Posted by: lordkyler | July 3, 2010

Priority – Unfinished Short Story

This story originally started out as an exercise in science fiction “fancy” writing, but then I decided to turn it into something more, which sort of got boring to me, and eventually I just stopped writing it. Nevertheless, I hereby present it for your enjoyment. I consider the first section to be the best. Also please note they are flying the Keshih fighters, a drawing of which can be seen in this post. Enjoy.

Priority

The three Keshih Fighters plunged into the atmosphere. Trailing bright lines of energy displaced from their engines, they twirled down towards the surface on a dangerous mission. They kept close together, a tight attack formation. On the surface, ADC (Automated Defense Cannons) detected the three ships coming in far too fast for civilian or commercial craft and lacking the security signature. After assessing the situation, the computers began aiming and firing.

The fighters broke formation, twisting to avoid the intense beams of cannon fire from the surface. The air itself seemed to flash around them as they dodged and punched to get through the heavy fire. Just then the firing suddenly stopped. The Wing Leader had sent the signal to activate the hidden virus planted in the cannons months earlier.

“Dashes TRIPLE and DOUBLE, this is Dash UNO, virus has executed, move in.” Although the ships were not of human manufacture, humans were piloting them for this mission. The Keshih were fairly small and highly maneuverable. They were designed for space battles, but these three on the mission were specially coated with heat resistant polymers to resist the atmospheric friction. Special propulsers had also been added to push any dirt or other small objects to the side, out of the ships path. At these speeds, hitting an object the size of a golf ball would tear a hole through your wing if you didn’t have shields, and normal particles left small gouges on the hull and wings, causing drag.

With the cannons disabled, the ships snapped back into formation, and streaked for the surface station. They pulled up a mere thirty feet from the ground, sonic booms rippling in their wakes. These maneuvers weren’t treating the ships gently, but they handled it. They raced at breakneck speeds over the yellow-green fields. If it wasn’t for the force compensators, the pilots would be a pile of jelly pressing against the seats. All of a sudden, the surface station seemed to jump from the fields that spread across more than half of the planet. The fighters let loose their salvoes of O-22 missiles, which detonated with devastating force. The base was unmanned, but belonged to an illegal weapons manufacturing group supplying weapons for those in the slave trade.

The base suddenly exploded into countless shards, and left a gigantic crater. “Whoa, what was that?” cried Dash UNO. “That base wasn’t supposed to have any explosives of that magnitude in it! Our own missiles weren’t supposed to pack that much!”

The fighters had been too far away, carried by their momentum, to be affected by the blast, and they now doubled back, flipping and rolling over, and coming in at a much slower speed. “UNO, this is DOUBLE, I’m picking up a gap that wasn’t there before. The station must have been shielding it from our sensor arrays.”

“Could it be from the explosion, like a fissure?”

“I doubt it. It’s perfectly round, and it goes straight down.”

“I’m going to guess we should check it out. We can’t contact base, this whole operation is off the record to avoid diplomatic tension.” said UNO. “That’s why we’re flying these Keshih thing in the first place. Can we get down it?”

“Copy. It’s gonna be tight though, only a few feet on either side to spare, we’ll have take it headfirst and one at a time.”

A scowl appeared on UNO’s pilot’s face. It sounded like a setup. The situation had to be handled, but he didn’t like the circumstances. DOUBLE and TRIPLE hovered nearby, waiting for his orders.

“Can we get anything from the bottom of the tunnel?” he asked.

“Negative. the sensors are encountering a some sort of interference. I can pick up a large room, but I can’t get anything inside it.”

By now, UNO had decided that this development was far too coincidental.

“OK, that does it, we torch ‘n’ scorch the place.”

“Torch ‘N’ Scorch” was military lingo for “blast the ever-loving crap out of”, which they proceeded to do, sinking blast after blast deep into the ground, until a large section of the smoking crater caved in.

“That finished it.” reported TRIPLE. “I’m getting nothing from down there.”

The unit prepared to return to the mothership, but found themselves surrounded by a force shield. “What the…” said the commander, trailing off. “Quick, boys, let’s see if we can put a hole in this thing and get some breathing room.”

The ships opened fire at the mysterious shield enveloping them. It began to contract.

“Oh, great, it’s a vise shield. Fantastic.” UNO said. Vise shields contracted when hit, to maintain a constant strength. Usually they had some parameters set in for minimum size, but doubtless this one did not, and by the the time the shield would turn off, they’d be piles of ash. Their shields wouldn’t be able to hold out against a shield of this power, either.

UNO ordered a cease fire. The shield expanded again to its original size. “Who’s doing this?” questioned the Wing Leader. “This mission was top secret, and the planet was uninhabited. Who could have found out in time, much less gotten here and set this up!”

“HA!” came a voice over the comm., speaking in Basic II. “You’re in way too deep to escape now!”

***

“Who is this? You have no right to detain us.”

“I’m thinking that the right is granted to me, seeing as to how you just destroyed my very expensive decoy.”

This whole base station was a decoy? thought UNO, with a sinking feeling.

“You are at my mercy, so you may as well surrender. Get out.”

“I don’t think we want to do that.” UNO said, barely concealing his desire to blast their captor, whoever he was, into a cloud of ions.

“Oh, I know, but I really think you will, Gregor Handred.”

Greg’s eyes widened. “Gregor?” He asked “Who’s Gregor?”

“Please don’t play these games, Greg. I know perfectly well who you are. Don’t you remember me?”

“How could I know?” UNO snapped. “I can’t see you!”

“You can’t? I’m right here.” replied the voice arrogantly.

UNO, DOUBLE, and TRIPLE turned to the blip that had just shown up on their HUD’s. Standing in the middle of the enclosed field was a man dressed in body armor and an ankle-length cloak. His dark hair was streaked with white, the only hint of age. Greg gasped. “Parker? What in the world are you doing here? And what the friid do you think you’re doing?”

“I am winning, gentlemen.” said Parker, the mysterious stranger, with a dark grin.

***

“Open fire.” Greg barked to his crew. Obviously something had to be done, and surrender was very low on the list. Blasts of dazzlingly bright white strobed into the spot that their antagonist was standing, vaporizing the ground. Parker laughed. “I should have known. Good thing I’m not really here, eh? You really should control your temper, Greg.”

“What do you want from us, Polski?”

“Last names, is it, Handred? Well, I don’t think I’ll tell you. You have two choices; you can surrender, or you can be sent back to your ship already cremated.” The shield began to shrink. UNO realized their only chance of escape was to surrender now, and try to get out later. “Okay, men, stand down,” he ordered. The hatches opened and they climbed out of their ships. The shield stopped contracting. “Now what?” asked DOUBLE, whose name was Victor Ingoldsby.

The ground opened up beneath the ships, and swallowed them up. The three men were left standing there. The shield turned off, and they were left, stranded.

***

A few hours later, they had managed to start a fire by short-circuiting one of Vic’s now useless backup starter chip. The yellowish plants burned with an eerie blue flame from the chemicals they contained, but it would keep them warm in the coming night. “So, what do we do?” asked TRIPLE.

“We can try and get our ships back, Sam.” replied Greg.

“But where do we start?” asked Vic. “We’ve got nothing to work off of.”

“On the contrary, we’re going down that tunnel.”

“But I thought it was just part of the decoy, to keep us occupied until he could get that shield up.”

“It probably was,” said UNO, “but I’m sure he would have would have been glad to get us down the tunnel too. If we can get down it, we’ve got a starting point. Any security is probably turned off by now, He’s got our ships.”

“Well, let’s go then,” said TRIPLE. “It’s right there.”

“Wait, we collapsed the tunnel and cave, remember?” said Vic. “Are we going to dig the whole thing out?”

The three comrades ran over to see if they could. Viewing the tons of earth and rock, it looked hopeless. Then Sam saw something.

“Sir, down there! A hole!” The pilots scrambled down the crater walls. There was a hole, blasted out by the ships fire, and precariously supported by a boulder. “Okay, boys, take it easy. Vic, Sam, look through the debris and see if you can find some beams or anything that we could use to brace this up.”

Sam quickly found some bars made of some alloy that made it strong enough to survive the blast, and they propped up the roof. Venturing down through the tunnel, they turned on their illuminants. As they descended, the ground became muddier, from the water below the surface. Suddenly the tunnel widened as it met the remains of the original tunnel. UNO, DOUBLE, and TRIPLE drew their firearms, and stepped in. It opened into a large room surrounded by screens. No consoles, just screens, that showed live images of various planets in the surrounding sector. “What’s going on here?” Greg wondered aloud. “Wouldn’t you love to find out?” came the last voice they wanted to hear, from right behind them. Then came a dull ‘Dhyong’ sound, and he fell to the ground, muscles contracting involuntarily, and blacked out.

***

He came to in a white room that was lit to a painful brightness. He groaned. “What hit me?” he asked no one in particular. Unexpectedly, the voice of Sam said, “I think it was some type of voe.” Voes were modern bow substitutes that delivered a neuroelectric shock, whose strength varied according to the strength of the acid used to trigger the chemical reaction that caused the effects.

“Must have been loaded with something flouride-based or something, for that big a shock,” continued Sam. “I’ve only been shot with with citric, but this stuff is serious.” Very weak acids such as citric acid or even water were used for war games and practical jokes, giving only a small shake or wiggle.

“Yeah,” agreed UNO. “I should have expected something, but I’m a pilot, not a marine.” He sat up quickly, and immediately had a pounding headache. He fell back to the floor again, hands to his temples. “Where’s DOUBLE?”

Sam recognized the use of the call sign as a hint to watch what he said, as they might be under surveillance. “He’s still knocked out. He turned to get a shot at that guy, and bounced off his personal repeller. He got shocked pretty bad, and then the guy shot him with the voe. I was trying to escape, so I could come back later, but he nailed me. I’ve been up for half an hour now, so I’m assuming he must have been running out of ammo.” UNO nodded his acknowledgement, and they sat silent for a minute. Greg looked at his surroundings. They were in a white room with no apparent exits. everything was white, and rounded off. There was nothing in the room, aside from themselves. Greg got up, slowly this time. Then he ran and slammed against the wall. It held, but wobbled a little. This room must have been hastily made, it’s flimsy, he thought. I bet that working together, we could get through this thing! Sam took the hint and stood up to join him. The wall broke and crumbled. They were now in the underground chamber where they had been in the first place. “Okay, let’s finish this.” said UNO. “He probably saw that and is on his way. Let’s throw a little welcoming party.”

Sam grinned and took his position.

“Be careful, though. He is an officer, and he knows what to do. We’ll just have to beat him to it.”

[Notes] This is where the story ends, but reading over it again, I think I could really pull a decent little story out of this situation, although I’d certainly change a few of the circumstantial details, and expand on the characters and detail a bit. Maybe one day in the future.

Also, voes are a dang cool idea, and I AM KEEPING THE CONCEPT. Do not steal my awesome idea, please.

Happy 4th of July tomorrow, all y’all! (I hope our neighbors across the pond do not take offense.)

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