written by M. Sydnor Jr.
The ship rocked as the Schloran ship attacked the rear of Blue with their missiles, damaging the outer hull. The ship started to spin out of control, clipping the edge of the mountain and descending downward, deeper into the planet.
“Report!” Etos screamed.
“Auto-pilot offline again.”
“Gods!” Etos jumped from one seat to the other and grabbed on to the handles, pulling the ship up from a crash landing they wouldn’t have been able to recover from. He had control, and he needed full concentration and all of his strength to stay in control. “Kee, on weapons.”
“On it,” Kee responded.
The Schloran ship was right behind them, shooting, missing. Kee had little luck as well.
“Get them off of me, Kee.” Etos could fly, but he never claimed to be a pilot. He only had two or three tricks up his sleeve.
“Trying, sir.” Kee continued to shoot back, but missed most of the time. One missile did slam into the head of the Schloran ship, but they had some sort of shield that illuminated the entire vessel.
“I’m gonna try something,” Etos turned the ship around and went back to where they’d taken off from. As they glided along the edge of the mountain… “Kee, on my mark… fire at the mountain and only the mountain.”
Ever so smoothly, the ship zoomed past the peak and headed for space. Looking at his sensors, Etos smirked as the Schloran ship followed his every move, gliding across the mountainside.
The missiles from Blue tore into the top of the mountain, causing an avalanche, and snow plummeting down on top of the Schloran ship. The massive amounts of snow slowed the ship’s chase and it quickly swerved away.
This gave Etos time to take Blue into space and await the Schloran ship’s return. Once there, he’d position the ship to better defend themselves. So, they waited for the Schloran ship to emerge.
“That was Uridian technology used for their shields and weapons.”
“Is that a question, sir.”
“How?” Then Etos remembered. “Ada’s suit! Should have destroyed that ship the minute we left Sapa.”
“But how did they fix that ship in such little time?”
“They must have a hell of an engineer with them. I wouldn’t even be able to—”
“Incoming missile. Evasive maneuvers.”
“Ahh,” Etos screamed as he saw the missile coming at them. He pulled on the levers, barely turning the ship out its path. “Came out of nowhere. Can we get a lock on them?”
“I am not reading a ship on sensors, sir. But auto-pilot is back online. Shall I—”
“Yes, yes.” Etos hopped from one seat to the other. Getting ready to fire back, but looking through the window and on the screen. He saw nothing. “Where is it?”
“Shall I take us away, sir?”
“No, no. We are going to end this right here. Right now.”
The cockpit doors opened. Etos turned and saw Phea standing there in perfect health.
“Phea!” his face lit up and he jumped out of the chair wearing a great big smile.
“You’re smiling,” she said, smiling back. “I haven’t seen you smile before.”
Quickly, he straightened his mouth but happiness remained on his face, and he forgot the current situation they were in. “What—how—how are you? Are you okay?”
“Yeah, fine. What happened? Last thing I remember is escaping in the pod and a monster was on the ship.”
“We’ll talk about that later. We have another situation on our hands.”
“The Schlorans. They found us.”
“Never mind how. I need your help with the weapons. I can’t hold them off by myself.” He returned to his seat, checking through the window and screen.
She sat next to him. “Where is it?”
“It’s out there. Somewhere. I can’t see them. I don’t know. It’s like, it’s invisible.”
“They’re cloaked,” she said, confidently.
“If they got the ship up and running then they would’ve initiated the cloaking mechanism that was built into the ship. But we can’t shoot at them.”
“If they’ve come this far, they mean to get me. And they would’ve brought everyone with them. Innocent men, women and children are on that ship. My friends. You can’t shoot them. You can’t.”
“Well, don’t expect me to hand you over to them.”
“Well…” Etos sat back from his console and looked at her for a solution.
She sat there, looking back at him, thinking.
Alarms started going off. Red lights blinking in all corners of the cockpit. Before Etos had a chance to ask Kee what it was, an automated message sounded off “Intruder alert! Intruder alert!”
“Kee?” Etos bellowed.
“Sir, we have been boarded.”
“I can see that. How could you let this happen?”
Frustrated and stressed, sweat formed on his forehead. He and Phea rushed out of the cockpit, looking both ways down the empty corridor. “Kee, run a diagnostic.”
“On what, sir?”
“Yourself,” he roared.
“Going offline,” Kee muttered.
Etos and Phea ran to the weapons locker at the end of the hall. Etos opened the door, unlocked the locker and grabbed three guns, keeping two for himself and handing the third to Phea.
“What? Okay, okay. We take care of the warriors. No innocent people have to get hurt. I understand.”
“It’s not that.”
“Then what is it? Your eye? Can you use that on them instead?”
“I’m not sure. I—I can read their thoughts, sometimes. But I’m not sure if I can manifest the energy as a defense.”
Etos heard them rumbling on the lower deck. Soon, they’d be face to face with those intruders. In the weapons locker room, Etos put in a code on a device and it locked every door on the ship. Only way to open was by his voice command or Kee’s override, but she was offline.
“Okay, we gotta go. The cyclops is down there. If they see it or if it sees them. The ship will be torn inside out and be dead in space for good.
“The monster is still on board?”
“Yeah, locked away in the Cargo Bay.” Etos took a step outside of the room, watching the corners, checking the halls.
“Wait.” Phea stopped him from leaving, and pulled him back in the room. “I have a plan.”
Down below, seven Schloran men in spacesuits and weapons emerged from the docking room on the opposite side of Cargo Bay One. As the Schloran men marched down the corridor…
“I’m coming out. Don’t shoot,” Phea yelled, then she came around the corner with her hands high.
They stopped and pointed their flashlights, mounted at the top of their barrels. “Phea? Are you hurt? Did he hurt you?” one of the men asked.
“I’m fine,” she said. “Just take me with you and let’s get out of here. Quickly.”
“Fine. Let’s go.” The man grabbed her arm and the others dropped their aim. “I’m gonna take her back. You three, find the Uridians and kill them.” Then he ordered the rest, “You two strip the ship of anything we can use.”
The man in charge escorted Phea back down the hall to the docking room. The door had already been pried open and by pushing a button for the hatch to open up, it revealed the inside of the attached Schloran ship. Before the man could close the door, Etos came around the corner and started shooting. Three of the Schloran men went down before they returned fire.
He ran. They chased him. All part of the plan.
The man escorting Phea joined the chase, leaving Phea alone with the hatch door open.
She could hear yelling and gunshots, also roaring from the monster. She had to move quickly.
She saw a group of women and children, along with some men, cowering together. “Is this everyone?” she asked.
They nodded, but were overcome with so much joy seeing Phea that they started praying and worshipping her as if she were a Goddess before them. They’d never praised her before. On Sapa, she was an errand girl, sometimes treated like a slave.
But now with the Schloran ship working and Phea alive and well, the prophecy could be fulfilled. She hated that some of these innocent people were not so innocent in the sense that they’d watch her die just because some old text said so.
“Follow me. Now,” she ordered, and without question, they followed her back to Blue, through the hatch and docking doors. It was a war on the other side of the ship, the way the mini explosions bounced off the walls and rocked the ship back and forth. They could hardly keep their balance.
Phea approached Bay Four, a dining hall. The door was locked, so Phea looked up and said “Kee, come back online.”
“Kee, I need you to open Bay Four.”
“Opening Bay Four.”
The doors opened and Phea led all thirty of her people inside. She stayed outside. “Kee, close Bay Four and lock it.”
“Closing Bay Four.” The door slammed shut.
The shooting had stopped now. Only noise was the monster’s scratching and pounding. Phea snuck to the end of the hall, climbed the ladder and peeked her head up on the upper level. No sign of anything. She pulled herself up with her sights set on the cockpit yards away. But as she ran, she was grabbed by the Schloran warrior in charge.
“Where do you think you’re going?” he asked, turning her around with a look of confusion.
Using her third eye, she knew that he now knew that she’d traded sides. That wouldn’t stop him though. Never. He would take her by force if he had to or die trying…just to sacrifice her to the Fire Gods.
“You mean to betray us,” he said, looking at her. Sad. Angry. Heartbroken. Unmindful to anything around, especially Etos sneaking up behind him.
“Do it,” she said.
Etos pulled the trigger and killed the Schloran man.
They ran back to the cockpit and locked the doors behind them. “Everyone on board?” he asked. She nodded. “Okay…” he looked at the sensors on the lower level and saw that the rest of the men were still below, some had returned to their ship, while others still searched. “Kee, unlock Cargo Bay One.”
“You heard me. Let it loose.”
“Unlocking Cargo Bay One.”
From the cockpit, one level above, they could hear the Schloran men shouting and the monster roaring, the weapons firing and the ship rumbling.
Phea and Etos sat, waiting, monitoring the sensors and the corridor outside the cockpit.
“The monster has followed the Schlorans to the other ship,” Kee announced.
Etos did a mini cheer with his fist and grunted. “Close the hatch, lock the docking door, and detach. Get us the hell out of here.”
The ship shook a little before it escaped the Schloran ship’s clutch. And using thrusters only, Kee put as much space as they could between their ship and the other. “Goodbye, Ada,” Etos said aloud, but to himself. Then, the Schloran ship imploded.
The blast wave sent Blue spiraling out of control. Etos tried to help control it but was unsuccessful.
“Kee?” Etos saw a dark space on the map that he didn’t understand. “You see that?”
“Yes, sir. We’re heading straight for it.”
“I can’t, sir.”
Still spinning out of control, increasing in speed, Phea felt the biggest headache ever coming on. The pain in her eye throbbed.
“It’s a black hole, sir. It’s too late,” Kee informed them.
Blue was sucked in.
written & created by
M. Sydnor Jr.
copyright © M. Sydnor Jr.