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Old August 19th, 2019, 03:19 AM
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“Open the freight, captain?”

Gahv didn’t know who asked, but replied in general, “After we secure the ship. Kael, take two men aft and secure engineering. The rest come with me.”

Gahv again strode with purpose, his eyes and nose scanning for anything suspicious. As usual for a human crewed ship the corridors stank with a mixture of pleasant foods and strong cleaners. Humans had a knack for cleanliness—human depending. Why they couldn’t live with a little grime or rust on the bulkheads was beyond him. What mattered were how the engines ran, how the weapons sang when needed, if the power plant delivered enough juice to keep the air breathable and lasers primed, not if the consoles and interior walls were free of scuff marks. Again, he never understood humans, and disliked them even more.

The ship’s hold bowed towards the center as Gahv led his team to her forward spaces, presumably where the bridge was on this design. Most of the light was yellow or white, which meant that during his transition through the gang tube that somehow the humans had gotten their power plant back on line. That made it all that much more imperative to reach the bridge or that Kael secure engineering.

The single door leading to the merchant’s living spaces was the accursed iris design. In spite of their reputation they weren’t impervious, but they were far tougher than their reputation suggested.

Again to Zhegh, “Open it!”

“Weapons on the other side, captain.” Barzh flatly stated dropping his scanner to let it dangle off his belt so he could put both hands on his HEL Gun.

Gahv motioned his men to the side of the corridor, two crouched, one went prone as they waited for Zhegh to do his magic with the micro plasma flame, but Gahv stood there defiantly, as if daring whoever was on the other side of the door to shoot him now or forever hold his peace.

But Gahv grew impatient. How he wanted his weapons to do the service Zhegh’s little device was performing now on the bulkhead. How much more devastating and effective it would be to immolate the door with pure weapons’ fire, and then storm in in true Vargr fashion.

The plate on the bulkhead next to the door’s locking mechanism fell off. Zhegh reached in and torqued the right lever, connected the right switch without electrocuting himself, then the iris valve expanded from the middle as if it had never been secured.

Gahv took a cautious step inside and sniffed the air. One human, maybe one other with all the other scents left behind, but definitely one. Gahv expected another human trick, but with weapon at the ready, whether he would suffer the same fate as his crewman or no, he would make whoever took a shot at him pay with their life.

There was one human in here. They could all smell it. A sweet scent, and sickly powerful as to be a reek.

Then a high pitched scream as a lone figure popped up from behind the navigational console and let out three high caliber shots that knocked back Zhegh. Gahv and the rest of his men bathed the area with high powered percussion and energy weapons’ fire.

The figure, wearing a bright orange armored vacc suit, was blown into the console lining the bridge’s outer bulkhead and fell to the deck. Dressed as it was there was a chance it had survived. Gahv and his men inched forward, weapons ready and canting downwards as they drew closer.

Yes, this scent was different. Gahv could tell. Peering over the edge of the navigational console he saw the pale form of what appeared to be a young male with its exaggerated head-fur tied back behind its head in a kind of tail.

Then over his headset on the tactical channel, “Engineering secure, captain. There’s no one here. Those people we encountered on the cargo deck were hired security.”

Gahv digested the information before replying, “Does this design have a launch?”

“Yes, captain, but it's still in the bay. It appears crew and passengers escaped.”

Gahv felt an ounce of rage creep in. He would prefer no survivors, but somehow during the fight the crew and whatever other non-security compliment had stolen away. But how?

Gahv slung his weapon, pushed his men aside and grabbed the human by the collar of its vacc suit with his right hand, then drew his sidearm with his left. Yes, young and perfumed. He never understood the human need to drench themselves in scent. Like all other space faring humans, this one probably only spoke Galanglic. Gahv did his best to muster the right lexicon.

“Gahveer ees yuu khreew?”

Gahv had not reloaded his sidearm, but this thing did not know that, and so he brought the flat faced smooth skinned creature closer while pushing the barrel of his revolver to its forehead.

Again, “Gahveer ees yuu khreew?”

The human didn’t reply.

“Secure this thing.” Gahv shoved it away, the human smacked into the piloting station before falling to the deck. “A ship without a crew but a security team left behind. Go back to the hold and start opening the containers. I want to know what we’ve caught.”

“Aye, captain.”

There was a groan from the main entrance. Apparently Zhegh was still alive. At his venerable age of over fifty, he had seen more than his share of missions and good luck to see him through the worst dangers.

“You live.” Gahv plainly stated, resisting the urge to help his old friend to his feet, preferring the old combat engineer rise of his own power.

“The spirits are with me, as always. That, and I did slip an extra plate into my suit.”

“Engineer’s intuition?” Gahv questioned.

“Luck.” Zhegh replied, the age and fear in his voice coming through loud and clear. “We have a prisoner?”

Gahv shook his head, “I don’t have time for prisoners. This one is tied up because I don’t want it causing anymore problems. I have the rest of the squad back in the hold seeing what we’ve nabbed for ourselves.”

Zhegh looked at the human, sniffed it, cocked his head in thought, and then motioned with his chin, “That one there, captain. I believe that’s a female. They typically don’t fight or remain as starship security. A few exceptions I suppose.”

Gahv didn’t have any opinion on human society and how it treated its child bearers. From what he knew human females tended human pups far longer than what he deemed necessary, and no human child matured as fast as a Vargr pup, which puzzled and angered Ghav all the more since somehow, again, humans maintained an edge in military technology and all other things.

“We should question it.” Zhegh offered.

“I’ve already asked it where the crew went, but all it did was stare back with its maw open. No words of any kind.”

“Always with you there is one try, and no more.”

“When it didn’t reply I applied force, but all it did was let out a human yelp.”

“That would be a cry, captain.”

“A cry? What for? We’re in the confines of a ship, not on a hunting preserve.”

“It’s their female’s way of signaling danger. It differs from a pack cry.”

But Gahv wasn’t interested, “Can you access their logs? I want to see the manifest.” Gahv’s tone again went back to his all-business demeanor—no passion, no anger, no joy, a flat deadly tone invoking obedience.

“I can, captain, but with your permission?” Zhegh raised his eyebrows in endearment as he gestured towards the human female.

“Be quick, engineer. I want to know what they were carrying that required a security team to remain on board.”

Zhegh bowed his head slightly as he lowered his ears acknowledging Gahv’s desire to get on with the operation.

Zhegh approached the human. Blue eyes, rich yellow hair, pale skin with no appreciable fur, he could smell her adrenaline through her skin. Fear. Zhegh put up both hands in a sign of non-threat, but her breathing didn’t abate. Then, in his best Galanglic;

“Where is your crew?”

“I don’t know …” followed by a flurry of what Zhegh assumed were curses, ending with “dog”. That much he understood. Dogs were the servile idiot companions of humans. Gahv often told him that they kept them around as a reminder of racial superiority. Zhegh wasn’t too sure about that, but he understood the intonation of the reply.

Gahv leveled his gaze at Zhegh, “I told you, I already interrogated it.”

Zhegh relented, then went to work on the ship’s logs with his electronic miracle worker. Soon the manifest came up, and Zhegh’s portable do-all computer spat out a list of products, half of which were human specific. Cooking utensils, textiles (mostly for Vargr), an assortment of consumer electronics and some perishables with extremely long chemical names.

Gahv was close to outrage, but let his hunter’s mind sooth his troubled brow as he thought of what to do next.

Zhegh looked at him, “Take her in tow?”

Gahv shook his head. “I can’t spare the crew, and all her consoles are in human speak. I don’t want to waste time having you translate every single thing so I can put a skeleton crew on her to bring her in. Too much time, and the repairs would cost a fortune more than this cargo will bring.”

“As you wish, captain. What about the human?”

“Bring it to the hold.”
Sir Ghost, Knight of Imperial occupied Terra, Sol.
Travels with Blue Ghost; musings of a knight of the Imperium.

Last edited by Blue Ghost; August 19th, 2019 at 02:03 PM..
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