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” Mr Santini we had an operatives on board the EE1 that had been very helpful to us and I am sure will still be so, but just in case I want you to pay them a visit and explain the situation for me. I want you to explain that once a part of the Nest always a part of the Nest. I want you to explain that the consequences for not serving the Nest to their best ability can be a health risk, and please be sure to thank them for their assistance so far  we wouldn’t want our operatives  to feel under valued now would we”  Santini smiled his  grimacing smile even made Ross feel uncomfortable . The car stopped and Santini got out as he started to leave Ross added ” Oh and Mr Santini I want you to see if Doctor Lane left any personal belongings at the station , I heard from Campbell and it seems that the disc with the specifics of the RG1 control is still not within our possession see to it will you please ” Santin nodded and left ” Home Driver I need  a Bath  I have mixed today with such unsavory people I feel positively  unclean ” The driver acknowledged the order  and the Limousine eased away gently and headed for Ross’s private estate , Ross started to dial on his mobile  ” Hello Sir yes I have instructed Mr Santini to recover the disc if he can, Yes sir the other matter has been resolved  we now have two  operatives at area 51 sir including yourself . I believe you have met sir on the EE1 in Doctor Lanes Laboratory ” The voice on the other end asked for Ross to identify who it was ” Is that wise sir you may be under observation and no knowledge can sometimes be as helpful as too much, they will make themselves know if needed sir protecting both you and them . No Sir this is not a controlled operative but a paid one sir very reliable ” The person on the other end abruptly finished the call and  left Ross hanging ” Hello hello Sir are you there hello ” he seems to have gone no matter I had nothing further to say he thought to himself.

Area 51 was in total lock down while the RG1 was at the base  Campbell had it locked in the Containment vault for dangerous materials just in case, after all he had not fully understood the machine and the transmitter had not sent  him enough information to analyze the workings of the device .  He still felt angry that the job had been botched by Johanson , and that Lane had been killed they really needed him at this point . That is why the disc they now sought was so imperative, without it they could proceed no further in turning into a lethal Space born weapon.

Mr Santini arrived at the station he was in the guise of an Earth Experimental vehicle engineer , his mission now was to contact the operatives and relay the message from Ross to them and to find the Disc if it was on board. At the check in he was greeted by Mack ” Any Contraband not allowed blah de blah de blah I’m sure you are familiar with the speil tech man ”   he said to Santini who nodded and flashed his engineering pass and walked through security into the main ring.  Mack somehow had the hairs stand on his neck but couldn’t explain it , his eyes followed Santini for a while and he radioed Phil Doors . Passing another security officer standing at the hangar door Mack barked ” Take over here ” the man replied ” Yes Sir ” and started to check the other passengers that had just arrived on the same ship as Santini. He followed Ross’s man into the main habitat ring  and watched from the shadows as he knocked on a door, a female voice quite startled asked him in ” Oh yes come in I have been expecting you ” Mack stood outside the door and tried to hear, Phil had tracked him down and slowly walked up to him whispering he said  ” What are you doing ” Mack put his finger to his mouth and said gently for him to be quiet while he listened . From inside the room voices could just be heard ” So you know what you have to do ” asked Santini ” Of course I do I am not stupid my information has been accurate has it not get off my back, and don’t forget you have no one to threaten me with I am in this for the money just like you ”  Santini raised his voice and was clearly angry ” No one except you  remember after this operation is over you become expendable ” the female laughed ” Oh is that so well I took steps after Lanes death, I recorded every conversation I had with the Nest . I have 6 recordings and  they are in a safe place should anything happen to me, you Ross and the man will be in so much hot water you will need to leave the Galaxy to stay free.”  Santini  slapped the woman hard she screamed ” Try to cross me again and I will push you out of an  airlock alive ” he screamed  Mack and Phil moved back into the shadows as he left so as not to be seen.  Mack said to Doors ” Find out who is in that cabin and let me know, then have her watched around the clock  I will deal with the other one “

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Mack walked into his office and sat at his desk  he took a folder out of his top draw , in the folder was a computer disc that logged all the events of the Lane investigation. There was something he couldn’t put his finger on but just something didn’t sit right with him, this machine was supposed to be so miraculous so awesome that it would change the world but where is it now . The Nest had been broken up and yet the machine was still in the hands of the Area 51 Scientists it just didn’t seem that easy, at that moment Doors walked in ” Hi Phil  look at this will you and tell me I am wrong ” he gave Doors the folder who started to read  it ” What am I looking for seems cut and dry to me ” Mack rubbed his chin and took the folder back ” I know that’s what is getting to me, you know we never found out how the Nest found out that the RG1 was on the Corinthian ” Doors now seated stared at Mack  a vacant stare as if waiting for more information  ” And  ”  he asked  ” Well it seems so strange that they knew where and when the machine was being transported, and how it was going to travel I told no one did you ” Doors closed his eyes and thought about who could have known ” No one  I told no one oh! hang on there was one other person apart from you and I that knew , Professor Campbell I had to tell him so that he could prepare for the devices arrival at Area 51 . He said that a special area had to be made for the device so that it could be stored safely, but surely you don’t think he would have told the Nest guys after all he was he was with us ? ” Mack stood and walked around the desk and sat on the corner edge ”  I get the feeling we were manipulated somehow into allowing the device to leave the station, I also get the feeling that maybe this Nest organisation is not a dead as we think ”

Ross was still awaiting  trial for his involvement with the theft of the RG1 and the related crimes , but without Felix to testify no link could be found to implicate him any longer his guilt wasn’t in doubt but the proof was now gone. Ross was released and allowed to  travel back to Mars and his company at Meridian , as he left the Police holding cells a car pulls up and the driver gets out and opens the door for Ross. Sitting in the rear was a familiar face   ” Mr Santini so nice of you to come and pick me up , I trust I have you to thank for the clean up to our problem ” Santini didnt say a word he just looked at Ross  nodded and grinned  both men got into the car  ” Excellent and the machine you know it’s location now of course ” Santini grabbed a briefcase from the seat next to him and handed it to Ross ” Yes of course I was sure that was where it would be,  Mr Santini before you take me to the spaceport I have an errand to run , we are going on a trip to  Nevada Vegas to be precise  I have a job for someone ”  Santini Pulled back a partition to the driver and just said “Vegas” the car slid smoothly away from the Police building watched by the Officers who had to let him go ” I want that son of a bitch ” said one officer ” He is as guilty as hell and no doubt had Felix hit , and I am going to prove it ” The officer in question was Inspector Raymond Quell , if a suspect was in  his sights  it was known at the precinct as a Quells Quest . Not many had managed to get away from Quell if guilty and he wasn’t going to let Ross be one of the exceptions . ” I want a tail on them everywhere they go and although that scum may have thought he got off with this he’s wrong , I placed a tracker in his suit lining  I want to know where he is and where he has gone is that clear ” One of the subordinate officers by him said ” Yes Sir I will get on it now ” .

 

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Meanwhile back at Area 51  Professor Campbell had taken possession of the RG1 , he had also used his authority to bring with it the remainder of Lanes team. His intentions to utilise them into developing the machine Lane had invented into a weapon, Area 51 was after all now a private concern with government backing and a military agenda. He considered Lane’s idea of the RG1 as a benefit to mankind an altruistic view of it’s use, he had more capitalistic and subjective view of it’s use’s. Realising that this device could actually be more powerful than a nuclear deterrent, for with this device any structure or object could be transformed into an explosive and deadly item with the flick of a switch. Governments would be powerless to stop the device from turning their nuclear missiles into anything the user desired, harmless and no threat to anyone whilst converting other seemingly harmless devices into weapons of mass destruction.  All that was required was a control system and a platform that could reach any target on Earth without detection, Professor Campbell had considered the EE1 as a base of operations for the device but discounted this after considering that too many governments had installations on the EE1. So he put into motion the building of a platform in geostationary  orbit that could be launched within the next few years, and unknowing to Doors and Mack this had been his intentions from the moment he had gained access to the device. His plans had been in motion well before he had boarded EE1 , the accidental death of Lane was an unforeseen bonus to him. He had known that sooner or later Lane would have had to be dealt with, as there would have been no way he would have allowed the RG1 to be turned into a weapon.

On board the EE1 Lanes body had been released and arrangements had been made for a funeral service for him, Professor Cornish had words to say as after learning of the mind altering effects his device had  on the Doctor had mellowed her hatred of him. She hadn’t forgiven him for causing the death of her friend , but she had at least come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t entirely responsible. For years she had blamed him entirely as did Mack , but now they had the truth the loss was still to painful for them both to reconcile. But it was time now to put the past behind them and start to come to terms with Heather’s suicide, knowing that she too may have been affected by the device whilst in operation at the Lane’s home was most likely to blame  bought some closure.

” I had known Gareth for many years through university and I have to admit we didn’t get on all that well , I was of the opinion that he was a brilliant man but too focused on his work . I know now that this was not of his doing and that the device he was working on was responsible for many of his actions, some of the results of those actions you know when his wife committed suicide. But she too was also a victim of the same malady that Gareth suffered, and it has made me above all realise that as much as we think we know there is much  that we should be wary of .  It is good to know that this machine that took them both from us, has now been put in a place of safety and will never threaten anyone ever again”. Amber finished her address to the gathered people who had come to pay their respects, flowers and wreaths were placed on the coffin,that had been placed in an airlock  then she concluded the service ” We now commit Gareth Lane to deep space where his body will travel the universe, may his soul rest in peace ” The airlock door was closed and without evacuating the remaining air the outer door was opened , and clamps were released that were holding the coffin , As the air exited the chamber so did the  Body of Lane,  destined to travel  among the stars for all eternity .

 

 

 

 

 

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Through the unconventional yet very effective methods Investigator Maze used , Felix was now telling all that he knew about the Nest’s dealings with the RG1 situation. He gave them names and places where they could be found, all on the understanding that he was sent to Earth to serve any time he was sentenced to.He explained the the Nest did  not operate on Earth, and that all their dealings were off world colony based. He told them of Ross and how how wanted to control the machine, how he wanted to stop it from making materials he supplied. How he also wanted to make precious metals from other matter to enrich his wealth and lifestyle of the Nest higher guard . Since Man had ventured into space it was known crime would follow in was inevitable, but this was the first signs of organised crime . Felix also told them that if the device did manage to get to Earth Ross knew that it was to be stored and researched at Area 51, he had already taken steps to compromise workers at the base to feed him information. This was the first time they had ever had operatives on Earth, the device was considered to be worth the considerable risk.

With all the information they had gleaned from Felix and the device now firmly in safe hands. Mack and Doors returned to EE1 to report the findings and to conclude the investigation into Lanes death, Johanson had been sent to Earth to stand trial for the manslaughter of Doctor Lane. It was accepted by the prosecution that the installation of the monitoring device had caused the malfunction that killed Lane, it was also accepted that his death was an accidental result of this tampering with the RG1 and was not intended . It was also clear Lars Johanson had acted under duress and the threats to his family by the Nest were taken into account, justice in this century was swift and computerised , even the judgement  was handed down by Computer methodically logically and with no other consideration but the law in mind. It was deemed for not telling the authorities that he had been threatened to commit the offence an act of passion on his part, but the actions had been treasonable as he had acted against the governments of the Worlds security. So for the Manslaughter of Lane he received 10 years cryogenic suspension, for the act of treason he was sentenced to 20 years cryo with 10 suspended for mitigating circumstances. He was also reminded that for this act alone he could have been executed , as treason still was punishable by death and was in fact the only crime the death sentence still a punishment for . Lars understood the lenience the court had showed and accepted his fate with bravery ,the knowledge his family was now safe in the  protective witness program was something he was also thankful for.

As for Felix his was a different matter he was tried for Murder, complicity to Murder , and treason the little man expected to be imprisoned for his crimes as arranged on Mars . But he was told that any arrangement made with the Mars authorities was null and void on Earth where he had asked to go to trial, he had thought to manipulate the system and escape his crimes with a cryo sentence. But this was not to be for his involvement with the blackmail of his victims to commit crimes and treason, Felix was sentenced to death the sentence to be carried out after further interrogation concerning the Nest. It had been said that a plea bargain may be sought to repeal his sentence to cryo imprisonment for 40 years if he gave up all he knew about the nest. This was all read out in court for all to hear and sitting in the rear of the court Santini knew he had to silence Felix once and for all, Ross had already been arrested for his part but had not yet come to trial . If Felix did turn his evidence over to the authorities Ross would also face the death sentence, and Santini knew that if he failed this time the Nest would have him killed without question . He slipped out of court and climbed the staircase to the balcony of the court lobby, as Felix was lead away a shot rang out and he fell dead at his guards feet. In the confusion and screaming as people in the lobby dived for cover Santini slipped away, he calmy strode through the lobby while others where trying to discover what had happened and simply disappeared.

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Mack Fired the shuttles landing Jets and the craft gently came to rest on the landing pad near Crabb,they donned their space suits and the door of the air lock folded down and into an exit ramp. Crabb walked towards the suited men with his hand outstretched ” I don’t know who you are but you just saved our skins thank you, Mack replied ” It’s me Captain Crabb Mack from EE1 ” The captain smiled and took his hand ” Ah thank you Mack I guess you came looking for us when we didn’t show up at the Lunar Station” Mack nodded ” We traced the homing beacon in the vault, and it led us right to you, but have to be honest Captain it was pure luck . We had only just attained Mars orbit when we detected the beacon as the planet was obscuring it for a time, then we  noticed the kerfuffle on the pad and guessed what was happening glad you and your men are ok ” remarked Doors . Mack asked if they had lost any men ” Yes two of the new men  sadly, but we take care of our own their families will be well looked after ” Mack and Doors added “If they need anything just let us know, after all they were helping us out and we are indebted to them ”  added Doors .

The RG1 was now back in safe hands and Felix was in custody , he would be questioned  at the Meridian complex and held there for trial . Meanwhile Santini had reported back to Ross about what had happened at the Riga base ” Well  Mr Santini seems your original task has not changed just it’s reason Kill Felix before he can testify, I don’t want him telling the authorities anything about our operation on Mars ” Santin nodded  and left without saying a word. At the headquarters of the Mars Poice administration buildings Felix was shuffled into an interrogation  room and was made to sit and be handcuffed to a chair, across the table from him were Mack Doors and a Police Sargent called Daniel  Maze . Maze was well known in the sector for getting information from his suspects, in space there was no Geneva convention no book of human rights and therefore no rules on questioning suspects .  For at least 4 minutes he just stared at Felix no one said a word finally  Maze very softly spoke ” Going to ask you a few questions, don’t like wasting time with my perps so you want to tell me anything you can ” Felix smirked at him and in a smarmy voice replied ” Yeah right “. He never saw the fist that hit him he just felt the pain and the  motion as he was spun from the chair, still handcuffed to it his hands twisted behind him and the cuffs cut into his flesh ” Arrgghhh stop stop you can’t do this I have rights ” Felix had only ever been arrested on Earth before, there they had very strict rules on prisoners and how they could be treated. But Felix had just found out that no such rules apply on Mars,” Listen scumbag this is not Earth and we don’t mess about with scum we ask them once, if they don’t talk we use more persuasive measures to get what we want” Doors added ” Yes things like Electron sticks, stud gloves, oh and my favorite the finger crushers” A panic started to overcome Felix ” look you may do to me what you like but you can’t kill me , my boss he will kill me if I say anything to you ” All three men laughed and started to walk out of the room Felix was confused ” So that’s it that is the hard interrogation from the hard hitting  Mars Police and he laughed ”  Maze turned back and just said ” No Sir but we can see you are more frightened of your boss than doing time so we are going to let you go , we will take you right back to your apartment and shake hands with you at your door and leave . The organisation you work for will see a very helpful informant being taken home by a grateful Police, I would say you will have just enough time to phone whoever you need to say goodbye to before they have you killed. We will sit and wait and catch the ones that killed you and get the information we want out of them ” Felix was picked up and frogmarched back to his cell as he walked across the exercise yard between the two officers escorting him back to his cell , he felt a sharp pain in his thigh as a bullet ripped through his leg and into the ground. He screamed in agony and fell to the deck clutching his injured leg, the two officers grabbed him and ran for the cover of a nearby  building.

Watching from a safe distance Maze ,Mack and Doors smiled at each other , “Well if that don’t make him talk nothing will”  Maze replaced his gun back into it’s holster . Felix was taken to the Hospital to have the hole in his leg stitched, he was terrified and it was clear that he had fallen for the Police Detectives plan ” Get me Maze” he shrieked Felix ” I will tell him anything he needs to know “

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Mack Fired the shuttles landing Jets and the craft gently came to rest on the landing pad near Crabb,they donned their space suits and door of the air lock folded down and into an exit ramp. Crabb walked towards the suited men with his hand outstretched ” I don’t know who you are but you just saved our skins thank you, Mack replied ” It’s me Captain Crabb Mack from EE1 ” The captain smiled and took his hand ” Ah thank you Mack I guess you came looking for us when we didn’t show up at the Lunar Station” Mack nodded ” We traced the homing beacon in the vault, and it led us right to you, but have to be honest Captain it was pure luck . We had only just attained Mars orbit when we detected the beacon as the planet was obscuring it for a time, then we  noticed the kerfuffle on the pad and guess what was happening glad you and your men are ok ” remarked Doors . Mack asked if they had lost any men ” Yes two of the new men  sadly, but we take care of our own their families will be well looked after ” Mack and Doors added “If they need anything just let us know, after all they were helping us out and we are indebted to them ”  added Doors .

The RG1 was now back in safe hands and Felix was in custody , he would be questioned  at the Meridian complex and held there for trial . Meanwhile Santini had reported back to Ross about what had happened at the Riga base ” Well  Mr Santini seems your original task has not changed just it’s reason Kill Felix before he can testify, I don’t want him telling the authorities anything about our operation on Mars ” Santin nodded  and left without saying a word. At the headquarters of the Mars Poice administration buildings Felix was shuffled into an interrogation  room and was made to sit and be handcuffed to a chair, across the table from him were Mack Doors and a Police Sargent called Daniel  Maze . Maze was well known in the sector for getting information from his suspects, in space there was no Geneva convention no book of human rights and therefore no rules on questioning suspects .  For at least 4 minutes he just stared at Felix no one said a word finally  Maze very softly spoke ” Going to ask you a few questions, don’t like wasting time with my perps so you want to tell me anything you can ” Felix smirked at him and in a smarmy voice replied ” Yeah right “. He never saw the fist that hit him he just felt the pain and the  motion as he was spun from the chair, still handcuffed to it his hands twisted behind him and the cuffs cut into his flesh ” Arrgghhh stop stop you can’t do this I have rights ” Felix had only ever been arrested on Earth before, there they had very strict rules on prisoners and how they could be treated. But Felix had just found out that no such rules apply on Mars,” Listen scumbag this is not Earth and we don’t mess about with scum we ask them once, if they don’t talk we use more persuasive measures to get what we want” Doors added ” Yes things like Electron sticks, stud gloves, oh and my favorite the finger crushers” A panic started to overcome Felix ” look you may do to me what you like but you can’t kill me , my boss he will kill me if I say anything to you ” All three men laughed and started to walk out of the room Felix was confused ” So that’s it that is the hard interrogation from the hard hitting  Mars Police and he laughed ”  Maze turned back and just said ” No Sir but we can see you are more frightened of your boss than doing time so we are going to let you go , we will take you right back to your apartment and shake hands with you at your door and leave . The organisation you work for will see a very helpful informant being taken home by a grateful Police, I would say you will have just enough time to phone whoever you need to say goodbye to before they have you killed. We will sit and wait and catch the ones that killed you and get the information we want out of them ” Felix was picked up and frogmarched back to his cell as he walked between the two officers escorting him back to his cell , he felt a sharp pain in his thigh as a bullet ripped through his leg and into the ground. He screamed in agony and fell to the deck clutching his injured leg, the two officers grabbed him and ran for the cover of a nearby  building.

Watching from a safe distance Maze ,Mack and Doors smiled at each other , “Well if that don’t make him talk nothing will” scoffed Maze. Felix was taken to the Hospital to have the hole in his leg stitched, he was terrified and it was clear that he had fallen for the Police Detectives plan ” Get me Maze” he shrieked ” I will tell him anything he needs to know “

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Crabb had been looking out of the gaping hole in the wall and had seen Felix talking to his man,” Ok lads look’s like they are going to toss a few grenades in here, and from what I can see it looks like a chemgas grenade “Captain Crabb was a long time veteran of two wars ,the grenades he had seen before and issued instructions to his men. Listen lads they are going to toss in a couple of chem grenades what  type I am not sure , but just in case they are the type that eats through mask’s and I think they may be . I want you to get another breather mask and keep it in it’s case till the last second when the grenades break, they are glass gas grenades so there will be no explosion but the gas will eat through anything , I have seen them before  Mr Collins get me all the  extinguishers  and a Tiger scope. A tiger scope was an electronic gun sighting scope it was deadly accurate, on earth they were used to shoot  bats that had the Rabies virus . They had night vision and predicted targeting, that is they shot where the target should be not where it was a useful tool for a moving target . Crabb set his gun up right opposite the gap in the vault wall , he could see Felix pulling his men back  The captain then barked more orders at his men  ” If a grenade gets past me spray yourself with the foam extinguishers, it will stop the gas eating your mask’s if  I miss them . When I shout change your mask’s  all  fire at anything that moves,no need to aim just fire through that hole in the wall  and don’t stop firing till I tell you to ” .

Two of Felix’s men stood before the vault and were about to throw the grenades when pale blue laser beam, shot from the vault and hit one of Felix’s  men killing him instantly . He dropped the grenade and as it hit the floor Felix ran as fast as he could away from his fallen colleague  , immediately the gas started to eat through the masks and suits of anyone near their fallen man . Felix gathered his wits and pulled the men back  Crabb could easily see out of the hole that had been made in the wall of the vault, as the vault lights shone across the landing pad he could also see if anyone moved. The Captain’s laser beam shot forth again and and  another of Felix’s cohorts died his screams masked by the vacuum of the Red planets airless atmosphere.

As Mack bought the Ship around  over the Riga colony he could see the landing pad and what appeared to be the Corinthians Vault, he could also see it was being attacked and the laser shots emanating from within. He could see the ships that had attacked the Corinthian and the the men surrounding  the vault firing back at it, he bought the shuttle around an fired a warning blast from the frontal lasers . The thugs attacking Crabb and his men in the vault, were caught totally unawares  they scattered like rats fleeing a trap in all directions . Crabb saw that this was his chance and ordered his men to get out of the vault quickly ” Get to cover and we stand a better chance out of this death trap, keep your heads down boys it seems we have help up there  I don’t know who it is but at this moment who cares ” The men ran for cover and started firing back at Felix’s men, two were hit and fell to the ground a third was vaporized as Crabb caught him full beam with the laser from within the vault . ” Fall back fall back Felix shouted this was his last command , he stood up to run turned and he was hit square in the back  by a blast fired from one of his own men that bounced off the wall of the vault, he fell to the ground squealing in pain and writhing on the floor . Seeing him fall his me scattered and ran they could see the battle was lost and saved their own skins by deserting the little man to his fate.  The firing stopped and Crabb stood over Felix  he kicked away Felix’s gun and signaled his men to pick him up, ” Well well look who it is Felix I thought you had been killed years ago, what a day not only do I get those responsible for destroying my ship but I catch a wanted felon with a price on his head” laughed Crabb.

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Crabb sprang to his feet  and shouted to his crew ” Breathers on lads whoever is out there is cutting through the  wall and we could decompress any second grab hold of something, sure enough as they put their mask’s on the was a loud screech as the air in the vault rushed towards the wall where the cutting was taking place and where it had been breached. Lucias Crabb was set up behind a mound of boxes at his fingers on the trigger of a fast firing laser cannon, ” OK lads they want in lets help them shall we ” He fired 4 long blast’s at the wall and it exploded releasing all the air at once that was left . The debris shot across the landing pad like missiles cutting down anything in it’s path, several men were killed instantly, those at the wall who had been cutting through were vaporized as the laser cannon spit death at them. Crabbs men opened fire as Felix’s men tried to get into the vault, man after man fell as the crew of the Corinthian cut them down ” Fall back fall back Felix’s shouted ” The firing stopped and a deathly silence fell as the smoke cleared Crabb  could see at least 15 or 20 bodies lying on the  twisted metal that was left of the vault ‘s wall , from outside he heard a voice calling to him on a loudspeaker ” Captain Crabb hold your fire I am coming to the wall to talk ” Crabb signaled his men to hold fire. ” Very well we will hold fire but any tricks and we destroy what you came for ” And what do you think that is Captain”  Felix  scoffed . Crabb pulled the RG1 right in front of the holed wall and directly in front of his Laser weapon ” At a guess I would say it is this ” Felix could see the device and knew if it was destroyed his boss would have him killed , little knowing that was to be his fate if he succeeded . ” I will offer you a deal Captain give up the device and we leave you and your crew will live, we only want the device you and your crew are not important to us ” Crabb shouted back that he didn’t trust whoever was shouting an ultimatum at him ” How do I know that after we give it up you wont kill us anyway ” Felix assured him he had his word,  that all they had to do was push the device out of the vault and he and his men would leave.

As Doors and Mack approached Mars the radio beacon from the vault started to bleep it’s location , ” Mack look it’s the beacon we have it on the scope , according to this the vault is at the Riga colony ” Mack changed his course to head for the location pinpointed on the radar scope .

Felix was angry that he couldn’t get his hands on the machine and even more angry that he was being thwarted by some aged captain of a cargo barge , he had to get that machine whatever the cost . As he was trying to decide what to do   one of the pilots of the attack ships came up to him ” Sir why don’t you use gas grenades ” Felix scolded the man ” You fool they are wearing breathers, gas will not affect them ” The man looked at Felix and he was holding an orb grenade ” Maybe so but these grenades are acid gas Sir it will eat through their breathers in a matter of minutes,  then  we just walk in and take what we  want after the gas has cleared ” Felix grabbed the globe grenade off the man , ” How many of these do you have ? ”  he was told that they had two cases of the grenades but they would only need two in the small confines of the vault .

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Felix shuffled into the office Ross greeted him by nodding his head at Felix, ” What do you have for me Felix . for your sake good news I hope “, Felix smiled confidently ” Yes Sir Mr Ross great news we have the device, it is on it’s way here at this minute ” Good good Felix you have redeemed yourself , and how pray is it being delivered ” Felix pulled from his coat a video tablet ” I have it here sir a video of the complete operation” Felix set the pad down in front of Ross and pressed the play button ” I see you took the whole vault did you get it open and transfer the device to a ship ” Felix shook his head ” No sir we couldn’t  open the vault the crew of the Corinthian had locked themselves in it as a protection from decompression we think , and it is their armory vault  so thought it better to bring it back intact. Had we have attacked it and blew it open the machine may have been lost or damaged and we didn’t think that would please you, once back here we can cut our way in and deal with the crew then Sir .” Ross agreed that it was a good plan but told him ” Don’t bring it here take to our facility at the Riga colony , a subsidiary that can not be traced back to us do what you have to there ” Felix nodded and left Ross picked up his phone and dialed a number ” Mr Santini   I have a job for you some lose ends that need to be tidied, I want you to go to our depot at the Riga colony . There you will see a group working on opening a very large space vault, once open you are to see to it there are no survivors to  complicate things for us understood ” Santini acknowledged “Oh and Mr Santini do not look in the vault or I am afraid I will regard you as a lose end are we clear ”

Mack and Phil Doors had been unable to get a fix on the vaults beacon but had set course for Mars colonies to refuel , ” Once we refuel we can get back to the search we can also replenish our supplies of food and water, we may be out here for quite a while ” said Mack . Doors was looking at a chart of the space lanes and security reports, he noticed that there had been a number of attacks by unknown craft in the area of late  all centered around Mars and the Titan colony . He cross referenced the type’s of ships attacked and their departure points ” Mack look at this if you cross reference all the ships and departures all of them left from Meridian One or had been due to dock there, what you say we go and pay the port master a visit it may tell us  where the Corinthian vault may be ” Mack said it was a sound idea and as they had no other leads agreed, he changed course for Meridian one and sat back the journey would take them 3 hours at maximum speed.

Unaware that his boss had ordered his elimination along with anyone else at the Riga facility Felix had decided he would get the device what ever the cost for Ross, ” Maybe if I do this I will finally stop getting looked down on by that snob, and be treated  with the respect I deserve for once ” he thought to himself . The Attack ships landed at the Riga compound and as they did the vault hit the ground  with a tremendous blow, skidding across the floor and gouging a deep ridge across the  landing pad. ” Get the cutting tools out don’t try to get in on the door side,  go around the sides the walls are the weak spot once we get inside kill anyone in there on sight ” he yelled.  The laser cutters started to eat their way into the metal, from inside the crew of the Corinthian were recovering from the landing impact when they started to smell the acrid smoke from the wall as the laser cut it’s way through.

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Doors moved slowly through the ship towards the bridge he didn’t find any bodies as he searched, so he assumed that the crew had been either taken or were still somewhere on the ship. He came to the door that entered the bridge and knocked hard on it waiting for a reply, he knew that if the crew had managed to get to the bridge and seal themselves in he could not open the door yet. He noticed by the door was an intercom and he attached his audio line to it , ” This is security officer Philip Doors from  Earth Station 1, is there anyone on board please respond.” he waited but no reply came he tried again still no reply. Doors pulled the emergency door release panel aside and grasped the release lever, he pulled hard and the door slowly opened . He entered the bridge and again there was no sign of the crew, he went to the ships log recorder and pressed the playback control . The screen flickered  and the captain appeared on the screen ” Corinthian log we are under attack by several ships, none of them have markings I think they must be pirates , We have a hull breach and are loosing atmosphere fast , we are taking portable oxygen and going to evacuate to the armory vault. We have 36 hours of oxygen and have released the distress beacons , hopefully help will come before our breathable air runs out end log 03.10.21.07.2346. ” Doors radioed Mack ” They were attacked and have taken refuge in the armory pod along with the RG1 , I am going to there now to see if I can make contact.

Captain Lucias Crabb was assessing the situation ” We have 22 hours of air left lads the beacon was launched and we are well within the space shipping lines to be detected, I am sure it wont be long before we are picked up keep hope my boys ” Crabbs first officer walked up to the captain and beckoned him to talk away from the rest of the crew ” Captain are you sure about that I have been on vessels for most of my service career , and this vessel is moving and fast too” The Captain put his finger to his lips to shush his officer ” Quietly  Morgan I know but hopefully the rest of the crew hasn’t noticed that yet , I think when the ship broke up the explosive decompression ejected the armory vault into space. I don’t know how but the outside of this vault is warmer than it should be . If we were in space I would have thought we would be having difficulties by now keeping warm, there is no internal heating in this vault apart from our body heat but we are not freezing. My Guess is we are in either within another ship or we are in a force field and are being towed , that would explain why we haven’t  froze as a force beam causes some protection against the conditions in space. I also think that when that force field drops and we get to our destination we will have visitors , and not friendly ones so arm the crew we are in an armory pod after all and that’s one thing we have an abundance of in here. Tell them it’s just a precaution as we don’t know if the pirates will try to get in , don’t mention that we have moved they all think we are still in the space lanes and can be rescued of that I am no longer sure to be true ”

Doors reached the hold where Crabb had shown him the vault ” Mack it’s gone the whole vault has gone , it seems to have been cut away with a powerful laser I can see the cut marks very precise. This was no explosive decompression the ships side has been cut away. and the armory vault removed my guess Captain Crabb and his crew along with it “Mack did not think that the Nest would be able to get such resources to take down a battle cruiser like the Corinthian’s armor but she wasn’t armed so maybe it wasn’t such a problem ” Ok Phil get back to the shuttle did you down load all the ships logs ” Doors said he had and that he had also found out from the logs that the armory pod had a tracking beacon on board it ” I think the beacon has to be activated inside the pod, we must scan for a signal in the beta band range ” Mack set the radio scanner “Ok scanning ……… Nothing on the screen but maybe we are out of range ” Doors told him that it had a range of 1100,000 kilometers . ” Well in that case the only colonies out side that range is Europa Prime and Titan , we will set course in that direction when you get back aboard ” Mack radioed the Augustine ” Captain the crew is not aboard luckily for you otherwise you could have been facing severe charges, the Corinthian is noted as your salvage but you will take it to EE1 is that understood it must be examined ” Woodford  was annoyed and said that EE1 was too far of his course , but after Mack threatened  to have his ship searched at every port he docked at he agreed . Mack got the docking break signal telling him that his ship was now detached from the Corinthian and that Phil Doors was back aboard , he set the controls and the shuttle sped off into space towards the outer colonies.