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“Imperial Smuggler”


Imperial Smuggler

This is a strange, strange book! We’ve got a ship right now called the “Heavyweight Item” that captained and crewed by a bunch of misfit criminals who have no idea what they are doing. They are all on the run from the Empire for various reason none of which they have specifically shared with each other.

Well, Dena, I guess isn’t wanted. She’s just decided she doesn’t want to live her life on the ground at the backward planet she was born on. But, she’s never been to space which means she’s not very useful on a starship. But, she’s not the only one that is a problem. The pilot and de-facto Captain of the ship is Dirk Friedel, an actual Duke of the Empire who was once in the Royal Navy. He knows how to pilot a starship, but it’s the landings he’s not so good at and has been coping by being drunk when they do have to land. Dirk is also a deserter, escaped from a military prison and he’s not going back.

The others on this ship are just as weird as these two. They all have strange backgrounds which they don’t want to talk about, but they do show and demonstrate various skills that so far have kept them alive. That’s a major accomplishment with this bunch. They are constantly bickering at each other and threatening to do one thing or another to someone, but they never carry out their threats. What they don’t have are credits. They might have a ship, but it takes credits to run it. Dirk was actually supposed to deliver this ship to a repair docks as part of the job he was hired to do, but he’s decided to “borrow” the ship for a while.

Now they are trying to figure out how to make some money, but they really don’t want to break the law. Yeah, it’s a strange bunch. Most of them have already broken the law someway, but they really don’t want to do so now, and certainly don’t want to be caught. They manage to dock to a space station only to find that all the inhabitants are fleeing that same station. The only people staying around are those who don’t have a ship to get away. Unfortunately, the *Heavyweight Item* is about out of fuel and they will need to spend their last remaining credits getting some or they will be stuck at this space station for a long time.

Strangely, there are just a very few other ships docked to the space station and all of the fuel that was supposed to be there is gone, or so they’re told. They figure someone has some fuel some where stashed on the station, they just have to find out who and where it’s stashed. That happens to come from an insurance salesman who wants the crew to stage an apparent robbery of his office, messing up the place and seemingly stealing his books. See, this guy has been stealing from the company and now they’ve come to audit him. He does know where some fuel bladders are stored and he’s willing to let the *Heavyweight Item* fill-up as much as it wants as long as they are willing to take stolen cargo in payment for helping him out.

So our crew manages to ran-sack the insurance guys office while also fueling up their ship. They head for another space station that has docking ports for cargo ships/freighters that also take on and drop-off cargo. They can also refuel if necessary. The insurance guy game them the codes and passwords to make all this easier, but they can’t be caught because their ship obviously isn’t a company ship. So, the manger to get to this other space station during the night shift, get docked and start refueling while looking for some containers to steal. They find two, but they don’t exactly know what’s in them, but they take them anyway.

Turns out one container held mortar weapons plus shells. Apparently someone is also getting ready for the coming war and they need these weapons or so it seems. They also steal a cargo container of what turns out to be frozen fish! They think they can find a buyer for the mortar stuff but it might be kind of hard to sell a cargo container full of frozen fish. Turns out it was the other way around, but only kind of deadly. There was another ship docked to the space station looking to pick up cargo and both of the containers the *Heavyweight Item* stole were their cargo. So they go chasing after the *Heavyweight Item*.

Now our crew thinks maybe they made a mistake by taking someone else’s arsenal. So, they call the other ship and tell them they’ll drop off that container on the nearest planet if they will quit chasing them and certainly stop shooting at them. Sounds like a plan until everything they thought they knew starts going haywire. This is where the rest of the book takes off with some pretty strange happenings. They don’t know it, but there is an Imperial warship looking for them and it’s not that far away. This could also cause them some problems, but ignorance is bliss!

I’ll continue reading this series because it’s really hilarious in some places. Can’t believe this crew has existed this long, but their luck has to run out soon. Be interested in what happens in book 3, “Imperial Mercenary” now available on Amazon.

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