Part 3: A Small Cloud Of Ash by Sixeighty Writing(@six_writing)

>>Submission made my Sixeighty Writing. Check him out here: Sixeighty Writing<<


This had been an easy job. Way easier than anybody had expected. All they had to do was collect a small amount of supplies from one of the further outposts and bring it back to the headquarters. The problem with that, and why it was such a highly rewarded contract, was the location. The planet Exviosk 2, a decent sized bio-map with an effective weather-zone system, was located dangerously close to TexanWests Corporeal SodaFloats system.

TexanWests was a vicious business, ruthless in the boardroom and also in battle. They had an all out war approach to other companies and were not afraid to engage in hostilities with anyone that was found nearby. Often it wasn’t worth the risk to bother going near the system, as TexanWests would throw seemingly endless troops and ships at your base until you retreated. One time it had almost caused the collapse of both TexanWests and Grenco Cleaning Corps. Sadly the latter never recovered and their system was divided up amongst the highest bidders and the business was sent into liquidation by The Administrators.

Mag oversaw the last of the crates being loaded onto The Zephyr, puffing out purple clouds from his Vaze. He ran his hand up through the bristle on his cheek, visualizing the credit he would get for this mission alone.

“Twenty Thousand, with crew entitlement bonus…”

He had participated in competitions that had offered less for prize money. This had gone without a sitch as well! A simple stop, load and go, just like the old days when he was a fresh captain. Or at least, new-er as it had only been about a year or two and some captains flew for about 30 years. The sun had begun to set now. Mag leant on a crate, still puffing out purple clouds and took the sight in. The Zephyr, on his right, stood tall at about 50 feet above him, quite broad from this angle. Behind it was a larger cliff that struck up into the sky, several Pterabirds screeched as they drifted on air currents, their silhouettes pinned to the sky. The whole scene reminded him of something coloured from an old cartoon, but he couldn’t remember which one.

A sparkle appeared in the sky, the stars must be working their way through the last of the sunlight, when it rushed down from the sky and eradicated one of the boxes near the ship.

Mag frowned, then he became aware of warning lights from his armpiece.

“Shit.”

Several more stars shot down from the sky, hitting boxes and blowing up on the ground nearby.

“Everyone, get on the ship!”

Mag bolted from his crate, which quickly erupted into splinters behind him. The workers had begun to panic and dashed from place to place, desperately looking for somewhere to cover from the raining blasts. Mag made it to the ship’s doors. The blasts were coming faster and faster now, and he would have to raise the ship’s shields soon.

“Come on! Get yourself to safety!”

One man was left, surrounded by raining blasts. The ground was violently throwing itself up around him but he showed no signs of moving.

“Come on!”

Mag was getting desperate now, scanning the perimeter. The man was an equal distance from the ship to the facility’s doorway and quickly, both of those options were closing down. He took a deep breath, burst out of the hangar doorway, hoping against hope that either his P.S (personal shield) was strong enough to take a direct hit or that he was lucky enough to dodge the shots. The ground thudded and flung itself up at him, causing sparks and shimmers across his shield. It was quickly becoming a dirt maelstrom, the bullets and beams churning their way through the ground, Mag lost sight of the man; his vision a mixture of dirt and sparking jolts. There was an explosion.

Mag felt his shield dissipate as he was launched up into the air. The roar of rocks, bullets and the Zephyr’s engines was deafening. He pushed into the metal platform, lifting his head to see where he had landed.

Markings. ‘Bay 106’

106? That’s-

He rose up and rushed forwards, bay 106 was quite elevated to the ground, so whatever the explosion was must have had some form of anti gravity core.

“Zephyr, this is Mag. Anybody read me?”

The familiar voice of his second in command and also occasional night companion replied.

“Sir!? Where are you? We thought you’d come aboard?”

“Uhh… No. I spotted something wrong and tried to fix it, but instead got myself caught in a storage bay.”

The voice sighed. It was feminine today, like it usually was, but Uthma was a Cylesian. A gender-less race that focused mainly on a breeding partner’s smell or ‘pheromones’. If they took an interest, they adapted entirely. This was possibly only once they had discovered galactic travel, but nobody knew for certain.

“You’re gonna have to fend for yourself for a bit”

“Fend for myself? What dyu mean fend for my -shit!”

WesternTexans had landed and had obviously stripped through the area hunting for people. Several were now firing at Mag as he attempted to communicate with his crew.

Mag dove behind cover, drew his standard issue pistol, small, comfortable and fitted with the latest in eco-bull, the never ending bullets. Except the handle felt slightly uncomfortable in his hand.

Still, he adjusted it and checked his wrist-piece. The screen still read comms but with two twists it read combat and showed his info.

Health 237/250

Shield 100/100

€%€·¥₹~ 00/00

The last one confused him.

“Where’s the bullet c-”

Loud, violent bangs clattered just around him. Clearly he had taken so long to prepare for fighting they had started without him. He readied, popped out, and fired several rounds towards the enemies, but none connected. Instead he nailed the same wall 3 times, and a guard rail. A second later they appeared again and railed hard into his cover, a small metal box.

“Shit… Ahh shit…”

Why did you go back for that guy? Look at this. What am I going to do with this?

“Ok! Ok, I give! Stop shooting now!”

He heard heavy boots making quick movements and slowly rose to his feet, hands behind his head.

I Knew it was too easy.

Mag stood face to face with the unit, all dressed in black, circular helmets covering their faces and each one was adorned with a little stereotypical half moon symbol.

“No, you fight.”

Mag blinked. “What?”

“I said,” The burliest member flicked his hand down, springing out a club from somewhere up his sleeve. “FIGHT!”

Mag still had his pistol in hand and flicked it down reactively, but somehow it caught the guy’s club as he swung. Mag looked down at his pistol. It had begun something else entirely! Instead of his gun, it was now a vibrating, rapidly spinning chain of circles that lead from his hand, straight out at an angle and held the club off easily.

“What bullshit is this?”

“Effective”

Mag pushed through the big guy, swinging his new sword/chain as he went. Everything the sword touched evaporated into a cloud of ash as it went, including the clubs of those around him. So Mag ran as the bullets hailed around him, his shield soaked them up but he managed to run to the halls and began calling the ship again.

“Uthma! Hello? Anybody!?”

Radio silence. They must still be fighting the raiders from earlier.

“Captain? Do you read me?”

Bazor!

“Yes, Bazor! I read you! I need pick up!”

“Hang on. I have an idea. Can you reach the shipping bay? I’m going to hack one of their drones for you.”

Mag was running in circles now, dodging and ducking where he could.

“I’m already there! Please, whatever it is you’re gonna do, do it fast!”

Bazor tapped excitedly.

“Ok… Reroute… No not… Change that to 3… I’m in!”

“Yes! I’m at hangar- :*gnn*

Mags shield broke, as a bullet passed through his side.

“Captain? Captain!?”

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