JerichöX looked back at the cage control panel, reviewing the buttons and switches. It would be best to just plant his satchel charges all over the lab and make his escape from this place. But he always preferred style over safety. Maybe that was why trouble seemed to follow him. Too bad he had executed all of the scientists; one would be handy to have right now. Luckily JerichöX had been in some prison cages himself. Prisons were what the universe considered penance for being an outlaw. The price for being a bad boy was always prison or death. He pushed the button labelled gas. “Hope this does what I think it does,” JerichöX murmured to himself. “If I accidentally turn this cage off, I’m a dead man.” As soon as the button was depressed, gas started emitting from nozzles inset within the cell. After a few seconds the Thargoid slumped to the cage floor. “Well that was a good start.” He glanced back at the now unconscious Thargoid. “You really are a big fella. Look like you get enough to eat…and god knows what you eat. So how did they move you about?” JerichöX pulled the lever labelled Transport. “Here goes nothing,” he thought to himself.
The cage slowly levitated from the floor. “That’s interesting. Your cage is mobile big guy.” An evil smile spread across the face of JerichöX. “Looks like you and I are going for a ride.” JerichöX grabbed his duffel bag and pulled out several satchel charges. Dashing across the lab, he planted the bombs on the main support sections and computers. Timer set – 7 minutes and counting. JerichöX ran quickly back to the cage and began pushing. It moved easily through the air.
A sonic boom erupted outside. The sounds of a troop ship entering the atmos.“Guess we’re using the back door then.” During his initial recon of the lab, JerichöX had seen a loading bay in the back. It was probably used for bringing laboratory equipment to the site. He began maneuvering the caged Thargoid through the oversized back door of the lab. It was slow going, and the clock was ticking. Tick…Tick…Tick. Four minutes later he finally managed to get the cell outside.
“What a bunch of bozos”, JerichöX thought. He pushed the cage into an air cargo transport unit sitting in the loading area and closed the door. Another minute gone. He was cutting it way too close. It was time to leave. He knew Federal troops would be rushing inside the laboratory any second. He powered up the transport and slammed the throttle forward. He rocketed over a snow dune and away. Seconds later, the lab blew sky high.
JerichöX landed his Anaconda in Eta Draconis. He counted himself lucky that his ship wasn’t scanned. He wasn’t sure what the authorities would say about a caged Thargoid, but he was pretty sure he wouldn’t like it. JerichöX walked down the ramp toward the Star & Garter.
The Star & Garter was loud with the sounds of drunken Dragons, and blasting electronica from the stage band; strippers were dancing in time to the music. The bar was hazed over with dense cigar smoke, and the scent of onionhead. He found Commander Walford at a corner table in the back. “Excuse me Commander Walford. Do you have a sec?” JerichöX asked. Walford looked up from his drink with a sigh. “You always bring trouble with you JerichöX. Furieux warned me about you. Walford downed his drink with a gulp, and looked up. “Well, what are you waiting for..get on with it!”
“Well sir, I’m not really sure where to begin. I can give you a full debrief, but …umm…this may be hard to believe sir, but I have a captured Thargoid on my ‘Conda and I was thinking…”
Commander Walford burst out of his chair in shock. “What did you say? You have a Thargoid? How the hell did you get a Thargoid!”
“That’s a long story sir. But the truth of it is…well…I have him in a shielded cage…and well…wouldn’t he make a great Dragon mascot sir! We could just park his cage in the S&G wherever we go.”
Commander Walford sat down again. He seemed stunned. “Are you crazy?!! You want to keep a mascot Thargoid for the Dragons in the S&G?! That’s insane!”
JerichöX looked Walford in the eye. “Yes sir, it probably is. But what better mascot for this rag tag band of killers, outlaws, and thieves. I’m pretty sure Commander Unfazed would be on board. He seems to like crazy shit. I mean, hell sir, we already have assassins, pirates, and thieves. We even have a ship whisperer, ” JerichöX smiled broadly, “So why not have a Thargoid mascot…sir.”
Commander Walford looked up from his chair. “Damn, I’m gonna need another drink.”