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Last Updated    July 16 2017
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The Overnight Battles

Setting The Plan And Getting Good Seats

Armored Car      With one of his people driving, Wyss gave the crew a quick orientation as they rode to the recon spot.  The vehicle layout was fairly simple, with bench seating around the outer perimeter of the passenger cabin and an open central core.  The exits were front and back on both sides and there were "slats", which could be opened by unscrewing armored covers, so fire could be delivered from inside.  At the back was a gunner's seat for an aft firing mini-cannon which fired 7.6mm rounds with an arc of 10 degrees in any direction for a total conical coverage of 20 degrees.  Hearing that, Rol said he knew those weapons, so they decided he'd man the gun when they "crashed the party."

With the planned "arrival" covered, they talked about their expectations and laid out a plan for the overall fight.  It was believed both sides would have nearly twenty members, though the Sorrngerzrose gang might gather a larger force to make the attack.  Wyss asked if the knights wanted to mix the groups together in an uninviting tone?  That didn't happen because no one wanted to break up established teams.  With the "ground team" moving, Emkir undocked the cutter from the ship at the port and headed out over the city.  Closing on the warehouse location, he looked for a good over-watch position.  He did that as Aiden strapped into a harness and opened the airlock hatch, preparing for his role.  With his LI/IR goggles hanging from his neck, Aiden waited until they got the word from the ground pounders.

In the cockpit, Emkir worked on not drawing attention to a cutter 'hanging over the city for no apparent reason'.  He was also concerned about the Port Security Master and his people.  It was possible they were telling the truth, just as it was possible they were planted by puppet masters.  Someone controlling factions in the city for their own purposes while smuggling in arms and other high-tech supplies.  If that were the case, this could easily be a trap for the rest of the crew.  Coming in range of the armored car, Emkir locked onto the signal from its battle computer.  Still feeling uncomfortable about the whole thing, Emkir confirmed with Mikah that they really did want to allow the connection?  After that, he connected the cutter's computer and comms to the car's system and hoped Wyss and his people were on the level.

Aiden and Emkir both quickly saw a sniper wouldn't be as effective as they'd hoped.  The target facility's roof, and the shape of the largely triangular building, would create blind spots, protecting those inside from Aiden's fire.  Realizing this, Aiden changed his expectations from supporting the firefight to taking out any fleeing or reinforcing targets outside the building.  Once in position, Aiden searched for and began sighting in on those targets he saw while the others below watched the figures painted by sensors on their computer feed.  In the vehicle, Wyss sparked up the battle computer display and they went over every facet of what his team expected to happen.  Then they covered how the plan had changed with the knight's people added in.  As they talked, it was decided they'd follow much of the initial plan.  That meant watching sensor feeds to see how many defenders were in the building?  Then, they'd wait until the other gang arrived and choose a good point at which to join in.  They parked roughly one driving minute away, give or take a few seconds.

When the time came, they'd leave the armored car by 'sticks', taking a term from air/orbital assault troops.  Each team would line up in the vehicle, single file, like a straight stick or branch, and exit.  The lead person would move out and away from the door and vehicle in a line.  Since this was a ground operation, each trooper would enter the fight immediately from the door, and had to be aware of the positions taken by those who preceded them.  Zimzod chose to be lead person in his stick, followed by Rol, Dame Mikah and then Ms. Vik.  This meant Rol would have to do some gymnastics to get out of the gunner's chair and take his place, but he accepted Zimzod's orders.  Ms. Vik also accepted her orders while doing her best to prepare herself and calm her nerves.  In the air, Aiden was positioned, hanging from the airlock and pulling on his harness straps to stabilize himself.  Sighting in on the various targets below, Aiden waited for any part he'd play in the action to come.

Once Emkir had the computer link up and the feed steady, he started describing the warehouse to Aiden, plus the activities he could see on the sensors.  In the armored car, each person had a flap down video screen they could watch the action on.  Those in battledress or with HUD's could see the feed there both inside and once outside the vehicle.  With the car in a recon position, and the cutter ready, everyone settled into the waiting game as they watched the show.  From their vantage points, and with the feed of sensors, they could see two 'four-man' teams inside the building with one in the third floor office area and the other dispersed on the warehouse floor.  Some elements of the team on the ground floor were obviously patrolling the building interior.  Nothing could be made out of the amount, or lack, of cargo in the warehouse, or the weapons load outs the attackers would face?

Just before the sensors, Aiden saw three groups of figures moving in on the building.  Two came from the north-east and north-west while the other moved in from the south-east.  The teams took up positions and then seemed to wait while only three of the southern team continued their advance.  The area around the building was either paved, as part of the grounds, or naturally occurring scrub.  Aiden sighted in on one of the three moving to the building from the south, in case the order was given.  While the visual cameras weren't positioned to see the coming attackers, those watching the battle computer feed saw the gang members patrolling inside the warehouse react.  It was clear they'd figured out something was up.

Warehouse floorplan A figure patrolling the west-most wall quickly moved east, between storage shelves, then south-east to the door on the south-eastern wall.  Another, in the middle of the warehouse, rushed to a door identified as leading to a lunch room.  Moving casually before this, two figures inside the lunch room began moving faster as the first figure hit the door and then moved on.  it joined the first figure at the south-eastern door.  At the same time, the team of figures on the third floor began moving furiously for the stairwell.  It was clear those inside the warehouse had some sort of sensors and an alarm had been tripped.  As the humans watched, the three advancing figures from the building's 'south center' camera view could clearly be identified as vargr.  Also visible on the sensors, the remaining two members of that southern team began moving in towards the first three, but not fast enough to catch up.  So they were some sort of back up.

As The Party Got In Gear

     As Wednesday became Thursday, the teams watched as two separate groups of apparent intruders approached the warehouse while a northern team held its position.  By the time the first group of three had crossed more than half the distance to the structure, two of the defenders had slipped out the south eastern door in apparent response.  Perhaps, as lookouts.  The two defenders took posts outside the door, with the rest of their team forming up just inside the door.  The team on the building's third floor didn't appear on the roof, so the crew guessed they were descending as the sensors lost them briefly.  Soon, that team arrived on the warehouse floor and set up a defensive position in the center of the warehouse's eastern storage bay.

The approaching intruders seemed to have some kind of small arms, though it was dark and hard to see them at range via the cameras.  The lead team stopped for a brief period after seeing the two defenders exit the door and take positions.  The following two caught up with them and then two of the five approached as the other three held back.  Those in the armored car and cutter could see it was almost 'cold wet nose to cold wet nose' time as the two intruders almost reached the door.  And with the dramatic raising of a small weapon, the fight was on as the hiding vargr defenders realized they were about to draw fire and opened up.

Inside, one of the members of the team which had come from the third floor moved quickly to take a position just inside the southern door, joining the two figures there.  As the two attackers became involved in combat, the three other team mates rushed towards the building and the firefight started.  From what they could hear, the experienced combat vets in the vehicle figured the intruders had pistols of some sort.  It also sounded like one defender had a small machinegun!  The sounds of fire popped as various combatants jumped for cover or continued firing.  One each of the attackers and defenders quickly went down before the door swung open, bracketing a vargr combatant in combat armor carrying what looked like a gauss rifle!

No sooner did that figure appear than it was knocked back by fire, as one of the three attacking backups joined the fight.  Hanging in position, Aiden was regularly and carefully switching his sighting from a randomly selected combatant on the south to what might or might not be a team leader in one of the north teams.  He patiently waited for the order as he observed.  Still, he held fire to not give Wyss' plan away.  Below him, two of the intruders engaged in the firefight while the other two oddly ignored it to rush the wall, working at some unknown task.

A second figure took the combat armored vargr's place with a third vargr as the fight continued.  The two teams to the north, which seemed to be waiting, began moving towards the warehouse's main entrance and lobby.  Only two of the first defending team from the third floor remained in their central position.  The rest moved to support the defense of the southern door.  Speculation in the armored car put the 'smart money' on the combat armored figure being either one of the leaders, if not the only leader.  As the crew watched the gunfight, they also listened to a police scanner, hoping no early response blew the operation as officers reacted to reports of a shootout or crime.

As the firefight continued, the two last intruders from the south continued ignoring the battle for their task along the south wall.  Unfortunately for them, the fight ended as their teammates were gunned down, and the defenders took them prisoner at gunpoint.  At the same time, the northern intruders made the building's main entrance, but became bunched up there for a few beats.  The sensors showed the defenders inside reacting as they returned to the central floor position, which could be assumed to be 'prepared cover'.  Those in the armored car noted that fact, as they'd likely have to overcome that cover advantage too.

Jumping on the link from the ship, where he and Zach had been researching, Sir Brian asked if Aiden had string with him?  He suggested that Aiden might lower grenades to an altitude from which he could drop them on anyone outside.  Aiden was stunned by Brian's stupidity and Wyss curtly ordered Brian to shut up as they prepared to engage the enemy.  Still watching the sensor feed, it was obvious the fight inside was dying down, as were many participants.  That was the sign Wyss loked for and the order was given.  The vehicle started moving towards the building.

Kicking The Doors And Joining The Party

     Just before turning into the building's vehicle lot, those watching the sensor feed saw that one side appeared to have won.  The survivors were forming concentric circles with captors surrounding captives.  Moving forward then back, the driver lined the car up to hit the wall just west of the supervisor's window on the north side.  They'd agreed that would be the best entry point.  Everyone aboard was warned to brace as the vehicle was put into a hard reverse and slammed, rear first, into the brick wall.  Rol went full active on his gun toggles as they punched through the wall, and began scanning through the dust as Wyss called over the noise saying, "All targets are vehicle left!"

Zimzod understood as he realized the car came in on an angle only letting those exiting the left side doors target the gangs.  Lucky for him, that was Zimzod's designated exit.  The downside was Rol that couldn't bring anyone into his gun's angle of fire.  So he began unstrapping to take his place in the exit line.  Zimzod ordered his team to follow him out the left rear door.  He also told Ms. Vik to stay behind, firing from a slit to lay down fire support.  He then asked Wyss to throw some flash/bang grenades out before the charge.  Wyss agreed as he kicked the left front door open and tossed a pair of the grenades.  Not even ducking back briefly, Zimzod was out the door as the fire crackers went off, immediately sweeping fire to his right.  Rol unlimbered his arms quickly, following Zimzod out, and swept to the left as Mikah gained the door and Ms. Vik reached a slit to un-dog the cover.

As they started firing, and organized their line of attack, the vargr began to get their paws under themselves and respond.  Wyss was out ahead of his stick, followed by Jefferds and the driver as the wave of return fire began to strike.  Early fire glanced off Zimzod's armor but Wyss took a hit and stumbled before recovering to return fire.  Zimzod said he was drawing fire from his left and spotted a vargr, apparently holding a gauss rifle.  Zimzod drilled the dog ASAP.  But even as that target went down and he ranged for the next, he was hit in the left hip.  Zimzod was pushed back before the battledress' pain management kit kicked in.

Lucky for Zimzod, Rol was zeroing down the back line of vargr when he saw the combat armored puppy raise his gauss rifle and fire.  So Rol was able to flick his selector to auto and take a better aimed shot at the vargr's center mass.  His fire put the dog down with a stream of needles.  On their side, Jeffrds and Wyss were in the thick of it as a sudden shot breached Wyss' battledress right over the heart!  Wounded or no, neither man went down as Mikah and Ms. Vik each locked up a target and burned them to the floor, adding to the bodies.

As quickly as it started, the shooting was suddenly done.  The two teams of humans scanned the remaining vargr for resistance or threat, but found only surrender.  Scanning the surviving vargr, standing or not, Mikah set her rifle to ready saying, "They can't be easily controlled if they can run", and opened fire.  As the others watched, both she and Zimzod ran a line of fire at knee level, dropping all the standing vargr, and killing a few more in the mix.  Standing to the side, Rol only rolled his eyes as he stood ready.  There was no comment from Wyss' crew.

Gathering Assets After The Battle

     With the dust now settling and whimpers from the wounded and captured, the silence was broken only by the crackle of a report on the police scanner.  A fairly short-range device selected for this operation, a dispatcher was heard calling a patrol car to check out reports of weapons fire at the warehouse.  Not sure what to do about the police at first, Mikah saw Zimzod slump a bit as Wyss' people started to clumsily begin caring for the port security master too.  Mikah told them to hold on and got her medkit out of the armored car.

Zimzod limped to check out the prisoners, making a special effort to check the one he'd gunned down.  Seeing that one was dead, Zimzod gingerly bent down and picked up the gauss pistol it had dropped.  As Mikah began checking out the wounded, it looked like Wyss was only winded and Zimzod was actually limping.  That suggested a deeper injury.  Mikah figured she'd have to treat them one the ship, for any really significant work.  They checked out the remaining vargr and saw only four had survived the combat and leg shots.  As this happened, Aiden struggled to locate any in-bound vehicles that might be the patrol car from the cutter.  Considering the mess, they talked about either cleaning up or trying to investigate before the police arrived.  Everyone agreed it was very unlikely catching and drugging the responding officers would get them extra time.  Still, no one was against trying it.

So Mikah went through her kit to find the supplies she'd need to do the job.  But, before she could make much headway, they heard from the scanner as an officer reported visual conditions at the warehouse.  The report described a large hole in one wall and an armored vehicle of some kind having hit a wall of the building.  The officer called for backup and was told other responders were being routed ASAP.  Aiden was furious at himself for not seeing the car before it reported.  He didn't realize patrol officers getting orders to investigate "weapons fire" were more likely to try for a view from a hill top with binoculars instead of driving up to ask what was happening and getting shot.

Either way, they all knew they had to get out fast.  So, talk shifted to how?  Because the reporting officer could see the building, landing the cutter wasn't an option.  But if they loaded into the armored car, they'd be followed and possibly captured.  Wyss suggested his driver could try to lead off the police as a decoy, so they could land the cutter quickly, to mount everyone else including some prisoners.  When all agreed that was the best plan, Mikah relayed her orders to Emkir.  Despite his misgivings, he could do what was needed, so Emkir waited for the order to land.  The driver mounted the armored car and cleared it from the debris before scanning the surrounding hills and driving away.  He hoped to move toward the observing car, luring them to follow him.

Everyone listened to the scanner's feed as the patrol car reported an update on the activity, announcing the armored vehicle was moving and they would follow, remaining out of weapons range.  Once that was heard, Mikah waited two minutes, until the officer reported he was on the armored car's trail before having Emkir land the cutter.  While they waited, there was a short debate on dragging the dead body of the 'apparent leader' with them.  That idea ended as scanner reports of vehicles closing on the warehouse convinced everyone to mount up and get out.  After boarding the cutter, Mikah enlisted the others to get the wounded out of their armor and better diagnose their injuries.

Rol secured three of the prisoners, because a fourth had died of shock and blood loss from its wounds.  Mikah also prepared sedatives for the prisoners, to keep them from causing a problem until it was time to interrogate them.  Thanks to data from the police database, Rol identified two of the prisoners as Ksuenorra and the other as Sorrngerzrose.  He administered the injections handed over from Mikah as Emkir got them off the ground and headed to the port.

Meanwhile, Back On The Ship

     In the ship, Brian had secured all hatches and locks before heading down to engineering to make a mount for the memory modules he'd picked up in the city.  After he making the mounts, he plugged the module into a computer port for circuit testing and began diagnostics.  Meanwhile, Zach was on the upper deck monitoring comms and continuing research into the port datachip.  As the mission continued, Zach got curious about the warehouse, and started looking for local network info on the building.  While he worked with his research, Brian finished testing the module out at graduating usage levels until he reached 100%.  He then started making his plans to enable the module and connect it to the ship's computer.

Brian mapped out the process completely so he could set up a time plan, because the connection required a complete power down of the ship's computer.  That meant an effective shutdown of the ship.  Finished writing his plan, Brian saved it to talk with the others and joined Zach.  Zach found a rental management office that offered rental space in the warehouse and followed that back to a current owner, "Mack Tarkington Real Estate".  He used that owner to find their computer network presence (web page), which showed a contact with Oeaengva Transportation.

As Brian joined him, they checked the information against the police database to find both were valid legal names with minimal records they could follow up on.  While they might lead to dummy companies, they could also lead to more in-depth information on the Ksuenorra gang or their supporters.  Eventually, as the two worked at the database and listened in on the comms, they got word from Mikah the cutter was inbound.  Securing the research for the moment, Zach took the time to tell Mikah about his findings.

While Mikah comm'd back to the ship, Wyss comm'd a Doctor Samuleson, waking him and asking him to meet them at the knight's ship.  When the others worried about the call, he told them Samuleson could be trusted 100%.  As they closed on the port, Mikah injected each of her patients with basic pain killers after confirming the vargr were out cold.  Finally passing into the port's airspace, Wyss answered the challenge from port security with his credentials and got them passed through without inspection as Emkir steered for the ship's parkbay.

Brian managed the docking from inside the ship as Emkir guided the craft into its bay and they both then began securing the craft in.  Zach met the team at the air-lock and helped Wyss' trooper and Mikah in moving the security chief into the medbay.  Rol and Ms. Vik helped Zimzod.  Before leaving, Mikah had Rol watch the prisoners, saying she wanted him to question any of them if they came around.  When Rol asked where she wanted them kept, she said he should keep them in the cutter for the time being.  Since the prisoners were sedated for the moment, Rol relaxed and pulled out his kits to clean his weapons.

Seeing Zach, Zimzod threw him the captured gauss pistol saying, "Here's a replacement for the one you lost."  Catching and examining the weapon, Zach found it much less worthy than his missing Darrian weapon, and didn't hide his reaction as he said he'd toss it into the ship's locker.  Seeing Zach's response, Zimzod stopped the procession for a moment to turn and face Zach saying, "Hey! I bled for that!" in a mock-hurt tone with a pouty face.  Mikah got Zimzod moving again as Zach asked, "What?  Did she shoot you again?" pointing to Mikah.

As she got the former marine moving, Mikah spared a withering glance back at Zach.  With things secure in the medbay, Sergeant Jefferds said he'd head back to his place to monitor events and make sure they were in the clear.  He also hoped for a report from the man who'd driven the armored car.  Mikah asked Zach to go with him and bring the air/raft back to the ship.  Zach agreed and the two men left together, though the merchant looked forward to getting some sleep once he got back to the ship.

After Zimzod was in the medbay, Ms. Vik was happy to let Mikah take over and she went to her stateroom to disarm and get some sleep.  Checking the time, she counted on getting a late start to her contract work for the port and set her alarm for 8am.  Aiden also went to sleep, setting his alarm for 7am to get up and take a turn guarding the prisoners so Rol could rest.  With everyone else hitting the rack, Brian went to his stateroom, not bothering to set his alarm before dropping into his bunk.

Emkir considered asking people to join him in a drink, but reconsidered the hour and recent events.  Both the drink and the afterthought of a trip to the casino seemed well out of place as people drifted off.  He considered how he felt himself and decided to follow suit.  First, he chose to check if he'd gotten any messages on the port's contact boards?  Logging into the boards, he found he had quite a few messages ranging from party invitations to statements like "you're da man!" to other wierd and twisted commentary and probable spam.  One such spam was entitled "Money Making Offer".

Curious despite the odds, Emkir opened that message to find the offer read:
           "We have friends who have a job offer.  Are you interested?"

Hoping this was more than spam, he answered:
           "Sure.  What do you have in mind?"

Then, he hit his rack without setting his alarm.

Caring For The Wounded

     As Mikah fully anaesthetized her two patients and began to better diagnose Zimzod, the other member of Wyss' team relaxed in the ship's lounge.  With the two settled, connected to monitors reporting their vitals, Mikah began cleaning Zimzod's wounds.  As she scanned and probed it, Mikah found the wound wasn't as bad as it appeared, and heaved a sigh of relief.  Done with her diagnosis and cleaning, Mikah grabbed her treatment tool set and began removing the gauss needle shafts and splinters.

Working with local anaesthetics, hand cutting and bone tools, Mikah carefully drove down into the flesh as needed to withdraw projectiles from both bone and muscle.  Mikah was finally able to close his wounds, inject some growth biotics and then clean and bandaged the area.  She knew it was still gonna smart a lot for a while, even if she used an accelerant to speed the healing.  Mikah then sprayed on liquid flesh, which would form a matte surface to which healthy skin would adhere and grow more quickly.  Then she secured Zimzod down until the mesh took, leaving his wound open to the healing air for the time being.

Mikah then turned her attention to the apparently less wounded Wyss and swung the swivel-mounted tissue scanner to look at the internal damage.  Given Wyss' lack of exhibited pain, Mikah was horrified to see the internal damage he'd suffered was much more extensive than expected!  Watching the screen as she moved the beam projector, Mikah saw the lower end of Wyss' sternum and xiphoid process had been more or less shattered.  On the plus side, it didn't appear there was any damage to the heart or the pericardium.  But after being wrong in her earlier guesses, she wanted to make certain.  The bone reconstruction would likely keep the man out of action for two weeks at least.

Adjusting her plan of attack to account for the shattered bone structure, she examined the wound and decided it was caused by a "single slug" type round.  Mikah then began with a pressure kit to "force feed" air into the lungs while she opened the chest.  After adjusting the level of anaesthetics, she made the cuts needed to insert a hand-probe and check the outer perimeter of the pericardium.  Mikah also inserted a tube to suck air out of the thorax while insuring that no bullet fragments had damaged the heart or lung surface near the wound.  With that done, she began evaluating the shattered bone structure and the best way to web the fragments together and promote reintegration and new bone growth.  All the while, Mikah also kept a watch on his blood-oxygen levels and other vitals.

Zach's Return To The Ship

     About that time, Jefferds and Zach made it to his place and, after exchanging good byes, Zach lifted the air/raft and headed for the port.  The trip was quick, and without complication, so he was soon at the checkpoint providing his credentials to port security before lifting to reach the ship.  Able to enjoy the leisure of looking around as he flew, Zach took the opportunity to check out the patchwork of varied ships and craft in the harbor.  When he finally arrived at the Pilot Error's parkbay and began circling before activating the air/raft bay hatch, a movement in a sliver of light in the parkbay caught his eyes!

Pulling out of his approach into a 'go around', he searched the grounds of the parkbay until he made out a figure moving on the grounds between the structure and the ship.  Reacting as quickly as he could while flying, Zach comm'd the ship.  He found the only two people still on comms were Rol, watching the prisoners, and Mikah, wearing her comms around her neck as she worked.  Taking the brief moment from her patient, Mikah elbowed the "All Ship" alarm figuring seconds to raise the alarm might keep her from leaving him to bleed out while she went to kill someone else.  Still, delegating the killing to someone else did little to help her disposition.  As the alert sounded, Mikah reached for clean gloves, just in case, before returning to work.  Still, she lingered to speak into the speaker once the alert sounds faded, "Wake up people, we have intruders in the parkbay!"

In her stateroom, Ms. Vik grabbed her discarded clothes and redressed quickly before grabbing her 9mm, a clip and her shock cane.  Then, she moved to her stateroom door.  Emkir jumped into one of his shipsuits and grabbed his comms asking, "What's up?"  Aiden, who'd crumpled into his rack without undressing simply reached for his snub pistol.  Checking the load as he rose, Aiden moved to his stateroom door.  Brian simply leaned over to the commpad and said, "Yeah.  Funny", and silenced the alarm.

Everyone with comms heard the reply, including Mikah, who'd pinned her comms so it would transmit her voice whenever no one else was speaking.  She threatened him to respond, so he got up, also still in his rumpled clothes, and strapped into his laser carbine before opening his stateroom door.  As people reacted to her alarm, and with her talk key pegged, Mikah announced there were unknowns in the parkbay.  Zach chimed in again, announcing he'd seen a second person as he continued to circle the ship.  After reassembling his gear and listening to the comms chatter, Rol called and asked if Aiden could relieve him at the cutter so he could go investigate the unknowns?  Aiden said he'd respond.

Brian opened his stateroom door and stepped out into the ship's lounge, finding himself facing down a combat armored figure holding a gauss rifle!  As the armored figure raised his rifle, Brian dropped his carbine and turned to run, dragging the carbine after him by its umbilical, towards the air/raft bay entrance.  Opening his stateroom door, Aiden saw the trooper from behind, challenging Brian who was fleeing towards the air raft and said, "Oh Frack!"

Before Aiden could do anything, the trooper yelled, "Halt and ID".  Out of Aiden's sight, Brian froze and said, "Sir Brian Montgomery" as he raised his hands.  The trooper advanced out of Aiden's sight and checked Brian's Ident before he apologized and introduced himself.  He was Bagg Hai, the one member of Wyss' team that had stayed on the ship to assist Wyss if needed.  Once Hai verified this, by providing his Ident, Aiden continued to the cutter and Rol headed to the air-lock.

Before he left his stateroom, Emkir grabbed his rifle and headed out to the air-lock.  But he stopped at the sight of the armored figure and Brian.  Ms. Vik joined him as they "enjoyed the show" before continuing.  Zach continued circling and observing the figures as best he could.  Once his identity and presence were dealt with, Bagg Hai also moved to the air-lock, taking a prone firing position covering the aft-port side of the parkbay to track the first unknown.

Hearing Hai explain himself on the comms, Mikah asked him if this might be the doctor Wyss called, but Hai said he thought the doctor would arrive alone and had sense enough to comm the ship before entering the parkbay.  When Aiden reached the cutter, Rol quickly moved to the air-lock, where he joined the growing crowd.  Saying, "cover me", Rol started climbing down the ladder from the air-lock as quietly as he could.  Zach reported the intruder, who'd been at the ship's aft end, had moved to starboard side.  Once Rol neared the ground, the figure, which turned out to be female, said "Oh Shit!" and turned to run.  Rol raised his rifle and yelled halt as Zach asked if there was anyone aboard with tranq rounds over the comms.  Hearing that, Aiden called for Emkir, to watch the prisoners so he could come forward.  He had his snub pistol, so he was the only one with tranq rounds.

When the intruder didn't stop, Rol bracketed her with fire which hit the parkbay walls.  That set off alarms, alerting the port to an emergency.  Thinking fast, Mikah asked Ms. Vik to call and tell the port of intruders in the parkbay, shots fired and ask for help.  As Zach watched from above, and the alarms went off, the intruder on the starboard side of the ship froze before charging the ship to disappear in the shadows cast by it and the port lights.  Rol charged the still fleeing female intruder, who tripped and made it easy for him to catch and pin her.  Inside the ship, Emkir arrived to guard the prisoners, and Aiden moved to the air-lock as he prepared his snub pistol.  From above, Zach maneuvered to lock the other intruder in the air/raft's headlights.  But as he did so, he saw the man lift his arms as if aiming.  Zach reacted by pulling back on the control yoke, lifting hard as a weapon was fired.

As the report of a shot echoed off the inside of the parkbay and ship, Zach continued his rise.  Just as suddenly, he was frantically called by port traffic control demanding 'what the Fuck he was doing?'  They desperately ordered him to veer right immediately!  Zach did as he was told, all the while, trying to explain his actions.  That stopped when he was forced to frantically change course again to avoid a landing starship trying to share the same air space with him!  Inside the ship, Brian grabbed his dragging carbine and went down to engineering to check the exterior of the ship from a lower starboard side hatch, after Zach's update.

Having dodged the traffic, Zach dropped altitude and killed his lights to make himself less of an easy target.  Then, he tried to move to a safer overwatch orbit above the parkbay.  Almost reaching the air-lock, Aiden heard the report of a shot fired and went back in-ship to armor up before going to the air-lock.  On the ground in the parkbay, Rol held his new captive down and demanded, "Who are you?"  The struggling woman answered, "Port Daily Media.  Now get off me!"  Rol demanded, "If you wanna live, you'll stay low.  Now!"  She briefly stopped struggling, to look at him asking, "So you, gonna shoot me now?"  About that time, Rol and those at the air-lock heard a male voice call out, "Get off her now!"  On the landing, just outside the air-lock, Trooper Hai told Ms. Vik he couldn't see the man.  Zach reported he'd circled out of line and couldn't see that area yet.

Cursing his luck, and using the woman as a living shield, Rol grabbed and lifted her up, moving towards the ship's aft.  They could see a figure with weapon extended and his body pressed against the corner of the ship in barricade stance.  Seeing the man, the woman yelled, "Charlie, Drop the gun!"  Hai tried to toss a flash/bang near where the guy was hiding, which only prompted "Charlie" to fire two shots that appeared to hit no one.  While all this was happening on the port side of the ship, Brian had reached the lower hatch in engineering and opened it to check out what was happening on the starboard side?

As he got the hatch open Brian heard the blast from the flash bang and flinched down into cover before looking out to see five body armored figures.  Holding rifles of some kind, they were moving in a chevron formation.  Seeing this, he closed and secured the door.  Coming round to make another pass, Zach also saw the team and reached out to the port and traffic control, telling them there were now visibly organized and armed combatants in the parkbay.  Port Control advised him they expected lots of security to close on the parkbay and advised him to prepare to be arrested himself!  Zach complained that he was the one being shot at, and they said they'd advise security.  Zach warned those in the the ship of the team on open comms and Mikah asked Ms. Vic to ask security about the team?  Inside the medbay, Mikah was working to place a biodegradable net around the shattered bone, so she could pull it back together to allow knitting the bone with material that would foster regrowth.

Inger got the request as she tried to scour the parkbay for signs of intruders on the port side.  Taking what cover she could, Ms. Vik contacted the port and described the team Zach had reported.  The port confirmed her ID, saying this was an initial response team sent by the port, and that they understood all the Pilot Error's crew to be inside the ship.  Ms. Vik very quickly corrected that, advising them Rol, in combat armor, had detained one female intruder.  Also, Zach was operating an air/raft and had been fired on multiple times as he tried to return to the ship.

Port Security thanked her for the on-scene update and advised they would update their teams.  Near the edge of the parkbay, Rol started dragging the woman against the bay wall as Zach began setting up for a low altitude, high speed shot over the aft of the ship and asked for the security team's comms frequency.  Ms. Vik relayed the request to have the team broadcast their frequency so Zach could catch it and communicate.  During his pass, Zach didn't see anyone on the aft, but heard a volley of fire from the starboard side of the ship.  Trooper Hai reported he also heard fire on the starboard side of the ship.

In response, Port Security reported they had engaged an apparent intruder, not matching the description of any crew, who opened fire when challenged.  They reported they had killed the man.  Happy they finally had starport support, Brian reported five heavily armed men on the starboard side of the ship who needed to be engaged.  Port security replied, "That's us", in a tone that added the unspoken word, 'moron'.  Zach turned his lights back on and comm'd the team, asking if he could land near them?  They advised him to dock with the ship as normal, and they would interview him aboard later.  Rol advised the team of his status and location, with his prisoner, as Zach accepted that he could do no more.  So he docked with the ship and secured the air/raft.

Getting Answers After The Excitement

     Port security reported they were sending two troopers to Rol's position to take custody of the prisoner.  The rest were investigating the dead intruder.  Shortly after that, they advised the dead intruder was a civilian adult male who had been armed with a revolver.  Minutes after that, they reported his Ident indicated his name was "Charlie Anderson", and had no apparent license for his revolver.  As more port security started taking over the outside situation, the crew ordered Bagg Hai to withdraw and relax so port security didn't see an armed trooper and ask unwanted questions.  As he pulled back inside the air-lock, the decision was made to have him join Emkir in the cutter, sealing that craft while they guarded the Vargr prisoners.

Ms. Vik told the port she'd interface directly with the head of the security team and put her shock cane away before heading out the lock and down the access stairs.  Switching to private and encrypted comms mode, Rol said, "We need to come up with a reason to explain the wounded prisoners."  Mikah shut that down, firmly telling Rol the security team wouldn't be boarding.  Brian told the cutter crew he was sealing the cutter access to engineering, and secured his laser carbine, going to sleep in that space because he was just too tired to head back to his stateroom.  Ms. Vik introduced herself and received a report a from Sergeant Lester Glen of the port security team.

Inger learned the pair of intruders had trespassed on port grounds, literally walking the entire way through the harbor until they reached and climbed into the parkbay.  Ms. Vik asked the sergeant if she could talk to the woman, who was wearing dark and understated garb.  When the woman saw her coming over, she demanded, "Who are you?"  Ms. Vik advised her of her credentials and asked, "Do you know how close you came to dying tonight?" in a chiding but not unfriendly tone.  The woman snapped, "I want my lawyer" and Ms. Vik said, "It will be in your best interest to talk to us now."  But the "reporter" held to her request for a lawyer.

Changing her tack, Ms. Vik asked, "What did you want with the knights?" and the lady asked, "You know the knights?" with a sudden glint in her eyes.  She told Ms. Vik to get the knights out in the parkbay and Inger said, "I can ask them to come out.  Can you give me some sort of incentive to get them to come out?"  At that, the woman retreated to her earlier demand saying, "You don't know the knights.  I want my lawyer."  Ms. Vik stepped aside and contacted Mikah, asking what she should do?

Mikah said, "Find Sir Brian, the last place we knew he was in engineering."  Ms. Vik also called Zach and told him to come out and speak to security.  Zach heard the request as he was securing the air/raft and went out to the air lock passing trooper Hai on the way.  Making use of the still open comms in the ship, Ms. Vik woke Brian, but he refused to come out and went back to sleep.  Eventually, as Inger worked with the Sergeant, Zach came out of the ship and Sgt. Glen interviewed him.  It turned out to be a mere formality, now that the team knew he was a member of the knight's crew.  Once he got Zach's details, he excused the merchant to return to the ship.

Having no other leverage with the woman, Ms. Vik told the Sergeant she was done with the prisoner, and the port asked if engineers were needed to investigate any possible damage the intruders did?  They also said they had contacted New Port Dunslade Police, who'd identified the intruders as "known violators of media laws."  When they bought the dead body around, the prisoner broke down, weeping and complaining that she thought they were lying about killing him to get control of her.  As Ms. Vik left, she could hear the woman sobbing, "They shot my son" over and over and realized this would be part of the quilt-work of news stories on the morning news.  All Inger could think of, as she climbed the rungs to the air-lock, were lurid headlines in the rumor rags like, "They gunned my son down in cold blood!" and worse...

Once the security contingent moved off with their prisoner, and the body was secured and taken, Ms. Vik called the port to say she wouldn't be in for work the next day and returned to her stateroom.  Checking that her clock was set for 8am, she hit the rack.  Zach planned on following suit once he returned inside the ship, setting his for 8am.  Rol too hit his bed, setting his clock for 6am.  Aiden set his clock for 7am before going to sleep, still planning to take a shift watching the prisoners.  Still working on Wyss' injuries, Mikah got a report from Emkir that two of the three prisoners were stirring.  As Zach entered the air-lock, Mikah called him into the medbay and prepared two hypos to knock out the prisoners again.  She had Zach run the drugs to the cutter bay.

There, the cutter crew unsecured the hatch long enough to be passed the injections and a stim for Bagg Hai before buttoning up again.  Sealed inside, Bagg took watch while Emkir administered the injections.  Emkir then went to sleep in one of the reclined seats.  At that time, as fate would have it, there was yet another interruption as the ship got a buzz from their parkbay entrance.  Finding a point where she could pause, as the only one left awake and available, Mikah set a protective wet cloth over the wound and cleaned her gloves off while hitting the comms with her elbow again.  Her despairing thoughts of 'What now' were swept away as a male voice from the panel announced he was Doctor Samuleson.

Stripping the gloves from her hands and turfing them, Mikah said she'd open the air-lock and buzz him through the parkbay entrance.  He advised her he'd brought three nurses with him, and supplies.  At Mikah's pause, the Doctor assured her the nurses were 100% trustworthy.  After the medical team were aboard, gowned and gloved, Mikah began telling Samuleson of the situation and the procedure she was undertaking.  Recognizing she had likely been fading for some time, the doctor let her go, saying he could take over with no worries.  Relieved at last, Mikah stripped off her med-dress and headed for her stateroom and bed planning not to set an alarm.

Waking Too Early And Questionable Actions

     Rol's alarm suddenly "erupted" at max volume, blowing him out of bed at what appeared to be exactly 6am.  He quickly investigated the clock, upset the alarm volume had been changed and realized it had been tampered with.  He also realized it was not nearly 6am!  Fairly certain who was to blame, Rol very deliberately got dressed and put on his gunbelt before going in search of Sir Brian.  After not finding him in his stateroom, Rol checked the bridge and finally engineering, where he found the knight asleep in a jury rigged hammock.  Leaning down close to Brian's ear, Rol took as big a breath as he could and screamed, "BRIAN", which startled the knight awake.  With the knight confused and surprised, Rol continued yelling, "The ships on fire!  The ships on fire!  Get out!"

Snapping from confusion into panic, Brian shoved Rol out of the way as he bolted to the engineering console and began hitting a series of buttons.  He then hit the ships alarm and twice said, "I've activated the fire control and released the halon, get out!!"  As he spoke, he grabbed Rol and started pulling him towards a lower deck hatch.  The alarming words cut through the ship like an electric blade!  Zach woke up, reflexively grabbing and donning his vacc suit through his groggy awareness, but with the fluidity of a life spent in space.

Mikah was still dressed down, and kicked away her dropped surgical gown as she rushed to get to the med-bay and evacuate the patients.  Aiden dove for his vacc suit, donning it with speed ingrained from years of ship-board service and space warfare.  Ms. Vik quickly dressed and bolted for the air-lock, while, back in engineering, Brian was trying to drag a resisting Rol to the starboard hatch he'd opened earlier that evening.  In the cutter, Bagg Hai and Emkir sealed the cutter's air supply and Emkir rushed to the cockpit.  He planned to power up the boat's systems and try to figure out what was happening as he knocked the wool from his head.  Finishing closing on Wyss after wrapping and securing the bone fragments with two nurses, while the other watched over Zimzod, Doctor Samuleson demanded to know what in hell had happened as Mikah entered the medbay.

Recognizing her after he'd snapped, the doctor apologized for being gruff and said he needed to know if they need to move the patients?  Mikah said yes, and asked if they could be moved?  It was Samuleson's turn to say yes as Zach also rushed into the medbay.  Together, the two doctors, three nurses and Zach carried the wounded out onto the landing just outside the air-lock, and waited for the others to show up.  Those with comms got a message from the Port Emergency Services and Traffic management that EMS vehicles were on the way.  On the tail of that message, Emkir called Mikah and asked what was happening?  Unsure what was going on this time, Mikah advised he undock the cutter and get clear.  He said he'd lift and see if the port could direct him to a safe staging area until the situation was resolved?  In his vacc suit, Aiden got to the bridge and began working the internal sensors to determine any facts about the fire alarm.

In the first minutes, some "hover" response assets from the port arrived with command and "initial response" personnel, to manage the scene and start fighting the reported fire.  The doctors moved the wounded to the tarmac and set up a care zone.  The Fire Scene commander asked for access to the ship and asked the crew to show him all available access ports?  Some more early confusion was added as the EMS workers saw doctors working on an obviously injured man.  While the surgery was largely over, the work looked like it had been fairly intensive.  This escalated when the doctors would answer no questions about their actions and patients beyond, "We have it in hand."  Then, a chance glance by a fire fighter recognized Port Security Master Wyss!  While the man said nothing immediately, he did notify his team leader, causing extra attention that added to the confusion.

Brian got Rol out on the other side of the ship and asked where the others were?  Despite Brian's insistence, Rol said that Brian shouldn't worry about it.  But the knight insisted, "We have to find them!"  As agitated as he was, Rol allowed Brian to lead him around the outside of the ship, until they found the others.  Port units were beginning to enter the ship, to locate and attack the fire.  When Brian saw the others, he rushed to them asking, "Where's the fire?!" in a rush.  Mikah replied, "Didn't you set the alarm!  You released the Halon...  Why?!"  Sir Brian pointed at Rol saying, "He said the ship was on fire!"

Once that cat was out of the bag, Mikah rounded on Rol as Ms. Vik and Emkir thought, 'Oh Shit!', realizing the additional ramifications.  More than one person was preparing to run if Mikah went for a weapon.  And all along, as Mikah demanded 'what was in Rol's mind' and 'how dare he', more equipment and response personnel were arriving and responding to attack the fire they were now realizing didn't exist.  No sooner thought than acted on, when Ms. Vik found herself handed a port comms-unit with Port control asking to speak with her.  Still on the bridge, Aiden couldn't find any sign of hazard or fire, or in fact any alarms at all.  At that point Ms. Vik began putting the word out, to port control first, that she'd just learned this was a false alarm.

Because the word didn't spread universally, Aiden spent a full twenty minutes working on the bridge before putting out the word that it seemed to be a false alarm.  By then, word had risen all the way up to the Port Executive himself, who was now awake and both on-line and on-comms from his home.  Working directly with the Fire Scene Commander and Ms. Vik as the word finally sunk in, Director Niebel told Ms. Vik he expected her in his office in the morning to discuss the night's events.  With a sinking heart, Ms. Vik acknowledged that demand.

Aiden asked if he could begin venting the halon from the ship, and was told he could.  The fire and rescue personnel packed up and faded off after reporting their findings and about the wounded personnel outside the air-lock.  The team realized they were going to have to come up with one hell of a story to cover everything that had been seen.  The last group to leave included the Scene Commander, who stepped over to tell Mikah his office would be in touch with the costs for this 'fire drill' with an un-amused look on his face.  Now left on their own again, the crew started devising a story about engaging Wyss in an attempt to find and recover Administrator Vougazgi.  Eventually the tale would have them being ambushed and having a shootout in the city.

Once they settled "the story", they returned to the ship for some sleep or cleaning up.  This ended at exactly 7am, as Aiden's clock erupted and they realized all the clocks must have been rigged, making this whole escapade the result of a bad practical joke.  Suddenly, most of the crew were embroiled in the blame game over who was at fault for the alarm clock prank, and responsible for the Cr 6,000 bill from the port.  Payment of that was going to be part of Mikah's planned punishment.  The obvious initial blame fell on Brian, who defended himself with a vigor.  His argument was firm enough that, when he said he could prove it, some, including Mikah, were inclined to allow him to clear his name.  Rol and others were skeptical.  They said he was good enough with computers to fake the evidence, so they decided to make him explain each step in the process as he got his "proof".

The process was surprisingly simple for someone with the right level of access.  Brian managed to pull the ID code from the system.  He showed it off before allowing Mikah to decode it using standard interfaced User management applications.  And, it turned out to be Aiden's ID!  Almost as soon as the words were out of Brian's mouth, Aiden admitted to having set the alarm volumes and got a tongue lashing from Mikah.  Then he was told he would pay Cr 2,000 for doing what he did, while Rol would pay the remaining Cr 4,000 for having been stupid enough to cry fire in a starship.  While this was going on aboard the ship, Ms. Vik had taken stims and was preparing for her ordered meeting with Director Niebel.

Next: The Day After the Circus