Nomads 14

Nomads is my first experimental serial. The setting is futuristic with elements of armoured suits, diaspora fleets, and bug-hunting.  The experimental part is me trying to write cohesively and coherently in first person, with as little editing and preparation as possible.

Link to Nomads 1, Link to Nomads 13.

“Damn we’re glad to see you Nomad,” said the ranking security officer as we assumed control of the area, nodding his helmet my way.

“What’s the situation officer? ” I asked. I wanted to avoid any questions about how we faked our demise and get straight to details. While the man spoke I watched Triumph’s progress on tactical; they were making good progress on their way to engineering. I hoped Malificent and Scorch could contain their enthusiasm for destruction; the last thing we needed was a fire or a hull breach complicating matters. The Falcon was a combat ready corvette, but some people can find ways to damage anything.

“We received a report that your Dropship sustained damage,” said the security officer. “About fifteen minutes later some of the crew took the shuttle bay, swift and bloody. That tripped the alarm.  The attackers all wear those odd suits and masks. Lockdown doesn’t seem to stop them and we don’t know where they got their weapons.”

I nodded. Nothing surprising thus far. The Falcon’s systems would have to be swept after this; no telling what sort of malware was allowing the Silvers to bypass lockdown.

“We’re headed to the Bridge,” I said. “We have a second team taking engineering. Round up your men and start sweeping floor by floor. Alert us on ship security channel if you run into anything you can’t handle.”

“Understood Nomad,” he said. I was pleased at the lack of pushback on my orders. Sometimes security gets possessive and forgets that Nomads have orders priority in boarding and mutiny situations. Technically I currently outranked captain Otumo; the thought brought a smile to my face as I marked the paths we would be taking. As I finished Sunspear’s avatar went red and registered targets; she’d been spotted in the shuttle bay. After a heart-pounding interval that had to be less than a minute but felt like an hour, her targets all went black.

“Report,” I commed.

“They saw me,” Sunspears voice came through loud and clear, as steady as her biosigns. “Bastards actually tried to sneak up on me. Good thing I can count. All targets accounted for and dead; two refused surrender. Want me to follow you to the bridge?”

“Negative,” I said. “Lock the bay and over-ride then dig-in. I expect some of them might try to make a run for it. They’ll want the cryopod.”

“Too bad I can’t set any mines,” said Sunspear. “I should be able to make due once I gather a few drones. Good luck on your end, Raven.”

Shrike, Sphinx, and myself took three separate routs towards the bridge. We covered ground cautiously, but quickly. I wasn’t sure if the Silvers were aware of us yet, but it appeared as if they were concentrating their remaining forces on the Bridge. Over-riding bridge control would give them access to several defensive countermeasures that might prove to be problematic; the internal drones and forcewalls of a ship like the Falcon were pretty good, but not enough to stop a Nomad.

I figured that If our enemies knew we were coming they had to be panicking. Lightly armed soldiers stood little chance against a fully deployed Nomad. Even if we ran out of ammunition we could rip them apart with our bare hands quicker than they could cut us down with light weaponry. So far I hadn’t seen anything serious, although Triumph was now meeting with stiff resistance down in Engineering. Improvised explosives, probably.

Shrike’s Avatar blinked, two targets going red near her and then fading to black almost immediately. I did not hear the rapport of her shotgun, wondered if she used blades.

The signs of heavy fighting increased as we neared the bridge. Scorch marks and bullet holes on the wall. A dead security officer behind a makeshift barricade. A trio silver suited masked corpses had bled out near the remains of  the armoured blast doors that protected bridge access. Beyond them I could see flashes of weapons fire. I signaled Sphinx and Shrike to move in behind me and powered my suit’s shields to max. I really need to stop leaving the shield drone behind.

I strode forward, into the breech, shouting. “This is Nomad Raven of Seventh Fleet, Lay down your Weapons.”

They answered with blaster fire. I didn’t even get a chance to fire my Tri-Beam. There were a few significant weapons among the Silvers, and my shields began to drop alarmingly. Unfortunately for the Silvers, firing on me gave away their positions to Sphinx and Shrike who leapt in, weapons blazing. The bridge crew holdouts rallied and fired at them from the other side. The last Silver turned his weapon on himself, scorching his own head. I couldn’t blame him, Fleet was rumored to be rather unkind to traitors.

The Bridge was heavily damaged with both sides using every available piece of furniture and equipment for cover. There were quite a few crewmen amid the dead. Otumo stepped out from behind a damaged monitoring station. His pristine uniform was scorched and he carried a rather classy looking antique plasma blaster.

“Nice gun,” I said.

“What is the meaning of this, Raven?” he said, looking angry. “We thought you were dead.”

“Long story,” I said. “It will have to wait Captain. You have a crew to command and we still have insurgents on this ship. I’m in command until the last Silver falls, so if you don’t mind…”

I turned my back on him and went back to work, trying not to grin.

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