The Suns of War – Chapter 6 (Serial Story)

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 6: The Processor Core

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Bart said as they approached the Myrddin ship.

“Do you have a bad feeling or do you not like this?” Nessa teased.

“Both. Also I regret that Avalonean dish we had.”

Nessa laughed. The ship seemed impossibly big compared to their little shuttle. They approached the part of the hull that connected to a hatch, which should bring them to the engineering bay.

They were joking with each other because they were nervous. Zuri was laser-focused on the task at hand. “I’ve released a field of Ionizing Radiation around where we’re landing. It should look like a spike of Galactic Cosmic Radiation and confuse their sensors.” When the other two looked confused, she added, “It’s like a numbing agent for the ship’s sensors. It should buy us an hour before they detect us.”

“It’s still looking like a singular they,” Bart said, looking uncomfortable.

Nessa sighed and said, “We’ll then, my odds are significantly better. Don’t fall asleep here. I’m sure we’re going to need a quick evac.”

They landed and pressurized to the hull. Opening the hatch, Zuri used a cutting torch to get through the hull. When she pulled the chunk of the hull off, it revealed a narrow corridor. 

“Glad the plan was for me to stay here,” Bart said, “I’d never fit through that hole.”

Nessa scoffed and led the way. It was wide and tall enough for her to crawl without needing to look like a snake. She was used to being quiet, but Zuri wasn’t. If the ship had sound based security, they were in trouble.

The corridor was shiny metal and completely smooth. There was no visible exit or entrance to any other part of the ship. There was, however, a whole network of these tunnels all over the ship. They took several turns and twists, but Zuri seemed to know exactly where to go.

Nessa was so turned around that she was sure she’d die in the corridors if anything happened to Zuri.

Finally Zuri motioned Nessa to stop. She pointed at a spot just above their heads. It looked like all the other parts of the corridor and Nessa tried to push, but nothing happened. Zuri joined in and eventually they gave up. Zuri used the cutting torch. 

It had been a little over fifteen minutes, which meant they had thirty to download the data about Arthur, upload the virus, and get out. That didn’t sound like a lot of time to Nessa.

They popped up out of the floor, which looked like everything else; metal on metal. The walls in this room were covered in little lights. Room was a generous word for it; Nessa could almost touch the walls on either side, 

“I think that’s their main system,” whispered Zuri. 

Nessa was going to laugh, but there was something eerie about the place, like a church or tomb. “Let’s hurry up and get this done.”

There was something wrong and Nessa couldn’t put her finger on it. After a few seconds of listening to her own breathing, she realized what it was. There was no sound. No engine, no machines, no fans, nothing. “Why is it so quiet in here?”

“It’s this metal, it stops vibrations. It’s why we didn’t see them until they were almost on top of us. There, I got the data. I just need a few more minutes to upload the virus. It’ll fry their processing core and that should cause a cascading effect that will leave them dead in the water.” Zuri was repeating herself, she’d told everyone this earlier.

“Hurry, please,” Nessa said.

“Right, like I’m frolicking here…”

Nessa started counting and when she got to eighty, Zuri swore.

“I can’t get the virus into their processor core. It’s got a hardware firewall.” When Nessa gave her a blank look, Zuri added, “I need to connect directly.”

“I thought we were in the core?”

Looking like the annoyed teen she was, Zuri said, “In the server room, not the processor core. That’s right there,” she pointed to a metal wall and walked over, “I just need to open this panel and then I’ll have access to the main…” Zuri trailed off as the panel opened and gave them a perfect view of the processing unit.

“That’s a brain,” Nessa said. “Can your virus affect that?”

Zuri’s mouth opened and closed a few times before she said, “No, but I can repurpose it to attack the weapons and engines.” Regaining some composure, she added, “I know, I know, Hurry.”

The processor was in a tank of liquid that vaguely bubbled. It had multiple wires attached to it and an eerie backlight. It didn’t have eyes but Nessa felt like it was watching her.

“Done,” Zuri said, proudly. Her expression darkened as she glared at the brain.

“We have ten minutes to make a fifteen minute trip. Let’s go.”

They were half way there when Zuri said, “Why was it a brain? Aren’t processors more powerful?”

“Yeah. Maybe they haven’t managed to create AI? Honestly not sure.”

“Some things shouldn’t be mixed,” Zuri said in disgust.

Ness scoffed as they crawled, “Let’s not go that far. I have a bionic leg and I know more than one person with visual implants. Technology is a great way to make the world more equitable.”

“That’s not the same thing. That was a brain controlling a spaceship.” Zuri sounded incensed.

“I agree, that was a little too far for my taste. I wonder if all the Myrddin ships are like that.”

“We’re almost out.” The moment Zuri said it, alarms started to blare.

As got into their ship, Bart said, “Throw our ‘Plan B’ parting present down the tunnel and shut the hatch. We’ve got incoming.”

They placed a small drone carrying a plasma torpedo on it into the tunnel and shut the hatch. The drone sped towards the centre of the ship and was only slightly pulled back when the air was sucked out.

The shuttle sped away from the Myrddin ship and managed to get outside its shield before the torpedo went off. The ship exploded faster than they’d expected.

Bart shouted, “Hold on to your tails, this is going to get bumpy.”

Read Chapter 7

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