Ascension: Welcome Mat

The shuttle flashed by, ignoring the Hakudo Maru. Ishikawa breathed a sigh of relief.

An alert scrolled up on his monitor. The spaceport outside Threetown was closed. Lieutenant Reyes saw it too. “It’s no problem,” Ishikawa assured him. “It means Cera and the rebels have taken the spaceport.” Then a voice call came in.

“Approaching ship, Threeworld is closed to all traffic. You need to veer off.”

“But I need to refuel,” Ishikawa said, which was true. “And I have a perishable cargo,” which was sort of true.

“Threeworld is under quarantine. Veer off now.”

“What do you think?” he asked Reyes.

“I’d guess Cera’s trying to tell us something over an open channel without telling everybody else.”

“We’ll land at the bay furthest from the port buildings,” Ishikawa decided.

As the freighter settled into the bay, a barrage of small missiles smashed into its engines. They failed. The ship dropped the last twenty feet, broke a strut and listed to starboard.

So, USNE had seen the men, he thought.


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