“Captain, we’re almost to the coordinates that Commander Rue.Tylar sent!”
Captain Elyndra of the MLS P. Bunny nodded to the cadet at the helm. “Have the other ships arrived?”
“Aye, Captain,” Lt. Wolfy confirmed. “I’m reading the signatures from the Shovel and the Viking. The Ninja has sent a comm as well. We’re all here. Commanders Rue and Utoxin have some suggestions as well as directions for us all to meet at on the surface.”
“Then that’s what we’ll do. Relay that we’ve received it and we will meet at the appointed time and place.”
Lt. Wolfy and the cadets on the bridge hurried to do as their Captain ordered.
“The Bunny signaled they are ready, Captain.”
“Thank you, Ensign Alaina,” WitchyRobyn said with a nod. It was so close to being finished. She could feel it. Her cadets could too. There was definitely something in the air. Planning was important, but following one’s instincts was a major part of a successful plan. “As soon as the Shovel and the Viking are ready, get the away team together.”
“Rue, have you gotten the coordinates out to everyone?” Captain IronAngel asked.
“Yep, everyone’s incoming. I had Utoxin pull together some good landing zones, so we know where to rally. It seems the south side of the planet past the mountain range has the best probability; it’s not far from where the Baty is,” she replied while strapping on extra gear for an away mission. Extra scanners, a phaser, to name a few. “We’ve already scanned the ship for the bot, and he’s not there. So we’re assuming he’s planet side somewhere.”
“Righteous. Let’s go bring the bucket of wires home.”
“Incoming coordinates from MLS D. Shovel!” Ensign Kdskid007 brandished the sheet in excitement as Captain Eldarwen and Lt. Commander Aka-Click entered the bridge. She handed the sheet to Aka-Click.
“Looks like they found where the MLS C. Baty landed on the planet,” Aka-Click said, scanning the document.
“Awesome! Take us in, Aka-Click!” Eldarwen grinned. At last!
The commanders of the ships and the away teams landed at the specified coordinates that brought them as close to the MLS C. Baty as possible. Although none of them had seen the others in person for close to a month, they kept their greetings to single, terse nods. It was far more important to stay focused on what they were here for.
“Check your gear, and then check it twice more. There is no room for chance or error in this mission. We have a bot to find, who’s likely gone rogue, and a ship to bring home. Ten minutes for gear checks while the captains talk,” Captain WitchyRobyn ordered.
The four Captains gathered, looking over data pads with maps and coordinates.
Rue glanced over at the gathered Captains who were busy discussing tactics just out of hearing reach and looked over at Kistoway. “Couldn’t talk yours down either?”
Kistoway shrugged. “Nope, insisted on coming.”
“Looks like they are all here. Sometimes it’s hard to keep the captains on their ship.”
“They always seem to insist on coming.”
Rue grinned. “But then who else would lead us into the fray?”
Kistoway nodded and triple checked her gear, but couldn’t help adding, “Good point. Let’s just hope some of them don’t get reckless again.”
“Phasers to stun! If we do find hostiles here, we are not going for blood. We only want them incapacitated long enough for us to get our ship and go home,” Eldarwen boomed over the crowd of officers and cadets alike. “Kds, make sure your flamethrower is turned off.”
Everyone nodded, and re-checked their settings, and then the group of twenty people headed off following Utoxin and IronAngel. They weren’t far from the Baty, according to all of their reports. A solid hour trek later, they arrived at the ship. And it was glorious, uncloaked, and seemingly left unattended. And luckily, unscathed as well.
A quick exploration of the ship revealed that Timmy was nowhere to be found. And while some of the cadets were making a push for leaving Timmy, even IronAngel knew that he had to come home, too. So they left Kistoway and a few cadets in charge of getting the ship up in the air, and back with the rest of the fleet to await further orders.
As the remaining crews made their way across the planet, now in search of the missing bot, they were ambushed by raptors, who literally seemed to appear out of nowhere. There had been no rustling in the bushes, no cracking of leaves, no stones rolling, no sounds whatsoever to reveal their presence. And none of the cadets had seen a glimpse of raptor hide anywhere.
The cadets froze when they found themselves surrounded by hostiles. The captains and officers were quicker to react and tried to build a sort of perimeter around their cadets in an attempt to protect them, but there weren’t enough of them.
“Well!” Eldarwen looked at her fellow leaders. “If we’re going down, we should really go down with a bang, eh?”
“Let’s give them some plot bunnies to chew on!” Captain Elyndra shouted, an answering roar from her cadets rising.
The shout confused the raptors, some of which cocked their heads as if listening intently, others began crouching down in what could only be interpreted as a battle stance.
“Stunners at the ready!” Captain IronAngel ordered. There was a quick rustle going all around while the entire crew got themselves ready for action – steadying their stances, clicking on their stunners, repositioning their glasses to make sure they wouldn’t fall off, cracking the fingers on their free hands.
As WitchyRobyn and the other Captains gave forth a fierce battle cry, the raptors roared in unison and charged.
The next few minutes seemed like hours. Or maybe it was hours stretching into even more hours. It was hard to tell. The Shovels, Ninjas, Bunnies and Vikings threw themselves into the battle as if their lives depended on it, and maybe they did. There was shrieking, yelling, roaring and a ruckus so loud that if anybody else had been on the planet, they surely would have come running to inspect what was going on. Stun guns were used left and right, making raptors drop by the handful. Unfortunately, cadets were falling left and right as well with bites and scratches that rendered them more or less briefly incapable of fighting.
The battle was fierce, but eventually it dawned on the valiant members of the Madcap League of Scribblers that the raptors were not trying to kill them. On the contrary, they were merely trying to incapacitate as many of them as possible. It seemed as though they too were only aiming to maim but not to kill.
“They aren’t trying to kill us!” Eldarwen shouted at Aka-Click, who was fighting next to her, and then at Kdskid007 who was fighting at her other side. Both nodded their heads vigorously and shouted the message to the person fighting next to them, and so the message made the rounds. With a loud Viking cry, the leaders of the MLS H. Viking rallied their friends and cadets and made a mad dash for it, in true Viking style. With their charge, they found themselves in the midst of the enemy raptors.
The Shovel leaders and cadets were only seconds behind them, charging headfirst into the fray. They were moving in strict formation, and scattered the raptors that had not expected such an organized counter-charge.
The Bunny and Ninja leaders followed at their heels with their cadets and with that courageous attack, they finally gained the upperhand. Soon the remaining unstunned raptors were fleeing, winking into inexistence before their eyes, even as they were running.
Stunned and wounded raptors and humans littered the floor. There was blood, but considering how fierce the battle had been, there was very little of it. None of the bite or scratch wounds were fatal and most of them could be treated easily enough by the crew members.
“Looks like we didn’t lose any limbs,” Elyndra said happily as she surveyed the carnage.
“That was…,” Aka-Click began and Kdskid007 finished the sentence for her: “Friggin’ awesome!!”
“That wasn’t exactly the word I would have used,” the Lt. Commander said but with a grin, she added: “But okay! I can get on board with that.”
“And to think you managed all that without your flamethrower!” Eldarwen added with a wink.
“Hey, Elyndra?” Utoxin called out. “What is one of your bunnies doing out here?” He pointed to a little ball of light that was bouncing around between the raptors.
“Yikes!” Wolfy immediately set to capturing it, some of the Bunny’s cadets in tow.
“You know what I still don’t get?” IronAngel asked of no one in particular. “How in the wrimoverse did they manage to sneak up on us like this?”
“Maybe they used a cloaking device,” Alaina replied, offhand, without really thinking about what she was saying.
Utoxin looked up at those words .“Cloaking device? You mean, like the one that should have been shielding the Baty from view…?” The wheels in his brain started to work furiously and he was wondering if the idea that had just popped into his head was even feasible.
“Do you mean to say that Timmy stole the cloaking device from the ship and somehow ended up giving it to the raptors of this planet? That’s ludicrous!” Alaina looked at the Shovel’s commander like he’d lost most of his marbles.
“You know, maybe that isn’t such an insane idea at all,” IronAngel mused.
“One way or another,” Elyndra interjected, “we still need to actually find the bot.”
“Alright, let’s go find ourselves a bot!” Rue called out, thus immediately making everyone focus on the task at hand again.
The traipsing through the countryside started all over again and more than one of the crew members was wondering where Timmy had hidden himself away. For a bot talking a lot of nonsense, he sure seemed to have a knack for disappearing and staying that way. Though they didn’t find him right away, one of the cadets stumbled upon the missing stealth drive! Lt. Wolfy picked the thing up, though not before hitting the switch that would turn it off. Anyone– or thing– using it would now be visible! They would need to reinstall into the Baty once they got back there.
When they stumbled across Timmy, only a few steps away from the scene of the battle (where he hadn’t been before), they didn’t even realise what they were looking at until they had blinked a few times. The bot was ever so proudly sitting on a pile of rocks with a crown made of fronds on his head.
“Raptor King! Planet Raptor!” he boomed from above and then babbled on for a few more minutes.
“It sounds like the raptors have made him their king. But how are we on a planet full of raptors. I thought they were mostly extinct!?” Rue mumbled, thinking out loud more than looking for actual answers.
“Maybe this isn’t Timmy’s first trip into outer space,” Eldarwen suggested, though she immediately shook her head at her own statement. That was a ridiculous idea. Timmy was a bot, not an intergalactic hitchhiker. And he was their bot, despite all the difficulties. They couldn’t just leave him there.
A handful of slightly more muscled cadets were selected to wrestle Timmy off of his throne so he could be brought back to their landing spot. After all, now that they had the Baty as well as the bot, it was high time they got themselves off of this planet and back to their home base. Thankfully, Timmy didn’t resist.
“What about the raptors?” one of the cadets asked. A group of them were standing around a couple of purple raptors, gazing down at them. “Are we just going to leave them here?”
Elyndra looked at them, then glanced over at her fellow captains to see what they wanted to do. None of them seemed opposed to the idea they saw looming behind the Bunny’s captain’s eyes. They all knew how fond she was of herding her bunnies, so it wasn’t all too weird for her to suggest loading the raptors in the cargo holds of the ships. “It might be a good idea to take them back with us, maybe find them a spot on the Ninja?” She controlled the wince as Witchy sent her a look, then just smiled. “Well, we could find them a spot, regardless. Don’t you agree?”
And just like that, the cadets went to work together in teams of four or six and corralled the raptors back to the ships. What a job it was. It took them a long time and there was a lot of head scratching to figure out how to get them all divided up into the ships. Luckily there were a few Tetris experts among the cadets and with their help, the raptors were swiftly stacked in the cargo ships. Those that started wiggling a little were stunned once more, just to be on the safe side. They would not cause fires unlike a certain ensign who had had her flamethrower removed, but who knew what those raptors could potentially get up to and it was better to be safe than sorry.
The trip home was a bit of a long one, though not as long as the one out there. There was no pit stops along the way (despite a few groans and grumblings). But eventually, they made it back to the Academy. During the journey home, Captain Witchy and some of her crew learned that the raptors were all afraid. There had been a lot of recent wars and attacks. When the crew of the Viking had arrived, they had only just managed to survive one. They thought the crew of the Viking were going to attack them so they took action first.
After Utoxin had done a bit of tweaking, Timmy confirmed this. He had been getting transmissions from the raptors for weeks and had been trying to tell everyone, but no one had been able to understand him! So he’d taken things into his own hands. He’d been collecting raptors as he traveled and sent messages back. He had been wondering what was taking everyone so long to get to him…
“Hm, so what shall we do with the excess raptors? Sadly, we can’t keep all of them,” Lt. Wolfy pointed out. A meeting with all of the captains and their officers back at the Academy had just started. They had already sent the cadets home, all with congradulations at finishing their first year and officially being members of the Madcap League of Scribblers. The fate of the raptors was now being discussed.
“We could send them to different planets?” Alaina posited after a moment.
“Hm,” Utoxin murmured. “That could be possible. We’d need to boost power to the transporters to make sure they are spread out enough. It was population control that was partially to blame for the large boom that precipitated all of this to begin with. But, if we get the distribution right, it shouldn’t be a problem then.”
Everyone agreed and work was quickly underway to give more power to their transporters. Eventually, everything was ready. The raptors were taken in groups and sent off to various planets to live, hopefully in peace.
As was her wont, Kdskid007 was wandering around after her last group of raptors had already been assigned their transporter time. She had gotten a bit bored and her flamethrower had been locked away for everyone’s safety, at least, until all the raptors had been dealt with.
She shuffled along and then noticed the bank of buttons near the transporter. Kdskid007 walked up to it and put her hand on the tempting red button before anyone could stop her.
“Hey, guys?” Kdskid007 called out, “What’s this button do?”
=== The End ===