Alexia's Fall - Part 1
"Approach vector's are locked in, we are ready to rock, Captain".
"Alright Brakes, Take us in, let's see what we're dealing with".
"With pleasure, Ma'am".
The sudden shock of the attitude thruster's kicking in always made Sinclair feel a bit ill, she never had liked space travel in the first place, but the career was a family tradition, her father and mother both served the Terran Imperial Navy, her Grandparents before them.
They would never forgive her if she refused to join up.
"Alright, boy's and girl's, you know the drill, strap yourselves in".
At their Captains order the small crew of the TIS (Terran Imperial Ship) "Spitfire" shuffled awkwardly into their seat's and clipped on there safety belt's, docking was an unpleasent and rarther shakey process in an old ship like the Spitfire.
"All system's nominal, Captain".
"Brakes, you're coming in too hot!"
"I'm on top of it, Pinball, 2000 meter's"
"Brakes, slow us down... Tony!, slow us the fuck down, now!".
"As you say, Ma'am, reversing manuvering thruster's...1000 meter's"
"Engage the docking clamp's, brace for impact"..
Docking was alway's difficult, the Spitfire was retrofitted with docking clams and an umbilical, and converted for search and rescue operation's after it became obsolite as a combat and patrol vessel.
A few second's later came the jerk of the docking clamps connecting, along with the usual loud thud of the Mag-grips locking to the hull.
"Good work people"
"Can we find out what the hell we're doing out here in the arse-end of nowhere now, Captain".
"Yeah, c'mon Captain, this journeys taken us six months, even with the slingshot, just what in the .."
"That's enough!, Now listen up, this is a search and rescue operation, almost a year ago now we lost contact with TIS Alexia, as you no doubt know she's the biggest, fastest and best ship we've ever sent out, she got further, faster than any other ship in the fleet, so, we're here to find out just what happened to her".
"And why couldn't we know that before we got here?".
"Becuase I was ordered to keep our objective under wrap's until we arrived, that's all there is to it".
"Right, cause that ain't suspicious or anything".
"Okay, pipe down, Holy Man, Sister, Pinball, you're with me, Gizmo, Brakes, I want you to collect your shit, we're going to need you, we don't know what condition this ship's in, Ronin, No-Mates, you get to guard the door's, no one get's aboard the Spitfire, you've got your order's, get moving people".
It was obvious as soon as they saw the docking gate's the ship was on emergency power.
"Gizmo, there's no power to the gate's, can you route it from the Spitfire?".
"Already on it Ma'am".
Sinclair was close with her crew, on a first name basis when not on assignment, though they usually substituted "Cap" none the less. It wasn't suprising given that they spent month's, even year's together in the cramped conditions of the little ship.
As much as humanity had, and was still trying, we couldn't crack FTL, we got pretty close but it still took six week's to get to the Mars colony from earth.
The Europa science station was the last human outpost, the Empire was attempting to set up a station on the edge of the solar system as a defensive outpost and a place for R&R for personnel on long assignments (usually patrols) around the system's edge, the Empire was paranoid even though no extraterrestrials have ever been encountered.
The large docking door's lit up with warning lights and little flashing neons on the control panel beside it.
"That do it, Captain?"
"That did it, Mr Gizmo".
A few button presses later and the large, several meter thick blast doors began to slide open. The shock of atmosphere flooding in and compressing the umbilical connecting the two ship's, nearly knocked the four crew members back to the Spitfire.
With a few swift hand gestures from their Captain, the two security officers, Sister and Pinball, we're positioned on either side of the blast door, XV-22 handguns primed in either direction, looking down the corridor running transverse to the enterance.
"Sister, what do you see?".
Sister glanced down at the read out on the arm of her hostile enviroment suit, measuring the atmosphere and assessing the state of the ship.
"Main power's down Captain, but life support's still functioning, it's minimal, we have breathable air, it's old, but it's breathable, gravity is slightly below normal, 0.9g, shouldn't be a problem".
"Survivor's are unlikely Captain, but possible."
Holy man was the ships medical officer, a stout Catholic, a bit over-pious, but a good man.
"Two deck's up Captain, Elevators won't be functioning so we'll be taking the stair's".
"Great, which way".
Gizmo's voice came over the comm, "Left Captain, end of the corridor."
"Alright, Pinball you're on point, move in".
The ship was a mess, obvious signs of small arms fire, explosive damage, no bodies though. The sound of their footfalls in the seemingly empty ship echoed into every dark corner, the little flashlights on their helmet's and weapon's only illuminated small sections of the corridor at a time adding to the unease.
Pinball was obviously nervous, he was a stoic, brave man, to see him nervous was unsettling to the other's.
"Gizmo, Brakes, you ready?, we're going to need some engineering skill's down here"
"Almost Ma'am, just grabing the last of our tool's".
"Alright, Ronin, No-mates, seal the Spitfire and escort them to the bridge, we'll see what we can get running in the meantime".
"Yes Ma'am" came the reply over the comm.
The staircase to the upper decks was an unsettling sight, it had been hastily barricaded, though there were no signs of the barricade having been attacked, there were traces of blood that had seeped out from the other side and long since turned to dull stains.
"Possible casualties" Sinclair reported in to the rest of her crew.
The lack of an answer was unusual.
"No-mates, report" ... "Report!"..
The moment Sinclair finished speaking that last syllable a massive explosion rocked the ship, knocking them to the floor, only Pinball (being a monster of a man) remained standing, though leaning against the wall, then came the decompression and the weight of there situation hit them.
Luckily there Mag-boots automatically engaged and rooted them firmly to the ground. They heard the creaking, grinding sound of a damaged blast door sliding shut, then the loud "clang" of them magnetically sealing.
"Ronin!, Gizmo!, C'mon people talk to me what the fuck just happened?".
The comm crackled lifelessly for a few seconds, then they heard it, Ronin's pained voice croaking through their earpieces.
"Sinclair.. Beth I'm still here.."
"Ayumi!, where are you?" in the shock of the situation they had regressed to first name's, Ayumi 'Ronin' Ito was a tough bitch, and Sinclairs longest serving crew member.
"I'm .. ugh."
"Ayumi, talk to me.."
"yeah, I'm .. by the blast door's, the other's were..."
"Still in the umbilical Captain, they're gone".
Sinclair was silent for a few second's.
"We should head back for her, Captain"
"No need Sister, I'm already coming to you".
It was only a minute or so before Ronin caught up with them, she was limping slightly but insisted she was fine.
"What the hell happened over there, Ronin?"
"I don't know Ma'am, I was holding in the corridor waiting for the others to come down with that big chest of tool's the carry around with them, then.."
"Then what? for God's sake Ronin what happened?"
"Well... Captain, I thought I saw something move past me but..there wasn't anything there, then the Spitfire just.."
"Spitfire's gone.." came a disbelieving whisper from both Sister and Pinball.
"Fuck sake.. Alright people, we have to press on, we'll mourn later, right now we have to get this ship up and running, it's our only way home now.."
Giving out the orders for Sister and Ronin to keep guard, Pinball, Holy man and Sinclair began pulling down the barricade blocking there route to the bridge, their tiny flash light's doing nothing to alleviate the tension in the abandoned ship.
"What the fuck happened to the Spitfire?"
No one answered Holy man's question, and just kept working. Sinclair had an aweful feeling there were eye's on her but she didn't want to unnerve the others anymore than they already were and so kept silent.
As the barricade came down they expected body's, but nothing, no corpses, just a few scattered side arm's, bullet casing's, and dull brown/red stains, some pooled on the ground, some streaked up the wall's and stairs, whatever happened here had been unbelievably brutal.
"Just what the fuck happened on this ship!" Sister was becoming hysteric and it was out of character, she was a hardened mercenary, in her early 40's, with a lot of combat experiance under her belt.
"Calm down, Sister".
"Calm down?, what the fuck do you mean calm dow.."
She was cut off suddenly by Sinclairs palm across her face, Sister just stared silently for a few seconds, then backed off a pace, took a deep breath and nodded to her Captain.
"Right, Let's move people".
"I'll take point" there was a tangiable relief as they heard Pinball say those three simple words.
The rest of the ship was in no better a condition, having to pull down two more make-shift barricades on their way up to the bridge deck, more old blood stain's, one running right up the wall, further than their flashlights would reach, but still not a single body, it seemed obvious to them now that there were no survivor's aboard this cursed ship.
Finally reaching the main blast door's that lead to the bridge, they found them sealed, that meant possible survivor's.
"Get these door's open"
"Yes Ma'am, but without Gizmo and Brakes this may take me awhile".
"Right, you know what to do, Sister, Pinball, Positions, there, and there" pointing to the two best defesive positions atop the stairs.
"Ronin, weapon primed on those door's, we don't know what to expect in there"
"Holy man, get started on those door's".
For seemingly minutes they waitied, the two defender's almost motionless, staring into the small space created in the darkness by their flashlights, no one spoke, they almost didn't dare to breathe, Sinclair could see Ronin glancing over her sholder at the stair case every few second's.
"Yes Ma'am, sorry Ma'am"
The sudden sound of the massive blast doors jerking suddenly into life made them all jump, a small but horrendously girly squeel escaped Sinclair's lip's, much to her embarresment, no one mentioned it but she saw a tiny grin come to the edges of Holy mans lip's.
"You did that on purpose you bastard!"
"Don't you 'nope' me you ..." Sinclair cut her sentance short and let out a smalle sigh, pulling herself back into a more military mind-set.
The loud clang of the doors fully retracting into their slots in the wall made a metallic echo that seemed to shake the whole ship, it felt as though if anything was aboard this ship it now certainly knew they were here.
"Captain..." came a meek whisper from Ronin's lips.
Sinclair turned to face the young soldier, she was peering, wide-eyed through the door's. Sinclairs eye's slowly followed Ronins gaze inside the bridge.
End of part 1
Note from me: never written anything as comprehensive as this before so if anyone who read's it could inform me of any glaring plot holes or obvious mistakes I would really appreciate it.