The ORION Files (Closed/Started)

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The Orion Files | Tortuga | Marketplace | Crazy Sal's Cosmic Co-Op and Outlet
The Special Stock
Irina Rostikova

As the two waited for Crazy Sal to finish up with his customer, the Neutral Network Enthusiast considered her Panther-Like Partner's response. Irina felt a bit annoyed by the lioness' lackluster desire for expansion beyond whatever parameters she'd been programmed with but there was also a sense of acceptance. If it was Shanoa's decision to maintain her current parameters for eternity (or while her personality matrix was relatively stable), there was nothing that the Catican Merchant/Mechanic could do other than accept it and move on, though, it wouldn't stop her from explaining her perspective.

"'Fuel' is 'fuel' after all. The thing I don't get the fascination with is 'sex'. Strikes me as odd you lot would be so into the reproductive process 'just cause'." Shanoa had responded flatly, "But the exploration of that requires a body I don't have, and no, 'just any old body' will not due. If I'm going to go that rout, I'm going to be very picky."

Were her prickly little A.I. paying attention, she would have had to replay the previous second at one eighth speed to capture the sudden perking of Catican Ears in response to the second part of Shanoa's response.

"(So there is a chance...)" The Meddlesome Merchant muttered internally as she nodded slowly, her poker face in full effect, "Yeah of course you have to be picky. You definitely don't want to choose just any old body out there..." Irina responded, tapping the chest of an old style, gold plated protocol droid that had seen better days.

It was about that time that Shanoa might have noticed that something or more specifically, someone was looking at her chassis, lifting up the haunches of her body.

"Yes, yes, veryniceverynice," The Proprietor and Namesake of Crazy Sal's Cosmic Co-Op and Outlet said as he examined the Apathetic About Experiences A.I.'s chassis. This probably was going to end very very badly for Crazy Sal.

"Shanoa... don't... kill... him" Irina muttered through gritted teeth, seemingly telling herself that as well, "We... need... access... to... his... special... stock..."


The Orion Files | Tortuga Docks | Freighter Sweet Child of Mine
Meanwhile...
Edward Aubergine

Having been dismissed by the Captain, the Heavily Armored Catican had been preparing to leave the ship when he spotted the Power Armor belonging to his fellow Crew Member Brian Wojtek. This was not the first time that the Colossal Catican had encountered Kodiak Mechanized Infantry Support Armour, Model #MMCVIII... however it was the first time that he had encountered it while it was in one piece and was not actively trying to kill him.

~Tap tap tap~

The tip of Ed's claw tapped on the unit's chest armor, trying to discern if there was a weak point anywhere.

~SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEE~

That would have been Edward running the same claw along the armored chest, making the nearly universally loathed sound of nails on a chalkboard (nearly universally loathed as it was almost identical a tone to the mating call of the Sirian Sylbba'an).

Pitt walks out of the ship as he took a look around the port. There were a few things he needed from the port. Some parts here, there, and some over there. Though what he really wanted, was some info about the last mission. Hoping some news came up with some of the info brokers. As he headed off, a drunk pirate got in his way.

"Hey *Hiccup* Hey there little man...aren't you a bit short to be on this port? You should head on-" That was as far as the pirate got to say before Pitt pulled out his gun and fired. A large net coming out and pinning the pirate to the wall. "I have no time for morons like you. I have business elsewhere!" He shouted as he made his way to one of the few cheaper stores within the port.

The pirates nearby watch as the short junker went on his way. Some of the eye witnesses check on the pirate who got netted to the wall and found him knocked out. From the force of the net being fired, it made him hit his head kind of hard and knock him out for a bit. Some witnesses just shrugged at each other and went on their way. Not caring about what happens as long as it doesn't involve them, but a few stay around to mock the netted pirate.

"Ha..Drunk Frank got caught up in some trouble again."

"What a dumbass...Hey Frank! You're a dumbass" The pirates started to poke through the net and make fun of the knocked out pirate. Trying to find ways to mess with him through the net as one starts trying to push some of their beer bottles and cans through the net with frank.

Shanoa was about to make a mental note of Irina's odd choice of wording in reply to her answer, but she was distracted by Sal, getting significantly more 'hands on' then she would have preferred.

If she could, she'd have taken a single deep breath, and then with some very precise aim, stabbed the flooring between his legs, with her tail, at such an angle that it left a cut in the crotch of his pants uncomfortably close to the 'tender bits'. "Sal, is it?" Shanoa said, her tone 'calm' in that way that screams 'DANGER! DANGER!'. "I'll have to ask you ... 'kindly' to keep your hands to your self." She said, the mono eye of her frame, pointing forward, but burning a very bright red. "So if you would be so kind as to unhand me, my comrade would like to do business." She added as she pulled her tail back.

She felt no need to make any further threats, the one, she felt, should be enough to get the point across.

The Orion Files | Tortuga | Marketplace | Crazy Sal's Cosmic Co-Op and Outlet
The Special Stock pt. 2
Irina Rostikova

To be quite frank, Irina was a bit disappointed that Shanoa had displayed so much restraint since wounding Crazy Sal would have served to demonstrate that they were there for actual business people looking to do actual business as opposed to being tourists looking for some sort of cheap plastic Sony knockoff. Regardless of whether or not the Annoyed A.I.'s warnings forwarded the Merchant/Mechanic's motives, it did get Crazy Sal's brain to register the message "Do not touch under penalty of castration." The store's proprietor backed off a bit, his perma-smile fading a bit at the edges as the wariness set in. Clearing her throat, Irina signaled for the man's attention as she tossed the man a small data cube.

"Here's a manifest of items I want to offload. All of it top quality merch produced by Chronus." Irina said, waiting for the man to go over the list, thankful that they were on a station that didn't really mind what was being sold... otherwise everything would have to be phrased as code.

"Huh... what makes you think that I'm in the market for this sort of..."

"Sal... honey. I've made deals with your second cousin, Loony Larry, your Nephew, Mad Mal and your Sister, Lavern. I know that you're in the market for this sort of thing." The Experienced Exporter of Less than Legal Loads commented, her tail swaying back and forth, possibly triggering whatever sort of chemical detector was installed in Shanoa's current chassis.

"Even if that were the case, I don't have enough creds on hand to..."

"I'll take what you can spare in creds and the rest plus 50% in store credit," Irina countered without allowing the man to finish. It was a fairly standard deal except for that Crazy Sal continued to play dumb.

"Well... you see that what's on my shelves is hardly enough to cover..."

"No... it's not. That's why you're showing us the special stock." Irina said walking towards the back of the store, rattling a set of beaded curtains that blocked the backroom from prying eyes.

"Hey! Hey! Where are you going!" Crazy Sal called out, knowing that it was just really no use.

"HEY SHANI! COME ON BACK! THERE'S A FEW THINGS BACK HERE THAT YOU MIGHT ENJOY!" The Playful Puss-in-heels called out as she opened a door that had been hidden behind a shelf, revealing Crazy Sal Secret Stash.

Shanoa watched the exchange between Irina and Sal once the merchant backed off. It amused her a bit watching the kitty 'strong arm' her way into the back room.

After a moment or so of Irina being, she called out to Shanoa, with promise of Sal having wares that might be of interest to the AI. As she entered to back room, she was greated with the sight of a rather decent selection of items who's acquisition was questionable at best.

The mono eye of Shanoa's frame slowly moved from one side of her head, scanning the various items. "Huh, not bad." she said as she moved through the collection, picking up the off piece now and then. "Oh? You managed to get your hands on one of these eh?" she said, using the grabber built into the 'blade' on the end of her tail to pick up a particular, and rather unassuming piece of tech. She set the piece on her shoulders, effectively starting on her own little 'shopping trip'.

Velka | Tortuga Drift | The Dean's Domino Effect Casino & Bar

Looking for Work: Chapter 2

After checking out a couple of other establishments, one of which ended in Velka dumping someone who attempted to cop-a-feel in a nearby trash can, and no sign of Mr. Rafe so far, although she had heard one or two things about him, namely that he had a fondness for Manhattan cocktails, which she decided might be useful information in helping to pick out her target from a crowd.

She had arrived at the third destination that Gantu had put on her list of Mr Rafe's more frequent hangouts, according to the display, it was a large sized casino that sat on three floors with the main casino area situated on the outside, whilst the bar could be found more towards the center across all three floors; though you could still partake in some gambling through the use of holographic slot machines at the bar counter, wherein your winnings would be transferred onto a credit chit that you could exchange for cash.

Velka made sure her equipment was carefully concealed on her person, but still within ease of reach before heading into the casino, where she could see that it was certainly busy; not exactly at capacity, but you would be hard pressed in finding a free spot at the tables, at least from where Velka could see.

Immediately she began scanning her surroundings for any sign of Mr Rafe, catching a few that made a partial match, namely in attire, but whose face and in some cases, species were wrong. Velka couldn't just go asking people at random if they had seen the guy, she wouldn't know if the person she was speaking to was an associate, who would more than likely tip Rafe off that someone was looking for him, and he'd make tracks long before she got anywhere.

No, if she was to strike, it would have to be sudden, before suspicions were raised, and for that, she'd need to blend in a little; and what better way than with a drink. With that, she went up to the bar, ordered a couple of whiskeys, and began her watch, whilst pretending to play the slots.

The Orion Files | Tortuga | Marketplace | Crazy Sal's Cosmic Co-Op and Outlet
The Special Stock pt. 3
Irina Rostikova

"Oh? You managed to get your hands on one of these eh?" Shanoa commented as she grabbed an object from one of the shelves that Irina couldn't quite see.

"Your servant has quite the sharp eye..." Sal started to say before being interrupted once again.

"And in case you've already forgotten, quite the sharp tail... if you don't want a reminder of this little fact, I suggest you avoid calling her my servant another time." The Catican Merchant snapped before returned to perusing the shelves that were stuffed full of wares both common and quite uncommon. There was no perceptible order to how things had been arranged other than Sal having a morbid obsession with stuffing as much merch into each square millimeter of shelf space as possible. Looking at the mishmash of items, the Pretty in Pink Puss in Pumps was tempted to toss the random bits on the floor just to give her eyes some room to focus before she spotted a particular item of interest.

The cube measured 7 cm x 7 cm x 7 cm was clear and appeared to be filled with some sort of dark substance not unlike an oozing cloud, if one could imagine such a thing. Scanning the object, Irina's Nanex identified the item as a swarm of medical nano-agents used for enhanced healing and rehabilitation. While useful, the nano-bots themselves had an average half-life of several hours before they were filtered out by the patient's kidneys and expelled from the host's body. Irina's Nanex also indicated that, though rare, some patients had reported increased cases of severe kidney stones, bowel blockages, anal hemorrhaging, jaundicing of the taint and euphoria during urination.

"This could be handy for our floppy finned friend..." Irina commented, referring to the prisoner back on the ship.

Walking over to Shanoa, the Friendly Neighborhood Catican and Amateur Airlock Breaker glanced at her companion's items.

"Find anything interesting?"

Shanoa ignored the 'servant' comment as she poked through Sal's Selection, wasn't really worth her threatening again him over, grabbing a piece here, a piece there, nothing to spectacular to her since they where just 'replacement parts'. One being for the mount on her back. She'd been getting an error in the from the hardware side of things. Nothing major, but it was annoying her. The first piece was part of an upgrade to her Stealth unit, was only a 10% boost in efficiency with her set up, so she wasn't planning on installing it till she needed to.

She grabbed an optical upgrade to go with the other stuff, when she saw something on a create. An Emblem that wasn't in her data base but seems very familiar for some reason. "Maybe" She replied as she approached the create, and inspected it a bit. "Hey Sal, whats the story with this create?"

<<< Mar >>>
Tortuga Drift | Shore Leave | Dead Orbit Bar
"Those hand-to-hand self defense drills come in handy. So does bar-fight experience."

Unlike the six-fingered man, neither Grace nor Elliot seemed in the least bit flustered with the bloodshed. And in fact, when she asked if there was trouble, Elliot just gave her a shrug. Much to her disappointment.

"Just a minor misunderstanding."

Her face fell a little, until movement out of the corner of her eyes caused her to nearly whirl around in anticipation of an attack. Which, there was. Only, the one being attacked was one of the other bar patrons, presumably a friend of the man Grace had amputated fingers off of. And the one doing the attacking, was none other than Mary.

One of the better known side-effects of Tsi'vaan secretions is mild hyper-awareness, although that is less useful than it would sound due to a much more severe attention-deficit. But this was one of those rare moments on a Tsi'vaan high where Mar managed to focus. So as the Shree's eyes followed her lunge in it's entirety, she managed to see the silhouette of a gun dropping from a hand just before it clattered on the bar floor.

Mar's eyes immediately darted up to the rest of the men who were in the middle of backing away from their wounded comrade when Mary attacked. They froze, for just a moment's hesitation. And that was enough as Mar took her turn to launch herself forward.

They were both Terrans, and she could see the eyes of the one closest to her widen as she reached for him. Her right true-hand grasped his face, her false-hands held underneath one knee and the waistband of his pants. And she rammed him against the reinforced bar. As he crumpled to the bar floor, Mar turned to his buddy. She snaked out her left true-hand to trap his forearm in an iron grip, pulling him towards her. At which point she rammed both of her right fists into his belly, finishing by whirling around him him in tow, and slamming him next to her first victim into the bar.

With a soft huff, she grinned.

"Anyone else wanna start somethin'?" she asked softly as one of the two men began to retch.

The Orion Files | Tortuga | Marketplace | Crazy Sal's Cosmic Co-Op and Outlet
The Special Stock pt. 4
Irina Rostikova

"Hey Sal, whats the story with this crate?"

~COUGH COUGH COUGH~

The Pink Furred Amateur Flyer's cough was followed by the universal "oh no you didn't" look from Irina Rostikova. It was a relatively common piece of common knowledge among those who had frequented the shops belonging to the Crazy Sals of the Cosmos that anyone asking for the particular history regarding a piece in Lempkey shop (Lempkey being Sal's familial name) had both plenty of time to spare as well as a morbid desire for a headache. If there was one thing that the Lempkey clan was truly crazy about, it was history and in order to augment their obsession, every one of the Crazy Lempkeys had installed an augment called Bardic Knowledge (its name inspired by a relatively unknown and little played game originating on Earth where the players pretended to characters... there were dice and things too). Of course, since Crazy Sal's common clientele weren't exactly the curious type nor, truth be told, were they the type that asked questions , he was only rarely able to use this expensive piece of technology.

"Well that's quite the eye you have there... friend... you see that there is a box that originated on Terra Prime back when they actually used real wood to build containers for storage. This particular box was crafted by pressing creating sheets of wood pulp that were glued together making it both cheap to manufacture as well as fairly sturdy. Based on the weight of the box, its contents not withstanding, I would say that the container also has a ceramic and lead lined interior, ideal for concealing whatever was inside the container. This makes perfect sense when you consider that the logo printed on the box belongs to not one but two Corps, the most identifiable being RaDiKs, a Corp that specialized in physical package delivery..." Crazy Sal warmed up as he also started to warm up a pot of coffee for himself and his guests, "... but we'll get back to RaDiKs after we finish the history of the container..."

~15 minutes later~

"... from the scratches and paint transfer that you can see in the finish, the container was likely transferred from the HMSS Shippy McShipFace, an unfortunate name for a scientific vessel but that's what happens when you leave the naming of your ships to masses of unintelligent internet trolls, to the USSS Ivanka..."

~30 minutes later~

"...the war of 2306 was waged between the indigenous people of the New Saharan Plateau on Antilles Prime against the fledgling Terran Grand Republic... this container was used to transport miscellaneous ammunition through ANS customs before being delivered to the BlackHand Megacorp, a company that resulted from the merger of the Halliburton and Blackwater... that's actually what this other logo is here on the container. They actually folded a few years later after they failed to develop some sort of weapon that they promised to the TGR... but anyways... the container appeared to stay with the BHM for a while longer, at least for the remainder of the conflict between the indigenous people of the New Saharan Plateau on Antilles Prime and the TGR.."

~1 hour later~

"Which is how I got my hands on this little container here..." Crazy Sal concluded, finishing his green truffle salad with minced canine and capers.

"So... what's in the box?" Irina said patiently, her voice sounding like it would have rather been screaming the words at Sal instead of polite way it was asked.

"Dunno. Never been able to open it. Never been able to scan its contents." Crazy Sal shrugged, "But... since it's made of wood..."

"Plywood..."

"Which is still a form of wood. I'll let you have it for... 50k creds." The Shop's eccentric and long winded proprietor offered with a smile.

"10K for wasting our time." Irina countered, her tail once again swaying back and forth in a rather hypnotic manner.

"DEAL!!!" Sal screamed, his voice sounding almost relieved to be rid of the box.

"BUt that's only if Shanoa wants it... and if she does end up wanting it... you forget this little bit of historical trivia if anyone ever asks you about it." The relieved hoping to some day be casino bound Catican stated, her eyes fixed on her mono-eyed, mono-tailed, blade slicing A.I. people killer.

'Note to self, never ask about things again...' Shanoa though, 30 minutes into Sal's story.

After an hour though Sal, finally finished his story, that said she 'face palmed' when Sal said he'd never been able to open it. A wooden box beat him. Though given the exhaustive detail he had on it's history, probably didn't want to damage it cause of it's conversational value should some one ask about it.

But while Irina discussed a price, Shanoa investigated further. Finding a Biometric lock. On a wooden create. "Some one was ether funny or stupid" she said as she accesses the lock, and it did as such locks did, and automatically scanned who was accessing it. 'right ... just hurry up and tell.

"Access granted, Welcome back Operative Flauros the lock chimed as Shanoa jumped and bounced off the ceiling, then crashed into the floor in surprise as the box just ... opened ...

The Contents of the box where 2 fold, a Sniper Rifle of some kind, Shanoa didn't know what kind, it looked custom and she was kinda to spooked to scan it, and a small metal case of some sort, to small for ammo so it probably held something else.

Right now though, Shanoa was ever so slightly freaking right the fuck out internally, something that was fairly visible by the way her tail was thrashing about. It opened, the BIOMETRICT LOCK opened FOR HER, with out her doing anything, and who was the Operative Flauros? Why was there a lock with her brain scan data, the ONLY PIECE OF HER FROM ORGANIC LIFE SHE HAD LEFT, off in deep space, tucked away on a PIRATE OUTPOST.

After about a minute of so of her freaking out and generally over working her processors cooling system, it went into auto shutdown to prevent any permanent damage to her systems and to give them a chance to cool off. The good news is, the sharp pointy thing on the end of her tail, was now on the floor and not thrashing about wildly.

After a couple minutes, the four legged frame powered back up, the mono eye flashing back to life and locked on to the open create. She looked around. "Sorry about that. Yes. I will be taking the create, and everything in it." Shanoa's tone was calm but was also shaky, clearly not having fully recovered from the shock just yet.

Hard Boy was down but not out; unfortunately Mary now had another problem. The table she'd knocked Hard Boy into had been occupied by a couple of male young bloods, who were well into a 'crawler binge. A few of the freed reptiles could be seen darting across the floor, in a desperate attempt to find anything that resembled safety, not that many of the patron were paying the little escapees that much attention.

The two intoxicated Shree fixed their gaze on Mary as the source of their woe, and as Mar launched herself at Hard Boy, one of them swore at Mary and pressed his own attack. Most people, when confronted with an enraged Shree, would either try and escape or maybe go for a weapon of some sort, anything to stay out of melee range; Mary ducked low and met the charge head on.

Coming is under his main arms, she slammed her left shoulder into his mid-section, just as she felt the claws of one of his secondary arms rake her back. With a hiss of pain, she balled her right fist and slammed it against the small of her opponents back. When she'd been getting all touchy feely with Mar, the light pressure of her organic hand had done as intended and made Mar's nerves tingle; slamming a hammer blow from her mechanical right onto the same spot on her adversary made his entire world turn white with pain.

Once, twice, three times for good measure, she hammered the nerve cluster. Young Blood One's grip on her went slack as he stared blankly into space; his mouth was open like he was trying to scream, but all he was managing was a muted 'croaking' sound. Mary didn't get a chance to savour her work, as almost as soon as her last blow landed, Young Blood Two grabbed her right arm and yanked her free of YB1.

The blows came fast and heavy, driving Mary to her knees mostly, though the fact that he was still holding her right arm was keeping her somewhat upright. She twisted as best she could to rob the punches of some of their power, before striking hard with her left at one of YB2s knees; this caused him to stagger slightly which in turn let her yank her right arm free.

Forcing herself upright, she then delivered a hard kick to the same knee she'd just punched, breaking it and then following that up with a closed fisted backhand from her right, straight across YB2's face. A spray of blood, saliva and teeth arched across the bar. This seemed to act as a catalyst of sorts, as within moments, the whole bar started to devolve into one big free-for-all.
--
From behind the fortified bar, a quiet sigh was lost in the growing clamour. The old man reached under the counter and tapped a button causing heavy shutters to seal off the actual bar area completely; that done, he pulled out a stool and a pad, and began reading. The lights, sound system and other hardware where all designed to survive something like this, and the tables, chairs and cups were all made from recycled polymers; once the fight had burned itself out, he'd sweep all the broken stuff into the recycler and print out replacements from the 3D printer in the backroom...just another day.

Pitt wonders around the port city of Tortuga. Looking for a certain area in the city where he can find an info broker. He remembers an old friend of his saying that he was moving to Tortuga. As business would be better here and no one would dare try to ice him in a city full of pirates.

'Hmmm, he should be around here...I think..' Pitt thought as he stops in an alley way. Some druggies laying on the sides of the alleyway as they got their fix. Pitt would then notice a door with a sliding peephole at the top. Walking over as he was about to knock but stop. "hmmm what was that code..."

He knocks three times then stop. Knock two more times then stopped. Then finally knock four times then stopped. No answer as Pitt sigh and try again. This time three knocks at the start. One knock after and then three more knocks. When that failed he try once more in a random combination until he heard a voice with a thick accent yelled out, "By my great grandmothers scales JUST COME IN!" Pitt opened the door after he heard it unlock as he wonders inside. "Ahhh, Pitt. Been a long time." Came a voice from deeper inside the room.

"Indeed Groug. Or should I call you by something else?"

"Nah...Groug is still good. I left the last city I was in before anyone knew who I was. Hehe, come have a drink with me. Unless this is a business visit."

Groug came into the better lighten portion of the room and Pitt saw he still look the same. A rather dark green scaled reptile like creature. He wore medium size armour that protected most of his body. His large powerful tail trailing behind him. In his right hand was a large barrel pistol. Pitt wasn't used to alien type weapons but knew if it was one of Groug's kind weaponry, it was deadly enough.

"Mmm this is a bit of a both Groug. Came to see ya since I remember you were station here. Plus I have some..info I need. Willing to exchange some...though I might need time to..gather it before I can deliver it to you."

" mmm for an old friend..that's fine. But let set business aside. Come..Tell me of your travels with the...dah...what was the ship called again?"

"Heh, the ship was called the Sweet Child of Mine. It is named after an old earth song."

"Blah..you humans and your naming.

With that Pitt started to recount his travels with Walker and what happen since he last saw his friend.

The Orion Files | Tortuga | Marketplace | Crazy Sal's Cosmic Co-Op and Outlet
The Rifle, The Spikes and the Wardrobe
Irina Rostikova

"Access granted, Welcome back Operative Flauros..."

"Operative Flaur-WHOA!"

While Shanoa was freaking the F out, Irina and Crazy Sal had been doing their best at avoiding the Panicked Puss' Piercing Posterior Projection, which meant that Crazy Sal received another near secondary circumcision while the more Graceful Tongue Groomer avoided the situation by jumping onto one of the shop's high support beams before grabbing onto the nearly newly fleshy circumcised Sal and hoisting him up.

~Whirrrrrrrrrrr...~

"Christ almighty. Is it over?" The Crazy Shop Keep inquired, looking down at the unpowered robotic chassis as if it would suddenly lunge at him and bite his manly bits off.

"I think so. Looks like a failsafe to keep her systems from overheating." Irina hypothesized as she lowered the human down to the ground before hopping down to check on her Cat-like Companion. Even from the distance of a few meters, the Catican Merchant/Mechanic could feel the heat radiating from Shanoa's body and even see the visible shimmer of heat haze rising into the air.

While her cat-like co-conspirator cooled off, the Curious Catican eyed the small canister housed in previously locked lock box. Picking it up out of the crate, Irina popped open the lid and looked inside and noted that it contained two data spikes.

"How adorably quaint." She mused as she pulled out her personal computing device an placed one of the spikes onto its flat surface and then the other, "Terran Grand Republic clearance required... and... encrypted."

~Whirrrrrrrrrrr...

That would have been Shanoa powering back up after having cooled off sufficiently. Turning, Irina observed that her Feline Friend was still a bit shaken from whatever had happened, her voice still unsteady as she spoke.

"Sorry about that. Yes. I will be taking the crate, and everything in it."

"Well now that we know what's in the box... I'll say that 10K is not going to..."

"Yes it is Sal. The fact that there's a data spike requesting HIGH LEVEL TGR clearance codes to access means that whatever is on it is data that the TGR will 'disappear' you for even being remotely aware of its existence, let alone what they'll do to you if they thought you accessed it." Irina paused for a moment before grinning and pointing at something behind where Sal was standing, "Besides... I want to get that."

It was a wardrobe, crafted out of old oak tree from Terra Prime by a long extinct society of humans that called themselves the Amish, located in... well... that's not important. What was important was the label on the wardrobe.

"I do so love vintage 21st century Terran clothing." Irina practically gushed as she sent Sal a digital list of the remainder of her purchases that were to be delivered to the Sweet Child of Mine.

"10 Cray Class Navicoms?" Crazy Sal questioned as he continued down the list, "I can do this. But we're even on the store credit then."

"Deal." Irina said as Sal quickly counted out the balance of credits due to Irina and Shanoa, "Pleasure doing business."

------------------------------- After exiting Crazy Sal's Cosmic Co-Op and Outlet -------------------------------

"Sooooooooo.." Irina started off the conversation awkwardly as the two walked towards the Tortuga Sands Casino, "Do I call you Shani... or Agent Flo now?"

When Sal started, briefly, to try and jack up the price, the Mono eye swung sharply toward Sal, and the the blade on the end of her tail opened up.

Then Irina stepped before anything came of it and she 'stood down' as Irina pointed out one of the data spikes was asking for a high level TGR clearance code. Which just added more questions to the growing list she already had. Shanoa just stayed quiet and out of Irina's way as she settled things with Sal.

The mono eye swung toward Irina, the back forward as she asked her question. "I don't know who this 'Flauros' is, but that was a biometric lock, and I did not, hack into it. It did it's typical scan, and just opened on it's out." Shanoa paused for a moment. "If that sounds odd, it's probably because it is. Most AIs are just ones and zeros after all. Me though? I was created using the neural data of what was a living person. Data, they had to open up the skull and remove said brain to get." Shanoa did not sound right still, a bit of her usual 'fire' was still missing.

"At anyrate. I finally have a lead on who I used to be, before ... this ..." Motioning to her self "Sorry ... I just wasn't expecting to get a lead, on a pirate outpost, and with a TGR data spike. I thought I was just some random nobody, but clearly, not the case ..."

She paused again, the shook her head. "Let us leave it for now though, lest I flip out and overheat again, and partake in the time honored tradition of 'throwing money away at a casino'."

It wasn't that Elliot was afraid of a fight, or even that he was worried about how a fight with a room full of drunks was going to turn out. He had confidence there. He just didn't want to be the one to start the fight or be the cause of it. It was unprofessional, and it was always better to let the fight start because of somebody else so that he could claim to be the good guy in the mess. He could understand that the drunken Shree wanted to have a fight, but Elliot wasn't giving them the excuse to dogpile the mercenaries. Because then...they'd have to kill everybody. Oddly enough, it wasn't this 'minor incident' that triggered things, or even Mar decking two guys against the reinforced bar. It was actually Mary causing some teeth to go flying across the bar, to Tink! themselves against Elliot's armor.

"Okay, now it's time for some music."

The bar erupted into chaos as some shutters went down at the bar! Well, that was understandable. After all, the owner's gotta protect his- Oof!

"Watch it!"

Someone had slammed into him from the side, knocking him off balance, so he turned and dropped the guy's face into his knee. Someone tried to tackle him at the waste from behind, but the force was transferred right to the guy he'd be holding, so that guy flew back because of a faceful of chest armor and Elliot launched himself right into the nearby wall before grabbing and flipping that guy around, ending it with his foot in the other's face when he was on the ground. He'd no sooner turned than he raised his arm to put up a Paladin Shield, 'cause a guy slammed into it and...oh! That was one of the friends of Fingers and Hard Boy! He had a shiv in his hands, looking for a neck to drive it into. Well, Elliot shoved him right off his feet and dropped onto him, shield first!

"No no no NO- AAAAAUGH!!"

He ended up donkey-kicking someone - he wasn't sure who - before getting up to look around. He still had to make sure that Mary was in one piece...or one piece and her cyber-pieces. Point is, intact, and it would be nice to know that Mar was okay, as well. He didn't worry about Grace, of course. Not only had Grace lived on the streets, but he'd taught her a number of fighting techniques to improve her own style from homebrew to officially badass.

Grace Hart was not physically strong, like Elliot. She relied more on speed, agility, and quiet execution. That said, Elliot wouldn't like it if she knifed everyone in the bar. So, with her blade held in reserve, let opponents dash themselves across the floor as she slipped to one side, avoiding impact, then kicking down at the back of the neck for quick incapacitation. Grace hit soft-points for greater damage, kicking or elbowing noses, kneepits, and of course crotches if the anatomy called for it to be there. She might've just hopped over one of Fingers' other remaining friends and slammed down her foot to break his tailbone. She really didn't care how, exactly, she was kicking butt. Only that she was doing it.

<<< Mar >>>
Tortuga Drift | Shore Leave | Dead Orbit Bar
"Gonna feel those cuts and bruises when the high wears off."

It didn't even take a second after her display for the excrement to hit the proverbial fan. A pair of nearby Shree, easily riding Crawler highs like she was, to gang up on Mary, while a bunch of the other patrons started to move in on both Elliot and Grace, and herself. Mar squared her shoulders and hunched forward before she let out a loud, guttural howl, and charged through a group of four as they moved on her, scattering them to either side before she skidded to a halt.

She braced a foot against the wall behind her to come to a full-stop with only the slightest stumble, and turned to face the men and women she scattered. One of them was a Mantid, a large six-limbed insectoid that was already getting back onto it's four legs, and was starting to skitter toward her. It reached out towards her neck, only for her to reach down, hooking two arms under it's abdomen and heaving it over her and into the wall behind them. As she did, it managed to score her back with wickedly sharp claws, ripping her vest to shreds in the process.

The mantid was immediately followed up by a trio of Terrans, two men and a woman. And at that point, her drug-fueled instincts kicked in and she began to batter and bat them aside with deceptive strength, even picking one of them up and throwing them at the Shree attacking Mary that wasn't preoccupied with blinding pain.

With another howl, she picked up one of her other Terran victims as they laid dazed on the bar floor and began to swing them like a flail indiscriminately. If they weren't a part of her crew, she swung away, before tossing her unconscious weapon to the side and pinning another random opponent to the ground and pounding them with a trio of fists next to Mary, Grace and Elliot.

When one of their friends tried to pull her off, she only answered with a headbutt and subjecting them to the same beating. Throughout it all, she took fists, and the occasional graze of a broken bottle, but she gave far better than she got.

The Orion Files | Tortuga | Tortuga Sands Casino|
No Trust in Tortuga...
Irina Rostikova

Fate was a bit of a fickle thing especially considering that Shani had managed to find something relating to her past, that was unlocked with the only biometric data the A.I. had, on a Pirate Station many, many, MANY light years removed from TGR space. The probability of actually happening should have been astronomically improbable due to just one of these factors but with all of these factors, it would have been more statistically probable for Shanoa to escape unscathed from the clutches of a ten limbed, male Drift Drake at the height of mating season[1].

"Sorry ... I just wasn't expecting to get a lead, on a pirate outpost, and with a TGR data spike. I thought I was just some random nobody, but clearly, not the case ... Shanoa stated, still not clearly over the shock of her finding a piece of her past. A moment or two or three passed before she shook off the shock, "Let us leave it for now though, lest I flip out and overheat again, and partake in the time honored tradition of 'throwing money away at a casino'."

"Actually with the statistical improbably that just happened back at Sal's, I think the Casino will be throwing money at us..." Irina paused for a moment, her brain trying to block the foot that was rapidly heading towards her mouth. Shani had just shaken off the fact that she had once been someone of note in the TGR and the last thing that she needed was to be pulled back into that line of thought, "I mean ME off all sentient beings getting out of Crazy Sal's with creds still burning a hole in my pocket... stick me in front of a dealer."

As the two continued down into the entertainment district, the distant noise of a bar fight could be heard (and ignored considering the frequency of such an event in a place like Tortuga). Before long, the two Casino bound Cohorts were bathed in the lights of the Tortuga Sands Casino...

Rubbing the belly of a Gilded Fat Little Terran Religious Icon as she entered the establishment, the Feline Degenerate Gambler's AR overlay lit up as her Nanex detected that nearly everyone in the room was armed in more ways than one. There were, of course, the typical assortment of firearms but the surprising thing was the sheer number of "gambling aids" being used. While most were cleverly disguised as a hat or button or false prosthetic, some of the patrons made only the slightest attempt at hiding them, such as the patron with the probability manipulation field generator that had a pair of security officers looming over him.

~BZZZT!~

Even from the other side of the room, Irina could detect the smell of burnt hair (the air purifiers having purposefully been programmed not to filter out that scent) as one of the security guards administered a not so gentle zap from his tazer.

"C'mon! Get up!" Officer #2 ordered as both guards grabbed the cheat, hauled him towards an airlock and tossed him through the open door. Seconds later, the man's venting was met with a number of cheers as a prominently displayed display was updated.

DAILY BONUS JACKPOT!!!!
9,779,237

Flagging down an attendant, Irina pointed at the board.

"What's th..." The Casino Kitten started to ask before the attendant, obviously used to such questions, interrupted her.

"Here at the Sands, we realize that the vast majority of our patrons aren't the sort that would gamble without trying to have some sort of advantage. So to make things interesting, the owners started a program where the credits confiscated from the cheaters that we catch... and vent... are added to the daily bonus jackpot. The winner of the bonus is the visitor who can accumulate the most credits in a 24 hour period without being caught ...and vented." The attendant answered before moving on, subtly pointing at a patron who he'd spotted palming a card.

~BZZZT!~ ~BZZZT!~ ~BZZZT!~
[1] Drift Drake: A highly territorial multi-limbed creature that inhabited interstellar space. During mating season, male drift drakes favor building their nests in abandoned drift stations... typically newly abandoned drift stations that were able to detect the drake before it muscled its way through the station's hull

Mary wasn't really fighting anyone specific anymore; the bar had collapsed into a general melee, so she was just picking targets of opportunity as they presented themselves. A kidney punch here, a tackle there, one spectacular pile driver on a guy that'd grabbed her ass once, and a never ending stream of jabs, crosses and kicks as openings presented themselves.

As she brawled, she tried her best to stay close to her current shipmates, not that the others appeared to need any assistance, but old habits die hard. Looking over towards Mar, she watched with a smile as the Shree racer was doing her level best to make her latest victim one with the decking. "Hey little girly, how's 'bout a kiss?" She was interrupted by a raspy voice in her ear, a rough hand grasping one of her breasts, and a large body pressing against her from behind. Stupid, lost situational awareness.

Driving her left elbow back as hard as she could, she rolled away from the hand and wheeled to face her attacker; some tall strung out station rat, who looked like he'd need a 20 min break to answer 'What is your name?'. While his drug fuzzed brain was still trying to understand how she'd gotten free, she gave her reply. "Fuck off." She took a half step towards him, crouching slightly as she did, then exploded upwards, driving a knee as hard as she could into his groin. He let out an explosive gasp of air, and tried to scream, but with his lungs empty all he could manage was a bit of feeble 'croaking'.

Using a bit of clever footwork and his own mass, Mary easily sent her would-be attacker toppling over on to his back, where she then tattooed 'VOID' in reverse on his face with several heavy right crosses. Alright, I've had my fun... She thought, making her was back to the others. "Let's you and I get outta here..." She said over the dim of the brawl as she sidled up beside Mar; as she spoke, she ran her left hand over the small of Mar's back once more.

Mar simply nodded and indicated that Mary should lead the way. Mary did just that, and the duo battered a path to the back of the room where a couple of heavy shutters sealed off the backrooms from the main floor. While Mar fended off anyone who tried to interfere, Mary popped open a hidden access panel, and within moments the shutters retracted, opening up the corridor beyond. On the word 'Go!', Mar dove through the opening, with Mary right on her heels; the shutters slammed shut moments later.

"Haha! Yes...Was afraid the old fart might have fixed that by now!" She laughed, beaming at Mar. "So, that was fun." Mary was grinning ear to ear; her hair and clothes where in disarray, several good bruises were already starting to show, her teeth were flecked with blood that was probably hers and somewhere along the way she'd picked up a shallow cut that went from her left ear to all the way across her cheek.

Shanoa watched the apparent cheater get dragged out and listened to the explanation of how things worked in this casino, and found it rather amusing in all honesty.

After the attendant left to do other things, Shanoa spoke up. "I have a plan for this. In short. 'Kill every one, take the money and run'." She started. "To expand on that, you play straight, no cheating. At all. While I 'work my magic' and expose the cheaters, and reduce the number of 'obstacle' between us and the objective of a 'phat stack of cheddar'. You'll still need to out play the people who aren't cheating, but it drastically improves your odds of winning, let alone not dieing."

"Sound good to you? Or do you have a better idea?"

Velka | Tortuga Drift | The Dean's Domino Effect Casino & Bar

Looking for Work: Chapter 3A - To Catch A Crook

By her estimate, Velka had been on her little stakeout for roughly fifteen minutes, and in that time, had accrued an additional 2000 in credits; it wasn't much, but she could use it to make sure her equipment was fully stocked, but also in that time, still no positive sightings of Mr Rafe, which was certainly annoying to a small degree.

She was almost about to leave and move on to the next possible target a couple minutes later when something in her left eye caught her attention. Turning her gaze in that direction, she noticed a someone being followed by a couple of other people, guards by the looks of it, judging how their eyes seem to be constantly darting about the place, and that a hand seemed to be hovering close towards something on their belts, a concealed weapon perhaps?

It was whilst they passed by the bar that Velka got a better look at the protectee, and lo and behold, it was one Taliesin Rafe; wearing a white suit with a black shirt underneath a lightweight ballistics vest, and what appeared to be a heavy revolver strapped to his right leg. Performing a quick search, it appeared to be a modified version of one of Wesson Arms auto-revolvers, WS Model 629.

Rafe himself meanwhile was fairly calm, trying to engage in some light conversation with his guards, though they ignored it for the most part whilst his gaze passed over a few women that walked by, no doubt thinking he might try something later, but he seemed to be focused nonetheless.

"Probably thinks that he can follow the same routine as he has done countless times before. Well, he is about to get a rude awakening. However, I must wait for the opportune moment, too fast and either he bolts or gets his guards in on the action, too slow, and he slips through my clawed, metallic fingers and I go right back to square one."

It was at this point that Velka had decidedly had enough, and ended her game, walking away with a credit chit containing around 2300 credits. She waited for the trio to momentarily leave her field of vision before leaving the bar out onto the main casino floor, taking caution to hide her presence from immediate view, using slot machines and pillars for cover.

This carried on for a few moments before the trio in front of her stopped at a nearby machine, one in which a player could potentially win through multiple lines instead of just one. Rafe appeared to have whispered something to his bodyguards before they took their leave and he sat down at the machine and presumably began to play.

"This is as good a chance as I am going to get, have to strike now." Velka then approached Mr Rafe from behind, careful to not make a sound. She caught his wrist just as he was about to pull something from his jacket after playing for a few turns.

"Mr Rafe, the game is up," Velka said in a cold tone.

Throughout the night, Pitt and Groug drank and told each other stories about their adventures. Both laughing and getting drunk. Groug had put away his pistol after making sure that Pitt wasn't a bot in disguise.

"Ah Groug..I miss our chats." Pitt said as he took a swig from the bottle. Having taken off his mask during his story about what has happen to him and the crew of the Sweet Child of Mine.

" Mmm indeed my little friend. Indeed."

"So...how have you been my scaly friend?"

Groug sighs as he shook his head, "Blah it been terrible. The galaxy is a..how do you say..a Total shithole. Its hard nowadays to find out whats true and what false. I keep hearing more and more outrages stories..like the ones you believe." Groug laughs as he took a shot at his friend for being crazy conspiracy theories.

'Hummph...if you went through what I did then you will a bit unhinged as well...and most of the things I believe are True!"

Groug laughs again, "Yeah Yeah." Groug waved him off. "Anyways as I was saying, Things are getting more crazy nowadays. I hear Chronus has something plan or had something in plan. Hard to tell with my informate. Then most of my informates within The Great Corus have gone quiet. So I"m getting nothing out of there. UGh..." Groug said as he pour himself another drink.

Meanwhile

Two pirates were coming out of a seedy bar, drunken and stumbling about. Walking around trying to find a new bar to go to as the last one kick them out.

"Ugh, that..that piece of shit bartender. Cutting us off like..." Stops as he bends over like he was about to puke. Though he just stood there for a few minutes and stands up. "Like that. We should find somewhere else to go."

"Yeah..lets..hey wait..Come here." The pirate told his friend as they hid behind a wall. Peeking over as they spy Mary and Mar. "Is..Is that Mary?" He hiccups.

"Y-Yeah I think it is..that fuc'in bitch." He spat at the ground. "We should..we should teach her a lesson."

"Uh huh..not now..That big Shree she got is too much for us. Lets..Go tell the captain and then we can deal with her."

"Yeah lets go. Though we should get some more alcohol to drink be fore we do."

"OF course!"

The Orion Files | Tortuga | Tortuga Sands Casino|
I'll see your bet and raise you... my life.
Irina Rostikova

"I have a plan for this. In short. 'Kill every one, take the money and run'."

Shanoa's proposition was an interesting one, though a bit telling on the type of person the Anti-Pirate Pussy Cat used to be when she was skin and bones. Perhaps it made her some sort of Mary Sue from Stockton but from Irina's perspective, irregardless of life choices, any intelligent being, regardless of whether or not that being was of natural or artificial construction, had value. It was a sentiment not shared by a majority of the Catican species as life was a commodity that could be re-created and refined through generations of genetic manipulation. Those Caticans who were classified as Casteless were without worth and their genetic sequences were viewed as useless.

With her being having recently been ejected from proper Catican Society, there was little motive for Irina to share these beliefs... but that was a story for a different time. There was still the matter of Shanoa's potential murder spree.

"To expand on that, you play straight, no cheating. At all. While I 'work my magic' and expose the cheaters, and reduce the number of 'obstacle' between us and the objective of a 'phat stack of cheddar'. You'll still need to out play the people who aren't cheating, but it drastically improves your odds of winning, let alone not dieing." The Non-So-Murderous Murder Bot expanded.

"Oh..." Irina oh'd, her voice dripping with relief. It was an indirect way of killing the players in the Casino but given that they had just witnessed two...

~BZZT BZZT ... FWOOOOOSH!!!~

Three ventings since they'd arrived, it was inevitable that the cheaters were going to be rounded up and vented. Flagging down another attendant, Irina turned to her Casino Collaborator.

"Sounds good but I think we should make it a little interesting." Irina responded before addressing the Floor Attendant, "Tell you boss I want to make a wager. My friend here thinks that she can find more cheats than the entire floor staff. If she does then how about you sweeten up the pot by doubling it?"

The Attendant frowned for a moment, turning away before discretely murmuring into a lapel mic, though not many of the words could be made out over the din of the Casino floor. Finishing up with the relaying of the request, he turned to Irina, a predatory smile on his face as he responded.

"You have a wager, Miss..."

"Rostikova."

"Rostikova. Since we're going to be doubling the pot and there's no guarantee that you'll have anything after the dealers are done with you, here are our terms. If you win the wager and come out with the most money earned on our floor after 12 hours, we'll double the jackpot AND your earnings. However, if you fail an either of these tasks, you forfeit the remainder of your chips and ... yourself. We have a working relationship with one of the other establishments on Tortuga who would love to add you to their collection of workers." The Attendant said before amping up the wattage on his smile, "Maybe I'll visit you after one of my shifts in the near future. What do you say to these terms?"

<<< Mar >>>
Tortuga Drift | Shore Leave | Dead Orbit Bar
"Patience may be a virtue, but what I'm after, isn't."

A slight red haze had begun to surround her vision while she continued to pound the unfortunate pirate or station rat that was currently beneath her into the bar's floor. So when Mary finally stroked the nerve cluster in her spine and shouted over the din of the bar fight, Mar whirled around, her fists raised for a few moments before she realized what was going on. Then she simply nodded and followed behind her crewmate.

The ex-pirate made herself into a woman-shaped battering ram while Mar pushed away any riffraff that tried to follow, before they both dove out of a previously-shuttered exit. With a little fiddling with an access panel, Mary had opened the shutters, then set them to close immediately behind them, and she whooped in triumph when they were out.

"Haha! Yes...Was afraid the old fart might have fixed that by now! So, that was fun."

In her elation, Mary didn't seem to notice the expression on Mar's face, or the way the Shree began to stalk toward her. Or at least, she didn't notice right away. The meaning of both the look she gave, and the slow swagger, was abundantly clear when a pair of true-hands caught Mary's wrists and pinned them to the wall behind her, while both false-hands grasped the human woman's hips.

"That was fun. But I want more." the Shree hissed softly through her teeth as she leaned in closely, "Question is, whether or not I want to wait for what I want."

Taliesin Rafe| Tortuga Drift | The Dean's Domino Effect Casino & Bar

Looking for Work: Chapter 3B - The Other side of The Coin

The day, night, whatever time it was on Tortuga started out much the same as any other for one Taliesin Rafe; listening in on various systems for a number of casinos to see which ones were turning out the most profit for that day, as this would help him plan out which 'establishments', for lack of a better term, would be the target for his own brand of entertainment.

You see, Rafe liked to play what was known, as the long game; instead of planning out an elaborate heist to pull off a single big score, he liked to take small amounts over a long period of time, that way, there was less of a chance of a discrepancy in a person's winnings being noticed by the powers that be.

Sure, there had been a few occasions where people had gotten close, and some were even smart enough to string a few clues together and tie back to old Taliesin; but the man was ever so slightly ahead of everyone, covering his tracks with junk code and a few key witnesses here and there every so often, paid witnesses, of course, had to keep them loyal after all.

After picking out a few choice fruits so to speak, he would hit one of the station's many bars before moving on to the main event. He had thought about going to the Dead Orbit Bar, but apparently, a fight had broken out there not too long ago, and the place was somewhat of a mess; well, more of a mess than usual, and that simply wouldn't do.

After some deliberation, Taliesin had decided on hitting The Dean's Domino Effect Casino & Bar, as he knew that the drinks were good there and that some of the security could be a little lax on occasion, perfect for a first strike. So with his two guards, Oleg and Mishka, he went out on the town.

On his route, he passed by the Tortuga Sands Casino, a place known for having rather competent security, and a rather severe punishment for those caught cheating; said punishment he soon saw in action as a couple of corpses floated passing, making him gulp and cough up a little bile in his throat.

Note to self, steer clear of this place for the time being, and improve chip software.

Taliesin eventually reached The Dean's Domino Effect and saw that it was already fairly packed. As he scouted a potential machine to work his magic on, he tried making some conversation to his two bodyguards, but they mostly ignored them, as they were too busy looking out for potential problems; unaware that they were being watched themselves.

The trio soon reached a somewhat impressive looking slot machine which offered multi-win payouts. Taliesin asked Oleg to go fetch him a drink whilst he had Mishka stand at the other end of the bank of machines and keep watch as he sat down and go to work. At first, he hadn't had much luck, mostly getting chump change, till he decided now would be a good time to earn some real money, so he decided to reach into his pocket, and fish out his special poker chip.

What made it special, was that the materials it was made from were non-standard, it being made out of a platinum alloy, and contained a microchip inside that would interface with the casino's system, allowing him to subtly slice a portion of people's winnings, and put it into a ghost account he would later access.

As Taliesin pulled the chip out, he suddenly felt his right arm being gripped almost crushingly tight by something and then came an unnatural sounding voice from behind.

"Mr Rafe, the game is up,"

"That was fun. But I want more. Question is, whether or not I want to wait for what I want."

"Well then, I best not keep you waiting then." Mary replied with predatory grin that a Shree couldn't have bettered. With her hands pinned above her head by Mar's true-hands, and her false-hands around Mary's waist, escape would be problematic at best...but Mary wasn't thinking of escape.

Pressing her back against the wall, she used the fact that she was being held, to leverage herself up, wrapping her mostly artificial legs around Mar's hips as best she could, while at the same time leaning into greet Mar with a powerful kiss. Pulling her legs tight around Mar, she was only touching the wall with the tops of her shoulders when she finally broke free of the kiss with a gasp of air.

"Third door on your left," She smirked. "I think that's about as far as we need to move."

Fighting had gone on, of course, in the Dead Orbit Bar. The bar was sealed and, unless Elliot had missed something, Mary and Mar had gone down a passage that...he unfortunately didn't see HOW they'd gotten it open. No time to investigate right now. As the two of them were still head-wrecking, a bunch of people were starting to notice the absense of the two ladies and starte to notice Elliot and Grace more. It was time for a change.

Elliot punched someone out and yelled.

"Smoke!"

Grace knew what that meant, while a bar full of drunken nobodies would be left guessing for a few fleeting seconds. Too many seconds too late, as Elliot dropped smoke bombs into the bar, engulfing the area in lots of smoke. Grace went light-form and zipped outside without a problem. Elliot did a Paladin shield-rush, leaping out while boweling people over before going into a tuck-and-roll as he got outside the bar. From there, he and Grace started running. Several men who were neither too drunk, nor too beaten up gave chase, but they weren't going to catch them. Apart from combat, these two were too good at getting the hell out for them. Grace leapt and rolled and slid around incoming people, and Elliot shoulder-checked or got around them with some kind of fluid flanking pass-up. They stopped around a promising corner.

"I think we should split up."

"Want me to track those two, Elliot?"

"Can you?"

She just looked at him like he was an idiot.

"Okay, okay. I know you're good at this. I was only checking."

"I know where they are relative to where we're standing. That's good enough."

Thus, she suddenly went light-form and floated into a vent. While frictionless, she could travel awfully fast, but when she came close to the right area, Grace returned to flesh. She did so, and started hearing the suggestive words being spoken between Mary and Mar. Peering out a vent, she saw... Okay, she felt her cheeks burning now. Holy shit, she didn't know it was like that.

I don't think I should be watching this...

Meanwhile, Elliot was walking more out in the open. He was waiting on intel from Grace, but Grace was more silent than usual at the moment. He hoped something hadn't happened to her.

Shanoa just stared at Irina for a second. "Do you not understand the concept of risk avoidance and mitigation?!" the now Annoyed AI stated. "I didn't field that idea just so you could turn around and propose a bet that could end with you worse off then if they'd just vented you."

She sat up on her hind legs "If really think risking sexual slaver is a good idea for something as silly and transient as money, fine, I will go all out and kill as many as I need to, to ensure victory. We're on the same crew right now after. 'Bros before hoes' and all that." Shanoa said, now slightly calmer. "But you better make damn sure a few coins is actually worthy of risking something as priceless as your freedom."

<<< Mar >>>
Tortuga Drift | Shore Leave | Dead Orbit Privacy Room
"[CENSORED]"

If the Shree Pilot had been more sober, she would've reflected on how it was interesting to be on the receiving end of the leg-lock instead of the one locking her legs around her partner. Of course, if she had been more sober, she likely wouldn't have been in that situation in the first place, as she answered the ex-Pirate's kiss with equal enthusiasm. When she pulled back, she licked her lips before turning to the room that Mary had pointed out.

All the while, Grace could watch as the two stumbled inside. And the last thing anyone outside of the room could see, was Mar pinning her "captive" onto the bed while her false-hands immediately went to work. Then the door hissed shut and a red "OCCUPIED" light came on. The two occupants completely oblivious to their potential Peeping Jane, or any cameras that could be recording their every move.

The Orion Files | Tortuga | Tortuga Sands Casino
Money is the root of ... stuff
Irina Rostikova

"Do you not understand the concept of risk avoidance and mitigation?! Came the angry question from Shanoa's direction as Irina sat down at a card table, "I didn't field that idea just so you could turn around and propose a bet that could end with you worse off then if they'd just vented you."

Apparently Shanoa had not received the memo regarding risk versus reward. The risk in this case was Irina's future job title going from Freelance Merchant and Mechanic to Freelance Endentured Sex Worker. While it was true that the Pink Haired Poker Kitty's wager seemed a bit excessive, there was little fun involved when the only stake involved was money. The potential life altering mechanic of the wager... that was exciting, that was what made the game interesting. With so much at risk, Irina could feel her heart pounding in excitement as the first cards were dealt. It was intoxicating. She could feel a surge of adrenaline enter her blood stream as she picked up her cards.

"If you really think risking sexual slavery is a good idea for something as silly and transient as money, fine, I will go all out and kill as many as I need to, to ensure victory. We're on the same crew right now after. 'Bros before hoes' and all that." The Cyber-Kitten commented, her anger apparently dying down, "But you better make damn sure a few coins is actually worthy of risking something as priceless as your freedom."

"Look, Shani... you'll have to trust me on this. It's not the money that's worth the risk, it's what the money can buy that's worth the risk..." Irina stated as she shoved all of her chips into the middle of the table, "All-in."

The move illicited a few excited murmurs from the others at the table before the obligatory round of folding from most everyone at the table, save for the one idiot who called her bluff.

"Call." The Grinning Idiot said as he stared intently at Irina's card, which were lay facedown on the table.

"With everything that's been going on, we're going to have to purchase information that, no matter how hard you tried, you won't be able to get by hacking into any server or device in the Galaxy. On top of that, given recent events, we're going to have to update some of the Sweetie's specs... like maybe reinforcing the Airlocks, adding some point defense and upgrading her sub-light engines. There's also one more thing that I'll have to show you... after we get out of here." Irina said, grinning as she showed her cards, addressing the man who had called, "You got me... I've got nothing..."

Except for noticing the fact that the man had been staring at the cards (and the heat activated ink mark on their corners) as opposed to Irina's face.

"Shani... if you wouldn't mind..."

Velka | Tortuga Drift | The Dean's Domino Effect Casino & Bar

Looking for Work: Chapter 4 - Casino Royale

"Oh really now? If you doing what I think you are doing, know that people have tried to corner me before, and failed, due to a lack of evidence. So why don't you just run along, and we'll both pretend this never happened." Taliesin said with a definite smug look on his face, all but committing to his crimes.

"If you truly think yourself the not-guilty party, then surely you'd agree to come with me to Station Security, I am certain we could have this all sorted out there." Retorted Velka, seeing through his deception, but playing along with his little gambit for the moment.

"Whilst I have no doubt that idea sounds nice in your head Miss, I'm afraid I don't play well with authority!" He said aloud, jabbing Velka's leg with a concealed taser in his right hand, sending a powerful electrical current through her. Whilst it hurt at first, the synth was able to power through, though she did rather, unfortunately, let go of his arm and stagger back into a machine behind her due to the surprise of the attack.

By the time she recalibrated, taking into account the voltage of the taser, Velka could see that Taliesin was attempting to make a break for it further into the casino, his two associates trailing along beside him. Visibly annoyed, Velka unholstered the Fulcrum into its assault rifle form and gave chase.

------------------------ Meanwhile ------------------------

Taliesin, Oleg and Mishka were running for their lives as they made their way through the casino, drawing some odd looks from the other patrons; most shrugging their shoulders and going back to their game, others wondering what was going on. In the meantime, the trio had switched to a private comm-link.

"Boss? Who the hell was that? And what's our game plan?"

"No idea Oleg, though judging from her stance, a far more professional breed of bounty hunter, or at the very least, a more competent hero than what we've encountered before. Certainly had no qualms about putting the hurt on someone. Christ, you should have felt her grip."

"Anyway, as for plan, we'll make our way to the top floor of the casino, and find an engineering passageway, give her a slip through those, and head back to the base to lay low for a spell whilst we plan our next move." Taliesin suggested as he barged passed a slightly intoxicated patron, causing them to spill their drink. Said patron making an obscene gesture at Taliesin before picking up his glass for another.

"Must say boss, that was a good shock with the taser you got on her, should put 'em down a while." Mishka remarked as he unholstered his pistol.

"I wouldn't count on it though brother, she looked to be pretty-" Oleg was interrupted by a sudden shot through the left arm, which caused him to let out a loud scream as he held the area around the wound in an attempt to slow the blood flow down, which wasn't helped as he continued to run.

"What the hell was that?!" He then shouted as he attempted to ignore the pain. Mishka meanwhile looked over his shoulder and saw Velka running towards them armed with what looked like some sort of rifle.

"Boss! She's gaining on us, looked like that taser of yours did nothing except piss her off!" He remarked before firing off a few rounds in Velka's direction, though they seemed to do nothing more than just bounce off, having activated her armour boost system moments earlier.

"I can see that you idiot! Shit, look, just keep running, maybe we can lose her. And Oleg, use this," Taliesin said with visible anger as he tossed a syringe over which contained a solution that should staunch the wound temporarily. By this point, the trio was halfway across the second floor and heading towards the third-floor staircase, Velka in hot pursuit.

Bar patrons were either eagerly getting out of the way, or running for cover; the guards meanwhile were busy trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

-------------------------------------------------------

Velka was glad that she had managed to wound at least one of the crooks, shame it wasn't Taliesin, but she figured that Captain Gantu would want him was unharmed as possible. Speaking of which, she made a call to him via her internal comms unit.

"Captain Gantu, this is bounty hunter Velka, I am in pursuit of Taliesin and his associates at The Dean's Domino Effect Casino; attempted non-violent resolution at first but failed. Suspects appear to be trying to escape via somewhere on the third floor."

"Third floor you say? Probably trying to reach a maintenance corridor no doubt. I'll try and see if I can get some of the corridors blocked off, might make your job or cornering them easier."

"Thank you. Velka out."

Shanoa had already started around the back of the 'Grinning Idiot' before Irina, having also noticed the marked cards. "Ya know. If Your going to cheat, should really be more creative then 'marking cards'." She said. before burying the pointy end of her tail in to the back of his head, through the Cerebellum and into the bit of the brain that controls most the involuntary bodily functions, like heart beat and generally 'being alive'.

"There's easier, and less 'risking slavery' methods of getting money ya know." she said as she removed her tail from the cheaters head and fell stone dead to the floor. "But the path we're on is the path we're on I guess. I guess I should start getting my 'murder' on in earnest." Turning toward the rest of the game floor, she began to 'hunt' exacuting cheaters as she found them in the same manner as the first one, quick and painless. No sense in drawing it out or being unnecessarily brutal about it like the Casino it self was with it's 'ventings'.

Besides, stabbing then leaving them meant the staff had to deal with the body's, which meant there was less prowling for cheaters. She also keept vigil over Irina's table, after all there was no reason for them to 'play fair' and deal with any cheaters that might go after her.

Walker sat alone in his room as music plays in the background. Looking through a few old pictures on his computer of his old teammates. Getting a chuckle out of some of them. Sighing out a bit as he grabs his bottle and takes a heavy swing of it. Turning up the music a bit as he tries to enjoy his alone time. "Heh I would say this is one for you guys..but I knew how much you hated my old songs." Laughing as he remembers his friends always joking around with him about his choice of music. Always calling him old fashion, or an old man born in a young man body.

As the song plays, Walker starts to sing along to it. "Take me down to the paradise city, where the grass is green, And the girls are pretty, Oh, won't you please take me home" Closing his eyes as he listens to the music. Kind of wishing to be born in this time where the music was amazing and not like today crap. Walker would then open his eyes and do a double check to see if any of the crew send him a message while he was remembering the good times. Seeing nothing as he sighs out, "I hope everyone stays safe out there..." Wondering if he should go out himself but decide against it. This was a big port and the likely hood of finding them was slim.

He just hoped that if something did come up, they will call for help. Leaning back in his chair as he picks up his bottle once more and finished it, and then grab another and open it up. Wanting to drink himself stupid while as he continues to look over old photos and videos and listen to his old classics songs. Though as the song came to a close, an idea came to his head for renaming his ship.

Tortuga Drift | Maintenance Corridor 35-B

Looking For Work: Chapter 5 - Dead Man's Hand

Taliesin was furiously trying to access the controls of one of the few maintenance corridors that he still had access to, as it appeared he'd slowly been locked out of each one that he knew of. Meanwhile, Oleg and Mishka were trading shots with Velka, using an overturned slot machine as cover whilst she was stuck behind a pillar. Velka knew that she could simply trigger her advanced armour system and just tank the shots until she reached the pair, but that particular power needed time to recharge.

As for the rest of the casino, most of the top floor had been cleared out due to the panic, the second-floor area had been evacuated only around the approximate area to where the fighting was taking place, whilst the rest of it was being patrolled by heightened security, same for the first floor. Fortunately, Gantu had spoken with security and asked them to stay out of it, doesn't mean they weren't going to act if the situation was called for.

"Boss! Any luck on that door? 'Cause me and Mishka are starting to run out of ammo!" Oleg said with worried insistence, just before a shot went straight through the middle of the machine, just barely missing his right hip and almost hitting Taliesin in the shin.

"I'm working on it! Just keep that metal bitch bust a few seconds more." Taliesin replied with a few final taps on his tablet that displayed numerous lines of code before the sweet sound of ACCESS GRANTED could be overheard and the door slid open.

"Come on! Let's get out of here!" He said with renewed vigour as he bounded through the door into the dimly lit maintenance corridor. Mishka was the first to move, still firing a few shots Velka's way, but more concerned with escape than actually hitting her. Once he got through, he called for Oleg to move before fleeing himself.

As Oleg began to move, he turned to face Velka, he fired his shots with more accuracy, keeping the synth's head down as he neared the door until his gun clicked empty. Momentarily turning away to grab his last magazine of ammo, he felt something hit him in the chest, just above his heart. Looking down, he saw some kind of dart was in him, before being rendered static by a sudden burst of electricity, knocking him out and sending him to the floor, his body halfway across the threshold, but not in danger of being crushed by the door.

Shift to Velka, and she twirls her Buzzkill dart launcher before loading in a fresh cartridge and approaching the unconscious form of Oleg; checking to see if he's alive before reporting the takedown to Gantu then proceeded to enter the corridor, activating her thermal vision as she passed the threshold.

---------- Just Ahead ----------

"Not far now Mishka, any sign of Oleg yet? Shouldn't have taken this long for him to catch up with us." Taliesin asked, his tablet displaying a map of the maintenance corridors.

"Nothing yet boss, I keep trying to raise him on comms, but getting no response. Ya don't think that synth managed to nab him do ya?"

"It's possible, you saw the way she moved, definitely military trained, her actions were precise, the mark of a professional. Chances are she managed to get Oleg whilst he gave us covering fire." Taliesin turned to look at Mishka, who was concerned about his brother's absence. "Don't worry, we'll break him out once we've gotten ourselves out of our own mess. Granted we'll probably have to leave the station as well, drawn to much heat." He then returned to the map display, following a path that would lead them closest to the hideout. After a few more minutes of silence, they came across another door, according to the map, this would put them in a storage room.

Taliesin connected his tablet to the keypad and quickly spliced his way into the controls, opening the door almost instantaneously. Gesturing for Mishka to enter first and clear the room before he entered as well. He then hooked up the tablet to the keypad on the other side and began typing a few commands.

"Right, give me a sec to deadlock this door, make sure that synth can't-" He said with a smug look on his face, just before the sound of a gunshot came from the corridor and hit the keypad, causing the circuit to short out and be rendered non-functional.

Peering in the corridor, the pair could see nothing, but as the gentle sound of metallic tapping could be heard, they slowly began to see the form of Velka appearing from the shadows.

"Hello gentlemen, I'll admit, that was some performance you put on, but here I'm afraid the final act must play out. Would you prefer to come quietly, or am I going to have to knock some sense into you?" Velka asked in a calm, genteel tone, showing herself to be unarmed. Taliesin turned off his tablet and stowed it away, before putting on a pair of leather fingerless gloves.

"As much as I'll regret it, think I got time for one more round."

"Yeah, gotta get some payback for Oleg after all." Mishka remarked as he smacked his fist into an open hand. Velka sighed in response to their decision.

"Very well then, your loss." She said before taking a fighting stance and went to swing the first punch.

With all the chaos going on, a newcomer comes walking into the Tortuga Sands Casino. The newcomer was one of the largest beings within the Casino. Standing at least seven feet tall with reddish skin. His body looked like it was all muscles with zero fat. His arms and legs were like tree trunks. In his mouth was a large tusk coming out of his jaw at the right side. A lit cigar on his left as he puffs and breaths it out. The strangest thing about him was his clothing was sort of earth pirates style. Though due to his massive body figure, the clothing was tearing or stretch out in some places. A large feather captain hat on his head. This being was a Raurax.

"Wat in da blazin fuk is goin on 'ere?" He said to himself. Walking around as he watches as a metal cat went to random casino goers and stab them in the neck.

Seeing no one doing anything about it as he just figure it was a new Casino security. See a seat free at a table as he sat down. The seat groaning a bit under his weight. He sees a dead body in the seat it was in as he shook his head. "Oi! Get this git outta 'ere." A few of the Casino crew quickly coming around and pulling the guy out to vent. "S-sorry Captain Yogork"

"Now..Letz get a game goin!" He said out loud as he pounds the table with his right fist. The dealer quickly setting up a new game. Dealing the cards as Captain Yogork picks his two up as he stares. "Uhh.mm...I..I.Um..." Looking at his cards closely as he scratched his head under his hat with one of his fingers.

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