Sylvester Down

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The Sylvester was a beautiful yacht, luxurious, easily able to cruise the inner planets. She could even fling up a solar spinnaker for show, a bulbous sail that reflected glorious light onto the ship, making it look like a show piece, a trophy, almost new.

Not that seventy-five years had aged the yacht substantially. The Creena family had money, and even their antique yachts were continually kept up to code, luckily too, because when you needed something like the escape pod, it simply had to work.

It had, mostly.


"This is Sylvester," Charlan's desperate voice called over channel 17, the one the Orbital Patrol were supposed to monitor. "We are under attack. Mayday, Mayday."

She scanned the screens. There wasn't a patrol ship this side of the Moon. The attacker was tucked in so close that scans from Earth wouldn't even see it.

Pripong hit the thrusters, belatedly shouting an acceleration warning. Charlan couldn't brace in time, and cracked her shoulder against the life support console.

"More warning next time!" She shouted.

"Sorry hun, looking for a solution to a problem. Burning full thrust straight for Earth. Let's see what their top speed is."

The 'problem' was keeping pace with them quite easily. It was smaller, more manoeuvrable, and apparently had electro-static weapons. Charlan couldn't tell if her message was getting out through their attempts at jamming.

Charlan turned to Pripong. "Can we vector our thrust into their face?"

"Not our thrust, no, they're too fleet for that." Charlan knew that tone. Pripong had a solution, a crazy one.

"What are you thinking?"

"Our black water tanks are pretty full..."

"What good does that do us?" Drian asked from the engineering console.

"We can't fight. These pirates are better armed. But we can hope to slow them down, get far enough away that comms works."

"And spraying them with our frozen shit is going to slow them down how?"

"It won't but the next part will." Pripong smiled.

Charlan hated that smile. That smile had wrecked a Lamborghini in the Alps. That smile had put massive dents in the hull of the Sylvester, more than once. That smile would get someone killed, some day.


Any landing you walk away from is a good one, Charlan thought as she rubbed her sore shoulder, even if that landing is in an escape pod.
She popped the hatch. A quick look around confirmed what she'd seen out the portal.

"We landed near the equator." She smiled, trying to find a way through her captain's rising sadness. "No, better, we landed on the beach of a small island near the equator. Damn fine flying if you ask me."

Still Pripong didn't nod or smile. He just looked at the controls, deep in thought, near tears.

"Cap'n?" Drian added, "You did good. You got us down in one piece, alive."

"Yeah, thanks," Pripong's response sounded automatic, disconnected.

"I'm sure Matthew's OK." Charlan lied, adding, "We called the cops. They'll find him."

"Yeah, OK." He wasn't convinced. He wasn't sobbing, but she could hear the tears in his voice.

"In the mean time," She continued as Drian and Sebu pushed past her and tumbled out the portal, "we're at a beach. It's high noon on a sunny day, and Rescue won't be here for a few hours at least, so how about we have some fun?"

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