8-Bit Software Online Conversion

Chris notices a sudden brightness in his station control room. He goes to the window and can see the City ship's three thrusters at maximum thrust. The trails of heat from the back of the City ship are probably half a mile long. The ship starts rapidly moving away. Chris walks to the comms terminal and hails Pete "Have you got a problem Pete" Pete "Yes, Dave's in trouble, I'm going to help" Chris "Will you need any support". Pete "I'm not sure, there may be fighting involved or the ship may simply be damaged and drifting and need finding. One other thing is that there's Thargoids out there but he says don't attack them" Chris "Strange, I've got a few things to do here that will take a few minutes but I'll catch you up in one of the dual interplanetary drive Vipers and then we can separate off when we get to the area". Pete "Great, I'm sure Dave will appreciate the effort". The wrecked Cobra is spinning slightly and its making Dave feel rather giddy. The spin is causing a disturbance in the level of antigravity in the ship and its making both himself and the Thargoid feel rather heavy. Apart from this rather unpleasent feeling he's also rather bored and has been for the last hour. His boredom disappeared when he saw a blip on the radar screen shortly followed by another. It must be the Thargoids he thought. He soon realised it wasn't. The Cobra suddenly shook. A small laser charge had hit the hull. A message came over the comms. "Had a bad day have we, thought you'd survived some skirmish, oh dear, can you give me any reason why I shouldn't blow you apart for scrap metal?". Dave "Who is this?". A short pause "Well lets all be nice and polite and introduce ourselves, I'm called Tony and my good friend over there is called Richard. Let me also introduce these two lovely craft, if you look out your window you'll see a rather nice white Krait with spanking new military lasers and to your left a rather weedy looking Sidewinder with pulse lasers". Richard "Hey, don't call my lovely Sidewinder weedy its seen a lot more action than your Krait" Tony "It may have seen a lot more action, but thats normally through the rear window while its speeding away" Richard "Better a live coward than a dead hero" Tony "You'll be a dead coward if you don't watch out" Richard "Oh yeah then what happens when you have to eject again, who'll pick up your capsule then?" Tony "Just watch it, you, Don't forget twin military lasers" Dave "Hey, do I understand you to be pirates". The Thargoid picks up his little communications device and types a few commands, he also moves himself away from any window and to the side of the comms camera. Richard "Hey that ship has just transmitted some very low level communications" Tony "Whats happening over there?" Dave "Can't you see we're just drifting, we have major electrical problems, and life support is minimal" Richard "Electrical problems, thats probably it" Tony "Here's the deal, if you've got anything worth more money than the scrap value of your hull then we will take that and leave you alone". Dave "Yeah right, isn't it more likely you'll take that and destroy the ship for the scrap value of the hull". Tony "Look what choice have you got, as you're going to die anyway surely a quick blast is better than freezing or slow suffocation". Dave "I'd like you to just leave us alone, in the knowledge that if you don't you will be killed by my associates". Tony "Associates, tell me more, you can't expect me to take notice of your threats without some form of evidence". Dave "Well looking at the console here it says that your ship is registered to 'Tony Greenwood', wanted with a bounty of 50 credits, small fry. It would be fair to say that practically anyone I know would be able to take out a Krait without too much sweat" Tony "You're getting to be very irritating in the extreme". Both Dave and Tony register on their radar two more craft entering the vicinity, within five seconds another ship can be seen at long range heading in from a different direction. Tony "It looks like we've got some action, I'll speak to you later Dave" The Krait manoeuvres away from the Cobra closely followed by the Sidewinder and set themselves on a course to intercept the third craft. The other two craft are approaching the Cobra. It becomes pretty clear quite soon that these are the Thargoids due to the size. Unlike the old style Thargoid craft containing up to 100 Thargoids these are lone fighters, but the size is almost unchanged. The two craft separate; one continues on to the Cobra; the other is in pursuit of the two pirate vessels. Richard "Hey Tony, we've got a rapidly approaching craft behind us, I think its a Thargoid". Tony "We'd better make our exit, we've got no chance against that". Richard "Hyperspace?". "Yeah Convar will do, thats close". Both pilots set up their hyperspace destination. Richard is almost at the point of pressing the hyperspace jump button when one of the Thargoids laser blasts hits the hull. Shields instantly depleted 90%, he pushes straight down on the controls and manoeuvres to head directly down and then around so that he's trying to escape under the Thargoid craft. He presses the Hyperspace button and the countdown starts. The Thargoid craft has released some remote drones of which three start firing accurately upon the Sidewinder. The shields are now at almost zero just as the craft enters hyperspace. A final lone blast directly hits the back of the Sidewinder and it explodes at the beginning of the hyperspace jump. All that can be seen is a ghost-like transparent explosion that seems to stretch out longwise across his field of view. Tony, a little shaken by the demise of Richard, waits for his own countdown to hyperspace. Two simultaneous strikes hit the front of his Krait. This time a Viper can be seen heading for him. He tries to return fire but within a second a fast zig-zagging missile strikes the side of his Krait. Shields depleted 50%. The Viper turns and doesn't continue the engagement but returns to head back on the course it came from. The Thargoid craft finishes the Krait with a single blast, an escape capsule is released which the Thargoid ignores. The Thargoid heads on after the Viper. The Viper's speed easily exceeds the Thargoid's and escapes, however the Thargoid continues on the same course. Within a minute or two the shape of Pete's City ship can be seen just as it registers on the Thargoid's radar. Two further blips follow and the Viper reappears to the side. Its pretty obvious now that the Thargoid craft is being surrounded. Uncharacteristically for a Thargoid it turns to escape the confrontation and heads away from both the Viper and City ship, unfortunately towards one of the other blips. As this other craft takes form in the Thargoid's view screen a bright purple light engulfs it; the Thargoid craft is instantanously destroyed, one single shot from one of Pete's escort guns. The Viper arrives at the scene and manoeuvres near the debris. Chris "What sort of gun is that, look what its done, am I right was that a single blast?" Pete "I'll be there in a second and have a look myself" Chris " You should see that plating thats floating about here, its as thick as a space station's" Pete "Yeah don't get too close to the gun though its unstable, but when they work, they Work!" Chris "I won't hang about I'll see if that other blip is Dave's ship" Pete "That other blip most be another Thargoid, they're not going to be too happy about the loss of this one either" Chris "This one was definitely attacking". Back at the Cobra the Thargoid craft has arrived and is hailing Dave's ship. Thargoid Fighter/Bomber "Is this the Damsels in Distress?" Dave "Don't tell me you're another Thargoid with a human brain" Thargoid "I prefer human with a Thargoid body but please yourself. You'd better get onboard, that Cobra's hull seems seriously impaired" Dave "How?" "Well I was going to escort your craft but considering the state its in I think you'll be safer over here. Have you got vacuum suits" Dave noticing the rapidly approaching blips of four other craft "Hey theres more craft coming". Thargoid spy "There's only a human vacuum suit here" Thargoid "Look I'm sorry about this I've got to run, my comrade has been destroyed and I suspect that rather large craft approaching is to blame, seeyah". The Thargoid vessel moves away. Within a minute the City Ship and Chris's Viper has arrived. They don't bother to pursue the Thargoid. Dave "Its great to see you Pete, who's in the Viper?" Chris "Its me Dave, I thought I'd come along to help". Dave "Thanks" Pete "Dave, you know you said don't attack any Thargoids, well I've just destroyed one, is it important?" Dave "Err.. talking of Thargoids, I'd like to introduce, what is your name by the way?" Thargoid "What, my old human name?" Dave "Yes?" Thargoid "Martin Wilson". Dave "Right, I'd like to introduce Martin the Thargoid". Pete "Why has it got a human name?" Martin "I used to be human" Chris "What happened?" Dave "We won't go into that now, its too long, what I'm concerned with is getting off this craft." Pete "What about the Thargoid, what are we going to do with it" Dave "Is there any way we can communicate with the other Thargoid craft that escaped" Pete "I can send a message in the hope it understands". Martin "Thats all right I can send a coded message" Dave "Right you send a message that he/it can come back and won't be fired on, Right Pete?" Pete "I suppose so". Dave "He can collect you from the docking bay on the City ship" Pete "That Thargoid craft will never get in there its too big" Dave "We'll release Martin directly into space in an escape pod. We can use the one in the old Viper possibly" Pete "Yeah fine I'll drop the Viper off with the Thargoid in, it can eject and then I'll pull the Viper back on board". After some half hour of activity Martin finds himself floating in an escape pod. The City ship disappears out of sight and a message comes over the intercom "Good luck Martin". The Thargoid fighter/bomber approaches and picks up the escape pod. Thargoid on fighter/bomber "Well I never thought they'd let you live, quite a surprise". Martin "A pleasant one". The Vantar system is becoming a hive of activity. Fifty Thargoid fighter/ bombers have hyperspaced into the system. At another far corner of the system a huge Federation armada has arrived. One hundred or so small fighters, some non-offensive support craft and the Mongoose. Lastly twenty Panthers have arrived. Calling themselves the League against Pete Augustin. There on a mission to destroy Pete and his City Ship. All of these Panthers have been kitted out with the latest missiles and armaments at the expense of all other items. They don't even have atmospheric shielding. Dave, Chris and Pete are all racing around the City ship's docking bay on spacebikes little realising the events happening in the rest of the system. Next Chapter: Dead Pilots Reunion