Friday, October 2, 2015

The Fugitive Pair - Chapter 30

< Chapter 29                                                                                                       Chapter 31 >
Matt and Michelle find a way to pass the time while they wait for Gunther to come back to the ship.

Before I realized it, someone was banging on the door of our little cabin. As I came awake, I felt Michelle stir in my arms. She stretched languidly, feeling lithe and wonderful against my body.

“Are you decent, Matt?” Uncle Gunther called through the door.

“He’s a lot more than decent at this, Gunther,” Michelle purred. “He’s downright wonderful.”

“Saints preserve me,” Gunther muttered, “would it be too much to ask for the two of you to get your minds back on the task at hand and away from what’s between your legs?”

As we rose and started dressing, I replied, “Our minds were on the mission. We’ve been strenuously testing Michelle’s theory that if we’re well screwed before the mission begins, we won’t get truly screwed during the mission.”

Gunther was silent for a few seconds, then laughed. “Where were girls like Michelle when I was your age and going on pirate raids? Meet me on the bridge in a couple of minutes so we can go over the meager details of our plan.”

As my uncle implied, it only took ten minutes to go over all of the details of our plan. Michelle showed us the plot she’d made for the movement of all of the naval vessels still patrolling the system and the best course the nav computer calculated for our escape.

“I’ve got the sensors feeding their scans into the nav computer so it can update our projected course based on the most recent data available.” Michelle tapped on the nav controls the display sped through a projection of movement over the next several hours. “Assuming the navy holds to their flight patterns, which they probably won’t once the decompression alarm goes off, our best bet is going to be wormhole delta.”

Gunther nodded. “At least that one takes us toward the fringe rather than deeper into the Federation.”

“You do agree that Matt should be our pilot, don’t you?” Michelle asked.

“Hmph. I’ve been flying since before Matt was even a glimmer in his daddy’s eye,” Gunther grumbled, “and I’ve flown in more fights than he has.”

Michelle blew out an exasperated breath. “That was twenty-five years ago, Gunther. Matt’s younger, quicker, and his experience evading pursuit is extremely current.”

“Yeah, yeah, you’ve been over all of that,” Gunther said, waving a dismissive hand. “I agreed to it and will abide by my word.”

While Michelle and Gunther bickered back and forth, I’d been scanning star charts. “Wormhole delta is a great choice, hon! I think wormhole beta should be our backup option.”

“Why?” Michelle asked.

“Because delta leaves us two jumps from Ark’s Landing,” I said. “If we have to take beta, it’ll only be three jumps.”

Michelle clapped her hands together. “That’s the perfect place for us, Matt!”

“Why on Draconis is Ark’s Landing such a great choice?” Gunther asked. “If that’s the planet I’m thinking of, it was only colonized a decade ago.”

“Yep, that’s it, Uncle,” I said. “It’s perfect because it was a joint selection by both Federation and Fringe politicians—meaning it lies outside of the Federation.”

“And,” Michelle added, “we’ve got a very good friend who lives there. Nancy is a hero to the entire population, too, which means the local government won’t just turn us over to the Federation. It will be good to see Nancy again.”

“All right,” Gunther nodded, “we go to Ark’s Landing. Um, do you think there’s any chance they’ll let an ex-pirate and his lady settle there?”

I shrugged. “We can ask when we get there.”

With as light a heart as possible in the circumstances, Michelle and I set out for the Psi Corps offices. Gunther waved and headed in the opposite direction. By station time, it was officially late evening, but the loading bay should have been busy. The travel embargo established by the navy really bit into the evening work shift. Every ship in the bay had been processed many hours ago. Now the crews just waited for word their ship was free to leave. It made for an uncrowded walk to the bank of elevators.

We shared the car with another man who did his best to unobtrusively check Michelle out. I could have told the man he was wasting his time. Jonas made sure his daughter was extremely observant. A half smile played across Michelle’s lips every time the guy cut his eyes at her. I wondered if it was the attention she enjoyed or the idea that she was far better at surreptitiously watching people around her than the guy was. I suppose I could have read Michelle’s emotions every time she gave that little smile, but everyone deserves their secrets.

When we reached the man’s deck—a very crowded entertainment level—he motioned for Michelle to go first. I guess he assumed a woman dressed as she was couldn’t be headed anywhere else. She smiled brightly and shook her head. He let his eyes roam her body and shook his head as if suggesting it was Michelle’s loss.

As we rode on, Michelle asked, “Do you ever wonder what goes through a guy’s mind when he watches me like that man did?”

“You said it yourself when we were on Rockville Station,” I replied. “To that man, you were a brief bit of fantasy. He’s probably already forgotten about you.”

“Oh, thank you so very much!” Michelle said, affecting an indignant tone. “You know just the right thing to say to make a girl feel good about herself.”

I looked into Michelle’s blue eyes. “If it helps, I won’t ever forget you.”

“Yes, babe, that does make me feel better!”

We reached our deck and sauntered down the corridor toward the Psi Corps office. Back on the ship, we’d checked the station layout around the office and discovered it was only a few meters from a small lobby. The lobby was deserted at this hour, but we acted like a furtive couple looking for a private place for a little necking. Any member of station security who saw us on a monitor would assume we were having an affair and move on. As a bonus, our cover involved me actually necking with Michelle.

Twenty minutes later, my comm buzzed. When I answered it, Uncle Gunter’s voice asked, “Aren’t you finished with dinner? We’ve got a lot of work left to do.”

That meant everything was in place for our decompression. I gave the code phrase indicating we were in position and ready. “Something has come up. You’ll have to go on without me.”

Two minutes later, the station decompression alarm sounded.

Will our heroes’ plan work? Find out in Chapter 31, coming Monday!