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The Silent Black Ocean (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 12 - The Silent Black Ocean[]

Merchant Class JumpShip
Unspecified Region of Space
Deep Periphery

("" know this can't end well for you.  Before you pull that trigger, think about this...")

...Forgiveness isn't something you give to someone who deserves it, because that's the person who doesn't need it. The same goes for redemption."  CPO Christine Vanh stared intently at the welded hatch on the old Merchant class JumpShip"We can make this stop, Gary.  You don't have to do this, we can make it stop. We can make it go away and nobody has to die. But if you pull that trigger, people will die, and you still won't get what you want."

Taps on the ship's systems from engineering showed up on the lower quadrant of her helmet's heads-up display.  The man on the other side of the door wore a ragged green uniform, and he was holding the family of the ship's master at needler point.

"I can die with my honor!" he spits at the camera.

"No, you won't.  If you make me come in there, you'll die like a rabid dog.  No honor, no glory, just a rogue and a war criminal, gunned down by police after he killed civilians."  she said quietly,  "You did it. You didn't surrender. You've stuck it out and you kept out of sight. But this is it, the end of the line. You're the last Mongol standing. Are you going to go down like an animal, Gary? How is that going to look in the Remembrance, Gary? There are still Falcons, do you think we won't show them you dying like a beast? Is that a legacy worthy of a man with Hazen blood?"

"What would you know?" he demanded.

"I grew up sixty seven kilometers south of Hue, my family lives next to the Mosovich-Icazas.  I know you don't want this to be how you go down. You're Jade Falcon, not...this. Be the man you know you should be. Let the civilians go and come out-you can still redeem your honor."

The portion of the hatch that wasn't welded groaned, and opened.

"Children first!" she heard him bark.  The kids came tumbling through the opening, pulled aside and passed down the corridor from hand to hand.

The woman came next.

Then, the man.

"I'm coming in there, Gary, you did the honorable thing." she said.

The needler's discharge bounced off her faceplate as she came through, and anchored on the wall/deck.

"You're armored." he said.

"I'm Coast Guard, Gary.  we live in this stuff." she told him, "You don't." she reached up, and lifted her faceplate, "Let's be honorable about this, give me a minute to get out of the armor."

He waited while she crawled out of the oversuit, and closed it behind her.  "We don't have to do this. You can come in, I can get you immigrant status in Hue. You don't have to burn up."

"Ah, 'immigrant' status, with the abjured." he scoffed, "They would not have me."

"There are other options. A fresh start on one of the colonies, they could use a man who is resourceful and committed." she told him, "If you insist, augmented or not?"

He cast the needler aside and drew a fighting knife.

"Bargained well and done." she said, and drew her own.  "I will bring you in alive, Gary."  she quickly slipped an end of cord through the lanyard loop, and looped the rest around her wrist with a grapple weight on the end.

He snarled, then launched himself at her.

She whipped the weight out in a snap-arc and it tangled around his feet. Then letting her use her magnetic boots to run along the wall, whipping him feet-for-head into the bulkhead with a bang and a surprised yelp.

She used her leverage and anchorage to whip him away from the wall. The velocity keeping him in motion with alternating acceleration and impacts.

An Elemental, even one with Hazen blood is a huge mass to manipulate with rescue cord and a grapple weight0 Gary wasn't trained for this kind of zero-gee combat.

Christine use a yank and a twist to roll his flailing limbs in the cord, ducking and jumping across the command deck of the stricken vessel. Then anchor it again on the far wall, his velocity pulling him tight in the two thousand kilo test line.

She'd looped around his arms, pulled them tight to his body at the elbow.  He thrashed and each thrash tangled him further (with her encouragement) until they were almost nose-to-nose.  "Do you yield, warrior?" she asked.

His face twisted in fury, he grunted, his fighting knife falling from purpling fingers.  "Yes, damn you." he hissed.

This close, the big man was so familiar. His stubborn pride and pain at defeat so much like her father.

They were even roughly the same age.

"I accept your bond." she told him, loosening the rescue cord enough to slip the item from her pocket out, and tie it around his wrist, "bondsman." she added, "You can regain your honor with discipline, faith, and obedience."

She untangled him, "Let's get you home now, Gary, your people need you."

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