Chapter 371: Welcome To Your New Crew!
(Unova Syndicate -Frontier Region)
(Oreciuam Prime- Temporary Housing Zone)
“Is there a healer anywhere?! I can pay the credits upfront!”
“So… how many men did you lose? I swear those military officers are going to work us to death…”
“Old John is opening up a drinking booth by the corner… I heard he brought some pleasure slaves from the Quate system… now I’m not really into webbed feet… but…”
Sophie frowned slightly as she navigated her way through the sprawling labyrinth of booths, shabby tents and drinking houses.
The intense killing intent surrounding her body managed to persuade the numerous pickpockets roaming about the marketplace that she was not an easy target.
Still even the few that were extremely brave or foolish tended to learn their lesson when Sophie’s bladed appendages sliced off their outstretched hands.
Two days had passed since arriving on this artificially constructed planet and the fighting had only intensified.
This planet contained a warp gate that was connected to the inner regions of the Unovan Syndicate so it was a high value target.
The Imperial Army could not afford to bomb the planet with orbital strikes so they merely settled for scouting the spatial defenses while preparing to send in ground assault teams.
Sophie had managed to convince the supervising officer in charge of their unit to give her crew an easy logistic job on the planet that was relatively far away from the action.
As for her method of persuasion…
Well, let’s just say that her storage bag now contained significantly less Unovan credits.
However, she knew that tomorrow was the day that the Imperial Army would send out the full force of its spatial fleet.
It was inevitable that all available mercenary teams would have to fight.
This was also when the so-called rescue mission would occur. Sophie had avoided all contact with Finch at least using her real body since receiving that horrifying vision.
There was a steady stream of information constantly entering her mind from the mirror copy assigned to monitor the Servie’s every movement.
Sophie had to keep a close eye on him to make sure that he did not realise that something was amiss.
Two loud yells interrupted her concentration and Sophie spotted a crowd begin to gather around two alien warriors.
“Oy! Watch where you’re going… you filthy X’ren scum!”
“What did you say to me? An ugly piece of shit like you… no wonder I heard that your mate has been entertaining other Kree!”
A pair of blue skinned warriors with long slender bodies and multiple wings sprouting from their backs circled slowly around each other.
Their bodies were covered in a thick slimy material that oozed and dripped to the ground. Sophie golden eyes darkened as she felt a sickening attraction to the foul-smelling goo.
A crimson hue slowly crept from the corners of Sophie’s eyes as the familiar feeling of bloodlust stirred in her chest.
Sophie forcefully turned her head away and ignored the loud yells and jeers that were coming from the fight.
She couldn’t afford to lose control right now since there was an important meeting that she needed to attend.
Now where exactly was it again….
Sophie consulted the virtual map that was installed on the metalloid tablets that the Unovan military gave out to the mercenary teams.
She typed in the coordinates of the meeting place that Perspherene had sent her and saw a red arrow appear on the screen.
A smile briefly flashed across Sophie’s face when she realised that the meeting spot was only a short ten-minute walk away.
The hybrid girl wandered through the marketplace while taking a few occasional glances at the stalls by the sides of the road.
Everything that you could ever need during wartime could be found here. Sophie observed weapons of all shapes and sizes, heavy armour, cloth fabrics and even battle slaves.
Quite a few merchants called out to Sophie as she passed by but she paid them no extra attention.
Besides it was unlikely that she had enough credits to buy whatever they were selling in the first place.
Sophie took two left turns and then a right until she entered a dirty alleyway.
Several alien species could be seen passed out on the ground with metalloid needles still attached to various parts of their bodies.
Sophie cautiously stepped over a few of these discarded needles while making her way to a certain building at the end of the road.
“You got any credits? Please… I’ll do anything for some credits…” a hoarse voice whispered.
A diminutive alien with pale green eyes shivered on the ground and stretched out a bony hand towards Sophie’s direction.
There was a sharp needle in its arm that was attached to a half empty syringe. Sophie could see a thick bubbly liquid slowly moving back and forth inside the syringe.
“Sorry… I don’t have any to spare,” Sophie replied briskly and moved away from the pitiful creature.
There were few warriors that did not suffer from immense psychological trauma after witnessing the horrors of war.
Sophie did not judge these warriors for finding a substance drown their sorrows and make those terrible memories go away.
She made her way to an unremarkably plain wooden door and knocked three times as instructed by Perspherene.
The door slammed open immediately and Sophie almost hit right in the chest by an enthusiastic fist that passed mere inches away from her body.
“By the Old Ones! I didn’t think that you would be here so early,” Perspherene yelled happily as she gave Sophie’s shoulder a firm pat.
“Good to see you as well,” Sophie smiled gently as she returned the gesture with equal enthusiasm.
“Come in! Come in! The boss man is waiting for you at the table,” Perspherene spoke merrily and shook her long scaly tail from side to side.
Sophie followed her acquaintance into the building but what she saw inside was not what she was expecting.
Despite outwardly resembling a shack, the interior of the building was a sleek futuristic laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art apparatus.
Sophie even spotted numerous intelligent robot units shuttling around as well as workers dressed in pale white uniforms.
The walls were painted in a whitish grey colour and vents were installed at regular intervals along their outer surfaces in order to aid with the air circulation.
Sophie spotted large vats filled with the same bubbly liquid that was inside the syringes. Each vat was carefully inspected by a team of robots.
There was even a packaging area where rows upon rows of filled syringes were neatly packed into boxes and stacked onto transport vehicles.
“Are you going to keep staring?” a gruff voice snapped Sophie out of her dazed state.
She looked at the direction of the voice and saw a tiny rat-like alien wearing an expensive noble garment.
His furry features and soft diminutive stature made him appear quite adorable. Sophie was especially fond of the black top hat that was placed on the top of his head.
Perspherene’s forked tongue flickered out as she hastily apologised, “Sorry captain… she didn’t mean any offense.”
“Enough with the nonsense,” the rodent-like alien snarled and raised one paw up in the air.
“So… tell me why I should hire you?”
It was a standard interview question. Honestly Sophie was relieved that the captain was willing to give her a chance in the first place.
There were very few mercenary crews that were willing to take on members with unknown origins.
Sophie closed her eyes for a brief moment and when she opened them, an immense spiritual pressure filled the room.
Cracks began to appear on the ground as Sophie displayed just a small hint of her cultivation prowess.
The bladed appendages on her back spread out slightly with their pointed barbs gleaming menacingly under the light.
“I am a cultivator in the qi tide stage with an undefeated battle record. I am also quite proficient in the art of poisons,” Sophie spoke confidently.
“My companion who also wishes to join your crew posses the ability to see into the future.”
“And where is this companion?” the furry alien asked curiously.
Sophie tilted her wrist communicator upwards and soon a holographic projection of Lily wearing a mask and long robes appeared.
“My companion is going over the withdrawal proceedings with our current organization which should be completed by the end of today,” Sophie explained.
She continued to list the various achievements that she accomplished with a mixture of truth and falsehood.
It was unclear whether the captain of Perspherene’s crew enjoyed her pitch or not since his fur covered face made it hard to see his expression.
Sophie talked for roughly ten minutes until she reached the conclusion of what she had to tell.
There was a brief moment of silence as the captain rubbed his paws together without saying a word.
“You’re hired,” he suddenly spoke.
Sophie was a bit taken aback and despite her joy, Perspherene was also feeling quite confused.
“Um boss… are you letting her join the crew so easily because I recommended her?” the scaly warrior asked curiously.
“Of course not!” the captain slammed his tiny fist on the surface of the table and squeaked.
“I have never seen a powerful cultivator who willing to work for such low wages! I’ve been meaning to fire those two bastards Lerry and Srah for awhile now.”
“Do you have any idea how much money I could save if I no longer had to provide them with such high salaries?”
Perspherene fell into silence as her captain finished talking. It was hard to describe what she was feeling right now.
On one hand she was grateful that her new friend was able to join her crew so easily but on the other hand… clearly they were all just one replacement away from being fired!
Paying a high salary?
Lerry and Srah had shown her their pay cheques once and they made less than minimum wage!
Perspherene was now beginning to regret offering to give Sophie a chance to join the group.
This greedy captain was clearly going to treat her as unpaid labour!
Sophie also realised what was happening but unlike Perspherene she did not care that she would not receive proper payment for her services.
This was going to be a temporary job anyways so she was actually a bit thankful that the captain was such a risk taker.
The rodent-like alien cleared his throat and gestured towards Sophie before beginning another speech,
“I have not introduced myself so I will now… my name is Rayen Von Hessan and it is a pleasure to have you onboard with us…”