The Spaceship-Eating Swamp – #BlogBattle

Howdy!

It’s been *looks anywhere but the archives* a long time since I did a #BlogBattle. But I’m in the middle of finals week and trying to procrastinate and this week’s word fairly screamed Frankie and Fyrn, so here we are. 🙂

#BlogBattles are hosted by the amazing Rachel Ritchey. You can find all the rules and regulations on the fancy #BlogBattle site along with all the entries and voting. Remember to go vote for your top THREE entries!

The Word: INDIGENOUS

The Genre: SCI-FI

If you have no idea who Frankie and Fyrn are you can catch up with all their galactic shenanigans HERE. Short version – Frankie is a green suspender- wearing smuggler of the honest variety who unsuspectingly took on Fyrn, the head of the royalist rebels as a passenger. Obviously nothing has gone smoothly since this happened. 


“This isn’t fair,” Frankie said. He shook his fist at the ceiling and shouted again. “This isn’t fair!”

“What’s wrong now?” Fyrn asked, darting up to the cockpit from the kitchen along with some savory smells.

“Oh, nothing. Except I got a little message from our pal Crasher. Seems a Nosy Nellie named Rathson decided to rat on us. Now there’s a blockade reaching from Kyrion’s Rings all the way to freakin’ Nathsoon. You know what that means, right?”

“We’ll have to go around?”

“Go around?” Frankie scoffed. “Oh, sure, yeah, we’ll just ‘go around’. You have any idea what that entails?”

“I’m sure you’ll figure something out.” Fyrn darted back down to the kitchen. She’d learned on her few days on the spaceship not to become engaged in one of Frankie’s rants.

“Darned purple-haired alien will convert me from my smuggling ways before this stupid job is all over,” Frankie muttered. “See if I ever talk to or take a job from Radar again. I deserve to be a billionaire after this.”

Twenty minutes later, the scents wafting from the kitchen summoned him from plotting out a new course. Fyrn handed him a plate plied with a steaming pile of…something.

“Your book didn’t make sense to me, so I tried something new,” she explained. Frankie dug a spoon into the mysterious hash and nibbled a bite.

“I might deduct from your bill for this,” he said, tipping her a grin. She perched on the counter and took a bite. Her nose immediately wrinkled and she politely exhaled around a mouthful.

“That’s hot!”

Frankie picked up a jar and examined the faded label. “Well you did use cayenne.”

“That needs a warning label!”

“Taste’s fine to me.”

“We already know you’re crazy…”

“True enough. But seriously, thanks for making this. I usually just munch on whatever packaged ration is still fresh enough to eat,” Frankie said.

“It’s the least I could do for causing so much trouble.” Fyrn took another brave bite.

“Oh, well then, the engine rooms needs to be swept, the hinges on the extra room squeak something terrible, and…” Frankie was cut off by a dishrag that hit his chest.

“Don’t press your luck,” she grinned. Frankie laughed.

“Fair enough.” He dumped his empty plate in the sink. “I’ll wash up when I finish charting a course that will hopefully be completely uneventful.”

Fyrn raised one eyebrow.

“I know, don’t jinx us.”

Frankie didn’t look up when Fyrn slid into the co-pilot’s seat a few minutes later.

“Can I help?” she asked.

He flicked the screen to show another gridded section of the galaxy, before pointing at a set of controls above her seat.

“Turn that on. It scans for galactic police ships. Might as well start using it since we know there’s a blockade out,” he said.

Fyrn did as ordered and a screen flickered to life sending a line in probing circles across the surface. It took all of five seconds for the scanner to pick up a galactic forces cruiser. Frankie dodged to her side, refraining from another rant about the unfairness of life. He flipped a few switches and his darling began to pick up speed as he slid back behind the controls.

“Can we outrun them?” Fyrn asked, an understandable tension in her voice.

“They’re far enough out that we probably haven’t popped up on their scanners yet. We’ll just hightail it from this particular quadrant for now,” Frankie said.

“Bad news.” Fyrn watched the blip that was the cruiser start to meander in their general direction.

“Fine, plan D,” Frankie said. “We’ll head for the nearest planet. We should be able to hide out there for a bit, until they figure out there’s nothing around but empty space.”

“How far is the nearest planet and do you have any enemies there?” Fyrn asked.

“I see the trust…I’ll have you know that I know absolutely no one on this particular planet that’s about 15 minutes away. Because I’ve never been,” Frankie said.

They kept a tense eye on the scanner as the minutes and the vast emptiness of space crept by. Finally a bright blot grew in diameter and they were looking down at a respectably sized planet whose surface swam in slow swirls of white and grey interspersed with flashes of green.

“What kind of planet is this?” Fyrn asked.

“I’m willing to bet there’s a swamp or a jungle or something under all that. Although I’m going to freak a little if we run into a little green guy who transposes his sentences.” Frankie began the descent.

“Friend of yours?”

Frankie laughed. “If he was, I’d be doing more with my life than smuggling,” he replied. “Anyway, these clouds should give us some cover. Cruiser probably won’t want to come down and check it out anyway.”

Fyrn strapped in, apparently not trusting him from the last emergency landing they’d made. Frankie hid a laugh. He probably wouldn’t either. They broke atmosphere and cruised above the tangled mess of endless foliage looking for a place to enter and hide. Fyrn finally spotted an opening in the trees and Frankie crept slowly up to it before pushing the nose down and sliding under the treetops. What they found underneath was enough room for the ship to slide between interspersed trunks submerged in murky water a hundred feet below. The foliage above latched together, supporting dangling branches and trailing vines.

As Frankie glanced around, something clicked. “I think we’re in some kind of road. It’s clear through here but you couldn’t get through those other trees,” he said.

“Should I start getting worried?” Fyrn asked.

“Maybe we should see how deep this water is. I think I might want to set down somewhere and think about this.” Frankie activated another scanner when the ship ground to a halt and an ominous clunk! sounded from amidships. “That wasn’t me.” Frankie froze with one hand on the controls.

“What is that?” Fyrn pointed. A few feet away, something reared up from the water, unfurling scarlet petals to reveal suspiciously tooth like appendages poised to strike.

“Um…No clue…and is my ship inside one of those things?” Frankie’s voice reached a dangerous pitch.

“Let’s not panic,” Fyrn said in a voice that didn’t quite sound natural.

“Yeah, no, there’s absolutely no reason to panic,” Frankie agreed. “Listen, you should be able to pull up a database on your screen and figure out what exactly we’ve gotten ourselves into this time.”

Fyrn pulled up the database and the coordinates of the planet. It gave some script and one or two images.

“It appears the indigenous population uses them to hunt for food, using some sort of mental connection,” she said.

“Great. I would have to pick the planet with the people who psychically control giant venus fly traps,” Frankie slumped in his chair. “The universe hates me. I think it actually hates me. That say anything helpful, like how to get out of one?”

“No,” Fyrn replied. “I suppose we could attempt to communicate with your venus fly trap controllers.” She jumped up and headed for the airlock.

Frankie made no move to follow, still staring at the threatening chomping flower.

“New rule, Frankie. Do some honest jobs every now and then. Save the money. That way you’ll never be desperate enough to take on the rebel leader who just wants to make the galaxy a better place. And who’s probably about to meet an untimely demise outside your ship by messing with…whatever the heck these things are.” He paused. “I could probably live a moderately happy life knowing that.”

“You coming?” Fyrn called. He sighed and set the engines to an uneasy sleep, set to wake the next time he hit the controls. Or if there was a sudden change in the ship’s position, it would automatically course correct and hopefully avoid a crash landing.

“Fine! I’m coming.” He snatched up his jacket and met her at the airlock. “If something horrible happens and we die, I’m absolutely blaming you.”

Fyrn laughed and checked her gun before pressing the controls to open to door.

“I thought you said you didn’t want a boring trip,” she said.

“If I thought my ship would be eaten by a swamp flower, I wouldn’t have said it. Boring is good,” Frankie replied, also checking his gun and loosening his knife in its sheath. “Okay, you did a decent enough job with Leroux, so if we run into any plant controllers, you’re the talker and I’ll be the muscle.”

“Fair enough,” Fyrn replied and led the way outside.

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