The star ship Skuttlebutt fled to the stars, it would be the first day of its hundred year voyage.
In its wake it left behind the screams of a dying planet. It had been the home world of the people that the ship now carried, and now it was gone. Skuttlebutt held over half a billion people in its storage facilities all of whom were now the last surviving members of the Korbonite race. Yet despite this crew of millions there was only one aboard that witnessed the planet Korbon die.
On the ship's bridge Beta Ray Bill winced as he felt the vessel shudder from the last of the planet's shock waves. Where there had once been a mighty empire there was now nothing but dust and rocks, yet Bill felt nothing.
"Are you feeling alright Beta Ray?" Skuttlebutt's shipboard intelligence asked once the warrior finally turned his head away from the destruction. Bill looked to the hovering, blinking light that represented his companion and gave his solemn response.
"I'm fine, Skuttlebutt." He replied in a tone that could grate gravel. "I may have been built on Korbon but I spent no time there. I feel nothing. If anything I feel relieved."
"Relieved?" The ship queried.
"Yes." Bill said. "Now my purpose can begin."
Bill moved to a nearby computer table and pulled up a status list for the ship's various mechanical systems. Given the shaking he'd felt just moments ago it was more than likely that the vessel had suffered some sort of damage. He looked at the screen and found himself briefly gazing into his own reflection.
Like the rest of his race Bill cast a tall figure. Several enhancements he'd been gifted at birth had made him stronger and faster than his brethren, but you wouldn't know that by looking at him. Another trait Bill shared with his race was that he greatly resembled a horse... at least when it came to his head and torso.
"Life support's still working. That's good." He muttered almost absent minded. He scrolled through the list and shuddered upon seeing the damage to the ship done by the dying planet. "Lord. It's a miracle we're still flying!"
There was an electronic chirp that perked the warrior's attention. "Actually we're not!" Skuttlebutt said, sounding disarmingly cheerful. "That blast damaged our engines to the point that we're basically drifting." Bill grit his teeth and clenched his fist. "However. The last of the Korbonite people have successfully entered hibernation and will remain in that state until repairs are completed!"
"Hmm. And how long will that take?" The Korbonite asked, his nostrils flaring at the inconvenience. There was a brief silence as Skuttlebutt pondered the question, a brief silence that gave way to a snappy response.
"By my calculations it should take no longer than thirty six thousand five hundred and twenty five days!"
"A hundred years?!" Bill's fist smashed through the computer screen in his shock.
"An extra few months now, Bill." Skuttlebutt added. "Unfortunately I'll have to power down for the duration."
"What am I supposed to do in the mean time?!"
The answer was a fairly simple one. "Guard the ship! Protect your race! And if you do get bored... well. I do believe the ship's brewery is still operational!" The warrior considered what had been said for a whole three seconds.
"That should suffice."
"Marvelous! Fear not Beta Ray Bill! I'll begin work at once! A hundred years shall pass by like nothing!" Then Bill's companion vanished, leaving the Korbonite alone.
Yet what the ship had said was not the case. A hundred years felt like a hundred years and each one took its toll. To his credit Beta Ray Bill performed his duty for all of those years, every day he patrolled the vessel with his personal shock staff that he wound up naming Mawzer. But as time went by no foes were found, no invaders dared breach the vessel's walls and Skuttlebutt drifted alone in the black sea... and with little to do but eat and drink the still mighty Beta Ray Bill grew fat. Then he grew fatter... and then fatter.
For near a hundred years Skuttlebutt barely moved an inch until its people were forgotten by the galaxy. Which is why it came as a surprise to all when on the final day of the vessel's long repairs a small group of pirates stumbled across the once mighty vessel.
"Look at that." Zardok of the Kronans grinned as he twisted his warhammer. He gazed upon the silent Korbonite vessel and his mind raced at what could possibly be waiting within. He looked at his clan brother and punched him in the arm causing pebbles to fall from his rocky flesh. "Told ya we'd find somethin' in this stinkin' system."
Zardok's brother Mardok looked at him, his face bearing not a smile but a frown.
"It's too quiet. It could be a trap. Could be Novas trying to ambush us. It could-"
"Or it could be a floating payday!" Zardok said as he began to march towards their ship's barracks. Mardok followed after his older brother barely able to keep pace with his excitement. "It could be what lets us get out of this life!" They stopped just outside of the crew quarters and the two locked eyes.
"It could be our deaths." Mardok said in a hushed whisper. "The Nova Corps are on our trail brother, you must decide whether this treasure is worth our lives."
A cold look passed over Zardok's eyes as it often did when he grew angry.
"It is." He answered. "Get your equipment ready. We leave in five minutes."
A cool chill seeped into Mardok's body and did not leave. By the time he and his crew stepped onto the silent Skuttlebutt a sense of doom had filled Mardok's mind that made him flinch at every shadow on the dimly lit ship. One time the tattle of a machine in Skuttlebutt's hanger bay causing Mardok to fire his laser rifle out of fear before he realized his mistake which prompted laughter from the rest of the crew.
"Quiet!" Zardok had snapped, embarrassed. The other two Kronans, Brodon and Windan chuckled to themselves and did as they were asked. Cautiously the group made their way to the ship's elevator and moved towards the command center. To their surprise they found signs of life upon the deck.
"What a mess." Windon grumbled stepping over discarded food wrappers and empty glass containers.
"I know. It's like your room." Brodon replied.
Zardok ignored their mutterings and cast his eyes over the ship's log wiping away dust from the screen. His eyes widened at what he saw.
"My, my, my." He said beginning to smile. His brother asked him what was wrong and he answered. "There's over five hundred million people on this ship."
"And you shall harm none of them!" A mighty voice cried drawing all the Kronan crew's eyes to to the bridge's entrance. Before the group stood Bill, he was dressed in orange battle armor wielding his bright red shock stick, all the while having a look of fury in his eyes. It would have been very impressive... had it not been for the gut hanging over his waist.
The Kronans all burst out laughing, and that was perhaps their first mistake.
"You came seeking plunder!" The Korbonite bellowed. "You have found only death!" And taking advantage of his foes' distraction Bill began to charge. He targeted the closest pirate to him which happened to be Mardok and jabbed him in the side with Mawzer sending a few volts of electricity through the Kronan's body. A hundred years of drinking did not seem to have damaged Bill's speed, yet even he was not fast enough to avoid the slap from Mardok that sent him tumbling across the room.
Bill felt blood drip down his snout and he laughed. "Finally!" He yelled to himself. "Finally..." He relished this rare chance at combat and began to turn over to rejoin the fray only to find four laser rifles pointing down at him.
"I wouldn't move." Zardok warned. "Don't want to see you get hurt." Bill moved anyway and was met by shot after shot after shot slamming into his body. The Korbonite fell back to the ground, his flesh was scorched yet his eyes remained open and his heart was still strong, so Zardok slammed a half ton fist into him.
The Kronans stared down at the strange, sleeping creature they had encountered. None knew what to make of him. Somewhat abruptly Zardok turned to his brother and finished answering the question that had been asked just a minute ago.
"There's five hundred million people on this ship." He said, a nasty glint appearing in his eyes. "I wonder how much the Nova Corps will pay for 'em."
That was how the Kronan pirates came across over five hundred million hostages.
When it came to Bill the Kronans shoved him into an escape pod and shot him out into space. They weren't a blood thirsty people by nature and decided to let the warrior live.
That was their second mistake.
By some quirk of fate or sheer cosmic coincidence Bill's escape pod found itself pulled into the atmosphere of a nearby planet. The small, metal pod spiraled down towards the ground below and impacted with the force of a thousand bombs. Yet thanks to the pod's safety systems Bill sluggishly emerged from the pod unharmed.
The planet he stood upon was a stony, barren wasteland with no signs of life upon it. It had been deserted since the dawn of time and posed no interest to anyone.
Yet it was upon this rock that the mighty Beta Ray Bill discovered his destiny.