Nomads is my first experimental serial. The setting is futuristic with elements of armoured suits, diaspora fleets, and bugs. The experimental part is me trying to write cohesively and coherently in first person, with as little editing and preparation as possible.
The bomb on our ship was a cold hard reality. Fleet hushes up any news of subversives, eliminating evidence quickly and quietly; even their trials are played down — recorded with transcripts instead of trideo. Yet the bomb was evidence of sabotage coming from someone aboard the Falcon. Much as I disliked the overly ambitious Captain Otumo, I could not see him jeopardizing his career with this kind of attack. I could see him leaving us behind or making us look bad, but brazen murder was too much of a risk.
“Can we set it up so that the bomb explodes harmlessly?” I asked.
“Sure,” said Malificent. “I can do it without tripping any of the tampering alarms. Lets get at it Scorch.”
“Thanks Mal,” I said. “Our primary problem is convincing everyone that we are dead, or at least in bad enough shape that the insurgents feel confident that they can take the Falcon. A simple scan will reveal that we are alive pretty quickly. Our second problem is getting on board after the explosion; we don’t want to be left drifting while the action goes down. Suggestions?”
“We could cause a Radiation leak,” said Sphinx. “That would baffle the sensors.”
“No,” said Shrike. “They’d never pull an irradiated ship on board, especially one that just exploded, the Falcon is not geared for that kind of work.”
“What else can baffle sensors?” asked Triumph.
“Can’t you set up a feedback loop of some sort Sphinx?” said Sunspear. “Hack the sensor readings instead of trying to fool them.”
“Oh, yes I can.” said Sphinx. She sounded excited.
“You ladies want to explain that to the rest of us?” I asked.
“Well,” said Sphinx. “It is hard to fool Sensors as powerful and comprehensive as those found on the Falcon, but If I can replace the sensor readings with the data I want them to see we can easily convince them we are dead.”
“Can you do that?” I asked.
“Yes,” said Sphinx. “I can only fool them for a few minutes though. This kind of hack only works if they aren’t looking for it.”
“Not bad,” I said. “Any more suggestions?”
“We should make it look real nasty inside,” said Shrike. “Their bound to check the dropships internal cameras or even our deadbox feeds.”
“Lovely. Let’s get to work,” I said. I sounded more confidant than I felt. I wondered if I was risking the remains of my squad on a longshot to get revenge on hidden enemies. And yet, no one objected to the plan as we laid it out and so I kept my worries to myself.
Half an hour later we were accelerating out of the atmosphere. The Dropship rose smoothly through the clouds. Naturally our unknown assailants tried to trigger their bomb to explode during a critical part of the ascent. Malificent’s modifications ensured that the explosion did very little actual damage. I will admit though, that my heat jumped into my throat when I heard the boom. So many thing can go wrong during a trans-atmospheric flight, adding another set of variables reminded me of that.
Fake debris and “blood” were strewn around the crew compartment and cockpit by smaller explosions. Mal did a great job on these as well. Lots of practice blowing stuff up I suppose. Scorch looked like he’d almost been blown in half if you looked at his suit from the proper angle.
Sphinx gave me the thumbs up; her hack was working, then Shrike flicked on the distress signal and we waited, drifting through space, to see if our ruse would work…