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I used to Dream Chapter (cover art)

Chapter 12 - I used to Dream[]

Drydocks 12-24, Complex H
Boojum Naval Shipyard
Kowloon System
Lyran Commonwealth December, 3086

[perspective shift, Boojum Naval Shipyard...]

The new guys didn't move right. Thought Elaine Waffenberger-131 as she adjusted her body position as a group of five men moved along the mostly unused catwalk over slip 14, where the core of a Landmark was waiting for the first body-structures team to get to work.

At the intersection between frame 52 and stringer 10 on the structure, one of the men climbed out onto the structure, and placed a package on the framework.

She didn't need to know what it was, only that they made some efforts to conceal it and that was enough. It was the fourth set of gantries they'd visited today.

Wait for it...

The men reached the end of the structure, placed a second device, and then signaled a transport shuttle that had been waiting off the dock.

"Go." she ordered.

The maintenance crews had already recovered the other devices as the strangers departed, and this was the last set on this particular assembly complex. The men boarded their S-7 shuttlebus and it began thrusting for the H-complex core-foundry.

She held up her finger, gesturing to manipulate the virtual controls, she crooked it and stabbed down. A signal was sent, and mooring lines were shot out from the gantry, snagging the shuttle and reeling it in against its engine's thrust.

"That's right, boys, you're not going to fly away after trying to nuke my shipyard, ******."  she muttered.

She crooked her middle finger, activating another displayed virtual switch, and the stored energies in the core-precharge system shot into the shuttle. The overload, and resulting EMP, would kill any electronics, avionics, or engine management in the shuttlecraft.

There are people you messed with in this world, she mused.   

You do not mess with guild-certed, union-represented, Rockjack Shipwrights under contract to the Boojum Yard.

She kicked off and used the maneuvering units in her workframe to approach the shuttle.

As she glided along the side, to the front windscreen where the pilot (who wasn't wearing a suit) was frantically trying to bring power back online. She reached out with an insulated crowbar, and tapped on the windscreen to get their attention.

The pilot looked up.

She raised her right hand, and made a gesture drawing her fingers down her face-the universal sign of 'put your helmet on'. He did not get it.

She hauled back with her left hand, workframe's thrusters maintaining present course and speed, she brought the crowbar down again, this time on the cover of the emergency release for the windscreen, the panel marked 'RESCUE' in bright orange and yellow. Then she reached out, to the uncovered manual release, and twisted it.

Pins in the structure were tensioned, then released, mechanical primers fired, triggering the explosive bolts and releasing the windscreen outward and upward, past her feet.

A strangling dirtyfoot pilot thrashed as he was spaced by his own shuttle's emergency systems. Behind her, Joachim-651 already had a beachball ready for the guy, and had him bagged and balled in one swift motion.

Two of the other saboteurs tried to shoot their way out.  The problem with using Dirtyfoot guns in space, is that the lubricant in the frames boils off instantly under zero pressure, and null-gee has a habit of enforcing Newton's 1st law on anyone firing a gun.

The bullets passed out the opening or sparked off the workframe's chassis but, did no real damage before the guns jammed.

The security guys broke in through the shuttle's side doors and took all five of the saboteurs from the side, demonstrating that some people have better zero-gee combat training than others. Two were bagged and balled because of suit breaches and the other three were hauled out in various stages of 'dead by decompression'.

"But we've got two of them." she smiled grimly.

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