Chapter 3- To Bogon or Bust!
Ratchet threw himself against the wall of the corridor, his keen ears listening for noise in the perpetual silence, listening for the rhythmic clank of the Galactic Rangers metal boots as they patrolled through the labyrinth of corridors which honeycombed the interior of the Starship Phoenix. The corridor remained silent, Ratchet dared to poke his head around the corner, their path appeared clear. Ratchet stepped out into the open, keeping his blaster held tightly in his hands. Ratchet motioned Sasha and Angela forward, the two of them followed closely in his step.
Ratchet reached the end of the hallway, the corridor opened into the Phoenix's main hanger bay. Ratchet peeked past the lip of the corridor; the hanger was devoid of the army of technicians and Galactic Rangers who usually patrolled the spacious room. Ratchets personal ship hovered at the far end of the hanger bay.
Ratchet and his companions covered the distance across the hanger bay in moments, each person occasionally glancing over their shoulders just to satisfy their building fears that no one was behind them. The three of them stood in front of the craft, a serene glowing field blanketed the ship in a tranquil blue cloud. Ratchet activated the ship's canopy, stepping up onto the fighter's wing he leapt into the pilot's seat. He activated the ships systems in order one by one. The engines whirred to life underneath him, the fighter rising off of the hanger deck. The systems suddenly faltered, the engines whirring deadly just before they reached their required threshold, the craft falling back onto its hover support to keep it from smashing into the deck. Ratchet poked his head out of the cockpit. "Engines are locked down"
"I've got it" Sasha circled around the crafts nose, approaching the hanger console built into the deck just off of the fighter's wing. Sasha typed out a series of commands on the console, searching for the commands required to release the craft from its restraints. She just needed a little more time.
Galactic Federation Captain Hunter Torn sat in the command chair on the bridge of the Starship Phoenix. After the previous Captain had been forced to relinquish her position Torn had accepted temporary command of the Galactic Federation Flagship for the duration of the prison transfer of the convict 'Ratchet' to one of the Federations remote mining colonies to serve out his sentence. There had been many rumours circulating amongst the crew as to exactly why the three time galactic hero had suddenly been condemned by the very government he had helped to preserve- some rumours had even emerged concerning the Galactic Presidents daughter. He had decided to allow this baseless gossip to circulate, as prohibiting it would only entice the crew further. However Torn was the only officer to know the true extent of his crimes- and to preserve the reputation of the President and the Federation he had been sworn to secrecy. With the prisoner sealed securely in the recently upgraded brig the operation had so far been uneventful.
"Captain Torn?" One of the Galactic Rangers operating one of the bridge command consoles turned to address his commander.
The Cazar Captain turned in his command chair to face his subordinate. "Yes Ranger?"
"Captain Torn, I am detecting an unauthorised engine start in the main hanger bay" The Galactic Ranger typed out commands on his console. "Bringing it up on the main view screen"
The blank viewscreen suddenly erupted in a flurry of static, the interference eventually clearing to reveal a camera view of the Phoenix's main hanger bay. The view showed the convicts ship docked at the far end of the hanger bay, surrounded by two figures in dark black cloaks, their faces concealed behind masks. Torn noticed someone sitting in the pilot's seat- the convict.
Torn growled deeply in his alien throat. "Dispatch the Galactic Rangers. Apprehend the convict before he escapes"
"Sir, what about the accomplices?" asked the Galactic Ranger.
Torn stared at the viewscreen with burning red eyes "They released the convict from his cell. They are expendable"
Sasha activated the final system. "Alright" Ratchets fighter faltered as the restraints disengaged. "The ships free. Now let's get out of here before they realize you are not still sitting in your comfy prison cell"
Sasha ran around to the other side of the fighter she leapt onto the wing to drop into the co-pilots seat, only to find her partner in crime already occupying the co-pilots seat. "Sorry Sasha" Angela clapped her hands against her thighs. "You'll have to sit in my lap for now"
Sasha stepped down into the cockpit, sitting down into Angela's lap, the space surprisingly snug. "Cosy" Sasha giggled sweetly.
Ratchet gripped the jets control column tightly in his hands. "Hold on tight" Ratchets fighter levitated off of the deck, turning 180 degrees the ship blazed out of the hanger bay into the dark emptiness of space.
"The convict's ship has just taken off from the hanger" The galactic ranger reported.
Captain Torn slammed his fist against the armrest of his command chair. "Fire the main cannons. Cripple the fighter's engines. Do not let him escape"
"Wilco, sir" The Ranger returned to his computer. "Charging forward cannons"
"Ratchet!" Sasha yelled, pulling Ratchets attention towards the ships instruments. "The Phoenix's guns are locked onto us. They're preparing to fire!"
The main cannons of the Phoenix tracked their target across the vastness of space. The batteries opened fire in a flurry of laser bolts. The first barrage struck the fighters shield, the second barrage was evaded by Ratchets piloting skills. But Ratchet would not be able to evade them forever.
The Phoenix's bridge viewscreen projected one of the Phoenix's exterior cameras, watching as the convict's ship evaded the Phoenix's laser fire.
"How does the pursuit fare?" Torn asked.
"The convict's ship has taken several hits, his shields are almost depleted" The Galactic Ranger responded. "He will not survive long under this barrage"
"Captain Torn" Another of his bridge officers motioned for his attention. "Someone is attempting to contact us, bringing it up on the main viewscreen"
The viewscreen split, half displaying the camera view and the other half displaying blank static as a connection was established. "This is Galactic Federation Captain Torn. Identify yourself"
The interference slowly began to clear. "Sorry Captain Torn" A confident smile grew across Ratchets face. "But I am afraid you are going to have to be a better shot than that to stop me"
Torn rose high in his command chair, his posture straightening to radiate his authoritative tone. "Under the authority of the Galactic Federation I am placing you under arrest. Return to the Phoenix or I will be forced to open fire on you"
Ratchet smirked. "You may have more firepower then I do. But remember I served aboard that ship. And I know that even the Phoenix would have a hard time to keep pace. You would lose my trail in a second"
Torn lay back in his chair. "There is no place in the Federation you can hide, that I cannot find you. And I will find you"
"Well then I guess I will just take my two companions" Sasha and Angela appeared on the viewscreen, their masks removed and their identities revealed. "And find somewhere beyond your all seeing gaze"
Torn snapped upright "Frak" he cursed, turning to face one of the Galactic Rangers. "Cease fire, cease fire!" Torn rose to his feet. The Galactic Rangers typed out a series of commands on their consoles, the barrage of cannon fire suddenly ceased.
Torn turned to face Ratchet, his lips curled back, exposing his bladed teeth. "The President will not allow you to get away with kidnapping his daughter" He spat the words like a curse. "He will bring the entire force of the Galactic military down on top of you"
"Whoever said I was kidnapped?" Sasha retorted. "Tell my father I said 'Hi'" Sasha smiled sweetly.
"Ladies, say goodbye to Captain Torn" Ratchet smirked.
"Bye, bye Captain Torn" Sasha and Angela spoke in unison; they each leant forward and pressed their lips against the screen. The connection went blank, the Phoenix's exterior cameras watching as the convict's fighter made best speed out of the system.
Torn fell back into his command chair, his eyes closed. The exchange was over. Torn dropped his fist against the armrest of his chair. He rubbed the fingers of his left hand across his temples, easing the sudden wash of tension which had overtaken him. "Get me Galactic Control"
Ratchet piloted the fighter through the dark void of space, the perpetual silence after the incident aboard the Phoenix was broken only by Sasha asking the question they were all pondering. "So where CAN we go from here?"
Ratchet smiled smugly, turning to his partners in crime. "Well you heard Captain Torn. There is nowhere we can hide in the Solana galaxy anymore, so I guess we'll have to find a new galaxy to hide in"
Rain pelted the glass window of the Presidential Office overlooking the grounds of the Presidential Palace on Marcadia, thunder tearing the sky apart.
"Have you made any progress towards finding my daughter?" the Galactic President stared out over the Palace gardens.
Torn stood in front of the President's desk. "The convict's last trajectory indicated that they were heading towards the Bogon Galaxy, sir. But I am afraid that we were unable to pursue them any further as-"
The President turned sharply, his sharp teeth accompanying the primal roar of rage which resonated through his alien throat. "They kidnapped my daughter!" The President slammed his fists against the desk. "I want you to find those animals that took her!"
Torn choose his next words carefully. "I am afraid that it appears that your daughter is travelling with the escapee of her own free will"
"She is blinded by her own naivety" The President sat down into his chair; placing his head into his hands he rubbed his temples deeply. He looked up into the face of Captain Torn. "I want you to deploy all available forces to find her. Send the army, deploy a fleet. Requisition every ship in the Galactic Federation if you have too!"
"A fleet cannot track down three people in a foreign galaxy. We only suspect that he has fled to Bogon- deploying a large scale military force into Bogon without proper evidence will be considered an act of war. Ratchet is also perceived as a hero to the people of Bogon after the Protopet incident. If they discover that we hunting him they may attempt to shelter him, they may even resist our presence" Torn's military mind identified the potential outcomes.
"Then what do you propose?" The president growled. " I just leave my daughter in the hands of that animal?"
"Of course not, sir" Torn was quick to calm the president's fears. "It was the Phoenix and I who allowed Ratchet to escape. And it is I who will reclaim him and return him to Solana to face judgement"
"Very well" The presidents heavy eyes fell closed, his head falling forward. Torn turned to leave, but was suddenly stopped mid-step. "Do you enjoy serving as a Captain?"
Torn turned back on his heel to face the President. "Yes Mr. President. One of the greatest honours of my life has been serving in the Galactic military"
"If you secure the escapee I shall ensure to see you promoted to Major" A smile grew across the Presidents lips. Torn saluted and turned to leave. "But do not dare to fail. The Galactic Federation has little acceptance for failures"
The jet black fighter blazed down towards the cityscape surface of the planet wide city of Megapolis on the planet of Endako. Ratchet gently guided the craft towards the landing platform. The craft settled down onto the landing pad. The craft settled down on the landing pad, the engines gently whirring and dying. The cockpit canopy hissed open, the pilot and his companions stepping down onto the platform. Ratchet stretched his arms over his head, his muscles unknotting as he released the intense build up of tension. "Sorry about the tight squeeze" Ratchet stepped around to the nose of the craft. "But I am afraid the ship was only designed for me and Clank"
"I didn't mind" Sasha smiled, she deviously snaked her arm around Angela's waist. "And I don't think she minded either"
Angela giggled. "It was cosy"
Ratchet typed the code into the door computer. The door panels slid apart, the three fugitives stepping into the luxury of Clanks Megacorp apartment. "Wow" Sasha stepped out into the centre of the spacious apartment turning on her heel she surveyed the entire room in a 360 degree view.
"Clank is currently out filming his latest escapade as Secret Agent Clank" Ratchet followed his companions as they stepped deeper into the apartment. "I'm sure he won't mind if we hide out here for a while"
Sasha flopped down onto the couch, bringing her hands up behind her head in a truly relaxed pose. "I think I'm goanna like it here"