This is the sixth section of the sixth chapter of Sonnets from a Proton. The novel starts here.
The next section is here.
“So this is the best plan you’ve got?” she didn’t sound too happy
“What’s the worst that can happen?” he heard Jane laugh before he could finish saying what he had planned “Well they could capture and kill us yes, but I don’t think they will”
“And you’re betting our lives on this because? On what facts.”
“How often have I been wrong on a hunch before?”
“Not often granted” she grabbed hold of Laurence by his belt to pull him to the same speed as her and they floated down the corridor together, she spun him around to face her “but when you were wrong you were outside your field and that is what you are now.”
“I know, but it’s fun isn’t it.”
“I’ve warned you about this.”
“I know, but don’t you want to knwo how it turned out, or even better try and make it turn out the way we want it to.”
“What is up with you, this isn’t like you.”
“No it’s the me I’ve always wanted to be though.”
“A fantasy, what have I told you about trying to live out the dangerous ones?”
“I know, so go back to your cabin, hand yourself over to them, I don’t care I’m going though.”
“It’s always about you isn’t it”
“And you’re always following me. Look we’re here, stay or go.” he grabbed her hand and pressed it against the door plate to open the door. “Your obligation is over.” He went into the room.
She shouted through the door “How do you know you won’t need me in there?”
“I don’t” he shouted back. “But I’m responsible for no-one’s destiny but my own. I knwo that now.”
“You never believed that, you wanted to control other’s destiny that was the whole point you wanted to change the world.”
“Then maybe I’ve just got modest in my old young age.” he sighed “Look can we stop shouting at each other we’ll attract attention before I can finish this.”
Jane went into the room and looked at the communications room and all its equipment. She’d expected a ship that had just been refurbished to have had such a critical room in a better state. However this room looked like it was somehow older and suffering a more complex history than even the colourful history of this craft would have suggested. Cables, were strewn randomly all over the room. Random equipment, some corroded, some floating held in place only by the connecting data cables and fibres, others connected in a seeming spaghetti of technology.
“Wow!” she sighed “The rest of the craft used to be like this then”
“Yep! Say what you like about this though, it does actually make a nice redundant system though. There’s loads of equipment in here that’s not being used, all I have to do is figure out what isn’t and then patch it in. No need for authentication, everything I need just lying here waiting to be used. As long as I don’t break anything and attract attention.”
“You know the stuff that’s not in use was probably discarded for a reason”
“True, but I don’t need much. Now all I need to do is look for things that I recognise from my youth and that’s probably unused and even better I know how to use it. Now shush and let me work.”
“What are you trying to do?”
“Call for help, let someone know our situation, make sure that even if we don’t survive someone can catch these thieves. Now quiet I need to think.”
Jane watched the dust settling in the room from their disturbing the air here “You know no-one has been in here for a while”
“Though I’m sure” she said in a suddenly hushed voice “That I hear someone coming close” she froze in fright for a moment and waved frantically to Laurence.
She felt an arm grab her boot and haul her backwards. She looked up into the face of one of the members of the Prefect’s crew.
“What the hell are you doing in here?” came the dull voice of the burly woman.
“Trying to find a place to hide” she tried to stress the last five words.
“You alone then?”
“Why should we believe you?”
“Check in there if you want. I warn you lit looks a bit of a mess though that’s why I was out here I didn’t want to damage anything in there and arouse suspicion.”
“No that’s okay” said the woman “We were coming here to destroy it anyway.” with this she raised her sidearm and fired into the communications room.”
“No,” screamed Jane grabbing the woman’s gun and forcing her to fire into the floor “Why the hell are you doing that?”
The woman slapped Jane hard for her interference, “Can’t have you calling for help, don’t need it ourselves.” and added almost as an afterthought “And don’t do that again.”
She raised her gun to start firing again and Laurence shouted from the background “Wait, she wasn’t alone.” he pushed himself to wards the front.
“No thought not. All done now?” asked the woman.
“Yes” replied Jane looking at Laurence stood next to her
“Good” the woman reached into her backpack and extracted a small grenade and tossed it into the room. “Better move, we’ve about ten seconds before that goes up.” with that she grabbed the two of them by their collars and pushed off down the corridor.