"Ito Min-Hee's journal, last entry: If we are going down, we're taking them with us. All of them. See you all on the other side, enemies and friends."
Allan felt like his heart had been broken twice in the last hour, and then mended just once. Kala was alive, and he thanked the universe for that. She was shaking badly in Hopper's arms, lips still blue and skin clammy. He grabbed a blanket from one of the shuttle's cupboards and started wrapping her in it.
"You scared the shit out of us, kiddo." he said to her, "Again."
Kala smiled a little. "I know... I'm sorry."
Hopper's hands were holding her so tight, looking like he would never ever let her go again.
Allan caressed her short hair and asked: "What happened?"
She breathed in and out three times before answering. "The ship ran out of energy... And it started using my own. I could not stop... there were so many enemies. I just kept firing and firing until all the life was sucked out of me and the darkness took me. And opened my eyes again just now."
Allan cursed. Jessie had been right. They had risked too much. They thought they were ready to pay the price of freedom. But the price was steeper than they expected. They almost lost Kala. And Min-Hee...
Kala noticed his pain. She always did. "Why are you all so blue? I feel your sadness... I'm okay now." Then she frowned. "What's going on..?" she scanned the whole crew standing there. "Where's Min-Hee?" Their energy must have told her enough because her face crumpled. Hopper tightened his embrace.
Allan felt the weight in his guts double, sadness gripping his heart.
The whole crew settled on the floor around Kala and mourned the loss of Min-Hee and so many others together.
* * *
A few hours later it was decided that they really needed to move, their shuttle could only sustain so many human beings for so long. They needed to find a new ship or planet, or the whole ordeal would have been for nothing if they died of oxygen deprivation and thirst in space. Jessie flew them out of the breach in the alien ship's hull. Outside they entered a sea of ruin and debris.
"Where are we heading?" she asked.
Allan rubbed the back of his neck. "Let's head for the gate. We will have more luck on the other side. We chose this system because it was deserted."
Jessie took her time, flying slowly to avoid any collision with the hundreds of dead ships now drifting in the Sema System. Allan felt a cold satisfaction when he saw most of them were europans, expansers and ushus ships. They had created this mess. Here's what happens when you push us, he thought.
As they neared the gate they saw a ship emerge. A red ship, modern and armed to the teeth. Jessie cursed.
"Why is that ship familiar..?" asked Allan, frowning.
"Don't you recognize them?" she said, "It's the Jeens. The bounty hunters that pushed us into the Bermuda System a few years ago."
It was Allan's turn to curse. "Those fuckers..."
Moira appeared on their left. "Why are they even here?"
They watched the Jeens, still far away, harpoon a dead rebel battleship.
YOU ARE READING
Capricious - Lightning Sprite Book OneScience Fiction
The universe had no secrets for Captain Allan Roy and his crew of space scavengers. They had traveled to most occupied territories and to the confines of the Rim. Or at least, that's what he thought until the day they landed on a remote planet calle...