Boondocks Episode 5, Season 3
With Alliance Command still evaluating their options Tyler and Wiles decided to let off some steam. By shear coincidence they both chose the same bar. Still fired up from the mission it wasn’t long until Wiles got into an argument with one of the barflys. Pretty soon it degenerated in a brawl that spilled out across the bar. Punches were thrown and chairs sailed through the air. They both got a few good hits in before the police finally arrived to break up the fracas.
The next morning Ford and Wiles, who was sporting an impressive looking black eye, met with the duty officer for a strategy meeting. There was the general feeling that was far as then enemy was concerned, they were shooting blind. Even after three centuries almost nothing was known of their abilities, organisation, disposition, technological capabilities or society. Wiles was convinced they were missing something. Using Fords bureaucratic kung-fu he managed to wrangle permission to go over the derelict from NSC-13356.
After the quarantine, the ship had been towed through Underspace to a position just inside New Vegas’s heliopause some 80 AUs away (12,000,000,000 km). Out here it was safe from prying eyes as the Alliance studied it for any clues as to the meaning of the graffiti and why it had been abandoned. The only way that someone would come across it would be if they knew exactly where it was.
When the Star docked with it later that morning, Alliance Sci-Ops ad finished their investigation and turning up nothing unusual. They were only too happy hand over to the crew of the Star. Samson obtained the biological scan data from the departing science team and remained aboard the Star to study it while the rest of the crew boarded the derelict. Ford headed to the bridge while Wiles went to the engine room. Tyler, convinced that after spending several hours the previous day searching the ship top to bottom that this was a waste of time, went to get a coffee from the machine.
Sometime later, he was still in the crew lounge of the derelict when Wiles came to get some liquid sustenance. Tyler was leaning against the bulkhead sipping idly at another cup of superheated caffeine. The two were chatting about nothing in particular when Tyler’s face suddenly went blank. In his mind’s eye, he was standing in front of the machine alone when a young women walked by. As she passed by, he felt his skin crawling and he realised that he’d been gritting his teeth.
He snapped back to reality as Wiles waved in his hand front of Tyler’s face. For a brief moment neither spoke then Tyler descried what he had seen. After discounting the possibility of ghosts, Tyler decided, on a whim, to go through the footage from the security camera’s. His hunch paid off as he found a sequence that depicted the scene exactly has he had seen it. Wiles, who seemed more comfortable with the whole thing decided to use Tyler as a psychic tricorder. As the vision seemed to have been triggered by physical contact with the bulkhead, the Captain ordered Tyler to walk the corridors with his fingers brushing the walls.
Tyler was assaulted by a confusing montage of images. Few of which made in any sense but one thing was evident. No impressions were received from the girls point of view.
Realising that there was little more that could be learned, they returned back to base. Once safely back on New Vegas, Wiles requested a meeting with the Alliance’s expert on psychic phenomena. They explained what had happened on the derelict and what they had discovered. In the specialists opinion, Tyler was beginning to develop psionic powers. At the moment they seemed to happen involuntarily and without conscious control. A fact that did not exactly comfort Tyler. With time and practice he would eventually learn to control them. As to the girl, the specialist described some research that been done some years on the concept of the Psink. According to the theory, everyone possessed a low-level psionic ability. This was responsible for hunches, “bad feelings” and feelings of being watched. This sixth sense was also part of basic non-verbal communication. However, some individuals did not possess this ability and some even suppressed psionic abilities in others. These individuals would not only be immune to psionic manipulation but would also dampen the psionic abilities of those around them. Such people would make excellent security guards for high-security facilities. Hypothetically such individuals would also suppress the basic empathy of all humans and as such would make those around them uncomfortable for no apparent reason. However, this was all theory as no such person had been found as finding them among the billions of people across settled space is next to impossible.
Later that day, Tyler and Wiles were in a strategy meeting. They voiced the concern that even after 300 years, next to nothing was known about Darker psychology, tactics, culture and origins. Both of them suggested that an attempt should be made to capture a live Darker for research. They were surprised when the brass they were meeting with vetoed their suggestion. Tyler sighed and suggested they call it a day. As soon as they left the office he asked Wiles if they would being going on the Darker hunt anyway. Wiles nodded and the two went to prepare for their mission. Wiles spent the night with Captain McWarren while Tyler made sure the ship was stocked with provisions and supplies for their unauthorised safari.
The next morning, everything was ready for their unofficial mission. The only snag was the presence of a large spaceship parked in the next bay with its weapons trained on the Star. It was the Horizon under the command of Mcavity Thorn. Somehow Alliance Command had gotten wind of their plan. There was a tense stand-off between the two ships until an EMP device fried the Star’s engines grounding the ship until repairs could be made. Thorn apologised for the drastic measures but assured them that everything would be explained in a few hours.
True enough, a few hours later a general meeting was called and the captains of the various ships at New Vegas met in the briefing room. At the same time SAV Rorke’s Drift jumped into the system with its small escort fleet. With the Colonial Alliance fleet split into a number taskforces, they would strike simultaneously at a number of Darker held worlds. This was precisely what the crew of the Star had been waiting for.
Over the next 4 hours, the Star underwent preparation for their strike. Their role would be in ground attack. Along with a number of other small ships their job would be to conduct low-level bombing runs on the planetary defence batteries and space port of their target. The larger cruisers would remain in orbit providing covering fire until planetary defences were destroyed at which point they would come in closer for orbital bombardment. In order to facilitate this, the Star was fitted with external bomb racks containing several 500Ib high explosive bombs. Along with their new weaponry, they were supplied with a temporary gunner. However, in a surprising turn of events, Doc Samson revealed that he could not in good conscience go on the mission with them as it would violate the pacifistic tenets of his religion. With Samson off the ship (he would later be fired), they would be without a medic. Unfortunately there was no time to find a replacement.
With everything in place, the taskforce assembled in orbit and jumped to Underspace. Time to realspace reversion was several hours and everyone spent the time preparing in their own way.
On cue, the fleet reverted and the ground assault squadron entered the atmosphere and dropped down to low level flight. Flying as low as humanely possible, they were only picked up on radar at the last minute. As the Star and the rest of the squadron came in visual range of the Darker colony, the air defences finally activated sending surface to air missiles streaking up to meet the oncoming ships.
Jinking left to right, skimming the tree tops, Tyler evaded the missiles and sent the Star speeding towards their first target. The new gunner released a bomb directly on target and the radar station erupted into flames.
As the Star climbed out of its run in preparation for its next attack, Darker fighters arrived on the scene, two of which latched on to the Stars tail. Living up to his callsign of “Maniac”, Tyler dropped into evasive mode. The ship raced only few feet above the ground down a crowded street. All guns blazing burning a path ahead of them.
Over the next twenty minutes the Darker colony died in flames as the Alliance fleet pounded it with bombs, bullets, missiles and laser blasts. Two cruisers attempted to escape the conflagration but were destroyed after several direct hits from Alliance vessels.
Towards the tail end of the attack. One of the few surviving Darker fighters began a tail chase with the Star. Wiles had something up his sleeve. Assembling a strange contraption in the port cargo bay, he opened the rear door. On is command, Tyler cut thrust as Wiles fired his makeshift EMP generator. The Darkers engines died and it shot into the open cargo bay. With the Ford’s help, Wiles subdued the Darker pilot as Tyler broke orbit and regrouped with the Alliance fleet waiting to jump back to Homebase 2.
Behind them, the Darker colony burned.
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