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Abandon Ship?

by on August 3, 2014

The starship Coral reeled in silent agony through space, trailing fire and debris. In the remains of the sickbay on deck six, Jolene clung desperately to her proton blaster. The last she heard, the invaders had taken decks seven through twelve. That was before communications went dead. She hadn’t heard from anyone since. For all she knew, she was alone, a single frightened shade of auburn aboard a starship crawling with bunnies.

Jolene had seen them. She had emptied her blaster at them through the sickbay doors. They had moved on, but they would be back, she knew. Her blaster could only last so long before its energy cells gave out. She wasn’t in any shape to fight them physically. She could barely call for help amidst her coughing. Even when she managed a cry, no one came. The only sounds she heard were the ship’s alarms, wailing again and again.

Jolene, unlike some others, had never quite believed in the Great Paint Pot. But now, as she cowered behind a makeshift barricade of medical beds, Jolene whispered a frantic plea. “Oh, God….”


Jolene nearly unloaded her proton blaster again. “Wha-!”

The man put his hands up, trying to indicate she should calm down. “I’m here to help, all right?”

“You’re… you’re not…”

“I’m not the Big Guy, no. I’m what you might call a minor deity. Milroy Birnbaum, god of war. I’m here to stop this.”

“You can’t stop them,” Jolene said, stark terror in her voice. “They’re everywhere!” She fell to coughing again, thinking that now was positively the worst time to fall sick.

“They’re not everywhere. And even if they are, it doesn’t matter. I am Milroy Birnbaum, god of war. No bunny born can stop me.”

“I’ve never heard of a god named Milroy.”

“I said I was a minor deity. Anyway. How are you for weapons?”

Jolene held out her proton blaster. Milroy examined it with a critical eye. “Not bad. If you’re going blasters, the Miles 45 is the best. ’49 works too, but they burn out quicker. Still, we need more firepower. Can we make the bridge from here?”

“Yes, normally, but I don’t think the emergency turbolift works anymore.”

“Let’s just see.” Milroy marched to the turbolift panel and banged on the door. It squeaked open. Jolene followed nervously. “Bridge, now,” Milroy barked at the computer.

“I’m sorry,” it said placidly. “Turbolift systems are currently disabled. Please try manual transport-”

“You take us to the bridge right now, or I will rip every circuit out of this turbolift and replace it with scavenged parts from a garbage scow,” Milroy replied, almost as calmly.

“Very well,” the computer huffed. “Proceeding to bridge.”

The turbolift jerked and stuttered a moment or two, but eventually its doors crawled open to reveal the bridge. A small pack of bunnies had gathered around the science station. Milroy was still holding Jolene’s blaster; he cut down the bunnies without a second of hesitation. “Okay, we have maybe five minutes before backup gets here,” he said, running to the main command station.  “So we have about four minutes and fifty-eight seconds to get this thing to a more defensible position.”

Jolene wobbled over to the science station. “Elsine Three. Ice planet. We could hide there?”

“Nah. They’ll just bombard the planet with radiation cannons ’till it glows. We need something better.” Milroy paced rapidly back and forth. “Any planet we go, they’ll lay siege to. So planets are out. If we had an anti-gravity drive we could try a black hole, but we don’t. Nebulas are out. There aren’t stable wormholes in this sector. C’mon, Milroy, think…”

“There’s a hyperspace bypass one parsec over,” Jolene ventured. “I don’t think that’ll help, but-”

“A hyperspace bypass,” Milroy Birnbaum repeated. “Jolene, you’re brilliant. We’ll do it there.”

“Do what, exactly?”

“No time to explain. Strap yourself in, we’re heading for the bypass.”

Fortunately, the Coral was one of the few equipped with good old-fashioned seatbelts. She strapped herself in just in time. The Coral made a last shaky leap, its stardrive nearly burning out under the strain, but somehow it lurched far enough to the bypass gateway. Milroy seized the manual controls and aimed the starship right for it. Jolene closed her eyes, hearing the bunnies pounding at the bridge doors. “Hadley Baxendale,” she whispered as the Coral plunged into hyperspace, “I’m going to get you for this….”

For previous adventures in Hadley’s story, go here. Thanks for reading!

  1. Keep up the great writing!

  2. Nice job working in the optional prompt – very subtle! I love that this piece stands alone, but it also makes a nice addition to Hadley’s story.

    There was a bunny trapped in my vegetable garden the other day. Needless to say, it was a terrifying experience. 😉

    • I’ll bet. In the words of Anya from BTVS, “Bunnies aren’t just cute like everybody supposes.”

  3. Of course they’re on one of the last spaceships with seat belts. You have a knack for mixing today’s technology with your future world. One question: how did Milroy know Jolene’s name? If it’s because of his minor diety-hood, I think it would be fun to mine more funny nuggets from the fact that he knows all about her.

    • That is a very good observation. I confess I hadn’t considered why he knew her name, but now that you mention it, I think it could be a perk of minor godhood. It occurs to me that this would make an exceptionally awkward dating scene. Or a sitcom, even!

  4. Meg permalink

    “I said I was a minor deity.” Heeeheee. I also love the name Milroy Bimbaum. I confess that I vote for your story nearly every week. Yes, I love it that much.

    • I appreciate your support. 🙂 And I’m glad you like Milroy’s name; it’s difficult to find a proper name for any character, let alone a minor god of war, so I’m relieved it works.

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