Tuesday, 4 December 2012



Sully and Fuller drifted down the corridor with their backs pressed together. Fuller providing thrust with the occasional push off a wall or bulkhead with his legs while Sully directed them, gun pointed ahead, eyes darting about for signs of the spyder. 
"You think it went after the others?" Fuller asked as they approached the small armoury. 
"Probably, it has been quiet since we separated, but I'm not ruling out that sneaky fuck waiting for us somewhere" replied Sully. 
"What you reckon's going on?" 
"No idea, but best to save the questions for when we've blasted the shit out of the spyder" Sully was curt in his reply, stress showing. 
"You sound like Gumelar" Fuller grumbled
"She's about a million years old; you don't get that far in life without learning a survival tip or two. And I like the idea of surviving. Now quit it with the questions and get the door open while I cover the corridor" Sully used his legs to arrest their progress against the door to the armoury, before swinging around to cover the corridor while Fuller moved to the door. 
"Er, it's unlocked" said Fuller after a moment.
"What?" Sully glanced behind him in surprise.
"Now who's asking the questions? I said it's unlocked"
"Ok, we breach and enter on my mark" Sully instructed, turning to aim at the door. 
"Sure" Fuller bent low to let Sully aim over him, then pulled the door open.
Pushing off the wall facing the door, Sully flew into the small armoury, quickly turning about in the zero g to check all corners. 
"Clear" he said after a couple of seconds, prompting Fully to enter and pull the door closed behind him. 
There was barely enough room for both of them in the room, the marines once again pushing together back to back. The three walls on the none-door sides had an assortment of light weaponry stored on floor to ceiling racks. Sully and Fuller slowly turned in a circle as they surveyed the options. 
"What you gonna go for?" asked Sully after a little while. 
"You planning on sticking with the rifle?"
"Uh-huh, but I'll grab some of the armour piercing rounds if I can find them" Sully bent down by a waist height stack of draws, digging through the ammunition contained within. 
"Good plan. Might do the same myself....oh, you beauty"
What?!" Sully turned quickly.
"Never knew we rocked these bad boys" Fuller looked at Sully with a wide grin.
"What is it? Your stupid big body is in the way" 
Fuller turned back to the rack he was in front of, then back to Sully, this time with a weapon proudly held in his hands. 
"A Fulcrum Buster 3.7" Fuller reverently stroked the weapon in his arms, the dark grey of it catching the overhead light.  
"Er..." Sully never really was one of your macho weapon expert marines. 
"A proper old fashioned room clearer. This'll rip the spyder about twenty new assholes in a single shot"
"Some kind of shotgun?" Sully still wasn't sure what Fuller was talking about. 
"Sort of, 'cept it uses a fucking titanic magnetic field to fling the shot at ultra high velocity. These things are illegal in three of the eight nations"
"That safe in the confines of the ship?" Sully was worried. 
"Only one way to find out" Fuller flicked a switch on the weapon's side, top display blinking on, bio-link permissions established. "Let's go spyder hunting" he opened the door and headed out. 
Sully shook his head, shrugged, then pocketed the rest of the armour piercing rounds before heading after Fuller. Once again back to back, but this time with Fuller in front, the two marines set off back towards the machine shop. 
"You hear that?" Fuller asked after they'd travelled a little while.
"Hear what? My ears are still ringing after that Titan exploded right next to me"
"Sounded like gunshots"
Sully pushed off the next wall harder, speeding up their progress. Down in the machine shop the gun fire stopped. 
The screaming began.


The spyder had entered through the polymer-synthesis facility, plastic sludge dripping from it as it pushed the lid from the machine and into the room. Brook had been sat right next to the vat of polymer resin, her mouth dropping open as the spyder emerged. She didn't have time to even raise her crowbar as the drone languidly slapped her out of the way with one of its snake like limbs. Hitting the wall face first Brook yelped, waiting for the bite of the spyder's deadly front jaws. But the bite didn't come. 
Brook turned herself around, vision once again accompanied by those red blobs of blood orbiting her head; it felt like she'd broken her nose. The rest of the room was in chaos. Mason had drifted forward, rifle making a shrill hissing noise as the pneumatic low recoil firing mechanism pumped bullets into the spyder's body. The drone, meanwhile had one long limb draped around Si's body, and another round one of Lloyd's ankles. Kel and Chen were ineffectively trying to free their compatriot, while Lloyd yelled and swore. Si, meanwhile, was frozen in terror as the front jaws came towards him, Billington's congealed blood still adorned the serrated edges. 
Why is it targeting Si and that pirate? Brook wondered. The answer quickly came to her. Because they're the two with the technical ability to stop the spyder, to stop Gumelar's takeover. She snarled. Time for action.  
A few things happened next so close together that it was impossible to tell in what order they occurred: Mason's gun beeped empty, the marine swearing in frustration; the spyder let go of the two hackers and flew back into the molten polymer with a sticky wet splosh; and
 Brook smacked Gumelar in the head with her crowbar. 
Si screamed. 
The other occupants of the room drifted where they had ended up following the spyder's latest attack in silence, no one really understanding what just happened. 
"You guys ok in there?" Fuller's voice was muffled by the barricade at the door, and partially drowned out by Si's prolonged scream. 
"Er, sort of" replied Kel who was closest to the door. 
"Any injuries?" a brown eye appeared at a small gap in the piled workbench's; Sully. 
"Your girlfriend just brained the Sarge" shouted Mason, while glaring at Brook "The fuck you do that for?" she said to the engineer. 
"She was controlling the spyder" Brook explained, words tumbling out of her mouth as she tried to make those around understand. To make stop looking at her like she was nuts. 
"What?" snapped Mason. With the gun out of ammunition, the marine had turned it round to hold it by the barrel, ready to use it as a club. She drifted towards Brook exuding menace. 
"Listen" Brook pleaded, hands out at her side, the crowbar dropped in the assault on Gumelar. "The spyder, it went when I knocked the Sergeant out, she was controlling it. That's why it was attacking Si, because he might be able to stop her. Don't you see?" Brook glanced around, looking for an ally. Two of the three pirates looked away, but the brooding one with the beard held her gaze for a little time, frowning. 
"The spyder went because I shot it to pieces" Mason edged closer. 
"You ran out of ammo"
"After it left"
"Enough" said Chen as he let himself drift between the two women "We're not through this yet. Let's get the barricade down"
"Who the fuck asked for your opinion?" Mason had pushed off the floor to put a bit of space between her and Chen, but only so as to be able to get a better swing.
"He makes sense" called Sully through the barricade, eye at the hole still peering in "We need to get Gumelar some medical attention" he gaze came to rest on the drifting, unconscious form of the Sergeant in the centre of the room "Then figure out whether the spyder is coming back or not"
It took a while to break down the barricade. Mason refused to take her eyes of Brook, so wouldn't help the others. Kel made some tentative efforts to dress the gaping wound on the back of the Sergeants head, which was leaking blood globules into the room. This left Chen, Lloyd and Brook on one side, and Sully on the other, while Fuller guarded the corridor. 
With a couple of the workbenches out of the way, Sully was able to clamber through. One glance at Mason and he decided not to pass her any of his ammunition, she looked about ready to snap, gun still held by the barrel. Instead he turned to Kel who was floating over Gumelar. 
"Is she er...?" he nodded at the Sergeant.
"She's breathing and I think I can feel a pulse, but this isn't really my thing, needs a proper medic drone" Kel replied.
"Ok, we make that the priority" Sully glanced over to Brook, a questioning look in his eyes, but then a shake of the head. "FULLER!" he turned away from her to shout at the the hatchway.
"We're gonna float the Sarge out, get her to the med-bay"
"Sure thing" the big marine replied. 
"Ok, you and you" a nod at Lloyd and Kel "get either end of the Sergeant, drift her out of the room. Be careful" Sully watched as they moved to obey. 
"Sully, please" Brook put a hand on his arm, but the marine pulled it away. 
"Not now" he said coldly, not even looking at her.
"It's important, I can explain. I can prove it. Gumelar was in control of the spyder" she pleaded.
"Prove it? How?" Sully had turned back to her, she had his attention. Brook was also away of the others staring at her, even Kel and Lloyd had paused at the hatchway, Gumelar's legs poking through the hole in the barricade. 
"She..." Brook gulped, looking towards Gumelar, "she broke through to the central core AI, through a wall in an old store cupboard, I can show it to you. She used the spyder to do it, then covered her traces. Must have perverted the AI somehow, put her in control" Brook glanced around nervously, the others were still staring at her, Sully frowning hard. 
"That wasn't Gumelar" said Mason after a few seconds. "It was me".

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