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Planet Rath
Inner edge of the Perseus Arm
October 16, 2015 (Terran Calendar) 

Under Ruby's expert guidance, the Voidrunner skimmed over the treetops of a vast forest on the planet Rath.  Burst of bright red energy could be seen out the cockpit viewport, slicing past the star cruiser, one of the lower bursts blasting off the tops of a few trees.   

Things had started out as a simple bounty collection, the Void Runners following information on their mark to Rath.  The locals had little interest in prevent the removal of a wanted criminal, and now the mark was secure in one of the Voidrunner's holding cells and everything seemed to be going according to plan.

That was until the group had lifted off to depart Rath, and almost immediately come under fire from four starfighters of unknown design.  Thus far, Ruby's attempts to outrun them had been unsuccessful. 

The Voidrunner shook as it took another glancing hit from one of the fighters, and several more misses streaked past...

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Ruby gritted her teeth as she tried her best to dodge laser fire, knuckles turning white as her grip on the controls tightened. For a ship its size, the Voidrunner was doing well at not getting blasted out of the sky. Its always the easy jobs that go to hell. She though as she tapped at a control console to her right. Outside the ship several ports opened up and the Autogun systems began loading the weapons with ammunition.  The Bounty Hunter then tapped another key. 

"You know the drill, if anything is on fire put it out immediately and hold on tight." She announced over the intercom while weaving through ship fire. Whoever was attacking them was a question for later for all she cared. Getting out alive and with their payday was a much higher priority in her opinion. a holoscreen flashed to life, showing ship integrity and the weapon targeting systems. All she really needed now was a lock and she could open fire.

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"I just want you all to know.  If we die, it's probably Ruby's fault."  Roulette called out to the bridge while frantically running through the ship.  Blaming the head of their little group always seemed to cut the tension.  Especially when for once, he was pretty positive it wasn't him who had pissed off the locals.

The mouthy Zultasian had just moments ago entered his bunk. Expecting to get some sleep on their way to deliver their freshly acquired bounty.  Leaving him slightly irate at the interruption.  I swear to Khan.  It's always these backwater planets that bring the most frakkin grief.  

As he neared his destination curiosity dawned.  "Who is trying to blast us anyways?"

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"Knowing our luck its ether mobsters coming after you or one of your ex'es looking for revenge." Ruby said over the intercomm. She continued dodging laser fire with the Voidrunner, still waiting for the ships sensors to lock onto their opposition. She pulled up a panel and started searching the channels for frequencies. Soon as she managed to find it she spoke.

"This is the Voidrunner, if you do not stop firing on us I will ventilate your ships."

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If the ships pursuing them heard and understood Ruby's broadcast warning, they paid it little heed, as another volley of blaster fire lanced through the air at the Voidrunner.  Ruby managed to bank to one side and avoid most of the incoming fire, narrowly clipping over the tree tops as she did so, but a few shots glanced across the ship's hull, causing it to buck and rock some. 

Roulette just managed to grab a hold of fixed handhold and avoid being sent flying by Ruby'' maneuver.  A nearby access panel was flung open as sparks and smoke could be seen from within, as something was not reacting well to the minor hits the ship had taken so far.

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Ruby gritted her teeth as the ship shuddered from the attack. "Well fine! If you are gonna be like that I hope you like Autocannon fire." She announced before she practically punched the comms panel to switch it off. Eyeing the sensors, she slowed the ship down enough for one of the fighters to get in close. One of the screens started to flash red with the words Target locked. Smiling, Ruby pulled the trigger on her flight controls.

Outside, the Voidrunners Autogun barrels started to rotate. In seconds the air between the ships with filled with superheated shrapnel digging into the fighters hull. Ruby couldn't properly assess how much damage it was doing but judging by the smoke she was certain it was a direct hit.

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The autogun fire tore into one of the pursuing fighters, three hits connecting solidly with the fast vessel.  While the damage was minimal, it was sufficient to cause the vehicles controls to seize for a moment as several systems overloaded and backups had to kick in.  With the fighter flying so low and fast in the atmosphere, that brief moment it took the backups to compensate was more than enough to send the fighter banking wildly, where it clipped the tree tops of the forest below, which sent the vehicle spinning and then crashing down into the trees. 

But Ruby's triumph was short lived, as the remaining fighters opened fire once again.  While she was able to dodge one series of shots, the other two managed to score solid hits, which rocked the Voidrunner and set off warning lights.  Ruby felt the ship's controls suddenly get stiffer as it started to roll to one side.  But the experience pilot quickly flipped some switches in front of her, firing maneuvering thrusters to compensate and pull them out of the roll. 

The Voiderunner skimmed over the tops of the trees below, before dropping down into a narrow canyon that was nearby.  Warning lights were still flashing as Roulette saw fire indicators appear on a damage control screen he had been watching.  The flight controls were still very stiff, and appeared to be worsening...

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 "My exes prefer to punch me rather than shoot me, thank you very much.  Well most of them.  At least the ones I didn't cheat out of millions."   Roulette called out.  He expected Ruby to get them out of trouble and on to their payday.  Such expectations were not well met as the ship began chaotically flashing with signs of trouble.  And the unmistakable sensation of taking heavy fire.  "Oh Blarfnots.  Fire!  Can't kill the oxygen if the kid's not wearing a suit.  I'll go deal with that in person."

 

The Zultasian tried to make sure his balance wasn't compromised before proceeding to move about the ship.  Heading in the direction that the display warned about.  He didn't know Ruby's ship half as well as her.  But, that was enough to know that he couldn't remotely access any fire prevention methods.  I pick the next job.

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"Very reassuring Turk." Ruby said over the intercom. The flashing images on the display would worry most pilots, but she knew the Voidrunner could easly take plenty of punishment, although the difficulty maneuvering the ship was something she would have to look into once all this was said and done. But what annoyed her the most was the targeting system continually flashing Targets not found. Apparently her attackers were not following them into the canyon.

 

The Bounty Hunter kept the targeting systems active for the moment they would show themselves. In the meantime she kept the ship moving, dodging and weaving between rock formations and trying to do her best to make the Voidrunner a harder target for their pursuers once they decide to open fire once again.

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Under Ruby's guidance, the Voidrunner rocketed down the canyon, weaving two and fro as it tried to make itself a more difficult target.  The decision to try to avoid incoming fire proved prophetic, as the other warning systems went off, alerting the bounty hunter that two of the enemy fighters had followed them down into canyon. 

The two small spacefighters proved difficult to shake, as they easily followed Ruby's erratic flight path, avoiding the rock outcroppings and canyon walls as the kept after the Voidrunner.  Bright beams of energy streaked after the freighter, one series of blasts hitting a canyon wall and sending chunks of rock and other debris flying.  However, the other fighter proved more accurate, hitting the Voidrunner with its fire, but this time the vessel's hull proved able to withstand the attack. 

The hit did have another result, as Ruby veered a bit too hard to the right to try to avoid more fire, and ended up clipping a rock outcropping.  The impact caused the ship only minor damage, but did cause it to buck considerably before Ruby righted it once again.

Roulette had been on his way back toward the fire when the ship rocked with the impact on the rocks, sending him sprawling onto the deck.  While he was not hurt by the spill, it did slow him down...

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Steady now.  This is not how I'm going out.   Roulette bit down on his bottom lip in slight frustration before pushing forward.  Keeping one arm on the walls of the ship in the hope of remaining upright.  Quietly keeping his faith in Ruby, the Zultasian bounty hunter knew he had to maintain his focus towards putting out the fire.  Everything else was just a distraction.

 

A distraction that could mean my untimely end.  All because we went for the quick pay day.  Though, it seemed unlikely their attackers were after their captive.  Being so aggressive meant potentially killing who they were after.  That is if they were indeed after rescuing anyone.  No, it was more likely that the ambush was meant solely with the aim of taking them out.  Barring certainty that they could bring the ship down without harming someone inside.

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Not going to have much left with all the repairs I'll need to do at this rate. Ruby thought with a groan as the ship hit rock and dust. She managed to pull the ship away from the canyon walls when the ships targeting computer beeped. With most of her attention focused on not crashing the ship, she pulled the trigger and hoped the autoguns would tear their pursuers in half. Once again the turrets fired round after round into the opposing fighters. One of them took the brunt of the assault, the other seemed to dodge them quite easily. Ruby sighed. The sensors were probably thrown off by near crash they suffered. 

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While the Voidrunner's autoguns had failed to hit one of the pursuing fighters, it delivered solid hits on the other, sending that fighter spinning out of control as it quickly dropped in altitude and crashed on the canyon floor.  But the success was short lived, as the second fighter continued after the Voidrunner, opening fire with its blasters at the freighter.   

Several blasts stuck the Voidrunner's hull, rocking the ship slightly as the enemy fighter stayed closely behind the freighter.  Ruby managed to keep the ship in the air, but it was beginning to get questionable how much more abuse they could take. 

Elsewhere, Roulette managed to reach the aft compartment which had been indicated on the fire alert display.  It was a small maintenance room that provided access to a few of the ship's portside systems.  One of the access panels had been blasted open, smoke visible from within.

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The ship status screen flashed red, icons pointing to various sections of The Voidrunner detailing the damage to the ship. "Tell me you are fixing things back there and not just standing around!" Ruby shouted over the intercom as she banked the ship away from the canyon walls. A flash from the targeting screen and the bounty hunter pulled the trigger on the autoguns.

Her hopes that fighter would get ripped apart were granted as it seemed nearly every round hit home. It lost control and crashed into the canyon side just as The Voidrunner managed to make the turn. Barely. 

That feeling of victory was starting to fade however as she glanced again on the status screen. "Bloody Hell. Ships taken too much, we won't be able to leave the atmosphere until we get some repair work sorted out." She sighed as sighed. Hitting a few switches, she started scanning for someplace to land. And for anymore ships looking to permanently ground them.

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For the moment the Voidrunner's sensors showed the immediate airspace above the canyon was clear of any other hostile fighters.  Where the fighter that had been pursuing the freighter before it dropped into the canyon had gone was unclear, but for the moment it was nowhere to be seen. 

As for potential landing sites, Ruby was not seeing anything on the sensors that indicated any inhabited areas within several kilometers, and it was questionable how safe it would be to try to fly much further than that in the ship's current state.  As she continued down the canyon, Ruby spotted an entrance to what appeared to be a cave large enough for the Voidrunner to at least enter. 

Back in the Voidrunner's holding area: 

Seika had been doing her best to brace herself during the frantic dogfight, with there being little she could do during the situation.  Across from her, inside one of the ship's holding cells, the bounty they had come to this planet to collect had been bounced around a bit during some of Ruby's more severe maneuvers, but was not sitting back down on the cot in the cell. 

"It appears things are not going as smoothly as you and your companions planned."  The bounty stated in heavily accented GalStandard.

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Because of her size, it took pretty much everything Seika had not to smack her head every time Ruby cause the ship to duck and veer. Sure, she knew that flashing lights and warnings were everywhere, but her inability to read meant she had NO idea what exactly they were warning about, or where. The only word she could pick out was 'fire' but the remaining blur of words drowned it out.

 

Seika may not have been the most socially fluent of people but the sarcasm their captive handed out was not lost on her. "Seika does not think a cell in that one's plans either." He own accent caused its own lilts and lisps with the language, but her own sarcasm was evident beyond a very sharp toothed smile. "The ship still fly. Do not know if the same can be said about the followers. Seika hope they were not friends of that one." She gives the captive a sharp little nod. 

 

She manages a few steps over to the panel on the wall, hitting a button to turn on the intercom. "Ruby.... Seika hope we are done with bouncing around. Keep hitting this one's head."

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"Define fixing.  This panel is Roxian meat at this point.  Anything but useable"  Roulette shouted over the intercom.  The Zultasian reached into one of the storage lockers in the maintenance room and pulled out a long, thin, and metallic cylindrical red and white tube with a hose on the end.  Immediately activating the thin helmet of his lor hardsuit the trickster pulled a trigger mechanism attached to the device.  The flames began to gradually die down.  The area around the fire was slowly deprived of oxygen.  Once it had died down enough, Roulette release his old on the trigger and pushed a secondary button that covered the area in foam.  Killing off the flames with one final push.

 

The remains were not pretty to say the least.  "I know you really love this ship and all.  But, Voxx.  It has seen better days."  Roulette kept this open critique to himself.  Knowing better than to share their plight over the intercom.  Lest he be expected to volunteer some of his share of the bounty into repairs before such a sentiment is even needed.

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"So long as its stops being on fire or shooting plasma or anything like that I consider that fixed until port." Ruby said over the intercom, sounding a lot less panicked now that the ship was not being assaulted for the time being. "We should be fine for now Seika. Also tell our payday I can hear him over the comms and that I have no problems shoving him into Cryo if he starts to get annoying." 


Spotting the cave, Ruby guided the battered ship inside. Wasn't a settlement or a spacedock, but it would work enough to keep them hidden from anymore attackers. She retracted the autoguns, activated the landing gear and carefully landed the ship inside. Lets see what the damage is. The bounty Hunter thought grimly as she got out of the pilots seat.

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She grunted and swore, at great length and breadth, in her native tongue.  That harsh agglutinant language of her people, making it even more dense.  Of course, not having comparable mammalian vocal structures she did produce sounds that were jarring, unnerving, and rasping.  Then she punched the comm and dropped to Gal-Standard.

 

"I'm going to be making sure the engine's containment isn't breached."  She had somehow become something of a mechanic for them, though she was generally more there to make sure they could limp along to a real one, generally stuffing money into learning these things, or giving money to taking care of Hral.  Who she made sure not to have on these runs where possible.

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Down in the holding area, the group's bounty settled himself back down on the cot in the cell, going quite after Seika's rebuke and the comments from Ruby that could be heard over the ship intercom.  Seika could feel the ship level out to a smoother flight and eventually set down.   

With the fires out and the ship out of danger for the moment, the others set about assessing how bad the damage was.  Bliss confirmed that the containment field for the engine core was still intact, and there was no damage to the main thrusters.  But as she and Ruby looked over the secondary systems, they determined that several of the key cooling exhausts had been damaged, which would make it all but impossible for them to get off the planet without the engines overheating.  A number of other secondary systems were damaged, but not nearly as critical as those cooling exhausts. 

While they had a few spare parts aboard that would allow them to fix some of the damage, there were a number of things they did not have to try and fix the cooling system….

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Without her combat armor on, Ruby always felt even smaller next to the rest of the crew. Her black form fitting piloting suit and her jacket have quite the same bulk either. None the less it made moving through tight spaces of the ship easier as she helped check on the rest of the ship and put out any lingering flames. By the time she was done, Ruby was checking one of the diagnostics consoles.  "Ah frakk..." The Bounty Hunter said under here breath with a frown. "Well, good news we should be able keep moving with some repairs. But we are planet bound unless we want to engines to explode on us." 

 

Ruby paced around the room, trying her best to think of a solution. The planet was pretty low tech as far as she knew, it was unlikely there were going to be spare parts lying around...
She stopped as an idea formed in her mind. "Those fighters were space worthy from what the ships sensors picked up. They likely have cooling systems as well. We could salvage them from where they crash and install them into The Voidrunner until we can get proper replacements. Might even find out more about our attackers along the way to." She suggested to everyone.

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"Burning waters!"  Came a sudden outburst from the Xuli'pa warrior, along with a crackle of distortion.  "Lights are out in engine room, also I electrocuted myself.  These are not related."  With a growl she left the room as the smell of ozone was sufficient to drive her back, or at least make her not inclined to say.

"That sounds like the best option.  One of us should stay with the idiot."  She was moving to get her suit, and start to slip it on.  They didn't have a breach or anything of the sort, but when scavenging she liked to have it on, in case there was radiation leaking.  She was a little worried all things considered, but mostly about there being survivors on in the fighters, or them being booby trapped.  It's what she'd do.

 

Well that, or set up a beacon, which they should have picked up too, right?

Edited by TheAbsurdist

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"One of us not going out and traveling through this damp, ugly, planet?  I vote me." Roulette called out.  Being the least qualified member of the troupe to jump through treetops.  Or however it was beings traversed through a forest planet.  The City born Zultasian just knew he wanted no part in finding out.  If he could get out of putting in the work that was.

 

This plan did have the downside of having to babysit an annoying bit of company.  Their cocky captive had long past being the point of worth it.  Which made having to listen to him all the less enticing.  Frankly listening to a government fanatic spread the glory of Khan or would have been a more entertaining and equally boring endeavor.  All in all still beats trudging through a forest planet.

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Seika looked smugly at their captive, her wide toothy smile filled with sharp edges. "That one heard Ruby. Does it like the cold?"

 

She kept an eye on the captive for a few more minutes before trying to make her way through the ship. Even Seika could tell the place was barely holding together. Panels where dislodged a d scattered around. In one hall a chuck of air duct had fallen from the ceiling and she had to carefully step around it.

 

Finally she found Ruby. "What is plan? Are these going out?" She had little idea of the condition of the ship. Only could go by what she could see and had to admit it wasn't good. 

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"For a Zultasian and a gambler, you are remarkably risk adverse." Ruby said as she crossed her arms and sighed. She turned to Bliss and Seika. "Right then. I'll try and fly us near one of the crash sites. The Runner should hold together despite the beating hes taken." She said, pausing to look over one of the terminals to double check to see if the ship really would hold together for this operation. "Since you are the one with the technical expertise Bliss you'll have to sift through the wreckage for what we need. Seika, your going with Bliss. Keep an eye out for any threats and put them down as you see them."

"Roulette... Volunteer Prisoner duty for you then." Ruby said with a shrug. "Everyone got that? Cause I think we are all getting a little sick of this planet." She said before heading off back to the cockpit.

Edited by Darksider42

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