Episode 20: Maneuver Me This

For a moment the Rival Bay rolled starboard on its sagittal axis. Any beached space-whales in the solar system might have been envious of the awkward, asymmetrical generation seed ship banking and rolling, hurtling by on the sub-lightspeed magnetic superhighway.

If Andross had planned it right, they had a 14 second gap between any oncoming traffic, and the nearest comet doing its biannual loop through the Pinchava System. The weight of the Boatman was different now that Gator was onboard. Crimson hoped Andross, and especially Clidjitt, had factored that into their calculations for escape speed.

“You’ll be in my magnetic wake for a few seconds Boatman.” Crimson reminded them, via Linkburst feed. “Just try not to burn me when you break free.”

“Roger,” Clidjitt’s speech box chirped. “Initiating thrusters.”

Crimson could hear Andross’ voice bossing backseat commands at the insectoid. She didn’t have visual relays to the body of the Rival but her sensor display could now pick up a second body flying within their vicinity. Collision alerts suddenly flared red on her screen. She ignored them.

“You’re clear. Get outta’ here!”

The Boatman suddenly disappeared as the jamming device activated.

“Thrusters to 8.9 output,” reported Clidjitt. The Rival rumbled and shook.

Andross’ background voice was saying, “Give it more juice…!”

Ten seconds. “Get outta’ here!” Crimson repeated.

“Thrusters 9.5!”

Crimson could hear the rattling of the Boatman through the Linkburst.

“Go, go, go, go, go!!!” Andross shouted.

“Thirteen seconds!”

A squeal and a crackle exploded through the ‘burst feed. It took Crimson’s Mindframe a millisecond to sort through the overloaded speaker output and decipher the cheers: “Yeeehaa!”

Boatman away!” Clidjitt reported.

“Good work,” Crimson grunted. In Mag-flight you could never see oncoming traffic, but Crimson’s Mindframe imagined the sensor blip of an oncoming ship as it streaked past them. She swiped the back of her human hand across her eyebrows, dashing away the sweat. She could still feel adrenaline. That was something.

From the background of the ‘burst feed she heard Andross again, “Whoa! Comet!”

“We have cleared the comet!” Clidjitt clarified.

Good. “See you in two days, Boatman. I’ll lose you in a moment.”

“Roger that, Rival we’ll see you when—”

They were gone from ‘burst reception.

Crimson extended both mechanical and organic elbows to their full extension, hands on the controls, leaning back in her chair. Then she relaxed her spine, letting her left shoulder weigh her down for a moment.  She straightened.  In four hours they would have police visitors. Had to be sure they were ready.

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