"Humanity can survive, my friends. But it will take effort and it will take sacrifice. But first, we must rebuild the wheel to study these assailants from beyond. Any piece, any fragment of the Deus Pinnae that rears its head will be ours. Yamata 16 can no longer afford to linger in the shadows. If we must, we will take all of Bastion space in our grasps and ravage it until every metal sliver of the Pinnae is revealed... By any means necessary."
It wasn't a passenger liner in orbit over the massive planet but rather one of the only sort of ships that had this place on their itinerary, a freighter. On occasion the freighters would take passengers and this one had two very dissimilar individuals, a pretty young lady in expensive clothes and a large rough looking customer. They had arrived at port together and stayed close to each other the entire voyage so even the most dullard crew member of the freighter would realize they were traveling together.
The captain was in it for the fare so though he was extremely curious why anyone not a miner or working for a mining corporation would want to travel to a place like Magnus Prime, he did not ask them any questions. During a few of the meals in the ship's galley, the girl had proved to be entertaining company with a friendly open personality. The men in the crew took a liking to her almost instantly. The man, well, he mostly just sat there silent and brooding, more a person to be avoided than engaged in small talk.
It was time then for the passengers to be shuttled down to the surface and the captain himself escorted them to the shuttle where a pilot awaited the pair.
"Hope you enjoyed your trip, Essime," he asked just before they reached the open shuttle hatch, the young woman had insisted they all call her by her first name.
"Oh, it was fine, thank you. Your crew and yourself were perfect hosts," Essime replied.
"Well, we don't get many passengers to be honest and never before one like you," he chuckled, "I hope you find what you're looking for down there. I do hope you realize what Magnus Prime is like?"
"I've read about it, of course, but obviously first trip. It's a business trip and a short one but I think we'll be fine. So how long does it take for your ship to take on a cargo?" she asked.
"We are dropping off supplies for a few of the domes then we will have our main hold filled with ore. Forty-eight hours is the norm," he answered without hesitation.
"Oh, interesting," Essime glanced at Tobias then nodded back at the captain.
"Well, thankyou again and maybe we will see each other again sometime, captain? It's been a delight," she flashed one of her most charming smiles.
"My pleasure, and good luck ....on your business trip," he said the last almost in disbelief.
They disappeared into the shuttle and soon enough it was launched from the freighter then headed down toward the surface of the vast planet. They were committed now, Essime realized. It was do this and do it right or most likely end up dead. What had she gotten herself into?
He had expected as much from the plan Bannock had going for Essime, and as such the trip towards Magnus Prime was done in the most discreet way possible, as ‘’extra cargo’’ on a freighter that ferrying ore towards the industry planet. It was the best way, and it showed that Bannock at least wasn’t as arrogant in thinking they could take the best flight towards the planet and stay off the grid.
He had seen the glances the people on board had given Essime, people like that weren’t the folk to have family waiting at home and most of them were young guys that saw the job as a way to make some money towards a less dirty job. Needless to say, they were struck by the sight of Essime. Luckily for them, they knew their place and stayed friendly rather than decide to become too friendly. But he knew that if he wasn’t there as backup, things might’ve been less friendly amongst the crewmembers.
The young girl seemed to breeze through the flight, being on friendly terms with the crew and even enjoying some protection from the captain himself who was naturally intrigued why a girl like her was going to a planet like Magnus Prime, and not to the one next door in Magnus II. Yet again, the man wasn’t a fool and knew not to ask too many questions, yet warnings he had plenty for the girl.
The crew treated Tobias with plenty of respect, part out of fear that they might be hurt in crossing him, but they simply knew to stay out of his way because he wasn’t showing any interest in being sociable or friendly. He was there for the job, nothing more, and nothing less. He stayed at a distance, keeping his eye on Essime and making sure everything stayed friendly on the ship.
The calm gave him time to ponder about his own future, his plans hadn’t changed but he already knew that whatever happened Essime would implore him to stay, to start working for Bannock. The man was good for the money, that was certain, but he wasn’t interested in the money, he wanted one thing and that was a thing Bannock wouldn’t provide. He wanted to find his crew, find Enrico and find out the truth.
It would be a dilemma for the future, they would get to Magnus unscathed and they got onto the shuttle ready to go down to the planet. Essime and the captain were friendly, a weary glance was aimed at Tobias but he didn’t really care, he just wanted to get the job done, be cut loose from the job and get away from anything involving a man like Bannock.
”We should find a place to rest up first.” he told Essime in one of his few moments of actual conversation, they had time before Essime had to do her job, and it would be important to be rested and aware of whatever would come their way. ”You can go high end, show your mark that you’re there, but it will certainly give them an easier time to find us if your other job goes south…” there was an advantage to both taking a high end penthouse, or a low-end shack, the former would lull the mark into confidence that nothing is wrong, yet it would make them easy to find if Essime somehow messed up and the mark found out…
A low end apartment on the other hand would set off some alarm bells in the mark, why would Bannock let one of his premier girls stay in a dump, the man wouldn’t know where they lived, and if he was the suspicious sort, it might end up making it harder to get the job done…
”You choose what, but it’s important that you’re rested.” he could do without sleep for a long time, life on Dukha had been filled with nights where sleeping was dangerous, he had learned to cope with a lack of sleep, he’d prepare himself and he’d be ready whenever he had to be ready. And well, part of him wanted to make sure Essime was alright, she was a good girl, naïve at times but smarter than anybody realized. Much smarter than Bannock gave her any credit for…
”For what it’s worth, you’re going to be fine.” It was his attempt at trying to allay her fears, she was crafty but she was still a young girl with clear fears. Whatever happened during the job, he was ready to get her out of the fray and into safety, and he would do it not just for the money…
Essime listened to Tobias of course as he talked about possible options for finding someplace to stay, after all she had never been to this planet before. Obviously neither had he. It turned out though their choice was being made for them.
The shuttle landed just outside a large dome, the entire pad they landed upon was literally slid then into a tunnel of sorts then the entryway sealed shut. Given the heavy gravity force outside, for people to live on this gigantic rock ball one needed to be in an artificially enhanced atmosphere. Stepping out of the shuttle via it's loading ramp, there were a surprising number of people waiting in the harsh lights generated above them on the ceiling.
There wasn't a large population on this world and those who were here were almost all miners. It was hard work and dangerous too. The miners had their families, if they had any, on better worlds which they would then visit when they could. Those watching the pair of them disembark definitely looked like miners. They were mostly wearing the same sort of clothing, dark coveralls and work boots, coated with dust. Some had simple hats, others a helmet and goggle combination. There were easily a good twenty of them and all males, quite a few bearded. They were a rough looking bunch and not a smile showing either.
One big man stepped forward, he had just shut off a hand communicator and now looked at the two newcomers, focusing in on the girl.
"Are you here to meet with Andros Klaax?" he was right to the point and no hint of friendliness in his tone of voice.
Essime set down her luggage and nodded, flashing the man, well all of them really, a bright smile.
"Why yes, I am," she knew he was not Klaax for they had met once before. And despite her smile and calm outward appearance, she did not like this man's body language. Those behind him were looking rather grim also. Something was up. Not that she could give voice to her concerns to Tobias, she just had to hope he too had the same vibes about this.