NaNoWriMo Chapter 4

Readers and Leaders,

Just as you are thankful that Chapter 4 is here, we are thankful you are here reading and enjoying the Mr.'s story.  If you are new to Jess and Walter, you'll likely want to start at the beginning.  Here's the links to all previous chapters.

If  Jess and Walter are old friends and you're ready to continue on the adventure, keep reading below.  We're glad you're here!  And, as always, we would love to hear any feedback you'd like to share.  Please just comment below or email us at   Now, let's get back to Wally...

Chapter 4 of Mission Born: Space Twins

                Walter came to a section of the ship where he knew there would be a large amount of enemy forces.  Sneaking into a side maintenance closet, he searched for the hatch into the maintenance corridors that ran through the ship.  When he found it, he brought a small multi-tool from one of the shelves in the closet and used it to unscrew the bolts securing the hatch.  The dull red light from the hallway made it take him way longer than he thought the task should have taken.  Finally, with a soft grunt, he pulled the hatch open.  The stale air from inside told him the air systems had shut down in the maintenance sections.  There should still be more than enough for one soul to maneuver around inside.  He dropped into the accessway and flipped himself gracefully as he glided into the dark corridor.
                He wondered how the Orcs had not figured out the maintenance access, yet.  They had inside help, so why wouldn’t they have given them the schematics to the maintenance corridors?  He stopped pondering about something that didn’t matter at the moment.  Walter took out the multi-tool and flipped a lever inside of it, bringing the small light from the tool into focus.  He started his way toward the Command Deck, it would be where his sister was holed up with the Captain.  He smiled as his journey became easier, and the goal became even closer. 

                Jess sighed heavily.  The core systems should reboot any second.  The air was getting very stale, and the heat in the core made her sweat, which made the smell worse.  The air systems would be a heaven send for her.  Suddenly, the core swelled back into existence, glowing possibly even brighter than before.  The air systems kicked on a few seconds after, since cool, fresh air swam around her.  She took a deep gulp of the oxygen-rich air.  It was so clean, it almost hurt.  Well, now that the core had rebooted, she knew she could make her way back to the Command Deck.  “Time to kick some butt!”  Then the artificial gravity kicked in and she fell with a grunt, hard, onto her very own bottom.  “Okay, very funny, nice irony there…”  She started squirming her way through the corridors and away from the core.

                As he peeked his head out of the open hatch, he found himself staring into the barrels of three laser rifles.  Walter put his hands straight up and shouted, “Don’t shoot!”  The captain’s voice could be heard from behind, “Lower your weapons, people!  That’s Walter!”  Pushing past his men, he leaned in, “Son, how in the world did you escape?”  
                “Well…the power going down allowed me to use my zero-g skills.  The Orcs don’t really seem to have a lot of zero-g combat skills, Sir.”  Looking around Walter noticed his sister was not amongst the crew.  “Umm, Sir, where’s my sister…?”
                “Well, Wally, she’s the one who helped you escape….”
                “Wait!  She’s still down there?!?”  He swiveled his head to stare down into the tunnels he had just come from.  He started turning back toward the tunnel, when the captain said, “Son, stop, it’s better if you allow her to make her own way back.”
                Walter ignored him and slithered his way back into the corridor.  Sighing, the captain put his hand to his eyes and let him go.  “He’ll be back, you can never get a mission-born to back off when it comes to family.”  The crew dispersed, as two of them stood guard over the hole.
                “Orcs…not good….” Captain Argent stated under his breath.

                Jess was just rounding a corner in the tunnel-system when she heard a noise, like an animal trapped in the ventilation.  She pulled the energy blade from its sheath and balanced herself to take on the incoming threat.  A small head poked around the corner.  The youthful face moved her head to look toward the low light from the energy blade.  The scream was quick, but far too loud in the confines of the tight corridor.  Jess stifled the scream with her other hand and put down the knife.  The girl’s cousin came into view seconds later and saw Jess, relaxing his guard.  Whispering briskly, Jess tore into them, “What in th’ world are you two doin’ here?  I told ya ta stay in that bay!” 
                The boy was the first to answer since Jess still had her hand over the girl’s mouth, “Well…you see…the invaders kinda went by our hiding space.  Well…at least one did.  I thought it best that we move, since more could have come by and found us.  Plus, you said the power would come back on, and it did.”
                “You both coulda got killt’.  Next time stop thinkin’ and do what I say!”  She sighed and resheathed the energy blade.
                “Come on you two, we gotta get goin’ if we’re gunna get safe.  If there’s Orcs in these tunnels, we’re gunna need some way o’ gettin’ ‘round them.”  She sat back a moment and thought it out.  “Okay, got it, we’ll sidestep ‘em, which is gunna be dangerous.  We ‘ave to go inta th’ decks where they are gunna be.”  She started past them; into the corridor they had come from.  “Welp, follow me ya dolts, not gunna invite ya twice!”
                They started following her slowly, making far too much noise for her liking, but knowing they were just kids.  They reminded her of her sibling and herself, sorta.  Sighing, she just kept moving, hoping they met with friend before they had to meet foe.

                Walter sensed movement ahead, some kind of low glow.  As he came to the end of the section, he found a small flashlight laying on the floor.  His instincts instantly responded and he started to back away quickly.  It was a trap!  “Now, kid, I wouldn’t move, if’n I was you.”  He could hear a dark smile in Tyke’s voice, as Tyke levelled a pistol at him, from his right side.  “Um…Tyke, I didn’t want to hurt them…. They kept firing at me!”
                “That’s enough kid!”  Tyke snapped.  “You’re goin’ back with me.  You are goin’ ta fix this mess, by being a good hostage!  Don’ think I won’t shoot you, cause I will.”
                He motioned Walter to move, with the pistol.  “Move.”
                Walter moved over to the hatch entrance Tyke had opened.  He grabbed up into the hatch and pulled himself into a different maintenance closet, where two Orcs stood above him and pulled him roughly out.  They threw him down on the ground, his face slamming into the cold metal floor, probably leaving a bruise for later inspection.  He let himself be maneuvered by the guards, taking some bodily injuries in the stomach and ribs.  He deserved it, really, he had killed their friend.  Once Tyke was in the hallway, the guards straightened Walter up and walked him down the hallway.  The lights were fully on again, and it made him realize the change in these people.  They were now looking hunted, nervous, and possibly a little afraid.  They put on a strong show of force and played down their fears by trying to increase his.  He knew this tactic, it was one that had been used on him at the academy, when Jess and he had been top cadets.  They had surpassed all their class in skills required for mission training.  Of course, that had attracted the interest of more blunt minds.  The bullies had tried to play the tactic he now faced, it had not worked then, as it would not now.  He put his head down and started calculating a plan to escape.  This time it would have to be on his terms, no help would lend its hand. 

                Jess pounded on the sealed hatch in a rhythmic motion.  Three-two-three-four, it was the designated passcode given to mission-born back in the academy.  The captain would know what it meant, and a resounding five thuds came from the other side in response.  She nodded and got ready to enter the command deck.  The hatch was removed quickly and she jumped into the open space, then turned around and gave the kids a hand out of the confined space.  Captain Argent turned to talk to her, “Jess, where’s your brother?” 
                “Huh?!  What’ya talkin’ about?”  Her eyes got big and she spun toward the captain.  “He was here?!?  You didn’t keep him here?!”
                “I couldn’t lieutenant, he was worried about you, and would not be stopped.  Now, you need to take your place on the bridge and help me reactivate the cannons so that we can blow the invading ships off of the hull!”  His crew resealed the hatch, before any complaint could be made.  Jess stomped to her console in a rage.  She started enacting the codes to operate the cannons.  “Um, sir, the cannons have been manually overridden.  Not one shows that it can be fired.  What do we do now?”  She raised her eyebrows in a mocking fashion, since she was still perturbed by her forced stay.
                Shaking his head, he called an ensign to relay his order. “Imperious, this is Little Fish, please come in.”
                A baritone voice on the other end of the comms chimed in, “Little Fish, this is Imperious.  Operation Flash in the Pan is active.  Repeat, prepare for Flash in the Pan.”
                Suddenly, outside of the bridge windows, there was a fleet of five ships that flashed into view.  They glided through space in an effortless fashion, and strobing lights started to flash from the cannons aboard those ships.  Small explosions could be seen all over the hull of the heavy cruiser.  Damage would be incurred on the ship, but this tactic removed the ability for their enemy to escape.  Jess realized that this was no emergency fleet, but had been the plan all along.  Somehow, the council had known they were going to be targeted by the Orcs. 
                Her brother was somewhere in the ship.  He could be killed!  She had to save him somehow.  She moved to a security console and started searching the cameras for any sign of her brother.  There he was!  He had been moved to the lounge area on Deck C.  That was quite a ways from the command deck.  She started calculating what she could do to help her brother.

                “Tyke, they blew all our ships!  What do we do now?”  Tyke smiled and pointed at Walter.  “He’s our ticket out of here.  Get everyone down to the landing bay!  Now!”   The Orcs started mobilizing.  They packed up equipment which had been brought on board and some that belonged to the ship itself.  They moved Walter quickly down the metal corridors.  The change in hallway color turned from yellow to gray.  This was definitely the way to the landing bay.  Walter tried to trip the guards up once and then was cuffed so hard over the head he almost lost consciousness.  Tyke waved his fist at him and yelled some obscenities at him, figuring that it would be effective enough to stop him from trying it again.  When they reached the landing bay, Tyke took out his comm and switched it to a different channel.  “Captain Argent, we ‘ave your young friend ‘ere, and we are leavin’ ‘ere alive.  Otherwise, your friend may not make it back to you in the same shape.”
                “Copy, traitor, we understand….  But, the Admiral of the incoming fleet may not agree to those terms.  We have no way of stopping him from vaporizing you and our friend, so we would appreciate it if you would surrender.”  You could hear the tension in the captain’s voice.  He was serious.
                Tyke shook his head angrily.  “We’ll take ‘im with us, and we’ll jus’ see!”
                Turning to the other Orcs he stated flatly, “Get ‘im on board.  Hit the translight engines the moment we get out of the bay!”
                The orcs nodded to Tyke and dragged Walter with them.  They entered a small shuttle that was docked off to the side of the landing pad.  Tyke directed some others to different craft, as he boarded a larger shuttle.  Walter watched out his porthole in the small shuttle.  Something inside the craft didn’t seem right to him.  There were extra cables and many of the interior bulkheads had been removed.  The space was more industrial looking, and there was a large machine in the back of the cabin.  He assumed this was the translight engine they would need to produce the warp they would need to get out of here in one piece.
                Every craft in the landing bay started its preflight preparations.  The engines of each craft flaring into a blue burning wave.  The landing bay opening was protected by an osmotic shield that allowed craft out but kept the atmosphere within.  The ships started making their way out of the heavy cruiser’s bay and Walter could see the bigger warships, outside, start to flare with cannon fire being aimed at the caravan.  His ship was going to be third out of the bay.  The first ship exploded and caused the second to careen into the right side of the bay entry.  The hairs on his neck started to stand on end.  He didn’t understand why, until the machine next to him started to make a high-pitched whine.  Suddenly as they hit the osmotic envelope and the engines hit the actual vacuum of space, Walter’s world started to spin.  They hit translight speed, faster than he had ever felt.  He almost vomited, but was able to hold it in.

                Jess almost whooped when she saw her brother’s shuttle escape the shot that had been aimed for it.  Instead, she screamed, “Direct hit from the Imperious on our interior bay!  Atmosphere is leaking out, and Deck C is closed off due to emergency doors kicking in.”
The captain turned to his comm ensign, “Tell the Imperious to stop firing!  She’s going to destroy us along with the Orcs!”
                A few seconds after the command had been relayed, the firing stopped.  The only craft that had escaped the warship’s bombardment had been Walter’s ship.  Jess could only hope that this didn’t mean they would kill him outright, once they were clear.  If they did, they would have hell to pay, for her own sense of vengeance would not be matched.  Orcs were now a primary target.  She did not like that the Imperious had fired on her brother, and she saw no reason for them to have threatened his life as well as the Orcs.  She also saw what this had been; they had been used as bait in a trap.  She would pursue her own inquiry later in private quarters.  She had learned to be careful, since the political incident in the Council chambers.  Her brother had warned her about when things became complex, the best thing to do was keep a closed mouth.

(Click to "turn the page" to Chapter 5)

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