"Mmm... once again another culinary hit! Many a kudos, to the best cook in the known system!" Sonny said as he raised his fork in a toast.
"Yeah. Haven't had this great tasting food in... well, ever!" Kattan said as he ate another forkful of food.
"It stinks doesn't it?" Maya asked. The others shaked their heads in disagreement. "Good. I'm gonna go bring a dish to Reg on the bridge."
* * *
"Oh, hey." Regin said as he rose to his feet. Glad ya came. Nearly fell asleep."
"Brought ya some food." Maya replied as she took a seat next to the rabbit.
"Look, if this is about last night..."
"Last night doesn't matter. We had a verbal disagreement and we got over it. That's all their is to it."
"No... look, I... I was in the wrong. I thought you and Callo..."
"No... she's just a tad too young for me. We were just talking about the whole renovation thing and that's when you saw us. You had a right to be angry. "
"Well, enjoy." she said as she gave him a small lick on the cheek as she made her way back to the kitchen.
"What? Figures." Regin slumped back into his seat and put his tray on the small shelf near the station. "Could ya tell the captain that we're at the crash site."
"Will do." she said as she ran back to the mess hall. "Jake? We're at the site."
"Really?" he sighed, stuffing the last of the salad in his muzzle, putting down his fork. "Let's go everyone."
"Can't it wait?" Ian pleaded.
"Nope. This is where everyone earns their pay. Now let's go people."
* * *
"Ok, what do we got?"
"It's broken in two. Looks like a Shinto Class to me." Maya exclaimed. "Looks like the cargo hold is still intact. Should we go?"
"Kattan, whaddya think did this?" Jacob asked Kattan.
"Looks like missle fire from the large hole... A sniper missle. Whoever did this was far away." he explained.
"Ok. Ian, Sonny, take the Mesa Glider and see if you two can't move the cargo, whatever it is, out into the open." the tiger instructed. Ian and Sonny soon left and took off.
* * *
The Mesa Glider cut through the black void until it reached the destroyed ship. "Ok, so you wanna go out and push?" Sonny joked.
"Funny. Tractor this stuff and let's go. I've got better things to do." Ian said.
"What do you have to do? Oh... I know... try for the umptenth time to catch Callo's or Maya's eye?" Ian didn't take to this too kindly as he made a murderous advance toward the canine when the ship shook violently, knocking Ian down. "Why'd ya do that?"
"We crashed into the package stupid. Locked down. I'll go ok?" Sonny said as he moved toward the airlock and put on a space suit and exited through the airlock. He pushed a button on the spacesuit which propelled him toward a console nearby. "Still works." he said as he pushed a button which caused the large metal crates to be pushed out into space. Looking toward his left there was another spacesuit slumped on the ground, "Never even had time to make it ou..." The spacesuit's arm suddenly moved along with the legs. "I, uh... Oh..." he studdered as he grabbed the person and lugged him toward the ship. He entered the first and second airlock door but couldn't wreach the door which lead to the cockpit. "OPEN UP!!!" Sonny yelled on the intercom.
"Oh, why should I do that?" Ian retorted.
"A survivor!" he yelled back. Ian pushed a button as the door opened up, with Sonny lugging the space suit.
"Is he still alive?" Ian asked as Sonny kneeled down to take the helmet off. It revealed a young lioness with long brown hair. Removing the top of the space suit, he leaned toward her chest to find a heartbeat.
"You know, there is the conventional pulse on the neck...." Sonny said as he watched the scene in front of him and muttered under his breath. "Tch, what am I saying...guy is such a pervert." He then pushed a button on the console which emitted a light blue field over the two containers as they flew back to the White Pheonix.
"Sonny? How's the cargo?" Jacob's voice could be heard from the speakers.
"Which do you mean?" the German Shepard replied.
"What do you mean?" Jacob replied.
"Well, we've got a survivor. She's unconsious right now but... Ian's... tending to her now."
"Does she look bad?"
"Naw, looks like a small burn on her arm, but other than that some kind of shock or something. She'll be fine in a few hours or so."
"That's good... We'll see you back in a few minutes."
* * *
Jacob, Maya, and Regin waited in the cargo hold awaiting the new passanger. The small spacecraft's hind door opened revealing Ian and Sonny, lifting the lioness down the ramp. Regin, holding a strecher went over to her as they all lifted her up on the strecher.
"Where do we take her?" Maya asked.
"Umm... My quarters." Jacob said as they made their way to the elevator. On the third floor they reached the door as Jacob fingered his number code which unlocked the door. Inside they put the strecher on the bed. "I'll watch her. Maya, ask Kattan to take my shift ok?" Jacob said as he grabbed a washcloth and drapped it over her forhead.
"Sure." Regin said as he and Maya left.
* * *
On the bridge, Kattan stood on the navigation chair, balancing a can of soda on his nose.
"Hey!" Regin's yell startled Kattan as the wheels on the chair slipped as he fell onto the floor.
"Umm... Jake's taking care of the new passanger. You've got another shift on the bridge. Hehe..." Regin said as he quickly left the bridge.
Kattan looked at his watch which he set to the ships actual time. 2300, he thought. It would be usually about this time where he lived. Though it was nothing new to him, he usually stayed up all night and sleeped all day. Now though, he was starting to get a little tired and his first shift still had another hour to go. He began to sigh and swivel around in the chair. He then decided to go toward the door when he saw Callo blocking the doorway. "Can't let you leave... Ship policy." she said with a grin.
"Please, let me just run back to my room and get some music. I can't stand doing nothing!" he replied.
"Ok. Anyways I heard... that... " she started to say as the wolf went up the elevator. He quickly grabbed his disk player and returned back.
"Thanks." he said, "you can go to bed or whatever."
"Hey? I thought you could use some company."
"Love it. You can never have too much company." They both headed back into the bridge as they both sat down near a table.
"So, more old bands that I've never even heard of?" Callo said retortingly.
"Haha... It's Lockheed. Straight out of Barbadous." he said as he put a disc in.
"Oh. That I've heard of. Which disk is it?" she asked.
"Poetry In Motion. Latest album out. Which one's do you got?"
"Hmm..." Callo reached in her jeans pocket and pulled out a small disc. "Try this." Kattan put the disc player and put on his headphones. "Who's this?" he asked the feline.
"Ahh... Been meaning to find this one." he said as he tapped his feet to the beat.
"Hey. Can I ask you a favor?" Callo reached down as she sat up had a clipboard and paper in her paw.
"What's this?" The wolf grabbed the clipboard and began to read over the fine print.
"It's a request. You know the top floor? Well, I figure that since it serves no real purpose we could make it into kind of like a family room or something."
"Ok, more like a place to do whatever room."
"Hmm.... sounds interesting. What's going in there?"
"Well... I figure that since we're going back to Barbadous, I figure that you can get some stuff on the cheap. Seeing as you know these people."
Kattan sighed and replied, "So now I've been labeled as the bad guy turned good guy now?"
"No! No, no, no!" she exclaimed bringing her arm around his neck. "All I'm saying is that if there's anything we need, you can get. I never said you were bad in the first place." Kattan started to chuckle. "What's so funny?"
"Well. When I was brought up, I was told to never trust anybody and that ya only pay attention to the guy with the better deal."
"Wow." Callo removed her arm and placed it on her lap, "How early did you start doing the whole trading thing?"
"10 years ago. That's how I survived. I had to lie, cheat, claw and steal to stay alive."
"Some guy took me in and taught me everything I knew. I went with him around the planet learning about everything. He was an arms dealer."
"Oh... runs in the family." she said.
"Nope. He was never even related to me."
"Did you work for him or something?"
"Kind of. If I didn't do well... Well, you can probably guess."
"Oh... Sorry." she said with sympathy in her voice.
"Yeah, well, 18 I fled and became a part of the Darkwood Syndicate."
"Darkwood Syndicate???" she repeated.
"Yep. The blackest of the black market traders. Through there I saw everything. Corruption in ITF." Callo stared in disbelief. "Yep, I don't know how many of them passed coin with terrorists and arms dealers. Wild stuff."
"So, that's where you got all of those guns and junk."
"Yep, about 1/8 of the price of normal retail. Everything else passed hand there too. But most of it was stolen so I kinda stood away from most of the dealers."
"I heard that it doesn't stop there." she asked.
"Nope, there are little clubs here and there. Outpost like. Made some friends along the way. They ain't all bad. Just trying to make a livin' I suppose." Kattan looked forward at the seemingly explanding starfield.
"Ah..." Callo said, "One more question."
"Yep?" he replied, turning his attention back to the feline.
"Is that natural or..." she asked as she grabbed one of the blue strands of hair.
"Permanent. I... Just kinda like it. Is that?" Kattan replied pointing at the faded purple highlights in her black hair.
"Naw, just that hair spray stuff. I'd like it to be though."
"I can do it. I know a store nearby my place. I've also got all the stuff I need back at my place."
"Cool. But, does that mean you'll?" Callo pleaded as she folded her hands. Kattan pushed them down and signed the clipboard. "THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!" she yelled as she gave Kattan a big hug and left.
* * *
"That's it... easy... easy... *BEEP* Aahh!!!"
"Hey, sorry if I interupted you."
"Ow... No" Sonny got up from the pile of pencils on the floor.
"What were you doing?" Callo asked.
"Pencil Pyramid, supposedta increase mental accuaity." Sonny replied, dusting off his jeans. "So, did he agree?"
"No way? That's awesome! Now, to get the cap's ok."
"I've got it covered. I have a plan." she replied with a glimmer of hope.
"Well, see ya later."
* * *
"How is she?" Ian asked as he sat down on the side of the table.
"She seems ok, sleeping now." Jacob said as he unwrapped a candy bar.
"Oh, have a nice friendly... introduction?" he said with a smile.
"You really need to get out more." Jacob said. "Glad I didn't leave her with you. Probably be on the table by now." he let out a little chuckle.
"Jake, you know me. I don't do that after the first couple of dates."
"Oh, so... that brings your total, if you think rescuing is a female a date bring you to a grand total of... what... one?" the tiger began to chuckle louder.
"You know, if you were anyone else, I would tear you to pieces."
"Then I would sue. But, that's not why I called you here. Your our number cruncher... So, what's our gain?" the tiger asked as he took another bite of a candy bar on the table.
"Well, if the price stays as is and if we don't suffer any damage, that's a sum total of 206,990 creds. Take away pay... that leaves 103,495, add in the docking and refueling that's... 93,036 to add to the WP bank." Ian said as he made the calculations in his head.
Jacob nearly choked on the candy bar he was eating. "400,000 plus! Holy..." he immediatly stood up. "Have Callo check on some upgrades. Cost is nothing." he said as Ian went to the door. "WAIT!" he immediatly turned around. "Be reasonable, ok?" Ian smiled and left the captain in the meeting room and out into the bridge.
"Hey kid, where's the catgirl?" the panther asked.
"Tch. In the halls, somewhere... I don't know!" he yelled as he went back into his chair and turned the volume on his headphones really loud.
Ian went toward the Communications terminal and pushed a button, "Calli? Heyyyyy Cali?
"I need to talk to you. Come over to the bridge."
"You come over here."
"No. I don't know where you are."
"Well, I see you!"
"Please, I'm not in the mood. I just got burned by the cap and you need to find some engine, weapon and system upgrades."
"Ask Kattan. That would be his department."
"Well, the captain wants an experienced officer to do it."
"Oohh... you make big words. Me no know big words, I, me, the."
Ian, in a fit of rage went back to the captain while he was finishing the last of his snack. "Yes?"
"Callo's... She said that the new guy would be better."
"Well... Alright. I'll give him the 5 days that we're there. Though I don't know if he knows much. He may know how a Plasma Cannon works but not where he can get one."
* * *
She awoke in a slight panic, looked around in the room and pulled off the covers. She took the rest of her spacesuit off revealing a black clothed lioness. She got up and headed to the door which slid open. "Not very security tight are we?" she thought as she slowly moved down the hallway and to the elevator. Getting inside, the passanger pushed a button as the elevator went down. Wrong way... Ugh, should've never put myself up to this.
"Hey, you're that girl from the ship." Regin said. "Need any help?"
Trying to raise a fist, she wanted to knock out the rabbit but gave up as she leaned on Regin. Together they went to the briefing room on the bridge where Jacob was sitting, going over a few papers. "Ahh... Your awake." he rose as he and Regin helped sit her in a seat.
"Thanks..." she replied wearily, grabbing her forehead.
"Are you hurt? A headache?" Jacob asked.
"No. I'll be fine."
Kattan entered the room and made a b-line straight toward Regin, "Bridge time. Let's go babyface, chop-chop!" he said as he slapped his cheek twice. Regin made a low grumbling noise. "Payback's a bitch, ain't it?" he whispered as he left. Regin quickly followed suit.
"So, what happened on the ship?" Jacob asked.
"Wha... Oh... umm... Pirate attack." she said as she tried to regain composure.
"Well, why were the keycards for the cargo in your suit?"
"I was in charge of cargo on the Argo."
"Two things wrong. One, That's not the name of the ship and two, that's a bunch of BS. What were you doing?"
He's quick. Never woulda let myself fall this early. she thought. "Fine, you wanna know? I'll tell you. I was going to steal the stuff but some moron tried to do the same thing. A missle to the cargo hold and then they tried to go carry it out."
"Don't know. I fired at them and they hit me on the arm." she explained, tending to her arm. Then when the field that blocked the vaccum was fading, I grabbed a suit from a locker nearby as they jet. Nearly suffocated...."
"Someone tried to beat you to the punch."
"Look, whoever your working for, please don't tell them this." she pleaded.
"Since you technically helped save the cargo. I see that there's no need. Can we drop you off at our port of call?"
"Yeah, I'll find a way to live on."
"What do you mean?" he asked looking into her eyes.
"The group I was with abandoned me and that little stunt probably got the newscrews attention, so I'm driftin' right now."
"Hmm... What can you do?" he asked. "Job wise."
"Well, I am a field medic besides a pirate. Girl's gotta take care of herself."
"Hmm..." Jacob said as he scratched the back of his neck. "Want a job? We really have no clear cut medic around."
"No sympathy please. I don't need it."
"It's not sympathy. It's an offer. Do you want the job or not?" He then extended a paw out to her.
She sighed and threw back her hair. "Sure. Who am I working for now?"
"Jacob. Jacob Lossarot, and you?"
"Palira. Allison Palira."