“The ship was just attacked,” Ludo muttered, rubbing his throat where Fiearius grasped him, “you need an ace gunhand on your side more than ever.”
“But a disloyal one?” said Fiearius in exasperation. Suddenly, he too tired to have this conversation. “Geez, man, I brought you onto my ship in the first place knowing your background. Who else would take on Archetian gang scum? No one. But I gave you a second chance and this is how you repaid me for it. Betrayal.”
“Not betrayal,” Ludo grumbled. “You’d know if it was betrayal. It sure as hell wouldn’t end with me offering to work for free.”
Fiearius rolled his eyes. “Well that’s a fine fucking difference.”
“Let me do it,” Ludo growled. “I’m the best shot on your ship. You know it.”
Fiearius dove a hand through his hair tiredly, looking over Ludo’s face. Unfortunately, Ludo presented a valid argument. With half his crew now gone and the number of people he trusted to have his back in a scuffle down to a measly one, Fiearius truly couldn’t afford to pass off loyal hands. Well. Sort of loyal hands. More loyal than his enemies’ anyway.
So he settled on, “Fine. Another chance. One more. Out of the damn goodness of my heart.” He narrowed his glare warningly. “I swear to the gods though. You cross me again?” He shook his head slowly, never taking his eyes from his face. “Even once. Even a little. You’re gonna fuckin’ wish you just stayed here. You understand?”
It seemed to pain him, but after a moment of glaring, Ludo clenched his jaw and nodded his head once.
Fiearius watched him a moment longer, still fighting the urge to punch him in the face just for the hell of it. But then something past Ludo’s shoulder caught his eye. His heart clenched.
In the distance of the docks, one particular ship loomed into view as it came to a slow, steady land. The ship was small, jet-black, sleek, built with technology far too advanced for a backwater town like this. Fiearius recognized the ship immediately and a streak of panic ran through him.
Suddenly, Fiearius knew exactly who had planted the worm that broke the engine.
For the first time in three days, Fiearius snapped awake. Forgetting Ludo entirely, he rushed up the ramp onto the ship to the bridge to get off the ground, away from here, before Dez and Society agents boarded his ship to slaughter him, his crew and his brother.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
Leta was sitting cross-legged on the floor of Corra’s bedroom, a mess of playing cards fanned around her, when the low rumbling below deck reached her ears. Corra had been attempting to teach her a new card game, but they both stopped abruptly when the walls began to tremble and the engine grumbled to life.
“Is that — are we taking off?” Corra asked, her eyes going wide as she looked up at the ceiling.
Dropping the cards from their hands, they abandoned the game and hurried toward the bridge, passing confused crew members along the way. A surprise take-off was never a good sign. Especially, thought Leta privately, in Fiearius’ current mental state.
Fiearius was in the captain’s chair, working the controls, tense and urgent.
“We’re leaving now?” asked Leta from the doorway, watching as the gray landscape of Sera began to lower shakily out of sight. “Where’re we going?”
“I don’t know,” Fiearius answered, his voice strained, a growl of impatience in his throat. “Anywhere that’s not here.”
Before Leta could ask more, another unexpected voice joined the fray, sounding much less concerned than everyone else.
“S’going on?” yawned Finn as he strolled down the hallway, scratching his messy hair. He looked like he’d just rolled out of bed.
Corra stared at him wide-eyed. “Why are you here?” To the captain, she demanded, “Why is he here?”
“Making good use of a few of the Dionysian’s spare bunks, of course,” said Finn brightly. “And getting to know the newly-hired deckhands.” A smirk spread over his face. “Thoroughly.”
Corra wrinkled her nose. “Ugh.”
Finn’s smirk faded slightly when saw how rapidly the landscape was changing out the window. Wisps of clouds streaked past. “So I guess … guess I’ll be staying aboard awhile then,” he muttered. “Since we seem to be leaving in such a hurry. Don’t suppose you want to drop me off, captain, oh captain?”
“Sorry, didn’t know you were aboard,” Fiearius muttered distractedly, ignoring his request.
“Yeah, neither did I when I first woke up,” Finn admitted, sighing in defeat. “Right then. Since it looks like I’m staying, where, uh, are we going?”
“And what the hell is going on?” Leta added, overwhelmed with sudden concern as she watching Fiearius. What was even going through his head in this moment? She’d seen him unstable before; this scene felt oddly familiar.
Leta watched his hands jump between dials on the dashboard and breathed in exasperation, “Why are we in such a hurry? Did something happen? Where are we even going?”
No one had an answer, except, abruptly, Corra.
“Urdion!” she declared, as if the idea struck her suddenly. All eyes in the room came to her and she amended, “I mean…if we’ve got nowhere else…”
After a pause, Fiearius actually relented. “Better than no destination at all,” he muttered and swiped through the navigation to change course.
Shrugging his shoulders, Finn side-stepped his way into the cabin and dropped into the co-pilot’s seat. “Never thought I’d actually stay aboard this rustbucket. And why Urdion?” he asked Corra.
But Corra shrugged, glancing away. “Just…have something there I need to do,” she replied vaguely and met Leta’s eyes in earnest. “Are you sure you still wanna help?”
There was something almost sad in Corra’s stare. “Find your friend? Of course I do,” Leta insisted, bristling, but Corra still looked uncertain.
“You sure you wanna do another job? What about the Baltimore?”
At that, Leta’s stomach gave an uneasy twist.
“I don’t mind staying,” she murmured, and then she added quickly, “For just a little longer.” She sensed Fiearius glance at her, but she purposely avoided his eyes. “I can help with one more job.”