Chapter 30:


From Nowhere to Sender

"Sonova—!" Youn discarded his jacket and sprinted for the strong side platform, nearly losing his feet after a collision with the side of the doorway. Such was his panic. Righting himself, he eyes darted around the inner sanctum of the convoy in search of the raider. He spotted them trailing directly behind C326 looking far too comfortable for the situation. The oddly proportioned man didn't even have his hands on the steering column, instead they dug around the inside of his baggy attire as if looking for something.

Not keen on finding out what that might be, Youn fired at the raider's back. Only to see his shot strike the bay door of C326 as the man weaved himself out of harms way by shifting his weight to the right. He proceeded to pull a pair of canisters out from within his clothing and transferred both to a single hand. An inadvertent demonstration of the raider's incredibly large appendages, on par with the rest of his oversized body. Next he grabbed what appeared to be some type of duct tape from his person with his free hand and began picking at the end of it with his teeth.

Youn fired again. An individual's awareness could only extend so far. And with the raider's hands full with whatever task he was undertaking, he surely wouldn't be able to avoid another shot from his blind spot. But for the sake of checking all his boxes, Youn fired a second shot that accounted for a dodge to the left. He choose left because the previous maneuver had brought the raider what would be considered uncomfortably close to the strong side of C248. Another dodge in the same direction ran the risk of being run over or at least knocked from his bike.

But it would seem Youn hadn't checked all his boxes after all, as the raider adjusted his speed and dropped back to evade the incoming shots rather than weaving right or left. All the while make multiple passes with the tape around both canisters, turning them into a single projectile. Realizing this target would require the assistance of another in a crossfire position, Youn scanned the railings of C248 and C326 for deck officers. None were visible. Meaning he'd need to call out to grab someone's attention. That is, if he could manage a call out. Truth was, his voice remained hoarse from his first encounter with the gas, courtesy of the female raider. What's more, the faint nutty odor characteristic of Pipe Down currently permeated the platform he was on. A parting gift from the crafty motherfucker before him if he had to guess.

Accepting his voice wasn't an option at the moment, Youn stuck two fingers in his mouth and prepared his most piercing whistle. Fortunately, whistling didn't require the vocal cords. A fact that had been distributed among the crews following the first use of the gas. Just as he drew in the air necessary, Youn watched as the raider tossed his crude creation over his left shoulder without visual confirmation of where he was throwing. But Youn's own eyes quickly confirmed himself or rather the platform he stood on as the intended target.


Did this guy have eyes in the back of his head!? Youn cut his whistle short and raised his rifle, shooting the projectile before it reached his platform. A chain reaction occurred and explosive force from one of the canisters scattered the contents of its companion. In this case some form of fine powder, creating the effect of a smoke cloud that hung in the air for several moments.

Youn pulled the goggles from his side pouch in response and sought out the raider through the dissipating cloud. But to his dismay both the raider and his bike were nowhere to be seen, having effectively utilized the temporary smokescreen. Stunned that such a sizeable target could vanish in such a small window of time, Youn was drawn away by the urgent taps of a nearby speaking tube. On the way over to answer he spotted a now empty gas canister rolling back and forth just inside the doorway. Stepping over it, he turned and kicked it as hard as he could before lifting the lid of the speaking tube. Providing three taps of his own to let the bridge know he was listening.

"I don't care which one of you it is, but someone needs to get their butt up here now. Leora needs a spotter asap."

Youn mustered what little of his voice he could to respond, "I'll head up."

He attempted to clear his throat to no avail. If only he'd brought some water down from the bridge.

"And Reefe, we have breach. Single raider, no mark. Put everyone on alert."

"Course we do." An audible sigh traveled the distance of the speaking tube. "It'll take me a minute but we'll get it handled, in the meantime get on up here."

"On my way."


"This is C384, just got word on a breach. Party of one, no mark. All officers are advised to exercise caution."

"We read you C384, refreshing officers as we speak. Any information regarding targets current whereabouts?"


"This is C248, nothing is confirmed but we have reason to believe the party is onboard."

"Requesting location and grounds for belief."

"Umm, according to our sharpshooter...someone's on top of the bridge."



After shaking off the initial surprise of her discovery, Lux shuffled over to the strong side of the bridge where the person must have climbed up, and listened for any signs of activity. Footsteps, reloading, cutting, really anything that confirmed a hostile presence. But it was no easy task separating the sounds of their stowaway with the sounds of the battle raging around her. Not wanting to waste further time, Lux flung her rifle over her shoulder and flailed her arms at the bridge's side window. In doing do she gained Esma's attention who watched as she gestured emphatically up towards the top of the bridge. Positive Esma had caught on, she gestured towards herself and mouthed she'd take care of it.

Better make this quick, Lux thought to herself as she kicked off the same railing from before and grabbed the edge of the bridge's surface with both hands. She waited a moment to see whether the action would elicit any response from above.


Still in the clear, Lux pulled herself up just high enough to see what was going on. And the sight that greeted her was unexpected in more ways than one. For in front of her, a figure she couldn't quite identify the gender of, sat in a heap of baggy clothing at the heart of the bridge's surface. They'd positioned themselves staring straight ahead and to their immediate left, serving a barrier between them and their silent observer, rested a metal bucket. The bucket seemed oddly small in comparison to the figure, and appeared to have two very distinct bullet holes decorating its side. Whether the holes had caused the contents of the bucket to flow away she couldn't say, but there were no signs of a spilled liquid on the bridge's surface. Deciding she'd seen enough of the odd scene Lux hoisted herself up and onto the bridge in one smooth movement. Her rifle found its way back into her hands and she took a few tentative steps forward, her shadow falling over the figure and their defective bucket. But still no perceivable reaction. Lux stood at her full height and raised her voice.

"You picked the wrong Crusader to board pal, I'm afraid this is where you get off." She checked to make sure a bullet was in the chamber.

In response to her assertion, a long finger found its way up to the figure’s concealed mouth. But before any words could assign meaning to the figure's actions, a shot rang out over top of the convoy.