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Episode 5: From the Past Come the Storms
Topic Started: Apr 9 2015, 10:19 AM (2,543 Views)
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Thirty six hours later, Cain woke up leaving behind a very exciting dream involving him, a concert stage on Ariel, a fabulous performance and livestock? He wondered to himself about how much he must have drank earlier to elicit such a dream. A wave was waiting for him. When he answered it, it was a message from Hitomi. In an extremely rare occurrence of niceness, she announced that she had procured a Genesis 4 Core and that Cain could buy it if he still wanted one. She told him that he needed to come inspect it and that she’d be in the Control Tower on the east side of the island. Cain also noted that he has surprised the absence of her usual remarks of contempt and assumed it was because she was in a good mood.

Helena Cain awoke as well and went to the galley to get some coffee and something to eat. Helena was glad that she was off planet and now 1000 credits richer (think of all the guns she could buy!).

Mag was awake too and in a bad mood. His stuff was already packed, Sleep had been avoiding Mag as much as a flock of sheep avoiding a wolf and his stomach ached from hunger and stress. After Cain’s announcement that the crew was probably dispersing, Mage made up his mind that he was going to go first. He hated long goodbyes. Mag found Helena in the Galley and helped himself to some coffee and some food as well. Helena and Mag sat there as they sipped coffee and ate. The silence was uncomfortable since both knew the end of their time on the Lucky Seven was coming to an end.

Rikka woke up to Hitomi’s message as well and was excited about the new core. She even checked pricing and availability of another one so that she would be more able to bargain if needed. She found Mag and Helena there and greeted them as she got a cup of coffee and a biscuit from a tin. Rikka had asked how the trip to the tavern had fared and Helana answered that it was good, that she had nearly been in a scuffle with someone but Dema had intervened.

Cain arrived shortly thereafter. He grabbed some coffee (spiked heavily with whiskey), as well as a cigarette. He greeted the others and then asked how long he had been out. SYBIL spoke up and gave him the time he had been asleep along with an estimation of how much longer he would have slept if not for Hitomi’s wave. SYBIL also scolded him for the amount of alcohol he had ingested and how it was not recommended based on his past lifestyle. On the table was a package for Cain, one that had been delivered quite some time ago (to the past Captain of the Lucky Seven) and just had gotten lost. In the act of evasive maneuvers, the package had been loosened from where it had been kept and was found by Rikka. Cain was elated when he saw it was a package of old books. His mood improved immensely and he went about chatting about the books to those who sat nearby. After a moment, he asked if anyone else had heard Hitomi’s message. He also noted how nice she was and wondered aloud if Dema had anything to do with it. After all, he was a companion and she could have availed herself of his services.

Dema arrived in time to hear Cain’s musings and teased him by asking if he was actually jealous of the idea and offered him a price list if he was so interested. Then he got some coffee as well and sat next to Mag. Dema gave his opinion of Chaucer (one of the books Cain had received) before revealing that Hitomi’s mood had nothing to do with him. He also wanted to confirm that the part that was offered was one that they needed. After that he warned Cain that he had received a wave from his aunt and that she had threatened him again if he did not come home. He also wanted to know if their name (of the ship) had been changed after the run in with Vesto’s goons. Cain confirmed that they were flying as the Montenegro for the moment and that although Dema’s Aunt Sarine has some reach into the world, he did not think it extended into the underworld where they normally operated. Cain ribbed Dema about what he did to get Hitomi off his case since she didn’t usually take no for an answer. Dema surprised everyone by saying that he had told her that he was in a relationship with someone, which shocked them all, especially Rikka.

Rikka confirmed that the Genesis 4 Core would give Lucky a much improved power output and distribution ratio for maintaining the spatial balances between the particle acceleration and heat absorption. She also looked at the books and asked to borrow one. Cain told her to feel free to look at them. Cain was surprised that Rikka called him by his middle name “Jacob,” which no one had done in quite some time.

Mag spoke up and confirmed that Hitomi was definitely quite persistent about Dema the last time he saw them then asked if anyone needed help, either with the core or with putting away the munitions Dema had acquired at their last stop. Ian arrived from sleeping and cleaning himself up, announcing that he would need to get off ship soon to pick up some supplies (apparently going commando in leather pants caused a good amount of chafing) and that the Duster Rikka had borrowed earlier (to cover her lack of clothing on the bridge) would need to be returned.

Cain tried to wave Hitomi, but she wasn’t answering. Cain suggested they go to get the Genesis 4 Core evaluated. Cain, Rikka, Helena, Mag, Dema and Ian decided to go off ship, but not before the crew bantered around some more (including SYBIL, who was developing a sense of humor). Rikka returned Ian’s duster to him while Dema wondered why she had it. Then Cain had to beg off the trip since SYBIL informed him of an imminent failure of one of the ship’s systems that needed physical intervention in order to fix. He informed Rikka that he had set aside 5,000 credits for the purchase of the Core, but if Hitomi wanted more, she was to comm him. Helena then, deciding that Rikka had enough escorts, informed them that she would be heading off on her own to do some shopping. Mag told Helena to take a comm with her in case she needed help bringing any purchases back to the ship.

So here were the groups. Mag, Dema and Rikka went to see Hitomi (Aside #3). Helena and Ian (and Cain after a bit) went shopping (Aside 1).
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Episode 5 – Aside 1 (Helena, Ian and Cain)

Setting: The main concourse of the facility links the residential apartments, hangar bays and the east control tower. It is populated by throngs of disreputable sorts intermingling with refugees from the Vesto government of Skara Brae. Security personnel, mostly mercenaries hired from off-world, maintain a watchful presence and prevent those looking to cause trouble from intimidating those with legitimate business or residents.

Numerous shops and restaurants maintain a thriving business here, with items available for sale that skirt and sometimes outright violate Alliance law, such as counterfeit software and entertainment wafers as well as smuggled cigarettes and alcohol.

Helena headed off to a clothing store first and was surprised that she was quite interested in a white sun dress she saw.

Ian stopped at an ATM machine, went about bypassing its security protocols in order to withdraw money from an emergency account under another name, and lamented over the small amount of coin left there, before instructing the machine to go into maintenance mode to cover his tracks. He also noted that a security guard had taken up interest in him. The guard warned him that it was not safe to withdraw funds from a machine tucked away to the side of the concourse and Ian advised him that anyone looking to rob him wouldn’t get much. They parted ways then without incident and Ian proceeded to the same store as Helena. There, he picked up several items in order to round out his wardrobe, which he chose to don there, sent the others by messenger back to the ship and sent his leather pants and duster to be cleaned. Then seeing Helena, he moved to where she was, commenting that the dress would look “mighty purdy” on her.

Helena smiled at the comment, proceeded to question her choice of the dress and wonder aloud how everyone might receive the fact that she would wear one. She also went on to say that she supposed she shouldn’t really care what others thought since if anyone said anything adverse about it, she would just sock them in the face. She then placed the dress with some other clothes she found and stated that she was going to purchase them before asking Ian if he wanted to go gun shopping with her. Ian agreed since he needed ammo and followed her out so he could have the chance to scan the area for danger as they trekked to the weapons store.

When they got there, Helena browsed and her sights fell upon a classic rifle (GRZ-1), which she asked Ian what his opinion was on the weapon. Cain unexpectedly arrived, inspected the rifle that Helena had picked out and commented that the price for the rifle (with the tactical attachment) was a good one. He also told her that it had a bit of a kick (but nothing he felt that Helena couldn’t handle), that it could be submerged in water for an hour without being damaged and was the standard weapon for the Browncoat Elite Infantry during the Unification War. He went on to tell her that it was better than the Alliance’s AR 24s and that it didn't have the habit of jamming up. Then he revealed that he had left the ship because SYBIL was asking him questions about human reproduction and due to his uncomfortableness in trying to explain the concept to a machine, he had left. He then asked if he was intruding.

Helena concurred with Cain that SYBIL could be more than intrusive in her questions, then asked if he thought the gun would go with the dress she bought. She laughed about Rikka’s earlier statement about having the right “accessories” for an outfit before deciding that she would buy it, even if it didn’t “match.” Stating that she was done shopping, she told them that she was planning on going back to the ship unless the boys had more shopping to do.

Cain quipped back by asking Helena if she thought he needed to buy some clothes that weren’t black in color. He mentioned that there was a vintage clothing stall close by and that she could come along, but was not allowed to “dress him up.” He would allow her to make comments, but may or may not ignore what she had to say.

Helena grinned at Cain stating that she would welcome the chance to shop clothing with him and be allowed to make comments as she saw fit. A call then came in from Dema that they had trouble and Helena said that she had most of her weapons with her right there so they could proceed directly to Dema, Mag and Rikka’s position directly.

Cain assumed the trouble had to do with the negotiation of price and said so in his response to Dema. He then agreed with Helena but before they left, he did not miss the chance to mention that the dress would look lovely on her.

Cain, Helena and Ian then proceeded to join the others midway through their thread. (Aside 3)
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Episode 5 – Aside 2 (arrival of Chloe Winters)

Chloe Winters was enjoying a fabulous massage. Hitomi was a client of hers and Chloe had just gotten paid for some items that she had delivered to her. Now she was spending time in the spa located in the East Tower where Hitomi had made her home and headquarters. The masseuse, Fabian, went on about her perfect skin.

Chloe liked the spa and made a promise to herself to continue doing business with Hitomi, especially if it was on a regular basis where she could indulge in Fabian’s fine skills. She remarked to him that she enjoyed the attention of a man going on about her attractiveness, even though she knew he was sly. Fabian laughed and asked if she had a brother.

Chloe’s calm was damaged by the two men who burst into the room unannounced. They wore long coats and deputy badges. One of them leered at Chloe’s state of undress, announced that she was being bound by law on Lyle Vesto’s order and they were taking the facility over and bringing her in. Not before he thought she should get to know them better though.

Chloe sat up feigning fear as she used the towel to cover herself. She very calmly and convincingly played the innocent woman who had no idea what they were talking about. In sitting up, she knocked over the tray of Fabian’s pedicure supplies onto the floor. She then “frightfully” questioned what they meant by getting to know them better.

The deputy stated bluntly that he meant to have sex with her no matter what and ordered the other deputy to take Fabian out with the others while he had a chance to do just that. The second deputy complained about having to wait, but the other one reported that he got to go first because he called it first.

Chloe acted terrified at the aspect, but before any of the men could move on her or leave, she struck quickly. She had swiped a pair of sharp scissors off Fabian’s tray, stabbed the deputy closest to her, stole his gun and shot the other one in the head with keen precision. She then got off the table cleaned herself off and wondered aloud why Vesto’s men were swarming the place since she knew that Hitomi had an agreement with Vesto. Fabian, now quite agitated, stated that he didn’t know and then fainted dead away.

Chloe rolled her eyes at the unconscious man, gathered her clothes and while she put them on, she commed Hitomi to try to figure out what was going on. When she didn’t get a response, she stole the deputies’ weapons and badge before heading up to Hitomi’s location. (Aside 3)
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Episode 5 - Aside 3: Hanover Mineral Extraction

Setting: Antigrav suspensor-lifts took visitors from the main concourse of the Hanover Facility, which was no more or less a smuggler's den, to the command and control center atop the East Observation Tower. Towering hundreds of feet into the air, the control center at the tower's top functioned today in many ways like it did in the facility's glory days under Blue Sun control.

The command center controlled access to the hanger bays, environmental control systems, communications and the facility's geothermal power plant.

Hitomi Asakura maintained a luxurious private suite atop the tower with a landing pad for her shuttle. A private staff of beauticians was on-call twenty-four hours a day to attend to Hitomi's every whim, be it a pedicure or an exfoliating skin treatment. Hitomi had spared no expense in lavishing herself with a spa that would rival ones of the Core cities. In all, it was everything an enterprising smuggler turned businesswoman needed to maintain a minimum standard of living out in the sticks.

At the base of the suspensor lifts, a call button and comlink connected to station security was accessible for anyone who wished access to the upper levels.

Mag, Rikka and Dema arrived at the East Observation Tower and rang call button for the lift, announcing their presence. As they waited Dema asked Rikka about how long it would take to inspect the engine. She answered that it could be anywhere between 30 minutes and 90 minutes, depending on how it was packed. Then they were let up by Hitomi who interacted with them again with unusual cheerfulness.

During this time Rikka and Dema bantered until it came out that Rikka was the one Dema had alluded to when he told Hitomi that he was in a relationship with someone. He surprised Rikka by saying that he might not want to change that, even after they left the place they were.

They were transported to the top through a clear tube, allowing them to take in the scenery outside. When they arrived, they stepped into a reception area that was void of any other people. A voice instructed them to place their weapons in a chute, but that they would be returned after the visit. Unhappy about having to do it, Mag gave up his weapons. He was pretty sure that no harm would come. After all, Hitomi could have sold them out at any time. Rikka wasn’t armed. Dema also gave up his weapons (mostly knives) all the while flirting with Rikka.

When they arrived up top, Hitomi was there waiting for them. Refreshments were also present. Still super cheerful she greeted them graciously. She also praised Mag for his gun work done on Skara Brae against Lyle Vesto’s men. She then trained her sights onto Rikka. She was very gracious to her as well, even offering the services of Sven, her employee who according to Hitomi gave the best pedicures. She also had a spread of refreshments and asked them if they wanted anything.

Mag greeted Hitomi back cordially but reminded her that although she was really being nice and he wouldn’t mind a bite of something, they needed to get the core stuff resolved as soon as possible. Rikka greeted Hitomi as well, even though Dema’s grasp was still on her. She also reiterated that she would like to get the engine sorted out quickly too. Rikka ate a strawberry in a seductive manner, causing Dema to become even more intrigued.

Hitomi led the way into another room, where they were greeted by five men who were armed and had their weapons pointed straight at Mag, Dema and Rikka. Among them was Lyle Vesto. It was obvious that they had been set up and Hitomi spoke up, saying that she had no choice and that she had been coerced to help them. Rikka’s playful time with Dema evaporated when she saw the men with guns. Surprisingly, she still managed to chastise Hitomi for her bad hostess manners and make a “threat” that she better get her engine.

Mag reminded Vesto that he wasn’t feeling too terribly incentivized to cooperate. Mainly he only saw two options. One was with his men and one was with dealing with the Alliance. Both would most likely end in him dead. Mag decided if he was going to die, he would do it there, hopefully taking Lyle Vesto out with him and allowing Dema and Rikka to escape. So he got ready to strike. Dema was surprised that Vesto’s visit seemed to be about him and his dealings. He made a mental note to kill Vesto himself as well. One of Vesto’s points had to do with his dealings with Cain and the warrant out on them as terrorists. Dema rebuked the terrorist angle saying that terrorists usually had a cause; Cain most definitely did not. He also began to maneuver himself to a better position to strike, if needed. All the while, he seemed relaxed and trying to smooth any ruffled feathers. His moving about also allowed him to hit his comm and hope that the Cain or SYBIL would hear them.

Rikka wished to draw the men’s attention away from Mag and Dema so she toldthem that since she was a Shepherdess of St. Michaels, she couldn’t do half-truths or deception. She figured she didn’t know much anyway, so what kind of damage could she do?

Lyle Vesto warned Mag that since his men were killed back on Skara Brae, he was more likely to have them hanged, which is the punishment for killing a law officer. He also told them that he was actually more interested in finding something that Cain had stolen from the Alliance and that a female Alliance officer was the one who was most interested in the technology. He told them that if they would get it and bring it back to him, he might let them leave unscathed. He then contacted Gwendolyn Andrews and reported that he had everything and they could come pick it up. Hitomi then objected to the Alliance coming swooping in. She was afraid for the families and children who lived in her complex. Vesto told Hitomi that if she was cooperative then maybe the Alliance wouldn’t blow her place to kingdom come. Then he told Mag and Dema to call for the other members of the Lucky Seven’s crew or he would kill Rikka.

Dema stepped in front of Rikka, making a show that he would do anything to protect her, but he knew she could handle herself. What he was doing was showing her that he did not come unarmed. He still had a stiletto knife on him and he was slipping into position. While Vesto and his men wouldn’t be able to see it, Rikka and Mag should be able to (especially Rikka). He then placed a call to Cain, telling him that Hitomi was being unreasonable about payment and they needed his help. He made sure he called him Jacob, which he NEVER did, hoping it would clue him into the fact it was a trap.

Mag saw what Dema and Rikka were doing and knew his plan to attack Vesto’s men and going out in a blaze of Glory was kaput. He decided to bide his time since Dema was armed and Rikka was a weapon. He felt his skills were therefore limited and could get them all killed. So he got a defeated look on his face and requested that since they were going to be there for a while, couldn’t someone go get the snacks out of the other room.

Vesto was indeed trying to keep things civilized, but their attention was averted when they heard gunshots and explosions nearby. Cain, Helena and Ian had arrived and neglected to stow their weapons. Instead, they barreled their way into the reception are to be met by three more of Vesto’s men. They were not at the ready though. They were actually lazing around munching on the appetizers. One tried to tell them they were bound by law, but Cain’s response was to blow a hole in the guy’s head. Then he took cover as bullets started to fly.

Rikka was coming to terms that even though she did not want to resort to violence, she knew it was coming. She quietly sent up a prayer asking for forgiveness for what she was going to have to do. Rikka gave what sounded like a statement to Vesto saying she was ready to do what needed to be done, but really, it was a signal to Mag and Dema that she was ready to help them escape.

When Mag heard the commotion in the room behind them, he knew it was the “calvary.” He aprang into action, missing Vesto, but taking on the closest man to him. After he was neutralized, Mag took his gun, dropped low and turned towards the others as bullets began to damage the room. As drywall pieces and chips of furniture sprayed through the air, he realized he was face to face with the business end of a shotgun. He managed to knock it away enough not to take a blast in the face, but he felt the effects; his face and eyes burning from the blast. As he tried to clear his head, he saw that the gun was coming around for a second try. Helena came to his aid, shooting at the man with the shotgun, while bullets impacted way too close to her as well. She flipped a table on its side and took cover before beginning to return fire.

Dema sprang forward as well, catching one of the gunmen by surprise and slitting his throat. Next he kicked the knife wielding man with both feet, sending him backward over a chair. Then, grabbing the gun of the man who he had slit his throat, he shot another man three times in the chest. As the shot man fell, he still managed to shoot bullets randomly around the room. Dema had to stay low in order to stay safe. Then an overwhelming urge to check on Rikka came over him and he had to push it back down. He wondered why he almost thought about putting a target on his back by checking on her; he knew she wasn’t helpless. So he took the gun he had stolen and pointed it at Vesto and Hitomi. His plan was to cover both of them until Cain fully arrived.

When Rikka sprang into action, she took out two men using ultra graceful martial art moves. She disabled both men, relieving them of their weapons: a knife and a gun. Rikka then turned the gun towards Hitomi. It was then she realized that she had never really held a gun much less pointed one at someone in a threatening manner and her facial expression changed to one of sadness, yet still calm. Upon realizing that her finger wasn’t even on the trigger she moved it to that place only to realize what “a hair trigger” meant. The gun went off, going wide past Hitomi by ten feet. “Oops,” she said then.

Cain slid inside the room, taking cover behind a sofa. He slammed a new magazine into his gun and came up firing, taking out the aquarium behind two guards who had taken cover as well. The massive amount of water cascaded onto the guards, forcing them out of their hiding spots. Cain took out the nearest one quickly and efficiently. The other guard began to pull out a frag grenade, but Cain shot him before he could throw it. Instead it detonated where the guard was standing. He turned to check on his crew, announced there were more coming. Then he realized that he had been shot in the shoulder. It wasn’t bad; he had seen worse in the war.

Hitomi watched in shock as the Lucky Seven’s crew decimated all but Vesto himself. She realized that although Rikka was a skilled fighter with hand-to-hand, her gun skills sucked. Hitomi then pulled her own weapon and put its sights on Vesto, warning him to drop his gun or suffer the consequences. As she did, Cain arrived to help.

Mag took the chance then to warn the others that Vesto had called the Alliance and they were sure to arrive soon and suggested they high tail it before they got there. His vision was still blurry, but returning and his hearing was off from the shot gun blast, but he was aware enough to turn the gun he was holding in Hitomi’s direction. He stated that he wanted his own gun back and that he’d love to shoot one of her kneecaps off.

Rikka looked around the room at the destruction and although she knew it had been done out of self-preservation, it seemed savage. She also noted that she had felt powerful when she had shot the gun and despite the seduction of it all, decided she wanted no part of it. She laid the gun and the knife down on the table, stating that a girl should know her limitations. She found Dema pointing a gun at Vesto and noted the puddle of blood at his feet. She saw the guard had had his throat slit and although she didn’t want to think about it, she knew that had been Dema’s doing. She noticed that Cain was bleeding and that Dema had a slight burn on his face due to a close shot. When it was announced that the Alliance was coming after them again, she couldn’t help but wonder why. All this violence was more than she could handle. Dema realized that this was so much that anything they could say to her would not be enough.
Cain acknowledged that the Alliance was coming and asked Hitomi when the Gen 4 engine was. She screamed at him that there was no engine and that it had been a ruse to get them there. She also called him dense for not figuring that out since they were just in a huge firefight. Hitomi then heard Mag’s request and had to reply to it. She stated that she was not happy about the whole affair too and that she was railroaded into the events that had unfolded. She offered to stand back and let them put a bullet in Vesto.

Vesto had his say then. He revealed that he had an arrangement with the Alliance woman (Gwendolyn Andrews). He provided her with the dregs of his town and she rewarded him with a full wallet. He stated that she would soon be there, they would be dead, she’d get the tech they stole and he’d have enough coin to buy the whole planet. He also revealed that they had no choice in the matter because Hitomi had placed a land lock on the Lucky Seven. Hitomi shrugged when what she did was revealed saying that she had no choice.

After Vesto’s outburst, Dema wondered how much he might hurt Rikka if he held onto her. But he knew that some intervention at this time would go a long way. He moved to her and whispered that she shouldn’t listen to what Vesto had to say. He then bid goodbye to Vesto and announced that Hitomi should tell everyone she can to leave before the Alliance arrived and that the ship better be free to take off when they get there. Then he asked Mag to retrieve his weapons because he was taking Rikka and Cain back to the ship.

Helena came out from under cover too and revealed that she had been shot as well in the abdomen. Then she unloaded on Hitomi. Helena had liked Hitomi and was livid that she put them in the position that she had. She also told Mag to put away the guns. He was near blind for God’s sake and he was just going to get someone hurt. She also suggested that they get back to the ship, but figured that if the land lock hadn’t been raised yet then SYBIL and Rikka should be able to get it undone.

Mag knew he could help stitch up Cain and Helena when they got back to the ship. He wasn’t a doctor, but he had patched up things enough in his day. He also knew they needed to leave fast. He suggested that Hitomi use her private shuttle to get them back to the ship fast and they wanted their weapons back immediately. Then he waited for her response.

Hitomi was upset because everyone blamed her for what had happened, so she reiterated that she was a pawn in all this. She had to choice but go along. Cain confirmed that he was shot, but it wasn’t bad. Hitomi then revealed that the land lock could only be removed by going to the Command Center Console. Sure, she had the codes, but Vesto’s men were in control of that area. She also wondered aloud if they were going to kill her once they got free. Before anyone could answer, Gwendolyn Andrews’s voice rang out from Vesto’s comm and when he didn’t answer right away, she became very annoyed.

Rikka left Dema’s side to help Helena by using her jacket as a tourniquet and tying the sleeves tightly around the wound. She also put forth a suggestion that if they could get Gwen to believe that Vesto had betrayed her and that the VI was downloaded into the Hitomi’s central core computer, then each party would act in a manner that would benefit them and in turn the crew as well.

Helena was still angry at Hitomi and said so and although she appreciated Rikka’s help, she wanted to have Mag support her since she was carrying an awful lot of weight in ordnance. Helena wasn’t doing well. She coughed several times, bringing up blood with each one. Rikka rebuked Helena’s request stating that she was strong enough to support her and that even a half blind Mag would be better suited to protect them than her. Then with a joke, she gave an ultimatum that Helena let her help or she was going to pick up a gun again (which didn’t go well the last time she did).

Mag suggested that they split up. Some should go down to the control room and the other group should go secure the shuttle. He also reminded Hitomi that if she helped them get away, then the Alliance would chase after them and let her alone. If they could get some help to take the control room then it would be easier. He also figured that perhaps they could get SYBIL to help scramble things from the Lucky Seven to slow down the Alliance. He also suggested that they could take Vesto with them so it would look like he sold Gwen out. They had airlocks on the Seven after all and he could always take up residence there. At least for a while…

Cain agreed with Mag’s plan. Hitomi pledged the help of her people. Vesto pledged to kill them all. Then they heard someone on Hitomi’s comm. It was Chloe Winters and she was wondering what the heck was going on. Hitomi felt bad because she forgot that Chloe was there, asked her to meet them and told her that on the way she should feel free to shot any of Vesto’s men she came across. Hitomi told the crew that Chloe could help them, after all, they needed all the guns they could have. Dema’s patience was wearing thin. He quickly gave out instructions. He and Mag would go to the control room. Helena and Rikka were to guard Vesto and Hitomi. Cain and Ian should decide what they were going to do about the shuttle and SYBIL. Then he made his way to the elevator. Rikka supported Helena as they went and she hoped that Dema and Mag would be OK.

Hitomi pledged to help them get the ship off land lock. Vesto went on declaring that they all would be dead soon. Hitomi got on the comm and advised that the Alliance was coming and everyone abandon the facility. She also reiterated that the law enforcement folks there were not of the helpful sort and that should they try to interfere with the evacuation that they should be shot. She said that Vesto’s men were bound to have control of the elevators, so they should take the maintenance stairwell to the command center. Cain contacted SYBIL and told her to lock down the ship and let no one on board unless they were crew. SYBIL told them that the Alliance was already at the ship trying to cut their way inside.

Chloe arrived. Mag was surprised with the amount of command that Dema possessed. He did not expect that from a Companion. He also realized that Hitomi really cared about the people in the facility and that her help was probably coerced. He went to join Dema on the way downstairs. Helena studied Chloe upon her arrival to figure out where she was going to fit into things now. Hitomi introduced Chloe to everyone. Cain ordered Hitomi and Chloe to go with Mag and Dema since she knew the codes. Cain, Rikka, Helena, Ian and Vesto left for the shuttle. Chloe, Mag, Dema and Hitomi left for the command center after taking any weapons they could. Dema was getting ready to lead the way, but Chloe volunteered instead.
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Episode 5 – Aside 4: Landing Platform - Cain, Helena, Ian and Rikka (and Vesto)

Setting: Atop the observation tower was a landing platform that was large enough to accommodate several small shuttles and even larger transports. An old Taylander transport that had seen better days was docked here, obviously the craft that was used to transport Vesto and his men. It was an ancient, ugly, slow and meandering craft that handled like a stuck pig even in its prime. It was almost never seen in the core, but saw limited use on poor backwater worlds.

Parked alongside the Taylander was a sleek Skyskipper luxury atmospheric shuttle. It was built for speed as well as comfort, arrayed with upgraded drives and a pair of twin-linked lascannons. A number of Vesto's men stood guard here, protecting the parked ships.

Security Cameras lined the hallways on the way to the landing platform. Taking it by surprise would be hard to do. Two guards guarded the entryway and were in a philosophical discussion when Cain, Ian, Helena, Rikka and Vesto arrived. So involved in the discussion that they didn’t hear Cain arrive and they were easily dispatched. Rikka suggested that SYBIL could flush the carbon from the extractors out the cargo bay to slow down those trying to get inside and Cain agreed. She also told him that when they all got inside, she would need about 10 minutes to put the old parts back in place and get ready to fly. It was just too bad about not being able to get replacement parts. Running with the old ones was not optimal.

Ian kept the now bound and gagged Vesto in line. A gun to the head would do that well. Cain wished that it would take less than 10 minutes before they could take off. They didn’t really have that kind of time. Then the bullets began to fly. During a short lull, Cain dispatched another of Vesto’s men. Before engaging them again, Cain told Rikka to comm SYBIL and have her help get as many things prepped as she could. Helena’s wound had slowed with the bleeding so she asked if there was anything she could do. Rikka, who was thinking way too much about the death around her, was happy that she had the ship to focus on now. She gave some instructions to SYBIL, told Helena what she could do to help her in the Engine Room and asked Ian to bring first aid supplies down to them when they got there.

Cain came back announcing that the landing platform was secure. He had been shot in the leg as well now and was walking with a limp. As he was asking about the land lock and whether it had been removed yet, he felt something hit the facility so hard that it shook. Klaxons and warning systems went haywire. Rikka got Helena into the shuttle and found a first aid kit to help her.

Gwen was on her way to the planet’s surface when they came across the ships feeling the area. They traced SYBIL’s signal until they located the hanger bay the Seven was located in and headed that way. She ordered the other ship with them to the Observation Tower. She emphasized that neutralizing the crew of the Seven and securing SYBIL was their main focus.

Helena patched herself up and was ready to help get everyone out. Cain yelled for Mag and the others to hurry up before things got dire. As Cain readied the shuttle for lift off, a warning about a failure in the facilities’ cooling system was blaring throughout the facility. Getting everyone on the ship right away was what they needed to happen.

Rikka spent her time praying that everyone else would get back soon. The prayers calmed her and steeled her for what she had to do. She had to go help the others and so she leaped from the ship and darted inside. Cain unstrapped from the pilot’s seat, gave Helena a gun to guard Vesto with and went after her. When he caught up to her, she was by the control panel to the maintenance lift. He asked her what she thought she was doing. Rikka was rewiring the lift so it could be used. Once she had it the way she wanted, she commed Dema and the others and told them that it was safe to use the lift. Cain went on to talking to Rikka as they waited and before long he realized that their banter was somewhat odd for the events taking place. It was just so surreal.

Rikka readied Lift #2 for the crew and then sabotaged Lift #1 (which was full of soldiers) so it could not move. She asked Cain if he could be all captainy and tell the others to hurry. Cain saw the screens that Rikka had also pulled up and saw the plethora of soldiers filling the docking bay where the Seven was. They might have gotten out of this, but getting to the ship was not going to be easy. Then they heard Hitomi through the comm. The lift’s power was out and would need to be repaired at a power conduit on Level 23. She requested that Rikka go there asap to get it done. The facility shook again; the Alliance was bombing it. They didn’t have much time so Rikka and Cain went to see if they could fix it.

Once they arrived on Level 23, Rikka commed the others and told them that when the doors to the lift opened they should get inside and the lift would take them straight to the shuttle was. Cain and Rikka climbed into the maintenance shaft to get to where they needed to go; a maintenance hallway coming off of the shaft. It was daunting. It was just a ladder that seemed to go down forever. They couldn’t even see the bottom. Dema commed them to say if anything happened to Rikka then he was going to shoot Cain. Cain told him he’d keep her safe. Then they finished and they started to leave the maintenance hallway, but they realized that they were not alone. Someone had found them.

Cain pushed Rikka out of the way as a gunfight rang out again and soon Cain had killed two of the three soldiers there. Cain yelled for Rikka to get out of there when a flash grenade went off, dazing Cain and Rikka. The last soldier was calling for backup. When Rikka came to, she saw Cain’s gun on the floor and knew something bad had happened for he would never let it go voluntarily. She called out for him, but her vision was off and it was hard to focus. When she did know was that someone was pulling her to her feet. She asked about Cain and the person there told her that Cain was dead before a stun weapon sent her into unconsciousness.

Cain pulled himself together enough that he managed to get to his feet and take out another soldier. He was worried about Rikka as she was unconscious. But an ominous laughter came from down the hallway. Gwen was there. Cain managed to contact the others and tell them to leave right away before Gwen kicked the comm from his hand. Cain told her to go ahead and end it for them. He knew if he and Rikka were taken captive, then they would suffer like they had never suffered before. He didn’t want that for himself and definitely not for Rikka. But Gwen confirmed that she had plans for them both. That was the last thing she said before Cain was knocked unconscious as well.

This is the end of the Lucky Seven's Story in reality. All future threads happened in the mind of Jacob Cain.
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Episode 5 - Aside 5: Command Center
Aside 5

Mag, Chloe, Dema and Hitomi descended down the maintenance stairwell towards the command center. It was funny, Chloe integrated into their little group quite well. As Chloe and Dema descended down first, Mag and Hitomi hung back a little. Mag got one of the guards within the sights of his rifle, ready to pull the trigger. He wouldn’t do it if he didn’t have to. They wanted to travel as quietly as possible. A gun blast would definitely not be quiet. He didn’t have to worry though because Chloe and Dema caught a pair of guards unawares and neutralized them. When they received the all clear everyone descended down until they were outside the door of the command center.

Knowing that this next part needed a little more firepower, Mag decided to go in first with his gun blazing. He told Dema to follow him in next and Chloe and Hitomi last. He didn’t want Hitomi close to the action, after all, she was the one with the codes. She got killed and they’d be humped. After the fight, Mag was shot in the leg and Dema had sustained a head wound and passed out. Once the threats were neutralized, Dema came around somewhat groggily, but knew what needed to be done. He began going through the bodies and picking up what weapons were there to be had. Hitomi got on to those codes the needed entered in order for the land lock to be released. They got word from Cain that the launch pad had been secured and that they needed to get topside asap.

There was a new problem though. They saw the two drop ships of Alliance personnel coming through atmo. Now they knew they would be severely outmanned, outgunned and under-armored. The nature of the fighting the Lucky Seven had endured lately was a little more than Mag could handle. He was tired of fighting. He looked at Dema and told him to take Chloe and Hitomi and get out of there. He would hold them back as long as he could. Personally, he didn’t want to run anymore. He was just tired of it all.

Dema reminded Mag that the dropships were inbound not here. Dema had no need now want to be a martyr and wasn’t quite sure why Mag wanted to. So he told him to get a move on so they could get out of there. All was not yet lost. Chloe backed up that sentiment. Get gone before they arrived was the best bet. Mag knew they were right and quickly found the tubes that held their weapons they had given over before the meeting. Gathering up their weapons, it was time to leave. On the way to the lift, they ran across more bullets. As the fought, they heard from Rikka that their goal was to get into Lift #2. She had rigged it to speed quickly to the roof.

The all finally made it to the lift, which was one of those glass enclosed ones that ran up the side of the facility. As it ascended, one of the dropships arrived, trained its autocannon on the tower and fired before following up with a salvo of twin linked missiles. The destruction that came from it stopped the elevator dead since power was cut. Hitomi relayed the information that the power to the elevator would have to be restored manually on Level 23 and hoped that Rikka would be able to fix it. Chloe suggested that they take cover until the elevator power was restored.

The dropship was close enough to them that Mag began to fire on it with a heavy duty rifle. It wasn’t enough to really crack the plasteel cockpit window, but he found it satisfying that the pilot winced whenever contact was made. Dema asked Mag to stop since pissing off the person in the super big ship that had weapons would not be the best idea. He also complained when Rikka was brought into the fight to help with the elevator. He knew it was a lost cause when he heard her voice on the comm, stating what she was going to do with the door. In other words, she was committed and when the doors opened, they were to get in and the elevator would do a direct course to the landing platform. He also rebuked Chloe’s suggestion saying that Rikka fixing the elevator was their best chance of making it to the roof. Then when the elevator started to rise, he pleaded with Rikka to get out of there and back to the shuttle.

Things went from bad to worse when the announcements were made that there was structural damage to the tower and that immediate evacuation was recommended.

Cain and Rikka began to make their way back to the landing platform when they were intercepted. The last comm that was heard was Cain shouting for Rikka to run. After that the comm went dead. When that happened, the elevator doors were opening onto the landing platform, letting the rest of the crew get to the shuttle. The building also listed a bit and part of the landing platform broke off and fell into the sea.

Mag was disconcerted by the fact that the landing platform was deserted when they arrived. He quickly made his way to the Skyskipper, hoping that Helena, Ian and Vesto were there. Ian met him at the doorway saying that the three of them were there and asked about where Cain and Rikka were. Dema rushed over to the maintenance shaft that Rikka and Cain had descended into get to Level 23. He yelled for them, but got no answer. Dema surmised that they had indeed been taken hostage. Or at least in a weird way, he hoped they had been. The building was breaking apart and they didn’t have time to doa proper search. He was not happy with Hitomi for getting Rikka involved with their rescue. He was not allowing himself to think that the option that they were dead was possible.

Mag reminded them all that Ian was a pilot and could get them out of there. He figured SYBIL would be able to talk him through any repairs that the Seven could need to get back into the black. Once they did, they could give chase and find Rikka and Cain. But Vesto was not on his priority list. He pointed the gun at him and ordered him off the ship and to a most likely end. The building was falling into the sea. Helena managed to get up from her seat, walk over to Vesto and shoot him dead. Her anger at the man and the frustration of Cain and Rikka’s predicament getting to her. Dema was also unsettled by the fact that Cain and Rikka could be off world already, but the fact that they all bugged out already was a good sign.

Dema started thinking up a rescue plan and commed SYBIL. She answered quickly. Mag asked SYBIL if she had been monitoring all comms in the area. She affirmed that fact and in running through them, they indeed heard talk about extraction protocol. It also played Cain’s last message to the crew about Mag being in command and that he was supposed to get everyone out of there. Mag also asked Dema about the plan he was hatching. Dema told him that he thought their best bet for getting their captured crewmates back was to get on board the Alliance ship somehow and then let SYBIL infiltrate the ship’s computers. It would be like a Trojan horse. She could cripple them from the inside while the search was conducted. He suggested that he and Ian take the shuttle to the Alliance ship because since he was a registered Companion (and could say that he was innocent in what they had planned and that he was just a passenger) and Ian was an officer in the Alliance Military during the war, they would have the best chance of not being blown out of the air. If SYBIL went on board with them, she could get into their systems easier and faster. The others should initially provide cover for the shuttle to get close and when they got free, hopefully SYBIL would be entrenched enough that she could get them all on board quietly and safely. SYBIL recommended that his plan was still a suicide mission, but she would do what she could.

As Chloe took the helm of the shuttle and got it into the air, she suggested that a better idea would be to try to stow away aboard an Alliance craft and make their way inside that way. Dema said that it might be a good way for the others to get on. Hitomi suggested that they should realize that Cain and Rikka were as good as dead and their best bet for survival was to get to somewhere safe and go their separate ways.

While the discussion went on, Gwen had the Seven confiscated and taken aboard the Phoenix class carrier orbiting the planet. Their plan had to change. Now it was Dema with the girls; Mag and Ian would stay hidden. They were going to place a distress call to a nearby detention transport and ask to board. From there, they could approach the carrier and perhaps gain access. SYBIL then forwarded them a message saying that the Seven had been captured and that Gwen had given an order to have any of their crew captured and brought to her. That would increase their chances of getting on board. Dema noticed that Ian had yet to ring in his opinion yet, but he was working on the engine. Hitomi then spoke up, saying that she doubted if Cain would be doing the same for them and recommending again that they should cut their losses and get safe. Dema basically told her to get over it and she had no choice in the matter; she would help or he would kill her and shove her out of the shuttle.

The episode ended with them getting ready to carry out their plan.
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