A Christmas Story
Derek Morgan dove for cover behind the nearest crates. Plasma bolts sizzled as they struck the side of the crates. "We need to get out of here."
Dax Fabrice ripped a piece of patchtape off of the roll with his teeth and stuck it onto the tear in the hypercoolled environmental suit that kept him alive. "I think I mentioned that about 15 minutes ago."
A figure joined them with a rolling dive, "Evenin' boys." Captain Elias Terrell sat up and checked his weapon. "I'm gettin' a bit low on ammunition, any ideas?"
"We could try surrendering," Derek muttered as he peeked over the top of the crates and almost got his hair melted off.
"No." The answer came from both Dax and Elias.
"Those people don't take prisoners," Dax grumbled as he shook and hit the side of his comm unit in an effort to raise the ship.
"You'll have to tell me how you made 'em mad later, I'm sure it's an interestin' story." Captain Elias almost seemed to find the whole situation amusing. "We've got to keep movin'. Derek, give me your weapon, I'll cover you."
Derek dug through his pockets until he found the first aid kit and handed him a scalpel.
"Uhh." Captain Elias blinked.
"Why can no one remember that I'm a surgeon?"
"We've got to get you a proper weapon."
Dax shushed them loudly and put the comm unit to the speaker system on his helmet. "The Onyx is on its way, we just have to hold on for about five minutes."
A bolt of plasma melted the metal plating next to Derek's foot. "I don't think we have five minutes!"
"Come out, and we'll kill you quickly!"
Derek looked at Dax, and Dax looked at Elias. They had a malfunctioning comm unit, a nearly drained blaster and a scalpel. They needed five minutes.
None of them were tech geniuses. But two of them were arrogant, loud mouths with a perchance for surviving the impossible.
Derek whispered a prayer to the Creator. He pushed Dax and Elias out from behind the crates.
Plasma bolts sizzled as the two men scrambled out of the way.
"Wait, we have... a device!" Dax waved the comm unit in his hand.
A device? Really? Yea, that will be sure to intimidate them! Derek rolled his eyes.
"A device?" The leader of the gang snorted, as he reloaded his weapon and took aim at Dax's head. "Looks an awful lot like a comm unit to me!"
"That's precisely what it is!" Captain Elias' voice came from behind some of the large equipment used to move the crates in the hangar bay.
"What?" Dax croaked, and his hand dipped.
This should be good. Derek caught sight of the men as he snuck behind the crates and slowly made his way towards the entrance.
"I am an Obsidian agent usin' these people to infiltrate a rogue faction of dissenters. I have already contacted my people, and they are on their way." Captain Elias stepped out from behind the equipment and straightened his cowboy hat. "You saw the group of twenty soldiers at the bar, didn't you?"
The leader of the gang lowered his weapon slightly and narrowed his eyes at the two men. "I thought you were the captain."
"That's exactly what I wanted you to think." Captain Elias smirked at the leader.
Derek covered his mouth to stifle his laughter.
"You told me it was a quasitemporal teleportation device! I could have been killed, you bastard!" Dax swung a fist at the captain.
Elias avoided the blow and pointed his weapon at Dax's head. "Keep your mouth shut, smuggler scum."
The gang leader lowered his weapon, "Maybe this has all been a bit of a misunderstanding. This man stole something from us, we want it back. We also want him dead."
"You ruined my op, and I need this man alive." Captain Elias tilted his head to the side and smiled. It wasn't a pretty sight. "Maybe we can come to an understandin' before my men get here and slaughter you all for having the audacity to shoot at me."
The gang shifted uncomfortably.
"What kind of understanding?"
"I have Dax give back whatever he stole, and I'll tell my men that you decided to move on."
The leader raised his weapon, and the rest of his crew followed suit. "Where are your soldiers? They should have been here by now, shouldn't they?"
Dax snatched the scalpel from Elias' belt and stabbed him in the shoulder.
Elias roared and swung his blaster at Dax's head knocking him to the ground.
Dax cut a hole in his environmental suit, and a billowing puff of leaked coolant froze the bay floor.
The burr of an ancient ship engine buzzed at the entrance of the hangar.
Elias slipped on the now icy metal floor and fell towards Dax, sending both of them sliding towards the door.
The shiny black ship cut an imposing silhouette as the pilot let the ramp down.
The gang leader bellowed in anger, and the gang fired at the men.
Derek ran and jumped for the ramp, catching the ledge and pulling himself all the way up.
"No, no, nono!" Dax and Elias kept sliding towards the edge of the hangar bay with plasma bolts eating up the ground behind them.
Derek reached out an arm and Elias reached out to grab it. Derek pulled both of them onto the ramp.
The gang shot at the ship, and it shuddered.
"We got everyone!" Evelyn's voice announced over the intercom. "Hold on while I get us out of here!"
Derek was thrown clear past Elias and Dax as Onyx gained altitude. He hit the far wall and groaned as he slid onto the floor.
The Onyx accelerated out of the atmosphere faster than any other ship in the fleet or out of it.
The three men lay on the floor of the ship staring at the ceiling. Derek started laughing, "A 'device'."
"Hey, I was under pressure!" Dax weakly pulled at the roll of patchtape he kept in his pack, but he didn't even have the strength the break off a piece of tape.
Derek took the roll from him and started patching up the holes Dax had made in his suit. "So whatever you stole from them better be worth more than the coolant we're going to have to siphon from the engine to replenish your suit."
A smile spread over Dax's face, and he dug through his pack. He pulled out a medium sized black box. He pressed a release switch on the side to reveal the container was filled to the brim with small faceted stones. "Merry Christmas."
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