Story Fragment – Prison EscapeEdit
This Story Fragment was originally posted on Fictionpress.com as 2nd Chapter of "New Adventures of the Tigershark" Elements of this chapter will be "recycled" in the new Version.
Lieutenant Melberg watched the Vacu Game . He knew that as strictly against regulations, but what could possibly happen? The Computronic watched the prisoners, the Prisoners had no possible way of escaping. Who could they run to even if they did make it out of their cells? There was nothing around the Station for light years and no ship that could be stolen. A GalCom technician had called in an hour ago to fix some of their Buoys a few light minutes out. He checked his instruments and saw the ship already leaving and going Trans Light. The Midway Bashers finally scored and pulled even with the Saran Satans. Melberg was at the edge of his seat, Midfloater Gorgenson fired the ball, Henley the Rear Sphere guard managed to get his net around it before the opposite Defense Guard could. Henley just got traded from the Nolight Knights and everyone wondered if he was ready to play with the team, and ready he was! In one fluid move he loaded the ball gun, kicked himself of a Saran Devil and fired. Right across the up field between the force field hazards...his aim was true and ... Score! Melberg could no longer simply sit down. The Midway bashers now one score ahead. If they could simply keep it they would be still in the finals and of course meet the Terran Terrors again and this time they had Henley. He already saw himself going to the Endgame of this season. He completely overheard and overlooked the Computronic status control. the Station System was offline. Lieutenant Fredericks came into the Command Center, to see why Melberg was running a Computronic maintenance program. It was neither scheduled nor the backup was online. He saw Melberg watching the game and at first wanted to say something but he heard him scream and looked over his colleagues shoulder to witness another score of the Midway Bashers. The reporter and Melberg went nuts and Fredericks got caught in the moment and watched too. Twenty minutes later, the game was over with a solid win of the Midway Bashers. Melberg raised his Can Cooler in Team colors and said:" Next stop Finals! We're going to win you know! We're going to take the trophy this year!" "Well I wouldn't count the Terran Terrors out and then there are the Nolight Knights." "They don't stand a chance. Did you see Henley and Gorgenson play together, six scores in twenty minutes, that's new last quarter record." "Actually I came up to ask you about the Computronic. Why is it in deep maintenance? Aren't we supposed to wait for Compu Maintenance for that, and besides the back Up should run while you doing that!" Melberg got a strange feeling in his stomach as he deactivated the TransDim screen and checked on the Computronic." I haven't set it to Maintenance. I didn't even check it when I came on." Fredericks reached across and switched the Back Up Computronic on. The secondary system came up , checked the Station and prisoner status and stated with mechanical voice while red lights started blinking, Prisoner 41, 74 ,75 and 67 are not in the holding area." Lt. Commander Fleming, the Stations CO came running only wearing boxer shorts. " What in blazes name is going on?" Melberg said meekly." Sir we are missing four prisoners!" Fleming looked over the status board and said." I can't find Corporal Moons. I thought he is on duty for that section?" The Computronic responded." Corporal Moons is not aboard this station." Fleming gave Station alert and the entire construct was searched. Neither Moons no the four prisoners could be found. However four Space suits and a work drone were missing. A detail scan of the space around the base found a biomass of humanoid size and after they got a visual they had at least found Corporal Moon, floating bloated and frozen in deep space. It took them another three hours to figure out what exactly happened. With a feeling of impending doom did he make a TransDim Call to Sector Command and told the responding Officer." Fort Benning , Lt Commander Fleming reporting. We have a break out and escape! Three prisoners managed to capture a civilian space ship and are on the loose. Prisoners Evok Stalman, Nator Meateater, Calvin Five and Alvin Stone have escaped current whereabouts unknown. The Service ship they captured could make it to three bases. Midway, BeforeCenter and Overthehill as well as several Space Villages." The last name raised a special alarm at NELSON and the Omnitronic transferred the report directly to Fleet Command.
Admiral Mc Elligott was standing next to Lt Har-Hi overlooking the sub surface ship assembly bay on Bridgehead 2. A black ship still halfway surrounded by auto-assembly scaffolding, bathed in brilliant work lights in its center. An army of robots and workers busy to put the final touches on the new ship. Har Hi smiled as he saw the tiny silvery figure all busy floating around the aft section, supervising everything. Elligott put his hands o the railing." He does take his job serious, I got to admit!" Har-Hi still smiling." I doubt twenty Y'All could pull him off his engines." "Well she should be done by the time your Captain arrives." "I wonder what she says if she sees that monster. It turned out a tad bigger than before." "It still has some of the original Components. SHIP is there as well as the Janus Device. It was simply easier to build her new than bring all the parts over. She looks the same, just now she's a small Battleship." "Sir can I ask why did you rebuild her bigger? The original wasn't all that seriously damaged." "Three reasons, Mr. Har Hi. First you might run into bigger problems out here, with less chance of getting back up. Secondly, because of you we have the Nul, the Golden and the Micro-Terrans in the Union and they insisted in providing their cutting edge technology in a new prototype ship, besides a few Celtest Surprises, courtesy of Lieutenants Suit and Ghost. And finally because if we send you out in a new Galaxy who knows what you guys drag back home, maybe the new Tigershark won't be big enough to fit them all in!" A small floating disc appeared with two tiny humans none taller than maybe 10 centimeters approached and stopped before the two in eye level. An amplifier device on the floater made the two easily understood." Admiral, we are on schedule and ready. the Tigershark is now the first full sized ship with the largest TD-Gun Batteries we ever assembled. " "Thank you Dr. Isah-nine. " A Nul stomped up the platform and adjusted his purple robe, over his gray skin. " I must say Terran and Nul Engineers work well together. " The Admiral bowed slightly. "Indeed your Majesty. Your son will be here shortly and be surprised to find you here!" The Nul Monarch exposed his horrifying maw and rows of teeth and laughed." I wanted to be the first Nul to go across your famous Bridge." "It is yours now as well. What I never thought possible, but the Nul are Union now!" "Indeed. Well I was technically not the first Nul, but the first Gray who made it. I also wanted to supervise to make sure this new ship gets the best in Nul Technology. We are not behind in everything." "Not by a long shot your Majesty. Your Gravi Tech was of grave concern to us before and now that we know of it first hand, I realize we weren't concerned enough." "You will find the Nul to be as fierce allies as we have been enemies." "That is evident your Majesty, in the unprecedented cooperation we are already experiencing." The Nul ruler also leaned against the railing and looked towards the ship. " The recent developments and growth of the Union did not make everyone happy. The Shiss are now openly talking to the Kermac. Not that this concerns me much, open war is unlikely and neither the Shiss nor the Kermac are trustworthy allies and whatever pact they agree upon it will be broken sooner or later." "There is also the Scanner Data we analyzed from the Tigershark's first voyage and the massive data from the Golden. There was quite some traffic in the Coreward sector. We still know little about the Core- and Down ward sectors and we are already in a new Galaxy, barley opened the door and who knows what awaits us here." The Nul nodded."Then we will face them together. " He suddenly yelled in an enormous voice down." You Nubssu Scrubs! Be careful with those!" To the Admiral he said." Nul are still a bit clumsy sometimes!" He turned and stomped back down and Har Hi and the Old Admiral watched the ruler of the mighty Nul put hands on guiding some sort of Cannon Housing into a turret socket. The little Terrans also returned to their work The Admirals Com piece beeped and he opened the call in front of everyone. Admiral Stahl appeared and even though it was a Holo from over 2 million light years away, it was obvious he was angry." You might want to take this in private! " The other Admiral almost barked. Elligott sighed as he knew something serious had happened but he said." Only a friend here who can hear what you got to say. "I just got report of a Prison break. First I had no idea we had a Prison called Fort Bennings and second I am appalled by the lax security measures there, but what really gets me is hearing who escaped! Two men I thought would be dead!" Elligott also became serious." You are my friend for a very long time, and you are one of the most high ranking officers, but even to you there are Need to know areas. Corrections and Prisoner management are not among those. Now just tell me what happened and who escaped?" " Prisoners Evok Stalman, Nator Meateater, Calvin Five and Alvin Stone. You know Pirate Meateater and former Commander Stone. I was there when he received his death penalty! Why is he still alive?" Mc Elligott became visibly pale." Did you say Calvin Five?" "Yes, but I don't know who he is." "A very dangerous individual. I guess we better exchange information. Tell me how they escaped and I tell you why they are still alive and why Calvin Five is bad news!" "Apparently one of the Guards allowed one of the prisoners to do chores and he gained access to a GalNet terminal. From there he downloaded a virus program and fed it somehow into the local Computronic. They then escaped using space suits and a Work Drone that pulled them to a GalNet Repeater Buoy. They created a system failure, GalCom sends out a Service man complete with Service Ship. They killed a guard, the GalNet service man and they found Evok Stalman in the Repeater station dead as well, obviously he got into an argument with the others and lost, since the service ship had only room for three. the Service Man leaves a family with kids behind! What the investigators can't tell me is how the two hope to escape from the Bridge. They have no CITI'S." " Evok Stalman is a very talented , genius level Genetic Engineer, he was sentenced to 60 years after experimenting on sentient beings he bought on the slave market. Nator Meateater was kept alive because his death sentence was commuted after he helped to locate a secret pirate base and thus free many slaves. Alvin Stone was kept alive because he is the only person as far as we know who knows who the Purple Worm is. As a former Officer his mind was conditioned and neither brain dump nor Psionics would help. He had given us much information regarding the Worm organization in return for a long term sentence. Calvin Five is like us, Richard. He is an Immortal. He became insane, criminally insane. He has an incredible high IQ of at least 400, he has altered his own DNA and went through many bionetic and cybernetic surgeries . He is super strong, superfast and super smart. He has no scruples and kills out of a whim. He was responsible for the Palhar Massacre and several other heinous crimes. All this happened during your absence, Peter Baker our old Ranger friend caught him and we locked him away ever since. I could not order his death since I did not know if he has completed his task o if it was still to do. The Guardian seemed to know who he picked, so did not dare to kill an immortal." Stahl was still angry." We are not above the laws! Neither you not me, nor any of the Immortals. If he killed and did all this then he needed to die, like any other criminal." "I can't say you are wrong. Calvin Five was mostly in suspended animation for the last 520 years. Why he was reanimated I don't know, but if Stone knows the Worm then he is high up that Organization and getting a CITI and new identities is probably not difficult for them. " "Splendid! You know you are ultimate responsible for anything they do! Neither man would be around if I had anything to say in that matter. I think you need to explain all that to the pregnant Widow on Midway too!" Stahl did not even wait for a response and switched off. Elligott did not look happy at all. Har-Hi said." If you need my help Sir, I am at your disposal." The old Admiral sighed deeply. " He was right you know. I am responsible. Sometimes I think this old Warrior friend of mine is a little to righteous and straight forward and then in times like this, I wish I could be more like him. To Stahl everything is black or white and his view hasn't changed in all this time." "Sir I cannot judge the reasons or motives of such as you, but if I might be so frank to suggest we first deal with the problem and then see who's to blame and who's not. Erica will soon be here and with her comes Narth and Shea. With those two we might find a trace and track those down!" "You are very wise my young friend. Let's see what we can do to limit the damage they can do and now I am going to make a call and see if I can do something for that widow."
The door opened and a voice announced:" Midway Station. We will have a 28 hour layover before we continue to Beach Head. Please enjoy your stay at Midway station." Muhammad said." Are we going to do anything or stay with the coach?" I said."Well since Cirruit isn't with us I think giving everyone shore leave won't be a big problem. So yes go and enjoy yourself. I read they have pretty much everything here. " Muhammad , Elfi, Mao and Cateria were the first to leave. Krabbel joined the Golden and Alya . TheOther sighed." I think I better stay in the coach!" Hans shook his head ." Nope you won't! We're going to watch a game and you come along! Dusty and Gatu are going!" I laughed." If you four sit in the bleachers make sure you sit directly above a support strut!" Narth floated by and said." I shall observe this game as well. To see an absolute illogical activity that seems to occupy so many minds will be fascinating." Shea asked." Are you going off duty as well?" " I was thinking about it, yes. No need to stay in this snapper fish can any longer than I have to." "Splendid!" "Why what's on your mind?" "We need to do something about your wardrobe. For a Guy who loves to look like a girl you got very little stuff to wear. I see you in your Uniform on and off duty, for most of the time! You don't even borrow stuff from me, Elfi does it all the time!" "I never really thought of it." "Well do you plan to stay that way?" "Well yes. I feel fine and content and exactly as I want to be." "Then let's go shopping girl! You got a fat Credit Box and we are in one of the prime shopping centers of the Union. Midway is famous for it!" "I think I could use some shoes and perhaps something to wear indeed." Shea and I went shopping and it was more fun than I thought it would be. At a fashion store she basically took over and became my style expert. I came out of the dresser and said." Isn't that a little too short?" I was refereeing to a mini skirt she had me put on. "How is anyone supposed to sit down in something like that?" "That is just right. Skirts are in and Minis have never gone out of style. There is two ways a girl sits down in these. the artful way with closed legs, or the hell may care slutty way. Depends what you want to accomplish." Loaded with boxes we went back to the train to unload. The shopping town we went to was just one of many. Midway did not even feel like a space station for the most part. The designers put great care in putting lots of green and water everywhere. The light was as carefully designed as the weather. To make the illusion complete there was actually weather, wind and rain and temperature cycles with real seasons. We made plans to see a theater performance and then go to a club but that all changed when Shea saw a Vari Sign Billboard on our way back. It read 47th Advanced Mathematics Congress at the Sheraton. It listed a series of Speakers and her eyes started glowing. "Oh Professor Ameling is one of the guest speakers!" "You would love to go, right?" "Well he was my doctor father and his work is fascinating!" "Teaches me to engage to a super smart girl" I grinned and gave her a kiss." Go ahead, just don't ask me to sit in as well. I rather count rivets or watch snow melt." "You don't mind?" "Of course not. I need to practice to walk with that skirt and figure out what those frilly things do you bought. I love being a girl, but the dressing part is so much more complicated . I still need to learn a lot!" "You aren't as innocent as you act now. You know exactly what those are for." She left me with all the boxes and bags and I saw her golden hair disappear in a crowd of geeks and scientists before the doors of the Hotel. I found it amusing that even a Klack Ant and a Nul Scientist somehow managed to look like human geeks. A purple skinned Nul was discussing something with a Garbini and a human . As he pulled a pocket E Pad to calculate something and the Klack started writing equations on the hotel wall with the human holding his chin it was obvious that other species had those types too. I saw Shea again. She was a as hot and sexy as a woman could be, wearing a mini skirt, and a frilly blouse and none of the human males had any eyes for it but became excited when she added to the equations. Someone said." Some Hotel employee said."The Convention is inside!" But he was ignored as the crowd around the those became bigger, even though they all spoke Union I did not understand a word. So I went on, took a floater Cab and went back to the Train Station. Our Coach had already been moved to a new track and linked into a new train. thanks to an Info-Bot I found it anyway and was glad to get rid of the load. I was alarmed as I saw Cateria in her CMO Uniform and even more as I saw Narth lying on one of the Couches. She turned and smiled."Nothing really serious, Captain. He sampled all the treats they offer at the game and one of those was beer. You know what alcohol does to him. He be alright, he said so before he passed out. He just needs to sleep it off or something Narths do. Not that his med scans make any sense." I rolled my eyes." He is perhaps the smartest being in the Universe and yet a bit naive when it comes to booze. I think I need to have a word with him." I was neither tired nor did I have anything particular to do. So I went back out and simply started walking in a leisurely pace. I noticed crowds of mostly men, but also females and aliens around public view screens . I asked a young dark haired woman." Say what's the deal with all that?" " Vacu Ball, the Midway Bashers playing the Nolight Knights. Whoever wins meets the Terran Terrors in the Finals!" "Oh a sporting event!" That must be the game Hans and the others went to. She looked me up and down and then said." Yes Blondie, a sporting event!" I did stop to watch a few moments but the entire thing made no sense to me. I knew I should be more interested in such things, but somehow I never was. I never cared much for team sports, but then I had to admit I did like the Steel container kick games we used to play on the Tigershark. I realized I didn't really belong here in the civilian world. I was only really home aboard my ship. Except for swimming I didn't even have any hobbies to speak of. Now that was a great idea! I bet they had decent pools and swimming facilities around here. I dialed my Com Unit to local and asked it to find me biggest swimming pool and was directed to an Inter Station Transport Hub , took one of the capsules to a place called Oceanic Park. In one of the newly added Gigamon Stations they had converted an entire Deck level into a beach and ocean resort. With Hotels, Pools, Lakes and a one huge central lake with Saltwater and even fish inside. After purchasing a bathing suit and several hours of diving and extensive swimming, I felt this satisfied tiredness one gets after a hard and good workout. Before I had to go back I thought of having a drink and a bite to eat. The smell of fresh roasted fish at a Beach walk open restaurant made me hungry as a starving Tyranno. It was late as I returned to the Station and wondered if any of my crew and friends were back, when a man addressed me." You sure look like Captain Olafson from the news!" "What news?" "You are the one who has a Nul and a Y'All in the crew!" I sighed." It seems that reporter kept his promise." The man suddenly held a s small but still deadly Neuro Ripper in his hand, pointed at me." I will keep my promise too. I am going to kill you Captain. You might not recognize me because I received extensive surgical tailoring. I do look human now but I used to be a Oghar and you sure know my name. I used to be a Captain too, Captain Meateater!" I was as shocked as I was surprised, to see this Pirate there. I cursed the Reporter who made me a target. I cursed the fact that I did not even carry my 45 on any other weapon and I was angry once again at the system for letting a man live and be free I saw being sentenced to death as I had been a witness in his trial. I promised myself not to let others do my own dirty work next time and if I was ever sent out to hunt pirates again, I would make sure there was nothing but a note in my logbook that told of the man's last moment. the Neuro Ripper was active and would over load every nerve in my body including my brain. He smiled." I see you are not very impressed, but you will be in a moment! There are others that want to meet you as well. Someone else is dying to see you. " My mind reached for Narth and I could feel him but he was still unconscious! Meateater barked." I can shoot you right here and be done with it. Now get moving or I start with your toes!" I had no choice. I needed to get a chance to disarm him, but all he needed to do was press the weapons trigger. He didn't have to aim it at that distance. The weapon was small enough so no one would really see it and I sensed he was serious about shooting me, so yelling for help was no option. He guided me to another train track and inside an unmarked coach. One of the two others waiting inside I recognized immediately, Commander Stone! He sneered. "So nice of the press to announce that you were on your way to Midway. We simply had to wait a little till you showed! We would have been long gone but as we heard you would be on your way we simply had to stay and invite you for the ride!" I said nothing. There was nothing I could say to these men to let me go or to change my situation. The third man I did not recognize but perhaps he was another pirate or someone wearing a mask or other disguise. The door lowered and a voice said." This train will leave in 10 minutes to Beach Head, please finish all boarding activity." The man I didn't know was human , he had a pasty almost colorless skin. How old he was I could not guess, he did have a few wrinkles and was otherwise neither tall nor small. However his eyes had a strange quality to it. He pointed at a seat." Sit down Captain. We need you and your codes when we are at Beach Head. Don't worry we have ways to get them, even from a Union Officer. Mr. Stone is quite good with illegal Saresii devices as you know. We might even let you live if you cooperate." Still I was not responding. I needed to find an opening or a chance. The next one would not be before we reached Beach Head. I hoped Narth would be awake by then. I sat down and while doing it activated my Com Unit. Without verbal command it would switch to Emergency after being on for 3 minutes and I hoped it would be enough. Once the train was moving, the signal would reach no one. Meateater gloated ." You thought you saw the last of me at that Trial. But I knew I could bargain a different sentencing with the things I knew. Now fate put me in the companionship of these remarkable gentlemen. You see not all Immortals are on your side." The man who hasn't said his name barked at Meateater." You talk too much!" The train indicator showed us moving a few moments later. No one got my signal in time! Suddenly the walls became transparent and I saw space in a strange warped way! Whatever happened was not planned or done by my captors! They yelled at each other but sound didn't reach me, then all went dark!
Interlude: Midway Station
Shea listened to the strange message again she had gotten from Erica. It was voices of others and one of the voices she recognized! She had turned off her Com Unit during her old Professors speech. She ran to the Coach and found Narth getting up from the Couch. " I think Erica is in trouble somehow I can hear the voice of Captain Meateater!" Narth said." He was captured by three beings and abducted in a Space Train towards Beach head! I just got his mental message before all went blank. I can no longer feel Eric! He is gone!" Just then Alarm sirens went off and they heard the humming of high energy force fields and seconds later a loud explosive boom. Mao came storming in." The Y'All attack Beach head and have destroyed a Space Train receiving station!"
Interlude Beach Head Station
Har Hi sat in a Khari-Wolf Fighter watching his Loki torpedo taking out the last Y'All Ship. It had been a hard ugly and short battle. The Y'All still where on the same technological level they had been 500 years ago and one on one they stood no chance against Union tech, but they had attacked with an overwhelming force. A fleet of almost 1000 ships had attacked the System. He was informed that this was the rest of a much larger fleet that had attacked an Outpost. Beach Head was heavily defended and build up for exactly that purpose, however one really expected them to show up anymore and not so sudden. Mc Elligott had personally taken the command of a Battle ship group and now as on the General Channel." Good fight everyone! They caught us with our pants down, but considering the huge force we did well. We lost good beings today , but it shows we can defeat them this time. We came here to find the Y'All. That they found us first does not matter now. We are at war!" Then the real bad news came. Mc Elligott called Har-Hi. " Lieutenant I have very grief news. Your friend and Captain Eric Olafson was aboard a space train in transit as the Y'All destroyed the receiving station. The trans space tunnel collapsed and the train and everyone aboard is lost." Har-Hi felt numb and didn't recognize his own voice." Everyone?" "Everyone aboard the train yes. However of your friends only Eric was aboard this train. I will brief you on the details as soon as you land!"
Richard Stahl put the report down. The Y'All attack was bad news, but he had been in wars before and he was confident they would emerge from this one as victors. He had already ordered his new ship the USS Dominator on a course to M 31. The Old Celtest Ship was almost completely adapted to Union Fleet Use but still had its original drive. He would be able to make it across the gap without using the bridge, of course even with the fast Celtest Engines it would take him 3 month to get across. The old Devastator under Harris was already on her way. The report he just read had nothing to do with the war. It was a detailed report how Captain Olafson was abducted and how he or she died in the first Space train disaster. A nosy reporter allowed to ride along. Not an approved reporter either was allowed to ride with Olafson. He went against all policies and named Officers names and even destinations. that two criminals who escaped could not let that chance pass was Elligott's fault twice over! He was responsible for those crooks to be alive so they could escape and it was he who decided that having a reporter along was a good idea." True, the space train disaster solved the problem with the criminals but at what cost? A friendship of 3000 years he had with Elligott but this time he would not just have a hard talk with him. He would ask him to take responsibility and retire.
Mc Elligott read the same report and he knew he did make a bad decision. However he had a bigger problem at hand right now. Long range Scouts confirmed they found the staging area for the Y'All Armada. How long before the Armada was ready to move , no one could say, but he did not have enough assets here to deal with it. The best thing would be to evacuate M 31 and retreat across the Bridge. Over in the Old Galaxy was more than enough force to deal with the Y'All. Only the largest and newest ships could make it across the gap and they would take month to get here. On the other hand the Union had member species here and they could not be evacuated or abandoned. Luckily only one Space train receiver station was destroyed. Eleven lines were still operational. Every ship building engineer and worker needed to be brought here along with production assets and parts to built up the M31 fleet. All he had was 300 Ultras and 2000 smaller ships. According to the long range scouts, the Armada was a million ships strong at least! Surprisingly Lonely Base had survived, however was dangerously low on Munitions and only Translocator Cannons were effective against the Y'All. If the Y'All started to move soon. M31 and everyone here would be lost.