A dull rumble and vibration caused Akila to stir. She groaned softly as she shakily pressed a hand to her temple. Her entire body, every muscle, was aching and she had a pounding headache.
"Where..." Akila croaked. Her throat was dry and her lips felt rough. She was lying on her back and seemed to be surrounded by dull light. Despite being dim it was still bright enough to hurt her sensitive recovering eyes, causing her to wince. Another dull rumble shook her body slightly, before she heard a mechanical servo engage, followed but the grating noise of moving stone. Above her, the light gave way to an opening void of darkness as the top of her sarcophagus slowly swung open. Akila grimaced again before pulling herself up by the rim of the sarcophagus until she was sitting upright. Her eyes throbbed painfully as they tried to adjust to the different light level in the cabin. The only light in the room was that which spilled out from the sarcophagus. Akila had half a mind to simply lay back down and go to sleep when everything suddenly shook violently, causing her to lose her hold on the coffin edge and fall backwards, landing hard on her back.
It seemed rest was out of the question. She dragged herself slowly and carefully from the sarcophagus, her pain racked muscles protesting all the way. Her bare feet made tentative contact with the hard cold floor and she tried to steady herself. Again the cabin shook violently, but luckily, Akila was holding on this time, saving her from another uncomfortable fall. She wore only a sheer dress which she gently felt between her fingers as she tried to regain her tactile sense and get a handle on where she was and what was happening.
Sarcophagus... shaking cabin... a ship? why... we were after a ship... Dorken...
It was slowly coming back to her, though the most immediate piece of information that forced its way to the foreground driven by survival instinct was the shaking cabin. The ship was under attack. Akila moved gingerly from her hold on the coffin and staggered towards a tiny point of light that she could make out in the darkness. As her movement was detected, the cabin lights came to life, adjusting to a dull setting for a waking occupant. Akila stopped to take stock of her surroundings. She was in the captain's quarters of an Al'kesh, that much was obvious. A number of modifications had been made to the cabin however, incorporating many strange and varying items and pieces of technology. Dorken's personal horde no doubt. Akila had half a mind to peruse the items when the cabin shuddered slightly again.
A near miss...
She tried to make her way to the communication console, though the pain in her muscles made it difficult to move quickly. As she was about to reach the console, the cabin shook again, causing Akila to stumble forward and land awkwardly on the cold panel. She cursed silently as she maneuvered herself into the cushioned chair and hailed the bridge.
"Good morning sister!" came Asim's annoyingly cheerful greeting sounding from the console. "Did you sleep well?"
"What is going on?" Akila groaned. She was not in the mood for her brother's pleasantries.
"Well, as you have no doubt gathered, we have some unfriendly company", Asim replied. The cabin shook once more as though punctuating his sentence.
"Can we get away?" Akila asked as she placed a hand to her head once more, trying to beat back her throbbing headache. Even though she could not remember everything like the details of the plan, she did have the distinct feeling that it was not meant to include them being attacked while they escaped with Dorken's ship.
"Unknown", Asim replied to her question. "It seems Dorken's friends have some sort of hyperspace drive tracking ability. I disabled the subspace beacon on this ship but it seems they were able to lock on to the signature of its hyperspace engine. We're currently in normal space though since the drive seems to have suffered some kind of overload. Since you're up, would you mind taking a look~?" Asim hummed.
"Fine", Akila sighed irritably. As much as she was hurting, it wouldn't mean much if they could not get away safely with the ship. Getting to the engineering space however, would be a tall order in her condition...
Many bumps, falls and guttural curses later, Akila stumbled into the hyperspace drive room. The al'kesh took a particularly hard hit as she came through the door, causing her to fly forward and unceremoniously land on the floor with a painful thud.
What is that idiot doing?
Despite her silent curse at her brother, she knew that Asim's piloting ability was unmatched among the 3 siblings. If it were anyone besides him at the helm, the ship would probably have been lost by now. Pulling herself up onto her hands and knees, Akila regarded the malfunctioning hyperspace drive before her. The core seemed fine at a glance, though the acrid smell that filled the room was a clear indicator as to what happened. Remaining low to the ground, she crawled beneath the drive to a low narrow space underneath. A large exchanger descended down out of the window generator and split into 8 massive conduits leading to the emitters. As Akila feared, the conduits were burned black from an overload, rendering them useless. On standard Al'kesh, this was guarded against with a trip system which could temporarily disable the connections and reengage them later. It seemed however that Dorken and his crew had made some sort of modifications to their drive, incorporating alien technologies which bypassed the safeties. It resulted in a faster hyperspace engine, but also left it far less reliable, especially when operating for extended periods.
Akila crawled backwards, out from beneath the exchanger before heading to the control panel and disengaging the entire system completely.
"What happened?" Asim asked over the comm when Akila reached the engine room panel to hail the bridge again. "I'm reading the entire hyperspace drive offline."
"The drive is finished", Akila replied dryly. "Dorken tinkered with it too much. Re-route the surplus power to shields and sub-light engines. Why haven't you counterattacked by the way?"
"The layout on this bridge has been modified," Asim replied. "I can't fly the ship and browse the weapon suite at the same time..."
"Understood, I'll see what I can do from here." Akila replied, hoping that it could be done from where she was and that she wouldn't have to drag her aching body up to the bridge. Luckily, Dorken's tinkering had not infested the entire control system, and Akila was at least able to get partial weapons control. The ship shook violently once more as Akila scrolled through the Al'kesh's arsenal with a bit of urgency. Most of the weapons packages were things she had never seen before and had no idea what they could actually do. Then something caught her eye, 'decoy'.
"Standby", Akila called out into the active bridge comm. link. Noticing that the number of rounds totaled seven, Akila deployed them all. The ship lurched slightly as the decoys leaped free from improvised bay doors on the underside. Asim was quick to catch the trick, and he adopted a similar erratic flight pattern to the daughter vessels that launched. The pursuers totaling three vessels of similar class, were suitably fooled, and pealed off to try and run down the decoys they thought were the target. Asim played it cool, staying close to 2 of the evading decoys traveling on a slightly different heading to the one they had taken.
An hour later, the door to the bridge slid open, admitting Akila inside. She had changed into something a bit warmer, although she opted to remain barefooted for the time being.
"Nice of you to join me", Asim crowed. "That was a timely little move with the decoys."
"We were lucky", Akila chided as she slumped into the captain's chair. She continued to nurse her sore body as she huddled a bit on the seat. "If it wasn't for this ship's armament we would not have made it..."
"You should have more faith in me", Asim chuckled.
Akila leered at him for a moment before accessing the ship's systems to get a better grasp on what they had acquired and where they were. With the hyper-drive taken off line, the other bounty hunters would have to use other much slower means to track the ship which had accelerated to significant sub-light velocity. Fortunately, the destination was not too far, about 6 days travel at their current speed. Akila sighed for a moment, daring to close her eyes.
"How does this affect the timetable?" She asked quietly.
"Not much", Asim replied. "It seems Adio anticipated some unforeseen circumstances. Once we are in position, he will be signaled autonomously. Our brother thinks of everything..."
"It seems so", Akila sighed.