Waiting on the Mayflower for something to happen, for someone to need help, was not exactly how I had figured my involvement in the goonie attack at first, but by the time push came to shove I was fine with it. They had four cruisers, we had a small special forces contingent a few dozen militia and several shuttles. We would be needed, it was just a matter of when and where. Truth be told I think all of us on the Mayflower – Summer, Mike, Kaye and I – were hoping against hope that no one would have to call on us. After all, even if that meant we didn’t see any “action,” the fact was that it also would likely mean fewer colonists died. And that was infinitely more important than any childish need to be in the fight.
I was pacing back and forth in the staging room we had set up for SF Reserve just down from the main bay, fiddling with my battle rifle. The room was just off of a long hallway that lead up to the cavernous main entry room which all the elevators from the docking bay fed into. We were relying on Monroe to feed us back anything we needed to know from the bridge, as this room didn’t have access to any of the sensors. We had drilled this hundreds of times and by now our two teams could be into our shuttles and out the front door of the Rock in under two minutes. Of course we weren’t already in the shuttles on the off chance that the Mayflower itself was hit. That we had drilled too, though far less. We were just waiting on the call. Then Monroe’s voice came through the com.
“Andy, Steel, anyone? Alchibah under attack. Mayflower under attack. Three unidentified ships have approached us from behind. Never saw anything like them. One is heading down through the atmosphere of Alchibah. Seems headed to land just west of Liberty. The other two are coming after the Mayflower. These are not Earth ships. Andy, if you can hear me, that must be why the Goonie ships traveled slow — these skull ships came after them and needed time to circle around. Strike Force Rear is launched to intercept.”
I hit the com. “Bridge, Firebird, what the frack is going on? We’ve got two skulls incoming?”
“Firebird, Brige. Make that three, with three more headed to the surface,” came the response. “One’s trying for the back door. I’m going to catch it in the engine blast once it gets close enough. The other two are headed your way, straight in the front door. I don’t know what the hell they are, but you’re going to need to hold the entry room – whatever they are, they’ll be coming down the elevators. They’re starting docking now, so eta is five minutes.”
“Understood. You and the doctors stay on the bridge. We’ve got this. And get a robot crew down here asap. We’re going to need backup choke points like we drilled. Firebird out.”
“Will do Firebird. Good skill, and don’t get dead. Bridge out.”
Compiled from various log files
She turned to the other three teenage Strike Force members. “Thorn, lock the elevators. Dustup, set frag charges around the entry room. If they’re not human maybe they won’t recognize our explosives. Grinder, grab that crate. Help me barricade the hallway.”
She commed Monroe again as Summer sprinted out the door and Kaye grabbed a small crate of explosives and followed her. “Bridge, you give the robots their orders remotely, I don’t have time to coordinate them. Have them set up three choke points down the left fork and retreat. We’re going to blow the right fork. Firebird out.”
“Understood Firebird.” You could almost hear him wince through the com. “Don’t hurt my ship more than you have to.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” Jai laughed, grabbing the other side of a heavy metal crate and helping Mike haul it into the hallway as she let out a gigantic sneeze.
“Great, last thing I friggin need right now is the goddam FidoFlu.”
“Tell me about it,” Mike said, sniffling.
It had been two minutes.
Summer sprinted back down the hallway.
“Elevators locked. Orders?”
“Blow the right fork back there,” Jai nodded down the hallway behind her where the bots were setting up the second choke point. “Just enough to bring it down. And be careful not to hit the bots.” Summer was already grabbing the charges out of the staging room as Jai finished. The last crate was in place just as Kaye ran up to them.
Then from behind them Summer shouted, “Clear!” just before a enormous blast shook the walls around them and a cloud of dust erupted from the formerly clear passage heading to the right at the end of the hallway.
“Carrigan!” Jai shouted down the hall, “You and the other bots get up here and take all the ammo you can carry to the other choke points. And then get the hell back to the bridge, no point in you getting fried too.”
“Confirmed,” replied R.Carrigan, “and thank you.”
“My pleasure,” she turned back to her friends. “Dustup, Thorn, you think you can rig those light fixtures about fifteen feet from the opening of the hall with concealed charges? I’d like to pull the roof down around their ears when we have to fall back to the next choke. Plus, it’ll give us some time to regroup.”
Summer grinned. “Can do boss.”
“We’ve got a minute and a half before they’re knocking on our door people, let’s move!”