3. Fight For Flight
I. The Travails of Travis
12/2/2052 Ship’s Infirmary, The Mayflower
Travis let out a yowl as Dr. Van Vogt reset the bone in his leg. “Well, I did warn you it would hurt,” Van Vogt said.
“Haven’t you heard of pain killers, Doc?” Travis whispered through clenched teeth.
“I’m sorry, Travis, but our supplies are limited. We simply haven’t the time to obtain more from Earth.” Van Vogt began wrapping the leg with bandage, then applying an inflatable cast. He continued, “We need to save everything we can for whatever awaits us on Alchibah. Medical supplies are short. Almost no fresh food. All of us had counted on another three months to fully stock The Mayflower. The U.N. really forced our hand before we were ready.”
Travis replied, “I thought Alchibah was supposed to be a paradise. Now you’re making me nervous.”
“Oh, it might be paradise, a Garden of Eden. Might not. Osmer didn’t actually land on the planet, remember, he only scanned it and sent a couple probes to the surface. Who knows what we’ll really find when we land. We’ll be taking a real leap of faith with very little data to go on.” The full leg aero-cast complete, the doctor began washing his hands.
Rocco lumbered into the infirmary and said, “The Lancer is a day out. As soon as they dock inside the Mayflower, we need to launch. There’s a cargo ship laden with food and grain on it’s way but it will take a week to reach us. We can’t wait for it.”
“Shit,” Travis said.
12/3/2052 Conference Room, The Lancer
The conference room was packed. All eyes were rivited on the wall-sized vid-screen.
“Holy Shit,” William Bartlett said.
“Yes indeed,” Captain Monroe echoed, “I’ve seen it before but I’m still in awe. The Mayflower is actually a two-mile-wide asteroid that StelCo had been mining for ore and water ice. Old Hamilton decided it would be easier to build it into an interstellar ship than to start from scratch. It’s big enough to hold all of us, plus supplies, and already had a lot of structures built beneath the interior surface by the miners.”
Hanna Parker said, “Are there enough supplies for this trip?”
Monroe looked at the assembled colonists and grimly said, “No.”
Jack The Blade angerly said, “What do you mean, ‘no’?”
Monroe said, “There wasn’t time. There are some non-perishables already on board, but much of what we’d hoped to bring hasn’t made it, yet.
“There’s not enough food. The plan was always that most of you would make the trip in cryo-chambers with others whom wanted to remain awake for the almost four year voyage being allowed to, to help with ship’s maintenance and the greenhouse, and preparing things for arrival on the new planet.” He paused.
The Historian looked at the captain quizically and asked, “And now?”
Monroe let out a long sigh and then said, “And now, there’s barely food to keep more than three of us going for the length of the trip. That three will be myself as first officer, our engineer Clark, and the actual pilot, Captain Travis, the commander. We’ll take rotating shifts to monitor our voyage, instruments, navigation… I suppose we could activate a couple of the GE 3A Robots but while they’re fine at simple tasks, they have no initiative or cognitive abilities. Robots don’t really make decisions, just follow orders. They can’t really think.”
Colonist Kristopher said, “I don’t really like the idea of being frozen into suspended animation.”
Monroe said, “It’s perfectly safe. The computers monitor your vital signs, feed just the right amount of nutrients and oxygen to maintain your body chemistry–”
“But as you’ve just said, computers don’t really ‘think’,” another colonist, Dave, interupted him.
“Well, the alternative is that you stay at Titan Dry Dock and take your chances with the Goonies. Eventually you’ll get back to Earth — possibly in leg-irons.”
III. Bad To Worse
A While Later, The Lancer
The Lancer Cruise Ship just fit through the grid structure of The Mayflower’s engines and was parked about 50 feet above the interior surface of the asteroid-turned-ship. A telescopic anchor/elevator tube extended from the surface and attached itself to The Lancer’s exit port.
Colonists were just grabbing their suitcases and children when an alarm sounded. Glenda’s voice came over the intercom and said, “Everybody, please stay where you are. Two Goonie cruisers just swept in past us.”A few moments later a message came in from The Mayflower itself:
“Captain Monroe, Come in. Lancer come in. We are under attack. Goonies have landed and entered The Mayflower. We counted four groups of them in the subterrane structure. About 20 soldiers total. There’s only six of us. Can you help? One group is heading towards the engine control center. Another bunch are at the greenhouse. The third seem to be going to the cryo-center and the fourth to our ship’s cargo area.”
Captain Monroe rushed into the main cabin where the colonists were gathering and said, “Looks like trouble.”
Jack Seaworth said, “Fuck them. They want a fight, we’ll give them a fight!”
Andrew Stewart said, “Captain, plenty of us have arms. Let’s rock.”
Bartlett said, “Count me in!”
“All right, how many of you have guns?” the Captain asked. About 40 hands shot up.
“Pretty good odds,” Jack the Blade said.
“Bring it on,” Marty added.
“Excellent. Break into eight groups, two groups to hunt down and trap each group of Goonies. You won’t need space suits in the subterranian structure.” Monroe paused for a moment.
“Jack the Blade, Kristopher, you each lead squads against the goonies going after the engine complex. Bartlett, you and Marty lead squads against the ones after the ship stores. Jack Seaworth, Dave, head for the greenhouse. Thompson, Andrew, defend the cryo-center.”
He continued, “Glenda, you and Steven will arm and protect the Lancer and remaining colonists from invasion. Everybody, use your wrist-comps to coordinate. Set to scramble.”
At that moment another message came through from The Mayflower control building:
“Lancer, more problems. Goonie robots are wandering the computer section. They’re not armed but we can’t seem to control them. They seem programmed to destroy our computer systems.”
Monroe turned to Tim Watson and said, “You know about computer programming and robots. Can you take some colonists and stop those goonbots? I’m going to try to make it to the Mayflower control room.”
People were scrambling, gathering into groups, pulling arms from their suitcases. They began descending the elevator shaft to the surface and below, to the tunnels.
Robert Bova Thompson quipped as he exited the shaft into the tunnel, “Well, I said I was looking for adventure…”
–From The History of Colony: Alchibah
3rd Edition, 2088
Author: The Historian