Before long, they had made the aquaintance of the captain Johansen and his 2 crewmembers. But they were not alone as it turned out once they boarded. Hannibal, a local bounty hunter and lawman, was waiting in the hold when they were shown their temporary lodgings.
"Howdy, I see I won't be as lonely this trip as I thought." The bounty hunter smiled warmly as the trio entered the bay.
"Seems not. I'm Vic, this is my companions CC and Kai." Vic gave the strangers hand a strong shake before introducing his comrades in turn.
"My pleasure, I'm sure." Hannibal smiles at CC "My lady, I'm most pleased that you and your friends decided to join me."
"I'm sure you are." CC smiled before adding: "Now that we are all introduced, we'd like to get setteled in if you don't mind, it's been a long day."
"Of course, don't let an old man keep you. I'm sure we'll have plenty of time to talk later!"
With introductions made, the group stowed away their gear and got comfortable, it was going to be another 4 days before they reached Thylla I.
Most of 2 days passes without incident, the trio and Hannibal sleep, eat and share some stories to pass the time.
Suddenly, during the 3rd day's night-cycle the sound of an explosion wakes the group.
In the near-blackness of the night-cycle, they realize that Hannibal is not in the room with them.
Before they can call out for him the lights turn on all at once, blinding them. They all reach for their gear as the door to the hold opens up.
"Hands up! Throw down your weapons and surrender!" A voice modulated by the armored rebreather call out.
The group have ended up in the middle of a pirate hijacking!
The hold. Vic, CC and Kai have only just gotten their kit in order when the space pirates storms in.
The bridge. Captain Johansen and his crew are held up at gun-point.
Hannibal was up to get something to eat when the pirates breached the hull and so he quickly hid behind some of the crew lockers.
When what looks to be the last pirates come walking down the room, Hannibal jumps into action.
Drawing his big revolver, he fires twice at the pirates, but manages only to spook them as the shots go wide.
As the sound of the gunfire from our heroes reach the bridge, the stand-off is broken as the mechanic takes a swing at one of the boarders.
His blow harmlessly bounces off the pirates armor, and the 1st mate try her luck with a swing of her fists, but fail to break through the armor too.
The pirate fights back against his two attackers, keeping them at bay, for the moment.
Seeing his friend in trouble, the other pirate fire his blaster at the captain.
Screaming as he clutches his arm, captain Johansen rolls in behind a console for cover.
Inspecting the wound, he sees that it's actually a graze, and he draws a sigh of relief.
CC is knocked on her behind as her armor takes the impact from a close range shot..
..As she falls though, she snaps off a shot at the cowering pirate across from her. He stumbles into the wall behind him, and slumps down.
Seizing the opportunity, Kai steps past the dying pirate and swings at the next boarder, forcing him back towards the door.
Vic launches across the room, heading for the attacker who shot at CC.
Swinging his knife in a wide arc, the offender has enough time to dodge out of the way.
The rude awakening must have thrown out heroes off, they keep fighting the pirates in the hold, taking a hail of fire and blows as they do.
In the next room, the reinforcements keep firing into the rear room, but one is forced into cover as Vic's shotgun booms.
Kai and CC keep attacking, but is thwarted by the though armor of the raiders.
Fanning the hammer, the bounty hunter stuns two pirates with his heavy slugs.
Our heroes are still fighting bravely, but with little reward so far.
On the bridge the 1st mate and mechanic manage to crack the helmet of their captor, knocking him over.
At the same time a comrade of the pirates show up to help contain the rowdy bridge crew.
Their fire in their hearts extinguished, the crew surrenders to the pirates.
"We ought to just shoot them, not worth the trouble" The pirate with a cracked helmet says, leering at the mechanic.
"You know that we're not supposed to do that. keep the crew in line, and the others handle the loot and take care of that extra job, just like the boss said." The newcomer grunted.
Sick of being stuck in the hold, Kai charges a pirate at the door, sending him flying through the room. The blades cut through the armor, but didn't do any permanent damage.
The pirate gets back up, his fire drives Kai back into cover on the other side of the door.
CC and Vic fire into the other room, killing more boxes and denting more armor.
Vic grunts in pain as a energy bolt from a pirate's gun hits him in the back. His armor takes the worst of it, but it still smarts!
Spurred on by the cringing of the boarders as one of them got his brain ventilated, Kai flips into a spinning attack against the pirate he just knocked into the barells. The already compromised armor fails, and the flashing blades eviserates the foe. Kicking off from the corpse, Kai slashes at the other pirate straight across the room. Taken by surprise, the target is unable to defend himself and Kai's blades takes off one of his arms. He goes down screaming.
Vic's shot blasts the last pirate to the ground, battered but alive.
The viseral image of the nearly decapitated pirate makes the lot of them question the visdom of continuing with their mission.. (They failed their first morale roll, becoming rattled.)
A stray shot throws off his aim, but Hannibal still manages to shoot down one more pirate.
"Are you sure you boys shouldn't give up? There can't be a whole lot of you left." Vic asks, shaking the barrel of his firearm.
With little chance of victory, the pirate drops his weapon and nods. "Fine, don't shoot, I surrender."
(The pirate failed a opposed persuasion roll against Vic.)
The last pirate outside the bridge quickly gives up when Vic and Kai parades their prisoner out first as a shield.
"I was afraid they'd gotten all of you, I'm happy I was wrong!" Hannibal exclaim as the group appear in the doorway.
"It wasn't for lack of trying, I can tell you that." Vic poked the prisoners with his barrel.
"Should we see if we can't save our hosts?" Hannibal offered.
"I suppose we should, unless you can fly this thing?" Kai retorted.
"No closer! If you don't give up, I'll blow them away, I mean it!" The wounded pirate is clearly panicked.
"I've got a better idea. You give up, or I blast that bridge with so much shot that they won't be able to identify anything. How about that?" Vic offered, grinning widely.
"What is he doing? Does he want to get them killed?" Hannibal looked just about ready to pop.
"Calm down pops, he's done a fair bit of "negotiating" with thoughs like this. Just watch." Kai whispered back.
"Yous is bluffing, you wouldn't risk it!" The other hijacker says, his tone making it uncertain of wether it's a question or a statement.
"Try me. Your's are the lives that are in the balace." Vic states, a dangerous edge creeping into his voice.
"OK,OK! Don't shoot! Just don't kill us, OK! We'll give up!" The pleading pirates drop their weapons, convinced that they were moments away from dying.
"You're all under arrest for piracy, attempted murder, kidnapping and destruction of property. When we get to Thylla, you'll all be handed over to the marshall!" Hannibal takes out a bunch of restraints. "Could you be so kind and help me cuff the ones that are still breathing?
(Again, Vic made a persuasion (intimidation) roll, opposed by the pirates. Since he won the opposed roll, he managed to talk them down rather than having to make good on his threat.)
Some time later..
The pirates are all locked in a cargo bay and cuffed to the walls, our heroes meet up with the bounty hunter outside the corridor to the bridge..
"Whew, that was exciting. You sure know how to have a good time!" Kai whisled and winked at the bounty hunter.
"Well, I try not to let age slow me down." He said, smiling apologetically. "I suppose I owe you an apology, and an explanation."
"I don't like the sound of this.." CC started reaching for her gun.
"It's nothing so sinister young lady, I assure you. The pirates who attacked this ship didn't do so wholly be accident, or at least, I don't think so."
"Explain yourself!" Vic looked less than pleased.
"Of course. I've been trying to get a large band of marauding pirates that have been hitting ships along this shipping lane. I was looking to find a potential "mark" for the pirates to hit, and this was the only ship available for weeks, so I was fairly sure that they would hit it. Especially after I heard through the data-net that someone was trying to contact them about a job."
"So these guys were not only after the cargo?"
"If I may interrupt?" The whole group turned as the mechanic came up to them.
"Yes?" Vic looked irritated.
"Yes, ahem, it's just something I overheard from the hijackers on the bridge. One of them said that the others would get the loot and complete some sort of side job."
"Was that all they said?" Hannibal asked intently.
"I'm afraid that's all I heard." The mechanic nodded vigorously, clearly unnerved to be the center of attention.
"Thank you, that's very helpful" the bounty hunter smiled and nodded, signaling for him to leave.
"So they came here for something other than the loot. What would that be?" Kai asked, disliking what the new information hinted at.
"Us, is the best bet." CC stated, but looked to Vic for confirmation. When he nodded, she continued: "As far as we know, the people that hired us to check out the facility could have hacked the charter system and then hired the pirates to hit us out here, where no one would be the wiser. That's how I'd do it." CC finished, looking troubled as she pondered the consequenses of her line of thinking.
"Seems to me you have some determined people after you. What did you do?" Hannibal looked suspiciously at the group, aware that he didn't really know who they were.
"Nothing that they'd every try to push through regular channels, but don't worry old man. We did nothing bad, that I can promise you." Vic held his hands up in a gesture of mock surrender.
Walking off to talk amongst themselves, the group reexamined the evidence and events of the last few days.
"When we get to ground, we need to pick up some new gear and intel on this facility." Vic stated
"Whoa, are we still going, even after this? Shouldn't we re-consider, maybe just lay low somewhere for a while?" Kai looked at his companions with concern.
"We could, but do you think they'll stop hunting us? I don't think they will." CC stated flatly.
"I don't either, but let's put it to a vote. All in favor of continuing?" Both Vic and CC raised their hands, and Kai sighed. "All right, let's go find out. I've always loved suicide runs anyhow."
"That's the spirit." CC teased.
What where the pirates after? Who is behind the mysterious Mr Guntz? What is Rakuen brewing up on Thylla I?
This and other questions could be answered in the next episode, so check back for more adventures!
Til next time!