Things Left Undone Book 3, Chapter 11
A Clever Plan
After the entire story was related for the benefit of Vyrela and Yahgrem, and their tale told to the eleven heroes, the real problem reared its ugly head.
"How are we gonna get to the Darkrunner if he's on another planet?" Lucca asked.
Glenn shrugged. "Mayhap we could sprout wings and fly?"
Magus sneered. "That'll happen once I grow another leg."
"Now, now, we needn't fight over it." reprimanded Marle.
"Dactyls help, if they not in another time and planet." Ayla said.
"What about the Epoch? Magus, Flea and I left it on the roof of some building outside, not too far from here." Robo suggested.
Flea brightened. "The Epoch! That's right! C'mon, let's go get it!"
So, they all returned to the Epoch... which was dismantled. The wings had been removed, and wires, screws and plugs littered the dried, caked ground.
Lucca groaned, and sunk to her knees. "Dad's gonna have my head for this!!" She picked a screw off of the ground, and tossed it into the empty shell of the cockpit of their useless time machine. "Jas-chu's flunkies must've gotten ahold of it."
Yahgrem, until then silent, cleared his throat to get the attention of his companions. "Jas-chu provided Vyrela and I with a spaceship, to use in case we were successful in capturing the 'aliens'. We had to have you alive, and show you to him with the videocom. If you act like you're captured, we could use the ship to get onto the planet that they're on."
"Why didn't you mention that earlier?" Sydney asked. Yahgrem shrugged. He then led them to the diamond mountain, where the spaceship sat, cold and dark. A machine of war.
Johnny whistled, and gave his appraisal of the ship. It was black, and dull. There were no symbols on the outside, and only a slight blue light could be seen through the shaded glass. Four wings in an X-shape on the back half were about twenty feet long each, and triangular. The ship itself was of a pyramidal shape, the front rounding into a cone. It was about forty feet long and twelve feet high at its highest point. It would hold them all, barely.
As they approached, a panel slid open, allowing them into the even darker interior. They crammed in, Yahgrem and Vyrela first so they could man the controls. Once their eyes got used to the lack of light, they could see that the ship's exterior plainness was far from the truth inside. Countless displays, buttons, levers, and terminals bleeped their individual messages, blending into one big, strangely soothing chorus.
There wasn't enough room to swing one's arms, and the only two chairs were for the pilot and navigator/gunner; Yahgrem and Vyrela. The chairs would have been too large for the humans, anyway. And so, they all stood, packed like sardines.
Yahgrem turned the chair around to face them. "Get ready, and look captured. I'm going to call Jas-chu now. Once the ship starts, prepare yourselves for a jolt. If this plan works, we're going to be flying, and this is an older model. It's not known for its smooth flight." With that, he turned back to face a large screen in the front, between himself and Vyrela. He flicked several switches, and the screen turned silver, casting a white light while they waited for the signal to connect. After a minute or two, a whirring could be heard, and a crackling that tainted the sound. The picture came into focus, flickering between color and black and white. It was Jas-chu.
"You have found them already, Yahgrem?"
"Yes, sir. They were just out walking through the forest. Vyrela and I took their leader hostage, and the others became submissive, for fear we would hurt him."
"Let me see them."
Yahgrem turned the small camera over the monitor to face the eleven people crammed into the back of the ship, looking so pitiful it was funny. Yahgrem stifled laughter.
"Why are there so many of them?"
"We don't know, sir. They must be planning to invade."
"Hmmm. The ship might not be able to carry all their weight, so you run the risk of toppling out of the sky. But whether you stay there, die in the air, or die by my hands, you're dead anyway." He paused for a moment. "I am starting the ship now. You will not be able to steer it, it is set on a straight course for the planet of Newery, where we are now. You'll arrive in about seven hours. That is all."
With that, the monitor shut off with a blip, and sent the ship into pitch-darkness again while their eyes readjusted. Silence for a moment or two, then a humming noise which echoed through the entire ship and set it vibrating. The humming increased in volume, until it was the roar of a well-tuned high-powered jet engine. One by one, the buttons through the ship lit up into a myriad of colors, and the computer screens, which were previously flashing single-word startup messages in blue now were filled with complicated-looking altitude measures, radars, and readouts. Lucca and Robo grinned with pleasure and ran over to the consoles, studying buttons and looking for the instruction manual. The others were too overwhelmed to move, and stood amazed, lit by the equipment.
Then, the ship shook, sending every last one of them into a groaning pile on the floor. Yahgrem and Vyrela looked back and laughed. The two pilots were securely fastened with a network of safety belts. "That was just the engine kicking in. It'll get worse once the flame starts, and even worse for the time we're flying. By the time we're off this plane, your teeth will be permanently chattering." Vyrela warned them.
They had just began to pull themselves off of the floor, when the jet of flame shot out of the back of the engine. Everyone was floored again, with more than a few bruises. What Vyrela said was an understatement. The ship was shaking so bad that Lucca couldn't keep her glasses on her face, and Sydney's bag kept losing it's contents. Every minute or so, a dagger would clang and lay shaking on the floor, until its owner bent down in the crowd to retrieve it. As of yet, though, the noise wasn't too loud.
When the ship lifted off, that changed. The roar was deafening, making both conversation and thought impossible. The shaking got even worse, and they were sliding everywhere. Finally, they stopped trying to get up and remained sitting on the floor. Yahgrem and Vyrela looked perfectly comfortable and happy in their shock-absorbing chairs and headphones.
The first hour or so of the flight was the worst. After that, the noise drifted into the background, and the shaking was so continuous that one hardly noticed it anymore unless an extra-powerful burst from the engine shook the ship even worse. Ayla and Krono actually dropped off to sleep, and Robo and Johnny shut themselves down. The others amused themselves with card games, since Sydney happened to have a deck of cards in her bag. Even this, though, got boring.
Three and a half hours through the trip, everyone but Magus, Glenn and the two Karandians was asleep. Magus and Glenn attempted to hold a conversation, but it was more like a game of charades. Finally, they too gave up, and fell asleep.
The sudden silence shocked everyone awake.
Marle yawned, stretched, and winced when the bruises from her nap on the shaking steel floor protested the movement.
Flea snapped her neck with a flick of her head, and tried to fix her braid in vain.
Overall, they were cranky, sore and half-asleep. Not a great way to be when you're getting very close to the battle which would decide the fate of the universe.
Yahgrem was out of his chair. He stretched, and yawned. "We're there, everybody. Sorry about the ride. But seriously, you guys had better get ready. Jas-chu's going to see us in a minute."
Slowly, the eleven heroes stood and readied their weapons. They were planning to decapitate Jas-chu the instant he stuck his head into the ship, therefore killing the Darkrunner without really fighting him. Crono made sure that Tryuiop's pendant still hung around his neck, and polished the Rainbow sword on the hem of his tunic. The others readied their weapons, and took strategic positions facing the door. They were ready when it finally opened.
As one big writhing group, they leapt upon the Karandian that was unfortunate enough to enter before Jas-chu. Yahgrem gasped in recognition as the burned, slightly hacked, head of Struk rolled onto the floor.
"Oops." Glenn said.
Vyrela, though, laughed, and picked the head up by the hair. She tossed it out the door.
Jas-chu, outside, witnessed the entire episode. He now knew that Yahgrem and Vyrela had lied, and the eleven aliens were free. Before they could come out to get him, though, he ran back and sent a force of one hundred Karandians to deal with the invaders.
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