Tales From the Nordic Troll - #2: Legacy (part 5)
Thursday, March 21, 2013

As the Troll began to trail fuel, Pearsoll commented. “Something’s up. They’re trailing fuel.” -- Maddox leapt to the console. “This is it!”


The two ships continued the chase through the asteroid belt. Whenever the pursuing ship came within line of sight, she would fire ballistic projectiles at the Troll, which Loomie was able to avoid. Every few moments, Loomie would whisper to herself “I am an eagle and the wind is mine.”

The noise in the engineroom was deafening. Aldous, covered in sweat, continued to monitor the engines, making adjustments as necessary. His hearing protection blocked out most of the noise, with the exception of his own voice, which occasionally broke into Chinese epithets.

Doc and Lewis maintained watch in med bay, holding onto the cabinets, with a still-unconscious Anna strapped to the bed to keep her from rolling off.

Gerrin struggled slowly up the passageway toward the cockpit, swaying and squatting as the ship pitched and rolled. He finally arrived in the cockpit to find Loomie flying desperately and Reilly sitting directly behind her, turning toward Gerrin. “If you’ve come up with a day-saving plan, now’s the time!” he shouted.

“I’m open to suggestions!”

Go HWONG-TONG (Enough of this nonsense).” Reilly rose from his chair and pushed past Gerrin to the ladder from the cockpit. Gerrin followed Reilly into the passageway, through the mess area and down the ladder beyond to the cargo bay. At the door to the cargo bay Reilly stopped, grabbed the door and swung it closed, cranking the latch that sealed the door. Reaching for the intercom, he said “Loomie, get ready to dump the aft fuel tanks.”

“What the hell are you doing?” Gerrin shouted.

“If you won’t save your ship, I will.” Reilly growled. “I’m going to dump half of the fuel, whatever parts are in the cargo bay, and the bodies. With any luck at all, they’ll think they destroyed us.”



“I said no!” Gerrin snapped. “The bodies stay on board.”

“Your sentimentality is misplaced” Reilly responded harshly. We either dump them or join them.” Reilly reached for the cargo hatch release button. Before he could push it, he heard the *click* of Gerrin’s sidearm behind his head. “You do it, Reilly, and you’ll be right behind them.”

Reilly was aghast. “Have you lost your mind?” he demanded.

“You don’t treat a soldier like a disposable part, dead or alive!”

“Is your misguided code worth your life?”

“That’s the way it is. You are not dumping these bodies.”

“Unless you have something else, this may be the only way!”

Gerrin was silent for a moment. “Come on!” Gerrin bounded back up the ladder to the passageway, Reilly following. They moved quickly to the engineroom door. Gerrin pointed to the door, which Reilly yanked open. The noise and heat were almost enough to knock them both back, but Gerrin stood in the doorway and motioned wildly for Aldous to come out. Aldous stumbled to the door and exited the room, sweating and breathing heavily. Gerrin didn’t wait. “Aldous, we need a way to get that HOE-tze duh PEE-goo (monkey's ass) off us. What have you got?”

As Aldous caught his breath, he asked “How much fuel do we have left?”

Gerrin hit the intercom. “Loomie, how’s our fuel status?”

Loomie’s voice sounded anxious. “If we don’t break off soon, we won’t have enough to get home.”

Gerrin turned to Aldous “Well?”

“We don’t have a choice.” Aldous went to the intercom. “Loomie, how do you feel about doing a dragon fart?”

Gerrin and Reilly looked at him, confused, both mouthing the words A what?

Loomie’s voice responded “Why not? Can’t hurt.”

“Get ready. I’ll get set up down here.” Aldous released the intercom and turned back to Gerrin, who demanded “What the hell is a dragon fart?”

“We dump half our fuel and some of our air, and go to full burn. The burn sets off the air and fuel. If the other ship is in the fuel stream, the flash-fire blinds him for a few seconds and we can make our escape.”

Reilly broke in “We might get away for a few seconds, but this guy’s not going to let us go that easy. He wants us in a bad way.”

Gerrin continued “But if we’re heading into something, the flash will blind him and we’ll veer off, he won’t.” He turned to Aldous. “Right. What do you need to set it up?”

Aldous thought for a second. “Okay, we’ll have to sacrifice some thruster fuel and some of our air, that’s what’s gonna set the whole thing up. We can bleed the mix out through the purge I used to clear the engineroom and set it off with the full burn. The ion backwash’ll set off the fuel and air we dump if we hit it fast enough, and since our thruster fuel contains a small concentration of magnesium, that’ll produce enough of its own oxygen to keep the fire burning for a few seconds”.

Gerrin nodded. “Get it set up. But only leak a little at first, make it look real. We don’t want to tip our hand. And don’t spill too much, we still need to get to a world.”

“Right.” Aldous disappeared into the bowels of the ship.

As the Troll began to trail fuel, Pearsoll commented. “Something’s up. They’re trailing fuel”

Maddox leapt to see the console. “This is it!” He leaned over the console and typed something on the keyboard. “Send this over his nav signal and move over. He’s mine!”

Pearsoll sent the text message, which appeared on Loomie’s console just as Gerrin slid into the co-pilot’s seat. Gerrin and Loomie peered at the message:

- - - -For Lotus Ridge - - - -

“Well, now we know why they’re mad at us.” Loomie commented nervously.

“Alright, get ready to show them some pilot tricks.”

“Right.” Loomie concentrated on the console as she whispered “I am an eagle and the wind is mine.”

Pearsoll followed the Troll, maintaining his distance. Maddox grew impatient. “Give me the controls. He’s wounded. I told you I want the kill shot.”

“Something’s not right, here.” Pearsoll told him. “This is too easy.”

“It’s the end. He’s dying and he knows it. Give me the controls!”

“Ships don’t just start leaking fuel! He’s baiting us!” Pearsoll started to slow down.

“Get back after him!” Maddox shouted.

Wo cao ni (f**k you)!” Pearsoll shot back.

Maddox finally cracked. He stepped behind Pearsoll and grabbed him by the throat from behind the pilot’s seat and squeezed, slamming Pearsoll’s head against the headrest again and again. Pearsoll finally went limp and Maddox shoved him sideways out of the seat, stepping over him and sliding into his place. Grabbing the controls, Maddox accelerated toward the Troll.

Loomie exclaimed “He’s speeding up!”

“Let him get closer, but not too close, and point us at something.” Gerrin grabbed the intercom handset. “Aldous, are we ready?”

“Dropping the tanks now!” Aldous came back. “Get ready!”

Two large canisters fell from the Troll’s hull and drifted toward the pursuing ship. “Okay, we’re set!” Aldous called over the intercom.

“Alright, Loomie, bring him in.”

Maddox looked on with satisfaction. “Aahh, losing parts off you ship, are you?” He scanned the weapons panel for the launch controls. The panel indicated two missiles left. Smiling, he returned his attention to the target on his screen. “Time to die, zazhong (asshole).”

Gerrin watched the screen as Maddox grew closer. “Wait for it”, he gestured. “Wait for it.” Maddox grew closer. The ship’s proximity alert beeped. “NOW!” Gerrin shouted.

The Troll’s stern erupted with fire, stretching several hundred feet behind her. The fuel-air mixture, caught in the blast, burst into fire. Maddox, flying straight into the stream of flaming fuel, instinctively threw up his hands as his ship was engulfed in flame. The Troll leapt forward toward the asteroid they were aimed at. Loomie pulled back hard on the control stick as the asteroid flew toward them. The ship responded, rolling up and over the giant rock, passing within a few feet of the surface. Maddox continued to fly through a stream of fire, unaware of the asteroid ahead. The flames cleared in time for him to see the rock in front of him. He grabbed the controls and froze, screaming, as the ship plowed straight into the asteroid in a flash of exploding metal and flame.

Halfway across the sky Gerrin checked the co-pilot’s controls. “Nothing behind us” he mused. Looking at Loomie, he smiled. “Looks like he’s gone. We did it.”

“Of course” Loomie smiled smugly. “I am an eagle and the wind is mine.”

Gerrin looked at her. “Okay” He reached for the handset. “”We’re clear, everyone. The bad guy’s gone and we’re heading for port.”

Over the intercom, he could hear Aldous shout “Shiny!” as the rest of his crew cheered. Turning back to Loomie, he asked “We have enough fuel to get us where we’re going?”

Looking at the gauges she responded “We’re way low in the tanks, so we’ll have to turn off everything we don’t need and coast for awhile, but if we do that, and only use guidance thrusters for course corrections, we should make it there with enough to set down safe.”

“Good” Gerrin nodded. After a few seconds, he asked “Just one question: why is it called a dragon fart?”

His pilot grinned “Because we were literally spitting fire out our ass.”

They both laughed as the Nordic Troll soared soundlessly through space toward her destination.

To Be Concluded.



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Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 5)
“We ain’t gonna hold ‘em back, there’s too many”, Roy cried. - - - “Then it should be harder for you to miss!” Aldous shot back. - - - “I think we might need to get outta here”, Roy protested. - - - “Gorram it”, Aldous snapped, “just keep shooting!” As he finished loading and turned to fire he muttered to himself “Gos-se! This must be what it feels like to be Nick”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 4)
“People”, Gerrin continued, “we got things set in motion, we got a plan that’ll work, but we’re not going out there alone. Now, are you in or are you out?” - - - - The assembled farmers looked at each other. Five raised their hands. “I’m in”, they proclaimed one at a time. - - - - “What about the rest of you?” Gerrin demanded. - - - - The rest sat there, silent. - - - - Gerrin eyed them contemptuously. “Envy the country that has heroes, huh?” he growled. As he turned and stormed toward the door he added “Pity the land that needs ‘em”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 3)
The leader whipped out his gun and aimed toward Reilly. “Where’s my men?” He snapped. - - - Reilly looked around him. “Swallowed by darkness?” he offered. - - - “Gettin’ smart, huh?” The leader cocked the hammer on his weapon. “Well, I still got you now, don’t I?” - - - “Only two problems”. Reilly raised his hands holding the rope he’d been bound with. “I’m untied”. - - - The leader stiffened and cocked his head. “What’s the other one?” - - - Reilly gestured. “They’re here”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 2)
“Gentlemen“, Shepherd McGarrity started, “this won’t-“ . . . . “Shut it, preacher”, the leader snapped, turning his gun toward McGarrity. “Your services ain’t needed...” He raised his weapon. “…yet”. . . . . “Oh, that just won’t do”, Gerrin chided as he cocked his head. “I suggest you apologize to the Shepherd and take your leave before something bad happens to you”. . . . . “Take ‘em!” the leader roared as he whipped his pistol toward Gerrin and fired.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 1)
“Don’t worry, captain”, McGarrity called back, gesturing to the man beside him. “I think this gentleman might have something a little more in line with your crew’s particular set of skills”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 6)
Both ships were close enough to be clearly seen in the pilot’s window. “Might be a good time to turn”, Reilly commented nervously.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 5)
Bullets bounced off the hood and sides of the truck as Gerrin sped toward the far end of the building. Wilkins, perched on her stomach in the bed, maneuvered a small 10-liter plastic barrel with a fuse in the end toward the lowered cargo gate in back of the bed. Pulling out a lighter, she lit the fuse as Gerrin, firing from the driver’s seat, suddenly swerved away from the building.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - # 8: Business as Usual (part 4)
Whump! - - -
Reilly fought to keep from uttering a sound as the fist of one of Reznor’s men struck him in the stomach again. Reilly raised his eyes toward his captor and sneered “Trying to torture me or tease me?”

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 3)
Jacko slowly withdrew his hand from the box, producing a cigar, his eyes never leaving Gerrin’s. Placing the cigar in his mouth, he reached down and picked up a small, gaudy-looking lighter, which he also made a show of displaying for his unwelcome visitors. Producing a flame under the cigar, he puffed several times. Finally satisfied, Jacko leaned back in his chair and remarked to Gerrin “You don’t take instructions well, do you?”

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 2)
He felt something that could have been an electro-mechanical door bolt just as he became aware of a growing hum beneath the deck plates: a ship’s engines starting up. Okay, Reilly thought, this could be a problem…