Monday, August 4, 2014

Black Ocean Part One: "Runaways"

Phineous Xh'xhosa the smuggler and Earth survivor has been slightly at odds with Octavius the AGI Combat Tech the last few weeks. This isn't the life either of them had hoped for since taking this fucking “Job”. Yeah, they'd been given a modified bulk hauler called "The Dung Beetle", for next to nothing, but it’s a terrible ship. It breaks a lot and it leaks O2 like a coffee filter. Seriously, you can hear it… all night long. Could be worse though, the chance they'd been given was worth a lot more…

The Salvage business sucks. Phin decides to call this last trip before the engines implode. They limp their way to Fresh Kills reclaimer station, it’s the only place in range to go really, everyone else has watch lists. A series of bad calls and barely break even salvage runs have left them with just enough fuel to (maybe) cook a chicken. The last few hints of good take away haven't panned out as well as they had hoped, at all. Parts for the Beetle are in short supply, even worse, so is cold cash.

Not being from the area, their contacts and favors have run dry. While taking the time to unload their meager spoils they agree, against better judgment, to hire new crew members to replace those lost on the previous run. Oops. Phin heads to the common areas of the station while Octavius heads out to steal haggle to refresh dwindling stores.

Only an hour before the Beetle docks aboard Fresh Kills, Zyree the deranged Async wakes up in a fog. Literally. Waving the nanocloud cleaners away from her face is easy, the hard part is when she starts to wonder… Never mind the missing time and memories, what the fuck happened to her body? Why the fuck does she have a 12 year old kid’s body? Wait, what happened to the kid that was in it before? Where is she anyway? More importantly who’s on the block for an ass kicking?

She attempts to unbuckle the straps that are pressing her into a mattress that feels like a warm gel sock so she can sit up. Why does it smell like cheap pine cleaner in here? There is a faint blue light on the wall over there. Oh the straps? Yes, the buckles are plastic and easy to unlatch. A mere microsecond after she kerrangs her head on the ceiling of the cheap rent-a-coffin does she realize, the straps were there to keep her from banging her head. As her luck would have it, as soon as she opens the door the voices start again. Upgrades too?

Mercenary (and worth every penny, thank you), Cocky Bastard extraordinaire and Russian to the bone, Misha AK arrived in Fresh Kills just over a week ago. It took some pretty impressive name dropping to get here without any trails, but here he is and man did he ever get away with it. Those Ultimate goons have some badass morphs, but damn do they hold a grudge. As he seals up the plastic envelope with an anonymous cortical stack in it, he considers signing up for some extended shipboard guard duties to keep him out of sight for a bit. Only so much of this money can be spent on drugs and companionship… As much as he hates to admit he’s going to have to pay out for a good hacker to break the encryption on this data. The thought crosses his mind that he wouldn’t have to pay a dead man.

It takes little time between Phin posting for add on crew and Misha getting a ping from his Muse informing him of a “promising opportunity”. For the most part, the Muses handle the majority of contractual arrangements made, leaving Phin and Misha to pontificate the meaning of existence. Life in the future is easy stuff folks. It takes a little time, but when The Physical Meet happens at a bar, yeah I said it, you all meet in a bar… so what?
Neither of these men of war notice the little girl nearby having a drink while talking to her muse. Neither do they notice her passively observing the rooms conversations via “unconventional means”. What these two do notice, however, is Zyree suddenly getting up and leaving toward the central docking ring. It won’t dawn on them until later though when they find her in one of the cargo holds. There was some talk about spacing her ass, but what kinda sick fuck does that to a 12 year old girl man? Seriously, you should be ashamed of yourself. Next port though...

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