Chapter 9: A Bomb, more Fanatics, and some Rest
The bomb embedded in the ship was giving off so much energy that it was super-charging the engines.
“Once we open the energy collectors, we can syphon off the energy. That should slow us down,” Zuri explained again.
Bart’s bushy eyebrows furrowed and he asked, “Where are we going to put all that energy?”
It was Alexandre who replied, “Our new energy cells can hold a hundred and fifty percent of maximum. The rest we’ll be using to drop out of FTL without exploding.”
Bart swallowed hard and just nodded.
It wasn’t long before they had modified the ship and were ready to try.
“Captain, on your mark,” Zuri said.
Trying not to think about what would happen if they had missed a valve or a bolt, Nessa said, “Bart, prepare for some fancy flying. When we drop out, we’ll be right in the middle of the Ares system and I don’t think they’ll be too happy to see a Martian ship arriving. Okay, Zuri, do it.”
Everyone braced for impact, but other than a worrisome humming noise, not much happened other than the view from the monitors changing.
Once they’d successfully dropped out of FTL, however, things got bumpy. They were still going extremely fast and Ares was one giant asteroid field.
Bart navigated them out of the field and then howled in frustration and anger.
Nessa knew what it felt like to see your homeworld reduced to rubble and let the man grieve. She asked the rest of the bridge crew, “Damage report?”
Zuri looked frustrated as she replied, “Working on it captain, but our sensors were damaged, and that’s slowing things down.”
Frowning, Nessa said, “Blue-Sun has to be stopped. We need to find Arthur. From what the Avalonians said, he has the power to stop them.”
“Sir, I’ve been reading through the massive amount of information they gave us on Arthur and I think I found something that will help.” Em looked hopeful.
“It’s said that Arthur can block the connection between the Sun Speakers and their gods. He was also a powerful Sun Speaker himself so he has those powers. It says that the best way to identify Arthur is when he uses his powers.”
Still heartbroken at seeing his homeworld destroyed, Bart asked in a teary voice, “What powers? What can stand up to this level of destruction?”
Em sighed and said, “The text is half metaphors and all flowery language. It’s hard to decipher. Other than blocking the Sun Speakers, there’s something about leading the half-living into battle, and understanding the secrets of war. I really d—” Alarms cut him off and he tapped at his console before saying, “There are four Myrddin ships and they’re hailing us.”
The near mechanical voices boomed over the ships coms, “Myrddin searches for Arthur.”
“Put me on,” Nessa said and once Em did, she said, “Myrddin ships. We are the Galahad and we also search for Arthur.” When they didn’t respond, she asked, “How will you recognize him and what do you plan to do with him?”
It seemed like they weren’t going to answer until the voice said, “We will recognize him by DNA and we shall follow him into the war to end all wars. Why do you search for him?”
Nessa didn’t want to mention Avalon so she settled for a half truth, “We hope he can help against the meaningless destruction of Blue-Sun.”
“They are serpents, which must be destroyed. It is agreed.” The coms cut off and everyone stared at the screen in confusion.
After a moment, Em said, “They’ve sent us a data packet with what looks like medical information.”
Peri, who’d been sitting at a spare station, perked up and said, “Send it to medbay and I’ll look it over.”
Zuri, who seemed to have missed everything, looked up and said, “Looks like sensors, shields, cloak, weapons, FTL engines, and plasma collectors all sustained severe damage.”
“Is that it?” Alexandre said, and Nessa could swear the large lizardman was teasing Zuri.
Blushing, Zuri said, “It’ll take a day and a half to repair.”
Nessa nodded and gestured for her to go ahead. Both her and Alexandre got up and headed to wherever they needed to repair things. “We’ll set up two shifts. Bart and Tanya, you go for a rest, Em and I will take first duty.” When the other two were gone, Nessa told Em to go help the engineers.
The bridge was so quiet with everyone gone, Nessa could almost believe that she was back as a commander in the Martian military. “Has it really only been a few days?” she asked herself.
She monitored communications, but the usually active channels were quiet. With at least two of the three major powers destroyed, there weren’t many people left.
The shift went on quietly until Bart came to relieve her of duty.
“How are you holding up?” she asked.
“I’m angry and sad, but mostly I feel numb. Those bastards took our homes without breaking a sweat.”
She placed a gentle hand on his shoulder and he pulled her into a hug. She said, “I understand.”
“Bah, enough touchy-feely stuff. Get some sleep.”
Her quarters were untouched, but felt wrong, like a relic from another time. She ate a quick meal and then lay down for sleep. She didn’t expect it would be easy, but she closed her eyes and fell into a deep sleep.
She was started out of a dream about chasing ghosts through a maze by Bart over the coms, “Captain, Blue-Sun is broadcasting on all channels that they found Arthur and he’s going to lead them into battle against the rebel suns. We’re reading a massive fleet of Myrddin on their way to the Blue-Sun location.”
Later, on the bridge, Nessa looked around at the assembled crew and said, “It’s probably a trap, but if there’s a chance they found Arthur, we need to make sure he isn’t being used by them.”
“The ship’s ready to go,” Zuri said.
“Let’s go rescue King Arthur Pendragon, Speaker of the Rebel Sun, Ruler of Old Earth and the three kingdoms of War.”
While you wait for the next chapter, check out the previous serial stories: