Flight Number 9239 (Part 1)

Flight Number 9239 (Click to download)

Flight Number 9239

Dantaro, captain of the famous vessel known as, “The Space Shark”. Dreams of fame and fortune swam unrelenting through the old captain’s head as he unconsciously tapped, screwed and adjusted the many controls that cluttered the cockpits control panel.

The Space Shark was a bulky frigate, most of the time carrying cargo of little value. But this time, not so much. The ship’s captain, Dantaro, had been assigned with a load of weapons. He was to deliver them without attention from the enemy, to the distant planet of Gartoa, where groups of waiting special operation soldiers were situated. They were all depending on him.antaro, captain of the famous vessel known as, “The Space Shark”. Dreams of fame and fortune swam unrelenting through the old captain’s head as he unconsciously tapped, screwed and adjusted the many controls that cluttered the cockpits control panel.

Dantaro was grateful for the respect, but feared the task. He would have to fly through many dangerous systems before arriving at his goal. Though the goal was distant and the path perilous, money urged him on.

“Sir,” A young voice came from the entrance to the cockpit, “We spotted something unusual. Like a shimmer near the back of the ship. One of the crew members claims he saw it out the window, and the others think they saw it also.”

Dantaro glanced to the radar map on the dashboard, “Tell them it was probably just a glare. There’s nothing on the radar.”

“I have. They said it was something else, too big to be a glare.”

Right at that moment, the ship shuddered and threw Dantaro and the man to the floor. The lights flickered off a few moments later. An ear piercing siren blared through speakers on the walls.

Dantaro tried to speak above the alarm, “What is going on here!? Activate the backup generator!”

The man scrambled to a large lever on the wall and used all his weight the heave it down, but nothing happened. Another crash followed, immediately cutting off the siren.

“The alarm shouldn’t shut off. Why would the…” Dantaro was interrupted by a sharp crackle from the speakers, and then a voice.

“Greetings, passengers and crew, we are experiencing some technical difficulty with the electrical systems, and will try to fix the problem as soon as possible. Be calm.”

Dantaro and the man would have been comforted by the voice, but they both knew, Dantaro was the one who always operated the speaker. In fact, the microphone was sitting right on the dashboard. The voice had been one of an intruder.

Without speaking, the captain pushed himself to his feet and lunged toward the microphone. He jammed his finger into a button labeled “speak”, “Hello? Ca…” He stopped. His voice wasn’t coming out of the speakers. Someone was intercepting the CAAS[1] ([1] Communication And Announcement System) and jamming all other access. Dantaro didn’t know exactly who had done it, but he had his suspicions.

“We must alert the crew,” The man said, jogging the door. He pressed the button.

The door won’t open. the powers out. Dantaro thought, expecting the door to remain closed. But he was surprised to see the metallic entrance glide open without difficulty. What was on the other side wiped away all incoming questions from his mind.

Before he had time to react, a loud sound like thunder echoed throughout the cockpit. The man slumped to the floor with a blast mark on his chest, revealing three gangly pirates. They were dressed in armor, colored red and black with an animal skull logo on their chest. Two of the pirates were wearing helmets and the visors were shaped to look like the skull logo. The pirate in the middle didn’t have a helmet. His skin was rough like steel, blood red with stubby spikes in a ring pattern around his head. But worse of all were his eyes. Twin flames piercing harshly into the captain’s mind. He held a smoking blaster at his side, the muzzle glowing orange.

“Well what do we have here?” The leader displayed a cruel smile, revealing two rows of sharp, yellow teeth. He strode farther into the room with arrogance, “Boys.”

The two other pirates stepped past the leader and each pulled out a bulky guns.

They need me. Dantaro saw the intensity setting on the side of the weapons, both were set to mild. Without me, this whole raid would have been for nothing. They need me as a hostage. He thought. Once the general found out, the ship would be instantly taken back. But with me, the pirates think they can threaten the general and get him to let them take the weapons. Otherwise, troopers would have swarmed the ship and destroyed the scoundrels.

“Take him and the rest to the supply room,” The leader commanded. In a synchronized motion, the pirates grabbed Dantaro by the shoulders and dragged him out of the cockpit room.

Chapter 2

Vast windows lined both walls of the corridor, offering a breath taking view of many stars, and the occasional planet. But Boost wasn’t in the mood to star gaze. An important mission waited for him at the general’s office. And usually important coming from the general’s mouth meant “important”.

Boost arrived at the office door. Taking a deep breath, he stiffened and tapped a button on the wall. The door slid open. The general stood to greet Boost; he was friendly… most of the time.

“Right on time,” The general shook Boost hand and motioned for them to sit, “Remember that frigate that we sent a couple of days ago?”

“The… Space Shark?”

“Yes, I believe the ships flight number was ninetwothreenine. It was carrying a large amount of ammunition and weapons. Headed for Gartoa. That was quite an important flight. Gartoa is where we have a large amount of special operation troopers, and we recently intercepted a message from the enemy with plans to attack the base.”

“That would cripple our intelligence for that system,” Boost exclaimed. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

“Precisely. That ship has recently been captured.”

“What? Captured? But that…”

“We know. that’s why you’re here. With a small space craft, you should be able to penetrate their surveillance and rescue the hostages. Once you’ve done that, we can send in some troopers to take care of the rest.”

Boost nodded. Piece of cake. Get in, take the hostages, get out. Maybe I can even…

          “And Boost,”

“Yes sir?”

“No souvenirs.”

Or not. He saluted and walked out of the room. Maybe it isn’t such a good idea anyway. I’ll have to squeeze enough people into the ship as it is. He thought, unknowingly rubbing his chin and then moving his hand up through his long hair.

Boost walked back down the corridor without event. First, he stopped at his cabin to retrieve his gear, and then he headed toward the bay. Upon arrival, a group of pilots greeted Boost. He knew most of the crew on the ship, including his fellow fighter pilots. They had been through many adventures together, and formed a bond that only fighters could. Too bad they couldn’t help. The mission was strictly a one man task.

After putting on his gear, Boost was ready to get started. He found his ship among the many lines of other starfighters. But none of the others were quite like his. Boost’s ship was a unique mixture of a starfighter and drone. The size and general shape of his ship was much like any ordinary fighter, but its lack of wings, rounded front cockpit and small swivel guns resembled a drone. Luckily, it had an added space in the back for holding cargo, but for this mission, it would be holding people.

Boost popped the glass shield and hopped into the cockpit. Checking all his gear, he eased into the piloting seat, which automatically reclosed the hatch. All ambient noise instantly ceased, until the controls flashed to life, glowing a light blue color that bathed the cockpit in a shimmering, water-like glow. There was no turning back now. Boost imagined himself shutting the ship back down, walking back into the bay, re-traveling the long distance across the large star base to his general’s office and telling him that he had chickened out. Boost almost laughed to himself. If it wasn’t for the impending flight, he actually would have.

Boost flicked a switch and the glass hatch undimmed, letting him see outside of the ship. The function was meant to shield the pilot from the many sources of light that came from space travel and close range dog fighting.

A few maintenance crew members with orange jumpsuits and grubby tools wheeled ladders over to Boost’s ship. They took a moment to check for issues in either the armor or rockets. Soon they were finished, one of the men gave Boost a thumbs up, but Boost knew he couldn’t see him. The glass was one sided.

Launch time. Boost took a deep breath, his adrenaline running and his heart pumping wildly. The engines intensified in volume. System stats rapidly flashed across the screen. All good. Boost took one last breath of remotely fresh air and slipped his helmet over his head. Tapping the microphone, he said “Ready to go, flight number 9422 requesting permission to launch. Repeat, number 9422 requesting launch.”

Kchhhh… Alright, stand by,” A static corrupted voice responded.

A bright green light illuminated the bottom of Boost’s ship. Next, came a muffled honk-like sound.

“You’re good to go, permission accepted. Please keep your fighter static until the hatch is fully open.”

Boost didn’t have to hear the command twice. He flicked on the ship’s stabilizer, a loading bar popped onto his screen saying “Scanning for local hostile craft.” The ACI[1]([1] Artificial Computerized Intelligence) was performing a precaution to make sure there weren’t any missiles or anything that would have a chance to lock onto the ship while in stability mode. The bar finished and alerted him through his headset that the coast was clear.

“Stability on. Commence launch.”

“Activating holoshield,” There was a pause, “Alright, prepare for drop in three. Two. One.”

A hatch under Boost’s ship hissed and slowly started to open.

“Await un-stabilization cue.”

Boost placed his hand over the “stabilize” button. The activation would have to be near perfect.

“Un-stabilize… now,” The voice commanded in a calm voice.

Sweat poured down Boost’s face as he flipped the switch. There was a sudden feeling of weightlessness as the ship dropped through the open hatch, passing through the transparent holosheild. But as soon as he passed the artificial gravity, Boost slowed to a halt.

The giant, metal surface of the star base’s underside glided silently over Boost’s head, passing mere feet over his ship.

“Nova,” Boost addressed his ship, “Prepare for a jump to location… hmm, maybe I should have checked where the ship is,” He leaned on his arm with his face in his hand, tapping the grainy surface of his helmet,” Nova,”

“Yes?” His ship answered.

“Can you find the location of flight number ninetwothreenine. It should be somewhere between here and Gartoa.”

“Scanning… this may take a whi… oh, wait. There seems to be a signal coming from the location you advised.”

And there’s the bait. I hate purposefully walking into traps. He knew what they were trying to do. They were sending out a beacon signal to get as many authorities to notice as possible. That way, the chances of a small star fighter trying to invade them was slimmer. But Boost knew for a fact that the general had already called off the troopers. It was all him now.

“Make the jump when you’re ready Nova.”

The ship didn’t respond. Nova had received the message. Boost could tell by the display on the screen as the ship shuttered and the engines powered up. The glass dimmed to block the light emanating from the intense traveling speed. Boost could feel his ears pressurize. A map display popped onto the screen, with a small blue dot representing Nova’s progress.

Boost gasped. Dozens of other dots lined the end of the travel path. Red dots. The map showed a large icon that represented the Space Shark, the red dots were positioned in a way so that any travelers coming from the direction that Boost had launched from would immediately meet a barrage of hundreds of guns. And Nova was mere seconds from exiting light travel and landing right between the groups.

Boost instinctively reached for the cloaking switch, but it was locked. The ACI wouldn’t allow significant energy usage during light travel. He would have to wait.

Almost there… Anticipation flooded Boost’s senses.

“Nova, count down until exit.”

“Seven. Six. Five,”

Boost closed his eyes and squeezed his fingers around the switch.

“Four. Three. Two,”

The next second would determine not only the success of the mission, but the length of Boost life.

“One.”

 

 

 

 

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