War of the Rock
by Norsehound

(Minor character mentions from DeepChrome's "Legacies" series, available at .com)

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They all had to make sacrifices.

For Somtaaw, it was the proud and tried tradition of maintaining her own fleet. In the growing face of modern technology, the proud 'beast slayers' were forced to turn in a large majority of their starships. Nobody could trust the experimental, service-rushed equipment used by the Somtaaw of yesterday. And nowadays, everyone had something better.

Kuun-Lan was one of the last ships to make the changes, but even she had not evaded the Modern Touch. In exchange for selling off five destroyers for scrap, Somtaaw purchased a full Hiigaran Carrier and attendant resource collectors from what remained of Kiith Nabaal. The nationalization of the Hiigaran military had left even the martial kiithid emancipated of what used to be droves of ships, and this was one of the last pure Kiithid-operated carriers in Hiigaran space.

It was a double-edged sword. On one hand, most of the production had switched over to the carrier, Anom-Helk, since the Helk could churn out vessels the fifth of the speed it took Kuun-Lan's ancient manufacturing systems, making many wonder why Kuun-Lan was even out there.

On the other, it meant that Kuun-Lan wasn't completely defenseless. It also came with the new harvesters, which although they didn't use the 'magical green beams' of the past, it meant they could cut more rock with modern drilling equipment.

This was the situation framing the events of that day in the Kylagon Downs, some distance outside the Hiigaran border. The second Homeworld war was in full swing by then, but the war effort needed resources, and Somtaaw was not one to skimp.

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For his part Mohrad Somtaaw was happy to be at the controls of a modern resource collector. He detested the "sneakers", chiding their design as backwards and hazardous to pilot and crew. Mining might not be a glorious job, but it was safer to do with five hundred tons of space frame surrounding you than what used to be an atmospheric shuttle.

Besides, the new harvester looked better. Mohrad was alone in this opinion.

His contemporary, Loknar, was there to counter him at many points. "We're a big, yellow, target. I can't believe you willingly traded the keys of Halu over to the refinery rep."

Mohrad, as Commander of the particular harvesting unit, had final say on the upgrade or not. He went through with it anyway, knowing that he would be ultimately right in the end. "So you wanted to keep flying in that deathtrap? How many times did you almost faint when the pressure alarm would go off on that P-conduit?"

Loknar shuddered. The particular pipe Mohrad was talking about had been a high-speed pressure pipe, painted red, that arched over Loknar's head when he had been sitting in the copilot position of the old "Worker" class resource collector. More than once the indicator attached to it had given off a pressure alarm- meaning it was about to explode and the operator should cover his face. Loknar was not one to like sudden jumps.

Thus, Mohrad's copilot lapsed into silence.

"I thought so." The commander said.

The Harvester continued on-course for the distant asteroid patch.

They knew the risks. The idea was, by sending the harvesters to this remote patch, that the enemy wouldn't notice them. The battle of the Downs was actually several thousand kilometers away where Acolytes were effectively having their asses handed to them by nimbler strike craft flown by fanatical pilots. Kiith Somtaaw, by their own definition, still called themselves the "beast slayers". They neglected the fact that this victory was over a hundred years prior, with no opponent save half-hearted raiders since then.

But the harvesters didn't have to worry about this. All they needed to figure out was hauling rock.

"Looks nominal," Said Loknar as he glanced at the mineral composition readouts as they approached the patch. Another benefit of the new design was that it came with a host of instruments designed to prospect remotely, instead of 'sucking and sighing' as had been done with the old workers. In most cases it was a miracle that the green beams didn't inhale too much zinc, which had caused problems in the older design.

"Right." Mohrad said as he tapped the control buttons, "Lyssa, Sayla, get ready to start cutting."

"Aye." Were the replies of the females of the ship. Both of the women were operating the 'hands' and cutting equipment of the harvester's arms.

"See," Mohrad said as he guided the craft closer to the rock, "If I wanted to zero-G juggle, now I can do it."

"Juggle? Zero-G?" Loknar countered, "What's the point?"

"Well what's the point of doing spins UFO style while pulling a docking maneuver?" asked Mohrad, referencing the antics of the late "Kush-Kush", another Worker class collector that had made that particular spin a trademark. It was also its epitaph when the worker went out of control and collided with a crystal.

"So," Mohrad asked as the harvester moved closer, "When you gonna make your move on Noreena?"

Loknar looked up, flushed in the face. "What?"

"C'mon," Mohrad replied, "Just about everyone and their brother in resource collection knows you got a crush on her. When you gonna 'fess up and tell her you like her?"

Loknar shook his head, "I…uh…don't want to talk about this now…"

"Oh no you don't," Mohrad said, "I've got a bet riding on you that she'll-"

When Mohrad stopped, Loknar looked to his commander and then out the window.

They weren't alone.

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The Vaygr did not name their harvesters by class. They just called them by a numeric type.

The Resource Collector, being one of the earlier designs, was thus a "Type-4" resource collection vehicle. It was a simple ship with a complex interior- the pilots being in the back sidecar while the resource collection teams were in the front.

Harvesting wasn't a profession in Vaygr, it was a punishment. Usually delinquents and other problem officers were assigned to gather rocks until such time as their superiors thought them worthy of returning to service.

This is how Officer Kagan had arrived at the helm of Resource Collector 1953.

Kagan had been a Commander in the army of Makaan until recently, when he questioned the orders of his superior. Why, by Makaan's name, were they this far north? Most of the war was taking place further south near the borders with the Sobani. Makaan's flagship itself was scouring that area, the Great Warlord looking for a challenge in Soban while he waited for the Hiigaran's trump card, Karan, to make an appearance. As a lowly sensors officer Kagan was easily dismissed from his post by his tyrannical superior and demoted to collection duty.

He was alone in having a 'privileged' background. His copilot had been a merchant in life but one too many swindles with defective products in the Crusade he ended up being shipped into military penal service. He was chatty enough though, Kagan would say, and at least he didn't have to worry about getting stabbed in the back. Those men were located in the front part of the craft, operating the mining equipment. Kagan was happy to have that much bulkhead space between him and them.

He was also grateful for that same space being between him and the enemy vehicle less than a hundred meters from their position. The huge yellow tub was marred with a large white logo of some kind. Since it had curves, and wasn't red, it had to have been Hiigaran. The design was the same but then the Hiigarans had out-sourced their harvester design to something like half a dozen smaller empires. Commercialism.

The Merchant turned to him. "That's the contact."

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The two harvesters just stared at one another for a moment.

Loknar turned to Mohrad. "Uh," Asked the co-pilot, "What do we do?"

Mohrad shook his head, then said, "Radio command?"

Loknar turned to the communications station to do just that. At least, he was until he noticed a particular panel. "We're being jammed."

Mohrad scanned the sky quickly and found what he was looking for: a Vaygr jamming probe. It was a small, elongated dot about five thousand meters over his head.

"Mahiidri." Mohrad cursed, slamming back into his seat, "Well, if we can't tell command what's going on, we'll have to knock out the jammer."

"What?" Loknar asked, "With what?"

Mohrad tapped one of the communications buttons at the small panel on his dash. "Lyssa, Sayla, new orders. We're going to punch something."

"What?" was the response.

Before anyone could argue, the Harvester bobbed away from the asteroid.

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Their Vaygr counterparts watched the craft float up out of their vision.

"Where are they going?" Kagan asked as he looked at his sensor manager.

The merchant said, "The only thing that's up there is the jamming probe."

They processed that comment for a second and came to a conclusion. It was put there for a purpose. If command learned that they had allowed a jamming probe to be destroyed by a harvesting pod, then there would be a reckoning.

"Well," The merchant said, "It's not really our business. We're harvesters after all."

But Kagan had another idea. "Imagine if we told them we saved the probe."

"Or bagged an enemy collector." The Merchant added.

They looked at one another.

The Vaygr harvester started upward.

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"Uh," Loknar said, "We're being followed."

"By what?"

"The other harvester."

"Oh please. They'd follow us for a probe?"

The Vaygr harvester rear-ended the Hiigaran collector, rocking everyone inside. Curses echoed from both men in the command cabin.

"The hell?" Demanded Mohrad, looking up at the "rear-view mirror". It had been placed there for those who had been accustomed to ground cars, since every harvester needed a look behind. It showed the huge yellow double-bumper plate of the enemy collector. "They can't be serious!"

"Well, here they come again." Loknar pointed before the collector rocked again.

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"Is that your plan?" The merchant asked, "Keep ramming them?"

Kagan continued pumping his foot on the thrust peddle. "We have a bumper plate. Why not use it?"

"It supposed to be used against Rocks."

"And what do they say about the Vaygr and improvising?"

The collector rammed the Hiigaran again.

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After the fourth jolt, an alarm started to shrill. "We take another one and that's it for the engines."

Mohrad rasped something unintelligible and hit a control. Loknar screamed.

The Hiigaran collector buoyed upward and the Vaygr shot underneath them.

"Our turn." Mohrad replied and powered the engines. The reactor gave a whine but complied, and the tables turned. He powered up the navigational aids.

These were designed to keep the Resource collector right beside the target craft during repairs. For now, he'd be using them for an entirely different purpose. Mohrad smiled as his computer worked with him- another thing these new collectors had over the old shoes.

The menacing claws of the harvester closed with the Vaygr hull.

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Kagan looked up, wondering where they went. He scanned his monitors, as that was the only way he could see the space around him. Hull breach warnings sounded right before the whole craft lurched, and then he figured out what happened.

The Merchant wasn't helping. "Looks like they burned through the center section with a-"

That's as far as he got, since Kagan shook the whole ship by making a sudden roll counter-clockwise.

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The Hiigaran collector began to spin. Fortunately, the entire crew had been belted in as this happened. Mohrad activated the comm, "You ladies all right?"

"We're fine," Lyssa replied, "Backup servos blown on the left arm… switching over. Drilling's OK."

"I can't believe you're fighting-" Sayla was saying, but the transmission ended.

Loknar was shaking his head as Mohrad continued the spin. "You're not going to-"

"Oh Yess!!"

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More sirens went off in the Harvester's command cabin. This time it was coming across the bottom.

"They've got a drill across the bottom crew-AH!"

Kagan rocked the ship by firing the top thrusters- slamming the underside into the arms of the Hiigaran resource collector.

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Mohrad glanced at the status display to see the arms flashing yellow. He backed off, firing his thrusters to get some distance from the enemy harvester. Only then could he glance at the status displays. He stabbed on the ACCEPT key from the communications panel with a glance.

"They got the left arm's retraction servos…" Lyssa was saying, "We can't retract it. Drill's out too."

Loknar shouted, "Mohrad! This is insane! What are you doing?"

Mohrad glanced at the radar readout in the small holo-tank between both pilots. He saw a green dot, and took the moment needed to read the ID.

"Reinforcements!" He cheered.

Loknar looked himself, and his eyebrows arched.

A Worker was on the approach.

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The particular worker was the "Scutter", twelve years old and with plenty of problems. It had gained its namesake for quite a few reasons.

"My God," Alden complained from the lower seat, "Now I can see why Rey wanted to loose this dump. Look at this!"

"You weren't staring a pinup in the face a minute ago." Crissa said from the commander's seat, shaking her head, "Sajuuk- that man is committing professional suicide. I can't wait to see the day he's caught."

"What, does he have some obsession with those- Ah-Shaddah!" Alden complained as the engine cut out again. He reached over and twiddled the lever locking mechanism for the collection "stovepipe" to get the engine functioning again. "There we go." He toned somewhat happily.

Crissa shook her head in the driver's seat above him. She had been convinced to keep to the old sneakers by her boyfriend when they were passing around assignments. It was one of the reasons she dumped him, but there was no going back now. "Right," She said as they approached the rocks, "Let's get this over-"

"Woa! What's going on up there!" Alden announced.

Crissa glanced down to see where Alden was looking, then looked up. "The hell?" She commented when she saw the two wheeling yellow collectors.

"Uh," Alden said, "That's a Vaygr harvester."

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Kagan took a minute to assess the damage. "Where did they hit us?"

The Merchant shook his head, "I hope you didn't have anything important in the crew area. I've had to seal that off. On the plus side, all the axe murderers are stuck in the front."

Kagan didn't know what to say to that. On one hand, he was happy they were trapped up there and wouldn't be paying them a visit to stop this little war he started. On the other, if he wasn't saved from this fate, he'd be facing them later.

His only hope was to protect the probe long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Hopefully their glorious leader spotted the enemy collectors and dispatched something helpful to the area.

"Hey," The Merchant pointed out, "Looks like another one of those things showed up."

"What is it?"

"I don't know… I've never seen one before."

"What does it look like?"

"Looks like….ah… what do they call that trendy footwear in the core? Socks?"

"Pants."

"Ah yes. It looks like pants."

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Crissa winced as she peered into the camera feed. "Who is that?"

"They're calling us, whoever they are."

Crissa reached over and thumbed the trigger for RECEIVE. "This is Worker-97 receiving."

"Crissa?"

Crissa winced. "Mohrad you bastard, what are you doing?"

"Is command vectoring in fighters?"

"How the hell should I know?"

"We need to kill that jammer pod to call for help. Or do you want Vaygr all over this patch?"

He had a point.

"Ok. Keep the other guy busy." Said Crissa and adjusted her seat, "I'm going for the probe."

"I knew I could count on you." Was the reply.

Alden asked from below and in front of her, "You're not serious are you?"

"Hell," Crissa said, "I always wanted to do something combat-related."

She gunned the engine, but it stalled. "Sajuuk-Sahri…."

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Mohrad returned to combat with the enemy Vaygr ship. The heavy arm of the resource collector was swinging wildly despite the fact that it couldn't bend.

The moment Kagan saw this, he screamed.

Lyssa slammed the heavy thing into the side of the Vaygr collector, sending the thing rolling wildly. Mohrad followed the spinning collector, gambling on a second hit.

"This is fun!" The merchant called out sarcastically, not helping anything.

"At least that other ship isn't moving." Kagan grunted as he tried to correct the spin. Then he caught a glimpse of a familiar shadow approaching, then laughed. "Aha! The Tonka!"

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The Vaygr called their Resource Controllers the "Type-5 Resource Operation Control vehicle."

Those who were salved to its duty called it the "Tonka". Nobody was quite sure where the word came from. About the size of a frigate, it handled the duties of several resource collectors while also overseeing the airspace of the patch it was assigned to. Many a Vaygr pilot was grateful for the additional air traffic notifications that came from a stationary Controller.

Of course, the collectors were also grateful for the controller's guns. Some protection was better than none.

Overseer Sinar, however, was at a loss for words as he and another two collectors pulled up to the resource patch. Arms crossed as he stood in the narrow bridge of the "Tonka", he only stared for a moment at the sight.

When he didn't say anything, his subordinates around him began to look away from their stations at him. "Overseer?" One of them asked, "Orders?"

"I don't know where to begin…" The bald man rumbled.

"Should we open fire?" Asked the very eccentric looking man at the gunnery chair.

Sinar opened his mouth, but then retracted his words. "No." He said, "Not yet. Not until this spectacle ceases to amuse me."

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"Do you want me to go out and push?" Alden asked from the lower seat.

Crissa just sighed angrily and said, "Fine. Full re-start."

"Are you joking?"

"Do you have any alternatives?" Crissa replied, "Engines aren't responding. Nothing is working up here."

"I could try fiddling the latch again."

"How many times have you tried that?"

"Two, but will three really hurt?"

Crissa sighed. "Fine. Go for it."

Alden reached over and fiddled the control.

The stovepipe lurched up- and jammed. The motion started "Scutter" into a slow cartwheel backwards.

Crissa tried a control. Then another. Then she clicked the triggers for the thrusters. Nothing responded.

"ARGHHH!!" She screamed, slamming the control panel before her. It blue-screened. "OH MY GOD!!!!" She screamed, and thumped her head on the control unit. "AAHHHH!!!"

Alden opened his mouth to say something to her, but decided not to. It might be better for her if she didn't know that an enemy controller was hovering nearby.

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Morhad wasn't done. He sped the controller again, club ready.

"Please stop this-" Loknar panicked, "I want to live!"

"You will! With glory!" Mohrad replied, "Then you can tell your girlfriend Noreena how you helped beat an enemy to a pulp with a Resource Collector."

Loknar just screamed as their collector pummeled the Vaygr ship again.

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That impact broke something. Kagan heard it. "What was that?" He asked.

"That was one of two main keel rods snapping in half." Replied the Merchant.

It sounded important. Kagan parted his lips when the alarms shrilled at him. He glanced at the lettering and managed to read it despite almost no contrast between the backlight and what it was trying to tell him. "Holaar." He swore. He turned, but the Merchant was already passing him a helmet. Kagan was rather dubious about its effectiveness, but sealed it anyway. He grabbed the controls again and managed to dodge a third swing by the rampaging enemy collector.

It was at that moment that he recalled how surreal this was. This shouldn't be happening. Fighting was for warships. This was supposed to be boring and monotonous, with the slight possibility of getting killed when discovered unprotected.

How in the worlds could he come under attack by another enemy non-com?

Well, he figured, the chances of that happening were about as slim as Karan S'jet hyperspacing before him with nothing on but a smile.

Hey, he could dream couldn't he?

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The Vaygr collector dove under his fourth swing.

The comm. Light winked and Mohrad answered it. "Mohrad," Lyssa said, "Another impact and you'll sever the digging arm entirely."

Loknar tried reason again. "Mohrad, we're going to beat ourselves senseless out here! Let's get going before that Controller decides to shoot at us!"

Mohrad glanced at the wheeling Vaygr collector, then up. The probe was still there. He started for it.

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Sinar's eyebrows jumped and his mouth opened when he saw the harmless collector bob upward at incredible speed.

The guns of the Controller opened fire, shooting streams of pellets up at the enemy collector.

Bullets the size of fingernails rattled around the lower housing. A small explosion severed the Resource collection fuel lines from the arm servos to the interior tanks. Spare dust bled from there and the hose writhed like a wild animal… but it didn't slow the collector any.

Seconds later, it hit the Sensors distortion probe. The Vaygr device made a spectacular explosion, blackening the top of the collector, but ending the interference in that area.

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Lamia blinked, then her eyebrows shot up. "Raim?" She called over her shoulder.

"My God Lamia what is it?"

"We just had a light up on patch five. We've got Vaygr ships headed over there."

"What? How many?"

"Two groups of laser corvettes and an interceptor squadron."

Panic hit the sensors operation station on the Kuun-Lan. Recons were dispatched immediately.

Some reprieve… Lamia grunted inwardly. She felt sorry for the poor saps out there.

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Mohrad's sensors also cleared and showed him the same information. He turned his head outward to see the corvettes flying right at his pod.

Spheres of red energy flew through the unit- punching holes wherever they passed. The pilots ducked their heads as alarms shrilled around them.

It lasted only seconds, then the laser corvettes banked by.

Mohrad raised his head, then turned to Loknar. He was still covering his. Mohrad didn't have time to entertain him, "GET YOUR HELMET ON!"

Loknar immediately leapt into action- reaching up and grabbing the fishbowl thing. Mohrad did also, and together then removed the helmets from their suction-mounts on the roof and snapped them into place over their suits.

Once sealed, they grasped the controls again. Mohrad grunted, not wanting to speak and instead wanting to flee.

He remembered the threat file on Laser corvettes. They were the bane of medium-sized vehicles- Frigates in particular. The only way to be spared from these incredible red spheroids of death was to either avoid them, or have a layer of equally incredible ceramic armor.

The collector did not have the speed or the armor to withstand this.

Mohrad ordered without taking his eyes away from the instrument panel, "Find out whose left."

Loknar shakily did so. "Anyone there?" he asked.

Lyssao's voice answered him. "I-I am…."

When Loknar didn't speak, Mohrad did. "Did Sayla make it?"

"….No…."

"Get out of there. Get up here now." He commanded and continued to drive. The alarms were blaring at him.

"Mohr…" Loknar said, then repeated, "Mohr!"

"WHAT!?"

"It's Crissa."

Mohrad broke eye contact from his panel to hit the comm button, "Crissa get clear from here-"

"Hold still damn you!"

"What?"

An indicator flashed on Mohrad's panel and he looked at it. It was a particle flow indicator, specifying that a number of particles larger than a grain of sand were flowing around sections of the ship.

It took Mohrad a moment to realize just what was happening. He glanced at his rear-and-under view, to see the whole thing covered in green.

For the first time, Mohrad was grateful for the magic green beam.

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It was a crude, but effective way at doing repairs.

Scutter's engines puttered as fast as they could as they tried to keep up with the yellow resource collector. Even though the stovepipe was jammed, Crissa was doing her best to keep the collector aimed so that its line of fire still contained the yellow pod.

"You owe me for this." She hissed, eyes on the structural integrity bar that measured the estimate of the yellow pod's hull.

"CRISSA!" Shouted Alden.

She looked up at her rear-view screen out of reflex, and saw eight red cross-shapes bearing down on her. She closed her eyes, waiting for the inevitable red spheres to cut through her.

A collision alarm sounded…then…nothing. Crissa opened her eyes.

Alden was laughing. "YEAH! YEAH GET 'EM!"

Crissa turned her head.

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"Yo-yo," Announced Recon-1 to Recon-2, "Let's see if a hundred years made us any slower then the opposition."

"Mage? Is that you?" Replied Recon-2.

Mage Somtaaw, one of the sparse male recon pilots, turned his head. "No chatter. Get busy."

Five Recons had just been dumped on the scene- apparently scaring the hell out of the laser corvette pilots who were expecting an easy kill. Both groups of four scattered at the unusual craft.

…But their match wasn't far behind.

"Ah!" Announced Recon-4, 'Jig-Jag,' "'gician, we've got daggers that wanna play."

Mage looked forward, then up through the curved and unusual glass of his recon craft. "I see them."

"We bug out?"

"We do the job." Replied Mage and cut an engine, putting his recon into a spin. The mass driver fired out, shooting across the fringe of one of the passing assault craft.

Recon-3 came up behind him. "Got your back Mage."

"Wouldn't trust anyone else."

"I heard that!"

"Fight over me later. Work now." Replied Mage.

The recons, uncharacteristic of them, adopted aggressive tactics and began to pursue the Vaygr tenaciously. Unsure of the new fighters, the Vaygr wavered. They had been expecting Hiigarans… who were these?

But the recons were having a field day. Mage and his wingmate ducked in, making an example of the abused harvester and put some rounds into its midsection. The next pass by Recons 3 and 4 made the whole craft explode.

Mage then noticed the harvesters in the area. He clicked over his comm, "Bug and Bumblebee, get the fuck out of here."

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Crissa frowned, "We're moving! Just keep them off of us!"

Alden turned, "Crissa...!"

"My God Alden what is it?"

"Look." Alden said and pointed.

Crissa glanced down at him, then in the direction he was pointing.

A small yellow wedge shape of debris was drifting by.

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Kagan wasn't sure if he should be thankful he was alive… or dreading that he was in space.

Kagan had never been 'spaced' before, at least like this. Never been outside of the reach of a spaceship. One would have expected Vaygr to be accustomed to this, but at least in Crusade Beddai, where Kagan had come from, to be out of touch of any kind of spacecraft was death.

He had to applaud the designers of the resource collector though. The cockpit module had jettisoned as designed- but Kagan had been getting out of it after the first pass of those strange fighters. Now he was drifting in open space with the cockpit module floating off ahead of him. He hoped the Merchant bought it at least- he hated the man.

A quagmire started to grow ahead of him though- the strange pants-shaped ship was looming before him. A strange green beam was lancing out at their opponent, that huge yellow box that he had ruthlessly attacked when he still had a command.

Briefly Kagan considered his options. He could either drift in space for a questionable rescue by friendly forces, or try to latch on to this ship and ride it back to wherever it was going.

The final alternative was to die, but that was last on Kagan's list. At least as a POW he'd be treated fairly decently. He didn't mind betraying his superiors either by giving away information. After all, the bastard of a commander indirectly threw him out here in the first place.

Kagan moved slowly, remembering that much from his Zero-G emergency training. He grasped the square-shaped emergency grappling gun, used for such an occasion and often ignored by those who had it. By ripping it from its attachment to his suit, the adhesive cover also came free and drifted into space. A tell-tale emergency beacon also lit, but he couldn't care less if anyone heard him or not.

He aimed the dart at the enemy vessel and fired. There was slight recoil, but he was already going at a good clip. The dart hit the side of the huge blue ship, and a chime in his helmet informed him that the contact was solid. He reeled himself in.

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Mohrad's systems were stabilizing, it seemed. He turned to Loknar and bumped him on the shoulder. "You awake?"

"Yeah…but…Sayla…"

"Worry about it later." Replied Mohrad, "Let's get out of here." He reached over and tapped the comm, "Hey Crissa, joining us?"

"Wait up!" She replied.

Both harvesters left the area. A shape grew before them, and Mohrad glanced at his heads-up display. At least that was still functional.

He grinned as they passed a torpedo frigate headed in the opposite direction. Also flying past him were two trios of pulsar corvettes going at a good clip. The enemy was going to be in for a big surprise.

Mohrad sighed in his helmet, allowing it to bump the headrest of his seat. He wondered exactly what command would say of his performance… it was a little daring, but at least he wasn't completely responsible for getting his collector trashed. Besides, it was all in the name of hurting the enemy, and command liked gallantry.

In the sum of things he wondered what his little contribution to the battlefield would accomplish. All he did really was knock out a jammer and move part of the battle to that isolated resource patch.

Mohrad turned his head. "Lok, you're soo telling this to Noreena to impress her."

Loknar turned his head, "W-What?"

"I hear she likes strong guys. Just don't be an ass when you ask her out."

Loknar hesitated, then just stared forward again.

Kuun-Lan grew into view moments later, with both harvesters grateful to have finally come home.

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War is not unknown even to the very rocks...