Archaea 2: Janis

Archaea 2: Janis by Dain White Read Free Book Online Page B

Book: Archaea 2: Janis by Dain White Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dain White
to armor.”
    “Full power to armor, aye.” Good old Gene, back in the saddle and wearing his big boy boots. Almost time to go. I checked the timer, and we had less than five seconds remaining.
    Something important, something that I needed to think about hovered right outside the shining light of my intellect, like a moth fluttering in the dark that I couldn't quite see, it was moving too fast.
    Something important.
    Something about... the turrets.
    “Gene, damn and blast man! Do we have any operational weaponry aboard the Archaea at the moment?”
    I felt my pulse rate climb as I waited for his response.
    “Dak, they are installed and secured, and I believe Pauli has them connected to wetnet, but they aren't energized. We would also need to fabricate a part to connect the ammo oven to the loader. I was going to leave that to Shorty...”
    As he was saying that, we came out of slipspace.
    “Captain, I have the target on-screen!” Pauli's ragged voice rang out, I could almost taste his fear.
    “Very well Pauli. Take a breath son. What range and bearing please?”
    He took a deep breath. “Captain, target is dead ahead, range 42 kilometers.”
    “Pauli, I need you to keep an eye on her. Make sure I know they are changing course before they know it themselves.”
    “Will do, sir” he said, a tiny bit less terrified than before. A good captain encourages their crew, inspires them to greatness and gives them opportunities to work beyond their station and abilities. A great captain does this without even trying, and an exceptional captain does this without even thinking. I must be a legendary captain.
    “Gene, you know that feeling you get when someone is about to start shooting real live ammunition at you? I am getting the strangest feeling we might need our turrets operational. Can you please hop on that, quick-fast, like a bunny? Be advised, we need to burn, and soon.”
    “Quick-fast like a bunny, aye. Consider it hopped.”
     
    *****
     
    As I hopped on through the cargo bay to the gun deck, I couldn't help but smile. Forced to move, to act before we had the time to plan, before we had time to prepare – this is the true way of the world, the nature of the beast.
    As much as I am the type of person that looks before they leap, that watches where I step, it seems like I keep leaping into something brown and goopy that smells like excessive adventure. And now Dak has me hopping, like a blasted bunny no less.
    The task at hand is critical. We don't have any time left, we need operational turrets immediately-if-not-sooner, and once again, like so many other times in my career as an engineer, it's on my shoulders to make it happen. Not that I mind, of course – I live for this kind of pressure.
    As I kicked through the gun deck towards the topside ladder leading to the turret compartment, the captain mashed the maneuvering alarm and punched the reac drive. Despite the alarm, I suddenly found myself sliding aft in an incredibly painful, undignified manner.
    Of all the damned times to throw me on my mass, the captain's timing is impeccable as usual.
    Luckily, I'm an old space hand, and I've spent enough time rattling around in these cans to have developed an almost preternatural sense of self preservation. My hand was reaching out almost as soon as I felt the deck become the wall, and I managed to snag a grabber and fetched up alongside the gun deck rail.
    Orientation under acceleration is one of the toughest things to learn for a lubber, fresh from the dirt. Some never learn the trick, as it involves a sort of divorce from your basic standard perception of where you are, and what you're doing. In space under acceleration, the trick is in understanding innately that down, is wherever you have been, and up is wherever you're going.
    As a ship translates through its axis, rotates, burns along a different vector, up may become down, or sideways. The floor and ceiling almost never make sense, and if you can't accept that,

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