Spider - Ballistic Logistics Secret Base
Matthias leaned on Gedion, who helped him to his feet. Draping his arm over Gedion's shoulders, Matthias hobbled his way out of the Jump 890 behind his five loyal soldiers and onto the landing pad.
Saskia had apparently recovered from her injury enough to gain consciousness. She was battling the pirates off with the gimbaled guns of the Course Correction, but the ship was in rough shape. The wing on the side where the ship had slammed into the Jump 890 was completely destroyed, and the hull was a mess of exposed wires and jagged metal where the wing had been. The soldiers laid down cover fire as Gedion helped Matthias into the ship. Once aboard, Gedion hit the switch to shut the cargo bay, which fortunately still worked.
Gedion and Matthias headed up to the cockpit, where Matthias, now recovering to some degree, was able to walk on his own and sit next to Saskia in the cockpit.
"Nice to see you sir," Saskia shouted through gritted teeth as she blasted away at pirates taking cover behind shipping crates.
"What have you done to my ship?" Matthias asked, feigning frustration. Saskia looked over at him and they smiled. "It's good to see you too. Now let's get out of here."
The Course Correction swung around and faced a hanger door. Saskia squeezed the trigger and blasted a hole in it big enough to fly out. The ship wobbled and struggled to maintain level flight, due to the loss of the wing and multiple damaged thrusters, but she managed to fly it out the opening.
Outside, it only took a moment for the pirate fleet to notice the fleeing ship, and several Cutlasses moved to engage.
"We aren't going to make it far like this," Gedion said pessimistically.
Saskia wove the Course Correction through the maze of ships and structures that made up Spider to the best of her ability. She managed to avoid most of the incoming fire, but there was no way she was going to shake their pursuers.
"I know a place where we can lose these guys and get the ship fixed up, if we could just shake these guys for a minute," Gedion advised.
"I'm trying, I'm trying!" Saskia replied as the ship was rocked by explosion after explosion of narrowly missing missiles.
"How many missiles do we have?" Gedion asked.
"Four on the right wing, but there is now way I'm going to be able to get behind them for a shot." Saskia replied in broken, punctuated speech as most of her attention was on her flying. Gedion thought for a moment.
"Give me the controls!" Gedion blurted out.
"What? No way!" Saskia replied.
"Seriously, give me the controls, I have an idea!" Gedion insisted. Saskia, unwilling to relinquish her ship, turned to Matthias. Matthias nodded in support of Gedion.
Saskia quickly unbuckled and stepped back and Gedion quickly squeezed by and sat in the pilot's seat.
"I'm going to have to time this just right..." he said.
Gedion jerked the stick hard left, then hard right, almost knocking Saskia off of her feet before she had a chance to buckle in. The ship turned much more effectively to the left than to the right.
"Watch it!" she complained.
"Just testing, might only get one shot at this..." Gedion replied.
Gedion took the Course Correction in tight against the side of a large section of Spider, and hugged it as close as he could. Then, he steadied out, and waited for the Cutlasses to get a missile lock on him.
"What are you doing? You're going to get us all killed!" Saskia continued to protest. Matthias watched with a calm curiousity.
"Incoming missile, incoming missile," the ship warned. Still, Gedion kept the ship flying straight. Three missiles were hot on the Freelancer's tail, and it was only moments before they would hit and tear the ship apart. At the last possible moment, Gedion released the flight control system, threw the control stick hard left, and released the Course Correction's four missiles. The ship peeled hard left and drifted around the corner of a section of Spider, pulling a two hundred and seventy degree maneuver and ending the with right side of the Freelancer bumping softly off of the structure of Spider.
Gedion made sure the ship was stationary and quickly powered down all possible ship systems. The three of them looked up to see the four missiles Gedion had released slowly tumbling end over end on their old flight path. Seconds later, the three missiles from the Cutlasses slammed into the four from the Course Correction, causing a massive explosion that pelted the ship with debris and shook it.
"With any luck, they'll think that explosion was us. We'll lay low until they leave the area." Gedion explained. They sat in silence for four or five minutes, but the Cutlasses never came. Finally Matthias looked over at Gedion and smiled.
"Nice move," he said with a grin.
"Believe I'm not your enemy now?" Gedion replied with a grin of his own.
Gedion piloted the Course Correction under minimum power to the far side of Spider, even more derelict and rundown than rest.
"I've been thinking about what Ruiz said, just before he died," Matthias began.
Gedion nodded in response.
"You've been at the center of this thing since the beginning, but I know you aren't with the Shadow Advocacy. So why did he name you with his dying breath?" Matthias inquired.
"He wasn't talking about me. He was talking about my father, Stanil Gedion," Gedion quietly and grimly replied, the truth of what happened setting in.
"Your father?" Matthias replied.
"My father. He's a politician on Terra. Someone had my UEE credentials faked so when Saskia went looking for an alien tech expert for the mission in Min, my name came to the top. He then impersonated a fictitious ex-squad mate of mine in order to set up the meet with me and Saskia. And of course we know Ruiz was collaborating with someone to set up the fake alien force in Min to draw the BL fleet on Spider out. I'm betting my father set that up too. He always was one to get ahead any way he could, at anyone's expense" Gedion said and grimaced as uncomfortable memories of a life with a self-obsessed, power hungry father raced through his mind.
Matthias sat in awkward silence for a moment. He wanted revenge for all that had happened, but one can't get too excited about killing someone else's father, especially when you are sitting next to them.
"Only one thing to do," Gedion continued. "We'll have to go to Terra and check it out."
"And if he's really a part of this?" Matthias inquired, trying to get a feel for Gedion's position.
"Then he'll pay for what he's done," Gedion replied flatly.