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Strangers from the Sky: A Medlow Staur adventure Second Edition by Andres Diaz
Copyright 2018, 2019
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Names and persons in this eBook are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses or places, or actual events is purely coincidental.
The planet Vreegan
Messier 87 Galaxy
Mid-Thirty First Century C.E.
The planet Vreegan was a weird place. On the northern hemisphere were several very large continents, while the southern continent had many smaller continents. The northern part of the planet was made up of farming communities and big cities. The southern part of the planet was comprised of mining communities that brought in the real money to this planet’s economy. The planet also had a weird rotation and its days were twenty-nine hours long.
I should probably introduce myself. I’m Medlow Staur, intergalactic adventurer and entrepreneur. When I first made it out into the universe, I had such high hopes and dreams. I assumed my life would be just traveling from place to place, do a job here or there, then off to the next adventure. No problems, no worries, just freedom. Ah, to be young and naive again, right? Between docking fees, landing permits, refueling costs, ship repairs and countless other things, you end up taking a loss most of the time you travel. The times you manage to break even, or even turn a profit are oftentimes few or far between. Part of me understands why people find somewhere nice to live and stay put. Less stress, less headaches but boring as hell. That’s why the rest of me needs to be on the move, see new sights and discover new things.
I had been doing alright financially for several months until reality reared its ugly head again. You see, I had hit a hard patch and needed to make some extra dough, quick. I got a job shipping goods for a company based out of Dakur, which was one of Vreegan’s neighboring worlds. It was just meant to be a quick delivery. Bring some luxury items to one of the large cities in the planet’s northern hemisphere, collect my pay and move on to the next system. I had been told by the dock boss that the traffic patterns in and over the city I needed to go to were just ridiculous. He suggested buying some hair dye, because by the time I got to my destination, I would have a full head of gray hair. Without telling anybody there, I decided to make a different approach.
I flew into the planet’s atmosphere over one of the planet’s many, smaller southern continents. I planned to skim the planet’s surface all the way past the equator and then connect up with the normal sky paths. This would save me at least a couple of hours on travel and stress. Well, at least that was the plan until some ships came up from behind me and started shooting. They were shooting to kill too. After a few hard hits, the ship’s systems started going crazy as I tried to steer my way out of this mess. Not finding the volume control on the alarm, I shut the whole warning system down entirely. It wasn’t the safest idea, but I couldn’t think straight with all the noise and the headache I was getting.
Another hit and my stabilizer was gone. It was going to be tough, but if I wanted to survive, I had to make a controlled crash. I managed to avoid some of the large cliffs that seemed to be ubiquitous on this continent and smashed through an abandoned barn. Thankfully the barn slowed me down, as did the red sand I plowed into. Once my ship stopped, I unbuckled my harness and jumped out of the pilot’s seat. Looking out the cockpit window I noticed that everything on this planet was as red as Mars. It was kind of weird how so many planets and moons throughout the universe look like Mars. My reverie was interrupted by the sight of three ships heading towards my location. As I turned the ship’s guns towards them, the power kicked out. I punched and kicked the console, but to no avail.
Exiting the cockpit, I ran to the armory, grabbed some extra powerpacks for my guns and a large blaster rifle and moved towards the exit. As I looked out the door’s portal, I saw that the ships had landed and robots dressed like Prohibition era gangsters started heading towards my ship. Every robot had what appeared to be a Tommy gun; which was an old style machine gun popular in the early part of Earth’s Twentieth Century. I turned to the external scanner unit mounted next to the door and managed to squeeze out enough juice from the ship’s batteries to activate it. The scanners confirmed that the robots were wielding actual machine guns. I knew then that I needed to get off the ship without them noticing me and I needed to do it quickly. One of my friends was on some backwater world and they unloaded on his ship with a machine gun. It cost him almost a hundred thousand credits just to fix the damage. To make matters worse, he was still finding bullets in the hull and bulkheads for months afterwards!
From one of the auxiliary panels in the engine room, I manually released the outside fire retardant foam and vented the internal atmosphere at the same time. Combined with the red sand outside, it kicked up quite the little storm. Putting on a hostile environment mask, I jumped out of one of the escape hatches and right into the storm. Thankfully the mask not only filtered out the sand, but also showed me the quickest and safest way away from my ship. Running through bunches of scrub brush and other bizarre desert plants, I got about a quarter mile away before turning around. Using the zoom feature on the mask I could see the gangster bots going in and out of my ship. It didn’t look like they were taking anything out though, which confused me because I had assumed they were pirates looking for a score.
Once they were all out of my ship, the bots all lined up in a neat row. I counted twelve of them. They broke up into three groups of four before one bot from each group went into a ship. It looked like they were breaking up into search parties with aerial support. I knew I needed to get out of there, pronto. I spotted what looked like a cave in a nearby cliff and decided to make that my hiding spot. I made it as far as the base of the cliff when I came upon a herd of four legged animals. They had long legs like deer, very long necks and short heads. The heads and backs were covered in armor plates. I figured if the bots were tracking me with infrared they’d get confused with so many heat signatures in the way…
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