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 Business as Usual

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Talon Milam

Talon Milam

Posts : 4
Join date : 2010-01-03
Age : 33
Location : Antioch Tennessee

PostSubject: Business as Usual   Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:03 pm

“Look YOU signed on for the work and I’m your ride.” “If ya don’t like it ya can always jump ship” yelled Talon over his shoulder at his shaken passengers. Turbulence rocked the ship ferociously, jerking necks and reserves alike. “But sir, we can’t work if we end up late to the drop!” replied one of the worry worn workers in the back. “Yeah well ya can’t even show up late if ya get blown ta shit either!!” “I’m not gonna make a jump with all this debris floatin around”. He paused to focus on dodging a large heap of hull before continuing. “With all the colonies getting worked over by IGF, not to mention the ship to ship action, the debris count is well above standard S. R.”.

Maneuvering The Mandible through a hail of drifting aftermath chunks, Talon charted a hand made course to the surface of Valal an V, one that would jeopardize his crew and his prized ship much less. With a few deft jerks of his hands he weaved The Mandible to the edge of the debris field and out into open space. After a few relieved exhales from the men on board he relaxed his grip and leaned back into his seat. Glancing down, he scanned the nav comp for any more obstructing masses. Recognizing the reassuring hum of the all clear, he unstrapped his buckle-down harness and wiped his brow. Not due to perspiration but more out of habit. The ships life support systems made everything so damn perfect ya can hardly even smell a fart, he thought. Sometimes, out here in this squeaky clean environment, ya forget just how filthy people are. His thoughts trailed off as the mesmerizing darkness resumed its role in lulling a pilot into “drive-mode”.

They were closing in on Valal an V so that meant the break they enjoyed was temporary. Talon huffed in aggravation. An hour of dodging busted combat ships and colony trash would ruffle anyone’s feathers. He much preferred dodging objects that fought back. After cracking his knuckles in rhythm, he pushed his Interceptor onward warming the thrusters. As expected, breaking the atmosphere and landing in the docking station went as smooth as they had the hundred-something times before. He stood at the clink of thirty harness straps being released, twisting with his arms raised, stretching the soreness from his back. He grunted and began to yawn, stopping abruptly when he realized there was no mechanized voice reporting an “OK for clearance” from the comm room, as there always was.

Instinct crept up his legs and writhed its way into the back of his skull. He turned immediately and punched the hull with his fist to silence the bustle of the workers, who fell quiet and eyed him curiously. He stood lingering on the calm before pacing over to the only starboard portal that had an unhindered view of the comm window. His eyelid twitched when he didn’t see the outline of the one comm technician who was always on duty behind the glass. Quickly scanning the landing dock for any sign of anything out of place, he rolled his shoulders in anticipation and pushed by his confused passengers.

Working his way towards the back of the cargo hold, he ignored the questions that bounced off his ears and punched in a quick-digit code into a hidden panel on the wall. “Uh, sir?” came a voice from the midst of the workers that stood waiting to be released from the cramped quarters of the Interceptor. “What, uh, what’s going on?”Ignoring him, Talon continued to fight with the panel on the wall. There was a resounding crack followed by a mischievously triumphant “HA HAH!!” Turning around with an armful of repeater blasters, he began tossing them to the workers who clumsily groped for them, inexperience sending a few clattering to the floor. The workers stared form the blasters in there hands and then back towards him, confusion now etched plainly on all of their faces. Straightening his shoulders and taking two blasters in his hands he made quick work of his explanation. “I go first, two follow behind and the rest of you come out in pairs.” He spoke fast, skipping no detail. “Make your way directly to the comm room shutters around the back, there should be an emergency override panel, pass code 226.” “Get inside and lock the door.” ” I’ll follow once the station is clear” With that he turned and made his way towards the side-load hatch. “Eh-once the station is clear from what?” blurted a bewildered and clearly disheveled worker. Paused with his shoulder on the open button, Talon grinned his response “Well now…” “There’s half the fun eh?”

Pulling his mask down and slamming open the hatch, he threw himself into a tumble and landed in a low crouch beneath the Mandible. The silence and keening twinge of danger was all but tangible. Talon remained motionless with his blaster arms out in a statuesque ninety degree angle, scanning what was usually his docking station. From the cover of his Interceptor he could observe the usual cargo crates and repair quads, Standard Issue Supply Stackers and run-of-the-mill loaders. All ports and doorways were closed and probably locked tight. Everything was as it should be. Going against his gut, Talon signaled for the workers to exit the hatch and move towards the comm room door. They filed out clumsily, bumping and shuffling into one another. Their footsteps were loud and their blaster hands rattled nervously. Shaking his head and cursing his luck, Talon followed the progress of the assembly line out of the corner of his left eye and stared blankly at the far wall, allowing his eyes to blur, making it easier to spot the slightest bit of movement.

He heard the faint sounds of the control panel as the worker in the lead punched in the code. He heard the beep of the first number, recognizably a two. Another beep meant another two, almost in the clear. While listening for the final number, his ears twinged instinctively. Before he could issue a warning a sizzling crack split the silence. A red beam blasted the lead worker at the panel in the neck, cauterizing flesh and exposing the white vertebrae. The worker crumpled limp and lifeless to the floor as pandemonium washed away the calm. The untrained and unprepared workers began shouting and firing randomly, blasting at shadows and even themselves. One particularly stressed worker began fumbling with his blaster and the keypad at the door to the comm room. Glancing from corner to corner, ducking the laser-red beams of the jostling workers and those of whomever assaulted them, Talon felt instantly vulnerable. Diving flat on his stomach and under his ship he pointed his guns out to port and starboard. His eyes instantly caught a flash of yellow boots standing aggressively at the front of the Mandible. In a twitch he squeezed off two shots, deftly burning through the unfamiliar pair of ankles. He rolled out from under the ship and jumped to his feet, only to cringe back into a crouch as a burning red hot beam whizzed inches from his ear, leaving a fist size burn mark in the side of the Mandibles hull.

He blanched when he heard the sizzle of melted components and pierced his gaze into the befuddled face of the worker who had accidentally fired the shot. The clumsy bastard just stood there with his mouth agape, eyes wide and blaster shaking. Gritting his teeth and spitting a curse, Talon raised his pistol to the bead of sweat that had trickled conveniently down to the middle of the workers forehead, Hell-bent on squeezing the trigger. He cursed again when he heard someone shouting “Doors open!! Everyone inside!!” and the worker fell into a backwards stumble towards the mass of bodies cramming themselves through the opening to the comm room. Remaining where he was he took a few stabilizing breathes and watched them file through and shut the door behind. He almost rose to follow when his gut came back to him, holding him to the floor. He remained crouched next to the Mandible, pausing his breath to listen to the boot steps that were now approaching him from either side. He pressed himself against the hull of the ship, using his sleek black suit to meld into the shadows.

Three humanoid figures adorned in pale yellow combat suits were now approaching the comm room door, backs turned to him. Seizing the instant, he moved in step with them to mask any sound he might make, closing the gap between. They moved slowly towards the door as a group, remaining cautious and alert, obviously intent on blasting their way inside. Finally within arms reach, Talon silently took hold of the middle assailant in a solid snap- headlock that sent its body reeling backwards. Leaping with the skill of an adept he rolled in the air, snapping the yellow-suit’s neck with a sick wet crunch, using the momentum of the fall to smash his shin into the others facemask, knocking it to the ground with a resounding crunch of armor on fiber steel. Still holding his repeater blasters, he was on his feet in an instant, both guns pointed at the heart and face of the last remaining yellow-suit, who stood frozen in utter disbelief.

If only its face were visible, thought Talon. It’s blaster still down at its side, its two companions incapacitated with the life draining out of them on the floor. I’d bet my entire retirement pension he’s surprised to say the least. He thought cocking his head to the side. He knew if the yellow-suit even twitched it’d be done with… Cooked… Fried… He had him at every possible angle. One of his specialties. “Who the-“ he began to pry when suddenly the yellow-suits head exploded into smoldering chunks fizzling and popping from a self inflicted blaster shot. “Tsk tsk tsk” said Talon shaking his head, nudging the smoking corpse with his boot. He shrugged and removed his face mask.“That wasn’t as fun as it could have been.”

After cleanup was finished and the workers were on the job, he stood leaning against the blast door examining a small deformed tag he had wrenched off of one of the “yellows”. All he could make out in the charred bent chunk of combat suite were four letters. M. E. R. V. “Does that mean what I think it does?” He pondered out loud, gazing out at the shimmering diamonds on the pitch horizon. A static crackle shook the thoughts from his mind as his shoulder com-link registered and a familiar voice drifted up to meet his ear. “You still with us Milam?” He smiled and chuckled. “Yes ma’am, in body maybe not so much in mind” Imperator Astra’s voice was stern as it should be, though with a hint of mirth. She laughed softly in the background before asking “Well, all your reports are well in order. I suspect you’ll be back on task shortly?” Talon cracked his knuckles before replying “Aye. Just a minor setback ma’am. A little cardio, heh. I’ll be back in the fray fer sure” There was a thoughtful pause. “As is your nature” Imperator Astra said dismissively. With that Talon turned away from the mesmerizing blackness, punching the release valve and sending the crumpled and incinerated corpses of the mysterious yellow ambushers into the void. He ambled his way lazily onto the Mandible, preparing his mind mentally for the jobs accepted in his work log. Strapping himself in, he heard the com-link buzz on again as Arya Astra's voice resonated through the cockpit. “Thought we lost you there pilot.” A vibrating hum flowed throughout his ship as it lifted and adjusted to take off. “Not today Miss Astra. Maybe someday but not today…” Making the jump to system boundary, Talon vanished into the black to dive headlong into combat.
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Arya Astra
Arya Astra

Posts : 179
Join date : 2009-12-13

PostSubject: Re: Business as Usual   Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:19 am

Great work, I love the idea of handing out blaster rifles to hapless workers to help deal with a bandit ambush! Perhaps I better start a combat training plan for the colonists, it sounds like they aren't to prepared for this sort of thing.
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Finarfin Strife

Posts : 3
Join date : 2010-01-09
Age : 34
Location : Nashville, TN

PostSubject: Re: Business as Usual   Sat Jan 09, 2010 2:30 pm

Business as usual? Not bad for a day's work. I have quite a bit of combat experience myself so let me know if you would like me to teach some classes to get those workers up to speed. I have heard reports of similar piracy happening all over.
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