Minutes later, the girls found themselves being ushered out of the small rounded home by Borisorov. He’d been very kind, but had seemed to have reached his limit on such things. The trio exited the building and into the village. It was now that Maria got her first good look at the place, rain soaked and slightly flooded as it was. The air had become much cooler than before, but still not unpleasant. The village itself was nothing more than several rounded buildings surrounded by rolling hills and fields. Many of which were missing large swathes of plantlife.
Agricultural Auto-Maton units were already at work replanting. Through the middle of the village ran an unpaved dirt road. It moved further on from the village and connected to a paved one about a kilometer out in the opposite direction from the Epsilon VI’s landing site. If they couldn’t procure a freight Auto-Maton, the walk back would be hell, with as water logged as everything had become.
Most of the short, round topped buildings looked to be residential. Though one was slightly larger than the others, and had a sign on its front. It read… ‘Космические ублюдки покупают здесь дерьмо’. Maria had never before in her life seen lettering like that. She didn’t know what to make of it, and certainly had no understanding of it. Behind the building, a large space was cleared out for what looked to be a landing pad for small starships. Like the Epsilon VI. Maria understood Niarith’s reasoning for landing where they did, but she sure wished that home was right there, instead of past several kilometers of wet, muddy fields.
Lolanene stepped up next to her “Well gals, looks like whatever that bigger place is should be our first stop. ‘Rest of this just looks like houses.”
“Right. Let’s hope that translator you rigged up holds out.” Niarith said as she began walking over to the building. Lolanene and Maria followed her down the muddy road.
As they did, several people took down their barricades from their doors and windows. To Maria’s surprise, most scowled upon seeing them. The walk was short, but unpleasant, and not only because of the muddy dirt road. As they approached the building, Maria noticed a smaller sign hanging below the main one, both were handwritten. The lower one read, in the lettering Maria was used to and in her language ‘Off-World Supplies and information’ “Oh, well that’s convenient.” She gestured to the sign.
“This is where we need to be then! Let’s go.” Niarith took the lead again, opening the metallic door to the building. The interior of the building was circular, and no effort had been made to make it homier. It was bare concrete throughout. Racks of shelves lined the floor, forming aisles. On the shelves were various bulk packaged items, for starship travel. In one area, various Auto-Maton units sat inert, either for display or waiting until needed.
At the front counter was a woman wearing baggy athletic clothing and looking extremely tired. She stood leaning over the counter, her hand holding her head up. She had a sharp, angular face, green eyes, and extremely messy black hair. It looked as if she’d tried to cut and style it in complete darkness. Parts were longer where they shouldn’t have been, others stuck out at odd angles. She seemed to be trying to ignore the group as hard as she could as they entered.
The woman sighed as the three approached her, realizing she was going to have to talk to them. “Hello, may I help you?” Her voice was deep, but not masculine, her accent was strange, but understandable. Her tone was anything but helpful. She didn’t even look up at them, choosing instead to continue staring at nothing.
Niarith stood awkwardly for a moment, then said “Uhm, yes. We’d like to purchase about 5 months worth of ship rations? I have my card right here” She reached into her pocket.
“What ship?” The woman asked
“Oh well, y’see, we don’t exactly have any registration, and we didn’t want to cause a panic by landing in town, so…”
“I see. You intend to haul your rations back through the fields?” Though she asked questions, she clearly had no interest in the answers.
Bright teal light suddenly burned in Niarith’s eyes, and she said, with a mechanical female voice below her own “Oh don’t worry about it my dears! One ship, coming right up!”
The woman at the counter jumped up in surprise, a shocked expression on her face. “Yebena mat'!”
The roar of ship engines became audible outside, steadily growing louder as Niarith simply stood there, Mirideth controlling her body. The sound of a ship landing was heard a few moments later, and Mirideth simply said “You’re welcome!” and the teal light faded from Niarith’s eyes.
Maria turned to the woman at the counter, and realized she was now pointing a pistol at them. “None of you move a fucking muscle! I don’t know what the fuck you just pulled, but I’m not having it. The authorities are on their way, your ship has been locked down. Now don’t move, or you die.” She added, under her breath “Grebanyye inoplanetyane...”
Maria could only sigh. Thanks, Mirideth.
Minutes later, another ship was heard landing outside. In front of the building, in the road.
Maria carefully turned her head to the door, careful not to move any other part of her body. Several heavily armored people entered the building. They were wearing armor similar to the type Maria had seen back on Waystation 4320. She heard Niarith gasp. “They’re FIC… oh fuck.. I thought they’d be local...”
Minutes later, Maria was being loaded into a secure compartment in the FIC ship, along with Lolanene and Niarith. Niarith had her head in her hands, muttering “fuckfuckfuckfuck” to herself as she sat on the supplied bench. It was built into the compartment itself, and other than lighting built into the ceiling, was the only object inside. Maria was surprised their hands hadn’t been bound, though they had… extensively searched them before loading them onto the ship. At gunpoint. If this was the initial arrest, Maria dreaded to think what the rest of the FIC criminal justice system was like. A guard dressed in the same heavy, face concealing armor stood against the far wall, looking bored, though attentive. The heavy door to the compartment slammed shut, and a loud grinding noise was heard as it sealed into place, forming another wall.
Maria looked over at Lolanene. She was shaking, and staring at the floor. Niarith hadn’t stopped muttering. “Nia… it’ll be okay. We’ll get out of this.” The guard stifled a laugh. Maria looked over at them “You got something to say?”
“It’s just funny, is all.” The voice was moderately deep, and sickeningly confident, as it emitted from the man’s suit speakers. “You think you’re getting out of this. Like we don’t know who the fuck you three are?” He leaned back against the wall, his rifle held in one hand, pointed at the floor “You’re the three terrorists who tried to assassinate Yldebrund Brocktazrolo. Y’know, after ya killed dozens of people assaulting Loriol Ninia’s compound for fuck knows what reason? And then roasted six cops during your escape? Did ya think the FIC was just gonna let that slide?”
Maria wasn’t sure how to respond. “I.. you don’t… we..”
The guard quietly chuckled. “That’s what I thought. You’re not getting out of this. Personally I’ll be surprised if they don’t execute on the fuckin’ spot.”
Niarith began openly sobbing. Maria wanted to comfort her, but she was across the compartment from her, and didn’t want to move, lest the guard try to stop her. Unfortunately for everyone, The guard kept speaking.
“Cryin’ terrorists… Y’know you three aren’t exactly the cold blooded killers the media and briefings made you out to be. Honestly you’re kinda pathetic.”
Maria felt a familiar tension in her body. She spoke through gritted teeth. “Stop. Talking.”
The guard laughed, but she noted the sudden tension in his body, he was taking her seriously. “Or what? You gonna come attack with your bare hands in a fuckin’ starship full of cops? By all means, you wanna die that way rather than bein’ executed, go right ahead, sweetheart.”
Maria thought about the situation. He was right, if she attacked him, she’d die. But if he was right about everything, they were about to die anyway. Why shouldn’t she do it? Why shouldn’t she die defending her family, rather than wait for the end? Why shouldn’t she just do it? Why shouldn’t she just be what she’d always been? A killer, murderer, assassin, terrorist. It was who she was. She wasn’t Maria… she hadn’t been Maria since that night. The night of her first kill. Had it been her brother, after all? Or had it been Maria? Herself? She was Lucia Carlena. Assassin. She stood up and lunged at the man.