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September 05, 2015

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September 05, 2015

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Intruder: Segment Four

Two hours later on Elarri, an Ashralli military officer approached the room of Ambassador Tuubarz. Ish Lani was still present and the two were in a deep discussion when the sensors in the hall alerted them to someone approaching. The officer stopped at the front of the door. Tuubarz turn and asked, "How can I help you?" His deep voice echoed through the room.

The officer spoke, "I'm sorry to have to inform you of this ambassador, but I have a message from the Koororant. From the sound of it things aren't going well up there."

Ish Lani stood and looked at Tuubarz, "If you're people need you, then I will honor you as you honored me two days ago. When you are ready to continue ambassador, contact me and we can continue or discussion."

The officer looked at Ish Lani and stated, "Speaker, perhaps it would be best if you heard this as well."

Ish Lani turned to look at Tuubarz who gave a nod of approval. He took a seat again. Tuubarz slithered up to the Ashralli officer, "Let me hear it."

Upon the request of Tuubarz, the officer took a small box out of the belt pouch he was wearing. He placed it down on the table. "We received this only a few minutes ago. Here it is." Then he pushed a button on the box and the message began to play.

The voice was that of Lokkash, "We have an alien intruder onboard. It is slowly wiping out everything in its path. Its course is erratic, but it is targeting the main systems. We are confident that it is headed towards the command deck. If we don't find a way to stop it, it should reach us in the next hour. By that time, we will either be victorious ... or we will fall. We currently have a small force assembled to try and intercept it. I pray it is successful. If not, I am prepared to activate the Nova Device as a last resort."

As Lokkash mentioned the Nova Device, the eyes of Tuubarz grew wide for a moment. He quickly returned to his normal expressionless composure to try and hide his initial shock.

The message continued to play, "Try to follow our situation the best you can with the planetary sensors. I'll do my best to keep you informed. And ambassador, if you hear this, Icual Yanti Lamanose Hinyan. Wish us luck. This is Captain Lokkash, over and out." The message then ended.

Tuubarz showed no emotion towards the rest of the emotion. He looked at the Ashralli officer who was still in the room, "Thank you." That was all he said.

The officer bowed, picked up the box, and then left the room. Ish Lani then turned his attention to Tuubarz and asked, "Ambassador, what is the Nova Device of which your 'captain' mentioned?"

Tuubarz responded in a calm tone, "It is a self-destruct device."

Ish Lani was shocked at the comment and the indifferent attitude of Tuubarz. He still remembered that the ambassador told him earlier that 90% of the Entkari race lived on that ship. To be so ready to destroy it seemed liked madness. He just couldn't understand how they could even consider killing them all. As he looked at Tuubarz, anger filled within him and he shouted, "Ambassador! You have to stop that madman from destroying your race. Both of our peoples have suffered too much already. We don't need more deaths on our hands."

Tuubarz twisted his snake-like body so that he would be at eye level with Ish Lani. He spoke in a calm, monotone voice, "Speaker Ish, your words are filled with great passion, but you lack reason. Don't you understand? If he detonates the ship then he ensures both of our people will survive. If the intruder takes control of the ship, it could be used to fire the main cannon at your planet. Your planet would survive, but the effects would cause little else to."

A small smile was visible on the face of Tuubarz as he noticed that Ish Lani was speechless for the moment. He then continued, "However if he is able to stop the intruder, even at the cost of the lives of every Entkari on the Koororant, he ensures not only my life, but gives hope to those of my people who survive. The other two ships can still make it here and start a new life, to have a place to truly call home. That is what this means to my people."

Ish Lani did not like the idea of all those people being sentenced to their death, but he understood what the ambassador was saying. In the end, the Entkari captain was willing to sacrifice himself and all the crew to save the race. It would be truly a noble act. He could not deny that much even if the act itself went against his better judgment. Though he wanted to try and stop the act, he did not argue it anymore. Instead he asked, "Ambassador, what did he say in your language?" There was a second pause before he quickly added, "If you don't mind me asking that is."

Tuubarz did not respond right away. Then he answered, "It was a message to his mate and son. They are onboard one of the other ships. That is all that you need to know."

"I believe I understand."

"No, you do not. But that will suffice for now."

 

*****

 

Meanwhile, onboard the Koororant, the small force Lokkash spoke of in his message was battling not only for their lives, but the lives of everyone else onboard as well. This was their last chance to stop it before reaching the command deck. The creature had attacked nearly all the key systems on its way to the command deck, and this the last one between the creature and the command deck.

Given more time, perhaps they could have assembled a larger force. However, the creature's first attack disrupted the power systems to the transportation tubes. With them down, getting from one point to another on a ship the size of a small moon took time, and time was something which was quickly running out.

Most of the soldiers had already been killed. There last chance seemed as if it was slipping away. The gel-like creature wrapped itself around one of the soldiers and constricted around him. While it was occupied crushing that one, another fired at it. The hit connected dead on. It was the first true hit anyone had gotten on the thing. Up to that point, it had only been near hits or a grazing of its side. The difference in effect was quite noticeable.

A large chunk of the creature turned brown and crumbled. While the grazed hits only inflicted damage to the area hit, the direct hit was able to disperse and deal damage over a wider area of the creature. This particular hit appeared as if it did a sizable amount to damage to the enemy. Seeing this, the soldier did not hesitate to fire again while it was still detained holding his ally. However, the creature was not so easily caught off guard this time.

As the shot raced towards it, the creature opened part of its body to form a hole where the shot was aimed. Instead of hitting the intruder, the shot from the laser pistol of the Entkari soldier fired through the creature's gap and hit his friend instead. The flesh of the Entkari soldier sizzled from the impact as the life faded from his eyes. The creature quickly slid off the soldier it had wrapped up and on to the next.

Despite being clearly outmatched, the remaining forces fought on bravely. One by one, they were all killed. The creature moved on again, smaller after its battle but still alive. Though they failed to stop the creature, they did manage to discover the creature was extra weak against a direct hit. One of them even managed to report this before falling victim to it. However, this information appeared as of it would do little good as the intruder seemed nearly impossible to hit directly.

 

*****

 

45 minutes later, on the command deck of the Koororant, Lokkash was busy at work making some final preparations to deal with the intruder. With the possible discovery of a weakness in the creature, he had new hope. He was loading some type of canister into a strange looking tube. From its basic appearance, it looked like a weapon, but not like any other Entkari weapon they had ever used before.

A loud pounding started against the doors. It sounded like two heavy metal objects banging into each other over and over again. Lokkash looked up, "Keep those doors air tight! We can't risk letting that thing seep through even the smallest of cracks." He didn't show it to the crew, but it bothered him greatly that the creature arrived 15 minutes early. The plan might not have worked regardless, but unless he had the time to finish there would be no chance at all for success. Trying to push out all other thought, he focused on the task at hand. His hands moved as fast as they possible could.

The doors creaked as they began to bend inward. It was breaking through. Suddenly, the pounding of the creature was interrupted by a series of light taps against the door.

"What was that?"

"That didn't sound like the creature."

"Yeah, but then what was it?"

Lokkash was fairly sure he recognized the sound and had a fairly good idea of what was probably going on out there, but was far too busy to comment on it at the time. The sensors officer turned on a monitor that revealed the outside hallway. It had been turned off in the first place to conserve power. With the creature's slow demolishing of the ship, power was becoming a valuable commodity. Using the monitor at that moment was probably a mistake as well, but it seemed to matter little given the grim situation. Many of the command crew huddled around the monitor to see.

Outside the doors, the creature was ripping through another Entkari soldier. There was still at least two others standing at the end of the hallway firing at it. As their shots missed the creature, they hit the doors of the command deck and more of the light tapping could be heard against them. The sound was the laser blasts deflecting off the special alloy the doors were made of. The alloy was well suited to absorbing damage from laser blasts, causing it little damage. It was difficult to make though and its scarceness caused it to be mainly limited to the command deck.

The creature quickly moved off to eliminate the other two as not to be attacked from behind again. The two Entkari soldiers quickly slithered out of view and down another hallway. Their objective wasn't to kill the creature as they knew they had little chance of that. No, their objective was simply to stall it and give those on the command deck as much time as possible.

For that reason, they tried their best to out maneuver it through the halls. It may have seemed like a cowardly act to some, but it wasn't. There was a harsh logic to it. Holding their ground and fighting to the end would accomplish little other than their deaths. But running, the creature would have to chase them down before being able to kill them. They knew they were dead either way, but this way they at least get to bait it away for a while. Lokkash wished he could take a moment of pause to honor their heroics, but if he did that their sacrifice would have been in vain. Instead, he continued to work so that their deaths could have true meaning.

The weapons officer turned off the monitor to save power. It being on would do them little good at this point anyways. Then he headed over to Lokkash and the object he was working on. The weapons officer had helped with some of the early phases of it, but this part was beyond his expertise. He looked to see if perhaps there was something more he could do, perhaps something he overlooked earlier, but there wasn't. Lokkash would have to finish it by himself. There was nothing anyone else in there could do at the moment but wait.

 

*****

 

For the next five minutes there was silence on the command deck. Lokkash worked feverishly to finish the device in time. Finally, he made the final adjustment to it. At that same moment, the creature continued its assault on the doors to the command deck. With one solid thump, the doors cracked open. The creature oozed in through the crack. From its appearance, it was only a fraction of the size from when it started off.

It must've been severely damaged through all its battles thus far. However, the fact that it was still alive after all its previous encounters was a bad sign. The rest of the command crew tried to hold it off, giving Lokkash a few extra moments to help ensure the plan worked. It was quick to start cutting down the rest of the crew. The first to fall was the weapons officer. It wasn't a lethal hit though. Only the lower snake-like half of his body was hit. Even though it didn't kill him, it caused him to lose his ability to cling to the ground. He floated up into the air helpless.

Meanwhile, Lokkash pushed a quick series of buttons on one of the consoles. That sequence activated the charge up of the Nova Device. If their plan failed, he still had to ensure an enemy couldn't gain control of the ship. If they succeeded though, only one of the crew needed to survive to stop the countdown. He had made sure the entire command staff knew the deactivation code just in case he didn't survive to do it himself.

The countdown was set for only one minute, the exact time it took to charge the now powered down main cannon. This was to ensure that the cannon could not be used by an enemy if it were to win. Time was now quickly ticking down, not only on the Nova Device but also for the rest of the command staff which was quickly being killed by the intruder. Lokkash shouted, "Clear out!"

The crew began to spread out and tried to take cover. However, the weapons officer was still unable to move. His injury left him unable to seek shelter from what he knew was coming. Much to the surprise of the weapons officer, the communications officer extended his lower half to its limit to reach the weapons officer. Once he had pulled in his friend, he began to slither towards cover. It wasn't fast enough though.

Lokkash slammed the canister against the ground directly in front of the creature. A bright light shined. Luckily, the first part of the plan worked and the gel-like creature was temporarily blinded. It was a gamble if the creature could be blinded with light, but it was a gamble that paid off this time. Had Lokkash not covered his eyes at that moment, he would have been blinded by it as well. He then quickly slid behind a console for cover.

Once the two second delay was over, several beams of light filled the command deck. Laser beams shot from the canister in nearly every direction. The creature was hit with several direct hits. As nearly every part of its gel-like body was pierced with beams, it turned dull brown and crumbled to the ground. The blast of lasers was not directed solely at the creature though. To try and ensure the highest degree of success, they went off in every direction.

Some of them hit consoles and other panels, mostly deflecting harmlessly off of them. A few of the panels though were destroyed. The specialized alloy helped protect against laser blasts, but it was not guaranteed protection and every once in a while, one would cut through. However, the loss of a few consoles was a small price to pay for the defeat of the intruder.

More tragically, the weapons officer and communications officer were also hit by a laser blast. It cut directly through the body of the communications officer and killed him instantly. The weapons officer was not so fortunate. He lingered on for a bit still clutching his friend and comrade in arms. There were wounds throughout his body, from the creature and from the most recent blast from the canister. Black blood dripped from his lips.

The pain from his injuries was indescribable, but the pain of knowing his friend died trying to save him was far worse. This was a pain he would have to take with him to the next life. His breathes became shallow. Flashes of light shone in front of his eyes. He wasn't sure if it was the next life calling him or if he was still suffering the effects of the initial flash. With that, he died.

 

[end segment four]