The sounds of gunfire and swordplay echoed through the bowels of the marauder ship, followed by a series of bone-shattering explosions. Dark smoke billowed up from the lower decks, accompanied by a cacophony of incomprehensibly foul space-pirate profanity.
Moments later, Corrigan Doon burst through the smoke, clutching a polished skull in one hand and an open bottle of Redmoon Slush in the other. Despite the bloodthirsty howls in the passageway behind him, he stopped and took a long pull off the bottle.
Mid-swig, the voice of Cosine, his irascible mechanical navigator, came squawking over his datachron.
"Doon! Are ye there? What in the bloody hell were those explosions?"
"Nothing to worry about love. That was just me, detonating the plasma charges."
'WHAT?!" Cosine bellowed.. "Are ye bloody DAFT? The charges were for the security doors that led to the escape pods!"
Corrigan finished off the potent beverage and tossed the bottle nonchalantly behind him. As he did so, a black-toothed marauder appeared out of the smoke, slipped on the bottle, and fell backwards into the rest of Corrigan's pursuers.
"Had to improvise, Cosine," Corrigan said, pulling a crumpled map from his pocket "Bring the Phoenix around. You'll have to pick me up in the launch bay.
"THE LAUNCH BAY? Of all the stupid, half-baked...!" Corrigan switched off the datachron, and started running.
It had all started three days ago. The Star of Dominus, a fabulous jewel purportedly brought from planet Nexus by the first emperor of the Dominion himself, had been stolen by marauders in a daring raid. As they escaped with the priceless heirloom into the Darkspur Nebula, news of the incident had spread like wildfire across the galaxy.
Corrigan Doon recognized a golden opportunity when he saw one. While Dominion bureaucrats argued over the best course of action, he ventured deep into the heart of marauder territory to retrieve the jewel himself. For a man like Lucky Doon, it was going to be simple.
Of course, things hadn't exactly gone according to plan. Although he had successfully boarded the ship, broke into the captain's quarters, and taken the ornamental skull in which the gem was now mounted, there had been... complications.
After successfully evading a dozen guards, three battlebots, and a cyborg-ape named "Professor Monkeyzooka", Corrigan burst into the launch bay followed by a horde of screaming marauders. Moments later, Cosine expertly piloted the Phoenix into the cavernous space, trailing three heavily armedships. Banking sharply, he lowered a tow cable from the hull and brought the ship in parallel with Corrigan on the launch deck.
Corrigan leapt off the deck, grabbing the cable before almost plummeting to his death. Swinging wildly as the cable retracted, Corrigan pulled out his pistol and targeted the bay's rapidly receding control panel. Closing the doors behind the Phoenix was their only chance to escape.
It was impossible. A one-in-a-million shot. And Cosine never heard the end of it.
The pages of this issue of Tales From Beyond The Fringe can be located in Ellevar.