The mottled orange face of the alien sun loomed large in the viewscreen. Sweating bullets and gasping for breath, Dashiell pressed his browline glasses back up his nose. Blood dripped from the clawmark across his chest. “Just a scratch.”
Leaning against the cryogenic conduit to cool himself, Dashiell checked his .38 revolver. “One bullet left.”
With a crash, the hatch deformed visibly, struck by some awesome force. “I may be a washed-up pulp writer,” he shouted, “but I’m a fighter.” Razor claws forced the hatch open. Dash took aim as the reptilian entered. “Somehow I’ll get back to Earth. Then I’ll let everyone know aliens are real.”
The quadrupedal alien approached deliberately, licking its lips. He backed away. “They say write what you know. Want to hear the title of Dashiell Pendragon’s next bestseller?”
The creature lunged at him, seeming to soar through the air. Leaping aside, Dash took aim and squeezed the trigger. The bullet whizzed past the reptilian’s crested head, striking the cryogenic conduit.
As liquid oxygen gushed onto the scaly beast, it writhed in pain. Dashiell covered his ears to muffle its death shriek.
When it fell silent, Dashiell prodded the lifeless alien’s face with the muzzle of his revolver. “Slaying the Dragon.”