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Thread: The Azuka Chronicles: Shattered Dreams [IC]

  1. #316
    Silves Base
    Kwakima System: Anarchy Space

    Anton enters the warehouse gripping his rifle tightly as Shane follows closely behind. The meeting was not in their favor. Since the Syndicate gained control of the area, it became incredibly dangerous for anyone not part of their ranks to do any form of business. As such, Anton had every right to be nervous about what he was doing. But this was Shane's only way in. And he owed him.

    He looks back at his partner as a third person, a woman wearing a white flightsuit and blacked out remlok helmet, entered in behind them. He glances over at the woman before looking back to Shane.

    "No other options? Just wading into Azuka's war with these guys?" He whispers as they continue to walk towards the waiting group.

    "Jin's out of options. And Angel still has his head. After what he did? Yes we're out of options." Shane replies with a similar volume but much more of an angered tone.

    "I know you had some kind of thing for the princess and all but... This really isn't you." He says expecting a response from the man. When Shane didn't react, he looked over to the woman. "So I assume you're okay with this as well?" He asks, getting the slightest of nods as a response from her.

    "So many have died thanks to this man and his crew. Without the Swords, our only option is this." Shane states as three guards approach them.

    "Alright. So we're doing this then." Anton responds before the guards reach them.

    "No weapons." The lead man states as the others flank them.

    Anton disarms allows himself to be checked for any hidden weapons.

    "These two are just my bodyguards. In case things get out of hand here. You understand right." Anton says with a grin and a chuckle.

    "No weapons means no weapons. That means your guards too." The man replies as his partners step in front of Shane and the woman imposingly.

    They hand over their guns and the guy checking Shane for weapons quickly pats him down insuring he isn't armed. The man checking the woman however wasn't having the same luck. She sharply placed her hand to his chest stopping his advancement.

    "I wouldn't touch her if I were you. Besides. Look at her. Where's she gonna hide a gun?" Anton says to him.

    The three men look over the flightsuit that hugged her curves like a glove. The suit fit her petite figure so tightly it was nearly a second skin. If there was a gun on her, it would be hard to miss. They look back to their boss for approval. A gray haired long bearded old man at the table nods and waves them in. The guards part allowing them to head to the table as the old man stands to greet them.

    "Anton Silverstone. Back in business I see." The man states holding out his hand.

    "Ah. You know me better than that Niko. I'm always in business." Anton says shaking the old man's hand.

    "Good. Good. Come, sit."

    "So I hear you had a bit of a falling out with the Orcus cluster." Anton says as he sits at the table, propping his legs across the top of it as her leans back in his seat.

    "Ha. Yeah, ever since that whole thing with the Azuka girl getting offed it seems feeling got hurt." The man says. Shane shifts slightly unable to completely hold back his emotions.

    "Well that works out for me. Cause I'm looking to sell." Anton says with a grin.

    "Moving back in to Imperial space are we?" The old man says and signals to his assistant.

    "Well I am flying a Courier these days. And I would be a fool not to make good with the Crimson Syndicate. If the money's good that is."

    The old man leans back in his chair and strokes at his beard, glancing at his assistant as he checks his wristcomms.

    "The money's good. If you're selling the right products."

    "Ha. When am I not?" He says and snaps his fingers. The woman in the flightsuit steps forward pressing her wristcomms to display a video over the table. "Battle weapons, heavy explosives, unauthorized missile launchers with ammo, Imperial Hammers. You name it, I either have it or I can get it within a weeks time."

    "Hahaha. That's what I like to see. Well then. We just might be able to do business." The old man responds before his assistant leans in to whisper something in his ear. The old man's smile shifts a bit before he nods. "Then again. One can never be too sure who to get in bed with these days."

    Anton glances at his assistant before chuckling a bit.

    "I take it you mean me."

    "Hm. Well..." He start to say as his guards start to ease there way closer to them. "...Given the nature of our business, you can be sure that we've been looking into your passed deals. And low and behold, it seems you've been making deals with a certain Azuka."

    "Well of course I have. The Swords controlled this region on and off for decades. I go where the money goes."

    "Of course. Plus the fact these two aren't as familiar to us as you."

    The guards point their weapons at the three of them. Anton casually nods to the woman and she brings up a Galnet page of Shane's profile heavily changed from his real identity.

    "Shane McCoy here is a five time felon in Alliance space. Last on the radar after working in He Bo under the Sons of Icarus before joining my security team."

    "Hm. And her?"

    "Oh you know her already. You've heard of the Phoenix of Lave."

    With his words, Jackie removes her helmet.

    "The hell is this?" the old man says as Jackie flips her wrist forward deploying the shotgun barrel built into her augmented arm.

    "Niko. Long time no see. Been working out?" she says with a cheeky smile.

    "Haha. Jacqueline." He says laughing despite her weapon pointing directly at him. "Can't say this is a surprise. Still, you have got some big cajones trying to make a move on me." He says.

    "Baby you have know idea." Jackie replies.

    The old man turns his attention back to Anton and opens his arms wide.

    "So this is you're play Anton? Hm? Roll up on me? For what? So you can stay on the good graces of a man receiving three meals a day through a letterbox? If you haven't noticed, Syndicate control these stars now."

    "Like I said. I'm here to make a deal. Now, depending on you is the type of deal that is made here. War is good for my business. As long as I get what I'm after I can care less which of you win or loses. Azuka just happen to come to me first." the young man responds as he repositions his legs across the table. "Now enough of this boasting. We making this deal? Or are things going to get messy?"

    "Kinda hard to make deals when you're full of bullets."

    "By the way Niko, how's little Diana?" Anton says and places his hands behind his head.


    "Oh Anton, she's the cutest thing." Jackie cuts in. "I got tons of pictures of her on my Clipper. Wanna see?" Jackie responds directing her words to the old man as a panic starts to show on his face.

    "Please do." Anton says with a devilish smile.

    Jackie hits a button changing the displays to a slide show of her with a little redheaded girl, no older than five, on the bridge of her Imperial Clipper.

    "She's so cute. I could totally keep her forever. What do you think Niko?" Jackie says to the old man.

    "What... What do you want..." He says in defeat.

    "For starters, your men to take their damn guns off us." Anton says. The old man quickly orders them and the men lower their weapons. "Good. Second, Swords ships are ready to move in and take this base if you think your daughter's not worth making this deal. So don't get any ideas."

    "Where is she?!" The old man shouts.

    "I already told you." Jackie cuts in again. "On my Clipper. Just can't really remember where that is at the moment though. Think a slave might have taken it to Colonia. Or was it Sol? They didn't really tell me where they were headed actually?"

    "The point is, you want to see her again, you'll do exactly as we say. Otherwise they have orders to launch her into a star." Anton adds.

    The old man, sweat beating from his forehead nervously nods.

    "Fine. Just... What do you want..."

    "You're going to buy a shipment of 200 railguns. To be delivered to this location by my man Shane here. A Swords attack wing is going to attack the shipment and he's going to fight off and win in full view for your transports. As a reward, he is going to join you on your next visit to Newcomb and the O Class. You're going to set up a meet with him and Salvatore." Anton explains.

    "You won't here from us again until the job is done and he's end. Try anything before that and that pretty little red hair's gonna get a lot more red." Jackie adds in.

    "You... If you... You think you're just going to get away with this...."

    "The same way Salvatore thought he could get away with what he's pulled?" Jackie says in a fit of anger.

    The man sits in silence grinding his teeth as Anton produces a tablet with a list of the shipment info and payment. The old man reluctantly signs the deal and tosses it back in anger.

    "Be seeing you soon Niko." Anton says and as he stands.

    He and Shane take their weapons from the guards as Jackie covers them before all three train their guns on them as they back out of the warehouse.

  2. #317

  3. #318
    Check Ring
    Xuanduna System: Imperial Jurisdiction

    Shane's Fer de Lance drops from supercruise just in front of the station closely followed by Anton's Courier. As he request docking he hails Jackie's Viper who's already moved on to scout the location for the meet.

    "Do I even want to know how you managed to kidnap his daughter?" He says to the woman as he appears on his display.

    "Kidnap's a strong word. I prefer the term, aggressive relocation."

    "Fine. How's you aggressively relocate the kid?"

    "Actually, it wasn't that hard. I just lied to his wife saying he's been cheating on her with me since she before that girl was born. Seems him stepping out on their marriage is a bit of a theme. She was all for getting back at him for it. She's the one taking the pictures." Jackie responds.

    "So you're really not planning on shooting his kid into a star?" He asks as his vessel touches down on his assigned landing pad.

    "Tsk. I'm not that nuts. Once this is over I plan on sending them to this little resort world on the outskirts."

    "At least someone gets a happy ending out of all this." He responds as Anton appears on screen.

    "Shane, got word from Azuka. Eotienses was just hit. They're looking to move for Baal. We should be ready to go once the Admiral gives the order."

    "Right. Any word on Henry?" Shane asks.

    "Nothing so far. Not since Hind."

    "Is Lana with him yet?" Jackie adds in.

    "He didn't say." Anton replies

    "They're more than likely going to stay off the grid until we get word on any changes." Jackie says biting on her thumb as she speaks.

    "If we ever get any changes." Shane cuts in before triggering his ship to enter the hanger. "We're switching over to the Python now. Jackie, I need you to secure that site before we arrive."

    "Got it. Shane..." She starts to asks.

    "Save it. I know what you're going to say. We focus on our mission now. Nothing more nothing less." He responds and ends the call before Jackie could respond. He hesitates for a moment as his thoughts wonder around. He sinks back into the seat before letting out a sigh as he calls ahead to station services to ready the Python, pausing again as he looks at the ship on the screen. "Focus on the mission." He says out loud to himself before selecting the ship. "If only it were so simple."

  4. #319
    Kamito System: Imperial Jurisdiction

    The wreckage of a near unrecognizable ship drifts in stable orbit around Kamito 2 as it has since the four ships attacked and destroyed the vessel just weeks earlier. Within the mangled remains of the Hauler lies a black box which transmits a faint signal out into the void. Twice since its destruction has the signal attracted the attention of passing vessels. Both times the ships found nothing of note, no cargo, no useful materials to salvage, no escape pod.

    As the remains drift on in its eternal rotation, the black box draws the attention of a third ship, a Lakon Keelback marked with the scars of an earlier fight across its hull. The vessel switches on its lights as it slowly approaches the wrecked Hauler. Its pilot, a pale freckle faced young woman with short red hair, green eyes and a large scar across her left cheek scans the wreck just the same as the ships before it.

    "Nothing boss." The young woman at the helm says over the ship's intercom.

    "Figured as much." The voice of Henry responds oner the comms. "Them Syndicate boys woulda shot a pod if they saw one eject. I'm goin out."

    "You really think there's a chance? I mean... Once you see what I do..."

    "Have some faith kid. It ain't over till it's over. Get ya guns ready in case they find out we're here." Henry responds as the fighter bay doors open.

    "Yes sir. Weapons hot. I got your back boss."

    An Imperial fighter deploys from the belly of the Keelback and boost out for the wreck. Henry guides the vessel around the wreck slowly putting the small craft as close to the mangled hull as he dared hoping he saw any sign of a possible surviver. He gazes over the ruined ship, looking over every inch of the of what was once it's internals. His earlier faith in his own words slowly starting to fade as he takes his time scanning the wreck. His eye soon catches a faint light coming from within the rubble.

    "Think I might have somethin." He states to the woman and triggers his remlok to seal over his head. "Get that thing closer." He adds as he unhooks from the seat and starts to exit the fighter.

    The Keelback closest in as he leaps from the fighter over to the wreckage.

    "Look, boss. I get you said to have faith but even if you do fine something in that thing..." The woman says as Henry locks his mag boots to the destroyed hull.

    "Hmm... Most of it's in a ball. Bet the damn hull threw itself round like this when it blew." Henry responds as though he's ignoring her.

    "Boss... I mean... We don't even know this is the same ship. And it's been weeks."

    Henry steps through the wide gaps into the remains looking for the light he saw from the fighter. Soon he approaches what used to be the cargo hold of the Hauler when suddenly he see the flash of orange light again. He then spots what he was searching for.

    "Son of a gun. Got a pod!" He says and unhooks his gravity boots, pushing off for the flashing light. He then notices the source of the orange light. The pod sparks as it's power source malfunctions. "Oh dammit! Kid! Get them limits out here Now!" Henry orders and he reaches the pod.

    The pod was still working but covered in scorched marks and heavy damage on the left side. A limpet drops into the wreck and attaches to the pod and struggles to pull it free.

    "Boss It's Stuck!" The woman shouts in a panic.

    Henry looks back at his fighter and pushes off for it, boarding the craft as quickly as he can. Before he even takes the seat he hit throws the throttle forward, causing the fighter to crash hard into the wreck. The blow rattles the frame of the hull just enough. The drone then pulls the pod free and takes it back to the Keelback as Henry straps in swinging the fighter around to the back of the ship to dock.

    "Get us to Hind!" Henry orders as the ship locks to the hanger bay as the Keelback turns to make the jump away.

  5. #320
    Present Day
    Bethke Landing
    HIP 28678 System: Anarchy Space

    The Shattered Dreams drops out of glide over the planetary starport. Her paint stripped from her hull from being poorly kept up in the months that's past since the last time her Commander last saw her. The system was right on the edge of the populated zone with only a handful of settlements, Bethke being the largest on the surface. Knowing Lana's lack of extensive piloting skills, Amy request docking and takes over flying the ship, passing by a Type 7 as it swings around the main tower point of the base. The MK III rattles as her thruster fight the gravity of the planet during her decent to Landing Pad 2. The ship touches down, locking her gear to the pad and powering down her engines.

    "We're down." Amy states to Lana as the ship locks down.

    "Thank you Amy. Start scrambling the ship's signal." Lana responds as she stands from the helm.

    "I never stopped."

    "Oh. Right I guess you haven't. Otherwise they would have followed us here."

    "We're well off the grid. If they can find the Dreams this far out then they deserve to catch us."

    "You mean they'll catch you... After this... I'm not so sure." She says walking towards the door with a depressed look in her eyes.

    "Y-you know you can trust me with the ship right?"

    Lana stops from leaving the cockpit and looks back at the OS.

    "I... I know. It's just... This could be the last time I ever see this ship." Lana says before looking away.

    Amy shakes her head.

    "You'll see her again." Amy responds drawing her attention.

    "You don't know that..."

    "Lana. You will."

    Lana looks around the cockpit a bit before back to the digital girl and is met by her smile. Only Amy could do such a thing, to be such an unique OS to be able to reassure a human being. Lana stares at her for a moment, not sure if it would be the last time she would ever see the OS smile at her again. The thought of which doing a number on her heart.

    "I... I hope you're right."

    "I am. Now go. I'll see you when you return." Amy says with a wink.

    Lana, hesitant for a moment, bows to the OS with her following suit before finally leaving her behind. The doors of the cockpit slide closed and Amy looks off into the distance for a moment before calling for the station services to store the Dreams then switching the ship into a fully shutdown state, not knowing if she will ever awaken the vessel again.


    Henry stands at the window of an all white room on the station as the young pilot from the Keelback sits nearby as a comms terminal monitoring chatter on the Swords old channels. Her focus so deep that she fails to notice movement on her side monitor until hearing the knock at the door. Henry glances over to her and notice her surprise. She loots to him and he grabs his gun from his holster before heading to the door. The woman pulls a pistol of her own as he carefully opens the door. He releases the weapon once he sees Lana standing on the other side. He hurries her in and closes the door before wrapping his arms around her with a tight hug, causing pilot to lower her guard.

    "Ms Lana my dear. Glad ya made it her in one piece."

    "It's good to see you sir."

    "Ya look just as lovely as ever. Momo would be so happy if she could see ya now."

    "Thank you sir." She says with a shy smile as the woman stands from the terminal.

    "Lana, like ya to meet Kayla Knight. Former member of Alpha Team." Henry says introducing the woman.

    "We've never formally met. A pleasure." Kayla says and bows to her.

    Lana follows suit.

    "A pleasure to meet you Commander." Lana responds before looking back to Henry. "Any change?"

    "Think it will be better if ya see for yarself. This way." He says as he holds his arm out toward a long hallway.

    "Sir. Is it really safe to come here? This system is not that far from Syndicate control." Lana ask as the three of them walk down the corridor.

    "Hind woulda been too risky. They won't be lookin as hard for an old man and slave on a rock this far out."

    They reach the end of the corridor stopping at the door as Lana lowers her head.

    "I... don't think I'm ready for this..." she speaks with a quiver in her voice.

    The old man pause for a moment looking at the former slave. Her eyes beginning to swell as tears fill them. A strong sense of sympathy fills him as well before he places his hand to her shoulder.

    "I understand how ya feel. We ain't gotta do this now."

    "N-no... I... I need to. I need to see for myself."

    "Are ya sure?"

    "No. But that will never change."

    Henry nods understanding her and keys in a code to the door controls. It sides open and Lana swallows hard as she stares into the room. The chirp of a heart monitor echoes out as they step into the all white room surrounded by medical equipment. In the center of the room waits an isolation chamber.

    With each beep of the machines Lana takes a step closer to the chamber, her breathing increasing in paste with each step. She reaches the chamber and places her hands on the glass seal catching the faint glimpse of faded pink dyed hair. She steps back before seeing anything more, unable to handle the thoughts running through her head.

    "She's still in the coma. Been no change since we left Hind." Henry says before Lana looks back to him. "Her doctors said if we didn't find her when we did... We'd be having a different conversation right now."

    Lana looks back to the chamber finally looking inside.

    "Master..." she says as she starts to cry. "Momoka..." She looks to the old man. "Is she... Is she going to..."

    "She's alive. For now anyway." Henry responds.

    "When we found the pod, it was badly damage." Kayla adds in. "It looks like it was caught up in the explosion of the Hauler. These machines are all that's keeping her alive."

    Lana looks back into the tube.

    "Her arm..." She says just loud enough for the old man to hear.

    "Augment replacement. It's not the only one either. Dunno if it was the Hauler or the damage to the pod but... Important thing right now is she's alive." He says as Kayla checks her comms.

    "Boss, word from Venus. They're ready to move." she says.

    Henry nods to her and turns to Lana.

    "The boss is about to make his play. Gonna be monitor things from here in case things go south and we need to move." He states.

    Lana simply nods not taking her eyes off the chamber.

    "Is it okay if I stay with her?" She asks.

    "Of course."

    They step out of the room to return to the terminal leaving Lana behind to sit with her master. As the door slides shut Henry pauses for a moment looking back to the room in silence.

    "Boss?" Kayla says to him once she notices him not following her.

    "Faith, kid. Gotta have faith." He says before continuing down the hallway passed her. "We did all we could to get her here. Just need to hope it's enough."

  6. #321
    Newcomb Hub
    Kamito System: Independent Jurisdiction

    On the middle of the station's warehouse district lies a lone rented building belonging the Syndicate full of security. Inside a lone stairway at the top of the build lies a single room, magnetically sealed behind a heavy airlock. Shogun Talon rests on a small bunk with his arms folded behind his head. His normal suit and jewels gone, replaced my a simple button up shirt and jeans and a shackle around his left ankle chained to the floor less than a foot away. His eyes are close tight but he's far from asleep as his mind plots. It's not until he hears the sounds of the seal breaking does his focus shift and his head tilts ever so slightly toward the door.

    "Shogun. You're looking well." Angel's voice echoes in the near empty room as he steps inside sealing the door behind him.

    "I was wondering when you'd come to visit me." Talon responds still not opening his eyes or moving from his position.

    "We're family remember. What kind of brother would I be if I didn't visit you in you new home." Angel says in a taunting manner getting Talon to exhale deeply. "Speaking of, love you're old place. It was so kind of you to give it to me for so cheep."

    Talon finally opens his eyes with an intendant hesitation that follows.

    "Cut to the chase Salvatore."

    "You used to be for fun." He states before he steps closer to him. "But then that was before got too involved with Ayame." He says drawing a quick burst of anger in Talon. "Your people are starting to step out of line. Attacks on my transports have been on the rise over the last few weeks. on top of that there's been a number of shootings."

    Talon sits up on the edge of the bunk and stares at the man for a moment.

    "You didn't plan for some of them to take matters into their own hands."

    "Oh I've planned for everything."

    "Really?" he says and stands to face the man. "Then why are you here?"

    "I was hoping I could ask my dear brother another favor."

    "Hm. So that's you're play. Flowers was your way in but I'm you're real meal ticket. You need me to keep em in line."

    "Need is a strong word. I much rather avoid taking matters into my own hands. Tends to be quite bloody. That and the time needed to quiet a bunch the size of your Swords and well, what was it Shinn used to say?"

    "I remember him saying something along the lines of Run to the deepest whole on the farther moon away from here and never return or he'd serve headless body to his dogs." Talon says with gusto.

    "Hm. Well yes he did say that. But then the Feds killed him and I've scattered his daughter's remains to the void." He responds and Talon is unable to hold back all of his rage that builds in his chest. "Time is money. Your men are costing me money. I want you to say a few words. Make to understand that what happened to there pretty little princess was a business deal gone wrong. But you still see eye to eye with me." He says.

    "And why would I do that?"

    He produces a cigar from his coat pocket. He steps closer and holds it close to Talon's face.

    "Do this for me, and you can live the life you have grown so accustom to." He says as he taunts him with the cigar. "Don't." He says pull the cigar away and placing it between his own lips, lighting it and taking a long drag before letting out a cloud of smoke in the mans face. "And I will tear your little rebels to pieces. And then you're precious Flowers would have died for nothing."

    Talon chuckles and steps closer closing the gap between them almost completely.

    "Go to hell." He respond in a low tone and returns to the bunk returning to his previous position. "You've wasted your time coming here. Brother." he says and closes his eyes.

    Angel chuckles before flicking the cigar to the floor between them.

    "Perhaps. Perhaps not. But their blood is on your hands now Shogun." He says and exits the room. He stand on the other side of the door as the security team gathers around him he smiles for a moment thinking to the cigar lying in the cell. "And perhaps I can break you as well."

  7. #322
    Daramo System: Federal Jurisdiction

    Anton's loaned Python arrives at the arranged meeting point, the rings of Daramo ABCD2, hours ahead of time to aid in Jackie's securing of the area. Shane wasn't willing to leave anything to chance with this deal. Jackie clearly proved she knew what she was doing but still, his involvement with her was very limited. Trust was one thing, but this mission was far too important to not be fully invested in every bit of the planning. He knew he only had one chance at this.
    And nothing can go wrong.

    The ship drops in to the rings roughly on Jackie's signal. The trip over was mostly silent, the only words spoken was from Shane confirming Jackie's status in the system followed by contacting Niko to arranged to meet. Only now does Anton break the silence.

    "Remember. Stick to the plan. We all have a lot riding on this." He says over the comms as Jackie's Viper comes into view.

    Shane stares ahead to the MK III seemingly ignoring his partner's words as first, his thoughts traveling to a memory of his own Viper and sounds of the standard ship OS repeating to call to eject before shaking his head.

    "No one knows that better than me Anton. I'll be sure you get paid either way." He finally responds as Jackie swigs the Viper around to dock.

    "That's not my only worry here Shane. I do have a heart you know. Still, I'm just making sure we're on the same page here."

    "We are. Don't worry." Shane responds as the sound of the boarding clamps echo through the hull with the two ships locking together. "This mission is more important to me than you could ever know." He adds.

    Anton grins as he looks off to the side.

    "We both know this is more than a mission for you now. You really think the Swords would go through with this if they knew what I do?" The man states before looking back to the camera.

    "Does it matter? Jin's out for blood for what Savatore did to Momoka. Is it really any different that why I'm doing this?"

    "See, that's what I mean. You're driven by what happened back then. Does it matter to you at all what he did to the Azuka girl?"

    "Of course it does. Which is all the more reason for me to kill this guy." Shane states just as the doors of the Python's cockpit slide open.

    "Killing Angel is our endgame here Shane. Not the current mission." Jackie says as she steps inside the cockpit. Shane grinds his teeth before killing the feed to Anton. He tilts his head to the side but doesn't look directly at her. "The area's secure. Everything's ready to go on my end. We're leaving the rest to you. But should we?" She adds.

    "How much of that did you hear?"

    "Enough to know you have other motives." She says and steps closer.

    "It's fine."

    "Is it?" She says and takes another step. "Because this isn't an assassination mission here. We need someone in on the inside to get the locations of Shogun Talon."

    "I know that."

    "Jin has a plan. I need to make sure you're gonna stick to it. Otherwise..."

    "Otherwise what? He gets the rest of his family killed while that man continues to walk around freely?" Shane responds with a sharp change in tone. Jackie visibly bites her tongue and folds her arms across her chest as he let's out a sigh. "Sorry. It's just... I need to get this guy."

    "Why?" Jackie asks. Shane turns to her, puzzled by the tone in her voice, and sees her still with her arms crosses. The look in her eyes was one he wasn't expecting. It wasn't a look of understanding or concern, but one of expectation. She nods to him and asks again. "Why? Tell me. Why do you need him dead so badly. If it's not Momoka then what?"

    Shane turns back to the helm and slowly sinks into the seat.

    "Because he killed my partner." He says. Jackie's expression changes and she slowly drops her arms. "Carmen Maxwell. Born and raised on Medupe City in Cubeo. Eldest of 2 daughters, both parents killed in the bombing. So you can see why she might have wanted in on this." He explains. "Seemed like fate had it in for her whole family." He added before dropping his arms over either side of the arm rest of his seat.

    The cockpit fell silent for a moment. Neither of them having the words to speak. The heavy tension filling the space as the asteroids ahead of the ship spin in their view.

    "What happened to her?" Jackie finally says to break the tension more than anything.

    Shane stands from the helm and walks past her before stopping and looking to his feet.

    "I failed her is what happened." He says. He takes in a deep breath and leans against the bulkhead as he rubs his forehead. "The mission was straight forward. Find the target, draw em out and collect the bounty. Only it wasn't that simple. We were dealing with a man that's been running from every organization in the galaxy for years at that point. He had a body count on the level of a warlord." He explained.

    "That goes without saying. I grew up around the man. I know how dangerous he is."

    "If only I knew then what I know now..." He says before looking back to the helm as to recall the event. "We followed a lead to Prism where we learned he was preparing to move from on his way out of Imperial space to Naitis. We learned he was using a Clipper with a wing of Eagles as escort. We trailed him a few systems over before we made our move, pulling him out of supercruise and moving to knock out his drives before his wing dropped in on us."

    "But it didn't work out that way did it."

    "Not even. Before his Eagles arrived there were two combat fitted Asps dropped in and attacked us."

    "Stealth Asps armed with railguns running in supercruise ahead of the escort. Yeah that's straight out of Shinn's playbook that move."

    "They knocked out our shields in no time." he says walking back toward the helm. "I did everything I could to buy her time to retreat. But my Viper couldn't handle the onslaught and it wasn't long before I heard the ship signaling to eject." He says and drags his hand across where the scar is on his chest.

    "You couldn't save her."

    "That's just it. It was the time she needed to hyperspace out. But they gave chase. By the time I was rescued by authorities and got a ship to get back to her..." He says picturing the trashed apartment in his mind and seeing his partner's lifeless body on the floor in a pool of her own blood. "He took everything from us." He says and slams his fist to the center console. "Everything."

    Jackie watches him quietly as he sits at the helm.

    "You loved her."

    He simply nods.

    "I did. And he took them from me."

    "Them? You mean Momoka." She responds. He hesitates, opening his mouth to speak but then thinks better of it. She takes a step closer. "There's still a chance with Momo. I know it doesn't look that way now but... We just... We need to have faith."

    Shane starts to look to her just as a message appears on the ship's comms panel pulling both of their attentions.

    "Looks like our friends have arrived early. We'll finish this conversation another time."

    Jackie nods and start to step out of the bridge, stopping just in the doorway.

    "We're counting on you Shane. I don't know what Carmon would want but I do know Momoka. She'd want you to see this through to the end." She says before continuing on to her Viper.

    Shane looks back to the door in silence before the job at hand presents itself before the Python in the form of a Type 9 Heavy and two escort Asps.

    "That's just it Jackie." He says as he powers up the vessel. "The dead want for nothing."

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