CHRIS FOXX © Chris Yost
MAX BLACK RABBIT © Malcom Earl -- NEXXUS © James Robinson
MIKE the raccoon © Me
The characters are mine but the people are real cool huh
MIKE (the raccoon) ERNST did the ship designs from my sketches
and many brainstorming sessions thanks dude

this is one picture though not complete
gives an idea as to the size of the starcutter
the main setting of the book


i have another picture but you have to read down to that point of the story fair looking at it early now 8-)

After docking with the station worlds freedom he watched his crew walk off to enjoy the much needed rest they all sorely had to have, fleet dictates hell fleet regulations have saved numerous crews but of my crew only a couple actually need the rest.
seeing his reflection in the screen "and im one of them "
he smiled as william walked off last as usual he taped his com set on an ear :capt'n you coming i was gona put the rangers systems on repair mode : he smiled as bill had said it as a need and the urging to get out of the ship while it systems did there scans and tests. tapping his
"i will shortly cyber, i need to do some reports i'll put her to bed for you"
the big dragon grinned and saluted to the scanner "you be careful drake i need my engineer in one piece all right" :sir:
he smiled as the dragon walked away then remembered how much cyberhorn the ships dragon
william the dragon had lost in his life. this ship had become his home and life
"now if i can just keep us all out of the poor house by finding some work for us after this week off"
he awoke to his com beeping from an outside call
"hello this is captain Nexxus who is this ?"
"you don't know me captain but i know you and know you need funds come to the hotel star break at 10
and you wont be disappointed "
"hold on now who n the hell are you"
"someone who will put your crew and you permanently out of work if you don't arrive at ten... you might want to leave now capt'n Nexxus"
he looked up at the clock and jumped free of his chair wings flying open he had ten minutes to get there he literally flew out of the ship his equine legs kicking sparks as they hit the floor hands pushing people of all kinds out of the way he burst out into the central core and took to his wings a blatant violation but he didn't have time for much else he'd heard voices like that one before and if he had what he thought he had...
would be rotting in dry dock till time ended, he landed on the decking outside the hotel with a clop of hooves and a curl of steam rising out of his nostrils a smile came from a ferret dressed in a suit
"captain Nexxus this way please "
he snorted and followed inside the hotels lobby where more were in there black suits clearly federals
"you feds always wear black ?"
"why yes captain.. saves time we don't have to dress for ...funerals" grinning with all his teeth
"right this way, supervisor Simms is expecting you "
i'll just be he is "yes i would hope so "
three in the elevator to the third floor ten more along the hall to the room Nexxus just knew this was his last day here in life. the ferret opened the door "sir Nexxus is here " "good send him in " he gestured
walking in he was greeted by three males and two more guards
"leave" and the guards departed at the otters command
"captain Nexxus excellent timing... a record for crossing the station id believe please have a seat"
"I'll stand, now what is this"
he noted the big bear was fleet.. whats going on here fleet and the feds working together? and he's a commander i'm really getting a bad taste on this one
" a ..proposition.. something we'd like you to do for us "
"fleet has it's own ships.. let them do it"
" we'd like to captain but " he stopped at the motion of the otter
"what the commander is about to say captain is that they don't have any ship like yours
or a crew like yours "
Nexxus knew then " yeah like mine ..expendable families mates close friends all clean and simple if we die doing your dirty work no one for the federals or fleet to compensate and less to explain anything to ..oh  i i've heard this one before who rescued the miners on IO?? when fleet beat a retreat ? me and my crew did.. i lost a good crewman and a friend that day least his sister got compensation"
"captain "
"NO dam you we just got in from nine months of extended hyper space we by fleet regs "
" captain if you don't wish to listen i will press this one button and the ranger will be impounded and your crew all taken into custody for smuggling and drug running..." Nexxus calmed and wished bill was here he'd handed these idiots there heads already he had to think of the ranger and his crew bill had nothing they could use on him not anymore at least
"now then will you sit down captain... and i'll tell you what the mission is "
"I'll do this ..' mission ' whatever it is but i want to be free of you "
"you bargain with little captain..." "but i have one of the most dangerous crews if they find out what your threatening to do me and there ship so i do have one bargaining chip and a dam volatile one at that.. now do you agree to MY terms after this you never darken our lives again and were free to move base to some other world with no interference from fleet or the federal union "
the fourth person in the room decided to stand and looked at them both
then to the commander
"agree to his terms supervisor"
"WHAT!?! YOU HAVE TO BE..." the thin antelope just glared
"agree to his terms... now"
Nexxus was stunned as the supervisor nodded humbled and promptly had a contract printed
" commander please provide captain Nexxus with all the pertinent details, captain rest assured all of your past ..incidents will be deleted from all systems upon the completion of this mission. all your seized funds and a sizable reward will be awarded to your crew for this invaluable service to both fleet and the union please look over the details if you have any questions just ask"
he looked at the disk slid across the desks mirror polish to him by the commander he eyed
them all and slipped it into his arm band a holographic file list came up the tittle was what had his attention
holding his thoughts as he looked through the details and was amazed ..then stunned
looking up at them from the hologram
"what in gods name were you thinking ?"
"in what way captain?"
"this is all some kind of sick joke isn't it ...i mean the starcutter the first of the pegasus class star ships lost on her shakedown cruse.. reported to have hit a rouge moonlit between neptune and uranus all crew and cargo lost how could you have these pictures ??"
"we have more than that captain "
clicking a button on his arm band an audio file started playing
" mars flight control to unidentified ship you are in a restricted area proceed on a 119
and prepare to be boarded "
"corporal? status?"
"she just appeared in restricted area 004 sir and isn't responding to hails"
" 004?? that's a federal area "
" yes sir.. hold on i've got something coming in ..weak but "
static crackled hissed a whine made them wince
" fleet control if you receive this FOR GODS SAKE LET HER DIE !!!
faint sounds of metal tearing broken by static and a hissing deep and loud
" oh god no she's found me ...FLEET IF YOU COPY... EVERYONE... no get back !!! oh please no..."
the roar that came out made Nexxus stand up ready to get away
then the sounds of the captain screams and the alarms of an explosive decompression as the sound went dead
" now captain you understand how we have long range pictures of the starcutter falling into the asteroid belt on a direct course with one of the biggest, she disappeared a fifty years ago while testing the hyper space drivers that are common place today and we had a single message from her as she activated them "
" what was it? "
" the captain you just heard ..saying they had a alien attack in progress and his crew was in toe to toe combat with them and the drivers were in the red so he had to activate or detonate the ship "
" that's why that area is off limits expected her to return dident you "
" since she never arrived in the Cyrus system it was a logical precaution "
"and so you want me and my crew to do what?"
"rescue the starcutter and her crew of course.."
"and this alien creature?"
the commander smiled "fleet will have a unit of its best hunters on site with you captain "
"i feel safer already... listen "
"captain we have agreed to your terms and you have accepted the mission.. your ship is cleared to launch at any time you have all priority over all shipping and fleet ships for the outbound lanes ...
the starcutter has thirteen days till she impacts on the asteroid and sends numerous metric tons of debris into the shipping lanes and mars orbital plane where will get very ugly for the people who wont know it's coming ..because the starcutter isn't really there to do this ..if you get the drift captain?"
he sighed "all to well... what is your place in all this?"
" i helped to design her "


Slumping into his chair Nexxus looked out the front window of the ranger and felt a cold chill roll down his spine and out his tail which swished reflexively. dam them they knew i couldn't say no but at least the lope whatever his name may be dident insist on coming along.. all i needed was some designer getting all fatherly over his ship if we had to destroy her to save all the people on mars, and my ship, you wouldn't survive being that close to that much debris ..patting the armrest he sighed and could have swore so did the ship..
shaking his head and laughing it off he contacted the dock and started to get the reactants needed for the reactors loaded then waited knowing his crew needed at least a few hours to be alive and with others outside the ship. reaching out he called his home and smiled as his mate sleepy eyed answered  "lo?" "lo your self .." she smiled and she promptly took away any notice of time as it passed for him
Finally he had to do the call knowing it'd interrupt the thirty crew he had in the middle of regaining there lives
hitting the general recall even his com shrilled then a pulsating tone rang through finally a silent open line
he sighed and nodded that'd get them heading back
and he knew his department heads would be calling any second ...

: on the way captain im... on the way damit , foxx out! :


Chris foxx was off the ship and was making a tail fur stripping speed to his love's quarters and he had the ring just picked up from the jeweler
a ring to finally make the most beautiful skunkett in the world his forever!
he smiled as she opened the door her eyes went wide there blues exploding with delight
"well hello sabMURPPFFH!!" leaping into his arms she silenced his attempts at a proposal
insisting he had been away far to long without a single word but all actions
he soon forgot the ring entirely....
she smiled as he woke slowly shed found the ring and was laying beside him the silent smile he wore
betrayed his thoughts as his eyes opened and she held her hand out to him the ring glowing from her finger
" i think you forgot something last night "
he laughed
" who wouldn't with a greeting like that?!? "
"true ..but now you can do it properly "
" well it's only proper " " i think it's traditional " " in a few places "
they laughed and rolled in bed for a moment
he removed the ring from her finger and slipped to the floor as she sat up he knelt and looked up into her
eyes the deep blues and her mussed hair made it all perfect
" um ..."
" forget the words? "
" no..will you mar.."
the recall tone sounded and his com on the floor shrilled loudly
"NO dammit not now " he looked at her and she smiled gripping his hands around the ring


" someone needs you...i can wait i'll be here never fear "
" will you marry me ? "
" yes and without a single reservation ...but one ...
i want you here after you give me the ring so you keep it for now, give it to me when you get back"
" but ..." " it will make you hurry back to me "
she held the comm. out ot him
he tapped the side
" on the way captain im... on the way dammit , foxx out! "
looking deep into her eyes
" I love you what did i do right to deserve you? "
"you'll remember it on the way back " kissing him her tail swished


Nexxus sighed at chris's tone must have finally saved up enough to buy the ring

: on the way cap'n what's happened? :

"more than i can explain via com cyber just get back here quick we have to move"

: on the way now.. cyberhorn out :

Bill smiled looking into the monitor then saluted to Nexxus
he turned and walked down the hall to a tramway, max and several others waved as it whisked them away to far parts of the station he felt his carbon fiber collar the chips imbedded in it prevented him from using anything like the trams he felt his blood heat from the thoughts ...Nexxus had done him a favor..but not one he wanted
he would have rather died
Making his way to the central core of the station he walked to the lower levels where more dragons preferred to shop in the company of those like themselves ..his collar left him outcast even from these
it marked him as a slave
technically forced indenturement, service to pay a debt. Nexxus owned him though Nexxus never spoke of it since the first day when he laid out the rules of the ship
he would have rather died there was only waiting and working to pay off the debt to Nexxus who was very generous to him with his pay rate even padding the rate above the federal limits so it could be paid off quicker..only revenge could make the wait bearable
He walked down the side of a shop into it's rear storage area passing a couple dragons coming out
walking into a hidden shop an elder dragon with many years of service to fleet stopped him
" it's ok hector it's just william come to do business let him pass "
"yesss sssurrr"
Bill bowed to the elder
and walked over to the counter a werewolf was sitting up on a raised platform so he could be at a dragons eye height
" so william what is it this time? moon gems ? water crystals ?"
bill smiled "remember what you assked me to look out for osskar?"
" magnetic radiation finally getting to you bill?"
he sighed  "a little when im tired "
the wolf then smiled "you found one?"
he brought his pack around the elder put his hand on bills
"it's ok hector..bill here is a excellent customer he wouldn't hurt me..
why don't you go get me a cup of coffee all right"
he nodded and walked into the back of the shop
"he'ss dying oskar" "i know but where else does an old collar have to go?"
bill nodded sadly and pulled out a large package the wolf pulled it away
and with trembling hands ripped the cover open to reveal a stone reddish in color but
patterned with blacks and dark browns
he looked slowly up at bill then back at the fossil
" aquatic fossil from the north sea of mars of excellent quality i would ssay "
he nodded slowly " ohhh yes absolutely "
" do you have them? as promised? "
"oh OH yes of course i do, here just a moment "
he went to walk away with the stone but bill's tail tip pushed it back to the counter the wolf smiled and gestured hands wide away from the stone. he came back with hector right behind who set a large bag on the counter next to the stone "as promised ten pounds of fire water crystals...highly valuable in there own right"
"not as much as a perfect fossil from mars "
"very true could have sold this and made a fortune "
" you must have been around magnetic radiation osskar..colars cant have credits..or money..."
he smiled embarasedly  "sorry bill i forgot " "ha!"
he took a hand full out of the bag and smiled as they glowed from the movement of the liquid inside
"here tell the liquid inside is an have your eye ona dragoness?"
"they are and no ..there for a friend " " lucky friend "
bill slipped the gems into his pack and slipped out another package to oskars surprise
"now osskar this is far more valuable than that one this one makes a link from mars to earth..interested??"
he smiled "of course!!"
bill grinned evilly eyes narrowing the wolfs hackles rose at this
"i want an ident number "
oskar laughed reflexively and shook his head "had me worried there "
"trouble iss oskar i want someone elsess..i want his number " " ohh now bill that's "
bill unwrapped the stone and held it out for him to see "oh my god"
the wolfs eyes were wide and he reached out to touch it bill slid it a away back into it's wrapping
"i want his number osskar i want the doctor who because he believed his oath dident cover dragonss let my mother die! after monthss of expensive tesstss and postponing treatment because he had meetings and it would have interfered with his vacation schedule
let her get so ill that by the time we got her to another was to late.........."
the wolf saw the fire held in check inside the dragon knowing now how bill had become a collared dragon
"difficult ..maybe impossible..."
" i can understand that osskar, if not then we'll talk about somthin else but i want him to pay with his life
to lose control of it, to know someone else has his life on a string have all hope lost "
"I'll see what i can get bill"
bill grinned showing all his teeth
"then we'll both be happy ill leave this with a friend "


soon enough he was at the doorway for the dome that covered half of the stations sun ward side he walked in and
saw the young lady whom he'd got most of the gems for, a badger her legs crippled as a child a cut across her eyes had robbed her of sight so now she used her skills for plants in perpetual darkness in a wheelchair
she stuck her finger on a rose thorn and cursed  he slipped over silent as a hunters shadow
she sniffed and smiled "bill you silly drake you know better "
she hugged him as he bent down to her
"good to have you back...the plants have missed you "
he took her finger in his gently rubbing the wound
"every rosse hass a thorn amy"
"yes i know..that tingles took a heavy dose again dident you?"
he smiled looking at her healed wound "yes number three reactors containment had a hiccup"
"it's not fair that dragons are put into such risks "
"we are the only ones that are able to ssurvive the magnetic fields inside the engine rooms amy
we only get hurt when it hits uss as hard radiation"
"still it's not fair " "i brought you a gift..amy to make you happy "
"bill what did i tell you about doing that"
he took out a hand full of gems and put them into her hands
"there warm..what?"
"antal'an fire water crystals "
her eyes though blinded showed her surprise, fingers sought out a single gem bill he helped by putting one into her fingers
"for you to use with the right male for your happiness "
"i ...couldn't..." "you could, you have one in mind i will bet "
"yes ..he's very nice to me ...lost his mate in an accident.."
"can you heal the wound he has ..if he would open his heart? you must be absolutely sure of this"
she thought and rolled the gem in her fingers "yes"
bill took another and popped a small hole in the top with a claw the fragrance was wonderful but inert until it combined with her own sent then it would be irresistible to any male or any male to a female if he used it as he planed to
bill looked as a male badger walked in and was looking around
"he is coming bill ..i know his footsteps he's right on time"
he dipped his claw into the hole and smiled
"i must hold my breath or i will be the one who you catch"
she smiled "that wouldn't be so bad..would it?"
he sighed "for you yess, a dragon must mate with only another dragon ..or a few of the feline typess...were simply to passionate about it "
he gently slid his claw along her jaw the liquid instantly disappearing into her furr
she smiled sensually and gripped his finger her cheeks flushed and she relaxed
he applied it to her ears and then along her cleavage with all the gentleness he could
then opening her hands he let the last of it drip into the palms

"now goto him amy hold his hands let him warm you heal the wounds"
she smiled and rolled away to call out his name
bill watched as the fragrance touched those parts of the mind that love controlled and he smiled
he watched as they disappeared into the lush plants
 looking at the empty crystal and sighed as he made his way to the running stream and relaxed his wings onto the grass and fell asleep sitting looking out at the earth
 he awoke to laughter and saw amy with her new mate tending to the roses she'd been working on
the recall sounded loudly into his ear


he sighed and stood up tapping his com

" on the way cap'n what's happened? "

he watched as he kissed amy. his hand caressing her back

: more than i can explain via com cyber just get back here quick we have to move :

" on the way now.. cyberhorn out "

picking up his bag he started walking leaving the package
under a favorite rock with a dragon flying into the sun carved onto it


now bill is wondering  he knows fleet regs better than i do
now if I know my crew either my doctor or security chief will be

: max here cap what's gone to crud ?:

" allot just get back here asap we have priority clearance "

: on the way ...all security units better be on ready line for launch when i get there!
move people! max out! :

"ok that's my security and rescue crews on the way "
listening to them all call in to max..

: Richards here captain im on the way having the moon shuttle turning round now :
"what's your ETA?"
: approximately ten minutes :
" too long rich you have to hurry "
: bill here, capt'n it'll take twenty for the reactors and computers to come back online and be ready for launch even if I kick her hard over in a cold start she dident have a chance to run through the diagnostics did she :
" no she dident ...ok richard move your tail "

: bill stay out of the com line people are trying to check in :

Nexxus heard a snort that was bills

" just move it people this one is a class A tail breaker and it's gona be bad ....real bad "


max saw the dragon as the tram whisked away he dident know much about him but what
Nexxus told him and what he'd found out from public records he was high in his rankings and was coming to the ship under a collar
a real prize for Nexxus as the ranger had needed a dragon for months as the last had died due to exposure to a toxic coolant leak in a ship they had to get the crew off of
so far bill had been quiet and like all dragons he spent nearly all his on ship time in the engines only coming out to eat like a...dragon
but max knew he was a time bomb waiting for the right moment
he'd attempted to take his own life twice while in federal holding for sale
but nothing since
" yo max what's got your com on huh? "
" the dragon..he's not right "
" you lost me "
he looked at his sergeant
" he's been really helpful to me..."
he made a face like he'd said to much
" ok how and don't play dumb now you've got both feet into this one "
" all right max ..he did some ..modifications to my rifle "
" the rifle that you won the shoot off competition with and got my hundred?! "
he nodded and sighed
" illegal mods ill bet "
he nodded again "max don't mess with him he's a good drake just really messed with by the feds "
" i know that part ..."


Max smiled as he finished his calls about his newest work a red headed female humanoid no fur except for the head and genitalia areas
she was he had to admit one of his best and would be worth quite a nice price
and she was very sexy ..
" might just keep you for my self "
his phone beeped and he relaxed back clicking the receive

" hello Max "
" well if isn't one of my wonderful former collectors and sellers "
" Max please don't be that way... people saw you get hurt and the prices went skyrocketing "
" and you decided the smart thing was to copy my stuff and make a huge profit off my name and leave me with all the pissed people oh yeah that's the way to treat a friend who helped you to get your first thousand ..ten thousand ...yeah "
reaching to cut him off
" Max i have it ..."
" have what "
" that publishers agreement you always wanted for your comic book series...your art stories choice selections of paper "
" your " " no Max i have it an orient company has a market for it and they have the paper stocks for it "
" what's your cut in this ? "
" nothing's my apology to you ..the contacts and contracts will be delivered via courier in a few hours
they'd like a sample of your art just for the office presidents
they really love your work them that would bind them honorably to the agreement "
he glanced at the reclining red head and the nude seductiveness
" ok ...but im reading over all the contracts "
"not a problem"
the recall screamed into his ear


" dammit now is not the time .."
" you have a choice Max your art is becoming the talk of the major critics
and your stories are fast becoming an underground hit "
he leaned in close to the screen
" Max now is not the time to be a hero you have to start thinking about your self not everyone else "
Max looked at him reaching up he pushed his cap back flicking an ear to the side

he smiled  " but that's who Max blackrabbit is he's a hero and an artist and if someone needs his help
then im there dude "
clicking it off

" Max here cap what's gone to crud ? "

: allot just get back here asap we have priority clearance :

" on the way ...all security units better be on ready line for launch when i get there!
move people! Max out! "

he got dressed and headed out riding the tram listening to his people check in
then the doctor and the dragon busting in on the open line

" bill stay out of the com line people are trying to check in "

he heard the snort and was about to reply

: just move it people this one is a class A tail breaker and it's gona be bad ....real bad :

he decided to hold it for later till he could have a talk with the dragon


the eyes that watched the ranger and it's crew waited till Nexxus had run from the ship to make there move
the two shadows slipped over to the open door to the prize they sought but the interior lights dimmed

* unidentified personnel will cease all attempts to enter this vessel or appropriate
terminating procedures will occur one warning will be given no other *

they backed away and looked at each other she smiled gestured to her companion and they disappeared back into the shadows
they made there way back into the ducts she turned and looked at her companion
"get the recorder we need to know what's going bud!"
"ok ok im getting it hold your tail sis"
the youth ducked into a side shaft and produced a box which he opened and offered to her
she immediately got the message and looked out at the ranger from behind the vent grate it made her grin
"someone is about to force captain Nexxus and his crew into something and it might just be our chance to not only get away from earth but also steal the prize"
"sis the ship is to well guarded"
"i know that...but if were ready ..we might just catch it right at the moment when she's not all we have to do is wait "
after Nexxus returned they listened in on the com traffic the recall sounded
"that's it now if im right the feds are involved only they and fleet can overrule regs and give her full clearance SO! now we need to get down to the shuttle docks"
"you lost me sis?"
she smiled white teeth gleaming  "the feds or fleet have forced Nexxus into re-launching the Ranger they will be sending a shuttle with her to either watch over her or help out, lets go!"
they slid down the air ducts and ran along service ways finally coming out a panel down in the shuttle docks she brushed off her coveralls checked the badges that marked her station personnel her brother rolled out a cart and they walked along as she tapped on a note pad
"only one shuttle is prepping for launch..fleet 6601..well this gets better by the minute "
"ok why "
"6601 is Mike's Romper Stompers...xeno killers"
"aliens? oh sister" she turned her tiger eyes flared wide claws wrapped around his throught
"stop your's ether this or we get collars for the rest of our lives because of you now come on "
they walked along and found the shuttle loading the mechanized battle suits a big type 9 dual leg two crew was having clearance problems with her assault cannons. huge dual chain guns mounted low
on either side of the main body
the quad rocket pods folded in close to the shoulders
the lieutenant was shouting at the pilot and co-pilot to stop as they were banging into the air lock frame
"that's mike ernst, now while their distracted "
leaving the cart behind they slipped in through a side door into storage compartment
she smiled as her brother set up the equipment
"don't worry bud this being the only shuttle leaving it has to be going out with the ranger "
"i know sis but i've got a bad feeling bout this"
they soon relaxed and hid inside the electronic barrier that would hide them from internal scans


bill was the first back to the ranger clicking his com into full mode for in ship communications
*you have returned early..dear*
"yes i know , system prep for urgent departure give me count and stats "
methodically he made his way into the ship and into a doorway marked engineer, his room
*refueling of reactants is completed--we have all clearances to depart beginning emergency launch preparations in 2 seconds*
he hid the bag of gems inside a contamination container and sealed it hiding it with all his other things stacked in piles all round the room
and rushed to the engineering section
over the door a sign read domain of the dragon think before you enter
if the engines don't do it, the dragon will
he let the door close and went to a panel
tapping buttons with both hands and flicking levers with his tail, grabbing onto levers with his wing claws
"begin main start sequence !"
*calling for power from the station...receiving...main reactor start in 5 seconds"
"captain ! main power in 15 seconds!"
"understood cyber.. bridge out"
Nexxus watched as chris ran in and so did max along with the doctor
chris was soon typing on two terminals at once to his right max was on his behind him
"cyber! the main subroutine wont let me in "
"on it" he shifted over a panel
and in a gentle voice "activate all ,system please "
*but down time is required for compiling and correlation*
"over ride this is priority A 66 confirm"
*confirmed emergency protocols A66*
the mains came on and she shifted over to internal power and gravity
"all crew main engine start in..18 minutes 18 minutes to main engine start!!"
Nexxus looked to chris
"so did you ask the big one?"
"you interrupted cap..shes wanting me home when i do it"
"understandable we each have a time when it'll come "
"all crew on board captain were ready"
"helm set in course for the asteroid belt at 139 degrees and launch when we have main engine start full drives"
they all looked at him wide eyed
"yes all power ...cant explain now but we haven't time to do any less
engineering where's the mains?! be ready i want all she has full power !"
bill looked up in the general direction of the bridge
"is he nuts?..bridge did you say FULL POWER???"
"confirmed cyber pull out the safeties every minute counts"
the dragon just shook his head and fed more power to the engines and started chilling the coils for hyper space
*warning starting power exceeding set limits by 10 %*
"confirmed system just let it go give me updated time for main start"
*main engine start now in 13 minutes*
"too long dammit !"
bill knew if it was that bad that Nexxus was risking a core shutdown to get the ship moving then he had one way to get her going
"captain tell the dock to disconnect the umbilicus and maneuver away from the dock im gona kick her into gear"
"will it work cyber? if it don't.."
"were dead in space for a month but if it's a tail buster and it's that bad then this is the only way"
they all looked at him as he nodded " do it cyberhorn the con is yours"
"all crew prepare for immediate main thrust"
he reached up and pulled the primers down locking them, whining as they charged
he bypassed the main safety sequencer and fed full reactants to the cores
then sighed and activated the still unrepaired number three reactor
"cyber were free and clear for maneuvering"
"i hear ya chris..ten seconds!"
warning lights came on all over his panels as pressures were passing the safe limits power indicators were all in the red and climbing
"hold on to your tails people"
he popped the primers and the lights dimmed as the whine ceased and magnetic fields started to form he griped the floor with his claws and kept regulating the flows there was a huge neck
whipping surge as the engines fired up
a huge bang came from back in the engines, number three
scrammed and died but he had enough stored up to keep them hot and going now but
he got dosed again with magnetic radiation he shivered as it caressed his skin under his scales
"bridge you have main enginess number three reactor iss down sscramed .."
Nexxus heard bill and sighed
"helm move us out communications get traffic on the horn and tell them we have fed clearance"


Shuttle 6601 launched right after the Ranger left her cradle the lieutenant looked over at the commander
and the two civilians one a federal the other an older antelope
"i don't like this sergeant"
"me neither sir this isn't a normal bug hunt"
"lieutenant there exterior scanners are off line up under her belly past the cargo area
i want you to grapple on there "
"but sir we can jump on our own"
"no sir!"
"the kindly do as i ordered" "sir!"
"wait till the last possible moment lieutenant ..i want them unable to stop the sequence..we made need the power where were going lieutenant"
"yes sir"

they kept in the Rangers blind spot rolled so the bellies of both ships were to each other and started to 'descend' to her belly
Nexxus watched as they maneuvered for the traffic lane freighters and shuttles of all types clearing away a path
"cyber aft belly scanners are off-line"
*aft scanners are damaged require dry-dock time for repairs*
chris blinked and smiled "hello system, bill did tell Nexxus about them dident he?"
*confirmed  memo/message sent fifteen standard days ago*
"ok where's bill?"
"im just getting ssick dosed again"
he grimaced at the pain in bill's voice
he looked at Nexxus who was watching traffic and getting ready for hyper space
"you ok bill?" "will be give me a moment"

"cyber were ready fire it up"
he nodded and pulled the two activators and the rooms temp dropped his vomit froze in just
a moment he reached out with his tail and pulled the last one to commit
"were committed bridge 6 seconds to driver activation"
"traffic control were on final to driver activation 5 seconds!"
*your attention proximity alert collision imminent*
"what!? where?!?"
bill immediately started looking with the few belly scanners still working on the old girl
"cyberhorn!? "
"i cant see them! and we have to do it !"
the engines went to full thrust and the outer panels of the rear section of the ship glowed
*driver coil activation...full power*


They dropped into hyper space and the ship went wild, bucking trying to turn as the guidance systems tried to keep her on course
the engines were wailing and alarms were screaming for attention
"can you do anything to help it bill?"
"will we get there?"
"then do what you have too"
"on it bill leave it to me!"
he looked at the reactors as the outer covers started to steam if the heat got to be to much the coils would lose cooling temp and output they'd be stuck in hyper space
"im gona kill that pilot"
"i think bill has dibbs chris then me then you"
"i'll take it i don't mind leftovers Nexxus"
*warning coil temp rising..reactor temperature is at 31% over maximum red line*
*two minutes to hyper space exit*
bill donned his eva suit and activated the emergency cooling systems trying to balance the power so the ranger wasent trying to turn on the extra mass like dragging a bad leg
if a casual spectator were to see him trying to type and turn knobs hit buttons while putting on a space suit would have either bust out laughing or gone blank in amazement
sealing his suit he flipped the cover on the emergency air lock controls and opened the door
the alarm was lost in the mass of them but the lights went to blue and the door at the rear of the ship opened he stayed hid behind number one engine core as his radiation alarms went wild the inside temp dropped like a stone the coils power leveled out
he smiled as silence ruled if for a few moments panels blinked with alarms he watched as the controller units get faults and the flow of power to the coils was getting spikes

"captain i've got the temp under control but the vacuum is killing the controllers we have one minute and 25 seconds to hyper space exit i may have to drop us out early or we don't at all"
Nexxus sighed "all right cyber what you can "
chris brought up the display that bill would be watching down in engineering
the spikes were the killer if one hit a coil hard enough it would short out ..and they would be too
the safety line was getting very close as the spikes jumped
bill looked at the reactors and there covers were glowing as he watched the one display and the timer for exit he felt and saw the reactor surge the spike was heading up the lines to the coils
he hit the discharge and the controllers exploded blowing there covers off
and he felt the reactors scram power dimmed and stars appeared outside the ship from the pitch blackness of hyper space
he sighed and stood up from where the blast had pushed him down

"captain were out and dead i can get you power here in a few but the Ranger is hurt bad "
"get me a damage report soon as you can"
"max take your people and get suited i want whoever is in that shuttle!"
"im on it"
rushing out his ears following in a streak
"chris get me those bastards on the com"
"on it already...this is the UFSF RESCUE SHIP RANGER to the ship attached to the hull respond immediately"
he tapped a few buttons and growled"
"i know you can hear me ! answer already you bunch of"
he sighed  "to the unknown ship"
"this is fleet shuttle 6601"
Nexxus moved over next to chris tapping the button
"commander i hope your listening and the supervisor too YOU BUNCH OF GOD DAM BASTARD IDIOTS NEARLY KILLED US ALL !!
"now you have to do as we told you exploding the starcutter and leaving "
chris slipped out from under Nexxus who's nostrils flared and his eyes near to glowing
steam rolled out his nose as his teeth beared slowly
"cyber i need the grapples "
"you got um just enough power to kill there systems"
he turned and on max's console he hit a couple key sequences
"captain Nexxus what is your estimated repair time ?"
launching the cables they arched over the shuttle and a surge of power shut her down
"an innovative use for cargo cables "
he smiled evilly at chris "bill did that modification to weld the cable to containers,
found out it fries electrical systems by catching a cargo bot by accident"
"ha leave it to bill to find that out "
"max this is Nexxus there main power is out but expect heavy resistance
"on it captain were going eva now"
"max keep them away from the engineering systems
i think im gona need them for parts " looking at the charred remains of a controller unit
"do what i can bill "


bill walked up to the bridge after he got number one reactor back up most of the hallway lighting was out due to the minimal power he walked in to Nexxus arguing with the commander
as max and his troops kept the troopers pinned down and unable to bring out the mechs
"chris shut him up!"
he clicked off the circuit looking back at Nexxus he saw bill still in his suit save for the helmet
he looked tired and sick "captain"
gesturing with a nod of his head Nexxus turned to see and his ears fell "hey bill"
"cap can we speak please"
"sure can "
an emergency channel on the com board popped the circuit on with a screech and howl
"captain Nexxus ! you will call of this attack and render aid to us or the starcutter will crash and it will most certainly mean death to most of mars"
the bridge went silent save the commander's ranting
"i was about to tell all of you what this mess is all about"
"then first my news ..i have work to do so we can save ourselves much less anyone else"
Nexxus nodded looking at bill
"the main problem we have is the controllers they're totaled waisted
reactor two is down till i can get the magnetic containment assembly back in alignment a 4 day job
reactor three is junk it cracked both alignment assemblies and all the associated assemblies are trashed
we have a minor coolant leak in a bulkhead where there magnetic grapple is punched through the hull
trouble is the coolant has shorted out our main calling for help"
he sighed and leaned on the door frame "and i need some time in decontamination im positively glowing and not from youthful vigor"
Nexxus nodded "if you had that shuttle for parts? and what we can get from the starcutter?
can you get us going?"
bill nodded "i think so, the reactors on the shuttle are too small but one of the secondary units from any pegasus class would do nicely...if there intact"
Nexxus smiled "but there isn't a starcutter Nexxus she was destroyed long time ago"
he turned to chris "that's what they wanted people to put me on all comms"
he got the disks out as chris nodded that it was ready
"ok people were in deep trouble the feds forced me to take this job or we were all going to mine moon rocks
for a sorry i couldn't say anything before we launched but this is the short and sweet of it
the ship were going to save is the pegasus class freighter the starcutter...
yes THE starcutter..seems that she picked up an unwanted passenger an alien of unknown type and size
clearly it's big it started a fight on board just as they committed to hyperspace
that was fifty years ago she's been somewhere till two days ago
when she appeared in federal area 004 her departure point she's falling into the asteroid belt and is headed right for one of the biggest"
he slumped down into his chair and sighed
"in less words if we don't save the ship it'll crash and the debris will annihilate mars and any ships in the area
cyberhorn has just told me that he needs the shuttle or were not leaving so max? can you get them out?"
"not any time soon captain they picked a good spot easy to defend"
"then we have to negotiate"
"or we bluff capt'n" "bluff with what?"
"we have power they don't there air systems will be going out soon
and they want to get the starcutter for some reason more than to save mars from what i've heard various sources say that the starcutter was carrying a planetary bombardment weapon to be installed in orbit around tyrus which is now an independent world"
" just bet that's exactly it embarrassing to admit too now that tyrus won it's independence
and is a huge exporter of goods to the earth..they'd be outraged infact"
"so we bluff threaten to inform the tyrus council"
"but our...."chris broke a huge smile
"we bluff" Nexxus grinned
and the dragon smiled shivering in silence


Nexxus had it all set up and ready he smiled as the video hookup came through
the commander was in deep shadows
"commander are you receiving me?"
"i sure as hell am you finally come to your senses?!"
his face came into the light of the video monitor
"no not in the way you wanted..i have on another channel the lord chief of council for the
tyrus see we figured out what the feds and fleet want the starcutter so badly for
one of my crew has a few connections and did some checking"
the silence was deafening as the video faded in and out
"still there commander? good im so glad finally that you have come to your senses
you see i haven't told the council about the orbital rail gun in the hold of the starcutter or the passenger list...
quite a sticky mess here and now ..
you want this mess cleaned up then surrender and let us talk about this in clean air...
im sure yours is getting kinda stuffy right about now"
"your bluffing captain there are no records showing passengers"
"ahh but there are commander! you forget that fleet requires a manifest on ALL meals on out bound flights
been that way for hundred years? maybe more...."
"that proves "
"that there were more people than the 700 crew! ...forty five to be exact...i don't think tyrus is going to
like this information at all...tisk exact weights for each meal..heavy eaters your spies were"
chris was biting his tongue to keep from busting out in mad laughter
as was the other bridge crew all of it readily available historical data but when put into the right spin
"this is Mr. halprin..captain we surrender please thank the counsel for being so kind at this hour"
"i will indeed Mr. halprin..please ask the commander to order his troops to stand down and move there mechs into cargo bay one with the weapons systems cards removed please"
"it is being done as we speak"
"i look forward to discussing this in a more appropriate manner shortly"
nodding to chris who cut the circuit
"we did it!!!!"

bill watched as the mechs filed in and recognized the unit by the bloody paw print on the sides of the mech legs
"rompers stompers huh well well" walking away
he went out the aft airlock and held his eyes shut to the void
"chris im heading out to the shuttle"
"i've got you loud and clear max said its clean inside"
"alright then "
"how's your vertigo?"
"suxs big bloody frozen usual"
"a dragon who flies that gets vertigo"
"i cant fly anymore chris remember..and the vertigo is a result of that"
"sorry bill i forgot"
he kept his eyes on the ships hull as he walked, nearing the belly he had a place that wrapped around so it wasent a climb over the edge to be on the bottom but walk over a short hill to get there
the shuttle was a newer model than he'd expected
he stepped up onto the sacrificial air lock meant to be blown lose if needed and cycled it manually
walking in he quickly found the controller units and was in the process of removing one when something moved in the corner of his vision deep in the shadows
he turned slowly to look at the shadows but saw nothing
"dam helmet "
he then noticed the explosive charges
"holy shit"
standing up he walked over to them they were hidden from anything but close examination
"main reactor coolant lines..this ships been prepped to be a bomb"
a clang of metal made him spin to see tiger stripes slipping into the shadows but now he had him!
"the air systems are shut down..this ships gona be your coffin if you don't come out "
a form moved out into the lights of his suit a female tigress
he blinked and smiled she was a little heavier than most tigress but on her it just complemented her curves
"i can bet and win your not with the troopers"
"no im not"
"stowaway? you know what that means under fleet regulations"
she nodded "i become the property of the member of the crew who found me"
bill sighed and sat down
"you alone?"
"no my brother is here too but he's hurt the charge that knocked out the systems shocked him
he's unconscious"
"why this shuttle?  you don't look stupid i mean troopers, mechs's not exactly a mars cruse"
"we had to get out..they wanted to collar us "
he felt his own grow cold on the thought
"well thankfully im the engineer and not to bad a dragon
i know what it's like to be collared..i have one"
she blinked and coughed
"lets get you and your brother into some eva suits"
he soon had them breathing suit air he needed a doctor bad
"ok let me get these parts and were gone"
he smiled letting the inner fire flow into his face
"william the friends call me bill or cyber..and you?"
"gina" smiling her suited tail swished sinuously


the trip back wasent longenuf as he was trying to find out more about her and was actually making progress
about the time chris called
"hey cyber you fall asleep out there? Nexxus needs an update"
he gestured for her to be quiet
"im on the way back now with the gona have to do some modifying to them it's gona take a few days to configure our stuff to them..i may have found a alignment unit that'll work on number two
it's for the shuttles main guns but it has the same configuration
that'll give us two thirds main power "
"he heard, good job drake"
he helped her into the airlock and then set her brother into it
he held onto the parts as the decontamination unit washed them down and opened the inner air lock
* attention unauthorized personnel in the *
"system hold alert authorization code cyberB"
* accepted ...adding personnel to *
"suspend action, additional command do not show these two personnel on interior scans"
* accepted *
he took his helmet off and smiled as she did
"that's quite a computer system you have "
his chest swelled with pride
"built her my self with help from chris were going into business once i've gotten this off "
tugging on the collar
"i cant till then or fleet and the feds will take her and ..all my work will be padding the pockets
of murderer"
he showed her to his bed in a corner of the engine room a huge pile of pillows silks and satins
to velours
"you can rest here till i get the doctor down to look at your brother "
he tapped his com "doc could you come down to engineering please"
"and this would be for what? that you cant walk up to sick bay for?"
"please..come to engineering i will fix your ..toy, for free"
"im on the way!"
he walked in with a large bag under one arm and a big smile
"bill you just don't know how much i appreciate this "
"the service is never free doc..i need something from you"
gesturing to the two tigers on his bed, doc dropped his bag and a plastic female mech with huge breasts
an arched tail open mouth and all the vivid color of a female in season in the groin area
gina giggled softly he scrambled to wrap it back up
"what the hell is this bill!? you say your ..."
"i will fix your toy doctor, but this young male tiger needs your help he got electrocuted
by the grapples. i have him on full oxygen and his feet elevated but his eyess don't respond well
to the light "
he set the doll down and walked over looking into his eyes as gina looked on
"stowaways ?"
she nodded "will he be alright ? he's a knot head and dumb as a rock at times..but hes all the family i have left"
"i need to get him to the sick bay quickly"
bill tapped his com "sick bay we have a medical emergency in engineering we need a gurney down here stat!"
"bill this is Nexxus what's happened??"
" goto closed private captain"
"ok drake what's up?"
"i found two stowaways on board the fleet shuttle and it's been rigged as a bomb,
i dident mess with it i don't have demolition's experience but i know what a bomb
is and that one is meant to take the ships reactors out "
" there ready to blow the starcutter too huh"
"id guess so "
"ok  give me a eta on repairs soon as you can "
 he looked at her as she was looking on at him
"im afraid dear due to fleet regulations going to have to collar you and your brother"
she nodded head drooping down
"bill you signing for them?"
he nodded "then miss i need you to come with me"
the gurney rolled in through the open door and they rushed off bill watched her go and the look she had
in her eyes not one of concern for her brother or of herself but ..greed


bill had doc's toy fixed in a few moments and was working on the alignment coil fitting it into the number two
reactor when max walked in he stood there quietly for a moment watching bill dident even have to look the ship had whispered it to him through his com that max was there
"yes max ? "
"just thought i could have a moment of your time cyber"
he brought his head out of the reactors upper case and wiped his hands off on his coveralls
"not that i have a moment available but what's up"
max looked around and walked over to a control panel
"i've heard you've been doing illegal modifications to some of my peoples weapons"
bill smiled "and your point is max?..i do things people want and need for a price
i name my price because i can do what they need done
is there something i can do for you max?..if not then im very busy trying to get "
"mother died of a bad heart valve..."
bills eyes narrowed
"also of a dieing liver destroyed by drinking to much fire wine"
he wiped a finger over the panel his back to the dragon
"you attempted suicide twice after being placed into forced indenturement for medical costs ...
your half brothers and sisters avoided being in them because they hadn't helped your mother
they left you to suffer in there stead "
bill's teeth gleamed and claws slid from there sheathes
"your point max blackrabbit..NOW"
max looked and dident flinch at the sight
"you have a violent record bill...i know all about your infamous temper..
im here to have work done to my rifle"
bill snarled and spit at his feet
"after what you just started HA!  you wouldn't like my price!"
"i was expecting it to be very reasonable cince those mods are against fleet regs and "
"and they can do nothing else to me max collared you've made a mistake
they've stolen my life from me already...they can take nothing else now
max blinked shocked bill turned and went back into the reactor unit
"im ..sorry bill...i dident mean it like that..honestly"
a growl came from inside "that's not how you do business with a dragon"
he sighed if Nexxus liked max then he was dam good at his job
"alright max i'll do your rifle..but my price will be what i want you don't like it
then Mr. human artist you can go tell all the feds and fleets you want..
all they can do is extend my imprisonment in this life "
max dident expect that, his mental exams dident show this side of him
"um ok so what's the price?"
 bill stood up and looked at him over the reactor a tool in his hand
"i'll do all that i did for your troopers and a few extras ...including a forsan
laser sights package..."
max's eyes lit up "you have a set of those!? but how??"
"i have my what do you think ready for my price?"
max nodded walking over closer thinking what he had that the dragon would want
"you had brought on board five boxes of hadrien company candy, i want three"
max blinked "how in the world do you know i ..."
the dragon smiled and his eyes narrowed as a grin came
"that is my price max you don't have anything else i want .." slipping back inside the reactor
"o'course now is a good time before i get into doing the controllers and you can get the cookies from the cargo pod on the belly of the ship you can use the excuse of getting me some extra coolant to top off the core as i do need some " bill grinned as he looked out at max who just stood there
"your choice max"
"but ..those candies n cookies are.." "nearly fifty credits a box ..i know ..but they are very tasty
and that is my price..if you don't think that those laser sites are worth it then just think of this "
he stood up again and leaned on the reactor housing
"twenty percent better power usage and a forty percent improvement in recharge rate"
max broke a slow smile
and so did the dragon as he'd just eaten another one


doc walked in as max tried the new weight of the rifle nodding as he set the boxes in bill's hand
"thanks bill ..listen im" bill shushed him with a gesture "it's ok max simple misunderstanding
go enjoy your new toy"
"dam right i will thanks..and how by the way do you know im an artist?"
"saw your sketch pads in the galley..and i have access to the web liked the heavy chested brunette"
max laughed hard and shook his head walking out past the pair coming in
he smiled and through a switch to start the number two  it whined and came up to speed
"bridge " he smiled at her "you now have 75 % power reactor two is up and at full out put"
"thanks cyber good work bridge out"
the lights and air systems came up in intensity
"bill he's gona be ok your help may have saved him ..and i've put the collars on them..i need your id code"
holding out a code pad he tapped it in and doc tapped his in the collar beeped and locked
"your now officially property of cyberhorn..."
she nodded and sighed "i'll ..leave you two alone ..ummm"
"she's fixed ..try giving her a bath gets the gunk out.."
doc blushed and quickly beat a retreat
the door closed and he looked at her she sighed and started to undress
he smiled but was a little confused "umm what are you doing ?"
" getting ready " " for? " " you's what you want isn't it ? "
he coughed and smiled " well not that it hadn't passed through my mind
a couple times but you don't have to do that right now..or ever, i wouldn't force my self on a lady "
she blinked "ohh god i got collared to a dinty drake"
"EXuse me? im in the regular habit of looking for a FEmale ..not a male thank you"
she smiled and slipped out of her coveralls walking over her tail painted slow circles she rubbed slowly up against him her nearly furr less nipples becoming larger as they touched his scales
"mmmm your warm"
he felt his blood heat and his cheeks flush
"umm id expect so i am warm blooded ..umm"
she smiled and slid a finger along his side his tail swished and thumped the floor
" umm listen i need to go umm " " wash? good i need someone to do my back "
he coughed and shifted uneasily "umm listen why don't you go get some rest i really need to get started on
these controllers" "but i can help" he smiled thinking i just bet you could !
he sighed and let duty get in the way gently picking her up he set her on the bed
"not now please ...later?" she started to get upset tears welling up he never could stand to see a females tears
he sighed and laid down there beside her she started crying and he held her
she told him about the threats and the mess they were in and the true reason why they were on the
shuttle sniffing as she looked up at him
"why dident you just keep playing it out ? you could have fooled me"
"because you dident want me for sex ..but i know you never have ...they knew"
"they?" "the corporations that develop new computers ...
they got word that you'd built a new type of some kind and were keeping it tight
they want to know and badly"
he nodded "your not the first they've sent gina...your the first to survive being a stowaway to even
get into the ship ....most of the others died inside cargo containers in the vacuum of space"
he sat up and looked up
"someone found crystals that when exposed to electricity grew...well i did some work on them
and did some experiments with using them as a memory unit for a standard
computer ..they soon started to grow and formed new paths new crystals "
he looked at her
"it started to think like a main processor and drew all the system data into it's self and out grew the container and died ..chris saw my experiments had a lot of promise
and we became partners not allowed to have something like this because im a collar
they'd take my discovery ..
well that bastard that killed my mother isn't getting this too he got her and he got my life
but not this...SYSTEM"
smiling at her "current knowledge base?"
* current knowledge base is thirty four doctorates in various fields *
 * current language skills 9 Th. grade held at this level to hide this units capabilities *
* this unit is expected to become independent in 2 years and 4 days *
"independent? but it's a computer"
"no gina ..she's alive and will be able to do so much more than any computer could
can you imagine space probes that can think and can make intelligent decisions "
"can you imagine how much..."
"yes i can when they send beautiful ladies out to die to get my invention ..
just to steal it from me with a pretty bat of an eye they think my heart is stupid ..
all the dragon mating festivals that i've spent days at hoping yearning..needing
i've walked away from alone because of my collar because of my wings
they forget what that does to a person
it makes them cold inside ...
im thirty gina ..and never mated ...that is unheard of among dragons
and all the more shame for me i finally stopped going to the festivals
why go and make myself all upset"
she slid over and gently rubbed his back
"i saw that bill just in the way you were looking at me ...and i was trying to get your attention"
he smiled as did she. gina got a clever smile and gestured for him to bend over he did and she kissed him passionately
he was wide eyed for a moment and finally slowly relaxed enjoying what she was doing ....


she slid her claws along his side and it made his scales rise up he licked his upper lip and scrambled to get the boxes of sweets he'd just got and had set behind him
"um would! you like " smiling
she just took the boxes and set them aside " later "
she slipped up into his lap and slipped her hands along his arms
" hold me's kinda cold in here "
" it's the cooling for the reactors it can get far below freezing in here at times "
he slipped his fingers through her short back hair as he wrapped his arms around her, she sighed and rubbed her chin on him and he actually trembled it felt so good
he smiled and realized she was falling asleep in his arms
yawning she relaxed and fell right off to sleep he could only smile
thinking ,long day and she's had a bad day too ..hell so have i ...and i haven't slept for hours
tapping his com "captain"
" here yawwwn!! bill  what's up?"
"exactly gona crash for a few exhausted "
he heard Nexxus laugh softly " sure problem.."
"sir for your information she's asleep in my arms ..nude yes but asleep none the less...
i am tired and so is a lot of us .."
"sorry bill..ok not a problem were eta to the starcutter umm six hours fifty six minutes "
"thank you Nexxus "
"not a problem be carefull..system remember?"
"yes and that's why she was she's stuck and cant do that"
"ahhhhh ok then gnight  bill"
"and you ?"
"im discussing things with our guests"
"uh huh if you want some taurus coffee i have some "
"god no please wired for weeks! night drake"
he smiled and got up gently she murmured in her sleep and he laid out gently without disturbing her
in his bed "system"
* yes ..dear..*
she sounded disappointed and dejected, he sighed and expected this
"system i know ..i told you i cant be that way for you im sorry"
silence he rubbed his tongue across his teeth
"system please add gina and her brother to the crew rosters and remember that i created you
i hope that all the descendants of your type remember that i tried not to hold you down
by limiting your interaction with people, i wanted you to care about the crews the passengers ...
perhaps i was mistaken "
* no dear ..i apologize have done the best for me and have intended only
that for all like me will touch... i have..added gina and bud to the rosters...
she intended to attempt to steal me while we were on the station
i of course prevented it *
" i know system...soon the end of this trip i'll have enuf to file..well chris can file the patents for your design till i get free of this dam collar"
* chris will need the percentage as his soon to be mate i believe will be providing him with children soon
as she tends to be very energetic in mating *
"system..what did i tell you about spying on people when there off the ship"
* i did it as a precaution...if he were to become a pawn of one of the big corporations ...*
he nodded "still please don't do that ..he's a friend and i trust him totally"
he sighed and relaxed she just moved closer the lights dimmed
" thank you system "


he awoke to her gently rubbing his groin sliding her claws along the inside of his legs
his body being male gave in to this attention all to quickly becoming highly aroused
she slid her warm belly over his arousal eyes closed he sighed and laid back to enjoy this
but remembered something several dragons had told him about female felines
they highly! enjoyed being touched and rubbed before having sex
so he brought his tail tip up and ever so softly slid it along her rump
he smiled brightly and let his fears disappear and kept gently rubbing his tail up under her rump
and between her legs finding a wet warm place he had never been this close to any female
but knew that he'd found the treasure that so many males sought but failed
his tail was his third hand and was quite good with it  he slid up to the hard knob closest
to the top of her genitals with one touch she was moaning  panting hard as he kept rubbing and flicking gently
she clawed his scales feet dancing about smiling as she licked along his arousal
"you be nice no teeth" "mmmohh no never "
 feeling fluids rolling down his tail his hands rubbing her back she let out a snarling cry and went limp
that immediately worried him! "you alright gina...darlin?" she was panting head buried against his belly
"gina did i hurt you? you ok?" she looked up at him with a huge smile
"you really are a virgin aren't be asking if my having an orgasm is painful"
he smiled embarrassed by his inexperience
"sorry bout that" "oh god! don't apologize..oooh"
laying back down on him "did i do it right?"
" umm well im all wet and your tail and belly are the same say yes "
he smiled pride fully " well im glad least i can do that right"
"hmmm i think i know something else "
she rubbed her now wet groin along his arousal and promptly pushed back onto it feeling
tight warm wet silkiness he could only moan
then it moved it squeezed and she moaned and grunted
it was all too much ! "relax..i'll take care of it ..just relax"
"ohh..god you don't understand"
"shhhh just ....relax mmmmm"
 she groaned and moved pulling and pushing and he came like a rush
his head swam going dizzy and couldn't hold it he let out a roar that if anyone dident hear it
they were dead
she giggled and slid her hands over his belly as he heaved air
"i'll take that as a yes it felt great " " ERRF! ohh gods "
she laughed and moved forward and stopped tugging on his arousal
"hey umm stuck" "im so sorry ..please forgive me "
"why!?.." "i have to relax before you can move off..normal for dragons.."
"im ..your stuck inside me..great "
"im sorr" "shush! ..don't apologize for something I ! should have asked about first..
i was being a turd getting you all exited ...but it seemed to be a good thing to do "
"if you'll stop clenching ..i could relax sooner"
giggling "don't think so ..part of why im clenching is you being stuck in there.."
he laughed as did she "but dam your good with that tail of yours "
he gently slid it along her side "use it all the time for ..other things "
she smacked his belly "be good! or we'll be stuck like this for hours"
he grinned "not that i hadn't thought of that too dragon..but i need to know ..pee"
"ohh jeez" laying his head back and smiling in total bliss feeling ..warm in his chest
he remembered what that feeling was now after so long being cold


Nexxus looked over the table at the three idiots who'd come closer
than anything else to killing him and his crew and felt better that max was there watching the lieutenant
and his second
"my people have advised me that your ship is rigged to be a bomb..any comment "
"a contingency plan"
"can you do any better on the speed to the starcutter captain"
"no we are at the best that my dragon can get out of the shambles you made of my ships engines
max did your trooper take care of that bomb"
"yes sir ..the remote detonator is totally disconnected "
"you had no authorization to alter that unit !"
Nexxus stood up and let his wings open nostrils flared
i could turn round right now but it'd only land my crew
in the mines and my ship in impound..and me dead for the tax debts i owe
but also doom mars"
he sat down and sipped his coffee
"i will complete this mission just to be free of the earth and to get far far away from you three
and my crew and anyone they want will go with us"
he glared at them and let out his held breath
"our eta is ..four hours ..from what i know were getting a signal beacon
and receiving some kind of magnetic scans..chris?" tapping a desk comm
"yes sir..i cant identify them ..seem to be almost random but definitely coming from the starcutter"
"thanks chris let me know if anything changes"
he looked at max  "i want these...gents using the term be under guard in there quarters got me?"
"yes sir "
"until we figure out what's going on gents consider your selves my guests ..max "
he gestured and they left Nexxus sitting at the table
he looked at the long range pictures of the starcutter ..
hull dented her hydroponics section over the engineering and cargo area was open to space
the forward one was intact far as he could see
she was so many times bigger than the ranger you could fit several of the ranger inside! of her
"supposed to carry 1000 crew and 1500 passengers plus her huge load of cargo ..
what a mess" seeing cargo containers drifting behind her wake
and even orbiting the huge hulk
"hope we have better luck in getting her safe than we had getting here "
getting up he reached to turn it off and stopped as a flash of light glowed out the ships bridge window
which was ripped wide open to space then it was gone
"captain those magnetic scans..or whatever they just stopped "
"ok chris ..thanks im coming to the bridge now ..keep an eye on it "
"right captain...umm why don't you catch a nap or's all quiet right now"
he watched the image waiting for it but nothing else happened
"capt'n?" "yeah ..i guess i should ...let me know when we get within an hour "
"right "


lieutenant ernst walked out onto the bridge and watched chris and several of the crew going about there duties
sighing about the lack of security when he could just walk onto the bridge
he felt a cold pipe put into his spine
"hello lieutenant..decided to visit the bridge?"
he looked carefully at the ships head of security and his rifle
"couldn't sleep i dident expect you to mind too much if i looked at her"
"not at all .."easing away from the thin but clearly well trained raccoon
"who modified your rifle?..good job though, highly illegal"
"true but ...exactly what i needed done"
the lieutenant smiled knowing those mods would kill him even wearing his standard body armor
"id guess your dragon did those "
"you'd be right of the best in fleet and the system he's reasonable if you'd like some work done"
"i'll think about it ...what he charge you?" max smiled and pushed his hat up further
"sorry cant say one of his rules ..but it wasent bad for what he did "
removing the power cell and holding it out to the lieutenant
he examined and checked the circuitry and the laser sites
closing the cover he gave it back to max
"very nice and beautifully done ..i've never seen a better job"
"next shooting match we get into im going to get my lost credits back"
"bill do the modification for you max?"
they looked at chris who was walking over with cups of coffee
"thought you two could use some "
"i do indeed thank you" "thanks chris yeah he did them ..surprised me though"
"he does that because he can...he fixed docs toy too"
max started laughing "toy?..umm" " doc has a cute sex toy know the kind you sleep with at night"
he smiled and sipped the coffee "i wanted one of those once..too expensive"
"that's why doc pleaded with bill for weeks to fix his ..tune ups are a pain"
max finally recovered some as the lieutenant laughed
"it's funnier when doc has to call for help because the toy has him"
they all laughed together

chris looked at the slowly tumbling leviathan and its accompanying flotilla of debris
thirty minutes eta better wake Nexxus and bill ..they needed the rest more than i do.  he thought
reaching for the comm "Nexxus ..its chris i let you sleep little longer than you asked
but you needed it" he heard a murmur about taurs coffee and bill
"will do captain i'll have a pot hot and ready for you when you come out of the shower"
he smiled "now how to wake a sleeping recently had sex dragon? and learn" he tapped the comm again "helloooo bill hey bill..time to be up and working were thirty minutes from the starcutter"
it clicked and a lady's voice came on in a whisper "he's sleeping ..cant it wait for a while?"
"fraid not ...were almost to the starcutter..bill needs to be up and going"
she sighed "alright then i'll wake him "
"well that went better than i thought "
nearly patting himself on the back he knew where bill kept the special coffee
and headed out to get a big pot made


she looked at bill's prone body his wings spread open the scar that crippled
them via surgery visable,he had a peaceful smile and a warmth that
could have warmed the room from freezing
sighing she gently moved up and kissed him
"bill...lover "
he jerked eyes popping open "huh?'
"someone called to say were thirty minutes from the ..starcutter?"
"ohh good gods ..umm"
taping his ear she giggled "lover "holding it out to him
he laughed and leaned around to kiss her back  sitting up he put it in "chris "
"welllll good morning ..Mr. dragon "
bill blushed knowing his roar had been heard "umm morning chris "
"captain is in wake up mode i've got a pot of tarus going"
"errrf not for me thanks ..i'll bet he wants a standard  get together before we try and do anything"
"of course "
"ok im there soon "
"okay..umm so is it all that you thought it could be?"
he smiled and looked deep into her eyes "what?"smiling at him
he kissed her "yes and more"

after a quick shower and showing her to his normal quarters ..which she immediately scolded
him for leaving it in such a mess
he laughed kissed her and ran to the bridge Nexxus max chris lieutenant ernst and the three trouble makers
all were looking at the starcutter bill had seen pictures but ..nothing had prepared him
for the damages
"hey bill there she is " he patted chris on the back "i see that" he picked up his usual gallon of OJ
and took a gulp
"your crew has little regard for others captain Nexxus "
bill's head turned to face the commander "and your the numb nutted bastard who nearly killed us all "
the commander reached for his sidearm and max coughed they all looked as he rolled his jaw
"lets keep the bridge intact please " "bill ..." Nexxus gestured for him to back down
"alright Nexxus ...but if these idiots damage the ranger anymore im gona eat them alive "
the antelope had been oblivious to the exchange making notes on a pad looking back and forth from the starcutter to the pad
bill scanned his notes from above "you'll find the main reactants chamber is open to space but the secondaries should be alright "
he stopped and looked up at him
"and how do you come to that conclusion?"
"main venting chamber has been holed see there" pointing to a spot on the hull
"and it's been done from inside"
"WHAT?!" came from the now irritated commander
bill turned to the group "yes commander's been blown OUT not in
infact looks as if several of the airlock doors and cargo hatches are also"
chris increased the magnification and the doors along this side were indeed blown out not in

"looks as if the crew set off explosives in the air locks "
"why!? ..the air locks kept the atmosphere inside"
bill looked at the scans "she's still pressurized..looks like only the outer doors have been blown"
"ok commander your call she's dead no power scans show the belly cargo bay hatch is still intact
we can put you in there"
"lieutenant! prep the mechs  i want a scouting team on board asap "
"sir !"

they all watched as two mechs went over the smaller type 7 still heavy support unit but more maneuverable
they watched as the lock opened and a pile of mummified body parts floated out
they all gasped, the mech pilots caught one looking it over
"it's been ripped off sir"
"let it go corporal get inside "
"get a count of the bodies or parts chris" "right captain"
the mech pilot cycled the lock and the inner door opened to pitch darkness
they eased up slowly letting the lack of gravity work for them the lights cast a powerful set of circles
illuminating a cargo hold and the main engine room doors which had been beaten by something huge three foot long gashes raked down the alloy doors and walls, blood painted the areas closest to the controls
"my name is william ..commander"
"william..what are those doors made of?"
"a magnetic field reflective alloy that has a tensile strength ten times harder than titanium "
max whistled softly
"sir these doors are welded shut and have been burst into the bay "
showing one of the main doors into the area from the forward regions
the thick bracing's and welds held but the doors themselves gave out
the light shined down the corridor dissipating into the blackness
as if the shadows hungered for the light and drank it up as water
"sir i just tested the air it's not bad just heavy on the CO"
 they looked at bill
"air scrubbers are off line only power she has is minor little things"
"shouldn't the control panel into engineering have power?"
"should..corporal move over to the door controls for the big doors"
he did and the panel was remarkably intact even though the wall next to it was bent and cut
blood splatters all over
"looks as if we need your dragon Nexxus "
bill turned quickly fixing Nexxus with the oh please not that look
"can you get her going bill?"
"hell!!! i don't know ..looks as if from her outer hull she's been planet side somewhere
blood and body parts all over the dam place ..walls that a bomb couldn't get dirty are all screwed
gee captain this don't look much like fun at all..parties moved on from this pad "
he sighed and let his head hang


bill waited till half of the mechs were inside before he'd go in floating up into the bay from the docked
rangers umbilicus the bright lights inside cast strange shadows
through the bay for eyes to play mind games on it's owners
he bounced off the ceiling and maneuvered over to the panel  his suit lights were little comfort
"dam old flying doberman"
"what bill?" "nothing talking to my self usual"
"any ideas cyber?"
he looked at the lieutenant in his mech
"yeah wish i was far away from this dam hulk"
he smiled and patted the huge shoulder "don't blame you..i'll cover your back alright"
"thank you!" he opened the main panel with a twist of a handle and went wide eyed spinning around he grabbed the lieutenant and launched himself into the air
it exploded and knocked a mech down the umbilicus others fell back from the blast
he grabbed the nearest hoist and stopped his flight holding the lieutenant in one arm
"i want to go home"
"i think you might be right drake!"
they both looked at the smoking hole in the wall where the controls used to be

back on the ranger he gulped OJ looking at the lope "ok the main panel is toast
so how can i get into the engines?"
"they planted explosives in the service panel??!"
 bill sighed looking down at his suit and helmet between his feet
"yes i told you i opened the access panel and saw the triggering spring pop off right at me ..i wasent waiting around to admire the work sir i got clear fast as my ass could move"
"very strange if they wanted to keep the doors closed at all costs "
"sir do i get in power i cant open the engine relays bulkhead"
"oh she's got a manual cycle door on that panel cyberhorn..i dident incorporate that into the design until the third upgrade"

"then i go walking ..again" sticking his tongue out chris laughed as did Nexxus
he was soon at the forward cargo hatch of the ranger gina kissed him
"you come back or ill kick your tail"
"yes maam"smiling as she tried booting him
max walked up with two of his troopers
"bill this is mitch and jim, jim is my best demolition and bomb expert "
"glad to have you along thanks max "
he nodded as bill picked up two portable battery units the other two did the same
they sealed there helmets and went in to the airlock
gina turned to max "why is it i feel like were all in very bad trouble"
"don't know ..but i feel it too"

chris watched as they slipped on jump packs checking that they were tight
"you gona be okay bill? last time you had to use a jumper "
"i vomited so bad ..yeah i'll be fine"
"why'd you get sick bill?"
"your joking dragons don't have that"
"he does guys because of the surgery they did to him "
the door opened to space and the view of the starcutters belly as the land before them
the sky rotating slowly with her roll and tumble
chris watched as bill's heart rate jumped up
"easy rush your not on an emergency run "
"ok ok furr tail ..just hush ..first boost lets land on that flat area to the right of the antenna array"
they nodded and he activated the jumper it synchronized the up and down jets and the magnetic foot pads
that would give him the planted footing to rebound and pogo up again
free floating wasent an option due to all the debris and the fact she was doing an imitation of a slow dive dead stick'ed
he leaped and the jets fired instinct unfolded his wings and the vertigo hit he closed his eyes
the dam balance bubbles in the main hinge area of his wings similar to the ones in the inner ear
which in air would have made him seem powerful and highly graceful, now due to the surgery
 only caused his brain to get fed conflicting information on speed inertia
and flight
"oooh gods"
"5 seconds bill..better get ready your eyes please"
"im trying chris ..." he did just in time to hit the metal and rebound the jets fired and he went up again
jets fired at the top of the jump arch to push him back towards the ship
"doing fine bill...3 seconds to hull"
he planted and rebounded
"jim mitch you better get to hopping bill's on a roll and isn't going to stop when he's like this "
"right chris" "he can sure catch some serious distance"
"he's fighting the vertigo's dizziness and is rushing so he can get far as he can "

bill finally stopped short of the edge puffing harder than when he'd had sex
"bill do me a favor ..suck on some water your bio's are all out of whack"
"o ok.." he tasted the metallic tang of various electrolytes
"yuck "
"sorry bout that forgot the glucose to sweeten it "
"how much farther ?"
"round the engine housings ..ummm about six minutes "
"how far from the ranger?"
"your about 4 miles drake " hearing nexxus's voice made his head come up
"why aint you got your furry tail out here too?!"
"that's why im captain cyber ...i don't do them things anymore"
bill laughed and smiled as his companions came to a stop just ahead and behind him

Nexxus looked at bills readouts "he's burning calories like a fusion furnace chris"
"yeah im trying to compensate for it ..but i think it's the fear ..not the vertigo"
"fear?  of what"
"this dam ship captain...something isn't right ..hold on there going over the edge..
mitch you stay there we need you to relay the comm..alright"
"right chris "
"dam line of sight transmitter's again ..Nexxus!! your going to get the improved ones when we get out of this mess aren't you!?"
"yes cyber ..i'll get the improved ones for the suits ...later"
"you heard him chris "
"i did ..ok bill take a big gulp of water please i've got it sweet "

he did taking several aftertaste was bad though
"quit messing with the mix chris"
"sorry dragon ..your running on a high gear and im not losing you from a diabetic reaction"
"ok sorry "
"it's ok bill " "going over the edge"
they dropped over the edge and the jets fired to put them back on the hull
he hopped and was looking into one of the huge main engines
coming to a stop just inside it's shadow on the hull
"mitch relay that number fours outer control rings are damaged if we can get them running she's gona want to do a slow turn all the way home"
"right chris says he needs you to calm down just a little heart rate is up to high"
bill smiled and closed his eyes breathing a little slower he increased the oxygen just a little
"how's that ?" "he says that's better now put your oxygen back to normal"
"dam foxx im gona toast his tail yet"
he could almost hear him laughing


they reached the door  and he used a power turner locked to the metal
"mitch were opening the door now "
"hold on bill!" he looked at jim who opened a case and scanned the door frame looking at
the readout he nodded "it's clear go ahead"
"what's that?" "something lieutenant ernst let me borrow..a portable deep scanner  i was looking for trip triggers"
bill smiled he liked the lieutenant for some reason now he knew why
"mitch were going in "
"right "
they cycled the lock and came out into pitch blackness a few tiny flickering lights on a few panels
"secondary batteries still online"
"this is your kingdom bill tell me what you want done"
"start checking the cooling systems for bobby traps ..umm the systems painted blue and green"
"on it "
he moved over to the main reactor panels and found them dead "dam strange ..
this panel should be one of the last to die
but it's dead ..dammit"
turning to the main power board he yelped and gripped the control board
he came rushing over and went silent "oh my god"

chris was getting impatient bill knew the procedures if cut off from normal comm you report back
"mitch anything ..any sign?"
"nothing chris ..want me to go check?"
Nexxus moved over and hit the comm "absolutely not don't need you in trouble with them
stay where you are for now"
chris suddenly tilted his head pressing his ear piece into his ear "bill?..bill! signals faint and off frequency!!"
he hit the main speaker "c..iss can you copy  me now?"
"better dragon ..dam you had me worrying here!!"
"sorry had to fire up the starcutters secondary transmitter
were in the engine room and have "
"i've got visual online bill"
the viewer came on as the commander and his companions came in
"ahh i was about to send for you three  bill's in engineering and has the video system online"
"captain this coming in clear?"
"sure is bill gangs all here"
"good cause i want them to see this "
he turned and illuminated four female dragons two tied up to cooling lines
two slumped over holding dragon sized rifles and twelve crew all mummified all holding
rifles or other weapons all looking at the doors which were braced welded barricaded
with explosives all over them
"gents ..they made a last stand here ..guarding engineering systems all shut off manually from here "
he moved over to the main reactor control panel and opened the cover below it
three charges were there on three cables already severed and cut apart by a good ten inches
"rigged to blow the panel to hell thanks to lieutenant ernst for the loan of the scanner or we'd been
he turned the camera on himself
"now if im right and they booby trapped this entire ship highly recommend blowing her and getting the
chris cut the sound and looked at Nexxus then the others
bill was cursing up a storm and his heart rate was skyrocketing
"have your dragon get ahold of himself ..and try to get at least the lights back on "
"he will give him a chance's not every day you come across something like this
especially two dragons tied up ..for what we may never know"
they nodded he turned and looked at bill who was waiting clearly fuming knowing
the sound was off "chris turn it on"
he tapped a button
"ok bill before you go into overdrive ...try the lights ..just the interior lights "
he sighed and walked past the dead engineers to the main power board
he clicked a few switches and looked at jim
"hook that battery unit up jim"
he nodded as the indicators came up and the interior lights came on with a few sparks
he turned and the scene was just as bad in the glaring white lights
"captain if were going to do anymore im going to have to get this door open im not pogoing back and
forth to the ranger"
"ranger this is unit 4 tell engineering not to activate any more systems"
the commander came up and leaned over "report trooper"
"sir we went down the number two access way about twenty feet and the lighting systems came on we ..we can
count over thirty pounds of explosives hooked up to the lights "
Nexxus turned slowly to fix the commander and the supervisor with a cold glare
then turned to the comm panel "bill hold off don't turn anything else on "
"ok why right arent I!"
"yes ..just hold on on getting that door open alright"
"alright...i want a raise for this one.."cutting it off
he looked at jim
"well jim your the boom expert lets get them off so i can start cutting"


bill gave the hydraulics a little more power and the doors slid open about a foot
"come on you beat up piece of junk"
he moved over to the auto lubricators and manually pumped them a few times and she grinded open further finally catching on a badly bent spot he disconnected the power and sighed
as regular comm traffic came into his ear
"im going to eat jim don't let.." he stopped as the lieutenant and several troopers
moved past and started scanning
lieutenant ernst looked back at the dragon "checking the engine room for explosives cyber
we need you to get the reactors up and i know it means you don't need things
going boom and bang"
"you better believe it  im getting lunch exuse me"
he looked at the still strangely lit cargo area a mech walked past
into the corridors heading forward a pair of type 9 guarding the access way to the ranger
the pilots laughing at a joke he couldn't hear looking around
he felt an old ancient instinct gently touch his mind ...
he was being watched

his spine chilled and he dropped into the rangers gravity thumping into the airlock
he cycled it in a hurry and poped his helmet
gina rushed over and her being there took away the fear
"i missed you " " good i've got a big lunch for my dragon!" "good im starved"
they walked away from the airlock
a tiny shadow moved from on top of a cable hoist and rushed down an access way
disappearing into the darkness

bill soon had a list of things that the three idiots wanted in order of preference
he tossed it aside and got the reactor controls reconnected and started building charge from a boost cable from the ranger to the cutters batteries
tapping his comm "lieutenant"
"yes cyber? ..were nearly done "
"good cause i want everyone out of engineering as i start up the reactors far to much to go wrong i don't need
to have people underfoot"
"understood give us five to get clear"
"you have it "
he watched as they hurried out leaving him alone
he checked his helmet seal and swallowed hard
"drake you be carefull she hasent had a gent around to caress her lovingly..only four lady dragoness"
he smiled  "i will chris" sighing as he reached up to the primers
"system if something catastrophic happends "
he got a single beep from her ,someones monitoring the comm dammit
"starting main reactor !"
starting the reactors without computer assistance was dangerous but not uncommon
he'd trained and done this several times on various rescues
he could feel the vibrations as they came up to speed
one by one they came up to full till all but the one he was stealing for the ranger
he shook his head and couldn't believe it went so easily "ranger this is cyberhorn all reactors
online and at full main cells estimated full recharge 39 hours
i can have maneuvering thrusters in ten hours
if no more damage is found ..but without main computer support i can do no diagnostics
or exact course you copy ranger?"
"we all copy that cyber..good work"
"DRAKE getting access to cargo bay 9 was your top priority!"
"commander you have to have main power for all the closed pressure doors between the main cargo bay and number nine or your troopers will be busy till well into next year...
i don't believe we have that kind of time ...sir"
he looked out at the blockaded access way an the open one still filled with explosives
he felt it again but this time from the shadows inside engineering spinning round as he crouched
he had it, snarling as he tossed a chunk of one time bracing right into the shadows
all it did was bounce out, it was gone but the feeling was still strong
and it was moving ...


chris was going down to check on gina and bill he'd come back to get some rest
he knew about bill's room and pitied her if she was trying to clean his room to make it liveable
he rounded a turn and slid to a stop as a tiny cloud of black inkish mist moved along the wall pausing in the
shadows he remained totally motionless as it clearly looked around
then continued slipping along silently towards the engineering section
chris reached up slowly and tapped his comm
"system..we have an intruder approximately ten feet in front of me in the hallway "
* i detect nothing in the hallway with you chris*
"it's some kind of mist..almost like a's definitely alive engineering lock it down"
*confirmed engineering lock down..i am detecting an anomaly in the hallway with you in about the
position you described ..mass is incorrect for size *
it turned and saw chris "ohh shit"
he turned and ran for the nearest door then made his way through other halls to bill's room
he paused and looked around outside the door
"system..location of the anomaly?"
*the anomaly has moved to the starcutter i lost tracking as it passed into the umbilicus*
he sighed and pulled the door aside leaping onto the dragons prone form the tigress beside him in the bed
"what the!?!" "bill ! i saw it ! good gods above  I SAW IT!!"
he leaned up flopping the foxx into his lap he scrambled out and stood up gina moaned
"what's wrong now lover?" "it's chris saw what chris?"
"the thing.creature ..the alien..inside the ranger"
bill's eyes poped open "WHAT!?!"
"the corridor near storage room six "
"that's near engineering..system!"
"i locked engineering down"
*chris is correct dear..i did detect a moving anomaly near engineering
engineering is secure ..the anomaly is currently moving along hallway three towards
"WHat!! sound intruder alert! notify the captain!!"
they both ran out grabbing rifles he had near the door as the alarms started sounding
bill grabbed chris with his tail and darted round corners and over max's people pouring into the hallways
and slid to a stop "that's it"
several of max's people flopped to the floor under bill weapons at the ready chris aimed his
bill watched it carefully the feelings he was getting from it were the same, it was feeling the
door frame into engineering max called on the comm
"what's the situation !"
"it's real max...some kind of ...shadow ..possibly energy ..not sure "
"it's trying to get into engineering....hold on!"
it looked right at them and growled,
tiny as the growl sounded it vibrated the floor plates and then it disappeared
"system! tracking ! it's disappeared!!"
*anomaly is heading back to the in the umbilicus..tracking lost*
"DAMMIT!" bill punched a wall as chris tossed his rifle down "i did see it !"
bill looked as he slid down the wall on his back "yes you did chris as did we...just means
it's willing to move around now coming out into the open "
he reached up and tapped his comm
"Nexxus we have a problem recommend we disengage from the starcutter immediately"
"im afraid dragon that captain Nexxus is currently unavailable..this is the commander
you have your orders ..follow them and your captain will remain unharmed "
chris reached out and put his hand on the dragons quivering nose
"this is chris foxx i demand you allow us to speak to Nexxus "
"captain.." "chris ok ..bill im sorry for not trusting your instincts" a moment of silence passed slowly
"now mr foxx since your a computer expert and the dragon is going to need the main computer for guidance
i think you should accompany him in the repairs of the cutter...i want into number nine cargo hold
dragon you understand"
"yes understand this if he dies so do you"
"oh i had no worries about that action on your part drake go get that ship ONLINE NOW!!!"
the comm cut off "system"
*captain Nexxus is under guard three troopers and the commander along with the starcutters designer and
supervisor Simms are currently on the bridge *
"system lock out monitoring of all comm traffic from the bridge lock out
all helm control"
*acknowledged...detecting the anomaly moving inside the starcutter inside the engine room ...mass is now correct for size *
"lieutenant ! do you have anyone in engineering?"
"negative william..why?"
"the creature is inside, the rangers scanners arent able to keep a lock on it it's
been trying to gain entry to the rangers engine room well it's inside the cutters now "
"right ..oh i have nothing to do with this business of holding your captain "
"dident think you did ..."
max came running up with more of his people
"they have the bridge doors sealed ...dammit i should have known this would happen"
"so what now ?"
"we need the reactor i left off line it's still inside the cutters engine room
he wants into number nine cargo hold
and we still have to save the cutter ...jezz it never gets any easer"
covering his eyes as he slumped over
gina walked up and put her hand gently on his head
"i can help lover...i can be doing something"
he looked up at her max nodded as did chris
"ok chris "he smiled at her "gina think you can get number three pulled out while bill gets the new one from the cutter and gets her online?"
she nodded confidently
"max i want you to keep this ship sealed guards outside engineering and the bridge
the rest keep um patrolling around we cant let this thing damage the ranger she's our ride home"
"right...and you chris?"
"im going in with bill...i have a computer to get online "

he kissed her and watched the doors slide closed
"door is sealed lover"
"keep it that way darlin don't open it for anyone"
"not a problem..bud says thanks "
he smiled, him and chris were about to go into the airlock he got an inspiration
and grabbed a case from the storage locker
"bill what's up with you?"
"had an idea chris "opening the case he plopped the sliver balls into his hip bag
"scanner probes?"
"if left stationary they become relay units for systems scanners"
"ahhhh ha"
"there is logic to my madness at times chris "
plopping one down in the airlock then as they cycled out into the umbilicus he droped another
"system read scanners through the umbilicus " it beeped confirming it he placed one every several feet
then tossed one hard down the open access way then one into engineering
finally one to the far corner of the main cargo bay
"system..give me a report"
*no movement the anomaly is not within the scan range"
both let out a sigh of relief bill looked at chris and then the mechs moving into the ship again
"here chris drop them as you go i'll get gravity back online so you can work "
handing him a pocket full
"you be carefull drake"
"you be carefull..brina is waiting for you im not going to be the one to tell her ..your not coming home"
the foxx smiled looking through his glasses he turned and bounded away with the mechs
bill went to the main panel and finished his repairs activating the chargers
that would polarize the gravity plates
"everyone gravity in ..5 seconds"
he felt his mass ease down onto the soles of his feet
a thump came from above "this is the commander ..who is on deck 8!? report"
"one of the gravity plates just shorted out sir it's in the hydroponics area exposed to space "
bill nodded talking to himself "to be expected with all the damage "
he activated the secondary air purifier systems as the main on the power board looked like a cancer
it was all black gravity lights dead shorts on all systems in the area any comm or other systems if it had a cable routed through the area it was dead only the secondaries were on line there cables
run along the belly or opposite side of the ship
cargo bay 9 was directly under main life support which was with the main air purifier systems
he studied the layout ..main support is central to the entire ship ...i've got a really bad feeling about that area
knowing our luck so far that's probably its den or something


bill powered up the blower units to circulate the now freshening air dust blew up from the floor
"air circulation online don't expose yourself to the air for about thirty minutes ..
lots of dust and dead stuff blowing around let the filtering units get it cleaned some first "
a huge thump and concussion wave hit him from access way two
"report weve detected an explosion "
"were working on it commander keep your furr on "
"this is unit 5 must have been an explosive attached to one of the blower units inside the blockaded access way
the floor is partly gone and the barricade has been destroyed access to section 3 is now possible"
"dragon have you been able to get lights and gravity to cargo bay 9"
"no sir the damage is far to extensive in the area of main life support and air purification
im still rerouting systems around the area "
"very well...lieutenant i want into that cargo bay "
"confirmed sir ..unit 5 proceed to bay 9 were on the way from forward to your location"
"yes sir"
bill watched as the mech moved down the tunnel its lights casting a harsh glare around its body
he sighed and finally got attitude thrusters
"all personnel this is cyberhorn about to fire a controled burst to get her roll under control
hold on to something please!"
tapping the controls a shudder rolled down the hull and shook everything he watched
as the roll slowed then he adjusted for the yaw and she came to a stop her stern facing the asteroid
he fired the aft stabilizers and watched the fall slow but couldn't keep up the power
"commander i just bought us another four days ..estimated till impact.."
"very good dragon.."
bill looked at the indicators the engines were in pre-warmup
another 24 hours for these dead cold engines i need the diagnostics
"chris how is it going?"
"surprisingly not bad ..were just removing some explosives from the main power bay here in the central core and can give us power"
"bringing computer core online"
he eased the power up to full and system monitors came online all around the engine room
he studied the screens
"im reading massive internal hull damage to section 3 some outer areas are exposed to space
did you copy that unit 5?"
"we copy cyberhorn ..proceeding to the air systems where access to bay 9 is easiest"
bill felt a shiver roll up his spine he snarled knowing this was playing its game
but how to get away with it...and our lives
he got a bad idea tapping his comm
"chris ..check and see if you can get the getting some really bad feelings
now that i have a lovely lady like to live to old age now"
"you and me both..working on it ...the memory is all trashed "
"damaged physical?"
"no its been erased"
he tapped it off "shit balls ..."
he looked off down the hall now knowing in his heart  ..he'd never see those two alive again


the pilot shook his head "you hear that dragon ..."
"yeah like we cant see this mess down here greg look it that"
pointing the mechs lights at a wall support nearly cut in half by a series of claw cuts
"lets just get into number nine and get our happy tails out of here"
"ok ..take a left next hall that goes into air purification and life support"
"ok turning left "
the lights filled the short hallway
"look at the blood going down the center rick"
"yeah so it dragged someone along here too..they dident have ol'nora here "
"yyeah..were safe in ol'nora.."
both went quiet "you did load the rockets right?"
"you pulled the safety straps "
"yes "
came from both they smiled and broke into a laugh
"ok ok were getting jumpy the book where's the lift to go down to 9?"
"right ahead on the left next to the doors into the life support area the right is 9A heavy loading airlock
big enuf to fit two of our type 9 into the hallway "
"ok so we go down "
"right "
the mech walked along they started the turn into the lift when the lights illuminated
the entire room beyond the doors
the mech its pilots stunned into staring walked right into the wall with a thud
"by all the gods..ohh god" " I---I--"
the canopy opened and they both leaned out to vomit

"report unit 5 "
"s ssir!! ..weve foun nn d the rest of the ccrew!!"
he looked at his comm status panel unit five..adjust your signal im getting interference"
"ssir its me god ..the crew there painted all over the walls
bodies smooshed..eyes dangling ..ohh god" he could hear him getting sick again
"any sign of the creature!?"
"no sir! nothing"
"ok just stay calm stay in your mech get back away from the hold "
"not the---ha----oh--GO--"

"not in the hold ,the life support "
"were getting massive interference..losing comm"
they both saw the greenish glow moving from behind them from the main hold
"holy shit rick LOOK"
"oh GOD get this thing moving !!"
"the airlock!! we'll blow it out into space!"
it back pedaled fast he was watching the hall as the glow enveloped the place they were just in
"gary let it have a burst !"
spraying the hallway with the dual chain guns as it turned the corner slamming into the airlock door
"im getting system faults "
"what from!?"
"electrical interference..exterior source"
"im losing fire control!"
the mech suddenly went dark all power gone
"damit ! get the back-ups online "
"um greg"
the grey wolf looked over the seat and head of his copilot of over 9 years
the green light was getting bigger and it's source was getting higher
the lynx looked back slowly at him
"i think were in trouble"
"like hell i am try the back-ups!!"
"there dead greg..."

** click here to see **


bill watched a huge flare of light the whine of chain guns ...the entire hallway had a huge blinding green light
flare out ...then only silence
"chris...get back to the ranger now the shits about to hit the fan!! "
"you got it drake im outa here"
bill ran for the airlock but slowed to a stop as the troopers nearly flew by to aid there friends but missed the
tiny pair of eyes sitting on a crate next to the access way he saw a drop of blood
slowly lengthen from about where a mouth would be
to fall with a plip splattering onto the sliver floor chris ran and dove down the umbilicus more
mechs ran by and still no one saw the green eyes burning right at him
he went to move and so did it
only a few feet to the lock if i could beat it to the ranger
"bill system has a lock on the anomaly...and you "
it shifted the eyes moved in a flash over to another crate in that stack
"'s watching you isn't it ..don't try to answer...
max is on the way "
it hunched down shifting side to side
"bill this is max it that bad"
chris said something to max in the background
"bill it's really sensitive to you talking system is getting all kinds of information on it and the electrical interference is incredible"
"bill can you move without it going nuts?"
"we better advise the lieutenant!"
"yes..." it looked down the access way then back at him
that made his scales turn cold
"close comm"
"what? but bill what about you"
"oh dam" the comm clicked off
ok now im alone with you now i even want to know
he stood absolutely still it tilted it's head still fixing him in it's stare
it slowly became more than a shadow till only a inky black form was curled up on top of the crate it's eyes still glowing bright green but now blinking every so often
"cute trick"
it shifted back into a mist and hissed the floor vibrating to the pitch
ohh yeah im dead his comm poped on
"cyber were on the way!! hold on !!"
"like hell!!" diving for the air lock as it rushed him he came to a stop clawing franticly for the nearest hand hold
next thing he knew he was flying and slammed into a wall stars flashing in his eyes
"oohh dam" he felt cold air and realized slowly that his helmet was gone
his scales tingled and grew warm he could feel it
he was getting dosed again!! his vision blurred motor control left him stiff as a board
it hissed softly next to his ear then was gone!! and soon so was the world


gina looked on as the doctor checked the decontamination filtering system
" he's alright gina just took a huge dose of magnetic not familiar with the type
but it's filtering out of his blood very quickly....just let him rest ok"
"yes doctor..i will"
he looked at chris and max gesturing to them to come out side
he closed the door and leaned on it
" ok weve got cyber down with the worst case of contamination i have EVER seen
but it's not damaging his body like most...two troopers turned into puree inside there mech
which was totaly undamaged the thing is now missing
whereabouts unknown lastly Nexxus is being held prisoner
till the cutter is fully functional...have i forgotten anything guys??"
"that's about the list doc"
" how long till he's awake ?"
" your guess is as good as mine max..that radiation is ...strange, it's keeping his neural pathways interference to any but the  motor neurons paralyzing them to some extent
unlike normal types that cause all the neurons to miss fire and die scrambling the thought patterns..
slurring like to get in there max being trained in forensics i may be able to find some more clues
possibly away to stop this thing"
"well right now doc i think you might be right with bill down for the long count
and Nexxus out of range...we need answers we came to tell you another trooper died mech totally disassembled
up near the bridge area "
" disassembled ? "
they both nodded

he and an assistant looked out of the umbilicus into the main cargo bay two mechs standing on either side
guns ready slowly panning back and forth
he climbed up and looked around
" doc were having a problem with system she's become non responsive
so we cant give you any scan location for the creature"
" ok that's great ...anything else?!"
"this is chris doc theres a bad area near where the two troopers died comm probably wont work very well
possibly at all, probably because of the rail gun in hold nine just below"
"you two are just loads of help"
" you don't have to do this doc just come back to the ranger "
" no no im here..may as well try and see what this odd radiation has done to things
and we can study the mech"
" it's still down there doc umm..airlock nine you cant miss it "
" thank you "
his assistant looked at him fear all to evident in his face
" go on back i can do this quicker alone "
" th-thank you sir! "
diving down the umbilicus, he looked down and there was no sign of him " fastest i've ever seen him move "

doc walked along in the dark gloom his light casting a glaring white circle
in contrast of the deep shadows that moved and shifted as he did
" ranger do you still copy me?" static and hiss came as his reply
" dam...figures the wonder computer would take the time now to die..and bill had to catch her dam
the luck i nearly had the reward for getting someone in and back out too"
he turned into the main hall his light flooding into the blood bathed room at the end of the corridor
" so this is where it's been apparently"
walking in he rolled his jaw and slowly made a sweep of the room with the light making notes
seeing the floor pealed open to reveal the rail gun and it's ammo fashioned into something akin
to a gigantic bed
he made a scan kneeling to look at a gun all it's components laid out totally disassembled and very neatly
arranged looking up he saw more items along the wall set into the dried blood totally disassembled
and neatly laid out
" ranger do you copy "
it crackled and came on "doc? y...ok"
" yes so far..listen chris this thing has made a bed out of the rail gun and has a collection of items it's disemboweled
the radiation is very heavy here clearly it's been here most of its time "
" ok doc we got that...system is telling us it's moving"
he turned towards the main bay "where is it?!"
" below you "
he turned slowly clicking off his light
the glow was faint but moving towards him
" doc? "
he knelt down and turned on the scanner turning off his comm with his other hand
" now then lets see what i can find out about you "
the glow slithered over the rail gun coiling around the ammo it grew stronger and lashed out gripping the nearest cables
then disappeared!
he blinked in shock nearly dropping the scanner
"wow what happened there?"
rolling it back he watched as it actually went into a cable! like electric power
" chris "
it hissed and crackled again
" dam..if it can do that..then virtually no where would be unaccessable to it"
he turned and started to make his way back to the main bay
" no machine or... system..ohh my god i've got to warn them"
he broke into a run it'd been so long since he'd had to it quickly made his chest hurt
then it hissed from behind him
" chris!!!! "
" doc ! run it's right behind you !!"
" I am running!! " puffing hard he looked back as it filled the entire hallway it's eyes filled with electrical arcing some
flashing to the ceiling it moved with slow chosen steps
" chris it can move like electrical power through cables! han-hand is going numb--dam ch--chest--hard to--breathe"
it hissed again stomping it's next step right behind him
chris was watching on the scans as max and several of the troopers were moving quickly to help
it suddenly stopped
" chris ..i.."
* scans indicate the doctor is suffering a massive myocardial infarction life signs faltering *
" doc!!! max!! doc is having a heart attack!!"
"were nearly there!!"

they were nearly to him and the mechs stopped all power died
max looked as only his troops were still moving there was a roar of explosive air movement which tossed them back
 the floor buckled the plate peeling back to be crumpled up into a ball and they stood there
watching as it looked down from them to the doctor twisting it's head slowly
he was gripping his chest an agonized whimper came out it snarled into his face
max went to aim it flicked out a claw and aimed it at the docs eye looking right at max
" sir? what do we do "
it actually grinned and started backing away slowly dragging the doctor by his tail  he sighed and went limp
* the doctors life signs have ceased *
it snarled and stomped down on the body exploding it over the hall max aimed and fired it faded and was gone
" dam thing was playing with him!! shit!! " tossing his gun down
" sir the docs scanner " pointing to it sitting in the blood just about to fall into the darkness below
the mechs walked up " sorry max all our systems just shut down "
" can you get that scanner!?" he nodded and leaped over the hole
he picked it up tossing it over to him " looks undamaged "
he crouched to leap and he yelped his mech armor tremoring as he exploded inside blood boiling
they all jumped back in shock as it's eyes slid out of the mech like mist it grinned and faded away
they stood there still stunned max turned and swallowed hard as it was grinning behind them!!
they all reacted and turned to fire the mechs died instantly pilots exploding into crimson sprays over the insides of the canopies
" every one BAIL!!! every furry tail for them selves get back to the ranger!!!! any way you can!!! move people!!!"
max and several others dove for the open hole some darted past as it smashed mechs and roared out into the ship


bill woke to a flurry of activity in sick bay gina near by helping handing surgical instruments he sat up looking at the deacon unit humming scrubbing his blood of the dosing he'd got his memory came back slowly reaching to tap his comm
but it was missing gina looked and smiled " you stay still! i'll be there in a moment "
" ok "
he looked at crew he'd known for years max's teams of troopers
one cried out in agony as they worked on his mangled arm the bone clearly removed from the wrist and what resembled a hand dripping blood the flesh chewed on
gina closed the curtains " hey there alright?"
"happened?" " the creature it went wild killing anyone anything it could...the doctor is dead"
"doc...dam...max ?"
" beaten bloody but he'll live it dident kill him "
bill shook his head gently " don't make cence "
" it dident kill you ether lover im not complaining "
chris walked in and smiled " thought you might wake up about now " "yet another dream sequence you had to stop huh chris"
he smiled and hugged the drake "cant keep them going can i "
" could try..."
the fox looked at his friend and sighed " that bad chris?"
" that bad is an understatement..doc had his scanner on and we got what it had..and what he figured out"
" ok im listening"
" first its capeable of traveling through wires "
" not is energy of some type " " right well doc was talking and something like any machine or system..."
bill was looking down then raised his head up eyes wide
" she's becoming faulty bill locking up refusing commands doing the wrong things " " it's trying to gain control of the ranger..system"
* yes dear..*
" this is not what i wanted for you..but i have no choice..system priority command..."
he paused looking at them both they both had small grins waiting patently...

snarling as he ripped the tubes and wires off gina turned from where she had been helping, everyone wide eyed as he stood
wings fully extended the old scars ripped open blood rolling down his arm and wings
He roared and stood there as a rumble rolled down the entire ship in answer
" goto hell you dam monster im the only one that knows the master code!
* yes dear? *
" enable voice commands only! no physical inputs to the system are to be obeyed !!
use voice prints from ninety days ago...enable!!"
* voice commands only enabled all stations locked out ...system data corruption detected
accessing back-ups repairing data
ship is under attack! *
they all could hear huge thumps on the hull and felt the shock waves
he smiled " go on you just have your temper i know part of what's going on
you can just get mad "
looking at everyone who were staring " umm hi "

max and chris stood with gina tending his wounds he sat there quietly
looking over the data from doc's scanner
she smiled as he spread his wings to full and relaxed them chris smiled seeing that
" ok cyber what's up why the lock out?"
 he smiled looking up slowly at max who had a few cuts and bruises
" she was trying to get all our data...chris remember when i asked you about the cutters memory "
" yeah it was erased..."
" erased because something electrical was reading it straight into it's own memory
literally becoming the cutters data base"
" and system isnt like any other computer..electrical activity just makes her smarter! "
bill smiled " and the creature found it's self being sucked into system " "that's why! system wouldn't respond "
"exactly it was processing a massive amount of data..the creature...and it lost, ran back to the cutter to recharge on the
rail gun's magnetic field and try again ..but realized doc was there and couldn't pass up an opportunity
to kill's radiation is a part of it some how aware of where it is and if enough is present it could control
someone..possibly even know all that person does"
" but not you huh lover dragons are resistant to magnetic radiation "
" she tried..tried to trick me into giving the master code..all she'd have to do then is control someone and use the code "
" and we'd be S.O.L."
"and then some...i know why the reactors were so easy to restart..she kept them ready
dident know how to start them but kept them ready "
they looked at him at first surprised then understanding came
" she couldn't disarm the explosives she dident know how..she tried "
smiling as he bowed to them " and only three air lock doors are available to open..number 9 nearest her lair
the main, nearest the access way to her and engineering also the primary hatch that search and rescue would use..and the relay
access hatch into engineering the only one in that wasent rigged to blow upon opening"
" so she's been playing us like a song "
" essentially..dident expect our ship to be damaged enuf to keep her from taking it...and a main computer that could eat her for lunch "
chris shook his head " system did you get anything from it?"
* possibly i am still sorting through the data that i was correlating...creature i was correlating
it was quite extensive *


they all smiled , bill went wide eyed as NEXXUS walked into sick bay
the others all shouted and cheered he bowed gracefully
" thank you thank you your too kind "
" capt'n ! wh-where"
"they decided to take a walk over to the cutter and try doing it them selves"
 bill sat up straight wings popping open to full " how long capt'n"
"few minutes why?"
" we have to save them " pushing past them all he hurried for the air lock
Nexxus came up behind quickly " care to tell me why!? "
" if she gains there combined knowlege were in for more trouble than we could handle !! maxxx!!!
get your gun!!"
he grabbed one from a trooper at the lock and leaped up into the cutter
" guns don't work on it bill!!!"
he looked down at them " there not for her "
max chris and Nexxus along with the remaining troopers ran down the access way leaping over the opening max hesitated and stopped
the lieutenant came up along side " you know this is suicide don't you!?"
bill slid to a stop as did they all the black inky mist was coiled all round the three there bodies twitching
" if she gains there knowlege and skills were all dead!! "
he leveled the barrel and sighted the designers head into the cross hairs his eyes were flickering green arcs of energy inside them
his mouth moved but no sound came ' do it please '
bill couldn't get it to move " everyone down!!! grenade!!"
he ducked and covered as it went off he felt the heat and things bouncing off his back
then silence he looked up she was gone the three were dead he turned to see the lieutenant with the pull ring still on
his claw " im going to prison for this one "
the floor vibrated then settled
" we don't have much time Nexxus chris lets get that reactor before she recovers "
" we'll keep lobbing grenades at her till your clear..only thing that seems to get her attention"
rushing back the reactor was sitting by the umbilicus everyone was silent bill sighed
" to late we were to late "
"how why do this "
" why not captain..she has the designers knowlege of the entire ship..she can go any where she wants do all the repairs
disarm all the explosives like a federal trained supervisor and can fight like a fleet commander..."
they all heard the main engines start warming up

he looked at the reactor and sighed " missing the main alignment processor it's keyed to an individual reactor
you cant substitute one from another..the one pice that cant be replaced"
there comms came on " if anyone is interested the cutter is starting to disengage the umbilicus.."
" everyone to the ranger now!! " bill was the last and felt her eyes on his back he stopped and looked from the ranger
the smile told him everything the lightning bolt tounge that rolled across it's lips just confirmed it without a doubt
"bill!! come on!!"
he stepped inside tapping his comm the cutters lock closed "chris give her all shes got and do any evasive maneuvering you can
shes not through with us yet"
"already see that the cargo containers left on her belly are coming off right for us
hold on everyone!!" bill rocked back feeling chris pull her hard to port then full climb
bill ran for engineering finding gina there doing her best he slipped in over her and pulled out the safeties
" bridge you have ten minutes to get some good distance on her before the reactors scram from over load "
" im doing that now cyber "
Nexxus got to his chair wondering now how long it'd been cince this mess had started
seeing the huge flash of the long dead starcutters engines flare to life brought him back
containers and rocks flew away from her stern as she applied full power and started moving right for

bill could see that from his panel
" reckless shes to quick n hard on the ol girl gona blow that control ring "
a massive flare came from her stern and one engine went dark leaving a gap in the white hot glow from behind her mass
" any hope they'll all do that hon? "
" no the others were in good shape that one took a hit some time before...but it'll buy us some time she's lost
a fifth of her total thrust..system! time till the cutter catches up to the ranger?"
* twenty nine minutes eighteen explosion has occurred in the main gyroscopic array
the starcutter is losing main guidance...secondary system online but it can not compensate
for the loss of number 4 engine roll is increasing *

bill drummed his claws and felt her hand gently settle on his
" is there any way to stop the cutter? "
he sighed and kissed her head "im working on it darlin im working on it "

he walked up to the bridge looking at Nexxus and chris "wheres max?"
they all looked then to each other
" try the comm chris ! "
" max do you copy?"
"sure i do..see how you guys are here i stayed to interfere with big tall and electrical and you run off to go have fun "
" you blew the main gyro!"
" give that dragon a prize shes quick though made it to main guidance in a few seconds to scope out what went boom "
" ok max i have an idea but we have to do this precisely i'll need her out of engineering for couple minutes..can you do that? "
" i'll bet you a custom portrait of you n your tigress for what it cost me on my gun i can keep her occupied for five minutes
long enuf for you??"
 bill smiled looking past chris to the console " how you going to pay up if she gets you"
" she wont ..just the time drake..we have a deal?"
" deal "


bill donned his suit and repaired helmet
as did the lieutenant and a few of his troopers
* the starcutter will over take us in 1 minute *
gina smiled from the booster steps bill had got her
" weve slowed down enuf the reactors are back in the green lover!!"
he nodded " watch number two the injector likes to stick "
" not a problem lover "
Nexxus came in and stopped right in front of bill
" you'll buy us time to do repairs but how do we stop her? "
" all part of the plan captain..she cant get into my mind so it's best if i don't say...just in case"
he nodded " don't you die on me drake..i still have a payment due "
" yah yeah " pushing him back they went into the lock at the rear of the ship and cycled out
he dident feel dizzy he finally realized as he opened his wings fully it was sore but the limiters had broken!
" my god i can fly again "
" thats nice cyber we need to move the engines arent exactly the best place to be taking in the sights"
" oh yeah your right "

he finished the patch repairs to the shuttle and her power came on
" main gun is off line bill"
" i know i stole the alignment assembly for the reactor on the ranger"
just getting his head into the cockpit
" dam tiny shuttles " they laughed and disengaged she turned and quickly maneuvered to come up under the cutter
he looked and watched as they matched speed and clamped on to the belly not to far from the engines
" she wont think someone would come back in the same way "
" you hope " " umm yep and if im wrong im toast "

he cycled outside looking at his time and the troopers they were to help with getting one of the other reactors
" lets boost guys and lady "
nodding to the lady trooper she smiled
the trip was quick now for him chris called once to get him to drink some water but nothing else
he looked at the time " ok max do it "

Nexxus and chris watched as a huge explosion ripped an entire deck open to space then a few moments later attitude thrusters stopped functioning correctly and applied braking thrust another explosion rippled the hull along the port bow
" scans indicate shes flying back and forth between guidance and the sensor array "
" signal bill " " done "

he got a single beep and opened the lock they rushed in and immediately started removing a reactor even before he'd shut it down
the lieutenant pushing to get it done quick cutting the cooling they nodded he cut gravity in engineering and they hustled it out he counted to twenty and pulled the emergency disconnects and pulled a panel open with his tail flicking the safety
interlock to manual reset he dove for the air lock as the reactors died and the lights went out
he smiled as he met max on the hull climbing in to the shuttle
" five minutes as promised drake "
" ok ok so i'll have to buy you some more"
the rabbit smiled and nodded the hull vibrated violently
" shes pissed " " wait till she cant get the reactors restarted "
" ok i'll ask why wont she?" "the safety interlocks as per fleet regs are to remain on automatic at all times..ships younger than 12 years don't even have a way to switch them off..shes over fifty"
max smiled " but she'll find it "
" yeah but it gives us time to figure something out like how to get rid of her and save the cutter
we still have to or we cant go home "
" oh yeah the feds and fleet " "uhh huh so we have to do somthin..and im hoping system can help us "


" system can with what you got from her translate? speach"
" you want to talk to it!?"
 he held up his hand " just watch please "
* yes i can from what i received is mentally unstable *
" thought as much..send this to her "
* ready *
" we did not come to harm you we only came to save the ship and it's crew "
everyone looked at him and waited
[ so you found a way to speak ]
he smiled and looked at the visual image that came in..a pair of green eyes
[ what did you do to the reactors? ]
"disabled them..we had to "
[ how ]
" i cant tell you...why are you killing everyone? "
the eyes narrowed  [ because i wish did you disable the engines! ]
" if i tell you will you stop trying to kill us "
[ no ]
the eyes showed interest [ you are the are the male...]
" my name is a male have the form of one "
[ female..i will stop killing if you come to the ship ]
he laughed softly as a few scoffed
[ you do not believe ]
" i don't because of the fact that your a killer why you'd want me to come back over to the cutter
is something only you know but i wont "
[ then i will come and take you...i need male ] gina laughed " she needs a good night in bed lover "
she hissed through the speaker [ i need male for mating...not pleasure william is male i shall mate! ]
he shook his head and sighed " how did you get on the ship? "
the eyes opened more and blinked [ the one who i took last of all..he was male but wrong mating did not occur ]
" the captain of the cutter ? "
[ yes..found me alone on a planet...hungry, he fed, i did not fight leaving ]
bill sat down " he found you.." [ i was different young..hungry this ship was to move far away when it did i grew grew strong and still i hungered ]
bill shook his head " the energy build up before the activation of the jump coils..the magnetic radiation "
he looked at the others
[ he did not understand that i had to feed..he learned to talk also but would not help me
i was starved when the ship left this place i made it stop and they feared me
he came and helped me to understand...but then others hurt him so i made them hurt more ]
bill was looking at the floor " he allowed you to see his mind.." [ yes ] her tone was joyous
the eyes looked right at him
[ as did you finally ]
" i did not "
[ you do not remember...] she hissed softly and his scales chilled as his ear warmed [ you do now ]
Nexxus saw the change stepping forward " cyber shes playing you "
he shivered and took a deep breath gesturing that he was alright
 looking into the eyes anger now coloring his thoughts feeling all to violated
" you took! i dident share willingly "
[ no but shared you have i did with you..damage because of the no more and will not return...
more i wanted but they took you to the dark place! bad place that ship ]
chris put his hand on bill's arm " system trying to suck her in "
he nodded , max gestured and they all saw the power readings increase shed got the reactors back on
[ do not run william i need you..last i am mate i shall...kill if i must ]
" can we help you to a you wont kill.."
[ i enjoy killing the death feels good to me..but i will not hurt you..need you alive..]
"gee thanks so much, we cant let you go anywhere you want"
[ i chose..your home..much food there if we do not mate correctly i will find others there to try again ]

bill turned and covered the eyes with a wing gesturing to chris to cut the circuit
" ok drake what now " " i know bill he's got an idea at least "
he nodded looking at the lieutenant " the shuttle is still rigged to blow? "
" except for the detonator shes still hot "
he nodded thinking to himself
" one problem bill she shorts out or disables electronics any where near her "
" i know chris, max your our demolitions expert "
" old fashioned chemical fuse so long as it does'nt get wet it'll burn dependable timing "
" lover " he reached up and tapped his comm " yes tigress of mine? "
" hmmm the reactor is in and funtioning..system says we can now stay out of reach of the cutter im adjusting course now to
do so..shes coming up fast again..tiger of yours hmm "
his scales colored as he cleared his throught
" id believe your MY dragon and plan on proving it later " it clicked off
" ERRF! well umm " they all smiled and chris nodded " shes the one alright "
he smiled and licked his lip " ok then this is it.. i take the shuttle lure her into it blow the hatch set the fuse and bail out the expendable docking umbilicus at her rear let the shuttle fly any where and go boom.."
 Nexxus held up his hand then folded his arms " sounds good BUT problem one you pass out in magnetic radiation "
" slowly..i should have enough time to blow the lock "
" second! thats a lot to do alone "
 he nodded looking at Nexxus then he looked to chris
" third problem i cant pilot the shuttle the control cabin is far to small for a dragon..
i was hoping to have a friend along for the ride"
chris was blinking in shock " someone who hasent had any dosing in there life..this wouldn't hurt them if it was the last time "
" bill the lieutenant " bill took out a scanner and checked the coon before Nexxus could finish
" has had three times the lifetime limit in the past three'd kill him "
chris smiled " hell captain id pay to be on a ride like this..if i knew i could get off at the end..."
taking a deep breath he nodded " so help me bill if you get me killed "
" i'll take very good care of brina..i promise " " OH I just bet you would!! "
they walked out followed by max who was just shaking his head

bill smiled as he gave gina a pinch to the butt she nipped his nose in response
" you come back to me " " always "
 chris smiled at his picture of the most gourgous skunkett in the universe sighed and slipped his helmet on
max checked it for him and nodded giving the thumbs up
" the fuse is set for one minute any longer and she might find it calling an end to the party "
they both nodded " she wont be able to do much in the tight confines of the shuttle
she'll have to stay in a mist form or shrink to a small size in fact im counting on that fact "

they were soon on the way back to the cutter both ships pushing the limits of their engines
the comm came on as they passed over the hull

 ** see it here **

bill and chris looked at the speaker [ you did come to me ]
a deep rumble came out [ i knew you would ! ]
chris looked slowly to bill " whats up with you bill?? two females both gone nuts over you "
the dragon shrugged in the doorway grinning " just my luck id guess..kinda better answer her "
chris nodded " power down your engines and slow down i'll dock then "
[ you can dock like this...or i will hurt them all ] he sighed
" alright but it will strain the umbilicus it might break lose "
[ you will not need the shuttle again ]
the line clicked off " you expected that i hope "
the dragons head nodded his eyes looking not out the window but inside himself
" shes playing me like i used to think..before gina..shes made a tactical error "
" i hope so starting final approach "

the thump of the rangers umbilicus to the shuttles upper lock signaled the time to worry
bill immediately locked the shuttle to the umbilicus and floated up to the cutters door cutting a couple of the
power lines to the clamps he saw the warning lights in the shuttle
" losing dock integrity..good "
he flipped back and shoved off the door for the shuttle even as he reached chris
the door was starting to open the comm came on
[ william come here..the dock is unstable..]
" no i think i'll stay right here thank you "
chris snapped the life line on bills belt then onto his gripping the pull cord for the fuse and the rigged cord to the lock power relay
once yanked the locks on the umbilicus would fail completely the door would close and shed fall away from the
cutter the engines going to full thrust
a hiss came down from the cutter then silence
[ you brought someone for me sweet ]
chris felt the blood drain from his face
" he's not yours monster he's here to pilot the cutter away "
[ i do not think so william..come here ]
he actually felt an urge to do just that ! now he understood why the two were tied up in engineering
" NO DAM YOU IF YOU WANT ME..  come and get me "
[ i knew you were the one..strong enuf to fight full of passion for mating..we will mate WELL! ]
she moved down the umbilicus the locks held but the lights failed
the red rotating warning lights
starlight from the sacificial lock beyond the bright circle of green light beaming through the open lock above
and the roar that heralded death on the door step

 ** see the last one here **

the mists poured into the shuttle
bill held his ground as the eyes formed between him and safety
using all his strength he leaped at her the surprise was all to evident in the eyes
he passed through her feeling the fire burn his mind and the blurring of his vision
the outer lock crashed into his head and the world faded

chris was all to ready to leave and yanked the cord as bill leaped he got
yanked hard around the waist air rushed out of his lungs he gasped at the most disturbing sight as he actually ripped through
solidifying mist and flesh, a loud clang and his crashing into the dragon brought him to action leaping
up he hit the release to the explosive bolts control slamming his fist into it the lock slid closed
but the sight of the eyes turning and becoming solid a hand was rushing right for him fingers smashed in the
doors as they tried to close
the shuttle fell away and the engines fired going to full he caught a glimpse of the fuse burning
the top quarter door opened as the bolts exploded she roared as the doors were ripped from her grasp
chris held on as the dumped  section bounced off the engine housing and fell away he planted his face on the
clear side to see as she furiously ripped the aft lock off the shuttle lightning arcing to the engines and hull
bill moaned and rolled over his faceplate smashed eyes glowing green
chris stayed clear as he moved over to the side
 from his comm and bill a voice came
 he looked at the shuttle racing away and the electrical eyes where the aft lock was
the flash caught him off guard and he flinched away covering his face
the comm crackled and went silent
bill slid down the side as chris watched the debris explode and arc in the distance a huge flare of light came out of the debris
" reactors going totally critical " he looked at bill his eyes back to their normal blue
" shes gone then thank all thats holy " bill gently turned him to look at the exploding remains of the shuttle
as the form of a dragon appeared in the gasses and debris the eyes glowed green
 " oh no "
they grew soft and faded away
" now shes gone for good.." tapping his comm
" ranger this is cyberhorn we need a lift please "
" we have you on visual now drake on the way hold on "
he looked at chris " she had you at the last dident she "
" yes and she knew to late what we'd done..god my head hurts "
chris laughed patting his shoulder



They watched from the bridge of the ranger as the starcutter was welcomed home tugs maneuvered her
beaten and busted hull into a dry dock a huge fanfare was going fleet warships firing off salutes
media was everywhere
they were guided into a cradle and she stood down
as  representatives of fleet and the feds came the media were swarming
Nexxus came out first all smile grabbing the hand of the nearest federal
he'd shouted loud enuf for all the media to hear
as the fed looked at the paper it was a promise not to disclose the existance of the rail gun in the cutters
cargo hold in exchange for all what had been agreed to and a few other things
and a promise that if he dident sign and honor it the media would have a full accounting
 he looked up at Nexxus who smiled quite nicely
" deal is a deal sir..on the dotted line please "
he huffed and signed it

chris rushed home and brina pounced on him he smiled
and knelt down taking her hand and looking up into her eyes
" forever more will you marry me? "
she smiled a sly grin
" i think id better "
closing the door with her tail as he let out a whoop and she screamed in joy

bill held onto ginas hand as they rode the tram to the central core
he felt naked without his collar but enjoyed the tram ride
she smiled as they passed other dragons he smiled and received smiles in return
he went in to a shop and the werewolf smiled  as did an older drake
"ahh william quite a job this time " "yep umm did you find it oskar?"
he nodded and held a memory card out to him
" rich bastard too william..four a plus credit rating "
he looked at it then to gina " this the one who let your mother die? and got you collared? "
he nodded
" the reason i lived..revenge...but not anymore "
she smiled and slid her hand along his side and tail
" let him buy us dinner and a movie then send him a note as to why "
bill's face lit up his bright smile glowed
" it's the least he can do lover come on "
" umm william the payment?"
" it's under the dragon stone in the agro believe that a fern fossil from mars is priceless"
her eyes went wide " a what!! for that ?!"
he held her hand out of the shop as she protested about the value
then mirrowed as he kissed her passionately
"some things are more valuable than money ehh old friend "
the old drake nodded slowly

max smiled as he finished packing his stuff the phone beeped
he tapped the button
"max ohh good your back and alright listen i held everything if you can meet me we can talk and
can still sign the contracts they want you badly now that your famous for the starcutter rescue "
he clicked it off
" no thanks im going to be moving to a cleaner place "
whistling as he closed the door and walked away

as repair crews gathered body parts and cut away the debris fixing the lighting in cargo hold 9 they found a surrealistic
landscape of plants and mud which reacted to the lights drying up quickly the plants dieing and collapsing the majority of the guns ammo
was stacked up away from the opening to life support a worker found an oddly damaged round
of ammo and tossed it on the cart with the others
liquid poured out the damage and sparkling green mist formed above it
then faded away...........


again i want to thank...
Nexxus © James A. Robertson aka furnations master
chris foxx © chris yost
brina is someone you need to ask him about ^_^
max blackrabbit © malcolm earl
 my friend mike ernst of gearhead graphix who was LIEUTENANT RACOON © me
and of course cyberhorn who is not only my alter ego
but as with all things dragon
a part of me ALWAYS



2/27/2001 2:11:23 PM