ST: Beta Part 1

Part 1

Dabo-Tables. They are a phenomenon in the Galaxy. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a mining facility in a gaseous giant, floating in zero-g on a heavy space orbital or in deep space on some remote Y Class planet, somebody, somehow knows where the nearest table is. And would be happy to point out the way, for the right price.

The Ziggurat 3 was such a vessel in a far off place and was unknowingly part of said phenomenon. Although it couldn’t understand why, even if you tried explaining it very slowly because, you see, this junky old mining vessel was part of a Dabo wager and and its unfortunate Captain spoke a language no ship for a thousand Light years could understand. English.

I mention this in past tense because the Ziggurat 3 was minutes away from being totally obliterated by a planetary defensive system.

The ‘Zig’ sat in orbit over a barely Class M planet whose number was escaping the Zigs Captain at the moment, this was due to the fact that vicious bipedal baboon looking creatures in sleek military battle fatigues were firing Plasma bursts over his head.

Captain Aldus Banks, had been a space Captain since his early teens. The story of how he came to be such a man in such a position and in soo far distant a place from his own kind is a great mystery to those who’ve crossed his path over the years. The air of mystique had indeed penetrated deep into the Beta Quadrant. The tales of Aldus reach even the Klingon Empire, Some ships tell stories of the Earth Orphan, as the legend says. The tale varies depending on which Klingon War ship you are on. It starts with a family of earthlings, who set out into the deepest space hoping to find a new planet to call their own. Hopelessly, and inevitably they land on the nearest habitable planet, half starved rationing every meal, no sooner do they arrive do the troubles begin, as with any tale of people stuck starving on a ship and shortly there after coming into prosperity. Fighting over power and hoarding materials nearly rips the society apart. The Earth Orphan, depending on who you ask becomes the only survivor of that group. The HOW is where all tales loose their similarity, every variation you can imagine has been told. From him killing off the entire colony in a dispute over a bad harvest, a lack of attractive HU-MAN females, to him valiantly defending his people from some horrible invading party and being left the only one still alive. One thing IS true, and that is nobody knows the real answer. Banks learned early on in his nefarious space fairing days that a legend about you has more weight than any blood line or sir name. And he liked it that way.

But back to the issue at hand. The air in front of his face was being burnt by the release of green plasma bursts.  It made breathing a medal worthy exercise. Banks was lying flat behind a low but solid metal bulkhead in the main corridor of the Zig. He was stuck in this position for two reasons, one his friends with the guns were only able to get part of the upward sliding door open and had to crouch down to fire. And second, he woke up that way.  The last thing he remembered doing was running to the blast door controls which was directly above him now. He guessed that he must have been hit by some Biological EMP judging by the fading paralysis in his limbs.

The Metal blast door creaked a bit as the Tahlese Soldiers began lifting it up from the otherside. Banks laughed at the attempt at first, but quickly noticed the door started to shift upwards and his smile fell.  He realized this would be as good a time as any to grab for his modified Carbon welder which he converted to a full blown disruptor. But the bulk head didn’t offer enough height and he’d surely lose a hand in the process. Considering he hadn’t lost any limbs thus far he wasn’t about to start.

Again the blast door nudged upwards. A second volley of fire came at him this time hitting just over his toes. “Shit” he said to himself; swearing he’d never abandon a ship again, just because somebody wanted him dead. But this was getting rediculous. He’d done something horribly wrong this time. Who knows why or how. He looked over at his side. The conduit panel opposite his corner of the corridor was a false one. Inside it the previous owner constructed an escape pod which was cleverly hidden inside the ship. If only he could reach the latch and tear off the panel at the same time.

For a split second he thought about using the Wrist Wrench that was fastened around this right hand. It resembled a wrist watch band but the face was more rectangular in shape, it was slim, tightly engineered and perfectly ergonomic. Inside, the pod held three metallic prongs that shot out like alien antennae though the worked just like extended fingers. He doused the thought of risking his wrench because them getting shot was not only as painful but far more expensive to replace.

He gave up, half form impatience and half from fearing his only life. The split was 60/40. He didn’t even bother thinking the odds of survival when the thought struck him that the previous owner of the vessel was all to likely the man behind the attack. Banks should have known better, Dabo winnings always seem to go sour. Which was the more universally agreed to phenomenon.

Trust was something he and the Zig never had. Banks spent months trying to teach the ship English, but couldn’t retain the simplest verb no matter how many times Banks shouted it. It was, stupefyingly simple. After a while they both found mutual ground with what Banks refered to as “Bleep Code” a universal syntax all ship designers built into mainframes of space traveling automatons like Zig so navigation can be controlled while operating inside a larger structure or space station. Because Zing and Banks could only communicate over this machine language he converted the entire system to display and speak in Bleeps and Chrips. The visuals resembled a large grid of black and green pixels forming patterns and its voice was like a Modem attached to a loud speaker.

Banks knew there was only one way out. A regrettable one that involved pissing off the planets Defense system to the point of him losing 100% profitability on the Zig. He slapped the communicator on his belt and the computers Bleeping Chirping responded happy as ever, clueless about the pirate vessel that just drilled a hole in its hull. “Fucking moron”, Banks thought, “doesn’t even know when somebodies drilled it a new asshole”. He tapped some buttons and twisted some knobs to activate the mining laser but the machine kept buzzing a repulsive negative response. Finally he shouted at it “Commence Mining, Please”.  It paused as if to contemplate his words for a moment. Suddenly the old familiar sound of the ships mining laser started rotating its motors. He could hear the coils heating up. Banks laughed at the pitiful timing of his stupid ship. It gave him one last hopeful chirp asking for permission to begin.  Banks calmly replied “Yes the large planet below. Thank you.” ‘chirp?’ it replied, “Yes, Commence” Aldus ordered.

The mining laser would start as soon as it finished warming up. Banks noticed the Tahlese  stopped firing for a moment. He could hear them whispering to each other from behind the wall. Banks took a chance and pulled his Carbon Disruptor from his side and twisted his arm slightly to pull the firing mechanism forward until it locked into place. He waited still as a corpse even after the drill began firing. Knowing that the defense system would respond with a phaser blast across the bow at first then land a burst directly on Zig’s hull to let it know ‘it means business’.

A warning shot ripped across the front view screen alright, sooner that he expected and close enough to bathe the main corridor in a bath of blood red light. Its all down to timing now, he thought. The second volley came, this time it hit the hull what felt like next to his head and Zig lunged out throwing trash and creature alike off their footing.

Banks swung out his Disruptor and fired a shot at the latch which depressed into the wall, immediately flipping open the false panel leading to a clean brushed metal box inside. He noticed this especially because nowhere did the ship have clean brushed metal, anything. Before the Tahlese had time to react Banks was up and blindly firing bursts at the blast door as he ran to the tiny box.

With its cargo safely stowed the panel closed by itself and the floor panel released dropping Banks down a shaft and into a pool of G-Force sensitive Shock Gell. The tanks ceiling closed in over him the moment he was submerged. A light came one which bathed the tank in a slimly greenish tint. As the gel forced its way into Banks esaphagus chocking out the remaining air, he reflected on his situation and thought it would have been wise to test out this high tech version of a panic room before putting it into full effect. The smaller escape vessel aptly named on hits main hull plate: Ziggurette blew off the hull shield plate and was hurdling toward the planets surface.

Aboard the Zig, its invading party had pushed open the blast door enough to squeeze through and were already at the helm. They wrestled over taking turns on the main panel unable to figure out how to to stop the ship from doing what ever the hell it was up to. As misfortune would have it the Bleep Code as Banks had become so familiar with, was a complete mystery to Tahlese Army grunts and they were left dumbfounded. Adding insult to injury the Planetary Defence system seemed uncaring about its destructive force and continued its assault and concentrated all of its phasers at once, obliterating the Zig into a million pieces of monkey flesh and rusted metal.

In all the chaos, Bank’s escape ship fell through atmosphere unnoticed by the planets defences. About several hundred feet above sea level the mini ships engines kicked in and brought it from free fall to coasting arc. It finally came to a stop just inside a coast line north of the equator. A serene looking topical planet completely devoid of any signs of sentient interaction.

The ship coasted to a stop, hovering a few feet off the ground until it safely rested on its landing gear.  Inside the Ziggurette a circular shaft about four feet in diameter lay against a box inside the ships mini hull, the box went from floor to ceiling and seemed to be a more recent addition.  The Shock gel around Banks turned to liquid and started to recess through a grate at the bottom of the tank. The Circular rings opened, into the hull allowing him to crawl out coughing and spitting out the liquid in his respiratory system.

Banks sprawled out on the Mini-Zigs hull floor amazed he’d survived another ridiculous escape attempt. It was such a common occurrence that he now thought of it as a job. One that paid in adrenaline withdrawal on the weekends.

A soft female voice came into his ears. It was a Y’thulian womans voice he thought at first, then realized it was the computer best attempt at one. She asked him again very politely “Would you like a refreshment Captain?”

Captain Aldus Banks, gave out a sigh of relief and rested his head on his hands. Wearing a jumpsuit covered in goo and a shit eating grin from ear to ear.

END PART 1

~thanks for reading.

I’ll keep posting stuff on my tumblr: https://setphaserstofun.tumblr.com/

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