Pariahs and Peacemakers

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Keeto emerged from his forcibly induced coma and tried to stand, using the wall to pick himself up. He grumbled something indecipherably and attempted to take an unsteady step. Needless to say he didn’t complete it before he gave out and smashed in to a rickety old bed frame which was minus a mattress. His mind was all aflutter when he eyeballed the Human in the cell with him. “Comment on this meat sack and die,” he grumbled unconvincingly as he nursed his ego and his head. James Crow looked relatively calm despite being partially responsible for caging the Guardian the first time round.

“Well, they’ve made a mistake putting us together,” James offered, “everyone knows you separate prisoners.” He seemed rather pleased with his observation but Keeto had found something rather humorous in the Human’s comment.

“Gods forbid we should rattle the cage and suffer revenge from the good doctor,” he growled cynically. James didn’t rise to the challenge, he didn’t need to as the Caliterrian didn’t have much fight in him. Suddenly metal screeched loudly which seemed to startle Isaac in his lone cell. “So is the joker flying this heap of junk qualified to do so?” He was immediately drowned out by a loud roar as a large chunk of wall flung through the newly dropped cell bars due to the power cut. The incarcerated crew of the Pariah slowly fed into the smoke filled hall and Isaac counted his blessings for being knocked off his feet by the blast long before the wall hurtled in his direction. They found that all the guards had already been disposed of. Above their corpses stood a well-armed team of three soldiers. Dressed in white armour with gold trim. Keeto snarled recognising the insignia and uniform of the Pirate Prince’s private army. “Down, boy,” ordered the leader as he swung his weapon in the Caliterrian’s direction. “This is a rescue mission. We are at your disposal, Miss Ventii.”

Shayara froze where she stood which wasn’t the wisest thing she wasn’t exactly near any cover if their little discussion had had visitors. She had no idea why such an infamous group would come to her aid and the soldier seemed to sense her unease. “I’m Rexan Syesh and I assure you that you’ll get answers soon enough but we are kind of in a hurry here,” he mused sarcastically as his visor revealed his angular Sarcurian face with bright amber eyes that rolled condescendingly. “Grab your gear and follow me. Those that fall behind stay behind and all that.” No one liked following pirates blindly but they had no other option and the intrigue was far too much for Shayara. So they did as they were told and retrieved their gear from the warden’s office that their captors had been far too arrogant to think about locking up. The Doc swiped a beautifully designed Predator pistol that had been lovingly decorated with ivory and gold markings. Shayara recognised it as belonging to the pirate that Jarner had stabbed in the eye. He wouldn’t be missing it. “I thought doctors were pacifists?” Keeto breathed heavily looking over the sidearm he wished he’d snatched first. James smiled almost maniacally, so much so it even slightly unnerved Keeto.

“I’m a very unconventional, Doctor my friend. Fear my wrath now?” The royal soldiers crept through the cavity they’d created first as Rexan took point. They charged forward to cut down some unsuspecting rival pirates who were trying their damnedest to put out the fire that was spreading much too quickly across the deck. This gave Isaac a chance to get close to Shayara as he prodded her with the muzzle of his pistol. “What do you think they want with us?” he whispered softly.

“Maybe the Pirate Prince wants some good publicity saving a group of slaves,” she thought, amused at the idea.

“Oh good, cause I was thinking maybe the Senate has put out a bounty for our return and the Prince wants to extort more,” he suggested not jokingly enough for Shayara’s liking.

“What a pleasant thought. Forever the pessimist,” she said as their escorts returned to them. The alarm sounded as a dull explosion sounded several decks above. “I’d like to visit somewhere nice just for once.”

The ghostly figure at the front crouched down and held up a clenched fist in the universally understood signal of hold the fuck up which the rear most member of the royal trio explained to Shayara who was closest to him. She nodded curtly at the obvious explanation. “I think I get it.” She smiled through gritted teeth. He put his fingers to his lips in an annoyed a way as he could. Shayara was thankful for the breaking out and all but everything over the last few days had begun to stack up. Her patience had suffered, not that she’d been the most patient person beforehand. Rexan gestured her forward and as she got close he spoke in a hushed voice. “Our drop ship is being overrun and is quickly filling up with other prisoners. What I’m saying is our only other exit plan is your ship. If I get us there, will it fly?” he asked. His voice wasn’t shaky but Shayara could gauge the concern hidden within it. Definitely a pirate and not a soldier.

“As long as they haven’t stripped it bare, yes,” she considered. They exchanged nav data over their holographic computer interfaces and were soon off again. Shayara had concealed her device so it had mapped their route perfectly. They reached the hangar in no time at all but soon wished another option was available. A huge firefight had ensued with the Pariah right in the middle of it. The Pariah was surrounded by a diamond shaped formation of Prince loyalist drop ships which seemed to be holding out rather well with many a body filling the kill zone around it. It seemed like after a lot of trial and error, the bad pirates had decided charging in was suicidal. Probably took longer than it should have looking at the scene from afar. Shayara shook her head as Rexan looked her way. Without a distraction or the construction of a bulletproof hallway to the extraction point they were going nowhere and everyone present knew it. Rexan radioed ahead and the mere mention of Shayara’s name got the friendly pirates around the Pariah moving to cover their crossing. Apparently Shayara was important to Dead-eye Jack, the Pirate Prince, but she was more concerned with living at that moment so she followed across no man’s land. Bullets whizzed by so close it made her skin bristle. Isaac took the head off a Sentinel who forgot to check his peripheral vision before chasing them down. The mist saved Isaac from several lazy rounds himself but he didn’t slow to count his blessings.

The group scaled the barricades and darted onto the Pariah. Shayara left her saviours behind as they got tangled up in stray wiring. She moved along the memorised route to the Captain’s chair. The place was a tip but she rerouted power in the hope she still flew. The engines spluttered into existence but the AI podium lay vacant. It appeared the scavengers had only had chance to take what had not been bolted down. R051E burst into existence with a confused expression plastered across her face. “They were not very gentlemanly. They prodded and poked in some places no person should go on a first date.” She stomped.

“Get us out of here!” Shayara screamed anxiously as the Pariah rose up unconvincingly and shot through the hangar door. It weaved and darted between, frigates, warships and artillery from both sides of the conflict on its journey to the far edge of the giant skirmish. Shayara let out a drawn breath and let go of the chair’s fabric that she had had in a death grip. Rexan moved forward with the intention of patting her on the shoulder but was immediately disarmed along with his companions. Isaac and Jarner pointed their firearms in the pirates’ direction as Keeto unsheathed his war blade. Shayara swivelled in her chair and looked them over. “So do explain what Dead-eye Jack wants with me, won’t you?” She had barely finished her sentence as an alarm sounded and R051E appeared again expectantly at her side. “What?!” shouted Shayara frustrated at the lack of peace she had been privy to in the last week. R051E looked sheepish in her response which if she wasn’t raging mad Shayara may have cared about.

“Numerous ships have us surrounded including the Prince’s private dreadnought, Adventures Fortune.” The conference screen energised and one of the pirates stepped forward and ushered Rexan to stand down. “Now, sis, I shouldn’t have to make an excuse to rescue family.” He smiled as he removed his helmet. Jack had changed so much since Shayara had last seen him but she was too taken aback to take it in. He’d matured well but he still seemed the brother she remembered. Without knowing what else to say and with deathly silence present for far too long she voiced her concerns.

“I thought better of you than a pirate. How’s the Prince for an employer?” she asked sarcastically, annoyed that the man she had always looked up to had abandoned his morality and become a crook. His sapphire eyes glinted with pride and boyish excitement.

“Funny story.”

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