Chapter One

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Shrill chittering and harsh clicks filled the bridge of the Jumpin' Jack amid howling klaxons

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Shrill chittering and harsh clicks filled the bridge of the Jumpin' Jack amid howling klaxons.

"I'm aware we're taking fire, Admiral! Why don't you do something useful like check on the unicorn?" 42 yelled back at the creature behind her. The small green quadruped hopped down from his seat and scurried off on his disembodied limbs with his tail whipping behind him.

The ship rocked violently while the opposing ship passed them on another strafing run. "I just replaced that stabilizer last week!" she yelled at the damage read outs while more reports ticked across the screen before her eyes.

The screen in front of her flicked to life revealing a grimy face with a tusk-filled sneer. "Time's up, little girl. Kill your engines and prepare to be boarded. Play nice and I might forget the small fortune your antics cost me at Azala."

"The Rangers from the preserve will be here any minute, Teef. You'll have to scuttle my ship along with the herd to evade the law," 42snapped back.

Teef merely laughed, chunks of his most recent meal spewing onto the view screen. "'Fraid the Rangers have their hands full right now.Just you, me, and cold, hard, vacuum out here, girl. Now, give up the goods!"

42 made a rude gesture at the screen, slammed the off button, and unloaded the remainder of the Jumpin' Jack's payload. Three missiles spiraled towards the ugly man's ship amid laser pulses striking its target and exploding across its hull.

If she didn't know better, she'd have thought the sensors were laughing at her when they registered minimal damage to her harasser.

"Admiral,prepare for impact. I think this next salvo is the last we're limping away from," she said into the comm. Sharp clicks came in quick reply before she strapped into her harness.

The ship shook and listed to one side while laser lanced through the last of the shields, scorching the hull.

"Zap this!" she exclaimed, pushing every ounce of power remaining in the engines into atmospheric entry. The Jumpin' Jack plowed into the atmosphere on a barely-controlled vector until missile impacts threw the ship off-course.

42rubbed her arm rest and said goodbye to her cargo ship. "I'm sorry, baby. We've been through a lot in twenty years, but I don't think you're going to survive this one." She watched fire whip and coil up over the forward aperture. The weapons fire ceased and the ship settled more gently into its crash course. A zen-like peace fell over her. She watched the battered sensor readouts spit out their rapidly-decreasing altitude. The approaching planet grew closer, more distinct through the flames, until she could project their point of impact: a point wherein stood the largest, most majestic unicorn she had ever seen.

"No!Get out of the way! Don't just stand there!" she yelled helplessly.

The unicorn blinked.

A/N: This is chapter one of a book intended for children ages seven to ten. If you want more you can purchase a copy on Amazon -

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