Devils and Angels

chapter 3

sirus 49 - 0800 hrs Sol standard time.

A dark silhoutte of a DCT patrol ship passes overhead, a few minutes later a second, smaller, shadow peaks out from a crater. dilibrately and stealthily he approaches the entrance of the cavern he had entered just a few hours ago. For those of you just joining us, Jean Strider, an interplanetary mercenary has just rescued princess Elise of planet Terra from Dark City Trading. Now he is attempting a dangerous tactic, he has decided to place shaped charge-explosives around the entrance of sirus 49, the asteroid that is now housing the Dark Fury, Jean's spacecraft of choice, in the hopes causing the asteroid to be blown out of its orbit and away from DCT's mothership. As he approaches, he picks up a vibration on the asteroid's surface, which could be only one thing a new patrol was coming through. He dove into a nearby crater, drawing the rifle he was carrying off of his back, and preparing to open fire if the need arose. Even as the ship approached he activated the compensator on his rifle (A.N.: Jean's rifle is a modified railgun, but it is affected by rotation and gravity, what little there is, so in order for it to work in deepspace combat it has to be armed with an autocompensator, which is like it sounds a device that compensates for atmospheric effects on the bullet.) he felt the hair on the back of his neck stood on end as he had a horrifying realization, what if they deploy scouts on the surface? He peeked out from the crater to see a group of five scout troopers armed with high density plasma rifles.

'Crap' Jean thought to himself. He had seen the specs on that type of assualt rifle and had fired the assualt rifle in practice so he knew just how damaging it could be. He drew his rifle and flipped the compensator on, taking aim he waited for the right moment to pick off the enemy scouts. As the scouts start to spread out, Jean takes a deep breath, exhales and holds his breath as he pulls the trigger. The bullet hits the lead scout square in the chest, the other scouts turn to find the origin of the shot, but Jean has already came out of the crater has changed vantage points.

He crouches behind the ridge of another crater, reloading his rifle for another shot. He leans out from the crater and takes out his next target, as he does one of the scouts spot him and opens fire. Jean ducks back behind the crater and places a shape charge, reloads and waits for the enemy to approach for the kill. He feels for any change in vibaration, then he feels it, slight vibrations on the ground about a second apart. The scout was being cautious, Jean sneaks away from his hiding place slowly even as the scout comes close to Jean's original hiding place. Ducking out of view he waits for the scout, eventually the scout arrives at the spot. Jean presses the detonator, activating the explosive, which kills the scout in a maelstrom of destruction.

By now the remaing two scout have noticed the commotion and are heading to help. As they do Jean climbs into the crater and waits, the two scouts, thinking that Jean is still behind the crater split up to pincer him in. Jean notices the scout closest to his position, as the scout passes him, Jean climbs out of the crater, sneaks behind him and draws his knife from his boot. He grabs the scouts oxygen hose, pulling him back Jean plunges the knife through the scouts back causing instant decompression. Even though the scout is dead Jean holds the body in front of him like a shield and grabs the scouts rifle. He walks toward the path that the other scout took, upon finding the other scout, Jean shoves the dead scout at him and opens fire, effectively ripping through the dead scout and the living one

Even as the last scout falls Jean makes a break for the entrance, knowing that the scouts had probably already called in backup. Upon arriving at the entrance, he places the explosives hastily. After placing the explosives he ducks into the cavern and waits for the right moment. After a few minutes he hears the sound of the patrol ship from earlier, as it moves in closer to the surface of the asteroid, Jean preps the detonators. Soon enough the ship comes overhead of the cavern, Jean detonates the explosives, causing fragments from the asteroid to be thrown at the ship. Although it hadn't destroyed the ship it had destroyed it's communication's tower, which meant it would have to head back to the mothership in order to report and by the time they returned with backup the asteroid would be far enough away for Jean to launch the dark fury.

Jean headed back to his ship, hoping that he was right about his calculations. As he climbed into the cockpit of his ship a voice came from behind him "Well did it work?" Elise said from the navigator seat. "Yeah, but I ran into some trouble on the surface so we're gonna have to perform a hurried launch as soon as we're clear of the enemies radar." Jean said warming up his ships engines. "Nothing but good news with you." Elise said. Jean chuckled, although she was being sarcastic he couldn't help but laugh because of the situation.

Thirty minutes later...

Jean activated the systems aboard his ship, hits the afterburners and prays a silent prayer that the enemy wasn't waiting to ambush him as soon as he exited the asteroid. As he exits the asteroids, he turns around from within the cockpit to see if there were any enemies. After confirming that he was safe from the enemy, he starts the interspace drive to get the hell out of dodge. The engines could be heard from within the ship revving up to perform the jump, but then they suddenly revved down. Jean checked his gauges and found the problem, he had wasted too much energy getting to the rescue that he didn't have enough energy to create a gate to get out of the sector. He checked his galactic map to find the nearest refilling station, it wasn't that far but without his I.S. drive it would take about a week to arrive there. Not to mention the enemy would probably be there to catch him.

"Well looks like we're in for a long ride." Jean said. "What's wrong?" Elise said. "The ship's out of energy to perform an interspace jump and the nearest refilling station's a week away by normal space." Jean said. "Great, so we're gonna be keeping each other company for the next week." Elise replied. "Not really, my ship's life support systems weren't designed to sustain life for that long in one trip, so i'm going to set the ship on autopilot and activate the hibernation system, so in one week we'll arrive at the refill station and wake up. So you ready?" Jean asked turning to Elise. "well, it's not dangerous is it?" Elise asked, worry showing in her face. "Nah, It'll be like one really long nap." Jean said with a smile. "Okay, let's do it then." Elise said breathing deeply. Jean nodded and punched in the coordinates for the refill station, then set the hibernation system for a one week hibernation that would wake them up if anything was encountered. Jean hit the activation key and suddenly the cockpit was filled with a white gas. Jean and Elise eventually fell asleep and the ship went into a lower operational mode. In the darkness of space the ship flew by itself towards it's destination.

A week later...

An alarm could be heard in the Dark Fury, suddenly the white mist that had filled the entire cockpit was evacuated. Jean was the first to wake up, he checked the gauges to see if it had been an enemy that had activated the waking sequence. after insuring that the radar was clear, he checked on Elise, who hadn't woken up yet. Her breathing was undetected and her pulse was very weak. "Hey, Elise, wake up." Jean said shaking her. She remained asleep, which wasn't good because there was a chance she was suffocating on her own fluids.

"Damn, computer, run medical check on passenger." Jean said. Suddenly a green beam of light appeared and spread out. The light scanned up, down and sideways. "Passenger pulse weak, breathing has stopped, possible suffocation, perform CPR to resuscitate." the mechanical voice said. Jean climbed into the navigator area trying to recall how to perform CPR. He lifted her head into an elevated position, and took a deep breath.

He placed his mouth on hers and exhaled into her mouth. He then placed his hands over her heart and pushed down three times. He repeated the process several times. On the tenth attempt he received a response and what a response it was. Elise had brought her knee up and nailed him square in the family jewels. Jean doubled over in pain, Elise then said "I'm not that easy, jerk." "You're welcome." Jean managed through his pain. "What are you talking about?" Elise asked.

A few minutes later...

"I am SO sorry." Elise said for the hundredth time since learning that Jean was trying to save her life. "It's alright already, you didn't know." Jean said trying to keep from laughing. He noticed how much she had changed since he had first met her. 'She's definitely adaptable.' Jean thought to himself. Jean turned on his radio and hailed the refilling station. "This is mercenary craft Dark Fury, license no. 1609. Requesting permission to land and refuel hyper drive cells." A minute later a male voice came over the radio "Dark fury, you have permission to land on landing dock 4, please standby after landing for a ship inspection." the voice said. "Roger." Jean said.

Jean started landing procedures, as he did, a thought plagued his mind. Ship inspections were common for most ships heading through the area, but mercs were exempt from inspections because of the weapons they carried. So an inspection of a fighter-class ship was unheard of, which was why Jean was suspicious. As he landed Jean made sure the pistol he kept in the cockpit was loaded. This action didn't go unnoticed by Elise, so she asked "Something wrong?"

"Yeah, it's rare for a merc ship to be inspected so i'm being cautious." Jean said. "Caution from you, is hell that cold?" Elise joked. Jean turned with his mouth wide open and said "Did you just make a joke?" Jean asked. "Hey, who says i have to be serious all the time." Elise stated. Jean turned around and started laughing, then said "Yeah I guess you're right." Jean said.

Finally the dark fury landed and Jean said "No matter what i say, go with it. Okay?" Elise nodded. An attendant climbed out with a hose, he attached it to the Dark Fury and floated off. Then a red beam of light like that of the medical system came on and scanned the Dark Fury. After a few minutes a voice came over the radio "Dark fury, we have detected another lifeform in the cockpit with you, please identify the lifeform?" "I'm on a diplo mission, classified. if i reveal anymore than that i could be assassinated." Jean said. another pause then the voice came over the radio "We understand your situation could you please present an authorization could and a voice print of your protectee?" Elise leaned over the seat and asked Jean "What now?" "Don't worry, just say authorize into the mike." Jean said.

"Okay, Authorize." Elise said. Jean then punched some numbers into his console. A few minutes later the voice returned "Roger, you have been cleared, but with the damage on your ship a hyper jump well be impossible. We will have to repair the ship. it will take approximately two hours." The voice said. "Understood, my passenger doesn't have a spacesuit so i'll need a pressurised chamber to place my ship in for repairs." Jean said. "Understood, the landing bay will take you to a Chamber as soon as you're refueled." The voice replied then cut off communications.

"So we clear?" Elise says. "For now, but we're not going to get very far with you looking like that. We'll have to get you some new clothes, walking around like that we'll blow our cover for sure." Jean said. "Well alright, but i pick the clothes." Elise said. After the ship finished refueling the ship is raised to a hangar bay. In the hangar bay Jean could make out a few merchant and trader ships, but these weren't what he was looking for. The particular ship he was looking for was a scout cutter, because that would mean that the DCT had got there ahead of them.

But as he scanned he didn't find any scout ships of any class. 'Looks like we may have dodged a bullet on this one.' Jean thought to himself. The ship continued to float until they reached an SCPA (Small Craft Pressurisation Area). Two robotic arms came out and locked the ship in place. After a few minutes the door the SCPA closed and air could be heard entering the chamber. Finally an attendant walked up to Jean's ship and signaled that it was okay to open the canopy.

Jean complied and asked the question that he had been waiting the whole time to ask "What the fuck, over?" The attendant looked a little stunned then replied "Oh, you mean the inspection of a merc ship. We've had reports that a group of militants had planned to take control over this station, so we're being a little on guard. We apologise if this has inconvenienced you." Jean nodded glad that it hadn't been a subterfuge act by the DCT to capture him and Elise. "Well, me and my protectee are going into the station, you'll take care of my baby while i'm gone." Jean said jokingly. The attendant laughed and replied "No problem, we'll page you when the repairs are complete."

Jean signaled for Elise and they both entered the station. The next two hours were surprisingly uneventful, Elise had chosen an ensemble that would blend in with the civilians and still said she was important. Jean had made a call to the base in regards to any change in his status, which of course their was none. Finally they decided to get something to eat, of course Elise was use to her home planets food so she left it up to Jean to pick where they were to eat.

Jean picked a Velurian (A.N. think mexican mixed with italian.) restaurant, as they sat down a ruckus could be heard at the counter. Apparently a customer that had one too many was complaining that the amount on his bill wasn't correct, and was too high in price. Jean talked over the man to place an order for him and Elise, the man noticing this decided that he was going to go a different route in protesting.

He walked over to where Jean and Elise were sitting and started to talk, slurring half the time, to them. "Hey buddy, 'ou don' wan' this food, 'ey 'ill charge 'ou out the ass." the man said. Jean just picked up a galactic paper he had acquired earlier and ignored the man. This made the man furious which he made known " 'on fuckin' ignore me 'ou little prick" the man said reaching for Jean's paper. Jean just turned away from the man and continued to ignore him. Now the man was horrifically angry, he grabbed the collar on Jean's jacket and lifted Jean to his feet. Jean put down the paper and turned to the man and said "Now you have my attention." Elise who had been watching started to move out of the way because she knew what was about to happen.

The man tried to punch Jean, but Jean sidestepped, grabbed the mans head and slammed it into the table. The man collapsed out cold, the spectators were now on their feet, stunned by what they had just seen. Jean on the other hand sat back down and resumed reading his paper as the manager lifted the drunk man out of the building. A few minutes later he returned and walked up to Jean's table and said "Young man, thank you, I can't tell you how many times we've wanted to do that when that guy starts something." Jean put down the paper and gave a hand signal stating to not worry about it.

Finally Jean and Elise's food arrived, they ate and were about to pay the bill when the person running the register told them not to worry about it and that it was on the house. Jean and Elise, had just walked out of the restaraunt when the intercom came to life "Jean Strider, your ship is ready." The voice said. Jean and Elise headed back for the ship, upon arriving had noticed that not only had they repaired it they had rearmed it. Jean walked over to the attendant and asked "What the fuck? i thought you were just going to repair it." Jean asked. The attendant replied "We were, then we received a communication from your HQ and they had us arm your ship according to it's original spec. They also covered your bill." he finished.

A few minutes later...

As Jean launched the Dark Fury and prepared it to open the gate for a hyper space jump a thought plagued his mind. If HQ had ordered this base to arm him up, that meant there was an enemy to face between here and his base. He looked back at Elise and for the first time he began to have doubts about he was going to be able to get her to safety and keep her safe. Her mother had already sold her to DCT, what's to say that that bitch won't do it again. As he was thinking these thoughts, he felt a hand on his shoulder and almost as if she had been reading his mind Elise spoke "I trust you, you've more than proved that you can make good decisions." Jean nodded and punched in the coordinates, Jean knew what he had to do and if anyone stood in his way they wouldn't live to regret it. He was going to get Elise to safety no matter what!

End chapter 3.