Koban by Stephen W Bennett

Book: Koban by Stephen W Bennett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Stephen W Bennett
Doushan advised. If you are in a hull side compartment
I want you to move quickly toward the center of your deck area and discard anything
an alien might consider a weapon. There are a couple of teenaged children among
you, so watch after them carefully.
     “As soon as I know where we have been boarded, I will attempt
to contact a Krall translator. If permitted, I will keep you informed of their demands.
Please, always think before you act, and remember the warnings. Don't give them
the slightest reason to harm you. An alien might think any unfamiliar object is
a potential weapon, so throw anything like that away now. I order every crewmember
to do the same. If others have gone through this ordeal and survived, then we can.
Good luck.”
    He switched from intercom to voice Link. “Jake, did you understand
from the message that we will be boarded by having holes cut in the ship's hull?”
    “Yes Sir,
by burning openings.”
    “Correct, Jake. Do not activate the Sealer System unless there
is an explosive decompression, and do not activate the foam units unless a serious
fire is detected. The Krall might think we are using some sort of chemical defense
and start shooting. Understood, Jake?”
    “Yes Sir.”
    “Also Jake, segment the forward main view screen into eight equal
squares and show me the closest view of each anticipated entry point as any video
monitors might permit. Adjust the views if the entry points shift. Do you understand?”
    “Yes Sir.”
    The forward screen immediately divided into eight views of large
compartments and corridors, private cabins did not have cameras. Five hull side
compartments and one small cargo area appeared empty of people, but two outer ring
corridor views showed a press of confused and frightened people pouring from staterooms,
streaming toward the centrally located lounges on each deck. Jake hadn't been asked
to furnish audio so the two scenes of pandemonium were silent.
    A loud metallic sounding clang came from somewhere well below
the Bridge deck. Mirikami jabbed his seat release. “Up! Get away from the controls”
he ordered. He unsnapped and dropped his previously retrieved utility belt as he
stood, emptying small uniform pockets as well. Noreen and Dillon hurriedly followed
suit, moving away from the control consoles.
    “Tet”, cried Noreen, as a though flashed through her mind. “Jake's
still on audio, do we want to let them know about him?”
    “No. Good
thinking”, he agreed.
    “Jake, restrict your communications to crew transducer units
or internal intercom calls off speakers until either I or the highest-ranking crewperson
remaining on board tells you any different. Advise the rest of the crew of these
instructions, and give them a brief summary, approximately one minute or less long,
of what is happening on the ship every five minutes. Understand?” Both officers
heard Jake’s acknowledgement through their embedded transducers. Dillon did not
via the speakers.
    A muffled whoosh was heard from below, followed instantly by
a slight, ear-popping drop in air pressure. Dillon, his eyes glued to the segmented
view screen, saw several compartments and the cargo hold silently and rapidly fill
with some sort of black smoke or gas. One of the views was apparently from the galley
area directly under them; the gas was coming up the axial stairs. The two corridor
scenes were unchanged except for the rush of people. There was no sign of any smoke
    Suddenly two hull-side stateroom doors, one along each of the
two crowded corridors exploded outward, smashing through the throng, striking the
opposite bulkhead in a splatter of red. Those unfortunate to be passing directly
by the doors were battered aside, their crushed and broken bodies rebounding from
the opposite bulkhead with sickening force. Billowing black clouds poured through
the shattered doorways, and moving along the gray edges was a dimly seen figure
on each screen.
    Those nearest the explosions in the two

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