Kashmir

Kashmir

A Story by TheRedTide
"

The last moments of an unnamed transport vessel.

"

 

He’d seen the request: two Cardinals. Two. Benedict and Paul, from Ganymede and Ceres. Hell, only a select few ever saw a Cardinal in action, and now he was transporting a pair of them to Earth.
            The descent alert sounded and he squelched it. He knew that he was reentering too hot. He knew that odds were good that they would all die in the atmosphere. But he also knew that the K’s, two kilometers aft and closing, would tear the transport ship apart before he’d passed the mesosphere if he didn’t step it up.
            He activated the onboard COM system and blasted Kashmir. The plasma generated in reentry scrambled radio signals anyway, so why not use the equipment for something against protocol for two minutes? He assumed his precious cargo wouldn’t mind.
            Oh let the sun beat down upon my face…
Flame kissed the edges of the tiny craft, the long, beautifully decorated wings creating vortices in the thin air. Hopefully the turbulence would help to deflect the K’s projectiles. Well, he could hope, couldn’t he? After all, it was just the three of them: those two monstrosities in the cargo hold who vaguely resembed humans and himself. A smaller craft to avoid detection his a*s. It just meant fewer casualties in getting them to the surface. Well, he sure as hell wasn’t looking to die, not even for a pair of draperied supermen.
I am a traveler of both time and space…
Three of the K’s banked to follow the transport vessel into the atmosphere. They did not bother to fire, no use wasting the Metal until the target was clearly within kill range. Stubby wings followed in the wake of their ornate predecessors, also lashing up orange flame. The targeting sensors were disrupted by the flow of superheated air. The pilot of the lead K thought of giving up the pursuit for a more worthwhile target than a single tiny transport vessel, but decided against it. This craft moved with a distinctive sense of purpose – it was no mere escape pod. There was something valuable within.
To sit with elders of the gentle race…
50 kilometers to surface, just crossing the stratopause into more stable air. Now he was vulnerable. Beneath the splotchy cloud layer the surface of the planet was plainly visible: the great ocean cradled the continent in a soft embrace. The skin of the vessel still glowed pale orange, and many of the sensors had been burned away. It was impossible to judge where he was, or his exact altitude. Uneven heating had caused one of the wings to warp, and the craft listed toward the left – if he didn’t keep careful control they would fall into a tailspin.
They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed…
The three K’s fired their weapons, discharging no more Metal than could be helped. A half-dozen white-hot shards, a foot long each, cleared the kilometer between the ships in less than a second. Five impacted, one missed, sailing down through the atmosphere and gradually cooling to the color of rust. The craft violently depressurized, and the three on board would have been instantly killed were it not for their personal pressurized suits. As it was, the escaping oxygen destroyed whatever had been left of control, and tore the craft from the pilot’s hands. It fell into a complex spin, the momentum shearing off the wings and causing the storage bay to moan from the stress.
Talk and song from tongues of lilting grace, whose sounds caress my ear…
He deployed the spin-recovery chutes, a last-ditch effort. They would slow them, sure, but without some semblance of control they might as well already be dead. On the radar he could see the K’s closing more rapidly now. If it weren’t for their strange conservation of ammunition they would have already been torn to shrapnel. There wasn’t much time left, though, five seconds if he was lucky. He flipped up the glass cover and jammed his thumb into the black button. There wasn’t time enough to save him, but perhaps the Cardinals…
But not a word I heard could I relate, the story was quite clear…
An emergency radio signal burst over all frequencies, and the mechanisms in the nose whirred and churned and blasted apart to release a flare, brighter than the sun, into the clear blue sky. The K’s ejected another volley of Metal, punching gaping holes through the remains of the ship. There was now no question: this was something important. Total destruction was imperative. The primary battery was shattered and flung from the craft, instantly darkening the control surfaces and killing the music. The stresses on the frame became unbearable and with a sickening wrench the ship tore in half.
“Oh, I been flying... mama, there aint no denyin,” he sang to himself in a hoarse whisper. The broken fuel lines vomited their contents into the open air where they hung for a full two seconds, suspended like a toxic rain, before igniting.
“I’ve been flying, aint no denyin, no denyin.”

 

© 2009 TheRedTide


Author's Note

TheRedTide
I left the main character intentionally unnamed, the enemy unspecified, and the cargo mysterious. I hope all that works together to create just enough of an idea of what's happening to tell the story without being bogged down with unnecessary details. I really have no idea about a good title though, and I thought "Untitled 1" would be pretty uninteresting. If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Featured Review

[send message][befriend] Subscribe
GHL
This is good. I like it, and I'm expecting at least two more by the time I get back haha.

"Stubby wings followed in the wake of their ornate predecessors, also lashing up orange flame." I like it that you left it there to describe the ornate build of the ships.

"The three K's fired their weapons, discharging no more Metal than could be helped. A half-dozen white-hot shards, a foot long each, cleared the kilometer between the ships in less than a second. Five impacted, one missed, sailing down through the atmosphere and gradually cooling to the color of rust." This is just cool

So are Ganymede and Ceres other planets?

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

That's really good. I guess he dies in the end? I can't think of anything to criticize really at all. Brilliant little story.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

[send message][befriend] Subscribe
GHL
This is good. I like it, and I'm expecting at least two more by the time I get back haha.

"Stubby wings followed in the wake of their ornate predecessors, also lashing up orange flame." I like it that you left it there to describe the ornate build of the ships.

"The three K's fired their weapons, discharging no more Metal than could be helped. A half-dozen white-hot shards, a foot long each, cleared the kilometer between the ships in less than a second. Five impacted, one missed, sailing down through the atmosphere and gradually cooling to the color of rust." This is just cool

So are Ganymede and Ceres other planets?

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I enjoyed that ^^
Keeping those names away was a very good choice here, as stopping to explain too much can sever the action flow. That's my biggest problem with my writing. Overall a great read!

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

227 Views
3 Reviews
Rating
Added on May 13, 2009
Last Updated on May 13, 2009

Author

TheRedTide
TheRedTide

Auburn, AL



About
5th year architecture student at Auburn University. more..


Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..