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Chapter Nine; Captain Donovan Paulwell

Updated on May 30, 2021

The Attack

When you travel in Space, what you don't expect happens. When you travel in space you come to expect the unexpected.

In fact, if you travel as often as I do, if something unexpected doesn't happen you feel destabilised.

So we travel, and it happens.

A squad of Gennie boats appear In the emptiest part of space, three warships.
Not Pirate ships, but official Dalmar warships.

No one breathed on the bridge. And someplace I knew what would be said.

"Greetings Presidium," came the arrogant voice of a blond Gennie whose sneering face appears on the com.

"You have something aboard I want. You call him Gye. I will send a detachment for him."

Gye was standing by the weapon array.

"I'll take the Viper," he almost asked.

"You do that," Cilla said.

"Good luck, Gye," I called.

"Luck has nothing to do with it," he almost smiled as he raced out.

"Cilla," I say, after Gye has been gone a good five seconds, "when the Viper is about to leave the ship, set off two distress flares at the front of the ship..."

"They'll track him on IR..." she poked.

"Yeah, but the flares will give him a few more seconds to get away."

"He can't get away...!" Guthrie snorted.

I had a lot to say, but didn't bother.

Cilla's voice;

"Hangar six, opening,.. firing flare one, firing flare two, sending distress to Hawking."

"Now get us out of here....any way except the way Gye went, and Frank, do me a
favour, shut your mouth and start firing."

"Firing?" He choked.

"Yeah... Firing...and at the Warships..." I ordered, moving towards him.

I think he realised that if I had to fire the weapons myself, I would.

I think he realised that this might be his last journey with me, so obeyed the order.

The Escape

Cilla was good, the best, she got us out of the blockage, shooting up, pinwheeling,
Frank firing, and the rest of us holding on, while Shelly sent distress signals.

The Gennies weren't interested in us, they wanted Gye, we were an obstacle. As they went to follow him I shouted;

"Cilla, cut them off...!"

She was good, she got between the warboat and Gye, giving him a few more
seconds of lead time. Guess we annoyed the Dalmar's pretty well, for one ship
turned on us.

I figured it had been a fair enough run. I couldn't face death if I'd turned Gye over to them. I hoped the others felt the same.

We all figured, whether or not we gave them Gye, they'd fire on us. They were Dalmar, the most arrogant bastards of the arrogant bastards we call Eugenics.

They'd delayed because they wanted Gye. They wanted him alive to torture.

Cilla wasn't giving up. She was loping the ship to a hair from losing control, the
only way to evade.

Then Shelly shouted;

"Ships ahead! Hawking Ships!"

Dalmar disengaged and departed as Cilla slowed. Before us, twelve Hawking 'war', (security, the polite term) ships.

Six of the warships took off after the Dalmar, five went in other directions.

One advised it would escort us to Cyberus.

Then a message came direct from Ms. Anisette Rhyse, apologising for the danger we had experienced.

This went beyond surreal.

The Presidium had been hired to motherduck a cargo ship. We'd abandoned it,
pure dereliction of duty. For that breach we should be charged, fined, and condemned.

Instead, an apology?

She then told us that she was depositing a large sum in my account as Hazard Pay. Further, to smooth any difficulties we might be experiencing she had booked us into the Cyberus for Seven Days.

I abandoned the Ship I was hired to escort to help a Gennie.
And I was getting and Apology?

Hazard Pay?

A week of relaxation at a Crown Hotel on Cyberus?

It didn't make sense, and then, out of my mouth.. "Any information about Gye?"

"Not yet," she said and locked off.

To my eye she appeared sad and worried. She cared about Gye. Maybe no more than I did, but she cared.

I never expected Rhyse to care about more than a balance sheet.


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