At Polaris, Samantha and Matt stepped off onto the bay and the first thing they did was look around at the half-dozen or so shuttles.
“This way.” Dmon said.
The station was very large, but old, and held together with retrofitted parts.
“Let me show you to your quarters.” Dmon said.
After going through some corridors, they came to what could only be described as a street; with lights and a transit system just above head.
“It’s like a city.” Samantha whispered to Matt.
“There’re some major gangs here,” Dmon said, standing next to a symbol painted on a building, “See this? It’s a sign. This is our territory. Each territory has its own facilities and can be self-sustaining.”
“So are we a gang or what?” Matt asked.
“Some call us terrorists,” Dmon said, as he walked, “Tini runs this place. We’re part of the Nebula Boys, the biggest gang on Polaris Station.”
“We work with rival gangs?” Matt asked.
Samantha immediately grabbed his arm and said, “Um, Birdo?”
“Sure,” Dmon said, walking into a housing facility, “I should’ve explained all this before. We work for Tini; he gives us jobs and pays well. So, technically we work for him. The gangs run themselves and can come and go, but if Tini calls, they have to answer.”
“When do we meet Tini?” Samantha asked.
“Few hours,” Dmon said, standing in front of a door that automatically slid open, “Here we are, your room. Get comfy, Tini’s having a meeting soon. I’ll come get ya. In the meantime, you can do what you want, just don’t cause trouble.”
Samantha and Matt watched Dmon walk away until they were alone. The room was small, quaint, and only for one person.
“Good thing we’re not staying,” Matt said, “I hate sleeping on the couch.”
“So now what?” Samantha asked.
“The targets had tracking devices implanted long ago,” Matt said, phasing on his helmet and studying the map on it, “We just follow the signal, and bingo, two hundred yards beneath us. Let me transfer the map to you.”
Samantha looked at the map, “It’s not too far from the shuttle bay.” she said.
“This way.” Matt said.
As they crossed the station, they came across a multitude of stores and clubs. People were just mingling and going about their business. Eventually, Samantha and Matt found themselves alone in a plain empty room that seemed to be a place of gathering.
Matt studied the map, “Just a bit further.” he said.
Samantha and Matt phased out their weapons and approached cautiously. Matt was armed with his rifle, Samantha had her shotgun.
The shotgun, as Samantha had it, was loaded with twenty-four flechette rounds. Each round could be fired six times, which meant the gun had to be pumped every six times and reloaded every twenty-fourth round.
They came to a large door that Samantha easily hacked for it to slide open and reveal another room. This one was large, like an auditorium under construction set up in a gymnasium. There was a balcony, chairs, a podium, construction pieces, and makeshift wooden planks strewn about. Behind the podium was a blue plastic cage with breathing holes. The cage was about 3x3x3 feet.
Matt looked at his map and then pointed at the cage, “Right there.” he said. Both hurried to the cage and Samantha hacked it open.
Inside the cage were two small children, a boy, and a girl; both alive and trying to keep quiet.
“Come with us,” Samantha said, “We’re here to take you home.”
“You’ll be ok.” Matt assured.
Both children stepped out and looked around before grabbing onto Samantha.
“You’re early,” said a voice from across the room. It was Tini, also a Geoden, “What are you doing with them? I was just coming to do a check-up.”
Samantha and Matt aimed their weapons.
“We’re taking these kids home.” Samantha said.
Tini made the slightest of gestures.
“Don’t even think about it!” Matt said.
“I’m a businessman,” Tini said, “You can have the kids if you brought my money.”
“We’re from the UEC,” Samantha said, “These are an important diplomat’s kids and their family wants them back.”
“We don’t have to pay you anything,” Matt said, “They’re coming with us.”
Tini began to glow from blue to red, “I’m afraid I can’t let you take the kids,” he said, “Unless you surrender, I can’t let you two live.”
Tini used both hands to throw two chairs at Samantha and Matt distracting them for a brief moment while he ducked. It only took a few seconds for him to transform and go after them.
“Run!” Samantha yelled.
Both kids, unsure of what to do, ran with Matt as he and Samantha took off in opposite directions.
Tini barreled through the podium like as if it wasn’t even there.
Samantha and Matt fired round after round with no effect. Tini, in his transformed state, was immune to their gunfire which were just like bug bites to him.
Samantha and Matt quickly disposed of their disguises and phased their suits on just in time before Tini swiped at Samantha and knocked her across the room into several chairs.
Tini was about to go after Matt until Samantha quickly got back up and distracted him with more gunfire. He went through the shots like nothing and again swatted her across the room.
Samantha was lucky to have her suit, otherwise, she’d be dead. The suit was taking all of the abuse and helping her move.
“Stay back!” Matt said to the kids, as he took cover behind what little was left of the podium next to some construction parts and firing.
Samantha shuffled back quickly behind some stands to put anything between her and Tini.
The kids found a vent nearby and pulled the grate open. One crawled just inside while the other went to get Matt’s attention.
“We should’ve brought bigger guns,” Samantha said over the radio, as she made her way behind the stands, “The ones we have aren’t powerful enough.”
Tini smashed one end of the stands closed, leaving Samantha only one way out. Tini then turned to Matt and began lumbering towards him.
Matt could feel one of the kids knocking on his shoulder. He turned, “I thought I…,” he said, before noticing the kid pointing to the vent. After inspecting the vent he looked over to see where Tini was, “Samantha, if you can hear me, you’re in the clear. Tini is about halfway across, heading my way. There’s a vent where I’m at, I need you to get here.”
Samantha came out of the stands, running along the wall and shooting.
Tini took notice and charged Samantha. Maybe it was the power of the shotgun or the fact she was out in the open. He couldn’t ignore her any longer.
Samantha jumped to the side at last moment, causing Tini to smash into the wall and daze himself. She wasted no time running for the vent, as shooting was pointless.
“Let me get in front,” Matt said to the kids, “Stay between us. Samantha, watch our asses.”
Samantha arrived as the second kid entered the vent. She noticed Tini getting his bearings. Before entering the vent herself, she phased out a grenade, armed and tossed it at him.
The grenade exploded, but it did little against Tini. He leaped through the flames towards Samantha, who had already entered the vent. Too big to follow in his current form, Tini jammed his paw into the vent.
Samantha desperately kicked away at Tini’s paw as she crawled away. Tini was awfully close. Eventually, Samantha got just far away enough. The vent was big enough for her to move fast in a hunched position.
Matt came to a stop, “Samantha, you ok?” he asked.
“I’m doing ok,” Samantha replied, “Why are we stopped?”
“Just a second,” Matt said, phasing out a small, floating, spherical probe that took off fast, “Hopefully that probe will find a way out in a few seconds.” A map formed on Matt’s HUD as the probe went.
“We definitely can’t go back,” Samantha said, “We’d have to go through the station and deal with Tini.”
“There!” Matt said, “Not far at all. The probe found an exit to what looks like another bay. This way, hurry.” He led the way and easily pushed open the grate leading to a shuttle bay.
Matt quickly picked a shuttle and boarded it with the kids.
Samantha crawled out of the vent and ran for the shuttle only to be stopped by Dmon, who was hiding behind some cargo crates.
“Leaving so soon?” Dmon asked, with a sniper rifle pointed at Samantha’s head at point blank range.
“Dmon,” Samantha said, putting up her hands, “It’s me, ‘Birdy’. C’mon, you don’t want to do this.”
Matt emerged from the shuttle pointing his rifle at Dmon.
“Birdy?” Dmon said, “To think I was going to invite you and your friend over for dinner. I just called Tini. He’s on his way with reinforcements.”
“Let me go,” Samantha said, “In exchange, we won’t harm you.”
“We’ll just wait for Tini to arrive.” Dmon said.
“You got ten seconds!” Matt said, “You drop her I drop you. After ten seconds, you’re dead either way if you don’t lower your weapon.”
“Sorry for our deception,” Samantha said, “We just want to take the kids home. You don’t want to die over them.”
Dmon lowered his rifle, “You’re right,” he said, “I don’t want to die over them, and you don’t really leave me a choice.”
Samantha lowered her hands and breathed a sigh of relief, “Good decision. Thank you.” she said.
“I’ll open the doors,” Dmon said, “This way you won’t blow them open.”
“Won’t you get in trouble?” Samantha asked as she boarded the shuttle with Matt and the kids.
“I’ll tell them you forced me,” Dmon said, going to a console, “Besides; I’m already in a little trouble for hiring you. I can deal with it. At least I get my money back.”
The shuttle door closed as the bay doors opened. The shuttle levitated and took off, passing through the force fields that kept everything from being sucked out and headed home.