Beepbeep. Beepbeep. Beepbeep.
The alarm's speaker assembly, wires dangling out of its dented case, hit the wall with a loud thwack!
"Dang alarm. There's nothing out there. I just scanned it."
I cursed the faulty mechanism for all I was worth.
Another perfectly good patrol blown because I can't get any decent readings off this bloated heap of junk.
Ah, well, I'll just get back to base and turn in. About time for chow, too. Maybe I can catch that new action vid in the cafeteria.
I radioed Captain Jenkins, the flight leader. He'd just bought himself a Viking from a shady Corporate dealer and couldn't wait to shove it in my face.
"Flight leader, I have a bad sensor package, requesting permission to turn back."
"Having problems on that junk heap of yours, Watson?"
Muffled sniggers were heard over the comm. I chose to ignore it and waited for clearance.
"I guess you can go, it looks pretty quiet out here." came the reluctant reply after what seemed like hours. Finally.
I checked the distance to the platform. Just outside the restricted zone, I radioed the traffic controller.
"This is Corsair 17-A to the Vengeance, requesting docking clearance."
"You're early, 17-A" came the garbled reply in a familiar mocking tone.
"Shove it, Earl. I don't want to hear it."
"Suit yourself. It's not my problem. Clearance granted to Bay 6."
I began to turn the clunky beast around to the proper heading. The massive bulk of the platform was even visible from this distance.
I hate patrol.
I hate it with a passion.
I hate this ship.
Hate Jenkins and his fancy Viking.
250 km. Beep.
And I really hate that freakin' alarm!
I kicked the thing for good measure. Blasted thing couldn't detect the end of the universe, let alone an attack force.
I began the braking maneuver. Turning to face the ship opposite the massive docking bay, I switched the viewpanels to rear view and began thrusting. I could see the techs fueling up the next flight. Enviously I eyed the rows of Barbary class gunships in the back. Owned by the top ranking members, members who actually got to go on raids, not just patrol, they were shiny and clean.
100 meters until dock, the threat indicator lit up. Beeeeeeeeeeep.
Damn it, not aga-
Blackness. Quiet. A scream pierces the silence, a cry of pain. It takes a bit before I realize it's me. Silence once again fills the cockpit as a fireworks display explodes outside, and inside my head. I watch the pretty lights for a moment, and all the sound comes back to me. Alarms blare in my ear. The left side MFD is on the floor, and something wet flows down my face. A faint hiss and a gentle breeze blow against my face.
Hull breach. Wake up, Johnny boy.
What the-? What the heck just happened? A twitchy feeling appears in my left arm, followed by immeasurable pain, followed by nothing. I faintly recall the genetic pain-supression and healing modifications Dad insited on before I became a miner. Miner! Ha. That worked out. Here I am- ......
Here I am, dying in the cockpit of a Pirate Corsair.
The cosmic events in my brain begin to subside. I catch a glimspe of a Viking in the remaining MFD. Turbolasers streak out of it, lancing towards (away?) something in the distance. Whats left of something in the distance. No, what left of the Viking. A sickening crackle indicative of shield faliure fills my ears, and a scream or terror. His last act must have been to hit the transmit button.
A gentle hiss reminds me of the problem at hand. Mmm, hull breach. How long has it been? How much time have I got?
"Assess d-damage." I managed to croak out.
"Hull fracture. Port side. Estimated cause: High energy impact with dense object."
"Fixable?" It comes out as a gurgle. Blood flows out of my mouth. Injuries must be worse than I thought. I see something coarsing through the tubes attached to the pilot's chair. Great. I'm so out of it the computer has decided to run medical affairs for me. I decided to let it, not as if I had any control. The drug, whatever it was, began to clear my clouded brain.
Oh, yeah, hull fracture. With my good arm, I called up the repair program. Hopefully, the patch spider (Dad's last gift to me before I left home, he said it might come in handy someday.) was spraying a patch on there right now. Otherwise-
I didn't want to think about that.
Didn't want to think of how vulnerable external hardware, like patch spiders, are to high energy impacts with dense objects.
I couldn't hear the hiss anymore, not over the ringing in my ears. But I wasn't dead, wasn't breathing vacuum, so that's a start. The blood has stopped coming up, so either there's no more or it's not a big deal after all.
I reached for the controls and called up the external views. A Sapphire class was busy engaging two Barbaries.
Two? Where's the rest of the fleet? The Vengeance? Something gently hit the aft section. I rotated the view and saw the burnt-out hulk of the Vengeance. I quickly rotated the view back so as not to see the charred piece of flesh that had collided with my ship.
My attention turned to the Sapphire and the two- no, make that one remaining Barbary-class. The Sapphire appeared to have a dual X-ray on a swivel mount. I watched as it launched a MAG and vaporized the Barbary.
It turned and surveyed its work. I paled as it faced me, but it apparently couldn't distinguish my Corsair from the wreckage of the Vengeance. I wasn't surprised. Even in its undamaged state, the ship was harldy distinguishable from space junk. No doubt the warship/yacht would head to the main base next, 5000km off in the distance, a hollowed out asteroid that was twice as well defended as the Vengeance was. I doubted the Sapphire, decked out like a warship, would have any problems. I felt a brief twinge of guilt at my apathy. The men and women of the Vengeance, while not innocent by anymeans, were my friends, and they didn't deserve their cruel fate.
Sure enough, it began a hard burn towards the main base.
Realizing who I was for a moment, I hit the warning beacon. A signal raced towards the base at the speed of light. Hopefully that'll buy them some time. Hopefully that Sapphire didn't detect it. Either it didn't detect it or it didn't care, because it kept on thrusting.
I waited ten minutes and attempted to thrust out of the wreckage field. A lurch, and I was slowly but surley remaining in place. No thrusters. A brief check of the damage status panel revealed 1/3 power and no shields, no recharge capability. The reactor must have been fried when the shield collapsed. I tried to get up to get at the reactor below, and stumbled over onto the floor. Right. No feeling on the left side. Not just no feeling, no response, no movement. Whatever the medcomp had pumped into me was beginning to wear off, I was starting to feel woozy. I leaned back against the base of the control panel and reached for the comm unit. No luck. Too far. I finally managed to lunge far enough to hit the general distress signal. With my head. That was the last thing I saw for a long time.
Blackness. The murky depths of unconsiousness are beginning to wear off.
As far as I can tell, the signal has been going ever since, however long it's been. About two days of power are used, but that doesn't mean a whole lot, with all this ship has been through. I can't feel my legs anymore. I don't think the mods can keep me conscious much longer, I remember something about a comatose state during extreme injury, so maybe they can still keep me alive.
I'm now at 1/9 power, and I think I can keep the signal and life-support going without my direct intervention for twenty more hours if I seal off the rest of the ship. If anybody finds this, I want you to tell my father, John Watson Sr., CEO of Laser Armada, that I'm sorry.
END OF FILE
17:02 IST 1023-27
Have I mentioned that I'm morally opposed to indentation?
Anyway, more to come later if I feel like it.
Note that the story changes from past tense to present and back a few times, this is intentional.
EDITED to make the last sentence a complete sentence, among other things
Nice angle, looking at the battle from the other side of the coin. I was wondering when somebody would do this.
It's pretty well written. And indentation is all but essential in programming code, so it has its uses.
I like it, Oddbob. It almost makes me feel guilty for all the marauder raid platforms I've blown up.
brilliant oddbob! started off funny, ended well, mid part was good too. i hope theres more to come