Drake sat in a white chair; he looked around and stared at the other officers in the room. He picked up his bottle and took a large swig, giving a small cough he let out a small sigh. The room was an unrealistic, sort of sterile white. Drake stood up, carrying his bottle; he walked over to the door when a large menacing man blocked his path to the door.

"Where do you think you are going? You owe me money, so pay up Drake." said the large man in a deep voice. There was small moment of silence; Drake staring back at the man.

"I—'otta—'et—my—'reds." Drake struggled to say as he slurred his words. He stumbled over to a table with coffee pots and glasses lying about. I have to find a way to get past him. THE COFFEE! "I—can't—'emember—'ere—I—left—me—"He stopped short as he grabbed the coffee pot and swung it around into the man's face. The man let out a loud yell as scolding hot coffee and glass collided with his face. Drake ran for the door, it slid open as he ran through it. He could hear the yells of the man back in the officers club. He kept running dodging various crewmen and weaving in and out of different rooms. Drake finally stopped outside his quarters. Wow that was close that should keep him off my back for awhile. Well guess I should get some rest. The door to his quarters opened with a 'swoosh' and he stepped in. He changed into his sleepwear and dropped to his bed. He stared at the ceiling pondering the course of the ship. Where was he going next? What was going to happen? He could hardly believe that only a month ago he enlisted in the navy and then he was immediately put on an outdated ship and made an officer without any training. How come they had sent them out in the middle of nowhere?


An hour after he had fallen asleep Drake was hastily awoken from his sleep by the loud rumbling of multiple explosions throughout the ship. He jumped out of bed and threw on his uniform. The bright red lights and roaring of the warning sirens lit the hallways. Drake darted to his right before he could enter a room of about thirty or so cadets, another explosion broke an observation window in the room. Most of the cadets were sucked into the dark void of space while some grabbed on to bolted down objects. One unlucky man was split in half after a window lockdown door had came down when he was being sucked out, unfortunately the important half was frozen drifting in space leaving its lower half to twitch in the room. He continued down the hallway where he found cadets scrambling to get into escape pods. Drake franticly searched for an open spot that wasn't blocked by other cadets.

"Hey! In here! Let's go before another one goes off!" yelled a female voice from within the last pod in the hallway. Drake ran as fast as he could and dove into the pod landing on the lap of two marine cadets. The woman slammed her fist down on the console and closed the hatch. "This is weird the pods have a preset course to the planet beneath us." She said touching buttons on the console. Drake could tell by her uniform she was a navigator, from the bridge crew. What was she doing down here? Another explosion shook the ship. "I think I almost have it, these controls are kinda out of date."

"You better hurry!" cried an engineer who was next to Drake. After a few seconds of silence the pod rattled again but this time it wasn't an explosion it was the escape pod being jettisoned from the ship. Drakes pod hurtled toward the planet only slowing down to enter the atmosphere. The pod was dimly lit by various lights from the control area. It rattled through the air approaching at an alarming rate.

"I'm activating the emergency landing thrusters." said the navigator in her feminine voice. The pod began to slow down and Drake could hear the thrusters turn to point down. He heard the thrusters stop but he could tell they were still moving forward at an alarming rate. He looked at the navigator who gave him a look of confusion. She obviously didn't understand the outdated systems of the ship's escape pods. The cabin of the pod suddenly got brighter as a loud alarm sounded off.

"That's not a good sign, that's never a good sign! What are we gonna do! What are we gonna " the engineer had begun to yell but was cut short by Drake hitting the man square in the face knocking him unconscious.

"What the hell man, why did you do that?" yelled a low level cadet who had been sitting in the corner in utter despair. "He is on our side why would you do that?" he continued yelling.

"Shut up and stay there or do you wanna end up like him?" commanded Drake pointing to the unconscious man lying on the floor. Drake walked over to the other cadet and shoved him into the chair across from where he was. He proceeded to pull down the harness around the cadet who was staring blankly at him. He then harnessed the engineer into the spot next to his. "You might wanna do the same, I believe we are in for a bumpy landing" Drake said drawing his attention to the navigator. She nodded and clipped herself into her seat and turned back to the controls. After a couple seconds the escape pod slammed into the ground. Drake and the others shook in their seats as anything that wasn't bolted or tied down flew from side to side of the cabin. The lights suddenly went out and the cabin went dark. Drake sat in the darkness. Am I dead? No I can't be? What happened? The ship! Drake suddenly unharnessed himself and reached into his pocket and pulled out his PDA. He opened the latch of the pod letting in sunlight. He saw the crew he had been with unconscious but alive. He slowly pulled himself out of the pod and sat on the edge of the latch. The sky of the planet was a light blue but was becoming a purplish haze as night approached. They were above a field with some rolling hills. Wait! How are we above a plain? AW Crap. He looked behind him to find the nose of the pod had embedded itself into a cliff side. He again slowly lowered himself into the pod. "Hey anybody awake?" he whispered into the dark pod.

"I-I'm okay." mumbled the engineer

"same here." Replied the young soldier

"I'm fine." Said the navigator shortly.

"Okay well don't make any sudden movements; the pod is stuck in a cliff side. I'm going to try and find rope we can use to lower our selves down with." Drake said in a low voice. The pod was silent except for the sounds of Drake searching for rope. He found a flashlight and other materials need for survival inside a compartment near the front of the pod. Every step he took made the ship creep more and more. "Ok I got rope; stay here I'll tie it to the pod then we can go down one by one. I call you up first." He said pointing to the navigator. "Then you" to the engineer "and lastly you. I'll go last bring down everything that we need. Got it?"

"Understood" the three crewmen said in unison. Drake climbed out of the hatch on top of the pod. He looked around for something to tie the rope too.

"Who does that guy think he is?" said the engineer. "I mean you're the navigator shouldn't you the commanding officer right now?"

"Well actually I'm just a navigator assistant so I'm a rank lower. But I think he knows what he's doing. Don't you know who that is?" but the two men looked at each other and then back to the woman and shook their heads. "Why that's Drake Archer. He supposedly held off a whole company of slavers when they showed up on his village all by himself. When the Federation showed up they sent in a Special Forces team to recon the slaver camp. They found the whole camp on fire and bodies hanging from trees. Well while they were searching the area Drake ambushed the team nearly killing all the troops until one knocked him out. The Federation kept him on a ship until he was old enough to enlist and I guess now he is here."

"Wait 'until he was old enough enlist'? How old was he when the slavers attacked?" said the engineer in amazement

"Well one legend says he was 16 while others say he was 10. Hell there's even one that says he came out of the womb shootin' the raiders as they attacked. As for me I think he was around 16."

The story was stopped short by the creaking of the pod and the incoherent swearing if Drake who then yelled to them to hold on. The pod's creaking then became a shaking until they could feel the pod falling. Then with a crash everything went dark.

TO BE CONTINUED…