"...and you're under arrest."

            With those words, Deidre was on him. Her monofillament blade sprung to its full glowing length, and with one practiced move, decapitated the speaker. The man in black's head dropped and rolled toward his erstwhile partner. The other InSec man was livid. In his rage a scream echoed out from him, and by throwing his hands forward, hit Macoure with a wall of gravity. She flew through the all, and without the greatest of ease, hit her back against the far wall of the ship berth.

            The man in black charged forward, moving just as fast as she was, crossing the space in seconds. Deidre managed to get to her feet just in time to block his foot kick. Dropping underneath it, she lunged her free hand into a fist, plunging right for his crotch.

            The hit knocked the man in black off his feet, but as her sword arm moved for the downward swipe to finish him off, the floor slipped out from underneath her, dropping her to the ground. With a groan, he managed to pick himself up again, and stared at her. As Deidre made it to her feet, the InSec man made a backslapping motion... and nothing happened. There was a moment a shock on his face, and Macoure took advantage of it. Her monofillament blade swung down and chopped the outstretched hand cleanly from his shoulder.

            Her opponent didn't have time to realize he had just lost a limb. Instead, since the woman was in his striking range, whipped up his foot and kicked her in the stomach. As she was weakened, the man in black kept kicking, forcing her on the defensive. Deidre was just about to lose her balance from the repeated kicks when a voice came from the side. "HEY!"

            The InSec agent turned out of instinct. A.C. stood in the doorway; his arms crossed in front of his chest. A buzzing sound began to fill the air as he lifted his arms forward. From the bartender's direction, thousands of tiny metal spikes flew out and perforated the man in black's chest. The scream from the spiky victim chilled the bones of the two around them.

            Deidre wasted no time, aimed her blade, and dug straight into the man's chest. With a twist of her hand, a large hole was dug in the InSec agent's torso, and her opponent's body knew it was dead. It plopped to the ground.

            Reaching into the man's chest, she pulled his still-beating heart from within and feasted upon it before the dying InSec agent's eyes. "You've FUCKED with the WRONG vampire, little man. You've made me waste valuable time and mortally threatened me...AND YOU......" Deirdre turned to face the  bartender with a wicked half-smile, "I have a few questions for you. Choose your answers carefully...your soul is in the balance..."

            "Do you practice these lines or do they come naturally?" A.C. calmly yelled back. "If you hadn't noticed, I just saved your life."

            "WRONG!" Macoure threw down the blood-dripping organ, moved toward the bartender and... suddenly was there, grasping his shirt with her bloody hand. "You led me into a trap! I didn't survive THIS long without knowing that I got SET UP!"

            "If it was anyone, it wasn't me. I wouldn't have stuck around otherwise."

            "Bullshit! I'm not taking this crap anymore! Now I'm going to get some answers," Deidre raised her glowing blade closer to his face, "or I'm going to have some fun."

            At that moment, the power in her blade peetered out, then faded out. As A.C. stood before her, he sighed. "Your batteries are dead."

            She let go off his shirt and moved back a step as her blood rage faded with the end of the battle. Deidre's face turned from anger to confusion. "Who the hell are you?"

            "I told you, A.C. Last name's Eddington. You may have heard of my father?"

            "Marshal Eddington?" Deidre asked; A.C. nodded. "The last guy to stand up to Harrington Enterprises before they collapsed?"

            "Yeah," the bartender rolled his eyes, "that's Dad."

            "They convicted him of adultery, didn't they?"

            A.C. got annoyed. "Listen, are we going to sit here talking history or are we going to get you out of here?!"

            Now it was Macoure's time to be annoyed. "Fine. Love to." She closed her eyes for a moment as she sighed out the monster beating within her. When she opened them again, she became more focused. "Who's Chug?"

            "I told you... me."

            "Great. Then who the FUCK were these guys?!"

            "Internal Security. They're the guys who do the nasty work for the Federation Grand Council. Specifically the Chairman."

            "Then what the hell are they doing here? Why the hell are they after me? And who told them I'd be here?!"

            "Listen! I don't know who ratted you out, but we've got to get you out of here. These InSec guys never travel alone. They've probably got a platoon waiting on standby. If they don't get heard from soon, they're going to make this spaceport look like swiss cheese!"

            "All right... CHUG," she replied with enough sarcasm to overload a extinct elephant, "where do I go?"

            "Circe Four. The main base of the Colonial Marines is located near the north polar region of that planet. Tune in to the transponder signal at 1072 kilohertz and follow that in. Here," he pulled out a computerized card from his pocket, "is your authorization code. If you feed it in, they won't shoot you down."

            "Oh, THAT'S a comforting thought."

            "Are you paying attention?"

            "Yeah, yeah... I'm paying attention." Deidre mumbled, grabbing the card from the bartender's hand.

            "All right, get out of here before these boys' friends show up."

            "Wait... I need to swap an ship ID."

            "We don't have time for this!"

            "Listen, if I don't get a new ID, every registry computer in the Federation is going to know where I am when I hit in-system."

            "Not in the Territory."

            "Hey, _Internal Security_ got in here. Can you take the risk?"

            A.C. gave a short growl and then walked over to one of the corpses, grabbed the plasma revolver, and moved for the door. "Let's go."

            Macoure flitted into her ship for a second, grabbed the Velasquez's old SAC card from the console, and rushed out behind the ex-freedom fighter. Treading down the rust-filled hallways, half the interior lights were broken, making it hard to check the registries to see if they were about the same size of the Derision. As they passed their third berth, she asked A.C. "Why is InSec after me?"

            "You're running guns to the territory, isn't that enough?"

            "No. They have the fleet to do that. What's going on here? Why are they so concerned about me?"

            "It's not about YOU," A.C. said, checking the fourth door for a ship, "it's the guns. We need them to keep fighting the bugs."

            "So why should Internal Security care?"

            "Because..." the bartender found a door that looked interesting and opened it up, "if we don't get the guns, we lose the war, and bugs run all over us." A.C. found the light switch and the bay filled with light. In the barely perceptable grid of the berth floor, there lay a shiny chrone ship; a small multipurpose shuttle completely new and with all working parts. "Wow." he whispered. Then he shook off his wonder and turned to Deidre. "Is that about the right size?"

            "Yeah. I'll take it home with me."

            "We don't have time to move the guns over."

            "I know, but it's nice thought, isn't it?" She smiled at A.C.; he didn't notice, still looking around for more enemies. "Let's go."

            They made their way to the ship door, Deidre fiddled with the door keypad, and opened the door. Inside, the spaceship was a luxury yacht, dressed in a creamy white. Trimmed leather seats, gold accents, and completely functioning sensor equipment and the latest hyperdrive engines. Oh, for only a few hours more, she thought, I could terrorize the borders and leave the Earth Fleet in my hydrogen waste. Another couple of years, Deidre... a few lucky runs and you'll be able to afford this beauty.

            Finally she found her way to the console, and with little trouble at all, ejected the SAC card from it. Smiling again, Deidre held it up. "I love these pleasure ships. So trusting..."

            "You got it? Let's g..." A.C. stopped in mid-sentence as his eyes looked back into the bay. He waved her over to him and grabbed Macoure next to her, plastering both of them against the side of the ship. "They're out there." he whispered.

            In the dead quiet of the bay, the sounds of padded footsteps began to filter in. Something was out there. As she leaned across his chest, Deidre scanned the outside of the ship. The vampire couldn't see a blasted thing. "There's nothing out there." she whispered.

            "Mark 150 suits. Nanotech power armor, advanced chameleon technology... State of the art. We're still running around in old Mark 30's."

            "You mean..."

            "That's our  InSec platoon out there."

            On the chrome stairway leading up to the ship, she could hear the sound of steps coming up. Macoure reached for her monofillament blade... then realized that it was out of power. Damn it!

            A.C. moved her out of his way. In the clear air of the ship hatch, there was a slight distortion in front of her. The bartender grabbed... something. As if it was a invisible tree branch and shoved it hard in the direction of the distortion. There was an amplified "unh!" and the distortion dropped. The thing A.C. was holding suddenly became visible; a huge monstrosity of gun. Eddington grunted under the weight, but managed to turn it around and get his hand around the trigger. The suited individual got up and started to charge forward when the rifle WHOOMP'ed out three rapid energy bolts. They impact squarely in the suit's chest and the trooper fell down. The chameleon effect disapated and showed the dull grey, liquid metal finish of the nanotech suit.

            As Eddington moved toward the door, the weight of the gun was too much for him. "Help me with this!" Deidre rushed over and lifted the other half of the gun. God, it was heavy! Finally getting it to the door, Macoure set down the lower half of the rifle, and A.C. clicked it into auto fire position. Once the vampire got clear, the bartender strafed the bay in front of him with as many energy bolts as he could get out of the gun. As the stream of light pulsed back and forth, three power armors appeared, dropping down to the floor in a thud.

            Suddenly, an array of energy rifle fire descended on their position. A.C. and Macoure jumped out of the way as sparks flew everywhere. The pounding of the bolts was massive, yet nothing was getting through to the cabin. A.C. looked over at Deidre. "Why aren't we dead?"

            Her eyes flashed for a moment and then it came to her. "Heat shielding. For planetary reentry, there must be the best heat shielding in the fucking galaxy on this boat!" She let out a howl of joy.

            Once the energy bolts receded, A.C. jumped back to the energy rifle and pounded away again. Two more dropped. Eddington was ecstatic. "Take that, you Fed pig fuckers!"

            Another pounding of energy rocked the spaceship. A.C. jumped back over to Deidre as the sparks were jumping all over the place. Suddenly there was a different sound; chaingun fire. Then a high pitched yell and more guns. Different guns. Macoure went to look. There was some raggedly bunch of guys standing in the bay door, firing an assortment of weapons, as more suits went down. Then one of the walls suddenly had a glowing window appear large enough to drive a flitter truck through. Eddington bent around to look. "Shit, they've got a transit beacon!"

            A.C. leapt over her head and dashed out down the chrome stairwell out of the ship. As Deidre watched, the suits deactivated as they ran for what the bartender called a transit beacon. Eddington was running towards it as well, ramming into one of the shifting suits. Grabbing on with both hands, the grey suit seemed to stretch, catching some of the power armored troopers as it increased. Finally, the pulled suit covered the entire transit beacon, and three suits were caught in its web. The beacon subsided and the scruffy bunch of fighters came in to disarm the suited individuals.

            One of them came right over to Eddington and started yelling, "Chug! If you pull some lame-brained stunt like that again, I'll drill you out of the service."

            "I _am_ out of the service."

            "Oh yeah. Damn it, Chug, you crossed our line of fire. You could have been killed. You're not fucking 15 anymore!"

            "Sorry, sir."

            "That's better."

            Deidre made it out of the ship. Two of the gunmen immediately trained on her, but A.C. yelled, "No, Track! Friend! Friend!"

            The motley gun-toting couple lowered the weapons. Macoure finally made it over to them.

            "Hey, Chug," the man next to Eddington asked, first with a stare, then shook it off, "who is this fine example of womanhood you're tagging with? Wife number four?"

            "Hell no. She's running the guns for us."

            "Oh. Ma'am," the man gave an elaborate bow to her, "I am Lieutenant Werner Pescante, 415th Irregular Platoon, Colonial Marines."

            The walking pawn shop didn't look like any officer she knew. "How did you find us so quickly?"

            "Picked up a correspondance signal in the city. So I grabbed the boys and made tracks to the spaceport." The officer smiled under his oversized hat. "You know, I should have known you'd be here. Chug is always where the action is."

            "Long time ago, sir. Can we get going? We need to get the princess back home before she turns into a pumpkin."

            "Yeah, whatever." Werner shook his head before calling out, "4th Squad! With me on the bounce! All others clean up here... MOVE!"

            A.C. waved for her to follow. She put the SAC card in her pocket and chased after him, as a group of these so-called soldiers followed along. They ran down the dimly-lit corridor back to the Derision. Finally, they got back to her berth, then a burst of light opened up just down the corridor. "Transit beacon!" someone shouted. Suddenly the entire squad took a knee and opened up with everything they had. The figures appearing out of the glow were gunned down immediately. Then another beacon appeared behind them and more suits began to pop out.

            "Shit!" A.C. yelled as he shifted his fire behind him. A couple of the squad were already getting nailed by the fierce crossfire. The bartender pushed Macoure through the bay door. "GO! GO! GO!" The sound of the gunfight was deafening, but the vampire knew, that they were covering her escape. Without another hesitation, she bolted for the ship, closed the hatch, and powered up. The sounds of battle were all around as the ceiling doors opened, the thrust engines fired, and the Derision jolted upwards, leaving Kalintos Three behind.




Experience --


Orders: 4 x 5 points = 20 points

Early Turn-In: + 5 points


Episode Total: 25 experience points.


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Text Copyright © 2000 by Marcus Johnston.  All Rights Reserved.