The Bold Marauder, Chapter 1, Part 1

The Bold Marauder

Chapter 1: A Man Without A Crew

Samson Black came to Port Royale with death in his heart.

He was no square-jawed spacehound of the old and new pulps; nor was he one of those scruffy, yet powerful villains from the same tales.  Samson was of middle height, fit but not bulky, a good shot but not a prodigy; his senses and mind were keen, but not supernatural.  But his gaze gave away the measure of the man. An enemy would find no give or compromise in those eyes; they saw only Samson’s goal, and the obstacles in his way. And that gaze promised you that Samson Black cared naught for the life or death of those who opposed him.

When the inspectors searched Samson’s bags for contraband -- the men of the Moon recoil with horror from most of Earth’s pests, and struggle mightily to keep them distant -- they found no fleas or rats; but they did discover a prodigious amount of blood-flecked currency, and several remarkably good firearms.  This might have raised eyebrows in Heinlein City or New Madras; but Port Royale takes a studious indifference to a man’s hobbies, and blood washes off.  The guards made certain to provide Samson with suitably low-velocity replacements for his ammunition, of course, and took quiet gratification at the way he paid the ‘fees’ with a smile and a nod. Clearly this was a man who was prepared for Port Royale.

As much as any man can prepare for Port Royale.  In the days of Samson Black, that city, blasted out of the rock of the Great Tycho Shipworks during the desperate days of the Invasion, bustled and plotted and jostled itself in a constant buzz of violence and wealth. Ships from all over the System and beyond came to do business or lick their wounds or recruit, all the while aware that no government nor NGO nor Great Trading House was there to watch their every move.  Most found this a fair trade for the danger and lawlessness found in the city; they even shrugged off the occasional raid by those wishing to impose their order on this anarchy. Every bright future needs its dark shadow.

But no four-legged rats lurked in the shadows of Port Royale. Port Royalers were still Loonies, and Loonies do not tolerate rats.

Samson Black needed things from Port Royale.  He needed a ship, and a crew to man her; and he needed work to give that ship and crew, to train them up to be instruments of his revenge.  But to do all of that, first Samson Black needed to have a name. One that the hard-bitten spacers of Port Royale would recognize, and respect.

Which is why he padded through the gloom that were the streets of Port Royale, the stars keeping cold watch over his movements through the dome overhead. Samson was looking for an opportunity. He assumed that the city would eventually give him one, if he only paid heed for long enough.