Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Star Talker: Part 1: Attack



Alarms blared throughout the facility. Lights flashed along the corridors, red, the color of attack. I had never seen the signal lights flash that color before, not in the two years I'd been studying on this planet. Blue signified storms. When the lights were solid green, it meant visitors. The facility had several delegations of the native dominant species visit before. Initially, military probes to determine whether our presence was a threat. Then a few scientists were allowed that we might observe each other. Learn about each other.

A few months ago, the scientists stopped coming. Now I knew why.

"Shit shit shit!"

I ran down the stairs, clutching my Arkiv tablet. I slammed my hand on to the palm reader at each floor barrier. If I got to the basement level, I could lock myself in the pharmacology vault. Hopefully, they wouldn't destroy the facility entirely. Maybe I would be able to find a return vessel, or signal for a rescue pod from a proximal station.

I flew through the final door into the vault, securing the mag locks and throwing the thick steel bars in place. The room was the color of brightly polished pearls, pristine and sterile. It smelled faintly of antiseptic and the powdery chemical scent of pills. Steel refrigerator units lined the walls, each filled with vials of various medications. The temperature controlled safes contained the pill forms. I jerked open the drawers of the prep counter, looking for some semblance of a weapon. Pill cutters, packages of unused syringes, bins of sterile needles. I laid the Arkiv on the counter and crouched to pilfer through the lowest drawer.

An inactive plasma knife gleamed up from a package of surgical instruments. I ripped open the hemp plastic and took the knife flashing it on briefly, to ensure it worked. Snatching the Arkiv back into my hand, I flipped off the overhead lights and sat against the wall behind the counter, keeping it between me and door. The red lights continued to flash, oddly dim in the darkness of the vault. The alarms were muffled now, sounding outside the vault, but thankfully not in it.

I switched on the Arkiv, wondering if I might access the camera network. The wifi tether was still in place, so the natives hadn't destroyed the server room yet. I tapped the camera icon and pressed my thumb to the scanner. Images flickered onto the grid as the streams loaded to the tablet.

My heart stopped. Corpses littered each floor. Doctors in bloodied white coats lay in heaps on the tile. Even the poor old botanist in his dusty apron lay among his plants in the greenhouse, feeding his lifeblood to his verdant children. I scrolled through each image, zooming in on the faces of the fallen. So far, they were all men. Many were Terran, like me. Human. There were a few other races that had joined us here, studying both the planet and us through proximity. The botanist had a coworker, a female Candarri agriculturalist, who had been interested in the cultivation of Terran food sources in alien soils.

Litai had been a tall slender woman with iridescent blue skin. Her eyes were large and round with irises the color of Terran emeralds that seemed to refract light much like a cut and polished gem. Silvery feathers adorned her head in place of hair. I’d found her striking. I also found her missing.

I scanned the cameras again. No corpse. But Litai was nowhere to be found. Instead, teams of large humanoid beings moved quickly through the halls, firing blasters at any male facility staff that crossed their path.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

I looked up, wondering at the sound that had echoed inside the vault. I looked back to the cameras in time to see every door in the facility fly open. Shit, the emergency release.

The steel bars on the vault door slammed open, making me jump. The sound of the mag lock releasing echoed in the chamber a split second before the door swung open. The lights came back to life, blinding me briefly with their brightness.

“Get the drugs. Take everything.”

They were speaking Klotharan. It was the primary language of the continent the facility stood on. All the visiting scientists had spoken it. From our talks, Lo’Rah, the planet we were on, had several hundred languages, much like Earth, but Klotharan was the most common and the one they used for interstellar communications. I had been studying it for years, among other interstellar languages. I had been brought to Lo’Rah as an interpreter. I guess I suck at my job.

I leapt up from the floor, flicking on the plasma knife and hissed at the invaders before they could round the counter.



Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

6 comments:

  1. You know how to set a plot and make me want to read on! I will be back for more :)

    Rebel xox

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  2. I am impressed, Rabbit. Your SciFi writing skills are on high alert. I usually don't care for this type of story because writers don't quite make the mark. You do.

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    1. Thank you! I'll happily attribute that to my recent interest in Neil Degrasse Tyson podcasts and studying linguistics in college. Hehe. Normally I'm a fantasy writer, but I recently read a few SciFi spanking novels and figured I'd give it a go.

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  3. SciFi has never really been my thing but I was totally drawn into this story! Fantastic writing!
    Aurora x

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