Canto 68 – Blunderful Voyage
When Tron sent a message to Frieda’s Starbase at Don’t Go Here, he requested Ged himself come to Outpost for little Artran. Frieda, however, knew that Ged was at Gaijin with Xavier Tkriashav. She sent a courier in a brand-new Express Boat to Gaijin. It was listed for Tkriashav or Ged Aero only, but somehow it got delivered to Vince Neill aboard the Megadeath.
Scarpigo Snarcs wore an X-boat officer’s uniform as he gave the message to Vince.
“All right, dude! I’ve heard of this kid-dude. It’d be an honor to serve Ged-dude and the pirate-dude at the same time. We leave immediately!”
“Thank you,” said Scarpigo in his guise as Bill the Postman. “I will just be hitching a ride.”
“Wha…?” said Cold Death, his bright green Mohawk shaking in confusion.
“ME RIDE WITH YOU!” said Scarpigo in that extra loud way you normally talk to stupid people, as if they were deaf rather than merely mentally impaired.
“Okay, Bill,” said Vince. “You can ride if you try to be just a bit quieter. That gnarly voice of yours can surely give me a headache.”
Nikki Sixx looked over the coordinates to Outpost, tried to figure out the navigational logarithms in his head, and then gave up; inserting the computer crystal with the jump program that Bill the Postman supplied him with into the ship’s navigational computer. The Megadeath roared musically to life.
Now, travel between the stars is a miracle of physics and mathematics that only takes place in certain narrow corridors of gravity and space. A space ship creates a field around itself that alters the fabric of space nearby. Space will actually fold itself around the matter the star ship is made of. It appears to disintegrate in one place, and, after a period in which the space-time continuum percolates around it, reforms itself in the new location. The location could be anywhere within a range of six parsecs, even empty space. But spacers only found it useful to travel from star system to star system. Fuel would eventually be necessary and none was available in empty parsecs of space.
Twenty-seven hours after they had taken flight from Don’t Go Here, the Megadeath arrived at Outpost. Immediately they were surrounded by Pinwheel Corsairs.
“Alien ship of unknown design!” called the nearest corsair, “state your business here.”
“Yo, Dude!” warbled Vince Neill from behind his mirrored shades. “We come on a mission of mercy from Ged Aero. We come to pick up little dude Artran and take him to Gaijin.”
“We don’t recognize you and we don’t know any Gaijin. Prepare to be atomized.”
“Whoa, not cool!” said Neill into the communicator. He immediately threw the Megadeath into maneuvers that the corsairs had never seen attempted, let alone being able to catch up with them. The highly efficient ship made with Ancient technology danced out of reach of all Pinwheel weaponry.
“Is this an attack?” rasped Tron’s voice over the communicators.
“No, Dude. I just don’t want my biscuits fried by you!”
“Stop, then, and prepare to be boarded,” said Tron.
“Whatever you say, Dude.” Despite everything that was sensible, the Megadeath and her Rock-and-Roll crew had fallen into the hands of a desperate pirate who faced total annihilation at the hands of the Galtorrian Imperial Fleet.