Stolen Shuttle

From the Log files and recordings of Lester Reye

Day 81 - First Inn.
“This wasn’t what we needed.” Les Reye almost wailed after Karl Nash told him that Dobswell had taken off with a shuttle. He turned to Andy and Captain Travis and said, “Is there anyway to stop him?”

Travis replied, “Probably so, but short of outright destroying the shuttle he’s taken off with, it would mean sending people to the southern continent which might not be a very good idea. I’ll get Calver back on line and he can do a track and set up an intercept. I think you have already found the first reason to use the communicators the Guardian gave you.”

Les said, “The Guardian said not to call him unless the Soessossins were being threatened. Do any of you think Dobswell is threatening?”

Andy Stuart looked at Les and shook his head slowly from side to side, “Les call them. This is no time to fool around with guessing. They are so far in advance of us that—Well you saw what they did to Coopersmith. They could pop us all to wherever it was they sent him and I don’t want to go. And when you talk to them see if they could bring the asshole back. He may be a jerk but we are pretty short on people here.”

Travis spoke when Andy was done. “No doubt about it southern continent on a straight line course. Their keeping it in the Atmosphere so we have a few hours. Calver scanned the personnel files and there’s no reason to think Dobswell could fly a shuttle. Better do a check and see who else is missing.”
Karl Nash said, “I’m on it” And left the room.

Andy said to Reye, “Well we’re waiting.”

Les took the medallion from his pocket and raising his eyes said, “I don’t like this a bit,” while pushing the gemstone in its center. The gemstone lit up, but for seconds there was nothing, no sound, nothing, then more seconds and more nothing.

After a minute Rocco said, “What’s going on here? This doesn’t make any sense at all. Talk into it Les, maybe something will happen.”

Les said, “Testing… ah hello.. hello?… Anybody there?” He repeated that then started yelling louder into the thing and finally after about five minutes gave it up. In a more normal tone of voice he spoke into the center of the medallion and explained what has happened. His final comment was that they would try to halt Dobswell short of killing him as he really didn’t think the man posed much of a threat to the Soessossins. “Anyone got something to add?” he asked. When no one responded he pushed the stone again and the light went out.

“A whole ‘nother problem we got now.” Andy said. And just then Nash came running back.

“Dobswell, the wife, son and daughter, and three others. Helen Graham, Marty Ciotie, and Cot Edwards. Cot must be flying the ship. Don’t think anyone else is unaccounted for and they didn’t take their robots. What happened with the Guardians?”

Travis said, “Nothing, nothing at all. Their phone seems to be off the hook.”

“So what do we do?” Karl asked.

Reye looked puzzled and said, “There’s no time for a council meeting and vote so I’m putting it into Andy’s hands for now. But I think we need to try and stop them and with no loss of life.”
“Thanks for favors large and small,” Andy said. “Captain Travis, lets see what we can do.”

It wasn’t much. An hour later Ash Andrews boosted one of the other colony shuttles onto a track to intercept Dobswell and Edwards. He piloted his shuttle out of the atmosphere in a suborbital flight plan and intercepted well short of any land. It turned out to be a waste of time.

Despite repeated warnings on the com channel, and a fly-by with missile lock followed by a launch across the bows, Edwards, who had no intention of getting into a shooting match with Ash, just plowed straight ahead, refusing any communication at all. There wasn’t a thing Ash could do short of taking Dobswells’ ship down and likely killing all aboard, and that had been ruled out.

The general consensuses was that Ash should break contact well away from the southern land mass. It might be that a few could land without bringing the wrath of the Guardians down on their heads but a battle on the continent itself seemed too risky. So Ash, cursing, gave it up and returned to Liberty City.

“I’m going back to the Mayflower,” Captain Travis said, “I need to deal with the Surprise and her oddball crew. What I will do is move the ship further out into a stationary orbit over the other continent so that visuals of Dobswell and what he is doing are readily available.

Les Reye tried several more times to contact the Guardians, and as before with zero result. When Ash Andrews returned to Liberty city he went to the Community Building where the Council members, Andy, Nash, Gabe, and Joe Fortson, along with a large portion of the rest of the colony were waiting. Obviously there was going to be some kind of a council of war.

Reye dismissed everyone but Council members and the military and civilian defense leaders saying, “That’s it for now folks, nothing more happens today and everyone has work to do. We’ll go over everything at the next town meeting in a week or so.”

After the room emptied out Reye said, “No recordings of anything said here, I am going to say a few things we might not want anyone to overhear.”

“Wait a second Les, You still got the Guardians communicator on you?” asked Connor.

“Oh! I see what you mean,” Reye said looking chagrinned while patting his shirt pocket.

“I’ll take care of it,” Fortson said. He spoke into his com unit saying, “RoDan come to the Community building right now.” He then said, “RoDan is waiting at the Bot Shop for a ‘Clean and Grease’ if we are going to be paranoid about this, let’s do this right.”

Joe held up his hands motioning for silence and wrote on a piece of paper which he passed around to the others, “I’ll have him take the Guardian’s com a good ways away, and give him instructions to relay any transmissions to us here. I am going to set my com to receive only. I suggest everyone else do the same or better yet turn them off entirely.”

While that was going hand to hand Joe wrote out instructions for RoDan and when the bot got there gave him first the instructions and then the communicator.

A few minutes later, after RoDan left with the medallion Les said, “So what about the Guardians? And by that I mean what do we, or can we do about them?” Reye had asked the question everyone had on their minds. “And before anyone answers, I am thinking about it from this point of view; humans have always been the top predator in our food chain. It is one of the things that make us human and I don’t know that I want that to change or that it can change without changing us as well.

The session lasted a half an hour, and finished with an agreement to meet again the next day.

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Colony: Alchibah is a science fiction blog novel.
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