Chapter 2 of my Daria/ Star Frontiers Crossover – Crash on Volturnus
I’m putting up a table of contents since it appears some of the incoming websites haven’t updated yet for Chapter 5.
Crash on Volturnus – Chapter 2
By Dr. Mike
Story originally created by Mark Acres and Tom Moldvay with Doug Niles. Story originally edited by Troy Denning. Original story copyright 1982 by TSR Inc.
It was too much for Daria. She froze both at the sight of the dead ship’s steward at her feet and the pirate armed with the knife standing in front of her. She had blown away the astrotiger without a thought when it had leaped out from a tree at her best friend, Jane Lane. Now, with the pirate advancing towards her, she couldn’t move.
“Shit,” Jane swore beside her as she reached out for Daria’s bag of clothes and slammed both of them into the pirate. The pirate’s knife flew into the air as he tried to protect his head from the assault. The weight of the bags made him loose his balance, the back of his head slamming into the opposite wall of the corridor and he collapsed in a heap on the floor of the corridor.
“Well, that took care of him. Maybe I should be thankful you packed so much clothing.” Jane wiped her hands off on her jacket and turned to Daria. She smirked. “Someone fail their surprise roll?”
Daria shook herself out of it and turned towards Jane. “Surprise roll?”
Jane shook her head. “Never mind.” She turned to look down the corridor at the group of four quickly approaching. “Well, it’s about time the cavalry arrived. Where have the four of you been? Daria and I were helpless little girls and had to knock out the mean old space pirate all by ourselves. I mean Daria almost wet herself and I almost broke a sweat.”
“Don’t worry, Jane. Your knight in shining armor has arrived!”
Jane scoffed. “Shining armor? More like a big blob of rubbery goo if you ask me.”
Daria turned towards the group standing in front of her as they chuckled at Jane’s comment. This was her team and she lead them. They had run into each other as both groups had seperately tried to capture the escaped alien monster when it had broken out of Capital Zoo and had been together since then. It was strange that they all looked to her as the leader but someone had to be in charge of this bunch. She did get to set pay rates though. That was a plus.
Doren was the team medic, back up environmental specialist, official team clown and Jane’s current beau. He was a Dralasite, a race of short, rubbery, elastic “blobs” for lack of a better term. His race had a strange taste of humor and Doren’s taste was highly developed to say the least. He and Jane played off of each other almost better than she and Jane did.
He also had this strange thing for capes. He wore a bright neon green one now around his “neck” along with the tan stretch coveralls that he normally wore. His clothing choices never seemed to match. Daria had wondered if his race’s inability to see color with those eyespots made up of veins and nerves had anything to do with it but, after she mentioned it to Jane, she had just shrugged and said that he really didn’t care when she had asked him the very same thing.
“Please don’t tell me that we’re going to have to separate the two of you again. I seem to remember a pair of missing team members going off into the woods together when we rescued Rinay from that downed shuttle craft.” The group chuckled with Bakchu’s comment. He was a Yazirian, a race of human sized monkeys with a light bone structure, a muzzle shaped face, and large membrane patches stretched between her arms and legs enabling him to glide short distances. He wore his normal pair of tinted goggles on the top of his head, ready to pull down over his sensitive eyes if it got too bright. He was their team’s weapons specialist, trained in everything from simple laser pistols to that large recoilless rifle he liked to polish between missions. He also served as their demolition expert.
“Oh, that couldn’t have been us,” protested Jane.
“Sure seemed like your back sides I saw going off of the path,” C’hting replied. A Vrusk, he was their team’s tech and computer expert. His was an insect like race with eight legs along his blue hard-shelled body and a humanoid like torso upright in front of their abdomen. Their shoulders were double jointed and could reach anywhere on their large bodies. He was dressed in the red stretch coverall that was standard for the Truane’s Star armed forces. His ant like head sported a pair of antennae and two mandibles. Normally Vrusk like himself would have chosen a company to work for for the rest of his life but C’hting had decided to see a bit of the Frontier before “working for the bug” as he put it.
“And then the two of you came back covered in dirt and leaves,” Bakchu chipped in.
“He told me that she had tripped with those long legs of hers,” answered Kurn. He was the team’s other Dralasite as well as their robotics expert, tasked to keep their six service robots up and running. He was some sort of relation with Doren but Daria wasn’t too clear on what it was. He was also dressed in the same sort of stretch black coverall that Doren was but had omitted the cape.
“Oh, you three are just jealous,” answered Jane.
“They may be jealous but I’m getting in the mood,” Doren replied.
Jane looked down at her current beau and blushed. “Doren, not now!” She stepped in front of her boyfriend to cover up what he was doing. Dralasite’s rubbery shape and lack of a skeleton allowed them to change shape at will, creating and retracting arms and legs when needed or even when the mood suited them.
Apparently the mood suited him Daria thought as she watched her friend blush a bit more.
“Oh, get a room you two. I thought you would have been satisfied by now,” Daria smirked. That got the group chuckling yet again.
Jane looked down at her hands in an attempt to deflect the comments but gasped. “Damn it, I broke a nail. Just for that, I’m not making dinner tonight for you guys. You should have been here instead of making us fight the mean old pirate.”
Doren pulled back in fake horror and cover his face with his cape. “Surely you don’t mean that. I can not go a day without your wonderful cooking.”
Jane whacked the top of Doren’s head, smirked, and reached an arm around his shoulders. “Of course not. I would never again subject you to any of Daria’s cooking. And don’t call me Shirley.” The group chucked and turned back towards Daria.
“If you are done, we might have a problem.”
“Just a small one,” Jane replied. Daria did her best not to look at Doren.
“Five pirates came after us in the shuttle hold. We didn’t have any weapons so we couldn’t fight them.” C’hting replied.
“Strange thing was the weapons they were carrying. One had a bullwhip, another had a club…” Kurn said.
Doren filled in. “The third had a pair of what looked like shock gloves, one had an axe, and the last one had a pistol of some sort.”
Jane thought for a second. “Sounds like an attempt to show the different types of weapons and combat in the game and how they’re used.”
Daria looked at her. “Excuse me?”
Jane waved her off. “Never mind. We need to get our weapons.”
“The steward…” Daria’s eyes peered down at the lifeless body for a second. “…said that he had locked them all up in the ship’s locker.”
C’hting nodded. “That should be on or near the bridge.”
Bakchu looked at the body and sighed. “He might still have the key that we need.” He knelt down near the body and began searching it.
“If we can get our weapons, we should be able to retake the shuttle bay,” Jane said.
“We also need to get the rest of our equipment from the storage bay as well,” Doren reminded them.
“I found the key. I don’t think it’s going to be any good though.” They all could see a nick taken out of the plastic piece. Bakchu still tried to wipe the quickly cooling blood off of it.
Daria made up her mind. “Doren, you C’hting and Kurn head for the storage bay. You three can carry the most. Bakchu, Jane and I will make for the bridge and the weapons locker. Maybe we can also find the ship’s captain and get his help. Grab any crewmen you run into. We’ll meet you back at the airlock nearest the shuttle bay. All of our equipment as well as our six robots are aboard those shuttles. Any problems? Use your chronocoms to call the other group.”
“And if any of you should run into any Star Law agents, be sure to clue them into what happening as well,” Jane smirked.
“Oh come on. There’s never a cop when you need one,” Doren responded.
‘And would you please keep your head down this time, Doren? You’re short enough!” Jane complained.
Daria nodded grim faced and the group broke into two.
“Doren, what do you have in that one?” asked C’hting as he opened yet another locker and peered in on the boxes of human dresses. Give me a coverall any day he though as he peeked into the top box and made what he could of a face at the layers of see thru material.
“A case of Vrusk body wax? You want me to save you some?”
“Nah, got some in my luggage. How about you, Krun?”
“Machine gears of some sort,” replied Krun. “Last one had Yazirian punching bags. Think we should save one of those for Bakchu?”
“Nah,” replied C’thing. “He’ll just have to make do with that rifle of his.”
“I’ve got a Galactic Encyclopedia here.”
C’hting turned to face Doren. “That might be of use. Which one?”
C’hting turned back to the next locker and opened it. “Nah, put it back. It’s worthless.” Bolts of silk. Why would a ship going to an alien world be carrying bolts of silk. He shook his head. He didn’t see Doren hold up a case of Dralasite steam bath perfume towards Kurn. They both nodded in delight as C’thing was peering into a box of costume jewelry with disgust. They put the perfume aside as they both liked their steam baths.
Doren almost cooed over the next locker. “I’ve got a crate of laser clips. Looks like 10 of them.”
“We’ll need those. Put them aside,” C’hting replied as he found a holographic fireworks projector. He wondered about these humans as Doren placed the crate near the perfume.
“I found a medkit. Doren? That should make you happy,” yelled out Kurn.
“Put it with the other stuff.” Boxes and boxes of ball bearings? Why the hell would one want to have boxes and boxes of ball bearings?
“Anyone need a spare chronocom?” asked Kurn.
Doren chucked. “C’hting, I think you need another one of those for one of your legs.”
“Very funny.” Spelljammer novels? What the heck was a Spelljammer? And why did they waste all this paper to print them?
Kurn shrugged and threw the chronocom back into the locker.
“Would we need a crate of hand axes?” asked Doren.
That brought up C’hting short. Well, that and the case of chocolate anchovies in aspic he had just found.
“We might be able to trade them with the natives,” suggested Kurn.
C’hting shook his head after a few moments and returned to his searching. “Nah. If we come across any races that want hand axes, I don’t think that they’ll know what they are to begin with.” Doren shrugged and replaced the crate.
“Hey, I found a case of dehydrated rations. We can use those.” Kurn was already placing them on the pile without waiting for a reply. C’hting had found a replica of a prized Vrusk statue. Well, at least someone had taste around here he chuckled.
“Found our skeinsuits!” Doren was already removing them from storage and placing them near the pile.
“I still don’t understand is why we’re not using the reflective suits like before,” enquired Kurn.
“Any race that we find on Volturnus shouldn’t have developed laser weapons. They’ll probably have axes and spears. The skeinsuits will protect us from those types of weapons. The reflective suits won’t.” C’hting looked around the storage bay. “Did we search everywhere?”
Kurn came up to him playing some sort of computer toy. “Looks like it.” He placed the toy into a pocket and looked at the small pile in front of them. It was a fairly bulky pile.
“Anyone see any weapons?” Doren asked.
“Nope, not a one.”
“Just those axes.”
“Hopefully Daria, Jane, and Bakchu will be able to get our stuff from the bridge.” The group nodded as one. “Now, we just have to load everything up and meet the rest by the shuttle bay,” said Doren.
“Um, didn’t anyone pull aside some packs?” asked C’hting.
“I saw some in one of the lockers.”
“I did too.”
After a moment, with three sighs, they started their second search thru the storage bay.
Daria peeked around the corner of door way where the secure door leading to the bridge once stood. The bridge was in shambles. Chairs, papers, instruments, and unconscious officers lay strewn around the floor of the bridge. A group of four men stood around what appeared to be the radio console as Daria strained her ears to listen in. She wasn’t surprised to see the red Star Devil tattoos on all of them.
The radio crackled. “Captain Straub to Slag. You done yet up there?”
One of the pirates lifted a microphone to his face. “‘Captain’ Slag here. We’ve take the Serena Dawn.”
“Very good. About time you did something right.” Slag’s smile fell from his face. “Have you found the trouble makers yet?”
“Um, my men found them loading their shuttle craft but they lost them.”
“Find them. They mustn’t get away. And when you find them, make sure you kill them. Nothing can be in the way of the Star Devil’s plans. She won’t be too happy if you let them slip out of your hands.”
He came to attention. “No, sir. We’ll find them. They’re as good as dead.”
“They better be, ‘Captain.'”
The radio clicked off. Slag turned to his other officers and began to order them to step up the search. Daria turned to the side and noticed that the door to the ship’s locker had been blown off. She silently dropped the key to the floor. As she began to back away from the doorway, she noticed the staring eyes of the ship’s captain. His body was lying on the floor of the bridge, a large portion of the man’s torso had been blown away with laser fire. She silently said a prayer as she backed away.
“Think we ought to page them?” asked Kurn.
C’hting just shook his head. “Give them a few more minutes to show up. They might have been held up somewhere along the way.” He looked at his own chronocom and tried not to worry.
They were well back from the entrance to the shuttle bay. The pirates who had taken over the bay had now posted a guard just outside of the entrance and left the door open. Doren had wanted to rush the guy but Kurn had quickly pointed out that any noise or action would have alerted the rest of the pirates. A few minutes ago, a dozen men had joined the group holding the room. Any rush would have been suicide.
C’hting turned to look at Doren beside him. He kept playing with a stylus that he had picked up from somewhere. Dralasites didn’t sweat but they did get nervous.
“Doren, she’ll be alright. She can take care of herself.”
“Oh, it’s not that. I just don’t like sitting here and…”
The door to the elevator opened behind them and Daria, Jane and Bakchu poked their heads out, ducked under a nearby window leading into the shuttle bay and quickly made their way to the rest of them. C’hting noticed right off that they were empty handed.
“Bad luck I take it?” Kurn inquired.
“The bridge has been taken, the locker blown open and ransacked.” Daria peaked over the edge of the window into the shuttle bay. Her eyebrows went up. “I thought you said that there were only five of them.”
“Their friends decided to pay them a visit.”
Daria sighed, closed her eyes and banged her head lightly against the wall behind her. They could have taken five even without weapons, boarded their shuttles, blown open the bay doors somehow and made their escape. Now, with the extra pirates now covering the shuttles, there was no chance for that plan to work.
Jane reached out a hand to get Daria’s attention. “We’re going to have to go for the lifeboats. It’s our only chance.”
“But what about all of our equipment?” asked Bakchu. “We’re going to need it on the planet.”
“Well, Mr. Man with the Big Gun. Can you think of a way to get to our shuttles past all those heavily armed men?” Bakchu glared at her. “I didn’t think so.”
“Jane, knock it off. I agree we need that equipment but…”
“Daria, we need to get off of this ship if we’re going to have any chance of survival. If we stay up here, they’ll catch us sooner or later,” C’hting pointed out to her.
“And if we go down in the life pods without our equipment, we’re just as good as dead,” Bakchu pointed out. “It’s an alien world. We won’t stand a chance either way.”
Jane was angry. “What do you want to do, Bak? Just give up?”
“No, I think we should rush them and…”
“We go for the life pods.” Daria’s voice was quiet. She leaned her head back against the wall.
“The life pods. They’ll have emergency equipment and supplies. It’s our only chance. If we go for the shuttles, we’re as good as dead.” That shut them all up. She had made her choice. Damn it. She hated being in charge.
Jane spoke up. “You heard the lady. Let’s move it, people. The life pods are just a level up. We can make it easy. C’hting, you take the lead. You’ll scare them.” The group moved into the elevator leaving Jane and Daria behind. “You ok?”
“Why do I get the feeling that I just signed our own death warrants?” Daria made her way into the elevator with Jane following her.
“Whoa, pretty lady. Watch your step.”
“Why, I do declare. You are a gentleman and an officer, sir.”
Daria looked at Jane and Doren hamming it up. The ship had lurched, knocking Jane into Doren. Daria didn’t know Jane could do a Southern accent. “Do you two ever stop?”
Bakchu pressed the emergency switch of the last remaining life pod. “Can we please get out of here? I don’t like being on this ship anymore.”
Jane climbed out of Doren’s grip and whacked Bakchu on the shoulder. “Oh, you just feel naked without your weapons.”
Bakchu nodded. “Pretty much. Now, can we please get into the life pod and get the hell out of here?”
The door to the pod opened. “This escape pod has been activated. One minute to automatic launch. Please board immediately and fasten your seat belts. Fifty five seconds to automatic launch. Please board…”
“Finally!” Bakchu boarded the craft and began to take the bags that C’hting and Kurn passed in.
An alarm went off on the bridge. Slag was the first to notice the red, blinking light. He whipped around to his men.
“They’re on the life pod deck!”
One of the pirates lifted the automatic rifle away from one of the dead crewmen and pulled back the loading mechanism.
“I’m on it!” He left the bridge running.
“Twenty five seconds to automatic launch. Please board immediately and fasten your seat belts.”
Daria and Jane stood outside the life pod making sure that they hadn’t forgotten anything. They could hear yells, shots and explosions from around the ship off in the distance. Daria thought that they were beginning to get closer. Jane poked her head into the craft.
“I do hope you’ve all remembered to go before you boarded. I don’t think there’s a comfort station for at least five light years.” She stepped into the craft. “Come on, Daria. If there’s enough room in here for C’hting, there’s got to be enough room for you as well.”
Daria stepped into the craft, pulling the door down behind her. As she made her way to one of the front seats, she could feel the life pod turn and advance outward. The door in front of the ship was quickly opening. She could see the force field holding in the atmosphere within the small bay as she buckled herself in.
“Um, Daria. We have a visitor.”
Daria turned in her seat and looked out a nearby porthole. A pirate had just walked into the life boat room and was swinging down his weapon.
“Punch it, Daria!”
Daria’s hand came down hard on the “Go” button just as the pirate pulled the trigger firing a burst at the life pod.
Vrusk body wax can be found in your local supermarkets.