Calling Mercury Station (Chapter 2) by Michael Byrd
SUMMARY: Ensign Bridds must try to understand, or even try to stop, what the Florshians are doing on the most insignificant rock in the solar system.
Bridds peeped out the pantry door; there was no one in sight. He turned back around to see if there was anything in there to help, obviously there wasn't because it was a pantry. Bridds asked Cern, "Where is the armory?"
Cern replied shakily, "It's in the southwest corridor, near the...near, the...near..."
Bridds got belligerent, "NEAR WHAT?!" This got Cern upset again and he lowered back to the floor. Bridds went over to Cern and talked to him, "Listen I'm sorry, it's just that this is a big situation, and I'm a little on edge. I've got T.H. One to help out too."
Cern looked up abruptly, "T.H. One? What happened out there?"
"Well we were just about to hit the Titanium Plains when all of a sudden the tether alarm went off and we knew that there was something wrong with the tether. When we looked it over it had been severed and the solar array had been smashed. They sent me to get help."
Cern began to calculate in his head what the terminator habitat had to do with their plans. He couldn't think of anything. "It doesn't make sense why would they just not destroy the habitat?"
"I don't know but listen we have to get to the armory and try to retake the station." Bridds said as he continued to peek out the door.
Cern looked out as well and began calculating how far it was to the armory. Then the thought hit him, he wouldn't have to retake the entire station, just get to the communication room or the emergency communication shed if indeed the main array was damaged. Cern stated this and gave several options about who to call, Bridds formed a plan.
"We go down the south corridor to the armory; you are going to have to be as quiet as possible because I don't know where the other Florshians are at this point. After that our better chance is the emergency communication shed because more than likely the main array was damaged. Are you clear on this?"
Cern saluted, "Yes sir!"
Bridds stood up grabbed a knife and looked towards the door, "Let's do..."
At that moment the door was flung open and two Florshians reached in and grabbed Bridds and Cern. The massive size of the Florshians easily overpowered the ensign and Cern. They were carried down the corridor unsure of what was about to happen to them. As they were carried they saw the dead bodies and broken robots all along the way. They started to come to the main lobby area and the chanting and roaring of the warriors was heard.
"FLORSHIA FLORSHIA RARHN! FLORSHIA FLORSHIA RARHN!"
Inside the main lobby there were over 200 warriors with the war general standing in the middle. They were carried in and presented to the general.
"AHH! Two survivors, or should I say one survivor and a computer with wheels!"
The room erupted into laughter.
"What are you doing here? This is not a strategic planet, there are no resources you can easily take, and within the next three hours the system patrol will notify the military and the fleet is currently stationed within 4 light years of here. So they will be here within 4 hours."
The room erupted into laughter once more. "Well my fleet will be here in 1 hour."
Cern was confused, "There have been no reports of Florshian fleets moving along the border? How will they be here in an hour?"
"Because we are going to create a solar gravity gate." The room erupted into laughter that turned into more chanting. Bridds wasn't sure what a solar gravity gate was but Cern knew exactly what it was and he was one more upsetting thing away from shutting down. "Now guards throw them out onto the surface unprotected." Even though he was a robot, the surface was over 700 degrees kelvin, which is just hot enough to melt the plastics on his eyes and the circuits in his body. They were taken out towards the southern air lock, the sun filled half the sky and the surface itself seemed to be on fire, glowing as the sun baked it. The last thing Bridds would see would be this wonderful glowing horizon, but that wouldn't be for another 80 years...