How to get by in the Galaxy
By Jamie Burns
The scene in the shipyard changed dramatically. Some of the men running away from the explosion, others running towards it. Panic and chaos took over like a flash flood. My ears still had a ring in them from the sound of the explosion. As it dissipated I could hear the air was filled with yelling, the sound of a blazing fire, falling debris crashing back to earth and in the farther distance screaming.
The men that moments before had me surrounded at gunpoint were gone. Infact, almost all of Cryton’s men had gone, swept up by the commotion. Which lead me to think that the explosion must have been close to their base of operations. The thought of Clara being there when it happened was scary but more over the though she might have been the one to cause it was no more comforting.
All who remained in our standoff now was myself, Cryton, (his gun now trained on me) and two of his men who had been standing slightly behind him to his right and left, suggesting they must have been his most loyal, and his right hand. The last soul left in the clearing was Nathan still laying on the ground, thankfully yelling in pain. I wasn’t happy he was in pain but I was happy to see he was still alive.
“What did you do!” Cryton yelled, and I could see the spit fly from his mouth as he raged at me.
“That wasn't us!” I wasn't totally lying because I really wasn't sure if it was Clara who was responsible for it or not.
I stepped closer to them and Cryton shot a round near my feet, causing me to freeze instantly on the spot.
“So you’re saying this is all a coincidence?” Cryton waved his gun toting hand around at the scene.
“How would I have done that?” I pointed to the smoked out area behind him. Cryton had no response. He looked down at Nathan then back to me and finally up to the Lamplight that was far in the distance behind me. Much too far away to be responsible for the explosion. He was at a loss, the plan might not have been going exactly like I had thought but the main principle was still holding. He thought it was just the three of us Nathan, Clara and I.
Nathan still writhed on the ground but had managed to stop yelling. Over the radio that was attached to Cryton’s belt a voice called out, “Boss, boss we need help over here! This place is going up like a candle!” The radio cut out and Cryton looked more annoyed than concerned. He pulled the radio off his belt and tossed it to the man on his right. “Go tell those idiots what to do.” He barked. The man was off towards the blaze and then there were two. Only two men stood between me, my brother and freedom.
“Come here little sister.” Cryton said, motioning with his gun to stand in front of him. I cautiously approached but stopped just out of his reach. He pointed the gun back down to Nathan. “Now tell Blondie to LAND!” He screamed the last word at me.
“As soon as you let him go.”
Nathan was now weakly pulling himself to a sitting position.
Cryton just looked at me, once again sizing me up. Without taking his eyes off me he called over his shoulder. “Tom, go get Sheila.” Cryton pointed his gun at me. The man hesitated for only a half a second then headed into the open dock of the ship they had pulled Nathan from.
“Who is Sheila?” I asked.
Cryton only smiled.
It took only a moment for Tom to return. My surprise that he returned alone was brief before the despair set it. He might not have returned with a person but he had brought what I was assuming was Sheila. An over-sized portable ground to air missile launcher. Then right there on the right side in large messy white paint I saw her name Sheila. Tom hosted Sheila up onto his shoulder and waited for instruction.
Nathan and I looked at each other. He had now made it onto his knees. He held his sagging blood soaked shoulder, and I saw his eyes twitch toward Cryton then back to me then to where Tom stood. The smallest of actions that told me all his thoughts. It wasn't the plan I had come up with but desperate times called for desperate measures. I casually straitened my index finger of the hand at my side telling him to wait for my signal.
Cryton pulled his shoulders back and looked up to the Lamplight. “Now shoot Blondie out of the sky.” He said.
“Wait!” I took a step toward Tom.
Cryton held up his hand to keep Tom from firing. “Are you ready to tell her to land now?”
Then I saw it, a shadow moving in the smoke filled sky over the explosion. My plan had mostly come together, maybe even better than I had hoped.
“No, I have to tell you something.” I said to Cryton.
“And what’s that little sister?” He mocked.
“Taking my ship was a mistake.” Then I let the slight grin I had been holding back spread over my face.
The loud rumble and rush of air from my low flying ship tore over our heads from behind Cryton. Clara was definitely not in the explosion. The air pulled Cryton and Tom unexpectedly off balance along with the shock of seeing The Thestrious in the air. I clenched my hand into a fist. In unison Nathan and I acted. Nathan threw himself to grab at Cryton’s gun and I sprinted with all I had toward Tom.
I was sure the man had more than a hundred pound on me, but I was sure as hell not going to stand there and let him shoot mine or Clara’s ships from the sky. I aimed all of my weight at his torso and knocked him and Sheila to the ground. I heard the metal hit the ground a few yards away and had a small sense of relief. No Shelia, no missiles. The victory was short lived. Tom had easily thrown me off and was then over the top of me. I kicked with my legs trying to keep him at a distance but it was useless. I held my arms over my face as a shield but that too was useless. I felt his hand grasp my throat like a vise. I wasn't even sure he was using both hands.
I looked up into Tom’s face and found no anger or emotion, just a stone expression that made me think he had been doing Cryton's dirty work a long time. I started to feel a burning in my chest and a pressure behind my eyes. Tom’s face grew black around the edges. With whatever I had left I tried to dig my nails into his hand. Then I felt the feeling leaving them and thought about the fact that Tom’s hand seems very soft for a strangler. I let my head roll back and I caught a glimpse of the sky and a large gray object passed overhead.
The last thing I heard was the sound like a gunshot. The pressure around my neck was released and replaced by what seemed like a 200 pound man laying on top of me. This pressure was quickly removed as well.
I saw the world through a pinhole. My small and tiny world. My brother, the sky, the Thestrious, darkness, then stars and the universe.
Copyright 2016 JAMIE BURNS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED