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The Common Bond

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The Common Bond
Summary: After a week of joint training exersices with the New Luna Militia, the pilots of the 807th Royal Naval Aerospace Service Squadron have managed to rub the NLM all the wrong ways. Dragged together in defense of Hancock Station however, a common bond is struck.
Cast: Joshua Rummel, Roger Reichmann, Roland Denton, Taeren M'Nammrann, Jantine Osligoth, Volouscheur, Lucius Castus, Ruin
Air Date: 2006.08.22
Landing Bay <Hancock Station>

This incredible chamber sports almost a square mile of poured plascrete, all watched over by a high communications tower. Most of the ceiling of this chamber is of a lightly buzzing blue energy, allowing ships in and out with a minimum of atmosphere loss. Cheery lighting fixtures line the walls in stark contrast to the otherwise utilitarian nature of the bay. There is a set of double doors near the back of the bay, manned by half a dozen armed New Luna Militia members.

Roland stops by the tracking antenna of the Defiant-class fighter, running a hand down it. "Mm. Little spot o'fixin' up and this sucker might even be useful."

Taeren pauses at the base of Riposte's ramp, turning at the voice. Still looking kind of sour, he tucks away his PDA and approaches Roland at the base of the Hobart. "You didn't see how much fixin' up it took to get her to this point," he replies, hands finding his pockets. "Two solid weeks of engineering work just to bring it back to spec. No guns, no faster-than-light, no cargo. In all honesty I'd rather sell it to a shipyard and put the takings towards a more modern frigate."

Roland turns his head, then he snaps to attention. "Sir."

A sudden increase in the buzzing above the landing pad heralds the arrival of the Sivadian Spitfire, followed by the roar of the lifting thrusters. Descending gracefully to the pad, the wheels touch down without little rolling in either direction. As the craft powers down, a low whine can be heard as if the craft protests it. The lights soon fade out.

Taeren returns the salute with the ease of an officer accustomed to his station. "Stand easy." He looks up at the Hobart sadly and shakes his head. "Nope, I think we're better off pocketing the two grand or so we could bank from selling this old boat." The Timonae turns to look Roland over, and seems a little more pleased. "Oh, a pilot. I was beginning to think we didn't recruit pilots; haven't had a new batch since I brought on Corporal Osligoth." He manages a polite smile, although it falters a bit as his eyes move sidelong to the landing Spitfire. The Timonae extends his hand to the pilot. "Captain Taeren M'nammrann."

Roland clasps his hands behind his back, nodding. "Yessir, a pilot. Sergeant Roland Wallace Denten. They ain't assigned me yet, but I served as a pilot on th'LMS Midnight back when there was a Luna Militia. Hopefully, I'll be one of the lucky few t'get my hands on a Jackhammer." He looks back towards the Hobart. "And, frankly, Sir, any capital ship we can afford is worth th'payment. I got a feelin' th'Sivadians are gonna get some hokey ideas after their 'join exercise.'"

The canopy pops open on the Spitfire and the pilot can be seen removing the last of his umbilicals and buckles before popping off the helmet and clambering over the side. As soon as his boots touch the deck, he punches a few buttons along near the cockpit and the canopy closes. He turns around a walks toward the familiar crowd.

Taeren returns the handshake, then returns his four-knuckled fingers to his pockets. "Sergeant Denten." His brows knit. "You logged that affidavit about the Chief." He looks over at the approaching pilot before turning back to Denten. "This isn't the right time to talk about it, but I'll be wanting to ask you about what happened before long." With that, he turns to face the approaching figure, flopping his arms and heaving a long-suffering sigh. "So much as a single gloating word and I'm not paying," he begins, digging around in a hip pocket. "You had a lucky burst along that straightaway."

"Little I can add that ain't in the affidavit, but if yah wanna here it from my mouth then it'd be an honor, sir," Roland replies, then frowns slightly as he sees Joshua. He pitches his voice low, so it doesn't carry, "I'll warn yah, sir, this guy an' I didn't quite get off on the right foot."

Joshua continues toward the Timonae, umbilical hoses swinging from his suit. "I wouldn't dream of it," he says with a grin, "It was rather quite close after all." Reaching the NLM CO, his extends his hand as a greeting. Glancing side long at the nearby Hobart, he comments, "I see you've made fair progress on her. Is this Sergent, Denton I believe, her new pilot?" He glances at the aforementioned pilot.

Taeren chuckles. "Of course," Tay replies to Denten under his breath as Joshua approaches. "He's Sivadian." For Joshua's benefit, putting on a smile: "That fighter's been spaceworthy for some time now," he replies, producing a slip of plastic from the hip pocket and palming it. Unobtrusively, that hand shakes Joshua's, transferring the plastic. "Sergeant Denten has yet to be assigned to a craft." He points a finger at Joshua. "Don't spend that all in one place."

Roland eyes widen as what is presumably money passes between Taeren and Joshua. A mild look of disapproval flash on, and off, of his face. "Th'Hobart here certainly ain't close to bein' useful. We have some new ships on order that I'll probably be assigned to. Should be a week or so," he replies. "Should be able to give even a Spitfire a run for th'money."

Joshua chuckles, accepting the credit chit with a smile and nodding. "As long as I hide it from the significant other, I shan't," the Sivadian says mirthfully. He fishes around for a pocket on the flight-suit and stuff the chit in one of them, saying, "A pleasure doing business with you." He glances at Roland and addresses him. "Forming a proper squadron then I see," he says, "I shall much like to see that when it comes to fruition" He sweeps his fist in front of him in a gesture of approval. "Just smashing, in deed."

Taeren gives Roland his own disapproving look. "We don't usually talk about force strengths with people not on our payroll, Sergeant," he reminds the man, turning back to Joshua and adding, formally, "I am not at liberty to disclose how roundly you will be spanked if you come around next week to go double or nothing."

Roland blinks at the mention of payroll, but allows himself to be simply rebuked. "Yessir. Sorry, sir," he says simply.

A loud burp announces Lucius's presence as he exits the inner lobby of Hancock Station. Far from being embarrassed by this rude 'gesture', he simply smiles and nods at the marines on guard and continues on his way through the bay. A bottle of water is in one hand, unscrewed and being sipped from.

The Spitfire RNS-7406-FR2 glides in through the open bay doors, canting slightly to port to clear the upper fin of a nearby ship. It executes a deft 180 degree turn, then settles into clear landing spot.

Taeren, Roland, and Joshua are near the Hobart, talking, Lucius has just entered and is walking through the bay.

Joshua chuckles at the Timonae's comment. "I believe we're soon headed back to Sivad as we have some business there to address," he says, "I have a feeling that the Admiralty may send us back for more joint exercises once you get your new additions to the fleet."

Reichmann begins clambering out of the opening canopy of the Spitfire, even before its opening has been completed. He reaches back into the cockpit, with the resulting sound of flipping switches being lost in the general noise of a landing bay (or the cycling engines of the Spitfire for that matter). Pulling back out of the cocckpit, he slides down the shell of the fighter, dropping the last few feet tot he ground with a hard clop of boot leather hitting decking.

Taeren nods to Josh. "That very well may be," he agrees, eyes moving this way and that as the bay becomes a bit more crowded. "I'm as eager to see what we can do as you are, I'd expect. This Militia is about due for some new hardware." His eyebrows raise at the approaching Reichmann. "Maza's tits, you people are multiplying," the Timonae quietly exclaims.

The look on Roland's face seems to echo the Timonae's sentiments as he watches the approach of Reichmann. The NLM Sergeant turns to look back at Joshua. "Exactly how many pilots in yah unit?"

Lucius continues on his merry way through the bustling landing cavern, pausing for a moment to recap his now empty bottle of water and toss it into a nearby trash receptacle. Why he was using a bottle is a mystery, as a canteen is strapped to his belt among the other pouches. A few more moments of walking and he's now very close to where the pilots all talk. He takes a seat on a cargo crate and leans back on a stack, breathing a relaxing sigh.

Joshua glances at the emerging compatriot before looking to Roland. "That little tid-bit of information is quite restricted," Joshua says, "You would have to address the Admiralty with that question. I highly doubt they'd divulge it however." Glancing to both NLM staff, he says. "Though if rumors are true and this joint exercise is preparation has anything to do with the buzz at OATO, it may not be that difficult to get such things from them"

Reichmann strides away from his fightercraft and in the direction of his fellow RNS officer...and other sundry personnel. He starts to peel his flight gloves as he walks, ending with them gripped in one hand. He lightly taps a thigh with them as he walks, punctuating the hard *clop* of bootleather on decking with a softer slap of leather on fabric.

Taeren nods. "I'd expect we'll be having more practical discussions about strength and capability soon, given the situation," the Timonae agrees. "In the meantime, I can tell you one piece of unclassified info: the 'tender in our station pub pours a mean pint, and unless something happens in the next ten minutes, I'm totally fine to get alcoholic beverages."

Following a beep in his pocket, Lucius rises up from his impromptu seat to fish his PDA out of his trousers. His ice blue eyes lower down and scan the screen of the thing; as he reads, a smile creeps up on his face. Lucius begins to stride towards the exit back into Hancock, obviously pleased about something.

Roland opens his mouth to speak, then properly closes it. He frowns a Joshua for a moment, then shrugs. "Seein' as I ain't assigned, an' am spendin' most of my time tryin' to figure out what to do with what we have, I don't have anythin' that would prevent me from enjoying one."

"Splendid idea," Joshua says, "I could use a drink." He turns to the arriving RNS officer. "Good to see you could make it, Mr. Reichmann," he says.

Reichmann stops in front of Joshua, drops into a parade rest and salutes. The look on his face can only be decribed using the terms 'total' and 'boredom'. It seems this air-cowboy needs something to do. "Pilot Officer Reichmann reporting, sir."

Taeren smirks at Reichmann. "Can Sivadian officers say 'get a beer, that's an order?'" The Timonae asks, checking his watch. "Okay, excellent. I am officially off duty for the night. I'm going to go get a drink before they can think up an excuse to recall me."

Taeren turns to hi-tail it off the landing bay.

As the assembled crowd seems ready to follow Taeren off to grab a drink, a siren rings across the landing pad, and several red lights flare to life. "Potentially hostile vessel inbound. Prepare Franklin for inspection. All available personnel to landing bay."

Roland frowns. "Well, shit, So much f'a drink." He begins to move towards the Franklin, then stops and turns to the RNS pilots. "Care to give us an escort?" He waves for Lucius to board the vessel.

Lucius re-enters the landing bay, in a fresh pair of NLM BDUs. It looks like he's been finally assigned his rank and duties. His grin is even broader than before, and upon pressing a finger to his ear when Roland speaks in the comm, he jogs on over. "Alright, Sergeant, I haven't been assigned a squad yet so I can't exactly pick any up. What's the problem?"

Joshua returns the other Sivadians salute and drops it down, "At ease Officer," he says. As the sirens blare he glances about, rolling his eyes and looking suddenly agitated. "Some bloody luck this is," he says in a disgruntled fashion, "I suppose we should assist. Wouldn't want them to damage the Regreb Bay on our watch, aye?"

Reichmann drops his salute and replies in a martini-dry voice, "It might be unpleasent to have to explain, yes sir." He looks around at the organized hustle engendered by the alarm. "Thither and yon they run. Order, sir?"

Ruin gets off the shuttle, eyeing the MP escort warily as his restraints are removed. He looks around the landing bay, absently rubbing his wrists.

Roland lifts up his comm unit, calling for available units, he hits some buttons on the screen to read his orders. He shrugs towards Lucius. "Some sort of vessel with strange registration inbound, askin' for landin' clearance. We're gonna do a quick customs inspection, since they think it might be hokey. Specially with previous problems with terrorists." He smiles drily at the Sivadians. "Much as I hate to say it, it's appreciated." Turning away form them, he points to the Franklin. "MILITIA - ABOARD NOW!" he orders.

Edouard quickly strides onto the pad, carrying with him his modded assault rifle, and starts to make his way towards the Franklin.

Lucius gives a cursory nod towards Roland and the two Sivadians, before turning to more important issues. With a free hand he waves a few spare marines, Edouard among them, who've showed up onto the vessel. "Let's go, let's go." A look is cast towards Ruin. "Private, get your ass on board, NOW."

Ruin blinks, does a quick headcount, and 'ah's to himself, nodding. He follows Edouard to the Franklin without a word.

"Yes. they're organizing better than I had imagined, however," Joshua says, ending in a amused chuckle, "Well, Mr. Rummel, mount your fighter! We shall show these blokes the pride of the Services." He turns to Roland, "We shall assist, we have a home to protect out there as well."


Lower Corridor <NLM Franklin>

A long corridor running the lower length of the ship. The floor is made from a non-skid substance which provides excellent traction for those moving at high speeds, and the area is lit by lighting strips inset into the roof. Towards the aft an airlock is set into the port wall, further back is a door marked 'Sickbay'. Two more doors are set into the port and starboard walls, just forward of a ladder that leads up and down.

Roland moves to board the Franklin. "Private, don't pull any of your shit this time around. Man the engine room." He turns to the Sivadians as they prepare to take off. "I'll sync channels with you after we disembark." He waits by the ramp for the last of the marines.

Three riflemen and an automatic rifleman have already boarded the Franklin and are proceeding up to the bridge, while Lucius himself is staying at the top of the ramp, expression neuter as he waits for the last of the troops as well. "Any more details other than there's weird markings?" As an aside, he says after a chuckle, "Dontcha just love it when the privates call us sir and salute? Shit cracks me up every time."

Edouard climbs aboard with his SPR, unscrewing its silencer as he moves.

Joshua gives a nod before dashing off to his fighter. A quick punch of the keypad near the nose sets the canopy opening. Joshua scrambles up the side and in before it's even fully open. The canopy closes shortly after, the last things seen is Joshua connecting a hose.

Reichmann likewise runs for his fighter. A slap of fingers on the nose keypad and the canopy begins opening. Reichmann has a more 'bouncy' approach to getting into his craft: a short running start, a hop, a foot planted against the hull, another against a sturt, a palm slapped on the upper surface, and Reichmann's sliding into the cockpit. The canopy begins closing as the engines go live.

"Command thinks th'ship might have been stolen from somewhere, so that could make things interestin', eh?" Roland says with a smirk. "But apparently they've stopped an' are waitin' to be boarded, so it might be a wild goose chase."

Ruin settles into position in engineering, checking systems. "All systems online, fully fueled, weapons charged," he calmly sends to the bridge. "Ready when you are."

"Well, one hopes it's nothing serious." Says Lucius, nodding at Roland. "Ship combat ain't much fun." He and the other Sergeant stand at the head of the Franklin's ramp. Four other fully outfitted marines are also present, besides Edouard. Ruin is in Engineering. Reichmann and Joshua are both in their Spitfires.

Volouscheur makes her way into the group of marines and is quiet, an earbud clipped to her ear and a wire leading down to a breast pocket from the 'bud. She's fully kitted out, aura glowing matte green.

Roland motions everyone onboard. "Okay, no point in waitin' no longer." He moves into the ship once everyone is aboard, closes the ramp, and moves to the bridge. In moments, the NLM Franklin is in space.

Ruin stays put, as per orders, monitoring the ship's status.

Volouscheur makes her way onto the ship, finding a spot to sit down and checking over her rifle quietly. Strands of black edge her aura, the Vollistan remaining silent.

Lucius turns now to the assembled soldiers. "Alright, I don't know the size of the ship we're going to be boarding nor do I know who is on it. We have to assume that they're hostile and act appropriately - be on your guard. However, remember the rules of engagement and don't fire unless someone is poised to attack a militia member." He arches an eyebrow, lifting his helmet onto his head and strapping it on. "Clear?"

Volouscheur nods quietly, adjusting her shirt quietly after checking her rifle over. She offers, ~Clear, Sargent.

Joshua's Spitfire flares to life and the lights blink on. "Reichmann, do you read?" his voice says over the RNS's Channel.

The matching RNS Spitfire does a lazy roll, testing out its thrusters. <Reichmann, here. Systems green. Weapons safetied. What's the readout, sir?>

As the Franklin lazily floats away from Hancock Station, gaining some distance before it gains any real speed, it sends a message to the two Spitfires. "RNS ships, this is Denten. Yah boys got a lock on the channel?" He pauses a moment, adding the marines to the channel. "Our target is a Galatea-class CivSpec Light Freighter. The 'Orion's Pride.' By my reckonin', she's holdin' steady." Which she is. He narrows the channel to NLM personnel. "Marines, there's a terminal by th'airlock that should have a standard blueprint available."

Ruin gets up to go back to the airlock, to get a good look at said blueprint.

Lucius kneels down in the corridor to check his weapons. First he does a quick mag check, looking over all of his magazines, whether they're for his 7.62mm AR or his 10mm pistol. Satisfied with what he sees, he slams one of each mag back into their respective weapons and slides the rest into pockets on his belt. The two power cells for an as yet invisible weapon aren't touched. Finally, the Martian rises up with a nod at his comm, and moves over to the aformentioned terminal to bring up the blueprint in a holoprojected form. "This is our target."

Volouscheur studies the blueprint silently, black fading from her aura. She settles her PAR across her lap, listening to whatever Lucius might say.

Joshuas Spitfire lifts gracefully off the pad and departs through the ceiling with a crisp zap. "Good," he intones over the RNS channel, "We'll..." He cuts off and listens to the incoming transmission from the Franklin then responds, "Affirmative Franklin. We shall keep our eyes open. Our flight callsign, Alpha. Alpha One out." Back across the RNS channel, "Reichmann, did you copy that exchange?"

<Copied, sir. Rules of engagement?> The other Spitfire, already outside, sliding out of another testing roll and into an escort position on the larger ship.

"Oh, the standard interdiction ROE: Hold fire unless fired upon. We shall quard the Franklin and uphold the accepted OATO guidelines. I do not fancy causing an incident in foreign space," Joshua comms to Reichmann, "Once clear of the bay, form echelon right and arm weapons hot." His fighter races off toward the Franklin with thrusters burning hot, and forming along the left side of the craft.

In scant moments, the Franklin comes close to the suspect vessel, the Orion's Pride. He addresses both Jantine, who is piloting, and the marines: "Corporal, take us in to dock in the airlock. Then, you and Private Pia will hold the airlock with one of the marines. Find Pia a sidearm. We'll see if he can't make use of another chance." He pauses a moment. "Myself and the marine sergeant will lead the boarding party. We have th'Sivadians to keep our asses safe in space. Everyone copy?"

<Roger, sir.> The fighter does a graceful roll overtop the Franklin to the other side, where it takes up an escort position. Small cowlings slide away in the nose of the fighter, with an accompanying power spike on the sensors as the Spitfire's weapons go hot.

For just a brief moment, Ruin looks at Roland like Roland has completely lost his mind, and has opted to sell catnip balls to Demarians. Then he gets his expression under control, and manages a creditably professional, "Yes, sir."

Removing a telescopic stick from one of his BDU's long pockets, Lucius extends the implement and moves aside of the projection to point certain things out. "Galatea's are small ships, which means they have easy choke points. The airlock is about five meters wide and seven meters long. This is our insertion point." His stick shifts along the image to the next room. "It connects to the main corridor, which is quite long and skinny and makes for a perfect alley for auto weapons fire. We're going to need to be ultra careful here, as if there's hostiles they'll be able to surpress us without much problems and there probably isn't much cover. From here one can go to the bridge, cargo hold and engineering." Lucius pauses to let the information settle, continuing a moment later. "If there are immediate hostiles then the objective is going to be engineering, firstly, then the bridge after. Fireteam will be made up of Corporal Randleman and Private Frantz." Lucky motions to one of the riflemen, the corporal, and the automatic rifleman who carries a light machine gun. "Assault team, who will be covered by the fireteam, will be me, PFC Scheur and Private Raney. Corporal Languillo is to stay behind with the two pilots." Into his commlink, he quickly says, "Copy that."

Lucius quickly adds, "Explosives are /not/ to be used on board the Orion's Pride. Galatea's have notoriously weak interior hulls and there's the possibility that a significant explosion may cause decompression."

Volouscheur pulls out a small keyboard from her breast pocket and taps into it. A moment later, her comm transmits, "I copy." And then she returns to watching and listening to Lucius.

The cowlings likewise pop open on Alpha One. The fighter moves along gracefully as it matches speed with the Franklin then it's thrusters grow cold, drifting along in space. "A word of advice," Joshua says across the joint channel, "exercise caution. We had a particularly nasty incident with a certain Nall warship. Keep an eye on her energy readings for anything out of the ordinary. If you see something funny, get your men out of there."

Jantine can't be heard saying anything in reply to the Sergeant, but for those who can see him, his face is hard, and unyeilding, and while he does as asked, pulling up to the ship, he diliberately makes it uncomfortable for the passangers, who suffer a sudden jolt.

As the Franklin docks, he turns to Jantine. "Corporal, the Franklin is yours." He then comms the Sivadians. "Don't yah worry. We have no plans on dying out there. If there's trouble, she's yours to blow." He then struts towards the Franklin's airlock, loading his Equality pistol as he does. "Sergeant," he says to Lucius, "at your leisure. Yah have command if it goes hot."

"Assault team will move in first followed by the fireteam with a five second delay." Lucius pulls back the bolt on his SCAR-H type rifle, loading a 7.62mm bullet into the chamber of the gun. He flicks it off safety. "Weapons ready." As the two ships connect, he mashes the airlock key. "GO!" Lucius moves to spring through the opened door, hands gripped on his rifle and eyes attentive.

As the marines move into the bowels of the Orion's Pride, there are two men in standard jumpsuits waiting for them. One has a smile on his face, that quickly disappears into a look of fear - for both of them. He holds out his hands. "Whoah! Whoah! We're unarmed!"

Volouscheur puts the keyboard away and stands, gripping her rifle and trotting after Lucius. Her eyes rove over the area, the Vollistan's glow dying.

"Reichmann, break and take a position of opportunity," Joshua says. His Spitfire breaks off and takes up position along a broadside portion of the hull.

After Roland passes by him, Jan does an intentionally mock salute and then leans back at his station, head reasting in his hands, and just sits there, watching the veiw in front of him.

<Roger, sir> The second Spitfire fires its manuveuring thrusters and settles in a position just above and behind the freighter, nose (and guns) locked onto the engine array of the ship.

Lucius and Pvt. Raney both stop once they're in the airlock, the latter dropping down into a crouch with his rifle raised up in defensive posture. Lucius himself stays standing, weapon also at the ready. He eyes the two men uncertainly. Several seconds pass and the other two soldiers enter the room, performing a similar rush. Frantz, the autorifleman drops into a defensible position with his LMG. "Randleman," Lucius addresses the corporal, "search them." The Martian's rifle remains trained on the door to the main corridor.

Roland follows after the four marines marines, quietly allowing Lucius to control the situation. "We'll need to see yah cargo first, of course," he notes while the marines frisk the two men.

No matter how thoroughly the marines frisk, they won't find anything on these two men. "Of course, of course," the man who apparently is in the lead says, his smile returning as he allows the men to search him. "If you'll follow me?"

Ruin waits near the airlock for a while, then frowns, looks up, counts to ten, and shakes his head. Turning to the marine left to guard with him, he says, "wait here...if there's trouble, scream. I want to check something." And then heads back to enineering.

Volouscheur is silent as the men are frisked, trying to use her empathic senses to see if the men are planning anything suspicious. She glances at Lucius, letting either him or Roland decide if they follow.

"FT, form a base in the corridor. I want all exits covered and make sure you're mobile." Lucius quickly says to the fireteam, who proceed to move into the main corridor slowly and methodically. Lucius and Raney nod at the leader of the two men. The Martian asks, "How many others are there on board?" A gloved hand raises up to indicate for the other two soldiers to follow.

Back in the Franklin's airlock, Languillo grunts something inaudible and shakes his head at Ruin but stands his ground nonetheless without further comment.

"Ten," the spokesman replies. "Pilot, engineer, security expert," he points to the man next to him, who smiles grimly, "cook, and a bunch of cargo hands. Most are in the cargohold, where we have some makeshift bunks."

Volouscheur looks at Roland and then at Lucius, ready to follow after the sergeant. She's silent, still.

"I think I'll let this gentleman do the duties. Captain, I assume." Sergeant Castus turns to Raney and Scheur. "Keep sharp, watch our six." Of course, he is referring to the six o'clock, that is the behind the group. Rifle still held in a ready position, he motions towards the man to continue. "Let's go, both of you."

The spokesman steps inside the entrance to the cargohold, waiting, while the security officer goes in more deeply. "Gentlemen, I think you'll see that we have nothing to hide," he says as he waits for the boarding party to enter.

"Franklin, Alpha One, what's the situation?" Joshua says over the joint channel. His fighter still holding along the broadside of the Orion's Pride.

Roland proceeds into the cargo hold once the marines enter, although he seems to have dropped his guard. He raises his commlink. "Alpha One, we are beginning inspection," he says into the general channel.

Now that the fireteam's secured the main corridor, Lucius enters into the cargohold behind the spokesman. "What're you carrying?" Without waiting, Lucius motions to the nearest crate in the bay. "Scheur, Raney, start cracking them open." Again he turns to the spokesman. "We've reason to believe that your ship has an illicit registry, which is why we're conducting this search. If there's anything fishy going on here, now's the time to tell us before we discover it ourselves. I guarantee we'll be less forgiving later." He deadpans.

Volouscheur glances over at Lucius and then moves towards the crate, prepared to open it and see what's inside. She's...still being quiet.

"Of course, Sergeant," the spokesman says. Watching as Scheur moves to open the crate. Once she crack it, his smile takes on an almost diabolical dimension. "Explosives, Sergeant, that's what we're carrying. We're lucky to have caught you in the bargain." There's the whine of capacitors charging in the cargo hold, obviously men with pulse weapons hidden within. The spokesman tries to dive behind the nearest crate. Pulse fire also begins to echo in the hallway, searching for the fireteam. In the meantime, the Sivadians will note that the Orion's Pride begins to accelerate for Hancock Station, the Franklin still attached, as fast as she can manage.

"Thank you, Franklin," Joshua replies, "We're all set, as you may well see, should they try anything foolish."

Joshuas fighter turns and gives chase, "Franklin, Alpha One, what is going on down there?"

<Spitfire One, this is Two. Locking onto engine bells...requesting permission to fire.> The second Spitfire, positioned above and behind the freighter, triggers its engines as the freighter begins to move, dropping its position farther down and behind the ship, lighting up its engine array with targeting pulse.

Lucius didn't really let down his guard as he followed the two men towards the cargo bay. Ambush, while not hoped for, was expected. He raises his heavy AR to his shoulder level, dropping into a crouch and firing off a trio of shots with a loud *CRACK* at the fleeing 'spokesman'. "Raney, covering fire! Scheur get the other bastard!" He barks, the other bastard referring to the security officer. Pvt. Raney opens fire with his own AR, attempting to surpress those enemy he sees as well as find a good cover spot behind crates.

Cpl. Randleman, having been standing up the entire time, is caught unawares by the blast of a PAR from the bridge which catches him in the arm - unfortunately the weakest part of his armour. He is knocked down by the blast and is left clasping the wound, rifle forgotten for the moment. Frantz, however, had been paying attention and in a prone position. Scowl on his face, he opens up with his machine gun, laying down five or six bullets into the entranceway in a short order.

Volouscheur has only started to open the crate when the spokesman breaks his news. She drops the crate lid and brings her PAR up to bear on the security guy, flipping the safety off quickly and firing a trio of bursts.

Roland fires off a wild pair of shots into the cargo hold with the goal of keeping the heads of anyone in the back down as he dives for the entrance. "Alpha One, this is Denten. Do not fire! This thing is laden with explosives, and hopefully just conventional. Don't wanna risk anythin'. But...shit...if it's gonna hit Hancock, yah will have to blow it." He pauses as he crawls towards the central corridor. "Sergeant, we oughta scram right?"

The spokesman and security officer both disappear in a hail of fire and clouds of blood, while the fireteam seems to manage to silence the gunners on the bridge - though it's hard to say if they hit anything or if it's just suppressive fire. In the meantime, pulse fire begins to fly through the cargo bay, some of it towards Lucius, other towards Scheur and the third marine.

Lucius manages to sidestep the two bolts which come whizzing at him, pausing behind cover for a moment before popping up to fire off another burst of shots, this time sprayed in a surpressing manner. Pvt. Raney is hit in the leg by a pulse bolt - more accurately, he is singed and the hit causes no damage due to the fact he is armoured.

Out in the corridor, Randleman has recovered his wits and picks up his rifle; due to his wounded state, he only fires a single energy shot at the bridge. Frantz, however, continues to lay down fire on the bridge, bullets not relenting in any way. "I'm hit, Sarge." Randleman says into his comm.

"Withdraw, Corporal. Raney, secure the airlock and Scheur, cover Frantz." Lucius says, having tried to cover their retreat. "That's right, Sergeant, you too, get the fuck out of here!"

Volouscheur doesn't manage to dodge the bolts aimed at her completely; her upper right arm is hit, the edges of her uniform and armor smoking. She lets out a telepathic cry of pain, aura flickering to life as a painful white. She moves to cover Franz, firing in return, ~I'm hit, Sarge.~

"Affirmative Franklin, Alpha will hold fire." Joshua replies, his fighter in high pursuit, "If I may suggest have your pilot use its thrusters to try and veer the ship off course and perhaps even send the two of you into a stable rotation. Alpha Two, hold fire until given the command. Franklin, would you like us to try and disable its thruster bells?"

"Roger that, Sergeant," Roland replies, trying to keep his head down as he scampers into the main corridor. He sends another double burst from his pistol towards the bridge. "Roger that, Alpha One," Roland replies. "Franklin, try to screw up their maneuver. Alpha, if you can get their engine, and engine alone, do it."

Another man is torn apart under Lucius' hail of fire, and the shots in the cargo bay die down, although two more head towards the Sergeant. Scheur and Raney are given at least some time to withdraw, or out of line of fire. In the meantime, the suppressive fire seems to be keeping the bridge quiet.

But not all is going well for the NLM marines, as a trio of pulse pistol armed men make a rush for the airlock, their own suppressive fire heading towards the SAW-carrying marine.

<Roger, Alpha One. Holding fire...> radios the second Spitfire.

"Keep up that fire boys!" Lucius barks into his comm, just before withdrawing from the cargo hold; attempting to withdraw might be a better term, as he manages to avoid one pulse bolt but is hit by a second, dead in the chest of his armour. Thank the Gods for hyper-ceramic plating, as the shot manages to barely scratch the sergeant. He mashes the door's button, closing it at least momentarily.

Somehow, someway, Frantz manages to deftly roll out of the way of the rushing troops and now rises on his knee. He unloads at close range with his weapon towards the two men, in close proximity as they are. Raney, on the other hand, was idling at the door when Frantz came under attack - spotting the need for support, he fires a burst at the bridge to keep those men under fire.

Randleman has by now withdrawn into the Franklin. Lucius himself, free of the obligation of the cargo bay, fires a burst at one of the charging men before moving towards the airlock door, where he falls into a crouch oncemore. "Get outta the ship!" He seems to be waiting for the others to withdraw himself.

Volouscheur follows Lucius and Frantz, firing a burst herself. She's silent, the charred patch on her arm glowing white.

Lucius clambers to his feet, making a mad dash, avoiding the suppressive fire, towards the airlock. He groans, "SHIT!" as the three men come rushing towards the airlock, and he dives again. Two pulse bolts go flaring towards them.

While Scheur's shots go wide, Lucius, Roland, and the machinegunner all send a hail of bullets and energy towards the three that scythe them down. That threat negated, two more come from the bridge - almost seeming desperate. They fire too wildly to connect with anyone, but the close quarters means that the shots fly dangerously close.

While the door to the cargo hold might be closed, it all of a sudden flares white hot. The thick metal begins melting, and one can only assume that the marines got out just in time - someone is using plasma. With a hold full of explosives, that's borderline suicidal. Then again, it's a ship loaded with explosives.

While the Franklin attempts to steer the ship away from Hancock, it's too little too late - the Orion's Pride is starting to get dangerously close to the asteroid home to the New Luna Militia.

<Alpha One, that ships getting a might close to the station, sir. Requesting permission to knock its engine bells off.> radios the second Spitfire.

Alpha One fires off its forward thrusters at a slight angle from the transport in an attempt to do a sliding maneuver. "Roger Hobart. Alpha Two, if you can get a clear shot on those thrusters do it. If it gets any closer to Hancock, frag it. You may start getting your people off that ship, Franklin."

<Roger, sir....targetting....firing now.> The second Spitfire's guns open up, bright bolts of fire zipping between the fighter to the Freighter.

Pvt. Frantz is, at this point, up on his feet and running out of the main corridor, passing quickly through the airlock into the Franklin. Raney is the next one to do so, after firing once at the bridge. Lucius himself fires a shot at the bridge in passing before moving into the Pride's airlock himself. Now that no NLM troops are left in the main areas of the ship, the second door, the one to the corridor, is jammed shut. "Get the fuck off this ship!" Lucius sprints at the Franklin's airlock, while Languilli covers the exit. Randleman, in an attempt to make himself useful, is ready to disengage the connection between both ships as soon as everyone's withdrawn.

Roland could give a damn about the next guys, running through the airlock into the Franklin. "Bridge, prepare to gun it!" he shouts, moving in that direction as fast as his legs can take them. "Marines, you have five seconds to get in the Franklin - then I want the airlock closed!" He pauses, then raises his commlink to communicate with the Sivadians. "We need 10 seconds, then blow the Orion's. Thanks for th'escort..."

Volouscheur lopes towards the airlock, trying not to get shot again as she does so. Streamers of gray wind around her, avoiding the burnt patch on her arm as they do so.

At this point the only two marines left in airlock were Scheur and Lucius. As Scheur withdraws, so does Lucius, but not before doing one thing - he pulls a grenade off of his belt and clicks the fuse up to seven seconds, tossing it at the door between the Orion Pride's airlock and main corridor. Then he jumps through into the Franklin. Randleman wastes no time pounding the disengage key, which disconnects the Franklin from the Galatea-class ship it had been joined with. "GUN 'ER!" Yells Luc into his local comm, even though the pilot really isn't under his durisdiction.

"Franklin, Alpha One, roger, hitting my timer now. Good luck. Alpha Two, prepare to fire on my command." Joshua takes another last potshot at the thruster bells, twin bolts of blue flashing from the shrouded axial guns.

One of the charging men from the bridge falls, but the other keeps coming. He raises his pistol to aim at Lucius, firing a shot. In the meantime, that air around the cargo bay door begins to hiss as another blast of plasma hits it. A man-sized hole begins to development in the door, as the ship shakes. Globules of superheated metal splash around the door as the engines on the vessel die - Reichmann was on target. There's a hoarse scream of pain from the cargo-bay.

<Alpha One, suggest targetting as much superstructure on the side nearest the station. Let's see if we can get it to break apart outbound under the shot pressure,> radios the second Spitfire.

Roland slides into the pilot's seat, sending the Franklin rocketing away from Orion's Pride as soon as he sees he airlock indicator show a seal. Whether or not he wants to, he obeys Lucius' command of 'GUN 'ER!' He breathes a sigh. "Holy Jesus Christ...that was closer than I wanted it to be." He keys the commlink, and after it's actually relevant, "Well, RNS boyos, she's all yours."

Alpha One continues its slide-long slide, but turns to aiming at the ships mid section. "Fire!" Joshua shouts over the comm, crackling as it exceeds the sound threshold of his mic. Several more bursts of blue escape his guns.

Lucius doesn't wait in suspense to know if his grenade has the intended effect of blowing open the Orion Pride's airlock and main corridor. Instead, he flicks his rifle on safe and kneels down next to Randleman to check on the Corporal's wounded arm. Raney does the same for Scheur; both are provided with a first aid kit by Languilli, who apparently didn't spend his time in the Franklin completely dicking around. After taking off Randleman's flak bracer, Lucius observes the wound. Pulse burn. The Martian fishes for burn spray in the aid kit, not worrying much about his own minor wounds. "How ya feelin', Corporal?" The big blond haired man simply laughs. "Peachy, Sarge."

The second Spitfire boosts forward along the side of the freighter, matching position with the other fighter, then turning on its z-axis to that it's drifting along the side of the engineless freighter. As it drifts along, matching pace with its squadron-mate, it waits for the order, then it too opens up rapid-fire on its main weaponry. Bright bolts of energy lance out towards the freighter's side.

Lucius' grenade detonates in the airlock of the Orion's Pride, tearing open the vessel. It belches out air, fire, and bodies before the two Spitfires finish the job. The vessel simply disintegrates as it's pierced time and time again with energy bolts. Then the reactor and explosives detonate - but there's enough space that Hancock Station, the NLM Franklin, and the pride of the RNAS are unscathed. The potential for disaster is averted, with just a few pulse burns to complain about.

Volouscheur flips the safety on her rifle, settling down to let her burn be treated. The injury is bad enough that she probably shouldn't use the arm much for a while, but it's hardly life-threatening.

Having sprayed and bandaged up Randleman's arm (tourniquet not being very useful since there's no bleeding), Lucius rises up and shoulders his weapon. He helps the bigger man up from the ground with an outstretched arm, and sighs in relief. "Baptism of fire, indeed. That your guys' first taste of combat in the NLM?"

Volouscheur nods quietly, ~Yes, sir.~ She winces as her arm is sprayed and bandaged, muttering, ~Iast is going to be /so/ thrilled with this..~

Everything settled on the bridge, Roland lets the ship drift into the hangar on autopilot. "Nice shootin', boys," he comms to the Sivadians, a post-combat euphoria obvious in his voice. He slowly moves towards the marines, finally remembering to holster his pistol. "We're about to dock with Hancock. They have some medics ready. All yah in one piece?"

<Alpha One...do the En-El-Ems want any of this wreckage for investigation purposes, or should we just shoot it up?>

"We're all in one piece. Minor wounds all around, except for the Corporal over here," Lucius motions towards Randleman, "who got his arm nicely singed by a pulse blast. I reckon he'll be out for a few days getting that fixed. Thank the Gods for modern medical technology, though." The Martian chuckles, as he and the other marines get ready to get off the ship. He says over the comm, "Nice to have ya on our side, Alpha."

"A pleasure to be of service, Franklin," Joshua's voice sings out, his fighter making a leisurely approach to Hancock. "Negative, just form on back on my wing. I suspect they want to do that and salvage its parts, Reichmann," Joshua says with a chuckle across the secure RNS channel, be for switching back to the joint "Hancock Station, Alpha is Are-Tee-Bee."

<Roger, Alpha One.> The second Spitfire adjusts its vector so that it settles back into a wingman position on Alpha One.

Roland keys his commlink, "At least yah got a little live fire exercise in. Hard to beat that," he tells the Sivadians, tacking it after Lucius, before turning to the marines. "Glad to see we can all walk away from it. Yah men, an' lady, did good work out there."

Volouscheur just looks at Roland for several moments and then asks, hopefully, ~I don't suppose you'd like to explain to Voliast why I've got a pulse burn on my arm then, would you?~

"Right you are!" Joshua says, his fighter now slipping through the field over the bay.

As the Franklin settles into the Hancock's wide bay, Lucius flashes a broad grin and nods at Roland. The marines start to walk down the ramp once the airlock is open, but Lucius stays on board for a moment longer, reaching up about a foot and patting Scheur on the shoulder. Jeez is she tall. "Not his responsibility. It's mine, since I'll most likely be your squad Sergeant. I'll gladly explain it to him. You fought well, Scheur. I didn't have much faith in your combat abilities before today, I'll be honest, but you've completely changed that perception. Good job."

The second Spitfire ambles along, slightly to the rear and left of the lead fighter. Moments after the lead passes into the bay, the second one passes through the field into the bay as well.

Roland pats the Vollistan marine on her good arm. "If yah need me to, sure. Frankly, if th'doc gives yah too much crap, tell him marines, even the best marines, get injured in the line of duty. And, anything you can complain about without screaming is an injury that shouldn't worry the doc too much."

Volouscheur smiles quietly at Lucius, ~Thank you, sir.~ She shrugs to Roland, ~He doesn't like it when I get shot at, though. He really, really doesn't like it. He likes it less than he does when anyone else gets shot at, actually.~

Lucius chuckles heartily. "Don't need to call me sir, Private. Or salute me. I'm not an officer and therefore not entitled to those priveleges. I think I'm gonna go get my little burns seen to and write my AAR. You should consider doing the same."

The two Spitfires touch down gracefully on the deck near one another. The canopy on one of the fighters opens and the pilot unlocks his helmet, revealing it to be Joshua. He promptly ambles down the side of the fighter.

The NLM Franklin lands moments after the two fighters, and Roland smiles at the marines. "Well, yah all better get taken care of. Thanks for making sure the pilot didn't get hurt." He turns towards Scheur. "And that bit about officers applies to me, too."

Lucius strides down the ramp of the NLM Franklin and turns towards the recently landed Spitfires, and more importantly, their pilots. He gives them a gloved thumbs up. "Like I said before, glad to have you guys on our side. We'll all have to go for a pint sometime." Sending a wink, the Sarge wanders off in pursuit of the other marines, towards the inner lobby.

Volouscheur mades her way down off the Franklin, nodding to Roland silently. She heads off towards the medics, planning on getting her burn properly looked at before heading down to her cave for the night.

"Perhaps the next time we are out this way," Joshua says, grinning ear-to-ear as he moves toward the group, "Three thousand Raydens from that little wager with Mr. M'Nammrann, a smashing good fire fight; I'd say that this has been a fine day indeed."

Landing Bay <Hancock Station>

This incredible chamber sports almost a square mile of poured plascrete, all watched over by a high communications tower. Most of the ceiling of this chamber is of a lightly buzzing blue energy, allowing ships in and out with a minimum of atmosphere loss. Cheery lighting fixtures line the walls in stark contrast to the otherwise utilitarian nature of the bay. There is a set of double doors near the back of the bay, manned by half a dozen armed New Luna Militia members.

Roland nods to Joshua. "Yeah, we do owe yah a drink, at the very least," he admits grudgingly. "Stupid of th'Captain to bet that much. Then again, he's a Captain...I'm jus' a Sergeant. That's well above my pay grade, though I'm sure my pay grade is an official secret - so mebbe I'm lyin'," the Lunite jokes.

Joshua laughs heartily. "A good 7 weeks pay for myself," he says with a smile, "And I shall be sure to collect on that drink offer the next time we are in the region."

Volouscheur heads towards the inner lobby, to get checked over by the medics. She's silent, aura matte green asides from around her arm, where it's white.

"Jaysus, either yah got balls of steel, or yah got supreme confidence in yah gear and abilities," Roland says appraisingly. "An', no insult intended, I got a feelin' it's the second. 'Course, yah did vindicate it."

"The Spits are incredible birds," Joshua concedes, "And the Academy trains well."

"Can't comment about that academy, but can't say yah don't know yah stuff, either," Roland comments simply, craning to look at the Spitfires. "But yah hardware certainly is pretty. Wouldn't mind gettin' my hands on one."

Volouscheur heads into the inner lobby, making her way for the medbay. From there, once her arm is properly treated, she'll head back to her cave for the night.

Donovan exits the shuttle leading planetside, a rifle case slung over his shoulder. He's out of uniform, as per usual, not even his rank indicators anywhere on his outfit. They've come to tolerate it from the slightly quirky quartermaster. Of course, the fact that he's known to have picked up irritating marines with one hand and held them at arm's length generally keeps people from questioning him. A slight limp accompanies his slow walk, but it's not anything that seems to be bothering the big man.

Joshua follows Roland's gaze to the fighters. "Well, you'd have to speak with some Sivadians about that," he says with a nod.

Roland nods slowly. "Well, I ain't got too much clout, but we'll see. Never hurts to have 'em, I guess." Stiffling a yawn, he turns towards the exit of the hangar bay, and not the one into space. "But, yah will have to 'scuse me. It's gotten late, and after all that excitement I need my beauty sleep."

Joshua nods in return. "I have word that we're heading back to Sivad as soon as we're aboard," Joshua says, "So I must be getting back to the Regreb promptly as well. It was a pleasure serving along side you chaps this past week."

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