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I bit the bullet and went back down to the hold. I tried not to think about what I was doing—picking over the corpses I had made that way for their belongings. At least I wasn’t doing it for personal financial gain. This was for survival.
I was lucky—one of the bodies had the key-drive hanging from his belt. I took it and headed back to the cockpit/flight deck/whatever. I found the port and slid the key-drive into it. The red alert message zoomed off the way it had come and instantly, the dashboard lights went back to their multicolored shades and now it was time for me to make sense of how to actually fly this ship.
I was starting to suspect that I remembered more about that alien tech than I thought I did because the general layout of the console was starting to look familiar. Maybe we had this dashboard as parts or something?
But then I was able to find the button that caused to control sticks to rise up through the console along with a chair that rose up from the floor. I sat in the chair and felt it adjust itself and actually become more comfortable. Then I felt something beneath my feet–not the floor, this was at an angle. I press the balls of my feet into this surface and I felt two pedals give underneath my pressure. Some place in my head I had memories of how to fly. These pedals worked in sync with the control sticks that I was now holding onto like a small child since they were somewhat larger than my hands were. I moved both the sticks and the pedals and saw the starfield beyond the windshield shift as the ship moved around. It was then that I had a realization: I know how to fly a spaceship!!
It had to be something I experienced as a kid working for Julio. I wasn’t sure how I forgot about learning to fly a spaceship, but clearly, I decided, it must have happened at some point.
I spotted a button on each control stick that was almost at the top of each. My thumbs were a good few inches short so I slid them up and pushed both buttons with my thumbs simultaneously. Suddenly two red AR error messages popped up above both sticks accompanied by that computerized fart sound that was farting every time the error messages blinked–which was over and over.
“OK, OK, I didn’t take off the safety, or arm the weapons.” I sighed and found two different
“safety off/weapons armed” buttons on the base of both sticks and pressed them. The messages vanished. I slid my hands back up the sticks and pressed the buttons again. Instantly, two solid beams of light that were about as wide as a car appeared through the windshield. As they did, I was startled by a very loud noise that sounded like a cross between a car alarm and a machine gun. It sounded odd, though, because it was so loud.
As I lifted my finger, the beams disappeared and the sound stopped. I tapped the buttons again and the beams appeared and the sound rumbled inside the cockpit of the ship. I then expressed my next realization:
“I’VE GOT LASER GUNS!”