Chapter 42:


From Nowhere to Sender

Cade reached the top of the railing just in time to see Evan drop the unfortunate soul she'd been fighting. From what he could tell from this angle she'd used a left hook to the body to bring the raider's head forward, and then proceeded to catch him on the chin with a vicious right uppercut. He fell forward with an unceremonious thud as Evan stepped aside nonchalantly, before ducking into the bridge.

Not far from the entrance she'd disappeared into stood Commander Heenan, the sights of his rifle landing on what appeared to be an injured Guell Quay. Not far behind him was Lux who looked peeved but otherwise physically sound. Glad to see things seemed to be somewhat under control, Cade went about removing the first spike from the side of the Crusader.

Fortunately one side of the top most spike hadn't punctured all the way through the outer plating, allowing for him to remove it with relative ease. Cade attempted to move on to the second spike from there, but the sounds of shots ringing out behind him made him understandably nervous. Whether they came from Lux, who would have resumed intercepting rockets, or Heenan looking to bury the immediate threat he couldn't say. But the party leader didn't carry or use firearms according to the data collected from his rare appearances, therefore the shots going off behind him shouldn't be a threat.

Crap. This second spike was proving troublesome, having been embedded much more soundly than the first. Cade carefully altered the angle he was applying his force to, well aware any sudden lateral movements from the Crusader would have him grasping at air. But that fear was short lived as the adjustment he made proved the difference in removing the second spike. With those two gone he'd need to return to the platform to safely remove the last two, and so he descended again leaving behind the sounds of the back deck melee. He hoped the next time he surfaced that the matter will have been resolved.


Heenan knew better than to be stingy with ammo when it came to putting down threats on par with that of Guell Quay and promptly let loose a barrage of his remaining shots. He was mindful of Officer Ayfer's position behind the target and attempted to keep any potential misses straying in a downward trajectory.

Whether the party leader knew the significance of her role or anticipated this level of precaution from a commanding officer was up for debate, but the man reacted wisely and mirrored the movements of the security officer behind him. Prompting Heenan to hold off on his last few shots in favor of a bullrush.

Leading with his shoulder he targeted the giant's busted wing, but ended up contacting his side due to a last second pivot. The sound of flesh bruising flesh echoed across the deck as both men bounced off one another, Heenan filling the small distance created with the end of his rifle. Frustrated by the repeated attempts at invading his reach, Quay brought the elbow of his functional arm down hard on the commander's collarbone. The force of which enough to jostle the commander's finger away from the trigger, although he did manage to keep hold of his rifle somehow.

The sudden presence of a knee sought to change that as it flew upwards between the pair. Not wanting his arms to be knocked upwards as well, Heenan released the rifle. In theory allowing it to be knocked up and away. Unluckily for him the strap of the rifle hooked his left wrist on the way up, rebounded and subsequently came back down on his head. Heenan was awarded an angry lump on the side of temple that thankfully didn't affect his consciousness.

The rifle ricocheted from his head only to be snatched by Quay, who proceeded to force it sideways across Heenan's chest, striking him hard enough to stagger his breathing and propel him backwards. As he searched for ways to recover his balance Heenan watched Ayfer sprint past the pair in the direction of the front deck. He wagered she meant to make use of her current speed to enact the shortcut to the front deck, but to his surprise rather than leap across to the stairway her momentum took her up towards the top the bridge. And while he couldn't understand the point of this maneuver, Heenan reminded himself that he boarded for the sake of dealing with Quay, not babysitting one of his sharpshooters. Funny enough the threat himself seemed equally uninterested in the young woman's actions, his gaze remaining forward.

"Dammit man! Disengage already!"

If his adrenaline addled brain wasn't mistaken, the voice belonged to that of Officer Browder and originated from somewhere behind him. Understanding this as a tactless way of telling him to get out of the way, Heenan ceased his attempt at regaining his balance and instead let the fall carry him into the wall of the entryway.

Evan immediately released a hail of gunfire from the newly loaded rifle, and while Heenan was busy bracing for the oncoming impact, he couldn't imagine a scenario where the raider escaped without serious injury or death. Not from this distance. The collision came then, but the sounds of shots puncturing flesh or splintering bone didn't. Looking up in confusion, he saw that every one of the shots had sailed either left or right of the man.

"What in the—!"

But before the shock of completely missing a static target at such close range could fully sink in, something even more ludicrous graced the combatants of C248's back deck. Quay's head turned suddenly and the members of the crew in attendance watched on in mix of disbelief and fear as an active rocket passed mere feet behind the party leader. The rocket's path had it around the raider's shoulder height, and its trajectory proceeded to carry it over the strong side railing. It maintained a perpendicular course across the convoy, threatening to contact the side of C384 who at some point had become beset upon by another boarding party.

Everyone could only watch helplessly as the rocket covered the distance of the inner sanctum, seconds away from catastrophe, when an all too familiar whistle sounded from overhead. The rocket promptly detonated in the heart of the convoy, creating a minor shockwave that traveled outward in all directions. Officers and raiders alike scrambled away from the unprecedented explosion, all except for the source of the whistle, and the man who sought to quiet it forever.