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Mistress of Whispers

[IC thread] In the Black

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Athena decided to keep to herself as the rest spoke around her, thinking about the fact that hey were most likely going to have hostile people aboard their ship weather they maneuvered their way out of it or not.

 

Her thoughts went back to her training to be a companion, of course some of that taught her how to fight with numerous weapons and how to protect herself with hand to hand combat. But guns? Sure she could shoot one and most likely hit her target. But she preferred not to touch them.

 

Her mind came back to the current situation as she heard Jake ask for anyone to help move crates down in the loading dock, of course she might not look like it but she was someone who could pull her weight around here. Maybe not lift crates but at least help slid them. Either way she needed something to do with herself.

 

"Alright then since the men are all busy." She stood and brushed passed Jake and the others as she headed out and to the loading dock, sharp clicking of boots echoing on the catwalk and as she went down the stairs to look at the already set up gun in position. Placing her hands on her hips she looked and saw numerous metal crates filling the area. Some going up to her hips and taller as she figured she'd be able to move the smaller ones but she waited for Jake to tell her when he wanted the crates since he was in charge of this area.

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"I thought the trading routes were well patrolled," Atlanta said.

 

"They are," Xiao replied without a hint of irony, "but it seems we find ourselves in an asteroid field. The captain must have had reason to venture off course." Such as an Alliance vessel on the trade route, or a shiny object amongst the asteroids.

 

Xiao had never pried into Teela's past, but she hadn't failed to notice that Harmony had a tendency to change course whenever an Alliance patrol was headed her way. Nor had she failed to noticed that the captain's broached space faring like others might a stroll down a tourist destination. Xiao presumed that going wherever you liked was the prerogative of owning your own ship.

 

She smiled at Suren's joke about Jake's gun, but sobered when she saw the gun itself. She knew that the weapon's specialist was a good man (or at least, he never behaved with any malice), but she abhorred guns. To Jake it represented a chance to fight back and defend the ship, but all Xiao saw was death. She shuddered.

 

"Sorry, Jake," she said in reply to his request, "I can't." She hadn't touched in a gun in six years and couldn't stand to be around them - the latter was a trait that the specialist had probably picked up on in their time on Harmony together. She put her discomfort aside whenever there was a medical emergency, but she just wasn't up to setting up a machine gun.

 

"Suren, do you require assistance here? Or in securing the hydroponics?"

 

-----------------------

 

Teela smiled at her ace pilot's unusually clumsy manoeuvring. By now she had decided to give negotiations a try, so she walked back to the com. "Firefly to Bernard," she said by way of hailing, "we're getting ready to dock. What goods are you interested in? I'd be happy to set them up for you so we can all be on our way."

 

The unspoken message was clear: we're willing to pay for say passage. If the shoe were on the other foot, she would have considered it a good deal: a quick transaction, no chance of violence. But then again, Teela was neither violent nor greedy. The voice on the other side, however, was: "We'll take everything, honey."

 

Honey? Teela quirked an eyebrow. That was entirely too forward of a man about to rob you. Guess an amiable transaction is out of the question then.

 

Disconnecting the ship-to-ship call without preamble, she picked up Harmony's overcom instead. "Attention all hands," her voice sounded over the ship, "We've run into a bit of problem with pirates and they're not open to reason. Jay is gonna try and get us out of harm's way. If that fails, we have Jake."

 

With that, she hung up the overcom and nodded to Jay to go ahead.

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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Nelson grinned, his attuned ears had heard both the message and response from the Bertrand to Teela, he could tell that the line had irritated her which would normally incite hostility in others but with the captain he could never tell, pride affected many decisions one makes but the captain was no fool and he assumed she wouldn't risk endangering the passengers by letting the Bertrands crew come aboard without the necessary precautions in place. He admired that in their headstrong cap'n. He vented a large sigh and cracked his nose back into position, the fall had broken it and now blood was streaming from the wound, Nelson took no notice.

He walked down the flight of steps towards the cargo bay, briskly making his way past Jake.

"It seems my expertise in the engine room isn't going to be needed for a little bit so I should have the time to give ya a hand in setting up a barricade,". He took some of the boxes of ammunition from Jake.

"Don't expect me to shoot anyone though, fishin' generally don't require bullets," Before exiting he quickly stepped back into the mess hall and pointed at Xiao with his free hand. "M'afraid I may be needing your medical attention when we're all done with this," He said briefly indicating the still bloody nose. He grabbed the remainder of the ammo boxes from Jake, leaving him the big gun. "Come on darling that boats crew aint waitin'" He then hurried down into the cargo bay.

 

(I need to figure out a good accent for Nelson, any recomendations)

Edited by Marcus Pheonix

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((Irish? Australian?))

 

"Thank you muchly." Jake said to both Athena and Nelson as they both passed by him to help. "Nelson, if you could set up one of those ammo boxes with the gun, that would be much appreciated. Athena, if you could move some boxes around the front of the gun to provide cover for it, I my life will most likely be indepted to you after this."

Saying that, Jake quickly bolted off to his quarters to retrieve his favorite gun; Bertha. It wasn't as powerful as the chaingun, but if you needed maneuverability, it worked just as well. Returning to the hold, he placed her down gently, and began moving boxes in piles on either side of the room for the others.

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Jay nodded that he understood and flicked a few switches before grabbing hold of the rudder more tightly. "Hold on to something." He knew with the gravity engine of the ship keeping everyone on their feet and them being in space, that there were no G-forces to speak of, but he couldn't resist.

 

With a quick procedure, he fired up the engines and made a fast barrel roll, keeping to the right of the Bernard. Then, taking into consideration the movement and rotation of the huge rocks tumbling all around them, he made for the nearest asteroid at full burst, avoiding collision at the last moment by sharply turning away while still keeping to the right side of the Bernard.

 

He checked the screen to see what was happening behind them while at the same time keeping track of what was in front of him. He saw the big lump of spaceship behind them turn towards them to get them into their sights, so Jay turned again and kept Harmony at their cannon's blind spot...

 

Beads of sweat started to form on his brow and he was biting his tongue in concentration. This had to work. The Bernard wasn't going to play nice anymore now that they had run away.

 

When the first asteroid was between the big ship and the firefly, Jay was pleased, but they were not out of the woods yet. The rear screen showed an explosion of rock behind them as the pirates demonstrated their firepower and willingness to damage Harmony by spraying them with asteroid debris.

 

They narrowly escaped the meteorite shower by putting another asteroid between them and the debris. The chunks collided with the other asteroid, changing their trajectory, making them spin and collide with each other in a deadly dance of chaos. Jay needed some extra engine power, so he called out to Nelson to give him more juice. Also, he had to keep his head on steering Harmony out of harm's way. He needed someone to calculate the new trajectories at the second control station. "Captain, get me someone who is expert at spatial calculations. I need to know where those rocks are going. Fast." He had no time for proper protocol, so he hoped Teela would forgive him his tone of voice.

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Athena nodded as she walked to the nearest crate and got a good hold before using her legs to help her push the crate into position. The sudden movements of the ship caused her to be off balance but helped her in the long run as the crate slid into position in front of the gun, the barrel of the large machine just above the crate.

 

"Hm, good job, Harmony." She said as she knew Jay must just be kicking the ship into high gear and trying to get away from the raiders. Athena continued with the endeavor of moving the crates infront of the large gun, she had moved five so far and hoped that at would be enough since the large crates made a small semi circle around the gun. It would have been a slower process but the erratic movement of the ship slightly helped her moving the crates.

 

The small silver cross that she didn't usually ware hung from her neck as she kneeled down behind the gun and crates to make sure that there were no large spaces that a bullet could get through. She was stratified with the fortification a she stood and touched the silver medallion. She had never been spiritual but at the moment she hoped and prayed to whatever god there might be that the ship and it's crew would fair well.

 

She waited calmly to see what Jake might need before she herself got ready for what was to come.

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An expert at spatial calculations?? Where was she going to find one of those? Harmony had three pretty smart women on board, but two of them were a medic and hydroponist respectively - not exactly jobs that screamed 'experience with spatial calculations'. The last of the three was a junior scientist, but Teela had no idea *what* her science was; it could be archaeology or some other field that had absolutely nothing to do with spatial awareness. Still, it wouldn't hurt to try. The captain hit the overcom even as she herself took place behind the second piloting console.

 

"Atlanta to cockpit." Teela's voice sounding over the ship voice was clipped and clearly brooked no argument.

 

Not certain where the scientist was right now, nor wanting to wait, Teela began to extrapolate the movements of the first wave of asteroids. She might not be a scientist by trade, but she was plenty smart and she had experience plotting a course.

 

"Sending the first projections to you now, Jay," she called out to the engineer.

 

 

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((No one asks the master pool player sad.gif ))

 

Nelson watched in appreciation as Jake brought out his beloved Bertha, he was against violence but any man in the verse couldn't help but admire such an impressive weapon. He froze as he felt Harmony move beneath his feat, strange how one could feel movement like that when, in essence, they weren't in any gravitational field at the moment. Nelson suddenly realized that in the current situation the engine may very well over heat.

"Catch ya later guys," He said waving at Jake and Athena. He paused briefly on the upper walkways of the cargo bay, then made his way back up towards the mess hall. The blood from his nose was becoming quite a hassle and he felt that if he didn't try and stem the flow with something he could be experiencing some severe lightheaded-ness and in this situation, that could prove problematic.

 

Reaching the top of the stairs Nelson waved again at the girls, before once again, tripping over the same chair. This time however, he felt no need to show off and adjusted his feet to stop the teetering. Pivoting around the table he once again began searching the cupboard, finding a roll of paper towels he grabbed a handful and painfully stuffed them into his nostrils. Nodding once again at the girls, ignoring the fact that covered in blood and with paper sticking out of his nose, he calmly marched his way to the engine room, losing the look as he saw the smoke leaking out through the door way. Sighing, he grasped the fire extinguisher and stormed into the room. Any other ship and he wouldn't have to face this problem, but any other ship and he'd have nothing to do.

As the last of the fire got put out he took a firm grasp of the radio.

"Carefull up there Jay, your fancy flyin's too good for a hunk o' junk like this. I know you gotta keep the whole crew alive but if the engine burns me to death I am sooooo gonna haunt you!" He said before quickly moving around the engine making quick adjustments as he saw fit.

 

((I guess Irish... cause I don't like people using the sterotypical aussie accent, let it be known that I now proclaim Nelson has an Irish accent!))

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((No one asks the master pool player sad.gif ))

((That's 'cause the master pool player is wanted in the engine room by request of the pilot wink.gif.))

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[Heehee - lets see how good Atlanta is at complex math lol]

 

Curious, and slightly perturbed by Xiao's asteroid field comment, Atlanta wondered why the Harmony had gone off course.

 

Then the ships' intercom crackled and the captain summoned her to the cockpit, Atlanta's thoughts changed to what she was needed for.

 

Getting up, she excused herself from the others and headed up front. It seemed the inertial dampeners were working overtime with Jay's current piloting.

 

"Atlanta reporting as requested." More like ordered from the tone, but....she mentally shrugged as she announced herself from the doorway.

 

Now she could see the problem.... it looked like they were being fired on from behind - if the energy bolts that could occasionally be seen through the viewport was any indication. And the spinning rocks didn't help matters.

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Intensely focused on her work, Teela merely lifted her right hand from the console to wave Atlanta forward.

 

"What kind of scientist did you say you are?" Before Atlanta could reply though, the captain already continued: "How is your spatial mathematics?"

 

She moved aside a little so Atlanta could see over her shoulder to a console filled with representations of asteroids and extrapolations of the speed and direction in which they were flying. Just as Atlanta was watching, Teela sent out a new set of predications. She had calculated the path of all of the larger meteors, but there was no time to do the same for the myriad of small debris chipped off by the Bernard's attack - she could only hope that Harmony's hull would repel those. On the other side of the small walkway, the pilot console beeped.

 

"Jay needs to know where those rocks are going before they get there. Does that happen to fall within your area of expertise?" she asked Atlanta.

 

((Takhesis, if Atlanta claims she can do it, you can assume that Teela gives her the seat in your next post. Teela is also fine with Atlanta watching for a spell, or giving her a quick run-down of how the console works (as long as she *does* know how to do the math).))

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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Atlanta walked to the console Teela was currently at while the captain asked her first couple of questions.

 

Spatial mathematics? Been a while since I touched on those equations. Atlanta watched as the captain finished her current set of predictions and sent them off before answering.

 

"I do remember how to do them - though I haven't done them since firsties." Firsties being the generic year that all science paths took before specialising. However her age did mean that it wasn't so long ago, so it shouldn't take long for her to get back into the flow of things.

 

"The main problem I see is using the console, I haven't had any hands on experience of that."

 

Console control wasn't going to be an insurmountable difficulty, a quick lesson should fix that. Already Atlanta started to call the appropriate calculations to mind, her eyes flicking over the display. She was trying to keep her mind focused on the problem at hand - and filtering out the distractions of enemy fire.

 

The second thing was harder and less successful, every time a shot came close it seemed to attract her gaze.

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Captain Teela - cockpit

 

"The main problem I see is using the console, I haven't had any hands on experience of that."

 

Teela nodded in acknowledgement of that. "No time for a learning curve, I'm afraid. Watch what I do and if you can do better, step in." While only a subtle omission, she deliberately said 'if you can do better' rather than 'if you think you can do better'. She'd be happy to let the scientist practice her skills at a more peaceful time, but there was no room for error right now - the girl needed to be sure of herself if she took over.

 

The captain's hands danced over the console impossibly fast, but even so it became harder and harder to calculate every trajectory. She swore when one of the Bernard's shots went wide and blew up another large asteroid. Debris and small rocks went spinning everywhere. Without hesitation, she selected them on her console as several large groups, saying a silent prayer that none of them would behave too erratically. It was sloppy and haphazard, but there was simply no time to calculate each piece separately.

 

This isn't going to end well.

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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Junior Scientist Atlanta - Bridge

 

Atlanta watched the Captain manipulate the console through the next set of predictions. She winced when Teela cursed, though that could be due to the haphazard grouping reducing accuracy of path prediction rather than the language.

 

If there was a way to get the AI to perform the calculations too, it would be much faster. Though Atlanta had no clue whether the Harmony's computer core was capable of performing ever changing situational calculations.

 

Slipping into place, Atlanta quietly took over, her mind on the calculations and hands gliding over the selection field and data input. A couple of alterations had to be made as she went along as fragments continued to collide and multiply.

 

This is going to be a very bumpy ride..... Atlanta sent her first calculations over to the pilot, and immediately set on the next lot. The exercise was made harder by their pursuers continuing fire - and that was something she couldn't predict.

 

The only thing that kept panic at bay was the adrenaline that currently pumped itself through her system. A few near misses made sure of that.

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Captain Teela - going from cockpit to cargo bay

 

Teela stood aside as Atlanta took over. She wanted to remain for a few minutes to double-check the scientist's work, but knew that she shouldn't. Atlanta had given her the gift of time and she needed to make the best of it. She turned and hurried down the empty passage and steps to the cargo bay. The green-haired woman hardly made a sound as her bare feet padded along the cold metal floor.

 

Reaching the catwalk, she could see that Jake and Athena had finished setting up the machine gun. Good, we might need it later. Although for now, she was still hoping to outmaneuver and outrun the bigger (and slower) Bernard. While very much capable of violence if called for, Teela didn't go around picking fights. She preferred to do her own thing without messy interruptions. Like delivering equipment to border moons, she thought wistfully as she was once again reminded that this *should* have been an easy job.

 

"They're still on us," she called out to Jake and Athena as she descended the rickety metal stairs. "We -" she was cut off as the ship rocked, shaking the catwalk and causing Teela to lose balance.

 

((Cue Biologist wink.gif. There is time for the people in the cargo bay to see Teela join them, if anyone wants.))

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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'Ace Pilot' Jay under fire and stressed out – Bridge

 

Jay gritted his teeth. As if flying through an asteroid field wasn't difficult enough, some Ung Jeong Jia Ching Jien Soh decided to make it harder by firing on them. The calculations coming from Teela were a great help at avoiding all the debris from the destroyed Asteroids, albeit a bit rough at times. The calculations Atlanta sent through were just as rough in the beginning, but became steadily more precise. Without them, Harmony would have surely been hit.

 

He had expected the Bernard to have given up by now. The fact that they were still in pursuit told him they were either desperate to get some loot or it was personal. With what he had gathered from the Captain's temper, it could be both. His mind snapped back to the here and now. Only if they remained focused, they would get out of this field.

He was looking for an opening to get to full burst and get away, but with the multitude of flying rocks he couldn't be sure until they had actually cleared the field. The good thing was, they were going to get clear of the field a lot sooner than the Bernard. That idiot gunner was shooting so much that he was boxing himself in if he didn't start to pay attention to his own position anytime soon.

 

Then he saw it. If the calculations were right, and he had a feeling they were, Harmony could squeeze through a gap in the chaos of tumbling stone and escape. They couldn't hide much longer, even if he kept to the Bernard's right. He figured that with the explosive ammunition the big ship was using, a dent in the hull was infinitely more preferable than being hit by one of those cannons, so he decided to go for it.

 

Just as he shouted to Nelson to prepare for full burst, punching in the coordinates and hanging on for dear life on the rudder, there was a loud metallic "clang" audible throughout the ship, as if something metal had hit the hull of Harmony. Almost imperceptibly, the ship was brought out of balance and changed course ever so slightly, and when she shot out of the asteroid field, a large rock grazed her hull. Red lights started to flare across the dashboard. "Go shi! We've been hit!" he shouted to no-one in particular, starting to adjust the proper systems to minimize compression loss, checking for venting of air into space.

Edited by Biologist

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Athena- Companion- Loading Dock

 

Athena turned when the Catain spoke, quickly noting the lack of shoes but knew that now was not the time to comment as she, "Well Jake-" she began to reply but was also shaken as the ship moved suddenly and she lost her footing a bit on the stairs on her way to her shuttle to grab her only gun.

 

When she recovered she started back up the stairs, "Jake is going to be well covered in his little fort." She told the captain before tuning and entering her shuttle. She quickly when to a hidden drawer below her bed and pulled out a slightly scuffed revolver and stuck it into a small holster that she fastened on her thigh. But before she left the room she quickly put on a long flowing skirt over her pants to hide the weapon.

 

Exiting the shuttle she started back down the stairs but stopped by an ear splitting metal on metal scraping noise and a solid clang after coming from the loading doors. The scraping continued at a fraction of the initial sound.

 

Athena recovered quickly and swung over the remaining stairs to the floor to land gracefully in a crouch and headed towards the dock doors to the small window and intercom between the doors.

 

Glancing quickly back at the captain before she looked cautiously through the small window, they didn't seem to notice her yet, "Captain there are five that I can see, with some sort of machinery... It doesn't look friendly." She said as she hid from the windows view. But staying close to the door to press her ear against the door to see if she could hear anything without using the intercom but failed as she could only hear scraping.

 

Then a pounding knock came from the metal door that made Athena jump back, as it had been unexpected.

 

"Honey, I'm home!" Came a male voice from the doors intercom.

 

 

((Hopefully this is good.))

 

 

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Captain Teela, cargo bay

 

"Honey, I'm home!"

 

At that, Teela narrowed her eyes; thick lashes nearly obscuring the golden irises. Nodding to Athena, she looked through the small window herself. Perhaps not surprisingly, she was met with catcalls. While Teela wasn't as drop dead gorgeous as the companion, she was certainly very beautiful. She did not back down, nor did she respond as she continued to gaze through the little transparent square. Then, after several moments, she stepped back.

 

"They've got some sort of equipment to cut through. We'll have to let them in." The captain would be better off opening the cargo bay for the raiders, than have them cut a hole in the doors. If the pirates did that, the Harmony wouldn't be able to get rid of the shuttle without exposing herself to the Black. Teela nodded to Jake to get ready. The weapon specialist couldn't fire too soon or he would risk hitting the lock doors and bullets ricocheting everywhere, nor could he fire too late and risk the raiders being spread out over the cargo bay. She didn't give instructions on how he should handle it though. Teela had great faith in her crew (they wouldn't be her crew otherwise) and knew that Jake could handle it.

 

She walked, no sauntered, over to the overcom phone. More catcalls followed her. If it was her intention to, say, distract the raiders, she was certainly doing a fine job. Her voice sounding over the ship though, had no trace of the flirtatiousness that her step conveyed. "All available hands, we have visitors incoming to the cargo bay."

 

With that, she simply waited. Placing her hands on her hips, only the most astute observer would notice that the stance also made it easier for her to draw the mare's leg rifle holstered on her right leg. The captain was a patient woman, when she wanted to be. The raiders weren't through the hull yet, so she had some time before she needed to open the doors and let them in. That would give Jake and Athena time to prepare and any other free crew, hopefully, time to get down to the cargo hold.

 

--------------------

 

Xiao and Suren, dining hall

 

Xiao and Suren had just finished tidying away the last of the food supplied and cutlery (it was amazing how much mess only eight people could make) when the ship lurched and rocked. Xiao was launched forward off her feet, only divine providence saving her from a face-first collision with the table as she caught herself on the floor. Looking up, she saw that Suren had not been so lucky. The hydroponist had hit her head on the table, hard, and lay bleeding on the floor.

 

For less time than it took to blink, Xiao stood frozen. The scent of blood filled her nostrils, calling up memories best buried and forgotten. Except, of course, that she never forgot. She remembered everything. Shaking her head almost violently, clearing it of any unwanted thoughts, she made her way over to Suren's prone form. The other woman was moaning and moving, so at least she was not unconscious even if she was probably dazed. Xiao assessed Suren's vitals and condition, before rising again. The medic liked to be prepared and she had small medkits squirrelled away all over the ship. The nearest of these kits was in the cockpit.

 

[... Xiao, cockpit]

 

With some exertion of will, Xiao forced herself not to look outside the large port, or at the calculations Athena was making. If she did, she would only get distracted and Suren could not afford that now. Without as much as a greeting, she headed straight to a storage panel on the right side of the cockpit, near Athena's station, and opened it to retrieve the medkit inside.

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((Sorry for my inactivity guys))

 

Jake had just set up the last of the crates by the time the pursuing ship latched onto them. The motion nearly knocked him off his feet, only staying up by some miracle work from his scampering feet. Realizing that it was about time to fight, Jake picked up Bertha and set it next to the chain gun set up behind the pile of cargo, and readied himself at the small turret.

"Alright, I need everyone able to handle a gun up here now!" He called out at the top of his lungs.

"Miss, uh... Athena!" Jake said, suddenly remembering the woman's name in the heat of the moment (he remembers things better in life threatening situations). "I need you over here with me! What you are going to do is stay under cover here with me. When I tell you, you are going to hand me Bertha and start reloadin' the chaingun. Tell me when that's done, and I'll get back on her and give them hell again while you reload Bertha. That way I can keep a steady enough stream of fire to keep 'em back. And you better be careful when handling my lady here, or you will be in a world of hurt; I don't care that we are in a situation here, or that you're a woman."

With that, Jake turned his attention back to the cargo doors , his fingers on the trigger. Maybe he was a bit harsh or bossy with Athena, but he'd apologize later. In moments like this, his combat instincts from the war took over and the only thing that mattered was the safety of the crew; his team; the family.

Edited by Narath

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Athena-Companion- cargo bay next to Jake.

 

The Companions attention snapped back to where Jake was now behind cover. She quickly moved to his side, her mind absorbing the information with efficiency. She knew a little something about large weapons since one of her clients did have extensive knowledge about guns and found it attractive when a woman knew a little something about guns, so needless to say she has done her research.

Most men would never have thought to talk to her like she was an equal in this situation, it made her respect Jake more so than before. "Got it, reload, give the word, and don't scratch Mrs. Bertha." She cracked a smile as she implied that the gun and Jake were married, although her visage was calm and even relaxed looking her nerves were shot, this was a situation that she wished she wouldn't have to be in but to these people she wasn't just a women, or just a companion, she was a friend... Well she hoped so any ways.

Edited by XxWaterGaridanxX

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Pilot Jay - Cockpit

 

Jay was frantically pushing buttons and flicking switches, trying to stabilize the systems that had been affected by the collision with the asteroid. He hoped they could avoid a space walk, but if that was what it took to repair Harmony, then so be it. When he had finally done everything he could think of, he looked at the controls with hope on his face. Suddenly the alarms stopped and a victorious smile appeared on his face. "Hah!" he said triumphantly, putting his fists in the air, "Take that, you ta ma duh!"

 

Although he had prevented the most critical disasers from happening, he did notice that most things were out of alignment, dangerously loosened or just broken. They would need some time planetside with a lot of spare parts to fix this. He decided he would make a list with Nelson, when Xiao came into the cockpit to grab the medkit. "What's going on? Need help?" was all he asked.

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Teela, captain, cargo bay

 

Teela had waited as long as she could; any more and the pirates would actually finish their job of cutting through the lock doors. She made sure to stay out of the raiders' sight as she walked up the console that controlled the hangar doors - if the enemy didn't know that she was about to open the cargo bay, that would give her group the element of surprise.

 

Metal groaned as the cargo doors slowly began to slide open. Heated and expanded due to the raider's welding equipment, they moved even more sluggishly than usual. Teela resisted the urge to curse; it would serve no purpose and she needed to remain focused. If the pirates may yet have enough time to drop their tools and draw their weapons, then so be it.

 

Taking several steps back and to the side, Teela raised the mare's leg to her eye and lined up her first shot. When she pulled the trigger, one of the raiders slumped forward; his shoulders briefly catching on the still-opening doors. It was the man who had jeered at her before, though it might simply be a coincidence that he was the first to fall. Behind him, the other raiders howled.

 

 

Xiao, going from cockpit to dining hall

 

Xiao shook her head in response to Jay's inquiry, still making sure not to look up.

 

"Suren is hurt. I'm on it."

 

Hastening back to the dining hall without actually appearing to be in a rush (it was a gift), Xiao knelt by Suren's side. The engineer had lost consciousness briefly, which might indicate a concussion, and was still acting disoriented. The first thing to do though, was dress that head wound. Opening the medkit, she retrieved her suture kit and snapped on a pair of latex gloves. She applied numbing spray, which would also disinfect on the wound, carefully lined up the skin and began working on a first row of stitches.

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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"I think that you and I will have to grab a drink together when we get out of this." Jake said, cracking a grin at Athena's joke, purposely saying when instead of if.

Noticing that the doors were beginning to open, albeit slowly, Jake crouched low behind the gun behind the small metal shielding it had attached and the cargo container fort.

"Do not move out of this cover unless I tell you to." He ordered. "No heroics. Do not risk your life, do not shoot, or anything like that. I will not have anyone on this ship hurt while I'm still kicking."

He kept an eye on the slowly opening doors, and the moment they got wide enough for him to fire without worrying about damaging them, he pulled the trigger and opened fire. The gun kicked back, but Jake was able to keep it steady for the most part. As the first bullets streamed out, they caught one man full on in the chest as he tried to fire at Teela, and clipped another's leg as they scrambled for cover.

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The companion sat with her back against the metal crates, preferring not to look at the chaos that was going to unfold before them. "We shall have to do that."

Athena couldn't help but roll her eyes at the orders, though she would follow them and she could tell that he was completely serious, she knew that he only said it because when all was said and done Jake was a decent man.

Athena double checked Bertha, keeping her ready in her hands, as Jake started to fire at the creaking doors of the ship. Her pale lips turned down at the corners as she heard the yelling and painful moans from the now injured men.

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Teela & Pirates, cargo bay

 

The raiders howled in frustration as three of their party went down; two killed and one badly injured. The remaining two, not caring about their compatriots, retreated back into the shuttle. Their response came quickly, in the form of a soft plopping sound followed by a small metal ball that neatly landed halfway between Teela and Jake.

 

Teela didn't know what purpose the metal ball served, but it couldn't be good. Without stopping to think, she dove headlong behind a stack of crates. Just then, the ball exploded in a impossibly loud bang and wave of bright light. Teela blinked, disoriented; blood trickled from ears damaged by the sound. She tried to get her bearing as the ball began giving off smoke. Eyes and lungs burning as the room filled with thick black clouds, Teela retreated further behind the cargo.

 

Incited by their victory, the raiders shouted obscenities and lunged forward in the now smoke-filled room. They couldn't see either, but at least they were wearing gas masks which allowed them to breathe and see without their eyes tearing up. They didn't hold back this time, leaving only a scrawny little pilot behind in the shuttle.

 

Two raiders remained in the cargo bay, searching for the people who had shot them and converging towards their last known positions from an angle. One more slipped past the smoke and headed for the engine room. The last two slipped past similarly, heading to the cockpit to take the ship.

 

 

Xiao, dining hall

 

Xiao was finishing Suren's stitches when she heard heavy footsteps approach. Something was off about them, but she figured Jake or Nelson were returning with injuries. She looked up to greet her crewmate, when she saw the boots. If the footsteps were off, the boots definitely did not belong to anyone on board (well, anyone legitimately on board).

 

She shrank back behind the table and considered her options. She didn't think they had seen her yet and thanks to the large table and many chairs between them, they might not. If she remained unseen and let them pass, she risked the raiders catching Jay and Atlanta by surprise. But if she challenged them, it would surely mean the end of the defenceless Suren.

 

The decision was made for her as one raider moved on to the cockpit, while the other remained in the dining hall. He grinned as he saw the uneaten apple belonging to Xiao on the floor. Bending to pick it up and looked straight at the medic.

 

Not giving him time to register Suren's prone form, Xiao shot out from under the table and bolted for the passage. She knew his type - if she fled, he would give chase. And indeed, the apple thief ran after her with a gleeful grin, leaving his partner to take the cockpit alone.

Edited by Mistress of Whispers

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