Solarian Down

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Summary

Low Marshal Lenaga finds herself marooned on an ice planet. With one harmless stuttering survivor for company. But is he harmless? She’s starting to have her doubts. Lenaga peered around the edge just far enough to see a pirate coming around the back end of the shuttle. she leaned into her rifle and took aim. It was disconcerting how quiet the Hard-light rifle was. Just a “ClickClickClickClick” as four lasers blasted through the pirate. His flesh and blood boiled before instantly rupturing in goar across the snow. Just when she thought the next crewman was about to come out, the entire craft exploded in flame. Policing the badlands of your empire is tough enough for most cops. But when your people are in a war with the Solarian Nations? It can be... complicated.

Genre:
Scifi / Action
Author:
Hayden D. Linder
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
16
Rating:
4.5 2 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter 1


“All have their worth

and each contributes to the worth of the others.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, “The Silmarillion”



(Translated from the language of the Luthiel where appropriate.)

Low Warden, Lenaga Dloc, sat watching her console. Looking for any sign of the pirates they were hunting. This region of space was remote. Truth be told she was more entertained by her Left, who continued to comment on the human news he watched,


“Dark elves!?” Daroon blurted incredulously as he looked at Lenaga. “They are calling us Dark elves, now?”


Lenaga almost lost her composure and smiled. Left Low Warden to Dloc, Daroon Faass was, like most Lefts, a clown. A Left’s responsibility to the law was knowledge of subterfuge, extortion and assault. The job tended to lend itself to the cynical. Daroon was handsome, thin, and swift. Everything a human would expect an elf to be. And he had a biological -need- to learn as much about Solarians as was mentally possible.


Lenaga could not chastise him for this. First: because they were ordered to learn as much about their enemy as possible. -She- tended to focus on equipment and weaponry. But Daroon had an almost addiction like fascination with their culture. And Second: it was entertaining.


Cailhem Vun, her Right, asked. “Why do you allow yourself to become invested in the humans’ opinion of us?”


Cailhem, like most Rights, was to the point. His responsibility to the law was tactics. He was unattractive and large. Everything a human would expect of a troll. If they existed.


“I care about what people think of me. That is why I dress so well.” He replied before looking down his nose at Cailhem, “Unlike some people.”


Lenaga lost her composure and laughed. All three wore the standard black skinsuit of the High Warden’s Arm. The only difference being that she had two white shoulders. The white covered the ball of the shoulder and ran up to her neck. It was the same for both of her men except Cailhem had only his right shoulder covered and Daroon had only his left.


Cailhem shook his head in disgust. “I hope you are ashamed of yourself. You have made her laugh.”


“I am.” He nodded. “I am a horrible… elf?”


“Alright, enough.” Lenaga said as she regained control of herself. They were hunting pirates. It may be dull but it was important. “Anything useful from those human feeds?”


Daroon shook his head. “Just popular media garbage. “The Solarian Nations continue to defend themselves against the Luthiel aggressors.” He stated.


“Well neither of us have made any progress in this war in the four years since it started, so that is accurate.” Cailhem commented.


“That was true.” She thought. Four years of fighting a stalemate WAS a bit much. “Anything good out of the Capital?” She asked Cailhem.


“Yes.” He nodded. “The raider, Halsin Vaah, sieged the town of Julin on the fifth moon of Finwe. The mercenary, Johnathan Blackwell, stole a newly made battleship. “The Sword of Ardule.” The city of Harn is in revolt again. The Solarians are suspected. And The high council is considering peace talks with the Solarians.”


She nodded. “Peace talks are not our business. Battleships have fold capability so Blackwell could be anywhere. Did the authorities in Harn ask for support?”


“No. They seem to have it in hand.”


“And Julin is not that far away.” She nodded. “Could Halsin be the pirate we are looking for?” The three Warden’s sat in the middle of a small chamber in the center of the ship. Their chairs faced each other in a triangle with Lenaga seated at the apex. Daroon, to her left, and Cailhem, to her right, looked to each other a moment before nodding their agreement to her.


“Setting course” She stated as she thumbed her chair’s console to life.


The green and blue screen of her Luminesced Floating Control bridge hovered in front of her. Lenaga set the course and slid their speed to its maximum.


The Quindi class gunship was a small three man shuttle with just enough room for the crew. The small sleek black tube had the ability to fold space but Lenaga knew Halsin was no longer at the town. She hoped to run into him on his way back to this system. IF he was indeed the same pirate that had been raiding scavenger ships in this sector.


“What are the orders for Halsin?” She asked.


Cailhem’s eyebrows rose. “He is one of two enemies of the Kinsmen listed as “Hold or Kill. All means forgiven by the High Lord.”


“Huh.” Blurted Daroon. “Who is the other one?”


“Blackwell. Though, his order lists a preference for “Hold.”


Daroon smiled. “Blackwell is not a murdering rapist so that makes sense.”


The others nodded.


Many hours later, “Signature.” Daroon stated.


Lenaga looked at him. “Details.”


“Cruiser, probably Kuru design, attempting to hide in the atmosphere of that ice planet.” The planet in question highlighted itself on their screens.


“Have they seen us?” She asked.


“No.” Stated Cailhem. “Our signature is too small under standard propulsion. But if we fold space to close with them?”


“Using the planet to mask our approach and sending probes to investigate?” She looked to her Right.


“That would be the safest action but time consuming.” He replied.


“A cruiser has a lot of space to retrofit, Low Warden.” Daroon commented. “This cruiser appears to be old. It has had a lot of time to be outfitted with any number of scary surprises.”


“You recommend the safe approach, Left?” Daroon nodded once. “...Agreed.”


Lenaga changed headings to run diagonally toward the planet. They were about to go into combat so she had them donn their armor. Not as durable as the military armor but it was environmentally sealed. She approached at normal speed toward the atmosphere. Lenaga wanted to get as close to the planet as she could without breaking into the atmosphere. Then she would send the two probes around the circumference to investigate.


“Signature!” Daroon shouted. “Kuru cruiser folded 3000 meters to our rear!”


Lenaga was reaching for the fold command when their vehicle shook and rumbled. She ordered the ship to fold but nothing happened. They had heard rumors of a “fold weapon” that could destroy the drive. She pressed again but the folding drive was dead.


She immediately looked at Cailhem. “Dark gaze!”


Cailhem targeted the cruiser as their tethered weapons pods exited folded space. The moment his console showed ‘acquisition,’ he fired. The ten missiles pods and two hard-light cannons ripped the cruiser to pieces.


“Signature!” Daroon shouted. “They are firing thinner!”


Lenaga knew that was the enemy’s antimissile system. If they fired that to stop her missiles then they were also firing their own weapons at her. She dove the ship into the atmosphere in an attempt to avoid the enemy fire. She could hear her men working to destroy the enemy as they brought all weapons to bare.


Then her world was red.


Lenaga sat in her chair struggling to remember what was going on. Her Left sat leaning to the side. The right side of his face was covered in blood. Her Right was missing. She shook her head. Her ears were ringing. Her Right was still in his chair but it lay sideways on the floor. A support rail pinned him across his back in an unnatural position against the side of the ship. She shook her head again. It wasn’t her ears that were ringing. She looked and saw the entire engine section was gone. That noise was the air rushing passed as they fell.


Their consoles had disappeared when the power died. Lenaga released her restraints and forced her way to the manual controls at the front of the cabin. She still had front thrusters and a few anti-gravity plates. She began several short bursts to break their speed.


The controls showed several thousand meters till landfall. Which she took as good news. After ten or twelve short burst of reverse thrust she began to urge the craft toward a flat smooth snowy area. She prayed it was as promising as it looked. Once she was on path she gave full power to the reverse thrusters and anti-gravity plates.


She managed to bounce them a few times off the surface but overall a pretty good landing. Once the gunship came to a halt she pulled herself up off the floor and went to check on Daroon. His wound looked bad. Whatever hit his head had ripped the right side of his helmet off and his right eye looked to be missing.


Cailhem was worse. Once she approached him she could tell his spine had been severed. If he hadn’t been wearing his armor he probably would have been cut in half.


She heard the thunder of an incoming shuttle.


Lenaga rushed to the weapons locker and pulled out a Heavy Hard-light repeating rifle. One of Cailhem’s favorites. He called her “Grumpy.” She ran to the cavity that had been the rear of the ship and peered out. At an oblique angle to her right she could see a dirty old shuttle just touching down. No doubt it belonged to the other ship that attacked them. She stepped back a few steps to get some cover and switched the weapon to her left hand.


She peered around the edge just far enough to see a pirate coming around the back end of the shuttle. Lenaga leaned into Grumpy and took aim.


It was disconcerting how quiet the Hard-light rifle was. Just a “ClickClickClickClick” as four lasers blasted through the pirate. His flesh and blood boiled before instantly rupturing in goar across the snow.


Just when she thought the next crewman was about to come out, the entire craft exploded in flame. Lenaga jerked back behind cover. She glanced out at the wreckage, waiting to see if anyone survived. When she didn’t see anyone she brought up her armor’s internal motion detector.


She could see what was probably smaller animals in the area running away from the explosion. No pirates but… there was one large signature about three hundred meters on the other side of the shuttle. Too big to be a person but standing there watching like no animal she’d ever seen.


{H H H Hello?} She heard broadcast across the radio.


{H H H Hello, i i i is anyone r r r reading me?} It was Solarian.


Solarians were assholes but they would treat her men. She engaged the communications suite of her helmet.


{I I I I heard an e e ex ex explosion n n n nearby. If a a a anyone i i is reading me, m m my name is B B Benjamin Hadd. I’ve b b been m marooned on this r r rock for five years and R R REALLY need a ride off!}


Her heart sank… However. If he’s been here that long then he’s never heard of the Luthiel and knows nothing about the war.


[Benjamin, this is Lenaga Dloc. My ship crash landed.]


{Doesitwork?!}


[No, Benjamin. I am sorry.]


……...


[Benjamin? Are you there?]


{Y yeah. S sorry… A Are y y you OK?}


If this turned out to be a trick?... She’d open up with the heavy repeater. If it wasn’t then he may have some kind of medical aid. [I am fine but my two men are badly hurt.]


{I I have a r r robotic d d doc! H H How How b b bad bad, FUCK! What’s wrong with them?}


[They are both unconscious. One has lost his right eye the other has a broken spine.]


{OK. OK. OK. OK… Key your m m mic for a m m minute so I c c c c can lock on to y y your s s s signal.}


Lenaga couldn’t remember how long a minute was but she remembered it wasn’t too long. She held down the transmit button and counted to one hundred. She noticed the large creature on her scanner had started to move away.


.…{I g g got y y you. G G G Give m m m me w w one hour t to g g get t t to y y y y you.}


[Thank you, Benjamin.]


That’s when Lenaga realized both her men were exposed to the cold now that their suits were damaged. She popped her face plate to check the temperature and was surprised by how cold it was in the ship. She broke out several emergency blankets and wrapped them around her men. She got the first aid kit and administered a tranquilizer to Daroon and Cailhem. She did NOT want them waking up in the amount of pain she knew was waiting for them.

With her men settled she began to gather everything that was still functioning. Armor, weapons, food and medical supplies. Then she sat with Grumpy and waited for this Benjamin Hadd.


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