There were two explosions in the hallway outside; the guard spun around and hefted his gun. He flicked the little radio strapped to his chest, but got only static.
‘Shit,’ he mumbled. He kept the door in his sights and stepped around beside the control column. There were footsteps outside, and voices. He couldn’t quite make them out. He thought: Who the Hell could it be?
The door slid open, and he saw a grenade arc into the room. He moved fully behind the control column, placed his arm over his eyes, and loosened his jaw. The sound from the flashbang was deafening, and even through his arm he could see a bright light.
When it was over he staggered to his feet and struggled to keep his balance. The world was spinning around him, booming sounds were echoing through his skull, and his cheeks were burned red. He managed to focus back on the open door. There were people there now – they weren’t wearing uniforms, but they each had a black ribbon tied around their upper arms. He aimed his gun at the nearest one, and three bullets thudded into his chest.
‘We’ve got the bridge,’ he heard one of them say. A woman. The guard fell down onto his back. Black ribbons. Pirates, he thought. He could feel blood leaking into his clothes. He could feel the warmth draining away.
‘Good,’ crackled a reply, another woman; ‘You’ve got maybe five more minutes until the alarms go off. Get that thing out of the atmosphere.’
Fuck you, thought the guard, and rolled over onto his belly. He took aim at the woman on the radio, as she was coming up to the control column. Another of the pirates saw him, tried to respond, but too late.
He pulled the trigger.