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.”



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