Previous installments here https://adragonseerie.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/universal-dangers/ https://adragonseerie.wordpress.com/2015/02/09/universal-dangers-chapter-2/ https://adragonseerie.wordpress.com/2015/02/13/universal-dangers-3/
Keep your eyes peeled for the intergalactic bum bag (fanny pack for the colonials) I realised what I’d done after I wrote it but it tickled my funnybone.
Universal Dangers 4
Sliding through the dark was an unnerving experience so Jase’s neural implant issued a command and illumination points in his helmet on his shoulders and in the centre of chest threw the tunnel into sharp relief. Aware that his was still a mission of stealth Jases’s thought hard overriding the automatic function which had activated when his neural implant had sensed stress readings and zero visibility he cycled through options until he got UV light and activated the correct setting in his helmet.
This was much deeper than he had expected so he engaged the magnetic clamps in his boots to arrest his fall. Looking down he could see no end in site sweeping the walls he spotted recesses at regular points the closest about 3 metres above him. He began climbing back up the ramp and got into position. Making a quick calculation that nobody would have sensors this deep in an inactive spoilage chute he pinged a focused scanner sweep at this entrance the results flashed up on a small display inside his visor standard vacuum proof hatch approximately 25 cm thick with a powered shield all round and opening inward so atmospheric pressure provided additional security against an accidental breach. Not good news none of the tools in his limited kit would be able to cut through that. He widened his scanner sweep and detected the unmistakable signal of a power conduit only 15 cm deep and extending out beyond the shielding. he dug a small heat torch from a pouch at the base of his spine.
After 2 mins at full power he had barely scratched the surface this would take hours he didn’t have! He weighed his options he could use one of his charges but that would remove any chance of doing this quietly and would shift this from a reconnaissance to full on assault. With an unknown number of trained mercenaries on the other side and no available backup not an appealing prospect. Go back up checking his chronometer again he saw he now had 76 minutes left that wasn’t going work either and there was no guarantee he would find another entrance. Go down less appealing Jase had an aversion to being underground at the best of times and experience told him there would some means of smashing rocks and sorting them probably a heavy roller and a series of spiked fingers to catch larger pieces. Not an attractive proposition in a sealed suit in vacuum.
Suddenly inspiration struck he fished a small multi tool from behind him and un holstered one his pistols he removed the magazine then opened the inspection panel built into the handle shorting out the magnetic generator forced the breach to open and overrided the safety function on the fusion amplifier now instead of creating a molten round a beam extending from the breach would melt any metal instantly he tested his theory. Jase smiled, like a hot knife through butter. Making quick work of the wall he exposed the power conduit where it branched to the door he quickly bypassed the trunk line and the power died even through the suit he heard the bolts inside the door open he leaned his weight against the door to little effect he pulled back and threw his shoulder against it Whoosh the door moved with an explosive decompression. Escaping atmosphere made progressing insidse difficult but he made it in he fell through and turned to close the hatch.
Worried as even the most elderly hard vacuum station would have alarms for atmosphere loss he surveyed his new surroundings. First off there was no audible klaxon or any sign of a raised alarm. A good sign but not definitive with a little luck the alarm was broken or had been disabled due to frequent false alarms or small atmospheric leaks due to the age and poor maintenance of the station. Unwilling to trust his safety to a theory he started to move he quickly realised although smooth as metal the walls were cut directly from the rock power conduits and piping for heat and air were fixed exposed to the rock. Checking his suits system he identified that this atmosphere would sustain him he shut down the suits airflow and raised his visor. Both to save the air and improve his ability to hear.he moved down the corridor hugging the wall trying to keep to the shadows as much as possible.
Keeping to a westerly course he navigated the warren like corridor network occasionally pausing when he heard sounds they came more frequently the further he travelled indicating he was getting closer to the main complex. It was getting to risky to continue through the corridors he needed another way in, every step took him closer to discovery and a confrontation he couldn’t afford. Without any sign or fanfare he realised the walls were no longer rock but instead now metal he had left the mine and was in the facility proper. Seeing a maintenance hatch in the ceiling he took advantage of this new route and afer checking all was clear he popped the hatch and clambered inside.
Working his way through the ducting it was a tight fit having been designed for maintenance inspection not transit but it was clear he had to periodically stop when he heard movement below not wishing to be detected. He reached another hatch and took the opportunity to get his bearings. He cracked it open and had a sudden vertiginous moment as he wasn’t 2 metres off the ground as he thought but instead close to 30. He was over the main hanger.
This was a busy place Jase had been on enough missions in his life to know the signs of men preparing for battle. Carts were distributing ammo weapons were being stripped and reassembled. Men checked and rechecked personal kit jumping up and down to ensure fastening were secure and no loose equipment would give them away at an inopportune moment.
Several blunt nosed craft were being prepared as he watched squads of troops boarded. He gave the craft a closer inspection he suddenly realised that despite serious retro fit these craft had begun life as mining craft flying through the field grabbing smaller asteroids and smelting the ore out. Looking at the alterations made and the armed squads on board there was only one purpose they could possibly have. They were boarding craft they weren’t just planning on stealing the arms shipment they were after the whole ship. Once they got underway there would be no stopping them not with what the ship had in defences. He had to act and it had to be now