Little did Lieutenant Campbell know that she was up for a fight in space.
|To There and Back
Prompt: Going to Space
I opened my eyes and found myself in an alley. It’s dimly lit near the entrance from the streetlamp, but rest of it was in darkness. It took me three seconds to get my bearings and realize that I was in another neighborhood altogether. And I’d covered a quarter of a mile in split of a second.
I turned to my escort.
He leant against the wall, his hand on his chest and panted hard. He was tall, more than six feet, wider than any average man and dark.
“Why…” he spoke in between his breaths. “Why… did you … interfere?”
“I’m a Force Man. I am afraid I need to arrest you… what’s happening to you?”
He clutched his chest, screwed his eyes and collapsed.
“Gotta take you to a hospital,” I said taking out my phone when he grabbed my arm.
“The… watch… help!”
I knelt by his side.
He pointed at his wrist.
“Press…” he croaked, “press the center button.”
I depressed it and the dial glowed blue and then dimmed.
“Hey,” I called as his head rolled over my shoulder. “Stay awake. Open your eyes…”
Something hummed in the dark alley. Warmth filled the cold walls as a soft light stroked away the darkness. A doorway appeared and before I’d fathom what was happening, the view snapped in front of my eyes. Again.
When I opened my eyes, I was sitting on a metallic floor with the man on my lap. He was unconscious now. Blood seeped from his temple and nose.
Four grey skinned men hurried towards us. They lifted him on a floating stretcher and guided it down the narrow passageway.
“You can come with me,” a voice said.
I turned to find another grey skinned man standing behind me. He was a head shorter with an elongated cranium.
He took me to a small windowless room and invited me to sit. I sat and was immediately strapped in. A dial in the buckle turned and secured me in. The man bowed and left closing the door behind him.
I was well-known for keeping a cool head under the heat. But that coolness was fading fast. My foreign surrounding was starting to eat into my nerves. My brain failed to process so many questions all at once. That’s probably why I wasn’t freaking out.
The floor vibrated, like an engine started somewhere. Was I on some kind of a vessel? The vibration increased to a point that I’d to cling to the armrests for dear life. It continued for quite some time. It felt like eternity. Then, gradually, it subdued.
After a while the seatbelt unbuckled and the door opened. I stepped out to absolute silence. It was time to get out and wash my hands off the whole thing. First, find the way out, I had no idea how I came here in the first place. Whatever, I was ready to forget the whole incident as a dream and move on.
“Please follow me.”
I turned to find one of the grey men standing behind me. I followed him down a narrow passageway to a round chamber.
“Where am I?”
“Please stay here.”
I looked around. The walls were all given up to control panels and cabinets and screens. I barely understood the writings on them. They appeared to me more pictorial than any letters I had known. On my right there’s a huge window filled with the night sky.
I walked up to see if I’d climb out of it. As I approached the window, the stars become brighter and seemed not to twinkle like they do. In fact the sky was a lot darker, clearer, like someone had removed a layer of fog. I pressed my nose to see better, especially how high I was. I felt I had lost ground under my feet, and quite literally too. There’s no ground at all; in fact there’s no earth beneath my feet. Just the empty space. The earth was way below, a stretch of blue with shades of white and green here and there. There’s light on the curved edge, blazing, radiating having a budge which I immediately recognized as the sun.
“Mesmerizing, isn’t it?”
I jumped off my skin to find that guy from the alley, standing well and smiling. A squared based face with high chick bones and dark prominent eyes.
“No,” I shook my head as my legs folded under me.
“Ah, you are awake,” a soothing voice said.
I bolted upright and looked around. I was lying on a cot and that man was sitting by it on a floating chair.
“Let me introduce myself,” he said. “Morewell Brunn Darlow, Captain in Zoranian Army and Commander of this patrol craft. And you are?”
“What?” I asked but quickly recovered. I’d never acted so stupidly ever in my life. But then you don’t fly up to space and meet an alien every day. I swung my legs off the cot and sat straight to face him.
“Sorry. Name’s Emma Campbell. Lieutenant.”
“Nice to meet you, lieutenant. Thanks for saving my life.”
“Part of the job,” I replied.
In the back of the head my brain was working overtime to find reasons not to trust this man while my heart loved every moment of this.
“This is your first time on a spaceship, I gather,” he said striking up a conversation.
“This is my very first encounter with a sentinel being outside the television,” I honestly replied.
“I guess that wasn’t your first visit to Earth.”
“Oh no. I’m a frequent to that planet.”
“Wow. And how come we understand each other’s language?”
“I have learned and taught it to a few of the crew. It helps to blend in. Anyways we need to take breaks to cool off our engines. One of our cooling systems was damaged in the last assault. That’s one reason for hurrying to the mother ship. So while we are at it, would you like to take a stroll in the space?”
That was one tempting offer I couldn’t resist. The silver spacesuit was like a second skin. It made Brunn look bigger as it accentuated his well-built muscles.
“Orb, prepare the hatchway.”
As we waited for the debark chamber to depressurize I tried to feel my heartbeat. For moment I thought it was gone.
Damn, I had never felt so void before. I was scared and excited and doubtful and then there was nothing. The door stared to part starting with a slit and slowly widening, reveling the black space studded with bright, unwinking stars.
I found a line attached to my belt.
“Just to make sure you don’t drift off.”
He didn’t have any line. With a smile he just pushed himself out of the craft and floated.
“Come on,” he urged.
Come where? There was nothing to step on.
Brunn gauged my doubt. He came closer and extended his hand.
“You can trust me.”
I could see his face through that visor. He was smiling. I put my hand on his and then turned it into a grip. He carefully drew me out.
I looked down. There was nothing underneath my feet, yet I wasn’t falling. I wasn’t even flying. I was there; just there in space like the planets, the stars, moons are there.
Brunn’d boosters in his boots that helped him go in any direction he wanted. I lacked that.
We went round the ship. Dear old Earth was looking like the moon.
“How does this feel?”
“I am dreaming. This is incredible, unbelievable and out of the world. Well literally.”
Brunn laughed out loud.
“Enjoy. It’s … oh,” he stopped and quickly grabbing my arm went to the other side of the craft. He raised his head a little above the edge.
“What is it?” I asked freeing my arm.
“The Gorlords,” he said. “The one I was fighting in that warehouse. Well he has a few friends now. And our craft can’t fire.”
He slid back to his hiding position.
“On normal occasion,” he said in a calm voice. “We keep our shields up which keep us protected and invisible. Since our cooling system is down, during our breaks we’d to shut down everything. Even the shields.”
“So the only way to stop them is from outside.”
“Yes. But before that you need to be inside. Orb can’t close that hatch with that line… what are you doing?”
I detached the line from my back and yanked it. The line jolted its way back and the hatch closed shutting us out in space.
“Hey, I am a fighter too. And you are no superman. So better we stick together.”
The way he kept looking at me I thought I’d grown another head.
He shook his head vigorously and turned to face ahead.
“Sorry. So we hold them for…” he consulted his watch on his left wrist plate, “ten kils, that’s thirty earth minutes, then fire up the big guns.”
“Let’s go then.”
“Right hand, laser. Left hand’s shield. We’ll wait for them to fire.”
I checked them both and peeped over the edge.
“Those are pods. Just four of them.”
I nodded and activated my laser. Our craft shook twice.
“Now,” Brunn mouthed.
I took my aim and fired. The blast of blue laser hit the forth pod sending it off its course.
Brunn took the second one stopping it in its track. They returned fire and we ducked.
Then, without ceasing to fire, they broke up.
“They are coming in fast.” Brunn warned.
They zoomed past us and did a double back. A red beam hit our craft in between us forcing us to glide away in opposite directions.
“Aim for the guns on the top,” Brunn cried.
Activating the shield I aimed for the first pod. Its nozzle bloomed like a flower and the pod itself rocked out of course.
The forth one went spinning as Brunn hit it in one of the engines.
“Two down, two to go,” I said.
“Ten more minutes,” he reminded and fired. The shot went out in space as the pod he aimed at dodged and returned fire.
We let it pass and replied. My laser hit the one on the left. Brunn’s beam died half way to it.
“Damn.” He cursed. “What a …” he cried. “Shields up, NOW.”
I turned to find both the remaining pods aiming for us, together.
“Stay behind,” I yelled and moved in front of him.
The hit was like taking on an express head on. The shot hit the shield, I hit Brunn and he hit the craft behind us. I was pressed like in a compactor. I couldn’t breathe or move. The pressure was tremendous and it continued to climb to an unbearable level and then was gone.
I opened my eyes and found myself on that same cot. The huge window showed Earth. But I was not in space anymore, not in person that is.
“How do you feel?”
“Captain?” I stood up feeling a little wooly but otherwise okay. “I feel great.”
“Good for you are going home,” He smiled making his eyes glitter.
“Our Mother Ship reached for us and scooted the Gorlords away. I traded my patrol craft for this one. Now it can be repaired and you can go home.”
The alleyway looked as damp and forlorn as it had a couple of nights before. But this time I wanted it to be that way. Brunn lead me out of the craft and turned to face me.
“Well lieutenant, this is it, I guess.”
“Not necessarily,” I smiled. “I think we might see each other.”
“Cool,” he said. “Maybe I’ll take you to Zorania someday.”
“I’ll love to visit,” I said and extended my hand. “So long Captain.”
He took my hand and held it tight. “Call me Brunn.”