|Summary:||An insult to the Faux's Kapitan on the La Terre landing Pad leads to blows, gunfire and some jailtime.|
|Cast:||Ace, Nathan, Ruin, Rathenhope, Kolek, Nixkamich and a few members of the LTDF.|
La Terre Landing Pad <La Terre>
A large section of the forest of giant ferns has been cleared here. The ground is perfectly flat, and covered with hard, grey plas-ment. The landing pad is rectangular in shape, with each side several hundred meters long. The wide flat space tends to make the light purple sky seem even larger. The perceptive obsever might notice the small specks of birds in the sky above the lush fern forest. The air is warm and humid here, and small white clouds drift through the lavender sky, occassionally dropping a few moments worth of warm rain.
Ace steps out of the Faux, three four-legged companions bounding out around her as the Faux's resident pack of canines tear off towards the edge of the landing field to do their business. She pauses at the top of the ramp to look over the area before decending to the plascrete, hands deep in the pockets of her bloodstained coat. "You and your crew," Ace says as she draws closer, "You are well? Did not get the opportunity to ask after Leodhais and Scheur last night and had assumed they were taken care of."
Ruin sighs. "Yes, Kapitan. Apparently fainting spells mean I'm out of the usual range of crossfire. We've all been taken care of; the doctors know their craft."
Rathenhope blinks at Ruin's words, but simply shakes his head, heading into the Star.
"Was not implying that they did not," Ace frowns at Ruin, "Was mainly concerned about Scheur and the baby. Know that she was hit in the shoulder, but did not know how much blood she had lost or if this affected the child."
Ruin nods. "She's okay," he says. "Voliast made sure of it. Kind of him not to fry me alive over it, I thought. We have our injuries...but we'll all be fine."
"Was by no means implying your doctors are not adequate to the task," Ace nods to the man, "Simply did not know the extent of the injuries when they were taken aboard. Is good to know they are doing well."
Ruin shakes his head. "They're fine. I'm the idiot. So I do something I know I can do well." His good hand indicates the repair work. "Crossfire...being in the ship wouldn't have helped much."
Ace frowns as she looks over at Ruin, "Am not putting blame on you, Ruin," she shakes her head, "But I think in the future, we can perhaps try to work together in situations such as this."
"Someone had to try," says Ruin quietly. "People were dying. Seconds count. Succeed or fail...someone had to *try*." The good shoulder shrugs. "Just their luck it was the noodle-armed geek who freezes at the sound of gunfire."
"Can I give you some advice?" Ace offers gently, "As someone who has been in this situation more times than I care to recall?"
Ruin gives that one-shouldered shrug. "Hindsight's the best sight. Sure."
"Is not hindsight I speak of, Ruin," Ace shakes her head, "Is standard tactics in situations such as this and they used them well. It was quick strike intended to overwhelm with numbers as fast as they could. Tactic is simple - you shoot until nothing moves. When everyone stops moving, you demand surrender. So long as someone is moving, they will keep shooting, understand? If for a moment I thought we stood a chance, would have fired back, but we were outnumbered and outgunned and they showed no compunction over shooting unarmed civilians. When you ran, even with the intention to help, you caused the gunfire to continue. By sitting still the violence ended sooner and the wounded could be tended sooner which is why we were shouting for everyone to lay low. Is not cowardice to take a tactic that will end the violence faster...it saved lives. Sometimes it is wise not to try right away and in doing so save more lives in the long run."
Kolek jogs down the ramp, onto the landing bay, observing the surroundings to see if everything was cleaned up, yet.
"You have such faith in them," says Ruin quietly. "I had my reasons as well. I was not being stupid, Kapitan. I have no faith in men with guns...but if there is something one can rely on, it's the behavior of those who value appearances. Someone who comes proclaiming liberation and salvation...can't strike down a man seeking aid for the wounded. Not in public, not where the people can see him. At most I would've been decked for speaking during his speech. If he'd killed me it would've given the lie to everything he'd wanted to say...and all those civilians he'd gathered to witness his victory would've seen it. Not panic, not keeping order...murder. I was not being stupid. I was testing the limits of his control...and hoping for a chance to tend the wounded sooner."
"You say this with a bullet wound in your shoulder and two of your crewmen also shot," Ace shakes her head. "Am not saying you were stupid, but am saying this - when they say 'do not move', men like that? They will not say 'oh, he was just helping the wounded.' They say 'do not move' and they shoot anyone who moves. Period. You would not have been just decked for it, you would have been shot and killed for disobeying them and all those gathered, they would have stood and done nothing for fear of joining you. Again, we were outnumbered and outgunned and in order to pacify this planet, they would have shot and killed any one of us until they had the control they were seeking."
"And yet...that isn't what happened," Ruin notes quietly. "Interesting, wouldn't you say? His soldiers - oh yes. His soldiers, on their own, would have shot me without a second thought. Possibly shot others. But not the glorious leader. In his presence they didn't even punch the insolent peasant who interrupted a speech."
"Just like the unarmed ships that were in-launch when they arrived," Nathan adds to the conversation as he re-emerges from inside the Teamhair. "And the unarmed civilian woman who screamed for help and got mowed down. I was horrified that the Faux' crew was too cowardly to open fire when they saw that, and astounded that they didn't shoot you down," he's talking to Ruin, "when you came out of your ship. It could have gone either way; and in any event, it's not what you know. It's what you can prove."
"Because by then, everyone had surrendered," Ace says, looking up at Nathan, "Call me or my crew a coward again and you will have your teeth for dinner. Three of us against dozens of them with innocent civilians in the way. It would have been suicide for us to shoot and it would have gotten bystanders killed. Did not see you or any of your crew shooting either, which was damned smart but when you moved? How many of your people ended up in the infirmary?"
Kolek jogs over towards Nathan, Ruin and Ace, a small smirk on his face as he catches her words, he grins towards Nathan as he makes his way behind Ace.
Ruin shakes his head. "Different tactics, different priorities, Nathan. The Faux crew were only interested in defending their ship. That was left alone, and so were they. My priorities were different." He tilts his head at Ace. "When one takes a risk, the very definition of risk is that there is a chance of failure. We hadn't trained yet for this eventuality; we came in cold. But I will not say taking the risk itself was in error, even if it didn't pan out in our favor. Just that there's things we can do to improve our chances next time." Nathan's attention shifts to Ace and he offers a faint upturn at the corners of his mouth. He lets Ruin speak his part, he takes in the passing Kolek, and he retrieves a bottle that's parked near the Teamhair's boarding ramp to pull the cork and have a drink.
"If we could have helped them, we would have," Ace says to Ruin, taking a step towards Nathan then, "And again, I saw you had a gun and you were not firing. Does that make you a coward? By keeping our heads down, the violence ended sooner and we spent the night tending the wounded. By running around you most likely got other people killed by giving them cause to continue firing. Was a gamble, da, as was our move, but I will not stand here and be accused of not giving a hoop about those people. So tell me, mudack," she continues at Nathan, taking another step forward, "Why did you not leap into the fray, gun blazing?"
"If we were only interested in defending our ship, than why did we help with the wounded? Why didn't we just pack up and head inside, da? Worked my hoopin' ass off rolling that Gurney." Kolek says towards Ruin, a frown on his face.
"I'm nobody's leader," Nathan answers Ace with a straight look. His bottle shifts from right-to-left-hand and the right hand falls so his fingertips hang suggestively near the butt-end of the pistol strapped against his thigh. "I just go with the flow. If you think I ain't got the right to have an opinion about the direction of the flow I end up going with," Nathan suddenly thrusts out the bottle clutched in his left hand, "maybe you'd better show me you can drink this Ungstiri engine degreaser better than I can, so I can decide whether or not to back down."
Ruin runs his fingers down his beard, watching this new interplay with interest. "Call a compromise?" he asks. "It seems we both got a bit right, and a bit wrong. Conceding your statement about their battle tactics *sans* glorious leader, will you also concede my guess accurate as to their behavior in his presence?" He tilts his head at Kolek. "Your ship wasn't in danger at the point you offered assistance, so it's irrelevant to the case. But having our crews rip into each other over it serves no purpose whatsoever." His eyes narrow in Nathan's direction - and while his voice does not raise at all, there's a carrying intensity to the sudden growl. "Stand. Down." He pauses, and then in a more normal tone says, "Unless you'd like to tell me you're willing to call this a personal matter, and not crew-to-crew. In which case I leave it between you and the Kapitan to sort out."
"Ruin," Ace says, not taking her eyes off of Nathan, standing eerily still, "Was trying to offer advice, and da, once their leader showed up they seemed unwilling to continue the fight, though that did not stop them from obliterating the would-be assassin. Whatever that was under the cowl, it was unknown and unpredictable and da, told my crew to remain defensive because three against a hundred would have left us dead and of no use to anyone. If for a moment I thought that shooting them would have saved /anyone/ I would have done so without hesitation, but even you can agree I hope that trying to engage a superior force would have done far more harm than good...it is why I assume you did not order your people to open fire, either." And still she does not move and does not take her mirrored gaze off of Nathan, "Will not stand to be called cowards because we did not choose to throw our lives away needlessly and will not let anyone accuse me or my crew of not caring about bystanders. We chose not to fight because I deemed that doing so would get more people killed, not because we had no interest in protecting the civilians. And nyet," she now addresses Nathan, "Will not drink your swill and have nothing to prove to someone like you. You will apologize for your insults or you will answer for them."
Kolek crosses his arms, nodding at Ace's words as he examines Nathan with a frown, standing at his Kapitan's side.
Nathan's eyes dart toward Ruin and then back to Ace, and he offers her only a shrug of his shoulders before setting his back against the hull behind him. "I got no problem makin' it personal when it comes down to my right to feel the way I do," he observes to Ruin's remarks while eyeballing Ace and Kolek respectively. "And bracin' me with your buddy there while tellin' me you got nothin' to prove ain't action backin' up word. Which's it gonna be?"
"Do not need Kolek to take a mudack like you down," Ace says, "Give you my word that anything between us, it is between us, da? Personal, as Ruin put it. No one will interfere."
Rathenhope comes out of the Mercy, heading for the Teamhair, but he stops as he spots the interaction going on on the landing pad. He pauses and watches.
"So that's the deal, huh?" Nathan asks. "I got an opinion, so now we're gonna fight?"
Kolek pats Ace's shoulder, taking a few steps back. "Don't hurt him too bad, da?" He snickers as he watches Nathan. "Better run while you have the chance."
"Nyet," Ace says, "You called me and my crew cowards to my face, and that is an insult I will not stand and take."
Rathenhope moves a little closer, being careful to approach from the side so it doesn't look like he's taking anyone's side.
Nathan's grin spreads fast across his face while his right hand sets to twitching, the tips of his thumb and forefinger tapping a silent stacatto against each other. "Don't I get a pass for not knowin' who y'are?" he asks. "I might not'a said it if I'd known, but I ain't about to back down just because you don't like what I got to say." His left hand still holds onto that bottle, and without turning his attention from Ace he thrusts it out toward Rathenhope. "Ruin says this ain't crew business," he announces. "Hang ont'a this for me, will you?"
Kolek steps his way over towards Rathenhope. "You in his crew? You can drag him back when he's unconcious then, da? Careful, don't get too close." He re-folds his arms, watching with a smirk.
"Is why I have given you the opportunity to apologize," Ace says quietly, standing in front of Nathan, not so much as twitching a muscle...yet. "And da, Rathenhope, it is as he said...he has made this personal, not crew business."
Rathenhope shrugs, taking the bottle. "I never said it was crew business." He places the bottle on the floor. "Just, please don't hurt him /too/ badly Kaptain. He's supposed to be doing some work for us." He frowns suddenly. "Actually, what the hell are you doing back here anyway?" he asks of Nathan.
"I'll apologize for sayin' it so you could hear," Nathan tells Ace levelly, and leaves Rathenhope's question to be answered sometime that violence doesn't hang like an unrealized black cloud in the sky. "But I ain't going to apologize for feelin' like the people who had the numbers to make a difference made the wrong choice because they were scared of gettin' hurt. I sorta doubt that's what you wanna hear, but it's what I got to say."
"And I ask you again, you hooping mudack," Ace replies, a low growl in her voice, "Why were you not shooting if it would have made such a difference?"
Kolek shakes his head with a chuckle, looking a way a moment.
Rathenhope reserves comment, just watching intently.
"I'll tell you again," Nathan answers Ace, now speaking very slowly even though the tapping of his right thumb against his forefinger only speeds up. "I ain't no leader. Ain't my place, because I know I got shit for brains, and my answer to every problem is shoot it 'til it ain't a problem anymore, then forget about it. I'm the kind'a guy who waits and watches, then does what everybody else is doin'." The man closes his jaws and looks upward for a moment before he says, "I guess that makes me some kind'a coward, too, but if I'm bein' honest I gotta say I wanted nothin' but to start shooting when I saw that woman shot down for screamin' for help, and it did nothin' but piss me off when your cat-man turned down the pistol he was beggin' for two seconds earlier."
"Goldenfur is not my crew," Ace replies, "And da, you are a coward and da, you have shit for brains if you think three people could have made a difference against an army, and da," she takes a step forward, her fist pistoning towards the mans midsection, "Will not stand here and take your insults."
The greasemonkey doubles over that fist and his back impacts with the ship's hull with a ringing through the steel sheeting as a pained grunt comes up out of him. His left hand falls over the top of Ace's forearm as if supporting himself over it, and his right hand clutches at the butt-end of his pistol to pull it free of its holster.
Nathan's pistol slips free of the holster, stabs angrily at Ace's body and discharges with an electric hum-and-spark.
Rathenhope blinks as Nathan fires, his hand resting on the handle of his own gun.
Nixkamich comes out of the airlock, having been watching the entire fight unfold. He steps onto the ramp, his hands wrapped around his tangler gun. Seeing the shot go off, he raises his tangler gun to his shoulder and slowly moves down the ramp. He doesn't fire...yet.
Kolek glares as the mans shoots his gun, what looks to be a knife flicking out with a twist of his wrist, from a holster on his belt, clenched in his hand.
Ace twists to one side, the shot singing the lapel of her coat. She doesn't stop moving, though, whipping around and driving her elbow down into the extended arm with the pistol, a snarl on her lips as the man draws a gun.
Kolek keeps his knife-like weapon at the ready, glancing towards Rathenrope, and then back to the two.
The pistol tumbles limply out of Nathan's hand, and since he's still gasping for breath and his right arm is stabbing pain down to his fingertips and up to his shoulder, he ends up on one knee. The man himself looks just about as useless as the pistol that lays there on the tarmac.
Ace casually kicks the gun away, shaking her head as she takes a step back, hands slowly raising up, "You really do have shit for brains," she mutters.
Rathenhope looks up at Nix, shaking his head, hand coming off his weapons. "..It's personal. Not crew. We stand back," he says to the Qua. He watches as Nathan goes down, expression unreadable as he moves over to pull the pistol towards him with his foot. "Kaptain? If we could leave it at that."
Ace nods to Rathenhope, "Provided we do not both get killed within the next few minutes, we are done, da. If we both end up in jail, may have to break his other arm later."
Kolek takes a few steps towards Ace, knife going into his holster with an easy spin. He smirks back at the man, shaking his head. Spotting Nix, he gives a nod.
The mechanic is too busy choking on his own diaphragm to be much more than a kneeling, hard-breathing, hurting unit just now. In a few minutes he'll have the breathing under control and realize that his arm hurts, but for the moment he's probably still wondering how the situation went from conversation to Nathan needs a medic.
Rathenhope shakes his head, leaving the pistol on the floor for now. "...I've heard of bringing a knife to a gun fight.. but this is ridculous," he mutters to himself. He leans down and looks at the pistol. "At least it was on stun," he says to the air. "..You're not /that/ stupid."
Still with her hands up and in plain sight, she continues to back up slowly, "Is good thing we are not on Ungstir," she says, "Or he would be on his way out of the nearest airlock, stun or nyet. Is also good thing he is sitting in front of medical ship. Hopefully is doctor available."
Military response is immediate. Moments after the first shot was fired, members of the Defense Force were filing out onto the landing pad. By now, a squadron of about five soldiers has begun to create a perimeter around the whole group. "Weapons down!" the leader shouts, his own rifle held at the ready. "Explanations now." At the sight of the fallen Nathan, he leans his head and speaks into a comm unit installed on his helmet. "Dispatch medical team to the spaceport."
Kolek gives a slight sigh as he makes it half-way to the Faux's ramp, arms raising in the air, no weapon on him. " F-" choke "you," comes up out of Nathan's mouth, but whether he's cursing Rathenhope for his remarks or Ace for hers has to be a matter of subjective translation. He's either unaware or unconcerned for the police presence on the scene, which isn't much of a surprise given his condition.
Except the weapons on Kolek's belt, that is.
Rathenhope raises his hands quickly, stepping away from the discarded 630D. "It's not mine!" he calls. "I haven't touched it. Only weapon I've got is a stunner by my right hip," he remarks. "And that hasn't been fired. Self-defense only, especially with the way thngs are."
"Was disagreement between the two of us," Ace calls out, her gun still powered off and holstered, "Which he chose to escalate to gunfire. Disarmed him but in doing so am afraid I may have broken his arm..." she looks down at Nathan, "And perhaps a bit more."
Kolek nods along with Ace, observing the squad, and then giving a rather pitiless look back towards Nathan.
"Witnesses?" the leader asks, face stern. His gaze wanders over those gathered within the secure perimeter. "Is this true?" By now, the requested medical team has arrived, two men going to their knees by Nathan while a third opens up a stretcher. "Savant does not approve of violence unless it is needed. Who began this altercation?"
"She attacked me," Nathan's breath is coming back, "because my Captain thought her crew were insensitive to yesterday's wounded and 'cuz I said a group of folks hid like cowards during the gunfire. I tried to talk her outta it, but when she hit me," a medic touching his broken arm probes at the elbow joint and he winces while jerking out of contact, "I didn't have any choice but to go after my gun."
Rathenhope frowns. "What Kaptain Ace says is correct," he notes, bowing his head towards Ace. "...And you always have a choice," he says harshly to Nathan. "You could have apologised, she gave you the chance, you refused. And, word of advice? In a hand-to-hand fight, don't go for your gun unless winning is /everything/."
Ace raises an eyebrow, "He called me and my crew cowards because we did not try to kill you last night. I demanded an apology and he refused, bringing his hand to his pistol. I again demanded an apology and told him that if did not, I would take it out of his hide. He told his own crew this was personal and to stay out of it and I told my crew the same before I punched him once in the stomach. Is when he drew his gun and fired, so I disarmed him and stepped away."
"I did apologize," Nathan chokes one more time on his own breath, and when the medic grabs his arm more forcefully he winces but doesn't resist. "When I do that an' it's gotta be a fight anyway, she's just lookin' for the excuse. I defended myself like I would with any animal." His eyes rise up to Ace's face and his lips curl into a contemptful sneer. "All I said is I had an opinion."
Kolek nods slowly, replying, "Kaptain Ace is correct, that man provoked the fight." He says, indicating towards Nathan.
The squadron leader frown. "So you attacked him. When he refused to apologize, you attacked again. He had not drawn his gun at this point." Nathan is lifted up carefully and placed on the stretcher. The soldier eyes Ace with nothing close to compassion on his face. "I think you are a coward. Will you attack me now? I think not." He turns to the wounded man. "The two of you will have time to consider your choices in jail. Consider yourselves lucky that it was me who came. Savant believes the only way to eliminate violence from the universe is by exterminating the units that give birth to it. One week for the woman, two for the gunslinger."
Ace nods, "Da, he apologized for calling me a coward where I could hear and then said he was not sorry for saying that we were too frightened to open fire on you last night...and nyet, I punched him just once in the stomach...he is fully armored I should point out...and then he shot at me."
Rathenhope shakes his head slightly, but seems rather relieved that he's being kept out of it. "...Interesting," he mutters to himself.
Kolek glances from Ace to Nathan, and then scanning the soldiers in front him.
Nathan is loaded onto a stretcher without protest or resistance, even when it's decreed that he'll be two weeks in jail for the fun provided by Ace, this afternoon.
"The first of your two will be served in the hospital," the soldier tells Nathan and the faintest smirk pulls at one corner of his lip. "She did trash you up. Best this way. I won't have the two of you in jail at the same time. Surrender all your belongings to your friends now that you have a chance. The rest of you can be on your way. Madame," he tells Ace, "please hand your items to your friends and come with me."
Rathenhope moves over to Nathan, picking up the pistol on the way. "...I'm assuming he gets to keep his jacket," he says dryly. "...Since with a broken arm it's going to hurt. Anything else I should look after?"
Ace nods, "Spaciba for your courtesy," she says with a nod to the man, unbuckling her weapons belt and passing it over to Kolek. "In my quarters if you would, please," she says, following then with a boot knife, unstrapping a wrist sheath and then slowly, with two fingers, pulling out the rather wicked looking longknife strapped on her back."
Kolek turns towards Ace, a slight frown on his face as he nods, "Da, Kapitan, will do." He takes her equipment from her.
Ace turns and follows quietly with the soldiers, offering no resistance or trouble.