Lomblurrg made efforts to protest, but they ignored him. Shaak-Rom move to pulled him up; the nefarious surgeon whimpered and resisted. Olper added his hooked pole to the effort and they levered him off the floor and onto his feet. He cried out in exaggerated pain. Then, half dragging the limping black market surgeon they made their way back down the hall. Tager looked around and noticed a line of badly hidden gun ports along each wall; at that size they could have been lasers or flame spouts. He shook his head and kept a chary eye on the demented doctor.
Back in the operating theater Micron was standing on a box leaning over Jumondo’s right shoulder.
“Is he all right?” Tager asked quickly.
The android looked like he was applying field dressings. “They started cutting, but I don’t think they reached the bone…!”
Tager felt his stomach turn. Shaak-Rom and Olper gave the surgeon a rough shove against one of the empty beds, and held him there despite his groans. “Bind him,” Shaak-Rom was saying. Andross brought over some handcuffs, commenting, “This is the dastard, huh?”
Tager looked guiltily from Jumondo to the surgeon; then he noticed Crimson. The female cyborg stood halfway into the operating theater. She swayed. Her face was locked in a grimace of pale fear, her eyes empty. Tager moved to her side.
“Crimson? Crimson!” He used his free hand to shake her machine shoulder.
A cry of alarm ripped from her lungs, and her cybernetic arm violently threw him off. For a moment she spun around, eyes wildly seeking an opponent.
“Whoa! Whoa!” Tager said, “It’s over! We got him!”
Crimson’s eyes fell on him, and her head twitched like a lagged linkburst connection. Tager held his breath until her eyes registered him as an ally.
“We got him,” he repeated, “It’s over. Jumondo is hurt. We have to get him out of here.”
Crimson took a series of rapid breaths, and surveyed the room suspiciously.
“It’s over,” Tager said taking a slow step forward.
“I heard you!” Crimson snapped. She sucked in her breath and the spit that flew from his lips. Her eyes focused on Jumondo, and she processed the information she’d been given. “Get… back to… ship. Micron! I need a hack.”
The Android handed bandages to Olper and hopped down to come closer.
“Get me an intercom,” Crimson ordered.
Crimson’s voice echoed through Irglikerrg Station.
“Attention all Skedcomm personnel: Stand down. This is not a Code 9. This is a Galactic Precinct police action. Wanted criminals have been taken into custody. Any attempt to interfere will result in a recorded violation of Action 17, Article 5, Resisting Arrest by Deputized Persons, and you will be detained for corrective measures. Stand down. Illegal practice has been identified on this station and it is under investigation.”
Crimson hung up the intercom with a decisive slam. She looked at Jumondo, still unconscious. “Get him on a cot. We’re getting out of here.”
“What about these guys?” Andross was standing among the fallen Gortassa slavers.
“Leave them. If we have time we’ll come back.”
Tager and Olper helped wheel Jumondo down the dark halls. In moments the orange glow was replaced with the usual dirty white of the dirty station. Minutes later Crimson got a Linkburst from Gator. “They’re at Docking Bridge 4. We’re going there!”
A series of passageways later and they were at the airlock to the station bridge, and the Rival Bay. A party of Skedcomm bigwigs intercepted them part way and began blathering that they had no idea illegal activity was happening on their station. Crimson stopped them with a robotic hand: “Save it!” When the airlock opened they met Gator and the rest of the crew, well-armed, halfway down the sealed bridge.
“’Dju-get ‘im?” Gator rumbled, thundering towards them like a B-monster movie.
Crimson nodded and barked, “Everyone down to the cargo bays. Pick up the trash. Get Jumondo to medical!”
Braevel, in his bulky water-suit, pushed through the rush of bounty hunters deploying down the gangplank. He quickly folded his zero-g cot and stowed it on Jumondo’s rolling gurney. “I’ll acquire some assistance to roll the big lug!” he quipped cheerfully.
Tager threw his weight behind the troll’s bed and he and the Rival’s medic rolled him towards their seedship home. Olper was next to them. Stars twinkled in the gang-plank’s window ports between the grungy station and the massive seedship. It was hard to tell from size who had docked whom.
Shaak-Rom dragged Lomblurrg after them.