Freefall XII
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Smuggler’s Assistant

We came to that out of way moon because of the promises of a large quantity of Ataraxite gems. By we, I should say my partner Margaret Blake and I. She is a good skiff pilot, and really enjoys blowing things up with her rpg launcher when she gets a chance. The gems are hugely valuable on our home world of Shinon; about 400 or 500 alliance credits for gold ataraxite, around 1200 for the green, and 2000 or more for the white. The crime lord who set up shop near the free port of Freefall promised us almost a chest full of the gems. However, that was almost a year ago already. She kept asking us to do odd jobs, and promising us that we’d earn the gems after the next one, and the one after that. Until it came to a few nights ago, when the Freighter Waxwing landed. It’s appearance didn’t really affect us until the next day, when the alliance dropship landed. The two-man ship we came to Ataraxia in, was tagged for some crime or another over by Persephone, and if we launched off the ground our ship would trip the dropship’s sensors. Then, the alliance would, very politely, blow us out of the sky. So even if we got the gems, we would be stuck on that gorram moon.

After Margaret placed her one true love and some party favors in our ship, we came back to town, we got “pinched” by the crime boss thugs. Apparently the Crime Boss wasn’t around at that moment. After explaining who we were, and why we were there at least three times, they finally escort us to town. Now, I don’t know much about escorting, but they hardly looked away from us, and didn’t check their surroundings. It was basically an open invitation to get shot in the back, and I’m glad there weren’t any other mercs around dumb enough to try it.

Well we got back to town and a man wearing yellow goggles, and no shoes, came up to us and asked us if we were friends with the alliance. Margaret never really has been a supporter of the Alliance, and normally I’m apathetic towards them, but since they have an embargo on our profit line, I wouldn’t mind causing some disruptions. As long as Margaret and I were able to get off world with the gems.

The man turned out to be called Crash, and he was the pilot of the Waxwing, and I am hoping his name is just a sad attempt at irony. However, his captain seemed to think that pestering the Alliance wouldn’t bring his crew any good. I’d say I’d have to agree. It would be easier to get off world without the Alliance prods on our backs. Margaret, on the other hand, looked deflated at the thought. I’m sure she was hoping to be able to cause mayhem, and get paid for it.

We discuss payment for getting off world. The Captain said it was 400 or 500 credits depending on how many people were already on board, and if we help defend the ship, or do other work for the crew, the prices drop. About this time, Margaret and I realized we should tell the captain about the stash of gems that the Crime Lord has. Well, really Margaret realized, and I just stood back and watched, adding some details about how valuable the gems could be.

This peaked the Captain’s interest, but about this time we hear yells coming form outside the ship. Turns out our brilliant thug friends are trying to scream down some mercs coming from the town. Eventually someone shoots, and a whole firefight erupts. To our luck, we see that all the thugs got themselves shot.

Around that time, we realized we no longer needed the crime boss, and decided to look around the, now deserted, warehouse for the gems. The gems were naturally not there, but after checking around, we found three illegal firearms just waiting to be taken.

On our way back to the Waxwing, Margaret gets inside the secondary entrance, but I’m still stuck outside when a few “shoot first, ask questions later” types come around the north side of the ship. I’m hiding next to the entrance, and one is creeping along the ship, while one is in the bushes nearby. I would have tried to rush into the ship, if it wasn’t for the fact the captain wouldn’t be to happy with me bringing down the heat on his ship. The one in the bushes sees me, but I jump out of cover and shoot the merc next to the ship. That merc must have had quick reactions, because as soon as I jump out he shoots back. Just goes to show that Margaret was always better than me with a gun.

So, there I was lying on the ground bleeding, and I could hear the merc I shot finally slump over dead. I even felt someone take my med-packs, but they must have been in a hurry, because they didn’t search long enough to find the gems I had in my pocket, or the two smuggled guns in my bag. Eventually, more honorable mercs came along, and carried me to the doctor in town. He patched me up, and asked for payment. Since I didn’t want to be indentured to him, I gave him the only things of value I had; the two gems. He discreetly covered them up on his surgery tray and told me I should probably rest a little bit, but I’d be fine.

Not to be one to hang out in the trade post surrounded by the Magistrate’s men, and the Alliance, I quickly disregarded what the doctor said about rest, and made my way back to the Waxwing. After having a discussion with Margaret about why she didn’t come back and get me, we heard about the sensors that the Alliance were setting up on the mine heads. Apparently if they succeeded, this place would be crawling with Alliance making sure that every molecule of Ataraxite was in their property. If that happened, it would be a lot harder to smuggle what Ataraxite we could get off world, especially in a large ship like the Waxwing. The miners wanted to have the ship’s engineer disable the sensors. So a group of browncoats and mercs went off to defend her, while she tried to disable one of the sensors. Margaret and I stayed on the ship for a few hours waiting on news, and discussing options with the Captain, and the rest of the crew. We watched a companion open up her bodyguard’s gun “because she was bored.” Eventually the Engineer came back after disabling a sensor, even though she and a few others ended up wounded.

Around this time the Captain got his hands on some Ataraxite of his own; five pretty shimmering gems, if I remember correctly. But he was looking for a way to get them off world without the Alliance noticing, and get the money back. His ship apparently was not cleared for take off, but his ship’s sensors picked up two other ships. The Alliance dropship, and, of course, our little skiff. We had failed to tell him we had our own way off world. Since the alliance were not likely to just hand over the access codes and let us take their dropship for a spin, Margaret felt it was as good as time as any to reveal that we were the proud owners of a two-man skiff not far away from the Alliance dropship. Trouble was, the alliance dropship was still operational, and unless the entire crew was out getting Ng-Ka-Pei, it was doubtful we’d make it out of their range before their missiles came calling.

Our only option was to disable the monitoring systems on the ship, or the whole ship. Madison, the ship’s engineer, seemed to feel that it would probably take too long to disable the ship, especially if the Alliance showed up and wanted to crash the party. So, with a gleam in her eye, Margaret described how easy it would be to blow up the dropship with her rpg launcher. Naturally, we decided upon the much more stealthy rpg launcher.

Seeing as the crew of the waxwing, and the browncoats all wanted to see us safely off to get more money for supplies, we assembled a small army of browncoats and mercs to escort Margaret. Whether archaic views of chivalry, or the fact that she was the only one who could wrap her head around that rpg of hers, or the fact I couldn’t fly the skiff, I decided to watch her back. Pretty much my reasons for both days of fighting we were involved in, but I had heard rumors of mercs turning on the people who hired them, after they got paid. I just wanted to be there to make sure that nothing bad happened to Margaret.

The group split into two, one going to cut through the woods directly to our ship, and the other to stay on the path and meet them at the ship. It was tense getting to the ship, and even more tense after Margaret loaded the rpg, and the army moved off toward the drop ship. The group that went along the path worked a head to the dropship, while our group arrived second. We found that the first group received no resistance. Apparently my thoughts about the Ng-Ka-Pei, wasn’t far off. The alliance was busy running around protecting their sensors, none of them thought to protect their ship. The army had been summoned almost for nothing. Margaret let off the round, disable the ship, and we left. All without a single enemy in sight.

After we made it back the the ship, the Alliance seemed to still be unawares their ship is disabled. They even asked the captain of the waxwing to keep an eye on a third sensor being set up slightly west of his ship. Trouble was, now the alliance were guarding this sensor with what seemed like all their men. Margaret and I needed to get past them to get to our ship, and they looked like they might be stopping anyone trying to get past.

The captain asked Mirage, a browncoat, to get us past on the south path, but the sensor was pretty much right between both paths, so alliance could still see us from where they were guarding. Mirage decided it wasn’t safe, so we went back to the ship, and Mirage and a crew member, aptly named DeCoy, went to see if they could walk past the Alliance with no trouble. After waiting for a half hour, with the threat of night coming, Margaret and I decided to head out. A merc joined us, and we headed down the path for our ship. Oddly though, there must be something about the way Margaret and I smell or something, because again, no alliance waited for us near the sensor.

When we made it into the forest we passed two mercs, who we didn’t know and didn’t know who they worked for, but we were in a hurry so we just passed them with out making sure, after they seemed semi peaceful.

Turns out we were wrong. As we went down the path, with our ship in sight, they opened fire on our backs. Mercs never seem to have much for honor. Anyway, I was hit again. But Margaret and the merc with us got away. Actually I’m pretty sure the merc didn’t stop running until he didn’t hear any bullets anymore. The Alliance mercs didn’t stick around, and Margaret was able to get a med pack to me, and we made it to our ship. And for a brief respite, we were off the war-torn moon, selling the gems. Too bad we had to come back. Margaret was either greedy for more credits, or she still has some vestiges of honor herself, because she was the first to suggest we make the return trip. Since she was flying, I didn’t think I’d argue, even if I wanted to.

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