Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Chapter 6 Part Two "Check"

I’m not sure how long we sat in the hallway. But it seemed like forever. Eventually, she quit crying and I waited for a little longer to make sure she was finished. “We need to go now, okay?” I asked, like I was speaking to a child. She turned to look at me, eyes red and puffy. She nodded and stood up.

I got up and lead the way back down the corridor to the stairs. The walk took longer this time because every now and then she would stop and I had to encourage her to continue. I moved us slowly down the corridor taking cover and listening for Blood Raiders at every intersection. Luckily, there was no sign of additional invaders all the way up to the stairs leading to the hanger.

We climbed to the top of the stairs and I made eye contact with one of Harriers men. Once I was convinced they were not going to shoot I led Tasha back to the briefing room. The room was still packed. Some of the people had found a place to sleep while others talked. The children had fallen asleep in the middle of the floor, their toy ships scattered around them. I pulled her over to a chair near the door and told her to stay there. She nodded and stared ahead.

After I was convened she would not bolt back down to the labs I went back out to the hanger. It had been a while since the last attack so some of the men were sleeping inside a makeshift barricade while others maintained watch. The large hanger looked like a battle field now. Debris covered the floor and bodies were stacked near the forward air lock awaiting proper disposal.

I spotted Harrier sitting on top of a Rifter and headed his direction. This whole situation was fucked up. How could anyone lead their people to death like this and not care. Sure I am a pirate, but I do have a moral code, skewed as it may be. If Harrier knew about this I was going to teach him about my moral code up close and personal. I moved my hand down to rest on my blaster as I approached the Rifter and waited for him to come down to me.

When I was close he gave me a little nod and slid down the side of the Minmatar rust bucket. Taking a position just out of my reach he rested a hand on his hip and the other on his carbine pistol. He was relaxed on the outside but he still managed an “I’m ready for trouble and I don’t mind killing you” kind of look. I smiled as my mind slipped to nothingness.

“Geklov left and he took Antov with him,” I said, smile never leaving my lips.

He looked at me for as second then shook his head and threw his hands up in the air. “He doesn’t pay me enough for this bullshit,” he said turning his back on me and walking toward the Rifter. He stood in front of it for a second and gave it two hard kicks with his booted foot.

“The lower levels are undefended,” I said relaxing a bit. I was pretty sure his anger wasn’t an act for my benefit. He paced back and forth and finally turned to face me.

“How long have they been gone?” he asked, now looking more determined then pissed.

“At least an hour, probably more,” I said watching his reactions.

“This is not good. There were three battle ships that managed to figure out a way to dock and send in the raiders for the station assaults. The station employee that saw the raiders enter through the lower air locks counted way more than we killed. If the corridor is undefended and our scouts are gone then we don’t know where the rest of them are.”

I could see it all in my head. The Raiders had docked three battle ships worth of assault forces. One ship at the main hanger, and the other two ships down below. Antov had sealed off access to the main hanger and was holding off the assault down stairs. Geklov made a deal with the leader of invading force to let him go and he would give up his people. Right now there could be hundreds of Blood Raiders opening back up multiple access points to the hanger getting ready for a final assault.

What I didn’t understand was why. They could have easily invaded a settlement or taken a transport ship. They would have had way more sacrifices that way than they were going to get from the people here. They brought two Titans and expended a lot of resources to be able to breach the station defenses. Unless, of course, someone had let them in. Who the hell was in the lead Titan anyway?

At this point I would just be happy getting everyone off the station. I could worry about answering questions later. “I am going to go tell Rod we need to get the fuck out of here. Get your men together and do what you can,” I said as I turned and ran back toward the briefing room.

“Hurry, they will be here soon,” he yelled over his shoulder while walking toward the barricade.

Tasha was still sitting where I left her. She looked a lot better though. Her eyes seem to have a spark in them that had been missing earlier. I grabbed her hand and said, “come on, we need to get you out of here.”

“Where are we going?” she asked stumbling behind me.

“Cloning facility,” was all I said as we rushed down the stairs. I wasn’t sure what we would be able to do for the people that were left behind, but I was going to get her out of here safe.

I pulled her up to the control panel and she looked at me like she needed instructions. “Just set your clone to somewhere safe.”

“We are leaving?” she asked sounding almost amused.

“Set yourself to somewhere safe. I am going make sure you get out of here one way or another.”

“You’re staying?”

“Yeah, I need to help get these people out of here, but I need to know you are safe.”

“Don’t stay here and help them. Don’t you even care what they have done to me,” she yelled. She stood there shaking, eyes boring a hole into mine. “How can you pick them over me?” she hissed as she turned from me and started walking away.

I was shocked by her response. I knew she had just lost everything, but I didn’t expect for her to lash out at a bunch of Corp mates and their kids who were here to make money helping her.

I grabbed her hand and made her turn to look at me. “I know you have lost so much, Tash. I’m not picking them over you, but I can’t just let these people die because that piece of shit left them here. I promise I will come to you as soon as this is over,” I said, fear that she wouldn’t get over this stirring in the back of my mind.

“I can get the money you need to pay Geklov off. I have associates that will let me borrow it. We can get everything started for you again, I promise. I have never broken a promise to you no matter how much I had to give up keeping it,” I pleaded.

She stood there and stared at me for an eternity. Then finally, she relaxed a little and nodded. “Okay,” she said stepping up to the panel. I watched as she set the Genolution Biohazard Containment Facility in Aikantoh as her new clone location. The machine accepted her credentials and acknowledged the change in cloning facilities.

After she was done I reset mine. At least if I was podded I would get to her faster. Thank goodness I had worked my sec status high enough to enter .6 space. After I was done I met her at the stairs and we started the climb back to the top.

By the time we were at the hanger she seemed like a different person. She was smiling and confident again. Years of practice being in control of herself I guess. She went back into the briefing room to gather up some of her stuff and I headed to the pilots briefing room to talk to Rod.

When I got in the room it was alive with movement and voices. The word had already made it to the pilots, and now there was a fevered effort to get everyone off the station. Rod stood in the middle of the madness somehow soaking in all the conversations going on around him. It was impressive, and I hoped if I lived through this that someday I would have that kind of situational awareness.

I pushed my way up to the main display so I could hear what was going on. But it was a jumble of masculine voices yelling back and forth at each other. I noticed Rod looking at me and I just shrugged. It was nice he thought enough of me to “ask” for my opinion.

After about two more minutes of listening to the vortex of ideas swirl around my head I jumped as Rod yelled, “Shut the fuck up.” I let out a little laugh as silence fell across the room. I couldn’t help myself. He stood at the center, all eyes on him, and it seemed like the most natural thing ever. I had to find out where he came from.

“Okay, the way I see it we are out of time, so here is the plan.”

We stood there for the next thirty minutes as the most detailed plan I have ever heard flowed from Rod. I had never seen someone who could weave a plan in such a short amount of time with such limited resources. He made it sound like something that should be in a military training manual. When we walked out of the briefing room to our ships not only did I think the plan had a chance, but I was ready to follow Rod to hell. Chances were good that I was.

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