Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12
Chapter 5: Hiding from Wizards in the Rubble of Mars
“There’s nothing but rubble,” complained Bart, scratching at his ears.
Sighing deeply, trying to keep her cool, Nessa snipped, “Just like the other eight million times you said it. Just keep scanning and see if we can find any clues.”
They’d spent the past week scanning every piece of debris from what was left of the Martian system. Seeing one of the three major powers that had been fighting for over two hundred years reduced to nothing but a pile of charred debris was putting them all on edge.
“Sirs,” Alexandre’s distinctly reptilian voice sounded alarmed. “There’s a ship that just appeared out of nowhere.”
Alarmed, Nessa turned toward the main viewscreen and said, “Have they seen us?”
“I have n—” He didn’t get a chance to finish.
“They can’t,” said Zuri, bouncing up and down in what Nessa assumed was pride. When Nessa gave her an expectant look, the young girl said, “I really liked the special cloak that they had on Avalon and I spent some time scanning it while we were there and it turns out it’s just light bending over external shields.”
“Fascinating. You recreated an advanced technology from a few scans and your imagination. I’m impressed, young one,” Alexandre sounded more scared than impressed.
“Let’s not count our kills until we check the pulses,” grunted Barf. “They’re broadcasting something.”
“Em, put it on screen!” Nessa ordered.
On the viewscreen was near complete darkness, only a figure stood facing the viewscreen. Their face was in complete darkness as their outline was backlit. They wore a cloak with glowing silver designs all over it. When they spoke, their voice was mechanical and deep, “Myrddin searches for Arthur.”
“Stay radio silent,” Nessa said. “We are hidden, right?”
As if on queue the voice continued, “We know you hide. Arthur must be found. They must be trained.”
“Does anyone know more about these guys? Other than that Blue-Sun hate them?” Bart asked.
Alexandre replied, “The Tyrite Empire met them several decades ago. We were able to talk to them. They refer to themselves as wizards and are searching for Arthur in order to train them to fight the sun worshipers. We had standing orders to avoid them and never to fire on them. They were fairly docile as long as you didn’t come too close, fire on them, or have any information they wanted.”
“How many Tyrite ships did they destroy?” Nessa asked.
“Every third encounter ended with them stripping all information from our datacores and leaving the ship’s crew braindead.”
Suddenly Nessa wondered if her former captain might have had the right idea. “So do we wait for them to leave, or should we go look somewhere else?”
Tanya, who had been awfully quiet for the whole exchange, said, “I don’t think we should leave, sir. I think I found something. There’s a large asteroid near the edge of the system that is registering very faint signs of power.”
The asteroid was moving slowly enough to look like it was a natural movement, but scans showed a small amount of ionic energy that was unique to old Earth star drives. The old Earth drives were more powerful and used less energy, but the ability to repair them and the material to do so wasn’t found in any of the three systems.
“Do the Myrddin see it?” Nessa asked.
Alexandre replied, “No, but they might suspect. That message may be for them and not for us.”
“Let’s follow that asteroid. Maximum speed, Zuri,” Bart ordered.
“No, absolutely not. We’re in the middle of a giant debris field, even if we’re invisible, we’re going to move so much rock as we move it’ll be pretty obvious,” Zuri said, shaking her head emphatically.
Looking annoyed, Bart barked, “Do you have a better idea?”
Smiling in a way that made Nessa very uncomfortable, Zuri replied, “Let’s board their ship, take it, and anything in their database.”
After a lot of yelling and angry words from the rest of the crew, Zuri explained, “There’s a small flaw in their shields. If we hadn’t been scanning everything so deeply I wouldn’t have seen it. I can modulate a small ship’s shields to match their frequency and slip in unnoticed. Then a small group could infiltrate and take the ship.”
“How?” asked Tanya, looking bloodthirsty.
“I can take their data and send a virus that will take out their processing core. I just need five, maybe ten minutes.”
Nessa and Zuri were chosen for the team with Bart piloting his little fighter. Tanya had argued that she could protect the little engineer better, but Nessa reminded her that this was a stealth mission and if things got bad, Nessa had claws.
“I don’t like this,” Bart said as they approached the ship.
“You don’t like anything,” Nessa teased before adding, “But you’re right, we don’t even know the layout of the place.”
Sighing dramatically, in the way only a teen could, Zuri said, “Once we get past their shields I’ll know the layout and we’ll know exactly where we’re going. You worry too much.”
Bart laughed and said, “That’s how I managed to become old. Worry and luck.”
As they passed the shields, Zuri swore and said, “This can’t be right, There’s only two parts of their hull that’s hollow. It’s like they have a cargo hold and an engineering bay, and that’s it.”
“I’m also not reading any sign of life,” added Nessa, “No wait, there’s one life sign.”
“Where do you want me to land, or are we turning back?” Bart asked Zuri, who suddenly looked really nervous.
“I would need their engineering bay, so I think there’s a shaft right here,” she said and pointed at a spot on the hull.
“Creepy ship with only one life sign… here we go,” Bart deadpanned.
Read Chapter 6 (June 2023)
While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories:
- 2022 – Birth of the Aetherverse (Fantasy)
- 2021 – Diamond Stars and the Galactic Heist (Sci-Fi, Heist, Romance)
- 2020 – Point Zero (Superhero, Sci-Fi)
- 2019 – Seren Plentyn and the Secret of Hokulua Station (Sci-Fi Adventure Mystery)