Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by POOHEAD189
Raw
GM
Avatar of POOHEAD189

POOHEAD189 Warrior

Moderator Seen 1 hr ago

Age of Conflicts, 4189 A.D.

The savior of mankind was murdered over 100 years ago, and the galaxy has been fighting for survival ever since.

Wars between worlds have broken out. Disease and strife are rampant within the systems. Technology that was once commonplace is now horded, more valuable than gold. To be a Noblemen is a life of constant intrigue and assassination, and to be a commoner is to live in utter toil and degradation. In order to survive, the Council has negotiated treaties with the Alien races of the Galaxy, and manipulated their wars to keep them at bay, but still barbarians from every corner threaten to overwhelm the scattered remnants of humanity. That is, if humanity does not destroy itself first...







The Messier 7, an open cluster of stars in the Scorpius Constellation. First discovered and given a second name by the Greek Astroner of antiquity, Ptolemy. Within this system is thousands of stars, holding hundreds of habitable systems and thousands upon thousands of worlds. Trillions of human citizens of the UHR (United Human Realms) dwell here, as do various Xenos under very loose treaties of alliance. The Ptolemy Cluster is ripe territory for the opportunistic mercenaries, privateers, and runaway felons that look to make some quick coin. One such world in the Valontus System is called Hodierna, a trading hub of every good imaginable. Ruled over by a group of Noblemen collectively called the 'Enclave,' living in sweeping palaces at the center of their vast manufacture-cities. Within one city, a Noblemen in need of a dark deed meets two unlikely tools for his cause...

Golran Ferenhall tapped his beweweled, fat fingers upon the railing in his private hanger, the guards holding both of their plasma rifles at the younger man between them. The dark haired rebel rubbing his wrists to get the feeling back in his arms from the cuffs, oblivious to the very real danger of the guns.

"Do you treat all of your business partners this way?" Neil asked. He didn't even bother to look up at Gorlan, the balding (but hairy in most other areas) man would have executed a commoner on the spot for such rudeness. But despite his grimace, he showed a surprising amount of restraint when it came to the rogue pilot.

"Only those who deserve it." He said, indicating the fact that Neil had a scheduled meeting, and instead had infiltrated the compound in one of the shipments of delectable foods heading for the palace. If he hadn't identified himself, annihilation was his only option as far as Gorlan was concerned.
"I got curious."
"You got caught."

"Not really. I felt the quickest way to see you was to get caught. Look, Gorlan. Can I call you Gorlan?"
"No."
"Listen Gorlan, you promised me a ship to see, and I am still not convinced you have something that's up to the quality you're advertising for." Neil said, placing his hands on his hips. It was a strange sight, the very casual looking guy standing before a resplendent noble and his military grade guardsmen.

The Noble's eyes twitched, but to the Guardsmen's amazement, he had yet to order this boy's execution. "Indeed. I was simply hoping to wait for you to meet the Captain of the ship first. They have not seen the Highlander either, and I thought it best you two should get a look together."

"...Captain?"

"Oh that's right, I forgot to tell you. Someone bid on the ship hours before you. Good thing they were looking for a crew. You have second in command, it seems."

Garlen smiled viciously at having disrupted this street rat's plans for owning his own ship, and to his credit Neil did deflate at the proclamation. But after a moment, he seemed to bounce back with ne'er a pause.

"Well, can't have everything."

"Are you-...!?" Garlen began, before he heard a buzz within the wall next to him. Slamming a fat fist onto a button, the voice announced the Captain was being escorted into the hanger as they spoke.
@Penny
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Penny
Raw
Avatar of Penny

Penny

Member Online

The pat down the guards administered was prefuntary. Both men, slack jawed and sweating in the heat of a tropical afternoon, looked bored and a little disappointed that the visitor's body armor deprived them of the opportunity for a more intimate examination. The guards, it would have been a mistake to call them soldiers, wore jungle pattern fatigue pants and light shirts of some local cotton. The camouflage was much too dark to be effective in Hodierna’s bilious green foliage and had clearly been manufactured off world. That hardly mattered of course, as the point of the uniforms was not to conceal the gun men, but to draw attention to the fact that they were gunmen.

“She’s clean,” the taller of the two men muttered as though the notion offended him. He had a short greasy goatee that he probably imagined made him dashing. The other soldier, a slimmer blonde man nodded and made a show of keying his radio.

“Guest coming in to see the boss,” he said with a surly glower.

“Thank you gentlemen,” Sayeeda ‘Junebug’ Cyckali responded magnanimously and stepped through the improvised checkpoint in the coiled barbed wire fence. She was a medium sized woman with vaguely middle eastern features, although such things mattered little outside the few original Terran colonies which still maintained notions of genetic purity. Her hair was dark and cropped short like a man’s and her skin, darkened by more suns than she could remember was the dark brown of strong coffee. A tan ceramic breastplate was buckled across her chest, its once smooth finish scuffed and burned in places. Her dark arms were bare save for fingerless shooters gloves on her hand and for where an owl tattoo slipped beneath the ceramic surface at her shoulder.

The compound that Sier Gorlan had directed her too was not a prepossessing place. It consisted of a dozen or so ugly building, mostly prefab concrete warehouses of a very generic type. A berm of earth had been erected around the complex with bulldozers and then sprayed with a plasticizer to harden the loose packed soil. Whatever they had used gave the soil an unpleasant purplish opalescence. Although the berm was topped with razorwire Junebug guessed that it was more of an attempt to contain a crashing starship crash than a serious attempt to defend the place from more than thieves and local racketeers. Not that those weren't real enough threats on a world like Hodierna of course.

One of the gumen trotted along beside her long legged stride, a look of irritation on his face.

“Slow down their missy,” he whine in a suprisingly nasal voice.

“Listen pongo, if you want to explain to your boss why I am late for me meeting thats your look out right but I doubt he is going to take it to kindly,” she said in her clipped Bahasa. Many worlds, including Hodierna, used Bahasa as their primary trade language. Junebug had heard that it had its roots in ancient Indonesian but who the fuck knew. For her it was one of a score of languages she had learned via sleep induction in jump space. Mercenaries could be expected to do business all over the human galaxy and had to be able to converse with the locals to at least a basic level. Few mercs ever learned anything more than the standard knowledge cubes though because once you could order booze and buy companionship how much else did you really need?

They reached the warehouse without further incident and to her surprise she saw that her host, or more accurately his guards, were holding a young men down while *BLANK* finished speaking to him. He spun at the sound of her boots ringing on the concrete and smiled an oily self satisfied smile.

Sayeeda’s eyes scanned the warehouse and the occupants. The guards were a step above the trash at the gates but they weren’t up to the standard of professionals. Ex millitary or perhaps ex gendarmerie judging by their stances. The plasma rifles got her attention. Plasma rifles were a first rate weapon, not to dissimilar from the models she had used during nearly a decades service with the Andor’s Armored. Colnel Andor, President for Life Andor as he now styled himself, had been an asshole, but he made sure his troops never wanted for good equipment. Plasma rifles fired bolts of electron stripped ions, usually copper but occasional strontium. The weight was very low but even a micrograms packed a hell of a punch when accelerated to lightspeed down the mirror polished barrels of a plasma weapon. The drawback, especially on less developed worlds was the ammunition. Unlike simpler chemical or electrochemical weapons, manufacturing the poker chip like rounds was a high technology endavour and that made them expensive to run. Plus you hadn’t lived until you had an automatic weapon jam and several megajoules of plasma cook off and gangfire a few meters away. Junebug had lived, in both senses of the term.

“Ah Captain Cyckali Gorlan,” said in his oily, salesmans voice, “we were just talking about you.” From his gesture as well as from context she assumed he meant the man his guards were currently keeping pinned. He was a nondescript man, she guessed in his mid twenties and he had an air of competence about him even being held at gunpoint. What he had to do with her she had no idea.

“Ok,” she said noncommittally, folding her arms across her chest. Whatever reaction Gorlan had expected this was clearly not it because his face soured at the lack of reaction. He glanced at her in annoyance. Junebug’s dark intense eyes met Gorlan’s and the broker turned away first.

“I’m here for my ship,” she said bluntly, lifting her chin in the direction of the captive.

“Your other bussiness is none of mine.” Did Gorlanreally think she cared if he executed the man? She had seen, and done, much worse and more besides. The oily grin seeped back on to the brokers face like petroleum spreading over a puddle.

“Ah but this is your business Captain Cyckali, indeed it concerns you intimately.” Junebug kept her arms folded and said nothing, forcing Gorlan to go on awkwardly. She had been a Captain in the Armored but the job of leading others into battle was probably not something this snide bussiness man could really understand.

“You see this is the new part owner of your ship,” the broker said with a grin. Again Junebug didn’t react giving the news a few seconds to sink in before responding.

“I’m not looking for a partner,” she said because the sitaution clearly dictated some sort of a response. Mentally she was gauging distances to the guards, wondering if disarming them would be practical. If they hesitated for more than a heartbeat it might be possible, use Gorlanas a shield and take the weapon from the closest man. It wasn’t a good move though, not without more motivation than she currently had to risk it.

“Ships are expensive things, Captain and as you said yourself you need a crew. I believe your credits will be sufficient to obtain a thirty five percent share in the Highlander. This good gentleman,” he paused to kick the younger man although his shoes didn’t really lend themselves to the job, “can contribute fifteen percent. Giving the two of you a joint fifty percent share.”

“With you remaining a fifty percent partner?” she asked, arching a dark eyebrow.

“A senior partner yes,” Gorlan said with a simpering smile. He held up his hands as if placating her. Junebug began to wonder if he had practiced these lines before hand. He certainly seemed happier to be back on script.

“Of course I will give you a chance to buy out my interest in the venture. Fair is fair of course.”

Junebug considered it, the last thing she wanted was to be tethered to a slimy bastard like Gorlan, on the other hand, once she was in space, possession could be ten tenths of the law.

“I should point out before you make any hasty decisions Captain that this… excellent fellow, is a qualified pilot, and quite a good one I have heard.”

“And if I decided to take my credits and go?” she asked, her voice level and emotionless. Gorlan spread his hands wide, his teeth gleaming like a Caldovian Shark.

“Why you are of course free to do so Captain, but let me assure you that you wont find a ship on Hodierna or anywhere else in the sector cheaper than this, I’ve uh made enquires on your behalf you see.” He meant, of course, that he had made it known that he would be professionally displeased if any other ship dealer sold them a ship and he had enough clout to make the treat a credible one. Even if she found someone willing to risk his wrath, it would drive the price up well beyond her meager means. She was silent for a long moment, five seconds, ten, then she turned her attention to the young man.

“Well, how about it kid?”

@POOHEAD189
1x Like Like
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by POOHEAD189
Raw
GM
Avatar of POOHEAD189

POOHEAD189 Warrior

Moderator Seen 1 hr ago

"Hello," Neil said under his voice when Sayeeda marched in, escorted by a few incompetent looking guards that were sweating bullets. Gorlan didn't say anything about it being a lady captain. He had to keep himself from openly admiring her. Not that he'd try anything, but that made things interesting. It was then he wondered why she seemed to look at him with a curiosity, and it was at that moment he realized Gorlan had played them both for fools. He'd never intended for Neil's meager sum of money to buy the Highlander.

As the two conversed, Neil listened and stayed silent, until he decided to sway back and forth and whistle to showcase that he was in fact, still there. Once the darkly attractive woman spoke to him, he turned his head to her, as if he'd just been patted on the shoulder. "Well girly, I'm game if you are. But if we're going to do this, keep in mind you might need to grab a turret every now and then. Even I can't slip and slide through every defense-" He spun to Gorlan. "What kind of guns does this ship have anyway?"

"You don't want to hear about what I'm having you retrieve first?"

"Guns please."

Gorlan sighed, crossing his meaty arms over his broad paunch of a chest. He tapped the holo device located on his wrist, and the schematics of the military class freighter suddenly popped up before all of them. "A Foehammer Cannon is its main gun. Besides that are two dozen Nidhogg torpedoes, and two las-turrets that could be manned." Neil whistled again, but this time it was in admiration. "That Foehammer I did not expect. They really did make that military grade..."

"And if you survive the mission I'm about to give you, you'll have all of it. As well as a gun of your choice from my personal armory before you go. Now..." Gorlan said, letting Neil shut up before he continued. Two systems away there is a world called Savran. Most people don't even know it's there, because it's a shit pile jungle world ruled over by some two-bit dictator fighting a war against rebels. It's covered in mists and rainforests, and there's really nothing there but death. However, my idiot of a son has decided to go there-"

Neil raised his brows as Garlon continued. "-and he is convinced the world has Xenos artifacts and ruins from years ago. I haven't heard from him in a year. I want you to bring him back to me, alive if you can."
"Aw, that's sweet." Neil said.

"Bastard stole part of my fortune. He's going to make it up to me, and now that I know where he went, you're going to get him for me."

"...Less sweet."
@Penny
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Penny
Raw
Avatar of Penny

Penny

Member Online

Sayeeda smirked at the suggestion that she might occasionally be forced to do a little shooting. Heaven forbid. It was good that he was thinking about weaponry though, particularly if this Sarvan was anything as big a ratfuck as it sounded. It had to be bad to be worth half a ship to a Penny pinching bastard like Gorlan.

"Alright," Sayeeda said after a few moments.

"I suppose you have a deal." She thrust out her arm in Rhuani style and Gorlan clasped her forearm and shook once. The sharklike grin grew wider and she couldn't help but feel that whatever they were getting into on Sarvan was worse than he was letting on. Still this wasn't a completely negative turn of events, this sounded like just the sort of work she had imagined doing and she tried not to let the fact that she had essentially been tricked into it sour her completely.

"Now if you will follow me..." Gorlan said, gesturing grandly and leading the way out of the hanger. The guards trailed along, keeping wary eyes on Sayeeda as they did so. The outside light was blinking after the hangar and the air was redolent with the sour smell of spices. A large tractor rolled passed, disel engine coughing black smoke as it hauled a load of freshly cut... something into one of the other warehouses.

Very few moments in Sayeeda's life had taken her breath away but the sight that beheld her as the walked around the corner of one of the vast prefab warehouses did. Sitting on concrete which had long ago cracked under the hammering of starship engines was a vast metal vessel. The ship was perhaps fifty meters from its pointed nose to its squat box like stern with two pairs of engines mounted along the frame, each the size of a small armored vehicle. It wasn't new or shiny, its dull grey finish was scuffed and burned, and here and there rust stains ran down the points where rain must have drained off her when she was on the ground, but she was undeniable a star ship. Stenciled on the side in large block letters was the name UAK-S21 HIGHLANDER. For a moment all she could do was stare in awe, since the day Andor had made himself President of Kylura, more through bullets than ballots it was true, and disbanded the unit she had dreamed of owning her own ship. Now here she stood in the shadow of her very own, or mostly her own, vessel.

"By the Gods blood," she said, her eyes drinking in the sight.

"By the Gods blood."

@POOHEAD189
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by POOHEAD189
Raw
GM
Avatar of POOHEAD189

POOHEAD189 Warrior

Moderator Seen 1 hr ago

"Oh SHIT." Neil exclaimed, and he started laughing. He felt the joy bubbling up, and he swore it felt like Christmas morning. If Christmas hadn't been extinct for 8 centuries, but he had heard it was an apt description for something incredibly awe inspiring plopping on his lap. This was completely something else. "You weren't kidding!" It seemed Neil had lost control of the volume of his voice. "It's smooth and polished, and those are Archeron thrusters on there!"

Neil ran both of his hands through his thick, dark hair. He let out a breath, still contemplating what he could do with the ship. He'd flown plenty of ships since leaving Fortus. Most of them were junkers, true. But if he could evade the planetary forces with them, imagine what this could do with him driving it. The only thing that would make him happier would be piloting a Valk like he did in the war. But a freighter like this, he'd only read about. Getting used to it would be easy, and he couldn't wait to get his hands on it. Feel the thrum of the engines reverberate up his body.

"I see you're both satisfied," Gorlan said, and he pushed a button on his wrist device. The wall next to them lifted, and within was a mounted selection of weapons. There were more weapons than most would have ever seen, even experienced mercenaries and soldiers. Neil let out an appreciative whistle, then blinked. He turned to Gorlan. "Before I grab one of these, you guys took my gun earlier. Mind giving it back?"

It was tossed to him. He caught it casually, spinning the slug loaded revolver before holstering it in his belt. After that, he began to pick his way around the weapons. Grenade Launchers, Combat Shotguns, and the Plasma rifles caught his attention. But at the end, he chose the Gauss ARC rifle. "I feel the power in this baby," he said, hefting it. The gun was relatively large, and looked oversized resting on Neil's shoulder. But the pilot was stronger than he looked.
@Penny
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Penny
Raw
Avatar of Penny

Penny

Member Online

June Bug Cyckali was a methodical woman and although she was capable of acting with instant and complete brutality, she preferred to consider her options when the opportunity arose. So it was that she first considered drawing the shock rod she had concealed in her boot, the shock rod which had so easily evaded the earlier pat down, and beating the would be pilot, her would be pilot she supposed, into twitching unconsciousness. It was unfeasible for a number of reasons. There was no way of knowing how Gorlan's people would react to a sudden movement and a concealed weapon. The fact that she could not herself fly a ship also loomed large in the list of flaws and although she could probably find another pilot, this one did have a perfect right to be here under the terms of the contract.

"You aren't impressed by my generous inclusion of the weaponry Captain?" Gorlan asked with an arched eyebrow.

"Seems a little pricey at the cost of 50 percent of the ship," Sayeeda replied in a flat tone. Grolan laughed and slapped his paunch in the traditional Hodiernan gesture of a point having been scored. His skin, an unhealthy pallor at the best of times, was beginning redden from exposure to the intense sun.

"Well in any case," the Broker wheezed, "My people have loaded everything you will need into the ships computer. You should lift before sundown." Junebug arched an eyebrow.

"In a hurry to be reunited with your son?" she asked sarcastically. Gorlan chuckled again.

"My dear Sayeeda my heart breaks with every moment I am apart from him," Gorlan theatrically put a hand to his forehead like a Calian pantomime. Then the amusement drained from his face as quickly as it had come.

"More practically if I have discovered my bastard whelps location, then others will have well, there are others who would use what he knows against me. Lift by sunset or the deal is off." With that he spun on his heel and walked away into the shadowed interior of one of the warehouses, wiping at his face with a dirty handkerchief he had produced from somewhere.

"If we are quite done playing with the hardware, we ought to get to work," Sayeeda said, a slight coolness creeping into her tone despite her best effort. She extended one of her hands, palm still covered by the fingerless shooters gloves.

"I am Captain Sayeeda Cyckali," she introduced herself.

@POOHEAD189

Hidden 1 yr ago Post by POOHEAD189
Raw
GM
Avatar of POOHEAD189

POOHEAD189 Warrior

Moderator Seen 1 hr ago

Neil's grin faded, hearing the familiar warning in Sayeeda's voice that he had so often heard from his superiors in the Ordo Sanctus. They had soon stopped once they had given him a bit more freedom and realized just how good he was in one of the Valk's, but back then he had been fighting for the right to choose his destiny. Here, they were teammates, and he needed to reign himself in a bit out of respect.

He shook her hand with his left hand, his right hand still hefting the ARC rifle. "Neil Edwards," he said to her. "Pilot, soldier, thief, rebel, and many more titles that most would consider insulting. Good to meet you," he said. He planned on getting to know her better once they were in space, but right now her dangerous demeanor had him more anxious to get going. He could have taken so many grunt jobs like when he was younger, such as the vehicle engineer position he had for the UNF before the war. But he chose this life instead. Danger was quite welcome.

"Call me Firestorm if we're ever in need of a military alias." he told her, and as if on the cue, the pistons on the Highlander's door released. The entrance lowered into a makeshift stairway, and Gorlan smiled devilishly as the two set off to embark. "You've got the schematics in the ship's systems, but the prison cell is located near the back left of the ship." The Nobleman said, doing his best to let them know he expected results.

Neil gave him a salute, and then headed into the Highlander with Sayeeda, making their way into the ship's interior as the massive doors to the bay area began to open to allow them space to fly out of there. Neil ran his hands over the smooth surface of the Xarconian metal the ship was (at least the majority of it) made of. The Hexanagallions used such material extensively, and Neil had been waiting forever to actually find a ship that had it for building material. If that war-like race had wielded it with such great effect, the Highlander coupled with decent shields would be a battering ram.

"I'm going to get this going. We can look around once we get the R.I.P. drives revved up. If that's ok with you, Captain?" He asked.
@Penny
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Penny
Raw
Avatar of Penny

Penny

Member Online

"Sounds like a plan," Sayeeda responded, wondering if the pilot really expected her to refer to him as firestorm.

The hydraulics hissed as Junebug pressed the activation stud to the internal hatch. The bulkhead separated a little more ponderous than she had expected as the internal jacks withdraw the heavy door panel. You couldn’t be a mercenary and not have some experience of starships and Sayeeda, whose exact sidereal age was confused by weeks at near ftl in assault ships had endured more than most. There was a difference, however, a difference between a passenger, no matter how frequent and a pilot. To her the inside of a starship, especially the operational areas remained a strange and unfamiliar place.

The interior of the ship smelled faintly of hot electronics and of hydrocarbons in various stages of decombustion. Most starships functioned by using a fusion bottle to hydrolyze water molecules and then pump the resulting hydrogen into the fusion thrusters. Water was also used as a working fluid for most other processes, not because it was the most effective substance for the job but because its residues were less toxic than the alternatives. Everything on a starship inevitably became part of the atmosphere and long haul crews cheerfully traded the lower performance of water in order to avoid the various poisonous or carcinogenic alternatives.

The interior of the ship was lit by overhead glow stripping that bathed everything in a pale white blue light. Several of the panels were missing and the corresponding dappled lighting effect made Junebug slightly uneasy. Intellectually she knew there was no danger lurking in the shadows but veterans didn’t live to become old veterans by taking a relaxed attitude. She made a mental note to get the shoddy lighting fixed as soon as it was practical.

A large hallway - companionway? What was the spacefaring term?- branched off in each direction, one leading to the cockpit and another back into the heart of the vessel. Electronics, some familiar, others novel to her eye, was packed onto every inch of the walls and wire conduits ran overhead. Even the floor was raised panels beneath which the electronic veins of the ship pulsed. Junebug ran her fingers along a snaking tangle of fiber optic cables which hung along the right side wall.

Without discussion they turned right and headed for the cockpit. The hatch whirred open to reveal a medium sized room the shape of a flattened hexagon. Junebug would have guessed it was around the size of a large bedroom in a moderately prosperous home. Several console which looked a few generations behinds the top of the line models Andor’s Armored had used for LOG section and TechInt hummed in powered down modes. The smell here was much more clearly that of hot circuits than burning propellants. The forward viewport took up the entirety of the front wall of the cockpit and the bright sun streamed through the transparent aluminum and warmed the bay despite the efforts of an archaic air conditioner to keep it at ambient.

It was one of the sexier things Sayeeda Cyckali had ever seen.

“I’m a little wet right now,” she murmured so softly as to be unintelligible to anyone standing near her. Or so she thought.

“Would you like me to alter the ambient air characteristics Captain?” A metallic emotionless voice asked and the shock of it nearly sent Junebug grabbing for a nonexistent side arm.

“Identify yourself,” she snapped, surprise transmuting to fear as adrenaline coursed through her veins making her dark skin prickle.

“AVLN-22-Kelo, Artifical Intelligence, Highlander.” The voice responded in mechanical preset. AI’s were a feature of most human ships. In some ways they were old tech, simple AI’s were relatively easy to create but failry limited. Ships on the other hand had both complex systems and incredible computing power. The kind of computers that could chart courses through ripspace were the most advanced in the human galaxy and the kind of computing power needed to create an AI was afterthought when the astronavigation was off.

“Damn.”

@POOHEAD189
1x Like Like
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by POOHEAD189
Raw
GM
Avatar of POOHEAD189

POOHEAD189 Warrior

Moderator Seen 1 hr ago

Neil breathed in that sweet ozone, and an iron-like taste entered his mouth. There were only a few things he liked more than the smell of a fresh ship. Instantly his eyes met every wire and cable that hugged and slithered along the Xarconian metal. By the grade of the wires this ship had a design he'd only heard about. The metal should have been a dead giveaway, just as the weapon placements should have been, and the overall shape.

This ship was made before the fall.

Gorlan must have scavenged the Highlander and rebuilt it. Sure it looked like junk, but it had a real quality once you dusted it off a bit. These wires must have lead to the fuel generators that aided the R.I.P. drive in the back, and these along here were meant to give an extra bit of energy to the shields. He wondered who had designed the shields, because as far as he could tell judging by these XL2 wires, it was made in the past century. Must be made by Zolton Security, he told himself.

He followed the new boss lady into the cockpit, and he grinned at the familiar layout. It was top notch and a different design to be sure, but if you've flown one Freighter, you've flown most of them. To the left was the Orbital Maneuvering Display System. The Velocity indicator was in the center, next to the sublight engines and the auxiliary power switch... The Galaxy map up at the top left was different, though. It was good thinking on Gorlan's part, however. Or whoever had designed the ship. Were they standard on thousand year old ships?

"Wow..." he said aloud.

“I’m a little wet right now,” Sayeeda said with such a quiet breath Neil blinked, wondering if he'd heard what he thought he had. He looked at her while she stared at the cockpit, and he knew then and there that he heard right.

He whispered as well. "Note to self..."

He blinked again once the AI popped on, and wondered if it remained active as long as the ship was, or if there was an off switch. "AVLN-22-Kelo, ship status."

"Maximum functionality, First Mate Edwards."

The AI had not even finished speaking before Neil found himself in the Pilot's chair, turning on the Display Moniter and pulling the level to start the engines. He then punched the auto-pressure and artificial gravity generator so they wouldn't need to worry about it when they left the atmosphere. "Hang on babe. I m- I mean Captain." He didn't look back at her, instead running his finger over the display moniter as he read the coordinates, and with the slightest shift in gear, the ship began to float upwards in a light hover. It's legs folded in, and Neil turned the Highlander toward the exit.

It took less than 3 seconds before they were out of the hanger in its entirety and arcing 45 degrees upwards. The sky was orange and grey from the constant pollution of the manufacture-cities that dominated the landscape. The jungles here were the hardiest Neil had ever seen. "They might be mutated..." he thought aloud, and then shrugged. The ship juttered and shook with turbulence as they raised higher and higher into the sky.

"Might want to sit down until we're out of Orbit."
@Penny
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Penny
Raw
Avatar of Penny

Penny

Member Online

Junebug decided that bludgeoning her pilot into unconsciousness would be even less feasible now they were airborne she promised herself the day was coming however.

“Booster,” she said, using the military commo term for an AI, “highlight the gunnery console.” For a moment she thought that the AI wouldn’t answer the unfamiliar term but a moment later the mechanical voice responded.

“There are no designated consoles on civilian vessels Captain,” the computer replied. Rather than waste any more time she slid into the padded seat of the most elevated of the for consoles and pulled the security straps down over her armor, securing herself in place. The console provided an adequate view of the cockpit window over Neil’s or Firestorm’s or whatever other bloody thing he choose to call himself, shoulder.

The console came up with a thrum when she pressed the activation stud, a holographic screen flickering to life. She took her ceramic helmet from her belt and plugged it into the console, hitting a series of keystrokes to download her internal software into the console. Immediate the streams of meaningless guages and data resolved themselves into the familiar read outs of the station she had trained with. The communications light was blinking an angry red ‘priority one’ alert. The ship did not report that it was being painted with radar, lidar or any other weapons targeting system so Junebug relegated the message to ‘priority when I get to it’.

Remarkably the ship remained more or less in the green as it ascended through the atmosphere. Despite the artificial gravity it bumped and shook as it shoulders its way through the thinning tropical air. In theory there was a chance of collision with other ships, but in practice all of Hodierna’s shipping came in predictable channels, either down to the manufacturing cities or to private estates like the one they had just yet. Men like Golran were more than happy to shoot down a rival's ship that strayed into their turf and claim a ‘unexpected technical failure’ bought the ship down. Seeing they would have physical custody of the wreck there wouldn’t be anyone to gainsay them.

With the slow majesty of a sunrise the buffeting began to fade and the air peeled back away from the ship to reveal the inky blackness of space. Sayeeda hit a few keys and bought up a panorama of Hodierna as seen from the rear sensors. Later, she was going to have a long talk with Neil about trusting AI assessments of equipment. She wasn’t particularly irritated with the surprise ascent, seeing she had managed to survive learning about it.

The redlight continued to pulse angrily and Junebug reluctantly thumbed the switch.

“Highlander Six, go ahead,” she said, instinctively falling back into communications discipline.

“Captain Cyckali, we had not finished discussing matters, return to the ground at once,” Gorlan’s irritation was unmistakable even over the static broadband radio transmission.

“Negative ground,” Sayeeda said, her mouth twitching into a grin, “Highlander is outbound, we will be shaking down for three zero minutes before we clear the gravity well transmit any further instructions. Highlander out.” She broke the connection. A moment later it began to pulse again but she ignored. Gorlan might be a partner but he was going to learn that a ship had owners and then it had a captain and she was the captain of this ship by the Goddess’ Blood. She thought of the small bindle she had left in the rented truck that had bought her to Gorlan’s compound. Truthfully there wasn’t much there and she had sold nearly everything she owned in order to meet Gorlan’s minimum fee for the Highlander. Screw itlet whatever scavenger or street rat take it. For a moment she enjoyed the silence and then she spoke.

“Neil, get us in a stable orbit free of the gravity well and tie us into the nav beacons so we can start computing the rip for the trip out.” She unbuckled her safety straps with the slap of a hand.

“I’m going to check out the rest of the ship.”

@POOHEAD189
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by POOHEAD189
Raw
GM
Avatar of POOHEAD189

POOHEAD189 Warrior

Moderator Seen 1 hr ago

"You got it," Neil said as the ship entered the full realm of 'outer' space. He glanced back as Sayeeda headed out the Cockpit Access Cooridor, and he let out a breath as he shook his head. He felt like he was going to need to loosen her up somehow. He wondered where the mainhold was, and if there was anything enjoyable to do there yet. Not only that, but food was definitely something they should make sure they had.

"AVLN. We got food on this tub?" Neil asked as he made ready the accelerator compensator display. The mechanical yet clear voice of the AI popped up through the front speakers. "Yes, sir. Full provisions available for you, the Captain, as well as four more human passengers for three months."

"I don't know, I can eat quite a bit." Neil replied, and then tilted his head in curiosity when he saw the AI display. "Huh..." He poked it, and a list of settings coalesced onto the screen. "You mind if I call you Lonney, AVLN?"

"You can refer to me however you wish, sir." The AI replied, before Neil clicked a button. The AI replied again with an automated response. "Hola compañero de primera" it said.
"Nah," Neil replied. He clicked again.
"Nǐ hǎo xiānshēng huǒbàn."
"Nope." Click.
"Kon'nichiwa saisho no nakama."
"Dead language." Click.
"Bonjour mon premier ami."
"Ugh, come on." Click.
"Oi lad, you the first mate on this tub, eh?"

"...That is perfect." Neil said, and the next thing he knew the Highlander was in free space past the Hodierna orbit. He set up the engines for sublight travel for now as he set up connections with the nav beacons. The switches flipped audibly as he moved on instinct, his actions drilled into his mind from his time in the Ordo Sanctus. "Hey Lonney, you think you can compute the trip to Savran for me while I check on where the Captain is?"

"Roight. Ah fink she's headed for the Main Deck pas' the Engineer's Quar'ers."
@Penny

Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Penny
Raw
Avatar of Penny

Penny

Member Online

The ship thrummed with subtle life as Junebug headed down the companion way. Entering the Rip usually required a good deal of velocity and the engines were running up at several G's worth of inertia, as much as the gravity pumps could compensate for. It was possible to accelerate faster, much faster but once the gravity compensators were overwhelmed it would get dangerous for the crew both in terms of gforces and in keeping their orientation with the hull. It would also have the unfortunate effect of stressing the hull and damaging components, something Junebug, a penniless captain of a somewhat less than new ship, was keen to avoid.

The Highlander was off a split decked design, aft of the cockpit were four sets of cabins, each little larger than a prison cell and divided by movable metal bulk heads, as well as a simple head and shower combination. Following that the corridor opened up onto the main hold, a two story tall void which was accessible via dropping the port and starboard ramps when on the ground. Behind that was the engineering section, a nest of closely packed machinery clustered around the magnetically sealed engineering compartment in which squatted the quietly thrumming fusion bottle. Beneath the living quarters was a small multipurpose space which Junebug guessed was a combination kitchen, mess and infirmity as wall as an impressively large machine shop. There were a number of familiar tools but there seemed little in the way of spare parts, whatever had been in stock had either been exhausted by use or traded away.

Sayeeda guessed that she could probably move a pair of combat vehicles in the main hold and perhaps a company worth of men and equipment if they didn't mind being packed in like cattle. It seemed wasteful to be flying with the space open but there had been no time or extra money to fill the hold with trade good for Savran. Junebug didn't know what sort of trade goods were in demand on Savran but she would have gone with weapons. There was a war on after all and even if there wasn't humans seldom needed excuses to arm themselves to the teeth. In addition to the formal rooms there were a network of access hatches and maintenance shafts to let the crew get at more esoteric parts of the ship. The highlander had a port and an aft airlock and Sayeeda was relieved to see that both airlocks had eva suits. She touched the suits integral sensor and was gratified when it came to life and reported the suit integrity as 100 percent.

She traced her steps back to the galley/surgery and pulled open the cupboards. There were no medications beyond the standard type of first aid kits one finds in motor vehicles of all sorts but there were several crates of what looked to Sayeeda to be protein rations. The serial numbers suggested they were less than a decade old, which, all things considered was unusually fresh. She was tearing one of the boxes open when she heard Neil's foot steps ringing on the metal companionway. She pulled a powered knife from her pocket and, not bother to power it on, cut the seal on one of the ration boxes. The familiar smell of preservatives and industrial carboydrates floated out and she took a bar of compressed cellulose from is packet and bit into it, chewing determinedly.

"Well? What do you think of her," she called to her pilot as he stepped through the hatch.

"Think they have any coffee?" she asked with the doubtful but hopeful tone that people used to bad news but not willing to give up on optimism manage to perfect.

@POOHEAD189
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by POOHEAD189
Raw
GM
Avatar of POOHEAD189

POOHEAD189 Warrior

Moderator Seen 1 hr ago

Neil leaned on the wall next to the entrance way at the very edge of the room, hands in his pockets as Sayeeda chewed on the rations they had. "Only one way to find out," he said with a sly look on his face, before shifting his weight until he was no longer leaning. His legs moved with a practiced grace, yet with a gait that showed he wasn't really trying to make it look such a way. He was simply light on his feet.

Sliding over next to her, he opened up another box with a Repton dagger he had stashed in his back pocket. It was a fairly large blade in need of a sheath. He had one stuffed behind his lower back to use just in case, and he bit into the box with it before reaching in. He didn't find coffee, but a few sweets were apparently not out of the question. Orbital Plumps were what they were called. Chocolatey and filling, a good snack for a traveler who didn't feel like eating the dull rations one was often used to.

He tossed her one nonchalantly. "As for the Highlander, this thing is a right impressive piece of equipment." He admitted, opening an Orbital Plump for himself and chomping onto it. The creamy center was rich and very enjoyable. He swallowed, and nodded in approval, his eyes distant. "It's freedom is what it is." He told her, his voice now un-joking and calmly sober for near the first time they've spoken. 'Soon as we grab this kid of his. I almost wonder if there's a bounty on his head and we could get a better deal elsewhere..."

He smiled to show he was joking, though the twinkle in his eye gave the impression he never did let a fun opportunity slide no matter how off it might seem. He grabbed a bit of rations from her box as well, and then back-stepped before he plopped down on a chair, eating at his leisure. "Either way. After this job we'll need another. Maybe bounty hunting is a good one. What were you planning on doing before finding out you were sharing the Highlander with a stud like myself."
@Penny
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Penny
Raw
Avatar of Penny

Penny

Member Online

Junebug snorted and shucked the polymer wrapping off the candy. It had a faint holographic diffaction grating which made it shimmer in what she suspected was intended to be a pleasant fashion but it reminded her too my of Tznau flies on Campesee and she flicked it away irritable before popping the candy in her mouth. It was a pleasant mix of sweet and sour although and she allowed herself to enjoy it for a moment.

"Well stud," she said around a mouthful of chocolate, her tone injecting derision into her voice even as she chewed.

"I had hoped to hire on a pilot who wouldn't blast into space the first chance he got without so much as checking the atmo seals." She pulled the cap of a bottle of mineralized water and drank it down, washing away the last of the dust and heat of Hodierna with unfeigned pleasure. With a negligent gesture she crumpled the bottle and tossed it into one of the open trash chutes which presumable led to either a collection or a recycling point.

"I assure you Capt'm that everything be shipshape." Goddess's bleeding matyrs was that a Scottish accent. She cast a wrathful eye at the innocent faced Neil.

"Booster, refrain from interjecting into personal conversation," she said, eyes fixed on one of the speakers built into the wall.

"Aye Capt'm."

"The fuck," Junebug muttered shaking her head. She didn't dislike AI's exactly but she didn't trust them either. Most of her associations with them were cowering in a vehicle fighting compartment or in a fox hole while computer aimed plasma weapons swept enemy artillery from the sky with short precise bursts. Or not of course. The bomber will always get through. She pushed the sour thought aside and went on.

"After that, well I know some people on Thaler who can get me a few cargoes on spec. Refurbished millitary hardware mostly, guns sure, but sensors and consoles and the like. I figure that with the Cho-Lan and the Kaphur's going at it so hard in the Eastern Marches there is probably good money to be made."

She eyed the pilot up and down, dark eyes measuring him. He really didn't strike her as a gunman, though he had handled that ARC like as though he at least knew which end was witch.

"Do you have much experience with bounty hunting?"

@POOHEAD189
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by POOHEAD189
Raw
GM
Avatar of POOHEAD189

POOHEAD189 Warrior

Moderator Seen 1 hr ago

Neil opened his mouth to deny what she was saying, and then he opened his mouth again and raised a finger to argue. But he could only give her a guilty smile. "I was excited," he said, his eyes moving down to the food in his hand. "I'll be sure to be more cooperative. Can't have us dying out there if we don't communicate." He admitted, and then leaned back as he chewed, closing his eyes with his head back on the chair's head rest. "Then again there's worse ways to go." he mused.

He smiled, very amused at Sayeeda's bewilderment at the new accent AVLN had. Neil knew the accent as Skyre from the system of the same name, supposedly from independent colonists from Old Earth who fled a northern island to govern themselves. Truth be told, his one and only love had been from that system. Or her ancestors had been. She never did tell him why her older family had settled on Fotus those centuries ago. He'd almost wished they hadn't.

Taking away the thoughts of melancholy, he reared himself back up on the seat. "Thaler's a rough place." he declared, impressed from this girl's experience. She'd mentioned a few things off handedly that had him wondering about what jobs she'd been doing. Probably a few stories there.

"I got plenty of bounty hunting experience," he said. "Granted most of it is me evading them. But seeing as I'm here and they're not, I think I know how to do their job better than them." Neil meant it as a joke, but he found himself utterly serious when he was considering bounty hunting. His criminal record did lend him some insight into where a lot of the galactic scum would be mingling around.

He shrugged. "But that sounds like as good of a plan as any. I fly and fight, you bag and tag." A wink accompanied the idea. "Thing is, you haven't exactly told me what you were planning to do with this ship before you had a partner..."
@Penny
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Penny
Raw
Avatar of Penny

Penny

Member Online

Sayeeda tossed the ration wrappers into the trash and wiped the crumbs onto her battle dress trousers. She drew a permanant maker from a closed pressure seal on her pants and wrote on the wall:

WISHLIST

She underlined the word and beneath that she added:

Coffee

That completed she slipped the pen back into its pocket. Maybe they could find some wideawake when they got where they were going. Not that she could afford to buy more than a cup of coffee right now.

"I had been planning to run guns out of Thaler, make some credits," she repeated, slipping past Neil to walk out across the cavernous cargo hold, her footsteps ringing hollow on the metal deckplating. A large multipurpose console was nestled amidst the conduits and duct work leading to the fusion bottle and she bought it live with a click. Readouts of reaction mass and output cascaded past, all pleasantly in the green. The system wasn't too dissimilar from those she had seen on the various skimmers she had crewed and the familiarity pleased her.

"More generally, I figured there are always people who need work done by professionals," she eyed Neil as she spoke the last word."

"Booster give me a ten minute alert to the mass shadow," she commanded.

@POOHEAD189
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by POOHEAD189
Raw
GM
Avatar of POOHEAD189

POOHEAD189 Warrior

Moderator Seen 1 hr ago

"Ye got it, lass." AVLN declared on the speakers, and then went quiet once more. Neil followed Sayeeda, looking around the walls and the circuitry. Behind her, he nearly poked once of the loose circuits with his finger, before seeing it light up with a faint blue glow as if anything that came near it would be fried. He decided better not risk it, and slipped his free hand back in his pocket. "Smuggling I don't mind, either." He said matter-of-factly.

He starting rummaging around in some of the cargo boxes in the hold, seeing if anyone had left any loot in here from when last it was flown, even if the last to fly it was Gorlan's goons. "You're the Captain. Long as it's fun, I'll be behind ya." And it was at that moment he was disappointed that he hadn't the mind to use the name 'Gorlan's Goons' when he was in his custody. Sounded like a merc team, in all honesty.

The ship juttered a bit for a second, but kept steady. Neil glanced upwards, and then waited for a moment until he shrugged. He began to pick through the boxes once more, when something slammed into the hull of the ship like a hammerblow. Neil shot into the air from the sudden yanking of the ship's stationary gravity, and he hit the deck hard, bruising his back in all probability. "I'm up," he groaned, and picked himself off the ground as he tried to get his bearings straight.

"Ship's shields at 87%, lads."

"What's going on?" Neil asked. AVLN explained not a moment later that an unlabeled and unlicensed cruiser was in pursuit of them, firing lesser model missiles at the back of their hull. Neil only had to think for a moment before he realized it must be an OPR (Orbital Pirate Raider). "How many?"

"Just one far as I can tell."
@Penny
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Penny
Raw
Avatar of Penny

Penny

Member Online

Junebug rode the shock of the impact instinctively, bending her knees and staying on her feet. It was an instinct she had picked up in her decade of driving and crewing armored vehicle. More often than not you jounced and crashed your way across broken terrain, plunged down hill sides and hit unexpeted ditches and craters. You needed to be able to keep your feet, to man your gun, to react even if you were smashed into the sides of the fighting compartment like popcorn kernels in hot oil.

Combat she understood too and within moments of the AI revealing they were under attack she was dashing for the ladder up to the main deck. She hit the ladder at a run vaulting up the runs three at a time and reaching the gunnery station a moment before another blast rocked the ship. With calm precision she bought up the PPI and a shield read out. They were down to about 70 percent now, blinking an unhealthy yellow in the corner of her screen.

The enmey ship was about 3000 meters back and burning hard, it had obviously been lurking in one of the rings of asteroids which dotted the system and the angle of the burn was bad, forcing it in on an unhelpful angle. Sayeeda flipped the weapons console live and rotated the guns to bear. THe enemy was now directly behind them which gave her little in the way of difficulty, its own momentum making evasive action difficult.

The main guns thundered as she pressed down on the firing stud, hurling a bolt of plasma many times the calibre that a ground vehicle could mount back at the ship pursuing them. Its shields blossomed under the strike and it began to vector thrust to make itself a harder target.

"Booster, how long till we clear the gravity well on this heading?"

@POOHEAD189
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by POOHEAD189
Raw
GM
Avatar of POOHEAD189

POOHEAD189 Warrior

Moderator Seen 1 hr ago

Neil bounced back into action with surprising endurance and dexterity. Every time the ship jerked as he sprinted for the cockpit, he'd leap as if he expected it. In actuality, timing the blasts and automated maneuvers by AVLN was fairly easy once you knew a few of the technical aspects of the ship. One leap had him touch the ceiling with his hands, and he swung by a pipe above him to continue forward through the cockpit access corridor.

Neil found himself in the cockpit, making sure the sublight thrusters were at maximum thrust before flipping on the Combat Maneuver Panel and reorienting the ship's radar to enhance upon the unidentified ship that AVLN had detected. He needed to find out what the son of a bitch was firing at them. "Lonney, lock in the auxiliary power and keep me informed of our shields," Neil said, taking control of the ship's turn and bank display.

The warning light on the top right flashed and Neil suddenly turned off the thrusters and spin the Highlander to the bottom left in a dive. The missile the warning beacon had cautioned him of flew clear, but it gave Sayeeda a perfect shot to take out the projectile as it did its best to turn and redirect course toward the Highlander once more. Neil had completed his maneuver and turned the ship around toward the cruiser heading for them. On the Combat Maneuver Display, he saw their targeting systems were locked onto whomever was after them.

With a smirk, he unlocked the Nidhogg torpedo release atop the controls and fired off two screaming missiles. They arced visibly out of the window before disappearing into the vastness of space. From the moniter however, he saw the ship chasing them was doing its best to make an evasive action.

"Two minutes before we're clear lass, if we get back o' track tha' is."

The ship bumped as Neil steered and reoriented the controls. "Shaaadup." the young man said, banking the ship back around to their previous coordinates and enhancing the thrusters once more so they could make time.
@Penny
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Penny
Raw
Avatar of Penny

Penny

Member Online

The torpedoes swept towards the oncoming pirate vessel like the darts of a cuttlefish, streaking a trail of ionized plasma through space as their fuel cells burned in what was only differentiated from an explosion by degrees. The pirate captain must have realised that he had made a mistake, all he had seen was a fat merchant freighter without any sort of convoy or escort. Sayeeda imagined that he checked his records and discovered that she was a new ship, without a history, perhaps with an inexperienced crew. The pirate must be regretting his over confidence now. Surprised or not he tried manfully to avoid the missles, venting plasma at levels that would have bent the frame even at lower speeds, but Issac Newton was not a merciful god. The cruiser had put on too much speed and lateral motion just took more thrust than the could muster.

The first missile smashed into the shield at a a third of a C. The explosive warhead only added color to what the mass of the metal achieved. The pirate had a defensive shield, a small thing for dealing with space junk in all likely hood and the thing shattered like an egg. Second order explosions blossomed from the sides of the ship as the shield generators themselves went super critcal from the feedback. A heart beat later the second missile struck bow on, vaporizing everything the bow half way back to the midship frame in a spray of subliming metal and burning gasses. The vessel tumbled away spinning on more axis than Sayeeda cared to imagine. Those crew that survived the blast would surely have been whipped to pieces by the radical changes in acceleration.

She let out a long sigh as she watch the image replay in slow motion. A dead enemy was a good enemy in her books.

"I take it you have some space combat experience? Perhaps gained in some millitary?" she asked, her voice deceptively mild.

@POOHEAD189
↑ Top
© 2007-2017
BBCode Cheatsheet