+ Chapter 12 (cont)
Rashid's comm clicked, and Trowa's calm voice said < < We're moving.
> > There was another click, then silence.
< < Finally! > > Faheed transmitted, able to break comm silence
at last, and Rashid grinned as he pushed a button on his control panel.
Explosive bolts fired, and the cargo hatch was blown open, venting its
contents into space.
"There's a firefight on the dock in segment E!" one of
the control room staffers yelped, torn between horror and disbelief. "It's
the miners from that WEI shuttle, they're shooting at... at... he's a
smuggler. I know him, so it's miners against smugglers, I don't know why--"
A faint tremor vibrated through the deck plates, and red lights started
flashing on the dock schematic. "Shit! The WEI shuttle just decompressed--
at least the cargo hold, I can't tell if the living quarters went as well--"
"Did somebody shoot them?" Belle asked nervously, leaning towards
a screen that abruptly switched views, displaying the feed from an external
camera. "Uh... Agent Chang?"
Wufei shook his head, watching the haze spread out from the open hatch,
faintly visible as sunlight glittered off of dust motes and flash-frozen
condensation. "So far, everything's going as planned... though it
looks like somebody forgot to put their playing cards away," he added,
smiling faintly as a scatter of larger objects tumbled into view.
"Go after the kids!" the head smuggler roared, watching the
screen and clenching his fists as one group of miners expertly shot at
his men, providing cover for a second group who charged straight from
the shuttle into the main area of the station, ignoring everyone who didn't
try to stop them. His eyes narrowed as he saw a Preventer uniform at the
head of the group. "He did get word out! How the hell-- fuck!"
"Boss, the Preventers are coming out!"
"I can see that!" The Preventers shuttle had opened its
personnel hatch, spilling out agents in light armour who easily disarmed
and captured the confused smugglers on the dock, who had only just turned
around to meet the 'miners' head-on. "Get the kids, I said!
If we have hostages, we can make demands and get out of here with our
"I'm working on it... I'm working..." The smuggler working the
communications console abruptly swore, ripping his headset off and slamming
it down in frustration. "Those fucking miners are all over the station,
everywhere the kids are! There's a whole squad guarding the approaches
to the school, they're taking everyone out without even breaking a sweat!
We've got jack shit to negotiate with!"
"We've got one card left to play," his boss growled, stalking
towards him. "Give me that headset!"
< < I warned you what would happen if you tried to get out of our
little 'deal', > > an anonymous voice snarled out of the speakers,
blurred by static. The station vibrated slightly, and more red lights
began blinking on the dock schematic; this time, they were accompanied
by a buzzing audio alarm.
"They're firing their engines!" wailed the same staffer who'd
reported the firefight, rapidly approaching hysteria. "They're gonna
just like they said, rip the station open and kill everyone they can--"
Beside him, another staff member was typing quick orders into his console.
"I've unlocked the station's clamps, but they've still got theirs
locked," he reported, sitting back. "If we're lucky, they'll
only decompress that dock."
"If they get the angle right, they can rip the whole side of the
station off and pop hull seams all the way to here!" the other man
screamed at him. "This station isn't big enough to have the sort
of reinforcing needed to stand up to what they're doing!"
"I hope you were right when you said you had a way to stop this,
Agent," Belle said quietly, eyes fixed on the screen. "I-- where
did they come from?!"
Faheed and Tariq skimmed just above the surface of the station, jets blazing,
and thermal blades clutched firmly in the hands of their space Leos. They'd
been chosen for this part of the mission because they were the best out
of all the Manguanacs at high-speed precision strikes, and they proved
their skill now, spinning sideways to fly between the station and
the smugglers' ship.
< < Port clamps gone, > > Tariq's voice echoed in Rashid's
helmet, followed a split second later by < < Starboard clamps gone,
> > from Faheed. The ship lurched and rose abruptly, wobbling as
its pilot tried to compensate for the sudden release, and Rashid swung
his beam rifle on-target, smiling grimly as the faint beeping from the
weapon's targeting computer turned into a constant tone. He waited just
a second more, tracking the ship as it rose higher, away from the station
and the other ships; then, he squeezed the trigger, and a beam of energy
stabbed straight through its engines, sending a scattering of molten drops
of metal out the other side.
< < All right, assholes, > > a cheerful voice broadcasted,
< < this is Preventers shuttle M-17. Secure any weapons you have
on board and surrender, or we'll shoot you next, and we won't be
so nice and precise. If we shoot you, you will blow up. --Nice
work, by the way, Manguanacs; the helping hand is much appreciated. >
"You're welcome," Rashid replied politely, swinging the beam
rifle back over his suit's shoulder as the other two Leos returned.
"Not precisely standard communications protocol, but it'll do,"
Wufei murmured, mouth twitching slightly as he suppressed a smile. I've
got to remember to tell Duo about that line. He'll approve. He stood
up and turned to Belle Anderson, nodding his head in what was almost a
shallow bow. "That part went well, at least," he said calmly.
"If you could give me access to an internal communications console,
I can hook this in--" he showed his wrist unit "--and start
getting progress reports from the other teams. In the end, we should capture
enough smugglers alive to identify any agents they have in your staff."
Most of the people in the communications center looked happy at that thought--
even eager-- but one man stiffened and spun towards Wufei, bringing a
small gun out as he did so, snarling, "If I'm going down, I'm taking
Belle hit him in the side of the head as hard as she could, both hands
clenched together into a double fist. The force of the inexpert blow spun
her around and sent him sprawling, gun skittering along the floor, just
out of reach of his clutching fingers. He scrambled after it and grabbed,
hissing in triumph as he felt the warm metal slide into his hand, then
froze as he heard an ominous double -click- from just above.
"Go ahead," Wufei told him coldly, glaring down at him over
the barrel of his automatic, pointed unwaveringly at the smuggler's head.
"Try it. You might actually manage to get your finger on the trigger
before I fire."
"You're right-handed," the man whispered, licking his lips and
glancing from the gun to Wufei's right arm, still resting in its sling.
Amazingly, Wufei smiled.
"As a very good friend of mine once said," he told the smuggler,
"in some things there's no point in being anything but ambidextrous."
The gun lifted a fraction, centering more precisely on the spot between
the smuggler's eyes.
With infinite care, the smuggler slowly let go of his gun and raised his
Less than a minute later, Trowa and Auda's group of Manguanacs burst in
the door to see a man lying on the floor, being enthusiastically tied
up by two other staff members, Belle Anderson holding a gun dangling from
her fingertips as if it smelled bad while she flexed her other hand painfully,
and Chang Wufei tucking his own weapon back into concealment in his sling.
Trowa raised one eyebrow at the other ex-pilot and smiled faintly, nodding;
Auda and the other Manguanacs grinned and laughed.
"Master Wufei!" Auda called, flinging his hands out dramatically.
"It seems you have everything well in hand here, but I suppose we
should act as your protectors, anyway, until your Preventer bodyguard
arrive. Master Duo would never forgive us if we allowed any harm to come
to you, after all!"
"'Preventer bodyguard'?" Wufei asked dryly, tugging his sling
straight. "I don't remember putting anything about a 'Preventer bodyguard'
for me into the plans."
"You didn't really expect Quatre and Lady Une to let you get away
without one, did you?" Trowa smiled.
"Actually, I did," Wufei admitted, slightly sheepishly. "I
see I need to rethink my assumptions a little bit."
"Sir!" A small squad of Preventers ran around the corner with
Nicklaus Assink in the lead, skidding to a stop as they took in the scene.
Nicklaus blinked, then walked forward slowly, holstering his weapon as
he looked around at the bound smuggler, enthusiastic station staff, heavily
armed Manguanacs... "Well," he said calmly, coming to a halt
in front of Wufei, "I feel superfluous now."
"If you brought me a command comlink so that I don't need to wire
my wrist unit into a console, you aren't."
Nicklaus snapped off a crisp salute, marred only by his grin, and handed
the comlink over. "Nice to see you so well, sir."
Wufei shot him a sardonic look and activated the comlink, listening to
the sporadic, brief chatter as Preventers and Manguanacs sent reports
back and forth. Waiting for a lull, he hit the transmit button. "Yui,
this is Chang. Any problems?"
< < Not really, > > Heero's voice came back, sounding a bit
sour. < < A few minor injuries, none serious. > >
"Judging by your tone... where did you get hit?" Wufei
< < Left calf, > > Heero growled. < < Shrapnel wound.
"Sorry to hear that."
< < I'm fine. As for the smugglers, they have six dead and
about fifteen with debilitating wounds, a lot more with minor scratches
and bruises. I sent McKenzie's team to help the Manguanacs secure the
school area, and I'm expecting to get a report from her any-- > >
< < Yui, we've got a problem here, > > Leah's voice snapped
over the link. Wufei's hand clenched a little tighter on the comlink as
he heard children crying in the background.
< < What sort of problem, McKenzie? > > Heero asked sharply.
"Nothing we can't handle," Leah said coolly, keeping her gun
extended, rock steady. Behind her, a Manguanac whisked the last two children
around a corner and out of harm's way, one still crying over a forgotten
stuffed toy. "The kids are all clear, but one of the teachers was
a smuggler plant; she's taken one of the other teachers hostage."
"Tell him what I said!" the woman shouted, face distorted by
anger and fear. The other teacher, kneeling in front of her with his hands
flat on the floor, winced as she yanked his head up further by his hair
and dug the muzzle of her tiny gun into his temple. "Tell him what
I want, or I'll start shooting pieces off of this guy!"
"She's demanding safe passage off the station, with her hostage,"
Leah informed Heero, not taking her eyes off the woman. "We haven't
changed our position on that sort of thing in the last five minutes, have
< < No. > >
"Didn't think so. I'll call you back when this is resolved."
She pushed the button to shut off the comlink and dropped it into a pocket.
"What are you doing?! You have to keep talking to him, pass on my
"Try not to be any more of an idiot than you already have been,"
Leah said contemptuously. "The Preventers don't give in to terrorist
demands, which is what this amounts to... admittedly, on a very small
scale since we've taken out the ship that was holding the whole station
hostage." She blinked in mock surprise at the woman's look of horror.
"You hadn't heard? They weren't waiting for you or your friends.
They tried to leave, and they were stopped. You don't have anywhere to
run to any more, so why don't you just let him go and surrender?"
"No, I... I... I've still got him! If you do anything, I'll
"And then there won't be anything stopping me from shooting you,
idiot!" Leah snorted. "Think it through, if you still
have a few synapses working. You kill him, I kill you. You harm him, I
wait for a good opportunity and I still kill you. You stand there
dithering too long..." She smirked, cocking her head to the side.
"Think fast, moron."
"You bitch!" Tears of frustration running down her face,
the woman swung her gun up to aim at Leah, finger tightening on the trigger.
"See if you can still laugh at me around a bullet--"
Leah fired, hitting her in the shoulder and knocking her backwards, away
from the hostage. The other gun fired an instant later, the low-calibre
bullet bouncing off the Preventer's body armour, leaving a slight scar.
"McKenzie to Yui," Leah transmitted, stepping to kick the little
gun away to one side. "No more problem." Leaning forward, she
looked down at the woman, who was gasping in shock, not yet feeling the
pain from her wound.
"Normally, I wouldn't lower myself to do anything this petty,"
she said conversationally, "but I hate it when people hide behind
innocents and won't come out and fight cleanly. So... Ha. Ha. Ha."
"I'm really glad you're on my side," the male teacher
said shakily, breathing hard.
Wufei let out a slow breath, closing his eyes for just an instant as he
allowed himself to relax slightly. "Report," he said clearly,
transmitting. "Are any teams still encountering active resistance?"
< < Negative. > >
< < No, sir. > >
< < No, Master Wufei-- er, sir! > >
< < None, sir. > >
The responses kept coming in, all negative, and Belle slumped into a chair,
hands shaking. "Thank God," she whispered, examining the bruise
coming up on the back of her left hand with a sort of detached interest.
Wufei was lifting the comlink to his mouth again when Trowa plucked it
neatly out of his hand. "She's right," the European pilot said
quietly. "It worked. Heero can handle any necessary clean up, I will
call Lady Une and report... which leaves you free to call Duo,
and let him know that you're alive and well. Now, before he worries
himself sick again."
There was only a second's hesitation before Wufei nodded gratefully and
turned to the nearest communication console.
[chap 11] [back]
[chap 13] [back
to Mel and Christy's fic]