Spacewolfomega wrote:“Roger that. We’re on our way, then. And Captain...” Omega paused. “Looks like you were right about my ‘take no prisoners’ approach... I just wanted to say that.”
Fergie shrugged. "You have Gil to say that to, I'm afraid - that was when I was, um, orbiting Uranus. And please don't make any jokes about that..."
"Has anyone gotten through to the Professor yet?" Gil interrupted.
Fergie frowned. "I haven't heard him on the channel... I'm going to run ahead and make sure he's alright."
Gil nodded. "We'll join you in a few minutes."
Fergie turned and sprinted towards the prison barge. He saw nothing on his run, but still wished he had had the time to recover his helmet and body armor. Or... wait, the fleet had taken that when they left. He didn't need
it - part of his commando training was learning to go without it. But he'd have to talk with Sharuuk about getting replacement armour.
Fergie dashed up the ramp and glanced around. He didn't see anything, but heard Sharuuk in one of the rooms. He nearly
went after him, but something... something was screaming at him in silent horror. He turned and looked down the hallway leading to the cockpit. There was someone there... a Viledarian in a lab coat, sitting in the pilot's seat.
Walking quietly, Fergie headed towards the cockpit, training his rifle on the back of the Viledarian's head. He wasn't prepared to shoot the guy just yet - perhaps he was one of the good Viledarians.
But that hope died as the Viledarian swiveled around in the chair, having seen Fergie in the video monitors. "Good afternoon, Captain," the Viledarian said. "I am Master Field Xenobiologist Tahathak. I have a deadman switch and a vest full of frag grenades. And the self-destruct is going to go in five minutes. If you run, you may get clear." He pointed with his spare hand towards a computer monitor which stated the self-destruct had been activated.
"I don't suppose we can make a deal to get the prisoners off?" Fergie said.
"I don't think so, Captain," Tahathak replied. "I launched a communications pod containing my research notes while your other vessel was distracted with those sorry imbeciles... it's already in hyperspace. Just thought you should know. And if you try to shoot the deadman's switch out of my hand, it will detonate from the signal loss. I dare say you weren't planning anything that stupid."
"So this is a stalemate?"
"No," Tahathak said. "See you in the afterlife in five minutes, captain. I daresay all of you are too kindhearted to leave my experiments to die." He leered and took his hand off the deadman switch.
Fergie threw himself backwards, sheltering as best he could in the open hallway. Two grenade fragments richoched and ended up in his leg. Slowly he crawled into the devastated bridge, looking at the destroyed computer terminal Tahathak had been using. The interface was destroyed, but the holograph projector had been protected by the console... and it was still counting down.
Activating the bonefone, Fergie said "Emergency. Prison barge is rigged... to self-destruct in... five minutes thirty-one seconds. Tahathak is... dead. I think... I'm gonna black out now."