A massive steel blast door descends over the front entrance of the Bank of Kremeth as we exit the building. There is a disturbing finality to the heavy thud of that door closing. No going back now. We’ve got to get back to the parking lot and the landing saucer as fast as we possibly can. The sidewalks are clearing quickly as blast doors on local shops drop into position, Elkor must have also activated an alarm. We can hear the landing thrusters of the dropship which sounds like it’s landing near the same parking lot we need to reach. Who are these guys? And how do they keep finding us? Time seems to slow down again and there is a faint buzzing sound in my ear like a far off radio transmission was just turned on somewhere.
“Let’s make a run for it, I think we can beat them to the saucer,” shouted Cole who was busy pulling a phaser out of an ankle holster.
“No…I have a weird feeling about going that way, let’s go around the other side of the building and come out behind them,” I replied while wondering what had just made me say that out loud. “Do you smell blueberry pie? I do.”
“Are you sure? No. And seriously what in the fuck is going on with you? Pie?” he questioned while eyeing me curiously.
“Something bad will happen if we go that way, so let’s go the other way. Don’t ask me how I know because I don’t know that either. For a second, it smelled like someone smashed me in the face with a fresh-baked blueberry pie.”
“If you two are done, I would suggest getting out of here because that dropship is probably full of bad guys. Do you remember seeing any colors when you smelled the pie?” inquired Steve as he inspected the laser rifle in his hands.
“Hmm…interesting,” replied the owlman who looked both puzzled and delighted as he flew off towards the far end of the building.
It took us a few minutes to catch up with him but we finally reached his location. Steve is perched up on the corner of the building with his creepy red glasses on. There was a low thud off in the distance followed by a large explosion as the dropship came crashing out of the sky onto the sidewalk intersection. The ground shook as the ship exploded exactly where we would have been standing if we had gone the other way. Blast waves roared down the sidewalk propelled along by the metal buildings.
“Dropship is down. Those pricks caused me to spill my nachos,” said the voice of Anton over the comms.
“Anton, what are you doing down here? You are supposed to be orbiting this planet right now, not walking around on it,” replied Cole tersely with clenched teeth.
“Take it easy Cole. I got hungry and everyone knows that the Underwater Pleasure Domes have the best concession stands in known space. You need a lot of calories to keep an orgy pile of that size moving. So I disabled the latch on the cargo hold and caught a ride down for some killer takeout. Everything was going great until the alarms started going off. I was headed back to the ship when those blue dickheads who attacked us on Kleptak 43 tried to get the drop on me. They didn’t seem to get the message the last time so I had to say fuck you louder this time,” replied Anton who sounded like he was having fun.
“What if the cargo hold door had come open during re-entry? You could have gotten yourself killed,” shouted Cole as he paced back and forth.
“If the universe really wanted to suck me out of a spaceship I would be powerless to stop it. Latches, fuck your latches. They are an invention clearly designed to provide an illusion of safety for people who don’t understand they’re not driving the cosmic bus,” retorted the grumpy old gray alien who wasn’t missing a beat. We could hear the laser blasts going off in the background. “Enemy is down, there should be two more.”
“Tracking now,” replied the voice of Steve who was above us. He pulled a long rifle, as if by magic, out of a hidden holster under his wing and kneeled down to steady himself as he sighted in on an enemy outside our field of view. He squeezed the trigger and a glowing blue ball of energy quietly exited the barrel and disappeared out of view. “One down one to go, he won’t wake up for a few hours.”
He covered us until we reached the parking lot, which thankfully, was not filled mercenaries or hit squads. The last enemy was hiding behind the far corner of the building, facing away from us, and waiting to ambush Anton. Walt quietly walked over to one of the exotic trees surrounding the parking lot and selected a large round rock from its base. He tossed the rock lightly into the air a few times to gauge its weight and then hurled it at tremendous velocity towards the head of the large blue alien crouching at the edge of the building. The rock caught him squarely in the back of the head with a sickening thud causing him to fall over on his side unconscious. Steve joined us in the parking lot and Walt lit another strange smelling cigar with his giant hairy hands.
“All clear. We are coming to get you, Anton,” said Cole.
“I have a weird feeling this isn’t over yet, like something bad is still going to happen if we don’t get out of here right now,” I said, feeling uneasy as we all climbed into the saucer.
Cole started pressing buttons on the control panel and we were in the air before anyone even had a chance to sit down. After a quick trip across the parking lot, we picked up Anton who was still eating nachos and carrying a large bag of junk food he had collected from the concession stand. The uneasy feeling was getting stronger as we got closer to leaving the atmosphere. And I could smell pie again. It almost sounded like someone was whispering next to me but I couldn’t quite hear the words. An icy chill had started to settle around me when the ship’s radio suddenly turned on.
“Where do you guys think you’re going with my Earth man, Cole?” asked a cold and menacing voice that probably belonged to Hat Man. “You are disturbing my work and I don’t appreciate that. You can measure a man by his timing, Cole, and you are currently disrupting mine. Give him to me while you can still walk away from this.”
“He’s lying. He won’t let anyone go. He’s a black hole pulling everything in around him. There is someone on his ship targeting us right now. I can feel them waiting to press the button. Hit the gas, he’s stalling for some reason.” I replied, again speaking words that were unfamiliar to me. Words from another place. I can hear them but where do the voices come from? They must come from somewhere. Am I like a radar dish picking them up. Head like a whole antenna? Cole reached up, hit a large red button on the console, and the stars outside the window stretched out like rubber bands.