The Adventures of Whirlwind
Warfare in the Thirtieth Century
Chapter 5 The Space Pirates
So, Senia asked, did he fuck you too.?
Aello, blushed bright red. This was not the welcome she had expected. Thought so, grinned Senia. She was a tall blonde, very attractively built, with full breasts, long hair that she usually wore in a long braid, and a very pretty, almost angelic face. Seeing Aellos reaction. She softened a little. Sorry rookie, its just that Carter has had all the rest of us. She nodded toward the other female members of the mercenary band. The other two girls nodded agreement.
One of the girls, a brown-skinned beauty called Kamna, came forward and put her arm around Aello. Dont pay any attention to Senia, she said in her clipped Indian accent. She doesnt mean any harm. She just doesnt know how to express herself subtlety.
The third girl laughed. Thats right, Aello. We all appreciate what you did. None of us would have dared stand up to those monster mechs. The girl who had spoken was Lina, and her dark skin bespoke her African ancestry. She was the tallest of the women, standing over six feet, but beautifully proportioned and possessed of a strikingly beautiful high-cheekboned face.
Jeff, who had been lounging in the background, sprawled over a chair, now jerked himself to his feet. He was a tall, red-haired man in his early twenties. He was quite good looking, but in spite of his boyish charm, Aello had kept him at arms length. Fortunately, he had enough sense not to push the point with her, but the other women he considered fair game. Righto, Lina baby, he said, his nasal accent betraying his Australian heritage. He looked directly at Aello. You sure saved my bacon. Those monsters would have fried my backside. I owe you a lot. Any time you are tired of Carter give me a call.
Aello smiled. In the short time she had known Jeff, he had never ceased to try to coax one or the other of his female companions into the sack. To her knowledge he had never had any success, but his continued persistence was almost reassuring. She took it as a sign of acceptance.
Senia came up to her and spoke quietly. Sorry if I embarrassed you. I didnt mean anything by it. I just talk without thinking sometimes. You did a very brave thing.
The two women embraced. Not a problem, said Aello. Youd have done the same for me.
Not likely, laughed Senia. Then as an afterthought: Sorry, sometimes I just dont know when to shut up.
Just then Carters voice sounded over the intercom. Better get up here fast. Weve got company.
The five mech pilots headed up to the control room. Carter was standing in front of the viewscreen. What is it, boss? Senia asked, placing her hand on his shoulder in a very familiar way.
I think its trouble. Were being chased, but its not any clan ship. Probably a privateer.
Bloody pirates, said Jeff, always looking to take what someone else has worked hard for.
Better man the battle stations, ordered Carter. I doubt we can outrun her, but maybe we can hold her off until we get somewhere safer.
The mercenaries positioned themselves around the control room. Aello took her place next to one of the rail gun arrays. In space this weapon was particularly effective. It was a quad unit. Four barrels mounted in a turret beneath the ship. It was operated remotely from the control room.
Incoming! shouted Carter. There was a slight shudder. The ship had been hit. That was not good news. The enemy outranged them. Im going to hit the brakes, said Carter. We need to get closer. His fingers ran over the console and the ship slowed rapidly. Aello could see the target closing. Just a few more seconds and she would be within range.
Damn! Carter exclaimed. Aello knew the reason. She had been about to open fire when the enemy ship suddenly receded beyond her range. The pirate captain had spotted their maneuver and was keeping his distance. His long range weapons could simply pick them apart at a distance, without need to endanger his ship.
The ship shuddered again, much more violently this time. They had been hit a second time. Aello wondered if their ship had the armor to stand up to a continued pounding. Carters next comment answered that question.
A couple more of those and they will be punching right through the hull. His fingers flickered over the controls again. Aello could tell from the change in the position of the pursuing vessel that he had swung the ship into a tight turn. He was hoping that the maneuver would bring the pirates within range. There was a slight G-force as the ship veered sharply in space. Without the artificial gravity system the entire crew would have been crushed into their seats. Even so the turn was so sharp that all of them could feel the increase in weight as the turn was made.
The ship shuddered again, this time violently enough to throw all of the crew against the restraining straps of their seats. They had all, of course, buckled themselves in just in case the ship received a particularly bad hit. It was standard combat procedure.
The captain of the enemy ship was good, however. Carters stratagem placed him no closer to the enemy ship than before.
KRRAANNNNGGG! This time a tremendous noise accompanied the sound of the hit. Aello felt suddenly weightless. That was bad. It meant the artificial gravity unit had gone. They would now only be able to maneuver at low speed.
WWWHHHHAAAAMMM! The instruments in front of Aello went dead. The ships power supply was gone. The ship was now an inanimate chunk of metal hurtling uncontrollably through space.
Aello and the others released themselves from their seats. They needed to get to the mech bay where the suits were stored. They could even get into one of the mechs and seal it up. Each machine came with its own self-contained life support system.
They were just entering the mech bay when a small explosion shook the ship. Theyve blown the hatch, said Lina. Aello knew what that meant. The enemy had detected the damage they had done to the ship and had closed in for the kill. They were now boarding the ship. They had only a minute or so to get ready for them. But they might still have a chance if they could get to the mechs before the boarding party did. But it was not easy moving in zero gravity. They had to push themselves from place to place. A push in the wrong direction sent them crashing into a wall or ceiling. The boarding party would probably be in armored survival suits and would be able to use their suits propulsion systems to move through the ship. Since they were pirates and used to boarding other ships they would probably be good at it.
Aello pushed herself toward her Ocelot. It was still pretty shot up, but it would be better than nothing. Her companions headed for their own machines. None of them made it. From behind them came numerous pulses of green light. Aello recognized them as carrier beams for electrical shock and then she was hit. A powerful electrical charge pulsed through her body completely incapacitating her. Her nervous system shorted out. She was not even able to scream as she passed into unconsciousness.