Warp Riders – Chapter 23

They didn’t light the next flare until they bumped the far wall, mercifully with the Captain’s good leg. It wasn’t far to the rope, and somehow the Navigatrix still had all the harnesses and winches strapped to her. While the Captain awkwardly rolled side to side to pull one on, the Navigatrix shouted up to the tunnel:

“We’re headed up, drop the other rope!”

She was half over the side of the raft, pulling her original rope up out of the water, when they both heard it – the rattle of disturbed gravel as it fell down the tunnel. But no rope fell.

Instead the Navigatrix felt her own rope being tugged on from above, and in defense she pushed them quickly away from the cliff wall, the end of her own rope wrapped tightly around one fist.

The Captain angled the flare, and they both looked up to see the Stowaway.

They weren’t wearing a headlamp, or any gear- they just had the Navigatrix’s rope wrapped around their waist, and as they looked down at the two of them, they saluted, and then pulled something long and thin from across their back; the Captain gasped as she saw them draw it tight and she pulled the Navigatrix down to the bottom of the raft again as a fucking arrow whizzed past them into the water past the raft.

“What the fuck!” she yelled from underneath her crewmate. The Navigatrix quickly dodged her grip and pointed the flare back at the tunnel, but the Stowaway was already gone.

The rope was slack in the Navigatrix’s hand again.

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