Currently on hiatus. Will resume in July, or sooner.

Current story updates:

Current story interludes/Side stories:
Every other Saturday

Other pieces:
Every other Saturday (Saturdays I don't run the Interludes/Side Stories)

During certain periods updates may come more often; at other times updates may come less often. This schedule is my hoped-for goal.

Friday, 10 January 2014

HyHm Pt 2: Chapter 17

Chapter 17

Lian twisted the thinsuit helmet to seal it and pulled out her pistol. It was not the best model; it did not have strength, a large capacity, a good fire time, or accuracy, but it was legal. That made it better than most in her books.
She keyed in the override and the cargo bay doors slid open. It was a mess inside. Dozens of crates, toppled everywhere, everything spilled. Half the bay itself was missing. It must have been destroyed when the enemy shuttle crashed into the ship. Lian could see crates scattered across the floor of the hangar from the impact.
She scrambled along the now sideways stacks of crates to reach the edge of the room and look out. She could see chaos from there. Jor leapt, spun, and shot his way through a group of black armoured soldiers. She couldn’t see Kral anywhere. He might still have been unconscious.
Damn. She took another look and did a double take.
The bay doors were still open. She wasn’t sure how she had missed it the first time, but that explained why the cargo bay was depressurized. And the doors were not closing.
That needed to be fixed, or else Jor, Kral, and herself in their thinsuits would not survive beyond a single hit, even in an extremity.
She looked down for a place to jump to. That was what saved her as she heard the whine of a bullet pass over her head. She threw herself forwards, no longer having the luxury of worrying about where to jump to.
She twisted as she fell, and grabbed onto a protruding spar. She swung herself on it and dropped the rest of the way to the ground. As she landed she swung her gun up and fired in the general direction of her attacker. The bullets went wide.
She lunged, and managed to get behind some debris before the counterattack destroyed her suit. She crouched, trying to make herself as small as possible.
Moving around she managed to get a look out through a gap in the debris. Several of the soldiers were making their way towards her, coming at the pile from different directions. They were trying to cut her off.
Lian sighed and pulled an ION charge out of her boot. That was definitely not legal for a civilian to have, but at this point she was beyond caring. Jor’s crew might catch her using it, and then there’d be questions. But there would be no questions if she was dead.
She pressed the button, counted to three, and leaned out to throw it as hard as she could at the approaching soldiers.
It bounced off the floor once as she hunkered down, and then exploded.
The blastwave threw her away from the debris and threatened to knock the pile down on her. As she rolled out from under it she saw that much closer soldiers had been incinerated, blown to pieces, or just stunned.
She ran to one who was stirring, and shot her in the forearm. Stunned as she was she reacted on reflex, and her hand released as it pulled in closer to her
She bent down, and got both arms under the immense rifle the woman had been carrying. Lifting it to her shoulder Lian set it, sighted, and fired.
The soldier’s faceplate fractured, hairline cracks spreading from a neat round hole in the center. Lian didn’t look long enough to see if there was a red spray; she trusted to the fact that she soldier had stopped moving and that depressurization would kill her.
She sighted in on the next soldier who was starting to come to, slammed back the firing lever to eject the spent shell, and fired again. The second soldier stopped stirring as Lian ran towards the bay door manual override.
Although the rifle slowed her down leaving it was not an option. She knew that her pistol couldn’t do any real damage to the enemies armour.
She ducked past a crate as a soldier swiveled to take aim at her. She tried to quickly run to the next crate along, but tripped, and overbalanced because of the rifle. She managed to land sitting down, but out in the open.
Knowing that she was about to die she turned to look at the soldier. They raised their gun to their shoulder, sighted in on her, and were crushed by a flying hunk of metal.
Lian stared for a moment, before tracing its path with her eyes. It had flown off the top of the MET. The top of the cockpit. Chairs followed a moment later, then Kral ran out, charging towards the nearest group of soldiers, gun muzzles flashing from the stream of shots.
She picked up her rifle and was about to continue when two soldiers exited the cockpit after Kral. They began to set up their shots, and she knew that Kral wasn’t paying attention. She had to save him.
The rifle came up almost of its own accord and even as she staggered from the kick of one shot her hand worked the lever, and she turned enough to fire at the second soldier as the rifle steadied again in her hands. Both went down.
Lian looked at her rifle, and then at the two dead soldiers. She had not known that she was that good a shot.
But she needed to close the bay doors.
Turning, she worked the lever again as she ran to the console beside the hole into space. She did a quick scan to make sure that no soldiers were preparing to fire on her, or even paying her any attention before turning her full attention to the console.
It was non-standard, which was odd, but she had dealt with more complicated things before. It looked like she would just need to falsify an override code, preferably from someone with high clearance, re-route power from an non-essential part of the hangar bay or ship, and then activate the close sequence.
Not hard at all.

Kral stood back to back with Jor as the two of them retreated even deeper into the hangar. Right now they were in the shade of an executive shuttle’s wing, preparing for the dash to the cover of the landing struts, and then from there to the service sled loaded with parts that the technicians had been using to repair the ship’s engines.
They were wearing down the assassin’s numbers, but Jor had begun to move slower and slower as the vacuum took its toll on his body. He would not be able to hold on much longer. They needed to end this, and soon.
As Jor tapped Kral on the shoulder to signify that they would make a break for it in five seconds, a mechanical whir filled the room, and the bay doors began to shut. At the same time airlocks cycled open around the room and armoured soldiers poured in to surround the assassins.
As Kral stepped out from under the shuttle supporting Jor assassins were surrendering on every side to the superior numbers.
As the doors finally cycled shut and the room began to repressurize, Kral passed Jor off to a pair of medics who quickly set about strapping him into a suit and getting him to the medbay.
“Agent Kral? We have the one who let these assassins aboard”
“You do?” Kral spun, hand going for his gun, to face the commander of the guard squad “Where are they?”
The commander motioned four other soldiers forwards. They marched in formation, then spread out when the reached Kral. Lian stood in the middle of them, wrists shackled.
“They say that she knows you, and that you can vouch for her. But she isn’t on our personnelle list, so I figured that she had snuck aboard, gotten one of our thinsuits, then locked the doors open”
Kral shook his head as Lian grinned at him.
“Much as I hate to say this Commander, but she is telling the truth. I had to pick her up, thats why I was gone. Agent Mallar sent me, he can clear it when he gets out of medbay. In the meantime, she was with me the entire time before the attack. If it turns out that she is responsible, I’ll take full responsibility. Also”, he continued as a thought struck him, “Don’t touch any of the crates in this cargo bay. You’ll want to give this woman the run of the cargo bay, maybe with a few techs if she needs them, who have been run by me first, and nobody else. Agent Mallar would give the same order”
The commander grumbled about Agents who thought that they could tell him how to do his job and who were too big for their britches, but he had everyone clear the hangar bay as ordered, leaving only Kral and Lian.
“One thing I like about military folk is that they sure know how to follow orders”
“Shut up and open the boxes Lian”

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