FRIDAY SF & FANTASY – Eric Olafson: Space Pirate
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But before the skimmer reached us, a bright energy bolt suddenly hit the speeder and a second one hammered into the Courier ship’s drive section. Hit by the powerful blast, the approaching skimmer lost its Arti-Grav cushion and screeched over the Duro-Crete, engulfed in a cloud of dust and fire, and crashed into a large pile of debris.
The second blast had done considerable damage to the Karthanian equivalent of an ISAH pod, and I was certain it wasn’t space-worthy anymore.
My tormenting captor had forgotten about me, ducking behind a piece of scrap metal, and cursing at the top of his lungs in a language I did not understand.
That was my chance, and I bolted as fast as I could, ignoring the very likely possibility of another energy bolt across the uneven ground. I leaped with all the strength I could muster over a busted shipping crate and rolled over my shoulder to lessen the still painful impact. Just as I did, a blaster shot cracked directly over my head. It came from the half-Shiss who brought me here. Obviously, he had remembered me after all.
The crate had been ripped open, and there were jagged metal edges. As fast as I could, I turned and started to work on the plastic tape that tied my hands.
I worked frantically. I could hear him yell and scream obscenity-laden predictions my way, telling me what he would do to me as soon as he got me again. He came closer; I could hear his steps. Blood trickled into my palms, as I had missed the tape several times, but I didn’t care. The scaled face of my tormentor appeared over the edge of the crate. The tape finally ripped, releasing my hands. I rolled on my back, the good old Colt .45 in my fist, a fraction of a heartbeat later. He had spotted me and was about to aim his weapon. The antique gun made a satisfying deep roaring bang, and the heavy slug punched an ugly hole right between his eyes. Blood and brain sprayed from the back of his head as it was violently thrown back.
“That’s for not letting me piss, asshole!” I vented my anger, cursing at the now dead man, but I knew I was far from safe.
I hunkered as close to the ground as possible and risked a peek around the crate.
Three men emerged from the damaged and smoking speeder. They all wore battle suits that did not look like any I knew and certainly not Union Fleet issue. I was certain the suits were shielded and the reason they came out alive from their damaged and smoking vehicle.
All three were armed with blaster rifles; one of them was limping, and it appeared that his suit had been damaged.
They did not look into my direction, so I extended my arm and reached for the Line Blaster my captor had dropped as I ended his miserable existence.
Out from under the burned-out wreck emerged a powerful-looking assault tank, crushing debris and waste under its wide tracks. From the organic lines of its design, I assumed it was Nul hardware. The tank was armed with two cannons and one of them swiveled around, aiming at the men. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stand in the firing line of a Nul cannon that close, even in a Quasimodo.
All I could determine was that they were humanoid, but as I saw them from the back, I could not tell anything else.
A loudspeaker squealed from the tank. “You don’t do business on our spaceport without us getting a share! I suggest you drop your guns now and deactivate your forcefields. Then we will talk fees and decide if you are allowed to continue your business.”
I had no idea where I was. While they were busy with each other, I crawled to the next pile of dirt farther away and kept on creeping from cover to cover, putting as much distance between them and me as I could.
I was now a good distance away and chanced a peek to see what was going on. Two men and a Quadiped floated right above the tank, apparently against their will. The three men used telekinetics and had disabled the tank by snatching its crew with that cursed power.
One of the armor-wearing strangers yelled, “You mindless scum! Do you have any idea who you are dealing with?”
The Line Blaster I had taken was a decent weapon and fired long bolts of energy. It was for this fact that they were named Line Blasters; however, it was next to useless against men in shielded armor suits with telekinetic abilities.
Besides, even without armor and psionics, the numbers were against me, and the only sensible thing for me to do was get as far away as possible. However, I hoped to hear some clue as to where I actually was and perhaps get some idea who it was that wanted me so bad that they abducted me.
Who were they and what did they want of me?
The next possible cover was a pile of Duro-Crete pieces, but it was at least one hundred meters from my current position; I glanced back once more. No one looked in my direction, so I risked it and dashed as fast as I could, then dove behind the pile, skinning my knees in the process.
The still-floating tank crew started to scream in agony. One of them was ripped apart in mid-air by invisible forces in a gruesome display of what could be done with telekinetics.
At the same time, the tank fired again, and the powerful energy beam vaporized one of the armored men and tumbled the other two through the air. Only one of them got up right away; it seemed the one who had limped would not get up again.
Another speeder arrived at high-speed, firing at the tank, melting much of its front section. More armored men scrambled from that speeder, and I could hear one yell, “Where is the Narth friend?”
The Narth friend? All this had to do with my friendship with Narth?
However, reinforcements had arrived, and there was no reason for me to wait any longer and give them time to search for me. Maybe they had scanners or some psionic way to search.
The tank was burning now and if its energy source was antimatter or a reactor and containment failed, that possibility was another good reason for me to split. I ran again, toward the end of that trash-littered landing field and toward the alien city in the distance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
It all started in 1989 when my friends and I played Role Playing Games such as AD, Midgard, Traveler etc. Not really satisfied with the selection of commercially available RPGames, I created a new one called Action World. Our RPG evolved into the Galactic Chronicles and I am now almost 22 years in that Universe. There are 34 handwritten 500-600 page books in the Galactic Chronicles series. I love to write and spend time in this universe.
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