Dragonstar – Part 03
Swallowing his pride, Trace got up into a crouch and ran across the gap between the two jumpers, blaster bolts striking the concrete floor behind him. Firing his blaster wildly, the boy dived into the backseat.
“Move over scale face,” Trace said as he clambered into the front, “I’ll drive.” Although he bristled at the racial slur, Korodo nonetheless relinquished the driver’s seat to Trace and climbed over onto the passenger seat.
“Be my guest squirt, she won’t start.”
“Course not,” Trace said punching the keypad, “I reprogrammed the start code, it’s easier than hotwiring it.” Trace quickly started the jumpcraft, and seeing the display lights shining a solid green, wasted no time in accelerating out of the garage as the assassins sprayed the back of the jumper with blaster fire. Fortunately, the jumper’s bodywork was made of a special material designed to be impervious to personal blaster fire.
Streaking out into the cityscape, it took all of Trace’s concentration to weave in and out of the heavy traffic. A collision at these speeds and at this altitude would be fatal. He was dodging under a large commercial jumpcraft when twin bolts of plasma skimmed the sides of the jumpcraft and plunged into the trailer of the commercial jumpcraft, detonating its cargo in a massive fireball. Korodo and Trace whipped their heads around to look at the falling flaming wreckage just in time to see two jumpers burst through the smoke in pursuit, both sporting plasma cannons.
“We’ve got company!” Screamed Korodo as the jumpers gained ground and began to spray the air around the jumpcraft with plasma. The half-dragon leaned forward and pressed a small red button on the dashboard.
“I know, I know!” Trace yelled back as he jinked the jumpcraft around a third jumper that appeared from the canyon like gap between two megalithic skyscrapers. Within seconds, they had all three jumpers hot on their tail in an aerial chase over 400 metres above the ground and at speeds over 300 kilometres per hour, weaving between skyscrapers and other vehicles in a deadly dance. A glob of plasma from one of the chasing jumpers sheared off the port thruster pod, a few inches to the right and it might have taken off one of their heads. As the engine spiralled away to crash into a building, the jumpcraft lurched as Trace tried to correct for the imbalance in the thrust. “Crap they got one of the engines,” muttered Trace.
Korodo’s scales flushed red and he turned to face the chasing jumpers. “Stop blowing holes in my jumper!” He roared. “And you,” he said turning to Trace, “fly faster, you’re supposed to be a jumper thief aren’t you? Well fly like one.”
“Will you just shut up and let me drive!” Trace snapped as Korodo pulled a brace of clips from the glove compartment. Slapping a clip into the socket, he took aim at the pursuing craft. As one the jumpers jockeyed for a firing position, Korodo fired. The gyrojet stuck the side of the jumper, just behind the cockpit. It was a glancing strike however, the round ricocheting as it struck the armour plating.
Trace flipped the jumpcraft on its side as he banked it violently around a tight corner. Behind them, plasma fire stitched across the side of an office block. Korodo slammed to the side, almost dropping the pistol overboard. Cursing, he braced himself and took aim again only to have his shot ruined as the jumpcraft dove into the skeletal structure of a half-completed tower, weaving between girders and cross bracing struts. “Keep her steady, I can’t get a clear shot!” Korodo yelled over his shoulder.
“If I give you a clear shot, I’m giving them one as well and they have considerably better guns than that peashooter of yours.” Trace yelled back as he held on to the controls with one hand, using the other to wipe away blood from his eye that was dribbling down from a cut on his forehead.
“Err … keep up the good flying kid. Don’t let them get a bead on us.”
With the three jumpers still on their tail, Trace piloted the jumpcraft through the mammoth building site. A new arcology complex was under construction, the whole site a hive of activity 24 hours a day. As the jumpcraft streaked through the site, Trace spotted an opportunity ahead. “Hey, crane load at 12 o’clock,” he called out to Korodo. The half-dragon looked where Trace was pointing and grinned, realising instantly what the boy’s idea was. Korodo took careful aim at the chains holding the stack of pipes together as the crane lifted them and fired. The gyrojet round struck dead on target, snapping the chain and sending the pipes tumbling to the ground just as the enemy jumpers passed beneath them. One of the jumpers was obliterated instantly, destroyed by the bulk of the pipes pulverising its front half and detonating its fuel cell. A second jumper collided with the debris of the first, spinning out of control and crashing into an electricity substation. With a flare, the power died plunging the entire area into darkness. The only exceptions were the few towers with their own generators. Flaming debris from the first jumper rained down on to the construction site sending workers scurrying for cover.
Looking back at the carnage, Korodo grimaced when he saw the scale of the damage. “Kid, take us up out of the cityscape, we’re putting innocent people at risk.”
“Buckle in,” Trace said as he secured his own seatbelt. He waited for a few seconds for Korodo to do the same before turning to the half-dragon, smiling as he did so. “Hold on.” Before Korodo had time to answer, Trace threw the jumpcraft into a vertical dive. Despite himself, Korodo let out a scream as the jumpcraft fell through several intersecting layers of traffic.
“Are you trying to get us killed? I said take us up, not down.”
“YES!” Trace yelled glaring at Korodo, “my lifelong goal is to die aged 15 in a horrific jumper crash while being chased by gun wielding psychos who want the arrogant noble in the passenger seat dead.” As he yelled, Korodo started pointing out the front windscreen. “As you can see, I’ve had a real bad day. Now if you’ve finished giving orders, Your Highness, kindly shut up and let me get on with saving our collective asses.”
“Kid?” Korodo asked meekly.
“WHAT?” He asked, still glaring at the half-dragon.
“Oh,” Trace said nonchalantly, “that.” Pulling back hard on the controls, Trace pulled the jumpcraft out of the dive. The sudden strain sent a spasm of pain shooting down his arm from the blaster wound and causing him to wince. Skimming along the ground a few metres above the heads of scattering pedestrians, the commercial buildings were nothing more than a blur as they whipped by. Carefully, Trace piloted the speeding jumpcraft into a deepening trench down which ran a pair of magrail tracks. Korodo watched in horror as Trace piloted the jumpcraft down the trench, parallel to a speeding maglev. Passengers pressed against the windows of the maglev as the jumpcraft passed by. With a determined expression on his face, Trace ignored Korodo’s protests and pushed the throttle all the way open. The jumpcraft surged forward as the trench swept around a wide corner towards a pair of tunnel openings. Behind them, the assassin’s jumper dropped down into the trench, following them close behind and lining up a shot. Ahead of them, a pair of lights from the oncoming tunnel heralded the arrival of a rapidly approaching maglev. With seconds to spare, Trace swerved in front of the maglev slotting the jumpcraft into the tunnel entrance as the oncoming maglev rushed out of its tunnel. With both tunnels blocked, the assassin’s jumper pulled up sharply, narrowly avoiding smashing into the trench walls or pedestrian walkways.
Whooping in triumph and pumping his first, Trace piloted the jumpcraft through the tunnel one-handed. Korodo punched him lightly on the arm, “Great Father, you’re insane.”
“Relax,” Trace said wincing slightly. Korodo’s punch had stuck him right on his blaster wound. “We lost them didn’t we?”
“No I won’t ‘relax’, you’re reckless and dangerous,” Korodo lectured sternly as they exited the tunnel and anonymously joined the traffic flow. “You put hundreds of lives at risk with stunt of yours; do you have any idea just how stupid that was?”
Trace didn’t answer, instead he stared straight ahead, his mouth a thin line of growing anger and his knuckles white as he gripped the controls. He jerked the controls to the left, setting the jumpcraft down in an alleyway. Before the half-dragon had a chance to continue berating him, he pulled the blaster pistol he had tucked into the front of his pants and stuck it in Korodo’s side. “Get out,” he hissed angrily. Korodo looked down at the boy, seeing nothing but hatred and anger in his eyes.
“What do you think you are doing?” He asked carefully.
“Perhaps it didn’t penetrate that thick skull of yours earlier,” Trace said, keeping the pistol trained on Korodo as he reluctantly got out of the jumpcraft. “I told you, I’m stealing your jumper.”
As Trace gunned the engine, preparing to take off, Korodo leaned in towards the boy. “So, you’re just going to leave me here?” Trace seemed to hesitate a second before his face hardened, his eyes devoid of any trace of childish innocence. Fishing in his pocket, he pulled out a comm and tossed it to the half-dragon.
“Call someone who cares.” The jumpcraft tore out of the alley, rising up to join the westbound traffic lanes. Left behind in the alley, Korodo watched as the jumpcraft disappeared from view. Looking down at the comm, he dialled a number and waited for an answer.
Caldrin sat at the controls of the assault jumper and banged the dashboard in frustration. The operation had deteriorated, and then finally collapsed into utter failure. He had lost one assault team during the botched attack on the penthouse. Then he had lost two of his best pilots during the chase across the city before finally losing his quarry at the magrail tunnels. By the time he had circled around to the exit, Korodo and the boy were long gone.
He was still contemplating the consequences of his failure, hovering stationary beside an advertising board, when a familiar looking jumpcraft flew in front him; flying along on only one intact thruster. Caldrin could not believe his luck, right in front of him was the target, completely unaware that Caldrin had spotted him. The drow slowly manoeuvred his jumper a few vehicles behind the target and began to follow him. As he concentrated on the target, his heart sank when he realised that Lord Korodo was not in the jumpcraft, only the guild thief. They must have parted ways somewhere between the tunnel and the time that Caldrin had reacquired his quarry. If this mission was to be salvaged in any way, he had to find out where the boy had dropped off Korodo. With the resources of the Imperial Special Police Directorate at his disposal, he could blanket Jurrika City with satellite surveillance but even with all the technological and magical knowledge that the Dragon Empire possessed, located a specific individual amongst the tens of millions that inhabited the city would be impossible. If he could narrow the search to a specific area of the city, it would increase the chances of located him. Should the boy choose not to cooperate, that decision would cost the boy dearly. Part of Caldrin hoped that the boy would be stubborn, after what had happened he wasn’t in a very forgiving mood.
Posted on Friday, June 27, 2008, in Dragonstar and tagged dragon, dragons, Dragonstar, dungeons, elf, fantasy, half, kid, noble, science fiction, space, street, thief, warrior, young. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.