Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Bug in the System

Part 1 of Plans Go Awry!

In the last episode, Rugen and Tee had been tasked with retrieving stolen secrets from a criminal named Jacinto Barik. Taking a standard scout-class ship, they set out for Pictoris Station.

Our heroes leave hyperwarp and set a course for the orbital station around the rocky planet of Pictoris 3. Pictoris Station is a rough-and-tumble frontier post, populated by miners who make a living off the cold planet as well as shopkeepers and other, less savory persons who make a living off the miners. Even without sensors, Rugen could see the station as a glint of light framed by the dark planet. He opened a subspace frequency and requested permission to dock but he received no response. He tried again without luck.

"Strange," Rugen commented, "I thought we would be hailed by them."

"Perhaps interference," mused Tee as he fiddled with the subspace controls.

"I don't think so," remarked Rugen. There would be some indication on our monitors. Tee had to agree.

Moments later. another glint of light appeared. It seemed to be approaching.

"I guess it's a welcoming committee," joked Rugen. His android comrade did not get the joke.

Rugen tried hailing the approaching light, presumably another ship, but this too was silent. Yet it steadily drew closer. Soon it was close enough to view on long range sensors.

"What??" queried Rugen, for he has never seen such a ship. It looked like a big, black beetle. Rugen wondered if it was friendly. His question was soon answered when it opened fire! Laser beams blasted the hull and shook the scout.

Rugen's heads-up-display when the alien ship first attacked
 Rugen immediately launched his ship into combat maneuvers. He found himself in position to fire upon the enemy vessel but his shots were off target.

Rugen gets a shot.
 A swirling dogfight ensued. For a while, neither ship could get into a good firing position. Then, the alien pulled a tight turn and found itself honing in on the scout's flank. Lasers lanced toward the ship, scouring the hull. Warning lights buzzed, warning of a possible hull breach.

"Tee, see if you can do something!" commanded Rugen.

The scout takes more damage.
 Tee's scientific knowledge paid off and he was able to repair some of the damage. Meanwhile, Rugen jerked the ship into some radical maneuvering. The tables were reversed! Rugen pulled the trigger on his guns!

The alien in his sights.
Laser fire struck the alien's front. There was a small explosion, then the alien turned and fled from the battle.

"Sensors indicate that its weapons are out," announced Tee.

"Let's see if we can catch him, and find out what's going on!" Rugen replied. Alas, the alien ship  pulled away from the scout, and soon was gone.

"I guess we'll have to ask at Pictoris," concluded Rugen as he turned his ship's bow toward the gleaming station.

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