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GetMeOffTheMoonRockman PMTRRL
Fan Fiction by aarond
A Different Place: Chapter 30 - Destroy the L.A.S. Glyde!

Only one more staircase, and Dantz would be out of the Forgotten Ruins. The Digger had already taken the quantum refractors out of the ruins' huge guardian Reaverbot, which left him with a nice take for what was, overall, a clean, painless Dig, although one had to take the small size of the ruins into consideration. "All right, Quackard," said Dantz, "We should probably check one more time. Is there anything else I need to worry about in here?"

"You look clear to me," said his temporary Spotter. "All my instruments show---waaaak! What are you doing?!"

"Ki ki!" chittered a cheery voice from Quackard's side of the voicelink.

"Stop it!" demanded the Birdbot. "Stop dancing on those, you stupid ape! That's going to---" The voicelink crackled, then was silent. Dantz grinned at his Spotter's predicament. Evidently Data had decided to dance a little jig on top of the control panel!

As he grew closer to the exit, Dantz realized that he was feeling more and more nervous, a contrast to the relaxation he usually felt when leaving the ever-so-dangerous ruins. He knew that his inevitable next meeting with Roll might be the most uncomfortable he'd ever have in his life. The bottom dropped out of Dantz's stomach as he emerged into the sunlight. It would take a few moments for his eyes to adjust, so he clicked off his helmet's lamplight and leaned against the wall. His breath seemed to be coming a little short.

Finally, the time came when he could no longer justify any further delay, so Dantz reluctantly trudged back to his skyship and slowly unsealed the door. "Roll," he began pre-emptively as soon as he walked in the door, "I just want to say---" He stopped. There was no cheerful greeting, no viselike grip around his waist. In fact, no one was there to greet him upon his return from the Ruins at all.

Knocking on Roll's door, he called, "Roll? Are you still in there?"

"Go away," a muffled voice told him.

"Are you sure? We really ought to talk."

A small hesitation, then: "Leave me alone!"

That had gone well. Dantz sighed and walked onto the bridge. "Hey, is anyone here?"

Data plummeted down, barely holding onto the deck ladder as he slid. The monkey began making random noises, then hopped onto Dantz's shoulder. He sounded very excited. "Well, at least someone's glad to see me!"

"Errrrrerrrraaaaaah!" squawked Quackard as he hobbled down the ladder. "Where is he?! I'm gonna kill him!"

"Settle down," said Dantz. "He didn't break anything, did he?"

Quackard grimaced. "Well---keh keh---not that I know of, but that doesn't mean---"

"Then we'll be fine," Dantz said calmly. "I guess Roll's not coming out for a while, probably, so I think I'll get us moving, okay?" When no arguments were presented, Dantz took the steering wheel, set the engines for half-throttle, and launched the Flutter. "Attention all passengers," he said through the shipwide address, "we're currently cruising at half-speed, on course away from the Forgotten Ruins and to all points west." He loved doing this, even though Barrel and Quackard had both told him it was dumb.

Dantz sighed as he steered away from the oceanic Ruins. The situation with Roll was going to take a lot of delicate handling to resolve, but at least it was the biggest problem he was going to have to worry about for a while.

The sounds of the I.A.S. Glyde's standard instruments were quite distinctive, but at the moment, they were being drowned out by the persistent, mechanical noises coming out of the mouth of its napping captain. In fact, it was lucky that Birdbots could, if they chose, turn down the volume on their ears. Practically all of the Birdbots on the bridge had done so as to not be inflicted with their master's snoring. Unfortunately, this feature had presented Glyde and Loath with certain problems throughout their careers, when many a Birdbot blatantly disobeying orders had used "I couldn't hear you" as an excuse.

"Keh-keh! Sir! Their skyship is moving off!"

Glyde snorted a few times as he awoke. "Excellent," he said sleepily, smacking his lips. Then, he yawned. "I can't wait for the attack!" Suddenly Glyde was full of energy. He stood up directly on the seat of his captain's chair and began doing an impromptu tap dance. "We're going to steal the big refactor!! Hee hee!"

While Glyde was expressing himself, the Birdbots took the opportunity to punch each other in the shoulder. One Birdbot punched the one to his right, then he punched the next one, and so on until they had all cranked their interal volume controls back to normal.

"And then," Glyde said dramatically, slashing the air with his hand, "we'll only need two more to complete our ultimate destructive device, the Garoona Klang!!!" All of the Birdbots squawked in salute as their leader posed. "How long until we're in firing range?"

"Two minutes, sir!"

"Wonderful!" Glyde swept back his scarf. "Once we've closed in, fire all torpedoes at once! Don't let them get away!"

"Keh-keh, sir!"

"Whoa!" Dantz cried as the Flutter was shaken by impact. "What's going on out there?"

"We're being attacked, keh-keh!" Quackard said, looking out a porthole. "They've fired torpedoes at us!"

"Aw, great," Dantz said, trying to fly the Flutter evasively. "I don't think we can outmanuever all of them. I'd better get up on deck and see if I can take some of them down."

"I'll help," offered Quackard, grabbing a small bazooka out of a nearby cabinet. "Let's rock. Errrerrrrggghhh!"

"Wait." Dantz stopped, looking around the bridge. "If we're both going up there, who's going to fly the ship?" Both man and Birdbot found their eyes wandering to Data, the bridge's only other occupant, dancing happily under the valve control.

"No," they said together.

Dantz grabbed the microphone. "Roll, Barrel, will one of you please report to the bridge immediately? We are under attack. I repeat---" Wait, he probably didn't need to repeat that. "Never mind. One of you needs to fly the ship. I'm going to go on deck and shoot at our attacker now. Over." He hung up the mike and looked at Quackard. "I'll go up. You stay here until somebody else takes the wheel, okay?"

"Errrrrerrr," squawked the re-programmed Birdbot hesitantly but affirmatively.

Dantz climbed the ladder with determination. Out of everything else that had happened in the last few hours, this was simply too much. After he emerged on the deck, Dantz charged up the Dantz Blaster, changing its specs to allow the furthest range possible for his shots. This would sacrifice some of the power behind the shots, but he deemed it an acceptable trade. The deck rocked again as another torpedo smashed into the Flutter's hull.

Dantz began shooting rapidly at the torpedoes, blowing them up one by one. Each time a torpedo broke through his defense, Dantz would flinch, cursing himself for his lax aim. Things got a bit easier as Quackard joined the Digger on deck, adding his cover fire to Dantz's own.

"Keh-keh!" Quackard said as he destroyed another flying projectile.

"Who's attacking us? Pirates?"

"Yeah," said the Birdbot. "They must be after our loot from that last Dig."

Dantz and Quackard continued firing shot after shot at the speeding torpedoes. Finally, after several dozen of the projectiles had been destroyed (and five had hit the Flutter), the barrage stopped. Both defenders saw the sleek black skyship begin to close the gap between it and the Flutter.

"Errk!" squawked Quackard shortly. "It's the I.A.S. Glyde!"

"The what?"

"The I.A.S. Glyde!" Quackard repeated. "It's Glyde's flagship! It has some really powerful ammo, and because it's a pirate ship, it's made to be fast. I should know; I used to be one of its engineers."

"Really? I didn't know that."

"Yeah. I don't know if we can win this one. Last time you fought Glyde, he didn't have nearly this much firepower on his hands." Quackard fired a shot randomly at the approaching airship. "Take that, you losers! Back off!"

Dantz scratched his head. "Hey, what does 'I.A.S.' stand for?"

"Keh-keh-keh-keh-keh-keh!" Quackard laughed. "It stands for 'Impressive Air Ship.' Glyde always thought if calling something by its initials was cool, then making some more initials up for it would be even cooler. He's funny like that."

"Not exactly funny," Dantz said as he re-attached the Diggermissiles to his left arm. "More like 'idiotic' or 'loopy,' if you ask me." He aimed the missiles at the incoming vessel, waiting for it to get inside his firing range.

"Oh, are those two brave souls making a last stand against us?" Glyde taunted from his captain's chair. "That's so heroic! Wait a minute!" Glyde leaned forward in the seat, trying to catch a better view of the smaller skyship. "That's the Flutter, isn't it?"

"I believe so, sir! Errrrerrruuuulll!"

Glyde laughed lazily. "Oh, I've so wanted to pay back Barrel and Dantz for what they did to me last time! Get us in closer, helm! Let's take this one nice and slow. I want to savor every second of it!" Glyde started doing chair-ups from his seat to work his triceps, then decided that might be better saved for a later occasion. "Tell you what: let's try something different!"

The fabulously-dressed sky pirate leapt up and sauntered in closely behind the helmsman. "Ramming speed!" he ordered.

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