Post Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:10 pm

Beyond Space Spiders -- Episode #3 -- Vagabond Smash

<font style="font-size: 20pt">Voyages of the Solomon Grundy<BR>
<font style="font-size: 18pt">Beyond Bugs, the Second Quest
<font style="font-size: 14pt">Episode #3 — Vagabond Smash

<font style="font-size: 12pt">

Blaster twitched. He shouldn’t have twitched--he was dead right? That synth was certain to have done him in. He twitched again. Damn, it hurt though. He blinked. He still heard the whine of the lift slowly rising. The yells for a medic, which was appropriate… it felt like he needed one at the moment. Oh yes, and the angry synth, drawing back the stun baton to hit him again.

He could make the synth angrier by attacking and getting more grease on his uniform or…

The stun baton jabbed him again and erased all thoughts or additional plans…

Captain Tigh Kessel awoke from a daze. He must have been stunned for a moment when that shuttle rammed the Grundy. Blinking, he shook his head and looked at the ship’s status panels. Warning indicators were flashing all across his board. This sucked--hard. He reached across the control board to the comms and flipped the switch.

“Boltz,” he growled. “Status report.”

**Cap’n,** the engineer wheezes as though out of breath. **She’s comin apart at the seams. I got air breeches on three decks. Tha shuttle, she really gave us a wallop. She broke my damn tethers, and tore out the umbilical link to the station.**

“Fix it,” Kessel rumbles. “Get out there and get us hooked up again. I’ll maneuver us back in place.”

**Aye, cap’n.**

Terrence clapped his hands again. Fingers startled awake. He’d been in some strange fugue state, not knowing who or what he was. Thank heavens that was over!

“Looks like they’re way too busy to come pick us up,” Terrence says with a frown. “It’s a frelling madhouse over there. Let’s button up the suits and jump across.”

Fingers nodded. He still felt strange—detached—like a democrat lost in a sea of republicans. He shuddered, feeling a cold chill. What a horrible nightmare!

The two of them made their way down to the station airlocks, checked their suits and began cycling themselves into the cold of space…

Felix and Mercedes, with the assistance of some crew, began hauling the injured back to med-bay.

**Did you injure any of the convict’s organs?** the doctor asks over comms. **We might need those.**

“Bengal just has a serious concussion, Doctor.” Mercedes assures her.

**Nonsense,** Doctor MacDougal snaps. Her voice rises in pitch as though anticipating some preternatural bliss. **You can never be too sure. He might need a new spleen or something… Preventive medicine, especially with all these extra spare parts just dying to sacrifice themselves in the cause of better health…**

Somewhere in cryostasis, convicts shudder in their frozen hypersleep…

James and Jelita walked around in the engineering space. After a few minutes, they found a technical placard that showed the general layout of the ship. They were in the far aft engineering compartment above the fusion reactors.

James reasoned that they wanted to go up. So, together they jumped on the small engineering lift and punched the up button.

The small electric platform whined slowly toward the compartment above.

“Joe, that you?” A voice calls down to them. “Did you remember to bring the spanner?”

Frantically, James and Jelita began hammering on the down and stop buttons. After a few instants of frantic pounding the lift hesitates between levels.

James points down, and Jelita operates the lift and it begins dropping.

“Maybe we’ll have better luck below,” James says.

The lift descends, but instead of a vacant deck, they are presented with a room swarming with engineering staff. Again they hammer the lift to a stop.

James scans the room and his gaze settles on a tool box. So, the guy above wanted a spanner… he’d get a spanner—upside the head, real delicate-like so as not to get any blood on his uniform.

Plan in mind and steeling himself. James has Jelita let the lift continue to the floor. As predicted, the engineering staff are too occupied to really take note of two space-suited figures. Especially the small one with the sleeves three inches too long.

Keeping his distance, but trying not to look like he was keeping his distance, Jame’s struggled to act natural… or at least walk that way as he sauntered oh-so-casually over to the massive tool box.

What did a spanner look like anyway? It was hard to see with the damn helmet. The toolbox was immense, with thirty odd drawers. He picked through them, trying to look as if he knew where to look for the tool.

“Watcha lookin for?” a voice asks from beside him.

James freezes. He glances up and sees one of the engineers peering at him curiously.

“A spanner,” he answers in a fake voice, coughing through the syllables.

“Whatcha looking down there for?” the man asks. He reaches to a higher drawer, pulls it open and hands the tool into James’ unbelieving hands.

“Thanks,” James coughs. “Have to take this upstairs now.”

The engineer’s brow furrows and he stares at James’ spacesuit. “Hey—” He starts.

James doesn’t let him finish what he is going to say. Grabbing a wrench from an open drawer he brings the weapon whistling down on the hapless man’s shoulder, narrowly missing his head.

The staggered engineer gasps in surprise, hands spasming and body lurching backward. Before the fellow can turn or even react, James slams him another time, again narrowly missing a vital spot. The severely wounded engineer turns to run, his voice hoarsely croaking a plea for help as James smashes him a third time. Still clinging to a thread of consciousness, the man tries to escape but is clubbed into submission.

Meanwhile, in the medical bay, the doctor finds that Blaster’s organs are in fine condition for harvesting. All she needs is a sufficient accident and a nicely forged donor card… A light on her emergency panel lights up.

Letting out an exasperated breath she flips on the comms channel. “Captain, you really must do something about these convicts! I have a medic alert warning from engineering, multiple impact trauma…”

**Acknowedged,** Captain Kessel responds. **All security personnel report immediately to engineering. Felix you have authority to use lethal force if required.**

“Really?” Felix looks up from one of the operating tables where he is working on damage to his legs. A grin slowly spreads across his normally deadpan face. “Lethal force?” He asks in the comms.

**Affirmative, lethal force.** the captain repeats.

The synthezoid bounces to his feet, suddenly much more energetic. “On my way.” He heads for the door at high speed.

“Don’t damage the organs…!” the doctor calls after him.

Seeing that James appears to be having difficulty subduing common crewmen, Jelita rushes to his side. “Do you need help?”

“Naw, they just have hard heads—” He stiffens hearing the doctor’s warning come from the comm-link in his ear. Damn, the crew must be on some kind of medic alert network. “—ah frell!” He pounds a fist against the side of the toolbox. Determined, he presses the engage on his comms. “Y’all here this, you just stay away. I got me here a whole room fulla men, and I’m gonna make ‘em dead if anyone steps in here. Ya understand? I ain’t goin back in that damn box, ya hear?”

Not a man to wait for response or negotiation, James immediately picks an example, rushes over and begins pummeling the snot out of the hapless engineer.

Not to be left out of the fun, Jelita picks out another engineer and begins wailing on him with kicks and punches.

Unbenownst to James and Jelita they have an observer, one not cowering away from the mayhem but seeming to take some perverse pleasure in it. The burly fellow strides forward, flicking a long blond braid over his shoulder.

“Hey, Boy,” he mutters in a guttural voice. “C’mere. I’ll give ya a fight…”

In the forward engineering compartment, Boltz rolls his eyes. “Ock, what kneew? Damn victs are like roaches!” He jumps to the main board and grabs the intercom microphone. “Laddies, git yerselves to hatch five and latch the door!”

With a shrug of his shoulders, the lead engineer pulls the blaster off his side. “Goddamn idjits, did they have to start fightin in the bleedin core? I jus finished fixing tha damn systems in there!”

Jelita having knocked down one opponent and severely injuring another turns to see James confront the burly fellow in the engineering togs.

“Come get some,” the blond giant growls.

“Here it comes!” James yells slamming himself against the man’s rock-hard fist. “Urrrgh! Had enough yet?”

“James,” Jelita says. “I don’t—”

“He’s mine!” Jame’s yells again. “I ain’t goin back in that box. I’ll die fore I do. Take this!” James slammed his face against the man’s upraised fist in a spurt of blood. “And this!” He head-butted the fellow’s knee. “Give up! I’m too fast for ya!”

Jelita turned away from the combat. She never could understand Caucasians. Such a strange way to do battle—using one’s face as a mallet; quite unorthodox and strangely disconcerting. Maybe he just didn’t know how to fight? She would stick to the more conventional method.

She raced around the reactor core and found her next victim. “Pardon me,” she said, sending a kick whistling into the fellow’s groin.

The engineer let out a cry in high-C and toppled to the deck whimpering and clutching his precious and now deformed nads.

Off to Jelita’s left James cried out. “Arrrgh! Take this! Body slam!!!” Then silence.

That did not sound promising.

The engineer on the floor whimpered and tried to writhe out of reach. She raised her heel to finish the job.

“I wouldn’t if I wus ya,” she heard a man grit from nearby.

Jelita looked up. There was a new engineer in the room. This one was armed. She recognized the model, a mark VII blaster.

James wasn’t making any noise. No help would be coming from him.

“Put the bar down and git yerself on the floor,” the red-haired engineer urged.

How did that battle cry go? Oh yes. “Body slam!!!” She screamed as she leaped.

Jelita discovered to her dismay that some engineers COULD shoot straight, and that the speed of light WAS considerably faster than a well-trained body.

The blast ripped through her suit, knocking her askew in the air. She screamed in pain but landed with enough coordination to clip him with her fist. He staggered back, spitting out a broken tooth. “Damn yah! Don’t make me shoot yah again. We got few enough lasses aboard as it is! Surrender and git down on the floor fore I lose me patience!”

With a sigh and a groan of pain, Jelita dropped the bar and lowered herself to the deck. It appeared “Body Slam” had not been the answer…

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