Screaming Metal (Part 008)
What will Priyanka do in the light of her past and of Deshel's decision to withhold information?
And manhandling her as her earlier captors had, he shoved her through a portal and then thrust something small and hard into her hands.
His scraggly, bearded face had appeared out of nowhere before her like a large moon in orbit around her person.
"You were the finest crew member an old dog like myself could ever hopeful, girlie. You take care of yourself. Trust not even your fathers."
And just as quickly, his visage was gone and the familiar feel of pressurization as a hatch closed.
Lifeboat. He had shoved her into a lifeboat! She had watched through the small window as he prepared to launch it.
She had banged on the door, but he simply smiled. Seconds later, he had crumpled as the flash of a laser pistol caught him in the side.
"Sakal!" She had screamed.
But the face that had appeared in her line of sight was M'poz's, the first officer. In his hand, the laser that had cut Sakal down.
The man had sneered at Priyanka. And set about punching in the keycode that would reopen the hatch.
Before he could finish, the sneer had faded as his expression went slack. He had fallen away and Sakal rose, a large, bloodied knife in-hand.
From the look in his eye, Priyanka knew she would never see her mentor again.
The locking mechanisms had disengaged and the rockets fired.
And just like that, the ship, Sakal, and the life she had known for the past three years were gone.
Two days later, she was picked up by the sole cruiser that made up Jouni's solar defense force.
They'd come in search of the boat after picking up signs of the attack on the Locos from ground-based holodar, and finding the boat missing.
The item her old captain had pressed into her hands? The man's entire savings in cred chips. Enough to start a new life.
The past finally loosened its grip on her – and while the sour taste of remembrance faded, a tortured look remained on Priyanka's face.
She glared at Deshel with an anger in her eyes that was not completely directed at him.
The man straightened under her gaze. His answer was blunt and defensive. "No! I would never do that. Ever!"
There was a strong honesty in it Priyanka wanted to believe, but her shock and anger were overwhelming.
What the hell had Deshel been thinking? When had she ever just given up on salvaging a Metal?
There had been times they had been forced to give up. Times when their information or a source had been false.
But she had never just given up. Especially not when they were so close, not when leads were throwing themselves at her crew.
So what the hell was going on?
This was a crew she had hoped was built on the bonds of friendship and trust. Bonds that come together in the cold wilds of space.
Bonds that had to be forged lest people died.
To finish this job, she needed Deshel and Suen. Bickering would get them nowhere. She needed to calm herself. If only to finish the job.
She held her breath, glaring at him for several long moments. When she finally let it out, it was choppy with anxiety.
In an effort to alleviate her uneasiness and anger, she redirected her energy and thoughts.
Priyanka looked him in the eye, "Do the coordinates you have match Suen's?"
Looking all the world like a man who was ready to fall on his own knife, Deshel spoke nervously, "Priyanka, I–"
She held a hand up to stop him, "Do they, or don't they?"
Deshel nodded vigorously. "They do."
She relaxed her stance slightly. "Then let's get us a Metal and get the hell out of here."