Warning: This work has been rated 18+ for language.
The meteor cannon was not used often. Meteor showers did not often come near the colony. Nobody was certain why, but nobody wanted to ask and disturb the trend. Because of this, the usefulness of the cannon was called into question many times. But, however many times people had tried to remove the cannon to cut power usage, the Company forced them to keep it. They stated that it was necessary for the protection of the colony. It was not. They really only kept it because they would get sued into oblivion if they didn't have it and somebody were struck and killed by a meteorite. However, today, it was not being used as a defensive measure. A small, weasely man in an oversized spacesuit was using it as an anti-aircraft gun.
The ship rocked as the large blasts rocketed around it. Ed and Dave were thrown all about the cockpit as Dave wrestled with the controls, trying to avoid the blasts. Fortunately, the Company rep had never touched a gun a day in his life. Still, the bolts were frighteningly close, lighting the cockpit bright blue each time they passed. Dave brought the ship up, higher and higher as he prepared to leave the planet. Another blast passed within a foot of the cockpit. Dave rose even more, almost at three hundred meters. Only a few hundred more and he'd be out of effective range. The ship swayed to and fro as he dodged more laser blasts. Ed was thrown out of his seat and into the passageway connecting the living space and cockpit. He stood and lurched back to the cockpit, getting thrown against the walls as Dave lunged this way and that. The ship jerked another couple hundred meters into the sky. The blasts were becoming fewer and farther between. Each lurch of the ship only shook them in their seats. Dave rose smoothly and quickly surpassed the effective range of the cannon. He slowly turned the ship towards the black sky above and eased the throttle forward. The engines gained power and the ship was propelled forward. Ed turned to Dave and grinned. "Just smooth, unlawful sailing from here on-" He was cut off by a massive explosion from the aft of the ship. He was thrown forward and his head hit the glass in front of him. His vision dimmed and he collapsed to the floor.
"Ed?" came a voice, with a slight British accent to it. It waited. "Ed!" it came slightly louder this time. Ed didn't want to acknowledge it. He had a headache. He wanted to go back to sleep. "ED!!" He tried to sit up to address the voice, to tell it to shut up and go drink some tea, but something pushed him back down. "Open your eyes." it commanded. His eyes opened ever so slightly. He could see light in front of him. He opened his eyes wider and was blinded by the harsh fluorescent on the ceiling. He blinked several times to clear his vision and looked around. He was still in the Condor. Dave was leaning over him. He still had gauze around his head but he was now wearing someone's uniform. It identified him as "Heide Johnson." Ed looked down at himself. He was underneath a sheet and lying on a hospital gurney. He was clad in a hospital gown and was resting on a comfortable pillow. He looked back to Dave.
"Dave?" he asked. "Is this your former.."
"My former hospital gown? Yes. Yes it is. There was nothing else to be done."
"And what exactly happened?" Dave sat down on a nearby chair and assumed a position as though he were in a documentary.
"Well you see, that absolute rat bastard somehow managed to hit the goddamned port fuel line. Blew the thing all to hell and now we're limping through space." he paused and seemed to think for a moment. "All in all, it could've gone better."
"Anything important damaged?" Dave looked at him and saw the real question in his eyes.
"No. No. Nothing important was damaged. Now lie back down and don't go to sleep. I'm going to go to the cockpit and see if I can chart us a course somewhere."
"Hellhole." said Ed.
"Nearest inhabited planet is Hellhole."
"Then we're going to Hellhole!" He walked into the the cockpit, a finger held triumphantly in the air.
"Yeesss?" he called.
"Why is your name Heide?"
"We don't talk about that Ed. We don't talk about that." Ed rolled over and found himself staring out a porthole at the black void of space. It's a long way to Hellhole, he thought. And an even longer way back.