“Now… I am Vlad the Impaled!…”
Read the whole story so far here… http://neilenock.com/books/cavanaugh-interstellar/
The view through the floor shimmered as the shield activated around the rest of the ship, then became partially blocked by Jordrye’s limp form collapsing onto it. For a moment I was worried he’d been hit by the stuff that came through the ceiling, but before I voiced my concern, Aurelana allayed it.
“Jordyre has fainted.” She must have been monitoring him.
She added. “The shield will prevent further damage.”
Hmm, maybe she was monitoring me too.
The building lurched again, the ship along with it.
“Why can’t you guys extend your shield or whatever around the building and just hold it up?” Joel asked.
“Aurelana?” Zaughn asked.
“That is possible.” The ship answered. “I can position a launch for that on auto-pilot.”
“Please do-“ Zaughn began.
“I’m sorry captain, but some of my systems have been damaged by the hull perforation.” Could a ship sound frustrated? “I am unable to remote control a launch at this time.“
The piercing train whistle sound of Joel’s cell phone ring echoed across the flight deck. That sound had no business on a spaceship, let alone one that had been damaged by part of a collapsing building. But… it rang again.
“My neighbor,” He apologized to us as he answered. “Hello, Mrs Johnson.”
He paused for a bit.
“Yes, we did have a bit of an accident this morn-“
He muted the phone and looked at me. “Cops are at the house. My neighbor saw the whole thing. Including Shai’Hara-Lee.” He unmuted the phone as the ship and the building lurched again.
“-Officer Chen,” he interrupted whatever was being said. “I’ll be right with you. Hold Please.”
“They’d like to know what happened.” Joel said to me, then looked at Vaughn. “Can’t you get someone to manually pilot a launch and hold that building up?”
He turned back to the phone. “Yes sir, it is quite a mess…”
“Zon!” Zaughn said. “You’re launch qualified, take one out and get this building stabilized.”
“Gord,” Joel tugged my arm. “They are transferring me to a desk sergeant.”
Zon looked startled. “I can fly it, but I don’t know how to extend the shields like that.”
I grabbed Joel’s phone from his hand. “Joel, you and Bruce go with Zon and see if you can figure in out. Aurelana, you can still help right?”
“Yes, Gordon. I will assist.”
“Go!” Zaughn said confirming the order.
“Joel?” The voice on the cell phone inquired.
“Joel is a little busy right now.” I answered. “Hold Please.”
“‘Aurelana?” I asked. “Do they need to worry about any, er, effects from the shield?”
“No. Low power should stabilize the building without causing any boundary effects.”
“Great, Thanks.” I turned back to the phone. “Hello? Who’s this?”
“Staff Sergeant Paterson. What-“
“Paterson.” I interrupted him. “We are on board the ship above the city that’s holding up the Bow tower. In a few-“
“What the-“ The gruff voice didn’t sound like someone who took orders well.
“Look there’s no time.” I said. “In moment a small ship will move over the Bow and extend a shield over it to hold it together while you evacuate…” I paused while he pontificated. He took a breath. “Do shut up and listen sir! You need to evacuate-“
“Launch away!” Aurelana announced.
“Hold Please.” I muted the phone. I doubted he was even listening.
We watched the screen while the ship maneuvered into position over the Bow. With Aurelana’s help, a shimmery shield was soon flickering around the Bow. As the big ship backed away from the Bow, the steam whistle sounded again.
“Sergeant Paterson-“ I began.
“Chief of Police, Marjorie Cedars.” The no-nonsense authoritative voice responded. “You say you’re on the ship above the city?”
“Yes Ma’am, Gordon Cavanaugh speaking. You need to evacuate the Bow as soon as possible.”
“Our people are saying it’s not safe.” She replied.
“Hold Please. Aurelana, what’s the situation with the building?”
“The shield has stabilized the lateral forces. Evacuation can commence.”
“Who is that?” The Chief asked. “Who’s advising you?”
I sighed. “If I told you it was the computer on board the ship, would you believe me?”
There was a slight crackle on the phone. “If you are worried about another 911 event, Marjorie Cedars,” Aurelana had joined in on the call. “I am fleet ship Aurelana and I can assure you I will not let that happen. Your people will be safe.”
“Commence the evacuation. Search every floor.” He heard the Chief ordering someone who must have been standing beside her. She came back on. “Can you stay on the line?”
“Sure.” I said.
“We can do more than that.” Aurelana said. “As Cavanaugh Interstellar is now a treaty holder, we can assist fully. There are only 217 people remaining in the building, but several of them have life threatening injuries that we can treat on board and ‘stabilize’ as you would say.”
“Yes please!” I said.
“Is that safe?” The Chief asked.
“I’d stake my life on it.” I told her, glancing over at the nodding Vlad.
“Then we will need to coordinate-“ The Chief started to say.
“Hold please.” I interrupted. “Aurelana, Can’t we just get them out ourselves?”
“We can,” She said. “but someone must go with them, as Shai’Hara-Lee did when you all came aboard.”
I looked at Shai’Hara-Lee. “Shall we?” She nodded and smiled. I was beginning to really like this girl.
“Chief,” I said. “Call your people off. Cavanaugh Interstellar has got this.”
Before she could protest, I hung up. Vlad joined us. “I will help also.” He announced.
“Vlad,” I asked him, looking at the hole in his side, It seemed to be sealed somehow, but light was still shining through from him behind. “I thought you got patched up? Why do you still have a hole in you?”
“They said fix hole or leave hole, I say hole is okay.”
“Why on Earth would you say that?” Bruce asked.
Vlad smiled a big mischievous grin.
“Now… I am Vlad the Impaled.”