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Episode Ten

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We had set up a number of little traps to hinder the enthusiasm of our attackers. Russell had changed the security codes for the base's computer so that no-one could take over the station by remote access. Three of the four arms allowing access to the gravity ring had been blocked off by quick welding jobs. The others had dragged desks and lockers around the corridors of the spinning section to provide cover for us. Now it was just a waiting game.

We tracked the raiders as they approached. Russell and I stayed in the command deck whilst Nar'Bon and the Pak'ma'ra waited in the main stem. They had brought up body armour for me and Russell, along with our vacsuits. I monitored the events both within and without the base. Nar'Bon had a long Narnish flack jacket on over his vacsuit, whilst the Pak'ma'ra had a clumsy arrangement of two jackets over his bulky vacsuit. They were both roped to sturdy rails - it was quite likely that the main stem would depressurise when the docking arm was blown up. Nar'Bon carried two heavy assault rifles and the Pak'ma'ra the other. I was quite surprised to discover that the Pak'ma'ra actually knew how to use a ppg and was a quite handy shot. It didn't fit in with my impression of him.

Finally the Raider fighters came into range. It was a relief to be able to do something. They swept over the station, obviously aiming for the plasma cannons. I destroyed one of their ships and Russell another before they hit Russell's cannon. Russell then went below to join the others in the defence of the base. I disabled another two fighters before they wiped out my gun.

Since I was wounded and couldn't move around, I was the obvious choice to monitor what was happening outside the base. We were using the Na'Ka'Ri'Tal's com system for privacy. I kept up a running commentary on what was happening.

The assault shuttle had been hanging off, allowing the smaller, more nimble fighters to pick off the base's guns. It didn't seem to have any armaments. The remaining fighters came in to dock, but Nar'Bon's sabotage had worked, and the magnetic grapples were non-functional.

The shuttle then came in. Soon Nar'Bon had visuals. He waited and waited, holding off on using the explosives he had rigged in the docking apparatus. Only as the first mercenary entered the docking tube did he finally blow the detonators. The effects were, well, explosive, to say the least.

The shuttle was blown away from what remained of the docking arm. Four bodies spilled out into space. Two of these ignited backpacks and jetted back to the shuttle. The other two floated free. From what I could see, one had to be dead - his armour was torn open exposing raw flesh. We Narn may be tough, but open wounds can't resist the effects of decompression. The other may have only been wounded. Down to six Narn opponents. Wonderful. Only six of my fellow species. The two unmoving bodies were retrieved, despite heavy fire from Nar'Bon's assault rifle, and the shuttle moved around behind the base.

There must be another entrance around there. I reported to Nar'Bon what was happening. This was something that we had not anticipated. None of our traps or cover were set up for this contingency. Nar'Bon and the Pak'ma'ra quickly tried to rearrange the cover, but it was a mess. Within a few minutes I reported that there were enemy Narn on the station. My three companions were ready for them. I hoped.

I was in a most unenviable position. I was effectively useless. Powerless. I detest being helpless, but I did not have the use of one of my legs. Topping it all off, that leg *hurt*. I could make a difference down there if I wasn't wounded - I am not quite as good as Nar'Bon in hand to hand, but better than the others. I am also a good shot with a ppg and an assault rifle is only an oversized ppg. If things went wrong, I was unlikely to see my loved ones again. One Narn and two other sentients against six Narn mercenaries was pushing the odds.

Our opponents first used smoke, but I blew the airlocks and sucked the air out. The Pak'ma'ra was grazed by a burst of fire and developed a hole in his vacsuit. He panicked and fumbled around for a patch. Nar'Bon kept up covering fire, and I do believe actually hit two of the mercenaries whilst Russell tried to calm the Pak'ma'ra enough to get a patch on his vacsuit. I was very proud of Nar'Bon. He is a good Narn and will fight to the last.

The battle moved into the lift tube. The mercenaries had rolled an anti-personnel grenade down the main stem, and Nar'Bon signalled the retreat. The grenade exploded as the lift moved outwards along the shaft. A piece of shrapnel speared through the roof of the lift and hit Russell, slicing open his leg and shattering the bone. He screamed in pain, then appeared to pass out. Something lodged within the workings of the lift and stopped its motion. The Pak'ma'ra attended to Russell, tying off the lower part of his leg so that his vacsuit was not totally compromised and slowing the bleeding, whilst Nar'Bon broke through the lock on the floor of the lift. PPG fire was bubbling the roof of the lift and occasionally finding gaps in the barrier. Nar'Bon broke open the hatch and began climbing down towards the living quarters. Russell was semi-conscious. The Pak'ma'ra encouraged him into the hatch and towards the increasing gravity of the wheel. He shut the hatch behind him.

The last part of the battle was short. The mercenaries broke through our poor barriers. They used smoke again to reduce visibility. Russell hid somewhere. The Pak'ma'ra made some unholy noise and Nar'Bon cried out "Captain!" I was watching for the enemy and thought I saw something moving through the smoke. I fired at it as something descended upon me. Pain exploded through my head.


I awoke to head-breaking pain. Indeed, my head did not feel normal at all. There was a being trying to communicate with me. I just was not interested in talking. Eventually, though it forced itself upon my thoughts enough for me to take notice of it.

It was a Markab, and it was trying to get my permission to take me and my crew back to the Markab homeworld to be treated. They were very impressed with our efforts here.

Any movement of my head hurt so badly. Trying to think hurt. I squeezed out a yes and then collapsed again.


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Na'Tiel's Story / Lynne / last modified 29 February, 2000.