Cassandra: Coming in from the cold

Cass blew out a resigned sigh "Call Jay up and tell him I've cancelled the
destruct and neutralised most of the insurgents for him, I just need a hand with
the ringleader..."
"So come on Holly, what's he got to say for himself?" Cass was impatient to hear
Jay's response to the news that she had managed to neutralise the threat from
the mercenaries
Holly's face swam into view on one of the overhead screens
"Dunno mate. He's not responding"
"Smegs sake. Let me try" Cass' fingers moved over the handhelds screen,
re-enabling the comms grid to try hailing Jay herself
There was still no response
"Are you sure the Phoenix is still even out there? Hasn't blown up or anything?"
"Here you go" Holly said "Have a gander at this..."
Another screen flickered to life, this one showing the damaged Phoenix starting
its descent into the nearby planet's atmosphere
"Hmm, so it's still airworthy?" Cass mused to herself "I guess I must have
either broken the comms array, or Jay just forgot to switch it on; either way it
still leaves me alone here with Le Souteneur..."
"Or maybe his co pilot, Ensign Salter, is just ignoring you?" Holly added
"Huh. Maybe there is that..."
Frowning, Cass wrapped her arms around herself to ponder her situation, but
yelped in pain as she put pressure on her broken ribs
"You might want to get that looked at" Holly smiled sagely "Looks nasty..."
"I... Urgh..." Cass groaned, trying to steady her breathing "No shit; I..."
She was interrupted by the sound of someone clearing their throat, making her
turn in alarm, and in unison with the auto-cannons, to face Mr Butler, the man's
huge frame silhouetted against the bright lights out in the main access corridor
"You!?" Cass was surprised "What the hell are you doing here!?"
"I anticipated that you might need medication" Butler called, holding up a pot
of one of Keto's ointments and strolling into the room as if the defence cannons
didn't perturb him in the slightest
"I... Yeah" Cass started, her brow furrowing "...Have you been following me all
this time?"
"Doesn't really matter" the big man growled "Now, in spite of what you've
achieved, there are others still on this ship, and they're not all as friendly
as me; we need to move."
"Who!? What others?" Cass demanded, not sure if she trusted the man enough to
want to leave the protective security of Holly's auto-cannons
"I don't know" he replied bluntly "I wasn't in the mood to hang around and find
out. Frank's men? I don't know."
Butler stooped to pluck an assault needler from one of the still smoking corpses
on the floor and strolled the last few meters over towards Cass
"Here..." he proffered the weapon with one hand
Cass twitched the corners of her bruised mouth into a smile of thanks and
slipped her fingers around the gun; a vicious hypersonic flechette number with a
variety of devastatingly effective kill modes
"Why are you doing this?" she asked quietly "Why would you help? You're Le
Souteneur's man..."
Butler ignored this
"It seems to me" he began "That since the ship is currently locked down, Le
Souteneur will have a hard time reaching you to exact the revenge he no doubt
feels is his due; he may be an unpleasant, crazy bastard, but even he'll have to
concede that finding you in a ship this size, let alone fighting his way through
so many doors and defences simply isn't practical; so he'll probably slink off
to lick his wounds and plot his revenge for another day"
Cass was agog - this was the most Butler had ever said to her in a single
"Uh, yeah..." she began "I was kind of thinking along those lines myself. That
doom virus idea of mine has still got legs, but as far as I see it: I should
take a circuitous route out of here, and keep out his way; offer him an easy
escape route with the slave system, and let things die down a bit rather than
antagonise him further"
"Mmm" Butler grunted in response and proffered the ointment "In the meantime,
you should come with me; wouldn't want you bumping into him by accident; you've
already seen how he can be when he's angry"
Grimacing at the memory, Cass accepted the ointment
"You still didn't answer my question... about why you'd want to help?"
"Alright." the big man growled "I figure that Le Souteneur's done with for now,
so it's time to throw my hand in with the winning side; maybe you'll thank me
for the assistance later on"
Cass didn't have a response to that, although her brow furrowed in concern at
what thanks a man like Mr. Butler might want
"C'mon" Butler murmured, strolling away to snag a rocket rifle and a couple of
heavy pistols from the other corpse "Get that ointment applied. We should
Three quarters of an hour later, they had made their way back up onto the
promenade and were walking up towards the top end of the main drag towards the
access lifts to drive room, when Butler suddenly slapped a heavy hand down on
Cass' shoulder and pulled her roughly backwards into a shop doorway
"Quiet" Butler hissed, pulling her down into a crouch
A shot rang out from the walkway on the other side of the promenade, taking out
a chunk of masonry above their heads and showering them with dust
"Who the smeg is that!?" Cass hissed, her eyes wide with fright "I thought I had
killed Le Souteneur's men when I blew out the K.N.O.B'S in the reactor core!"
"Dunno" Butler grunted "One sec"
He flicked his rocket rifle onto full auto mode, checked the ammo readout and
stood to fire off a violent three second salvo, before ducking back down again;
shouts of panic and swearing sounding from across the promenade amidst the smoke
and sounds of falling debris
"It's those clowns from Dwarf security" Butler reported
"What the smeg are they doing here? ...Did you kill any of them?"
"Huh. Don't think so; I just got their attention"
More shots rang out, hot lead ricocheting around them, forcing Cass to cower
further back into the shop doorway
"Smegging hell" she shrieked during a lull in the shooting "Will you stupid
bastards give it a rest!?"
Another shot pinged off the floor a couple of metres from her
"I smegging mean it! Any more of that crap and we start killing people, because
I'm simply not in the mood! It's me: Jones - I need to speak to the Captain!"
<tag : either anyone in the security team (Do you believe that the terrorist
harpy crouching out of sight is really who she says she is?), or Jay />

< Prev : Pancake in: The Slug and Phallus Next > : Justin shoots the Queen