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 7: Surfing the Rubble of Mars
They’d almost made it to their ship when they were hit by the shockwave. The Myrddin ship exploded faster and harder than they’d expected.
“What was in that thing? Explosives?” Bart said, wildly trying to get their shuttle under control before they hit the ship or an asteroid.
“Sir, if you can hear us, we have to get out of here. The explosion pushed all the asteroids around it toward us.” Em’s voice was clear but panicked over the coms.
Nessa looked out as Bart levelled them out and saw the wave of debris coming toward them. “That’s okay Sergeant, we’ll join you at the edge of the system. Try and keep an eye on the asteroid.” She didn’t want to lose sight of the asteroid that they’d detected that was moving oddly and had the old Earth engine signature.
“I’m working on boosting our shields,” Zuri said.
“Have either of you Martians been on Ares?” When the two of them gave him confused looks, Bart continued, “Most of it is water, clean beautiful water. Our two moons give the planet the most amazing tides. That’s why we have the best surfers in the three systems.”
“Bart. What the Hades does this have to do with our current situation?” Nessa felt totally useless. Bart was driving, Zuri was upgrading, and she was sitting, wishing there was something for her to do.
“I’ve always wanted to try surfing. I guess today is my lucky day.” Bart stood up straight and grunted in the direction of the incoming wave of asteroids.
Zuri poked her head out of the panel she was playing with and said, “That could work. I’ll concentrate the shields on the bottom of the ship. Nessa, shoot anything in our way, and Bart can surf us out of this.”
“I’m not sure about this but I don’t have a better idea. At least I get to shoot something.”
Bart barked a laugh and said, “Hold on to your tails.” He accelerated and the shuttle was thrown up over the curve of the asteroid wave.
They followed the wave and it rode the asteroids; anything too big or close, Nessa shot it.
Soon they were approaching a moon-sized asteroid and Bart grunted, “That beasty has us in its gravity. We’re going to have to go through. You ready to corkscrew?”
Nessa checked the scans and found that the asteroid was mostly water and rock. She trained the laser cannons to fire in an X formation. It would create a tunnel just wide enough for their shuttle.
She fired and had created half the tunnel when the lasers died. “We’re going to hit the core, reverse!” she shouted.
“No! I can fix them!” Zuri’s confidence was worrying, but Nessa nodded at Bart and he kept course.
As the wall of ice got closer Nessa watched the young engineer work. It was like watching a complicated martial arts routine. She moved like no one and no engineer that Nessa had ever seen.
“Better fix that fast or I’m going to have to hit the brakes, or the ice,” Bart sounded nervous.
Zuri gave a growl, strange from a human voice, and shoved her hands into the panel she’d been working on. Nessa blinked in confusion a few times as Zuri started to glow.
The laser control roared back to life and Nessa fired. They were covered in water from the melting of the ice. It froze again the moment it touched the ship.
They made it through the asteroid and surfed a little longer until finally they found themselves at the edge of the system.
They all cheered before Nessa hailed the Galahad, “Everyone alive out there?”
After much too long a pause for Nessa’s liking, they replied, “Yes sir, we made it. We have some damage to the shields, but we’re okay. Coming to pick you up now.”
Once back on the bridge, Nessa sat in the captain’s chair and said, “Did you manage to keep the asteroid in view?”
“Yes sir. Should we follow them or wait for Zuri to finish the repair?” Alexandre’s emotionless voice asked.
“She can handle it on the go. Let’s follow that asteroid.”
“Sir, if that’s really a galactic ion drive, we’ll only be able to catch them if it’s broken or if they want us to catch them,” Tanya said, looking uncomfortable reminding a superior officer of something so obvious.
Nodding, Nessa asked, “How’s the cloak?”
It was Alexandre who replied, “It should hold, but at some point Zuri will need to turn it off to fix the shields.”
“Understood. Let’s go.”
They moved slowly, in comparison, to avoid the many other pockets of planetary debris that covered the entire system and were moving more violently since the explosion.
When they got to the asteroid it was obviously a ship with an illusion or projection that fooled their ship’s sensors. It looked brand new but the design was straight out of the history books about old earth.
“What ship is that?” Nessa asked.
“Unknown, sir,” Alexandre replied. The rest of the bridge crew shook their heads.
At the same time, Zuri entered and said, “I have to turn the shields and cloak off.” When she looked at the viewscreen she said, “That’s an old earth Yacht. That’s the Proserpina. “How did they get it out of the moon? Oh no, are they looking for me?”
“Why would they be looking for you?” Bart asked, his tail drooping.
“I might have run away,” Zuri looked down and blushed.
Before anyone could say anything, Em said, “Sir, the asteroid is hailing us.”
Read Chapter 8
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