The ship rumbled and shuddered as it soared down through the atmosphere. Along with the jumbling and shaking it veered off to the right as a thunderous sound rocketed past the side of the hull. The pilot made more maneuvers, swiftly turning left, up and then almost straight down as more noises screeched by around the ship.
“What was that?” Lithlo asked.
Rimney looked through the window at the line made between the planet’s sky and the black abyss of space, as if trying to measure it. “Nothing we have to worry about now.” He said. No later did he say that did the noises stop and the shuttle's shaky travel stabilize, now descending smoothly to the surface.
The landscape of XB-27 was red and flat, with countless sandy dunes and similarly coloured acid pools. The towers of a Philixine city peaked faintly over the horizon, and the pilot began hesitantly to steer them towards it. Rimney stopped him.
“No, no.” He said. “Touch down right there, on that rock face.”
“Oh. You sure?”
“Yes indeed. We’ll walk the rest of the way.”
The pilot took his eyes off the controls to look at the strange old scientist. “And what am I supposed to do here, exactly?”
Oh, you’ll be waiting here, I’m afraid.”
“I can’t believe for a second the captain approved a mission like this.”
The pilot activated the landing gear and lowered the bulbous cargo ship onto the stony island. The three unbuckled themselves and stepped outside.
In Rimney’s opinion, XB-27 was the reddest planet in the entire Xomox Galaxy. The rocks, when broken open, were scarlet and had the metallic stink of blood, and the crimson sand made sure to cover anything that was of a different colour. The sky too had an orange hue, so dark and thick he was surprised its air was breathable. Though it was likely the laser beams of the Philixine Legions that were the reddest of this planet. Not to mention that their temper and attitude could relate to red in a more symbolic way. It was also the latter that the Vicilians were most familiar with.
“Well, it ain’t too different than it looks from a couple thousand feet above.” Said the pilot. “I’ll go inside and radio the captain, see what his next orders are for-whatever we’re doing here.”
Before he even opened the door however, a blazing ray of heat dug into his back with an electrical screech. He fell backwards in the sand, twitching slightly but overall motionless. Rimney stood behind him with a gun in his hand. It was not a sleek, Vicilian beam revolver however, but instead a brutish, Philixine machine laser. Lithlo screamed and tried to shout something, but in his panicking it was unintelligible. Rimney lifted his gun again and began to fire at the ship. The cockpit window shattered to pieces and flew into the sand, drowning in the grains. Sparks flew as blasts of energy hit the wings and hull, likely shorting out every circuit in the vessel. Even as most of the ship’s exterior became more blackened than white, Rimney kept firing at it as Lithlo regained his intelligence.
“What the hell, Rimney!’ he screamed, before jumping on him to pull him back. “Stop it, stop it !”
Rimney didn’t stop, at least not until all the side of the ship was burnt and battered. Lithlo fell back down in the sand, looking at the dead officer, almost invisible in the sand now, and their unflyable ship.
“What the hell, Rimney?” Lithlo said in a broken voice. “Why’d you… you killed him...”
Rimeny didn’t look back at him, and his expression remained calm and relaxed, perhaps even more so as he talked. “Lithlo, my good assistant, we are here to make sure such a horrid, grisly fate does not befall any noble Vicilian again.”
Lithlo’s confusion beat his distraughtness. “W-what?”
Rimney dropped the bulky Philixine pistol in the sand.
‘Lithlo,” He said. “When Vicilian cruisers circle the air above Gohrual and our bloody conflict has been put to rest, here will only lay a martyr of our people, who after we left on our mission was ambushed by a merciless Philixine patrol. Now get out of the sand and see if you can still open that cargo door and get our message onto a hover transport. We have a war to end.”