Adventures of Corkhorn Issue 1: Bubble Tea Blues

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Chapter 3

Corkhorn’s eyes fluttered open. His wrists and ankles bound in more zip-ties. Rusty metal scraped against his back. Captured again. Corkhorn glared at nothing in particular though he really wished he could glare at how bad his day had been going.

“Now where am I?” Corkhorn muttered.

The unicorn craned his head to look around. Now that he got a really good look at his surroundings the interior of the ship really HAD seen better days. The spring colors it was painted in were chipping or faded. The control map had certain rooms lit up.

Outside looked like a manta ray grew an ovoid torso. Oval area was the control room. Left wing only the med bay was lit up. Right wing construction bay. Yet where was the Cargo Bay?

Corkhorn squinted at the map. There was construction noise next to the room where he discovered the Boba Pearls. So, right wing it is.

A rumble came Corkhorn’s way. The stomping of feet, the stampeding of crew members, and Corkhorn flipped around to his original position. He feigned unconscious with all his might. The thing snapped around his neck dug thick needles into his flesh. Eyes squeezed shut at the pain.

“Captain!” growled a voice. It came from the horror show on legs. Ship’s doctor Corkhorn guessed, “What the heck are you doing.”

“Ensuring our victory Dr. Aieee” Captain Cluck-vers bragged. “Administer the drugs.”

“He’s our hostage,” instructed Dr. Aieee’s body double.

Something tiny hummed to life like a small car engine and bang! Dr. Aieee shook. Corkhorn Huddled down in horror. The shipwright Captain Cluck-vers shot bled out on the floor. It was only Captain Cluck-vers gun that was still smoking.

“Walk it off Mr. ZZZ,” Cluck-vers sniffed, “

DOCTOR.”

Dr. Aieee stopped in mid kneel.

“Drugs doctor,” instructed Captain Cluck-vers, “Administer the drugs. You. Hostage. Wake up.”

Corkhorn had never backpedaled so hard in all his life. The bear paw clamped around his neck. Dr. Aieee’s prosthetic bone-saw paw switched around to a syringe. It injected drugs directly into the collar.

“Now let’s be nice hostage,” Captain Cluck-vers purred, “Whatever you did to the brig. I don’t care. However I expect results. So behave or I’ll lie to your Master about no harm done. Deal?”

Corkhorn’s ears pinned flat. The unicorn glared down the chicken.

“I ought to report you to Anthro Resources you sick sunnuva cluck.” Corkhorn cussed, “Augh!”

The needles stabbed the back of his neck. Heat poured through his blood. His stomach lurched. His head swam in circles. Between the ringing in his stuffed feeling ears and the unbalance of his eardrums Corkhorn fell to his knees once his surroundings spun to a halt.

Captain Cluck-vers laughed uproariously. Corkhorn groaned. He swallowed back against his own bile.

“HOO-HOO! Excellent. Now you can’t wreak havoc,” Captain Cluck-vers chuckled, “These collars are perfect suppressors. Doctor you outdid yourself again with my little toys.”

“Thank you,” Dr. Aieee bit out as he was bent over his twin Mr. Zzz. “Now if you’ll excuse me I am going back to my real job.”

“You ARE at your real job,” sassed the Captain.

“Making toys for you, no,” refused Dr. Aieee. He’d scooped Corkhorn up in one arm. Mr. Zzz was flopped over his shoulder like a sack of flour. “My patients are my job.”

“Killjoy,” sighed Captain Cluck-vers.

“Tyrant!” cursed Corkhorn. Though the drugs messed with his senses. He was yelling in the opposite direction when the collar activated and his lunch lurched against gravity.

“I suggest politeness, Hostage,” reminded Dr. Aieee.

Corkhorn glumly shut his eyes against the pain. Usually he fought but this kidnapping was riskier than the last five this year. Dr. Aieee laid his bleeding twin across the table. Dr. Aieee propped Corkhorn on top of the nearest countertop. The pain subsided with a few remote adjustments.

“Fudge ripple Sunday when I get my HOOVES on that air fried chicken I’m going to rip her a new banana split!” Corkhorn shouted. “Anthro resources my fluffy fart maker! She ought to be fired!”

The needles still pumped drugs into Corkhorn’s blood though nowhere near as potent as before. Corkhorn collapsed from another dizzy spell. Anger still boiled enough to fuel his sitting up straight.

Dr. Aieee Patched up the shipwright via needle and thread. Mr. ZZZ’s eyes rolled beneath his eyelids. Machinations stirred to life. Muscles twitched underneath grizzly fur.

“You do as you’re told you’ll be alive,” warned Dr. Aieee.

Corkhorn’s lion tail twitched every which way.

“I’m sorry that your captain’s faith in her crew doesn’t inspire faith in my safety,” Corkhorn proclaimed. Ears pinned flat against his head. “Master Squaregate wants boba pearls. It’s paramount I deliver them.”

“Delivery boys don’t really talk,” commented Dr. Aieee.

“They don’t get captured by pirates either,” argued Corkhorn.

Dr. Aieee’s stare bore a hole into Corkhorn’s pride for several seconds. The unicorn shook when a roar thundered through the ship. Dr. Aieee ’s head pitched back in laughter. Mr. Zzz snickered before anesthetic took over.

“You’re silly,” Dr. Aieee chuffed, “Here have a lollipop.”

The Ship’s doctor balanced a dum-dum™ on Corkhorn’s nose. He ruffled the Unicorn’s mane and walked out the door. Corkhorn was perplexed, a little confused, but priorities came first despite slight guilt. There was lots of sharp objects around to cut zip ties.

“I’m sorry but I have a delivery to make,” Corkhorn vowed.

He tipped his head back. The candy tumbled into his fore hoof. It got stuffed into his pocket. Corkhorn’s tail shoved itself into the handle of the nearest drawer with a grin. Scalpels, tons of them. Using his hooves to manipulate one to his binds was . . . tricky. Cutting them was the easy part.

Mr. Zzz stirred. Corkhorn halted in midstride to the door. That shipwright shouldn’t even be up. He rushed back.

“Lullaby and good night~,” Corkhorn sang. He rubbed and rubbed Mr. ZZz’s grizzly back. He brushed the bear’s eyes in an effort to relax him into, “You saw nothing, please believe me.~”

Mr. Zzz still lolled back lazily. Poor Corkhorn, a grizzly is only a mere 1,000 pounds. Corkhorn surely had his knees buckling under the weight of holding Mr. Zzz up.

“You got shot. You shouldn’t be up,” Corkhorn sang, “Ugh! My knees are about to break.”

Mr. Zzz rolled. Corkhorn shepherded Mr. Zzz back into a supine position. He pulled over a wad of lab coat with his back hoof. Nose wrinkled at the smell.

“Rest your head~, Close your eyes~, Don’t believe Air Fried Chickens~” Corkhorn sang, “Lullaby~ and good night~. Please sleep, sleep, sleep.”

The collar activated. Corkhorn wobbled on his hooves. He forgot the lyrics by this time but he was having a harder time getting Mr.ZZZ to fall asleep than his little brother back home.

“What a lovely little chick~,” Corkhorn amended his lullaby, “Rip a new hot fudge Sunday. From here to her . . . fun day~ “

“Go to sleep and stay asleep.” Corkhorn finished.

He dodged the last minute Mr. ZZZ’s head hit the impromptu pillow. The Grizzly’s body banged on metal. It echoed throughout the spaceship.

“Hey!” yelled a voice, “What was that!”

Pirates flooded the Medical bay. Corkhorn made himself scarce as he struggled back into the air ducts and away from the assailants below. He spent several minutes wheezing. His heart hammered in his chest.

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