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6/25/3030


Evan Washington relaxes in a bar, sipping a gin on the rocks and munching on half a sandwich. he lounges in the booth, enjoying the alcohol, when one of his crewmembers, Red Harris, comes in, waving at him. "Thought I'd find you in here," she says, taking a seat across from him and grabbing the other half of the sandwich from his plate. "Got a call from one of our contacts on MegaPlex."

"Oh? What'd they say?"

"You know that custom weapons dealer from Ord Melul, Abe-something? Made some good shit, kinda insane, had a Synth fetish?"

"Abram Abakumov?'

"Yeah, that's the one. Anyway, looks like he owed one of the big shots on MegaPlex some serious cash."

"Isn't debt collecting for their enforcers?"

"Here's the thing, see. Robo-fucker's dead, and everything he made'll be auctioned off on the black market."

"Lemme guess, you want us to get there first and sell it to them?"

"Nothing that rash. I do value my life, you know. What's happened is we've got a contract offer to obtain the weapons and appraise them for the 'Plex guy. We get a 20% cut from the auction."

"And the catch? There's a reason they're not handling this internally."

"Ord Melul is a mess right now. Some back-alley doctor stole from a cartel, and they attacked in retaliation. You remember that Yorke guy?"

"Yeah. Merchant based out of Ord Melul. He was our contact there for a while, but he dropped off the radar. Why?"

"He was in the clinic when it happened. He and one other guy defended it. Crazy shit. But after that, the cartels sent in a very large force to capture the doctor, Yorke, the other guy, and torch the place."

"Shit. That's why we haven't heard form him?"

"No. Rumor has it he's BCA now, but that's besides the point. That doctor had contacts in several other cartels, all of whom reacted. None of them knew he was in bed with the others, though. So now there's one huge-ass gang war down there. Apparently bad enough that the NGLA is sending a team there."

"Fuck..." Evan says, sighing. The NGLA team would pose even more of a problem. Explains why they're offering us so much, though. Damnit, this is too damn big to pass up on.

"I'll meet you on the ship in two hours. Gather everyone in the briefing room, and I'll figure a plan. I'm going to Abakumov's storage space alone, though. More than one will attract too much attention."

Two hours later, The North Star

You'd think by now that the gangs would stop trying to kill each other. Atleast long enough for me to grab a few things and leave. Evan sighed as he began climbing the steps onto his ship. He had asked 'Red' to get the rest of the crew together while he threw together a plan, but the lack of confirmation on his communicator left him with some doubts. Wait a minute. Evan began searching himself, Shit. Don't tell me I dropped that damn thing.

After a quick search of pockets, he came out empty handed. "Great. Guess I'm going to have to scavenge the entire planet for that thing." He spoke before someone clearing their throat caught his attention.

"Missing something?" Amelia spoke out before tossing the device to him, which he caught. "You really need to be more careful with these thing you know that right?"

"Yeah, yeah. I'll be fine. After all I did hire you all for a reason." Evan responded. "So is everyone... you know?"

"On board?" Another person entering the conversation came, his thick Russian accent booming. "Your answer is yes, just waiting on you for the time being, Evan." He went back into the ship as Evan and Amelia followed suit. After passing a few rooms and they managed to reach the room.

What was inside was an array of various species sitting around a table waiting for orders. The table in the center of the room had an array of maps set around, each images of the location or in the center an overhead map of the entire area.

"So we got a job. And if any of you ever had any dreams of being repo men at one point then this will be more than enjoyable for you." Evan said smiling as walked into the greeting the various members of his crew; seven in total not including himself.

"Alright, our old friend Abram has turned up and we're going to his old place to pick up a few things. They'll be auctioned off at MegaPlex City, but first we need to get to them. The surrounding area has exploded into a gang war and rumor has it that an NGLA is being deployed to try and contain the threat." Evan spoke as he began drawing circles around the map in the center. "From what I've gathered, our biggest forms of resistance are going to be here and here."

"So more target practice?" One of the Eurypt spoke up, "You think those gangs will manage to put up some sort of fight or piss themselves once we get our boots on the ground."

"Hope for the best in this one, Ald-Ver. Because most of you are going to work as distraction, while I work my way towards the storage. Keep an eye out for the NGLA teams."

"Continue to update me with progress and I'll be sure to update you as the mission goes along." Evan smiled and looked around at his crew, "Get ready to kick some ass out there."

His crew erupted in cheers as they lifted their weapons or fists in agreement.

Evan walks out of the spaceport on Ord Melul, his H&C Lodestar displayed prominently at his hip. The gang war on Ord Melul was hot, and his crewmates had just set out to make it even hotter. He walked down a street and slipped into a side alley. A pair of thugs from one of the Ord Melul cartels gets up from the game they were playing, but Evan draws his pistol and fires two three-round bursts to finish them off.

He continues through the alley until the end and looks for hostiles in a mirror. Seeing none, he crosses the street and steps up to a warehouse, breaking the rusting lock with a few strikes from a rock, the intermittent racket of gunfire masking the sound. He enters and climbs up to the roof, taking out a pair of binoculars.

"So if my information is correct," he mutters to himself, "Abram's storehouse should be in the back of his old shop which is... there!" he spots a dilapidated and battle-scarred shopfront, directly across from the loading dock that took scrap to and from the junkyard.

The sounds of gunfire intensified through streets, signaling that his team was doing its job. The area around Abram's shop, however, is a prime strategic position. The four major cartels occupying that space weren't going to up and leave because of some gunfire elsewhere.

A couple shots rang out from that direction.

Looks like they'll start fighting instead. That should clear some of them out for me.

Snapping his binoculars back together, Evan pulled out his communicator and lifted it. "Red, you there?" Waiting for a response from the other, but hearing the occasional bits of gun fire going off.

"Nice to hear that you’re still kicking. Anything to report?" She spoke before the sound of several rounds slamming into something metallic has heard. "Shit. Nikolai, tell Novoro we got a machine gun on top of the bar!"

"Which one?! There's like five of them on this street." Nikolai asked, while Red spouted a reply.

"Sorry about that."

"Keeping busy, I presume. Well, I have a question for you. How far away is the team? Might need some sniper support here."

"Can't do, Evan. Enemy resistance is thick enough on our end, can't risk bringing anymore. Red out."

Evan sighed, "Guess I'm doing this the hard way." As he began making his way back down towards the streets. His feet crunching the rubble underneath his feet. He slowly heads back to one of the guards and begins searching their bodies, before finding what he needs. "Perfect."

Turning he heads to the corner of an alleyway and peaks his head out for any hostiles. Seeing none, but deciding to not take any chances, he grabs a nearby piece of rubble and tosses it into the street. No activity appears and dashing across the street into one of the nearby buildings.

The partially ruined dinner had bits of rubble scattered across the tiling, but other than and the thin layer of dust covering the furnishings, the place seemed relatively un-hit from the onslaught. Evan hooped behind the counter and began heading towards the back of the building.

Evan reaches to turn the knob to enter the kitchen and go out the back entrance when his communicator starts to vibrate. "Evan here. What is it?" he says, picking it up.

"It's Red. Royale Terre has just put out a notification that an NGLA team has landed at the BCA Spaceport."

"What? Already?"

"Yeah. I'm looking at the newsfeed now. Three humans, a Eurypt, a Skaakian, a Drothian, a Chlorin and... a Yekulra? The hell?"

"Tell the rest of the crew, and warn them to stay out of their way."

"Even the Kush? We could probably get a fortune for him in MegaPlex."

"Red, are you insane?"

"Kidding, Ev. Kidding. The Chlorin seems to be operating remote drones from inside the spaceport, so despite his brittle bones we can't get 'im. The others will start their own efforts, soon."

"You thinking what I'm thinking?"

"Use 'em as a distraction," Nikolai chimes in, "We'll be less likely to die."

"Exactly," Red says, "But we need to be fucking careful. These guys are packing serious heat; they've each got a Lawman ICWP for starters."

"Well shit. Meet me at Abram's warehouse, Red. I'll need some help to get the goods out of there. Evan out."

As Evan closes his communicator, he hears the breaking of glass and the sound of a rolling metal canister. He ducks down behind the bar as the hiss of a smoke grenade obscured the room. A hail of gunfire broke the rest of the glass, sparking off of the tempered steel bar that keeps Evan safe.

As the smoke clears, he sees the silhouettes of five assault rifle-wielding cartel members looking in.

Are you kidding me? He shouts internally trying to get the best view possible of the cartel members entering the building. Position is compromised and making a dash into the kitchen is suicide. He begins digging through is pockets before finding his grip on what he needed.

Another series of rounds sparked up once more again his cover as the cartel men continued moving forward. C'mon just a little closer. Their reflections appearing in nearby piece of metal. Once the group got into position, he threw the item and two seconds later it went off.

"Shit! I'm blind here!" Shouted one of the cartel members as others held their faces in agony. Taking the chance, Evan jumped out his cover and grabbed the head of a cartel member who wandered too close to the counter. His other hand ripping his weapon out his hands and slamming his face into the counter. Then aiming he fired into the man and two nearby accomplices, killing the three before jolting towards the back.

"I swear, I'm going to tear that piece of shit apart when I get my hands on him!" The cartel member slowly manages to re-gain his sight along with the other remaining member.

"Be sure to leave him alive long enough before I get a round in with him." The other responded as both began heading towards the back, weapons raised. And upon entering they noticed the room was empty; minus the mess behind the previous occupants and typical kitchen supplies, supply closest, drawers, etc. "Must've gone out through the back..."

One of the members slowly began moving towards the exit while the other stayed behind. The member opened the door to the back and once again noticed nothing. "He's gone. Didn't get far though." The sound of something hitting against metal caused his turn just long enough before to see his assailant rip a round through his cortex.

The other member meanwhile turned around trying to lift his rifle before Evan charged at him and tackled into one of the nearby counters. His back slamming into the metal causing him to gasp for along with a kitchen knife being plunged to the hilt into his chest certainly didn't help matters.

"Next time, check the cabinets." Evan said before his putting the pistol to his head and pulling the trigger. Splattering the nearby sliverware with crimson liquid. Before dusting himself off.

Evan walked through the alleyways, skulking around the sounds of gunfire. The goal of this mission was to get the guns, not to kill the cartels. He moved through the alleyways, checking the readout on his tablet to see he was about a quarter of the way to the warehouse.

He looks out of the alleyway to an abandoned hostel; the word "shabby" would have been ashamed to be associated with the place even before the conflict, but it was now a bombed-out shell of its former self.

He sees four red leather skulls bobbing through the wreckage, the distinctive jackets giving away the squad of Arcadian Cartel members scoping the place out. He reaches into his coat and pulls out another pair of flash grenades. Street's one-lane. One grenade should get me across and the second should let me kill them.

A closer, different sound of gunfire catches his attention, and he halts. He spots a woman moving silently towards the group of four, with a shotgun in hand. The barrel appeared to be sawed off partway, and then had a muzzle brake fitted to it. She checks her targets and fires twice, cutting three of the men down with a wide burst.

She switches to the secondary revolver mechanism as the fourth cartel member turns, and she fires a slug into his face. She continues down the street, apparently headed in a different direction than he was.

"Be careful, Evan," Red's voice comes over his comm, "There's an NGLA in your area."

"Already figured that out."

"Well, keep safe out there. Our end is turning out well enough minus trying to the whole gun fire part of this job. We'll see you soon, Red out."

Evan turned off his communicator and looked out once more to ensure that the NGLA member had left the area. After a quick scan, he silently thanked the woman for help before moving off once more to his destination.

Considering to scavenge the weapons from the corpses left aside from the cartel members before deciding against it. As tempting as a rifle or SMG was, it wasn't worth the risk or sticking around for new cartel members to arrive on the scene.

While walking down the street, Evan does a quick check of his sidearm and the rest of his equipment. Still got 13 rounds left in the Lodestar, two flashbangs, my knife and my Performant. About a quarter of the way there and distraction is still working.

His face broke into a smile as he continued down the road. Not a bad start, things are continuing to look up here. Still he stuck close to the entrances of buildings or alleyways for any signs of danger. And occasionally looking behind himself for any pursuers.

After several minutes of silence, well what would have been silence if not for the intensifying sound of gun fire. And the crunch of bits of scattered rock underneath. The sounds of something incoming snapped him out of his mundane trace.

It took a moment to process the sound, but soon enough a clear image of what it was hit him. Rushing into one of the nearest alleyways before finding cover behind a dumpster. The sound got progressively closer causing him to draw the Lodestar in case, the position was compromised.

The drone gently hovered looking into the alleyway for any hostiles. Its 'eye' scanning the alleyway and moving in. Evan cursed under his breath as the device began moving closer to his position. Guess, I don't have much of a choice.

Just as he was prepared to jump out and fire, the drone had suddenly stopped before it began flying off in another direction. Likely due to it being attracted to gun fire in one of the opposite directions. And with that, Evan sighed and lowered his firearm once more.

"Dude, we need to figure out who makes the NGLA guys' weapons," Nikolai says, voice floating out from the communicator, "The human male's packing some crazy heat."

"Elaborate," Evan whispers, dodging around a pair of cartel thugs.

"Well, you know the Skyrian Cartel, right? How they have those KEDS-5000 model Synths as grunts?"

"Yeah. Tough buggers, need to hit them exactly right with a plasma round to disable them. Why?" Evan ducks into a ruined building, checking his position on his map while catching his breath next to a dessicated corpse.

"Well, I spotted a squad. This guy, he just strolls into the street and pulls a pistol from his coat. Drops all three in ten seconds flat. Then one of 'm Eurypt motherfuckers from the Khairbana Cartel shows up, full heavy plate."

"Shit," Evan says, shooting down two Cartel members who were blocking his exit route, "What happened?"

"He does something to the gun and fires twice. The Eurypt starts screaming and smoking."

"Fuck," Evan says, ducking behind a wall, "Depleted Uranium Incendiaries?"

"Got it in one. And fuck, some more assholes are coming this way. See ya, comrade."

Nikolai turns his communicator off, and Evan looks out at the square in front of him. The sounds of gunfire were fierce, with bullets chipping away at everything in sight. The Arcadian, Skyrian, Khairbana, and Sicario Cartels were still fighting over that strategic position in front of Abram Abavumov's old shop. There was no back way, and no cover. His team was still far away.

Ah shit, Evan thinks, The fuck am I going to get through this one?

There has to be something here.... Evan continued looking around for any possible way to make this easier, but still he couldn't find anything within the vicinity.

Prepping one of his flashbangs, Evan moved in as close as he could before tossing it underhanded causing it to roll the remaining way to the nearest cartel. Diving back behind the cover of a nearby building as the device went off. A few shouts would erupt causing a bit of chaos amongst the members of the based on the screams a human group either Sicario or Arcadian.

The sounds of gun fire seemed to be hitting that area particaully hard afterwards. Before it all went silent once more, peaking his head out, Evan could see why. Most of the Sicario members had been tore apart by the hail of gunfire and the ones that did survive were pinned down.

One down, three more to go. Evan prepped his next flashbang, he threw it. This time landing near the other human group, but one of the men seemed to take notice of the device and toss it towards the Eurypt where it soon detonated.

Some of the members were killed due to the new onslaught, but not enough to annihilate the entire squad. Slipping back into his cover, Evan had to think of a new plan, but first he heads back to the two dead guards and scavenges some supplies.

Grabbing a assault rifle with three loaded magazines and taking off the pouch off the other man which contained two Needler grenades. Evan made his way towards a nearby building and used the dumpster to help reach the roof.

There he began setting up and hiding behind a small wall on the roof. Switching the rifle to semi-auto. And once the sound of gun fire became loud enough, Evan took his first shot hitting one of the Arcadian members furthest away from the group once then twice in the chest.

The remaining members of the Sicario Cartel fall back slightly, not leaving the area but concentrating in a more defensible position. The KEDS-5000 Synths that made up the Skyrian Cartel's grunts trained their arm-mounted plasma cannons on the Khairbana Cartel, which was still reeling from the prior flash grenade.

Evan ducks behind a ledge, but not before the leader of the Arcadian Cartel squad notices him.

"You three, go get 'im," he says, pointing at one member with a submachine gun and two more with shotguns, "Seems like the Sicaros want to get the drop on us."

"Aye boss."

The three Arcadian Cartel members move towards the building Evan ducked into, intent on obeying their orders. Their leader tosses a couple Needler Grenades at the huddled-together Sicario Cartel survivors, wiping them out.

Steady breaths. Steady breaths. Evan thought to himself as lined up the rifle with the nearest head of a Kharibana cartel member before tapping the trigger and round ripping through one of his eyes before another silenced him. Fifteen rounds left till I run dry and need to recharge. And atleast two dozen targets left.

"Wait a minute." Switching his sights back to the Arcadian cartel he took note of missing members. Counting the corpses and still coming up short on the amount originally there. "Where in the hell..."

Lowering himself back to grab a Needler to take out the remaining Arcadians. A moment later, that same move would come to save him as a small burst chipping the piece of ledge. Snapping his up, Evan switched to full-auto on the rifle and emptied the magazine into the human. Little pops appearing all over his chest as he fell off of the roof, dying before he even hit the ground.

The other members of group sent to kill him meanwhile were also climbing to the roof. Pointing his rifle once more, Evan prepared to fire, but the click of the rifle caused him to throw the weapon to his side.

Pulling out his Lodestar and firing, trying to keep the enemy at bay while he rushed towards a new piece of cover.

The two finishing reaching the top and see the pack and rifle of the man that was supposed to be here. "Fan out. He's probably lying around somewhere."

Lying in wait, Evan noticed the barrel of the shotgun getting closer to peeking into his cover. Just as it reached above him, pulling around the corner, he fired a round into the man's foot. Gripping the barrel of the shotgun he lurched it upwards to the man's face. Pulling the trigger, the shotgunner's face went into a red mist.

The leader of the Arcadian Cartel forces looks back at the house worriedly. He'd heard several gunshots, but no word from his team.

"Boss!" one of his men calls out, pointing to the sky. The leader looks up just in time to see a squad of drones open fire on his position.

"Thought you said we weren't getting any air support," the leader of the Skyrian Cartel forces radios in.

"You're not," the radio replies, "That damn NGLA crew is using the same model drones we do."

Taking the sidearm from the falling cartel members holster, Evan turns the barrel towards the remaining Arcadian cartel member. Three pops appearing in chest, killing the man.

Evan sighed as he began wiping the some of the blood off his face from the previous foe. Taking the shotgun from the dead corpse, Evan examined the weapon, taking note of it only have two shots left over and tossing the weapon to the side. Before going over to pick up the remaining bits of equipment and looking upon the drones now moving into the area.

"Shit." Leaning down behind the ledge, Evan spouted and getting to his radio. "Red, Nikolai, anyone on the other end? I'm going to need a status report here."

"And you got one." The booming Russian voice entered through the communicator. "We have just about finished mopping up most of the resistance on our side, minus a few mooks that decided dying was worth a shot at a promotion or just too fresh meat to take the chance to run."

"Nice to hear that, Nikolai. But I'm kind of running into my own problems here. Apparently the Chorlin learned it was a good idea to send in drones to mop up the gun battle down on my end." Evan had a slight chuckle escape his lips, "So as you can tell, I'm not int the best position. Any idea when you and Red will make it over here?"

"Wish I could help you there, boss. But its going to be a bit. Just hold out or find a way in before we reach you. Nikolai out."

And wait Evan did as he used the iron sights to examine the drones moving closer towards the remnants of the cartels struggling to survive.

The drones fires at the remaining 16 Cartel members, wiping them out in less than a minute. The drones then scatter elsewhere. Evan looks out at the square, making sure the coast is clear.

"Nikolai, Red, I'm entering Abram's shop. Meet me there."

Evan sprints across the square and into the shop. He sweeps the building, taking care that no other Cartel thugs were hiding. He rests his hand on the door out to the back yard where Abram kept all his projects when he hears footsteps behind him. Thinking it's Red and Nikolai, he turns around, saying "About ti..."

His voice dies in his throat as he sees someone entirely different walk in. A human male, slightly above average height, with a close-cropped beard and mustache with short hair. He wears an open grey windbreaker with an NGLA badge on the left sleeve over a polo shirt and cargo pants.

"And who are you?" Evan asks.

"Nicholas Drauf. I'm an enforcer," the man replies.

"Takes some balls for a gang enforcer to wear those stripes," Evan says, gesturing towards the man's sleeves, "Tell you what. You leave here and I won't let the NGLA know someone's wearing their rank badges."

Drauf simply laughs. "That's Captain Nicholas Drauf, leader of the Broken Chain. I am NGLA, and I'm here to enforce the contract that has been broken."

"Contract? I don't remember breaking a contract. Nor signing one."

"It was writ in the blood of your forefathers, and signed by your cries as you left your mother's womb. That was the contract you broke, and I am here to mete out the punishment."

"You lost me."

"The Social Contract, dipshit. What most beings call 'morality,' which is then incentivized into the law. Come on, man, I can't meet my dramatic monologue quota if you keep interrupting me."

"Seriously? A 'dramatic monologue quota'?"

"Yeah." Drauf draws a pistol from his belt - obviously custom work - and points it directly between Evan's eyes. "Now then. You're here alone, and I have a gun to your head. Cooperate, and you won't die."

"Woah, woah, what about that monologue? I'll listen."

"I'll just do that in the interrogation room. Now will you come with me in cuffs or in a body bag?"

"Neither," a voice from behind him says, as he feels a gun at his back. Drauf puts his hands up, still holding on to his pistol.

"Damn, Red. You're a lifesaver."

"You can thank me later. Now, NGLA man, put down your weapons."

"They'll explode if they leave a certain distance from me."

"We'll just have to take you with us, then," Evan says.

The sound of a shotgun pumping behind Red draws her attention away, along with her gun. Drauf takes the opportunity to level his pistol back at Evan.

"Oiche. Nice timing. So nice, in fact, I'd almost say it was contrived."

"Contrived my ass," Oiche says, as Red and Drauf back up next to their respective partners, "Let's just say you owe me a drink."

"Works for me."

The standoff is quickly interrupted by the sound of vehicles pulling up outside.

"More of your Cartel buddies?" Drauf asks.

"Don't have any," Evan replies.

Drauf raises an eyebrow and lowers his pistol. "Let's take care of these guys and then we'll finish our talk."

"Deal," Evan says. The four quickly find cover behind the broken shelves, tables, and counter.

"Cuir, what're we looking at?" Oiche says into her comm.

"A little over 20 Arcadian Cartel guys," a voice floats out of her comm, "I'll provide what backup I can, but it won't be much."

“Your friend with the drones plan on stopping by?” Evan said getting his pistol off the desk and grabbing a few of the other spare guns he gathered before entering the store. “Because if he is, then make sure that he realizes that me and Red over there are not the guys trying to kill you."

“You should be fine, as long as you can keep out of the line of fire.” Drauf replied getting to his bit of cover.

The cartels on the outside getting into their positions behind the vehicles. While a man fully-dressed in combat armor with rifle in hands steps atop of the truck.

"Alright. You man in the suit and chick with red scarf. I know you're in there and not in leagues with the two fucks that killed my men. So, in good faith, I'm going to offer you a deal. Just hand over the NGLA and we'll be square. Spilt the shit in the shop, 50/50. And then we will be on our way okay."

The air remaining tense as both sides continued pointing their weapons at the other. "But if you don't." The sounds of the cartel members’ firearms prepped in unison. "Guess we'll just have to finish you along with law trash."

Speaking up and lifting himself and putting his Lodestar on the ground, Evan spoke, "See that deal sounds very tempting. And I'm sure you'd like to see justice come to these two that wronged you. Trust me, as one fellow human being to another I can see why you take issue with these two, but I regret to inform you that I cannot just turn these two into you."

"Well, I guess you'll just have to die li-" A piercing sound rippled through the air before the leader slipped down. A round having connected and blown out the entire front of his face.

Red grabbing and pulling Evan down before the rounds began ripping to where he once was. "Do you have a death wish!?"

"Guess, I do. On the bright side though, I killed the brains." Evan said slipping the Preformant back into his sleeve. "Good think I didn't forget this right?"

"Schlisse," Drauf mutters as the cartel members open fire, "So much for playing tactical." He glances at Oiche and nods, and the two holster their primary weapons and bring out their H&C Lawman ICWPs, configured to submachine guns for this mission. They then spray covering fire, anti-materiel rounds making mincemeat of the Arcadians' cover, killing several.

Evan and Red fired as well, hitting several cartel members as they poked out from cover. Hearing the rate of fire from the NGLA duo dwindling, Evan looks over to see Drauf firing his pistol at the Arcadians, plasma slugs streaking through the air. This naturally, brought a good deal of fire towards his position. Between the three of them, they whittled the Arcadians' number down to a group of five.

Two shotgun blasts resound from behind the cartel lines, and then all gunfire falls silent. Oiche slinks out from behind the cartel lines, and the four stand up. "Cuir, how's that backup coming?" Drauf says into his comm.

"Got my drones making a perimeter," the Chlorin's voice comes back, "You should be good 'til their ammo runs dry."

"Good."

"Nice work, by the way," Oiche says, "You're definitely professional. What are you, mercs hired by a Cartel?"

Red shakes her head. "We're mercenaries, yes, but not with the cartels."

"We're working asset liquidation right now. Guy who owned this shop, Abram, owed a lot of money to a lot of people."

"Let me guess," Drauf says, "your job is to grab things from here for a debtor's auction?"

"Got it in one."

"Considering your little discussion with the Arcadians, I'm assuming this debtors auction won't be attended by any legal parties, correct?"

Red and Evan both move for their guns, but Drauf and Oiche raise their own before they can reach. The two mercenaries raise their hands over their heads.

"From that reaction, I'd say so. Makes you criminals. As members of the NGLA, we ought to take you in. What do you think, Oiche?"

"I think we've got bigger fish to fry, Nick," she replies, "It's not every day you can clean four of the most powerful cartels in the sector out of a system."

"You have a point there. So we're going to let you go for now."

"'For now'?" Evan says.

"You're likely to be involved in other criminal activity. And now that you're on our radar, well..." Drauf shrugs as three of Cuir's drones fly in. "That's all for today. Behave."

Oiche and Drauf walk out the door and out of sight, trailed by the drones.

"That was... interesting."

"He seemed like a real nice guy if you ask me. A bit tense though" Evan joked as returned his sidearm to the holster. "So you want to give me a hand here? I could use a few."

"Sure, Evan. Also how do you expect to take this shit across a war zone?"

"Well, we do have a few cars out there. Minus the dead bodies around them and blood stains, the things should be able run. Any news on the others?"

"I managed to set-up a meeting place before I went out looking for you." Red spoke as she lifted one of the crates of supplies. "All we need to do is show up and we'll be on our way."

After several minutes of loading the crates, the duo was almost finished loading whatever could be found of value. Opening one of the crates, Evan overlooked its contents, "Heh. These guys really wanted to get a stone to bleed didn't they? All I'm finding is bits of junk and do dads."

Both began heading outside loaded the crates into the vehicles. Also taking the team to load up the extra gear from the scattered dead groups. Consisting of small arms mainly and on top of the crates was a droid with a single round going through the 'forehead.'

"That should fetch a nice price shouldn't it?" Evan announced proudly as he crossed the robots hands. "I like this guy. He has spunk."

"And the back of his head blown out. Still the bits should make for a good sale. And if that doesn't work out, then there's always the option to make him into a butler."

Evan chuckled at the thought, "Well then. That would be certainly something. Well, then, Red cab you go and get the last few crates. I'll get the car ready."

The woman nodded as she went back once more. Grabbing a few small boxes and began walking out. Her eyes catching a small safe on the way out as she did. "We always did pay extra for things. Besides, I'm sure he wrote us somewhere in that will."

"I like how you think, Red," Evan says, easing the safe out of the nook it was in, "Now let's see... multilevel electronic and biometric lock, so it can't be picked. Not normally, anyway." With a flourish, Evan jacks the slide on his Lodestar, catching the plasma bullet as it flew out. He grabs a pair of pliers and starts squeezing the lodestone glass surrounding the glowing plasma, holding the round over the lock.

"Boss..." Red says, baking away slowly, "What are you doing?"

"Cracking the lock." The glass shatters, and the plasma drips onto the lock in a burst of sparks and smoke before dissipating in a flash of heat. "Plasma is ionized gas," he explains, "and will short out these kinds of locks."

"Also will short out lives."

"Relax. I've done this before."

Red raises an eyebrow.

"Once. Just now. Anyway, let's see what's inside."

They open the box eagerly, pulling out an envelope and several stacks of papers. Red opens the envelope while Evan rifles through the other papers.

"Well, here's that 11,514 plaht you paid him last time," Red says, emptying the coins out.

"And here's the motherload. Blueprints for weaponry like I've never seen. Got a couple Ablation Carbine blueprints, a few high-yield plasma charges... Shit, is this a positron bomb? The fuck kind of clientele commissioned these?"

"Dangerous shit," a Russian voice says, walking in and pulling a canteen from his belt, "Some vodka might make the decision easier."

"No thanks, Nikolai," Evan says, smiling at his friend, "I need to stay sober."

"He's right, though. And dangerous means profitable," Red says.

"You hear what he was saying there? This shit gets into Terra Prima's hands, or worse - the Skeavers' claws, shit would get real crazy, real fast."

"And you know how much profit would be in for us with that crazy shit? Besides, destroy this and you're crossing R'thm Baasam."

"Hmm..." Evan says, mulling over the decision.

Coming to a conclusion, Evan put his hand out, "Nikolai, can I borrow your camera for a second."

"Da." The Russian responded reaching into his knapsack pulling out a small camera and throwing it to Evan. "Just don't delete anything, I like to keep pictures of where we visit."

"Thanks, Nikolai. And I stop talking like that. You ain't that old yet." Evan responded snapping a few pictures of the blueprints. Upon finishing, he began collecting all of the blueprints and slipping them back into the safe as they threw it into the vehicle. Tossing one in particular to Nikolai. "You know what to do. Alright, then. Time to head off kiddos."

Heading into the vehicle, Evan opted to drive while Red sat in the passenger seat and Nikolai making sure the supplies in the back we're secure before throwing the blue print on the ground.

"You sure you want me to do this, Evan? Could be worth a lot of money."

"I prefer not blowing up the galaxy I live in. Besides we always have a copy to ourselves." Evan said pointing the camera out the window and waving it.

Nikolai shook his head and switched to the attachment below his weapon. Hitting the switch and pulling the trigger. A stream of flame released from the weapon and caused the blueprint to turn into ashes. Seeing that there was nothing left, Nikolai headed off and jumped into the back seat.

"All is secure, Evan. The team should be waiting us around the pick-up zone. We've managed to 'commander' a vehicle." The Russian responded as his boss nodded and the vehicle began moving forward.

The three bounced along the deserted streets, steering around cartel battlegrounds as they attempt to rendezvous with the rest of their crew.

"War really did a number on the place," Red says as Evan swerves around a pothole, "I think we won't find much business here. Especially after the NGLA sends a crew to hold the place rather than the death squad they have massacring the Cartels."

"BCA spaceport should be safe," Nikolai says, "Only reason they haven't stepped in yet is they have no contract."

"I'd rather not get tangled in BCA business. Yorke's vanished when he joined up. Right here, boss."

"He's alive, though," Evan says, drifting around the corner, "Popped up in a couple GalNet images about unrest on Bliss."

"The one where he has a sniper rifle and an Altaic is looking at him?"

"That's the one," Evan says, dodging around a burned-out truck, "And what have we here?"

He slams on the breaks, spotting an Arcadian Cartel team hiding behind an armored van, exchanging fire with a couple Skyrian Cartel mechs on the rooftops. One of them aims a railgun at them and fires, launching a small cylinder at the Arcadians. The cylinder splits open to reveal a group of small mechs, shaped like lions, which appeared to have small cores of plasma making their paws and teeth glow. The miniature lions impact the wall behind the Arcadians and leap off, gutting several of them before exploding.

"What."

The Skyrians, noticing Evan and crew, swivel the gun towards them and load another cylinder.

"Do we have robotic fuckin' lions attacking us!?"

"And we have more coming our way too if don't get rid of that gun." Red responded as she fired off several rounds with most missing their mark and the others hitting a synth, but failing to kill.

"So how about we get out of here?" Nikolai spoke as the car began reversing, but managed to catch the attention of the synth with the railgun. Aiming once more at the group and clicking the trigger before several rounds impacted its head and killing it. Still the weapon hit the ground released a new group of lions.

The lions shook themselves and saw their new prey. The vehicle that continued backing away from the fire fight and charged once more.

"Shit." Nikolai responded as the group pulled out their firearms and began firing upon their new pursuers. Yet the synths on the roof took notice of the fire fight and began aiming at them, forcing Red to return fire.

Nikolai and Evan, meanwhile, finished off the remaining lions. Luckily finishing them off before they managed to reach the vehicle and causing several explosions around the area with debris and dust falling upon the area. With bits of gravel hitting the windshield.

"You might want to get a move on, Evan!" Red shouted as she killed several more synths, but their numbers continuing to remain steady.

Pushing his foot onto the pedal, he avoided the armored van and impending gun fire, but caught the eye of something else. The remaining lions gave chase to the group, their fangs at the ready.

Seeing the movement in the mirror, Nikolai lurched himself out once more and readied his flamethrower, launching a stream of flame towards the group. Several exploding as the heat set off the explosives, but two managed to avoid the flames.

"Fuck fuck fuck! Drive!" Red yells as she frantically shoots at the robotic lions chasing them. A long burst finally finds its mark, disabling one of the two lions left. As she reloads, the remaining lion scampers up a wall and leaps off, heading right for the side of Evan's head.

An explosion scatters fragments of metal and circuitry over the road, rattling the window. Looking out the windshield, they see a drone hovering in front of them, gun smoking. It wags its wings as a greeting and flies off, looking for more Cartels.

"Oddly kind of them," Red says as they drive towards the spaceport. Evans' comm beeps, and he picks up.

"Hello?"

"It's Drauf. NGLA has cleared the area around the spaceport. Be warned, though. You're on our radar now. Don't be stupid and we won't have to kill you."

The comm cuts off as suddenly as it opened.

"I think he likes you, Evan."

"I kind of figured it out. I tend to have a very charming personality."

"Well, let's hope your charming personality can give us a nice bonus when we give our employer what's left of Abram's junk." Red said as she kept her eyes on the road used one hand to wipe the sweat off her face.

"Speaking of charming others? How far away are we from the rest of my team. I'd prefer having more of us around next time mammals get shot out of gun."

"We should be there in a few minutes. Just sit tight until then."

"Sure, but any songs you want me to play on the radio? I got a track list that I've been meaning to try out and this seems like a good time as any."

"Evan. Just sit down."


Within minutes the two groups had met up once more. Standing around the other vehicles were the remaining crew members waiting around. While one member was busy collecting bits of what appeared to the explosive lion, but deactivated.

"Keeping busy, Four-Eyes?"

"Just interested in seeing how these things work. Also, don't worry, I already removed the parts that makes it go boom. Just don't go around messing with it. The EMP grenade is still experimental, so I can't promise it won't try clawing your face apart." The Revnorian said as he dropped the corpse into a container and locked it.


"Uh, good work then. Just keep the lion under lock and key, I guess."

"Will do."

Evan poured himself a glass of gin in a bar on MegaPlex. After looking around to make sure no one was trying to sneak up on him while he was drunk, he takes a long sip and faces his partner, Red. "That went well."

"If you ignore the fact that they suspect we kept some of the blueprints and that we didn't make any profit off of the ones that got torched, sure."

"Lighten up, Red. We got paid, we helped eliminate four cartels that were making our lives hell in the Aurate system, and - again - we got paid."

"And we're now on the NGLA's radar."

"I'm not too worried about that."

"Oh? Did I not see you eyeing every blue windbreaker with suspicion earlier?"

"Okay, fine, I am worried. But it was bound to happen sooner or later."

"There's the Evan I know that won't get himself shot. The slightly paranoid one that keeps us alive."

"Better is a bit paranoid and being alive, than slacking off and being dead."

"You take some time to think of that little line of yours?" Red took a seat next to her old friend and ordered a beer. The Human at the bar responded in kind and passed her one.

"Of course, this is my thinking time." Evan responded matter-of-a-factly as he took another swing from his drink before a hand smacked him upside the head causing him to spit his drink out. "What was that for?" he managed to spout in between the coughs.

"I don't think you're thinking straight quite yet or else you would've tried to avoid that. Guess, you'll just need another round in ya." Red smirked as she took a drink from her beer.

The arms dealer continued to cough, but a few chuckles managed to escape his lips though they sounded more like gasps for air. Taking a moment to compose himself before signifying the bar keep to bring another drink. "I'm stuck with you aren't I?

"Yep. And that's how its going to be like for quite some time as long as you keep bringing in credits. So hope you're ready to get plenty of thinking done tonight."

"And here I was thinking that you liked me for my charming personality and for the time we spent back on Harvest. What's it been like a decade or two since we met back there?"

"Yeah, around that. Seriously, though, just drink, we got enough time to wonder about the past when one of us is drunk." Red said her drink and it clanked along with Evan's.

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