Canto 114 – Desperate Men, Desperate Measures
Several system-defense boats, the so-called Atmospheric Police Force of the planet Coventry rose to surround the wrecked but recovering hulk of the First Half Century.
“Enemy craft! Stand down with your weapons. Prepare to be boarded by the Coventry Air Guard.”
Dana Cole turned to her beleaguered crew. “Any chance we can escape or fight our way out of this?”
“Not without using that… that THING!” said a horrified junior officer whom she didn’t know.
“Yeah, that is definitely out of the question.” She turned to the reanimated thing that was now her beloved Trav. “We have to surrender now, lover. I expect we will be facing trial.”
“Ah, a primitive justice system. That sort of illogical display will prove most enlightening in these times of our intellectual progeny.”
“I’m not talking to the mind of Trav Dalgoda am I?”
“Decidedly not. Tyrrix ManSel wishes to observe for the next decade or so.” The dead eyes were lit from behind with a yellow luminescence.
“Yep, that can’t be good.”
“There is a possibility of incarceration and even execution, isn’t there,” said Tyrrix with Trav’s mouth.
“Yes. If they don’t kill us as soon as they come aboard.”
“Well, if my database on the Xandar future is accurate, our ride should be showing up at any moment.”
Outside the viewport, two Blackhawk Corsairs, both in rather battle-worn condition popped out of jump space.
“We need the Coventry forces to back off for now. By proxy orders of the White Duke.” Dana easily recognized the voice of Razor Conn.
Through the viewport, the crew could see the system defense forces backing down.
One of the Blackhawks sent a half dozen air rafts out through its blast-blackened docking bay towards the First Half Century.
In moments, the leader of the Blackhawks, Razor Conn, stood on the bridge looking at Dana through mirrored sunglasses. He was wearing a white, wide-brimmed cowboy hat like so many veterans of the Pan Galactican Border War.
“I take it this incident was mostly the fault of the evil Tesserah thing?” Razor said simply.
“Yes. It seems to have a mind of its own. An evil mind.”
“We are going to tell the Coventry government that we have the rogue warriors in custody and we will give this starship to them as compensation.”
“So, you’re not going to hand us over to be executed?”
“No, of course not. We already know it wasn’t the fault of you or your crew. Our own ranks are a bit depleted now too, so we will be taking you aboard to work for us. We will only claim to have executed the war criminals. Once the emergency is over, any necessary investigations can happen in a few years. We have more pressing things to worry about now.”
“Oh? Like what for instance?”
“That evil Ancient thing wants to kill us all. Maybe the whole universe. We have to find a more effective way to deal with it than just doing what it tells us to do.”
Dana looked at Trav. “Are you telling them what to do?”
“Not I,” answered Tyrrix. “Your friend speaks of the evil inherent in the Tesserah. It is, after all, an ultimate Ancient doomsday sort of device.”
“Do you know how to get rid of it?” she asked Razor.
“No, but we have to figure something out. In the meantime, I would ask for everybody’s company aboard Blackhawk One. We really have a lot of work to do.”