[OC]Song of the Stars Ch. 2
Back again this week with the next chapter of Song of the Stars. This week's chapter is a bit longer than last week's and is hopefully better written. I'm up for any feedback you guys might have.
“Another successful raid sir.” Meachum’s voice screeched through the comm link. “No casualties as usual.”
“Excellent work Meachum,” Ein said as he sifted through the ship’s computer. “Is what I’d say if you didn’t fuck it up and take too long! Now look, the smuggler’s have gone and deleted all the data. This ship is fucking useless if we don’t have their shipping manifests.”
“S-sorry sir but, they got lucky with the scan window. We should’ve had enough time between scanner pulses to board undetected.”
“No excuses Meachum, you will take your punishment cordially and respectfully, like a true gentleman.” Meachum went silent, cutting off comms, probably to sulk somewhere. “Now then, Brandt, looks like we’ll have to go through the ship's cargo manually.” He turned his attention to the figure standing at the entranceway to the completely trashed bridge. Pulse marks lay scattered about, searing the white paint. Bodies littered the floor, pooling blood in colors from red to purple. Lights flickered and circuits cracked, casting sparks haphazardly about.
The large humanoid creature, covered in a rock-like hide, turned his attention to Ein. It was almost double his size and quadruple his weight. “Yes Mr. Beauregard, I will have the boys on that real quick,” Brandt replied in his gruff voice.
“No no, manually going through all the cargo would take days. It’s common sense to ship contraband mixed with legal goods. These guys probably had Quidriplex seeds or shipments of Oolax meat. Look for for any scanner deadzones, and go from there. Anything Ray-Shielded will cause a dark spot on handheld scanners.“ Ein looked down at his watch. He had plenty of time. “Ah yes, and Brandt, have the boys space Meachum.”
“Right away sir.” Brandt thudded out of the room, his heavy footsteps echoing from the hallways. The guards at the door breathed sighs of relief as Brandt left.
Ein turned around and examined each of the corpses, trying to figure out which one was the captain. He spotted one with a key dangling off his neck slumped over in his chair, pulse blast still smoking. He walked over and examined the key, solid metal with a gold pattern etched into it, reminiscent of a Praetor artifact. Ein liberated the key from its now expired owner and proceeded to examine the captain’s head; turning it from side to side, spotting a small silver port at the base of his skull. “Hey you there, what’s your name, uh, Stev?”
“Stav, sir.” The guard walked over, his hoofed feet clanking against the metal floor. He bent over to examine the port, almost jabbing Ein with his antlers.
“Careful Stav.” Ein eyed the Anwix suspiciously, he’d have those antlers shaven off if Stav even so much as scratched him with those antlers. “You got a brain jack on you?”
“Uh, yes sir, lemme just get out the cord.” Stav extended a small, black wire from the back of his neck and plugged it into the Captain’s skull. “Shall I send the data to your datapad sir?”
“Yes, that would be excellent Stav.” Ein moved over to his crystalline datapad as the files flooded the storage. “Whoa, whoa there Stav. Filter that. I don’t need to know the smuggler’s life story. Just…try to find the shipping manifests.”
“Right sir. I’ll get on that, although filtering may take a while.”
“Alright, I’ll leave you to it. Contact me once it’s done.”
Ein stepped back from Anwix, rubbing his face as he walked across the bridge. He started pacing, moving from the communication console on the left, to the fire control console on the right. He could hear Stav’s implants whir as he passed and the other guard stood stoic and silent near the entrance. She was a Dryad, her skin was green and bark-like, and instead of hair she had a thick ponytail of vines. A series of small branches protruded out from her clothing, leaves adorning each one. The Dryad tried avoiding eye contact with Ein, but with his pacing, eye contact was inevitable. “You,” Ein snapped his finger as he thought for a good second, “Callitris yes?”
“Yes, sir.” She stood at attention and clasped her hands behind her pack.
“Calm down, this isn’t the military anymore.” Ein walked up to her, grabbed a chair and took a seat in front of her. “You’re new, ex-army?”
“NORC, sir.” She relaxed herself and leaned back against the wall.
“Ah, ex-navy.” Ein knew most of his military knowledge from his father, who was obsessed with his family lineage. Ein never saw himself as a soldier, but his father couldn’t see Ein as anything but one. “What brought you on board?”
“Colonel Brandt, sir. He saved my life once during the System Forty Conflict. I’m just here at his request.”
“I see, Brandt seems to have many followers amongst my security.” This was true, almost all of Ein’s security forces were somehow connected to Brandt. Without him the organization would fall apart. It was a dependence Ein disliked, but ultimately knew he needed. “Good man, that Brandt.”
“Never thought I’d be working for a Beauregard though, sir.”
“I’m sure you’ve heard the stories. I can assure you I’m not like the rest of my family.”
“That’s reassuring to hear. The Beauregards are infamous.”
“The stories seem like fiction but-”
“Is it true what they-”
“Yes. Can we please steer the direction away from my family. It’s something I’d rather not discuss.”
She turned bright red, “Oh, apologies sir! I-I’ll never pry again.”
“It’s quite alright. Hard time finding a job after your service? This isn’t exactly the ‘cleanest’ line of work there is.”
“Yes, sir. I was quite shocked when I heard about your business. Most tend to shun vets as unstable or useless.”
“The Polis Combine offers work to anyone who takes it. I respect the people in the military and understand their plight. Good business is built on good deeds.”
She snickered, “and dirty ones apparently.” She glanced over his shoulder at the still-smoldering corpse of the smuggler.
“If securing financial interests means dirtying your hands every now and then, I’d rather that than watch my company crumble. Investors are some of the most detached sort you’ll ever find.”
“Sir, we found something.” Brandt’s voice filtered through the comm. “This uh, this requires your immediate attention. Come down to cargo bay eleven.”
“Alright Brandt, I’ll be there momentarily.” Ein switched his comm off, “and to you miss, I take my leave.” She nodded in response. Ein bounded down the hallways at a brisk pace, careful not to trip over the other smuggler’s bodies. He shortly arrived outside of cargo bay eleven, where Brandt and several guards in full Breacher Armor stood, preparing their Pulse Rifles. “What’s all this? I thought you were already in there Brandt?”
“Sorry sir, but when we went through the sector with handheld scanners, this place lit up like a Twin Pulsar. Whatever’s in there, it’s using up a ridiculous amount of energy.” Brandt spoke as he loaded the battery cartridge into the Pulse Rifle. It pulsed in response to the influx of energy.
“Well then, open it up.” Ein ordered. Brandt nodded in acknowledgment as he and his men stepped through the door into the cargo bay, guns raised and ready. It was the usual breach and clear he’d seen in OBRSTs. One man would enter gun raised, turn, lower his gun, turn, and the raise his gun scanning one side of the room while another did the same but on the opposite side. Once the room was clear, the rest would trickle in, guns ready. He’d need to ask Brandt later where the hell he managed to find some O-bursts. Inside the room was a massive cage. Bars ran along the sides, the floor, and the top, and it was covered in a security forcefield. It’s hum covered the group’s approach. Once they neared the cage, they saw a figure hunched over, sitting in a corner. It held some sort of long stick wrapped in a cloth, and had a mane of red hair that spread about the floor like a red flame. Ein moved closer to get a clearer look, but the forcefield was in the way. “Deactivate the field, the thing’s asleep. It won’t cause any problems.” One of the O-bursts moved to the control panel and tapped the display, deactivating the field. In a flurry of red, the creature sprang to life, throwing a series of projectiles straight at Ein, but in that instant, Brandt placed himself between Ein and the creature. Seconds later Ein saw three dagger-like metal objects fall to the ground, clinking on the metal floor.
“Tch” It made a sound as it stepped towards the center of the cage, glaring at each of the O-bursts in the room.
“Set to stun boys, I want this thing alive.” Ein gave the order, and moments later the O-bursts opened fire with their pulse rifles, the blue light arcing across the creature’s body as it fell to the ground, inert. “You alright Brandt.”
“Quite alright sir, just a few nicks on the back. Nothing too serious. Only two seem to have pierced my skin.” He turned to pick up the three metal objects. Ein saw two that punctured Brandt in the back, their sharpened tips piercing the plates along his skin underneath his clothes. “Lucky little shit. How do you suppose it got these?” Brandt raised the metal object up into the light to examine it. The other O-bursts in the room moved in to secure the creature, bringing out a pair of shackles and preparing to bind the creature.
“Uh sir?” one of the O-bursts called out, “This thing’s already got shackles.”
“What do you mean? Why wasn’t it bound down?” Brandt turned to face the O-bursts and the creature. Ein stepped aside and finally managed to get a clear look at the creature. To his surprise it looked exactly like a Primus in every way. Two eyes, ten fingers, four limbs, it was exactly like his race in every way.There were only two exceptions. One was the red hair, while the other was the rounded ears. If it followed the same gender dimorphism as his race, it was a female. Rags covered her pale skin, revealing a body scarred and worn.
“Well sir, it appears the shackles were grinded down somehow, and that’s how she got those metal ‘daggers’” The O-burst currently working to replace the shackles said, but seemed to have some difficulty removing the shackles. “The hell?”
“What’s wrong Leigh?” Brandt approached the four O-bursts around the creature's body. Ein followed close behind. Something was odd about the shackles, they were black and had glowing red lines running along them. They weren’t as thick as the shackles his men tried putting on her, but something about them unnerved him deeply. They made him feel almost sick to his stomach. “Aw hell.” Brandt muttered as he took off his gloves. “Hm?” Ein tried ignoring the nausea the cuffs generated, and any information Brandt may have on this might help them later on.
“Those are Alpha-Linx cuffs.” The room fell dead silent. Everyone knew who the Alpha-Linx were, either through stories or through experience. Kidnappers, monsters, cold and unfeeling, the Alpha-Linx were something everyone in the galaxy tried to avoid.
“And what would those machines want with her?” Ein looked up at Brandt.
“I don’t know sir. I feel sorry for her though.”
“Yeah, poor thing.” Kidnap by the Alpha-Linx was essentially a death sentence. Since they were unaging and unfeeling, they were one of the few races that used the traditional method of FTL; and depending on how far she traveled on an Alpha-Linx Vessel, that could mean a five hundred to a thousand year exile from the normal time of the galaxy. “How did smugglers get a hold of an Alpha-Linx kidnap victim? This doesn’t make much sense.”
“Well it doesn't matter now, first things first is to get her somewhere we can keep her restrained. This ship has a medbay doesn’t it?” Brandt asked one of the O-bursts.
“Yes sir, we will take her there right away.” The O-bursts moved out of the room quickly, carrying the creature off to the medbay, her arms dragging along the floor.
Ein turned to Brandt, who was removing the embedded daggers from his back, “Well that seems like it was worth the trip. What do you suppose it is?”
“Hell if I know, or care. If it tries anything I’ll personally put it six feet under.” Brandt winced as he pulled the last dagger from his back. He walked into the cage and pulled out the object the creature was hugging. He unwrapped the fabric covering it and revealed a sword. The hilt was mediocre at best, but the blade was something else entirely. It had a waving pattern that shimmered in the light. It felt, almost mystical as a clear blue shimmer radiated from its edge. He rubbed his eyes and the glow was gone. “This’ll make a nice trophy, what do you think sir?”
“I believe it belongs to our newfound guest.”
“The…one that just tried to kill you?”
“Something's off about this, which means she’s extremely valuable.”
“Whatever you say sir.” Brandt wrapped the sword in it's cloth once more, and headed off. His scanner was out as he fumbled with its touchpad for a few moments.
Ein pulled up the contacts list on his datapad and tapped it, waiting a few moments before a pickup noise was heard. A gruff voice came over the speakers, “Dr. Zwölf Weinbecker speaking. What is it?”
“Beauregard? Is that you? I thought I told you if you ever spoke to me again, I’d-”
“Yes yes professor, I know I know. However, I found something here that might interest you greatly.” Ein uploaded the memory of sword and sent it to Dr. Weinbecker. He could hear shattering as a series of datapads was knocked off a table along with other knick knacks and table decor.
“Beauregard! What the bloody hell is this?”
“That's what I need you for professor.”
“I'll be there in a jiffy,” his voice got slightly distant, “Priscilla! Warm up the ship, I am needed somewhere now! Oh, uh…yes! Beauregard?”
“Where are you?”
“Sending you the coordinates now.” Ein tapped on his datapad. Moments later it blipped, confirming the coordinates were sent.
“Dead space? Joy. I’d ask what you're doing out there but I'm afraid what the answer might be. I'll be there as soon as possible.”
“See you soon professor.” Ein hung up the call as he walked out of room humming a tune to himself. The notes echoed throughout the empty room as he left.