“Enola Ranger. This is the Edmund Fitzgerald. Prepare for boarding. Enola Ranger. This is the Edmund Fitzgerald. Prepare for boarding. Enola Ranger…..”
Harry was startled out of a deep sleep dreaming about fried eggs again–he could actually smell them. He’d never eaten a fried egg in his life. Most of the inner planets had gone vegan and the raising and consumption of animals and their by-products was illegal by Hegemony standards. Still, the Hege had a hard time controlling the outer planets. With that thought, Harry quickly got on the COM and ordered their non-vegan supplies stashed. Luckily they had already dropped off the contraband order of sheep to the town of Brimstone on Geyser.
Harry was running towards the Bridge when he was surprised by the ship’s passenger suddenly appearing before him. Ellen Marple was a middle-age, fashion-unconscious, Geochemical Engineer who Harry had picked up in Brimstone.
“Harry, I need to tell you something….”
“Can’t talk right now, Ellen. We’re gonna’ be boarded and I have to stop that from happening.”
“That is what I want to tell you. The ship is friendly. They are my friends here for rendezvous with your ship.”
“You never mentioned any rendezvous, Ellen. Now, that’s not friendly of you. I took you in, out of concern for you in that stinking, sulfur-ridden town. My kindness is non-disposable.”
“Harry…Captain, I paid you triple the passenger fare, and more for transport of my instruments and tools.” Harry could hear Ellen’s footfalls on the gangway as she tried to keep up with his long legs.
“You signed on for Penelope and I mean to take you there.”
“Well…it looks like a Hege ship to me, Ellen. Get off my Bridge. WILL SOMEONE TURN OFF THAT COM? It’s freaking annoying. Goldie, think you can outrun it?”
“Captain…Harry, they are here to…well, they are here to pick me up. Sorry, I did not tell you. I was afraid you would not take me. Please let the Captain board and she will explain.”
“And, you’ll remove that frumpy disguise you’re wearing, revealing you’re a warrior princess leading some invasion of the Hege home world and we’ll all live happily ever after. Or…or, my crew and I are in cryo tubes on our way to twenty to life on Fergie and this is just a frozen dream of six human popsicles. Am I getting close, Ellen?”
“We need your help and your ship.”
“No one’s taking my ship, Ellen.”
“I think you’re all asses. That is not a Hege ship, folks.”
Whenever he could, Macbeth, the ship’s engineer, would contradict Harry. Usually Harry threw him off the Bridge. Goldie, the ship’s pilot, was running a scan on the other ship and intervened before Harry lost his temper….
“Captain, he’s right. That’s not a Hege ship. At least, not anymore. Scan shows too many deviations in design outside and in. The signatures on some of those weapons are weird. I’ve never seen anything like it, Captain. There is a stockpile of those things”. Goldie pointed to the scan.
“Oh, those are old-fashion rockets–missiles. Your friends rocket thieves, Ellen?”
“The missiles are for a very specific application, Harry. The ship has been reconfigured into an alien design.”
“So, Ellen, your friends are aliens?” Harry tried to keep his emotions from causing him to throttle the woman.”
“No, Harry. I am the alien.” Ellen gave Harry a big smile. Harry’s crew broke out in laughter.
“Well, well, Ellen. You’re our first alien. In all this time that humanity has been in this solar system and back on Old Earth we’ve never come across any little green men.”
“Captain, there was Roswell,” offered Goldie. “I forget where Roswell was.”
“Right, okay. Goldie, tell that ship to come about and umbilical to us. Might as well let them do all the work.”
“Thank you, Captain.”
“Don’t thank me yet, alien Ellen.”
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea, Captain. I mean, what if they’re really ugly and dangerous like…giant centipedes or somethin’?”
“Well, Scoop, you are Security while Chen’s away, so I guess you could be handcuffing centipedes. Hope you have enough handcuffs.”
“Scoop, did you not hear that the ship’s crew is not alien? Ellen is the alien.”
“I don’t buy that, Macbeth. She looks just like us.”
Everyone stared at Ellen, examining her with their eyes. They looked at her face, her hands, her feet. Then Harry started barking orders:
“This stinks worse than Scoop’s armpits. Scoop, I want you heavily armed….”
“I’m always heavily armed, Harry.”
“I want Ellen searched down to her dainties. Take her to sick bay and have Pina search her, Scoop. You know the drill. Be careful. Where’s Aldo? Someone find him, get him up to speed. Goldie, wait until they’ve maneuvered for egress–catch them with their pants down–then go to manual and full burn–take us wherever you fancy. Make it random. Macbeth, return to the engine room and make sure Enola is at max power. All right, ladies, let’s go! We’re not moving mountains here!”
To be continued….
Inspiration Monday: Handcuffing Centipedes at Be Kind Rewrite
Prompts: handcuffing centipedes, non-disposable, rocket thieves, twenty to life, moving mountains
Photo Credit: Mythcreants
Word Count: 840
Thanks to Stephanie Orges at Be Kind Rewrite for hosting Inspiration Monday, every week, endlessly, with no relief in sight.