Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: Denied Chapter 38

Lack of gravity didn’t stop all of the intruders. There were spacers among the soldiers invading the ship, and some aliens just didn’t seem to be hampered by the lack of gravity at all. One rather thick alien just thinned out his hands and used the thin, flexible flaps to propel himself gracefully through the air.

I’m assuming it was a he, from the sheer bulk. Deke was going to be pissed if it turned out to be a woman, because the alien flipped gracefully around two of his guards and smacked them both together with those hands.

If they’d been thicker, or if the guards weren’t shielded, there might have been serious damage done.

“They tried to flank us?” Captain tapped the screen, and a second enlarged. “Just like you thought. Sneaky bastards. Good thing you’re a sneakier one, Deke.”

I couldn’t hear his response, but I’m sure it was a good one by the expression on Captain’s face and the way one of the younger crew actually choked. The man, probably ten years older than me, could not turn redder.

“Just bring them back down here and quit threatening to shove things up orifices where they don’t belong just because they tried to sneak in through the waste chutes.”

“Was that what they did?” Wow. A classic. So old it was positively ancient. “How in the hell did they think they’d get away with that?”

“No idea, but Deke isn’t happy about having to touch one of them that nearly escaped.”

I wrinkled my nose. I’d grown used to the sanitary facilities on the ship, and I couldn’t imagine going back to the old way where I’d been cleansed without ever really feeling anything against my skin, but at least I’d never experienced that sort of filth.

Not outside my missions where getting dirty was part of the plan to get the client where I needed them—or where Brox needed them.

The ship rocked, and I nearly fell off the couch. I grabbed the arm and held on. Captain slapped one hand against the wall and another against a button highlighted on the screen. “Freska Derkat, I thought you said you could handle their ship!”

“I can.” Her answer was low and tight. “Just, give me a minute, they’re using a metalloid coating on the ship’s main system. But it’s brittle; I just have to find… a crack… there! Found one. Hello, sweet thing, have you been lonely, locked away like that?” Freska Derkat’s voice began a purring croon, and it was almost disturbing how she spoke as if she expected the ship to actually answer.

“Thank you. Captain, the ship’s engines will power down on your command. Her weapons are already offline. She’s sealed the hull breach and isolated the crew that remained behind. Those on our ship are cut off from retreat.”

“Excellent. Convey my appreciation, and assure her that I shall allow you to take excellent care of her once we disengage.”

Freska Derkat squealed. “Yay!” The sound from her com cut off abruptly.

Wow, she was… something else. Amazing, but weird. And that was just as a voice over the vid, imagine if she’d been there in person. I wasn’t sure I’d like her energy. It was… disturbing. Something in her voice; maybe it had to do with the stuff in my brain?

That was something to worry about another time. Captain straightened and accepted the uniform jacket a crew member handed him. He quickly slipped it on and did up the fasteners, then activated the vid camera to project.

“Unauthorized invaders on my ship, your attempt to hijack my vessel has failed. Your ship has been sealed against you. Retreat is impossible. Your secondary flanking attack has been stopped. Continue resisting, and my crew is approved to use deadly force, as we have adequate numbers of prisoners to interrogation. Any act of aggression will be met with extreme prejudice. I will not allow you to harm the people on this ship—and the traitors you hoped would help you are already in the isolation chambers with null fields, so it is pointless to continue to attempt to take my ship or any of the people on it.” Captain’s voice dropped to a throaty snarl, his face a harsh mask of rage and icy determination. 

“You have been warned. Submit or die.”

He swiped a hand across the air by his waist and the feed was cut. Everyone scrambled about, getting reports and cross-checking with each other.

Captain put a hand on the button at his throat. He popped it open and sighed, his shoulders dropping. I carefully stood, clutching the couch. “C’mere,” I said.

“Are you okay?” Captain hurried around the table. “Did you get hurt when they fired on the ship?”

“I’m fine.” He was not. I could sense the bone deep exhaustion in him. “What’s wrong?”

“For many years I fought in wars I didn’t start and had no stake in finishing. I went where I was told and fought against those I was told were the enemy. I thought I’d left that behind; I thought I knew what I was doing was the right thing. And, I thought, one day I’d leave all this”—he waved his hand at the frantic crew—“behind me. Retire somewhere and have a normal life while I could still enjoy it.”

I’d never be normal. Not after what they’d done to me. Did that mean he’d never want me? Or was it a good thing he gave up on that dream now? I said nothing, since I didn’t know what to say. I unbuttoned the next button in his jacket.

“I want to take my real ship and just go.”

“Just us?” I raised my eyebrows.

“And my crew from before, who I really know and trust. Most of all, I just want to go somewhere no one gets beaten, shot at, or killed.”

Was there such a place in the entire universe?

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