A Thief from Space Chapter 2
A Thief from Space
They were the only other thieves on the planet I thought good enough to get into Vega's estate and steal something, "Dead. Edwards took out Peters. Mosley took out Sampson. Donelson took out Malabo. Harris took out Dodge and McConnell is missing and believed dead by Zolas." (Edwards, Mosley, Donelson, Harris, and Zolas were five of the big ten).
I cursed, "Go silent and change comms to the secondary."
I turned to Vega and called the consulate back. I did not have to go through the phone tag game "What do you have?"
"Stentor's number generator. Get someone over to the head office of Finance."
I closed the phone and walked back to Vega, "you are the luckiest son of a bitch on the planet."
Vega jerked as if I had hit him physically, "what!"
I looked at the guards in their armor, "You have maybe twenty or thirty minutes before you have a company of Imperial Marines smashing in here for a little talk. Get rid of the armor; call whoever you have investigating this, and I will get back to you."
I turned and walked towards the cab. One of the armored men raised his weapon. I stopped and looked back at Vega, "if someone fires a weapon from one of these suits of armor, there will be a crater where your house stands. The Imperials are here, and you know what that means."
I got into the cab, "Starport. Emergency override, omega two."
That was a little-known code a friend had added to all cabs and had an immediate effect. I sat back to think that he would have been brought in if the thief was not local. Ten minutes later, I exited the cab and merged with the crowd. I slid through a little used doorway and walked down a long hall.
I knocked at a bright red door and slowly opened it. Val was looking back with a grin and set the nerve screamer back on the desk beside him, "Hey, Shadow."
I smiled, "Hey Val, what is shaking?"
He laughed, "Imperials."
I nodded, "everything will come to a screaming stop soon."
He frowned, "the girl?"
I breathed, "Tell me you do not know where the Synth is?"
Val grinned, "Morse walked her out."
I shook my head and pulled out my phone. It was only good for calling one person "Go."
"Morse the slave monger. He sells mostly to the lizards."
"Where can we find him? The Generator was taken just before we got there."
I cursed, and Val looked at me alarmingly, "Below the Maze and probably scan blocked."
I hung up and looked at Val, "I need a clean phone."
He tossed one from the corner of his desk, and I dialed a number. I waited for the click, "Silver, riding the tiger."
There was a hushed whisper, "Go."
"Clear the basement and get everyone out of the Maze. Tell Dad I am hunting Lizards and using Morse as a guide. Tell Dan I want the hall vacuumed before school. Go dark, go dark, go dark."
I hung up and looked at Val as he sat straight, "Shadow?"
I turned to the door, "Find a hole, Val. Watch for my message."
I was out the door and running. I slowed at the bend and carefully opened the door. I walked across the crowded hall to another door and took the first door on the left. I put my hand on an access plate, and a hidden door opened. I walked into a room I had prepared around the planet like a few and went straight to the flier.
I stripped before I got there and did not bother destroying anything. I pulled the combat rigs out of the flier and quickly put everything on before slipping into the seat. I touched a remote, the outer wall dropped to the floor, and I was out and gone. It was a twenty-minute flight to the Maze, and I made it in five.
The engines were screaming, and I knew every cop within a thousand kilometers was dialed in and tracked. I noticed the Imperial fighters circling the Maze as I closed and hit the deck, "hot flier, hot flier, hot flier, this is Imperial Fighter Delta Seven, stand to."
I smiled; they would scream murder in a minute, "Delta Seven, this is Silver Kitten. I say: Blue three, Imperial one, one red, two, in the clear. I am hunting lizards; go to backups. Lions on the ground."
I dropped the flier to slide along the ground and hit a button on the console. I knew what was happening to the imperial comm and shook my head as I rolled out of the sliding flier. I needed only a dozen feet to the doorway, but it felt like a mile as time-stretched. I was in the door and heading down a dimly lit stairway when the phone I had been using came to life, "who gave you those codes!"
I kept moving, "a toothless lion. Tell Roger I am on the scent and would appreciate someone following me in case I find you're missing dove."
There was silence, and another voice said, "The Silver Lions are following, Roger, out."
I almost stopped in shock; the emperor could not be here! I hurriedly used the other phone Val had given me, and it was answered with, "Go."
"Roger is on the planet. Tell father to gather the children and standby."
I hung up and slowed as I reached the first corner. I turned the corner, and one of my pistols came up as Dan held his empty hands, "about time, kid."
I shook my head, "one day, Dan. How far are the probes ahead?"
He shrugged, "There are three, one outside his center lair, one at blue nine, and the last at yellow twelve."
He tossed a chip, "Watch your scans; they are not working right, blocked and scrambled, I think."
I nodded as I slipped the chip into a slot on my wristband, "the Silver Lions are following. Help them if you can."
Dan sucked in a breath, "you better start running then. If the Silvers are here, we do not have time to dance silly."
I laughed as I tossed the chip back and turned to start a slow jog down the slopping tunnel, "the only one that dances silly is you, Dan."
"Silver Kitten, this is Silver Nine."
I only slowed slightly before putting a phone bug in my ear, "Go Nine."
"Entering your back trail."
I spun around a corner, fired twice, and watched two men fall, "you will find a toothless lion around the first corner."
I kept moving as I heard, "Roger Kitten, toothless lion around the first corner."
I slowed at an intersection, "can you go secure on this free?"
Before I got a reply, three lizards converged on me. I held a pistol in each hand, and in less than two seconds, they were dead. "say again, Nine, I was playing with some lizards."
There was a pause, and then, "We can go secure."
I nodded and took the left tunnel, "Royal two, take the first left."
"Copy, royal two, and take the first left."
I kept checking my scans as I moved and pulled out my phone to push several buttons. At the next intersection, I went to turn left again when the wall behind me opened, and men began pouring out. I took a slug to the side and grunted from the impact. One of these bastards used armor-piercing rounds, "Nine, this is Kitten. I hope you are wearing combat armor; I just took a hit from a poniard on my side."
I was firing and rolling as I engaged them, and before long, only five men huddled together, "status Kitten?"
"Still green. Stand by. I have a little local matter to settle with some gentlemen."
I walked to the men on the floor, "Well, if it is not five of the big ten."
One of the men stood up arrogantly, and I slugged him in the mouth, "I did not say you could talk."
I pulled my screen from the pouch on my back. I touched a couple of buttons and held it out to the first man as my gun slipped into its holster, and I pulled the neural screamer out, "thumbprint and password. If you use the panic phrase, I will use the screamer."
I passed the screen one by one until the last one had finished and snarled at me. I stepped back, the screamer sliding into its holster, and my other pistol came out, "the Imperials are on their way. You can wait and explain why you have been committing treason by dealing with lizards."
I turned and started moving fast; I glanced back to see the five men scrambling by the bodies looking for weapons, "Nine, Kitten. I am back on the move. You have five amateur lizard scouts in front of you."
"We heard Kitten."
"Kitten, this is Roger."
I grinned, "go."
"Tell me you did not stop to rob those men."
I laughed, "Local business, Roger. They owed a debt for trespassing in my territory."
He was silent as I continued to move. I hesitated at the next intersection; something was not right about the scan, "stand by, Nine, there is something funny with my scan…"
The walls around me seemed to open, and I was surrounded by lizards, some in armor. The only thing that saved me was that the armored lizards kept firing their nerve screamers at their soldiers. I fired and rolled, pulling my force knife as I reached one of the armor suits.
I ducked under its arm and shoved the blade of my force knife through the armored suit and into its groin before spinning around it. I shut the knife down and pulled my screamer as the suit protecting me started to fall.
I shot the three closest lizards as I began moving again. My phone kept calling for me to answer, but I ignored it for now. I slid past a lizard, and I shot him under the chin. I shot point blank into the helmet of the combat armored suit behind him with the screamer, "I am a little busy, Nine."
I grabbed the suit arm and spun, throwing it towards the closest active armored suit while shooting two more lizards with my other pistol. I dropped and rolled aside as a screamer beam swept over me. Coming to my feet, I hit the combat suit across the room with my nerve screamer and used a lizard as a shield against another lizard, bringing a blaster into play.
I grunted at the shock of another slug against my side. The top half of the lizard I was using fell away, and I shot the combat suit with the lance in the face several times with my nerve screamer as I closed.
I fired my screamer into his head, ducked behind the suit, and spun as another screamer beam splashed against the case. I came out from behind the combat suit as it started falling away. I holstered my pistol and grabbed the heavy-force lance as the claim fell. I rapid-fired the nerve screamer into one of the two remaining suits.
With the adrenalin helping me, I lifted the heavy lance and fired it just before the other suit turned to run. I was a little surprised to be standing alone in the intersection suddenly. My screamer was empty; the case I had fired at had taken a lucky hit and was down. The other combat suit I had fired the lance at only had a bouncing helmet and a pair of boots.
There was also a ten-meter hole in the rock behind where it had stood. I guess I had put the lance on full power. I breathed as I let the lance fall and changed the power pellet for my screamer, "Nine, Kitten."
I holstered the screamer, pulled my pistol, and changed magazines, "turn left at the mass of dead lizards."
I started walking again and checked the status of my body screen as it flickered and then stayed green. I had almost reached the next intersection when something out of a nightmare hit me. I had seen it coming and rolled to the side just in time. I did not hesitate to pull my force knife as it spun and returned.
I dropped under it and thrust up with the force knife as its head moved above my body. As its body jerked and thrashed around, I used my feet and pushed out from under its convulsing body, "Nine, Kitten."
I grinned as I got to my feet, looking around, "What is grayish green, a meter and a half tall, six meters long, four legs, and has what looked like a thousand teeth?"
There was a pause, and then a female voice answered, making a shiver climb up my spine, "Kitten, this is Silver. What you described is a Scrathen Attack lizard."
I stood frozen as the memory of my mother's voice came to me. I finally shook my head and looked at where the lizard had come from. I only took a few steps when another spokesperson said, "Silver, this is orbiting control."
The same calm female voice came back, "Go orbit."
"We have a lizard carrier inbound to your position. ETA is fifteen minutes."
I knew she was probably swearing right now. I stopped moving and used my other phone. As soon as it was answered, I said, "This is a silver kitten. I need a dad."
There was a pause, and then a voice that never failed to calm or reassure me came on, "Go."
"We have an inbound carrier."
His voice was calm, "vector and range?"
"Sliver, this is Kitten; I need the vector and range of the carrier."
There was a pause before orbit control came back, "Inbound your location 280 on the deck 20,000 kilometers."
Dad's calm voice came from my phone, "Tell them not to panic."
I heard alarms from the imperial net, "Silver, this is Orbit control. We have multiple heavy weapon signatures."
The net went quiet momentarily as I walked carefully into the next intersection and turned left onto the ramp down to the next level, "Silver, this is Orbit control. The carrier is down, well… gone."
The same female voice that tinged my body returned, "Copy Orbit. Keep an eye on the lizards."
I had just reached the bottom of the ramp and stood at the edge of the intersection when several panels dropped through the floor, and lizards and men stepped out. I did not even pause as my pistol seemed to track the nearest threat while my other hand came up with my screamer. I moved sideways as they returned fire, and then I was rolling and moving while shooting.
Nine kept calling for me to answer, but I was too busy. I used the body of a sizeable, bejeweled lizard as a shield as I returned fire on the last two, a short-bodied human and an overdressed lizard that kept snarling and cursing at me. I grunted with the impact of another hit as I shot the human.
To be continued