Once More Into the Breach

Characters: Roland DeVries

“Fallen Fury” was an appropriate name for the ship, T’rar reflected from the Weapon’s Officer rear seat, considering her pilot’s past. Not to mention the fact that she was, at this moment, falling like…what was that Terran expression?…a proverbial stone. Gripping the handles on either side of his seat. The Narn prayed to G’Quan that he’d survive this this trip. Although not officially a Ranger, T’rar had adopted the code when he’d chosen to follow his friend Roland. However, he now fervently believed Valenn hadn’t thought to include riding in an Earther fighter with a lunatic at the controls through a planetary reentry when he’d created said code. Oh, G’Quan….

“Ya-Hoo,” DeVries’ joy echoed through his helmet. He loved this sort of thing, really and truly loved it. With the old, air-foil fighters he used to fly you had to watch the G’s on reentry. With the Thunderbolt Starfury’s you could just punch through an atmosphere like a tank through a wall. Abso-fraggin-lutely! “Yes,” he exclaimed again, riding the buffet of another thermal, “how ya doin’, Buddy.” A low moan from the intercom was his only response. Smiling, Roland gave the ship “her head” some more. T’rar was his friend, but really, sometimes the Narn just didn’t know how to enjoy himself.

In the back, T’rar was trying to think of ways to amuse himself…if he survived. At the moment, most of those thoughts involved DeVries NOT surviving.

Cut off from the shuttle they were escorting by the interference from reentry, Roland had to rely on instruments for this approach. Instruments and feel. Since they didn’t know what to expect, he’d elected to fly ahead of the Silencer. Reason? If there were any kind of automated defenses, they’d target the more maneuverable fighter first, giving the shuttle a chance to escape. Made perfect sense. Also, it gave DeVries a legitimate excuse to…hotdog. Didn’t it?

I’m gonna kill him, T’rar thought, yet another buffet making his stomach lurch, I really am. But, no, I can’t. I owe him a life-debt, killing him would be a sin to G’Quan. Oh, Gods, where was a theologian when he needed. If the Phoenix had had a Narn theologian, T’rar would’ve have seriously considered swapping places with him. Debt or not.

“Breaking through the clouds…now,” DeVries called out, his instincts “feeling” it before the scanners, ” here we…Hello!” Ahead a peak loomed. Flicking his control stick, the Fury’ rolled while he kicked the throttle forward. “Come on, sweety,” he murmured, the Fury responding to instructions. The fighter slipped around the crack like a dancer. “Good girl,” DeVries cooed, patting the the canopy.

Leveling out, Roland scanned the surroundings. What a hole, he thought, and this was probably a Vorlon vacation world. He half expected to see a statue of a Vorlon wearing mouse-ears. “Yo, T’rar,” he called, “wake up and start that recon pod we’re carrying. The Skipper’s gonna want this feed.”

The line a text scrolled across DeVries’ HUD. In short, clear, and rather profane words, T’rar confirmed the order, commented on DeVries’ piloting skill, and descibed, specifically, what would happen to DeVries if he ever did this again. Roland had the smile. That was the longest paragraph he’d gotten out of T’rar in a while.

In another reality….

Sitting before a black computer, a human leaned back and smiled. “It’s good to be the writer,” he murmured, pushing his glasses back on his nose.

Copyright (c) 1998 Smith Self. All rights reserved.


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