That was the sound the door made when it was blown out of the spaceship. For a moment all the five trouble-students could do was stare at it in horror. Then all chaos broke loose.
"Look what you did, you dimwit!" Rheeann called out with the high screeching voice that was so typical for a female Taranli. Especially the females, with their larger throats and stronger vibrating muscles were extremely adapted to making the loud noise that was racketing the ship at the time.
"Be quiet, Rheeann." Mi'raz called to his sister. Like most male Taranli he hated the sound of a woman in anger and frustration. From what the other three, who were Ytlip -a far more advanced race of course- had learned about the Taranli way, Mi'raz' fear was well-founded. In ancient days Taranli females had often decapitated some males to get calm again. 
While especially Zer was rooting for a nice decapitation in the privacy of his thoughts, he was all to aware that he too was male. "Yeah calm down, you freak." he said.
"What do you mean by that?" Mi'raz asked, ready to jump at the Ytlip.
"Come on if you dare, you Ssshaaaaseen!!!" Zer called out, using an old Ytlip word for chicken, though slightly more provoking than the English term. It was enough for Mi'raz to charge toward Zer, long fingers flexed out for a slow, suffocating death. He accelerated, floating and pushing his body mass through the ship now that the gravity was failing. Then he slammed into a door, which of course didn't provide a pretty picture in almost zero gravity.
"Quit it!" Lorry shouted.
"Why?" Zer asked, "I could have taken him on."
"Men!" Lorry said with all the frustration she could muster. Just like them to go fighting in times of disaster. With a few long strides, Lorry moved her body made for low gravity gracefully through the air. She landed next to Rheeann, took out a roll of duck tape and taped shut the screeching girl's mouth before she could react.
"Ahhh... Now I can think again." Lorry said, "Whose fault was this?"
"Certainly not mine." Zas said.
It was the first time on the trip *cough*joyride*cough* that Zer's twin brother had spoken. Logically the others became a bit silent when they heard his raspy voice. Zas had never fully learned to talk the common space language used by over twenty races in their vicinity. Thus his voice was still used to the harder, louder sounds from the Ytlip talk.
No-one of the other's came forth to confess blowing of the door. Lorry walked past Zas, Rheeann and Mir'az. She stopped in front of Zer and looked at him.
"You don't seriously think I did it!" he yelled at her.
"You're just about crazy enough to do it. And isn't there the old saying: 'If there's an explosives expert in the group, blame him for any explosions you might encounter?'" she asked innocently.
"Oh come on!" Zer called out, his pride badly damaged, "You blame me when these two, Taranli scum are around?! I can't believe it."
"Neither of them has the brains to pull this off."
This of course got Lorry some foul, angry looks from both Mir'az and Rheeann, though they didn't attack, they knew better than to attack Lorry. For an Ytlip, who were usually small and slender she was freakishly strong and well educated in some form of Kung Fu.
"We better fix it." Mir'az finally said with his teeth jammed together in his mouth which produced a grinding sound. Lorry smiled her toothless Ytlip smile that looked like a Piranha who was about to eat you and said: "That's a good idea, Mir'az."
"How?" Rheeann asked who seemed to be calmed down enough to talk normal again. She was hardly red at all anymore, though her skin seemed to have lightened to a white shade of pale. Lorry always found the Taranli skin-changes amusing. An Ytlip always stayed the same pale green-blue, a far more attractive colour.
Zas and Zer started working on the door, giving anyone who came too close an angry look. Soon the two Taranli kept to themselves in the back of the area.
"Why did we ever come along?" Mir'az asked his sister.
"You thought it would be fun to see some Ytlip in action." she answered.
"I thought...? I'm sure you had something to do with it too." he said.
"Well maybe I pushed you through the door when you looked back to say you had just been kidding..." she said innocently, "It's all behind us now."
"That's easy to say now." Mir'az answered.
Rheeann shrugged. The day had been boring at school, like it always was. 'Nebula School for the gifted' they called it, but most kids weren't all that gifted. Not since the school had been forced to also take military cadets who were being trained in killing. Those guys were just big softies. They dragged the whole average down and made the real students look like dorks who couldn't take out someone if they had a gun in their hands and were within 2 metres of their target.
That's why she had wanted to get on this ship. It was easy to find out what the other students were planning... well it was if you were a flexible youth with a sense of direction that could conquer the vent system in the school. Spying had always been Rheeann's passion, she loved to know things no-one else knew. In fact she had been accepted to Nebula because she had incriminating evidence about the guy taking the interviews. Boy had he been naive. 
"What are you smiling about?" Mir'az suddenly asked.
"Nothing... just memories. You know, I think my life is flashing in front of my eyes already." she shrugged. Lying was also something that didn't come hard to her.
Mir'az looked at her a little and then gave up. He had never been able to understand what made his sister tick. He didn't even know how she had gotten into the school, though she always seemed to get good grades. Mir'az had never been able to be as good as she was... well he was better than her in one area of expertise. Mir'az could disassemble a whole spaceship and put it back together in working order. All mechanics made him shiver in delight. One night he had broken into the school's computer... he knew what the others were like. That didn't exactly make him feel better at the moment, though if anyone could pull off a spectacular escape it would be them.
"Lorry... should I help with the door?" he asked.
"No Taranli-boy," she said smiling, "You'll be sucked out before you can say Riot. You and your girl can check out the lifepods." Lorry continued grinning.
"I am not his girl!" Rheeann screamed, "How do you dare say that! I'm his sister and I could do better than him!"
It was always nice to hear these things from your sister, very good for your self image. In fact, now that he thought of it, he also got good grades for psychology. Maybe he was better than his sister in two areas. This sudden thought made Mir'az feel better again. It's funny what things make you feel better in the face of certain death.
"I just heard you Taranli like such kinky games." the Ytlip said menacingly.
"Come on..." he said to Rheeann, dragging her away from the female Ytlip, who though she was half a meter smaller than Rheeann could in fact beat his sister to pulp if she had the chance.
Lorry turned to Zer and Zas when the two Taranli were out of earshot. She really needed to find out who had blown the door. Zer still was her main target. A short fuse and a knack for bombing were a deadly combination, a Molotov-cocktail if you will. And the door had been blown out. On the other hand, though Zer could be called a little loony, he wasn't completely suicidal.
This brought her to Zas. Zas might have been suicidal. He might have been a drag queen in his spare time for all she knew. Zas was a mystery. A strategical mastermind according to their professors. But what did they know about them? Not much. Ytlip were still largely a mystery to the dull Taranli researchers. How did she know this? They had been admitted to the school. No-one in their right mind knowing anything about Ytlip history would let members of their race in on defence-secrets. In fact, if the mission went well, Taranli-Main was in for a nasty surprise very soon.
"Is the information safe?" she asked Zas.
"Locked tightly in my noggin." he said in fluent Ytlip, filling the corridors with hisses and slurs, his voice now sounding very adapt to the language.
"Quiet." Lorry said, "I suspect the female knows our language."
"That screamer?" Zer said, his eyes again ablaze with fire.
"Yes, her. She knew how to find us, how?"
Zer looked at his brother, the resident mastermind. Zer, though a bit envious, still found being a bomb-specialist and a terrorist was way cooler than being a mastermind... which showed just how juvenile he still was to Lorry.
"The door must have been the guy... he's the one who knows how to handle the machines." Zas remarked.
"I sent him away." Lorry said.
"The life pods."
"You trust him with that!!!" Zer suddenly cried out.
"Control yourself! I've got them on the monitor, he knows that. No, we won't have to expect any more surprises."
"It could have also been a failure." Zas interrupted.
"What?" Lorry asked.
"It's very hard to tell... if he was sent to sabotage us, which is likely -these Taranli always take the quiet, controlled types for these jobs- then he is good. I can't tell you 100% sure that it was him. It's more like 50-50."
"Interesting." Lorry said.
"I don't think we can fix it." Zer finally said, looking up from the rubble of ton metal.
"He's right." Zas added. "This baby is flying her last lightyears."
"Too bad... We'll miss our appointment." Lorry said.
"So be it. It's not like they're expecting anything."
"They might if they find out we're missing." Lorry told Zer.
As one the three stood up and walked toward the life pods. They talked a bit about random things as not to alert the two Taranli. Soon they might have to dispose of them. Unaware victims always were the easiest.. and the funniest.
Lorry, chosen to attend the academy on her leading abilities and martial arts skills decided to give the Taranli the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they were just what they seemed, harmless. 
"Into the pods!" she yelled when they saw the two humans in front of them. They didn't react quickly enough, so maybe a little panic would be good.
"We DO need to get in them."
"The door?" Mir'az asked.
"Beyond repair." Zer said, "Got a problem with that?"
"No." Mir'az answered... though he felt it was hard to keep his cool around these guys. They seemed to be walking around with a permanent "Bash me!" sign flashing in neon colours above their heads.
"Taranli! You and Zas take this pod." Lorry said, "Zer, you're with me."
"Do we get any say in this matter?" Rheeann asked bithy.
"No." Zas replied. He opened the hatch and threw them in, waiting for Lorry to give the 'go'-sign.

Lorry steered the life pod away from ship while they still had fuel. The trick was to get as far away as possible before all the air was sucked out and the ship buckled, trying to fill the whole of empty space.
"The others?" she asked Zer.
"Coming right behind us."
After a short pause Zer continued: "Was it wise to leave them with my brother?"
"Well I couldn't leave them with you and not a scale on my body was thinking of spending a few weeks with that Taranli girl in close contact."
Zer shuddered, "I know what you mean. They're so ... horrible to the touch."
"Now you're over-exaggerating." Lorry answered.
"Not one bit." Zer said.
"Ai!" Lorry said, "They're still too close to get out of the blast's way."
Before their eyes they saw some of the ship's debris flung toward the life pod of Zas and the Taranli. With expert steering Zas kept the pod flying, though on a crash course to the nearest planet. And this in unchartered domain.
"Lock these coordinates in your brain, Zer." Lorry said, "I just ran out of fuel."
"We can't get him?"
"Not any time soon."
"The info..." Zer said.
"We'll get him back, just set sail to the nearest space station where we could hitch a ride home."
"It's a Taranli-base. Star City Dragonry."
"Neat. No-one will look for us there."
Lorry smiled her piranha smile yet again and set course to Star City.


"Why do you keep calling us Taranli?" Rheeann asked the grim-looking Zas, "We told you, we prefer to be called humans. I just know Taranli is something demeaning."
The grin Zas gave her only confirmed her thoughts on the word Taranli.
"Where are we going to land?" Mir'az asked, trying not to start a fight in the small quarters of the life pod. He knew all too well what an Ytlip could do to human flesh if they couldn't run off and hide until they found some guns. Maybe humans had grown too accustomed to guns, Mir'az surely missed the semi-automatic he had at home.
"Down there is where we're going." Zas said.
"A-ha." Rheeann said with a look of sheer panic on her face. "Mir'az, you remember what I said earlier about my life flashing before my eyes."
"Well... it's happening for real now."
"This titanium shelter will protect us from the worst impact." he told her, doubting it would prove true. They were falling faster than he could even calculate, but only because he didn't know the exact mass of the planet below them. He never had been good at guessing.
"Where are the others?" he asked Zas.
"Blown away by the blast."
Mir'az sighed. Now that the immediate danger of death had been replaced by the 'we'll get crushed eventually'-danger Zas had returned to being silent. Mir'az almost missed talking to him even if the alien's voice sounded like sandpaper and crushed glass. 
Right before they hit the atmosphere, which would hurl them faster to the ground  and -hopefully- into an ocean Rheeann suddenly turned to her brother. "Hey! Why were you already..."
But she couldn't finish that thought, suddenly realising that her brother had been walking around the spaceship before she had entered it with him, but not knowing why. They hit the planet in a bay, which was about the best place they could crash, with land close enough around them.
Zas clicked open the hatch with one move from his skilled hands -fingers with an extra twist did seem to enhance movement and motor skills- and dragged himself out. Mir'az watched as Rheeann crawled out behind him and then also left the pod. 
"Hello!" they heard screaming from the shore.
"Thank God!" Rheeann smiled, "It's inhabited!"
"But... by what?" Mir'az asked when he saw the large green creature behind the person waving at them. Mir'az looked at Zas for a reply, but the Ytlip didn't seem to feel like talking now that he saw the planet was inhabited by more Taranli and their large, powerful friends.


Back to Lantessama Isle
Zer and Lorry are Candidateas at Star City Dragonry
Mi'raz, Rheeann and Zas are Candidates at Tripaldi Weyr
Font used is called 'Hypmotizin' and can be found here.