The mangled form of the YSS Resurgence appeared in a flash of teal light near the disabled Kuvexian transport ship, joining its sister ship, the YSS Renaissance. On the bridge, captain Aoba grabbed his desk phone and dialed the intercom. "Resurgence crew, this is the captain speaking. Report to battle stations, set condition two. Form an away team to board the Kuvexian ship and liberate the Seelie survivors. It's time."
Red lights came out throughout the damaged ship interior, showing the ship was on full alert.
Beryl and Sakuko had connected the breaching module onto the back of Beryl's shuttle, 'Barrels of Fun, which would let it cut a hole and install a new unexpected airlock into the Kuvexian ship. She fired up the shuttle's systems in anticipation for deployment.
Thad was sitting on a create, waiting for word to be given. He was putting extra polish on his shotgun blade axe. Ensuring it would wipe clean of blood when given a cleaning swipe. He slowly looked up as the call to action was given. A smile grew across his face. It was time to give out some liberation.
Yoshiro was waiting in the shuttlebay. He was ready to give his Kuvexian slaver "friends" an aether blade slice of retribution. He made sure to check his systems on his armor before boarding the shuttle. He had a grim smile on his face and was ready to do some violence.
With her battle senses already up from the cut and run action they had done on the now faraway frigate, Mineko gripped and then ungripped her hand as she looked over sensor readings on the bridge.
Luna quietly dabbed her sweating forehead, after going through hot and humid places on the ship to make repairs, while also making sure Okimi had a towel to wipe sweat off. Kiyo was meanwhile in her Mindy checking it, and readying herself for another battle. Kiyo boarded Beryl's shuttle.
Okimi took the proffered towel, entirely unable to keep the look of grateful relief from her face. "Thanks, Luna. I feel like I need a dozen showers before I will feel clean again." The caretaker shuddered at the memory of some of the things she had had to crawl through while following the technician through the battle wreckage on Deck 2.
Luna smiled at Okimi and nodded"same here, but I think i'll wait for the shower untill everyone is back." She replied.
Okimi returned the smile. "Oh, totes. Just nice to think about a bottle of chilled water, a long shower and then curling up in bed to sleep for a day or two."
Luna smiled once more and nodded "true" She said before scurrying off to next place of importance.
Trowa had replaced his damaged armor and weapons with fresh ones. besides his rifle and side arms he had his trademark Straight Silver blade plus his NCO saber. Even though he was now an officer, he still prefered his old NCO saber in a fight.
Just then Trowa got a call from the medical lab. "It's Poppy. I can't clear Cassie to go out so soon. She had brain swelling from getting hit by the explosive charge and I need to keep her in the medical lab where it can be monitored. I've given her a sedative to help her sleep. Are you going to need me on the away team?"
Thad jumped to his feet as he completed putting war paint on his face. "Ahh, time to get back into the saddle and dish out some freedom." He said as he racked his weapon. "No worries Cassie, I brought some special rounds in honor of you." He said as he tipped the weapon to the side. Down the length of the stock was extra ammo, all of them having a skull with EX showing.
Trowa frowned. Cassie was an experienced soldier and they would miss having her as part of the team. He thought a moment at at the Cheif medics question. "If Cassie doesn't require further attention then it would be beneficial if you could join us. The Seelie might need medical attention before we are able to transport them to the ship."
"Okay, sir," Poppy replied. She asked the MEGAMI to help her keep an eye on Cassie and then went down to the armor bay to suit up.
Armorer Norita came out with a cart of mini-missiles and made sure everyone's Mindy armor was fully stocked with every missile it could carry in their pods.
Kiyo smiled as her fellow Armorer arrived with new replacements, she immediately replaced what mini missiles she was now missing.
"Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!" Yoshiro shouted and sat down in the shuttle. He was prepared for battle now.
Kiyo looked over at Yoshiro he liked saying that a lot. She thought to herself
Trowa made sure everyone was on the shuttle and ready to go before getting on himself and sealing the door.
"Count confirmed," Emiko said, after touching each helmet herself."
Soon the shuttle was on its way over to the Kuvexian smuggler vessel. As it approached, the Resurgence provided cover and its turrets hit any functional turrets the enemy had, so the shuttle wouldn't get shot down.
Beryl, already strapped into the pilot's seat of the 'Barrels of Fun', turned her head to address the team as the door sealed. "Alright everyone, let's get this done. Hang on tight." She flipped a few switches, causing the engines to hum to life.
"Final checks complete, all systems are green," she reported, her fingers dancing over the controls. With a swift and practiced maneuver, she guided the shuttle out of the bay, setting a course straight towards the disabled Kuvexian transport ship.
As the shuttle sped through the black void of space, Beryl couldn't help but feel a sense of anticipation. Their mission was a crucial one - rescuing the Seelie survivors from the clutches of the Kuvexians. She hoped they were not too late.
Meanwhile, back on the bridge of the Resurgence, Captain Aoba watched as the shuttle disappeared into the distance. His crew was once again putting their lives on the line to uphold the values of the Star Army - to protect those who could not protect themselves.
"Godspeed," he murmured, turning back to the helm. "Gabriela, keep us at a safe distance, but be ready to move in at a moment's notice."
"Hai, Captain," Gabriela replied, her hands ready on the controls.
Back in the shuttle, the team could see the looming silhouette of the Kuvexian transport ship growing larger as they approached. It was a harrowing sight - a massive, battle-scarred vessel that had no doubt seen countless conflicts. But for now, it was their target.
"Prepare for boarding," Beryl said, her voice echoing in the cabin. "We're going in."
The moment of truth was upon them. The shuttle, with its attached breaching module, veered towards the Kuvexian ship, ready to cut through its hull and provide the team with their entry point. The tension was palpable as they prepared to face whatever was waiting for them on the other side.
The was a hard jolt as Beryl's shuttle banged into the Kuvexian ship's hull at a random location and an electric whine as the two aether blades circled around cutting a hull through the transport's outer hull. After a tense moment, the hatch into the enemy ship was ready to open.
Emiko was point, readying herself to be first in, with her weapon at the ready, and tensed inside her enormous armor to sprint forward with her enhanced mobility augmentations. "On Mark, Teams!"
Yoshiro took out his aether blade smg and got ready to go. He was prepared to dish out punishment to whatever came his way.
Trowa was just behind the giant infantry officer. He had his shield up in one hand and his rifle braced against it in the other.
Thad had ended up somewhere in the middle of the pack. The ideal location he wanted to be to be able to provide cover for the team up front.
On the bridge Mineko got word the Renaissance didn't have an infantry team available since it was running on a skeleton crew of bridge operators and a handful of technicians. The smuggler ship appeared to have only light weapons. According to SAINT files the ship was named the SS Altoma Searmarrion and was equipped with a large contingent of security drones, such as the Murderguy power armor robot hybrid thing they kept encountering.
With a call in to Trowa, Mineko said, "Aboard the Kuvexian frigate SS Altoma Searmarrion, expect a lot more of the QV-447 Murderguy models and other robot drones. I'll try to find out if there is any way to bypass them from here, Taii."
"Excellent, Keep me posted if you have any success with that. Keep towards the back and we'll give you cover." Trowa replied as he waited for Emiko to give the signal to enter.
With a gesture, Emiko summoned up her FARS to get another camera on the scene when she went in, the extra eyes in her visor display.
Kiyo got up from her seat, and with her hand on Silverlight's handle she proceeded forward towards the hole, and the hatch.
The hatch opened with a soft hiss, revealing a clean corridor on the side of the ship. As a transport this ship wasn't as fancy as the Kuvexian military ships. It had bare metal gratings on the floor and ugly swirls of trippy colors painted on the panels of the walls. Along the corridor were thousands of lockers and chests in piles, which helped provide concealment.
Emiko signaled to the other team leader to go the other way, and leapt into the breach as soon as it opened, weapon forward and ready to fire, with her drone keeping overwatch. "Intelligencefriend, match schematics with feed from drone please."
Weapon in hand, Yoshiro readied to follow whoever was going to lead him and accomplish this mission. His demanor changed from silly to focused and serious, ready to fight.
Trowa stepped onto the Kuveixian ship and moved opposite of Emiko, covering the other arc with his weapon as he scanned for targets. Not seeing any immediately, he beat his rifle against one of the wall lockers to break the lock and look inside.
Poppy Pink, hauling a large bag of medical supplies, followed Thad. "Thad, with Cassie out I'm claiming you as battle buddy. Take care of me so I can take care of the wounded."
Thad followed after the group and took a look down each way of the hall way. He knew this trick from his time on the other worlds. Chests filled with explosives to give a suprise to those foolish to open them. Then again it could be filled with random crap gathered from space. "You got it Poppy. Team work makes the dream work." He called out to her over comms.
"Security on exits from this room once clear, move," Emiko commanded over the comms, "Then overwatch through corridors, bounding security at each intersection. Don't lose momentum or we can get pinned down. They're the defenders, we are not those ones."
"Roger that." Yoshiro said to Emiko and did exactly that. He was watching for the enemy as he moved carefully.
"Security alert, intruders onboard," a Kuvexian-accented voice called on the intercom. "All units seek and eliminate."
"fudge" Kiyo said in her usuall voice and removes Silverlight from its sheath, and looses the look on her face as she begins entering Kiyo battlemode.
"HA! It is them seeking us! It is easier then when they are together, is efficient! We will to Valhalla!" Emiko seemed perhaps too enthusiastic about the prospect of the targets coming to her.
A second voice came on the intercom, this one a female computer voice. "Automatic destruct system engaged. All crew proceed to escape pods immediately. The ship will be destroyed in three minutes. There will be no further audible warnings."
"Ah Feth." Trowa said to himself as he looked at the locker he just broke. He should have guested that the Kuvexians wouldn't want others to take their things. "Mineko! How do we stop that self destruct?"
"Welp, do or die. And I am all out of die." Said Thad.
A crowd of pissed looking robots and power armor sized drones in chrome gold began to pour down the corridors from both sides, firing plasma weapons and aether rifles at the team.
"They really don't like to give up their loot," Poppy observed. "Maybe they're hoping we'll run." She stayed low and tried to use the random boxes and crates to stay out of the line of fire, occasionally popping out to shoot back for a moment.
"Yes," Emiko said, to Poppy, "I am calling bluff on the blowing up the money."
"I have come for your blood, you honorless dogs!" Yoshiro shouted as he fired Gauss rounds at the drones and MURDERGUY robots.
"Heavy weapons, go, go. Keep advancing, do not hold position, go!" Emiko then yelled, "GRENADES!" And that is precisely what she did.
Kiyo targets the robots ahead with her Aether Pulse Cannon and began firing on the poor dears as she stepped forward.
Sparks and smoke flashed from one of the chests as shots hit near Kiyo, barely missing her.
Kiyo noted the bare misses, and used her Silverlight's blade to try and deflect ammo back at the robots and Power Armor.
Trowa opened fire as the robots and PA came at them. He dropped two before they were on him. Using his shield like a blunt weapon he bashed the first robot that came at him with such force that it staggered back into the one behind it. The Gauss cannon on his right shoulder came up and began to fire. Trowa was very careful with his shots as a miss could go through an interior wall an potential hit something they really didn't want to hit. Like the Seelies they were trying to save.
Thad took cover behind chests near by. Though this was short lived as he took his axe and cleaved into the side of the chest. He did a quick spin and yeeted it down the hall towards the robots.
"Where are we heading, the bridge?" Poppy asked, looking for some alternate route. She slammed into a doorway and cut a hole in it, opening a path from the deathtrap hallway into one of the spacious cargo holds. "Short cut? Trowa, what do you think?"
A thin pink mist began to flood the passageway like on the previous ship they boarded.
"Yes! we need to stop that destruction sequence" Kiyo said to Poppy through comms as she attacked her enemies.
Trowa looked around at what Poppy was doing. It was a good idea. "GO! Kiyo! Tanaka! Take point! Maximus! With me, covering fire!"
Yoshiro opened fire on a group of robots as he heard Trowa shout orders. "Taking point!" He said and did what he was told.
He cut the head off of a MURDERGUY, shot another in the knee and took of the arm off of another.
Kiyo nodded "taking point!" she replied and stepped forward to follow orders.
"Covering rear!" Emiko called out, firing her heaviest weapons to stymie the flow coming in behind them. "Resurgence, are they actually launching escape pods?"
Thad was busy dancing around and blasted away at the robots as they came. He then followed behind Poppy into the side room she just kicked open. He checked around the room which seemed to be void of kill bots.
The hugeness of the cargo bay made it easy to travel large distances inside the smuggler ship. Below them was a vast array of hundreds of shipping containers.
Kalena's voice came on the communications net, responding to Emiko, "It would appear a handful of escape pods did launch as well as some sort of high speed yacht. The Renaissance is in pursuit of the yacht."
"Maybe it is not bluff." Emiko quipped.
"I'm starting to think you're right." Trowa agreed with Emiko.
Aoba called down to engineering, "I need the main gun working now, Pidole," he said. "Can we shoot?"
"Maybe, but it could destroy the gun. There's too much damage to the protective barriers," she told the captain.
"We have to try," Aoba said. "Kalena target the bow of the transport ship and cut the front of the smuggler ship off. After that's done I want the armor team to find the Seelie containers and push them out into space where they will be safe from the self destruct and Sakuko's shuttle will bring them aboard. I need one armor team member to interface with the ship's computer so Mitalar can hack their cargo logs and mark the correct containers for you. We have two minutes. Execute!"
"Copy that, Captain," Kalena replied. The targeting reticle of the Resurgence's main gun began to shift, tracking towards the front of the smuggler ship. "All hands, brace for recoil. Firing main gun."
The Resurgence shuddered as its main gun fired, a bolt of concentrated energy lancing out towards the smuggler ship. The blast struck true, shearing the front of the ship off and sending it spinning away into the void.
At her console, the intelligence analyst was shuffling through whatever records she find on the smuggler ship. Mineko's primary goal was where the Seelie could be kept, but a part of her focus was still alert for anything that could help the away team in the present predicament.
Mineko could find the ship's basic class was known to said, with the ship's bridge located near the engineering section at the rear of the ship. The front was all cargo. The ship was mainly set up to haul standardized large containers and it had various power and climate control hookups for the containers. In theory, a container with life support could go in the hold...
"Yamamoto-taii," Mineko comm'd back in to the away team. "The bow of the ship contains a cargo hold where I believe the Seelie prisoners are being kept. It takes up most of the ship, whereas ship's engineering and bridge are further in the stern... Which I believe we will be hemisecting!"
SS Altoma Searmarrion
Thad pulled up his sensors to see if they would give him details on the containers. He was mainly looking to see if any of them had a heat signiture which might mean a warm body was inside.
Trowa processed the information Minkeo sent him and tried to get his bearings. He had two MURDERBOTS on him and it was hard to think. His voice was short as it came through the ships speakers. "Are the cargo containers self seal.. Ya!" there was the sound of a grunt as Trowa was hit and then he continued. "Self sealing! Can we detach the containers from the ship and just pick them up with the Res!"
Kiyo looked over as she continued to attack with automatic weapons targeting the MURDERBOTS that were giving Trowa a bad headache. "think we can get the cargo hold to separate but keep the life support online?"' she sent back.
"Whatever we are going to do, we better do it fast! I am running out of ammo!" Yoshiro said.
There was a massive flash in the cargo bay as the front of it completely melted off, leaving the cargo bay exposed to space on the front of the ship. Meanwhile the robots started to enter the cargo bay and started shooting up the team.
In the chaos, Mineko had replied to Trowa's query, "They'll be safer in space than in the ship. We need one of you to interface with a ship computer, okay?! With that we can direct you to the containers that need jettisoning!"
"Do it fast!" Trowa yelled. He wasn't really yelling at Mineko, but his blood was up has he was in the middle of a pretty heavy fight. He had again lost both his rifle and his shield and now had a plasma revolver in one hand and his NCO saber in the other. The saber had a built in Aether power pack connected to his PA so that he was able to cut through the enemy PAs.
For her part, Emiko said, "Cover me. Relief!" And moved to hook into the ship's computer. The suit's AIES system began communicating, and Emiko used her cortical modem and neural lace implants to help her sort through it. "Connecting!"
Poppy yelped as she was hit. She spun her legs to stabilize herself and then returned fire. "I trust my backups," she yelled at the robots, "Do you?"
Kiyo moved to guard Poppy from getting hit further, as she fired her Cannons and NSPs at her enemies. Now that they were exposed to the outside of space. Kiyo fired like a Valkyrie almost as if she was her sister Gravity, wanting to make these robots and Power Armor dead and destroyed.
Mitalar was able to work with the Kuvexian operating systems like a pro hacker, because she was, and her voice came over the team communication channels. "I have the manifest, and I have found the Seelie containers. I am sending the IDs to the ship's MEGAMI to place markers on your Mindy AIES HUDs. MEGAMI says the containers with the people in them are going to have a flashing green outline around them from your point of view. There are 5 total."
"Gold-robot-friend, can you just jettison it all? How about the destruct?" Emiko asked, over the connection.
"I unlocked them all from their holding clamps," Mitalar said.
"That's the best we got on our end, you'll have to give them the last push," Mineko added. Even without being a foot on the ground, her own adrenaline was up like the Taii's and the fervor in her voice was palpable.
"Good enough! Move people! Move!" Trowa ordered as he quickly found the marked containers and moved to them. Getting a good grip on the container, he pushed his PA thrusters to the max and push the container away from the ship.
Kiyo began moving the marked cargo out to space hoping that it saves them from getting exploded.
As the ship began to self-destruct, the explosions started in the ship's aft at the engines, blossoming in waves of fire. But with the front of the ship chopped off, and the atmosphere venting into space, the loose cargo containers were all now moving out towards the hole in the front of the ship.
With the explosions behind her, Poppy pressed her Mindy up against one of the marked containers of Seelie captives and fired her aether engines full blast, pushing it out into space. It took her a second to realize she was screaming as it happened.
Yoshiro pushed one of the marked containers out in space and kept pushing it away from the cargo ship. He was upset about not getting the leader but glad he rescued some Seelies from slavery.
"Maximus! Container!" Emiko was unhooking from the computer network, which would, of course, sever Mitalar's connection. She was in position to be the last off the ship, whether she meant to be or not.
Trowa turned around and saw the cargo ship disappear in a bloom of light. He took a steadying breath. That had been close. Very close. He swallowed to find his voice then sent over the Comms. "Who's not dead? Sound off."
"Yoshiro reporting and still alive, sir." He said to Trowa.
Thad had not planned to go surfing today but that was exactly what was about to take place. He was going to slo mo cool his way out of this ship and look good while doing it. He jumped up on top and ensured his mag boots attached strongly. "Lets rock and roll."
"I'm a little rattled and hurt but I'll make it," Poppy said. "Returning to Resurgence."
In the relative safety of her cockpit, Sakuko's eyes were focused on her console as she piloted her shuttle, ready to swoop in and collect the marked containers once they were pushed out into space.
"Ready to retrieve marked containers, Captain," she reported, her voice steady despite the tense situation.
The one eyed Nep sighed with relief as all the away team checked in. "Resurgence, this is Away Taii Yamamoto. All away team members are accounted for and all the containers are in one piece. Request immediately pick up." He then sent another message to Mineko. "Damn fine job Santo Hei. Damn fine job."
"Away team, looks like you've freed all the Seelies," Mineko said after looking between all of the away team member's HUD feeds and the containers they knew contained the captives from Ahmar. "I could say the same to you."
The welcome sight of Beryl and Sakuko's shuttles met the team as they assisted in safely parking the containers full of Seelie on the Resurgence.
Yoshiro was proud of himself. He did rescue people from some bad eggs and taught the bad eggs a lesson while he was at it.
"Excellent work," captain Aoba told the team. He sounded genuinely proud of them.
"I hope you don't mind if I start salvaging," Mitalar Sevinna told Aoba. "I held up my end of the deal and now it's time for you to hold up yours. "I am glad I could help, and I'm sure we'll meet again sometime. Until then, safe travels, mon capitan," the gold robot did a curtsy and walked off the bridge to go collect the leftover crates for herself.
"Excellent work, yourself, captain!" Mineko said to Aoba. It was in the same vein as what she had said to Trowa, but laced with a pleasure that Mitalar's curtsy had imbued. "We're not seeing the last of her, are we?"
Aoba watched Mitalar walk off the bridge, a thoughtful expression on his face. "I don't believe so, Santo Hei. A being like her... She's not one to fade into the background."
He turned back to the bridge crew, his gaze sweeping over them. "Let's begin recovery operations. Get our people and those Seelie aboard. And... good work, everyone."
As the crew acknowledged the orders and set to work, Aoba couldn't help but feel a sense of satisfaction. They'd accomplished their mission against the odds. It wasn't a perfect victory, but they'd saved the Seelie and dealt a blow to the Kuvexians. For now, that was enough.
He glanced at the screen showing the drifting debris from the smuggler ship, the marked containers slowly being reeled in by the shuttles. He knew there was still a lot of work to be done, and this was only one battle in the grand scheme of things, but for now, they could savor this moment of victory. It was time to go home.
= = =
OOC: JP by Wes, Charaa, Cowboy, Ame, Yuuki, Yoshiro Tanaka, Miko, iaincarter