The Depths of Space

Saidruck and his crew stumble across and ancient wreck in the depths of space. As they begin to investigate it and try to find out who it belongs to, things start to go wrong and Saidruck realises there is more to himself and this wrecked spaceship than first meets the eye...

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4. Barrens

            “What do we do?” B103 asked desperately. Saidruck ground his teeth madly trying to think, his crew looked up to him as a leader, they needed him to do something.

            “Barren ETA about an hour!” their bridge warned.

            What could they do? Run back to their ship, then what? They couldn’t leave the system while the portal was blocked and their ship didn’t possess photon drives, the powerful engines required for travel between systems. They only had impulse engines for in system flight. If they stayed in system, the Barrens would eventually catch up with them and kill them!

            Could they all hide on this ship and send their own out as a decoy? Then call for help when the Barrens were gone? No, they didn’t have enough spacesuits and their long range communications weren’t working.

            So what? Saidruck was stumped, they were dead, the thought overpowered all others, an all pervasive sense of dread. There was nowhere to run, no way to escape and no way to fight. They were all going to die. Saidruck shook his head; surely, surely they could do something? But there was nothing, after all his years of service, he was going to finally fall, not in glorious combat, but outnumbered and trapped with his crew.

            “I... don’t know,” Saidruck answered quietly voicing those fateful words.

            “We’re doomed aren’t we?” B103 stated in dismay sitting down heavily on the deck floor, his armoured suit clanking.

            “I’m afraid so,” Saidruck said very calmly.

            “Then we go down fighting?” B758 inquired trying to sound brave.

            “We can try, but we don’t have the weaponry to match...” Saidruck tailed off... weaponry. He sat down again and hurriedly tapped the screen.

            “Saidruck?” B78 queried. He pressed the ‘weapons’ line of text on the display. =Rockets 0 ammunition, plasmaark batteries on decks 3, 4 and 6 destroyed, rear guns damaged, turrets 78% destroyed...= the text read, giving a damage report. Whatever a ‘plasma-ark’ weapon was, clearly some form of ancient weapon, but he didn’t have a clue. Saidruck tapped the section saying turrets. =22% offline, power systems offline=

            “... I have a mad idea, that may just work,” Saidruck began a glimmer of hope building.

            “What?” B78 asked.

            “Some of the guns on this ship aren’t destroyed, quite simply we link the power of our ship to this and hope we can bring some of them online,” Saidruck replied.

            “And if it doesn’t work?” B78 continued.

            “We die,” Saidruck answered simply.

            “We copy,” the voice of their bridge command said.

            “I want a power cable ready, you four go back to the boarding rod and, I don’t care how, find a way to link our frigate’s energy core to this ships power grid,” Saidruck ordered, spurred on by the hope he may yet be able to save his crew. No matter how small the chance, it may just work and it was far better than waiting to die.

            “And you?” B78 queried.

            “I’m going to try and bring some guns online before the Barrens arrive,” Saidruck replied.

            “Need any help?”

            “You might as well help the others. No offence, but I seem to be the only one the computer responds to,” Saidruck replied... why he had no idea.

            “Yes sir,” B78 affirmed and the four of them headed off the bridge leaving Saidruck on his own.

            Now he had to figure out how to work this ship; breathing heavily into his helmet he examined the screen, searching for a way to type in commands. Without even knowing what he was doing his left paw moved to the thrones armrest and tapped the end twice. A keyboard slid out of the armrest and tilted to face him. He did it so instinctively he wasn’t aware what had even happened until he saw the keyboard. He frowned and tapped a key, the letter appeared on the screen, clearly it still worked.

            Carefully he typed in ‘turrets’ taking care with his oversized gloves. The screen flickered then brought up a highlighted map of the ship indicating the location of all the turrets, red for those destroyed, orange for those offline.

            Taking care Saidruck tapped the orange ones near to their frigate then typed ‘activate’. =Insufficient power= a message popped up. Strangely, he knew what to type, ‘route all power to turrets,’ the screen flickered then popped up saying =Rerouting= then flickered again. =All power shall be rerouted to turrets= Saidruck nodded to himself, now if the others could get a power cable linked up, they might just have a chance.

            But something still bothered him, using the other screen he tapped on the bridge again. =Bridge systems down, damage to main window at 13%, temperature -30  ̊C, air pressure 1 bar, friendlies 1, life forms 1= frowning he tapped the ‘friendlies 1’. =1 ICE= it read.

            Curious and almost afraid he tapped the line of text. =Darickus, commander= it read. Darickus? Who was... he looked again, wait, that was a misspelling of Saidruck? How did it know his name? Or rather why had they misspelt his name, but... Darickus was very similar to Saidruck. His brow furrowed behind his helmet, he didn’t like this. The ship knew he was there, it recognised his presence somehow, he had that feeling the ship wasn’t as dead as it first appeared.

            “Saidruck?” the voice broke through his disturbed thoughts.

            “Yes?”

            “We’re back at our ship, trying to sort out power cable now,” it was B78.

            “Good, I don’t need to tell you to hurry, but do,” Saidruck added.

            “Barren ship ETA fifty one minutes to firing range,” another voice warned. It was going to be close Saidruck thought to himself, very darn close.

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