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The Smugglers of Neffite (standard:science fiction, 798 words)
Author: Rusty CobwebsAdded: Dec 22 2006Views/Reads: 2131/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
After the fall of Emperor Salazar the universe sinks into a state of darkness. This is the story of the smugglers of Neffite who attempt to take over the galaxy during the civil war that develops. Chapter I

A light police cruiser floated behind the asteroid in wait as the huge
freighter docked at Astolia Station. An informant for the Space Police 
had recently informed them of a large shipment of Cortez, the newest 
addictive drug craze in the universe. Created by a biochemist in the 
highly hostile Neffite sector, the drug spread its tendrils through the 
universe, galaxy by galaxy. Its detection became difficult when the 
runners discovered the materials used to produce the drug were common 
and legal. After ten years of blind ignorance by the Space Police, 
addicts of Cortez began populating penitentiaries and mental asylums. 
Authorities were quite off guard. The recipes to most drugs had been 
destroyed or confined during the Golden Years of Morality, only fifty 
years prior. 

All known plants containing raw narcotic were eradicated from the vast
stretches of the universe, and drug use plummeted from 15% to a mere 
3%. However, the Space Police were unable to gain total control, and a 
few outer galaxies and sectors still retained the ability to produce 
drugs. The economies of many planets in the outer rim were largely 
devoted to black market activities, and drugs were no exception. During 
the Golden Years the only narcotics to be found were from these areas, 
although the Space Police also cracked down on this trade with the 
assistance of an increasingly moral society. Unfortunately, with the 
death of Emperor Salazar the dream of utopia again dissolved, as civil 
wars engulfed space and the outer rim with conflict. 

The Neffites had gained an advantage during their underground dealings,
with the large price hikes strict prohibition brought along. All the 
Golden Years had meant for them were challenging tasks with higher 
payoffs. The Neffite navy was now, sixty years after the first ingrit 
plant was burned, as large as the Space Police force, and much more 
concentrated. Security was tightening in both circles, and prices were 
rising yet again. 

But Rizer Corloft had no idea of the Neffite position, no idea of their
mighty ships or massive coffers. Rizer only knew that his mission was 
to apprehend the elusive smuggler Zak Frez. Frez was supposedly 
appearing at the deal on Astolia, where he would collect his money. 
Rizer and his partner, Mace Dice, were to cut off retreat and arrest 
Frez and any accomplices. Using a camera system, they monitored the 
station from behind the asteroid and spoke trivially until they had to 
move. Little did they know they were to be thrust into the deepest pit 
of the universe, never to be seen again by their contemporaries. 

“No. No. No.”  Zak Frez was upset, as usual. Frez was the head of the
Neffite's smuggling ring in the Aster sector, the furthest from 
Neffite. He was frequently late and off schedule. Frez had difficulty 
maintaining communications in the reaches furthest from his home 
sector, and it made business a bumpy road. Nevertheless, prices in this 
far galaxy were increased more than twenty times that of Neffite 
prices, and Frez retained his territory for the commission. The 
Neffites had long ago abandoned the ways of capitalism and began 
instituting communism throughout their planets. It took well. After the 
first half of the Golden Years, Neffite had become a totally self 
sufficient system, with every participant of society employed and fed. 
It was more than could be said for many other systems. The Neffites 
needed money only for their ships and other rare commodities, and soon 
produced surplus enough to purchase several more systems. Instead, they 
began invading these boarder planets shortly after Great Salazar's 
death, instituting their systems and customs, and eventually converting 
the inhabitants. They were quite successful, and established military 
outposts along the boarders to ensure peace within their territory. 

Despite their communistic lifestyles, the Neffite were independent
people, free thinking, with a great passion for living. It was this 
attribute that made them such wonderful smugglers; they did not get 
taken alive. The Space Police found it very difficult to produce 
reliable information about them. Their forces were too thinly spread as 
it was, and an outright attack was not an option. Some planets desired 
the war, and others feared it. Until full support could be gained, the 
Space Police would be forced to continue these singular raids and 
attempt to slowly chip away at the Neffite rings. 

Unfortunately for Rizer and his partner, Frez got tipped off and sent a
scout ahead to locate the Police. He was determined to be prepared when 
he set off from Astolia Station. 

“I told you to empty the cargo hold. I don't care what you do with it,
sell it, flush it, give it away. Make that hold empty,” Frez's eyes 
narrowed while he supervised the crew and contemplated his trap for the 
Space Police. 


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