Part 3 of the Techist- A Spacer Story

in ccc •  2 years ago 

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For a few minutes one of the two hangers of Asteroid WB341261 became a war zone. People running for cover, others firing energy weapons and high caliber projectiles on one side and the fugitive ship's shielding flaring and the whines of engines mixed with the explosions of dozens of projectiles, on the other. Shira One-Arm decided to hedge her bets, looking at the ineffectiveness of her fire power. She left more than half her crew to fight and rushed with a few of her men towards her ship at the other end of the cavern stopping only to punch the emergency button, sealing off this hanger from the other.

In the closed off hanger the Jovian ship, ignoring the pirates firing at her, fired a narrow laser at the stern of the Moonshine. A few seconds was all it took to burn a hole the size of a small fist clean through the hull and into the engine chamber. It took a second more for the auxiliary tanks containing jet fuel to explode. Moonshine was blown to bits but the hull buttresses held on for a moment more than other parts of the ship, resulting in the explosion being directed towards the outer wall to some extent. The laser now focused on one of the cracks breaking out in the wall and was soon accompanied by two more. The whole cavern started to groan and with a violent shudder the wall gave way.The cold vacuum rushing in to devour all.

Maaz had strapped in to one of the pilot seats when the ship shuddered and the screen showed the destruction. The hanger seemed broken apart by a titan's fist and the torn bodies and blood coated chunks of stone floated everywhere. Tank guided the ship out of the hanger and soon informed him of the status.

"We are clear from the Asteroid and all major debris. You need to get into the G-Suit for maximum thrust"

A helmet with two tubes rose from the floor on Maaz's left . On the other side an armor like body suit connected to a bunch of cables appeared.

"Tank. I.. can't wear this. How much speed can you give me without it?"

"We can reach 0.05MM per minute and keep the life support specs from going above the prescribed limits."

"OK. Go for it but not directly, a couple of turn arounds.. just in case."

"Time to destination at reduced speed will be 118 minutes."

The destination Maaz had thought of was Saturn Dark; an island of metal and carbon polymers near Saturn and remaining mostly in its shadow in near synchronous orbit. It was made by combining three space stations around a fourth and later a few giant freighters were scavenged to make room for extra dock and storage areas. Saturn Dark or just The Dark, was home to anyone who could pay; governed by an EC Mayor who commanded a battalion of soldiers, six armored ships and a handful of sentinel satellites. Only cursory inspections and checking of ID and shipping documents were the norm. Although pirates and such were not welcome and shot on sight, other miscreants who were not so well known or had ID were tolerated. Of course, lesser the documentation more the charges, making it one of the most valuable space ports in EC. Maaz had been here before and had an idea how to get entry.

Maaz checked up on what the ship's current ID said. It was forged but good stuff. G-Tron was the name. Port of origin Greyport, Mars. Type of ship was: Commercial Long Range luxury cruiser. He would have to get into the G-suit and could pose as Rover whose Ids and code he had with him along with that of many other crew members he had served with. That would do for now thought Maaz, he could get a new set on The Dark; the empty Fusion Batteries should fetch good credits. He was disturbed from his planning by Tank.

"A ship is following us. The Claw- That is Shira Marrow's ship."

"Crap!"

"The Claw is arming its weapons. They will be in range in ..14 minutes."

"Oh Crap!"

"Shields are still up. Arm the lasers now or.."

"Wait. Let me think. I don't know if we will be able to fight them of without causing us much damage or fatal damage."

Maaz thought for a minute, his options had just narrowed to fight and win or get caught into slavery or get killed; and he wanted out of them all.

"Tank. Chart to the nearest Wormhole."

The screen blinked to show the surrounding space. A green dot highlighted the nearest tunnel entrance. The data beside it showed it led to four places out of which only one was in this Solar System all the other were very very far. One in four chance is better. Maaz decided and went to the medical closet to get a portable oxygen cylinder with the breathing apparatus. He came back strapped on the mask and instructed.

"Hail the Claw."

Soon the screen blinked to show Shira One-Arm sitting in the captains seat in The Claw.

"Surrender now and you may live you scummer!"

Maaz spoke through his mask.

"I Can't. I ..activated an SPIC protocol. I don't have any control over most functions. Bloody Moons! I don't have air.. Wait, Wait."

"I am done waiting. Fire when in range." Shira gestured to someone.

"No. NO. Look I will pull down all shielding you can follow at firing range till I get the ship in control or can open the docking hatches. I want to live. Please."

"I don't trust you scummer!"

"We are in the middle of nowhere. You are a couple of minutes away. Please give me time. I am locked out of navigation right now, I just need to reboot the system manually to take control. Ask your tech."

Shira spoke to someone and then turned to face Maaz.

"OK You have 10 minutes before we open fire."

Maaz cut the connection and spoke.

"Tank. Remove the shields, maintain the current speed."

Tank replied. "Shields down. Maaz, is SPIC protocol?"

"There is no SPIC protocol Tank. And get the G-suit out. Walk me through the procedure. Those tubes in the helmet they freak me out. We can accelerate max once I'm suited up."

"One in each nostril. They supply a special combination for the body to be able to retain muscle function at far better stress levels than normal."

It took nearly seven minutes to get into the G-suit strap into the seat and prep for maximum acceleration.

Almost exactly at ten minutes after Shira had cut the call from Maaz, the Jovian ship took off. The Claw followed, the crew ready to blow it out of space. The pyramid shaped ship was out of firing range in less than half a minute. The first lasers from Claw just lighting up its trail. In the next minute Shira found where they were headed.

"The bastard is going to Tunnel. Alone! He is taking my ship with him... Fuccck! Hail him. Now."

But there was no response from Maaz and in a few minutes the Jovian ship disappeared from normal space- entering the Wormhole.

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