“Dani, Caesar, get the prisoners to the lounge and strip them down.” Sara pointed her rifle at the Penance crew as she spoke. The gesture possessed no malice: she only used the weapon as a pointing instrument. But the effect served to remind the Banner crew not to mess with the pirates. “Ivan, with me. Let’s take inventory.”
“If I may,” the Penance’s captain offered to Sara’s back as she marched down the corridor. “I offer everything in our cargo hold, all the medical supplies we have, if you’ll leave now.”
Sara turned and faced the captain. “That’s a very generous offer, Captain …”
“Captain Hillibrand.” Sara sighed as she turned and continued down the corridor. “But my orders are to take everything on the ship not bolted down.” She rested her hand on a potted plant secured into a wall fixture. “Even then I can take the bolted-down stuff at my discretion.”
“No! We’re on a peaceful mission from—”
Sara whirled around and crossed the distance between her and Captain Hillibrand in an instant, her grav rifle leveled under the man’s chin, ready to snap his head back at the pull of a trigger. “Don’t finish that sentence. There is nothing peaceful about the so-called ‘Banner of Galactic Peace.’ You’re all monsters. If it weren’t for the very clear instructions of my kindly benefactor, you and your crew would not be leaving this raid alive.” Sara let the fury of her emerald eyes sink in for a few seconds. “And if you so much as pull anything to jeopardize my mission, you still might not. Do you understand?”
Hillibrand gulped and nodded as much as the rifle under his jaw allowed.
Sara turned and walked on. After a deep breath, she exhaled the decade of pain her crew had endured under Banner leadership. “Ivan, let’s see what’s so precious on this ship.”