Intergalactic Planetary!

Prompt:
Write a story using six of the following words: blast, teleport, squad, lupine, waterfall, autumn, ship, velvet, beam, amulet.

I had a lot of fun with this. There’s a lot to be said for these sorts of space adventure stories. The equation is something like this:

gruff spacefaring roughneck + adorable sidekick x villainous robots/aliens/pirates/space zombies = win!

670 words of two-fisted space adventure!

Chuck Chaykin: Bounty Hunter

The final blast tore through the last bulkhead as easily as it had the previous three. Chaykin watched the shredded hull plating spin away toward the deceptively peaceful planet far below. He grasped the edge of a secured cargo crate, gasping as the compartment’s atmosphere blew past him into space. The security ‘bot that had, moments ago, been pouring ultraviolet beams against Chaykin’s cover, clattered across the deck and tumbled into the vacuum.

“Chaykin!” He heard Val’s voice in his head, as clearly as if the telepath stood beside him (or would if the room hadn’t been busy vacating all its contents into space).

“Not a good time!” Chaykin thought back. He wrapped his arms around the crate’s frame, but the irresistible tug of outer space threatened to tear him away.

“Let go!” Val called back. “Let go and use your boosters to go aft. We’ll pick you up. Hurry, we only have a few moments!”

Chaykin gritted his teeth. He jet pack would maneuver fine in space, but his helmet was gone. He fought to take as big a breath as possible, then let go.

He plunged through the gaping hole in the side of the ship. Chaykin kept his arms and legs tucked tight to avoid the ragged edges of the hull breach. For a brief, beautiful second he reveled in the wonder and glory of the planet below. Bright splashes of green morphed into velvet swatches of blue, layered with wisps of white. He imagined he could reach out and graze the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere.

Then he remembered what exactly was going on. Shaky fingers mashed down on the controls for the jet booster mounted on his back. Nothing happened. He shook the remote, then pressed again. Still nothing. That squad of security ‘bots outside the armory must have gotten a lucky shot in and severed whatever gizmo widget kept the pack in operation.

“Chaykin!” he heard Val call in his mind, but it felt like an echo more than a voice.

“Bit of a problem here,” he thought back. His vision shrank. He heard Val in his head again, but he couldn’t quite grasp the words. For a few moments he wrapped himself in waves of sympathy and concern echoing from his friend’s mind. Then he slipped into darkness.

****

Chaykin awoke immersed in water.

He surged up from a shallow creek bed, flailing and sputtering for breath. Nearby, a small waterfall tumbled over a smooth bed of rocks polished by generations of water erosion. Along all sides of the creek, trees dipped their leaves and roots into the water. Above, birds and clouds drifted serenely by in a cool blue sky. Chaykin pushed his hair out of his face and slogged toward the nearest bank. Val shimmered into existence on a clear patch of soil.

“Well look who’s almost awake,” she said. Chaykin glared at her. “You’re welcome, by the way, for scooping you up in time.”

“Did we win?”

Val craned her neck to take in their surroundings. “This isn’t where I’d expect your subconscious to bring us. What is this?”

“This is my business,” Chaykin growled. “Did we win?”

Val shrugged and thrust a portable data pad at him. On the screen, the ship he’d so recently vacated drifted, rudderless. Reflected light from the planet spilled across the ship’s logo, a squared-off skull surrounded by a ring of ones and zeroes. “You did good, boss,” she told him. “All power is out. Star Patrol should be here before they get snagged by Edma VII’s gravity well. Probably. Maybe. Do we really care?”

“Not particularly.”

On the other side of the creek, a seven-year-old boy and his father pushed through the brush. Each carried a fishing pole.

Val gasped. “Oh my God,” she whispered with a grin. “Is that…you? You…fished?” She giggled. “Oh, you’re not hearing the end of this, Huckleberry.”

Chaykin sighed. “Let’s just get out of here before we wander into sixth grade band practice.”

3 thoughts on “Intergalactic Planetary!”

  1. Hahaha! Heh. Hee.
    Nice. Man, you can tell a story without style getting in the way. I envy your clarity.
    Coincidentally, your definition of this sort of scifi matches up exactly with what Baen Books publishes – I was surfing some forums the other day and came across this:
    http://forum.sfreader.com/default~f~10~m~79460.html
    This little nugget-story has just the tone and the plot elements that they would lap up. Oh, and not only are they one of the few major publishers that considers unsolicited, unagented material, but they also accept e-submissions of novels. How awesome. Get cracking!

  2. Very cool. I keep meaning to read those David Weber books they put out, but never can seem to find the first in the series (hardly an excuse with the intertron available, of course).

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