Experiment #344

Six Zeros Part 8

Toliver brought them out of hyperspace five hundred meters from the postal carrier. “The carrier’s system is fuzzled. I can’t get a clean lock to dock. You’ll have to walk it. Once inside, you’ve got air pressure in there, but it looks like no Oxygen. Pyrite, you’ll stay behind and man the canon in case we have trouble.”

“You expecting any?”

“Always,” Toliver said. “All right, Gerard, suit up. Your mission is a go.”

Gerard, Ox, Fishmonger, Cy, and Masq got into space suits and took a plasma pistol each. Every one of them thought about shooting Toliver as soon as he gave it to them, but they all remembered Fishmonger’s leg and the automatic kill-switch.

The five of them entered the airlock accompanied by a modified liftbot for carrying the calibrator. Toliver opened the outer door.

Gerard jumped first, then Ox. As Masq jumped she noticed a ship on the far side of the postal carrier. “You see this, Tolesies?”

“We’ve got company!” Fishmonger yelled into the intercom.

“Yes, the postal carrier masked their signal,” Toliver said.

“Don’t give me excuses,” Gerard yelled into the comm.

“They’re postals,” Cy said.

“How do you know?” Fishmonger asked.

“Like the mailmen?” Ox asked.

“No,” Gerard said, “postal inspectors. They’re the law out here.”

“Everybody hold tight,” Toliver yelled.

“They’re coming out of the ship,” Fishmonger said.

“What are they doing?” Pyrite asked.

“They don’t seem to have seen us,” Gerard said.

Before Toliver or Gerard could give a command, Masq opened fire.

Toliver cursed into the intercom. “Get in there, and get the job done.” Cy, holding the liftbot, jumped. Fishmonger followed.

“Ok, on me, I want Dumb Ox on point. Masq, back him up and run interference. Fishmonger and Cy, you’re on rear guard with the liftbot.”

One of the postal inspectors jumped from their ship to the wreckage. The other covered him with blast after blast from their plasma pistols as Gerard and her team scuttled along the ship to the airlock.

“To be clear, lethal force on the postal inspectors is notgranted; in fact, they should survive this encounter unscathed,” Toliver said.

“You want us to miss?” Masq asked.

“Yes,” Toliver said. “We’re on the same side.”

“That why we’re stealing a postal carrier calibration device, isn’t it,” Gerard said. “Because we’re on the same side.”

“Just do as your told,” Toliver said.

Gerard would have continued the banter, but at that moment the postal inspector rounded a corner. All five of them fired and dutifully missed as the postal inspector jumped back behind the corner wall.

“Federal Postal Inspector!” they heard him yell through his suit mic. “Stand down!”

They fired a number of shots in his general direction while Gerard repositioned her team such that Ox and Masq stayed put and the rest could get beyond them and finish the mission.

“Last chance!” the postal inspector yelled.

Ox and Masq laughed as they fired in his direction again. Without warning the postal inspector jumped from his hiding spot and fired five shots before he hit the ground. Each shot disarmed one of them except the last, which hit Masq in the arm. Her spacesuit automatically sealed the breech, but her arm was useless.

“You’re under arrest!” the postal inspector shouted.

To Be Continued…

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