Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chapter 6 Part One Dreams

I pulled myself through the muddy water in front of me. It had to be muddy because it was so dark and hard to swim through. I needed to breath but I just couldn't quite get to the surface. I tried to kick harder but the last of my energy poured out and all that was left was fire. I opened my eyes and could see light, but I didn't seem to be getting any closer. Water filled my lungs and I started to sink back toward the bottom again.

Then I was in my ship. This time it was a Merlin. I had to concentrate hard to tell because I had been in so many today. The ship pulsed in my head as I accelerated out of the docking bay. There was debris everywhere and I could feel it pinging off of the hull as I activated the afterburner to try and accelerate out of the mass of Blood Raider fighters.

I reached out with the sensors to pick the path of least resistance and realized it wasn't debris that was bouncing off the ship. There were lifeless frozen corpses floating everywhere. Men, Women, and even children filled the departure vector out of the hanger. Whole bodies and pieces shattered as my ship plowed through them. I turned the ship to try and avoid them but they were everywhere.

I pulled hard right one more time and finally the path cleared except for one crumpled blip on my overview that read biomass. I tried to turn again but the ship wouldn't respond. As I drew closer to the little speck I could pick out features. In front of me was my own body headed right toward my view screen.

My heart raced and the pod set off alarms warning me about my vitals. I tried to look away but for some reason I couldn't. As I got closer I could see my head, half my face was charred beyond recognition. Except for the eyes, both of my blue eyes were perfectly preserved and staring right at me. Then the ship slammed into my body and the charred face smacked with a dull thump up against the view screen, leaving bits of flesh as my body peeled off toward the left of the Merlin.

The clone vat opened and I fell outward to the ground on all fours. I dry heaved and tried to catch my breath but it felt like something was caught in my throat. I gasped for air between each retch and slowly air filled my lungs. I set there shivering, goo dripping on the floor around me.

The cloning robot rolled by and dropped a towel on the floor then went on without a word. I had told it to shut the fuck up the last four times I found myself in the cloning facility. I guess the fourth time was a charm. I sat back on my legs and wiped the gunk off my face while my eyes adjusted to the lights. Then after a few deep breaths, I tried to shake off the dream, and headed to the shower to clean off.

Once I was done I put on a fresh flight suit and headed back down toward the main hanger. To say I was frustrated would be a huge understatement. I had been podded five times in less than an hour. So far in the 6 hours since the siege began we had managed to take out only 20 of their fighters. Twice they had broken the station defenses and their boarding parties had somehow managed to make it inside.

I had to admit that Anton and Herrier were doing a great job defending the hangers. Anton had managed to block enough corridors to funnel any raiding parties that docked somewhere besides the main hanger into a kill zone just outside the lower housing area. Herrier had taken his men and several volunteers to the main hangers where they had fought off four Blood Raider attempts at entering the briefing room where everyone who chose not to fight was hiding.

I wasn't sure how the rest of the stations inhabitants were doing. But from what I had seen before the attacks began the station was all but abandoned. Not really uncommon for a station out in the middle of nowhere like this one. That also led to one of our first problems. No inhabitants, no reason to stock the markets. We were running out of ships fast.

I entered the hanger through the only door accessible from the cloning facility. I entered slowly with my hands in the air even though it wasn't being guarded since it couldn't be used for a sneak attack from anyone outside the cloning bay. If Herrier had his choice it would be covered too, but he just didn't have the men.

I waited until I had I eye contact with Herrier then continued on to the makeshift planning room the pilots had thrown together after the invasion started. Geklov had refused to leave the big briefing room so we decided to go elsewhere. He had tried to get into our planning room to order us around but one of the pilots punched him so hard he fell on his ass and told him to get out and not come back. It was best the other guy got to him first; I was going to shoot him.

We actually ended up with twenty-two pilots who were willing to fight. For the most part the others had already launched their ships and had been podded back to wherever their home station was. A few were still sitting in their ships. They were probably waiting to see if they could profit from this somehow.

I walked around a mess of chairs that were in the common area and up to the tactical display to stand next to Rod, one of the older pilots. He had taken command and seemed to have some good ideas so I was more than happy to stand back and let him run things. “How are our resources holding up?” I asked as he turned to greet me.

“Going F'n fast,” he barked back. He wasn't pissed he just always talked like an old drill instructor.

I looked at the display to get an idea of what we had left. Looked like about 20 frigates of various types and races, six cruisers, two battleships, and about 20 shuttles. There were enough random fittings to fit the ships, but not well. We were going to have to do something fast or this was a lost cause.

“Figure Harrier and the mercs can keep these bastards at bay for days. But the space war is about over,” he said with a shake of the head.

He was right. We were going to have to do something to get all of the civilians out or we were going to have to fight a siege for as long as we could manage. But if they were serious enough to bring this kind of fire power to raid a station eventually they would break our lines and get to everyone.

He sighed and dropped his head, “What do you think brought them here?” It wasn't a question I could answer. It just seemed like we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I just shook my head in and walked toward the hanger door.

I wanted to find Tasha and make sure she was doing okay. The last time I saw her two of Antov's men were pulling her from a corridor they were about to close off. She was determined to get to her labs but they were not going to let her. When I went and pulled her back up the stairs she was not happy.

The briefing room was packed now. Not only were Geklov's people in the room but many of the stations employees were also seeking shelter there. I searched the room for Tasha but didn't see her anywhere. I really hoped she had not found a way to get past Antov. The only person I recognized was a small Gallente man with long black hair. He was one of Geklov’s directors.

I headed in his direction walking around several children playing with toy ships. I didn’t remember his name, but it didn’t really matter. He was staring out the window and didn’t seem to notice as I approached. “Have you seen Tasha?” I asked.

He jumped, startled by my sudden appearance. He looked at me then turned to look out the window again. I waited for a response but when I didn’t get one for about thirty seconds I put my hand on his shoulder and shook him a little bit. “She left when she found out Geklov was gone,” he managed to whisper.

I yanked him around so he was looking at me. “What do you mean Geklov left?” I managed to say as a thousand panicked thoughts filled my head. Where the fuck was Tasha?

“He said he had made a deal and was leaving. Took Antov and a few guards and went to the executive hanger,” he replied.

“Did Tasha go with him?” I waited no response. “Who is guarding the housing corridor?” I yelled.

I ran out of the room almost falling over the children. I didn’t stop running until I was down the stairs and at the barricade that Anotov had set up as cover for his men. The room was filled with the bodies of both Blood Raiders and several of Geklov’s bodyguards. But there was nothing living that I could see. Geklov had gone, taking Antov with him. He left everyone undefended in the process.

I should have been angry or gone and warned the others but the only thing I could think about was finding Tasha. I pulled out my blaster and headed down the hall I had helped pull her from earlier. Scorch marks trailed down the side of the walls and several of the lights were out, but as I got farther down the damage was minimal. I still tried to move as quietly as I could just in case any of the invaders had split off to look for a way to the hanger in this direction.

After about twenty minutes of searching I found her. She was sitting with her back against a door crying. I could have been a Blood Raider and she would never have known the difference. I slid down the wall next to her and put my arm around her. She leaned over and rested her head against mine and sobbed.

“Everything is lost,” was the only thing she said. I had never heard her sound so down and lost. I knew there was nothing I could say that would make her feel better. Everything she had wanted and worked for her whole life was gone.

A war raged around us. Innocent people were going to be slaughtered. Maybe even us. But I didn’t care. I sat there and held on to her while she cried. It was the most helpless I have ever felt.

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