Chapter 12

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Alarms blared within Daniah Pace's ship as stray blaster fire shot just past.

"Oo-ukh, ruhr ukh-ah-kakh," came a voice over the com. "Oosh oph ooph ph'phash, uhr--" Daniah closed the channel. She knew their stupid, dewback-headed protocols. They fired a warning shot, and if she didn't turn herself in, they'd engage. 

“Echo,” she said to her astromech droid, “Reroute all power to the aft deflector shields. This could be tricky.”

Her pursuers were none other than the Aqualish Authority. They shouldn’t have been in this part of the Lambda sector. Quosh promised to meet her here alone, to purchase her smuggled high-end pharmaceuticals at an attractive price. The traitorous snitch must have given her location away, either tempted by credits or as a way to lighten a pending criminal sentence.

Not that the space authority’s presence was a total surprise. Despite profitable deals with Quosh in the past, the snake’s reputation suggested Quosh would backstab Daniah eventually. So Daniah had made a habit of playing things safe, which included asking Quosh to rendezvous with her at these coordinates.

“Rerouting power right away!” came the astromech’s voice over the comm speakers. “Oh, my mistress is so brave!”

The droid's voice kit was too breathy for her taste, but superior to the default monotone package. She considered downloading another kit, but the voice fit Echo’s cloying personality. Daniah just wished that when Echo spoke, she didn’t imagine herself walking through an enchanted land of pink flowers, rainbows, and elaborately knitted doilies.

Daniah bit her lip and fired attitude jets directing the Halcyon towards the vast cloud of gas that spanned between the Matacorn and Moravia binary stars. She glanced over at her console. Four minutes out from entering the cloud. She should make it.

The Aqualish starships fired again on her ship’s stern. Daniah maneuvered the Halcyon expertly to minimize heat build up on the shields.

Echo piped up, “I’ve calculated the mathematics of our destruction. At the current rate we are going, and based on the three H-24 Firehawks’ firepower, our destruction’s ETA… is within six minutes. Would you like me to assume control of the blaster cannons and cause minimal havoc in a final, desperate act of annoyance?”

Daniah looked over to the astromech’s mainframe installed on the flight deck's right side. EK0-7 was built in a boxy chassis, which connected directly to the starship’s systems. While many ships the Halcyon's size had gun wells passengers could man to fire blaster turrets, Echo handled all weapon systems herself.

“No,” Daniah said. “We need to minimize heat buildup. And the last thing we need is a write-up for firing at the AA.”

“That wouldn’t look very good on our obituaries, would it? Bless you! You’re always thinking ahead. We couldn’t outgun those Firehawks, anyway. And, ahem, if you think to outrun them, I hate to—”

“The plan’s not to outrun them, Echo.”

“What? I’m… speechless, mistress.”

Daniah smiled, as she navigated the ship away from her pursuers’ blasts and towards the gas cloud. “I’ve always wanted to brave a particle radiation storm, and now we’re going to get our chance.”

“Silly me! I should have known the plan was suicide. We won’t submit to simpletons. We will do ourselves in! Even in death, you have... style.”

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