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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5. Hidden Power

             Saidruck drummed his paws on the armrests of the throne and stared into space; they didn’t have long. He sat there in the dark waiting, knowing every minute the Barrens drew closer.

            “Saidruck...” a nervous voice echoed in his helmet, B103. “Are you sure this ships empty? I can hear things...”

            Saidruck sat up and tapped the screen, selecting the whole ship and typing ‘occupants’ =1 ICE, 4 unknown, 5 life forms=

            “Yeah, just us five,” Saidruck replied.

            “B103 isn’t kidding, I can hear it too, a clanging noise somewhere in the heart of the ship,” B78 added.

            “Ignore it you lot, we need that power,” Saidruck instructed “how’s it coming on?”

            “Found what we think is a power wire, just trying to link our power up now,” B78 replied, his voice a bit shaky.

            Saidruck closed his eyes, if this didn’t work they were sunk, but he couldn’t think about that.

            Minutes ticked by.

            “Barren ships ETA thirty five minutes,” a very nervous bridge hand intoned.

            “Come on, come on,” Saidruck muttered.

            “Got it!” a triumphant voice yelled down the comm, making Saidruck jump. This was it, now to see if it worked.

            “Excellent,” he replied glad that they had at least done their bit, now it was down to him. He tapped the screen and selected the turrets and typed ‘activate’. =Insufficient power, power systems offline= it replied. “No!” Saidruck exclaimed.

            He had no idea what to do; somehow he needed to make the ship recognise it did have power, but how? He tapped the overview of the ship at the point where the others had linked the power up. But when the screen moved to an enlarged view it showed nothing different. Saidruck groaned, he had let them down, what was he meant to do now?

            His paw twitched towards the keyboard, Saidruck ignored his rebelling body and closed his eyes, trying to think of a way to solve the problem. He opened his eyes and saw he had typed a line of instructions in and the area on the screen had lit up.

            “What?” he exclaimed aloud pulling his paws from the keyboard, he hadn’t done that? Something was wrong, how had that happened?

            “Saidruck, are you okay?” B78 inquired.

            “Yes, just working on the power grid,” he replied unsteadily, there was nothing else for it, for now he had to accept that somehow he knew how to command this ship.

            =External power detected= the screen informed him.

            He selected the turrets again on the other screen and typed ‘activate’. =Power type incompatible, plasma energy required for plasmaark turrets= Saidruck cursed. The energy from their ship was incompatible with the guns.

            “Sir?” B78 started.

            “Power is incompatible, I don’t know what to do,” Saidruck replied quietly.

            “Don’t give up, it’s our only chance! Do they not have a convertor or a backup generator?” B78 asked his voice urgent.

            “Why yes, they do!” Saidruck exclaimed. Level four near to the engines... wait, how did he know that?!? But how he knew it was of little concern now. Turning his attention back to the screens he located the backup generator and routed the power to it. It was indeed there, on level four.

            “I’m going to try and kick start the backup generator,” Saidruck explained typing away. Having given the necessary commands he fired it up.

            “Whoa! Just lost power!” a voice exclaimed from the bridge of the frigate.

            “Work! Work!” Saidruck muttered.

            “Is it working?” B78 asked hopefully.

            “Not yet,” Saidruck replied perched on the edge of the command throne in anticipation.

            “Whatever you’re doing, do it fast! Barren ETA twenty minutes!” a very concerned voice added.

            =Power online= a message read and with that the emergency lights all across the bridge lit up, bathing Saidruck in a malevolent red light.

            “We have power!” Saidruck shouted in triumph! Somehow the backup generator had just gone offline and the small jolt of energy from the frigate had been all that was needed to restart it!

            “Okay, you can decouple the frigate’s power, that should have done it,” Saidruck said his excitement building. Now hopefully the guns would work, they could still make it, they might just be able to pull it off! As long as he could get the guns working.

            “Nice one!” B78 congratulated.

            “You’ve done your job, you four back to the frigate, I want you to leave, take the frigate and fly away, just in case this doesn’t work,” Saidruck ordered.

            “Come of it, we aren’t leaving you behind,” B78 objected.

            “If this works you can pick me up later, otherwise I want you to run,” Saidruck continued.

            “But...?”

            “That’s an order,” Saidruck finalised.

            “Yes sir,” B78 replied meekly. Saidruck smiled, at the worst he could buy them time.

            He reselected the gun turrets and tried rerouting the power again; hopefully now the generator was working the power would be compatible. =Weapons online= a message read, he grinned wickedly in response.

            Then he changed the screen to a system overview and selected the oncoming Barren ships, ordering the guns to target them. He knew instinctively how to do it, a sixth sense guiding him round the complex controls.

            =Weapons password required= the colour drained from his face.

            “No, come on, not now,” he moaned, he was so close. He stared forlornly at the flashing input box, now what? He hadn’t a hope of guessing it. He tried typing ‘override’ in the hope he’d still get control. =Weapons password required=

            Saidruck closed his eyes, there was no way round it, unless he could guess it, the weapons wouldn’t fire. His blood ran cold again.

            He lent back, this was it? Unless... unless, no, it was mad. But an idea was growing; somehow he could control this ship, knowing how it worked, what to do. Maybe, just maybe the same was true of the code?

            He didn’t like the feeling he wasn’t in control of himself, but there was nothing else for it, it was this or die. So he closed his eyes again and placed his paws on the keyboard, gently resting them in the middle and willed his subconscious self to type in the code.

            His paws moved, keys were pressed with a quiet ‘tap, tap tappety tap’ sound. He opened his eyes and a sixteen character line of text decorated the screen, speaking salvation in sixteen characters.

            “Barren ETA ten minutes, we’re moving away,” a voice informed him, the ship vibrated slightly as the boarding rod disconnected.

            Hoping it had worked Saidruck pressed the enter key. =Access granted, all turrets locked on= a slow but steady grin spread across his face, it had worked!

            =Target in firing range in three minutes= the screen informed him. Now he waited. He felt exhilarated, he was in command of an ancient warship of the past with immense power at his pawtips and it felt good. Without knowing why, he slid the armrest down to reveal a feebly pulsing blue power vein. Resting a paw on it Saidruck could feel the ship, its battered body and broken shell and the weak energy of the backup generator pulsing through it.

            It was no accident he had found this wreck, it had called him somehow. He had a hidden power within him, one to awaken this slumbering ship, for it wasn’t dead, merely asleep, and Saidruck was here to wake it.

            =Target in range=

            ‘Fire’ Saidruck typed with the excitement of a child on his birthday.

            The lead Barren ship didn’t know what hit it, as suddenly forty-four double barrelled plasmaark turrets opened fire from all across the battered ship. The shield of the Barren destroyer was shredded in seconds and the ship torn apart in a fiery supernova as the arcane guns of the once dead ship fired.

            Saidruck could feel them all, paws flying over the keyboard, stopping turret 3.1 from overheating, shutting damaged turret 2.8 down, redirecting the fire of turret 8.13 whose aiming computer was damaged. He was in control.

            Completely taken by surprise the Barrens tried to turn to face the large wrecked ship, but Saidruck didn’t give them a chance. Splitting his fire he tore apart the remaining destroyer and another frigate, the powerful guns making short work of the smaller Barren ships. Lancing blue streaks of plasmaark blew through the hulls of the Barren ships blowing them apart in blazes of glory.

            “Woo! You show ‘em Saidruck!” B78 cheered from over the comm.

            The three remaining frigates turned and began to fire on the large ship, but to no avail, they were each shredded one by one, the turrets of the larger ship easily annihilating them.

            The whole battle had taken minutes, possibly the fastest Saidruck had ever seen an attack fleet destroyed. But he’d done it! They were safe! Even as he thought this he saw the Barren cruiser turn and run through the portal, seeing it was outgunned and its escort dead.

            “Congratulations all, I think we did it!” Saidruck cheered over the comm.

            The Barrens were dead and the Dinamity frigate was saved, but above it all, the old ship was alive again and Saidruck was its master. He was no longer afraid of this ship, it was his now.

            He had power like none other at his paw tips; repair this ship and who could stand before him? He had the power to command this mighty ship, which clearly even in its battered state out classed the Barrens.

            This was just the beginning, Saidruck thought, gently stroking the armrest of the throne. It was time for the warship of ICE to fly again.

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