tagSci-Fi & FantasyThree Square Meals Ch. 023

Three Square Meals Ch. 023


John took a deep breath to calm himself and glanced at the holographic image above Dana's engineering station that showed they at least had their shields up now.

"Ok Alyssa, you're with me. We're going to have to repel boarders." he ordered brusquely.

"Dana, try and get the damage to fire control repaired."

"Calara, send out a distress call. Don't fire back unless they continue attacking, they might think they knocked out all our weapons. They know we can't get away and they'll probably stop shooting now the dropships are about to board." John predicted.

The girls all nodded their agreement.

"What should this one do master?" Jade asked, a worried expression on her face.

"Stay with the girls, I don't want any of you to get hurt!" he said, as he rose from his command chair.

"Let's go." he said to Alyssa and the two of them sprinted to the debriefing room.

They darted into the alcoves, slipping their feet into armoured boots and their hands into the armoured gauntlets. They both hit the thumb buttons in the gauntlets at the same time and the robotic arms moved down, fixing the armour plating into place. John moved his thumb to his palm on his left hand and a rippling series of clicks confirmed that he was sealed in the armour, just as the Phalanx helmet dropped into place over his head.

"Shit, the guns!" John swore as he dashed out onto the bridge.

"Dana, where are the rifles?!" he asked as he sprinted to the elevator, with Alyssa following in his footsteps.

"Still in the firing range!" Dana gasped, looking worried.

"Ok no problem, stay safe you three!" he said as he disappeared into the elevator.

Alyssa hit the button down to the firing range and they waited impatiently for the elevator to drop down to deck seven.

*I'm really sorry honey.* John apologised to Alyssa, his heart feeling like a stone in his chest.

"Cut that shit out right now!" Alyssa fumed. "We've got to save the ship first, then we talk afterwards!"

"You're right." John said, taking a big breath and blowing it out.

The door chimed, letting them know they had arrived at their destination and they dashed down the corridor, past the gym and the engineering bay to arrive at the firing range. They found the modified XR75 assault rifles where they had left them, on the table by the range. John grabbed both weapons, while Alyssa grabbed a couple of magazines each from the weapon racks to the side of the room.

"I'll trade you." she said, holding out two magazines.

John couldn't see her beautiful face, but he could hear the smile in her voice and he felt momentarily relieved as he handed her the weapon and then took the extra magazine clips. He darted out of the firing range and sprinted back down the corridor, fastening the extra clips to the utility harness on his armour and checking to make sure that the already loaded magazines were securely in place. Alyssa was only two steps behind him and he hit the button for the bottom deck as soon as she cleared the doorway.

"What do I need to know about the Drakkar?" she asked apprehensively.

"Big, mean, four arms. Don't let them get into melee range with you." John said quickly, giving her the 2 second briefing.

"Any weak spots?" Alyssa asked as she brought her gun to her shoulder, checking the scope.

"Not that I know of. They're tough bastards!" John said worriedly.

"Ok. Same as before? Try and surprise them with a counter attack?" she asked quickly.

The elevator chimed and they burst through the door as soon as it swished open, giving them a clear view of the airlock as it suddenly spiralled open. Bulky armoured invaders began to step through the yawning portal, their deep voiced roars echoing up the corridor.

*Take the one on the left!* John thought as he dived through the elevator door and then skidded to one knee.

The putrid green skinned humanoids were wearing black and purple ribbed armour, that seemed to glint oddly in the light. Their four arms held a bulky shield in one set of arms and strange looking vertically handled rifles in the other. They had bulging black eyes on the sides of their hammer shaped heads and their high set jaws opened wide, as they roared in challenge at the Terrans.

John sighted the Drakkar in his scope and fired a round at the roaring alien.

"Pkow." The railgun murmured before his shot hit home, slamming into the creature's shoulder with an explosion of dark blue blood.

The Drakkar staggered backwards, it's upper right shoulder ripped apart by the powerful bullet, the ribbed armour offering scant protection against the hyper accelerated hollow point round.

"Prrrkow." Alyssa railgun purred as three rounds slammed into the other Drakkar, hitting it three times in the right hand side of its torso.

It's entire right hand side was a ruined mess, the dismembered limbs flopping wildly as they dropped to the floor, twitching and spasming in a sickening display. The alien slumped over to its side, roaring its ineffectual defiance as it dropped the shield and attempted to pick up its dropped weapon.

Alyssa fired a second time, this time the rounds slamming the Drakkar in the head, spraying copious amounts of dark blue blood and purple brain matter all over the walls. She felt a moment of elation, before two more Drakkar lurched through the open airlock and began to return fire. They were holding rotary cannons in their right arms and the weapons whirred angrily as they sprayed dozens of rounds down the corridor at them.

"Shit!" she swore, crouching in the scant protection offered by the doorframe to the double doors into the hangar bay, her right arm peppered by incoming bullets.

She glanced at her shoulder and was relieved to just see pockmarked craters, but no serious damage to the extremely tough armour plating.

John flipped the selector switch to burst fire and shot at the aliens who were using suppressing fire on Alyssa. One round hit home, punching into the Drakkar in the left leg and dropping it to a crouch, but the other two rounds bounced harmlessly off the shield, ricocheting with an odd whumping sound.

Another explosion sounded out in the ship and they could feel the aftershocks vibrating through their feet.

"What was that?!" Alyssa cried out, as she returned fire under the hail of incoming bullets.

"Sounded like a breaching charge!" John yelled as he fired too, attracting incoming fire in return as two more Drakkar pushed their way into the crowded corridor.


Calara, Dana and Jade watched the zoomed in tactical display as the second dropship approached the Invictus.

"There's only one airlock, what are they doing?" Dana asked in alarm.

"I've got no idea." Calara admitted, desperately trying to figure out what the alien ship was up to.

"At least that big ship has stopped firing." Jade said positively, looking at the enormous purple and black Drakkar vessel where it loomed threateningly on the display.

She could see row after row of weapon barrels jutting out from the formidable looking ship, all of them trained on the besieged assault cruiser. Jade had no idea if the tactical map was to scale, but the enemy ship was shown as being at least 50% bigger than the Invictus.

Calara was cycling through the weapon cameras on the inoperative Gatling lasers and finally found one that had a partial view of the enemy dropship. It was a big, menacing looking vessel, covered in spikes and armour plating. It glided closer and then with the skilled use of retrothrusters, touched down on the hull of their ship.

"Why did it land there?" Dana asked in confusion. "There's no airlock!"

"Maybe they plan to cut their own way in?" Jade said with a shrug.

"Oh fuck!" Calara swore. "She's right, they'll be using breaching charges."

"Where did they land?" Dana asked frantically.

"Deck 7 I think..." Calara said frowning. "Somewhere around the medical bay or the gym." she guessed in frustration.

"Should we alert master?" Jade asked in concern.

"They already have their hands full. We're going to have to try and stop them ourselves!" Calara said, looking scared.

"I've upgraded one more armour suit, but the equipping frame isn't ready yet." Dana exclaimed, springing to her feet. "You're the only one of us with any real weapon training." she said to Calara. "We need to get you in that suit fast!".

The Latina took a deep breath and squared her shoulders bravely. "Let's go." she said decisively.

The three of them dashed to the elevator, hitting the button and then waiting impatiently for the lift to arrive.

"How long do we have?" Jade asked.

"Not long." Calara said grimly.

The elevator door chimed softly and they darted in, with Dana pressing the button for deck 7. The three girls shot worried looks at each other as the elevator travelled downwards, until finally opening up on the deck that held the engineering bay. The echoing sounds of bullets hitting walls drifted up through the floor and Dana felt a shiver of fear run down her spine.

"Come on!" she called to the others as she sprinted down the corridor with the brunette and Nymph following close behind. She hit the button to open the door into her workshop and they all darted inside, closing the door behind them.

"Jade, help me get Calara into that armour!" Dana cried out, pointing to the jumble of armour plates stacked over by the bulky container that sported the anvil logo of the Steinbeck Armoury.

"Boooom!!!" A deep bass rumble of an explosion sounded out from somewhere nearby, shaking the floor of the Invictus.

The girls stood still a moment, staring at each other with wild eyes, before hurrying over to the pile of armour.


"Fizzsshhhapp!!!" The sizzling blast of a high powered laser came searing down the corridor, melting a hole in the elevator door and missing John's head by inches.

"Shit! They've got a heavy laser!" John cursed, blinking his eyes against the blinding after-image of the laser blast. "We've got to get some cover!!"

Their armour was taking a pounding from the relentless hail of rounds coming from the several Drakkar who were firing at them down the corridor. Armour chips pinged off them to land on the floor, their once pristine body armour now a latticework of tiny impact craters. At the other end of the corridor, the space around the airlock was awash in sticky dark blue blood and several Drakkar corpses lay crumpled on the floor, the bodies trodden underfoot by the uncaring warband.

Alyssa hit the button to open the doors to the hangar bay and she dove inside, relieved to be out of line of sight of the ferocious aliens. She turned to watch John as he made to follow her into the hangar bay, when a rumbling bellow sounded out from down the corridor. He turned to look at the band of Drakkar as he ran towards the door, checking to see what had just roared a challenge at him.

*Oh shi...* he started, not having a chance to finish the thought before a hulking black and purple form came rushing shockingly into Alyssa's view and abruptly slammed into John, sending him reeling. The heavy mass and momentum of the charging Drakkar leader knocked John off his feet, unbalanced as he was in mid stride. He rebounded heavily off the doorframe with a sickening crunch, before sprawling across the hangar bay floor. The impact had knocked his helmet clear off his head, to go skittering across the hangar and his left arm sagged at an unnatural angle.

*The raptor...* he thought to her desperately as he collapsed backwards, his shoulder in agony.

Alyssa's first instinct was to run to John's aid, but she battled it to follow his last-ditch plan. She turned and sprinted towards the Raptor, grinning to herself as she ran under the twin linked Gatling lasers mounted in the chin turret of the formidable gunship and then started up the entry ramp.


Calara stood in the sturdy boots of the Phalanx armour with Jade and Dana working as a pair, pressing armoured plates together over her limbs.

"Come on, come on!" the brunette encouraged them, as fear gnawed at her stomach. She imagined that the Drakkar would come bursting into the engineering bay any moment now, which would mean a grim end for all of them.

"Nearly there!" Dana said, holding up the breastplate, as Jade positioned the backplate for her and they pressed them together with a soft click.

"Done!" the redhead exclaimed with relief.

A rippling series of clicks sounded as Calara locked the hooks into place. Jade carefully placed the armoured helmet over the brunette's head as Dana dashed to a weapon crate holding the unmodified XR75 rifles. She glanced at the disassembled weapon on her workbench and cursed herself for not finishing it earlier, instead of pointlessly upsetting everyone. Still there was plenty of time for regret later, she thought, as she slapped a magazine into the rifle and picked up two more. She turned back to Calara and thrust them into her hands.

Calara grabbed the assault rifle and brought it up to her shoulder as she walked cautiously towards the door and the lurking Drakkar raiders beyond. Dana darted up the steps of the podium in the centre of the engineering bay and her hands moved in a blur over the console as she tapped into the ship's hull sensors to try and identify the exact source of the breach. Jade hovered at her side, shifting her weight from one foot to another nervously.

"They breached the gym!" Dana called out to Calara in triumph, her hands a blur over the console as she pinpointed exactly where the aliens had boarded the ship.

Calara turned and waved her thanks, just as the door to the engineering bay swished open, revealing the towering form of a four limbed Drakkar.

"Ahhh!!!" Calara shrieked, as she pivoted and swung the rifle in the aliens direction, holding down the trigger.

"Brrrrrrrrrrrtttt!!!" the assault rifle chattered angrily as she blew through the entire clip at point blank range.

The Drakkar staggered backwards as round after round slammed into its torso, spraying dark blue ichor over the door and walls, as the hollow point rounds struck with deadly force. It finally toppled over and fell to the floor, its four hands twitching lifelessly.

"Yeah!!!" Calara whooped with exhilaration at her very first kill.

Her exhilaration quickly turned to dread however, as another Drakkar swung into view in the doorway, roaring in fury and advancing towards her. Calara pointed the assault rifle in its direction and pulled the trigger, but the weapon clicked impotently, the magazine run dry. The four armed alien leapt forward, knocking her rifle out of her hands with a backhanded swipe of its shield.

A second Drakkar entered the room and sprayed bullets from its rotary cannon at the podium. Jade managed to duck behind the console with lightning fast reflexes, but Dana wasn't so lucky and she screamed as she was hit, blood spraying from her head. She slumped forward and crumpled to the floor.

The first Drakkar dropped its weapons and lunged forward with two of its burly arms outstretched to grapple with Calara. She ducked back from one grasping four clawed hand and managed to block a strike coming from the right, her body instinctively remembering the kata she had spent days practicing. Unfortunately she couldn't react fast enough when the Drakkar attacked with its second set of arms, shoving her forcefully and sending her sprawling over on her back.

The alien pounced forward to settle its heavy weight over her chest and used it's lower set of limbs to pin Calara's arms to the floor. It used its upper two limbs to wrench the armoured helmet off her head, bringing her face to face with the terrifying monster. Calara looked up in horror at the lime green alien as it slowly opened its multi fanged maw, saliva dripping down as it prepared to feast on its victim.


Alyssa sprinted forward as fast as she could, her armoured boot landing on the entry ramp as she raced to make use of the heavy firepower on the dropship.


Alyssa screamed in agony as she was blasted in the back by the high powered beam of laser fire, the impact of the blast knocking her clean off her feet as she sprawled up the entry ramp. She rolled on to her side moaning in pain and she looked back to see the Drakkar with the heavy laser standing in the open doorway. More of the Drakkar warband were spilling into the room and she knew it was all over.

The hulking Drakkar leader that had battered John was lumbering towards her, It held two heavy curved blades, one in each set of arms and she saw a hungry glint in its eyes as it bore down on her. The energy from the laser blast had temporarily paralysed her nervous system and she could only groan in despair, incapable of movement, as she saw her doom approaching. Alyssa closed her eyes, but that offered no respite, not with the bundles of emotion that represented Calara and Dana convulsing with fear. Suddenly the image of John winked out of her mind and for a terrifying moment Alyssa thought that his injuries had been fatal. Her eyes snapped open and darted frantically over to where he had been laid low.

Her eyes widened with surprise as John rose smoothly to his feet. He grasped his left arm in his right hand and snapped the dislocated arm back into its socket, before brushing his hand across his mouth. He looked down at the blood smeared over the back of his hand.

"Not bad..." he said in a low voice, dripping with menace. "But it's my turn now..."

He stalked towards the Drakkar leader, who whirled around to face him, alerted by the warning barks of his minions. It raised its blades in the air, roaring out a mighty challenge, as the rest of the Drakkar spread out into the hangar to watch the impending slaughter.


Calara twisted and turned with all her might against the implacable grip of the voracious Drakkar looming above her, powerless against its overwhelming strength. She screamed in terror as it's jagged fangs descended inexorably towards her face.


A deafening roar reverberated around the engineering bay, filling the already terrified young woman with cold dread. The Drakkar paused as it was about to tear into her face and looked up, it's bulbous eyes widening in shock and fear, as it raised two of its hands in front of it to ward away some unseen foe. Suddenly the heavy weight of the alien was abruptly gone, lifted off her chest in an instant, as a dark green juggernaut slammed into the Drakkar and it disappeared from her sight with a gurgling scream.

Calara sat up quickly, her eyes widening in disbelief as she looked across the room. The first Drakkar was an eviscerated carcass, a mangled green and blue smear across the floor. A colossal three metre long feline had rebounded off the far wall and was now stalking towards the second Drakkar, it's viridian striped muscles rippling in its dark green flanks. The terrified alien backed away from the deadly alpha predator, its four hands held out in supplication. The feline was not feeling in a forgiving mood however and it snarled in anger, revealing it's 6 inch long fangs that gleamed brightly in the light. A heavy paw swiped out and the ethereal looking razor sharp claws ripped effortlessly through the alien's forearms. The Drakkar warbled in terror as it stared at the bloody blue stumps where it's hands used to be, moments before the verdant tiger swiped with its left paw, disembowelling the cowering alien.

The feline turned to stare back at Calara with familiar emerald eyes, the great cat taking a long slow blink at the astonished brunette before it stalked out of the door, its tail lashing with anticipation. Terrified guttural screams echoed down the corridor in its wake. Calara frantically grabbed her assault rifle and then looked back at the podium in the centre of the room. She could see no sign of Dana, but a trickle of blood dripped down the steps coming from behind the console.

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