Adventures of Corkhorn Issue 1: Bubble Tea Blues

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Chapter 6

Corkhorn grit his teeth. Ottero squirmed in his grip. Buffeted on all sides by cargo. That manifest scanner slapped against Ottero’s hip. This close to falling out of the holster. Corkhorn grasped at plastic while something slipped. It fell into Corkhorn’s forehoof, bereft of the neck it fell from.

“What the,” Corkhorn grunted.

The collars locking mechanism was just a seatbelt buckle. . . If both collars were the same model . . .

Corkhorn gnawed on Ottero’s collar until his teeth undid the button. With the collar off, Ottero practically pulled himself inside out within his skin to throttle him to death. Corkhorn in a last ditch effort hooked his collar around Ottero’s scarred neck.

“How dare you compliment that Air Fried Chicken Witch!” He roared.

Ottero’s eyes glazed over in a dizzy spell. The flourescent lights came on. The ship moaned in relief as it righted itself. Corkhorn gulped. The unicorn’s heart hammered in his ribs.

Though the opponent was finally subdued. The crate of Bubble-tea was mixed up in the jumble. Corkhorn’s ears pinned flat against his skull. Now the Cargo Bay was even more unnavigable than ever.

He studied the buckle mechanism on The collar. The remote synchronizer had to be taken out to make room for the injector and drug dispensary. Ottero’s collar had a remote synchronizer and self charging battery.

“Are,”Corkhorn gulped, “Are you okay?”

Silence answered the Unicorn’s query. His body was still smoking from the electrical carnage. Corkhorn winced. Charred flesh smoked his sense of smell into hiding.

“Gyugh crispy carbon that reeks,” Corkhorn muttered.

He took the Manifest scanner from Ottero’s holster. The flesh was seered red around the neck. An infection waiting to happen. Corkhorn gulped.

“Hang on this is going to hurt,” he told Ottero.

Long story short Corkhorn’s disgust broiled in his gut and wrinkled his muzzle the wrong way at the depths of scars running down Ottero’s neck. He dragged Ottero aside, took off the collar, and propped up his head and neck to avoid further injury. The burnt flesh, however made his eyes water.

“Ew, Air Fried Chicken Witch is apt,” Corkhorn stated he patted Ottero’s cheek, “Sorry about that but seriously how long have you been wearing those collars?”

Scanning the packages at the bottom and pushing his way to the top of mountain he triped on the way up.

A flash of green scales looped around his ankle was all Corkhorn’s fur needed to stand on end. The unicorn whinnied bloody murder. All four hooves galloped for purchase.

Roger the Snake roped his way around Corkhorn coil for coil. Ribs squeezed. Lungs pressured for air. Corkhorn took several gulps of empty while Roger sneered.

“Should of squeezed ya when I got the chance,” Roger sneered, “Not missing the chance now.”

“St-stop,” Corkhorn begged, “Stop.”

Roger wrung Corkhorn like a rag until something snapped. Something bit. The two fell to the ground screaming.

Roger had a chunk of plastic stabbed in his side. Blood oozed around the wound. Corkhorn clutched his ribcage with one forelimb. Blood dyed his fur a matted red. The Manifest scanner crushed in Corkhorn’s other fore-hoof. The unicorn wobbled woozily upright.

Safeties came off. The hum of a motor whirred to life in every gun’s action. Corkhorn blinked owlishly down the barrels of several rifles leveled with his muzzle. Laser pointers dotted his vitals in range.

“Well, well, well,” tutted a familiar voice. “What escapee we have here?”

A shudder quivered up Corkhorn’s spine. If it was who our delivery boy thought he heard.

“Captain!” greeted Roger. He saluted with his tail.

Captain Cluck-vers kicked the snake. Talons raked open skin. Primary Feathers caught on fire as heat ruptured open. She aimed her palms at Roger’s new wound. The snake writhed in agony as people jolted away from the captain.

A busted manifest scanner careened with the side of Captain Cluck-vers’ head. Plastic pelted her skull. Feathers fluffed in fury as she rounded on the unicorn.

Collective gasps rose from the pirate crew. Disbelief twisted Captain Cleck-vers’ face. Corkhorn’s knees shook. Ears flattened. His heartbeat hammered wildly in his chest. It had been doing so the whole time. Memories fresh from the kidnapping to the torture to the shock collars still kept screaming in his head. His horn ached and felt ready to burst.

Wrong bird. Wrong bird. Wrong bird.

Captain Cluck-vers sneered down her beak at the little unicorn. Corkhorn’s fore-limb was stained with his own blood. Captain Cluck-vers rounded on Roger again.

Bang.

Clang.

Corkhorn ducked and missed shots hit people all around the ship. The cork popped off and rocketed away. The unicorn’s blood boiled watching that harpy over there burn a new hole in her crewmates.

“So much for not attacking the hostage,” one of the pirates whispered.

“Taste hoof blasted bird.” Corkhorn snarled.

He jack knifed the Air fried Chicken Witch. Cluck-vers tumbled headlong into the cargo bay doors. Corkhorn threw his lollipop which bashed the button. The air sucked out of the open Cargo Bay doors sent the two fighters falling out and falling up. They floated up into Outer Space.

Half of the crew reeled from the electrocution and 25% of them shot with carbonator engine guns. The ship groaned it’s way into the nearest asteroid field. Corkhorn and Captain Cluck-vers tumbled into the distance.

Inside the ship, Something issued commands. The crew came alive, if limping, working. The ship was righted. It narrowly missed the nearest rock. Quartermaster Patches issued orders while clinging for dear life onto Hippolyta’s shoulders. His shoulder was still bubbled up where Captain Cluck-vers poured scolding water on Patches flesh.

“Rescue the others ya smarmy swabs,” growled Patches, “Right the thrusters and aim the tractor beam. We need a gravity chute before they explode.”

The stakes were too high to question the right and the wrong. Force fields had automatically activated. To keep the rest of the crew inside.

Meanwhile, miles away from the ship a different showdown occurred over Boba Pearls.

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