The Ithrian Gambit
|<< Prev||Contents||Next >>|
World – Round 1, Turn 5
Use JC - Unimaginable Cargo, Live Ithrian
Hero Player: Well, she was going to release it if Baal didn't agree to let them go.
World Player: Okay, I'll go ahead with it. We can back it out if you disagree.
Hero Player: Yeah, do it up.
Eliza and Jericho jogged quickly through the darkened corridors of the freighter, their footsteps echoing in the relative silence of the cold hallways.
"What's the plan, boss?" Jericho asked, weapon at the ready and eyes alert to any threat.
Eliza paused at an intersection as she tried to remember the way to the cargo bay. "Did you see it?"
Jericho nodded slowly. The image of the alien creature and its strange anatomy was still burned into his mind. He had no idea what the warlord planned to do with the prisoner, but he had a feeling his reports were about to get a lot more interesting.
"If Baal wants it this bad, maybe he'll let us go if we turn it over to him."
"I wouldn't count on it," Jericho replied as the two turned down another long corridor. "You saw what happened to that merc." The cargo bay was just up ahead.
Eliza knew he was right. "We run, then. This isn't worth dying over. We'll sell what we can, and maybe get enough fuel to make it to the Azraa system and find some honest work."
Jericho slowed to a stop next to the open cargo bay door and held up his plasma pistol as he peered inside. "This isn't honest work?"
Eliza ignored him. "Proteus, you copy?" she said into her comm. They still had a secure channel through all the static.
"Got ya, Captain," the technopath's voice replied.
"Pull chocks. I need you to find us a way off this boat." She looked back at Jericho. "I think it's time for a diversion."
# # #
In the cargo bay, a group of Baal's thugs stood uncertainly around the open cargo container. Inside, behind a reinforced barrier of transparent plasteel was a creature unlike any of them had seen before. A live Ithrian, the enemy of mankind. The alien paced back and forth in its prison, emitting low clicking noises as it appeared to regard its captors with hostility.
"Son of a bitch…" one of the thugs breathed, keeping his rifle trained on the alien. None of them were able to look away.
Finally one of the pirates shook his head and turned to the others. "Go get a cargo lift and lets move this pod to the cargo bay doors. No point in standing here staring at it." He activated his comm and got nothing but a blast of static. "And someone run back to the ship and tell General Baal he can pick up his package at the cargo dock."
The men had barely started to walk away when a loud click echoed through the cargo bay. They all turned at once to see the plasteel barrier holding the Ithrian at bay disconnect from the sides of the pod and fall forward to the floor with a loud crash.
Before any of them could react, the alien shot out of the cargo pod like a streak, moving with inhuman speed as it darted among the darkened cargo crates and loading equipment. Almost immediately the cargo bay was lit up by the flashes of multiple plasma arcs as the panicked thugs opened fire.
# # #
Back on the Virgina Dare, Proteus looked down at the darkened control panel in front of him. The ship had been running with minimal power to keep its signature masked on the opposite side of the freighter. He knew that as soon as he powered up, Baal's sensors would detect them… and they were no match for a warship. Whatever he was going to do to extract Jericho and the Captain, he would have to do it fast.
Just then, his body lurched and seized up as his connection to the Nimbus Light overloaded with a torrent of data. The charts and lines of code that filled his vision flickered and distorted, changing to strange alien symbols that flashed by impossibly fast, nearly overwhelming his nervous system. Proteus reeled from the overload, trying desperately to maintain control of his own mind amidst the onslaught of data.
Moments later, his augmented mind stabilized, but the alien symbols remained. They flickered and jumped across his vision, changing and morphing through the unimaginable permutations of the alien language. Slowly, the symbols changed, becoming more and more regular… more and more legible. Though the alien data stream kept rushing by, the symbols in the center of his vision began to stabilize into flickering text. Text he could read.
|<< Prev||Contents||Next >>|