"Friendship is truly tested when it's time to share the burden"
"I have to go" Jac said to the bronze beauty sprawl next to him, the dirty hotel room smelled of his mothers cookies and it was driving him nuts. The blonde woman ignored him as she rolled over on her belly and played with his communicator, pictures of mars scrolled over the screen.
"Seriously, they're waiting for me" Jac pleaded with her back as he made to get up, but he had of course left his legs on the chair next to bed, typical. Above them a three-headed bird flew by.
Jac looked around for his tools, maybe he could jury-rig something, "Hey babe, have you seen my sisters, I'm sure I left them around here somewhere"
The woman turned her face back toward him, her face was gone, instead chrome and glass reflected the surrounding light like a rainbow halo, the world was losing color and all the light was hurting him suddenly.
"You going to wake up soon or what, Doc?" She asked in a deep male voice.
Doc looked up at Liam, the marine looked back at him.
Oh right, the … robot …
The Terran smirked "You mumbled some weird shit, man" Liam checked Jac's vitals before getting up "John needs you to start earning your keep" he pointed at the console next to them, then reached down to help the engineer up.
"He's up! Good." John strode over to them, behind him in the dark Red was packing up a large bag and wrapping up something that looked like a large caliber rifle.
"How long was I out, and what happened?" Jac rubbed his eyes, they felt like the were screwed in the wrong way in his head and filled with sand.
John opened his visor and sighed "It can wait Doc, what's important is that while we were getting free somebody snuck in here and messed around with that console" He jerked his thumb at the computer access behind him. "Someone with some pretty high tech gear and impressive training."
Behind Jac, Red snorted "Made us look like rookies" he mumbled before dragging his haul out the door.
John watched him go before continuing "So I need you to figure about what this is all about, fast preferably, we've already been here too long". Jac felt like he could hear the grinding of teeth in the room … the realized that he was the one doing it.
"No pressure then." he said acidly, and gave the large man a deathly grin before wobbling past him to the machine waiting for him.
The grinding sound was getting a bit louder, he tongued his molars while staring at the blinking lights on the display.
No, it's not me making that sound now. It's almost mechanical, like … Oh shit!
Jac grabbed his kit and started plugging in, with some luck he might save something from the drive before it turned into metal dust.
Behind him he heard Liam ask "Do you smell something burning? a bit metallic like?"
Didn't check it for contingencies of course! Amateurs!
John slammed his glass back on the table "But Doc saved some bits of it" he glanced at the tired engineer "What did you say it was?"
Doc was resting his head on the back of the couch, his veins felt like they were filled with tar and coffee, courtesy of the tiredness from the beating that robot had given him, and the drugs he had popped to keep standing.
"Some coordinates without specifics for what planetoid or object they reference, some vague hints pointing at the Synesis Eluteria …" slowly he raised his head and stared at his companions. "And a scrambled file where I managed to dig out the words Vega and Hygiena … Ring any bells, Periastron?"
There handler was sitting, no – he was lounging in one of the padded chairs at Tyrones, fingers collected and steepled in front of him in a pyramid, like a caricature of a thoughtful man.
The fucking fedora and trench coat wasn't improving the image in Jac's eyes either.
"That … That's not a good place to visit if you like breathing" he frowned "corporate owned, and restricted from entry for .. well, everybody mostly." He looked away, lost in thought.
Liam took a sip of his neon drink "That's the place where people don't return from right? They have the right to shoot you down if you go past the warning buoys there … Shit" he turned to John "please tell me we're not going there."
John was watching Periastron under hooded eyes "No, we're not going there" he kept his eyes on their handler as he spoke "Our fee just went up, P."
The handler snapped out of his reverie and looked over at the large pale man sitting across from him, they eyed each other for a while before he broke the silence with a faint smile.
"Of course, John."
"Caelestis Control, this is the 'Angelica', we're ready to begin our trip out, standing by for a lane"
"We read you Angelica, there is a lane opening up for you, align with vectors 650, 300, and await our go"
"This is the 'Angelica', we are aligned and ready."
"Then you are green for departure, safe travels."
"Thanks Caleastis, we'll be back before you know it"
"You better John, you still owe me that dinner."
"There, course set" John turned back to his friends in the cockpit
"Get some rest, in 5 cycles we return to the Nova Terra."