Chapter 23: Phaon

 

Date: 4 Novanus S.D. 5100 of the Fifth Empire. Time: 18.00

Looking down from his seat in the gun turret Leon asked, "You lot find anything interesting?"
Raymont ignored the question, posing an idea of his own. "I think we need to get out of here in whatever still moves, the faster the better. Then we call the capitol and let them know something big's going to blow out here so they don't put us in jail for a looooong time."
"What are you talking about!" Thorn interupted. "Are you saying that you want to call up the Phaon Planetary powers-that-be and just tell them, `Oh Hey, Hi there! You know, you guys might want to know that there's a big anti-matter explosion that going to go off with the force of a big volcano somewhere on your main continent!'"
Raymont scowled at Thorn. "Yea, something like that."
Joe interjected, "Well, I have to agree with Raymont. We can't just let that ship blow up without warning people. There still might be explorers, miners, hikers who could be killed if they're in the fallout from the blast. Also, such a large explosion could wreak havoc with planetary communications."
"Good," Solo snarled. "As if I care. I just want to get back, cash in, and get me a new friggen arm. Is that too much to ask?"
"But we don't know that `the Divinity' will explode," Tessa pointed out.
"But what if it does?" Raymont retorted.
"What about the artifacts?" Bug asked. "Shouldn't we take a look at them?"
"Don't interrupt, Bug," Tessa warned it. "Humans like to argue. Right now that's more important than the artifacts. Besides, we might want to open those later in a more controlled environment."
While taunts, accusations and snide remarks were thrown around the cabin, Bug did it's best to steer the tank in a northerly direction. Solo, when he wasn't yelling at someone, occasionally lent a hand.

Date: 5 Novanus S.D. 5100 of the Fifth Empire. Time: 23.36

After a while, Raymont's argument won out and the party agreed to call the authorities, but only after they'd put about seven hundred kilometers behind them. They were parked on the edge of the wilderness. It was night and off in the distance, the sparkling lights of a few small towns beckoned to them.
Hooking in to the tank's powerful communication grid, Raymont made the call.
"Hello! Is anyone out there? Hello! Over."
A voice immediately replied.
"Who is this? You're accessing a secure channel! You're in violation of both Phanoic and Jade-London communication protocol. Identify yourself and your call numbers."
"Look, I don't want any hassle, but I just think you ought to know that there's going to be a huge explosion in about twelve hours somewhere near Lake Tramsamere in the Draaksama Mountains. We're talking a very large blast from a crashed ship, whose engines are set to overload."
"What!" The voice paused. "Hold on."
"You know, this is just a suggestion," Tessa pointed out, "But don't you think we should break the link before they trace your signal?"
"Good idea," Joe nodded. He didn't wait but cut off the communication. Raymont, his mission done, didn't offer any objections.
Joe then set about to copy some files off of Raymont's Ono-Sendai and some of the scanners they'd salvaged, but then realized that he didn't have any extra discs.
At that point, everyone set off to sleep.

Date: 6 Novanus S.D. 5100 of the Fifth Empire. Time: 03.32

It was cold outside. And since they'd turned off the tank's heaters, not wanting to leave a heat trace, it was nearly as cold inside as well. Everyone huddled up together for warmth. Except Bug that was. Not needing as much warmth as the softer skinned humans, Bug stood watch, observing the tank's instrument panels with a serene fascination that would have long ago put a human to sleep. It was he that began to jostle the party to wake up. But then he was aided by something else. There was a roar and a boom, and the tank, suspended in a passive a-grav mode, rocked with violent motion.
"What the hell was that?" Raymont asked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
Leon had already crawled up the turret, manning the main gun.
"Low flying craft flying at supersonic speeds. I'm detecting a broad sweep scan. Correction, make that two low flying craft."
There was another violent rocking of the tank followed by a boom.
"Shit!" Solo swore. He reached into his pocket for a cigar and, finding none, let loose with another colourful expletive. He and Bug put the a-grav tank back into motion, awkwardly guiding it down between two trees. Not being trained in tanks, Solo managed to knock one of the trees down, no doubt doing some nasty damage to the paint job on the port side.
"Nice job parking, Solo!" Thorn commented.
"Hey lady, anytime you think you can do better, you can have the driver's seat. Until then, - shut up!"
"Do you think they saw us?" Tessa asked.
"Who knows," Solo grunted. "I'll guess we'll soon find out."
Tessa's next question was, "What do you think they'll do?"
Joe, who was a native of Phaon, answered her. "We're in a tank with markings belonging to an enemy who tried to help conquer us. What do you think they'll do?"
"Not good," she exhaled, obviously scared.
The party waited for over an hour, but nothing happened. It looked like, at least this time, they'd escaped.

Which sort of bandwidth do you propose using in your intended message? There are several types.

General Usage (for anyone to use. Several channels not reserved.)
Reserved (select channels reserved for vid or holo broadcast. Usually filled with strong signals that are hard to interfere with anyway. Message usually would not be heard on this bandwidth.)
Emergency (general emergency use. Usually for government bodies. Heavy fines and/or jailtime for misuse)
Military (select upper or lower bandwidths. Sometimes exclusively tightbeam. Most civilian equipment disabled to not be able to access this bandwidth. Some nobles are allowed and have equipment to have exclusive channels in this spectrum.)

Of course, your vehicle is equipped for all bandwidths. Also, it does have a transmitter for surface to ship communication. Bug says that he might be able to link into one of the geocentric satellites orbiting Phaon.

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