Authors: Ben Winston
The Navigator – Book II
By Ben Winston
Copyright © 2016 Ben Winston
Published by Blue Space Publications, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed by a newspaper, magazine, or journal.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
This work is dedicated to all those that serve us in the pseudo-world of ‘black operations’.
Thank you for keeping the faith.
A note from the Author
If you have not yet read the first book, The Navigator: Beginning, you probably should before you read this story. Much happened in that book that has a direct bearing on this story.
That being said, and you having now read the first book, I hope you enjoy the rest.
- Ben Winston
He could hear a soft chiming as he slowly regained awareness of his surroundings. Slowly Joe remembered he was in an escape pod. That realization brought back the memories of The Citadel and Jarad Smalls. He looked up out the small window but only saw blackness. No stars, just a black void. So, he was still stuck in hyperspace, which meant he was stuck in the hyperspace event horizon of The Citadel.
Joe remembered deleting the destination of the jump Jarad had plotted before getting in an escape pod himself. Well, at least Becka and the others were safe. Taking a deep breath, he let his personal shield relax until he could hear hyperspace again. He knew the escape pod only had a sublight engine with no hyperspace capability at all. Currently the pod’s engines were shut down since the pods had no destination.
As he listened to the song of Hyperspace, he very faintly heard the sound of engines. Which could only mean that The Citadel was close by. 'Well, that would stand to reason if I'm still trapped in hyper,' Joe thought to himself.
"It is good that you can feel that, Major," a female voice replied to his thought, surprising him. "But let's see if you can get out of this mess."
Joe wasn't sure if he actually heard the voice or not. Briefly he thought he might be losing his mind, and it made him smile. He also had an idea who it was speaking to him. Since the voice had replied to a thought he had, he answered her in kind.
'I'm still a little disoriented. I must have hit my head when I got pulled into the event horizon. Nice to meet you Cassandra, I'm Joe,' Joe thought to her. He couldn't get a feel for what direction she was in, but he was becoming more certain every moment that she was actually speaking to him telepathically.
"Well, you can't be that disoriented if you can figure out who I am," she paused. "So have you got any ideas on how to rescue yourself? I'd help if I could, but you're too deep for me to influence the pod."
'Well, I have an idea about that, but considering your situation, you might not like it,' Joe replied.
"Oh? Tell me what it is first, then I'll let you know if I like it or not," Cassandra replied.
'Well, if you could let me feel your location, I'd have a point of reference. I should be able to move at least myself back into real space after that.' He paused. 'I know you don't want your location known, so if you will help me in this way, I swear I will not betray you.'
Cassandra was quiet for a few moments. "Joe, I want you to know that I know I can trust you. If it were only me here, I wouldn't even hesitate, but it's not. You see, since my departure from custody, I've been using my abilities to track down others like us and get them to safety before the government finds them. These people trust me to keep them hidden."
'Considering how you were treated, that's very understandable. People like us have a lot to fear from those ghouls. Unfortunately, you are the only person capable of giving me a point of reference. I'm sure you know better than I do that I'd need a reference point to get out of here," Joe replied.
"Yeah, you will," the woman replied. "The problem is I know we need you. You have to be saved. I just don't think the others will see it that way. All they will see is the risk to them; a risk they will not be willing to make for a total stranger, even if you are gifted."
Joe chuckled. 'I'm sure no one ever took a risk to save them either. I would be willing to bet that you have risked your life hundreds of times for them. Although, they are civilians, no matter how gifted, they are still just people trying to live their lives in peace. I can try to reach for Becka, maybe if I can find her, I can do this that way.'
"Joe, our entire community knows exactly who you are, who you work for, and what you are doing. You are the only gifted we know of so far that is an assassin. To most of these people you are the same as those that are trying to capture us, except you are far more dangerous because you are gifted. Like me, you are also one of the most powerful of us, which to them means that since no one can read you without you allowing it, no one will trust you.
"Smalls was insane, you are not. Combined with your strength, intelligence and training, many feel you are far more dangerous than Jared ever was. In many ways, you have come to be the enemy for a good portion of the people here. I've been trying to counter that, but we are large enough now that I'm simply one of many and have little influence over the others," Cassandra explained. "Lately, I've become concerned with some of the things I've been hearing. Rumors of striking back, of people using their gifts to 'fix' the situation on Earth. Myself and a couple of others have tried to moderate it, but the younger members of the group have done their homework; they do have valid points and convincing arguments."
'Cassie, it sounds like they are trying to start a war! You have to stop them! If the gifted attack the normals, they will never trust us again. They will hunt us down and kill us! Everything we are working for will be lost. I'm all for the gifted remaining free and living our own lives, but that is not the way to do it!' Joe replied.
"Dammit Joe, I know that! Why do you think I even reached out to you to begin with? I have no idea how to stop what's coming. The young ones have most of the community believing you are the enemy here! We simply don't know what to do anymore!" Cassie replied sounding desperate. In her emotional state, she let her guard down and Joe could feel where she was on Earth.
'My friend, your emotions let your mental shield slip there for a moment. I do know where you are now. However, I won't use that unless you agree I can.' Joe said.
"Damn, I was trying to keep that hidden," Cassie replied. "A few of the other elders agree with me that bringing you here might be a good idea. You could speak to the community and try to counter a lot of what the young ones are trying to do. I'm just afraid that it'll destroy what little credibility we still have and could get you killed."
'Go talk to the other elders and tell them the situation. As for harm coming to me, I'm not so easy to kill. I would also be honored to help you any way I can,' Joe replied to her. 'Just go talk to them; I'm not going anywhere.'
While Cassie 'left' him to speak to the other elders, Joe used his abilities to try and reach Becka. He couldn't quite reach her, but he could tell she was safe, but very upset.
He remembered that part of his mission had been to rescue the two girls Jared was holding hostage for their brothers. Briefly he wondered if that had been accomplished in the short time they had been on The Citadel. He decided that it probably hadn't. Someone would have told him the hostages were safe. Jarad probably had them with him, and in the excitement of abandoning the station, no one had a chance to really look for them.
That meant he had a job to finish on the station, he couldn't sit by and let those girls remain in limbo with Jared and his cronies. If he could only be sure they were still there and alive, it would sure help. Maybe Cassie could help him with that as well.
'Are you still there, Cassie?' Joe asked in the place that he had been speaking to her.
"Yes, I am, I'm speaking to some of the others right now. I've just found out we're being watched and monitored. The Young Ones are getting nervous," the woman replied.
'Part of the mission to kill Jared was the rescue of hostages he was holding. We had to evacuate the station quickly and I don't know if they were saved. Can you reach Becka and find out for me? I will need to go back to the station if they weren't,' Joe replied.
"If you get back on that station you might not be able to get out again. It has active jump engines, if you try to 'leave' it could very well collapse the warp field of the station," Cassie replied.
'As long as I am leaving with the hostages when it does, I have no issue with that,' Joe replied.
"You don't understand, the attempt would fail because the warp field would collapse; you would be killed when the station returned to real space at greater than light speed," Cassie explained.
'Uh, Cassie, the station isn't moving relative to real space. I deleted the destination part of the equation before getting in the escape pod. It has nowhere to go. If the field collapses, it should just drop out of hyperspace in the exact same place it entered.'
"Joe, the temporal and spacial equations are variables; they cannot be a null value! If they were, then that station is like a fly stuck in amber! Neither time nor space is moving there anymore!" Cassie explained.
'Cassie, I'm in the same warp field, if I'm not stuck, then neither are they,' Joe replied. 'Although, it would explain what I'm hearing of hyperspace.'
"I feel hyperspace like water, with waves and eddies, currents and all that. I can't imagine what it would sound like. What do you hear?"
'A sustained chord with no dissonance at all; like a pure unchanging harmony. It's actually getting a little irritating since it hasn't changed at all.' Joe replied.
He felt something; the connection he was feeling became stronger, more solid.
"You're not moving at all. Yet I can still talk to you. Something here isn't right. Yes, I'll speak to Becka for you. I'll need her to use the navigational computers on her shuttle to check something for me. Joe, I am getting a feeling that you are running out of time," she replied. "I'll reach for her. You might want to try to figure out how you're going to get back on the station if you have too."
'I might be able to see it if it's close enough and the lights are still on. If I can see it, I should be able to move the pod back to it. Getting in might be an issue, but one thing at a time,' Joe thought back to her.
"Good luck and be safe," the woman said and Joe felt a slight pressure on his lips as if he had been softly kissed.
He grinned and shook his head; that woman was amazing. Using his nano interface, he linked up with the pod and tried to maneuver it around so he could see the station.
The pod refused to move. The computer said the thrusters fired, but the pod did not register the turn. Frowning, he reached up to release himself from the restraints holding him in the seat. He knew he would be weightless, but when he moved his arms it took a great deal of strength to do so. He felt like he was in very thick mud yet he could breathe just fine.
Getting the restrains released, he raised the shoulder yoke but did not float free of the seat. He had to pull hard to get his body up to the windows at the top of the circular pod. He was very surprised to discover the pod was actually very close to the station; mere inches separated the pod from contact with the hull of the station. He was close to the docking bay Shana's shuttle had used. The outer door was still open, and he could see the airlock hatch. He smiled; he had found a way in.
Shana's shuttle was literally packed with refugees from the station. There were also several escape pods that had been ejected, and Shana was doing her best to locate and tether them so she could get them back to the planet. A task that was being made more and more difficult by Becka standing over her shoulder demanding to know if Joe was in one of the pods.
Finally, Shana turned on her friend. "I'm worried about him too, Damn it! But I'm not going to find him any faster with you standing over my shoulder screaming at me! Now, go make sure the people we rescued are okay and let me do my fucking job!"
Before Becka could blast her back, Dr. Symms stepped up behind the woman and gave her an injection. "I've got her, Captain. Good luck searching, and please let us know when you find anything."
"Thank you Doctor. I will," Shana replied as Symms helped a much calmer Becka back into the common area. Shana closed and locked the door behind them.
"Where is he, Doctor? He should have gotten off the station before it jumped. Why can't we find him?" Becka asked Symms as he helped her into the closest seat.
"I don't know Becka. We'll find him though, don't worry." Symms replied calmly. "Now, I only gave you a mild sedative to help calm you down. It should only last an hour or so, but by then we should be back to the planet."
They both felt the shuttle shudder slightly, and the scared passengers all got even more nervous.
"Doctor Symms, I need Becka in the navigation chamber; we need to get out of here, fast," Shana said over the comm.
Becka reached up and opened the chamber door since she was sitting right beside it. Taking a deep breath she got into the Navigator's seat and strapped herself in. She opened the comm. "I'm sorry for earlier, Shana. What's going on?"
"You're upset, I get that Becka, I am too. We have a bigger problem now though; I'm getting some really weird gravity spikes from the star. I've got all the pods tethered, and we're heading away, but need a course back to the BC IV orbital. We need to get away from this odd gravity shit or the tethers won't hold," Shana replied.
"Working on it. Did you find which pod Joe was in?" Becka asked calmly.
Shana paused a moment before answering. "I've talked to every pod, Becka. He isn't in any of them. He didn't make it off the station."
Becka fought the tears, but they fell anyway. She concentrated on the course Shana needed to get them to safety and handed it off to the shuttle's flight computer.
"Thanks Becka," Shana said quietly. "I'm really sorry."