By Tim Sevenhuysen
Posted May 12, 2012
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The world exploded, and Tic thought he felt his skull burst. Then he blinked, coughed, and saw the ground rushing towards him through the cockpit viewscreen.
He hauled back on the controls. For a horrifying half-second, the Pelican didn’t respond. Then it whined feebly and levelled out.
“Atta girl, Pelly!” cheered Tic.
The AI didn’t respond.
The curator sat up, rubbing his head. “Excellent work with the shields, Jenks.”
“Credit Cogs, sir,” replied Jenks from the hold. “He reacted faster than I did.”
“We’re in rough shape, sir,” said Jeffries from the seat beside Tic. “I’m not sure how we held together, honestly.”
“The Gyrians do good work,” said Tic, patting the dashboard affectionately.
“Better land before we crash,” said Jeffries.
“Belay that,” ordered the curator. “Do a low pass over the enemy crash sites.”
“Yes, sir,” said Tic. He swooped the Pelican down over the smoking wreckage of the first Liberati ship. There was no movement. Near the second crater, however, two figures were crawling out from under white parachutes. Jeffries took them out with well-placed bursts from the vacuum generators.
The curator said, “Now we can head back.”
Tic flew the Pelican up to the museum, past the charred remains of the hangars. Milly, Haglyn, and Overard were nervously waiting.
The moment Tic landed, every flickering screen and sparking circuit went dark. “Don’t worry,” the curator assured him. “Our techs will fix her better than ever in no time, maybe even do some upgrading. Parts and labour on the house; you’ve earned it!”
“Can you get the AI back?” asked Tic.
“No promises,” said Jenks. “Looks like a pretty catastrophic system failure. We’ll try.”
Tic forced the hold door open manually and stepped into the loading bay, where Milly astonished him with a tearful hug.
Pick a part of the Galactic Pelican to be specially upgraded.
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