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Death March

As a table top RPG gamer I keep tabs on many game systems. Here you will find stories and shorts inspired by these systems.
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Death March

Post by Wraithwriter » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:08 pm

The klaxon shut off as the Captain reached the bridge but Milly barely registered as she screamed hysterically into the communications console in front of her. “…Mayday! Mayday! We’re going to die! Send Help! Oh gods! We’re going to die!” A slap across the face snapped her out of her hysterical rant.

“Get a hold of yourself!” the Captain command sharply and gave Milly only a brief second to recover. “What is this about?”

Milly looked up at the half dressed human woman her mouth opening and closing but only a squeak came out. Abandoning her efforts to speak she reached over to the communication panel flipping the message replay switch.

Emergency message for all ships in range of this signal. A dimensional tear has been cataloged in Sector 1279. Avoid this sector if you can, if you cannot, run engines at maximum safe levels and maintain armed watch. I repeat, a dimensional tear has been cataloged in Sector 1279. End transmission.

The message done Milly switched off the transmission. "We're gonna die," she moaned. Only silence followed her declaration of doom.

"We must follow recommendations," the Captain stated calmly, but her eyes told Milly another story. "Jorge, run the engines hot and crunch the numbers for the safest jump point."

"Yes ma'am," snapped a lanky elf as he bolted from the bridge.

"Lydia, take the com from Milly and continue to broadcast our distress call." Here the woman paused to give Milly a withering look as she vacated to com seat for the other woman. "This time try for more decorum." Finally the Captain turned to the last member of the merchant ship's crew.

He was a hulk of a reptilian creature that had to walk hunched over in all but the cargo bay. "Escort Miss Briarton to her station, and ensure she doesn't faint." Giving the air a sniff she continued, "Maybe you should make stop at her berth." This elicited a nervous laugh from Lydia, but the reptilian creature only nodded before motioning for Milly to depart first.

As the door closed behind them Milly turned throwing a rude gesture at the sealed bridge. She'd have liked to punch the Captain for the insult she just given, but she knew the taller and bigger woman would have laid her flat. After all, she was only a gnome.

"Take not Captain's words to heart," rasped the hulking reptile. "She scared like you." He then started off for the gunner's pod.

Following him Milly wondered for the eight hundredth time why such a creature would join the crew of a small ship. The reptilian stood over nine foot, a towering beast compared to her own meager three and a half feet. Walking around hunched over could not be all that comfortable, she knew if it were her she'd never have done it.

These thoughts carried her to the gunner's pod. Little more than a hollow sphere with a chair in the center, its appearance was very deceiving. The chair housed several sophisticated motion sensors that fed data to the ship's armaments for targeting commands. In addition there were gloves and boots that allowed a gunner to unleash fiery death. Lastly was the sphere itself; an awe-inspiring cluster of data arrays capable of translating data from the ship's sensors into a three dimensional display.

Normally a ship's gunner would be the one in the hot seat while the gunner's mate monitored the ship's data feeds. Milly would have loved to only be in charge of monitoring feeds; however, such was not her luck. No, on this ship it was the gunner's mate who received that dubious honor since there was no way hulking reptilian gunner could fit.

Milly had spoken with many other gunners’ mates at other ports and every one of them envied her situation. She on the other hand thought they were all crazier than the Elder cultists infesting the galaxy. Gunner's spheres were a death sentence if the ship ever took catastrophic damage since the gunner, locked in the sphere, had little chance of escape; or at least your usual gunner didn't and she was not your everyday run of the mill gunner.

Entering the sphere Milly took her seat and the door slid shut. For an instant darkness reigned, then the walls came to life like a star lab for one. As the ship's video, UV, IR, X-ray, and Gravity sensors fed their data to the sphere she saw the vacuum of space in relation to the ship's position. From her point of view she was the ship, and with gloves and boots the ship's guns were her.

"Drill you know," rasped the reptilian over the chair's com unit. "Now wait."

That was an understatement. They still had days before reaching charted safe parameters for drive operation. Her meals were going to be rushed affairs thrown in by the reptilian, whose name she still had not committed to memory. Of course, that was only if they survived the next few hours.

With that last morbid thought Milly called up the coordinates sent with the emergence message. Before her eyes holographic stars and other astronomical bodies flashed by as the coordinates zoomed into focus. As the display settled, Milly looked upon the representation of the tear and terror raised the gorge in her throat. It looked like a giant malicious eye, and even though she knew intellectually that what she beheld was only a representation of data, she felt like it burned a whole into her soul. This 'eye' was the most feared galactic anomaly and they were only five light minutes from its terrible center.

“We’re all gonna die,” she moaned.

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