Barbary Marine Armor
awake as the klaxon sounded. "General alarm? What the flying..." She
jumped from her rack, pulled on her vacc suit, and began floating her way
through the jumpship to her station. She hit the deck hard as the jumpship suddenly
began gravity maneuvering, and spat a pirate's curse from her bloody lip.
Throughout the Bloody Sunday, a Merchant jumpship belonging to the Widow's Fire pirate gang, everything was chaos. As Josie ran for her battle station aft, she jostled past other members of the crew. The shouts that she heard were unnerving at best. Fragments of orders being passed flew all around her. Closing range...retract the sail...emergency jump...
Josie got to her station near the engineering hatch, just forward of the after airlock. She hit the intercom to signal that she was in position, then activated the viewscreen to see what was going on outside.
Josie wanted to rub her eyes at the size of the ship that was closing on them. It had to be 500 meters long, maybe 600. A flat hull, big engines, bigger guns. The Veiled Republic's banner on its side was twice the size of the burning spider on the Bloody Sunday. She swallowed hard, and her eyes caught the sight of moving specks against the darker background of the destroyer. Fighters, closing fast.
Josie heard voices crackle over the radio as the pirates' own fighters went out, trying to buy time for the jumpship to escape. No chance; the VRNF's fast Pugilists pounced on the pirate fighters, and the big Gwyars blasted through the gap, moving into a line astern with a flight of Breton shuttles right behind them.
The sail was halfway in when the first shots hit; one by one the Gwyars made their pass on the Bloody Sunday, hammering the engineering section with concentrated fire. Josie braced herself as a heavy blast aft shook the jumpship; there was a scream of air, a momentary loss of power, and the hatch slammed shut automatically to contain the breach. Josie floated off the deck as the lights flickered back on; the manuvering drive was out. She could hear the captain calling back to engineering, asking about the sail; dead silence was the only answer.
Suddenly, there were two sharp CLANKS on the hull outside, near Josie's station. Boarding lines. The VRNF must have thought that someone important enough to capture would be aboard a Widow's Fire jumpship. She radioed the captain, who sounded tired, yet defiant. Hold them off, he said. We still have a chance to unhook the dropships and run that way. Another pirate, a guy named Burke joined her. He readied a pistol and knife, and she did the same as they took up positions on either side of the hatch. They would depressurize this section, cut up the first marines' suits as they came through, then run.
But before they sealed their suits, Burke leaned over and stole a quick kiss. "See ya in hell, lass," he said with a wink. Then they closed up, and let out the air. They were ready.
On the other side of the hatch, Josie could faintly hear sounds of work in the low pressure, like someone was cutting metal. There was a sudden pop and a faint bang. She braced her back against the bulkhead beside the hatch as it rolled open; its controls had been cut out and hotwired from the other side. Instantly, Josie delivered a powerful backswing with the knife in her left hand...and was rewarded with a solid CLANK.
Josie looked in surprise, her arm still outstretched, holding the broken knife against the chest of the armored trooper. In a whirl of adrenaline, she saw a big laser slung under the right hand and a mechanical claw where the left hand should be, backed by an automatic weapon of some kind. Burke was staring equally dumbfounded. The armored trooper looked down at the scratch in his armor's paint, looked back and forth between the two pirates, and gave an audible laugh through his helmet.
That was it. Josie kicked him in the chest, pushing off to fly forward, running for the next section. Burke was slower to react, and she heard him scream as he was backhanded against the bulkhead by the vibro-claw, his torn guts becoming a bloody spray as his suit decompressed. Josie slammed shut the middle hatch, pushed hard and hit the closed forward hatch, and frantically pressed the button to open it. But the other side was still pressurized, and the built-in safeties betrayed her; she pounded frantically as the pressure equalized. After seconds that seemed like forever, the hatch opened.
But before Josie could get through and close it, something doubled her over backwards and left her limp. She had felt nothing as her body was blown through by the support laser, was already in dying shock as her suit's air hissed away. The trooper stopped next to her as she floated in a cloud of her own flesh and blood, and as she faded, she saw him touch his fingers to his faceplate, over his mouth, and then to hers.
"C'est la," he said.
And then she was gone.
Classic BattleTech Battle Armor Technical Readout