Chapter 21

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Admiral Xarnax Splurmfeen glared at the holographic globe of Earth floating above his desk. The particular source of his displeasure was the continent of Australia. Specifically, the flashing red dot positioned towards the east coast.

That red dot designated a missing unit. A battletank. His battletank. Those lowly, scum-sucking, puke-inducing, primitive Earthlings had somehow managed to steal one of his battletanks.

In the absence of anybody to punch, throttle, throw out of an airlock or otherwise vent his rage on, he gripped the edge of the desk convulsively with both hands.

Leaning forward, he transferred his attention to the centre of the continent, where the hologram displayed a flashing yellow circle. The circle represented the best estimate his so-called intelligence division could provide as to the whereabouts of the Australian prime minister.

DNA tracking drones and exhaustive analysis of all air and road traffic from the prime minister's last definite known location, suggested the PM should be somewhere in the fifty square kilometres or so covered by that circle. It was almost certain, the chief of intelligence had assured the admiral.

The admiral snorted in disgust. Almost. He'd kicked the chief of intelligence almost all the way across the room.

He glared at the yellow circle. Then he glared at the red dot. His grip on the edge of the desk tightened. Back to the circle. Then the dot. The circle. The dot. The circle. The dot.

The edge of the desk began to splinter.

Meanwhile, a Rigellian shuttle was just leaving behind the last traces of the Earth's atmosphere

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Meanwhile, a Rigellian shuttle was just leaving behind the last traces of the Earth's atmosphere. Through the expansive viewport of the cabin they'd been 'locked' in by Flenson, Max and Cam sat and watched the sky turn gradually from brilliant blue to star-spangled black.

"Mate," breathed Cam, "this is awesome."

Max grinned at him. "Mum always said I'd go far, one day."

The cloud-streaked blue expanse of the Earth stretched out below them, stunning in its majesty but already visibly receding as they rocketed away.

After several minutes of awe-struck wonder, Cam tore his attention away from the shrinking blue disc.

"So, any thoughts on a plan?"

Max cocked an eyebrow at him. "You know, I wasn't kidding about winging it. I haven't got the first clue how to go about sabotaging an alien battlestation. I wouldn't know how to sabotage an alien washing machine, for that matter.  We'll just have to pick Flenson's brain and see if we can come up with something."

"Maybe the battlestation will have one of those Death Star style exhaust ports, that we can drop a proton torpedo into."

"You know what, Cam?  I suspect it's not going to be quite that easy.  Even if there was, we'd still need to need to find an X-wing first."

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