Jack Yorke walked through the hallways underneath Tumulus Memorial Hospital, heading towards the sole door on the floor. The creaking of the floor echoes in the empty corridor as he moves, intruding upon his thoughts. After several minutes, he reaches his destination and enters, seeing Lloyd reclining in a chair.
"Yorke. Travel ban's lifted today."
"Thank God. Thought I'd go crazy sitting here and waiting for Terra Prima to strike at us."
"Don't tell me those thugs distracted you from the larger problem?"
"Risir. I haven't forgotten, but you haven't given us any leads."
"Well, I have intel on two Keys. First one's the yellow one. It's on Lachesis I. Bloody algorithm seems to like symmetry."
"Lachesis I shares an orbit with Lachesis II, just on the other side of the star. Don't ask me how that works or why it's stable; I have no idea. Risir will likely have mercs protecting him. Probably Black Eclipse, since Arndh's an idiot. Any questions?"
"Then get your ass out of here and off this stupid planet. And don't forget your HAZENV suits. Wouldn't want you to die because of a rookie mistake."
Yorke nods and heads out, going back to the Dawn Voyager to sail the endless skies once more.
"So how close are we getting to Lachesis, BOB?"
"I say we got about, twenty or so minutes. Plenty of time to admire the beautiful sights of constant vast emptiness that space gives us."
"Thanks," Yorke went around for the communicator, "I need everyone heading down to the cargo bay now. I'll brief you on the mission there."
"As you can tell by now, Lloyd's given us a new mission, but our objective this time to steal something from Risir."
"Didn't we do something like this last time we met with him?" Stefan spoke up as his captain nodded and began wheeling in the cart holding the HAZENV suits.
"You're right on that too. BOB is getting ready to drop us off on Lachesis I, so we'll need these, but you 'll also need your assignments for this mission."
"Oeh-Wje, Basta and Roar-Ree, you're with me on this one. Stefan and Har-Bak you'll be staying with BOB here to make sure that we don't get robbed. Any questions?"
"So who’s in charge while the captain is off exploring?" Har-Bak asked lifting the suit off the rack and preparing to put it on.
"No one. Just make sure that you guys don't fuck it up and we'll be fine by end of this. That all?" The room stood in silence as they headed off to grab their suits off the rack as did Yorke. With the planet finally coming into view.
Down on the surface, the four sprinted across the planet's surface, making sure to stay to the crags. Once they neared the digsite, Yorke had them get down. He looked at Basta and nodded, she'd been used to taking non-verbal commands from Yorke and pulled her rifle out and gazed through the scope to see what they were up against.
"I'm seing a couple dozen mercs; different loadouts too, assault rifles, shotguns, and other nasty things." Basta reported quietly over the comms.
"Black Mercs." Yorke explained, "Lloyd mentioned them. Can you find us the way down that won't get us shot to pieces?" The Altaic nodded and went back to scanning.
"Strange we go from working with dozens of mercs to shooting them up." Roar muttered, "Feels a bit off."
Oeh rolled her eyes, "Get used to mutt. Life isn't fair like that."
Basta pulled off the scope to report, "Okay, we'll have to circle around a bit, but there's seems to be a thin point in their defenses. The path down is steep, but it'll give us some cover in case the shit hits the fan."
"Cat, if you think us getting into a fire fight is shit hittin' the fan, you won't survive when it acutally does hit the fan." Oeh snarked as she readied her weapon, "Let's move out."
The Eurypt lead the way with Roar-ree close behind her. After them, Yorke followed with Basta bringing up the rear, making sure that they weren't being followed.
"You know what we're looking for, Yorke?" Oeh-Wje asks as the team creeps down the path, "Neither Mutt nor I were here when you found the first one."
"Large structure. Ornately carved on the outside, plain on the inside. It'll be a solid yellow."
"It is. Not something you're likely to forget."
Oeh-Wje holds up a hand, signalling to stop. "Three up ahead. Looks like two Black Eclipse and one Ira."
"Can you take them out quietly?"
"Not with Risir's Ira there. He'll know if it dies."
"I guess an eruption like last time's too much to hope for?" Basta asks, looking through her scope.
"Eruption? The hell are you talking about?"
"During the dig on Lachesis II, there were occasional geysers of rock and lava," Yorke says as they wait for the three to move, "One of 'em pierced the HAZENV suit of an Ira. Killed it. I think Basta may want to make it look like an accident and eliminate those three."
"If they don't move soon, Cat might actually be on to something. We need to get this done fast. Cat, scan for any signs of instability in the ground near them and let me know where. I can probably get a lava explosion or two with the Shitslicer."
"Got it," Basta says, and shifts her gaze from the three guards to the ground around them.
"And by the way, Yorke - what exactly are these "Keys" used for? I don't think it's unlocking something." Oeh-Wje asks, turning to her commander.
"Lloyd never much said so, but apparently they're pre-Scouring objects. Risir has recently taken an interest in them and Lloyd prefers it if we keep them from him. Considering he wants us to go this far just to keep them away from Risir, I'm going with the idea they're worth a pretty penny or they might just be really nice keys."
"Good to know. Hopefully the pay for getting them back is hefty."
"I wouldn't be so sure about that." Roar-Ree spoke as walked up behind them. "We aren't exactly diving in money even with jobs like this."
"Oeh, I found two spots for you to destroy." The Eurypt walked over towards the feline and examined the site through the scope before lifting her head and spotting the area.
"Thanks for the tip, cat. You and the dog might want to cover your ears for this." Firing off her first stream and a small eruption ripped through the ground and engulfed the Ira, drowning out its chance to even scream. The two Eclipse members turned in confusion of the event that just occurred, but then another explosion ripped through the ground and they too vanished.
"Basta, any signs of life down there?"
After spending a few moments scanning the surrounding area and seeing nothing, Basta lowered her rifle and lifted herself up. "No signs of any survivors or any movement towards the area."
"Alright, then. Let's get moving everyone, we have a job to finish."
The group continues heading down the path, eventually coming to a semi-stable plateu. Basta peers through her scope, examining the surrounding area for their target. "And there it is," she says, pointing towards an ornate, yellow structure a few hundred meters ahead of them.
"Good thing we landed so close," Oeh-Wje says.
"Oeh-Wje and I will head down there," Yorke says, "Basta will give us sniper cover if we run into a fight, and Roar-Ree will ensure that she doesn't get overwhelmed."
"I could be useful down there..." Roar-Ree says.
"You wouldn't happen to have a doctorate from Revnor in archaeotechnlogy, Mutt?" Oeh-Wje asks.
"Then shut the hell up and do your job," Yorke replies with a hint of irritation. "Let's go, Oeh-Wje."
"I've probably mentioned this before," the Eurypt says as they slink through the semi-molten rock, "but you've got an impressive way of getting orders followed despite your crew lacking discipline."
As she watched the two head out, Basta considered talking to the Lupinus about firefight, but decided against it, vouching to act as a guide for the two manuevering their way to the structure.
"You guys are in the clear right now." She says over the comms, "But there's a patrol coming in from your left. Take cover by the outcropping." She watched as the two of them take cover as the Ira guards passed by. Once they were out of sight of her teammates, Basta nodded, "Clear, keep going."
Roar looked over at her as he leaned against a boulder, keeping lookout, "You know what you're doing cat?"
She didn't pull away from the scope, "Yes, If we want any chance of getting in and out of here without a fire fight, me keeping an eye out for patrols give them a good chance."
"How we looking cat?" Oeh asked as she and Yorke took cover from a patrol of Black Eclipse soldier, "We don't have all day."
Turning her attention back to the scope, she answered the Eurypt, "Clear. If you make a break for it, you'll be in the building."
Watching, Basta watched as the two maked a hardline from their cover to the ruins, "I can't help you any more. Tell me as soon as you have that key thing secure so I can prepare for your return."
Roar-Ree sighed as he watched Yorke and Oeh duck into the building. "We're clear, Basta. Tell us if any patrols are heading back in."
"You got it, Yorke." Basta replied, keeping her eyes out for activity. She turned to look at Roar-Ree, who was cautiosly scanning the battlefield and using his senses to "see" if anyone was going to get the drop on them. "Something bugging you, Roar?" He shrugged, then replied,"Not much. Just a little confused as to why I'm part of the ground crew. Wouldn't Har-Bak or BOB have been more helpful?" "Let's get back to the ship before dealing with angst, Roar-Ree." Basta turned to continue surveying the scene, and said, "How we doing in there, Yorke?" There was a pause, then Yorke replied, "We're probably close to the Key. Is it all clear out there?" "Yes." "Just sit tight, then. We'll be out in a minute."
There was a long silence as the duo waited and surveyed. Unfortunately, Roar-Ree broke it. "Look, I know you wanted to save it for later, but can I talk about how confused I am about being here?" Basta sighed and turned to look at Roar-Ree,"Look, Yorke probably brought you here cause he thinks you'd be more helpful out here than guarding the ship." Roar-Ree smiled to himself. Yorke finds me useful. "Well, I guess that's true." His wounded pride restored, Roar-Ree returned to watching out for any potential enemies.
"Found it yet, Yorke?" Basta's voice comes in through the comm.
"We'll tell you when we do, Cat," Oeh-Wje snaps irritably, "Now do your damn job rather than whining like a clingy bitch after a second date." She cuts the channel to Yorke's snort.
"Clingy bitch after a second date?" Yorke asks as they search the compound, "The hell did that come from?"
"Hi Yorke, where are you?" Oeh-Wje says in a shrill, mocking whisper, "Oh York, I miss you. Yorkie, when are you coming back? Come on, Yorkie, reply to me."
"Cut it out," Yorke says, grinning, "I'll laugh and give us away if you keep that up."
"Suit yourself, Yorke,' Oeh-Wje says, amused, "Last room on this side," she says, bringing her Shitslicer to bear as they near a doorway, "Hope it's here so you can get back to your attention whore."
"Cut it, I said."
"You have to admit, Yorke. With your reputation you must've been a real ladykiller back in the day. Can't say I would be surprised if the Altaic did feel something for you."
"And you really know how to tease a guy. I'll admit, perhaps I was a bit of a ladykiller a couple years back, but I doubt that war is something people want to keep reminding themselves about."
Yorke sighed at the thoughts of the war lingered in his head once more before snapping back to his current situation, "Preferably someone like me would want to forget that entire event except the end of it."
"Well, then. Maybe you should tell me about it some time, I could always use another tale of valor and heroics."
"One time, maybe, but of course I'll need something to convince other than a nice drink. And here we are."
After getting past the door, Yorke and Oeh-Wje saw the key just waiting for them in mid-suspension. Quickly, the Human captured the device in a small capsule and used a magnetic clip to ensure it stuck to his back.
"You ready to get out of here?"
"Sure. Just don't ask me to wait up on you."
"On our way back," Yorke says over the comm, "Let's get out of this place."
"Seconded," Basta mutters, scanning the surrounding area, "This heat's bad for my health."
"Nor mine," Roar-Ree says, looking around for possible hostiles, "Besides, I have a date tomorrow."
"That Niso girl still?"
"Yeah. Might ask Lloyd for an apartment for two next time he does the rewards... shit, I think someone's coming." Roar-Ree readies his weapon as he moves slowly towards where he thought he heard a sound.
Roar-Ree turned to slowly look at the sound he had heard. He gestures for Basta to get ready, in case it was a hostile. With a growl, he turned to see a pair of Ira moving towards their position, seemingly unaware of Roar-Ree and Basta. "Crap."
He turned to look at Basta, and whispered, "What do we do?"
She panickedly shrugged and replied, "I don't know. The moment we kill them, Risir gets alerted."
Roar-Ree scowled and said, "Message Yorke. Quickly." Basta nodded and quickly called Yorke. "Yorke, we've got Ira coming. 'Get out of there."
Yorke replied,"We got it."
Roar-Ree lowered his rifle. Might as well not make noise. Silently, he lunged forward, clamping his jaws onto one of the Ira's throats. Tearing clean through, he turned and slashed the other's throat. "I fucking hate doing that."
"Basta, what was that tearing noise? And is it still clear out there?"
"Um, Roar-Ree might have just eaten the throat of Risir and cut the other one's throat open." Basta responded still trying to get a grip on what occurred before turning back to her rifle.
"Cut through the alley between the buildings to your right. You'll avoid a patrol and then head to the towards the offline equipment to your left and then head straight to us and you're home free."
"Roar-Ree, did what?"
"Uh, sorry, Yorke. I need to get pack up and...uh, good luck." Basta shut off her communicator and turned towards the bloodstained Roar-Ree, "Please for the next time, wait for me to shut off the comm channel."
"What the hell did Roar-Ree just do." Yorke announced as his head collided with his palm. As the female Eurypt came up to him and looked at her captain.
"Something happened, Yorke?"
"How quick are you on your feet Oeh?"
"Pretty quick why?"
"We're going to have to make a run for it. Roar-Ree may have just alerted Risir to our presence."
"Well then, what are we waiting for. Lead the way, captain."
Yorke nodded and the two ran off avoiding the nearby patrols who were now on high alert. As they headed towards Basta and Roar-Ree who saw them coming up the cliff.
"We're finally going home, Basta. Hope you can mix me a drink, need to get taste out of my mouth."
"Need to get back to the ship first," Oeh-Wje says, gruffly, "And Risir's no idiot. We're going to encounter resistance."
"Lighten up, will you?"
"We're on a mission and you just fucked up bad, Mutt," Oeh-Wje replies, "So perhaps you should try being a bit more serious."
"She's right, but we don't have time to argue," Yorke says, "I got a call from BOB-5 earlier, they've got the Dawn Voyager surrounded. Let's move. Oeh-Wje, take point. Basta, switch to your pistol and go second. Watch what Oeh-Wje does; you'll need to learn this. Roar-Ree, go third. I'll bring up the rear. Move out."
Well, can't hang around all day and play sniper, Basta thought as she slung the rifle over her back and unholstered her flechetté pistol, Guess today I'm on the front lines.
Keeping pace as best as she could behind Oeh, Basta slid into cover behind a cropping of rocks next to the Eurypt. Poking her head out slightly Basta quickly counted up the mercs, "It looks like there were more of them, but I think BOB or someone took care of them That being said...the ones left have some heavy firepower..." After seeing those men the Altaic was starting to feel a bit underpowered with just a mere pistol.
Oeh looked at Basta and snipped, "What are you waiting for Cat?"
"For someone else to give the lead." Basta replies, flicking off the safety, "I only have a sidearm for situations like this. Not exactly a 'lead the charge' kind of weapon."
Oeh rolled her eyes, "Bullet is a bullet cat, doesn't matter what's firing it." As if to prove her point, she got readied the Shitslicer, "Yorke, tell the synth that we're ready out here."
Yorke jumped on the comm to let the crew on the inside know that they were outside the ship and ready. As he did, Yorke cussed, "Shit, Basta, you didn't say they had EEAC's."
"That's because I don't know what an EEAC is." She points out, "What is an EEAC?"
"Emplaced Enviromental Ammunition Cannon." Oeh spat, "All you need to know right now Cat is that they're not going to be running out of ammo anytime soon."
Basta looked flatly at her, "Could've done without that."
"Point is," Yorke cut in, "Is that we need to make this fast. If they're not shooting at us, they'll be shooting at BOB and the others. Those are the first targets. Everyone understand?"
"BOB!" Yorke yelled over the radio hoping that the robot on the other end would listen. "If you're there then you better answer me because the situation down here isn't getting any better!"
"Shit, captain. I thought you weren't much of a shouting person. What is it already?"
"Get the ship ready for take off, we're leaving now."
"You mean you got the stuff we needed already? That was quick. You guys had better luck on our end then. Since we kind of have a few dozen guys surrounding us. Yeah, that's something I thought should be mentioned considering you are almost here."
And not a moment too soon, Yorke and the rest of the company saw dozens of Black Eclipse members pop out from the above rocks and aim their sights on the group. Oeh-Wje pointed her shitslicer at the nearest cluster of the enemy, readying for combat. Basta has shakily holding her sidearm and from the looks of it was silently praying. Roar-Ree still with bits of blood dripping from the corner of his mouth smiled awkwardly almost as if say, "Sorry, Yorke."
"Uh, Bob, I'm going to have to call you back." Yorke cut off his radio and pulled out his sidearm. Holding the rifle in one hand and the sidearm in the other, "Anyone liking our chances of shooting our way out?"
"If we ditch the house pets, then I'd say our chances of getting away would reach a higher possibility, but I'm sure she'd cling onto you and beg not to run away." Oeh-Wje spoke, while her aim never left the cluster.
"Well, well. Look what we have here. I'm assuming that you're the group under Lloyd's command that we heard so much about." The leader of the Black Eclipse group spoke out and began walking towards Yorke with two personal guards in tow. "Arndh will be pleased to see that I caught him you in particular, boy."
"Guess, he can't drop the grudge for managing to stop him from capturing the ship."
"No, quite on the contrary. He seems to be interested in you. In particular your skill in combat and your leadership in controlling, your uh, professional group. Still, I know that Lloyd would likely delay the capture of your entire group since you have something that he appears to want." The Skaakian pointed at the capsule around Yorke's waist. "Must be quite the prize."
"I ain't giving this up if that's what you're inching at."
"No, no, nothing that extreme. Considering he sent you to get it. I can't imagine what measures he would take if news of your capture of it got around. I'm simply here to offer a trade."
"And if I refuse this trade?"
"Well, then. I hope you have more than enough ammunition and can run faster than these men could shoot."
Yorke looked back at the rest of the crew and made up his mind. Begrudgingly he turned back to the Skaakian and lowered his firearms, "What are your terms?"
"You sure that you can get us off this planet safely?"
"Sure. How hard can lifting off this horrible piece of rock be?"
"Considering where you got your training from. Forgive me if I'm not the most confident in your abilities when there's guns still pointed at us."
Yorke continued to stare at the capsule as he sat in his captain's chair. Lloyd's probably going to torch my ass once he learns what I gave up for this thing.
Down on the planet, the Skaakian and her group sat and saw the Dawn Voyager fly away. A smile crossed her lips as she remembered the victory she had jsut claimed over the 'legendary' group.
"Sorry, about that synth, but business is business. And I seek to make some gains out of this whole mess. You know what they say, the best time to invest is when there's blood in the streets. Or in case, that mutt's jaws."
"Yeah. Yeah. Color me pretty. Can we just get on with this?" BOB-5 replied as the two guards behind stood ready in case he tried breaking through his cuffs.
Dawn Voyager GuardEdit
"Hold the fort while we're gone, Har-Bak."
"You got it, Cap." Har-Bak said as ghe rest of the crew exited the Dawn Voyager. BOB had just landed the ship, and stuck behind with Stefan as Har-Bak let them out.
"Do try not to become an actual corpse on this one."
"We'll try our best, Oeh-Wje."
The rest of the crew left, Har-Bak closed the cargo hatch and ordered Stefan down.
"Doc, you'll defend the hold with me. If Risir makes it in, try to stay out of sight before you strike. BOB, stick up there and in the shadows. When the bullets start flying, you pick 'em off and cover us."
"You got it, Scorp."
With the orders given, Stefan got to cover and Har-Bak watched the security cameras. As he expected, a squad of twelve mercenaries approached the ship warily.
"Time to get this started."
Outside the Dawn Voyager, the Black Eclipse mercs prepped to enter. "Remember our orders," said the lead merc.
Stefan waitied in anticipation for the enemy squad to enter. "Doc, stay lay low for now," replied Har-Bak.
"Think about it, Doc," said BOB on the comms.
"Even if we were to take out most of these, we'd still have Risir to deal with," said Har-Bak. "I wouldn't want to risk resorting to a firefight."
"So we're to just stand guard unless attacked?" one of the mercs says, "Kind of a letdown."
"That's right. We've fought these guys before; they don't have our numbers, but Lloyd's given them lots of firepower. The group as a whole is probably equal to the Inner Circle."
"I'm suddenly completely alright with just standing here."
"That's the spirit. Besides, Arndh wants some of the data on the Dawn Voyager to use against Lloyd."
"Why's the boss got it in for Lloyd, anyway?"
"Hell if I know."
"We need to these guys moving."
Just like that, Har- Bak let loose a burst of fire in their general direction. The mercenaries scrambled into position.
"Let's put these fuckers down!"
The mercenaries slowly entered the loading dock of the Dawn Voyager, spreading out to cover each other. As one mercenary closed in on Har-Bak's position, the Eurypt hacked his hatchet into place as he opened fire with his suppressed machine pistols.
While the others turned around to face him, Stefan took them from behind and slammed the stock of his shotgun into the back of a mercenary's head. BOB-5 took fired a burst of fire from his crow's nest, taking down a merc who was about to get a bead on the medic.
"Doc, get down!"
Stefan rolled out of the way and blasted several more mercs, and Har-Bak emptied his magazine into the last mercenary, who'd just started to retrieve a grenade.
Reloading their firearms, Har-Bak gestured for Stefan to get to cover. Laying out one of his sonic mines, he turned around.
"That was sure to have gotten Risir's attention. Get ready for a real fight now."
BOB continues to lurk in the shadows, expecting another enemy attack. Stefan slings around his rifle and takes out a tacpad.
"I don't want a repeat of what happened on my first mission," Stefan thought as he types in a few commands.
Har-Bak lays down another sonic mine near a crate. "Remember no heroics, stick together, and we'll pull through easy."
Stefan finishes with the tac pad and puts it away. "Alright done!" He equips his MK rifle again.
"Mind filling us in on what ya did Doc?" asked BOB.
"I activated some of the Voyager's defense turrets outside," he replied. "Should give us a slight edge. Hopefully..."
The two groups stood in a deadlock, neither firing more than that initial burst. The Black Eclipse leader fiddles with his comm, putting it in loudspeaker mode.
"If y'all ain't gonna fire," he says, "Let's have us a truce."
BOB-5, Har-Bak, and Stefan all look at each other in confusion. BOB-5 shrugs and amplifies his voice. "The 'ell you bloody buggers talkin' about? Why you want a truce?"
"Orders're ta defend 'till y'all attack us. We is mo' than happy to do jus' that."
"Ye got a soddin' deal, blokes," BOB-5 says, and lowers his voice while turning to his crewmates. "Close the soddin' door. Don't want to waste ammo on these shites."
"The bloody hell is wrong with you?!"
Har-Bak slammed the door closed as BOB began to rant. Stefan took a step back, cautious about what was about to happen.
"Those bastards were just waiting for us! They needed to get put down as quickly as possible to clear the way for the others."
"They were watching to make sure we wouldn't leave, Scorp!"
Har-Bak and BOB continued to squabble, until Har-Bak started walkng away. "The bloody 'ell you going?"
"We're not needed here- I'm getting something to eat."
Har-Bak quickly left, leaving an uncomfortable Stefan and annoyed BOB alone. The medic looked concerningly in Har-Bak's direction, thinking about going to calm him down.
"Ughh...." Stefan groaned a bit. "BOB you think you can hold-"
"Yeah, yeah I'll keep the area locked down, Doc," said BOB as checks his weapons and ammo "Just calm the Scorp."
"All right, well just give a call."
BOB chuckles a bit. Stefan starts to follow Har-Bak, while BOB gets into a better defensive position.
The mercs oustide continued to wait idly for any attack. "I hope the situation doesn't change," said one of the mercs. "I mean yeah we're supposed to be fighting these guys, but not being shot at or getting blown up is a good change of pace."
"We still got a job to do," said another merc. "Besides, what if the rest of their other crew comes back? Do you have a plan if we get attacked on both sides?"
"That's what the captain's having us set up," the merc says.
"Is that what those are for?"
"Yes. What, you think we lugged those heavy-ass things out here for fun, did you?"
"Still, though. EEACs are a bit unreliable, don't you think?"
"You remember what planet we're on, right? Those things will wreck shit here."
"Hope you're right."
Har-Bak sat in the lounge, smoking a cigar. "Y'know, those things can kill you."
Stefan casually walked in, slinging his rifle over his shoulder. The Eurypt chuckled cynically, and took a last drag before putting it out.
"That so, Doc?"
"Even with your advanced respiratory system, those things'll-"
"Yeah, yeah. But hey, only live once right?"
Stefan laughed, grabbing a bottle of water from the fridge. "Personally, I'd prefer to not hack out my lungs when I'm in my walker- but I digress."
A beep was heard over their communications, just as BOB sprinted in.
"Yorke's got the prize. E's also got a bugger bunch of Risir tailin' 'im."
"Off yer arses, mates. And Scorp, don't shoor first 'is time."
"What do you say Har-Bak?" asked Stefan as he looked to the Eurypt.
Har-Bak takes the cigarette out of his mouth and places it on the ash tray. "Let's prep ourselves for Yorke to get back."
Stefan smiles at him. "Right!"
"Now that we're don makin' up," said BOB. "Shall we get back?" BOB runs out of the room.
Stefan and Har grab their weapons and follow BOB.
Outside of the Dawn, the mercs continued to wait patiently.
"...I had a girl back home," said one of the mercs. "she was something else. I'm not anything for romance, but goddamn."
"Anything more to that story?" asked another merc.
"Well, when were alone, she got up to my ear and whispered something that I would never forget."
"Heh, and what's that?"
"She said 'As soon as you get home, you're going to get the biggest, slobbery fucking blowjob a girl could ever give...free of charge of course."
The other merc laughs heavily. "Damn!"
"Enough foolin'," the leader says in his thick Southern accent, "We got a bunch coming at us from behind. Get ready for 'em."
"You think the EACs will do much, Captain?" the groups second-in-command asks in a whisper.
"Against a normal group? I'd say our victory was assured. But these guys are one of Lloyd's crews. His hiring strategy tends towards small squads with high skill and good teamwork. Pretty much the opposite approach that the big boss takes."
"What do we have, then?"
"They have teamwork. They have skill. But we have canons that take the molten rock out of the ground and shoots it past the speed of sound. Firepower, son. We've got firepower."
Inside the Dawn Voyager, BOB-5 takes a glance towards Har-Bak, who had just arrived back in the cargo bay. "The hell is your HAZENV suit, Scorp?" he says.
Har-Bak looks down and realizes he's not wearing it. "Shit, I must have left it back in the room."
"Unless you want to be broiled, you'd better fucking get it," BOB-5 replies as Har-Bak sprints back towards his quarters. "Why the hell was I put with these two idiots?" he mutters to himself.
Arrogant little shit, Stefan thinks to himself, If it weren't for Yorke's trust in him, that synth would have had a bullet in the back long ago.
The Dawn Voyager exits the atmosphere of Lachesis I when a blindingly bright light flares behind them. After it fades, they look out the window and see the planet's surface in turbulent chaos, a massive crater where they had originally landed.
"You really abandoned me on there, you soddin' arselicks?" BOB-5's voice comes through the intercom, "Lloyd's on the line. And once again, sod all of you."
The crew, naturally confused, crowds into the communications room as Yorke presses the button to accept Lloyd's call.
"Smart move, leaving BOB-5 behind," he says, "The most likely out of all of you to break out of Black Eclipse custody, letting you get through the EEACs with no casualties."
"I was a soddin' casualty," the intercom yells in frustration.
"I think we're all a little confused here, Lloyd," Yorke says, "What exactly happened?"
"Oh. That's simple. I created a miniature Slip-Space link and swapped out the Dawn Voyager's automation core with BOB-5's full data core. Luckily, they were the same dimensions with the same connections. I then swapped out the automation core in BOB-5's body with a 12-teraton antimatter warhead and blew it up. Nothing's alive on that planet anymore." The crew sits in stunned silence for a few minutes, until Lloyd speaks again, "Yorke, stay for debrief. The rest of you are dismissed."
As the others began leaving the room, Roar-Ree stood at his pilot's chair. Still moving the ship through space and towards the nearest space port.
"That includes you too, Roar-Ree. Now got a move on before I have to do something drastic."
"Uh, don't I kind of need to pilot the ship? Since we kind of need to be somewhere right now?"
"Bob, can control the ship. You can go now. And here's a little demonstration." Suddenly the ship jerked forward smacking Roar-Ree's head against the controls. Getting the gist of the situation, Roar-Ree walked out of the room still clutching his head.
"That's for being the fuckin' reason that I lost my body, mutt. Don't have the door hit your ass on the way out." BOB-5 shouted over the intercom, "And without further ado, I'll return to my job of being our pilot."
"So, I'm assuming that you have managed to retrieve what I asked you too."
"Yes. We have the second key here. But quick question first. Since BOB-5 is officially integrated with ship does that mean he can..."
"If you're wondering if he can monitor the entire ship. Then yes, he is part of the ship now. He runs the security cameras, defenses, ship movement, etc. So next time your crew becomes overly paranoid about impending attack, he'll already have defenses set-up and leave the others to do whatever needs to be done."
"That much is reassuring, but what about our privacy?"
"I have no interest in fleshies," BOB-5 says, "So don't worry about it."
"At any rate, your next mission is on Bliss. Get back here and meet me in Tumulus Memorial."