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The Lone Stand
Summary: One a recent mission to U-999, several of the crew members of the VRM Artemis remain behind to provide security. Two men posing as homeless bums attempt to hack their way on board the ship.
Cast: Malion, Esther, Newt, Wiendrbac, Marlan, Ren Arnassis, Raisa.
Air Date: 2006.02.20

Bridge <VRM Artemis>

The hatchway opens up to a small metal platform, which overlooks a compact command center. Light filters out from hidden coves, providing an even illumination across the bridge consoles. A rainbow of telltales and monitors add a touch of color, breathing life into the functional and utilitarian space. A few steps down, the bridge workstations are arranged in a rough semicircle, following the shark nosed form of the ship's bow. Two stations face forward and are centered beneath the main canopy. The other two workstations face the port and starboard, one on each side of the bridge. The space is tight, with arely enough room to move when all the stations are occupied.



Marlan's gaze turns to Ren, "Speech wasn't for you, it was for them." she notes and shakes her head, "We want this guys alive if we can get him, i want answers not just a body."

"I suggest trying to avoid being beat up again so soon," Raisa offers to Malion lazily, rolling her eyes. "It's not very good for the health and all that crap."

Jack peers at the volunteers to stay behind, namely Esther and Renkek. "If you guys can keep the ship running and prepped, I'm going as well. Speaking of the card, mind letting me see it for a bit Arnassis?"

Ren Arnassis grunts. "Sure." He pulls it from a back pocket and offers it to Jack, looking over at Malion. "You got a cracked rib an' yer on' painkillers," Ren replies. "You need to stay here, where it's easier to win if there's a fight. Someone comes aroun' lookin' to start somethin', gets through the front door, you get to catch 'em in the airlock where it's hard ta miss. It ain' outta the question - might happen. Out there, yer fragile."

Marlan ndos in agreement with Ren, "If you're in that much pain you stay here. You're nothing but a liability out there."

Esther blinks, "I do not know how to do that, Captain..." she nods to Mal, "That is not very good for your ribs... you could stay there for our security."

"I am sick and tired of this," Malion states, slowly shaking his head. "If ya want ya fucking weapons cleaned, ya send them to me. if ya need them fixed, ya send them to me. I'm leaving the AES after we get back to Ungstir," he says bluntly, looking at all gathered. "If ya don't feel ya can trust me, then I'm sure that I could find employment at the end of the fucking day with someone else. Ain't many gunsmiths around ya know." The gunsmith finishes his little rant and casually says, "I'll sit back here with Esther and provide security then, I've got me comm on if ya need me."

Marlan's brow rises as Malion's tirade but shakes her head, gaze turning to Wiendrbac, "Let's get going, da. Longer we sit here the more likely they are to know we're here."

"It isn't a matter of trust, I don't think, kid, but a matter of you being hurt," Raisa points out, rolling her eyes. "You got beat up by /me/. What do you think people out there," She motions vageuly towards the airlock, "Would do to you if they got the chance? Especially when you're hurt and on painkillers."

Jack takes the card, looking it over, face going blank. He slides it into the pocket of his flak vest. "Just sit at the navigator chair and look at the lights, sweety. If they go red, that's bad, green means they're on and active. We -like- green." Jack rolls his eyes at Malion's diatribe. "Whatever, mate. I'm not coddling you. If you think just because you're guarding the ship is a trust issue, you're out of your head on those drugs. Let's go team." With that, the La Terran starts out.

Marlan turns, moving after Wiendrbac.

Esther swallows, and nods slowly. "be careful, Captain..."

Malion moves across to the engineering console and sits down. "Take care guys," he offers, as the group departs.

Wiendrbac punches in a keypad code and enters the ship's airlock.

>> Outside the Ship: Wiendrbac has arrived.

>> Outside the Ship: Wiendrbac disembarks from the LMS Artemis.

Ren Arnassis nods. "Let's go," he agrees, turning to depart. "See you roun', kid."

Ren Arnassis punches in a keypad code and enters the ship's airlock.

Ren Arnassis has left.

>> Outside the Ship: Ren Arnassis has arrived.

>> Outside the Ship: Ren Arnassis disembarks from the LMS Artemis.

Raisa just rolls her eyes, following Arnassis and Wiendrbac.

Raisa punches in a keypad code and enters the ship's airlock.

Raisa has left.

>> Outside the Ship: Raisa has arrived.

>> Outside the Ship: Raisa disembarks from the LMS Artemis.

Marlan punches in a keypad code and enters the ship's airlock.

Marlan has left.

>> Outside the Ship: Marlan has arrived.

>> Outside the Ship: Marlan disembarks from the LMS Artemis.

Esther turns to Malion, "I hope you won't leave... You know, they're.. a bit protective, it is not a question of trust."

>> Outside the Ship: The Landing Pad is mostly empty, other then a pair of ungstiri's in rags playing a game of dice, rattling it around a small cup. Wiendrbac considers, and starts walking toward the bazaar.

"I don't fit in," Malion replies, looking over to Esther. "The only person I get along with is Ren, and I think that's only because he reminds me of me adopted old man."

Esther sighs. "I am sorry..." she raises a brow, "We get along too, don't we? That makes two..."

>> Outside the Ship: Ren Arnassis walks two steps behind and three to the left of Jack, following the Captain. "If we do split up, Marly, who do you want with you?" He asks. One finger flicks his shotgun off safety; he holds it with the muzzle pointing down.

Malion slowly nods. "Yeah, we get along also," he says, with a grin. "It's only really you and Ren I get along with." The gunsmith watches as the group leaves the landing pad. "I still don't fit in on the ship, I know how Rill felt."

>> Outside the Ship: "We'll decide when the time comes." Marlan responds, "I wasn't planning on Jack joining us."

>> Outside the Ship: Raisa walks quietly behind Arnassis, leaving a few feet between the two Lunites as she follows in Jack's direction toward the Bazaar, lips pressed together, eyes flickering all around.

Esther hands him the medicine. "Why, do you think?"

>> Outside the Ship: "I wasn't either. That's the thing about having a largely peaceful crew though. When it's time to shoot things, can't depend on them. I'll make the decision now though. Arnassis, you go with Marlan. Raisa, you're with me." Then the La Terran slips into the bazaar.

>> Outside the Ship: Wiendrbac passes through the heavy portal and into the asteroid township.

>> Outside the Ship: Ren Arnassis passes through the heavy portal and into the asteroid township.

>> Outside the Ship: Raisa passes through the heavy portal and into the asteroid township.

>> Outside the Ship: Marlan passes through the heavy portal and into the asteroid township.

Malion reaches across and takes the medicine from Esther, with a grateful smile. "Don't really know to be honest, I think it's me mood swings..." he offers, as an explanation. "I keep wanting Marlan to check me out or refer me to a person who deals with that stuff. What happened before with me little rant was only a small one."

Esther nods. "I am kind of... transparent to Marlan. I think she distrusts me because of Master - she hates him."

Malion looks across to Esther, trying his hardest to give a friendly smile. "Don't worry about Marly, I think she hates everyone... I'm pretty sure she hates me also. If I leave, she'll be a prime reason behind it."

Esther frowns. "I don't think she /hates/ loads of people... But she is very very cautious and proud, rather."

A pair of ragged bums can be seen straightening outside the view window from a game of dice, turning to focus their gaze on the Artemis, inspecting it.

Esther points out to the view, "What are they doing?"

Malion withdraws his pistol from his ankle holster and places it on the engineering console. "She was quite friendly to me when we first met, I had the fight with Raisa and she's distrusted me since..." The gunsmith looks over the landing pad, to the two bums which Jack walked past earlier. "I think they're just checking us out."

Esther nods nervously, "We sure can see if they try put a bomb or whatever?"

The bums shrug their shoulders, going back to their vodka bottle, passing it back and forth between them. Looks like Malion was right.

"Ya'll jinx us with talk like that," Mal says, with a grin and chuckle. He leans back into his chair and sighs in relief, he's nervous as hell and doesn't want to show it. "What did you think of Demaria?"

Esther smiles a bit, "Sorry..." she nods, "It is a good place - I feel rather safe, over there, and the beach and the baths are nice things to do out of the ship - better than barbrawls." Malion slowly nods. "Yeah, ya right there... I just had being know as being a trouble maker, didn't get in trouble once on Demaria and I was happy about that. Nice place also."

Esther smiles. "You'd go there, for work?"

Malion shrugs. "Not that much work around for gunsmiths, most of the larger ships have got their own and don't need contracters... Thought about moving into shadier areas also just to get work."

Esther frowns, "I'll worry about you, if you do that. You promise me to be cautious?"

The bums place the vodka bottle on the ground, one reaching up to an ear, nodding his head thoughtfully. The other pulls out an odd item for a one of his standards to have. A tech scanner.

Esther yawns, seeming to fall asleep.

Malion slowly nods, and then looks back to Esther with a grin. "I'll be cautious, no intentions of being knocked off just yet," he states. "Who knows, when all this shit is over, I might actually be able to get paid...." he watches the bums and then says, "What the fuck?" The gunsmith stands up, taking his pulse weapon in hand and tucking it down the back of his pants. He heads towards the aft door and grabs his jacket.

The bums are heading to the door as Malion heads aft, obviously with the intent of hacking their way into the ship.

Newt enters from the ship's airlock. Newt has arrived.

Malion pulls on his jacket on just as he leaves the bridge, removing his weapon from the back of his trousers and thumbing the safety off. The pulse pistol starts to hum as power is supplied by it's battery, the gunsmith disappears into the airlock with a slighlty sadistic grin on his face.

Newt kicks at something, quite possibly somthing non-existant, as he mutters about something.

Malion pokes his head back through the door after hearing a noise. "Ya got a weapon mate? Gonna need one," he states bluntly, as pulls his head back out of the bridge area.

The hatch slides to the left, allowing passage into the ship's airlock.



Airlock <VRM Artemis>

An amber warning light washes the simple airlock, chasing dull shadows across the gray hullsteel walls. The airlock is sized for approximately five crew, with ample space for their gear and equipment. Sturdy access panels and equpment lockers frame the room, providing a sparse atmosphere of simple utility. Along one wall there is a rack for five EVA suits, along with ports for keeping the suit systems charged and online. Forward a sturdy hatchway leads into the freighter's command section while a second identical hatchway leads aft..


Newt enters from the ship's forward compartment.

Newt has arrived.

Newt asks, "Weapon for what? What's up?"

Newt picked a bad time. A pair of bums are hacking onto the Artemis, and Malion is setting up an an ambush for them.

Malion moves to one side of the door, as he was taught by Ren the other day. "Protect the ship mate, ain't letting those bastards outside walk away from this one."

Newt ohs, "Crap." Ummm... "Crap." and he bolts it.

Newt punches in a keypad code and enters the aft compartment. Newt has left.

Newt enters from the ship's wardroom.

Newt has arrived.

The hatchway swings open just as Newt arrives, a pair of bums rushing in, pulling out their weapons.

Newt runs back, "Crap. There's nothing ba- CRAP!" He comes to a skidding halt.

Malion remains beside the door, butt of the pistol held up against his chest in a way where it doesn't point down, but straight ahead and is held in both hands. As soon as the two bums start to enter he moves his pistol outwards and towards them. "Wrong ship fuckers!" he states, his voice hard and bitter as he looks to the two men.

One man fumbles and drops his gun. The other stops dead, gun half up, looking to the hidden figure in the frozen posture. Newt goes ignored, as he was unarmed.

Newt ducks back on out, seeing as how he'd only be a sitting duck otherwise, and hides near the door. "Put the weapon on the deck and 'em kick both across to him," Malion states in a commanding voice and gestures in Newt's direction. Never does he allow the pulse pistol to sway from the two men. "Give me any fucking reason to fire and I will."

The man that fumbled and dropped his gun quickly kicks it away. The one that didn't, on the other hand, does no such thing. He whips his gun toward Malion's position and...

The last couple of days have made Malion quite jumpy, due to Bounty Hunters, Kommissars, barfights. The weapon was already pointed as the turned, he was already standing in a good position where he could fire if needed. The gunsmith squeezes the trigger and fires at the man with the gun, hoping the strike him in the chest.

Newt looks at the situation for a bit and almost goes for the gun but at the last moment decides not to, seeing as how gunfire just opened up.

The bolt catches the man straight in the face, face fusing and burning under the cohesion of the energy bolt, a piercing shriek ripping the serenity that cloaks the pre-battle tensions. The other man, seeing his partner down and out, doesn't move. He just stares in shock, hands hanging away slightly.

Malion quickly tracks his weapon towards the other man. "Search the bastard," he quickly barks out, hoping that Newt will come out of his hiding spot. "I'll make sure he doesn't move." Slowly the gunsmith edges his way towards the fallen man he just shot and nudges him with his boot, to see if he's alive.

Well, yes, now that it seems a tad safer Newt makes it out of his hidey spot and heads for the gun at first, picking it up and sliding it a bit further away. He then makes his approach to the other guy, looking up at him first from behind his sealed off helmet before looking at Malion and then back. "Hands up and stuff." he says with a mild stutter.

The formerly armed bum slowly sticks his hands up in the air, looking faintly sick.

The man that Malion shot is clearly dying, breath coming and going in a raspy hiss.

"Shit..." Malion says, going pale as the smell of burnt flesh and hair reaches his nostrals. The gunsmith never lets his weapon sway from the other man though as he kneels down beside the dying man. "Ya stupid idiots, ya shouldn't have even tried it... Look what ya did to ya mate."

Newt almost begins his search but his concentration is kinda broken by the rasping of the dieing guy. He looks and, well, stops.

The other bum is still just frozen, eyes darting back and forth. When Newt turns around though, he starts to slowly back away toward the open door

Malion still has his weapon pointed to the other bum. "Where do you think your going mate?" he asks as he places his hand on the dying man's throat, trying to find a pulse. "I want some answers and then maybe ya can go." He's trying his hardest to avoid being sick.

Newt gulps once and then looks back up at the guy still walking.

The bum stops, shaking his head wildly, motioning to his throat where some scar tissue can be seen. Perhaps he's suggesting he can't speak.

"Just drop what ever equipment ya got on ya and get out of here," Malion says, looking down to the dying man. "Fuck sake, suppose I'm gonna try me best." The Martian looks across to Newt and quickly asks, "Ya know where the first aid pack is? Keep this bastard alive until the bosses get back."

Newt looks back at Malion and nods slightly before heading off.

The bum shakes his head, showing he has nothing left, before fleeing the ship. Malion's efforts at helping don't necessarily hurt, but nor do they help, the man squirming in pain. What with half his face burnt away, understandably so.

Newt punches in a keypad code and enters the aft compartment.

Newt enters from the ship's wardroom.

Malion looks down at the dying man, and brings his right ankle up beside him, sliding the pulse pistol back into the leg holster. "Fuck... come on," he quietly mumbles. He then attempts again, hoping to make some difference to the dying man's condition.

Newt comes back in, carrying a first aid kit in one arm. He heads over for Malion silently.

Newt just watches in continued silence, almost completely still.

Malion looks at the dead man and slowly moves his gore covered hands away, not knowing what to do. "I... I killed him.... I'm a murderer." The young gunsmith falls into silence and just stares at the body with a blank look on his face, unable to move or show any other emotion.

Newt swallows hard once more and after a long while stutters, "We wait for Captain Jack now?"

Malion drags his eyes away from the body and looks up to Newt, slowly nodding. "I.. uh.. Yeah... wait for Jack, he'll know what to do." Newt nods in reply and begins to head back towards the ship.

Malion remains at the side of the body just inside the airlock, his head hung in some secret shame.

Newt heads for the wardroom.

Newt punches in a keypad code and enters the aft compartment.

Malion rises from beside the dead body, muttering something under his breath and presses the button to close the open airlock and follows after Newt. The hatch slides to the left, allowing passage into the wardroom.



Crew Quarters <VRM Artemis>

The narrow passage opens up into a small wardroom. The space is ingeniously outfitted, the furniture and surfaces configured to serve either under nominal local gravity conditions, or that provided by the freighter's own acceleration. Furthermore the room is done in a light-grained wood panelling with brass accents and fittings. Flanking the wardroom are a set of personal sleeping niches, with each empty bunk module containing a bed with built in cabinetry and storage lockers. One of these sleeping compartments has been emptied of its normal furnishings and not sports a nautilus-style exercise machine bolted sturdily to the floor and ceiling in a gravity-from-ventral style. Forward, a fresher unit is located portside, while to the starboard is a complicated wall of intricate machinery and electronics that makes up the ship's kitchenette (+kitchen). The room is softly illuminated, gentle light flowating down from coves recessed into the dorsal and side wall framing. The deckplates have a brass sheen to them and are sturdy and and diamond gridded, providing a bright if utilitarian finish to the space.



Newt heads off for the toilet and shuts the door behind him.

Malion heads across to the fridge, screw doctors orders. He quickly searches for the strongest booze he can find and makes a mental note to find out who the owner is. There are a few vomiting noises from the toilet and then silence.

Malion closes his eyes and walks across to the door, tapping on it several times. "Ya alright in their kid?" he asks, in a disheartened tone.

Newt stutters out a, "Yeah." but it's probably mos dishearened then your question.

Malion quietly moves towards the front door, bottle of booze in hand. "Ya need me... I'll be in the bridge and then I'll be moving the body," he says, and then mumbles. "Didn't think there'd be a number two."

Newt replies, "Uhuh." before making his way out, his face actually paler then normal. "Remember, I've got me commlink on me," Malion states one last time. The hatch slides to the left, allowing passage into the ship's airlock.



Airlock <VRM Artemis>

An amber warning light washes the simple airlock, chasing dull shadows across the gray hullsteel walls. The airlock is sized for approximately five crew, with ample space for their gear and equipment. Sturdy access panels and equpment lockers frame the room, providing a sparse atmosphere of simple utility. Along one wall there is a rack for five EVA suits, along with ports for keeping the suit systems charged and online. Forward a sturdy hatchway leads into the freighter's command section while a second identical hatchway leads aft..


Malion passes through passing a casual glance to the body as he passes. "I'm going to get rid of that soon, soon I'll get it done."

Malion looks at the body and scratches his head. "Damn it... ya staying there for the time being."

The hatch slides to the left, allowing passage into the wardroom.



Crew Quarters <VRM Artemis>

The narrow passage opens up into a small wardroom. The space is ingeniously outfitted, the furniture and surfaces configured to serve either under nominal local gravity conditions, or that provided by the freighter's own acceleration. Furthermore the room is done in a light-grained wood panelling with brass accents and fittings. Flanking the wardroom are a set of personal sleeping niches, with each empty bunk module containing a bed with built in cabinetry and storage lockers. One of these sleeping compartments has been emptied of its normal furnishings and not sports a nautilus-style exercise machine bolted sturdily to the floor and ceiling in a gravity-from-ventral style. Forward, a fresher unit is located portside, while to the starboard is a complicated wall of intricate machinery and electronics that makes up the ship's kitchenette (+kitchen). The room is softly illuminated, gentle light flowating down from coves recessed into the dorsal and side wall framing. The deckplates have a brass sheen to them and are sturdy and and diamond gridded, providing a bright if utilitarian finish to the space.


Malion walks back into the Crew Quarters, mumbling about the corpse.

Newt's sitting in his bunk, hugging his legs, chin on knees.

Malion walks past Newt, still with his bottle of stolen spirits in hand. The young man has an angry look adorning his visage.

Newt tracks Malion with his eyes but doesn't say anything as yet.

Malion catchs Newt's look out the corner of his eye, then turns to face him. "Kid, I didn't wanna do that," he says. "I didn't expect him to turn around... It was either us or him. He would have shot me and then most likely killed you kid."

Newt just nods in reply.

"I think we're both gonna need to see a physch after this shit is over," Malion replies, taking a swig from his bottle. "If I knew this was going to fucken happen, I would have fucken stayed on Demaria... Not tagged along on this stupid trip."

Newt nods and stutters out, "Is ok."

Malion signs and closes his eyes, hoping to avoid losing the bit of his temper. "Yeah, ya could be right kid." The weapons maintainer takes another drink from the bottle, and heads over to his bunk. "If they hadn't tried anything... Then it wouldn't have happened.... I only did it in self defence."

Malion looks across to Newt. "Go on kid, tell me ya views on this... Don't bottle everything up."

Newt shrugs a bit and stutters out, "They boarded, you defended. It's over now."

Renkek Kashaan enters from the ship's airlock.

Malion sits on his rack and leans backwards. "That's the way I see it also mate," he says to Newt who sits on his own bunk. "I didn't wanna fucking pull the trigger, he left me no choice."

Newt looks over at Ren as Malion answers.

Renkek Kashaan looks around as he enters "Who was shot this time? one of us?"

Malion shakes his head. "Nah, wasn't us..." he replies, with a sigh. "Two blokes tried to break into the ship... and I shot one. You should have seen and smelt the body on your way through."

Newt nods and stutters, "Yeah. A couplea guys broke in and stuff."

Renkek Kashaan ohs "well if they were breaking in, there was no choice to begin with but to shoot at least in my opinion." he shrugs and ohs "I did smell it, but must have not looked where the bodies were." he shrugs "Glad you shot though if I'd been there I'd likely missed them like I did when trying to shoot the nall and the friends a while back."

"It was point blank fucking range..." Malion says, before drifting off. "Point blank range with a pulse pistol, it just... it just..." Slowly he shakes his head, trying to force the image out of his head. "I'm gonna get rid of the body."

Newt just stays quiet.

Renkek Kashaan nods as he listens and shrugs "Well yes get the body off the ship at least and preferrably not near the ship." he shrugs

Malion looks at Renkek and Newt. "I'll move the body, if you two clean and keep an eye out for any trouble," he says bluntly. "Got it?"

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