The Draedean Threat

{Year- 3090}
{Place-Dreadean Space Territory}
{Habitation: The Clepsydra}

Chapter 17- What a Headache…

Taylor's eyelids fluttered, his lashes coated in a thin crust of ice from the cryostasis he was waking from, and he groaned loudly as he turned his head from side to side. With his arms shaking, he lifted his hands up to his face to wipe the excess moisture from his cheeks and eyes. Finally, he felt the last grip of sleep on his mind slip away as his breathing steadied to a more normal level. When his eyes opened next they stayed that way, causing him a mild panic at the frost covered window plate in front of him. But this procedure was a familiar one and his fears were quieted when he realized where he was. Sankt was an ever present terror in his mind, cryo sleep or otherwise.

"Clep?" His voice was raspy and he cleared his throat, "Clep? Warm me up in here, it's cold!" Had he seen his face he would have been able to see his dark blue lips and white as death face. His hair clung in dark strands around his forehead and neck. He felt a steady increase in temperature and knew that he would be sitting there for another five minutes or so, just to recuperate. His mind went back to Sankt.
"Dear god I wish this was over with already." He thumped his head back against the wall. "I hope Zac and Ike haven't squealed…it'll make my life that much easier when I arrive but still…that's a huge ass risk to put on my family. Sankt can't follow my ion trails through space, he can't be THAT advanced." Taylor's mind held a small feeling of doubt but he didn't allow himself that sensation. He needed a break from all of that.
His throat was as dry as a desert and he realized that he had four more minutes until he was released from the 'freezer' and when let loose on his beloved Clepsydra. Just before he had allowed himself to be put in his cold sleep he had uploaded new programs to his ship and left Clepsydra to discern those and apply them when and where they were needed. One of those applications was a cloaking device, not a terribly new one, but decent enough. And on top of that, he had Clep add his shields upgraded to a red level instead of the purple level he had had before. Added to that, he'd made sure the droids installed his new food station, so preparation time was nearly cut in half now. And he made sure Sankt paid for all of his new weapons that he'd picked up while on Dead Planet at the Dead Dog Saloon. He was about to be reunited with his family, he had food, he had a good ship, and he had the best weapons on the market…could it get any better?

This thought had scarcely passed through his mind when the proximity alarms suddenly sounded. His cryo bay door slammed open and the air was vacuumed out. Taylor was flung out because of this, through all the loud hissing of cold air meeting warm, and he face planted on the deckplates, naked as the day he was born.
Taylor screamed in agony as the seemingly searing heat ripped through his lungs. He curled into a ball and tried desperately to suck in a precious breath but felt as though he had swallowed water. The ice crystals in his lungs were melting and outside of his cryotube there was nothing he could do about it. He could feel everything around him, his nerves, warmed too fast, were especially sensitive, and he could feel Clepsydra sending messages through the ship and into a bay further down the hall. A short moment later there was a medical droid at his side, trying to get a clear entrance through Taylor's mouth and into his throat. Taylor's thrashing prohibited the little machine from doing its job. The droid grew "frustrated" and shot him up with a nerve block in his neck. Instantly his struggles ceased. The droid expertly slid the tube through his open mouth, down his trachea, passed his vocal chords, and into his lungs. The tube sprouted from one into dozens upon reaching its destination, most of them going through the process of delivering oxygen in the most needed of places while the rest proceeded to gently suction up the unnecessary liquids. Taylor was suddenly allowed to move again, now that the droid was done with its job.
He felt a sob catch in his throat and brought his hands up to push the tears off of his cheeks and away from his eyes. What had just happened and why? Then he heard it; the proximity alarms were still blaring. He looked to the droid's readout display and saw that he would have to endure only a few more seconds of this irritating and slightly painful procedure. He cast his eyes around to see that he was on the very cold metal floor and that he was still very much naked.
"Breathe. Out." The mechanical voiced ordered.
Taylor did so, not prepared to have the tube yanked out along with his breath. He started coughing immediately, retching onto the floor next to him with the force of it. He choked and began coughing again, the tears springing easily into his eyes once more.
"Clep, what the fuck's going on!?" He yelled, dragging himself up. The medical droid took care of the mess he'd left behind.
"A ship had been sighted sir, one that matches the type that Sankt had been known to fly. Its signature is the same as his also. I needed sapient input to deal with this Taylor sir."
Taylor moved as fast as his recovering body could, gaining strength with every step, and reached his room. He was shivering madly. He threw on a matching outfit made from the ever-useful tronflex, and by the time he reached the cockpit his strength seemed to have returned full force. He flexed cold fingers and began tapping on various screens and toggles to access important information.
"Jesus! How the hell did he get so close?" His voice was raw.
"His ship has a higher grade cloaking device then I do Taylor sir. His signatures did not show up until he was within my new ranges."
"Damn it…high tail it the other direction Clep! Hurry! Push the ship if you have to, just don't kill your engines!" He ordered.
"I will not Taylor sir."
He ran to his com room to check for any messages that might have been left while he was frozen and found one, a note from himself to call Zac and Ike when he was unfrozen. He couldn't do that right now, it wasn't the most pressing thing on his mind.
"Clep, many days off are we from Denabux?"
"Three Taylor sir."
"Is that enough to get there ahead of Sankt without leaving any signs of where I was going to?"
"He has assumed the same flight line we have Taylor sir, his coordinates look to be the same. And no, we will not outrun him."
He was so screwed.
"Find me the nearest hospitable planet and only let me know if it's within range of beating him to it."
"Yes Taylor sir."
"Sweet Jesus…how'd I get myself into this…damn it."

So that was it. He had to fight. The only way to save his ass was to fight. Hell, sure he'd tried running, and that hadn't turned out how it was supposed to. So now he would try himself against Sankt's men physically. He could take him, with all of his new toys that had been put in his weapon closet. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that he could go against thirty of his thugs and take them out and not break a sweat in the process. This would be sweet and he'd be on his way home in no time, none the worse for wear.

"Taylor sir, I have found a suitable celestial body to suit our needs. It will give us an approximate lead over Sankt's cruiser of three minutes."
"Only three?" He felt despair suddenly clutch at him. That wouldn't do but what choice had he?
"Alright, get there. Get us there now!"
His head was pounding like mad, he had to get something for it or he wouldn't be able to concentrate. He ran across the medical droid that was still sterilizing the area Taylor had lain on.
"I need something for my headache."
The droid turned to him, its arms never stilling, and assessed the human. He gave his affirmation and presented Taylor with a small canister, much like the one Taylor had used on Dead Planet, and went back to its cleaning. Taylor ran off down the hallway of the ship, back into the kitchen for a much-needed snack.
"How long till we read this planet Clep?" He was ravaging the food dispenser, making all of his choices as fast as his fingers could go.
"Five standard minutes…you are lucky Sankt was spotted when he was."
"Yeah, I kinda fffigurred that out Crep." Taylor mumbled dumbly through a mouthful of crumbs and juice.
"Taylor sir, you should not be eating so quickly. You could kill yourself by suffocation if you inhaled a large enough piece."
He took a large gulp of his drink before replying, "Yeah well, it'd make Sankt's job that much easier."
The Clepsydra had no idea how to respond to this and remained eerily silent. Taylor grinned sadistically and finished off another bar of pressed meat and bread. He eyed another one of the things, noting its resemblance to a twig, and shrugged. He could easily eat on the run. He stuffed it in his mouth and ran back to his room for another quick change of clothes. His first choice had been merely wrought of desire to cover his freezing body.
"What kind of climate are we going in to and what should I be wearing?" He called to the ceiling.
"We will be in a moist environment, heavy foliage in some parts, sparse grasslands. Only one continent was cleared for sentient living, no deadly predators or plants of any sorts. You will desire this continent over the others?"
Taylor was busy looking for appropriate outfit, "You're damn straight. What color are the plants? I wanna blend in as well as I can."
"The indigenous species are all of dark muted browns, greens, grays, and reds. Very few yellows, but a rare gold flower called a (poasiet). I do not feel the need of this color in your final clothing choice."
Taylor nodded quickly, "Thanks Clep, I have no idea what I'd do without you."
He felt the speed of his ship diminish as the ship's computer answered, "You would not have made it this far Taylor sir."
The aforementioned grinned, "You know it." He finished pulling on his dark brown tronflex pants over his legs and waist, fastening them at his waist. He cursed silently when he realized he only had flashy colors for his weapons belt. There was no way he could put his guns under his coat, it would slow his drawing time to the point of allowing the enemy to get a shot off before him. Taylor finally opted to just leave it be for now. He'd come back for weapons after he had a quick scout of the surrounding area, perhaps giving himself that much more of an advantage over the men he would be fighting.
"Taylor sir, you are needed in the cockpit."
"Yeah, coming." Taylor picked up the last half of his meat and breadstick and hurried out of the room, one boot still halfway on/off, it's clasp banging against the floor as he ran.
"Where're we touching down at?"
"There is a forest Taylor sir. The optic machines picked up a perfect spot for landing, one that will both fit us in easily and cover us up just as well."
Taylor's fingers danced over the correct buttons and controls as he prepared to enter a planet's atmosphere, "Make sure the shields are kept up at maximum when we're going through Clep, we don't want the ship beat up in case we take this dog fight back up into space."
"Yes Taylor sir."
Taylor sank back into the seat, buckling himself into his safety net, and prepared for, what he would call, a bumpy ride.

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