Hacked By Shade
GreetZ : Prosox & Sxtz
Hacked By Shade <3
“Power up the engines, Jora. We have contact,” Arjuna said as she sat down in the co-pilot seat.
She could suddenly feel a flood of adrenaline run through her, and something different, something feral, a need to protect her child from the evil ravaging raiders that would scorch this planet if they got the chance.
On his small escort craft, Arronanto found himself having similar feelings as he lifted off. He thought of Drapaudi and his mother, sitting at home with his niece and nephew and his unborn child. No, he would make certain the raiders failed.
First contact with the raiders occurred 50 kilometres north of the township. Four escort ships greeted the raiders, their volt cannon ports open. Dennethom had wanted to save the escort ships as a second line of defence, however Arronanto suggested they wait to reveal the Aluen. Let the raiders think they were only dealing with a few colony ships and use up precious fuel and ammunition.
It was a game of tag and the raider ships were “it”. The escort ships took carefully aimed pot shots before darting away. The smaller crafts whizzed between the larger, though equally agile, raider ships. Arronanto had been a little worried about the piloting skills of the local escort pilots, but seeing them in action he knew he needn’t have worried.
“We’ve warmed them up. Now they’re all yours,” Arronanto said into his comms link.
With that he pulled away, and the other escort ships followed him. Silently, almost invisible, the Aluen appeared. With a powerful, thundering boom, the Boentu ship fired its heavy volt cannons at one of the raiders knocking out the ship’s shields in one blow.
The startled raider ships turned to swarm on the Aluen, but Arjuna wasn’t worried. The Aluen swooped up and out of reach of the raider crafts just as she fired a volt cluster, destroying an already damaged raider ship.
“One down,” she murmured and ordered Jora to pull back out of the fray.
“Wow,” Nyal said, as he walked up the ramp of the Aluen.
The ship had been hidden away beneath a large rocky over-hang. Jora normally kept the overhang covered, but this time he left it clear so that Nyal could find his way to the ship. When Dennethom had asked to meet Nyal at those coordinates, he had no idea he would be seeing such an advanced craft.
“What kind of fire power is this capable of?” Nyal asked, gazing all about him.
“Standard ship-mounted volt cannons. Also volt cluster bombs.”
“You came on a battleship?” Nyal asked, his eyebrows raised.
Dennethom shifted uncomfortably. “The ship would need volt torpedoes to make that classification.”
“Oh,” Nyal replied. “Wow. I didn’t realise Boentu monks travel with such fire power.”
They didn’t, but Dennethom wasn’t about to make that known. “We are Boentu,” he replied with a shrug.
“Are you leading the defence on this ship?” Nyal asked.
Dennethom shook his head. “No. Sister Arjuna is captaining this ship. She and Brother Jora will provide the main battery of fire. My,” he hesitated. He had almost said ‘my brother’ but caught himself in time. “Brother Arronanto will be with the escort ships providing a secondary line of defence. I will be down on the ground at the defence grid, working to pick off any ships that made it through.”
Nyal was impressed. “It sounds like you’ve done this before.”
“We’ve trained for it,” Dennethom replied. “I wish we could weaponize a few more ships.”
“Me too,” Nyal agreed. “But there’s no time. Those ships are better off being used to evacuate the colony. “
“And how is that coming?”
“We’re sending families off as fast as we can to the southern hemisphere.” Nyal sighed. “I never thought when we were beginning construction on the new settlement site that it would be used for something like this.”
“It’s for the best,” Dennethom said. “This ship is powerful, but from the looks of it, so is the fire power on those raider ships.”
“Do you think we’ll come through this okay?” Nyal asked.
Dennethom shrugged. “It’s difficult to say. There’s seven raider ships. We’re out-numbered.”
“If we do survive this,” Nyal began. “You’ll have to tell me more about your religion and why a Boentu monk needs to own a such heavy fire power.”
So this is it,” Arronanto remarked. “Even as monks we can’t seem to escape doing battle.”
“Some of us will,” Dennethom said, looking pointedly at his sister.
Arjuna glared defiantly at her older brother, the hackles on the back of her neck starting to rise. “I’m going with you. You know I am.”
Dennethom snarled and stood up. Frustrated, he stalked around the room. “You have a daughter to think about Arjuna. You can’t just take off with us to go fight raiders. What will will become of Nerita if something happens to you?”
Arjuna snorted in disgust. “What about you? Both of you! Dennethom, you have a son” she said. “And you,” she added turning to Arronanto who was doing his best impression of a statue, “you have a child on the way. Why do you two get to go into battle but I don’t?”
Dennethom snarled again, impatiently. “It’s our job Arjuna. It is our job to protect this family.”
“And my job also, in case you forgot,” Arjuna responded quietly. The finality in her tone told Dennethom there was no use arguing with her.
“Fine,” Dennethom replied, taking a deep breath. “Then we need to prepare for battle.”
“So this is what we know,” Dennethom began, as he paced around the ward room of the Aluen. “Skora has some planetary defences already in place, but not much.”
“But there is a planetary defence grid, correct?” Arjuna interrupted.
Dennethom grimaced. The pair were still acting cool with each other, ever since Dennethom had tried to keep her from the fight.
“Yes there is. However, it’s never been used in combat. It’s designed to stop stray asteroids from hitting the planet.” Skora was located next to a large asteroid belt.
“Didn’t Sarno also have a defence grid?” Jora asked. He and Xien were also sitting in on the meeting.
“From what Nyal tells me, the colony was taken by surprise. They didn’t have time to activate the grid. Luckily, that won’t be the case with us. Unfortunately, the grid can’t protect the entire planet, which, depending on the strength of the raiders, still leaves us wide open for an attack.
“The last thing we want to do is let the raiders land.” Dennethom paused. “The mayor of Skora sent scouts to Sarno. Nyal showed me the pictures they sent back. These raiders are vicious. They’re not just trying to survive. They enjoy killing.”
“So we need to fight them from the air,” Xien surmised.
“Precisely. Unfortunately, most of the ships on Skora are cargo ships. There are a handful of escort ships used on the supply routes. These are the only ones with weapons. Which is why we’re here, on the Aluen.” Dennethom sighed. “This is the most advanced ship, probably in the outer rim. I don’t see that we have any choice but to reveal the Aluen.”
Arjuna and Arronanto nodded their head in quiet agreement but Jora felt forced to speak up. “Forgive me Tsalu Dennethom, but my priority is to keep you and your family safe. To that end, the best option would be to depart on the Aluen before the raiders arrive.”
“I understand what you’re saying Jora. But we cannot leave the colonists here to fend for themselves. It’s simply not the honourable thing to do.” Dennethom wasn’t disappointed in Jora. He knew Jora would never run away from a fight. It’s just he was sworn to protect the line of Boentu leaders at all costs.
Jora nodded his head. “We’ll make sure the Aluen is ready for combat.”
Dennethom’s limbs flailed as he crashed back down onto the ground. This time he got a face full of dirt as he had lost his helmet during his upward ascension. As he hit the ground for a third time, he heard a loud snap. Pain shot through his left leg. Delirious, he marvelled at hearing the sound of his leg breaking amidst the creature’s shrieks and the wail of the wind, and some other noise he couldn’t make out. The creature didn’t pick him up again. Perhaps it thought he was dead. Dennethom lay still. Nothing. He raised his upper body only to be flattened yet again by an almighty tremor. Sand flew everywhere and for a moment he was blinded.
In a haze of pain Dennethom rolled over onto his back and opened his eyes. Much to his shock and relief he spotted the Aluen silently approaching. The bay door of the ship was open and Arjuna stood in the doorway, a full-size volt cannon heaved over her shoulder, looking down at the dead creature.
A smile played across Dennethom’s lips as he watched his sister casually toss the volt cannon aside, and leap the six feet between the Aluen and the ground. She hurried over to check on her big brother. Moments later, Arronanto followed carrying a medi-kit. In a haze of pain, Dennethom was hardly aware as his brother and sister checked his wounds, and carried him up the ramp of the Aluen.
He was drifting in and out, but he felt Drapaudi tightly clutching his hand as the pain medication took hold. When he awoke, Drapaudi remained by his side. He sensed the whir of the Aluen’s engines and knew they were back in space.
“What happened?” he whispered, his throat felt dry and scratchy.
“You broke your leg,” Drapaudi replied, admonishing him.
“Did we get the kreon?” he asked.
Drapaudi sighed. “Yes. Your brother and sister recovered the extraction device and filled the other one too. We’ve got enough fuel for a good half cycle.”
Dennethom smiled. “I could use some water,” he croaked.
Drapaudi scowled at him but obeyed, wordlessly handing him a small cup of liquid. Dennethom drained the cup before noticing the expression on her face.
“You could have died out there,” Drapaudi replied, her arms folded across her chest.
“You were worried,” Dennethom replied with a smile, but she still looked angry. “I’m fine. I didn’t die. And it needed to be done. We needed the fuel.”
“Why couldn’t Arjuna and Arro go? Or Xien? Or Jora? Why did it have to be you.”
She prefers me to Arro, Dennethom thought to himself. Aloud he said, “I’m the leader. If I don’t take the risks, who will?”
Drapaudi pulled away from him. “It’s not your risk to take anymore. You have a wife to think about. You have a child!”
Dennethom blinked, his ears twitching uncertainly. Surely he misheard. “I’m going to be a father?”
“Yes,” Drapaudi replied, tears springing to her eyes. “I would need to run tests to be certain, but I think so.”
Dennethom frowned. “I thought our two races couldn’t conceive without help from doctors.”
Drapaudi shrugged. “Well I don’t know what to tell you because I am absolutely positive I am pregnant.”
A broad grin spread across Dennethom’s face as he finally understood what Drapaudi was trying to tell him. “I’m going to be a father!”
When Jora and Xien showed Dennethom their invention it had seemed like the perfect solution. Ever since leaving Liono, two Boentu moons ago, Dennethom had been leery about travelling to places with large populations. He refused to admit it, but he didn’t have a plan. They needed to make alliances, but how could they do that without letting Lossepharr know they survived? The Aluen flew aimlessly, travelling from system to system, staying only long enough to re-supply. Most supplies they obtained easily, but fuel was another matter. It was becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to obtain fuel in the outer reaches of the galaxy.
Then Jora presented their invention. He and Xien had designed a device to convert particles of the raw mineral Kreon into fuel to power the Aluen’s delicate engine system. They had even built a small extractor to remove the volatile kreon and carry the mineral back to the ship. It was all very crude. Xien would have to stay on top of cleaning the fuel system since the raw kreon left an ugly residue. But the plan should work. Which was a good thing since they were back on the outer edges of the Arthema System and daren’t go further in-system for fear that Drapaudi’s father still searched for her.
Jora surveyed a small moon which contained deposits of kreon. The moon lay in the Arthemian outer rim. Aside from a few orbiting satellites there was no sign of Arthemian technology anywhere in the vicinity. It was unsurprising. The moon was little more than a rock. The kreon deposits weren’t large enough to attract the attention of any of the major transport corporations and the moon contained no plants worthy of pharmaceutical interest. For Dennethom’s purposes the moon was ideal.
Jora landed on a small flat area, while Dennethom and his siblings packed up the excavation tools they would need for the kreon. It had been Arjuna’s idea to invest in the tools, back when they were still legally alive. He was grateful for her foresight. With the extractor he could remove a small amount of the raw kreon to return to the ship.
He donned the containment suit he needed to wear to limit exposure to the kreon. Raw kreon wasn’t dangerous, except in cases of prolonged exposure, but he didn’t want to take any chances. He was a husband now. Although Arjuna and Arronanto didn’t wear containment suits, they wrapped up in thick jackets and gloves, to protect from the dry, frigid air and wind. All three wore breathers because of the low oxygen on the moon.
Dennethom didn’t like the idea of them all leaving the Aluen. He and Xien could have handled the extraction just as well on their own. If anything happened, he wanted at least one of his siblings back on the ship to take care of Drapaudi and Yasana. Arjuna and Arronanto however saw differently and Xien stayed on the Aluen.
Despite being the middle of the night, the space port was bustling. The crowds were perfect for the four members of the Chran family, allowing them to easily blend in. They easily made their way to the craft Dennethom purchased through Ninsun, a brand new state of the art ship manufactured by the Lo’Kar Corporation.
The ship was built right there on Regat. The engines were as quiet and advanced as they came. The ship’s stealth capabilities made it the perfect craft for any high-ranking Boentu warrior. Up until this insanity occurred, Dennethom had considered a proposal to introduce this very craft to the Boentu home fleet. However, it was an expensive ship, not at all cost effective. But for a wealthy Boentu trying to sneak off a planet unseen, it was just right.
The craft, which Arronanto had dubbed the Aluen, was already warmed up, the engines purring by the time they arrived at the docking bay. Jora, the Boentu Atten’s pilot came down the ramp to greet the family. He was unable to hide his sheer relief as he helped Yasana up the ramp and assisted Arronanto and Arjuna with their overnight bags. What little belongings they had been able to take with them had already been loaded on the Aluen.
Dennethom turned to Real’c. “Real’c, what is your wife’s name?”
Dennethom smiled and repeated the name to himself. “Please thank Shalya for me. You both took such great risks in helping us. I cannot tell you how grateful I am,” Dennethom said, taking Realc’s hand in both of his. “Ninsun will have a payment waiting for-”
Real’c waved a hand. “I do not wish for payment, my liege. My wife and I are helping you because we believe you are the rightful leader of the Boentu people. And if a plot truly exists, then as a citizen I must help you. It is my duty.”
Dennethom was appreciative of his words and he bowed to Real’c. “Thank you. There are some that don’t recognise my claim as future leader. It means a lot to me that you do.”
Real’c’s expression darkened. “If I can find any proof at all that Wydun was behind this plot to kill you, I will make very sure the evidence gets into the right hands.”
Dennethom bowed once more. “I appreciate that.” He hesitated. “Real’c, you have already done so much for my family and yet there is one more thing I must ask of you.”
“You are the future leader of the Boentu, it would be an honour to aid you,” Realc responded, his expression grave.
“I will need to keep abreast of news in the Boentu System, particularly here on Regat. Especially if Wydun suspects anything.” Dennethom reached into his pocket and brought out a small handheld comms unit. “I’ve pre-programmed this link so you can contact me directly.” He opened the device. “This is how you can encrypt or decrypt messages.” He showed Real’c twice more before handing the device over to him. “If you hear anything- if my cousin Lossepharr arrives and has suspicions, please do not hesitate to contact me.”
Real’c took the communications link, studying the device for a moment, practising the encryption and decryption function before placing it in his pocket. “It has been an honour,” he said, bowing to Dennethom.
Dennethom placed his right arm on the horticulturalist’s left shoulder and bowed his head once more. Real’c couldn’t hide his surprise. The gesture was reserved for those that warriors considered their equal. Without another word, Dennethom hurried up the ramp to join his family.