Science Fiction & Fantasy by Dan Frederick
Science Fiction & Fantasy by Dan Frederick
First Contact Blues
By Dan Frederick
All Rights Reserved.
All characters and other entities appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, dead or alive, or other real-life entities, past, present or other-dimensional, is purely coincidental. This is fiction!
Book one of the First Contact Blues series.
Saxon ran. A cold wind howled through the dense forest as thick black clouds dropped heavy rain on him as he madly ran through the trees. Stealing a glance behind himself he saw her. Cursing he started to worry. The brief glance he had of her when she first found him suggested she was an undead tracker and if that was so he might not be able to outrun her. Branches slapped his spacesuit and struck his helmet as they both bolted through the wetness and alien foliage. The unbreathable atmosphere was thick with sulfur dioxide and now as rain mixed with it, droplets of sulfuric acid rained down on their suits. Even the advanced technology of the suits wouldn’t hold up much longer from the acid raining down.
Cursing again and breathing heavily the man in front damned his turn of luck. Hours ago his ship sensors had detected the half dozen crashed spacecraft on the planet. Left here from the last battle between opposing sides of vastly differing opinions and ideology. Excited to scavenge any goods he had high hopes of getting his hands on more fuel for the Bullfrog, his ship.
Good luck turned ugly real quick. He hadn’t known of any others in the system but apparently there was a UA Agent out here and she had located him. That was crap luck. The UA were constantly a threat to normal humans. Now with the threat of his environmental suit being destroyed by acid, things were looking even worse. If he didn’t make it to his ship before the suit was eroded he would die here.
His ship was still another quarter mile away. Looking over his shoulder Scott Saxon saw the UA Agent gaining on him and he redoubled his efforts to run faster. This was absolute crap.
The Undying Alliance Agent focused on her target ahead of her. Her suit stated the impending emergency, being disintegrated by acid, and she frowned. She had been chasing this particular pirate across the stars for roughly a week now. He was very good at hiding his interstellar trail, but UA tech was far superior to his ship. Originally picking up his signature she saw that his ship the Bullfrog was registered in the UA network as anti-Alliance and tagged as a low tech scum scavenger and pirate who had managed somehow to evade several other trackers over the last year. She had tracked him to A7-UA, an uninhabited planet in the outer regions of alliance claimed planets.
Landing on the dead planet she had almost had him a few minutes ago. After trekking across the debris and black dirt she located him and uncloaked her environmental suit and stood over the human called Captain Scott Saxon as he dug in the earth, digging up an access point to some old ship. Activating her comms, she radioed him: “By the authority of the Undying Alliance you are bound and under arrest. Do not move Mister Scott Alexandre Saxon.”
The man had surprised her by turning slowly and looking her in the face. He showed no fear or surprise. Instead he chuckled and said, “That’s Captain Saxon. No Undead Tracker is going to nab me.” Winking at her he continued, “Cya Ash girl.”
With that he pushed a button on his chest harness and turned away from her. The detonation rocked her off her feet sending her several feet away and violently into a blackened tree. The impact jolted her, might even have killed her before she had converted to her new state of being. Sitting up and shaking her head her eyes tracked Saxon running away as she pushed herself upright and yelled: “Freeze!”
He hadn’t of course. The man ran. In unison the thick clouds overhead suddenly unleashed a torrent of rain. The UA Agent looked up knowing the danger that meant then ran after the pirate.
Thunder and lightning boomed and like a blade cutting away the darkness the agent could see her quarry in brilliant flashes of temporary light. Deafening echoes of booms rippled across the forest signaling the next flash of light. The UA Agent saw the pirates spacecraft in the distance, the man running straight towards it. Cutting right she circled around a copse of trees and she increased her speed, now moving twice as fast as Saxon.
Closing in on where he had left his spaceship Scott Saxon radioed the artificial intelligence of the ship.
“Dorothy prep the Bullfrog for liftoff!”
The ship acknowledged as the spacer ran on. Captain Saxon grinned and huffed as he ran. Dot was an excellent AI and the Bullfrog a great ship, with a large cargo hold. Modest quarters. Fast. Able to jump across the stars and supporting a state of the art proportion system. Only needing refueling rarely. Navigated by a top notch AI. Granted the need for a refuel had led him here to this death planet. Where had the undead agent come from? That had been bad luck. Dot still needed refueling cells for the ship and they had maybe two jumps left. Looking forward he saw her. The astéri áltis - star jumper series, Bullfrog spacecraft. Legs in pain he pushed himself forward as fast as he could. Almost there.
Running past the table he had set up earlier with rations and water on it Saxon ran towards the entry steps of his ship when the Undead Alliance Tracker stepped directly into his path. Skidding to a stop he looked past her thinking how close he had gotten. Flinching he felt the first of the acid penetrating his suit. The hole tore into the right forearm area of the suit and instinct kicked in. Pulling heavy tape off his belt he wrapped it around his forearm to stop the air leak. His arm burned in pain but he tore his eyes off his suit and looked at the Agent.
Saxon stood in the acidic rain and looked at the grey faced woman before him. He couldn’t see much of her face through the tinted visor. Her blaster rifle was pointed at him.
“I guess this is the end of the line.”
“Yes pirate. You should not have violated our space.”
Saxon’s hand hovered. He hesitated. The pistol on his hip or Dot? In a flash he ran the options through his mind. With a sigh he moved his hand away from the holstered blaster and tapped another button on his chest harness.
“Dot! Self-preservation mode!”
The red beam of energy lanced out of the rifle and struck his chest, blasting him backwards.
Whatever response the ship AI gave was lost on him as he blasted backwards and struck the muddy acidic ground with such force that he blacked out.
Standing over him the UA Agent shouldered the rifle as the pirates ship lifted off leaving the planet, rain, acid and the only two beings on A7-UA behind. Turning her attention back to her bounty she dismissed the ship headed into space. She had feared he was going to activate another explosive booby trap. Looking down at the man she wondered what his plan was. Why send the ship away?
Effortlessly she pulled the pirate over her shoulder and pulled him closer to a group of trees. Dropping him to the wet ground she pulled a device off her suits utility belt and activated it. A semi-transparent globe erupted around them. Sitting the Agent looked down at the man’s unconscious face through the visor of his helmet. Blood leaked from a puncture hole on his chest. Air was venting out of the suit. Pulling her electric blade from her belt she cut open a few inches of the suit and examined his chest. She noted the fresh laser burn and saw it penetrated probably half way through his chest on the right side. The globe wouldn’t help him breath, it didn’t supply oxygen. If he didn’t suffocate he would bleed out soon. Sitting quietly she contemplated. It wasn’t her intention to kill the pirate. Although the bounty was dead or alive on his kind of scavengers.
As the acidic rain pelted down on the protective barrier Vanyl saw the man’s breathing was slow and ragged. She doubted that he would do anything to help her if roles were reversed. He’d called her Ash girl. Ash being a derogatory term used against the Undying. The conversation process caused the lighter skinned of her people to darken. Her once white skin was a light ashen grey now. Those not a part of the alliance didn’t seem to understand how wonderful the change was. Longer existence, stronger, faster and a sense of kinship with others who had accepted the change, Undying could feel emotions of other Undying.
“Stupid man.” V pulled her med-kit out and she sprayed a heavy white foam onto the wound. Bleeding stopped. She started to place a suit patch on the opening she had made when the med-kit beeped and registered the man’s heart had stopped. Stabbing a med-needle in his heart his body shook. He was still unconscious but her kit registered a heartbeat. Patching his suit she then put her gear away.
He’d survive or he wouldn’t.
Looking at the pirate she stayed: “You look stupid drooling Scott Saxon. Got you. I win.”
Sitting with her back to a blackened tree she settled in to wait for the rain to stop. The force barrier would protect them but it wasn’t mobile. Her own ship was a few miles away and once things cleared up she’d head for it with her bounty.
END OF PREVIEW