"1,000.00 HIVE art/music/writing contest, "Cyber Pirates versus Werewolf Ninjas" - Logiczombie
The platoon moved fast and yet without hurry. From the time alarm was raised to tracing the breach and starting a search and seize movement; all of it took a mere 15 minutes. But Saturn was big - almost ten times Earth and with a mere ten cities and a few hundred settlements. And the Ninjas were bred for Saturn- long limbed nearly five feet tall but looking short due to the girth provided slabs of muscle. Augmented by gene-spliced aggression of warriors, providing sharp reactions and an ability to ignore emotions.
15 minutes was supposed to be enough. But the cyber pirates had not counted on alarm systems which had back ups of backups. And analog! Who uses analog in 3300 AD?? These thoughts swirled in the Baom,s mind. Baom-3 was not an ordinary pirate. His father and uncle were only second to the Queen herself. And in this remote sector, so close to the "civilized space" he could out-talk the reigning officer into submission- at least temporarily. He had liked the idea of saving dozens of life so much that he had risked his own life and the others with him. Now with an platoon chasing them and more to follow if they by any chance were overwhelmed by Baom and his crew, there was almost no chance the boxes would reach their camp. But. By The Stars! Baom snarled at the deserted expanse, they would fight!
The lead hovercraft reported the sighting - definite. Three scooters one sledge and at least five fugitives trapped against the granite cliffs. The Master was about to order all the craft to spread out and attack. Energy spears and shock-knives, they would have to retrieve the boxes as undamaged as possible. Just then he saw a spark brighten and land with a soft Whoomp and in moments the peace and parley signal lit the sky. For a few seconds the Master was unable to decide what to do and then it was too late.
The monk walked out of the mist and stood waiting till the lead craft was less than a hundred feet away and slowing. His suit started to glow a little as he projected his message to the hovercraft com system.
"Diel of the Argute Conclave at your service. Wanting to initiate talks."
The Monks of Argute as they were widely known, were a revered class. The Overlords often requested their services and granted passage even into their homes. The Ninjas knew well; injuring a monk would lead to an inquiry, probably a punitive inquiry and a sure loss of face.
The Master approached the waiting monk, gesturing his guards to stay behind while he neared the monk.
"I am Anik of the Silverback Ninjas, I lead these warriors."
The monk bowed his head and spread his hands in a gesture which could be interpreted as anything from welcome to surrender.
"Diel of the Argute Conclave at your service. I think I can be of help."
"We do not need assistance."
"Just to save bloodshed and a maybe a little gain. You are at a sacred site after all."
The mention of sacred site gave the master a pause; he glanced towards his second who gave a slight nod- This was a scared site. A remnant of centuries ago. He skirted the issue.
"What gain? There is none! And they have dared to steal from us, blood is our right. So my request is that you move on before...."
"As you say Master. Of course you will defeat them and they will blow themselves up and the NAN batteries... I will not be able to recover them for you."
"Impossible. Those drukeri #@@! can't have.. They make them set to explode if detached. .. Honor demands that I kill these thieves."
"You have to decide. But they are known to blow themselves up."
"Are you challenging my superiority. We are the pure race not mechanized filth."
"Master. Of course your nobility is unquestionable . But a suicide bomb... Is it right to walk into a trap just because of a few vermin? And the NAN batteries are worth a month's produce? I can serve, only if the Master allows."
The master's intense wanting quickly overpowered his impatience. He nodded at his second.
"Spread out and create a perimeter, blades ready. Scout the area. We will attack in five minutes."
The monk made a quick nod and turned back towards the cliffs. A couple of minutes brought him to the field of jagged chunks- from the size of pebbles to as big as a cabin. He stepped on to a piece a little larger than himself and called.
"You had not right to lead them into sacred land. Come out if you wish to salvage your life and loot."
Baom-3 alone stepped out from under a giant jagged rock with sharp pieces sticking out at one end.
"I made the mistake... I thought we could find a way to climb up to safety before they arrived.. and then it was too late to veer away. I am sorry but .."
"Tell your people to stop climbing. There are traps on higher floors."
When Baom did not react the monk went on. "You cannot detect passive traps. Activated only if you approach. Now, if you value their lives."
Baom cocked his head to one side, the metal plate above his temple reflecting the scant light. His mech-arm twitched once and then he focused again on the monk.
"They have stopped. Kill me if you want but my people need those boxes. Dozens of lives depend on it."
"Why did you not buy them? One of your NAN power sources could get you a shipload."
"They have stopped dealing with us. We even offered double the price."
"Why did they stop?"
"Because of ME! I allowed Master Kring's daughter to touch my cheek... and I held her hand. They wanted to punish me but we ran away. And then they stopped all dealings... But I can kill a few of them and slow them." Baom-3 powered up his arm and a halo surrounded his fist.
"At least till others get away with the boxes."
The other three cyber pirates had returned and the monk saw that they were all young, too young to die.
"Give me your a finger." He gestured to Baom's mech-arm.
He ordered them to wait and walked back holding the mech-part in his hand.
"Master." The monk called out and threw the mech-finger at his feet. "It will take ten minutes to detach the batteries."
"I can give you five more." The Master waved him away his eyes still on the mech-part.
The monk walked back to the cyber pirates.
"You." He pointed at Baom. "You are a prince. You can interface with the NAN modules. I need three batteries. One of you can carry the boxes. Then into my pod , fast."
There was an explosion. The ninjas could see nothing but billowing sand. A wave of heat lashed them, lasting half a second and then all was silent. One of the Master's guard stepped forward, then another. They found nothing except a NAN battery and a smoking crater.
Inside the pod, now flying away towards the cyber pirate camp. The monk pointed out that the cliffs were actually buildings, of steel and crete, more than five hundred years old. They still held a lot of lost knowledge but going in there was extremely dangerous and not for those going in there but everyone nearby - hence they were declared sacred ground. When he had deposited his guests about a kilometer from the sentry posts, he thanked Baom-3 for the two NAN batteries and left. Baom scowled at the departing pod for a few moments but ended up laughing at the monk's audacity.