If you somehow missed this story until now, you can find part 1 here. Otherwise, I assume you are ready to continue…
It was not a mining colony that Captain Droon directed them to, but a small space station in orbit of a planet in Rodri, a Jorn system.
“Permission to dock at Docking Bay Four,” crackled over the Majestic’s speakers and Xendri nodded solemnly in Nell’s direction. They had precious little choice but to go along with their passengers’ requests at this point; Captain Droon and his men were just too well armed.
“I should get down there,” Elise sounded worried.
Xendri nodded in her direction. “If your Captain asks, he’s got nothing to worry about from us. We said we’d pick him up and drop him off in secret and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.”
Elise seemed relieved to hear this and with a last sad smile at them both, she slid her helmet back into place and left the small cockpit.
“Take us in,” Xendri ordered.
Nell nodded and set about the task of matching their speed with the station’s slow orbit, and then maneuvering to connect their airlock with docking bay four. Despite her nervousness over the nature of their cargo and the shady method of its delivery, Nell still felt a moment of elation as she felt the airlock slide into place. Any joy she felt evaporated seconds later when metal clamps sporting powerful magnets suddenly folded out from the station to lock down on their ship. “What the…?!”
“Dammit!” Xendri exclaimed. “Nell, get me a comm channel to that station.”
Nell reached for the comms panel and flipped the switch for a close-range exterior signal. She nodded to Xendri to go ahead.
“Unnamed space station, this is Captain Xendri of The Majestic. You do not have the authority to detain my ship. I demand that you release us at once.”
There was a crackle and then a chuckle came through the speakers. “I don’t really think you’re in a position to make demands…Captain Xendri.”
“And I don’t think you understand who you’re dealing with,” Xendri retorted. “I can do some serious damage to your ship. I say again, release us.”
In response to this, the station’s defense array lit up, their numerous guns training themselves on The Majestic. Nell swallowed uncomfortably.
“Nell, go grab a suit and make sure everyone is strapped down or in a safe location. This might get ugly.”
Nell gave Xendri a flat look, but she did as she was told, scrambling out of the pilot’s seat and making a beeline for the security cabinet where their space suits and what few weapons they had were kept. There she found Quattro in the midst of putting away his rifle.
“You may want to keep that at the ready,” Nell warned the bulky Terian. “These guys are JLF and it’s not looking like they want us to live with that information.”
Quattro’s purple eyes went wide, but he pulled his gun back to his muscled chest. Dismissing him for the moment, she reached into the cabinet herself and pulled out the last space suit.
“Here,” Quattro said, taking something from his belt and handing it to her. “You might need this. If they make it past me, they’ll go for the cockpit.”
Nell looked down at the item he was trying to hand her and realized it was his pistol, worn and well-loved by the look of it. She immediately understood the implication of him loaning it to her. She grinned mirthlessly, showing teeth. “They won’t take our ship.”
Quattro nodded back solemnly. “See that they don’t.”
Nell repeated Xendri’s instructions to Quattro, who quickly made sure that the door to Engineering was secure before he took up position, ready to defend the ramp if the terrorists tried to make their way up it. Nell left him there and hurried back to the cockpit, stuffing herself into the space suit as she went.
She was just about to shove the helmet on as she reached the cockpit.
“It’s not a threat, it’s a promise,” Xendri stated coldly, her hands on her hips as she stared straight ahead, as if she could see directly into the space station before them.
Laughter came through the speakers at this remark and Xendri muted the comms. “Think you can shake us loose?” she asked Nell.
Nell considered the request, her eyes going to the few clamps that she could see. One had landed on the cockpit’s window and was clearly not adhered to anything. The rest were attached to the rusted exterior they’d elected to keep instead of wasting money they didn’t have on a paint job at Ulatwam’s.
“Maybe,” she concluded, “but not without doing significant damage to our ship and likely the station as well.”
“That’s what I thought,” Xendri agreed, “but I don’t think we have another choice.”
“What about those guns?” Nell indicated the weapons aimed at them.
“I’ve got a plan for those.”
Gesturing for Nell to take the pilot’s seat once more, Xendri stationed herself at comms. Nell fastened her helmet and turned on the speaker system so she could pay attention to what was going on.
“Okay, do it,” Xendri instructed.
Putting both gloved paws on the steering column, Nell jerked The Majestic sharply to the right. Metal groaned and the clamp on the window slid along the glass with ease; it definitely wasn’t attached. As for the others, though…
The comms system lit up. Xendri answered the call. “Hello? Captain Xendri speaking.”
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” The Jorn voice on the other end was angry now.
“What I told you I would do,” Xendri responded mulishly. “I think you know now how serious I am about this.”
“We can blow your ship out of the water.” The man sounded flabbergasted.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Xendri warned them. I think you know what kind of bombs we’re carrying. You shoot at us and I’ll have my pilot ram this ship into your station. Trust me, you don’t want those things going off where there is oxygen for them to consume.”
There was a long pause, in which Xendri muted the comms one more time. “Nell, bring the airlock in. We’re leaving, whether they want us to, or not.”
Justine Alley Dowsett is the author of nine novels and counting, and one of the founders of Mirror World Publishing. Her books, which she often co-writes with her sister, Murandy Damodred, range from young adult science fiction to dark fantasy/romance. She earned a BA in Drama from the University of Windsor, honed her skills as an entrepreneur by tackling video game production, and now she dedicates her time to writing, publishing, and occasionally role-playing with her friends.