The Ithrian Gambit
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Hero – Round 2, Turn 5
Use 5S with 9S - Proteus, Augmented Operator
Proteus gave the command to open the outer door, his hands ready on the controls.
Once more, there came a great rush of air as the cargo freighter's atmosphere vented. Bodies, smaller pieces of equipment, and other detritus flew past the cockpit, thumping on the Virginia Dare's hull before being blown out into space.
Plasma streaked by as well, some of it hitting the ship. Apparently, some of Baal's thugs had managed to suit up. A bolt hit one of the floodlights, and it winked out in a shower of sparks.
Jericho left the docking tube and ran through the small cargo area, stepping over the four frozen bodies, to the Dare's forward turret. Heavy once more from gravity, he climbed up the short ladder and grabbed the control sticks. Seconds later, the turret spit out rapid bursts of plasma, filling the cargo bay with suppressing fire.
Eliza joined Proteus at the helm, having ditched the food bag in the small galley along the way. "Come on, come on," she repeated under her breath, wincing as bolts of plasma ricocheted off the hull near the viewport.
The wave of air passed, taking with it all exterior sound. They now felt more than heard the machinery raising the giant outer door.
Proteus switched off the skid magnets and eased the controls. Slowly, the Virginia Dare lifted off the deck and spun around.
The Appomattox almost completely filled the view under the rising door. It's weapons were all pointed at them, and some of the manual turrets opened fire, their operators firing blindly without target lock.
"Punch it, Proteus!" Eliza ordered, taking the co-pilot seat.
Proteus' hands danced, feathering the thrust and working the sticks. The Dare shot forward and pulled up, rolling over as it arced around the Nimbus Light. Turret lasers flashed by all around until they disappeared behind the husk of the dead freighter.
"Baal is moving to pursue." Proteus said quickly, his pulsing eyes faintly illuminating the dark cockpit. "Your orders, Captain?"
Eliza pulled up a system map on her terminal. The Azraa System had been her plan earlier, and she saw no reason to change her mind on account of their new passenger. It was remote, within range on reserve fuel pods, and the bag of food from the Nimbus Light should be enough to feed them on the trip. She still had a contact there who could hopefully arrange some work for them.
"Take us to Azraa," Eliza said, "and step on it!"
Proteus nodded, interfacing with the ship's navigation system. The hyper drive hummed from a deep bass to a high tenor as it spooled up. Proteus pointed the Dare in the right direction and maxed out the throttle. Once they had some speed, the hyper drive kicked in.
# # #
On the bridge of the Appomattox, General Baal watched as his prize streaked away in a beam of light.
"Weapon systems are back online, General," said the man at the helm nervously.
"Open fire on the freighter," Baal said. Though his voice sounded calm, his fists shook with rage.
"General," said the helmsman, swallowing hard, "we still have men over there."
"No, we do not," said Baal through clenched teeth. "What we have is a bunch of yellow-bellied cowards who got licked by two people with only one gun between them and an unarmed prisoner, and unless you want to join them, you will do as I fucking say!" He roared that last part, bringing an awful silence to the bridge.
It was over in moments. Pieces of the Nimbus Light twisted slowly in the void.
"That little ship couldn't have made it far," the general said, turning away from the viewport and heading for the door.
He glanced back over his shoulder. "Find them."
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