Meet Jet, that last of the misfits. It’s time for him to land the ship. Fingers crossed…
A NuSpace Misfits Adventure
by Ollie Rossman
On the bridge Ed ordered everyone to their acceleration couches. Like it needed to be said. The couches were made of a gel designed to protect the soft parts of the body from the impact of g-forces. They were arranged in two arcs, facing forwards. Not needing a couch, Dad was strapped into a chair off to the side.
“Good afternoon, kids,” he said, oddly jovial.
“Oh, is that what time it is?” said Doc
“Get in your couch,” said Daemon.
“Mum, how long until we reach atmosphere,” asked Ed.
“Eleven minutes and thirteen seconds, Pumpkin.”
Through the viewing bubble NuEarth D23 bulged into view. Blue, green and brown. Mostly brown. It looked the tiniest bit like Earth, at least the Earth Victoria had seen in all those holopics. As they approached a silence fell over the bridge, each crewmate of the NuHolland pondering their approaching future. Soon they felt the vibrations of the planet’s atmosphere.
“Landing procedures initialised,” said Mum. Then, a moment later: “Error. Error. Landing procedures not found. Autopilot shutting down.”
Everyone started talking at once.
“Daemon do something,” ordered Edwina
Daemon had his eyes closed. “What would you like me to do, exactly? Reprogram the entire AI?”
“Oh shit, oh shit, we’re going to die,” chanted Jules.
“Now, now,” said Father. “No need to swear.”
“Dad,” yelled Edwina, “Can you land the ship?”
“Sorry sweetheart, I am not equipped with the ability to land the ship. Navigation is your Mother’s job.”
“Herb. Herb!” shouted Spike.
Herb turned slowly to face her, his eyes glazed, his hand stopping half way between his spore pouch and his mouth, which was locked in a goofy smile. “Yeah, Spike?” he said slowly.
“Give me some of those god damn spores right now!” she yelled back. He passed her the pouch and she quickly shoved a handful into her mouth before passing the pouch over to an eager Jules and Doc.
“Now is not the time for spores,” shouted Victoria, indignantly.
“Hey we’re going to die anyway,” said Doc.
Edwina cleared her throat. “I just want to say that it was a pleasure serving with each and everyone one of you. Once when I was five I had a dream and in that dream I–,” her voice rising as she gained momentum.
“Shut up Ed. Now is not the time for one of your dumb speeches, either, “interrupted Victoria. “We just have to land the ship ourselves. Where’s Jet?”
“VR pod,” chorused Edwina and Daemon, the only remaining crew members not high on spores.
Victoria unbuckled and ran to the pod, banging on the door. “Jet,” she yelled. “We need you now!”
“Get lost. I’m about to get the highscore,” said Jet.
“We’re all going to die if you don’t come out right now!” shouted Victoria.
There was a sigh and the pod opened. Victoria grabbed Jet’s arm and dragged him to the bridge.
“Mother’s lost it.” she shouted, shoving him into the pilot’s couch. “You gotta land the ship.”
“Land? What are you talking–” then Jet saw the display. “Whoa.” There was a pause. “Ok, ok. I can do this. I just have to remember how to access the manual controls.” Jet started tapping at the screen. “Well this is a surprise. I nearly have it. No wait.” He paused for a few seconds and scratched at his wispy beard.
“Here,” said Victoria tapping at the screen. A console rose up in front of him.
“Easy peasy. How long do we have Mum?”
“At the current course you have three minutes until impact, Jet baby.”
“Three minutes!” He grabbed the joystick and pulled up sharply.
“You know what you’re doing, right?” asked Edwina.
“Sure, I’m the pilot remember. I’ve run through the sim a few times don’t worry.” He tapped at some keys. “Daemon I need you to copilot. Give me a status update.”
Daemon’s hands flow over his touchpad. “Altitude 40 kilometres. Need to drop speed by 50%. Landing zone is 29 degrees to port.”
Jet adjusted the joystick and flipped some switches. “Port?”
“Left, you idiot,” said Victoria.
“Look guys maybe we should just abandon ship,” said Jet.
“Sorry, Jet baby,” said Mum. “Edwina jettisoned the lifeboats months ago, remember, when you were all fighting. I’m so glad everyone’s made up.”
All eyes turned to Edwina, who shrugged her shoulders defiantly. “Not my fault.”
Realising they were pretty much out of options, Jet gripped the steering yoke and yelled.“Alright, lets land this tub!”
Victoria squeezed his shoulder.“Mother, status?”
“Altitude 32 kilometres. Landing zone six degrees starboard.Twenty percent drop in speed required.”
“Six degrees to the right, hey Vicky,” said Jet.
“Amazing, Jet. And don’t call me Vicky.”
“Altitude 28 kilometres. Speed steady. On target for landing zone,” said Daemon, consulting his touchpad.
Next week on Bugout
Things are somehow going pretty smoothly, but there’s still 28 kilometres of landing to go…
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