Текст книги

Lindsay Cummings
Nexus


Lon helplessly held out his hands, and Andi let out a growl of frustration. “Move aside, unless you want to land your ass in the med bay.” Lon hurriedly backed away as Andi pulled Gilly’s double-triggered gun from her belt and fired the stunner at the door’s scanner in a hail of sparks and smoke.

The door teetered on its hinges for a moment before falling inward with a rattling bang.

“There, it’s open.”

Lon whistled as he looked at the gun. “That thing is awesome.”

Andi rolled her eyes and rushed inside.

The control panel on the dash was going haywire. Holographic blueprints drifted across the console, lighting up many areas of the ship in flashing red. Too many.

“Memory?” Andi called out as she slid into Lira’s pilot seat. “Run a diagnostics scan.”

Memory’s voice crackled over the ship-wide com, weakening with each word. “Fuel leak in the engine room. Oxygen levels at thirty-four percent and dropping.”

Both of which were their lifelines—though by the looks of it, neither would be viable for much longer, at the rate they were dropping.

“Well, that’s just great,” Andi said sarcastically. She wished, desperately, that Breck was here. Her head gunner knew the ins and outs of the Marauder’s mechanical room like the back of her hand, and while she couldn’t always fix the problem, Andi knew she could’ve at least bought them more time.

But she wasn’t here. And any attempts they made to fix whatever was wrong would waste time they didn’t have.

“What the hell is going on?” Dex cursed as he came running through the door, Havoc hot on his heels. The creature leaped for his legs, but Dex kicked it off.

“Easy!” Lon shouted, reaching out his arms as Havoc yowled and barreled into them, horns just visible beneath his layers of fuzzy orange.

“The damned thing is trying to kill me before the ship does!” Dex snapped.

“Took you long enough to get here,” Andi said, sending him an annoyed look.

“I was having a great dream.” He came up next to her and nudged her shoulder. “You were in it, actually—”

Andi cut him off. “Spare me the details.”

Dex glanced at the floating blueprints. “Well, this looks bad,” he said, stating the obvious.

Lon stepped up to the console, Havoc cradled in one arm as he entered in a code that blessedly turned off the alarm. He’d learned a lot in his time on the ship. Lira would have been proud.

He turned back to Andi and Dex. “I know we wanted to have a better plan before jumping to Solera, but I don’t think time is something we have anymore.”

“Do we have enough fuel to make the jump to hyperspace?” Dex shifted his gaze to the fuel gauge, which was running dangerously low. The control panel still blinked a furious red.

Lon scrutinized the fuel level. “Barely.”

If they had enough fuel to make the jump, it would be a miracle. And if they didn’t?

Well, they’d likely burn up in hyperspace.

“It’s a chance we’re going to have to take,” Andi stated, seeing no other viable options. She buried her nerves deep as she typed in the coordinates for Solera, fingertips flying across the dash. “Dex, why is it that ever since you first boarded this ship, we always seem to be crash-landing?” she asked.

“Because our love is impossible to keep afloat?” Dex suggested jokingly.

Andi let out a shaky laugh.

She wanted to be confident, but her hands shook, the traitorous things. She hadn’t known how much strength she’d actually pulled from her crew until they were gone. Lon and Dex were worthy partners, but they weren’t her girls.

You’ll get them back soon, Andi told herself. To Lon and Dex, she said, “Time to make the jump.”

“You sure?” Dex asked, furrowing his brow.

“Yes,” she confirmed. They couldn’t risk waiting for something else going wrong, if that was even possible. Everything that could have gone wrong just had. So Andi entered in the last command and offered up a silent prayer to the Godstars.

“Destination confirmed: Solera,” Memory announced. “Warming engines for full thrust to hyperspace in ten...nine...”

The ship jolted, throwing them to the ground. “Crap!” Andi said, grappling to stand and read the control board. One of the ship’s engines had just blown.

“Can we still make the jump?” Lon asked, pulling himself up into a chair, his eyes wide as he looked between Andi and Dex. Havoc clung to his shoulders like a rabid leech.

Andi shot a questioning look at Dex. He knew this ship as well as she did, and right now, she didn’t know the answer.

“I’d say it’s a forty percent chance,” Dex said, looking at the stats.

“Thirty-five percent,” Memory corrected in a crackling tone. Even the Marauder’s AI was failing.

“I’ll take it. Strap in, boys,” Andi said, settling into her captain’s chair. Even in the middle of this disaster, she couldn’t help but melt back into the smooth leather, perfectly molded to her form. Like a queen sitting upon her throne.

Dex took the pilot’s seat and Lon buckled himself in behind them. The ship shuddered again and dipped to the right. Andi’s head smacked painfully against the headrest.

Damn things were supposed to protect her head, not give her a concussion.

“Make the jump, damn it!” Andi growled, looking sideways at Dex. They would get to Solera. They had to, even if the ship was just a husk when they landed.

They had to make it.

There wasn’t any other option.

Dex hit the throttle, launching them into hyperspace.

Rainbow streaks streamed past the windows, but Andi didn’t have any time to marvel at the sight. She was too busy watching the Marauder’s diagnostic array to make sure the ship wouldn’t explode around them.

At this point, there was no going back.

“May the Godstars guide us,” Lon prayed. Andi hoped they were listening—otherwise, they were essentially screwed. And not in the way Dex enjoyed so much.

The three of them fell into a tense silence for a few minutes as they hurtled through space toward Solera. Andi typed some calculations into the navigation system and readied the ship for arrival—or at least she tried to. Half of the systems were off-line and the other half weren’t functioning correctly.

“What are we going to do when we get there?” Lon asked.

That was a great question. Andi thought they’d have more time to plan, but with the current situation putting a huge snag in their mission, she wasn’t quite sure.
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