Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9
Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16 Chapter 17
Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20 Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23
* * * * *
I fought down a bit of nausea as we left the artificial gravity field of the Bestower and moved into the microgravity of the station's vacuum interior. The escape pod model was about 20 years old at least and the limited sensors it had for observation were designed for use in open space, not inside a station. All the screen showed was solid structure in all directions making us effectively blind.
I had set the pod at a low velocity to move from the ship and roughly calculated that it would take about 3 hours to hit the far wall. We would picked up by Nhi'Khuna or the station AIs before then. Contact with Delvara ended abruptly as we were making our way to the pod and nothing was coming in from Nhi'Khuna. I figured our chances of escape were low. There was nothing to do except sit back in the acceleration couch and wait.
After the excitement of the fight and the run, the absolute silence in the escape pod during its free flight was odd. I was strapped into a long couch beside Derranna, and after a couple minutes of silence I turned to her and said, "Hey, thanks."
She must have been lost in thought because she startled and looked at me. "What?"
"Thanks for saving me back there. Rusack had me and was going to cut deep. I figure you saved my life by shooting him."
She turned back to looking forward, her face going cold and hard. "Shooting at you," she mumbled.
Turning back with anger in her eyes and heat in her face, she elaborated, "I was aiming at you, not Rusack. I missed."
"Why would you shoot me?!"
"Why? WHY?! Because you strolled into the restaurant and started shooting at my lord's business partner! Because you attacked without warning or provocation! Because you shot and killed MY MASTER!"
"That was self defence," I angrily retorted. "Besides, I'm saving you from slavery!"
"Saving me from a life where I had everything I needed! I lived in greater comfort than most Amarrians, I had a good education and training on starship control." She lifted her fingers and started counting out the things she lost. "I had subordinates and respect. I was able to give my little sister a good life." She turned her ire back to me. "And now what do I have? Freedom? Freedom to starve on a backwater Gallente world somewhere? Freedom to beg for food and shelter? Freedom to whore myself out to a new master that will not take care of me?"
"I'll take you to the Republic!"
"OH GREAT, everything is better now!" She raved sarcastically. "Instead of being beholden to a Gallente sex pervert I'll live in squalor at the behest of some tribesman somewhere. I FEEL SO RELIEVED!"
I said nothing and she sat back in the gravity couch, tears flowing and emotionally spent. I was angry at her ungratefulness but it dawned on me that I was tearing her from everything that she ever knew, a life that she had some measure of comfort in, for the great unknown. She was scared. And she probably had a great amount of affection for her deceased master and he was gone. Sighing, I let my anger go.
Suddenly the pod lurched.
Derranna wiped the tears from her cheeks and asked, "What was that?"
"Tractor beam. Don't know whose yet."
I felt some acceleration and then my ear bud chirped. "OK Kirith, sit tight. We're getting out of here."