Hey guys!

Here is part two of my short story: The Adventures of the Spacehawks

If you want to read the first installment click here

Let me know if you enjoy it! Please feel free to leave comments!

We left Fox and his crew as they fell through a black hole.. read on to find out what happens next! 

If you like my work here, please go and have a look at my blog at kylerickettsblog.wordpress.com and follow my Facebook page- Kyle Ricketts-author!

Happy writing, 

Kyle Ricketts

 

PART TWO

The sound of compress air escaping its containment, of electricity sparking, a red light flashing in the dark.

Fox opened his eyes.

The bridge of the Star Ship looked like a war zone. Monitors and screens blinked or had static on them. Wires and tubing were all over the place, the only light was coming from the red alarm glob that was continually flashing. Everything was quiet. Fox was still strapped to his chair. He slowly looked around himself, blinking blood out of his eyes.

The window of the bridge was cracked but not broken. The view outside showed nothing but stars and the velvet blackness they seemed to be stuck on. They were moving to the left, telling Fox that the stability thrusters were offline and they were drifting in space.

There were crew members strewn all over the floor, Fox couldn’t tell if they were alive or dead.

Fox made to unbuckle himself, as soon as he moved pain washed through his body. He was battered and bruised, but it didn’t feel as though anything was broken. He managed to unbuckle himself and went straight over to Pepper. A quick check showed that he was unconscious, slumped over his controls. He then moved on to the others in his crew.

By the time he had almost finished checking he bridge, Pepper was slowly coming around. There had been fifteen people on the bridge, only eight had survived.

“How did we survive?” Pepper asked, taking in the devastation around him.

“Not all of us did,” Fox said sombrely, indicating the bodies lying in a row, their jackets covering their faces in an attempt to give them some dignity.

Pepper shook his head sadly.

“C’mon,” Fox said, limping over to the bridge door, “We need to check the rest of the ship”

It took them a long time, but they managed to go through each section of the ship.

In total, the whole ship had over three hundred people on board. Thanks to the safety precautions that were in place, more than three quarters of the crew had survived. For the ones that didn’t, the crew had put them in a room until they could make better arrangements. Then they had assessed the damaged to the Starship.

It didn’t look good.

Engines were damaged; shield power was almost depleted and trying to out run the black hole had exhausted their fuel. Cosmetically, nearly all the equipment inside the Starship wasn’t working. Circuit boards were fried, wiring was exposed and in some cases torn and pipes had cracks or were otherwise completely broken.

Fox had ordered the life pods be checked and stored with survival rations, in case something happened to the Starship and they needed to make a hasty exit.

Pilot Squad Sierra-Foxtrot all survived, the reinforced cockpits of their fighters protected them better than the Starship had protected the rest of the crew.  The fighters themselves remained undamaged as well. A fact Slippery was proud of.

Fox had then sent Slippery to the bridge to repair what he could then set about trying to get the Starship in working order.

“WHY didn’t you take your brothers offer?” An angry voice echoed across the hanger.

Fox turned calmly, knowing who was shouting.

“It wasn’t an offer Falcon,” Fox replied, standing in the middle of the hanger.

Falcon marched towards Fox. He was an intimidating sight. He was tall, muscular and had a short temper. Mix that with intelligence and a superiority complex and you had yourself one volatile individual.

“Sure sounded like one to me!” Falcon retorted, shoving his face into Fox’s, “Now we’re floating around in space with no fuel and no Star Ship! I have half a mind to take my Spacehawk and leave!”

Fox looked calmly at Falcon, letting him rant.

Everyone who had been busy working had stopped to look at the confrontation. Fox noticed this but paid no attention to it. He knew that some others in the crew would have questions, not that they would ask him any of them. It’s why he kept Falcon around. He kept Fox honest.

“He had another plan, clearly. He was never going to extend anything,”

“You don’t know that! He only fired that thing on us after you rejected him!”

“You don’t know my brother, he doesn’t do anything unless it benefits him” Fox replied.

“Great,” Falcon said, throwing his hands up in the air and turning away from Fox, “So now, everyone on this boat has to work that much harder, just so we can survive, because you were too proud to see if your own brother was actually trying to help you,”

“He wasn’t trying to –“Fox began.

“YOU DON’T KNOW THAT!” Falcon roared, spinning around quickly, spit flying everywhere.

Falcon’s voice echoed, everyone tensed up. The atmosphere was suddenly icy.

“What would you have done?” Fox asked.

“I would’ve heard what he had to say first,” Falcon said angrily.

“This person has a history of lying to get what he wants, he’s greedy, there’s a billion credit bounty on his brother’s head, that’s a string he could pull,” Fox said, staring hard at Falcon, “There’s over three hundred people on this Starship, all would be arrested and sentenced for aiding and abetting and only three of them had carried out missions besides myself, an attack had just been launched with no reason, other than there is a bounty on the other captain’s head, so tell me Falcon, what olive branch could he possibly have offered that would have benefited the whole ship?”

Falcon breathed heavily as he took in what Fox said, returning Fox’s stare stubbornly.

“If he had offered to turn yourself in, and let the rest of us go, would you have done it?” He finally asked.

Fox blinked. If he was honest, he hadn’t even thought of that. He had only thought that his brother was trying to kill him. He hadn’t thought that the rest of the crew may have been saved if he had’ve given himself up.

“Do you think he wouldn’t have fired that weapon if he got what he wanted?” Fox replied, recovering.

This time, Falcon blinked.

“We’re all stuck in this Falcon, it’ll take everyone to get us all out of it,” Fox said softly.

Falcon grunted then turned on his heel, heading back to his bunk.

Fox looked around, everyone was still staring.

“Let’s keep moving people, there’s still a lot to do!” He called out, walking back towards the bridge.

Pepper fell into stride next to him as everyone hurried back to what they were doing.

“Did I make a mistake, Pepper?” Fox asked after they left the hanger and they were alone.

“A mistake with what?” Pepper asked looking at Fox in concern.

Fox was looking down at the ground as he walked, deep in thought, confusion and sadness etched on his face.

“Should I have turned myself in?”

Pepper didn’t answer straight away; he looked ahead of himself, giving himself time to figure out what to say.

“I think some of what Falcon said was right; you could have seen what Jackal wanted first,” Pepper said cautiously.

Fox looked at Pepper,” You know what he’s like. You taught him. He only looks out for himself; he said he wanted to extend an olive branch to give him time to prime the weapon!”

They passed through another door; crew members were clearing away debris still.

“Maybe,” Pepper said, “But why didn’t he come back after it?”

“Would you come back if there was a black hole?” Fox asked.

Pepper shook his head, “No, but if you knew the weapon would make a black hole, and that the only way to claim your billion credits was with proof, would you have fired that weapon?”

Fox stopped walking and frowned.

“What are you trying to say?”

“I don’t think he was trying to kill you Fox,”

 

The ship was quiet and dark. The alarm lights had gone off, Slippery having repaired the alert system and turned them off. Bodies lay in the main hanger of the ship, all with blankets and pillows. The entire crew had worked for hours. Fox had tried to call them to stop working hours ago, but word had spread about Fox and Falcon’s argument. A lot of the crew felt that Fox had been right; if they all worked together they could get out of this situation a lot sooner. It hadn’t been until a fuel canister that four people had been carrying to the port side main thruster had been dropped, that Fox had ordered them all to stop and get some rest.  Fox himself was sitting on his chair in the bridge in the dark, staring out into space, lost in thought about what Pepper had said.

He couldn’t figure out what his brother had to gain by using that weapon. It was possible that Jackal had no idea what the device had done and thought it was just an ordinary missile. Although that theory didn’t make sense entirely.

Jackal had been in uniform on a stolen Star Ship, he had come for Fox and had tried to cover his tracks.

It could be possible that whoever he had stolen the Star Ship from had had the device ready to deploy and again, not knowing that it wasn’t a missile, Jackal had fired it.

As Pepper had said though, why hadn’t he come back already to get Fox’s body as proof of the hit?

None of it was making sense to Fox.

There was a soft hiss as the door opened and Slippery walked onto the bridge.

“Hey Fox,” He said as he went to a bank of consoles he had been working on earlier.

“Hey,” Fox replied, “What you doing back up here? Go back and get some sleep,”

“Can’t,” Slippery sighed, “I need to get the security systems back online, otherwise I’ll never get to sleep,”

“I’m keeping watch,” Fox said, rising from his chair and going over to Slippery.

“No offence Fox, but until you develop the ability to sense enemy ships coming from any direction, or any other dangers that can happen, I think I’ll rely on the machinery,”

Fox laughed through his nose and looked back out of the window.

Something about the view was nagging at him, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.

“I think Falcon was out of line,” Slippery said from underneath the console.

“Why’s that?” Fox asked ripping himself away from the view of space to look at Slippery’s legs.

“Not so much in what he said, just how he did it,” Slippery replied.

“You think I should’ve turned myself in?”

“No,” Slippery said quickly, poking his head out from underneath the console to look at Fox, “But you should’ve heard what he had to say first,”

Fox stayed silent. So that made three out of his ace pilot team that thought he had done the wrong thing.

“But I would’ve done exactly the same thing after hearing it,” Slippery continued.

Fox looked at Slippery, “Even though we’re now drifting in space?”

Slippery got out from underneath the console before answering. He leant on it, wiping his hands on a rag and looking out the bridge window, “That wasn’t a normal missile,”

“I know,” Fox said, looking out of the window too.

“For one thing, it created a black hole from nothing. Whatever they used to make that bomb has a reaction that isn’t normally seen unless a planet is dying,” Slippery explained.

Fox didn’t know what to say.

“And another is that it managed to stop a black hole,”

That caught Fox’s attention, “What do you mean stop it? I thought a black hole couldn’t be stopped,”

“Well that’s kind of true,” Slippery said going back underneath the console, “They dissipate themselves over time, and then they form what is called a ‘Frozen Star’”

“So how did they stop it?”

“I have no idea,” Slippery replied, “That’s what I’m saying. It should be impossible to create a black hole, but it should be doubly impossible to stop it as well. It looks like your brother figured it out,”

“I doubt it was my brother,” Fox said, walking back to his chair, “Seems like someone did though, and my brother got his hands on it,”

“That’s not the weirdest part though,” Slippery said.

“What is?”

“That we didn’t break up after we crossed the event horizon in the black hole,”

“What do you mean?” Fox asked, intrigued.

“Well, there’s theories out there that states that once you cross the event horizon, we have a short amount of time before we hit the singularity that’s at the centre. Once we hit that, everything is supposed to close in on itself and we’re supposed to not exist anymore,” Slippery explained, “Of course, no one has flown into a Black Hole before so no one knows for sure what really happens,”

“So what do those theorists think happens if you do fly into one?”

“One school of thought is that you die. The other is that you get transported to another part of the universe. Like a black hole is a worm hole. One more is that if a black hole is the opening of a worm hole then you are transported to another reality all together,” Slippery answered, coming up from the ground and pressing a few buttons on the console.

It booted up and Slippery pumped his fist in triumph.

“As far as I know, we’re the first ones to fly into a black hole and survive,” Slippery continued, entering information into the console now.

Fox fell silent as he thought about that. It was pretty incredible that so many people had survived.

“I guess we’ll find out which theory is right soon enough,” He said.

Slippery just nodded.

For a couple of minutes the bridge was silent, save for the light patter of Slippery’s fingers as they danced across the console.

Then Slippery nodded and said,” Hologram Communications are back online,”

“Holograms? I thought you were doing the security systems?” Fox asked.

“I was, but I figured while I do that we might as well try and call for help!”

Before Fox could reply, a short series of three beeps issued out of the console.

“Seems like someone is trying to contact us,” Fox said, pressing a button on his console that would bring up the hologram.

Nothing happened.

Fox looked at Slippery who said, “I haven’t fixed your chair yet,”

Fox shook his head, with a smile, and walked over to the console.

The hologram beamed into life, Slippery smiled, and then his mouth fell open.

Both Slippery and Fox stared, the man that the hologram was projection visibly stiffened.

The hologram man was the same height as Fox.

He had the same tanned skin, same eyes, and same hair. He even had the same nose.

In fact, everything about this man was identical to Fox.

Everything except the uniform he wore.

It was bleach white and pressed to perfection. It held the insignia of Fox’s home world on the right breast and a lot of medals on the left. Fox’s twin held a hat under his arm and was standing stiff and to attention. He oozed authority.

Slippery was staring, open mouthed, between Fox and the hologram version.

The hologram Fox recovered first, “Unidentified Space Craft, This is Colonel James Mack of the Galactic Empire of Ovrea, identify yourself!”

He even sounded just like Fox.

Fox was still in shock, it was like looking at a different version of himself, a version that hadn’t been discharged from service.

“This is Captain James Mack, leader of the Spacehawk Mercenaries,” Fox said cautiously.

More silence followed this exchange.

Both Fox’s eyed each other off, not sure of what to say next. 

Slippery stood speechless.

Again, Colonel Fox recovered first, “You will power down your vessel and prepare to be boarded,”

Captain Fox noted that it wasn’t a request, it was an order. Which meant they had as much of an idea of what was going on as his Ship did.

Captain Fox had no choice but to comply, his Starship was barely functioning as it was and they had no fuel to attempt to run away.

The hologram went out and Fox turned to Slippery, “Are ship wide communications back online as well?”

Slippery nodded, his mouth still open.

Fox keyed the Ships PA system and said, “Rise and shine people, we’re having some guests come aboard. All personnel are to report to the hanger bay and await further instructions,”

“He looked just like you!” Slippery finally said, still staring at the point where the hologram had been standing.

“I know,” Fox said, “Did you notice his uniform?”

Slippery nodded, “It was from your home system wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on Slip, but something isn’t right,” Fox replied leaving the bridge.

 

 

Fox arrived in the hanger bay to see all his crew standing in line next to each other, a murmur of chatter could be heard. Fox could only guess what they were talking about.

“What’s going on?” Falcon demanded as soon as he saw Fox.

The question irked Fox. It was one thing to talk to him like that when they were on a mission or by themselves, but to demand orders from him in front of the crew was something Fox didn’t like.

He ignored Falcon’s question and instead walked to the front of the line.

The chatter died out and everyone went silent, looking to Fox.

“You’re about to see something that will confuse you. It won’t make sense. I ask you to not react in anyway until we know what’s going on. We will be professional. We have been requested to be boarded by the Galactic Empire of Ovrea. Seeing as we have no way of out running them, I have complied. Remember crew: We will remain professional why they are on board,” Fox said, pacing up and down the line and speaking loudly, letting his voice carry all over the hanger.

Some of the crew looked at each other, but no one said anything.

Fox didn’t want to tell them what was going on. He wasn’t sure why. It would’ve been more prudent to tell them that another him was about to come onto the ship, but something held him back from doing so.

Warning alarms started to sound, flashing yellow lights this time, announcing that their visitors we’re now docking next to the boarding hatch. Within seconds, the boarding hatch slid open and people in brilliantly white uniforms started to pour out.

The sound of their boots, hitting the ground in time as they marched and spread out, was amplified by the hanger. The Colonel came in last, hat on this time, marching with purpose.

Fox stood with his hands behind his back, feet slightly apart, in front of Pilot Squad Sierra-Foxtrot who stood in front of the rest of the crew.

It was like a chessboard was being set up. The Galactic Empire, with their immaculate white uniforms lined up on the other side of the room to the Spacehawk’s dark and dirty uniforms.

There was a few meters of space between the two groups, and Colonel Mack stood in the middle of it.

“Captain Mack, I would like to speak to you,” He said, holding his head up a little higher.

Fox wasn’t sure if anyone had reacted to the voice, he didn’t look behind him. He walked to the middle of the room and looked into his doppelgänger’s face.

It really was like looking into a mirror.

Fox noticed he had the same scar he did on his chin, a child hood accident when he had fallen off a jumping castle. Everything about this guy seemed the same.

“Captain, this vessel is carrying an unknown transponder signal and is not registered with any galactic entity, we are hereby authorised to search you Starship,” Colonel Mack stated.

It sounded like he was reciting it from a book. There was no personalisation to the statement, it was robotic.

Fox frowned and said,” With all due respect Colonel, I have registered this Vessel with the Ovrea Federation of Star Ships, I have the papers to prove this. My transponder signal is also verified on the documents; I can have one of my people get it,”

Colonel Mack seemed to take in this information then said, “One of my people will escort them,”

Fox nodded to Pepper who went and got the papers, accompanied by one of Mack’s team.

It was a tense atmosphere as everyone waited in silence.

Fox and Mack stood in the middle still, not looking at each other, but not staring around either.

Mack looked around the ship, his eyes taking in the damage and the blankets and pillows on the ground.

“What happened?”

Again, it sounded like an order, not a question.

“Ran into some trouble, come off second best,” Fox replied curtly. He didn’t feel like going into detail with this man.

Mack looked back at Fox, then looked at his clothes. He eyes lingered on the team’s emblem.

“Spacehawk Mercenaries,” He read out loud, the name having been on Fox’s left breast across from their emblem, “I’ve never heard of them,”

“Really?” Fox said, actually surprised but didn’t show it, “We’ve worked for the Ovreian Government before,”

“Is that so?” Mack said, uninterested. He turned to his team and called one of them over. He leant in close to that person’s ear, so that no one else could hear, then turned back to Fox.

The door Pepper had disappeared through opened. Pepper was back with his escort and the documents which he handed to Fox before retreating to stand with the Pilot Squad.

Fox handed the papers to Mack and stood patiently as he inspected them.

The silence stretched out as Mack looked at the papers, apparently trying to find some kind of mistake that would confirm his suspicions.

Finally he looked up, a smirk on his face.

“I’m not sure what is going on here Captain, but the address for the home offices of the Federation of Starships is wrong, otherwise this would have been a flawless forgery,” He said.

Fox said nothing as Mack turned and beckoned one of his people over. They had a whispered conversation before Mack turned around; holding onto Fox’s registration papers and said, “Until we can figure out what, exactly, is going on, we will be taking you all to a holding facility at the next planet,”

Fox wanted to argue, but bit his tongue. There was nothing he could do with his Starship in such bad shape.

Mack then signalled to his crew and they all started to file out.

Pepper walked up to where Fox was standing and said, “They wouldn’t send a Colonel for a simple matter of registration,”

Fox watched as Mack walked out,” I know,”

 

 

Fox had sat on the bridge the whole time they had been taken to the holding facility. The nearby planet that held it, once the entry had been made, looked barren and deserted. There was only one building Fox had seen as they made their way to the facility, which was the facility itself.

“I don’t like this,” Fox had said to Pepper, who was standing next to him.

Pepper looked out of the window of the bridge in response.

When they had landed, the Colonel had gone inside and left his people to get Fox and his crew inside. No-one caused a fuss; all of them couldn’t believe that their careers had been cut so short.

They were all shown into a hanger sized room again, with nothing in it but some toilets down the far end. Blankets and Pillows, worse than the ones they had on the Starship were thrown in the room and then they were left to themselves.

As soon as they had been left alone, a buzz of conversation broke out.

Fox went over to a corner of the room and sat against the wall, waiting for what he was sure had to come.

Falcon came stomping over, as Fox expected.

He yelled at the top of his lungs at Fox and called him every name under the sun. Fox let it all wash over him, then with no response, Falcon stormed off to the othersider of the hanger sized room, muttering about leaving the team if they ever got out of there.

Pepper and Slippery sat down either side of Fox, offering words of comfort.

But Fox was thinking.

The Colonel looked like him and his voice sounded the same. He seemed to be an identical twin, but Fox had been sure that it had only children his parents had were Jackal and himself. He needed to talk to this Colonel and figure out what was going on.

He got up, oblivious to everyone around him, and walked over to the door.

He started banging on it, to try and get someone’s attention on the other side.

But no one came.

Fox then looked around the room; there were two cameras at either side.

Someone was watching them.

Fox knocked again but there was still no answer.

He gave up and instead, walked over to Falcon.

“You think you can do a better job at leading this team?” Fox yelled.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked over.

Fox very rarely lost his temper. In fact, no one on the ship could ever remember seeing Fox angry before.

Falcon was momentarily stunned, but frustration started to boil over, and he stood up, the red rising in his face.

“I sure as hell do, I wouldn’t have gotten us into this mess!”

“You couldn’t lead this team Falcon; you don’t know what it means to lead!” Fox retorted.

“I used to fly special ops missions back home!”

“One man missions! You didn’t have to think about anyone else! And even that didn’t end well did it?” Fox shouted back.

Pepper and Slippery appeared at the front of the crowd that had formed to watch the argument. They stood, in shock, not sure what they were supposed to do.

“Don’t you dare bring that up!” Falcon said through gritted teeth, his muscles tensing up.

“You got so far in over your head, that you needed me to bail you out!” Fox said, a slight laughter to his voice now, “You talk like you could lead, but you couldn’t even work your way out of trouble when it was only you!”

Falcon was silent, which was a danger sign. He was breathing heavy, grinding his teeth and giving Fox a stare that would’ve turned any other man’s blood to ice in his veins.

Fox was still going, “I had to fly in there, while under fire and come and get you, because you sent out an SOS beacon to me!”

“Fox, stop!” Pepper said in warning, his eyes on Falcon.

“No, he thinks he’s better than me? Please,” Fox said, turning around to look back at Falcon with disdain on his face.

Falcon had had enough, he charged at Fox, yelling.

Fox side stepped the charge and hung his foot out, tripping Falcon who fell face first into the ground.

Falcon sprang back up and came at Fox, fists swinging.

Fox dodged and blocked each attack easily, something that Pepper noticed.

“He baited Falcon,” Pepper said slowly.

“He what?” Slippery asked, watching his two team mates as Falcon mercilessly unleashed his anger on Fox.

“He baited him! He wanted Falcon to fight him, but why?” Pepper said, more talking to himself than Slippery. He looked away from the fight, looking around the room, wondering what Fox was trying to accomplish. As he looked around, he saw the door to the hanger open and Galactic Imperials came charging into the room, riot shields and riot equipment on.

Pepper wasn’t sure if that was what Fox had wanted to happen, but he saw him look over and for the briefest of moments, he smiled.

Fox side stepped a lunge from Falcon and pushed him away before laying on the floor, hands behind his head as the Imperials made it to the fight.

Falcon made to engage Fox again, his face screwed up in anger, but the Imperials grabbed him and pushed him to the ground.

Without asking or muttering a word, the Imperials hoisted Fox to his feet and carried him off.

Several crew members made to try and help him, but Fox yelled at them to stay where they were.

The Imperials marched Fox along corridors that all looked the same. He tried to remember which way there were turning, closing his eyes and counting steps. Finally they stopped out of a door, the guards let go of Fox and the door opened.

Inside, Mack was sitting at a desk, looking at something. Fox was used to this tactic. It was supposed to show that he was too busy and only had limited time to talk to the person.

“Why were you fighting?” Mack demanded, not looking up from what he was doing.

“He provoked me,” Fox said, looking around.

It seemed to be Mack’s office. There were pictures on bookshelves and coats hanging up near the door. The rest of the room was simple. Apart from the desk, there were two couches facing each other, with a coffee table in the middle of them. Then a big square space next to it and that was it. The desk sat at the top of the room, in the middle so that the desk was equally as close to the couches as the blank space.

“So he hurt your feelings?” Mack asked, a tone of mockery creeping into his voice. It was the first sign of a personality Fox had seen.

“Might have,” Fox asked, “Why are we being kept?”

Mack looked up at Fox. It was clear he wasn’t used to being questioned.

“Because your papers don’t-“

“Oh bullshit,” Fox interrupted, “A colonel doesn’t deal with registrations,”

Mack stood up from behind is desk, eyeing Fox cautiously.

It felt weird for Fox, Mack moved like he did, spoke like he did. He had to know if it was all just a coincidence.

“I’ve noticed that we look somewhat similar,” Fox stated.

Mack walked around the desk and stood in front of Fox. Next to each other, the only way you could tell them apart was from their clothes.

“It was an unexpected turn of events,” Mack said finally.

“You could say that,” Fox replied.

Mack walked over to the couches, sitting down on the furthest one so he could still see Fox. Fox turned to face him but didn’t join him on the couch.

Mack looked at Fox with interest, and then said, “How did you get it?”

Fox stared blankly at him.

“Did you not wonder how we found you?”

Fox remained silent. He had thought about that. His Ship was drifting through space, with the bare minimum of systems operating. Sure, his transponder signal was still going, but that wouldn’t have been powerful enough to attract the attention of a Colonel, and like he had said before, why would a Colonel concern himself with registration.

“The prototype you stole emits a… unique energy signature when used,” Mack said, like it explained everything.

Fox was completely confused, “In case you hadn’t noticed, our Starship is barely functioning, we haven’t stolen anything,”

Mack waved it off, “I suspect you didn’t realise what would happen when you actually fired the prototype. It seems to be a result of such actions,”

Fox looked away from Mack.

He felt as though both of them were missing something here, and Mack didn’t seem interested in talking about why they looked the same.

“Are you some kind of experiment?” Fox asked suddenly.

This caught Mack of guard, “What do you mean?”

“Are you some kind of clone of me?” Fox said, feeling very vain for asking the question.

Mack looked surprised then laughed,” I’m not a clone. I was born on Ovrea,”

“Where?”

Mack’s eyes narrowed, his dislike for being questioned evident, “I do not answer questions that are demanded at me, and I will be the one to ask them from now on,”

Fox was taken aback. Surely he had to be curious.

“I was born in the James Wilson Memorial Hospital,” Fox said, hoping to get a reaction from Mack.

He got one.

Mack had been heading back over to his desk when he stopped, his back to Fox still.

“I was born at three in the morning, my mother –“

“Died at child birth,” Mack finished.

He spun around and looked at Fox closer then asked, “How did I get this scar on my chin?”

“Playing with Jackal, he shoved me off a jumping castle and I fell onto a stick that was sticking out of the ground,” Fox replied.

Mack’s mouth opened ever so slightly in surprise, and then he closed it.

“You could have got that information from anywhere,” He said.

“You only joined the Galactic Empire Space Force because of Dad, he was the best damn pilot anywhere and you wanted to be like him, better than he was, after he drank himself to death,” Fox blurted out.

Mack went white, “How did you-?”

“It’s exactly how it happened to me,”

Mack stood in front of Fox once more, staring at him harder than he had. It was finally dawning on him that something out of the ordinary was happening.

“How did you manage to stay in the Space Force?” Fox asked, letting a little bit of jealously creep into his voice.

“What do you mean, stay in the force?” Mack asked quietly, still studying Fox.

“I mean, how do you think I ended up a mercenary?”

Mack shrugged, “I hadn’t thought about it,”

Fox was struck by a sudden idea, “What year is it?”

“Excuse me?”

“The year! What is it?”

“Old Year, 3045,” Mack replied.

Fox’s head jolted a little in surprise. It was the same year.

“The last thing I remember was crossing the event horizon of the black hole-“He said out loud.

“Black hole?” Mack asked and laughed, “There’s no such thing,”

Fox looked at Mack,” Of course there is! They suck in everything that gets within range,”

“I think you’re confused,” Mack said finally not staring at Fox anymore, “The only thing close to what you’re describing is a White Hole and it pushes everything away from it,”

Fox frowned at that, he hadn’t ever heard of a white hole.

“Well this is an interesting development,” Mack said walking back behind his desk and pushing a button on it.

The door to the office opened and the two guards re appeared.

“Take him back to the holding bay,” Mack ordered.

The two guards grabbed Fox again and began dragging him back out the door.

Fox looked back, just in time to see Mack grab his communicator and start talking into it.

 

 

 

 

The guards unceremoniously dumped Fox onto the ground in the holding bay. Slippery and Pepper, who had been waiting at the door for him, helped him up.

“Where’s Falcon?” Fox asked looking around. All of this crew were looking over at Fox, whispers erupted all around the holding bay.

“Why?” Slippery asked, eyeing Fox off like he was crazy.

“I need to explain why I did that,” Fox said, starting to walk into the crowd.

“Woah, hang on, what did the Colonel want?” Pepper asked, moving in front of Fox and putting a hand on his chest to stop him.

“He wanted to know how we stole some device,” Fox said, looking over Pepper and Slippery, trying to find Falcon.

“What device?” Slippery asked, more interested in the device than why Mack wanted to know if they had it.

“I don’t know, the only thing he said was that it emitted a unique energy signature when it’s used,”

“What did he say about you and him looking the same?” Pepper asked, still holding Fox in place with his hand.

“Seemed shocked, I think we are the same  person,” Fox said, stopping his scanning for Falcon and looking Pepper seriously in the face, “We both had the same reason for joining the Force, both had the same accident, except he didn’t get thrown off the Force,”

Pepper looked at Fox, it was the first time in years he had heard Fox even mention his discharge, for now at least, he chose to ignore it.

“Does sound like you two have a lot in common,”

Falcon suddenly appeared, Slippery and Pepper went to move in between Fox and him but Falcon said, “So did it work?”

Slippery and Pepper looked at Fox in surprise.

Fox himself wasn’t surprised, he was impressed.

“When did you figure it out?”

“Almost as soon as you started,” Falcon replied, “What did you find out?”

Fox relayed what he had already told Slippery and Pepper. Falcon listened then just shook his head.

“Things just aren’t adding up,” He said.

A muffled bang went off, the hanger bay seemed to rock and dust fell from the roof. The four looked around, all of them familiar with that sound.

Another bang went off, closer this time. The hall shook more and everyone started to look around.

A third bang sounded, so close that the sound actually felt like it vibrated you and the explosion was clearly heard. Sounds of people yelling and laser fire could be heard. Fox’s crew looked at each other. With the only exit the locked door at the front of the holding bay, no one could run anywhere.

The shooting stopped; there was a sudden lull before-

KA-BOOM

A hole in the back wall where the toilets were appeared, dust shooting out and covering some of the crew. People appeared in it, dressed in black and holding auto-laser rifles in their hands. One walked through the middle of the hole, a piece of cloth over his nose and mouth to help him breath.

“Everyone, this way! We don’t have a lot of time!” He shouted, pointing towards the hole, “Follow my crew members and they will show you towards our Starship, do not go anywhere else, we will get you to safety,”

Everyone looked to Fox, who nodded. His crew started moving.

The Pilot Squad also went to go through the hole, but the masked man spotted Fox and before anyone could react, all guns were trained on Fox.

“Nice try, brother,” The masked said, spitting the last word out with as much venom as he could.

Fox held his hands up in surrender and began to speak, “Let me –“

“I’m not letting you do anything,” The masked man interrupted and without hesitation fired his weapon. 

Published by Kyle Ricketts