Part Four - 46 - Allan - The End

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Two months later.

"Allan, are you sure you want to do this?" asked Jessie.

"Of course I want to do this. We all want to do this. The money will be really good," answered the captain with a charming smile and a seductive wink.

Jessie didn't seem impressed. She shook her head, sending her long dark hair cascading around the pilot's chair. "Do you see that?" she pointed at the asteroid belt they could see through the windshield of the ship, "It was already hard enough to cross it the first time we came here. But since the inmates' mutiny, it got worse. Broken chunks of asteroids are flying as fast as bullets everywhere. Our shield might not withstand it for long. I'm not sure it can be done."

He gave her a dubious look. "Don't sell yourself cheap. If anyone can do it, it's you."

He lowered himself to give her a kiss, but she rolled her eyes.

"I'm not sure flattery will save your ass once those asteroids start ripping our ship apart."

He gave her a peck on the cheek nonetheless. "I'm counting on you. Think about the money."

The previous week they had heard that just after their visit to the Marvick prison almost a year ago - when they had blasted their way in to free Hopper - the inmates had used the opportunity to start a mutiny and take over the whole place. Most of them had since escaped or died trying, and the place was abandoned. The explosions and fights following the revolt had made the asteroid belt harder to cross than ever. But for someone crazy enough to risk it, the things inside the prison were ripe for the taking.

"Do it!" said Allan, "Please."

Jessie let out a long sigh but he could see a smile tugging at the corner of her lips. She didn't argue further and steered the ship toward the asteroid belt, straight to hell. Allan barely had time to think Oh boy, I hope it's worth it before the first small asteroid hit their shield.

"Get ready for a hell of a ride!" screamed Jessie, grinning.

The ship shook under each impact, triggering all sorts of warnings on the screens. The shield was bright under the onslaught, buzzing with energy. Allan felt each impact resonate in his bones.

Hopper appeared behind them on the bridge, bellowing insults. "What are you doing to my ship?!"

Allan glared. "Your ship? I think I recall everyone's participation in getting this ship! Also, you kids better not forget whose idea it was in the first place! Hops, go back to your engine room, we don't need you here!"

La Tenace was their new ship, the one they had taken from the Jeens. She was slightly bigger than the Capricieuse had been, perfect for accommodating the eight crew members with room to spare. She had a biome garden for food, to Kala's delight. A massive main area with a conjoined kitchen. Spacious personal quarters with private showers and brand new filters. She also had a lot more weapons and better technologies in general. But none of this was even her best feature by far.

"Can't we just ask Kala to take us directly to the prison?" said Hopper.

La Tenace's best feature was the alien technology, borrowed from one of the Forebears' ships thanks to Kala and Hopper's efforts. La Tenace was the only human ship who could create her own temporary wormholes and travel to any corner of the universe in an instant.

"We don't have enough room to leap there," said Kala as she entered the bridge, "It's too risky with all those asteroids flying around. Do you need a hand?" she asked Jessie.

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