NaNoWriMo Chapter 3
“Wake up, kid…we know you’re listening to us.” Tyke’s baritone voice rumbled across his face.
Walter opened his eyes slowly, “Traitor!” He was grasped by a green scaly hand and pulled back harshly, before he could lunge at Tyke with his fist.
“You have no idea what you are talking about child! The owner of the reptilian-looking hand looked like a close version of Tyke. The being was bald with scales that kept changing from green to gray and then even darker shades of both. “Loyalty is only given to those who earn it! Your masters are not trustworthy, yet you still follow them!” Growling, he kept a firm hand on Walter.
“Now, now, Jenkins, he’s just a kid. Ya know how kids are, they don’t know nothin’ til they screw things up royally and then try to fix it.” Tyke walked over to Jenkins and slapped his shoulder as if they were old friends. Jenkins released his hold on Walter and backed away into a corner of the office they had commandeered. At least five other green men stood within the room. Some seemed overly edgy and watched entryways with tense grips on their weapons. The others seemed far too casual, and one actually looked like he was napping.
“What are you people? Why did you attack us?! Where’s my sister?!?!” He almost screamed it at them, but remembered himself and pulled back on his outrage.
“What…are…we?” Snarled Jenkins. “We…ARE…YOU! Only better! Your masters would say we are worse! That is why they hunt us!”
Walter looked quizzically around the room. What did he mean he was Walter? He looked humanoid, but not human. How could these creatures be humans? They looked far too different. The change from human to their form would take some kind of mutation, something far more radical than anything he had ever read about.
“Wait…You people…you’re humans?” Tyke nodded quietly. “They’re my friends and family Walter. Things out here in the frontier, they ain’t like what you’re used to back home on Earth.” Sighing he started into a story of what happened in the past. “You see, there were ships that left Earth hundreds of years ago. These colony-types decided they were gunna be adventurin’ types; the sort that start new lives for the freedom of the future. They didn’t know what was waitin’ for ‘em, for their future was on the ship, starin’ ‘em straight in the eyes. The nanites that terraformed the planets, well, they was actually programmed to terraform the ‘uman genome as well. Thus, ya ‘ave my friend ‘ere Jenkins.” He swept his arm toward the large green humanoid. “They are a new species. The spacers call ‘em Orcs, since some devil of a man, the one who started all ‘o this, named um. He’s still out there, glidin’ around in space, takin’ credit and namin’ names! And the names, them stick, and he ‘as no concern fer what ‘appens next. Your ‘council’ decides to hunt us down, as abominations. For the unlucky result of being born different!”
“That can’t be true! We would know! Someone would have found out about this by now!” Walter emphatically denied the accusations, even though a large part of him could see the current council doling out these kinds of orders. He just couldn’t believe that this could have been kept from everyone on Earth. This required so much control of information, that it was inconceivable! He wondered if the information he had looked up nightly in the library had been falsified or retracted from his view. The conspiracy that this implied was beyond his comprehension. Sighing, he fell back into the small couch he was resting on.
“It’s true…All of it.” Tyke said softly.
“We are here to stop the destruction of our colony! We do not wish to kill anyone, child, but if they get in the way of the abduction of this ship…” Jenkins grumbled and then walked quietly by.
“So, wait, you want the ship?!” His eyes widened and he realized what this could mean for Jess and the other crew.
“Yes, and we will have it. The ship has been boarded by hundreds of our people. We only need to seize the command bridge, and we will have a way to fight against our enemies! We will use your own weapons against you!” Jenkins glowered and then pulled a small communication device from his pocket. “Rand, what’s happening? How long until we have the bridge under our control?”
A voice from the other side of the comm device stated, “We are establishing contact with our agent, now. They have given us access to the software necessary to open the security doors, but it is difficult for our personnel to get beyond their firewall. The malware worm is working its way through the system, but it may still take a while before the worm penetrates that deep into their data core.”
“Fine! Get it done!” Jenkins slid the comm unit back into his pocket and slammed his massive fist into the wall, leaving a slight dent in the metal.
The low light of the suit’s ambient lighting was just enough to see the edges of the tight corridor. She squirmed through the space like some kind of ferret-like creature. Her slight frame allowed her to move quickly through the tunnel. If she could reach the core in time, she would save everyone. She just knew it! The metal touch of the sheathed energy blade touched the small of her back and reminded her of the danger involved in this mission. She might have to end someone’s life, and she was not completely prepared for that event. Jess knew she might not have a choice, and that scared her.
As Jess made her way around a corner in the tunnel, she heard a small metal clang. It was as if someone had dropped something onto a metal surface. This did not bode well. Objects did not just fall off a well-maintained military ship. She stopped and listened closely. Jess heard a small voice, almost child-like coming from further down the corridor, “My mom isn’t going to like this Parker!” The whispered voice had a reprimanding tone, like that of a mother to her child. “Cuz, we gotta do this, else we might just find ourselves in the brig or worse!” The hushed tone of the other child was easier to hear, like he wasn’t used to being quiet. “Okay, okay. Can we please get out of this place quickly? I am not great in tight places. It makes me feel like I’m in a coffin!”
“You got it cuz!”
Jess sighed into her hands, and squeezed her eyes shut. This was the worst sort of luck. If these two didn’t attract the invaders to her position, then she didn’t know what would. Also, she couldn’t leave two kids wandering around and getting themselves killed. Jess had one option. She slid forward and brought herself into the children’s sight, putting a finger to her pursed lips. The children gasped at first, the boy letting out a slight yell. As he noticed the insignia on her helmet, he let his guard down. “You two need to get out of here!” Jess whispered fervently.
The boy nodded quietly and pointed at her. “Can you help us get out of here?”
His voice was a bit too loud, and she had to shush him a bit. “I can…but you are going to stay put where I put you. Got it?!”
Both children nodded and followed her.
She took them down the tunnel further and found a maintenance space that could hold both of them comfortably. “Now, when the power shuts off, do NOT freak out! You’ll be weightless until the power core reboots, but it can’t really harm you. There’ll still be ‘nough air for you both during that time. And for Pete’s sake, keep quiet!” After quietly reprimanding them, she slid back into the tunnel and onward towards her mission.
Walter peered over at Tyke, as Tyke glanced over and their eyes met, “Tyke, you said you were family to these people…. I don’t want to upset you, but I…I don’t see how…”
“Yeah, kid, things ain’t really what they seem. Ya see, I’m the runt of the litter.” He smirked and chuckled a little, “My people have kids like me ev’ry once n’awhile. We just skip the genetic string of life somehows…. By the way, we make great spies…” He winked and then moved over to Jenkins, where they had a quiet, tense conversation.
Walter sighed and then thought through his options. He could plan to resist in the future, but it didn’t look like these orcs would give him a second chance, and he needed to stay alive. He decided to reconnoiter instead, which was one of the reasons he had asked the question to Tyke. The more they knew about their enemy, the better they could fight them. He was worried about his sister, she was always brash, and him being in trouble would not make her the best decision maker. She would probably figure out some kind of far-out scheme to save him. He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself.
As he listened to their conversations, the orcs actually seemed to do things like most people. The only real difference was their skin color, and how it could change at will or with large mood swings. It was remarkable how these people had become these creatures, from being normal humans and having their genetic code rewritten. If this was possible, then what other beings were out in the colonies? What could they do? Were they just as mad at the council? Would they attack him, if they knew he was part of the council mission? He had to learn more. He decided to keep his eyes closed and his ears open for the duration.
Jess moved down the tunnel, squirming through a tight portion. She could see a faint light ahead, and a thrumming that she heard and felt throughout her body. The vibrations were like a tingling coming from the ship itself, and it made her almost dizzy. After shaking her head, to clear it, she moved into the light slowly as she rounded a bend. What she saw was amazing. The core was a golden glowing globe that sat suspended in mid-air, with a slight bluish light touching the top and bottom. The swirling within the core sparked a memory from her subconscious. Her eyes went wide when she realized that this was pure ether. This core had to be the most expensive and rare core in the fleet. Getting over her epiphany, she moved slowly through the opening and searched for the control panel. It was not easy to spot, but she finally found the small panel. “I hope ev’ryone is ready for this.” She whispered under her breath. “Well, maybe not ev’ryone.” She smirked and then pushed the button to shut the core down. Suddenly the glow faded and the ether globe turned the shade of a setting sun. The whole ship seemed to groan, and then she started floating into the air. She quickly grabbed the panel to keep herself close to the switch to turn the core back on. She would have to wait like this for at least five minutes, in order to reboot the core and clear the software out of the system. Sighing, she watched her suit’s timer. “Welp, now it’s our show. Wally, you better stay alive!”
Walter suddenly felt a lack of the normal noise you hear from a starship. Then, the lights dropped to black and the dull, red reserve lights shot on. The fact that he started to float off the couch told him exactly what had happened. They had reset the core! This was his chance! He moved gracefully and grabbed a section of the couch arcing his body toward the entry. He pushed off and sent himself gliding right by the stunned guards. He, quickly, grabbed a pistol from one of the guard’s holsters before they could react. He had been trained in zero-g maneuvers and combat since a young age. His job had required it.
As he hit the open hallway, he realized this was going to be a lot harder than he had thought. There were several bulky bodies of orcs floating in the hallway. They were thrashing at the air, just like he had when he had been young and they had thrown him into the zero gravity environment for the first time. He chose a trajectory and then pushed off the door jam with his hand, as his knee got close to the same door jam, he pushed hard with his feet. He was flying through space at a velocity that did not feel safe, but he needed to make his way quickly towards the front of the ship. The orcs tried to grab at him, but he made small adjustments that took his limbs away from their grasp, while they overcompensated and started twirling like dancers he had seen on a video one time. He smiled as he made a good distance through the ship.
He aimed himself for the next opening, when he noticed laser fire tracing through the air past him from the area of the upcoming entryway. Two orcs were balancing themselves with one hand on the door jam, and their pistols in their other hands. They were, apparently, unstable in this type of combat, since they were missing shot after shot. He grimaced. He knew what he had to do, but it didn’t make it any easier. He drew the pistol and took aim quickly, two shots erupted from the pistol and landed directly in the orcs’ chests. Their hands dropped the hold on both door jam and pistol as the life left their eyes. He sighed and kept floating by, “Sorry.” He grasped the door jam and increased his speed again, gliding gracefully through the ship. “I’m coming, Sis!” He said under his breath.
(Click to "turn the page" to Chapter 4)
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