I had the chance to erase the footage showing my face. But to do that we had to go to a bunker.
After my face was on TV, I had to go underground. But where to go if you didn’t want to disappear into a hole in the ground?GrimHex, the place for pirates, outlaws and anyone who wanted to escape the eye of the law in the Stanton system. It was the best option I had. Especially since I knew my way around the old abandoned mining station in the asteroid belt of the moon Yela.
But even here I was careful and hid my face as best as I could. For the right money, people in this shithole could do anything.I called Brubacker, told him about my situation and that he also was on the picture on TV.
He told some journalist bullshit and about the price of meddling. At least he had an idea. He knew where the archive was where the film footage was stored and streamed. He would pick me up and help me delete the data.
One day later Brubacker reached GrimHex. He radioed me and told me to come out. He would wait outside the decommissioned airlock.
After the pressure equalization the outer bulkhead of the airlock opened silently. I floated through the debris of the old docking tunnel. It was quite narrow, I had to be careful not to tear my space suit on the sharp edges of the metal. Finally I reached the end of the tunnel and floated into the open. I saw the twinkling of the stars. And I saw something else between the asteroids. An impressed “Boah” came over my lips.
My amazement was interrupted by the crackling of the radio. “Won’t you come aboard at last? Hawk is waiting at the airlock”. In disbelief I floated to the big spaceship. Brubacker did come with a Carrack. I couldn’t believe it. And he had a whole crew with him. Hawk, Skorbi and Jabea. The guy was full of surprises.
Brubacker steered the big ship out of the asteroid belt and started the quantum drive. He headed for the planet Hursten. There the archive was in an underground facility.
Brubacker’s Carrack did not have the fastest quantum drive. The trip took much longer than with my Cutlass. Luckily, it was well equipped. There was a large selection of drinks. I helped myself extensively, which later became my downfall.
As we entered the atmosphere of Hurston and approached the facility, the sun was just leaning towards the horizon. Brubacker cursed like a reed sparrow. “I can’t see a thing, what’s that damned fog?” The visibility was catastrophically bad. From the thick wafts of mist, glowing red from the evening sun, laser beams were hurled at us. With the guns of the Carrack we could quickly take out the defense towers of the facility.
As soon as we landed right next to the facility the fog had cleared. The man-high grass was bathed by the evening sun in a warm light. The leaves of the trees rushed in the wind. It was almost idyllic. With the guns up we ran to the entrance of the bunker. The high grass offered us good cover. When we reached the entrance a Freelancer thundered over our heads. Hawk shouted “Everyone inside the building”.
While we took the freight elevator downstairs I was worried about what was waiting for us down there. And more importantly, what would be waiting for us when we came back up. If we came back up. What did the Freelancers have in mind? With a loud bang the elevator came to a halt.
Carefully we went around the first corner and ran straight into the arms of armed guards. After a short fire fight we had taken out the first ones. We advanced in a coordinated manner. Actually, the others advanced. My bladder almost exploded. The drinks from the Carrack were coming out and they were urgent, very urgent. I had to take a piss.
When I was relieved, I heard the others on the radio. “The building is clean. No danger. Where’s Zero?” I frantically locked up my suit and followed the others into the server room. I found it in chaos. There were thick wires everywhere, server racks were destroyed, blood on the floor and clouds of smoke in the air.
Hawk was standing at a terminal analyzing the logs. He looked over his shoulder and said “That wasn’t us. Someone had been here before us and copied data and then erased everything”. No more data could be sent from here.
I wondered if it was the activists. Brubacker tapped Shubin Interstellar. In any case, it was the work of professionals. But the most important thing was that the recordings of me had been deleted. I was not sure whether to be relieved or worried.
When I looked at the killed guards, I noticed that they were not wearing official uniforms. They looked more like pirates. Who were those guys? Were they guards at all? What had happened here? I was suddenly taken from my thoughts when I heard the others screaming upstairs.
Damn, the Freelancers, shot it through my head. I ran to the elevator and went up. What I found, I didn’t expect. The others had provided a boy, not 20 years old. He was the pilot from the Freelancer.
Brubacker seemed to have taken him to his heart. He seemed to want to take him into his care. Well, I figured his problem. My problem with the published picture of me seemed to have been solved for the time being.