A/N: I guess I took a lengthy hiatus. I'm going to try to keep updating periodically. If you'd been reading before and have returned, I thank you. I WILL get to R&R-ing your stories as well. Please enjoy!
I didn't have time to question whether Jenson's choice to fly us into an asteroid was bold or reckless. At best, we would be able to sway the tide of this situation to our advantage. At worst, the ship would be irreparably damaged and we would be stranded in outer space. Or killed by the strangers who were now starting to come-to. I would probably have affirmed the latter if I myself had not been part of this ordeal, but seeing the element of surprise we now had over our captors' positions my stance was in line with Jenson. Though none of that was really here nor there. Now it was time to act.
I dove from the comfortable pseudo-security of my bench toward the nearest dark clad figure, landing on top of him. I locked my right arm around his neck, the middle of his throat just between my bicep and forearm. With my left, I patted around the deck and his body, looking for anything I could use as a weapon.
Around me, inaudible vocalizations and painful grunts filled the room. I thought I saw movement in my peripherals, but there was no time to analyze it. My hand was now sweeping back and forth across the floor, my fingernails desperately scraping. There had to be something close by that could be utilized as a weapon of opportunity.
Weighing the odds and deciding that the benefits outweighed the risk, I leaned over in the opposite direction. I tried my best to maintain positive control of the headlock that I was administering, but I inevitably had to slightly loosen my hold. Reaching as far and as quickly as I could, I felt for anything. As my fingers finally closed around what felt like a wrench from my toolbox, I took a softening blow to my rib cage.
I swung the wrench around towards my opponent's head as his teeth sunk into my forearm. The force of the blow caused him to bite down even harder, but he released immediately after. I resumed the headlock, ignoring the pain from his bite. I used my opposite forearm to anchor the hold.
As a teenager, I had taken some self-defense lessons. Nothing fancy like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Judo. Just lessons called "Self-Defense." Interestingly enough, I had never thought I would want or need to use any of the things I learned during those classes. They were less centered on winning a fight than they were about increasing personal confidence. At this very moment, I'm not certain I would be winning or confidant. Just desperate.
I could hear Jenson and Jarrod tussling around someplace else in the cockpit. Certainly they must have been in similar positions and mindsets than me, save the lack of confidence. There was the typical grunting and heavy breathing that you would expect, and the sound of rubber soles sliding around the deck and aimlessly kicking into the chairs walls. My only hope was that the both of them were physically okay and weren't going to emerge from this brawl worse off than before. I also hoped that Jenson's plan had developed past crashing into an asteroid to surprise our opponents.
Speaking of which, I hoped the impact hadn't done anything to make Kyle's physical condition any worse. When I first got back to the cockpit he had been unconscious with what I guessed was just blunt force trauma to his head. In fact, I actually happened to wrestling my current foe in the very spot Kyle had been laying just some moments before.
I looked over to where I thought Kyle's body had landed after the collision. He wasn't there. I didn't ponder this point for too long as I was in the middle of a violent struggle with a man I didn't know.
I looked down now, this time into the slicked back hair of the captor that I was strangling. Slicked back hair. I realized that this was the same guy that had pointed his gun at me and spit in my face. His hair had a manufactured product smell to it. Not quite like a sanitary, medical examiners room type smell, but also not too much like a masculine musk cologne smell. It was a cross between a doctors office and a barber shop. This smell, just like his voice had been, had a ring of familiarity to it. But I couldn't place the origin.
"Now would be a great time," I said loudly to Jenson over the alarm, careful not to give his identity away as well, "to perhaps maybe execute the rest of that plan of yours." As I spoke, my captor attempted to wriggle free from my hold. I tightened up the headlock and the rest of my body, bringing my knees closer to my center while still straddling his back. I moved more of my body weight toward his head, hoping that would disorient him some more since my chokehold was obviously executed incorrectly.
"That's what you were supposed to do," Jenson replied. I did sincerely hope that he at least knew what the very next step was. It would be both impractical and exhausting to spend the rest of the trip in a perpetual team wrestling match. With the impact throwing our hauler off course and cutting out systems, who knew if it would correct itself or if we would collide with another object.
Jenson's sarcasm was noted and disregarded, for now. I could hear in his struggle that as he spoke, his opponent attempted to take advantage of the moment as well. There were a few seconds of grunts and painful noises, and then a momentary silence. Then I heard the swiveling of one of the pilot chairs. This didn't make sense to me, but I threw it into the same category as Jenson's sarcasm.
"Birthing or cargo?" Jenson asked. Apparently his plan was to lock them up. A fine next step, I thought.
The cargo area sounded initially like the best place to have our guests stay. The bay was tightly packed and would be uncomfortable. Of its two exits, one led directly to outer space. The other led straight back to us. If we could get them safely inside the cargo, all we would need to do it secure the door on our side. If we could locate and secure the weapons they had it would make things a lot easier.
"Cargo… works," I said, taking a couple quick elbow strikes to the rib cage between words. Now that we had decided on a place, the difficulties would begin. Somehow, I would have to stand up while remaining in control, maneuver out of the cockpit and through the hallway, open the cargo door, drop of my captor, and get out before he could follow.
Smooth as sandpaper.
"Any ideas on how we're going to get that accomplished?" I was running out of patience and ideas. And breath. I wouldn't be able to maintain the upper hand in this grapple for too much longer. I was starting to sweat pretty heavily.
"Muscle," Jenson said. A foolproof plan, maybe, if I'd had any muscle. One upon a time, I frequented the weight room. But as of late, those visits were a thing of the past.
"Great," I said without much enthusiasm. "Let's try to stand up," I said to my opponent. I leaned over to the right side and tried to use the cockpit's control console to assist in standing up. I planted my right foot down and started to elevate myself.
It was at this moment I came to the realization that Jarrod had been completely silent through this ordeal. I'm certain he was entertaining a violent struggle like he rest of us; but If that didn't stop me and Jenson from formulating a plan, spontaneous and ineffective as it might be, what was Jarrod's deal? Was he in more trouble than us?