A quick note on this. Yes, it is highly biased because it’s from a certain character’s point of view. A certain character who is directly opposed to the rest of the party on a particular matter. It was from a Stars Without Number session in a campaign that I am a part of that I decided to turn into a brief piece of narrative. Essentially, we have a rat-man who is worth a lot of money welded to the ground. I play a doctor who thinks that his treatment is really inhumane and has been trying to hatch a plan to make it right. Then we get attacked by a guy who wants the rat-man and Asuka, my character, has to improvise with a far from perfect situation. Both plans were basically a betrayal of the party, but not in the sense that she’d kill everyone, but more in the sense that everyone else wants to sell him for large amounts of money and Asuka just wants to do what’s right in her eyes. This does not tide over well with the rest of the group when they find out about plan B. (They never found out about plan A).
I struggle to keep my balance as the ship is hit by two more missiles. I can see on the holographic screen that the turret is a flaming wreck by this point. I hope Kiril got out okay; he may be a psychopath, but he is also a member of this crew. I make a mental note to sit down with him and get a proper diagnostic on his mental state at a later time, but time is not something that we currently have. The Ige-gumi helicopter starts to hover above the ship, armed men rappelling down along with the same man who came for Timmy before, a new cyberninja in tow.
There is no way I can prep these engines for take off in time. These armed men will be inside way before I can do anything useful here.
“I’m heading to the computer room. No way I can prep these engines in time,” I yell in English through the intercom as I pack up my tools and bolt down the corridor. I can see the movement outside the ship. They are getting into position. I can’t believe these idiots brought arguably the largest yakuza clan to our doorstep with an attack chopper. Why? Why couldn’t they have waited twenty four hours? I would’ve had Timmy out of here and in the care that he needs after what the crew has done to him. His mind is damaged beyond my counselling skills. He needs specialist help that I could’ve got him to. I had even planned on taking out a loan to cover the costs. It’s the least I could do now. I should’ve spoken up earlier.
But that plan has gone to hell. I will have to cancel the pick-up tonight. Why can’t these muscle-heads do anything right besides commit murder and inhumane atrocities? I get to the computer room and immediately try to hack into their comms. The security is there, but I easily overcome the obstacles and tap into their network. I hear them going over the plan. My God, they plan on blowing up the radiators once they’ve grabbed Timmy. That would cause the ship to explode and take the entire hangar with it. They want to kill us all, but it seems like they especially want John dead. Also, I get a name.
I almost wish I hadn’t. Jacobs is big time in the Jewish mob, which explains why a yakuza clan would be working with a gaijin; he is obviously offering them something in return. Perhaps a share of the profits they’ll get from selling Timmy?
“Reuben Jacobs. We don’t have to do this,” I say into their comms network in English. I just hope that he is still amenable to reason after everything the crew have done.
“Oh?” he replies.
“That’s right. I am the ship’s doctor and I believe that we can come to an arrangement that doesn’t involve violence.”
“The rat-man. Give him to me and I’ll let you live. Hell, I’ll even give you the eight thousand that I promised your captain last time.”
“Done,” I say as I tap furiously at the computer keyboard, exploiting holes in the ship’s security to wrestle control of the doors.
“Nice job getting into our comms, by the way. I wasn’t expecting that,” Jacobs says as I open the ship airlock’s outer door.
“What can I say. I’m a woman of many talents,” I respond with a smile. “I want one of you to step into the airlock. Not you, Jacobs, and not the cyberninja. One of the others. I’ll release the rat-man into his custody and we can both go our separate ways.” I hear the thud of footsteps as John pokes his head into the computer room and asks me what I’m doing. I tell him what I am doing and instantly wish I had lied when he runs into the cargo bay.
“All right,” Jacobs says as he motions one of the yakuza into the airlock. I close the airlock door behind him and transfer comms to my compad, telling the man in the airlock how it’s going to go in Japanese to ensure he understands what I’m doing. I take my monokatana from my belt and leave it in the computer room before I run to the cargo bay and head over to where the rat man is welded to the floor. I fish around in my first aid kit and take out a tranquilliser, which I administer to the rat-man; I can’t risk him biting me while I work. Once he is sedated, I take out my toolkit and start cutting the rat-man loose. The whole scene makes my stomach turn every time I see it. Anything would be an improvement on this. We’re miles south of best case scenario right now, but at least I can save the lives of the crew in doing this.
As I work, John seems to have his own heated conversation with Jacobs as he points the humvee’s turret at the airlock doors.
“Change of plans. I’m going to bring the rat-man out myself. Tell your man to leave the airlock,” I say as I continue to release the rat man, re-opening the outer airlock door and re-iterating the change in plans in Japanese to the yakuza. Once he walks out, I shut the airlock door behind him.
“Hey, we’ve just been locked out here,” Jacobs says, suspicion prevalent in his voice.
“I have to ensure the safety of everyone. I will be out with the rat-man, don’t worry.”
That’s when I hear a click behind me.
“Asuka, if you don’t stop what you’re doing, I will shoot you. You’re getting between me and a pay day” John threatens as he points his spike thrower at my back. If I keep working, I have no doubt that he will pull the trigger. All over a pay day, of all things; he would shoot me over a sum of money, after all I’ve done on this ship, the hours I work. Morality and human decency on this ship are basically dead concepts.
Defeated, I stop what I am doing and pack up my things, leaving the job half done. I turn to John. “Then the deaths of the crew are on your hands, Mr. Mayhew,” I reply, though my tone is low. I make my way out of the cargo bay and transfer control of the doors back to the ship and the rest of the crew.
“Then I guess we do this the old fashioned way,” Jacobs says as he and the yakuza start to make their way around the front of the ship.
“I’m really sorry we couldn’t work this out, but the crew threatened to kill me if I continued. Can’t fulfil my side if I’m dead,” I say into their comms. I keep my link into their comm as I may need it should the crew fail to defeat these people. I slump down into the corner of the computer room and just let it all go. The stress, the emotional trauma, I let it all go, curling up and crying into my knees.
All this because I tried to do what was right. Well, at least I didn’t tell Summer of my plans, so she’s safe from John’s trigger finger should the crew make it out alive.