Nothing Coming Easy - Part II

January 2939

Osiris System

"Damn!" Gedion cursed aloud, quickly shutting off the light on his suit. He figured they must have scanned his Aurora for life signs before destroying it, and finally put the pieces together.

Gedion pulled himself along the outside of the cockpit, down what was once the right side. The front of the cockpit was angled down, like the beak of a hawk.

From there, the lines straightened out and shot straight back towards where the glass canopy and cockpit area would have integrated with the ship. Looking in the window, he could see the pilots seat. Not a meter further back and he reached the end of the chunk of cockpit and was able to enter.

The searchlights of the Cutlasses came back around again and made another pass, Gedion instinctively reached into the cockpit to cover the blinking blue light from detection, but has hand slapped down on it with too much force, and suddenly the whole chunk of cockpit shook.

Control panels and screens sparked and sputtered and came to life all around him as a monotone alien voice muttered something in a language he had never heard before.

"The damn thing still has some juice!" he thought to himself, equally excited and terrified by the prospect. The cutlasses were due to make another pass in the next few minutes, and now he was stuck in the wrecked cockpit of a ship that might as well be burning as bright as a supernova in the blackness of that asteroid field.

"Think Gedion think!" He frantically said aloud, scanning the panels. It was no good.

He couldn't even begin to decipher the language on the screens, and the voice kept repeating the same gibberish.

"Ok, calm down, take a second..." Gedion said as he took a deep breath, trying to calm his nerves. He tried hitting the blue light again, hoping the cockpit would power back down, but it just sputtered sparks back at him. "Ok... nothing there..."

In the distance he could see the lights of the cutlasses slowly drawing closer to him, surely about to see him discovered and taken prisoner... or worse.

Gedion shook his head to regain his focus and looked down at the screens. Again, the text was so foreign to him it was no help at all. There were also pictures that looked like graphic representations of things. That gave him an idea.

"It's a ship, like any other ship. It's got battery power because I've got lights. It needs a power plant, engines, thrusters, coolant, it's all got to be here somewhere..."

Gedion mused as he surveyed the panels to his left and right. It was hard to make sense of the shapes, but everything shown in red. Everything except one thing.

In a panel to his right, Gedion noticed an array of 8 objects, arranged in an oval shape, each object with an opposite pair. All were blinking red except for the top right hand one, which blinked blue.

"Blue, like the light I hit to turn the power on!" he deduced. Glancing up to see that the Cutlasses would be on him any second, he punched the blue object on the screen.

A high-pitched whine filled the cockpit. Gedion quickly braced himself as something propelled the cockpit section violently out of the debris field. The chunk of wreckage spun violently like a balloon full of air suddenly let go. Struggling against the massive G forces, Gedion managed to reach back to the monitor and tapped the same button. The whine ceased.

Glass shattered all around him as the cockpit section bounced into an asteroid and knocked Gedion off his feet. He shook off the effects of the collision and regained his situation awareness. He was hanging out the back of the open cockpit. The Fortunate side effect of smacking into the asteroid was that it caused the cockpit to stop spinning so violently. Then he saw it. There was a thruster still attached to a small chunk of hull leading to the cockpit section on the left side. He hadn't noticed it since he had entered on the opposite side, leaving the thruster in darkness.

The impromptu thruster burn had thrown him off of the path of the cutlasses, but he could see them circling the area where the wreckage was. They had seen something and were now more determined than ever to find him. He had to act fast.

Climbing back into the cockpit, he took a moment to think. He needed a ride back to secure UEE space, and these pirates weren't going to facilitate that. But all he had was a chunk of cockpit, one thruster, and one alien operating system that he couldn't understand. Plus, that thruster had burned on whatever fuel must have been left in the line, and there might not be much, if any left.

He only had one chance at pulling this off. Gedion unharnessed the jet pack from his suit and wrapped the straps around the pilot's seat, which stuck out just beyond the end of what was left of the cockpit. He pulled himself around the seat and strapped himself in.

"Need to do this quick," He said aloud as he glanced up to check on the pirate cutlass patrol. One had broken off in a different direction, but the other was slowly working his way towards his present location.

Utilizing the control pad on his left forearm, Gedion operated his suit jetpack as makeshift maneuvering thrusters, slowly stopping the rotation of the cockpit and pointing it out of the asteroid field and towards the jump point. With quick, controlled bursts, the jetpack struggled against the weight of the cockpit, but did its job. His suit's energy reserves were draining rapidly, but all he needed was a few more bursts to clear the field.

"Almost there," Gedion thought to himself, just as he passed the final asteroid and entered the clear of empty space.

Chunks of rock and fire shot past him, and a concussive force rocked the wreckage of the ship. Glancing over his shoulder, he could see that the cutlass had spotted him and launched a dumb fire missile. It had just narrowly missed and blew off a chunk of asteroid just over his right shoulder. The cockpit had escaped damage, but the explosion had knocked him off course.

"Now or never!" Gedion shouted as he smacked the blue thruster control on the panel to his right. He had to time this just right or he would be spinning out of control in who knows what direction. He could only pray there was enough fuel in the line for the second burn.

Once the chunk of ship had gathered a decent amount of velocity, Gedion tapped the thruster back off, and used the rest of the juice left in his suit's jet pack to try to stabilize the chaotic spinning. He got close, but as the jet pack sputtered it's final spray of thrust, the cockpit still spun slowly, making it almost impossible to orient himself.

"Ok, one more shot," Gedion said, swallowing down the vomit that had risen up. He waited and watched a few rotations of the ship until he figured the right moment where he could fire what, if any, was left of the ship's thruster and get somewhere close to a jump point. He pressed the button and fired the thruster, which coughed, burned for a few seconds, and then went out. All the power in the ship went out with it.

He had gone dark, which would make it much harder for the cutlasses to find him.

Trouble is, it would make it much harder for anyone to find him. He was headed... somewhere, possibly towards the jump point out, but it was almost impossible to tell. He was exhausted, and his suit's power was almost out. Not much else to do but sleep, and wait...