Dark Knight, Rising Son, Pt. 3
<< Continued from part 2
Part 7: Her
expressionless. "So, how close are you?"
unsure of how to respond. He did not want to say the wrong thing
to his leader, especially after the incident above the arboretum.
Paranoia was a habit that developed among Peacekeeper's scientists
working for Scorpius. He kept his hands his back, with his thumbs
held out straight and twirling over each other in circles, something
he did when he was nervous. Nowadays, that was frequent.
close, sir. We've corrected over ninety percent of the phase stabilization
adjustments. There were minor indications of tissue degradation,
but the pilots return without being liquefied."
He paused for
a moment, remembering to breathe. "And so, I predict we'll
have the final corrections within thirty-six arns."
He must have
said the right thing. The holo image of Scorpius began to smile.
"You and your people have done well, Dr. Kanor. Leave your
notes with Captain Braca. I have other matters to attend to at the
moment. Resume with your task." Scorpius' image quickly faded
His pride swelled
as he held up the palm-sized data recorder that contained all the
current wormhole data. For once, he felt some absolution in winning
favor with Scorpius. Success beckoned, and its means lay in his
hand. No longer would Peacekeepers endure long cycles of travel
to police the worlds under their power or prolong endless conflicts
with the likes of the Scarrans or the Nebari. And he held the key
to all of it!
He walked anxiously
down the corridor to the captain's office, oblivious to the mass
of techs, soldiers and other personnel who flowed past him. His
mind was too busy racing with the possibilities of potential rewards
for his accomplishments to notice any of them.
in Peacekeeper High Command would be a good start. Maybe even a
chance to leave Earth, which he never ceased regarding as a sewer
of a planet He had been stuck there for far too many cycles. A fresh
assignment would be the perfect thing he needed. He might even thank
Crichton for making it all possible, even the late DK, since their
work had contributed even more to the project than his own. Not
that he ever cared what a lowly human thought about helping to develop
the means to their own servitude.
The glass doors
to Captain Braca's office slid open quietly and he detoured around
the reception area, ignoring the secretary and walking straight
to the captain's desk. Braca remained oblivious, and sat focused
listening to a message from an unseen Peacekeeper over his monitor.
Kanor waited impatiently, since he relished the opportunity to brag
about his good fortune.
finally looked up to meet his gaze. "All right, Kanor, what
will we do with you this time?"
is little more that needs to be done, Captain." He proudly
placed the data recorder down on Braca's desk. "I just had
a conversation with Scorpius, and he's quite pleased with our progress.
You yourself have no reasons to cast doubt."
I?" Braca's fingers lightly tapped the data recorder.
at all, we're proceeding with the final testing as soon as we receive
the next shipment of radium isotope the displacement deployment.
The wormhole device will be operational within the weeken."
sarcastically. "And you didn't foresee any problem?"
don't know what I'm talking about, do you?"
understand, captain," Kanor said. He could tell when Braca
was patronizing him, which was always a sign that something had
happened. "What problem do you foresee?"
of isotope never reached us because it was intercepted and taken
by the Batman." Braca turned his video monitor to Kanor, showing
the footage of the shipment's hijacking.
playing in his mind. Kanor felt himself turn white as a sheet.
from the shadows where he crouched down as the transport burned,
long tongues of flame licking upward at the night sky, setting off
an orange glow.
He spent the
past week turning the Peacekeeper installations into smoldering
infernos. Aerial patrols swarmed the area, hopelessly attempting
to locate his position. He smiled wryly, as it was satisfying to
watch. It was unfortunate that other humans were not around to witness
it. Peacekeeper news broadcasts worldwide continued to deny any
reports of rampant destruction, particularly any performed by him.
that should get their attention, Bruce." He glanced over at
the insulated container that held the isotope he had liberated from
the transport. It might come in handy in the near future, but for
now, it was bait.
this gamble of yours works, John. You're taking an awfully big risk.
If you're wrong about her·"
just wait and see. I'm sure that if Dick were here, he'd want you
to meet her." He paused. "Why do you keep saying John?
I'm in bat-mode right now. Why don't you refer to me as Batman?"
John had not meant it as a joke, but it was amusing to hear, even
if his sense of humor had died with his body. "You have to
earn that, John. You've done well, but I'm still not completely
convinced that you have what it takes."
after all this time? What do you expect from me, a-"
abruptly. The dark forms of two females landed on a rooftop two
buildings over from where he hid. They paused, silently conversing
and then separated. One disappeared towards the glow of the burning
transport, while the other fired a cable from her gauntlet and swung
talk later, Bruce. The moment of truth has arrived." John stood
up and shifted his position along the wall where he remained hidden.
Shadows fluctuated on the wall where the light from the fire still
danced, covering his movement.
had not seen him. She landed noiselessly on the roof of the building
and began to run across its width to the other side.
dead in her tracks, abruptly turning to the sound of the voice.
She made no sudden moves as John walked out of the shadows to face
her. Her hands stayed at her sides, free of any weapons. The crossbow/pulse
rifle remained sheathed on her back.
good evening Batman," Aeryn said emphatically. "Or, should
I say Dr. Crichton?" She watched his face for a reaction. "I'd
say that's a correct assumption. Your costume doesn't hide the lower
part of your face, nor does it disguise your voice. That's a serious
design flaw on your part. And I, for one, never forget a face, especially
from the one that got away."
I did tell you at the dance I don't rush into things with a lady,"
he said with a smirk. That was not what she had meant, but it was
hard to resist an opportunity to be coy. "But, never mind.
I have a proposition for you."
You're turning yourself in? I think that would be the smart thing
for you to do."
"I don't think so. They would give me about as much of a chance
as they gave your parents."
dropped open. "What the frell is that supposed to mean?"
this." He held up a Peacekeeper standard issue data chip. "There
is information on here I want you to see. It may open your eyes
to certain things. Come back here in three days after you've watched
it, if you want to learn more." He tossed the chip towards
her and she instinctively snatched it from the air.
is this? Why is it important?" She looked closely at the chip
in her open hand. There were no unusual markings or modifications.
It was a standard Peacekeeper data chip.
up. "I said why is this·"
He was gone.
In the space of a microt he had disappeared- without a sound or
any movement. She scanned the area with all visual spectrum settings
on her goggles- nothing.
momentarily startled. Turning around, Jenavian stood behind her,
waiting for her to answer. Instincts failed her again- she had let
her guard down a second time, not hearing her partner's approach.
listening? I said did you see him?"
she said quietly. "All scans come up negative." The encounter
had shaken her, but she suppressed the reaction. She held the chip
in her closed hand, not acknowledging it to her hunting partner.
continues then," Jenavian said.
She did not bother responding. Falling in behind Jenavian, they
skimmed across the rooftops, ignoring the searchlight beams from
Marauder patrols and the mounted cameras scanning the corners and
streets for any sign of the Batman. Her mind shifted back and forth
between the chip in her pocket and then back to him.
What was happening
to her? She took the chip and let him leave without even trying
to stop him. He was a fascinating being, like no one she had ever
pursued before. She was becoming infatuated with a human renegade,
and one who named himself after a flying rodent, no less.
The giant pyramid
that rose up in the distance was one of the main attractions to
watch from the observation tiers of the Gammak base. Its sheer size
dominated the view through the round windows. The thing was ancient.
Whatever civilization had constructed it disappeared long before
the humans had ceased living in caves. Even the Peacekeepers could
appreciate the complexity it took to build such a structure. It
was aesthetically primitive in appearance but massively intricate
in its engineering. Off-duty personnel frequently stood and stared
in awe- it could hold an entire city in its interior.
Only the face
that stared upward, carved from the rock several metras away was
a more extraordinary monument. Peacekeeper scientists were not sure
what it was meant to symbolize. Was it a navigation marker, a replica
of some elder god, or maybe even a warning to stay away? What they
did know it was as old as the pyramid- and that soldier and pilot
alike had a superstitious fear of it. Prowler and transport patrols
hated flying in its immediate vicinity. Its blank expression staring
up at them made them alter their flight paths more than once.
on. He regarded the structures with only passive interest. They
were only made of rock, after all, just like the rest of Mars.
He turned away
from the windows of the observation port and walked through the
polished black corridors, moving downward through the lower tiers.
The structure was laid out to contain holding cells for prisoners
in its lower levels. The base served a dual purpose for research
and for the particular type of information gathering the Peacekeepers
were known for. Neural interrogation was a common practice inside
the main cellblock, a tall redheaded woman clad in tight black leather
stood silently at the entrance, holding a large black handbag, and
and moved to his side without question. They passed a pair of guards
without acknowledgment and walked down the corridor along a row
of metal doors, each framing barred windows with light glowing dimly
through each one. Moaning and sobbing, audible throughout the entire
block, was met with cold indifference.
At the far
end of the corridor, two heavily armed guards flanked either side
of a black door. The prisoner locked inside was an aberration that
Scorpius warranted special treatment to. During his twelve cycles
of incarceration, he had killed a dozen guards. He remained alive
at Scorpius' personal whim on the basis of his uniqueness. Most
Peacekeeper officers protested, but were too afraid to take action,
let alone approach his cell. One female guard had her face torn
off just from peering into the door's opening.
it." Scorpius said.
guard nodded and moved to the side to press a sequence of buttons.
The heavy door swung open silently. Scorpius walked in with his
nurse following closely behind, while the tall guard brought up
the back with his rifle ready.
The room was
dark, save for the light that illuminated a small table to the left.
A tall thin man sat in a chair before the table, slowly shuffling
out a deck of cards methodically, indulging in an old Earth game.
He did not get up or acknowledge the visitors.
over to the table. "I wish to speak with you now."
shuffling the cards, not responding.
the brightness from the light, Scorpius sat down in the other chair
that faced the man directly. His hands, translucent and skeletal
under the overhanging lamp, continued their process, dealing out
within completion of our project. Have you given any thought to
The man paused,
holding a card in his right hand. "Did you bring me what I
and then smiled. Reaching into his cloak, he pulled out several
small packs of cigarettes, wrapped in plastic and placed them on
the table. The man's hand reached out to them, his skin gnarled
and deathly pale. He picked up one of the packs and turned it over,
examining the label.
Black, my favorite." He pulled the wrapper off, opened the
end and placed a black cigarette to his lips. "Got a light?"
button on a slim metal lighter, Scorpius held out the flickering
blue flame for him. He leaned forward and lit the tip of the clove.
The overhead bulb momentarily illuminated his features. The nurse
shuddered at the sight of him. For a human, he was unnaturally grotesque.
A cloud of
aromatic smoke billowed upward, turning the light into a haze. "Mmm·
Thanks. That tastes like a steak and potato dinner nowadays. Not
that I don't eat well here, but a guard's flesh isn't quite as appetizing-
much too chewy." A cracked burst of laughter sounded out from
a set of damaged vocal chords. Scorpius did not flinch.
this very week, we will have the means to defeat our enemies, as
well as the ability to continue our mastery of Earth. I can create
an equitable arrangement for you, if you'll help us?"
sort of arrangement?"
let you roam freely on the Earth again. If you like, I will even
give you a city of your choice to be your prey. Show your fealty
to the Peacekeepers, and you can do with your fellow humans as you
wish. Or, we will allow you the chance to see the stars. Imagine
the worlds you have never been to, that have never been touched
by you. All of this you could have."
The man puffed
deep on the cigarette and exhaled more smoke. "Interesting
proposal, Scorpy. Other worlds, eh? The stars at my fingertips,
whole worlds for me to taste and the universe as my bitch, are you
offering me that?"
you were my bitch. It's hard to squeeze other planets into
black leather gimp suits."
His frown turned
into a scowl. A white blindness abruptly filled his field of vision.
He lifted a gloved hand to touch his throbbing temple.
his nurse, and the redhead approached to press a button on the side
of his black headpiece. There was a painful grin and a flash of
bad teeth as a cylinder spun out of the side of his head followed
by a thin curl of smoke. She removed a rod, glowing bright red,
and tossed it aside.
glowing blue rod from the black case hanging off her shoulder, she
inserted it into the cylinder and pressed the same button again.
The cylinder spun back into Scorpius' head.
better." He sighed in relief.
are hot under the collar, aren't you?" The man said. He had
watched the whole scene with complete fascination.
"Perhaps, and I now grow impatient with your games. Now will
you tell me your secrets? How do you resist the Aurora chair? Will
you give us the formula for the poison you use on your victims?"
you want it?"
be another weapon we can utilize against our enemies. If we could
bond it with the intellant virus we are developing, think of the
havoc we would wreak against our enemies" Scorpius leaned forward.
"Let us be candid. We are very much alike; you and I. Our desires
are the same, if only our goals are different. Can't you see that?
You have a brilliant mind. Help us, we need an ally, not an enemy."
an enema," the man said, taking another drag on his
clove. "But, I imagine Bats is giving you a hard enough time
in that area. If you put me in the mix, you'll give yourself an
aneurysm." He looked at Scorpius' head from an angle. "Then
again, I'm not sure you got enough room in there for that."
you know about the Batman?"
and I go way back. A little bird told me he returned, before I went
Hannibal Lector on him with some fava beans and a nice Chianti."
The man chuckled again. "Boy, I could tell you some stories."
you tell me?"
There was a
long pause. "Frell you."
in rage and slammed his fist down on the table, splitting it in
half. "Have it your way!" His voice descended into the
low growl of his Scarran half. "When we've finished purging
your world, your head will be a conversation piece at Peacekeeper
High Command! Just remember, I offered you a choice!"
The man crushed
his cigarette out in a rusted ashtray on the table. "Oh, dear
boy, you still don't get it do you? I had already made my choice.
I already made my own plans. I was orchestrating them, and it would
have been so beautiful. Don't you see? I was doing it for years.
I was the architect for murder, mayhem and complete and udder madness.
You know· the good stuff?"
He picked up
the cards that lay scattered in front on the floor and began to
shuffle them again. "But, you came along and ruined it. You
ruined my perfect plan. It would have been the greatest joke of
all time it had the perfect punch line- life and death, good and
evil, right and wrong. One man's trash is another man's treasure.
Why didn't you ever laugh with me? You should have understood- we
have a hard-on for death, you and I." His expression began
"But you amassed such an impressive body count."
us. Why do you think I still want you around?"
The man's eyes
narrowed. "I don't take requests, either."
at each other for a long time. "I will give you one last opportunity
to concede. I do not wish to see you die, before you could help
I'm going to start crying in a second." The man held up the
deck of cards in a fan shape. "Tell you what, how a decision
is made can be determined by the turn of a friendly card. You pull
out the right one, and you have my help."
at the deck. He was unfamiliar with the rules of the Earth game,
but if selecting a card could procure the man's cooperation- it
would be worth it. The man was at his mercy anyway; he could humor
him for once.
down and pulled out a card. He turned it over for the man to see
it- it was the Ace of Spades, the death card.
But, it was
not the right card.
The man threw
back his head into a fit of maniacal laughter that echoed through
the entire prison block. Scorpius hissed with fury and stormed out
the door, his nurse following behind at a safe distance.
I just remembered a joke. A bear walks up to a rabbit and asks the
rabbit if he ever had trouble with his poop sticking to his fur.
ÎNo,' says the rabbit. ÎOh, good,' says the bear. So he picks up
the rabbit and wipes his ass with him!" The man continued his
insane laughter, unabated.
watched Scorpius and his nurse march promptly down the corridor
and disappear through the hatch. Silence fell over the block again
as the man's laughter subsided. Both men breathed a sigh of relief,
grateful for the quiet.
the man said, sticking his face through the small window with another
cigarette between his lips, "you got a light?"
Aeryn sat back
in her favorite chair and stared at the chip on the table in front
of her, where it had remained for several arns.
against viewing its contents at headquarters since they might be
monitoring all the vid-screens, something they were apt to do. After
getting home and showering, she still hesitated to view it. Even
after dinner and resting for an arn, she continued to look at the
chip, but did not insert it into her monitor. She was curious what
was on it, but she never accepted potential information at face
value if it came from a criminal she was pursuing- it was not in
the lines of common sense with the Peacekeeper way of thinking.
Besides, she felt what the humans called Îa sense of foreboding'
be so important on it that the Batman would give it to her? What
could be motivating him? If he was in fact John Crichton, and she
was sure he was, then maybe it was an attempt at some misplaced
affection felt from their night at the banquet. He might have been
handsome, but he was still a renegade, a criminal. She never allowed
emotions to cloud her sense of duty; she was a Peacekeeper, after
She was a Peacekeeper
who was in serious denial.
He had mentioned
her parents. No one in the cycles since she began her training had
ever mentioned them. The only memory she had was of her mother coming
to her one night as she lay in her bunk and speaking to her about
love, about why she was born· and about a father she never knew.
She cherished the memory- they were the one thing training had not
drilled out of her, but she gave up believing it happened. Time
convinced her it must have been a child's dream- wishful thinking
on her part.
picked up the chip and inserted it into her monitor. It was better
to get it over with, and see what the fuss was about.
A warning flashed
on the screen: Decca seven- the highest level of security for a
file. She blinked, momentarily surprised. How did the Batman get
hold of this? She leaned forward in her chair, her curiosity growing.
Images of a
child flashed on the screen. It was her. A man and woman's image
reappeared from time to time. He was dark haired and handsome with
a strong jaw and high cheekbones, while she an attractive blonde
with full lips and soft, gentle eyes. The images cut to footage
of the man being brutally interrogated. He was held in place by
a pair of security grunts while a large soldier struck him in the
face. It was hard to watch without flinching. Training taught her
to be desensitized to violence, but the images were sickening all
Dimly lit footage
appeared of children's barracks that matched the one she grew up
in as a child. The video panned to a bunk at the far end where a
blonde woman in a tech's uniform was leaning over.
a small child with dark hair sat up and looked at the woman. The
one side of the woman's face was scarred from a pulse weapon's blast.
She had been injured fleeing from the interrogators.
we've never met. My name is Gilina Renaez. I'm your mother."
the monitor- her expression froze.
supposed to be here, but I'm taking this opportunity to see you
before I lose any chance."
On the screen,
the child Aeryn gazed on, unresponsive. A mind so young and conditioned
by the Peacekeepers was not trained to react to familial declaration.
father and I loved each other very much. And we had you out of love,
even though the Peacekeepers ordered me to have you to suit their
purposes." She paused for a moment. "Aeryn· You are not
an accident, or a body destined to fill the ranks. You're our special
little girl." The image skipped slightly, some of the footage
had a grainy texture to it. But she could she the woman running
her hand through the little girl's hair.
father's name is Dick Grayson, he's not like you or I, but he loves
you very much, just as I do. There's something very different about
you. One day you will come to know what it is."
to stream down the woman's face. "I also wanted to say how
sorry I am neither of us will be around to take care of you. We
tried to hide you from them, but·." She trailed off. "They
took him from me, Aeryn. They'll take me soon, as well. But I wanted
you to know you're always in our heart, and we'll always love you."
She gently stroked the young girl's cheek.
to sleep now." She laid the small child back onto the bunk
and tucked her in. She turned and quietly walked out of range of
the video monitors.
trembling as the last pieces of information flashed on the screen.
Images of Gilina Renaez and Dick Grayson appeared with standard
log entry data:
BIOGENESIS 29579844 -X SEBACEAN INTERBREEDING WITH LIKE SPECIES
- Y HUMAN - CAUSE ABILITY TO BREED SOLDIER W/ IMMUNITY TO HEAT DELERIUM/LIVING
RENAEZ - 24 CYCLES -TECH - MAINTENANCE PROVOST -SCHEDULED FOR BREEDING
"DICK" GRAYSON - 26 CYCLES (APPROX.) - TEST SUBJECT ***
WARNING*** (SUSPECTED EARTH RESISTANCE/VIGILANTE: KNOWN ALIASES
INCLUDE NIGHTWING, ROBIN, ETC.) UNDER OBSERVATION/ TECH RENAEZ'S
RELATIONSHIP WITH MALE SUBJECT PERMISSIBLE DURING EXPERIMENTATION
RESULT OF BIOGENESIS
29579844 X - Y INTERBREEDING****************
- SUCCESSFUL SEBACEAN/HUMAN HYBRID
- HAIR: BLACK - EYES: BLUE/GRAY - LENGTH: 20.45 HENTAS - WEIGHT:
7.1 UNITS - NO NEGATIVE EFFECTS IN TEMPERATURE CHANGE, BODY SELF-
REGULATES INTERNAL TEMPERATURE FROM BIRTH
BIRTH - CHILD SCHEDULED FOR STANDARD PEACEKEEPER INDOCTRINATION
UPON FIVES CYCLES BEING REACHED - GUARDIANSHIP REGISTERED TO XHALAX
SUN: **48577i88** SENIOR OFFICER~
GILINA- EXCEEDED PARAMETERS FOR IRREVERSIBLE CONTAMINATION
SUSPECTED OF VIGILANTE ACTS AGAINST PEACEKEEPERS - APPREHENDED ATTEMPTING
TO TAKE SUBJECT AERYN OUTSIDE PEACEKEEPER JURISDICTIONS
AND MALE SUBJECTS GUILTY OF NUMEROUS VIOLATIONS, AND ARE SCHEDULED
FOR TERMINATION, PER ORDERS OF Ld SCORPIUS~
to stand up, but her legs buckled and she collapsed to the floor.
Holding her hand to her mouth, she struggled not to cry, as she
was taught it was a weakness. The image of her parents remained
frozen on the monitor screen.
failed; the tears came hard.
Part 8: Serendipity
The doors slid
open and Lieutenant Teeg walked into Crais' office with the files
he had been waiting for. Crais himself stood in front of the window
looking over the Gotham skyline, brooding.
me, sir? The techs have completed their work." Teeg said excitedly.
"And you were right about the video from gate forty four. It
had been tampered with. The techs found that the image was
over to the monitor where she was preparing the video chip. "Show
The video showed
the footage of a man resembling John Crichton assaulting two guards
at the gate checkpoint and driving away. Teeg froze the image momentarily.
"This footage is unaltered sir, and I think it's obvious that
was the real John Crichton, and not a look-alike."
the footage forward to clips of John Crichton tied to a chair with
several of the supposed terrorists surrounding him, including the
look-alike. Except for Crichton, all the other figures were surrounded
in a bright blue outline. "As you can see here sir, the image
of the terrorists was digitally superimposed over a real image.
This particular footage was actually taken from a human terrorist
kidnapping of a Peacekeeper officer over ten cycles ago. John Crichton's
face was electronically placed onto the face of the one terrorist,
but we didn't detect it at first because there were so many coding
levels to decrypt to peel the image back."
done," Crais said, thoughtfully placing a finger to his lips.
"Whoever altered this was brilliant. It's some of the best
work I've ever looked at. We were fooled for quite a while, weren't
sir, we were. But, have a look at this."
The image continued
on to show the real scene as it happened. Through the grainy images
of the video camera on the site, an enraged John Crichton lashes
out at the two Peacekeeper guards, knocking them out. The human
scientist then opens the gate and speeds away in his car. Scrolling
forward, Crais looked over a series of photos of a damaged car identical
to the one John Crichton had been driving.
were taken by a Marauder patrol that pursued an unauthorized pedestrian
on the road and through the woods about forty metras north of Gotham's
perimeter on the same day. Marauder patrol found it. Intact at first,
but later someone burned it. It's John Crichtons, for certain. The
patrol followed a man through the woods but lost him in the remnants
of a castle or manor somewhere."
pinpoint the location of this manor?" Crais asked.
a patrol searching now, sir."
This may be the key we're looking for. Has anyone been able to locate
slightly. "He's not been at his apartment for several days
now, and he hasn't reported for work, either."
exactly was the nature of his work for the Peacekeepers?"
one of the top scientists working on the wormhole weapon being developed.
Before he disappeared, he made some of the most significant breakthroughs.
But each part of the whole project was assigned in parts to different
teams. If he somehow managed to get hold of all the information·"
seals it then. He knows we're onto him. I want you to Contact Officers
Chatto and Sun. I want him bought in immediately."
smile faded. "We already did, sir. Officer Chatto responded,
but Officer Sun has not responded to our hails, nor is she at home."
As John swung
around the edge of the building, he could already see her sitting
on the top of a factory across the street. As he landed on the roof,
dawn was beginning to break over the horizon, with streaks of pink
touching the cool gray of the sky. She was alone.
She had not
looked up to acknowledge him, but he could tell she wanted a straight
answer. He hesitated, trying to find the words. Even under the dim
morning light she looked beautiful, as well as vulnerable.
He was forgetting
himself again. Bruce would be chewing him out in disgust had he
kept the comm link open.
you know?" She repeated.
someone who knew your father. They were very close."
slightly. "You know, for years I've dreamed about my mother
coming to me while I slept. I was never really sure if it happened-
until now." She held up the chip. "I'd wake up wishing
it had, but then wishing it didn't, because it hurt that she wasn't
there. So I tried to forget." There was a long pause. "My
relationships since have always been painful." She laughed
slightly. "I imagine you don't know what I'm talking about."
looking at her sadly. "You have no idea how much."
She stood up,
brushing the dust off her uniform. "Where are we going with
you to come with me. I want to introduce you to the man who knew
your father. I want you to help us to win the war we're fighting.
Earth is part of your heritage. We felt it was important that you
know these things."
He tapped his
headpiece. An emergency transmission from Bruce was coming through.
Get out of there, it's a trap!"
The loud whine
of an engine alerted him to it. Turning around, a Marauder rose
up from below the building's ledge and trained its lights and pulse
weapons on him. Four commandoes jumped from the back onto the roof
and trained their weapons on him as well. Aeryn stared on in wide-eyed
BATMAN! YOU ARE UNDER ARREST. DO NOT RESIST OR WE WILL USE DEADLY
FORCE. HUNTRESS SUN, YOU WILL ASSIST AND RESTRAIN HIM IMMEDIATELY!"
He turned angrily
towards Aeryn. "Why?"
She said nothing.
Her face still looked surprised.
you a part of this? Open your eyes, can't you see how they are?"
found her voice. "Crichton, I - I had nothing to do with this,
I promise you. They must have followed me."
his arm and fired concussion bolts from his Tavlek gauntlet. The
first commando flew back from the impact as the remaining three
advanced quickly, preparing to fire. He took on his standard defensive
posture. If he would be taken here, it would not be without a fight.
and ran past him, sending a hard kick into the next commando's jaw.
He went down hard.
me with you and I'll help you," she called back to him. She
ducked down fast to allow the batarang he threw to sail over her
and right into the head of the third commando.
Crais!" The Marauder pilot shouted into his headset. "Huntress
Sun has turned traitor. She's working with the Batman and taking
down our commandoes!" He watched the battle scene unfold from
them by all means necessary. Call in reinforcements if you have
to," Crais responded. "I already have my hands
full right now heading to the landing site at Arkham. I want no
The pilot watched
as the fourth commando put up a brief defense but went down in an
instant from a right hook by the Batman. True to his training, he
armed the pulse weapons and prepared to lock onto the pair of two-legged
targets directly in front of him. He grinned sadistically. He often
wondered how much damage would occur to a flesh and blood body from
a single shot from a Marauder's cannons. He now had the chance to
Aeryn cried out. "They're about to fire!"
her by the hand and proceeded to run to the far end of the roof,
moving in a zigzag pattern as they went. There were bright flashes
of light, and an explosion as the pulse cannons incinerated mortar
and brick. Debris flew wildly and scattered around them, but still
they dodged the blasts without harm.
For a brief
moment, the Marauder halted its assault. Reaching the buildings
edge, they quickly looked down at the ground far below. It was at
least twenty stories up. A fall would all but leave a bomb crater.
arms around my neck and hold on."
wrapped her arms around the thick cowl that covered his head and
held firmly as he jumped off the roof, another pulse blast screaming
past his head. As they plummeted downward, the wings in his cloak
opened up. They glided down the chasm between buildings, as the
sting of the cold air rushed against their faces.
people in the morning crowds began looking up at the disturbance
that was going on above them. Was it yet another Peacekeeper pursuit?
Onlookers pointed and shouted excitedly about the giant bird- or
what looked like a bat- flying overhead:
the hell is that?"
You don't think·"
I don't believe it·"
to kick the Peacekeepers ass·"
tightly as their speed of descent increased, putting distance between
them and the Marauder up above. He turned a hard left through canyons
of concrete and steel, causing her to swing wildly, but she held
on, sailing with him. Her heart beat wildly in her chest. She pressed
her nose in against the nape of his neck. The Marauder continued
shooting, and he continued evading. He was outgunned but surrender
was not an option to him. She knew then he would fight on until
he succeeded. That was all she needed to know to realize just how
magnificent the man was.
She said, turning up to look up at him.
his eyes to the sight below him. Aeryn followed his gaze, and she
saw the shape of a strange-looking ship hovering below, rising up
to meet them. It was jet black, with swept forward wings and sharp
angles- an abstract representation of a bat in aircraft form.
He called it
the Batscape, named after the Farscape, his father's
legendary ship. He had been using it to fly between Gotham city
and the Bat Cave. They landed gently on its portside wing and climbed
into the waiting cockpit. Bruce had designed it to seat two people,
and not by chance, either.
As they strapped
themselves in, the Marauder appeared from behind the building, having
swept over the width of it to follow the escaping pair. Sighting
them, it began to dive in its standard attack pattern.
time to even the odds a little," John said, grabbing the throttle.
the manual controls, he gunned the engines to gain some altitude.
The Batscape's jets screamed as it climbed upward. The Marauder
followed right behind, firing its weapons, still missing them with
this thing have armament?" Aeryn asked, glancing at the Peacekeeper
ship behind them.
the controls with confidence. "We're prepared for any contingency."
They flew up
into a swirling white mist of clouds for cover. A whirring noise
caught Aeryns attention, and she watched as doors on the side of
the craft unfold. A pair of core cannons and missile pods came into
view. The Batscape was a flying fortress, and it was being
put to the test and found wanting.
speed and pulled the nose up hard, going far above the clouds. Suddenly,
the craft stopped in mid air, pitched, rolled over and plummeted
downward. White tufts streaked by the canopy as the targeting systems
locked on to the Marauder. It appeared just above the cloud line
and flew directly into a barrage of energy bursts from the Batscape
that tore the pods off the Marauder's sides and sent the ship careening
downward in a fireball. The pilot ejected in his chair and John
and Aeryn watched the soft glow of its braking jets activate from
dren, Batman," Aeryn said. He could not help but laugh- it
must have been the Zen moment he had hoped for.
going to the Bat Cave," John said. "You're going to meet
the Batscape disappear into the clouds from the rooftop where
she had witnessed the clash between the Batman and her former partner
against the Marauder and its crew. She held up the tracking device
that now calibrated itself to track Officer Sun's location. During
their flight from the building, she hurled a small tracer at Aeryn's
back that delicately locked on, avoiding detection.
Chatto to Crais. I've managed to lock onto Officer Sun's movements
via tracer plant. I'm afraid she's turned traitor and is cooperating
with the renegade Batman."
done, Officer Chatto," Crais responded. "I will
have Prowler patrols scrambled to the Batman's home base."
report to the receiving launch pad at Arkham Asylum. You have a
new assignment you're due for."
"Now who has a greater claim to the Batman, or to you, Officer
at the scene through her oculars. The activity milling about on
the distant launch assembly in front of Arkham Asylum's decaying
veneer was slight, at best. The ocean fog lifted, revealing an empty
gray landing pad surrounded by blinking guide lights, Peacekeeper
techs, a pair of stray seagulls and not much else. The transport
had not yet arrived.
her weight and slid quietly down the slope to Lowell and the others
waiting below in the rocks. Over a hundred other fully armed members
of the resistance lay in wait, the largest gathering in years. Word
had spread quickly about a mission to stop deployment of the Peacekeeper
weapon. Every available combatant answered the call, male and female,
heroic and cowardly, saboteurs and errand boys.
down beside him. "Has to be. Kanor and his cronies were in
one hell of a hurry to get it to their base for a demonstration
launch. I've never known him to slack on something, especially this."
"Then it's now or never. We either stop it here or it's over."
He checked the settings on the pulse rifle that was Îliberated'
from a Peacekeeper warehouse a year before. It was in perfect working
order, and with one full cartridge of Chakran oil.
ready? I know you're new to this, but-"
Her tone had finality to it. Since meeting Lowell, he had gradually
eased the subject of the resistance in their conversations until
he decided she was a safe candidate to join them, and to aid in
the mission. Someone with first hand knowledge of the Maelstrom
project might make all the difference. She joined willingly, not
because of some heartfelt obligation to DK, but because the day
he died she resolved she would never again lose loved ones to the
Peacekeepers. If that meant a fight; then so be it. DK would've
been proud, she thought.
If only John
were there to see her.
the man at the far end of the column they formed. Nodding, he signaled
the group behind him and they streamed past the others toward Arkham's
farthest wall. Lowell's group planned to storm the landing platform
and engage the Peacekeepers, destroying the weapon due to be transported.
Jake, the square-jawed man heading the other group, would take the
asylum and free the human prisoners within, gaining reinforcements
for the fight against the Peacekeepers. The plan looked easy when
it was being orchestrated.
stooped over, moving quietly with Lowell as their column moved single
file behind the sea wall towards the landing platform. The muffled
crash of the ocean waves against the rocks covered the sound of
sand crunching under combat boots, the muffled coughs of sick riflemen
and the creak of contraband leather gear stolen from the Peacekeepers.
Earth tone camouflage concealed them from aerial observation. If
the Peacekeeper security force was a small one, they could overwhelm
them with numbers.
hard, before she could answer him. "Hell yes. Aren't you?"
wetting myself if I'd actually drank anything today. Better to focus
on the job, not think of it in terms of Îif' but Îwhen.' We'll feel
you, a lot of people are going to die, and we might be first."
"I know. But remember the alternative. It's a small sacrifice
compared to a whole planet enslaved and drained of everything. Don't
her head to the distant whine of an engine. Coming below the clouds,
the dark hulk of a Peacekeeper transport escorted by two Prowlers
slowed its approach to the landing pad in the distance. A large
formation of soldiers and techs began to mass on the edge of the
she said, "we're going to need a lot more help."
across a giant what?" Aeryn said, her eyes widening.
at her reaction. Clearly she had never fought a villain of the Batman's.
"That's right. The Penguin built this giant typewriter as part
of some criminal plan, who knows what for- he had eccentric tastes.
But Dick chased him across it and nailed him with his batarang from
about sixty feet away. Considering it was one of his first capers
as Robin, I was highly impressed."
up from his work. "He had a good teacher, Bruce. I should know."
echoed through the Bat Cave, vibrating the stalactites above them.
For the first time in years, joy filled the cavern. Bruce could
not help but join in showing Aeryn the world he and John shared.
Even if he was no longer flesh and blood he still felt the pride
and the happiness he would have knowing that Dick's daughter had
come home at last.
up to Aeryn and John with a platter of cups and saucers and a pot
of steaming coffee. She regarded him with curious fascination. Despite
their technology, Peacekeepers seldom utilized robots for work.
you, Alfred. But, I have to tell you I've never drunk coffee before.
Peacekeeper policy always frowned on us drinking native beverages."
all right," John said, assuring her, "it's time to live
lights blinked. "I assure you, Madam Aeryn, that I only use
the finest coffee beans ground fresh with every pot. Master Bruce
and I kept a healthy supply in storage for a time when those who
could appreciate it would occupy the Bat Cave. I am sure you will
relish it as much as Master John."
at the robot. Holding the cup to her nose, she inhaled the full-bodied
aroma. She sipped it carefully, letting the taste roll on her tongue
to savor the flavor. There were so many new things to experience,
so many things to learn about being human- part human anyway. Coffee
was a small way to start; John was even better.
wonderful. Thank you, Alfred."
glad to be of service, Madam Aeryn."
you, Bruce." Aeryn turned back to the monitor with Bruce's
image. "Thank you for telling me about my father."
"He was a good man, Aeryn. I'm glad we had this opportunity.
Now if you and John will excuse me, there is some info coming in
on the wire I want to check. John, why don't you show our guest
John put down
his cup and offered his hand to her. They walked around the cave,
showing her the vehicles in dock, told stories about the odd curios
in the cave and showed off the plush living quarters were he had
slept during his training. She listened affectionately, absorbing
all the details.
feel himself blushing. Despite his age and experience He felt like
a schoolboy on a first date. Batman had butterflies in his stomach,
all because of a Peacekeeper huntress.
always your intention?"
dazed by her question. "What's that?"
always your intention? I mean, hoping to win me over, showing me
my parents, my half-human side and whatnot. I know you don't do
this with every Peacekeeper female you come across. If you did,
I'd seriously question your mental state."
"No, not everyone, just you, you seemed different. I don't
really know the reason, I could just tell. Call it serendipity."
a fortunate accident, then."
he shook his head. It's more than that. It feels more like fate."
Her smile grew.
She could not argue the point. "I can actually believe that,
even if the Peacekeepers don't. But you, do you think we've become
products of fate?"
He said nothing.
He lifted an ungloved hand to touch her cheek, but he hesitated.
Bruce's mental training had no preparation for this. He was lost
in the moment. There was no Batman, no great battle, no Peacekeepers-
indulgences can interfere with your ability to fight, Bruce
had once said.
was so beautiful- passion mixed with human vulnerability. It was
the trait that caused him to fall for Alex and other girls in his
youth. But that felt so long ago, and he had been alone for too
The loud wail
of the Bat Cave's perimeter alarms abruptly jolted him back to reality.
They ran back to the main console to view the source of the commotion.
Aeryn, I've good news, bad news and really bad news," Bruce
said as they stood before him. "We now know the weapon in question
is designed to create a wormhole. They just completed the device
in its entirety."
John felt a
sudden clarity. "That would explain the stories about shortening
the distance between Earth and the systems under Peacekeeper jurisdiction."
the ability to navigate wormholes, the Peacekeepers could easily
send reinforcements and keep Earth under their grip permanently,"
Aeryn, and a lot of other worlds, too. The bad news is they're putting
the weapon aboard a transport ship now and taking it to the command
carrier Zelbinion orbiting above us. The loading site is
the launch assembly right on the shores of Arkham Asylum."
we have to leave now," John said. "They're using the Zelbinion
to make the test jump."
his head. "No they're not, John. They need to go to where a
potential wormhole could form. They're taking it to a Gammak base
in our system, where specifically, I'm not sure. But you do have
to leave now, because the really bad news is that there's a fleet
of Prowlers and Marauders on their way here to blast us into dust."
we have to get you out of here, Bruce. We can't let them capture
you, you're too important-"
Bruce cut him
off. "I've made my decision, John. I'm activating the self-destruct
sequence to the Bat Cave. I'm denying them the opportunity to get
anything from us. Take Aeryn and go immediately. She can help you.
My work with you is finished. You have to stop that weapon from
ever being used."
He knew that
one day this might end, but he would never have predicted it would
be this soon. Bruce told him he had to earn the right to be called
Batman, and the moment to do it was now. He looked at Aeryn, then
back at Bruce's image. The turning point already beckoned to him,
and he had to leave his home again- and Bruce. He had already lost
what you have to do."
themselves into the Batscape's cockpit as the launch trolley
positioned it into the open doors above them. John looked back one
last time at his mentor's face.
He was only
an electronic image on a screen, but now he looked older. His sadness
was plain- this was the last time.
came to life and the ship propelled upward, weapons systems arming
to face the coming storm of Peacekeeper fighters.
leader to squadron, target is now in sight. Lock weapons and prepare
The fleet of
Prowlers and Marauders converged into standard columns of three,
which they used when bombing ground targets. The manor ruins were
now appearing below them. Satellite tracking had confirmed it as
the area the unidentified craft had landed near. Above or below
ground, there would be nothing but a large crater in a matter of
formation, prepare to dive."
leader, this is Eustar three. Unidentified craft approaching, not
appearing on radar tracking, I have a visual confirmation!"
three, give location, over."
leader, it's the ship! It's firing, it's-"
A series of
fireballs erupted in front of the Prowler leaders ship. A swept
wing, black craft had fired a volley of missiles that took out the
first column with a Marauder bringing up the rear taking a direct
hit as well. The unknown craft shot past in a blur, ignoring the
five, six and seven, pursue enemy craft. All remaining ships converge
and fire upon intended target."
The three Prowlers
never made the pursuit. Three dark shapes swept into their line
of sight and lasers neatly sliced each one in two. The remote-controlled
Bat Sentinels swiftly rolled and engaged the remaining fleet.
There was so
much to do and no time to do it.
around as stalactites, steel beams and other debris fell from the
Bat Caves ceiling. The Bat Sentinels could delay the attack staged
above them, but they were hopelessly outnumbered. It would all be
finished in a matter of minutes.
prepare evacuation tube, code name Lazarus, zero-zero-two-six-one."
Bruce? Please do not make me leave."
to, ALFRED. It's time for our back up plan. If· when John
gets back, he'll need your assistance. Take the prearranged equipment
that was set aside. Hurry now, there isn't much time."
the robot turned and glided away. A tube was set in the wall at
the south end of the cave. Bruce watched as ALFRED disappeared through
the large hatch, which closed behind it. With a hiss and a rush
of air, the tube disappeared. He was now alone.
Back up systems
flashed to life momentarily as an emergency broadcast transmission
streamed upwards to a long deserted communications satellite, ignored
as junk by the Peacekeepers, but put to good use by Bruce Wayne.
Data unloaded itself until a green light flashed- transmission was
explosion rattled the equipment loose around him. Before his image
faded out for good, Bruce watched the flames, the sparks and the
ceiling falling in. Still, he remained hopeful.
luck, John." A tear fell from his eye- digitally created. Darkness
following us?" Aeryn asked, checking the radar.
John gave a
quick glance at the screen. "No. The Bat Sentinels are keeping
them occupied. I have stealth mode on as well. They can't track
in her breath. "Something's happened. We're almost there, but
it looks like the ships already left, and there's fighting on the
the forward canopy, they could see yellow and orange flashes of
explosions as they came under the clouds. As the ship grew closer,
figures were clamoring and falling all around the front of the asylum.
Yellow bolts of light streamed back and forth. Dead bodies were
fighters," John said. "They must have gotten word of the
weapons transport and tried to stop them."
would have used Black Ghosts to guard that weapon, important as
it is." Aeryn added.
Ops. Those resistance fighters are being cut to pieces by them."
A lone Prowler
flew into view in front of them, unaware it was being trailed. The
fighter remained behind to deal with the resistance members and
it drained its pulse cannons, gunning down as many of the humans
on the ground as it could.
targeting system activated and locked onto the Prowlers rear. Pressing
a button on the throttle, a missile streaked into the craft, blowing
it apart and sending it crashing into the sea. The pilot's ejection
chair carried him into the shoreline alongside the asylum.
up, just in time to see a Prowler fall into the water, a trail of
flame coming out its back end. Behind it, a black craft swooped
past and pulled up to engage the Peacekeepers on the ground. A snare
net from out its front, tying down an entire Peacekeeper platoon.
hell is that?"
Her voice strained
from shouting over the noise of battle. She and Lowell remained
pinned down by enemy fire. Lowell's' shoulder suffered from a gaping
wound that she covered with a bandage from her pouch, hoping to
stem the bleeding. They had been trapped behind the sand dune for
only twenty minutes, but it felt more like a day. In that space
of time, they had watched their frontal assault fall to pieces against
the Special Ops that were guarding the ship. Far better trained
than Peacekeeper regulars, they cut down the resistance fighters
like wheat. With the arrival of more Peacekeeper reinforcements,
the operation deteriorated into a fight for survival. Half of Lowell's
team lay bleeding or dead on the platform, while Jake's team waged
a desperate battle deep in Arkham's chambers. Only the subsequent
explosions of rocket- propelled grenades reminded her the fight
Then the mystery
ship appeared, spurring on her hope. Whoever he was, he was mopping
up the Peacekeeper's elite.
going on?" Lowell said, as he began to stir.
got help. Whoever he is, he's kicking serious ass."
female with the uniform of a hunter jumped down first and proceeded
to take down several guards. She was spectacular enough with her
speed- but it was the man who followed that caught her attention.
He was large and powerful, cloaked in black and wearing a cape.
The symbol of a bat against an oval, yellow field was emblazoned
on his chest. Her eyes widened, she had seen pictures of him before.
up. "What did you say?"
were true, Lowell! It's him! It's Batman!"
onto the deck and joined the bloody fray. With Aeryn at his back,
he took down the Peacekeepers to his front; gauntlet bursts from
one hand, batarangs and throwing stars from the other. The remaining
Peacekeepers, now routed, beat a hasty retreat into the asylum,
while the remaining resistance fighters regrouped and chased them
up to John with Lowell limping alongside her; still not believing
her eyes. "Thank God you came, Batman. I still can't believe
it's really you."
he wanted to hide any surprise he felt from seeing her. He never
imagined her to be a fighter, but here she was and part of him was
pleased all the same. "Where is the Peacekeeper transport,
departed. No doubt heading for the Zelbinion. They're going
to test their wormhole weapon up there."
she said regretfully. "But I'll bet the Commissioner does.
He's holed up in the Asylum. Jake's team has been fighting him from
room to room in there." She pointed to the walls of Arkham,
now a cauldron on its insides.
friend some medical assistance and find cover, Barbara. The Huntress
and I need to finish this before any more lives are lost."
you. We have a medic here who- Hey! How did you know my name?"
no answer as he ran towards the entrance. An explosion that rocked
the top of the building took his full attention.
his pulse pistol down on the windowsill and leaned against the thick
glass. He could see the fighting in Arkham's levels from the warden's
office where he now stood. His forces were losing ground fast, and
he was tired.
Earth had ceased
being his dream assignment. Unlike other officers, who dreaded the
distance and the culture shock, Crais looked forward to being stationed
on the blue planet. The green forests and rolling fields reminded
him of his boyhood home, a home he was taken from when he was too
young by Peacekeeper recruiters. Fortunate was the officer who could
get an assignment on a world like Earth, and he relished the opportunity-
or he once did.
all he saw was death. For the past cycle it dominated his job. There
was supposed to be law and order on this world, which was the principle
reason the Peacekeepers were created to begin with. He carried on
his job, and yet so many humans and Peacekeepers still lay dead-
and for what? For the ability to continue harvesting the ore, lumber
and fossil fuels of the planet until it was barren? Earth was a
paradise compared to some worlds; it deserved much better treatment,
as did its people. To say it was mere coincidence that humans resembled
Sebaceans was preposterous and insulting, even to an unschooled
child. On this planet, the Peacekeepers made war with their brothers
Now, he longed
to throw down his weapon and walk away. A quiet life on a farm would
be preferable, like the one he lived on with his family. But they
were gone, dead and buried for many cycles. Only his brother Tauvo,
assigned to a Gammak base, remained as his last trace of family.
What would he think if he were here?
to see a soldier in a dirty uniform with blood caked on the side
of his face and his eyes wide with fear. "Sir, the humans have
secured the platform. They're freeing many of the prisoners in the
cells below and they've quickly outnumbered us!"
rocked the whole floor, knocking them off balance. Two more soldiers,
both female, entered the room as he got back up. "Sir, the
humans have secured the bottom level. The Batman is helping them,
and that traitor huntress!"
his displeasure at the news. "All right, I want a box formation
in the corridor. You will lay down suppressing fire to-"
A massive second
explosion cut him off abruptly. All he sensed was a blinding flash,
a crash of thunder and the floor disappeared right out from underneath
him. The other three soldiers vanished in the smoke. He felt himself
flying free through the air. The human gunners had targeted the
walls around him, but used too much explosive. The entire corner
of the building came loose, and he began plummeting to the ground
with the decaying steel and masonry falling with him.
was death, he thought to himself. It was not a violent abrupt
emotion, as he once believed, but a more peaceful transition. He
closed his eyes and waited for the end.
It never came.
He felt himself jolted from freefall and carried gently towards
the ground. His hands and knees slapped against solid rock once
again. Looking up, he saw the Batman looking down on him. The huntress
Aeryn Sun walked up to his side with him.
Crais said, clearing his throat. It was all he could think of to
looked sternly at Crais through his black cowl. "My war is
against tyranny, not people. We don't have to be enemies. Remember
He looked at
the human for a moment, and nodded, understanding. Not enemies.
us," Aeryn said. "Where are they taking the wormhole device?"
to open his mouth, then paused. It would be treason to do what he
was about to. But the man had spared his life. He had his honor,
after all. Besides, even he knew an epiphany when it grabbed him
from mid air.
you my life until I can repay my debt to you, that is my word as
a Peacekeeper. The wormhole device is being delivered on the Zelbinion
to Scorpius himself, on an isolated Gammak base. It's anchored on
the surface of the planet Mars, in the region that you call Cydonia.
I can tell you no more."
nodded slightly, then turned and ran towards his ship. Nothing further
the pair quickly climb into the hovering black craft and accelerate
out over the water and above the clouds. Peace settled over the
area again. The humans were evacuating the building with the freed
prisoners and their wounded comrades. The wail of sirens in the
distance meant Peacekeeper reinforcements were arriving. The remaining
guards and soldiers scrambled to secure the area. He stood there,
oblivious to all of it. He watched the ocean waves crash against
the shore- the foam covered the rocks then receded back into the
water. He had forgotten how calming the sea could be for him.
fortune," He said.
readings on the Batscapes console registered above the stratosphere.
The sound of its jets began to die down, replaced by the thrust
of the hetch drive. Blue skies faded, replaced by the expansive
blackness of space. Stars appeared overhead. They could feel the
release of gravity as the Batscape climbed into low orbit.
I haven't asked this yet," Aeryn said. "But, can this
craft actually fly the distance to Mars?"
straight ahead, not looking at her. "Yes, but not fast enough,
we wouldn't make it in time. So we're going to hitch a ride with
someone who can."
the scanner for any potential transports we can use. There should
be several in orbit right now, for any supply trips that are on
a regular schedule."
a knob on the scanners tracking screen. The computer's software
could access information on all ships in orbit and their crew compliments.
"At least the Zelbinion isn't in orbit at the moment.
But we're going to need something fast if we want to catch a command
and then smiled at her finding. "I have it!"
There's a leviathan
prison ship just ahead of us on the evening side. It has a skeleton
crew at the moment. It's the Moya."
To be continued·
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