McLain's Misfits Ch. 03bykingkey©
"Pilot, prepare to leave the dockage. Sheila, set course for sector seven... the last known position of the ship the ambassador's daughter was on. Set impulse engines to slingshot around the nearest gas giant, then ignite hyper engines to course. Communications, I need to file this report to headquarters, as soon as possible. As soon as we are underway, we need to call a crew meeting to go over all the charges that have been recently made against us, and our ship."
"Skipper, an' beggin' a minute?" Wiz asked.
"Sure, Wiz, what's on your mind?" I asked as he escorted what appeared to be two beautiful women into my cabin.
"Skipper, I wanted to show you what I have been working on. These are Sheila's new robots. As you can see they are a lot more versatile than the two maintenance robots that she had, previously. These can actually do anything her old robots could. Plus they can do most anything a human could... except they can't fight. That's only because of the way their brains are set up to keep them from killing, due to the old human paranoia of robots running amok.
"They have also had basic medical training, although now they have had supplemental training. They got the same training as a trauma surgeon. They can handle navigation, piloting, and can operate any system on this ship, except weapons. They can do all the targeting and computing telemetry. They just can't pull the trigger. We used fembots because these advanced models look so close to humans in the proper uniforms that they could mingle as part of the crew."
"That's great, Wiz, but what about the law that all robots must be marked so as not to be confused as being human?"
"That is a problem. However, I did some checking. The law states that the marks must be visible at all times so what I did was I placed the marks behind their right ears and on the inside of the right wrist. We might get a little static, but that I found that was where the first humanoid robots were marked."
After I had examined both of them I said, "These markings look more like tattoos than anything else."
"If you look at them closely you will see that they both read that they are fembots, their model number and the serial numbers. It's just that they are written in a fancy script."
"There's just one more thing. We can't go calling both of them, and the ships AI, 'Sheila'. I think they each need separate names."
Sheila spoke up and said, "Since both these robots are basically my daughters, I think we should name then Sally and Sandy. We can call the brunette Sally, and the blonde Sandy."
"Sheila, is there going to be any trouble with you controlling these robots?"
"No, Commander. Since Wiz did the upgrades on them, they are both very self-sufficient. Plus I have real-time telemetry capabilities on both of them, for up to five thousand kilometers. I am able to take full control of any of their systems, at any time. It is truly amazing, the improvements that were done on both of them. They are unlike any other fembot."
Thinking I would just test them, I said, "Sally, how long until hyperspace breakout and we get a look at the last known position of the ship that was carrying ambassador's daughter?"
"Since there are no large astronomical bodies in the known area I suggest we break out in exactly one hour and twelve minutes and coast ballistically while passively scanning for any ships or asteroids in the area."
"Sheila, break out of hyperspace at the suggested time. As we approach the area, launch one ECM drone. Configure it to make us look like a small unarmed transport."
Mike asked, "Yes, Sir. What about scanners? Do you want them to remain passive?"
"No, let's try to make this look real. Have us go to active scanners, though not powerful enough to show us to be different than what we are appearing to be. At the first sign of contact, make it look like we're trying to make a run for it. Then just before they try to take a shot at us, we surrender. We will take them when they try to board."
"What about the other ship? They will surely leave some crew aboard to keep us targeted."
"They will launch a shuttle for boarding us. As soon as it is in our landing bay, I want you to go to full shields, and target any other ships with every weapons system we have. I want them so scared that they'll shit their pants."
Just after lunch, I heard Sheila announce, "Hyperspace break out in five... four... three... two... one... Commander, we are in normal space and heading holistically into the last known area of the ship which was carrying the ambassador's daughter."
"All stations report," I commanded.
"Pilot and navigation ready, Sir," Mike announced.
"Engineering ready, Sir," Announced Wiz.
"Medical ready, Sir," Jim announced.
"Weapons and shields ready, Sir," Cindy announced.
"Sir, all stations manned and ready, Sir," said Lieutenant Jackson.
"Okay, people, listen up! This system has been used repeatedly for pirate raids. The plan here is that we are going to bait the pirates into attacking us, thinking that we are just a lightly armed transport. I'd like to try to take these pirates intact. If we are fired upon we will return fire, but try to disable them, not destroy them. We need prisoners to find out where the ambassador's daughter was taken. So remember, dead pirates can't talk. Take them alive."
"Commander we have a strange contact 400,000 km starboard," Sheila reported.
"Sheila, what do you mean by a strange contact?"
"Commander, I'm not sure what it is. I have a larger ship approximately destroyer size being attacked by a small ship it keeps popping in and out of sensor detection, almost as if it keeps disappearing, the ship's IFF transponder reads it as being an interceptor, although the speed and weapons correspond more to a larger class vessel. such as a destroyer. The really odd thing is the fact that we can't keep it on the sensors. It just keeps disappearing."
"Commander, the smaller ship has just knocked out the engines and weapons systems of the larger ship!"
"Mike, bring us into closer range. Sheila, open up a hailing frequency.
"This is Commander Daniel McLain of the Imperial Strike Ship 73. You will promptly cease all actions and prepare to be boarded."
"This is Tom O'Connor of the ship 'Luck of the Irish'. We are a licensed bounty hunter. The larger ship is a pirate vessel that attacked us in this system."
"Unidentified ship power down all systems and identify yourself." After several minutes of no response I stated, "Under Imperial Law you either identify yourself, or I will be forced to destroy you."
"Don't destroy it commander, we have rendered it harmless and need to board get information from the ship's computer and it and its crew!"
Suddenly, we started getting a transmission from the larger ship.
"Commander, we weren't doing anything except transporting goods when that smaller ship suddenly attacked us."
"Nice of you to finally respond. Somehow I don't believe you. First I can see by the damage that all the weapon strikes were surgically placed to disable and disarm you. Second your IFF transponder is disabled, which is a typical tactic of a pirate. And lastly, when being hailed, you failed to respond promptly. If you were the victim, you would have been screaming for help. Now I order you to stand down, and prepare to be boarded. Any resistance will be met with lethal force."
"Sheila, what information do you have on the ship 'Luck of the Irish', and its captain, Tom O'Connor?"
"Sergeant Tom O'Connor was dishonorably discharged from the Galactic Marines five years ago. The charges were that while the he was the Platoon Sergeant of the second recon platoons first Marine division. He disobeyed a direct order, but completed his mission with zero casualties. Although the order would have resulted in the loss of most of his platoon, he was still found guilty of disobeying a direct order, and was discharged."
"I wonder why he wasn't recruited into the Imperial Guard? From his record, he would have fit right in with us."
"Records show that since his discharge, he was observed for recruitment. However, shortly after discharge, he took up bounty hunting. It was seen that he went out of his way to try and capture without killing the suspects. It was also observed that he assisted in clearing one suspect's name. It was decided that he did better work for the Empire, in his chosen profession."
"What about the rest of his crew?"
"The only other crew on record, is his wife Desirée. She serves as first mate and engineer."
"Only the two of them? Unless I didn't miss my guess such an interceptor, they require a minimum crew of ten and a normal crew of twenty-five!"
"The records show that the armed ship 'Luck of the Irish' is heavily automated, and can be run by a crew of two."
Wiz started to look very excited and said, "Skipper, we need to really examine that ship, closely. Some of the automations and modifications seem so advanced, especially the way they kept cloaking themselves while fighting. The cloaking system itself needs to be brought to the emperor's attention as soon as possible. We need to understand how it works. You may be able to save a lot of lives, on a lot ships."
Cyndi commented, "Look at Wiz, he just can't wait to his hands on some new toys."
"That's enough. Mike, Cyndi, Doc, and I will board the larger ship and take the crew into custody. I want everyone on the boarding party in full battle armor. Wiz, you will stay aboard to keep an eye on things. Sheila, remain in contact with both ships, and keep weapons unlocked."
As we entered the larger vessel, we were attacked by five pirates who were firing needle guns. The guns were set for 'lethal explosive darts'.
One, with a plasma rifle, shot Mike in the right arm. That froze the servos in her battle armor. If she could have moved, you could tell from the language coming from her suit, that she would have torn all of these pirates apart with her bare hands.
After securing and disarming the prisoners, we proceeded to secure the rest of the ship. We found most of the other pirates in engineering, trying to get the engines back online, so they could escape. Finally, after the ship was secure and the prisoners were in the Loony's Brig, it was time to go to the other ship.
After docking to the 'Luck of the Irish's main hatch, we entered to find Tom O'Connor and his wife waiting to greet us.
"Commander, I'm Tom O Connor. This is my wife Desirée. We are pleased to have you aboard. As you can see, we are unarmed, so for now. You won't need your armor or weapons."
Desirée appeared to be about four months pregnant.
"I can see that, where's the rest of your crew?"
"You're looking at it. 'Luck of the Irish' is almost fully automated. We can run almost everything from the bridge with just the two of us, except while in combat. Then, Desirée mans the engineering station, in the engine room. I don't really know why, since you can operate all the controls there from the bridge. But as you know, regulations state that on a vessel of this size, while maneuvering or in combat, must have engineering manned.
"I'm kind of curious... since there's just the two of you, how did you plan to board and take the vessel?"
"I'd better let Desirée tell you, since it is her idea and her invention."
"I developed a form of limpet mine that, when it is attached, bores through a bulkhead and injects Gilly gas into the area." (Gilly gas was developed for crowd control, and rioting. On contact, it causes humans to become violently sick to the stomach, promptly ejecting the contents therein.)
"But why not use a knockout gas, instead."
"If I used knockout gas, prisoners would drop right where they were. If they happen to be using machinery, or controlling something, this could cause the prisoners to be injured, or even killed. It could also cause a major accident. With Gilly gas, the prisoners become violently ill. They normally turn away from what they are doing, and look for somewhere to throw up."
Edited By TeNderLoin &The Old Fart