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Chapter 537: Poison Wasp Pirate Clan

    Chapter 537: Poison Wasp Pirate Clan

    Of course, as pirates most of their food came offworld, from pillaging. Sustenance was an important resource. The only clans that could produce what they needed were settled on one of the three major planets. The Poison Wasp Clan took what they needed - otherwise they wouldn't be very good pirates.

    Through the last couple years of struggle, the Poison Wasps haven't been making any friends. In fact, most of the Starfield's denizens would be happy if the predatory crew was dealt with. But none of this was important, you didn't become a pirate to be liked. They got noticed by the Moonfiends, didn't they? Everyone needed a rabid dog to turn on their enemies.

    One day we'll be the greatest clan in the Starfields, and all of this will be mine!

    Poison Wasp's face split into a sadistic grin. He had a plan for his future, and an advantage the others did not. Not only was he an accomplished airship pilot, he was also a Sovereign-rank mecha pilot. He was strong in his own right, and the main reason the Poison Wasps still existed today.

    "Boss!" A large pirate hurried over.

    "Yeah, did you get the girls?" Poison Wasp's eyes lit up. Like all pirates his tastes were particularly lascivious. Their planet didn't come with women, but there were enough in the Starfields to take what he wanted.

    His subordinate answered with a dark chuckle. "They just got here, fresh off the boat. Guaranteed to please the boss."

    Poison Wasp nodded. "Once I've had my fill you can divvy the rest up among the men. Let's go take a look."

    "Alright!" The man didn't waste any time, and brought him to the residential area.

    Poison Wasp didn't fear for his base's safety. One of the conditions he had before being absorbed by the Moonfiends was a state-of-the-art radar system. The Deep-Probe Radar was capable of picking up everything in a large swath around their tiny base. It came with a price tag as lofty as its capabilities.

    Years as a pirate taught Poison Wasp how to survive. He knew the importance of scouts and information. No matter what mark they were after, he never left his ship. He preferred to rely on the upgraded ship's speed and maneuverability to use the asteroid fields as cover. Trying to catch him then was impossible.

    They had the radar in place even before their headquarters had finished construction. Poison Wasp could rest easy. No one was going to sneak up on him.

    The residential area was a sector that had been carved out for habitation. Metal prefab houses brought over from the three main planets had been hastily put up all over. They'd cost Poison Wasp a pretty penny, but in the years of banditry he'd managed to build an impressive cache of treasure.

    He was an intelligent and experienced man. He didn't have aspirations, like many pirate leaders, of commanding a battleship. Although they were strong, they weren't nimble enough for what he needed. He preferred smaller ships, upgraded patrol boats that could strike fast and disappear. There was no better choice for survivability out here.

    "Eh?" Poison Wasp stopped in his tracks and look up at the sky. It was night on their tiny rock. The stars twinkled quietly overhead.

    "What is it, boss?" The other man asked.

    Poison Wasp stared at the sky with furrowed brows. "My heart rate increased. Whenever there's danger I feel it."

    He wasted no time, and dialed a number into his communicator.

    "Scar. Scar! Pick up!" Poison Wasp growled at his wrist.

    "Boss, what's up?" A lazy voice finally answered on the other end.

    Poison Wasp's tones were less than pleased. "Pay attention, dammit. Is there anything on the radar?"

    "Nothing," Scar answered. "I've been sittin' here staring at it. Boss, will you relax and let me handle it? Everything's normal."

    The pirate leader allowed himself to relax. If the radar didn't show anything, then it must mean he was just on edge.

    "Alright, keep a close watch. I'll have Gorilla send you up a girl. But if you screw up with that radar, you'll pay with your life."

    "Heh, boss, I wanted to tell you Gorilla and his crew got back. Get me a soft one!" Scar wasn't a scrub in this outfit. He was a commander of one of their few vessels and an ace with electronics. These skills made Scar the natural choice when they needed someone to man the radar. He was also one of the few henchmen Poison Wasp could trust.

    "Let's go." He cut the connection, already feeling better. Vigilance. It's what kept him alive so long.

    ζ

    Scar sat across from the radar monitors, scowling. "That guy needs to get the stick out of his ass. Who the hell would come all the way out here to pick a fight?" He took another glance at the monitors and, seeing they were all quiet, put his boss' concerns out of mind.

    They'd only been here a short while, but in that time the radar had already proved itself. It had picked up several ships, but they were big ones from the Moonfiend Pirates, on their way to the main planets.

    Everything was Moonfiend Pirates now, he supposed. Ever since their shadowy backers arrived their strength had exploded. Moonfiend battleships now numbered eleven. The last time they were there, they saw one of their mecha squads too. They were crack pilots, with some of the best equipment.

    With so much friendly firepower in their backyard, what did they have to fear? So, Scar didn't pay much mind. Poison Wasp's fears were unfounded.

    "Potato." Scar called.

    "Ey, brother Scar!" A tiny ugly man with narrow eyes and a crooked mouth came bounding in.

    "Go and get me a couple bottles of beer." He was about to have company, he wanted to get a good buzz going before it happened, set the mood. In this meteor-blasted landscape there wasn't much fun to be had normally.

    "Got it!" Potato barked, then he was off.

    ζ

    In total, the pirate clan numbered around two hundred souls. None of them had been with the clan for very long, so families weren't a staple yet. Here in the radar building they had five people, electronics specialists and people with talent.

    As Potato trotted away from the radar building, a lusty smirk was plastered on his face. He'd heard what Scar and the boss were saying. Generally once the higher ups had their fun they gave their men a turn. He was aching for a little fun himself.

    Behind the building was their warehouse, which housed food and drink. Alcohol was also on offer. Bars were one of a pirate's favorite things, after all, and that wasn't going to change.

    Potato pulled open the warehouse door and walked in. Right away he felt what seemed like a nip in the air. Then, a large hand clapped down over his mouth. His neck felt a sudden and intense cold and the young pirate felt all his strength draining away through the chill.

    "Clear."

    A dim light filled the warehouse. If Potato were still alive he'd have been shocked to find ten strangers huddled in the dark interior.

    A tall slender man had been the one to take care of the pirate. He had eyes as hard and sharp as an eagle's. All ten of the intruders wore white flight suits with a purple flame emblazoned on the chest. The insignia of Fourth Brigade.

    "Peepers, whatcha got." The tall man turned his head to the side and addressed another thin youth nearby.

    "No reaction so far. Everything's normal in the radar building. We can make our move, squad leader." The slimmer man's eyes flashed red as he squinted toward the nearby structure.

    This was Fourth Division's First Recon squad, second only to Ace.

    Their squad leader was the tall man, called Stonehammer. He was a formidable, ninth level Adept. The Recon leader had to be more than strong, though. They had to be fast, stealthy and sharp.

    Zeus-1 was the first to land on the planet. Majesty was too large and well equipped. The moment it landed, the energy it put off would be picked up for miles around. Instead they sent Zeus-1 ahead with fifty soldiers to prepare for the full attack. The rest of the force would follow in Majesty.

    "With me." Stonehammer waved for them to follow and slipped out of the warehouse. A particularly diminutive and demur girl went after him.

    Her eyes were an unsettling, absolute black. There was no white at all. A similarly dusky aura sprang up and surrounded everyone. As it enveloped the team, reality rippled and they disappeared from view.

    Group Stealth. A rare Discipline indeed, and very useful. She was by no means weak in her own right, but her skills were used now to help them slip into the radar building undetected.

    "The hell is taking Potato so damn long?!" Scar muttered in irritation. "Yo number three! Go take a look."

    "Ah no need, Scar. I bet the kid's just sneaking a drink. When he gets back you can ask him. If he smells like booze when he gets back we can kick his ass."

    "Alright, enough. Shit, which of you haven't taken a little secret sip here or there. You're a bunch of animals, I tell ya." Scar muttered.

    Suddenly he had the feeling something wasn't right. No time to think, he just reacted. His right hand shot out and smacked the big red button on the table in front of him. In the same instant an iron-hard carapace formed around his body.
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