Haunting Blackie Page 21

“You’re not getting into one of the space suits and going outside.” Blackie stormed toward her.

She faced off against him, hoisting the heavy canister with the attached flat disk pointing up. “I have no intention of leaving the shuttle. That’s crazy. Time’s wasting and I don’t think we have a whole lot of it.” She stepped to the right, searching for something else to use. Her gaze landed on the bunk. “Be useful and unhook the bed from the wall. I’m going to need it.”

“Bingo!” Danica had been checking storage units. “Will rope work?”

“Perfect.”

“What else do you want?”

“Flame foam. Find as many canisters as you can.” Eve was jerked to a halt on the way to disconnect the bunk when Blackie snagged her arm.

“What are you doing? I am ordering you to get behind the crates. Gene and I will handle anyone who tries to breach the cargo hold.”

She looked down at his hand before raising her chin to peer up at him. “Let go. I need to work.” She jerked hard and broke away from him. “Go guard the doors if you’re so set on standing in the line of fire and getting yourself shot full of holes.”

“Eve.” His tone wasn’t pleasant.

She bent and placed the grappling cannon on the floor. “I’ve got work to do and not a lot of time left. How long can cyborgs hold their breath?” He really looked irritated. “How long?”

“Possibly up to three or four minutes,” Gene called out from near the cargo hold entry doors. He had placed his hand on the panel there. “Why?”

“Don’t encourage them,” Blackie snapped.

“I’m a little curious as to what she is up to. Aren’t you?”

Eve turned away and reached under the bunk, finding the brackets that attached it to the wall. It was heavier than it looked when she pulled it off and dumped the mattress onto the floor. Danica reached her side and placed two flame canisters nearby.

“More.”

“Shit. I think I know what you’re up to.” Danica laughed. “You’re making a sled of hell.”

“Yeah.”

“What is that? What are you talking about?” Blackie yelled now, his patience gone.

Eve dropped to her knees and grabbed one of the canisters. “Danica and I have had to take on some real bad guys over the years.” She wrapped the canister ripcord release around the grille of the bedframe. “Sometimes we’ve had to board ships and those suckers would have the advantage. Ever had ass**les with unknown firepower holed up, trying to wait you out? It gets pretty boring as the hours pass so we’ve had to get creative to make them come to us.”

“Time is money.” Danica laughed, bringing two more canisters to Eve. “How long do you think that hallway outside the doors is? Forty feet?”

“Probably,” Eve answered, attaching the other canisters. “We need more.”

“I think that’s it.” Danica cursed. “Will four be enough?”

“We keep an extra supply in the starboard cabinets,” Gene informed them. “What are you going to do with so much flame foam?”

Danica rushed across the room. “The shit just keeps expanding once you spray it. Unleash enough of it and it will fill up an entire room and that includes your nose and your mouth if you open it to breathe.”

“Unpleasant shit,” Eve agreed. “You have to close your eyes too or it will blind you until you wash out the chemicals. See where we’re going with this? How long do you think your buddies are going to want to stick around in that hallway firing at us when there’s no air and they can’t see? It takes about half an hour to disperse.”

“Got three more!” Danica rushed to her with the canisters. “I almost feel sorry for the bastards.”

“They want to kill us.” Eve took them one by one, attaching the ripcords.

“Okay, maybe not so much then.” Danica dropped to her knees, connecting the rope to the end of the grappling cannon. “You could have used something lethal. We could have attached something that would go boom! They have cleaning chemicals we could rig into bombs.”

Eve spared a look at Blackie before holding Danica’s gaze and quickly shaking her head.

“Oh.” Danica secured the rope to the bunk. “Got it.” Her voice lowered. “You turning soft might get us killed if this shit isn’t enough to make them turn tail.”

Eve agreed but she didn’t want Blackie to resent her if she ended up killing someone he cared about. They were people he knew and worked with. She finished her task and climbed to her feet.

“Ready. Help me stand it up, Danica. I’ll fire when the time comes. Just don’t forget to let go. I’d hate to see you go flying out there with it.”

“I have movement on the lift,” Gene warned.

Blackie rushed forward. He and Gene took positions on both sides of the doors, their weapons in hand. He shot her an angry look. “Please just get behind the crates. We can hold Fleet off long enough for the Vontage to reach us.”

“You could be shot.” Eve grabbed the bed and lifted, with Danica’s help, until it was tilted at a ninety-degree angle. “You got it? Is it too heavy?”

Danica moved behind it. The canisters lay on the surface that used to be covered by the mattress. She gripped the sides. “Got it. Just get the hell out of the way when I let go.”

“Twenty feet of rope,” Eve reminded her. “It’s going to go fast.”

“I’ve got great reflexes. You’re the one I’m worried about.”

“I have to aim high. The bunk can’t hit the floor until it’s out of the room. The impact will activate the canisters.”

Eve stood with her legs braced as she hefted the cannon to her shoulder. She aimed between the doors leading into the cargo hold and glanced to her right. It was free of anything that would be in her way when she rolled to get clear.

“Damn it, Eve,” Blackie rumbled. “You’re right in the line of fire.”

“I have to be to get a straight shot. We don’t want to miss or have the bunk slamming into anything on the way out. It will rip the canisters free. Don’t worry. Just keep clear of the damn doors when they open, okay? I don’t want one of you to be hit and dragged out there when the bunk goes flying.”

“It’s a sled now,” Danica piped in. “Sled from hell, remember? Making it sound badass makes me worry less.”

“Fleet and any crew he might have involved should be taking positions,” Gene informed them. “They’ll come at us two at a time in formation.” He watched the panel and dropped his hand away. “My connection has been severed. The controls are being tampered with.”

“Open it before they are damaged and won’t close again,” Eve ordered. “As soon as this thing exits, seal the doors. We don’t want the foam coming back at us.”

“I hope this works,” Danica muttered.

Gene muttered something under his breath as he reached for the manual override lever used in emergencies. “On the count of three. One. Two. Three.”

The doors opened and Eve saw two very surprised cyborgs. One of them had knelt to the left of the doors, working on bypassing the locks through the panel. Fleet stood dead center and reached for his gun. Eve flipped on the cannon and pulled the trigger. A whoosh sounded next to her ear as the metal disk shot forward.

She released the cannon and dived to the right. Something hit her foot, causing her to groan, just before she landed flat on the unforgiving floor. She did manage to keep her eyes open and watch as the bunk shot forward through the air, following the high-powered trajectory of the disk. Danica had released the frame without incident.

Fleet demonstrated his excellent reflexes when he realized the projectile flew right at him. His eyes widened and he hit the deck, just barely avoiding the disk. The bunk bumped his back but didn’t snag his uniform. The cyborg who’d been trying to hack the controls wasn’t as lucky. Part of the metal frame bumped into his shoulder and he was thrown sideways. The attachment disk hit one of the walls and a loud clank sounded as it locked onto the solid surface exactly as it was designed to do. The bunk hit with a screeching sound as it scraped across the metal floor, followed by popping noises.

“Close the doors!” Danica yelled.

Eve wanted to shout the same words when foam exploded down the hallway. She’d thought the rip cord would just pull out and leak the flame foam but the canisters ruptured into bombs of white froth. It rapidly expanded, coming their way as it filled the hallway.

Fleet pushed up and leaped into the cargo hold. He rolled, coming up to his feet with a weapon in hand. Blackie moved from his position next to the still-open doors and kicked out, hitting the guy’s arm. Fleet managed to fire once before his gun went flying out of his hand but his aim went wide, missing Eve by inches, the projectile scarring the floor.

“Close the doors,” Danica yelled again.

Gene seemed to be having a problem getting them to respond as he wrestled with the lever. Eve reached for her sidearm, which she usually kept strapped to her hip, forgetting it wasn’t there until her fingers brushed the fabric of her pants. The doors closed before the foam reached them but Fleet attacked her mate.

Blackie tossed his weapon to Gene to face his now-unarmed opponent. Eve sucked in a sharp breath as the two circled each other, wishing he hadn’t evened out the fight. They were about the same size and muscle mass but her mate was taller and looked meaner. Gene used his weapon to shoot the panel, completely destroying the controls. He turned, raising it to fire again.

“Don’t interfere,” Blackie ordered. “Fleet is mine. Weld those doors shut!”

Eve stayed down as she watched both her mate and Fleet exchange blows. Danica rushed past her, holding a welding rig. She barely took notice when her sister and Gene worked together to fuse the doors. Her temper simmered, wanting to push up and attack the cyborg hitting her mate but she figured he wouldn’t forgive her. She’d already defied his orders once.

Fleet was good but her mate was better. He looked really pissed and quickly gained the upper hand in the fight when he battered the other cyborg’s face with rapid punches. Blood poured from the man’s nose and mouth. Blackie jumped back and did a roundhouse kick, nailing the cyborg in the side of the head. He crashed to the floor and didn’t get up.

Eve finally pushed up and stood. Her heel hurt but she ignored the slight pain, limping toward her mate. He ignored her to bend down, grab Fleet and shove him facedown. He dropped onto him and pulled both arms behind his back.

“Get me chains,” he demanded, to no one in particular.

She changed directions. “On it.”

They didn’t have handcuffs in the cargo hold but she’d seen chains and some locks in one of the storage cupboards. She retrieved about ten feet of chain and one lock. Her gaze met Blackie’s when she limped to his side and flinched at the cold way he looked back at her.

“Here.”

He glanced at her foot. “Are you hurt?”

“I think the bunk nailed me but I’m good.” She’d have lied at that moment even if she’d broken a bone though she was sure it was just bruised.

He growled under his breath and held out a hand for the chains. She backed up as he wrestled with the unconscious cyborg, wrapping the male up by winding the metal around him from shoulder to waist to secure his arms to his sides. She handed over the lock so he could secure the ends.

“Will that hold him?”

“We’re not that strong. He’s secure.”

She was kind of surprised Fleet still breathed after that brutal kick to the side of his head. A human probably would have died from severe brain trauma from a blow that hard. It had looked as though it could smash a skull. It made her realize she wouldn’t survive a maneuver like that in a fight with a cyborg. Canine units were tough but they didn’t have the reinforced bone density the cyborg units were given, making it possible for them to withstand that kind of impact.

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