Opsfleet Chapter Fourteen

The airlock section of the Barrow exploded when the inner hatch was opened. Secondary explosions along the inner umbilical forced debris straight in toward the station. Weir could feel the vibrations on the hull even from his position on the bridge of the ship. When he looked up at the monitors, he could see pieces of space suits, blood, and what amounted to ground beef, flying out the airlock toward the inner station hatch. He was thankful that they had a hack into the station feed so he could see that the explosion caused the inner doors of the station to shut when the explosion occurred. However, the oxygen meter on the wall of the space station across from where the camera was situated told Weir that the explosion didn’t untie the stations hold on their ship at all. In fact, he still had a camera feed.

 

“Well, damn…” Weir said as he looked up at the monitor.

“We’re still attached.” Sean stated as he stood beside him and looked at the main screen.

“Did it at least decompress?” Andrea asked.

“No,” Shannon said while looking at environmental readouts at a station she chose to commandeer next to Andrea. “Solid seal…”

 

“They certainly don’t make them like they used to,” Weir said with disgust in his voice. “This old station really knows how to hold its air…”

 

“Please tell me it at least made a big Kaboom,” Andrea said.

“It did more than that,” Weir said. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to explain the fact that this little girl killed at least six people, maybe more. Fourteen years old and already a serial killer… “You made your dad proud, girl…” Weir said. He thought about the fact that these pirates were responsible for killing her father and he smiled at the screen of carnage.

 

Weir watched as the next group of pirates carefully traversed through the blood and gore to get to the Barrow. Weir looked to Shannon and Sean, then to Andrea.

 

“Alright… You’re in command until we get back. Do you know how to fly this thing?” Weir asked.

“No,” Andrea said — but there’s manuals.”

“Start reading,” Weir said. “Don’t open this door for anyone but us!”

 

 

Weston stepped over the white-fluid pumping corpse of another android while shoving a fresh clip into his rifle.

 

“Are we fucking there yet?” Gordon shouted as he used his railgun as a bat against the head of an android that dove out of an alleyway.

 

“What?” Eric shouted.  “Sorry I’m a bit hard of hearing thanks to the captain’s boom stick.”

“You insisted on taking point,” Weston said.  “Cell block is next right and two hundred yards.”

“Fucking A,” Gordon said.  “I never thought in my life I’d be this tired of seeing naked hooker bots.”

“I find it rather cathartic!” Eric said.

So far the only humans that they ran into were unconscious on the deck.  The live ones were either holding up on the ops deck or trying to assault the Barrow.  There were plenty of space truckers and freighter crewman out cold on the deck to step over – and that’s what mattered.  The innocents were down low and safe.

“What, taking out all your gay frustration?” Gordon said.

“Fuck you.”

“Anytime, sweet cakes.”

“Bryan,” Weston called out over the secure line.

“What’s up?”

“How’s the loading?”

“Well…” Weir’s tone was already evasive.  “There are pirates here taking pot shots at the cargo drones.  I don’t think they understand the importance of antimatter containment.”

“Explain it to them.”  McArthur took a deep breath as they stacked up on the door to the station sheriff’s office and the prison block.  “Commander. We need 100%. Mission critical. We are grabbing our people now.”
Weston gave the thumbs up to Gordon and Eric that he was ready.  Gordon had put his entire pack of breaching charges on the reinforced hatch of the sheriff’s office.  Eric had pulled the two unconscious police sentries away to minimum safe distance from the blast. Gordon held up 3 EVA gloved fingers.  Then two.

 

The charges didn’t breach the door so much as obliterate the entire surrounding wall.  It was a common structural oversight. People would want stronger security so they’d put a heavier door in, ignoring the fact that the surrounding wall was still hollow space between a pair of steel plates.  The heavy alloy hatch merely buckled a meter in and then flopped over, while the entire corridor ballooned and cracked open from the blast pressure.

 

“Jesus, Loud!” Eric said as he quickly ran forward into the foyer of the sheriff’s office.  “Breach the door, not the hull!”

“Learn to cook yourself or shut the fuck up,” Gordon said as he cored out a cop’s chest with his railgun.

There was no one else in the front area of the office.  There wasn’t much left of the office after the blast either.  Shrapnel had filled the room and turned every wall and computer screen into postmodern art making a statement about abuse of authority.  The sheriff was holed up in the prison block behind the hatch. He watched through the small transparent metal porthole.

 

The sheriff reached for the intercom button and spoke from safety.  “Captain I will have to lodge a complaint with your command about these acts of terrorism.”

“You can do that after you release my crew,” Weston replied.

“I told you I can’t do that,” the sheriff said.

“Sheriff Lanre Parks, my priorities are my mission, my ship, and my crew, in that order.  You’re up against all three.”

The sheriff smiled.  “Looks like we’re at an impasse.”

Weston took the railgun from Eric, thumbed the auto target key, shouldered it, and pulled the trigger.  The integrated fire control computer calculated the required power setting to penetrate the transparent metal and deliver a kill shot, then fired.  The recoil punched Weston back, which was better than the sheriff got. His body, decapitated more from the massive metal spalling of the penetration shot than the penetrator itself, fell on the deck.

“Get that door open,” Weston said as he rubbed the combat EVA suit over his shoulder and handed the railgun back to Eric.

Eric unslung the hack kit, smacked the control panel with his rifle butt, and plugged in the connector.  The door unlocked and popped open in a second.

The crew was detained in old style cells with metal bars.  Eric was able to release them from a central guard station.  The highest ranking prisoner was Lieutenant David McAvoy. McArthur grabbed him by the shoulder.

 

“How is it Cap’n Finn makes it back and you don’t?” Weston asked in a scolding tone.

“CAPIN FINNNNNNN!” he slurred waving a finger in the air.  “She SUCKS at clubbin! That’s why! If only I was as much of a virgin girl!  I will… MUTINY! Against the likes of CAPIN FINNNNN!!”

Gordon snorted and laughed.

Weston made a heavy sigh and let go of David.  “Doc get these people sorted, we exfil to the Barrow in five.”

 

—-

 

Shannon was careful to traverse the connection between the Barrow and the Space Station without getting any human blood on her. She had a rail pistol in her hand and kept her eyes forward and aligned to its front sight as she opened the inner hatch. People were beginning to wake up from their slumber and it would still be a while before they were even close to a hundred percent. It was as if a large city decided to suddenly fall asleep. Amongst the staggering, were four or five people with indentation marks on their face that indicated that they had masks on that protected them from the effects of the gases that poured into the vents of the entire facility. If it wasn’t for Shannon’s lightning speed, she would have been hit by the blast of a projectile pistol.

 

“The uniforms change!” Lisa yelled into the alley-like hall that didn’t resemble a regular Space Station from that far in. “… but the crew dossiers and my gift for faces never change. What did you do? Raid the local mart while you were onboard?”

 

Shannon kept running. There were two girls, and about five boys out there, all armed to the teeth with various weaponry and Shannon wasn’t there to confront that at the moment. She imagined that the youngest of the two girls, who was probably in her early twenties, was probably surprised to see that someone could have vanished so quickly; unless of course, the pirate knew she was an android, too. Basic Dossiers don’t really tell much but if the young pirate didn’t know then, she probably knows now.

 

She called up a schematic of the internals of the station and ran straight for the nearest active mining group. There were still active deposits of alkali metals onboard the station and she was going to need phosphorus and rubidium to combat the melting point of the bond between the Barrow and the Space Station. She knew an acetylene torch would do the job but it wouldn’t get them out in a swift pinch; with the stations inhabitants rousing and fumbling around, it wouldn’t be too much longer before they were overwhelmed by the pissed.

 

There were cops roaming around the station again and there were robot owners wondering where all their performance androids went; she even passed a man screaming over the loss of his favorite droid. Her clarity of recall still had her questioning herself on whether or not she really witnessed a man on his knees calling a dead android his sweet juicytit moneyshaker… There was obviously little sweet about her when she was found dead with an advanced railgun in her hands and human blood all over her. Shannon suspected that he had lost a few clients permanently to synthtits…

 

There were a couple flying droids carrying packages labeled DANGER – ANTIMATTER past her and toward the docking right. Shannon thought that she could use one of those, too, however, the rational thinking that she was programmed with told her that it might cause slightly more of an explosion than she was looking for. The Barrow had already been through a lot and she wasn’t prepared to have to repaint the ship after all was over. Simple metallic compounds that could burn without oxygen was the best, safest alternative.

 

She walked past the spaces where the inner decks ended and the interior rock of the asteroid began. Gravel crumbled under her feet as she moved forward through the bored out tunnels. Along the way, there were signs stating whether or not it was safe to dig further and deep in the solid rock was before someone would accidently dig themselves into infinity. Nobody wanted to accidentally dig too far. There were even security sensors that prevented people from digging that extra inch for profit. She would have to walk in deeper in order to get what she needed. She pulled a bag out of her pocket and continued forward into the deeper parts of the tunnels.

 

—-

 

Onboard the Barrow, Lisa peaked in through the bloodied and scorched internal tube. Several more drones flew over her head carrying packets of AntiMatter. She stepped out and held her railgun at the ready as they moved further into the ship. They got as far as the section airlock when one of her friends suddenly exploded. Lisa was more upset over being covered with blood than the fact that she lost someone she spent a lot of time with. For her, it was all just part of the job. She caught a glimpse of a muscular blonde woman wearing station clothes; it must have been that Marine that was on the station. That, or one of the people that the Marine escorted out. Lisa’s old friend Glasseye told her to keep an eye out for her, especially. Lisa wanted to fire back but she knew that would only give away her position. Just incase she was a Marine, it would be the last thing she would want to do. She decided it was best to test it out. Lisa crouched behind a metal container and pointed to the other pirate that was also plastered with their friends blood. He looked over to see that she was pointing at him. She made the motion to fire down the hallway and advance.

 

He fired his first shot and that’s when a metallic object  landed at his feet. Lisa made herself as small as possible for when the explosion came. She momentarily saw the shadow of thousands of razor blades due to there being so many of them. The entire compartment sounded as if there had been a hard rain.

 

“It’’s okay… She missed me!” He said.

 

Lisa stood up and watched as his shirt, pants and face turned red. Just as he brought his gun back to the ready, he fell over in a puddle of his own blood. Lisa tapped her wrist communicator to contact the space station.

 

“This place is too heavily defended.” She stated while quickly backing out through the tube of gore where she came from. Her boss didn’t need to know that it was just one Marine, however, if anyone knew an actual Marine, they’d know that having just one meant the place was indeed, too heavily defended. The problem was, not many people knew real Marines like she did. It was time to retreat.

 

Just beyond the bulkhead to the compartment that led to the airlock, Jenn Hanks sat with a sigh. She had brought the entire rack of shard grenades with her.

 

“Come back you fuckers! I wasn’t done!”

 

 

Iceman was a good commander but he had looked forward to taking orders from another good commander on this journey. Thanks to a psychopath Mercenary Pilot, he was back in the decision making business all over again. As much as he wanted to hurt that woman, he knew he probably had to get in line behind McArthur, and Jaime. At least Jaime had a chance to take some of her frustrations out on the man that ran into her. He imagined that she was in the middle of an epic beatdown session at this very moment. That thought alone was calming.

 

The other Mercs were falling in line and nobody was in a battle of the balls anymore after what just happened. The other wing had made themselves look like a big joke during their attempts to show off like a high school jock in front of their cheerleaders. Nothing takes a blow more than a reminder that everyone was human; except for of course, the Androids, who were superior in most ways to everyone — and they also wouldn’t show off or start a dick measuring contest. Once again, superior. The humans, all humans, had to watch themselves. Iceman used to have a tendency to show off too, but he too learned through bad experiences that it was best to stay calm and collected.

 

A few of the red dots approached their group and he remained calm. He presest his thrusters to give him an instant blackout this time. His eyes were bloodshot from the last maneuver he had to take in order to avoid being blown out of the sky by a flying asshole. All high g’s had to be positive g’s from now on. He waited until he saw the first tracer round fly through the blackness of space before giving the order to fire back.

 

The Yutomaky had sent a transport with a small crew to help the Barrow out and that’s what got the Pirates attention. Their tasks were to now defend that transport and they were more than ready for the pirates now that they were disillusioned into thinking that they were running security for a cruise liner.

 

The only good thing to come out of the incident with that latin egotistical bitch was that she gave all their enemies an inflated false sense of security. The shooting war had finally arrived.

 

Just as Iceman knew to stay calm, he was also absolutely confident in his abilities.  He knew he could bail the other two pilots out of a jam, but he didn’t yet know if they could do the same for him.

“Mercury, take the point, I’m your six-o’clock low.  Benson, mop up.”

Kyle gunned his engines and took the point, tagging one enemy with guns and another with a locked missile.  Even as they were engaging the first wave, blips of drones launching from the station told it was going to be a busy day.