Chapter 29: Terror of the Span

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“Are you sure you’re okay to talk right now?” came Addy’s worried voice over the speaker. Cyrus sat back in his chair in the engine room and quickly brushed off her concern.

“No, no, don’t worry, it’s fine,” he said, glancing over at his secondary monitor where he could see the layout of the Society ship the Dionysian was docked to. “I’m watching, everything’s going according to plan.” A number of blue dots were moving through the halls while most of the red dots were trapped in a large bay halfway across the ship.

“If they need something from me, they’ll call,” he added, feeling confident that this raid — like all the others — would go smoothly.

“I can’t believe you guys are taking another ship. You’re getting pretty good at this, huh?”

Even Cyrus couldn’t deny it: they were. This was their sixth Society raid in as many weeks. After Blackwater, it had been Nareen, a small outpost deep in Synechdan. Then they’d taken on the Society’s trade caravan to Ellegy. An advanced frigate en route to Paraven. The back-up fleet they’d sent to the Carthian borders. A station on a remote moon. And now this. A small party of destroyers probably out this far hunting for the Dionysian itself. They’d found it. But they hadn’t found it alone and it certainly hadn’t been unprepared.

“It’s working out surprisingly well,” Cyrus admitted, still a little dazed by their success himself. “We’ve had a lot of help though.”

Quin and her forces, growing ever more powerful with every new victory, were undeniably a major factor and now, Fiearius had called on some of his other more brave allies to join in. The results had been staggering. “Don’t think we could have done any of it without them.”

“But with no help from the Beacon,” said Addy, sounding guilty. “I know Finn and Corra have their reasons for staying out of it, but … “ Her voice thinned with doubt.

“It’s alright, I don’t blame them,” Cyrus told her quickly, though he was pretty sure Fiearius and Leta did. “Pissing off the Society’s not exactly the best idea. We already had a long time ago so we had nothing to lose, but the Beacon? Totally reasonable decision.” He fell silent for a moment before adding quietly, “Just a pity it means we haven’t crossed paths in a while.”

Addy suddenly adopted a tone of teasing — he could sense the smile in her voice. “What? Does that mean you miss me?”

Thankful that she wasn’t able to see how pink his cheeks turned, he laughed. “What? No, of course not. Only the engine. I miss the engine.”

“Right, of course. Well you’ll have to come visit soon, I’ve got a new converter charge from a ship we stole for our client.”

“Ooh, so the Beacon’s been stealing ships too, huh? I suppose I should welcome you to the ‘I didn’t intend to be a pirate but apparently now I am’ club.”

“A pirate?” Addy laughed. “No, no, I’m still just an engineer. I don’t do any of the stealing. I’ve never stolen anything in my life. Let alone a ship. I mean, have you? Personally?”

Cyrus considered this. Technically, it was true, he had very little to do with the stealing of ships. But he wasn’t completely innocent. “I stole a G6 sensor set once,” he admitted before quickly adding, “But from someone who’d stole it from somebody else. He had it coming. And honestly I don’t think he was using it anyway…”

“Oh-ho! I guess I am dealing with a real pirate here.”

“Terror of the Span, I am,” Cyrus mused. “Though I don’t think even I’ve got a chance against the fearsome engineer of the dread ship Beacon. One part woman. Three parts danger.”

“Oh, I don’t know. You may have a chance,” she said, her melodic laughter filling the line for a moment. Then she breathed a sigh. “You know, Finn was telling me it’s so dangerous, what the Dionysian is doing. What do you even — think about this, anyway? You support it?”

“Taking on the Society?” Cyrus asked and took a deep breath. It was question he’d been trying to wrap his own mind around for a while. A month and a half into the campaign and he still wasn’t even sure.

“Well, they deserve it,” he decided at last. “I know that much at least. Whether it’s worth the risk for us? I’m not really sure. I’ve heard that we’re making a bit of a difference, at least in some areas and I guess that’s good. But …”

“But what?”

“I don’t know, it’s different for me I suppose. My brother and Leta have reason to want revenge so all of this, the bases, the ships, hurting the Society however they can, it makes sense. Me, I just–well I just want to go home.” He let out an uncomfortable chuckle. “Not like we can make that happen, I know. But if what we’re doing is satisfying for them? If it’s giving them any fraction of the peace they need, then I’m for it.”

Addy was quiet for a moment. Then she said firmly, “You’re a good brother, Cy. And a good friend.”

An awkward laugh fell out of him. “I dunno,” he muttered, turning red with embarrassment. “Well so are you.” And then he paused and added teasingly, “Even if you aren’t helping.”

“Hey, that was Corra and Finn’s decision, not mine.” Addy paused for a half-second before her voice suddenly exploded with excitement over the speaker. “Speaking of which! You’ll never believe this. Or maybe you will.”

“What?”

“I think something is going on with Finn and Corra.”

Cyrus sat up straighter, certain he was misunderstanding. “What do you mean? What kind of something?”

“Like, something-something. I saw Finn leaving her room really late the other night, and … oh gods, I don’t sound all gossipy, do I? I just can’t believe — “

“Wait. Wait wait. You think they’re–” Cyrus could not bring himself to say the words, nor even think them. “There’s no way.”

“I know! But it’s not my imagination. Alyx thinks something is happening there, too!” She sounded terribly amused. “But I also know that Finn’s hooking up with one of the deckhands aboard, so he and Corra can’t actually be serious.”

“Well…that makes a little more sense,” Cyrus muttered under his breath. Though she often tried to keep it from him, Cyrus wasn’t oblivious to Corra’s penchant for casual flings. He usually couldn’t care less. “But why him?” he was unable to hold back from asking with disgust.

“What do you mean?” Addy asked curiously. “Finn’s really nice!”

Cyrus hesitated. “Yeah. I guess.” Hoping to save himself from explaining just why exactly it was such an off-putting concept, he went on hurriedly, “Is that really the best idea though? Captains and all…”

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