Table of Contents
Lost Waters - Chapter 3
The four ships swung into orbit above the
western continent, Tara's Golden Hinde taking the lead ahead of the Dark
Hope and Singularity II with the diminutive scoutship Arralla's Pride
"I'll take the helm, Ir'est. I'd like
to land this bird personally." Tara shot a stern glance at the bristling
Rakal. She was still reeling from his disobedience. He had no right to
risk himself or any other Alphas in this dangerous landing, but refused
to transfer to any of the other ships. He argued long for the honor of
landing the first ship on the new home world, but she would do the landing.
On the new homeworld, he would far outrank her as a regent of his hive,
but for now, she was Captain. If she'd had the time, she would have thrown
him in the brig, but they had to start the mission, and she did need him.
At least the seven other Alphas remained safe on board the other ships.
His ego be damned - he'd have his place in the history of his people.
This was her landing.
You'll take a more important place in
the songs, my friend - as the head of the first free hive since Gate Five
on Earth, she thought to herself, holding back a pang of worry for
the Arrallin she had come to respect so much. He was sensitive, and after
all he'd been through at the hands of humans, she didn't really want to
hurt him now. He took the second seat, and strapped in, slamming the buckle
shut with an annoyed clack. Tara allowed not a trace of emotion to flicker
across her face, and set her own buckle and adjusted the straps for her
The ship reacted sluggishly to her adjustments
as she expected. "This is your last flight, you poor old tub - make
it a good one." She whispered reverently to the controls. "This
will be bumpy... she was never designed to make more than an emergency
landing in atmosphere. Sound general quarters and get everyone ready for
The metal screens slowly lowered to cover
the windows, shutting out the yellow glow that had begun as the ship dropped
lower into the atmosphere. They swept in from over the smaller of the
two continents, passing over the wider of the two oceans, dubbed 'Sea
of Kayev' by the survey crew. Extending the braking fans, the ship lunged
and bucked as it approached the large continent. Her goal was to splash
down right near the coast, and pull up to shore to make a basecamp, but
the ship had other ideas. Tara compensated for the turbulence, pulling
up the nose and extending the splashdown pads. "1000, 800, 700, 600,
450 meters". Suddenly, a radiation scale went red as a warning siren
A ripping blast shook the ship, punctuated
by a scream from Harmon. Frantically, Tara tried to keep the nose up as
the ship pitched and caught the ground with a wing. The last thing she
remembered was Rakal, his fur on end, grabbing her jumpsuit in his teeth,
dragging her along with wicked feral strength and muttering "Next
time I land..."