Having welcomed an alien into his crew and his bed, the captain has more than enough to worry about without the looming threat of a birthday he’d rather forget. It’s just as well that his ship develops a catastrophic malfunction and crash lands before anyone can ask him how old he’s turning. But his good luck only lasts so long; when he and his men follow Rux to an abandoned city in search of replacement parts so they can effect repairs, one disaster follows another. Worse yet, Zachery, the captain’s most headstrong lover, is developing a crush on the one member of the crew he really shouldn’t…
The Captain’s Calamity
Author: T.J. Land
Release Date: June 20, 2016
Format: ePub, Mobi, PDF
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Word Count: 20200*
Sex Content: Explicit
The Captain’s Calamity
T.J. Land © 2016
All Rights Reserved
He could smell smoke. By the time they reached G deck, he could see it, a black cloud filling up the corridor. The door to the engine room was open, although it didn’t seem to have been damaged by whatever had taken place beyond it. Inside, red lights were flashing, and the smoke was so dense the captain couldn’t see where it was coming from, much less how bad the damage was.
Zachery, knowing the engine room like the back of his hand, found his way to his station despite the smoke and started barking questions at the ship’s audio interface program. As he did, the captain heard a voice coming from somewhere in the surrounding miasma.
“Zach? That you, man?”
“Rick?” shouted the captain, making his way towards the voice. “Where are you?”
“Over here. On the floor. Shit, I think I’m bleeding,” Rick called out and coughed.
“Keep talking. I’m coming towards you now,” said the captain. His eyes and throat were stinging. “Where are you bleeding?”
“My hand and…I think my face? I can’t tell. My head fucking hurts.”
The smoke was so thick in this section of the room that the captain ended up almost stepping on him. He was lying against the wall, evidently having been thrown back against it, his right hand cradled in his lap and his clothes singed.
“Hi, captain,” he said, smiling weakly. The left side of his face was covered in blood, most of which issued from a cut on his scalp—although, to the captain’s disquiet, some seemed to be leaking from the vicinity of his left eye, which was squeezed shut. “How’s it going?”
“All the better for seeing you.” The captain knelt down and checked him for serious injuries before picking him up.
By the time they reached Zachery, the alarms had stopped blaring and the smoke seemed to be dissipating. The engineer took one look at Rick and went several shades paler.
“Jesus, kid, what happened to you?”
“I got blown up,” Rick croaked.
“Yeah, I see that. What were you doing down here, dummy?”
“Looking for you, asshole. Wanted to let you know I’ve got a new batch of w…of fresh, healthy vegetables,” Rick amended, glancing up at the captain.
“What seems to be the problem, Mister Halberstam?”
Zachery shook his head, patting the control panel as though The Prayer were a sickly pet. “Can’t tell you that until I shut her down and get up inside her. She’s stable for now. The antimatter generator’s working fine, so there’s no danger of us all being oblit…”
“Captain!” came Antoine’s voice over the comm. “Where are you? Something’s happened to the ship. We’ve started descending.”
Rubbing his chin, Zachery said, “Seriously? Huh. That’s weird. The anti-grav systems are still operating, and there’s nothing wrong with…”
“Zachery,” the captain interrupted, “my ship appears to be losing altitude. It is logical to conclude that if this state of affairs continues, it will crash land. Regardless of the root of this crisis, do you have a solution to the immediate problem?”
Zachery blew out his cheeks. “Not really, Captain. Her emergency systems were one of the things I shut down to make sure she doesn’t explode again. It’s not safe to turn them back on until we know what caused the first blast.”
“Right. Crash land it is, then. Come with me.”
Rick tugged on the captain’s lapels as they left the engine room. “Are we all going to die?”
“Nah,” said Zachery. “Even without any power, the ship’s designed to glide for one hundred kilometers before hitting the ground. We’ll be fine, so long as we don’t land on anything hard.”
That was a very optimistic take on the situation, which the captain decided not to correct.
The elevator wouldn’t work, so they ran up the stairs to reach the medbay on C deck, where the captain left Zachery to tend to Rick. This wasn’t The Prayer’s first forced landing, and he knew from personal experience that the medbay was one of the safest places to be. Sprinting, he made his way to the bridge and found the rest of the crew were already present, talking over one another from their stations while Antoine tried to maintain order.
“Quiet!” the captain roared. “Someone tell me how long we’ve got until we touch down.”
“At this rate, twelve minutes,” said Antoine. “We’re currently over marshes, but there’s solid ground coming up ahead. More good news; the autopilot’s not working. For some reason, Khali is happy about this.”
“It’s nice to feel useful for once,” said Khali from her pilot’s seat, her gaze fixed on the screen in front of her.
“Corporal Bansal, can you get us down in one piece?” the captain asked, sliding into his beloved chair.
“Hope so!” she said. “You should all strap in. It’ll be bumpy.”