"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."
He supposed he set himself up for that one. The pilot shook his head and looked at the woman. “Yeah, I can fly. JEM works with the ships electronics systems, and keeps us ready to run from anyone that comes near us.” Kyle didn’t like to fight, sure, his ship was set up to fight, but he really preferred to just get running from danger. They had weapons that would fire on anything that got close enough, but it wasn’t really what he wanted to do. Nope, best bet was to just get away. Still, he looked at her. Had he really set that up?
Watching as she approached, he quirked up an eyebrow. What did she want? Could he teach her? If she could learn, sure. Kyle was pretty good with his ship. And they were in warp, so clearly he could fix the blasted thing on his own. Still, he couldn’t help but look at her.
And when she touched him? He grinned and his arm went around her, as was habit, and hell, have you seen this one? “I’m sure I could teach some gutter trash like you all sorts of things.” He whispered to her, before letting out a bit of a laugh.
Fold that easy? Oh, she was too fun to taunt, for now.
Nik smiled coyly as the pilot wrapped his arm around her waist. Aw, wasn't he cute? His sweet gesture turned sour, when those words came tumbling out of his mouth. The young woman's face fell, wide eyes narrowed. Did he really just call her gutter trash? With a grunt, she reached out to shove him backwards as hard as she could.
"What the fuck, Farnes?!" growled Nik. Literally. A low animal churning erupted from deep down in the Chimera's throat, and razor-sharp claws emerged from slits in her fingertips. With a quick swipe of her hand, she tore into the front of his shirt, rending it open to reveal his flesh. She wanted to do worse, and worse involved him bleeding. A lot. Nik managed to stop herself.
This chucklehead had no frakking idea what she went through to survive each day in the Dregs of the Bastion, and what she did to help others survive its special brand of hell. Sure, Nik was self-serving, but sometimes, when she could, she would give up her rations to those who were in worse shape than she. Nik might have been manipulative and dishonest, but the Chimera tried to be a good person when possible. Or at least not a bad one. No wonder Farnes spent his time with his ship as his artifical friend. He was a complete butt.
Nik took a too-deep breath and let it out very slowly. A feral rage was scratching right below the surface, begging to be released. Her lips were forced into a smile, but her eyes threw daggers."I'm going to pretend you didn't say that," she said through gritted teeth.
"Because if I don't. I might have to rip your throat out."
See? Now this was how you handled people like her. You let them know that you didn’t care. Anyone that was coming on to him? Well, they had another thing coming. Kyle was the type of guy who just did it his way, and if he wasn’t feeling it, then he wasn’t feeling it. However, taunting and teasing? That was just sport for him, added to the flavor and tested someone. When she moved to scratch him, he quirked up an eyebrow. So, it was going to be like that?
“Well, its good to see that you’re house trained…”
And really, he didn’t care what she went through. His life wasn’t any easier, his parents basically sold him out, and for what? He’d never know. The man was just happy trying to survive on the rim, outside of the beck and call of… well, everyone. He shook his head when he looked at her. Threatening him on his own ship?
“Well, if you’re not happy with it, I can let you off right here.” He said, shaking his head as he walked back towards his cabin.
Really, this bitch? He shook his head, needed a new shirt, then he would try to kennel her, probably.
Maybe Farnes had the right idea. Maybe she should just ask to be dropped off on the nearest asteroid. The way Nik saw it, she'd been chased by a gunman and given away all her best (possibly broken) merchandise, for what? To be insulted by someone so socially stunted, his only friend was his ship? It wasn't like Nik was expecting a "thank you," but he could at least refrain from pot shots. What made him think he was so much better than she? They were both augmented humans, trying to make it in a galaxy that couldn't give a damn about them. There was more in common between them than not.
The pilot turned and walked towards his cabin. In both the human and the big cat world, turning and walking away was a sign of disrespect. Nik was being dissed, again. The animal growl returned.
"What's your problem, Farnes?" Nik hissed, trailing after him.
"Been alone out here with your ship for so long, you forgot what a real woman feels like?"
Why did she frakking care anyway? She didn't have anything to prove to this guy and she sure as hell didn't need him. Farnes was just a ride off Bastion, plain and simple. Hell, he could be a different kind of ride if he played his cards right.
Right now? The spacer was holding a very bad hand.
He always had the right idea. Get off his ship and let him fly how he wanted. Kyle wasn’t always some freedom fighter, sure, he helped people, but only so far that it didn’t detract from his own safety and profit margins. The man wasn’t in this for any sense of chasing stars and wanderlust, no, he flew because it was what he knew and how eh could make money for himself. That was it, clean and simple.
What he needed was life to not be so crowded. That was why he escaped to the stars, he liked the peace and quiet, and now he had saved some Chimera and was dragging her… where? As he entered the cabin, he shook his head and looked up to the ceiling. “JEM, you are flying us to our destination, right?”
“Affirmative. Just with… a detour, to a station so the parts can be installed properly. You at least have them now.” Was that a joking tone in her voice? Kyle rolled his eyes and pulled the fabric from his body, looking for another shirt.
Right, she was talking. He closed his eyes and turned his head. “What? Me? No. I’m fine. Just don’t like people comin’ round and fuckin’ shit up.” He shook his head. “Whats it to you?”
Her bare feet squeaked on the floor as Nik stopped in her tracks. Was Spacer really worth the wasted breath? No. Her ego was bruised, but it would heal quickly. Building walls quickly was a hidden talent of hers. Hell, she had nothing to prove to the pilot. If he wanted to be alone and miserable and not getting laid. well, that was his prerogative.
Besides she didn't want him anyway. It was probably her just a feral response to his scent.
“Its nothing." She said in a chilly tone, forcing her lips into a begrudging smile. Her hands clasped together loudly. "Well, I’ll get out of your hair then, Farnes."
Nik turned and stomped back into the belly of a ship. There were a few other rooms which looked suspiciously like sleeping cabins that were now housing other things. Yep, this was a bachelor’s pad in space alright.
That was fine. Like all big cats, the Chimera could sleep just about anywhere. She picked a clear place on the floor of the ship and curled up comfortably, content on licking her metaphoric wounds alone. When they landed at whatever destination only he and JEM knew about, she’d haul jets away from him and figure shit out by herself.
The pilot wasn’t really concerned with her. He just wanted to get this job done, it had already taken too long. It wasn’t like he was a large hauler, the stuff he carried was only sometimes hard to get. It mattered who he was buying from, and what he was looking to get. Then he had to prove to the person in question that he needed it, and he was who he said he was. This time? Advanced engine parts, or something. Kyle tended to not ask what was going in his ship, so that when anyone came to hunt him down, he could tell the truth and no one would be the wiser.
He rolled his eyes when she spoke. Right, it was nothing, but she was still coming to bother him about whoever knew what. He didn’t have time to deal with that. Replacing his shirt, the pilot watched the Chimera walk off. Loved to watch her leave, and even more to see her go. Girl was attractive, he’d give her that, but he had a fucking job to get done first. Stepping down the hall, booted feet echoing in the ship as he made his way to the cockpit.
Rum Runner was too small for a bridge, but it did boast a four person cockpit. Checking the navigation tables he nodded. A few warp jumps and they’d be there. Until then, he spun the pilot seat around, slid into it and put his feet up. Tapping a few controls, a low-tempo style of music began to echo through the ship.
Sweet unconsciousness consumed her until... was that space jazz? Nik’s eyes shot open as she heard some terrible lounge music pumping through the Rum Runner’s systems. Farnes really was a piece of work. She’d been insulted by him, shot at by his hitman, spurned by him, and now she had to listen to his makeout music.
This couldn’t be happening.
The Chimera sprang to her feet, ready to tramp into the cockpit and give him the what for, but something gave her pause. The gutter trash comment was still eating away at her, and Farnes was still a butt, but the Rum Runner was his territory. If the guy wanted to play bad space jazz while he sat in his cockpit and made engine noises while his AI flew the ship, that was his right, wasn’t it?
The woman turned to a nearby seat cushion, claws extended, and shredded it. With freshly sharpened claws and an ample smile, the Chimera curled back up on the floor and went to sleep.
Nik didn’t know how many hours had passed, but she knew that the Rum Runner finally reached its destination by the sounds echoing through the cabin. There were several unknown voices, the yawn of the loading ramp, and the din of Farnes’ freight being unloaded from the cargo bay.
Curiosity got the best of her. Grabbing a pistol from Farnes’ small armory in one of the converted sleepers, Nik shoved the weapon into the back of her pants as she headed in the direction of Farnes’ voice. It was probably just an innocent transaction, but it never hurt to be prepared for foul play.
When the shit was going down, claws were good, but guns were even better.
Now, you see, the thing with Kyle, he had a job, he had a task to do, and a delivery to make. He was lucky that in the time his guest was napping he and JEM worked the warp drive out enough so that they could make the delivery first, and deal with the repairs second. Truthfully, he didn’t doubt they could, but having JEM tear apart the intranet, well, that helped. And he was able to make it work again, all clean, all tight, and all ready.
The pilot was expecting the job to be a pain, but the man was not expecting to be greeted so… harshly. They made a landing and had the delivery, it was fine, he hadn’t even touched it, and told JEM to not network with the damned equipment.
“You’re late.” Said a dark skinned man, a few others flanking him, the others with guns. Kyle had a pistol on his hip and the bag, with the delivery, in one of his upraised hands.
“Late? By what… a day? Blame that on solar rotations and warp timing being off! Its nothing.”
Especially not in the long run. And right here, JEM couldn’t help. The ‘Runner barely had weapons, let alone anything to deal with this threat. He’d just have to talk them down.
Nik's bare feet barely made a sound as she padded down the corridor, stopping short at the landing ramp. She lifted her nose into the air and sniffed. The Chimera thought she picked up the scents of four, maybe five people. Maybe more. It was hard to tell without blowing her cover. And their voices sounded angry. Apparently, Farnes was a day late, and it wasn't the first time. His clients certainly weren't rolling out the red carpet for him. Nik wrapped her fingers around the pistol, and quietly slid it out of her waistband.
The pilot began to try and smooth things over with his disgruntled clients, although they didn't seem to be budging. Really, Farnes? Solar rotations? Do you want to be shot? Maybe it was time that Farnes got some help from the gutter trash. Crouching to one knee, Nik leaned out and aimed her pistol at the presumed ringleader of the operation. No one in their crew seemed to notice her just yet.
Nik was willing to bet that unless one of these guys were augmented, that she had the quickest reflexes of the bunch. If one of them so much breathed the wrong way, she'd put a blaster bolt right between Ringleader's eyes.
Just her luck, one of these guys would be Pythian. Fucking Pythians.
So, he didn’t have a big furry oaf of a partner, one that could back him up when the bullets and blasters started flying. Nope, he was doing this all on his own. And the one thing with Kyle? He didn’t tell people what he was. No one knew he was enhanced, they just assumed he was some kind of gun runner. He wanted to just get paid, and get on with his life, but no, these jackasses needed to prove their worth. To who? Him? Fuck ‘em, Kyle didn’t care.
He did his job, he was going to get paid. That’s all he cared about. But it seemed there was that age-old adage, at least in some realms, of first smiles, then lies, and last was gun fire. What he was doing was stalling for time, and seeing what they were going to do. One step back, another step back. If he could get in the ship’s radius, the energy shield would go up and he’d be fine.
“Hold it, Farnes.” The lead said. “Ain’t takin’ another step back.”
And right, these guys spoke a creole, welcome to space.
“What do you mean? Just gettin’ comfortable, boss.” Maybe not the time for sarcasm, Kyle.
The gun pointing at him was the clear giveaway. "Not, another step."
One thing about Farnes was crystal clear: the guy didn't know how to shut his big mouth. Why wasn't he hauling freight with a frakking partner? What was JEM going to do? Plot them all a course? Nik let out a wan sigh, and clicked the safety on her pistol to the off position.
So, what were her options here? One: she could throw Farnes to the wolves, and quietly book it out of there. Two: she could help the guy out, and possibly get them both killed. Or three: she could crouch there and do nothing while Farnes got shot, and she got raped. Unsurprisingly, option three wasn't going to work for her. Plus, she had a clear shot at the gang's leader.
Here goes nothing.
"Get down. Now!"
Blaster fire rang out as the bolt hit the ringleader right between the eyes, leaving his body prone. A smoking hole decorated his forehead. Lightning-quick, the Chimera turned and took a few more pot shots at the dead man's cronies, then whirled backwards into cover behind the ship's entrance. Boots clanged on the landing ramp, the sound growing nearer as gunfire resonated through the hanger.
Nik's heart drummed wildly in her chest, as she gripped the pistol tightly. Farnes had better had enough wearwithall to take them out before they could reach her.
Kyle was fine. He had this completely under control. You know, that kind of control where everything, and the house was on fire? Yeah, that was fine for him. Everything was fine. He could handle this, all he needed to do was get their attention away from him, and light them up. The joys of being a Novae, right? He could easily take these folks down, when he needed to, but right now? It wasn’t life or death. Everything was perfect.
And it wasn’t like he was about to get strung up as a thief, nope, not today. Today he’d get out of this just like he would any other day. When they took another step closer, he was getting himself ready, his bioelectricity was sparking and just barely could be seen, and only if you knew what you were looking for, until the call came.
Not needing a second invitation, Kyle fell to the ground, calling his energy around him. And with that, he was getting back up, as the gunshots started falling. Keeping the back in his hand, he went and looted the body, he saw the wallet, he was taking the money he was owed. Then the bootfalls, and now he was completely lit.
“JEM, engines, now… Shields…?”
He was being the shield as he backed up to the gangway, bullets and other projectiles bounding off the shield he had up.