“Unidentified craft. Unidentified craft, please respond.”
The sound of the dashboard speaker pulled me from my slumber like the most annoying alarm clock ever. Trying to shake the wisps of whatever dream had filled my head only moments prior, I rubbed my eyes and reached in the dark for the switch, finally finding it on the console. I punched it in, my eyes still reluctant to open.
“This is Red Craft craft 775-C res–” My lungs filled with air by a sudden yawn. “–responding. What can I do for you?” I let go of the button to await a response from the long-range transmission. I’d gotten a few over the past couple of days, and none had been too helpful. Half of them were advertisements.
“Red craft, this is a Vigilant Battle Cruiser you are talking to. Surrender or prepare to engage.”
Any semblance of sleep that might clinging to my waking mind vanished instantly. This was no long-range transmission. Engage? The first vessel I have seen in weeks and it has to be a Knights’ ship. Cursing as loudly as I could, knowing no one was there to hear me, I straightened myself in my seat and took a deep breath just as another message from the enemy ship blared out over the speaker.
“Surrender now or be fired upon.”
Clearing my throat, I pressed the button on the dashboard. “Negative, Vigilant. I am simply passing through. No need to be hasty.”
“Red Vessel, we have a warrant for a craft matching your description carrying unlicensed cargo. Surrender now or we will disable and board you.”
I scanned over my screen, analyzing the craft as it came into my sensors. Fully-armored battleship indeed. What a beautiful piece of machinery. Certainly a danger to any poor hapless soul that might fly into its sights. And yet–there it was–I was no hapless soul.
I slammed some commands into the computer and smiled before punching the communications button in again. “Vigilant vessel, I really appreciate the offer, but I can safely say that you’re no threat to me at this, or any future, period. I’ll be on my way.”
The response was very irate. “Red Vessel, I’ll have you know that I have no qualms about utterly obliterating every inch of the metal you’re sitting in. Stand down.”
I punched the button in again. “And I’ll have you know that my trigger finger is accurate enough to fire a shot through your underbelly and into your main generator, flooding your cabin with nuclear material and sentencing your entire crew to a long and slow death by radiation poisoning. Meanwhile, even if you do get a shot off, My ship maneuvers with thirty percent better turning accuracy than your ammunition, meaning,” I sneered triumphantly, “You can’t even hit me. But I can hit you.”
There was a long pause. Excruciatingly long. I was ready to fire up engines at any moment if the weapons systems even dared to become active…but they didn’t. After what seemed like an eternity, the speaker came to life once more.
“Have a good night, Red. Carry on.”
The Need for Speed
The Span is immense, stretching from the blazing star in the center to the coldest reaches of the outer bodies. With countless moons, floating stations, and vast empty regions of space where things and people can hide, it is no wonder that a guild would be dedicated to the power of movement.
Enter the Red Shift Club, a group dedicated to the transportation of people and materials to wheresoever they need to be dispersed.
The Red Shift club owns, maintains, and provides transportation vessels, both for public and private use. Their inventory spans all classes of technology, from sturdy carriages to powerful and fast nuclear-powered interstellar ships. They make deliveries of materials both perfectly legal and somewhat questionable in nature, and live on a reputation of dependability.
Members of Red Shift are themselves very daring and sometimes considered fearless. They traverse dangerous areas of space without blinking an eye. Rumors that potential Red Shift members have their brain chemistry altered to reduce their fear response ar, of course, just conjecture.
The Club operates under a loose set of guidelines, which allow it to operate with some manner of agency of its own. One of these tools is a Red Contract, a document detailing a job before being hired. These contracts include the amount to be paid and the kind of cargo or people being transported, along with what is called The Crimson Clause: If an employer breaks his end of the contract, he can never hire the Red Shift again. With transportation so monopolized by this guild, such a prospect is devastating, and often leads an individual to be stuck permanently in whatever place he decided to make such a bad life decision.
The Structure of the Club
The red planet of Aecedia is a haven of raw metals and materials, and there the massive industrial complex of of Post No.1 is located. At the edge of the ice-covered polar mountains of the planet, the sprawling city there serves both as a garage to the many fleet ships, a training ground for new pilots, and a distribution center for items being shipped. The leader of the Red Shift, Nox, does not reside there herself, but prefers to travel as much as she can throughout the Span on a ship seeking adventure. She is a leader of high respect for her leadership skills and exceptional track record under fire. Her main advisors, “The Crew”, direct the Club’s factions remotely.
Name: The Scouts
This faction, specifically, deals in reconnaissance, and brings back information. They are stealthy and often act secretly, preferring to explore new places over spending too long dealing with a Ward’s petty politics.
The thrill of speed and danger drives this faction to seek out dangerous and so-called “impossible” jobs. Somehow, this group manages to do what others fail to even contemplate attempting. They tend to be motivated less by money and more by the prospect of brushing with death on a regular basis.
The delivery men of the Red Shift Club, this group has the reputation for an unprecedented number of successful deliveries of all kinds of goods. It is rumored they know secret routes and employ advanced technologies to avoid detection and make their deadlines.
People are a precious cargo no matter how you slice it, and as such one of the most popular factions of the Guild are the Poliots, who pride themselves as the unquestioned masters of the open void of space. Consistent and often bound by long-term contracts, Pilots can make a very enviable living in this work, whether hired by a company, a private citizen, or even a guild for dependable work.