Stalwart Crest Part 14

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Part 14

Myra’s head set crackled back to life.

“Myra? Can you hear us?” Aki’s voice filled Myra’s helmet.  A slight volume adjustment, and Myra found herself pleased to hear from her orbiting allies.

“I’m on the Platform.  We need to start checking out bodies of water, by the way,” Myra informed her crewmates.

“Run into something?  I did that my first year too.  Training exercise and hit a fish with teeth bigger than me!  Oceans are weird,” Aki laughed.

Myra knew one day she would find the humor of the moment, but there was no humor to be found in the tiny corridor of Platform 10’s subbasement emergency exit.  The smell of mold was easy to find though.

“Can Hudd send me a blueprint now?” Myra asked.

“Coming to you now,” Hudd replied.

Myra’s visor overlaid the area she looked at with the building’s blueprints and real time personnel tracking.  She needed to get to the Platform’s water filtration section and cause irreparable damage.  With the filtration systems offline, the crew of the Stalwart Crest would be summoned and the Platform evacuated.  The hope was to remove the staff before shutting down the Platform permanently.

As she climbed the ladder out of the escape hatch, she looked through the walls of the tiny tunnel that encapsulated her and plotted her next move.

“Climb up three more floors and head to the nav point that you should see on your visor now.  You’ll have to head down one more floor, but this is the path of least resistance,” Aki said.

“Thanks, Aki.  Any signs of movement heading that direction?” Myra wanted to absolutely sure this would be a no contact mission.

“There is one lab four stories up that appears to be in use.  I don’t think you can angle your head that way right now, but it has a dozen or so labrats doing what labrats do best.  Other than that, no one until the atmospheric monitoring station and the cafeteria.  Labrats do love their food,” Aki reassured.

“Can Hudd lock down the entryways?” Myra plotted.

“I think that may cause unneeded alarm, rookie. Just sneak by as well as you can,” Rafe’s booming voice came over the comm-link.

“Understood sir,” Myra did not like the order, but trusted Rafe’s judgement.

She climbed for what felt like hours.  Her arms were tired from the swim and fighting the port but had yet to hinder her assent.

“This is your stop, Myra,” Aki said.

Myra reached to the oval shaped hatch, pulled the simple lever up and stepped into Platform 10’s usable space.  The interiors of every Platform varied one to the other.  Platform 10 was decorated to contrast the surrounding sea.  Trees were painted on the walls, the floor tile looked like sand on a beach and throughout the painted trees were drawings of land creatures Myra had only seen in history books of old Earth.

“This is like the children’s quarters back on Fleet,” Myra muttered.  Unnerved and overwhelmed by the colors around here, she crept out of the hallway and to the nav point Hudd placed with glee.

“When we level this place, I want to hit the button,” she whispered to the crew above.

“We’ll talk protocol of sabotage at a later date,” Rafe said.  He obviously wanted to push the button himself.

She reached the nav point and maneuvered her way down a floor.  The silence of the Platform was jarring.  The Stalwart Crest was always humming.  Her ships and shuttles had always buzzed with activity or at the very least did a poor job at hiding engine sounds.  This Platform sitting in the middle of a giant sea should have been loud with the sounds of crashing waves, but there was only the sound of short breaths.

She found herself standing in the heart of the filtration facility.  Boiling water bubbled over the tops of enormous tanks.  Gauges and gadgets filled every inch of space, just in case a pair of human eyes was needed to look over the mess.  The system was undoubtedly automated and in her quick review of the space she saw little bits of dust collecting around the glass faces of some of the gauges.

“This ought to be easy,” she said stepping closer to the control panel.

“Have fun,” Hudd said.  He loved his technology and the things it did, but he equally loved destruction.  He understood why Myra had to go into the Platform to complete this part of the mission, but he did not have to like it.

Myra pulled a collapsible baton from her boot.  With the push of a button it grew to twice her size.  The original intent of the baton was to chisel away at asteroids for manned mining operations.  The staff could accelerate itself to compensate for zero gravity.  The user simply took a picture of the intended target and the elongated baton smashed until its sensors no longer recognized the picture.

“Smile control panel!” Myra said as she locked it in as the target.  One final button and the baton propelled itself back and forth, reducing the control panel to pieces.

Alarms sounded.  A choppy and outdated digitally constructed voice sparked over the Platform’s intercom, “Evacuation Mandatory.  Proceed to Dock. Your Orbiter crew will arrive shortly.”  It repeated its orders over and over.

The task was over, but the work was just beginning.  Myra let her shipmates know the alarms were sounding and hurried off to a darkened corner, hiding herself away in case someone came to investigate.  The baton was returned to its normal size and tucked back into her boot.  She sat in the corner, took three deep breaths and thought on what was coming next.



Thanks for reading!

Here’s the rest of the story so far:

Part 13 Part 12   Part 11 Part 10   Part Nine  Part Eight   Part Seven   Part Six   Part Five   Part Four   Part Three   Part Two   Part One


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