Krieger came to visit me again. Luckily it was not about Nyx this time. He inquired about making a sort of device that would shock a person and incapacitate them without being lethal. I hesitated but agreed. I did need a new project. Krieger also saved my life. A debt I could not repay. I would need to go pick up more scrap material later.
We had a meeting. I didn’t feel like going but I felt like it was unofficially mandatory; especially now that Nashat and Sigmund were doing the nasty. I’m not sure if it was anything more than sex but it wasn’t really any of my business. Anyway, we went to Nashat’s (I’m sure you remember she is the one that took in all the female slaves that we rescued from that alley awhile back) and there were a lot of people around here and there. A few of the crew wandered off to the food. I lingered close to the wall trying not to be noticed. The woman here could be a bit… much and not only did it make me very uncomfortable but I also didn’t want Nyx upset with me. I didn’t have much time to worry about the woman here, or what they might do, as Nashat’s sudden scream of “SHUT THE DOORS” rang out about the crowd followed by explosions; then darkness.
I woke to screaming, running, and someone pulling on my arm. I’m not sure who helped me to my feet but I was having a hard time. Still recovering from the grenade blast, I was not having the greatest time ever. I heard one of our crew yell Sigmund’s name, and eventually I was able to piece together that Sigmund had been snatched by pirates, and the ship had shot the building to hell before taking off.
Soon we were off in the Titansbane and chasing after this ship. A frigate and a raider joined us in the chase. Nashat stood in the bridge with us she remained mostly silent seemingly lost in thought. Apparently another lord merchant, named Enoch, was also taken along with Sig. I wondered if Nashat and Enoch were old friends. We entered the warp holding our breaths, praying for a bit of luck chasing far behind the pirate ship.
“They are likely going to Port Isra.” Nashat said breaking the silence. She seemed to be speaking mostly to herself as she stares out the front window. “But no one knows where Port Isra is…”
“The ship?” Hodor suddenly asked.
I crooked one eyebrow at him, as did Nashat. I tried not to giggle at Hodor’s confusion as Nashat managed to keep her composure.
“The port… Port Isra. I used to be a pirate once upon a time. They spoke of the secret pirate port but I never went there myself.”
I glanced over at her curiously, but she did not share much more. I had a hard time imagining her as a pirate but I suppose that was in another life. I guess I could relate. We all had secrets in our pasts.. We all used to lead different lives as different people. All of us now are not the same as we once were. Hell even this ship used to have a different life. The only reason we even had a chance to pull this off was that Titansbane used to be a feared pirate ship decades and decades ago.
We exited the warp without issue and made it out not long after the pirate ship did. Nyx was a flippin badass. We emerged near another small cluster of asteroids and the ship we were in pursuit of took off as two additional ships started approaching. It took us awhile before we were able to defeat the ships, I feared that the Titansbane’s shields were going to give out but we prevailed. We scanned the area and got back a reading of about 100-200 other ships nearby.. I think we had indeed made it to Port Isra. We messaged the frigate to retreat as we headed to the port.
Isra laid spread out in a crater. We approached unopposed and mostly unnoticed. I guess pirates were accustomed to random fights breaking out often. We landed without an issue and quickly filed out into the crater. The air felt stale and dusty and the gravity was very low here. We wandered the port to an area where giant spires towered up over everything. A giant red spiral swirled around in the sky and scarlet lights were lit all around. People wandered around in masks and Nashat explained that they were celebrating a sort of day of demons, The Festival of the Red Storm, celebrated every 10 years. Purchasing masks for ourselves, we easily blended with the crowd and looked around for Sigmund or Enoch. We spotted a small group of people being herded into a merchant shop. That’s likely where we wanted to be. Trying to sneak our way closer to the building another commotion caught our attention before we could go any farther. Large beasts about 12 foot tall were being lead through the crowd on large chains. I stood on my tip toes to get a better look and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Pandais! Pandais of all different sizes. Super large and itty bitty ones like my pandai were being led into the building next door to where we were trying to go. Zarko looked over to Krieger and I saw him give a thumbs up. We had found our way in.
So the plan was quickly thrown together and it could have gone a lot better. Krieger went with Zarko and Hodor to “purchase” a giant pandai as I snuck over to the gate to try and open up the pen of large pandai to create a diversion. I caught bits and pieces of conversation as I slipped by. It sounded as if Zarko was speaking on behalf of “richman Kriegman” who has decided he needed to require a giant pandai with all his wealth.
“What do they eat exactly?” Zarko asked the man. He was lowering his voice and trying to sound super important and pompous.
I smirked as I listened. This was hilarious to listen to. The guard started to drone off in an uninterested voice and I crept closer to the pandai pen and got to work trying to open the latch. It creaked slightly, as I struggled with the mech, and the guard went to turn to me as Zarko loudly asked.
“How big are their poops?”
I clapped a hand over my mouth not to laugh out loud. He was not very good at this. Distracted, I failed to open the latch again and the gate made a loud CLANK.
“Oi! What are you doing over there?” The guard angry yelled at me.
“Sorry, I tripped!”
He didn’t seem convinced and shouted again to some other guards nearby.
“Run!” Nashat yelled and we all scattered.
Everyone made it safety away but Hodor, who was snatched and drug into the building. As I ran to the crowd, I got grabbed from behind and held in a headlock. I kicked and wriggled in desperation, barely managing to scrabble out of grasp, and disappeared into the crowd. I heard a gun shot but didn’t look to see which guard had been shot. Nashat snuck up near me and pulled my arm leading me away to an alleyway.
“We need to get you in there…” she said quietly.
Before I knew what was happening, Nashat roughed me into some smelly fabric she had somehow acquired, and pulled a hood up on my head covering my shaggy red hair. I reached up and felt the top of my head and touched one nub attached to the hood and then another nub on the opposite side. Realizing that Nashat had just changed me into a pandai, I grinned realizing her plan. Adjusting the hood and crouching down on all fours, I looked up at her and nodded.
“Lets do this!”
Nashat succeeded in selling me to the men and they shoved me into the pen without hesitation. I discovered a feeding door that led inside the building and managed to get it open as I released a bunch of baby pandai inside the building. It was a good diversion; I was able to climb inside an air vent as guards quickly heard the baby pandais rummaging around the room and knocking things over and rushed to return them to their pen.
Finding Sigmund was proving to not be an easy task. I managed to escape the vents and meet up with Zarko and Krieger. We managed to find the captured Hodor and fight our way our of the pandai building but not before releasing the giant pandais out into the port. We snuck inside the building next door by traveling across the roofs. The building lie empty as we spotted a large shipping truck pulling away out back which led to a short car chase. Zarko did some crazy Fast and the Furious shit and jumped on the back of the semi and crawled along until he was at the back of the cab. As I drove the small car I had acquired, accompanied by Hodor and Krieger, I watched at Zarko smashed the back window and shoved his gun through the window and put it to the drivers head forcing him to stop the vehicle.
We found Sigmund and Enoch in the back and took the truck back to the Titansbane with a few captured men who decided to stay with us. Upon arriving at the Titansbane we found that Nashat had not returned after the release of the pandai. A search party of Hodor, Krieg, Zarko, and I went out, so the others could regain their strength, and it was not long until Nashat was found. We saw her being dragged away by one of the snatchers and we stealthily chased behind, weaving through the crowd as quickly as possible without drawing attention upon ourselves. It was a bad fight. Hodor tried using an ability that caused himself and Kriegers consciousness to switch bodies. Two men had me pinned down in an area and it didn’t fair well. I honestly don’t remember the fight that well. I know I was getting shot at. I don’t remember if there was an explosion. I remember briefly seeing a delivery craft and the men fighting to get Nashat back. A lot of my memory is fading in and out of consciousness. Once Hodor and Krieger regained control of their bodies, and Nashat was saved, they return to the boxes where I had been pinned previously. I guess I had somehow managed to hide away in between some crates and they found me there lying in blood. Gun shots and a broken arm, barley able to stay awake from blood loss and pain, my friends got me back to the infirmary where I had not left that long ago. I lay there drifting to sleep as I thought about our little adventure.
As I was led aboard our ship, I remember a feeling of… something. A slight feeling of something as we were boarding and leaving Port Irsa…. Oh nope. That’s just vomit. Excuse me, while I go throw up.