Nobody Said Anything About a Car

Posted: May 28, 2014 by writingsprint in Dubrillion Burning, Science fiction
Tags: , , , , , , ,

burning car

Post #32 of the Dubrillion Burning series

Raffa said, “Rebel interceptors coming in…”

The last two interceptors moved into position. The lead two began to roll. The shield dropped.

It looked like every gun on the planet opened fire on the spaceport. Risha could barely see it. Shells burst. Jets of plasma burned and exploded. The interceptors went to their afterburners almost immediately and soared up into the sky, pair after pair reaching for the night. A second blast of afterburners roared all around her as fighters from the Widom carriers arrived.

Risha checked the battle feed. The strike team was crossing the spaceport’s northern lines.

“Stay close!”

The northern perimeter of the spaceport was a collection of ferrocrete barricades, flanked with sand bags with antitank missile launchers and machine gun nests. There weren’t any troops besides the sand bag emplacements because this was the second line of defense. The first was at the bridge between east and west Cainar. This was here to cover a retreat from there, to slow the enemy down until help from inside the spaceport arrived.

With their stealth vests on, no one looked up as Cartog, Raina, Jeana and Jaesa jumped over the ferrocrete barricades. There was too much noise, and it was too dark. In broad daylight someone might have noticed quaking like heat in the air. With the battle raging, they might as well have been ghosts. They wore goggles so they could see each other, but no one even looked in their direction.

Then a Loyalist trooper peeking out of an armored vehicle did start to look their way. Cartog was afraid he might have caught a shadow – bad luck happened – but then another barrage of artillery came in and he ducked inside his hatch. Let’s hear it for sensible troops. They ran down the main access road that led into the spaceport. Smoke and fire dotted the ground ahead of them.

Cartog saw they were headed toward where an officer had parked a military speeder before the shooting started. He remembered that there were no checkpoints between here and the shield generators.

“Wait. Everyone, stop.”

They did. Everyone stared at him. Jeana asked, “What is it? There’s no time.”

Cartog waited for another explosion and smashed in the speeder’s window. Even he barely heard it. He pried open the control board under the steering wheel. His fingers fluttered across the circuit boards. Cartog grinned. The engine fired up. “Thought we might like to ride instead of run.”

Everyone got in. “Do they teach that in Intelligence?” Jaesa asked they peeled out.

“I was stealing speeders to trade parts for food as a teenager.” He shut off the stealth field. They might look suspicious if someone got a good look, but a speeder without a driver would look even worse. “We’ll turn it back on when we’re close.”

Cartog floored the accelerator. The access roads were mostly empty. The only other vehicles they saw were other speeders loaded with poor saps caught in the open who were trying to get to shelter. They rode past the spaceport office buildings. Windows were shattered. Blaster burns and shell cratering gouged the walls. Some of them were on fire.

“Right!” Jaesa cried.

Cartog jogged right and an artillery shell landed on the side of the road where they’d been driving. And let’s hear it for the Force, too.

They crossed into the access road for the tarmac. The wide spaces of the launch pads and air strips were dotted with smoke and fire. Around the edges of the tarmac, Loyalist tanks exchanged fire with their Rebel counterparts. Here and there, antiaircraft tanks fired shells into the night sky at Rebel interceptors. Cartog had been a soldier before he’d been a spy. The whole scene felt like a strange homecoming.

“There they are,” Raina said, pointing. Cartog nodded. They were a little over 800 meters away. “They’re protected by Republic battle droids. They’ll ping us for Identify Friend or Foe recognition when we get within a hundred meters.”

Cartog pulled off the access road. “Best to stop here. Don’t want to risk them locking onto the vehicle.” He reactivated the stealth field.

A sudden screech. They all hit the dirt. An artillery shell went off less than ten meters away. Cartog’s ears rang. He thought he felt fragments skittering over his armor, but then he always imagined that.

He looked at Raina’s eyes. Dirty and her face against the asphalt, she smiled at him and gave him thumbs up.

“Everybody all right?” Jeana asked.

Everyone was. As they started jogging toward the shield generators, their earpieces crackled. Risha said, “Strike team, nobody said anything about a car.”

“Couldn’t resist,” Cartog said.

It crackled again. Raffa said, “They’re starting the drop! Convoy headed your way.”

They had five minutes to destroy the shield generators before they were trapped inside the spaceport.

Photo credit: The Guardian
Used without permission


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