Dawn of a New Age – Chapter 2
Written by Dumano1r :: [Saturday, 02 September 2017 23:34] Last updated by :: [Saturday, 02 September 2017 23:53]
Chapter 2 – The Vault
The shuttle hangar was busy with crew fuelling and checking the Magellan's small complement of shuttles. The Magellan, being far too large for atmospheric flight, carried two light and two heavy shuttles, each reasonably sized spacecraft in their own right, but capable of atmospheric flight. When the order came to beat to quarters all of the shuttles were made ready as a matter of course.
Ensign Rowe waited, bored, watching as mechanics ran through detailed pre-launch checks and pilots and gunners joked and laughed. She was being totally ignored.
The first person to speak to her was a deck sergeant she had seen around before and knew only as 'Mack.’ “You're ensign Rowe, right?”
“Yes, that's right.”
“Good, I've got orders to get you suited and booted. You been on an asteroid before?”
“I grew up on one.”
He looked her up and down curiously. “That's why you're so tall then. I reckon we can find you a suit, I'm afraid it'll probably be a bit baggy.”
“It's okay, I'm used to it.”
Mack smiled. Rowe felt herself beginning to blush, unused to having a conversation with a man without being treated with contempt.
Mack led her over to a rack of space suits and selected her an extra tall one. She climbed into it and he sealed it up around her. The suit was baggy on her skinny frame, but she was used to ill-fitting clothes. The oxygen tank, heating and helmet housing made the suit heavy, though it had robotic support to make it more manageable. “Were your parents rebels?” Mack asked.
“No, my grandparents were fugitives. Thought they could escape the superiors by moving into deep space. It worked for a while…”
Mack held up a hand in warning. “They’ll be here in a minute. Best not say any more. They've woken the assassin up for this trip.” He gestured to one of two suits set apart from all the others. One was a stunningly feminine tailored space suit in deep red, with the name label “Brennan” upon the substantial chest. The other suit was black, unlabelled, and shaped to fit a figure that was both curvaceous and muscular.
The corridor doors opened and a small group of soldiers made their way over to where Mack and Rowe were standing. They all dressed quickly into designated grey B class space suits. “You Rowe, right?” A big bearded man with sergeant stripes on his arm asked.
“Sergeant Ramirez, pleased to meet you.” He offered a meaty hand which she shook delicately. He was about to say something else when the doors opened again and an awed hush descended over the suddenly still hangar.
The assassin strode across the room, carrying a massive laser cutter the size of a car on one shoulder as though it were weightless. Her massive breasts rose and fell gently with each firm step whilst her powerful muscles swelled with every driven movement. She was totally naked, totally unashamed, totally in command. She lowered the huge machine to the floor with her right hand, whilst her left remained tensed just above her hip. She looked at the squad assembled before her, then flexed both her biceps in a mammoth display of strength.
Rowe was staring at her breasts, each one larger than her head and all the more impressive because of the layers of muscle rippling beneath. It was hard to believe such a creature was real.
The assassin looked at Ramirez. “You are Ramirez, sergeant, Human B class. You are subservient to me, as are your men.” She looked quickly around the others, checking on the chain of command. Her eyes paused on Rowe. “You are Rowe, ensign specialist, human D class. You are subservient to me.”
A door opened and lieutenant Chan came hurrying through. He was already dressed in his suit, a paler grey than the others, marking his superior rank and class. The assassin looked at him as coldly as she had looked at all the others. “You are Chan, 3rd lieutenant, human A class. You are subservient to me.”
Chan looked surprised. “Captain Brennan said I was to be in com-”
The assassin cut him off mid sentence in her measured authoritative tone. “You are subservient to me. This will not be repeated.” Chan looked as if he was about to argue, but instead his cheeks turned red. Rowe hid her smile by pretending to check the fittings on her suit.
The assassin took her space suit from it’s hanger and slipped gracefully into it. She sealed herself into the suit and it seemed to contract to her skin, the airtight material clinging tightly to her lustrous flesh. She picked up the massive laser cutter and strode purposefully over to the waiting shuttle, hips swaying seductively, no backwards glance. The rest of the team lumbered after her in their awkward, heavy spacesuits. By the time they reached the shuttle she had already loaded the cutter and was strapped into the pilot's seat. The regular pilot was standing on the hangar deck looking confused. The assassin watched them board without a word, but the moment that the last crew member was aboard the doors slammed shut and with a roar the shuttle leapt into the air and darted towards the airlock shield. An invisible field of energy enveloped the shuttle for a moment as it left the Magellan, preventing catastrophic decompression, and then the shuttle was past the shield, free of the Magellan, alone in the cold isolation of space. On the bridge, Brennan watched the shuttle as it rocketed towards the surface, gaining speed as it's thrusters drove it hard towards the wall of solid rock below. Part of her wished she was aboard, but she knew that for her and the assassin to leave the ship together made them vulnerable to mutiny. Even humans were a threat to a superior when the superior was flying an unarmed shuttle.
She continued to watch the transport craft until, at the very last possible second, the reverse thrusters fired. The shuttle, now a minute speck on the distant surface, skewed to a stop on the cold hard rock. Brennan smiled to herself. Only a superior could have flown a shuttle that skilfully. The assassin unstrapped herself and stood up. “Helmets on.” She commanded. “Comms will remain on open channel at all times.” Rowe smiled to herself. There would be no private whispering behind the assassin's back. Rowe pressed a button on her suit and the substantial helmet rose from its housing to cover her head.
“Deploy the gravity generators,” commanded Chan, his voice gravelly over the helmet comm link.
On such a small asteroid gravity was dangerously low. Even a small mistake could launch a person into the void. Gravity generators produced a localised gravity field that would help to keep everyone on the rock, providing nobody tried to jump too high. Pre-designated soldiers each took a gravity generator and moved to the front of the shuttle’s ramp.
The assassin's eyes flicked over the crew, checking that all had activated their helmets and breathing gear, before she flicked on her own. An invisible energy field enclosed her head, so that it didn't even look as though she was wearing breathing equipment. She hit a switch and the ramp opened.
The cold of space hit them like a wall. Even with the shuttle’s energy field and their suits it felt terrifyingly cold. The men shuffled down the ramp cautiously, dragging the heavy gravity generators with them. The assassin strode after them, the huge laser cutter in one hand.
Rowe followed behind, stepping out into the feeble artificial gravity field created by the first generator. On a ship like the Magellan, the gravity generators could maintain 1G across the ship. On a huge, desolate rock they struggled to create even half of that. Rowe could see the soldiers moving sluggishly, forming a line from one gravity generator to the next as the assassin strode ahead, hips still swaying seductively, one hand carrying the laser cutter, the other tensed into a fist.
To Rowe, it felt like home. She was used to low gravity. She had grown up on an asteroid known locally as Franklin's Mine. It was a large rock, bigger than Pegasi 3-8918, but still way too small to have much of a gravity field of its own. The richer colonists lived around the core, where the gravity generators created 0.9G. Her family lived on the fringe, where the gravity rarely topped 0.4G. Like all of the children she grew up with, Rowe’s bones had grown too quickly and her muscles had suffered from lack of use. Deep space mining! A quick ticket to being a D class human.
She looked up at the Magellan. The ship loomed silently above them, dwarfed by other asteroids that just hung there, seemingly motionless in every direction. Everything was clear, crisp and silent. It was beautiful.
The alien structures were harder to make out on the surface than they had been from far above. The assassin had skillfully landed the shuttle right next to the passageway that led down into a brief tunnel ending at the vault door. The soldiers were placing gravity generators along the passageway, seemingly oblivious of the ancient civilization they were exploring. Rowe walked along confidently, happy with the lower gravity and able to take her time to examine the walls of what once must have been a deep tunnel, now torn open to the darkness of space. The walls had been cut directly into the solid rock, smoothly and neatly. Here and there drilled holes and cavities hinted that there had been fittings along the tunnels, presumably for lighting, if nothing more.
“I have reached the vault door.” The assassin's confident voice over the comm system.
Rowe quickened her pace, shuffling her feet to aid gravity as she overtook the soldiers working their way methodically forward. The passageway was getting deeper into the rock now, so that a roof of rock loomed above it and the open channel became a tunnel. With a roof above her head, Rowe was able to quicken her pace, switching on her suit’s light as she went.
The assassin was standing in the darkness of the tunnel before a substantial metal door, a round vault door that would not have looked out of place on Earth. The laser cutter lay on the ground beside her, occupying most of the available space. With no atmosphere she couldn't have heard Rowe approach, but suddenly she spoke, her voice clear over the Comms. “Ensign specialist Rowe has joined me at the vault door.”
She didn't turn round or move at all. In her skintight spacesuit she was as still as a muscle laden statue.
Rowe walked over to the door and placed a hand on it cautiously. The metal was cold to the touch, hard and smooth. “Some kind of heavy metal alloy,” she said.
The soldiers had entered the tunnel by now and were placing lights all around, whilst two robotic camera drones hovered above their heads. A final gravity emitter was placed in the centre of the tunnel and Rowe felt disappointment as her suit grew suddenly heavier upon her shoulders.
The assassin spoke. “This is ground team to Magellan, captain Brennan, are your receiving a clear video transmission?”
Brennan's voice came back. “Receiving very clearly. I was just admiring your ass. It looks so hot in that suit. I look forward to tearing it off you later.”
Rowe glanced over towards the assassin, whose face displayed no hint of emotion. “Thank you, captain. Shall I attempt to open the vault now?”
Rowe stepped backwards. She expected the assassin to pick up the huge laser cutter, but instead she suddenly slammed her fists into the metal, her arms vanishing in a blur of speed. In the vacuum of space there was no noise, but Rowe could feel the rock around her shaking with every mighty impact.
The assassin stopped and surveyed the damage. The vault door was appreciably dented, but still far from open.
“Needs a little more muscle,” came Ramirez's sarcastic voice over the Comms.
Rowe glanced around, just in time to see Ramirez explode. One second he was standing in the tunnel with his men, the next chunks of him were spattered all over the walls. The assassin barely seemed to have moved, but it had been enough to rip Ramirez apart. Ramirez's legs remained standing in the stiff space suit, but she had smashed the rest of him into fragments with a single, effortless punch.
The assassin went back to the vault door, lifting the laser cutter and turning it on with one effortless motion. Brennan's voice came over the Comms. “Looks like muscle enough to me!”
Chan and the other soldiers were staring horrified at Ramirez's remains. Blood and viscera we're slowly pooling around the gravity emitter in an unnatural pattern, rising up the generator’s tripod legs, blood dripping hideously upwards.
Rowe had seen enough mining accidents in low gravity that she was used to seeing blood pooling unnaturally around a gravity emitter, but several of the other soldiers looked horrified. Chan was palest of all.
The assassin had begun to use the cutter on the vault door. A thin, powerful laser beam was slowly cutting through the hardened metal of the vault. The assassin did not pause in her task to speak. “Human, B class, sergeant Ramirez, showed insufficient respect towards a superior being whilst on operational duty. The sentence of death has been delivered.”
The soldiers stood in silence and watched the beam gradually slicing its way through the thick metal of the door. The assassin didn't pause or change pace once, the laser moving in a steady and inexorable arc as her tireless arms effortlessly maintained control of the hugely heavy cutter. Across the Magellan crew watched the video feed from the drone as the door was steadily being cut open. On the bridge Brennan sat forward in her chair, watching the action on the main display screen.
“Look at those muscles, Mr Jones,” Brennan cooed softly. “And that ass! That is a fantastic ass.”
“Yes, ma'am,” Jones said quietly.
“Did you know my tits are bigger than hers. Hers just look bigger because of all that mighty muscle underneath.” Brennan chuckled to herself. “Maybe I should get some big, hard muscles,” she purred softly. “Do you think I'd look good with some big, hard muscles Mr Jones?” She flexed her slender, superhumanly strong arms and pouted in pretend disappointment at the lack of muscle size.
Jones tried to guess what she wanted him to say. “Erm, yes, ma'am?”
She gasped in mock shock. “Don't you like my body, Mr Jones?” She sat back in her chair, folding her arms beneath her chest to emphasize still further her spectacular breasts, the fabric of her uniform parting to draw his eyes to her wondrous cleavage. “Aren't I pretty enough for you?” she whispered, sucking her little finger seductively.
“Erm, yes, ma'am, I mean, you're very attract--” Jones began awkwardly.
Brennan laughed, and stood up, smoothing out her uniform as she did so. When she spoke again the playful girlishness was gone from her voice. “Relax, Mr Jones, I'm just teasing you. you. You can't blame me for wanting to have a bit of fun from time to time.”
“No, ma'am,” said the unfortunate Jones, feeling very relieved that the ordeal was over. It was nearly impossible to predict what might offend a superior.
“I had a cousin who did the muscle thing for a while.” Brennan said thoughtfully, “I didn't like them on her, she only did it to impress some boy or other. She used to stomp around the house, throw cars around, that kind of thing. Not that that's hard!” Brennan chuckled at the memory. “But she only did the muscle thing for someone else, and it always showed in her eyes. I was glad when she got rid of them. But our assassin here,” - she gestured to the figure on the big screen, “now muscles suit her and she loves having them. Muscles, tits and confidence! Makes me horny as hell!” She traced a hand up her thighs as she said this, uncaring of those around her, pressing her powerful fingers firmly again her crotch. She closed her eyes and let out a faint gasp.
Jones nodded in agreement, but didn't say anything. Brennan appeared lost in thoughtful lust for a moment, but then a crewman spoke. “They're in!” The assassin placed the laser cutter down in the tunnel and walked slowly back to the vault door. The laser beam had cut a narrow oval shape in the door. Now she prised her fingers into the still glowing metal and began to pull it towards her. The muscles in her forearms swelled with effort as inch by inch she dragged the heavy metal forward. Finally, without a sound in the vacuum of space, she pulled the whole cut out section of door free. The metal must have been nearly three feet thick, and even the segment the assassin held in her fingers must have weighed a phenomenal amount, but she easily lifted it over her head before casually placing it against the tunnel wall. “Will that provide a suitable sample of the metal if further analysis is required, ensign specialist Rowe?” She asked.
Rowe looked at the slab of metal, still glowing in places from the heat of the laser and pitted with deep finger marks from the assassin's grasp. It must have weighed several tonnes. Normally she would be happy with several grams. “That should be sufficient,” she said calmly.
The assassin nodded and looked through the hole that she had cut into the vault. “The vault inside is small. I will enter with ensign specialist Rowe. Lieutenant Chan and the remainder will provide fire support here.” If any of the soldiers were wondering about what fire support was required, none of them dared to voice their concerns.
The assassin stepped easily through the hole that she had cut. Rowe looked at Chan, who still looked pale and sick, his eyes darting frequently over to Ramirez's corpse. She nodded to the soldiers around him, before following the assassin inside.
The vault was dark, but the torches on their suits quickly illuminated the small space within. The chamber was only a few metres square inside, a short rectangle with a low ceiling, so that Rowe had to stoop. The walls, floor and ceiling were all made of similar metal to the vault door, so that the torchlight reflected to spread a broad pattern of illumination.
The walls and floor were bare metal, smooth and unmarked. The ceiling bore two blue grey strips, which Rowe guessed were lighting, though they were cold and dark now, bereft of power. In the centre of the room there was a metal pedestal, moulded to the floor, about the height of a table. And on the pedestal sat a black cylinder.
The assassin and Rowe approached the cylinder slowly and cautiously. It was perfectly still, jet black and entirely unmarked. Torch light reflected smoothly from its unblemished surface. It wasn't big, maybe a foot tall and about half as wide. A fine line around its top hinted at a closely moulded lid.
Rowe scanned it with her computer. “No power or life signs.”
The assassin walked slowly around it, looking at it from every angle. “Give me an analysis, ensign specialist Rowe.”
“It could be a weapon of some kind, maybe biological or chemical? Or it could be a holy relic, something of cultural value? I don't know.”
The assassin nodded. If she was disappointed in Rowe's answer she didn't show it. “Captain Brennan, can you see the item?”
Brennan was watching the two of them on the screen, like everyone else aboard the ship, staring at the slim, enigmatic cylinder. “I can see it clearly.”
“How do you wish me to proceed?” The assassin asked.
Brennan tapped her fingers on her chair thoughtfully. If the item was dangerous it was better that they open it away from the ship. “Mr Jones, divert all available power to the shields. Assassin, I want you to open the cylinder carefully.”
The assassin picked the cylinder up delicately with one hand. She placed the other on the lid. Rowe held her breath. “It is not heavy,” the assassin said.
She gripped the lid in her powerful fingers and twisted. It began to unscrew easily, a faint powdery dust drifting from it as she slowly rotated the cylinder. Silently, the lid came free and she placed it to one side.
Rowe leaned forward to look into the cylinder. Aboard the Magellan, everyone had stopped whatever they were doing and all were staring at screens that showed the view from the camera drone as it angled it's lens downwards into the container. Nobody spoke, most held their breath. Brennan leaned forward in her chair, gripping the arms so tightly that the metal and plastic crumbled beneath her slender fingers. There was silence as the interior of the cylinder came into full view. It was empty.