Time seems to stand still, first the flash and then the bang. Bright and burning and louder than is comfortable, ear-splitting. Popping and then whistling and striking straight to the brain like an intrusive needle poked deep into the eardrum. Panic is taking over, passengers scrambling for the locked emergency escape capsules. Red lights flashing. Alarms wailing. Flashing. Wailing.
Gunshots crackle and bullets bounce off the heavily armoured interior, the odd bullet zipping into the upholstery of the worn seats and tearing into the foam, spraying material up into the air. Everyone falls silent. The passengers look around in shock, almost in disbelief that none of them have caught an unlucky ricochet. The recycled artificial air of the ship's cabin fills with a dirty grey smoke that bites at the lungs like an angry virus. There is coughing and crying, fifty odd people now at the mercy of their captors.
Five men in full combat apparel appear through the smoke, clad in all black they look fearsome, sporting black masks to hide their features they look like they mean business. Assault rifles strapped to their shoulders with fingers on triggers they are sharp and ready. One of them kicks the once sealed heavy steel door that is now spinning on the floor, mangled. His steel toe cap boots crunch the broken metal and burnt plastic underfoot.
"Well Boss look what we have here," the dreadlocked Brutor laughing at his new found cargo, a gleam in his eye. Reaching to his pocket he takes out a small silver flask and takes a long pull of the fiery liquid.
"Aaahhh," he smiles awkwardly at his audience as if he is some kind of twisted showman.
The Boss takes off his black shades and places them neatly in his top pocket. He pulls off his mask that is covering his mouth and tosses it to the floor.
"Everybody remain calm, do not panic. This here is your new crew, everybody back to your seats please."
There is a calmness about this hijack, like this has been rehearsed, or is some kind of routine occurrence.
The gangsters have come for one thing, an important shipment deep down in the belly of the cargohold. A shipment so valuable that these pirates will stop at nothing to get their bloody hands on it. Underworld markets are relying on this shipment. Seedy station-side pushers and disease-ridden junkies--right up to the lab rat booster-cookers at the other end of the spectrum. The chain is waiting. Orders are ready to be filled and veins ready to be poisoned.
The ship banks sharply and the lights in the cabin flicker for a moment pitching the room into temporary darkness between the delayed flickers. A mean looking clean cut man of Caldari bloodline takes an incoming radio message from his two-way.
"Cargo is good, green light on the cargo."
The radio crackles but it is clear that the incoming voice is that of a woman. The Caldari man wipes a bead of sweat from his brow, nodding to his Boss that the mission is almost over and the cargo is safe. The group begin to leave the cabin and enter the corridor back from where some ten minutes ago they had smashed their way in. Then, from the front row of seats a young looking man of Intaki origin stands and begins to spit venom at the Caldari as he is leaving. A young woman, also of the Intaki grabs him trying to pull him desperately back to his seat.
"Son of a whore," he spits.
Taken aback he pauses for a moment, his anger building up inside him. The two men stand there sizing each other up as the Intaki woman cries behind them muttering in a broken Intaki tongue. The gangster smirks and begins to turn heel, resisting the temptation. He carries on towards the corridor as the ships tannoy system announces that the ship's autopilot has been engaged. The ship banks again, this time more violently than before.
The flicker of lights bathes the cabin in a warm orange glow that sporadically breaks the gloom. The ship's engines boom and then falter as if stalling.
The passengers fall silent.