Al Hekmah Spaceport, Sophia, Illiyun
0737 (Coordinated Illiyun-Sophian Time)
May 2nd, 2494 (Universal Civil Calendar)
Leaving behind the confusion and disarray of the GSRP, the company provided a chartered hovercar to the spaceport, its interior clean and modern with glowing holofeeds of headlines, economic trends, and internal company announcements. Clearly meant for executives and respected visitors, it smelled of old world leather, though almost certainly artificial, and the hum of powerful engines thrummed underneath sending faint reverberations through the floor. The sounds and smells of the city were sealed out completely.
Descending from the Upper Cataracts to the Damasque district, the landscape changed from manicured corporate plazas and polished carbon glass, to organically curved streets and alleys, lined both by structures built by the original colonists almost two hundred years ago as well as newer apartments and storefronts squeezed into every open space and stacked one upon the other like some twisting urban forest. Fortunately, a wide expressway arched high over this urban maze and led directly toward the port at the south end of the district.
Deceptively squat from a distance, the spaceport loomed over the city like a hunched mountain, and coming closer it became apparent just high its superstructure reached into the sky. A sprawling complex, the port was divided into various public and privately owned subsections each with its own array of hangars and terminals, studded with everything from warehouses for industrial storage to exclusive lounges catering to the traveling elite.
The Vesta Corporation had a long-term lease on an entire wing of the port and the hovercar carefully wound its way through the streets, avoiding crowded public terminals until they came to a row of hangars with a small sign projected at the front declaring “Contractor Docking”.
The hovercar came to a smooth stop in front of the open hangar door and slowly floated down to the ground with a slowing, cyclical whine. A corvette filled the cavernous space inside, its silvered hull smooth save for a few patches of blistered scars. The air smelled of electricity and tasted of oil. Two dockworkers stood among the stacks of crates against the wall, but they didn’t appear to be working – in fact, oddly, they had their hands in the air, and their industrial assistance synthetics were standing dormant.
The hovercar wasn’t the only new arrival.
Standing in the entryway leading from the interior of the structure was a large man with obvious cybernetic augmentations studding his neck and arms, and an impeccably groomed blond beard. He was flanked by six gunmen carrying various handguns and carbines, each of them covered in a variety of glowing tattoos. One had a small handheld scanner pointed at the ship, and turned to the blond man standing in the center.
“Mattias, this is the Mirror, sure enough. Broadcast ID confirms it.”
Mattias, the apparent leader, gestured to one of the dockworkers, and a thug swiftly pointed his weapon at the hapless laborer.
“You there, where might I find the illustrious sons of Charles Maeka, hmm?”
Crouched and leaning against the wall of the Control Room door, Raize couldn’t help but lament to himself. Damnit, I knew this was a trap! I thought that Vesta message from this morning was definitely too good to be true. Now here I am, alone, with… — Raize peeked out from the door frame for a quick headcount — …seven armed Hellions looking for me. I don’t even have a firearm with me. At least Zhair isn’t here, not exactly a proud moment for me. So, I’ve got two choices here: try to sneak into close range and take them out, or try to make it to the Mirror and run.
The choice was obvious to Raize. After all, The Only Good Hellion is a Dead Hellion. But he’d try to leave the leader alive, at least long enough to get some intel out of him. But first, a little scare tactic might work to my advantage.
As the Vesta hovercar slowly came to a stop, Tumbrel noticed the unusual deployment of the dockworkers and the Hellions that were confronting them. “Tumbrel has bad experience with Hellions. They tend to shoot at the beginning of conversations instead of the end.” Tumbrel commented to those in the hovercar. Tumbrel looked at the hovercar driver, and although not an expert at organic emotions by far, the human was clearly overwhelmed by the thought of what he may have driven into. Tumbrel moved forward and quickly yet mostly gently removed the pilot from the seat and took his place behind the controls. Tumbrel looked back at the rest of the passengers with a odd look of enjoyment and said “Considerations?”
Alda studied the building as they pulled up and saw the Hellions interrogating the dock workers. She grinned approvingly at Tumbrel42’s initiative, ‘’Interesting. Wonder if this has anything to do with our new pilot. I think it best I slip out. I have a few flash bombs. I’ll move around and disorient them. Protect your eyes. 42, after the flash move in and sideswipe them, but don’t hit the workers. Hune, I think it’s a good idea for you to stay with Nura unless you have a better idea.’’ She reluctantly slides the symbionetic Neural-undunal scarab of Hune’s in place behind her ear. Gross.
“BETTER IDEA!?” the Shen said trying to shout ‘quietly’. “Yeah, I have like a THOUSAND, and they all don’t have a synthetic crashing us into a group of armed-men! Alda are you CRAZY??”
Tumbrel’s neck servos slow turned his head towards Nawahune, like one of those possessed puppets, leaving his body unit still facing forward. The synthetic simply stared silently on at the Shen. Looking back from the corner of his eye, Nawahune still facing Alda said in an aside, “See! Its looking at me now. V, I got a bad feeling about this.”
“Relax Hune.” Alda said. “It will be fine. I have total confidence in our pilot. ‘Sides, he’s never unintentionally crashed anything.”
“Actually, Ms. Vitrionne,” Tumbrel42 interjected humbly, his head turning with that slow servo motion again to Alda. “Tumbrel has a 0.795% of destroying the inner hull of this vessel. Mr. Bengwe makes a marginal complaint.”
“See, Hune. You’ll be fine!” Alda hides her grin as she goes for the door handle.
“Fine! How’s that fine?” Nawahune complains. “That’s more than a half a percent! That is statistically significant!”
Alda shakes her head with a slight chuckle, and opens the door.
“I’ll be in contact, Hune. Be ready.”
Alda slides out of the far side of the hovercar and moves silently around into the hangar behind the Hellions. Once in position, she signaled Nawahune and threw the flash bomb in between the workers and the Hellions and hoped the shock would drive them away from each other.
Nawahune fumbles his large hands into his messenger bag that contained the starfish inhaler, and pulls out a matching scarab. Nervously he puts it on to his temple. The chitinous legs of the beetle sink into the subcutaneous adipose, dimpling the surface epidermis. The bug, then lays its carapace low against Nawahune’s skin. Its segments of its abdomen undulate ever so slightly as Alda’s voice…thoughts come into Nawahune’s mind.
“Hune, when will get over this synthetics conspiracy obsession?” Alda transmitted.
“Its not an obsession, V.” Nawahune thought back. “Its real.”
“Well, however real it is, don’t let it cloud your judgment.” Alda responded. “Now keep the doctor safe…it might get bumpy in there.”
Nawahune looked over at Nura sitting across from him in the car. For a scientist and researcher she had a great figure. It was like looking at two Erlenmeyer flasks put mouth to mouth. Her pulled back hair and thick rimmed glasses hid something very desireable. Her face had soft curves and velvet lips, and naturally lush lashes framed her jewel-like eyes. And yet, despite these womanly qualities, there was a naïveté about her.
“Hune! Get your mind back in the game.” Alda’s inner voice startled Nawahune out of his daze.
“What? I don’t know what you are referring to.” Nawahune said defensively. “I was not oogling Dr. Sadik!”
“You said it not me.” Alda retorted, humorously.
“V, focus on your part of this plan, despite how crazy and futile its outcome might be. And, I’ll handle mine.”
“I bet you will!” she thought smirkingly.
“That’s not what I meant.” Nawahune said, the words escaping into reality.
“I’m sorry?” Dr. Sadik asked. “What was that, Dr. Bengwe?”
“Uh…nothing,” the Shen recovered. “The ride’s going to get a bit bumpy. You may wish to hold tight.” Nawahune moved to the side of the hovercar he predicted Tumbrel would be side-swiping the Hellions with. This way he could better protect the doctor.
Tumbrel blinked on the light sensor filters he just discovered that he was equipped with to block the blinding light of Alda’s flash bomb. Pushing the throttle of the hover car forward, and grasping the steering yoke, he drove the car swiftly into the hanger area. Noticing the jerk with which he had accelerated, Tumbrel though it best to warn those behind him, “Caution is recommended, we will soon decelerate just as fast as we accelerated”.
Having performed due diligence, Tumbrel hit the brakes, reversed the throttle and spun the hovercar to the left, immediately engaging the thrust again, forcing the vehicle into a long careening slide. There were a few bumps and thumps from the interior of the vehicle, and then a huge thump and multiple shudders as the rear of the hovercraft drew itself across the two groups of hellions, bouncing up and down on its stabilizers as if traveling over uneven terrain. After the thumping against the car, and the tumbling motion of flung hellions had ceased, Tumbrel conscientiously shut down the engine and parked the vehicle properly. Tumbrel forget to glance into the back as he opened the hovercar door, stepped out, and surveyed the scene.
Despite Nawahune’s well-intentioned mental planning, the spin of the hover car put quite the pressure of G-force in the back seat. Dr. Sadik, clearly out of her element in the heat of action and combat, flew from one side of the back seat to the other. Like a basketful of wet clothes in the dryer, Dr. Sadik was tossed back and forth unsecuredly while the car spun with fury. Nawahune managed to hold on, but to his horror the doctor could not be controlled. He tried restraining her from flying through the window, but . Nawahune realizing that he was doing more harm than good, grabbed the car door in mid spin and used his to rip it from its hinges for a quick escape and display of raw power.
From his commanding view above the hangar Raize watched the lights flicker out, leaving the bay Cast In Shadows with light only shining in from the hangar door on the far side. There were confused shouts as the Hellions spun around in different directions, each searching for the culprit with guns at the ready and gesturing angrily but aimlessly into the darkness while the terrified dockworkers scrambled toward the hallway and out of harm’s way. After a moment spent looking for the light controls, the Mirror’s captain realized the last user had left the console logged in with administrative privileges – from here he had Total Control over the hangar’s systems! Lights, doors, power conduits, automated loader arms… everything!
A figure dropped silently from the hovercar and slipped into the clustered crates as the thugs were distracted by the sudden darkness. As they slowly reoriented toward the whine of engines and the rapidly growing silhouette of a hovercar backlit by daylight from beyond the hangar door, a small canister rolled out from Alda’s hidden position and came to a stop among their feet. The Hellions hardly had a moment to recognize what was careening towards them before a blast of light and sound erupted within their midst, leaving them Dazed and unable to effectively get out of the way of their oncoming doom.
With a terrible shriek of metal against metal and a storm of sparks, the hovercar made violent contact with the floor and swung sideways through the massed thugs under the careful guidance of Tumbrel’s deft hand. Three who were clustered together disappeared under the vehicle with a stomach-turning squelch and a spray of red – another was caught by the tail end of the vehicle and with a bone-shattering crunch was thrown violently across the deck and into a stack of containers. As the hovercar came to a shuddering stop, the door came away, shielding Nawahune’s significant bulk as he stepped out and down to the hangar floor, a silent, wide-eyed Dr. Sadik huddled in the far corner of the cabin behind him.
The blond-haired tattooed leader, Mattias, leapt forward at the last second, rolling out of the way and into the open area of the main floor. It took a long moment to turn around and adjust to the furious and unexpected assault that he and his men had suffered, but he was nothing if not a passionate man, and powered by a surge of adrenaline and fury, he bellowed out “Boys! Get the hell in here NOW!” in a voice that boomed across the hangar. Whooping shouts and the pounding footsteps answer from the hallway, more Hellions Called To Battle.
The remaining two Hellions scrambled away and into the crates to their left, desperately seeking cover. Panicked, they fire blindly back at the hovercar with their small coilgun carbines, and under the resulting Hail of Bullets the car door sprouts a covering of small, dart-like flechettes.
Tumbrel surveyed the scene dispassionately for several milliseconds. The flying portion of this task has not lasted long enough to generate the required satisfaction he thought. Stepping past Nawahune’s bulk, Tumbrel moved slightly farther from the side of the hovercar. However, the blunt force trauma caused by the vehicle was quite effective . Tumbrel scanned the area casually, as he was sure “little bird” was out there somewhere, and her situation needed to be taken into calculation prior to any action on his part. The two Hellions firing somewhat inaccurately into the side of the hovercar mere feet from him didn’t even raise an alarm from the portion of his mind dedicated to tactical awareness.
The barrage of bullets raining on Nawahune put him in a panicked haze. Memories of a past brutal encounter froze the Shen behind his little door barrier. Each ping of bullet hitting the bulletproof steel and carbide glass played a deathly ballad in his brain. Only the inhuman brush of a mechanical shoulder shook him from this terrifying reverie. Tumbrel42 continued past Nawahune into the path of the shower of bullets.
‘Are you kidding me?’ the Shen thought. ‘That crash must have damaged his circuits! Clearly his fear motivator isn’t working. Typical synthetic, breaking down at the most inopportune moments!’
Nawahune compelled to advance forward to keep his makeshift shield in front of the awkward duo, stepped closer toward the gun that was firing upon them. Ducking his head as best he could behind the meager barrier, Nawahune looked frustratingly at Tumbrel42.
“Do you have some death wish, Tinman?” Nawahune shouted trying to overcome the bombasity of bullets ringing belltowers in his pin-holed ears. “Not all of us have the luxury of armored shells!”
“Mr. Bengwe, you do in fact come pre-assembled with an armored shell, do you not?” The synthetic’s tone lacked fear or panic despite the situation or the elevation of his companion’s voice. Furthermore, it sounded oddly sincere. Only after mentally traversing his confoundedness did the Shen understand what Tumbrel42 was meaning. The big genius brute looked down at the many thousand chitinous squamous barnacles covering his thick Shen hide. He truly was as armored, if not more than the synthetic.
“Okay Tinman…I’m not really sure what your circuits are calculating. But I hope its good, ‘cause I’m about to make us an opening. Once I move, you won’t have any cover so do what ever it is you do quickly!”
With that, Nawahune dug his toes into the concrete floor quickly vying forward making a towards Mattias. The fear, still present in the Shen, was thrust out of him as he yelled in Shengwah,
There was a moment of hesitation as Tumbrel looked from Nawahune, to Mattias, back to Nawahune, and then to the group of Hellions showering bullets upon the duo. That moment was all it took for Tumbrel to understand and support Nawahune’s plan. Tumbrel took a second to force his facial structure into a pleasant grimace as he had seen other humanoids do, and gave Nawahune a raised thumb before he quickly dashed over to the group of two Hellions. At first this seemed like a bad move for Tumbrel, bullets glancing off his synthetic body as the Hellions fired at his advance, but since Nobody Expects a Tumbrel to Do That! Tumbrel managed to get up close and personal, generating shocks of amazement on the Hellions faces. Once amidst the crates, boxes, and the Hellions, Tumbrel began dismantling the weapons and his foes, in that order.
Analyzing the sudden carnage occurring in the hangar below him, it took Raize a moment to realize what was going on; the introduction of the hovercar and its occupants was unexpected, and Raize had to decide… were these people friend, or foe? For the moment, it seemed, they were as much against the Hellions as he was. In the new darkness of the room he could only vaguely make out their silhouettes from what little light remained. One was an extremely thin humanoid with highly precise movements and seemed to have some visible reflection coming off its body…could it be a synthetic? The other was a massive brute, and judging by the guttural cry let loose as it began its charge, Raize quickly put together that it was a Shen, albeit one with a voice much deeper than normal. And while Raize wasn’t sure exactly where the flashbang had come from, he doubted it was from one of those two…so there is likely a third person, either still in the car or somewhere I can’t see, Raize surmised.
Either way, for now this is working in my favor…they’re engaging the Hellions below, and luckily for me, I have Total Control from up here. I’ll start by doing something about that backup their leader called for… Raize activated the door controls to shut all entrances and lock them. That should be good enough to stop them for a bit.
Raize then turned his attention to the couple of Hellions firing their spray of bullets at his situational allies. He could barely make them out among the crates, only seeing them as they let off a volley of gunfire. Let’s see if I can’t put a stop to that, too. Guns on one side tend to make for a very uneven fight. I’m curious to see what those cowards might do if they can’t hide behind them. Taking the controls to the ceiling-mounted magnetic crane in hand, he began moving it into position over them and flipped the switch to “on”.
After Tumbrel vaults over a low crate with a quick burst of power from synthetic legs, the Hellions’ barrels orient toward him for a brief moment and send a stream of gleaming flechettes sparking and skittering across his chassis. Unfortunately for them, their expressions of murderous intent quickly turn to surprise as the coilguns flip out of their hands and twirl around in the air as the magnetic crane swings overhead – Tumbrel registers a faint tingle in his internal sensors as the magnetic forces wash over the area, but his nanocomposite polymers are largely unaffected. Descending upon the now disarmed Hellions, he seizes both by their necks and lifts them off the ground as fingers claw and fists pound ineffectually at synthetic’s forearms.
The first of the Hellions charging down the hallway starts to come into view, only a few yards from emerging into the hangar. Another small cylinder rolls from Alda’s position through the door – the door slams shut unexpectedly, and after the echoing crack of the flashbang going off, the Hellions audibly trip over themselves and each other as they impact the now-sealed door, with ensuing curses and groans muffled from the hallway beyond.
The Hellion leader swings up the gaping maw of a snub-nosed shotgun as Nawahune charges toward him. The muzzle roars, sending searing metal across the improvised shield, though some of the blast strikes home, tearing into the Shen juggernaut’s shoulder. Nawahune roars through the pain, and with his belligerent cry and a sweep of the hovercraft door Mattias goes flying several yards back toward the Urania’s Mirror waiting in the dark, landing on his belly with a groan and struggling to get his legs back under him. His eyes survey the landscape as he rises and seeing the situation of his fellows, he scrambles into cover behind one of the Mirror’s landing struts.
MSG Wölfner (LURCH6571)
“Director, target is in sight. Awaiting orders.”
“OK LISTEN UP YOU FRACKING MAGGOTS, WE GOT COMPANY ASSETS DOWN THERE GETTING THEIR ARSE’S HANDED TO THEM BY A BUNCH OF PARTY CRASHERS. WELL THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. SQUAD LEADER I WANT YOU TO TAKE THE SQUAD TO THE MAIN ENTRY TO THE HANGAR AND FLANK THE HELLION REINFORCEMENTS, I’M HEADED TO THE ROOF TO PROVIDE SNIPER COVER AND OVERWATCH. GOOD LUCK AND IF YOU OUTLAST THOSE S0N$ 0F B!T¢H3$ YOU MAY CONSIDER YOUR MISSION SUCCESSFUL, RIGHT SPECIALIST VAN HOEK!"
“YES, SIR!” she yells very enthusiastically.
“OK THEN, MAKE THOSE SOBs DIE FOR THEIR COMPANY, PILOT HOVER OVER THAT HATCH DEAD CENTER TOP OF THE HANGAR!”
I hope they make it. I kinda like that Van Hoek, she seems to have bigger stones than the rest of her squad.
The pilot instinctively engages the stealth mode of the craft. He banks hard and reverses thrust fast to stop his craft on a dime over the “drop zone”. The instant the craft is dead top center of the hatch MSG Wölfner chucks the loose end of a rope out the hatch. He slings the massive sniper rifle over his back and fast ropes down to the roof. It takes mere seconds, almost as fast as gravity, for him to reach his destination. He looks up, gives the high sign, rips open the hatch and disappears down the shaft. The rope is released and the craft is gone just as quick as it stooped.
MSG Wölfner mentally recalls the layout of the upper gangways of the hangar and moves quickly but silently to a vantage point that he has been determining since he saw the schematics. he gets to his spot, unslings the rifle, lays it down on it’s bi-pod, lays the extra mags he brought, then lays down behind the weapon. He quickly surveys the scene.
Well so far they seem to be doing ok, but that is probably just the adrenaline pushing them to the fight response, it won’t last long against trained Hellions though. Ah, there’s my target, the Whale just forced him into hiding, well you can’t hide from me.
He slows his breathing and heart rate to a trance like state, his body is calm and there is very little movement, except for his arms making adjustments to the sight and weapon.
Target spotted, interior space, wind negligible, distance 450 meters, angle 25 degrees, humidity 45%, cover 75%, head shot, load magazine, chamber round, sight target, target sighted, weapon off safe, verify target, target verified, green, breath out, squeeze…
There was a twinge of curiosity and regret as the Hellon’s weapons were lifted out of their grasp. Tumbrel had planned on analyzing their components while rendering them “un-functional”. As that was clearly not going to happen, Tumbrel turned his attention to rendering the opposing Helllions un-functional. One in each hand, it was a matter of ease to slam them together, knocking them offline, or unconscious as he supposed was the proper term. He then dismantled their hands to ensure they would be unable to rejoin the attack. He was in the process of disabling one of the Hellions legs when it occurred to him that perhaps he had done enough. He dropped the first Hellion, leaving him with only one broken leg, and stood up, surveying the area. Just then he heard the echoing shot of a high-powered weapon.
With bullets ripping through the thickest parts of his flesh, Nawahune snapped. Maybe it had been all the stress of that day, all the noise and commotion he experienced earlier that morning. Maybe it was the residue of death they had seen in the corporate lab. Maybe it was the crash of the car, and the spinning body of the doctor, her blood still on his face from being dashed against his abrasive skin. Maybe it was that he left her back in a car with a tore off door, and knowing she was now exposed to these flechettes of bullets. The massive shen suddenly snapped!
His focus darkened around his periphery, only the most acute part of his vision remained clear and bright. Like a sniper’s scope narrowing on the quarry, or an archer looking down the shaft of his arrow, everything narrowed on one single point. A shadow skulking in the darkness licking his wounds, buying time till his goons could give him an opening. A viper crouched in the shade of Mirror, with the venom of two pistols in his hands. Venom or no venom, the shen lost it.
NO ONE SHOOTS AT A LADY!
ISIWUNGU belted from his lips with wrath and ire as he charge the shameless thug leader. The door no longer was a shield but a jagged weapon of fury wielded with the power of might. The shen rushed forward with full force with more momentum and acceleration. Swinging the door in an upward motion with the jagged edge leading its charge. His shen eyes easily guiding its path in the darkness of the hangar.
Instincts took over and Raize dropped to the floor, maneuvering into the space beneath the Control Room windows. He wasn’t sure where the shot was directed, but he could recognize the sound of a sniper rifle anywhere. One thing was sure, while he wasn’t the immediate target, there might be another round with his name on it if he left himself open. For the moment, all Raize could do was wait a moment and revisualize what just transpired and try to figure out what to do next.
Okay, okay. The two hellions down the stairs are taken out — but that one that took them out, I hope he’s on my side. And that Mattias is still out there.
Another loud cry from the Shen, and Raize had to risk sneaking a peek. It looked like everyone from the car was still standing, though the lead hellion was nowhere to be seen. He could also see the Shen charging…straight for his ship!
“Oh like hell you do… Nobody touches MY ship!”
Raize bolts into action, scrambling from the floor, swinging out the door of the control room, and vaulting from the stairs to the boxes below, running through them towards Urania’s Mirror and those who might do her harm.
As the deep booming echo of the shot echoes around the hangar, Wölfner can see the Hellion jerk in reaction, but at first seems to be unaffected – hunched behind one of the Mirror’s landing struts, Mattias’ profile flattens against the metal, leaving only a shoulder and leg visible from Wölfner’s position. However, after a long moment, that leg awkwardly staggers forward, followed by the other, and with jagged steps the Hellion turns into view.
What can be seen from the front is gruesome – the lower half of the man’s jaw seems to have been nearly torn away by the sniper shot, his gaping mouth a hideous, bloody mess and his wide eyes far, far away staring into the empty space in the middle of the hangar. The weapon in his hand idly falls to the ground, despite the mountain of flesh and jagged metal pounding toward him.
The Shen behemoth is close enough to see the glimmer of awareness in Mattias’ eyes before the leading edge of the car door driven by all the alien’s bulk collides into him. With a sickening snap, the jagged metal tosses back the frail human neck and sends his body careening to the floor.
Lying there, Mattias’ bloodied chest still rises and falls weakly, accompanied by the messy gurgling sound of labored breathing.
As Raize swiftly makes his way across the hangar, he can hear the angry shouts of the Hellions massed outside the room, sealed away for the moment behind the heavy doors. That anger turns frantic as several burst of gunfire erupt from beyond the door – the sounds of another fight breaking out between the newly arrived security forces and the remaining Hellions.
As Raize reaches the edge of the crates, he slows to a stop and presses his back up against the last large crate nearest the ship. The echo of the sniper fire dying down, he hears the dull but heavy impact of metal on flesh, the snapping of bones going in directions they aren’t meant to, and a dull thud. Catching his breath for but a moment, he bursts into the open, ready to defend his home-ship.
As he rounds the corner of the crate, he sees the hellion leader lying prostrated near the landing strut, blood beginning to pool beneath him… but what his eyes are drawn to is the truly massive Shen holding onto what appeared to be a smashed-up car door — bent, serrated, and sharpened by gunfire into a crude, oversized punch-dagger. The Shen was certainly a terrible sight to behold in this moment.
But it was her appearance that gave Raize pause…this amazon of a Shen just seemed so familiar somehow, even though he had only really met one up close before, and that was a couple years ago… That was it!
Ignoring the impending arrival of any other Hellions, Tumbrel moved to the entrance hatch of the very interesting ship. It was a hard decision, as there was some strange impulse deep within his core saying “inspect the engines!”, but as that was secondary to Tumbrel’s nature as Best Synthetic Pilot in the Galaxy, so he proceeded towards what he assumed was the primary entrance. Once there Tumbrel inspected the locking mechanisms to determine whether the ship was secured or not.
If the hatch opened, Tumbrel had decided to inspect the pilot’s station first, then the cargo hold…Tumbrel wanted to see if there were any freight boxes that needed moving.
MSG Wölfner (LURCH6571)
♫ (Hey Man, Nice Shot (Filter) playing over the scene) ♫
MSG Wölfner comes strolling from the darkness at the edge of the hangar, the large sniper rifle is strapped to his back, it barely clears the ground. He has a smug swagger about him. He stops at his kill, bends down and retrieves any storage media or electronic devices that may contain intel. He also scoops up any weapons and ammo from the body and then stands, looking over his handywork.
Wow, I must be out of practice, I have never missed by that much since sniper school
After a brief moment, he looks up at the Shen, making eye contact.
“Not bad Whale, not bad at all. Are ya comin?”
He then continues walking headed towards the massive silver ship parked dead in the middle of the hangar. Upon arriving at the gangway, he keys his radio;
“SGT, STATUS…ROGER, GOOD JOB. RETURN TO HQ…ROGER, YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION…ROGER, OUT”
He stands there looking at the rest of the carnage, he has a shimmer, although tiny, of respect in his eyes. Then he starts talking his voice booming and echoing almost as loud as the shot he took earlier.
“I AM LOOKING FOR ALDA VITRIONNE, NAWAHUNE BENGWE, RAIZE DARKSTONE, AND…” he looks down at the smart comm unit strapped to his wrist “…AND ANDROID TUMBREL42. ARE ANY OF YOU HERE OR HAS ANYONE SEEN THEM?”
He continues to stand there, hands an hips, waiting very impatiently waiting for a response.
The car door still gripped tightly in his massive fist begins to feel so heavy. The Shen’s body has a surge of shivers and coldness like someone has just infused a bolus of ice cold ocean water into his veins. His vision courses with red flashes pulsating rythmically with is bounding heart; he hears a constant ringing inside his ears, both evidence of elevated blood pressure. But it is over now—Mattias is over now. His muscles begin to twitch and spasm unvoluntarily. His breathing is uneven. He finds it hard to catch his breath.
Dropping the bloodied door, Nawahune thrusts his hand into his side-bag. He frantically digs around, looking for the starfish shaped organism. Unable to find it quick enough, he places his other hand on the daemonodendron over his left chest. The irridescient veins spider-webbing down the creature’s tentrils pulse rhythmically with a glow. Suddenly, the Shen can breath again. The rush of endorphins hits him. His body warms up again with a pleasureable tingle down his spine. He closes his eyes for a moment to breathe in a cool refreshing breath. His strength returns to his legs. He’s no longer shanking. His mind is clear again; the ringing stops.
At this point, he hears a familiar voice that he had not heard since he arrived on this planet. He turns to see Raize. *"Little Raize, my old friend! I can’t believe it is you. Yes, it is I, Nawahune."
Instinctively he extends his hand to shake, as this is human custom. His hand blood stained hangs there for a few seconds in an awkward limbo, before Nawahune realizes that it is bathed in blood. In fact, the Shen’s entire face has millions of splattered drops of blood now congealing on his thick skin.
“I-I-I’m sorry, old friend. I didn’t…I meant…Please, just…” he returns to his bag again to find something to wipe off the horrid scene from his face and hands. But again, he scrambles to find himself empty handed.
At this moment, Raize hands him a blue mechanic’s cloth he had hanging from his back pocket.
The Shen is hesitant at first. But he pushes past his pride, and takes the cloth. He begins cleaning himself as he turns toward the Mirror where everyone is headed. Raize guides him around the bloody Hellion on the floor. Nawahune notices a soured look of distain on Raize’s face as they moved around Mattias. Nawahune, not wanting to look back at the damage that he had caused, forces himself anyway. It is at this point that he Mattias’ tattoos, and any other details about the Hellion leader.
“Are we going to do anything with these…. [pause]…bodies? And what about Nura?”
But before he can ask another word, a team of soldiers, most likely mercenaries like the one with the beret and long rifle, move in. They secure the building, begin scrubbing up the hangar floor from all the blood. They move like bees, with minimal words or commands, like they are psychically connected…or they have done this before. Before boarding the Mirror, which the Shen only now recognizes as being familiar, he takes one last look at Nura to see if she is safe. He sees a short, built soldier squat at the entrance of the hovercar, where the Shen had ripped off the door. The soldier took off her tactical helmet, unlatching the chin strap, and revealing a long blonde ponytail underneath.
“Ma’am, my name is Specialist Patricia VanHoek. You’ll be safe with me. The danger is over. I’ll take you back to the company.” Nawahune sees Patricia help Nura out of the car. Nura is hurt, but okay. Nawahune sigh with relief.
What more dangers lie ahead? the Shen thinks.