Orphan Ch. 01byJosephBarnosky©
And what are you gonna do about it bitch?" the heavily muscular man with no shirt and the crew's captain asks as he withdraws his two sheathed swords.
"This," Celaeno Alcyone says slamming her sword into the deck and pulling out a pistol. She points it at the man's head that she has on his knees and before he has a chance to object Celaeno pulls the trigger. He falls back to the deck. The crew stops what they are doing and begins reaching for their own weapons. Celaeno grabs her second pistol and fires rapidly into the captain and first two crew members she sees holding their own pistols. She slides the guns away, back into their respective holsters and then pulls her sword free. "Let any man that wishes to face me do so now!" Celaeno yells. "Your captain is dead and I aim to take over this ship. You can join him if you like or you can serve me and live."
Most of the crew looks to each other not really sure how serious she is or if she would be able to take them all on. A group of five men step forward ending the debate. The remaining four of the crew lower their weapons and form a semi-circle around those men and Celaeno. The ship isn't too large being a Hydin Shipyards Stingray Corvette named Old Blue, but there is definitely enough room to do battle. The ship with its maneuverability, speed, weaponry and cargo space, which is currently nearly empty, is favored by sky pirates for a reason after all.
She knows that if these men lose the rest of the crew, what few there are, are hers and if they win—well she isn't about to let that happen. "Very well," she says. "I'll send you to your deaths then."
The five men spread around her thinking an all around attack would end the battle quickly. The first comes in at her back with a thrust. Celaeno spins around with the tip of her sword pointed toward the ground effectively blocking the attack. Using the momentum of the turn, she continues and blocks the next attack to her now exposed back and blocks the attack in the same manner. She lets the men stay on the offensive blocking each of their attacks in turn. She is putting on a show for the crew to demonstrate her prowess and allowing the men attacking to believe that they have the upper hand.
After some time Celaeno turns from defense to offense. Playtime is now over. The next sword to come at her, she locks blades with giving the pirate a false sense of attack. She takes a step in toward the man and produced a pistol and shoots him through the chest. Without missing a beat Celaeno turns and fires at the approaching man to her immediate right. He faces a fate similar to the first. He drops his sword and stumbles back falling into the arms of waiting crewmen and dead before his body is lowered to the deck.
The remaining three men stop their approach and step back slightly. They already know that using a pistol could increase the chance of blowing a hole through the hull and sending the ship down toward the ground. As much as each man wants to use their own pistols, they realize the danger and grip their swords even tighter. Once again they split apart and one of them faces her while the other two approaches from opposite sides.
"You stupid bitch," the one facing Celaeno says. "You think you're so smart? We'll see how smart you are when we send you out the airlock to the city below."
"Then what are you waiting for?" Celaeno mocks sliding her pistol away and gesturing from them to attack her.
The man looks to the other two and gives them a wink and then attacks. Celaeno waits until the last possible moment then steps back as the two men at her sides thrust in. She drops her sword and grabs both men's wrists and pulls them together; their swords stabbing through each other. Now with his prey unarmed, the man feels certain she would fall quickly enough. But before he can take two steps, Celaeno whips out an object from behind her back, which quickly unfolds into a compound bow. A split second later she is releasing a metal tipped arrow that slams with such force into the man's head that it slings it backward along with the rest of his body to the deck.
Celaeno bends over to reclaim her sword and looks around at the crew. "Is there anyone else that wishes to challenge me?"
As an answer, the crew drops their weapons to the deck in surrender. They are smart enough to know when to attack and when not to. "Good," she says smiling. "Get rid of these bodies and set a course for New Paris."
Once the bodies are dumped from the airlock and the corvette set on course, Celaeno returns to the cargo bay to inspect the few crates sitting in the near empty cargo bay. There isn't much as far as goods go that can be used to gain some fast cash. New Paris is only a stepping stone for her real destination and though she has assets there, getting them could prove to be hard about now.
The Divortium has tightened the noose around her and here lately it has made things rather difficult for Celaeno. Now is one of those times and she barely made it out of Ireland. If not for this sky pirate ship leaving port when it did, she'd probably be in an interrogation cell right now. As it stands, she is safe or at least as safe as she can get.
"What are you doing there love?"
Celaeno recognizes the voice right away as the ship's first mate. He was one of the four scared shitless crew that stayed back and watched their comrades get slaughtered.
With a slight smile, completely hidden from the filthy man, Celaeno says, "It is not the crew's position to as their captain of her actions nor is it any of their business."
The man stops for a brief moment and all the she can hear is his heavy breathing. Even though Celaeno only has the two pistols at her side with her hands just within reach of them and her back turned to him, she knows he is clearly running different scenarios through his head.
To help him along and get it over with Celaeno crosses her arms across her chest and says, "If you plan to use that knife, I suggest you do it. Otherwise you can take your lowlife piece of shit ass back to the command deck and take worry about something else than my business."
The gruffly looking sky pirate, who is easily twice her size, grunts as he leaps forward and strikes out. Celaeno spins to allow the knife blade to harmlessly slide past her. She brings up her right hand, grabbing the man by the wrist then her left elbow to strike at his, effectively snapping his arm. The knife is instantly released by the sky pirate and clatters to the deck. With near lighting speed, Celaeno whips out her sword and spins to cut through his leg at the knee, dropping him to the ground. She continues with the momentum turning it into a spin, lashing out for the man's head, but instead misses by mere inches as he ducks down.
As his arm hangs limp at his side, the sky pirate pulls his word free with his off hand and swings upward attack that Celaeno has to jump backward to avoid. Her back slams against the wall. Celaeno's rebound sends her back toward him and their blades clash tightly together, putting them in a standstill. "I am stronger than you, even with my off hand," the sky pirate saying with a rancid breath.
"You only wish asshole," Celaeno replies driving her knee up into his groin. The impact almost doubles him over leaving him vulnerable and she doesn't waste any time.
But the sky pirate isn't as slow as Celaeno hopes. As she reaches down to withdraw a pistol he pivots using his strength to force her blade to the side and ram his blade into her left shoulder, pinning her to the wall. She winces from the pain as he smiles. Then as quickly, Celaeno returns the smile before firing three shots into the man's chest, sending him backward and onto the deck.
"Well, at least I only have to worry about three now," she says to herself as she pulls the sword free from her shoulder.
As she slides toward the deck, she uses her sword to brace herself from doing so. The last thing she needs right now is the remaining crew rushing down to see what transpired and believe they could attack while weakened. Quickly, she slides away her pistol and takes the first step toward the cargo bay entrance, aiming to cut off any of the other's entrances.
Celaeno pulls the knife across the throat of the final crewmen, spilling his blood over the deck just as the landing deck situated just five hundred yards east of and half a mile above the Eiffel Tower is coming into view. She releases her grip of the man, dropping his body onto the deck. She looks out of the viewport and the landing deck looks like any other, but something nags at her in the back of her mind. Celaeno shrugs off the feeling and settles into the navigator's chair.
The winds over New Paris aren't troublesome and without much effort she settles the craft on the platform with a smooth thump. If she is lucky, she can sell the ship in a matter of hours and pick up something else. The only trouble is finding a way to dispose of the bodies.
It wasn't too hard of a choice, whether to keep the remaining crew alive or not. Considering at some point they may realize just who she was, if they didn't already, would make things harder for her. Besides, if she let them live then she wouldn't have a means to get funds unless she withdrew from whatever assets she has in New Paris. But then of course that would send up red flags and she would be right back at square one.
Once the ship settles, Celaeno flips switches and pushes buttons, powering down the corvette. She takes a deep breath before lifting herself from the chair. She still has a ways to go to get to Egypt and meet with her contact. After that, a whole new leg of her journey was going to begin. Fighting against the Divortium is not the easiest task in the world, especially when they control it all and that is in the literal sense.
She takes one more look through the viewport at New Paris. The last time she was here was a couple years after the city was bombed. Much of what she had as far as assets were concerned were lost and what she did have left she had to relocate. Luckily the banks still had records of money, so she hadn't lost any. Of course she never used her real name for such transactions and all her accounts all over the world are still open, but there never is any telling just which of those names the Divortium know of and if they are monitoring them. Normally something so trivial would be just that, but in the heat of things recently, she can't take any chances.
Her eyes catch the Eiffel tower, a gleaming monument that has miraculously survived all this time and somehow through the bombing of the city all those years ago. All those years ago seem like a lifetime for Celaeno. It was a different time and she was a different person then.
"What changed?" she says aloud in the silence of the cockpit.
It could have been the war or it could have been a change in the Divortium. It very well could have been something else, any number of things. Nonetheless, her life changed and unless she fulfills her job, nothing is going to change. Celaeno lets a small smile spread across her face as she turns to exit the cockpit. When this is all over, things will be different. It won't be the same as before but it won't be the same either.
She strides through the ship quickly, having no need to secure anything. Everything she needs is already on her persons or in her head. The faster she sold the ship, secured a new one and left New Paris the better.
Not soon enough.
When she reaches the door she places her hand just over the door and ramp release when that unsettling feeling comes back over her. She shakes her head while making a mental note that of all the weapons she has are well within their normal places for easy accessibility.
With a deep breath, Celaeno presses the button and the door quickly slides up out of view and the ramp drops with a hiss. Except for the usual crew running about on the landing platform, everything looks normal and nothing out of place. She lets out the breath and proceeds down the ramp.
Must just be the nerves.
Immediately Celaeno spots the terminal for and air taxi down to the surface. She presses the exterior release to close the ship back up. Before making the landing, Celaeno reprogrammed the passcode and override so that only she would be able to access the ship.
She stays alert as she steps away from the corvette and begins trekking across the expanse of the platform toward the terminal. Celaeno is always on guard, only dropping her guard when she sleeps, but even then she is at the ready with some form of a weapon at her disposal. It is what has kept her alive this long and there isn't any reason to change that habit now.
She is about half way across when suddenly a Divortium Troop Transport comes into view over the edge of the landing platform. Celaeno, in an instant, turns to sprint back toward her ship when an identical ship appears on the opposite side.
"Son of a bitch," she mutters under her breath as she draws both pistols in anticipation for a showdown.
The doors on either ship swing up, giving view to each ship's interior bay. Immediately Celaeno knows who has the upper hand, not that she'd figure any less, especially with her status and the value of her head on a platter.
From inside pour out soldiers dressed in black tactical uniforms and identically black helmets, carrying assault rifles and combat knives at both the left leg and shoulder. Their weapons are enough to rival hers, but still Celaeno is pretty confident she could take them all out and still survive. Maybe not unscathed, but alive.
Then come out the Miska Assault Mech T-160s. Two from each ship. Both are mounted with T-160 Gatling guns, no doubt with armor piercing rounds. Inside they carry a highly trained trooper and on the outside a pair of arms able to carry an additional assault rifle or two. These ones are without the rifles, but not doubt can handle anything she can throw at them. Well, almost anything. She has taken out a few with her sword in the past.
As Celaeno drops into a low crouch, ready to spring into action, her adrenaline is raised even more when she sees Renus Brish. He is dressed in a similar fashion as the troops, but whereas they have matching helmets, his face is hidden behind one that looks like a skull. Armed with a larger two handed sword, one that rivals her own, and a multitude of knives, he stands out notoriously from the rest.
With a gravelly voice he says, "Celaeno Alcyone, you have a warrant on your head. Drop your weapons and surrender yourself. I will not ask twice."
The Divortium is a lot more serious about bringing her in than she thought, especially if they are sending in one of the Ternion, the best of the best. But what intrigues her more is how they knew she would be coming to New Paris and when. It's no coincidence, especially with the Divortium.
Celaeno grins momentarily before changing her expression to a neutral one. "I suppose if I resist, you won't hesitate to command these fine troopers to open fire upon me."
Renus Brish lets out an equally gravelly laugh. Any facial expressions he is displaying are well hidden beneath the helmet that looks just like a skull. Abruptly, he cuts the laughter and glares harshly at Celaeno. "As much as I would enjoy seeing you cut down, I am under strict orders to bring you in alive. Now drop your weapons and surrender yourself."
Celaeno smirks. "I thought you said you weren't going to ask twice. But technically you weren't asking were you?"
If she is going to die here or be captured, why not have a little fun?
Renus holds up his right hand and flicks his wrist. In response, a small group of the Divortium's Immortals steps forward. Celaeno remembers seeing schematics of these guys, but never thought she would have the opportunity to see the project happen. Inside she laughs to herself. It is a hell of a way to do so.
Each of the Immortals look the same showing no difference or any way to tell any two apart. Their suits look very mechanical yet very flexible and durable like a ninja's clothing. If she recalls correctly, the schematics showed an organic element integrated into them. Donning their heads are faceless masks with two red coverings over their eyes that more than likely offered a degree of visual choices throughout the light spectrum and possibly more. And of course, each carried only a single katana, meaning that each was highly trained and more than likely enhanced by their suits.
The Divortium is serious, very serious, about bringing her down. At least they wanted her alive. Well, that may not quite be a good thing.
Celaeno shrugs and says nonchalantly, "Well if you insist on taking me in, I am not going to make it easy on you."
She slides her pistols back into her holsters at her sides and reaches behind to withdraw her sword.
Renus lets out a sigh. "I expected no less from you Orphan."
The name brings a smile to Celaeno's face. "You boys at the Divortium are still calling me that?"
Renus clutches his own sword a little tighter and then simply says, "Take her."
They rush Celaeno quickly and she matches their pace with unparallel speed, bringing her sword up across the first attacker's chest, nearly cleaving him in half. Before the blood can splatter across the ground, her sword and body are swinging around to deflect an incoming blow. Her sword glances off the attacker's and with a quickly turn of her wrists, brings her weapon back around and across his throat.
Celaeno ducks beneath a horizontal strike then dives and rolls over another. She is on her feet before either attacker can turn around. Before she can even attempt to finish off either attacker Celaeno is met by a third that manages to catch her off slightly off guard. He maneuvers his blade toward her wrist, but Celaeno manages to get her arm out of the sword's path as not to lose it at the wrist. But the maneuver doesn't come without a cost. Instead of the attacker's blade taking her hand, his blade strikes the hilt of Celaeno's sword and jars it lose. It clatters to the deck leaving her temporarily defenseless.
The Immortal doesn't miss a beat and quickly lunges at her, driving his blade straight at her midsection. Celaeno spins to the outside, allowing the sword to completely miss while grabbing her attacker's wrist and violently twisting it back in toward him. Bones snap audibly and the sword instead drives deep into his gut. By the time his body hits the deck Celaeno has out compound bow out and firing arrows in quick succession into the two previous attackers, dropping both of them to the deck as well.
"I hope you have something better to offer," she says spinning around, with an arrow at the ready, toward Renus.
The man, however, is not there. Instead she faces the mass of soldiers still gathered and immobile with their weapons trained on her. A moment later something slams into Celaeno's back that sends her reeling forward. She releases her grip on the bow in order to compensate for the fall as the deck comes rushing at her. With her hands free, she uses the momentum to carry her body forward into a roll. At the last moment she twists, turning her body around with both pistols out and aimed at the spot she, just a moment ago, occupied and fires.
Renus is already in the process of rushing her when the bullets rocket toward him. Without breaking momentum he waves two swords back and forth in front of him and deflects every bullet. As he reaches Celaeno he uses skill and speed to slap the broad side of each sword against her wrists, forces her grip to release on the weapons before spinning to drive his foot into her chest with a side kick.
The blow knocks Celaeno hard. The air in her lungs is immediately released into the air and she is on her back before her mind can process her body falling. It all happens so fast that she does not have time to think about ensuring her head doesn't bounce of the platform beneath her.