keeps this site and its author alive.
Stories from the Verse
Chapter 43: Slade 224
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Beam 171
As Slade entered the spaceship with Shella and Zeke, the others were already there.
“So, Zeke says we have to discuss what we’re going to do. It doesn’t seem like much discussion to me. I’m going to stand out on the grassy yard between the dorms and wait for the visitors to confront me. I’m assuming Shella is going to be nearby, giving me a bit of support.”
Everyone stared at each other for a moment. Then Joe replied. “In that case, I guess Zeke and I will stand with you.”
Derek looked at them, and then said, “I guess I should be there, too.”
Joe seemed to hesitate, and then, “N-no,” he said.
“No?” Slade’s voice was joined by several others. Joe explained.
“The spaceship is probably the most important physical asset we have, and frankly the hangar is a terribly obvious strategic target. You need to fly it out of here, somewhere where it’s less likely to be hit.”
“Won’t putting it out in the sky make it more of a target?” Vashti asked.
Joe shrugged. “Probably not. It doesn’t look much different from the ones the visitors are flying, and although they probably have transponders or something to identify themselves to each other, they are more likely to think that a ship has a transponder malfunction than that this is the one ship that isn’t on their side.”
“Transponders,” Derek said. “I hadn’t thought of that. I should see if I can disable ours so we aren’t transmitting our identity. I should also see if I can mask it or change it or something so it looks like one of their ships.”
Zeke spoke next. “If we think that they’re going to attack buildings, what about our homes?”
“Good point,” Joe answered. “We might want to make sure that anything we wouldn’t want to lose comes with us when we leave the buildings.”
“I think Vashti and I will want to bring everything with us anyway,” Derek said. “There’s no telling whether your repairs--no offense to either of you--will hold, and if we get killed flying this thing we’re not going to want to be separated from it all.”
That made sense to Slade, and he nodded in agreement.
At this point everyone was quiet for a bit, and Slade broke it by standing and saying, “Well, it sounds like we all have some packing to do. Let’s get to it.”
As Shella rose to join him, Joe also rose, and said, “Before we go, let me show you all something. Outside, we need to look at the ship.” Everyone rose and filed out.
Once outside Joe led them around to the rear of the ship, and pointed to an array of relatively inconspicuous discs. “Those,” he said, “are the kinetic drive systems. There are also several on the underside, and a couple around the edge and on top. They are effectively the emitters for the kinetic energy that keeps the ship aloft, drives it forward, and controls its direction.”
He turned to look at them. “It’s also really the only vulnerable point on the hull. The ship is designed to withstand micrometeorites and small meteoroids and other space debris, with the repulsors used only to avoid collisions with larger objects. If you’re shooting at the ship, you want to aim for these plates, as it’s both the place you have the best chance penetrating and the one system you can damage that will help disable the ship.
“These ships will have some kind of weapons, but we don’t know what. Odds are good, I think, that they have enhanced their forward repulsors to act as kinetic blasters, but that’s a guess. Anyway, whatever you can report about that will be useful. Everyone understand?”
There seemed to be a general consensus. Slade said, “So, these are like the ship’s nerve junctions, the places to hit to cause the most pain.”
Joe smiled. “Exactly.”
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eleven other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #482: Versers Engage. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: