Escape Velocity

As they rode the conveyor belt to the stopping point they looked around and Jaxx asked, “Wut now smart dudes?”

Jamie was the first off the end of the conveyor, and hit the stop button on the machinery there before the drive core fell off the end and broke.

"Sorry, you'll need to run the rest of the way!" He called back to Jay and Cass, who cursed him, but ran anyway. When they saw the drive core at the end of the belt, they understood.

"Well, at least there's a bug here." Cass said, noting the single Starbug that looked mostly in one piece. There were several more, but they were in a much worse state.

"Come on, we need to get this in place." Jamie said, getting the equipment up and running. There was another crane on this end, and it appeared to be in much better order than the first one they'd tried to use. It only took a minute of rewiring before it burst into life, and swung down to the drive core.

"It's too quiet." Jay said, his weapon held up, watching for movement.

"Perhaps with the belt off, there's nothing to attract them?" White Wolf suggested. By this point, he had returned the robotic head to his cheek pouch, and was assisting with positoning of the drive core.

"How's it going?" Jay asked a while later, without looking back. His attention was still firmly on the way they had come from. Strangely, this side of the facility was devoid of all life, save for some plants that had worked their way in through the walls. It was eerily quiet, save for the noises of the crane, and those working on the starbug talking to each other. All you could hear outside of that was the occasional drip of water. However long this place had been abandoned, it was enough for some of the moisture seals or air conditioning to have failed.

Soon, the drive core was in place, and Jamie left the controls of the crane to join the others in and around the starbug, connecting all the systems and cables necessary to make it work.

"So, this thing isn't airtight, is it?" Plisken asked, eyeing up the damage on the flanks. Some of it was just rust, others looked like weapons damage.

"No, but there's a full set of space suits inside." Jade said, having checked out the inside already with Tara.

"All except for a hamster shaped one." Tara corrected.

"Don't worry. I'll be fine with just a breather mask. My kind can survive unprotected in vacuum for a reasonable amount of time." White Wolf replied. "Given recovery time, I could probably do without a breather mask, too."

"Yo dudes." Jaxx said. "What about that gnarly metal plate I got?"

Eve leant over to Jamie, and whispered "I told him we needed it."

"Grab it. We need to weld it to the front of the bug for a bit more atmospheric protection." Jamie said, and together, they did just that.

"This is an ugly craft." Jay said, looking it over before everyone climbed in.

"Yeah, but it's functional." Jamie replied.

Everyone got into space suits, or laughed at the fleshy meat bags for needing such things, or commented on the plus sides of being a hologram.

From the pilots seat, Jay hit the remote controls for the launch bay doors ahead of them, and the rather loud noise attracted the horde again. They began to pour out of the darkness and flood towards the Starbug.

Jay laughed at them, as he took off and hovered 15 feet above the ground, well out of reach of any of the mutants. "This is what was missing from L4D15. Would have made it much easier."

He spun the ship around a bit, testing the controls and frying some mutants as they got too close to the engines. Soon, the door was open, and he rocketed out.

"Keep low until we get up to speed, then break for orbit." Cass said, reminding him of the plan.

The starbug roared out into the jungle, flying just above tree level, gaining speed all the way. "Everyone sit. high G-s imminent." Jay said, and everyone sat down as instructed.

The air broke ahead of them as they flew, leaving a white cloud behind them, and as he pulled back on the stick, the missile defenses kicked in, launching a wave of them after the unauthorised vessel.

"They're gaining on us." Cass said, watching the computers.

"Not for long." Jamie said, and spun to face one of the computers, rerouting power to the engines from every system. It was, after all, all they needed.

"Ok, we've lost most of them, but there's still a couple after us." Cass updated, "We should be fine, I doubt they have the staying power."

The bug turned from green to red to all those below on the planet as the atmosphere heated it up. A couple of the following missiles exploded as they overheated in the same atmospheric friction, leaving just one following them.

"We're losing power." Jay said. The engines were burning out, and some of the thrusters had already given in. "At this rate, we might not make orbit."

"We'll make it." Jamie said. His keen eye watching the engineering computers.

Soon, the engines died. Out of fuel, overheated, and useless. Without an atmosphere, the ship started to spin.

"At this rate, we'll drop back to the atmosphere in a few hours." Jay explained. "Let's hope that guy you found picks us up soon."

As the ship spun to 180, the last missile that everyone had forgotten about floated slowly towards them. It lined itself up with the metal plate welded to the front of the ship.

Like it was all planned from the beginning, the missile collided with the welded plate, and exploded. Without an atmosphere, the explosives inside gave little more than concussive force, and knocked the starbug away, tearing the plate away with it.

"Hah. Stable orbit." Jay laughed, "I've never used a missile for that before. I guess there's a first time for everything."

Jaxx was staring out of the front of the ship in awe. It was his choice of metal plate that meant this could happen. He glanced over to Eve with a huge grin on his face.

"He's never going to forget about this one, is he?" Eve asked Jamie, on a secure channel.

<Ok guys. We're off the planet. FOREVER. I don't think this storyline was ever supposed to take this long, but here we are. Now we just need Bruno to pick us up, and take us back to the 'Dwarf!>

< Prev : Down Spooky Lane Next > : Memories