The four ran down the corridor. Occasionally, Leon or Kat would push something over or open fire over their shoulders in a vain attempt to slow their pursuer.
“What do we do?” Farah asked.
“We have to lose it,” Kat answered. “And double back to the shuttle. If we can get enough time we may be able to repair it.”
“I’m game,” Leon said. “How do we do that?”
“Not sure yet,” Kat stated. “We need a plan. Preferably before we get tired.”
“I’ve got one,” Paul said. “There only seems to be the one creature if I can get its attention the rest of you should be able to get away.”
“No!” Leon yelled. “Absolutely rejected.”
“It’s the only way,” Paul argued. “One of us has to go and you three are better equipped to fight it and escape.”
“Rejected,” Kat said. “It may be a rational plan. It might even work, but we don’t sacrifice our own. No matter the circumstances. We’ll have to think of something else.”
“For the moment, we need breathing room,” Leon said. “And a chance to catch our breaths.”
“A security door,” Farah said. “We head to the first room with one and jump in.”
“But it can slice through those,” Paul reminded her. “And there won’t be anywhere to run.”
“It’ll at least buy us some time to think,” Kat said. “We’ll do it.”
Allison tapped her foot rapidly. She was quickly losing her patience. Ophelia stared at her view screen intently, worry creasing her brow. The Bridge door slid open.
“I’ve got your delivery system,” Grace reported. “Just put a canister of the gas in and spray it everywhere.”
“Good,” Ophelia said. “Now we just need the gas itself. I’ll check on Lucy’s progress.”
She strode out of the bridge, moving quickly and purposefully.
Grace looked over at Allison. “Make sure you get Farah out of there. My brother too. He may be odd and kinda delicate, but he’s the only brother I’ve got.”
“Don’t you two have an older brother?” Allison asked.
“Not one either of us is going to claim,” Grace said. “Just get them out of there.”
Kat reached the chambre first and positioned herself by the door release. Leon grabbed Paul and ushered him in, worried that he might still try his plan. Farah brought up the rear and Kat slammed the release, forcing the large door shut.
They looked around. They appeared to be in someone’s quarters. Holograms showing scenes of family members, lovers, friends, colleagues or a mixture of the four lined the walls. The room also had a variety of synthetic plants.
Farah was startled out of her study of the room when the loud sound of scratching hit her ears.
“We need a plan, fast,” Kat said.
“It’s a tough opponent,” Leon said. “Smart enough to disable our craft in such a minor way that we wouldn’t notice to try and lure us in. Strong enough that our weapons are useless.”
“It probably disabled the systems on this ship too,” Paul stated.
“Leaving only the life support and reserve power,” Kat said.
“That’s it!” Farah said. “Strong and smart as it is, it still needs to breathe.”
“No shit,” Leon said. “Your point?”
“We can survive for a while with the oxygen reserves in our suits,” Farah said.
“So we take out the life support,” Kat said. “And suffocate the bastard.”
“It should work,” Paul said. “We just need a way out of here.”
“We blow the wall,” Leon said. “Set one of the blasters to overload and run like hell through the hole.”
“It should work,” Kat said. “But we’ll have to combine it with Paul’s plan.”
“No!” Leon screamed. “We are not sacrificing him! I swear that I will kill everyone here except for him before that happens.”
“Calm down,” Kat said. “We aren’t sacrificing anyone. We all put on our helmets. We blow the wall with my blaster. Farah and I leave through the hole. You and Paul hide in the restroom and wait for it to follow us before leaving through the cut open door. Whichever team reaches engineering first blows it with the remaining blaster.”
“And if it comes for us instead of following you?” Leon asked.
“I’ll have to count on your strength,” Kat said. “Either way, we have to hurry.” She looked at the door. The creature’s blades were starting to come through, but it didn’t have enough room to peek in yet.
“Fine,” Leon said. “We’ll do it.” He took Paul’s arm and the two hurried into their hiding place. Kat set her blaster to overload and placed it against the wall. She and Farah quickly took cover. Farah glanced at the door, watching as the hole grew larger and larger. Finally, the wall blew and the two ran into the adjourning quarters, running out the door. The chimera stopped its work cutting into the door, glanced directly towards where Paul and Leon were hiding, and then made up its mind and chased after the ladies. Paul and Leon waited until their footsteps started to fade before running out, heading in the opposite direction.
Ophelia paced back and forth. “How much longer?”
“You can’t rush chemistry,” Lucy said. “I know you’re worried about them, but they’re a skilled group. They can make it.”
“We thought that about Jane once,” Ophelia said. “I don’t want to lose anyone else.”
“It may be inevitable,” Lucy stated. “This isn’t exactly a safe line of work, but I don’t think it’ll happen today, at any rate. Because I’ve just finished.”
“we’ll get it to Allison and send her over right away,” Ophelia said. “I just hope she’s in time.”