“You still good to run?” Leon asked, looking over his shoulder. The Doctor seemed to be acquitting himself well and keeping up, but Leon worried that he might be doing too much and exhaust himself.
“I’m just fine,” Paul answered. “I may not be trained for this physical stuff but I am in good shape.”
Leon nodded. “We’re almost there.” The two turned a corridor and came to a screeching halt. The door to the engine room was blocked by a pile of debris.
“The hell?” Leon asked. “Was there an accident here?”
“No,” Paul stated. “These were placed here. The cuts are consistent with the piles of garbage on the bridge. But these have been placed much more carefully to deny access to the engines. That thing must have anticipated someone trying this.” Paul scratched his head. “Is there another way in?”
“Yeah,” Leon said. “Ships of this design have emergency access tunnels. We just have to find the entrance. Come on!”
Farah and Kat ran. They were still ahead of their pursuer, but their lead had been gradually lessening. Kat looked ahead of them. She noticed some rubble, including a metal pipe.
“Keep running,” Kat ordered. She had no choice, it would catch them soon if they did nothing. Farah needed time to escape and the boys needed time to disable life support. She scooped up the pipe and turned to face the chimera.
“The Nebula is approaching the Prometheus,” Lucy said. ” But it looks like its emergency docking procedures are offline. She can’t get aboard that way.”
“Could Kat and the others have disabled them?” Ophelia wondered.
“It would be against our regular operating procedures,” Lucy stated. “More likely the bio-weapon’s doing.”
“So it’s a smart killing machine,” Ophelia said. “Wonderful.”
“Allison’s commenced cutting her way in,” Lucy stated. “It shouldn’t delay her more than a few minutes.”
“But do they have those minutes?” Ophelia muttered. “And how long will it take her to find them?”
She knew that she was being morbid and that she should trust her crew, but it was difficult to do so. Their enemy had been designed to kill and she had sent them right to it.
The chimera stopped out of Kat’s reach. It carefully scrutinised her. Probably, she realised, trying to judge how effectively she could hurt it with her pipe.
It acted quickly. Kat barely had time to react, she swung the pipe wildly, ignoring the pain in her sliced open shoulder.She felt the pipe connect, but didn’t see where she hit it. Her opponent sliced upwards, cutting her weapon in two. She tripped backward and braced herself. That was when Farah jumped in, swinging a heavy metal toolbox into the side of its head, causing it to stagger away.
“Let’s move!” she cried, pulling Kat up. The two ran, hand in hand. Their opponent recovered quickly and resumed its chase.
Paul and Leon crawled through the tube. Leon took point since he knew the layout. “Almost there,” he said. “It’s just…”His voice trailed off. The route to the engine room had been blocked off. “Dammit!”
“Any other routes?” Paul asked.
Leon shook his head. “I think we’re going to have to fight that thing.”
“Then we should hurry,” Paul said. “While we still have backup.”
“You can let go of my hand,” Kat said. She glanced over her shoulder. They had maybe a minute or two before it closed in on them.
“No,” Farah said. “If I do you’ll go off on your own again. I don’t leave my comrades behind!” The two turned and found themselves in a hallway filled with debris. They were out of room to even try to escape.
“Did it herd us here deliberately?” Farah panted.
“Doesn’t matter,” Kat said. “We have to fight our way past it. On my mark we rush it. You go low, I’ll go high.”
Farah nodded. The two stood side by side, prepared to stake everything on this last rush. The chimera circled towards them, cautiously.
“Surprise, Asshole!” a familiar voice called out. The chimera as a canister landed at its feet, gas exploding from it. The creature staggered for a moment, trying to force itself to stay up, before collapsing. “Sexy space warrior Allison Aiza to the rescue!” Allison declared. “I accept old games, credits or kisses from cute girls in appreciation.”
“How did you get here?” Kat asked.
“I brought the Nebula,” Allison answered. “I’m glad you two had your helmets on. Otherwise I’d have had to carry you and you’d have slept through my awesome rescue and speech. That would’ve just been rude and reflected poorly on you. Where are the guys?”
“They went to destroy the life support system,” Kat answered. “Let’s find them and get out of here.”
The three quickly met up with Paul and Leon. Leon was able to replace the fuel line while Kat got the shuttle started. Allison left on the nebula, enlarging the hole as she did to enable the shuttle to exit. Finally, they were able to get out.
Ophelia was waiting when they docked. “Welcome back,” Ophelia said. “It’s good to see you all alive and well.”
“I have to give Kat some stitches,” Paul reported. “I’d like to examine Farah and Leon as well. Just to be safe.”
“Of course,” Ophelia said. “And I’ll have Lucy look you over later. You three cooperate with Paul. I have some business on the bridge. ” She excused herself and hurried back.
“Lucy, target the Prometheus and fire,” Ophelia ordered. “Once it’s destroyed we’ll make our way to the rendezvous.”
“The Alliance won’t like it,” Lucy said. “They’ll want their toy back.”
“That thing almost killed the bulk of my crew,” Ophelia said. “What the Alliance wants, I just don’t care about.”
“Agreed,” Lucy said. “Just making sure.” She fired, hitting the engines directly. Without shields, the ship was quickly blown to shreds.