Develin wiped his brow as he got out of the engine room. It was sure
hot in there. He looked around the hallway of his small DX25-Nebula cruiser
and wondered how it could still be spaceborn. They had shared many
adventures together and it was starting to show. Once her hull had been a metallic
orange colour with dark red and black streaks. Now, only 5 years
later the orange and red had faded and black spots had appeared where she
had been hit by other ships.
Develin went inside the command room and sat down on the captain's seat. His
reflection looked back from the window, surrounded by stars. He wasn't all
that handsome. Tall and heavy with a long red beard. He was 28, still young,
yet his beard and hair had begun to show some grey lines in them. He was
wearing a deep blue overall that made anyone look sluggish. The overall
couldn't draw the attention away from his eyes though. They were a deep
shade of purple, like his mothers.
"Ahh mother", he said, "You'd be happy to see me alive and well."
The ship remained silent, she had never given him much company. Neither had
his mother. He felt right at home and comfortable.
"Soon we'll have ourselves another adventure." he said.
This time the ship did respond. A soft bleep from the radar screen wanted
his attention. With perfect timing, the ship appeared in his visor. Soft
grey she was, with stained blue windows. A small cruise ship. He laughed as
he thought how easy it would be to crush her.
"Please come in." a young voice sounded from the comlink. Perfect.
"Hello, this is Captain Develin from the Oker Darling. Who am I speaking
to?" He replied.
"Thank God you are here! We've been drifting for a week now!"
"What happened?" Develin asked, hoping for a malfunction.
"We were attacked by pirates, the crew is gone and only a few of us
survived." The boy replied.
Drats, he thought, he never did have any luck in this sort of thing.
"ok, I'm coming in to dock and help you."
Develin guided his ship to the docking gates and logged
on, carefully timing. He didn't have the same gadgets the cruiseship had. He
waited for the hatches to seal tight and be filled with air before he went
out of his command room and into the cruiseship. He smiled as he saw the
interior. He could smell the money. Even if the ship had already been
looted, there should still be enough for him to take, and maybe he could
keep the ship.
He shook his head. No, it was to big to keep alone, and he would never trust
a crew. He would have to be happy with looting and destroying. He grinned
and playing his game of course.
"Hi there!" he said as he entered the command room.
"Hi." The boy said, he couldn't be much older than 16 and thinner
than a skeleton, no threat to him he concluded.
"Where are the others?"
"They're in the Medbay."
"They are all wounded?" and hopefully dieing too.
"No, but Ernyl has them working for her."
"how many people are still on the ship?" Please God let it be a number
less than 5.
"4 besides me."
Victory! Develin thought. The ship was his. A plan started to form in his
"My ship can take that, though not for long, there's an inhabited planet
nearby though, I'll drop you off there."
"That would be great, we're so happy you are here to help us." The boy
"Don't just sit there boy, we need to get moving. Where's the Medbay?"
Develin said, the enthusiastic approach seemed to work on this boy.
"I'll show you." He said, the smile gone as quick as it had shown up.
In the Medbay he saw a short, rather fat woman working
with an elderly men. They seemed to be preparing food, though by the looks
of it, they could also be plotting a disaster. A young girl, 17 maybe, lay
dreaming on a stretcher and a slender young woman was standing beside her,
trying to bring her fever down.
All were accounted for, that was good. He could put his plan in action.
"Everybody! This is Captain Develin and he's going to get us out of
here." The boy said.
"Greetings." he answered as they looked.
"This is Ernyl, Selie's laying on the stretcher, Mister mad Misses
Higgins are preparing the food." the boy said, pointing at them when he
said their names. He forgot all of them at once.
"I'll run through the ship and check the engines, maybe we can salvage
the cruiser too." He said.
This wasn't a lie, he could get good money for salvaging a ship. But was it
worth keeping everyone alive for?
"Do I need to show you around?" the boy asked, Develin decided to
call him Pest.
"No, I can find my way, all these ships are alike. I'll be back for
He left and quickly made his way through the cabins, They were searched
thoroughly. Bad luck again. The pirates had taken their time, probably
thinking everyone was dead. Last he checked the engine room. What he saw
there was even worse. They had shot holes through all pipelines and tanks.
The Oxygen tank had lived through it though, and the reserve tank for lights
and other secondary facilities. The cruiser didn't have fuel left to go
anywhere though, from the looks of it they had been drifting for days. Oh
well, he could still have some fun.
Back in the Medbay dinner was just
being served as Develin entered.
"I'm sorry to say, but we can't salvage the ship. It's a wonder
she's still floating." He said as he sat down and looked around to
see how they reacted on his statement.
"How come?" The pretty girl wanted to know, he'd have to
watch out for her.
"The pirates shot your engine room to pieces and left running for
safety. Luckily for you it didn't explode."
He chuckled in his head when he thought, and lucky as you were you won't
stay for long. Everyone was silent through the diner which didn't bother him.
He was used to silence.
After they had finished he convinced everyone to get a good night's sleep
and returned to his 'Orange Darling' himself. He'd get no rest though, not
if he wanted to have fun. He had all he needed in his ship, even that old
pipe that had been standing near the entrance would have its use.
Building the bomb nearly took 4 hours, he had to improvise, but finally it
was done. He pulled out the gun he kept in his cupboard and hid it in the
shallow curve of his back. Then he fastened the bomb on the pipe and left his ship. It was deep in the
night, but the cruiser was never dark. He saw enough to make his way back to
the engine room. Inside the engine room the light was dimmer though, he had
to leave the door open to get enough light to fasten the bomb on the hydrogen
tank of one of the rescue pods.
He heard a soft sneaky noise behind him that wasn't supposed to be there. He
turned fast, as fast as a jaguar. He saw her. The pretty girl, the
"My my, what are you doing here?" he asked.
"I could ask the same of you." she said boldly, she was a
though one indeed.
Develin drew his gun and pointed it at her. He saw her stiffen and her mouth
twitched as she realised what exactly he was pointing at her.
"Surprised?" You should be, I'm very good at my little game."
"A game?! Is that what you're doing!" she screamed and launched
herself toward him.
He pulled the trigger and hit her in the stomach. She fell and stayed
"Tell me, does anyone else know of this?"
"No. Bjorn wouldn't believe me." she coughed up some blood.
"Bjorn? Is that the Pests name? Good for him he didn't believe you, now
I can continue playing."
He kicked her in the face and closed the door behind himself as he went out.
The bomb ticking merrily in the background.
"Hi Bjorn. Ready to help me move you out of here?" Develin
said, laughing in front of his door.
The little Pest couldn't find out what he was, he should keep him close.
Lucky for him, he was more stupid than a mouse high on LSD. All he saw were
pretty colours and Develin wanted it to stay that way.
"Yes." the pest said.
"ok, then. Let's get ready."
Develin turned and heard the Pest run after him, having trouble to keep up.
He smiled and turned the corner to the Medbay.
Everyone was present. And no-one acted as if they knew he wasn't what they
thought he was. He could proceed with his plan. He waited till the old
couple were talking so fast and loud no-one noticed him pushing a plate over
the floor. The man lost his balance and fell to the floor. He didn't even
scream. He did when he tried to get up though. His ankle was nice and
swollen, not broken like he had wanted, but close enough. Develin lifted him
and acted he was examining the ankle.
"Nothing I can do, " he said, "but you'll live,
it's only sprained."
He saw the Pest hugging the old woman to calm her down. He didn't want that.
"Bjorn! He'll be ok, we just need to find him something to lean on
to, I need you to look for it and return so we can carry Selie to the ship."
Bjorn nodded and left, running out. Develin smiled and said:
"He'll be back soon."
He saw the woman leaning against the wall, her husband sitting right next to
her. Now was a good time to dispose of them. He got his gun and raised it
slowly. He hadn't thought the eyes of the woman could grow bigger, but they
did. He shot her husband first and smiled at her, telling what he'd do to
her. She was trembling in fear by then. If only he'd have the time... He
shot her too, right between her eyes.
He turned back to the unconscious girl and stroked here head.
"You're quite pretty, do you know that?" he whispered.
10 Minutes later he raced to the command room and started the delocking
mechanism. He had 5 more minutes to get to his ship. He arrived just in time
and felt the ship tremble as it got loose. He went to his command room, sat
down and started to back away his ship to enjoy the show.
"What are you doing?"
The voice of the Pest caught Develin by surprise. How had he gotten out?
What was he doing here. He'd ruined all his plans. He couldn't kill him now,
travelling with a corpse wasn't that appealing. He'd have to continue
"My God, Bjorn! I'm so glad to see you. I went after you, because I
remembered something we could use to help Selie, but then I felt the ship
tremble. I knew she was going to blow and was only fast enough to reach my
own ship. We're still not safe. She can go every minute."
"But what about Ernyl and Selie and Mr and Ms Higgins?" He
asked, the fool.
"Don't think about it, they are death, I couldn't go back without
dieing myself. Without killing you. It's so good to see you safe."
He saw the boy placing himself down on the ground. At least he had the sense
to stay out of his way. He hadn't lied about not being safe. He had lingered
too long in the Medbay. He did all he could to get away faster, but his ship
was old and battered. He cursed as he felt the shockwave hit them. 'Oker
Darling' lived through it, he was thankful for that. It was silent for a
second as the cruiser turned into a fireball. After the light had died down
it flared up again, but inside instead of outside.
"We've been hit!" he yelled and struggled to keep the ship
from falling. The shockwave had driven them into the gravitational pull of a
planet. It was their only chance of coming out alive, he needed to land. If
only the world was liveable, if only it was inhabited. He fastened his
seatbelt and made a cross. He dropped his head between his knees and covered
it with his hands.
"Are you sure we'll find
"Yess, my Knight."
"ok, where are they?"
"They're coming." Tuonov said as
he looked to the sky. A sudden flash lighted, like a star, but it was gone
too soon to be sure. A little black dot came racing down from it tough.
"They're here." the drak said.
Vance watched as the spacecraft crashed into the ground.
"We need to help them." he said and hoped they'd survived.
He followed the trail of smoke and landed near the crashed shuttle. It was a
miracle the front part of it had come through the crash unharmed. He saw a
man stumbling out, big, with hair that looked like it was on fire.
"Are you ok?" Vance shouted.
"Yes, I'm fine."
Vance turned back to Tuonov and asked: "Is this our aspirant?"
"One of them, yes, the other is still in
"Is there anyone else in there?" Vance asked Develin.
"Bjorn, I don't know if he made it though." he said, hoping
he had died. Stupid as he was he might once put one and one together to form
two in stead of five.
"Tuonov, come help me." he shouted and the drak came
closer, frightening Develin.
"What's that?" he asked.
"That's Tuonov, my Night Drak, we were out judging aspirants when
you came crashing down."
One week they were at this Sidra
Castle now. Develin was getting bored. He had accepted the offer to try and
pair a drak. And all the while he hoped for Bjorn to die, but the boy
clinged to life like a husky puppy clinged to a piece of bone. If the boy
had growled when he came closer he wouldn't have been surprised.
The nurse next to his bed hardly looked up anymore when he came in. He would
have killed Bjorn if she would just leave them two alone for 5 minutes, but
she never did.
" He's awake again!" she suddenly said.
"Good, I almost feared he would give up." Develin said,
still playing his part.
"He's young and strong, I had no doubts." the woman said.
"where..." the Pest asked.
"Icarus, Sidra Castle to be exact, Bjorn. We've been found by a
Knight and asked to stay for the hatching." he said.
"ok." he said before he felt himself slipping away again.
Maybe there was still hope Bjorn would die, though he doubted it.
Develin trudged through the snow.
Why oh why had Sidra castle ceased to exist? And why in evil's sake had he
agreed to be taken to the new castle that would take in the draks? He could
have just as easily gone to another place. Somewhere warmer.
But Develin knew why he had agreed. The cold South was almost vacated. The
ideal spot to start with his plans. It was human nature to want to be rich.
There would be men around that would help him find wealth... and a tropical
island. There should be at least some from where he could operate his future
gang of murderers and thieves.
Suddenly a boy ran toward him. "The eggs, sir! They are
Develin turned around and without a word to the boy left to the deep cavern.
Inside the other candidates were huddled warm, except for the green dragon
that Develin thought looked weird. Only one set of wings... odd.
Finally, after 3 other pairings one of the remaining two draklings, a male
fire, walked toward Develin. "I
am Enash, Develin." he
Develin had never expected it to go this easily. To feel the way he did.
Carefully he felt around his drak, asking how it would feel to steal. It
seemed to have some resistance against the thought, but then. The drak
wouldn't have to participate... bringing him to places would be enough.
Develin paired at