Broken angels

12/26/13 Game
Notes to be transcribed

Doc examines dead alien when he finds a chameleon gland of some sort that causes it to blend into the table. 4 arms, top 2 razor sharp chitinous claws. 2 pair arms are 6 fingered hands with chitinous nails.

Divm and Doc make DEX checks when Doc lift ups a flap and something shoots out that nearly impales Divm and then hangs to the side. Like an organic grappling hook (12ft range) 8 of these total. Doc tells Divm to get out of the way as the Doc activates all of them so they don’t go off by accident. Creature is an ambush predator that’s dangerous up close that seem to stab and drag.

We agree that we need to check out the crater to see what happened to the people. The mine is near the crater. Doc rides with me on my bike while others get on the hover bikes so we can check out edge of town for a temp base to send out the drone. Town is pop 10k and 5m across.

Zodoni says we should go around the edge of town to avoid ambushes. Terrain is rough. We do RECON checks and crest over a hill to see pods in a small valley. Fleshy burrows. Biomass spreading over the ground. 12ft pool of a noxious substance. Bio-organic acid pool. Doc throws a rock in it and the rock doesn’t dissolve, just sinks to the bottom.

Motion sensors go off as 6 crawly things with guns come crawling out of the burrows. I light up the Flame Thrower as the Doc lowers his face shield. I hit 2 of the things and set them on fire as they screech and fall down. 1 SHOT USED.

Doc shoots one of them and blows its chest out of its back. Divm uses his magrail rifle and vaporizes another. Zodoni laments not having an enclosed car and throws a Frag grenade but fails miserably. We all run to duck out of the way. Zodoni picks it up to throw it again. It’s all slimy however and he drops it again. I run over and kick it away safely.

They hiss and splut as projectiles fire our way. 1 misses and 1 hits Zodoni’s armor but doesn’t go through as it scratches at his armor. Another hit on Zodoni. The other fires… they burrow at me and only irritate my skin as they hit the subdermal armor. I set the organic pool on fire and they screech and die. When the fire hits the acid the shit blows up. Richard and I pluck the dead slugs off and take 1pt of damage before metastatic platlets seal the wounds over.

We continue on and across a valley we see the mine entrance. There are wrestling aliens in front of entrance and burrows all over the place with those smaller aliens around. We discuss options, Zodoni discusses using town as choke point and Divm suggest carpet bombing, but soldiers pipe up and say it might not get them all because of underground. Doc theorizes pheramones to disguise ourselves.

I set up drone with bug to watch here while we go back to town to set up choke point trap. Troops monitor drone. I suggest setting woods on fire that are covered in goop to get their attention while we take cover back at the town to set up the ambush.

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Notes 09/21/13

Captain’s secret chips were family pictures. He was afraid his family would get used against him.

We decide that the authorities would be too overtaxed so we’re going to go take out the pirates first instead of notifying the authorities.We go through un-docking procedures and take off.

We train during the week. I practice my melee and laser pistols while the Doc and Dayn doles out endurance training with the marines.

We jump to Beck’s World. There’s strangely no signal from the town or from the college. I ask sensor ops to do a scan of the surface. No power from the town or from the dig sites. I check for life signs or signs of attack and find some all spread out. Can’t tell who or what they are though around town and dig site area though. No vessels in the area.

There should be at least a buoy here to greet us but there isn’t. Strange. There is suddenly a call from the bridge to come look at something. He points to an area near dig site that is a big crater. Picture of last survey shows area was a mountain. Some traces of dust, but not a volcanic explosion or an impact. Something wrong with sensors. Sparks flying, circuit board fried. I smack the guy on the back of the head and tell him to replace it. Ulfbert asks me to come down with the circuit board and we check it out because the captain is suspicious of the board going out so fast.

We look at the board, someone soldered the connectors in the wrong place. This board has been sabotaged. Could it have been the guys who planted the drugs on us in dock?
We check the internal security cameras. Sure enough one of the fake cops is checking over the bridge and we see him rig a fuse on the boards. I tell the psionic marine chic to assign marines to go over the cameras and take care of anything else that they missed.

Zodoni wants to go with other Zodoni to scout. Captain walks out with armor, suggests we split into two teams and take the shuttle near the town while the two Zodoni teleport down. Captain has a Darrian hoverbike, I joke that his girlfriend has benefits.Doc rides on the back of my bike with me.

Captain has life signs coming towards us quick. Pack of dogs happy to see us. Dogs look thin like they haven’t eaten in a couple of days. Cap says we should establish an HQ as we’re going to be there a while. I suggest we bring food for dogs, and they bring a prefab housing to set up.

Zodonis scout… no signs of fighting, but towards center of town there are gunshot marks and blaster damage coming out of the buildings. No bodies. Slug projectiles with the occasional energy burns. Inside building aimed outwards. No blood, no bodies. Chunk of pistol on ground like it’s broken and crushed. They find a Fleshborer weapon with an arm attached lying on the ground.

Zeb looks at the weapon and the blood drips off of it sizzling on the ground like acid.
Zodoni finds weapons and blood, but no bodies. Footprint found in the dirt of alien creature. He calls us over. Big hoofprint a foot around.

Zeb finds as he cuts it open the gun/arm a grub/beetle that it expels out of force. He prods it and it leaps at him, landing on the wall of the glass container it’s in scratching before it twitches and goes limp. we burn it. Zeb kills the rest of the ammo but keeps some dead ones for testing and records his sessions. Bio-engineered killing machines.Warns of acidic blood.

Zodoni finds more prints, gets a really bad feeling about this psionically and reports to Captain. Cap agrees that something doesn’t sit right. I offer to send out my spydrone through the town. Zodoni says again about bad feelings. I say that’s why I want to send out a drone. Zeb shows us all what we’re in store for. Zodoni says ’he’s out’ I say now we know why you got transferred, they were tired of pussies.

Drone does recon marine thinks he saw a heat wave then says never mind. I say no look again. I catch a shimmering movement in the background but I’m not sure what it was. Don’t think it was a heat mirage though. I direct the drone to follow it. I lose it for a second but then reacquire it. I lose sight for a minute but catch up. It shimmers and sits still like a Predator effect before we see tentacles leap out and kill a dog that walks by. It looks up at the drone and we notice that it’s color shifting more than light bending. When it moves we see it leave hoofprints.

Doc wonders why we’re here, why don’t we leave. Captain says we need to investigate the science team to find out how these things got here and if they’ve left the system. Cap asks for vollunteers, we offer to go. I ask for a flamethrower and one of the marines says funny you should ask and pulls one from a crate for us. I have a crazy idea and one of the marines offers us some bags of flour to use. Dayn keeps asking for plasma grenades. I put the flour into some baggies as flour grenades.

We get a Projection Flamer with 8 shots/2 mags. 5d6+3. cone radius

KLANK-KLANK Ensign Ricky comes up with every weapon he can get his hands on. He got pranked by the other marines who laugh. We tell him he’s practically wearing a red shirt doing that.

I ask Zodoni if they can use telepathy as another detection form for the aliens. Doc uses his cyber eye while I use my hand sensors and take point as I stealth. Zodoni tries to scan the town to see how many are here. I suggest starting with how many are right outside our camp. He detects one of those in town getting closer to base.
Shit it’s moved. I suggest the marines toss flash grenades in every direction to catch it wherever it moves. Grenades go off, Zeb takes a shot and hits it, dropping it. Damn, GOOD SHOT. Even though it’s down, we still can’t see it very well. I tell the marines to make sure it’s dead. Zeb pleads that we don’t destroy it for testing.

Marines drag the body over carefully. It’s a big one and takes almost all of them to do it. They get the hoversled and cargo straps. Not the same thing that made the footprint earlier… it’s bigger. It’s all claws and tentacles, and not what had that gun we found earlier.

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Notes to be transcribed
05/14/13

Dayn follows the cloaked captain down the dark alleyway, trying not to lose the graceful elf as he ducks into a seedy bar called The Black Lazer. Nobody guarding the door, no cop patrols in this area which is weird. Around 1AM on the Space Station.

Just as I get to sleep alarm buzzes. StarPort authority wants to talk to whomever is in charge. I grumble and groan as I pull on a uniform and walk outside to guns in my face and a warrant by the port authorities. I hail our marines to escort every one of them that comes on board. They tear the place apart and toss crap everywhere.

When they get to El Amin’s room a sensor goes off indicating psionics. Dude walks up to Richard with a psiscanner. He complains to Tolash that Richard could be a spy. ZIP = Zhodani In Public suspicious activity – if this guy is a problem why didn’t you pick him up 3 days ago? Doc steps up with admin skill, threatens court actions. He questions us about the gauss rifle, we say we were collecting imperial navy bounties and were going to turn in the gun.

Doc and i look through computers. badge numbers of port authority are all listed as dead officers.

Dayn sees Captain smooching on darian woman in booth, woman passes something to the captain. Don’t usually get darrians around here so this is odd.

we doc and kenarii barely manage to get past security on the computer to find… these guys are supposed to be dead, the troops we saw are impostors. records clearly altered and then put back in the system not showing as dead. There are a few officers who were supposed to be partners of these guys that ARE dead.

Serious infiltration of the port authority, not friendly to our ship or corporation.I think the pirates made a deal with the port authority because they’re the only people we’ve messed with. Either that or it’s something to do with the captain or the Zhodani.

I tell security detail to search to see what they might have done. Illegal contraband planted on the ship. ask doc to analyze it before we dispose of it. Contracel – powdered remnants of a plant from a planet that is interdicted by the imperium and the zhodani and just about everyone else. Cause psionic powers to overload. We all agree to dump the entire thing and atomize it. I search and find one that they missed… hidden in a bottle in the doc’s medic bay. labeled as asprin, but really more of the same stuff so we destroy it.

Dayn watches captain while in the bar. He passes her a wafer chip, she looks at it and passes it back. They kiss and walk off like a couple. Dayn goes out the back, hails Kenarii on the communicator. I just watched the captain meet in a seedy bar and pass off data. i inform dayn about the ship being searched. no backup, i’m following a darrian chick. don’t get yourself killed.

girl looks back, dayn manages to hide behind a dumpster at last minute. he sees 6 people step out of shadows in front of her (gangers) who try to mug her. banter – chick kills the guys and walks on. military hand to hand – probably a spy according to Dayn.

Marines too tired to properly watch the dudes planting stuff, so I make comment of mandatory endurance training for all starting in the morning. Zeb volunteers as he used to be a marathon runner.

Darrian ambushes Dayn with a knife, he says he was following her after watching her kill the thugs. She scans him as she’s psionic. Tell me the truth. Even your captain noticed you. Dayn argues that he’s not lying to her. Very well. Turn around and get out of this part of town. Hope that I don’t find you’re a threat to me. So far you’re the one who’s threatening.

Dayn talks to captain as they both come to entrance of the ship. She’s a contact of mine, that’s all you need to know. not when the rest of the crew is at stake it isn’t. She helps me do my job so that you guys can do yours. I chew out the captain for leaving me in the dark.

He informs us of these groups who plant contraband in order to get things out illegally. Chances are they’re going to attack us when we leave orbit. We move to mess hall, makes coffee and crew meets up to air our dirt and talk plans. Captain brings out a rare bottle of alcohol as well.

we realize they thought we were one of us because of the pirate transponder.they think we’re one of them… so we need to set up an ambush because it’s a perfect situation to get ship intact.

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Kenari's Journal - Part 6
Who's the New Guy?

Travellerjournal

The night goes on and the table is soon filled as Zeb and James join the party. “Everyone said this was the best bar on the station,” says James with a smile as he grabs a chair around the table. “Hey, is that the Captain over there talking to a Zhodani? We should ask them to join us!”

“Looks like we’re going to need another r-r-round then,” I joke with only a slight slur as I get up and make my way to the bar again. I scan the crowd looking for the troublemakers from before as I grab our beers, but it looks like they learned their lesson and took off. Can’t say the same for the people playing cards, though. I’m about to snicker at the overheard accusations of cheating when suddenly the table is shoved my way with a growl.

“Hey, watch it!” I yell as I spin and manage to sit on the table shoved my way. I hold my breath as the alcohol rocks in the glasses and let it out when it looks like I’ve managed not to spill anything. I manage to make my way back to the table with a sigh of relief and set all the beers down but one when I notice the look of apprehension on Zeb’s face as he grabs a medpack.

“Hey, I’m ok, really…” I begin when a hand slaps down on my shoulder. “Oh… gotcha.”

“100 credits on the Aslan,” says Dayn as he grabs his beer.

“Yeah, me too,” I chuckle before gripping the mug tightly and smashing it over my shoulder.

“Do you have to keep hitting them in the face?” moans Dr. Zebadiah. “That’s always the most difficult area to repair…”

“I’m sure you could improve him,” I laugh a I turn to face my would-be attacker who’s busy clutching his face in pain. Hmmn… decisions, decisions… I know…

I reach out with my claws and a devilish grin on my face as I grab the waistband of his pants and yank them down with a satisfying rip of fabric. Wouldn’t want to have to spend that reward money on bar repairs… besides… this is so much more satisfying.

The din of conversations and accusations comes to a screeching halt before bursting out into raucus laughter as the drunken man clutches his face with one hand and his torn pants with the other. The laughter soon stops as the station police show up, however. Well… at least everyone else’s did… I’m still bent over trying not to laugh when Zeb intercepts the officer coming to question me.

“Thank goodness officers, you showed up just in time! That man there pulled his pants down and tried to assault our commander!” Oh Zeb… I do believe I owe you another beer. I do my best to turn the tears of laughter streaming down my face into ones of fear and relief before standing up to face their questions.

“I don’t know what that man was thinking, officers! Here I was just trying to bring some well earned drinks to my crew when he spins me around and waves his… thing at me like I’m a…a…” I choke back a fake sob and nudge Zeb in the back with my tail.

“And human or otherwise, you don’t treat a lady like that,” Zeb finishes.

“Did he now?” mutters the officer as he pulls out a baton and slams it in the drunken man’s stomach. There’s a momentary sound of electricity before the man collapses to his knees and deposits his night’s drinking on the carpet.

The drunken offender is soon taken away, and it isn’t long before the smell of puke along with the other stale odors of the bar are finally getting to my hightened senses. “I think that’s our cue guys… one more toast and then it’s time to call it a night.”

“I must say, commander, you certainly are never boring company,” Zeb replies as we clink our glasses together.

“And always profitable,” agrees Dayn as he counts his winnings. “I am going to visit with the family while we’re at the station, ma’am.”

“Very good, Lieutenant,” I say with a burp as I stand up and leave some credits on the table. “Soon as I can see straight again I’ll be working on that transmitter. Have a good night, gentleman!”

I raise my hand to my temple in a salute and smile as I hear Zeb commenting as I leave the bar.

“Don’t do it, man… I’ve seen her rip faces off!”

I manage to make it back to the docking bay and stagger up the boarding ramp with only having to grab for support once. Considering my drunken state, I consider that an accomplishment.

“Commander on deck!” a voice barks out as I grab my temple.

“Sssh… not so loud, guys…we both know I’m here,” I reply. “More to the point, I know you guys were here, while the rest of the crew took off for shore leave… and for that, I think you all deserve a little extra…compensation.” I reach into my pouch and pull out a pile of credits from the bounty we turned in. “Following orders isn’t always exciting… in fact, if everyone is doing their job, it should be pretty routine. So here’s to you guys… keeping up the routine.” I divy up the coins and pass out equal shares to the amazed crewmen. “Now if you all don’t mind continuing for just a little longer… I’m going to go get some sleep.”

“Y-y-yes ma’am…Kenarii ma’am,” Ensign Frye replies with a salute. “Sleep well.”


I don’t know what time it is when there’s a knocking on my door… all I know is it better be important.

“Ma’am… I’m truly sorry to disturb your rest, but we have a Zhodani on board who insists that he’s a new crew member and requires supervision, and he insists on only talking to someone in command,” a voice calls out nervously through the door.

I growl in frustration and rub my eyes as I sit up in my cot. “Tell him not to touch anything and I’ll be there in a minute.”

Okay… this guy’s choice of colors is much too bright for me right now. I make my way to the bridge and squint at the colorful green turban and yellow sash of our new guest as he paces back and forth, his cape flapping behind him.

“Can I help you?” I mutter as I cross my arms over my chest.

“My name is Lance Corporal El-Amin Muhamad-iashav, and I am reporting for duty, Captain,” he replies succinctly with a bow and flourish of his cape.

“Captain’s not here,” I grunt in reply. “New crew, eh? Do you have your paperwork, Amin?”

“The name is El-Amin Muhamad-iashav. Would you like me to go over it again so that you may comprehend it?” he replies coldly.

“No, I’d like you to report for duty,” I reply without even looking up from the paperwork. So not in the mood right now. Where the blazes is the captain, and why didn’t he inform me of this? “According to your papers, you’re to be assigned to our squad of Marines.” I smile as press the button for the comms on the captain’s chair. “Lieutenant Telosh? Your new recruit is here.” I turn back to El-Amin. “She’ll be just a moment.”

True to form, it isn’t long before a female Zhodoni comes striding in in an emaculately cleaned and pressed uniform. “Reporting for duty, ma’am!”

I nod to El-Amin, who gazes at Telosh with an odd expression on his face that I just can’t place. Apparently it’s a Zhodani thing… because Telosh returns his gaze with one so fierce that it causes El-Amin to drop to his knees. Damn… I’ve got to ask her how she does that.

“Try to scan me again and I’ll leave you nothing more than a vegetable, understand me… Lance Corporal?” she barks out as she looms over him. "I am Lieutenant Shi’lan Telosh

Captain’s not here, do you have require paperwork? Would you like me to break down my poncy name for you? No I’d like you to report for duty. He’s to be assigned to the Marines. Ah. Female Zhodani comes striding up with emaculate uniform. Lance Corporal El-Amin Muhamad-iashav scans her, she counters with a psi lance that drops him to her knees. Do that again and you’ll be a vegetable! She is called Lieutenant Shi’lan Telosh. Social Standing 14. On this ship our status has no meaning. I’m your commanding officer and that’s all that matters. Blah blah blah.

Is he ok? Are we good then? Sorry for the interruption, no it’s all good, it was entertaining! He’s avoiding his past and re-education by his people because he wants to be a mercenary.

Dayn sees the captain across the street ducking down a dark alley from the car rental on planet.

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Kenari's Journal - Part 5
Shore Leave

Travellerjournal

The command crew takes their place around the large conference table and conversations still as Captain Stryker taps his pipe on the table.

“From what I’ve been told by Kenarii, we’ve been successful removing the chips from the salvaged ship that will allow our transponder to broadcast the correct signals.”

“Yes sir,” I add with a nod. “It was a team effort, and they all came through to get the job done.”

“And that leaves us with a choice,” the captain continues. “We can either turn over the information we’ve gathered to the authorities in this sector, or we can investigate them ourselves. We have discovered that the pirate base isn’t a planet as first believed… but instead is the remnants of a large and rather dead ship. Any suggestions?

“Discretion is the better part of valor, sir,” suggests Dr. Blenheim. “Investigating a potentially large number of forces without proper recon is nothing more than a suicide mission.”

“Agreed, sir. We need more information before we bring the fight home to them,” I say as I smack my fist into the palm of my hand. “We should attack their smaller raiding groups first, getting recon from them and working our way in towards their location.”

“That still leaves the question of where to start, ma’am,” Dayne replies.

I scroll through the charts on the computer display at the table and bring up the Regina sector on the larger wall display. “What about Regina? That’s where the ship they were expecting was last seen… perhaps we can find them.”

Dayn smiles slightly. “It’ll be good to be home again.”

~~~~~~~~

“So… anything we tourists should know about Regina, Lieutenant?” I ask with a smile as Dayn
adeptly pilots us into a hangar bay.

“It’s what you’d call a ‘self-perpetuating oligarchy’ ma’am,” he replies. “My father is the architect of the general shipyards here… I would request leave that I might visit with him while we’re docked, ma’am.”

“No problem, Dayn… just keep your communicator handy, and be careful. I wouldn’t want to have to explain to the captain why I’ve got to bail his crew out of jail, understand?” I wink and shake hands with him before turning to the ship comms.

“Allright, crew… I expect you all to act like adults who know how to keep their shit together and realize they’re representing the Angel Corp when you’re off ship. We plan on being docked for 3 days. I expect an orderly disembarking and an equally orderly return, with this ship manned at all times. Any violators of code of conduct on OR off this ship will answer to me. Kenarii out.”

I walk down the hallway towards the boarding ramps and notice Zebediah chuckling to himself as he looks out one of the portals. “Yeah… I don’t think your speech worked too well, ma’am.”

I glance out the portal next to him and growl lowly as I see the crowd of crewman rushing past each other to get off of the ship onto the space station. “Hairless pink monkeys scampering like they don’t have two ounces of self-respect to rub together,” I grumble before looking to Zebadiah in slight embarrassment. “Sorry…. no offence.”

“None taken,” Zebadiah replies. “I’m sure they’ll learn soon enough.” He chuckles again and waves over his shoulder as he walks past me down the boarding ramp.

I’m about to join him when I’m suddenly jostled by three humans hurrying past me towards the bridge. “Excuse me, ma’am… so sorry ma’am…I…” one of them stutters as their face turns bright red.

“Calm down, ensign,” I say with a smile. “You’re not in a hurry to get off the ship with everyone else?” I ask with a raised brow as I point a thumb over my shoulder.

“No ma’am… we’re the relief crew for the bridge. Pardon me, but I really must get going…”

“Oh don’t let me stop you from actually following orders, Ensign… um…”

“Frye, ma’am,” he answers with a salute before turning and hurrying down the hallway towards the elevators to the bridge.

Hmmn… if I punished everyone who left the way I want to, we’d have nobody left to man the ship. Now if I rewarded those who stayed…. maybe THAT will get the message across.

I see the captain dealing with a dock robot out of the corner of my eye as he waves on the rest of the crew. “I’ll stay here with the ship… just make sure you herd them all back here in 3 days.”

Regina truly is a beautiful place… I’m making quick use of the digital camera I picked up as I take in the view of the huge fountains on the main thoroughfare. All the water everywhere is making me thirsty, though…I spy Dayn talking and laughing with someone nearby and figure I should go ask the resident where the best place to get a beer is around here.

“Hey Dayne, do you-OOF!” My question is cut short as a small human child barrels into my side unexpectedly. I reach down and secure him by the back of the collar before I start patting down my pouches with my other hand.

“What’s going on here?” asks the gruff man standing next to Dayn.

“Kenarii, this is Jason Cross, an old friend of the family. He trained me in piloting back in my naval days,” Dayn answers as he claps a hand on the man’s shoulder. “Jason, this is Kenarii, the 2nd in command of my new assignment.”

Jason nods, and then gestures towards the small child struggling with his collar. “And this one?”

“I’m just holding on to him while I finish searching my pockets and pouches,” I reply with a grin. “Usually people go out of their way not to run into me… so when it happens so forcibly, I’ve just got to make sure.”

“Is that so… I suggest you empty your pockets, little one,” Cross chuckles as he bends down to look at the child. “I don’t think she’s going to let go anytime soon,” he finishes in a mock whisper.

“What are you… a cop?” mutters the child as Dayn looks at Jason questioningly.

“Oh no… I retired from that business; I teach at the academy now,” he replies.

A quick check of my gear reveals that nothing is missing, so I pull out a few coins from one of my pouches. “Look kid… I know what it’s like living on the streets, and I know what you can hear, too.” I show him the coins and then place them in his hand. “We’re looking for any kind of information about the pirates, you got me? Bring me good intel and there’s more where this came from. Betray me or my friends, however, and I will show you how we punish foolish children on the Aslan homeworld.” I show off my metal hand in front of his face for effect and hide my smile as his eyes widen in fear. Let him think I’m going to chop his hand off if he steals again… that’s what fear is for: to keep us from doing something stupid and dangerous without a damn good reason.

“You realize you probably won’t be able to shake him off now that you’ve given him money, right?”

“I’ve lived on the streets before and I know what it’s like to scavenge for my next meal, Mr. Cross. Call me a softie, I guess,” I reply with a shrug. “So how about a drink, eh? Who serves the best liquor in this town?”


“Between you and me, Dayn, the Navy is running a little thin. We just don’t have the manpower to truly investigate these pirates right now,” mutters Cross as he looks sourly at his empty beer.

Hmmn…so much for that lead. Maybe if I leave him and Dayn alone for a minute… “Hey guys, I’m going to go get some refills, I’ll be right back.”

Dayn nods and I make my way through the crowd of navy uniforms looking to drown their worries when suddenly a hand reaches out to grab my shoulder. I clench my hand and start counting in my head as I’m trying to be good…I really am.

“Well boys, apparently these folks don’t know when they don’t belong! I think they should have to play the game, don’t you?” a voice bellows out as my claws dig into my palm and I take a deep breath.

“You want to play a game? I think I know this one…” I manage to say through my forced grin as I take in the disheveled Imperial Navy uniform and try not to smell the lingering stale alcohol on his breath. “It’s Who’s the Racist Bigot, right? Aww… but you won already!”

“Hey we’re just playing… someone needs to walk the plank,” he replies as he jerks his hand away and pouts.

“Then lets play without sounding like a bunch of ignorant hicks then, shall we? Besides… does it look like I want to get this fur wet?”

I have to fight to keep the grin off of my face as the man’s face reddens with anger… or perhaps it’s just the beer he’s been drinking too much of. Either way, I’m hoping he’ll throw the first punch.

“Who’s your commander here?” Dayn’s voice booms from behind me.

“Rear Admiral Beck….sir…” the drunken man replies, momentarially stunned out of his drunken stupor.

“Could you turn around so I can get the name of you and your friends?” Dayn asks graciously. “Jason… what’s Beck’s email again? R.Beck@Navy.net.co, right?”

“Aw shit… he knows the old man! Leave these guys alone!” the drunken man mutters as he quickly scurries away into the crowd.

“Leave your initiations to a younger crowd… you’ll get in a lot less trouble that way,” Dayn calls after him.

“You gave them a run for their money, didn’t you?” chuckles Jason Cross as we return to our seats.

“I’m getting to old to play games, Jason.”

“I seem to remember when you did the same things as them,” Jason adds with a knowing smile. “I also remember the trouble it got you into. I had you peeling potatoes for a week!”

“Let’s hope they learn their lesson much quicker,” Dayn laugs before taking a swig of his beer.

“So… before all the excitement…” I nudge, hoping that Dayn got more information out of the man.

“As I told Dayn, we’re spread very thin right now,” Jason says with a sigh. “There’s been disappearances on the edge of the Great Rift that we’ve been sent to investigate, but we haven’t been able to come up with much. We’ve got our hands full because supposedly the Zhodani are arming themselves and the Darrians are getting itchy trigger fingers. We just don’t have time for pirates right now. Our desks are stacked high with reports and we try to answer what we can…” he sighs again and takes a drink from his beer.

“Thankfully that’s where groups like us come in,” I reply. “Have you heard anything about Dhengae with your reports?” Cross shakes his head. “We have intel that leads us to believe that they may have their base stationed there.”

“That would explain why they’ve been hitting targets south of there, and we keep losing them in that area. We just haven’t heard much thanks to the x-boats constantly getting jacked,” Cross replies.

Hmmn… what is that I smell over the stale beer and sweat? Ah yes… profit.

“So… has the Imperium considered hiring outside sources to help with their overflow? If there’s a reward from the Navy, I’m sure it would go far to help support our crew working hard to stop this pirate menace from terrorizing the galaxy.”

“I’m sure there’s got to be something, considering the hassle they’ve been giving us. Let me check the official lines and I’ll meet you back here tomorrow.” He sets down some credits on the table for his tab and shakes hands with Dayn as he gets up from the table. “It was good to see you again, my friend. Good night to you all.”

“Well we do have that one prisoner,” Dayn offers as a suggestion. “I believe that there was a bounty out for him, at least.”

“That we do…” I reply as a slow grin crosses my face. “I’m sure the crew who’s manning the ship will appreciate his life of crime whole heartidly when I split the bounty between them.”

View
Medical Logs - Year 1125 - 002

Zeb banner

Zebadiah tries to relax yet again. A few minutes later he bounced out of his bunk. He was always far too nervous before a deployment to get any real sleep. He decided to go eat and exercise. He hit the mess hall and grabbed a light meal. He had loaded up on carbs the night before and they deployed in less than 5 hours. An hour on the treadmill and he could catch a cat nap. He chuckled to himself. He doubted Kenari was napping either. She did not seem to prefer command. She was good at it though.

Zeb hit the treadmill and jogged. After about thirty minutes he was sweating lightly and he picked up the pace to a light run. His mind went into autopilot and thought nothing until the ship alarm went off. Zeb was drenched in sweat and he looked at digital.

“Shit!” No time for a nap now, he’d been running for 4 hours. He dragged himself to his quarters and took a stimtab. “Better living through medicine” he thought. He stuffed himself into his combat armor keeping a pulse on the battle in the black outside through his neural comm tapped into the ships systems. Chatter on the comms indicates one or more pirate ships but they appear to have been overcome in the first few minutes. Zeb jacks his astrophysics chip.

Listening in on the bridge channel Zeb breaks in on the conversation and suggests using the gas giant to conceal their ship. It’s within shuttle distance to the planet in it’s current placement and would remain so for several shipboard days. The assault on the planet shouldn’t take longer than a day. His suggestion is overridden and he continues to prepare.

Suddenly Zeb realizes he’s not alone and that his assistant was watching him waiting for instructions.

Zeb grimaces “Doesn’t sound like any casualties on our side but get Doctor Denchabian on duty. I’ll be going down with the landing team.”

“Is that wise sir? You look as you didn’t sleep a wink.” His assistant observes.

“I just got off a jog to wake myself up from my sleep. I’ll be fine in a few minutes.” His assistant nods as Zeb straps on the rest of his gear. His breathing slowing Zeb checked his personal medical scanner. Everything normal. The Stimtab should last long enough to get down to the surface, perhaps a smidge longer. He’d see what the situation was before he decided whether to take another. The situation on the bridge continues to unfold and his suspicion is confirmed when Kinari accepts the Marine Captains offer of a drop planet side.

Zeb reports to the shuttle bay and is assigned a berth with the marine shuttle tagged for planet duty.

The shuttle ride is uneventful but takes a few hours. Zeb starts to feel fatigued but manages to stay alert. Hitting the atmosphere makes that less of a challenge as the shuttle appears to take up Irish Step Dancing. Cursing from the cabin attracts Kenari and the engineer. Ulfbert is on top of the problem with assistance from Kenari. The shuttle smooth’s out and the rest of the drop is piloted by Dayne. Zeb knows he is in good hands with Dayne. They’d been in a sticky situation back on Knebel XIV.

Zeb moves to look over the two marines that weren’t strapped in but the Sargent holds him back with a hand. “If they’d been strapped in per regs – they wouldn’t need checking. Jameson, and Johann, you got yerself shuttle guard and a week of KP back on board.” No protest except a grimace from one of the two.

“No injuries from what I can tell ma’” Her look stops the word in his throat “Kenari . . . Ma’am”.

Zeb looked around and to distract the others from his discomfort at her stare he pulled out his packet of stimtabs. “I have some stimulants here for anyone who needs a pick-me-up. All legal substances but in optimal proportions to give you alertness and a gradual drop in effectiveness.”

Now the marines were giving him dirty looks and he quietly put the tabs away. He needed another but frankly he’d weather the tiredness creeping in for now until he had a moment to himself. Kenari walked past and patted him on the shoulder with what looked like a . . . Smile? “No thanks Zeb – I’m wide awake and ready to go.”

The shuttle landed elegantly and the marines formed up. Zeb took up a position in the rear and sealed his suit visor so his growing exhaustion wouldn’t show. The marines fanned out and one made a comment about cats not being as sneaky as he thought.

“Because this cat prefers watching hairless pink monkeys scramble about as they shut their mouths and do their jobs.” said Kenari.

“Okay, THAT was a snarl!” thought Zeb not envying the young man.

Zeb had quietly slumped down against a wall when a marine came up to him.

“You alright doc? Your visors down but your body language says you’re damn near collapse.”

Zeb rolled his eyes. “I guess I wasn’t as subtle as I thought.” He sat up sighing. “I’m okay marine. I just lost track of time on the treadmill and ended up running for a few hours before the mission, rather than sleeping.”

The marine nodded “Well I doubt any of the others have noticed, I’m the medic and my job is to keep a finger on everyone’s pulse. You best find some energy or you ain’t going to make it.”

Zeb nodded and thanked the young man for his concern. While plans were laid he excused himself for a call of nature and popped a stimtab behind a tree. He also put another in the auto-injector in his combat armor.

As he came around the corner to rejoin the team, trying to keep the exhaustion from showing Kenari was giving the orders to move out. Zeb sighed and started out best he could.

View
Medical Logs - Year 1125 - 001

Zeb banner

“Why do I do this to myself?” Zeb wondered gazing on the ruin that is the skin of the left side of his face. “Not many people take a flechette round to the head and live. Even fewer retain their mental acuity.” Despite the internal dialog Zebadiah continued to stare at his mirrored reflection in the surgical tray he was cleaning.

The elegant matte black mount for the cybernetic replacement of his left ye stares back at him. Shifting the focus he can see into the iris of the eye itself. Almost see the lattice of optical sensors. Anymore of a magnification and the image would blur he knew. The surface of the tray was of insufficient quality to reflect the smaller workings of the eye.

Zeb jumps as the comm buzzes and Kenari comes over the speaker. “Senior staff Zeb, Dayne, Ulfbert, and Arlo. Report to the conference room!” the growl came.

“Is she growling” he wondered. “It always sounds like a growl.” Zeb wasn’t sure if that was how it sounded to everyone else but what did it matter. He nodded to his assistant, handed her the tray, and reported to the briefing room.

Kenari started talking once they were all pbut before most had a chance to get comfortable. She always seemed uncomfortable in the briefing room giving a report. She was in charge , of that there was no argument, yet she seemed uncomfortable in her assured command. Not timid, never that, she just seemed to dislike giving orders.

Zeb listened intently throwing pertinent facts up on the screen of his minds eye.

- Distress from a mining colony.
- Pirates holding an entire colony hostage
- Forcing the citizens to mine the rare earths.
- Planetary body – Knorbes

He feels eyes on him and notices that the captain was looking at his hands. His hands had automatically started cleaning his gun with disinfectant cloth. He put away the twin cylinder revolver and tried to sit still.

The recording of the distress call is played and the skin around his eye tightens at the mention of children. As the situation becomes clear he slips a finger into his chip wallet and jacks his planetology chip. He also opens up a link with the ships database over his neural comm. Information flows and he begins cataloging important facts relevant to the situation. He places a number of tags with linked data into his field of vision.

“Ah … uranium …” Zeb sighs to himself making another note. His head lifts as Kenari confirms his observation.

“Exactly doctor.” She says.

“Blast her hearing is sharp as a scalpel.” this time he keeps it an internal monologue.

“According to records the refining of the yellow cake uranium is refined into plutonium out of system. This means the threat of nuclear weapons is at it’s worst, minimal.” Zeb relays after reviewing the corporate and planetary records available.

The data continues to flow into his field of vision as he examines the reports for the systems in question. Solomni settlers making their way in the universe now at the mercy of violent men. Zeb sighs.

Kenari wraps up the briefing with some gripe about needing recon. “Not my job, I’m a doctor – not a spy satelite” Zeb almost says.

“Yes sir” he says instead.

“Enough with the Sir crap – you all know my name.” Zeb can’t tell if she’s being serious or not. Aslan are always so inscrutable.

“Yes ma’am” he said respectfully. Kenari seems somewhat satisfied and Zebadiah heads back to his equipment locker in sickbay to collect his gear.

View
Kenari's Journal - Part 4
I love it when a plan comes together!

Travellerjournal

“Somebody take care of our new recruit!” I shout over the noise of the shuttle as it lands for pick-up from the mining facility. Once I get a seat I buckle in and unroll the jump chart titled “Group A Hit Locations” we picked up off of the dead pirate with the very big gun. The title doesn’t bode well… I wonder how many groups these pirates have?

“Looks like they’ve scouted out a number of low-tech planets that are rich in resources in the Regina sector. Cowardly bastards… wouldn’t know a fair fight if it slapped them in their faces.” My eyes widen as I take in a small notation on a lone planet named Dhaengae off in some uncharted space on the map: HB.

“Here we go…” I mutter to myself. “Hey Dayn, do you think you can plot us a course for this place?” I poke at the planet with my finger and wince as the tip of my claw breaks through the paper. Well, at least I’ve marked it. I hand the map off to our navigator who nods as the shuttle smoothly touches down in our docking bay.

“If some of you fellas would kindly escort our new prisoners to the Med Bay, I’m sure our good doctor would like to give them the once over,” I tell the marines.

“I’m sure by the time I see them they’ll all have something that needs to be treated,” the doctor adds suggestively.

The doors slide open with a slight whisper as the captain scans the room, sets his eye on me, and strides over purposely. “Kenari, I need a full report now that you’ve returned. I’m curious why we have prisoners who aren’t in chains?”

I fill the captain in as he pulls out a pipe and lights it, gesturing at times with it for me to continue. “Ricky is just a kid who did what he had to to survive, sir. I’m sure with the proper training he’d be much happier working with us.”

Zebediah shakes his head and makes a noise of disgust as he walks past the cloud of smoke forming around the captain, while one of the marines puts a hand on Ricky’s shoulder and smiles. “We’d be glad to teach him how to shoot worth a damn, ma’am!”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” admonishes the captain. “Give him to the kitchen staff for now and let him learn how to wield a mop first.” He turns to me and nods. “Very good… keep me informed of your next steps when you’re done interrogating the prisoners.”

“Aye-aye, sir.” The captain leaves back into the elevator as I head to the medical bay. I’ve got an urge for a little ‘interrogation’ myself.

“Hey Zeb… mind if I assist?” I ask as I lean against the doorway to the medical bay and knock on it.

“You’re just in time, ma’am. The drugs should be taking effect now,” he replies as he waves me over.

“It’s Kenari,” I whisper under my breath as I roll my eyes.

When I walk over to the prisoner, I see that he’s bound by his hands and ankles to the table. Perfect. I wonder if the doctor has ever seen any of those old human vids about their police forces? What was it they did… ah yes… Good Cop/Bad Cop.

I brandish my claws with a wide grin in front of the prisoner and run them from his leg up to his face. I’m careful not to break skin… but I apply enough pressure so he knows just how sharp they are. By the time I reach his face I’m cupping his chin roughly as one of my claws hovers over his eye. “Shall I tell you what happened to your friend when he decided not to be ‘useful’ to us? If you look closely, you might be able to see all that’s left of him stuck under my claw.”

The prisoner looks at me in wide-eyed fear as he begins to recite everything he knows.

“There’s five different teams that swap out on occasion. One team raids the Psychics, another the fucking dogs, and ours was to raid the outback pansies on the frontier mining worlds for labor and food to take back to HB. We stole an Imperial mining transport and some IDs so we could do it. The 5th group hits small military outposts for weapons. They’ve got the best shit… a couple personal plasma cannons, and Cap. Shrader even has some power armor, the lucky bastard. That’s all I know I swear…please don’t hurt me…” he finishes before his eyes roll up into his head and he passes out.

“Geesh… did I scare him too much?” I wonder outloud as Zeb rushes up to check on him and mutters some colorful curses.

“Must be an allergic reaction to the sedative,” he quickly explains as he injects a large needle into his neck and attaches a device to his chest that sends a charge through the unconscious prisoner. He convulses and pulls against his binds before resting back on the table with a quiet beep of the machine attached to his chest.

“You should’ve said if you had any allergies, idiot,” says the doctor as the prisoner’s eyes slowly open. “Did you say your captain was Shrader? Savage Shrader?”

“You didn’t ask me shit…” mumbles the prisoner.

“Who’s Savage Shrader?” I ask Zeb.

“He’s an ex-Imperial Lieutenant that one of our marines served under, ma’am,” Zeb replies grimly. “He took a ship, went against the Imperials, murdered an entire planet of people, was court marshalled for it, and later escaped from prison. He’s a fucking bastard.”

I clap a hand on the doctor and stare into his good eye. “I can feel your hate for this man, Zeb. Savor it… nurture it… and when the time comes you’ll be able to unleash it. Until then, however… I need you to stay focused.”

Zeb takes a deep breath and blinks slowly before nodding. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Good. I’m going to grab some dinner and run over those charts again. I’m thinking maybe we can set up an ambush for these bastards and hit them hard. Make sure you get some rest, Zeb.”

_______________________________________________________________

I tap my claws impatiently on the arm of my chair as I stare out the main port into the empty blackness of space. “Where the hell could that ship be?” I mutter.

Dayn pushes back from his console and turns to me in his chair. “There is always the possibility that it was lost in transit, ma’am, especially if it was only an ore hauler with defenses.”

“Blast it, you’re probably right.” I pound my fist in agitation and take a deep breath. “Any suggestions for alternatives?” I ask hopefully, as I’m out of ideas at the moment.

Dayn looks thoughtful for a moment, consults a screen, and then turns back to me. “Considering that these pirates don’t have a standard for their ships and use whatever they can get their hands on… if we were able to get the right ID codes, we could just take our own ship straight to their HQ. Perhaps if we searched the ship we disabled, we could come up with the right codes?”

A toothy grin spreads across my face as I take in our navigator’s plan. “Ballsy… risky… but bloody brilliant, Mr. Littlebear! I suggest we take tonight to eat and rest while I go over your plan, and we’ll see what we can find with our little salvage operation.”

I rub my hands together in excitement as I think about the possibilities; I wonder what else we can manage to find there? The mere thought of being back in my element gets my blood pumping like one of the doctor’s stims. Mmmn… yeah… I think I’m going to catch my food tonight. Time to see if any crewmen received demerits this week, because that little robot I used to use didn’t provide enough challenge.


_______________________________________________________________

“Ok guys, looks like the first ship we took out is pretty much a wreck: explosive decompression, broken windows, you name it.” I nod to Arlo and he brings up a shot of another ship on the screen in the conference room. “This one, however, looks to be still intact. From what we can tell it’s still sealed other than the hole we blasted through it and it still has life signs. Dr. Zeb managed to reach them on comms, and they sound like they’re more than willing to surrender, considering the alternative,” I finish with a wry grin. “So when we head out, we all need to keep in mind that we’re taking prisoners… but that doesn’t mean to let our guards down. You never know when someone wants to play at being a Hero.”

I nod to the Vargar whose head is practically buried in his screen as he runs scans over the ship. “Ufbert is going to be our lead when it comes to obtaining the codes while I back him up. Dr. Zeb will need support as he takes care of any wounded as well. The rest of you need to keep your eyes peeled for any resistance as well as salvage opportunities. “ I pause and take a breath as I scan the room. “Any questions?”

There’s a general murmur as ideas are discussed between the crew… but to my relief, it seems that everyone is on board.

“Sounds like we have a plan… ma’am.”


_______________________________________________________________

I have to admire the efficiency of the grunts on our crew as they sweep the ship for survivors. Military life may not be for me… but I have to admit that there’s something for a well-disciplined group of fighters in situations like this.

“Kenarii ma’am, we seem to have encountered some… resistance,” Ufbert calls out as I walk down to the hall to the main bridge of the derelict ship to see the Vargar aiming his pistol at an agitated (and rather smelly) man waving a pistol around wildly.

“You’ll never get anything out of me, you bastards!” he screams.

Fortunately for me, desperate and tired men are easily distracted. All it takes is a moment when he’s focusing on Ufbert to leap over and wrap my claws around his head as I slam it face-first into a monitor and throw him to the ground. “Well lookie here,” I growl as I place my foot on his neck and bend down to pick a few pieces of glass out of his face with my claw. “We seem to have gotten some blood out of you… shall we go for entrails next, or are you going to answer our questions?”

“Must you be so messy?” Dr. Zeb asks quietly as he sprays the console down with disinfectant and wipes away the blood before Ufbert goes to work.

“Life is messy, Doc. Death, even more so,” I chuckle as the doctor shakes his head. I look down and notice that our prisoner has passed out from the pain. “Ah damn… guess you’ll have to wait.”

“I tink I’ve found it,” mutters Ufbert with a click of keys. “I’m going to be needing your help to retrieve it, ma’am.”

“Be right there,” I say as Zeb hands me a disinfectant wipe to clean my claws. “Dayn, why don’t you take our able marines and make sure we’re not missing anything else while we’re here?” The navigator nods and waves to a sergeant who starts hailing the rest of the grunts as they go down the hall.

I really should’ve been more aware… really I should’ve. I guess I was too wrapped up in the thoughts of ship salvage and everything going right for once to notice that our prisoner woke up again.

“Damn it, what’s that noise?” I growl as a loud beeping suddenly echoes around the ship.

Warning… the ship will self-destruct in 15 minutes and counting…. Warning…

There’s a thudding sound behind me and I turn around to see Zebediah cleaning off the butt of his pistol as he stands over the prisoner slumped against another console. “Sorry I didn’t get back soon enough… I was taking care of some wounded down the hall.” He pulls out some handcuffs from a pouch and drags him over to a chair before cuffing him to it. “I don’t think he’ll be going anywhere now.”

“Good thing I always work fast,” Ufbert grunts as he reaches into the console and pulls out the electronic module that we need. “I’ll just analyze it back on de ship.”

“All right then, you heard the Vargr… let’s get the hell out of here!” I reply to the others before hailing the rest of the team on our coms. “Time’s up, people! Everybody who’s still somebody, beat feet and get back to the ship!”

“YOU BASTARDS! YOU CAN’T LEAVE ME LIKE THIS, “ the screams of the man chained to the chair echo down the halls as we load up into the shuttle and close the hatch.

“I think we might’ve gotten something else out of him,” I chuckle before the pilot punches it and I’m pushed back into my seat. The shuttle rocks from the resulting explosion, but other than a few bruises, the mission seems to be a success.

View
Kenari's Journal - Part 3
Closing In

Travellerjournal

Fortunately it doesn’t take long for Ulfbert to work his magic, and I’m soon taking point with the marine scouts as we plan to take out the house farthest from the village and work our way inwards towards the town. the storm is not only helping block enemy communications, but it’s also providing us some good cover. At least that’s what I keep telling myself as my fur gets soaked to the bone.

I can hear the tell-tale cracking of twigs and muttering of our good doctor as he tries to keep up with the rear of the squad. Unfortunately he wasn’t learning stealth techniques in medical school… but if he can help keep these people from needlessly dying, I’m willing to be patient with him.

“Ow…damn twig poked me in the ear again!” the doctor mutters as the marines behind me do their best not to chuckle and groan.

I raise my hand to silence the group as we come up to a small hill overlooking the target house. I can just make out through the heavy rains a young girl being pulled roughly into the house as the door slams behind them. I run a thermal scan of the house as the doctor situates himself nearby and does the same.

“I’ve got 8 males and 7 females in the house… do you confirm?”

“Copy that… looks like one of the females is currently “occupied” as well,” the doctor answers distastefully.

The door opens once again before I can reply, however, as the same man I saw earlier drags one of the women outside by her hair and throws her to the ground before rearing back with his hand to strike her.

“Waiting for permission, ma’am,” says one of the marine snipers over the comm.
“Take your shot,” I growl as my claws dig into the dirt.

“So much for stealth,” says Ulfbert as the man’s head explodes into a burst of red.

“They brought this on themselves,” I mutter before the doctor and I launch over the hill. “Doc, take care of the girl. Somebody drop smoke, will ya? Ulfbert…”

“Ya, I’ve got this…” replies the engineer as he leans up against a tree to brace himself with a gun the likes that I’ve never seen.

“DOWN!” I yell over the comm as I duck for cover and the Doc pulls the girl to shelter, seconds before a spray of bullets peppers the area. The rest of the marines quickly move in and take care of what remains of the drunken pirates as the wounded are tended to.

I grab a radio off of one of the dead pirates to see if we can use it to listen in on them, but when I go to kick the next one it surprises me with an answering groan. “We’ve got a live one, here! Doc, see if you can keep him alive for interrogation. Ulfbert, check out this radio and-“

“(crackle) hey… that sounded like (crackle) are you guys (crackle)… coming over to (crackle)…”

I look around at the others quickly, but they all shrug when it comes to the garbled words coming over the radio. Damn it… am I the only one who bothered to get the language chips for this mission? Here goes nothing, I guess…

“Had to shoot an uppity bitch,” I growl in Solamnari in as low a voice as I can manage. Hopefully between the voice and the static, they won’t notice…

“You know we’re not supposed to (crackle) waste ammo (crackle) that! Use your brain instead of your (crackle)!” The radio goes quiet once again and I let out a relieved sigh.

“Okay then… how’s our prisoner?” I ask the doc as he finishes bandaging his leg. “I love it when prisoners are useful, you know.” I sidle up next to the nervous pirate and place a hand over the wound as I smile, fangs bared. “So what do you say…” I squeeze his leg, causing the man to yelp in pain. “Can you be… useful?”

“How useful do you want me to be?” he gulps. “They only forced me to join their numbers if I wanted to survive… I was just like them a few months ago. I’ll tell you whatever I can.”

“Glad to hear it. You tell your story to Markowitz here, and he’ll escort you sans weapons back to the shuttle.” I turn and pick out two other able bodied marines. “You two… I need you to protect this position and make sure the women are all armed and ready to defend themselves."

One of the marines grins before saluting. “It’s a mighty undertaking, but we’re willing to take on the challenge…ma’am.”

~~~~~
We spend the next hour going over our strategy and getting the story from our young defector. Apparently these pirates don’t have much more than small pistols and old rifles… but the leader has something rather large that he likes to keep close at hand.

“Radiation from the mine is playing havok with our sensors the closer we get into town,” replies Ulfbert. “That can work both ways, however. “ he scans the map and points a furry finger. “If I plant some military grade explosives here at the entrance to the mine, however, I could time it to coincide with the storm and perhaps they won’t notice until it’s too late.”

“Maybe they should notice it,” I ponder aloud. “The mine could be a great distraction to keep the main body of the forces away from that house while a smaller party sneaks in the back.” My smile grows as a plan starts to form. “Instead of being quiet… I want you to be as loud and obnoxious as possible with that explosion. Make it seem like all hell is breaking loose… think you can do that?”

Canine fangs gleam in the dim light as the engineer smiles. “Ja… I can do that.”

“Recon has returned, ma’am,” says the squad leader who appears by my side from the shadows.

“Good, let’s hear it, soldier.”

“Five men are on the NE side of town, two are situated outside the mine. There are 10 people inside the main house armed with guns, and one with a gauss rifle that could be trouble.”

“That’s probably the leader then,” I mutter to myself. “Anything else to report?”
“All seems clear on the NW side if we wish to move in from that direction. There are six men unaccounted for out of the 30 the prisoner informed us of, however, and they were unable to get eyes on the second floor of the main building.”

“Any hostages?”

“Ten women with five children.”

“Damn… the other kids must’ve been taken off planet already. Tell your men to make sure we keep one alive for questioning so we can find out where they took them. In the meantime, you and your men are going to take out the fringe groups during the chaos of the mine explosion while the doctor and I infiltrate the house.”

“Aye-aye, ma’am. Good hunting.” He salutes before disappearing once again.

“You heard the man… “ I announce as I turn to the others. “We’ve got our target and this goddamn storm is finally giving us a break with some fog cover. Let’s get moving!”

Thankfully the doctor has left his twigs behind this time as our now smaller group makes its way through the fog. I can make out voices as patrols pass through the mist, and do my best to lead our group away from them. The marines are here to handle anyone looking for a fight… our priority is getting to those women and children.

I must’ve been distracted by my thoughts of those kids… because when I made my away around a corner I didn’t hear the man who’s suddenly snaking an arm around my throat. “Where do you think you’re going, kitty cat?”

Oh THAT does it. I extend the claws of my right hand fully and reach over my shoulder to snag whatever I can get a hold of. The arm suddenly goes slack, and if the gurgling noises and the remnants of an eyeball now sticking to my dewclaw are any indication, I don’t think that pirate is going to cause any more problems.

“Um… I don’t think I can fix that one,” the doctor replies as the body collapses to the ground in a pool of blood.

“We only need one alive… so let’s find another one,” I growl as I wipe the gore off my claws into the grass.

“Hey Bill… what’s going-Halt! Intruders!” says another pirate as he zips up his fly and walks around the corner, quickly brandishing his pistol.

Dayn draws and hits him in the shoulder, causing him to drop his pistol. The doctor wraps a hand around his mouth as his other hand holds a scalpel to his throat. “Sssssh…”

“Let’s keep this one alive just in case,” I tell the others and we quickly strip him of his weapons and uniform before I hog-tie and gag him and leave him in a nearby house.

Thankfully there are no other interruptions, and we’re able to make it through the fog to the shadows of a small building near the main one. I silently send one of the recon marines forward as I gesture for the others to wait here. I keep low to the fog and sneak up next to the recon scout who turns to me and holds up his hand twice. Ten men… we killed two in the fog… but that still leaves at least four unaccounted for.

I nod and pull one of the small bugging devices from my pouch. Using the edge of my claw to crack the window slightly, I slip it inside and set the transmitter to our frequency. The scout puts a hand to his ear for a moment and then nods in affirmation of the transmission. I signal with my hands that I’m heading up the second floor while he keeps watch over my exit route, and he nods again before cupping his hands together and offering me a foot up.

The siding is slippery in the fog, but thankfully this cat always comes prepared. My climbing harness activates, stiffening my support as my claws sink into whatever handholds it can find. It doesn’t take long before I manage to pull myself up into a perch by a second story window. As I peer through it, I can just make out the forms of two men sleeping (which leaves two more) in cots while a small girl is bound and gagged in a chair in the corner. A dose of WD40 does the trick on the old window as I silently crack it open and crawl into the bedroom. Conscious of the little one in the room, I snag a pillow off the floor and use it to cover their faces before I finish them off with a laser blast between the eyes.

“Sssh… my friends and I are here to help you get back to your family. I need you to be quiet like a mouse for me though… can you do that, little one?” I say to the little girl as I kneel down and free her from her bonds. She stares at me wide-eyed and nods silently.

“Good girl,” I smile as I make my way over to the window and remove my smartrope from my pack. “We’ve got a child coming down, prepare to receive,” I tell the marine below.

“Roger.”

I motion the girl over and tie the rope securely into a make-shift harness. “I’m going to lower you down to my friends, and they are going to take you somewhere safe.” I smile and ruffle her hair. “Be a good mouse.”

The girl is very light, and after a few moments the rope goes slack as the marine escorts her into the shadows of the building. “She’s clear… I’ll leave the rope so the rest of you can join the party,” I tell Dayn and the others over the comm.

“We’ve got five targets moving towards the house,” I hear one of the marines announce over the comm.

“Blow it!” I growl.

BA-DOOOOM!

The walls shake from the shockwave as the planned explosion goes off at the mine. Damn… that Vargar certainly knows how to make an entrance!

“Holy shit, it’s a mortar attack! The colonists must’ve got the cops! Take out the hostages! Take out the hostages!”

Pirates run out into the chaos of the streets as rubble and ash starts raining down over the town like dirty snow. According to my calculations, that leaves four left in the house… other than those two that I still can’t account for. Dammit… just going to have to take a chance as we’re out of time.

“If you grunts carry smoke grenades, I think it’s a good time to use them,” I whisper as I crack open the door and peer out into the hallway.

I hear the tell-tale tink-tink-hiss and can’t help but grin as smoke starts to rise from downstairs and we make our way into the hallway with the doctor watching our backs.

“Let’s make this a little more interesting,” says Ulfbert as he pulls a stun grenade from his belt and throws it down the stairs.

“I love playing Whack-A-Pirate,” I chuckle as I ready my laser pistol to shoot anyone who pops up out of the smoke. We manage to take out at least three before our fun is cut short by a rapid volley of bullets hosing the wall of the stairway.

“That’s definitely a gauss rifle,” Dayn confirms grimly.

“It’s coming from around the corner, so we can’t get a good visual. Anybody got eyes on him?” I ask over the comm.

“Negative. He’s got prisoners pressed up against the windows, ma’am.”

“Shit!” Think-think-think… if we can’t see him, how can we still shoot him? And then it hits me; I may not be able to tell which one he is out of the heat signatures… but I’ll bet he’s the only one holding a big piece of metal.

A scan with my metal detector in my cyberhand reveals what I hoped… one of the figures inside the room above us is holding a rather large metal object and pacing in the middle of the room. I flick a switch on my goggles so that I can read the display as I crawl up the stairs to try and get a better position to aim from. I ready a charge from my laser pistol and hold my breath as I point the little red dot at the wall and wait…

ZZZAP!

“Son of a bitch!” someone inside yells as a weapon clatters to the ground and women start crying. The doctor takes it as his cue and runs past me with his monoblade drawn as he charges through the door at the momentarily disarmed pirate.

“What do you all think is going to happen here?” scoffs the man as he pulls a blade from his belt and holds it to the throat of a woman crying on her knees between him and the doctor. We rush in to join him as the other hostages run out in a panic to our waiting marines. “You all are going to let me and what’s left of my crew leave on my ship, or the woman gets it!” he declares as he pulls her tight to him.

“Momiiiie!” screams a little girl as she runs past one of the marines into the room. Damn it… it would be that girl from before, wouldn’t it? I snag her around the waist and pull her to me. “Shush, little mouse… we’ll save your mommy.”

“We’ll let you and your crew go… if you agree to provide us with information,” says the doctor calmly as he lowers his weapon to the ground. “Just don’t hurt the woman.” Or look behind you.

“I ain’t going to help you with shit,” spits the leader before the top of his head explodes from the force of a bullet. I quickly move the girl behind me to keep her from seeing the gory end… but her mother is going to have to deal with getting brain matter out of her hair and this experience out of her dreams for weeks, I’m sure.

The woman scrambles to her feet with a sob as she holds her arms out to her child and I let her go with relief. That’s one family reunited anyway… who knows how many more kids are off planet right now, though. This mission isn’t over yet by a long shot.

“Doc, see to the women and children… and somebody bring that gun back to the shuttle, will you?” A quick search of the room finds a few crude notes that tell us the next supply ship from the pirate forces is late, and should’ve arrived yesterday. The big find, however, is a jump chart. Between this and the few prisoners we’ve managed to keep alive, maybe we can figure out how to put an end to this pirate ring once and for all.

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Kenari's Journal - Part 2
Rescue Operations

Travellerjournal

Thankfully with Dayn’s quick astrogation calculations it doesn’t take long before we’re off. I take advantage of the brief respite to make sure I have the right language chips loaded up for Solamni pirates when I tell them to surrender or face evisceration… as well as familiarize myself with the available blueprints of the mining facility. If there’s any feasible chance for us to sneak in and get them out without too much hassle, I’m willing to take it.

After a few days of planning, the alarm goes off on deck as the ship drops out of orbit right in the middle of an attack on the mining facility. I rush on deck and in a flurry of activity the guns blaze as they rip holes in the enemy fuel tanks and the pirate ship starts venting fuel before going dead in the water, so to speak.

“Make sure we get a salvage operation out there to that ship,” I shout to one of the crew before slamming my paw on the blinking com button. “Come in, what’s your status?”

“They’ve taken over the town! They took the children… somewhere off planet… oh gods please help us!”

“Please calm yourself.. we’re here to help, but we need information. Where are they located?”

The voice on the other end breathes deep for a moment before they begin again in a shaky but calmer voice. “The leader… he’s a dark-skinned and heavily scarred man with one blind eye. I think he was attacked by an animal of some kind. He’s in the mining chief’s house. We don’t know if he’s THE leader, though.”

“We need to know what kind of ships we’re dealing with here,” I mutter to myself before turning to the crew. “Dayn, get on the sensors and see what you can tell us what they’ve got to throw against us.”

“Other than the ship we incapacitated, there’s nothing in the vicinity, Ma’am. I’m not sure about what’s behind that gas giant, though… the sensors are having a hard time dealing with its interference.”

“There’s a large pirate ship that turns up to collect their dues from us once a month… he’s actually overdue and could show up anytime,” warns the voice over the comm.

“Maybe we should use the gas giant as cover for our own ship?” suggests the good doctor.

“Not a bad idea, but unfortunately by the time we got there for cover it could be too late.” I pace back and forth for a moment before snapping my fingers with an idea. “What we’re going to do, however, is send a fighter out there with a sensor package as a scout. We don’t want any unnecessary surprises while we’re down on the surface.”

I take a deep breath and activate the comm. “You need to get yourself and any other escapees out of there on your tug now that their ship has been incapacitated. My crew and I are going down to the surface to take care of the pirates there, and do our best to find the women and children. You have my word.”

“We can’t thank you enough.”

I turn off the comm as I run a hand through my hair. “I’m sure we can figure something out once this mess is taken care of,” I chuckle.

After two hours the ground forces are prepped and ready to go, and the scout fighter returns with his findings. “Asteroids have moved in, ma’am, but other than that, no signs of any other corsairs or large ships.”

“Great… then maybe we’ve got a chance to get this base under control before they show up.”

One of the marine sergeants strides purposefully out of the lift and salutes. “Ready to kick some pirate ass… ma’am. If your crew is looking for a lift, we’ve got room.”

“Sounds like a plan, Sergeant. Return to the shuttle and inform them we’ll be joining you shortly.” I raise two fingers to my temple with a grin before turning to the others. “You heard the man… our ride is getting ready to leave! Let’s hop to it! The sabotaged mining ships are going to require engineers and any survivors we find are probably going to require medical attention, so I expect Zeb and Ulfbert to be joining us as well.”

As the shuttle reaches the atmosphere of the planet, I can’t help but notice a storm is brewing. Must be the constant shaking and rocking knocking us about like rag dolls. That is… all of us except one marine who seems to have taken the opportunity for a well needed pre-battle nap. Lucky bastard. I’m about to tell someone to smack him over the head when my attention is instead demanded by the pilot suddenly cursing up a storm as his console lights up like a dance club.

“Goddamnit! One of the circuit boards must’ve been fried by that last lightning strike that came too close,” he growls as he struggles with the now sluggish controls.

“On it,” says Ulfbert as he moves past me into the cockpit and works his way underneath the control panels. “I’m going to need some eyes on the panel while I fix the connection,” he warns as sparks fly.

“Got your back,” I reply. We work frantically together pulling wires and narrowing down the problem before with a satisfied grunt from the Vargar the controls reactivate and the lights return to normal on the control panels.

Dayn leaps into the co-pilot chair and with the help of the pilot they pull back on the stick just enough for the retro rockets to flare, and we manage to land the shuttle in a relatively controlled way.

“Everybody ok back there?”

“You heard her, grunts! If any of you pansies want to complain about your hangnails, this is the time!” shouts the sergeant as the ground forces suit up.
“Somebody wake up Carston, damn it!”

“Now that’s not what I meant…” I mutter as I roll my eyes and check the charge on my laser pistol. Military… I swear, I’ll never understand them.

“No injuries from what I can tell, Kenari ma’am,” replies Zeb as he pulls a small packed of syringes from his shirt pocket. “If anyone would like, however, I can offer a cocktail of my own creation that could help provide you an extra ‘boost’ during combat.”

“I’ll pass, Zeb… I wouldn’t want to crash in the middle of a fight. Thanks, though.” I pat him on the shoulder before checking with the pilot. “Do you think they might’ve seen our landing?”

“With the way that storm was messing with our sensors and raging out there, I’d be surprised if they noticed us at all, ma’am.”

“Excellent. All right, commandos… fan out and do your thing. We’ll need some snipers around the perimeter of the town, as well as some recon as to where these guys are holding up.”

“I don’t know why the cat doesn’t go sneaking off… she’s suited for it,” I hear one of the marines whisper to another.

“Because this cat prefers watching hairless pink monkeys scramble about as they shut their mouths and do their jobs,” I reply with a snarl as the marines disappear into the night.

It’s not long before one of the marines appears by my side like a ghost. “20 pirates in town.. most of them in small groups guarding the perimiter. The people seem to be allowed to move about town, but all of the women and children have been herded into the chief’s hut, which is guarded by at least five pirates. If I may offer a suggestion, ma’am…”

I raise an eyebrow in his direction and nod for him to continue.

“We should be able to pick off the patrols one by one with our sniper nests as a small group infiltrates the town to attack the main target.”

“We want to do this quietly, though… any extra attention might put the lives of the prisoners at risk. Proceed with the sniper plan on my command. Dismissed.”

I gesture for Ulfbert to join me as I scan the map of the town. “Do you think you can create a device to generate some interference to keep these patrols from talking to each other? I’m talking about something that could be mistaken for storm interference.”

“Ja… it shouldn’t be a problem,” Ulfbert nods. “Let me get my tools.”

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