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Pod and Planet submission: The solitary demise of Epidio Trantino (humor)

Author
Ishtanchuk Fazmarai
#1 - 2013-11-08 22:59:12 UTC  |  Edited by: Ishtanchuk Fazmarai
This is a submission to the YC 115 Pod and Planet contest.
Cathegory: Other Things Just Make You Swear and Curse.
Words: 4,240

The solitary demise of Epidio Trantino
by Ishtanchuk Fazmarai


"Figlio di puttana! I'll reap his heart with my own hands! Then I will feed it to my dog and it will vomit his heart and I will feed the puke to cockroaches and then I will stomp the cockroaches!"

Giugliemo Cannara, Don Cannara for anyone with enough good sense or wish to live to see a new day, kept adding details on what would he do with the several organs and limbs of the target of his wrath, and nobody dared to say anything.

"I told you! I told you, don't you recall?, I told you how that Project Grassroot would be a disaster! And now it has turned on me, and what shall I do? Nobody respects me! And less of all, that vile rat son of cockroach, Epidio Trantino!"
"Sire, we think we can find him...", said Ander Bramovic, the Gallentean adviser to Don Cannara.
"You think you can find him? And why do I want you to find him? Just kill him! Kill him and bring me his heart and then I will fed it to my dog and my dog will vomit it and I will feed the puke to cockroaches and I will stomp the cockroaches!"

Ander Bramovic said nothing, as he had noticed how Don Cannara used to repeat himself as he aged. But for once, he thought that his master was not a useless waste of 90% animal cunning and 10% of intellect, and this time he was right.

Project Grassroot (without the final -s) had been one of the most daring and surrealistic attempts to find enough capsuleer pilots for the Gallente Federation. The details are sketchy as the whole operation was kept secret and then was silenced. Actually, in case that you ever meet someone who knows about Project Grassroot, it is seriously advisable to run away from that person.

Project Grassroot involved taking petty criminals out of prison and training them as capsuleers. The fact that it was a voluntary program was just one of the many ill conceived decisions involving it, because most criminals willing to risk being wetgraved in exchange for a few years of prison were not of the brightest kind, and it would show later with the few who survived the program.

Epidio Trantino was suggested to volunteer albeit he was just two years before his release; emissaries of Don Cannara suggested him that it was advisable to pay back for his latest disaster, a scam scheme involving that Trantino pretended o be a member of a religious cult and gather funds for building a temple. Don Cannara had agreed to the idea, but he found too late that Trantino was posing for a Bani Sabik, which after several months led to an arrest and several years in prison. That he hadn't had the wit to transfer funds before the Law found them and the whole operation ended in a disaster, should had warned anyone about turning him into a capsuleer... but Don Cannara was old, and the officers responsible to implement Project Grassroot were desperate.

And so Epidio Trantino became a pod pilot, and almost started a career until he managed to self destroy his ship and his pod in a quick succession of blunders. After returning to Don Cannara, he was tasked with another scam scheme, pretending to be a rescue organization looking for children gone lost at stations. "Project Sally" was a success, probably because nobody had ever heard of children lost in stations, and once the organization had gathered 150 million ISK, Trentino remembered to transfer the money... to his account, and then fled in the first frigate he could find.

Ander Bramovic was aware that the target was an idiot, but he also was a capsuleer, and so dealing with his ship could be dangerous. That naturally limited the pursuers to other capsuleers who belonged to the organization, and thus the list was appallingly short. After some checks, the list turned to be as long as a single name: Salvatore Braga.

Braga was one of the middle range men in the organization know as the "Cool People", and he had managed to build a small gang of followers whose salaries were a constant worry to Braga. Unlike Trantino, he had accepted the program because he was facing eight years of prison after an homicide. He had been tasked to shot dead a snitch, and he achieved it successfully after the guy suffered a heart attack when he saw Braga's handgun. Unfortunately, Braga was so ecstatic after his "success" that he sped his car and crashed it against a bus at a stop, killing three passengers and a pedestrian. Sentenced to nine years, he accepted to become a capsuleer and managed to live though it. Albeit his sketchy notions of what discipline meant, the Federation navy kept training him until he had his big chance. He was tasked to make a show to the benefit of a group of VIPs and was delivered a Thorax type cruiser. Unfortunately, he was so anxious that he spent the whole night before drinking, and once the ship arrived to the waiting point, he fall asleep. He was awaken by a loud voice asking him to effing shoot the targets, and he was confronted with a tough choice: there were several red crosses and a single large white cross, and he figured that the single white cross was the target. If the aim of the show was to impress the VIPs, they were certainly impressed when the first volley crushed both shields and armor of their ship, and only a desperate command voice form the Admiral made Salvatore Braga cease fire before being dismissed from service at a shocking speed.

Anyway, Braga was not a fool; he returned to the Cool People and told how the Admiral had cheated him in a cards game and wasn't willing to pay, so he had planned to scare him with a bit of blaster fire. That story, and the fact that he a was married to a nephew of Don Cannara, earned him a better place in the organization, and granted him access to keep honing his capsuleer skills. Despite that, only the circumstances forced Bramovic to talk to Braga.

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I am an Alpha / And so it's you

Ishtanchuk Fazmarai
#2 - 2013-11-08 22:59:48 UTC  |  Edited by: Ishtanchuk Fazmarai
"Listen Salvatore, I wouldn't be asking this to you if we had someone else. We need you to find Epidio Trantino, blow his ship, capture his pod and deliver him alive so we can ask the money back. So go grab a ship and do it!"
"OK Bramovic, but what's in it for me?"
"Orders from Don Cannara. And he will forget about the face his nephew had last week"
"She's drinking too much, what can I do?"
"Maybe you could try not cheating on her for a change. At least not while she's at home"
"It was a misunderstanding, I..."
"Shut up and go find that scoundrel! Don Cannara wants his heart to feed the dog and the crap, he's that angry"
"Okay, consider it done".

"If I could hope so...", thought Bramovic to himself.

*********************************************************

Salvatore Braga's adventures as a capsuleer had had different degrees of success, and at the time when he took Bramovic's assignment, he didn't had any available ship but a Velator to oppose Epidio Trantino's frigate. It was very typical of him, that Braga had accepted the assignment without asking what kind of ship would be flying Trantino. But he was a resourceful man, and as he had trained some Minmatar skills, he buggered his old friend Romulo Pantone until he borrowed him his Thrasher class destroyer, in exchange for a part of the reward for killing Trantino.

Once he had secured a ship powerful enough to deal with anything Trantino had, Braga started looking for Trantino. Albeit he hadn't access to locator agents, he skillfully pestered the local chat channel until someone made him the favor for a humble fee of just 1 million ISK. Braga was painfully aware of how long could take him to earn back that kind of money, specially as he was not man to dirt his hands with mining lasers.

Having located Trantino, Braga jumped several systems, confident that Trantino would never figure that he could be located. Upon arriving his destination system, Salvatore Braga landed on the station pointed by the locator agent, but he found that Trantino wasn't docked there. Station upon station, he looked around the system to no avail, and figured that maybe Trantino was hiding in some asteroid belt, and so he jumped to the nearest one.

There, Braga figured that he could just ask the miners, albeit he had bad memories about dealing with that strange breed of rock-munchers. His first attempt to earn a living involved threatening miners with bumping, and he made a modest living which improved once Braga asked a friend to make a recording of him as a dreary seasoned capsuleer of the worst psychopathic kind. He would deliver the video to miners and most would give him money to not be bumped, as anyone crazy enough to send such a recording and then ask for a few ten thousand ISK, was better appeased than opposed. Braga was so proud of his exploit, that he decided to engage the big guys and picked as a target a group of miners with Orca support. He locked the Orca and sent the menacing video, but unfortunately he had been having some fun with the boys the night before and the Orca pilot was shocked to receive a juicy moment of Damsel in Dissex IV: Beyond the Seventh Hole. Braga felt his wrath grow as the Orca pilot started laughing at him as he shared the video with the mining fleet and they also started picking on Braga; then someone asked whether the girl was Braga's sister, and he went berserk. In no time, Braga locked on the offending Hulk and fired at it, and soon his Catalyst was shred to dust by CONCORD. Going back home in a pod, Braga told everyone interested that he had been treacherously ambushed and nobody dug further on how could he lose a ship in just four weeks since start using it against miners in high security space.

If something, that experience taught Braga to be cautious, and so he kindly asked the miners around, belt after belt, until one of them could point him towards a mysterious Incursus frigate which just ad warped to one of the planets. Braga followed the hint and encountered Trantino's ship idling by a Customs Office. Braga kicked in the MicroWarpdrive mounted on the Trasher and quickly closed in, locking Trantino's unsuspecting Incursus. He was about to start shooting when he recalled that he had to activate killrights on Trantino, and as the Trasher passed by the Incursus at above 1300 m/s, Trantino realized that something was wrong and attempted to jump away. He would had achieved it if he hadn't entered the CO's collision avoidance area, so Braga had time to stop, turn around and charge back on him, and then open fire, his artillery guns blazing... and missing completely.

Startled but untouched, Trantino realigned and kicked his warp drive as Braga turned around for another pass; and both had a surprise when the artillery guns shot with almost no transversal velocity and landed 6 hits on the Incursus, killing its shield and armor. Braga laughed and Trantino tried to beg for mercy as the Trasher cruiser grew larger and larger, and bumped him out of his alignment. Trantino desperately looked for a celestial aligned to his direction and tried to warp again, as Braga shouted:

"You die now scoundrel! I'm going to mince you to bits!"

The Thrasher turned back around, raced on the Incursus and the artillery guns blazed almost point blank, disintegrating the Incursus a fraction of second before the collision... and then Braga saw that the overview was clean; there was nothing but the wreck of Trantino's Incursus, and his pod was gone. Braga laughed manically as he checked the overview again: no trace of the pod. Trantino was dead! Braga aligned to the first gate on his travel back with a metaphorical broad smile all over him.

It took him until he was about to dock to remember Bramovics's words: "blow his ship, capture his pod and deliver him alive so we can ask the money back"...

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I am an Alpha / And so it's you

Ishtanchuk Fazmarai
#3 - 2013-11-08 23:00:46 UTC  |  Edited by: Ishtanchuk Fazmarai
"Stronzo! Stronzo! Stronzo!", was saying Braga as accompaniment to the drums solo that his head was performing on the table.
"Don't be too harsh on you, Salvatore", tried to comfort him his cousin Genaro Braga
"That bloody stronzo, he just blew up with his ship! Now how can we deliver him to Don Cannara? How's he going to reap his heart and feed the dog with it?"
"Maybe his frozen corpse still is around..."
"His corpse? You stronzo too! Don Cannara's dog won't eat no frozen garbage!"

To that, Genaro couldn't answer anything. Struggling for a idea, he walked to the balcony to watch the ships going by, a hobby that often enlightened his mind with ideas. And this time was no different. Feeling struck by a miracle, Genaro rushed to Salvatore and said:

"The pod! The pod!"
"Yes, the pod what?"
"He is a capsuleer! If the pod was destroyed, he would awake on another clone!"

Salvatore Braga looked at his cousin with wide open eyes, then his jaw dropped too.

"You... are.. right! That scoundrel still is alive in some place! We just need to find his clone before he... oh..."
"That's great Salvatore! Mamma always said, 'Genaro, you are a man full of ideas. And if you just learned to pick the right one, you would not break my heart so often!' Now we just need to find his clone!"
"As if he's going to be waiting for us...", muttered Salvatore Braga.

Once again, he asked a favor and found a do-gooder who accepted to run a location service for no fee. Salvatore Braga crossed his fingers and knocked on a table hoping it was made of wood, as he waited for an answer, and then the good Samaritan sent him a message:

"I am sorry, my agent hasn't been able to locate him. Apparently he's gone from the records and was last seen flying a Incursus whose wreckage was recovered yesterday..."

Salvatore Braga looked at the message in dismayed disbelief. How could Trantino be gone from the records? Was that even possible? Ane he returned to his efforts to think, banging on the table, which apparently was made of plastic and not wood. The only thing that interrupted him was a telephone call from the docking master, asking him whether he would like to use the station's repair services on his Thrasher.

"Of course i don't! My Thrasher needs no repairs, you ciuccio!"
"Doesn't needs them? Well, sir, I beg to differ. But that's not my business. Have a nice day"

The telephone call made nothing to improve Salvatore Braga's mood, but once again Genaro went to look at the ships and this time he had a true revelation as the Thrasher slowly spinned before Salvatore's CQ.

"Salvatore! Come here!
"What's now?"
"Come here and look at the ship!"

Salvatore Braga walked to the balcony and looked at the spinning Thrasher. He saw nothing

"And so?"
"Wait until you see the, huh, the front"
"The prow?"
"Whatever..."

Braga waited as the ship spinned, and then he strangled a scream as he could see the front section of the Trasher. Something was terribly wrong with the flap-like things on the starboard side; the front one was almost obliterated and there was a clearly visible hole on the crushed remnants of the second one, whereas the third structure was bent back and twisted.

"Madonna sacra!", mumbled Salvatore.
"Gesú!", answered Genaro.

Between the crushed remnants of the flaps, there was something moving, trapped by the twisted structure. Salvatore took a pair of binoculars and then he could see a hydrostatic pod deeply entangled in the crippled third flap, venting greenish jets as it attempted to fly free...

*********************************************************

"Get out of there!"
"Bring me your mother first!"
"You son of a *****! Don't mess with my mother!"
"As if you knew who she was, bastard!"
"I'm gonna bomb you and your damned pod, you bloody virato!"
"Oh yes, please do, try to crack this pod!"
"I tell you! Get out!"
"No!"

Salvatore Braga slammed on the control panel of the service shuttle he was flying, hovering by the Thrasher and with the pod in clear sight. The only way to remove it would be to disassemble all the flaps, but Braga didn't wanted any witnesses nor questions. He still didn't knew how the collision shield had failed so the Thrasher rammed the pod, nor how Trantino had survived the ensuing crash. And his plan to suggestion him to decant and land on the service shuttle wasn't specially appealing to Trantino.

"Maybe we could, huh, just convince him to give back the money?", suggested Genaro Braga.
"No, the boss wants his heart", answered Salvatore.
"My what??", said Epidio Trantino through the open comms channel, which Salvatore had forgot to mute.
"Your heart! He's gonna feed your heart to the dog! Get out of there!"
"Never! You can kiss my ass, sooner or later someone is going to see me stuck here and will investigate!"
"He's right, Salvatore", whispered Genaro. "We better take him out of there soon"
"Houm, maybe we should just crack that egg..."
"But then he will awake in some god-forgotten station and will be able to flee as a commoner before we find him!"
"But we can't let him stay there forever, someone may...", started saying Salvatore Braga, and then his datapad buzzed. "Oh, a message from that rat Bramovic..."

"From: A. Bramovic
To: S. Braga

Salvatore, you may find useful to know that our common friend has had his clone relocation bill paid. Attached you have the details of the bill he charged to our general matters account"

Salvatore Braga burst in a manic laugh and cut the communication with Trantino before saying.

"That stronzo! He sent the bill for relocating his clone to Bramovic! We have him, Genaro! And now we're going to have some Serious Fun! Pack your baggage, we've got to fly somewhere"

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I am an Alpha / And so it's you

Ishtanchuk Fazmarai
#4 - 2013-11-08 23:01:48 UTC  |  Edited by: Ishtanchuk Fazmarai
Genaro Braga looked at the motionless face of Epidio Trantino in his clone vat at the aseptic medical facilities of a Caldari station. The travel had been an interesting experience to him as a passenger aboard the Thrasher, and Salvatore Braga had had great fun picking on Trantino, announcing the jumps to him so he knew that his clone had been located. The thing on which Genaro Braga wasn't so sure, was the second part of the plan, in which Salvatore intended to destroy Epidio Trantino's pod. Genaro didn't knew of ships, but the concept of a "railgun-fit Dominix" sounded quite menacing...

Alone in command of the mighty battleship, Salvatore Braga felt invincible. He was astonished at his own genius; knowing that "sniper" ships existed, he figured that he could borrow a railgun fit battleship and blow the pod with a single well placed shot. Of course, his friend Otto Mamara bickered about how the Gallente ships weren't suit for sniping, actually, but Salvatore knew that Mamara was a wimp and didn't knew where he had his right hand. And all in all, how difficult could be to snipe a pod standing on a static ship?

Salvatore Braga struggled with the sensors to lock on the pod, and eventually he acquired a solid lock. He powered on the mighty railguns he had borrowed and installed on the Dominix, albeit he wasn't able to online all because, obviously, Mamara had wasted the CPU with something else.

"Some last words, figlio di puttana?", asked Salvatore Braga.
"Bring me your sister!"
"Bastard! Have this and say hello to my cousin when you wake up!"

The railguns fired, and after the volley the pod was unscathed. "What the hell?", asked Salvatore, and he fired again, and again the pod was untouched. "What's wrong with this guns? They're not hitting ****!". Salvatore insisted, wondering whether staying 70 kilometers away had been too much bragging, as the heavy plasma charges traversed the space, ready to unleash a jet of lead plasma on whatever they hit. Yet at maximum range and without any tracking assistance, the railguns were mostly boring holes in space, and so it took several volleys until eventually one of the charges did the trick. After flying for 70 kilometers, it hit the battered remnants of the Thrasher class destroyer, which already had intercepted several of the 425 mm slugs, and disintegrated what was left of its structural integrity.

Aboard the Dominix, Salvatore Braga saw a distant explosion, and suddenly the pod started moving, aligned and warped away.

"But what...?", asked Braga to nobody. Then he felt a cold grasp in his guts as he looked at the overview and saw the wreck of a destroyer where the Thrasher use to be. "Oh. My. God."

*********************************************************

Epidio Trantino was exultant. He had sensed the commotion of each shot that hit the ship holding him prisoner, until it had exploded with merely a little damage on his pod's shields. Feeling that his prayers had been attended, he aligned to the nearest planet and then warped to the next jumpgate, and kept jumping randomly until he was exhausted. He located a station on his overview and landed there. He knew that the gang would use agents to locate him, but now he knew it and planned to go unnoticed, traveling as a commoner.

Epidio Trantino's pod was stored in a Captain's Quarters and he decanted eventually, after spending three days in the capsule. He felt a strong urge to have a smoke and so he didn't bothered to go to the shower room, rather he climbed on the steep ladder leading up to the CQ proper. On top of the ladder, he rose his feet to reach the upper step and then several things happened fast, too fast...

*********************************************************

"Incredible. I've gotta tell this to the press guys, I've never seen anything like this"
"Freakish as hell, captain Muller".
"Probably he slipped on the pod goo dripping from his leg and foot, then fell back and landed as poorly as that... don't you think so, Dr. Haunter?"
"However it happened, I hadn't seen a more broken neck in my life. He was dead on the spot"
"What unfortunate egger bastard..."

Captain Muller looked again at the cold body of Epidio Trantino as the coroners loaded it on a stretcher. He hadn't any special appreciation for capsuleers, but he was struck by the irony of being almost immortal and then die in a stupid accident. If karma existed, maybe that guy had done something really bad in some other life...

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I am an Alpha / And so it's you

Ishtanchuk Fazmarai
#5 - 2013-11-08 23:02:43 UTC
Don Cannara looked at Salvatore Braga, and once again he asked himself why his nephew had to marry a capsuleer.

"Trust me, I don't get your ways, boy. The police is calling it an accident, and surely that bastard deserved to die, but, couldn't you have waited until he told us where the money was?"
"I am desolate, Don Cannara. We had a solid clue..."
"Yes, yes, it's been quite unfortunate. Anyway, that Trantino scoundrel is dead. As you may understand, I won't be able to pay you for your efforts, because you didn't bring him alive."
"But, Don Cannara.."
"Enough! No heart, no money!"
"Understood, Don Cannara"
“That's better. Now, with the money lost, we need to do something with Project Sally. And I've figured that you are the right man to do it. If that stronzo Trantino could earn 150 million in just six months, probably you will outperform him, right?
“Very sure, Don Cannara. I already had some plans to extend the organization, looking for other lost people... grandparents, siblings, uncles, or even pets...”
“Pets! Yes, people love them!”, said don Cannara, petting his attack poodle “Nosferatu”, which the obese beast thanked by trying to bite his hand. Don Cannara dropped it from his lap with a loud thump as it hit the ground, and then he attempted to kick it, but the dog fled and skipped between Salvatore's legs as he tried to stop it.
“That beast! My own wife trained it to hate me! No pets, then! Unless they're birds. People also likes birds”
“Oh yes, Don Cannara. We can just ask for help to find Willy the budgie”
"Good, good. I expect great things from you, Salvatore”, said don Cannara, taking a mint pill from his pocket. He removed the plastic wrap and sucked the pill for a while while he thought, and Salvatore waited patiently until don Cannara spit the pill, wrapped it again in the plastic and stored it back to his pocket.
“Have you seen this? They can't poison the pill if you always keep it in your pocket, Salvatore!”, said don Cannara, giggling.
“That's very cunning, don Cannara.”
“Yes, lad, you ought to be cunning too, if you want to live to be old like me. But enough! Just one more thing, Salvatore, and we're done! Please, tell, what can you say about Romulo Pantone? He is bitching around about don't know what missing ship he claims to have borrowed to you..."

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I am an Alpha / And so it's you

Ishtanchuk Fazmarai
#6 - 2013-11-09 09:15:26 UTC
Here it is, my third story for the contest, now I have one in each cathegory. Bear

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I am an Alpha / And so it's you

BuntCakez
Wildly Inappropriate
Goonswarm Federation
#7 - 2013-11-15 10:05:03 UTC
Except for some obvious spelling and grammar mistakes, the thing in this story is that it seems inconsistent in its language.

Most noticeable for me during the short conversation between Salvatore and the Ander, where the Ander uses fairly common language throughout his existence within the story, but then decides to use the word "scoundrel", which simply seems off.

Then Salvatore, who you portray as someone who isnt very bright, uses the word "albeit", which could be replaced with a much simpler "although". And again later, Salvatore uses the word "scoundrel" which is also somewhat unfitting for him.

I also assumed that when you wrote "Trasher" is was a misspelling of "Thrasher" (reinforced by the fact you spell it correctly later in the story), so when the story mentions that the the "Trasher" was a cruiser, i was properly confused.

If you fix that, this is a pretty nice story :D
Ishtanchuk Fazmarai
#8 - 2013-11-15 14:09:27 UTC
BuntCakez wrote:
Except for some obvious spelling and grammar mistakes, the thing in this story is that it seems inconsistent in its language.

Most noticeable for me during the short conversation between Salvatore and the Ander, where the Ander uses fairly common language throughout his existence within the story, but then decides to use the word "scoundrel", which simply seems off.

Then Salvatore, who you portray as someone who isnt very bright, uses the word "albeit", which could be replaced with a much simpler "although". And again later, Salvatore uses the word "scoundrel" which is also somewhat unfitting for him.

I also assumed that when you wrote "Trasher" is was a misspelling of "Thrasher" (reinforced by the fact you spell it correctly later in the story), so when the story mentions that the the "Trasher" was a cruiser, i was properly confused.

If you fix that, this is a pretty nice story :D


English is my third language and probably my grammar shows that I am self-taught... Lol

As for language levels, often I must pick between three, four or more words in English, which translate the precise word I would use in Spanish... without a clue on what's the subtle meaning of each possible translation. That feels like surgery with a chisel, but so far that's the best I can do... Cool

Roses are red / Violets are blue / I am an Alpha / And so it's you