Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Nano-Fic: The Gentleman Scoundrel (8)

    “Can't we go faster?” was all the greeting Acting Master Essuru received when she stepped into the cockpit.
    “We're maxed at 2 Gs,” she said, “Ipa's already floating down there; any faster and the pumps fail. What do we have?”
    Ruku piped in, “There are six missiles inbound, moving at 5 gravities. Vector suggests they're sub-orbital rockets; should be easy enough to zap once they're in range.”
    “Well, that's something, anyway.” Zag said.
    “Just stay on the following vector at max acceleration and they'll be ballistic by the time they're in range.”
    “Wait,” The crew of the Gentleman Scoundrel looked as one at the floor, where Canto tended Master Vakh.
    “What happens if we slow down?”
    Sagkal shot Canto a strange look. “Why would we do that? It would give those missiles time to hit us before we could burne all of 'em.
    “Where does this vector we're on take us, exactly?”
    “Out of this shit-planet's orbit, that's where!” Zag Essuru answered. “Sorry uh, Kurto, but you'll have to forget about us heading back into that mess.”
    “It's Kura,” Canto corrected absently, “But is our vector towards or away from the Janus? Or Leviat? It's the system's only gas giant.”
    “I know that!” Zag spat. “Now do you mind? I have actual work to do.”
    “We're vectored away from the Janus.” Said Ruku Mat. “Night side always faces the Janus. Levait's far enough away that it doesn't matter, we could just shape an orbit.”
    Canto stood and moved to the unoccupied console – Vakh's. “What's out there?”
    “Who the Hell do you think - “
    “Zag,” Sagkal's voice couldn't help but interrupt. “I got heat. A lot. Patrol Cutter at least.  Look's like it just came out from behind the Moon.”
    Canto swore and so did Essuru. “How did you know?” she asked.
    “The fire pattern of those missiles.” Canto said. “They're too fast for us to avoid an intercept, yet they can't maneuver once in laser range. But they can force us to accelerate at max on a specific vector.”
    Sagkal growled. “They bracketed us!”
    Canto nodded. “Can you change vector before that Cutter's in range?”
    Ruku left her seat at Navigation.  There were three doors in the cockpit; the hatch that led to the lift, one to the Master's cabin, and a third next to it that Ruku went through, to the Computer Room.
    “We can't go back down, can we?” Sagkal asked.
    Zag Essuru scowled. “Scoundrel has to land in water or on a prepared surface. Why did they fire on us, anyway?”
    “I could guess,” Canto said. “This planet is mostly at the fossil fuel stage. Internal combustion, chemical rockets, that sort of thing.”
    Zag shrugged. “So? My homeworld's like that and we don't fire on Traders!”
    “They don't actually have any fossil fuels anymore. They have to get them imported from some moons in the outer system. Transported by Gravity Drive.”
    “So the Imps are selling the locals their own gas?” She asked.
    Canto nodded. “There have been rumors - Rebels in the interior, locals doing nothing to stop them. This is only Imperial affiliated port on the planet, and that Cutter up there could've been the only Naval asset in the whole system."
    “You think the locals hijacked an Imperial Cutter?”
    It was at that moment that Ruku returned from calculating their options. Her face made it plain that they would find out about the Cutter soon enough.

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