"Captain, are you sure you want to do this?"
"Of course I want to do this! We all want to do this. The money will be really good," answered Captain Allan Roy with a charming smile. He was a tall and athletic man in his thirties, two shiny eyes under a mass of brown, wavy hair.
Jessie, his pilot, didn't seem impressed. She shook her head, sending her long dark hair cascading around her massive chair in the cockpit.
"Do you see that, Captain?" she asked, pointing to the small planet they could see below through the windshield of the ship. The whole atmosphere was bright with lightning storms. "Those are sprites! I have never seen so many sprites at once."
He gave her a dubious look, one eyebrow raised.
She rolled her eyes and added, "No, I don't mean freakin' little elves! Sprites are massive electrical discharges that appear high above thunderclouds, in the upper layers of the atmosphere. They are usually very rare, and quite pretty to be honest, all those colors...but that is not my point. My point is, this planet looks like it's having its own fireworks party all year round, and you want me to cross that hellish atmosphere to land my baby on its ground!?"
"You mean MY baby!" corrected Allan, outraged. "And yes I want you to do exactly that. It will be okay," he said with another of his charming smiles. "We both know if there is one pilot out there able to do it, it's you."
She sighed. "Well, I'm not sure flattery will save your ass once those storms rip us apart."
"I'm counting on you," he said, patting her shoulder, "Think about the money."
The previous week they had heard some rumors about an abandoned scientific research base on a remote planet called R-607. Its constant storms and insane weather made it unfit for human life and none of the three nations had shown any interest in colonizing it. Or so everyone thought. But someone did put a high-tech infrastructure on it, thought Allan. One that is surely filled with materials and goodies that we can sell for a good price on the black market.
"Do it!" he ordered.
Jessie let out another of her long-suffering sighs, the flashes from the thunderstorms below illuminating her olive skin. She had been young when he hired her to be his pilot three years ago, but he never regretted it. She was good, really good. This time she didn't argue with him, she steered the ship to its new course, straight to hell. Allan just had time to think, Oh, boy, I hope it's worth it before the whole ship started to shake and whine.
"Get ready for a hell of a ride!" screamed Jessie, joyfully.
She was always joyful when it came down to flying, no matter the risks. He installed himself in the co-pilot chair to assist her. Every instrument panel had bright flashing warnings accompanied by a separate alarm for each one, expressing the Capricieuse's distress. Outside, the temperatures were rising as the vessel entered the atmosphere.
They arrived in the stormy clouds and everything became dark and ominous. The clouds were a deep grey and devouring all the light, except for the blinding lightning cleaving the sky without mercy. The metal panels all around the ship started to creak dangerously. The first streak of lightning hit them with formidable force. The noise was phenomenal. Allan imagined he could feel his eardrums bleeding.
Hopper, his mechanic, appeared behind them in the cockpit, bellowing insults. At only 16 years old he was already pretty tall, muscular, and with a temper.
"What are you doing to my ship?!"
"What am I doing to MY ship!" corrected the captain once again. "You kids seriously need to remember who pays the bills here! Hops, go back to your engine, we don't need you here!"
YOU ARE READING
Capricious - Lightning Sprite Book OneScience Fiction
The universe had no secrets for Captain Allan Roy and his crew of space scavengers. They had traveled to most occupied territories and to the confines of the Rim. Or at least, that's what he thought until the day they landed on a remote planet calle...