Monthly Archives: February 2016

3-15: Of Wings & Prayers

“You raise a good point,” Laurie said as Scorch entered the cockpit, the door at the back whooshing closed.

“Hold on to something,” she said, and pulled the manual release. They were momentarily weightless as the crescent-shaped cockpit detached from the fuselage, shooting upward and away from the falling spaceship.

“It slowed us down, at least.”

“I don’t know that this thing was supposed to land surfaceside, though,” Laurie said. The airframe shuttered as it began to descend, picking up speed. “It has some maneuvering engines, though. Let’s see how creative I can get.” The engines were small, and wouldn’t offer much resistance, but it was all she had to work with. She glanced at the altimeter, and fired the ones in the nose, angling it down, so they were upside down.

“Forgive me, but is this better?” The Bartender looked more concerned than he ever had.

“Shut up,” she snapped. There were emergency air cartridges there, with vents directly up. She blew the vents wide open, and she jolted against the harness as their decent effectively stopped again.

There was a sharp clang behind her as Scorch, unrestrained, hit the ceiling. “I thought I told you to hang on to something!”

“Sorry, Captain.”

There were still rear thrusters available to her, and she turned the craft so they were right-side-up and backwards, the rear of the craft pointed into their trajectory. The Bartender looked out the window and instantly gagged.

“Really?” Laurie said, and he nodded, scales a distinct off-green color. “Try to hold it in until we’re on the ground.” She looked at the altimeter again. “Which will be shortly.”

The numbers ticked down quickly- far more quickly than she liked- and she stared at them intently, her hand clutching the throttle until it hurt. Small beads of sweat formed on her head, and one rolled annoyingly down her nose. She ignored it, watching the numbers until the time was right.

AS they drew close, she gave the thrusters all the fuel left. The cockpit shook as gravity tried to drag them down, while the thrusters struggled against it. They slowed, the tick on the falling altimeter became a crawl, and then they hit.

The first hit bounced them high up in the air. She managed to pull the throttle back and the ship tumbled end over end. The metal-covered ground rushed towards them, and this time they could watch as the came right down on the front of the canopy. The cockpit then rolled, a whipping motion, sending metal from both the hull of the cockpit and the scrap on the ground in every direction.

Evenrtually, they just skidded over the metal on the ground, leaving a black streak where the friction had melted the scrap metal of the planet’s surface. The came to rest against the ancient hull of a massive ship, upside down.

“Damage report?” Laurie croaked.

The Bartender’s only response was a retching sound, followed by the sound of liquid falling onto the ceiling.

“Oh good,” she said dryly. “Scorch, you alive?”

“I feel like a Numarian shake, but alive.”

“I don’t suppose you can give us a hand down?”

Scorch pulled himself to his feet, if slowly. “I may have to effect some repairs.”

“Probably true of all of us.”

Scorch put his hands on her shoulders as she unfastened the harness, flipping herself onto her feet. Scorch mover to the Bartender and repeated the task, except the Bartender couldn’t hold the contents of his stomach in, spraying Scorch with green liquid and he fell to his feet. He muttered an apology, before half-crawling out of the wrecked cockpit.

Laurie followed him, blinking in the bright sunlight. She looked around, scanning the horizon for any of the creatures on the planet that posed a threat.

“I can’t tell you guys how excited I am to be back here.”

“With no food, shelter or transportation,” The Bartended said from where he sat, slumped forward.

“I suppose those are our priorities. Feel up to moving, Bartender?”

He nodded and rose to his feet. “We can cover more ground if we split up.”

“We might get eaten by one of those dragons if we do.”



3-14: Downer

“Enough of this,” Laurie growled and pulled the restraints over her shoulders. “Scorch, get below and get in the turret. Bartender, you’re gunning up here.”

“Are you sure this is the best idea?” he asked as he strapped in next to her. “They look pretty well-armed.”

“They don’t seem particularly open to negotiation.” She throttled forward, accelerating towards the fighters. They reacted by moving into a tight formation, steering vanes shifting and giving off small plumes.

“They sure can move,” The Bartender observed.

“Try shooting them,” she said through clenched teeth as she brought them into range. “This thing sure can’t,” she said, under her breath as she wrestled with the controls of the Dead Corps ship.

Laser fire leapt from the chin, under the cockpit, as well as the dorsal turret which Scorch occupied. It hit one of the fighters, sending several of the thin vanes off into space. The other ship sped away from it, flanking their ship. It pivoted, firing as it remained facing them. The hull pinged as lasers spattered the hull.

Laurie swore. “Scorch, you want to take care of him?” She rotated the ship to give Scorch a clearer shot, while trying to keep the Bartender sighted in other ship. It sped directly toward them, laserfire pouring from it, tearing into the belly of the ship. The Bartender fired back, finding the main generator. The ship exploded spectacularly, shrapnel still speeding towards them.

“Not good,” she said, nosing down hard.

She wasn’t fast enough. A large piece of the destroyed ship found one of the engines, passing clear through it. It sputtered, made a choking noise that reverberated through the hull, and then detonated. The ship spun sickeningly, spiraling towards the planet.

Laurie clenched her jaw, trying to gain control over the ship with the one good engine. She managed to stop it from tumbling just as they hit the atmosphere. The cockpit glowed red as they descended, far too fast, and warnings blared as the heat shield began to fail.

She gritted her teeth, now in contest with the gravity pulling them down, the friction from the atmosphere trying to incinerate them, and the lack of control on one side of the ship. She fired the one good engine, trying to turn the ship so the engine would fire into the descent, and slow them enough.

The Bartender glanced at her nervously, but she paid him no mind. The ship was turning, but painfully slowly. She hoped there was no weakness in the hull, or they would be torn open by the heat. She watched the altimeter tick down, the falling numbers a blur.

The bartender again looked at her. “We can detach the cockpit and bail out.”

“We’ll loose the ship.”

“We might be going down with the ship.”

“Scorch, get up here,” she shouted. “We need to do it now if we’re going to. But a burn should slow us enough.”

“Do you trust our lives to ‘should’?”