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Blood Sacrifice

Posted on Sun Dec 27th, 2020 @ 6:15pm by Commanding Officer Mickey Serendipity & Client The Narrator & Executive Officer Kenneth McTigue & Passenger Emma Yonkers & Ships Engineer Delphi Jammer & Comm Tech Wulf Edevane

Mission: Ticket To Rhea
Location: Interplanetary Space, SS Albatross Interior, Airlock Bay
Timeline: After Point Of No Return, Minutes Before Docking With SCNS Xipe Topec

The overhead comm warbled with the back and forth chatter between Allegra in the cockpit of the Albatross, and the pilot of the Saturnian Navy skiff went over by the heavy cruiser Xipe Totec. The small boarding craft had flown under the guns of the heavy cruiser, which was stationed fifty kilometres away. A lot for the Inner used to the curvature of a planet, a little for someone who measured space in light-seconds.

Mickey was of that opinion, as he milled around in the airlock reception with the others. His magboots kept him on the deck, and whilst he wasn't likely to wear a hole in the deck liner by pacing, he was giving it a go. There was a solid thump from the heavy doors set into the side of the airlock as the skiff made its connection.

"Airlocks going to take a few minutes to cycle if any of us are carrying anything more threatening than a winning personality now is the time to speak up before the Ringers get here," Mickey said, looking at the crew.

Looking at her biceps Emma refrained from making the joke that rolled though her head about having huge guns... Instead she shifts and postures herself in a threatening manner, She knew what a boarding action would look like, and how the other side expects her to be. "Here goes nothing..."

Backed up against a bulkhead, Wulf gave off the distinct aura of the terrified. Most of the time it didn't bother him that he couldn't carry a gun, but there was the occasional moment - usually the ones where carrying was the worst possible option - where he thought it'd be comforting to know there was something he could do. He flinched as the two ships locked together and adopted a frown that etched deep lines into his brow as he looked cautiously up from underneath it.

"We're fucked, aren't we?" Wulf asked, his tone suggesting said outcome remained completely inevitable.

"Steady there kid. We're streaming this right?" Mickey said, eyeing the camera affixed to the airlock door and end of the hallway.

Wulf nodded. "In full HD. Yes, Captain," He said for the benefit of posterity even as he hoped he wasn't about to record their intimely demise. His heart pounded. "That'll help, right?"

"All weapons are locked in the armoury." Ken reported from behind Mickey. For a change his jumpsuit was clean, as was his shirt. His back was ramrod straight, his hands clasped behind his back. A stern gaze adorned his face, well practised. "They've figured out we're broadcasting by now. Let's hope they'll stay professional under that scrutiny. ConFed is a joke compared the UN and Martian Navy, but they should be okay."

"A footpad with your wallet is just as likely to leave your grinning from below your chin as leave you fine," Mickey said as the light over the airlock switched from red to green. He slowly raised his hands, palms out to the sealed door."Showtime."

The heavy airlock hatch slid aside with a hiss of hydraulics. Four troopers in light composite body armour stepped through the hatch, the matt blast shields of their helemts lowered making them faceless. Two of them took up positions flanking the airlock, whilst a third kicked off its mag boots and sailed down the short corridor until they were behind the crew. The final trooper, unlike the three others who held onto glossy black machine pistols, had a bulky handheld tablet and sensor wand in their hands.

An officer, their helmet off and secured to the hip of their suit stepped up behind the sensor operator, conferring with them for a moment.

"You will cease broadcasting this lawful inspection at once," the officer said in a tone just shy of a direct order.

Ken stepped forward, next to Mickey, locking eyes on the taller officer. "Following article seventeen, section four of the 2320 Interplanetary Accord on Safer Space Travel the subject of an inspection is permitted to broadcast an inspection for the purpose of evidence in a potential trial." The old marine cracked a vulpine smile. "An accord the Saturnian ConFed is a signatory of. So, no."

"You would be the legal counsel for the crew then Señor...?" The Officer asked.

"Señor executive officer and chief engineer," Mickey said. "And I'm the Captian, Mickey Serendipity. Both of us are bonded with the Space Transshipment Union, and our ship is registered out of Ganymede. Got all the paperwork you need."

"Yes, I am sure you do," the officer said. "You will open your ship's network for inspection, and you will allow my search team full access to your ship. Any hindrance to these lawful orders will be met with the full force of the Saturnian Confederacy Navy. We do not treat slavers with kindness out here on the edge of human space."

Wulf felt safe enough in trusting the rough and tough duo of Mickey and Ken to watch their front, so his gaze tracked to the trooper who'd drifted past them all to guard the crew's rear. He didn't say anything, didn't ask any questions, but studiously regarded this individual while he listened to the others converse. Until the word 'slavers' was uttered. At that point, Wulf offered up a silent, dark frown to the SCN officer and bit back the defensive statement that hung on the tip of his tongue.

Proactive denial right now was as good as an admission of guilt. His adrenaline spiked though, as Wulf waited for Mickey and Ken to respond.

"Now you wait a moment you bucket heads!" Emma growled as she pushed between Mickey and Ken. "I don't give three fucks who you think you are, but do NOT call these people slaver. They saved my life and possibly the lives of my fellow Marines. So shove it. We WILL continue to broadcast you dipshit, and while we will allow you to search this vessel, we WILL not deal with your hostility." She was now barely an inch from the officer's nose. "Now Sir... Get on with it, and start rendering us help with our emergency."

"Esses espanadores são todos iguais, até mesmo suas mulheres,(1)" the officer muttered. "You would be Yonkers correct? You will be pleased to know that the Martian Congressional Republic counsel on Titan awaits your return, as well as the return of your kin."

The officer then turned to the technical specialist and motioned them forward.

"Take this man to your cargo hold, he will examine the stasis pods," the officer explained. "He will also be escorted by one of my men. To ensure the veracity of any evidence collected."

"And whilst they are doing that we have tea and dumplings I imagine," Mickey asked with a smile.

"No. You will stay here as my men search this ship for other signs of malfeasance or law breaking. If after all, you are truthful and victims as much as she, then you have nothing to fear no?" he asked.

"Essa mulher é excepcional, trate-a com respeito, por favor,(2)" said Wulf, calmly and with his first direct gaze in the officer's direction. His back straightened and he took a step forward, closer to the specialist as the suited figure was given instruction. "I'll show him the cargo hold, Captain," Wulf offered, addressing Mickey, his tone polite and confident now, fear hidden behind other emotions that formed a thin armour about the comm tech. "C'mon, it's this way," he continued, gesturing to be followed.

Mickey watched Wulf and the two Saturnian troopers float down the corridor, hitting the access ladder and slipping down towards the cargo hold. That left one trooper and the officer.

"Thought you said you were going to search the rest of the ship?" Mickey said in a neutral tone.

"I think perhaps I will wait for my men to return. After all, stasis pods are tricky things no? There is a reason they are not used often," the officer purred.

"Yeah well, wouldn't you know it that's the reason why we found out we were carrying a payload of Martian marines instead of inert cargo. One of the pods malfed," Mickey shrugged.

"Yes...that was quite the coincident," the officer looked to Yonkers. "You are lucky to be alive."

For a moment Ken studied the young officer's face. "I wonder. Do ConFed ships try to stop Coalition ships when they come around Saturn, or do you run away like a bunch of little cowards?" The XO asked his with an innocent tone.

Emma's stare never left the officer's eyes. "I am lucky and even more so this crew found me and the others before that pod screwed up." She fought to spit, she was already so very disgusted by these navel personnel. "It is grand the consolet is waiting for me. I and my fellow Marines will stay aboard this ship, You can escort us to the nearest Martian Navel ship. I'm sure that is with in your skill set."

"Yonkers." Ken called, his innocence replaced by normal calmness, "Stand down, these ConFed dzhemangs(3) are doing the same job you and I did. They're just terrible at it."

"That is exactly what I was saying..." She didn't realize at first she was tag teaming the ConFeds with the UN Marine, She would have been confused if she wasn't focused on keeping the inspectors off kilter and not doing their job right. "I bet they don't even know how to make their beds right."

"Only reason el-tee's uniform is looking that sharp is because his mama starched and ironed his uniform for him." Ken agreed casually.

"Could be could be... But then again that would require his mama not to be busy with other things, like his 'promotion.'" She used her fingers to make bunny ears around the word, there was a fine line of how far she was willing to push this ConFed but damn she was going to push it right to that line.

A few minutes passed, and then the two troopers and Wulf returned. The trooper with the technical speciality took a moment with their leader to speak privately and then nodded.

"I think we have seen enough," the officer said and made a curt gesture to his men who retreated back to the airlock and the boarding skiff. The troopers said something under their breath as they donned their helmets, and the door sealed shut.

"That..." Mickey said, as he slowly lowered his hands. "...was odd."

"Wulf, did you overhear anything, or see anything on his terminal?" Ken asked, feeling nervous. "Because we're either about to get shot at, or they're expecting a bigger haul."

"Nope." The tech shrugged and slowly shook his head, an expressive double gesture that used his entire upper body in emphasis of his lack of information. "They took a real quick around and then wanted to come back up." Wulf's expression demonstrated he felt somewhat the same as the engineer - anxious. He didn't hide it. his voice shaky as he asked. "You really think they'll shoot us?"

"Mickey, might be better to get everybody strapped down and ready to warm up our weapons. I got a bad feeling about this." Ken said.

"Agreed. Everyone to the Op's deck. Crew grab a suit and a button-up. Yonkers, Jammer, Aisling, emergency locker up there has a pair of single-use suits. Put'em on," Mickey was already opening the suit lockers and pushing the carefully stowed environment suits out to their owners. "Figure with crossing times back to the Xipe we have ten minutes."

"I would say you have five on the outside," a voice came over the ships comms. It was crisp accented Earth standard, the sort of thing you heard out of an ancient period drama about fighting the Romans in the trenches of the Hundred Years War. "As a point of order don't ask who I am, or how I'm in your system. Just get suited up and prepare for a fight. Just know we're monitoring the situation and are local to sunward of you."

Visibly paling, Wulf caught the suit from Mickey's tactical shove and swiftly climbed into it there and then. His breathing was quick enough to briefly mist inside the helmet, his movements overtly nervous, but he didn't waste any time in protests, fear-mongering or idle chatter, he just high-tailed it up the ladder to Ops as quickly as he could manage.

Grabbing Wulf before he raced up the ladder, Emma ran her fingers over the seams and connectors of the suit he just donned. Lastly she kissed the corner of his faceplate leaving a ghost of her lips on it. Pushing him away to the ladder she followed him up to grab a single use suit and slipped it on with military precision. Once it was on and sealed, she slid the helmet over her head and pulled it into lock position. Then she too followed Wulf racing to the point defense position in Ops.

For her part, as soon as it had become known that a hostile ship was coming to board them Delphi had slipped back into the Vector Red vac suit she had worn over from the rockhopper, wearing it over her more casual jumpsuit with the top half tied about her middle. Single use suits were good in a pinch, but if thy were going into battle she needed something better, even the cheap ass junk vector red issued it's employee's. All she needed was to grab the helmet and life support unit and her tools from the cabin she shared with Aisling.

"Oye" She said to Mickey and Ken as she pulled on the upper half of the vac suit, "Mi be down in da engine room, ya? You gonna need all da help down there you can get, sabe" and before they could even respond she was off. She still did not really trust these people, but she had no intention of getting another ship shot out from under her in such short order, and these Saturnian Navy types were an even more unknown and definitely less friendly factor at this point.

"It'll be fun, and it'll be quick." Ken said, and he honestly couldn't help but grin. He pulled his own suit out of the locker near the airlock and pulled it on. He then quickly checked Mickey's seals. "I'll be in engineering too. Key the weapons so that they transfer to me if your console goes dark."

"Pin that happy thought," Mickey said with a sigh.

Ken floated down to the lift shaft before a shot of realization rang through him. "Kid." Ken keyed his mic to Flo, "Get to your couch and strap in. Don't get out until we tell you to. Got it?"

"And don't worry about the screens in front of you, they're disabled for direct input," Mickey said as he pulled himself up the ladder to the Ops Deck. He didn't also add that if any of the controls lit up for Flo, it was because there wasn't anyone else with a pulse who could use them.

"Ken, depressurise the ship. If we're going to get holed let's not waste the atmosphere," Mickey said as he used his suit's wrist terminal to verify that everyone was buttoned up and on bottled air. Slipping into his crash couch, and watching as Aisling and Allegra continued on up the ladder to the cockpit, he activated the main controls.


(1)"These Dusters are all the same, even their women."
(2)"This woman is exceptional, treat her with respect, please."
(3)dick, dickwad; “J-man”


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