Discussion in 'Worldbuilding' started by DonMegel, Jan 18, 2007.
Moar story plox?
“Patterson? What in the hell is going on?”
There is gratitude for you Patterson thought a bit amused, “We have your ship in tow Captain-“
“In tow!?” spat the Captain’s voice over the crackling intercom. Despite their best efforts, neither crew was able to establish visual communication with the stricken Imperial heavy cruiser. “I’ll destroy this ship before I’ll let it be a prize for those imbred-“
“Actually, Captain” Patterson interrupted after seeing his first officer roll his eyes in disgust, “rescuing your ship was not my first inclination. I preferred letting you negotiate with our new friends on your own terms. However, your first officer can be very persuasive.” A pause, “Of course, we can let you off here if you prefer.”
For a few moments the ceiling mounted speaker only crackled with the occasional pop of static laced silence. The Captain of Ramman found great pleasure in his opponent’s embarrassed lack of response. He knew he had to saver it while it could as it would surly not last long.
“That will be unnecessary Captain” Gardiner finally admitted, now quieter but notably irritated. “What is our heading?”
Patterson looked down at his small display to verify their course, “4387 Mark 1 Captain, we’re going to drop you off at a Servous 8. You have an outpost there.”
“I am aware of that, but there is a more fortified installation about 18 hours closer at 43-“
“Yes” Patterson interrupted, “We know, but would prefer to be spared their harassment on our way back to Jekotian space.”
Another wave of silence crashed upon the conversation as the Brenodi captain considered his benefactor’s reply. “The repair facilities at Baker Station are much more extensive,” He offered at last, “you have my word that you nor your vessel will be harmed.”
Captain Patterson shot a concerned glance over toward his first officer whose expression mirrored his own. After evading death’s toothy grin for over a week, they were being invited to visit the spider’s den by the very man sent to destroy them. How much easier could it be? Disguised beneath a veil of debris and destruction, the wounded vessel offers a flag of truce in the exchange to a short trip to a heavily fortified star base. After releasing the Borodin the Ramman would be unable to escape in time to avoid being disabled by the station’s weapons. The wily Jekotian fox would not only be captured, but would have willingly entered the cell and closed the door.
Captain Gardiner understood their hesitation, “I was sent to kill or capture you and your vessel” he began ominously, “but we have a greater issue at hand, both us and our people. Once it is dealt with I promise, I will finish what I started but until that day it would be foolish to maintain our ancestral disputes. You and your vessel will be allowed to go free Captain, you have my word.”
Patterson was not entirely convinced, “Let me get back to you Captain, I need to-“
“Contact bearing 1843 Mark 2!” panicked the newly promoted officer at Tactical, “Its them”
Jonathan ran to the station, nearly toppling an unfortunate yeomen in his path. “he’s right John” he announced after a few moments, “our friends are back, directly in our path.”
The Captain’s brow wrinkled into a puzzled crease, “How did they pass us?”
Jonathan shook his head, one arm against the wall, his bulk hovering over the smaller crewman. “No idea, but its them alright. Weapons range in 30 seconds.”
For a brief instant it occurred to Patterson to come out of light speed at the last possible moment and sling the Borodin into the attacker, giving the Ramman a better chance to escape, but immediately dismissed the notion. “Come to heading 1738 Mark 2” he ordered instead, “swing around them”
Outside, the grotesque mechanical symbiant tilted ever so slightly in accordance with the changes in their gravitational fields.
“Keep an eye on them this time” the Captain ordered sternly, “ We can’t-“
“Contact lost Captain!” the tactical office exclaimed.
Jonathan nodded in agreement, “its gone-“
“New contact!” the former shouted, interrupting his superior, “Bearing 1738 Mark 2!”
Patterson jumped from his chair to confirm the erratic readings. “All stop” he ordered as he crossed the short distance to the console. “What in the hell is going on?”
Jonathan straightened to allow his Captain a clearer view of the cluttered, antiquated tactical station. Leaning closer, Patterson’s eyes darted across the strings of numbers, graphs, and colors that poured in from the various sensors embedded around the ship. Newer vessels, and virtually all Brenodi craft, had sophisticated computers for analyzing the incoming data and cross-referencing it with a vast library computer before presenting a concise report of the findings, but the Ramman had no such luxuries.
“She’s heading our way” the young officer pointed out needlessly, uncomfortable with the two most senior officers aboard towering over his sitting figure. “Weapons range in 45 seconds”
Patterson seemed to pay no attention to the new information, concentrating instead on the gibberish bouncing across the display. Much to the dismay of the younger officer, he reached around and, with the familiarity of an old sailor tying a knot, raked his hands over the controls. Obediently the screen presented a new set of information, numbers, waves and graphs, all very similar to the first. “It’s a transmitter” he muttered at last.
“Sir?” The tactical officer asked sheepishly.
Jonathan saw where Patterson was going, “The readings our friends generate when they disappear are very similar to our inner space communications array.”
“They-“ Patterson continued, completing the train of thought,, “Have found a way to send their ship through inner space like a giant message, instantly appearing on the other side.”
“If it works the same way as a communications array-“
The Captain stood up to again finish his first officers thoughts, “Then maybe we can jam it in the same way.” Quickly he turned to take his place at the head of the bridge. “Ready a barrage of Biranium warheads-“
“If I may Captain”
Half of the bridge crew looked up in astonishment at the huge image of an Imperial bridge staring back at them. Such was the unexpected commotion and excitement of the intruder’s appearance, no one had thought to sever the communications link with the Borodin.
“I think Triranium would be better suited for your purposes.”
Patterson exchanged glances with his first officer, “I am afraid we are fresh out of Triranium Captain.” He responded wryly, “The Biranium will-“
“We’ve already prepared a barrage” Gardiner interrupted, a glimmer of Imperial smugness beginning to creep back into his speech. “Unless you’d rather-“
“Not at all, Captain” Patterson responded with a smile, “I was not aware you had been that successful in putting your ship back together. By all means, fire when ready.”
Captain Gardiner’s clenched his jaw in irritation before severing the link himself, filling the Ramman bridge with an endless field of stars.
“Bastard” Jonathan muttered under his breath.
Patterson smiled at the verbal expression of what he himself felt, “Helm, resume our previous heading as soon as the missiles are away, best possible speed.”
Outside, amongst the clouds of dust and interstellar debris, the unlikely pair shuffled into position. Their massive, wedge shaped target continued its leisurely approach, clearly unconcerned by any attack the conglomerate of vessels could mount. Slowly the Ramman-Borodin increased its own speed, adjusting its velocity and vector to mirror a conventional attack run. To the invaders, it would, they hoped, seem to be another foolhardy charge easily swatted away. As the kilometers ticked down towards weapons range and, if they continued, destruction, the leviathan of death slowed in anticipation.
At last, the conjoined twins twisted suddenly, abruptly changing direction while the larger symbiant released its swarm of nefarious munitions. Not wishing to taste the anger of the immobilized giant, the pair immediately streaked off towards their original destination, blinking away at several times the speed of light before the first missile exploded.
Agrees with guy above.
“What are you smelling?”
Jonathan shook his head, “Nothing, its just…”
Patterson nodded in agreement, “I know what you mean, almost like…Almonds…”
The pair cut short their dissection of the various aromas floating through the air and smiled widely at the two guards standing their opposite. It was an unusual feeling for the men, being on the receiving end of an armed guard’s scrutiny, and only served to add to the tension they had both felt since arriving. Granted, the guards, and their superiors, had reason to be weary of Jekotian officers whose reputations had no doubt been discussed, but Patterson felt the Ramman should have earned a measure of trust for bringing the Borodin in safely. Still, were the roles reversed, he might behave similarly.
One of the heavily armored men raised a hand to his hear and mumbled something Patterson could not quite catch before dropping it again and jerking his head toward the door. “The Admiral will see you now”
Face aglow with false gratitude, the Captain and his first officer followed the first guard through the double doors, trailed by the second. A few steps across the threshold the pair slid to a stop, their attention stolen by the splendor that surrounded them. The cavernous chamber enveloped a sleek conference table with no less than 100 chairs, each of which was stitched with the finest leather. In Imperial tradition, the room was deprived any overly opulent decorations but still managed to impress visitors with its scale and abundance of cool, clean surfaces. Most stunning, perhaps, was the thirty-foot high wall of glass over looking the station’s atrium. Artificial sunlight bounced across the 30 acres of plant life setting the sea of green a blaze with sparkling dew. To the two star farers who had not seen real plant life in months the scene was one of unbelievable majesty and grandeur.
Admiral Moriveck smiled, no doubt choosing the locale in an attempt to distract and impress his ‘guests.’ “Please forgive our surroundings gentlemen” he began, rising from his throne like chair, “but our main conference room is in use right now”
“Not at all Admiral” Patterson responded, quite sure the man was lying, “I appreciate being reminded why I chose fleet service instead of babysitting a station”
Captain Gardiner, sitting to Moriveck’s right, chucked inside himself. The Admiral was smug and arrogant, even by Brenodi standards, it was delightful to see him ridiculed even if the Captain could not show it.
Smile fading, Admiral Moriveck gestured to the chairs opposite Gardiner. “If you please.”
A few moments passed as the men made the long trip around the table and took their seats. It was disconcerting being in such a large room without an appropriate number of bodies to fill it, making one feel vulnerable and alone. No doubt another of the Admiral’s calculations to make their discussion go smoother.
“Captain Gardiner” the Admiral began after he and his ‘guests’ had taken their seats, “has filled me in on the events of the past few weeks and needless to say his report is…extraordinary.”
“I can’t say I would have believed it my self had I not been there, Admiral.” Patterson’s tone was frank, but respectful. Moriveck may be an enemy but he was also a superior officer and honor demanded a certain degree of civility.
“Indeed” he replied dryly, “I was quite doubtful until I read your report, substantiating much of his story.”
Much of his story? the Jekotian Captain thought with bewilderment, what differed? “So you recognize the threat” he chose instead to say aloud.
Patterson leaned forward in his chair, “I’m sorry, you do not recognize the threat?”
Gardiner offered Patterson a sympathetic glance. Clearly he too had been struggling with the Admiral.
“These intruders” Moriveck went on, “over powered a wounded starship in unfamiliar space and whatever contribution your vessel made was obviously lacking.”
“Lacking!?” Jonathan, who until then had remained silent, burst forth, starting to rise from his chair.
“Easy John” his Captain counseled without looking away from his opponent, “I’m sure you examined the tapes, Admiral”
“Of course, and we feel we have identified various flaws in your attack. Flaws that will be corrected in our next encounter.”
The Captain looked over to his former foe who had lowered his head in resignation, jaw clenched in an attempt to restrain his anger. Patterson could only imagine the conversation that took place during the three hours him and Commander Bruce were forced to wait outside. Knowing Gardiner like he did, it must have come to conclusion with the Admiral pulling rank on his subordinate and thus resulting in the fuming man sitting before him.
Finding no support there, Patterson returned his attention to the smug Admiral and his steely gaze. He need not look to his right, he knew by now that Jonathan had wound tighter than a coiled spring but would refrain from any further outbursts. If nothing else his first officer was loyal and would do nothing to compromise his Captain’s mission.
“What do you propose?” He finally asked after a few moments of contemplation.
The Admiral scoffed, “I propose nothing, Captain. I am merely informing you as a courtesy for dragging in the Borodin. This is an Imperial matter and will be handled as such.”
With blind arrogance and ineffective waste of men and materiel? but Patterson restrained himself, “I see”
“Twelve of our finest vessels” Moriveck continued, “are en-route. The issue will be settled within days. You should count your self fortunate to still be alive, Captain. Not only for surviving such an ill-fated and sloppy encounter with an alien race but for my merciful nature. I should have your vessel destroyed for the murder of everyone on that station and the theft of Imperial property.” He stopped to let the notion sink into his ‘guests’ minds, slowly leaning back in his chair and clasping his hands before him. “I still may…”
Patterson was un-phased, “I understand, Admiral, and of course you have been most generous. I am thankful the Brenodi will be able to deal with this threat so that Republican lives are not put at risk.”
Unable to tell if the Captain was being sincere or mocking him, Moriveck’s eyes narrowed. “That will be all Captain.”
Flashing a diplomatic smile, Patterson stood and the pair briskly left the room, guards in tow.
Jonathan was still furious and spoke up as soon as the slender doors swooshed closed behind them. “That man is a damn fool!”
“That is why I like you John, you have an uncanny ability to capture the subtle nuances of someone’s personality.”
The pair rounded a corner and passed through a pair of large blast doors on their way back to the Ramman. The Imperial station was massive, the main staging area for the sector, the trip from the docking area had taken nearly 10 minutes.
Jonathan went on with a hushed tone so as to elude their escort’s ears. “He isn’t going to let us go, is he?”
“I assume you have a plan?”
Captain Patterson nodded, “Working on it”
“Coming left to Bering 147 Mark 182”
“Understood” the Captain responded coolly after sipping from his
delicate china coffee cup “inform command that we have located the
intruder and are attempting to make contact.”
The response was quick and clean, “Aye Captain”
Captain Rothes again lifted the small cup from its saucer and tipped
it next to his lips, allowing the warm dark liquid to flow inside.
Only the bridge crew and visiting dignitaries were permitted to use
the ship’s china, not that normal crew members would wish to utilize
such small, fragile eatery on a regular basis. Rothes, however,
enjoyed the prestige of sipping from the pure white cup, each hand
painted with a thin deep blue pinstripe interrupted only by the ship’s
name on the front, and did so anytime a dish was necessary.
“The Pride, Excellence and Brilliance have taken
their positions Sir.”
“Very well,” Rothes acknowledged, again letting his half empty cup
reside on its saucer, “open a channel”
“Channel open sir”
Rothes paused for a moment to adopt the correct tone, “Alien vessel”
he began with authority, “this is Captain Rothes of the Imperial Star
Ship Justice. You have violated our space. You must leave this
area immediately or be destroyed.” Speech finished, he again took a
drink of coffee while awaiting the intruder’s response.
No response came.
“Alien craft” he began again, this time holding the cup in the air
between his mouth and saucer, “respond or be fired upon.”
Slightly bored, he motioned to his COM officer to disconnect the
channel. “Tactical” he said once the feed was severed, “put our
friends up front.”
At once the huge view screen blinked from a blank star field to a
similar star field but with a large, dark slice cut in the center. It
had not been difficult to find the vessel which had only traveled
scant parsecs from the position last reported by the Borodin.
It was even kind enough to slow to a halt once the small armada had
dropped out of light speed and taken up positions surrounding it.
Aside from its size and shape, Rothes could see nothing daunting about
the enemy vessel, certainly nothing that warranted such a collection
of warships. The Justice alone would surly suffice. Once a
state of the art Dreadnaught, the Justice’s class had been
replaced by Super Dreadnaughts which were in turn replaced by
Battleships, which would soon be replaced by Super Battleships, but
the largest ships of the line were always kept near the home systems
with the older models being dispersed throughout the Empire. Despite
its age, the Justice was the most powerful ship in the sector
and had, on its own, defeated squadrons of smaller Jekotian ships.
Rothes saw no need for concern.
“Lets have a warning shot amidships,” Rothes casually ordered before
completing the lingering draw from his cup, “Half power to the
Particle Cannons, or “ParCans” as they were casually known, bombarded
their targets with intense, high-speed, particles that broke down
matter at the atomic level. Dreadnaughts had been the first vessels
large enough to deploy such powerful weapons which required an immense
amount of space and energy but made up for their bulk with incredible
A moment later a long crimson beam, bright pink in the center, shot
out from the Justice and slammed into the mid section of the
intruding vessel. The beam continued for nearly two seconds before
subsiding, leaving only a warm red hue at its point of impact which
seemed otherwise unaffected.
Rothes' eyes narrowed, focusing on the lack of visible damage.
Tough little bastard aren’t you?
“Open a channel” he said aloud, “This is your last warning” he
announced sternly, “Withdraw or be destroyed.”
As before, the alien craft provided no response, or any other
acknowledgment of the fleet’s existence. It simply hung amongst the
stars like an otherworldly asteroid or moon, a great slab of obsidian
Rothes lifted his cup for a drink but found the warm beverage had been
nearly exhausted by his repeat sips. Frowning, patience exhausted, he
finished off the coffee and gave the order for the fleet to engage. As
he returned the cup to its miniature holding plate and placed the pair
on the tiny shelf that adjoined his chair he had no way of knowing
that the delicate container would not hold another drop of coffee, or
any other liquid for that matter, ever again.
“We’ve got to stop meeting like this Captain, people are beginning to talk”
Gardiner’s frown deepened, “This is tantamount to treason, but…” He
paused, letting his words bounce around in the cluttered maintenance
“But” Patterson said finishing the Captain’s thought, “who will try
you if we are all dead?”
“No” Gardener stated with weight, as if dropping a bolder onto a path,
“I gave you my word. Tricks are schemes won’t do anything to stop
those monsters, you won’t make it out alive a second time. No,” he
repeated, “Letting you go won’t make a difference as far as
they are concerned but I gave my word you would not be
detained. I won’t have that fool make me a liar.”
Patterson smiled inwardly at Gardiner’s reference to Admiral Moriveck
and his apparent dislike for reason and sanity. “What ever your
reasons” Patterson said aloud and with respect, “I am grateful.”
Gardiner’s eyes narrowed to a point, boring a cold hole into his
counterpart’s face. With searing intensity the two crystal gray orbs
flickered to and fro, searching for signs, for meaning, for tells, for
soul, in the man who stood before him. It was no small matter to
betray a lifetime of service and commitment and only the integrity of
his personal honor had compelled him to even consider the actions that
had henceforth brought him to this place. He had to know the Jekotian
was worthy of his sacrifice and, perhaps more importantly, he had to
convey the gravity, the price, of his course of action.
The normally immune Patterson began to feel increasingly uncomfortable
beneath the Captain’s intense gaze. He understood.
“Everything you need is on this,” he finally said aloud, his hand
reaching out to offer a small data chip to the Jekotian Captain.
Pleased to be through with the examination portion of their
clandestine encounter, Patterson reached forward to grab the tiny
sliver of plastic by way of handshake but, after the acceptable period
of time for clasped hands had elapsed, found that he could not pull
away. Confused, he looked up to find Gardiner’s eyes once again fixed
on his. Patterson’s palms began to sweat.
“You saved me and my ship” Gardiner stated with cold gravity, “My debt
to you is repaid. The next time we meet, I will kill you.”
Patterson nodded and smiled in understanding before winning his hand’s
freedom. He had once been told that fear does not make a man weak, but
rather it is how a man deals with fear that defines him. Gardiner was
an intimidating, frightening figure in person and his power was not
lost on the younger Captain but Patterson prided himself in
maneuvering fear, channeling it into an asset rather than a liability.
His smile grew wider, “Then Captain” he replied turning to walk away,
“I hope we do not meet for a long while”
Gardiner waited until the Captain was nearly out of site before
responding, “They’re dead”
Patterson halted his retreat but did not turn, “Come again?”
“The ships Moriveck sent after it. They’re gone.”
The Captain’s heart sank. He knew the small armada had been doomed
from the moment he heard of it from the arrogant Admiral but a dark
corner of his mind had harbored the hope that he was wrong. The death
of hope, even if said hope was tiny, was a sobering experience.
“Good luck Captain” Gardiner, in a stark reversal, spoke with
compassion, almost warmly wishing his counterpart well.
Patterson shared the sentiment and knew from where it came, “And to you as well”
NOTE: This will be the next to last post for this story.
Space erupted in a series of tiny orange blasts ahead of the speeding
fighter, the concussive force of the energy cannons tearing apart any
chunk of matter unfortunate enough to be in its path. Smaller chunks
vaporized under the weight of focused protons but larger rocks
hectically broke apart, each portion flying in a different direction
and speed. These, in turn, slammed into other floating boulders which
either themselves shattered, repeating the process, or further
degraded the condition of the asteroid remnants. In moments what had
been a challenging mission to clear a path through the field had
blossomed into a nightmarish hail storm of deadly debris.
With skill and determination the pilot of the small craft banked and
spun around, unleashing countless volleys of crimson streaks upon the
ever increasing legions of space rock, each blast finding at least one
floating victim. Seeing an opening, he jabbed the throttle sending
bright blue flames streaming from the trio of thrusters that propelled
the craft, rocketing pilot and vessel across the field. Partially
unprepared for the raw power of the burn, the pilot was forced to yank
hard on the controls at the last moment to avoid collision and death
with a massive stone that had suddenly appeared. Carried by momentum,
the craft swung wide, nearly impaling itself on a particularly jagged
piece of debris before pivoting 180 degrees and blasting the chunk to
A subtle chirping violated the pilot’s thoughts, breaking his train of
thought. Quickly he attempted to recover but with colliding objects
spinning about in all directions even a slight distraction could prove
to be fatal.
“Damn it!” the ensign explained, slamming his hand down on the
console. “That was a high score!”
The young officer spent another few moments lamenting over his lost
triumph before dismissing the game and examining the messages that had
sabotaged him. Brow still wrinkled in rage, his eyes darted back and
forth across the text. Slowly at first, and then all at once, his face
faded from anger, to puzzlement and finally to horror.
Quickly he looked up and out across the massive docking ring to
visually verify what the computer had alerted him to; the
Ramman was backing out of space dock.
“Clear of docking ports Captain”
Patterson nodded, “Thrusters aft, full power”
Not surprised by the orders, which had been rehearsed an hour prior,
the helmsman rapped his fingers across the new console in obedience.
“Thrusters aft, aye!”
In partial abeyance to their promise to lend aide to the Ramman
the Imperial station had provided stores of new, if not outdated,
equipment to effect repairs. Major Lajita had insisted the components
only be utilized in non command and control systems in the event that
they contained imperial viruses or sabotage. Patterson did not argue;
the Major was probably right.
“2,000 meters until horizon”
“Prepare to come about”
“Activity on their com, Captain” McPherson chimed in from
communications. “Looks like they noticed”
Patterson smiled, “Was expected, continue on course”
“1,500 meters Sir”
“The Dock Master is demanding we halt,” McPherson went on, “says we
have not been given permission to disembark”
Jonathan laughed before adding his own report from Tactical, “Weapons
systems are powering up. I don’t think they want us to leave John”
“Swing us around helm” Patterson ordered after ticking down the meters
in his mind. “all ahead one-quarter SLS.”
Outside the out of place Republican cruiser spun around and flared its
sublight engines, accelerating its escape from the mammoth structure
it had been imprisoned in. To its left, the two occupied docking areas
began to show signs of life as their vessels received orders to
prevent the Ramman’s departure or make sure she would never
arrive at her destination. Typically, the main station in a system
would be home to dozens of vessels at any one time but many of those
had been dispatched to escort the alien intruder from the system.
“500 meters Sir”
“Outer doors beginning to close Captain”
“See if you can change their minds Commander”
Jonathan nodded in agreement with his Captain’s orders and began
transmitting the provided code to reverse the door closing procedure.
The data chip Captain Gardiner had provided was a treasure trove of
codes and frequencies giving the Ramman access to dozens of
station systems. They would all be changed, of course, after the
breach had been discovered but for the time being they were priceless.
As hoped, the massive door abruptly halted before slowly reversing its
closure allowing the Ramman to squeeze out with a comfortable
five meter clearance on each side.
“We’re clear” the helmsman announced with no small amount of relief.
“I’ve got Admiral Moriveck, Captain”
Patterson acknowledged McPherson’s announcement with a nod, “Put him through”
“Captain?” The Imperial voice asked from the speaker above, “Have you
grown tired of our hospitality.”
“Not at all” Patterson responded with wryly, “We just don’t want to
wear out our welcome.”
Silently the helmsman turned to signal the ships readiness for faster
than light travel.
Patterson nodded in understanding.
“Nonsense” The Admiral continued, “we enjoy the company”
“My apologies Admiral” Patterson responded, motioning the helm to
carry out his predefined orders, “Maybe some other time”
With the flash and distorted ripple of bent space, the Ramman
jumped away at nearly three times the speed of light.
-- I.S.S. Exceptional --
“Orders confirmed Captain, pursue Ramman at best possible speed”
Captain Luther sighed in acceptance as he took his seat at the center
of the cluttered control center. He had argued against the
Exceptional inclusion in the hunt due to the litany of repairs
still being undertaken but, unlike a similar conversation concerning
the armada sent to scare off the intruders, he was over ruled.
“Understood Ensign, secure from dry dock and ready battle stations”
Immediately the pleasant lighting flashed from white to red to alert
the crew of their new status. The Exceptional was a much older
vessel than her contemporaries and had been in dry dock for nearly six
months for a complete, and sorely needed, overhaul. She still had
another three months of work to be done but the engines had been
certified a week prior and that was apparently enough to satisfy
“Engage a pursuit course as soon as we are clear of the doors”
“Captain” an older woman stationed at Tactical announced with concern.
“Victory is signaling failure of the docking clamps. She can’t
leave dry dock.” Imperial Destroyers combined the communications and
tactical stations to conserve valuable bridge space.
“We are clearing the outer doors Captain” the young woman at the helm
noted out of habit, “faster than light in five seconds”
“I guess we are going at it alone” Luther responded with a hint of
dismay. I just hope we don’t end up like the Borodin.
Last Post for this story
A gnarled ball of burnt metal slid ungracefully across the polished alloy table, creating an unpleasant tumbling scratchy sound. Gardiner’s eyes lazily followed the debris as it lumbered toward him, stopping a dozen centimeters from the edge of the table. Bored with the object he looked up again at the Admiral who had tossed it towards him.
“Well Captain?” Moriveck asked half rhetorically. He already knew the answer.
“It appears to be sabotage, Sir” Gardiner forced out the ‘sir’ with contempt. There had been no word from the ships the Admiral had sent against his and Patterson’s recommendation, all were assumed lost. Even if one or two eventually came limping into port the loss of the others meant hundreds, if not thousands of lives. Were he in the position to do so, he would charge the Admiral with treason for such a reckless loss of life and treasure. Instead, he was the one under scrutiny.
“Of course its sabotage!” Moriveck spat with anger, “A half dozen docking clamps were seared closed. That is one of the mechanisms” He gestured violently to the now still clump of metal on the table.
Gardiner’s face was impassive, “Would you like a security detail from Borodin to help secure the docking ring?”
“Don’t get smart with me, Captain, you know exactly how this happened!”
Captain Gardiner again looked down at the jagged object before him. With mock intensity he lifted it up and turned it around a few times in an effort to inspect it. “Thermal charge it looks like, probably Jekotian in nature-“
Moriveck shoved the chair that he had been leaning against sending it tumbling onto the floor. “One more word Captain and I’ll have you drug out of here in chains!”
A cold glaze drifted over Gardiner’s eyes as they locked with those of his superior officer. With measured control, he placed the object back onto the table and folded his hands in front of him. He did not like to be threatened, especially by an incompetent moron. “Are you accusing me of something, Admiral?”
The Admiral quickly walked around the small meeting table and flung out his finger in accusation. “You helped Patterson escape and your going to hang for it!”
Before the Captain could respond an unobtrusive red light began to pulsate from a series of displays around the room. Both men immediately recognized the alert signal but neither was able to verbally identify it before the intercom buzzed to life.
“Admiral Moriveck, this is Command”
Temporarily distracted, the Admiral left his subordinate and walked back around to the nearest com panel. “Moriveck here, what in the hell is going on?”
“An unidentified vessel has just appeared outside the station sir” The speakers voice was calm, but strained, “Its massive and does not match anything on record”
Moriveck and Gardiner exchanged glances, each communicating their thoughts and feelings with the looks on their faces; Moriveck alarmed and afraid, Gardiner vindicated and angry. He had told him these creatures were not to be trifled with and now everyone on the station would die for the Admiral’s arrogance. Gardiner stood from his chair.
“Where are you going?” Moriveck asked with alarm, only a shadow of the aggressive bully from earlier.
Gardiner turned and began walking to the door. “Back to my ship”
Moriveck’s face lit up with hope, “Your going to fight them?”
The Captain didn’t turn or even slow down. “I’m leaving. You should do the same”
Man the escape Jeeps!
Separate names with a comma.