Kat "Calico" Cairns
Fairn Penal Colony, Tychos One
The military attache sits, staring across the expanse of desk at the penal colony’s warden. Between them, a manila folder, well worn, filled with papers as well as other, smaller folders.
“Warden Tychos, is it?” the officer turns the folder around and slides it toward the warden. “Tell me about this one.”
Tychos frowns: “Calico? no sir, you’ll not be wanting anything to do with him!”
“And why is that, warden?”
Tychos sighs heavily and opens up the folder: "Kat Cairns, one of our more troublesome “guests”. as far as we can tell.."
“As far as you can tell, Warden?”
“Yes, Captain. You see, we believe that his parents were pirates, based out of Tortuga. There’s no place of birth, no birth date, nothing. his, is a family of ghosts.”
“So how did he end up here?”
“Well, he was abandoned as a child. Ended up in a youth home, then a foster home, then another, and another. The pirate theory came about as a result of the mark.”
“Mark, you say?”
“Yes sir. two crossed swords. On his left shoulder, found it during one of his medical examinations.”
“Examinations? health issues with him?”
“No, the exact opposite. He’s quite healthy, the problem is more..”
“More what, Warden. Spit it out.”
“The kid has been through the system, you know how bad it can get. He was beaten pretty badly by one of his foster families. The dad accused him of ogling his wife. Laid him up for 5 months.”
“But there’s more?”
“While he was recovering, the authorities visited. turns out that foster family disappeared two weeks afterwards, and their home was burned to the ground. Police are still investigating, but they’re having trouble finding evidence, so they decided he hired people to take them out, and charged him with manslaughter and conspiracy.”
“I see. A street urchin, no family, no friends, pretty east to gin up charges against him.”
“That’s right, sir. An audit of the case found that there was no evidence supporting the claims, and by all rights, he should be a free man.”
“And that’s where we come back to troublesome.”
“I’ve seen more than a few like him, sir. Always sticking up for the underdog. He’s spent more time in solitary confine then out in the yard. Personally, I think he prefers it.”
“So where did “Calico” come from?"
The warden flips to a section of the folder holding photographs and turns it towards the officer.
“Three years ago, the warden in charge here wasn’t as concerned towards the rehabilitation of prisoners. He made a deal with one of the gangs inside. Nasty group, slavers. They were moving some product, but before they could, the Local clans got wind of it, and hit the prison. 23 dead, a bunch more wounded, total cluster-fu..”
He holds up, not wanting to offend.
“er, total mess. Everyone knows the clan was tipped off, but by who? Finger’s began being tossed around, and eventually those fingers landed on him.”
“The loner with few friends and no family.”
“Correct, sir. The remaining gang caught him in his cell about a year ago. Granted, he gave them a good fight, put four of theirs in the hospital ward, but they splashed him with acid, horrible mess. Took another year with all the skin regen, but for some reason, his replaced skin didn’t take on his complexion, so he has these light patches of discoloration, hence he started being called..”
“Calico, like the cat.”
“So, where is he now?”
“Solitary, as usual. He never gives the guards any trouble, but this time he and a guard had a dust up.”
“The guard swears up and down that Cairns sucker punched him. Cairns claims that the guard was smuggling contraband in.”
“What do you think?”
“I think the guard is smuggling contraband in, but I can’t prove it yet. But I think he’s doing it for Calico. See, Cairns seems like a underdog, but there’s a reason why he’s survived in here by himself. I think he’s either running one of these gangs, or playing them off each other.”
“Once a pirate…”
“Always a pirate, yes I know. That’s why I’m here. I’m putting together a merc squad, and I can use a kid like Cairns. from his testing when he did attend school, everything looks like he’d be a fair MechPilot, and I can use those.”
“So, I kick you Cairns. and what do I get out of this?”
“A pain in your neck removed, and my men don’t turn this penal colony upside down looking for “dangerous” contraband."
“I knew your would.”
The warden passes the folder back to the seated officer “You’ll want to make copies of some of the information, especially the psych profiles.” pressing a box on his desk, “Sergeant, bring me up release forms for a Cairns, Kat.”
End Part One