My Payback Starts Now

"Those bastards!" Ryker cursed.

"Captain," said Ming. "We're surrounded by an association warship and a dozen mini-cruisers.

"Haha, they went all out didn't they? That too on my second day since resurfacing."

Boom! The Black Stallion was receiving heavy fire from all directions.

"Argh!" Ryker yelled. "What do I do?" He yanked his hair. "I'm one unlucky bastard aren't I?"

He cursed his bad luck. First, he was betrayed and attacked by the association for no reason whatsoever. When he had given up on life, he was saved by an unknown cruiser.

Now, it turns out that the cruiser belonged to one of the most wanted men in the Cosmos!

"My fate is sealed, I'm doomed to die at the hands of the association." He plopped to the floor and hugged his knees.

"Hey, Snow-white."

Ryker raised his head. "What?"

"Clench your teeth."

"Huh?"

Jackal's hand flashed before his eyes.

"Ow!" Ryker held his cheek. "What was that for!" He jolts up and grabs Jackal by the collar. A vein popped on his head.

"That was for acting all pitiful and pathetic in my ship. If you want to be like that, leave!"

"None of this will be happening if you'd just let me die! At least I won't have to suffer twice from their hands."

Jackal grinned. 

"And who said anything about suffering?"

"Look around you!" Ryker snapped. "We're surrounded by a warship which is twice as big as this ship and twelve mini cruisers. We're under heavy fire and I doubt the Stallion will be able to hold on any further.

"Is that so?" Jackal rubbed his chin. "We are in quite a predicament aren't we?"

Ryker darts the man a puzzling look. Was only perceiving the magnitude of other current situation after Ryker pointed it out? "Now I'm certain, you're insane."

"Captain," Ming who was manning the navigation system intervened. "Our course of action?"

Boom! 

"Captain Jackal Knight, this is your last warning. Surr-" 

The man who was speaking was silenced. 

"Hello, is this thing working?" His voice was replaced by a woman's voice. 

Ryker had a horrific look on his face as he recognized the voice of the woman. 

"This is..." 

"Detecting rising rage. Ming uttered. 

"Ehem.  Captain Jackal Night or whatever. Surrender, or we'll blow up your ship. We know they're only three of you in there thanks to our heat sensors. There's no way you can escape us." 

Ryker was certain. There was no way he could forget her voice. 

"Mysty!" His voice was drenched with malice. 

"You know that lass?" Jackal asked. 

"She's the one who... Massacred my friends."

"I see," Jackal rubbed his chin. "She's the one with the hex then." 

Jackal turned to Ming. "Ming, scan their ship and find out who has the strongest astral energy." 

Ming's eyes glowed red. "Scanning... Scanning... Scanning... Done! It's the woman, sir." 

Jackal grinned. 

"She's an A-Grade hunter." Ryker states. 

"What action should we take, captain?" 

"I don't know, let's ask snow-white over here." 

Ryker tilted his head in confusion. 

"Me?" 

"Do you see anyone here with hair that's white as snow?" 

"..." 

Boom! 

"But first..." 

Jackal touched the floor and closed his eyes. 

"What are you doing?" 

"Release!" Jackal shouts. 

"Nothing happened!" Ryker snapped. 

"Look outside." 

Ryker moved towards the screen and saw the mini-cruisers opening fire against their ship. 

Only unlike earlier, there was no explosion. 

"What happened to their lasers." 

"I'll answer that for you." Ming looked at Ryker then pointed at ger captain. 

"The captain coated the ship with his astral energy, now any projectile that comes our way turns into a dud." 

"Amazing..." Ryker dropped his jaws. "We're saved!" He exclaimed. 

"Not quite yet, that will only hold out for a little while. And since we space warped not long ago, the thrusters have to recharge before we can attempt another one." 

Ryker went back to yanking his hair. "We're doomed." 

Clank!

Clank! 

Clank! 

They heard the sound of footsteps from the ceiling. 

"Say, does that astral coating of yours stop anyone from getting into the cruiser?" 

"No." 

"Yep, we're doomed."

"Captain, I count 7 enemies near the bridge door." 

"Eh?" 

"Good, let them in." 

"Eh?" 

"Yes sir." 

"Eh!?" 

Ryker grabbed Jackal. "Oy, are you trying to get us killed!? Judging from their uniforms, Those are B-Grade hunters. Even an A-Grade hunter will have a hard time taking on that many at the same time." 

"Well then, I guess you better arm yourself." Jackal pointed to a compartment in the wall. "Your Astro tech is there." 

Ryker clicked his tongue and sprinted to the pointed area. 

"Honestly, I'll die from a panic attack trying to reason with that psycho long before the association kills me." 

He retrieved his Astro tech. It was a black and gold-colored whip with a pointed head. 

"It's fully charged." He said. 'I guess they took the liberty to charge it up, now I can form my astral skin.' He closes his eyes and his body became engulfed in White energy. It was the astral skin that his Astrotech provides. 

"Good, you're ready." Jackal turned to Ryker who is now standing beside him and Ming. "Our guests are here." Jackal smiled. 

The door leading to the area they were currently in exploded, the dust settled revealing 7 hunters wearing similar uniforms with name tags and the logo of the association on their chest. 

"You know, you could've just knocked." Jackal pouted. "Seeing as I let you get on the ship in the first place." He adds. 

"Jackal Knight, you're under arrest for several charges some of which and not limited to include vandalism, murder, man trafficking, plundering, and treason." 

5 of the hunters pointed their blaster-type Astrotech at them. 

The other 2 were holding sword-type Astro tech. They were all covered in a thin layer of white astral energy similar to Ryker's. 

"A matching set." 

"Tck, don't pair me up with these traitors." 

One of the hunters widened his eyes. "That's..." He looks straight at Ryker. 

"How are you under the possession of an  Astro tech!?" He points his blade at Ryker. "Only Bounty Hunters of the association are given Astro techs!" 

"Why don't you ask your traitorous superiors!" 

"What are yo-" The man gasped. It was then that he placed the pieces together. Ryker's Astro tech was of the type that's issued to C-Grade and lower hunters. "You're a survivor?" 

Ryker gritted his teeth. "I knew it, everyone else knew about the massacre!" 

The hunters burst into a stream of maniacal laughter. "What grade were you? C? Maybe D?" one of the hunters said. 

"Pff, hahaha. The flag master deemed you, low-grade hunters, as trash for always tarnishing the name of our branch. Hence why he ordered several A-Grade hunters to take a team of C and D Grade's and erase them. All of them." Another added. 

"Our branch was the only one that had C-Grade and lower-ranked hunters and none of you were ranking up at the required pace. Plus an inspection was announced soon. So the flag master decided to fleet our branch and free us from the infestation the bugs."

Ryker clenched his fists while the hunters were laughing uncontrollably. 

"Don't worry, we'll send you to your peers soon eno-" 

Bam! 

It happened so fast the hunter in the middle had no time to react as he was sent flying and crashing into the wall. 

Ryker held out his fist. 

"He-" 

"Knocked-" 

"A B-Grade-" 

"With a single punch!" 

Jackal looked at Ryker. His astral skin was fluctuating from his usual white-colored skin to black skin. 

"Ohoo." He said with a grin. 

"I thought our team was the only one. But you monsters, you killed everyone! My classmates, my friends, my colleagues... You killed them all. That too so you could save face. Why not fire us? Why? Why? Why!?"

Ryker's astral skin at this point stopped fluctuating and remained pitch black.

The hunters gazed into his blue cold eyes as they felt the chill stare of his rage. They could feel their skins being pilled off slowly.

"His astral skin turned black?"

"I-impossible!"

"A C-Grade awakened such power?"

Jackal yawned and sits on the floor with his legs crossed. 

"Aren't you going to do anything, Sir?" Ming said sitting beside him. 

"Nah, you don't need your scans to know that he has evolved. Right here, right now, snow-white has awakened into a beast."

Jackal saw that the once frightened man that he saved had been replaced with a monster. 

The hunters were too terrified to lift a finger. They wanted to turn tai ls and run away, but their bodies froze for they were in the presence of a beast. An animal. And there's nothing more dangerous than a wounded animal!

"I swear, I will destroy the association for what they did... My Payback starts now!"

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