James Drake blinked his eyes as he awoke, the sudden light momentarily blinding him until his eyes adjusted.
"Oh good," said a soft feminine voice, "You're awake."
Groggy and disoriented, he tried to identify the voice. "Mom?"
The voice responded with a giggle. "You don't have a mother, silly. Never did. But I am a mother, yes. Just not yours."
As he began to focus, his memories returned. They did that quite quickly and easily, these days. Ever since someone had toyed with his brain's wiring like a kitten with a ball of yarn.
"Oh... hey Anne," he said, focusing his eyes on the source of the voice. "Um... where are we? What happened?"
"Zikaren fleet," said the bioroid with a frown. "Seems they consider us pirates, simply due to the fact that we're affiliated with the Imperium."
"Grudge much?" he muttered. "So then... the Syndicate is hunting us. The Zikarens will shoot us on site. Seems we have no safe place to turn in this entire blasted sector. So where ARE we?"
"We're at Vegalia station," said Anne with a shrug. "It was the only place with the technology to repair the Vengeance."
"Ugh..." said Drake. "And how much did THAT set us back?"
"Only about five," she said with a shrug. "Pocket change."
"Five MILLION IC?" asked Drake. "Pocket change?"
"Oh no, not five million," said the girl with a coy smile. "Five billion. Don't worry, I've already covered it. This one's on me."
"What the heck?" asked Drake. "When did you get that much money?"
"Hm..." said Anne, putting a finger to her lips. "The initial patents sold for a trillion. Plus, I'm getting a bit more for every augmentation conducted, and they're asking me for some more ideas... oh, a lot has happened."
Drake blinked. "You sold your patents to the Imperial Armada?"
"Mmmm.. yep," said Anne. "And unfortunately, I'll no longer be able to to offer augmentations to just anyone... Imperial law has deemed them military-grade technology, you see. And we're going to need a new crew... we're still continuing the mission, right?"
"You just made enough money to be labelled among the richest in the galaxy," said Drake, "And you want to run around playing Corsair. Well, I won't force you to stay, but nor will I deny your services."
Suddenly, her arms were around him. "I could never leave you, James. You're my Creator, after all."
"Right..." said Drake. "Well, glad to hear it. Let's see about recruiting some crew then, shall we?"
On the Surian outpost of Vegalia Station, James Drake felt naked without his powered combat armor. But there should be little to no danger, as Surians kept security pretty well. Commies, he thought to himself, At least they know how to maintain control and security.
Stepping in to a typical spaceport cantina, he posted a job application on the station's network, using his hyperlink implant to do so wirelessly, with a simple thought.
Sitting at a table, he looked over the room. Looked to be the right type of place... mercenaries, bounty hunters, even a few smugglers were likely to be present, though they were unlikely to be carrying contraband at the moment, due to the mandatory inspections conducted by the Surian security forces. All different races were present... type A humanoids such as Achenarans and Surians, a lizard-scaled man in the corner... even a half-Eldar, it seemed.
Ordering up a drink, James Drake sat at the table, sipping on the black Achenaran rum and relaxing.