Part 22 in my Insurgency series! A Rank-Up build for the Marauders! The third part in my cross-over with Griffin! My longest episode to date! Please comment, rate and enjoy!
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28th February 2095: Present Day
I'M SO BORED!!!!!!!
I had been on board the pirate cruiser for the best part of the month now. In that time I had not been allowed to do very much but I had been able to do a little exploring. I wasn’t allowed off of the level I was on but it took me a good hour or so to get around just that one deck.
This was one, big, ship.
Other than the little bit of exploring I had done, the rest of my days were spent lounging around in the enormous hold of the ship which had been converted into mass bunk room. There were at least a thousand double bunks down here, all wooden, covered in just a thin sheet and quite cramped together.
To start with, most of the bunks were already occupied and the half that weren’t had people’s stuff on them. I guess the people who had left their stuff laying around weren’t used to this sort of company. The empty bunks filled up over the days though.
I certainly wasn’t going to leave my stuff laying around!
I hadn't done much today. I'd gone for a wander earlier and then after I had got as far as I could exploring, I returned to the hold and spent a good few hours sitting on my bunk, just watching and waiting. I was of course here to find out as much information as I could.
I had hoped to discover some information during my exploration but had come across nothing.
After I’d been sat on my bunk for a while, a new alien approached me and dumped a backpack on the bed below my own.
Alien: “You speak Basic?” he asked gruffly.
Tank: “Yeah, I do.”
Alien: “Looks like we’re bunk mates.”
Tank: “Yeah, it does.”
Alien: “Name’s Callif St’rapp.”
Tank: “Rocco Guidè.” I reached down and we shook hands.
Callif: “How long you been here?”
Tank: “Since yesterday.”
He nodded and took a longer look around.
Callif: “Big place.” He commented.
Tank: “Yeah, it is.” I wasn’t really in the chatting mood.
He turned and looked back up at me.
Callif: “You’re not much of a talker, are you?”
Tank: “Sorry, I’m just a little preoccupied.”
Callif: “Fair ‘nough.”
And with that he slid onto the bottom bunk and laid down. I sat with my legs dangling off the side for a little while longer and kept my ears pricked for anything of interest.
However, after another couple of hours, I had heard nothing.
Callif: “Any idea what we’re waiting for?” the alien asked without getting up.
I knew he couldn’t see me but I shook my head anyway.
Tank: “I wish I knew.” I answered truthfully.
I looked around for a few more moments and then decided that I was really rather bored.
Tank: “I’m going for a walk.” I announced but didn’t wait for a reply as I slipped off of the bed and set off between the other bunks.
I walked slowly and kept my ears pricked for information.
I had made my way about three quarters of the way across the hall and had stopped at what can only be called a junction between the rows of bunks, when I heard my first bit of slightly useful information. Two guys were sat on the bottom bunks opposite each other and were having a conversation. I faced the opposite direction and pretended I was looking for my bunk.
Man #1: “…Yeah, I heard one guy say that they nearly have enough supplies now.”
Man #2: “Do we know what for yet?”
Man #1: “Nah, didn’t hear. To be honest, I don’t think most of them actually know. They’re just followin’ orders.”
Man #2: “I reckon we’re gonna launch an attack on Qoter.”
Man #1: “What? Really?”
Man #2: “Yeah. Think about the fleet’s positioning. What is the only place of any strategic value around where the fleet’s gathered?”
There was a pause as the other guy obviously thought about it.
Man #1: “Yeah, I suppose so.”
Man #2: “Makes sense doesn’t it….. Hey! Hey you!”
I turned around and did my best innocent look.
Man #2: “What are you hangin’ around for pal? You lookin’ for trouble?”
Tank: “No, no sorry. Just trying to find my bunk, that’s all.”
And with that I sped away along one of the aisles.
So, Qoter was the target.
Would make sense. But why would pirates want to attack the biggest planet in the system? They surely wouldn’t be able to take it, not with the amount of GI forces there. What was their angle in this? What was their aim? And why haven’t they launched an attack yet? Was it really as simple as waiting for supplies and troops?
All very good questions that I needed to find the answers to.
I returned to my bunk in a haphazard fashion, weaving between as many bunks as I could, still listening for information but I gained no more.
Callif nodded to me as I approached and I nodded in return before heaving myself up onto my ‘bed’ and laying down.
I gazed at the curved, metal ceiling far above me and tried to work out a plan of action.
In about ten minutes I decided that the best course of action was to wait for nightfall and then slip out to try and explore the rest of the ship. There were sure to be guards but I would handle those when it came to it.
And so I closed my eyes and waited.
Voice: “LIGHTS OUT!”
The shout woke me and I realised that I had nodded off at some point during the afternoon. I opened my eyes just in time to see the lights along the roof flick to darkness.
Voice: “Wake up call is at O’ six hundred!” the same voice shouted.
I looked around but couldn’t see very far in the darkness. I kept my eyes open so that they could adjust and lay there waiting for a few more minutes.
The hall was almost completely silent now and it was eerie as I slipped off of my bunk and onto the floor. I glanced at Callif and jumped slightly when I discovered his eyes glowed in the dark and he was looking straight at me. We looked at each other for a moment and then he just closed his eyes and rolled over.
Quietly I crept towards the door, which had been left open, presumably to let a little light into the room, and after checking there were no guards outside, slid out into the corridor.
Stealthily I headed through the corridors to where I had found the main turbolift bays earlier in the day. However, I didn’t get that far before I heard footsteps heading my way.
I tucked myself into a nearby alcove and waited for the guard to pass by. Once he had gone, I snuck back out and continued on my way.
There was only one more corner between myself and the turbolifts now, but I waited with my back pressed to the wall, because I could hear voices coming from the loading bay.
Voice #1: “No, we’re not waitin’ for anything anymore.”
I frowned in confusion.
Voice #2: “Then what are we still doing hanging around here? If we’ve got all the supplies and the men we need, why haven’t we left yet? Why hasn’t the assault begun?”
Voice #1: “No, you don’t get it do you. We’re not waitin’ for anything…..”
From the tone of his voice, he was leaving the question there, hoping the other man would get it. But there was no reply and luckily for me, because I didn’t understand either, the first man finished it off for him.
Voice #1: “We’re not waitin’ for somethin’; we’re waitin’ for someone!”
Voice #2: “Ooh! Who?”
Voice #1: “I don’t know, but it’s somebody important, I can tell you that much.”
Well that was a surprise. So the pirates were in fact just killing time. Waiting for somebody important to arrive. For a few moments I stood there wondering who it might be, but then I heard the pair heading my way and I snapped back to full alertness.
I crouched down to make myself as small as possible and just seconds later, the two guards appeared.
Guard #1: “Hey!” he exclaimed, but I leapt at him, rugby tackling him to the ground. I punched him in the face, knocking him out and before his partner had had a chance to react, I kicked him in the back of the knee and he toppled over. I smacked him in the back of the head and his face hit the wall hard. He too crumpled, unconscious. I stole two alien-looking pistols from the first guard and tucked them into my holsters. I glanced around but all was quiet at the minute. I couldn’t leave the bodies here to be discovered and so I dragged the first of them down the corridor to the lifts. I called one to our level and when it opened (thankfully it was unoccupied), I stuffed the body inside before heading back to get the second.
I grabbed him by the armpits and dragged him along the floor towards the waiting elevator. My plan had been to shove them both in the same shuttle and then send it down to the lowest level possible, before I got in another and went to explore the rest of the ship.
However, that plan changed just before I got the second guard into the lift. I paused suddenly as I heard footsteps hurriedly heading in my direction.
I cursed and hauled the body into the lift before ducking down and simply hitting the wall panel. As the doors closed, I caught a glimpse of two more guards at the other end of the corridor.
I looked at the wall panel and saw that half of my plan had in fact worked. The lift with the unconscious guards in was heading to the lowest level of the ship. The only issue was that I was in that same elevator.
‘Oh well’, I thought to myself. May as well start my search down here.
As we descended I drew my new blasters and examined them. They were definitely of an alien design, but they were quite sleek and I liked them. It would be interesting to see what they were capable of.
The doors ‘PING’ed open and I was met by two pirate guards. Their faces looked rather shocked to see me standing with two bodies on the floor but they didn’t get to look shocked for long as I fired both of my pistols at them. Blue lasers flashed out. They were laser pistols! How the hell had the pirates managed to get their hands on laser weaponry?
That wasn’t my main concern right now but I couldn’t help notice that the guns were certainly powerful. There was barely any kickback for me, but the two pirates flew several metres backwards, straight into the bars of a giant cage before crumpling on the floor.
I frowned as that sunk in. A giant cage?
I stepped cautiously out of the lift and looked around. The corridor I was in extended quite a way out to both sides and the space in front of me was just one giant cage. This must be the cell block but it had been converted into one massive holding cell with space for the guards to patrol around the outside.
The cell was about half full at the minute but even so, the prisoners within looked cramped and terrified. As I looked at them, I realised that they were the same group of prisoners I had seen being led into the ship on the same day I had arrived.
And they were all staring at me.
And I had no idea what to do.
I snapped back to my senses as another guard came running towards me from the left, I dropped to one knee and blasted him. He flew backwards in a flash of blue.
Guard: “Hey! Stop!” another voice behind me.
I stayed crouched and simply wheeled around on my knee before shooting another guard who was headed my way.
I stayed crouched for a moment, keeping an ear out for any more guards but none came. I rose and found that a big, hairy man was stood at the bars of the cage, watching me.
Man: “Who are you?”
Tank: “My name is Chain Rockwell.” I responded, completely forgetting that I had been using a false name.
Man: “Why are you here?” He growled.
Tank: “I….” I didn’t know how to answer.
Another prisoner came up to the hairy guy.
Man #2: “Are you here to free us?”
Tank: “No.” I replied quickly. “No, I…”
Man: “Then why did you kill those guards?”
Again, I had no answer.
Tank: “I’m looking for information.”
Man: “You will get nothing from us. My people would die before they talk to you.”
Tank: “No, not from you. From the pirates.”
Man: “You are not with them?”
Tank: “No. No, I just need to find out what they want. My employer needs to know what they’re up to.”
Man: “If you are not with them, then you are against them.”
Tank: “Well, yeah, I guess.”
Man: “That is why you killed those guards?”
Tank: “I suppose…”
Man: “Then you must help us.”
I was about to respond but he cut across me.
Man: “I am Outo Borro. These are my people.” He indicated to the prisoners around him.
Tank: “Wait, you’re their leader?”
Outo: “I am the head of the town; their leader, yes.”
I looked around checking for more guards but there were none.
Tank: “Why are you in here? What do the pirates want with you?”
Outo: “We are here because we would not submit. Lots of local towns have been overrun by the pirate scum. They cowered down and gave their men over to the pirates. The men were weak, the women foolish and the children scared.”
Tank: “The pirates are fierce, if they…”
Outo: “My people are strong!” he said in a proud voice. “We will never give in. We have been made strong and we will stay strong. These pirates are cowards. They are bullies. They think they are better than everyone, well they are not.”
Outo was clearly a very proud man and a strong leader, however something told me that his faith in their strength was also blinding him.
Tank: “If you are so strong, why are you here? How did they capture you?”
Outo waited for a moment before replying.
Outo: “We are strong.” He repeated. “But not that strong. We stuck to our beliefs and refused to back down like the snivelling cowards our neighbours are.”
Tank: “And so they took you?”
Outo: “And so they took us.” He confirmed with a sad nod of his head.
Tank: “What do they want with you?”
Man: “They said they would torture us.” Another man told me as he limped over to us and sat on the floor at Outo’s feet. “The men, that is. Until we agreed to join.”
Woman: “The women they said would become their play things.” One woman sobbed as she too came over to the bars.
Woman: “And the children…” the same woman stifled another sob. “They’re going to sell the children!” she cried and Outo wrapped his huge hairy arms around her, letting her cry into his partially exposed chest.
I was horrified. I knew these were pirates I was dealing with, but it had just never occurred to me, how awful they actually were. How disgusting.
Outo had not taken his stern, piercing eyes off of me since we had begun talking, but now he glanced purposefully over his right shoulder. I followed his gaze and saw a group of children all crowded together with a few women trying to comfort them.
Outo: “They are to be slaves.” He said softly, looking back at me. “Our children are to be slaves. Everything that we have worked towards, strived for, is being taken from us. Just because we would not submit to terrorists.”
The woman he was hugging, removed herself from his embrace and, wiping her nose on the back of her hand, walked away in silence.
Outo: “We are just a few of what once was.”
Tank: “What do you mean?”
Outo: “A great plague. Several years ago. It came from the stars and it wiped out most of us. A lot of people died. Good people. Men, women, children. All dead of the disease. We know not how it started, but it worked fast. Within the first day, almost a hundred people had perished.”
Tank: “I’m sorry.” I couldn’t think of anything else to say.
Outo: “It caused a great fever, then sickness, violent shaking, slowly the victim’s skin would boil and blister and they would start spitting up blood as the plague melted them from the inside out.”
I gagged at just the thought of something so horrible.
Outo: “It was a slow and painful death and it spread among the colonies on our planet like wildfire spreads through dry grass. Many thousands died. Our town lost over three quarters of our people. Since then, we have tried to re-build. Our population suffered massively and we have been trying to re-populate ever since. These children,” he gestured behind him. “We’re just the start of that process. If they are sold, then we will lose everything.”
Tank: “You’ve spent the past few years just trying to re-populate?”
Outo: “Yes. It is every woman’s duty to become pregnant and it is every man’s duty to give his sperm to our cause.”
Tank: “But what about free will? What if a woman does not want to have a child? What if a man is gay? What then?”
Outo: “It is forbidden. In the old times, yes. But now, no. It cannot be. For the sake of our people, of our future, it must be this way. The penalty for refusing to be with child or for homosexuality is banishment. Harsh but the only way to keep people in line and get them to do their part.”
It sounded bad, but I could understand why Outo had made it that way. He was a very proud man and I could see in his eyes what his people meant to him. His people, his town; they were everything to him. He had devoted his life to them and their cause.
Outo: “So please; if you are not here as a pirate to torture us or kill us, help us.”
I shook my head and turned away for a moment. I didn’t know how to respond. Surely there was nothing I could do for these prisoners! I had a mission to complete. I had to find out what these pirates were up to. I now knew that they were waiting for somebody to arrive before they launched their assault, possibly on Qoter, but I had to find out for sure. That was the whole reason I was here!
On the other hand, these people were completely innocent. They had done nothing wrong. They had simply stood up to the pirates and had been imprisoned for it. These people who had already suffered so much.
Tank: “Stand back.” I commanded.
I couldn’t just stand back while innocent people were punished. I pointed one of my new blasters at the cell door. Outo and the men surrounding him all moved backwards but before I could do anything, there was a voice from behind me.
Voice: “Drop the guns.” I ground my teeth and didn’t move.
Voice: “Drop them.” He repeated. I slowly crouched and placed the blasters on the floor by my feet.
Voice: “Turn around.” I stood and did so, and found another guard stood silhouetted in the light from the elevator doorway. Turning from the darkness of the pen to the bright light of the doorway meant I couldn’t really see very much at all, but I could clearly see that he had a pistol aimed right at my face.
Guard: “What are you doing down here?”
Tank: “That’s none of your business.”
Guard: “Oh I think it is.” He adjusted his gun slightly. “So I’ll ask again. What are you doing down here with these prisoners?”
Tank: “These people are innocent civilians. They do not deserve to be treated like this.”
He paused and while he was silent I squinted in the light, trying to see him a little better, but all I could work out was that he was wearing a mask of some kind.
Guard: “Why did you kill those guards?” he questioned.
Tank: “Self-defence.” I snapped.
Guard: “Why would other pirates be attacking you?”
It was at this point that I realised that of course; he thought I was actually a pirate!
Tank: “How should I know?” I lied.
Guard: “Don’t play games with me.” He warned. “Play games with me and I will put you down.”
Tank: “So why haven’t you already?”
Guard: “You’ve caught my attention.”
Guard: “Because I want to know why a pirate would be down here with the prisoners, have killed the guards and be claiming that the captives are innocents. Unless….” He went quiet for a few moments and looked around at the dead guards. “Unless you’re not a pirate at all.” He concluded.
But his momentary glance away had given me all the time I needed. I had shuffled the tip of my boot underneath my stolen blaster and when he turned back to face me, I quickly flipped the gun into the air and caught it by the handle.
And so now we had ourselves a stand-off. My eyes had cleared a little more now and I could see that he was wearing a skull shaped mask of some description.
Guard: “If you’re not a pirate, what are you doing here?” he asked, noticeably quieter than before, which intrigued me.
Tank: “None of your business.”
Guard: “Wrong.” He replied and shifted his gun slightly, however he still didn’t fire.
Tank: “Why are you so interested anyway?”
He didn’t reply and instead asked another question of his own.
Guard: “Why are these people prisoners?”
Tank: “Like you don’t know.” I scoffed.
Guard: “Tell me.” He demanded.
After a moments consideration, I did so and told him the reasons that Outo had explained to me.
Guard: “So you’re not a pirate after all.”
It was at this point I gave up. If this was going to end in a shootout between us, then I might as well tell him the truth before I killed him.
Tank: “Alright, no, I’m not.”
Guard: “So you’re here to free these people? But how did you know they were here?”
Tank: “No, that’s not why I am here. I came for… well, look it doesn’t matter. I stumbled across these people and can’t just stand by while they are tortured, sexually abused and sold as slaves. So if you’re going to try and stop me, now is the time because I promise, I will shoot you if you get in the way.”
The two of us stood with our weapons aimed at each other, ready to fire at any moment. It would just be a question of who was the faster pulling the trigger.
And then the guard lowered his gun and stepped out of the light. He holstered his weapon and extended an empty hand towards me.
Guard: “My name is Derek Collins.”
This had to be some kind of trap, didn’t it? Surely?
When I didn’t take his outstretched hand, he kept it in place but continued speaking.
Derek: “I’m not with the pirates. I only joined to find out some information. I have no interest in pillaging and raiding across the galaxy. I’m fighting my own battles, not being part of an army of thugs and rapists.”
Still I did not take his hand. Nor did I say anything.
Derek: “Are you going to try and free those prisoners?” he questioned and after a moment I replied;
Derek: “Then let’s get to it, before any real pirates get down here and find out what’s going on.”
And with that, he grabbed my hand, shook it and headed towards the cell door.
Derek: “Keep back.” He commanded and Outo and his people stayed well away as this surprise ally blasted the lock off of the door. He pulled it open and I simply stood back and watched, wondering if he really was who he said he was and could he be trusted.
Derek: “So how are we going to get them out of here?” he asked coming back to me as Outo gathered his people together.
Tank: “Don’t worry, I have an idea.”
I pulled out my comlink.
Tank: “Tracks, we need a diversion.” I smirked.
I have lots of bonus pictures for you this time. This is a (blurry) shot of the bunk scene.
The corridor set.
A couple of alternative lighting shots for the corridor scene.
A WIP shot of the holding cell set.
An alternative picture for Tank stepping out of the elevator and shooting the guards.
And now a couple of pictures showing you how hard it was to shoot this episode! Getting the light in the right place, not getting people's faces hidden behind bars, making sure faces were visible in the light etc....
An alternative shot for Derek in the lift.
An alternative picture of the stand-off.
An alternative picture of them shaking hands.
And an alternative picture of the door being blasted off.
N.B. Extra special thanks to Kermunklin for sending me Derek's Red Skull mask all the way from America!
As my series is going to be jumping around though time, I will include a date on each episode and add it to the timeline at the end of each episode so that you can follow it.
Quite an interesting story unfolding! I like how you built your sets just as a movie production does... to highlght the story, the photography, and lighting, not necessarily as a bonified complete moc. This also speaks of the direction this 'game' is going... more towards action stories rather than a competition. :)
Super great! I love the way this is all coming together. Your sets are really good for this one and the lighting is phenomenal! I've been experimenting with dramatic lighting, but no luck so far-maybe I need to change a setting on my camera? Love the slow reveal of Derek as well, very dramatic!
Very good! I like it! the story just keeps drawing me in! I love it! can't wait for more! By the way, with my Insurgency intro, I figured out at least one way to fix it. Take a look and tell me what you think about it, if you would. Keep it up!