Chapter 23: Pilot wanted

Once again they (Rain, Erik, Maki, Fire, Douglas and Gold) were in the huge hall. The wreck of the Grendel's ship was still at the same place as before, but now there was a second one. Its white form reminded them of a parabola.

"And how do we get that thing out of here?" Douglas asked.

"Simple." Erik answered and pushed a button near the light switch. There was a hissing sound followed by a deep humming one. It seemed to be coming from the wall opposite the main door. It took Douglas a few moments to realize what was going on. The wall had divided vertically and the two parts were now sliding away to the left and right revealing free space. Realizing the expression in Douglas' eyes Erik added quickly:

"No reason to be afraid. There's a layer of colourless gel separating us from space. We are absolutely secure in here."

A few moments later Erik introduced them to the white ship.

"You see these doors at the ground level? We found a handful of those ships in one of them. They must have been built by the Shee themselves. Ready and waiting to bring you down to the planet surface. Of course we had to change a few things. The seats, for example. You, Douglas, are the only one actually fitting into the orginal ones. We need a slightly smaller version for the seatbelts to work properly. The engines are tuned a bit and it's equipped with some guns now. Our guns. Just in case you need them."

In the meantime they had arrived at the ship. Maki, Fire, Gold and Douglas climbed in. The one window arched from the left to the right and allowed great 270 degree view. In front of it were 4 seats.

"Amazing. Why are we going to that planet again?" Douglas asked.

"Are you not curious? And anyway - there are Ettins and Norns. And Shee of course..."

"And Grendels." Douglas interrupted Gold.

"Yes, that too. And we need some answers." answered Fire.

Meanwhile they had sat down and fastened the belts.

"OK, get us out of here." said Gold. Nothing happened. "Douglas, what's the matter with you?"

"With me? I'm waiting for you to fly this..." He noticed the others looking at him. "You want me to fly it? Are you totally crazy?"

Maki answered: "Well, I thought Rain told you... Gold, get me a line to Rain. Now."

Gold pushed a few symbols on the touchscreen surface below the windows. "OK, you can speak now."

"Rain, this is Maki. Why didn't you tell Douglas he was going to be the pilot?"

"I thought Erik did..."

Eriks voice cut in. "I thought that was your job Maki. Anyway, tell him now."

"You are really very helpful." she replied. She gave Gold a sign with her hand and before Rain or Erik could answer Gold cut the line.

"Well, we want you to pilot this ship. Any questions?"

"No chance! I've not the slightest idea how to fly that ship."

"But you have the most experience..." Maki said.

"Experience?! I've never ever even flown anything at all. I haven't even been in anything able to fly before I came here. Especially not in a space ship. You call that experience?"

"What about those thingies... X-Wing, A-Wing..."

"How do you... Forget it. Those were only games. Those craft don't even exist. And if they did the game would definitly not qualify me to pilot them. Those games are not the least bit realistic!"

"As I said: you have the most experience."

"Oh, great. Forget it. Even if I could I wouldn't. Did I tell you I crash them almost every time?"

"We can explain the controls to you..."

"No way."

"Even the Shee could fly such ships."

"I don't care. I'm not going to fly it."

"You are." Fire was pointing at Douglas with a gun. "Believe me, I know how to use it."

"You really mean it, don't you?"

"Yes, I do. This is really important to us and you are the best pilot on board."

"Well, if you ask that nice... Give me a crash course."

Chapter 24