Riding Out the Blizzard

The blizzard struck in all its glory. The wind whipped about the ship sending torrents of snow everywhere. The temperatures dropped to fifty below, and everyone aboard the ship huddled in rooms that they were forced to heat or they would have frozen to death. Still, even with the heat, the rooms were cold, and everyone clustered together to keep warm.

The ship rocked and moaned as the wind threatened to blow it off the mountain. As those trapped inside felt their doom was certain they all secretly cursed Tso for his foolish landing on the mountain’s side. At one point the wind came up from the south and actually picked up the ship, tilting it on its side and dropping it down again into the snow. The inhabitants of the ship were tossed about like popcorn being popped, and several of them were injured in the process. Borgis, a heavily armed Gran soldier, suffered a head wound, and blood issued out of one of his three eye-stalks from where he’d smashed it into a bunk. He was tended by Malgith, the black-skinned Ithorian who was both medic and grenade specialist, and he was strapped to one of the lower bunks for safety purposes in case the ship was tossed again.

Tso sat alone in the cockpit of the ship, and his misery could not be more complete. Everyone had made him sit there in case he could possibly do something to save the ship if it were blown off the rock ledge. In reality they had forced him to sit in the cockpit so that he could watch his own demise.

Tso saw the whipping snow as it clouded everything in sight. The lights on board the ship were off except for that of the heater that warmed him. He clutched the seat that he was buckled into, his knuckles turning a light shade of gray. His heart pounded a million times a minute, and he wished that he was anywhere but in that cockpit. Why hadn’t he just obeyed orders and taken them far away from this? Why hadn’t he just thrown the ship in reverse? He was always messing things up, and this time it probably would mean their deaths.

The ship suddenly tipped up on its side precariously as the wind whipped under it and tossed it into the northern wall of the ship with a fierce crash and grinding sound. Tso grit his teeth and prepared for the worst, but the ship merely dropped back into the snow with a loud boom and a cascade of snow off of the mountain.

Tso breathed a sigh of relief, but the tension still remained in the air of the cockpit. It was a long night, and he didn’t sleep a wink. The wind continued to whip all around until at last, as morning came, the storm blew past and was gone leaving Tso exhausted and his nerves shot. At last, as the first rays of light began to shine across the frozen desert, the storm was over, and the crew all began to move about to inspect the damages. When they found Tso he was still staring, wide-eyed, out the viewport clutching the arms of his chair.

Gariss and Nyarchagga chuckled when they saw him. Gariss came over and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Congratulations,” he said. “Your little stunt has paid off. You’ve conserved our power supply and managed to keep us from getting buried by the storm. Now all we have to do is clear out the piles of snow that we’ve taken in, and we’ll be back in business soon. Why don’t you get some sleep? We’ll take care of things up here.”

Tso glanced up at Gariss with a pitiful look on his face. “You’re not upset anymore?”

Gariss gave him a smile, the first warm thing he’d done since Tso had known him. “Of course I am,” he replied with another chuckle. “You directly disobeyed me and nearly got us all killed. However, it seems to have turned out for the best, so I guess I don’t have to kill you. Now get yourself to bed before I change my mind.”

Tso jumped to his feet and hustled out of the cockpit to escape the intimidating Barabel while Nyarchagga continued to laugh mockingly at the poor Sullustan. Tso reached a chamber where several others were already working to clear out the snow, but he passed them without even glancing in their direction. Only a single thought was on his mind right at that moment. He was tired, and he wanted desperately to curl up in some corner and fall fast asleep.

At last he arrived at one of the bunking quarters, and Tso found that they were mostly empty. Only those that had been injured were occupying the beds, and Tso quickly rushed to an open bed and curled up inside it. Within a few moments he was fast asleep.



The End

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