Monday, September 5, 2011

Flash Fiction - Shrapnel

Good day,

 Let's get back to flashing. Shut up, I know what words mean.

***

            Pain pounded against her head. Slowly, the throbs and aches worked their way down to her shoulders and the left side of her body. Blackness clouding her vision melted away to reveal red earth. Rolling over, she forced herself up. Weak muscles fought against her, but she fought harder. Finally, she was on her feet; the smell of burning oil hung in the air.
            To her left, one of the wings of her Starscreamer lay embedded in the earth. Assorted parts and scraps of metal lay across the ground. Half a turbine had landed in front of her. Beyond it laid an overturned mass of wreckage. She recognized the nozzle of her ship and the right wing which had bent inward at the tip. It snapped off just as she rose to her feet. Burnt steel along its sides showed where the missiles had pummelled it.
            Wasting no time, she hobbled over to the ruined vessel. Head down, she paid no heed to the scenery. This was no time to sightsee. In time, she reached the cockpit. Both hands reached inside and seized a latch for a small door on the console. A monitor broke free and dropped onto her wrist. She ignored the pain. A box attached to a long cord fell out of the glove compartment and flopped into her hands.
            “Hello?” she said, tapping the device and bringing it to her lips, “This is Kali Newell of Starscreamer Number 0080. H.Q., do you copy?”
            A gurgle of electric screams, followed by English: “This is H.Q. Kali, please repeat your SS Number.”
            She groaned and spoke slowly, “Zero-zero-eight-zero, H.Q.” 
The pause from the other end told her what was coming. “Your Starscreamer is named The Loli-Popper?
I lost a bet!” she howled into her radio, hands shaking. Her head throbbed, and she groaned again, “Never-mind. Where’s my evac?” 
“We’ll drop one down when we can,” he uttered, “Interference from the New Colonial Fleet’s main jammer is keeping us from locking onto your co-ordinates. You were part of the fleet orbiting Planet AU-673, correct?”
“Bingo.” 
“Can you describe any major landmarks?”
She huffed and looked around, telling her contact: “I see a big spike of rock sticking out of the ground to my left. Hills in the distance, one’s kind of shaped like a giant tit. I think I see a tree.” 
“Sorry, a tree?” the man said, shocked.
She squinted. Wood spiralled into a long, grasping talon covered sparsely with flat leaves that she estimated were as long as her forearm each. “Yeah, it’s definitely a tree.” 
“We didn’t think anything was alive down there! This is a big discovery!”
“Will it get me off the alien planet faster?” 
“Sorry, sorry,” the man said, now breathless with enthusiasm, “Keep going, please.”
She rolled her eyes. “Well, there are big craters ahead of me, like from meteors or something. I’m counting three but there may be more. Everything else is just sand and –” 
Something hopped into view.
She stopped everything and watched as the dark blue thing bounced across the landscape. It hopped around the fallen turbine in front of her and came closer. Pear-shaped, its body sat suspended on a pair of thick legs and long, wide feet. A pair of bulbous black eyes sat on two fleshy stalks that waved in the air. 
Kali? Kali, are you there?
“There’s something alive here.” 
A loud bang; she winced. On the other end, the man scrambled to pick something up. “Did you say something’s alive there?! Like an animal?!
The creature looked her way. She shrugged, “I mean I’m face to face with some fat, bouncing thing.” 
“Can,” her contact said, gasping, “Can you describe it?”
“It looks retarded?” she responded. 
“Blb,” squawked the creature as it skipped by.
The man from H.Q. laughed raucously, “Animals, too! This is a miracle!” 
Kali grit her teeth and seethed into her radio. “Yeah, you know what’s a miracle? Me being alive. Where’s my evac?”
We’ve been looking for habitable planets for years! This news could turn the whole war on its head! You could stand to be a little more excited, you know,” chided her superior. 
“Yeah, I kind of had a feeling that it was habitable,” she said with a huff.
The man seemed curious now, “How so?” 
“Well, because my helmet got knocked off when I was shot,” she said, running fingers through her hair, “And the fact I didn’t suffocate was a big sign.” She paused, thoughtfully looking up at the wide, grey sky above her, “Or did I not mention that?”

***

  Here we go again.

See you next time,

-RWI

EDIT: May 23, 2012. Edits!

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