Date: 5/8/3030 - 5/9/3030
The Dawn Voyager sat in orbit around the planet Sujaj, awaiting its next mission. Its crewmembers were restless, eager to get on with their new mission.
The medic, Stefan Kanoff, was in the medical bay, treating their engineer, Abram Abakumov. For his part, Abram was simply lying their while the surgeon repairs his hamstrings.
The soldier, Har-Bak, was in his quarters checking his weaponry.
The pilot and navigator, BOB-5 hand Basta Sekmet, sat restlessly in the cockpit. The robot was passing the time by telling the Altaic a series of successively more gruesome stories about his combat days, enjoying the horror, disgust, and discomfort shown.
The captain, Jack Yorke, was sitting in the communications room, awaiting contact from his employer. Barely a few minutes later, the nanofilament display abruptly turns on and shifts to an image of Lloyd.
"Yorke. I hope you're ready for your next paycheck."
"I am, Lloyd. What's the job?"
"Well, this one should please Duster greatly. The Skeavers have been causing trouble again. Ship disappearances in Sector 13 have greatly increased in the past few months. Travel to either Lamia I or the space station in the same system. Do some shit, and the Skeavers should come right to you. Kill them. You'll get 10 Aught, 2 Aght each for your trouble."
With that, the display shuts off as suddenly as it had turned on.
Laying his head back on the chair, Yorke began to think about the advantages and disadvantages of going to either location. Lamia I offers plenty of high ground for us due to the mountains and if I remember correctly was prone to sandstorms. His thoughts then turned to that of the space station. The space station he was referring to had formerly belonged to Alatics. That is until they got jumped by the Skeavers and were basically exterminated. It does present advantages of catching them off guard and the no sandstorms that throw off your vision.
Making up his mind and making his way out of the comms room to tell the others of their destination and whether or not they were staying on the ship or not. His first stop was to inform Basta and BOB-5 of their positions on the mission. The former in particular was going to be one that needed to be dealt with personally about the mission in case she fainted from fear. Poor girl isn't going to take the news well.
Upon reaching the room, he saw Basta listening, but also trying drown out Bob's stories as spoke of spoke of a particularly gruesome part. "And then we took out his toungue so he couldn't alert the others. You should've seen the look on his face as we held his jaws open and started cutting!" Bob chuckled loudly before noticed Yorke at the doorway. "Hey there Yorke. I was just telling Basta some things she should expect to do while she is on the Dawn Voyager."
Yorke nodded and saw the feline's face with lack of color as she went over what she had just heard. "Basta. Set a course for the Lamia system specfically the space station within it; we got our next mission to attend to." Yorke said after taking a deep breath and upon hearing this she froze up. "Bob, you're coming on board with me; we have to deal with Skeavers on this one."
"You got me at 'coming on board', but Skeavers just make it more fun. Count me in, they won't see us coming." As Basta shuttered and set course for the Altaic Research Station in Lamia, BOB gleefully sat in his pilot's seat and made an intercom announcement the rest of the crew to hear.
"Pilot speaking, polish your weaponry, load your guns, strap in your seats, we're heading to the Lamia system."
Basta bit her lip as she finished routing them to the space station. She had heard stories about it growing up on Altaicia, and the Skeaver strike on it had made the GalNet news, even as far as Ord Melul.
While going to another deralict space station unnerved her, it was the fact that the Skeavers were still there that scared her. It was no secret that the Altaics were the friendliest species in the universe, inviting in and forming treaties with almost all species...but then the Skeavers came and massacared them.
It was several generations before her time, but Basta had heard the rumors of what the Skeavers do to the Altaics. Killing them was too good for them, Skeavers instead liked to torture them; rip out fur, cut tails, enslave them, and the worse that made all Altaics shudder was their raping.
Trying to shake off the thought, she looked to Yorke and nodded, showing him the route that shaved about an hour off their travel time. She didn't want to seem scared to Yorke, afterall, she had manned the cannons that blasted the synth that had attacked them, but this was Skeavers they were dealing with. Between BOB-5's gory stories and facing down the Skeavers, she'd rather hear the Synth's life story.
But BOB's going on-board...maybe Har-Bak has something that'll take my mind off the mission...
Seeing Basta becoming increasingly more tense and scared, despite her attempts to hide it. "At ease, Basta. You aren't coming on board for this one considering your species 'relationship' with the Skeavers." Yorke said and Alatic's face seemed more relaxed after hearing those words, but still with traces of fear. Yorke reached for his comms and began relaying the jobs of each crew member during the mission.
"C'mon, Yorke. I'm sure the cat could be more than helpful if we use her as live bait." BOB-5 said as he began analyzing the directions to the space station. He awaited Yorke's response as he continued contacting the remaining crew members.
"No. Live bait doesn't seem like a role fitting for our navigator." Yorke said as he turned off his radio. Bob raised his hands in surrender, "So we're going to be exterminating some rats." he said.
"Yeah, Stefan is coming on board with us too. Har-Bak, Basta and Abram will all stay behind this time around. We need Har-Bak to manage security while we're gone and Abram is still recovering from his wounds." Yorke said as he began taking his seat. "I know what you getting in that seat means." BOB-5 gleefully announced as he began starting up the ship, "Our next stop, the Lamia system!"
The Dawn Voyager warped into the Lamia system and immediately entered the infamous planet Distress' orbit, circling around the planet to locate the Skeaver station, once named "Ansra", now dubbed "Big Mama's Tit", a crude, but fitting name.
The "Tit" had not always been Skeaver-controlled, however. Altaic scientists researching the planet's odd weather patterns used the station as a temporary home in the Lamia system. The Altaic, however, being the naturally kind species that they were, let a band of Skeaver posing as an injured caravan aboard, what happened next is left to the imagination. 52 scientists boarded the Ansra on Altaicia, and zero have came out since.
The Dawn Voyager sat across from the station crudely decorated with blood-red "paint", bones, and fur on the outside, one can only think of the atrocities that await on the inside. The Voyager's crew wouldn't have to, as they were about to experience the horrors that await inside, whether they would live to tell the tale was up to two things- Their skills, and how hungry the Skeaver were.
A Skeaver observed the planet below him, his feet up, munching on an apple in one hand while twirling around a revolver in the other. The rat looked over to his left, staring at the terrified Altaic prisoners. The pirate smirked, and took another bite of the apple, chewing loudly with his mouth open to scare the captives.
"Huh?" The Skeaver turned back to the window, a ship in the corner of his eye caught the rat's attention. He smiled and took his feet off the terminal, leaning forward and speaking into a microphone, his long clawed finger activating it.
"This is Pierce, boys, get to the docking station, we have a ship coming in." The Skeavers in the ship cheered, and a small squad of five moved to the front of the Tit, getting in position, guns aimed, ready to massacre the sorry fucks who come in.
The Dawn Voyager loomed in on the Tit, docking in. Captain Yorke, BOB, Stefan, and Har-Bak all entered the shuttle bay, weapons ready. BOB and Stefan all got into cover behind crates, Yorke stood behind a pillar, and Har-Bak stood out in the open, armed with the Trident Tech Repeaters looted back on the Ares. With the press of a button, the large shuttle doors slowly opened. Both sides were anxious for a fight.
BOB, Stefan, and Yorke remained motionless, listening to try and guess where and how their foes would strike. There was silence for several seconds, and then a quiet but unmistakable scratching noise echoed throughout the docking bay. The four peer out with their thirteen eyes, trying to find out where the noise was coming from.
Five shots ring out, hitting BOB-5's chassis and Har-Bak's carapace. BOB-5 looks up to see a group of Skeavers digging into the ceiling by their claws, taking sniping positions.
As if on que, the doors open and a squad of eleven Skeaver burst in, firing small arms in a suppressive pattern.
Har-Bak retaliated with his own heavy repeaters, sweeping the room with high-energy plasma bolts, taking special note of the large blades each of the Skeaver carried.
BOB-5 had seen this, too, and quickly processed that the Skeavers were trying to distract them with suppressive fire while they close in with their melee weaponry.
Stefan attempted to look for nearby enemies near his crate, but was forced to take cover as enemy fire rained down on his position. Damn, I can't tell how many are near my area. He preps his MK rifle and waited for the perfect opportunity to return fire.
A couple of skeavers dropped down to the floor, hoping to take advantage of the enemies in cover while their comrades above kept them pinned down. The lead skeaver motioned to the others to take out their blades and swiftly moved up.
BOB continued to process their attack pattern and prepped his weapon. Yorke peered out of covered and saw a small sqaud of skeavers closing in on them. "Stefan, BOB heads up we've got a couple of skeavers heading in our direction!" he said into the comm.
"Ah first catch of the day!" BOB cocked his weapon while Stefan pulled out his Bower. Stefan looked towards BOB and nodded his head. Stefan quickly fired out 3 shells to catch the skeavers attention.
The four Skeavers charge at the human, who takes out one with another shotgun blast before they enter engagement range. As he ducks and rolls away from them, BOB-5 strikes out with his bayonet, slicing through the ribs and into the lungs of one Skeaver before the remaining two turn around, blades ready.
As one of the Skeavers with his blade prepares to charge Stefan, two pops come from his chest, one of which leaving small hole where his heart was located. Yorke returned to his cover as he skittering coming closer to him. Peering out his cover, he noticed three Skeavers closing in on him. Two of which were armed with shotguns and one with a particularly jagged looking blade.
Looking at his Peacekeeper, Yorke began thinking on how to take out the three targets heading for his position. Eight rounds left till reload and three Skeavers heading my way. Seems simple enough, but I'm going need some help here. As he finished thinking out his plan, one of the Skeavers fired off his shotgun and hitting the pillar. Causing Yorke to recoil as he moved away from where the shot hit the pillar.
"BOB!" Yorke shouted getting the attention of the robot, "I need some covering fire over here." He simply turned his Banana Slug rifle at the Skeavers and the rounds tore through the rodent's side as a scream of agony escaped his lips before dying. The other shotgun-armed Skeaver ran behind cover and fired his shotgun hoping to avenge his fallen comrade.
I owe ya one, Bob. He thought as the skittering continued to get closer to his position. As the Skeaver rounded the corner to the pillar and stabbed the blade. Feeling the blade enter into something solid, the Skeaver smiled and turned his head, only to see the clade stabbed into the pillar. His shocked expression when a foot smashed his own. Howling in pain and only managing to open his eyes ever so slightly before a round entered his head.
Yorke looked at the shotgun Skeaver and fired off three rounds, two simply grazed the and the other entered it's shoulder. Causing it loosen its grip on the shotgun it held. Returning his cover and taking out the blade from it.
The wounded Skeaver crouches behind his cover, applying very rudimentary field aid. Trying and failing, it simply tosses its shotgun to another Skeaver and draws his blade. It waits silently.
The last Skeaver strikes at BOB-5 while he turns his rifle to give Yorke covering fire. The strike, strong but unskilled, hits home, carving a long furrow into the synthetic's chest.
The synthetic reacts by drawing his own blade- a Courbohn military blade, 8 inches in length, looted off a corrupt Eurypt lieutenant assassinated years ago. Although BOB preferred bullets, killing with a blade brought a sense of satisfaction as well.
BOB slashed rapidly at the Skeaver, rapidly cutting at his chest, working his way up to the rodent's throat where a gush of blood spilled onto the robot, and with a kick to the stomach, the pirate lay dead on the floor.
The three sniping Skeavers continue to aim and fire at their enemies, trying to force them to keep their heads down. While several rounds are glancing hits off of armor, their focus on suppression rather than accuracy leads to no casualties.
Stefan loads up a couple of shells into his Bower and reloads his MK rifle. Hmm there's a row of crates that reach the skeavers firing from the ceiling. I might be able to get them, but it may be a bit risky. Ah what the hell, I've got no options left.
Stefan takes out his shotgun. "Hey Yorke, BOB cover me!" "Wait what?! Kanoff what the hell are you doing?!" Stefan gets out of cover and starts running towards a stack of crates. Yorke quickly fired his weapon at the skeavers to pin them down...
The skeavers kept concentrating their fire at the synthetic and human down below. Unbeknowest to one of them, a lone human with a shotgun was right under them. A shot rang out, and a skeaver fell down.
"Goddamn, I don't know if he's either an idiot or just bat shit insane," said Yorke.
The two remaining Skeaver snipers swivel to fire at the human attacking them, but are quickly cut down from a bust of fire from Har-Bak. Four of the remaining Skeaver creep around the insides of the Dawn Voyager, hoping to flank the remaining defenders. The final one crouches in wait near the door, planning to ambush them when they try to go through the door.
The four defenders look around, breathing a little easier in the newfound silence. It seemed like the remaining Skeaver had either dies of flead."That was excitin'" BOB-5 says, "Jus' the way oi like to start off a mission. With a nice, big dent in my armor."
"I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not," Yorke says. "But for now we have a job to do, and that job is killing shit."
"Hey Stefan," Har-Bak says, "You gonna throw me something to patch myself up or what?"
"Sure thing, Har-Bak," Stefan replies while tossing a small bundle of bandages and painkillers up to the Eurypt. "It doesn't seem like anything you can't treat yourself, so put those turrets back and use this stuff in the med bay. I'll take a closer look once we're done."
With that, the three members going on the mission move towards the door and Har-Bak goes back to the ship, all unaware of the five Skeaver moving stealthily around the hanger.
Yorke and the small boarding party preformed one final weapons check before they'd venture outside of the Dawn Voyager and making sure they had ample ammunition before leaving the ship. The members seemed content with the remainder of their rounds and nodded as they slowly began making their way towards the exit.
However as Yorke began making his way out of the hanger he felt a weight smash against him and knocking him to the floor. The wind was throughly knocked out of him as he managed see the cause of this surprise another Skeaver who lied in wait and soon another wave of firearms going off had occured. The Skeaver above Yorke appeared to be female and had a mixture of blood lust and something else in her eyes as she lifted her knife intent on killing the human with her own hands.
Moving his head slightly he narrowly avoided the blade which imbedded itself near his head. He reached for Peacekeeper, but as he found a grip on the sidearm it was knocked away from him and slid across the ground causing it to go beyond his grasp. "You aren't going to struggle and expect to win that easily as long as I'm still breathing." the creature hissed as she reached for her own sidearm.
Seeing as his options were limited as the Skeaver began taking her firearm out and was moving it towards his face, he decided that he had to take a gamble here. Lifting his head and moving it towards her own with much force and connecting cause her flinch as he headbutted her discharging her firearm and it cut through the fabric of jacket, but narrowly missing the flesh. The Skeaver yelped in pain as Yorke managed to knock her off and onto the ground. Taking advantage of the situation he reached for the knife and thrusted it into her throat. The Skeaver's struggles & gasps for air soon gave away as she began choking on her own blood.
Seeing that his foe was dead allowed for a moment of relief before he remembered his surroundings. Stefan and BOB-5 were under fire, but they had managed to take out one of the Skeavers who had the jump on them leaving just two left on their end. And in between the small firefight was his Peacekeeper. Wanting to go after the gun, but deciding against it, Yorke grabbed the sidearm of the Skeaver he just killed and ran behind the nearest bit of cover he could find.
The Skeavers continued firing, their plans to eliminate the crew ruined by their comrade's attack. Having lost the element of surprise, they just kept firing at the synthetic and the two humans.
Stefan reloaded his Bower and moved up to a bit of cover. Two more left, BOB and I can taken them down. Stefan took a couple of breaths and waited for the sekavers to reload their weapons. After the first click, Stefan went running towards them...
The first skeavers concentrated on trying to reload, while the other saw a lone human running at them. The second skeaver took out a blade and began to charge at the human. "You will die by my blade!" yelled the charging skeaver.
As the skeaver began running towards him with the blade, Stefan quickly dodge the first strike and immediately hit a joint area of the skeaver with the butt of his shotgun. The skeaver let out a yell of pain and attempted to strike back...
The first skeaver managed to reload and aimed at the human and skeaver fighting each other. Feeling that he was going to get a kill, a shot rang out. The skeaver fell dead. "That is why you never get distracted!" said the synthetic.
Yorke brought the dead Skeaver's sidearm - a small, crudely-made crossbow - up to his shoulder, looking through the scope. He aimed carefully at the Skeaver still grappling with Stefan and let the loaded bolt loose.
Stefan was grappling with the Skeaver as it attempted deliver the fatal blow on the team's medic. The alien's movements came to a halt as a sharp pain entered his chest and he looked down to spot a bolt appearing from the front it. The Skeaver allowed for a pained cough to escape his lips as some of the fluid splattered on Stefan's chest. Its grasp loosened as it stumbled back and was blown away by a shotgun blast that caused his chest to erupt into a red mist.
"Jesus, I think that thing coughed blood all over my chest." Stefan said he began wiping the crimson fluid off his jacket and onto a nearby wall. He kept his other hand occupied with his Bower 20 with the faint trail of smoke emitting from the barrel.
"Still you look better than the guy who did that to you." BOB-5 said appearing from his own cover and walking towards the Skeaver corpse. Giving it a quick disinterested looking glance in its direction, "Nothing of any real value on him."
Yorke kept the crossbow leveled as he walked towards where his Peacekeeper had slid to. "Well, if we head in deeper then we may find something that piques your interests." he said as he lowered his himself and picked up his sidearm.
The fifth Skeaver moved carefully out of the hangar bay, giving Pierce an update on the situation. It heard the sounds of the station going on full alert; there were a few nasty surprises waiting for their attackers.
BOB reloaded his assault rifle and looked around the hangar, gazing at his handy work while his teammates caught their breath.
"Gonna take awhile to get this place cleaned up, eh?" BOB joked as his comrads rested for a bit, Yorke laying his back up against the wall and Stefan sitting on top a crate.
"Having to rest is one of the many reasons I'm grateful I ain't an organic like yourselves. I ain't gon' stop fightin' for a breather, I just keep going. So, you fleshies want to go back in for a bit, or can we continue the extermination? We ain't even stepped outside the bloody ship yet!"
Stefan breathed heavily and wiped the last of skeaver blood off of his jacket. "Nice shot back there Yorke," said Stefan. "I actually didn't think I was going to make it through that." Yorke nodded. "Anytime."
"Well seeing as how this was theier greeting party, I don't want to know how many more are there in this skeaver infested ship," said Stefan. "Not to mention we won't have the luxury of Hal giving us covering fire any time soon."
York looked at both BOB and Stefan. "We'll take our time going through the ship, but like what Stefan says expect heavy resistance from here on in." "Hehehe that won't be a problem for me," replied BOB cleaning skeaver remains off of his blade.
Yorke got up and equipped his pistol. "All right everyone ready?" Stefan jumped off the crate and equipped his Bower. "Ready as I'll ever be," Stefan replied. "About time we start moving" said BOB. "Ok then," said Yorke. "Let's go."
With that, the three went up to the door and readied their weapons...
The three members of the boarding party move out of the hangar into the station proper. The stench of death and blood permeates the air, causing Stefan and Yorke to look at each other uneasily. Due to their military backgrounds, they handled the smell far better than any civilians would. The station, however, stank far stronger than any battlefield either of them had ever set foot in.
Unaffected, BOB-5 simply swivels his head. "Which way, Cap'm?"
Yorke looks at the hallway splitting in two in front of him. One side goes left, with darkness spilling out from the corner. The right side ends in a similar corner, but bathed in a harsh red light.
"Considering our enemy here, I'd rather not split up the team like last time," Yorke says. "Though let me think for a second how we want to go."
"We'll take the one on the left." Yorke pointed towards the hallway after making up his mind. "You got your flashlight on you, Stefan?" he asked as he brought out his own flashlight and saw how much juice the batteries still had in them.
"Got it right here, Yorke." Stefan said he brought out his flashlight and showed it to his captain. "Didn't know what we'd need out here so I brought it just in case the Skeavers forgot to pay their electric bill."
"Good. Don't turn it on once we turn that corner." Yorke said as he began walking with the others in tow. "Wait. You want me to keep this off? Don't we kind of need to see through the dark in order to make some sort of progress and not bump into any of those Skeavers in the dark?" Stefan said confused at the order given to him.
"We're not going to give away our position that easily to the Skeavers." Yorke said before turning around towards BOB-5. "You're going to need to take the lead here, since you're only one out of all out us who can see through the dark with perfection." he took a few steps back and ended up behind the robot.
"So, you want me to be Mother Goose then. Well, not exactly how I pictured this mission to go, but I'll go with it." BOB-5 responded as he began changing his vision to one more fitting of cutting through the darkness. "Remember if you see more Skeavers than you think you could handle then be sure to warn us. We'll turn on our lights after that to help you out." Yorke said as they slowly inched their way towards the darkness with BOB-5 giving a simple gesture to assure him on the plan.
In the crossroads ahead, three pairs of floodlights wait unnoticed in the dark. In the sole hallway without them, eight Skeaver man four Saw Blade Turrets, with one on the floor, one on each wall, and the final one on the ceiling. Anyone who entered would not be able to avoid the tripwires that activated the floodlights, giving the four turrets along with a complement of twenty-four foot soldiers - hidden in niches in the walls - to strike.
"See anything, BOB?" Stefan asked, his voice slightly echoing through the dark corridors of the station.
"Not anything important. A few limbs, torn clothes, the usual stuff." BOB answered.
"Soo..." Stefan tried to break the silence after what seemed like an hour of walking. BOB raised his hand up in respond, silencing the medic and stopping in his tracks. The sound of claws on metal were heard creeping slowly towards the crew. BOB put his rifle on his back and drew the Courbohn knife.
"C'mon out and play, darling..." A Skeaver leaped to the synthetic from the thick darkness, the robot quickly respons by kneeing the rat in the stomach and kicking it down onto the floor, resting his large foot on the beast.
"You really shouldn't have done that." BOB moves his other foot to the Skeaver's head, begging for mercy, the synthetic shows none, and crushes his skull, blood and brain matter oozes onto the ground as his teammates look on in horror and disgust.
"Let's pretend that didn't happen, eh?" BOB turned his head to his comrades, looking back ahead bright lights flashed in the squad's face. Menacing laughter echoed from above.
"I'm sure it was, robot. But this is going to be a lot more fun, for us, anyways."
"Your head's mine, rodent! You can't stop us, bring on yer best men!"
"You asked for it."
Blinded by the sudden brightness, the three dive into small wall alcoves, shooting as they did so. These were empty, but their haste was quickly proven justified. The four Saw Blade turrets all start up at once, spraying the area with deadly metal disks which tore limbs off of any Skeavers unfortunate enough to be caught in the resultant crossfire.
"Come on now, boys," A voice echoed through the loudspeakers, "Try to fire those intelligently. Make Big Mama proud."
Stefan tries to peek out of cover, but a turret focuesd fire on him forcing the medic to stay in cover. "There's no way we'll be able to take out that kind of fire power from that distance. You think we should call in Har-Bak for some assistance?"
"No, if he leaves the Dawn Voyager, she'll be easier to take over since she'll be losing one of her defenders. We need to figure out a way to take out those turrets!" said Yorke. Yorke began to see the turrets and the man crews' movements up top.
On the opposite side of the room, the skeavers continued to unleash disc after disc upon the two humans and robot. There would be absoulutely no way for them to get through this room in one piece. Even if a turret has to reload for a few seconds, the other three turrets with be able to cover their allies until the reloading process is done.
"Come out and face us!" yelled a Skeaver gunner as he continued to fire at their cover. Stefan continues to look at the turrets, "Can't get a good view...wait! BOB, do you mind calculating the rate of fire for the turrets, and see how long it'll take for them to reload?" asked Stefan.
BOB, in cover behind a pillar in front of Stefan, nodded and enhanced his HUD and began to scan the turrets and the crews...
The Skeaver turrets fall silent, presumably reloading. As they do so, twenty Skeavers charge the alcoves where the Dawn Voyager crew is hiding.
Hearing the sound of turrets dying down, Yorke slowly began peaking his head out from cover and saw something that made his eyes go wide. The turrets had died down, but it had made way for the massive horde of shining Skeaver eyes in their place. A round cracked off on the floor next to him causing him to return behind his cover. Shit. Shit. Shit. We have a horde of blood-lusted Skeavers and not nearly enough ammo to kill them all before they reach us.
These thoughts raced through his head as he heard several more gunshots ring out and followed by a shout, "Come on ya, vermin! Think y'all can take me on, I dare you, I double dare you motherfuckers!" Assuming the owner of the voice was BOB-5, Yorke reached around for one of his Needler grenades hoping that the device would be enough to thin out their numbers if not kill the ones advancing on their position.
"Bob, Stefan, I need you guys to keep them off of us! I got something that can get us out of this mess!" Yorke shouted as he prepped the explosive. Thermal. Five second delay and hopefully enough explosive force and spikes to tear them to shreds. Finishing with the last of the settings, he peered out of his cover and saw the firefight between his crew and the oncoming horde of Skeavers who didn't seem to even care that some of their allies had fallen.
Pressing the dull red button on the explosive which lit up after pressure was applied started the timer. Throwing the grenade to oncoming horde and landing in the middle of the group who didn't seem to notice it and with only four seconds till detonation. "BOB and Stefan get back to cover and keep your heads down!" Yorke shouted as he returned to cover and soon as explosion was heard followed by a flurry of animalistic screams.
Yorke looked out from the aftermath, seeing all the unprotected Skeavers littering the floor. He quickly ducked back in as the turrets started up again. The eight Skeavers withing had been protected by the armor plating surrounding them, getting a few pokes and bruises at the worse.
"Gonna need more bang than that, Yorke. Hold your positions, let me bring out the big bang." BOB shouted to Yorke admists the barrage of gunfire, occassionally taking shots at the attackers with his rifle without looking. Yorke nodded and relayed the message to Stefan afterwards.
"Come get some, arseholes!" BOB angled his rifle upwards and gripped tightly.
"Firing high-explosive round!" With the sound of a thump, a 40mm grenade exploded in the middle of the armored Skeaver squad, injuring, disorienting, and knocking many rodents down. With that, BOB crouched back to cover with his teammates, blind firing ahead of them to avoid the sharp saw blades constantly hurling at them.
On-Board the Dawn Voyager
Basta slinked away from the bridge and slipped into her room to grab her shotgun. To be honest, she was really thankful that she didn't need to use it on the last mission. Beyond a few warning shots, the gun had just been for intimidation. If push came to shove, she wouldn't be able to hit the broad side of a ship with it.
As she left her room, she headed to the medical bay to keep watch over Abram. She wasn't entirely thrilled about being in the same room as him, but it was smartest for her to keep an eye on the weakest link of the crew while she waited for Har-Bak to get back inside.
Maybe he could give me a few pointers in how to actually use this thing...
"Come and get some, rodents!" Har-Bak screamed, spraying his two newest toys with childish euphoria. He lifted up one of the heavy Repeaters to aim better, firing a small burst into the chest of a Skeaver who managed to nearly get within blade reach.
"That was too close for comfort, eh Scorp!" BOB yelled, both warriors chuckling as they sprayed their automatic weapons into the charging hoard of rat-like aliens.
The Eurypt quickly retreated behind cover to reload, dropping one of the Repeaters beside him. "Y'know, these snipers are starting to really bother me." Har-Bak remarked, setting up the Repeater on top of his cover.
Drawing a bead on his target, the military veteran took in a slow breath as he fired a burst of fire into the chest of one of the snipers. He let out a scream as he fell to the ground, and a sickening crack was heard as his spine broke on his less-than pleasant landing.
The remaining Skeaver snipers take careful aim at Har-Bak, trying to shoot between the joints of his exoskeleton. They fire, and one shot hits Har-Bak's exoskeleton, one hits the gap between the top two segments of his thorax, and the third in his still-sensitive, burnt stinger.
The Eurypt recoils in pain, dropping the TMX repeaters.
Basta glanced over her shoulder at the wounded mechanic, "So...how are you holding up?"
Abram groaned in pain, "The doc might've patched me up, but it still hurts like hell..." he then stopped, noticing that she was holding her shotgun, "What's going on?"
Basta took a deep breath, "Lloyd gave us our next mission...and it's Skeavers. I shouldn't have to tell you how I feel about that."
Abram nodded and gave her a look over. While her voice seemed calm, the tail on her hair tail was puffed out, giving her fear away.
"Fuckers!" Har-Bak screamed, one hand grasping his burnt tail. Whilst he did this, his three remaining arms each drew a firearm of some sort. Seeing Kanoff dash away at the snipers.
The surprise on the Skeavers' faces when the medic attacked was even more satisfying as Har-Bak fired a burst from his CalTech into one of their chests. Burning through the rat's flesh with ease, the rodent was dead before he hit the ground.
"Good idea doc!" He yelled to Kanoff, then continued firing at the remaining pirates.
"So skeavers eh. I had a few dealings with them I fixed their ships and gave them illegal weapons. But it was all for the buisness of course. If you think me a bad person I can understand. But I never actually killed that many people." Abram says.
"So what is happening on the ship I have been stuck here for quite a while and does Bob still want to kill me because if so I may have to still stay away from him."
Hearing that, Basta let loose a small hiss, "You should've known that they'd naturally go after the Altaics. Guess me being on-board isn't helping your conscience much." She looked away, "As for BOB-5, I guess he keeps tabs on the BCA bounty board more regularly than the rest of us. He's been telling me some of his combat days, and if there's even a shred of thuth to them, which I have no reason to doubt, let's just say Stef won't be able to put you back together again, and we'll be stuck cleaning the mess."
Sighing, she pressed her ear against the door, she heard the gunfire. The Skeavers taking the Ansra was a psychological blow to the Altaics. There was discussion in the government to make their policies on offering aid more strict, but in the end, like most other governments, nothing had yet to be settled.
Damned politics.... Basta thought, Can't ever get anything done, much less agree on something as simple as stricter policies.
Har-Bak finished adjusting the turrets, the magazines refilled and all required procedures finished. Sighing and wiping sweat from his brow, Har-Bak pulled out another cigar and lit it, chewing on it thoughtfully.
Returning to his room, Har-Bak's four arms began to multitask; Loading magazines, holding his food, etc. With his fourth arm, Har-Bak he was holding a book he'd recently bought, based on the fundamentals of human warfare.
"Excuse me, Har-Bak, do you have a minute?"
The Eurypt glanced up from his reading to see Basta standing in his doorway, awkwardly looking at the ground.
Those things probably did go after the altaics with those guns. I never should have given them those. Abram tried to get up only fell down. Now I have 2 enemies on the ship. Bob wants me dead and I am pretty sure Basta does too. If either one of them wanted to kill me they could do it now. Well I just have to hope they are in a genourous mood right now'.
In one hand, she had her shotgun while she lightly held her tail with her other. Shifting her weight between her feet, she looked up to the Eurypt, "I was wondering...could you show me how to actually use this thing?" She held up the shotgun.
Seeing some confusion in his face Basta sighed, "Look, I may have used the shotgun on occasion in the bar, but that was to just to fire off a warning shot to stop fights from getting out of hand. I have no idea how to use it as an actual weapon."
Setting his book and magazine down, he got up and took the shotgun from her hands, "Horus Armaments, Omallery Shotgun...feeling homesick?
Basta shook her head, "No, it was coincidence that Mitch had it back there. I took a bit of a liking to it over the years, and that's why I snatched it on my way out."
"Is that so? And you've never had to use the thing?" Basta shrugged, reaching out for the shotgun again. "This-" Basta attempts, but Har-Bak interrupts.
"This is a good boomstick. C'mon, let's show ya how to use it."
Several minutes later, Basta and Har-Bak are in the hangar. As Basta nervously fiddles with her shotgun, the Eurypt finishes harnessing a few Skeaver corpses to various positions. Two at fifteen yards, one of them behind cover, and three more at twenty-five yards.
"Alright, y'know what to do. You got six shots, line 'em up and knock 'em down." Har-Bak ordered, continuing to read. The Altaic looked in confusion. "Aren't you going to tell me how to use this thing?"
Har-Bak chuckled, before taking the gun himself. "It's easy with a shotgun; Point and shoot." With those words of advice, Har-Bak fired both rounds with astute marksmanship into the chest of a Skeaver. "Your turn."
Basta tried to line up the chest of the Skeaver up in her sights and pulled the trigger. The recoil against her shoulder caused her to stumble a bit before regaining her balance. She looked at the Skeaver that she had aimed at, "Did I hit it?"
Har-Bak shook his head, "Miss." He didn't sound too entirely empathatic, "Reload and try again." Sighing, Basta broke open the shotgun, ejecting the two rounds and placed two more in and lined up again.
After going through several more more rounds, she had managed to hit all the targets, save for the one in cover. While most of the wounds wouldn't have been death shots, they would've taken a chunk out of them.
If anything, I at least have reloading this thing down, Basta thought, plus it was nice to shoot Skeavers for a change...even if they were just cadavers.
"Well, the good news is you managed to hit most of the targets." Har-Bak mentioned, taking the shotgun from the Altaic's hand. "And the bad news?" She asked, rubbing her sore shoulder.
"You can't use a shotgun worth shit. From my perspective, looks like you can't handle the recoil of even a single blast." The Eurypt said, loading two more shells. Feeling cocky, he fired one shot directly at the Skeaver behind cover, blowing his head apart.
"I'll see if I can't find anything a bit more appropriate for your size, weight, et cetera." Har-Bak said, standing and then walking to his room. He'd purchased a few spare weapons in case his main ones needed repair, so this was an excellent time to see if he'd gotten his money's worth.
"What about me?" Basta yelled.
"Isn't it obvious? Go set up more Skeaver corpse targets."
While having her shotgun taken away was a bit upsetting, having to handle the Skeaver corpses quickly made her forget about it.
And here I thought they smelled bad from a distance... Skeavers occasionally showed up on Ord Melul, and when they came into Shezmu's Blood, she made sure that she shoved Mitch or one of the other bartenders out while she had to 'do inventory', by ducking into the store room until the rat had left the bar. Eventually, Mitch caught on and would give her a heads-up.
Evetnually, she had set up four more targets. Looking around, she saw the piles of dead Skeaver corpses around her. 'If they could spare this many just to face us right off the bat, how many of these things are on the station?
Coming back with three different firearms, he laid them across the table as Basta returned.
"These are your choices; The Heckler & Colt Model N Field Rifle. A bolt-action human weapon, this holds a 15-round box magazine. It's slow as Moses and will take a long time to use well, but it's probably the most powerful option.
"This is a D-25 "Toaster" machine pistol. A fully-automatic machine pistol, the spray of this weapon is more than enough to keep your enemies down, but at the end of the day the ammunition is mediocre at best, lacks any sense of accuracy, and costs a chunk of change."
"Finally....well I don't know what the hell this is. The dealer called it a "Fajardo", I don't know anything about it. Never shot it before, I have no idea whatcha do with it."
Har-Bak analyzed the guns, most of which did in fact take up most of his change.
"Pick your poison and let it go down range, Basta."
Looking over her choices, she knew that the Fajardo, while was Altaic for 'judgement through fire', was a cheap as hell machine gun. Only people who wanted a full collection of Horus Arms weapons bought them, much less used them.
So I either can go slow and steady, or spray and pray...I want to be able to make sure I can handle my enemies, so shitty aim is the last thing I need. Guess I'll be going with the rifle then.
Picking up the rifle, she looked down the iron sights, "I'll go with this one."
Basta headed back to the place where she had shot from earlier. She looked down the sights again and looked to Har-Bak, "Um...is this a bad time to mention I haven't any idea on how to work this?"
"I've never been a sharpshooter with bolt-actions, but here's the basic concept." Har-Bak showed the Altaic how to operate the rifle, as well as how to load it.
"Now comes the hard part. Once the gun is primed, take in a breath. Breath out slowly, stop, and slowly pull the trigger."
Giving her two spare magazines, Har-Bak had her fire, occasionally mentioning advice. "The blast should be a surprise, don't jerk the trigger." and "Try to move the gun as little as possible so you don't have to catch your sight picture again." Were all quips.
Basta looked up at her mentor, smiling at her work. "How'd I do?" Har-Bak nodded in approval. "Not that bad at all."
The remaining three turrets direct their fire as best they can towards BOB-5's hiding place. The Synthetic is counting the shots to determine when to take his shots when a voice crackles inside his head.
"Duster. This is Lloyd."
"A little busy here," BOB-5 replies, using the internal speakers that are similarly muffled, "You sent us on a mission to kill Skeavers, remember?"
"I do. But I thought you might want to know that you are now free to act on and cash in Abram Abakumov's bounty. Oh, and you might want to fire those grenades now."
Lloyd can be a bloody arsehole half the time. But he's a bloody arsehole who pays me, BOB-5 thought as he ducked back out of cover and put two more grenades into two of the remaining armored turrets. The only Skeavers left were manning the turret on the ceiling, which started spitting out saw blades just before BOB-5 ducked back into cover.
All right one turret left, nothing that we can't handle, thought Stefan. "Yorke toss me one of your grenades!" "What do you plan on doing?" asked Yorke. "That armor on the front of that turret is too strong for take on that much damage from your grenade. So, might as well try to flank them and arm the grenade from behind."
Yorke nods and tosses him a grenade. "You better make sure your plan works, I don't want to lose our crew's medic!" "Thanks, and will do!" Yorke opens fire, causing the skeavers to focus their efforts on Yorke. Stefan starts to run out of cover, and the turret begins to follow him.
BOB sees Stefan run out of cover and begins to give suppressive fire. Jeez does this meat sack have a death wish or something. Two stunts in one day... Stefan makes his way to the stairs and begins to ascend near the skeavers' position.
The Skeavers manning the sawblade turret notice Stefan's charge. The traverse and fire at the medic, who takes a large laceration on his left arm and shin. He goes down, and the moment before they fire the finishing few blades BOB-5 shoots a fourth grenade, taking the turret out.
"That was really fucking stupid, chap."
Yorke saw his team's medic go down and hurriedly rushed to his side after his other team mate had disposed of the final turret. Observing the wounded man, he began to take note of the injuries he had suffered and blood leaving the open wounds. He leaned down down and grabbed the Needler grenade which hadn't luckily been activated yet as the light remained a dull red. Putting the grenade away and reversing the settings came next as Yorke spoke to man's crumpled form, "Maybe shifting from cover to cover would've been a better way to execute your plan."
Stefan chuckled lightly, but a shock of pain had stopped his laughter short, "Yeah, I wasn't thinking on that one. Just wanted to help clear our path, but looks like it backfired on me." His hands and eyes darted towards his wounds as they continued to allow the escape of his life fluids. "Think you can help out here? I don't fancy blood loss as my cause of death."
"Well, you're lucky I took out the last rat-faced bastard or else your death would've been you being left in tiny chunks." Bob spoke out as he made his way towards both humans.
Elsewhere in the station, teams of Skeavers move around, setting up traps and hiding in vantage points to ambush the attackers.
"Let's get this over with." BOB crouched down to Stefan's level and retrieved his napsack, pulling out bandages, gel, and pills.
"Take these pain killers." BOB handed the wounded medic the bottle of pills. "Yorke, apply this antibiotic ointment. Straight outta Planae, good shit for fleshies. I'll get the bandages on." BOB tossed his captain the gel, and after minutes of fixing up the medic, they were ready to head out again. Yorke helped Stefan up to his feet, the medic's left arm resting over Yorke's shoulders.
"Stefan's in no shape to keep fighting, let's head back to the ship for now." Yorke ordered.
"That'll only give time for the Skeavers to re-organize and plan out attacks and traps for us." BOB replied.
"Not having another death on my crew." BOB chuckled.
Yorke laid Stefan down on a stretcher in the medical bay back on the ship while BOB explained to Basta and Har-Bak in the hangar.
"I should go tell Abram what happened then head back out again, wish me luck." BOB took the elevator up to the crew quarters, where Abram rested. Drawing one of his pistols and knocking on the engineer's door, he opened to BOB kicking him down onto the ground and closing the door behind him.
"Something about this seems familiar, don't you think, Abram?" BOB joked, again resting his large foot on the Russian while aiming his pistol down at the cowering cyborg's head.
"Please! Don't!" Abram begged, unable to escape from the synthetic's wrath.
"Please is a word you get a lot when you hunt people down for centuries. This ain't nothin' personal, Abe. It's just business." With the pull of a trigger, the engineer's head exploded. The gunshot alerted Yorke and Stefan in the deck below, the former rushing upstairs to investigate.
"Efficient as always, Duster," Lloyd's voice rings through the private communicator, "though the contract does stipulate the corpse as proof of death."
BOB-5 looks up at the door as Yorke and Har-Bak burst through, with Basta trailing. The three look down at the dead engineer, Yorke and Har-Bak with varying degrees of shock and horror. Basta, on the other hand, looked slightly nauseated by the blood and gore, but neither shocked nor upset.
"Bob, what exactly happened here?" Yorke said looking over the synthetic his trust of machine wavering as he began moving away from Abram's corpse. The sheets had begun to absorb the rapidly espacing life blood of the former engineer staining them and leaving an red hue.
"Well what happened here is that I came into this room and shot this bloke in the cranium. This is something I'm sure you would've gathered by now." Bob said as he grabbed some of the sheets to wipe off some of the blood that had landed upon him.
"Cut the shit. We both know there is something more to this than you just wanting to go ahead and do this. Now I want to know why." Yorke's tone began having hints of anger in it. He wanted to reach for his Peacekeeper, but decided against to prevent further escalating the situation.
"They seem to be holing up in their ship, boss," one of the Skeavers said, communicating to Pierce. This Skeaver was the head of a compliment of forty currently headed towards the Dawn Voyager with a large amount of explosives and saw blade launchers. A similarly sized and equipped party is making its way down as well, effectively sending about a third of the station's forces against their foe.
"Well Yorke, you see, it's top secret assassin business that supersedes any plans you may have had for that man." BOB joked once again, infuriating his captain, who drew his revolver in response.
"You better give me an answer, because right about now I see you as a danger to me and my crew."
"Shoot me dead, Officer Friendly. That man's death'll be for nothin', you won't have a way out of this dump, and Pierce'll come on in, tie you down and make you watch him rape Basta, then he'll kill you with a rusty knife, slowly, oh so slowly. Hell, if it weren't for me, your medic would be dead right now. Kick me off the ship if you want, but I wouldn't suggest pickin' a fight. I'm the Grim fuckin' Reaper, God's tool, and I was told to take that man's life."
"You're a sick fuck, BOB." Yorke holstered his pistol. "But you'll stay for now."
"Excellent! I'll take care of the body."
Pierce sharpened his blade in the communications hub of the station, waiting while the captives were brought to him. The subtle rasping of the whetstone gave way to terrified, panicked footsteps. The Skeaver's face lit up in a cruel smile, savoring what was to come.
"Excellent, excellent," Pierce says, everything set up, "Now, in case they decide to be foolish, I want everyone manning turrets or holding a rifle to deal with them. My guard stays here."
Before having rushed up to find BOB-5 hovering over the headless corpse of Abram, she had been about to fire a round into the Skeaver target hidden behind cover. When the shot had gone off, she thought for a second she had fired, but the lack of a kick and no damage to either the target or cover told her otherwise.
Noticing that Har-Bak had already fled, she followed after him up to the med bay to find the grizzly scene.
Adverting her eyes, she shrugged with indifference, "Well...better now than never. Son of a bitch sold weapons to the Skeavers, so he was already dead to me." She leaned against the doorframe, studying her new rifle, eventually popping the clip out and practicing with the bolt-action reload to get used to it, "So...what are we going to do with this body?"
"I frankly don't care. Hell, maybe we can set him up as Skeaver bait." Har-Bak suggested, but dirty looks from Basta and Yorke quickly silenced him.
"Abram's body is something we can discuss later. What happens now is if we decide to continue the mission or not." Basta spoke out, attempting to avert her gaze from the scene before her.
BOB and Har-Bak shrugged, awaiting further orders from their captain. Basta nervously fiddled with her rifle, loading a magazine into the gun.
"Duster, pull out your communicator," Lloyd says, using the private channel, "I believe I have a few things to mention to your crewmates."
BOB-5 opens his chest compartment and pulls out his communicator, earning puzzled looks from Basta, Har-Bak, and Yorke.
"When I give you a contract," Lloyd's voice says, coming through the communicator, startling the three, "You follow through with it. You complete the mission and get paid, or you die. If you continue, you'll either succeed or fall to the rats. If you back out before Pierce is dead, then you will be yet another video added to the on-board selection."
"Wait, what?" Har-Bak asks, slightly startled.
"If you ever have a horror movie night, I suggest you look at the three vids that were pre-loaded on your ship. It should give you something to think about if it ever crosses your mind to abandon a mission again."
The transmission cuts off, and BOB-5 puts the communicator back into his chest compartment.
Hearing Lloyd's threat, she clutched the rifle close to her and sped out of the room in fear.
I...I'm in no shape to get into a firefight, much less with living Skeavers. Please Yorke...don't make me go. She stopped in the middle of a hall, What have I gotten myself into? I'm no fighter! Hell, I just have a mean right cross. She considered her choices...but the only one she saw was to pray that Yorke didn't make her go with onto the station and that they didn't try to flee from the BCA. If I knew that the BCA would have me flying into hell by my tail, I wouldn't have made that bet.
She needed to be somewhere quiet...and Skeaver-free. Picking up the rifle again, she headed to the Medical Bay.
Stefan tries to move from the stretcher after hearing the gunshot. "GAH! Goddammit!" feeling pain as he attempted to move. "Great, now I'm the one that's left out here." Still, a shot coming from the interior of the Dawn Voyager, could a Skeaver or two boarded the ship...no Har would've dealt with them before they could've even gotten a certain distance.
A few minutes later, Basta came walking back to Stefan, with a nauseous expression, and sat down next to the stretcher. "Hey Basta, what happened up there?" asked Stefan. Basta remained silent, and just kept staring forward. I think it'd be best not to force her to answer, he thought.
"...ok now I want you to apply some medgel near the laceration," instructed Stefan. Basta nodded and began to place gel on the wound. Stefan clenches down on a piece of cloth and gives out a muffled scream. "I'm sorry..." Basta looks down. "No it's all right, this isn't the worst wound I've had in forever"
Basta looked at Stefan. "What do you mean?" she asked. "I'll tell you later, but right now is not a good time. With us occupied in here, who knows what the Skeavers are planning. Not to mention that we didn't even go far into the station yet, and who knows how many of them are there."
This isn't looking good for us, with at least two crew members out of the fight, we won't be able to stand a chance against those Skeavers. Sure we have BOB and Har-Bak as our heavy hitters, but they'll be overwhelmed by a large number of them. Not to mention we can't abandon the mission...
Yorke stood by the doorway with Har-Bak as they both observed the synthetic wrap the corpse of Abram Abakumov with the sheets of the bed. The sheets had soaked up a majority of the blood still leaking through the fresh exit wound of Abram, but regradless some of it still leaked through the sheets and onto the bed or slid off and onto the floor below staining the surface.
Both left the room and let BOB-5 finish off the handiwork and closed the door behind them waiting for the robot to be finished. "So I'm guessing after that message that we received we're going to stay." Har-Bak said hoping to reduce the tension after the events which had occurred only moments ago. "I never considering leaving an option in the first place. We still have a job to do and that message from Lloyd reinforced that we should do it and not even consider cutting our loses and driving off." Yorke responded.
"Of course, since we're here now, me and Bob are going to have to get some spare ammo before we head out. Stefan's in recovery and I'm not sure that with the current total of rounds I have on me that we'll be able to do much." he continued with looking around the hallway. "As soon as he's done in there, I'm heading to the armory and see what we have lying around."
Pierce walked up to the station-wide PA system and activated it, taking a deep breath before launching into his message.
"Hello, invaders. Since you're attacking us, I think it would be best to assume that you care about hostages and such, yes? Well, I just so happen to have eight Altaic prisoners here. For every fifteen minutes you linger on this station, one will die. If you stay longer than 2 hours, I'll just have to bring more in."
He then deactivates the system and walks into the next room, which controlled the external defenses of the station. After they detached, they would need to get to a distance to leave. Before they got to that range, however, they would be in perfect, point-blank range of his station's external defenses. The ship would be torn to shreds, and he wanted to witness it.
The message chilled most everyone throughout the ship. Yorke and Har-Bak stopping in place and staring at each other, Stefan's eyes widening, and Basta suddenly snapping into a catatonic-like state for a few moments, chills going down her spine as she recalled the first news of the station's takeover, and the disturbing details sent to Altaicia of what the Pierce and his crew had done to the scientists on board. BOB, however, was unphased by the message, and finished up wrapping Abram's corpse, picking up and laying the body over his shoulder, whistling as he made his way out of the room to Yorke and Har-Bak.
"I hope you boys still have Lloyd's message fresh in your mind. Hostages or not, we gotta complete this mission."
"Basta might object, but we have to." Yorke said.
"Atta boy, let's get goin'."
"Har-Bak, you stay and defend the ship."
"Just me and deadweight, can't promise we'll all be alive when you get back, if you get back." Har-Bak replied.
"Go train Basta then, every and any shot helps."
Pierce waited. It had been five minutes already; it was looking more and more likely that these guys were on a BCA contract. Those kinds of bastards never backed down or ran.
"Hangar team, move in," he says, giving the go-ahead for the eighty Skeavers waiting to barge into the Dawn Voyager.
Har-Bak finished positioning the last crate for covering the doorway. As Yorke and BOB-5 moved out, Har-Bak nodded at Basta, who lay hidden behind the crates. She pulled the bolt backward, and prepared to hold the ground with Har-Bak against any Skeaver invaders.
"Dammit, I'm not going to be the one to clean this blood-" The scorp started to complain, only to hear scratching.
"Shut up Scorp, you hear that?" BOB stated, his rifle in hand. Arming himself with his Lancer rifle and Stingray revolvers, Har-Bak grimly nodded.
They must've sent a team while were busy returning Stefan and dealt with Abram's death. These thoughts crossed Yorke's mind as he reached the nearest cover a group of crates. Bob and Har-Bak had also found their new areas and had it not been for the lack of Stefan, dead Skeaver corpses and the addition of Basta, he might've considered this whole scene to be complete deja-vu.
Taking out his Peacekeeper he removed the previous cylinder and placed the new one. Yorke pulled out his radio and whispered into it, "Stefan, if you can move then make you're way to security and check up on the security cameras and let's see how much we're up against." he said and waiting for a response, but the time being he was preoccupied with the new boarding party.
The Skeavers swarmed in, firing their weapons whenever they saw one of their adversaries. They were met by a hail of gunfire, bullets from Har-Bak, BOB-5, and Yorke slamming into them with lethal effect. From her perch above them, Basta fired off shots, one after another, wincing at the thuds from their impact.
"The 'ell you doin', Furry," Bob-5 yells, "Kill the buggers. Don't just wound them."
Easy enough for him to say, she thought, He's been doing this for centuries. Basta grimaced, still firing. Despite these being Skeavers, the mortal enemy of her species, she found herself unable to go for kill shots. She'd hit in the gut, limbs, and groin, but never anything fatal. The wounded thrashed and screamed, a sound that chilled her. A sound she would not forget any time soon.
"Just kill them, Basta," Yorke yells, throwing a Needle Grenade that finished off a few of her victims, "It's safer, and they scream less."
Taking a few deep breaths to compose herself, she tries once again to be of use.
"C'mon laddy, explode ya first head, ahaha!" BOB shouted while periodically taking shots at the invading rodents, enjoying the heat of the battle. "Or on second thought, keep wastin' ammo on stomach shots, the screams get me revved up, ahahaha!"
"Fuck all you inbred fucking bastards!" Seeing a horde seemingly endlessly rush into the hangar bay alongside a wheeled saw-blade turret being pushed in, BOB loaded a fresh mag into his assault rifle and opted to take his chances, spraying the room from left to right with bullets until the only sound the gun made was "click". Before dropping back behind the makeshift crate cover, BOB took aim at the turret closing in, finishing it off with a grenade blast at the turret, causing a bright red explosion of flesh and blood to cover the battlefield.
"Had to make a mess, BOB?" Yorke jokingly asked over the gunfire.
"You know me, boss. I like to kill." BOB finished reloading. "Kill with flair."
Stefan quickly and cautiously got off of his bed in the medical bay. "All right..." He quickly stretched to reach his Foley pistol and spare mags. "C'mon c'mon c'mon...." Stefan accidentally nudges the table a bit and the pistol falls down next to him. "Ahhh..." He shields his face in case the safety was off. "Ahhhh good..." Stefan puts it on his holster and began to crawl out of the med bay.. "Coast is clear....alrighty then..."
Stefan started to crawl down the hallway. "Ok should be a couple of doors down." Stefan passed by the armory. "Damn if only Basta could've helped me up before this attack started...ok almost there...."
Stefan goes near the control room entrance and crawls inside. "Ok chair...chair.." Stefan grabs the cushion part with his right arm and struggles to get up. "1..2...3....hurggghhh..." Stefan slowly pulls himself onto the chair. "Ok halfway there...." He grabs onto the top part of the chair with his right hand. "1...2...3....hrgggghhhh" With all of his strength, Stefan manages to sit himslef onto the chair. "Ahhh that's feels better...now to make sure I won't get shot at from behind.." Stefan presses a control that closes the control room entrance. "Ok and now to check what's going on outside...."
Gritting her teeth, she lined the ironsights up with the head of a Skeaver reloading, Well...it's now or never....
Squeezing the trigger, she fired a shot. While resighting the rifle, the head exploded into a mess of red, grey, and white. Seeing her target's dead, headless, body and the explosive mess it made sent a chill down her spine, Sure, the screaming is gone, but I now have an image burned into my mind...
Trying to shake it off, she changed her sights to the Skeavers that were still flooding into the Hangar Bay, aiming for their necks this time.
Less screaming, and hopefull no head explosions...
Pierce drags one of the Altaic hostages into the control room and switched on the PA system. "Well, your first fifteen minutes are up," he says, talking over he sobbing and pleading of his captive, "And now's the first kill."
He lifts up his blade, takes a few more moments to savor the blubbering terror of his victim, and brings it down, decapitating the Altaic with a squelching thud.
"Ouch, that doesn't sound very pleasant..." Har-Bak muttered, spraying another burst of fire down range. A three-team of Skeavers quickly fell as the plasma rounds entered their chests.
Har-Bak returned to cover, reloading his Lancer. Loading his last 60-round drum, Har-Bak focused on using his Org-Stingrays. The two revolvers fired quickly, taking shots at any trying to advance upon his comrades. The Eurypt grimly examined his surroundings, before seeing the two Trident Repeaters across from him, sitting in the equipment closet where he'd left them.
Good news, I have two new guns. Bad news, I might get shot trying to get to them.
After thinking, Har-Bak decided he really didn't have a choice as of now. He'd need to cross from his makeshift cover, across the hangar, and grab the guns.
"Guys, I need suppressing fire! My rifle's nearly out of ammo, I'll try to get to one of the Tridents. Can you do that, crew?" Har-Bak asked, firing a Stingray into the skull of a Skeaver.
Yorke fired off one of the plasma slugs from Peacekeeper which burrowed intself into the eye socket of it before goimg out the other end. This was the pattern he attempted to continue when Har-Bak shouted his request for covering fire. Everyone in the group knew they didn't have tons of ammo on them besides himself and Bob, but with the unknown amount of foes coverging their positions they soon might also be running low.
Yorke ducked behind his cover, only to peak slightly out of it to see where the TMX Repeaters had been left. Both fully loaded and within the equipment locker and the obstacle to reaching them was a few Skeavers walking towards firing their weapons, some of rounds hitting his cover and reacting by putting his head back down.
"Give Har-Bak some covering fire! Har-Bak, you're going to need to run and shoot if you want to get to those guns with th least amount of injuries possible." Yorke said popping out of his cover and began firing along with the others at the Skeaver horde which now had to climb over the bodies of dead brotren delaying their advance slightly.
Har-Bak went from cover to cover and fired off his weapons as he neared his objective. The sounds of firearms discharing mixed his the chorus of screams and yelps of those who were unfortunate enough to get hit by them.
The Skeavers continue firing, putting enough projectiles in the air that they were reasonably sure of getting a hit, at least by chance. As this seemed to be ineffective, several Skeavers started bringing out Needle Grenades and throwing them at their foes' cover.
Har-Bak, Yorke, and BOB continued on battling after what seemed like an hour, but it was much, much shorter than that in reality. The horde of Skeavers and the hail of bullets made it hard to pinpoint all their foes. The three main fighters were positioned on different ends of the room while Basta provided cover and a nice distraction above them, but not even all those eyes could identify the rodents tossing Needler Grenades behind their cover. The grenades, even if not fatal, would draw the Skeaver's prey out of cover, making them easy targets.
Shit... A grenade clanked on the metal floor next to BOB, immediately making him rush towards Yorke, firing rapidly as he made his way across to his captain, jumping to avoid the explosion of nails behind him. This did not completely protect the synthetic, however, some nails clanking and burying into his metal exterior.
"Hello there, need some help, Yorkey?"
"You're only going to draw attention to us." Yorke crouched behind cover next to BOB.
"I know." A grenade landed next to the pair, BOB quickly picking it up and throwing it back over to their foes. "Merry fuckin' Christmas!"
"This ship have any useful defenses?" BOB asked.
"It might have, if you didn't kill the one man who could install those Repeaters."
"Bah, the Scorp can handle 'em better."
"Guys, they have something big and terrible heading towards you." Stefan radioed in to his team, monitoring the outside cameras.
"Har-Bak's mum? AHAHA!" BOB joked in the heat of combat.
"Something a little more worse than that, I'd imagine. A squad of armored Skeaver are on your way alongside another rolling saw blade turret. They're big, and they've got big guns."
"Shit my fuck, I'll see you after the bloodbath, Yorke." BOB loaded up another grenade into the under-barreled launcher and raced back to his old cover.
The hell does that mean? Yorke thought. Stefan checked the monitors and saw the action going on in the hanger. Damn if it weren't for that stupid stunt I pulled earlier, would've been of much help with Basta doing some sniper support from up top. Oh well, the least I can do is just give them updates on what's going on around the ship.
"Heads up their starting to take cover! Take out that turret before they set it up!" he yelled on the radio. "Yeah we got it!" replied Yorke. Stefan sweated as he began looking at the different cameras on different parts of the ship. Hmm guess they're testing us, seeing how well we can defend the ship. They probably don't know that our ship's armanments aren't online; that's both good and bad for us.
"Basta aim for the weakspots in the armor: near the neck and leg joints. At the most try to immobilze those armored Skeavers!" Stefan said as he saw her attempt to do body shots. "Easier said than done!" Basta yelled.
Goddamn...if only those repeaters were working, I could've controlled them as least. Stefan took a few deep breaths and continued to monitor the situation...
Easy for him to critisize, Basta thought as she quickly reloaded another magazine, I've had less than an hour of practice and I'm facing my species' mortal enemies. I'd like to see him haul his ass down here and take up arms in his condition.
Loading another round into the chamber, she looked down the sights at a Skeaver that was nearing BOB-5. Syth wants the Furry to show him a headshot? I'll give that bucket of bolts a head shot...
Lining up with the Skeaver's head, she fired a round. The bullet found its target, spraying blood, bone, and brain bits over BOB-5's cover while a bit splashed onto the Syth himself.
"About dammed time Lass!" He shouted in her direction, "But cover the Cap'n, I can take care of myself."
"Send in three more squads of armored Skeavers, boys. If you can take them alive, do so, but don't be afraid to kill 'em," Pierce says, directing his forces through the comms units.
"Yes. We need to get the BCA off our backs, and I think I know how to do it." Pierce checks the time and gets up, turning on the PA system. He drags another Altaic prisoner over, terrified shrieks resounding throughout the station. "Thirty minutes are up. Here's number two."
This time, he puts the Altaic's head near the speaker and places his sword on her neck. He then rests his elbow on it, leaning down with mild pressure. The Altaic's cries of pain and pleas for mercy fall on deaf ears, as the blade slowly creeps through the spine. Once it hits the windpipe, the only sound is the weak, gurgling gasps of a being about to die but still trying to cling on to life.
"Two down, six to go. I hope you make the right decision."
The Trident Repeater roared with firepower, shredding through two five-Skeaver squads with ease. Har-Bak continued this strategy, usually just sweeping the large gun across the entire hangar. He had kept the second Repeater beside him, full of ammo, awaiting for his current to run dry.
"Goddammit, there are so many of them!" Har-Bak roared, taking back to cover to check how much ammunition was left in the Repeater he was wielding. Setting the heavy machine gun aside for a moment, he drew a Stingray revolver.
Another Skeaver fell as the Eurypt fired a shot into his neck. Basta had been doing well as a sniper, most of her shots either sending a Skeaver back to cover or outright making their mark. BOB continously fired his rifle, occasionally firing a grenade on a particularly clustered group of foes. Yorke's revolvers fired away, hitting most of their targets.
"Guys, three more squads of armored Skeaver are coming your way!" Stefan yelled, and Har-Bak cursed out loud.
The news of more armored Skeavers heading towards their position, left the majority of the crew within the hanger with a feeling of dread. The TMX Repeaters ripping through the unarmored Skeavers gave a sense of relief, but the storm was far from over. Yorke and BOB-5 continued to fire off their weapons, but sooner or later they'd run out of ammunition if the situation continued to worsen.
Our choices aren't exactly looking the most plentiful at the moment. Yorke thought as he continued killing with three Skeavers falling victim to his shot before he was forced to return to cover. 'The Skeavers are getting more relentless in their approach and at this rate they may just wait us out. 'I'm going to need a plan and fast if I still want us to get out of here.
"Basta, look for the crate that has the spare Needler grenades and some spare greandes for Bob's launcher!" Yorke said as he rounded from his cover and fired off two more rounds killing another Skeaver. This caused a round to fly past his ear and forcing him to change his position for cover.
Har-Bak on his side of the room was dealing new blows to the Skeavers, but the armored ones posing the greatest threat. He fired another quick burst of fire towards one armored Skeaver getting partcularly close to his position as some of the rounds hit the leg armor and cause to it to become cracked from the impact and knocking the Skeaver down.
Quickly taking note of this Yorke reached into his earpiece and whispered the newly obtained knowledge to his teammates, "Aim for the legs on the armored ones. Their armor is significantly weaker there." Yorke heard the approval of his them before he loaded another cylinder. We might actually stand a chance with this.
The three squads of armored Skeavers enter the room, adding their own projectiles to the sweep of gunfire across the Dawn Voyager's hangar bay. Basta, struggling to get the explosives to Yorke and BOB-5, is grazed on her right arm. She yowls in pain, barely managing not to drop anything she's carrying.
The three armored Skeavers then start to hurl small canisters at the defenders, which quickly start to send out gouts of thick, acrid smoke into the hangar.
Basta drops the heavy crate of explosives next to Yorke and BOB, ducking behind their cover as the thick smoke sweeps in.
"Before you fleshies start whining, start tossin' while I load up." Yorke and Basta begin to chuck grenades over cover recklessly in an effort to eradicate their foes while BOB takes shots at them with his launcher and rifle. Har-Bak provides cover and a distraction with his Repeater.
"Stefan, get to Engineering and start the ship's ventilation system, or we're dead meat, quite literally, in this case." Yorke radios to Stefan.
"On my way!" replied Stefan. Damn this is going well for us! He pressed the door control, and slowly began to get off of the chair. "Gently, gently, gently..." Stefan said as he lowered himself to the floor.
"Hey I don't hear any panting or squeaking on that floor!" yelled BOB. "Or both!" "Working on it!" replied Stefan as he loaded his Foley pistol. "All right here we go! Hrrgghhh!" Stefan began to crawl his way out of the control room. "Ok..Engineering...down that hall and to the right...got it..."
The sounds of explosions and gunfire were getting closer and closer to the interior of the ship. Man this hallway feels longer when you're crawling. "Hrggh hhhrrggh hrgghh! C'mon c'mon c'mon..."
Basta quickly fumbled with the grenade, but it wasn't easy with her arm, still bleeding.
Applying pressure to her arm, she pressed the button on top of the needle grenade, she chucked it over the barricade. While Yorke's went flying, hers fell a bit short of it's target.
Picking up another one with her injured arm, she grasped the wound with her other, applying more pressure as the blood leaked a bit between her fingers, "Dammit...Yorke, tell me you have a plan to get this job done. I do not want to end up like the people in BOB's stories."
Removing her hand from her wound, she swithced the mode from thermal to standard and chucked it over. While she didn't stick around to watch the explosion, but the sounds of Skeavers crying out in pain before the explosion told her that she at least hit one of them with the spikes and blew one to bits.
"They've got a synth, boss," one of the Skeavers says, "We're trying to smoke them out but he's rallying them."
"Take one of the plasma grenades we looted from that Trident transport. It'll short-circuit the bugger."
Orders given, Pierce looks back at the clock. Three more minutes.
Har-Bak looked around, trying to find a way to finish these Skeavers. There were about 40 left in the hangar in fighting shape. Growing desperate, Har-Bak kept suppressive fire over a group of Skeavers preparing to throw various types of grenades.
"BOB, take those guys out! They got explosives!"
The synthetic and Eurypt quickly peppered the group with gunfire, taking down the six Skeavers. Har-Bak looked around the battlefield, trying to make the best of this horrible situation.
"I have a horrible idea.." he mutters, before cautiously advancing to a position where several crates had been stacked up for decent cover.
"Basta, cover me!" He ordered, and the Altaic began to snipe foes aiming at the four-armed alien.
Bracing himself, Har-Bak began to slowly push the cover forward, holding it tightly together with his four arms. The crates formed a loose protection, and Har-Bak started to movehis improvised cover forward.
Yorke took quick notice of Har-Bak's and fired at one of the oncoming Skeavers that attempted to flank the behemoth. C'mon Har-Bak, you better know what you're doing we can't keep having another one of our guys go down in combat. He thought as his Peacekeeper's barrel shifted towards one of the armored Skeavers' legs and with two rounds manage to incapacitate it before a round from Basta's gun silenced it.
The sound of the ventilation system turning back on reassured the group that Stefan had managed to activate it and the gas filling the room had begun retreating from the hanger. With that, Yorke pulled out another Needler Grenades and threw it into the oncoming horde causing a few shouts of terror and then screams of agony.
Yorke, BOB, and Basta continued to cover Har-Bak as he closed in towards the hangar's exit and deeper into the Skeaver horde. "Dumb motherfuck- that boy's not gonna make it. He's completely fucked." BOB remarks to Yorke as they take cover.
"What're we supposed to do?" The captain replies.
"Something, Yorke. Something." BOB drops his rifle, takes out three spare magazines from his storage compartment, dropping them next to the rifle. "That pistol ain't gonna do shit, take my rifle and these mags, cover me and the scorp from the back with Basta." BOB brings out his signature Demon pistols.
"And your pistols will do better?" Yorke jokes as he loads BOB's rifle.
"Custom made, you saw what these boys did to 'ol Abe, remember?"
"Don't remind me." With that, the synth kicks the crate forward as Yorke goes back for cover, following in Har-Bak's footsteps.
Basta wasn't a religious person, but right now she was praying that if there was any higher power, that they'd give them somekind of way out of this mess. They were facing impossible odds, and two of her crewmates were taking what she considered stupid actions. Not to mention between the sounds of gunfire, painful screams of dying Skeavers, and the suffering cries of the Altaics over the PA, she could hardly focus long enough to come up with a plan
Firing a shot off that took out another Skeaver and dropping him like a rock, she shouted to Yorke as she pulled the lever on her bolt-action back, "Yorke, you'd better come up with somekind of a fucking plan! I am not liking where this is going, and I do not want to end up like those Altaics on the PA!"
She scanned the hanger for something that would go boom if she were to shoot it, but even if there was something, she'd be risking damaging the ship. Firing a round into the back of a Skeaver who was approaching BOB-5 from behind, she winced in pain as the recoil sent a pain shooting up her arm.
Fuck, I can't keep this up. Between my arm and lack of experience, I am in no position to be a major assest in this fight. If Yorke doesn't come up with a plan, they others are going to wind up dead and I'll be some Skeaver's personal toy...that is if they don't kill me first.
Reloading her rifle, she emptied the clip as fast as she could, taking out 10 more Skeavers around BOB-5 and Har-Bak. Balancing the rifle with her bad arm, she grabbed another grenade and chucked into the largest group of Skeavers she could see and ducked back down to avoid any flying body parts.
"Yorke, now would be a damned good time for a plan!"
The Skeavers saw a few pieces of cover moving forward, one with the Synthetic behind it. Grinning at their foe's stupidity, they fan out around the perimeter. One throws a plasma grenade stolen from Trident Tech out to the Synth's cover, and it explodes.
The plasma shears off its right leg, sending an EMP through the bare wires that causes the Synth to shut down temporarily. His systems would automatically reboot for a few minutes, but that's all the Skeavers needed.
"Har-Bak," Yorke yells, "BOB-5's down!"
Cursing, the Eurypt continues trying to provide cover fire with his repeaters while Basta and Yorke try to pick off any Skeavers who show their faces. This tactic, however, is far less effective than before. The Skeavers move and flank Har-Bak and Yorke, throwing concussion grenades at the pair. While they are blinded and disoriented, the flanking forces knock out the two with a few well-placed melee strikes.
Basta continued firing, throwing any conception of aim to the wind and simply trying to hit the advancing Skeavers. She'd heard more than enough stories about what they do to their Altaic prisoner to know that it was not a good idea to get captured.
"And it's been forty-five minutes," the PA announces, and then quickly cuts to the panicked pleading giving away to shrieks of pain as the third captive is killed. Basta blanches, realizing that being captured here doomed her to share that same fate.
A more professional being would likely have ensured they left at least one bullet in their gun, but Basta was a bartender. Eyes wide with fear, she brings the rifle back up, determined to make the Skeavers pay. She continued firing in a blind panic, until the gun clicked empty.
She fumbles for the magazine pouch Har-Bak gave her, trembling hands dropping several before she was able to slam in a new cartridge. Just as she chambers the round, she feels a sharp blow hit the back of her head. She loses consciousness to the chattering laughter of the Skeaver troops.
Stefan grunts in pain, pulling himself over to the med bay where he left his rifle. As a medical doctor, he knows that he shouldn't be exerting himself, but as a military man he knows he has to rescue his unit. Eyes watering and vision blurring from the agony, he finally reaches and opens the doors to the med bay. As he enters, a Skeaver hits him on his wound; the sharp flare of pain causes him to lose consciousness.
The five members of the crew all slowly awaken, seeing their target standing in front of them. They were each tied to a post, using what appeared to be industrial-strength nanotube cable.
"Normally," Pierce says, "we'd just kill you rather than capturing you. Not the pussy over there," he points at Basta, "We'd have some fun with her first. But right now, you're my ticket to getting the BCA off my back.
"All the Handlers have this meeting thingie every few years. The next one is just a few months from now. You will be executed in a live broadcast to it, and they will realize that our species is serious. They will leave us alone."
The Skeavers leave, and Pierce assigns three to hold guard outside the door, as well as two mobile turrets to set up a crossfire at the Y-shaped fork.
Once the door closes, BOB-5 simply starts laughing. The other crewmembers look at him in confusion, seeing as they were all about to die. "Fuckin' arselick thinks he can intimidate the BCA into leaving him alone?" he says, "All that's going to do is get Lloyd to come after him personally."
"Which won't help us any right now," Yorke says, "So give me a few minutes while I come up with a plan to get out and kill that bastard."
Har-Bak groaned as he struggled with the cable, his four arms yanking with all their might. Despite his bset efforts, it barely budges. Panting and sweating, he looks sadly at his captain.
"Sorry about that boss. I figured if I could move up, I thought we'd actually..."
BOB cut him off sharply. "You didn't think that, you didn't think at all! Your dumb action got us all caught into this bloody mess, so-"
Yorke screamed. "Enough! Both of you need to calm down. Your bickering isn't going to help us get out of here. Until then, help come up with a plan that actually works."
The group had stayed in silence for the past few moments with no one yet coming up with an effective plan for the situation. During this time, Yorke had begun struggling in his restraints until a scream of what sounded like pain escaped his lips. He continued to struggle and his screams of pain only increased in volume much to the shock and fear of the rest of his crew.
"Is he alright!?" Basta shouted looking at her commander who began slowly going more limp. Theses screams were just loud enough to alert those guarding the door and they rushed inside to notice the human's body have gone limp.
The Skeavers locked the door behind them and immediately demanded to know what had happened to the man. "Come on you pussies! One of you has to know what happened to him." One of the Skeavers shouted as the other two took off Yorke's restraints to lay him on the ground.
"If I had to guess rat face, he likely suffered some sort of heart attack or something along those lines." BOB-5 said in his mocking tone with earned him a swift kick from the Skeaver. "Although, I wouldn't be as worried on how he died as compared to how you're going to explain this to your boss."
One of the skeavers laid Yorke's corpse of the ground and began checking his breathing. He went to check it, but felt nothing. "Shit. What are we going to do now sport." The Skeaver said looking at his ally. "Pierce ain't going to happy about this, but maybe giving him the first way with the pussy might soften the blow." The Skeaver said as he looked at the remaining captives his eyes scanning Basta with particular interest.
The one standing over the human corpse suddenly felt arm of his shoulder and when turned to look in the direction of where it came from, he let out a silent gasp. He noticed his very own combat knife had been plunged into his heart before darkness consumed his vision.
The Skeaver that continued to eye Basta saw her suddenly change of expression from that of horror to shock. Her eyes seemed to follow something behind him and as he was about to turn around he felt a quick slice of steel cross his throat. The gurgles of him choking on his last few gasps of air were heard by his remaining comrade who manged to turn around.
The stared in shock as he saw both of his fellow Skeavers had fallen with blood leaking from their wounds. He attempted to reach for his firearm before being slammed onto the cold ground, effectively knocking the wind out of him. He then felt reach around his neck and begin exerting pressure. He shouts for help simply escaped as small gasps. He then began to feel a sharp pain entering his torso repeatedly as he felt every single quick and brutal stab wound enter his body. And soon he went limp from the injuries he had sustained.
Yorke lifted himself from the Skeaver's corpse and reached around for the keys around his belt. "I came up with a plan." Yorke said he wiped the blood off of the knife with the Skeaver's fur. He went over to Har-Bak to unlock him from his restraints first. He using this opportunity to also grab the sidearm off the Skeaver.
The Skeavers posted at the mobile turrets shifted nervously. The guards stationed at the prisoners' end of the Y had entered the room, but hadn't come out for two minutes. They evidently hadn't given the code to their commander that they'd be there longer than their allotted time.
One more minute and their orders would be in effect.
"If the guards enter the cell," Pierce had told them as they were getting set up, "They have three minutes to finish and exit. Anything past that will need to be radioed to command, who will relay confirmation to you. If you don't receive said confirmation and their time is up, shoot anything that exits that door."
They set up to carry out their commands, eyes flickering nervously between the time and the door.
"Good move, Yorke, they never saw it coming." Har-Bak complemented as everyone adjusted to the freedom of movement after being cut down from their confinement by their captain.
"Yeah, good move, hot stuff, you made your fleshie deaths a 'lil less painful, 'cuz now they'll just shoot us dead, but if you could work your magic to get me a new leg, that'd be great." BOB mocked the celebrating crew as he laid slouched up against a nearby wall."
"We could just leave him here, boss." Har-Bak joked.
"You peanut-brain motherfuc- I oughta squash yer everyone of your eyes and kick your fuckin' balls in, I still gotta foot to kick your ass with."
"Calm down, BOB. I'm not in the best mood to be dealing with you." Yorke intervened.
"Yeah, well, you or anyone else have a bright idea to get us out of this here predicament?"
"Arghhh!" Stefan groaned as he tried to get up. "Ughhh! Ughhh!"
"Not to mention we have even more baggage," added Har-Bak.
"Pffft just saying."
"Basta go to Stefan and help him up," said Yorke. Basta nodded and calmly went over to Stefan. She gently grabbed his armed and began to help him off the floor.
"Aghhh easy, easy!" he groanded as Basta helped him up.
"So what's the plan now Yorke?" asked Har-Bak
"Well, I have a feeling it won't be long until they figure out the these guards won't be coming out of the entrance soon," said Yorke contemplating on what to do next. "Not to mention we've got two of our crew members incapaictated, so getting out of here would be difficult..."
"Just get me another leg goddammit!" yelled BOB
"Plus we have no idea what we'll be facing up against once we get past these doors..."
Basta struggled with the weight of Stefan as she tried not to shake in fear, "Well...as long as we stay in the room, we have an upper hand in a way..." Everyone turned to look at her in confusion, waiting for her to explain herself.
"Any guards out there don't yet know what happened in here. We could hide the bodies, then everyone but Yorke could go back to pretending to be tied up. Yorke could then ambush anyone who comes in from behind." She then turned to the legless sythetic, "You may not be able to walk BOB, but I'm sure your trigger finger still works. You and Har-Bak could then attack them after Yorke attacks."
Basta's tail drooped between her legs as she shifted her weight to support Stefan, waiting for a response.
"Not gon' work for the situation," BOB-5 said, shaking his head, "Skeaver protocol has 'em calling their higher ups on how to proceed, and with our luck, they'll just start shooting into the room."
Yorke grabbed a pistol off one the corpses and tossed it to BOB, "We need all the fire power we can get, and you're the best shot here."
"Another leg would help too." BOB-5 remarked.
"Well, you could be more helpful by digging up a map of the station." Basta suggested as she pulled Stefan out of the way of the door, "After we get out of here, the last thing we need is to get lost."
The Skeavers guarding the doors looked at each other grimly. It had been three minutes. They cleared the lines of fire from their turrets and took their positions, one Skeaver loading the turret, two using the saw blade launchers the turrets were designed after to keep any potential flankers at bay, and one manning the turret. The two were practically mirror images of the other, ready to unleash a barrage of metal hell on whatever came through that doorway.
The crew thought for a moment, thinking over their choices. Yorke looked grimly at what they managed to scrounge from the Skeaver corpses; A Needler and concussion grenade, a pistol for Yorke, and a shotgun for Har-Bak.
"I have a plan, but we'll need to be quick." Yorke remarked. Har-Bak, I'm sure there are going to be something to fire upon us once we leave. Take the Skeavers corpses and throw them out. Hopefully, that moment of distraction will allow us to cross the distance. Throw the concussion grenade down one end, and with luck we'll be able to take them down on that end."
Yorke and Har-Bak moved to the opposite sides of the doorway and prepared to toss the Skeaver corpse out into the hallway before moving out. With his hand Yorke began counting down with his other hand slowly reaching towards the button to open the door. Basta and Stefan seemed increasingly anxious as the amount of fingers began to go down to a single digit.
Slamming the button and with a quick rushing sound as both doors opened. And with that the corpse was thrown out causing the whizzing sound of blades cutting through the air and hitting the dead Skeaver, slicing it and ripping it to shreds with a disturbing sound as the blades lodged themselves into the flesh of the creature.
This gave the two the opening they seeked as the moved out of the room and saw where the forks in the hallway where and sticking towards the small blind spots. Pulling the pin on the concussion grenade, Yorke threw it to the fork on the right. Moments later a bright flash went off followed by a sharp squeal of surprise that had overcome one of them. Har-Bak moved closer towards the position of the blinded Skeaver who had been gripping his face. Taking aim the shotgun looted from the Skeaver corpses he fired it off twice, the first shot missing, but the second causing the creature's chest to pop into a red mist.
The remaining Skeaver began searching for his new target which had killed his partner. Although, the sound of something clanking against the wall in the corner of his eye had distracted him. His eyes widened in fear as he he lifted himself from the seat and took his rifle with him prepared to fight them from a different position. As he began to move towards a small piece of cover and awaited for the explosion to go off only to see nothing. Thoughts crossed his mind as he realized his mistake, but he wasn't allowed to dwell upon it as Yorke appeared from the corner and fired towards the Skeaver as two rounds made there way into his shoulder.
The Skeaver hissed in pain as he moved his hand to hold onto the wound. Three more small pops in his chest and killing the Skeaver as he still was clutching onto his shoulder wound.
The remaining two Skeavers turned and leveled their Saw Blade Launchers at the pair, furious. Har-Bak and Yorke dove out of the way as they fire, narrowly dodging the spinning sawblades. Har-Bak levels his shotgun at one Skeaver and fires, taking a large chunk out of its head, while the other was hit in the throat by Yorke.
After killing the Skeavers and scouting the area a bit, Yorke sprinted back to the room behind him to give orders to the rest of the crew.
"Alright, the coast is clear for now. Let's kill Pierce and get the hell out of here. Basta and Stefan, stay behind."
"Go on without me, I'll be fine. Tell the scorp to prepare for an ass-whoopin'." BOB remarked as he lay up against the wall.
"But..." Basta muttered.
"Get the hell out of here and shoot something! Go go go go, get get get!" BOB laughed as the crew fled, leaving him alone. With that, the synthetic turned off his systems.
Minutes later, two Skeavers answered the gunshots and calls of their fallen comrades in the halls. After examining their corpses, the duo crept into the confinement room.
"Looky here, a robot." One rodent remarked.
"We should give it to the boss as a gift, he'll make a nice lamp. Lets get him up, here, You get the right side, I'll take the left." The two lifted up the inactive BOB and carried him to the control room. The robot's arms dangled behind the two, annoying them as the metal clanked.
"Fuck, this is a heavy one."
"You're telling me. I've eaten scorp with less bulk than this fuck."
The Skeavers looked behind their shoulders in shock to see the activated BOB-5, his sole red eye shining in their faces. "Thanks for the carry, oh, and the knives too." BOB quickly slit the duo's throats with their own barbaric curved knives pickpocketed from them. As they fell, the synthetic landed on his sole leg and leaned up against a nearby wall for support, eyeing the rodents' guns on the floor.
"All right then, Stefan here we go," said Basta. The two began to walk forward lagging a bit behind Har-Bak. "Aghhh! Shit...." Stefan groaned after a few steps. Yorke and Har-Bak began advancing down the hall cautiously.
"Clear?" asked Yorke.
"Clear," repleid Har Bak. "They probably know what's happening down here, and with our current weapons we porbably won't stand a chance against a large group or a small squad of those armored ones."
"Well in that case, there's bound to be an armory somewhere..." said Yorke.
Supporting Steafan, Basta made sure to stay between Har-Bak and Yorke as the four of them made their way through the hallways. She wasn't thrilled with leaving BOB-5 behind since he was the only one who could bring up a map and direct them with ease, so as far as she knew, they were flying blind as Yorke and Har-Bak took down a few of the partols they ran into before finding a make-shift armory where Yorke and Har-Bak stocked up on ammo and their weapons that had been confiscated.
After taking down another patrol of Skeavers in what Basta recognized as a residental section where the scientists would've stayed back when the Ansra was still operated by Altaics, Basta came up with an idea.
Setting Stefan against a wall, Basta walked over to the wall where a small map of the station was tacked to the wall. She popped out a claw and cut it off the wall and brought over to Yorke, "Look, Stef and I aren't going to do you any good by the time you reach Pierce. Take this and you should be able to find him."
Yorke looked down at the map and tilted his head, "Basta, this is written in Altaic. You'd have to read it to me as we go."
Taking a deep breath, Basta popped her claw out again and marked the Communications Room and on the map, "Look, the Skeavers will be running their communications through here. Take it down, and they'll be in disarray."
Picking Stefan back up, Basta began carrying him over to a door that was labeled with an Altaic with a mop, "Stefan and I will bunker down here. Neither one of us in any shape to fight, so our best bet is to hide until you finish. Radio us once that soon as that son bitch is dead." Pushing the door in, Basta hauled the two of them in and closed the door behind them.
Inside, Basta clicked the light on and rested Stefan against the shelves of cleaning materials as she jammed her rifle under the door knob to jam the door shut.
"Like a Skeaver would want to actually clean up," Basta reassured herself, "Some of these things expired a while ago." Turning to Stefan, she looked at him hard, "Don't say a word. The Skeavers shouldn't have any reason to check the janitor's closet." With that, Basta clicked the light off.
"Bob, you're in the control room?"
"Excellent. Come on, Har-Bak, let's go get Pierce."
Yorke moves through the station, trying not to make a sound. A difficult proposition with an injured Eurypt by his side. BOB-5, however, was in the station's control room, which opened doors and warned them of patrolling guards. Moving carefully to avoid Skeaver patrols, they eventually get to a radial crossroad overlooking a pit. Yorke takes out the map, trying to figure out how to get to Pierce.
"Okay, so we just need to head to the communications room and disable their comms. It's a small sprint o the right. Think you can make it, Har-Bak?"
"Ye can't," BOB-5 interjects, "Tha's too heavily guarded. Looks like Pierce's personal guards."
"If he's in there, that makes reaching it all the more urgent."
"I don' know 'bout you, but I intend to cash my goddamn paycheck."
"Fine. What do you suggest?"
"If we can't kill him personally, we could just destroy the station," Har-Bak says.
"What? No!" Basta says, joining the call, "My people's top scientists are still on board."
"Which is why he won't expect it," Har-Bak replies.
"These are the best and brightest Altaic researchers," she says, gritting her teeth.
"If those Furries were so bright, why'd they set a space station in orbit over Distress?" Bob says, malicious venom somehow evident in the toneless voice.
"How the hell would we even blow the station," Basta continues, trying desperately to avoid sacrificing the hostages, "If Abram was still alive, he might have doe something, but one damned piece of scrap metal decided to kill him!"
"Enough," Yorke hissed, "I don't like it either, but this is the only choice we have, Basta. Bob, you see anything we can hit?"
"You don't need to do shit. I can force the station's fusion reactor to destabilize and explode from here."
"That shit only works in movies, Bob."
"As I said, the furries weren't too bright. Or maybe the Skeavers fucked it up. I don't know. But if you can send someone up to get me we can get out of here."
"What about our equipment?" Stefan asks.
"Piled in the Dawn Voyager's cargo hold. They were planning to launch it all into Lamia in a few hours, but we can still use it to get out."
"Okay then. Bob, guide Har-Bak to you. I'll double back and pick up Stefan and Basta."
"Works for me, boss. I'll set some diversions elsewhere on the station."
"Good," Yorke says, and nods at Har-Bak. The two split up and attend to their tasks.
The Eurypt followed BOB's directions to a que. Har-Bak carefully cradled his shotgun, remaining stealthy and quiet as he could to avoid confrontation.
"BOB, how am I doing in terms of Skeavers?"
"Scorp, you got a two-Man patrol heading your way. Not going to be able avoid this fight." The synthetic replied over the radio.As the rats reached close to Har-Bak, he leaped at them. He shoved the stock of his shotgun into the closest's neck, stunning him.
He picked both the Skeavers up and slammed them together, knocking them into unconsciousness. "Thanks for the warning, bot."
"Don't mention it. Now get your ass here now so we can get the hell out!"
Yorke quickly moved through the halls of station with the occasional stop to make sure that he was headed in the right direction. He had managed to avoid the occasional Skeaver patrols that were circling the surrounding area although he had little to no knowledge as to if they were searching for him and the rest of the crew. And trying to stick around to figure it out wasn't exactly on the top of his priorities list. If memory serves me right, then I'm almost there and if they stayed quiet then we may just get out of this without being caught.
Yorke rounded the corner with his handgun aimed outwards with his eyes and hand motions in sync with each other. "You're almost there, Yorke." BOB-5 spoke into his earpiece, "Just keep heading towards them and we'll be out of here before the station goes boom."
"I kind of figured that." Yorke spoke silently as he continued walking, "Any news on Har-Bak's progress?" He had reached the hallway where the side room that contained Basta and Stefan within its confines.
"Scorp, should be here soon and you can thank me because of that." The syntheic responded as he continued looking over the monitors viewing the progress of his teammates. "Well, I see you're about to collect the lovely couple from their honeymoon. I'll speak with ya later, laddy."
Yorke heard the transmission cut off as he reached for the door knob. "Alright, seven minutes in heaven is up. Time for us t-" he asid interrupted with a clawed hand launching towards his face. Grabbing it mid-motion, he took note of the fur and saw that Basta had attempted to preform the act.
"C'mon, I know you're on edge because of the Skeavers, but a little warning would've been fair." Yorke said loosening his grip on the arm. "Get Stefan, we're going to have to leave now."
"Another proximity alarm in the port wing!"
"Goddamnit, will one of these assholes report in?"
Pierce paced up and down the communications room, directing his forces as they responded to what appeared to be a large-scale invasion. The station's map was full of appearing and disappearing red dots, indicating where the most recent alarms were being triggered.
"Freeze the map!" he ordered, and they do so. He looks carefully at the distribution of the alarms. "Superimpose all the previous alarms we've had." This happens, and he sees a very clear pattern. "Goddamnit, they're trying to get to their ship. Everyone get to the docking bays!"
"Alright Scorp, yer almost there. Ready your rifle, I got some rat's knockin' on the door just beggin' to come in." Har-Bak turned to see two Skeavers at the end of the hallway. Unnoticed, the Eurypt kept quiet and slowly crept to the end of the eerie dark hallway, readying his looted shotgun for the nearby rodents banging on the control room door. With the cock of a shotgun, the two pirates turned around to be blasted in quick succession, making a bloody mess.
"Open up, I'm here." Har-Bak opened up the door, entering the control room to see BOB sitting on a stool, operating the station's central computing unit. Unlocking the door once more the robot turned around, snickering.
"Don't tell me you're betraying us."
"What? I can't tell if you're joking or just being stupid." BOB replied.
"Creepy room, slow turn, weird laugh. Seems like a big reveal you'd see in the movies."
"You're a fuckin' idiot, I'm setting up some 'lil goodies for Pierce and his merry band of fuckwits. When Yorke gives the call, I'll destabilize the station's reactor and sending it crashing down to the rodent's party below us. We're gonna have to high tail it out of here back to the ship, or we won't be the only ones fucked, and personally, I'd like to outlive you blokes."
"I didn't expect this to be a suicide mission."
"None of us did, kiddo."
"Ok Stefan you ready?" asked Basta as she walked over to Stefan. Stefan used the handle of a mop to maintain his balance. "I can't remember the last time I used something like this, heck I was the one helping another wounded member up," replied the medic.
"Quick hurry up! Who knows if more Skeavers are going to be heading this way!" said Yorke. Basta walks the pace as Stefan wobbled a bit towards the closet's door.
Yorke nods a bit and starts to go down the hall. "Har-Bak, BOB what's your status?" He leaned around the corner making sure no enemies were in sight. "Clear, Basta move up with Stefan."
"Umm...Yorke," said Har-Bak.
"What is it Har-Bak?" asked Yorke.
"BOB is sort of tampering with som-"
"Hey I'm not tampering with anything, I'm simplying modifying some ordinance to use to our advantage here!" yelled BOB in the background.
"BOB what are you up to?" asked Yorke as he waited for Basta and Stefan to catch up.
"Just doing what you told me to do boss!" said BOB excitedly.
"Ok now that just worries me...."
Basta didn't wait around for them to finish that coversation, "Look, I get the feeling what ever BOB's doing is going to go boom, and I don't want to be here for that. Yorke, you still have that map?"
Yorke nodded and pulled out the paper she had cut from the wall and handed it to her, "Okay, I should be able to take us through some secondary halls that'll take us to the hanger. It'll be a bit longer than the main route, but chances are that we won't hit as many patrols."
Dragging Stefan along a bit faster than she should've, Basta guided Yorke through the smaller corridors. Luckily, they were mostly empty, and when they did come across a rouge Skeaver, Yorke put them in their place with a shot from his pistol.
Eventually, they managed to reach the entryway to the Hanger. Glancing in, Yorke could see that most of the Skeaver guards were concentrated by the main entrance.
Pulling his head back in, he radioed BOB-5 and Har-Bak, "We're at the hanger's side entrance and we're about to get on-board. Once we're on, we'll try to to distract them. You might want to try taking the side corridors as best as you can. You'll avoid most of the Skeavers and get here in one piece."
"I hear you." Har-Bak replied before yelling to BOB-5 in the background, "Finish up and bring up that map again, were taking a shortcut to the ship!"
Har-Bak moves through the corridors of Ansra, with BOB-5 trailing using a crutch improvised from dead Skeaver armor. They weren't able to be very quiet, however, and had only barely escaped the notice of several Skeaver patrols already. Hearing another one approaching, Har-Bak waves BOB-5 into a nearby alcove.
They both tense as the patrol comes closer and closer to their hiding place, Har-Bak coiling to strike with his tail and BOB-5 steadying his pistol. Suddenly, a strident alarm of a different note sounds in the hallway. Upon hearing it, the patrol perks up and starts to run away as fast as they possibly can.
"What the fuck was that?"
"That was our three-minute warning. Let's move!"
"Get someone to the control room, damnit!" Pierce yells, trying to make himself heard over the cacophony, "And kill the idiot who thought there should be an override to the reactor's safety programs!"
An explosion rocked the station, throwing most of the Skeavers off balance. "That wasn't the reactor," Pierce says, eyes searching the warning lights as his team picks themselves up, "Where and what the fuck was that?"
He turns on the monitors linked to the external cameras. The wall behind him flickers for a second and resolves into a crystal clear image of one of the exterior cameras of the station. These were an Altaic affectation, mimicking large windows that were common in their architecture, and one of the few things in the station left untouched after the Skeaver takeover.
He switches between views rapidly, trying to discern where the damage had occurred. "I found it, Boss. Shitheads took out our anti-vessel countermeasures."
"And how the fuck did that happen?" Pierce growls.
"From what I can tell, they were set to fire, but the securing clamps never released. The heat set off the other missiles, which caused the explosion."
Pierce sighs and closes his eyes. "Is there any part of the shit DESIGNED TO STOP YOU FUCKING IDIDOTS FROM KILLING US ALL untouched?"
"Oi, where's Abram's body?" BOB-5 asks, getting into the hangar bay of the Dawn Voyager. "Can't collect the fuckin' bounty on that arselick if we don't 'ave 'is body."
"Skeavers probably ate him," Yorke says, "More importantly, can you fly with that injury, Bob?"
"I don't fly with me legs, cap'm."
"Good. Get us out of here."
"Out of the blast radius would be a good start." The Dawn Voyager disengages from the doomed station, and makes a short jump forty kilometers away. Yorke sets the external cameras facing Distress an Ansra to show on all monitors. "Need to be sure this fucker's dead after all this..." he mutters as the crew stairs at the screen. Twelve seconds later, the station fragments in a rapidly expanding sphere of plasma. For a few seconds, Ansra outshines Lamia and then vanishes into fragments hurtling towards the planet. Some of the slivers burn up in reentry, but many more are large enough to impact, throwing up dust clouds, fire, and craters all over the surface.
Yorke and his crew sits back, stunned at the carnage.
"The hell did you do, Bob?"
"Set the reactor's core to expand into a shell and its containment field to contract. The two played off of each other, with the forces getting stronger and stronger between them until one gave way and it exploded. Where does Lloyd want to meet us?"
"I'll go to the comms room and let you know." Yorke enters the comms room to see a short message displayed across the screen.
Tumulus Memorial Hospital, Bliss.
Tell them you work on the Moirai. Will meet you there after your crew gets checked in.
"We're going to Bliss, Bob. Closest spaceport to the Tumulus Memorial Hospital."
Amongst the burning wreckage, one small compartment lands fairly softly, oblivious to the rain of fire and dust sweeping the planet, an unprecedented disaster. The hatch opens, and Pierce stumbles out, breath ragged and heavily wounded. He stares in disbelief at the ongoing apocalypse around him. Big Mama's Tit was over the single most densely populated Skeaver settlement on the planet.
If a system or government tried this on others, there would have been a unilateral declaration of war against the attacker and aid given to the decimated planet.
But this was the BCA striking the Skeavers.
His battered, bloody, and burned body continued on. The cold rage, the knowledge that the ones who attacked him would be rewarded for their efforts - their genocidal war crimes, the knowledge that the Skeavers would receive no aid, kept him moving forward, searching for Big Mama or anyone else in power. He had a report to give, and not even the abrasive pain of the dust against his ribs would stop him.
He would get revenge.
"We're about land, Yorke." BOB-5 said waking his captain from the sort of trance that he was stuck in. "Set her down." Yorke reached for the comms system, "We're about to land. I need everyone to get ready to get off the ship and make our way towards Tumulus Memorial Hospital. Also, Har-Bak, I'm going to need you to get over here to help me out with Bob." he announced and lifted himself from his seat and stretching causing a few audible cracks to resonant.
Location: Tumulus Memorial Hospital
The receptionists appeared bored by what appeared to be a routinue work day that was to be expected while working on Bliss. The Human & Alatic female observed the victims of drunken violence and 'normal' accidents be wheeled into their rooms or simply take a seat in the waiting room. Bored was one word that could be used to describe the looks plasted onto their faces. Then, an odd bunch entered through the doors of the hospital and both receptionists lifted their heads to pay small heed towards the new occupants.
The human of the group walked towards the desk, faintly gaining the attention of the human receptionist. "Can I help you with anything, sir?" Her voice sounding mundane and hoping that he wouldn't pester her a series of pointless questions that she was so used to hearing from others.
"Yes, you can. Jack Yorke and me along with my friends over there," Yorke said pointing towards the mix-matched bunch behind him, "Work on the Moirai." The words caused the receptionist's head to snap up and give her eyes a spark of life.
"I'll check you and you're crew in right away. Now I just you need and your friends to sign this paper here." She said with the tone in her voice changing as she quickly reached for a sheet of paper.
Yorke waits outside the hospital. He shifts uncomfortably; he knows his men will be fine, but it had been nearly an hour since they were admitted. He was more worried about Lloyd not showing up. That, and the terseness of his last message, made his intuition for danger scream warnings into his head.
After a few more minutes, Lloyd arrives, seemingly appearing out of thin air. Startled, Yorke jumps to his feet.
"You goddamned idiot," Lloyd replies, "You were given a mission to kill a target. And you just charge in, guns blazing. You got every damn one of your other team members injured, your entire team captured, and your ship badly damaged. And then you decide to blow the station but don't even pause to see if your target is fucking dead. I thought I hired a captain, not an incompetent moron."
"Shut the fuck up. Your medical bills, ammunition expenses, and repairing the damage to your ship not only ate through your entire pay, but you're also farther in debt. The sole redeeming factor of this mission - and the sole reason you would have qualified for any pay whatsoever - is what's now being called the 'Distress Terracide.' Millions, if not billions, dead, triple that amount dying, and quadruple that amount without any form of power thanks to the EMP your improvised fusion bomb created. The Skeavers are relocating to Lamia I, but trillions will still die thanks to the enormous amounts of dust and rock blocking out their star. You have effectively killed everything on a goddamn planet just to fucking fail to kill your target. If you have an explanation, I'd like to hear it."
Yorke swallowed as he tried to make himself calm, trying to maintain a calm demeanor in the face of the angered Lloyd whose eyes stared at him like a predatory animal waiting to strike down its next meal. "I won't pretend to act like our mission was a complete success because by this point it evident that it hadn't reached the goals needed to even be considered a success." Lloyd narrowed his eyes at the remark.
"What we did accomplish though is one of the objectives and that was to prevent Skeavers from attacking any more ships and effectively dismantling their capabilities to attack others albeit for a time period." Yorke straightened himself out gaining some confidence in his words. "We may have been captured, but we managed to escape."
"As for failing to kill Pierce." Lloyd spat out and interrupting Yorke's explanation. "He managed to escape, but based on what you said he's currently stuck on Distress with a chance of death from the shit in the atmosphere. Or if he had managed to survive he likely sustained grave injuries after re-entering the planet and will be out of commission for the time being."
Yorke swallowed again. Lloyd took the words right out of his mouth. If he'd anticipated the attempts to justify or deflect, it was likely not good enough. Lloyd glared a few seconds longer, and then abruptly turned around.
"You still have a debt to pay, and you can't do that dead. I'll contact you once I find a job better suited to your competence level. Duster's also been given a talking-to about mission priorities. He's getting impatient in his old age, but the next time I give him an assignment mid-mission he should try to complete it without screwing up your original goal."
With that, the shapeshifter walked back through the crowd, vanishing amongst the throng.