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7/14/3030 - 7/15/3030


Lloyd sits outside a building on Bliss, supervising several teams that scurry about with various tools and devices. He taps twice on his tablet, seeing that the group that had gotten captured has arrived on MegaPlex. He opens a channel to the comm devices in their gear, which was lying next to them in the cargo hold.

"This is Lloyd. Respond."

"Lloyd?" Har-Bak says, "Are you going to get us out of here?"

"No."

"Then what is it?" Stefan asks.

"In appreciation for putting your mission first last time, I'm going to give you some information. As well as a new mission."

"A new mission?" Basta says, "What can we do tied up here?"

"You remember the object you retrieved from Risir's mansion?"

"Yeah," Roar-Ree says, "that diamond-like thing?"

"There's another one on MegaPlex, in a warehouse district on the other side of the station from your location. The last one was white; this one is orange. You are to escape and get it. After you get out, go to the Green Lounge to get more info. There is a safe on the wall near you; the combination is 34-55-89-14-42-33-37-76-10. Bye."

And with that, the message cut off.


Jack Yorke walks into the hangar holding the Dawn Voyager, glaring at Lloyd, who is leaning against the entry door. "Your assignment, Yorke, is to get a Key located on Bliss. The first was white, this one's green. Risir's excavation site has been put into your tablet."

"Just Bob and I?"

"You'll have help."

"With my crew on MegaPlex?"

"Head to that bar you frequent. You'll find them there."

Yorke nods and leaves.


Jack Yorke heads into the Booze Bullet and walks over to BOB-5, who is sitting with Oeh-Wje, White Wolf, and an albino Altaic female he didn't recognize. "’ey Bob," Yorke said, "This the help Lloyd mentioned?"

"Aye," BOB-5 says, "You know Oeh-Wje and Wolfy already. The Altaic is named Atea; she's been training with the Revnorians."

"Nice to meet you," Yorke says, extending his hand to shake.

"Likewise," Atea says.

"So, Cap'm, what's Lloyd asking us to do?"


BlissEdit

"We're going have way across the planet to retrieve something for Lloyd down there - another Key." Yorke responded to BOB, "The Key is at an evacuation site being spearheaded by an Ira'Preja named Risir, some of us here are familiar with him already." Yorke eyed White Wolf and BOB.

"We got the location of the site, but, we don't exactly have the transport to get there at the moment...any of you got a ship we can use?" BOB added on to Yorke's directions.

"We can use my ship - Ryū no Kiba." The usually quiet White Wolf quickly responded.

"Excellent, I can co-pilot if you need me to."

"I don't think so."

"Fine, fine, I don't even like piloting, I could use a break from it anyways." BOB grumbled.

"Well, we got a ship to use, we might as well get to planning on there. Where'd you park, Wolf?"

"Nearby. Tumulus Port. I'll be outside my ship, you shouldn't miss it." White Wolf answered, standing up and bowing to his comrades before leaving the bar.

"So, anymore questions?" Yorke asked to the remaining crew.

"None here." Oeh-Wje answered.

"Nada." Atea remarked afterwards.

"What'cha think, Cap'm?"

"I think we should go get this thing and kick this lizard's ass. Let's move out." Yorke ordered and the ragtag crew headed out of the bar, Oeh-Wje paying for the drinks and leaving a quick tip to an angry bartender before following the group out.

On his way out, Yorke bumped into a fairly large man, muscular, bald, and standing a couple inches over him. Behind the man were others, dressed in a familiar garb with a Vitruvian Man over Earth badge each patched onto the left shoulder of their jackets, and a woman he recognized donning the same clothes.

"Sorry man." The captain apologized.

"Watch it brother, and watch your pets too." The man scoffed and walked into the bar, his group following him in.

The crew assembled in the lounge of the Ryū no Kiba, still stationed at the Tumulus Port. The team all took seats across from each other at a large oval-shaped glass table. The mercenaries all had their weapons brandished and visible on them. None would mess with them and see the end of the day.

"So, what's tha plan, boss?" BOB opened up the meeting as he tinkered with his two pistols, repairing and cleaning them with a small kit carried with him in his storage compartment.

"Risir's site is located somewhere on the Bliss frontier, in a fairly large valley surrounded by rolling green hills and some small patches of flat plains. It'll easy finding a place to land, doing it without getting caught is the hard part." Yorke replied.

"We can land far enough from their sight and traverse on foot, it'll take a while longer than it should but if we wanna stay hidden it's the safest measure. Not to mention, Risir recognizes White Wolf's ship too, he'll be extra suspicious if he sees this thing flyin' by." BOB replied, setting his pistols aside and observing the mountain area on a tablet. "Risir has the valley decked with bridges and guards, as well as a few small caves and mineshafts that we can use to travel downwards and hide in if we need to." BOB rapidly gave information about the valley and plains to the team, viewing and analyzing the map on a tablet, his guns now holstered on both his sides.

"We'll analyze the place closer when we get there and I'll figure out how we'll traverse downwards. Remember, we're sticking together on this one, no more split-ups. We should get going now; by the time we get there it'll be dark, perfect for a surprise attack." Yorke ended the meeting and stood up, the crew following suite.

The Ryu no Kiba began descending onto the ground below, dropping off the crew upon it. The ship itself was covered by the surrounding bits of land and gave enough cover to hide provided a patrol ever went out this far. The crew began taking their positions as Yorke began speaking his final orders.

"BOB-5 is taking point here. Best vision we got for these conditions. Wolf, you’re staying next to him, so if anything gets to close or we need to head in with stealth, you're our man." BOB-5 and Wolf merely nodded and began standing near each other. "Atea, you stand a bit behind both of them, just ensure that they're safe and nothing gets too close if stealth fails."

"I guess that just leaves you and me." Oeh-Wje responded unslinging her weapon. "We takin' the back?"

"We have the most range out of anyone here. So if things get too hot then we're the ones making sure that snipers or any others don't overwhelm us." Yorke responded before getting behind the rest of the others taking the farther most rear. "Everyone know their jobs?"

Hearing no objections, the small infiltration party began moving out. BOB-5 having his rifle lowered as he scanned the distance, looking around for any signs of Risir. "Clear. Let's get going."

The others followed suit, with the only noises surrounding them being the local insects.

The group walked through the fields in silence, getting closer to their destination. As BOB-5, taking point, turns a corner, however, he is hit by a hail of plasma bolts.

"Bloody fuck," he says, "My chassis will be fine, just bloody fried my motors for a bit. If ya' take these shits out, I'll recover just by sitting here."

"Noted. White Wolf, I want you to keep Risir off his feet. Atea... I don't know what you can do, so just do your thing. Oeh-Wje, you and I will provide ranged support. Go!" Yorke says.

White Wolf charges in with enhanced speed, slicing one Ira in the throat with a quickdraw of his shikomizue and a second through the heart with a quick stab from his wakizashi. Elsewhere, Atea moves with similarly enhance speed, twirling her staff to build up momentum as she does so. She slams into Risir's front ranks, swinging twice to knock her foes away. Having gained a foothold, she activates the intake vents on her shoulder, charging up a plasma shot. As she does so, she gives the staff a quick twist, shooting out the fine filaments within to trap a small group of Ira. The filaments transfer all the energy contained in them into the infrared laser, which she directs in a broad arc through another group.

Yorke squeezes off small bursts from his Rail Rifle, hitting several Ira but mostly keeping their heads down. Oeh-Wje's Shitslicer also whines to life, shooting a stream of ferrofluid through several Ira that had made it past the combined efforts of White Wolf and Atea.

"So much for stealth," Yorke says.

"It's more fun this way. We can share better stories at the Booze Bullet later and get discounts," Oeh-Wje replies.

"Well, we need to survive this and get back first. And Risir's one tough customer."

The team continued to make their way up, firing at the small squad defending the area. The new series of rounds continuing to small their cover from the combined might of the small arms smashing the position.

"Wolf!" Yorke shouted over the gun fire gaining the cyborg's attention and throwing him something. Both locked eyes with the captain nodding as Wolf went off and getting close enough to throw the device. Moments later the distracted Risir were blown to bits by the Needler grenade, minus the few survivors who were impaled by the bits of spikes.

The group was able to come into contact and dispatch the remaining Risir within moments as they attempted to gain their footing once more.

Yorke fired into the chest of the last one as it attempted to reach its SMG. A whistle behind him captured his attention as Oeh-Wje walked up behind him. "Nice one there."

"What can I say? Wolf knows how to throw."

"Perhaps, instead of speaking, we should avoid losing any more time to get our job done." Wolf spoke looking off into the distance for any hostiles waiting to get the jump on them.

"Sure. Lead the way, Wolf."

"With much pleasure." Wolf then started off by gripping his weapons and walking ahead. The others following closely behind and keeping their weapons at the ready.

White Wolf throws two more of his daggers at a pair of Ira within the structure, while Atea shreds a small group with a bolt of plasma fired from her hand. Oeh-Wje and Yorke pick off the stragglers and walk into the plain structure.

"Well," Yorke says, "I'll provide an image of what we're looking for. Fan out and find it. Now that we've taken care of Risir, there shouldn't be too much trouble."

Yorke's crew began looking around for any information they could on dig site, he split the team into two groups. Still they maintained a close enough distance to each other provided the need to defend themselves was required once more.

"Yorke, you find anything yet?" Oeh-Wje's voice went over the communicator.

"Nothing yet. Atea is still looking for anything of use. Any luck working with Wolf?"

"I wouldn't be asking you if I did, but yeah nothing. We'll keep looking and keep your eyes open. BOB-5 could survive a plasma bolt to the chest; you on the other hand might not."

Continuing into the structure, Yorke keeps his firearm up, but stopping just short of a door. "Atea." He whispered catching her attention and beckoning her over.

With a few motions of his arm, Yorke explained the plan and prepared to open the door while, Atea had her gun ready. Pushing the door open, Atea aimed into the room and walked in with Yorke behind her.

The room gave contained nothing of real interest minus a small desk with a few papers or the mess of scattered objects. "For an alien with so many henchmen, Risir has a serious fetish for empty rooms."

"Risir is the only being we've seen here," Yorke says.

"Eh?"

"He's an Ira'Preja."

"Oh. I've only read about 'em. The Revnorians I'm studying with have some interesting theories, but I've never actually seen one."

"Yorke," Oeh-Wje says over the radio, "I think I've found it."


Yorke and Atea walk into the room, standing alongside White Wolf and Oeh-Wje. The latter points to a solid green Platonic octahedron, lying seemingly discarded in the corner of a storeroom. "Looks like what you're looking for."

"I think it is. The last one was in an odd corner, too."

"If it's so damn valuable, why is it so plain and just tossed somewhere?"

"To disguise it as something innocuous." the normally-silent White Wolf says.

"Regardless, we have it now. Our job's done; let's get Bob and get out of here."


"Here it is, Lloyd." Yorke says, putting the green Key down in front of his employer.

"Good," Lloyd says, "Payment will be transferred to your account. The group you have on MegaPlex will be here as soon as they finish their mission. Transport has been arranged for them." Lloyd tosses Yorke a card.

"What's this?"

"BCA Shore Leave card. Works in any bar or brothel, with no purchase limits. You've earned some enjoyment."


BOB-5, Oeh-Wje, and Yorke all sit in the Booze Bullet, waiting for their drinks to arrive.

"And here you are," their server, Cassi, brings over their drinks, "If there's anything else you'd like, let me know. Stefan's always talking about how good his job with you guys is, so I'll give you a bit of a discount."

"You're the best, Cass! Stefan don't deserve you!" BOB thanked Cassi for their drinks, the waitress chuckling in reply before walking off. "The cat and the samurai didn't wan' stay?"

"Atea said she was investigating some assassin, and White Wolf ain't exactly the social-type." Oeh-Wje responded.

"Ah, fair enough." BOB turned his attention to the blank-faced Yorke sipping on his beer. "Somethin' on yer mind, Cap'm?"

"I'm nervous about the rest of the crew on MegaPlex. I should have more confidence in their skills since I hired them, but Risir might just be too smart for them to handle." Yorke replied.

"The galaxy's full of mercs, boss."

"But losing them would mean I'm a bad leader, for letting them get captured and die, or worse, put into slavery. We've already lost Rh'ka and Abram; I don't want to lose more. Har-Bak's headstrong, he'll lead them out. I hope."

Slamming a glass into Yorke's hands, the Synth says, "Don't think like that, Yorke. You've gotten us out a couple jams that I suppose would've killed me too before, but for now, enjoy yourself a bit! Also perhaps you can seduce the lovely lass before the night's over, eh?" BOB-5 elbowed Yorke slightly.

"I'm not into humans." Ohe-Wje responded as she chugged down her drink.

"Oh! Shot down before you even had the chance. Better luck next time." the robot chuckled a bit as he just looked at his captain for a response. A small grin appears over the human's face.

Taking a swig from his drink, "Heh, guess you're right Bob. Need to relax a bit after all that's been hitting us. Maybe a bit of target practice will get a bit of stress. How about it?"

"If you want to knock your ass flat in it, then yeah I'm game." Oeh-Wje asked with BOB-5 just looking at his drink once more.

"First, you have to finish our drinks. Then I need to find someone to finish this for me."

"Please remember that only Booze Bullet-supplied weaponry is allowed in the range," a cool, robotic voice says, reverberating down the short hallway connecting the bar and shooting range.

"Yeah, yeah. Not like I'll fire off the Shitslicer here, anyway," Oeh-Wje says, taking another gulp from her drink. The three place their weaponry in a Booze Bullet locker and grab the Heckler and Colt rifles provided by the range. Oeh-Wje drains her drink and lines up a target.

"Let's fire off a few rounds before we call in refills, shall we?"

The range clattered with gunfire and casings hitting the floor.

BOB fired wildly from the hip, while Yorke and Oeh-Wje were more concentrated with their shots, always aiming for the head on the cardboard targets, which mainly consisted of Skeavers, Yekulra, and Teropus with a nasty looking Human on occasion.

"Not that focused with your shots today, BOB?" Yorke commented after a burst of fire.

"Just wanted to test this bad boy out, never used one before." BOB replied as he went to reload his rifle. "100 round mag, good range, and plenty of options when it comes to fire."

"I prefer the Shitslicer." commented Oeh-Wje.

"Anything works out well for me." Yorke responded as he switched over to the next target only to be beaten to punch by BOB-5 who unleashed a hail of rounds into the Skeaver cut out.

"You know what they say, boss. Jack-of-all trades." BOB-5 moved to his next target, a human holding a small pistol, hitting the cut out several times in the chest before the target cut in half, "Master of none."

"I think Wolf, would like to disagree there, not every day that you manage to take an assassin to draw in CQC." The human responded as he aimed of 'killed' two of BOB-5's new targets. "Not such a bad shot either, if I do say so myself."

Meanwhile another group was firing off rounds in the other side of the bar, laughing and drinking. Making bets as to who would get the most hits while a few of the more blasted members of the group were just missing, but enjoying themselves.

"You seriously would think that this place would have suffered at least one law suit by now." Oeh-Wje spoke, looking at the group, one which nearly turned his gun on another in his drunken haze.

White Wolf steers the Ryu no Kiba out of port. He passes over the settlement, filled with revelry as the bars started opening.

With all the scars from the war, they still find a way to cut loose, he thinks, is that resilience or...

His train of thought, and all other functions, were suddenly cut short in a burst of fire.


The gun makes a metallic click, to the laughter of the drunken patrons.

"Right, these things are keyed so they can only fire downrange. I keep forgetting that."

A few seconds later, a massive explosion shook the establishment.

"What the hell?"

Oeh-Wje, Yorke, and BOB-5 turn to the screen on the wall, which had abruptly shifted to the news. On-screen was an hourglass-shaped vessel, one which seemed familiar to the three.

"Wait," Yorke says, "isn't that..."

"Breaking news," the reporter says, "Terra Prima is claiming responsibility for setting off a bomb inside the ship shown here, the Ryu no Kiba."

"Damn," Oeh-Wje says, somberly.

"The blast killed the owner of the ship, the notorious assassin White Wolf, as well as spreading shrapnel across the spaceport settlement. The current death toll is in the dozens, with hundreds more injured."

"Should we go help?" Yorke asks.

"We'd only get in the way," BOB-5 replies.

"Synth is right. Not much we can do besides getting drunker."


MegaPlexEdit

"Listen up, crew." Har-Bak said, facing his team. We're probably fucked. He thought to himself, but he mustered a smile of courage.

"We're gonna get out of here."

Basta smirked. "And how exactly we gonna do that?"

Har-Bak glared directly at Stefan and Basta. "You two are going to do exactly. What. I. Say. No questions, no comments, and done immediately. Am I clear?" He ordered, voice dangerously low.

The two nodded, the latter suddenly more scared of him than Risir and the former steeling himself. With that, he looked at Roar-Ree. "You're probably best suited for stealth; once we get out of the cage, you gotta be the first to hide. Start looking around."

Roar-Ree nervously gulped, taken aback by the sudden and ruthless change in Har-Bak's personality. "Got it?"

The three nodded, inspired despite the poor circumstances. Har-Bak sat down, looking for something to use to possibly break the constraints. Seeing nothing, he sat down.

"Risir's probably watching us as we speak..."

And like that, Har-Bak had an idea. Maybe, just maybe, stupid enough to work.

"Doc, Runt, Cat- I got a plan..."

Risir starts his landing preparations, taking care to leave a small host guarding the cargo bay. As it doubled as his brig, he'd also made the hallway leading from the cargo bay into one of the most defensible on the ship. The corridor leading from the entrance ended in a Y-shaped fork, with several heavy turrets on both ends facing the door, as well as a small compliment of Ira. These two hallways then sharply turned again, with another set of heavy turrets and Ira around each blind spot. When they rejoined at another Y-shaped fork, a fifth set of turrets and Ira were waiting for any intruders.

And once I land, I'll... hmm... what was it? he thinks, My thoughts have been a little sluggish lately. I should get that checked. Ah, right, that new bioweapon. I'll put a sample of that in the hallways, too. Can't be too careful with these guys; they're the ones who instigated the Distress Terracide, according to my sources.

Roar-Ree goes to the safe and kneels near the lock. "Ok give me a couple of seconds," he said. Roar-Ree types in the number combination. "...33...37...76...10...got it."

Roar-Ree gets up and the safe door opens, showing some armaments. "Nice to see Lloyd managed to give us our stuff," said Har-Bak walking to the safe.

"Cat catch," he tosses Basta's rifle to her. Basta manages to catch it and slings the rifle over her shoulder. Stefan walks up and gets his MK, Bower, and Foley pistol.

"Ok so here's what we're going to do," said Har-Bak as Roar-Ree got his weapons and gear from the safe. "Doc, I'm going to need you to run a distraction against some of the guards."

"I don't like where this is going," Stefan said.

"Basta and myself will cause some mayhem at the same time," said Har-Bak. "This would probably attract Risir's attention for a short amount of time. Roar-Ree you'll going to assist Stefan once he manages to escape from the guards."

"Got it," said Roar-Ree.

"Also stay cautious, we don't know what Risir has in store for us. Now that he knows what we can do, there's no telling if we'll be able to survive like what happened the last time."

Risir finishes cataloging everything he has in his cargo hold and starts a third check to be sure he had everything right. His thoughts seemed... sluggish lately.

When he got to the middle of it, the part of him mounted as a camera sees the door to the cargo hold open, spotting his prisoners armed and armored.

Shit. Why did I leave their equipment near them? No matter, they have five heavy turrets to smash through. And I won't take them prisoner this time; the price they'll fetch on the slave markets is not worth the headache they're causing.

Mind resolute, he makes preparations to stymie the breakout.

"Risir's probably noticed we're free now, so be on full alert." Har-Bak ordered, his mind set on overtime. The crew quietly hid behind crates and cargo, with Har-Bak taking point and Stefan protecting their flanks. Roar-Ree and Basta looked around nervously, keeping a sharp eye out for any movement.

"Any idea how to get outta here, Scorp?" Basta piped up, pistol tightly gripped.

"Probably that hallway over there." Roar-Ree gestured, and the Eurypt nodded before picking up two large, (insert adequate metal) crates.

"And what, exactly, do you plan to do with those, Scorp?"

Har-Bak grunted, before setting them down and letting out a sigh.

"There's been a change of plans. I've defended enough ships to realize one thing; when there's one way out, it'll be filled with enough firepower to arm a small city. Turrets, grenade launchers, a death ray- who knows what the snake has planned for us?"

"These here crates? They'll at least give us something to hide behind and scout. Runt, see if you can push one."

The Lupinus grunted with effort, but managed to nudge it forward. Har-Bak nodded, before picking both up again. "Let's get moving."


Just as Har-Bak guessed, the hallway that led out was well-situated for keeping them from leaving. Har-Bak groaned, seeing the hallway sharply split to two different passages.

"He's expecting us by this point; and he won't take us prisoner again." Stefan mentioned, only for Roar-Ree to give a nervous laugh. "Well no shit, Doc."

Har-Bak remained quiet, before suddenly kicking a crate out in the crossroads. Immediately, bullets pounded against the cover. The hallway was filled with the loud clatter of gunfire, but the cover held.

"Don't just stand there, let's go!" Har-Bak yelled, grabbing two of his explosive mines and sliding behind the cover. Using his two bottoms arms to pull the box back to a safer position, Har-Bak then deactivated the magnetic pulls on the mines and tossed them like grenades.

Basta joined Har-Bak behind his crate, while Roar-Ree and Stefan pushed theirs to be slightly behind them.

"Doc, Cat, keep 'em off us! Runt, push yours against mine!"

The two pushed their crates together, forming an improvised but effective barrier to serve as cover.

Basta nodded to her Eurypt superior and waited for an opening before peering around the crate to get a shot off. While it ricocheted off the paneling of the turret, what mattered was that Basta was able to get an idea of what the set up on the other side of the box was.

Pulling back in to chamber another round, she knew that now was not the time to ask what the plan was. Her job was to return fire; questioning Har-Bak would just show incompetence. Glancing over to the other box, she saw that Stefan was also returning cover fire, but since he was able to wield a weapon with a higher RPM, he was able to keep more pressure on than her.

As she went to fire off another round, her target this time was at the Ira shooting at them. Pulling the trigger, she took one down and pulled back into cover, keeping her breath steady as best she could.

"Har-Bak, I hope you have some grand plan to get us past without the turrets blowing us up." She says as she chambers the next round, the old shell passing her face, "Not sure if you noticed, but they're enclosed. Don't expect me to snipe the son of a bitch manning it."

The Eurypt pulled out another mine, "Risir isn't taking chances, more than likely he has over a dozen cameras feeding the Ira the hallway footage." Basta was about to open her mouth, but Har-Bak cut her off, "It'd be a waste of ammo and time, so don't even bother with them. Focus on the Ira outside the turrets."

She eyed the explosive in his hand, "If you chucked it close enough, think the blast would deal enough damage?" Before he could reply, she heard a window in the firing and poked out of cover to fire off another shot. It hit, but wasn't a killing blow.

Har-Bak thought about it for a sec, "You might have a point cat..." Getting the mine close enough to the operator would be more than enough to send him sky high. Quickly looking out, it was a generous distance between their improvised crate defense and the nearest turret. Readying himself, he undid the magnetic safety, poked out of cover, and launched it at the turret, going for distance on his throw. Not waiting around to see if it worked, he pulled back in to avoid the gunfire.

"Brace yourselves!" he calls to the others as he braces for the explosion.

The explosion caves in the protected compartment housing the gunner, taking the turret out of action. The second turret continues firing, slowly eating away at the makeshift cover.

"We need to get out of here fast," Stefan says, "The longer we wait here, the more time Risir has to prepare."

"What the hell do you propose we do, then?" Roar-Ree says, "If we try to charge that turret, we'll be cut down."

"Yeah, charging an entrenched position is a bad idea," Har-Bak says.

"If it's stationary, can't we just go down this hallway and go around it?" Basta says. The rest of the team stares at her, dumbfounded.

"That's... a good idea. Nice thinking, Cat."

Roar-Ree scoped out the hallways, trying to help determine a way around so as to take out the second turret. "Let's head left."

Har-Bak turned to make sure. "You sure, runt?"

"You think I want to get us killed?"

"Sometimes it seems that way."

"Very funny." The group waited for a pause in gunfire, then moved behind a side corridor.

As they turned the corner, there was another burst of gunfire. "Goddamn it! Why does he need so many of these things?" Roar-Ree cried out as the new turret fired on them and forced them into an uncomfortable position. Har-Bak prepped a mine, then waited for the firing to stop. With a grunt, he tossed the mine, waiting for some sound. A few seconds later, the crew heard an explosion, and turned to see the smoking remnants of the turret. "Good throw, Har-Bak."

"Keep moving."

Har-Bak and Basta took the lead while Roar-Ree and Stefan covered the rear. The group moved fast down the hallway to prevent being suppressed from another turret. Basta looks through the scope of her rifle.

"Ok, no turrets in sight so far," said Basta.

A couple of Ira appeared from around the corner and started to fire upon them. The group took cover behind some crates. "Roar-Ree!" Stefan motions to him for some grenades. Roar gives Stefan a grenade, and cooks another. Stefan grunts as he threw the grenade towards the enemy Ira. Roar passes Stefan the second grenade, and Stefan throws it towards the Ira and takes cover.

Two explosions occur and screams were heard. The group peered out of cover, weapons at the ready, in case there were any stragglers. "Clear!" said Basta. Har-Bak motions for the group to move forward.

"Another sharp turn," said Har-Bak. "There's bound to be more heavy turrets here. Be ready to move from cover to cover." The three nodded at him. "Same plan as last time."

So they've been using mines as grenades. Interesting strategy, Risir thinks as he reinforces the final turret before the ramp leading outside, But with this extra armor, they won't be able to bust through.

On the right side of the fork, Har-Bak, Basta, Roar-Ree, and Stefan glued themselves to the wall, trying to peer around and search for cover.

"Damnit, I don't see anything," Stefan says.

"All I see is a reinforced turret," Har-Bak says, "We won't be able to take this one down like the others. Here's what I'm thinking..."

As Har-Bak explains his plan, the turret on the left side of the fork swivels, pointing at the intersection.

"Watch our rear, Doc."

Har-Bak knew they were being watched on both sides of the hallway, and prepared his last mine. Peering around the corner, he saw that a turret- and the door out- were waiting for them. Roar-Ree chuckled.

"Looks like we're fucked between a rock and a hard place!"

"Shut up, Runt." Har-Bak ordered, despite letting out a small chuckle. Hoping his plan would work, he tossed his last three mines up onto the ceiling. The blast ripped apart the ceiling, chunks of debris landing in front of them and the turret.

"Move, move!"

The squad moved quickly, sliding between cover as the turret attempted to pin them down. Despite a grazing wound to Har-Bak's side and immense pain, though, the group managed to make it to the other side.

Har-Bak and Roar-Ree turned around to shoot at oncoming Risir as Stefan and Basta got out the door. The Eurypt and Roar-Ree left as well, the former limping away due to various minor wounds gained in the escape.

"This it?" Roar-Ree asks, looking up at the sign saying Green Room.

"’s what Lloyd said. Less of a bar but more of a lounge, if our interrogation victim was truthful," Har-Bak says. The group, still battered and bloodstained from fighting Risir, walks up to the bead door, where they're stopped by a trio of muscled Skaakian bouncers.

"You don't look like you belong here, mate," one of them says, walking right up to Har-Bak, "Move along and there won't be any trouble."

The four look at each other for a second before bursting out laughing.

"What, you think you can take us?" the second bouncer says, as he and the third start to flex and walk towards them.

"They're with me," a Chlorin voice says, floating out from the club, "And for the record, they can take you. They're part of the crew responsible for the Distress Terracide, you know."

The three bouncers blanch and step aside, waving them in. They walk in, taking a look around. Several beings were gathered around tables, ringed by several Chlorin. The number varied, but they all stood silently, very much alive and conscious. Their mouths had been sewn shut, muffling but not quite eliminating the screams of pain as customers snipped off their leaves and tossed them in the hookahs at each table.

"What the..."

"Over here," the Chlorin who had called out to them earlier says, waving them over to a table with him and a Synth. He deftly cuts off a few leaves from the captive Chlorin behind him and pushing the clippings into the hookah. He puts the pipe in his mouth and draws from it, exhaling and offering it to the Dawn Voyager crew. "Want some? It's extremely high quality."

"Don't mind if I do," Roar-Ree says, taking the pipe while his three crewmates cringe.

"I suppose you're the one Lloyd sent to help us?" Stefan says.

"Yep."

"And who are you, exactly?" Har-Bak asks, "No offense, but I don't think a Kush'll hold up in battle very well."

The Chlorin laughs. "And a normal Weed wouldn't. Ah, that's right, you haven't seen me in this body yet."

"'This body?' Wait, you're..."

"Hayashi Toro, at your service. At Lloyd's, actually, but he hired me to help you."

"Why..?"

"Am I a Chlorin? CyberAug wanted to test out some intra-skeletal cybernetics that would improve a Chlorin's bone strength. Now's as good a time as any, so I'm a Chlorin now."

"Who's the silent Synth?"

"That's an HTCD. A combat drone that can operate autonomously unless this body kicks it, in which case I can use the Kovacs Device to take over it and become far more durable. Anyway, you got a plan for this? Hitting a storage unit owned by R'thm Bassaam himself is probably something you don't want to do head-on."

"Wait, we're robbing something?" Roar-Ree, fresh off of a hit on the hookah, stammered out. Har-Bak looked at Roar-Ree incredulously.

"What? Don't you remember the conversation with Lloyd?"

Roar-Ree coughed. "Yes. Of course I do. I just thought that was later, y'know. So what's the plan for the...thing?"

Stefan tapped Roar-Ree on the shoulder. "Are you alright, Roar-Ree?"

"Ey! I'm in prime condition, so fuck you d-" Everything went blurry, and Roar-Ree passed out, laying face-first on the table.

Basta groaned, "You've gotta be kidding me, Roar-Ree."

Toro chuckled. "Looks like he couldn't handle the kush."

Har-Bak sighed. "Goddamn it. Anyway, we'll probably need your help for a plan on this one."

"Judging by how much Roar-Ree puffed," said Stefan. "He's going to be out for quite some time."

"You serious?!" yelled Basta.

"Ehh not to worry, Roar-Ree will be up and about in several minutes or so. We'll just let him sleep for now. And since we're here..."

Stefan raises his hand and one of the servers walks over to them. "What can I get for you?" asked the server.

"Yeah can I get a cup of Juma, don't make it too strong though."

"Sure thing, anything else?"

"A glass of water for my passed out friend here." Stefan motions to Roar-Ree lying face flat on the table.

"Ok give me a sec." The waitress walks away from their table.

"Back to the task at hand," said Har-Bak. "what do you propose on how we get this thing?"

"You guys good with electronics?" Hayashi asks.

"Well, Roar-Ree there is the best of us with them," Har-Bak says.

"He's going to be out for several hours, I think. I can fill that role, though my specialty is combat. Did you guys seriously come here without a plan?"

"We got the job about half an hour ago, and most of that half-hour was spent fighting our way out of a holding cell," Basta says.

"Ah. Understandable," Hayashi says, "In that case, I think our best bet is to send the cat and I around the back while you two hit the front. I can knock out the generators back there and we can comb the place and kill the guards before R'thm knows what's up."

"I'd feel a little safer if we were all together," Har-Bak says, "No offense to you, but I don't want you and Basta without backup."

"None taken. But I've also been apprised of her condition; she can just stick to backup sniping and searching cleared storage units while I do most of the frontline fighting."

"In a Chlorin body?"

"I'm more than capable of kicking your ass with this, Scorp. I'm testing general-purpose implants this time, not specialized shit."

"Sounds like a plan, Toro."

The group of mercenaries stood up, and calmly left the lounge. Toro gestured to two cars- one was a thicker, more durable build, while the other was slim.

"The first one's your ride- helluva lot more powerful than our's. It can take quite a few hits, but isn't a tank- don't stay in it too long." Toro said, stepping into his. "This one's faster, and CyberAug has outfitted it with a small cloaking device. It's easy to see, but shouldn't be picked up by radar until we're already there."

Har-Bak nodded, and stepped into his own vehicle with Stefan.

"Hit it, Doc."


A trio of Skaakian guards stood on the outside gates of the storage unit of R'thm Bassaam. Smoking and relaxing, the tallest took a sideways glance at the red car that had just parked across the street from them. Noticing a Scorp and human step out on each side, he quickly unholstered his revolver and hid it underneath his jacket.

"Hey fellas- how you doin'?" Har-Bak asked as the Skaakian guard walked over to them. Stefan looked nervously at the Eurypt soldier while the guard raised his eyebrow, but he gave a confident smile at them both.

"And...we're good. First generator's down." Basta's voice chimed over the radio.

"Good." Har-Bak said just as the Skaakian guard reached Stefan, and the other two had joined him by this point.

"What do you-"

His hostile greeting was interrupted as Har-Bak's tail lashed out over the car, thrust deep into his neck. Stefan quickly shoved the dying Skaakian aside as he drew a knife and his Foley. He thrust the blade into the chest of one and pistol whipped the other.

Silently and without alarming any, the trio of guards fell into a heap.

"Alright, we're about to go in on this end. See you on the other side, Toro."

Hayashi Toro walks towards the second generator, alone. Basta sat in the sniper perch above the first generator, peering through the scope of her loaned flechette sniper rifle. Toro's backup Synth body acted as her spotter.

"Two sniper perches," Toro says.

"I see 'em. Want me to take them out?"

"On my mark. Three..."

Toro walked closer, drawing the attention of the seven Skaakians and the Eurypt guarding the generator.

"Two..."

The group of eight walks out to meet him, bringing sidearms to bear.

"One..."

Toro gets closer, and draws a dagger in each frond-like arm.

"Mark." Basta silently takes out the snipers as Toro nears the guard complement. "CyberAug ChloroPlast Implant Combat Test Two, begin," Toro says, dictating the experiment, "Seven Skaakian, one Eurypt. Training unknown, likely some military." Toro breaks out into a sprint, forcing a fight in close-quarters. Two of the seemingly delicate arms dart out, reinforced strength stabbing the two daggers through the throat of one Skaakian while he ducks under a pistol-whip and hamstrings another Skaakian. "Similar to first combat test, reinforcements allow for quicker movement. Currently takes foes by surprise; after mass marketing, surprise factor will no longer be relevant."

He stabs the hamstringed Skaakian in the base of the neck, taking two more through the heart. "Joints move slightly sluggishly. Need more testing to determine if fault of implants or of tester's unfamiliarity with Chlorin bodies." He stabs another Skaakian through the eye sockets, careful to stay close to the group so that they can't risk shooting. Another quick flurry takes care of the two remaining Skaakian guards, leaving the Eurypt. "Overall, Skaakian foes only slightly more difficult to kill than in human body."

He tosses his daggers at the Eurypt as it brings its weapon to bear, hitting it in the eyes. He follows with a strike to the chest, which skitters off the plate. "Throwing daggers is accurate enough to blind Eurypt. Improved strength not enough to pierce exoskeleton." He looks at one of the dead guards, spotting a crowbar on the man's belt. He backs away from the blind Eurypt and grabs the crowbar, darting forward and jamming it between the joints in the Eurypt's exoskeleton and pulls, ripping off the plating and eliciting a bellow of rage from his foe. He stabs his daggers through the Eurypt's exposed chest, finishing him off. "Agility above average."

One of the Skaakian's comm rings. "Was that Ves-Del yelling?"

"Yeah," Toro says, speaking through a voice changer, "Bluffed him out of last month's pay. He's not too happy."

"Don't be slacking off, man."

"We've got this. Don't worry."

"All right."

As the Skaakian's comm powers off, Toro puts his own on. "Basta, move up to the second generator station. If my schematics are correct, I can disable both the generator and the alarm system from the computer inside."

Har-Bak and Stefan slowly made their way through the front of the compound. "Spread out, do a sweep and clear of the surrounding area," said Har as he readied his weapons. Stefan covers their six and makes a 180 to cover the front.

Stefan motions for Har to move up as he covers his six. Har quickly moves up near Stefan and peeks around the crate. "Looks like we've got a pair near the corner," said Har. "I'll take the one on the right, you take the one on the left." Stefan nods and takes out his knife.


The pair of Skaakian guards were idly standing at their post. "I'm glad we're guarding here instead of at the command center," said the first one. "Why, I think it's better to be over there instead of where we're at," replied the other guard. "Yeah, but our boss sometimes gives me the creeps. Wouldn't want to be around him." "Yeah I know what you mean-"

A sound of clatter made them jump up. The pair aims their weapons in their general vicinity. "Intruders?"

"Nah, probably not. You heard on the comms, someone just yelled about the pay."

"Still though..."

"Ok fine I'll go and check." The second guard starts walking off towards the front gate.

"Pff, now to get some peace and quiet from him," the first one said. "I swear he talks off more than he does actual work." From behind a silhouette holds up a combat knife and a pistol in the other hand. "hmm.." The figure pistol whips the guard, and quickly stabs him in the neck. The silhouette pulls the guard's corpse behind a couple of crates.

Har-Bak comes out wiping his hands a bit. "You good on your end?" asked Har. "Yeah," Stefan replied as he wipes the blood off of his knife. "We better keep moving." "Already ahead of you," said Har.

The two started making their way deeper into the complex. "Toro, Basta, how is it going on your end?"

Wrap-upEdit

"Doin' fine, kid," Hayashi Toro says into his comm as he stabs two more guards. "I think we got all of 'em on this end. Basta's doing a sweep behind me for whatever it is you guys are looking for... and what have we here?"

"Don't get distracted, Toro. We're here for the artifact and nothing else," Har-Bak says.

"Won't that make R'thm Bassaam mighty suspicious, though? I've found me a high-security safe. I want to see what's inside. It'll distract him from the missing artifact."

"That's a good ideaaaaaargh"

"Har-Bak?" Basta says into her comm.

"Got hit by a fire mine," Stefan says, "Lucky he had his armor on, or he'd be dead. Currently just singed."

"It's one fuck of a lot worse than fucking singed, fuck it."

"I got the artifact," Basta says.

"And I've got a good thousand Plaht from this safe," Toro says, "Should cover the Scorp's medical bills nicely."

"Great. Let's get out of here."


Bliss, Tumulus Memorial Hospital Lobby

Jack Yorke sits in the waiting room, reading on his tablet, while Lloyd talks to the staff. After a few minutes, Lloyd walks over to him and sits down.

"Har-Bak's going to be out of commission for several weeks. Roar-Ree just needs to be in the care unit for a few days while whatever he smoked gets out of his system. Basta can use this time to recuperate further from her injuries, as well."

Yorke nods glumly.

"You all did good work, Yorke."

"But, I thought you just said," Yorke began as Lloyd raised his hand before cutting his off.

"I know what I said, but remember none of your squad members are dead. Considering they were waist-deep in crap and they still managed to make it out alive something was done right." Lloyd lowering his hand, "The only other injury besides the ones being taken care of, is your account with has now increased in debt."

"Right. Well, is there anything else that I should know?"

"Just take it easy for a bit. Your injured need rest. Oeh-Wje's indicated that the government might have work for you guys within the week."

"The Bliss government? Not you?"

"I've got a different assignment for you, but that's not for another three weeks. I'll be on-planet for that time, so come here if you need me."

"To the hospital?"

"I bankroll the place. Got an office set up somewhere on-premises."

With that, Lloyd gets up and walks out the door.

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