The Families of Our Dead

The Story of Blue Crystal Seven

The Families of Our Dead

The Story of Blue Crystal Seven

By: Leif Gregersen

“T-Bone steak with baked potato, medium well.” Dirk said to the replicator on board their ship and in a flash faster than any microwave, the perfect meal was behind a small window in the wall in front of him. He cut off a piece of the juicy meat and savoured the taste in his mouth as he chewed.

“Man, why isn’t space travel as easy as this.” He said, swallowing the delicious simulated meat chunk. The ship was soon to land at Earth, and Dirk and his fellow crew members had a solemn undertaking. This could easily be his last meal.

The ship entered the atmosphere, and after an authorization from a contraband scanner and a few hundred thousand credits, they were allowed to land at the Orson Scott Card Spaceport named after one of the 20th century’s pioneer writers, the one that had brought so many new ideas and innovations to the galactic community of colonies.

Upon leaving their docking bay, Dirk’s best friend Andrew was walking on the left-hand side of the walkway and, after bumping into a nasty looking creature, he was instantly vaporized. Dirk immediately drew his disruptor to return the favour, but Angelique, with a deathly serious look in her eyes, guided his weapon down and back into its holster.

“Not worth it. We have bigger fish to fry.” Dirk put away his disruptor, but let loose a wicked kick to the creature’s abdomen, the kind only possible with years of martial arts training. Earth had become a violent landing ground for all the worst species in the galaxy. The leaders of Earth held on to their position of colonial power with a deadly substance a hundred times more volatile and explosive than ten atomic bombs. If one of the thousand planets they governed rebelled, didn’t like the rules? A little blue crystal seven in an unmanned interplanetary vehicle sent their way would eradicate their planet and they were made into an example for all to follow.

Flash forward two hours and four thieves who had once been six on leaving their ship, were running back to their docking bay in the spaceport, security bots in hot pursuit. Their chests heaved, sweat ran down their face like tears and the sealed bags of blue crystal seven they carried straining the muscles in their arms. Only Angelique was in good enough shape to handle the physical demands of their run.

“Delta Four, this is Alpha six-two-zero.” crackled their makeshift communicators, built simple with real circuits and microchips to avoid the all-seeing ears and eyes of the city crime monitoring systems.

“Six-two-zero you asshole! You were supposed to take down the AI and all the security! I lost a good man in that warehouse!” Angelique shouted.

“Just hold out a little longer, things weren’t like they seemed. I just have to warn you…”

As the words trailed off, suddenly the tiny replica radio exploded in Angelique’s hand. “Son of a bitch!” She spat, knowing there was no room for error and the men needed a rest. “He better have worked out a way for us to take off! Hey! Stop here! follow me!” she yelled to the other three men with her. Quickly, after rounding a corner, she grabbed a tripod out of Dirk’s backpack, slid out the legs, then mounted a chain gun on it while the three men panted and wheezed, then adjusted the targeting system to fire on Orson Scott Card security bots, fed in a belt of ammunition, then made the device active and swung her hand indicating the four must retreat post haste, exhausted or not.

At forty metres from the access door to their pad, they heard the gun go off with its lethal ear-splitting bangs of exploding rounds detonating on contact. Wailing sirens went off as they passed 20 metres, and sounds of more and more security men and bots echoed through the hallway with each step they took. At ten metres the shooting stopped and they could hear the clack clacking of the security bots approaching unencumbered by the gun. By some miracle, just as they arrived at the access door, it opened wide and they could see their ship, their sweet promise of escape, through the open door.

Three of them got through the door before a highly accurate blaster shot hit the control panel, slamming it shut and mashing the human into a mess of blood, organs, and muscle. Just three left now, Angelique and two men. She picked up the bag of Blue Crystal Seven from the mashed corpse, and ran in a haphazard motion to the ship.

Their vehicle of choice was a freighter. The bags of Blue Crystal Seven were light by comparison to other cargoes, but, a faster ship, a fighter craft, would have attracted a lot more suspicion and could have been boarded and searched before they even made it to Earth’s surface. Angelique slid herself into the cockpit and began the process to fire up the jet-plasma engines, focused on her task as a jeweler with a priceless gem.

Inside Dirk’s pocket, a back-up communicator buzzed and crackled. He took it out, boosted the signal and heard a warning that made fear nearly paralyze him from head to toe. The Kraken was above the airport. He tried to turn on the intercom system to warn Angelique but it was too late. In fact, it now may be too late for any of them.

Having faith in her hacker, Angelique accelerated upwards to the closed exit bay doors above the landing pad. Somehow as she was almost there, the doors opened. But just a tiny little crack. A little crack large enough for her ship.

Angelique hesitated for a moment, crossed herself and said a hail Mary. She didn’t even finish before the bots had breached the door and were firing upon the ship. Then she punched it, whipped over the ship onto its side and flew out at an incredible speed, screaming with the exhilaration of the moment. Then she saw the Kraken. She had no idea the ship was the size of a Country. It bristled with more weapons than she had ever seen, and buzzed with more fighters and freighters than she could comprehend. She was already in the red zone on her throttle control, and instead of flinching or hesitating, she pushed it further and aimed directly at the deep space Leviathan class colonial ship. Her speed became blinding, and the freighter rattled as hundreds of feet per second more than it was built to handle wracked it. It was the last gamble she had left. Somehow all the smaller fighters, didn’t have time to catch up with her. Angelique had to maneuver around fighters that had tried to form a blockade, and stop her with fields of disruptor blasts, and all the while the ship was screaming for her to lower the throttle, but with unexplained skill, the ship twisted and turned, took a few hits, but made it through. That is, until they left orbit and looked back to see the Kraken was still coming after them. The Kraken was known to attain light speed in deep space, and there was no way the freighter could outdo that.

Her overloading mind wracked for ideas, Angelique slowed until the Kraken drew closer, then gave the order to jettison the Blue Crystal Seven with marker lights and trackers. Her fingers flew across the computer keyboard before her to program her disruptors to take on the next step. The Kraken was gaining ground as the glowing bags slipped out the rear hatch. Angelique ran her program, which fired her disruptors with computer assisted aiming right at the bounty their close friends lost their lives to retrieve. The explosion rocked the very fabric of space around them, but it did worse things to the Kraken, it sent it reeling off course and back into the Earth gravity it had been struggling to accelerate past. The massive ship smashed into the corrupt, polluted, dying sphere and sent shock waves of massive proportions all over the planet. Angelique went to witness the new beginning of the entire galaxy with her remaining team members.

“Beautiful, isn’t it.”

“Destruction is never beautiful. There were still some good people down there.”

“Not enough to fill a phone booth.”

“So, what do we do now?”

“First, we find a new planet to live on, then we claim the reward.”

“Reward?” Dirk asked.

“Fifty Trillion Credits from the Society of Intergalactic Human Rights, split three ways,

in return for the destruction of our ancestral home. I think that might make up for any tough

choices we had to make.”

“Sweet mercy, that is a lot of cash.”

“I’m giving mine to the families of our dead.” Angelique said, without emotion.

END

science fiction
Leif Gregersen
Leif Gregersen
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Leif Gregersen

I am a dedicated writer, educator and public speaker with a strong desire to increase awareness and decrease stigma surrounding mental illness. I grew up in a suburb of Edmonton, Alberta and have published 11 books.

See all posts by Leif Gregersen