2483/Log 2483

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Log 2483
Date of Scene: 16 September 2017
Location: The Coal Sack Nebula
Synopsis: The Guardians and Star*Drake team up (loosely) to capture a criminal.
Cast of Characters: Star-Lord, Gamora, Groot, Rocket Raccoon, StarDrake

Star-Lord has posed:
    It's a lazy day aboard the Milano, Peter is sitting in the common area with his booted feet proped up on the main table as he's laying across the bench seat with a hand behind his head while in his other hand is a handheld display with a sizeable number on the side facing Peter.

    He lowers it until the plastiglass device is against his forehead where he taps it there a few times, lost in thought with something heavy on his mind.

Gamora has posed:
    "Don't think too hard, you'll end up breaking something," suggests Gamora as she emerges into the common room, her tone is, for Gamora, fairly conversational. She moves to the kitchen facilities, and begins to look at the very limited selection of meals. Or at least, the limited selection of food one does not have to cook. She ends up picking up a metal sealed case, opens it, and pulls out a handful of what might be considered beef jerky, except it came from no Earthen cow. Most likely, some creature Gamora had slaughtered on one of their planetside trips.

    She takes a bite, nods satisfactorially that it hasn't gone bad yet and takes it over to the table. She sits. And, looking at some of the weapon parts that are laid about the table she starts to slowly assemble the gun that'd been stripped down to be cleaned, and repaired.

Star-Lord has posed:
"I'm /not/ going to break something." Peter retorts with the mental prowess of a six year old, but he keeps taping the screen agaisnt his face and sits up, resting his elbows on the table as Gamora sits and works on her weapon. He leans down and keeps the device close in front of his face and continues to think but only out loud this time. "There's this job that's been extended towards us and it pays. Like. A lot..." Peter notes, but there sounds like there's a 'but' coming.

Gamora has posed:
    Gamora does not look up from where she begins to take a multi-tool to the servo-compensator of the broken down weapon. She does not look up at Peter. "So, where are we headed and what is the job?" Gamora asks, almost indifferent to the hesitation on Peter's part. The green-skinned alien girl seems content with her busy-work, for now. It keeps her focused. And, keeps her sane.

Star-Lord has posed:
    "That's the problem. It's a simple retrieval job. Go in, grab this... guy and leave." Peter says dropping his device onto it's back and looks up to Gamora lifting his hand to rub at the bridge of his nose. "It can't be that simple can it. It never can be. Why would they be giving out so much money for a simple curiour job." Peter asks dumbfounded that they might have actually come across some good fortune.

Gamora has posed:
    "Full disclosure is not something that those who are willing to pay out mercenary jobs are keen on providing. Discerning minds will know that the danger increases with pay," Gamora says, in a matter-of-fact tone while she begins to tweak the settings on the gun, rotating the multi-tool a few times. "It is most likely the item is either stolen, or highly sought after by other mercenaries."

Groot has posed:
     Of course with lazy days, come lazy inhabitants. Groot was more at ease with this sentiment it seems. "I am Groot." The Flora Colossus walks in from the crew bunks, giving a bit of a yawn as he enters. He waves to Peter and Gamora as he settles in. He had heard what Gamora had said earlier, a little intrigued by the prospect of a little danger.

Star-Lord has posed:
    Peter looks over to Groot as he enters and with a sigh lowers his head completely at the table and sighs heavily.

    "Thanks misses obvious." Peter says as he fumbles around with his hands looking for the device until he finds it and starts swiping away at the screen until it's cleared and then he lifts his head once more and begins to tap at the face of the communication unit rapidly.

    A face pops up and gives him the whole happy spiel about calling OutWorld bounties "How can I help you?" She asks happily.

    "Me and my crew, Star-lord and friends, want to pick up bounty, umm... bounty number 437-Alpha-2."

Gamora has posed:
    Gamora looks sidelong to Groot, and offers the huge Colossus, "Peter's being optimistic again," she tells Groot. Then, she adds mildly, "I thought you were going to fix this," she accuses, moving back to her repair of the repeating blaster rifle. Still, for Gamora, she seems in a pretty good mood.
    "Any restrictions on the bounty?" She wonders the overly happy face.

Star-Lord has posed:
    "Hi, Starlord and Friends, that's an interesting name for a crew, but yes, processing bounty 437-Alpha-2." The kind pink woman says cheerily as she processes the bounty.


    "You are approved for this bounty along with the thirteen thousand, six hundred and twelve crews. In response, no there are no restrictions on this query, just bring the target back alive to the indicated destination." The face says before the screen fades back to being clear.

    Peter then looks to Gamora and Groot with a bit of hopefulness in his eyes. "We can beat those other teams. Easy. We're the Starlord and Friends crew..." He likes the name obviously.

Rocket Raccoon has posed:
Down in the seedy underbelly of the Milano, Rocket finishes replacing the starboard power coupling that's been shorting out all week. It's a thankless job, but somebody had to finally get around to it. Not like anyone else is qualified...

I mean, sure, they might be 'qualified', but that doesn't mean that Rocket trusts them to install the only spare power coupling they had on board. If that thing goes, they're going to be spending a long time playing Simon Says and waiting to get towed back to Knowhere.

The repair completed, Rocket lifts up the visor on his oversized welding helmet, admiring the quality of his workmanship. He always admires the quality of his workmanship, sometimes for longer than it actually took to do the job itself.

But something's missing. Sure, HE is here to admire the quality of his workmanship, but where are all the other people who should be complimenting the tidiness of his welds? More to the point, why aren't any of them down here helping him? Didn't he put out a memo that this is supposed to be Rocket's Maintenance Day?

"Da'st... Quill's probably got everyone playing Techno Bowls again..."

As he discards the helmet, and scurries from the Engine Room to the the cargo hold, he starts to work himself up into a fury. It always takes a few seconds for him to get good and mad, and it has to be authentic anger, or nobody will listen to him.

Finally, he clambers up the ladder, and raises the hatch to the Common Area, his small weirdly-glowering eyes appearing through the slit in the hatch, right in the middle of the floor. Like some sort of sewer monster come to terrorize a bunch of teenagers.

"Hey! What the flark are you krutackers doing!? You're supposed to be helping me alphabetamize my ammunition from biggest to shortest!"

The hatch is raised all the way, and Rocket pokes his head up to look at all the assembled Guardians in turn.

"I put out a MEMO..... wait... did we just get a job?"

Gamora has posed:
    Gamora looks up at Peter, her painted yellowed eyes narrowed into slits. "Starlord and friends crew?" She questions, rather boldly. "So. We're renaming the ship?" Her tone, however, is now pointed. She, apparently, is not quite as fond of the name as Peter.
    Thankfully for Peter, Rocket provides a significant distraction from any further retorts from the green-skinned woman. She tips her head on one side as she looks to Rocket, and she points the multi-tool in her hand at him like a weapon.

    Let's face it. With Gamora? She probably has at least 15 different ways she can kill somebody with the multi-tool.

    "I've been repairing your Repeating Betelguese HK-47 that Groot was supposed to repair. Peter has been bashing the datapad into his skull attempting to gain some of it's knowledge. I do not think it is working."
    She pauses. "Yes. We took a job. Retrival."

Star-Lord has posed:
    "I have not! And no, there wasn't a memo. There was a sticky note with what looked like scribles left on my forehead when I woke up, so no Rocket, I didn't read your memo." Peter says placing his data screen back down on the table and standing up triumphantly while looking down at Rocket.

    "Did you replace the power coupler? It's been on the fritz all week and we 'human folk'" Peter says lifting his hands and doing dramatic air quotes, "Can't fit down there when we're not in port." The captain says looking back to Gamora and Groot, looking for a bit of support but finally responding to Gamora's initial question. "No. It's still totally the Milano, just trying to come up with a name for us. I kinda like it. Starlord and Friends."

Rocket Raccoon has posed:
"You!" Rocket points one of his tiny clawed fingers at their self-appointed leader.

"And YOU!" Then he points one of his tiny clawed fingers at their self-appointed Groot.

"Right now, Gamora is better than you two. Even though she almost certainly did the repairs WRONG, at least she read the memo!"

Over on the door to the food storage unit, held up by a worn out Alf refrigerator magnet, a lonely scrap of paper is attached at roughly knee-level for everyone else on the ship except for Rocket. This knee-level scrap of paper that's attached to the food storage unit looks as if it was probably pilfered from the refuse bin, and scrawled upon in practically illegible characters with the message:


'Al you krutackers da'st well better help me
alphabetamize the ammo pile on Mantenanse Day
or next time we take a missin i'm going
to leave you all to die'

Underneath the message is a crudely-drawn picture of all of the current Guardians of the Galaxy, lying in a pile while a crudely-drawn Kree soldier shoots what appear to be laser beams at them. Off to the side is a crudely-drawn raccoon, shrugging his shoulders as if to imply that there was nothing he could do about it, because the ammo wasn't alphabetamized properly.

"I left a memo where EVERYBODY could read it, and then I left you all REMINDERS!"

In Gamora's quarters, there's a small sticky note attached to the handle of her door.

In Groot's, there's a small sticky note attached to the flower pot full of stale jelly beans.

And in Drax's quarters... Rocket didn't go in there for some reason.

Gamora has posed:
    "We have a name for us. You, are Peter Quill. I am Gamora. He, is Rocket. And he, is Groot." Gamora looks pointedly at Peter, then, the multi-tool is inserted back into the gun, and after a few more twists and a shift of the tool to another component and the gun humms to life. Gamora nods, satisfactorily. Then, the weapon is powered down, and set off to the side.
    She looks back to Rocket, "Should not the ammunition be organized according to size, rather than alphabitized?" She shrugs, almost indifferent to the matter.
    "I think we will all be more satisfied when we have some credits in our pockets. If we are in competition for that bounty, should we not be setting coordinates and flying there?"

Star-Lord has posed:
    Peter walks over to the fridge and looks down towards the note and stoops to look at it closer. "This isn't a note." He retorts and takes it out from under the Alf magnet with a snap of his wrist and looks closer. "Is this supposed to be you?" He asks with a point at the small brown blob that could be a raccoon.

    Quickly crumbling the paper up and tosses it down to bounce of Rocket's head as he turns around to move back to the table. "Good idea Gamora." Followed by a brazzen wink as he plucks the data pad from the table and fake tosses it to Rocket.

    "Let's get on the way huh." Peter remarks as he climbs the steps up into the cockpit and moves to find his seat.

Rocket Raccoon has posed:
"Ha. Silly Gamora... that's exactly what our enemies would expect us to do." Rocket chuckles softly and condescendingly for several more seconds, shaking his head at Gamora's naiveté. It's not exactly clear which enemies this complicated scheme is supposed to help thwart, but most of Rocket's organizational practices are inscrutable to everyone else. It actually works out in their favor almost as often as it doesn't.

"I second the motion though." Technically, he's the third person to support it... but let's not get hung up on details. "We spent way too many units on that Techno Bowls machine Quill just HAD to have, and the da'st thing doesn't even work unless you blow into the cartridge! If we don't scrape together enough units for a new quantum phase shifter soon, the transmission on this tub is gonna go out, and then we'll all have to give up this life of crime and join the Nova Corps!"

It's pretty clear that Rocket finds the idea of putting on a uniform and helping his fellow creatures pretty distasteful. Following Quill and Gamora up to the cockpit, he takes his customary seat in the Other Pilot Chair, and starts punching lots of buttons very fast.

Gamora has posed:
    Gamora stands between the two pilot chairs, crossing her arms, then. She shakes her head, just a little, and asks Peter, finally, "And just where is it that this bounty is taking us, Peter?" No. She will never, probably, call him Starlord. Maybe that's not a bad thing, though.

    "We also need new rations," she states, matter-of-factly to Rocket. Though, she doesn't oppose the idea either of new parts for the Milano. Rocket, afterall, knows the ship better than anyone. Cares for it more than anyone, too. "And, do you think you two can get along well enough, just this once, without fighting over the controls?"

StarDrake has posed:
Outside through the viewport, a stylish, fast-looking courier ship (currently white but with red goes-faster stripes) moves into stationary position relative to Milano. A *ping* on the comm and a pop-up window shows the face, such as it is, of the robotic pilot of the ship.

"Hey Quill, hey Friends of P, did you just get a pick-up job... 437-Alpha-2?" the robot asks. "Oh hey Rocket. You get that ammunition problem figured out yet?"

The transponder signals that Star*Drake (Mikh Drakos) has picked up job 437-Alpha-2. Oops.

Star-Lord has posed:
    "No." Says Quill flatly as he turns his attention to Rocket and stares daggers at the rodent.

    "It's my ship. I'll fly." Peter lifts his data pad and examines the coordinates and punches them in one character at a time, very slowly. Double checking for most every character until the information is plugged in.

    "Oh, we're going to the Cor'Dant system... Never heard of it." Peter says, totally missing the signal that someone else is in nearby space.

Rocket Raccoon has posed:
"We wouldn't need new rations if we just got rid of Drax. Seriously, does that guy even work here anymore?"

Rocket looks over his shoulder, as if half-expecting to see the jolly green giant scowling behind him. He looks a bit relieved that he's not there to hear him talking smack.

Punching buttons all the while, Rocket still manages to pay attention to the conversation going on around him, especially when it's directed his way. "Relax, Gammy... me and Quill came to an understanding, and everything's gonna be fine from now on. I'm Mabrick, and he's Goops. Ain't that right, Quill?"

Rocket punches in the last bit of the complicated calculation he was working on, feeding the data into the Milano's navicomputer. It's strange that he somehow already knew where the coordinates were, even though he missed most of the message.

A mystery for another time...

"Oh... this guy again..." Rocket scowls as he realizes that he's going to have to split his precious cut from the mission a little bit thinner. Doing the math in his head, he figures out exactly how many units he's going to miss out on now that there's another interested party. They always seem to show up right before a big payday...

But from the way he responds over the ship-to-ship comm system, you'd think he was super excited to see Mikh, aside from one small detail...

"Oh HAI Mikh! We were HOPING you'd show up!"

His right eye closes dramatically as he smiles, winking right into the camera.

"We sure could use some company on this job!"

Another obvious wink.

"There's nobody we'd rather have with us if we get into a jam!"

Yet another super-obvious wink.

"I'm so glad to see you, I'm not even mad that you skipped out on Maintenance Day!"

This is capped off with the biggest, most obvious wink so far. It looks like Rocket's about strain a face muscle.

Grabbing the controls, as if he didn't even hear Quill say that he was going to fly today, Rocket flips the switch that turns the green light on HIS side on, and assumes control.

Gamora has posed:
    Gamora sighs, exasperated. There's little more she can do at present, other than conceed to Mikh, "Yes. We are expecting trouble. I'm certain it is not anything we can handle." At least, if Peter, and Rocket can ever agree on whose going to fly. She adds, "However, given the odds of those who are also seeking the bounty, working together will ensure a higher rate of success rather than wasting cost of fuel, and resources to get there."
    She doesn't know Mikh well, but she does know what an excellent pilot he is. She frowns at Rocket. "Who is Mabrick? And who is Goops? I have never heard of either of these pilots. And why would you want to be them?"

StarDrake has posed:
"Love you too, Procyon Loco. You're my favorite... better get that facial tic checked out, it looks like you might have another bad circuit in that cyber-plug," Mikh says in a totally pleasant and mellow voice.

The Milano's movement would clearly cut off the Star*Drake if Mikh didn't change his direction, but the robot/starship changes his course smoothly, warp ring flaring a lovely Cerenkhov blue.

"Maverick and Goose. They're atmospheric fighter pilots from an ancient Earth vid-novel. Pete should have a copy somewhere." It's hard to tell what 'ancient' means to the robot sometimes.

Star-Lord has posed:
    "It's Mavrick and Goose you dingus." Peter says crossing his arms and looking in a huff towards the camera as Mikh appears on the screen and then sighs again at Rocket. Then adds in, "I'm Mavrick if I'm anyone. You're Goose." Peter says humphing once more.

    "Mikh, don't be upset when we get there first and solve this job without you. We kinda need the money real bad." Peter covers his hand over the camera but not the microphone. "Go Rocket go!"

    Peter removes his hand from the console to look over at Gamora, "Oh, they're these two super bad ass pilots that went to the greatest flight school ever called Top Gun. Super cool and sexy guys making out in black and blue rooms."

Gamora has posed:
    "And they named themselves after a flightless water creature that people consume for protein?" Gamora is not convinced. Earth people sure are weird. And Peter is proof of that.

    She, being the more practical of the crew, asks Mikh the Important Question. "Mikh, do you know what we're up against here?"

Rocket Raccoon has posed:
"Ha ha ha! Eat space dust, Mikh!" Rocket pulls the throttle back, and the engines start to spool up. Suddenly, they shoot forward at like... a hundred times the speed of light.

"You don't remember that time Quill told us that boring story about Earth's greatest pilots? Gee... I wish I could drink away those four hours from my memory." If anything is worse than watching the movie Top Gun, it's listening to someone try to summarize a movie that they saw when they were a kid. Unfortunately for Rocket, he appears to have had both experiences combined into one. All without ever getting to hear the relatively awesome Kenny Loggins-heavy 80s soundtrack.

Assuming his best Peter Quill voice, which sounds suspiciously like his Generic Human Impersonation, Rocket recites the story exactly the way he remembers Peter telling it.

"Mabrick was a loose ion blaster, who didn't play by the rules and all the time made that guy spill his kloppy all over his shirt when he buzzed the tower. And then he'd go into the office and yell 'I want some BUTTS!' But Goops wasn't as good at piloting, so he had to sit in the back seat and do whatever Mabrick said. And also he had weird lip hairs, like the ones Quill has been trying to grow."

Looking over at his wingman, Rocket squints as he examines Peter's face. He frowns, apparently dismayed by the attempt at facial hair. Perhaps he simply thinks whiskers should be left to the professionals?

"Hey, you don't think there's any way that Mikh might beat us there and steal all of my units, do you? Because that's the sort of dick move that Ice Man would pull."

StarDrake has posed:
Mikh doesn't say what happens to Goose in the movie, because he's pretty sure that neither of the two wants to kill the other one in a tragic 'accident'. But whatever.

"Hey don't sweat it, Pete. I'm mostly here to test out my new engines. I'll be glad to split shares with you guys when I get the problem solved." Clearly he's taunting Peter. Then the Milano kicks off using the escape-boost that Mikh installed during the Oa thing, and if robots could smile grimly... Oh you are ON, Racketeer Rockoon. The Star*Drake lags by a few milliseconds before the drive goes full warp, and a signal pops up on Gamora's comm.

"Geese aren't flightless. Far from it."

However. Gamora asked a cogent question.

"They just gave a name and a location. Kanjar Ro, and a location somewhere in the Coal Sack nebula."

Star-Lord has posed:
    Peter looks out the view-window in the direction of Mikh's ship and waves a couple of times just as they warp. "Hahahaaa! Suck it!" Peter says triumphantly as he sits back fully in his seat.

    He falls silent during Rocket's rendition of the Top Gear mythos, and nods a couple of times. "Oh, you totally forgot the killer volley ball scene! It was pivotal for the character development and growth of Iceman as a true villain." Peter nods as if it helps his own position.

    "Okay Rocket, you can give me the controls back now. - Coal Sack is some of the most difficult flying in this arm of the galaxy." Peter is gonna enjoy himself.

Gamora has posed:
    "If your Iceman were a true villian, he would have set an explosive into the ignition sequence of his foes vehicle, decimating him upon the start up sequence," points out Gamora, flatly. "Or laced the volleyball with a synthetic toxin. Preferrably oil based, that would seep into the skin upon contact. Alternatively, he also could have waited until his opponents went to sleep, and slit their throats with a good blade."
    Gamora exhales. This is going to be a bumpy ride. She knows what's coming. "Maybe just -one- of you should fly."

Rocket Raccoon has posed:
"Sure. Now that the coordinates are locked in, and the FTL drive is engaged, the hard part is over. Which means that I can safely allow my co-pilot to get some practice in."

Whether this is true or not doesn't seem to matter. It's important to Rocket that everyone knows that he's better than Quill. For some reason, nobody ever mentions how great Rocket is unless he brings it up...

Rocket flips the switch, and the panel on Pete's side turns green. Leaning back casually, Rocket's smile reveals nearly all of his sharp little teeth as he stares out the front window at all the trippy-looking oncoming space stuff.

"Try not to break anything, Space Cadet. I'll come check on you before we get there. After I go... uh... fertilize Groot's pot. If you know what I mean." He turns to Peter, and contorts his face in yet another unneccessarily exaggerated wink.

"You know what I mean, right? I'm gonna go crap."

Hopping out of the seat, Rocket heads back in the direction of the common area smiling at Gamora as he passes. "She knows what I mean."

StarDrake has posed:
The Star*Drake is barely close enough to the Milano to keep a proper channel open, and there are enough other ships in this thing that Mikh decides against just flying in formation. He lags behind a full light-year and a half for safety, then engages his partial-D-shift drive. Also known as a "space-folding" drive. The trip to the Coal Sack Nebula takes him three minutes, mostly the process of setting up the parameters of the hyperspatial origami. And then he's scanning the area because it's fairly likely that there will be other ships here before Milano, because those toads at the bureau are not above accepting bribes for better timing.

Drones shoot off into the murk to look for Kanjar Ro. How? SCIENCE. Probably.

Star-Lord has posed:
"No- He wouldn't do that. Y'see they're on the same side, but it's a competitive school they're in, so the more people that fail or quit or whatever, the better chance you have to win. That's all Iceman was doing."

    "I am not a cadet Rocket! It's my ship! I was flying it before you- you- little turd haver... Yeah." Good one Pete.

    It takes the milano roughly five more minutes than Mikh's ship to get into the Nebula, but the actual location is in the Cor'Dant System. A section of the nebula that is famous for waring scavenger clans and yet some of the richest deposits of valuable minerals, so only the toughest and shadiest cats fly about in this section of space.

    "I don't know how he got here first... but I want whatever tech he's got." Peter says idly as they come out of warp and he starts flipping switches for scanners and points a finger up at Gamora's chair. "Find Mikh again, we're gonna use his tech one way or another."

Gamora has posed:
    "Mikh, I need your co-ordinates," Gamora says, casually. Mikh is a colleague, afterall. And Gamora doesn't necessarily feel the sense of competition with him that Rocket, or even Peter might.
    Still, that doesn't mean she's not also scanning for him. "It would seem that time is a decisive factor. You have the speed. We have the = ability." Gamora does not feel the need to describe her particular skillset to Mikh, should it come to down to something up-close-and-personal.

StarDrake has posed:
"You're already using my tech," a drone near the Milano says into the comms. Because apparently that robot action figure that Mikh put in Peter's collection of good-luck-toys is also listening.

The Star*Drake moves into position on an approach to the Cor'Dant System. Meanwhile, a Kree scavenger ship (also on the same vector) finds that its drive exhaust has somehow suddenly become irregular in shape shortly after it flies past an obviously exhausted space-probe. It'll take 'em a ten-day to fix that. The same thing happens to a rogue Sh'iar pirate. Really, you'd think they would take better care of their critical systems.

The Star*Drake relays an approach to the Milano to get to their current heading. The Star*Drake goes stationary relative to Cor'Dant. Then it stops looking nearly so pretty because Mikh is nowhere NEAR stupid enough to take a shiny looking speedster into a piracy zone. The fancy drive-ring turns into a set of six space-bug transit pods attached to what must be a whittled-down mined-out asteroid. This takes a bit of work, pulling the raw material from the nebula rather than from zero-point space.

"Oh, hello, Gamora. I'm in position to cover for Milano. Watch the way in, there's some unfortunate souls with busted drives that might try to ask for help. They don't need it."

Star-Lord has posed:
    The radar screen blips greenish when Mikh sends over his data and Peter chuckles openly as he slams forward the thrust lever, launching the ship's impulse thrusters to full lurching forwards as he slips into the wayward asteroid field and satellite systems left over from unknown and forgotten races.

    "We gotta get that bounty." Peter says between clenched teeth as he pitches and rolls the ship as though being still for a moment would cause their demise.

Groot has posed:
     "I am Groooot!" Yelling at a small raccoon as Groot moved up from...none of your business. His bark crackles as Groot makes his way to the cockpit area. The big tree groans to himself as he holds onto a bulkhead. "I am Groot?" He asks Peter, looking out into the vast space.

Gamora has posed:
    "Confirmed, Mikh. Peter - eyes on our acquisition target only. No help offered, no matter the situation."
    Gamora looks back to Groot. She fills him in, "We're attempting to grab ourselves a bounty, Groot. It seems we have a competition. We're woking with Mikh on this one, as there's more than a few scavengers and mercenaries on this one."
    She looks towards the screen again, frowning. "We're going to have to get serious, Peter." There are a -lot- of ships on the screen, suddenly.

StarDrake has posed:
More drones, looking like nothing at all to most scanners, move towards the three largest asteroids, passing a few outliers. One of them pauses and moves to one of the outliers. The asteroid field is disturbingly close-packed, something that wouldn't last more than a few thousand years in normal space with a star and planets nearby. The star is barely up to the task of being called that -- a pair of brown dwarves in close orbit that will be coming together in a few hundred thousand years to make a star. The shockwave will be exciting. But the interesting thing is the two largest asteroids, big enough to be spherical. A spaceport exists on one of them, but there's no friendly navy here to help keep the predators off the fat, cargo-laden sheep-ships.

Drones move near-invisibly through the formations. The telemetry lights up, showing Star*Drake's analysis of the common identification signals. A quarter of the ships have generic IDs. About two-thirds are "Wolf Group" and a third are "Predacon" while the remaining are smaller coalitions. They look something like schools of fish, for those who are familiar with reef activities.

"Ro is probably in the brig or in a bar on the big asteroid," Mikh says. "That's a 75 percent probability."

The other 25 percent is the fun part.

Star-Lord has posed:
    "Sounds like you left your coms open Mikh." Peter notes aloud as he pitches the ship nose down to go under an incoming asteroid just in time to see it plow into a ship just in front of the forward window.

    "--WHOA!" Peter bellows and keeps moving the Milano through the forming planets. "Gamora, keep us locked onto Mikh, I'm not letting him get our bounty. We totally had it marked first." Starlord says, pushing in closer towards the sphereical asteroid, but having to take the long way 'round.

Gamora has posed:
    Gamora just shakes her head at Peter. "We already agreed to share a portion of the bounty with him, Peter," she tells Starlord, dryly. But, still, there's sense in doing what Peter asks. And so she keeps the Star*Drake highlighted on the task screen she's presently manning.
    "Just get us there, we'll do the rest," she promises both Starlord, and Mikh. Afterall -- some bounty is better than no bounty if anyone else should get it.

Groot has posed:
     Groot gives a thumbs up to Gamora and Peter. He's along for the ride for now until he's asked to help out. "I am Groot." He's sure not prepping Rocket's gear for him for doing unspeakable things to his dirtbed.

  The flora colossus smiles as the group flies towards their bounty. "I am Groot!" He yells out, in disapproval of getting the bounty sniped from them.

StarDrake has posed:
The horribly disfigured asteroid-tugboat that used to be Star*Drake and is now ID-signaling as Mud*Duck makes its way along a slow outside curve to final approach to the docking pods hanging off "beanstalks" from the small planetoid. The Mud*Duck anchors. A brief signal says "heading down" and the elevator section lights up as Mikh appears to be descending into the "city" at the bottom. Milano is configured so she can land in one of the berths (unsafe) or attach to a docking pod (also unsafe) then send crew below.

Of course, they want to know what the business is and want a 200 Cred docking fee either way.

At the bottom of the stalk, a delegation of small, harmless mining droids explains to the thug-in-waiting that they have rhodium to deliver.

Star-Lord has posed:
    "I know Groot, that seems to be something she's just not understanding. But... oh damn he's already landed!" Peter says squinting and pointing at the 'Mad*Duck' as he swing around it.

    The Milano has entered the false atmosphere just after Mikh, but isn't coming around to land, not Peter's got a different plan in mind. "You two go get ready by the side hatch!" With his upper half turning to face the back of the cabin to point down the stairs where the two should be headed.

    "I'm gonna save us a few units."

    Never a good thing to hear from Starlord as the ship continues further down the stalk and swings around close to an unguarded what appears to be a balcony. The hatch opens and is held very steady as Peter waits for the okay that the team is clear and safe on the landing.

Gamora has posed:
    "Come on, Groot. Let's go get us a bounty." And, Gamora moves towards the back of the ship. She does not seek to grab herself a breather unit, but she does snatch up Godslayer, and then she's pausing, before hopping off the landing ramp, "You'd better not leave me here, Peter," she warns him. Especially after she'd been stranded for two weeks -- granted, it was because Brianiac had been extricated from Indigo and taken over the Collector's ship. But, that doesn't make the thought of being stranded easier to take.
    Then, Gamora is hopping off, ready to go make them some money.

Groot has posed:
     Groot's expression goes from slightly miffed at Rocket still to excited as Peter directs him to the hatch. "I am Groot!" It was a bit of a boring day, but this is much more exciting! He follows Gamora with exceptionally long strides as he is known for, pretty much being ready to go as he is. Since he didn't need a breather and he was his own weapon. He smiles at Gamora as they make their way to the hatch. "I. Am. Groooot!" He yells as he jumps off the ship too.

StarDrake has posed:
The docking fee paid, the mining droids make their way deeper inside the station, pausing to enter a fabricator-station. Inside, they combine together to form a completely different robot, bipedal humanoid but entirely mechanical looking. Monitor systems report the handling of a perfectly normal deposit of rhodium and the Mud*Duck account is credited for it, while the mining robots, marked as scrapped, are recycled. Sure, go on believing that.

The enforcer bot moves quietly toward the Shining Heaven of Love and Good Fortune (a casino of prostitution) and moves inside, ignored by the bouncers. Kanjar Ro is known to frequent this place when he's here. At least that's what Cosmo said, and Cosmo is a Good Dog. Most of the time

Star-Lord has posed:
    Once cleared, Groot and Gamora are witnesses to the Milano pushing away and veering right away from the spire but a law enforcement vehicle comes screaming past and following in the path of their ride out of here. The radio contact from Peter goes as follows.

    "Good luck down there, I'll meet you a few levels dow- OH SH--" And it's abruptly cut off.

Gamora has posed:
    "Let's go. The faster we get this done, and get out of here, the better," Gamora tells Groot, and she begins to move quickly, efficiently, down the ramp and into the Shining of Heaven and Love and Good Fortune, to look for Kanjar Ro. "Soon as you get eyes on the target, Groot, grab him. I'll run interference for you," she promises.
    And, once the long-striding Groot, and the faster-moving Gamora move into the business, she slips into the door, yellow eyes instantly searching the area.

Groot has posed:
     "I am Groot." Long strides and scanning eyes search out for Kanjar Ro, it was imperative to find this guy before anyone else did, Groot wanted a payday, for things, and stuff. Hopefully the big treeman could use his height as an advantage here.

Star-Lord has posed:
    Peter is moving the ship upwards, continuing to circle around the large living shaft that houses most of the life in the asteroid, doing his best to loose the tail he got from his deft maneuver moments ago. He's not talking to Groot or Gamora, but he can hear them, waiting for the signal that they have the target. With as much money they're going to pay for the guy, it will not be easy. Likely.

Gamora has posed:
    "Groot. To your left. The ugly one, with the three Krylorian females around him," Gamora calls. Then again, she has an instinct for these sort of things. It was as if she knew, as soon as she walked in, where the man would be. "I'm circling around opposite you. Soon as you have him, we start running. Peter, if you can hear me, you better be ready to get us. Fast."

Groot has posed:
     Groot exclaimed with excitement, moving closer to Ro before he reaches out with his arms to grab him, holding the mark like a football before he starts to run out of the casino. "I am Groot!" ringing through the comms before he continues, keeping the mark bound by his hard vines.

StarDrake has posed:
The Enforcer bot is giving the casino transponder, so he's being ignored, except when he signals an alert on a group using a hack-o-tron to offset some djabo machines. That gets a very fortuitous swarm of casino security (live and otherwise) heading for those tables while Mikh-the-enforcer pursues the fleeing Flora Collossian. Clearly attempting to stop the enemy. Unfortunately, once they're out into the station proper ... there's no Milano available, but there IS a docked Mud*Duck ready to leave. Mikh signals on the comms.

"Beanstalk four, pod seven, we can rendezvous with Milano once we're safe off-planet."

Meanwhile out in the far reaches of the system, that one probe that went off to that one isolated rock is doing something.

Gamora has posed:
    Gamora is off as Groot is running with the 'prize'. "Heard. Groot. Get to that pad." As a few people realize what's going on, they move in to stop Groot and by proxy, Gamora. Either friends, just drunks and vagabonds who don't want to see someone kidnapped, or other mercenaries who were biding their time. It doesn't matter.
    One of them gets a straight arm into the chest, sending them back into a crowd of others. The poor freak that tries to draw his gun on Groot get his arm chopped off, while his buddy gets skewered. Then, Gamora is wrenching the doors behind them closed, twisting the doors on it, hard, to prevent people from following them. "Run, Groot."

StarDrake has posed:
Station alarms are curiously silent as the expert removalists do their job. The enforcer droid stops in front of the locked elevator access to pod 4.7, spins in place, and emits some sparks. The optical illuminators (not eyes, the things that look like eyes to organics but are actually light emitters) change color from a blue-green to an angry red, and the mini-guns in the enforcer's second and third manipulators engage, spinning into position.

The mercs who were hired to protect Kanjar Ro, and the station security ops, and three people Ro owes money to for gambling or other services, come to an abrupt stop as the mini-guns target them.

There's a tense pause, before two of the mercs are shoved forward by a third. They scream like maniacs and start charging and shooting. The Enforcer takes damage from their weapons, but they're soup before they splash to the ground in front of the 'bot.

Elevator 4.6 opens and a merchant looks out, then closes the door again. (nope)

The station security-ops shoots a compact armor-piercing missile into the enforcer. There's a WHUMP and the Enforcer bot is melting in place.

Meanwhile, the elevator opens into the Mud*Duck, revealing a holding pod for Kanjar Ro and an acceleration-seat and a support-web for the other two. Mikh's voice says over the ship speakers, "Welcome aboard. We'll be departing about 30 seconds ago. Someone with a brain is going to notice what happened very soon, so please put Ro in the box and strap in."

Scanning as it rises towards the top of the atmo-shield, Mud*Duck notices that the Milano is being chased by cops. Of course. This sort of thing always happens with Quill, if it isn't Rocket. The drones are more visible in air, so in atmosphere-shields too.

"Forget to update the tags again?" Mikh says to Quill on Milano, while showing the situation on-screen for his passengers.

Star-Lord has posed:
    "No! Shut up!" Peter shouts towards his com system while the sound of alarms blaring in the Milano's cockpit can beheard in the background before he kills the link again and makes a move that puts him behind the closest cop ship that is then quickly hit with an ion weapon that Rocket had rigged beneath one of the wings. But with the weapon fired a large canister is ejected and the whole attachment system snaps and it all falls down to the tiny planetoid. With a sigh, Peter boosts the ship up out as quickly as it can go to the nearest warp matrix.

Gamora has posed:
    Gamora makes sure she is secured, looks to Groot, and makes sure he is as well, before she's rapping on Mikh's ship. "Go," she tells the pilot. "Get us out of here. Peter, meet you at the bounty station." Gamora reaches out, and punches Ro in the face, to shut him up, the sound of the physical contact coming through on the comms.

StarDrake has posed:
Punching Ro in the face after muffling him all the way from the casino... 'Why do we have nice things if people never use them?' Mikh wonders, and closes the lid of the stasis box, since it looks like they'll be holding on to the verminous squint manually. Meanwhile, the Mud*Duck rises in a gentle curve, sending a tight-beam coordinate to the Milano. At the edge of the system, that drone that was Doing Something finishes, and expands itself into an actual, if temporary, short-jump warpgate. A patch of space about a minute in front of the Mud*Duck blossoms open as the other end of the warp nexus.

"Go there," Mikh says. "You wanted to use my speed tech, hit it. It's only good for two transits."

And the Mud*Duck is intended to be the second transit.

Star-Lord has posed:
    "See you there." Peter says, snaping a few toggles as he receives the codes for the temporary warp gates. Then he leans back as the ships controls align the trajectory and the orange, blue and silver craft lurches forward at maximum impulse for the way to safety.