Scarapace CH2 ~ Hostile Takeover

Scarapace CH2 ~ Hostile Takeover

A Chapter by Carbon Muse

“Delta-One calling Burrow, come in Burrow…” 

 

Looking up at his instrument panel, the communications officer flipped a switch and spoke into the microphone attached to his headset.  “This is Burrow, go ahead Delta, we read you.” 

 

“Brood has been spotted, I repeat, Brood has been spotted.” 

 

“Copy that Delta, continue your sweep.”  Swiveling his chair, he pulled his headset down around his neck and motioned towards his C.O. standing bent over the map table at the far side of the room.  “Sir, Delta has reported in, he confirms Brood as being inbound.” 

 

The C.O. nodded to the soldier standing across from him at the map table whom in turn snapped off a salute and marched out the control room.  “Tracking, sitrep!” 

 

The radar officer turned towards his C.O., a grim expression on his face, “She’s moving faster than we’d hoped, she’s in sector six right now.” 

 

“S**t!”  Pacing up and down, his left hand behind his back, he pulled at his lower lip.  “Coms, call in all drones, OPS, set siren and prepare for lockdown.” 

 

“So, Colonel,” the woman had slipped unnoticed into the operations room and was standing in the doorway with her hands casually behind her back, “You want to tell me what’s going on?” 

 

He froze in his tracks, 'Speak of the devil', he thought, prickles running down his neck.  “We … are … locking down the base, there is a storm inbound.” 

 

“I see, so am I to assume you were going to just leave my package out in the desert so I can pick up the pieces once the storm had past.”  Her high heels clacked on the concrete floor as she started toward him, her security badge tapping on her white lab coat as she moved. 

 

“With all due respect professor, you are not authorized to enter this area.” 

 

“Tell that to your Corporal, Colonel Bower, he’s the one that left the door wide open.” 

 

The colonel swung around, ready to call down the fires of hell on his corporal.  “Do not toy with me professor!  I have a base to secure!” 

 

Looking down slightly as she continued walking towards him, she smiled, “As I said Colonel, your man did not shut the door properly, security being your prime responsibility, I would have thought your men would know how to perform their duty better than that.  Now, who can I rely on to perform your duty?” 

 

The colonel turned blood red as she stopped in front of him.  Snatching her security clearance badge from the lapel of her lab coat, he gazed into her eyes and whispered, “Just who do you think you are, Larna!” 

 

She stifled a grin at hearing him use her first name.  “You tell me, Bower …” she asked, waiting for him to continue his rant.

 

Bower’s fist clenched around the plastic security badge, raising his voice, “Now listen here and listen well…  I am the commander of this facility and what I say goes!  I don’t care if your Mother, your Father or your whole god damn family is out there!  This base is going into lock-down!” 

 

Shaking his head at the commotion, the communications officer swiveled back towards his control panel and started to make the necessary preparations. 

 

Taking a step forward, she stared at Bower, the pupils of her eyes narrowing, “Belay that order Lieutenant!” 

 

Throwing his hands in the air, the Lieutenant took the headphones from his neck and tossed it onto his console. 

 

“Well, Colonel, I am the reason this base exists and the moment those troopers enter this facility, its status will officially change to Active and I will be taking over as commander of this base.  If you have a problem with that, I suggest you pack your things and leave before your precious storm hits.” 

 

Standing his ground, he stared straight back at her, the sharp edges of the plastic badge digging into his palm. “On what authority!  You are nothing more than a civilian, professor!  You are under contract of the Emperial Army which means you answer to me, not the other way around!” 

 

Taking a step back, she took off her lab coat and threw it over her arm.  A sudden quiet fell over the room as the controllers dropped what they were doing and stared in disbelief at her uniform. 

 

Bower’s face turned from red to pink as he stiffened up and came to attention.  “But … how!”

 

"I was hoping to do this in a more civil like manner but you force my hand, Gene."  Her expression became stern and professional as she recited in a formal tone, "Colonel Eugene Bower, with immediate affect your rank is hereby reduced to that of Lieutenant Colonel.”

 

"Explain yourself Larna!  If this is one of your sick jokes, I swear..."

 

Larna chuckled.  “That’s Colonel Valeese to you.  I'm sorry Gene, this is not a repremand.  I don’t have the time to explain right now but suffice it to say, you are still a Colonel in the records but for all intensive purposes you are now my second in command."

 

"Uh..."  Dumbfounded he stared at her, the silver oak-leave's on her epaulettes glinting in the flourescent light of the command center.

 

"Now, are we done here?  I have a lot of preparation that needs to be done.”

 

“I still don’t … understand.  You're … just a professor, how could you now suddenly …”

 

“I don’t have time for this, now do we understand each other!” she hissed, causing him to take a step back in surprise.

 

His gaze still on her uniform, he held out the security badge to one of the controllers.  “The Colonel here will need her security clearance upgraded.”

 

“Huh, but …” the controller stared at his former colonel, dumbfounded.

 

“Just drop it by the lab when it’s ready, you have wasted enough of my time as it is.”  With that she snatched Bower's security access badge from his pocket and walked off.  As she reached the door she looked back and stated in a calm and collected tone.  “Oh and Lieutenant, I will see the security in this facility tightened up, understood?”

 

Clenching his teeth, he watched as she disappeared through the doorway.  “What are all of you staring at!” he roared at the top of his voice, smashing the security badge into the controller’s chest.  “Get back to work!  Lock-down…”  He sighed and shook his head.  “Level-2 lock-down, leave the cargo bay unsecured.  Drop the landing pad the moment the last drone touches down.  As soon as the troopers are secured we will commence full lock-down.”

 

The control room erupted into a frenzy of activity.  ‘What just happened … Larna?  A Colonel?!’ he thought, staring at the door to the control room as a siren started wailing in the background.

 

***

 

"Calling all drones!  Return to base, Reports indicate the storm has picked up pace and is currently passing through sector six. Repeat, RTB!"

 

'Oh great, were behind on our sweep,' he realized as he placed his oxygen mask over his face and proceeded to speak into it.  "You'd best put the hammer down or were never going to outrun her!"

 

"Copy that, clear our current path and plot a return vector."  Clipping his oxygen mask firmly into place, the pilot placed his hand on the throttle levers.  "Get ready, were going Balls to the Wall*!"

 

"Right!  Vector plotted ... now."  Grabbing onto the hand holds at the back of the pilot's seat, the RIO** braced himself.  "Punch it!"

 

The pilot's heads up display flashed briefly as the computer accepted the new path and the target pip switched from pointing North to due East.  "Here goes!" he exclaimed as he pushed the combined throttles to maximum.  A banshee like scream roared through the cockpit as the VTOL's turbine screeched into life.

 

"Bogey! ... Bogey! ... Bogey!" a womans voice rang through the cockpit.

 

'That can't be right...'  The RIO's eyes narrowed as he flipped the readout on his radar screen, ‘that's way too fast!’

"Incoming, 7'o clock high!"

 

"Where did that come from ..."  Straining to catch a glimpse of the incoming threat, the pilot looked over his shoulder through the narrow cockpit.

 

"Break right!  Break right!"

 

The pilot pulled hard on the controls, flipping the VTOL on its side, into a steep bank.

 

"Brace! ... Brace! ... Brace!"

The woman's voice rang out again, an instant before a heavy impact rocked the VTOL.  The lights lining the RIO's display started flashing and the woman's voice piped up again

"Caution! Power! ... Caution! Power!"

 

"Master caution!   Were loosing power!"  the RIO yelled, straining to look over his left shoulder, his body flushed hot with shock at the sight of the flames and thick black smoke billowing from the left fan casing of the VTOL.   "Dam' It!  Left fan is down!"

 

"Hang on!"  The pilot pulled hard on the controls, trying to keep the VTOL stable as it started falling out of the bank.

 

"Caution! Stall! ... Caution! Stall!"

 

"Come on ... stop fighting me!" he hissed as he throttled back so he could engage the center auxiliary fan.

 

"Caution! Sta..."  The woman's voice cut out as the system reset and the VTOL regained lift.

 

"Yes!  You beauty!" screamed the RIO as the lights on his console blinked amber then white.  "Now where are you, you b*****d!" he yelled as he whipped his head from side to side, trying to get a visual on their assailant through the sides of the narrow cockpit.

 

"Caution! Power! ... Caution! Power!"

 

"Dam' it!  Not again!" The pilot gripped the controls and pushed the throttles hard back to full power.  The VTOL shuddered and started shaking.  "What the!"  he exclaimed as he fought with the control's trying to break free from his grip."

 

"Caution! caution! Caution! caution! power! Turbine! caution! power! Turbine! Cau..."

 

"Shut up you b***h!"  The RIO yelled as he slammed his fist at the alarm reset button.  "Were loosing the turbine!"

 

A bead of sweat trickled down his forehead as the pilot felt the VTOL become unresponsive.  "I can't keep her up, were going to stall again!"

 

"Terrain! Pull Up! ... Terrain! Pull Up!"  

Deafening silence fell over the cockpit as the VTOL's turbine cut out abruptly.

 

"Eject! Eject! Eject!"  Screamed the pilot as he reached down between his legs.

 

The RIO, his hands already on the yellow handle on the floor between his feet, yanked hard. 

 

A series of loud pops, like bubble-wrap breaking under foot, echoed through the cockpit as the canopy release bolts blew, causing the canopy to shear away and the RIO being propelled from the stricken craft an instant later.

 

***

 

"Sir!  We lost contact with Delta-Two!", the radar officer shouted over the hive of activity in the command center.

 

"What?!"  Yelled Bower, "Comms!"

 

"On it Sir!  Delta-Two come in...  Delta-Two, this is Burrow do you read!"  The comms officer paused for a moment.  Hearing nothing but static coming from his headphones, he repeated his attempt at making contact, "Delta-Two!  Come in Delta-Two!"  The comms officer looked at the Lt. Colonel and shook his head.  "No reply sir, channel is dead."

 

"Tracking!  Do you have a fix on their last location..."

 

"Sector seven Sir!" 

 

'Sector seven... Their way off schedule, but they should still be clear of the storm.'  Bower thought for a moment, 'It's highly unlikely but...' his eyes widened and he swung around toward the radar officer "Tracking!  Any foreign signatures!"

 

"Very faint sir, and not for very long.  The radar didn't identify it as a ... wait, bird-strike sir?  The storm, it may be chasing what little bird life..."

 

"Let's not get ahead of ourselves here, it may well be the storm interfearing with the signal," Bower reassured the young lieutenant.

 

"Oh, right," the lieutenant sighed with relief as he turned his attention back to his display.  "I'll keep trying sir."

 

'Not likely Lieutenant, sorry for the false hope but I think our boys are lost in the desert ... and that with a storm bearing down right on top of them...' Bower thought to himself as he turned and rushed towards the map table.



© 2015 Carbon Muse


Author's Note

Carbon Muse
Feel free to give honest and open feedback but above all, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed exploring my imagination and creativity.

Terminology:

* "Balls to the wall" : On earlier air craft, a physical panel separated the cockpit from the engine bay, also known as a "Firewall". The act of pushing the throttle levers to the maximum would cause the balls, capping the top of the levers, to touch the panel, giving rise to the saying.

** RIO : "Radio Intercept Officer", also known as a co-pilot, performing various tasks in a combat aircraft to allow the pilot to focus solely on flight and combat.

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Added on December 1, 2015
Last Updated on December 1, 2015
Tags: Science Fiction, Military, War, Saga


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Carbon Muse
Carbon Muse

South Africa



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A Chapter by Carbon Muse