Today’s A To Z Challenge is much better than yesterday’s. I’m more functional today, and there’s a lot of dialogue. My writing flows much better when I let the characters tell the story.
If you’ve been following along, you’ve probably noticed my stories so far have been interlinked. This one is kind of a departure. I don’t have a character with a D name anywhere in The L Squad. I thought about Dangle Hartzakk from Norman Normalson & The Normals, but he’s a minor character who is pretty underdeveloped. This doesn’t fit in linearly with the rest of my A To Z Challenge stories, but you can think of it as a flashback. This is story of how our alien heroes came to be stranded on Earth.
“Captain, the planet beyond this asteroid belt is reading as having a breathable atmosphere,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.
“Can we survive there?” asked Captain Grek.
“The gravity is lighter, and there’s a lot of pollution,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.
“Can we survive?” Captain Grek asked, again, with a hint of flagitation.
For the uninitiated, Wemeselsimians, like Captain Grek, have a condition known as flagitation. The word is a portmanteau of ‘flatulence’ and ‘agitation.’ Wemeselsimians fart when they’re angry, nervous, or otherwise agitated.
“Yes,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.
“Can you get us there, George?” asked Captain Grek.
George turned toward Captain Grek stroking Herman. “We have to take this asteroid belt a lot slower than the last, which will give them time to catch up.”
“Do it,” said Captain Grek. “Schmargf, Doogleynobbz, keep that ship off us.”
“On it, Captain,” said Schmargf.
“Will do, Captain,” said Doogleynobbz, who then turned to Schmargf, “On it?”
“Will do?” Schmargf returned.
“Kruwkedpinz, send a distress call to the planet,” said Captain Grek. “Keep me informed of any response.”
“It’s a conundrum! It’s a disaster! What should I do? Where should I be?” asked Uniqraw.
“Get yourself to a secure location, Uniqraw,” said Captain Grek, “and stay off the bridge.”
“Underpants!” said Uniqraw.
“Yes, that’s where you should be, with the underpants, doing our laundry,” said Captain Grek.
“Why did we rescue him, again?” asked Chugklet.
“Somebody has to do the laundry,” said MkFlooffeepence.
“We saved everyone we could,” said Captain Grek. “All the lives on that planet matter. I wish we could have saved everyone.”
“Except Theodore,” George mumbled to himself.
“I’m not getting a response,” said Kruwkedpinz. “I’m detecting archaic technology. They might not have the capability to respond.”
“Keep trying,” said Captain Grek.
George slowed the massive mothership and eased into the asteroid belt. He wasn’t so gentle with the Kuiper Belt, and the ship had the dings to prove it. They were about halfway through when the ship started to shake.
“George,” said Captain Grek.
“It’s not me, Captain,” said George.
“They’re catching up, Captain,” said Gronult.
“Evasive maneuvers!?!?” Captain Grek commanded, tentatively.
“I am,” said George. “We’re in an asteroid belt. I’m already being as evasive as I can”
“They’re firing in front of us,” said Gronult. “They’re not trying to destroy us. They’re trying to slow us down.”
“They’re trying to recapture us,” said Kruwkedpinz.
“I can’t be a slave again,” said MkFlooffeepence. “I can’t do it.”
“None of us can or will,” said Captain Grek. “George.”
“Seatbelt, everyone,” said George.
George pushed the speed to the limit he could control in an asteroid belt. He bounced off a few asteroids but maintained forward momentum. Schmargf and Doogleynobbz divided the blasters. Schmargf fired ahead in an attempt to give George the most accessible path possible. Doogleynobbz tried to keep the pursuing Lambad ship at as much of a distance as possible.
The ship emerged from the asteroid belt banged up but functional. George kept the course for the planet. He increased speed until…
“What was that?” asked Captain Grek. “Report.”
“We’re hit,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce. “We’re hit hard.”
“We’ve lost right thrusters,” said MkFlooffeepence.
“George?” asked Captain Grek. “What does that mean?”
“It means we’re at base speed until it’s fixed,” said George.
“What about the left thrusters?” asked Captain Grek.
“They’ll take us forward but also in a circle,” said George. “It would be faster, but we’d be spinning out of control.”
“Can we make it to the planet?” asked Captain Grek.
“Without a doubt, but the Lambads will catch us long before that happens,” said George.
“Options?” asked Captain Grek.
“We can fire back and hope to keep them at a distance,” said Kruwkedpinz.
“Can we slow them?” asked Captain Grek.
“Not without being behind them,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.
“We have to be able to hit their thrusters,” said MkFlooffeepence.
“Can we…” Captain Grek started.
“Done,” said George.
Without further discussion or warning, George swung the ship up and fired the left thruster to full. The ship veered up and hard to the right. They ended up almost exactly where they wanted to be. They were behind the Lambad mothership blasting at their thrusters.
It didn’t take long for the Lambads to retaliate. They sped up, knowing the refugees couldn’t catch them, and released the smaller attack ships. The smaller ships swarmed on the refugee ship while the Lambad mothership circled back and settled behind the refugee ship.
“George, what can we do?” asked Captain Grek.
“Cry,” George suggested. “Our ship’s too battered to outfly them. They have too many attack ships to fight.”
“What about ours?” asked Kruwkedpinz. “We have the same ships they have.”
“We don’t have enough pilots,” said Captain Grek. “These are good people, but they’re refugees, not warriors, not yet.”
“Even if we did, the majority of the people on this ship are in stasis,” said Chugklet.
“The ships are dispersing,” said MkFlooffeepence.
“Somehow, that doesn’t seem like good news,” said Gronult.
“They’re locking on to us with their tractor beam,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.
“How close are we to the planet? Is it reachable?” asked Captain Grek.
“If it weren’t for the tractor beam, even in this condition, I could get us there within minutes,” said George.
“What if we were suddenly thrust forward?” asked Captain Grek. “Maybe tumbling out of control?”
“That’s my favorite way to fly,” said George.
“What are you thinking, Captain?” asked Kruwkedpinz.
“Schmargf, Doogleynobbz, queue up a torpedo or two,” said Captain Grek.
“They’re pulling us in,” said Meestuh Squawklebolce.
“Good,” said Captain Grek.
“Where are firing, Captain?” asked Schmargf.
“Into the tractor beam,” said Captain Grek.
“But that will…” Chugklet started.
“Send us tumbling out of control,” said George.
“If we can break the hold of the tractor beam,” said Gronult.
“If it doesn’t destroy both ships,” said Kruwkedpinz.
“Would you rather be destroyed or dragged back to a dying Nasga to be slaves?” asked MkFlooffeepence.
“On my mark, be ready,” said Captain Grek.
Everyone paused and waited for Captain Grek, except the Lambads. They kept pulling the refugee ship closer. Everyone on the bridge held their breath. It wasn’t out of concern for their lives but concern for their olfactory systems. By now, the product of Captain Grek’s flagitation had filled the bridge.
Yay for fart jokes!
“Fire,” yelled Captain Grek, who refused to allow me to revel in my delight over that fart joke.
The torpedo, Schmargf and Doogleynobbz decided on one out of concern for everyone’s lives, smashed into the Lambad ship. It hit it right in the tractor beam and caused an explosion that sent both ships tumbling out of control.
George jerked their ship and aimed it toward the planet that had become their destination. The Lambad ship tumbled the opposite direction but still had functional thrusters. They managed to aim their tumble toward the refugee ship. They motherships collided in the atmosphere. Both ships were caught in the planet’s gravitational pull. Both ships were still tumbling out of control.
The refugee ship landed in the northwestern hemisphere of the planet in the wilderness of a country the dominant species referred to as Canada. The Lambad ship landed somewhere in the southwestern hemisphere.
The explosion temporarily blinded many of the planet’s satellite systems the same way a solar flare could. The inhabitants of the planet saw the refugee ship crash. The Lambad ship went down in one of the satellite systems blind spots.
Before the refugees could orient themselves, they were surrounded by armies sent by the governments of two countries, Canada and the United States Of America. A wall was built around the ship, and the air above them was closed to flyovers. The refugees, now aliens, were officially quarantined.