Spacestronauts in... The Pirates at Wade Station! Page 1|Part 3

"I can have that done. Just input your passcode, Captain."

It was a defense against mimics and shape-shifters. The code was hard to memorize, given to a Spacestronaut the day they leave the Academy, and painstakingly memorized by them over weeks, for fear of losing their identity. "Alpha-Alpha-One-Six-Niner-Gamma-Five," Bob began. "Secondary numericals: Twelve-Twenty-One-Sixteen-Nine-Twelve... Blast!"

"Sir, I am afraid 'blast' is not a numerical." Commander Phillips said, visibly shaken by the abrupt exclamation.

"Fido, what're those alarms for?" Bob asked the A.I. as klaxons blared in the cockpit, and warning lights flashed. Fido barked in binary, alerting Bob that a distress call had been received. "I'm sorry Commander, I'm gonna have to put this conversation on hold. Got an urgent distress call on line 2."

"Mr. Rodgers, can it not w-" Bob flicked the dial to channel 4: incoming communications, cutting the commander off.

A black man flickered on the screen, wearing grimy coveralls and holding a bandage on his forehead, soaked with blood. "Wade Station is under attack! I repeat: Wade Station is under attack! We've been assaulted by pirates and our defenses are destroyed. We can't hold out much longer!"

As he spoke, Jim entered the Raybolt.

"Who are you?" Bob asked, flicking switches and turning dials; trying to lock in the coordinates of the transmission source.

"I am Albert Mech, a gas-refiner."

"You don't have a rank? Where are your higher-ups?"

"The owners and stockholders left in shuttles as soon as the pirates came..." he scoffed. "Us peons are the only ones left."

Bob grimaced. Damn bureaucrats, he thought. "Alright, well I'm Spacestronaut Captain Bob Rodgers, and I'm moving to assist."

Albert didn't emote as men usually did when they heard the word "Spacestronaut". He seemed like a man who had been burned too many times by higher powers. "Hurry, Captain. They've captured my little girl, and many others aboard our Station. I believe they intend to enslave us!"

"Not on my watch." Bob smirked at the navigational board: Wade Station's planet was just two light-years away. Baby numbers. "I'll be there in under five minutes, hold out, Mr. Mech."

"You can count on it, Spacestronaut." Mech turned to give orders to the anxious men and women behind him, and, as Bob closed the channel, he could see the gas-miner reach for a raygun on the counter. The man was a fighter. Reminded Bob of himself.

They were off the asteroid within three seconds, and out of the system within four.

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