Thread: Jumping Ship

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  1. #1
    Violet's Avatar
    [M] Booty Bandit
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    Default Jumping Ship

    OOC: Continued from here

    -Four days later


    Stretching her limbs above her head, she kicked the blanket away from her slender legs, shoving them over the side of the lumpy bed while the bulky form of her partner lay sprawled above the other half. It was amazing she’d gotten any mattress at all with the way he laid like a coppery skinned giant on a bed three times too small. She turned to comfortingly pat one exposed leg that dangled just beyond her hip.

    How weird was this? she thought to herself. Just over a year or two before, they were barely strangers who traded an occasional witty remark, the most hurtful things she’d ever heard from his lips, and just overall nothing noteworthy of repeating. They’d met in a Dante’s Abyss a few years back, when her new fledged family of aliens, machines and one other human, fought against his. She hated to think that she was the one who saved their asses, but there was no other truth. However, it didn’t stop him from digging his heels into her on their next encounter.

    It was hard to imagine him as that same person now; things had changed, drastically, for the both of them. Suddenly, he was the warmth that took the chasm of cold emptiness within her; the missing piece, she realized. Unlike the father of her deceased daughter, there was just something inexplicable that existed now that didn’t then.

    “Turn out the light…” he mumbled in his sleep, waving a floppy hand in the direction of the offending light.

    “It’s ten in the morning, babe. Don’t you think it’s a little late to be sleepin’?” Cracking a half-smirk, Violet twisted back, her elbow slinking across his arm as her face rested on the plush skin of his shoulder. Sliding her hand across his abdomen, she let it drape dully against the opposite hip. “Besides, breakfast is getting cold.”

    She chuckled good-naturedly as his eyes snapped open, their inky depths foggy from sleep. “Thought that would pique your interest, sleepy head;” she giggled as one hand sank into his spiked hair and gave it a ruffle.

    Growling deep in his throat, the arm trapped below Violet moved as Bardock’s other arm came around to meet it, effectively pinning the woman to the pillow beneath them. “Figured you would have noticed by now that it isn’t just food that can bring me out of a good sleep.”

    Her hands flattened against his chest and gave a shove, but he remained unaffected by her petty act. His head dipped down, teeth skimming along the line of her neck as she gasped, fighting off the urge to laugh. “Quit! Quit!” she managed, chuckles bleeding through her dwindling control. “That tickles!”

    Giving another grunt, he only intensified the assault until she was kicking and pushing beneath him. One awkward knee shot up between his legs, clipping his exposed groin. Bardock collapsed, his breath caught in his throat as his hands shot down to cuddle the injured flesh. “You…you bi-“

    “Sorry,” she said, shoving herself off the bed. “You know better than that.”

    Rolling his black eyes upwards to glare at the naked female, he sputtered an insult below his breath and turned to his side. “Next time, I’ll wear a cup to bed.”

    “So paranoid,” she tsked, and pulled her hair up atop of her head, affixing it with the scrunchy that she kept around her wrist last night. “Get dressed and come down to the kitchen.”

    * * * * *

    Her plate was stacked with goodies as Violet rushed to the table and began to chow down. She knew she had to get the meat and potatoes off first before he came down and began his massacre, or her poor taters might get caught in the crossfire.

    His footsteps were heavy as they clunked into the kitchen, as usual, fully garbed, complete with boots and wrist guards. “If I weren’t mistaken, Bar, I’d say you were ready to go somewhere;” the woman called from across the table. Her comment was all for naught, because when his eyes spied the pile of food just behind her, everything else became moot.

    Sighing, Violet continued munching on her biscuit and jam, her face slackened. She wasn’t surprised anymore from the sounds and random foodbits that flew around the table from his seat. It was something she’d probably never break him of, as it was ingrained into his very core, and those were especially hard to penetrate.

    “So, what’s the plan, Captain?” she asked once his eating slowed to an almost human pace. “Shipping off today, or what?”

    Glaring at her as if she’d done something sacrilegious, he continued chewing on his ham sandwich, eyes transfixed.

    “Don’t have to stare like that, sheesh;” the ex-captain picked up her empty plate and slipped it into the sink. “So happy I don’t have to clean up your mess in the mornin’.”

    Kaylee shot her an icy stare from across the room, where she’d just finished her own meal. The poor girl was sentenced to a really long dish duty, all for just trying to give a helping hand. Thinking upon it now, she really felt bad for over reacting like she did; it was her fault for placing her friend at the unmerciful hands of her mate.

    Oh, well. Dishes weren’t the worst thing he could have done to her.


    Fuck you, Photobucket.
  2. #2
    Bardock's Avatar
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    Bardock washed down the last bit of food with an entire pitcher of orange juice, masterfully managing not to spill a single drop. He wiped his mouth with the edge of his hand and stood up, giving a satisfactory smile to a grumbling Kayley. Her expression was sour as she began to clear the plates, while the rest of the crew courteously took care of their own to ease her burden.

    As a matter of fact, he did have somewhere to go today, something that had been calling to him for weeks.

    “Alright,” he huffed, adjusting his gauntlets and tightening his bandana. “I want this ship prepped for take-off. If we can keep it tight, we can launch by the end of the day.”

    “Coordinates, Captain?” Hawkins chimed in from above.

    “We’re heading back to Kajin Rala,” Bardock informed, much to Violet’s approval. “I’ll be expecting things to go smoothly until I get back.”

    “Get back?” the woman frowned.

    “I’m heading out,” Bardock said. “And no, you can’t come.”

    “Well I wasn’t going to, but if you put it that way…” Violet replied with a little smile.

    “You can’t come,” the saiyan repeated, more harshly this time.

    She lifted her chin and crossed her arms defiantly. “I don’t take orders from you.”

    “You’re not coming. Deal with it,” Bardock sneered. Before she could further protest, he vanished.


    --------


    Bardock stepped evenly through the charred ruins, unable to discern the piles of rubble from what it used to be. Despite the sunshine that had spanned across the sky on their island paradise, the atmosphere here was thick with forbidding clouds here, just as it had been on that night. The saiyan carefully sent out his inner senses, probing for any possible sign of life, only to be reassured that there was none.

    He turned aside a couple of rocks, chunks of wall that had been unable to stand up to the massive damage inflicted. The fact that even the remains of the building were left in the wake of its downfall was somewhat discouraging. It didn’t make sense; it was sloppy to leave behind the evidence, and for what purpose? It raised disturbing questions. Still, this boded well for him. It allowed the roughneck to salvage the pieces, and maybe make a little more sense out of things. He searched long and hard for a landmark, some hint of recognition that could help him navigate his path. Unfortunately, though his memory was not dulled with the passage of time, he hadn’t been given the opportunity to memorize the building’s internal blueprints before the inevitable collapse.

    Bardock kicked at a loose pile of rocks, and his steel-toed boot clanged against something metallic. He squatted down and pushed away the dust and broken concrete, his fingers brushing against something cold. His eyes narrowed as he pulled free a horribly twisted metal frame. Pay-dirt. The bronze bruiser pushed it away, having no further need of it. Memories sprang unbidden to his mind, flashes of image and sound. Knowing the futility of trying to confront them, the warrior simply tried to focus his attention on the task at hand. He stood, turning his head this way and that, trying to get a mental picture of how the building use to be laid out. His hands came up, pointing and placing against imaginary walls.

    The fighter slowly carved a path through what used to be a passageway, trying hard to keep on course. Every once in a while, he’d have to double back to find the correct route. Eventually, his vigilance paid off. Bardock found a sheet of shattered glass sprinkled across a remote area. With a grunt, he began the real search. Only this time, he wasn’t able to find what he was looking for. With each passing minute, his eyes grew wider and wider with a dark and despairing realization.

    “No…” he whispered angrily. “It’s not here.”

    He growled and picked up what was left of the table, and hurled it off into the distance, so far that the sound as it clattered to the ground could not be heard.

    “What’s wrong?”

    Bardock paused, but he should have been used to it by now. “Nothing,” he denied, keeping his back turned to the voice.

    “I had a feeling…you’d be here,” Violet murmured softly. “Where else could you have gone?”

    “Yeah,” was all he could say in return. Eyes of coal black scanned around, but it wasn’t the rubble he saw.

    “Why did you come back?” she asked tentatively.

    Bardock set his jaw and turned around. “My…file…” he answered slowly.

    He could see the understanding settle in her eyes. It had been the source of so much pain and strife.

    “…I was hoping…that we could put this all behind us…” Violet said carefully, biting her lower lip.

    “That file…” Bardock began.

    “…it probably burned with the rest of this place,” she assured.

    Bardock stared off into the horizon. He could still see, so clearly, the final moments before the changeling compound blew, and how although the attack was enough to bring the structure down, it had not been enough to kill his adversary.

    Somehow, Bardock just wasn’t convinced.

    “Let’s go. This place is a graveyard,” he grunted. She nodded in agreement, eager to be off. Bardock approached his mate and slipped his arm around her waist, teleporting them both back to the ship.

    Unbeknownst to the two of them, a small device hidden amongst the wreckage popped into view, a camera lens audibly focusing.


    --------


    “Their ship is prepping for departure, sir,” a cold voice informed. “Should we have them followed?”

    “No,” an icy voice rasped. “There’s only one place they’ll go.”

    “Do we have agents at their destination?” the underling asked.

    “Kajin Rala is…difficult,” the commanding voice coughed.

    “What do you suggest, sir?”

    “Send along an…escort,” the voice rasped, breathing heavily. “Then…I’ll deal with them…myself…”

    “It will be done, sir.”
    _=Pass you by, it's all in this life you have
    Pass you by, good-bye to you
    =_
  3. #3
    Bardock's Avatar
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    Join Date Jul 2004
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    “Please remain seated until we are fully launched into outer space. Your safety is a priority,” Hawkins announced as Sky finished his last minute prep for take-off.

    “Engines are prepped and ready to go,” Sky informed. “Course is set for Kajin Rala…and we’ve received clearance for entering KR fly zone.”

    Once more, the one-eyed first mate turned on the broadcasting system. “Sky speaking. The weather is fine here in sunny Hawaii, so we’re clear for take-off. For all you humans aboard, I hope you enjoyed your stay here on the home-world. Our final destination is the one and only Kajin Rala. Is everyone strapped in and ready to go?”

    “I’m set,” Briggs hissed.

    “Affirmative,” Smitty acknowledged.

    “Rockets away,” Kayley grinned.

    “Let’s get the hell going, already,” Bardock grumbled.

    “Oh wait! One second!” Violet urged. She unfastened her seatbelt and disappeared. When she returned, she held something in her hand, and she hastened to the pilot’s seat. With a flourish, the woman stamped on a miniature hula-dancer dashboard ornament to the console. Sky closed his eye and chuckled.

    “We’re good,” Vi grinned, and she promptly returned to her seat and buckled up.

    Sky opened a switch cover, flipped a toggle, and let his thumb hover over the ignition. “Blast off in three…two…one…”


    --------


    Bardock’s expression was thick with contemplation as he stared out into the window, viewing the inky blackness of space. There was no distraction amongst the star-speckled darkness; it was a void in which he could lose himself in. So focused was his thoughts, that he didn’t even notice anyone creeping up behind him until her hand was sliding up his back.

    “You’re still thinking about it?” Violet guessed.

    He couldn’t tell if it was intuition or telepathic interference, but he supposed it didn’t really matter, the speculation was accurate enough.

    “Loose end,” he answered solemnly with a squint of his eyes.

    Violet was somewhat at a loss for words it seemed, silenced perhaps by whatever personal demons that ran wild through her consciousness.

    “Yours was in there too,” he pointed out.

    “I know,” she responded. “I still think that those files went down with the building.” Then, she added, albeit a bit more uncertainly, “Who else would have a use for them? What value are they to anyone?”

    Bardock said nothing. It was important to him, because only two people knew the contents of those pages, and while one of them was dead, it didn’t assuage his fears that somehow that file would carry on inside of him until he knew for sure it had been destroyed. That was the first step, to erase any physical ‘footprints’ that were reminders of times better left forgotten. The next step was putting his memory back under lock and key, and there was only one person who could do that for him, and teach him how to keep it that way.

    Katel…

    Suddenly, something metallic clattered in the room, startling them both. Bardock’s face screwed up in annoyance, rather than alarm. A thick iron hex nut bounced between metal pipes before rolling along the floor. The saiyan lifted his boot, and waited until the nut slipped underneath before trapping it beneath his sole.

    “Guess Kayley…” Violet began.

    “…hasn’t been doing her job,” Bardock finished gruffly. He bent down and picked up the hex nut, observing the piece. It didn’t look as if it had slipped off a stripped bolt, but the outside had a couple of deep scratch marks. The captain looked towards the hallway from where it bounced in.

    “She doesn’t exactly have much time for maintenance when she’s stuck cleaning the kitchen all the time,” Violet hinted innocently.

    Bardock moved out towards the hallway and strained his eyes until he fixed on a corner in the ceiling. “She should quit bitching. Her time’s almost up anyway,” he responded absent-mindedly. He redirected his stare towards the hex nut.

    That’s what I get for having a damn little girl fix my ship, he grumbled inwardly.

    “Wait ’til I find that kid,” the saiyan captain growled.

    “Come on, babe. We’re all going to have to deal with each other for the next few days until we reach Kajin Rala. Kayley will have plenty of time to fix whatever’s broken, so can’t you just let it go?” Violet groaned.

    “Never.”


    --------


    Smitty removed his glasses and polished the lenses.

    “I might as well just get bionic eyes to go with these arms and legs,” the doctor murmured to himself as he peered through the glasses, slipping them back on. “Just bloody well go all machine already.”

    He flipped through the enormous medical index in front of him, comparing it with the notes he had so painstakingly taken while on Earth. There was much cataloging to be done, and the cyborg would have to get as much done as possible while the entire crew was under “ceasefire.” Smitty studied the diagram comparing human and saiyan analogy before dipping his index finger on the tip of his tongue and turning the page to a single block of text, and he scribbled down a couple of observations on his notepad.

    “Hmm…” he hummed as he scratched at his temple, absent-mindedly glancing back at the book before returning to his notes, when something odd struck his brain. “Huh?”

    He took a closer look back at the book and instead of the text, saw the diagram. But hadn’t he just turned the page…?

    Smitty uttered a strangled gasp as a needle jammed into his neck.


    --------


    The clattering of pots and pans could be heard in the kitchen, as well as some angry curses. The blond mechanic was up to her elbows in grease, and not her favorite kind. Kayley preferred engine grease and motor oil over butter and fat any day of the week. She loudly screamed a string of profanities as a large dish slipped into the sink, splashing a tidal wave of dirty dishwater all over her front.

    “Think you’re so tough, Captain?” she said aloud, imagining he was right in front of her. “You’re not so tough! Yeah, yeah you heard what I said! I just called you out, punk. What are you going to do about it?”

    The girl allowed a pause for the imaginary response.

    “Oh YEAH?” she countered. “You’re saying you can take me down? OH YEAH?! I’D LIKE TO SEE YOU TRY!”

    With that, she pulled a large frying pan from the dirty dish pile and brandished it like a great weapon. “I’ll give you a HAAAHHH!! And a HYAAAAHHH!!”

    She slashed through the air with her frying pan with the expertise of a five-year-old, pantomiming a series of martial arts moves. “And then a karate CHOP!! And maybe a KICK!! IN THE BALLS!! HAHAHAHAHA!!” Kayley laughed evilly as she flexed her arms. She spun around in a victory pose, but in her enthusiasm, she knocked over the remaining dirty dishes, sending them all clattering and crashing to the floor. At the first sound, she shrank away and covered her face with her arms. As the last dishes slowly dropped to the floor, the teenager visibly winced until the very last before daring to peek out from her protective shielding.

    “I am in so much trouble. Yep. Mmhm,” she squeaked despairingly.

    Before she had a chance to try and cover up the damage, she felt arms grab her from behind, a heavy cloth covering her mouth and nose. She panicked, but it didn’t last long, because everything went black.


    --------


    “Kayley, what is going on in he—holy shit,” Sky gaped as he saw the mountain of broken dishes piled on the floor.

    Briggs, who had been walking along with the first mate, was equally stunned. “She’s going to get it from the captain.”

    “And the little troublemaker’s fled the scene,” Sky observed in irritation, seeing neither hide nor hair of the girl. He kicked at a loose piece of ceramic, placing his hands on his hips. His good eye suddenly spied a half-buried slip of cloth, and the tall first mate bent down to pick it up. His unmarred blue eye darkened. It was Kayley’s bandana.

    Both men heard a boot scrape in the far corner and whirled towards that direction. Briggs snarled and reached for his pistol, but he was too late, and his massive chest was hit with an electric blast that sent him into convulsions before paralysis took over. Sky was quicker, and the blond human nimbly dodged the next shot meant for him, ducking and weaving until he was within striking range. The tall pilot’s hands and feet moved in a graceful dance of blows, but each one failed to hit its mark. Sky choked as he felt an iron grip close around his throat, and before long, he was gasping for air.

    “Hrk…Haw…Hawkk…” he wheezed, but to no avail. His voice was barely above that of a strangled whisper. And then he spoke no more, as his eye rolled back into his head and his body went limp.


    --------


    “Sounds like Kayley’s having some trouble in the kitchen,” Violet said worriedly as they headed towards that direction.

    “She better not have broken anything,” Bardock warned.

    “Give her a break will you…”

    “Captain,” Hawkins beeped in.

    “Yeah?” Bar responded automatically.

    “My sensors indicate that the signals off the crew have gone offline,” the ship’s A.I. reported.

    “Offline? The hell does that mean?”

    “I cannot locate the crew. They are not on the ship,” Hawkins explained calmly.

    “The fuck? What you mean ‘they’re not on the ship’?” Bardock demanded.

    Hawkins audibly sighed. “Must I repeat myself? I am unable to locate the crew.”

    “Where the hell could they have gone? They can’t teleport,” the saiyan struggled. “Did they take the emergency pods?”

    “All pods present and accounted for, Captain,” Hawkins informed.

    “I don’t like this,” Violet said.

    “If they can’t teleport…and they didn’t take the pods…how could they leave?” the bronze brute wondered aloud. He turned over the nut in his fingers, until the cold metal alluded to something subtle that he had missed. Bardock clenched his teeth as the conclusion finally reached his brain. “They didn’t leave.”

    “Then where are they?” Violet asked.

    “They’re still on the ship.”

    “But Hawkins can’t find them.”

    “Because…” Bardock explained fiercely as he looked her dead in the eye. “…there’s someone else on the ship.”
    _=Pass you by, it's all in this life you have
    Pass you by, good-bye to you
    =_
  4. #4
    Violet's Avatar
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    “Who the hell else could be on here besides us? No one else had clearance to board;” Violet asked, swinging the door to the kitchen wide open. “Sweet Kais, look at this mess!”

    The pair took in the broken dishes and puddles of soapy water before them, trying to see anything that would hint at the crew’s activity. “And not a damn sign of them anywhere;” Bardock grumbled angrily, fingering the hexnut between his fingers. “This coward’s going to-“

    “Over here, look at this,” Vi pulled a piece of cloth from beneath a pile of broken dinnerware and held it up for him. “This is Kaylee’s, she’d never leave this laying around. Something’s really wrong, here, Bar. I don’t like it, not one little bit.”

    “Neither do I,” he agreed, grabbing the tattered rag and bringing it to eye level. No blood, he sniffed, just a hint of the soap she’d used this morning with her shower. It was a fruity scent, apples, pears, the usual. No other distinctive scents.

    Eyeing the hexnut once again, he studied the scratch marks left on its shiny surface, unable to make sense of it. The marks could have been made by any kind of tool, or a set of really sharp claws. That was one possibility he didn’t want to think about, but it couldn’t be ruled out.

    “There has to be someone else on board, like you said;” Violet sighed, drawing herself back to her full height. “She wouldn’t have disappeared like this. This is not good.”

    “Until we find out what the hell is going on, you’re not to leave my sight, is that understood?” Bardock commanded, his face drawn into a threatening scowl. He wasn’t pleased by the fact that there weren’t any other clues as to where his crew could have gone, nor of the intruder that he was sure had a hand in their disappearance.

    She opened her mouth to refute his order, but he was right. There would be no safety if they were alone, not until the crew was safely found. “As long as you do the same, Cap.”

    “I don’t need a babysitter,” he snapped, turning the rest of his body to face her.

    “Well,” she folded her arms across her chest, a little bit of a tilt to her hips. “You do realize that if I can’t be out of your sight, then that means that you can’t be out of mine, so none of that ‘babysitter’ bullshit applies, Rambo.”

    He grunted in protest, but she was right. Besides, he didn’t need another missing crew member. “Quit calling me that.”

    Arms falling back to her sides, Violet followed the copper-skinned warrior as he shuffled past the debris and through the door to the crew bay. The room was dimly lit, sparsely furnished, and unnaturally quiet. It was nearing four, maybe five, in the afternoon, and by now, the three other crewmates would be down here relaxing, or going over itineraries, or whatever it is they do around the small square crew table.

    After a brief frisk of the room, and turning up nothing, they pushed onwards to the infirmary. Same story. Nothing was out of place, except for the missing cyborg. The only clue that he was even in here was the two research books opened up on a desk, pictures scribbled on the pages of one, notes on the other. Casting it a brief glance, Violet took note of how the notes didn’t match up to the page of the other book. A little odd, she figured, Smitty kept his notes and diagrams separate, but if he was doing research, he was definitely on the wrong page. No, this wasn’t right, either.

    “You’d think we’d have better luck, but all I’m getting is these cryptic signs that there was something going on, but it just…stopped.”

    “Whoever made the marks on this bolt is somewhere in this ship,” he said, “It’s not the best clue I could have been given, but I’ll take it.”

    “Why, because there doesn’t seem to be anything else?” Violet’s voice rose in pitch, angry at the situation. “There has to be something, Bar, a hair, a foot print, something. Just because you can’t see it right off the bat doesn’t mean that it’s not there. You can’t base your entire search off some scratch marks that could have just as easily been made by Kaylee’s tinkering.”

    “Why are you getting pissed at me for?” he defended.

    “I’m not angry at you,” she sighed, her tone softening. “I just…I wish I knew what to do. I was an assassin for several years, we fed off clues to find our targets, so it’s not like I’m a complete idiot as to tracking down a bad guy. I’m just starting to think that maybe they just decided to-hell, I don’t know. ”

    “What? Did what, Vi?”

    “Maybe they’re trying to prank us again?” Bardock palmed the nut in his hand impatiently, casting off her suggestion. “Hey, they’ve done it before!”

    “Impossible,” he growled. “Their energy signatures are programmed into Hawkin’s database, so unless they’re dead, not on the ship, or my computer’s wrong, those three should still show up on his radar.”

    “Or something’s blocking their energy,” she suggested.


    Fuck you, Photobucket.
  5. #5
    Bardock's Avatar
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    “Hawkins,” Bardock called out.

    “Yes, Captain?”

    “Can you locate any intruders aboard?”

    There was a pause. “No, Captain. My thermal and motion sensors only indicate you and Miss Violet are aboard.”

    “Damnit,” the saiyan cursed. He growled in exasperation.

    “If this is a prank, it’s a hell of a good one,” Violet chortled.

    “If this is a prank, they’re gonna be hitching back to Earth to the unemployment line,” Bardock snarled. With one last look around the room, he ushered her to follow him. They headed towards Briggs’ room, where the ship’s weapon cache was located. His eyes narrowed when he saw that the gun case was empty, and all ammunition boxes gone. He glared towards his mate. “Still think it’s a prank?”

    She shook her head.

    The case appeared as if it had been unlocked, but closer inspection revealed that the mechanism had been tampered with.

    “Fuck,” Bardock cursed.

    “What?”

    “This is…this is all wrong,” he replied in aggravation, shaking his head.

    “Yeah, I know,” Violet agreed.

    “No. It’s all wrong,” Bardock repeated, this time with more emphasis. “This isn’t random. It’s calculated. Wait until a powerful energy user is confined within a ship in space, where their powers cannot be used. Wait until the ship is days away from a nearby planet. Remove the weapons. Take out the crew. But there’s just one problem.” He looked towards Violet. “Why are we still alive?”

    “Obviously whoever is on board can’t take us out as easily as the crew,” Violet supplied.

    “Yeah, that’s what you’d think. But this person has managed to dispatch four crewmembers without so much as an intruder alert. Hawkins can’t find anyone aboard this ship. You said yourself they might be being cloaked. If this cloaking is so good, why the smoke and mirror? Why not just poison the food or the water supply?” Bardock continued.

    “And you got all of that in, what, a few minutes?” Violet raised a brow.

    “I wasn’t an assassin, but living and breathing military tactics was my job for the better part of my life,” Bardock said defensively.

    “So you’re saying…that this isn’t random…that this is planned…that…this person is targeting us?” the woman pieced together.

    “Exactly,” Bardock answered grimly.

    “Great,” Violet sarcastically grinned.

    “We just gotta find the fucker and we’ll be set,” the saiyan proposed.

    “Leave that to me,” Vi smiled confidently.

    They walked, side-by-side, back towards the kitchen, the place where they had found their only clue. This whole business made Bardock very uneasy. To his knowledge, there was no reason why anyone would be after them. Together, they’d assured the downfall of the one person who would, although the saiyan had made himself a part of something that didn’t involve him. Bardock had no enemies…he couldn’t entirely speak the same for his partner. Perhaps, however, it was no enemy at all, but merely someone seeking a much sinister purpose. Nothing the fighter could think of would allude to possible clues as to what that could have been. There were hardly enough players for it to be considered some grandiose scheme, such as the sick games they found themselves participating in from time to time. No, there had to be something more here. But what?

    Bardock knew there was someone aboard. All the signs pointed to it. He just needed to figure out the machinations behind all of the mysterious vanishings. What bothered him the most was that someone had been doing this under his very nose, creeping along in plain sight and reaching to snatch his crew and weapons into the ether of invisibility.

    “Look at this,” Violet ushered. The human was hunkered down on the floor, taking a closer look. She pointed to thin, wet lines. “Somebody was dragged along here. See that? They were big. It was probably Briggs.”

    She glanced up at him, observing the furious reactions play across his face.

    “There’s water dripping down the edge of the sink. Briggs’ body—” she swallowed a moment, trying to push back the possible implications of those words. “—must have slid along the edge of the puddle, and our intruder didn’t have time to hide the water marks. It’s a good thing we came back here, or they might have dried.”

    “And?”

    “And that’s it. The tracks just stop, like he disappeared,” she finished, slightly exasperated. She stood up and placed her hands on her hips. “Every clue I find, it leads right back to a dead-end.”

    “They have to be somewhere on this ship,” Bardock insisted.

    “Well then we’ll just have to go over this place inch by inch until we…” she stopped in mid-sentence, and flinched.

    “What’s wrong?” the saiyan demanded.

    Violet’s hand reached up to her neck, and pulled out a tiny needle. Her eyes widened in surprise, and then she immediately looked to the male.

    “No,” he said dumbly. She started to fall to the floor, but he was instantly there to catch her before she hit the ground. The human’s body started to go limp, and he roughly patted her on the cheek. “No, don’t,” he sputtered helplessly. “Stay awake, stay with me. D-don’t…don’t go to sleep!”

    But he was too late; there was nothing he could do. He frantically checked her pulse, and to his horror, it was slowing down.

    “FUCK!” he swore loudly. It was then that he felt a sting near his jugular, and he realized belatedly that he should have been paying better attention at defending himself. Bardock could sense a lightheadedness cloud his brain, and a cold numbing feeling sweep his body. He clutched the human to his chest as the life rapidly faded from them both.

    Despite his best efforts, he couldn’t fight the venom that pumped wildly through his veins, and eventually, he succumbed, falling to the floor.
    _=Pass you by, it's all in this life you have
    Pass you by, good-bye to you
    =_
  6. #6
    Violet's Avatar
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    Lights. Metal. Something lumpy beneath her before she could no longer move.

    All these signs that made it through the patchwork of consciousness assured her that she was alive, but it did nothing to comfort the nagging fear that it wouldn’t last much longer. Life was indefinite, and when its reins were turned over into the hands of the enemy, there were no more guarantees as to how long it would hold out.

    This last bout of alertness still hadn’t faded; whilst she couldn’t see, her ears were working double duty, picking up every silent footfall, a scrape of clothing against a wall, or the cinching of rope on the other side of the room. There was someone else in here, she could hear their breathing so loud in the quietness; the best recourse, she decided, was to not make any movement that draw attention.

    She was fine with that: there were other ways to scope out a situation other than by physical means. Reaching into her bag of tricks, she dug deep. Telepathy might set off too many alarms, and her ability to sense other’s ki may set off her own energies, as it tended to feed of other high powers within proximity. Any kind of attention would be bad, so, what, then, could she use to spy on this intruder?

    Her decision was made when she heard the door swoosh open, the footsteps as they rushed from the room, and then the clink of metal as the door hushed shut. She could have sworn Bardock met the same fate as she, she held onto consciousness until she felt his body go slack against hers, fighting so hard to stay awake, but she’d succumbed quickly, despite the resistance.

    Maybe it was just a part of her humanity that made her think if she tried hard enough, that she couldn’t give in to such weakness, that she’d be spared. It was a folly to think so, and time and time again, it had been proven that there was no stopping the bad guys when they wanted something bad enough. She was strong, but not immortal, and certainly not flawless. These were things that were just apart of her, no matter the mission, or the danger, there was always that factor, that uncertainty, that her life could shift hands as easily as passing a bank note.

    There were no more signs of life within the room, and figured it was safe to check the situation. Her wrists twisted weakly against her bonds, finding them strapped securely to whatever it was she was laying on. She inhaled deeply, fishing for scents, some kind of clue.

    It was faint, but somewhere within the soft material she was laying on was the distinctive alkaline scent of reptile. Brigg’s room. The ship wasn’t that big, and there were so few places to stash a body, but why this room? And what was with the bonds? It was like whoever it was that had done this to her expected her to wake up. Perhaps they already knew she was awake before they left the room?

    Giving another firm tug against the ropes, she found the left was less secure than the right, it had just a little more give. However, her wrists were too big to try to squeeze through the little bit of slack. Groaning, she let her hands fall limply against the bed. No use, it was no use…

    “Smaller…need smaller…wrists,” she whispered against the sheet. Her energy was low, but if she could just shift for just a second, that would be all the time she needed. Fishing around for the energy to do just that, she could have sworn she felt a small flicker of a foreign life form somewhere else in the room, but it had done faded, its residue just an afterthought. Hell, for all she knew, it could have just been her own chi reflecting its fallout back at her. It was possible, she surmised, that beings who exude an aural life force tend to leave their residue behind, like dust in an old house. Besides, whoever it was that was in here earlier was gone, that, she was sure of.

    “Little…bastard. Making me paranoid,” she murmured, her concentration once more resuming on completing the shift. She felt the muscles begin to twitch, contracting, the bones beneath them seeming to collapse upon itself as it struggled with the cellular remapping. The problem getting it to go more smoothly is that she couldn’t keep a solid picture in her mind’s eye. Every time she got one, it would fade, distort, or just blank out altogether, meshing with the second wave of unconsciousness that threatened to wash over her and drown her once again.

    Above all else, she had to make sure she got out of these damn bonds before she lost it again. It would give her a small sense of victory, although it could very well lead to a swifter demise.

    Grunting in frustration, she began to jerk her hand downward, trying to take advantage of the liquidity of her flesh, but managed to only further her pain as the swell of bone and muscle jammed in the loop, where it immediately reformed back to its natural state.

    Before she could curse her frustrations, however, a sharp stabbing pain shot through her neck, and this time, the darkness was none too gentle as it drug her down into its clutches.


    Fuck you, Photobucket.
  7. #7
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    The problem with returning to any form of consciousness was that some senses were sluggish to return, while others were far more acute than they should have been. It always took a minute or two for everything to level out to the same wavelength. Bardock groaned as his eyes slowly propped open, and was almost instantly greeted with discomforting pain. It was difficult to figure out which one was worse, and they all flared up at the same time. His wrists felt like the skin had been rubbed raw, and when the fighter tried to move them, he discovered they were tightly bound. His neck was stiff, and there was a pulse of soreness where the needle had struck. And finally, for no visible reason at all, his right arm burned uncontrollably.

    By now, his slight rustling had no doubt given away that he was conscious, and without bothering to uphold a pretense that he was still out cold, the saiyan hefted himself up, trying to take in his surroundings. Now that he was paying attention, a plethora of different scents assaulted his nose: a touch of oil, a whisper of metal, a hint of carbon monoxide, and…fruit? He looked around, seeing various blueprints plastered on walls and boxes of tools all over the floor, but the rest of the décor was splashed with purple and pink. Quirking an eyebrow, Bardock realized he was in Kayley’s room. No other place on the ship—or anywhere else for that matter—could have possibly been such a strange combination of styles.

    Secondary to his own self-evaluation, he quickly searched the room for any other sign of life. No foe, but no friend either. There was still no sign of the crew, and Violet had disappeared as well. He felt a little relief that if he was merely rendered unconscious, she had likely befallen the same fate, which meant that, at the time they were struck down, the human was still alive. If that had changed in the undeterminable time he’d been out cold, he couldn’t say.

    First order of business was to get free, an easy enough task. Bardock realized that his bonds were made of rope, and with but a little amount of energy ignited his pyrokinesis and burned the thick woven threads to ash. He scoffed at the ease of it all. It appeared to be so obviously a mistake, but Bar had a feeling that there was more to it than that. Someone who was so clearly skilled in stealth, and had thus far demonstrated an eerie knowledge of how the people and ship operated, would be far too smart to make such a novice misstep. The brawler couldn’t help but ask himself one more time, why he was still alive. He’d been so very quickly subdued, so what reason was there to incapacitate a potential threat, only to leave them in escapable bonds?

    Too many questions. Not enough answers.

    “Hawkins,” Bardock called.

    No response.

    “Hawkins!” the saiyan repeated, louder this time.

    Still no answer.

    The saiyan scowled. The hit list was being crossed out, one name at a time, and even the ship’s internal A.I. was no exception. Whoever the hell was on board…they were good…real good.

    There was nothing left to do but try to find Violet. Figuring that the whole “cat and mouse” game with the intruder was hopelessly one-sided anyway, Bardock probed the ship with his ki sense, searching for his lost mate. Much to his aggravation, he couldn’t find anything. It was everything the hard way today.

    The bronze bruiser began to walk forward, and his foot kicked against something heavy. Looking down, he realized that it was a pistol. Upon further inspection, he saw that it was a fully loaded pistol.

    “What the fuck is…going on here?” Bardock wondered.


    --------


    For the second time, Violet awoke, possibly in more pain than the first. Groggily, she palmed the floor and pushed herself up, and rubbed at the sore spot on her neck…wait…

    In shock, she realized that her hands were free. Pieces of rope still clung tightly to her wrists, but the binding that held them together had been severed. She squinted her blue eyes in further scrutiny. Not just severed…but burned. The ends of the rope were singed. She looked around, and found that she was still in the same room.

    Abruptly, Violet let out a sharp hiss. Speaking of burning, her left arm was absolutely on fire. The woman glanced down at it, and turned it over, but there was nothing visibly wrong with it. The damn limb just burned like crazy. But now wasn’t the time for pain. Now was the time to kick into survival mode.

    As she cautiously got to her feet, she realized that there was a discarded pistol nearby, as well as a shredded piece of black cloth.

    Hadn’t Bardock been wearing a black shirt today?

    She rubbed the material between her fingers, hoping to obtain some kind of clue by osmosis as to what it was doing there. Was it possible that he freed her? Why then, had he not stayed?

    Violet wasn’t going to get any answers here, so she simply cocked the pistol and started moving.


    --------


    Bardock moved silently towards the cockpit, where several a-likelihood lay. It was possible that the intruder was controlling the ship’s course from that point. It was possible that Bardock could utilize one of the internal systems to pinpoint somebody’s whereabouts on this damned vehicle. And it was more than possible that Violet wasn’t there.

    As he approached the turn of another corner, he could hear the slightest of footfalls. He tensed, and the fur on his tail stood on end. They were headed in his direction. The warrior waited ever so patiently. It had to be some kind of advantage that he knew the ship by heart. The particular corridor upon which was being trespassed was long, narrow, and had virtually no cover between conjoining points. It was practically death row. So he waited until they had no chance of turning back.

    At the last possible second, he leapt out from his hiding position, pistol raised at eye level. Much to his bewilderment, there was no one there.

    Suddenly, he could see just the slightest hint of a reflection of light in the hallway. It was as if there was a weak point in some kind of…invisibility cloaking! Focusing on the tiny spot of refraction, he couldn’t help but grin as he raised his pistol.

    “Gotcha, you little bastard,” he whispered.


    --------


    Violet carefully stalked down the pathway of the ship, and was halted by an unsettling feeling in her gut. She felt like she was being…watched. Like some unseen force was silently stalking her as she moved about the ship. The human looked down the hall, seeing nothing. Then, she allowed herself a quick peek over her shoulder, twisting her body ever so slightly.

    It was then she felt a ki bullet graze her shoulder.

    Going straight into attack mode, she ducked down, just as a spray of gunfire peppered the hallway. She whipped her pistol out in front, and had only seconds to process the scene unfolding. The ki rounds were coming from seemingly nowhere, an invisible point of origin. Her instincts screamed to retaliate. With little thought, she squeezed the trigger of her pistol and fired back.


    --------


    Bardock felt a surge of adrenaline as he realized he’d hit the mark with his first shot. A spray of blood squirted across the hallway, but the wound was quickly cloaked by the clever mechanism. That was all right, because the blood itself would drip onto the floor, revealing a path of movement.

    He sprang into the air, ducking and dodging the expected return fire, but kept the pressure on and his pistol trigger pumping.

    It was only a matter of time, and the intruder was going down.
    _=Pass you by, it's all in this life you have
    Pass you by, good-bye to you
    =_
  8. #8
    Violet's Avatar
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    The bullet had grazed against her shoulder, tearing a rivet deep within her flesh. Blood sheeted from the wound, partially cauterized by the heat of the ki-infused projectile, and dripped in small, heavy plops to the aluminum flooring. Hissing in pain, she inspected the wound, her fingertips tenderly poking around the outer edge of it. Whispering a harsh expletive beneath her breath, she wiped away some of the offending liquid and flicked her wrist to clear the access off her hand.

    Another barrage of glowing projectiles flooded the hallway, and she knew it was time to move. It was getting too dangerous to keep dodging these bullets head-on, especially being wounded and coming off her drugged state. It just wasn’t a good idea. Taking a quick peek behind her, she drunk in the landmarks she’d passed and committed to memory. There was a door down this hallway, to the left, and in the path of the bullets, but it was an escape. “Face it head on, or risk being grazed again,” she muttered to herself. “My luck is looking up.”

    Bolting from her vantage point at the bend of the wall, Violet darted down the hallway, coming up quick on her target. Ducking beneath the hail of bullets, she latched onto the handle of the door, swung it open, and threw herself inside, closing it quickly behind her.

    The room was dark, and smelled of bleach and chemicals. There was no mistaking the tiny utility closet as any other room, it always smelled of stale ass. She avoided it like Bardock avoided anything ‘feminine’, which if it didn’t include eating, sleeping, fucking or fighting, was classified as such. Okay, maybe that was just what she made of it.

    The assault outside of the door stopped, but the assassin pressed onwards. His footsteps fell heavily against the metal flooring, and then stopped altogether. A rumbling deeper in the ship shook the ground beneath her, her arms instinctively going to the sides for stability. It was stupid, really, there wouldn’t be anything to stop the metal crunching in around her as they crash-landed into whatever the fuck was out there to crash into.

    The rumbling eventually subsided, but the footsteps didn’t return. Maybe he moved on? Curious, she felt around the door for the handle, twisting it delicately to the right. The lock gave quietly, and the door opened, a centimeter at a time.

    A rush of movement, and then the door closed, her heart suddenly leaping into her throat. The fucker was still out there! She didn’t catch a good glimpse of his face, or anything for that matter; she was only praying he didn’t notice.

    CRACK! The door flew off its hinges, and all of a sudden, she was nose to nose with the dark end of a pistol. Her eyes didn’t avert, she didn’t move. She was trapped.


    Fuck you, Photobucket.
  9. #9
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    There was nothing quite like the hum of a pistol charge to sweeten the kill as Bardock armed the shot. It was one of those unmistakable sounds that just made your heart leap into your throat, because you knew the inevitable conclusion that followed. The adrenaline would surge, and the brain would abandon all semblance of control, resulting in the last few seconds of life to be filled with panic. Fear would run unchecked. So the saiyan initiated the sequence, and that beautiful hum whined through the air until it reached its crescendo. Unfortunately, release was going to have to wait. There was still the matter of his missing crew, and now potentially his missing mate, as well as all of the lingering questions as to why the ship was being targeted in the first place. Now that Bardock had the trespasser’s attention, a few answers probably wouldn’t be all that hard to squeeze out of him, and if they were, all the more fun for the brawler.

    He could see the source of the stream of blood rise, indicating that the invisible intruder was attempting to stand. Bardock kept the pressure on, holding the gun firmly level to his approximate pinpoint of where he could guess was a lethal target.

    It was then that in one swift movement he felt the opposing pistol barrel press against his temple. He grinned sourly and let out a soft chuckle. A once upper-handed situation had turned into a regular standoff, one that was likely going to end in a stalemate. Bardock’s smile could only grow wider as he heard the sound that he favored so much, and the enemy’s weapon charged to fire.

    The greatest handicap was that he couldn’t sense his opponent at all. There was no scent, no energy signature, and no visual. The only tell he had was the lucky shot resulting in bloodshed.

    Well damn.

    If Bardock was going to go down, he was going to take somebody with him. He wasn’t really the type of guy to try and think his way out of a situation. Why analyze? Things like these only ended two ways, and Bardock didn’t really mind either outcome. The fighter knew full well that the shock of a ki bullet burrowing through the intruder’s body would probably be enough to trigger an involuntary neural spasm that would result in the other gun going off. Oh well. At least he’d go out with a bang, in all sense of the phrase.

    And just as his finger began to apply fatal pressure to the trigger, he heard it.

    “Bet this is like a kick in the balls, isn’t it asshole?” the intruder jeered.

    In that instance, time slowed down, cruelly allowing his brain only the time to realize that things were not as they should be, but not enough time to react.

    “Wait…” Bardock attempted, eyes widening.

    But there was no waiting. The sound of refined energy being discharged filled the little closet as both guns went off.
    _=Pass you by, it's all in this life you have
    Pass you by, good-bye to you
    =_
  10. #10
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    I’m still breathing.

    Bardock’s breath came in short, shallow gasps, but it was true. He knew what it felt like to die, both a false death and a real death. This, fortunately, was neither. Instinctively, the saiyan had twisted his body away from the line of fire, and subsequently, away from his attacker. His coal black eyes were wide, and he looked down at his pistol. It trembled in his hand, but it revealed what he had feared: the end of the barrel was smoking. Instantly, he straightened his back and whirled to face the intruder. Much to his surprise, the would-be killer was no longer invisible to his eyes.

    He stared at an equally shocked Violet.

    Their gaze locked, and the connection between was instantly palpable.

    “I’m sorry,” he fumbled, still dazed and a little panicked.

    “Your shoulder,” she responded, nodding towards it.

    Bardock looked, and he saw a neat little bullet-hole clearing a trail through his flesh. Come to think of it, he hadn’t even noticed the pain. He looked up, and saw she had a similar wound, a little closer towards the torso and farther up next to the collarbone.

    “Yours,” he motioned.

    As he had done, she too looked towards her shoulder, apparently previously unaware of it. Disregarding it as naught but a flesh wound, she moved towards him, and their pistols clattered to the floor as their hands found something else to hold.

    “I don’t think I’ve ever heard you say that before,” Violet observed, her voice a little calmer.

    “What?” he wondered.

    “You said ‘I’m sorry,’” the woman chuckled softly.

    “No I didn’t,” Bardock replied convincingly.

    She sighed, not really caring enough to argue, because it was irrefutable anyway. After a moment, they separated.

    “Can you find him?” Bardock demanded, the fire returning to his ebony depths.

    She shook her head. “The trail’s probably gone cold by now. There’s no telling how long we were out.”

    Bardock growled low. “We’re still in space, but he could have done anything since we were knocked out. I got a feeling in my gut that tells me he’s still on the ship, though. Gotta finish the job.”

    “Whatever the job is,” Violet added. “And what exactly happened just now, anyway? I couldn’t see a thing. It was like you were cloaked.”

    “I thought you were him,” the saiyan admonished. “I couldn’t see anything either.”

    “Then…” she began, until her eyes grew wide with the possibilities. “…this was all some kind of setup? How did this happen?”

    The bronze bruiser grimaced. “I don’t wanna know.”

    “Yeah, let’s just focus on finding that little rat bastard,” Violet agreed. Then, an evil smirk slowly played across her lips. “I have an idea.”

    Bardock stooped low to scoop up the pistols, tossing one towards his mate. “Lead the way, babe.”

    The pair quickly exited the closet and Violet shot down the hallways, her path already mapped out in her head. Stealth was secondary when their enemy had the advantage on their playing field. No, speed was their ally right now, as they didn’t want to be caught unawares in another trap. Violet stopped at the tail end of the ship near the engine-room. Her fingers probed the wall before she found a panel that was met with great excitement.

    “What are you doing?” the saiyan questioned.

    “Breaking into the internal systems control,” she explained calmly.

    “The system is hack-proof. How the hell are you going to do that? You some kinda computer person?” Bardock inquired doubtfully.

    “Tch, hell no!” Violet scoffed, making a face. “I only know the basics. And you’re right, the onboard computer is pretty much impossible to mess with. But I happen to be best friends with the ship’s mechanic, and this isn’t the computer.”

    “Huh?”

    “If our enemy doesn’t leave tracks on his own, we’re going to make him,” Violet explained deviously.

    “What?”

    “Just watch, babe,” the human assured. At that same moment, her face twisted in confusion, like she’d made a mistake.

    Bardock grumbled and looked around. Here they were, on high alert in their own ship, the crew was kidnapped and possibly dead, and somehow they’d been made puppets of a plot that was yet to be unraveled. And this little human was playing Geek Squad. Great.

    “Got it,” Violet grinned. Bardock kneeled down to take a look and pretended to scrutinize her work, although he had absolutely no idea what she was doing. “Kayley had to fix this the day the ship got washed, and I sat and watched. See, certain parts can be run manually, and she showed me how.”

    She pressed a button, and all of a sudden the saiyan began to be pelted with water as a large, obnoxious alarm rang out. His features contorted in rage, but Violet looked nothing but pleased with herself.

    “What the fuck?” he snapped.

    “It’s only a little water,” Violet waved impatiently as she returned to the panel.

    He ground his teeth together in irritation as they both proceeded to get sopping wet. The emergency sprinkler system was having a happy day today. Bardock was not. Then the idea clicked into place. While the trespasser was able to prevent detection through ordinary means by way of enhanced concealment, he would not be able to prevent the water from hitting his physical form, thus revealing his secret location. There was only one flaw with that plan.

    “The tanks aren’t going to last long with this kind of output. We’ll never find him in time. He can keep moving around,” Bardock pointed out. That was, of course, besides the fact that flooding the ship was going to cause internal damage.

    “Trust me,” Violet reiterated, and turned a dial all the way down.

    It was as if a blast of artic air surged through the ship, and Bardock had to cover himself against the sudden chill. When the icy gusts subsided, he peered out from beneath his protective stance, and was immediately impressed. Violet stood up, her body shivering, and reveled in her brilliance.

    “S-s-s-see? I t-t-t-told y-y-you,” she grinned through chattering teeth.

    A thick sheet of icy frost covered the ship from floor to ceiling. Not a single nook or cranny had escaped the sudden temperature drop. Bits of powdered flakes were strewn across the hallways.

    “Let’s see him try to hide his tracks now, b-b-b-b-bastard,” the purple-haired female laughed.

    Bardock smirked, and they moved about the ship, careful not to retrace their own steps. There was no way the trespasser could conceal himself any longer, as the slightest press of hand or foot left an unmistakable imprint behind. It was only a matter of time before they followed the fresh trail to the end. The intruder had attempted to hole up in the cargo bay.

    The saiyan sent a tongue of flame in any direction he could hear the slightest scrape, and eventually, he hit home, and they both could hear a horrid screeching sound as the would-be assassin was cornered.

    A noise of static followed the screams, and an image flickered into view as the identity of their prowler was revealed. Bardock was on him in an instant, his big hands wrapped around the trespasser’s throat as the saiyan slammed him into the wall.

    “Who are you?” came the demand.

    The intruder was clad in a white suit, now scorched and burned in places. Thick bands wrapped around his waist and torso, securing in place the device that was obviously used to cloak his presence. He was small, lithe, and every bit the image of a silent stalker. What was not covered by his clothing left much to be determined. He was of an unidentifiable alien race, not falling within any of the categories Bardock was familiar with, and that was saying something of a man whose life it once was to conquer galactic systems.

    “Listen you little fuck, we can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way. But you’re going to tell me what I want to know,” Bardock snarled.

    After a marked fit of coughing, the alien merely laughed. “It doesn’t matter what happens to me. My part is done.”

    “What did you say?” Bardock growled, baring his teeth.

    The alien just laughed, and balled his hand into a fist. Before Bardock could do anything to stop it, the intruder slammed his fist onto his chest, activating a button on his cloaking suit. The saiyan uttered a confused cry as a red light on the suit began blinking insanely fast, before he heard a sharp, “Bardock!”

    He only had time to squeeze his eyes shut and turn his face away before the beeping suit exploded. The force of the blast threw him clear across the room, and he slammed into the opposing wall before crumpling to the floor. He could feel a burning sensation wash over his skin in painful sheets, and he groaned as Violet pulled him towards her. They coughed, sputtering and choking until the smoke cleared, and they looked towards the body site, only there wasn’t a body anymore. It was a smoldering pile of ash. The alien was gone, and he’d taken all of his answers to the grave.

    Then, they could hear a distinctly familiar voice.

    “All onboard passengers prepare for docking sequence. We have now entered Kajin Rala space port territory,” Hawkins announced cheerfully.
    _=Pass you by, it's all in this life you have
    Pass you by, good-bye to you
    =_

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