Flash Friday 22/03/2013: Wrong Direction
The crew of the starship ‘Angel’s Flame’ didn’t have time to escape when the enemy cruiser warped in close. For one, it sported a drive far more powerful than anything humankind had ever seen. Secondly, before they could turn on the shields, the aliens had warped on board as fast as they appeared. The main reason they didn’t go into evasive manoeuvres, however, was mainly because the ship sported guns that looked like it fired mini Angel’s Flames as ammunition. The captain began to wonder why he did all that battle training when everyone won by having an arsenal a hundred times bigger than his.
That would have to wait. In fact, everything else would have to wait, as there was a 9′ tall, scaled, and sinister-looking reason for everything to wait currently standing on the bridge. The reason also came armed with plasma rifles and a look a snake gives a mouse before eating it. Every other mental task in the captain’s head had huddled together in fear as it spoke.
“Humans of the Angel’s Flame,” it said, in a voice like a man who drank gravel for breakfast speaking through a fan. “We demand to know the location of the Solar’s End. Any information you might have would be…greatly appreciated.”
The captain swallowed. The Solar’s End. Humanity’s secret super-weapon against the dark forces, under wraps from even well-ranking members of the Galactic Fleet. Should the aliens find its existence, they would destroy it for sure. But then, they already knew of its existence; it would be a matter of time before they scoured Human Space and located the factory.
He didn’t have much time before the sharp pain in his right arm kicked him out of his thought process. A dart had embedded in his arm, shot by one of the aliens beside the one speaking to him. The captain recognised the glowing blue liquid within the dart, slowly injecting itself into his bloodstream. Truth serum.
“There’s a portal on the south side of Jupiter,” the captain heard his mouth say. “The access code is 7746. It’ll take you straight to the…” he gave a grunt as the serum ran out, the dart expended. The effects didn’t last long, but it was long enough. The secret location had been revealed.
“Jupiter? You mean that the Solar’s End is in Human Space?”
“…well, yes,” the captain said, unaware of any better place to put humanity’s final hope against the invaders. “It’s right there.”
“Because my mate said that it’s around the Kulkar Space. It is Kulkar-run, right?”
“The Solar’s End? No, it’s a human invention, using the data we procured from the enemy ships in the Silent Wave assault. How did you come across such data?”
“Well, I asked my mate ‘Where do you fancy going for a pint tonight?’ and he said that The Solar’s End was a great pub. Of course, I went and ventured out without asking where the bloody hell it was. I hoped you knew.”
“Wait.” The captain put together the dots, then wished he hadn’t bothered. “You’re talking about a pub?”
“Of course I am, the new one that opened up in Kulkar Space. Why, what the bloody hell are you talking about?”
“Oh, nothing,” the captain said. He began eyeing up the dart-blower alien, who — thankfully — was going along for the ride. “Absolutely nothing at all. It’s just a joke us humans have between one another. I thought you were in on it?”
“A joke?” The alien crossed its arms, and then crossed its other arms. “How does it go?”
“W-well, it goes…” The captain cleared his throat. “‘Where do you find the Solar’s End?’. And then the punchline is, ‘South of Jupiter, with an access code of 7746’.” He began to laugh as best as he could, coming off like a sinister jack-in-the-box. He subtly made a hand motion to the rest of the crew, who took long enough to realise what he was trying to say and began fake laughing themselves. “Hah, yes. Classic one back on Earth, that.”
“No wonder you’re one of the most attacked races in the galaxy,” the alien said, unimpressed. “In fact, I’m very happy that you don’t know the Solar’s End location. Would hate to see what you’d be like drunk.”
“Yes, well. Sorry, but we can’t be of much use to you.” The captain gave an innocent smile. “Best of luck to you.”
“Likewise.” The alien looked over the crew, who were still awkwardly laughing amongst each other. “I think.”
The aliens turned and left the bridge, but not before the captain overheard the aliens muttering about just murdering the lot of them and raiding the data banks next time. Once he was sure they were gone, he turned to the main control panel. He picked up a microphone, pressing the red button on its side.
“Command HQ,” a female voice said through the speakers on the command panel. “What is your status?”
“Warn those working on Solar’s End,” he said, rubbing his forehead. “Before they get a collective heart attack when the news says that a group of aliens plan to have a drink there.”