Chapter 13: Phaon
With a static burst Solo suddenly came on the air
into everybody's headset:
"Hello, everybody. This is William. Just thought I would let you know
that I am alive and well. Well at least the part of me that is still attached
to the main part of my body that is. It appears that the sole surviving
member of the Divinity's crew is standing here with me. His name is Brother
Antheus. He is not a full priest, yet he does have confessional rights.
He is on the air now to listen to your confessions as to being heretics
and thieves of Church Property. I suggest you hurry up and give it to him
if you wish to up the ante on any afterlife or re-incarnation chances, because
the ship is set to self destruct and the killer bots are unstoppable according
to him. Don't worry about me. I don't think I would be able to do much to
help myself anyway. Just give your confessions and may the Dicey fall where
they may. Brother Antheus in on-line now. William Out."
In the background it sounded like somebody was pulling the headset off and
asking, "Do you have any idea how long they have?"
Antheus turned back to Solo, "Long enough, my Son, to decide upon their
Thorn listened, but failed to hear anything more from the com unit. It sounded
to her like a trick. Solo should by all rights be dead. She felt there was
no way he could have survived the attack that she had witnessed.
"Thorn?" It was Bug. He came up to her. Emotions didn't seem to
register in his kind by physical expression, but the tremor in his voice
let her know well enough that he was frightened. He had picked up human
voice mannerisms as if born to them.
"What is it, Bug?" Thorn asked him.
"I have an idea," he told her. "Do you know about those cryo-frozen
warriour hatches toward the other end of the ship?"
"Well," Bug explained, "I was an engineering hatch - primarily,"
he added. "Though this ship uses advanced circuitry for some functions,
like computer control, still many of the basic functions are standard -
such as cryogenic control."
Thorn couldn't follow his thinking. "I don't see what you're getting
at, Bug. What does cryogenics have to do with our situation?"
"Well," Bug continued. "I was thinking that we could thaw
out some of those marines."
Joe, who had been listening, cried out, "What in hell's blazes would
you want to do that for!?"
Bug went on to elaborate his plan. "Well, we don't seem to have the
skill to defeat those robots. With them running about, we can't even try
to disable the self-destruct that Raymont mentioned. But, those marines
can fight the robots. And I don't think they would want to die either."
Tessa shook her head. "It's a good idea Bug, but the marines would
join with those attack droids in trying to kill us. And though they wouldn't
want to die, Church warriours are known fanatics. If they die in a good
cause, they believe they'll go on to a higher incarnation. They're not afraid
Bug turned to the others. "Well, do any of you have any better ideas?
If not, I say we should at least give it a try."
Raymont turned off his mike while still monitoring any communication over
his comm unit. Turning to Leon, he said, "Well, at least we now have
a name to attach to our trouble. Somehow I don't think that confession over
the radio is exactly what we need at the moment. I rather think that we
need to find this nutball and put him on Ice with his buddies. No relaxing
security protocol until we hook up with the other actives, extend the scanners
to max to keep those drones away from us, I got a glimpse of one before
they were activated and they're top notch, heavy firepower. Stay alert,
keep you're laser handy."
Leon switched off his com unit and said"I don't feel like speaking
to him either." He then set his laser to kill rather than stun, adding
"Stun's not going to do a lot to a robot."
Finishing that, he turned once more to Raymont, "O.K., Let's go!"
Raymont nodded for Leon to lead the way and, both observing their scanners,
they continued onward, intent on discovering where this Antheus was hiding.
While Leon led the way, Raymont took the opportunity of doing a broad scanner
sweep of the both of them, checking for radiation. Also, he was curious
about Leon and suspected there might be more to his companion that was obvious
from just seeing him. He was hoping his scanner sweep would reveal any anomalies.
If Leon noticed, he intended to pass off any scans as being checks for radiation.
"I hope you're better at reading these things than I am," Leon
told Raymont. "I'm afraid my skill level's just alright."
Raymont shook his head. "Well, I'm trying to make sense of these readings
myself. I'll have to admit that I don't have any formal training with a
scanner. I can make out empty spaces and movement, but other than that,
your guess is as good as mine. What do you read?" he asked.
"Well," Leon told him, "I think we might have gotten radiation
poisoning. We might have to see about finding some AntiRad, though I think
its too late for that. You're supposed to take that stuff "before"
you get exposed."
Raymont stopped. "You mean, we're going to die from Radiation poisoning?"
"No," Leon shook his head. "Only if we don't get some med
attention. Verex might help us. I don't know. We have to see a doctor -
at least you have to see a doctor."
"What do you mean by that?" Raymont asked. "Are you saying
"Hardly," Leon answered. "I just have somewhat less to loose
Leon never got to answer as their scanners indicated movement ahead. Raymont
adjusted his scanner. Whatever it was, it had a high mass and was made of
synthetic metal and plastics and seemed to also register as an energy source.
"Can those things read our scans?"
"I don't know," Raymont admitted. "I suppose anything can
read a scan. We could if we knew how," he added.
"It's coming our way," Leon told him. "What should we do?
Should we try to take it on? What kind of armament do they have?"
Raymont tried to remember the one he had seen before.
"Well, I remember seeing what looked like a grenade launcher, a gattling
blaster and a high powered pulse struptor on one of the things."
Leon looked at him. "Let's get out of here."
"I agree," Raymont nodded.
The two of them retreated back the way they had come. Turning down another
way, they crawled over a collapsed bulkhead and noticed a breach in one
of the lift tubes that had once serviced the ship. Ladder rungs for manual
servicing were imbedded into the shaft's side. Leon's tactical eye at once
picked out the defensive possibilities.
"You know, we could make a stand here, shielded by that bulkhead,"
he told Raymont. "If we couldn't take the thing out, we could retreat
down the shaft."
"I think the thing could follow us," Raymont pointed out.
"If it could get past that bulkhead," Leon countered. "Well,
what do you want to do?"
Back to Space Master Page
Back to Main Page