Geneieve let out a long, slow breath. She'd been unable to take a good one since she'd looked up from trying to fend off the advances of her captors and saw Bowen looking down at them like a stubble-clad avenging angel.
She kept her hand on her pistol as she slogged through the sand to what used to be the bridge section. Damn. The ship had only been commissioned the month before. At least the majority of the reinforcements on the hull design had held. What she really wondered was whether the sickbay had stood up under the concussive impact of the blasts. She'd been headed there when the goons had grabbed her and dragged her behind the hold.
Try as she might, suppressing the need to shiver at their touch was beyond her capacity at the moment. The memory of their hands on her sent a wave of revulsion through her body. Her hands clenched into fists. At least she'd gotten in a few good kicks. But despite her bravado to Bowen, she doubted she'd have been able to hold them off indefinitely.
If not for Bowen...
She pushed the thought out of her mind.
The lousy traitor had no right to her thoughts of gratitude. He'd turned his back on God, duty and country for the lure of profits. Greed had turned more than one good man's head. She just never thought it possible of Dante Bowen. Honor and loyalty fit him like a well-cut dress uniform. He had been her rock. And he'd fooled her. Betrayed his team during the Battle of Jenesia.
When they hadn't found his body, all sorts of horrible scenarios had filled Geneieve's head. She'd imagined he'd been captured and tortured, held prisoner in a slave camp somewhere, injured and amnesic or clinging to life by the barest wire. But no, he'd cut and run and was sporting long hair, civilian clothes and a pilot's license.
Geneieve shook her head.
Don't think about him. He's dead to you.
Or soon would be. All she had to do was to make sure her call to the command center included a plea for the MPs to transport him back for trial.
Bile rose in her throat at the thought.
They'd been in love once.
The memories she had of Bowen were so incongruous with the man she'd seen on the bridge of his freelance merc ship. And yet, he'd come to her rescue not once, but twice. A suspicious stinging burned her eyes until she blinked them in rapid succession. Probably just the smoke billowing around her that irritated them.
As she walked up the twisted metal of what was once the ramp to the bridge section, something large and dark cast a shadow over the ground, momentarily blocking out the sun. Geneieve put her hand up to shield the sun from her eyes to look. The thing moved, creating an eclipse effect.
Bowen ran by and grabbed her by the arm, pulling her along with him. "Come on. We need to get out of here."
"No. I'm not leaving without my crew."
"Your crew is dead. The only survivors out there so far are my men. Mine!"
Geneieve tore her arm away from him. "I have to check."
"Don't be stupid and save yourself while you still can."
She spun on him, ramming her finger in his chest a few times. "Is that what you did at Jenesia? Save yourself?"
The look he gave her from his golden hawk-like eyes by rights should have turned her into glass in the hot sand. It only made her angrier. As if he had the right to judge her actions?
She turned and continued on into the broken bridge section, no longer caring about the enemy or if they managed to kill her now. How would it look if she was the only survivor of her team? No, she'd rather die knowing she tried to save as many as she could than live to face years of regrets for not even making the attempt.
"Christ," Bowen muttered. "Let's hurry then."
"You don't have to come."
"Yes, I do, or you'll stay here and get yourself killed."