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[Fanfic][Redo] An Unwelcome Visitor
[Fanfic][Redo] An Unwelcome Visitor
So, the original story had gotten kinda... messy. Side effect of cramming too much in, posting as I went, altering the plotline based off ideas and suggestions. Let's start over. Trim it back, keep it sane. I know a few of you guys enjoyed posting your characters reactions and such last time around, but I'll ask if you could hold off on that sort of thing for the most part. I may ask for suggestions and such on occasion, but I don't want it to get too bloated again.


11:37 AM, JULY 17, 2015
After nearly four years, the bulky shape of the Void Eagle was a familiar sight to the crew of Serenity Valleys spaceport, the ‘proto-Falcon’ style of the XS Freighter rarely drawing a second glance. Today though, the ship was drawing some extra attention, followed by people making a wide detour around it, thanks to the growing puddle of sewage dipping from the underside of the ship, where two plumbers had removed armor panels to get at the pipes underneath.
Behind them, Chris Wood walked down the ship's boarding ramp, phone held to his ear. “Our rates and travel times vary on a monthly basis because planets are always moving,” he said in a polite tone, even as his expression suggested a desire for murder. “It’s an unavoidable side effect of space travel… Sir, I realize all these stations are in the asteroid belt. You need to understand, the belt is a ring around the entire system, and two of the locations are more than four hundred million kilometers apart…” He paused, holding the phone away from his ear for several moments, listening to the voice screaming threats and abuse, then smiled evilly. “If you really feel that they can offer you a better price and service, then by all means, go right ahead and hire them. I’ll have my people cancel the next pickups, and you’ll have your final bill before the end of the month. Good day sir.” Ending the call before the man on the other end could protest, he put the phone away and shook his head. “Asshole. Kit…”
“Already taken care of,” his daughter's voice said from a speaker above his head. “He’s been moved to the Idiot List, and I’m sending the Solar Cormorants new schedule to Amanda.” She giggled. “And I’ve archived the recordings of all the calls, just in case.”
Grinning, Chris leaned against one of the ships landing struts. “Very nicely done my dear,” he commented, watching in mild amusement as the two plumbers worked. “How goes it?”
The smaller of the pair, rather petite catgirl, grunted slightly as she slid her arm into one of the pipes up to her bicep. “Just a second. And… got it!” she declared, pulling her arm out. Taking a rag from her coverall pocket, she wiped at the item in her hands, then raised an eyebrow. “So, yeah, I’d say I found the problem,” she mused.
Curious, Chris walked over, and she held out her hand to show a half-destroyed doll of some sort. He considered it for a minute, then groaned slightly, pinching the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. “Two weeks back, moved a family to Coruscant. When we unloaded, their daughter was screaming bloody murder about one of her dolls going missing. Her dad and I damn near tore the ship apart trying to find the thing.”
Pausing in sealing up another pipe, the other plumber, who looked like Nightcrawler if he’d gotten a bit old and out of shape, winced in sympathy. “Lemme guess, she had a brother?”
Nodding, Chris rolled his eyes. “And he was an annoying little shit the whole flight. Little bastard must have shoved it down the toilet.”
“Well, points for effort,” the catgirl commented, dropping it in a bucket and pulling off her gloves. “Looks like it kept getting moved around for a while at least, then got jammed and turned into a blockage.” Wiping the slime off her arm, she shrugged slightly. “Still, could be worse. At least it’s only a doll, and not a pet bunny. Again,” she added with a shudder.
Matching her shudder, Chris gave her a horrified look. “Oh thank you Jules, I really needed that mental image.”
“I live to serve,” Julian ‘Jules’ Friez replied dryly. “Still, wasn’t much chance of that happening here.”
“I have to say Chris,” the other Julian commented, “I rather like your setup here. It actually makes complete sense. You don’t see that as much as I’d like.”
Shrugging, Chris handed Jules another rag as it became clear the first one simply wasn’t going to be enough. “There are some places where the Weird that is handwavium certainly isn’t welcome. And call me old-fashioned, but I think my toilet’s one such place.”
Jules laughed, wiping her hands relatively clean and dropping the rag in the bucket. “What a wonderful concept. I wish more people lived by it.” Snorting, she grabbed her water bottle. “But they don’t. And then things get annoying.”
“And then we’re the ones that have to deal with it,” Julian finished with a scowl, finishing his work on the current pipe. Dropping the tape back in the toolbox, he took another look at the ships plumbing. “You said you’re still happy with the water recycling, right?”
“Takes about a month before it’s noticeable to the point of changing the filters,” the captain replied, suppressing a smile. Constant of the universe. Present a Friez with a plumbing problem, they’d end up working out improvements somewhere. It was one of the ways they kept their grip on reality.
Rubbing at his chin thoughtfully, Julian considered the pipes above him. “I’m thinking I could improve it a little. Waste filtration looks alright, but it should be possible to keep more water cycling through.”
“Ohhh, I think I see where you’re going with that,” Jules said, ears perking up. “Although we’ll need to keep it from going stale faster. I’ve got an idea for that.”
Chris stepped back and let the two Friez debate their plans for several minutes, waiting patiently. Eventually, the pairs debate became even more excitable, the catgirl in particular gesturing wildly, and he clapped his hand to get their attention. “Okay, that’s enough. I’m pretty sure you’re not going to be able to get this done today, and I do have a schedule to keep.” Jules nodded reluctantly, and he grinned. “So, write up a quote and email it to me. I’ll look it over and give you an answer.”
Jules grinned. “Aye-Aye Captain!” she declared, mock saluting. Chris smiled at her enthusiasm, then pointed at the mess on the deck plates. “Oh, right. Fair point.” Nearly purring, she turned her attention back to her work.
Chuckling, Chris stepped back, checking to make sure he hadn’t gotten anything on him, then jumped slightly as his phone chirped for attention, a sharp urgent beep that was the ringtone for his daughters emergency code. Pulling it out of his pocket, he held it in front of him and tapped the answer key, Kitbash’s holographic avatar appearing in the air above it. “What’s the problem?” he asked quietly. Over by the ship, both Friez hesitated slightly, then tried their best not to look over at where the AI was manifesting. They tried to be polite, they honestly liked the girl, but like so many of their kin, they had trouble with cybernetic constructs..
Kitbash kept her voice low, and Chris instantly got the impression that this time, it wasn’t to try and make things easier on on his friends. “Dad, I just got a warning ping from ATC. We’ve got a ship coming in, it just charged right on through the flight lanes and demanded a hanger.” Her father's eyebrows rose as he imagined what the Browncoat militia must be doing right now. Who the hell would be so arrogantly stupid to act like that, here of all places… His eyes widened and he paled slightly as he made the connection. “It’s the Sol Bianca,” Kitbash confirmed. “I’m asking around, but no one can think of any solid reason for him to be here except-”
There was a crash, and both Chris and his daughter spun towards the ship. The bucket Jules had been holding had spilt across the decking, and the tiny catgirl was almost shrinking in on herself in terror, ears and tail tucked in tight. Julian clearly lacked his ‘sisters’ hearing, and was stepping towards her in confusion and concern, placing a gentle hand on her arm. “Jules, what’s the-”
“The Professor’s coming here!” she whimpered, not noticing as Julian flinched back in terror. “He’s coming here and he’s coming for us and he’s coming for me oh God it’s happening again please no don’t let it happen again please this is all I have left please-” She bit back a shriek of terror as a hand touched her shoulder, and she spun to see Chris standing there, concern on his face.
“He’s not here yet,” he said gently, voice low. “We don’t know he’s coming for you-”
“Don’t you get it?!” she demanded, tears starting to run down her face. “He took us because he couldn’t find a ‘Julienne Friez’ for his damn cloning machine! Well,” she gestured at her petite form, “here’s one for him! He’s heard about me, and it’s going to start all. Over. AGAIN!” The last word came out in a ear-breaking, broken wail, and she slumped against the man, sobbing.
“We have to hide,” Julian said desperately, getting his balance back and looking around wildly, as if he expected Fenspaces most famous Mad Scientist to appear out of thin air. “Not our quarters. Too many of us take the obvious hiding place. Somewhere under the dome he can’t reach, maybe in the maintenance tunnels…”
Looking down at the sobbing girl in his arms, Chris felt the anger settle in. “No, if you do that, he’ll just start cutting his way in. He’s done it before on things that gained his attention. Both of you,” he ordered, voice cutting through Jule’s crying, “seal those pipes up and get that plating back on. Kit, as soon as they’re done, I want you to start preflight checks.”
“Preflight…?” Jules whispered, looking up at him.
“If it comes to it,” Chris told her gently, “I’m getting you two out of here. He’s not getting near you.” He squeezed her arm reassuringly. “TeeSeven!” he yelled.
the utility droid called out from the top of boarding ramp.
Chris nodded, then gave the Friez siblings a glare. “Get moving! I’ll buy you time if we need it.” Turning, he sprinted up the ramp. Behind him, Jules and Julian looked at each other, then scrambled for their tools.
For a few minutes, the mood in the spaceport control centre had intensified beyond its usual ‘controlled chaos’, as the unidentified ship had dropped in out of nowhere and started screaming. But the ATC chief on duty had simply rolled his eyes and given the Sol Bianca permission, bumping it ahead of other ships to get it out of the way. Now, aside from one controller taking a break, and using the chance to update his twitter with #ProfessorWatch, things were slipping back into business as usual.
Until the main doors swung open and a very irritated woman in a Browncoat Militia uniform stormed in. “Where the hell is he?” she demanded, her fury cutting across the quiet chatter like a grenade.
Scowling, Chief Patterson rose to his feet. “Commander, you can’t just barge in here-” he began, but Commander Lisa Hayes cut him off with a glare, the expression triggering instinctive alarms deep in the back of his mind.
“The Sol Bianca,” she growled. “Where is it docking?”
“Uh, External Airlock Sixteen,” the man managed, trying not to back away.
Glancing away from him and out the window, where the heavily modified yacht was descending towards the domes walls, the Commander scowled and tapped her wristcomm. “Sheriff, they’re heading for EA-Sixteen,” she said.
“Dammit! We’ll try and beat him there,” came the reply.
Regaining his confidence, the ATC chief stepped forward. “Commander Hayes, what are you doing-?”
“Getting a security team to intercept the Professor,” she shot back. “Since you decided to let the Bane of Paris just fly on in and not even alert us,” she growled, poking him in the chest and pushing him back. “The Sol Bianca is on the restricted list for a reason. Explain to me why you decided to ignore that.”
Eyebrows rising, Patterson gave her an offended look. “His presence on the list is nonsense!” he protested. “The Professor is one of the greatest minds in Fenspace! His inventions and discoveries are what made our society possible. To treat him like, like some sort of Boskonian is an insult!” he declared, waving a hand.
Folding her arms under her breasts, Lisa gave the taller figure an unimpressed glare. “Not a Boskonian,” she replied. “A Mad. A Mad with a history of dangerous inventions and a lack of awareness in his surroundings. A Mad that once stole a NUCLEAR BOMB because he wanted to pull it apart and see how it worked.” Her glare deepened, making Patterson instinctively back up a step. “We’re willing to let him into Serenity Valley because despite his flaws, he only wants to help, and he’s done a lot of good for all of us. But he’s only allowed in under proper supervision. Just in case he decides to wire the colonies interwave into the life-support system and short circuit both of them.” The woman waited a moment for the man’s expression to gain a touch of confusion, then added, “Again.”
Pausing, Patterson took in the womans expression. “When did that happen?” he asked.
“Last March,” she replied. “We don’t like to talk about it much.”
“Um, Commander?” a technician called out. “The Sol Bianca just docked.” Both Lisa and the ATC chief turned towards him, and he flinched slightly at the attention. “I, uh, I think I can access the cameras in that area,” he added, turning back to his station. The other two leaned over his shoulders, watching as the screen changed to camera footage from the colony side of the airlock. Lights next to the door flashed from red to green, and it began to slide open. A moment later, before it was even a quarter open, a tall figure in a labcoat squeezed through the gap, nearly tripping as his foot caught on the door, then recovered and ran off-camera as fast as he could.
“Oh he better not be alone,” Lisa growled. “They damn well better have someone following him.”
On the screen, as the door finished opening, another figure appeared. Smaller than the Professor, and very clearly female, she scowled in clear annoyance, placing her hands on her hips. The technician made a shocked coughing noise, staring at his screen. Barely twenty years old, he was in no way ready to handle the image of Miyu Glear, her incredible curves putting a pair of jeans and a tank top to the ultimate test.
Lisa gave him a moment to take in the sight, smiling in mild amusement, then tapped him on the shoulder as Miyu ran off the screen. “Focus Ensign,” she said. “Where are they going?”
Blushing, he checked his other screens, then nodded slightly. “Eastward along the docking ring ma’am.”
Frowning, Lisa considered that. “Not into the dome?” she asked.
“Uh, no ma’am.” Bringing up another camera, he nodded slightly. “They’re boarding the ring trams now,” he confirmed.
Considering that, Lisa managed to suppress a sigh of relief. “I guess there’s a ship or something there that got his attention.” She tapped her wristcomm again. “Katie, he’s boarding the ring tram at station sixteen, heading east.”
“Away from us, dammit!” came the reply.
Lisa rolled her eyes. “Because of course,” she grumbled. She gave Patterson another glare. To his credit, the man seemed to realize how big a mistake he’d made, and remained silent. “Just try and catch up. I’ll monitor him from here, and update the Mayor.”
Scowling, she took her phone out of a pocket and opened the contacts list, only to pause at a new voice emitting from her wristcomm. “Commander, we have a disturbance outside hanger twenty-seven,” reported Athena, the AI that served as Serenity Valleys Electronic Security Coordinator. “I suspect it might have something to do with our other emergency,” she added in what was, for her, a somewhat concerned tone of voice.
Frowning slightly, the Commander turned back towards the technicians station. “Show me.” The screen changed from a map of the docking rings to security camera footage, showing a man in his early thirties and a T7 series Astromech droid moving around the street outside the hanger entrance, hiding various items and weapons behind or under anything they could find, while a handful of bystanders either watched in curiosity or concern, or put some distance between them and the trouble to come.
“Files identify the man as Captain Christopher Wood of the Freighter Void Eagle-”
Lisa waved a hand, cutting Athena off. “I know who he is. What I need to know is why.” Pulling a phone out of her pocket, she looked up at a camera. “Can you put me through to him?” By the time she finished asking the question, her phone began ringing. On the monitor, Chris paused in hiding a shotgun behind a shipping crate, then fished his own phone out of his longcoat pocket. “Chris, this is Lisa Hayes. Would you care to explain what the hell you think you’re doing?” she growled.
Looking around, Chris caught sight of one of the security cameras and gave a friendly wave. “Hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst,” he said, returning to hiding the shotgun. “Where’s the Professor right now?”
Lisa’s scowl deepened. “He’s on the tram system…” She glanced at the map, “and yes, he’s heading your way. Chris, do you have something that would get his attention?”
Growling, Chris placed a grenade next to the shotgun, then darted around the crate and ran towards an abandoned cart. “Well, unless there’s another example of Mad Science floating around the docking ring right now, I’d say it’s all too possible he’s here to visit the two Friez I’ve got making some repairs to my ship.”
Blinking, Lisa gave her phone a disbelieving look, then returned it to her ear. “You look like you’re setting up for war there. You’re going to pick a fight with the Professor? Just because you think  he’s visiting a pair of Julian Friez?” Despite her best efforts, she couldn’t keep her voice down, and everyone in the room turned towards her, stunned.
On the screen, Chris paused. “I’m not planning on starting anything Lisa,” he said, his voice unnaturally level. “If he comes here, I’m going to ask him to leave. Don’t worry, I’ll even be polite about it. But right now, I have a catgirl in that hanger this close to fainting in sheer terror at the news he’s even on the same damn moon as her.” Anger slipped into his voice as he handed the droid what looked like some sort of ‘waved taser. “What he did to her, to Julian, to all of their ‘brothers’? People make jokes of it, but… Lisa, she would rather jump out an airlock than let the Professor get his hands on her again. I don’t give a single fuck what he’s given Fenspace over the years, he’s not going near her. They’ve suffered enough.”
Eyes wide, Lisa stared at the screen for a long moment. That was… That was something she needed to process. At last, she shook her head slightly and pulled herself back to the present. “He’s only got Miyu Glear with him. No sign of anyone else. Chris… be careful.”
He looked up at the camera and shrugged. “As much as I can be with what’s coming,” he replied, before ending the call and getting to work.
Putting her own phone away, Lisa shook her head. “Because just having the Professor show up wasn’t enough to make a mess of my week, oh no,” she grumbled.
“Is he insane?” Patterson demanded. “He can’t just-”
“Put himself between his friends and a madman that’ll run science experiments on them, regardless of what they want?” the Commander finished dryly. “I seem to recall a story about something like that.” Smirking at the stunned look that gave the man, she turned back to the screen. “Athena, check me on this. That hanger?”
It only took a heartbeat for the AI to access the relevant data. “Is under lease to Void Shipping,” Athena confirmed. “Captain Wood has the legal right to refuse entry to the Professor and Miss Glear.”
“What’re the odds they’d push the issue?” she asked.
“...Inconclusive,” she said after a moment. “There are too many variables we simply do not have access to at the current time.”
Closing her eyes, Lisa nodded. “Fair enough.” She tapped her wristcomm. “Katie, new problem, just to make your day better.”

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