Beginning of the end Chapter 8
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Our ship came out of hyperspace Trent as always at the controls, before us Nelus a broken planet devoid of life. Coming back to this place brought a lot of painful memories. Nelus was once a beautiful world once filled with lush green pastures, trees, and unique wildlife away from the clutches of the empire, with the bonus at the time being far away from the great war.
Remembering my family settled here, wife Ariana and daughter Liza lived in a small house surrounded by fruit trees it was to be the safest place from it all.
It wasn’t to last the war hit the galaxy hard; the empire split down the middle; we held the line for more important strategic worlds to survive; I felt we could have held the great enemy at the core worlds. Instead, to save Catronia the Winter family pulled their fleet away, allowing a hole in our lines for the Grismons to retreat. The enemy headed to Nelus for its rich resources. Nelus and my family became a target the enemy lay waste to the planet and when the dust settled and the battle won nothing survived.
I came home to find nothing but burnt ash the trees gone. The home leveled, wife and child, burnt corpses on the ground, on that day I wanted revenge, especially on the Winters for ruining everything.
Popping back to the here and now to a graveyard of broken ships ‘Karvar we are here’ Trent said as we neared a ruined Grismon titan class ship.
‘Trent pull us in closer to the port side of the ship looks more intact,’ I said, peering over the console to get a better view.
‘I can’t believe they left this all here, it’s been so many years’ Trent in awe looking at all of it, I shake my head in disappointment even now the empire had no guidance.
‘Lucky for us this is left here along with everything else, we should be able to find out the origins of the Grismon and maybe why they came,’ the titan vessel loomed over like an ant to a whale.
‘Now this ship may be half-destroyed,’ Trent began to explain.
‘I assume a but is coming’ I cut in with a half-smile.
‘Yes, I realize you’ve done this thing before. Just be careful’ I nodded, heading towards the airlock I appreciated what Trent was talking about, the hidden dangers on broken ships were many, from unstable walkways that lead into space or hole that can trap you, to losing integrity in your suit.
I placed the helmet on my suit ‘Seal complete’ the spacesuit chimed. The main dangers that ran through my mind were many. The ship itself would be easy to navigate it’s what’s left behind by the enemy that worried me most.
Grismon defenses were notorious for gutting or frying you in an instant if they left any active I would be hard-pressed to avoid while in this suit with no main gravity.
‘Are you ready’ Trent transmitting to the suit, I raised my fist in confirmation. Trent would look at the camera covering the airlock so he knew I would be ready. The door opened slowly to space showing a gap between the vessels.
Moving off in the derelict’s direction I adjusted my trajectory using the maneuverer jets, nudging my alignment with the airlock in front of me, I place a device Trent made to unlock sealed doors right going through the schematic. The main consoles only three decks up towards the front of the ship, scanning the interior I can’t find anything active you must hook up the power source from one of the power cores. The closest one is two decks down on the starboard side of the ship, whether its intact is another matter,’ the airlock in front opened up.
Inside there was some glimmer of power running through the lights obviously, the elevators won’t be working the doors didn’t even open when I floated by ‘head down the corridor and turn left you’ll see a stairwell’ Trent guided, I turned the corner then jumped back in shock, quickly drawing my blade in defense ‘Karvar, Karvar’ Trent voiced concern.
‘Am fine, just stop screeching in my ear’ I said, before me, something had pinned a Grismon corpse to the wall, a large spike through the chest its face contorted in pain frozen. Seeing from the direction the spike came from I could see a power junction that exploded, sending metal across the area into the Grismon. The spike pinned the monster down while the air escaped through the hull. I didn’t feel pity for the beast all I care about is that monster have their uses.
Going past and down the stairwell, the air seems to get thicker ‘Trent am detecting a substance in the area can you analyze the suit data.’ I said not moving further I didn’t want to lose the suit integrity to an unknown substance.
‘Checking, it’s nothing, some fuel traveling through the vents’ Trent tone became neutral I could tell he was concentrating on monitoring everything,
‘Anything I should worry about,’ I asked
‘Nope, nothing as yet, watch out for traps in the power room’ he blurted if Trent didn’t want to say anything, I didn’t need to press him the man was trustworthy. Traveling further down the stairwell and after a few tugs and pulls to get the suit through a tight gap I found it, floating in space, the power generator for the area.
Thinking back to the war, when fighting a Titan class ship it had several generators you had to take out. Each unit dedicated to separate system shields, weapons, life support anyone that went down the others would replace the lost energy there was usually seven all together onboard two near the front one in the center and four towards the rear, without including a few smaller ones for localized power.
‘Why did you send me this way the things floating if I turn it on theirs bound to be a shock’ I said frustrated feeling my teeth grind.
‘It’s the only one through scanning that is connected to that area, this one should activate the main console unless you want to try another, but it is further in.’ Trent was irritatingly right for tech or hacking into things he knew what would work
‘All right, so how do I get it started without frying my limbs’ I said sarcastically all I could hear was a light chuckle coming from Trent
‘You have no clue, you’re forgetting the suit insulated to more than atmosphere, it can handle a few stray bolts here and there when you get it started anything, that thing throws at you the suit should be able to handle it.’ Begrudgingly I moved forward looking for the terminal to allow a manual startup the jets on the suit moved me around.
‘Where’s the console’ grabbing hold of a stray cable to stop my momentum.
‘On the side, move around until you find it, do you still have the device I gave you, you must attach it to the screen once active I’ll be able to reboot the system you should be clear before anything dangerous happens’ finally I found the screen and place the device
‘Didn’t you say the suit would protect me’ I said, thinking if you know so much you should be here? No response from Trent.
I active the device and moved away while Trent did his magic wiggling through the gap I came through before the generator lights came on‘
‘Good finally got the system working routing the power upstairs’ Trent sounded relieved
‘What happened back there? Why were you silent?’ allowing my voice to show a bit of anger
‘Nothing the reactor had a problem’ I moved through the stairwell
‘Are you going to tell me or I don’t want to know’ moving past the Grismon the beast still made my heart beat a little faster.
‘If I said no, you will still keep asking the generator nearly had an unstable reaction that nearly blew your side of the ship up. I managed to keep the flow going for the task at hand,’ Trent paused some days he over thought things
‘And’ I used the jets to get through a hole in the roof getting past fallen stairs, looking around more bodies lay frozen in death some dismembered. Others had no wounds they must have died through affixation while trying to get to emergency escape pods, still, some pods had power, flickering to life as I passed. I had to maneuver over a fallen strut on the jets, at last nothing more, obstructing my way.
The heavy doors to the main computer room opened, at least something is working on this piece of junk I thought. The room was in no better shape than the rest of the ship the viewports were shattered, the consoles at the walls broken, nothing seems to remain intact except the central column wires floating around and the screens attached look like the only thing to avoid any damage
‘I found the main computer terminal, starting up the reboot sequence’ slowly life coaxed back into the machine, something chimed in the room. ‘Something making noise in here’ I looked around searching for the source the chime started to become more rapid I saw the source.
Acting quickly, well as one can in a bulky spacesuit reversing from the threat. I created a wall of energy around myself, then the inevitable explosion happened, the side of the ship finally gave out kicking a wall of debris into space.
Some fell on me, shifting out from under the mess there was little damage to my suit, a ringing pounded in my ears great I could have a concussion I thought.
‘You still there I detect your life sign,’ Trent faintly buzzed in my ear
‘I’m fine, at least the room now has a panoramic view’ I watch the dead planet Nelus coming into view I so want to turn back time. ‘The center column still here am surprised, the mine I guessed was half-charged, when I moved into the area, it must have set the proximity sensor off’ I felt shaky, good thing the job is almost done. I looked around for more mines slowly, I didn’t want to set another one of.
‘Get the device to screen and I’ll start the download to the ships’ computer’ Trent sounded impatient another alarm went off not on the derelict ship. I heard it through the suit communication gear.
‘Karvar, get back here proximity warning an imperial cruiser just dropped out of hyperspace, I don’t think they have detected us yet.’ he said
‘Getting back through the ship will take too much time, the quickest route back to the ship is for me to go outside’ I said hastily setting the jets on full I flew out into space through the freshly made hole, the good thing is this close to the derelict the imperial cruiser sensor shouldn’t be able to pick me up on scanners yet.
‘Trent I’ve made my way outside detach from the ship and meet me behind the fin in front’ I made my way towards the bow of the ship and locked a clamp onto the fin waiting. Trent arrival wasn’t long before the ship came into view. The airlock came alongside and opened up I dived quickly through the door to safety ‘did you get all the files yet’ I yelled while ripping off the suit.
‘Nearly just a few more seconds the cruiser hasn’t got us in their sights, but they are deploying scout drones,’ Trent was huddled over the download while I sat in the pilot seat plotting a course out of the system, calculating the hyperspace route. On the display, the cruiser had set up a defensive position, allowing the drones to probe the wreckage for any intruders.
‘They shouldn’t be here I saw the flight plan through here about a week back, damn that colonel never sticks to a plan like a good soldier,’ I said while putting power to the engines
‘Download complete’ Trent immediately looks over the files, a drone came up behind us and we both knew it would send an alert.
‘Damn’ I said firing the engines to full making the ship jump into action while frying the drone, we needed to get out of the planet’s gravitational well and into hyperspace. The cruiser reacted to the intrusion, already launching its storm class starfighters four of them on an intercept course, while the cruiser moved to block off our escape route.
Re-routing as much power to the engines as possible made the lights dipped a little, Trent, and I were pushed back into our seats because of the rapid acceleration ‘we got the information we wanted and more’ Trent said while sitting in the copilot seat.
‘Good, I like the sound of that’ weapons fire came across our front bow from the starfighters. Maneuvering our ship spiraling away nearly made Trent throw up, I got threw the fighters they now on our tail.
The inertial dampener had very little power allowed us to feel every twist and turn. Trent used the upper mounted turret placing a few shots back at our trailing starfighters scattering them, that confusion helped pull our trajectory away from the imperial cruiser hoping it was enough to escape. The Colonel already changed the cruiser current path to intercept, looking at Trent he launched a torpedo at the cruiser.
Aboard the imperial cruiser Galant a tall, heavily built man in armor was viewing the battle on the bridge, at the start the drone picked up the small yacht, but when Colonel bracken saw his starfighters break formation because of weapons fire, he knew it wasn’t an ordinary target, especially when the torpedo launched towards his ship ‘captain fire upon that torpedo before it hits and make ready the tractor beam for capture‘ I ordered the Galant fired its point defense system a spray of weapons fire to disable incoming heavy ordnance.
The defense did its job of protecting the ship and the torpedo exploded ‘scanners detecting an EM wave’ tactical officer said this surprised me an EM wave is a military spec weapon, this would disable small craft but not the cruiser, however the electromagnetic waves would blunt the cruisers capabilities in a fight.
‘Move Galant away and redirect power to the shield I don’t want any damaged to the ship’ calmly I ordered, damn them, I thought a clever trick ‘get their flight trajectory we need to follow once the starfighters are back on board the Gallant’ I strode back to my ready room the servos in my suit making a slight whine as I moved ‘I’ll find you’ I whispered, I looked back for a moment watching our trespassers flicker and jump to hyperspace.
Into Hyperspace we went the swirling lines now travel past ‘that was a close one good thing you pack those torpedoes it worked wonders’ I said commending him for his foresight. Trent smug look I guessed came from outwitting one of the empires best ‘what did we get’ I said wondering what was uncovered.
I needn’t worry about Bracken, in a straight-out fight, he was nothing, but he was a man you should never underestimate today proves that.
Colonel Bracken also survived through the war even without gifts the man’s tactics were sound and the troops under his command respected him.
Trent finished with the data ‘we got a rough idea where the Grismons came from also we have weapons and more schematics of the ship and this’ an image of a crystal.
‘What is that’ I inquired.
‘Don’t know, but the Grismon word for top-secret or special with several locations where it might be this object must have been important.’
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About the author.
Albert is an ex-royal air force photographer. He is passionate about novel writing and creative arts, his work can be seen on Amazon and Opensea. Albert enjoys gaming with his son and records them to replay on YouTube.