A man stood alone on a winding trail in a vast desert, some greenery was scattered about
and occasional wildlife came into view. The man was tall, wearing an eyepatch over his
left eye, a five o’clock shadow and scars all around his face. He had black hair, gruffy and
untamed. He appeared to be wearing a dark brown poncho with a few horizontal black stripes with some tearing on the edges and looked as if it had seen better days. On his legs he wore a pair of dark rodeo jeans and a pair of brown boots hidden by his pants, two holsters hung around his waist both holding some Iron. His hands hung by his sides wearing fingerless gloves.
The man sighed reaching inside his poncho with one of his hands a pulled out a cigar with
brand of an Asian red dragon blowing fire. He put the cigar into his mouth and took out
a lighter with Chinese markings on both sides and light it. The man enjoyed his smoke for a while constantly looking into one direction as if waiting for someone.
Soon enough someone headed down the trail or rather two, a wagon with blocks of metals with wires sticking out causing it to hover, instead of wheels. Holding the reins on two horses, were two Asian men wearing blue dusters and a bowler hats. The one on the right carrying a pump action shotgun. The men looked tense when they noticed the man waiting on the road and stopped some feet away allowing the one holding the shotgun to dismount and and take a look.
“Miao stranger,” The poncho wearing stranger said letting his smoking cigar hang out the corner of his mouth.
“Throw your gun to the side,” The man said walking down the path.
“Easy there,” The stranger said raising his hands. The man pulled back the pump of the shot gun and aimed it at his head.
“Whatever you say pal,” The stranger slowly reached for his holster until a gunshot broke out from the distance and the man on reigns of the hover wagon fell off from a bullet to the head. The shotgun wielding man turned his head to the wagon for a moment. The poncho wearing stranger took his chance and quick drew his right pistol fast as lighting, a black slightly looking revolver, looking as if handgun had melded with it and emptied two bullets into the man before he he turned back. As the man fell to the ground, the stranger nodded to himself as the smoke from his gun cleared out and with a twirl holstered it.
“Ken?” He said raising his wrist revealing a long leather band with a communicator attached to it.
“Yeah I know I’m coming down Captain,” A voice rang out from the opposite end. About a mile away overlooking the sight, Ken was stationed holding a bolt action sniper rifle, he was wearing a long dark brown duster, with combat fatigues and boots he had a pair of tinted goggles wrapped around his forehead. He had short brown hair and a short mustache. Taking the strap of the sniper rifle around his shoulder, he began to make his way down to the Captain.The captain made his way to the wagon dragging the dead man with the shotgun by his legs. He took a breath and switched the frequencies on his wrist communicator.
“Yukkiko, come in”
A few miles east from the site a shape ship was parked, it was a large vessel of a steel grey color with dents and burn marks all around. It resembled an upside down flashlight from the top. It’s hull extended downward on both sides stopping together to form a slight piece of metal on the bottom with three thrusters on the back nod the cockpit close by peeking out. The words Exile were written on the side both in English and Chinese characters, with what looked like a faded flag of green with yellow stripes and black star in the center of it. Inside the cockpit, Yukkiko was stationed, sitting on the chair with her feet up on console and steering, reading a book with a cartoonish magical girl on it.
“Yukkiko.”She didn’t respond
“Yukkiko!” The captain yelled louder.
“Wha!” She said flinging her manga across the cockpit.
“We’re done pick us up.” She smiled as she pressed put tons on the consoles and the whole ship awoke.
“You got it Landon,” she smiled as she gripped the controls.
Yukkiko, was a tall fair haired Asian beauty, with her hair tied back into a ponytail, she was wearing a green shirt that said kiss my ass in Chinese and a brown leather bomber jacket with the words top gun on it. Complete with some black pants with knee high boots. The ship slowly lifted from the ground as the thrusters switched down along with smaller ones located in the front to stabilize it, the ship lifted off the ground until it gained enough altitude and began to fly to the direction of Keith and Landon. Yukkiko smiled as she put the ship into full throttle reaching across the Barents desert scattering the sand into the wind.
“Yukkiko.” A voice called out out from the entrance of the cockpit, a woman with long brown hair tied halfway by a ribbon with some freckles on her face. She wearing a brown jacket, cowboy boots and speaking with a thick outer rim accent, walked into the cockpit.
“What is Annie.”
“Are we going to pick up Landon?”
“Yeah, you want to get Ben and standby in the Cargo hold to get the shipment in.”
Annie nodded, “Alright then.” She said walking from the cockpit, down a short hallway to a staircase, making her way past a few of the crew mates’ rooms, the break room and finally to the kitchen. The kitchen was a fairly sized room connected to dining room allowing easy access to the main table for meals, with a television embedded in the wall. Ben was walking around getting ingredients to stand against the table where occasional rumbling from ship knocked it over. Ben was an old timer, with grey hair drowning out any natural black he had, with a nicely trimmed beard. He sported a Chinese styled shirt with the sleeves rolled up, suspenders going over it with some cargo pants tucked into weathered grey boots and around his waist was a pistol holstered in the front.
“Ben?” Annie said walking into the kitchen, Ben looked away from his food preparation at Annie causing some eggs to roll off the counter and crack.
“Damn it…oh sorry I’m guessing that we’re picking up the captain.” He said bending over to clean up the mess, “Would be nice to get a goram warning before we lift off.”
Annie sighed and nodded, “I know, let’s head down to the cargo bay.”Ben wiped his hands and made his way with Annie. The cargo hold was a large area with a walkway and railing overlooking it, crates and barrels were packed tightly together to the floor. A switch panel was attached on one of the walls allowing the giant door to open easily. Another woman was looking through a opened crate.
“Doc?” Annie said walking down to the woman.
“Mrs. Quinn” Ben said giving Quinn a nod before making his way to the door panel.
“Ah Annie, I was just picking up a spare part for the med station,” the young dark skinned woman said showing a small silver cylinder. She was wearing a white tank top and brown buck skin pants, along her waist was a utility belt of sorts with minor medical tools for on the go.
“Good to here Doc, hey listen we’re flying down to pick up Cap and Ken.”
“Ah I see there done from their hijacking or requiring more goods?”
“Yup, looks like we’re gonna get ourselves a mighty paycheck.”
“Good, we could use with some more supplies and some prime quality food countdown hurt.”
“Yeah that’s for sure, hate that we’re getting payed from Chen, almost as bad as that other
“Tell that to Landon…er the captain next time.”
“I gotcha” With some other small talk Quinn walked out of the cargo bay allowing Ben and Annie to help load up the goods. Back at the trail, Landon was in the back of the wagon trying to break open the many crates piled on, while Keith put the bodies humorously on a cactus.
“Yeah” Landon said looking over the crates to Ken.
“How these guys get ahold of Chen’s shipment?” Landon put his attention back to opening the crate.
“Don’t know said something about these two skimming off the stuff in one of their deals.” After a moment the crate opened, Landon gave a short smile and reached inside and pulled
out an assault rifle.
Ken whistled impressed, “Man Chen really wanted these back, look like 7X Fang assault rifle, pricy stuff.”
“Yeah, and Chen’s paying good money to get them back,”
“Might have to nab one or two for the armory.” Ken said rubbing his hands together. Landon chuckled, as the ship came into view and began to slow down and land nearby, with
some hustle Ken hopped on the wagon and London got the horses to trot on over to the ship.
The giant cargo door opened itself moving down word becoming a ramp to get on through.
“Captain” Ben and Annie said in unison as Landon and Ken rode on through with the hover wagon.
“No problems I take it.” Annie said walking up to the horses.
“Nothing we could take care off.”
“Two former members of the the E.S.A agency, two trained browncoats, please you’d need twenty to make it a fair fight.”
“Ben please…..keep talking.” Ken said taking a crate off the wagon.
“You guys good?” Landon said dismounting.
“Fine and shiny, we can unload from here.”
Landon nodded, “Annie do me a favor and stay with the horses until we get off ground, last thing we need is for them to panic. Call me when you’re done unloading so we can get of this
xiong mao niao off the planet.” Landon said climbing the up to the upper level of the ship.
“You got it.” The three crew members said sounding off. Landon walked down the corridors before being stopped by Quinn.
“Doc” Landon said stopping.
“How are you feeling? Nobody shot?”
“Only the ones needing to be.”
“What about your eye any better?” Landon sighed before beginning to walk again with Quinn alongside.
“Your medicine has been a good try, but I’m afraid it ain’t restoring my sight in the lefty.”
“Hmm we could try a mixture of microfillin and rose blood to see if it…”
“Don’t bother Doc, only way I’ll get to see again is by getting to a high tech optic surgeon, and with their fees I’m going to be seeing one sided for a long while.”
“We can still try.”
Landon stopped and turned to Quinn, “I appreciate the sentiment, but as long as I got my other eye then I can shoot straight, focus on patching up the other stuff, shiney.”
Quinn looked down looking frustrated, “Shiney”
“Good” Landon began walking again, “we’ll be hitting Hermes in a few hours, when the crew finishes, see me about making a list on what to resupply.”
“Understood.” She nodded turning into her med station as the captain went straight to the cockpit.
“Landon” Yukkiko said turning around in her chair, “We made the grab?”
“Yeah, and it’s Captain.”
“Give me a raise and I’ll call you whatever you want.” Yukkiko said grinning.
“What about docking your pay?”
“Bite me… Captain”
“It’s a start.”
“Captain?” Bens voice came out of a speaker by Landon,
“We’re good to fly?” Landon said grabbing hold of the intercom
“Just closed the doors.” Landon turned off the ship communicator and looked at Yukkiko.
“Get us flying” She nodded cracking her knuckles and and flew the Exile into the air. The ship’s engines fired off and ship gained altitude making it’s way from the planet.
“Let’s see we’re on Robinson’s Moon so getting to Hermes will take three hours at most.” Yukkiko said looking at an overhead monitor showing a map of the system.
“Good, when then we can give Chen his guns and get our paycheck and resupply.”
“Know what’s the next job?”
“Not sure, I hear Badger may have something but he’s dealing with another Captain, the Twins might have something but their out a bit far.” Landon said taking out a fresh cigar and lit it up leaning on the console as the ship slowly exited the planet’s atmosphere into space.
“Custer might have a few runner jobs we can do and maybe some small security work.”
Yukkiko nodded, ” Mind if I play some music?”
Landon blew out some smoke “Go for it.” Pushing a blue button and another dial the ship was filled Thin Lizzy’s Cowboy Song.
(Come back next week for chapter two!)