Part 10

Earth Takes a Stand

Chapter Ten: Thaylen's Ship.

by Anonymous

Raymond was caught off-guard by the ship's erratic action. The whole thing had started to move in reverse, preventing him from getting any closer. He was confused for a moment, then found himself caught in a barrage of fire from the ship's main weapons!

Apparently, something in the ship had changed. Their original plan of splitting up would not work if the ship was able to fire at two targets at once, as Laura could not draw all of their fire. His wings were designed for flight in an atmosphere, and merely propulsion in a vacuum. He had no way to effectively dodge the assault, and Chris currently was completely dependent on him for all motion!

At the same time, a thin red beam of some sort extended from the ship and connected with Laura. Unlike the yellow blasts, this weapon was emitted in a continuous beam and was starting to hurt! Worse, all this was in addition to the relentless fire of the yellow blasts.

By this time, Laura was getting fed up with this whole situation. Fairchild was somewhere on that ship and she was going to save her no matter what the cost! "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" Paying no head to the red beam or the yellow blasts aimed at her, she sped forward on a direct collision course with what she hoped was the ship's bridge!


"Begin anti-missile tactics!" Thaylen could think of no other way to deal with this situation. This ship was never designed to be used against small, invulnerable targets. Large invulnerable targets were one thing, small vulnerable targets were also easy enough to deal with, but this was an entirely new situation.

Four darker yellow beams fired from the top, bottom, and sides of the ship, converging about 20 feet in front of Laura. When they met, they exploded in a massive release of energy powerful enough to knock a speeding comet out of it's orbit. Laura emerged from the cloud of thick plasma residue as if it had no effect whatsoever. This ship was going to know the full brunt of a Velorian Protector's wrath! And nothing was going to stop her!

"Stand by to repel boarders! Discontinue firing on the other two, security, to the bridge! Get every Prime except Kayne here on the double!" Thaylen wasn't used to having to shout orders to a crew. His race was only strongly telepathic with each other, and those like Kayne and Garritan who had learned how to listen to thoughts he was projecting. These Arions had such inefficient methods of communicating.

In seconds, the remaining four Primes and a security detachment of heavily armed Betas were on the bridge. "I'm going to the auxiliary bridge to continue the battle against the other two. Bridge crew, come with me." Thaylen wasn't about to admit defeat yet.


Raymond was shielding Chris and himself with his wings as well as he could. Even if it meant his armor would be damaged, three still stood a better chance than two at destroying this ship. The pair had seen Laura fly straight through the awesome explosion the four weapons had created and, after a brief shock of concern for her, emerge unscathed. They should have known that it would take more than that to stop a Velorian Protector in full assault!

Shortly afterward, the barrage of yellow blasts stopped. Or did it pause? Regardless, it was their chance to close the gap between them and the ship. Raymond had nowhere near the acceleration of Laura, but once on the ship all ground would be even again. If only they could get close to the ship in the first place!


The Beta security team and the Primes on the Bridge watched the viewscreen intently as Laura came closer and closer. Within moments, she was ready to impact with the ships hull. "Everyone, grab hold of something!" The last minute instruction came almost too late as Laura smashed through the hull at a speed which wouldn't mean anything even if it was described. There was a point, somewhere around Mach 10, where all speed still under that of light could only be called "really fucking fast." Any distinction between Mach 20 and 40 is essentially meaningless.

Two Betas with a loose grip were blown out into the vacuum of space as all the air rushed out of the bridge through the hole Laura created. Although their bodies were strong enough to deal with the complete lack of pressure, they were condemned to float helplessly though space and eventually suffocate.

The impact with the hull didn't bother Laura and more than the anti-missile strike had. She broke loose with her heat vision before anyone could react, painlessly vaporizing three of the Betas. Without pausing the beams for an instant, she turned to one of the Primes, throwing her against the back wall of the bridge and searing her flesh with every once of her rage.

The other three Primes wasted no time in trying to tackle her, but she fought like a tigress. A tigress powerful enough to rip this ship apart with her bare hands! The first Prime was caught by a powerful right hook to his jaw, stunning him and throwing him to the ground. The second caught a knee in his gut, and he impacted with the ceiling an instant later. The other tackled her from the side, trying desperately to hold her down as she thrashed and swung with all her might.


"Everyone to your stations. I want the weapons console split two ways now. Helm, keep us at an even distance from the target. And for Pete's sake get a force shield patch on the hull breach on the main bridge!" It was an unusual expression for this situation, but Thaylen didn't have a complete grip on the English language yet, and when he tried to translate English expressions into Arion, things like that came out.

The Arions scrambled for their stations inefficiently. The layout of Thaylen's ship was so, well, alien to them. All the stations were in different places, and they had very little experience with a weapons console that could be split up to five ways when necessary. To make matters worse, the near obsessive aversion Thaylen's race had to right angles meant that the areas where the walls met the floor were curved, making it hard to walk if you had fewer than four legs. If they hadn't installed Arion computers on the ship they wouldn't even be able to work the instrumentation at all, it was all controlled telekinetically before their modifications.

The compromises meant that now, neither Thaylen or the Arions were able to effectively use the ship without each other. The Arions found it difficult to use this very alien ship, and Thaylen couldn't read the Arion displays, he could only speak the language. He picked it up quickly because of his telepathy, but never learned how to read or write Arion very well. This was what made it necessary for Kayne to deliver oral reports.

And Kayne was the only member of the crew left who could actually deal with captain Thaylen's ways. As the last member of his race, he seemed intent on preserving his old ways. His style of running a ship, his chain of command, his rituals and his methods. It took someone who had spent a lot of time dealing with his people to pander to his style. After Garritan had died, Kayne was the only Prime left on the ship who knew enough about Thaylen's customs to deal with him.

The Betas knew how to deal with him though. The same way they dealt with the Primes. Do what he says, when he says it, and as well as he expects you to do it, and you don't have to worry about dying for another day or so.


Raymond was still far from the ship. He still had Chris in tow, and their radio was still jammed. And the ship was still firing at them. The only difference between what was going on just then and the situation five minutes ago was that Raymond seemed to have found a blind spot in the firing arc of the ship. Thanks to the design of the front of the ship, in the shape of a curly bracket } he was able to maintain a position directly in front of the ship where he could not be hit.

Anything much larger than human sized would never be able to take advantage of this blind spot. Anything slower than Raymond's armor wouldn't be able to either, as Raymond had to maintain full thrust from his engines to stay the appropriate distance from the ship, and at the appropriate angle, to stay relatively safe. Laura was going to have to do something quickly or Raymond would never be able to board.

And poor Chris, poor helpless Chris was still attached to Raymond by a claw cable. He had no means of propulsion, no way of taking his safety into his own hands, and no way of protecting himself against the occasional blast that got past Raymond and hit him. These weapons were designed to be used against other ships, and were not terribly accurate, so most of the blasts missed Raymond and himself, but each shot that hit him hurt like hell. Around this time he was starting to run pretty low on oxygen as well, and he couldn't wait to get into that ship. Or at least back into Earth's atmosphere.


Laura had problems of her own though. Battling four Arion Primes was no easy task for anyone, not even her. At least the Betas weren't firing. The five combatants were struggling so violently that the Betas couldn't get a clear shot.

Almost entirely without warning, a blue force field erected itself over the hole Laura had made in the hull, and air started to filter into the bridge from the ventilation system. Laura felt herself take her first breath of refreshing air in over an hour, it filled her lungs and felt so wonderful after being exposed to a vacuum for so long.

The fresh air cleared her head a bit, and she started to actually think about this fight rather than simply thrash about like a cornered animal. She was a hell of a lot stronger than these Primes, and she was going to use that to her advantage!

The first thing she did was grab two of the Primes by the back of their heads and smash them together as hard as she could. The impact resounded throughout the now air-filled bridge, knocking the Betas off their feet and temporarily damaging their hearing. The two Primes literally bounced off of each other and fell in heaps on opposing sides of the bridge, thoroughly unconscious and would be so for hours.

There was one male and one female Prime now still posing a threat to her. The female Prime was out of the first part of the battle because of Laura's initial heat vision assault. Now she was ready to rumble again. She caught Laura's punch with both hands, using joint manipulation techniques to twist her around and keep her locked in a wrestling hold of some kind. "Impressed, sweety? You should be. I used this same move on your lover Aurora not too long ago. She couldn't get out of it either." She was right, trying to move only made Laura's arms hurt. She was far weaker than Laura, but she knew how to inflict pain. She lowered her lips to Laura's ear and whispered, every so gently and accompanied by a sensuous stream of air, "And now you are going to die."

The male Prime left standing cracked his knuckles loud enough to be heard on the decks above and below him. It sounded like bone shattering. While his partner held Laura down, he drove his fists into her, again and again, with all his star-born might! All his impressive musculature was exaggerated to inhuman proportions by the effort. The impacts were loud enough to be heard all over the ship. Arion Prime fists slowly, ever so slowly, began to wear down the incredible warm steel that is Velorian muscle. Laura's eyes shut tight against the growing pain, but still she struggled against the female's hold on her shoulder joints. She had to win! This was for Fairchild!


Meanwhile, Kayne was continuing his ritualized execution of Fairchild. He knew that if he did not follow the rite, to the letter, Thaylen would sense it immediately the next time they met. Damn his telepathy. Damn his ship, damn his customs, and damn him!

"And thus, it is with honor and the respect due a worthy opponent, that you pass out of this life and into the Quell Nigh. Extinguish this candle, and so your flame will die as well." Far too melodramatic for his Arion sensibilities. He would rather kill the Velorian now, and join the battle against the invaders. It was far too dangerous to let her live while her rescuers were on this very ship! But he had his orders. And damn it all, he had no choice but to follow them.

The ritual called for the candle to be painfully pressed against the victim to extinguish it. This worked fine for beings who were not invulnerable, but the Velorian in front of him would have no idea that the flame was even coming in contact with her skin. Nevertheless, the pain was essential, it symbolized death. Kayne found himself forced to ad-lib the ceremony a bit as he pressed the flame against Fairchild's face, and used his heat vision to burn her where the flame touched her. Close enough.

Kayne was impressed indeed when he saw only the slightest motion on Fairchild's part when he burned her. The ceremony was designed to allow the victim to die with dignity, honor, and respect. The effect was not lost on her, even restrained as she was in the gold chains. Her thin arms and shapely legs held by mere gold chain. Her incredibly powerful body, beautiful face, perfect breasts, how he wanted to fuck her right there, while she was helpless before him! But that would be suicide. Thaylen would sense what he did immediately on their next encounter, and such a desecration of his rituals would not go unpunished.

All speeches finished, candle extinguished, and several Betas present for witnesses, only one step remained in the ritual. The act of execution. Once again, Kayne needed to break slightly from the rite to ensure effectiveness. He knew of only one way to kill a Velorian; and that began by reaching under her ribcage, stretching her skin and muscle along the way, and taking a good, firm grip on her heart.


At the same time Fairchild felt the first beat of her heart struggle against Kayne's iron grip, Laura's head snapped to attention. She could not hold the burning rage inside of her any longer. Despite the pain in her abs and her shoulders, she knew she was first and foremost a Protector. And right now, her lover, the woman who knew her more intimately than anyone else alive, needed protecting!

Ignoring the burning pain, she forced herself to act. If she couldn't break the Prime's hold on her, she was going to have to user her grip to her advantage. Flexing her mighty legs to three times their original size, she flew backward and smashed the Prime unmercifully against the wall of the bridge. With a final surge of pain in her shoulders, the Prime's grip was released. She turned and grabbed the woman by her wrists, crushing them under her grip. Then she lifted her into the air by those same broken wrists, sending excruciating pain through her body, and brought her crashing down on the weapons console, reducing it to a pathetic scrap of crushed metal and wiring.


"Sir, we've lost weapons control! Nothing is responding!"

Captain Thaylen would normally never have allowed a lowly Beta to address him directly, but Kayne, the only Arion high enough in rank to do so, was currently otherwise occupied. He found himself excusing this Beta and actually talking to him!

"Of all the incompetent...! Can't four Primes handle one Velorian? I can't believe my race was decimated by you worthless, unceremonious bastards! Reroute weapons systems to bypass the main bridge." He knew he should have done that in the first place, but time was of the essence and he thought the main bridge was in no real danger.

Another crash resounded through the ship, and Thaylen didn't even have to be told what just happened. "Reroute helm control. Reroute all systems to bypass main bridge control. And do it quickly!"


Raymond and Chris were caught by surprise by the sudden halt of all the ships weapons, followed shortly by the entire ship discontinuing its acceleration away from them. This was their chance, and they had to take it before they fixed whatever it was that Laura had done to it.

Continuing at full thrust, Raymond towed Chris as quickly as he could to the ship. Within moments, they were at the hull. Raymond found an airlock quickly and, using his laser, sliced the locks and seals off of it. Raymond felt that entering through the hull would draw too much attention, and this might be overlooked. The pair entered the airlock and as Raymond used a lower setting to weld the door back shut, Chris stabbed blindly at buttons written in Arion, trying to fill the compartment with air and open the inside door.

Finally, he succeeded. He took his first good breath of air in over an hour and coughed the dryness out of his lungs. Hard vacuum tended to leave a few side effects on beings who were not completely invulnerable. "Christ, that's not something I want to go through again. Wow, I never realized how good it felt just to be able to talk."

"I'm going to find Aurora." Raymond stated in his matter-of-fact way. "If she's dead, then this entire mission will be cut pleasantly short. I assume you're going to try to find Laura."

It disturbed Chris that Raymond could talk about his lover in that way, but it was far better not to argue with him right now. He and Laura needed all the help they could get. "Right. I'll go find Laura. Shouldn't be too hard, I'll just follow those crashing sounds a deaf man could probably hear. Just... just don't destroy the ship while we're still on it. That's all I ask."

"Of course." Raymond's attitude was starting to wear very thin on Chris.

Raymond took off to the right, toward the back of the ship, and Chris headed to the left. Raymond's choice of direction was completely random. He had no clue as to the layout of the ship, but in the absence of a map he was forced to make a decision. Chris simply wanted to get away from Raymond. Raymond irritated the hell out of him.

Raymond felt that he had to act this way, though. He could not afford to show any weakness. He did what he did for all the normal Terrans on Earth, as if they all with one voice were saying "We will no longer be oppressed!" At least that was how he saw himself. It was the driving force behind his actions.

Yet although he could not show weakness, he certainly felt it. Without the armor he could be killed with no more than a casual glance from these aliens. He hardly ever took it off anymore. The longer he kept it on, the weaker he felt without it, and the more he needed it.

It didn't help either that after taking the armor off after a big battle, he felt tired and sore, and his skin was hypersensitive. He chalked that up to something about the Velorians, maybe their heat vision had some delayed effect or he was allergic to the residue the pheromones left on the armor. It could be any one of a million things, even a radiation leak from the nuclear generator that powered his armor. He hoped beyond words that Steve hadn't cut any corners on that aspect of his armor. But Steve wasn't known to cut corners, especially when it really counted.

It wasn't long before Raymond encountered his first Beta. For an instant, there was a pause as the both of them waited for the other to make the first move. The Beta was first, reaching down to draw his sidearm. In the same instant, Raymond raised his arm and fired a claw cable. Before the Beta could squeeze off a shot, he was caught by the claw and reeled in toward the armor. The force of the impact made him drop his gun. Raymond lifted him effortlessly into the air with one hand, raising the six foot Beta up to the nearly seven and a half foot eye level of the armor. He demanded, "Tell me where you are keeping the Velorian."

The Beta put on a confused look, and chattered something in Arion at Raymond. Raymond simply increased his grip on the Beta's arm. "I know you speak English. Tell me where Aurora is."

The Beta continued to speak on Arion, talking faster in a panic. Then he switched to Russian, then French. They were the only languages he knew. Raymond spoke only English, and a little Spanish. "Then I have no use for you." Raymond raised his laser to the Beta's head, watching him plead for his life as he offered the Beta one last chance to speak a language he didn't know.

War does strange things to men. Raymond had never killed anything before he donned his armor. Since then, he had killed in cold blood several times. Every time before this, though, he had no time to think about his actions, if he didn't act quickly people would die. This time, he had a harmless Beta in his grip and no one else around. Outside of a combat situation, he couldn't bring himself to kill the pleading Beta. He tried communication one last time.


The Beta finally understood. He pointed down the corridor and said "Gyoe too."


Laura finished a rush job of destroying the bridge, despite the fire of the Betas weapons. They had little or no effect on her. The two conscious Primes were knocked off their feet time and time again as the shattering blows she landed on the control panels shook the bridge. The only thing keeping the Betas on their feet was their grip on whatever items they had a hold of when Laura had first crashed into the ship.

Without bothering to deal with the Betas or the two remaining Primes, Laura crashed her way through the door leading to the bridge and ran at full speed down the hallway. She was going to find Fairchild if she had to rip the ship apart to do it!

Several Betas paid the penalty for being in the corridor at the wrong time as she shoved her way past them, the luckier ones dying instantly as she crushed their ribs against the walls of the ship. She had no idea where she was going, but she was sure she'd know a holding cell when she saw one.


Thaylen was running out of options. He had three super-powerful intruders on his ship, and his crew seemed unable to stop them. "Release the Kintzi."

"Sir, the Kintzi have no self control! They'll do more damage to the ship than the intruders!" This was too much. A Beta addressing him was something that could be overlooked in a crisis, but questioning his orders!?

The Beta grabbed his head and fell to the floor in agony, screaming for mercy as he felt his mind catch fire! "Release... the... Kintzi." Thaylen commanded, barely able to keep his anger in check. The other Betas needed no more persuasion.

The Kintzi were kept in an area of the ship everyone called The Playroom. It was an ultra-reinforced section of the ship made by taking out the walls of several of the crew quarters to form one large room. The remaining 10 Kintzi spend their off-duty hours in this room, fighting, sleeping, fucking, and eating. They needed this room because the Kintzi mentality needed something to do all the time. Left bored, there was no telling what they would do.

Now that was exactly what Thaylen was counting on. *

"Faster, Tabral. We want to get back to the base before they destroy the ship." Bacstin needed to get back to San Fransisco quickly, so she was taking the "Tabral express," riding him like a horse the way they had done so many times before, years ago when they worked together. The only read differences were that Tabral was harder to hold on to, and quite a bit faster!

"I'm going as fast as I can without attracting attention. If you want, I could hit the freeway and be there in a few minutes, but I don't think that would be a good idea."

Bacstin considered it for a minute, then decided. "Yes, do that. We'll take the freeway until we're near the city, then break off and take the side roads again. We'll be back at the base in no time. Then we can send the signal."

Tabral frowned. "You're sure now, this could compromise our whole wait a minute! I'm ready to kick myself. Bacstin, there's no one here who can stop us! The Velorians and Raymond are on the ship, and after what he did to the communications base there aren't any Arions left in San Fransisco. What does it matter if we're seen?"

Bacstin looked ready to kick herself, too. "I guess all this sneaking around gets habit forming. PUNCH IT!" With a sudden burst of speed that nearly made Bacstin lose her grip, Tabral accelerated to his full speed. He leapt completely over large intersections in a single bound with cat-like grace, passed cars, and shocked pedestrians as he headed straight for the freeway. They'd be there in no time flat!

When the did arrive, Tabral was out of breath. Cats, including the Kintzi, were not made for distance running. Although in his super powerful case distance running meant going farther than most cars could on a single tank of gas. Tabral, not nearly as tired from just holding on, exitedly sat down to the last remaining, working computer terminal in the entire base.

"Okay, Tabral, I have good news and bad news. Good news is that the ship is still in orbit, and it's definatly under attack. I'm getting a distress call from Thaylen's ship. Bad news is there's another Arion ship on its way to help. If we evacuate the Betas, they'll probably go to the other ship."

"Well, maybe... unless we modify the plan a little. Instead of just sending a false evacuation messege, can we get a messege to only the Betas? Then we could tell them the whole plan and get them to come straight here instead of trying to track them down later. And they can bring weapons. If we could figure out how to do that, then that would solve all our problems."

"Actually, I think I could! If the ship's under attack, then that means that all the Primes will be helping defend it..."

"Meaning there will definatly be a Beta at the communications console, who you can tell your plan to..."

"He'll spread the word to the other Betas, and we can get our resitance group started! This is going to work! It's really going to work!" Bacstin hugged Tabral hard, for once in her life she was going to actually be somebody, not just a pawn under Arion control! She was going to make a difference.

A short conversation later with the communications officer confirmed it, he was willing to go through with it. Many of the Betas on the ship were sick of being treated as second class citizens, and most would jump at the chance to live on Earth, where for once, they would be the strong ones!