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OB Relaunch: Fistful of Credits - The Big Black

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OB Relaunch: Fistful of Credits - The Big Black
The Leisure Thread
 
Welcome to The Big Black, otherwise known as the 'leisure thread' for the OB Relaunch RP 'Fistful of Credits'. Here you are encouraged to post in-character describing what your character gets up to between assignments, but firstly you can use this thread to properly introduce us to your Bounty Hunter character and give us a real idea of who they are.
 
This initial post can cover anything, from your Hunter handing in their most recent assignment, to just kicking back and relaxing in one of the many seedy establishments across the 'verse. Just use your imagination and have some fun with it!
 
---
 
Tyson Corporation Headquarters, Halstaff [Southern Hemisphere]
 
"We are always honoured to receive esteemed visitors from the Central Whitefall Government, but if I may ask, why now?"
 
Garrick Flynt was nudged from gazing distractedly around the vast, pure-white lobby of the multi-planetary Tyson Corporation's headquarters by the question, and he turned to face the tall, slender-limbed Jhinn who had been chosen to be the company's representative in this meeting.
 
"We were informed of some irregularities in your Archive registry," he replied, pulling a small holo-screen from his bag and handing it to the Jhinn, who took it in two of the pincer-like extremities that his arms ended in, "I'm sure it's nothing, but you know how things go on Whitefall: if the Government says jump, we say how high!"
 
"Indeed," said the Jhinn, looking over the holoscreen and barely disguising his hesitance, "Allow me just one moment to verify the inspection and I'll take you to the Archives."
 
****, thought Garrick. The forgery of his official documents was good enough to fool an eyeball, but his faith in the petty criminal who had made it didn't extend to allowing it through rigorous electronic checks.
 
"Why, is there something you're trying to hide?" he asked firmly, "This is a routine inspection of your Archive registry, but if you are unwilling to allow me access then I'll have to shut the entire building down." He fished a smaller holo-screen from his bag and began typing away furiously on the touchpad, allowing his gaze to flick up to the Jhinn for just a moment.
 
"Well...no, not at all," replied the Jhinn nervously, "I do apologise, allow me to escort you to the Archives immediately."
 
"Please do," said Garrick sternly, although as he spoke he felt the knot in his stomach gradually untangle, and he followed the Jhinn towards the clear glass elevators. The doors slid open and the Jhinn gestured for Garrick to enter first, which he did, and the Jhinn followed quickly after him, stabbing at the button for the Archives somewhere around the thirtieth floor.
 
"I'm terribly sorry about all that," the Jhinn said nervously, his mandibles clicking rapidly above his mouth, "I'm fairly new here, I'm not completely sure of what I'm supposed to be doing."
 
The new guy, thought Garrick, Poor kid.
 
"It's fine, you'll get used to it. Be glad Jackson didn't come down, he's much more of a hard-ass than me."
 
"Oh...thank you for the warning. I'll be sure to look out for him in the future."
 
The rest of the elevator journey continued in relative silence, save for the soft, tinny music that emanated from speakers somewhere in the elevator, until they reached their destination and the doors slid open.
 
"Ah, here we are. The Archives," said the Jhinn, rushing out of the elevator and waving a hand over a panel in the wall next to a large, charcoal-grey door which gradually slid open to reveal a room that was set out more like a small museum than an Archive. There were floor-to-ceiling windows on every wall save the one the Jhinn had entered through, bathing the room in the golden light of Halstaff's early morning, and large stone pedestals were dotted around the room, atop which were alien artifacts of various sizes, shapes and colours, from weapons to works of art and everything in between.
 
Garrick stepped across the threshold into the room, and let out a long, low whistle at the variety of different objects stored in there, and his fingers began twitching involuntarily as he walked slowly into the centre of the Archive.
 
"So...where exactly were the...irregularities?" asked the Jhinn nervously, looking from Garrick down to the holo-screen and back again.
 
"Uh...well, we just needed a little extra information on one particular item," he replied, "The...Ceihlenn Hive?"
 
"Oh, I see. Well, if you'd like to step over here, I can show you that item and you can note down any extra information you need."
 
"I will," said Garrick, walking over to where the Jhinn had gestured, "Thank you for your co-operation, I'll make sure I tell my superiors how helpful you were in this matter."
 
The Jhinn smiled, or at least Garrick guessed that it was a smile, and gestured over towards an object that looked like a huge stone sarcophagus, covered in intricate runes and carvings.
 
"No, no this can't be right," murmured Garrick, "It's supposed to be much smaller than this. This can't be the Ceihlenn Hive."
 
"I'm afraid it is, sir," replied the Jhinn, "The Ceihlenn travelled in much greater swarms than many other creatures, and built their Hives to match. Some fossilization has occurred which may have increased the size of the object, but this is most definitely it."
 
"Well, that's going to make my job a hell of a lot harder," said Garrick.
 
"I'm afraid I don't understand, sir," replied the Jhinn, but his comment was met with the barrel of a high-end plasma pistol aimed right at his chest.
 
"Sorry about this, kid," said Garrick, and he fired a single pulse of greenish-blue energy into the Jhinn's chest, stunning him and sending him into spasms on the floor of the Archive. After a moment, he stopped twitching and lay still, completely unconscious. Garrick re-holstered his pistol and went over to the Hive.
 
"Once I get back to Vyrul," he grunted, putting his weight into shifting the massive object off its pedestal and onto the smooth, shiny surface of the floor, "I'm going to kill you, Nylas. I'm going to shoot you right in the goddamn head."
 
He leaned his weight into pushing the object closer to one of the large windows, groaning a little as the heavy object slid over to the glass.
 
And that's when all hell broke loose.
 
Alarms began sounding, their whooping piercing through the previously-silent Archive, lights flashed from red to black and back to red again, and the huge grey doors to the room slid shut with a resounding clang.
 
"Intruders will be eliminated on the authority of the Tyson Corporation," whined a tinny, electronic voice from a speaker on the wall, "Surrender, Garrick Flynt. Surrender, Garrick Flynt. Surrender, Garrick Flynt..."
 
"Surrender?" mused Garrick for just a moment, "Nah, never done that before, don't really feel like starting now."
 
And with one swift, decisive kick, he knocked the priceless Ceihlenn Hive through the window and watched as it dropped through the air in a lazy, heavy arc.
 
Then the doors opened and a squadron of sleek, black security drones buzzed into the room, hovering a few feet above Garrick's head-height and bristling with weaponry.
 
"Surrender, Garrick Flynt. Surrender, Garrick Flynt..." the noise kept coming, now from the speakers on the drones themselves as well as those built into the walls of the room.
 
"Aaaand that's my cue to leave," smirked Garrick, turning on his heel and diving through the ragged hole in the side of the Tyson Corporation's headquarters.
 
Yup. I'm really gonna kill Nylas.
 
---
 
[ooc: That's my introduction taken care of, let's see some of yours!]

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She woke up.

 

The clock read 600, Nico Planetary Time. She was getting better at waking up later, but even after two years following her discharge from the Space Force, Faustina was still very much on military time. In her dark and shuttered one room apartment, she could see everything. From the still, she could see the cig stained tiling that she had only darkened further from irregular use. Most of the burned-in crap came from the last tenant, which could explain the cheap prices. There was the solar powered everything (fridge, stove, dishwasher, etc.) that she rarely used, given her tendency to order supplement packs and takeout. There was the window she dared not open given her current height, cheap Venetian blinds and all. Outside the glass, were the sounds of personal aircraft perusing the skies. This cube had been her home for the past Terran year.

 

From the still, she realized the one thing she always came back to. A realization known as the human condition. Its physical reaction went something along the lines of understanding that you currently exist, but don't know why you exist. Often seen in those experiencing isolation, it was a reminder to Faustina that she was not only alone, but she was alone in one of the most populous cities in the Central Cluster.

 

She could also feel everything from last night's escapades. The throbbing nearly caused her to double over. Ugh. I keep telling Johun to not shake my order, but that punk never listens. That is the last time I get the night special at The Millions. It was almost guaranteed she would return. The drinks were cheap, and so was the company. She quickly took stock of her wallet by her bed, current physical state, and seeing it was adequate sighed with relief.

 

Her roused sleep had not gone unnoticed. From the black, a blue screen lit up the room. From the screen that dominated the kitchen counter, a linear face appeared. The AI that came with the room, and the face she saw every day. It spoke in a sunshiny voice.

 

"Good morning, Faustina! Today is the 245th day of the Niconite year. The time is 604. You vitals say you have fully arisen from slumber, of which-"

 

"Computer, skip vitals scan. I know I need moreâ?¦ugh... sleep. You've told me the same thing over and over again. Not going to change any time soon."

 

The virtual being smiled. "Vitals scan complete. Overall health: acceptable!"

 

Faustina arose from the bed and on to the cold linoleum floor. She still wore the navy green baggy jeans and black tube top emblazoned with a band logo that had long faded that donned her last night. She was so tired last night, even her untied shoes remained on her feet. Slowly, her body readjusted to her sudden sobriety and shambled her way to the kitchen. She made sure to take the small step that separated the bedroom and kitchen slowly and without incident. Planting her foot firmly, she balanced her way to the refrigerator. Opening the door, she knew what sight of disappointment she would behold. A box of a dozen protein-laden supplements packs stared back, bathed in the cold and unfeeling light of the appliance.

 

She grabbed the first one she saw and tore open it with aplomb. With a tilt of the head, the rush of nutrients came surging through her system. She felt better, no doubt, but she would better with something to wash it all down with. Reaching for the cupboards above her, she opened the vinyl panelling with a squawking of the well-worn hinges. The noise made her double over.

 

With concern, the AI faced a hunched over being. "Faustina, it appears you are hurt in some way. Do you require assistance?"

 

"Computer, I'm fine. Do me a favor and search for hangover cures, preferably strong and cheap."

 

The face was replaced with a loading icon. â??"Scanningâ?¦scanningâ?¦scanningâ?¦" With a ping, the face returned. "Cures for hangover, 54061 results found. Read top suggestion?"

 

"Yes, computer."

 

"Gerthin Brex of the Niconite Online Journal says: We've all been there. After a night of parties, merry-making, and booze, you wake up one morning and realize your memories are gone, and maybe even your pants."

 

Faustina had to crack a smile at Brex's lame jokes. Or maybe it was the alcohol.

 

"The magic bullet comes in many forms for this tricky little problem known as hangover. Fight back with one of three suggested, and tested, cure-alls. 1) The breakfast plate at an all-you-eat diner, designed to absorb toxins in alcohol with fat molecules. 2) Chinese food, full of carbohydrates, to get you moving, followed by light exercise, to burn off both carbs and toxins. 3) The prairie oyster, a non-alcoholic cocktail designed to awaken the spirits. This is an Earth product, and it shows in the brutal nature of downing one. It'll waken the spiritsâ?¦and raise the dead."

 

She scanned her options, glass of water now in hand.

 

"Well, I'm still watching my figure, so as much as a king's breakfast sounds great, I'mma pass. And the prairie oyster isâ?¦well, gross. Computer, bring up the order screen for Zhang's Cuisine of Chiba II."

 

Good ol' Zhang. Been serving some of Earth's finest meals for twenty years on this rock after packing everything up. Good to know Chinese food would still be here, even if Earth was just a speck on the horizon.

 

"Computer, place an order for one beef lo mien bowl and one Asian Potluck soup, to be ready for pickup."

 

"Transaction set. Total stands at 105 credits. How will you be paying for this meal?"

 

"â?¦personal account."

 

"Transaction complete. Your current balance stands at 45 credits."

 

Hanging her head in shame, she didn't know what hurt worse. The crippling debt, or the still-yet-to-be-dealt-with hangover.

 

Turning back to the bedroom portion of the apartment, Faustina began to shed the exoskeleton of clothing that clung to her with city grime and sweat. The articles fell to the floor, and she stood tall, trouncing back to her dresser in her underwear. Opening the dresser, she saw that not much in the way of clean clothes existed. This isn't exactly my high point. She threw on a grey tank top and black jeans, only to be blinded by the Venetians opening. She nearly tripped on the step in-between the bedroom and kitchen.

 

"Ghag-AH! What the hell, computer?"

 

"I apologize, Faustina, if this inconvenienced you. Last night, you requested a 637 wakeup, which I executed by opening the blinds, given the apartment is not equipped with a alarm clock."

 

Drunk me, you can get ******.

 

"I would like to also make known the 12 messages left to you, addressed Yuri LaMarche of Hovus. Specifically, it concerns your current lifestyle and the possible acceptance of a lump sum loan in his name."

 

Faustina held her head in hands. This life she had carved out for herself after the Space Force was slowly being ripped to shreds, and it was her own fault for not picking up the slack regarding the bounties. She promised herself a hypergate trip to the Burst Nebula tonight.

 

"Computer, tell Yuri LaMarche, as nicely as possible, that I must refuse his current offer given my status of employment. I am, at this present juncture, expecting a new bounty, and will determine my acceptance of said offer based on my success or failure of the bounty. Additionally, all further inquiries into my want to own more company stock must cease, as I am not in a position to purchase any. Thank you, and have a pleasant day."

 

Despite not being daddy's little girl, Faustina could turn a legalese phrasing with the best of them, hangover or not.

 

"Faustina, analysis of your speech notes reveals you are 'expecting a new bounty'. Should I make note of this for later?"

 

"Yes, computer. Make note that I need to make an appointment with ICARUS today regarding easy bounties. I will be out for most of the day, beginning now."

 

Much more confident in he own decisions (and with less hangover), she grabbed a backpack from the front door and opened it to see the hallway. "Computer, lock the door when I leave. Also, use your media link before I go to set me up some music for walking."

 

The computer smiled back. "Of course, Faustina. What songs do you prefer?"

 

She always hated this question because she was one of those freaks who tended to like "anything good", as she eloquently put it to anyone who asked. Today, she was in a vaporwave mood. Lifting these spirits would be a jumpstart she needed.

 

"Computer, execute "Vaporwave Playlist."

 

With that, she left the apartment that she saw as a prison of hope. She plugged in the headphones to her media player, the sounds of a 21st century Mexican DJ named MACROSS 82-99 in her mind. This was not going to end in tears. She was better than this. If you're going through hell - keep going.

 

I can do this. I can live with no chips upon shoulder. I've been through worse.

 

Right now, though, I need me some Chinese food.

Edited by Hisaishi

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Binhamck Quadrent, Planet Vanstia, North Continent, Planet Capital Asamma



Hands flew across the holographic keyboards with speed as screens rapidly flashed not only over the four screens in front of him but on his retinas as well while he tore through the system's database. A groan behind him caught his attention signalling that the Vanstian, a bipedial race with four arms with an almost fur like skin well more peach fuzz was waking up. Advent Archives said they had amazing vision but that didn't seem to be the case. With one hand still flying across the holographic keys he reached behind his back to were one of his Psitech weapons was holstered and pulled out a circular device that unfolded into an arc pistol. A quick flash of blue and a faint crack had the Vanstain back asleep.

Should be it. A female voice sounded in his head. Shall I send it to our client?

"Send a copy to Advent Archives. Might as well make a little credits on the side." He spoke though he never opened his mouth, the microphone implanted into his augmented subvocal cords making it possible. Very handy to have as he could have a conversation and never give away his position though it did tend to freak people out at first. At first people though he couldn't talk until he actually spoke using his main vocal cords. He smirked remembering all the surprised faces it had caused over the years.

He hit a few keys as suddenly the screens began blinking meaning all the datastores were being deleted. "On the way back" He quickly hopped back into the small service tube he had used to infiltrate the building. Very nice and lavishly decorated it belong to a corrupt Vanstia diplomat who had his hands deep into a weapon arms operation.

Within ten minutes he reached the end popping out onto the 60 story tall building's roof. "Ready for..." The clicking of ballistic weapon chambers alerted him that he had been caught. He slowly raised his hands turning around to see two Vanstians behind him, each holding a rifle with two of their arms a pistol in the lower right and a baton looking weapon in the lower left.

"Get on your knees now!" The one on the right said. Well it was actually hoots and howls but his translator interpreted it for him. He slowly responded dropping to his knees as they approached him. "Hands on your head!" They were right next to him as he slowly brought his hands up palms open.

Suddenly he struck, driving his left palm to the Vanstian's knee on his left, forcing it to bend the opposite way with a sickening crack. Continuing with his momentum he caught the baton holding rist of the right one using the eight foot tall creature to pull himself up and it down before the first one he attacked even hit the ground. He struck with his right knee slamming it into the groin area forcing it to double over in pain. A quick elbow to its now exposed back of the neck sent it to sleep as precise kick to the temple on the one on the ground sent the other one to join the first in lala land. "Sorry" He spoke softly as he stood up.

We are here. The female voice said. He looked around, his eyes picking up the energy signature of his ship though it was completely invisible. Well the very faint drone of the engines gave it away that their was a ship close by. He took off running leaping straight off the building as a black square with barely seen lights appeared in the sky. He landed on the invisible gangway with a thump and entered his ship, the green and purple lights of equipment reflecting off of him before the overhead lights activated bringing life to the hallway. "Set a course for the Burst Nebula...ICARUS hq Kishal" His voice slightly echoed off the walls of his empty ship as he made his way to the bridge of his ship.

As the bulkhead doors slid open to the bridge the image of blue skinned woman with a dark dark purple hair that almost touched her shoulders appeared sitting at the navigations console. White bits of code could be seen traveling across the designs in her 'skin' as she hit keys on the console. Kishal was his ships Logistics and Navigations AI and though she didn't need to give herself a form to control the ship she had always preferred too. "Yes Xionis" He felt a slight pull as he sat down in the center chair before the stabilizers kicked in as the ship headed for space.

"Anyone detect us Mishal?" Another AI, his Warfare Specialist, appeared to his right in another chair. She was dressed in slacks and a white blouse though her entire body was see through blue. Unlike Kishal white code could be seen going across her entire body and her shoulder length hair. Her voice held an obvious tone of annoyance. "Don't you think I would tell you if we were detected?"

Xionis sighed. "Well thank you anyway." His two AI were bipolar opposites. Kishal was the kind one while Mishal could just be a plain pain in the ass. He watched the viewscreen as black space filled it. Kishal's hands touched several then slid her fingers across a section. "Breaking the planet's gravity well.....entering phase space now" A purple and black hole opened in front of them allowing them to enter. The advent phase drive was capable of pretty much tearing a hole in space allowing the ship to enter a sort of alternate dimension in a sense. Yes the ship was still in the universe but it could pass through anything short of a sun, nebula, or a large planet without having to go around it.

"Eta 14 hours" Kishal read off as she piloted the ship.

Xionis hung up his trenchcoat and combat vest before sitting back down and leaning his head against the back of the chair. "I'm gonna get some sleep. Wake me when we arrive"

"Aleoma is trying to contact you" Mishal said smugly cause Xionis to sigh.

"Put her through"

"Thank you for the data drath. The Advent Empire will benefit greatly from being able to incorporate this into our own tech." Aleoma's signature all work holier then though tone always bothered her. That and the fact she always called him drath the Advent word for exiled one.

"I get the usual payment correct?" He replied brushing her comment off his shoulder.

"Correct drath. I will say I am quite surprised you haven't gone insane after all these years due to your lack of unity."

Xionis flinched with that statement. To Advent the unity of one's self was everything to them. One of the things he could never have. A such as he played it off it bothered him. No unity...unable to return to the empire he fought so long and so hard for.

He took a quick breath. But this was his choice. "I find unity in other ways Aleoma"

Her voice came back snappy "How many times must I tell you. You are to refer to me as handler. Or would you like me to the only link you have to your heritage"

"My apologies handler now if you excuse me my client is on the other line" As if on cue the panel on his chair flashed showing he had an incoming transmission. "Glory to Advent"

"Glory to the Advent" With that she was gone.

He took a few seconds to compose himself before hitting the flashing key. "Fa'chre what can...."

He was cut off by the image of a fleshy pink blob showing up on his screen. Several short tentacles moved where the alien's mouth would be located and one large black eye stared at him from the center of the of the pink mass.

"Where is the rest of the data?" Fa'chre's voice came out panicked and nervous. All Jujuans were like that probably due to their thirty year life span. The amphibious creatures were always in a rush and sounded like they were always stressed and anxious.

Xionis leaned back in the chair. "Where is my money?"

"We get the data you get your money that's how...."

This time he cut off the anxious being. "No I send part as proof then I send the rest after I get my money"

"But but this is not how this works gives us the data or we....."

Xionis eyes seemed to almost glow a brighter green as the soldier in him surfaced the killing intent and bloodshed showing on his face.

Fa'chre said nothing as everything was silent for a few minutes causing him to squirm. "Money being transferred now"

Xionis demeanor did a completely one eighty as he leaned back again smiling.

"Credits have been transferred" Kishal announced.

Xionis clapped his hands. "The data is inbound my friend. Look forward to our next business meeting."

With that Fa'chre disappeared from his screen. "Never gets any easier" He muttered to himself Edited by Darth Vader

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â??Can I ask youâ?¦ a question?â?

 

E flinched slightly at the explosion of noise through her earpiece but continued nonetheless to tie up the unconscious guard. After ensuring all four of his hands were tightly bound behind his back and to the ceiling, she peaked her head out of the storage closet. Not a soul in sight.

 

â??Easy as AllReadies,â? she murmured before slipping through the opening. As she stepped away from the door her suit shifted appearance; an assortment of supply closet cleaning brands morphed into a combination of taupe walls, white border and green carpet. Freezing boring as freeze. Rich gangster types never had any imagination when it came to decorating their buildings. All that mattered was the coup de grace-- their personal living chambers. Nothing spoke more highly to a criminal's wealth the gold-lined bedpans. Her father actually put a freezing golden eagle the size of a Goldovian in his room. A Goldovian. What a load of giantshit.

 

â??I know youâ??re there, so Iâ??m just going to ask my question anyway. Why the â?â?? am I the one being fired at by a roomful of toontime villains?â? The voice interrogated. E's legs buckled underneath her and, unable to correct her balance, she slammed her head into the wall. She could barely feel her head throb due to her actively suppressing the desire to vomit up all of her insides. Extreme vertigo and nausea were a common side effects of listening to a Bleez swear, but that was common knowledge. And in this instance, knowledge was not power. Nothing prepares you for a Bleez profanity. Swearing is considered a terrible sin by the religious lot on Bleez specifically because of the destructive power. E remembered it had something to do with the frequency of their vulgarities having some sort of reality altering ability, but really, who gave a flying or floating freeze? E's head was throbbing, and she had given away her position. Muffled grunts and the loud whine of energy weapons charging up filtered through the wall she had just become acquainted with.

 

â??Damn it Klara,â? she hissed over her com. â??What in the blue hills did you do that for?â? E sprang to her feet and bolted down the hallway, just past the entrance to the room she had struck. The door burst open and a couple of hired hands flooded out. Luckily they looked right past the camouflaged E and proceeded to check the rest of the hall. Holding her breath, E tip-toed into the room and quietly closed and locked the door behind her.

 

â??Iâ??m just saying,â? Klaraâ??s voiced buzzed from Eâ??s earpiece again, accompanied by a chorus of blaster fire, â??Youâ??re the bounty hunter. Iâ??m a detective. One of us should be snooping around and the other engaging in illicit affairs, yes--but I feel as if weâ??ve gotten the roles reversed.â? E chuckled despite herself and then began to survey the room. It was mostly empty, save for the overturned bottles of Edaxian Cider and still pulsating nano-cigs. She grabbed the nearest chair and propped it underneath the door-handle, which, she noticed absentmindedly, a surprisingly large number of 22nd century buildings still sported in lieu of the much more fashionable hard-light knobs. E didnâ??t particularly care for one or the other, although the way the hard-light knobs always just appeared used to give her a startle back homeâ?¦

 

Why in the blue hills was she thinking about any of that garbage? Thinking about her freezing home, all those freezing lightyears away, filled with people she wanted to put on iceâ?¦ Being around crime lords must brought out the little girl in her, she figured as she wrapped a contact explosive around the leg of her makeshift barrier.

 

â??And I donâ??t trust this blue dude who hired us. Heâ??s not the right shade of blue. You know what I mean?â? Klara whispered, or at least did whatever the equivalent was to whispering when lasers fly by your face. E sighed lightly and cupped her hand over her mouth.

 

â??No.But I do know that that sentiment is pretty racist,â? E pointed out, simultaneously taking a few cautious steps towards the next door. She ran her hands along the frame and felt a slight tingle travel through her body. The longer her hands stayed connected to the wood the stronger the tingle became, and in a matter of seconds she felt as if a stray bolt of lightning was desperately scorching its way through her veins. Eldritch wood, she thought as she withdrew her sore finger tips. A popular material for those with coal to hide and a hefty account full of credits needing to be spent. It could only be found on one planet--aptly named Arboria-- and the trees on said planet were either cursed to Hel or possessed some natural form of energy stored up within their cells that reacted negatively withâ?¦ everything. Once again, E was less than interested in sorting out the science behind the pain shooting through her body.

 

â??Itâ??s not racist when you have empirical data defending your argument. In our lifetime weâ??ve known ten people with his specific shade of blue skin. And all of them literally shot one of us in the back. LITERALLY ALL OF THEM,â? Klara emphasized. E shook her head, deciding to ignore her friend and get back to business. She produced a small, half circle shaped item. Hundreds of miniature, tiny suckers lined the flat side of the object and a black, blank screen covered the reverse. E stuck the item against the door and the display on the rounded portion lit up. It flashed for a moment, and then another, and then another, and then a single bar of battery appeared. It was energy, E thought with a smirk.

 

â??Youâ??re not making a strong case for yourself. And, as your friend, Iâ??m going to suggest you donâ??t tell that to other people. Also, please stop talking to me, I have a decoy to shoot,â? E declared, taking a step back from the door frame. She pulled out her pistol, Honey, and deactivated the safety.

 

â??Perfect timing! Everyone here is dead,â? Klara announced triumphantly. â??50 credits on the line here. Yours is gonna be the right one. I can feel it.â? She was, of course, referring to the bet the two made prior to entering the building. E watched the tiny console of her DrainDame12 fill up with battery bars and readied her weapon.

 

â??Itâ??s going to feel so good taking your money,â? she said with a small smile before "unleashing the chains" into every inch of the wall. A handful of enemy shots whizzed pathetically by her, but after a few moments of continuous, merciless blasting the counter shots ceased. E kicked open the door and stepped aside just in time for three more shots to not hit her. She knocked a light crystal pillar into the opening of the door for good measure, but it seemed as if her targets were spent. Satisfied, she walked into the room; unfortunately her satisfaction instantly morphed into disgust.

 

â??Oh, Ew. Ewwwww. You owe me 50 credits,â? E announced. The room was lined with deteriorating insectoid husks, all copies of the original gangster they had come to abduct. That was her markâ??s special ability; he had learned to actively manipulate the genetic skill of his species, which allowed them to shed their exterior shell and control them through telepathic impulses. â??Multiple Mundus,â? as he had apparently and disappointingly named himself, forcibly instigated this molting to create dozens of â??clonesâ? which he could use as distractionsâ?¦ As was the case right now. Having the wrong man, or men, or insects, or whatever, never felt so good though... 

 

BANG. BANG. Two loud shots rang into Eâ??s ear, absolutely ruining her celebration.

 

â??Klara. Klara!â? E shouted. The sound of miscellaneous debris being shuffling around echoed into the comm, and then the line went silentâ?¦ for approximately two seconds before some oaf began breathing heavily into it.

 

â??How does it feel E? To have someone you care for taken from you?â? A voice spoke dramatically through Klaraâ??s comm. Freezing blue bullfrog! She gripped her pistol tightly but said nothing. Klara was most definitely going to rub Loboâ??s betrayal in Eâ??s face after this was all over.

 

â??Fine, play the silent game with me. But Iâ??ll make you pay for the sins of your Harpy sisters---â? â??Ugggggggh, the Harpies? This is about the freezing Harpies? ****!â? E grunted. No matter where she went, she had to hear about the gods damned Harpies. They stole my life savings. They took my mechanical kneecaps. Blah, blah, blah. They werenâ??t her problem anymore, and she was tired of freezing hearing about them.

 

â??You can have Multiple Mundus and you can kill as many other, actual Harpies as youâ??d like, just give me Klara back,â? E bargained, wanting this hellish mission to be over with already. She could practically taste the stream or liquor she would need to wash away this day. After a brief pause, Lobo responded.

 

â??**** you Harpy *****!â? E heard a muffled commotion from afar, and then the distinct shatter of glass through her earpiece. Oh gods, she thought, piecing the situation together. She scanned the room for the nearest window and sprang right through it. Reflexively she extended her arms to full wingspan, triggering her feathers to emerge from her back pack. She gracefully swooped out of her descent and increased the energy output of her boot thrusters to quicken her climb. Klara was right above her, plummeting helplessly--and, E couldnâ??t help but notice, somewhat indignantly-- to the ground. She flew past her comrade and then banked sharply. She had learned long ago that the best way to catch a falling target wasnâ??t to just fly willy-nilly into it--the force would send them both reeling. You had to make the momentum work for you. She dove again, scooping Klara up in her arms, and then increased output again to initiate her gradual ascent.

 

â??Ugh. I hate it when we fly so f---Mmmf!â? E planted a kiss on Klara to keep her from swearing and potentially dooming them both. Using her one unimpeded eye she steered them toward the nearest rooftop and landed. Klara crumpled onto the ground and exhaled.

 

â??So I was right about the blue guy and you were right about the mark. That makes us even, I think,â? she said between gasps.

 

â??Sure babe. Sure,â? E shrugged. She extended her hand to Klara to help the woman up, but was interrupted by a loud roar from the building they had just exited. E could clearly make out Loboâ??s VTOL transport as it began powering up. Like Hel this guy is getting away with our money. She telepathically patched her comm to Corâ??takâ??s, who had been left behind on the Strix for this mission due to his relative lack of stealth capability.

 

â??Corâ??tak! Metallo! Fire at Loboâ??s ship!â? E ordered. Corâ??tak merely sighed.

 

â??So he did betray you. Klara was right,â? he opined. Klara nodded in agreement from the ground.

 

â??Oh ha freezing ha. You two can have a good laugh about it after we donâ??t get paid for this job because you let freezing Lobo get away with our freezing money!â? E shouted. Corâ??tak scoffed.

 

â??Rude. You know I literally do not care about the money. And even if I wanted to, I couldnâ??t shoot him down. Our turret would probably kill Mr. Multiple,â? he stated with his usual unhelpful demeanor. Loboâ??s ship began to rise slowly.

 

â??Fine! Send down Dionysus, Iâ??ll rip him o--â? â??Dionysus is still being repaired,â? Corâ??tak reminded her. E groaned and watched as Loboâ??s ship prepared to blast off. Doubly fine! We do this the fun way, then. She withdrew her rifle from her back and telescoped it to full length, the light bars gleaming as each additional section unfolded.

 

â??Metallo! Initiate plan Oh Gee!â? E commanded, punctuating her sentence with an explosive round right into the engine of Loboâ??s ship. The back end exploded like an antimatter warhead. The ship faltered in mid-air and then crashed into the side of the rooftop. It teetered precariously for a moment and then slowly began tipping in the direction over the ledge. E holstered her weapon and smiled, waiting for Corâ??takâ??s tinkering to take effect. Her smile began to falter, however, as the ship continued to tip.

 

â??Metallo!â? She screamed. The ship then slipped entirely off of the ledge.

 

â??This kind of thing takes a moment!â? He screamed back. â??Done!â? The ship continued its trajectory toward the ground, but no longer gained momentum. It simply floated along; everything was simply floating along, in fact. E hovered slightly above the spot she previously occupied, and Klara frantically waved her extremities in an attempt to balance herself. Relieved that Metallo didn't cock her genius plan, E activated her feathers and grabbed Klara by one of her flailing legs. The two rocketed over to the sinking ship to save their well-deserved prize. Luckily Lobo and Mundus were still knocked out cold from their all-too-exciting-big-boy-roller-racer ride. E grabbed Mundus with one arm and gestured to Lobo with the other.

 

â??Heâ??s all yours,â? she offered. Klara smiled and floated closer to Lobo, eyeing him devilishly. Before she continued, however, she motioned for E to turn off her earpiece. She then placed her lips right against Loboâ??s ear, and, quietly, muttered a steady stream of profanities into Loboâ??s ear. Lobo violently woke up, thrashed around, vomited for two minutes straight, and then, exhausted, passed back out. Klara gave a satisfied huff and then floated back to E.

 

â??Shall we?â? 

 

EDIT: I edited this post to make it better in virtually every way. I should stop writing so early in the freezing morning. It either ends up as a steaming pile of garbage or something mildly palatable. Blurgh.

Edited by Orcus
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â??Do we really need to go with this approach? This seem gratuitous.â? Corâ?? tak relayed through the link between him and E, standing in the haphazardly filled cargo bay. The lights dim in comparison to the green glow emanating from his body, casting ominous shadows that shifted as he altered his gaze throughout the bay. He shifted items around, boxes of miscellaneous items for E to maintain the ship or for personal use. Especially with that battle suit she loved so much, that alone required more specialized parts then Corâ??tak would have assumed otherwise.

 

â??Itâ??ll be fine Metallo, Since I didnâ??t get to take you on the last hunt, I figured this would give you a chance to stretch your legs.â? He shifted boxes and materials around, placing them where he thought they would be best, until he finally came across what he was searching for in the mess.

 

â??I donâ??t need to stretch my legs, their Plarian starmetal plated and Sarâ??vul ligaments to-â?

 

â??I know what they are freezing made of Corâ?? tak, why are you so literal sometimes?â? He moved a few more items as he found his Vul, using his connection to open the giant coffin as the seamless slab parted and folded back as the green glow illuminated the interior just enough. He reached in, pulling free the cloak as he lifted it over his head as he placed the clasps on his shoulders. His body reacting as a section on his shoulder opened up, two bars extending vertically, putting the bars through two open notches on the cloak before the top of the bars opened up into a flat dish shape and retracted back into his body to secure the cloak. The cloak gave a low hum as it started to charge.

 

â??It seems to bother you, I could be more fanciful such as you Organics. But there is too many of you already, how does it feel to get old?â? The ship shifted as Corâ??tak pulled free a metal staff, bare of any sharp implements. He wasn't particularly sure he would need them, but they were just a call away if he really needed them.

 

â??I donâ??t know Metallo, you tell me.â? He would have smirked if he could, but the servos in his face didn't allow for that sort of emoting. Maybe it was time for an upgrade, if not for the pleasure of annoying E a little bit more.

 

â??Weâ??re over the base now, get your creepy coffin thing ready for drop.â? Corâ??tak walked over to the control panel on the side of the doors, his steps scraping metal against metal, and pressed the button down. Lights went off as the sound of pistons and motors started their motion, opening the bay doors as air rushed into the cargo bay. Sending any papers whipping around the bay or getting shot out the open doors and rattling some of the lighter boxes. His eyes looked out at the world they had come to for this odd job. Water covering most of the surface, a few pieces of land could be seen dotted here and there. Even with his far reacting sight, he could only make out maybe 5-6 more lonely islands. He looked down to the one they were aiming for, standing precariously on the edge to get a clear view. He could see the complex made of concrete and metal as it floated on the water with artificial gas chambers to let it float freely.

 

â??Corâ??tak, weâ??re eight hundred meters over the target, you ready to drop in?â? He took a moment to search his memory banks, gauging several factors that might make the job easier. He couldn't see the weapons that were being carried by the guards, but he could see them moving like ants along walls meant to fortify the area.

 

â??Can you remind me who we are looking for again? My old age has made me rather forgetful.â?

 

â??Har har, your target is Harold Rackson. A Terran with a long rap sheet of extortion and blackmail, he isn't anything really special but he has stolen a lot of money from a lot of â??stand upâ?? officials in the past few years. Iâ??ll send you the information now.â? His systems were hooked up to the ship, making it easier for E to relay information to him and for him to control the ship when they both had to vacate it. The image of Harold came up on the screen, and overweight man with a greasy look to his face and hair. A memory sparked in Corâ?? taks mind as he attributed it to a mob boss one of the past Vanguards had come across on Terra in the 1921 AD, as they classified it.

 

â??A terran all the way out here, he must of done a number on their accounts.â?

 

â??Hence the fat bounty on his head.â? Corâ?? tak gauged the complex again, they were closer now but not enough for him to gather enough information on the tech within. He shifted slightly before he heard E blast her voice over their link.

 

â??Iâ??m sure you are enjoying the view right now, but you need to drop now.  Your coffin thing will drop right through the roof of that thing, easy entrance and you can take him back in it. Like we planned Metallo.â? He kept gazing at the buildings as they got slowly closer, all the while his Vul closed itâ??s doors and rotated in the air before floating slowly toward him, pushing aside more cargo and resting behind him.

 

â??How far are we up now?â?

 

â??Seven hundred and thirty-four meters.â?

 

â??Thatâ??s odd, why haven't they started shooting? They can see us clearly, maybe their censors are only designed for short range. This will be simpler-â? The ship rocked and Corâ??tak was tossed aside into one of the side walls, the sound of small aircraft flew past. His eyes caught them for just a moment, but it was all he needed as they had been within the area he needed.

 

â??Atmospheric Class fighters: one main weapon energy based. They are built for speed, we wonâ??t be able to outrun them if we keep a predictable pattern.â?

 

â??What in the bluehills Metallo? We need to abort, avoid these fighters and then hopefully, we can come back and try again.â? Corâ??tak picked himself up and charged the Open bay doors.

 

â??I have another idea, fly them away from the base, return when you have dealt with them. I will be waiting for you.â? As he reached the doors, he send his pistons and motors into overdrive, pushing himself forward as he leaped out the open doors and plummeted through the thin air. Only having moments to determine that the atmospherics composition was indeed thinner than some of the eden worlds, his velocity would be greater when he made contact but that was a concern for when he touched down. He changed his position, aiming straight down as he watched the target rush closer. Only when he judged the target to be about two hundred meters away did he pull his arm back and launch the staff forward as it flew faster then him. Now, he could see the ants aiming up and firing at the rapidly descending object. Corâ?? tak did very little to avoid the shots, many missed as they fire without precision and the ones that did hit their mark bounced off his armor at this distance.

 

He continued to calculate as he fell, reaching terminal at the one hundred and forty-three meter mark, he started to shift his body. Changing up position again so his legs would hit the ground first, he let his arms float over his head but kept his eyes on the ground as he counted down the meters.

 

â??One Hundred meters.â?? He scanned to see if his landing zone would be clear, it was for now but he had a distance to go.

 

â??Sixty-two meters.â?? He unlocked his legs, letting the dampeners prepare to absorb the shock throughout his body.

 

â??Forty-six meters.â?? He could feel a bit of heat developing from his rapid fall, his cloak was slowing it enough for his calculations, the heat would wouldn't affect his landing.

 

â??Twenty-one meters.â?? He felt a crack reverberate through his body as a round collided with his torso, the crack was undetermined as he searched his systems. He groaned internally as he discovered it was a primary shock dissipation in his chest cavity. This landing wasn't going to be very smooth.

 

â??Twelve meters, eight, five, twoâ?? The sound he made as he impacted was deafening to anyone nearby, the infrastructure he smashed into cracked and bowed, within seconds of his landing, before it gave way and sent Corâ??tak into another level. The first Impact was absorbed enough with the initial landing site giving way, but the next level was plenty strong enough to take his weight. The same couldn't be said for his left leg, the first hit had been absorbed enough but cracked the ligaments within. The second, harder landing, ripped the leg free, from mid-thigh, and sent it flying into a near by way, jutting from the wall like a coat hanger. His right leg was still function, a few parts having come loose during landing. He tried to rise, but found it rather difficult with only one leg, but eventually found something to grab to lift himself up. Scanning his surroundings, he found himself in a storage area and farther from his target then he would have liked.

 

â??Metallo, are you ok? I heard that hit from out here!â? He hopped over to the wall that held his leg, taking a firm grasp and tearing it from the wall.

 

â??I am fine, rough landing was all.â?

 

â??Status report Corâ??tak.â? He checked to see if he could reattach the leg in its current status, but was disappointed too much had sheared away for reattachment at this time. He would need to find more material to repair it.

 

â??Core systems: 100%. Neural communications: 100%. Battle Capacity: 73%. Mobility:24%â?

 

â??By the Bluehills, 24% mobility? What happened?â? The green glow emanating from his body grew brighter as he could hear the N.E.C.R.O.S react to his right legs damage and piecing it back together.

 

â??Correction, Mobility: 43%. Searching for Target now. Will regain mobility ASAP.â? He hopped to a storage container, scanning the materials of the container and the items within. Determining that the metal used was sufficient for a temporary fix. He jammed his bony-like fingers into the side and tore free a large strip, wrapping it around the outside of the lost limb and then sliding it harder for the stump. The N.E.C.R.O.S. sprang to life once again, connecting the two objects to Corâ??tak before he stood on it to test its stability. His movement was sluggish, but it would hold for the time of this mission.

 

â??Corâ??tak, fighters have been dealt with, Iâ??m on my way back.â? He pushed his way out of the storage room, his left leg functioning with a slight limp that impeded his progress, but he would not be stopped. It was long before the halls he was traversing were starting to get louder with the sounds of footfalls and equipment bouncing with the motion. His scrapping feet made stealth impossible for him, but he wouldnâ??t need it. Turning a corner, he saw a cluster of guards in the hallway before him. Some on their knees to give the ones behind a better shot, all had their guns aimed on him.

 

â??Foreign entity, stand down and weâ??ll make sure your death is quick.â? A voice echoed over a PA system, he looked around and spotted the speaker and instantly saw the object deconstructed in his mind. The wiring, the frequency it operated on, the operation of the mechanism, the energy input and the areas it would connect through and central hubs it would be using to transmit the information.

 

â??Your voice pattern determines you are not Harold Rackon and that you are lying. Dishonesty is a punishable crime in the Necropolis.â? He heard a chuckle come from the system.

 

â??Youâ??re right, we have to take you apart since you didnâ??t explode when hitting the ground. We need to know more about what kind of Simulant you are.â?

 

â??Are all Organics just simple minded as yourself? As a Vanguard of Ark World 147, itâ??ll be my pleasure to purge this complex. Deliver Harold Rackson, stand aside and I wonâ??t purge you all. Just some of you.â?

 

â??Thatâ??s cute, letâ??s show him what business we deal in boys.â? His eyes seeing the weapons, took them apart just as he did the PA. Classifying the weapons as Aegris manufactured Field Use Battle And Resistance pulse rifles, also know as F.U.B.A.R. An appropriate name for the amount of rounds these weapons unleashed in a short amount of time. He calculated in his head what the damage would be.

 

â??Damage:Minimal.â?? The word appeared in his mind, another moment he would have smirked if he could. The weapons came to life as triggers were squeezed, the rounds suddenly pouring out as Corâ??tak stood through it. They were quiet as they fired their weapons, hinting at a more professional training. Tactical and precise, but their guns werenâ??t powerful enough to tear through his body as the N.E.C.R.O.S. rapidly fixed the dents created and chips in his plates. He started walking forward, moving slowly because of his leg he just kept looking forward. The fire was continues, but he could see them start to waiver as it barely impeded his progress. He was only about three meters from them when they started to disperse and make a tactical retreat. Unfortunately, the hall was tighter with them all trying to escape at once, while a few were able to make a full turn and run for a better firing position, others were not so lucky as Corâ??tak managed to get a hold of them one at a time.

 

Grabbing one by his vest, he lifted him off the ground and swung him into a wall with audible crunch before moving on to another and ending his life with one swift back hand that caught him across his helmeted head. The force violently contorted his neck until it broke and he slumped to the ground, Corâ??tak taking everything in strides as he overpowered many of them in sheer strength and size alone. He had killed four more guards before grabbing one more, others had scattered into other halls as he lifted this one in the air by his neck and holding him under his jaw.

 

â??Where is Harold Ruckson?â? The guard squirmed and struggled to breath, but managed to squeeze out some words.

 

â??Heâ??s- heâ??s in his panic room on the other side of the complex. When the rod fell through the roof, he hid. Itâ??s behind three meters of solid starsteel. Youâ??ll never get through.â?

 

â??We will see.â? Another, smaller, group of guards came around the corner to see the scene. Corâ??Tak turned his head, his emotionless face stared at them as he clenched his occupied hand and completely collapsed the lower half of the mans head and severing his neck from his torso. The corpse falling to the ground as he turned on them, gore dripping from his hand as he walked toward them now.The guards parted as another came through, this one with a sleeker looking weapon, Corâ??tak kept walking but let his eyes take it apart. This was a Malix High Powered Single Shot Solid Ammunition Rifle-H.P.S.S.S.A.R. This time the words that crossed his mind were, less than appealing.

 

â??Damage: High, parts suitable for limb replacement.â?? He would have groaned but instead kept his pace, the weapon was pointed at him and the marksman kneeled down to brace for the recoil on the weapon. Firing the rifle, the slug parted the barrel with a loud boom, Corâ??tak trying to move out of the way of the round, but his size impeding his chances as the round missed but skimmed across his arm and tore apart several servos. He upped his moving speed, but his limp held him back as he the marksman reloaded the weapon and took aim once more. Able to fire another shot, Corâ??tak moved to try and avoid the shot, his success being minor as it took out a chunk of his torso and exposed the N.E.C.R.O.S. floating around and flowing through him. The Marksman reloaded for a third time and aimed once more, releasing the third shot and hitting the target dead on.

 

This time, the round collided with his left leg, ripping apart his quick fix and shredding the leg as it tore through the metal and sent him tumbling to the ground. Catching himself with his one good arm, he managed to just lift his body up and look up to see the barrel of the Malix in his face. The guard who held it wore a mask, his eyes taking apart the guard and determined it was a targeting unit, equipped with a low level A.I. to determined weak points in opponents and calculate all the variables a good marksman would need.

 

â??Not so tough now, machines are their superiority complex. Pick him up, weâ??re taking him to Harold for some answers.â? It took four guards to carry him to their boss, a fifth carried his destroyed leg as a souvenir. All the while, the sniper kept the weapon trained on him from behind. They plopped him down in a large chair once, the chair gave way immediately and they were forced to improvise and make something sturdier for him. Long enough for their boss to interrogate him, the sniper coming along the front to keep a better eye on him as the large form of Harold appeared from a behind a massive sliding door. The room itself was nothing special as it only contained enough items to constitute as an office, but the room behind it was luxurious and filled with rich carpets and old tapestries. Paintings hung on the walls, likely very highly valued with other items that made it seem more like a palace rather than a panic room.

 

â??So this is the thing that came crashing into my home, and look at how beat up it is. Must be a bounty hunters surrogate or something.â? He waddled his way closer to Corâ??tak, looking the cold figure over and rested his large body against the desk, which creaked at the shift in weight.

 

â??Now, since you were too much of a ***** to come and face me yourself, iâ??ll tell you what, you have twelve hours to come and reclaim your hardware here and maybe I wonâ??t kill you after you tell me everything you know.â? Corâ??taks face look around, turning in a mechanical way to try and influence their fear. The sniper was the one to speak up to Harold.

 

â??He said something about Ark World 147, I donâ??t think this is a suit or a surrogate.â? Harold snorted, a fitting sound for a man who looked like a large swine.

 

â??What the hell kind of planet would an Ark World be?â?

 

â??It is a dead one, culled long ago. Do you have my staff?â? Corâ??tak spoke plainly now, more machine now. Harold snapped his fat fingers, some sort of moisture splashing away as one of the guards handed him the solid metal staff.

 

â??Oh this thing? Thought it was a bomb when it came crashing through my roof, but looks like it was just a ruse. Throwing rods at me, what do you think that will do?â? He let out a harsh laugh, part giggle and part snort, Corâ??tak hardly cared what he sounded like.

 

â??No, that is a useful tool. The ruse was something else entirely, Organics. You have five seconds to release me and surrender without further incident. Otherwise, I will have to resolve it violently.â? His laugh grew louder as the sniper chuckled, a shoulder shrug indicating their amusement. Corâ??tak mimicked the laugh, his harsh robotic sound killing the fun they were experiencing and made more the one guard shift uneasily. Harold used the staff to strike Corâ??tak, the sound of metal on metal ringing throughout the room. It did nothing, but Corâ??tak stopped laughing and stared at the terran.

 

â??You have a surprising amount of courage for a organic of your size, especially one that only steals money from people.â? The guard came to Harolds side, taking the staff from him and stepping aside.

 

â??Iâ??m done with this thing, Caitlyn, finish this thing.â?

 

â??With pleasure.â? The sniper raised the gun directly to his head, the barrel point blank.

 

â??Donâ??t miss.â? Caitlyn froze for just a second, but reasserting her stance she prepared to pull the trigger when a soft humming sound caught her attention.

 

â??What in the seven levels is that?â? Caitlyn said, her eyes searching for the source.

 

â??Your end.â? Corâ??tak said, his lidless eyes staring at her as his cloak powered up before discharging a brilliant light. The few in front of him were blinded by it, the direction of the heat shooting behind him. He could hear the sizzle of skin as the heat washed over them, screamings echoing throughout the room as Corâ??tak acted. Seizing the weapon, he tore it from her hands before smashing it into her head, sending her to the ground. The few moments he had, were used to attach the gun to his leg, the N.E.C.R.O.S. coming to life to start attaching the leg he lost. When the ones blinded were able to see again, the Necrocyte stood tall once more. His arm repaired and his leg being reshaped as he assaulted the guard who carried his staff, grabbing the staff he tore it away from him and smashed the man with it. The sound of his chest caving in was muffled by the continuing screams. With his staff in hand, the connection was made and the weapon came to life. The blades shooting out from each end, and the familiar green glow of N.E.C.R.O.S. activating within. He leveled the weapon at a guard and fired without hesitation, the Gauss weapon struck him and disintegrated his form to dust.

 

â??Corâ??tak! Iâ??m over the base right now, what is going on?â? E screamed over the link.

 

â??Is the bay door open still?â? He swung his weapon at a guard trying to get a few good shots up, carving up the weapon with on swing and following up with another that bisected the man.

 

â??Yes, all of my **** is probably gone now. Thanks Metallo.â? He ignored her snide comment, another command went out, the Vul coming to life as it jettisoned itself from the Stryx and plummeted to the ground. Corâ??tak swung his staff once more, severing the head of another guard and the lifeless body falling to the ground. The room was quiet now, the screams of the burned victims died off with them and all there was left was Harold standing on his feet and Caitlyn unconscious on the ground. Harold turned to rush back into his panic room, Corâ??tak far enough away he could hide within. That hope was smashed, quite literally, as the Vul impacted the panic rooms roof and landed within it. Caught between the two, Harold lost the nerve as Corâ??tak was upon him then, grabbing the scruff of his brown jacket and pulling him along.

 

â??Wait, we can make a deal! Anything you want, I can get it for you! I took a lot of money from them, theyâ??ll kill me! Please, you canâ??t take me back!â? Harold started to cry as Corâ??tak opened the Vul, and tossed him within, holding out his staff as the doors closed on him. He didnâ??t wish to occupy the pod with the little man.

 

â??Need a pick up E, this has been a taxing endeavor.â? E came over the gaping hole and lowered a platform down, with her on it. Corâ??tak walked to the platform and stood beside E, the Vul turning on its back and hovered forward until it was also on the platfom before it started to ascend.

 

â??See, thats wasnâ??t so bad Metallo.â? He looked down at her, his face cold as he held up his staff, releasing a shot from his Gauss weapon. The screams of another guard echoed for a second before he disappeared into nothing. He looked away then, the blades disappearing back into the staff. The silence stretch on for several seconds before Corâ??tak spoke up.

â??My leg hurts.â?

Edited by Darth Vectis

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Somewhere in the Gamma System

 

Ping....ping.....ping....ping....

 

"Will you knock that off!!!!" The scruffy Terran dressed in fatigues and holding a energy rifle yelled.

 

Khaleesi looked up as she let her horns hit the metal bars once more. "But I'm borrrreeeedddd" She whined.

 

Scruffy groaned. "Kinda what happens  when you get captured doll"

 

Khaleesi sagged against the bars of her cage, her arms dangling outside it. "Then entertain me"

 

Scruffy shook his head. "And how am I supposed to do that...better yet why?"

 

Khaleesi let a seductive smile cross her face as her eyes filled with lust. "I can think of one thing. And as to your why question I could always go back to hitting my horns against the bars."

 

The man shifted his rifle nervously under her gaze. "I don't think so..." A scream and a gunshot went off. "Besides pretty soon its going to be your turn"

 

She smiled turning around and pressing her back to the bars, then let out a moan as she arched her back making one of the bars press between her butt checks pulling the already skin tight white suit tighter. "Your loss. They are going to take advantage of me as well. And you the little prisoner guard is going to miss out. Shame shame"

 

The man swallowed hard as he watched her. "Your attempts to seduce me aren't going to work?"

 

"Really?" Her voice held a note of doubt as she bent her knees sliding down the cell wall slowly before kneeling over and straightening back out her knees forcing her butt to slide back up the bar. "When was the last time you even had some?"

 

The man ran a hand through his hair, his words becoming more and more anxious. "Well.....it hasn't been...."

 

"Thats what I thought hun." Her tail coiled slowly around the bar the spade like end flicking in a come over her motion. "And here I am giving you first dibs before your fellow shipmates get theirs"

 

Again the rifle shifted as well as a pull at the shirt collar. His skin was starting to glisten with sweat. "How....." His voice was hoarse causing him to pause and clear it. "How do you know they are?"

 

She turned around slowly. "Cause I know men. And I know you want me bad. I can feel you stripping me with your eyes"

 

His eyes just stared at her. "Well I am not going to lie I......"

 

She cut him off with a finger to his lips before her nails started trailing around his ear and through his hair then down the back of his head as she whispered. "Its the only thing that has been on your mind. So much so that you didn't even realize you walked all the way over here within my reach"

 

The guard's eyes blinked in realization where he now was. Then came the sickening sound of his neck snapping.

 

She smirked as the dead guard fell ungracefully to the floor with a thud before fishing the keys from his pocket  and letting herself out. Her platform boots clinked against the metal grating as she walked over to the locker where she had watched them put her gear. Normally she would have worn it but in order for her to reach her target, a Terran by the name of Jason Switch wanted for murder and piracy, she need to be captured. She had seduced some poor deckhand on the freighter she was on to wear her gear for her. At least the poor soul had been given a swift death.

 

With her armored vest, bracers and leggings secured and all of her equipment in place she took on last look at the dead guard. Little had he known that she had been releasing her pheromones this entire time. As long at it had part of a brain and a sense of smell it would eventually give in. They all did.

 

She drew her energy pistols as she left the little prison bay dropping the pirate outside the door then paused to check her tracer that she and flicked onto Jason when he had passed her. "Let's get this party started"

 

Pirates fell silently as she made her way to the cargo bay. She heard another set of screams followed by a gunshot and laughing.

 

Why are men always such beasts. She holstered her pistols with that thought and loaded a concussion grenade into the bottom of her rifle before slipping unseen into the cargo bay taking shelter behind a stack of crates. Five men where standing around a group of ten people that she had seen on the freighter though only three remained alive now. One more was up on a walkway to the left and  two were over to her right side tossing dead bodies into the airlock to the dumped into space. 

 

She stepped out of cover taking aim. With a thunk the grenade shot out of her rifle landing perfectly in the center of the group. Before it even exploded stunning all eight people she turned to the left dropping the pirate on the catwalk. In the confusion she dropped the two off to the right and then the four with Jason as they stumbled around.

 

The pirate leader screamed as he held his hands to his ears and squeezed his eyes close unable to see or hear. A stun pulse from her energy pistol silenced him. 

 

She reached down and cuffed his arms  and then his wrist wrinkling her nose as she did. Damn this guy smells awful. He better not stink up my ship or he just might not reach ICARUS.

 

She began to drag his body over to where on of the pirates shuttles when one of the remaining prisoners grabbed her ankle. "Aren't you gonna take us with you.....you can't just leave us here"

 

She quickly put on a smile but groaned inwardly. "Of course I wasn't" She lied though her teeth. "I was just getting this guy secured first" 

 

The man that had grabbed her nodded and began helping the other two towards the shuttle all three still disoriented from her grenade.

 

Great....extra baggage. 

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Arin sat in the shell as Nora brought the ship into orbit over the base that he was hacking. The ship moved in line with the other ships as they made their way to the lavishly decorated landing pad as the guards watched over everything with expressionless faces."I don't know why you need me to bring you into orbit over the base when our signals can reach it from anywhere on the planet..." Nora said, popping up on his console dressed in a flowing ball gown and heels.

 

"Because I'm going to take a little stroll through the party and see who wanted to pay their respects to the fallen Don."

 

"I don't recommend doing that. It seems a little dangerous... Especially if another Hunter is present, since you already have six bounties on ice. What if they try to take them from you?"

 

"Thanks for the concern, Mom. I know it's not the best plan, but what else can I do? This guy tried to hack me a few months ago, and I don't take that lightly. Anyways, I didn't have time to pick up supplies on our last stop and I'm hungry..." he pouted as he adjusted his tie int he mirror. I will never understand why humans think that it's a great idea to willing wear a noose around your neck. he sighed as he looked himself over.

 

"That was your fault for trying to single-handedly take out a pirate base without thinking! Honestly, this is what you deserve." she crossed her arms and turned her back to him.

 

"How was I supposed to know that they had better sensors than was in the schematics?! Besides, I did manage to capture three of their biggest leaders, each worth Sixty thousand a piece. Well, I'm off. Kiss the kids good night for me." he said with a chuckle as he left the room and to the ramp as the ship began it's descent.

 

"You know they hate it when you call them that." she chided with a glance over her shoulder at his departing back.

 

"I know. Wish me luck. I'm going to enjoy this party and bring in child number four. I always wanted to have an even number of offspring..." he said as he exited the ship.

 

"You are a glutton for punishment..." he smiled and walked over to the guard who was checking invites against a list. He held his breath as he waited for him to pass him, hoping that his forged invite and hacking the list let him in. He let it out when he was given the nod and reminded that weapons were prohibited on the premises. He followed the guide to the Valet, handing over his obvious guns, inwardly smiling as he thought about his "secrets" that he always kept with him. He let out a low whistle as he took in the grand and expensive set up. This isn't a funeral, this is a show of power. Poor lout won't even get respect in death...  though he didn't get much in life either, so no loss there. After he had made a plate for himself and found a quiet corner to sit in and enjoy the rich, and somewhat disgusting, food he began to hack the security systems as he tried to locate his target.

 

"A little help would be lovely..." he muttered into the camouflaged mic that was hidden by his shirt collar. He smiled at the passing guard as he continued to eat.

 

"Von Truffle is about to make his appearance soon. He should be wearing a powder blue suit and standing next to the coffin when they begin to mourn," Nora informed him. He shuddered at the image of the obese man wearing a powder blue suit. "How anyone thought a powder blue suit was a good idea is beyond me..." she added, as if reading his thoughts and saying what he wouldn't. As if on cue, the lights dimmed slightly as the crowds attention was brought to the center of the room. A spot light lit up the area as a platform slowly made it's way from a room below as the body of the fallen Don was shown in a cheesy glass coffin. It was surrounded by his loyal attendants and his right hand man. True to her report, he was dressed in a powder blue suit and slowly scanning the crowd as he began the eulogy. Arin barely paid any attention to that as  he used the guise of getting more food to get closer to the power junction hidden in the marble pillar near the table.

 

"Thank you all for coming and spending these solemn hours with us as we mourn the loss of a great man." Von Truffle finished. He glanced once more over the politely clapping crowds before he stepped off the stage and mingled with the other mafia members. Arin took a moment to collect himself before he generated a sword, his right hand glowing yellow as it formed, and stabbed it into the pillar, shorting the circuits and plunging the party into darkness. He then started to make his way to Von Truffle, his sword leaving a yellow trail behind him as he dispatched any guards who were smart enough to gather around the more important members. He then grabbed his target by the thin tie that he wore and brought the pommel of his sword down on his temple, knocking him out. He was halfway to the door when the power was brought back on.

 

"Uh Nora..." he began, silently cursing himself and Von Truffle for his weight.

 

"Coming to the rescue yet again..." she sighed as she powered up the ship and blasted a hole in the ceiling, covering their escape and adding more chaos to the already seething crowd.

 

"Thanks, now get us the **** out of here!" he yelled as he ran as fast as he could with the dead weight of Von Truffle over his shoulder. "I want to cash in our prizes before things get too much." he slapped his hand on the ramp controls, raising it as Nora began to pilot the ship away from the palace's defensive cannons. "Plot a course for ICARUS, and give me a damage report when you can." he said, dropping the man mercilessly on the deck and sprinting to the bridge. 

 

"Shields holding at 80%, hull integrity nominal, superficial damage only. course plotted. Jumping in Three... Two... One... Jump." She said calmly as she sat in the copilot's seat furiously typing away, the ship jumped out of the system, damaging the nearby vessels and buildings as they jumped from in atmosphere. "That's the last time we take revenge... right?!" she asked him, her tone suggesting that she believed otherwise.

 

"Before you say-" he began.

 

"And I told you this might happen!" she cut in, her hands on her hips.

 

"I told you so..." he finished as he dropped his head into his hand and walked to the cargo bay. "I'm going to secure Mr. Piggy while he's still asleep. Let me know when we arrive. I want us fully stocked and repaired after we turn these guys in."

 

"Aye, aye Sir!" she said with a salute.

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It should be noted that the image of metropolitan Nico was very mush inspired by science fiction constructions throughout the universe. Being a human settlement, the genre of what was defined as cyberpunk came to mind. Giant black O-towers that housed thousands lined the residential streets, behemoths to some, demigods to many. Within Chiba II there existed a hole of a district that represented some of the first intergalactic travel of humans. It was here that Faustina made her quiet living. Today started off hectic, but at least things would being to get better with time.

 

Right now, she was stuck traversing fifteen stories of stairs, the elevator having been jammed again.

 

I guess I'm getting my exercise in early today.

 

The wobbly nature of the hangover was starting to fade, but her head was still giving her trouble. Descending the northwest staircase tower was compounding pain upon pain as her head split with every step. Luckily, Faustina wasn't running into anyone, and within minutes, she had made her way to the lobby. Only to realize what day it was.

 

Ahhh. Rent's due in three days. If I run into Mrs. Richond, she'll have me over it. Yeesh.

 

Mrs. Richond was not, by any means, a bad person. She just wanted to be paid. An immigrant Legatian who used her life savings to purchase certain apartments in the O-tower, the rest of her life was devoted to accumulating enough to send money back for her children, take one last vacation outside the Central Cluster, and retire to Whitefall with her husband who worked in Chiba's II industrial sector. Simply put, she had sob story ammo, which in Chiba II was almost as bad as a gun to your back.

 

Faustina scoped out the apartment entrance. It was large in size, but the low hanging ceiling gave off a claustrophobic vibe that always made her uneasy. The furnishings were scant, but with Mrs. Richond's impeccable taste, they filled up the room nicely. Instead of being a grey and washed out mess like so many other lobbies, it appeared to take cues from the luxury Russia One trams that Faustina used to ride on with her father as a child. One of the reasons why she stayed after some many months.

 

Faustine checked her watch. 703. Her Chinese was most likely done by now and getting cold. 

 

Hopefully Zhang will let me use his microwave.

 

Slowly creeping her way through the lobby, Faustina only caught sight of a sleeping human (most likely a chem addict) who spent the night on a couch, and a Vul'Orcha resident who was leaving for work. Darting from the corner she lay in, she dove and slid into cover and surveyed the scene again. No sign of Richond. Standing up confidently, she only then realized her maneuver probably looked stupid should anyone awake had been there. Striding from the lobby, she walked out into the streets of Chiba II and felt the heat of the rising sun as it crept up the block.

 

Outside, the street was populated with a few denizens out for walks. The revs of the ground taxis and the hum of the flying motorway above gave birth to a droning soundtrack. Around her, she could see the boulevard dotted with rare trees that survived the atmosphere. The signs humming with complex neon compounds advertising various establishments began to turn off as their solar receptors noticed shreds of light. To an Earth city dweller, this settlement seemed right at home, if only more ominous and vast.

 

Taking a left, Faustina made her way down the boulevard to the New Asian Market.

 

--------

 

"Order for LaMarche. One beef lo mien, one Asian Potluck."â?¨

 

"Thanks again, Zhang. You're the best."â?¨

 

"Take care, my little sparrow. Remember, you come any time you have hangover."

 

How the meal was still hot, Faustina didn't know. All she knew was she was starving for sobriety. Exiting through the curtain that served as the door to Zhang's Cuisine, Faustina entered onto the streets and sat down on a park bench.

 

Space, though large and infinite, cannot stop the eternal wisdom of culture. When Chiba II was first founded, a sector of the city was given to Harold Dai, one of the moguls who funded the mission. Immediately, he was deemed a hero by his native Hong Kong. He then made a grave mistake in promising a better life for all who joined him. Word spread and the Asian populations began an exodus to the stars, their lives on their back and their savings all but liquidated. However, an unstable economy and a housing market bubble soon turned the dream into an unsettling reality of bankruptcy. Those who could afford better moved into the Lapresh District. The remaining denizens slunk into the shadows of the New Asian Market. They turned on Dai, and his approval rating as Nico's first mayor fell incredibly. His assassination by a Lapresh officer who left his family behind, only to have them killed by thieves, led to turmoil, and the city was about to be torn asunder in civil war. Luckily, one of Dai's partners in the project, Hiroku Arasawa, stepped in and ordered the construction of the first O-towers to deal with the housing crisis. With his guidance, the town was back on its feet and eventually, donations from other moguls stabilized the economy.

 

Presently, the New Asian Market still served as a residency for the lower class population. There was the nice parkway and the image of Bai-lian Square, with a statue of a lotus and patches of imported grass that were rarities in the city. This, of course, sat not six blocks away from Khunkiln Street, a notorious red light district and the seedy underbelly of crime in Chiba II. All of these people living together meant many things, but for Faustina, this meant good food, good mechanics, good weapons, good bars, and the occasional street beatdown. All within walking distance.

 

Eh, you take what you get.

 

Slurping down the lo mien, she contemplated her plan to get to ICARUS and be prepared for what could take place.

 

I'll need to stop by Kentaro's for ship maintenance. Maybe hit up Lamprey's and see his stock. Then there's the matter of exerciseâ?¦on second thought, the elevator was broken, I had to walk fifteen floors, and I'm still eating. That can wait. 

 

Finishing her lo mien, she moved onto her soup and headed towards Little Tokyo.

Edited by Hisaishi

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