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 No.652045[Last 50 Posts]

Smoke steams from the open ponyholes in the narrow streets, covering just barely the smell of fried fish smothering your nose from the nearby pan-oriental restaurant, its kitchen openly facing the street.
You are sitting across it, past a narrow street of black stone flooded with equines of all races and ages dressed in an offensive variety of colors and styles, sitting at the table of a neo-prench café which is actually just a front for your contact, Japieré, griffon middleman for some grey-area organization off the blue moons of Jupiter.

You are penniless, with not enough fuel in your tank to even think about escaping Callisto's shallow gravity well, and just a small slew of options still open to you.
At least Madamé Lucia, the white coated unicorn owning the bar, does credit.
The large, boxy CRT TV is tuned on a bounty hunting show.


I'll ask for some water while watching the TV. No need to get in more debt than I already am in.


Grapple fruitlessly for a phantom cigarette, spun around the opposite direction, facing out into the street, scanning it idly. Without turning around to address him:

"I am getting itchy piloto. The griffon?"


"Who knows? all I got was to wait for him here."


Grumble inarticulately and glance at the screen.

"What are you watching now?"


"That bounty show. All kinds of weirdos on it."


As soon as you press the related kanji on the green, scanline ridden screen restinting onto the umbrella pole coming through the center of your table, a shallow white cup pushes its way from an hatch right in front of you, making the whole table whirr and buzz until the motion is complete.

"-bzzztr hours now since the daring escape of convict Arma Taje, unstable murderer whose every action is believed to be completely unpredictable!"
The girl on tv has a nice headdress of true Rock feathers, like there probably isn't one since the moon exploded. She's quite lean for a buffalo.
"Daaaat's right pardner! It's got Callisto's police completely dumbfolded, no idea where the whoreson-"
Her co-host, a male earth pony dressed like they used to back during the wild west days, brings a hoof to his mouth as if to correct himself.
"-whoredaughter, might be. Wouldn't surprise me she's still after the Big One, you know what I mean?"
"The hitch for one more big hit can drive ponies mad!"
The show then runs off its ending credits and an incredibly cheesy wild west themed outro song.
Endless stream of faces. Smog masks. Black veils. Public workers with drilling equipment five time their size sliding on antigrav pads emitting blue light.
And just so much energy.


"It's over now."

Shrug. Grapple again for a cigarette. Groan in frustration.


Humm along to the outro.

"Geez, the show is worth watching just for that."

"Yeah, hopefully he won't keep us waiting through the next episode."


Takes a vacant seat. Watches the t.v. in silence.


"You took your time."


"At least you made it near the scheduled hour. Just missed the show too…"


"Sorry, you know how traffic is these days".


"At least you arrived before el pájaro idioto."


Last cartoon in your jacket. Soon you will need to find more.
It's thin, the paper seems almost ready to tear in your hooves as you light it up.
It goes down in a haze of relaxation and cancer, the stuff of dreams.
"You ain't gonna order nothing, hun?"
Lucia's raspy voice calls you back to reality.
The lady of the house calls out to you, soft blue eyes smiling behind a curtain of faux silverware and hanging moldcrystal glasses.
"Hey. I know you guys are all blue and such, but that many guns will scare off the few paying costumers I have.
Got business in the back or are you here just for my smile?"



"The sooner there's an opening in back, the better."


"Yeah, yeah sorry. I'll try to make it on time next time".


"That was the plan. Just waiting for a friend and we'll be on our way."


"I for one enjoy your smile madame".


The smile never wavers through the business like motions, a practiced nod of understanding followed by a jerking of her red maned head.
"He'll see you now. Guns in the spitter, as usual. I know you will play nice boys."
Noise of unoiled hinges spinning, and the thick steel door in the back slides open, space enough for ponies to pass one at a time.
"You mean the fourth misfit? If I see their ugly mutt I'll send it right in with you guys, but don't keep the honored guest waiting, okay?"
She smiles back, almost beaming in her slightly older years.
"You are too much of a charmer for these ugly crooks, kid West."


"Heh, no worries here. We'll keep to ourselves as usual."


Jerk up unevenly and trot toward the back. Without breaking stride, sling my gun down past the door and take up a spot against the wall in back. Nothing new here.


"Your too kind m'lady, I don't have many female friends so I'd like to see you around if your able".

Deposits Revolver and plops down on a seat in the back.


Looks like I'm late already! I will rush in to catch up to those three. I can blame it on the coffee shop not having my flavor, that worked last time. I definitely wasn't up late playing online games.


She rolls her eyes and immediately dismisses you.
"A tiny thing like you, I'd break in two. Hurry along kid Colt, your crew needs you."
Finally your friendly neighbourhood IT helper comes around, and you are set to go.
Crossing through the crawlspace in the back of the café shoots you into a world flooded by cool blue neon light, black stainless walls of steel cold at the touch as a frosty haze envelopes your feet.
The constant whirring and whining of machines counting the infinitely mundane for the infinitely many reminds you, this is a server room. And in the back you see one more of the black monoliths which make up the walls sprawled on its metal length across the floor, and filled with old fashioned paper, pencils, ereasers, loaded guns, cups of espresso and frozen fish sticks out of their Mrs. Pell package.
Behind it, covered in warm clothes during the middle of summer, Japieré. His young, owl like features take a moment to move away from the papers the are glued to.
"My favorite crew."
A 32-teeth smile breaks on his beak, and his talons rub together.
"What do I owe the pleasure?">>652068


"The only reason lowlives ever slink into a server room. Or… one of two, but we don't have any guns on us."


"And hello to one of my favorite but tardy employers. Hope traffic didn't delay you too much."


I just hum along looking at all his machines.
"Oh, just trying to keep cool. Its too hot outside."


"I'm sure you don't, stop the formalities. Sit! There's so much floor to be shared!"
The room, except for his 'desk' and chair, is in fact bare.
"Ah! Leaving my office? What do you take me for, a wojakposting normie?"
As if offended by that, the groof fluffs himself up under his already thick clothes, looking comically impatched.
Satisfied by his own demostration of power, he reclines back on his chair.
"Now, if it's work you want I might have something for you. Well paying contract.
Still got a ship, I hope?"
"You can stay after work hours Rynny~"
Something in his sly smirk and the way he leans forth on the frozen fish sticks doesn't make the offer appealing.


"How else would we have gotten here Japi".


I giggle at him.
"Oh Jay, you know I can't leave these three fools alone in space for more than a minute! They'd break everything."


"One that's sitting on a dock with an empty tank. If the job pays a bit in advance, I can get her running for whatever you need."


Groan silently, eyes rolling back in head, at the display. Instead, continue leaning against the wall and simply listen: it sounds like he's finally getting back to business, if he doesn't get distracted by tail.


"Ey! When the hell was the last I broke something"?


He scoffs, as if joking.
"Knowing Provence's hoof, he might have burnt up your heat shield two kms off the coast and got here swimming in the water reservoir."
"Word. You are half the reason I even give your crew more jobs."
"Pay in advance? No can do the client's on site with the cash.
But I could give you a loan.
Very beneficial interest rate, promise!"
There it is. His shark grin.


"Oh come on, you aren't going to try and make Provence take all the blame for the navigation system crash last month are you?"


"Where's the client?"


His talon spins around, simply pointing up.
And his smirk widens.


"Fine, I always end getting blamed for stuff anyway".


"Well, if I don't take it, none of us are getting paid, isn't it? As long as it's worth our while, I think we can stomach it."

"I'm gonna be straight with ya', I didn't expect it to last as long as it did like that."


"The burro may be happy to take your deals without details, but I'd like some. Let's hear the location – and your so-called 'beneficial' rate."


I'll set you up with a full tank of IS-five and mail your nav the flight path-"
Then, his eyes dart over you, Rynn and Colt West.
"If that's still working."
"Location's a secret. Just now it's a clean place. No cops. No gangs.
It gets better, the client's supposed to be the only one on site!"
Suspiciously, he doesn't say a word about the interest.


I sigh.
"A loan? I guess if that's what it has to be.. "
"Of course its working. Uh, why else would I be so late? But what else can you say about this client?"


"Wow! A job that's is suspiciously easy? Definitely nothing we gotta worry about, right gang"?


"The pay? The cost?"


"The Nav replacement works well enough."

"Just as long as it stays that way. I don't need any more trouble than I already have."


"Ye of little faith. Get this."
He spins on his chair, pulling papers out of a stack on his right.
By the time he's looking back at your lot, he's smiling like a madman. This is the smile of big occasions. The smile he wore when he commissioned that job on the Mistubishi AIs, the smile he had while you told him about the intect cache of biosoft you managed to smuggle on Io, the smile he wore when he was neckfeathers deep in some Big One.
"Archeologist. Found something on Luna, and now wants a clean, off the books pickup team to bring him to Europa's Dome.
He takes a deep breath.
"-Two hundred million yen."
The beak is crooked in a smile so wide, you can see his golden molar dull out in the blue laser light of the server room.
Y200M. Enough to buy a small cruiser.
Ball's in your court.



"Dang it. You ain't never pulled something as big as this over us before. How'd you get your talons on something this juicy?"


"Whoa! Are you serious? You aren't just pulling our leg on this are you? That would be too cruel."


"I'm fast."
He reclines back, talons caressing a black slab of plastic polymers, unmarked buttons jutting out of it in seemingly random places.
It's a cyberspace deck. Custom built. Cowboy stuff.
"Couldn't pull one on my favorite crew! Have I ever screwed you over?"
He stops to think for a second.
"Always available to if you want though!"



"God I hope this won't be too dangerous of a job".


"So, simple snatch and grab, right? Pick up the goods, deliver 'em, walk away wealthy? You better be paying for the fuel on that computer of yours now."


I roll my eyes but can't help smiling.
"Keep giving us jobs like this and I might even to consider it. You sent that mail yet?"


Staring at you with a smile of juvenile glee, he presses a button. His left eye twitches, pulled to the side, and a moment later he's back to reality.
"Your old smeller has a full belly now. And a little extra container you will need to pick up the goods. It's sterile, so don't open the thing. Ever. Is that clear?"
"Don't you trust me, Colt?"
He's already gone, looking at the four of you with the smile of a winner.

"Usual 20% cut for me. But since I'm putting the fuel too, I'll take another 10%."


"60 million is steep, but 140 going four ways is too good for me to pass up…"


"Sorry Japi, but being cautious is preferable to be careless".


"Shoo already! What are you still doing here? Client's waiting for you on Luna, goddamnit! He's paying a new ship outta his pockets for this, you better give him the cocktails with tiny umbrellas and the olives!"


"You better not be lying, I haven't felt this good in a long time. I'm already spending that money in my head."


"Buck's sake! Fine were going featherhead".


"Hmmhm, right, see you when we get back."
And then go to the ship.


After the others have cleared out, I break my silence.

"So you just happen to have the biggest deal you've ever cut on the down low, and we show up by coincidence just in time to sweep it up? We both of us know that even if the package is clean, this kind of money is attracting eyes, paloma."


"If this is a setup, I don't know about it myself."

The door in the back opens, and back comes the torrid air of a packed street.
"One last thing."
With great effort, the ball of sweaters falls back on his chair.
"Don't die out there, alright? New crews ain't easy to come across."

-everyone but Ramirez is now outside of the server room-

"Told you, I know as much as you do. But seeing the place it comes from, this shit is pure. It's real!"
There's a glint in his eyes. The look of a griffon who's tasting the greatest opportunity ever.
"Want to know how I think?"
He falls back on the chair, huffing in exhaustion.


Just gonna keep going until I get to the ship, Ramirez will catch up.


"I am sure you'll say."


Let's get to the ship. Hopefully that tanks is being filled up as we speak!

"ALright, I know something has to happen. I'm happy. You guys are happy. Something has to come along and spoil it…"

"Colt, tell me I forgot to comb my mane."


"Well, nothing left to do but hope for the best".

What? You asking me for? You look fine I guess?


"Psh, worrying that much will make your mane fall out. Just don't let anyone follow us and don't break anything. Easy."


It's a painful process, adjusting back to the heat of Callisto's simulated summer, and the choking sensation of the dense air around you mixes badly with the rovent feeling of asphalt under your hooves.
You rush through a crowd of paddy-hatted tourists from Io, and get a glimpse of chrome ships flying overhead, headed for the vasteness of the black, starry void above your heads, beyond the thin layer of the dome.
Your ship rests on an old, sleek landing pad of pure orange, its rust colored fins acting as landing struts.
Engineers in green and silver striped suits wave at you as a giant hovertank sporting the Shell logo slides away from your ship.
Now who's got the keys?
"The client's an AI."
He seems hestatic, gleeful, beaming of nerdy joy just at the very thought of what he's saying.
"Do you realize the magnitude of this?"
His eyes look into yours for approval.


"Come on, you're supposed to say I did. Or that I left the TV on, or forgot my wallet or somesuch. We need to put the bad luck into something that isn't the ship or us."

"I know, but when this much money is on the line!"


"Oh, um…your fly was down the entire time we were there. Happy? Stop being a ninny".


I'll use a wing to shield myself from the harsh sunlight.
The pilot has the keys of course.


"Yeah, that's good!"

Check, just to make sure he isn't telling the truth.

Get my keys and credentials ready, then hop on inside.


"Rynn already left, so less the excitement about computer junky nonsense."

Straighten, standing under my own power rather than against the wall. "But I do know what it means for security. I'll keep callado. Y20M is highway robbery for fuel, but the pay…"

Turn to go. "Something else doesn't feel right. I don't think you're setting us up, though. You'll get your cut, I'm going to get that ship to Europa if I have to drag it there on one wing."


The three of you walk under the shielding shade of the large, arrowhead shaped ship, trotting slowly under the amphibial ventral decks up to the cargo lift.
Here, a brown, anonymous looking workpony with two days overgrowth of a beard and a worksuit as brown as his coat is snoring, sitting in the driver seat of a delivery truck.
"You always were the real ass in the crew, uh beaner?"
He goes back to his fish sticks as you leave.
"Don't fuck up this contract, it means more to me than you can think."
Join the others?


Yes. No time to dally, it's not my style, either.


"Hey come on buddy, don't wanna get sleeping on the job do ya"?
Wakes up truck driver.


I cringe a little.
"Did you just.."


"Perk of the job, huh?" I knock on his window to wake him.


"Just trying to be nice. Never know when it could help in the future".


You can catch up to them with a slight jog, it's not like you were in there for more than a few moments.
Currently with them as they engage the deliverypony.
You knock on the truck's door, hoofshoe banging on steel, shaking the whole yellow frame of the questionably old wheeled machine.

The workpony inside wakes up with a blink, but seem like the cabin itself is soundproof, because you can't ear him talk.
He points back at his cargo, and then at your ship.


Make a window lowering motion.


"Do we have to load it ourselves?"
I sigh annoyed and look at the cargo.


"Working out will do you well."


The pony inside shakes his head, covering his muzzle with his hooves.
And again, he points at your cargo lift.
The pony shakes his head.


Check to see if there's a problem with the lift.


The lift works. But only Provence can unlock it.


"Oooor you could just open the ship for him."


"Why do I get the feeling this hijo de puta wants ride his pedazo de basura up our cargo ramp?"


"Help me out, let's get this job done pronto."


"Yeah, let's complain after we get paid. Check the other side as Colt and I get this thing going."


"Its too hot for this. Just get beauty queen over there to unlock the ship."


"Alright fine let's get this over with".


"The keys, then."


Pass them over after using them on my end.




'1d10' Guess I'll do 'work' and fly around the ship area to get a look.

Roll #1 9 = 9


After Colt has unlocked the other side, I'll give the ramp a good jolt to make it shake loose and descend.


With a long mechanical whirring and the sound of an airlock opening, the large, flat, rust colored cargo lift of your ship extends down to the burning hot surface of the landing pad.
In a few moments, the cargo operator has mechanical arms open the rear of the truck and deposit a sleek, white, coffin like object right in the middle of your cargo lift.
The object is 4 meters by 2 by 2, with a black rubber line running around the edges of the 30cm long cover of of matte white ceramic. No apparent locking mechanism is in place anywhere.

Without a word, the truck driver leaves.

She's as rusty and banged up as she was two hours ago. The black scars of blaster fire paint the inside corridors, and the capacitor battery running on isogen five isotops purrs in a delightful way as you walk the catwalk of engineering.


"Ahhhh, great to be home sweet ship".


"Whatever that was, I want locked down so hard that it threatens to become a black hole."


Whistle. "I'll go secure the load. Prep the engines."

With that, I'll get on and ride the lift up. Once we're safely in place, find the belts to lock it in, securely against a wall.


"Well I'm gonna leave you guys to that. Cuz' I'm gonna take the blame for this one".


The small, tubular hallways of your wandering home welcome you whining under your steps.
Looks like you have nothing to do now but get ready to jump into space.
You four are the only crewmembers, so I'd suggest giving out orders individually from now on.
Old fashioned safety straps from the year 2016, they never made them any better after that.
You lock the coffin in the vast cargo bay, and are sure it won't fly off if the artificial gravity fails, at least.


"Got it. I'll be checking the coordinates we got."

"Help me check our travel plans. I'd like a second set of eyes to make sure nothing's fishy."


"After this job.. You'll be almost a whole different ship.." I pat the side of a corridor, and probably go to make sure the engines turn on properly or something.


"Sure thing".


"Still empty. A sure sign of a ship that has everything else in the cargo bay pawned."

Now that I have a minute, and I don't have anything else to do… scrutinize the payload. '1d10'

Roll #1 2 = 2


The two of you reach the command deck, with its small hypersteel windows covered by plastic shutters to keep the sun away, and the sparse amount of widgets and toys racked up on the various consoles.
Four chairs of old leather are spread across the deck, one for the navigator, two for the gunner, and one for the captain.
They take up different positions, with the captain chair hanging from the ceiling in the middle of the room, a large screen before it, displaying the course informations.
Both of you, Men checks to figure out the route.
Provence can use his piloting bonus.
Give me a tinker check.
You are out of torpedoes, and only sport phasers right now. Might sound fancy but the truth is, phasers only need energy, torpedoes use precious antimatter.
Try not to tangle with anything too big.


'1d10+2' sure thing

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


"Now, let's see what lies ahead and to the sides and all around."

Piloting Check '1d10+2'

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8


Let's see what we got here?

Roll #1 9 = 9


Let's see what we got here?

Roll #1 2 = 2


Engine's got a strange chirp today. Checking the loading logs you spot the mistake. She's been loaded full to the brim, which ticks over an internal non standard safety mechanism and locks the engine cold after prolonged light-space jumps.
That'd have been annoying!
It's like the groof said. You will be going to Luna, or what's left of it, straight into the debris field of the Luna gate. Might want to take some precautions in case of debris.


"Outside of some extra paint after all the chips she's going to get going there, I'm reading things fine on my end."


"And that donkey was worried about 'luck', ha."
Time to go see if the others are doing alright.


"We should make we aren't torn apart by the debris field".


"I'm more worried bout stray chunks hitting us. But yeah, make sure to test the systems, we don't need more dents in this ship."


Tap my foot impatiently. It doesn't sound like we're making preparations to take off. I guess I'll have to climb up to the bridge.

"What's the hold up?"


Alright I guess I'll make sure our guns work.


Men check please.


"Something wrong up here? I just finished checking the engines so we're good to go.."



Roll #1 3 = 3


"Fuk Mi".


"Gotta make sure the directional thrusters are in order. I'd like to make sure we can actually maneuver in case we hit a bad spot."


Same thing Ramirez noticed. No torpedoes, and blasters only. You will have to be careful with this.


"Last minute checks."

"Anyone inform the base that we're taking off?"


What haven't we checked yet?


"You mean you aren't going to do that mid-flight anymore? Did we get a ticket last time or something?"


Nothing. You are good to go.

For future flights, this is the checklist.
But as a rule of thumb, you can assume things are the same unless you have been in a battle/sabotaged/changed them.




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