Noir carefully leapt from one asteroid to the next, she ducked as a small piece of debris shot passed her quicker than her eyes could follow. This had been the third day that she and Mace had been out scouring the asteroids for crystals; she suddenly had a new appreciation as to how dangerous this was. She stood in an environment where everything was constantly moving in different directions, if you got sloppy you got killed, this was a good test, a good use of her skills, she liked it.
- * * * *
Lucien sat on the bridge of the Isabella, it was in low orbit over Silverhold now and he enjoyed the comforts of his ship, over those of the palace when Sarah insisted on being at “work”. He chuckled to himself, he had tried to convince her to take a few days off so they could be together, but he was well out matched, and had hurried out of their before she convinced him to have his Sons of Plunder digging new sewer drenches.
“The things we do for love Tic Toc” he mused as he turned back to his companion, remembering the businesses at hand. He still couldn’t believe it, Tic Toc wanted to work on Belinda’s radio station, wanted to recite the novels and stories he had memorised for the people of Whitefall so they could cheer up a little, Lucien was so proud of his little friend, humanity was more than flesh and bone he decided. As he gave Tic Toc his full attention to hear out his proposal
- * * * *
Sarah put her welding mask down again and slipped under the main terminal. Expertly she soldered the appropriate wiring, if she worked hard today then she could have 6 of the platforms ready to begin transport construction, which would mean a lot for Silverhold. She shifted uncomfortably, that is, she amended to herself, if she could work for ten minutes without needing a pee break. Carefully she worked with firm dedication, so focused was she on her task that the rest of the world, the rest of her problems just began to melt away.
“Your Eminence?” she was startled to hear the muffled voice and looked up, the sun was setting she could see, but she could still get another forty five minutes of work in before she had to leave to meet Lucien, she looked at the Clone Commander who had addressed her
“Yes… uh…?” she halted, it was harder to remember clone names
“Lucky your Eminence, Commander Lucky of Purple Squad 7” the clone supplied
“Yes, of course, forgive me Commander Lucky, What can I do for you?”
“There is a bit of a disturbance brewing down the street your Eminence, with your permission I would like to send six of our troopers down there to settle the dispute before anything turns violent.” The Queen smiled, and nodded her permission. She looked back at the work at hand and then over to the window where she could see the sun setting.
“Lucky?” the clone stopped and gave her the full attention “I think the rest of this can wait till tomorrow, I’m going to do two more lines and then pack it in, why don’t you head up to the roof and get the ship warmed up, If you could, please contact Captain Calgori, and inform him I will be a little early for our dinner arrangements” the clone nodded and gave her a stiff salute
“Of course your Eminence” with that she turned and jogged towards the stair well, leaving Sarah to finish her work.
- * * * *
Noir smiled as she looked over to Mace, they had found a large cluster of blue crystals, she called upon the force once more and stopped an incoming asteroid, Mace keeping complete trust in her abilities maintained his focus on cutting the crystals free. It was then that she noticed, her heart was racing, she didn’t know why, her hands began to tremble and tears began to well up in her eyes, what was happening. The Master sensing her apprehension looked up
“Is there a problem Noir?” she could barely stem the tears pouring from her eyes, unadulterated fear coursed through her very being
“Yes… I mean no but…. I don’t know… oh my god… SARAH!”
- * * * *
Lucien nodded ending his transmission from the planet, “Sorry Tic Toc, we will have to discuss this later, I have an important dinner with an incredibly beautiful women." The robot seemed a little crestfallen but was understanding, the two walked together towards the captain’s quarters, when Lucein received another hail on the com; it was a private channel, one used only by the Sons of Plunder.
“Lucien, it’s Koth! I have Harren, but we must get him to the planet immediately, and it must be done very quietly, our ship has just jumped into the edge of the sector, it has no sublight drives left, we are adrift… do you read?” Lucien spun on his heels and jogged back to the bridge, Tic Toc, knowing his captain, quickly took the com and call Renevie to the bridge
“Loud and clear my good man, I will pick you up myself, should be there in about 6 minutes friends, hold on tight.” With that the Isabella’s mighty solar sails furrowed and the ship quickly left orbit to collect Koth and Harren, this would be a joyful day.
- * * * *
Sarah looked up, the light was getting dim in here, and it had taken longer than she thought to finish the last coupling, what kind of bastard seals a fusion inverter anyway? She stood and dusted off her clothes. Her back spasemed a few times as blood flow restored itself to her norm.
Instinct told her to leave, decorum told her to stay put, she followed with what she had learned from years on a Sons of Plunder ship, she drew her gun.
“Lucky?” She called out; she wracked her brain for a moment to remember some of the other clone names who had been stationed with her “Cut Up? Fivers?” she began to feel nervous, and thought perhaps it was time to head up to the roof and her ship.
She approached the lift she had fixed herself last week and was surprised when it opened, seven tall men walked out, two of them were bloody, one was holding a clone helmet and looking it over. She reached for her com, only to find the signal dead
“Well, well, well… What have we got ourselves here fellas? Looks like a spring peach, in full bloom no less” the men spread out and began to surround her, her heart was racing. They were armed with old AK’s and rusty looking knives, one of them seemed to have a Clone Blaster rifle. “Told fella’s didn’t I…” the man continued “them clones only protect food and other worthwhile items, and I am thinking that even if we dont find food, this little peach may be worthwhile” the large man leered at her as he and his men fanned out. Sarah took a deep breath and forced herself to calm down before speaking
“I am Queen Imperialis, ruler of Silverhold, you will leave this place now, defy me at your own risk” she levelled the gun at one of the men who was getting a little too close and fired, missing him by millimetres. Some of the men slowed at this, then there leader spoke again
“This one’s got some fight in ‘er, never had me way with a Queen before. Hey Jacks, you ever tumbled with royalty?” the one assumedly named Jacks just chuckled stupidly as he shook his head no.
They had surrounded her now; Sarah took another deep breath before speaking again “I’m pregnant!” there were laughs and cat calls to this a few of the men moved closer “These babies,” she pointed to her stomach, “belong to the dread pirate Lucien Calgori, death would be a kindness he would not grant any of you, if you continue” several of the men stopped laughing at this, they all had heard of the Dread Pirate, it was a well-known fact that his ships were in orbit of the planet right now, no one wanted to have that kind of trouble come down upon them. Glubber had taught the verse well, DO NOT CROSS CALGORI.
“Come on Badger, we don’t want no trouble from no Dread Pirate, and she’s his whore….” The one who had spoken first looked at the man “Bitch be lying, she said she`s the Queen a minute ago, now she`s the concubine to the Dread Pirate… nice try Peach” two men slowly backed off, entering the lift and heading back down to the ground floor, the other five moved in closer.
- * * * *
“Noir, NOIR! Listen to me, you need to hold it together just a little longer, we’re almost back to the ship” Mace’s voice came over the com as he ducked and dodged through the asteroid field working their way back to the ship. Her face was tear stained, she hadn’t be able to form coherent words in the last while, all she could do his curl up and hold her stomach protectively, she had to protect the babies, she had to protect the babies. She flinched feeling a burning pain, feeling Sarah’s pain as something hit her face.
Mace looked at the pain on his companions face and reached deep within himself, he had not wanted to expend this kind of energy, but he could tell that this could not wait. A pulse was sent out from his body that scattered the asteroids in the area shooting them out from his location. His ship in the distance became visible, once again he reached deeply into the force and pulled the ship towards them; stopping it within a few meters of their location. His hands again began to shake but through mastery of will he opened the air lock and cycled it. The two leaning heavily on each other worked their way towards the bridge so that they could reach the hyperspace transceiver and help.
- * * * *
Lucky had been waiting in the ship for the last ten or so minutes, he had informed Captain Calgori of the change and plans and had warmed up the ships engines, She was now just waiting for the rest of the patrol to join her. The minutes ticked away and still nothing, eventually lucky began to get an odd feeling about the situation
“Fivers, what’s your ETA?”
“Cut Up? What’s going on down there?”
In every Clones life there comes a moment, a moment that will define them as an individual, and it is based on the decisions that they make in life. Luckynew that it was strictly against orders to leave a shuttle running and unprotected, but still, she sensed there was a danger, she dialled up the ships com.
“This is Commander Lucky, designation 163-577-0IPR8, purple squad 7, The Queen may be in danger, please send immediate back up”
“We read you Lucky, backup will be there in T-6 minutes and 34 seconds, hold for support” the voice came back from the com. Lucky paused a minute before responding
“That’s a negative command, I’m going in now, have backup join me asap” the clone grabbed her two blaster pistols and raced down to the lift, to check on the Queen she had been charged to protect.
- * * * *
Sarah lay on the floor as another blow connected with her face she reeled in pain, but fought to stay conscious “little peach has some fight left in her eh, well guess this peach is bruised now” she felt two men grab her arms and hold her over a computer console while the one named Badger moved behind her, she heard the click of a jack knife and felt her belt being sawed through at the small of her back.
“Please, please stop” she cried struggling again in vain, and only receiving a back hand for her trouble
“Hold her still boys” Badgers voice called from behind her
- * * * *
Noir was in a fit now as she set the Hyperspace Transceiver to broadcast, Lucien hadn’t picked up on the first two calls, he was probably trying to do something quietly. Noir didn’t care, she knew the Isabella’s systems better than most, and quickly set up an override, within a few moments her voice was broadcasting over the public com of the Isabella.
“Lucien!” She screamed into the com “…LUCIEN!!!!!” the rest was all but gibberish, between the crackling of the coms and Noirs sobbing tears it was unintelligible.
“Noir?” Came Lucien’s voice “Is that you? Are you in trouble?” again another bout of sobbing came over the com, Noir couldn’t get the words out, couldn’t decipher the difference between her relief at reaching Lucien and her fear for Sarah, she couldn’t stop crying. She looked at Maceand watched as he put his hand on her shoulder, suddenly she felt calm, felt as if Mace himself had stepped within her and for a brief moment was holding back the tidal force of the oncoming emotions, Noir did not hesitate
“Lucien its Noir, Sarah is in danger, they’ll kill her! GET TO SARAH NOW!” she hung up, she didn’t know anything more and didn’t want to waste his time trying to answer questions. She turned to thank Mace as she plotted a hyperspace course for Silverhold ; she had to go home, that’s when she noticed. Mace was curled onto the floor shaking violently his eyes rolled back into his head. Quickly as she could Noir turned the ship towards home and then turned to do what she could for her fallen friend.
- * * * *
Sarah struggled one last time, she couldn’t let this happen, she felt the last of her cloths ripped away, felt the heat from the man behind her. “Lucien, please” she whispered a prayer
“Come on Peach, just may be that we have a spot o fun with this” came the vile voice
The lift door opened
Lucky couldn’t believe what she was seeing, in a second anger coursed through her veins, IT WOULD BE OVER HER DEAD BODY THAT THIS HAPPENED TO THE QUEEN ! The clone drew her weapons and fired at the men. The brutes were caught unaware at first but were still well armed and quickly the sound of gun fire filled the air.
Lucky felt the bullets rip through her chest plating as she charged forward, but God himself would not stop her, she fired as quickly as her fingers would allow, she knew she could not kill them all but her hope was she could at least scatter them, give the Queen every chance.
Sarah felt more then saw the distraction, she did not hesitate, as soon as the men let go she grabbed the screwdriver from the table and turned to attack her assailant, the shot was true as the tool pierced his eye. He screamed in rage backhanding her and sending her spinning to the floor. The gun fire lasted only a few seconds longer until there was a resounding thump.
“Another one of them damn Clones boss!” there was some mumbled discussion until she heard Badgers voice again
“Them Clones are more akin to cockroaches, where theirs one theirs a dozen more, let’s git outta here,” he stooped and leaned down leering at Sarah once more
“Until next time, Peach” he smearing his bloody fingers over her cheek. With that she heard the footsteps of men running.
She didn’t know how long she lay there, how long she just sat there crumpled into a ball behind that console clutching the screwdriver. Eventually she heard a voice
“SARAH! SARAH! Oh God SARAH!” she felt Lucien more then saw her, her eyes had long since swollen shut, “Stay calm Sarah, there is a clone contingent on the way, they will have medics, I’ve got you now, your safe” his strong arms wrapped her in a protective embrace.
“No” she said, almost too quietly to hear “I don’t want the clones, I don’t want anyone to see me like this, take me to the Isabella Lucien… Please” Lucien looked at her for a long moment before deciding
“As you wish” he said scooping her up and carrying her towards the lift.