Remí is right next to Imogen, and what she does next depends greatly on whether he is surprised or delighted by what is happening now. Did he know this was going to happen? Is he another enemy? Imogen does not want to take her eyes off Lizelle, but she spares a corner of her mind to skim across the surface of Remí’s. She picks up abject fear of being hurt, and although there is no surprise, that seems to be because of his general state of resignation about the crappy quality of life on this exostation. With Remí’s status in all this resolved, Imogen snaps at him, “Get down!” Her pistol clears her holster as she ducks behind Saffron, where Remí is now cowering. Imogen does not really like the idea of people shooting her ship, but she likes it more than people shooting her.
As she comes out of Saffron, Lilly hears Imogen’s order, and she quickly takes in that pistols are about to be in play. Lilly charges down the ramp, moving into position among crates in the space between the two ships. Whatever was going on out here before she was alerted has clearly escalated to a firefight, Lilly judges, and there is no reason to let the other side get off the first shot. Before the captain of that rundown shuttle can level her pistol at Imogen, Lilly fires off a couple blasts with her shotgun. The woman in charge takes a nasty hit, and the spray also gets a couple of the thugs with clubs flanking her. That should give them pause, Lilly thinks. She does not know why they are coming after Imogen, but surely it cannot be worth all the medical bills they are starting to rack up.
“Get in there!” Lizelle shouts, urging some of her men toward Imogen. She herself ducks down behind a crate, firing at the bodyguard with the shotgun. Her poorly maintained gun jams for a moment, and when a bullet finally does fly, it goes wide of its mark. Her other two crew charge in once she stops firing.
The scrubs waving sticks at Lilly are not at all impressive. Maybe they thought they could score a quick buck, but they certainly are not trained in any kind of combat. She is surprised they are even still trying. Lilly dodges their blows and backs up, angling for another shot on their leader, who so far seems to be the only opponent with a gun, making her the biggest threat.
“Aye, a bodyguard,” Imogen says to Remí as she ducks away from the blood-spattered thugs coming at her. Leo’s mechanic remains huddled under Saffron. While dodging truncheons, some more successfully than others, Imogen heckles Lizelle. She is not entirely sure what has prompted this attack—presumably whatever Aiden did—but if she acts like she knows more than she does, maybe the woman will reveal something. “Aye, we’re worth a lot, we are. And you think you and this sad, sad bunch are of sufficient caliber to bring in an Owendoher? There’s a reason we’re worth so much. You should never have expected your pathetic troupe to be able to bring one of us in.”
“No, you’re going to be my ticket onto the crew of Jackson’s Revenge,” the captain sneers back at Imogen. “They want you bad.” Her bravado collapses under Lilly’s next blast, as do her legs. The thugs she sicced on Lilly catch up to their target, landing a couple whacks before the ex-soldier brings her gun around on them. Their hits will leave some bruises, but Lilly shrugs them off. It is nothing compared to a Browder snow bear monster. She unloads another set of shots into them, and they crumple.
Having just taken a solid whack to her collarbone, Imogen feels lethal force is justified and fires her own gun at the hoodlums menacing her. One guy goes down, and the other is clipped. He is still standing, but on Imogen’s suggestion that he reconsider his life choices, he flees the scene. Imogen lets him go. The last echoes of gunfire dissipate, leaving just the sounds of groaning and shallow breathing. Imogen holsters her pistols and hefts her wrench, keen for some payback. Ignoring the injured people, she stalks up to the decrepit shuttle. The price of going after an Owendoher is one exhaust filter.
While Imogen sets upon the thugs’ ship, Lilly takes a look around to make sure everything is secure. They made a lot of noise, but the Umojan marine does not seem to care, as the fight did not spill over toward the consulate. The leader lady is quietly moaning, and Lilly crouches down to check her, mainly to make sure she will not get up to cause more trouble. Indeed, she seems out of it. Lilly pats her down and finds a printout of a bounty poster.
Any and all Owendohers from the Umojan Protectorate.
The crew of Jackson’s Revenge will pay:
$2000 for an Owendoher brought in alive
$100 for information leading to an Owendoher
thick Umojan accent
partial to blond braids
Lilly frowns at the sheet. That ship sounds familiar, but she cannot quite place it, beyond that it belongs to some sort of mercenary or pirate group. It seems like Imogen’s whole family must be in trouble. At the bottom of the notice there are pictures of three middle-aged, white-skinned terrans, two men and a woman—not Imogen. One of the guys has a hairline that has receded far too much for the long blond braid he still wears to look good at all. Lilly takes the sheet over to Imogen at the shuttle. “Are we going to have a problem planet-side?” she asks, holding up the bounty notice.
Imogen barks out a laugh. “Aye. That’s why we’re here.” She sobers up a bit as she registers the pictures at the bottom. Uncle Leo, I can understand, but Ma and Da? What, did they just go through Aiden’s wallet for photos?
“Well, two thousand’s not super great,” Lilly says reassuringly. “The bounty on Jimmy is half a million.” She steps back over to the unconscious captain of the shuttle and smears her blood across the bounty sheet. She grabs the woman’s knife—and pockets her ten credits. Lilly is no thief, but if people are going to attack Imogen for no good reason, they deserve to pay a little bit for her pain and suffering. And besides that, for what Lilly has in mind, she does not want to sacrifice a knife of her own. She stalks to the entrance of the landing bay and slams the knife into the wall, pinning the bounty notice in place. Maybe this will make any future takers reconsider the return on investment for it.
Meanwhile, Imogen pulls out the shuttle’s exhaust filter, which turns out to be Exploracorp brand. Although old, it is as good as new, having been improperly installed on the shuttle and therefore not run at all. It is perfectly sized for Saffron’s port though and will easily snap into place. Across the room, under Saffron, Remí calls out, asking if it is safe to emerge. “You’re in no danger,” Imogen tells him. She hefts the filter. “We can take it from here. And I’ll be sure to tell Leo that you didn’t sell us out.”
“And the money! Ask him about the money!” he says, as he scurries to the exit of the landing bay.
“Make sure people know this is not an easy bounty,” Lilly tells him when he passes her.
“Whoa! I don’t want any trouble!” Remí calls over his shoulder, not pausing on his way out.
At the very least, with the notice posted as it is, people will know that there was an attempt to collect on the bounty and it did not go smoothly. Lilly cracks her neck and rolls her shoulders. “You injured?” she asks Imogen, who is now over at Saffron, installing the exhaust filter.
“Let’s not worry about that right now. I was just hit with clubs; it’s not a big deal. But there were shots fired. I don’t want to stick around longer than it takes to get Saffron in order. We’ve got your visa and the certification program from Remí, so…”
“Right, and we can run those diagnostics from space. Let’s pack it up.”