They didn't have much time.
"Damn!" Trapped, and the door would open any moment to someone who would kill them for what he'd done. "Mara--"
"Down!" she hissed.
He obeyed without thinking as the door snapped open. Then he realized Lichad wouldn't know he was here. He took that moment to send a quick message to Captain Lawrence, too. One word.
He keyed their location, keyed on the vid and shoved it into the corner of is pocket. The knife went back into the sheath. He might be able to pretend to be harmless.
"You damned little bitch!" Lichad yelled as he came in. "You! Do you know what you did? Did you think you'd walk away --"
Izain knew Lichad's temper. He had to move now --
"Kill that bitch!"
Right now. No thought.
The intruders were not as close as he would have liked. He wanted the group to walk up the spot where he could see them and know how many -- but would that make a difference?
He shoved crates towards the enemy and leapt out, charging straight into the group. Lichad yelped and jumped back -- never really brave, their Lichad -- and the two guards with him spun from Mara to him. Both had laser pistols in hand, but Lichad's move put him in the line of fire. The guard did not kill their boss, alas.
The other spun from Mara to Izain and fired. The shot stung along the side of his arm, no matter how fast he'd moved to get out of the way. He had the impression of Mara dropping behind the desk as he leapt at the crates and sent a few more tumbling. By then, more of the guards were at the door but Lichad was trying to retreat and blocked the way.
How long until help got here?
Izain had ducked between more crates and sent them falling as well, but he was running out of cover. His arm hurt like hell and he couldn't move it. If help didn't get here soon, he was not going to survive. The thought annoyed him more than frightened him. He hated hard work that went wrong.
The last falling crates had hit one guard in the arm. The other was going around the desk --
"To your left, Mara!"
"You!" Lichad growled. His face, which had been red with rage suddenly went insane. He stopped retreating and charged straight at Izain.
That saved his life because both of the guards had aimed his way. Lichad threw himself at Izain and got into the way again. Izain didn't have anywhere to retreat. They hit the wall with enough force that it sent agony through is wounded arm and his head felt odd. He barely got his good arm up, but Lichad had him by the neck now. The best he would do was put a knee to the groin -- the man howled but didn't let go.
Izain dropped his arm and snapped the blade back out into his hand. He stabbed and didn't much care what he hit, but as Lichad fell back away from him with a sound of shocked dismay, both guards caught him by the arms, blows knocking him back again, the blade gone from his hand. They pinned him to the wall. One brought up his laser and put it right against Izain's forehead.
He closed his eyes.
"If you don't want to die right now, you'll drop that pistol. Immediately."
He opened his eyes as the guards let go of him. He blinked once, seeing her and station guards in the room. Mara had stood. Good. She survived.
He slid down. . . .
There was hell on the station for the next few days. He managed to miss most of it, trapped in the medunit with guards on the door. He was pretty sure they weren't there just to protect him and he didn't test the theory by trying to leave, even after he stopped aching at every breath and twitch.
No one came to see him.
He slept a lot since they wouldn't get him touch a computer. Probably wise on their part.
Izain sat up with a start. Captain Lawrence stood over the bed.
"Captain?" he said, trying to shake off the drugs they kept giving him.
"Time to go. We have to hurry. The ship is due to leave that station in ten minutes." She tossed some clothes on the bed. "Dress quickly."
He probably broke some sort of record getting the ship uniform on. Then they were jogging down the quiet halls. Night shift for the station. Not many people out. He didn't ask questions, just starting to feel the relief that he was not being left behind. A guard stood by the lift and nodded as they went in. It went downward quickly and without stopping at any of the levels. They reached the bay area with the ship docked just two berths away. By the time they reached the airlock, they were both gasping.
"Three minutes to launch," a voice warned.
Another run up to control. He dropped into his usual seat, surprised to find it empty and ran a quick check, too aware of others watching him.
"Clear," he said, still slightly gasping. "You did get the warning about the ship already having been targeted by Lichad?"
"I took care of the problem," a voice said to the right.
He spun half in his chair, even as the ship began to pull out. "Mara! Well, damn!"
"She needed a job," Captain Lawrence said as the ship trembled with power and the station slipped away behind them. "I hope I don't regret this. But I think . . . There are things that need to change out there. We've all seen it and the crew agrees. You two are going to help."
Mara and Izain nodded.
Three jumps later, the ship exploded.
At least that's what the computer records say. . . .