Medical ship Chiron was being tossed around in a wok full of ships so far from Earth only aliens could free us from the fire and steam. Captain Walsh was right at the centre, where the heat is most intense. He called on me to embark on a mission to rescue Fabari from beings we call Octopoids because of their eight tentacle-like appendages, two of which they stand upon like legs. We had been in a skirmish with them, so many of my fleet ships were charred. One burnt to a crisp. Peleus was in the best shape so the Captain had them add the full evac module for bari survivors from a scout ship of theirs that had crash landed on an asteroid. I was to go after the downed scout and rescue the bari from it. Specifics were sent to my Pocod and Peleus’s computer.”
I requested a wing man, which Captain Walsh agreed to. I was to go ahead and launch and let them catch up. I didn’t want to waste time sizzling slowly, but given that they weren’t ready to launch, there wasn’t much choice. Also, it was pointed out to me that if my intended gentle simmer were interrupted for a battle, I would need more dragons ready to pop from the fire.
The mysterious and striking Sufra Shahar was recruited to join the mission in case the bari ship we were to rescue beings from had encoded security features. The head of Chiron’s computer science, with a head of long shiny dark hair, would crack necessary codes so we could enter the shell of the ship and carry out the meat before it fried.
The Captain wished us good luck and we sped off. I restrained myself to just above standard launch speed as per standing orders.
Twelve minutes and forty-three seconds after launch, according to the ship log, there was communication from the downed vessel. Unfortunately, the message was that their ship’s reactor was going to explode. They warned me not approach, as we would most likely be popped like corn, by their ship or the poids.
A message from the Captain came in next, saying. “Woon! Did you get that! Turn back!”
At this point, I had a vital decision to make. Should I follow my order and doom the survivors, or risk my life and a very expensive ship to proceed? I didn’t have long to decide, so I went with my gut. I made a quick adjustment in the com to create static. With great guilt, I pretended I couldn’t hear communications and continued deeper into the wok, now smelling of smoking oil. I could hear the Captain cursing, but I had to focus my mind on the mission. I accelerated Peleus to emergency speed to accommodate my decision to race the reactor. I needed to get there first before the oil ignited and the ship blew into barren black space.
In agony, I could hear, “Woon, if you don’t turn back, you’re dead meat! By them or by me!” I made no response. There was nothing he could do but wait, stewing.
I felt his words stab into me, but had to carry on. I would have to deal with his knives later. I let the purring of my powerful engine take over my thoughts and sooth me so I could continue. I felt one with Peleus as we weaved around space debris from the battle. After sixteen minutes and twenty-two seconds the Octopoid outpost was in sight. My hope was that the poids would have no interest in a craft so small heading straight for a ship that was to blow at any time.
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