The Adventures of Richard Space, Chapter 5

2021.09.24 05:43 Chemslayer The Adventures of Richard Space, Chapter 5

Soda stepped out of the corridor and into Paradise.
All around him were groves upon groves of exotic trees, bearing fruits of every color. The air hung with the sticky-sweet aroma of nectar, and the lights overhead transformed the misty air into a glistening show. Soda, normally the professional on missions, took in the sights and the smells. It reminded him of home.
"Hurry up Sodie, you're going to miss it!"
Soda ran as fast as he could, following his friend's call. Bare feet splashed through the mud that made up these back alleys as he pushed with all his stamina. Omari was getting further ahead, his black sneakers leaving zig-zag prints behind him. He'd have cool shoes one day, and more, he knew it.
He clambered up the fence to sit beside his friend. Over the gathered crowd of spectators and the line of royal guard he could see it: the spaceship!
He could see the spacemen, in their cool soldier outfits and big guns. They looked so tough, and like they could handle anything!
"When I grow up, I'm going to be just like them!" he said, pointing out the soldiers to his friend. "Then I'll always have a cool ship and friends to go on adventures with!"
"Well my Dad says that's a dumb idea," retorted Omari, "and super dangerous. When I'm big I'm going to be a merchant just like him!"
"Sister Avania thinks I can do it..." Soda whispered. Sometimes even he had his doubts, and as a poor child on a backwater logging world his chances were slim. But Sister Avania was his favorite, and she would always tell him stories of her travels back when she was a cool space lady.
After the ship's crew left for the town, Soda and Omari parted ways, the latter to his home and Soda to the shelter to tell Avania all about the cool things he saw.
And here he was, thousands of light years away, in a derelict station still teeming with secrets. He took point with Honeybun, his captain Richard close behind. A quick sweep of the perimeter didn't reveal anything that looked hostile, but he knew better than anyone what kind of terrors can lurk in the jungle.
"Alright teams, break into your formations," Richard commanded over the comms. "Intel indicated that there should be several fruit specimens in this chamber that certain buyers would pay top dollar for. And as always, keep an eye out for anything else that looks shiny.
"I can - feel something here," Code remarked, "stay cautious brothers and sisters."
Soda advanced carefully, keeping his eyes on the trees and spaces between. Cool air blew past in ripples of sound, and a constant dripping could be heard. He stepped carefully around a plant that looked like it had teeth.
"Found something boss." Fordair clipped. "These kinda boxes normally have some kinda goodies in them. Give me a minute and watch my port will ya?"
Soda, Honeybun, and Richard took positions while Fordair got to work. His set of picks clinked as he worked through the lock.
"Aah!" Fordair yelled, pulling his hand back. A cobalt drop formed at the end of one of his fingers, and a small insect flared territorially at him. Fordair wiped his trousers with his injured hand and crushed the insect with his other. The threat eliminated, he went back to his work. Until something much bigger fell on Honeybun.
"CONTACT, ENGAGING". Honeybun wrestled with the attacker, the same insectoid form but the size of a large dog. Soda trained his weapon, but couldn't get a clear shot. Honeybun struggled to pivot her arms to reach the bug, which had established itself on her back and was gnawing at her collar with arm-sized mandibles. Richard lept towards the melee, and with a slash of his power-machete cut the right legs off the beast, causing it to fall to the ground to be stomped on by Honeybun's robotic boot.
A beat of silence passed as each person processed what had just happened, followed by a flurry of action.
"Team 2, report, we've just had contact with a big-ass spacebug!" Richard shouted into the comms. Soda, Honeybun, and the drone took up positions, but trying to keep everything covered seemed impossible against an enemy that fell from the trees.
"Code here," crackled over the comm, "so far all is empt-"
Sounds of a struggle followed, and gunshots could be heard across the space.
"We have made contact with the insectoids." Code replied, stressing the last syllable into a defiant hiss underscored by the sound of her hand-flamer. "Ji'hen and the drone are both injured, but we are holding them at bay for now."
Richard spoke next. "Roger that Sister, make your way to the nearest exit for immediate evac, I didn't sign up for no bugs!"
Soda heard rustling in a nearby bush and opened fire. A bug landed at his feet, shot through the head mid-flight. But he had no time to appreciate his near-death experience; the now flattened bush revealed at least half a dozen more, blocking the path back to the ship and advancing.
Richard made a snap decision. "All right fellas, new plan. Fallback and let's find us another way outta here. Bang, you stay back and keep 'em busy."
The drone squealed its understanding, and levied it's bio-rifle at the horde. Wet bursts of acid caused a few of the smaller bugs to stumble, but the horde continued to close the distance. Honeybun and the rest of the crew added their fire to the salvo, while Fordair consulted his downloaded maps to find another route.
Despite their best efforts, Soda knew the bugs would be on them before they could make any kind of escape; there were simply too many to gun down. He took a chance to check his surroundings for anything helpful, when his eyes settled on a large pipe crossing the ceiling of the chamber.
"Honeybun, target that pipe!" Soda commanded. Her armor pitted and scarred by acidic bile, Honeybun had some trouble lifting her arms high enough, but managed to unload half a clip into the pipe. A few leaking holes were joined by widening cracks, and finally the pipe burst into a high-pressure waterfall, landing directly on the incoming horde and sweeping them off their feet.
"Yeah! Clean 'em up like the mess hall after Taco Night!" Richard exclaimed. He gave Soda a hearty slap on the shoulder, and Soda returned the gesture.
"If you sailors are done, I've found us an exit." Fordair informed them. "Should be a reinforced bulkhead back this way a bit, and we should hurry, I don't think we can bail fast enough for this." he said, gesturing at the water that was already ankle-deep and rising.
The team gathered themselves and began a retreat through the rising waters towards the bulkhead. The bugs had regrouped and were continuing to chase, but the water slowed them enough for the crew to gain distance. Bang found himself a perch on top of a tree and helped as he could, aiming for the bugs that were closest.
There was a sudden sound of metal shearing, and figures emerged from the floor itself.. Beyond the swarm of smaller bugs, two huge creatures had joined the chase. Each had claws big enough to slice a man in half, and legs long enough to be hardly slowed by the chest-deep waters.
"Fordair, we need that bulkhead opened now!" Richard yelled, aiming for the two new contenders. Bullets hit their mark on the beasts, but glanced off armor-hard chitin without even phasing them.
"Well maybe if you let me get the good tools instead of these salty knuckles I could work faster!" Fordair retorted. Soda thought to himself that whoever installed a lock on an emergency exit wasn't the brightest star in the sky.
As the two warrior beasts passed Bang's tree hideout it valiantly leaped on the smaller of the two, and was unceremoniously torn in half without even slowing the creature down.
The emergency bulkhead finally released with a whine of pressurised air, and already water was beginning to reach its raised floor. Fordair helped Honeybun's now corroded servos up the ladder while Richard and Soda kept the faster of the small bugs at bay.
Richard climbed up next, and lowered his hand to help raise Soda in his heavier armor. The rising water had bought precious time, but the larger bugs were no more than a few seconds away, wading through the water with violent intent.
Soda reached the last rung... and jerked to a halt.
He looked down and saw his damaged knee plate was caught on the ladder, and from the look of it wouldn't pull loose. The ladder itself was solid industrial grade. He would need the metal cutter, and some time to... but there was no time. He could hear the chittering and scraping of chitin behind him, every bedtime monster coming to life. But then he looked up, his hand and the captains still locked together, and saw something even more powerful.
He saw friends. His friends. Everything he had wanted, the armor, the adventures, and most importantly the people to share them with. Despite the horrors closing down on him, he smiled.
He gripped Richard's arm firm, one last time. "Go!" he urged.
"No way Major, we're not leaving without you!" Richard replied, and already the rest of the battered crew was forming a firing line, one that Soda knew wouldn't last two seconds against what was coming.
"I said GO!"
Soda smashed his fist onto the door panel's emergency lock switch, and the bulkhead slammed shut in front of him. He turned, the bugs less than a dozen feet away.
He breathed in the sweet air one last time, the smell of home, and lifted his rifle.
Dick sat with his back to the wall. Fordair was busy fixing up Honeybun's damage, and radio contact confirmed team 2 had made it out with no casualties. He should be strong, be the leader his crew needed, but that could come later. For a few minutes, he had to let himself reflect. Being an independent crew is dangerous work at the best of times; he'd lost good people before, and would again. But that didn't make it easier, and he would take each one with him for the rest of his life. He pulled up Soda's dossier to find next of kin, but there were none, only an address for a "Forest's Hope Community Shelter". Well, he'd make sure to pass on his condolences to them; it was the least he could do for a fallen brother and friend.
But first, he had to get himself and the rest of his crew off this station. He stood up, squared his shoulders, and took command. "Team 2, report."
"Ji'hen here," the technician replied, "direct access to our ship has been compromised, but I have found an alternate route. Sending directions to your terminal now for rendezvous."
Dick downloaded the plans, gathered his remaining pair of crew, and headed in the direction he was sent. Before he turned the corner he allowed himself one last look backwards, and gave a quick salute to the fallen. He would get everyone out, to make sure his sacrifice was not in vain.
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2021.09.24 05:43 Odd-Butterscotch-480 Does anyone here help block toonmate from being killed?

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2021.09.24 05:43 webNoob13 When I flutter run, am I running the git branch?

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2021.09.24 05:43 Squashanator [25M] - Possible Rabies Concern

25, Male, 6' 2", 151 lbs, White, 3 days ago.
On Monday night I was running and went through a low underpass (road dips down below train tracks). It had rained that day, and there are a few gaps where water can seep through the underpass. Unfortunately, a drop of water landed DIRECTLY in my eye and some may have gotten in my mouth. Initially I just thought this was really gross, but realized later that I didn't know what was in those gaps. I went back a couple hours later and looked up into the cracks, and couldn't see anything there besides dirt, rebar, and concrete. These cracks are about 1-2 inches wide and about 3-4 feet deep (into the ceiling) as far as I can tell. I'm concerned that there could have potentially been bats up there previously, and fluid from there dropped in my eye. Everyone I talk to seems to think getting rabies PEP would be ridiculous, but I can't stop thinking about it.
I've read that people who are exposed to saliva through their mucous membranes are advised to get PEP.
What are your thoughts?
I have OCD and anxiety and I know those conditions are contributing to my concern, but do not necessarily invalidate it.
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2021.09.24 05:43 Coham2005 Just dropped below 100 subscribers. If you would like to be the 2nd 100th subscriber the link to my channel is in the comments.

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