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((Author's note: What you're about to read is an experiment of sorts, meant to simulate a cutscene. It was originally posted on the WSRP forums on Friday, August 15th in three separate parts. I'm posting it all here because it may or may not factor into future RP storylines. That all having been said, enjoy!))
08/12/1665, 1900 hours
"To any armed Exile craft within range of this transmission, this is the privateer vessel Tranquility, requesting assistance! We're several minutes out from the planet Nexus and carrying precious cargo addressed to Dorian Walker! Our approach vector placed is square in the crosshairs of a Dominion fighter patrol, and we're havin' a helluva time shakin' 'em off!" At this, almost as if some part of him wanted to emphasize the severity of the situation, self-proclaimed Captain Marcus Bowenford (who would look like the top left character from this image if I had my way) performs a truly death defying maneuver in an attempt to shake at least one of his pursuers. Turning the old fashioned steering wheel as hard as it could go to the right, Marcus takes the Tranquility into the rings of the Eldan's greatest mystery. Behind them, the Dominion attack craft are forced to scatter even further apart. Before they had only had to worry about the dozen or so projectile spewing Bots that had magnetically secured themselves to the Tranquility's outer hull. Now, however, they also had to be on the lookout for incoming asteroids and other space-born detritus.
When no reply came over the comm system, Marcus' wife, Denise "Diesel" Reynolds (who can actually be seen here) turned to look at him. "Nothing?" She asked him (in the voice of British actress Naomie Harris). "Nothing," replies Marcus (in the voice of veteran voice actor Will Friedle). "I think they knocked the transmitter out. Y'know you'd think that the Dommies had never gotten their hands on an Eldan artifact before!" "That's what I've been trying to tell you, sweetie," growls Diesel. "I don't think it's Eldan!" "Then what do you think it is?" "Something older!"
Back outside, one of the Artillery Bots lets out a 'whoop' of victory as, by a complete fluke, one of its barrages sends a cascade of sharp rocks into the cockpit of one of the pursuing craft, causing the now-dead pilot to pull right on the stick, into the flight path of one of his wing men. Both ships explode violently. The little spider-like bot turns to gloat to its fellow synthetics, but the victory is quite short lived as a lucky shot from one of many surviving pursuing craft pops it like a ripe melon. There's a stunned silence, then the other Bots howl angrily and begin to redouble their efforts.
Back inside: "How old are we talkin' about here~?" The last word is long and drawn out as Marcus is forced to make a last second course correction that sends the Tranquility briefly spiraling into several different firing solutions. "Old!" Diesel shouts, exasperated by a great many a thing at this point in the epic misadventure. "The analysis is having a helluva time even determining what material the thing's made out of!" "Perfect!" Marcus squeals, gleefully. His wife stares at him incredulously. "'Perfect'?" "Yup! 'Cuase that means that ol' Dorian is goin' to pay us all the more for it!" "If we survive long enough to get it to him, of course!" Diesel retorts. "You let me worry about that, darlin'!" Marcus says, turning to look back at his spouse with a grin worthy of a true scoundrel. Diesel pops out her lower lip and stands, hand on hip, other hand extended outward, pointing a finger at Marcus. "Then how about you start by worrying about that?" "Huh?" Marcus blinked. He realized then that she wasn't pointing at him, but something over his shoulder. He had foolishly taken his eyes off the skies. Turning back, it was all Marcus could do not to wretch in fear. There was Farside, Nexus' moon, in all its glory. And it was getting closer by the second.
Acting purely on instinct, Marcus switched over to three-dimensional steering and, once again, pulled the wheel hard to the side. But this time a good majority of the steering column followed his movements, as the ship was put through the most strenuous maneuver of the day. With only feet to spare, the Tranquility leveled out. Unfortunately this only seemed to make her an easier target. Their pilots having been far more aware of their surroundings than Marcus had been, the Dominion ships had hung back until they were certain that their quarry wouldn't just pancake into the lunar surface before resuming their bombardment of it. Plumes of dust and small columns of fire erupted all around the boxy craft, while the Bots outside completed the dazzling display of lights with their never-ending counterattack.
The Tranquility drifted over dunes, between hills and around craggy peaks like a professional surfer riding the wave that he was born to handle. Finally, after a very tense half-minute, Nexus rose into view before them. Marcus hit the throttle, turned the wheel, and the Tranquility almost seemed to use Farside as a trampoline to break itself free of the moon's gravity well. With only a minute to go before they hit atmosphere, Diesel called to the Bots: "Babies? Come to mommy!" With chirps, cheeps, beeps and boops, all of them would make their way back into the interior of their home with just seconds to spare.
And then they were blind. The windows; opaque, covered in flames. The sensors; scrambled and useless. And then noise would return with a resounding bang. Quickly, Marcus and Diesel made quick work of switching on the ship's char scrubbers. What they both saw outside nearly made their hearts plummet like stones being chucked into a vast ocean. They had, of course, expected to still have Dominion on their tail. What they hadn't expected was the blood-red Crippler - a Marauder craft - coming at them head-on, all guns blazing. For the umpteenth time that day, Marcus yanked on the wheel. The Crippler blew past them and careened straight into the swarm of Dominion attack craft. Together the couple watched as, one by one, the Dominion vessels vanished from their radar. The Crippler, however, remained. "Not good," Marcus breathes. "Oh, y'think?!" Denise shouts. And then, suddenly, another contact appeared. Dominion. Both humans promptly throw up their hands and, staring down at the screen, scream in unison the only word that they felt best fit the situation. "Really?!"
The Raptor was smaller, faster and far more aerodynamic than the Crippler. Leaving only an inch between them as it blew past, it inserted itself into the space between the Tranquility and the Marauder vessel. Of the ships it could attack though, it chose the latter, which promptly began returning fire with gusto. Before they could even begin to guess what was going on, a holographic image of a woman with raven black hair and cold, silver eyes materialized before Marcus and Diesel. She wore the trappings of the Faith and the equipment of a Warrior. "Give me what I seek," she tells them (in the voice of Jennifer Hale, circa Mass Effect). "And I swear to you that clemency will accompany me when I board your ship. Failure to comply will nullify this offer." There was a pause before Diesel, indignant, extended her middle finger to the hologram as high as it could go. "Sit on it," she said before closing the channel, leaving her husband to stare at her in a mixture of awe and adoration. Diesel smirked and kissed her husband on the nose before physically turning his head away from her. "Watch where you're flying, dear."
And on it went, for ten minutes more; the Tranquility, being pursued by the Dominion Raptor, which was being pursued by the Crippler, which in turn was pursuing both. (Watching this might give you readers an idea as to the kind of picture I'm trying to paint right now.) Finally, realizing that a turning war was not something that they could possibly win, Marcus locked the steering wheel and activated his vessel's afterburners. She took off like a shot, screaming through the clouds which soon parted and gave way to an astonishing view of Algoroc at sunset. And it was at this point that the members of Daxby's Fan Club took notice. The sonic boom that accompanied the arrival of the blue, boxy craft as it reverted to impulse speeds was more than enough to catch the attention of everybody on the skyplot on which the club often met. All of those who were present at the time, however, could only watch as Tranquility's pursuers caught up to them and renewed their hostilities.
Back on board: "We're not going to make it at this rate," screams Diesel. "Then what do you suggest we do," bellows Marcus. "Dump it!" "What?!" "It's the artifact they want, not us!" "But -- " "Sweetie, there will always be another dig. But only if we survive to make it there." Marcus is silent for several tense moments, made all the more jarring by the air burst rounds going off around his ship. Finally, he nods. "Okay, do it. But don't make it easy for 'em!" "Wouldn't dream of it!" "Ready?" "When you're around?" The next word is said in unison by the couple: "Always."
Seconds later, the proverbial package was in free fall and the Tranquility was well on its way of getting the frak out of dodge. It shot up and up and up, and then was out of sight and mind of the two remaining craft. Being closest to the Tranquility at the time, the Dominion Raptor attempted to call "dibs!" on the package, but the Crippler would have none of that. Seconds after catching the mysterious object in a tractor beam, the Raptor sustained several direct hits from behind. It tumbled, end over end, before, with a loud, resounding boom, it broke apart across the not-so-distant mountainside. The Crippler was on it like a vulture on a carcass, as were its Scanbots, which buzzed hither and tither like flies looking for something to digest. Whoever was leading the recovery effort wasn't doing a good job. They focused on the largest parts of the wreckage, but none of the outlying. This would ultimately prove to be a mistake on their part, as the prize that they so desperately sought would go unnoticed. With a warbling roar, the Crippler departed with its crew and plundered booty sometime later...
... Aboard one of the many Dominion vessels escorting the Destiny,
08/13/1665, 0005 hours
08/14/1665, 2300 hours
The Eeklu cowers before the projected image that sits before him on a likewise projected throne that, if he had to guess, was made entirely out of carved obsidian. The image in question was that of a man, shrouded in darkness, almost to the point of blending in seamlessly with the aforementioned throne. "You disappoint me, Gargamelle," says the three dimensional shadow (in the voice of the legendary Gary Oldman). "Allowing what's rightfully mine to slip through your fingers. I thought your people were supposed to be smart." Gargamelle flushed and opened his mouth to speak, but his employer silenced him with a look that literally sparked with anger. The energy that radiated from the shadow's eyes were the same color as the eyes themselves, a brilliant, neon-green. "You will not speak when I am giving you instructions. You have revoked that right. Now then, as I understand it, you have... reacquired the location of the artifact. Am I right?" Gargamelle nods. "Good. Good~. Then here is what I would like you to do: Take everyone. Bring it back." The Eeklu blanched. Was the man serious? "E-Everyone, boss?" At once, the Luminai's war worn face shot out of the shadows to roar in affirmation!
08/15/1665, 2100 hours
(I would like to thank my good, good friend Crith for providing the record of this event! I can't imagine what I'd do without it -- or her for that matter!))
08/12/1665, 2100 hours
Marcus and Diesel had returned to Farside following their misadventure, located a deserted patch of its surface and immediately powered down all non-essential systems. The two had then made love, much to the disgust of their Bots. Now, together, they literally drift, weightless in their cabin, with only a thin sheet covering them. "So..." Marcus says. "So..." Diesel replies. "What now?" "How about we worry about that later?" "Mmm," coos Diesel. "Alright. But what about later? Where should we go? The whole galaxy's going to be looking for us." Marcus scratches the top of his head, then twists around to look out at the void. "How about... right there?" He points. "Where?" "Second star to the left. We plot a course for there, and take it straight on until morning." The two exchange a kiss. "Best honeymoon ever?" Marcus asks. Diesel laughs and smacks him upside the head. "Shut up, you."