RED PLANET STOWAWAY CH. 6 - JUMP ON THE SHUTTLE TO NANDITZ
By JA Souders
Malloy, Saleen, and Peter Tan step from the pod and you panic. You know it’s only a matter of time before they find that blob of a shape-shifter and they come looking for you.
And once they find out you know they plan on killing the president, that’s exactly where they’ll expect you to go. Not. An. Option.
So that leaves following them and trying to play hero. Or jumping on the shuttle to Nanditz and hoping someone there can help you. You decide you’ve never been much of a hero anyway, and take the shuttle.
The only problem with that plan is that the trio hasn’t moved from the pods, and the shuttles are in their final boarding calls. You don’t have a choice. You have to risk it. You rip off the security shirt and try to sneak as quietly as possible behind them to the shuttle pod.
Unfortunately, just at that moment, a little girl with bright yellow pigtails runs into you. You apologize with the intent to keep moving, but she squeals, a high-pitched yell that pierces your eardrums.
“Mommy, mommy look! It’s Smelvis! Can I have your autograph, Smelvis?” She shoves a notebook and pen into your hand.
You groan and wonder how this girl has mistaken you for Smelvis. You look nothing like the alien performer; for one thing, you’re not purple.
You quickly dash off a signature, hope that the trio didn’t notice the girl’s outburst, and push past her to the shuttle.
Just as you’re about to step onto the shuttle, a hand grabs your arm and twirls you around. You're facing Malloy.
He sneers at you. “What’s your hurry, Smelvis? Your fans want your autograph.”
He tugs on your arm and the shuttle doors close.
All you can think as he pulls you through the crowd is that you’re in for it now. But to your surprise, he only shoves you into another shuttle. Saleen is doing something at the controls.
Malloy and Peter Tan tie you up like a hog at a greased pig contest and then secure you to the seat, so there’s no way you can escape. Not that you’re not trying. The ropes bite into your skin as you struggle, but it’s a no go.
Someone had obviously paid attention during rope tying at the academy. Something you wish you had done instead of drinking your way through.
The trio smiles and Saleen wiggles her fingers as they leave the pod. Your stomach sinks.
There is no good reason they’re leaving.
You feel the minor vibrations of the shuttle leaving its dock and wonder where the hell it’s taking you.
You don’t wait long for your answer.
“We have reached…safe distance from planet…Orbiting mode initiated. Self-destruct sequence activated...Have a nice day! And thank you for using Red Planet Transport…