Chapter 27. Swept Away (3170) Lower Atmosphere: Leesti.
The ship shook violently as a broom laser burst tore the housing off the rear port engine. Izmee watched it's power output drop by 30%. The more hits like that they took the tighter the maths got. Important maths, like 'thrust required to reach orbit' and 'velocity required to remain airborne'. Not that she was actually sure where the hell they were supposed to be flying to. It was difficult enough keeping the ship in the air, she was rusty. Admittedly it was like riding a bike, you never really forgot. That said, after a good few years out of the saddle most people wouldn't expect their re-introduction to cycling to involve two bully boys on faster bikes with laser cannons attached to them. Homicidal learning curve. Fly or die. Still, better than being beaten to death by that mad fac Joh-joh.
Joh-joh didn't care for his employees just as long as they made him money. She had been careful not to tell him that her father had taught her to fly. In his mind this would have been a complication. He would have had to waste more time than he would have liked, making sure she didn't have the opportunity to escape. This would have eaten into his preening and money making time. He would have found that unacceptable and he would have killed her for it. The transports were getting more accurate with their scatter fire, Izmee tried some light zigzagging but it was like trying to fly a brick like a fighter jet. Whatever the old man was trying to do he had better hurry up.
The sonic skittered gently down the cargo ramp and out the back of the craft. Orburn cursed, he had unholstered the same second that the laser snagged the engine, then momentum did the rest. The transports were really close now, fortunately their lasers were overheating, he had maybe a minute or two before they cooled enough to gut the interior of the ship? <tap,tap,tap,tap, ,tap, , tap,knock,tap,tap, ,tap,knock,knock,tap> It was her, she was using dit-dar. "H-e-l-".... he looked down "What's your plan?" His hand tapped the side of the cargo bay furiously. "N-e-e-d c-o-n-t-r-o-l? If it gets us out of this cluster fac, babe you can have me dancing the horn pipe in a tutu for all I care. O.K. How?" <tap,knock,tap, ,tap, ,tap,knock,tap,tap, ,tap,knock, ,knock,tap,tap,knock> "oh sure that's easy for you to say." <knock,tap, ,knock,knock,knock, tap,knock,knock> "ok, ok it's not like we have anything to loose." Orburn closed his eyes and let go.
Fear, cut through Velva's normal mental haze of forgetfulness. This was like one of the dreams she had, or maybe she thought she used to have; full of bright colours and screams. The old man was acting oddly. It had started just after the ship was hit. He was talking to his left hand, then he slumped like a rag doll. When he moved again Velva almost felt her heart freeze. He no longer moved like an old man or a human. Each change in position was calculated, minimal and efficient. He moved fluidly across the cargo bay, sure footed, despite the turbulence. It was like he was glued to the ship and it to him.
His hand moved up to the comms console, it was then she noticed that it was a blackened green and almost reptilian in appearance, clawed and covered in plates. It tapped purposefully at the wall mounted display. As the rest of the old man removed two cargo hand mags from the wall and a metallic rope from across his shoulder. They looked for all the world like Siamese twins working on different projects. Together but unsettlingly, not. Reclaiming his errant hand for a second, he adjusted the setting on mags and fixed one to each end of the metal rope.
Grabbing the makeshift device by the mags and making a final adjustment to them using his reptilian hand, he looked at comms console; which was flashing up wind speeds, velocities and directions at an astounding rate then, pausing for a second to observe the 2 transports bearing down on him, threw the contraption out of the cargo bay door. Seconds later all hell broke loose.
As soon as they left his hand the electro-magnets in the cargo mags activated repulsing each other, this unfurled the device. It flew through the air like a bolas, slamming into the middle right wing of one of the transports. The mags span on the rope then clamped onto the metal with a resounding CLUNK. Then, having detected the lock they passed a small hot wired charge to the rope like cutting arc that had been used to bind them together. Within seconds it was hotter than a furnace and it pushed through the wing like a thousand degree knife through butter. The transport immediately keeled over in a shower of angry sparks and molten metal, catching it's good wing on their other pursuer causing it significant damage. They both fell away, spiralling down like dying fireflies leaving Zorr, Izmee and Velva utterly alone in the nights sky.