Sharoma Frontierverse Why Did The Groigan Dance? Chapter 24

Why Did The Groigan Dance?

Chapter 24

Survivor

"Windrider one, this is Guiding Hand."

Count Nikolai Ossyran III didn't move his eyes from the viewscreen - one does not blind himself while the hordes of hell came screaming, and at the moment, the police Vipers swarming from compounds all around Mars were doing their best demon impersonation. Long-range scans also showed a small force incoming from Mars High as well, with at least two ships of over one thousand tons with them. "Guiding Hand, this is Windrider," he barked. "Please make it snappy, sir, I'm a bit busy at the moment."

"Windrider one, Iron one is down." Ossyran looked back to the mushroom cloud spreading over Mars's landscape. Of course Iron one was down. "Windrider one, you are now Flight Leader. Retreat to the designated rendezvous coordinates."

Ossyran blinked. He knew that as the command of the escort wings, he would be in command if Redfield bought a farm, but it didn't even register until now. He wasn't sure if he even completely registered now. "Aye aye, sir," Ossyran replied. "Are we to wait for Sinclair, or is he going a separate way?" On the viewscreen, the Vipers were coming fast. Four point three seconds until contact, according to the computer's calculations.

"He'll jump at the same time as you, into the same area, but he'll arrive about a week later. Wait for him until then in the Lynx Carrier, dispatch anyone who stumbles across you."

"Yes, sir. Windrider one out," Ossyran said distractedly, and then the Vipers tore into the small fleet of ships.

In the corner of his vision, he saw Sinclair leap to hyperspace - the Panther wouldn't have made much of a difference in this battle anyways. A Viper sped towards the hyperspace cloud, hoping to catch Sinclair in hyperspace, but the portal closed while only its nose was in. Where there was once a whole Viper, now the ship's tip had been cut off down the middle of the cockpit. Ossyran may have been wrong, but he swore he saw a half of a body float from the wreckage, cut cleanly down the center.

His Asp shuddered as a laser seared into its side. "You're getting sloppy, Nick," he whispered, yanking the ship hard to the port, missing the offender by less than a half a kilometer. He slammed on the thrusters, bringing another groan from his ship as it shot off into the darkness.

"Viper is in pursuit, Nikolai," Zappera, the computer, said. A little alarm began beeping. "Viper has locked onto us, Nick."

"Aye, Zap, that he has," Ossyran said from gritted teeth, and he pulled the Asp into a tight 180.

"Good thing I like it rough," Zappera quipped as the ship shuddered. "Otherwise, I would think you're trying to destroy me."

"Would I ever, babe?" Smiling humorlessly, he locked onto the police vehicle as it sped by, a scant kilometer away. "Fire missile, hon."

He heard a hiss as the missile detached from the ship, followed a moment later by a loud boom.

Satisfied, he zoomed off to find more mayhem. He found the Imperial Trader under heavy fire from three Vipers. Burning bits of duralium, probably from the Trader's destroyed escort, hung in the cold space around the battle. Sweat beading on his forehead, he turned to intercept.

"Zap, target Viper one."

"Viper one targeted, Nick."

"Launch missile." Most people say missiles are useless, only good for keeping targets from jumping to hyperspace, but in the hands of an Elite pilot, even a pillow stuffed with bunnies could be deadly. And if a pillow stuffed with bunnies was deadly, the Viper who's ship was targeted with a state-of-the-art Naval missile stood no chance. Ossyran had to pull up sharply to avoid the resulting explosion, but he felt heard a light ping on the bottom of the ship regardless.

While the maneuver had destroyed one of the Vipers, it also made the other two turn their attentions to him. Ossyran suddenly found himself under concentrated fire from two very mad policemen, and he accelerated the ship to an insanely fast past, whizzing in between the two Vipers at breakneck speed. He slowly began to apply the brake.

"Hey babe, are they following yet?"

"Yes, Nick. Are you going to do what I think you're going to do?"

"No this time babe." Grinning, determined, he threw the ship into reverse. "This little something I learned from the commander." Weaving slightly, to throw off any shots from the Vipers, he hurtled towards the ships. Smiling, he pulled off two quick shots (that's all an Elite pilot needs) of his 4mw laser, and then there were no more Vipers.

"Whew, that was a nice fight, eh, babe?" Ossyran leaned back and lit a cigarette.

"The Mars High police are almost in range now, Nick."

Ossyran cursed and flipped on the foldspace transmitter. "Everyone to rendezvous point B! NOW!"

Around him the darkness of space turned a rich blue.


Ossyran sighed, and puffed contentedly on his cigarette. Outside of his cockpit, he could see the blue of hyperspace rushing by. The day didn't go quite as planned, but overall it was not a bad day, except for Taranis's defection. The target was destroyed, not many losses - Ossyran was happy.

"Goodnight, babe," he sighed, and the Stardreamer kicked in, bringing him into a long-awaited sleep...


"NICK! GET UP! NICK!"

Ossyran woke with a start. Outside he still saw hyperspace. "What.. what's so important you can't let me sleep?" he stuttered, still not fully awake.

"Incoming message to all in group," Zappera replied. "Translate?"

"To everyone in the group?"

"Yes."

"Hmm..." A message to everyone in a group was odd. To receive it in hyperspace was downright peculiar. "My curiosity is piqued. Translate it."

The voice that came from the speakers in the ship was cold and metallic. "WHY WAS THE KANGAROO HAPPY?" it asked, and Ossyran's blood ran cold.

Outside, a loud boom, and over the radio, terrible screams. Then the ship shook, metal screamed, and Ossyran blacked out.


"COMMANDER NIKOLAI OSSYRAN."

Ossyran jumped. Outside was again the blackness of space, and burning debris floated by, some bumping into each other and careening off into space.

"Wha... Who is this?" Ossyran gasped. He probed his scalp with his fingers, and found a gigantic knot in the back of his head.

"IRRELEVANT. COMMANDER NIKOLAI OSSYRAN, YOU ARE THE ONLY SURVIVOR OF TASK FORCE 182. YOU HAVE BEEN PERMITTED TO LIVE IN ORDER TO SPREAD WORD OF THE EVENTS THAT DESTROYED TASK FORCE 182. REPORT TO YOUR COMMAND AND EXPLAIN. UNDERSTAND?"

"Y...Yes."

"EXCELLENT. YOUR OTHER MESSAGE IS TO NOTIFY BARON JONATHAN WOLFSHEART THAT WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN ABOUT HIM. COMPREHEND?" "Yes."

"GOOD." Then the link went dead.

Continue the story with Chapter 25