Friday, April 27, 2018

Flash Fiction #300: Catchin Can/Part 2

Tana felt rock and dust brushing against her and gave a startled cry.  Alika looked up and screamed in fear, throwing herself away from the equipment as a wall of rock came down.

"Back -- back to the fighter," Krisin ordered. He grabbed their lasers and pulled her away.

"The ship is trapped --"

"Have to hope the equipment is damaged --"

"Do more than hope.  Give me my laser, Krisin!"  Then she dropped her voice.  "Did you see Lisel?"

"No."  He stopped and looked back where the rumble of rock had started to lessen.  "Damn."

They went back.  Tana mostly ignored the pain in her leg, grateful that Krisin hadn't insisted she go to the fighter and wait.  He might have been right to do so because she slowed him down.

She could, however, shoot.  When something with odd flashing lights started to crawl out of the rock, she shot it.  More than once.  And the next one as well, while Lisel left her leaning against a boulder half the size of the fighter where she could shoot to her heart's content.  Being in a bad mood and having things to shoot at helped.

Where the hell was Lisel?  Not under the rock.  He wouldn't have -- unless he thought it would save them.  Tana didn't like that thought.  She shot at rocks.

She wasn't certain what Krisin was doing until she saw he had a scanner in hand and ran it over piles of rock.  The way he shook his head made her fear that they would not find --

Rocks fell from the top of the pile.  Tana aimed and fired --

"Will you stop shooting at me!" Lisel shouted.

She grinned with delight and watched as he poked his head out, ears laid back and eyes narrowed.  When he saw she'd lowered her weapon he squirmed out and began pulling something behind him.

"Lisel --" Krisin began.

"Here. Take this."

Alika rolled out and slid down the pile of rock, tied up in cloth and cords, a gag over her mouth.  Her eyes stared at them, wild and angry.  Accusing -- they had, after all, lied to her.

Lisel quickly made his way down as well.  He looked bruised and blood showed in a few spots.  He favored his right hand, and she thought some of the claws had been torn off there.  Krisin had taken up Alika and gave her a vicious shake when she tried to pull away.

"We had better go," Lisel warned with a glance at the rock.  "If I set things up properly, we're going to lose gravity soon.  And air, shields, probably the stability of the rest of the rocks --"

Tana turned, a hand on the rock beside her.  Krisin pushed Alika ahead and Lisel, despite his own limp, got hold of her. They hurried, but even so, the rumbled of disaster started before they reached the fighter.  Alika looked back with open fear and stopped fighting, which allowed Krisin to push ahead and get the fighter open.

Tana still didn't think they'd make it.  The wind had started, a sign of lost atmosphere.  She gasped at the air, an involuntary reaction, like falling into water and wanting one last breath.  Krisin's hand held tighter and he pulled her along -- not that she fought, but the erratic wind and failing gravity made it hard --

Oh, they reached the ship.  Lisel had shoved Alika back behind the seats -- not a comfortable spot.  Good.  Krisin shoved her in and across to the controls.  She hit her leg and nearly blacked out, but the sight of the rock falling and explosions made her grab Lisel in and key the door shut.

Rocks hit the canopy. A small crack -- but they had no choice. She keyed the engines on, powered them up to full, and shot out of the trap as fast as she could.  Behind them, the asteroid exploded, sending more rock after them.  It pinged and banged, and she watched the crack grow a little wider.  So far, it did not give way.

"Part of the controls are out," she said, tapping at the board.  "We're going to be flying without any scanners or communications."

"I have faith you'll find the way home," Lisel said from behind.  He handed up the first aid kit.


A medpad to her leg helped dull the pain and allowed her to concentrate.  The one thing neither of them mentioned was how there was likely weres in the area.  She kept them close to big asteroids when she could, doing the computations in her head, aiming back toward the sector where they'd left the Belgium.  It would not be in exactly the same place, but she hoped it hadn't moved far.

Alika made some sound of protest in the back of the fighter.

"You would be wise to shut up," Lisel said with such a snarl that Tana felt the hair on the back of her neck rise. 

Alika went silent again.  Tana didn't trust her, though. She opened the first aid kit and handed back a hypo.  He gave a quick nod and then rather ruthlessly jabbed it at Alika's arm.  The woman protested for a moment and then went silent.

She was coming back around again by the time Tana finally spotted the Belgium.  Their craft was not responding well by then.  With no communications, all she could do was aim for the bay and hope for the best.  Lisel knocked Alika back out again when she started to kick and snarl.

"Good work," Tana said.  "This is not the time.  We need to get her in and get the Captain.  We don't want a lot of show before word spreads."

"Leave her here," Krisin said with a glance back.  Brave man since they were just going in the bay.  "Call the Captain to us."

"I don't know --"

"She'll come to us," Lisel said.  "Or I'll go get her."
That sounded like trouble ... but they had trouble anyway.

"Let's do it."

To Be Continued....

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