Black Honey Wings, Part XI (Meanwhile, Again)

Day 29. 113 pages, 51,720 words.

As cautiously as they could given the knowledge that they were essentially required to attack and kill anyone they met, they ventured into the corridors. The Nope, Leftovers was a modular built to much the same design as their own, so with any luck an influx of troops would come from…

“This way,” Çrom said, waving the two humans, the Blaran and the Molran up the corridor.

“You are aware this isn’t the way we came,” Melvix said. “What is our objective?”

“Havoc and war,” Çrom murmured.

“Captain?”

Çrom shook his head. “W’Tan will be severing the docking spar connecting the main body of the ship, so there won’t be any more enemies coming from that direction, but there are probably a few people on board this modular. It’s up to us to take care of them.”

“And if she doesn’t cut the spar?” Gunton asked.

“Then we all die here,” Çrom grinned. “Unless the new Captain of the Black Honey Wings decides to stick to the old mission and drag us back to face the Halfmoon throne, under the mistaken impression that it’s us the throne wants. In which case, most of us die here, and some of us probably die later on, somewhere else, with bits missing. Important bits. But isn’t that just always the way?”

“And before she can do anything, W’Tan will have to break dock,” Constable said into the uncomfortable silence that greeted Çrom’s philosophical moment. “So we’ll want to stay away from that area anyway. We can’t risk being too late.”

“Right,” Çrom agreed. “It looks like Brute took a short cut through the exchange, and we’re not going to manage that. Not with injured parties. Our best bet is to stay on board this modular.”

“Get to the bridge, then,” Ital said. They reached a corner, and Çrom led them to the left. “Take over, fly ourselves ‑ ”

“No,” Melvix shook his head. “This ship isn’t spaceworthy. It’s an annexe. It might have some flight and weapons capacity but the relative drive is burned out, and it is our duty as AstroCorps combatants to take out her subluminal drive too. Maybe set her to ram the other half of the ship, at best.”

“So,” Ital reiterated, “we want the bridge. We can get into life support there, save us having to fight the entire crew hand to hand.”

“No,” Çrom said, though he didn’t like to double-team with Melvix in putting down the earnest and well-intentioned tactical suggestions of such a good security officer, “good thought, but not the bridge. They won’t be using the bridge on this thing. It’ll be decommissioned and dismantled, if we’re lucky. Booby-trapped if we’re not, to catch the initiative-taking but ill-informed boarder off-guard.”

“Secondary bridge?” Gunton asked.

“Nope,” Çrom said, and chuckled. “Tertiary bridge.”

“Modulars don’t have a tertiary bridge,” Constable frowned.

Çrom glanced at Melvix. Melvix would know. This wasn’t the first modular annexe that old butcher had fought a guerrilla battle on. And at least there weren’t civilians on this one. Unless bounty hunters counted as civilians. Çrom was going to go with ‘no they didn’t’.

Gonon Melvix returned Çrom’s look with an unreadable one of his own.

“We need to get to one of the farm levels,” the Molran confirmed Çrom’s assumption.

“Which one?” Blue asked.

They stopped at another intersection, and Çrom and Melvix exchanged another look. Melvix shrugged his upper right shoulder lightly.

Çrom looked around at the others.

“Anyone want to toss a coin?” he offered.

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