Chapter 10: Defenses Pt. 2

Cyrus seemed to realize after she did what, exactly, they were reading. Quickly he closed the document and tracked back to the original directory as he told her, “We shouldn’t be looking at that.”

Even as he said it though, his expression at her was less reprimanding as it was begging ‘please don’t tell anyone’.

Frankly, Corra was not concerned with anybody finding out. She was more intrigued by what she had seen. What she had read. Corra had never received a love letter in her life nor had she known anyone that had. Or rather, nor had she known anyone that had admitted to it. This was fascinating. How romantic and mysterious. She hadn’t actually believed that people did that kind of thing outside of fiction and yet here was this doctor who had love notes saved on her back-up. Maybe all the glamour of fiction wasn’t made-up after all. Maybe Corra had just been on the wrong planets to see it.

“Relax, Cy-cy,” she reassured her concerned friend with a friendly pat on his head. “She’ll never know. I won’t bring it up, I promise. But I do wonder who Ren is.”

Suspiciously, Cyrus said nothing. Too suspiciously. His response should have been ‘I don’t care’ or ‘yeah whatever’ or even ‘maybe he’s no one and Leta just writes letters to herself like a crazy person’. But Cyrus said nothing. He always was terrible at keeping secrets.

“You know,” she realized, narrowing her eyes at him. Instantly, his eyes widened and his lips sealed shut uncomfortably and she knew she’d caught him. “You know who he is. How do you know? Why would she tell you that? Why didn’t she tell me?” Those were stupid questions, she realized. “No, scratch all that. Just answer me one thing. Who is he?”

“I don’t know,” Cyrus lied, climbing out of his seat to have an easier out and holding his hand up to her as though it might stop her onslaught of interrogation.

“Yes you do. Tell me,” Corra demanded, stern, but good-natured. It didn’t take much threatening to get information from the younger Soliveré. Especially information he didn’t care all that much about. She couldn’t imagine his attachment to Leta’s admirer was that strong.

“No, I don’t know anything,” he insisted again, backing up towards the door.

Corra rolled her eyes and held out her hand as though he might physically drop what she wanted in her palm. “Just tell me, you’re gonna lose this and you know it.”

“That’s not true,” he muttered half-heartedly, stumbling backwards. “I won’t necessarily–”

Suddenly, Cyrus’ words were drowned out by none other than the Dionysian herself. Over their heads, the ship’s warning alarm — loud, booming, intrusive — blared from the speakers.

The Dionysian had exactly one alarm for all incidents.  Yet, the captain had often claimed that each alarm meant something different and he would rattle off what “each” one meant. That its noise had a sort of code that he had cracked and the sound differentiated with each emergency. To Corra and to every sane person aboard, it always sounded exactly the same and truthfully, she had no clue why it would be going off now. They weren’t even in the air. She glanced to Cyrus, who looked just as confused.

It was then that shouts and yells that began drifting up to the bridge from the decks below provided some clarity. This was no false warning. Forgetting about Leta’s mysterious lover, the two of them fled from the bridge and hurried down the stairs.

When they arrived in the cargo bay, it was crowded — not only with crew. From the position Cyrus and Corra took on the upper catwalk, they had a view of the chaos and arguing starting to unfold. A small team of men and women — all of them armed — had stormed up into the bay and seemed to be intent on taking the crates of guns that the captain was currently out peddling.

“Great,” Cyrus muttered sarcastically through his teeth, catching Corra’s worried glance and letting out a sigh. “As if the deal wasn’t already doomed enough as it is….”

Who were they? They couldn’t have been Goddora’s men, Corra was sure of it. Goddora would never dress his people so poorly and, had the deal been sanctioned, they wouldn’t have barged in with their weapons raised. They would have waited to be ushered in by the captain himself. This wasn’t right. The rest of the crew seemed to agree.

Arty, the Dionsyian’s product manager, was arguing with them, a handful of the crew backing him up. Unfortunately, Corra noticed, they were all unarmed and thus Arty blatantly yelling at the intruders was likely not the best idea. Not when they were carrying standard assault rifles that could clear the bay in all of ten seconds.

From where Corra stood beside Cyrus on the upper catwalk, her hands clenched over the railing tensely, she couldn’t quite make out what they were saying, but it didn’t matter. It was hostile. Even if she couldn’t hear the words, the loud bang as poor Arty took a shot straight to the shoulder was all she needed. The gunshot exploded over the cargo bay, and Arty staggered backwards.

And then all hell broke loose.

Furious and frenzied, the rest of the crew shot off, some straight towards the assaulters and some straight to hide. They’d been unarmed, but the one who’d done the deed went down regardless when five of her own peers piled onto him viciously. The others, wisely, fled down the ramp, shouting unintelligibly.

Corra and Cyrus looked at each other for a moment, both in shock. Frantically, her head whipped back to the ramp and the ground below just as a swarm of people, just as armed as their predecessors started flooding into view as they sprinted towards the ship, ready for battle. A battle that they, the Dionysian, was hardly prepared for.

“Shit,” Cyrus summed up in a single word, clapping his hand to his forehead in mounting panic. “Who the hell are these people and why are they attacking us?”

Corra glanced sidelong at him in disbelief. “I don’t think that really matters right now, do you?”

“It could,” Cyrus muttered back. “If we knew who they were maybe we could talk to them and…figure this out … “

Down near the ramp, bullets were flying, ricocheting off metal, shouts were erupting from both parties, people were running and ducking out of the fray Corra drew a deep intake of breath before looking back to him, wide-eyed.

“I don’t think they’re interested in talking, Cy-cy,” she stated firmly.

“Well…” Cyrus began, the panic cracking his voice, as he waved down at the crew below him. “Why aren’t we shooting back then? Shouldn’t we be defending ourselves? What are they doing?”

“What are they doing?!” Corra repeated incredulously. “They’re panicking. Like you’re panicking. They need their captain. Their captain who is currently a few miles away making arrangements to sell weapons that are about to be stolen out of our own cargo bay while we stand here panicking.”

They may have been without their captain, but Dionysian did have a replacement. A replacement who shared the same genes, a fact that, looking at the two of them, was easy to forget. But Corra knew because Corra had seen it before. She also knew that sometimes the second in command just needed a little push.

“They need a leader,” she pressed more seriously, grabbing his arm, hoping to remind him as well. True, Cyrus wasn’t like his brother. In fact, he made an effort not to be. That is, until moments like these. Cyrus stared at her for a moment longer, looked pained, before sharply turning away.

Listen!” he suddenly shouted at the top of his lungs, his voice bouncing in echoes off the wide metal walls of the bay. No one had ever described the engineer as ‘commanding’, but in that moment, every crew member halted, looked up at him and went deathly quiet.

From her vantage point, Corra could see him swallow uncomfortably before continuing on. “You three!” he pointed to a hardly fight-worthy group. “Go with Corra to the armory and bring weapons and ammo back. We need someone covering the other entrance. You.” He pointed at Nikkolai. “Get a gun from the armory first. In the meantime, someone get those crates open. Use what’s inside. Cover the entrance, don’t let anyone up that ramp.”

Cyrus halted again and looked down at his crew below him, all looking up attentively and ready. He winced uncomfortably and Corra could see him struggling for that final order. The motivation. The inspiration. In the end, he gritted his teeth and settled on, “Let’s kick some ass!”

To his surprise, a sudden yell of approval roared from the crew below, before they all shot off in directions to follow orders of their stand-in captain.

At his side, Corra smiled a little pathetically at her friend and patted him on the back. “Nice one,” she commended, before rushing down the stairs herself, calling, “To the armory, with me!” just as the first wave began.

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