We continued to make our way through the station utilizing the maintenance ductwork. It was grueling as we crawled through the three foot tall ducts and tubes. It also took quite a good deal of time.
After a few hours of not locating their two escaped prisoners, 'Landro's men began to grow bored and tired with the constant search. This only made out escape even more easy as we no longer feared his men around every corner. We were able to reach the lowest level of habitable space at the top of the spire roughly three hours after our escape.
When we made it to the spire we lept down the shaft and used our maglev boots and made our way down the dark tube to the bottom. At the bottom we again returned to the maintenance ducts. Slower but these were more secure than utilizing the central lift tube. We exited the tube and made our way down a dark corridor.
Everything seemed to be going our way. "Kyra, stay behind me." I turned the corner with my laserpistol at the ready. "Who knows what vile mysteries lie in these tunnels."
I spotted a data panel and stopped. "Kyra, keep an eye out," I handed her the pistol as I tapped on the panel. I bypassed the basic security protocol that protected the system from intruders. 'Landro and his men focused on invaders coming from the outside that they took little precautions against internal. Once inside I was able to pull up the main database and search for any data on the Kinsloab. Within minutes I turned away from the panel. "There, that should slow them."
"What did you do Dirk," Kyra inquired.
"I started a scan of their system, searching for the device. When it is complete in a few minutes it will systematically delete all files with a reference to the device. When they check the system they will discover that they have lost everything. They will have to begin again."
"That will probably set them back months if not years." A big smile appeared on her lovely face.
"I also planted an encrypted a virus in their system," I scanned the corridor ensuring it was still clear.
"We have exactly forty minutes to exit the station before their system goes haywire. Environmental, power, communications, they will lose everything."
"It will destroy the station?" Kyra looked surprised I could be so cruel.
"Once I hit this button," I pointed at the panel, "It will set in motion a series of events inside their system. If they are smart, and use precautions, they can save the station. This will slow them Kyra, not kill them."
And that is when everything went wrong.
A blast struck the panel, shattering it to pieces in a spray of hot sparks. I ducked and pulled Kyra with me across the corridor. We squeezed behind a support buttress that jutted from the wall.
"Not on my watch Derringer," came the flat emotionless voice of a certain Burlakian. "Surrender now and I will make your death less painful."
I said nothing. I scanned the corridor, the Burlakian had at least five guards with him. They completely blocked the passage, no way we could get through them. I turned to scan the other direction only to see the ends of four more laser rifles poking around the corner. We were trapped!
"Dirk!" Kyra yelled as another blast struck the corridor wall.
"Stay down," I shouted over the noise of the blasters. I looked across the corridor to the data panel. It was completely shattered and swung in a limp arc by two wires from the wall. The screen was black. I was so close to completely disrupting 'Landro's operation. I also had no idea how much they knew on the device. They could have the entire plans in the system.
"I think we are trapped! Oh Dirk," she clung close to me. "What are we going to do?"
I began a thorough examination of the corridor between the hail of blaster fire. Sparks and grey smoke filled the corridor. I doubted Niarobix and his men could even see where they were shooting.
A terrible smell wafted to my nostrils and I searched for the source. Through the smoke I spotted the source of the terrible aroma: the sewers.
A blaster shot had broken the hatch that covered the tube to the disposal system. I took back my pistol and took careful aim through the cloud of smoke and the din of blasters. With two shots I was able to clear the rest of the cover away, leaving an opening large enough for a person to squeeze through.
Kyra saw my plan. "You cannot be serious."
"It is this or torture under the palm of that giant Burlakian," I holstered the pistol and looked back at the opening. It was not large but if we could clear the blaster and smoke filled corridor we could make our escape. I grabbed her hand and gave it a kiss. "Come on Kyra, you want to live forever?"
With that I sprinted across the corridor and leapt headfirst through the opening.
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