Ballistic Logistics Saga - Part V

August 2941
Cathcart System

Gedion fought the urge to shield his eyes from the oncoming attackers. If he was going to die, he at least wanted to identify who the killers were, he thought to himself. With a few short bursts from his EVA suit thrusters, Gedion righted himself and stared straight down the barrels of the two mysterious ships bearing down on him.

They were closing fast, but he still couldn't i.d. them. They were unlike anything he had ever seen before. Their noses bend downwards like the beak of a hawk, and their wings arched outwards, also like a bird. They were a dull grey color, with strange red markings over the wings and cockpit. As the ships closed on him, they opened fire. Gedion finally covered his eyes with his forearm and prepared for death.

Instead, the fizzing noise of energy weapons being absorbed by shields filled his suit. Looking up, he saw the BLG Course Correction, which had come from somewhere and swung between him and the attackers. The airlock was open.

"Are you coming or what?" Saskia asked him in exasperation.

Gedion was stunned for a half-second, but as the two alien fighters streaked overheard, the vibrations from their engines shook him back into reality. Glancing at them as they passed, he could see the red that adorned the ships was from symbols painted on them, similar to what was on the door.

"Right, coming!" Gedion replied, firing a quick burst of his thrusters to power himself towards the airlock. He came in too hot and slammed off of the side of the ship, but managed to grab ahold of the airlock rim. Pulling himself into the Freelancer, he turned around and looked at the door one last time. It was still smoking and glowing red, but hadn't opened yet. He pulled himself all the way into the ship and shut the airlock.

"I'm getting us out of here! As soon as you are out of your suit, I need you on the rear turret!" Saskia barked an order at him. Gedion couldn't have been happier to comply, and he practically ripped his EVA suit off. He sprinted down the cargo bay and climbed into the rear turret gunner's seat. They were headed out of the asteroid field as fast as they could, but the two alien ships were in pursuit, and they were closing.

"I've got two bogeys, incoming at your six!" Gedion warned Saskia over the comm.

"I know, I know. I don't think we can shake 'em! It's not far to the nearest jump point, try to keep them off of us, I'm gonna make a run for it!" she replied frantically.

Gedion adjusted himself in the seat and sighted in the gun. A Freelancer may not be a match for two fighters, let alone two alien attack craft, but he was going to give them a run for their money. The two ships closed quickly and opened fire. Gedion squeezed the trigger and returned the favor. The green bolts of energy from the alien guns impacted the shields with minimal effect. Gedion kept firing, causing both fighters to break left and peel off, trying to find a safer angle.

"They'll make another pass," Gedion warned Saskia.

"I know, they got some good hits on us, but the shields are holding. Less than 2 mikes to the jump point," She replied.

"Odd," Gedion thought to himself while he waited for the alien ships to double back into range. "I expected them pack more of a punch. Guess alien doesn't necessarily mean superior." The ships were flying sloppy, and came into range of Gedion's guns before completing their turn. Gedion seized on their mistake and opened fire. Several of his shots impacted one of the ships and dropped its topside shields, score a few hits on the top of the fuselage and the wings. The ships completed their turn and opened fire on the freelancer.

This time, the attack had more bite. A chorus of blue, red, and green energy bolts impacted the rear of the Freelancer, dropping it's shields, and scoring some serious hits on the rear of the ship. One shot hit just in front of the turret and ripped a panel off into space. The fighters zipped overhead and began to circle around again, not content to stay in Gedion's weapon range.

"I don't think we'll survive another one of those," Gedion worriedly observed.

"Almost there, just hold on a few more moments," Saskia replied tensely.

Before the fighters could complete their turn and fire again, the Course Correction slipped into the jump point. A few minutes into the new system and it was clear that the alien fighters weren't going to follow them. Gedion climbed down from the turret and headed towards the cockpit. He sat down next to Saskia.

"What the hell was that?" He angrily asked her.

"I told you not to touch anything!" She snapped back, ignoring his question. "Who knows what you unleashed back there, you almost got us killed!"

"So you just fly off and abandon me? I thought we were supposed to be working together!" Gedion lashed back.

"You were supposed to follow orders! Pretty simple huh, don't touch, don't screw it up, don't get us killed! Shouldn't be too hard!" she fired back. Gedion knew this was going nowhere, so he bit his lip. After an awkward half-minute or so, the tension started to fade.

"So what's our next move?" He asked, deliberately using the calmest tone of voice he could muster. Before she could respond, he looked up and got his answer. There in the distance was the lumbering, sprawling mass of derelict ships and platforms that made up Spider. Saskia never answered his question.

"So where were we then, Taranis? Pyro? Min? I would have noticed if it was Pyro. I'm guessing we were in Min. Has to be. Not too many ways to one-jump to Cathcart.

Saskia frowned.

"You know, you're too smart for your own good. It's gonna get you killed," she replied.

Gedion settled back into his seat to review the facts. The alien door and ships were in the Min system, not exactly next to Xi'an or Banu space, but only a few systems away. Maybe it was the Kr'Thak, maybe they found a secret jump point and had set up a base on that asteroid. One thing was for certain, he wasn't going to stop until he had answers.

"So what's our next move?" Gedion asked.

"I have to get back to base and report in, it's standard protocol if we get jumped like that out on a mission," She replied. "I hope you got some good images of that door while you were jack-assing around. My boss Sundavold doesn't like it when I come back empty-handed."

"I got as many as I could, I can't wait to take a look," Gedion reassured her.

They both sat silently for the rest of the approach as the BLG Course Correction weaved through the myriad of platforms and ships that made up Spider. Finally, they rounded a bend and pointed the ship towards what looked to be the flat underbelly of some old transport built into the massive structure.

Gedion sat up in his seat, scanning for a door or an airlock, but saw nothing. Saskia shut the running lights off, punched a few buttons on the comm panel, and waited.

"Enter the code now" said an anonymous voice over the come. Saskia punched a few more buttons.

"Welcome Specialist Linsen, docking port fourteen is cleared for you," the voice greeted. Suddenly, the whole derelict transport in front of us began to fold towards us. Saskia flew her Freelancer up and over the edge of the transport ship/hanger door and into a hanger complex. The hatched closed behind the ship as she expertly guided it across the hanger bay and landed on a pad labeled '14'.

"Keep that smart mouth of yours shut. Let me do the explaining," she cautioned.

"You know me, I won't touch a thing," Gedion replied, grinning at her. The look of displeasure on her face showed she wasn't amused. They got up together and left out the cargo bay of the Freelancer. No sooner than they stepped out onto the platform than several repairmen came over and began looking over the damage. Gedion paused to get a better look, but Saskia grabbed him by the arm and pulled him along with her.

"Come on, follow me," She ordered. They walked down a long metal walkway and up to a solid metal door with a keypad on the side. She swiftly punched a few numbers and the door slide open. Waiting on the other side of the door was a man, stood tall, firm and stern. Saskia snapped a salute and stood up straight.

"Ok, so this is Sundavold?" Gedion inquired, unable to keep quiet.

"Name's Matthius Stormfury and you're in a lot of trouble."