The Wild Side Gets New Paint

The Wild Side docked at a nearby space station and, almost immediately upon arrival, as soon as the cargo door had shut, explosions on the other side of the docking bay rocked the station and our ship!

Boost, Axel, and Ashleigh were still on board. Ashleigh was unconscious, and Boost and Axel were waiting for us to handle a cargo manifest issue before going off-ship to complete Boost’s side delivery job.

A mob of New Ireland supporters flooded the docking bay, while two of the “coppers” from the United Earth Government tried in vain to protect us. One of the guards went down to the mob’s fists and boots, and the other fled.

Grace dove into a pile of boxes, quickly tunneling upwards until she was well-shielded in a fortress of cargo boxes… with turrets.

Dr. Jules grabbed the downed guard and hauled him into the relative safety of the ship… via the only currently open entrance, the garbage chute.

Meanwhile, the New Ireland bomber, his body covered in multiple incendiaries, threw an explosive at the ship.

“That’s my ship!” roared Captain Judson as she pulled out her gun, seemed to take careful aim, then shrugged and fired wildly. The bullets struck the bomber’s ammo, igniting and exploding some, removing him and a few of the mobbers from this Earthly plane.

Unfortunately, the backlash from the remaining incendiaries caught everything in the docking bay in its shockwave, including the captain, who at the time did have the benefit of several human shields. They were quickly incinerated, and the captain found herself on fire.

Suddenly, red lights and a klaxon went off, warning of the fire danger and the imminent opening of the docking bay doors to suppress the flames.

Well, at least I won’t be on fire for much longer, Lou thought as she rolled around, trying to put the flames out. Dimly, she sensed a troop of mobbers running into her ship, the fog of the knockout gas filling the cargo bay, and Grace flitting past her to hop into the ship. Good girl, she thought, glad that Grace would survive this nightmare.

Flames out, Judson felt a surge of adrenaline and hopped up, seeing with a clarity what must be done. The men must be expelled from her ship. She ran into the cloud of gas, grabbed one of the loading bars, and held it at the ready. As some of the mob moved up to attack her, she fended them off with the bar.

Startled and yelping in pain, she felt slim arms grab her from behind and a  strap wrap around her waist, two, then three times. The klaxon blared one final time, then the docking bay doors opened. The gas in the cargo bay flooded out, leaving several startled men who were rapidly decompressing. Judson exhaled, slowly, aware that this rapid decompression was going to kill her in just a few moments. She held tight to her savior– Grace!– and watched the men fly out into the darkness of space, a few frantically grabbing at untethered debris. One was impaled by the loading bar. Another took a stiletto to the eye before the silent blackness of beyond turned him into a tiny, floating speck of nothing, disappearing into the void.