“A Woman’s Intuition”
By Darkrider 62
(aka Susan Moore)
Chapter 2: “The Discovery”
“What is going on today?” muttered Derek Wildstar, Deputy Captain of the Yamato, as he walked down the hall. He barely noticed the members of his crew as he went past them. “First, Nova shows up in the strangest mood I’ve ever seen her in and then we get a distress signal in a code that hasn’t been used for over a hundred years! I can’t wait for the next surprise.”
Hardy, a soft-spoken Southerner with a lock of hair forever falling over his left eye, looked up as Derek entered the flight deck. He called out to another pilot, who was messing around in the cockpit of his fighter. “Here he comes!”
Conroy’s bright face popped up over the gunwale of his bird. “Good.”
Wildstar walked over to the two Black Tiger pilots with his head down, oblivious to the suspended activity. Unbeknown to him, the news of a new set of distress signals had already raced through the cruiser. Everyone was curious to hear more. It was whispered that the signal was in a formula used by the Special OOPS. Derek, however, gripped his helmet tighter and stopped by Conroy’s fighter. “You two ready?” he started without preamble.
“Aye aye, sir,” they answered with a salute.
“Who are we saving this time?” added Conroy eagerly. Hardy shot him a warning look as Derek glared at the boyish-acting pilot.
“Who says we’re saving anyone this time?” demanded the captain. “We are simply on a scouting mission to see what the message means.”
Conroy’s balloon deflated abruptly. “Oh.” He sat back down in his seat.
For the first time in hours, Derek grinned. Conroy was one of the best pilot onboard the Yamato and there was nothing he liked better than flying into danger - except, maybe, a good fur fight. Secretly, Derek was hoping for a little action himself - anything to take his mind off of Nova and her crazy mood. Chuckling slightly, Wildstar commented, “Don’t look so glum, Conroy. You’re going to at least be flying and not cooped up in here.”
Conroy’s features brightened. “That’s true. Well? What are you waiting for?”
This time Derek and Hardy laughed. Derek waved Hardy to his Astrofighter. “Go ahead and taxi out,” he said. “I’ll meet you two outside.”
The three sleek fighters whooshed quietly in the darkness of space. A bright orange-colored planet gave the approaching asteroid field an added glow. The soft sound of the distress signal pulsed in each of their helmets and was getting noticeably stronger. All kept a sharp eye out for the enemy Scorpion fighters.
‘There is something eerie about this field,’ thought Conroy as he dodged a large boulder. ‘It doesn’t look like it’s been here for a long time.’ He passed another chunk of rock and let out a yelp.
“What’s wrong?” asked Derek from his fighter.
“I just went past a boulder with scoring marks,” replied Conroy.
“Slow down, guys,” ordered Derek. “Let’s approach this slower.”
In tight formation, the three fighters rounded a large asteroid and all three gasped.
Hanging tragically in the black void was a ship of obvious Earth design. Derek noticed that it was of the new scout class almost instantly while at the same time studying the damage. There was no bridge, no conning tower, no radar apparatus, no gun ports, nothing. There were gaping holes, twisted metal floating about, blackened marks where it had been hit. They pulled their ships up near a ruined airlock.
“Those signals are stronger now,” Conroy stated.
“Where is the transmitter?” asked Hardy, looking round in his canopy.
“Has to be inside,” commented Derek.
They sat in silence, shocked at the wreck. Finally, Derek sighed. “Hardy, stay out here and keep a radio link open with the Yamato in case of trouble. Conroy, fly around the perimeter and keep your eyes open for any of those Scorpions. I’m going in.”
“Wait a minute, Derek,” countered Conroy. “You can’t go in there alone. What if some of those bogies are still in there?”
“He’s right,” drawled Hardy. “I’ll just stand guard over ya’ll and keep my eyes peeled.”
Conroy shot Hardy a dirty look from his cockpit. The wreck was giving him the willies and the last thing he wanted to do was to climb around inside.
From his cockpit, Hardy gave Conroy a wicked wink. Conroy promised himself that, if he came out of this alive, he was going to give that Southerner a good kick in the pants.
Outnumbered, Derek gave in gracefully. He was pleased at not having to drag a volunteer into the gutted ship.
The young men tethered their Astrofighters to the dark scout and opened their canopies. They floated to the airlock and here Derek tested the radio link with Hardy. “Remember, if anything happens, you clear out of here and hightail it back to the ship. Tell Mark to get the Yamato away and that he is in charge. Okay?”
“Roger,” came the reply. Hardy saluted the two and backed his fighter off.
Derek looked at Conroy and took a deep breath. “Let’s go in.”
They plunged into the darkness of the vessel together.
TO BE CONTINUED…
To Return to Susan’s Introduction….click here