Dozens of fists banged on the hull.
Shouts of dismay and begging for entry rang through as well. M’Der had contemplated letting them in. Row had been adamant they’d be too much to handle, that they should just concentrate on getting themselves into orbit without worrying about a bunch of lost refugees.
The engines, however, were having a hard time warming up, despite the intense rising heat building up outside. They whined and coughed, spitting smoke and steam out of the exhausts at the back.
The pleading voices grew louder and more frantic.
M’Der looked at them outside.
There was only twenty.
The rest had disappeared when part of the spaceport had fallen into a lake of molten rock. Neither had shown their feelings about it, though even Row felt fear and horror well up in him at the sight.
“There’s only a few left now,” M’Der argued again.
Row shook his head, outright refusing.
“If we let them in, we’ll be overloaded. Plus we don’t know if they will be exactly kind to us.”
“How can you be so cold?”
Row scoffed, “I’m a pirate, remember?”
He turned to leave the cockpit as the engines roared to life, the ship vibrating and growling nicely. The noise was a huge comfort for both.
Row hadn’t counted on the door failing, however.
He turned, and his forehead slammed straight into the door, jammed at head height. The cockpit sounded with a resounding dong like a bell, and was replaced with the oblivion of unconsciousness.
* * *
A hangover threatened to knock him back into the black.
He groaned as he sat up.
The ship was moving, he could feel the shaking underneath him, hear the engines struggling, and smell a coolant leak. The unmistakable stink of dozens of sweaty bodies reached his nostrils as well.
He had been propped up none too gently in the cramped corridor leading to the cockpit. There were several people sat roughly down the other end leading into the rest of the ship, some he recognised as being those he had been so willing to leave outside.
Realisation suddenly hitting him, he leapt to his big feet and charged into the cockpit.
M’Der was lifting from the spaceport, just as the ground gave away.
The ship rocked terribly, the stabilisers struggling in the incredible heat. Even from his position, he could see the external thermometers were rising quicker than a torpedo towards a target. The anger he felt towards M’Der subsided at his analysis of the situation.
The ship was about to melt.
“What are you waiting for?”
“We’re stuck,” his brother snapped. “There’s no clear path.”