Insurrection (5)

Diplomatic immunity is more difficult to use when you may be a wanted intergalactic criminal but no one tells you this…

When they marched us out of the hotel, I was not surprised by anything that had been done up to that point.

Essver did his ambassador thing and cleared me of any wrongdoing officially on the part of the Bel-ha government. He arranged a connection with his people and the scientific community with Mei Ling and she would be his intermediary whenever he was communicating with the Bel-ha Collective. It was a first step and we would have to survive this to have any part of that future goal.

Unfortunately we have not had a single moment to plan or do anything since he’s gotten here. After his arrival, he met up with the Commandant, cleared my local record, and then met the Corvan Representative and her bodyguard. He was then escorted to my room, and I was dressed and led out under arrest and taken to an armored vehicle for transport. Then things started to go very wrong from there. I noticed there were Bel-ha and Corvans waiting outside the building.

The carport was filled with a numerous Corvans wearing their armored, life-support battle-suit. The Corva resemble octopi or squid superficially. Their homeworld was primarily a water world with twenty-five percent of the world’s land mass above water. Their species developed in water and their primary civilization is underwater.

The early Corvans manipulated the organic materials of their world for building, and created an extensive worldwide computing mass. With the creation of their organic computing base, they began to genetically engineer other plants and animals on their world. Their gene engineering must have caused the Precursors to take notice because they were soon living and working with some of the lesser races of the Precursors and enjoyed significant status during that time.

The Precursors were the oldest and most famed intergalactic species in the Galaxy. The Corvans, with the help of the Precursors developed advanced technologies including their amphibious armor systems, an exoskeleton that allowed them to move and live on land.

The smallest of these technologies can be worn like a skin and amplifies their strength by a factor of four. The larger suits have a ball of water in the center of a mechanized structure with a multitude of form factors, depending on the environment and the goals required.

The Corva established the standards for most mecha and powered armors used in the Imperium with the deviant technologies belonging to only a few races who feel their equipment is more innovative or superior to the Corvan designs.

Unfortunately for the Corva, they fell back into barbarism for several dozen millennia after the disappearance of the Precursors and several other races rose during that time. Once the Corva rose back into prominence, the older Galactic races became rather reclusive since it was believed the Corva were favorites of the Precursors and the heirs apparent; hence the relatively unopposed establishment of the Corvan Imperium.

The golden armored exoskeletons flanked and surrounded the hotel’s entrance and kept the crowds of Bel-ha and other aliens out of the way while we were escorted out of the building. Until then, it seemed a standard operating procedure. Then the twist began.

The Corvan ambassador was also wearing an exoskeleton and her bodyguard was carrying a force-staff. As I was escorted into the armored vehicle. A controlling module was placed onto her skeleton and it crumpled to the ground.

Five Corva approached Master Wex and lowered their electro-beam lasers in his direction. These weapons directed a beam of protons that would conduct a powerful electrical charged down the beam. Upon striking a target the protons would scatter all around the target and conduct the electrical pulse to the target, overcoming the neural network of most organic beings.

“Into the vehicle, mammal,” said one of the Corvans, a sergeant, “and place the force staff on the ground. Please do something so we can shoot you.”

Master Wex was a Subaki, a very old one. The Subaki were a humanoid species known for their very warlike nature, their strong family relationships, their foul tempers, their amazing reflexes and impressive fighting spirit. “Look at me, on a planet full of calamari and not a sushi fork in sight. Enjoy your time, sergeant, I will be killing you today.”

Master Wex laid his force staff on the ground and picked up ambassador Chuntra’s limp exoskeleton and moved gracefully into the van. Wex’s people live on a planet with two and half times Earth normal, so they were blessed with superior strength, stamina and agility on a world like Lorissi with just slightly over 1 G.

Once he placed the ambassador on the vehicle, he turned to the sergeant and spit onto his face dome. Already on the transport, I couldn’t quite understand what his intent could possibly be.

The sergeant responded by shooting the weapon into the vehicle, and knocking Wex backward into me. With my hands locked into a complete set of magna-cuffs which covered my hands completely, I was unable to do more than just catch him and roll backward with him.

“Is that all you got, Sergeant?” The sergeant and his men gathered around the door to the vehicle and proceeded to launch their proton beams and electrical charges into Master Wex. Since he was still leaning on me, I also received a nasty shock for my troubles. Teach me to grab some miscreant with a death wish.

They fired their weapons for thirty or forty seconds until Wex lay still and I had received a nice set of burns to match. Essver stood by quietly and said nothing and waited until the Corva had finished shooting Wex before he climbed into the vehicle.

“Ambassador Chuntra, are you okay?” Essver walked over to the crumpled suit as they closed the door behind us.”

“I am well, ambassador Essver. I have simply pulled into the main compartment until they restore power to my armor. In its current state, it has no access to power, weapons or computer access.” When she spoke, her previous demeanor of calm superiority was lost. “How is Master Wex?”

“Heavy, with the significant scent of burned and stinking fur. I would move him but I am not sure to the extent of his injuries,” I was in a bit of a snit at the moment and didn’t understand why Wex felt the need to antagonize our captors. It would only make them more cautious now. “We are heading to the spaceport. Anyone brilliant ideas? Now would be a good time. A little help, big guy?” I quipped.

Essver came over and moved Wex off of me and laid him onto his back, after moving his tail out of the way. There were multiple burns on his chest and arms but the blackened skin was sloughing off and healing before our eyes. Chuntra spoke up when we told her. “His species lives on a world very hostile to all life there, he is linked to a symbiotic bacteria that is repairing his damage. The disadvantage is it will make him very hungry and angry when he awakes. In thirty or forty minutes, he will wake in a killing mood. It will not be safe to be near him.”

Oh great. Now let’s contribute to my woes by adding a seven foot tall wolverine with anger management issues and a need to replenish lost energies any way he can… Or was there more to this than I was seeing. I looked over at Essver and beckoned to him with my head. I directed his attention to my magna-cuffs. What if what Master Wex was doing was not an accident?

“Chuntra, how long have you and Master Wex worked together?” I needed to buy some time and make idle conversation, in case someone was listening.

“He and I have worked together for ten standard now. He was also a family retainer while I was growing up and he worked with my father before me.”

“Has he always been this irascible?”

“Oh yes, I was not surprised to see him getting shot by the Corvans. He was not very nice to them on the way here.”

Essver was looking at my cuffs and had the same idea that I did. Wex was not just a lunatic. He was a brilliant lunatic. Now if we can make it work for us in the next fifteen minutes. Essver had begun looking at the seams of the magna-cuffs. With the cuffs active, I did not have control of my Image or any of my other internal biomechanical systems. They emitted a control frequency that prevented those systems from being active. But they were annoyingly vulnerable to electrical attacks.

“Boss, I’m back. The cuffs are offline. That old coot’s trick worked.”

“Good to hear, I sub-vocalized. Can you release or over-ride that lock on Chuntra’s suit?”

“How long we got?”

“Six minutes, give or take.”

“It will be close.”

“Do it. Light a display within her suit and tell her what you are doing. Tell her not to say anything and to keep her suit in the powered down state, even after you repair it.”

“What are we going to do about big boy here?”

“I will keep him restrained should he awaken earlier. They did not utilize any special mechanisms to restrain me, I agreed to comply in the interests of galactic cooperation.” Essver smiled his very scary, very toothy smile.

The display in Chuntra’s suit has begun to flash and in a few seconds, she looks at me and nods. “Cooperation is important. I am certain this will be resolved through diplomatic means.” While she is saying this, changing colors in the negative. “I am certain we will be treated fairly.”

“Don’t count on that. I certainly am not,” was the gruff voice of Wex as he awakened. The vehicle was slowing. “I trust you found everything in order, as he looks at my cuffs.”

“Yes, your singed fur has left this cell reeking, thanks for nothing.” I nodded and raised the cuffs.

Essver looks at me and says, “Thoomas, do you remember when we were on Caldaron Six?”

“This is hardly the time for old war stories, Old Man…” Oh, wait, I remember that mission. We had been taken prisoner and when we were preparing to make our escape…

The door opened and there were eight Corva poking their Electro-staffs into the vehicle. The light outside was bright and our eyes needed a chance to adjust.

“You, Mammal with the fur, get up and get out here. Do anything and our staves are set to kill. Do you understand? Wex had sat back down and slowly rose up, looking slow and uncomfortable, he remained hunched over as he slowly made his way to the exit.

I hate the unrehearsed escape. So much can go wrong.

Wex exited the vehicle and fell to the ground as if he could not go on. Two of the Corva wrapped four of their tentacles around him and lifted him to his feet.

The rest of us exited the vehicle with Essver carrying the ambassador. The Corvan jumpship was at the end of the dock and we were surrounded by at least twenty Corvans and there were fifteen or twenty more at the end of the dock, armed with pulse rifles.

As we were leaving the vehicle, a Bel-ha grav-vehicle pulls up behind us and the Corvans immediately move to intercept the vehicle. Getting out of the vehicle, the Bel-ha who had been injured when I first arrived floated free and began to talk to the Corvan commander. Perhaps the release wasn’t completely agreed upon by everyone. Looks like the Bel-ha base commander might be nursing a grudge or hoping for a bit of polite revenge.

The sergeant and the rest of the Corvans, flanked us and began walking us down the docking platform. The spaceport was whirling with activity, but this was a private region of the port removed from the bustle common to popular planets. Lorissi was very popular due to its beautiful forests and diverse topography.

When we were approximately fifteen feet from the Bel-ha and the Commander I looked at Essver. “Hey, what time is it?”

Essver placed the softened exoskeleton of Chuntra on the ground, and looked at his watch. His reply was, “Time to go.”

Master Wex roared and hooked his claws into the armored forms of the two Corvans that were holding him, and reached directly into their suits. The domes flushed with a reddish green blood and the suits dropped limply to the ground. Snatching his force staff from the hand of a third dead Corvan whose dome parted with the same alacrity as if Master Wex were reaching across the dinner table. Armed with his force staff, he energized it and sliced through my bonds as I activated the Invincible Armor.

Chuntra’s suit hardened and stood up between the drop ship and us. She was wearing a Diplomat’s suit, so it was light on weapons but heavy on defensive shielding. She erected the strongest force field she could and seconds later, there were pulse rounds striking that shield. It wouldn’t last long. So whatever we were going to do, we had about thirty seconds to pull it off.

As the Invincible Armor charged up, my nano-carbon blades were already slicing through the suits of the three Corvan Regulars who were standing guard over me. Essver blocked the fire of the six regulars who were guarding him. When he had reached for his watch, he turned on a microflex field. Its battery was good for sixty seconds and was perfect for the lightly armed regulars fighting us.

He waded into their ranks and soon they were unable to shoot unless they were willing to hit each other. So they were forced to use their electro staves as hand to hand weapons. But these Regulars had never seen anything like the reptilian Essver. They never had a chance.

We dispatched our fifteen guards in less than fifteen seconds. Master Wex was eating the brains of the sergeant that had shot him. He appeared to enjoy himself a bit too much. The Corvan commander simply stood by and watched. But I noted the Bel-ha had stopped talking.

“Boss, her shield power is down to twenty percent. We have another fifteen seconds. Any ideas?” The Corvan sharpshooters were wearing down the Diplomat’s shield and will be tearing us to ribbons in seconds.

Wex, turned and shouted “Chuntra, evacuate. Now.”

Chuntra suit collapsed as she shot out of it and into Wex’s arms. The suit’s power plant gave way as the rest of us ran to use the Bel-ha automobile for cover. Wex was amazing, even faster than I was, and reached the car first. As he ran past the Corvan commander, he swung his force staff and cut him in two. The Bel-ha visibly relaxed and began to move away from the conflict. The pulse rifles were tearing the car apart and the nearest building was two hundred meters away.

“Thoomas, the three of you can reach that building if I draw their fire.”

“Who says you get to be the hero, reptile?”

“Get a move on, Monkeigh man.”

I could not think of anything. We could all die here. Or he could draw fire, and three of us would make it.

“Here, reptile, take this,” Wex said. He handed his force staff to Essver. “Do you know how to use one of these?”

“Watch me. Now go Thoomas. We will meet again.” He placed his hand on my chest, turned away and activated the force staff.

He stood up and began running toward the sharpshooters who concentrated their fire as he roared and move far faster than I remembered. Wex and I stood and bolted for the control tower building. Almost all of the fire was directed against Essver, so his force staff would not last for more than another few seconds. But when it failed, his watch must have still had some charge on it, because he made it to the squad and tore into it. We made it to the building, and Wex took Chuntra aside to a terminal. She touched the terminal with her command bracelet and was able to see the registry of all the ships in the spaceport, including Essver’s.

I told them, go to his ship and I gave them his command code. “Get off the planet, barring that, find someplace on planet to hide out and we will contact you. Now go. I can’t leave him.”

Master Wex looked at me, smiled and said, “come daughter, watching one fool was enough for one morning,” And he streaked away with that incredible speed of his.

I could still hear the Sjurani ambassador Essver roaring as he waded into the Corvan shocktroops. They can’t kill him without causing an intergalactic incident, but subduing him would be almost impossible without an incredible amount of non-lethal force.

It had been ten minutes since I activated the Invincible Armor and freed my Image. More Imperial troops were filling the courtyard. The uplink my Image was using from Chuntra’s suit still had three minutes before we could even hope for a last second rescue.

My power supply would last just long enough to make this interesting.

Excerpt: Insurrection — Book One of the Revenant Saga © Thaddeus Howze 2016. All Rights Reserved

Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding. Since they insist on constant entertainment and can’t subscribe to cable, Thaddeus writes a variety of forms of speculative fiction to appease their hunger for new entertainment.

Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies:Awesome Allshorts: Last Days and Lost Ways (Australia, 2014), The Future is Short(2014), Visions of Leaving Earth (2014), Mothership: Tales of Afrofuturism and Beyond (2014), Genesis Science Fiction (2013), Scraps (UK, 2012), and Possibilities (2012).

He has written two books: a collection called Hayward’s Reach (2011) and an e-book novella called Broken Glass (2013) featuring Clifford Engram, Paranormal Investigator.