*ACTION* Behind enemy lines


Over the past few weeks, small support ships from the Blue Dwarf had searched the area around the destroyed Hymenoptera planet they had found. Their goal had been to find the colony of the vindictive genetic mutants that the Hymenoptera had cloned, especially to find their dangerous long-range weapon that was threatening to destroy more Hymenoptera and Human colonies. But so far none of the Blue Dwarf’s teams had found any trace of the genetic mutants. The closest had been Jack, Seymour, Jay, CK and Melissa who had managed to land on a planet inhabited by other genetic experiments bred by the Hymenoptera. Unfortunately these were not the same mutants that they were looking for.
Other teams spread out around the quadrant, but all were unhopeful as these mutants had technology that allowed them to ‘phase out’ of reality to become invisible, as well as pass straight through objects.
Who: Efof and MK7
Where: Blue Midget “Flying Circus”
When: A day after they got back into space
Efof and Mk7 had been following a search pattern they had been provided by Captain Alota. Mk7 sat on the control panel at the front, plugged into the ship’s sensor grid.
“It’s no good! How do we find an enemy that can turn itself invisible? They could be anywhere!”
Efof sat behind him with his feet up on the keyboard scoffing some KP nuts. Occasionally he threw one at the navigational controls to see the best stunts he could make the small shuttle do.
“Yeah this is so boring! I need excitement, danger… something interesting to happen! Wanna play a game?”
“No, I’m busy” Said MK7.
“Stop off at a drive-through?”
“No, we’re light years from any civilised space! The last service station we find tried to serve us poorly-cooked space weevil.”
“There must be something we can do!” Said Efof fidgeting in his seat. He started throwing peanuts at MK7, and looked around for other things to fidget with.
Above him he found a loose wire poking out from behind a bulkhead. Curiously he pulled it, and more came loose. Thinking it must be some unused wire he pulled some more, and more unravelled from around the bulkhead and up to the ceiling. He pulled more and followed it across to the other side of the cockpit. More curious than ever now he tugged really hard on the wire and MK7’s head slammed into the desk.
“Just give up! And find something to do!” Said MK7, unplugging himself. Efof sheepishly walked over to a computer screen and viewed a map of the search patterns. He studied it carefully.
“There’s not many planets in this area.”
“Hmm?” Said MK7.
“I said theres not many planets in this area, so how come its taking so long to search them all?”
“Well everyone seems to think that the mutants will have a cloaked base, so we’re making sure we scan every area of empty space.”
“But… well that doesn’t make too much sense.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, okay I’m not exactly a specialist on aliens… other than I AM one. But it just makes sense to me that these…things, well they were cloned by the Hymenoptera, and then they found some really kick-ass ships that they fought back with.”
“Well that shows that they’re scavengers, opportunists.”
“I guess…”
“Well I mean, my people the Ffionians were completely shat on by the Hymenoptera, but if we’d have found this technology we’d use it to the best of its ability.”
“Your point?”
“Well they found those ships that can cloak. FOUND them. They didn’t have time to build a base. So they’ll be hiding in the best place they can FIND.”
Efof pointed to a planet on the map. “What about this planet, it’s small, rocky, unsuspicious. It’s perfect.”
“But it’s already been checked out. Starbug #42 scanned it yesterday. They didn’t find any evidence of anyone living there.”
“What about caves, or any tunnels? People can live underground right?” Efof’s voice was unsteady, as if he didn’t really know what he was talking about.
“Forget it, they scanned down as deep as 1 mile and found nothing.”
“Oh.” He paused. “But these mutants can use that ‘phasing’ technology to travel straight through rock though, so they could go deeper.”
MK7 thought about it. “Well I guess they could, they could just fly their ships straight into a planet and hide there.”
“So could they have a base there?”
“Well…. I think the planet would have to be hollow. I bet they can’t keep themselves phased forever. Imagine if their phase fails while they’re in the middle of a planet, they’ll become fused with the rock!!!”
“So… I reckon we need to go and scan the planet. If it’s hollow then we’ve found it!”
Efof threw a peanut at the navigational controls and the ‘Flying Circus’ did a U-turn.
Who: Captain Alota
Where: Blue Dwarf, Captain’s office
When: Few minutes later
Alota paced. The situation wasn’t looking good for her at the moment. Her supposed husband had gone and created a temporary alliance with their deadliest enemy, whilst another species of vindictive mutants were threatening to destroy any and all human colonies with a large long-range weapon that could be anywhere.
She looked at the fuzzy image of Jay on a computer screen. She was talking to him long-range from the Starbug he was on.
“But Jay, I really don’t understand why we’re allies with the Hymenoptera. I just get the feeling they’ll stab us in the back!”
“Don’t worry, It all makes sense. We’re working towards the greater good, to destroy a common enemy that’s threatening to destroy Earth.”
“ Jay, I love you dearly, but how do you know that they aren’t just threatening to destroy Earth BECAUSE we’re allied with the Hymies? It’s the Hymies who they want revenge on.”
Jay smiled, to try and get her to trust him. “Don’t worry, It’ll be over soon. Gotta go!”
“What does that mean? Jay? JAY!” But the screen blinked off. Leaving Alota with arms folded and flustered.
Dean walked in with a mug of coffee, he was working in the Drive room on navigation duty, but as they weren’t moving he was just floating around the department passing messages.
“Captain, Efof’s on line 2. Says he’s got a hunch.”
Alota rolled her eyes, she knew Efof’s hunches. His last was that all of the soap aboard were actually aliens, getting into place to take over the ship. He tried to prove his point by not washing.
“Yes Efof what is it?”
“I think I’ve found the planet! Look at grid #2249.”
Alota glanced at her wall-map. “Efof, that’s already been checked out.”
“Yes but… I think that…”
“Efof come on, it’s been scanned for all kinds of life forms, in all possible spectrums, there’s nothing there.”
“But I have a theory…”
“Please Efof, we’re loosing time. Fly to where you’re supposed to and we’ll get the area covered much quicker.”
Efof looked disappointed, but wasn’t going to give up easily. “But it’s a good theory… I know in the past my theories have all been a bit… well … untrue… but…”
“Efof please,” Alota said, getting tired.
“Sorry I’m loosing you… ::crackle:: bad….  ::crackle:: Signal…” Said Efof. “What’s that you said?… ::crackle:: go check out the ::crackle:: planet?”
“Efof give up, I can see MK7 in the background crackling that paper!”
The screen went dead and Alota slammed her fists on the table.
“Why can’t people just do what I say?!”
Who: Efof and Mk7
Where: Flying Circus
When: Bit later
Efof and MK7 arrived at the suspicious planet.
Now they were here they could see that it was just a barren lump of rock, barely any bigger than an asteroid.
“Okay, get me within an orbit less than 5 Km and I can start the scan.” Said Mk7.
Efof pulled back on the thrust lever and raced towards the planet, swerving it into a parking orbit.
“Okay, starting scan.” Said Mk7, and a loader bar appeared on the ‘Flying Circus’s’ HUD. “It’ll take 3 minutes, just make sure we stay within 5Km.”
“Easy peasy!” Said Efof, not planning to move from the spot. He grinned and put his feet up on the desk, watching the loader bar. He looked at Mk7 and Mk7 looked back.
Then they both looked worried.
“What’s wrong?” Asked MK7.
“nothing…” Said Efof. “But that’s the problem. This is exactly the time something bad should suddenly happen!”
“Maybe its not going to?”
Efof looked from side to side. There was a crash as the small ship was hit.
“That’s more like it!” Said Efof happily.
“We’re under attack!!!! How can that be good?” Said Mk7.
“Its not, I just like it when I’m right!” Efof took the controls and spun the small ship around.
Facing them was a gnarly looking mutant ship, which predictably became transparent just as MK7 fired at them. The lasers shot straight through and the ship came back into reality to shoot them again. Efof was covered in sparks and Mk7 got a static shock from the dashboard.
“They’re too fast! Our weapons recharge rate is just not fast enough to catch them when they’re visible.” Said Efof.
Another shot caught them directly on the rear afterburner, the Blue Midget spun around with the impact. Efof tried to hold them steady enough for Mk7 to shoot back, the laser blast was directly on target, but the ship disappeared and appeared again, weapons glowing.
The blast caught the Flying Circus on the leg, which hung loose, making the ship look like a crippled duck. Efof was thrown off his seat, he got back and activated the emergency beacon.
“I’m sending an SOS to the Blue Dwarf-”
“They’ll not be here in time, this will finish us off in less than a minute, and there’s two more just appeared over there!” The small MK7 stood on the dashboard and pointed through the window at two ships coming from (or through) the planet’s surface.
Efof’s four hands worked at double-speed, pressing buttons to steer them away from the attacking ships. “I’m getting us out of here.” He said.
“But what about the scan?” Said Mk7, the loaderbar wasn’t even half way.
“We don’t need the scan. If those ships over there are coming from inside this planet, then we’ve got all the info we need.”
He turned the small ship away from the planet and punched the accelerator. But as they limped away from the battle, they felt a bizarre wobbling around them.
“Do you feel that?”
Efof looked around, there was a shimmering in front of his eyes, everything seemed slightly distorted. “Very odd, I’ve not had anything to drink today… this shouldn’t be happening yet.”
The distortion passed them and Efof slammed the Flying Circus’s brakes on, the mutant ship was directly in front of them, cutting them up.
“They just passed straight through us!” said MK7.
“I’m turning around, going back towards the planet. Maybe we can loose them over the landscape.”
“But what if we crash, there’s no atmosphere! It’s just rock!”
“Yeah I know, and that should only worry me, you don’t even need oxygen!” said Efof.
The small Blue Midget headed towards the big hollow rock that the mutants used as their base, it’s injured leg flapping behind it.
Who: Alota
Where: Drive-Room, Blue Dwarf
When: Same time
Dean turned around sharply. “Captain! It’s Efof and Mk7, they’re in trouble!”
Alota looked at her watch. “Damn it’s only been 15 minutes, I thought they’d at least last 20!”
Dean did a funny dance, knowing that he now had some money coming his way. He then turned his attention to the scanners. “3 cruisers, probably more on the way.”
“How soon can we get there?” Asked the Captain.
“If we use the wormhole drive, then as soon as you can say…. Something fast.”
“Something fast?”
“Yes well we could have been there by now.” Said Dean, his hand hovering over the wormhole drive activation button.
Alota hit the red alert siren, alerting all decks to prepare for attack.
“Are the gun turrets ready?”
“As ready as ever. I think the gunners are eager to actually get some action.” He grinned, actually wishing he was joining them. “They’re a few men short so I’ll alert security officers and spare crewmen to man the empty ones.”
Alota faced the window and looked out into the inky black, it was dark and calm now- but in a few moments they would be going somewhere very interesting. “Tell all the away teams and shuttles to meet us there, we may be in for a big fight.”
Dean nodded.
Alota turned around, the red lights from the alert siren bouncing off her face.
“What are we waiting for? Let’s jump!”
Through the Drive-room window, Alota watched as space in front of them opened up.
David Ball
Online CV: www.BlueDwarf.co.uk/davidball

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