The Draedean Threat

{Year- 3090}
{Place- Denabux}
{Habitation- Hanson family home}

Chapter 2 - System Error

An alarm sounded in Zac Hanson's room, forcing the teen to slam his hand over the small device and attempt to open his eyes. He failed as he let sleep claim him for the moment.

[Half Hour Later]

"Zac! Wake up! You're supposed to be programming the irrigation for the hydro plants!" Isaac cried the hissy hydroponic nickname out while shaking his brother.
"Crap! God, Ike! Move!" He jumped out of his bed and run passed his older brother in only his pants.
Isaac rolled his eyes and ran after him to help in the programming. He jogged down the steps and heard his mother exclaim, "For heaven's sake Zachary! Put some clothes on!" and then "Zachary Walker Hanson look at this mess!"
Isaac ran through the kitchen and saw what was left of breakfast lying all over the floor, "Five second rule!" He yelled, grabbing a hand full of food.
He ran out the door stuffing food in his mouth, noting that Zac did the same while running in front of him. He couldn't help but laugh when he examined the rest of his little brother. An old, holey shirt was half on half off his shoulders with one arm through a long sleeve and he still didn't have shoes or socks on. The computer building came into view quickly as Isaac watched Zac speed up and slam through the door. He wasn't so far behind him that he didn't hear his father roaring at Zac's tardiness.
Isaac himself finally slammed through the door and noted again that Zac still wasn't dressed right, even though he was sitting at a computer terminal rapidly tapping in various codes and orders for the irrigation system.
"Still want some help?" Isaac asked softly.
"Naw, program the droids if you want." Zac called back.
"K." Isaac sat down next to him and typed in a message to have the droid storage bins open.
He stood up and headed out for the storage unit waiting for the droids to roll on out. He did a subconscious role call as each left the facility and noted one was missing. He blew his hair off his forehead with a jet of air from his mouth and warily peeked in the opening.
"Where are you... ya plug ugly.." He asked himself in his head and headed into the small structure, looking for the squat servicing machine. A faint red light glowed in the back of the shed.
"God damn it! DAD! We gotta dead droid!" He yelled over his shoulder.
"What number?" Came an irritated yell.
"Uhm.... hang on!" A second later he flashed a light on, "Number TC-22!"
"Again? Trash it! I'm sick of dealing with repairs!" His father's voice echoed.
Isaac looked at the bucket of bolts, "Whatever."
He was mildly irritated at having to throw away such a new droid. Repairs were supposed to be Tay's job and he'd been in circuitry training for most of his life and he was an expert at it by the time he left for the 'mobile infantry'. Credits were hardly scarce around the farm, but everyone there hated to have to buy a new droid every time one broke down and they couldn't fix it. The circuitry teacher had long since left Denabux for newer clients since Taylor's skills nearly surpassed his own, so nobody was really able to do much then the regular circuit by-passing and little more then that. Life on Denabux was scarce and meeting new people happened rarely, but lately though, more people had started to occupy this backwater planet in a remote galaxy.
"That's probably why Tay left in the first place." Isaac told himself.
Taylor hadn't seemed to like living in such isolation. He was always the rebel type and being a farm boy didn't exactly fancy that life and the way he handled it was to get the hell out of dodge as soon as he felt he could take care of himself. He'd only sent money twice and only contacted them once in the passed year and a half to say he wouldn't be talking to them much for awhile, he had to keep 'a low profile because of the war'. Isaac rolled his eyes.
"Riiiight..." He thought sarcastically.
"Zac? Help me out here!" Isaac yelled. The stumpy droid was heavier then it looked.
Zac's wide frame filled the doorway as he shook his head, "That's supposed to be Tay's job. Why hasn't he made contact yet?" He whined, hefting one side of the useless droid up.
"Too damn selfish, that's why." Isaac answered through clenched teeth, "Dang! This thing weighs more then you do and that's saying something!"
Zac gave him a mock glare, "Ha.ha ha.... not funny curly." He retorted.
Finally, reaching the trash bin, they attempted to lift it above their heads to drop it in but failed as Isaac's hand slipped and the droid tumbled backwards behind his back.
"Timber!" Zac's cry filled the air space before the metallic crash replaced it.
Laughing at his brother's antics, he placed his hands underneath the dented metal and watched Zac do the same.
Zac looked Isaac in the eye and said sarcastically, "Now this time... don't drop it ok Isaac?" He stated as if he were talking to a two year old.
"Stuff it buddy man." Isaac replied.
Together, they both hefted the droid over head and dropped it in along with the other recyclables.
Isaac sighed, "Come on. Let's get back to programming."
"Oh yeah, this'll be a hoot."
"I hear ya." A sarcastic remark was left hanging in the air.


{Year- 3090}
{Place- Selvmatej Star System}

"System Error.. system error.. system error." Clepsydra's voice bounced off the small ship's interior, alerting Taylor of some problem.
"Clep, describe problem." His tired voice ordered before a yawn overtook him.
"Outer deflector shields on port side are malfunctioning. Repair is needed immediately." Clep said.
"Clep, you know we can't stop anywhere for help. The Union's after my ass now." He reminded the computer in a scornful tone.
"This is known Taylor sir. Another suggestion?" She asked.
Taylor already knew but requested it anyway, "Yes, another one please."
"Taylor sir could repair it by rewiring the system."
Taylor smiled to himself. It felt like talking to a real human, the programmer did a good job on her. He thought about the ship's name, 'Clepsydra' Greek for 'water thief'. He laughed shortly at the inside joke. The first thing he'd stolen had been a water tanker destined for some space station in dire need of the H2O. He'd named his ship after his first successful heist.
"Prepare the air lock and open my suit cache up Clep." He ordered his automated ship.
"Yes Taylor sir."
Twenty minutes later, Taylor was suited up as his ship came to a standstill for his rewiring job. He tested audio and visual conformations to the ship and received the go ahead from Clep.
"Hey Clep?"
"Put radar out for any possible ships, asteroids, comets, or anything in this sector. I want it on constant alert and I wanna be alerted the second anything changes or comes into this zone."
"Yes Taylor sir." Clepsydra responded.
Taylor approached one of the many scorch marks on his ship the fell victim to many chases from the Union Officers and found one he didn't recognize and saw the small indent and shook his head.
"Too easy.... way too easy." He smiled to himself and pulled out his laser torch. He struck it so the controlled beam of light shot out and he began his work. He cut open the patch of charred metal and ordered Clep to vacuum that area closed and she did so. The laser cut through the metal easily enough and he pulled it out, sticking it against the magnet on his side to make sure it didn't float away. He spotted the trouble at once and reached for his wire strippers. The singed remains of the ground wire for the deflector shields showed the damage and he tried to snip the wire when it spit sparks at him.
"Shit! Clep, shut off the port deflector for a minute please!" He spat out, angry at himself.
"But Taylor sir, that goes against protocol." Clep sounded surprised.
"Do it Clep or I'll replace you so help me!" He yelled through his com-link.
"Yes Taylor sir." A moment went by before her voice came again, "It's on a two minute delay that's all you get."
"Thank you Clep." He sang sweetly.
He darted his gloved hand at the wire and he proceeded to cut it, half expecting the wire to spit at him again, but it didn't. He found the other end of the ground wire and quickly melted the cables inside together to complete the circuitry the deflector shield needed. He smiled and ordered Clep to over ride the two minute delay and she did what she was told. He welded the ship's hull closed again and started talking to Clep.
"Score! It's fixed Clep, anything else out here I need to repair?" He asked.
"No Taylor sir. That was the only major hit sustained." Clep reported.
Taylor blanched before asking, "What other hits were received Clep?"
"An impact occurred on the starboard side Taylor sir."
"Did it puncture the hull?" He asked tensely.
"No sir." Clep answered calmly.
"What does the profile suggest it is?" Taylor's voice carried a tone of panic.
"A tracking device of some sort Taylor sir." Clep answered.
"Fuck!" He screamed. He turned on the propulsion system and sped over the hull of the ship and saw the small tracer attached to the frame of the ship.
"Damn it." He cried, taking his laser torch and blasting the small unit into a pile of molten metal.
"Taylor sir! Four space craft are approaching the sector at high speed!" Clepsydra warned loudly.
"Identify!" He yelled into his com-link while speeding across the small ship's surface.
"Union officers with weapons armed. Suggestion if requested." Clep stated.
Taylor reached the hatch and pulled himself inside, "What!?"
"Leave the sector at top speed Taylor sir." Clep said.
"Deflector shields up at maximum! Evasive maneuvers, full speed out! Go Clep!" Taylor ordered in an alarmed frenzy, tearing his deep space suit off while attempting to run to the cockpit. He tripped on a leg of the suit and face planted on the cold floor. As soon as he righted himself the ship's power sent him tumbling head over heels back to where he'd started from. He growled in frustration as he felt a crack as the ship was hit again by a laser bolt. He finally struggled to the cockpit and sank into the pilot's chair, strapping himself in snuggly. The deflector shields still hung in the area of maximum power as Taylor smiled grimly, knowing it would be a fun time ridding himself of these Union losers.
"Yes Taylor Sir?" The automated voice responded.
"Switch to manual piloting." Taylor demanded.
"Over ride complete Taylor sir."
"Killer." He mumbled, turning the ship around in a wide arc. "Weapons charged Clep?"
The programmer added a bit of humor when he was designing Clepsydra as she demonstrated, "When are they not?"
"Damn straight."

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