Stories Hub / Sci-Fi & Fantasy / Three Square Meals Ch. 005

Three Square Meals Ch. 005

by Tefler 01/01/16

"What was that?" Alyssa gasped.

"We're picking up an emergency distress beacon" John replied over the din of the klaxon. He pushed a button reducing the volume to a much more subdued level.

John looked at the monitor for more information. "It looks like it's a freighter experiencing engine trouble. They need a tow or spare parts."

"Are we going to help them?" Alyssa asked, excited at this unexpected turn of events.

"It could be a trap" John frowned.

"They might be genuine though!" Alyssa replied, eager to ride to the rescue.

John tapped his chin with a finger, looking thoughtful. "Ok, let's be cautious. We can approach under minimal power, so we won't appear on scanners. If they look legit we can help, if not, we pass them by"

Alyssa's eyes shone with excitement as she clapped her hands happily. John smiled at her and rolled his eyes theatrically. "We can't stroll in there naked though, we will need to sort you out an outfit" he said to the delightfully nude teenager.

"Unfortunately someone blasted my outfit into deep space!" She grinned at him.

John smiled right back "I doubt it would have fitted you any more anyway!" he said, admiring her pert bust and shapely curves.

Alyssa arched her back and thrust her chest out, her perfect D cup breasts standing high and proud with no sag whatsoever. "Perhaps so..." she smiled at him, enjoying the attention.

They had a look through John's spare gear. Most of his outfits were much too large for her, sized as they were for his broad shouldered 6'2" frame. They eventually found a form fitting body sleeve, that he would normally wear under a space suit. It hugged the contours of Alyssa's body in most interesting ways, but at least she wouldn't be completely naked.

John then turned toward his weapon locker. "Have you got any experience with firearms Alyssa?" he asked the nubile young woman.

"I've never fired one before, sorry" The teenager replied apologetically.

He pressed his thumb to the lock and the locker door rolled backwards to reveal the racks of weaponry. He looked through the guns trying to decide what would be the most sensible to give to her. He eventually settled on the auto shotgun and made sure it was unloaded before handing it to the girl.

He pressed a couple of buttons on the grip to increase the auto-damper, which would reduce weapon recoil. "It's still going to kick some if you fire quickly" he warned her "so be careful!"

They went through reloading and clearing jams, the best way to hold the weapon and how to use the infrared scope. Alyssa was an eager student and after an hour of intensive training, he felt reasonably confident that she wouldn't shoot him accidentally.

John grabbed a dangerous looking assault rifle and loaded the bullpup magazine with hollow point ammo. You had to be extremely careful firing weapons inside spacecraft, as one stray round punching through the hull could depressurise the ship. Using armour piercing ammunition was asking for trouble, so he hoped they didn't come across anyone unfriendly in tactical armour. He held the high tech weapon to his shoulder and looked through the integrated scope to check everything was fully operational. He donned his own combat gear which consisted of a Kevlar weave jumpsuit with ceramic composite plates to protect his limbs and chest.

They headed back to the cockpit and powered down almost all of the ship's subsystems to keep as low a profile as possible. John let Alyssa plot the course and the darkened ship crept towards the source of the distress beacon.

An hour later and they were close enough for visual contact of the ship transmitting the distress signal. A large old freighter filled the viewscreen, but it seemed that John and Alyssa were not the only ones to respond to the signal. They could see a sleek Terran Federation Corvette had also docked with the troubled freighter.

"Oh, they beat us to it" said a deflated Alyssa.

"Hmm" John replied as he took in the scenario in front of them. "Something isn't right over there".

His finely tuned senses and years of ship to ship combat experience were all warning him that there was danger ahead. John had learnt to trust these instincts, as it was usually his subconscious picking up tiny details that all pointed to something being wrong. As he studied the scene, he realised what had been bothering him. The navigation lights on the Corvette had not been set for a docking manoeuvre, which would be unheard of, considering how most Federation Captain's were real sticklers for protocol. Unfortunately that meant the Corvette was in trouble and John had a certain number of obligations to the Federation, in exchange for some useful privileges. He blew out a deep breath in a long sigh.

"Ok. We're going to have to investigate and I'm sure there's going to be trouble" he informed his young shipmate.

Alyssa nodded in reply, looking wide eyed and apprehensive.

"Don't worry Alyssa, we'll be ok" he said reassuringly. "Just stick close behind me and I'll keep you safe".

John set up the docking solution to connect on the opposite side of the Federation Corvette to the freighter and the Fool's Gold slid silently into position. He led his young companion down to the cargo bay which housed the ship's airlock and they performed a final weapons check before he opened the door seal.

They stepped inside the airlock and John produced a small chrome device from a container on his belt. He hooked up the device and it hummed happily to itself when he placed it on the airlock door to the corvette. After a few moments there was a dull "Thunk" from the door in front of them and the sturdy airlock door rotated upwards, granting access to the ship. He retrieved the device and stashed it back on his belt.

John led the way and it didn't take long to find the first corpse. A Federation marine had been shot in a brief fire-fight in the adjacent corridor. They stepped carefully over the body and headed further into the ship.

The corvette interior wasn't large, consisting of a dozen rooms or so and it only took them 10 minutes to finish the sweep of the ship. They found 15 more dead crewmen and evidence of looting in most rooms. It looked like the crew had been caught by surprise and most of them had been killed during a hostile boarding action.

The only really interesting find was the ship's armoury. This room was sealed behind robust locked doors, which were scarred with the evidence of a number of attempts to blast them open. John hooked up the chrome device again and after a few moments of contented humming, the doors swung open smoothly. Alyssa looked on with a raised eyebrow as he uncoupled the device from the opened portal.

"It's legit, I promise!" John whispered defensively, before leading them in to the armoury and locking the door behind them.

A quick glance through the contents provided some interesting results. They found a number of suits of standard issue Federation body armour, which the crew had not had time to equip. John searched through the suits until he found one in the right size and had Alyssa don the protective gear. He also found some grenades which he carefully loaded on his combat webbing.

They left the armoury and headed to the cockpit. John was looking for the ship's roster and was also interested in finding some more clues as to what had happened, hoping that the answers might be found in the Captain's log. Unfortunately the cockpit had been badly damaged in a fire-fight, the grenade that killed the Captain and the pilot had also ripped through the command console, rendering it a broken charred wreck.

They backtracked to the ship's medical bay, Alyssa following closely behind him. "Why are we going to medical?" She asked curiously.

John had stopped at one of the computers in the medical bay and was tapping away at the keyboard. "Well if I'm lucky.... Yes! I've found the crew's medical logs. This will give us a list of actively serving crew members".

The personnel roster confirmed his fears. There were 18 serving crewmen aboard this Corvette, which meant that three were missing. Almost all the dead Federation crew they had found were men and after a quick scan of the crew listings, the missing crew were all women.

John turned to his young companion. "It looks like they took three women as prisoners" He confirmed, with a grim look on his face. "I've seen what happens in these kind of scenarios before and it isn't pretty. Are you up for mounting a rescue operation?"

Alyssa looked up at him with wide eyes and she nodded her head vigorously.

"This could get very dangerous, so follow all my instructions to the letter" he ordered.

The young girl threw him a quick salute, her face set in a determined expression.

"Ok then, let's move out" he instructed. "Stay behind me and cover our backs. If you see anyone, try and let me know before you start shooting"

They left the medical bay and moved quickly and quietly to the airlock on the other side of the Corvette, the one that was connected to the Freighter. The connecting doors had been left unsealed, leaving the way into the grubby interior of the other ship yawning wide open. The battered Freighter was in a terrible state of disrepair, with wall panels discarded on the floor and exposed power cables showing evidence of crude patching efforts. The corridors were filthy, which made John's lip curl with disgust.

He moved forward, carefully checking each intersection as they moved further inwards. This Freighter was old and battered, but it was also big and it would be easy to get lost in here. He motioned Alyssa to hug the wall a moment and the two crouched in the shadows. He tapped at the computer built into the vambrace on his left arm and a schematic of this model of freighter popped up on the screen. With a few more clicks he marked their current position and the route they would need to follow to leave. John nodded to his young companion and they set off again.

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