind of why I asked you here.  You’re the only one I knew to call.  Dad was murdered, Vaughn.  They called it an accident, but he was killed, I just know it.  He was in great shape, and had a physical two weeks ago.”

Vaughn took a long drink from his moge.  “That’s a big accusation.  Do you have something we can go on?  If you do we’ll find the bastard and I’ll skin him alive.”

Fresia took a long drink herself, draining her glass.  “When we find the bastard, I’m going to skin him alive.  Then I’ll apply dermal bandaging, and skin him again.  When I’m done with him, he’s going to wish I’d fed him to a heard of gnarg.

“Tell me what you know, Fre.”  Vaughn nodded to the bartender who brought another moge for Fresia.

“Dad was into something.  He told me he was going to do this one deal, and then he’d be out.  This one was going to set him up to retire.”

“Any idea what it was?”

“I don’t have anything concrete, but I’m pretty sure it was worine.”

Vaughn suddenly knew why Fresia had chosen this bar.  The music made it impossible for anyone to eavesdrop.  “Shit, Fre.  What was he doing mixed up in worine? That shit is big time.  People die from just one small dose.  What the hell was he doing pushing?”

“I dunno, Vaughn.  I don’t even know for sure that’s what it was, but he was hanging out with a bunch of Geraldinian thugs.”

Vaughn took a sip of his moge and set the glass down on the table.  The girl over Fresia’s shoulder was working hard to get his attention in hopes that he’d slide a few crench into a lacy band on her thigh.  She was extraordinarily beautiful, but Sarah would never approve.  He tried not to look, but she was good at her job, and she was physically perfect.  He briefly wondered if she could carry on a conversation.

“Where can we find these guys?”  Vaughn asked, tearing himself away from the beautiful woman.

“They hang out at a club on the outside of town.  Skye dances there sometimes.  She got me in last night to check it out.  Small joint, front door has two bouncers.  Kitchen door leads to an alley.  Main room has a big bar, maybe fifteen tables, and there’s a back room.  I couldn’t get back there; Skye says that’s where they hold private parties.”

Vaughn pictured the place in his mind.  Since his mother passed away he didn’t ever come to this part of town when he was on Foger.  “What’s the name of the joint?”

“It’s a Human bar, taken over by Geraldinians.  They just showed up and muscled all the regulars out.  Called the Alley Cat.”

“What’s the plan? What do you need from me?”

“Skye got me a gig dancing there tonight.  I’m going to kill them all, but I won’t have anywhere to hide a weapon.  I’m worried I can’t take them all unarmed.”

Vaughn laughed.  “You’re going to be dancing? After our homecoming gala?”

“Skye’s shown me a few moves,” she replied with a smirk.  “I got the job, so I can’t be that bad.”

“Fair enough,” he smiled and then asked, “How’s security? Am I going to be able to carry something in?”

Fresia shook her head.  “I don’t think so.  Just gonna be us.”

Vaughn thought for a minute.  “How are we going to handle Empire Security?  They’ll be there in just a couple minutes.”

“Skye’s my backup on that.  She’ll say one of them grabbed me, I slapped him and things got rough.”

“Think it’ll fly?”  Vaughn looked doubtful.

“There’s been a huge influx of incidents involving Geraldinians sexually assaulting Human women.  Ever since they took over the low-quarter, it’s like they have something to prove.  Bunch of macho assholes.”

Vaughn resigned himself.  Fresia was his best friend, and had been by his side since his third year at the Institute.  When he was named Captain of The Reetus, she was his only choice for first officer.  “I wish Hold was here.  Geraldinians are fucking tough bastards.”

Fre nodded.  “Me too, but he’s busy on Savye, he’s up to his ass in debt and the ruling council is breathing down his neck.  He can’t get away.”

“Anything else I need to know before this goes down tonight?”

Fre shook her head.  “I think that’s it.  Get in, bust heads, get information, and get out.”

“Alright, I need to run a few errands; I’ll head to The Alley Cat about twenty-six hundred?”  A Fogerian day ran for thirty hours.  The longer days and nights had significantly upset the circadian rhythm of early Humans.  These days, Humans were used to it, although their bodies never developed a need to sleep longer.

The pair stood up.  Vaughn hugged Fresia and said, “We’ll find out what happened and there will be justice.”

She looked at him squarely in the eyes.  “Thank you, Vaughn.  For everything.  I don’t know what I’d do without you.” As Fresia passed Skye, she paused, slipped a handful of crench into her garter.  Skye bent down and kissed her with a passion that surprised Vaughn.

When it was his turn to walk by, she shook her boobs at him.  He turned slightly red, slipped whatever bills he had in his pocket into her garter, and walked out, rubbing lipstick off of his cheek.

Vaughn headed straight for the central market.  He passed store after store, selling everything from gnarg steaks to hand-made tak bars, moge and harder liquors, flowers and transports.  Anything legal could be purchased there in the central market.  For those looking for less-than-legal items, as Vaughn was that afternoon, one just had to know where to look.

He buttoned his coat and slipped into the side door of Miss Autumn’s, one of Vaughn’s old haunts when he was a bachelor living on Foger.  The side door was reserved for special patrons.  Vaughn hoped that title was for life, because he hadn’t been a good customer for a number of years.  As he closed the door behind him, a high pitched voice called out to him.  “Vaughn! Honey, I’m so glad you’ve come home.  Finally decided to ditch that old ball and chain?”

“Hi, Misty,” said Vaughn, looking over at a beautiful blonde.  She was wearing a completely see-through bikini with tall heels and nothing else.  Eight years hadn’t changed her a bit.  She was sitting on a long sofa, with her legs crossed.  She kicked one leg innocently when Vaughn looked up.  “I’m still married.  Sarah’s doing well.  I have a son these days,” he said, smiling.

“Oh, Vaughn.  It’s a shame to see a man like you put out to pasture.”  Misty put one foot over on the couch and ran her hands down her body, lingering between her legs.  “Almost ten years I’ve been waiting for you to come back.  No one makes me scream like you.”

Vaughn shook his head.  “I got everything I need at home.”

“Why don’t you bring her along next time you come?”  Misty ran her hands up to her breasts and squeezed them.  “I play well with others.”

“That’s great, but I don’t.  It’s been good catching up, baby, but is Mikey still downstairs? I need to have a talk with him.”

“Yeah, fine, whatever,” said Misty, standing up.  As she walked past Vaughn to a small desk on the far side of the room, her skin went from milky white to dark green.  Her legs and arms lengthened, and a tail peeked out from her backside and waved at him.  She pushed a button on the desk, causing a door to open right beside Vaughn.

Her voice was much lower this time, as she said, “Last chance.  I can look just like her if it makes you feel any better.”

Vaughn nodded his head towards her and stepped down the stairs.

Halfway down he heard a voice call up, “Vaughn fucking Troupe.  What brings a badass motherfucker like you to my little hole in the world?”

“Mikey,” said Vaughn, stepping out into the underground shop.  “It’s good to see you man.”

Mikey was less than a meter in height and covered in shaggy green and brown fur.  He moved with deadly grace, in contradiction to his comical exterior.

“What brings you down?”

Vaughn held his empty hands out.  “I’m in a spot.  Some shit going down tonight and I could use something concealable that can even the odds.  Gotta get past a couple door guys.”

“Must be something big if you’re looking for a force multiplier.”  He held up his hands to stop Vaughn, who wasn’t going to say anything anyway.  “I don’t want to know. I have enough problems with the ES as it is.  I got just the thing for you, check it.”

Mikey disappeared behind the counter.  It sounded like he was throwing pots and pans, guns, knives, sticks, and batons aside.  When he reemerged, he was triumphantly holding a crench.

“Look at this son of a bitch.  I swear The Emperor, may he guide us safely through, would take this note himself.  But… you pull just right… and a little twist.” Mikey fumbled with the note for a second. “Hold on, it’s something like this.”  He fumbled with the note a little more before it tore in half.  “Alright… That was a real crench.  But hang on.  I got more shit.”  Mikey ran off to the back of the store.

Vaughn passed the time looking at the high-end plasma rifles hanging on pegs on the wall.  Everything on display was legal to sell, although some of Mikeys sources were slightly less than reputable.  Finally, the small man bounded out of the back room, backflipped off a Human size chair and landed in front of Vaughn holding up a ring.

“Tenth-gram of Argimonium.  Delivers ten thousand volts on contact.  Turns your punches into real stunners.”

“That’s perfect.  How much?”

“Can you bring me half a gram next time you’re in town?”  Mikey looked up at Vaughn.  His eyes were impossibly big.

“Half-gram?  Mikey… I’d take an ass whupping for a half-gram.  I’ll bring you a fifth.”

“Make it a quarter gram and we have a deal.”  Mikey reached up to shake Vaughn’s hand.

Vaughn looked down at his old friend.  “Fine,” he said.  “One quarter gram.”  The pair shook hands to seal the deal, and then Vaughn headed back to the ship to find some way to pass the time.

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I Need More Power

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432nd Year of
Emperor Valek Foger XXVI

Vaughn worked in the cargo hold, stripping panels that lead to power conduits and reconnecting old circuits.  “How many can I run based on our current generation capabilities, without disabling any of the modifications?”

“I was originally designed to host a compliment of seventy five guns.  Pushing the current generators to one hundred ten percent would allow for seventeen.”

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