Canto 2 – A Bit of Blue
The two spaceships finally locked together belly to belly in the middle of a barrel roll. Dalgoda’s fireball was tearing itself apart from inside. Flaming projectiles tore free on every side of it, sparking out in airless space. Meanwhile, Tron’s Pinwheel Corsairs were bathing the two spiraling space dancers with hot laser fire. Two of the six corsairs had a pretty decent lock on Trav’s ship and were peeling more chunks off the drive core.
“Ged!” hollered Ham, “can you get the Goofer out of his ship before it blows?”
“I can try,” said Ged, more to himself than to Ham. His brother was busy trying to fly the ship in a carnival-ride maneuver.
Ged scrambled down the hatchway ladder to the ventral docking port. The metal around the port doorway was already glowing red from heat. With a moment of panicky concentration, his hands grew fire-lizard scales all over them, like gloves that appeared out of nowhere. How did he do this thing? Well, he had to admit to himself that as a safari leader, he’d skinned more than a few of the fire-resistant xeno-beasts in the past twenty years. He knew the feel and look of the skin quite well. He had even tasted fire-lizard flesh. His protected hands could spin the locking wheel of the heated door and throw it open without singeing his fingers off.
“Goofy? You there?”
“Atta-boy, Ged-boy! You’re a hero.”
Ged expected to see the thin, eye-patched face next, but instead he found himself looking into the beautiful blue face of a Nebulon woman.
“Who are you?” Ged asked with open mouth.
The blue-skinned young lady with the yellow hair just shrugged and eyed Ged like she didn’t understand.
“She’s part of my treasure, Ged!” called a goofy voice from somewhere behind her. “Pull her into your ship. Not all Nebulon slave girls speak Galactic English, you know!”
Ged pulled her into the Leaping Shadowcat.
“Here’s more,” called Trav.
An elfin blue-skinned boy with bright yellow hair was held up next to be rescued.
“He’s the son of the Nebulon Princess.”
“No way! I’m greedy, not perverted!”
Ged couldn’t argue that. He pulled the boy in too.
“Where’d you get the cool lizard gloves, Ged?” asked Trav as he clambered through the doorway and eyed the scales with his one uncovered eye.
“I kinda made them,” Ged answered sheepishly.
“Is our boy, Ham, ready to jump out of this mess?”
“I hope so.”
“Good.” Trav hauled a huge anti-gravitic cargo-bag into the ship after him and slammed the portal door. “Eeyow!” he cried as he burned holes through the fingers of his own gloves. It was fortunate the Goof always wore those stupid white gloves. They saved him from burning flesh off his fingers.
“Ham, you can let ‘er go!” hollered Ged into his commo dot. The communicator was glued comfortably to his throat.
They heard a rumble as the Leaping Shadowcat released her grip on Trav Dalgoda’s nameless ball of flame and melting hull. The rumble was followed shortly by a huge boom and jarring shockwave.
“Ged! Get the Goofer up here. We’ve got big problems with his corsair friends.”
Ged’s eyes widened. “What happened that made that shock wave?”
“Goofy’s ship exploded and took out two of the trailing corsairs.”
“Jeez!” moaned Goofy, “I hope Maggie and Tron are all right. They’re good friends of mine.”
“Do I read the situation right?” asked Ged. “If they live, they are going to kill us?”
“Well, yes, but I still love Tron like a brother.” Ged nodded unhappily. He wished he lived in the same alternate universe as Trav Dalgoda.