The first chapter in a continuous fiction......
Criticism is very much welcome, I have never written fiction before but, like many hobbyists I presume, I have always wanted to. I present to you chapter 1:Arrival
The inky blackness of space was suddenly illuminated with the telling pink glare of warp translation, a great fireball swelled out of nothingness and into being, pulsing and writhing with immaterial energies, lightning coruscating the outer edges of the mass, strange creatures loomed behind the veil, trying to pierce the fabric of reality. The energy built up to its zenith, pink waves ebbing and flowing as if pouring over the outer edges, the centre of the maelstrom flaring bright blue white and vomiting forth a small dart like ship in to the void. Having disgorged the naive traveller, the surface of the maelstrom fractured, struggling to hold onto its grip of this other reality and like a thunderclap, folded back in on itself and disappeared.
The ship yawed lifelessly for a moment, the scarred and pitted admantium hull blanketed from bow to stern in crystallised vapour, before haphazardly blinking to life. Navigation lights slowly powered up across the hull, bathing the ship in a red and green glow, the thrust cowlings intermittently spat blue heat as the plasma drive engines came back online and righted the ship. Down the port and starboard flanks the meagre lance batteries animated back to life, one at at a time from the stern leading to the sharp prow. The ship insignia lights blinked revealing the ships name in 2 meter tall high gothic, The Isodon, a now defunct Arcadian pattern Corvette, once produced in the Voss shipyards.
Kalervo Borgvald, Kal to his friends, thumbed the access panel to the bridge, the old plasteel door hissed open illuminating the interrogators worn features in the soft green glow of the command bridges pict screens, his brow furrowed as he composed himself and stepped onto the deck, he always felt a little older and a little more fragile every time he came out of cryostasis. There was no formal acknowledgement of his presence on the bridge, no hierarchical custom was observed, not outwardly in any case, this wasn't the imperial navy.
The Isodon's bridge was empty, save for the emotionless servitors hardwired into the various cogitators and logic engines in the forward control stations, arranged in a standard crescent formation with the fragile navigator pod nestled at its centre, heavy brass framed pict screens suspended above each station relayed status updates and lines of machine code. In the centre was the worn leather command throne, raised on a dais and boasting yet more ornate pict screens, this time smaller, hanging from the ceiling on articulated servo arms.
The silence was pleasing, no voices, no irritations, just the hum of the machines and the occasional blurt of machine code. He liked the silence, it allowed him to think, to strategize, something the others have no patience for.
The others, they would be awake soon, the pre programmed cryostasis chambers, affectionately known as chill cubes, due to start the studious reanimation process. They had arrived in the Archos sub sector in good time, coming out of warp space close to the Anchorage spaceport, a popular haunt of rogue traders, Xenos game hunters, black market merchants and smugglers alike. An old Luxor class star fort which was abandoned and reappropriated long ago, as well as the passing starfarers the station is also home to various guilds and cults, one cult of particular interest is the Hattusa data cult. If anywhere was going to have the information they required, it was the Hattusa cult library housed at Anchorage.
As Kal slowly paced forward to the command chair raised at the centre of the room, the bridges computer greeted him in its familiar, yet lifeless, raspy, monotone machine voice
he shifted his glance upwards, a pointless gesture, there was nothing there
'Status report please Isodon'
'life support status is green, engine status is green, gellar field status is green, comm status is green' it continued its relentless drone reeling off vital systems checks
'enough, give me a sector view on the holo table, plot course and proximity to Anchorage port'
The old leather on the chair creaked as he rested back, he crossed his leg and pulled a small metal tin out the inner pocket of his worn officers peacoat, flicking it open with his thumb he drew out a fat dishevelled looking cheroot, hand rolled with his favourite Besarife tabac leaves. He took a long burn and exhaled slowly, playing the potentials in his mind. He was getting old now, running age scarred fingers through his thick white beard he considered things, his burly frame may have looked strong but he was still at least 80% human, 80% vulnerable flesh, the bionics were internal mostly. Assuming they get what they had come to Anchorage for, what would follow would be dangerous, shit, suicidal.
'Give me a run down on the chill cubes'
'Cube Alpha/Prime - Dormant, Cube Alpha/1 - Active, Cube Alpha/2 - Active, Cube Alpha/3 - Dormant, Cube Alpha/4 - Ac'
'Wait, Cube Alpha/3, repeat status'
'Cube Alpha/3 - Dormant'
Kal sat bolt upright, knocking his still burning cheroot to the deck floor, a bead of sweat forming on his brow.
'Shit, how long'
'Program terminated 14 hours, 6 minutes, 34 seconds ago'
...Shit, bloody ninkers out, shit...
'Isodon, locate agent 5/gamma'
'Negative, agent 5/gamma is not aboard'
'Security protocol red/2, she is here somewhere'....it's never that simple with five......'Activate reanimation protocols on cubes Alpha/4 through /6, bulkhead access on my print only, confirm Isodon'
The interrogator picked up his smoke and dusted it off, no use wasting a good leaf. He thumbed the door and hurried to the service elevator, pulled out his Webley custom compact and took another long burn before stepping inside the already open elevator car. His arm servos buzzed as he tensed, his stomach rising as the lift powered to the lower cargo decks, playing the potentials again ...where is she, how did she get out, must have rigged the control panel again, bloody ninker... his stomach lurched suddenly in time with the alert klaxon.
'cargo bay 2, cryostasis, med labs'
The doors hissed open evacuating the gathered smoke into the open space, lanterns illuminated the corridor at regular intervals, the dull plasteel feeding the shadows and the dust dancing sporadically in the light, it was silent but for the muffled hum of the Isodons control systems. Kal stood ready with his compact and assessed the situation carefully before stepping into the corridor, bracing his hand he turned slowly scanning up and down the length of the dusty space. A far off lantern flickered and the familiar servo buzz betrayed his apprehension ...where are you... pacing slowly, scanning up and down, he made his way to the bay 2 bulkhead, stepping over exposed ducting and examining broken access panels. Passing the Med bay windows, he peered through, he saw nothing but his own reflection and the inky black of the darkness beyond; Kal studied his features for a moment, an old man with shaggy white hair and a rough white beard staring back ...when did I get that scar... snapping back, he resolved himself and padded further down the corridor.
Reaching the bulkhead he flattened himself against the wall and steadily reached for the access panel, startled suddenly, a cacophony of metal ringing on metal further down the corridor made him snap round into a crouched position, compact aimed squarely at the source ...nothing there, huh. Must have been vermin in the ducts again, into the cable panels eating the copper no doubt, a job for Kolfinn later... the interrogator spun and righted himself, satisfied that he was safe, Kal reached again and thumbed the auspex reader on the access panel.
'bio signs, Isodon'
'bay 2, cryostasis, bio signs negative interrogator'
...good, that means five is not inside...
'open the door Isodon'
++Stay tuned for chapter 2 in due course and thanks for reading++