She's talking, fast and tight and even, knowing somewhere at the back of her mind that she's dropping more consonants than she's keeping at this point, but it doesn't matter. They know she isn't official. They might not know that they know, but if she stops talking long enough to let them think, they'll realize it.
And damn don't they have big guns.
But still, she keeps talking, rattling off some nonsense about the aft cooling coil of the tertiary underdrive (and who knows if there actually is such a thing) being in such a depressing state it'll be a wonder if she lets them off with only a warning. Truely this ship isn't meant to be flying. She believes that part, but not because of any rusty engine bit or container of severely out-of-date food kept in the pantry.
This is a slavers ship.
She hadn't meant to land here, on this rock of a planet that serves as a trade-off spot. But here she ended up, and as much as she might get in trouble for it, she couldn't just walk away. Alright, so she wouldn't be walking away in any case, more like flying, but the principles hold true. Some of those slaves weren't even near being adults yet. 'Course, some folk liked it like that, meant the new slave wouldn't remember much of a free life, would be easier to control. Among other reasons. Ace prefers not to think of those reasons. If she thinks about those reasons, this little chat will turn into a firefight, emphasis on the fire. She can't risk it. She has to give everyone time to get away from the holding cells, into the TARDIS, or off into the forest if that suits them better. It's all about choice. Right now, her job is to keep the goons busy by pretending to be some over-anal example of officialdom that just happened to stumble across their signal.
A couple are beginning to get that worrisome look of dawning comprehension, so she talks faster, louder, more stridently, look here, don't think, I'm not asking you to think, clearly your thinking has been messed up of late so let me do your thinking for you. She's also slowly leading the back towards the TARDIS - she's given the time promised, and more besides, and the shorter distance she has to run is all the better for her. She's complaining bitterly about the state of their port injection coupling (which she's fairly certain doesn't exist at all) when, at the back of the crowd, a slow, dim sort of voice pipes up.
"Ain't never heard of no aft coolin' coil." He's big, he's muscular, and he probably hasn't got two brain cells to rub together. That's the problem. Smart people, they have imaginations. They see someone in a vaguely official-looking uniform, and they fill in the details themselves, up to and including the many various ways she can punish them for not coming up to par, the reinforcements she can call in to back her judgements, the depth of her obvious disapproval. Stupid poeple... there's no intimidating stupid people. They just don't have room for it in their heads.
Slowly, the rest of them realize the truth - there has never been, nor will there ever be, an aft cooling coil, not in the tertiary underdrive or any other drive on this ship. The jig is most assuredly up.
Ace is running flat-out down the corridor before the snap and crackle of dozens of safeties being clicked off sounds behind her, eerily loud to her ears.
Louder is the sound of gunfire that follows her, the pound of footsteps and the enraged shouts as they realize that she's making a beeline for the slave deck. She flies, doing her best to slow them down as she goes, closing hatches, pulling down boxes, anything to give them a bit of trouble and give herself a bit more time. There it is, a door marked not with a number, but with the symbol of the ace of spades. She has to pause, fish the key out of her pocket, get it into the lock...
Her lower left leg explodes into a haze of firey pain, just as she gets the key in the lock, the cheers of victory coming from behind her drowning out the sound of the lock snicking back, the door opening under her hand...
The door closes behind her just in time to stop the next hail of bullets.
There weren't so many as she had hoped. Most hadn't trusted enough to go through another door that didn't lead outside, and had made a break for it. They might make it - it is a big enough world, with enough natural species to keep them going, if they put their minds to it. Besides, what little passes for government should be nosing about there soon, after the distress beacon Ace left howling away gets their attention. Those that did come, she sets off at the nearest, safest station, within a decent timeframe to not directly implicate a Time Lord in their rescue.
As for the bullet...
TARDIS medbays are wonderful things. Luckily it was a through-and-through, and she was blessed enough to escape with no major nerve injury, though touch is kinda awkward, in spots. Looking at it, you'd think the wound was months old, years, at least.
Which means Ace will never tell.
And learn to talk faster, next time.