Welcome to the Wednesday Briefs flash group (click to go to the site). The short stories have a maximum of a 1000 word count plus links at the bottom to the other flashers. If interested in joining us, drop me a line and I'll tell you how. :)
Prompts for this week:
“What have we here?”
“It’s a money pit.”
“What are you looking for?”
“X marks the spot.”
“Turn the wheel the other way.”
“That’s the first I’ve heard about it.”
“Let’s get this done.”
“Jump to it.”
“Make sure everything is cleared away.”
“It was a dark and stormy night…”
or use: swamp, metal, beach
or use: game, slash, shore
or use: zipper, black, bill
or have your character slip down
or use: hat, mud, branch
or have a character jump into a pool.
or have a character get a hair cut
or have a character eat a hot dog
or have a character make a bird house
or “Bend over, I’ll show you how thankful I am…”
or “It’s my turn to be the Pilgrim this year!”
or “For what I am about to receive, I am truly thankful…”
or “Go away, I’m watching football…”
or “Don’t touch that drumstick!”
or “What do you mean there’s no pumpkin pie?”
“Frack.” Adlar’s loud snarl echoed through the battle shuttle he piloted toward the Yesri crash site.
The Satellite Surveillance Network suffered a complete failure, something that hadn’t happened in recent memory. It was pure chance nothing more than a small Yesri shuttle managed to penetrate their defenses. But even that was a danger, as every spacefaring race knew.
Shuttles had warp engines, and when they blew, the damage was massive. Fortunately, the SSN had reactivated as the shuttle passed through, shorting out its main controls and rendering the crew helpless to wreak whatever destruction they’d planned.
That wasn’t to say the people themselves were helpless.
They weren’t. What they were was a species who enjoyed a battle as much as the next race. But it was their superior, egotistical attitude that caused some to back away from committing to new trade agreements with them. Then the Yesri had turned their greedy eyes toward Helkan. They desired to trade for the Black Phospolrock his people, the Helkans, controlled.
The fact the Helkans didn’t trade with any species didn’t seem to matter. The Yesri’s refused to accept the Helkans decision not to sell, trade, or discuss mining rights to the Black Phospolrock. Both races exchanged unpleasantries, and then the Yesri declared war.
“The gall.” Adlar shook his head as he remembered the flood of insults, then threats, from the Yesri king. “Fracking Yesri’s. It’s our planet to do with as we please. That does not include appeasing your kind.”
Adlar tapped the holographic helm in front of him, bringing up the distance to the crash site. As he drew nearer, he had to admit he was impressed. Whoever had piloted the shuttle was talented. He’d give his enemy that. Such a controlled entry took unshakable nerve and the blessing of a goddess. Which he could use a little of too, since he was next up to land in the small restrictive space.
Adlar called in the location to The Helkan Strategic Command, or HSC. Most soldiers called it Command. Their scans had showed four males on the shuttle. The Yesri had abandoned their starship, using the escapes pods to return home.
They’d let them flee.
But not these four. For some unknown reason, these males targeted the planet, instead of fleeing. They would find that was a mistake. The ones who managed to get to the surface? Well, those males were going to regret their actions.
Adlar maneuvered the battle shuttle, swearing under his breath, as he lowered the craft not far from the crash site. Unstrapping from the pilot chair, he walked to the bay area, where four seasoned warriors waited for him.
“Excellent piloting, sir,” one of the warriors said.
“Thank you.” Adlar nodded to the group. “As you saw in the report, there are four males. Assume they are armed and dangerous. Now pay attention, because I want this clearly understood. Your orders are to capture, not kill.”
A loud groan went up.
Adlar’s lips tried to twitch, but he repressed the urge. “I also expect each of you to return in the condition you leave in. Granted, said condition—for some of you—leaves a bit to be desired.”
Again, a loud groan went up, along with some rather creative suggestions as to what he could do with his ‘condition’. Adlar’s lips did twitch this time. They knew he was joking. These warriors were highly trained, and in top physical shape—they were deadly.
And he was about to piss off the youngest member of the squad. “Searlolf, I need you to stay and guard the battle shuttle.”
Searlof snapped to attention, his disgruntlement clear on his face. “Oh, come on, sir! Why me?”
“Sorry, newbie, but I’m going on this hunt.” Adlar patted the warrior on the back. Searlolf’s letting his unhappiness with the situation show was something he’d grow out of as he matured. “I know you’re itching to sink your teeth in some juicy Yesri prey, but I need you to stand guard, and be prepared to offer assistance if we’re in need. You have the most medical training.”
Searlolf nodded, emotions contained. “Understood, sir.”
“Good” Adlar turned back to the rest of the group. “As I said, orders are to bring them in alive and in good condition. You may defend yourselves, of course, but each of you knows how to do so without causing irreparable damage. Understood?”
“Understood,” they yelled.
“Move out, then.” Adlar watched as the men faded into the jungle.
He didn’t believe the hunt would take long. The Yesri intruders were unused to the darkness that covered their planet the majority of the time. As such, they hadn’t developed adaptations like elongated ears to catch the faintest of sounds, or slitted pupils that adjusted to both low and bright levels of illumination.
Due to the amount of sunlight the planet Yesri received, it inhabitants were all tanned. They were also all blond—which would draw attention in a land full of darkness. Stepping outside, his pupils enlarged, and he removed his stunner. He scanned the area, satisfied all was as it should be. He moved steadily through the jungle, caution leading his steps.
Approaching the abandoned Yesri shuttle, he crouched behind a twisted lavender tree with weeping limbs. Listening carefully, he searched for any sounds that did not belong. The wildlife chirped and called in its usual song of nightfall. Outside of the normal noise, he heard nothing to indicate his enemy was nearby.
Surveying the area, he saw the shuttle had left a long gorge where it slid before coming to a halt, throwing dirt everywhere. He hated the scar on the landscape. Environment was an issue of the upmost important to his species. It was the main reason only they mined the Black Phospolrock in the most noninvasive method possible.
Adlar knelt and touched the destruction. The land would heal itself—they’d make sure of that. A flash of something—a color not found in the landscape—caught his eye.
Frowning, he shifted the rich dirt through his fingers. “What…?”
As he dug, his hands touched something. Grasping it, he slowly uncovered what the dirt hid.