Ballistic Logistics Saga - Part XIII

August 2941
Spider - Ballistic Logistics Secret Base
Cathcart System

"Come on, it's now or never," Gedion urged her. Saskia thrust her palm at the ventilation grate and popped it halfway off. She grabbed it and shoved it free from the wall, and set it down delicately on the ground. The seven of them piled out of the shaft and onto the first landing pad. The Course Correction was only twenty meters away.

As they ducked and scurried along, the five spec ops soliders took the lead and swept up into the rear of the ship. Seconds later Saskia and Gedion entered the cargo bay. The two pirates were dead, caught off guard by the soldiers, one with a snapped neck and the other with a knife stab to the throat. Best of all, it was silent. Gedion grabbed a laser rifle from one of the dead men, and followed Saskia to the cockpit of the ship.

"There!" Gedion exclaimed, pointing across Saskia, out the left window at Ruiz' 890 Jump. Heat distortions were beginning to form from the exhaust vents of the thrusters as the ship warmed up for launch. "They haven't left yet!"

"Everyone better buckle in," Saskia cautioned. She began a furious flurry of switch throwing, quickly bringing the Course Correction to life.

"Wait, you aren't doing what I think you're doing..." Gedion replied with dread, throwing himself back into the seat and buckling in. Saskia didn't bother to respond.

As soon as the thrusters had sputtered to life, Saskia lifted the ship off the landing pad, drawing the attention of almost all of the pirates in hanger. Small arms fire plinked off of the side of the ship ineffectively. Saskia jerked hard left on the ship and swung it around, facing into the hanger.

"I don't think this is a..." Gedion began, but his voice was drowned out by the piercing whine of the Course Corrections thrusters, fully audible through the open cargo bay door. Saskia gunned the engines, quickly accelerating the ship.

Gedion's knuckles turned bright white as he clenched the armrests of his seat as tight as he could. Saskia pushed the throttle as far as it would go and the Freelancer screeched across the hanger. Halfway across, Saskia dove the ship onto the floor of the hanger, and more importantly, into a group of around twenty pirates. Some were crushed under the weight of the ship, while others were eviscerated and maimed by the full force of a spaceship plowing into them, their dismembered limbs bouncing off the cockpit glass.

Saskia didn't back off the throttle for one moment. She took out as many pirates as she could, all while heading straight for Ruiz' Jump 890. Just two landing pads away from the ship, something broke in the nose of the Freelancer and snagged, causing it to spin ninety degrees to the right and barrel sideways into the Jump 890. The Course Correction slammed into the broad side of Ruiz' ship, rocking it sideways and causing it's engines to emergency power down.

Gedion shook his head trying to clear away the effects of the impact. He glanced over at Saskia. She was knocked out cold, blood streaming from her forehead. The soldiers in the cargo bay had all survived, shaken off the effects of the collision, and were preparing to disembark. Gedion unbuckled and turned towards the cargo bay just as the five soldiers were beginning to exit.

"Wait!" Gedion tried to caution them, but they marched fearlessly down the mangled cargo ramp and towards the Ruiz' ship. "Great, gotta love meatheads." Gedion said to himself, shaking his head in frustration. He grabbed his laser rifle and headed down after them.

The hallways of the 890 Jump were filled with smoke and the sounds of gunfire. As Gedion progressed down the passageways, he encountered body after body, but all of them pirates, not Ballistic Logistics spec ops. "Well, these guys are good, I'll give them that." He said aloud to himself. The sounds of fighting carried on in the distance towards the front of the ship, but some hunch told Gedion to head to the rear.

As the sounds of gunfire grew more distance, Gedion attuned his ears and searched for more subtle clues. He turned one corner, then the next, silently, patiently listening for any sign of the enemy, or Matthias. As he was reaching the rear passenger compartment, he heard voices, and dull thuds. He peaked his head around the corner.

Matthias was there, on the ground, bloodied, but not broken. Ruiz stood over him, kicking him and raining down blows and curses.

"It should have been me. It should have been ME!" Ruiz repeated, kicking Matthias in the ribs and knocking him over. Matthias hit the ground again and rolled over on this back. Ruiz continued his assault, stomping Matthias in the chest.

"It's over for you..." Ruiz scowled, wiped the sweat from his brow, and pulled a laser pistol from his hip. Matthias lifted his head defiantly, ready to face death.

A laser blast ripped through the air, sizzling as it melted the atmosphere it travelled through. Ruiz dropped his laser pistol to the ground. Gedion's shot ripped through Ruiz' back and burst out his chest, just above his heart. Stunned, Ruiz fell to his knees, stunned and wide-eyed.

Gedion ran down the hall and tried to help Matthias to his feet. Before Matthias was halfway up, he leapt upon Ruiz with furious rage.

"Tell me, who are the Shadow Advocacy! I want names damn it!" Matthias bellowed at Ruiz, shaking him by his shoulders. Ruiz began to slouch backwards, blood now dribbling forth from him mouth. "Talk! Who sent these pirates!" Matthias shouted again.

Ruiz lay backwards on the ground in a twisted mess of his own limbs and blood. He cracked a wicked smile and whispered one word as the last breath left his body. "Gedion..."

Matthias shook him vigorously but it was no use. Ruiz was dead. Before Gedion could pull him away, the five spec ops soldiers rounded the corner.

"Sir, we've cleared the ship, but I suggest we move, now," the Captain of the five soldiers advised.