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Waking Up Trouble (Part One)

Posted on Sat Jul 25th, 2020 @ 6:01pm by Alden Loxley & Alison Bliss

Mission: Fortune & Glory
Location: On Board the Little Rascal After Leaving Sho-Je Downs
Timeline: Two years ago - middle of the night

He hadn’t wanted the job, he didn’t like the Captain, and he had a bad feeling about the ship, but unfortunately for Alden Loxley, he was stuck with a distinct lack of options. Sho-Je Downs was an unforgiving environment for someone who was genuinely lucky, and the stroke of great fortune that he’d been counting on to finance his next venture into ship ownership had ended with him owing a debt.




Out in the black between Sho-Je Downs and their destination, he’d found a little downtime in which to mooch about the cargo bay and wrestle with his thoughts of freedom. The large containers stacked here were mostly uninteresting in the extreme, but as Alden had sat atop one, kicking his legs in boredom, the neighboring crate had beeped.

He thought he’d imagined it, until it repeated that insistent attention seeking noise, but even so he cast a concerned gaze about his solitary location. No one else seemed worried, or even present, they were likely all asleep or at least spending the night in their bunks. Alden jumped down, approached said noisy cargo and flipped a metal cover up to reveal the offending control panel.

Interesting….

A classic case of big green button versus red button versus twenty-seven year old man’s curiosity ended in the inevitable result. Alden pressed the pretty green button with its inviting backlit glow and stepped back as the lid began to silently lift upwards.

Alison opened her eyes. She felt cold breeze on her whole body, realizing she was naked. She was also in some very small... box? As her mind thawed from the lethargy of the cryo she recalled what had happened. Bastards. They overwhelmed her and even when she had them on the ropes, someone sneaked behind her and used drugs to knock her out. She blinked and her blue eyes focused on the man above. She was not recognizing him. Was she with them? No, by the expression of his face, he was as surprised to see her, as she was surprised to be in this box. She decided to roll her dice on that.

"Please, help me. Please." She whispered, unable to speak louder. For him it might look like it was from the dread, but it was actually from the cryo.

The soft gasp and backwards step totally (and thankfully) undersold Alden’s surprise at this unexpected reveal. He hadn’t lived this long by making undue noise at finding out some secret that he wasn’t supposed to uncover, but the shock was written all over his face nonetheless.

He swore, quietly but inventively, as he stood there and stared at the utterly naked female form that was waking up before his eyes. But he didn’t stay still for long. Her pathetic whisper made this woman sound feeble and nervous, yet Alden had seen enough strong women in his time to be wary.

“You’re alright,” he told her, whispering as he moved forward but not reaching out to her physically just yet. “Try to sit up.” Then with a bit more urgency, he added. “Stay quiet though, okay?”

Alison slowly sat up. Her skinny body was feminine, young and pale, fit yet seemed to be frail. She grabbed the edge of the box, her nicely trimmed and polished nails wrapped tight, giving her sense of realism, as for a brief moment she thought she might be still dreaming. Her long platinum blonde hairs flew down on her shoulder. She slowly inhaled the air deeper. The smell told her she was on the ship. Her blue eyes slipped on the surroundings. Cargo bay, she guessed.

“Who are you? Where am I? She said again feeling the throat tightened. She coughed trying to overcome it. “Are you here to hurt me? What are you going to do with me?” She asked weakly and used her other hand to cover her breasts.

He kept looking over his shoulder, expecting someone else to show an interest in this whole debarcle, but no one raised their ugly head just yet. Alden attempted to lower his gaze as his arc of vision followed the turning of his head back towards the naked lady, but failed.

Definitely naked. Underfed too, by the look of it. And confusing. Human trafficking? That was a new low for his employers, and besides soldiers during the war, not something Alden had exposed to personally before, not literally or figuratively. The nice blond lady was pale, fragile looking and neatly looked after though, polish on her nails, hair clean and shiny.

"You're... wow... you're on a ship," Alden said, as he stepped a tiny bit closer, but kept out of immediate reach. He offered up a small, worried smile that had just enough cockiness in it to make his eyes bright. "I'm not here to hurt you, no. I didn't even know you were here." He frowned as she coughed. "Are you okay?" Shit, he thought suddenly, maybe she's infected with something and they're keeping her on ice...

"Uh, why did they put you in there?" He asked, taking two big steps backwards.

Alison focused again on the man in front of her. She was thinking fast. His reaction told her a lot and she was going to use it if she could. She looked down on herself, her long legs fitting perfectly in length on the box. Her jaw clenched. There was no way those bounty hunters would do that to her again. She tried to raise but her body so fresh out of cryo refused to cooperate and after she raised a bit, she flopped down with a weak moan.

"Why would a bunch of guys put a woman into a cryo box? I am guessing to sell me out." She shook her head. The anger was raising up in her. Mostly on herself, that she let them catch her off guard.

She gritted her teeth and with the anger burning bright in her heart, she tried again, this time standing up. She was tall for a woman. With the raised bottom of the box, her eyes were on the level of the man who rescued her. Alison’s body had few fresh bruisers and some of them looked nasty. As Alison stood up, she felt her muscle tensing, a side effect of the cryo. She looked at the man and she was still holding one hand to cover her breasts in a modest gesture, though presenting herself now fully nude, she stood straight, almost defiant.

"Are you with them?"

She was beautiful, Alden thought, if a little on the thin side. And he probably should have looked away by now, but his eyes simply refused to avert themselves from the pure simplicity of a beautiful female form. It had been a while, long enough to want, but not long enough to forget, and his wife still lingered, thread deeply through his soul.

"Well, there are many reasons," Alden suggested awkwardly. "Sickness, contagion..." Or slavery? He supposed that was equally valid, if far more distasteful as options went. She struggled to stand and he almost stepped forward to help, but decided against it. Women were strong, this one it seemed was no exception.

There she stood, on her own two feet, barely minutes from being frozen, with bruises that suggested someone had fought to put her where she'd been found. Her eyes met his and Alden held that gaze long and with an easy confidence.

"I'm just here to fly the ship," he admitted. "Not my choice."

Alison noticed a few more things. First, she could clearly see he enjoyed the sight of her body, but there was not enough arousal here to play off that. She briefly thought about it, was he in love. Maybe. She winced hearing his suggestions and gritting her teeth again, she stepped out of the box, gracefully, slightly staggering but quickly recovering on her own and straightening up defiantly.

Two, the deck of the ship was cold under her feet. Her feet were also well cared with nails polished as well into a soft red color. The air was relatively warm considering they were in space, but if she was in doubt the man in front of her was telling the truth, the deck was cold enough - they had to be in the Black.

"Do I look like I am sick? I am beaten, by the very men you fly this ship for." She hissed with accusation through clenched teeth, pointing her index finger at him. Then she lowered her head, partially in frustration, partially, in vulnerability. "Please help me." She pleaded and looked up, her blue eyes meeting his again. And there was fear in hers. Three, he seemed to have a little more spine than the thugs that were working for Williams.

Well, she wasn't too badly hurt to get herself out of the damn freezer and onto the deck, bare feet and all, he noted. And as she hissed at him, her skin picking up gooseflesh from the chill, her tone declaring a definite mix of the usual expected emotions, Alden flinched. Not through fear, or regret, not through anxiety or anticipation of danger, but from a need to break the stalemate and that stupid statuesque pose he'd adopted.

Whatever this woman was, whatever reason they had for locking her up, she deserved at least to have clothes on her back while they figured out their next move.

"Here," Alden said, shrugging out of his jacket and dark grey woollen shirt, then handing her the shirt. It was long enough to cover all her important and sensitive parts at least until they found something else. He pulled the jacket back on over his vest then and exhaled, breath misting between them as the cryo pod warmed. "I'll help you," he added. "But don't let's assume that I'm here by any better of a situation than you are, Mei Mei."

Alison nodded slightly when offered the shirt and put it on.

“Thank you.” She relaxed a bit. Some part of her expected this to be a ruse and the man to attack her. Or maybe it was the coldness that had her so tensed. Or maybe the emotions, as for her she fought and lost just moments ago. She took a deep breath calming herself further and looked around.

There was another box, next to the one used as a freezer for her. Similar in style but without a freezer. Alison stiffly moved closer still feeling the discomfort of muscles.
"You are telling me that you are also kept in cryo naked? And that you had to fight for your life with overwhelming force and failed?" She asked sarcastically, eyeing him for the reaction.

He could see her visibly lose some tension as that covering slipped down over her pale figure, and Alden took a quick, strengthening breath of his own in that moment. He'd stepped back, out of immediate reach for ease of her sanity and comfort, but his gaze remained on her. There was a reason they'd frozen her pretty ass, and while he had no idea why he'd remain a little wary.

"Not exactly, no," Alden answered her pointed questions. He lifted his vest to show multi-coloured bruises across firm tanned abs - clearly he'd had some planet time - then dropped it without a deeper explanation. "Had my own troubles," he told her, dark blue gaze searching hers. "And currently working a pilot gig for no money... no..." There was cursing. "In fact I'm sorta paying them on account of they stole everything I'd won."

Alison glanced at the bruises. Now it started to make more sense. Her initial assumption proved a bit off, which explained his distance and guarding stand. At least to some extent. It wasn't often that men could resist. Though, did he resist her? He was still ogling her, even now in his borrowed clothes.

"Is this your ship?" Alison asked squatting by the box and checking the padlock that was on it. She needed a key or something to smash it. Her long fingers of a slender hand flipped the padlock back and forth with annoyance as she started to look around for a key or a crowbar.

"It's not," Alden admitted honestly and with a definite bitterness.

No, it wasn’t fair, but Alden had learned - quickly and painfully - that fairness wasn’t something the illegal gambling ring cared a hoot about. He’d won, fair and square, no cheating whatsoever, and yet no one was on his side. The crew he’d come here with had hightailed it out of here when threatened with being part of the underground gladiator-style battles, and they’d abandoned their former hired pilot to his fate.

Such was the problem with taking jobs with people you barely knew. But Alden refused to go back to Niska cap in hand. His only other choice had been to accept the offer. Fly the damn ship wherever they wanted him to fly it and not ask any stupidly dangerous questions. It sounded remarkably like a Really Bad Idea, but here he was.

"Step outta the way a sec," he told her curtly, then with a sleight of hand he suddenly had a thin piece of metal at his right palm. A quick gesture later, the padlock submitted swiftly, and Alden twisted it free. "This belong to you?" He asked, gesturing for her to do whatever she wanted with said crate.

Alison watched the padlock submitting to the lock picking. She had to say it looked impressive. As he made a way for her, she shrugged and squatted down again.
"Let's see." She said and opened the crate. It was her belongings. The dress, boots and on top of that her pistol. She reached for the pistol first and turned her face at the man.

Alison could only guess if the pistol was loaded. She had no reason to believe it was not considering that she also noticed in the crate her belt and it had all the spare mags. At this point she had enough of the upper hand and she could just aim the gun at him and shoot him. If needed be. Alternatively, take him hostage. Both options she dismissed faster than they appeared. She had no idea of how many opponents there were and the man who thawed her could help her. Plus he thawed her, so that counted for something.

"If I am going to kill those guys, are you going to help me?" She asked, pistol in hand but pointed away and downwards along her thigh.

He froze the second he saw the weapon. Ta Ma Duh! That was stupid, Alden internally cursed at himself. Open the gorram crate, give the prisoner the gun... rookie mistake... Unarmed himself, he simply stood there and waited for the move that might end his life, hoping she wasn't pissed off enough to fire and alert the entire ship to their presence as well as her unwanted freedom.

She didn't shoot, which was interesting. Alden wondered if she'd considered it, or if she had a need for his particular skillset. One more unknown factor in the mix was likely not helpful, but he definitely didn't expect her to offer him a partnership in murder right off the starting line.

"Can't," he said, holding his hands up in a surrender position. "I do that, I don't ever get my money back, plus I put a price on my head. I can't afford either of those options." Alden canted his head and regarded her evenly. "Plus, I ain't a big fan of killing folk that didn't try to kill me."

Alison was a bit disappointed. She saw his eyes getting wider when she armed herself and a clear offer of alliance against the common enemy would be enough to convince him to help her.

"Oh, well. And I thought an enemy of my enemy is my friend would work." She sighed, put the gun away, and stripped off the shirt that the man gave her earlier. She returned it to him and started taking out her own clothes and putting them on.

First red strappy mini dress with a shirred bodice, the black leather jacket, black high boots and finally the belt with the holster. At the bottom of the create there were also several smaller, her personal items. Leaving them there, she straightened up. Dressing up took her just a couple of minutes. She picked the gun again and canted her head slightly looking back at the man who watched her. "Can you tell me how many of them are on this ship in total then Puhn Yoh? And can you show me their bunks?"

What he didn't say, for fairly obvious reasons was that his reputation wasn't just about him. Anything he did out here, against other strong parties, it had repercussions back home. Niska's reach was strong and uncaring, with an easy means of causing real damage and demanding loyalty. Alden didn't need trouble making its way back home.

"Sometimes it does," he told her. "Just the price would be too high." She put the gun away, and Alden relaxed a tiny bit as she dressed herself. He felt somewhat naked without his Model B, but clearly he couldn't have a weapon on him, not under the current circumstances. That would be stupid.

"You gonna kill me too?" Alden asked, as he turned ever so slightly away from her to look up at the metal stairs leading back into the rest of the ship. "There's five of them," he informed her. "And no, I'm not leading you to..."

Alison used the moment of Alden's lowering his guard and stepping sideways. His further refusal to help was enough of a trigger, the hand with the pistol swung instantly and even if he noticed it, it was too late. She whacked him with the pistol in the neck. She'd done that many times before and knew where to hit to strike the right nerve. The hit just knocked Alden mid-sentence and he fell on the ground.

"This is your lucky day. I am not going to kill you."

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