The captain barked orders left and right, whipping the bridge into a frenzy of activity.
“Kik, bring us out of the holding pattern and fire up the reserve boosters. Rip, divert all power to the engines. The shields will be useless if they catch us anyway. Hode,” here the captain paused, as if the words he was about to say carried the weight of the worlds with them.
“Hode, get your fromping bulk out of my chair.”
Hode was Director of Holograms, and had been trying to fix the flicker in the captain’s map, but had been distracted by all the activity on the bridge and unfortunately sat in the captain’s chair. Poor Hode ran away as fast as his three legs could carry him.
The captain considered throwing a boot at Hode’s head, but the pirates were more important than self-gratification.
He jerked a boot off the nearest crew member and threw it anyway. He missed.
With the pirates gaining fast, the Splinter tried every maneuver in the book, and some that were not. The Splinter, though nimble, was a small expedition ship and not equipped to fight, even with Frip’s giant laser, which was mostly for small things like mining and blowing up planets.
The captain twirled his first-right hand’s fingers through his beard as he stared at the map. Deep lines creased his forehead. He jabbed at the map, using his fingers to zero in on a bright point not far in front of them. His brown eyes narrowed, his lips pressed together in a long, thin line as he considered his next move. He flicked his second hands to throw the map onto the large screen that hovered near the front of the bridge where all the crew could see it.
Pointing, he said, “We hide on this sun.”
The crew gasped as one.
“Captain, it’s too dangerous! We’ll burn!”
“The magnetic field alone will wreak havoc with our equipment!”
The captain held up all of his hands to silence the protests.
“The Medilarian’s shields aren’t as strong as ours. If we divert all power back to the shields, and hover just above the surface for less than five minutes, we can make it. Equipment can be recalibrated. We cannot. If our faces melt off while we hide from the enemy, so be it.”
The crew was understandably confused by the captain’s less than motivational speech, but they followed his orders.
The three Medilarian pirate ships were large, but made of salvaged and stitched-together parts, including the Medilarian pirates themselves. When they overtake a ship, most passengers choose to eject themselves into the dark of space rather than have a foot or an eye -or worse- taken by a pirate in need. Not many are charitable when it comes to giving up a body part they need to function properly. Medilarian’s are only as good as the last brain they stole, and as there seems to be an abundance of idiotic people, most of the Medilarian’s are quite stupid.
That is why the captain’s plan was brilliant, except for the part about the face-melting.
The Splinter sailed over the sun, but dropped down just above the surface on the other side, hovering in relative safety.
The pirates, who had half of a working shield between them, tried to follow. Two of the three ships exploded, and the third was scorched and melted so badly that they gave up their pursuit and set sail for the nearest harbor to make repairs and harvest parts from anyone unlucky enough to be close by.
The Splinter popped up just in time to escape any severe damage, and not one crew member’s face had melted. A collective cheer rose throughout the bridge.
The captain wiped the sweat off his forehead. Time to celebrate. He excused himself from the bridge and made his way to his cabin, exhausted and hungry.
Again he shut the door, again he retrieved the sandwich, and again he lifted it to his lips.
And again an untimely knock at the door.
“Sir, I’m sorry but the Admiral requests your presence.”
The captain turned purple. All he wanted in all the worlds was to eat his sandwich, and he hadn’t a moment’s peace to do it in.
“Tell her I’m on my way,” he shouted through the door.
Then he devoured the sandwich in three quick bites.
Down in the galley, Gurn snored steadily while the smell of rancid cheese drifted under the cold storage door.