The Voyages of the PS Nones
Chapter 12, Rescuing Klulimi
As we rejoin our heroes, they're approaching Aondoar, the capital planet of the Aondoar Republic. We acquired a second ship, christened the Obscura by Dafnord, which is a twin for the Illustra that Aelwe and Klulimi will be arriving in shortly. Unlike the Illustra, the Obscura is as well armed as we could legally make it. Onboard the Obscura is Morniesul, Aelwe, Robbie, and the body of the young Quishonne we unfortunately forced into a trap on Loald. The rest of the party is on the Nones.
We land at the main spaceport at Linken, the planetary capital. The customs inspector on the Nones is rather thorough. The inspector on the Obscura verifies that there's a body in the coffin we bought at Meshel, but nothing else.
When we disembark, we discover that Aondoar is very Earth like. The vegetation is even green. As expected, We've arrived before the Illustra.
We sell half our shipment of biotechnics for a modest profit. We've got about 650,000 marks in local, contemporary currency. At this point we've got about four accounts in the Terraform Reach containing various large sums of money. It's getting difficult to keep track of which accounts are available when. It's tough being wealthy, well-armed time travelers.
Since we've got about a week until the Illustra shows up, we go shopping. Robbie looks into the local body shops. Unfortunately, nothing's easily compatible, and Robbie is very out of date by current standards. He finds a personal telekinesis kit for 800 marks. It's an additional 500 marks to interface it. This fills Robbie's I/O bus.
Everybody (except Robbie) gets diffusion belts and flight packs, including the dragon.
Robbie also gets a Swiss-Army furnisher, like the one that Salimar bought at Meth, as well as a hand tractor.
Morniesul buys a used, highly intelligent, but not quite sentient autopilot for the Obscura for 850 marks. He also gets a two-person air-scooter. Markel gets a small one-person air-scooter for 100 marks.
Aelwe gets an instrument pack.
We discuss the coming attack that will be made on the Illustra. It's likely that we'll be in a fight. While it will probably be between ships, it's possible that there will be some hand-to-hand combat. One weapon that will probably be very unexpected is Markel's bow and arrow. While the arrows themselves will go through diffusion fields very nicely, we work on giving them a little extra punch. Salimar pokes herself with an arrow and leaves a drop of herself on the arrow, with the orders to explode on contact. Markel fires one into a target, and there's a small pop. A good effort, but not very useful. Aelwe comes up with explosive tipped arrows. They're a little head-heavy, but they will explode on contact. Usually.
In a moment of idle paging through the Aondoar-Wide-Web, we stumble across the address of the Pharosian embassy in Linken. It's on the 3rd floor of an office building. It's very hard to find the door. We consider giving them the body of the dead Quishonne, but she's also still alive on Loald at this point in time. We decide to leave them alone.
A week after we landed, the Illustra arrives. Morniesul has a deal brewing to sell the remaining biotechnical, but it's pending a final exchange of messages.
We put Aelwe on the Nones in Orbit, and tell the Nones that he's only to be allowed to contact a member of the party. And especially NOT himself. The Nones offers to engage it's Stochastic Buffers; a time-lock detector that Tom set up which are designed to make an operation fail in the event of time lock. We agree that this would be a good idea.
Aelwe agrees that Klulimi might detect one of Salimar's viewpoints, so we track his movements using more mundane means. Robbie watches him using his spy eye, and Morniesul watches through a songbird that came out of his handy book of glamours. We see him and Aelwe go to the Pharosian embassy.
After seven days, they pack up and leave. We cancel the pending deal and pack up our biotechnics and follow to Chelard. The Obscura remains at the outskirts of the system with Morniesul, Kate and Brunalf aboard. The Nones (a.k.a. the Dubious) follows the Illustra in and docks at the orbital spaceport. Klulimi and Aelwe descend to the surface. We hang around the spaceport and wait for them. After 10 hours, they return and depart on a vector towards Pharos via the Tierrico system, where they will be waylaid. The Nones follows the Illustra to the edge of the system and rendezvous with the Obscura. We maneuver the yacht into the Nones' hyperstate envelope and set out for the Tierrico system. We drop off the Obscura approximately "now" (as we're leaving the Chelard system), with Morniesul, Aelwe, Katrina and Kate aboard. The rest of us travel back another day in the Nones and hide in the clichÚ-ridden vastness of space to wait for the fun to start.
A day after the Nones, started waiting, we pick up the Obscura by using the Nones' passive sensors. It's just where and when we left it. We contact the yacht using Morniesul's glamour communicators, which should give us an untapable communications channel. A few hours later, the Illustra shows up, coming in at full throttle. It's being pursued by another ship, which is several AU behind the Illustra and closing. The crews of both of our ships carefully watch for Klulimi to jump overboard. Our special Qui sensors remain quiescent. The pirate ship closes to within a few hundred meters of the Illustra and then fires. The Illustra returns fire. Suddenly, the Qui sensors register activity on the Illustra. The Illustra takes off and the mystery ship closes in on the Qui activity (where the Illustra just was). That's our signal. Klulimi just jumped ship, and Aelwe is on his way to be picked up by pirates. We're now out of the zone of time-lock.
We have Aelwe (on the Obscura, the one on the Illustra doesn't know that we're here) start using Qui. Katrina feels almost like she can see puffs of black smoke coming out of Aelwe's hands, but only if she doesn't look closely. Kate is quite certain that she sees a deep chocolate ... hears a deep velvety cloud ... It's dark and rich and sometimes there are little sparks of orange to second sight.
Unfortunately, the ship that fired on the Illustra doesn't seem to be reacting to Aelwe's use of Qui. Aelwe says that he can do a flashy trick, but he tends to faint after he's done, and then throw a fit. Essentially, he uses Qui to teleport. Aelwe goes to his bedroom and puts a tag on the bed. Morniesul wraps him in blankets and duct tapes them shut. He then inserts a gag into Aelwe's mouth and ties it tightly.
Aelwe looks at Morniesul, and nods, saying "Ruf ray." There's a loud cracking noise, and Kate sees the bridge fill with heavy, dark, velvety, chocolate smoke. Morniesul sees a shimmer in the air. Katrina is in danger of getting a migraine. Before they can decide what they saw/heard/felt, there's a thump from the cabin. Katrina and Kate check and find Aelwe unconscious on the bed.
Meanwhile, the Nones heads towards Klulimi. We detect a warm mass of human proportions, which we assume is Klulimi, and three other masses approaching him. They're below room temperature, and cooling. We assume that they're more Hexenjagers. Their ship is hanging in space nearby.
As the Nones closes, Aelwe performs his teleport on board the Obscura. The three cooling bodies disengage from the warm body and return to their ship which reorients on the yacht, starts in that direction, and then cloaks. The Obscura cloaks and tries to evade, heading off in a random direction. The mystery ship isn't fooled. It continues to track the Obscura and gains on it. Morniesul orders the ship to continue fleeing at maximum speed until either they are fired upon or the pursuer gets within 2 minutes.
The Nones zeroes in on Klulimi. We try contacting him on the standard communications channels, but there's no response. Now that he's in sight, Salimar looks out a window and tries to raise him telepathically, but runs into shields. Well, if he won't talk to us, we'll have to bring him here. Dafnord goes to the airlock to fetch Klulimi in. Before the airlock depressurizes, Robbie suggests he take a big sign reading "Friends of Aelwe's." Dafnord pauses to make one.
With a blaster in his hand, and glee in his heart, Dafnord jumps out of the free-falling ship towards Klulimi. He's wearing the flying belt he bought on Aondoar. Without much in the way of mishaps, he comes back towing Klulimi. Over the intercom comes the message. "I need help. Nones, I need a diffusion barrier in the airlock." Klulimi is frozen in a spread-eagle pose, and won't fit into the airlock so we can close the outer door. With the diffusion barrier in place, Dafnord can just maneuvering him through. As soon as Dafnord gets the outer door closed, the Nones heads after the Obscura.
When the pursuer is two and a half minutes away from the Obscura, the Nones comes to it's sister ship's aid. From the Nones' point of view, the other two ships appear to be radically torqued knots of gravitational field produced by their hyperdrives. The Nones fires at the ship pursuing the Obscura. Nothing obvious happens.
Morniesul has the Obscura reverse orientation and fire. There's a sickening feeling as the ship rotates, and the pursuer is closing faster, since the hyperdrive is not as fast in reverse. The Obscura fires again. Nothing appears to happen.
Before the Nones can fire a second time, it is hit by a shock cannon blast. Robbie's circuit breakers trip. Salimar loses shape. The dragon was in mid-air when the shock hit, so it wasn't touched. Markel wasn't so fortunate, and he passes out. The dragon noses at him concernedly. The Nones announces, "We have taken a hit," and then all of the screens go blank. Dafnord was shifting to a new position to try to get Klulimi in through the airlock's inner door, and was spared the blast. Klulimi is unchanged.
The pursuit ship's cloak goes down. Unfortunately, the Nones is still rebooting. The Obscura hits again. And is hit by our adversary. Kate and Katrina get a violent shock. Morniesul is spared. Aelwe is still unconscious in the bedroom. The Obscura stops firing.
Morniesul grabs blankets to use as insulators and contacts the Nones on the glamour communicators. "Hello, Nones? Is anybody there?"
The Nones responds, sluggishly. "Yyyesss sir."
"Very well sir."
Morniesul then addresses the Obscura. "Pilot?"
"Are you still capable of firing?"
"And if you have the spare capacity, show me how to fire, in case you can't."
A screen lights with directions. As Morniesul is studying it, the Nones contacts him over the glamour communicator. "This is the Nones sir, I thought you should know that the enemy has tried to get off several shots and has failed to hit us."
Suddenly the adversary ship vanishes. It's dropped out of drive and is falling behind rapidly.
Morniesul has the two ships stop and rendezvous. While we're getting together, Aelwe comes to and starts twitching and throwing a fit. Kate fell onto the bed when she was shocked. She drags herself on top of Aelwe, trying to keep him from flopping off the bed. The fit stops after a minute, and Aelwe goes limp, then there's something that sounds like an attempt at intelligent communication.
Morniesul leaves Brunalf in charge of the ship and goes back to find two women who are unsuccessfully trying to speak and his uncle who's been cocooned. He picks Kate's macrometal knife out of the deck and releases Aelwe who breaths deeply for a few moments, and then asks, "What happened to them?"
"We've had a bit of a tussle"
"I guess we came out all right, or we're in more trouble than it looks like."
Morniesul attempts to minister to Katrina. He puts her on the bed and piles blankets on her. Then tucks Kate in next to her.
Once we've gotten ourselves together, we have to Nones maneuver in range of a sensor sweep, but beyond the range of their weapons. The adversary's weapons have power, but the engines are destroyed. We discuss our options. On the one hand, we don't want to get close enough to them to get zapped with the shock cannons, and the shock cannons have a longer range than the Nones' weapons. On the other hand, we don't want to leave live enemies behind. Fortunately, the enemy ship can't maneuver.
We have the Nones jump to the Ort cloud and extend it's hyperstate field to envelop an iceberg. We then jump back to the enemy ship and exit hyperstate at an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. We have the Nones release the proto-comet beyond the enemy's weapon range, and then stop. The cosmic slushball continues on through the intervening space. There's a puff when it impacts the adversary ship, and the berg continues serenely on. We check on the result. There's a crater, but the Nones can't detect any pieces that are body sized. They're toast.
Last Updated: 7-Oct-06
©2004 Barry Tannenbaum, All Rights Reserved