The Last Angel: The Hungry Stars, Chapter 30

My patrons keep voting for it, so the hits just keep coming. More Hungry Stars, with the situation on and above Nibiru taking a turn for the worse (that pun will hit you shortly). Three cruisers are prepared to shoot Lakhesis out of the sky and only a couple dozen SWAT officers stand between our characters and their small chance at freedom.

Easy, right? Right.

Of course, their ride home is about to be engaged and their ride to their ride home is likewise about to suffer some calamities. Can you put a boot on an interplanetary shuttle? Tenshi is about find out.

For the full story, check out the links above and I hope you enjoy!


The first unit on-site was Abel Squad, one of the starport’s garrison units. Sergeant Osburn Cornell led them. He’d served for nearly two decades, fighting in the last major defence of League holdings from separate attacks, before they’d been broken into scavenging tribes that would eventually be harvested. Though he wasn’t sure what was going on, he didn’t need to to do his duty. Something had happened with the Confeds. It was always the Confeds. From the first time they’d set their eyes on Lalande 21185, to exiling dissenters to their treachery on Nibiru. Two thousand years had passed and they still couldn’t be trusted.

Other response teams were scrambling; they were only a minute or so behind Abel Squad. Osburn and his people arrived at the hangar, finding the Confederate shuttle right where it had been for the last week. It was exactly as Cornell remembered: a sleek, delta-winged raptor of dark silver, red banding and interesting nose art. At first glance, it looked as harmless and quiescent as any of the League’s own craft, but his job wasn’t to accept first glances. Something wasn’t right. He could feel it. Within moments, his intuition was proven correct.

The starboard door, just behind the cockpit and ahead of the wing, was open. Other than that, nothing was out of place. Just that little thing, right?

Cornell contacted JPMS Control as he directed his squad to fan out and search the hangar. “On site,” he reported. “When did Tenshi’s doors open?”

There was a brief pause. “Negative, Abel. All security feeds show the shuttle’s still locked up.”

“Access me,” he told Control. It didn’t hurt when they linked in, seeing what he saw. He felt an echo of the officer’s surprise and consternation as Control saw the shuttle’s open door. The sensation wasn’T disconcerting.

“Running a diagnostic on security systems now,” Control replied as they withdrew. The base’s custodian – a military Chinvat Observer known as JoPat – hadn’t picked up any hostile incursions, but something had corrupted the feeds in Tenshi’s bay. “Secure the vessel and sweep the area,” Cornell was told. “Picket Squad will be there to assist momentarily.”

“Roger that,” the sergeant nodded. His team deployed several small drones to check the area for signs of intruders. He sent four men to aid in the search while the remaining six, himself included, circled the Confederate shuttle. Other than the open door, there was no sign of life. Thermal readings showed that Tenshi was slightly warmer than before, but a quick check with Control confirmed Cornell’s suspicion that, as with the door, the systems monitoring the shuttle had been spoofed. Something had gotten into the starport’s network and it was covering up whatever had happened.

Control was looking into it on their end, which left Cornell and his people to do what they could from here. Beyond Tenshi’sdoor, low-level orange floor lights glimmered, but they provided little illumination. Infrared vision couldn’t see past the bulkheads. The sergeant pursed his lips. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear this was some kind of invitation. “Anything?”

“Nothing so far,” his search teams reported. No signs of life, but shuttles didn’t open their doors like a magician’s sleight of hand. Someone or something had been here.


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