The Nemesis Vector

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Good hunting.... and God's speed....

Chapter 30 (v.1) - Good Hunting....

Submitted: January 01, 2018

Reads: 186

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Submitted: January 01, 2018

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Chapter 30

The three hour flight to the ISS is uneventful and as the space station comes into view, Rex guides the Intrepid to the boarding airlock and successfully soft docks with it. Testing from the shuttle shows that the station is pressurized and holding breathable air. This is definitely a relief having left the alien crew members on board the station when they had abruptly departed nearly three weeks before. Within their view, the intimidating black cloud looms as a grim reminder of the seriousness of the situation. The cloud has grown to near double its original size and continues to grow exponentially each day.

“Rory, I need you to stay on the SAGA radar and man the bearing gun in the event any unannounced alien visitors make an appearance… and if they do, take them out. Link the SAGA radar to your laptop while Duke and I secure the station… also, offload that ISS bearing gun module. Price, when Duke and I get back I want you and Beck suited up and ready to help install the LBC system and the reflector panels. In the meantime, Rider will begin work on the new com system and Duke will help him finish it up when he returns. Gentlemen, you have trained hard over the last two weeks and now it’s time to use that training. We are working in stealth mode, as you know, but the reality is that those alien bastards could show up… unannounced… at any time. We do not know how often they have returned to the station or if they have returned at all… but one thing I do know, we must work swiftly to complete the needed modifications so that we are ready to ‘invite’ them to return. Our timetable is four days to completion. Is that understood?”

“Sir… Yes Sir!”

Securing the station takes time as Rex and Duke routinely inspect each section to insure there are no booby traps left behind by the unwelcome visitors. They also want to insure that the aliens have not further damaged anything that could preclude them from meeting the objectives of the mission. After an hour long inspection of each module, they find the ISS safe to return to and the team unloads the supplies from the shuttle cargo bay.

The days are long, but go quickly, as the crew readies the ISS. Seal Team One quickly becomes accustomed to working in zero gravity and works diligently to stay on schedule and meet the four day completion deadline. The entire crew knows that disappointing Commander Huntley and UEA Command is NOT an option.

There has been no sign of the aliens or their ship and the cloud continues to grow larger each day which in itself is concerning. Rex and Price install the last two laser reflector panels and Duke and Beck complete the installation of the LBC and it is functioning properly. The new com installation is complete and NASA has been apprised that within 48 hours the station will be ready to test the com and then begin a broadcast that will hopefully lure the aliens back to the ISS.

“This is the last panel Commander. I have to say that although it took a little getting used to, I like this feeling of weightlessness. I think I could do this for a living… you astronauts have it made, pretty cushy job!” Price laughs.

Chuckling, Rex tells Price, “You think so, huh? Well let me tell you, don’t quit your day job quite yet… this has been the easy part. Honestly though, having never been in space and having had only two weeks to train for this mission, you actually did a lot better than I thought you would. In fact, you all did. Let’s get back inside… we’re done here and O2 is getting down to the critical point.”

“Oh yeah, forgot to look at that,” Price looks surprised.

“Yep… thus the reason you should probably keep your day job!” as they move back to the airlock laughing. “I’m sure too, that everyone is in need of a little rest, and some freeze dried chow. Yep, we sure have it made up here, right Price?”

“Well maybe, not in regards to the food Commander… that stuff really sucks.”

“You’ll get used to it… when you’re hungry enough, it will taste like a medium rare steak.”

“Copy that Commander… I might be there today… hungry that is.”

“When we get back inside, we’ll take a look to see what’s on the menu. You should eat up when you can. When everything heats up, it’s hard to say when you’ll get a meal.”

“Understood, Commander…  I know the team is ready for some action.”

“They might want to rethink that… enjoy this little bit of peace while it lasts, if you know what I mean.”

“Yes sir, I think I do.”

Back on board and with everyone together, Rex calls for everyone’s attention, “Gentlemen, I want to compliment the entire team. You all worked incredibly hard and extremely well together. We are now fully operational and will be testing the final pieces tomorrow. Hopefully we won’t have any glitches. Upon completion of those tests, we will begin the broadcasting which, if all goes according to the think tank plan, will lure those alien bastards into our web and we will then be able to fully execute the UEA Command’s plan to commandeer the alien craft. Upon execution of this plan, the enemy will only have a razor thin margin of time during which they could have any possible chance of escape. So with that being said gentlemen, when all of this begins, and the broadcast goes out, we all need to stay frosty and expect the unexpected. Is that understood?”

“Sir, yes Sir!  Ooh rah!”

“Now listen up! Each of you will rotate through a turn to monitor the SAGA Radar for bogies. I’m sure Commander Scott will appreciate your help. Duke, you set the over-watch schedule for your team. After chow, Commander Scott and I will be distributing your side arms, your personal tracker along with your utility belts. These belts will hold your oxygen tank, nerve gas canisters, gas mask, signal jammer and your side arm. Of course, monitoring activities will continue 24/7 and for your safety and the safety of the entire crew, I don’t want any of you wandering very far from C airlock, any questions?”

Rider raising his hand like a grade school student asks, “Yes sir, I have a question. What happens if we do all of the broadcasting and the aliens fail to show up. What happens then, Sir?”

“Rider, I must say, that is a very good question. However, I believe there is no chance in hell these menacing bastards will not show up… but in the event they don’t, we will wait for new orders from UEA Command. Believe me gentlemen, that alien ship will show itself and you will get your chance to take them down… I guarantee it.

“Curiosity killed the cat,” Rider states.

“Sure… something like that; now everyone, go enjoy your filet mignon dinner… or maybe its freeze dried stew… can’t recall and then after dinner, meet me at C airlock where your gear will be issued. After issue, you’ll want to bunk up and get some well-deserved rest… you are all going to need it.”

Choking down dinner, it is obvious the members of Seal Team One are more accustomed to eating a much more substantial robust meal.

“Man, this shit is freaking horrible… they really expect you to eat this cat food?” Beck complains.

“It’s not forever, we’ll be back on Earth sooner than you think, and when we are, we’ll all head out together for a big juicy steak dinner… are you with me?” Duke urges.

“Absolutely… and especially if you’re buying!” they all laugh.

Having finished, Price throws the last of the delicacy into the trash and murmurs, “I think my dog eats better than that.”

“I hear ya… In fact I think my dog would taste better than that!” Beck acknowledges.

All laughing, the four men move towards the airlock where Rex and Rory wait to divvy up gear.

“We will be practicing command and control tomorrow after breakfast gentlemen. If you have any questions, be sure to bring them with you. Also, if anyone is interested, Commander Scott will be contacting Houston on the LBC system here shortly.”

Handing out the gear, Rory reminds them, “Here are your utility belts; wear them on your person at all times. Do not misplace any item. This belt will be your new best friend; treat it as such. Duke, have you decided who will be taking first watch?”

“Rider will have first watch, Sir.”

“I’m going first again? Why does it seem that am always the one chosen to go first?”

“Because Rider you’re the Einstein of our team and Einstein always went first,” Duke tells him.

“Well, if that’s the case, I’m good to go Commander.”

“Sounds good,” Rex comments laughing.

“Rider, take Commander Scott’s laptop and whatever you need to do to stay awake, make it happen.”

“Copy that Commander… I’ll be frosty.”

Although the ISS is designed with several sleep pods in different modules of the station, each member of the crew, follows Commander Huntley’s orders, finds a place near C airlock to tie into each night. Having chosen not to utilize their slip-on sleeping bags, in the event they should be surprised by unexpected visitors, they tie their bodies down fully clothed, including their utility belts. It is a definite adjustment to sleeping on Earth. With zero gravity, there is no right side up or down, and the concept of laying your body on a mattress or your head on a pillow is a foreign concept of sleep in space. At first, getting comfortable is a bit difficult but once you realize it is just a matter of relaxing every muscle, it is easier to adapt. A couple of the crew members actually sleep what looks to be upside down but Rider likes to sleep floating upright while tied down to the floor by his feet. Most of the team members listen to music which helps to drown out the constant hum from the stations air circulation system. Throughout the night, each member of Seal Team One takes their turn on watch. After a solid eight hours, the crew wakes and readies themselves for a simulation of command and control maneuvers. This practice will ready them for the scenario of the aliens boarding the ISS once the com signals are sent out… a practice that must be second nature… flawless.

Rex, smiling at Rory asks, “Do you have a coin?”

Looking smugly back Rory answers, “Why, yes. Do you want heads or tails?”

As the team looks on curiously, Rex answers, “I want tails this time Rory.”

“Tails... really? Might I remind you Rex that you lost with tails last time?  Are sure you don’t want heads this time?”

“Just flip the damn coin, Rory.”

Looking confused, Duke asks, “Commander Huntley, may I ask what you are flipping the coin for?”

“Why hell Duke, we flip coins for everything… it’s our own personal form of competitive entertainment,” he laughs.

Rory flips the coin in zero gravity and lets it turn several times and then slaps his hand down onto his other hand with a crisp clapping noise. 

Lifting the top hand, as the coin starts to rise, Rory announces, “Tails! You win; I just hope the new com works, because, as the winner, you are the one who gets to fix it, if it doesn’t!”

Everyone chuckles and gathers around the com as Rex sends out the first communication.

Here goes, Rex says confidently, “This is the Intrepid Houston, do you copy?”

Everyone waits in the silence but only the noisy drone of the air circulation system can be heard.  “Houston, this is the Intrepid, do you copy?” 

After what felt like hours, the silence was broken by, “We copy Intrepid; we read you loud and clear! Damn good to hear your voice, Commander!”

“Likewise Houston, I am pleased to report, ‘Black Spider’ is now operational and ready to invite the ‘fly’ into the web.”

“We copy that Intrepid. We will notify UEA Command that Black Spider is now operational.”

“Copy that Houston; from here on out we will make contact as agreed, on a daily schedule as previously disclosed in the flight plan.”

“Copy that Intrepid… and Commander… actually all of you… good hunting and God’s speed.”

 


© Copyright 2020 Bo Demont. All rights reserved.

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