Part 4: Elemental Stone
"So where is it??" Rei asked as the four of us made our way to Tammy's work station where the tracker was set up.
"About two day's travel from here, on a planet called Fargon." She replied.
Kiko examined the planet's hologram and said, "Fargon? Never heard of it."
"It's not a planet that's often visited."
Cashel sat next to Tammy, "Fargon huh? Tell us everything you know about it Tammy."
Tammy pulled up some holograms of the planet which looked different from other planets. "This planet is located on top of a black hole," everyone gave a surprised gesture while looking at the hologram.
She continued, "The only reason why the planet is not being dragged into the black hole is because of a natural-made substance that seeps out of the planet and into the atmosphere. This substance is called Sage. The Sage creates two protective layers that act as a shield, blocking the suction of the planet into the black hole."
The diagram showed the planet along with two smaller planets inside of a larger bubble, and at the bottom of that large bubble was a cone shaped spiral which I took to be the black hole.
"What are these smaller planets?" I asked, pointing to the two small balls next to the planet.
"Those are the moons to the planet," She answered.
Cashel stood up again. "Set our course for Fargon" he said as he left the room.
I spent the rest of the two days mentally preparing myself for our arrival on a new planet. Tammy said that there weren't that many people on the planet and that the main species was humans. Since it is supposed to be mainly uninhabited, I'm expecting it to be almost like Dezner. There was only one way to find out though.
The rest of the crew prepared for the journey in their own way. There was little talk or social interaction those two days. I found Rei and Kiko practically living in the training room as well as Tammy in her workroom and Cashel on the flight deck.
I was getting anxious as the two days dwindled down to a few hours. My eyes wandered the ceiling in my room as I lay on my bed. What does being in this race mean? We were going to risk our lives to try and rule the galaxy? No… we were trying to protect it. There was no denying that that man…Ozias was also trying to win the race, and he seemed highly capable of doing just that. Seeking power is what seems to be the only thing he lives for, but why does he want Kiko's power so badly? She must be pretty strong if he's been searching for her as well.
Tammy's image popped up on the ceiling, "Meet on the flight deck. Rei, stop daydreaming and get out of the shower, you're wasting all the hot water."
We all met on the flight deck wondering if we were there yet. Rei gave Tammy a sour look when she saw her.
"You didn't have to blast the cold water to get me to hurry," she grumbled while drying her hair.
Tammy ignored her comment and explained the situation.
"We received a message from the main space port on the planet. It seems that the planet will be destroyed."
"Destroyed?" asked Cashel.
"Apparently the Vo stone was able to penetrate the two protective layers as it entered the planet's atmosphere. Usually objects are able to pass through the atmosphere without breaking the layers if they pass through at a slower speed. My guess is that the stone was traveling at an unnatural speed, as well as containing unknown power that could have disrupted and destroy parts of the layers as it entered."
Kiko crossed her arms, "Well what does that all mean?"
"It means that they are evacuating the planet so will have to enter the planet hidden and illegally."
"Tell us something we don't usually do" said Rei.
"We'll only have approximately two Fargon weeks before the planet's layers rotate enough to face the black hole and the planet gets absorbed, destroying the planet in the process."
Cashel thought aloud, "We're on a time limit to find the stone…two weeks…" he went to his chair on the flight deck and ordered, "Tammy get us on that planet quickly and discreetly."
Tammy joined him on the flight deck. "Yes sir, I've already calculated the trajectory of the stone and its approximate location on the planet and we should be entering the atmosphere shortly."
"Why don't we just let the stone get sucked into the black hole?" I asked, standing behind the Tammy and Cashel.
"Someone could be on the planet right now searching for it and we can't risk losing this chance if no one has found it yet." Cashel responded.
I guess that made sense. Suddenly I noticed that we were approaching a light-greenish screen and on the other side of it was the planet. It was absolutely beautiful, full of different colors and it was hard to imagine that the planet would be gone in only two weeks. My guess was that the light-greenish screen was the sage protective layers.
Everyone watched intently and quietly as we slowly approached the screen. As soon as the ship made contact with it, it was like we were flying through greenish liquid. Out of nowhere, a different alarm sounded, then another, then suddenly it seemed everything in the ship was flashing and making noise.
Tammy quickly worked the panels. "We're losing power. The layers must disrupt our power source. We need to manually turn on the backup generator."
Cashel jumped out of his chair, "I'm on it." He said as he ran out of the flight deck.
The alarms continued to ring and flash as we made our way through the light-green, liquid screen. As soon as we broke through the first layer, everything, including us, started to float.
"What's going on?" I asked with hesitation.
"The Gravity Binder must have died," said Rei.
Gravity Binder? That must have been what was keeping us down on the ship. I have to admit, it was really fun being able to float around so freely. Kiko and Rei didn't seem as amused and they were more controlled while floating then I was. They must have been able to do this all the time before I came along.
The ship began passing through the second layer as Cashel's voice came on through the speakers.
"I almost have it but it needs some-" the power died inside the entire ship and everything but the sun-shield went dark. We watched through it as we were almost through the second layer.
"Brace yourselves" was the last thing I heard Tammy say before Rei, Kiko and I were slammed to the ground as gravity in the ship came back. Before we could get up we started floating again but this time it was because we were crashing down toward the planet.
The ship began spinning out of control as it went freefalling down to the ground. Rei, Kiko and I were left thrashing and spinning around along with other objects and equipment in the flight deck. We lost complete control of the ship and I was pretty sure this is how I was going to die but I didn't have much time to think about it. You shouldn't feel anything with a quick impact death right? Well, it seemed like an eternity as we continued to be trounced about inside the ship. I was pretty bruised and battered, but suddenly the lights throughout the flight deck came back on and Tammy was able to try and regain control again, stopping the ship from spinning around and turning on the engines to slow our decent.
I was completely dizzy as I finally stood up, but at least we weren't spinning anymore. We took a look through the sun-shield and I saw how close we were to the surface of the planet already, and approaching it rapidly.
"We're going to crash land" said Tammy just as the three of us were finally able to stand up straight again.
The ship shuddered and gave a hard jolt as soon as we made contact with the ground. Soon enough the three of us were back on the floor. I couldn't see out the sun-shield anymore but I'm pretty sure we bounced off the ground of the planet based off the impact that had us rolling around again. Finally, with one final stopping jolt, we stopped moving.
It was all quiet as everyone tried to regain their bearings again.
"Are we done crashing?" asked Rei weakly and was sprawled across the floor.
"I hope so," answered Kiko from the other side of the floor.
No one moved, then Tammy, who was in her seat the entire time, unbuckled her seatbelt and stood up to check the ship's condition.
I happened to land at her feet when we crashed, "The only smart one" I said wearily.
Rei rubbed her head, "Is Cashel still alive down there?"
"Yes," said Tammy as she checked panels around the flight deck. "He made it into an empty cargo bin just in time."
The three of us stood up once again.
"I think I'm gonna be sick…" I mumbled before stumbling down the hall to the nearest bathroom.
I lost my lunch and then splashed some cold water on my face to try and get me back to my normal, non-spinning senses. I never knew how much staying still felt good.
I was finally able to drag myself out of the bathroom when I heard a knock on the cargo bay door coming from the outside. That was curious. I walked over to the large bay door and listened to see if it would happen again. Abruptly, the bay doors creaked and jarred open, revealing someone I did not expect to see in the far reaches of the galaxy.