Lolanene sat in the pilot seat of the Epsilon VI, with Lucia in the seat behind. She flipped a switch and a familiar, if irritating voice sprung to life <AUTONOMOUS SYSTEMS ONLINE>
“Alright, never actually flown one a these before, but I know how it all works. You good back there Lucia?” Lolanene turned in her seat.
“All good here, just don’t crash this thing again.” Lucia replied, a somewhat nervous look on her face.
“Aw c’mon, I know what I’m doin’!” She turned two dials at once and the ship’s launch thrusters began to fire. “Listen to that roar! We’re doin’ this!” She began pressing buttons and turning dials in sequences Lucia couldn’t begin to comprehend. She felt the ship begin to lift and move forward. The metal plates covering the viewport, which Lucia now knew was not a window, but a screen, opened, showing the rapidly approaching dot of light that was the hole Lucia had created in Nether’s sky. The light became brighter and brighter until it filled the screen, as Lolanene recoiled from the massive amount of light, it cleared, and the Lower District became visible briefly, as the ship continued to accelerate and fly further upward. “Oh shit! There it is!” Lolanene exclaimed, decelerating far too quickly, causing both her and Lucia to be flung forward in their seats painfully.
The ship was now hovering below the platform that held Loriol Ninia’s compound. “How did you know how to get here?” Lucia asked.
“I just flew us to the last destination that was input. Guessin’ your girl Niarith did that. So, want me to start blastin?” Lolanene asked the question with far too much excitement.
“No! We need to scout things out first, make sure everything is still as it was when I last checked. If we don’t we run the risk of killing Niarith, and if we do that, I’m killing you and then myself.” She pulled out the tablet and slid it into a slot in the control panel near her. The image on the viewscreen changed from the front of the ship to the red hued schematic of the compound. “Oh uhm..” Lucia looked confused “I only know how to manipulate the image when it's a hologram..”
Lolanene began pressing buttons and the image moved accordingly. “Where do ya need it?”
“The smallest building, check inside.” The image zoomed into the smaller building, and the familiar hallway with six rooms reappeared. Niarith’s room was vacant. “Gods damn it! Where is she? Check the other buildings, but don’t bother with the biggest one, it’s got jamming tech.”
The image zoomed through the other buildings, Niarith was nowhere to be found. “She must be in that big place. How’re we gonna get her out of that?”
Lucia stared intently at the red tinged representation of Loriol Ninia’s seat of power. “I’ll go in, and get her. I’ll kill every last fucking lackey in there if I have to. I’m getting Niarith out of this. You stay with the ship, Lolanene. You’re a salvager, not an infiltrator.” Lucia began to stand.
“No argument here, I’m not exactly wanting to go kill a bunch of people. But uh, how’re you plannin’ on gettin’ in there?”
“You’re going to fly low over the platform, and I’m going to jump out of the cargo hatch. Niarith showed me these momentum dampeners she bought a while back. If I can find one, I’ll be able to drop onto the roof, quick and quiet.” Lucia spoke as she stood and exited the room, not waiting for a response.
Lolanene called just before the door shut “If you die I’m takin’ the ship!”
Lucia made her way down the hall “You’re gonna pay, Ninia, in blood, in men, in everything I can fucking find. I will get Niarith back.” she spoke to herself as she entered the equipment room, which was disastrously disorganized after the move back in. She searched for several minutes through boxes and crates, and finally found what she was after. It looked like an oblong black bag of some kind, but Lucia knew it’d save her life during the incredibly reckless stunt she was about to pull. She strapped the device to the front of her torso, and left the room.
She made her way back to the cockpit and opened the pentagonal door. “I’m ready, get me close.”
Lolanene held a thumbs up over the back of the pilot seat and said “I’ll do my best, good luck, Lucia.”
Lucia nodded, then wondered why, as Lolanene couldn’t see it. She shook her head of the thought and turned to walk down to the airlock. She felt the sip beginning to accelerate as she arrived and opened the cargo ramp. The roaring sound of intense speed through air met her ears as she stopped out on the ramp. The ship’s PA crackled to life overhead “Okay Lucia… Just a few more seconds…. NOW! GO!” Lucia didn’t hesitate, she threw herself off of the ramp and activated the momentum canceling device. For a moment she felt the sickening sensation of falling, which suddenly and very roughly changed to a feeling of smashing into a wall. She hadn’t actually hit anything, the device had done its job. Another moment later, she landed on the roof.
Lucia had hoped to land on her feet. She did not. She found herself suddenly face down on a concrete rooftop, her face burning with pain. She started to move to get up, but a gruff male voice said “I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You got three Maynlyne 660’s pointing at your back. I suggest you don’t move unless told to move.” Lucia sighed and rested her arms. She felt someone walk up and roughly place her in cuffs, then pull her upright onto her knees. Her vision swam and she struggled to maintain consciousness. “Looks like our lil intruder here took a harder fall than she thought. Y’ think she’s the one the boss is after?”
Another man spoke up “That was the same ship that flew over and dropped her, so I’d say it’s pretty fuckin’ likely, dumbass.” Their voices continued, but Lucia lost track of what they were saying, they sounded distant and hard to focus on. Her vision blurred and darkened, and her consciousness faded.
Lucia began hearing noises, strange whining mechanical sounds, fans, and intermittent beeps. She could tell she was sitting upright, in some kind of chair. Mechanical sounds… chair… Heaven and Void… Her eyes snapped open and confirmed her fears. She was strapped into one of the chairs of the smaller building. Where Niarith had been. She struggled against the restraints on her arms, to no avail. The room was empty of any life but her. Only a large array of screens in front of her, as well as a control panel beneath them. The screens were dark, seemingly inactive. Everything was bathed in reddish-pink light shining dimly from the corners of the room. “At least I don’t have an IV putting who knows what into me. But how do I get out of here?”
The door to Lucia’s left opened, and a figure walked in, they were hard to make out, only a silhouette against the bright light of the hallway. Lucia had a terrible feeling upon seeing the figure. Heavens don’t let me be right… please.. The figure simply stood there in the doorway, unmoving. Eventually, the door closed, and the figure remained rooted to the spot.
They lifted a hand to their ear, and spoke. Lucia’s stomach dropped, she felt as though she might vomit right then and there, as the figure said, in Niarith’s voice “Orders, Sir?”