Saturday, October 18, 2014

It's All About the Game! - Chapter 19

“We will be exiting the window in ten minutes,” Ma-rye-a announced.

We caught a window and jumped which would put us back in Jake and Arr’s neighborhood. They were just finishing up a mission on Nexus 3 and we planned to rendezvous at the NB just the grid above their location.

“Think your friends will be on time?” Daniel asked.

He had never met Jake and Arr. Daniel stays mostly planet bound, whereas Jake, Arr and I bump into each other pretty regularly between their mercenary missions and my trade-goods deliveries.

“Jake is usually very punctual.”

I leaned forward and flicked the button on the harness mechanism on Daniel’s chair. The harness curled up over his shoulders and across his lap. I sat back and activated mine. Always a good policy to be strapped in when you entered or exited a window. The dangerous thing about traveling through them was that you were basically blind coming and going. No way to determine if there was another ship in one until you entered because something about them dampened the electronics for surveillance until you were inside. And, on exiting there was no way to be sure there wasn’t a ship sitting a wee bit too close to the entrance for you to maneuver fast enough to miss it. I didn’t normally take a window unless I was forced. I felt it necessary under the circumstances.

“Exit in five minutes,” Ma-rye-a updated us.

“I hate space travel,” Daniel complained under his breath.

I leaned over and patted his arm on the co-pilot’s chair. “It will be alright. Ma-rye-a has done this hundreds of times before.”

*****

“RUN!” Jake shouted into the com-link. His voice exploded over Ma-rye-a’s ship wide communications system.

“What?” I asked stupidly. We’d just exited the window. I had enough time to take in the fact that the Calpernia, Jake’s ship, was waiting for us before I noticed the two Tiltode vessels in hot pursuit.

“Tiltode vessels within firing range,” Sam, my security officer IA informed me.

“Well then, by all means fire!” I shouted at Sam. I heard the Maximum Jacket Drivers start to whirl into place taking aim at the closest Tiltode vessel, then felt the slight rock of Ma-rye-a as Sam began to unload on the enemy ship. It turned from its bombardment on the Calpernia to address us, its new target.

“I said, Run!” Jake shouted again. “Get back through the damn window.”

The Tiltodes were no other specie’s friends. They were a violent race to be avoided. I had no idea what Jake and Arr did to antagonize them, but I did know the Calpernia, even though she was a fighting vessel could not stand up against two of their ships.

“Not going,” I said in a calm voice back at Jake. “What did you do to piss them off?”

The Tiltode ship the Calpernia was concentrating on took a direct hit from Jake’s ship. It rocked violently to one side and began to expel pressurized air from inside. It was out of the picture. Jake turned the Calpernia on the second ship just as it let lose an intensified laser blast at Ma-rye-a. I was glad I had the forethought to strap us in because Ma-rye-a practically rolled over to do an evasive maneuver to keep from getting hit. She was smaller and faster. That was all that saved us.

“Get out of here!” Jake hollered.

I was getting tired of him yelling at me, but could see his point. Against the Tiltode ships my Maximum Jacket Drivers, my only weapons, were like poking a Walmite with a toothpick. Now that we had stalled the other ship long enough to level the playing field for Jake and Arr, I was willing to retreat.

“Meet you on the other end and we can regroup,” I said.


“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Jake said in a hurried tirade. “Go! Get! Leave!” With each word he spoke the Calpernia hammered another volley at the Tiltode ship until it swung round away from us and back toward Jake’s ship. “Go!” he shouted one last time and we went!

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