* This read contains adult language. *
The bulkhead had been burned through and a minute later a slab of metal was on the deck, and three crew members armed with bolt throwers stepped in, swiveling to track the bridge crew. None of the bridge crew moved; what was the point. One of the armed crew gave a "clear," and Executive Officer Ollie Inverr ducked through the hole of the bulkhead and onto the deck. He spied Gineos and came over to her. One of the armed crew trained his bolt thrower on her specifically.
"Captain Gineos," Inverr said, greeting her.
"Ollie," Gineos said, returning the greeting.
"Captain Arullos Gineos, pursuant to Article 38, Section 7 of the Uniform Code of the Mercantile Shipping Guilds, I hereby—"
"Cut the shit, Ollie," Gineos said.
Inverr smiled at this. "Fair enough."
"I have to say you did a pretty good job with the mutiny. Taking Engineering first so that if everything else goes wrong you can threaten to blow the engines."
"Thank you, Captain. I did in fact try to get us through this transition with a minimum of casualties."
"Does that mean Fanochi is still alive?"
"I said a minimum, Captain. I'm sorry to say Chief Fanochi was not very accommodating. Assistant Chief Hybern has been promoted."
"How many of the other officers do you have?"
"I don't think you need to worry about that, Captain."
"Well, at least you're not pretending you're not going to kill me."
"For the record, I'm sorry that it's come to this, Captain. I do admire you."
"I already told you to cut the shit, Ollie."
Another smile from Inverr. "You never were one for flattery."
"You want to tell me why you've planned this insurrection?"
"Not really, no."
"Indulge me. I'd like to know why I'm about to die."
Inverr shrugged. "For money, of course. We're carrying a large shipment of weapons meant for the military of End to help them fight their current insurrection. Rifles, bolt throwers, rocket launchers. You know, you signed off on the manifest. I was approached when we were at Alpine about selling them to the rebels instead. Thirty percent premium. That seemed like a good deal. I said yes."
"I'm curious how you planned to get the arms to them. End's spaceport is controlled by its government."
"They would never have made it there. We come out of the Flow, and we're attacked by pirates who offload the cargo. You and the other crew who don't go along with the plan die in the attack. Simple, easy, everyone who is left makes a bundle and is happy."
"The House of Tois won't be happy," Gineos said, invoking the Tell Me's owner.
"They've got insurance for the ship and cargo. They'll be fine."
"He won't be happy about Egerti. You'll have to kill him. That's Yanner Tois's son-in-law."
Inverr smiled at the name of the House of Tois's patriarch. "I have it on good authority that Tois would not be entirely put out to make his favorite son a widower. He has some other alliances a marriage could firm up."
"You have this all planned out, then."
"It's not personal, Captain."
"Getting murdered for money feels personal, Ollie."
Inverr opened his mouth to respond to this, but then 'Tell Me Another One' dropped out of the Flow, triggering a set of alarms that no one on the Tell Me—not Gineos, not Inverr—had ever heard outside of an academy simulation.
Gineos and Inverr stood there for several seconds, gaping at the alarms. Then both of them went to their stations and got to work, because Tell Me had unexpectedly dropped out of the Flow, and if they didn't figure out how to get back into it, they were, without a doubt, irretrievably fucked.
Now, some context, here.