[HMR] The Long Road


(Kojiro Keibatsu ) #1

GR-75 Medium Transport “Spectator”
Engine Room
Wild Space

Captain Aurelias was not a patient man. A sigh escaped his lips as he stared at the engineer’s legs that stuck haphazardly out from under the console before him. The piece of junk had died once again and this time dragged them out of hyperspace and right into dangerous territory. Home of pirates,cartels and who else knew what.

“Jefferson I thought you said you fixed it for sure this time,” Aurelias started. He needed to raise his voice to be heard over the sudden onset of banging as Jefferson started smacking something with great enthusiasm. Whether it was to actually fix a problem or drown out the moaning captain Aurelias could only guess. “How long till you’re done this time?”

Jefferson, or Rachel as everyone else on board the ship called her, stuck her hands under the lip of the console and dragged herself out from under it. She watched as the Captain’s greedy eyes trailed down her body and as she did the girl needed to stop her eyes from rolling. Or at least her one remaining good eye. The other, like a vast part of her, had been replaced with cybernetics. A souvenir from her childhood where her body refused to fight against the disease that ravaged her. Now silver components clashed with the blue of her Chiss skin and raven black hair.

No one else looked, no one else had the same craven desires. But the Captain was a different creature. One who thought everything on the ship was his. Even if it was only sixteen cycles.

“Look, it’ll be done when it’s done. You hired me because I’m good at what I do. And I’ve kept this hunk of junk flying for months now.” She had to stop herself from adding that the ship wasn’t the only one past it but had the good sense to hold her tongue. Rachel wanted nothing more than the man to go away, she was content with the machines but people made her uncomfortable far too quickly. “Look I’ll have it done. Just give me the time.”

“You better or…”

She never found out what would happen if she didn’t fix it because right on queue the warning klaxons sounded. The noise startled both of them and caused Aurelias to look around uneasily before scurrying away to the bridge leaving Rachel very much alone. The young woman shrugged, reached down to her pocket and flicked a small switch. Music began to play from the small device in her pocket half drowning out the klaxon. She lowered herself back down and once more pushed herself under the console returning to her work in peace.

GR-75 Medium Transport “Spectator”
Bridge
Wild Space

Aurelias huffed and panted as he strode into the bridge. The distance between the two rooms hadn’t been great but the man had never been one for exercise. As he took his chair he dabbed himself with a cloth, regained his composure and stared at his second.

“Well, what is it this time? Has the damn ship malfunctioned elsewhere?” The look on his second’s face made him aware something was deftly wrong. “What?”

“Sir we have eh…ships incoming. At least twelve, moving at high speeds. Our scanner, as good as the pieces of junk is, seems to put them at fighter size but that’s about all we can get from them.”

Aurelias leant back in his chair and stared at the viewscreen before him. This was how they went out, like sitting ducks. The escort he had paid handsomely for was well on its way to their destination by now and any calls they’d attempted to put through to them had gone unanswered.

“Sir, visual confirmed it appears the ships are TIE fighters. Short range scanners seem to be picking them up as those used by the First Order.”

“The Order? Why would they be out here? Try hailing them!” Aurelias’s face glistened with sweat as his body went into panic mode. “Ships like that don’t just appear from nowhere. Find out where they came from!”

“All hails have gone unanswered and our long-range scanners could barely pick them up never mind anything else. They’re closing, direct on an attack vector.”

The Captain closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable. It didn’t come. The TIE’s passed over them and began circling like scavengers. Harrasing the vessel with flybys as they awaited their limping prey to die. “What’s going on?” he managed to murmur before out of hyperspace emerged two Raider class corvettes followed by the mass bulk of an Acclamator cruiser. “This isn’t the First Order.”

As the bridge crew watched a shuttle left the cruiser and made its way to the transport. It didn’t take long for it to come alongside and dock. The security doors opened and black armoured soldiers moved their way onto the ship followed by a tall thin man with dark blonde hair. Locke Sonjie followed the Talon company troopers to the now secured bridge. Aurelias watched him as Locke entered. The faint smell of urine wafted from the overweight man as he attempted to stare down the Arcanist but was met by nothing in return.

“Just who are you people, and why are you on my ship?”
Locke didn’t respond automatically. In fact, he ignored the captain completely and turned to the ships second who stood upright and proud, facing the invader with a determination the Ragnosian admired.

“You, what’s your name?”

“Thomas Galas. I’m the ships executive officer.”

Locke nodded, from the corner of his eye he could see the Captain squirm at being ignored. “What is your cargo, Mr Galas?” Though Locke knew full well what was on board, he just wanted to test the integrity of the man.

“Stop asking him! I’m the Captain of this ship, he’s just crew!” Aurelias was unable to hold his tongue and yet he slunk back when the Augur fixed him with a glare.

“Yes, I got that impression as such from our reports. Captain first and the rest of your crew below you.” He turned back to the Thomas “Sorry Mr Galas, you were about to say.”

“Luxury goods primarily. Woods, ornaments, furs and other things. Plus we have supplies for a new colony.”

“And the artefacts?”

A wave of genuine confusion passed across Thomas’s face which caused Locke to turn to face the Captain instead. As he did the door to the bridge slid open and the young Chiss engineer walked into the room. She walked past the Captain’s seat and right up to the Ragnosian before reaching into her pocket and withdrawing a small datapad, handing it to Locke and taking a few steps back.

“Yeah, the crew knows nothing. The slimy Hutt of a Captain was planning to keep the extra funds to himself.” She watched as the faces of the crew went from fear to confusion then all turned in unison to face the Captain in anger. “Everything is there and the extra cargo is stored under the main hold in smugglers compartments.”

“Rach…Rachel just what?”

“Ergh, Rachel. Such a human name. It’s Sepan’dor’araxis, or Pandora for short.” A look of disgust crossed over her face as she watched the Captain’s eyes trail down her body again. “Are you still looking at me like that? Locke, can he die now? I mean I kept the hyperdrive offline all this time, least I can get is to put a bolt in him.”

“No, not yet. We need to have a little chat with him. You need to return to your ‘father’, Kojiro is waiting for your report just like our contractor is awaiting these artefacts.” Locke ran his eyes over the assembled crew. “Take them with you. We need people and I dare say they may appreciate a change in climate. Now go, I have a meeting with the Captain.”

With that, most of the room departed and made their way back to the shuttle, which in turn returned to the Acclamator. As the ship docked members of Talon company led the crew away whilst leaving the Chiss to walk the path to the Quaestors temporary office aboard the cruiser. As Pandora approached a tall figure with long black hair left the room and the girl had to stop herself from colliding with him.

“Oh hi,” She muttered as she looked into the eyes of Muz Ashen. “Just on my way to see Koji eh the Quaestor and…”

Muz laid a hand on her shoulder and a flicker of a smile crossed his face. Muz looked down at her and the disappointment upon the girls face. She hadn’t seen anyone since before the assault on Meridian and now she was off again. Yet duty, and the Force, waited for no one.

Muz effortlessly turned the girl on the spot and nudged her in the direction of the mess hall. Little did the girl know exactly what she had helped set in motion with her work. But soon they would all find out.