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Nova Refuge Story

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#1 Admiral Ackbar

Admiral Ackbar

    Why choose the lesser evil?

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 01:10 AM

I know its not good, but halp plz?
Sergeant McRalin walked into the station, sighing. He turned towards the waiting Xarkonian Officer. “What brings you to Mordark?” he asked impatiently, wishing this Xark fed would leave his gorram district. This was Centrals problem… By the Hells, the Slums could even use this. But here in Port Sector… unnecessary. “We believe there is a fugitive on the loose.” The stubby man said, taking his time. By the Crown… you’re kidding? McRalin thought. He didn’t say it, and the man continued. “This fugitive is believed to be in this vicinity.” A minor interest. Port Sector was mostly a safe, business type area. It was more loyal to Xarkon than Mordark, because all they got was Xarkonian. You came, you sold, you left, and you came back. Or you lived here, you bought, you sold, and did again. Every now and then, a sailor would start some trouble. No big deal: Compared to the slums, it was heaven. ‘A little like Victory’, the joke went. However, it was certainly a place to lay low – full of nobodies and the poor. Or rather wealthy fugitives. “This – well – this ‘man’ although he is not exactly human – is a dangerous and ruthless killer. By all means, he must be stopped.” “Do I get an M.O.? A description?” “That’s up to you to work out. We can’t give you anything… for our own reasons.”

McRalin scoffed. A few witnesses, some drunk, some criminals looking for a deal, and a man scared witless. It looked bad. The first witness was obviously inebriated. He smelled like urine too. “*hic* Well you shee… I schwas walkin’ alaaaang - *hic*- when I shaw this fella runnin’ out of schis joint and the place - *hic* - well it was crawlin’ wif cops and schtuff, and later, later I heard someone was murdered and he was a schifty type and all and…” McRalin shook his head. “Did you get a good look at him?” “Schure did! He had red hair, and orange eyes, and red skin, and he was about 6’7” and…” “Stop talking. Your services are no longer needed.”

The only witness he needed now was the scared man. Allegedly this Mahlok had tried to kill him. He could maybe get something out of this poor old guy.

“James Ulrich… come inside.”
“You aren’t going to hurt me, are you? That Mahlok did enough that yer job should be easy… for The Crown’s Sake I was in a burn center for three days! Damn near burned my eyebrows off-“
“I know Mr. Ulrich. I was the first responder. Well, I mean, after they discovered the fire was arson… I’m also the local Fire Marshal, as you may well know.”
“Okay, we’ll cut to the chase. Just like those Slashrim Scum Hounds have been trying to do to me… they always failed though. I think that’s why this Mahlok character went after me. Never woulda expected some Flame Turd to kick in my door, but hey!”
“Slashrim Scum Hounds?”
“Well, that’s what they call em. They are some kinda mercenary… Slashrim hired for the lone purpose of chasin’ down Scum that wronged the wrong person to wrong… Ya know?”
“So, you fell into a… disagreement… with crime lords?”
“No, I just stopped a beating… Ya know what I mean; I threw in a punch of my own. I was a mighty fine scrapper, back in the slums. The man they was beatin’… well he was a man named Geoffrey Shand. As ye may know… bein’ a cop an’ all, he’s a crime lord. Mighty good one too. I did some work for ‘em… don’t worry, just errand type things, nothin’ big an’ nothin’ illegal. Any ways… well, we don’ keep in touch anymore, but I’m still on his good side an’ all. It’s that other crime lord… that Phaedrus guy. He’s tryin’ to kill me cuz I put on of his goons in the ward that evenin’… well, I keep me a gun - a nice piece, supplied by Shand, onna them GK7’s… and I usually dumped the bodies in the sea… Well, finally, they sent a gorram Mahlok after me. That… that was beyond my comprehension.”

The man was put into protective services, and McRalin went over the clues. Phaedrus had it out for this guy… and probably wouldn’t rest until he was gone. McRalin lit up a cigar – he had one lead, but he definitely did not want to seek out this guy… But he had one other path to take. It was just as crazy, but hey, did he have that many options?

The Nidhogg took off. McRalin knew this was crazy – it was insane to think this could go through. He sighed, and wished the flight was quick – he wanted another smoke.

Xarkonian Federal Penitentiary. All the worst scum in the world were here. All of them – but this cop was only interested in one. He walked down the hallway, with only his destination in mind. “I’ll be a Zygbari fanatic, Steven McRalin! What brings you to X.F.P.?” “A man named Geoffrey Shand. I believe you know him?” Scott Dirks scoffed. “Of course I do. And hate to tell ya, ya ain’t getting in.” he bellowed, almost laughing. “Hmm… You know Scott, we grew up together. There are certain things you’ve done that certainly you would not like to be syndicated in Xarkonian rumor circles.” “So you’re telling me I get dishonorable discharge for letting a visitor in restricted access or dishonorable for burning down an old people home?” “Your choice. But I have a job opening up in Port if it’s the former.”

Scott shook his head. This was insane. But, did he have a choice? He brought McRalin to Cell Block 6, into a secure interview room. Shand waited inside.

“Hello, Officer McRalin.” He said coolly, looking over the duo, lingering on Dirk’s holstered gun.

“It’s Sergeant now, Dirtbag.”
“Now McRalin, that’s uncalled for. I’m not a Dirtbag. I control dirtbag’s. Now, I assume there is a reason for this visit.”
“Ulrich. Hit man. Start talking.”
“Well of course he’s got a hit; I probably would’ve put it on his head if Phaedrus didn’t beat me to it. What’s it too you?”
“You supplied him with a powerful gun, and he even managed too survive everything thrown at him – even the Mahlok.”
“Ah yes. The Mahlok. Is that all you want? Some info on our former Helexith pal? Really?”
“I’m waiting, Scumbag.”
“So I’ve moved up from Dirtbag? Or down? I guess I could help you… personally, don’t know the chap. However, there is one man who rules the hit man business. He supplies The Black Hand and The Gulshbai Syndicate with expendables. We pay, he sends his men to kill. Don’t expect to recognize him in public – I couldn’t do that. Every third day, he waits in the conference room at the Burned Gullet, and I trust you’ve hauled enough drunks from there to know where it is. His rotation starts on New Years, so his next meeting is Friday, Terra Nova Rotation.”
“I’d say thank you, but that would be too much.”
“See you there McRalin! Goodbye!”

See you there? Did this idiot think he could pop out of that Prison, run into Mordark, and make it to Port by Friday? Crazy, perhaps worse. Or did he have someone to transport him? Even more unlikely to be successful.

McRalin arrived back early Thursday. He toured the town, as a civilian, looking for anything inspiring. As he walked, he thought, and he lit up a cigar. A filthy habit, but it was mind numbing. He walked to the station house, when he looked up from his feet. Ahead on the road, a great blaze was burning. The station house was on fire. McRalin ran up the hilly road. He knew for sure what this crap was… and just then, an ablaze figure flew out skyward, and then landed on its feet mere meters away from McRalin. “Sergeant… It’s my pleasure.” The Mahlok Murderer, as McRalin came to know him, bellowed in a gravelly voice. “Stop now. No one else needs to be killed. I have fulfilled my contract. Ulrich lies in a mass of blood and cinders. I made sure every one else in the building and area were clear of the fire. I am done, and so are you. Now leave me alone… or… you may be left burning.” McRalin listened to this monster’s words. He was not one to heed warnings though, and pulled out his pistol, aiming the gun at the Mahlok’s head. “I will shoot you,” was McRalin’s weak reply to the threatening speech. The Mahlok shook its head in a very human manner, then walked away, ‘flaming down’ as it were.

McRalin spent the night at the Burned Gullet, all the while thinking how appropriate the name was tonight. All his officers were safe, but Ulrich was found covered in third degree burns… it seemed the Mahlok started with the arms, legs and other non-fatal regions, then moving into the core region, maximizing pain. The next day, he went downstairs and walked, without permission, into the private conference room.

The large room was very empty. At the end of a large table, a tall man, about 6’8”, McRalin estimated, stood without moving at the end of the table, looking at a datapad on the table, occasionally scrolling down, and nodding. He was in full body armor, black with dark red highlights, and wore a helmet completely covering and hiding his head, in a Victorian Immortal like fashion. However, if this man was who McRalin believed he was, he was not an Immortal. Or, for that matter, anything to do with Victory. “Oh, by the hells, didn’t we kill you!” McRalin said in an amused tone. “You of all people should know not.” The man replied, not looking up. “I’d be damned the day I saw your face again, Dark-Saber.”

“Well? You aren’t going to arrest me, or worse? Are you done chasing me, or just chasing someone else?” Dark-Saber asked in his metallic voice, hidden by the air tight mask.
“Some how I believe you know what I’m after. You always do when we meet.”
Dark-Saber nodded, and McRalin was sure he was smirking. “Give up. That Mahlok is just better than you. He’s one of my best hit men… one of the only ones that blasted Ulrich didn’t kill. But, I was well compensated.”
“Phaedrus pay ya back?”
“For the bodies, 500 Crowns apiece. I think he was frustrated that it took so damn long but… we did our job. Ulrich is dead. He’s a fine man, that Mahlok. He’s quite a good killer, too. He gets a little… crazy, but he excels at his job.”
“Well, you can start by giving me his name, and any other info you see fit.”
Dark-Saber laughed, and as he laughed, McRalin could see him doing the same earlier that year. Back when they last met…


McRalin was just an aspiring cop, working a double homicide for his Chief. His leads finally brought him to an old ware house. He entered through a side entrance, and saw a gathering of wealthy land owners, notorious criminals, and the man he hunted, the mysterious, tall, masked man in black.
Geoffrey Shand shook his head. “Phaedrus, my man, this cannot go on. I know we’re rivals, but if we work together, we can avoid violence, and overcome enemies together. Everyone wants it… it seems only you don’t.”
Phaedrus snorted loudly. “I don’t need help. I have a syndicate large enough to take down anything, and you aligned with every other gang lord is gonna be nothing against my power.”
A muscular man in a black business suit leaned forward in his chair. “Shand, the only alliance necessary here is already in affect. Attention all members of The Crime Lords Guild: As of know, the Dark Hand brotherhood and the Black Brotherhood have come together to form the Black Hand. As of now, all other gangs are either subservient or an enemy.”
McRalin knew the man: A high class real estate owner named Dos’tuari Kythena. Dos, as his friends called him. Kythena, as the rest called him.
Geoffrey Shand stormed out of the warehouse, passing by the crates McRalin was hiding behind and whispered a greeting to the officer. “Does everyone know I’m here?” he whispered back, and was answered when a large hand grabbed him by the back of the neck and lifted him up. He was thrown onto the table everyone was gathered around.
“Thank you, Dark-Saber.” Phaedrus said to the man. McRalin turned to face the man. The murderer. Phaedrus and the rest of the gang lords began to leave.
“Leave no evidence.” Phaedrus cackled as he walked out.

McRalin knew he was done for. He kicked out at the man, striking him in the chest. Dark-Saber flew a short distance, quickly regained his composure, and drew a blade. McRalin stood up, and tried to take away the long knife. They fought over it, and eventually the knife was on the ground, forgotten, as the two men struggled. Eventually McRalin got the upper hand, dropped the bounty hunter on the crates he hid behind, and drew his service pistol. “Grade A explosives. Enough to blow up a Vic cruiser.” He shot the crates. Mistake for him, because the explosion took him down too.

McRalin’s flashback was interrupted when, of all people, sure as day, walked in Geoffrey Shand.
“Told you, Sergeant. Don’t ask how – you don’t wanna know. Turns out you get to sit in on a big meeting. Dark-Saber, get him secure.”
“Well, the last time you sat in, you tried to blow me up. Almost worked but… well, trade secret. Sit over there, and don’t talk.”

Phaedrus walked in, looking arrogant. “Get me a coffee… long flight from the Grimm Isles. You wouldn’t believe who I sat next too… some jerk merc for Grimm, wouldn’t shut up…”
Dos Kythena sat next to him. “Well, sir, when you moved, I managed to persuade him to become an aid to our cause. Annoying little bugger, that Jayhenn fellow.”
Dark-Saber twitched. “That’s a name I don’t wanna here, ever again, understand? That little cretin’s not worth the dirt he walks on. I hope he’s an expendable, cuz you ain’t gettin’ anything outta him but words.”
Phaedrus nodded.
Shand shook his head impatiently. “Let’s get to business, please. I didn’t come here to discuss nuisances found on long flights.
“Now, I know we’ve had our falling outs, but there are a few matters to discuss. Number one, and most importantly, our plans to capture the shipment of Jotuns headed to Xarkopolis failed. There were too many Valkyries over head. It was a valiant effort though. We lost quite a few men, mostly just peons.
“Secondly, as everyone here knows, including you, Mr. McRalin, our Mahlok hit man is on the loose and killing at random. Sergeant, you may want to take notes here. Our friend, Jaklir, is currently headed to the Grimm Isles looking for more upper class work.
“Ever since he left Helexith, he has been working on and off for Grimm. It seems he will not return to this area. Although, quite ironically, he has put out a hit on someone. A certain Sergeant. A certain, Mr. McRalin.”
The table laughed menacingly. Dos walked to McRalin, knife out. Just as he was about to slit the man’s throat, another knife struck his hand.
Dark-Saber stood in combat stance, ready for anything they could throw at him.
“I of all people know that is a lie.”
McRalin thought it was because he was Lord of the Hitmen. Dark-Saber took off his helmet. McRalin let out a swear then looked him in the glowing orange eyes.
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#2 Phaedrus


    find inner soul

  • Nova Member
  • 3,913 posts

Posted 08 April 2008 - 07:16 AM

biggrin.gif Of course I saw this before. Quite epic. But just remember Kenny, to start a new paragraph every time someone talks. wink.gif

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