When I awoke I still had the sensation of being in Kiko's arms but when I glanced around, Rei and I were on a strange sand planet with nothing else but the hot blowing wind. I immediately knew it wasn't Sola, there was only one shadow being cast on a nearby plant.
Rei was still unconscious in the shuttle next to me. Kiko must've driven us inside of a sand cave and I saw her walking back to the Jago so I jumped out of the shuttle after her.
"Why?" I asked, "Why are you abandoning us?"
She was a few steps from the Jago when she stopped walking but didn't turn around.
"I can't lose you" she said.
I wanted to say something back but she never gave me the chance to. She walked through the cargo door's red gel wall and it closed behind her. I watched as the Jago ascended in the air and blast off back into space.
Lose me? I angrily kicked the sand. It's me who's losing everyone.
I walked back to the cave and saw that she left us the shuttle, some of our stuff, and all the food. I knew it would get cold at night so I grabbed a sword from the shuttle and walked over to a patch of dry brush just outside of the cave.
Collecting the brush was just my excuse to take my anger out on something. I hacked and swung and mutilated anything in my path with more force than I knew I possessed. I only stopped when I was out of breath and my muscles wouldn't allow me to hold the sword up anymore. I had made enough brush to last us at least a week.
I carried a bundle back to the cave and used one of Rei's weapons to start a fire. I let the dancing flames hypnotize me into a trance. The last time I saw a fire burning, it was engulfing Tammy's lifeless body. Somehow an image of Kiko's body burning in a fire popped into my mind and I quickly pushed it out.
It was almost completely dark when Rei finally woke up in a startled state.
"Aki!" she yelled out as she jolted up looking around. She saw me sitting by the fire and then the realization hit her face. "She's gone… isn't she?"
I couldn't bring myself to answer. Instead I tossed the small stick I was playing with into the whisking flames.
She disappeared behind the back seat and the last thing I heard her say was, "That jerk…"
The next day Rei was quieter than usual but she always had high spirits for Kiko returning or finding some way to reach her. She went through everything Kiko left us to find something that would help us get off the planet. I wasn't sure what she was looking for, what we had most of was food.
"She didn't even leave us a map or anything!" she grumbled going through the items in a medium-sized cargo bin.
I rotated the meat I was cooking on the fire. We had no way of getting off the planet without a space ship and there were no large cities in sight. It could take us weeks to reach a city and find a ship and how were we supposed to get to Dezner then? I'm sure it wasn't even on a map yet since it was just recently found.
"It's useless Rei… we're stuck here without a ship…" I stressed.
"Ahem. You say you need a ship?"
Rei turned around and swiftly drew her blaster out at the intruder.
"Whoa," came Balt's voice and he held up his hands to show he wasn't a threat. "Feisty one you have here Sarth" he gave her a charming smirk.
"Balt?!" I exclaimed.
"You know this human?" Rei asked still pointing her blaster at him with disgust.
"Yeah, I met him on Thereon."
"What do you want?" Rei asked him.
Balt casually cracked his neck while keeping his hands up, "Well…" crack. "I heard you needed a ride…" crack.
Rei gave me a questioning look and I shrugged at her.
"How'd you find us?" I asked him.
Oh yeah, that's right. He could tell the future, but what did we have to do with it?
Rei got back to the point, "Will you give us a ride?"
"Yeah" This time he was using a pinky to clean is ear and he flicked the contents away casually. "That's why I'm here."
"Do you trust him?" Rei's mind-voice asked me.
Well… he did help me get the antivirus…
"Yeah I do." I told her.
Rei finally holstered her blaster after a moment's hesitation.
"Well!" Balt clapped his hands together, "Let's get going then!"
He grabbed a large cargo bin of food and carried it out of the cave. Rei and I followed him and we saw a small ship hovering just over the cave. He set down the bin and long cables shot out of the side of the ship to pick it up and carry it inside just like the Jago's. Then he went back into the cave to bring up more of our stuff. Two other cables shot out and lifted us up into the ship. I read the word "Constance" written in faded paint on the side.
We were set down in a small cargo bay area that was filled with bins. A female voice spoke to use through the intercom.
"Welcome aboard the Constance, feel free to make yourselves at home. There is a spare room through the door to your left, you can't miss it." Click. The voice spoke to us in a classical Mechanite tone.
I saw Rei sigh next to me. "They have a Mechanite?" she asked somberly.
That's right… Balt followed me to Origin to save his crewmate from a similar fate.
Rei followed me up the stairs and the door slid open for us. The inside of the ship looked even smaller. Everything was narrower than what I was used to on the Jago. I turned the corner and there was only one door. The empty room was a little smaller than my room but at least it had a bed, but then again there were two of us so I knew I was sleeping on the floor. That was fine with me because I didn't want to be left alone.
We sat on the small bed, not knowing what to do. Then there was a knock on our door. Rei opened it and there stood a small older lady holding a tray of food. She brought it in for us and I took it from her hands.
"Thank you" I said to her.
She was an old lady with dark-toned, wrinkly skin. Her hair was short and speckled gray, probably from old age. She covered herself in a loose cloth garb that looked like a blanket with a hole in the middle for her head.
I handed Rei her bowl of clear liquid and sat down on the bed next to her.
"What is this? We're eating water with a spoon?" Rei asked lifting a spoonful of the clear liquid to inspect.
"You're complaining about food?" I joked. She threw me a look and put the spoon in her mouth. Her eyes widened and she became motionless. "Is there something wrong with it??"
She shook her head. "So good…"
I put a spoonful into my mouth and the texture instantly changed to one of my favorite dishes that Kiko usually makes.
My eyes widened as well.
The old lady smiled, "You're welcome to meet us in the flight deck at any time."
Rei was too busy slurping her bowl to answer.
"Okay…" I swallowed my food. "Um… what should we call you?"
"You may call me Finola" she smiled and then walked away to let us finish eating.
Rei watched me finish my bowl, I knew she wanted more but it was just too good to share. We felt the tiny ship shuttered as we entered space.
She stood up and stretched, "We should probably go tell them where we want to go…"
I put my bowl down on the tray that was on the steel floor and stood up with her. "Yeah you're probably right."
We walked out of the room and down the narrow hallway and passed a few doors which I would guess were the other crewmember's rooms. We took a flight of stairs up and kept moving towards the front of the ship. Luckily the Constance was structured very similarly to the Jago and we easily found the flight deck.
Balt and a glowing haired girl were sitting at the two pilot seats. They both turned around when we entered. I'm sure Rei was also staring at the girl who was also about the same age Tammy was.
"I see you made it up here okay" said Balt. "This is my ship, the Constance, and this here is my navigator Verena."
We stared at her and she simply stared back. Verena's hair was shorter than Tammy's and she had it back in a simple ponytail but they shared the same white skin and blank expression. We continued to stare at each other until she turned back around in her chair.
Balt got serious for once, "Uh… I heard about your loss… and I'm sorry…"
Rei shot a look at him, "How'd you know about that?"
"Finola is a Premon. She told me."
"There's that word again…" she said before thinking for a moment, "Premon… a future teller?! She is?!"
"Yeah," Balt smiled, "true story."
"That's way cool."
"It definitely is."
What is this? They're best friends already?
Ahem. I interrupted their bonding moment, "Do you know where we need to go?"
He stood up and opened a hologram map of the galaxy, "Yep. Dezner. We're headed there right now actually."
Somehow everything worked out perfectly… too perfect actually… why would Balt and his crew help us out? They were racers too… weren't they after the stones as well?
Balt turned his attention back to Rei, "You wanna see my armament collection?" he asked her excitedly.
Rei's mouth dropped, "Yes!"
They both left the flight deck leaving me alone with Verena, the one situation I did not want to be in because I was still hurting about losing Tammy.
I decided to go back to my room but as soon as I turned to leave she spoke to me.
"Sarth…" Her voice was like a punch to my stomach. She sounded just like her and I stopped dead in my tracks. I heard her turn around in her chair to face me. "Thank you. For helping Captain Balt retrieve the antivirus."
I stood there, picturing myself turning around and seeing Tammy sitting in that seat with a smile on her face.
"You're welcome… I'm glad it worked for you." I said before walking away.
I never turned around.