Experiment #132

The Stars Are Calling Part 8

Within one kilometer of the ship, Gideon turned the bottom of the bike toward the flagship and flipped on the anti-grav discs. They softened the blow, but he still hit the ship hard. He would have bounced off and into eternity, but he had magnetized his boots and cut the anti-grav discs as he hit. Thud. He stuck fast. Leaving the anti-grav bike behind he walked toward the aft air lock and hoped his federal codes still worked.

*

Sarah opened the cargo bay. The Veruzan class ship was almost on her. Its forward plasma cannons targeted her and fired. Just before she passed over the bridge she hit the button and the utility sled flew out. Sarah took a hard right and spiraled down the far side of the peacekeeper. A giant explosion followed in her wake.

*

Somehow his code got him through the airlock. “I’m in,” he said into the comm. He heard a sigh on the other end, but Sarah said nothing. Gideon pulled both his plasma cannons from their holsters and proceeded toward the bridge. Before he turned the first corner he met a security detail.

“Halt!” the lead security guard said. “Who are you?”

Gideon pointed to the badge on the front of his space suit. “Federal Postal Inspector Gideon Wright,” he said.

“Lay down your weapons,” the second security guard said.

“I’m a Federal Postal Inspector on an urgent mission. I need to see the Grand Premier.”

“I don’t think so,” said the first guard, “I bet your postal carrier that fired on us.”

Gideon opened his mouth to reply but his words were lost as the outer wall behind the security guards exploded.

*

Sarah circled  under the peacekeeper and doubled back on her original trajectory. A flaming hulk of metal stood before her. She let out a whoop and called through the intercom, “I got it!”

*

Hot on the heals of the explosion came a boarding party. They’d hooked up an Agrawal tube, a capsule like object now embedded in the flagship’s hull and neatly cupped around the blast site. Connected to the peacekeeper, troops and more would be transported through its localized hyperspace window into the heart of the ship.

Gideon fired a few cover shots. He bent down to the security guards. Both were dead. He grabbed their ID cards and headed for the nearest cover.

“It doesn’t seem gotten,” he called into his comm.

*

As she completed her climb the wreckage came into clearer view. The flames and twisted metal wasn’t the peacekeeper. The Veruzan frigate had intercepted the makeshift missile. “Scratch that. Just a Veruzan,” Sarah said.

*

“Sarah, they’ve got an Agrawal tube.” Gideon said through heavy breaths. “I need you to take out that peacekeeper ASAP.”

“Tryin’,” Sarah said. “You work on the Grand Premiere. I’ll work on the peacekeeper.”

*

Sarah sealed the inner cargo bay door and pumped any unscrubbed CO2 and what air she could spare into the bay. “I hope nothing important’s in there,” she muttered to herself.

She turned back toward the peacekeeper and, dodging plasma cannons and renegade ships, made a pass near the engineering section of the peacekeeper, she opened the cargo bay door then threw the Savannah into a 90 degree turn and dropped the air barrier. The air and CO2 rushed out in the Sisyphean task of filling the vacuüm of space, and with it the anti-grav bike. She prayed her aim was good and headed for the edge of weapons range, dodging and twisting to avoid fire. She took hits here and there, but the deflectors shields held.

*

When Sarah had a chance to look, there was no smoldering cloud of fire like the Veruzan class ship she hit, just a tiny dark spot where the makeshift missile, along with a set of tools and a few spare parts had hit, dead on target, and bounced off with a thunk unheard in the vacuüm of space. It floated gently away.

*

Gideon made for the bridge. Between the ID cards, Gideon had enough codes to get through the security lock downs and other counter measures designed to inhibit the entering force.

Gideon opened the door on a bridge in turmoil. The captain attempted to hold his ground against the enemy ships while his first officer attempted to coördinate the internal struggle against the shock troops. The grand première, stood wisely to one side allowing her captain and his crew to do their jobs.

Gideon walked straight to the Grand Premiere.  “My lady,” Gideon said as two guards seized him, “there is a traitor in your midst.”

The Grand Premiere turned toward him.

“Gerard Himson is behind this attack,” he said.

The grand première soured as she looked on him. “Gideon Wright, I take it?”

*

Sarah fired the ailing turret gun as she made another pass. Mostly the discharge bounced harmlessly off the peacekeeper’s deflector shields, but if she could hit the anti-grav bike she might be able to catalyze an explosion. On the thirteenth shot the circuits overloaded and shorted out the entire weapons system. Sparks flew in the cockpit. Sarah slammed her fist on the dashboard. “Savannah, I’m gonna scuttle you if you keep frying on me.”

*

“Before, Colonel Himson’s ship went down,” the Grand Premiere said, “He advised me that you might arrive, though he did not anticipate your implication.”

Before anything more could be said a man’s face appeared on the forward view screen. Gideon gasped: Seabrook.

“Give it up,” Seabrook said. “You’ll be dead in a minute if you don’t.”

The grand première stepped forward. “My death would garner you little,” she said. “I doubt the Ftharan government would pay for damaged goods.”

Seabrook sneered. “That assumes,” he said, “That they didn’t want the goods damaged.” He cut the video feed and moved the peacekeeper to directly engage the flagship.

“They’ve reached deck 32,” the first officer called out. “They’ll be at the door in minutes”

Security officers moved into place covering each door the best they could with their plasma pistols.

“Sarah,” Gideon said into the comm. “You’re our last hope.”

In that moment without alternatives, options, or weapons she knew what she had to do. “Gideon,” she said, “sorry about Savannah.”

Gideon paused. His mind processed and re-processed the significance of those words.

“Wait, Sarah I didn’t mean…”

“I really am sorry about the ship,” she said. “Tell my daddy I love him.”

“Forget the ship,” Gideon said, but she had already turned off the comm.

To Be Continued…

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