"It's you…" I mumbled in shock.
"Of course it's me! It's you I wasn't expecting!" said Breccan from outside the ship.
He was dressed in outside wear and grew a small beard since the last time we saw him. It brought out a more rugged, sturdier side of him. If anything he was even more attractive than before, which threw me off because he's been rejected by Kiko so many times.
Within a few moments the entire Jago crew gathered in front of the door.
"Of all the humanoids we could run into in this vast universe, why do we run into you?" Rei exasperated as soon as she saw him. "I think it's my turn to get sick now."
"Why did you open the door Tammy?" Kiko complained.
"It seems he wanted to discuss some matters." She said simply.
Rei joined Kiko's enthusiasm, "He can talk from outside-"
"Let him speak" said Cashel.
Rei gave a defeated sigh and plopped herself on some cargo.
Breccan smiled and spoke, "It seems we have found ourselves in a similar… predicament."
Cashel listened, "go on…"
"We've both crash landed in the same area, which means I can guess that you and your crew have come searching for the same thing as us? And now we have similar problems…"
He took a deep breath, "Your main power source failed when entering the planet but you were able to activate your backup generator in order to land…somewhat safely. Now your new problem is the fact that your tracking device can no longer be powered, plus it isn't strong enough to find a close range signal of the stone. And then there's the problem of being able to leave the planet before being sucked into the black hole we are currently sitting on because the backup generator simply isn't strong enough to get you very far in the air."
Tammy nodded to Cashel. Guess he was right on target. I wonder how he knew all that.
Cashel studied Breccan before saying, "So you want to join forces I'm assuming? What do you have that we don't?"
"Resources." He gave a smug smile, "I can build almost an entirely new ship with the resources we brought with us. Plus I have an excellent mechanic crew that can build anything you want. Our problem is we don't have enough knowledge to work around a few problems we've been having but I'm pretty sure your Mechanite can help us there." He gestured to Tammy.
Mechanite? That's what Tammy's species must be called.
"How do we determine who gets the stone if we cooperate together?"
"Eh, we can figure that out later." Breccan simply brushed off probably the most important question.
Cashel thought for a moment but it was pretty obvious what we had to do. There was no way any of us would be able to leave the planet without each other's help.
"Alright, we're temporary comrades." He agreed.
Breccan smiled, showing his pearly white teeth.
"Excellent! Feel free to drop by our base when you're ready!"
And with that he turned and strolled away whistling.
We all watched him until he was far enough away to talk about him without him overhearing, "I guess he can take things seriously when he needs to" I observed.
Rei and Kiko both scoffed at my comment before going back inside the ship.
"Is this really necessary?" Kiko exasperated to Cashel. "I seriously might just kill him."
Cashel gathered his belongings to take to Breccan's base. "We'll need each other to get off this planet," he answered. "Try and refrain from seriously injuring him, we can't afford to wait three months for him to recover."
Kiko grumbled and then walked away.
We gathered any equipment we would need, which wasn't as much as I thought because we had left a few items on Dezner, and then we all headed to Breccan's base.
Surprisingly, his base wasn't very far away. In fact it looked like they crash landed in almost the same exact spot as us. When we got out of the ship, the first thing noticeable was Breccan's large ship.
"It's funny how we landed right next to them" I said as we walked to his base.
"They must have an excellent pilot." said Tammy.
For a place with an impending doom, it was beautiful. There were many trees and bushes like Dezner but they looked different and were much more colorful, diverse, and bigger. I think this is what they would call… a jungle.
The walk was very short and soon we arrived in front of Breccan's base camp that was being guarded by a few large men of a strange species. They carried large blasters that strapped around their bodies but when they saw us coming they lowered their blasters and moved aside for us. There were several tents pitched in front of their crashed ship and many people walking about.
I couldn't believe how many people there were. It reminded me of a small village as I studied the different species we passed.
"Who're all these people?" I asked.
"Breccan's crew" Kiko answered.
"All of them?"
A familiar voice answered back, "We have more inside the ship," came Lux's voice from behind.
I turned to see her come up and join us on the opposite side of Kiko. She was wearing a tight sleek outfit with a few blasters on her hips and a long one on her back. I also noticed she had a whip attached to her hip as well. Kiko wasn't pleased about her appearance and turned away to walk ahead of us.
"I was surprised to see you here," she continued and asked to Cashel, "I thought you weren't going to participate in the race?"
"Thing's changed" he said gruffly. I'm sure that comment reminded him of what happened on Dezner.
"I see…" she pointed to a few large tents in the middle of the base. "We have those two tents set up for you guys. You can assemble your stuff in there. Breccan is in that tent right there." She pointed to another large tent set up in front of the two tents. "Dinner is in a few hours but feel free to walk around if you'd like." Then she smiled at me and waved goodbye before leaving.
Rei threw her stuff on the ground. "Of course he puts us in the middle of his base next to him." She said.
Cashel assured her, "It's only for a few days."
We spent the next few hours unloading and setting up Tammy's equipment. As it was getting darker outside I realized how hungry I was and as soon that thought crossed my mind, a guard came by and knocked on our tent door.
"Dinner will be ready in 5 minutes. We've set up tables in front of the ship, you can't miss it." He told me when I answered it.
"I'm not going." Rei and Kiko said in unison after I told everyone what the messenger told me.
Cashel laughed. "Fine don't go, I won't force you." Then he walked out of the tent.
Then Tammy said in her usual monotone voice, "Just think, all-you-can-eat without affecting our own food supply on the ship."
Both Rei and Kiko's eyes lit up at the same time, and then they both got up and made their way toward the exit.
"Challenge accepted, don't hold back." I heard Kiko say to Rei before they both disappeared through the door.
There were several large tables set up in front of the ship and they were all filled to capacity with Breccan's crew.
I don't know how, but Rei and Kiko were cleaning off plates left and right. I think they made it their personal goal to cut Breccan's food supply in half.
It was loud and rowdy, and giant serving plates from the ship kept coming out to fill the table and replace the empty ones, mainly to our table.
I didn't want to admit it but everyone in Breccan's crew was having a good time and laughing together like there wasn't a care in the world. I found myself enjoying their company and I even think Rei and Kiko were starting to enjoy themselves as well.
It wasn't until Breccan and Lux came out of the ship and walked over to our table, that's when things started to get serious again. Everyone quieted down when the captain walked out, in order to listen to what he had to say to us.
"Crew of the Jago, and my beloved Akiko…" he made an attempt to sit beside Kiko. She instinctively drew out her knife with one hand while continuing to shovel down food with the other. Breccan saw this and immediately walked to the other side while still trying to maintain his coolness. "Since we are unfortunately on a time restraint on this beautiful planet, let us begin to discuss how we should go about dealing with this minor problem."
He and Lux sat down in front of us and prepared a plate to eat.
"First things first," Cashel started, "Who gets the stone?"
Breccan made no reaction to this remark as he piled food atop his plate.
"We can figure that out once we're near the stone." He brushed away the question again.
Cashel pursed his lips and the Jago crew stopped eating to listen to what the two captains had to say.
"I guess I can agree to that right now, so what did you have planned?"
Breccan had just put a giant spoonful of food in his mouth when Cashel spoke so Lux answered him instead.
"We've been stuck on this planet for almost a month now. Since our original power source doesn't work on this planet, we've been working on a way to utilize this environment's resources to provide power."
"And what power source would that be?"
Breccan swallowed and answered, "Sage."
This time Cashel looked to Tammy for an answer and she explained, "Sage is a resilient liquid mineral that is abundant and only found on this planet. It cannot be burned, destroyed, or damaged in any way other than its own evaporation. The two layers surrounding Fargon are formed from Sage particles that leave this planet's surface."
"Can it be used as a power source?"
Tammy stared into nothing for a moment before answering, "It's feasible."
Breccan continued eating again so Lux spoke, "We have a few prototype generators made but they don't output enough power as we'd hoped. There's also the problem about creating an accurate stone finder to locate the stone in close proximity. We seem to be missing some knowledge that we just don't have and so we're willing to provide you with our resources, as well as access to our ship's mechanic shop in exchange for the knowledge you have."
I saw Tammy glow slightly when Lux mentioned their mechanic shop. This was basically an exchange of knowledge and resources. It seemed like a good plan to me.
"Are you okay with this Tammy?" Cashel whispered to her.
She nodded, back to her monotonic, quiet self again and Cashel nodded to Breccan in agreement.
"Great!" he said, "I'm glad we got all that talking out of the way!"
I'm pretty sure Lux did the major of the explaining.
Breccan had finished his plate and introduced a girl that he had called over, "This is Pippa, she's the ship's lead mechanic and knows everything about every tool we have."
The girl was in a mechanic's full body suit with goggles around her neck and she had grease marks on her smiling face. She was about Tammy's height and age but with short, messy, red hair and an actual expression on her face.
She introduced herself to Tammy, "Hiya, you need anythin' lemme know! I know everythin' 'bout our tools and ship!"
Tammy nodded and said hello.
"We can have a proximate stone locator ready in two days" Cashel said to Breccan.
He clapped his hands, "Excellent! That leaves…" he fiddled with an object that was around his wrist. I noticed that everyone in his crew had one.
A hologram of a countdown appeared in the air. "Eleven days to travel, find the stone, return to our ships and get off the planet before it get absorbed into nothing."
Eleven days to do all that? Is that even possible? All we could do is try.
We went back to our tent after dinner and Tammy went to her work tent to begin designing the blueprint drafts for the proximate stone locator. This left the rest of the Jago crew to prepare for a journey to search for the stone. Rei was checking weapons, Kiko was packing food and clothes and Cashel was checking our location on a Fargon map he received from Breccan.
Cashel thought aloud to us, "From the looks of it and based of Tammy's estimation, it looks like the journey to reach the stone will take about five days. That leaves us with just have enough time to get the stone and get back to the ships and take-off before this planet's time ends."
Luckily this seemed simple enough, all we were fighting against was time.
I didn't realize just how wrong I was until I was awoken early in the morning by a loud CRACK followed by strong winds and the sound of hustling outside.