The little voice inside my head was tellin me that we had only a couple of minutes before the cell block doors opened. I crammed more files into the crates, slammed the door and shoved the grav-cart toward the airlock. “We gotta go, Miss V. The doors are gonna pop open soon and we don’t want to be here.”
“There’s fighting on the ship. Are we sure that’s the best place to go?” Maggie stood with her hands on her hips. ” Mr. Wingate spoke up. “I saw Rejovic go aboard the ship as they were taking me off. If he’s aboard –” Roark interrupted. “If that sonofabitch is aboard then that’s where I’m goin.”
Flames, bodies and half-destroyed boxes were everywhere. I scanned the far wall and saw the fire emergency switch. It was just where you’d find it on a Hornet class ship. Could we be so lucky as to have stumbled on to a Hornet? She’d be fast, for sure. But had she been cared for?
“Everyone stay here!” I sprinted to the far wall and slammed the switch. The oxygen (and the fire) were sucked out the venting. In 10 seconds it was over. “OK, let’s get moving. We don’t have time to diddle-daddle!”
Mr. Wingate was struggling to hold up Prudence and move onto the ship. He caught my eye as I grabbed the grav-cart. I hesitated. “Awwwww. Doc! Help me, please.” I grabbed the top box of files and flung them into the cargo bay. Imago helped and we had a clear cart in seconds.
“She’s been shot in her rear, so put her face down….. Gently! Careful.” The doc directed me and Roark. I picked up the stick of Chem-plast I’d been carrying. I wavered between stowing it in my pack or trying to cram it on my pockets and ended up just putting it on top of Prudence. It’s not like it’ll explode without the detonator anyway.
Once the cargo was secure (and not a minute too soon since the cell block doors had opened), we could take in the lay of the land. The room next to the cargo bay had a computer. I walked in as Roark sat down at the keyboard. I snorted. “What are you doing?” He stared at the screen. “I want to know where the galley is. Feelin a mite peckish, I am.” His big fingers hit the keys. “Stop! Stop. You’re going to accidentally start the engine! Let me –” And the sound of engines starting up interrupted the rest of my sentence. And then we heard gunfire.
Miss V came to the doorway. “Status?” Roark and me, we looked at each other. “Well, it’s like this….” I interrupted him. “We’re just pulling up the ship’s layout, ma’am.”
“And why have the engines started?” Roark looked sheepish. “I was lookin for the files and…” his voice trailed off. “We didn’t start the engines, Miss V. Someone’s topside. The cockpit is above us. Two floors up.” I tapped the keys. “There are stairs here. And here. What should we do?” Miss V frowned. “Well I don’t know, Swei! What do I pay you people for? You tell me what we’re doing.”
I turned and looked into Roark’s eyes. I didn’t want her to see my confusion. He stood up. “Here’s the plan. I’ll take this stairwell and you and Maggie take the other. Swei and the Doc stay here with the injured.” She thought for a moment, nodded her head and turned away. “Thank you.” I said softly. He shrugged. “Don’t mention it.” He paused. “If I need help, I’ll holler and I’ll want you and your Chem-plast to come runnin.” I nodded. “<Shi.>”
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.