A New Ride

September 2941
Webb's Repair Shop, Spider
Cathcart System

Saskia had spent the past week working around the old man's misguided fixes for the Course Correction. It was forcing her to take twice as long as if she'd had her own crew and facilities but the old man was giving her an exceptional discount. Saskia assumed he was thinking with the little head, but if it helped her get the ship fixed for minimal costs, he could look.

The delays had been good at least in one regard. She'd had plenty of time to keep tabs on the Ballistic Logistics secret base and the civil war that had spread across Cathcart. So much so, she'd started to formulate a plan.

"Webb." She yelled down from the roof of the DUR. Webb was working on the port engine and had been for the better part of two days. "You're convinced that Arc Duo 400 is shot?"

He grumbled a bit then tossed his wrench down to the hangar floor. "I wouldn't go up there." He pointed towards the sky. "With this hack job replacement."

"I think I know where we can get a replacement, but I'd need a few armed escorts for the trip. You know anyone like that?"

Webb's brow peaked. "You really are amazing woman." He chuckled. "Give me till the morning."

The next day...

Saskia woke up to the smell of deep dark black coffee. A second thing she could appreciate about Webb's shop. He made the coffee so dark it was like motor oil, but it was the best she'd ever had. Maybe it was a mechanic thing, she toiled as she changed into her work clothes.

Making her way down to the kitchen, three men sat with Webb. The table was littered with various weapon systems.

"Ah Saskia!" Webb stood up and motioned to her. "Guys this is the lil’ lady I was telling you about. She's a friend of mine and turns out she needs a bit of help acquiring some lost merchandise." Saskia took a moment to catch up. She hadn't mentioned details of her plan. Noticing the stunned look, Webb walked over and put his arm around her. Squeezing her tight, he whispered. "I don't need to know the details, for you, we're in." He then pointed one by one across the table starting from the left side.

"Jason Smart, Gerry Pintal, Reece Lake. I used to run with these guys back in the day. Most loyal group you'll find in these parts." He chuckled, releasing her and pulling one of the table chairs back. "Sit, I'll get you a cup of joe." Saskia obliged.

Looking across the room, Jason, the younger of the three men, had to be in his late fifties and he seemed more interested in polishing his shotgun than nursing the coffee cup in front of him. Gerry the oldest, looked to be about Webb's age but from the looks of it could take care of himself. His LR-620 railgun suggested he'd possibly been a former UEE sniper but today none of the men wore markings. Reece fell somewhere between the other two and was more the built of the men. On the table in front of him lay a P4SC Assault Rifle. About that time, she felt Webb come around her left side and place a hot cup of coffee on the table. He picked up an armor piercing crossbow off the table and put his other hand on her shoulder. "So what's the plan, how are we getting this Arc Duo replacement back?" He winked at her and took a step back sitting into a loose chair just to the right of Smart.

That evening...

Webb's assistance had been crucial. The old man had come through with a hoover truck that got the team around back to one of the alley ways where a secret entrance to the BL Facility had been constructed. To Saskia's surprise, it was in use by four men. She didn't recognize the group entering the facility as BL personnel, nor did they appear to be the group that had initially attacked. 'I wonder who you could be.' She mumbled to herself. "GP, you in position?" She spoke into the whisper mic. "Affirmative" she heard. Knowing that the sniper would cover the truck and their exit, she pulled the latch and raced towards the now closing facility door. The last of four had entered, swinging the door fully open on his way in. Saskia wasn't sure if her codes would still work, so better safe than sorry.

As she opened the door to the facility, Reece took point leading with the P4SC, a few steps behind were Jason, then Webb. Saskia pulled the door shut behind her feeling comfortable with Gerry covering their exit.

The team traversed down a level with no sight of the men who had entered previously. Saskia noted a smirk overcome Webb's face as he walked past the Rocketship logo also found on the hull of the Course Correction. He said nothing, so she didn't push it.

Another flight of stairs, and all was too eerily quiet. As they descended she motioned to Smart to cover the stairs up, where they had just been. Then she motioned to Reece to cover the stairs down. Lifting the Model I Arclight, she stepped into the hallway of the current floor.

It was simply too quiet, she had to get eyes on and this floor had the security station with cameras. Webb stacked up behind her as they looked left and right. "No contacts" she used the whisper mic.

Slowly moving down the central corridor, she approached the security door. Webb walked slower and kept his distance about five meters. The door unsurprisingly was locked, but appeared to have been beaten a bit. Someone had tried to force it open but gave up or was interrupted.

Kneeling down, she took out an arc welder torch from her bag. "This lock is in bad shape, going to have to cut it." She whispered to Webb. He nodded.

Saskia started to cut the steel door around the handle. The sparks from the welder splintered off and to the ground illuminating the hallway. As she turned the third curve around the handle, she heard a loud "Tweeep" behind her. Turning to her left, she watched as one of the men slumped to the ground, an arrow protruding from his right eye. 'Nice shot' she thought as it had to be thirty or forty meters down the hallway and dark as hell.

Not knowing if their presence had been alerted to the rest, she pressed on pushing the welder faster and with less delicacy than before.

The metal handle clanged to the floor as it fell into the security chamber. The door now opened instantly with a slight push by Saskia. Inside, partially fried circuitry filled the air and the green glow of ancient monitors illuminated the room. Half of them filled with static either from missing cameras or damaged wiring throughout the facility. A few monitors revealed the landing pads below as well as several rooms where raiders had taken up station.

It appeared they were moving stuff into the facility, perhaps to take it as their own. Looking over the landing pads, she frowned. "The freelancer's not here and looks like most of the ship parts are gone as well." She pointed at the screen as she spoke directly to Webb.

"Let’s get out of her then Lass." Webb pointed up at what must have been twenty raiders camped out in one of the rooms.

As if on Queue, gunfire rattled the hallway.

"Contact's bearing down on us." Jason Smart reported.

Before Webb and Saskia could respond, Reece broke in. "Stairwell compromised, falling back to your position. We need an exit strategy."

Saskia frantically watched the screens as raiders began picking up weapons. "There!" She exclaimed, we need to make it to the ship bay. "Ruiz, you son of a bitch, Thanks for our exit strategy." She turned and headed for the door. "Fall back to us, we're heading to the landing pads." She commanded into the whisper mic. Webb stood a few seconds longer looking at the screen. "Really, that lump of garbage is our exit strategy?" He couldn't believe she wanted to run further into the maze to get to a damaged 890 Jump that looked like it wouldn't fly again.

Ducking and weaving through corridors, Saskia was extremely familiar with the station. She managed to get them down to the hangar floor but met heavy resistance. Smart had taken one in the arm and all of them were getting low on ammo.

"GP, we need a diversion, something big." She spoke in the whisper mike. "Now you three get ready to move." Gerry responded back. "You paying for collateral damages?" Webb protested immediately. "Not my hoover truck!"

Saskia cut him off. "Yes, you're a go." Mere seconds later the whole compound shook at the explosion upstairs, then another. Gerry's distraction felt like the facility was being bombarded, better yet, there was no way the authorities wouldn't arrive soon now. "Execute Echo Sierra" she said into the whisper mike as she stood up firing a few rounds at the pirates. "Roger" Gerry responded back.

"Now move!" She yelled at her companions. The pirates were stunned by the sounds of explosions upstairs coupled with the gun fire Saskia and her team riddled them with as they ran. The suppressing fire worked. All four were able to make it down to the docking bay door and enter the 890.

"Ok, Webb get to the bridge. I'll check on Engineering. Reece take care of Jason's wound then get to a turret." She turned without looking to see if they carried out her orders. "You owe me a hoover truck!" Webb protested as he started towards the bridge. "Relax, with your prices, you'll have 10 hoover trucks after you fix this boat up for Matthius." Saskia fired back.

Months later...

Saskia laughed at the old man as he sat taking pictures of the repaired 890 Jump sitting in two of his four repair bays. The pirates had been shaken by the explosions and their need for secrecy. Once the explosions riddled the upper floors they felt the need to vacate more so than to chase down the team that had intruded. A few months later and the old man had come through with repairing both the Course Correction and the 890 Jump.

"Wha? It's the biggest ship my shop has ever fixed." He turned at the sound of laughter then took one more photo for good measure. "One thing left to do Saskia."

She looked upon him with a puzzled look.

"You need to name her." He smiled.

"Ah that's easy." She paused for a second. "Conviction Renewed"

It was the old man's turn to look at her with a confounded expression.

Saskia belted a hearty laugh at Webb's face. "It's got double meaning. First, her former owner has been convicted of crimes against Ballistic Logistics but more importantly, it's showing we have resumed our belief in what we fight for is right." She jumped up out of her chair. "Now I've got something for you." She walked over to the security panel and pressed a button opening the exterior gate to the compound. Three hoover trucks drove in, two similar to the one Webb had previously and the third larger and a much newer model.

"Matthius and I thank you for your assistance." She said as the trio of Jason Smart, Gerry Pintal, and Reece Lake exited the vehicles and came over to visit.

"Enjoy your new ride, old man." Saskia poked at Webb.