Greetings everyone! Yes, it's been a while and I am terribly sorry for the tremendous wait. I hope I haven't lost any of you. School was very, very busy and I hadn't had much time to sit down and write, so for the next few weeks (that I have off! Yeah!) I'm going to try and catch up a bit on this story. Unfortunately I have no recollection concerning where I wanted to go with it, so if it seems as though I'm winging the next couple of chapters that's only because...well, I am.
Happy Holidays everyone!
The R.L.S. Mars was being attacked by nothing less than an armada. There had to have been at least ten ships flying toward them at mach speeds.
Silver grit his teeth and turned his gaze every which way. The deck was in a total panic. Spacers and officers of all varieties ran amok screaming and cursing and trying to find some semblance of organization, but to no avail. Sighing, Silver slipped back into the bowels of the ship to make his way back to his room. Jim had already moved out into the corridor which was already swimming with passengers.
"What's going on?" He yelled over the din.
"We're being attacked!" Silver replied while ushering the lad back into the room.
"Attacked?" Jim sounded slightly surprised. "But this isn't even a merchant vessel! Who the hell would be attacking us?"
"I don't know Jimbo," said Silver in all honesty. "But I know that if those blockheads above deck don't get started doing something soon there's not going to be much left of this ship to go home on."
Jim's face wrinkled in thought. Silver kept an eye out in the halls, trying to find someone who might give him a better understanding of what was happening. Why hadn't they started evacuating the ship yet? Passengers were stumbling over and under each other throughout the corridor, most likely either trying to get on deck, back to their rooms, or find somewhere safe to hide. It was a mess. So why wasn't anyone taking care of it?
Aggravated with the lack of intellect amongst the common man, Silver slammed the door, which caused Jim to jump nearly half a foot out of his own skin.
"Sorry." The old spacer grinned apologetically.
The young man ignored it. "Did you see the captain when you were up there?"
Silver scrunched his nose in thought. "No, don't think so."
"We should probably find him and see what his plan is."
"What do you mean?" Silver frowned, his gaze following Jim who was half pacing, half limping back and forth across the room.
"No one sends an armada after one ship. Chances are they're not after us at all, we're just...in the way sort of speak? And since we're not a military vessel we really don't pose these people any real threat. If we just got the ship out of the way...and preferably out of range...we'd probably be just fine."
Not surprised at Jim's logical deduction, Silver grinned, but then grunted. "And how are we supposed to find the Captain in all this mess?"
Without responding, Jim grabbed his cane and opened the cabin door. "The old fashioned way. We look for him." With that he left Silver in quiet contemplation. Finally he sighed.
"Damn stubborn kid," he cursed and followed his young friend out of the room and into the madness outside.
Jim's theory was, in retrospect, beyond reasonable. At least it had seemed that way until they both reached the decks of the ship. Cannon fire was erupting from the armada swooping in from both above, underneath, and to either sides of the R.L.S. Mars, but they were not actually hitting the ship. This, Jim explained as they made their way up a flight of stairs that both assumed must lead to the captain's quarters, was a good sign. Firing, but not to hit, should be taken as a warning. They had a standing chance just as long a they didn't fire back.
Rapping violently on the cabin door, Jim tried shouting for the captain. His voice, of course, was swallowed up by the deafening din of yet another cannon ball explosion near the starboard side of the ship. The force of the blow rocked the ship to the side and sent a splattering of debris flying over the decks. Everyone, including Silver and Jim, lurched forward.
After a few seconds and an exchanged glance of panic, Jim threw himself at the door in an attempt to pry it open. This of course did nothing, except perhaps remind the young man that he was in no physical condition to be performing such acts of undulated force.
"Um...why don't I do it?" Silver offered.
Grinning, Jim stepped aside. With one swift kick of Silver's cyborg leg the door came crashing into the cabin, taking the hinges and part of the frame with it. Jim looked on for a few moments, slightly astounded.
"I...uh...don't think that was necessary."
Silver beamed sheepishly. "Yeah...maybe we can blame it on the armada."
Chuckling, Jim stepped through the now shattered threshold and peered around.
"Well you're in luck. No one's in here so you don't have to worry about anyone pinning you to the damage."
Had the timing been better, Silver might have laughed at that comment. Now, however, he was more upset. "Well if the captain isn't in his cabin and he's not on deck, where is he?"
"That's a good question," said Jim who was already heading toward the door.
A second explosion abruptly went off in back of the ship. The sheer force brought the back of the vessel to a rising wave that nearly tipped the ship at a thirty degree angle. Jim went careening through the door and collided with the railing outside. Silver ended up getting smashed against a wall and narrowly avoided getting pinned by the vacant desk that had slid across the room with him.
"Jim, you all right?" Silver hollered after regaining his balance. He stumbled across the rest of the room groping the wall to see if he could find his friend. He did. Entangled in the banister was Jim, wide eyed and obviously bruised, but otherwise okay. Silver helped him to his feet and together they made their way down toward the deck.
"Where's the captain?" Jim finally shouted, having gotten fed up with their hunt. A young officer nearby heard them and directed them toward the northernmost point of the ship. Thanking the officer, Jim and Silver ran to where the captain stood, directing his officers with a grizzly voice and two wide, piercing, eyes.
"What do you two want?" he spat as soon as he saw the duo. "You need to be below deck where it's safe."
"Captain!" Jim begged as the man began to step away to guide his men into widening the solar sails. "Captain! You have to get the ship out of the way!"
The officer turned and looked Jim in the eye. "What?"
"They're firing at us sir, but they're not hitting us! They're warning us to get out of the way! They're not going to attack us if we get out of their way!"
"Young man I've followed this route for years! I'm not giving it up so easily!"
"They don't want the route!" Jim cried over the din of yet another explosion. This one went off almost directly above the mast. "Listen, if you just get out of their way you can save your ship and your crew! This isn't a military vessel so they'll leave you alone!"
"How do you know that?" The captain roared. "What if they're just working us around into a trap? Then what?"
"They won't!" Jim took a deep breath before beginning again. All the running around, excitement and yelling was beginning to take a toll on his strength. "This is a military armada! They're not going to mess with your ship because you don't have anything that they could want!"
"Sir you don't understand!"
The captain turned his back on Jim and hollered that the cannons be loaded. "We're not going down without a fight men!"
"Captain please!" Jim begged. "You have to listen to me!"
"You're just a kid!" The captain screamed back at him. "You don't know what you're talking about!"
Silver growled in the back of his throat. Fortunately he was the only one who heard it.
"Load the cannons!" The captain cried.
"No, don't! You don't know what you're doing!"
With a sickening sense in his stomach, Jim watched as the entire starboard side erupted in cannon fire. The plasma balls soared through the frictionless atmosphere of space and hit the mast of the foremost ship, rocking it and causing it to tilt to one side.
For a few moments, there was nothing but silence. Jim watched with grit teeth as the rest of the universe fell silent. He felt Silver's form inch slightly closer toward his own, each of their bodies tensed with the seemingly endless stream of time in which everyone waited to see what would happen next.
Then, just as Jim had expected, the naval force assailing them erupted in a storm of responding cannon fire.
Oh dear, another cliffie. How's this for a comeback? Don't worry, I'll update soon. I promise. :) Happy Holidays everyone!