Desperate to Lift Off

Character: Fi Khong, Verroel
NPC: Kukagerrg, Vuedueloghz, Laki Semarkali, Sosazue, Gvekhs, Dzo
Location: Happy Trails, parked on an unnamed comet
System: Voenggaks (Windhorn 1738)

1126.33.6 - 10:35 Imperial Time, 10:35 Vilani Time

As soon as the airlock finishes cycling—which takes a bit longer since it's the cargo bay and not the personnel airlock—Fi darts out and scrambles up the ladder to the bridge deck. He's followed by Verroel and Dzo. Gvekhs and Sosazue take things a bit slower.

Vued stays behind, climbing into the starboard dorsal turret. "Fi, as soon as you're able, get me some power for the weapons."

Kukagerrg spots Vued climbing into the turret and barks, "I'll join you," and makes for the port dorsal turret.

Fi growls, "Verroel, I need you in engineering."

Verroel says, "Why didn't Laki get the ship ready?"

"Because he's not an engineer!"

So Verroel stops climbing once he gets to deck two and heads into engineering. He notes that the power plant is still warm. Weapons will be ready before engines.

Fi gets to the bridge. "We need to get off this rock before those things get here."

Laki isn't looking pink so much as white. He says, "They're already here. They're on the hull." With a nod of his head, he indicates the viewscreen.'

Through the external cameras, Fi can see the things flying in and landing on the hull with more on the way. "Hurry up with those weapons!" he barks over the comm.

Verroel, who has just gotten to an engineering console, says, "On it!"

While they wait, a collective voice—or is it buzzing—is heard. It starts as an exclamation and turns into a chant. "YES. TAKE US TO THE GATE. TAKE US TO THE GATE. TAKE US TO THE GATE..."

Fi barks, "Laki, turn off the comms! Person to person transmissions only."

"They're already off," Laki pleads. "I don't know where it's coming from."

"Weapons ready!" Verroel shouts above the noise.

"Firing!" Vued and Kukagerrg reply in unison.

The laser weapons are turned down to minimal energy, maximum rate of fire—ideal for anti-personnel combat.

The duo start mowing down the aliens. Many are obliterated, but soon they scatter. Unfortunately, the turrets are limited in their arc of fire and they soon run out of targets. And they certainly can't do anything about the aliens already on the hull.

The chanting continues as more aliens climb onto the hull.

Verroel brainstorms his way through options as he locks out all the airlocks and hatches. Venting plasma would take out any of the aliens hanging around the thrusters, but no others. Electrifying the hull could damage the jump grid. Charging up the jump grid might do something to them. But if it doesn't, then they would've wasted valuable fuel.

Fi asks, "Does anyone what the gate chant is about? Does it have anything to do with jump space?"

No one seems to have an answer for him.

Once his computer display indicates that the engines are ready, he says, "Alright, let's see how good their grip is. Lifting off in 3...2...1..."

[ be continued...]