Space Race

"This thing better have better pick-up than the Jeep or this is going to get ugly quick! Steve, whatever you are doing, do it faster! I hope all these flashing lights are just the turn signals!"

Doc throws the throttle forward. The Python's engines light hard, throwing gravity back into their seats. The ship leaps out the far side of the orbital tunnel, leaving that flight path behind.

"Fuck me!" Doc shouts as he tries to line it back up. He lets go of the throttle and it springs back to neutral, disengaging the engines. He banks the ship left to put it back in place. It continues on its course, sideways. "Damnit, Newton." He hits the throttle again and the ship begins accelerating in its new direction. They're still too fast to stay in the orbital tunnel, now above them.

"Forget the tunnel, just go. We can correct the orbit later. Just don't hit anything," Steve tells him, only briefly turning away from his computer.

Easier said than done. The heads up display lights up like a Christmas tree as small objects once moving at benign speeds glow red with dangerous relative velocities. Micro-meteors crack against the hull like gravel on a windshield. They zip into the unswept upper orbits where the husks of dead satellites fall almost endlessly back to Earth. Doc just barely misses one with a long forgotten XM Radio symbol on it.

"Cease your acceleration at once!" demand the police, chasing close behind them in their sleek, bus-like cruisers. "You are entering a restricted orbit!" They swerve far around the XM satellite.

"What the hell does that mean?" Doc yells at Dr. Ritenrong.

"We're in the junk belt. Don't listen to them, just watch where you're going. Oh, and you might lighten up on the acceleration out here."

Doc realizes he's had the throttle jammed forward the whole time, accelerating at maximum. He loosens his grip, throttling only as needed to avoid the obstacles. With this technique he's able to duck and weave through the space garbage. The police keep tight on his tail.

"Slow down and return to lower orbit," the cops demand. "You are in restricted space!"

Doc is getting testy. "Can't you get them to shut up? Wait- the MiB had government badges. Can we bullshit them into thinking we aren't the droids they are looking for?"

"It's worth a shot. I'll transmit the credentials, you talk to them." Steve replies. "Hit the blue button on the left to open the com channel."

Doc hits the button. "This is ND-121 Python to Earth Orbit Patrol. Disengage your persuit. We are on official government business. Transmitting credentials now."

"This better work," Steve says. He flicks the controls with a flourish.

The cops think about it. Doc steers through the clouds of space junk. The magnetic shields glow as energetic particles bounce off. The proximity alarm is constantly buzzing at varying volumes. Doc's hands are getting sweaty. The police are not far behind.

They slow down and break off. "Credentials acknowledged. We'll be reporting your traffic violations to the Bureau. You Feds do not own the fucking skies. Expect a citation on your next report. EOP out." A flashing light indicates the com channel is closed.

The junk is clearing out. Doc eases off the throttle completely. He relaxes a bit. "I can't believe that worked."

"It won't last long. When they contact whatever Bureau we're supposed to be associated with, they'll find out the credentials are forged. Here," Steve says as he punches the controls. A new orbital tunnel appears off the starboard bow. "Steer into this orbit for now. I'm still trying to find Veronica."

Doc adjusts the ship's throttle and attitude as directed. The ship slides neatly into the artificial tunnel. All the lights are green, which Doc hopes means everything is good.

"Hey Mark, have a look around back there. Is there anything we can use?" Doc asks.

"Already on the case. There's two light railgun assault rifles back here, two ion pulse laser pistols with four power packs, a couple stun batons, two survival backpacks with medkits, a tent, sleeping bags; the works. Looks like someone was planning a camping trip."

A long groan emerges from the back seat. The man in black is waking up.

"Thunderhorse! Hold him down!" Doc says. He unbuckles his seat and floats to the back. Steve hits the autopilot button for him.

Thunderhorse is already back there. He rolls the man in black onto his stomach. Mark goes back with a rope from the camping gear and ties up his arms and legs. The man in black protests in Korean.

[Let me go, dicks!]" the translator echoes.


ERR said...

Doc Pilot Check 15 (13+2) vs 15, Success XP+15
Doc Bluff Check 20(11+9) vs 20, Success, XP+20

Doc said...


"You had better start talking or you are going to take a short walk out an airlock! There is a lot of junk up here. One more piece of trash won't be noticed."

See if we can get any info out of MiB. If he won't talk, cut off his little finger and tell him his thumb is next. After that he should tell us if he wears ladies underwear. That will give us something to do while Steve tries to raise Veronica on the radio.

Meta: I didn't know I had any piloting skills. Are there any other skills I have that I didn't know about?


ERR said...

The computer systems on these space ships are so advanced that it's a lot like driving a car. You don't need special skills to fly them, but you can improve your abilities.

Doc said...


So noted. I figure I need at least some piloting skills and perhaps I'll look into that if I make it to the next level.