Zimudar and Aya continue searching through the debris field
“Shields up, incoming!” Hurin shouted.
Namazu, thrown against the back of her chair, struggled to reach the controls. Taharqo fell against the hydraulic door, hitting his head on the frame.
“Damn, what was that?” he asked, rubbing his forehead.
“Shield’s down to 30 percent,” Hurin shouted.
Alarms sounded on the small fighter.
“Targeting the source,” Hurin stated.
“No,” Namazu shouted to be heard above the alarms. “Zimudar and Aya are nearby.”
“Can’t maneuver fast enough,” Hurin yelled again.
“Boost shields. Taharqo, get to a chair,” Namazu shouted. “Helmet’s on!”
The ship jolted again, spinning facing away from the planet.
“Automated planetary defenses,” Hurin shouted again. “Damage report!” she shouted to the console in front of her.
“Shields offline,” a voice responded.
Hurin stood, steadying herself, holding onto a chair. “Gotta get to Engineering,” she yelled.
Red lights flashed on the bridge. Another blast. The ship jolted and gravity was disabled. The Ukhu began to spin. Objects floated away from surfaces. Hurin grabbed a console and launched herself towards the door.
Namazu shouted, “Enable stabilizers. Hurin, get your helmet!”
Another blast caused the ship to spin faster, Taharqo was thrown to the floor, a med kit, dislodged from moorings, flew across the bridge, hitting Namazu’s helmeted head. A chair sheared off from steel connectors, slamming against the door frame. Flames shot up through a crack in the floor. Taharqo floated, unconscious near the door, opening and closing intermittently.
“Commander,” a voice sounded from Namazu’s console. “Commander?”
Blood floated inside Namazu’s helmet, trickling from her ears. Her hands still positioned above the console, floating above it. Her feet began to lift from the floor, her unconscious body, still strapped to the chair.
Aya was breathing fast. Holding her weapon pointed ahead, she looked back, realizing she was being drawn further away. A glass stone hit her visor. She looked quickly ahead. Nothing. Then, another stone hit her shoulder. She walked towards it, weapon raised. She reached a clearing. Twisted metal and blackened equipment lay scattered in front of her. A tiny blue glow, blinked on and off against a shattered wall. She moved towards it. Suddenly, she was pelted with small stones. Rocks and bits of glass struck her visor and helmet. She turned her face away from the onslaught, but kept her weapon pointed. She looked back and the blue glow winked on and off, darting to the left.
Zimudar continued walking towards the weapon. Walking down a hill, she slipped. Grabbing at the darkness around her, she tried to find something to hold onto. The glove on her right hand caught on a shard of metal embedded in the surface.
“Warning,” a computer voice sounded from her helmet. “Suit integrity is compromised, pressure falling. Initializing compartmentalization.”
“Damn it,” she whispered. Reaching up, she tried to find the sharp object. Feeling the suit tighten around her wrist, she realized her hand would be exposed to the elements. She pulled her body up slowly, so as not to tear the fabric more. Her hand tingled inside the torn glove. She found the jagged object with her other hand. Pushing her body up the incline, she moved her right hand from off the object. As the glove lost pressure and frigid air rushed in, her right hand grew numb.
Aya followed the blue light as it moved through the wreckage. She slid on an icy surface losing her footing. She fell on one knee and stopped to regain her balance. She stood and continued running after it. From each side, she saw more blue lights moving in the same direction.
The lights picked up speed, moving faster, darting around and over rubble. The Planetary Weapon flashed on, allowing her to see more clearly. The blue light emanated from a dark object just a a meter off the ground. Other dark objects ran in the same direction of the one she chased.
She reached another clearing and saw a large metal cylinder ahead. Laying on its side, it formed a kind of tube. The objects ran into one end of the open cylinder. She stopped, wondering if this was a trap.
Zimudar continued walking. She couldn’t feel her right hand. She crawled up piles of debris, and slid down slopes of vitrified sand. Standing atop of a small pile of melted beams, she saw the weapon fire again. She was closer now. The air around the weapon glowed white, illuminating the structure from behind. She gasped. It was a pyramid, like the one at Sippar. The weapon discharged from the pyramidion atop the structure. She looked around and saw an opening on one side, a square window. In her memory, she saw the pyramid as it appeared before the Dusmanyu attack, sparkling white in the sun. It had served as the Parliament building. Rather than a weaponized beam shooting from the top, it had projected a beam of energy to a collector, rotating above it, providing energy for the entire city.
The weapon shot upwards again, bringing her to the present.
She hoped the Ukhu had not been struck.