The next day I was on my way to The Pearl Turtle to meet up with “Madame Zeniba”, the Captain of the “Dancing Panda”.
As is custom for formal first meetings like that, I was accompanied by a small entourage of “guards”, in this case 3 Celestial Guards and Kanren Umibozu. When Father Anderson got wind of me visiting The Pearl Turtle before our departure he asked if he could tag along, apparently wanting to restock on some rarer liquors before being off in Space for a longer period of time. Impressed by his foresight I asked him to bring some Sake for me as well, and thus allowed him to accompany us to the Pearl Turtle in our Azure Dragon.
As the Azure Dragon rose over The Neon Dragon I took a look out of the small armoured window at the city steeped in morning light, reminiscing about my time here, and thinking about what new events might occur during our time on the Dancing Panda. I could only hope that our temporary replacement crew in The Neon-jo was up for the task, The Neon Dragon sure hadn’t been an easy assignment.
The moment I convinced myself that things would end up alright as all ISS Members where more than fit for their duty, and the Dancing Panda wasn’t exactly a battle cruiser, so fighting would be at a minimum, my view was obstructed by one of the shining white building walls that most of The Pearl Turtle area seemed to be made off, and as soon as the doors of the Azure Dragon folded upwards, I was greeted by a loud voice shouting “Help us! These Guys have stolen our luggage!!”.
Naturally as I stepped out of the Azure Dragon Landing Craft, flanked by Celestial Guards, all eyes of the citizens walking along the street that heard the man scream where suddenly staring at us with surprise and expectation. Obviously no one expected a ISS Landing Craft to promptly appear in responce of a mere theft, but now that we where here, everybody expected swift and violent justice…leaving me little choice but to deliver just that.
The man that had been shouting was standing in front of a small entourage himself, consisting of two hired muscle looking men lying on the floor bleeding, a woman sitting elegantly yet annoyed on a nearby cargo crate, shades covering most of her face, and the man himself, a Secretary looking guy in his prime, obviously no fighter, who now was waving at us and pointing in the direction that his attackers had apparently run. “Wow! That was quick! They ran in this direction! A bunch of Nomad Scumbags I reckon, wearing all red!”
Wanting to get this distraction over with as quickly as possible me and my little crew dashed in the described direction Kanren Umibozu leading the way as he was not only more used to this type of chases than most of us, but also knew The Pearl Turtle like no one else in The Neon Dragon, having been undercover in it for quite a good part of his life in one way or the other.
After about a minute of chasing, lead by Umibozu who seemed to have no problem whatsoever following their trail through the high society area we where stopped by Umibozu, leaning against a building a few meter in front of us, signing us to stop, pointing out a few targets in the distance and giving us the “Silence” sign along with it.
Quickly zooming in on the figures I noticed one of them, who apparently hadn’t considered “being sober” as a requirement for their little plunderparty, vomting his innermost onto the shining white streets, surrounded by what looked like a Reverend Healer and another Alguacil. Apparently they thought they had avoided all who could possible follow them, and felt compfortable with waiting for their comrad to get better.
Dividing my squad up with short handsign commands, as those Nomad fuckers where known to be sneaky hackers, so one could never be too cautious with com channels around them, I then quickly ascended through the stairway system of a nearby building to its roof, where I had clear sight on the thieves.
Not wanting to shy them away at the sight of a Hsien Warrior in an advantageous position right from the get go, I and the Celestial Guard next to me crouched down to avoid detection as the others slowly advanced.
“Oh come on Chesus! Get a grip! We are on the run you know…”
“Shut up *Bluuuuuurgh* you know how it is with me, I’m a Spacer born and raised, standing on actual land is hard enough for me, all this running and jumping just now,, my body is just not made for thi…*Bluaaargh*”
“Yeah yeah, that’s what you get for skipping ground combat training all the time…come over here, I’ve got something for ya..”
“Guys! Seriously, this is not the time! I think that was an Azure Dragon Landing Craft there just now….if it was we are in deep shit you know!”
“Deep shit my a*Bluaaargh*”
“Oh come on Rodriguez, you know how the Police in these Yu Jing Dumpster Towns is, they probably tripped over their own shoelaces trying to follow us…if they even showed up at all!”
*another female voice chimes in by vox*
“Yeah Rodriquez, don’t you remember last time in Shen Tang? I heard one of them even got a heart attack while chasing us after this little liquor raid stunt we did……damn come to think about it, any of that stuff left on board, or do we need to make a quick detour on our way?”
“Nope we finished that one off a long ti”
*Rodriquez chimes in, cutting everyone off*
“No guys, I’m serious! If this was an Azure Dragon we’re not talking fat coppa here, we’re talking ISS! They don’t fuck ar”
*A loud bang interrupts the talk, followed by the female voice screaming over the vox in agony*
The battle started as Father Anderson saw an enemy Alguacil standing among some crates, apparently busy chatting with her comrades over vox channel.
With an ease that only a seasoned veteran (with the help of an X Visor) could emit, Father Anderson put a burst of Viral rounds into the Alguacil, her screams as the terrible toxin ate away at her body waking her comrades out of their casual stupor.
Instantly a Grenzer Sniper that been hiding in a nearby building tried to take aim at Father Anderson, but at the same time the Celestial Guard that was on the rooftop with me shot a smoke grenade at my feet, allowing me to savely proceed to the corner of the building, shredding the clueless Grenzer with a salvo of my HMG.
Stunned as most of the normal Nomad Soldiers where by the ambush, the combat experience of their Mercenary where razor sharp, and she instantly tried to take out the biggest threat to their flank, Father Anderson.
The grizzled Veteran wasn’t having any of it though, and the Mercenary quickly followed the Alguacil to a screaming painful death of viral ammunition to the face.
The groups Reverend Healer, enraged by the horrible deaths of her comrades tried to be clever, circumventing the building in front of her, trying to get within optimal range of myself, who now that the smoke grenade was gone, made for a sweet target on that rooftop.
Apparently she hadn’t considered the height difference though, and her aim was thus a bit off as she opened fire at me, paying for her mistake by getting riddles with countless slugs from my HMG. Apparently Mother Mary of the Knife…or whoever those fools prayed too, wasn’t too fond of firefights as she hadn’t blessed this one for sure.
As I zoomed in on the building, searching for remaining troopers of the enemy squad, I could barely make out the shape of yet another Alguacil, who had apparently dared to advance, trusting in the Revenant Healers ability to take care of me.
A few short bursts from my HMG tought the fool never to underestimate the ISS again, ripping through 2 windows right into his chest.
Since nothing dared to move on the other side of the battlefield anymore, and I couldn’t get anything in sight either, both Kanren Umibozu and Father Anderson advanced along the left flank, and after a few steps Kanren Umibozu noticed the sound of Servo Motors comming from the corner in front of him. Stealthy as a ghost the undercover specialist and Martial Arts practitioner sneaked up on the corner of the building, and then sweept around it, striking downwards at the Mobile Brigada that had been hiding behind it with his Monofilament sword in one swift motion, cutting the cowardly fool in half with ease.
Apparently the guy had been the thieves commander, as his death suddenly sent the last remaining Alguacil into a sprint to get off the battlefield. To his own demise though the guy slipped on some sort of liquid spread on the floor next to him, which we later found out was vomit, and as he slowed down to avoid falling, Father Anderson took him out through the window behind him, his X Visor once again giving him an easy shot.
With no more movement I waited for Kanren Umibozu to give the all clear sign, and then gave the order to secure the area and collect the stolen goods.
Leaving Kanren Umibozu behind with Father Anderson to wait for the cleanup crew, I returned to the Azure Dragon’s Landing position to return the goods to the man.
As I stretched my hand out to hand over the bag to the man, he simply stepped back behind the woman now standing, an apologetic expression on his face, and the woman snikkered to herself, slightly flicking her sunglasses lower to allow eyecontact between us
“Keep it General Fuyu,it’s not important to me anymore now. I see they’ve sent me a halfway decent replacement for that incompetent fool that used to be in charge of security on my ship. I guess spreading the news that I’d be carrying some precious cargo to a dealer in The Pearl Turtle at the local Bars wasn’t a waste afterall. A Pleasant surprise, I expect you and your crew onboard tomorrow at 1030, whoever is late will be left behind, I’m not joking.”
And with that, the woman, who now that I managed to see her eyes and took a closer look appeared to be in her very well preserved fifties, turned around together with her entourage, and quickly left the scene. In the meantime the quick databank scan my suit of armour had made blinked it’s result on my field of view, and just as I opened the bag, revealing a bunch of Dancing Panda Plushies inside, it identified the woman as “Madame Zeniba” Captain of the Dancing Panda.