And now Troops, the 10th installment of a new mission I'm working on. Thanks for reading and forgive the errors. As I've said before, I've little time to polish so you get it right as it pours out the brain and through the fingertips.
Continued from Ch. 10 Posted in this Blog on November 23rd.
Carick sat in the quiet of the empty lift. The emergency lights were bright enough to ward off any fear of the dark. There was a perfect stillness. “The still before the storm,” Carick thought. He floated before the computer screen. His training taught him to stay at the lowest point in any room during an artificial gravity disruption should the gravity come on without warning. Every few minutes he’d tap his comm. badge in hopes of finding a connection to the world outside his small metal box. Each time resulted in more silence.
Carick’s frustration at his situation exploded in a loud outburst. He slammed both hands on the lift’s wall. The sudden eruption of temper accomplished three things: 1. It felt good to vent pent up anger. 2. It really hurt. and 3. It sent his weightless body propelling across the car (according to Sir Isaac Newton, for every action there is an equal but opposite reaction).
After twenty minutes Carick ignored his training and pushed himself up to the lift’s ceiling. He figured there had to be a way to get out, he’d seen it done multiple times in the movies. Of course those were all building elevators. He found several bolts which secured a hatchway but without the proper tools he couldn’t undo them. He was back where he started. He moved back to the computer screen, spending the next several minutes tapping away, hoping to find a method to communicate, even by texting, with the bridge or any other place in the ship.
His concentration was suddenly interrupted by an alarm. He listened to the tone. The starship had different tones for different emergencies and notifications. The alarm system ran independent of the comm system in case the comm system was inoperable. Carick thought It could be an artificial gravity warning. He positioned himself for weight by placing both feet firmly on the lift’s floor.
An explosion violently rocked the ship sending him hard against the wall. His ship was being attacked. The ship they found on long range scans had arrived. Carick bounced around inside the lift several times, unable to grab onto something to stop himself. Another explosion sent the ship pitching hard to port. Carick's head and a wall came into hard contact. Blood flowed down his face and into his eyes. The last thing he remembered was flickering lights and the terrible sound of tearing metal........ then everything went dark. His body floated motionlessly in its prison.
Carick awoke to the sensation of motion. He remembered where he was. He sat up. His head throbbed with pain due to a concussion. He felt a dried liquid on his face. It was his own blood. He'd been unconscious long enough for the blood on his face to dry. He was relieved the bleeding stopped on its own. He picked the dried blood away from his eyes. His rear end was defiantly on the floor. The artificial gravity was back on.
The lift was moving slowly, very slowly. He struggled to his feet wondering how long he'd actually been out. The lift stopped. Then started. It moved for several feet than stopped again. Carick heard voices from outside the door. Two people were talking. They were male voices. Carick pushed his ear against the door to try to capture the exact words. He could tell the voices were above him. The voices were unrecognizable but he could tell they weren’t speaking English. The lift wasn’t in position for the doors to open.
“We’ve been boarded,” Carick whispered to himself. Carick understood by the starting and stopping of the lift that they were interested in getting the turbolifts operational. He also assumed they were the ones that got the artificial gravity back online. Carick knew Cadets Kevin and Nuila were gifted but most likely not experienced enough to repair a non functioning gravity generator.
The lift jerked forward again, only to stop immediately. The voices were closer. Carick knew he only had a few moments before coming face to face with whoever or whatever had attacked and taken his ship.
The lift jerked forward again. The doors slid open. Carick laid with his back to the lift's floor pretending to be unconscious. He wanted to open his eyes just a tick to see what they looked like but felt he couldn’t take the risk. He needed to make his false unconsciousness look real. He remembered his face was already a bloody mess. He counted on that to make his deception look even better.
“Toraksu Morlon,” Carick heard someone say. Their voices sounded human and younger - much like his own. He didn’t recognize the language. A moment passed. He felt fingers touch his neck. They were warm blooded and again, felt human.
“Dreepse. Morbidee,” said the voice of the one touching his neck. Carick understood that to mean, “He’s alive,” or something to that effect. Carick clenched his fist. It was time. He knew they would either take him as a prisoner or just kill him on the spot. He didn’t want to take any chances. He mentally prepared himself to open his eyes. He didn’t know what these aliens looked like and he didn’t have the luxury of loosing even a moment of surprise due to the shock of seeing something hideous for the first time.
He opened his eyes. Before his was the face of a young man - a human with blue eyes and dark hair. Carick struck out with all the force his 17 year old body could muster from the prone position, punching the intruder directly under his nose with the intent to break it. He was successful, considering the sound the alien's nose made upon contact. The alien shouted something and fell to the side of the car. Carick jumped to his feet. The second alien assumed a martial arts position. He looked younger than Carick, perhaps 14 years old - if he were human. He wore some kind of skirt, similar to a Scottish kilt. It was blue with white trim along the bottom hem just above his knees. Above the skirt he wore a well fitted white T-Shirt with some kind of emblem on the right sleeve.
“Spass tormka spelsee droom,” the boy shouted. With that said, he struck Carick with full force using a series of martial arts maneuvers. Carick warded off the blows and struck back when the boy hesitated. A full contact punch to the chest put the boy off balance and onto the hallway floor. Carick had a moment while the boy caught his breath and struggled to his feet. He tapped the computer screen giving the lift an order to move to the next level. He jumped out. The doors shut, trapping the other alien inside. The car moved several feet then stopped. It was jammed. One alien was out of the fight. One more to go.
“My name is Carick. I’m the captain of this ship,” Carick said calmly to the boy as they both took a stand and waited for someone to strike. The boy’s face was scarred. His looked like he’d been in several fights. In fact his whole appearance was that of someone that used his body a lot. He was muscular for someone his age. He'd had a lot of training. The boy lunched forward landing several blows to Carick's head and midsection. Carick fought back. After several blows, both ended up on the floor. The boy rolled over and put Carick in what appeared to be a sleeper wrestling hold. Carick had the advantage of height and weight. He broke free of the hold, scampered up and over the boy's body and put the boy into a sleeper hold of his own. The boy struggled but couldn’t break free. Carick tightened his forearm around the boy’s neck, cutting off his air supply. The boy kicked and squirmed violently and then stopped. Carick looked at the boy in his arms. He had a choice to make. Kill him or let him live.
Carick laid the unconscious boy's head on the floor. The boy would wake knowing his enemy spared his life. If the boy had honor, he’d realize he owed Carick a favor - a favor Carick figured he would need some day. Carick jumped to his feet and ran. He called for the computer. There was no response. The halls were dark, except for the emergency lights. Some of the walls showed definite blast marks, an indication his crew fought for control of the ship. Carick stopped at the second turbolift elevator. A sign near the doors indicated he was on Deck 12. Carick was three decks below the bridge. Carick decided to by pass the unreliable lifts and opened the door to the emergency access shaft located just the left of the lift's doors. Carick stood in the small room. It wasn’t any bigger than a closet. A second door was directly in front of him. A sign on the door read “Emergency Access Shaft.” He opened the door and looked into the vertical turbolift shaft. A ladder was attached to the shaft wall on Carick’s left. The shaft was large enough for one lift car and one person. Horizontal metal barriers were evenly spaced throughout the tunnel showing the barrier between ladder access and turbocar lane. You were safe if you stayed on your side of the barriers. Stick an arm, leg or head out and a turbocar would take it off in passing.
Carick jumped onto the ladder and pushed a button to close the access door. He thought for a moment to consider a direction. Should he go up to the bridge or down to engineering? A turbocar approached. Red LED lights illuminated his section of the tunnel warning anyone on the ladder to hold on. The car flew by accompanied by a great rush of wind. Someone was on their way to the bridge. That told Carick where to go. He started down. It would be twelve decks on a ladder to the engine room. He wasn’t in any hurry.