NANOWRIMO CHALLENGE: A SNIPPET OF YOUR WORK, IF YOU PLEASE
Grab 1000 words of your NaNoWriMo work-in-progress (or, really, even if you’re not participating, any WIP of yours), and slap those 1000 words online for all to see. –Chuck Wendig
…The Dread Pirate Mel and her band of Space Marauders…
“Captain! This is suicide.” First Lieutenant, Cole Crawford, yelled over the blasts of laser fire and alarm bells.
“Be that as it may, Lieutenant, load the drones and fire the plasma cannons.” Captain Melinda Goldmire ordered.
“Captain! The shielding is going to fail. If we don’t find cover soon we’ll be as good as done,” Helmsman Justin Barnes yelled.
“I don’t have time this, Barnes,” Goldmire said. “Fire all batteries, full-spread, Cole. Barnes, Make the jump to lightspeed through the clearing!”
“But, Captain? We’ll take damage.”
Goldmire leapt from her command chair as Cole tore a hole in the enemy line with a barrage of fire. She booted Barnes out of the helm and slammed the throttle to bypass the sublight settings.
In a blue blaze of hot plasma and smoke the Antibes streaked into hyperspace close enough to Vega 4 to singe the port side hull on coronal ejections. The ship entered normal space, teetering to starboard with no gravity. Buckling back into the command chair, Mel yelled out instructions to find out the state of the situation.
Cole used the bulkheads to swing into the First Mate’s con. “Captain, we have three injured but not seriously. The quantum engine is another story. It got so blazing hot it actually welded the hatch shut. We got half thrusters and the port ones are being repaired as we speak. The gravity will be restored next. But we will need to find a place to set down to do the repairs to the manifolds.”
“Damn. Cole, double check the cargo. I want to make sure our prize is secure and safe.”
“Aye Captain.” Cole swung out of the chair and helped Harmony, his wife, back into her station on his way to the transport tube.
“I just want to say…” Barnes interrupted Goldmire.
The Captain held a hand up to Barnes. He stopped speaking.
“Harm, pull up the charts for this star system and put them on the main display.”
Goldmire looked Barnes over. “Barnes if you ever question another order from a superior on my ship, you will pack your bags.”
“Take your seat Helmsman.”
Barnes buckled into the con. He was green, but would learn. The crew was the best the Antibes had seen in the five years since Goldmire put her into service. Each one went about his job with diligence usually only seen in governmental cruisers. Half of them were tethered to bulkheads, the rest strapped into their stations, but not one complaint or grumble. A real gem of a crew.
“Here are the charts, Captain.” Harmony said.
The screen’s focus was out of whack. “Just a moment, Captain, I’ll fix the resolution.” Harmony said fiddling with the display.
“There you go, Captain. According to the chart we have two ELP class options in the Malestra system. One is the moon of Malestra-Prime, and the second is the fourth planet. Each one is relatively small but Malestra-Four has a longer day.”
“Helm, set a course to Malestra-Four.”
The Antibes limped her way to a stationary orbit over the southern continent. As the crew began the standard scans for life and necessities Captain Goldmire headed below decks to see what was keeping Cole from reporting back on the status of the cargo.
Mel launched herself down the corridor, floating due to the lack of gravity, midway toward the hatch leading to the cargo hold she could hear the cargo making a terrible fuss, screeching at a high enough pitch to make ears bleed.
Bursting through the portal, Goldmire slid the door shut with a thunderous bang. “What in Hades is going on in here?”
The screeching began again.
Goldmire hated to yell, but in this particular instance she thought it justified. “Shut up!”
The cargo looked offended, but stopped talking. Looking quite flustered, the cargo, floated through the air pink fluffy dress and green hair all eschew. It was difficult not to laugh at the hapless twit.
“Now, Cole, what is the issue.”
“As you can see, Captain, the gravity plates in this section have not been repaired. Each time I try to help Her Majesty down she gripes about me being unclean and offensive. That sets her to spinning like a crazed torpedo.”
“Ah. Well then go prepare the ship for landing. Pull as many folks as you need to put this bucket to rights. I’ll deal with the princess.”
Princess Halifia of the Martonik Empire floated past like a cloud of cotton candy. If the gravity were to come on right this second she would land headfirst on her shiny little crown.
“Allow me to assist you, Your Majesty.”
“Don’t touch me you heathen…”
“Shall I let your royal self land in a heap on the floor with your dress over your head?”
“Well…no.” All the steam ran out of her tirade.
Goldmire reached out a hand and expertly righted the floating princess and strapped her into a seat along the wall. Then with a bow turned to leave the hold.
“Did you require something else, Princess?”
“No. I just wanted to know if we were going to make it in time.”
“Princess, I am the Dread Captain Mel, and I have never missed a deadline. You will be at your father’s side before his passing. Or I’ll die in the trying.”
With the cargo secure, Mel headed down to the engine room to get an update. Floating through the cockeyed corridor the gravity plating came back online. Mel landed in a crouching kneel looking decidedly like a panther. Her long black leather coat tail floated down around her body, blonde braids in her face.
“Declan! I’m going to put your ass in a sling!” Mel barked into her wrist communicator.
She paused to help prone crew members to their feet.
Entering engineering all activity halted, for a millisecond. It was always trouble when the mistress of the Antibes came calling. She would put her life on the line for any one of them, but none wanted to create a circumstance where such a thing was necessary.
“Declan.” Mel growled low, menacing.
“Captain.” Declan sucked in a quick breath. “The main stardrive took a magnetic surge at the last moments of the battle. We have full life support, gravity, and all the maneuvering thrusters on the fore/aft/starboard, but the mechbot reports a large gash along port. I have spare parts but the hull has to be opened and resealed. Not something I would prefer for us to do in the black.”
“Well, you’re in luck we are in a stationary orbit around Malestra-Four. Secure all stations and will be setting down for quick repairs.”
“Quick, Captain that isn’t…”
Goldmire marched up to Declan and leaned in close. “Let me stress to you the meaning of the word quick—rapidly, swiftly expedient, with all haste, as in any delay will not be tolerated.” She straightened to her full height. “The mission is time critical. Only the repairs necessary for stardrive and landing, anything else can be done in transit. Understood.”
Mel turned on her boot then looked back over her shoulder, “Oh, Declan.” She paused to catch his eye. “If you ever turn on gravity without a warning to the crew again, I will punt you out the hold into the black.