raging across the earth for over a year. Fully 20% of the Earth's population was gone.
And those already in space were fighting to make sure that the quarantine held, that the deadly disease did not make it out of the gravity well. The one exception were the hospital ships, the converted cruise liners, which ferried the infected up to Station 5. There researchers sought a cure for the plague. The weightlessness, power, and isolation were ideally suited for the research efforts.
"Arosa Sky, this is Parasol, I've got you locked and loaded. Let's make sure you don't make the same mistake as the City of London last week." Jenny warned the crew of the liner. The other liner had souped up her engines before her last trip. The crew had tried a brute force acceleration out of the corridor.
Jenny and Abbey, her Defensive Officer, had thought that the G forces had probably made jelly out of the crew, but they fired their Hellfire 2000s up the exhaust plume. That had been their 24th confirmed kill over the last year. Some of the nuclear waste was still raining down on the planet below.
The Spacers as a rule now ignored any complaints or diplomacy from the Earthers. They had the tactical advantage with the gravity well. It had only taken a couple of well placed asteroids to drive home their point. The Plague survivors were being forced to cooperate. But even as little as 20 years ago, the Spacers would not have been able to be so callous. Back then they were still very dependent on critical supplies from the planet - they were no where near self sufficient.
"EllCee, we got any eyes in the sky nearby?" asked Abbie Brill.
"Negative Plucky, what's up?"
"I'm getting strange readings off of Arosa Sky. She's hotter than normal, hotter than the City of London."
"Think she's souped up?"
"Negative EllCee, she looks like multiple ships. But I only see the one. Did my Parasol's eyes get fixed as promised?" which was followed by a whacking sound.
"Plucky, you know hitting it does no good."
"Arosa Sky, repeat, this is Parasol, I've got you locked and loaded. You trying anything funky?" asked Jenny as she took over.
She quickly cut over to internal, "Abbie, are they all lined up?"
"No, engine signatures are all over the place. Wotcha thinking boss lady?"
"Give me a quick scan on NES 5."
"Just do it, now!" Jenny ordered her second. Gone was any sense of the playfulness from earlier. As the Arosa Sky clawed her way up, the fighter juked behind her.
"Arosa Sky, I haven't heard a peep from you. Cat got your tongue?" Jenny asked as she lined up behind the lumbering liner.
"That pinging you hear is my Hellfires about to pop you a new one.
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