Not switching to DTV
Join Date: May 2003
Location: just past the pot o' gold
Current Game: TrackMania Nations
((JP with the Doctor))
In a chair he'd grabbed from the common room, tipped back against the wall, Kavrik Zall stared lazily into one of the crew-quarters-turned-holding-cells of his ship, the Freedom. The ray shield was active, keeping his latest target contained. In retrospect, he thought it a shame she'd resisted him. After all, wasn't he trying to bring about a family reunion here? That he was getting paid to do it was only a minor bonus.
He snorted. Major bonus. Whoever this girl was, her grandparents were certainly far more well off than she was. Even well enough off to keep their granddaughter imprisoned against her will.
"Word has it," he said, "that you've been looking for your family history. Suddenly it falls in your lap and you don't want it?"
Nasrene glared at him, her arms folded across her chest, and sighed through her nose. "Sorry, I'm having trouble with the 'drag her at gunpoint into a force cage' bit. I'm no expert, but it doesn't seem very grand-parental to me."
Kavrik chuckled. "Be fair. You've got a bed and a chair, and your own private refresher..." He glanced into the corner of the room where yet another door had been removed and amended with a grin. "Well, it used to be private." He shrugged. "More amenities than most prison cells can offer though."
"Yeah, it's a real pleasure yacht, your ship here," she replied venomously. "I forgot to ask when I came in - when do they serve breakfast? I'm a real beast before my morning bagel."
"Ah, so that's the attitude problem," Kavrik said. "And here I was thinking it was because I shot you with a stun bolt and carried you here against your will."
Suddenly, the ship lurched, nearly throwing Kavrik off his chair. He scowled. "Lys, tell me that wasn't what I thought it was."
A feminine voice replied calmly, "Interdictor field, sir. Looks to be pirates."
Kavrik shook his head. "Stall them as long as you can, then prepare to take them out as they board." He laughed. "Fools don't know who they've caught..."
Nasrene had braced herself against the wall when the ship rocked, and was standing at the edge of the force field as her captor rose from his seat. "What's going on?" she demanded to know. "What does she mean, 'pirates'?"
Kavrik shot her a glare. "Pirates are pirates, darlin'." He frowned thoughtfully. "Well financed ones, it seems, if they're able to afford and maintain an interdictor."
"Kav," the woman's voice said urgently, "the hyperdrive was damaged by that interdictor field. I might be able to get it active in spurts, but the sooner we land somewhere for repairs, the better. Either way, it's looking like we'll have to fight them off this time."
"Understood," Kavrik growled. He grinned faintly at Nasrene. "I'd say stay put, but really, where you gonna go?"
She balled her fists and glared, but the forcefield prevented her from reacting exactly as she'd have liked.
Just as Kavrik turned to enter the common room, the woman he'd called Lys spoke again over the intercom, "The pirates have a boarding ship inbound, Kav. By its size, I'd say there'd be forty of them at best."
Kavrik rolled his eyes. "Maybe they do know who they're tackling. Thanks for the reassuring enemy count, Lys."
Nasrene's insides turned to ice, her anger momentarily forgotten. "Forty?" she asked quietly. "Did she say forty?" She moved right up against the force cage, close enough to feel the faint heat rising from its surface. "Let me out," she said suddenly. It wasn't an order, more a statement of fact. "You can't have a crew of any more than ten. If they're sending a boarding party that size, you'll need all the help you can get."
Kavrik hesitated just inside the common room, considering. Slowly, he turned back and glanced toward the cockpit. "Lys, options?"
"Wouldn't hurt to have an extra hand," Lys answered. "Besides that, you did tell me she was a challenge to catch."
Kavrik glared. "I said almost a challenge." He grinned to Nasrene, switched off the ray shield, and held out one of his blaster pistols to her. "No offense, darlin', but I'm used to taking down Force users."
"None taken," she said resentfully, snatching the blaster from his hand. She deftly checked the powerpack before meeting his eye again. "Lead the way, captain."
"Lys," Kavrik called, "where are they breaching?"
"Looks like cargo hold," Lys answered. "I'm projecting false life signs in most other places. That's their cleanest entry point."
"Alright," Kavrik said, entering the common room and flipping the table. He glanced at Nasrene. "We'll hold here. Most of 'em probably won't make it up here anyway..." He grinned and winked at Nasrene. “Trust me on that.”
"Trust you, right..." Nasrene muttered darkly. To him, she said "So the rest of your crew will hold them down below, yeah? How many people do you have, anyway?"
Kavrik's grin widened. "Depends on your definition of people."
"Kav, they've breached the cargo bay."
"Let 'em come in, Lys," Kavrik said. "Let 'em think they're making good headway. Then spring the first trap." To Nasrene, he continued, "If you're talking sentient, organic life, there's just me. But Lysandra more than makes up for any imaginable shortfalls of that."
"Hold on," she blurted. "What's Lysandra then? Are you telling me it's just you, me, and a computer against a crew of bloody pirates?"
From somewhere below them, the faint sound of blaster fire could be heard. After several long seconds, it ceased.
"Bit more than a computer, thanks," Lysandra's voice said. "Twenty-one down, seventeen of them dead. Half of the remainder have fled back to their boarding ship. The rest are either immobile from fear or pressing on. I count... eight coming your way."
Understood, Lys," Kavrik said. "Thanks." He glanced at Nasrene. "Feeling better yet?"
Nasrene looked around at the bulkheads apprehensively before replying: "About the pirates, maybe," she said. "Now it's your 'more than a computer' I'm worried about."
With a laugh, Kavrik shook his head. "Well, she did speak up in favor of letting you out of the cage, didn't she?"
At that moment, shouts were heard as the pirates moved through the deck, checking the aft storage compartments first. Kavrik motioned for Nasrene to drop out of sight behind the table and did so himself. The pirates moved into the common room and stopped.
“Clear here, too,” one of them said. “What the hell? What about the life readings?”
Panels in the walls slid open, revealing unmanned turrets, much as there had been in the cargo hold. Lysandra said coolly, “I lied.”
Kavrik motioned to Nasrene and jumped up from behind the table, firing his blaster at the man who had spoken as the turrets in the walls opened fire. Eight pirates soon turned into six, then five. A shot from Kavrik found another hiding behind the bar in the galley, two met their end by shots from Nasrene. The rest were dispatched efficiently by Lysandra, the ‘more than a computer’. Satisfied with the result, Kavrik turned to Nasrene and held out his hand.
"Good shooting," he said, "but I'll be having that blaster back now, thanks."
Nasrene keept a firm hold on the blaster's grip. "You really think I'm going to just hand back a weapon and let you put me behind a forcefield again?" She laughed mirthlessly. "Think again."
Kavrik shrugged. "Darn," he said carelessly, turning away. But he suddenly spun, closed the distance between them in a flash, and wrenched the blaster out of her hand. Holstering it with a flourish, he turned and headed for the bridge.
"Pick a weapon from the dead pirates," he said. "Then pick a room that's still got a door. The only one that won't let you in is mine, and you can set your own security code on the one you choose. When you’re done, come up to the bridge.”
Nasrene watched him walk away, a surprised and oddly suspicious look on her face. She gingerly bent down next to one of the dead pirates. She wasn't sure whether it had been her, the bounty hunter, or his ship that had killed him.
Inexplicable fear clawed at her chest as she leant over him towards his belt - now that the heat of battle had past, the full realisation of what had happened was washing over her. She undid his holster and belt quickly, fumbling with it a great deal in her effort to keep from touching the dead man himself.
She rose a few seconds later with his blaster and its holster in hand. She removed her jacket before wrapping the belt around her own waist. When she put her jacket back on, the holster was rather well hidden beneath the folds of leather. She threw an anxious look at the turrets in the wall before following Kavrik out of the room.
As Nasrene left the lift and found herself on the bridge, Lysandra was saying, “The boarding ship has pulled out. They’re heading back to the mothership.”
“You’re scrambling transmissions, I assume,” Kavrik said, bent over the pilot’s controls. “Any luck at canceling their interdiction field?”
“Just about,” Lysandra answered, “but there’s another problem. This ship being old as it is, getting yanked out of hyperspace like that was hard on the hyperdrive. We’ll need repairs. I can manage a short hop. Looks like our best bet will be Tatooine.”
Kavrik leaned back in his chair, wrinkled his nose and turned to Nasrene. “You ever been to Tatooine?” he asked. “I never did like the place. Back o’ beyond, and nothing but sand and hot.”
Nasrene shook her head, frowning. "Sorry, never had the pleasure." A small smirk spread slowly across her face. "But not to worry - I like it hot."
Kavrik grinned. "Promises, promises."
"Interdictor's out!" Lysandra shouted suddenly. "Nasrene, you might want to brace yourself."
Kavrik winked at Nasrene. "Never a dull moment with me."
"We'll see..." she muttered under her breath, bracing herself against the back of Zavrik's seat. As soon as she had, the ship moved into hyperspace, headed for Tatooine.