Boondocks Episode 3, Season 3
He cut suddenly cut the main drive and threw the grav-drive into full reverse, his fighter doing a good impression of screeching to halt despite the lack of brakes, wheels, road or air. The girl was not so easily fooled however and likewise hit the retros but a miscalculation sent her craft careening towards a boulder. Rapid firing RCS thrusters violently twisted her fighter and she almost avoided collision. Unfortunately for Tyler she only suffered superficial damage. She positioned he fighter after rebounding off the rock directly underneath Tyler’s and opened fire. Lances of coherent light strafed across his engine pods and the starboard engine blew. Tyler hit the burners and accelerated away. As he ducked under and around a dense cloud of boulders he span the ship on its axis and sprayed them with a bust of rail gun fire.
The asteroids exploded into a rapidly expanding cloud of shrapnel and debris. Momentarily hidden by the cloud, he slotted his fighter in a natural depression on one of the asteroids and powered down. The girls gingerly moved through the cloud and passed directly over Tyler’s hiding spot.
Using manual targeting, he fired a brace of missiles at the girls fighter and began the power-up sequence. The flare of the launch and the burst of power as he started the ship back up pinged on her sensors. But it was too late, the missiles had locked on and no amount of evasive action would save her now. With lightning reflexes she flipped her ship 180 degrees and fired her lasers. He lasers struck his remaining engines and they died with a spluttering last gasp of thrust exhaust. His missile impacted at the same time and the rear half her ship exploded. With both ships crippled and drifting it looked like it was all over. In Tyler’s heads up display a cartoon kitten face poked its tongue out at him. “It’s not over till the little girl cries.” Using his RCS thrusters, he rotated the ship and fired his rail guns. The recoil of the guns provided just enough kinetic energy to get the fighter moving in the right direction. Spinning the ship again he targeted the crippled and drifting fighter and opened fire. A hail of bullets sped on their way to their terminal engagement with the target. Suddenly a brace of missiles erupted from the girls fighter and Tyler could only watch helplessly as they closed in.
Both fighters exploded simultaneously.
RESULT – TIE
The canopy on the two simulators opened and Tyler and Tabitha Thorn stepped out onto the floor the New Port Dillian Flight Training Center. Tabitha was the sister of Mcavity Thorn, Captain Wile’s former second in command of the first Shooting Star. He’d gone one to captain his own ship from the Alliance and the to had recently gone drinking and wagered a bet on who had the best pilot.
The two pilots looked at each other a newly found respect.
“Nice trick with using the guns as thrusters.”
“Well, you gotta love Newton’s third law. So … you doing anything later?”
After settling the wager, the two crews went their separate ways. Thorns crew shipping out to places unknown, Wiles and Tyler to report to a new mission briefing.
It appeared that they had earned some R & R as their next mission was one of a diplomatic nature. New Babwe, one of ISAR’s main colonies in the region. Had requested the presence of representatives of the Colonial Alliance at a diplomatic function coinciding with the unveiling of a new class of starship. As a hero of the Battle of New Thermopylae it was only to be expected that he would be one of the representatives.
Wiles gathered his crew and they departed for New Babwe. Upon arrival they were met at the spaceport by a representative from the ISARDF (Independent South African Republic Defence Force) and a waiting limousine whisked them to a hotel suite in the heart of town. An entire floor of the Hilton had been reserved for the Alliance representatives and their crews. Wiles was delighted to learn that Captain McWarren was one of the other two representatives.
One of the hosts for the event was General Schaffer, Wiles former commanding officer during his tour of duty with the ISARDF several years ago. The two old friends chatted amiably for several minutes until Captain McWarren walked in. She was wearing a formal dress that made Wiles heart forget to beat for several seconds before remembering its vital life giving function. Mustering all his rusty charm he made his excused to the general and moved over to McWarren.
The next morning, Wiles was woken by the shrill beeping of his communicator. Glancing over at the brunette haired, sleeping form of Captain McWarren, he answered his comm. Sometime during the night, it appeared the good doctor had been arrested by the local police. For piracy. A little stunned, he collected Ford and Tyler from their suite and paid a visit to precinct 31 where Doc Samson was being held.
The pacifistic bhuddist doctor was meditating in his cell when they arrived. He proceeded to tell them the story of his misanthropic past under captain Thorn’s command. Although, as he put it, he never actually engaged in piracy. He just patched up the rest of the crew after they had done the dirty deeds. Immediately Wiles went on a rant regarding the fact the last doctor on his ship had been arrested for drug smuggling and had later turned out to be a Darker and Thorn really should’ve warned him about Samsons history before recommending him. Eventually he calmed down and ordered Ford to deal with the problem. He had an appointment at the ship yards to inspect the new ships.
While Ford wrestled with the legal codes and diplomatic statutes, Tyler decided to continue this paid vacation by spending the day at a local sports bar watching the game and throwing back a few cold beers. Life was good.
General Schaffer was Wiles’s guide around the ship yards and gave him a tour of the new ships being built. One of them designed to supersede the model of ship the Shooting Star 2 was based on. Wiles gave a few helpful pieces of advice on the new design. The presence of a Neural Interface Control Systems (or NICS) on the ship surprised Wiles. NICS are expensive and difficult to maintain. Because of this their usage has until now been relatively limited and are mainly limited to small craft like fighters or shuttles. The General explained that as the technology matured and costs dropped, it was starting to see deployment on other platforms but he admitted that this was the first time it had been used on a ship of this size. Wiles expressed interest in obtaining plans for a NICS for use on the Shooting Star. A piece of news which would later fill Tyler with a small degree of trepidation as he recalls the copious amounts of duct tape that seems to hold the Star together.
By the time evening arrived, the doctor had been released from custody. A combination of Ford’s legal prowess at asserting the doctors diplomatic immunity and pressure from the Alliance resulted in the warrant for Mcavity Thorn and his crew being rescinded.
With the captain required to attend a formal dinner, the rest of the crew decided enjoy the evening in their own manner. The doctor went back into town while Ford and Tyler ordered room service and settled down to an action movie marathon on the hotel’s pay-per-view movie channel.
Two movies into the marathon, a crash o breaking glass came from one of the rooms in the suite. Ford muted the TV while Tyler looked out of the window. An armed vehicle hovered a few rooms to the left as a group of men jumped out of its side door into the room. With hotel security a few minutes away, they decided to handle this themselves.
They crept into the next room and stationed themselves either side of the doorway. There were four men in black combat amour. One was standing guard while the other three ransacked the room apparently looking for something. In no mood for negotiation, Tyler thew an aerosol can into the room and Ford fired at it. With a satisfying thump it exploded into a small, short-lived ball of flame and acted as a makeshift flash bang. Using it as a distraction they kicked over a table to use as cover and took aim. One of the men had already been taken out by shrapnel from the exploding can and when another popped his head out from cover, Tyler made sure he joined him by shooting him between the eyes with his pistol.
Meanwhile, Ford spotted the hover vehicle changing position to hover outside the room they were in and target them with its machine gun. Not giving either the pilot or the gunner time to make a move, he opened fire. His weapon bucked in his hands and three 9mm charge rounds blasted threw the hotel window and through the vehicles windscreen. Hitting the pilot in the arm, the vehicle dropped back and to the side as the pilot thought better of their position.
Having lost the element of surprise, Tyler decided to repeat the earlier tactic but with something bigger this time. He rolled a fire extinguisher into the room and shot it. The bullet passed straight through and pressurized fire retardant foam sprayed everywhere. Leaping into the room as the men ducked to avoid the foam spray, Tyler’s pistol fired twice hitting both men in the chest knocking both of them to the floor.
At that moment hotel security finally showed up and arrested the surviving members of the gang. After explaining the sequence of events, Ford and Tyler went back to watching TV.
After hearing about the incident, Wiles decided to stay the night again with McWarren.
The next day, the captain ordered the crew to be armed at all times. Ford left to follow up the police reports on the break in, taking the doctor with him. Tyler spend a the morning in the gym before leaving to check on the ship.
Today was also the day of the official unveiling of the new battle group. The naming ceremony went without a hitch, the champagne bottle breaking first time as each ship was christened. After exchanging pleasantries, with the rest of the dignitaries, General Schaffer and Captains Mcwarren and Wiles shared a limo back to the hotel. About ten minutes into the journey, from out of nowhere a utility truck slammed into the side of the limo shunting it off the road.
5 heavily armed and armored men stormed the vehicle. One of them ripped of the side door and part of the roof and tossed if to the size. All the occupants had suffered minor superficial injuries. The men grabbed General Schaffer and there was an exchange of gunfire. Captain McWarren was hit and the rest of the gang made for their getaway vehicle. Wiles managed to kill one of the, but his peacemaker rounds were unable to get through the armour of the others.A high pitched beeping noise alerted him to a new danger. An explosive device attached to the underside of the limo. Grabbing the unconscious McWarren he dove out of the car and covered her with his body as it exploded.
Wiles was incensed, he summoned the emergency services and paged his crew. After ensuring that McWarren was stable and on the way to hospital he briefed his crew. Calling the other Alliance personnel to an emergency meeting. He used his status and reputation to organize a makeshift taskforce to recover the General. Partly to proove the ISAR that the Colonial Alliance takes care of its members and partly because the general was an old friend.
Realizing the General was in charge of a number of sensitive research projects, Wiles had the ISAR base on New Babwe locked down and all the Generals access codes and passwords revoked. The bases computers were physically separated from the grid to prevent a hacking attempt and all the research projects were shut down for the duration. Despite the seriousness of the situation, he was unable to get a halt on all ships entering or leaving orbit.
After double checking transmission and network logs to ensure that nothing had been downloaded or transmitted outside the base before the lockdown, they got their first lead. Like most colonies sponsored by one of the three Terran governments, New Babwe had an extensive and well integrated CCTV network. Using imagery from traffic camera’s, private security systems and police surveillance networks they were able to track the route of the getaway van to a multistory car park. No footage was available of the exact parking spot but no suspicious vehicles or individuals had been spotted leaving.
Ford notified the police while Tyler prepped the skiff for separation. Once everyone was aboard, the command pod of the Shooting Star slid upwards out of its mount and detached becoming an independent vehicle. Using the skiff was quicker than using ground vehicles and they arrived at the parking structure ahead of the police. Not waiting for back up, Ford, Wiles and Tyler approached the van cautiously with their weapons drawn. It was soon apparent that the van had been abandoned and after confirming that it was not booby trapped the CSI team was given access.
A few pieces of forensic evidence were but the DNA did not match anything in the colonies databases and due to the lack of FTL communications technology, it could take weeks to search the central databases by courier ship. However they did manage to recover the generals comm.
A stray thought popped into Tyler’s head. They knew the route taken by the kidnappers from the crash site to the car park by the second thanks to the CCTV imagry. If they obtained the logs for the local grid providers, they might be able to find a set of comms whose movements from cell to cell will have matched that route. If they got lucky then they could isolate those comms and determine their current location. After a moment of stunned silence, it was realized that this could actually work. They subpoenaed the records of the seven grid providers and found what they were looking for. The comms were currently located in a residential area on the other side of town.
A SWAT team was assembled to meet them there and they quickly made their way across town. With the SWAT team positioned to storm the building from the front and back entrances, Wiles and his crew positioned themselves on the roof. Using a liquid explosive they created a ring of explosive on the roof that when triggered would blow a circler shaped slab free of the roof material dropping into the room below. As soon as the SWAT team signaled ready, both groups entered simultaneously.
The three of them dropped into the room and Ford and Wiles fired their weapons. Both had equipped their guns with armour piercing bullets and this time they proved more effective. Tyler on the other hand had decided to rely on the hand blaster and with a pleasing “thwackoom” two bolts of lightning stunned one of the gang while a second had his cyberware shut down on him. In a few seconds it was all over. The general was safe and the gang were either dead or in custody.
After some preliminary interrogation it was learned that the cyberenhanced individual was a mercenary contracted to kidnap the general and hand him over to a third party in an uninhabited star system. He had hired the other man to assist. Unfortunately he was unable or unwilling to divulge the identity of his employers.
As the local security forces mopped up and everyone returned to the hotel, a courier ship from New Port Dillion arrived in system. The Shooting Star 2 was to report back to base for an emergency briefing.
After saying goodbye to the general and McWarren Wiles gathered his crew and they returned back to base.
Back at New Port Dillion something was obviously up. Practically every available ship had been recalled and the briefing room was full for the first time. Over a dozen ships crews were present. Along with the admiralty. Tyler made a crack about “Where’s the fire?” as Thorn took the stage.
He activated a hologram which should the orbital schematic of system he identified as Zeus. Thorn explained that the system had two inhabited planets. Zeus Beta and Zeus Delta. They were both colonies of the Pan Pacific Accord. The holo focused in on the second planet of the system, Zeus Beta. It had a population of approximately 500’000. Of which, 7 were registered telepaths. When he visited the system a few days ago, all he found were 499’993 bodies. The implication that the telepaths were not among them didn’t need to stated. There was gasp as the shocked audience digested that fact. There was more. The holo shifted to the Zeus Delta, the fourth planet. Instead of the blue and green surface with white clouds, the planet was wreathed pole-to-pole in flames. Somehow, he explained, someone had found a way to ignite the entire atmosphere. Delta had a population of 7 million.
All of a sudden, Tyler regretted asking where the fire was.
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