The Currents of Space – Episode 2.13

Brass Jester

Acolyte
Staff member
#1
‘Is that it? Wantanabe wants to kill me?’

“USSC Alabama, Captain Deladrier. We welcome your presence; but have no need of your assistance.’’

Lydia smiled. ‘You can’t kill me.’ ‘No, but she can

‘Wantanabe is your daughter.’

2226 – 04.02. Lagos

‘Ach, stop being in self-denial and face it. She is coming for you.’ Achernar didn’t answer, so Paula hit him on the head with a stack of rolled-up papers.

‘Why? Why does she want to kill me, if I’m her father?’

‘Why? Who knows why? Maybe she doesn’t know who you are; when you meet she’ll cry “Daddy” and run into your arms. More likely; the Lebkuchen are and were psycho killers; they turned on their liberators in 2009; she’ll run into your arms and slit your belly open and then cry “Daddy.”’

‘Not her style; she seems to go for the crush the throat approach.’

Paula frowned. ‘I’m trained in various forms of martial arts; I think this is the Scissor Python; where the victim is crushed between the thighs of the attacker. I can’t do it.’ She suddenly glared at Achernar. ‘Don’t say a fucking word, okay?’

They were still in the hotel room in Lagos; they were all maintaining a constant guard; covering the door and windows. Everyone carried M8 EBR’s; even Bellatrix. Etamin wasn’t there.

LL grinned at Achernar. “Hi, buddy. Thought I’d come along for the ride.’ He glanced at Bella.

‘Where’s Etamin?’

‘He’s working some contacts, trying to get us off-planet and back to Gateway. We need to get on the “Oberon”; it’s our ship and at least we’ll have a fighting chance.’

‘Against a warship? Someone nuked that installation on Crown; remember?’

Rachel turned from the window, cradling an M8. ‘The “Oberon” isn’t toothless. It’s got two pop-up turrets; a triple missile rack and a dual pulse laser. We can fight if we have to.’

‘Great,’ said LL. ‘I was a gunny in the USMC.’

‘We can’t leave by normal means. The TAPP is too slow and is vulnerable; the shuttle terminals are going to be watched and it’s illegal to land private ships without a permit from Traffic Control.’

Paula took the floor again. ‘After the 2009 liberation and massacre; it became known that the Snakeheads were helping and hiding the surviving Lebkuchen. Looking at Wantanabe has been doing and the pattern of killings; it’s obvious that she’s being helped by the Snakes. That’s why we need to find another way off Earth. Etamin’s looking into it now.’

2226 – 04.04. Lagos

‘Boss?’ It was Etamin, on Achernar’s comm. ‘I’ve got us a deal; but they want some money up front. Nineteen hundred creds now gets us on to a Kinako freighter leaving from Singapore Terminal in five days. One block* now, nine hundred on delivery to Gateway.’

‘Etamin,’ asked Achernar. ‘How much quin did we have on board?’ ‘Twenty tons,’ was the reply, ‘and you wouldn’t let me sell it. We could have saved a lot on this charter if we still had it.’ Achernar paused for a moment. ‘Okay; go for it and I’ll get the money transferred to you asap.’

‘What’s up?’ asked Bellatrix. ‘I’m not sure,’ replied Achernar. ‘That sounded like Etamin and he knew the answer to the question, but … when has Etamin ever called me boss?’

2226 – 04.06. Lagos

Etamin came through on the details; they were to leave on a Kinako-registered transport leaving Singapore Terminal for Gateway Station on 04.09.

‘Right, heads up,’ said Paula. ‘We’re booked on different flights to Singapore by SST and we also have reserve shuttle tickets to get us up to Gateway Station.

She opened up her terminal on the table and displayed the details.

  1. TransEarth 125 -4: SST London – Singapore: four tickets booked. This is a blind: they will not be on this flight.
  2. Local Charter – Lagos to Singapore. Achernar and Paula, direct to Singapore Terminal
  3. Global 7856: SST Lagos to Singapore. Bellatrix, LL and Rachel.

Achernar and Paula will board the ship; the others will join them four hours later and the ship will lift for Gateway Station.

2226 – 04.09. Singapore Spaceport

The SST was on final approach when Bellatrix leaned over and pulled Rachel close and kissed her.

‘You know I love you. I’ve got a bad feeling about this whole set-up. Here, take this.’ She handed Rachel a Fone card. ‘It’s got an encoded number; call it if everything goes tits-up. You don’t need to say anything; they’ll know why you’re calling.’

‘Bella, you’re scaring me.’ ‘Sorry. Just be prepared to run if you have to.’

‘Achernar, we’ve just landed.’ There was no response; Bellatrix tried again; still no response. She looked around her; the terminal building was almost empty.

‘It’s a trap; we’ve been ambushed!’ she just had time to yell as a hail of automatic weapon fire opened up on them.

She pulled her M8 from her pack (“it’s ironic; if Earth wasn’t so lawless then we wouldn’t be under attack and we wouldn’t be able to carry weapons”); LL was unlimbering an STG 340 LMG from bits out of his golf bag.

‘Rachel!’ Get out and get to the ship. You’re not a gunner and I’m not going to lose you.’ Bella rolled into cover and opened fire; there were two groups of attackers with automatic weapons.

Again, the area exploded with weapons fire; Rachel ran for the exit and dived through. ‘Shite,’ realised Bella, ‘there’s more than I thought’, as a hail of weapons fire erupted around them. Bella and LL took several hits; but LL was able to take out a bunch of mooks running down a set of stairs.

‘Run; I’ll cover you!’ Bellatrix half-crouched and started to run; a bullet took her and she went over like a rabbit. ‘Grenade!’ yelled LL and lobbed a frag overarm; the blast took out a wall that collapsed on him; his gun still firing on full auto.

Rachel crawled into the cover of a cargo bay; gasping for breath. Her right breast under her arm hurt and was sticky with blood; it was a stinging flesh wound. In the distance, the sound of gunfire continued. Suddenly, she heard a noise; a faint sound nearby.

‘Etamin!’ Her pocket flashlight showed Etamin; his face screwed up in pain; lying against a cargo container. A slim dagger was in his stomach; with a faint trickle of blood from it.

‘WTF! Who did this?’

Etamin tried his grin, but it was weak. ‘Street gang punishment; I screwed up over the TAPP raid; they were waiting for me when I got here. Warn the others, it’s a trap; but there’s bigger things going on.’ He coughed and spat blood.

Rachel tried first aid to stabilise Etamin; then used her comms to call in an emergency team; who rushed him to hospital.

2226 – 04.10. Singapore Spaceport, Stargaze Hotel

Rachel felt very much alone. There was no news of Achernar or Paula; Bellatrix and LL had died in the shootout and Etamin was in a coma on life support. Then she remembered the Fone card that Bella had given her; the room had a videophone and she slotted the card in. The screen lit up with two numbers and legends.

[Money – 040 75821]

[Help – 189 05095]

She dialled the [Money] number. A robot voice informed her that she had, on presenting her IDENT to the Bank of Singapore, access to 250,000 credits.

‘Great! I can have a fucking massive wake for my friends.’

The videophone chimed; an incoming call on a secure channel, voice only. A clipped female voice with a German accent – ‘You have used FC G64O0-M. This card was given to you by a friend called Bellatrix. We will be with you within twenty-four hours.’

2226 – 04.11. Stargaze Hotel

Rachel sat in the hotel room, keeping an eye on the door. She cradled a VP90 pistol that she’d purchased on her way back from the bank; “not that I know how to shoot it.”

The videophone chimed – it was the woman with the German accent. – ‘Ms Formistolg; I am outside your door. Please put down the weapon; I don’t want any accidents. I assure you, my team and I are on your side; we were engaged by Emilohi Olawe, who you know as Bellatrix. However, there has been a development and we do not have much time. Please open the door on my mark – now!’

“Seems like I don’t have much choice”, thought Rachel and she put the gun down; and then opened the door. A woman in paramilitary uniform quickly pushed past her and into the room, followed by five others in similar uniforms, carrying automatic weapons.

‘Hicks, Bai, cover the windows. Hadley, cover the door.’ She raised a handset; ‘Howell? Stand down, but stay on Overwatch.’ She turned to Rachel and gestured for her to sit.

Rachel did so. She saw a burly, competent-looking woman with cropped green hair and several facial piercings. In her left ear she wore an earring; a black skull with a tiny cluster of gold bones beneath it. “A vet, with many real combat drops!”

‘Correct, Ms Formistolg.’ The woman must have noticed her glance. ‘I was USMC; now I work for Last Resort, a PMC. My name is Gerda Molders; Sergeant. My team has been contracted by Emilohi Olawe; who you know as Bellatrix; to protect you and also to effect a rescue of affected associates by any means necessary. This morning, a private ship landed in a sealed bay; there was heavy security but we managed to establish that the ship is owned by the Makita Corporation. All access to the ship has been restricted.’

‘Makita. Olawe. You said that Bella’s real name was Emilohi Olawe. Is she connected to the Makita Corporation?’ Suddenly, Rachel jumped up and grabbed the gun; throwing it across the room. ‘So what? They’re all fucking dead; I don’t even know why you’re here; unless you want to claim your blood money. How much do you want?’

Sgt Molders didn’t move, but her voice grew steely. ‘Scheisse, Formistolg; do you really think I would waste my time on a lost cause? The ship is in a secure bay: in the bay next to it are six hypersleep pods; wired up and running. The question is, do we raid the bay now; on Earth, where there may be lots of backup; or do we find out where the ship is going and follow it?’

‘You can’t follow something that’s using hyperdrive.’

‘You are really pissing me off!’ Molders pulled her sidearm and put a round into the bed next to Rachel. ‘THINK! You have access to a ship; the Makita ship is a standard transport; probably rates two parsecs a week. If we can get ahead of it; we have a better chance of taking it. Now; get your ship down here and my team can find out where the Makita ship is going.’

2226 – 04.12. Singapore Spaceport

‘They are loading the cryo pods into the transport’, reported Howell, the sniper. ‘Acknowledged’’ Molders replied; looking out over the landing pad to where the Miranda sat; steam venting from its cooling vents. ‘Okay, we make a break for the Miranda; Rachel, whatever happens, you keep going and get on board. My team will cover you. Once we are aboard, we seal up and await a destination.’

The Makita ship, a 5,000 ton carrier, lifted that evening; Rachel took the Miranda up after it. The freighter didn’t pause in orbit; but burned for the translation point. Rachel docked the Miranda into the ‘Oberon’ and readied the flight systems. She found that Molder’s squad were quite experienced in ship operations.

‘Most of us are ex-Marine Corp or USCC’

‘I have the destination, ma’am’, reported Bennett, the Comtech. ‘ATC report a logged flight plan of translation to Gliese 260, in the CAP; system name is Paradise, listed as a poor desert world. Distance 9 parsecs’.

‘We can beat them!

To be continued in Season 3

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GM Notes

* Block – slang for 1000 credits

Wow! The Season 2 finale ends on a massive cliff-hanger. It’s been quite a ride this Season, Episode 2.1 was 26/5/19 and Episode 2.13 has ended the Season on 31/7/20.

The battles were fought (in this Episode and the last one), using a derivative of 3:16; modified for Cepheus/ Hostile weapons. It seems to work quite well; but I didn’t expect Bella and LL to go down (OMG! – another plot twist.) In keeping with the Solo Game though, there was a very real danger that they MIGHT have died – I really don’t know until Season 3 starts.

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