Sharoma Frontierverse Why Did The Groigan Dance? Chapter 3

Why Did The Groigan Dance?

Chapter 3

Bad, Bad News

If he was dumbfounded before, there was no words for the level of shock and horror that those three words caused in Jonathan Bush's mind. A veteran of the Thargoid attack at Cemiess, he had witnessed firsthand the mindless destruction the aliens seemingly enojoyed causing. He was also the only survivor of the "VI Ferrata Fidelis Constans," the military wing that, officially, was destroyed fighting rebels in Soloa, but was in truth ambushed in witchspace by a whole fleet of Thargoids. The only way Bush got away was from scooping fuel from the wreckage of his wingmen's devasted ships, and sneaking away while the Thargoids were busy with the others. Bush shuddered suddenly.

"Jon, thats not all. The Federals are working with them."

The Baron's mouth gaped open. That was all he could do.

"I haven't been able to find why they after that final, massive strike against against Achenar (thank the Lord they missed the Emperor!), but its odd how they didn't hit Sol as well, eh?

"Have you noticed the IGNN headlines lately? All you seem to hear about is how ship after ship is discovered missing on the frontier systems, or even worse, the only thing left of them is some space debris and a some cargo floating around? It isn't a band of Riequatian pirates causing the problems, Jonny, as I unfortunately discovered a year ago." A short, mirthless laugh came from the speakers. "Funny how me and you are always in the middle of things, eh Jonny? We must have bullseyes painted on our backs."

The dark blue backround of the screen began to shimmer, like a ripple, and it was replaced by a diagram and system data of Enayess, a communist system , filled with pirates and one of the deadliest systems on the frontier.

"I was in here looking for a contract when I was ambushed by a phalanx of six Constrictors and four Asps. I had never seen such coordination in a pirate band (if that is what they were: my suspicions are aroused by what I found next). I wasn't elite because I spent my life trading from Achenar to Facece, however, and I was able to take out a Constrictor and four Asps before I went down. Thats when I found the base, Jonny. I crashed right next to it, practically in their laps, but I didn't catch the damn system name! In the heat of combat, I didn't have a chance to check. Its somewhere near the star, that's all I know." The system map shifted and zoomed into the four planets closet to the star. "I think it was Enayess 4; there was heavy atmospheric shielding around the base, and I doubt that even the Feds would be idiotic enough to have a secret installation on a populated planet. Anyway, I waited for someone to come and pick me up (I had let out a distress signal on all frequencies before I went down) and found myself closing in on the base, which had the look of an anthill, it was so busy, unaware at the time what it held. I was lucky no one saw me, walking as plain as day towards the base in my ignorance. I was only a thousand feet or so away from a launch pad when I was finally able to make out what the people had on: Federal uniforms.

"You can guess my reaction; after a moment of shocked stillness, I had the prescence of mind to leap behind a large boulder to avoid being seen (Hopefully, no one had seen me yet). I then settled down, trying to stay as motionless as possible. In the next hour, I had the opportunity to observe a Fed base at work, something not many have seen outside of spies and, of course, Feds themselves. They were busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest, let me tell you, and it was obvious that they were preparing for something. When the bay doors to the launch pad opened, I expected a Constrictor or maybe a spy craft of some kind; this wasn't Fed space after all. What I saw will haunt me to the end of my days.

"The doors opened, a terrible, grating sound, and a deep rumbling came from inside. A bright, purple light flared out of the doors, the pure brilliance of such I had never before witnessed in my life, and I had to avert my eyes. When I turned back, the sight I saw curdled my blood and made my hair stand on end; the distinctive pink and white shape of a Thargoid Mothership being crawled all over, examined and prodded, by Fed military engineers. Then, a familiar voice came from everywhere; the disjointed language of the Thargoids.

"I couldn't tell what it said, my emergency spacesuit was only packing necessary equipment, but as soon as it said it, the Feds scrambled from that ship as clear as day. A klaxon began to sound, and the launch area was cleared. The rumbling sound got louder, and the dirt on the tarmac under the ship blew outwards as if pushed; there was another blinding purple light, and a resounding boom filled my ears.

"The next thing I remember is waking up in an Imperial Hospital at Camp Jameson, Jonny, and I was deaf. The sonic boom had blown out my ears, and I was practically saturated with radiation. Took two whole months for the docs to get all that crap out of me.

"I don't know how I got to Jameson, or what the Feds hope to accomplish working with the Thargoids: all I know is that the night the Thargoid ship left that base, two traders disappeared in Enayess. Jonny, I'm dead; now, deal with it however you want, but you need to get your butt out there to Enayess and see what is going on. Watch your tail, and be very, VERY careful; I know that Minos of your's is a nice piece of scrap, but this is something that has to be seen by the Emperor, possibly Interpol, and you can't afford to make any silly mistakes. The universe may very well depend on you Jonny.

"Well, that's about it... It was a fun life Jonny. Always remember that."

The screen blacked out a final time.

Bush could only sit there, replaying the message in his mind again and again. He might've sat there until the end of time, the shock was so deep, but for a call over the radio.

"Flight WH-426, you are now cleared for departure. We hope you had a nice time at Denver Station."

Blink.

Bush was back. He had to get to Achenar and show the Emperor this, get someone out to Enayess to check out the story. He had to do so many things. "Dammit, Jaquai! Of course you would go and die and leave all this stuff to me!" he growled to the empty room.

He hit a button, and the airlock in front of him slowly came down to close off the rest of the repair dock from the area the ship was in. Bush felt a slight backwards motion as the ship reversed out of the back of the exit bay and turn towards the large door that was the entrance to the stars. The ship rocked for a second as it was released from the supports that were holding it down and pushed forward by a strong stream of air (Andceeth, being a poor system, could not afford the more modern equipment used to mechanically push ships out of the orbital trading posts), but Bush was used to the sensation by now and slowly pushed up on the thrusters. Engines roared to life after close to an hour of idling in the dock, and the Minos shot out into the endless Andceethian night.

Bush was already formulating a plan in his mind as he set the jump coordinates into the navigational computer. He made the leap into witchspace the required distance away from Denver Station, and was thinking of what he would say when he was granted an audience with Emperor when the ship's speakers crackled to life.

"Incoming message, mac. Do you wanna accept?" the Minos's computer asked in a perfect imitation of the "cabbies" from an ancient Earth city called New York.

Bush looked up, irritated at the distraction. "Who's it from?"

"Not sure, mac. They didn't say."

The Baron waved his hand impatiently, so concentrated on his plans he didn't even think of the possible consequences of accepting such a call. "I don't care. Hurry up and get it done with."

"Translating now." The room fell silent as the Minos decrypted the message. "Message reads as following:" The computer paused again as it changed its sound parameters to match those of the message. Then, in a deep, robotic voice, it asked: "WHY DID THE GROIGAN DANCE?"

Bush knew it was too late, but his eyes flew up to the screen. He caught one glimpse of a flash of pink and white, then all hell broke lose.

Continue the story with Chapter 4