Alex Kaidan: S01E01 - Paradise Lost

Being completely unable to think of a sensible name for your space ship tends to be less of a problem when there's only one ship in the whole Human 'fleet', besides Alex Kaidan only ever really borrowed it. What could be more of a problem is Earth having been paved and only a few Humans surviving, and that was only thanks to the actions of a benevolent alien race known as the Un. Alex and his crew have made it their mission to find and rescue however many Humans they can that are being held captive by any of the alien races. A mission made all the more difficult by the sad truth that a catastrophically decimated population is not an employers' market.

In this episode, Alex's attempts to save a large group of imprisoned Humans from being slightly too comfortable goes horribly wrong when Sara Heath, a member of his crew, shoots and kills a man.

“Paradise Lost” is the first episode in season 1 of the science fiction series “Alex Kaidan”.

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1. 1

Alex Kaidan pressed the smiley face icon on his wrist console and all hell broke loose. Well, most of it anyway. The main lights cut out and the deck lurched as the coordinated computer virus and explosives did their thing.

You better be ready, Dann!”

Following a pause of a length that could only ever be described as unsettling, Alex's second-in-command simply responded with, "Erm".

The artificial gravity suddenly increased in an entirely unintended manner causing Alex to be pulled to the floor and be pinned there for several seconds before it finally went offline completely. He cursed himself for his poorly written virus code as he pushed himself up off the deck, steadying himself so as not to drift away. He then activated the mini-gravs on his oversized boots, anchoring himself to the floor.

He took a deep breath, making a mental note to increase the O2 concentration next time, before he said, calmly and deliberately, "What do you mean, 'erm'? What could possibly warrant an 'erm' in this finely detailed and well-established rescue mission we spent weeks working on?"

They, er, don’t want to be rescued”

What?”

"Um, well the prisoners don't want to come. They say they like it here"

They like it?” They’re not allowed to like it - it’s a prison”

Actually, it’s quite nice. It’s warm and the food is awesome, ooh and they’ve got this artificial waterfall and...” He seemed to realise that he was wittering, and so finished fairly abruptly with, “Well, it’s better than my cabin anyway”

"Well did you explain to them that they’re being held against their will for the purposes of alien experimentation and that what's left of their own race is depending on them for its very survival?”

"Hang on," he said. There was a short pause and then Dann returned to the conversation, “Yeah, they don't believe me, but the spokesperson says that even if it was true, it’s a relatively small price to -”

Alex cut him off mid-sentence, “Dann, I’ve just triggered the explosion on the main part of the station. We've also killed the gravity here. Atmosphere is venting out and any second now the institute's security force is going to be on us, and that’s if they haven’t started to abandon the station which, I hasten to add, is now probably well on its way to being in a decaying orbit”

Yeah, we felt a bit of a judder - it’s starting to look as if you’re going to have a few angry homeowners down here, let me tell you”

Tell them that they’re will be a few dead homeowners very shortly unless they come with us”

It took him a few moments to process what Alex had just told him, before he cautiously ventured the response, "So....You want me to shoot them...?”

No, Dann. I meant if the space-station is about to crash into the planet and kill them all unless they come with us.”

He breathed an audible sigh of relief, “Okay, I’ll tell them”

Unless you think threatening to shoot them will help at all?”

Probably not, Alex”

He terminated the call and ventured into the corridor to which the shuttle's docking needle had breached. It was here that he had been able to deploy the virus onto their system and from here that he had initiated the weaponised drone. Previous generations of Humans would have been comfortable referring to this drone as a remote controlled car with a bomb strapped to it, although they may have been somewhat bemused by the strange protrusion mounted on its surface which gave it the ability to press door buttons. However, all of that was before Alex's time, at least in this incarnation.

Dann Iko, meanwhile, had been tasked with boarding the station via a second shuttle which was larger due to the anticipated quota of returning passengers - a quota that they now seemed to be having trouble meeting. In addition to Alex and Dann, the boarding party also included Sara Heath and Matthias Cho, who had been strategically placed throughout the area to act as lookouts. He switched his transmitter to conference, “Anyone else having difficulties?”

The first to respond was Sara, "What do you mean 'difficulties'? Please tell me you haven't screwed this one up, too"

Her tone made Alex feel uneasy, particularly because she had spoken to him in virtually the same manner as that with which he had just responded to Dann. He thought that it would be wise to reassert his authority, "Do I have to remind you that you are addressing your captain?!"

"Sorry, Captain. Please tell me you haven't screwed this one up too, sir"

"That's more like it," said Alex, confident in his firmly re-established position of leadership, "it's nothing we can't handle. The prisoners simply wish to stay in their cell, that's all."

"They what? I told you not to send Dann to get them. I wouldn't trust that idiot to put his pants on the right way, let alone ensure the fate of the future of the Human race. I'm going to sort it out"

"Remain in position"

"No chance"

Matthias now chipped in, "I'm coming too"

He should have expected this. Matthias would follow Sara out of an airlock naked if she asked him too. Particularly, if she asked him to do it naked, in fact. There were now so few women left that an especially manipulative one like Sara could get men like him to do anything she wanted. In theory anyway - she was here as part of his ragtag crew on a dubiously obtained ship raiding alien facilities rather than being back at The Village, so maybe the others had grown tired of her scheming. On reflection, his whole crew were with him for the wrong reasons, but Alex had to take whatever help he could get.

"Return to your positions. That's an order"

Neither of them replied. Alex cursed them over the open conference channel.

He poked his head out into the corridor only to see several of the station's security guards coming around the corner, as predicted. It was an intriguing sight. The Nedic, who ran the institute, had ten limbs that were capable of clinging on to every surface, allowing them to traverse the corridors with ease. The lack of gravity clearly did not seem to trouble them, nor did the vastly reduced air supply caused by the blast. Bulkheads would have been automatically sealed by now no doubt, but the sudden dip in oxygen levels should have caused anything not wearing a space suit, as he was, to undergo at least a temporary inconvenience. Both of these inconsistencies prompted Alex to speculate whether they had biologically adapted to a life in space. If that was the case, could it be that the gravity was only activated for the comfort of the prison population? He had to concede that he just did not know enough about the Nedic to be able to judge.

The guards had their weapons already drawn. He counted five of them as he unholstered his pistol - a bulky force wave projection device of Un design - and took aim.

One spotted him and dived for cover with surprising agility for a blob with ten spindly limbs. Alex took advantage of the momentary confusion in the others and fired, knocking two down at once.

The other three returned fire with one hitting the wall which he was hiding behind. Alex thanked the various deities he had heard of that the Nedic were not a carnivorous species and as such, did not have forward facing sensory organs. This meant that while it was difficult to sneak up on a Nedic, they fortunately could not shoot straight.

He poked his gun around the corner and fired blindly, unknowingly mirroring the Nedic's firing pattern surprisingly well. Of the remaining guards, one was hit (although it was shot inadvertently by another Nedic), leaving two. Alex felt that it could be a good time to attempt to negotiate, while he had the upper hand but before more of them turned up.

"Stop firing!" he yelled into the collar that came up from under his suit, half-covering his face. The collar not only provided the air he was breathing, but also contained a microphone for his galactic translation software which ran on his wrist console, "I'm just here for the Humans, then we'll leave. There's no need for more bloodshed!"

The translator beeped helpfully and displayed a message on his wrist console suggesting the use of an alternative to the word ‘bloodshed’ as Nedic did not have blood, instead relying on the diffusion of gasses through their many lung-sacs positioned throughout their bodies. While this information went some way towards helping him to understand why the sounds emanating from the translator resembled the sounds of chronic, multi-orifice flatulence, it was less than useful in a fire fight. Alex dismissed the message impatiently and tried negotiation once more, "Sorry about the explosion, um, thing"

Negotiation clearly was not his strong suit, as the only reply was an increase in the number of projectiles that continued to take sizeable chunks out of random nearby structures. It was at that moment when Dann's voice chirped across the conference channel, “We have another situation down here, Alex"

"Busy!" he screamed

"Yeah, okay, but they’ve decided to stay and wait for the Nedic to, um, rescue them"

A surge of anger swept through his body and he channelled it by standing up, aiming and quickly picking off the last two assailants. He looked around and was relieved to find there were no more guards, but then felt disappointed that there was no one to see the bravest thing he had ever done in his entire life. Instead, he angrily addressed Dann's latest problem, "They want the Nedic to rescue them... from us?!"

"Yeah, that's about the size of it"

Then he heard Sara's voice through Dann's microphone, "You're coming with us, all of you. Humanity shouldn't be spread out at a time like this. We need you and you need us"

Now the prisoners were talking all at once and he could not make anything specific out.

He switched to a private channel as he began the slow walk in zero-G to their position, "Dann, keep her calm, I'm working my way over to you, but we need to convince these people that they're better off coming with us. The last thing we need is Sara going mental on us and-"

He heard the sound of a gun being fired over Dann's microphone.

"Oh Jesus! Oh Muhammad! Oh crap! Sara just shot one of them! Point-blank. Oh no, I think he's dead"

Above the screaming, Sara shouted, "Anyone else want to stay behind?"


 


 


 


 

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