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   Chapter 63 No.63

Bypass Gemini By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5388

Updated: 2018-01-19 19:02


"Visual established."

The image jumped onto the screen. Lex's eyes widened and his jaw dropped. Karter raised an eyebrow.

"Huh, " Karter said thoughtfully. "Didn't see that one coming."

"Is that what I think it is?" Lex asked.

"Do you think it is a VectorCorp Asteroid Wrecker?"

"Yes."

"Then that's what you think it is."

VectorCorp, it was generally agreed, was too powerful. They controlled virtually all of the communications--and virtually all of the transportation--in the colonized galaxy. Couple this with the fact that their employee count was larger than the population of most individual countries and their annual profits exceeded the combined GDP of many planets, and it became clear that in the not-altogether-unlikely event that they were to militarize, the resulting war probably wouldn't last very long. Realizing this, a large coalition of governments got together and decided that, if VC wanted transit and transmission rights for their sectors, then they would have to sign an agreement limiting allowable combat vessels to nothing larger or better equipped than an armored personnel carrier or anti-pirate scout ship.

At the time, avoiding those sectors would have been financially devastating, so VectorCorp reluctantly agreed.

A few years later, the Asteroid Wrecker was unveiled. Those trade routes, the very same ones for which they'd paid top dollar for transit rights, needed to be kept clear, after all. That meant that VC had to be prepared to quickly deal with any rogue piece of space rock that might wander into their vicinity. Thus, they created a vessel wi

ng from behind the as-yet-unvisited third building in the complex. To call the thing a vehicle seemed to fall well short. It was practically a civilization. It looked like an Olympic stadium floating in the sky; a round, armor-plated monstrosity. The entire perimeter was a thick tube, branching off at one point like a chopped-off letter p. A long notch was cut out of the underside--the currently open hangar bay doors--and spaced regularly along the rim were thrusters. They were built in space, so anti-gravity modules were left out, favoring instead the oversized engines to keep it out of the gravity well of planets and stars when the time came.

Currently, the whole vehicle was wreathed in a glittering ring of violet sparkles as its shields were pelted by a constant stream of debris. The very same debris had perforated Lex's beloved Betsy, yet from the looks of it, nary a pebble of it was reaching the wrecker.

"Minimal life signs detected, " Ma announced over the external loudspeakers of the building.

"What do you mean? They're all dead?" Lex yelled.

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