Chet and Kiyva's Story: Chapter Two
They say, come with your arms raised high. Well, they're never gonna get me....
"We're free!" Chet crowed, throwing her hands in the air gleefully.
"We're not out of the fire yet, Chet," Kiyva growled back, fingers flying over the little ship's controls.
"You'll get us there," Chet grinned wolfishly at her, all cocky confidence. "You can do anything."
The massive woman grunted, whether in disagreement or annoyance or even just distraction, busy coaxing every bit of speed she could out of her engines. But of course, speed wasn't all she had to worry about. There were energy signatures, trails of space-exhaust, particle disturbances-- things that would mark their passing. She had to minimize those, as well, or they would be followed and their daring escape would be for nothing.
But as soon as she'd taken stock of the ship, its capabilities, and the tricks up its sleeves, she had an idea. All she had to do was get them far enough to implement it.
A flashing light alerted her before they got that far, as she knew it would. "Chet, we've got incoming, get your ass on the guns already!"
"Right-o," her partner in crime chirped, sounding obscenely cheerful for someone about to blow up a few recapture vessels. But then, Chet liked killing people, and this time Kiyva was going to let her. No wonder she was happy.
They'd have to slow down to use the guns, unless Kiyva got clever. Usually mixing guns and faster-than-light speeds wound up in missing the target at best, or blowing up the ship at worst, with any range of bad things falling somewhere in between. But Kiyva knew ships, she knew computers, and after five minutes with this one, she knew its limits. Already she had a plan. Chet was at the single on-board gun station and, following Kiyva's train of thought, waiting to fire until the time was right.
Thankfully, Chet knew weapons the way Kiyva knew computers and space ships, or they wouldn't stand a chance.
"Get a move on, Kiyva, they're gaining fast!" Chet called.
"I'm movin, I'm movin," Kiyva growled back, rapidly tapping a few commands into the computer. The timing had to be perfect. "Make sure you're strapped in!" There was a flurry of motion and a quick rattling until a pair of clicks signified Chet had buckled herself in. It was just like her to forget until reminded, but since Kiyva knew that-- and didn't really want her partner in crime tossed across the ship and probably damaged-- she didn't have a problem with reminding her of things like that now and then.
"Get ready," she warned.
"Ready when you are," Chet growled back excitedly.
Kiyva held her breath, listening to the ship for the right moment, then slammed on the reverse thrusters at twice the power of their standard capacity-- no one really knew how to gauge those things correctly, when they made them, Kiyva thought-- punching out the engines at the same time. The little ship shuddered, then lurched violently, throwing Kiyva against her own restraints. She didn't even take a breath to steady herself, already flying new commands into the computer, checking the systems, clocking down the thrusters. "Hold together, baby," she muttered, spinning them around even before the shaking had subsided. Chet was shouting something over the sound of the ship's protesting, and the rattling sound coming from the roof, too rhythmic to be something coming off, was the gun throwing out its rounds, or plasma, or lasers, or whatever it shot.
"Gotcha, you fucking pig!" Chet laughed, as one of the tracers locked on the hull veered away and the warning light flashed from red to yellow. "Go suck on that for a while!"
That wasn't their only pursuer, though, and Kiyva sent the ship reeling away from a barrage of super-heated bullets from another two recapture ships. "Shit, Chet, what're you doin' back there, playing with yourself? Get rid of 'em already!"
"If you'd stop fucking swerving us around, I would!" Chet shot back, and the gun rattled off for a beat or two once the ship stabilized.
"Hang on, hang on, got an idea," Kiyva called. Chet's yell proved that she didn't hear her. Kiyva swiveled her chair around long enough to kick her chair. "Stop shooting for a second, fuckhead, I've got an idea!"
"Fuckhead, yourself," Chet retorted, but stopped.
Kiyva swiveled back and a slide of her hand over the controls sent them veering around, thankfully no longer shaking, and racing back the way they'd come. "Now you can shoot!"
Never let it be said that Chet had no manners. Especially not when it came to permission to kill people.
The two recapture ships veered away in an attempt to avoid the dive-bombing ship. Kiyva could imagine the radio chatter between them, smugly envisioning the confused and nervous voices talking about how a simple transport vessel shouldn't be able to move like that. She picked one and chased it down, letting Chet blast it with the ship's guns until she hit the fuel cells and they flew through the explosion.
"That was kinda close, Kiyva!" Chet called. "I don't wanna turn into flaming debris, okay?"
"We're doin' fine," Kiyva grinned back. "One more and we're free to run. Get on it, woman!"
"Get us turned around before he shoots our ass, then!" Chet retorted.
Kiyva wheeled them around again, scanning quickly for the third recapture vessel-- and saw it as a rapidly disappearing heat signal, retreating back towards the prison station. "Going for reinforcements," she said. "Fuck. I was hoping we'd have more time."
"So, what, can we outrun 'em?"
"We could try, but probably fail," Kiyva frowned. "They'd follow our trail, and as soon as we stopped for restocking they'd have us. No, I have a better idea."
"I knew you would."
"Stay belted in," Kiyva suggested as she turned back to the controls, rapidly typing in commands, running a few possible courses, and checking the loaded navigation charts. "This is liable to get bumpy, in a minute, here."
"What're you planning?" Chet asked suspiciously.
A few minutes later, indeed, it did start to get bumpy. The little ship started to shake, jostled by tiny breezes of disturbance in the currents of space and the occasional hunk of floating debris.
"Kiyva, what the fuck are you doing?" Chet demanded. "We need this ship, don't get it blown up, okay?"
"I know what I'm doing."
"What are you doing? Where are we?"
Kiyva grinned darkly. "Junkyard."
That shut Chet up, at least for a moment. She might have followed Kiyva's train of thought, or she might just have been satisfied with that.
Kiyva had known that there was liable to be a junkyard somewhere near the prison-station. They might have been far enough away from the more hospitable planets and populated systems that those nice people felt safe from all the dangerous criminals, but that also meant that they were far enough away that their derelicts, their dead machinery, and their general garbage wouldn't bother anyone. Unpopulated, unpopular space systems were getting harder and harder to come by as the human species-- and various other species, of course, though none were quite as prolific as humans-- explored and expanded, so society wasn't about to waste this empty pocket on just one undesirable thing.
It took some careful flying to get them far enough into the junkyard without causing themselves damage-- or, at least, damage Kiyva couldn't repair-- that they weren't in danger of being spotted immediately. When she stopped them and shut down the engines, but didn't turn down any of the other systems and instead poured over the scanner readings coming in around them, Chet craned her neck to try and see what she was doing without getting up.
"Aren't we hiding?" she asked after a moment of silence.
"In a minute," Kiyva answered. "If all we do is hide, they'll know we're here and will just look until they find us. They're not stupid; they'll just follow the trail of our engines. We have to make them think we're not here."
"And we're doing that... how?"
"By making them think we're not here," Kiyva grinned, eyes on the reading she just found. "Perfect." She deftly guided the ship on minimal propulsion through the drifting junk and debris, coming to a stop behind a huge, magnetically-coalesced clump of scrap metal, spare parts, and barrels of useless, but highly flammable, sludge. "Give that your best shot, Chet."
She fed the coordinates to the gunner station, and heard Chet start to chuckle as she realized what Kiyva was doing. "And Fosunus used to call me the brains of the operation," she snickered.
"No, he called you the one with initiative to do something. Would you fire, already?"
"Yes sir," she said snidely, but she fired.
The resulting explosion was magnificent.