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Space Cactus: Part 2: Cactus Goods

by ThAtGuY101

ThAtGuY101 In the last written works Cackle, AKA Space Cactus

Space Cactus's day begins just like any day these days. Getting shot at by starfighters and starships as he blasts off agaaain!
"Faster faster faster! We gotta go faster!" Branu yelled.
"Don't need to" Cackle responded.
"We're still getting shot at"
Cackle didn't respond. Instead he held up three fingers and counted down.

Three. Two. One. Cackle lowered his fingers one at a time, then clenched his hand into a fist. Two of the starfighters crashed into asteroids because Cackle flew straight into an asteroid field. A few starfighters continued pursuit but a few occasionally crashes here and there. Cackle would have his automated turrets firing at the starfighters but they were locked on asteroids giving Alien Cactus a clear line of movement. The other starships did the same. Unlike the starfighters, the larger starships had sufficient firepower to blow through asteroids and ship armor/shields to muscle through with only dents and scratches. A few starfighters managed to exit the asteroid field thus surrounded the Cackle's ship. This was not good. Cackle would need repairs when this job was over. His automated turrets locked onto starfighters after leaving the asteroid field.

Though Cackle didn't stick around for the dogfight and quickly booted up ftl speed before the other starships could tag him with a few shots. Luckily starfighters weren't powerful enough to go ftl so they would need to regroup with their starships. Cackle was pretty much gone at this point. His pursuers would jump ftl speed but Cackle knew a few smuggler's routes which he could use to shake off pursuers.

Smuggler routes were pretty dangerous because they oftentimes lead to death. This could be the result of a careless pilot flying too close to black holes, getting caught in space storms, solar flares and more. Militaristic groups are advised from entering smuggler routes as they are oftentimes targeted by outlaws and other bandits in space.

The smuggler route Cackle took was called the 'Horsehead Nebula Route'. Outlaw ships were armed to the teeth, and rarely bothered smugglers. In fact it was typically frowned upon for outlaws and pirates to attack smugglers since smugglers often gave much better trade deals as a protection fee of sorts.

Cackle was lucky and wasn't confronted this time. Allowing him safe passage. The same would not have been said for Cackle's pursuers, had they dared press forward.

After leaving the smuggler's route, it was pure smooth sailing from there on to their next destination.

Cackle got up, walked into the next room and began to transform into Duukoul. A large reptilian alien. Cackle, now Duukoul, took a few moments to examine his reflection in the mirror before getting dressed. Cackle didn't like transforming in front of Branu.

Duukoul left the room, and looked at Branu.

"Ready?" Duukoul asked. Branu cheerfully nodded and soon enough the two went to the cargo bay, gathering the shipment and having it moved off ship. Cackle didn't meet a client face to face, but he did receive payment as well as a handsome bonus. Cackle was to leave the cargo at a disclosed location. When would the buyer take their cargo? Probably long after Cackle and Branu left. It didn't matter to Cackle. Everything was put in place and done correctly. A small bot began scanning Duukoul, Branu and the goods they came with. Likely the buyer failsafe measure ensuring they weren't getting ripped off.

Duukoul and Branu headed back to town where they would spend their money. Duukoul paid for ship repairs and refueling costs first and foremost. They could spend the remaining money while their ship was to be repaired.

The first location was a ma and pa style diner on the east side of market square. The place did fairly well as the food was great and fairly cheap. The service was a bit slow, but worth it if you weren't in a hurry.

Branu ate a bowl of soup, a sandwich and a curious glass containing glowing juice. The juice made whatever it touched glow

Duukoul ate two slabs of meat. Large bloody pieces of meat, he held them one in each hand. He shoved the slabs in both mouths. The sound of cracking bones could be heard as Duukoul bit deep into the meat. Eating both the meat and bone in the process. Chomping and tearing away. Meanwhile Branu sat there chuckling at her less than civilized guardian. Duukoul finished his meal off with some strong alcohol. The drink sat in a stone cup because the contents of the alcohol was so corrosive that it would eat through glass and common metals. Would kill a human if they drank it. But not a korgan like Duukoul. Korgans are built different. Tougher.

They headed through the market district and got more outfits for Branu. More supplies for their eventual return to their ship. More strong booze for Cackle. As well as two more jobs. A delivery job and an escort job. They chose these two jobs since their destinations were conveniently on the same planet.

The first job was a supply drop off to a colony world. Colony planets were planets where new colonies were formed on unchartered planets. Oftentimes in wild space. The second task was to bring a researcher to the same colony planet. That wasn't gonna be too hard. Grab the scientist and grab the shipment and go. Duukoul made his way to the shipping storage where he would find the warehouse manager, and would pay some workers to both find his shipment and transport it to his ship for him.

While they were doing that Duukoul and Branu would have plenty time to look for their mysterious sciencist. If this was gonna get done today, it would need to happen now. They used the scientists contact information, and dialed the man up. At this point, Duukoul and Branu were sitting on the ship. Branu in the main hull playing video games, and Duukoul was in the cockpit. Duukoul's clothes began to slip as Duukoul slowly went from a reptilian creature to a cactus. Cackle put his Duukoul outfit away before contacting the scientist. Her. Contacting her. The scientist was a woman named Lieyandu Bridwaul. She was a bio-chems specialist and she was hoping to meet up with her fellow colleagues.

Before Cackle could speak with the scientist, he began to stretch. Grow into a tall purple alien lady. Cackle stood up and reached for his bag. The cool blowing in the cockpit.. It didn't bother Cackle that much being a Cactus, but Xarica was cold as hell. She wasted no time getting dressed, and put the phone to her ear.

*Ring ring ring*

*Ring ring ring*

*ring ri*

"Hello? Is this for the escort services?" The scientist asked, answering the phone.

"That it is, and whom am I speaking with?" Xarica responded.

"Lieyandu Bridwaul, Bio-chems researcher. I need to get off planet. You'll get your payment when we reach destination, and I'm in my lab. I'll send you my location" Lieyandu said.

"Excellent, I'll be right there" Xarica said ending the call. She stood up and ran her fingers through her tentacle hair before leaving the cockpit, and heading to the main hull. Branu was still playing video games.

"You staying here?" Xarica said.

"Yep" Branu said still focused on her game.

""A raider gets on the ship, and you...?" Xarica asked Branu awaiting her response.

"I grab the particle rifle you keep under the couch, shoot the bastard, and watch his organs shrivel up and rapidly dehydrate.

"There's no partial correct answers, Branu" Xarica said grinning.

"I run to the cockpit, and activate the ship's internal defenses, and wait for the gas aboard the ship to kill any other intruders that board the ship" Branu said.

"That a girl" Xarica said before getting off the ship. Some of the dock workers were surprised to see a serpha(Xarica's alien race) walk from the ship. She made her way to the coordinates when she arrived, there was a small green rather sturdy alien woman awaiting her. Think dwarf woman but green, and chin horns.

"I wasn't expecting to be picked up by a serpha" Lieyandu said.

"I suppose you should learn to expect the unexpected, then, hmmm?" Xarica said wiggling her head tentacles.

"R-right... So where's your ship" Lieyandu asked.

Without further adieu, Xarica lead her to the ship where they boarded. Lieyandu met Branu who was in the zone. The now trio headed to the cockpit where they started up the ship and were not just leaving port. Duukoul had already checked to see if the shipment was there prior to Xarica leaving the ship to get their escort.

They would soon hop to ftl speed where their destination was roughly an hour and 15 minutes ftl leap. and another 10 minutes to board the planet. Upon reaching the planet's atmosphere, Xarica set the ship to automatically safely land and allow ship exiting. The environment was safe and the air was breathable thus no need for space suits.

Branu was the first to run out. Lieyandu was the second to walk out. Then Xarica was the third to slowly come taking her time to get out of the ship. They would eventually arrive near the base of a small hill. Part of the hill was flattened and if you looked close enough you could see a carving. They approached it, and a small set of sounds could be heard. The average person that heard these seemingly random sounds wouldn't understand it's meaning. The sounds played in order created a message, and those that understood the message would play a line of sequence of sounds which worked as a password to keep unwanted guests away.

Lieyandu pulled out a small box which made various sounds. Moments later the carving on the wall which turned out to be a door began to open. The door opened splitting foliage that covered most of the door's exterior as it split open. Lieandu was the first to walk in followed by Xarica and Branu eagerly awaiting some money. The first things they saw though were three armed gua- No. Two armed guards and an armed old man. All three the same species at Lieyandu. The two guards looked pretty intimidating, and arguably the old man too since he was still holding a gun. Not aimed at anyone in particular, but that could easily change.

Lieyandu spoke to the old man who told the younger two guards to let them in, and the old dude walked in afterwards leaving the two younger guards to wait in the entry room alone. They headed down the hall then turned down a flight of stairs and down another hall and there was indeed the her lab. Lieyandu as well as the old man were grateful. Xarica and Branu eventually we're paid.

"Much obliged... If you don't mind, we have another place to head to" Xarica said before turning and lifting Branu to leave. Xarica didn't waste time explaining where they were going. They boarded their ship, and Xarica went to the crew quarters and came back out as Bran. They would head to their next destination and... Their destination was within sight. Unlike the last location, this one was less secretive. This one was a large building structure. Nobody came outside to greet them. So they left the cargo on the ship, and headed up to the building. Bran had his gun in case things turned ugly. Though he wasn't expecting anything to go ugly. Surprisingly there were no were no people. Oh wait... This definitely wasn't good.

For starters, the front door was open, and some of the walls had bullet holes. Marvelous. Around the corner, they spotted their first body. Unarmed. No doubt these people were taken off guard. Several more bodies were found as they made their way through the building. Bran demanded that Branu stay low, be quiet, and let him start shooting if the situation demands it. Bran hid behind the wall after looking around the corner, spotting an armored man in the next room.

*Boom!* Gunfire went off.

*Thud* A loud clank, something heavy hitting the ground.

Bran peeped around a corner, and a man was standing behind the armored now deceased soldier.

"Who are you, speak!" The man looked in Bran's direction pointing his gun at him now.

Bran holding his gun out as well

"Bran, and you are...?"

"Bran. Jaou. Clearly not extinct. Armed. Dangerous. Cautious. Intruder none the less. I am Captain Sellwyn. You don't seem to be here with these ruffians. Identify yourself" Sellwyn said.

"I came here on a drop mission" Bran said.

"Drop mission. Melka ordered supply shipment. Shipment didn't come in. Requested supplies be retrieved. Staff too busy. Request smuggler to to for us. So that must be you then? The remaining people here are running low on food. We expected someone to come two days ago. Before we were attacked. Seven hours, thirty-six minutes, fifty-two seconds ago. There's more of them. Casualties unknown. Help me deal with these intruders, and I will see to it that your pay goes up extensively." Sellwyn said before running to the next room. Bran followed with Branu not far behind.

Sellwyn stood next to a doorway, gesturing Bran to stand on the other side. Bran made his way to the other side of the door, before Sellwyn gestured towards the doorway. Sellwyn carefully and quietly opened the door before shooting. Bran began shooting not long after. Five armored men were in the room. Sellwyn managed to shoot the fourth soldier, and Bran got the fifth. More soldiers came running in. One. two more were down. Three more took cover behind knocked over table. Exchanging fire.

Sellwyn nearly got shot but managed to get behind cover. Surprisingly Branu managed to tag in by throwing a grenade behind the table causing the soldiers to run away from the table. Two out of three got hit by Sellwyn and Bran. The other managed to flip a table and hide behind it. The grenade from earlier went off, breaking the other table. Bran pulled Branu out of the way.

"Risky move bringing children onto battlefields. Though this seemed to have done the trick" Sellwyn said.

"Nice one, but you should have immediately ran to cover" Bran said.

Branu silently nodded.

Eventually Bran was able to get a shot on the last guy in the room. They headed to the next room, and they heard firing on the next floor up. Bran and Branu followed Sellwyn to the next floor and eventually arrived to a large open room where soldiers could be seen shooting and were being shot at as well. Likely survivors. Bran and Sellwyn picked off a few of the soldiers as they were distracted on the other survivors. It didn't take the remaining soldiers long to realize they were being flanked. The remaining soldiers managed to find cover, but that was a little too late since they were now on the losing end of the fight. At the end of the fight they met up with the survivors. A few dead, most of the living survivors were injured, but medical treatment would solve that issue.

Bran and Branu were just happy to help. Sellwyn didn't comment much on who these soldiers were, though Bran couldn't help but hope to never see their kind again. The survivors were pretty happy to be getting supplies soon. Eventually Bran and Branu would be leaving with a hefty pay from happy clients. Bran and Branu would get in their ship, and Bran would eventually transform back into Cackle.

Cackle and Branu sat in the main hull playing video games to celebrate their hard for for the day. Actually it was more along the lines of Branu still trying to teach Cackle how to play video games, and Cackle being confused as ever.

"Cackle, stop grabbing everything!" Branu said.
"How do I stop grabbing things?" Cackle said.
"Just stop pressing the grab button!" Branu said.
"Uuuugh..." Cackle muttered.
"What the heck?! Don't throw a grenade in the house! Gaaaaah!!" Branu yelled.
*Boom!* The grenade went.
"Really...? I just got that new couch! and the floor is burnt! That's gonna cost another $250 to fix Cackle!" Branu said.
Cackle being the goofy idiot he was just shrugged and gave Branu the $55 his character had. Which was all his character's money at the moment.

~Fade to black...~
~End of story...~
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