|A Human Perspective - Episode 10|
|Series||A Human Perspective|
|Source||A Human Perspective - Episode 10|
|In the series|
Real Angela visibly rallied as she pointed an accusatorial finger at Tech Two, and her shriek embodied months — maybe years — of pent-up rage and contempt.
“Return to contract obligations,” he said dismissively, motioning the security guards forward, but they were unprepared for her sudden onslaught.
“Hey,” was all Charl managed before Angela charged headlong toward the Banu tech. She put her shoulder into his ribs with an audible ‘thud’ and knocked him backward before either security guard could react.
“You lying Banu …” Angela bowled Tech Two over onto his back, then pounced on him, raining double-fisted blows and a steady stream of remarkably inventive profanity upon him. “You locked me up like an animal!”
“Necessary to study …” he managed, unable to fend off her blows.
“’Study!’” she mocked. “Well, study this, you …”
Angela had succeeded in distracting both security guards, as well, and Charl seized the moment. He dispatched the nearer one easily, grabbing his laser carbine with his left hand and clubbing him hard on the back of the neck with his right. That was just as vulnerable a spot on Banu anatomy as it was on Humans, and his blow landed true. The first security guard began to crumple, but Charl grabbed him around the waist to use as a shield. It was just in time for the other guard’s laser shot to burn a smoking streak across his body armor and the corridor wall behind them.
“Alarm!” he heard Tech Two gasp, before his voice strangled off as real Angela redoubled her berserk assault.
Charl hoisted his victim and lunged across the hallway into the second security guard so they all tumbled in a heap against the far wall. He saw the second guard’s carbine on the ground and stomped on it, crushing its owner’s thick fingers underneath. Wresting the unconscious security guard’s carbine free, he cracked its butt against his remaining enemy’s head, then stood and fired in one swift motion. Smoke and the smell of burnt flesh wafted out of the security guard’s helmet.
“Angela!” She was a mess, her face streaked with tears and her balled fists bloodied, still clobbering Tech Two weakly. She had rendered him either dead or unconscious.
“Rot in hell, you bastard!” she blubbered, then spit on him and renewed her fury.
“Angela, we have to go! Come on, he’s done for!” Charl yelled at first, then came close, putting his hand gently on her shoulder and softening his tone. “Angela, it’s done, and we have to leave.” She ceased her beating and wiped her face with a sleeve, panting and nodding.
“Okay, let’s go.” They hurried off down the corridor toward the escape pods. “What kind of a name is Charl-Grissom?”
“It’s just Charl. Grissom’s my last name.”
“Stupid-ass Banu,” she said, shaking her head.
They headed down one short corridor, then turned down another before Charl heard pursuers coming up behind.
“Keep going!” he whispered, then took a knee and aimed the laser carbine back the way they had come. Its grips were not intended for thin Human fingers, but this was not the first time Charl had used Banu equipment. He unleashed its steady stream of destruction behind them, scorching the corridor walls in a violent, smoky display.
“That ought to slow ’em! Down here!” He found an access hatch right where he expected it to be from the computer map, but shadows betrayed more Banu climbing up toward them. “Damn!” he complained and aimed the laser to deal with them.
“No, this way!” Angela grabbed his arm and pulled him away. “They took me through here.” Through one door and an abandoned laboratory, then through another and a short hallway to what seemed to be the station’s core shaft, its primary controls accessible by spiraling stairs. “Down through here should work.”
But a familiar figure blocked their path.
“Charl, there’s no escape. Put your weapon down.” Android Angela stood between them and the gangway, a small pistol in her hand leveled right at his chest. He could not tell if it was a laser, a slug thrower, or just a security taser of some kind, but she definitely had the drop on him. Still, he thought quickly, the android’s a malfunctioning piece of crap, so he just might be able to …
“Hello, Angela,” the android acknowledged coolly. Real Angela eyed her doppleganger’s weapon warily and drew closer to Charl.
“Look, it’s the robot,” he goaded, “and a pretty crappy robot, at that.” He hoped it might fail like it had so many times before, but knew he couldn’t count on that.
Footsteps approached from every direction, and for an instant he tensed to bring the laser carbine up and burn a hole right through android Angela, return fire or no return fire. But she picked up on his intentions seemingly at light speed and aimed her handgun at real Angela, instead.
“One move and she dies.” Charl thought better of his plan and relaxed his grip on the laser. Banu technicians and security guards poured in from every direction. They were surrounded and outgunned. Real Angela gripped his shoulder, clutching for security while trying to leave him free for action. She was trembling. Android Angela, were she Human, might have smirked as she slowly approached.
“You will serve the project well,” she said.
“Don’t count on it.” Charl engaged the laser carbine in his hand and fired a scorching blast along the station’s core shaft, destroying a swath of control panels in a brilliant, sparking explosion. Android Angela fired, but her shot went wildly awry as she tumbled unexpectedly backward from its recoil. A couple of laser burns struck the deck near Charl, too, their firers also staggered by the sudden loss of gravity.
“Come on!” Charl grabbed real Angela around her waist and lunged acrobatically toward the central shaft, right into the smoke and stench of burning plastic. With zero gravity skills honed by a lifetime in space, he gripped the railing, judged their collective center of gravity, and propelled them in a trajectory behind the shaft toward their objective. In an instant they had left their surprised enemies behind to tumble around in free-fall.
“What did you do?” she managed to ask, grappling him tightly.
“I blasted the gravity controls.”
“How’d you know …?”
“I can read.”
Judging distance and angle, he prepared for another ricochet. “We’re not out of the woods yet, though. Hang on!” He spun them so he could deflect off an exterior wall and back toward the escape pod bay, turning to absorb their impact with his legs and ease her smoothly against the deck.
“I’m impressed,” she admitted. He touched up the pod controls on the Banu display and the hatch slid open. He shoved her inside and ducked in himself just before a laser scorched the bay wall behind them. “Looks like they’ve regrouped!”
“Strap in!” The pod had space for four. He dragged a shoulder strap into place with one hand and hit the launch button with the other, crushing them both back under heavy acceleration.
“What … are … you … doing?” she asked, straining to speak.
“Resetting telemetry … so we don’t … just go back … to the planet.” The pod lurched disorientingly beneath them.
“Why? Where … else can we go?” she asked, null gravity returning mid question.
“Well, this pod isn’t really designed for it, but I can limp us over to the jump point. If we stay dark, I can probably get us mag-linked to some unsuspecting freighter for a free ride through.”
“What are you doing now?”
“Turning off the transponder. Let them wonder where we went.” The flashing beacon on the tiny navigation board winked off.
“Are they coming after us?”
“Not right away. It didn’t look like there were any pursuit ships at the station when we left. It’s a lab, not a military base. Still, I’m sure they’re calling ahead to alert the fleet.”
“Probably not,” she disagreed, turning to watch the stars spinning slowly outside the porthole.
“I think they’re rogues. Every government’s got ’em.”
“Rogues,” he pondered. I hadn’t considered that.
“If that’s the case, then they’re off the grid. In general, the Banu Protectorate isn’t evil, and this android thing is an evil project. They had me locked up for almost two years,” she said, tearing up, but then shook her head to keep her emotions in check. “If you hadn’t come along, I don’t think they had any intention of ever letting me leave. They’d have kept me around forever to help perfect their android.”
“Honestly, their android is a piece of junk. They won’t be turning any of them loose in UEE space anytime soon.”
“That may be, but why give them a chance to perfect it? We need to expose them,” she said, brooking no argument.
“Fine, but let’s do it from a safe distance.”
“How far were you thinking?” she asked, pulling a strap tighter to keep her from floating out of her seat.
“How’s UEE space sound to you?” He relished the thought of some non-synth rye whiskey and cigars.
“That sounds damn fine to me. You have no idea.”
“You know, you cuss like a starman.” She gave him a suddenly relaxed grin.
“Get used to it.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Timothy Brown is an award-winning writer and game designer, including the science-fiction 2300AD setting, the fantasy Dark Sun setting for Dungeons & Dragons, and the MMORPG End of Nations for Trion. “A Human Perspective” is his first contribution to Star Citizen. Follow Tim on Twitter @timothybbrown