Siege of Hrakar IV |[Sarpedon]|[Jiskastya]|
Captain Lek'jauta was grinning to himself, though it didn't look like any grin anyone else had ever seen. His bodyguards were making the same face, and it was creeping out everyone else. Clearly the giant T'Hetan knew something everyone else didn't. The alien clicked and hissed, and the biggest of the alien warriors left the room. Then, with practiced ease, the killer began to speak in a language everyone understood. "I want everyone on the upper decks. Man the guns. Arm the Nullifier. Don't be shy boys, no one can hear you scream..." he spoke flatly, without emotion. He was just repeating what he had heard. T'Hetaneh did not posses vocal chords, but like a parrot, they could mimic speech in order to communicate. This resulted in strange tones sometimes, and a distinct lack of emotion, but the crew that answered to the giant alien had learned to judge his emotional state based on the colour of his crest. Right now it was red, and that meant Lek'jauta was spoiling for a fight.
Surprisingly, though, he and his fellow warriors were still unarmoured. It was supposed to be a sign of respect, but wandering around naked had only struck the crew as strange. It was certainly less intimidating than when they were armoured though. Now it seemed, was that time. The T'Hetan captain waved his arm and the non-T'Hetan crew scrambled out of the war room to allow their leaders to dress. All of them wore armour made of black metal. It was lighter than anything anyone had ever seen, and tougher than the bulkheads keeping out the vacuum. It also absorbed all light cast on it, making it hard to see, since there was no light to tell you it was there. On their heads they wore masks of the same material, though these were not uniform. Lek'jautja's mask swept back over his head, curved and smooth, with no eye holes, just a jaw that he could manipulate with his mandibles. It was a strange mask, and perhaps not as intimidating to the crew, but only because they did not know what it was modeled after. The others wore the black metal skulls of more recognizable predators, but regardless of the shape, the masks all served the same purpose, to heighten senses and clarify signals, allowing already brilliant hunters to become almost unstoppable.
These killers were not armed with the weapons of their honourable brethren though. They wielded wrist-mounted chemical throwers, massive, revolving hand-cannons, and electro-glaives equipped with a pair of sub-machine guns mounted just below the blades on either end. Devastating weapons, and a far cry from the things used by the upstanding citizens of their civilizations. "We're going to have to go back soon..." Lek'jautja clicked, and the others hissed their agreement. There were no T'Hetan females out here in the Black, just desperate freighters towing too much stuff in attempt to make ends meet. The only ends that would be met today were permanent ones, however.
"Guns are manned, Sire. We await your command." came a voice through the intercom, and the captain smiled. He was a warlord, and would be addressed as such. He moved to the little grey box and pushed the button.
"Fire at will. Don't be shy. When they drop, the crane will grab the freight, just don't let that ship transmit its screams." he mimicked into the mic, turning and nodding to his warriors. They nodded back and donned their masks. They then puffed up their crests to interface with the highly advanced tech, and became fully aware of everything in a three-hundred sixty degree arc. Nothing could escape them now. The captain began to hiss, and they all received the results of the echolocation. They all joined in the hissing and spread out, heading for the observation deck. The metres-thick steeglass dome had shattered long ago, but they did not need air to live, they had at least ten minutes in the void before they blacked out. By the time they got there, the ship should be in range.
And indeed it was. They arrived just after the little freighter dropped out of warp-space. The crane was spot on, grabbing the towed barge out of the Black with pinpoint accuracy. But while normally the shock of a sudden drop stunned the crew, that didn't seem to happen this time. The freighter dropped the barge and tried to boost away at engines full. The gunners were slow, and the distress call made it out. Just as the micro-burst transmission got free of jamming range, the ship exploded, having sustained a direct hit from a warp-inversion torpedo. It was strange tech, that overloaded the warp-engine of a ship by reversing the cycle. This meant the dampeners wouldn't engage, resulting in an explosion twice as potent as a nuclear bomb of equal mass, and one that was ten times more devastating in the void. It was like the space equivalent of the Atomic Bomb, but so much more terrifying.
No time to worry about the distress call now though, they needed to harvest the barge and get the stabilizers engaged. The T'Hetaneh pirates jumped, propelling themselves with all of their might, and landing effortlessly on the barge. The first to land powered up his electro-glaive and carved a hole in the barge. The others hopped in and set about clearing the place. There were only ever five crew members, all of them concentrated in one area. Lek'jautja was the first in, and he primed his chemical throwers, heading straight for the crew quarters. They knew what was happening, and were likely hiding. This time, he found them armed, and just laughed. One of them had brought up a massive Slug Thrower. It was a coil-gun that fired a giant ferromagnetic slug as fast as physics would allow. They fired the moment he stepped into view, just as he laughed, and suddenly he was against the wall, still laughing. He was a very old pirate, and he had eaten only the strongest predators as a child, making him much tougher than anyone else these pitiful workers had ever seen. He raised an arm and doused the trio manning the weapon in a virulent concoction of disease. The substance in his throwers was a culture of a very special bacteria that fed on life. Exposed to air, anything alive in it would be consumed. Thanks to their advanced technology, however, the pirates had written this strain not to eat them. And no one but the enemy was to be on the barge now, so they were safe.
The cloud of bacteria was a sickening green that seemed to shift in an otherworldly manner as it devoured the workers. In an instant they were just gone, no proof they existed but the parts of them that had never been alive in the first place. Then the cloud sped off, rapidly dying without food. But it could detect others in the area, so it raced toward them. Two of the pirates stayed to help their captain, while others chased the cloud to ensure it succeeded. Lek'jautja had been slammed into the outer wall of the barge, and even punched a hole in it, leaving him very stuck. One of the pirates cut out the metal he was embedded in, while the other removed his breastplate, which had been caved in by the slug. The captain clicked admiringly at the weapon the enemy had used, and the others agreed. He had fractured all of the plates in his chest, and bruised one of his hearts, but he would be fine after some recuperation. Once he got out of the wall, and looked at his armour and sighed, he would be bare-chested until they had time to synthesize a new one.
"We need to go back now..." he hissed, and everyone agreed, they needed a small coven of females, they were so much better at the science. They might even be able to fix the ship. "Clear it out, get it on board, we're going home." he declared, stalking back to the hole they had come through. Once everyone inside, as well as the bacteria, were dead, the crane would haul the barge on board and the crew could go through it. They would be heading back to T'Het now, hopefully quietly and unnoticed...