The Captain was currently in full sprint to the bridge. “Yes Lt. Petton?”
“I know this isn’t your number one concern at the moment sir, but deck 5 just got attacked by the Yrch. Three more have been transformed. That leaves seven males on the ship, yourself and Lt. Moden included.”
“Just perfect- any news for me on the offensive capabilities of the Minalonian ship?”
“Well, as to be expected, their ship is better equipped for battle than the Sabine. Two neutrino cannons, a short range rail-gun, multiple heavy microwave laser banks, and a missile bay that I assume is for firing off dark-matter ballistics.”
“If this gets into a fight, what are their shielding and maneuvering capabilities?”
“I think we’re in luck with maneuvering. Their ship can fly just fine at light-plus speeds but subluminal speeds it is very slow and lumbering. There’s a catch though. Looking at how they route their power, it would seem they are so slow because they divert the power from steering to shielding. Frankly put, it would take a heavy battery from us to get through their shields sir.”
The Captain finally reached the bridge. He regained he breath as he walked in. “Then divert some of our shields to our steering.”
Petton raised an eyebrow. “Aye aye Captain.”
Com. Novak stood up when the captain entered. “Sir.”
“Any new news, Novak?” The Captain looked down into Novak’s brick red eyes. They were very stressed.
“No sir. The Minalonians are waiting for you to hail them. Not to sound preachy Captain but remember who we’re dealing with here. We may have defeated them in the war six years ago but our peace treaty with them could go up in smoke if the right spark catches it.”
Fawx sat in his chair. “I know that Novak. Don’t worry; I won’t be throwing any punches here until they throw one. We already have enough problems without rekindling the flames a war- even if it would be nice to trash a Minalonian ship one last time.”
“I trust you Bennis. I just don’t want the incident with Irium to become only the second largest stain on your personal history.”
Fawx winced. Novak had mentioned it. His teeth clenched. All his muscles tensed up. “Novak- stand far away from me. Have the screen zoomed in on me so he can’t see Petton in the background. We’ll find out if the Minalonians are the ones doing this or not.”
Novak sighed. “Yes sir.”
“Garrick. Keep the ship still. Don’t do anything until I give you an order. Got it?”
The young Sergeant sat on his hands. “Loud and clear, Captain.”
Closing his eyes, the Captain cleared his mind. A few deep breaths later, “Petton, hail the Minalonian ship.”
A tall, almost reptilian being appeared on the screen. It had been six years since the war, but the near hatred for the Minalonians hadn’t left Fawx’s system. Four years being on the front lines could do that to a man. “Greetings. I am Captain Bennis Fawx of the TSF Sabine. We are on a transport mission through neutral territory. I must ask why you deem us dangerous enough to threaten our ship. We have a standing peace treaty with your race and I might remind you the grave implications an attack would have.”
The Minalonian chuckled- or more hissed with amusement. “I am Captain Siiksaas of the Minalonian Warship Higsyyln. And do not concern yourself; I do not deem you and your dinky ship dangerous in any way.”
Fawx’s teeth clenched once more. Already his blood was starting to boil. He even caught the normally calm Novak snarl a little out of the corner of his eye. “Then what is your business with us?”
Siiksaas tapped his scaly fingers together. “You are transporting a criminal, a Stasian assassin known as Xaen. This Xaen killed our viceroy in his sleep- cold blood. As a side note, this viceroy that she killed was my uncle. I was assigned to come and acquire her so that she could be executed under Minalonian law.”
So far the Captain had seen no indication that they knew anything about the Yrch and what he was up to. But just the Captain’s luck had taken its characteristic trend downward. Not only was he housing a criminal who killed a high ranking Minalonian official, but the officer sent to capture her was personally involved. “Captain Siiksaas, you know I cannot do that. Doing so would be in direct violation of my mission and several chapters of Terren protocol.”
“You should also know Captain, that if I cannot acquire the assassin by peaceful means, I have been authorized to follow through with the execution myself through the means of destroying your ship. Do not trifle with me.”
Fawx slammed his fist down on his armrest. Rising up from his chair like a lion, he roared at his counterpart. “You would risk open war over this? Are you mad?”
It was Siiksaas’ turn to stand upright. “If you will just hand over the criminal I won’t have to blow your tin can to shreds. I will not let my uncle’s death go un-avenged. Rest assured I have no qualms about killing everyone on your ship to do it either. Besides, we are in the Muffler Sector. If your ship is destroyed your people will not find out for a week or two and they will have no clue as to who did it. Believe me the drums of war will not be heard in this remote sector. Just to let you know, I have scanned your ship, Captain. I am quite aware of your offensive capabilities, or lack thereof. Will you comply or will you force my hand?”
The two Captain’s eyes locked onto one another. Was this reptile serious about what he said? Judging from his tone and glare, Fawx would have to say so. This wasn’t going well at all. He glanced over at the person he trusted most. Her eyes were just as tense as he felt. “Captain Siiksaas, I will need a moment to consider this rather weighty matter.”
The Minalonian glared at Fawx with arrogant disgust. “Very well Captain Fawx. I will grant you 10 minutes. But do not press your luck with me. You are already on a short leash with me. If your ship so much as twitches, I will tear you asunder!”
Fawx closed the channel without another word. “Arrogant bastard!”
Lt. Petton was the first to voice her concern. “Captain, we’re not actually going to give Xaen to him are we? We have no way of removing her from her cell without her phasing through whatever we attempt to restrain her with! As soon as we turn off the modulating barrier she’d be unstoppable.”
Novak shrugged. “The Minalonians probably came prepared. If they came onto our ship with whatever they brought-“
The Captain growled. “Board my ship? Minalonians? I won’t allow a Minalonian to even breathe near my ship much less touch it! No!”
Novak gave him a cautious eye. “So then we’re not turning over Xaen?”
Fawx nodded. “It would violate our entire mission anyway. Not to mention cause us problems with the Stasians. The whole reason we’re transferring custody is to keep solid relations with them.”
Novak shook her head. “I think the entire scope of what our mission is has been vastly altered with the Yrch and the Minalonians.”
Petton threw her two cents in. “I also would not like Minalonians on the ship. The entire security staff is in weaker bodies now. If things should go bad we couldn’t fend them off.”
“It’s final then. We’re not giving them Xaen.”
Novak sighed. “Well then we either have to run for it or fight them.”
The Captain started pacing. Garrick decided to add his two cents. “Captain, if their ship is as slow as Lt. Petton says it is, let’s just book it and jet on out of here. I can avoid any fire they give us as we run.”
Fawx shook his head. “No Garrick. If it got into a footrace, they would just drop their shield power down and throw it all to the engines. Besides, we’re only faster as subluminal speeds. Wait-“
The Captain whipped out his communicator. “Lt. Moden, you there?”
“Just working on the weapon Captain. What is it?”
“Moden. Correct me if I’m wrong, but a tractor beam ignores shields, right?”
“Yes Captain, it only latches onto solid matter. Shields have no effect on a tractor beam because shielding is nothing more than an electrostatic shell that-“
“Moden, get the tractor beam warmed up. We’re going to need it.”
“Uh- all right Captain.”
Fawx put down his communicator with a smirk. Novak squinted. “Captain, you have a plan you’d like to fill us in on?”
“In a moment Novak.” He turned to his young pilot. “Garrick, you said you can avoid their fire- you sure about that?”
Garrick smiled. He hadn’t seen any action since becoming the pilot of the Sabine. “Hell yeah.”
The Captain’s face grew more serious. “You sure on that Sergeant? You willing to bet your life on that? Would you be willing to bet the life of all 53 members of the ship on it?”
He paused. Suddenly the decision had a lot more weight to it. The Captain had been forced to make decisions like this many times over his career. Now he watched as his young, immature, but talented pilot stared at his feet before making a similar one. “Yeah- yes. I can guarantee it Captain.”
“Good.” Fawx grasped his communicator once more. This time he set it to speak to the entire ship. “Crew of the Sabine. This is Captain Fawx. We are about to engage a Minalonian ship in combat. I know we are already under stress but our hand is being forced. They want the Stasian assassin, Xaen. I’ll be damned before I let them on our ship to take her. We are going to full combat alert. I want everyone at their stations. All emergency power will be transferred to the steering. They will not touch us. Once again, this is a full combat alert. All hands to their stations! This is not a drill!”
Novak crossed her arms. “All right then. What are you up to, Captain?”
“Here is the plan. If we tried to run, they would just power down their shields and throw the power to their engines to chase us, right?” Novak nodded her head. “What we need is to force them to divert power away from their shields. Then at that moment we can strike!”
“How do you plan on doing that, Sir? Remember, it’s very difficult to hit a target you’re running from.”
The Captain smirked once more. “That’s why we’re not going to run, Petton. What we’re going to do is avoid their first volley and get behind them. Once we’re behind them, we’ll lock onto them with our tractor beam. Garrick will then take them for ride, forcing their ship to corkscrew and spin out of control. In order for them to hit us, they’ll have to restabilize their ship. In order to do that, they’ll need to divert power from their shields to their engines. At that exact moment, we’ll hit their engines with a simple EMP missile. That will fry all the circuitry they need for propulsion and we’ll be able to walk away without blowing up their ship or risking war!”
Petton and Novak considered the plan. The security officer raised a concern. “Sir, what if one of their dark matter missiles gets caught in the tractor beam?”
“Garrick will make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Novak raised a skeptical eyebrow. “Are we sure we want to leave the safety of the entire ship in Garrick’s hands? He’s never been in a situation like this before.”
“C’mon! I can handle it!”
Novak continued as if the fire-haired pilot hadn’t spoken. “One mistake from him and we’re sitting ducks.”
The Captain took his seat. “Lt. Petton, I’m going to lure them closer by telling them we’re going to do the exchange. When I give the signal, Garrick is going to take the ship under theirs. When that happens, I need you to get a missile lock on their engines before they raise their shields to full battle strength. As soon as you got the lock, engage the tractor beam. Got it?”
“Garrick. When I give the signal, pass underneath them and make a hard left turn so we’re perpendicular to their flight path. Then start spinning them. Be very careful that you focus on spinning them and not so much on dragging them. Spinning them won’t be too hard as they don’t have side thrusters, but if we get into a tugging match, they will have a chance to stabilize when we’re facing the wrong way. Limit lateral movement as much as possible.”
“Oh hell yeah, Sir!”
Fawx smiled at the youthful exuberance. He remembered back in the days when battle excited him. The rush of adrenaline was what he lived for- but now the battles had greater weight. “All right Petton, hail them.”
The reptilian being stared down the Captain. “Captain Fawx. Have you come to a decision?”
“I have Captain Siiksaas. In the interest of keeping the peace between our two races, I have decided to turn custody of the assassin Xaen over to you.”
“That is a wise move Captain Fawx.”
“We however have a concern.”
“And what is that concern Captain?”
“We are keeping Xaen locked up in a modulating barrier cell. The cell is stationary, it cannot move.”
“I am well aware what stationary means!”
Fawx smirked, but quickly subdued his smile. “We have no way of transporting Xaen safely to your ship.”
The Minalonian smiled. “We figured as much Captain. So we came prepared. We have fashioned our own holding cell for the Stasian. If you would allow us to come on board, we would be happy to take her off of your hands for you.”
Fawx flashed a mistrusting glance. “How many men does it take to operate this portable cell? Forgive me if I’m a little hesitant to just open my doors to you.”
“Only four men, Captain Fawx. If we just docked our ships to one another-“ Fawx turned away from the screen, and looked at Novak. He wanted to make sure he looked hesitant, as if he was asking for the thoughts of another. “-I could simply send my men right on over to your ship.”
Fawx bit on his bottom lip. “I am not comfortable with such an arrangement. Instead, approach closer but once you are in range, send out a short range craft to dock in our transport bay. From there they may place Xaen in your portable cell and take her back to your ship.”
It was Siiksaas’ turn to look to an assistant of some kind. “Very well Captain. It is agreeable. We will approach as you wished. Please send us the coordinates of your transport bay and we will get this over with.”
“Very well. Just make sure your men don’t try anything suspicious. I will have my security team with them at all times.”
“Understandable. Pleasure doing business with you Captain.” The Minalonian gave Fawx a triumphant smirk before the screen went black.
Novak scoffed. “I hate it when they smile like that.”
“Me too. Petton, send them some bogus coordinates.”
The Minalonian ship slowly approached the Sabine. Fawx took a deep breath, folding his hands together, and resting his chin on them. The anticipation right before making the first strike was the toughest part for him. Anticipation was something he never dealt with very well.
Novak sat down next to him. She ran her fingers nervously through her silky brown hair. “You think this will work?”
Fawx smirked. “I think so. We’ve been through worse odds than this in a fight.”
She gave him a cautionary glance. “Let’s just hope the Yrch doesn’t interfere.”
The Captain’s eyes narrowed. “Yeah.” Straightening himself in the chair he turned to face Petton. “Are you ready for this?”
“Be sure that while we got them spinning, we spray them with some token microburst fire. Just to keep them a little off-balance with what we may be planning.”
“Yes sir.” Petton tapped a few buttons in preparation of the battle.
Fawx picked up his communicator. “Lt. Moden, the tractor beam ready.”
“It’s ready for use. Try not to overheat the thing sir.”
“Petton, they warming up their weapons at all?”
“No sir, they don’t seem to suspect a thing.”
Novak nodded. “He’s arrogance leads him to believe we’d cave easily.”
Garrick chuckled. “Minalonians were never known for their intelligence.”
Petton laughed. “What do you know about it? You were going through puberty when we last fought them.”
The Captain brought things back to the task at hand. “Let’s focus on our jobs guys. Garrick, you ready?”
“Ready and waiting, Captain.”
The Higsyyln lurched closer to the Sabine. “A little bit more-“ The Captain watched the screen closely. He wanted to strike at exactly the right moment.
The seconds dragged onward.
Then came the moment. “Go for it, Garrick!”
The engines fired off and they rocketed forward. “Let’s do this!”
The Sabine dove underneath the Higsyyln, which came to an abrupt stop. Petton yelled, “They are charging up their shields!”
“Get that missile lock on their engines! Quickly, before their shields block us from doing so!”
“Missile lock acquired!”
Garrick made a hard left turn, causing everyone in the ship to jerk violently. “Hang onto your asses! This is going to get bumpy!”
“Their shield is at 100%. They are charging up their weapons and taking evasive maneuvers!”
“Engage the tractor beam!”
An invisible band of magnetic energy pierced through the Minalonian shield and latched onto the bottom of their hull. “Tractor beam engaged!”
The Sabine climbed upwards and around the portside of the Higsyyln. Their ship’s bottom tilted with the Sabine. “They are firing their weapons!”
The first volley proved to shallow as the Minalonians hadn’t expected to be tilted mid battle.
“Keep them spinning Garrick!”
Garrick didn’t respond, seemingly in his own world. The Sabine accelerated. The Higsyyln rotated quicker. Another volley of shots was fired, closer than the first but barely grazing the shields. Petton fired off a few microbursts before seeing something shoot out of the enemy ship. “They’re firing off at a dark matter missile! It’s aimed at the tractor beam!”
“Garrick! Get under that; don’t let it get sucked in by the tractor beam!”
The Sabine dove towards its spinning counterpart. The two ships’ shields crashed against one another. Fawx and Novak were thrown from their seats. Petton fell to the ground. Garrick remained firmly planted, and piloted the ship unphased by the turbulence.
Petton pulled herself upright on her heels. “Shields at 67 percent!”
The dark matter missile passed over the Sabine harmlessly. “They’re firing off several microwave laser blasts!”
Garrick deftly jerked side to side, dodging most of them. Some made contact with the shields, but nothing got through.
“Shields at 52 percent!”
The Higsyyln’s twisting began to slow down. “Sir, they are diverting power from their shields to their engines! Their shields are down to 82 percent… 68 percent… 54 percent… 43 percent…”
“Petton disengage the tractor beam! Garrick, spin us into a good firing position! We only have one shot at this!”
The tractor beam let go of the Minalonians. Garrick stopped the Sabine’s looping and used the rotational energy to his advantage. He threw the engines in reverse, causing the Sabine to flip over, bringing the missile bay in direct line with the recovering Higsyyln. It was times like this that Fawx was thankful for the ship’s artificial gravity.
With the missile locked onto their enemy’s engines, Petton firmly pressed the “launch missile” button. The EMP missile rocketed towards the Minalonian ship that had barely stabilized. Fawx clasped his hands together, praying that the Higsyyln’s shields were just weak enough for the missile to pass by.
The ballistic pierced through the barrier. It detonated right before impacting the engines physically. A surge of electricity wrapped itself around the Minalonian’s propulsion casing. “Direct hit! They’re dead in the water!”
Fawx pounded his fist into his other palm. “Yes!”
Novak threw her head back and gave a sigh of relief.
Garrick shot out of his chair. With both fists in the air he asked to no one in particular, “Hell yeah! Who’s the man now?”
As if to answer the question, a being with a black cloak materialized on the bridge once more. Novak and Petton each shrunk back a bit. “The Yrch!”
“No!” Fawx leaped out of his chair at the Yrch. He found himself thrown back into his chair by the same disarming force he had felt when Petton had been the first one to be attacked. This time, the force of hitting his back against the chair knocked the wind out of him.
Garrick barely could turn around before the Yrch pointed its clawed fingers at him. The transforming light splashed over him. The Captain could only watch as his short red hair popped outward in long wavy locks. His grey uniform darkened until he was covered in a black bodysuit. His boots fused with the body suit and heels lifted to painful heights. A strange piece of clothing appeared and wrapped itself around his midsection. It squeezed his hips inward and pushed his burgeoning chest upward. It wrapped around his thighs like a tight skirt, causing his rotund ass to protrude further outward and squeezing his knees together.
The body suit squished his legs and arms into delicate feminine shapes. Knees squeezed together and in six inch heels, Garrick stumbled forward, her face hitting the ground. As she fell, her fire red tresses splayed all over her face. Her squeaky, scream had the quality of a high school cheerleader to it.
Fawx pulled himself out of the chair slowly and gasped for air. Before disappearing, the Yrch hissed at the captain. “Two hours Captain.” Within a blink, the Yrch faded from view once more.
The Captain hacked and wheezed. Novak regained her composure and went to Garrick’s side. “Are you okay?”
Garrick strained at the gray material around her thighs, waist, and chest. “Erk! It’s crushing me! And I can barely move my legs!” She shook off Novak’s attempt to help her up. Her new center of gravity and ample chest sent her back to the ground again. “I can barely move!”
Petton, panic consuming her tiny voice, yelled out. “Captain! Their engines may be disabled but they can still shoot! We’re still in their firing range and they just fired-“ The ship rocked forward. Everyone was thrown to the ground once more.
The Captain tried to ask what happened but the wind was still knocked out of him. He was having a difficult time breathing. Novak saw this and took charge. “Lt. Petton! What was that?”
“Anti-matter missile. Our shields are gone! We’ve got to book it now before they can fire another one!”
Garrick pulled his curvy frame back into the pilot’s seat. He tried to quickly set a course, but he could barely see the screen. Her giant auburn bangs practically blinded her vision. But piloting required two hands. Panic set in; tears began to well up in her emerald eyes.
Fawx saw this. He pointed to Garrick’s bangs and tried to tell Novak to push them out of eyes. But all he could manage out of his mouth was “Novak-“
Novak squinted, unsure what the Captain was trying to communicate. Then it hit her! She shoved her hand underneath the bangs and pushed them upwards. Now able to see the screen, Garrick set a course faster than he ever had before and engaged the light-plus drive.
The whirring of the engines intensified. Petton yelled, “They’ve fired one more!”
The Sabine rocketed off into space, away from its humiliated foe.
Fawx slumped back into his chair to catch his breath. It was too close. That Yrch had almost gotten them killed. Then again the Yrch could have shown up at any time. He wouldn’t want them to have gotten shot down- he would have died too. Wouldn’t he? The Captain no longer knew.
His eyes poured over his diminutive security officer, bewitching second-in-command, and suddenly curvaceous pilot. He was the only man on the bridge- one of the few remaining men left on the ship!
Two hours? What did the Yrch mean by that? Fawx could only assume one thing. How much longer until Moden would be done with that weapon?
And this was why I didn’t want to rush the chapter. I knew Torsion would be very long and should not be rushed. I’m very excited with how it turned out!
I really wanted to accentuate that Garrick was a good pilot. Of all my characters, I felt I had shown Sgt. Garrick to be mostly a hindrance to the ship and I wanted to show he had a place.
I have to hand it to Pip on Garrick’s new outfit when he got transformed. We batted some ideas around and decided that of all the outfits, the pilot’s would be the one that is most hindering because she pilots the ship. Her hair in her face, corset crushing her ribs, skirt preventing her from moving and of course dangerously high-heels built into her outfit so she can’t remove them. I’m glad I’m not a character in somebody else’s story. I’m mean to mine. ^^
As a side note, Pip is still the most awesome ever. All hail Pip, the Ever Awesome One! You should donate money to Sins because he is so awesome!
And before anyone says anything, yes I completely made up all the weapons. I just didn’t want to copy photon torpedoes so I made up my own outlandish weapons. I have no clue how those would work. Please don’t ask me how they work.
PLEASE email me and comment. I love hearing what you have to say!