“Fortune favours the audacious.” — Desiderius Erasmus
The crew gathered around the screens on the command deck to watch the interior of the Whoop Chicken. The faux vid-link was still playing making it look like Benjamin piloting the shuttle, however the Crew was able to bypass this to see the actual scene inside of the shuttle.
They watched as the restrained Alliance soldier struggled to free himself from his bonds. He writhed and jerked in the pilot’s chair, his shouts and curses muffled by the material covering his mouth. They watched as the shuttle door was wrenched open, and an Alliance Shocktrooper stepped inside the shuttle, holding a Stunner in his hand. They watched as George Owens looked into the shuttle, and through the cabin to the cockpit. His eyes widened somewhat in surprise. Instead of Benjamin Clemson, he saw a young man in Alliance armor tied to the operator’s seat. He was bound, and gagged. The screen in front of him was blank, displaying a blue screen. However a small device next to it was playing a loop of recorded data. It clearly showed Benjamin Clemson still flying the shuttle, looking off screen, and fiddling with instruments. He opened his mouth to shout to his men.
And then the screen went blank. There was a short moment of silence before Abel let out a loud “Yahoo!” and pumped his fist into the air. Randa looked around at the others and shook her head.
“Congradulations Captain,” Randa said with obvious venom in her voice. “You’ve managed to confirm what the media is sayin’ about us. You’ve officially made us domestic terrorists.” She turned, still shaking her head, and walked away left the deck, heading towards her room.
“But they tried to kill me!” shouted Doctor Edwards. “Us, I mean. They tried to kill us!”
Randa stopped, and turned back towards the crew. It was clear she was pissed. Maybe even ready for a fight. Her fists were clenched.
Abel stepped forward, positioning himself between Edward and Randa. “When we do what we do, violence happens. It isn’t pretty but it’s how we stay alive.”
Edward spoke up again. “They sent a Kill Team after us in the bar. Killed dozens of people in the street. They deserved to die!”
Randa stomped forward back on to the deck. “Deserved to die?!” She narrowed her eyes, her nostrils flaring angrily. “We don’t even know that Owens gave the order for that Kill Team to come after us! That was a I. A. V. you just bombed.” She paused looking around for someone to understand what she was saying. “It’s Tohoku class ship. There are women and children on board that vessel. Families, housed with their military husbands and fathers. You just bombed a ship holding maybe 40 Alliance soldiers and three times as many innocent civilians!”
Abel shrugged. “Okay, but it was time to take the fight to them. No way around it. Someone was threatenin’ to put us off the rails, and you can’t tolerate that. Time to take out the trash!”
Quinn gasped softly. “Women and children?” She looked to Benjamin.
Benjamin was smiling, as always. “Nobody is innocent Randa.”
Randa pointed her finger at the Captain. “Remember what you’re doing this for. You’re
not a common criminal, you’re not a thug. You’re living this life to right wrongs and get the innocent a measure of justice.”
Benjamin snorted. “I’m just lookin’ to survive another day, Randa. The war is over.”
“Coulda fooled me.” Randa’s voice was still icy cold.
Edwards slipped his hand towards his belt. His finger touched the tranq-gun.
Randa pointed her carbine directly at the Doctor’s head.
Abel’s hand went straight to his Glock.
Randa kept her rifle leveled at the Doctor. Her tone was icy cold. “Dealing out death is pretty much the opposite of what we’re trying to accomplish here. Bruises heal. Humiliation fades. Death? Maiming? Permanent injury? That’s what the bad guys do. Never forget that! These bloodthirsty thugs have no place on your Crew!”
Mack raised his rifle, pointing it instead at Quinn. He smiled like a kid holding an ice cream cone.
Quinn’s eyes widened, surprised.
Edward laughed, raised up a half full bottle of whiskey. “Either way, the deed is done. Those peons are busy dyin’ from radiation poisoning by now!”
“And Owens is dead.” Benjamin’s voice was triumphant.
“Monsters!” She grunted in frustration and stomped away again. “I think I’m on the wrong ship!” They could hear her angry footsteps all the way down the gangplanks, down the hallway, and to her room where she slammed her door loudly.
Benjamin made the decision that it was time to find some where to get the ship repaired, go a few upgrades, and lay low for awhile. He explained that it was time to undo some of the things that they’d done over the past month. Too many people were after them now, and it was time to go into hiding for a bit. He also explained that he’d like to start looking for a replacement for the Whoop Chicken. If possible, he’d like to find the military version that was more of a fighter than just a shuttle.
“And keep an eye on the Cortex, Quinn.” Benjamin sighed. “See if you can catch anything pertaining to us before it drops in our lap.”
Quinn agreed. “All I’ve seen is a flag about a Firefly Class vessel pullin’ an illegal salvage on a derelict freighter. That and Eavesdown Docks is closed due to an incident involving a mass shooting. No details yet but I bet they pin it on us.”
Benjamin shook his head. “See if you can get Randa to hack Fed Net to see if the Purple Bellies have any chatter about us, too.”
Quinn laughed. “Good luck with that. She hasn’t come out of her room since this morning.” She shrugged and walked away, logging into the Cortex to read the updated news feeds for Persephone City and Eavesdown.
Benjamin cursed, and rolled his eyes. “Fine.” He looked over at the new mechanic, T’sien. “Any ideas where we can get the ship repaired and lay low for awhile?”
T’sein considered taking them to his workshop. But after a moment, he decided against it. He took out a cigarette, and popped it into his mouth, allowing it to droop a little. “I know a guy named Pennington DuPrey. He’s sometimes hard to work with because he’s shady but he should be able to get the job done.”
Benjamin raised an eyebrow at T’sien. “He reliable?”
T’sien nodded. “I’ll tell him a story.”