Warp Riders – Chapter 36

The Navigatrix’s head was ringing; what was she supposed to do now? The Orb was howling; whoever was attacking them was roaring in return; all of this on frequencies she was pretty certain her ears weren’t really supposed to be able to hear.

The worst of it was that, while before the orbsong had been wordless, mysterious and soothing, now, their attacker was using the same language to shape parsable words. It was utterly destabilizing; and oh, how he wanted the orb.

Was he in this stone mausoleum with them?

Or had he trapped her in here while he went to tear their ship apart for the Orb? Had her hesitation trapped them all on this moon to die? Was it already too late for the Engineer and the Bosun?

She could hear the fuzz grenades ignite, and saw the gas, green in the blue light, start creeping under the tent flap. Quickly she leapt up, and saw the Captain making the same decision, pulling her bad leg back up onto the pallet and shifting down so there was room for her too.

“No fucking air circulation in here.” The Captain was staring at the coffee pot they’d left on the ground, which had started sparking along all its edges in the charged gas. The electric fog was rising one inch, two, swirling in little eddies from under the bottom of the flap of the door. “Any chance we could disarm them remotely?”

The Navigatrix shook her head. “The Engineer made these from god knows what scraps; they’re just mechanical.” If the Engineer had tossed these in to help them, then she’d been alive at least a few minutes ago. “They can’t stay charged forever.” 

The Captain huffed. “Guess not.”

The Navigatrix’s head still rang with the vibration of time and the demands of their attacker; but sitting back to back with the Captain, she felt the chaos of her mind start to settle. It couldn’t be over yet.

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