A Roman God – Two
May 14, 2010
I far prefer this chapter/episode to the the first one.
Jacques covered his eyes with his hands, and patiently waited to die. He half expected to be sucked out into space, or have his breath ripped from his lungs. When this failed to happen within a reasonable timeframe, he parted his fingers, and took a peek through the gap. What he saw caused him mouth to fall open in surprise, as sticking through the glass was the front end of a black cylinder, tapered to a point. The rest of the cylinder was still outside the dome, and seemed content with staying there for the time being.
“I’m not dead.”
“No, Jacques, I don’t suppose you are.”
“Why not?” he said, finally taking his hands away from his eyes.
“Because that ship fits the hole it created so well, no atmosphere is escaping.” Lince was staring forcefully at the cylinder, his eyes squinting with the effort, as if he was waiting for something. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before a small hatch opened on the tapered end of the cylinder.
“Oh, bollocks.” Lince swore.
A plump, short and scaly alien leapt out of the hatch, landing squarely on its two feet.
“Gimme your valuables and women.” It grunted, and to show that it was deadly serious, pulled out some kind of handgun.
“A space pirate?” Jacques said, incredulously.
“The Space Pirate.” corrected Lince, the scowl present on his face diminishing to a look of mild annoyance.
“There’s only one?” Jacques replied, sizing up the stocky alien. “He doesn’t look very pirate-y. No peg legs or eye patches or anything?”
The Space Pirate sighed, and slowly lowered his gun, as if his heart had suddenly gone out of it. “Curses!” he mumbled, and then slumped down onto the floor of the dome. “No-one ever sees the anger or the gun, or the demands! It’s always ‘No eye patches or terrible scars?’ or ‘A pirate with two working legs? He can’t be for real!’ The alien threw his hands up in despair.
“Terrible, terrible.” empathised Lince, before whispering an explanation to Jacques. “Poor guy, Kwog. His species can regenerate body parts extremely quickly, so he’ll never have need of an eye patch, or peg leg.”
“Can’t he just wear one anyway?” Jacques whispered back.
“He tried that once,” Lince continued, “it just isn’t the same.”
“He didn’t exactly pick a good time to board us, did he?” Jacques said. “Y’know, I expected my first alien encounter to be full of bright lights and probes. Instead I got imminent death and a terrible space pirate.”
Kwog watched the whispering session dolefully, before scrambling back to his feet. “Well, I best be going,” he grunted sadly, “maybe next time.” He started to slowly trudge back to the open hatch.
He was just about to climb into the hatch, when Jacques noticed a familiar object lying where the pirate had been sitting. “Hey!” Jacques called. “Ya forgot your gun.” With all the grace of a burly rugby player, he booted it towards Kwog, who watched in horror as Jacques’s foot hit the trigger that was conveniently located on the butt of the pistol. There was a blinding flash from the muzzle, a muffled groan as Kwog took a running leap away from his ship, and a loud creak as the front end of the space pirate’s ship exploded.
Kwog could only stare in shock his craft slid slowly backwards out of the hole it had created in the first place, the prow once smooth and black, now melted to slag. As the ship separated from the glass, an ominous hissing sound filled the dome, and the lighting dimmed slowly to a panic inducing red. Lince took a deep breath, and started to run towards the relative safety of the elevator, and without thinking twice, so did Kwog and Jacques.
“You destroyed my ship!” Kwog screamed, once dome was far above them. “I stole that ship!” His scaly face was contorted with rage, and all of it was directed at Jacques, who could only shrug in return.
“You put the trigger on the most kickable end. That’s asking for trouble.”
“I’ll- I’ll-” Kwog struggled for words to accurately describe Jacques’s downfall, and was interrupted just as he was thinking up some really good ones, by the grinding of elevator doors opening. The three were left to gaze out onto the town Jacques had first woken up on. Lince started to say something pacifying, but was stopped by an intrusive buzzing, which he quickly silenced by holding two fingertips up to his ear.
“Yes?” Lince demanded, speaking into his palm. “I see- Right now? I’m with some people at the moment- I suppose they are.”
Jacques and Kwog, argument forgotten, watch Lince speak curtly into his hand.
“Want them to help?” Lince said. “Right, okay. Be there soon.” He clenched his hand into a fist, which seemed to cut the call, and gave Jacques a sympathetic smile. “I have a phone in my palm.”
“Amazing,” grumbled Kwog, “now, what did you agree to let us do?” Lince looked shifty for a second.
“Don’t worry; it isn’t really that important. But, the Captain wants to see me, and I’m not leaving you two alone out here. So, I guess you’re coming with me,” he explained. “Now, how do you want to travel? It’s a two hour train journey to the control tower, or a three hour Instaporter jump.”
Jacques frowned. “The Instaporter takes longer than the train?”
“Sure, but you don’t notice that three hours have gone by.”
“Instaporter it is!” Kwog grunted.
“Good choice, my scaly friend.” Lince replied. “There should be an Instaporter booth near here…”
Before long, the trio had found an unassuming grey booth, which, with a bit of shoving and squeezing, they all managed to fit into.
“You sure this won’t combine our DNA or anything?” Jacques asked Lince.
“Of course not. Safe as sledging, this thing.”
“Hold on,” muttered Jacques, “sledging isn’t safe at all!” But his words were lost as Lince hit a button, and the world dissolved into grey. Jacques turned on his heel, wondering where everything had gone, when he noticed a familiar thing lying on the ground. Lying there, right at Jacques’s feet, was a box. A box that had nine different coloured squares on each face. Jacques frowned, and picked up the rubiks cube. “Huh.” He muttered, and gave one side a twist, trying to line one coloured square up with another. “If I turn that one there…” He turned another side, horizontally this time. Before long, he’d forgotten about the grey, and was happily trying to solve the puzzle. When the grey and the rubiks cube suddenly vanished, he found himself standing in a booth similar to the one in the town. Jacques blinked in surprise. “You were right Lince; I didn’t notice the time passing.”
Lince nodded. “They’re fantastic things, Instaporters.” He then opened the booth door, and stepped out, followed by Kwog. Jacques shrugged, and took a large step out, neatly shutting the door behind him. Kwog, Jacques, and Lince were standing in the middle of a bustling office, filled with people and computers and shouts. Before long, a man dressed in a tie and suit combination walked purposely through the chaos, and cleared his throat. Lince gave the man a salute, standing rigidly to attention. “You wanted to see me, Captain?”
The suit-clad Captain nodded, and his gaze wandered over to Jacques and Kwog. “They’ll do, I suppose. Good work in managing to find someone to help you so quickly. You’ll be taking one of the bus’s, the 587, if I recall, but as you’re doing EVA work you better bring some spacesuits along,” the Captain thoughtfully nodded. “Come to think of it, Bus 587 is a bit leaky anyway, so spacesuits are sort of a prerequisite.”
Kwog impaled Lince with a forceful stare. “Spacesuits?”
Lince rubbed the back of his neck apologetically. “I’m afraid so.”