Ophelia helped secure Elijah’s spacesuit before re-fastening the cuffs. She turned to Grace, who had been making adjustments to the Radiant Healer’s tractor beam before having to clear the bay for the shuttle.
“How’s it looking?” Ophelia asked.
“Theoretically, it will probably work,” Grace answered. “That’s the best I can give you. No one’s ever tried a stunt this stupid before.”
“I have,” Elijah volunteered. “Not this stunt specifically, but equally stupid things aplenty.”
“That’s… great,” Ophelia said,. “I guess.”
“The shuttle’s in,” Lucy warned.
The four of them went silent. They waited for the bay to fill back with oxygen. Ophelia and Lucy led Elijah inside.
The drothon captain exited the craft with three guards in tow.
“I’ll take the prisoner now,” he said.
“Hold on just a moment,” Lucy said. She held up a data pad. “Please sign off on the exchange first.”
He grabbed the pad and quickly read it over. “Everything seems to be in order,” he muttered. He took the stylus and roughly signed on the screen.
Lucy took the pad and made a show of checking his signature. “All right,” she said, nodding to Ophelia.
“He’s all yours,” Ophelia stated. The guards moved over and surrounded Elijah.
“Don’t worry,” the captain said. “We’ll make sure that he never steals from anyone in your sector again. You can be sure of that.”
Ophelia kept her face impassive. “Good. We’ll be counting on you.”
They returned to the shuttle and Ophelia exited the bay with Lucy to allow them to depart.
Leon was waiting outside. Grace had returned to engineering.
“You’ll have one chance,” Ophelia reminded him. “I’m counting on you. I’ll keep our comm channel open.”
“Don’t worry, I’ve got it,” Leon said.
Ophelia nodded and grabbed her communicator. “Kat, take the Blazer out first. We’ll follow after.”
“Acknowledged,” Kat said.
“How bad do you think it’s going to be?” Ophelia asked.
“Depends on how quickly they pull themselves together,” Lucy answered. “I’d say we’ll lose at least a tenth of the profits on repairs. Maybe as much as half. Assuming we can even retrieve him.”
“Let’s hope it’s closer to the former,” Ophelia said.
They returned to the bridge. Ophelia guided them past the drothon ships, keeping the Cerberus between them and the Blazer, while Lucy monitored the shuttle.
“You know what happens to punks like you?”
“Won’t make it to trial. That’s for sure.”
“Been waiting for this a long time. After what you did to the Lidegra.”
Elijah ignored them. They hadn’t bothered with space suits. The shuttle was a class that he recognised. The TS-80 series. He quickly located the switch he needed. Too far to just make a run for it.
He waited until one of them finished their taunt.
“Then just finish me now!” he shouted, rising to his feet and turning to face them, his back to the controls. You won’t get any information out of me anyway. Who knows, I may even get free and blow your ship to bits like I did the Lidegra.”
One of them reared up and smacked him, sending him back towards the controls.
“Thanks,” Elijah said.. He quickly slipped off the cuffs and flipped the switch to open the shuttle doors.
“The shuttle’s stopped,” Lucy reported. “Seems to be having problems.”
“Leon, go!” Ophelia ordered.
The Radiant Healer burst from the Cerberus and moved back. Leon quickly identified Elijah’s suit and fired the tractor beam, simultaneously reversing and heading back for the Cerberus’ open bay. He put on the brakes at the last minute, coming in for a rough landing. The doors closed and the Cerberus began moving as quickly as it could away from Drothos.
The Cerberus shook under the fire from the drothon patrols.
“Paul, check on Leon and Elijah,” Ophelia ordered.
“I’m returning fire,” Lucy stated.
“Won’t that just make them madder?” Farah asked.
“Maybe,” Ophelia said. “But it’s also the only way we’re going to slow them down enough to get away. Just buy us enough distance that I can get us to the conduit.”
“I might be able to help with that,” Grace’s voice came in over the comm system. “I’m going to try to send some false positives to their sensors, make them think we’ve got reinforcements moving in. They’ll figure out the trick quickly, but it may make them hesitate for a moment.”
Paul moved in to the shuttle bay. Leon had some new bruises, but looked fine otherwise.
Paul moved over to Elijah and quickly removed his helmet.
“Still breathing,” he muttered. “Fuzzy, help me carry him to medical. I need to check to see what kind of affects being dragged rapidly by a tractor beam had.”
“His stomach is sick for sure,” Leon said.”That’s all I know.”