Sunday, April 10, 2011

In Coromaur's Debt - Part 9.

Apprehensive, Viper arrived at the rendezvous point and saw only empty space.  Was he perhaps early, he wondered? That last checkpoint and gruff interrogation still weighed on him as well, but after some thought on the way he decided that there probably really wasn't much to it. Besides, no way a guy like Coromaur could be involved in a massive surge in criminal activity like that officer had hinted at. No, it was best, Viper figured, to await whoever and then be on his way.

 Fortunately, little patience was required. Right on cue, at the scheduled time, a large unmarked transport cut it's engines and drifted up to position itself near Ghost-Face. It's massive bulk dwarfed the tiny jumper, that now set in it's shadow. Immediately, Viper knew there was no way anyone was going to be able to bring enough force to bear to cripple a ship that size.

Dutifully, Viper followed his instructions and began transmitting the encrypted authorization sequence provided. Immediately it was confirmed, his display directing him towards a docking bay to board for transfer of cargo. "So far, so good," Viper muttered to himself. Adjusting his exhaust to a narrow trickle, he sputtered Ghost-Face into position to dock.

A series of groans and clanks proclaimed the docking procedures were nearly complete as Viper made sure he had a copy of his courier authorization and all appropriate documentation. Without thought, old habit took over for Viper as he buckled his Mark VIII onto his hip. It's heavy presence reassuring as it rested on his side. A strange itch grew behind his ear, irritating it grew in the back of his mind until he surrendered to it. Drawing his trusty side-arm he flicked open the breach and drew a shell, placing it into it's new home and closing it with a single jerk of his wrist. Viper couldn't put his finger on it, but like a wary wolf he moved with every ounce of caution he could as he opened his hatch.

Fresh air circulated, smelling clean and clear. And leveled straight at Viper's head was half a dozen rifles held by New Republic Marines. "Hold men," a firm voice called out from behind them. "Everything is in order." Stepping forward a young Terran in uniform  gestured for the marines to lower there weapons.  "Apologies, we had to double check. It seems a more inconspicuous courier is in order considering the attention this thing is attracting." From behind a young lady approached, dressed in the white button front smock, that marked her as a science officer. Held in her hands was a small black poly-carbon rectangular cube. Placing it into his hands, she looked Viper dead in the eyes, sincerity burning like a conflagration. "I don't have to tell you to guard this with your life. But please, see it to it's destination. No matter what."

In the moment her hands left the mysterious package, now resting within Viper's hands, explosions rocked through the ship. Viper had to fight to maintain his balance as he slid his new cargo into a pocket and drew his Mark VIII. Chaos reigned around him, a charge had detonated in the midst of the marines and it looked like multiple others had set fire and destroyed much of the docking bay.

"How quaint," a cold and raspy voice caught Viper's attention as his gun tracked around for a target. "Tell me does that old thing even still work?" Melding out of shadow and flames a slight figure rose, a stinger pistol in hand. "Hand it over and you and your piece of ancient history can go back to telling war stories. Otherwise, I fill you with bolts and I leave here very wealthy, and you very dead."

Viper cursed himself. Why did I load a standard shell, he thought as he pulled the trigger. Thunder roared as the Mark VIII sent a thick projectile slug flying towards it's mark. Rolling to the side, the shadowy rogue tried to return fire, only to stare in surprise as Viper's namesake had popped out. Triggering both barrels, a pair of beams of furious force barked to life and sped towards their target. Again, he kept moving, only narrowly avoiding the blast. Seizing the moment, viper flicked open his sidearm and loaded a frag shell. "Well, what do you know. Still works." Viper spat, oozing sarcasm as he fired again. This time, he felt the familiar tug at his stomach as the round powered itself using his own life-force as the source. Grinning, his foe once more thought he had avoided the assault as he took aim to return fire. Only this time the slug detonated into a thousand splinters of psionic fragments and ripped through everything around it. Including the would be assassin. Not one to waste any time, Viper turned and leaped back through his hatch and hit the emergency release. He had to get clear from here as fast as he could. Common sense screamed that he was now a target, and one that was in imminent danger. And common sense was right.