The Saint Nazaire returns to Puerto Angel without Mahad.
His console bleeped at him. Two Sphere patrollers were following him. They would have been a simple matter for him to take down any other day. Not today.
"Go away!" Mahad shouted at them uselessly. Any attempt he made at attacking them would throw him out of control. Instead, he put more power to his thrusters, increasing the Hyperion's speed. The ship shuddered even more.
The Sphere ships increased their speed as well.
Why couldn't he have destroyed that Sphere patroller after he'd first damaged it? No, he had to go after the ones that were faster, and heaps more fun to chase.
Mahad shook his head and cut off that thought. He had other things to worry about now. He'd have to get away from the Hyperion quickly, if he didn't want to get caught. Unless, he did stay and fight. If there were just Brigs on the ships it would be no problem. But if there were any Seijins on them he probably had little chance with just his boomerang.
"I'm just going to have to make the best of this..." he said as the block loomed ahead of him. He angled the Hyperion down and dropped the power to the engines. He passed over the edge of the block, and there was suddenly earth ten feet below him.
Reverse thrust had been a bad idea last time, he'd just have to let the Hyperion slow down by itself. Problem was he was running out of block.
Mahad held the control stick tightly, keeping the Hyperion just off the ground. He could let it slow down just a little more... no he couldn't. He jerked the control stick downwards and the Hyperion contacted the earth with a grind of metal. The earth dampened the speed of the Hyperion suddenly, and Mahad was thrown hard against the console.
The ship skidded to a halt, dust and torn grass settling around it. Inside, Mahad remained slumped against the console, unmoving.
Overhead, the two Sphere ships slowed and then circled down.
Diwan was not in such a good mood herself. The squadron had lost the pirate ship in a mass of blocks. They'd scanned the area after they'd lost it initially. Still, there had been no sign. It hadn't vanished, no; it had been a planned tactic. Pirates were just too good at hiding. They'd attack a barely defended envoy, but run as soon as the big guns came in. It was cowardly, but it still annoyed her. Especially when she would have to explain to Oslo that she'd lost them.
Her console bleeped. It was a message from the two Sphere ships she'd sent after the damaged Hyperion. Apparently, Lena was not on board. Just a boy. If it was the Hyperion it was probably just the girl's brother. He was of no use.
She was about to issue the order to simply blast the ship into oblivion when the console bleeped again.
"Diwan, I see you are returning, but I see no pirate ship."
"The pirates escaped, commander. We lost them among some blocks."
"I see. What of the other ship? Is it the Hyperion?"
"I believe so. Lena isn't on board that either," Diwan admitted.
"Well, if it was the Hyperion, and she was not on it, then I think it is almost certain than Lena was around. Most likely on that pirate ship! Diwan, your incompetence may have lost her once again!"
Diwan thought quickly. It was true, she had lost Lena far too many times, and who knew how many more Oslo would accept? "Wait! Her brother was on that ship."
"Of what use is him to me? Do you really believe the pirates would exchange someone as important as Lena for /him/?!"
"You misunderstand me. We don't have to exchange him for anyone. He will know where Lena is hiding out."
"And you think he would tell us this?"
"He would, if he didn't know he was."
Oslo paused. When he spoke again, the anger was gone from his voice, leaving just a note of curiosity. "Keep going..."
The Saint Nazaire pulled lazily into Puerto Angel, it's two 'wings' folding up as it slid into the dock.
Cortes sat in the captain's chair, staring out the forward window. They could hardly return for Mahad right after they'd just evaded the Sphere ships. They'd have to wait awhile before returning to find him. The most sensible course of action had been to return to Puerto Angel and get the few repairs that the Saint Nazaire would likely need before going back out, rather than hanging around pointlessly.
"Docking procedure is complete..." Dahlia said from her station.
"Good. I'll get the repairs for this organised. You're all dismissed," Cortes said, getting out of his chair.
He headed down to disembark, hoping that he could beat Lena off the ship. It was understandable why she was upset about leaving her brother, but she needed to understand that it had been necessary.
Lena obviously didn't want to be told that, however, as by the time he got down she was already off the ship and halfway across the docking bay.
"Lena!" he tried calling after her.
She heard him, because she started walking faster.
Cortes growled. He wouldn't have much chance of catching her up.
"You know..." Wayan said, walking off behind him, "you don't have to explain yourself to her."
"I know that, Wayan," he sighed, watching as Lena disappeared around the corner.
Lena heard Cortes calling her, but ignored him, getting out of the docking bay as quickly as possible. Thankfully, he didn't seem to be following her. She didn't want to talk to the captain at the moment. Or anyone. She just wanted to get away.
You just didn't leave people behind in a fight. You were supposed to stick together and you just couldn't leave them in a damaged ship with the Sphere on their tail. The Sphere cared nothing for her brother - or almost anyone for that matter. If they caught up with him they would kill him. And even though Mahad was such a great pilot, Lena was finding it hard to believe he could fly the damaged Hyperion to safety.
She reached her and Mahad's house before she realised it. Up in her bedroom, she sat down on her bed. The sun was starting to go down, so she made a quick attempt to find Mahad's mind with her powers. She had no idea if she could reach him over that distance, but she tried anyway. She felt nothing. And before she could try again the sun had sunk below the horizon, leaving her in darkness.
Mahad groaned and opened his eyes. The blurred grey of the console met his eyes. "What happened..." He pushed himself up, holding a hand to the side of his head. "Whoa..." It didn't feel like he'd hit himself that hard, and he'd been knocked unconscious before. But he'd never felt this out of it.
"Ow... well, at least I didn't kill myself." He blinked again, and his head felt clearer. But he still was having trouble focusing properly and remembering what was going on. "Right... the Sphere!" He looked down at his console, but it showed no ships around.
He couldn't see any out the window either. He got up unsteadily, and tried to push it open. "Aw, it's stuck!" He gave it a shove, but that only served to make him dizzy again. He sat back in the chair, waiting for the world to stop spinning.
When everything came back into focus he looked at his console again. Even if he could get out of the Hyperion, he was still feeling too dizzy to make a decent run for it.
"Maybe... maybe I can get this thing off of the ground. I couldn't have damaged it that much." Mahad sighed. "Who am I kidding? I'm not going anywhere."
Despite that thought, he tried starting up the Hyperion anyway. It started, although the engines sounded a little funny. Yeah, that was the easy part, but could he get off the ground? Perhaps he should just wait around for the Saint Nazaire to return. Cortes had told him to leave the Hyperion if there were Sphere ships after him. Well, that's what Mahad assumed he had meant. What point was there in running if the Sphere had left him alone? He'd be easier to find, and he was having trouble leaving the ship anyway.
Suddenly, Mahad was no longer alone. A Sphere ship dropped into his field of vision, and the console blared out an alert. He sat up straight, watching as it spun around slowly to face him.
He couldn't stay; the Sphere ship would destroy him. He couldn't run. But he wasn't just going to let it take him down.
Ignoring the headache, he gripped his control stick. The Hyperion's engines whined and it lifted off the block. He pulled it up until it was pointed at the patroller, and then fired his weapons.
The patroller mustn't have been expecting the damaged ship to retaliate, because it made no attempt to move. The blast hit it in the side and it dropped the few feet down to the block.
"Yes! Got ya!"
His console blipped. The Sphere patroller was sending out a distress signal! If there were any others around, they'd come looking and he'd be toast.
"I can't wait around now..." he put more power to the engines. "Come on..." The Hyperion whined and shuddered a little but, surprisingly, it pulled up into the sky. It was still pulling a little to the left, but whatever problem there had been before seemed to be at least holding itself together. So long as he didn't run into anything he had to pull any fancy manoeuvres to get rid of, he might just be okay.
Cortes had said he'd come back, but as waiting was no longer an option, the best course of action would be to head back to Puerto Angel. He'd try radioing them once he was a little closer - at the moment any other Sphere ships might pick it up, and he wasn't a hundred percent sure he was close enough to contact them anyway.
Mahad pushed the throttle as far as he thought the Hyperion could handle it and shot away from the block. If he was fast enough, he'd be able to get away before any other Sphere ships even saw him. And the faster he got away, the faster he'd be close enough to radio in and let Lena know he was alright.