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A darker path

Kevin Kingswell

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Empress Carla Varos had only just recently returned home from her meeting with the other local national representatives and after the talks and the signing of the new agreement was quite worn out both physically and emotionally. Therefore when she returned to her private bedroom in the Imperial Palace she was confused and not a little annoyed to find Aria her assistant sitting on the bed with another woman who she didn't know. This unknown woman had the strangest outfit she had ever seen with a long black trench coat, a wide brimmed hate and knee length boots. It was clear whoever she was she wanted to make a statement and when the Empress entered the room the other woman smiled and leaned back with her hands locked behind her head as Aria stepped forward.


"Forgive me, my Empress I know you must be exhausted but I felt it important to introduce you to this uh lady" said Aria quickly and the other woman laughed quite loudly at the mention of the word lady. "Oh my Aria you haven't called me a lady for years now" said the other woman springing up from the bed and walking across to a nearby drink's cabinet. Taking out a tumbler and a full bottle of whiskey the woman poured herself a sizable measure before putting the bottle down and turning back to the Empress.


"The name's Galerian but you most people call me the Voidwolf" said the woman with a smirk. The Empress frowned as she tried to remember hearing that name somewhere but ended up drawing a blank. "Hmm sorry can't say I have ever heard of no Voidwolf" replied Carla who watched with some amusement as Galerian sprayed some of her drink over Aria in surprise. "What!!! Voidwolf? Terror of the north seas? Pirate Queen of the underworld?" she asked before shaking her head as she was clearly making no sense to the Empress. "Unbelievable all that hard work and for nothing!" she shouted before downing the rest of her drink and pouring herself another one.


"So Galerian" started Carla before the other woman interrupted. "Voidwolf". "Fine, Voidwolf" sighed the Empress "why are you here?" she asked with some annoyance. "To get give you some revenge and to get paid for doing it. A win for the both of us?" replied the Voidwolf with a grin. "Revenge? I seek no revenge" stated Carla quite firmly but the Voidwolf only shook her head sadly. "Course you do, for those you lost and for those now imprisoned. How's this for you. You pay me and I use my vast criminal contacts to raise hell with those that wronged you?" she replied.


"No I can't risk the nation and my people suffering anymore especially not for some petty revenge"


"What risk? You pay me in cold hard cash and delete the paper trail and I and my people make your enemies pay for their crimes. Come on Empress your people are suffering. This is the right thing to do for them"


"But the risk...?"


Aria who had been silent till now placed one hand on the Empress' arm with tears flowing down her face. "My Empress. My husband was killed by those Druk Yul savages. Is it fair that I have lost the man I loved. That our children will grow up knowing that their father died and received no justice" 


"Oh Aria.." replied the Empress pulling her assistant in close and hugging her, she looked over her shoulder at the woman who called herself the Voidwolf. "Do what ever you must to make them pay. For my people" said the Empress as she embraced Aria. The Voidwolf raised her glass in a toast, downed its contents and happily strolled out the room with a wide grin on her face and whistling a happy tune to herself. 

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The Voidwolf lay down on the long and comfortable sofa she kept in the main cabin of her private ship, her trench coat thrown on the floor in a heap leaving her in a tight tank top and tight trousers. She smiled and winked as her first mate Risha leaned down on top of her and their lips met as their bodies lay against one another. The Voidwolf wrapped her arms around her lover as the two embraced and kissed and she was just thinking of moving the fun on a little more when a knock interrupted them. Screaming out in anger Voidwolf allowed Risha to stand up and move back before getting up off the sofa and crossing to the door to her cabin and throwing it wide open with a loud crash catching the pirate on the other side by surprise. 


"What the fuck do you want!!!" she demanded angrily glaring daggers at the man who shrunk down under her gaze. "Uh uh uh..." mumbled the man causing the Voidwolf to slap him hard enough to knock him to the deck of the ship. "Tell me why you are disturbing me right now or I swear you are going to be fed to the bears!!!" roared Galeriana shaking with anger. Getting to his knees the pirate bowed his head and spoke in rapid succession. "Forgive me your highness. I come bearing terrible news. The self proclaimed pirate lord Andrus Rex of the Indian Ocean has refused to bow to your mighty and wise command."  


Galeriana came to a sudden stop and a deadly stillness settled over her as her eyes narrowed in pure hatred. "Go assemble the captains immediately and have them prepare to set sail. It is time to teach that worm his place" she ordered and the pirate quickly nodded in understanding and took off at a run to give her orders to the other pirate captains being all too happy to escape from the Voidwolf's presence. The pirate queen would watch her underling run off enjoying his terror and panic before slamming the door closed with one hand.


As she did she felt Risha step up behind her and wrap her arms around her waist whilst resting her head on Galeriana's shoulder. "Mmm don't worry about them my love. You will have plenty of time to show them how ruthless you are. For now let us get back to our fun" Risha said with a smile as she began to kiss her pirate queen's neck and work at removing her tank top.


Yes thought the Voidwolf with a grin, fun for now and delectable terror for later.  

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The Voidwolf stood on the bridge of her flagship the Swift Vengeance, a converted cargo ship she had been heavily modified on the inside whilst still giving the appearance of a regular cargo ship to outward onlookers. The interior had been heavily reinforced with military grade armour placed against the hull from the inside for protection and a number of decks had been built up and fortified so that on her command a series of gun ports could be opened and light cannons, acquired from the Russian navy, could be rolled into placed and used to engage enemy shipping. These cannons were of far too light a caliber to do anything but scratch real military ships but against other pirate vessels and civilian shipping they were deadly. In addition the top deck had two large concealed wide doors which could be opened and a pair of surface to air missile launchers would rise in place in case they ever needed to deal with any aerial problems.


The biggest and heaviest modification however, was done to the core of the cargo ship. The ship's prow had been cut and welded so that it could swing open revealing that where most of the cargo bay had been was now a converted artificial docking area for small ships. Inside this docking area waited four small patrol boats, two carrying torpedoes and two configured into missile boats. Along with the area needed to store the small pirate boats there was space for the fuel, ammunition and other supplies that they needed.


The mother ship itself only had enough supplies to remain at sea for one month before needing to head back to a friendly port for resupply but that was why the Voidwolf had purchased, off record of course, two other cargo ships that had been outfitted for resupplying the mother ship when she needed it. These two ships lacked the combat modifications of the mother ships but that left plenty of room for carrying the needed supplies and the equipment for transferring them to the mother ship. The Voidwolf also had a handful of armed private yachts but they were so overt it was almost never a good idea to bring them with the mother ship due to the very likely possibility of revealing just what the mother ship really was.


As the Swift Vengeance cut its way through the northern seas around the Russian Empire the pirate queen stood silently in front of the bridge's window watching the waves crash against the hull. Risha was sat in the captain's chair having taking command of the crew while the were out of combat so that her lover could admire the sea as they traveled. The bridge crew and the rest of ship's compliment for that matter were more than prepared to be commanded by either Galeriana or Risha both respecting and fearing the both of them. The two women were harsh mistresses and very cruel in their punishments of anyone who disobeyed them but as long as one carried out their duties they were cared for and rewarded well.


So it was that the converted pirate mother ship sailed on wards to the east its destination the Indian Ocean where that foolish pirate lord Andrus Rex waited for her to come. She knew that he would have his own fleet but she was more than confidant that he would not be prepared for the battle that was sure to come.       

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The Swift Vengeance had been sailing for some time now, sailing past the island of Japan and heading further south towards the island of Fiji where the pirate lord Rex lived. As the island became visible on the horizon the crew of the pirate ship readied it for combat. As the gun ports were opened and the cannons rolled into position the two air defenses missile launchers were raised up. At the same time the prow of the ship opened wide and the four small pirate boats roared out into the open sea with one torpedo and one missile boat on each flank of the mother ship. On the bridge the Voidwolf sat in the captain's seat having taken direct control over the small pirate fleet as combat approached. Risha stood off to one side ready to assist her pirate queen with the coming battle.


The first warning came when one of the lookouts shouted through his radio that he could see a large host of small boats coming their way armed with machine guns and light cannons. As the two sides drew closer Galeriana stood up and crossed to the front window and looked out with one hand clenched by her side, it was clear that Andrus Rex had gained more support than she had thought and this battle was going to prove harder than she had expected. Snarling she threw out her right arm, her hand narrow and pointing straight at the enemy boats.


"Open fire!!!" she screamed and Risha quickly communicated the order to the rest of the crew and the two cannons mounted in the forward gun ports barked as they begin firing. Their shells screamed through the air before plowing into the waters around the enemy boats sending up great spouts of water. The enemy pirates began to zig and zag back and forth as they attempted to avoid the incoming rounds, mostly this worked but one of their boats was blown in two from a direct hit and the halves quickly sank beneath the waves. As the distance closed quickly the four pirate boats of Galeriana's fleet split off from the mother ship and raced off to fight the enemy where their speed could be of more use.


The mother ship was beginning to turn to bring its greater broadside armament to bear when a pair of missiles came racing in and slammed into the deck. The armour took the brunt of the damage but shrapnel cut through a handful of crew members on the gun decks. This was swiftly followed by more missiles which had been aimed for the missile batteries and before anyone could react they and their crew were destroyed in two blooming fireballs. In behind the missiles came four Harrier jets the painted red skull on their wings and fuselage showing they belonging to Andrus Rex.


Risha, who had been thrown to the deck by the impacts, picked herself up, gave Galeriana a short solid look and bolted from the bridge for the rear of the ship being chased by her lover's cry to stop. Running through the decks she burst out onto the gun decks where the crew were now heavily engaged in operating and controlling the cannons, shoving her way past men, ammo and equipment she worked her way to the stern of the ship where a modified hanger space lay. Inside was what amounted to a small shaft, a landing pad and her own Harrier fighter craft. Her weapons team already had it fueled and armed ready for her and she ran over, climbed into the cockpit and started her up.


Outside the seas around the mother ship were swiftly being churned up by the explosions of shells and the wakes of the quickly moving pirate boats. Though heavily outnumbered the crews of the Voidwolf's boats were better trained and better equipped and they worked much better as a team. Whenever one boat got into trouble one of its comrades would swiftly arrive and force off or destroy the attacking enemy. This coupled with the guns of the mother ship was quickly bringing the sea battle into the favour of the Voidwolf's fleet but with the enemy Harrier's still operational disaster could still come upon them.


The top of rear deck of the Swift Vengeance opened and out roared Risha in her Harrier just as a pair of the enemy Harriers were coming in for a gun run on the ship. Rotating in place, still in hover mode, she brought her sights over the first Harrier and pressed the trigger sending streams of bullets straight into the enemy plane. Armour peeled away under the barrage and thick black smoke poured out as the enemy pilot lost control and tipped over slamming into the sea. His wing man shocked by the sudden attack aborted his run and swung wide. Grinning with glee Risha tore off after him swiftly swinging around on to his tail she waited for a lock before sending a missile right into his rear and tearing his plane apart.


She was just wondering where the other two had gone when tracers flashed by his side and she had her answer, twisting the controls she brought her plane low over the water slipping her plane side to side. While coming in over the water she caught sight of the last few enemy boats fleeing back towards Fiji having been swiftly defeated and she was grateful when coming in over her own side's small craft they turned their guns on her pursuers and even managed to down one of them through sheer weight of fire. Still whoever the last guy was, he was good avoiding the guns of the smaller boats he stayed on her tail and even clipped her right wing in one or two places.


Cursing the enemy pilot Risha found herself getting closer and closer to Fiji itself and before too long they were fighting above the island and in a desperate move she attempted to loop up and around on her foe but found he or she was ready for her. She got one good look at the advancing nose of the enemy fighter and the flashes from its guns before she felt her Harrier being hammered by shots. Straight away she knew her plane was done for and with little choice she ejected from it and watched as she slowly came down to the ground as her beloved fighter plane crashed into the ground and exploded. Drifting on the winds she could only watch as armed soldiers, having to be Rex's men came running towards where she would land. When she did so she offered them no resistance as they took her prisoner as she knew that Galeriana would rescue her shortly and if the pirate lord dared to harm her then he would live to regret it.  

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Russian Homeland - Capital city courts building


"Sergei Romantov, you are hereby convicted of four counts of murder and sentenced to death by lethal injection. Do you have anything to say to the courts?" asked the judge. "Fuck you, you mother banging piece of horse shit" replied Romantov angrily. The judge looked neither bothered or amused by the man's outburst and continued on as normal. "Your objection to the courts decision is noted. Take him away" ordered the judge and Mr Romantov was dragged away kicking and screaming. 


Six hours later


Russian Homeland - Unknown building


The glare of blinding white light woke Sergei from his deep sleep, still groggy from being woken up so suddenly he tried to move and found he was being restrained to a bare metal operating table. Looking around he could just make out that the room appeared to be what one would find in a hospital and it was packed full of medical devices and equipment and strangely what looked like some science fiction cyborg tech. He just about lifted his head a few inches to get a better look when a man stepped into his view wearing a full medical gown and gloves with face mask.


"Ah you are awake Mr Romantov. Excellent. Now we can begin with the procedure" said the doctor with a very strong and very clear German accent betraying his origins. "Who the fuck are you!!" swore Sergei at him to which the doctor chuckled heartily. "I am Doctor Stangl though you may know me better, as the stories tell, as Doctor Death" Stangl said in reply smiling beneath his mask as he saw his patient's reaction.


"Bullshit. Bullshit. Those stories aren't true they just can't be!!" screamed Sergei his angry facade breaking quite easily. "Oh but they are my friend. Now sleep" replied the Doctor lowering a gas mask over the young Russian man's face and quickly put him to sleep. When he was certain the man was out cold he snapped his fingers and had his assistants enter the room where they quickly got to work.


Using cutting implements and other devices they removed both of his arms and legs, before hooking up a set of medical equipment that would artificially keep him alive as they continued. Next they took out his heart and lungs, though they used a complicated system to ensure that they remained working for his body with the medical machines. The next stage of the process was to take the experimental Mk 1 cyborg infantry modifications and begin attaching them to the patient, using drills, screws and other connectors they managed to get the stumps of his missing limbs implanted with a series of connection slots. Into these slots went two mechanical arms and two mechanical legs and feet, these would be tightly secured in place before the next stage was begun. A mechanical heart and lungs was implanted into Sergei's chest with his biological ones being removed and discarded with these tightly in place they would be activated and they would quickly take over keeping the patient alive from the medical machines.


The last part of the operation was the longest and most complicated as well as dangerous. After stitching Sergei's chest back up they bolted in a metal plate over his flesh, the bolts being driven into his bones to keep it in place. At the same time Doctor Stangl cut open the top of Sergei's skull and began to slowly and carefully introduce small computer chips and machinery into and onto Sergei's brain, three times the patient almost died but they recovered him in time to avoid lasting damage and soon enough all the necessary adjustments to the patient's brain was completed. Eventually three long and hard hours later the operation was almost complete, a control device was placed into its assigned slot on the metal chest plate and sealed with a sheet of basic metal armour to keep it safe.


Then with their parts done the Doctor and his assistants left the operating room and the cleaners came in, cleaned the mess, disposed of the waste and locked down the room. Tomorrow would be the first activation day for the cyborg project. It was an understatement to say that many were looking forward to it.    


OOC: This is all quite obviously optional canon.  

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