Chapter 24 - Untitled
Taylor's body tensed up as he raised a small droid-replacement arm that he'd scrounged from a cabinet. His burns tore at his attention and it took all of the waning strength in his body to focus on the being with the weapon.
Thattle waved the gun towards himself, "Come. Time isn't something we have a lot of." When he observed the Terran's shock, he hissed laughter and motioned again, "You are not the only one who betrays Sankt. Come, before it is too late."
Taylor threw indecision to the wind and strode after the Thattle creature. He was dead if he stayed and he was dead if he went.but at least this way he had a slightly better survival rate.
Thattle suddenly thrust a small pack at Taylor, "Rations and your weapons. Small medkit. Credits. Come." He seemed to ooze around a corner as emergency beacons flashed off and on down the vast corridors.
"Did you do this?" Taylor blurted.
Hissed laughter, "Of course. My records are already lost so this will do little more damage. Anything to better my vengeance."
Metal halls slid by as the pair slithered through the bowels of the ship, metallic clangs echoed sinisterly through the hull of the ship and the scuttling feet of panicked crew grew less and less. Thattle suddenly slammed to a halt, hardly jolting as Taylor smacked into him from behind.
"This way is Sankt's fastest scout ship."
Taylor nodded and stayed beside the alien, waiting for him to make the first move since he seemed to be the one with the plan. A tense moment passed, "Are we taking this one?"
Thattle hissed at him, "Do you know how to fly off-planet ships?"
Taylor felt a small smirk bubble up but forced it down, "I can, yeah. One of the best in the-."
"Good." And, with reflexes that would have made a cat green with envy, Thattle was halfway across the ship's hold before Taylor could reach a full sprint. Thattle's fingers tapped in a lengthy code near the palm reader by the ship's cockpit door, his hands moving so fast they blurred, and the door shot open before them. Reflexes had Taylor snapping his blaster up at the door, thinking somebody was opening the door from the inside. More hissing laughter as the alien brushed him by and disappeared from view.
Taylor shook his head and seated himself next to Thattle in the bucket-like chairs and began poking various buttons, hitting switches, and finally had to ask, "Does this ship have A.I.?"
"Yesss." Thattle pointed a large-ish button with bug-like mandibles holigraphically moving. Taylor jabbed it.
"Preflight check up."
"One hundred percent."
Taylor wiped his brow, "Weapons."
"Charged, one hundred percent."
Taylor continued his list as he secured the scout's bays and many doors, "Shields?"
"Full compacity, one hundred percent."
Wiping his face on his arm he turned to Thattle, "Two things. One, thank you. And two, strap in and strap in tight. Sankt's gonna be hot on our asses."
The large eyes were full of anticipation, his skin a sickly looking green, and his arms, all but the injured one, adjusted the seat accordingly.
"Open bay doors!"
Taylor cringed as even louder and brighter sirens went off, alerting everything and everyone in the ship of their intentions. Ponderous bay doors swung open, catching every few feet before grinding to a reluctant stop.
"The crash must've warped the metal around the doors. Shit." Taylor cursed, "Hang on."
"Bay doors have been opened." The computer's toneless voice said.
Taylor jerked his head around and peered out his side viewer and there stood Sankt himself, along with several rough-looking security guards.
"Forward weapons, full!" Taylor shouted.
Metal doors screeched in protest as a great fireball crashed into them, jerking them wide open, flinging molten lumps across the jungle clearing.
Taylor jammed the controls forward, the small scout ship shooting out and away like a greased bolt. He prayed the exhaust fumes were hot enough to scorch Sankt and his men to crisps. But he knew praying in a galaxy so vast wasn't something that helped one's situation or odds. Besides, he wasn't that lucky.
"What's Sankt's armaments on his ship like? Anything big enough to knock us down or trace us?"
Thattle's skin was a racing flash of colors that easily drove Taylor to distraction, "Yesss. But all have been disabled."
Taylor hit a few more buttons across the consul in front of him, "What kind of weapons? He can get them back online anytime."
The many-limbed alien's skin continued to show his excitement at being in a scout this fast, "Tractor beam, asteroid-bomber, lasers of all sizes, photon torpedoes, and many smaller arrays. All disabled."
Taylor gave a stiff nod as he tried to learn the keypads he was now using, "Gawd, it's gonna take three of my fingers for every button." He said, commenting on the size difference between Terrans and Draedeans.
The atmosphere began buffeting the ship, rocking it violently back and forth. Thattle's colors abruptly ran pale but Taylor didn't so much as flinch.
And then Sankt's ship came up on a screen behind him, another scout Taylor saw.
"Sankt has many surprises." Thattle moaned, his colors going sickly green.
"Yeah, well so does this Terran. Hold tight!"
It ended in a gigantic explosion, both scout ships colliding head on in a mass of fire, metal, and ejecting seats. Nobody was conscious as the jungle rose up to claim them..
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