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Old July 6 2008, 09:39 PM   #2
DavidFalkayn
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Lexington: Aliens Part 1 cont

“Good news, Shafran.” The Shlavka first officer hissed as he extended a scaled green hand in salute. Lowering his hand, the bipedal reptilian reported as he floated weightless into the Second’s chair, “The sacrifices of our brethren were not in vain. Our infiltration team was able to avoid the Halenoi detection grid and land on the surface.”

“Good. We will wait until the sun has begun its solar flare activity and then return home.” Shafran Vissak replied as he turned about in his chair to face his underling. The multicolored scales on his neck, indicating his great age and high status, rippling, the commanding officer of the Shlavka infiltration vessel released a quantity of air, his hiss indicating his great pleasure in his mission’s success. “Their mission must succeed. If the warm-bloods discover the secret of superluminal travel…they will kill us all.” Shaking his head, Vissak muttered under his breath as his first officer returned to his station, “And they would be right to do so.”

************************************************** **********************

Entering the Danae Station lounge, Lieutenant Myra Alys, having changed from her skin-tight silver duty uniform to a short silver miniskirt that she wore along with her uniform top, brushed back a stray lock of her light-green hair. Spotting the man she was looking for sitting at a table preparing to eat his afternoon meal, her purple lips turned up into a grin as the amber-skinned woman approached the dispenser unit. Punching in the button for hot jarrok, Lieutenant Alys waited until the warm black fluid had filled her cup completely before retrieving it from its slot. Taking her drink, the young woman looked down on the pilot sitting at the table getting ready to dig into his rare carrack steak and fried vistal sticks with fondness, “Hungry, Merric?”

Looking up as he recognized the voice of the lovely intercept flight controller, Flying Officer Merric Freman grinned back, “Hey, Myra! You’d be hungry too if your breakfast was interrupted by an alert…”

“It was.” Lieutenant Alys riposted with a snort as she sat down across from the handsome pilot, “What do you think I was about to do before we picked up those blips?”

“So what are you doing with just a cup of jarrok?” The white-haired pilot teased, “Not like you need to lose any weight or anything—not from where I’m sitting…”

An appreciative leer crossed the young man’s face as his eyes took in the flight controller’s well-developed cleavage, provoking a good natured snort from his companion, “You really are a wristak, you know, Merric!”

“Yeah…” Merric grinned, “…but you love me anyway. So…” he asked, his grin disappearing, “…what’s really up? Why don’t you get a proper meal and join me?”

“I can’t.” Myra sighed, “I just got orders to take the first available shuttle back to Illa Base. Commander Strakan wants to meet with the senior intercept coordinators. I’m not sure what it’s about…maybe it has something to do with all those phantoms we’ve been picking up recently.”

“Goddamned phantoms.” Merric grumbled in a low voice, “Chasing those wisps is going to get one of us killed one day.”

“I saw one of those ‘phantoms’ this morning during the intercept…” Myra confessed, also speaking in a whisper, “Whatever it was…it was weird.” Seeing that she’d gotten her pilot friend’s attention, the flight controller explained, “It was big…and I mean big! About the size of one of the old Intruder transport saucers—but it didn’t have any of the characteristics of a saucer. For one thing, I could barely make it out on my screen—it kept appearing and disappearing. And then, just as I thought I had a fix on it and was about to divert your unit to its location…it disappeared…”

“Disappeared?” Merric repeated.

“Yeah.” Myra asserted, “It moved so damned fast that it was just like it had simply…vanished.”

“So…how fast was this…phantom…supposed to be going?” The young pilot asked with a sardonic grin.

“At least sixty-four times light speed.” The amber-skinned flight controller declared; her whispery voice filled with awe.

“That’s impossible!” Merric snorted, “Even the fastest Intruder saucers are barely faster than the speed of light.”

“All I know is what I saw and what my instruments tell me.” Myra replied, “I sent a report on to Illa Base and then about an hour ago, got the message to report back…”

“So…who’s your pilot?”

“Forsta.” Lieutenant Alys responded with a grimace. “I’m going to have to be cooped up for six hours with the tentak. I don’t think the man could keep his hands to himself if his life depended on it.”

“You know…” Merric offered, “Forsta owes me a favor or two. I could arrange to switch off with him…pilot you down to the surface…”

“In exchange for…” Myra replied, flashing a teasing grin.

“Dinner and a night out on the town after Strakan finishes with you.” The roguish pilot grinned. “C’mon…you know you want to cut loose and have some fun after being stuck out here for six monats.”

“You’re right about that.” The attractive flight controller sighed, “All right…dinner and dancing—but that’s all! You read me, Flying Officer Freman?”

“Loud and clear, Lieutenant!” Merric riposted with a mock salute. “I’ll pull the switch with Forsta and meet you in the shuttle ready room when you’re ready to go.”

************************************************** **********************

“Strap in.” Merric commanded with a joking voice as he ran through the final checklist. “We’re a go once I finish this. We better hurry though—the observatory reports that we’re due for some nasty solar flares.”

“Right.” Lieutenant Alys replied as she took her seat on the acceleration couch next to the pilot. Affixing her harness, the youthful officer sighed as she heard her fellow flight controller, Lieutenant Tara; give the final go-ahead for liftoff.

“Danae Base Shuttle One-Zed-Three…you are clear for launch.”

“Oh Hells!” The green-haired lieutenant swore as the sound of the initial boost rocket engines roared, pressing her back into her seat. “I hate this part!”

************************************************** *********************

“Solar flare activity commencing.” Lieutenant Commander Zha’Thara announced from her science station. “Now.”

“All right, Ms. Bathory…” Commodore Wesley ordered, “Take us in…warp six.”

“Warp six, aye.” The Hungarian helmsman acknowledged as the Lexington’s engines sprang to life.

************************************************** *******************

“Engage engines.” Shafran Vissak ordered, “Once we are safe of this sun’s gravitic well, activate the superluminal drive. It is time for us to go home.”

The infiltration saucer’s lower section glowed dimly as its fusion engines sprang to life and the craft began to spin. Releasing his harness as the saucer’s spin created artificial gravity; the Shafran spared the despoiled planet and its moon one last look. I’m sorry. The wizened commander, a veteran of the first invasion, thought to himself. For what we did to you and what we are going to do to you. May your gods and ours have mercy on us.

“Contact!” The Helm Officer called out. “Halenoi shuttle!”

“They must not be permitted to know of our presence.” Vissak hissed, “Prepare to fire.”

“Our systems are unable to target due to the solar flare activity.” The Second announced. “We’ll have to do it manually.”

“Do it.” Twin red beams lanced from two of the small disks lining the bottom of the saucer, their target.

************************************************** ********************

Friks!” The white-haired pilot swore as the laser beams just missed his craft. “UIO.”

“Were did it come from?” Myra asked as she immediately sprang into action, “Damn. These flares are interfering with the LADAR.”

“You should be thanking The One for those flares…” Merric remarked with a knowing smirk, “They’re the only thing saving us.” He pointed out in a level tone as he put the tiny fusion powered shuttle through a series of evasive maneuvers straining both the ship and its crew. “Their interference is also keeping the UIO from locking on to us.” Taking a deep breath, the pilot declared, “We’re closer to Halen than we are to Danae…I’m going to try to sucker them in closer—hopefully they’ll be picked up by our lower grid radar. Hold on to your seat.” The roguish young man exclaimed, “It’s going to be a wild ride.”

************************************************** *******************

“Approaching Halen.” Lieutenant Lawford announced as the planet filled the main viewscreen.

Catching glimpses of the surface between the white and gray clouds, Commodore Wesley shook his head in sadness as his eyes registered the planetary surface, mottled and brown in places, still feeling the effects from the despoliation several years earlier. “These Shlavka sure did a number on this place.”

“That they did.” Talana concurred, “I’m picking up evidence of strip mining…at least one entire sea drained…deforestation…it’s like a swarm of vezet insects hit the place.”

“We’re in transporter range now…” The English navigator declared, interrupting the Andorian science officer.

“Energize.” Wesley ordered. Then, as he was about to order the Lexingtonto warp out, his science officer called out.

“Two vessels approaching the planet.”

“Type and range.” The commodore ordered.

“One appears to be a shuttle craft—it matches the profile of the Halenoi craft we’ve been monitoring going between their moon base and the planet’s surface.” Talana reported, “…the other is a Shlavka saucer. It’s firing on the shuttle. Given their technology…I’d say neither one of them are close enough to detect us.”

“Main viewscreen.”

“Whoever that pilot is…” Aliz commented with a more than a note of admiration in his voice as the two ships appeared on the Lexington’s main viewer, “…he’s good.” Shaking her head, the Hungarian remarked, “He’s making a run for the planet’s surface. I guess he figures that if he gets close enough he’ll get some help.”

“A good analysis.” Robert complimented. “That’s what I would have done.” Turning to his science officer, the commodore asked, “Does he stand a chance?” His shoulders slumping at the lovely Andorian’s rueful shake of her head, Wesley sighed, “Damn. Prepare to take us out once the landing party has beamed down…warp seven.”

“Aye, Sir…warp seven.” Aliz acknowledged with more than a hint of sadness in her voice as she watched the alien saucer’s fire get closer and closer to its intended victim, gasping as one of the beams struck a glancing blow at the rear of the tiny shuttlecraft. “Sir?” The pixyish Hungarian called out in an almost pleading voice.

Coming to an immediate decision, Commodore Wesley hit the intercom button on his chair arm, “Wesley to transporter room. Lock on and transport the people in that shuttlecraft—now!”

“Aye, Commodore. We’ve got a lock. Energizing…”

************************************************** ********************

“We’ve been hit!” Myra cried out before losing consciousness, the restraints holding her to her couch the only thing keeping her in place as the shuttlecraft rocked from the blow delivered by the UIO, began tumbling end over end.

“I’m sorry, Myra…” Merric whispered as he fought to remain awake. “I guess we’re not going to be able to have that night out now…” As the young pilot’s vision grew dim, he heard a mysterious buzzing sound. Then, before everything went black, Merric wondered idly if he was going into the afterlife as the form of his copilot began to dissolve before his eyes.

“Enemy shuttle destroyed.” The Second called out triumphantly as Shafran Vissak glowered. Saying a silent prayer for the souls of the unfortunates trapped on that shuttle, the Shafran simply ordered, “Set us on a course for home. Maximum sublight acceleration.”

************************************************** *********************

“Did we get them?” Wesley inquired.

“We got them, Sir.” The transporter chief’s voice responded through the speaker. “They were both unconscious when they beamed aboard. The medtechs are taking them to sickbay.”

“Good.” The commodore replied with a satisfied grin. “Mr. Mtolo? Send a couple of your people down to sickbay—just in case. Dr. Vincent? Inform me when our guests have awakened.” Swiveling in his chair, Robert addressed his science officer. “What’s that Shlavka ship doing now, Talana?”

“It’s on a course taking it out of the system. They’re accelerating rapidly at subliminal speeds.”

“Follow them…Ms. Bathory—but not too closely. I don’t want them detecting us until they get where they’re supposed to be going.” Speaking aloud, the commodore declared, “The Halenoi might be covered by the Prime Directive, but the Shlavka aren’t—they’ve got interstellar flight. I think it’s time they understood that there are a lot bigger fish than them in this galaxy.”

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