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 Hunter and Prey

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Satria Akano

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Posts : 17
Join date : 2011-10-28

PostSubject: Hunter and Prey   Wed Nov 09, 2011 8:00 pm

Satria thumbed her tired eyes, pushing hard enough to see colours. Unsurprisingly it did little to numb her maddening headache. She risked a glance at the figure in the mirror, although it took unexpected courage to do so.
While she was not the emaciated wraith she’d expected to see, her skin was a pale palette and trails of dark blue veins showed faintly beneath her flesh. Still, she had to confess that she felt unhealthier than she looked. Evidently the nutrient rich paste that served as her staple food was more healthy than its sandpaper taste suggested.

Her bloodshot eyes gave another dizzying throb. The pain was making her nauseous now. She was down to her last pill and she knew she would need fresh supplies soon. Shit. With trembling hands she reached for her gunbelt, downing her last pill while approaching the door. Immediately she felt the pain abate, and she supressed a sigh as comforting warmth spread through her freezing limbs.

“You going somewhere captain?” Siler, her new navigator looked up from his cot, regarding her with a concerned expression. He was young and inexperienced, but she liked his cheerful personality. It reminded her of herself, her old self, a long time ago.
“Captain?”
“Just grab your gun and follow me.” It came out harsher than she intended. She was hoarse, on edge. At least he knew better than to argue with her in that state.


---

With careful steps she navigated through the grimy, wasteridden corridors of the station.
Serpent’s Maw. Pirate haven and ulcer of the sector. Bars, brothels, mindflood dens, fighting pits and other, even less savoury, places of diversion prospered here.
It was said that not even the most dour Amarrian could walk the breadth of the station without discovering something to make him forget his vows. She watched Siler for a moment, who was looking around in wide-eyed wonder. Fool. He would soon draw attention.
This hive of illicit pleasure was known to be among the most dangerous in the entire region. Murder was more rampant than veneral disease and alcoholism, and it was rumoured that some of the bars and brothels were not above drugging their patrons, the unlucky victims waking up to find themselves in the hold of some ship bound for the slavemarkets of Amarr – a fate perhaps worse than death.

The sound of loud, volatile cursing interrupted Satria’s thoughts, as a gaudily dressed merchant was flug from the darkened doorway of a brothel to her left. The man noisily landed in the dung-ridden gutter. He raised a soiled hand and screamed obscenities at the massive figure looming in the door. The bearded man in a grimy suit of armour glowered at the cursing merchant for a moment, then stalked from the doorway, his steps heavy, his plated hands clenching and unclenching at his sides.
The merchant started to rise, nervous fear stalking through his anger. Even as he tried to scuttle away, the bearded man was upon him. Satria heard the sound of a mallet-like fist crashing into the merchants face, but she ignored the violent scene, having seen its like too often to be interested in its finale.
Her gaze drifted away from the brawlers and came to rest upon a small sign swinging beside a doorway. Stepping around the huge man raining punches upon the now slack form of the merchant, she walked up to the entrance.
The hulking minder in the squalid doorway of the mindflood den regarded her with an artificial eye. “Not your place, not your kind. Get on.”
Satria tugged back her sleeve and bared a small, faded tattoo on the inside of her left arm.
“Hnh,” he muttered, raising a bushy eyebrow as he sized her up “Maybe then. You didn’t look like that kind of person. Okay..”
--

She carefully stepped inside, Siler never more than a few steps behind her. They went down a few dark steps into a nocturnal club room that was fogged with smoke and pulsing with a brand of harsh, discordand music. Panes of red glass had been put over the lights of the lanterns and the blood red hue was reflected by the fog, making the place look like a hellish swamp.
A mix of mercenarys, pot-heads and underscum huddled or gambled or drank or danced. On a stage a naked, heavy-breasted girl gyrated to the pound beat, a shock collar around her neck ensuring her lasting enthusiasm.
“Ancestors alive...” Siler gestured to a lithe young woman across the room, moving from table to table. Her hair streamed down her naked back in a flawless fall of silken red, while her emphasized femininity set her slender hips swinging with each step.
“Don’t talk to it.” Satria shook her head and sat down at an empty table.
“It? Don’t talk to it?” But the woman had seen the navigator’s interest. She approached, her almost translucent robe whispering against her milky white skin. Fingers like procelain reached out to stroke his unshaven cheek. As if approving of something she nodded to herself.
Satria cleared her throat. The maiden turned with a serpent’s grace, moistening her lips with a forked tongue.
Satria drew back the edge of her jacket, revealing the holstered pistol at her hip. Slowly, pointedly, she shook her head, gesturing at another table.
The girl spat onto the floor, slinking away into the gloom with her hips swinging.
“Why..? I thought she wanted to...”
Satria snorted. “She did. But she’d have killed you afterwards. Sani Sabik fanatic.”

Siler swallowed. “I don’t think i can sit here much longer. Most people are intoxicated and everyone here is armed to the teeth. There is a beautiful girl walking around looking for blood and the sorry bastard unter the next table looks like he died two days ago..”
“Be calm.” Satria was watching him closely now. “Be at ease. You are safe as long as you don’t attract any attention. If you give in to panic we’ll be dead before the first yell has left our lips.”
“I’ll be fine...” Siler calmed himself with a sip of one of the drinks on the table.
“Don’t drink too much of it. For all i know that could be distilled piss. Wait here for me.”
His eyes widened as he spat the contents of his mouth over the entire table. “You want to leave me here? You can’t possibly...”
“Just wait here. Don’t draw attention. If i haven’t returned in two hours you go to the ship and take the crew home.” Without bothering to wait for his reply, she slipped into the crowd.

---


A hooded figure was sitting in a side booth, drinking alone, while keeping a watchful eye on the door. A dirty scarf was wrapped around the man’s head, obscuring a face turned into a moonscape by pockmarks above a neck that was a volcanic archipelago of errupting boils.

Satria hadn’t yet reached the table, when two barrel chested figures stepped out from the shadows and into her way, both reaching for concealed weapons under their coats. Satria stopped, slowly showing her empty hands.
“And what could you want?” a sickly, impatient voice rasped from unter he scarf.
“I heard that you are a man with a lucky streak. I was hoping we could do business.”
The man chuckled wetly and errupted into a hacking cough. “Straight to the point, i like that. But girl, i doubt that you and i are in the same business.”
“I am looking to aquire crash, high purity. I know that you have intercepted a substantial shipment. I want to buy half of it.”
The figure slowly tilted its head and Satria felt the towering bodyguards stiffen. The tension was palpable and from the corner of her eye she saw several of the other patrons hurrying towards the exit. She tensed, actively having to stop her hands from reaching for her gun. She knew, that would be her last mistake. With difficulty, she controled herself. Several moments passed.
The man eyed her suspiciously. “Big spender, are we?”
Satria slowly reached into her jacket and placed a small dataslate on the table, making sure the guards could see her every movement.
The hooded man reached for it, casually thumbing its keypad. After a moment he looked up, staring coldly into her eyes. “And you really have all that ISK, girl?”
Satria held his gaze. “Ready for transfer.You show me the merchandise, i give you the codes.”
Another moment passed. Finally, a small nod. “Very well. Follow me.”

Xxx

The small group left the main decks and proceeded down a service duct, deeper into the decaying bowels of the station. Even by the standards of Serpent’s Maw this was a dismal place. The walls had a crumbled, rotten look to them and the support arches were deformed by age. The life support in this section seemed to have stopped working years ago, and the air was foetid and hot.

Few people went into the deeper reaches of the station, and with good reason. Only the most desperate of creatures dwelled here, always ready to prey on careless travellers or drunkards who’d gotten lost on the way to their quarters. They called them scavengers, wretched creatures who lived in the dark and hunted in packs.
Fortunately, the masked leader was smart enough to narrow the aperture of his lantern, so only the faintest glimmering of light was visible to keep their approach secret.

After almost twenty minutes of walking in dead silence they stopped at a juncture, approaching a corroded grill that revealed the gaping chasm of one of the stations countless ventilation shafts. The hooded man set down the lantern, carefully opening its aperture and nodded to one of his guards, who kneeled down in front of the grille. The man fished with one arm until his hand grasped a thin, well hidden rope that had been fastened to it.

A few strong pulls later a packet appeared, carefully wrapped in waxpaper. The man produced a serrated, ugly looking knife and cut into the wrapping, revealing a white powder inside.
“Six kilograms.” Albeit only a whisper, the guard’s voice echoed away through the long stretch of the duct. Satria was sure that she could hear the shuffling of naked feet in the distance. She knew they didn’t have much time.
“Mind if i check gentlemen?”
“Go ahead.”, the leader snarled. Apparently he had heard them as well.
Satria knelt down, carefully dipping her index finger into the powder. A short taste confirmed the rumours. Pure, best quality. She rose smiling. “We have a deal.” She casually pointed at the dataslate.”The code is 59- Alpha-Gamma-Gamma.”

The man nodded, entering the combination into the keypad. A second later he errupted into a gleeful laughter. “Valid!”
Grinning the man turned around. “Now what should we do with our guest here lads?”

Satria cursed inwardly, spreading her empty hands wide. “Gentlemen, i don’t want any trouble...”

One of the guards, a fat, bearded man, laughed evilly. “I don’t want any trouble!”, he mimicked her in a high-pitched, lisping voice.
“I think we got a high-sec girl here”, the other chuckled “she speaks right nice.”
The bearded one slowly approached, playing with his serrated blade. “Aye Sil, right pretty she talks. And all that nice red hair. You could almost take her for a boy.”
“I tell you, when we come back from deep space everything looks good. I think i’ll have this pretty boy.”,the other one leered.

Satria felt her face flush. She was getting angry. She hid her anger with a smile. “Come on, gentlemen, there is no need for this. Let me buy you a drink.”
The second guard turned to his boss and guffawed. “She has even more money! My luck’s in tonight!”
Satria looked around desperately. The guards had almost reached her. The bearded one loomed over her, and she could see particles of grease stuck in his beard. When he opened his mouth to speak, the smell of cheap brandy overwhelmed even the odour of stale sweat which surrounded the man like a cloud. “If you struggle, i will have to cut you...”, he grinned.


Right, she thought, and if i let you have your way with me you’ll just let me go. She turned to face the bearded guard. “No please! I’ll hold still i promise!. Just don’t...don’t hurt me please!” It came out as a weak whimper. She saw the man relax somewhat, letting down his guard as he advanced. She let him come closer, watching as the man spread his arms as if he were about to hug her.

Satria suddenly jabbed her knee hard into the man’s groin. The concealed spike in her shinguard extended, piercing deep into the guard’s belly. With a whoosh like a blacksmith’s bellows, all the air ran out of the big man. He doubled over with a whimper. She grabbed his beard and pulled his face hard down on her knee.
She heard teeth break as his head snapped backwards. The man fell to the floor, gasping for breath and clutching at his stomach.

“Fucking BITCH!” The other bodyguard lashed out at Satria and the force of the blow sent her reeling across the duct and against the wall. She felt someone grab her by the hair, smashing her head against a pipe. Pain smashed through her skull and black spots danced before her eyes. She felt something wet run down her face. I am bleeding, she realized.

“Hold the bitch, boss”, the remaining guard growled, “We’re gonna have us some fun for what she did to Zarl.”

Desperately Satria jabbed back with her elbow, ramming it hard into the leader’s veiled face. She felt the man recoil, sinking to the ground. With her right hand she frantically fumbled for her gun. Almost at the same time, muscles like steel bands grabbed her wrists. The pressure reluctantly forced her to drop her gun. Despite frantic resistance, her arm was inexorably forced up her back.

The smell of the brute was almost overpowering. She snarled, trying to writhe free, but her struggles were fruitless.
“Let’s see what you have, pretty girl!” the guard leered, grabbing her chest hard with his left hand. His last mistake.

The second he released her left hand, Satrias arm shot forward. Pressing the tiny button on her ring, the extended needle instantly piercing the man’s neck. He looked down as something sharp jabbed his throat, his expression of confusion becoming one of intense fear. A second later the man collapsed, retching.

A reflection of light caught her attention and she barely managed to duck in time. With a roar, the leaders gun fired, the bullet riocheting off the walls in wild angles. Satria spun around and ran. Two more bullets came after her, passing so close that she could feel the gush of displaced air.
Blind, she raced down the narrow shaft, already hearing heavy steps following her. The man was faster than her, closing the distance rapidly. He was alone, but he had a gun. Outrunning him wasn’t an option. Now or never, she thought, flipping her right hand and dropping to the ground.

Another shot boomed through the narrow corridor, piercing the air where her head had been a moment ago. The leader saw her in the light of his lantern – and stopped. Too late.
The monomolecular wire taut to the walls cut into his throat, punching through the soft fabric of his scarf. With an exaggerated gargle, the force of his momentum sent him sprawling onti his back.

Satria sighed, the kind of sigh where she felt like she’d lost weight. Carefully dusting herself down, she stood up, a sly smile on her lips. Closer than she planned it, but it worked. The little toys had definitely been worth their considerable price.

“The first mistake,” she gasped, “is that like all men, you were all too ready to believe that a woman is weak.” As she slowly approached, the man fought his way to his knees, pulling the wire from his throat with pained, voiceless breaths. How very tenacious. A gentle shove with her boot sent him sprawling again.

“Your second mistake, was to believe i didn’t know the first rule of unarmed combat: ‘Don’t be unarmed.’” The man gave a series of high pitched gasps.
“Your voccal cords are severed” she helpfully explained, “please stop trying to curse at me. It’s embarassing.”

“And lastly, your third and biggest mistake..,” she cruelly grinned down at the man while baring the tatoo on her underarm, holding it up for him to see. The disbelief on the man’s face was delicious. “..was to confuse the hunter with the prey.”, she continued.
“You didn’t try to rape me, so i will be merciful.” A tiny spark of hope appeared on the man’s face as he looked up into her piercing eyes.

With a gasp he tried to rise again. A brutal pistol whipping brought an end to that, although it took her almost ten strikes until his skull broke with a wet crack. “Which means that i won’t leave you for the scavengers.”, she explained.

With a cruel smile she rose, walking past the dying guard towards her prize.
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