5 hours later
“Would you just get control of yourself!?” Captain Fawx slammed his desk in his ready room.
Sgt. Garrick nonchalantly shrugged. “I can’t help it Captain!” After taking a few too many long looks at Com. Novak and other altered crewmembers the Captain had finally decided he needed to intervene.
“What do you mean you can’t help it? Think about it for a second! They have just been transformed into petite, vulnerable women. It’s taking them everything they’ve got just to not come apart at the seams. Then there you are ogling them and undressing them with your eyes! How does that help their mental state Sgt.?”
Garrick tossed his hands in the air. “I know it doesn’t help Captain. I’m not trying to. But I’m 22 years old. I haven’t had any for months. Suddenly all this tail is appearing on the ship and it all appears around my age! I can’t help myself!”
The Captain rose up from his chair. “Yeah and it’s also very hard for Com. Novak not to throttle you but you don’t see her offering up any excuses. And watch your mouth- all that tail you’re talking about my crew! They’re people who are having more trouble than you can fathom!”
Garrick shrunk back a bit as the Captain continued laying into him. “I was advised against accepting you as a pilot because you were arrogant, wouldn’t accept responsibility and very young! But you told me that your age didn’t reflect how good a pilot you were. I accepted that and accepted you. Now I hear you offering your age as an excuse. Well I didn’t use your age as an excuse to turn you down for the position so I sure as hell better not hear you use it as an excuse ever again! Do I make my self clear Sgt!”
Garrick nodded his head. The Captain dropped his volume down a few notches but was still not done reprimanding his young pilot. “I don’t want any excuses from you. I tell you to stop staring at asses on the females of this crew- end of discussion. Make it happen! And just remember, that might be you shaking some booty as soon as you walk through that door. Do your job and don’t give me anything less than your best otherwise we might all be wearing heels!”
Garrick didn’t speak a word. Deciding his point had been made, Fawx dismissed him. “Get back to your post.”
He didn’t have to tell him twice. Garrick split right as the Captain got a call on his communicator. “Yes?”
A cute, innocent voice spoke to him. “Captain, I have some bad news.”
“So what else new? Go ahead Petton, tell me the bad news.”
Lt. Petton coughed, not able to take herself seriously with her current tone. “My three guards on the detention block were attacked by the Yrch.”
Fawx shot upright in his chair. “It didn’t let Xaen out did it?”
“No- it didn’t.”
The Captain sighed. The last thing the ship needed right now was a trained assassin roaming the ship and phasing in and out of every room. “I’ll be down there Petton.”
– * – * –
“I’m pretty sure this is him just showing off. Three at once. Three security guards at once no less. In what was supposed to be our most secure room.” Lt. Moden continued to scan the room.
Fawx watched Lt. Petton out of the corner of his eye. She was holding her arms tightly against herself while her teeth chattered. Shivering, she defended her security team. “What could they do against that kind of power?”
“They did there best. That was enough.” The Captain took a step towards his security chief. “You okay? You look very cold.”
She looked at the ground and sighed. “It’s these damned metal floors.”
Sabine wasn’t the best made ship. The only carpeting was put in the personal quarters and bridge. The Captain looked down at Petton’s feet; she wasn’t wearing any shoes. Before he could even asked, she explained, “I was tired of stumbling around in those heels so I took them off. But the floors are so damn cold! My feet are starting to hurt.”
A derisive chuckle came from the corner of the room. “Aww, are the cutie’s feet hurt?”
Petton’s eyes narrowed in the direction of the cell the jab came from. Fawx patted her on the back. “Go get something to cover your feet, Lt. If they are those heels, so be it. You can’t get your job done if you’re shivering the whole time. Get another team down here to guard the prisoner.”
Petton bit her lip. “Yes sir.” She walked out of the detention block, but not before giving a glare at her taunter.
As soon as the door closed, Fawx approached the containment shield.
Xaen sat on the ground, the pale yellow light of her cell glowing against her ghost-white skin. Her confident black eyes mocked the Captain. She playfully twirled her waist-length ponytail with her very long fingers. “I have to say captain, that was a rather interesting show about half an hour ago. I’ve never seen three grown men reduced to stunned, whimpering maidens before.
Fawx leaned against the containment shield. It had been specially designed to prevent her from phasing through it like a Stase could with solid matter. “If you have anything to do with this, I swear you wouldn’t make it to our destination. You’ll be floating outside the ship.”
She stood up and prowled her tiny frame over to Fawx. “Rest assured captain. If I had anything to do with that Yrch I’d be on the other side of this shield. I and that Yrch would be killing off your crew one by one so I could commandeer your crappy ship and sell it on the black market. I wouldn’t pussyfoot around your ship giving your men tits. It’s been far too long since I’ve gotten to hunt. You all aren’t the best prey, but a predator sometimes has to settle for easier game.”
The Captain’s communicator went off. A subdued, but nonetheless bubbly voice spoke. “You there Captain?”
His eyes and Xaen’s stayed locked for a few seconds. He finally picked up his communicator. “Yes, who am I talking to?”
“This is Dr. Teffri, sir. The Yrch got me. You said if we were attacked we needed to report it to our superior and- well you’re my superior so I’m just reporting in.”
Fawx punched the shield. “You too, huh?”
“Yes sir. And I have a theory about how he’s doing this.”
The Captain’s eyes opened hopefully. “You do?”
“Well- it’s kind of crazy but just come down to the sick bay and I’ll explain.”
“I’ll be there shortly Teffri.” Fawx looked down on the Stasian.
She smirked. “Going so soon? I was hoping you could stay and talk more.”
“Puh.” He shook his head and went to turn around- but something caught his eye in her cell. A burn mark was on the wall, the kind that would be left by a side-blaster. He pointed to it. “How did that get there?”
She raised an eyebrow then turned around. “Oh that? When the Yrch showed up one of your men tried shooting him but the ray went right through him, the shield, and hit the wall. Not that I was in any danger, I could have just phased through it had the shot been close to me. I don’t know what kind of tech that Yrch has but it sure hacks me off that I’m not the only one who can phase on the ship. I’m no longer unique.”
Moden pulled himself away from his scanning. A light bulb went off in his head. “Because the shield mimics her physiology so of course a blast would go through the shield!”
Fawx wasn’t sure what Moden was babbling about but he sure seemed excited enough that the Captain knew it had to be good. “Slow down, Lt. What are you talking about?”
The Engineering Officer couldn’t slow down though. “Captain! The reason that containment shield works is because it modulates to whatever phase shifting is going on! That’s why she can’t get out is because whenever she tries to change her phase, it changes with her phase such that if she tries to incorporealize it will mimic her so she can’t get out!”
Fawx held his hands up. “Woah! Calm down! So the shield mimics whatever she does. Do I understand that right?”
“Essentially yes. It will mimic any phase change it senses. You see? She said she wasn’t trying to phase, yet the blast from the guard went right through it! That means it was mimicking someone else’s phase change! That blast went through the Yrch and the shield! Do you realize what this means, Captain?”
The Captain looked up at the ceiling. For the first time he thought he saw light at the end of this tunnel ever since going into the Muffler Sector. “Moden, can you make a weapon that utilizes the same technology as the containment shield?”
Moden took off his glasses and cleaned them with the sleeve of his uniform. “It may take some time. I’ve never tried to utilize shielding technology into a weapon, but I’m confident I can jimmyrig something that’ll work.”
“Great.” He slapped Moden on the shoulder. “Get to work. Give me a report on how it’s going in three hours.”
The Captain smiled as he moved to the door. Things were actually moving up. As the doors opened, his mood was soured by Xaen’s voice. “Have fun visiting your new Doctor, Fawx! Be sure to come and see me if the Yrch gets you okay?”
He picked up his communicator. “Lt. Petton.”
Her voice responded. “Yes Captain?”
“Be sure to get a muter put on Xaen’s cell. The guards shouldn’t have to listen to her crap all day.”
“Sir, that’s against regulations except in cases of-“
The Captain started walking up to the Sick Bay. “Petton, right now I don’t give a damn about regulations. If I get a citation after this ordeal for putting a muter on the cell of an assassin who most likely won’t stop harassing my men, I won’t even care one bit.”
The Security Chief chuckled for the first time since her transformation. “Roger that, Captain.”
Coming off Chapter four was really hard for me. I feel this chapter could have been much more but that I just couldn’t get the potential to come out- like squeezing blood out of a stone. Especially with Xaen. I don’t know.
The whole focus on this chapter was the fact that they are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. They have some hope. Things are looking completely down. They have a theoretical weapon on the way that might be able to stop the Yrch. Now whether or not the Yrch is in cahoots with Xaen is still in question but at least for the time being they can do something about their situation instead of feeling helpless.
As per usual, any comments will help. Sorry about no artwork this time. An image will be on the way for this chapter. The artist who was going to do it is just having some delays in his schedule. As soon as I get an image I’ll post it here.