Warning displays flashed across the console. The shuttle had safely entered the atmosphere of a dozen worlds without a problem. Jillian Taylor seemed to be in shock at the navigation station. Her mouth agape and hands motionless over useless controls, she calmly said “Leroy, Dr. Morin, every one of the shuttle’s systems has failed.”
Friction from atmospheric entry felt like an earthquake. Leroy Phillips tugged the controls with all his might. Sweat beaded the man’s head. The cabin went dark seconds before the shuttle smashed into the planet’s surface. Jillian heard Dr. Morin's scream right before she lost consciousness.
“Jillian, are you alright?” Leroy leaned over his partner and shook her gently.
Her eyes opened slowly to see bits of their small space craft strewn about a lush forested glade. Her eye panned to a low moan a couple hundred feet away. She rose to her feet and darted to Dr. Morin. The man hung suspended in a tree. Blood welled around a broken branch protruding from his abdomen.
“My God… We have to help him. Jillian, find the first aid kit” Leroy said as he slowly approached the impaled scientist. Suddenly a crack sounded and Morin crumpled to the grass below the tree.
Leroy and Jillian rushed to his side. The Branch had been dislodged and blood spurted onto the grass. Dr. Morin lay on his side and Leroy could see right through the man’s middle as he moaned incoherently. Jillian pressed her hands over each side of the wound and sobbed desperately. She hoped against all reason that their colleague would be alright.
A strange sensation surrounded her hands. Dr. Morin’s eyes fluttered and he briefly convulsed. Leroy assumed the poor man shuddered in his death throes.
“Are you two okay?” Dr. Morin asked.
Leroy stared at the man regaining his feet and at Jillian who remained on the ground staring at blood soaked hands. The scientist began to prod at the skin beneath the blood soaked tear in his shirt.
There was no wound.
“I saw that hole through you Dr. Morin. You were dying and Jillian held your injury, now you are okay” Leroy stammered.
Dr. Morin suspected the three of them experienced shock from the wreck. However, shock could not account for all the blood. He walked over to his satchel, amid the wreckage and pulled out his slate. The power button did nothing. He hoped it survived undamaged. A faint blue glow surrounded the device as it whirred to life. His suspicions about the presence of a strange mineral were confirmed.
“The unknown mineral we came to investigate must interfere with electronic devices” Dr. Morin said.
“Why is your slate working?” Jillian asked. She wondered if her team mate had been saved because of the same thing that powered his device.
Leroy Phillips sulked around the cabin of their ruined shuttle. Their mission to this world had taken them days away from the starship. The crew wouldn’t know to search for them for at least a week. The CSF officer began to think of a way to make repairs. Lost in thought, he did not notice the shuttle’s shattered components swirl about him in the air mingling with the unknown mineral as it rose from the grassy meadow and coalesced among the shuttle components. He did not hear Morin or Jillian’s startled exclamations or even feel the portion of shuttle rise from the ground.
Before Jillian’s eyes Leroy radiated an intense green energy which caused the shuttles scraps to mingle with the strange mineral they had come to investigate and form into a giant metallic dragon. Its belly splayed open revealing a hatch with Leroy at the control console of the strange new craft.
“The mineral somehow cancels science but allows magic,” Jillian stammered as she and Morin climbed aboard the metallic beast.
The silver dragon leapt into the sky and flapped powerful wings until it rose into the atmosphere and beyond.