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  1. A Short Story on
    Politics, Shards, and one Eric Reese
    Pt. 1
    Eric Reese was a small kid growing up. He had a wiry build and he was a bit clumsy. Those things tend to lead you to the lower quarters on most planets. No one wants a clumsy twig captaining their ship, and you dam sure wont find a guy like him having anything to do with shard seekers.... yet there Eric was having a beer with David Hawken himself. One of the most famed Shard Seekers the Galaxy has known in the past 50 years. A member of David’s crew and a personal friend. But were not quite there yet folks, back to the scrawny kid sitting by himself on the astro-swings.
    Eric would have followed in his father’s footsteps and grow up to be the Governor of Pilos, His home world. Until one day a greedy shard seeker came to Pilos to obtain funding for his next outer rim journey. Those guys usually got their funding from a few large corporations capitalizing on the new resource, but a few would be backed by various local governments. The governments were seeking to have and edge on the other planets when it came to the Core Council Meetings. They would have an annual meeting on “The Advancement and Uniformation of the Core Galaxy for the better protection of all”. His dad always said it was just a money-grab for all the planets. And so his father, James, gave the man a council.
    Little Eric sat on one of the couches spread along the edge of the chamber. He was not allowed to sit at the table during an official meeting, but his father wished him to become comfortable in these formal occasions, he would have been in many. A long glass and steel table stretched from one end of the room to the other. At the head of this table sat James, Governor of Pilos, the third greatest of the Core Worlds. To his right was Jen Anderson, his Diplomatic advisor. To his left sat Mark Dothan, James’ Military advisor. On the opposite end sat Miakel Achello, the Shard Seeker.

    “What is it you wish for Shard Seeker? I hope you understand we do not finance foolish dreams.”
    James stared intently into the man’s eyes as he said this.

    “No sir.... It is not foolish.” A simple reply from the Seeker.

    “Give us evidence you know what the hell your talking about! I know you have not demanded a council with Lord Reese without any hard evidence!” Mark felt that all Shard Seekers were just a bunch of mercenaries, willing to sell themselves to any cause. He is not entirely wrong.

    “Give him a chance Mark.” James said with a cautionary glance towards Mark.

    The Seeker pulled out a small bag he had hidden within his clothes and reluctantly placed it on the table before the three men.

    “Is that what I think it is?” Jen was suddenly very interested.

    Has Miakel slowly opened the bag a strange red glow preceeded the form of a small crystal.

    “This my friends is a shard!” Miakel was in his element now, He pulled out a four inch stick from his pocket.

    “I use this simple tool” He said flourishing the stick “To focus the radiation into something scientists are calling ‘Tach-Fields’”

    Eric ran up to the table unable to resist the urge to see this strange treasure.

    Miakel held the iron bar in his fist directly over the shard,
    “Ready for a demonstration?”.

    James nodded.

    “Scotty power me up,” James said addressing his AI.

    A small whine escaped a before unnoticed, metal box on his belt that must have been his AI. As the electrical whizz from the AI box reached a crescendo the red glow the shard was emitting started drifting towards the iron rod in his hand.

    All the men gasped at the magic show in front of them. Miakel had them just where he wanted them. He threw a cocky smile at the little kid peering with wide eyed amazement at him...
    “De-Energize!” He shouted for dramatic effect.
    Red burst from the tips of iron protruding from either side of his fist, stretching a foot in each direction before turning back towards him. In the span of a few heart beats Miakel was encased in a perfect bubble.
    “Mr. Dothan if you don‘t mind,” He jestured to the colt attached to Mark‘s hip.”
    Mark looked questioningly at Miakel, ”Are you kidding?”.
    ”Just point and shoot Mr Dothan, point and shoot.” Miachel was loosing time, he needed him to hurry. Mark rose followed by the other two men not sure if they should stop him or not. Little Eric scurried back to the wall out of harm‘s way.
    Mark un-holstered his gun with grace and raised the barrel level to Miakel’s shoulders. A heartbeat later Mark took aim and pulled the trigger effortlessly.
    Pow! A metal slug exploded from the tip of Mark’s trusty sidearm. It hurled mercilessly towards Miakel... But then the most peculiar thing happened.
    It was has if someone threw a clunk of dirt at the man. The moment the slug hit the field it was Dematerialized into dust.

    “This is The Power of the Shards!” Miakel chanted looking into the eyes of the three gaping men at the end of the table.

    After allowing them few precious seconds to gaze at the ruby orb it vanished. Miakel pocketed the iron rod and sat down. He started to pack up the red crystal, still radiating brightly.
    The three men let him finish while they processed the implications of what just happened.
    “Now...” Miakel wiped the small pile of iron off the table,” I would like to see your planet on the forefront of this new technology. James I think you are the right man to really pioneer this technology in the Galactic council. They respect you there im sure, but what if you had a abundant supply of these shards? Imagine the money you would get to build Laboratories to study these shards." He looked to Jen, and then to Mark saying “Or the respect in the council for having the most technologically advanced military in the core worlds. They would need you James, I see supreme councillor in your future with these little shards behind you.”
    And then he brought it home, “And you need me to get them for you.”
    A sly smile sat upon Miakel’s face, and the rest of the men sat debating amongst each other.
    “This could be just what we need to bring our economy back into it’s former glory.” Jen said with dollors in his eyes.
    “Adding a few of those to our warships would allow us to take out those raider bases on the outskirts for good, without waiting for council back up.” Mark had punishing twinkle in his eyes. “Imagine the support you will get from Kron, Ferrilious, and Petrij out on the rim. That could be enough to get you the nomination for Supreme Judge or even Head of Defense in the council.” Jen was getting very excited.
    “Enough” James said silencing his advisers.
    “That all sounds great... But it will be hard to do with just one of those shards.” James knew what Miakel was leaving out. “Do you have any more?”
    “Well no... I had to give them to my previous employer to fufill my contract.” Miakel was knocked of guard by the question.
    “Ahhh I see.... You are asking quite a lot of us with little to show on you behalf.” James started advancing on Miakel.
    “I just need a larger ship, rations for 6 months, and I will take care of the crew.” Miakel would have shot for a year but James didn’t seem to be blinded by the pop and sparkle routine.
    “I understand that those shards are not so easily procured... I will pay for a 3 month expedition, show me you can achieve results and then we will talk about your new ship.”
    Miakel hid a glare and bowed his head in mock respect. “You are most gracious Sire, Pilos.”

    The men wrote out the details and concluded their business. Has quickly has the Seeker came he left. In three months time there was no sign of the flashy Seeker. James figured he died on The Rim and chose not to finance a Bounty Hunter. And so life went on in Pilos, shard tech eventually made it’s way too the Core Planets and in what seemed like just a few days became standard in high end vehicles and well financed militaries. The rich kids had lots of Tach field toys and the corporations were making a killing off it. The Core planets were fighting over who should be allowed to house the Large shards. They were regulated and watched closely. Most Species of the Galaxy had at least one planet lost to nuclear war, no one wanted to repeat that. So the Largest shards were only allowed to be manipulated defensively. Only one Massive Shard Weapon existed, and it was housed on the Flagship Armageddon. The Chief Warship of The Council. It could only be utilized with the consent of all nine core planet governors.
    James succeeded in getting appointed to Supreme Judge of The Council without the help of the shard tech. While James went from day to day dealing with the many legislative duties of the council he forgot about the small time shard seeker that once entered his halls. But his son Eric on the other hand never did. The shard seeker took more then credits from James. He took his heir. Eric no longer had any interest in leading the planet of Pilos. He really didn’t want anything to do with The Council. He had no ill will towards them but he was so fascinated with the shards, he wanted to spend his time testing them and pushing their limits. He wanted to see what they could really do. So his father used his influence to get his son into the Academy of Shard Science and Engineering. It was the only Academy of it’s type and was based on understanding the science of the shards and in turn engineering new technology based on cutting edge research. The school was constantly evolving to keep up with breakthroughs, most of which It’s students and staff were responsible for. Eric was in his element! He quickly graduated with honors and a few breakthrough’s to his credit. There were very few members of the A.S.S.E. that understood shards the way Eric did. Upon graduating he was offered prestigious positions in various Companies and Firms but Eric wanted to go to the source. He believed some of the mysteries of the Shards could be understood by seeing them in their natural environment, and in the hands of the beings that relied upon them. And so Eric left the shelter of The Council and his Father’s Prestige to go to the outer rim. He had a sizable sum of money from the breakthroughs he made in the Academy and the companies that bought the patents, and he had his trusty AI Einstein.....