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Изменено (Azidamadjida): 4/6/2017 9:42:49 PM

REEF MOB, Ch. 72: Revenge of the Talons, Part I

Welcome to my second crossover with Kell of Scar! If you’re looking for his last chapter, you can find it [url=]here[/url], and if you missed the last chapter of REEF MOB, you can find it [url=]here[/url]. Or if you need to find a previous chapter, you can find them all in the [url=]Table of Contents[/url]. Please give a bump or leave a comment if you enjoy this and any other chapter! *** Memories of the past drift lazily through the debris that litters the Reef – a child’s doll from the Golden Age, frozen in time, knocks against the remnants of a Fallen skiff, its hull ripped apart by the Harbingers long ago. A discarded Guardian’s weapon bounces off the tattered rocks of Ceres, which themselves listlessly orbit the remains of the ships that fled the Collapse. This is the ever-present history of the Reef, an identity born from the tragedies of the past, a balance between the Light of our loftier ambitions and the Darkness of our need for revenge. Vesrik’s ship falls out of warp beside mine as I calmly look out at my home. Behind me, my new crew remains silent, quietly preparing themselves for our current task. I almost wonder how many of them have ever been part of something like this before, but I know before I even have to ask that they haven’t – from the looks of them, most have probably never left 6 Demeter. My fingers trace the controls lightly, a perfumed scent guiding them to wait patiently on the throttle as I feel shivers run up and down my arms. [i]This is mine[/i], I think proudly, still internally giddy from the sensation of flying again after however long I was in Taniks’ prison. I push the thoughts away forcefully as the comm crackles to life. “[i]Vesrik to Volition.[/i]” “Right here, Vesrik.” “[i]Are you ready?[/i]” I smirk at the old Fallen’s question. “Always. Just try to keep up.” And without any further hesitation, I kick the ship into gear, the sleek, jagged fins screaming forward into the Reef. Behind me, I can feel the crew holding on for dear life as we accelerate, faster and faster, racing through the debris – as expected, within moments the onboard computer flashes warnings at me, pinpointing the familiar shapes of the Galliots tailing us – “We got their attention!” I bark into the comm. “[i]Evasive maneuvers![/i]” Vesrik responds, his ship weaving through the detritus to keep up with mine as the Corsairs give chase. “[i]Intruders bearing three-four-three, you have crossed into the realm of the Awoken. State your business or be fired on by order of the Queen.[/i]” I feel the smirk tugging at the corners of my lips as I cast a quick look back at my new crew – they already look queasy from the reckless speed. [i]If they get sick, they’re cleaning up the mess[/i], I think as I nonetheless weave dangerously around two careening asteroids, the Corsairs still in hot pursuit. “[i]Ready weapons,[/i]” I hear Vesrik tell his crew over the comm. “Hold that order!” I bellow back over the comm. “Don’t shoot ‘em yet!” “[i]Would it not be wiser to draw out more Corsairs to give Talons a wider opening?[/i]” “Yeah, but then we’d have more Corsairs on our tails!” “[i]We can take them.[/i]” “I’m not interested in taking them, I need an opening to double back on.” “What? Why?” I cast a quick glance back at the crew member who spoke. “What’s your name again?” “Callas,” he answers, his blue skin starting to turn pale as sweat pours off him. “Okay, Callas,” I answer calmly, still keeping most of my attention on dodging the Reef’s many obstacles, the smells and colors of the controls guiding my hands. “First off, SHUT UP!!! Second, SHUT UP!!! And third, I’m the Captain here, where I say we go, we go – “ The Corsairs begin firing on us – I tuck the Volition into a tight barrel roll through a wall of asteroids directly below us, the g-force pinning me to my seat – “ – and if you don’t like it….” The Volition punches through the asteroids with millimeters to spare – one of the Corsairs behind me crashes, his fireball igniting the void for a momentary flash – “…I can let you out right here.” I steal another quick peek back as I pull the ship up, spinning us through the skeleton of a Golden Age ship – Callas is vomiting into his bag. “Oh, you nasty sonuva – “ “[i]Mariel![/i]” Vesrik cries over the comm, and I look through the view screen to see three more Corsairs joining the chase, tailing the Fallen’s ship. “On it!” I cry, punching the Volition into a screaming dive back toward them. “[i]Fire weapons![/i]” Vesrik growls over the comm. “You bastards,” I mutter darkly as I see the projectiles speeding from Vesrik’s ship toward the Corsairs – two are hit, but one manages to avoid the blasts. “He’s gonna call for backup!” But suddenly, the ship peels off and races away mysteriously. “What the…” “[i]Mariel, look![/i]” Vesrik growls over the comm. I look across the view screen for what he’s referring to, and find it almost immediately – fire is being sucked into space from a hole blasted into a cell at the base of the Vestian Outpost. “That’s gotta be where the Talons are,” I reply. “I’m heading over to check it out.” “[i]What about us?[/i]” Vesrik asks over the comm. “You guys have done what you can, the Talons are in, you’ve held up your end of the bargain. I’d get out of here before things get any crazier if I were you.” “[i]What about you?[/i]” “Crazy’s kind of my thing,” I retort with a smirk, banking the ship toward the cell. I can hear Vesrik sighing through the comm. “[i]You’re very brave,[/i]” he says quietly. “[i]It’s easy to see how you survived Taniks.[/i]” I feel a twinge in my stump as I adjust my clawed, metal leg. “There was nothing easy about it,” I growl pointedly. “[i]Still,[/i]” Vesrik persists. “[i]I am glad you survived.[/i]” I don’t respond, but merely click the comm off – I need to keep focused on the present, can’t afford to dwell on the past again. [i]Not like I could remember it anyway[/i], I think, quickly pushing aside the part of me that instinctively waits for a response within. “What about us?” Callas asks, looking up from his bag, his face ashen. “What about you?” I ask back, cocking an eyebrow at him. “You’re gonna fight. You wanted to come, right?” “No,” Callas says weakly. “We didn’t have a choice. The Baroness told us we had to do her a favor for this month’s supplies.” The revelation hits me hard – [i]Mother forced them to be here?[/i] “You didn’t choose to come with me?” Callas shakes his head – I take a moment to look across at the rest of the crew, a scared, rookie bunch, and suddenly realize they’ve never done anything like this before. “None of you?” They all shake their heads. I keep the Volition on course as I rub my eyes wearily, wondering what Mother’s purpose could have been. “Stay with the ship,” I tell them as the Outpost draws closer and I can see the minuscule bodies of the Talons swarming into the hole they’ve created in the prison cell below. “I’ll have to go alone, then.” “You can’t – “ Callas begins to protest, but I simply fix him with a withering gaze until he shuts up. “I’ll transmat out as we get closer,” I tell them as I pull on my gloves and helmet. “You guys take the ship and head back to 6 Demeter. I’ll set the autopilot before I leave to make sure you get back okay.” “Lady Mariel, I – “ Callas begins slowly. “What?” “You’re….you’re really gonna go in there all alone?” I think about it for a moment – [i]it’s stupid, insanely stupid and crazy to boot, but….[/i] “Yep,” I retort, puffing my chest out. “That monster and I have a score to settle. Oh, and Callas?” “Yeah?” “You better make sure this ship is clean before I get back.” Callas looks sheepish as I turn away, focusing back on the cell as the ship draws closer, Vesrik’s ketch taking off in the corners of my view screen – within moments, it hovers directly over the hole the Talons have blasted into it – I can see inside the battle raging, the Talons fighting wildly against the blood red swarm I saw on Taniks’ ketch. [i]So that’s what the Queen’s forces did with them[/i], I think. [i]Might have bit off more than they can chew.[/i] I push aside the part of me waiting for an internal response again as I put the ship on autopilot and nod to the crew. “Here goes nothing,” I tell them as I hit the transmat button and begin to dematerialize… … …before reappearing in the nightmare below.

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