Sky in the Stars, Part 11

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Skylar faces off against an unknown foe to save the EX-390 station.

28 September 2931

EX-390 Asteroid Field

Sigma 5 Space

 

Skylar’s tech-suit had kept her warm, but the heating systems in the observation deck were down. She kept the lights off to not risk being seen. But now as invaders were attacking the EX-390 mining station, Skylar wasn’t sure what to do. This wasn’t her job. She opted to work as overhead and leave the dangerous mining to the others, something she felt she had doomed them to since she cheated at the card games that determined who would go out. The station had fighters, but much to her dismay she witnessed one torn to pieces and tumbling into the asteroid field. She could only assume that the small defenses the station had suffered the same fate.

The identity of the intruders was unknown. The battles still waged outside. Explosions could be heard here and there. Some were probably mining drones being blown apart. She cringed at the thought but could only sit on the floor and wait… and wait. Where was Gray Hunter?

The observation deck shook again from another explosion. Skylar stood up and looked out one of the windows. It was quiet. Nothing but the sight of asteroids casting shadows upon asteroids and the dust trails of space fighters could be seen.

“What the hell, Gray Hunter…” Skylar whispered to herself. She checked the holomonitor again to see the status of the distress signal. It had never sent. The signal was being jammed. Even still, Skylar knew that a disconnected signal would stir some suspicion but whoever was jamming her distress signal had replicated the original and sent it back to Gray Hunter. This was beyond Skylar’s tech expertise. Whoever wanted this station had certainly done this before.  With a few more moments Skylar realized the source of her signal was being tracked. “Oh no…” She brought up the schematics of the ship and found every measure of security feed she could. The mysterious star fighters were heading toward the station’s hangar bay.

Skylar shut everything down and exited the observation deck. It was a dead end and there was no means of defense. As quickly as she came she left, taking the catwalk outside and back into the main station. The armory, that’s where she needed to be. When she arrived in the station it was quiet. Either workers were out in the field, or locked in their rooms waiting for the inevitable. Skylar continued down the halls, running as fast as she could, taking the maintenance ways as to not run into unsightly opposition.

“This is some serious shit, Skylar!” She whispered to herself before crawling through ventilation shafts. She had  worked in them before due to her naturally small stature compared to the rest of the crew. She heard the footsteps in the halls. They were big… heavy. Skylar had heard stories of… well it couldn’t have possibly been true. She shook her head, not wanting to go down the road of paranoia. They couldn’t be here… why would they be here? She checked her wrist-com and brought up a schematic of the station. She was getting closer to the hangar. Bio-signatures were heading closer to the refinery. She checked the status of the miners. Most of them were still alive, at least their drones were still functional. Now that Skylar thought about it, whoever had been battling the stations fighters hadn’t bothered to fully destroy them. They disabled the ships, leaving the pilots useless in their cockpits. These raiders weren’t here for blood. They weren’t here to kill. They were here for resources, and resources alone. Skylar thought to herself for some time as she ventured closer to the hangar. She considered just laying low, in hopes that these raiders would take the station’s goods and then leave. Skylar shook her head.

She unhinged a vent cover and proceeded quietly into the hangar bay. There, a few fighters sat, their engines still warm. They were no ordinary fighters, not from what she had experienced. Two large front cannons. Two thrusters… and one wing? The ship almost looked like a bird that had lost one of its wings for whatever reason. She attempted to get closer but spotted a guard. Her suspicions came true. The figure stood a good three heads taller than most of the men she had met. And it held a broad hulking stature that even Bard would have trouble competing against. It was certainly alien, and its armor was so sleekly designed that she had trouble discerning it from the creature’s body. In its hand it held a staff, a weapon Skylar was sure it was proficient in using. They already proved to be masterful pilots… they knew what they were doing. They had done this before.

Skylar snuck around crates and containers trying to get around the guard, but his ever-watchful eye was cautious. She didn’t have a plan just yet, but one of them was getting aboard a fighter at least. Moving around the guard proved more difficult with his patrol patterns. Skylar calmed herself, her heart racing. She convinced herself these aliens weren’t here for blood but she wasn’t willing to take that chance. She took a small can of penetrating oil and tossed it as far as she could away from the ships and toward the maintenance area of the hangar. Immediately the alien growled and grasped his staff before moving away to investigate. Skylar nimbly scurried into the shadowy section, hiding behind the fighters before climbing into one. The ship was never properly turned off. The aliens wanted to make a quick getaway she assumed. The HUD wasn’t in English, or any language she knew. Of course, she expected no less.

“D’ah… crap. How does this work?” she muttered. With a few moments to fiddle with the controls, she fired a shot from the cannon straight into the hangar. The guard immediately emerged from the maintenance area with a growl. “Uh oh…” Skylar panicked. “Uh… uh! Damn it!” She pulled up her wrist-com and cycled through menus with as much haste as she could.

Security access.

Technical controls.

Hangar bay.

Hangar door control.

Force hangar airlock.

Enter user keycode.

**********

“Oh, fuck you! That’s my code!”

**********

The alien drew closer, running for the fighter.

**********

“God damnit!”

The alien leapt onto the wing of the fighter. Skylar let out a small scream.

**********

The alien walked toward the cockpit and made its way to try and grab Skylar from the ship.

**********

The hangar airlock kicked on. The alien looked to the door as his hand was just at Skylar’s neck. Immediately he was ripped from the spacecraft and sent into space. Skylar turned on her suit helmet. A few metal plates and a visor came to cover her entire face before her entire vision was blocked. A HUD turned on with a camera view of outside. She was now completely sealed. She shut the ship's cockpit canopy eventually. A few moments later activated the rear thrusters, but not before boosting into the ship and colliding with the other fighters in the station.

“Oh man…” Skylar shook her head. “This is wild.” She piloted the ship carefully before getting the hang of it. It was nothing like the simulations for the fighters she was trained for. She was hailed, a face popped up on her screen. It wasn’t friendly. And quickly it wasn’t happy either. Soon enough Skylar found herself in a chase. She did her best to avoid cannon fire. She even led them through the asteroid field, something she was so well knowledgeable of, she had often had dreams of its complexities.

“Catch me in here losers!” Skylar taunted.

There was nothing but angry chatter over the comms, but Skylar couldn’t help but smile… laughing at the thrill and excitement. She was on the brink of death, but all she could manage was a pounding heart, a wide grin and a tear in her eye. She had almost forgotten what she came to do.

“The comm tower!” Skylar said, turning around, losing the fighters for a moment before heading back to the station. There was some odd device latched onto the tower, right at the base. “That must be it…” She said to herself. It took her a few passes and a few missed shots at the station, but a single cannon blast disabled the device without incurring too much damage to the antenna. Immediately all the radio chatter came to her helmet from the miners and other workers from the station. She looked to her wristcom again and swiped through the menus to initiate another distress signal. There was no jam. The signals were clear. “This better work.” Fighters were on her tail again. She took a few hits but bolted away back into the asteroid field where she knew she was safe.

However one of the aliens cut her off, and with little time to react flew straight for Skylar. She had tried to avoid the collision but the alien banked its fighter to meet hers. The alien fighter’s wing sliced through and cut her single ‘wing’ off leaving it to tumble in space.

“Those aren’t wings!” Skylar cried out. She maneuvered the fighter again, flying out of the asteroid field. Once again, another fighter was headed straight for her.  These creatures  knew how to use their ships blade with surgical precision. But before the fighter could make any distance on her, dozens of ships arrived from hyper space. Human ships. Gray Hunter ships.  “YES!” Skylar cried out. Immediately Gray Hunter opened fire on the alien spacecraft. Skylar watched with glee as they were destroyed or forced to evade.

Cannons fired at Skylar, one from a larger cruiser ship. The blast rendered her ship entirely useless. Thrusters were gone. Weapons were offline. Hydraulics and electrical systems were all but lost.  Skylar panicked and unfastened herself from the seat. She panted.  Sparks flew.  Eyes danced  around… then focused on another shot headed straight for her. Her ship was destroyed, and Skylar’s body was left tumbling into the depths of the asteroid field. The blast left her unconscious and her  suit was minimally functional.  Her body was left to fly, spinning in the endless void of space.

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