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5/31/3030

The crew of the Dawn Voyager sat in their ship, flipping through the channels trying to find something to watch. They were on some forced R&R, having been only recently discharged from the hospital. They were stuck here until their employer gave them a new job.

"Goddamnit, there's nothing to watch!" Har-Bak says, throwing the remote in disgust.

"You could always watch the news," Yorke says, "Might give us a hint as to our next job."

"Only thing they're talking about is the Distress Terracide, and I think we're all sick and tired of being reminded about it," Stefan says.

"It's been three bloody weeks. You'd think their attention spans would have run out."

Basta stumbles in, trying to hold a platter with three drinks while drinking the fourth.

"Drinks as ordered."

"Basta, this is your sixth today," Stefan says, sounding concerned.

"So?"

"So it's not even noon!"

"What the hell else am I going to do? Go to that quack therapist?"

The bickering starts once again, and Yorke just grabs his drink and goes to the communication room. If Lloyd didn't contact him with a job son, there would be trouble with the crew. He sits down, trying to figure out what to do with his situation.

As if on cue, the communicator rings, and the screen shifts into an image of Lloyd.

"Yorke. I've found a job more suited to your skill level. A Revnorian named Syra Iben is a black market dealer operating on Bliss. He's making a sale to an Ira'Preja named Risir, and he wants an escort of six."

"We're only five."

"He's hired a being named Roar-Ree as well. Keep an eye on him; he's supposed to be a skilled engineer. I'm transmitting the meeting coordinates now. Don't fuck this one up, too."

Lloyd disconnects, abruptly shutting the screen off.

Yorke sighed as the rumbling in one of his pockets notified him that his coordinates had been sent. His eyes began reviewing the details within the message and his thoughts turned to that of where the members of each team were to be placed during the mission. We're going to need to take care of three different jobs in this one. Guess the crew is splitting up again.

Cargo. Escort. Recon. These were the three different positions that the crew had to be split into and now all that remained was the decision as to where to place each of the crew members. Within a few minute he'd finalized his decision and hoped that the team could stick together on this one rather than their previous disaster.

Cargo

  • Har-Bak
  • Stefan Kanoff

Escort

  • BOB-5
  • Roar-Ree (Maybe)

Recon

  • Basta Sekmet
  • Myself

Getting out of his seat, Yorke proceeded to inform his crew about their responsibilities on the new mission and who they'd be working with. He noticed the crew still lounging around and Har-Bak still flipping through the channels looking for anything of interest. Basta asked if he could put on a game show which he merely shook his head as a response.

"We have our next job."

Basta held the door open for Yorke as the two of them emerge on top of the first building for recon. Normally, civilians wouldn't have access to the roof, but Basta had managed to distract a guard by sweet talking him long enough for Yorke to knock him out and steal his keys.

For the most part, their trip between the ship and now had been mostly quiet, devoid of any kind of conversation. As Basta finished setting up her rifle and looked down the scope, she smiled to herself, "Guess even after getting kidnapped by Skeavers I'm still a catch."

Yorke rolled his eyes as he pulled out a pair of binoculars, "Thank that maybe the fact you didn't do your top few buttons might have something to do with it?"

Basta quickly buttoned up her top three buttons before looking back through the scope before scanning the street again, "You didn't tell me who this Roar-Ree guy is. Who am I supposed to be looking for besides a Synth that's armed to the teeth and a Revnorian who is shady as hell?"

"Should be a Lupinus Huntress." Yorke said, now looking at the buildings across the street.

Basta laughed as she spotted BOB-5 in the street, "So I'll have two large targets to follow then. Just a heads up Yorke, if you're thinking about recruiting him, you're going to have a lot of shedding going on."

"I'll just have Stefan shave the two of you in your sleep." Yorke chided, "Problem solved."

Basta shifter her eyes at him, "Over my dead body Yorke."


Yorke scanned the buildings that laid before him and Basta keeping a look out for any signs of activity that may occur on their watch. Bringing out a pair of binoculars and thus giving him a greater perspective at looking at the various small details of the area.

"See anything, Yorke?" Basta asked still looking through her own scope for any traces of their companions or the man they went to protect. "Nada, but keep searching we'll see them soon enough. It isn't exactly hard to spot the group of mix-matched species we have walking together."

This gained a chuckle from Basta, "Yeah, I'll keep that in mind." she managed to say recovering from the small fit of laughter.

Yorke and Basta had watched as BOB-5 enter the building where they he was supposed to meet their target. As soon as he went into the building, Basta began heading back to the door that had lead them up there.

"I'm sure that BOB and the Lupinus can handle themselves if we go up ahead to the point to scout ahead." She packed her rifle back into the duffle bag she had been carrying it in.

She was about to reach for the door handle when Yorke began demanding an answer over the radio, "What? I got the directions from Lloyd directly. He wouldn't mess them up. Clearly, he wants you to sit tight on this one, BOB."

Basta tuned in to her radio to figure out what was going on.

"Look Yorke, as far as I can tell, someone isn't telling us everything, and until we can figure out what the hell is going on, I'm going on your judgment."

There was a quiet moment before a new voice could be heard in the background, "Syra, is there something you're not telling me?"

Basta looked up to Yorke, "Okay, if BOB, Roar, and this 'Syra' guy aren't leaving, what are the two of us going to do?"

"Well isn't the answer obvious?" Yorke responded before closer to Basta. "If Lloyd wants Bob to sit tight on this one then we continue doing our job by being the lookouts." With this he once again pulled out his binoculars to scan the area, "You might want to take a seat, scratch against a post or finding something to lean against because we're going to be here for a while."

"Shouldn't you be a bit more worried about this, Yorke?" Basta pronounced looking at her captain's calm demeanor.

"I'm making sure that nothing gets to my head since this isn't exactly a mission without pressure," Yorke said reaching for his radio and leaving both of the channels open. "I'm keeping this little device on both channels to make sure that I get to hear the dealings and incase I need to step in."

He lifted the radio to his mouth, "Keep calm and we'll get past this. The deal will continue."

"Hope that you know what you're doing." His feline companion spoke out as she sat down waiting for any other directives to be sent to her.

In an alleyway near the spaceport, a group of thirty humans enter the small back room of a pub. They're rugged, filthy, and hide their faces behind bandanas; these are patterned after the flag above the door, a crude resemblance of the Vitruvian Man overlaying a similarly crude representation of Earth. It was the symbol of the Terra Prima faction, a group of human supremacists that grew out of the Neo-Nazi movement.

This cell was the one primarily responsible for planning and leading the Insurrection, as well as the continued attacks after the organized army was defeated.

"Fuckin' Snake on Bliss," The leader says without preamble. He would save the fiery rhetoric for those who were less convicted than the men here, his inner circle. "Buying something from that Syra guy."

"What's the goods?"

"Some tech, if it's Iben. This, however, is prototype tech made by Terran scientists. We're not going to let those filthy aliens get their tentacles on our tech, are we?"

"No," a murmured chorus spread around the room.

"Thought not. So here's the plan..."

The meeting lasted for about half an hour, and the men dispersed.

While Basta gazed over the edge of the building down the main road that BOB-5 had come, Yorke kept scanning the opposite direction. As he looked, he caught a glimpse of a band of human thugs headed towards where Har-Bak, Stefan, and the cargo they were escorting.

"Dammit...we can't let this fail..." Yorke cursed under his breath before talking into his radio, "BOB, we're moving towards Har-Bak and Stefan, we think they might be walking into a robbery."

"Gotcha boss, me and the mutt here can handle ourselves." BOB replied.

Starting for the door, he yelled to his Altaic crewmate, "Basta, we're moving out, Stefan and Har-Bak might be heading for a robbery."

Nodding, Basta grabbed her bag and followed Yorke down the building to the street and took off towards where the Eurypt and Human were.

Ducking though alleys and desolate buildings, the two of them wove their through the city. Yorke found Basta trailing behind him, but doing her best to keep up with him.

As they neared the Cargo's location, Yorke climbed up a scaffolding to get up to the roof for a better vantage point. Once up there, hey leaned over and offered a hand to Basta, but she passed up the rifle bag first before climbing up and taking Yorke's hand and getting pulled up onto the roof.

Not bothering to talk to her, he crouched at the edge of the roof and spied his crew leading a female Eurypt with the cargo. He quickly gestured to Basta who had just gotten her rifle out and slide over to him, looking though the scope.

As the watched, the group of human thugs began to emerge and bring them to a stop before what Basta assumed as the leader approached Har-Bak. This was met with the human getting Har's stinger pressed into his face. As Stefan walked up to meet the human thug as well, he raised his hand, as if signaling.

Deciding that it was meant for her, Basta fired a shot at the human lead. Missing his shoulder and wound up grazing his hair instead.

As she pulled back the bolt, Yorke smacked her upside the head and hissed, "What the hell was that for? You just blew our position!"

Basta flinched as she finished working the bolt, "Yorke, who else would Stefan be signaling? It's clear that they at least know that we're here."

Yorke looked back down at the scene before snapping at her again, "Next time, you only shoot when I tell you to shoot."

Continuing to observe the situation as seeing the tension of it continuing to grow only left Yorke with a feeling of dread as to what was about to happen. Two shots cracked through the air and caused him to flinch at the image that passed through his head. His hand went for his Peacekeeper, just stopping short of gripping it when he took note of Har-Bak and Stefan still alive.

He had hand still levitating over the sidearm as the group of men began to walk away leaving the guards with superficial wounds and clutching them before they began to walk towards their objective once again. A sigh escaped Yorke's lip due to the reprieve that life had granted him. He turned his gaze towards the sniper that nearly escalated the entire conflict into a full blown firefight

"Don't ever pull a stupid stunt like that again." Yorke spat out with a hint of venom in his tone. "We're going to move our position now. Hopefully those thugs aren't in the mood to visit us after you fired on them." He motioned for Basta to follow him.

"Where are heading, Yorke?" Basta said keeping her head low. As they began moving away from their position.

"Somewhere not here. I have to contact the others and make sure that there aren't any more snags in the road."

"Yeah, boss, we planted the tracker," one of the Terra Prima thugs says while lounging in a bar, "And one of the guards is an old friend of yours."

"Oh? How old?"

"You remember a guy named Stefan Kanoff?"

"Kanoff... hahahahaha... this is going to be fun. Very fun."

Not saying anything, Basta packed up and followed Yorke as he led her without a word. As soon as they got to the ground, Yorke snatched the rifle bag from her, "I'm not taking another chance," He shoved the binoculars into her hands, "Recon only. You'll get this back once this mission is over."

He turned and began to lead Basta towards the cargo's delivery destination. Trying not to disappoint Yorke again, Basta kept her head down, and silently did her best to keep up with him.

When they reached their final vantage point, Basta used the binoculars to scan the direction that the cargo and the crew was supposed to be coming from, waiting silently ‘til either Har-Bak or Stefan showed up, or the humans from earlier did to let Yorke know.

Yorke looked from their vantage point and took mental notes of any possible exits for their friends to take in case something went wrong. He took out the rifle and made sure the weapon was maintained. Can't be too sure with Basta being in charge of this rifle. Yorke began to cradle the weapon as he began inspection. Not bad, but she's still got a lot to learn. He wordlessly reached his hand back into the bag and pulled out a cleaning kit and began to cleaning the weapon to help pass the time.

He also began taking note of the exits available to him and Basta if anything went awry during their recon operation. A decent amount of options that should make escaping much easier if the occasion calls for it.

"I don't see anything yet, Yorke." Basta said breaking his trail of thoughts as she lowered the pair of binoculars. She tried avoiding eye contact with the man as she spoke.

"Keep looking they're bound to arrive sooner or later." His reply escaped his lips as he began to shine the weapon. "Keep those eyes peeled and this will be all over soon."

"So...how's this deal supposed to go down?"

Har-Bak quietly groaned as Stefan questioned him again. The Scorp examined his Cal-Tech shotgun once more, hoping that there was some calibration needed to distract him from the human's complaining. Naturally, there wasn't.

"I don't know, Doc. All I know is Yorke had me here so I don't have to deal with that self-obsessed, arrogant, bigoted asshole of a Revnorian."

"You've never even met him."

"So? He's from Revnor; those imposing pricks are all the same."

The cyborg nodded slightly, before checking his own ammunition supply.

"Are we done yet?"

"Ugh....." I swear I don't know why Yorke had to pair me up him. I didn't think he'd be this annoying, thought Har-Bak. "You'll know when we see the cargo Doc." He switched to his secondary weapons making sure they're ready for when the time comes.

Stefan looks forward and begins to check his own weapons. Hmm curious, I wonder if this Revnorian will join our crew once this mission is complete. Who knows, maybe this is just temporary...

"Just don't do anything stupid this time like the last job," said Har-Bak.

"Hey I didn't think those Skeavers would be fast to aim at me," said Kanoff.

"Look, you've got guts to pull off stunts like that. But those will only get you so far."

"I'll keep that in mind."

The cyborg continues to look around for something to spot//

The door to the warehouse opens, and a Eurypt female walks in, dressed plainly. She furtively scans the room, before heading over to two of the covered shapes, a pair of large spheres, and wheels them out, moving towards Har-Bak and Stefan. "Name's Oeh-Wje," she says, "You my guards?"

"Yes," Stefan says, obviously relieved to be doing something other than waiting.

"What're those?" Har-Bak asks, gesturing at the two spheres.

"I don't see how that's any of your business," Oeh-Wje says, glaring at Har-Bak with all eight eyes, "You're getting paid to guard me while I'm transporting these."

"Since we will be guarding you," Stefan says, trying to placate the pair of angry Eurypts, "We should know what it is so that we can adjust our strategies accordingly. You guard a prisoner escort very differently from a drug shipment."

Oeh-Wje relaxes slightly. "Ah. Caution and preparedness," she says, "Two things I can get behind. The boss isn't so keen on it; the guard details were my idea."

"So... the objects?"

"I'm not too sure what they are myself. Some technobabble about 'fermium-boron entanglement' and 'Friday cages'. What I do know is that each sphere has a half-meter thick Tungsten Carbide shell around whatever the hell those are."

"So protection priority is you and not the cargo?" Stefan asks.

"Yep. Now let's get moving before the boss decides to bitch."

Har-Bak nodded, weary at the fact that they needed such a strong container for the package. Pumping his shotgun, the male Eurypt was the first out the door.

Glancing around, Har-Bak carefully observed his surroundings. He looks around their location of the city, observing every possible route of attack. Alleyways, windows, rooftops. All empty, thankfully.

Ain't quite clear just yet...

"Hey, can we move along please? Or would you like to sit down and smell the flowers while you’re at it?" Oeh-Wje grunted, peeking her eight eyes over Har-Bak's shoulder.

"I'm moving. What're our directions to drop this thing off?"

"We're going to be heading towards one of the warehouses for this drop off," said Oeh-Wje. Stefan follows behind looking around for any suspicious activity.

Hmm it's been awhile since being back here, Stefan thought, not much has changed since I last fought here. Stefan looks up at the rooftops, "Okay they're moving..."

"Hey c'mon Doc you're lagging behind here!" said Har-Bak.

"Oops my bad!"

"C'mon people we've got a deadline to meet here!" said Oeh-Wje.

Oeh-Wje pushed the two large carts, somehow attracting very little attention from the bustling throng around them. The human cyborg - Stefan Kanoff, his partner had called him - seemed a little melancholy and jumpy.

"You fight in the Insurrection, Kanoff?" The human's head whips around, confirming her suspicions. "Hope you were on the right side of that conflict. Though considering your current line of work..."

"I was a combat medic in the Bliss army. I left after..."

"I didn't mean to pry at a wound, sorry," Oeh-Wje says, "Just thought I'd ask, since some of the more... fanatical elements still carry out an attack or two every few months." They pass Syra's mansion, and Oeh-Wje sees the glint of a scope out of the corner of her eye.

"Sniper!" She yells, letting go of the carts and grabbing one of the rifles strapped to the handles. It was rather boxy, with a toroidal protrusion towards the stock.

"Wait! She's a friendly!" Har-Bak says, "She's a damned rookie, but she's part of our group."

Oeh-Wje nods, stowing the odd weapon. "I'll trust you on this. But you'd better train that sniper if you want her to survive here."

As Oeh-Wje settled the cargo in front of the mansion and studied the map leading to their final destination, Har-Bak looked over the streets in front of them. He steadily grabbed his shotgun as he saw a group of humans walk up to them.

They wore ragged clothes, and most looked like thugs. This theory was supported by the fact that carried with them arms, though hidden. Har-Bak growled in distaste as one seemed to have tried to hide a rather large magnum in his pants. It had failed.

…Gentlemen, what're you lookin' at?"

The leader of the gang immediately got in the Eurypt's face, growling. "Why don't you shut the fuck up, you glorified cockroach." He taunted, before feeling a slight pain on his cheek. He found himself face-to-point with Har-Bak's tail, red with a small amount of blood.

"Now do you really think this is a good idea?"

Stefan stepped right next to Har-Bak. "Now I don't think you wouldn't want to aggravate my friend here," he said in a calm manner. Stefan gestures with his shotgun. "If you do, then I wouldn't want to be standing here..."

The leader then looks at Stefan. "And what would you do you piece of trash?" Stefan's expression changes quickly to a more stoic and darker look. "You'd regret asking that..." Stefan gives a hand signal a shot grazes the hair of the leader.

Sweat began rolling down Stefan cheek, Goddamn it Basta work your aim a bit more. I would've been missing a part of my ear.

"If you're going to be hindering us," said Stefan in a calmer manner now. "Then we wouldn't mind killing you here and now.

The two groups stared at each other, unmoving. Oeh-Wje starts to take out her weapon, taking care to appear unobtrusive. She could easily get the drop on them if she moves quietly and quickly. As her weapon drops out of the sling and into her hand, though, two shots ring out.

Stefan now has a wound matching the one Basta had just given the group's leader, and Har-Bak took a similar graze. The human smiled maliciously. "Are you so sure you can?"

The cyborg's eyes narrow, getting ready to reach for his weapon.

"Now if you assholes would tell us what you want with us?" Oeh-Wje says, attempting to defuse the situation.

"Well, nothing right now. We just saw a xenophile and two fuckin' Scorps on our way to the bar. But we'll meet again later," the leader says. As the thugs walk past, he stops by Stefan's side. "And when we do, Kanoff, you might want to bring another little girl to take a bullet for you."

Stefan wheels around, furious, but the thugs had already vanished into the crowd.

"Motherfuckers!"

Har-Bak grasped his graze, hissing in pain. It was superficial, but hurt like a son of a bitch. The human medic attempted to help him, but the Scorp shrugged him aside. "I can handle myself. Let's go get those scumbags and-"

"No, you brutish thug. We can't risk losing the cargo, or getting into a firefight. Those are thugs from the Terra Prima faction. They control most of this part of the city, and are luring us into an ambush." Oeh-Wje said.

Har-Bak looked reluctantly in the direction they seemed to disappear, before setting his shotgun aside. Looking at the roofs, he glared with all of his eyes at where Basta was supposedly at.

"Fine. Let's go."

"I could've sworn I've seen that guy before," said Stefan. "I can't put my finger on it." Stefan look ponders for a bit.

"Hey we've got a job to do," said Oeh-Wje. "Ugh...fine." said Stefan. The trio started to walk to the rendezvous point...

"So Kanoff, mind if I ask which campaigns you participated in?" asked Oeh-Wje. Stefan sighs a bit as the trio continued to walk.

"Well after receiving training as a combat medic I participated in a numerous operations against the Insurrection: the Siege of Onesr, the Fall of Kincaid, the Evacuation of Brais, you name it."

Har-Bak and Oeh-Wje's expressions changed from surprised.

"There was this one operation that didn't go well though..." said Stefan.

BOB-5 slowly strolled down the busy city streets of Bliss, muting the annoyance of outside conversation and noise, simply observing his surroundings. Synthetics weren't common to see outside of factories or workplaces, especially with rifles on their back, garnering stares from the aliens around him. BOB didn't take too kindly to staring, but ignored the civilians and went on with his job, scanning every Revnorian in site to find his shady client. No scanning necessary for the Huntress, barely being seen outside their home planet.

"I think I spot BOB..." Basta increased the magnification on her rifle's scope, zooming in onto the tall synth on the sidewalk below.

"Alright, I'll radio him to head to Iben's apartment." Yorke replied, putting his binoculars back on his side.

"Roger that." Basta continued to aim down her scope.

"Why the hell are you still looking?" Yorke asked Basta before activating his communicator.

"Well..."

"Why were you using a rifle in the first place? Don't want someone to report a rooftop sniper to the police." Yorke added.

"You could have given me some binoculars or whatever!"

"I'll try and find some 'whatever' to give you later, now shush, let's get this show on the road."

So hard to please...

"I read you, boss, headin' there now." BOB replied to Yorke internally, only having to walk a few more blocks before arriving at Iben's location. Slowly walking up the steps and knocking on the door, the synthetic was answered with a "Come in!" Entering the apartment, BOB made loud thuds as he stepped into the living room, greeted by a small Lupinus Huntress and a poorly dressed Revnorian sitting down.

"Your escort's here." BOB remarked as he entered and got the duo's attention.

"Oh, you're early." The Revnorian replied.

"Am I?"

"Yeah, I told Elno the sexbot was for tomorrow!" The Revnorian joked and laughed.

I fuckin' hate this guy already.

"Good one."

Roar-Ree shifted nervously, with his hand on his pistol. He had been hired by this Revnorian as muscle, even though his primary focus was an engineer. Let's hope this deal doesn't get out of hand. Suddenly, there was knock at the door, and the Revnorian answered with "Come in!" Roar-Ree watched with curiosity as a well-armed synthetic entered the living room, and said, “Your escort's here." "Oh, you're early." The Revnorian replied. "Am I?" "Yeah, I told Elno the sexbot was for tomorrow!" The Revnorian laughed at his joke, seemingly ignorant of how dangerous a pissed off synthetic was. "Good one." The bot replied, unhumored.

Roar-Ree stepped forward and held out his hand. "All joking aside, I suppose we should get acquainted. The name's Roar-Ree, and you?" The synthetic shook Roar-Ree's hand and replied, "You can call me BOB. And ain't ya a little small for a Lupinus?" Roar-Ree chuckled, "I get that a lot." and turned towards the Revnorian. "Syra, when did you say your contact was getting here?" Syra simply responded, “Soon, Roar-Ree. Soon." Roar-Ree replied,"...Right. You said that an hour ago."

Three Ira exit the spaceport on Bliss. They are part of Risir, his sensory organs to experience the outside world. The three proceeded to a bar across from the spaceport. They were to meet their security detail there.

"Enough dilly-dally, let's get the fuck out of this dump and meet this Risir guy." BOB states, anger and frustration profound in his voice.

"You seem to have a colorful vocabulary for a bot." Syra jokes.

"I was hired to do a job 'cause I'm the fuckin' best at it, not to play nice-guy and only say good things. Now, are me and the Huntress going to do a god damn job or are we just gonna sit around here mouthbreathing?"

"I like your style, robot. Let's get out there." Syra replies, getting up off the couch and stretching.

"Got the directions from my captain- 'Three blocks south, two blocks east, seven blocks north, three blocks west, four blocks south, one block east.' Let me just set up a route and we're out."

"Finally, been waiting forever." Roar-Ree says.

"What...what the fuck?"

"What's wrong?"

"The directions...they just lead right back here."

Roar-Ree's ears perked up in shock. "What do you mean, they lead us back here?" BOB angrily replied, "I mean, the bloody directions don't goddamn work, furball! The captain messed up or something!" Roar-Ree replied, "Well, call the captain and fix them or something. We can't botch this deal." BOB activated his communicator and said, “Oi, Yorke. The damn directions are bloody messed up. They tell us to stay in the damn apartment. Care to explain?" Surprised, Yorke responded, "What? I got the directions from Lloyd directly. He wouldn't mess them up. Clearly, he wants you to sit tight on this one, BOB." BOB angrily grumbled and hung up, "The captain wants us to sit tight."

Roar-Ree turned towards Syra, who was backing towards the wall. "Syra, is there something you're not telling me?" Syra put his hands up defensively, “Listen, Roar-Ree, I don't know why the directions say to come back here, but I don't have anything to do with it. Honest." Roar-Ree nodded, "You better not be lying," then turned to BOB and said, "and then I guess we should sit tight. Wait for the buyer to come to us."

The three Ira enter the bar, spotting two males near the bar. One was sitting quietly, metallic white skin contrasting with the stark black kimono. He had a cane and a Wakizashi strapped to his side, and a black umbrella leaning against the bar. The other was leaning against the bar, chatting amicably with the bartender. This man was heavily augmented with cybernetics, including his entire right arm which contained the blades, stunners, and other melee-oriented weaponry common to the CyberAug's Volkov line of cybernetics, as well as his left eye socket, which had the characteristic imposing profile of CyberAug's Trask line of implants.

"Toro," the first man says, "Our client is here."

"Are they, White Wolf?" the second man replies, looking around until he spots Risir and waves them over. "'ey Risir. Protection detail, you said?"

"Yes. Wolf, you are to accompany the one currently speaking to meet Syra Iben in his mansion."

"Revnorian black market dealer."

"The very same. Toro, you'll accompany the two speaking now to get the goods we're buying. It's in an alleyway five blocks on the other side of the spaceport."

"Sounds simple enough," Toro says, "Lot of cash for a small escort."

"Valuable item, I'm assuming," White Wolf says, "Valuable enough to contract you, of all people."

"Very valuable. And I'm not too keen on certain beings getting wind of it. But enough chatter; if we leave now we can get to both places three minutes past the scheduled meeting times. Including shaking tails. Anything more could drive the price to the point where I might as well just take it."

With that, White Wolf rests his umbrella on his shoulder and follows Risir out towards the mansion, while Hayashi Toro slings his assault rifle at his side and follows Risir towards the pickup.

Syra, BOB, and Roar-Ree sat in silence, waiting for the dubious Revnorian's client to arrive at his mansion.

"You guys know anything about this Risir guy?" Roar-Ree broke the silence.

"He's a cocky Ira'Preja archaeologist, don't know what he wants with my tech. Don't care as long as he pays good." Syra replied.

"What the Revno said, I'm only here for the cash." BOB added on. After a while, the trio heard a knock on the door. Syra smiled.

"Get the door, Huntress."

Roar-Ree opened the door and stepped back as two people, one an Ira, the other a metallic kimono-clad figure, stepped inside. Roar-Ree recognized the second as the infamous warrior White Wolf, and just seeing him made the hair on the back of Roar-Ree's neck stand up. This must be a valuable package Syra, in turn, straightened up and stepped towards the Ira with his hand extended. "You must be one of Risir's men! I'm Syra Iben, pleased to make your acquaintance." The Ira simply stared at Syra until he awkwardly put his hand back down. "So I suppose you want to see the tech? My people are escorting it to the agreed upon location as we speak."

"It better be. I'm on my way there now."

"Wait, you're on your... but you're here..." Roar-Ree says, looking confused.

"I'm an Ira'Preja, Lupinus," Risir says with disdain, "You probably don't see any of my kind on your backwater. Each tribe is an individual. This Ira you see is one of my millions. They move as I wish, I sense what they sense, and they speak my words. I am conducting twelve other business deals as we speak. Your kind would - and should - worship mine as gods."

"Enough with the gandstandin'," BOB-5 says, "You're here fer a business deal, right?"

"So I am, Synth. So I am. Here's your cash, Syra," Risir says, tossing a bag of coins at the Revnorian, "5000 Plaht, 40 Aught, and 1 Aght, as agreed."

"Well, for a little extra we can take care of installation," Syra says, looking through the contents of the bag. Risir simply laughs.

"The day I let a mongrel like you on my ship is the day you die. I can entangle the Fermion-Boson pairs by myself while keeping the electrons in their Faraday Cages. Assuming, of course, you stole the correct Gamma Photon/Electron one I requested?"

"Aye."

"Good. And I believe we're done here," Risir says, turning to leave. As he does so, a bomb goes off outside, blowing the door in. BOB-5 and Roar-Ree both dive for cover and bring their sidearms out to fire. Syra was too slow to escape, but White Wolf is standing in front of Risir, umbrella extended and open, revealing the head of a Yari at the end of the shaft and the canopy to be a flexible metal shield. He snaps the latter closed as thirty Terra Prima members pour in and Risir dives into cover; one holding a pair of spears, clearly patterned after the Gáe Buidhe and Gáe Dearg of Irish legend, with a shortsword and arming sword sheathed on his back. This member squared off against White Wolf, while another member with cybernetics and an assault rifle directs the men swarming the mansion.

"Bloody soddin' 'ell. Can't anythin' ever be easy?" BOB-5 mumbles as he, Roar-Ree, and Risir fire back.

"Motherfuckin' dumb ass inbred mongoloid humans!" BOB fired rapidly into the crowd of Terra Prima members storming in the mansion.

"Quite the vocabulary, robot." Next to the synth, Roar-Ree loaded two small black-and-grey Avenger machine pistols, lifting them over the cover and firing wildly into the crowd of terrorists. Emptying his magazine, BOB crouched back down behind the tipped over metallic table, as did Roar-Ree.

"This table won't support us for long, let's kill these bastards quick before we're mince-meat." The Lupinus said as he reached in his pouch for spare ammo.

"Before you're mince-meat. I'll be...I'll be a fuckin'....robot covered in bullet holes." BOB-5 replied.

"Clever."

"Get the fuck back to shooting with yer shitty outdated guns."

"What's wrong with Avenger?"

"They went out of business for a reason, laddy. Now, let's help cover the metallic weirdo and snake-man over there so we can collect our pay." BOB took aim once more at the remaining crowd of terrorists as White Wolf combated the large spear-wielding Terran, and Risir fired bolts of plasma at the attackers, electrifying and melting their flesh.

"The irony..."

Roar-Ree grimaced as he fired another burst from his machine pistols, tearing through another thug. He and BOB couldn't keep this up forever. Looking over to see White Wolf still locked in a duel with the big Terran, Roar-Ree grinned as he got an idea. Lifting the cover and standing in front of BOB, Roar-Ree growled, “Cover me." BOB seemed surprised, then laughed, “What in the bloody hell are you doing, furball?" Roar-Ree replied, “Forcing back the tide. “BOB shook his head, “Nice try, but the last time I tried that...it ended poorly. Put it back." Grumbling, Roar-Ree set the cover back down as BOB fired on enemies that were slowly moving forward, dropping human after human. "Come and get some, dumbfucks!" BOB yelled.

Tossing an empty clip at the big Terra Prime man, Roar-Ree grinned as the man stumbled, leaving him open to a quick, wounding, attack from White Wolf. White Wolf scowled,” I did not require your assistance, mongrel." Roar-Ree shrugged and replied, “You’re welcome." BOB quickly ran ahead and slammed into cover next to Risir, who continued to fire on the remaining Terra Prime members. Noticing the cybernetic man leading the assault, Roar-Ree pointed at him and said, “We gotta take that guy out! Killing him might mess these guys up tactically." BOB yelled, “Ey furry! Get the fuck back to cover before they turn ya into a nice coat!" Grumbling, Roar-Ree took cover and continued to open fire on the attackers with his pistols.

White Wolf's pulse raced, heart beating along with the rhythm of battle. He thrust, dodged, and slashed, moving his spear through the forms he had learned. He moved with caution, however. His opponent wielded his spears in an unfamiliar style. Deflections were minimal and did almost nothing to turn his blade, but the second spear would flick out to try and bite into his unprotected flank, forcing him to break off and defend. The man's attacks came in a staccato rhythm, thrusts and slashes coming in quickly and irregularly.

White Wolf noticed a pattern.

He waited, deflecting attacks, until the time came. As his opponent drew back for a thrust with both spears, he flipped his Yari around and opened the umbrella ever so slightly. The thrusts hit within the umbrella's canopy, which then snapped closed. A simple twist disarmed his opponent, and a quick turn of the Yari positioned it for a stab, lancing out at the man's throat.

The rasp of steel on steel turned the spear aside, and a shortsword swept out in a blow that glanced off of White Wolf's metal skin. His foe had drawn both the swords on his back and countered his thrust.

Risir covered the cyborg samurai with his dual TridentTech plasma pistols as White Wolf dueled with the monstrous sword-wielding Terran, blocking blows from his large swords with his own weaponry.

BOB-5 and Roar-Ree continued to hold off the continuous crowd of Nazis behind their damaged cover. Unloading more rounds into the terrorists, the duo simultaneously went back to cover.

"For a lot of retarded-ass Humans, they sure pack a punch." BOB says, reloading his rifle.

"We can pack a punch too. Use your goddamn grenade launcher you have there." Roar-Ree replied, pointing at the attached underbarrel 40mm grenade launcher on BOB's rifle.

"I would if it weren't for the Silver-fuckin'-Samurai over there. Can't have pretty boy gettin' here now, can we?"

"But..."

"That brings me to another thing- who in the goddamn Mary mother of fuck uses a fuckin' sword anymore? Well, metal man and Nazi guy obviously, but that's besides the point. This ain't medieval fuckin' Europe now, is it?"

"BOB..."

"Drop the sword, pick up a gun, and let me blast these fuckin' inbred hicks to smithereens, and change me oil on their scattered bloody body parts!" BOB rants, and immediately goes back to shooting, screaming angrily whilst doing so.

"What have I gotten myself into?" Roar-Ree mutters to himself over the gunfire and goes back to firing.

Roar-Ree ducked to avoid a burst of machine gun fire, and turned to look at BOB. "You sure we can't use a grenade?" BOB grumbled, “No, though at this point I wouldn't mind blowing up the goddamn samurai and-Oh bloody hell, hold on." BOB stopped to answer a message from Basta, “What?!?" Basta replied "BOB, I know this really bad timing, but you wouldn't by chance know how to shut down a shield whose only weakness is just short of a planet-buster?" BOB snapped back, “You’re damn bloody right that it's a bad time to ask! I have a runt of Lupinus using outdated guns, a Silver Samurai who thinks this is Feudal-fucking-Japan, and these damn xenophobes won't lie down and die! Even if I did know, not exactly much I could fucking do right now!"

Roar-Ree groaned. He really should have said no to Syra when he had the chance. His ears, however, perked up when he thought of a way to thin the crowd. "BOB, get the launcher ready! Aim for the big dude!" BOB turned and looked at Roar-Ree, “The bloody hell are you planning to do, furball?" Roar-Ree then turned to yell, "White Wolf, duck!"

White Wolf simply points his umbrella Yari behind him and opens the canopy. BOB-5's grenade bounces off and lands near Roar-Ree, and the grenade explodes. The Lupinus yowls in pain as metal fragments dig into his flesh, the clang and screech of metal on metal signaling BOB-5's injuries.

"Last time I'm listening to you, furball," BOB-5 says, spraying his assault rifle in a short arc.

White Wolf snaps the umbrella closed and hurls the spear at the cyborg coordinating the onrush of Terra Prima thugs, ripping through his throat. He then draws his cane sword in a reverse grip, taking a defensive stance against his opponent.

"Enough games, metal man. It's time for you to die!" White Wolf's opponent lunged forward, striking down upon the cyborg with both his swords, White Wolf blocked quickly with his cane sword, using all his might to thrust his foe back. Enraged, the neo-Nazi throws one of his swords at the still and calm White Wolf, who dodges with blinding speed.

"I'm gonna fucking turn you into scrap, kid!" The Terra Prima thug dashes at the samurai, fueled with anger. Predicting his opponent's move, White Wolf crouches as the Nazi slashes. While the Nazi is confused and surprise, the samurai smirks and readies his blade, cutting off both of his opponent's legs in one slash. Before the brute can comprehend what had happened, White Wolf disarmed him swiftly with another swing, this time to the hand gripping the sword. The metal swordsmen quickly grabs the sword before it can hit the ground and stabs the Nazi in his throat before he can even scream. The crimson blood spits out onto White Wolf's steel body as he sheathes his sword. The few remaining terrorists are left in shock by the kill, only to be picked off quickly by Risir and his hired guns.

"You fuckin' amateur, god damn chump." As the last Terra Prima member dropped to the ground, BOB stood up from cover and turned his attention to Roar-Ree, still bleeding from the shrapnel lodged all around his body, and wrapped his cold, steel hands around the Lupinus' neck, slamming up against the hole-riddled wall next to them.

"I could crush your fuckin' throat right here right now, mutt, make you regret coming off your flea-ridden varmint planet of yours, but since I'm not in the mood to deal with legal jargin, I won't." BOB let his grip on Roar-Ree loose, allowing him to breath. "But your fuckin' pay is going to my repairs, then hope we don't meet up again after that, especially if I happen to have a 'lil extra ammo on me, got it?"

BOB-5's internal link to Lloyd powers on, and the Handler's voice is transmitted to his auditory sensors. "You know, Duster, that as part of the BCA you won't need to deal with the 'legal jargin'"

"Got it..." Roar-Ree muttered as he caught his breath.

With the firefight over, Roar-Ree staggered to his feet, walked over to White Wolf angrily and said, “What the hell, jackass? You could've killed us!" White Wolf simply glared back at Roar-Ree and replied,” I said, I did not require your assistance. You did not listen." Roar-Ree growled, “So you just thought, hey, I'll blow them up because they're trying to help me? Damnit, if you weren't working for my new employer, this would end differently." White Wolf scoffed, “Indeed, with you reduced to a fur coat." Thoroughly angered, Roar-Ree grumbled to himself and stormed off. BOB turned to look at Risir, “So where we goin' now? Because if I have stay here with the runt, it's gonna end really bloody poorly for him."

Oeh-Wje walked on, listening to Stefan Kanoff's old war stories. These were clearly impressing Har-Bak, as his respect for the cyborg was rising visibly with each tale. They weren't anything she hadn't heard before, though, and nothing she hadn't experienced. She'd been on the "right side," as she'd termed it earlier, during the Insurrection as well. The human sounded like he needed an ego boost, though, so she acted intrigued.

A few minutes later, they arrived at the meeting place.

"Damn snake is going to make us wait," Oeh-Wje says after two minutes, "Fuckin' god complexes."

One minute later, two Ira show up, along with a human with heavy cybernetics. "You are Oeh-Wje?"

"Aye"

"And you have the shield?"

"That's what it is?"

"You didn't know what it was?" the Human interjects.

"I'm paid to kill and guard shit, not to understand Syra's technobabble."

"Explains why you hired a BCA security detail. These guys are pretty good."

"Wait, you know about us?"

"Yeah. Name's Hayashi Toro. I was contracted to help the mercs you fought on the Flame of Ares. Scorp there figured out the weakness in the implants CyberAug had me testing and impaled me on that stinger, as I recall."

"Wait, how are you still alive?"

An explosion rocks the area, and a group of Terra Prima thugs swarm in, led by two captains.

"I'll explain after we tear these fuckers new assholes."

Har-Bak stared in obvious dumbfounded surprise as his two comrades began the battle.

"You going to actually fight, or stand there with your tail up your ass?" Toro yelled, firing his rifle at the hoard of attackers. The bullets tear through to with ease.

The Terra Prima thug gets within melee reach of the Scorp, swinging the stock of his shotgun at him. The veteran reacts on instinct, drawing his hatchet and Stingrays in three hands while using the fourth to block his attacker. The thug is surprised, and can only let out a scream as the Eurypt plants his hatchet in the xenophobic grunt's skull.

Abandoning his melee, he fired a blast from his shotgun. The attack blew a hole in another thug's leg before being finished by Toro.

"Seriously, how the hell are you alive?"

Stefan aimed his Bower at the thugs and returned fire. "Ahh shit!" Stefan attempted to look from his cover but was being suppressed. "And now's a good time to use this again..."

Stefan equips his MK rifle and starts to give covering fire for his comrades. Stefan looked towards the CyberAug as he was going through the other Terra Thugs. That is some advanced cybernetics this guy's got. MK clicked after a few seconds, Stefan quickly grabbed another magazine from his pouch and did a tactical reload.

I'd definitely want to see what other hardware they got, and wonder if they'd be interested in selling a couple or so.

"How are you holding up over?!" yelled Hayashi

"Ehh it could be better!" replied Stefan.

Har-Bak sprinted towards cover near the two of them. "Hey Doc, remember no suicidal stunts or acts!" he said jokingly. "I don't want to carry your corpse back to Yorke and have to explain what you did again."

"Haha don't worry I learned my lesson!"

Hayashi Toro ducks and turns, letting go of his rifle. As it hits his side, still slung on his shoulder, he flattens his right hand into a spearhand, while the cybernetics snap closed over it, forming a spearhead on the end of his arm. He stabs it forward, fine point slipping between the ribs of a thug who fancied himself stealthy. As the man dies, Toro grabs the sidearm sticking out of his belt with his left hand and turns, his eye implant interfacing with the nanomesh coating his left arm to aim and fire the pistol. Twenty-four rounds are fired in the three seconds it takes him to retract his arm, with identical placement in each eye and the throat of the thugs unfortunate enough to be caught in the pistol's range. He twists again, spotting a target and firing a shot at his cerebellum.

The target's hand shoots up with obvious cybernetic augmentation to stop the bullet in its tracks. He turns and smiles. "Hayashi Toro, I assume?"

"Yes."

"CyberAug's R&D"

"I'm QA, actually."

"Regardless, killing you would be a blow to that sellout of an organization," the captain says, same cybernetics deflecting a couple bullets from Risir, whipping in two directions in the blink of an eye to catch the bullets on the metal palm.

"Killing me would be difficult enough without this body's cybernetics."

"Challenge accepted," the merc says, starting to move forward. He halts after a half step, narrowly avoiding the stream of ferrofluid that scythed through his men like butter.

"I don't know what this is, but it's kickass!" Oeh-Wje says, firing her odd rifle in arcs that sliced through the Terra Prima thugs, keeping them away from the quantum shielding device.

As the two cyborgs engaged in their personal melee, Har-Bak's shotgun blasted thug after thug away, effectively preventing them from advancing.

"Cover me!" He ordered, and Oeh-Wje fired bursts of ferrofluid at any that show outside cover. The Eurypts worked in sync, Har-Bak's revolvers blasting away at any foe he saw.

About ten meters to the door, Har-Bak got behind cover once more. He remained stationary, ordering Oeh-Wje that he had reached his desired position. Pulling a small star-shaped explosive out of his pack, he chucked the mine at the door.

"Cover your ears!"

Two Terra Prima came in, triggering the mine and causing a loud noise to fill their ears. They both quickly dropped to the ground, wailing in pain. The sonic blast also managed to strike three behind them, stunning them long enough to allow Stefan to blast all of them.

"That's how you get shit done!"

"Hot damn!" Stefan was laughing after doing a quick tactical reload. "I'd better start taking some notes from you Har-Bak!" Har-Bak gives a smirk.

"Oh no, you're going to have write long records of this stuff Doc!" said Har-Bak. "In fact why don't you start right now?"

Stefan aimed down his sights and began giving suppressive fire at a couple more Terra thugs. "After you then," chuckled Stefan.

"Hey if you two are done complementing each other," said Oeh-Wje "I'd like to get back to the fight at hand if you don't mind!"

Stefan's and Har-Bak's expressions went back to normal and continued their ongoing rampage against the Terra thugs.

The fight between the two cyborgs raged on during the ensuing firefight. Both of them were evenly matched, with neither opponent making any headway.

"So Kanoff you ever thought of getting one of those cybernetic augmentations for yourself?" asked Oeh-Wje. "I think you can benefit from them."

"I could use a couple of those," said Stefan. "If I can't buy any, then whoever gets killed in that brawl they're having I'll take it; unless it gets severely damaged or destroyed in the process."

Spearhand. The blades snap forward on the arm, creating the bladed wedge of a spearhead aimed at the captain's gut. Knifehand. The blades retract as another one folds out, the smoothly curved blade of an axe aimed at the neck. Motherfuckin' chainsaw. The axehead sprouts spikes, which start to spin quickly towards the leg. With 100 years’ worth of muscle memory, 540 years’ worth of combat experience, and cutting-edge cybernetic enhancements, Hayashi Toro's right arm flashes in those three strikes within a third of a second. His opponent was also enhanced, left arm modified to create the perfect defense. All three strikes were intercepted perfectly.

Toro's left arm is bent at the shoulder, fingers twitching. Most would assume this to be a simple combat stance. Those who have watched him fight would recognize it as him writing a virus to counter his foe's enhancements.

Oeh-Wje, Har-Bak, Stefan Kanoff, and Risir were crouched behind cover, forming a pentagon facing the only remaining access route to the area. The hail of bullets, bolts of plasma, and streams of high-pressure ferrofluid scythed down the onrushing foes. Their success is halted with the arrival of a Terra Prima man wearing a very strange backpack. It extended to form a pair of miniature Gatling guns, which he used to spray the field with bullets. What few shots they managed to get off were stopped dead a few inches in front of the man.

"Ah, shit," Risir says, "He's using that shielding I'm here to buy."

"About how strong is it?" Har-Bak asks.

"It would take a planet-buster to penetrate if the photon-electron pairs are entangled correctly and properly immobilized," Risir replies.

"Well....that sounds like a problem." Har-Bak stated, hiding behind cover as the onslaught of firepower overwhelmed the party.

The Terra Prima berserker continued to fire upon the aliens and cyborg, his Gatling guns spitting out lead for what seemed like hours. The human growled with battle rage, before the weapons spun without ammo in them.

The human thug quickly went back to the doorway too reload his backpack. Oeh-Wje immediately began to unload on the position, with Stefan shooting the other thugs.

"Time for some stupid shit...”

Har-Bak charged forward, haphazardly receiving small arms fire onto his exoskeleton. He moved from cover, managing to move to the side of the giant human. Oeh-Wje concentrated fire from the front and Har-Bak from the side, pushing the Gatling-gun soldier into a corner. Their guns didn't penetrate the shield, but he was effectively trapped all the same.

Meanwhile, Stefan haphazardly fired into the doorway, making a chokehold for the Terra Prima thugs. Hayashi Toro and his opponent stood apart for one moment, each analyzing the other, before leaping once more into their ferocious battle.

"Whoa!" yelled Stefan as the berserker fired near his location. He quickly ducked back into cover and checked how much ammo he had left for his MK. "Damn, only 10 bullets left!"

"Kanoff, you okay?" asked Oje-Weh.

"Yeah I'm all right!"

Three more Terra thugs appeared from cover and began to fire at Har-Bak. "Oh no you don't!" Stefan aimed his MK and fired at the trio of thugs; not even five seconds later his last mag was empty.

The trio spotted Kanoff and returned fire near his position. "Should've brought more mags." He quickly switched to his Foley and returned fire at the thugs.

"You wouldn't happen to have a spare rifle or a better weapon?" asked Stefan.

Oeh-Wje gave him a cold stare.

"Uhh... ok never mind then..."

Stefan began to return fire...

Duck. Hayashi Toro's Volkov implants drop him into a crouch, narrowly avoiding the Captain's attack. Counter. His Trask and Volkov cybernetics link, unleashing a strike with unerring precision. Shit. His instincts break off the attack and he leaps back, the lightning-fast blow that would have cracked his skull striking empty air. He leaped back again, scooping up a fallen sidearm in his left hand while the Volkov implants smoothly fold out a five-inch blade into his right, which he grabs in a reverse grip. He then drops his hands to about waist height.

"Giving up so soon?" his opponent taunts, "Finally realized you are outmatched here?"

"No. I'm just getting serious about this."

Oeh-Wje spares their duel a sideways glance before popping open a side hatch on her rifle.

"You said that we'd need a planet buster, Risir?"

"Yes."

"This thing on full power can slice a hole right through one."

"That should do it. But what the fuck is that gun?"

Oeh-Wje shrugs. "No idea. Syra gave it to me with some technobabble about Magneto and Hydros dancing under pressure."

Risir just stares at her blankly.

"Yeah, that's what I looked like. I just asked him what it would do to shit I fire at it. He said it would slice it up. So this is my Shitslicer. I have no fuckin' idea how it works. You'd be better off asking Syra about that."

"Syra's dead," Risir says, "Terra Prima hit his mansion, too."

"Fuck me, looks like I'm out of a job. Just keep those speciesist asses distracted while I figure out what these knobs do."

"So.....um. Maybe turn this dial here?"

Oeh-Wje adjusted various knobs on her weapon, dodging bullets. Har-Bak had lent her one of his revolvers to defend herself, but the numbers were getting unbearable.

"Any day now would be nice!" The male Scorp yelled, replacing his initial suppressive fire with a rare blast whenever he could. He was starting to run low on ammo, while the Terra Prima thug seemed to have an infinite supply.

"I think I've got it!"

Oeh-Wje fired a small ball of ferrofluid slamming into the barrier. It ruptured for a moment, and a blast from Har-Bak's shotgun slammed into the thug's leg. He let out a scream of pain as the barrier reappeared, forcing the supremacist to a leaning position.

"I don't know what you did, but keep doing it!"

"I need to reload first. First fuckin' time in years, and it has to be now."

Har-Bak sighed, and the cyborg medic moved soon shared some cover with Oeh-Wje.

This is a losing battle, and the losing part might be coming up... Stefan thought to himself.

"How are you doing on ammo Doc?" asked Har-Bak.

Stefan fired his Bower at thug who took cover near a crate.

"Not too good. I've only got a couple more shells for my Bower, and about 2-3 mags for my Foley," replied Stefan breathing heavily.

"You're not the only one!"

This is bad... thought Stefan. We need to get into a better position or get some weapons from those dead thugs. Either way, it looks like we're screwed...

Stefan takes a glimpse on the rooftops, Looks like Yorke and Basta seem to be pretty occupied as well. Shit we're in a tight spot here...

"Oeh-Wje can you get that thing charged up again?" asked Stefan.

"I'm doing the best I can here, but for now keep them off of me," replied Oeh-Wje.

"It's like a shitstorm out here!"

Stefan fired off another shell at the same thug who attempted to fire back...

"And stay down!"

A shot rings out. Basta clutches the side of her rib and barely keeps a howl in. Seconds later, an explosion rocks the buildings, and the sniper loses sight of the Furry and her owner.

"Their sniper's out of action, boss," he radios.

"Good thing Kanoff tipped his hand. Never could resist a show of machismo."

Basta gritted her teeth in pain and rolled onto her stomach as Yorke instantly got down, releasing the safety off the rifle.

As he scanned the rooftop looking for the sniper, he headed for the roof access door. Once there he opened the door enough for him to get in and keep the door open.

Seeing her captain's lead, Basta began to crawl after him as fast as she could without bleeding out. Once inside, Yorke pulled the door shut and stood up and helped Basta up to her feet. Leaning up against the wall, she looked at him with a bit of fear, "Now what?"

"Well the obvious part is that we're under attack and that you're wounded." Yorke said gripping the rifle as he lent out a hand for Basta which she took to straighten herself out and hissed because of the wound she sustained. "Yeah I can see and feel that as we speak." Basta blurted out as she put an arm around Yorke to help her maintain balance.

Both began descending the stair case as Yorke began speaking again, "The bad news is that we lost our bag so supplies are going to be limited. “The good news is that with you injured that we might actually have a shot at pinpointing this guy and he'll think that our only sniper is out of commission."

"You have any plans or are we just going to wait it out?" Basta said as they reached the floor below and Yorke moved them in the direction of the nearest room. "First, I'm going to get you patched up and then I'm going to provide sniper fire." He said as he gently opened the door to the room and stepped inside before closing the door behind them. He moved Basta to the bathroom and laid her against the wall.

Searching through the nearby he found a small medkit, Nothing special, but it'll get the job done. He pulled out the materials and within a few minutes he was done. "Listen, Basta, I'm going to be going to be providing cover for the others. Stay put." Yorke said as he left the room with rifle in hand. He closed the door to the bathroom and then looked around the room. Slinging the rifle around, he went to a nearby couch and began pushing it to block the entrance.

"Har-Bak," He turned on his radio as he walked towards the nearest window, "if you happen to spot a sniper or want me to aim at anyone in particular, say the word." Unslinging the rifle he pressed the scope to his eye and scanned the firefight occurring, primarily looking for any muzzle flash coming from any buildings to locate the sniper.

The sniper lay prone, lining up a Eurypt in his sights, He exhales and draws slack from the trigger. He sees a glint out of the corner of his eye and ducks down flat, barely dodging the bullet that split the air just above his head.

Looks like the human can snipe, too...

He turns and goes back to hunting the pair, leaving the others until he is certain the other snipers are dead.

Basta managed to drag herself into one of the stalls and managed to climb up onto of the toilet, careful not to dip her tail in disgusting rust-colored water.

Best off hiding as best as I can...I'm no use to Yorke if I'm dead.

Checking in on the radio, she could faintly hear the shouts of various slurs before being drowned out by gunfire.

Sheesh...someone has a thing against other races, Basta thought, guessing that the ones doing the swearing were the humans from earlier, They're probably human supremacists. Bunch of stuck-up, closed minded humans with guns. You'd think they'd be happy for good that the other races have done for them, She scoffed.

Holding up her tail in one hand and using the other to balance, she silently waited for Yorke to come back.

Shit. Yorke thought as he saw the sniper only avoid the round by hair off the top of his head. Pulling back the bolt and counting how much rounds he had left before the clip ran dry was one of the various things that were on his mind. Fourteen rounds and my target now has a general idea of the vicinity I'm in.

Picking up the rifle, he went behind the wall and out of the sight of the window, hoping that it would give him the intel that his current position had not yet been compromised. The next few moments of silence had given him the reprieve that he was looking for and with that Yorke began switching to another position. Said new sniping area was in the kitchen and his new cover was the partially collapsed wall within it. It provided ample cover for his torso and still gave him a decent view of the surrounding terrain.

Lowering the rifle and putting the scope to his eye, his hunt had once again began. He scanned the building where he had last seen the opposing Terra Prima sniper and spotted the glint of his scope. He's moved positions since the last time and scope reveals that he's getting closer to identifying the building I'm in.

Yorke's thought for his crouched position as he began lining up the target and pulled the trigger. The round ejected from the sniper and propelled itself through the air and cutting away at the wind resistance it faced. Then the round had connected with the target and giving the captain a moment of happiness with thoughts of the target being vanquished entered his mind. He returned to hiding behind his cover and out of the sight of any other possible Terra Prima members who may had seen the small speck of light.

The opposing sniper yelped in pain as his hand moved off of his rifle and onto the right side of his head. He held the bleeding wound in pain as he had just realized that the round has managed to clip off his entire right ear and cause blood to start spilling from the new fresh wound.

The sniper rests in an alcove, bandaging his ear.

Goddamn bitch's owner can shoot. Damn. Asshole must think I'm dead, though.

Applying a liberal dose of a topical anesthetic, he grabs his rifle and goes back out to stalk his prey.

Maybe I should make like that old gangster story and shatter his arm in retaliation for the ear...

After a few minutes of silence, she tuned into her radio to check in on her crewmates. First checking in on Har-Bak and Stefan, she overheard that one of the enemies are using a shield that'd need a planet-buster to break.

Shit...well...if BOB can make a space station in a jerry-rigged EMP, I think he might know a thing or two about how to take this shield down.

Switching over to BOB, she wasn't thrilled to hear even more gunfire.

"BOB, I know this really bad timing, but you wouldn't by chance know how to shut down a shield whose only weakness is just short of a planet-busters?"

Gunshots rang out before BOB snapped at her, "You're damn bloody right that it's a bad time to ask! I have a runt of Lupinus using outdated guns, a Silver Samurai who thinks this is Feudal-fucking-Japan, and these damn xenophobes won't lie down and die! Even if I did know, not exactly much I could fucking do right now!"

Deciding not to pester the Synth any further, she flipped to Yorke, "Yorke, we're not the only ones with those human supremacists trying to shoot us up. BOB, the Lupinus, and apparently some guy with a sword are pinned down at Syra's place."

"Dammit..." Yorke swore.

"It only going to get worse," Basta replied, "Their commander who's over by Har-Bak and Stefan just activated an uber-shield. Something about only a planet-buster being able to take it down, and BOB isn't exactly keen with ideas on taking it down at the moment."

"Not exactly the best news that I wanted to hear." Yorke spoke into his radio while still holding the rifle tightly. "Tell them to keep up their defense and tell Har-Bak or Stefan to point out anyone in particular that's giving him trouble and make sure it doesn't involve me trying to snipe the planet-buster shield guy."

"Will do." Basta replied as Yorke began to once again set up his rifle to provide cover to those below. "Also you may want to get back here soon since this wound isn't all much to be happy about."

"Stay safe till then Basta and apply any supplies you need in small quantities. Yorke out." He turned off his radio and examined the multiple targets. The flashes of small arms fire gave away the positions of a great deal of any possible foes and even allies. Adjusting the scope his attention turned to that of a small group heading towards Stefan's position. There were three in total closing in on the medic and then with the squeeze of trigger caused one to collapse as the round propelled itself into the supremacist's neck. Thirteen.

This proved to be a viable distraction for one of the supremacists as he turned to see the corpse of his formerly-living companion. Popping out of his cover, Stefan fired his Foley several times and nailing the supremacist in chest killing him. The last supremacist fired at Stefan only missing him slightly, but forced the medic to return to cover.

Turning his sight onto the surviving supremacist, Yorke began lining up his shot and with a faint release of breath moved his finger to pull the trigger. Suddenly, the slamming of a round was felt against his cover and forced him to get duck taking his rifle with him. I thought I killed this guy already! His mind seemed to scream at him as another round launched a new burst of dust appeared above him.

Shit, I missed, the sniper thought, putting another round in the air to make him keep his head down, Fucker knows I'm alive now.

He sighs and taps his comm device a few times.

"Bradley, it's Sachs. You still got those laser-designated mortars? ... Good. I've got one of the designators on me. Tell me when you're in place. Be a couple blocks out from the goods, behind a few buildings. Fuckers have a sniper, so be careful."

Between the muffled gunfire and radio chatter, Basta curled up in fear. She was barricaded in a small bathroom, no weapon to protect herself, and only a couch between her and a human supremacist group that were well armed and rather riled up with a mix-matched group of aliens outside.

This is Ord Melul anymore. Since I left, I've been shot and nearly raped...I have to start being more proactive about keeping myself safe.

Pushing the door open, she padded across the room to a dingy sink. Testing the sink and seeing that there was no water flow, she crouched down and found a pipe about the length of her upper arm.

Begging that the gunfire would cover the sound, Basta got to work on removing the pipe from the wall. After several minutes of coaxing, Basta pried the pipe away, spilling rust water all over the floor.

She then slipped back to the bathroom stall and waited...

Another round cracked onto the edges of the small brick cover causing Yorke to flinch. He needed to find some way of killing the opposing sniper, there was still room to escape from the kitchen but the enemy sniper wouldn't let him rest. He tried peering from his cover and took note of small glint of the rifle. Pressing himself closer to the wall, he began feeling for a collection of bricks that wouldn't cause them to collapse. Soon enough, he found the small collection and proceeded to removing each individual brick.

Removing the final brick and hearing the silence gave him the motivation needed to push the barrel of the rifle through the newly created hole. There he is. Yorke's eye widen in anticipation as he began noticed his target who was merely staring into his scope waiting till Yorke would pop out from his cover. You did good, but you ended up on the wrong end of a scope here. The thought echoed through his head as the round propelled itself from the rifle and into his target causing him to collapse. Not the kill shot I was hoping for, but mortally wounding him will have to do for now.

Lifting himself up and dusting off the bits of debris that landed on his jacket, he made his way to the exit of the kitchen. He looked at the barricaded doorway and moved towards the couch blocking the exit and began to push the object away.

Once that was finished, the next order on the agenda was to retrieve his wounded crew mate. Entering the bathroom, "Basta, we're free to go now. That sniper is mortally wounded and now we can change our floor before any others take note on this place." One of the stalls began opening and out came his navigator clutching a piece of rusted pipe.

"What are you holding....?” York sighed as he saw the sad sight of a wounded Altaic navigator with a piece of rusted pipe as her means of self-defense. "Well, I needed something and this was better than my bare fists." She said moving towards Yorke, "Now can we please find somewhere else to hide? This isn't something that smells well." Yorke opened the door and let the feline through as both made their way towards the door.

"In position," the radio crackles. The sniper heard it faintly through the pain of his wound. His body moving on autopilot despite the screaming signals it sent to his brain, he levels his rifle and points it at the building his foe was hiding in and presses a button alongside the barrel.

"Target marked," he says weakly into the radio. The last thing he hears is the whistle of mortars dropping towards their target.

Yorke and Basta exit the room, keeping the rifle leveled in case of any surprise attacks from operators within the vicinity. Basta was behind him and clutched the rusted pipe tightly to her chest. "We ain't heading downstairs. At least not that way." Yorke said as he needed towards one of the more nearby doors and proceeded to push it open.

"So what's the plan then, we just stay in this room and plan a surprise attack?" Basta said following him in. "Too predictable and too limited on any supplies to do anything." Yorke said nearing one of the windows and forced it open. "We're going to head down the fire escape."

Pointing to the nearby discarded sheets thrown across the living room floor, "Tear some of those up. Well use them as gloves to slide down the ladder and some extra bandage material in case your wound starts bleeding again." Basta rushed towards the sheets and began tearing the material as her captain went through the window and looked at the ladder which connected to one of the lower balconies.

"I think that we have more than enough material from these sheets now." Basta said as he began gathering the supplies up and headed towards the window. Yorke nodded in approval and held out his hand to help the injured Altaic through the small opening. "I'll go down first, then you. Can't have you going down this ladder without someone spotting you."

Yorke wrapped the cloth tightly around his arms and slid down the ladder with the cloth preventing any sort of burns or scratches from appearing upon his hands. Feeling his feet touch the balcony he let go of the ladder. "Your turn, Basta. Keep it slow and you'll be fine. The balcony is low enough to the ground that we shouldn't have any more problems from here on." He shouted above as Basta began her descent towards him.

The sound of something whizzing above caused both of them to become startled. "Yorke, what's that noise?" Basta said not turning around, but her body becoming visibly tenser as she kept climbing down. "Basta! I need you to jump now!" He shouted back as he began to recognize the sound of incoming mortars. "What!? Are you crazy?" She shouted as the first mortar smashed against the building causing it to shake and knocking her off of the ladder.

Rushing towards his falling teammate and managing to grip onto her causing both of them to tumble onto the floor of the balcony. Lifting himself up and Basta who was still dazed after the fall. He looked over the side and examined the probability of them surviving the small fall and odds seemed better than stay on the balcony. The second stream of mortars began to hammer the building. Getting a running start, Yorke hoped that the small jump wouldn't do any harm as he tucked himself still clutching Basta and hoping for the best.


"And there we go," Oeh-Wje says, "It's at full power. With none of that stupid 'charging time' bullshit. Any gun that needs to charge up is a worthless piece of shit that shouldn't exist."

She gets up and fires, concentrated pressure jet moving at nearly the speed of light. It rips tight through the shield, hitting the Terra Prima thug in the neck. The sheer force of it rips his body apart, and the beam continues, slicing holes through buildings, bystanders, and aircraft before shooting off into space.

"That's going to fuck up someone's day. But I'll probably be dead by then, so it doesn't matter," she says, dialing the power on her rifle back down. Another few shots from the gun sliced the rest of the thugs up, finishing them off.

Behind her, the other Terra Prima captain lets out a bloodcurdling scream of anguish. Hayashi Toro's knife is lodged in his cybernetic hand, which is fizzling and sparking. The captain himself was screaming and clawing at his eyes while his hand whipped back and forth, beating himself up while Toro looked on dispassionately. "That's the thing with cybernetics," he says, "They get jacked into your brain. Computer viruses can have... interesting effects. There's a reason I built a firewall into the Kovacs Device."

"The what now?" Oeh-Wje asks.

"The Kovacs Device. I built it; named it after a character in a novel series so old you probably haven't heard of it, despite how awesome it is. It transmits my memories and brain structure to a central hub and lets me transfer my consciousness to a new body whenever I die."

"That sounds useful," Oeh-Wje says, "When can I get one?"

"Well, if I were to permanently die within the next year, you'd get it a few quintillion years after the heat death of the universe."

"If you're done talking," Risir says, "We can get back to the spaceport with my stuff and you can get paid."

"Good. I like getting paid."

"Then let's get moving," Risir says, pushing both pairs of handcarts.

"Aye. See ya around," Hayashi says, waving in farewell as he grabs his knife from his fallen foe, carefully putting in an antivirus program to clean it.



"Since Syra's dead," Risir says, "I guess I'll just transfer payment to Oeh-Wje." He retrieves the bag from the table and starts to walk away with White Wolf in tow.

"Who the fuck takes physical payment these days?" the samurai mutters as he leaves.



The Dawn Voyager team stumbled into their hanger, weary and tired. BOB-5 spared Roar-Ree, their mechanic, a brief glare before walking quickly to Yorke's side.

"You sure about this 'un, Cap'm?" he says, speaking quietly, "He seemed reckless and more than a little stupid."

"Reckless and stupid he may be, but we really need an engineer about now. And Lloyd had specifically mentioned to keep an eye out for him. He must see some talent," Yorke says, helping a still-injured Basta up into the ship.

"Yeah, or the soddin' bugger was just pulling yer leg."

"I highly doubt Lloyd would do that."

"Cap'm, I've been working with him for a few centuries now. ’Ee's older than your bleedin' star system. A little bit o' whimsicality like tha' is very much in his style. 'Ee's got a hard time relatin' to folks like us, you know?"

"I'll take this under advisement, Bob," Yorke says, laying the Altaic down in the medbay, "If Roar-Ree is as bad as you say, we'll cut him loose and get another engineer."

Bob, clearly not happy with the arrangement, stalks off to his cabin.

Yorke walked into the communications room, stifling a small shiver of dread. According to BOB-5, Syra was dead. This was another failure. After two in a row he wasn't certain how he'd fare with his employer. He touches the panel to open the doors, and then stops cold.

Lloyd was there, waiting for him.

"41 Aught and 47 Aght each has been added to you and your crew's accounts," he says, "Congratulations on a successful mission."

"Thanks," Yorke says, haltingly.

"And don't worry about Syra's death. He was an asshole."

With that being uttered, Yorke became less tense with the situation and the closed the doors behind him. He walked closer to the shape-shifter to talk more business.

"The information about Terra Prima's involvement into the mission must've reach your ears then."

"Of course. As it should've been apparent in our relationship by now, I have eyes everywhere. I suppose, that you running into them should be expected considering the state of the planet."

"Understandable. Also, the engineer you sent along with us, Roar-Ree. I'm assuming you sent him to fill the position of our previous engineer." Yorke said hoping to confirm his suspicions on the role of the Lupinus.

"I didn't send him," Lloyd says, "Syra hired him and I pointed him out to you, since you were missing an engineer. What you did after that is your business."

"I see..." Yorke says.

"Yes. Risir has also contracted you specifically for a job. I'll give you the details later," Lloyd says, getting up and moving towards the door.

"Oh," he says, halting just before he reaches the entryway," Congratulations on your first zero-casualty mission."

And with that, he exits the room and strolls out of the Dawn Voyager.

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