Bangtail

Co-written with Omni

December 30th, 2183 EC | 5.3.6 SW
19:33/21 SW-CP-Local Time
The Wombwood Forest

Irving had made his way to the ship Cowboy had told him about, he had borrowed a small cart from the colony's garage. Shusett had covered himself in a large raincoat with only his chin and bottom lip really visible. He looked at the rusting hulk, he could only imagine the kind of crew to use this kind of ship. Someone with taste in very old music. He had managed to hack into their internal comms as they approached. Irving stopped and waited for the one Cowboy dubbed Bangtail. After a short wait there was a grind of metal and a hiss as the ventral airlock begins to open and lower a wide ramp.

Out steps Lyron Cham with a cigar looking up at the tops of the trees to the large moon, Suen. Shusett took a gentle step back as the man approached him. He was nervous, intimidated by the size of Cham. As soon as Cham noticed Shusett, he jolted to alertness. "Damn, boy. You scared the shit out of me. The hell you doin' out here?"

"You Bangtail...?" Shusett whispered.

"Bangta..? Oh shit, yo' Cap! Your boy's out her like the welcoming committee!" The captain walked down the ramp into the clearing to meet the two.

"I'm Ladon," Shusett extended his pale boney hands to the captain.

"Bangtail." She replied, meeting his hand and shaking it. "I didn't expect you would be joining us in person."

"Cowboy's orders - I hope you understand. They tell me that you might have something for me?" He looked for a moment at the captain's stern facial expression.

"Yeah..." she sighed. "We had one hell of a time getting anything. We ran into bad news with their crew and barely made it out with our lives. We lost three others in the process. They did manage to grab a few things, not sure what's in it."

Irving noticed at the top of the ramp there sat another woman with the physique of a soldier. She was checking the bandages wrapped across her ribs and chest.

"You have a doctor with you?" Irving indicated to the woman on the ramp. "They follow you?"

"Just an outdated AutoDoc, cheap medpod. I'm sure you've had the unfortunate experience of one. We weren't followed, but if they survived, they will be headed here too. They were spouting off nonsense about some kind of parasites, but all we saw was some shaky video footage."

"Nah, Cap. I saw their fuckin' cat turn into some kinda mutant." Cham chimed in.

"These mutants didn't compromise any of the goods did they? I need this stuff in tact otherwise Cowboy will kill me." This mission sounded more dangerous than what Cowboy had said in his message.

"First off... What all has Cowboy told you?" Bangtail asked.

"Nothing much he said about a message or a delivery. He told me to help you," Shusett huffed. "I can fix things: computers, hardware, software. Any troubles with your ship just let me know. But you have to tell me what you know Bangtail."

"We know dick!" spouted the woman sitting at the top of the ramp.

"Don't mind her, she's a bit pissy right now." Bangtail said.

"What we know is the crew of that ship was rerouted to salvage an old derelict that had something Weyland-Yutani considered highly classified, so much so that I don't even think their crew knew what was on it. Our job is to loot. We were sent to intercept them, steal either ship, and loot the spoils. But that didn't exactly happen. We let our guard down. Something was happening there on that derelict though. As for the goods, come see for yourself." The captain turned and lead Shusett up on to her ship. Irving could feel his heartbeat increase from fear as he passed the woman on the ramp.

"Your ship is nice, Captain Bangtail."

She smiled. "She's an old piece of scrap but she's been good to us so far. There are just some minor repairs we need." She continued as she led him to one of the large cargo bays. "The main airlock is busted and our transponder malfunctioned but that worked out in our favor since we didn't get located in orbit and shot at."

As Irving entered the back of the cargo bay, he could see two grey-green steel containers each one about the size of an oven. They seemed to be antique refrigeration units of some sort, not exactly what he had expected. Irving examined the refrigerators, he placed his ear against the refrigerator door. "Interesting, these things are heavy yes?" He flipped his head to the captain and waited for her to respond.

"They look damn heavy to me. I didn't do the lifting."

"The man, the big man he can help me get these somewhere safe for further examination?" Irving quickly nodded towards Cham.

"Shit." said Cham. "I just fly the damn thing, man."

"Or we leave them here?" Shusett looked at the captain. It wasn't ideal but neither would be carrying these things back to the cart alone, Shusett was already panicking that he had pushed his luck with the amount of time he had been out here.

"Help the man, Cham." ordered the Captain.

"Yeah, Cham." repeated Hel amused.

"Bitch, you the one who lost Jojo. You carry the damn thing."

"Please Mr Cham, please..." Irving begged anxiously.

"Shit. Aight, whatever. Bo, you gotta talk to Cowboy about bonuses tho'. We lost our synthetic on the Montero. He was tied to the ship's AI so I hate to break it to you, Ladon but whatever he knew ‘bout you… ‘bout alla us, is probably compromised if that crew reactivate his mem’ry."

Cham walked over to one side of the crate and lifted. "Where we takin' this thing?"

"You can trust me," Irving mumbled. "We take these to a quiet place, my special place. Nobody ever goes there and I can take a proper look into these whatever they are." He pointed randomly into the distance before returning his hand to the refrigerator. He grasped the top two edges and began to lift. "Captain Bangtail how do I contact you again? If I contact you again."

She looked up and scanned the trees.
"I've never seen so many trees in one place before. It's beautiful. We'll be here for awhile I think. After several month in space I'm not keen on going back in the freezer if you get me. If you can get us some fake access IDs we could probably mingle with the settlement every now and again, grabbin’ some survival gear and hike out here. We need to hide the ship somewhere else anyway."

Irving and Cham began to lift the refrigeration units. "I can try find you somewhere quiet for the ship. When you need to move you let me know, find Ladon." Irving nodded to the captain as he and Cham made their way down the ramp. They dumped the first unit on the back of the cart before returning for the second.

"Thank you, until next time." Irving nodded to Cham as he climbed into the cart and switched on the engine. He was headed for the quiet spot he fancied by the Comms Outpost. Hopefully nobody would find these valuable assets there. Hopefully it would give him an opportunity to examine them for Cowboy. He'd do that tomorrow.

To Be Continued...

< Prev : Act I: Planetfall Next > : USCSS Montero On Approach