December 16, 2019

Free Fiction Friday: Solar Winds-Scorpius Cell Part 2

Here’s your weekly dosage of free science fiction with Solar Winds: Scorpius Cell part 2. Be sure to start back at part 1 here. Let’s get right in to the action transpiring out in orbit ’round Uranus:

Solar Winds: Scorpius Cell

Chapter 2

by David A. Dickinson

Karl sprung out into the clear, firing both his and Andrea’s discarded sonic pistol into the fray. Remembering where the three armed guards had last stood, he carefully selected his shots. The compressed sound waves tore through the air, leveling two surprised soldiers.

“The Armory!”  The Professor shouted.  “Don’t let them secure the Armory!”

Andrea spun as a maser round flashed by at close range. She smelled the burnt tips of her singed hair. One hit from that, she thought, and your only funeral option would be cremation.

Desperately, she worked to close the gap between herself and the last standing armed guard as The Professor lunged toward the Armory attendant jumping to seal the vault door. If he managed to hit the panic button, all would be in vain.

The kid wasn’t a good shot, even at this close a range, Andrea thought. She had seen him fumble for the weapon as the stark blue-white emergency lights flickered to life.

Pulling in under his muzzle, she dealt him a punishing blow to the groin, crumpling him like a rag doll. Andrea twisted away the maser rifle and pointed it at his chest. She stopped herself short of pulling the trigger. “I really should rehearse some good fight-scene lines,” she said to her surprised prey.

The Professor ducked under Karl’s shots as the Armory attendant slapped his palm against the red push-button on the wall. Instantly, the thick plate door swung down, catching on the corpse of the dead sergeant on the floor. Nothing we possess can penetrate that door, Karl thought. All of their weapons were specifically designed for close range shipboard combat. No penetrators or hull rupturing devices.

“Watch this…” The Professor sneered as he un-clipped an egg shaped object from his belt and rolled it under the door.

“Holy Jove,” Karl shouted. “Andi, Get down!”

Balling up around her newly acquired maser rifle, Andrea was aware of a silent pause, then the air violently rushing past her. She braced her ears with her elbows for the inevitable roar she knew was to follow. For a moment, her whole world went black.

 

Andrea strained back into consciousness as Karl hovered over her. The thick smell of cordite mixed with burning flesh hung in the air. “Are you alive?” Such a stupid question, Andrea thought hazily. The sarcastic answer “No” welled up in her brain. “I feel like Olympus Mons just landed on top of me.”

“Damn it Shrink, I told you, no penetrators,” Karl growled. “What if you had ruptured the outer hull? We’d all be permanent residents headed towards the Kuiper Belt.”

“Relax, my man. Just a little home brewed goodie to show we mean business… Besides, this armory has got to be plated. Just listen to the secondary explosions!”

As if on cue, another maser battery from within the damaged Armory cooked off and exploded. No one would be alive in there any longer, Karl thought. They almost hit them too hard. The one kid Andrea had taken down was the only viable hostage they had left. Of course, Karl knew there were hiber-pods full of potential hostages, but he sincerely hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

Andrea clutched a maser rifle and used it as a crutch to push herself up. This was her first real mission with Scorpius Cell, and she didn’t want to seem weak or useless.

“On your feet soldier,” she spat at the young trembling lieutenant. “Just be glad I don’t do you in right here the way Marc was.”

“Let’s move!” Karl shouted and motioned to them from the hallway. “The entire ship must be alerted to our presence by now!”

 

Her heart in her throat, Andrea covered the back entrance with the maser rifle as they made a swift exit down the access way. The Professor was busily disabling each auto sensor as they came to them. Each of them also carried a portable electro-masking device of The Professor’s own design. Any would-be eavesdropper would pick up their conversations as random static.

A voice crackled to life and boomed around them. “This is the Commander of the Luxury Cruiser Orpheus; cease all hostile actions and state your identity!”

Karl stopped and flipped off the audio portion of his electro- mask. “Ah, Commander Sapperly,” he said congenially. “This is Captain Trapier of the good pirate ship Mollusk; your luxury cruise has ended.”

“A friend of yours?” Andrea whispered, pointing her rifle ahead into the darkness.

“Let’s just say we’ve done our research,” The Professor shot back. “Here! This is the lift to the Command deck!”

The four of them boarded the lift as the Professor worked to override the controls. Silently, the lift came to life. Seconds slid by as the gravity ebbed away beneath them. They were working toward the center of the enormous wheel that comprised the passenger section of the ship.

Karl hated the confined space of the lift. Andrea knew she had to shove down any feeling of regret that she had as they headed towards confrontation. Each glanced at the other as the lift skidded to a halt. The Professor powered down the lights as the curved door slid open, revealing darkness ahead.

Sensing the drop in light, Andrea’s Infra-Ocular implant in her left eye automatically kicked in. Seeking shades of gray on gray, she spotted subtle movement in the shadows.

“You first, dear,” she whispered into the ear of their hostage as she drove the shunt of the maser’s barrel into the small of his back. Trembling, he stood from a kneeling position with hands clasped behind his head. Stepping off the lift, he called into the darkness; “Lt. Bishop, Terran Legion, identification numbe…” His voice was immediately drowned out by the whine of sonic pistols fired from the bridge. Instantly, the Lieutenant’s ribs snapped like twigs in a storm.

Andrea drew a bead on the nearest shadow, gingerly squeezing the trigger of the maser rifle for the first time. A pink flash of light blossomed from its suppressor end and found its mark.  The outline of the guard could be clearly seen, flashing an incandescent blue and then boiling away. A terrible weapon indeed, she thought. Could the Martian Occupation goon squads have used the same tool to execute Marc?

“This one’s not worth the fight,” Karl called out to the darkness. “Surrender and live.”

Silence filled the void. Andrea could feel her pulse in her fingertips as she tightened them around the grip of the rifle. Suddenly, the metallic clatter of several sonic pistols hitting the deck broke the stillness.

To be continued…

Read Scorpius Cell and other original tales of science fiction in their entirety.

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