3

Asya rapidly repeated her conversation with the R.A.S. commanders to the five attentive men. They all breathed a sigh of relief when she told them the fate of the refugees and seemed rather resigned to their upcoming court dates.

Benny wanted to interrupt her, but she cut him off. "No," she snapped, "we don't have a lot of time." Then, Asya went on to tell them about her conversation with Carea Jamitch on her way down to the holding cell and the escape plan. "Do you still have the key card?" she asked Benny, breathless.

Benny nodded and showed her the card carefully tucked into his jacket pocket. "So, are we all up for it?" He cast his gaze on his crew.

Kaz spoke first. "The way I see it, if we can survive an entire night on a ship with an entire crew of pirates wanting to kill us, we can pull this off right now." He looked at Asya and nodded. "I'm in."

"On that same note," Owen spoke up and Asya braced herself for cynicism, "we managed to pull off rescuing you and Kaz. So if we can do that, getting ourselves to a specific location at a specific time seems easy. I say we do it."

"Is there a chance that once we get transported to the ship, the R.A.S. will move up the destruction time and just blow us up?" Cyrus had been deep in thought this whole time.

Once again, the five men looked at her.

"It's possible," she admitted.

"I still think we should do it." Sted spoke up for the first time. "It'll take them some time to make that decision, right? And it won't take us very long to get the ship up and running and get ourselves out."

Jail time had changed the kid.

"So, are we all in agreement?" Benny asked.

Five heads nodded.

"How much time do we have?"

Asya checked her watch. "Four minutes."

"Which means we should leave in about one minute," Benny said thoughtfully. "It took me about two to get there before, but with a bigger group we can't be as quick."

Everyone nodded once again.

The next sixty seconds passed excruciatingly slow. With every passing moment, Asya expected Carea Jamitch to have been caught and their plan ruined.

"Let's go," Benny finally said.

No one else could think of how to respond, so they just followed him out of the cell and down the hallway.

Fortunately, they didn't meet anyone on their way. Asya wondered if Carea Jamitch helped ensure that. Asya made her way to the front of the group as they approached the control room. "Forty-five seconds," she told them. "That's where we're aiming for." She pointed to the same spot that she and Kaz had been transported to earlier.

At 15 seconds to go, Asya left their sheltered spot and confidently strode up to the transport spot. The crew followed her.

At first no one noticed. Asya's confident walk helped. But when the six of them stopped in the center of the room, they caught people's attention, including that of Yarden Zesiro.

"Security!" he began to shout and move closer to the group. The rest of the agents stood frozen, unsure of what to do. Asya figured that they had no idea what the plan was.

Asya's gaze swivelled from her watch to the approaching Yarden Zesiro.

Five seconds.

Four seconds.

He was almost within range of the transport.

Three seconds.

Two.

One.

A bright light.

Suddenly, six people were standing in a long ship's corridor. Asya breathed a sigh of relief when she confirmed that Yarden Zesiro had not been taken along for the ride.

"Cyrus, Owen, Sted, get down to the engine room and make sure everything's good to go," Benny ordered. The three men took off without a word. "Kaz, Asya, you two come with me."

Asya had no intention to argue and took off after Benny, Kaz right beside her. They ran to the helm where Benny and Kaz immediately began flipping switches and turning dials, getting ready to get out of dodge. Asya, who knew the basics of flying but was no expert in how to quickly get a cargo ship quickly prepared for launch, followed Benny's instructions without hesitation.

"How much time do we have?" Benny asked her.

"Two minutes."

He smirked. "They're going to wish they blew us up sooner." He flipped a switch. "This is First Mate Benedict Caseo." His words were broadcast to the entire ship. "We're about to go to light speed. Hold on to something."

Asya gripped the handrails attached to the side of the control panel as Benny brought back a lever. She braced herself as the star-studded inky sky blurred together and the ship launched forward. In a second, they were in a completely different part of space.

They didn't stay at light speed for long, and once Benny slowed down the ship, Asya relaxed and looked over at Kaz. He returned her gaze. They both grinned.

"I'm going to go check on the rest of the crew," Kaz said, and he ran out of the room.

Asya moved to stand next to Benny.

"So, what are you going to do now?" he asked her.

"I don't know." Asya was a fugitive and a deserter, but she had never felt so free. "I guess try and keep my head down for a bit."

"You know, those pirates are still out there," Benny said, "and while you were being questioned, the five of us talked about it. We decided that if things worked out and we got the ship back, we would go after them. And with the captain dead, that puts me in charge, Kaz as first mate, and us down a crew member."

Asya understood his offer, but didn't immediately respond. She ran her fingers over letters carved into the control panel. "The Delmira," she read. "The name of the ship?"
Benny nodded.

"I don't know the first thing about working on a cargo ship."

Benny shrugged. "Maybe not. But I think we can agree that we're more than a cargo ship." He nodded at the words. "I never knew what it meant," he said, "but the captain would always say that this ship protected those who society forgot." Benny turned his gaze from the words to Asya. "But you didn't forget. You sacrificed everything for them. The captain would have liked you."

They had been avoiding looking at the captain's body, still laying on the floor, but now both turned around to cast their gazes on the man.

"At least you'll be able to give him a proper sendoff, now," Asya said softly.

Benny nodded and turned back around, facing the darkness of space. "So, what do you say?" he asked. "We could use someone with your skills. And I bet you know exactly what steps the R.A.S. will take to find us."

Asya knew exactly what they would do, and how to avoid them. "Asya Daimon, smuggler and pirate catcher." She smiled to herself. "You know, I think I'll take you up on that."

Benny grinned. "Welcome aboard The Delmira, Asya."

Hello All. If you made it to the end, thank you so much for reading my story! I had a lot of fun writing this, and it's been a long time in the making. I love to hear people's thoughts, so feel free to message me or leave a review if you have anything you want to share. Once again, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed!