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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

A naive group of young friends embark on an ill-destined pilgrimage to visit a space hub for the first time in their planet's history since its original colonisation.

Kyle was jolted off his feet, spilling his lunch as the lights flickered out. Before taking a second to think about it, he hurried to the cockpit. By the time he squeezed through the connecting chamber, the ship was flooded with dim, red emergency lights and blaring alarms.
“What happened?” he shouted at the two figures behind button-clad consoles below a wide, re-inforced window.
Stacy glanced back at him, then returned her gaze to the various dials, gauges, and buttons in front of her. “The ship shook and the lights went out!” she shouted.
“I can see that,” Kyle chided, struggling to speak over the loud alarm.
The other pilot spoke up, still looking at the console in front of him. “Then why’d you ask?”
As usual, Kyle was too panicked to be entertained by their tomfoolery. Despite how much he hated it, he somewhat envied their ability to stay light-hearted in such tense situations. “Where’s Taylor?” he asked, knowing she’d be the only one who’d know the answer.
“In the pisser,” Chad said.
“God bless,” Stacy added.
Seemingly on cue, Taylor erupted from the bathroom. Her eyes were wide with surprise and her face was painted red by the glow of the emergency lights. “What happened?”
“We were hoping you’d know,” Stacy shouted.
Without responding, Taylor made her way to the deck’s computer and navigated the interface. In less than a minute, a deafening silence filled the cockpit as the lights flickered back on. She nonchalantly turned around to face the others as they stared in awe.
“Is it fixed?” Kyle asked.
Taylor shook her head.
“Then what did you do?” Stacy questioned.
“I disabled the alarm.”
Chad cocked his head in confusion. “What caused the alarm?”
“A meteoroid collided with the perifferal radiation panels. We have approximately a week worth of power left in the reserves.”
Stacy and Chad looked at eachother, then back at Taylor and Kyle. “We’re using Atilladorr’s gravity for an orbit-leap, which should give us enought momentum to take us to Argenia in a week,” Stacy said. “Before we leave orbit, we’ll need a full diagnosis of the ship. Kyle, do you think it’s safe for you to go outside and see what you can do?”
Kyle nodded, terrified by the idea.
“Awesome. Taylor, keep your eye out for more warnings.”
“Will do,” Taylor responded. “Although I doubt...”
She was cut off by a loud fizzing sound, which was followed by an even louder pop. The ship was lurched to the side, launching Kyle onto Taylor. They came colliding onto the wall next to the onboard computer. Kyle pushed himself away and found himself floating across the room.
“Gravity’s gone!” he shouted, not even trying to hide the panic in his voice.
“Our reserves short-circuited! The gravity drive is disabled!” Taylor responded, stil shouting despite the lack of a blaring alarm.
“We’re losing fuel fast,” Chad said. “Our orbit’s been altered and we don’t have enough fuel to escape the gravitational pull. Prepare for an emergency landing!”
Kyle pushed off the roof toward his chair on the wall opposite the on-board computer. By the time he was buckled in, he saw that Taylor had done the same on her chair next to the computer. He looked out the window and watched as the massive red planet grew bigger and bigger. Terrified, he closed his eyes.
The momentum grew stronger and stronger, until the a wild roar engulfed the group. They had entered the atmosphere.
The landing parachutes opened, causing another jerk on the ship. A piece of Kyle’s forgotten lunch smacked him in the face, and he opened his eyes in shock. He glanced out the window, and all he could see was wide open ocean. He closed his eyes again, but the image of the brick-red water and rippling waves was caught in his mind.
After what felt like forever, the ship plunged into the water. Kyle gripped his seat as the world spun, flipping the ship upright as it floated back to the surface.
The following silence and slight bob of the waves was almost calming. Before anyone could soak it in, Chad stood up.
“Yoooo, we survived!” he shouted. “Not that I’m surprised.”
Stacy laughed. “Yeah, there was no struggle at all. We planned this all along.”
Kyle rolled his eyes. “Great. Now what?”
Taylor, who was caught in a trance, seemed to come to her senses. “We launch a flare and hope for the best. There should be cargo ships everywhere. There’s only one space port, and it’s nowhere near all the mining sites.”
Stacy nodded. “Yeah. We didn’t exactly have a subtle entrance eaither. Besides, this ship is worth more money than we can imagine. Worst case scenario, we just sell it here and buy a new one. We’d get a higher price in Argenia, but desparate times call for desparate measures”.
Kyle nodded. He knew she was right; the Pytheas IV was the first recon ship to successfully make it to Keplare seven generations ago. The planet wasn’t terribly well known, but pioneer recon ships were sought out by collectors on most colonies.
His thoughts were interrupted by shouts and the sounds of people jumping onto the back of the ship. His heart sunk.
“That was quick,” Taylor mumbled.
Stacy stood by the ladder that lead to the landing hatch, and Chad followed.
“Let’s hope they’re good guys,” Chad said.
“I’m sure we’ll be able to strike some sort of deal anyway,” Stacy responded.
When he heard the hatch open, Kyle walked over to join them as Taylor stayed seated. He looked up, startled by the face that stared back at him. It was smeared with grease and red dirt with a gnarly grin exposing nasty teeth.
“We got us some rookie Shooters!” the thing snarled, at someone else.
“Lemme see, Greaseball,” another said as they pushed the man away and looked in. They were dirty as well with sharp cheekbones and a slim face.
“They look un-armed” another voice said, pushing the other away. “Let’s shoot ‘em up!” Kyle backed up as the man hopped in. 
“Whoa, whoa, hey,” Stacy said, holding her hands up.
“We’re chill,” Added Chad.
“They’re definitely Shooters!” the man said. “Stick, what are you waiting for?”
The one with the slim face soon followed. “Did that one say they’re chill?” she said, motioning at Chad. “Hah! No Shooter will ever be chill.” She spat.
They each pulled out clean, sleek weapons from under their pant legs and swept them accross the cockpit, noticing Taylor for the first time.
“If one of you moves, it’ll be your last time moving,” the shorter of the two said.
“Shut up, Ranger,” the tall one said under her breath. “You’re making us look bad.”
Ranger glared at her. “Me?” he whispered aggressively. “Greaseball’s the one bein’ all gross and greasy all the time!”
Stick was about to respond, but Chad and Stacy each jumped at them. They faced them and smacked them with their guns.
“Dumbasses!” Ranger shouted as he pointed his gun an Stacy, who was lying on the ground in shock. “Greaseball, get the captain!”
“Wait!” Another voice called. “Don’t shoot!” The man looked through the hatch. He was a lot cleaner and closer in age to Kyle and his friends.
Greaseball pushed him away. “Ah, shut up,” he said. “You’re such a softie.”
“He’s right,” a fifth voice boomed. They all froze, including the ones in the ship. “If you shoot I will cut off your limbs and sell them to the government for bounty.”
Kyle almost fainted. He didn’t know whether or not to be terrified or relieved. When the source of the voice appeared in the hatch, he felt both emotions rage inside him.
They were almost as tall as Stick, but with chiselled muscles and short, matted hair instead. They climbed down, causing Stick and Ranger to put their weapons away.
“This is a nice piece of machinery,” they said as they stepped off the ladder. “An antique. What’re kids like you doing cruising in a fine collectible like this?”
“We’re actually adults,” Kyle mumbled. The captain glared at him.
“Did I ask?” they said, somewhat aggressively. Kyle was terrified, but something about their demeanor made him relax a little bit.
“I mean, you asked something,” he squeeked, embarrased by how pathetic he sounded.
They rolled their eyes.
“We’re trying to get to Argenia,” Stacy said. “Our families are part of the colony on Keplare.”
“Keplare?” the captain scoffed. “What a bunch of snobs. I thought your type was done with travelling.”
Chad spoke up. “Yes, the others are deeply rooted their. But we were different. We wanted to travel, to see a space hub.”
The captain laughed. “Ah, naive little kids. Don’t we all wish we could see a space hub?”
“Not everyone,” Taylor answered meekly. She didn’t even react to the captain’s glares. “That’s why the only cruiser on our planet was a pioneer recon ship.”
“It was a rhetorical question,” they said, obviously annoyed. She pointed at her crewmates in the cockpit. “The lads here thought you were part of the military. If you were, I would’ve had you killed on the spot.”
Kyle sighed in relief.
The captain continued. “Since I want your ship, I’m going to kill you anyway.”
Kyle inhaled sharply, no longer in relief.
“Unless,” they said, putting a finger up, “you join my crew. Deal?”
Considering the options, Kyle, Stacy, Taylor, and Chad made the unanimous decision to join the crew.
"I figured. I hope you know how to shoot, because your first raid is tomorrow." 
Kyle clenched his teeth. The way he saw it, both choices would lead to their death.
To be continued...

Submitted: May 14, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Bruvton. All rights reserved.

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