The final flight of the.., p.1
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       The Final Flight of the Phaseship Lelantos: Part 3, p.1

          
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The Final Flight of the Phaseship Lelantos: Part 3
The Final Flight of the Phaseship Lelantos: Part 3

  Copyright 2014 Cory McCoy

  “Tingles, doesn't it?” Vel whispered, letting the echo carry through the monstrous corridor.

  The mark bellowed and shot another hundred or so quills in all directions. Each missing.

  “This ship is part of me,” Vel laughed. “I can feel someone take a breath through an airshaft, even when they're 5 kilos away.”

  The target spun wildly, frantically searching for the Hunter. It was so discombogulated that the creature hadn't even noticed Vel was now standing just a meter away, with ulaks in his hands.

  “You'll only ever find me if I allow it,” Vel growled, slashing the bladed knuckles across its torso, then spinning and lopping off two of the creature's many arms.

  The mark screeched, desperately clawing, biting, and shooting quills. Vel was gone. He had melted back into the hull.

  “Coward!” The mark rasped, the word came slowly in a sickening guttural voice, via its interpreter.

  “Run,” Vel whispered into its ear as he lopped off three more limbs. The alien's electric discharge was utterly useless with the weapons Vel had made. The inserts in his boots and leg armoring absorbed any shock that the weapons didn't disperse.

  And run it did. The mark tore through the corridor heading toward the crunch deck. The very place he'd fatally wounded Aaric. He dies there. On the spot my brother fell, Vel had vowed.

  Jumping deftly from the railings and girders, Vel lobbed spear after spear into the bastard's back. They were little more than tips until thrown with just the right power. The shafts expanded midair, just before each dug into the scum's hide.

  Somersaulting thirty meters ahead, Vel landed softly, swinging the ulaks up once more. This time he took the creature's last arm and a sizeable portion of its lower jaw. Vel bounced off the railing and landed behind it before the mark could react. He slammed each spear ferociously, sinking them deeper into its hide.

  This time Vel lingered too long, perhaps he was overconfident. Three bristles burst into his chest. It was enough to knock the hunter on his ass, but the creature did not turn. It ran. Straight ahead, straight to Aariel.

  The surge of the bristles was nothing Vel couldn't handle. His skin was hard, they barely penetrated. Vel swiped the ulak down, angrily lopping the bristles off. He would extract the points later.

  A faint vibration began to radiate outward from the crunch deck. The mark wouldn't have noticed, even though he was a mere two hundred meters from the door. Vel knew though. Aariel had snapped and unless he got out of this corridor, he'd soon be dead along with the mark.

  Leaping to the girders Vel pushed himself harder than he ever had in his nearly endless existence. Long lived though he was, Vel knew he could still die. Just like the rest of his kind had, so very long ago.

  Vel overtook the mark and leapt feet first into the crunch deck. He didn't need to look, he knew exactly where the molecular distabilizer would be set up.

  Aariel screamed in rage as she saw the Mark, ready to blast him and the entire back half of the ship into oblivion.

  She was not fast enough though. Humans had always been so damned slow. Instead she found Vel's knee connect with her right shoulder, shattering the collar bone and her upper arm, along with a few ribs. The cannon fell idly to the ground. The humming gradually fading. Aariel flew through the air, slamming into the back of a chair.

  “Vel,” she gasped with something between shock and terror in her eyes. He saw himself reflected in them. His face contorted with rage.

  Three strides away. It leapt. Vel saw that reflected in her eyes as well, he didn't need to though. The subtle shifts in the air, the stench of the blood filling his nose, the thundering of its massive frame shaking the grating told him more than enough.

  Vel shifted slightly to the side, swung an arm out, caught the mark by its disgusting fucking face and slammed it head first into the ground at Aariel's feet. It's skull was fractured, breath raspy and labored, and it had all but bled out, yet it was still alive.

  “You're remarkably hard to kill,” Vel said, yanking each and every remaining quill from its body. “Then again, you're kind is quite adaptable, isn't that right? Fucking parasite.”

  “The containment cell is ready, sir.” Lelantos said. “Aariel is not going to be happy that you manually over-rode her control of the bots.”

  “Aariel is unconscious,” Vel replied. “Again.”

  “Yes, that does seem to happen quite often.”

  “Have one of the droids cauterize this fuck-knobs missing limbs,” Vel ordered. “He doesn't get to die that easy. I'm going to make this last a very long time.”

  “Affirmative, sir.” Lelantos replied as a droid finally moved from the position Vel had ordered them to stand guard. “As for Aariel?”

  “Let's wake her up,” Vel growled. He placed his hand on her broken shoulder and squeezed.

  “Sir, was that necessary?” Lelantos asked as Aariel shrieked in agony.

  “You tell me!” Vel shot back. “What the fuck happened to my flea?”

  “Sir...”

  “Not you, tincan!” Vel barked. “Her. The only reason you're still alive after risking my life and my ship is because I loved your brother. So you've got one fucking chance to answer me or I swear to whichever pathetic god you worship, that I will end you in a manner befitting the scum in that containment cell.”

  “Vel...” Aariel whispered, barely conscious and in shock, “It... I...”

  Her eyes widened and she gasped before passing out again.

  “All she does is sleep.” Vel laughed. Suddenly he wasn't angry anymore. He was afraid. Terrified of the reflection he caught in her eyes as she slipped back under.

  “Nyarrggh, nyarrgghh, nyargh, looks like I kill more boy of yours.” The mark chuckled from its cell.

  “Your voice seems to have improved after I lopped off part of your jaw,” Vel said. He slammed his fist into the wall of the containment cell. The mark stumbled backward, unaware that the forcefield was impenetrable.

  “Now, I kill you too,” It gurgled, “No time for jump!”

  “Lelantos, give me the planetary readings. NOW!” Vel yelled, turning to his console. “Have that medidroid tend to Aariel. Rebuild those bones and quick.”

  “Affirmative,” Lelantos replied as a thousand readings sprang to life on the displays. “Sir, the abnormalities are not coming solely from the planet. Its parent star seems unstable.”

  “Unstable how? How the fuck did we miss that when we arrived?”

  “Data logs indicate this is a new development.”

  “It takes us all Hoon-ter,” the mark gloated.

  “Lelantos, drop shield.” Vel ordered, then leapt across the bridge and drove his fist so hard into the mark's face that it bent the metal behind them. “Put them back on. We don't have time for that fuck to run his mouth.”

  “Analyzing scenarios, sir.”

  “Secure the droids, bring all the fleas home.” Vel ordered, “Lock them onto the rear of the ship, just above the main thrusters. Initiate post-light burn on all ships simultaneuously.”

  “Vel, it's too late,” Aariel rasped. “Look, look at the readings of the star, the core is unstable. What the fuck did it do to this system?”

  “We can still outrun this,” Vel ordered, shoving Aariel into a chair and strapping her in. “Sorry about the arm, kid. Actually, I'm not sure if I am. Lelantos, initiate!”

  “Post light burn is a go on all ships,” Lelantos reported. “The star is collapsing sir, it's going to pull us in.”

  “Push the engines to peak capacity. Hold them just below overload, we can break free. Give it everything.”

  “Total collapse of local star imminent,” Lelantos reported. “Radiation shields are being badly damaged by energy bursts, we are unable to achieve postluminal speeds.”

  “It's been an honor.” Vel said grimly, running his hand along the console. “I'm sorry darling, but at least this bastard is going out with us.”

  “Vel, don't say that.” Aariel sobbed.

  “Not you, the ship.” Vel laughed. “People who try to kill me twice in one day don't get pet-names, kid.”

  “Vel, I... I...” Aariel stammered.

  “Initiating subprotocal Alpha,” Lelantos said as an image of Aaric lying in his hospital bed took over all the main displays.

  “Hey Rosie,” Aaric said. “If you're seeing this, then it means you're in some serious shit and i'm saving your ass. Again. Now this might not work, it's just a theory Lelantos and I had been working on while you were out galavanting and punchifying bad guys, or whatever it is you do planetside. I call this one, Emergency Subroutine: Saving Vel's Pansy Ass. Strap in. This is going to get rough. Oh, and one more thing, I know she's there with you. She is my sister after all, just as stubborn as me. Just remember, I loved you all very much. But definitely the ship the most. Gods, this is a sexy bird. Lelantos, initiate emergency phase!”

  “What?” Vel yelled, confused as all hell. A jump at near lightspeed could kill them just as fast as the imploding star they were trying to escape. “Shut down that protocol, that is an order. Master Over-ride in effect, do not fucking jump!”

  “Sorry, Rosie,” Lelantos replied in Aaric's voice. “I can call you that because you can't corpsify me, seeing as how I'm already dead. This subroutine can't be undone. I'm the pilot, now shut your ass up and fucking trust me.”

  The star burst, blasting massive levels of radiation and gamma. Lelantos lurched violently, shifting into the void right as the first wave hit. The last thing Vel heard before losing consciousness was Lelantos diverting all power to radiation shielding and life support.

 
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