Part 3: Millennium Galaxy Race
As the week was ending, everyone on Crux was preparing for the Millennium Galaxy Race. It was getting harder to travel around as more and more aliens, humans, cyborgs, and all the other different species in the universe gathered on this planet. Good thing it was a huge planet, it's at least twice the size of Sola according to Tammy, and Sola is no small planet.
The race was a big deal. Everyone was talking about it since it only happened once every thousand years. I was only mildly surprised that we weren't going to do it, or even try to do it. The only person who was thrilled about it was Rei. She read as much gossip about it as she could, but it was surprising that she didn't beg the others to do it.
The others crewmembers however, had little to no interest in it.
"No need to be flashy," said Cashel.
"Not worth the risk," said Tammy.
And still not a word from Kiko.
The Millennium Galaxy Race was about to begin the next day when we were unexpectedly summoned to the inner city. The only good thing about this trip was that the entire Jago crew was summoned and so Kiko had to come along. I hadn't seen her in days but she still pretended I didn't exist. I didn't mind too much, it was just nice to finally see her again.
"What's in the inner city?" I asked Tammy in the shuttle on the way there.
"The Crux Council and the ruler of the entire galaxy."
"Surely we're not going there for them so why are we being summoned?"
She responded with a blank stare.
"You mean… they did summon us?"
Another Tammy joke I see.
"The ruler summoned us."
I laughed but no one reacted.
The inner city was beautiful, majestic, and… empty. It was weird being able to walk out of the shuttle and not have to avoid anyone since only certain, important people were allowed to be in this area.
We walked through a garden of strange plants and into an enormous white marble building. I kept thinking we were going to stop soon but we were being ushered deeper into the manor until finally stopping in a large, circular, empty room. There were hardly any decorations, just a red carpet that lead to another part of the building. We were alone there standing, not really knowing what to do. We didn't have to wait long however.
A male voice echoed from across the room, "Welcome."
Everyone bowed their heads out of respect. It's not every day you meet a thousand year old man who ruled the entire galaxy.
He walked up to us. "There's no need for that."
He looked like a normal human man about the same age as Cashel and wearing simple but elegant attire. Unlike Cashel though, he had hair which was short and snow white.
"It's been a long time Cashel." He said.
"Not too long..." Cashel replied.
"I hear your crew is continually destructive as always" he chuckled.
"Why did you summon us here Tiberius?" asked Cashel getting straight to the point. He must have known him pretty well, and for some reason he wasn't looking forward to this meeting. I saw the discontent in his face when we received the invitation to the inner city.
"I need you to finish what we started a thousand years ago." Tiberius stated.
Did he just say a thousand years ago? Were they talking about the Millennium Galaxy Race?
Tiberius continued, "We didn't have the power to destroy Vo back then, but you have it now."
Cashel shook his head. "Do you not remember what happened then? What I did?"
"That was the past. I can see who you are right now, what you now live for and believe in."
Cashel continued to shake his head. "I can't risk the lives of my crew. It would be like dragging them into our problems."
Tiberius pleaded, "It's not just our problem. This affects everyone in the galaxy. You haven't seen what I've seen. Do you know what would happen if Vo fell into the wrong hands? The power of Vo is immense, they would be capable of destroying everything that I've tried so hard to build and protect. That we have tried to protect."
Our captain stood there for a moment taking it all in.
"I'm sorry." He finally said shaking his head.
Tiberius gave a heavy sigh and turned around to leave, "I am too. I've already entered the Jago in the race."
Cashel was taken aback by this, "We will not race for you." He said angrily.
Tiberius turned back around, "I can't force you to race. But I'm hoping in time you will come to realize what I have realized." He gave Cashel a weak smile, "I guess this is goodbye my friend." Then walked back, following the red carpet from where he came from. "I hope you stay true to what you believe in and I wish you luck."
We watched as the most powerful man in the galaxy disappeared behind the curtains.
"How do you know the king of the galaxy?" Rei asked Cashel back at the apartment.
I guess he couldn't hide from it any longer.
"You all obvious know that I'm not human. My species is an ancient and dying one. None of us know or remember how we came to be, only that we live for thousands of years. We also have a special power: we're able to contain or suppress other species' powers or special abilities." He sighed, "Well there's not that many of us anymore. Tiberius is the only other one I know and a couple thousand years ago we decided to do the race together in order to build a unified galaxy that didn't have to fear any threats." He took a deep breath. "We were winning the race and had decided that Tiberius should be the holder for Vo, but when it appeared before us I betrayed my friends to try and take it for myself. Tiberius and I fought over it and he was the victor, but instead of killing me he let me live and here I am today."
It was quiet in the room while Cashel told his story.
"So you're thousands of years old?" was the only thing Rei couldn't get over.
"Yep, and I'll tell you one thing, the galaxy is a much better place than what it used to be before Tiberius ruled."
It was incomprehensible to think that Cashel would ever betray his friends. He cared more about us than himself.
"What are we going to do?"
"What we've always done… bounty hunting."
A beep went off in the room, signifying that we had a visitor. Tammy opened the entry way where Breccan and Lux strolled inside. Outside, his massive ship was so large that it took up a bunch of other entry ways as well.
"Aki it's for you…" Rei said with displeasure.
Kiko came out of her room with as much enthusiasm as Rei.
Breccan's face lit up, "Akiko, you're looking stunning as usual today" he radiated with happiness when he spoke to her.
Kiko wasn't amused, "What do you want?" she said simply.
"To wish you farewell," he came close to stroking her cheek but never touched her. "When I come back with Vo I'll sweep you off your feet and we can rule the galaxy together." He sounded very suave when he spoke to her with his passion.
Rei giggled and whispered to me, "Last time he touched her she put him in the medical bay for a few months."
Breccan heard her and snapped back, "don't you have something to destroy?"
Kiko simply ignored Breccan and glared at Lux who was still standing at Breccan's side.
"What are you doing here?" Kiko asked angrily.
"Just making sure our ship stays in one piece around you" Lux sassed back.
Kiko took a threatening step forward and Lux casually put her hand to her hip where a pistol blaster was ready for the taking.
Breccan put his hand between them. "My apologies Akiko." He said to her.
Lux scoffed and turned around to go back to their ship, but not before smiling at me.
Kiko was holding back tight fists. I think it took all her strength not to attack Lux.
Breccan waved to us, "I bid you all farewell! We most likely won't be seeing you for a while!"
We all watched as he boarded his large ship and took off toward the sky.
"Ugh, I hate that guy" Rei exasperated. "I doubt he's gonna win that race."
"Aren't they just as good as the Jago? They're number two right?"
"In this space port yeah, but there are hundreds of spaceports throughout the planet. This is a newer spaceport too. Some of the other spaceports have hunters that have been hunting for much longer than we have." She was now in the kitchen slopping food on her plate. "So overall, we're ranked… probably in the middle somewhere."
The next morning was the day the race was supposed to begin.
Rei and I watched the holograms to see when it would start. Since we were entered into the race we were able to receive the informational holograms that were transmitted to every racer or team.
Rei read aloud, "It says at the start of the race the Vo stone will split into four stones. The race consists of finding those stones and bringing them back together in order for Vo to reappear for the taking."
"That sounds easy enough." I said.
She minimized the hologram to ask Cashel, "What will happen to Tiberius?"
"When you become the vessel for Vo, you become one with it."
So Tiberius was going to split into four pieces. No wonder he looked gloomy again today on the Crux Informational Holograms, his expression matched the gloomy weather.
Rei and I spent the rest of the day staring at the countdown clock. Even outside you could hear people start to get excited. No one knew what to expect because not everyone lives a thousand years to witness the momentous event. Eventually Tammy joined in our clock watching.
My heart was racing like we were actually participating at the many start lines scattered throughout the planet.
3… 2…1… 0.
Crowds were cheering as a large flash came from within the inner city. We ran to take a look outside; even Kiko followed us out with interest. There was a very large pillar of light coming from the inner city and it powerful enough to extend all the way up to the stars. A sound similar to that of thunder reverberated everywhere, shaking the glass on all the buildings, even from this distance.
Everyone, inside every building, was outside on their entry platforms watching the spectacle.
The light began to crackle and break into four smaller, distinct pillars. Then the lights disappeared, and suddenly four bright streaks of light flew up and then veered off away from each other, picking up speed with each second. As soon as it hit the planet's atmosphere, four roaring sonic booms echoed from different locations as the stones took off into space faster than the human eye could follow, leaving behind large rings of smoke in the sky.
At the same time, hundreds of thousands of ships from everywhere on the planet, all different shapes and sizes began taking off, following the streaks of light.
Some people cheered as the thousand year race began. This was something you had to be lucky enough to catch and it was an amazing thing to see. Too bad we weren't participating.
As we were about to walk back inside we heard a distant boom and then another. We looked up to see ships firing at each other, their debris falling to the ground. Then another loud BOOM came from right above us and it started raining ship parts. The people outside began screaming, and it just grew louder and louder.
Soon a blaring alarm rang throughout the entire planet as anarchy and pandemonium began to overthrow the usual order that was sustained by the king of the galaxy.
What is this?! What's going on?! I looked around frantically, confused as chaos ensued. We were suddenly in the middle of a battlefield.
Cashel ran inside, his face strained with the serious situation. "Grab your stuff! We're leaving right now!"