On the shrikeship:

With a sneer and not a little more than amused, Ret begins tying the prisoners up to the ballista, making very sure that the wizard is gagged.  After a moment's thought, he gags the other human as well.

After completing that task, the dwarf says, "As you may have heard me before, I am Ret Elfcleaver. I am a warrior of the Celestial Legion, proud son of the Elfcleaver clan, born in space. And I'll die in space. Do not brook confidence with me, or I shall not hesitate to throw you into the void and let the scavvers decide your fate. Tell me how many are left on the ship, where your captain is, and how much your pitiful captain won't pay you." At the last part, he chuckles and removes the crewman's gag so he can talk at that point.

The pirate spits in the dwarf's face and sternly replies, "I'd rather die than answer your questions, little one."  The mage next to him flinches in surprise with wide eyes at the response.

"Mmm, mmm!  Mmt mhe!  M'll tmmk!" the mage frantically speaks through his gag.

Recognizing the mage's "common sense", Ret replaces the gag in the pirate's mouth and punches him in the gut for good measure.  The pirate, after recovering from the blow, struggles futilely against his bonds for a few seconds.  The dwarf smiles at the man's frustration, moves to the mage, removes his gag, looks at him with his cold-stone stare and gruffly says, "Well?"

The mage breathes deep for a second and states, "We're the last two on board.  Our captain lies dead near your feet."  The mage nods in the direction of the human that Ret chopped in half earlier.

Ret smiles to himself, turns back to the mage and says with a smile, "Thanks!"  He, then, replaces the gag back in the wizard's mouth, turns to Tarith and says, "Hey, Tarith!  Come with me.  We have a ship to look through!"

Tarith joins with the dwarf as he reaches the bottom of the stairs.

As the two of them turn toward the port door leading into the sterncastle, Arvien, from the Starbug, walks past them and heads for the starboard door.

By this time, Aysle has stabilized Apathy's condition and looks up to see the human, Raijin, and the xixchil, Mercurin, from the Starbug standing on the main deck near the ropes leading up to their ship.

Raijin looks up to Aysle and cries, "Hey!  Can you fly this thing?"

Aysle stands up and replies, "Sure thing!  I'm heading there now.  Where's the helm?"

Raijin points toward the forecastle door and starts to walk there, followed by Mercurin.  Aysle quickly catches up with them.

Once they reach the helm room, Aysle sits down on the helm and begins to power the ship up.

Meanwhile, Arvien enters the room on the starboard side of the sterncastle to find what appears to be crew's quarters with sets of twin bunks and 10 small chests located near the bunks.  The room smells of grunge, old sweat and stale liquor.  The halfling darts to the nearest chest, opens it and begins rifling through it.

On the other side of the sterncastle, Ret and Tarith open the door to find the 20' long room stocked with spare wood planking, a few large crates and some ballista bolts piled against the wall.  The duo enters the room and begins looking through the crates.

On the Starbug:

Anleef carefully moves to the speaking tube and calls out, "Captain!  Are you there?"  He starts to remove the arrow from his shoulder.

A distant female voice responds, "This is Raynor.  Lieutenant Oakwood is in his cabin resting right now.  May I help you?"

"I am experienced at helming vessels and also at overseeing military operations." Anleef states.  "If you would like I can transfer to the shrikeship and coordinate the efforts thereon.  Then I can take the helm and power it until we reach port."  With a little more pain, the elf removes the arrow from his shoulder.  Blood starts to flow from the wound.

Hearing the voices out in the hall, Shar maneuvers himself around, leaves the captain's cabin and heads back up to the main deck.

Raynor continues, "My helmsight is detecting helm activity on the shrikeship right now.  I assume they have someone capable of manning the helm down there.  Good thought, though.  Maybe you could keep a lookout for any other ships nearby?"

Reluctantly, Anleef nods and replies, "Okay."  He, then, stands and moves to the forward rail of the main deck and watches the stars while trying to stop the bleeding.

Shar arrives on the deck, looks down to the shrikeship to see no enemies and uncocks his crossbow.  He turns to Anleef and says, "That was indeed, quick.  They did not leave, much to us."  He shrugs his green shoulders, then remarks with what passes for a wry, if toothy, smile, "Next time we should ask, for a portion, tr-ii?"  He sobers and adds, "But it is, strange encountering pirates here, but a fortunate encounter for them," he says, motioning the Starflyer and the tradesman.  Again the humor creeps into his voice as he comments, "Not so fortunate for, the pirates."

Turning to see 316 still lying on the deck, Shar continues, "He is too, heavy for even me to move.  Do you have, any ideas for what to do, with him?"

Anleef looks over at the mechanical being for a moment before responding. "Perhaps the lieutenant knows how to care for such constructs.  A mage or one of those crazy tinker gnomes might be required to repair it.  See if you can get some of the other crew to help you move him.  With my injured shoulder, I don't think I would be much help.  And you might want to try to stop that odd fluid from leaking out."

Back on the shrikeship:

Arvien has finished his search through the chests.  Happy with his findings (25 silver coins, a sparkling purple gem and a silver dagger), he bolts out the door, notices the ladder within reach and climbs down.  Encountering the gravity plane halfway down, the halfling turns around and begins climbing "up" to the deck.

After the halfling disappears from view, Ret and Tarith emerge from their room after finding various personal weapons in the crates.  Seeing nobody else on deck, they find a ladder next to their door as well and begin climbing down/"up" to the next deck below them.

The dwarf, the first one on the ladder, reaches a debris-littered deck and turns to see Arvien trying to wade through the mess.  Tarith reaches the deck behind Ret a few seconds later.

On the Starflyer:

Captain Hart lowers the spyglass from his eye, turns to Sergeant Trandar and states, "It appears that the shrikeship is no longer a threat.  Keep the weapons ready, just in case.  We still need a signal from our men."  He, then, turns back to the spyglass and continues monitoring the shrikeship.

Tomas, watching the stars, sees the dragonship disappear from view as it flies away from the asteroid field.  He continues his vigilant observation of the space around them, keeping an eye on the tradesman as well.

Trandar, after hearing the captain's orders, turns to Jareth and says, "Jareth, why don't you check up on the avariel.  She is in the captain's cabin right now."

Hart turns back to Trandar and says curiously, "My cabin?"

Trandar frankly replies, "You do have the most comfortable bed on board.  I figured it was better than the cold, hard deck."

The captain smiles and says, "Point taken."  Hart returns to his spyglass.

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