Chapter 5: Sacrifices...   Posted by Shan Yu.Group: 0
Shan Yu
 GM, 402 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 22 Jul 2011
at 14:02
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Madame Tang's face appeared around the corner of the stairs leading up from the lounge are, and her face broke into a cheerful smile.  "Ah, there you are, Captain."  She joined Lydia and Stacey in the galley, bowing to both.  "We're closing a little early tonight.  The girls are a little tired and need some rest...which brings me to another point.  We won't be opening for regular business tomorrow.  We've received a special commission from, well, some well-placed clients.  Tomorrow evening, a shuttle will arrive to take my associates and myself to...somewhere...where we'll be spending the evening.  You and the crew will have the ship to yourselves.  There's no need to wait up, since I'm sure it will be very late when we return."
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 278 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 23 Jul 2011
at 12:57
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Galley)

Stacey looked up from his discussion with Lydia at the arrival of Tang. He returned her cheerful smile and nodded understanding as she spoke.
"Things seemed to go well tonight - the calibre of customer seemed somewhat better than those miners.".
"Sound's like an important commission you've earned tomorrow evening? Congratulation. Local big wigs must have heard good reports about your services. The crew will be glad to have the evening off Im sure.".
Lydia Li
 player, 204 posts
Sun 24 Jul 2011
at 10:03
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia was about to speak as Madam Tang came up. She jsut watched her quietly, her face neutral.
Shan Yu
 GM, 404 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 27 Jul 2011
at 21:59
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Madame Tang bade the Captain and Lydia good night and retired back to the lounge.  The evening quickly came to a close, with nothing else of note occurring.  Other than possibly the interlude with the well dressed men, there was nothing suspicious or unexpected that happened, and even the added vigilance provided by Burne and Cole failed to reveal anything of interest.  Jin continued working on breaking the communications code, and was narrowing down the possibilities to the point that another day's effort would probably bring success.

With the cargo ramp raised and the ship locked up tight, crew and passengers turned in for the night.

And the night proved to be uneventful for several hours, with only the occasional creaks and whines inherent in a ship at rest to break the silence.  About an hour before dawn...

A muffled click.

The nearly imperceptible sigh of a door slowly opening.

Stealthy footsteps...bare feet padding silently on metal and carpeted floors.

Soft clicks as a security access code was tapped into an airlock door's keypad, unlocking it.

Retreating footsteps, now hurried, and after perhaps a half-minute delay, another click as a door shut.

Several minutes later, the small passenger door located in the cargo ramp opened with a slight metallic thunk, and the hands opening it paused for a few heartbeats.  Then the door swung open the rest of the way, and a series of figures, clad from head to toe in dark clothing, rushed into the lounge area and crouched down until seven intruders had entered.  One of the men, apparently the leader, pulled out several pieces of paper, and a tiny flashlight was turned on, its pencil-thin beam illuminating the documents.  Two of the documents were photos, and one was diagram.  The leader showed the photos to the men, and said something in a hushed whisper.  Then, referring to the diagram, the leader pointed to each of his men, then at a corresponding point on the paper.  Finally, the leader looked up and extinguished the light, whispering "Go!"

The group quickly rose and silently moved toward the stairs.  The subdued emergency lights that were always on in the passageways provided more than enough light to keep the intruders from stumbling, and they moved rapidly.  The light also showed that the men were armed...some with pistols, some with rifles or machine pistols.  Two men stopped just outside the four passenger cabins while the other five moved past the infirmary and up the stairs.  At the top of the stairs, the lead man carefully looked around the corner toward the engine room and then toward the galley, and finding them empty, waved the others forward as he stepped over the threshhold.  The group dropped off one more man in the galley and then moved forward to the stairs, where one man entered the cockpit.  The final three men descended the stairs and positioned themselves outside the cabin on the left...the one belonging to Makani and Lydia.  The leader readied his machine pistol while one of the others tried to slide open the door, only to find it locked.  He kneeled and began to pick the lock.

In the cabin next door, a dog began to bark.
Scout
 player, 5 posts
 You talkin' to me?
Wed 27 Jul 2011
at 22:00
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Scout was racing across a field, bursting through the huge herd of rabbits and sending them in every direction, running for their lives.  The beasts had no chance, of course...not when faced with the incredible power of Scout's muscular legs.  His motions were nothing short of amazing...he could turn on a dime and give back 9 cents change...he could accelerate from 0 to 50 mph in less than two seconds...and he could leap distances of at least 30 feet through the air.  He had identified his prey...the fattest, tastiest looking rabbit in herd, and he streaked toward it...closer...closer...

Scout's head jerked up as something awoke him.  Sometimes it seems like a dog can hear the same sounds day after day, and think nothing of them.  But change the sound by the slightest bit, and an alarm bell rings.  Such was the case now.  Scout constantly heard movement outside of the cabin he shared with his man-thing friend, or in the cabin next door (where that stupid not-a-dog lived), and never let it interfere with a second's sleep.  But this was different.  There was a feeling of...danger.  He must warn his friend.  He jumped off the bed and ran to the door.

Scout began to bark.
Shan Yu
 GM, 405 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Wed 27 Jul 2011
at 22:35
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(The Duck)

The leader of the intruders hisses an obscenity when he hears the dog barking, and he snaps his fingers to get the attention of one of his men.  He points at the right hand door, behind which the dog appears to be, and the minion readies his machine pistol, pointing it and focusing all his attention there.

Upstairs, the intruders barely hear the muffled barking, and quickly exchange glances before they ready their weapons, focusing on the numerous doors in the passageway, in the galley area, and near the cockpit.
Makani Ano
 player, 196 posts
Thu 28 Jul 2011
at 00:11
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's quarters)

Makani awoke to a faint stractching outside her door and Scout barking in the next room.

She rolled over and turned on her light.

"Mulan?" she called figuring that the 'Admiral' was trying to get away from the fat, smelly loud not-cat.  "Is that you or a rodent you should be catching..." she added softly as she listened for a sign from the cat.
Burne Catweazle
 player, 274 posts
 a body in motion
 ..wants to stay in motion
Thu 28 Jul 2011
at 01:59
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Pilot's Quarters)

Burne had no way of hearing the dog from her quarters at the front of the ship.  She was locked in for the night behind her custom interface, relaxing after the wasted effort of counting Madame Tang's guests.   Burne had spent some time unwinding with her knives and targets afterwards, but even that had become boring, and the promise of a few hours sleep seemed more appealing than anything else.   She was laying on her back, with her Super Soldier PJs her only protection.  CHESS sat in the bed with her in easy reach, useless to a sleeping person, but very handy if awakened.

Outside her room, the standard lock on the door to the cockpit kept it secure.  The new security protocols had not yet been updated since Gregory's departure, so those codes were still in effect. Time in a day was always a factor when it came to keeping a ship running, and the time for extra's like upgrades was always secondary.   If it wasn't such a passion for Burne, her own door locks and pilot controls would not have been completed already.  Like her friend Frank, the allure of the job itself kept her coming back.  He couldn't stop fixing things, and she couldn't stop tinkering with electronics.  It kept her occupied, and anything that kept Burne's mind active, was helpful to her.

This message was last edited by the player at 02:02, Thu 28 July 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 280 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Thu 28 Jul 2011
at 09:06
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Captain's Cabin)

Stacey blinked awake instantly as Scout's bark broke the peace of sleep. He knew his companion well and as he awoke in the dim light he heard alarm in the animal's voice.
Swiftly he slid from his bed and reached for his pistol listening cautiously.
"Whats up Scout?" he asked gently approaching the hound.

This message was last edited by the player at 10:41, Thu 28 July 2011.

Cole Jackson
 player, 196 posts
Thu 28 Jul 2011
at 11:26
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cole's Cabin)

Cole turned in his sleep, his face contorting as he watched the 'runner' get beaten by yet another security guard.  In the physical world, Cole's breathing was ragged and sweat was rolling down his face.  Thanks to the physical limitations of REM sleep, however, his body stayed still, his muscles not reacting the way his dream self was.  At least until he woke up.

Cole's body shot upward to a seating position as he gasped for breath.  It took a moment for him to remember that he was still in his cabin and it was most likely still the middle of the night.

"Gorram dreams," Cole murmured to himself as he oriented himself to his surroundings.

Wiping the sweat from his face, Cole lay back down in the bed, his eyes wide open.  It had been a long time since dreams had bothered his sleep.  Even then, it was after the war that they occurred.  He had made peace with those ghosts and the dreams stopped.  Now he was reliving a potentially innocent man getting beaten viciously.

Cole contemplated just getting up.  He could take a walk around the ship to clear his mind and get some fresh air.  Glancing at his watch, it was still early in the morning.  Cole shook his head, deciding that staying in would be better.  A morning run would take care of things.  A cup of coffee also sounded nice but Cole dismissed it almost immediately.  He did want to go back to sleep.  So Cole found himself staring at the ceiling of his cabin, wishing for sleep.
Jin Chu
 player, 189 posts
Thu 28 Jul 2011
at 13:08
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Jin had slept restlessly.  She was close to cracking that damn code, she was sure of it.  It had taken an effort of will for her to go to bed rather than sitting at her terminal all night.  She was vaguely aware that she had been rather anti-social, avoiding the rest of the crew as she worked but it was nice to have something to distract her, something that felt like old times again when she would sit up all night with him bringing her cups of coffee and...No, not a train of thought conducive to sleep.

Just before dawn she was in a light doze, not awake by any means but not in a deep sleep.  A noise bothered her, her bladder was feeling uncomfortable, there was a cold draft from somewhere...Jin groaned and turned over in her bunk, pulling the covers up higher and trying to let her brain shut down properly.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 282 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 12:00
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Captain's Cabin)

Moving to the door Stacey knelt beside Scout, reaching out to calm his friend with a gentle hand. Sleep still hung on his eyelids as he loosely gripped the pistol in his hand. It was an absent dirtside habit rather than true concern that had made him pick it up. "What's up boy, something woke you up? Shall we have a look?".
The Captain stood and cautiously opened the door to his cabin. Expecting to see the dim lights of the Duck's passages holding little but a stray cat, or one of Tang's girls come to pay him a friendly visit his eyes widened as the unexpected scene unfolded.
Shan Yu
 GM, 407 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 12:54
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The intruders were prepared for Stacey's action, and as soon as the door slid open, a brilliant light flashed into Stacey's eyes, completely blinding him, and the door was roughly pulled open.  A voice from somewhere in the hall hissed loudly, "Drop the gun and don't say a word, or you die!  And shut up that dog!"

OOC: Reminder that the cabin doors slide open, and do not swing open.
Lydia Li
 player, 205 posts
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 14:25
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia jerked up as she heard the dog barking. Her dreams were troubled as normal, but there was something else going on.

This message was last edited by the GM at 14:28, Fri 29 July 2011.

Lydia Li
 player, 206 posts
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 14:38
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia suddenly tenses as her head clears. Danger. And its near. She looks to Makani, absolute terror in her eyes, as she quietly nods to the door and mouths danger to her guardian.
Mulan
 player, 5 posts
 Meow?
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 14:43
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
As if a companion to Lydia, Mulan was in the captain. The Rear Admiral had to have a good place to avoid that yippy non-cat thing, and her handmaidens were a pleasent diversion.

Then the dog began yipping. The cat woke up, irritably stretching. She had enough! She was gonna go find that four-legged menace and teach it to not interrupt a cat nap.

But as she woke, she immediately felt there was something wrong. Scents of things not familiar. While her nose wasn't as delicate as Scouts, a cat knows when things are different, and like other cats, Mulan did not like different. Especially when her younger handmaiden was beginning to notice as well. Something was going on, and the Read Admiral did not approve.

And, thus, like all cats, she hissed and growled, then sped under a bed to hide.
Makani Ano
 player, 198 posts
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 18:00
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's quarters)

Makani had started to get up when it looked like Lydia was having a nightmare, but when she mouthed 'danger' and Mulan ran and hid Makani went from comforting mode to protector.

She pulled out her derringer and carefully concealed it before drawing her pistol and setting it on the bed beside her.  She signalled Lydia to hide then quickly made her charge's bed and scattered her research folders on both beds as if she were sorting through details.

She dind't know what was going on, but if she'd learned anything-- confusion was a good delaying tactic. And nothing confused people more than the unexpected.
Stacey Yanoro
 player, 283 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Fri 29 Jul 2011
at 20:49
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
The shock of the bright light made Stacey blink, instictivly raising his forearm to block the light.
He staggered, taking a step backward as he almost tripped over Scout who barked louder than ever.
The Captain's instincts took over and blindly he aimed his pistol at the opening. It was a defensive move, protective as his brain struggled to comprehend the sudden change in circumstance. And yet the sudden realisitation he was under threat thumped along with his beating heart.
Stacey's eyes blinked as his vision cleared and vague sillottes materialised. More than one man; weapons aimed at him. Helpless he picked out the speaker, aiming the pistol at the dark form.
"What the co are you doing on my ship?".
Adrenaline pounded through his veins, his words were instincitve. And yet as the blur of his vision cleared the cold truth of the situation loomed large. Without lowering his weapon Stacey waved a hand toward Scout, his fingertips brushing the animal's mane. Im dead. Stacey's heart pounded as he spoke, tense, quiet, doomed. A stand off.

co -  a profanity that can easily be guessed at
Shan Yu
 GM, 408 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 03:17
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Once the door was opened, the brief flurry of barks from Scout would have been noticed by anyone in the forward half of the lower deck and anywhere on the upper deck except the engine room.  To anyone in a cabin (except for Makani's/Lydia's), the sounds would have been felt more than heard, not really identifiable as a dog's barks, but as sharp, staccato vibrations through the hull and bulkhead plates.

Scout quieted at the touch of his master and turned his head to briefly look at Stacey, then faced the intruders again, a low growl rumbling in his throat.  At Stacey's sudden response to the light, the leader of the strangers had to restrain his men, whispering harshly, "Don't shoot him, gorram it!  We may need him!"  Even though Stacey couldn't see those that menaced him, he knew that the next words were directed at him, still uttered in that same low-pitched hiss.  "I told you to drop your gun, and I meant it!  Nobody's going to get hurt if you cooperate.  Remember, you got others on this ship to worry about.  Wouldn't you hate to be responsible for their deaths?  Now drop your gun and kick it over to me.  Then tie up that dog, or throw it in a locker or something so we don't have to kill it...and be very careful."

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:25, Sat 30 July 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 284 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 10:31
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Captain's Cabin)

Multiple figures, weapons aimed at me. On our ship. How? Inside help?.
Despite his pounding heart and mind racing to come up with some alternative, it didn't take long for Stacey to realise the obvious.
"Easy, easy. No need for anyone to get hurt.".
His voice was low, but deliberatly not too low. He prayed Makani and Lydia could hear. "There, im putting my gun down now.". Slowly his actions mimiked the words. The pistol let out a loose dink as he lowered it to the floor.
"You're gonna have five angry crew mates and a whole lot of shooting if we don't all stay calm.". He nodded to the door opposite. "Makani is always grouchy when shes woken up. Sleeps with a gun by the bed. Hell she might even have a visitor in there with her, and she likes the rough ones.". He paused. "Let me speak to them. Whats this all about?".

Beside him Scout's growl was a low rumble, his form tensed to attack. "Here boy.". Stacey took a small step toward the desk behind the door. He hoped his movements were at least partially obscured by the darkness and position of the desk. His actions were deliberatly slow and his body blocked a view of what lay on the surface before him. Acting quickly Stacey reached out for his watch, and second the leash occasionally used to tether Scout. A second later he leant to tie one end of the leash to the foot of the desk, and the other to Scout's collar. Crouching in the darkness the Captain fumbled with the leash he slipped the watch onto his wrist. "Sorry boy..." he mumbled while he moved. "You wont be here long.". As a final act Stacey reached for a box of the dog's food pouches and kicked them over to where Scout could reach.
At last he stood slowly and faced the intuders, awaiting their response.
It was their move.

This message was last edited by the player at 10:43, Sat 30 July 2011.

Shan Yu
 GM, 409 posts
 Are you familiar with...
 the works of Shan Yu?
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 14:01
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Walls of rooms, and bulkheads of ship cabins, are designed to provide privacy to their occupants.  Sometimes they fail miserably, as described in the cliche phrase, "walls like paper".  The bulkheads of The Ugly Duck did not fall into this category.  The ship was a military ship, built to be sturdy, and the bulkheads effectively blocked normal sounds from travelling from compartment to compartment.  Loud sounds could be heard, but not necessarily identified, and in a totally silent environment, such loud sounds could travel through the hull, detectable by the human auditory structures.  Stacey's words would only be heard by those in the passageway, and would only be a slight rumbling sound, even to ears pressed against the bulkhead next door to him.

The leader of the intruders whispered, "Shut up!  Quit stalling!  We've already taken care of the rest of the crew and your passengers, too.  It won't take much for me to take the easy way out and just start shootin'.  You just keep cooperatin', and nobody dies.  "  He waited until Scout was tied up, then continued his commands to Stacey.  "Turn around and face away from me, drop to your knees and put your hands behind your back.  NOW!"
Lydia Li
 player, 207 posts
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 17:42
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
Lydia nodded and glanced around the room, reaching for an old pistol that was given to her a while ago. She barely knew how to use it, and her hands were shaking so unsteady that any shot was liable to go ary. But she had to fight too. She winced in the feelings of danger and waiting, gripping the gun and staring at the door. She pointed at the door, trying to get Makani to let her know someone was RIGHT out side the door, but how many, she had no idea. They just need to get out of here and get it done fast.
Cole Jackson
 player, 197 posts
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 19:03
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Cole's Cabin)

Cole could hear the muted barking coming from somewhere outside his cabin.

"Gorram dog barking in the middle of the gorram night," he said to himself.

Cole started to get up, ready to go have words with Stacey about his dog and courtesy toward other members of the crew.  As his hand reached for the latch, he froze.  Scout's never barked before, least not at night.  Stacey always keeps him in his cabin.  Cole realized that it meant that Stacey was not sleeping and was most likely not in his cabin.  What would have the captain up in the middle of the night?

Looking down at himself, Cole realized that walking around in his underwear might not be acceptable.  He pulled on a pair of pants.  For completeness, he put on his pistol belt.  No telling how long I'll be up.  Cole went back to the door, this time opening it with every intent to see what Stacey was up to.

This message was last edited by the player at 20:53, Sat 30 July 2011.

Stacey Yanoro
 player, 285 posts
 Captain of the Aurora
 Unification War Veteran
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 23:17
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Captain's Cabin)

Stacey glared into the darkness defiantly. "Turn my back and get shot you mean? No. This is my ship, and folk on board are my crew.".
He stood in the doorway as his heart pounded. He was walking a fine line - but if he knelt now he might be as good as dead. He'd already given up his gun and wasnt ready to give up the crew without more assurance. "If you're going to shoot me, I might as well sound the alarm. Give me a good reason I shouldn't shout out right now.". The Captain remained standing, defiant and immovable. In the back of his mind he pictured himself kneeling, a silenced bullet through his brain, the crew murdered. Cautiously he bargained in a low voice "I'll do what you want. You dont need me tied up.".
Makani Ano
 player, 199 posts
Sat 30 Jul 2011
at 23:24
Re: Chapter 5: Sacrifices...
(Makani and Lydia's Quarters)

Makani looked at Lydia, stood and gently took the gun from her hand.  "Hush mai-mai," she whispered softly.

"I believe you... but if trouble has gotten this far on board, we are trapped, and we must think of the others... Hide... be safe, be quiet... please..."

She nodded towards her luggage knowing the smaller woman could hide there if need be.

She knew it was a a dangerous game but there was no other way she knew of handling this... She just knew that rushing an unknown number of assailants on a ship full of potential targets was not the answer.