Monthly Archives: July 2015

3-2: Blind Guides

Laurie groaned, and even though the painkillers had her firmly in their grasp, she was certainly aware of the need for more medical attention. That attention would be for little good if the Venturess was drifting listlessly in space.

“I need to know what shape she’s in first,” she said with a grimace.

“Captains are supposed to go down with their ship, not ships with their captain,” he replied.

“Neither of us is going down.” I hope, she added to herself. “We’ve both been through worse.” I think.

She climbed up to the mid-deck, pain noticeably lessening as the drugs did their work. She felt downright chipper by the time she reached the cockpit.

“Talk to me,” she said, half to herself, half to the ship. The main display responded with a garble of green and blue static. “That won’t do,” she said, pulling the cover off the console. She swore at the results, gazing down into a jumble of wires, many of which had been severed, apparently at random.

“What else do you suppose they did?”

“Probably a safe bet the engines are tampered with,” The Bartender replied. She wondered if Fuesellians had rhetorical questions.

“Who the blazes did this to us? And why?” She hoped he had an answer to that, at least, but the reptilian Fuesillian remained silent. She pondered why he remained unwounded. Had he hid? He was a revolutionary- hardly a coward. Was he the inside man for whoever boarded them? They had no cargo of value.

Except…

“Is Miiram’s package still on board?” She looked intently at him.

“I thought you had it.” The scales under his eyes remained steady. With his face, scales and hair, it was hard to tell if he was being truthful.

“I did. At one point. Who did this?” she asked again futilely. “Where is his damn package?” And why would they want it? “Let’s check the engines. Maybe we can get underway.” She didn’t feel particularly optimistic, in her gut, but the painkillers made her feel good enough to try.

“Do you remember anything of us being boarded?” she asked on their way to the engine room.

“Not a thing. Last I remember was breaking orbit around Maciia.”

“Me too.” They came to the engine room, and she walked to the console in the center of it. The screen was smashed. “Of course it is.” She sighed and slumped into the lone chair in the room. “There’s no way we can make a jump in this condition.”

He examined the console. “Don’t give up just yet,” he said. “It may not be as bad as it appears.” He picked up the small screen, bringing with it a tangle of cut wires as it snapped in half in his hand. “I suppose it is, then.”

“Worse. They cut the coolant lines.” Laurie nodded down the small walkway beside the large powerplant. “Even if we could make a jump, the engine would tear itself apart.” She wiped sweat from her brow with the back of her wrist.

“Captian, you’ve been sweating worse and worse since you woke up. Something must be done.”

“Yes, we can rig up something to send a signal.”

“How bad is your fever? You took medicine that should reduce your fever, and I can see you burning up.”

“No!” she shouted, slamming her fist down on the arm of the chair. “No, we have to find a way out.”

“Captain, there is just you and I. It is essential that you survive. Then we can send a signal.”

“You’re no doctor.”

“But I have seen more than my share of battle wounds. Yours can be treated- if we treat it now.”

“But we have to send a signal. And find Scorch. And recover Miiram’s package.”

“We will do all that, I promise you.”

Something nagged at her in the back of her mind. A small voice, telling her she had missed something very obvious. It was probably nothing- it had to be nothing- but the voice remained.

She set her jaw and gazed determinedly into the cold, black eyes of the Fuesillian.

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3-1: In the Dark

Laurie woke up to a strange sequence of sensations. The first thing she felt was cold. Cold, deep in her bones, the kind of cold the penetrates the soul. Then there was the cold pressed up against her cheek, the slab of cold steel which she found herself laying on offering no comfort.

Then she felt pain. First in her head, a headache that started where her left had been and the cybernetic patch should have been, and shot back through her skull. Then the pain in her side, the deep burn of a laser blast.

She attempted to push herself up, at least to her knees. She opened her eyes, and everything spun. She fell back to the deck, retching and nauseous. Her patch had been pulled out, and the signals that should have been going to her brain seemed to be going haywire. She closed her good eye tight and drew ragged breaths, trying to piece her situation together.

She reached into her memory, scraping for some clue as to what was going on, and retrieving nothing. The Venturess had left Maciia easily enough, with the promise to deliver a package on the way to Haluush. No big deal.

But somehow, somewhere, someway, it had all gone very, very wrong.

“Scorch?” she rasped, her throat dry. “Bartender?”

Silence was her only answer in the dark ship.

She attempted to open her eye again, face still pressed against the steel. Chaos flooded her senses again, but she fought through it as best she could. Emergency lighting illuminated the cargo bay, doing just enough to cast long, gloomy shadows throughout. She was in the rear, near the cargo ramp. Crates were strewn about in disarray.

It must have been a hull breach, or an open airlock. She closed her eyes again, still grasping for memories. Nothing came.

She pulled herself forward, her side screaming in agony from the wound there. At least it seemed cauterized, otherwise she probably would have bled out on the floor. Inching along, she could see the first aid kit against the front bulwark, glowing in the soft blue light. At least they left that.

It seemed an eternity before she reached it. Her breath was panting as she pulled herself up the wall and unfastened the clasps. She choked down the first painkiller her hands found. There was a syringe, too, and she jabbed it into her arm, the plunger depressing with a hiss. She sighed and slumped against the wall, sliding down it until she was sitting on the floor.

She leaned there for a long while, gathering herself. Step led up to the main deck, with food and living quarters, and- hopefully- a spare patch for her eye. To the cockpit, where she could hopefully figure out what was actually going on.

“You don’t look so good, Cap.” She wrestled her eye open again to seethe Bartender standing at the top of the stairs.

“Never better,” she croaked. “Where the hell have you been?”

“Out, I guess. I woke up in the middle of the floor up here.” He stood and walked stiffly down the stairs. “Though, I don’t rightly remember going to sleep.”

“Me either. We must have had some party.”

He crouched down next to her. “Must have. A few uninvited guests, to be sure.” He looked at where her patch should have been. “Do you have a spare?”

“I hope so. In my quarters, top drawer.” He stood to retrieve it. “Wait. You don’t know what happened here?”

“Not a clue. Last I remember, we left orbit, to drop that package for Miiram. Everything after that is…. just blank.”

She nodded, squeezing her eye shut and swallowing her nausea. The painkillers were working, at least. Her head swam and she wondered where Scorch was, and if she could really trust the Bartender.

He returned presently, though, with a wooden box containing the patch. She picked it up, and pushed a small button on the back of the black rectangle. The small tail which hung from it wiggled a little, and she tilted her head back and lowered it into the socket. There, it found the proper nerves. She shuddered at the brief shock.

“That,” said the Bartender, “Does not look comfortable.”

She shrugged. “You get used to it. Besides, I just took every painkiller in there.” She nodded to the first aid kit. “By the way, I got shot.”

He looked at her side. “We should get you stitched up.”

“We should see what is going on with my ship. Are we even moving?”

“I don’t think so. Engines are quiet.”

“We need to get going, then.”

“It won’t do any good if you’re dead.”