A New Space Iteration

    Chris Hopkins as Baxter Briggs


    Posts : 104
    Join date : 2011-05-31

    Chris Hopkins as Baxter Briggs

    Post  Admin on Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:23 pm

    Throttlestar Stadium was the largest in the galaxy. It had to be – the tinships that raced there were not huge, but they certainly needed space to maneuver. The stadium had started as part of the Galactic Exhibition, which had launched in 2550 for a decade-long run. The Stadium, at that time called the Celestial Soaring Pavillion Presented by Haight Enterprises, shut down after the Exhibition and was bought out by Cosmic Ray, a showman in the large-scale entertainment events and restaurant field. Ray turned the stadium from a showcase of aerial stunt pilots to a racing/daredevil arena. It wasn’t illegal, but it was seedy, flashy and dangerous.

    Baxter Briggs loved it.

    The tinships were small, tricked-out shuttles that had bee rewired for speed and maneuverability. Each one was custom; no two were alike. They all had names – Phoenix, Devil, Golden Boy, Thunderbolt, The Sonic Scream, ridiculously gaudy and kitschy titles that the public latched onto fervently. Tinship fans were rabid, ribald and almost always at the bottom of the income bracket.

    Almost more important that the racing and stunts were the pilots. Each one was as much an actor as he or she was a flyer – like the bygone days of wrestling, this was a performance art with a deep and detailed storyline. Rivalries, alliances, grudges, all were par for the course and not only unsurprising, but demanded. Baxter was lucky that his public persona matched his private one. He was a charming bad boy.

    Oh, he knew it was a ruse. He wasn’t really tough. No one who got manicures every other week could possibly be a threat. But he had a legitimate disrespect for authority and a chip on his shoulder big enough to span Throttlestar itself. He was handsome, he was witty and he was bitter. That combination drove his bosses crazy and made him the favorite flyer in the arena.

    Which meant that, when he got a call to come up to the VIP box one Saturday night, he wasn’t at all surprised and he wasn’t at all excited. It just meant some bigwig wanted to either try to get him in a Bramaflakes commercial or make an attempt at breaking his spirit. Neither were likely to succeed.

    That nonchalance changed slightly when he walked into the box and saw Lilan Dia standing there.

    He knew her – everyone did. She was an actress, had been in vids since forever, and had spent the last decade doing theater. But she was classy – not sophisticated, classy. He knew the difference. She didn’t belong at Throttlestar.

    “Mr. Baxter,” she greeted, and he was startled to notice how genuine, how honestly warm and easygoing she was. No phoniness. No put-on. None. “Thank you so much for taking the time to see me.”

    “Hey, not a problem,” Baxter replied, smiling disarmingly. “I always make time for the most beautiful ladies in the galaxy, and you’re certainly in the top ten.” There. That’d melt her. He always wanted the upper hand.

    But she just smiled indulgently, and didn’t buy it. “I promise I won’t keep you too long. I just wanted to talk to you about a proposition.”

    Baxter groaned inwardly but kept his smile fluid and sparkling. So, the actress wanted a love scene, did she? Wonderful. Not the first time he’d been asked. Well – it wouldn’t hurt his reputation to say he shagged Lilan Dia. “I prefer to listen to propositions over a nice, quiet dinner,” he told her, thinking he’d make it easy for her. “A nice bottle of wine, music, candlelight -…”

    “If I had time, I would certainly entertain that idea,” Lilan said, cutting him short. She chuckled – and in that sound Baxter knew he’d just made a jackass out of himself. She didn’t want to sleep with him.

    Okay, then. She didn’t want pretense, he’d cut the shit. “What do you want?”

    “I’ve been performing on the stage for a decade, and I’ve decided to take a sabbatical. I recently purchased a small frigate, a Georgian-class vessel called the Embry-Riddle.”

    Baxter whistled low. “Old fleet, Miss Dia. Don’t get me wrong – they’re good ships. But wouldn’t you be happier in a Courville yacht or something?”

    “I like a ship with personality, Mr. Briggs,” she answered smoothly. “But I need a pilot.”

    He wasn’t slow. “Oh, man. Uhm, not to seem ungrateful, but…no thanks.” It was his turn to chuckle. “I’ve got a good career here and, frankly, I think I’d get bored to tears piloting a frigate. They don’t bank very well.” But he canted his head. “Any special reason why you thought I should do it?”

    “A few,” Lilan said, shrugging elegantly. “First, I know you’re butting heads with Ray’s people.”

    “Hey – we’re working that out. It’s just a…slow process. They’ve got their heads up their asses.”

    “Second,” she continued, “I like your personality and I think you’d be a good fit with my crew. And third….” She barely paused. “Min Pauvre is my ship’s doctor.”

    For the first time in almost ten years, Baxter was struck speechless. Not only that, but he turned his head away, closing his eyes. “That’s impossible.”

    Min. All his memories of her were in flashes, in snatches of blinding emotion. It had been seventeen years. Seventeen years since he’d found her.

    He’d taken his dad’s yacht – spoiled little rich kid, fighting authority even at sixteen – and gone for a joyride just out of atmo. He’d almost run in to the damn thing. It was hard to miss it. The ship was giant. Floating there, dead, in space. And something inside him had kept him from getting hold of authorities. Something made him dock the yacht and go into the behemoth himself.

    Inside the Far-Gone.

    He knew the name. Everyone did. It was the second attempt of humanity to create a self-sustaining, large-scale ship and send it off into the great beyond. Like the first try with the Icarus, they’d lost contact with the Far-Gone after twenty years. Thirty years had passed since the last transmission. It had been half a century since the ship launched.

    And now, it was here. He was standing on its deck.

    He explored for an hour. Saw the mess, the emptiness. There was no-one. No one. Signs of fighting, of sabotage. Nav-ops was obliterated. They had no way to find their way home. And no crew. No passengers. The place was a ghost ship.

    And then, he found the brig and opened it…and doubled over, retching. So many bodies. Maybe over a hundred. Piled and shoved and decomposed. They hadn’t been dead for decades, only a year or two. Some of them were missing limbs, or scalped, or headless. He couldn’t believe sights like this could exist.

    He had run, back toward the shuttle dock, and rounded a corner. She stood there, in the corridor, very still. Staring at him. She had to’ve been eight, maybe ten, but she was so thin and ragged and her eyes were so big. She wasn’t afraid. He spoke to her, asked her who she was, but she didn’t answer. Finally, hopeless, he held out his hand and told her he’d take her off the ship. She hesitated, then just ran into his arms and clung. Squeezed so tight she cracked one of his ribs. He didn’t care.

    That was Min Pauvre. The only survivor aboard the Far-Gone.

    She wouldn’t leave his side and she wouldn’t let go of his hand. He didn’t care. His parents gave him holy Hell at first, then praised him for discovering the ship and rescuing Min. The GAF came, took the ship, asked him questions. He answered honestly. He fed Min, cleaned her up. She was ten. She wouldn’t talk about what had happened to her aboard the vessel, but that was okay. He knew he probably wouldn’t want to talk about something like that, either.

    Then the social worker came and took her away. He fought. She fought. His parents offered to adopt her, but social services said she needed therapy and a special environment. Min screamed and clung to him. He shouted – at the soldiers, at the social worker, at his parents. They had to physically pull them away from each other, and Min screamed for him all the way into the shuttle. He was forbidden to look for her. By the time he was eighteen, he fled his parents’ home and tried to find her, but it was too late. Two years had passed, her fame had died away and no-one knew where she was…or they knew, but weren’t talking.

    He declared war on life and the world after that.

    He became a pilot – one of the best around. He learned to hone that rebellious attitude into something marketable and captivating. Cosmic Ray hired him for Throttlestar and he became a tinship celebrity. He wasn’t happy, but he was satisfied. He was taking the miserable world for all it was worth, razzle-dazzling it so it’d never know it’d been had.

    “Mr. Briggs?”

    He blinked, coming back to the present, and looked at Lilan Dia. “How did you know about me and Min?” he asked.

    She held up a datapad. “An article seventeen years ago. Human interest story that focused on the rescue rather than the tragedy of the ship. It talks about you, and how you found her, and how inseparable the two of you were.”

    “And you think you can keep me from contacting her if I refuse to sign on with your ship?” He sneered slightly.

    Lilan shook her head quickly. “No. I’ll leave my contact number with you and comm. address of the Embry-Riddle. Contact her whenever you’d like. I asked you to be my pilot for mutually beneficial reasons. I get an excellent and interesting pilot, and you not only get to see Min, but spend as much time as you’d like catching up and reconnecting. She’s already agreed to the two-year run; this way you can be with her instead of just sending comms. back and forth.”

    Baxter hesitated a moment, before slowly nodding. “Fine. But if I don’t like it, I’m quitting.”

    Lilan smiled. “I’ll keep my faith that you won’t,” she said softly. “I think you’ll find that you fit in perfectly.”


    Posts : 9
    Join date : 2011-11-17

    Re: Chris Hopkins as Baxter Briggs

    Post  Baxter on Fri Nov 18, 2011 1:52 pm

    "Briggs, I already told you. You got two more seasons on your contract." Cosmic Ray was not happy. He banged his fist on his tiny desk, emphasizing all the words that meant the most to him. "Two," "seasons," "contract," and "I."

    "And I already told you, Ray. I don't give a shit. I'm out. Me and the Badass are done in your little side show. Going out to see the galaxy, you know?" He smiled his winning smile. He knew he wouldn't win Ray over with it, the man had taught it to Baxter, but it would irritate the hell out of the slick bastard, and that was simply thrilling.

    "You ain't going nowhere or wherever you end up, you'll find a couple of my guys waiting to drag your ass back to this stadium. There is nowhere you can hide from me, Briggs." He sneered.

    Baxter laughed. "Space me sideways, did you see that in some cheap holo vid? I mean, who seriously talks like that?" He leaned over Ray's desk. "Listen, ex-boss-man, I'm out. I'm done. Be nice, and I might see you in two years. If not, good luck making another star as hot as me."


    "I'm out. I'm done." Baxter looked up at the man towering above him. At 5'4", a lot of people towered over Baxter, but this one was a professional.

    "You're done? I'm afraid being 'done' is simply not an option." His tone was clipped, precise. He was accustomed to being heard and obeyed. Baxter cocked one side of his mouth up, accepting the challenge.

    "Well, I'm making it one. I got things to do, Barton, people to see."

    "That's 'Father' to you, young man. And by 'people,' I suppose you plan to search out that Pauvre girl?" He loomed larger, trying to intimidate Baxter. The younger Briggs had to admit to himself that it worked, but he didn't want to show it. Teachers, police, Marines, none of them had this effect on him. But Barton Briggs was a different story.


    "Wow, Barton, I hope you caught the pun in there. It's like we're in a vid or a story or a game or something." He chomped on some gum, loudly popping it for effect. "Yea, I'm going to find what happened to Min."

    Barton shook his head, sadly, "Son, please. Listen to reason. It's been two years. It'll be almost impossible to find her now."

    "Yea? And who's fault is that?" He could feel himself getting angry, not just defiant now.

    "Baxter, that was for your benefit. I don't expect you to understand, but when you're an adult you'll see why we did what we did." There was hurt in Barton's eyes. Baxter didn't see it then, but he would remember it years later. At the time, all he saw was condescension.

    "Well, you know what, Father?" He spit the last word out. "I am an adult now. And I don't understand. So I'm out. I'm done." He turned on his heal, grabbing a red bandanna off a table as he went.

    "Baxter Bailey Briggs, you come back here this instant!"


    "Briggs!" Ray was standing and red-faced. "Don't you dare walk out that door!"

    "Out! Done!" Baxter gave the man the finger over his shoulder.

      Current date/time is Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:54 am