On The Manipulator, the medics had insisted Blast wore a sling for his arm as he left the medical bay but as soon as he’d reached the privacy of his quarters, he’d taken it straight off.
“Bloody thing.” He mumbled and tossed it to the side. He stretched his left arm out and moved it around, getting it used to the movement again. There was a slight twinge every time it reached a certain angle but it was bearable and a lot less painful than it had been.
With a sigh, he slouched down into his chair and momentarily shut his eyes.
Somebody knocked on the door.
R.K. rolled his eyes and groaned. Was he ever going to be able to rest? He got up again and opened the door, trying to not look annoyed.
“Sir.” Nightblaze saluted. “We’ll be coming out of hyperspace soon.”
Blast had ordered the ships to go into hyperspace and travel to a small asteroid field near the Outer Rim soon after he’d told Padfoot about the second Delta 4 base.
“Okay, thank you Nightblaze.”
“How are you sir?”
R.K. didn’t answer for a second, weary, then replied, “I’m getting there. Getting there.”
“Very good sir.” Nightblaze smiled and nodded once before walking off and Blast closed the door again.
He sighed and leant on his desk, looking out of the window at the stars zooming by, blurred with speed.
Biting his lip he briefly thought and then decided he ought to go and check on things on the bridge so turned, re-opened the door and left the room, closing it again behind him.
Once on the bridge he called out to nobody in particular, “Can somebody get Lieutenants Phoenix and Lovelock up here ASAP please?” And when a Captain nodded and jogged from the room, mumbled, “Thank you.”
Nightblaze, Flare and Padfoot were by the viewing window and just as Blast reached them, the cruisers left hyperspace and suddenly the sky around them became still again. Ahead of them they could see the asteroids floating around, giant lumps of rock pointlessly hanging in the air.
“So what’s the plan, R.K.?” Flare questioned.
“I’m going to send Phoenix and Lovelock to scout ahead, they did well on Ryloth so I know they’ll get the job done. I’ll get them to find out where the F.I.S.’s base is exactly and then whether they’re there already or not.” Blast replied, looking outside at the distant asteroids, seeing if he could spot any signs of the enemy base.
“Sounds good to me.” Padfoot commented and at the other end of the bridge, the two chosen scouts walked in, helmet-less and chatting to each other as they walked towards the leaders.
They saluted sharply and as Blast nodded to them, relaxed.
“I have a job for the pair of you.” R.K. started and then explained what it was he required them to do in detail. The pair listened closely, nodding slightly occasionally.
“Is that clear?” Blast finished.
“Yessir.” They replied together.
“Good. Set off immediately.”
“Yessir.” They said again and saluted once more. They turned to leave but then R.K. spoke again.
“Oh and one more thing…”
The pair turned back to face him.
“Do this well and I’ll have you both promoted.”
Grins spread across both men’s faces and they saluted together. Blast smiled and added,
“Thank you sir.” Lovelock said, still grinning.
“Yes, thank you.” Said Phoenix and the two of them walked back up the bridge, talking excitedly to each other.
The two did as they’d been commanded and set off in their own customized scout ships as soon as they’d picked up their helmets and weapons. The two small, one-man ships darted into the asteroid field, flying carefully so as not to alert the F.I.S. or even worse, crash into one of the constantly moving lumps of rock.
They navigated through the drifting boulders until they neared the one named Balitron 7.
“And 3, 2, 1, activate cloaking systems.” Phoenix said into his headset to Lovelock in the other ship who replied with “Cloaking active.”
Both scout ships suddenly disappeared from outside view with a slight wobble of air as the pair activated their cloaking devices to become invisible. They continued on their course towards the Delta 4 base and began circling the asteroid, looking down for any signs of life.
“See anything?” Lovelock asked.
There was a short pause and then Phoenix replied, “Nope. Not yet.”
Inside the monitor room of the base, Jamie Clift sat keeping an eye on the scanning systems that were monitoring the skies outside of the base.
A message flashed up in red on one of the screens saying, “Inbound craft.”
He kept an eye on the two red blips that had also just appeared on the map but then suddenly they disappeared. Clift frowned wondering what had happened.
He pulled out his comlink and contacted Rogue.
“Rogue; Get to gun station one and keep an eye on the sky. Two ships, presumably cloaked. Watch for the ripple, any signs at all. Fire at will.”
His comrade replied with, “Will do. On my way now. Rogue out.”
The duo of U.R.S. scouts continued gliding around the base for several more minutes and then Lovelock spotted something.
“Look. Down there.” He indicated to down below them where he’d just spotted the F.I.S. shuttle on the rear landing pad.
“There they are.” Phoenix confirmed.
“Okay, I’ll send word back to the cruisers.” Lovelock began typing a code into his ship’s built in coms system but was abruptly interrupted.
A laser blast ripped right through the center of the nose of his ship, leaving a massive hole and he began to lose control.
“I’m hit!” he shouted to Phoenix.
Down at one of the base’s gun ports, Rogue smirked as suddenly one of the scout ships, the one he’d just successfully shot became visible again.
“Hold on!” Phoenix called back as he saw his companion’s craft start to fall down towards Balitron 7.
But then a second shot flew up from the base and obliterated the entire rear of his own ship
“I’m hit too!” he called as he started to spiral out of control.
“I’m going down!” Lovelock called and frantically tried to rescue his plummeting nosedive towards the base.
“Me too!” Phoenix replied as he began spiraling faster in a downward arc after his comrade.
Lovelock shouted with determination as he pulled hard on his control stick, trying furiously to pull up with marginal success. He soon realized though that it was in vain and grabbed his gasmask, quickly attaching it to his helmet and then hitting the eject button.
The lieutenant shot out of the cockpit, the glass roof flying off and he flew uncontrollably through the air,
air as his ship finally hit the asteroid below and erupted in a fireball. Within seconds he was righted and yanked on his parachute cord.
A giant orange chute billowed out above him but he was already too close to the ground
and he hit it hard, blacking out as he crashed down.
At the same time, Phoenix was frantically punching his own eject button but for some reason it wasn’t working.
“Come on you damned thing!” he cursed but it refused to work as he slowly spiraled closer to the ground.
“ARGH!!!!!” he cried out in anger and then he too passed out as he crashed down onto the rocky surface of the asteroid outside of the base, nearby to his unconscious comrade.
At the gun port in the base, Rogue was already on his comlink back to Jamie to confirm he’d shot down both craft.
“Good, okay, let’s grab Callum and Fixer and go and check for survivors.” Clift replied.
“Okay, I’ on my way.” Rogue answered and ended the link.
“Blast, we’ve lost contact with both scouts.” Padfoot called across the bridge. R.K. was stood talking to one of The Manipulator’s captains but turned to look at Padfoot as he called from the computer by the viewing wall.
“Excuse me.” Blast said to the captain, who nodded in reply and then he walked over to his second in command.
“Why, what’s happened?” he asked as he got there.
“I don’t know but they both just disappeared from the map and they won’t answer their coms.”
“Something must have happened to them.” R.K. guessed out loud.
“Either that or there’s some sort of shield around the base that’s blocking their signals.”
“Maybe. Okay, let’s give them until nightfall and if they haven’t contacted us, we’ll assume the worst but at least we’ll have, in a way, confirmation that the F.I.S. are already there.” R.K. planned and Padfoot nodded,
On the asteroid, Iadsgb led Jamie, Fixer, Rogue and Callum outside onto the rocks and they made their way to where both U.R.S. scouts lay unconscious.
They came to Lovelock first and Fixer carefully moved the parachute from where it had fallen on top of him, checking for any signs of movement as he went.
When the body was uncovered Callum knelt down and felt the neck.
“Pulse. He’s alive.” He confirmed, looking up at Iadsgb.
“Okay. Check the other one and then we’ll decide what to do.”
The group minus Fixer, who stayed with the first lieutenant in case he came around, moved on until they reached the flaming scout ship in which Phoenix lay.
The craft hadn’t exploded on impact and so when Callum clambered into the wreckage and checked the limp body for a pulse, confirmed that he too, was still alive.
“Should we kill them sir?” Rogue asked his superior.
After a moment of thought, Iadsgb replied, “Yes. We have no need for them.” But then just moments before Rogue pulled the trigger on his aimed gun, stopped him.
“Wait! Change of plan. I’ve had an idea. Bring them inside.”
BUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT? FIND OUT IN PART 9! COMING THURSDAY 30TH MAY!
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