Chapter 126: Retaliation
We left our heroes--
--being exploded upon by draconian missile as they tried to evacuate people. Those immediately hit were Dafnord, Markel, Mithriel, Runyana, Metalais, and our locally-recruited gunners, not to mention hundreds of locals, many of whom die immediately. A generous shock wave is left over to carry down the tunnel into the reception area and hit Robbie, Gannar, and Katrina, plus the fays enlisted to detect undercover dragons and still more locals. The folk in the pantope (Tom, Kate, Mirien, and Braeta) are protected by the armored airlock that contains the portals.
We start to pick ourselves up and reckon the damage. Twenty-three locals are dead and many more are moments from dying. Metalais is unconscious; Dafnord picks him up and starts down the tunnel to an autodoc. Runyana is unconscious, up on a nearby roof; Mithriel seizes her and flies toward the tunnel mouth, knocking over Markel in her haste; he tumbles down the tunnel.
On the pantope, Tom reaches out mentally to re-spin the telepath net, but gasps and stands stunned by the impact of all the dying minds. He does not hear Mithriel ordering him to close the connection and ordering Dafnord into the tunnel. She slips into the pantope and shouts at him to close before they fire again.
Back at the tunnel mouth, Dafnord starts herding his gunners into the tunnel, still holding Metalais. Tom maneuvers the tunnel mouth to swallow the unconscious. In the end, we get Markel, Dafnord, Metalais, and all but two of the gunners. Then we close.
It all comes down to a pile of hurt people in reception. Pemnals and Kraslks come in to cart the injured away to infirmaries. Mithriel puts Runyana in the autodoc on the pantope. Dafnord puts Metalais in the autodoc on the Munch. Robbie takes katrina and one of the fays to the autodoc on the Nones. We then fast-forward on everyone and get them healed quickly, in terms of ship time.
Of course, that doesn't apply to the folk in the pantope, where we do the fast-forwarding. Kate notices that Mithriel is bleeding from a head wound and seems on the edge of a nervous breakdown. She takes the helm from Tom, who has patched the telepathy net and his nerves back together. Tom then transfers Mithriel and Runyana both to the ranch, with its multiple autodocs.
Down in receiving, Robbie pries a pixie out of the ceiling. Dafnord sees his squad settled into the infirmaries and then checks himself into the Munch's autodoc, once Metalais is done.
Tom fast-forwards on the ranch, but checks in ever four hours or so. On one check, he finds Mithriel gone, her autodoc bed empty. The house computers tell him that she's in the armory, and would he please sign these requisitions? For what?
Seems Mithriel has placed an order with Jumping Jacks, for "assorted munitions," a space-worthy grav sled, and a small two-seater fighter craft, which has to be delivered by special freighter since the thing is illegal to fly on Hellene. Tom knows exactly what Mithriel is up to, and signs.
Once everyone is all healed up, we re-convene on the pantope, ready to use Mithriel's new toys to take out the dragon-ship that fired on us. Tom sniffs around the new fighter, psychically. It isn't completely new; it's been used before, which is good, since it lets Tom use his Knack of Tools to run it. He also recognizes the previous user: Cantrel. In addition, we have lots of other guns and a plasma bazooka.
In freeze-frame, we take a close look at the foe. It's one of their manta-ships, almost certainly guarded by some form of dimensional technology. Okay, we'll play our own dimensional tricks at a respectful distance.
In brief, we fire on the thing through two portals at once, taking care not to shoot toward each other or the city below. Tom and Gannar shoot with the fighter's guns. kate runs the second portal and everyone fires through that with our other weaponry.
Dafnord takes out their windshield, which is very bad at high speed and high altitude. Mithriel launches a missile through the hole, which is worse. Then she shoots the second missile and Gannar finishes up with the ship guns on the fighter. We snap back to window mode and watch. Not for long.
It makes a great fireball, but may be to high up to notice from the city, especially if you're still prostrate on the pavement with your ears ringing and your blood volume declining.
Tom then gates the debris into the ocean.
Back to cleaning up.
©1984, 1994, 2005 Earl Wajenberg. All Rights Reserved.