5028: Insight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A commander of one of two warring factions is captured. She is then helped by a member of the other faction. The story focuses on her journey home and their growth to understanding each other.
Better formatting here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ipjKEHbswud-b7MexqwA4WP2A_ZGfZtg5_CVo4R_3wM/edit?usp=sharing

Submitted: April 30, 2016

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Submitted: April 30, 2016

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Preface:

The year is 5028. Humans have spread across the galaxy finding homes among other species on different planets. Since Earth, the prior capital of Terran domination had been destroyed, the center of Terran trade and population became the Blackwater system, a host to many planets, such as the simple planet of Monteria, to the steel planet, Xenova.

 

Furelle

 

Our ship hovered currently over the broken planet, Furelle. Fifteen years, it had been destroyed by one of our soldiers, a Soulless God called Vodothan, yet despite this victory over the planetary “guardians” called Celestials, we had still lost a good number of troops, and one of them had killed Vodothan before managing to escape. We had gotten word that another Soulless God, Koratha, had been killed on Draenica, and the Celestials responsible had moved on to Furelle in hopes to find clues as to the whereabouts of others. The goal of my team was to stop them before they could get any farther.

 “Three, we’re ready to move in.” I heard my name, what was now my name at least. I can’t remember the last time anyone had addressed me by any other name. The voice came from one of my companions. The voice, bland, pointed. I turned to find another like me, a younger girl, but a Soulless nonetheless. It was something you got used to quickly, people of all ages had a place under the Great God, Helios. Most outside of our ranks would feel that they were too young or too old, but compassion was not a trait that we held in ourselves. We felt loyalty, pain, betrayal, but kindness and compassion were not in that mix. Sometimes I wondered what it felt like to have those emotions, but for us to be loyal, we couldn’t have souls, we couldn’t have those emotions.

 “Very well Fira. Cloak the ship and move in over the Galdernia Ridge. We’ll head them off from the Northeast, take them by surprise.” She gave me a nod and returned to her post, beginning to yell orders to the others. I looked out a porthole, the planet below, in pieces. It sometimes made me question our cause. Helios says that we’re trying to exterminate life, to purify the universe, yet all we do is destroy. How are we supposed to purify the universe, keep it pristine, if this is what we do to it. No, no, I can’t think like that. I have to be loyal to the cause, no question, no answers, only the mission. The ship was drawing closer to the shattered remnants of stone. I returned to my quarters to wait, moving into the washroom. I splashed water onto my face, looking into my own green eyes in the mirror. I raised a hand to the dark skin on my cheek, then to my hardened Furin shell. This was me, unique, but possibly not. A perfect soldier, just like all the other Soulless like me. I wondered just how unique I really was, or if I was mentally just a clone of all the others. If I was just like all the others though, then would that mean that they would all have the same thoughts as I do, right? A voice over the intercom interrupted my thoughts.

 “Preparing transport, all hands to flight deck.” I stepped out from the washroom, reaching up on the wall, grabbing my sword, a straight saber, and strapping it to my side. I needed no other weapon. From there, I proceeded out of my dorm, into the hallways. Black steel surrounded me, the only thing aiding my visibility being that of a faint purple light that ran along the walls like a snake stretching all the way around the ship. The ship rumbled, pulling into what was left of Furelle’s faint atmosphere. I strolled towards the flight deck, the simple brutes of our force flowing past me quickly. Unlike us Soulless who still held their conscious mind, most of them didn’t retain that privilege, and lost their bodies as well, transformed into these monstrosities with pale skin, sharp claws, and mechanical movements. They didn’t think, they only did, they didn’t feel pain.

I stepped aboard the elevator that would lower me to the flight deck. As I lowered down, the ships came into view in front of me. The elevator came to a halt, the doors opened, and there was my own ride, right there in front of me. Facing out toward the airlock stood a proud ship, The Solar Wind. It was old Xenovan cruiser I had bought before I had become a part of the cause. I hopped into the open hatch on top and down into the pilot’s seat, reaching up and pulling it closed. I sat there, prepping the ship for launch. I was the lead, and was supposed to escort a convoy to an area nearby the Celestials for the dropoff.  

Sirens began to blare, and warning lights flashed, bathing the deck in red. The doors opened, and I started the engines of my ship, testing the flaps and boosters, before pushing a lever forward, my ship drawing forward, before launching out into the open air over Furelle. Behind me the convoy followed. Last we’d heard, the Celestials we were tracking were somewhere in the jungle, just north of Ridgecrest, on foot. I did a quick calculation in my mind, looking over the area we were currently hovering over. I traced a path in my mind. If my calculations were correct, they should have reached the end of that chunk by now. If that were true, then they would likely have called their ship to take them across and… I heard an explosion behind me. They were in the air. No, no no no, this wasn’t supposed to happen. I had to get back to the ship, but wait, no, I couldn’t. Orders had been given for them to leave immediately if the convoy was destroyed, which meant they were already gone, without me. I had to get out of here, follow them back. I turned the ship, making a move to regroup with the ship, but in my attempt to escape, I stopped paying attention. A line of red streaked across the sky, tearing through my port engine. my ship began to spiral out of control, hurdling toward the ground. I clung to the controls, frozen, afraid for my life. The trees were approaching fast, if I stayed in the ship I was going to die, I knew this, so why couldn’t I move? At the last second, I snapped away from my trance of terror, and moved my hand to the side, drawing back a lever, the hatch popping off, and shooting me out. I fell, smacking into a number of branches before I could open my parachute. Another explosion erupted from the forest away from me as my ship crashed, and soon after, I hit the forest floor.

I groaned, lying there for a minute. My body was hurting all over, and I was bleeding a little, but I would pull through. I reached down for my saber, only to find it broken in half. It was just dead weight now, so I unstrapped it, leaving it behind. My backup was all dead, my ship was destroyed, and the transport had left. I was defenseless. I decided it was best if I headed back to my ship to search for anything that I could use. I began to move.

Pushing through the pain, I began to run at a light pace, ignoring the scenery. It didn’t matter to me anyway. I kept pace with myself, running over the soft soil and plants that lay underfoot. I ducked under branches, hopped over rocks, eventually making it to the remains of my ship. She was in pieces. I looked down at the engine they had hit. Whoever was flying had either gotten really lucky, or had amazing aim. They had hit it right in the ion converter, rendering it completely irreparable, unless I had a massive amount of electrical power.

“Ugh, what did they do to you?” I asked the ship, of course without any response. “First they blow up my convoy, then they completely wreck you too.” I began searching through the wreckage, managing to salvage a first aid kit and a distress beacon, but all the weapons had been destroyed on impact. I quickly got to work, bandaging up my wounds before getting the beacon set up.

“This is Three to the Celestial Plains. I require transport. Convoy and ship were destroyed, mission is a failure. I am stranded, someone please send help.” I sent the message and sat back against the hull of my ship, waiting a few minutes with no response before turning it back on again. “This is Three to the Celestial Plains. I require transport. Convoy and ship were destroyed, mission is a failure. I am stranded, someone please send help…” I sat back again, sighing to myself as I waited again, rinsing and repeating every few minutes for what felt like hours on end. It seemed like a fruitless ordeal, but I had to keep trying. The cause had to come back for me. Oh who was I kidding? They wouldn’t risk the lives of soldiers for me, and even if they would, this stupid beacon wasn’t going to reach far enough to send the signal to them. I leaned back against the deep purple steel of my ship, allowing its warmth to flow over me as I closed my eyes. Still, I reached over to the beacon, flipping in on once more.

“This is Three to the Celestial Plains. I require transport. Convoy and ship were destroyed, mission is a failure. I am stranded, someone please send help.” I repeated into it once more. I let my arm fall limply to my side, before curling up against the ship. At least the fire kept me warm. Night was falling, though I was unsure how a broken planet like this one still rotated, it was still definite that the sun had set. I was a commander, now I was just a wreck on a deserted planet. The sky had blackened like ash, and the forest was illuminated by the blazing steel. Somewhere in the forest, I heard something rustle. I snapped up, grabbing a large branch from the ground.

“Who’s there?” I asked into the darkness. No response. The silence was beginning to bother me. I hated it when it was this quiet, nothing good ever happened in the silence. The rustling grew closer, it sounded like more than one person. “Who are you?” I gripped the branch tighter, fear clinging me. I took a step back, something snapping underfoot, and I froze. I turned to run, but a flash of blue struck a tree ahead of me, leaving it burning.

“I wouldn’t run if I were you.” A feminine voice said behind me. I thought it over quickly. These were likely the Celestials, if they caught me, they were definitely going to question me then kill me as soon as they were done with me. I made a break for it, sprinting through the dark mass of trees. I could feel their presence behind me as I tried to escape, as they hunted me. Another blue blast passed by me, barely missing me. Low hanging branches scraped my cheeks and arms, thorns tore at my skin, but I had to get away from them. Another blast, then one more, each one close but never hitting their mark. Shadows moved to the sides of me, trying to surround me. I turned to look behind me for just a moment, but when I turned back again, I felt a sharp pain, and suddenly, everything was dark.

 

“You can’t seriously be considering keeping her on board? She’s a Soulless, you know, one of the things that have been trying to kill us since the start of our journey?”

“Look at her Jewls, she’s scared. She’s not like the other Soulless we’ve met. You heard her when she was making that distress call. All she wants to do is to go home. Why can’t you just understand that?”
“Look kid, Soulless like her don’t feel, they just have a mission and they seek to complete it. They don’t feel fear or regret, they don’t question things. She was probably just calling for backup or something. Now you’re going to stand guard and make sure she doesn’t break out overnight. Maurel and I are going to go get some rest.” My eyes slowly opened, revealing myself to my new surrounding. I was in a small, cramped room. The metal walls were bare, grey, and cold. The only illumination came from that of a translucent orange barrier. I stood up, looking around the empty cell. It was a hexagonal shape, unlike the either round or square rooms I was used to from The Cause. The ship’s engines were idling, giving off a deep drone, though somehow I found it calming. I sat back down in the far corner of the room, pulling my knees up to my chest.

“How could I let this happen to myself?” I asked to no one, “How did I allow myself to get caught and imprisoned like this?” I felt like an idiot for letting this happen. I could be having a drink right now back at Semebrogh, back on the Plains, but I was trapped here. Why did they have to treat us like this, like animals? Why couldn’t they just kill us and have it be over with?

“Is there anything that I can get for you?” A friendly voice, the one that I had heard before. I think he was supposed to guard me. “I know that you must be terrified, and that you probably just want to go home, but Jewls is set on keeping you here.” It definitely was someone far friendlier than that woman who had attacked me in the forest. Finally he revealed himself. “I’m Lux by the way, I’m a Celestial,” oh great, he was one of them. “I’m sorry about all this. I don’t think it’s right.” He was kinda tall, a bit shorter than me though. His black hair was neatly combed with a few strands sticking out on one side. He wore a long sleeved, green zip up jacket with the collar popped up, and a belt around his waist over top that. He didn’t look very strong, or confident for that matter.

“I’m fine, I don’t need anything from a Celestial like you.” I replied to his question from a while ago snidely, keeping in my corner. “Stupid Celestials, you always mess things up.” I said to him.

“It wasn’t my decision to keep you here. I wanted to help you, but Jewls said that it was a stupid idea.” He was right, it was a stupid idea, at least for him. I wondered to myself if I might be able to trick him into helping me. “You don’t seem like you’re that bad, I thought that maybe you might actually see some good in us if we didn’t do this.” Maybe I could give him a shot, he didn’t seem that bad of a person, even for a Celestial.

“Do you think you might be able to get me some water?” He nodded and promptly left. I stood up again, leaning against the back wall, when my head went farther back than I expected. I jolted forward and spun around, realizing it was just a porthole. Maybe I was getting a bit too worked up, then again I was trapped in a cell in a Celestial ship. I moved over to the porthole, looking out it. Stars, stars as far as the eye could see. It appeared that we were now in orbit over the planet. It was so quiet out here, beside the ambient noise of the ship’s engines. I heard a knock on the wall from outside and turned to find that Celestial from earlier, surely enough, with a glass of water.

“Hey, I got the water you asked for. I hope you like it.” He reached through the barrier, perhaps because it didn’t affect him? I didn’t know. I took the water cautiously from him and he withdrew without a word. I looked from him to the glass, examining both of them closely. I sipped the water quietly, feeling it trickle down my throat. After a minute with no negative reactions I took another sip, before looking up to him.

“You don’t talk much.” I commented.

“I usually don’t need to talk much. I don’t really have much of a say in things anyway, at least not around other Celestials.” Huh, so he was more of an outcast. “Heck, I don’t even have any powers.” No powers? That was surprising. Most Celestials had at least some idea of their powers by the time they realized they were a Celestial. At least that’s what my recollection had been of the ones that I had come into closer contact with.

“You aren’t much of a Celestial if you don’t have any powers.” I said to him bluntly.

“I know. I feel like I don’t belong here a lot, like they don’t really want me to be here. I feel like I’m just a burden to them.” Maybe I could use this to my advantage, to help me escape.

“Maybe you should just ditch these guys then. You said they don’t listen to you, so why do you stay? Come on, do what you think is right. You think what they’re doing is wrong don’t you?” He sighed, not answering, I stood up, “Come on. You know what they’re going to do to me. They’ll kill me eventually, to them I’m not a person, I’m just a thing.” He lowered his head, staying there for a minute before moving to the side of the barrier and pressing a few buttons. It disappeared.

“Come on, we’re getting out of here.” I bolted up and joined him. “Come on, I have a ship on the hangar bay. We can take that and get out of here.” I didn’t say anything back, I just followed him as we ran down the halls. Their ship was old, very old. I could tell just from the layout of the corridors and the pipes. This thing was ancient, whatever it was. Metal grates marked the walkways, and tin signs signaled where to go. The whole ship had this orange tinge to it. I was glad to be getting off this heap already. “Come on, we’re almost there, just a little further.” He said, not looking back. He seemed fairly confident in his decision. At least he had that conviction to keep him going. I could tell that we were getting close, as the signs had begun pointing towards the hangar.

We turned a corner, and he punched in a series of numbers on a keypad, the door sliding open to give way to a small hangar, barely fitting his ship. It was black and purple, like a ship from the Cause. On the side, written in Terran was the name Olympus. He pulled himself up into the cockpit, reaching down to help me up, before pulling me into the seat behind him. He closed the hatch, flipping some switches and opening up the hangar doors. The thrusters ignited, firing us off into the darkness of space.

 

Blackwater System

 

Lux’s ship was far more than just a cockpit, like what I was used to, but it went further back, opening up into a large control room, complete with a bed and even a kitchen. The interior of the ship contrasted the outside, with bright lights, and white walls. He sat at the helm, staring out into space, tense.

“Hey, you okay? You haven’t loosened up since we left the ship.” I asked. There was no response. “Hey Lux, what’s the matter?” He didn’t look at me, and yet still he spoke, quietly.

“I disobeyed orders, I’ve never done that before.” It was like a whisper, barely audible. I moved up to the cockpit, closer to him.

“Listen to me. If you want to be a Celestial, you have to do what you know is right, even if it means breaking the rules every once in awhile.” He looked back at me, his eyes sharper now.

“What do you know about being a Celestial?” He was right. I wasn’t a Celestial myself, so how did I know their values. I mean, I was just using him so what did it matter? I guessed I should probably make something up.

“Because we share some qualities. We both have our own causes that we fight for, and any good fighter knows that sacrifices have to be made.” He nodded, looking forward again. I noticed that there was something imbedded in his hand, a blue jewel. “What’s that?” I asked, pointing to it.

“It’s a blue Topaz, I’ve had it from when I was born, I don’t know why, and I can’t remove it.” He finished there, there wasn’t much more to ask on it. “I never caught your name.” He said.

“It’s Three.” I answered, and he shook his head.

“No, your real name.” He said calmly. I was taken aback. I hadn’t had to use my actual name in years. I had to think about it to try to remember it. My memory had become fuzzy, but I thought it was still there, somewhere.

“Dalia.” I remembered. “My real name’s Dalia.” He nodded, content with the answer. He didn’t say any more. I went back to looking around the aft section of the ship. “So what were you before you became a Celestial?” I asked, “You have to have a past of some sort.”

“Well technically, I was always a Celestial, you’re born into it, but you don’t really find out until you gain some experience.” He responded, “Before all this happened, though, I was a porter at Draenica Castle.”
“That’s good, right? Draenica is a Celestial stronghold isn’t it?” I asked. His face turned glum, “It is a Celestial stronghold, right?” he shook his head.

“Not since the old king died. His son took over and saw us as a threat, so he tried to execute the Celestials. Those who managed to escaped were trapped outside the walls. When Koratha came along and killed the new king, the Celestials managed to come back in and we stopped her.” He explained.

“So Koratha really is dead…” I sat against the wall again, in thought.

“Yeah, it’s pretty awesome, we’re already on our way to beating…” He trailed off, “Sorry, I forgot, I didn’t mean-” I stopped him.

“No, it’s fine. You’re a Celestial, I understand. Your whole goal is to stop us Soulless, and save the Universe or whatever.” I rolled my eyes. “Why are you even helping me?” He shrugged.

“I don’t know, I just thought… I just thought that maybe if I helped you, you’d see that at least a few of us understand that you’re still people. I don’t like all this war stuff to be honest. I just like helping people out, no matter who it is.” He looked down at some of the panels on the dashboard, and on some screens beside him. “We’re going to have to stop for some supplies along the way, and to recharge. We’ve got a long trip ahead of us.” He let out a small laugh. I raised an eyebrow to him.

“What’s so funny?” I asked,

“Who would have thought that a Celestial would help a Soulless? I mean, we’re basically on a cross galaxy road trip.”

“I guess that’s one way to look at it.” I responded. I walked up to the cockpit and sat in the co-pilot’s seat next to him. “To tell you the truth, I always thought that all Celestials were bad, and judgemental.” I told him. He shrugged.

“Well a lot of us tend to jump to conclusions. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt. I think Soulless aren’t all bad. Maybe the ones that don’t have a conscious mind, but ones like you that can think can’t all be bad.”

“Well what makes us so bad in the first place?” I asked. It had always baffled me why they alienated us all so much.

“Because you kill people. You destroy hundreds of thousands of people, and planets as well!” He said loudly, before he quieted down, “That’s not right. Those people don’t deserve to die. They have lives ahead of them.” I shook my head.

“No, no Lux, you don’t understand.”

“Then what is it that you really do? Because to us, that seems like that’s about it.” I sighed. “What do you really do then?”

“Our goal, the Cause, is to purify the universe. We tear down government and politics, but the rumor was always spread that we just want to murder everything. At least that’s what we’re told, and that’s what I believe in.” I curled up in the chair, staring into space. “I don’t think we always do things in the best way, and I don’t always agree with our tactics, but I still believe that politics tears us all apart, and ruins us.” He nodded slowly in understanding.

“That makes sense. I guess we aren’t too different then. It’s not going to be easy to get the other Celestials to believe me though.”
“You’re the only one who’s actually even bothered to treat me as a person, so I can easily see why it would be hard.” He nodded.

“We’re coming up on Monteria. We’ll need to make a quick stop for some food and some supplies for the trip.” He looked at my clothes. “You might also want to change. You don’t want to bring attention to yourself. I have some spare clothes in the guest dorm that might fit you.” I nodded, and stood up, heading back through a round door, shutting it, and locking it behind me.

It was a nice single person room. A small bed, a bathroom to the side, and a little closet. One large window displayed the image of millions of stars passing by slowly. I opened the closet, looking through it. It was all Celestial clothing, jumpsuits like the one I wore. The only difference was that mine had a Soulless marking on it, and we weren’t very welcome around these parts. I picked out a female jumpsuit that looked about my size, and laid it out on the bed. I unzipped mine down the front, peeling it off, and quickly replacing it with the Celestial grade one. It felt odd to be in, but the material was light and breathed very well. In contrast to the red and black jumpsuits that we Soulless wore, these ones were a mix of a dark navy blue and black. The majority of the suit was black, but blue patches around the outside of the waist, and patches on the legs were inlaid into the suit. It was skin tight, and matched the contours of my body well. Like our own jumpsuits, theirs were built with a material that reshaped it to your own body, to make anything a perfect fit. On the chest was a blue, glowing symbol. Their symbol. I was almost ashamed to wear it, but I had to nonetheless. I unlocked the door to find Lux, unmoved from his position. I was slightly surprised.

“I’m guessing you suspected that I’d try to watch you?” He asked.

“Most men would.” I responded simply, sitting next to him again.

“I’m not most men. I actually respect other’s privacy.” He checked one of the monitors beside him, typing something in. “Anyways, I’m not into that kind of thing.” His gaze didn’t stray from vigilance.

“Oh, good to know that there’s one less thing to worry about I guess.”

“I’m going to bring us down. I need to make a quick call, so don’t talk for a little bit.” I nodded and he turned, grabbing a radio from beside the monitors, changing the channel.

 

Gordaila Ridge port, Gordaila Ridge port, Gordaila Ridge port, this is the Olympus, call sign Whiskey, Charlie, Uniform, 9403, come in over.

 

 We waited a few seconds before a response came in.

 

Olympus, this is the Gordaila Ridge port. Over.

 

Gordaila Ridge Port, this is the Olympus Whiskey Charlie Uniform 9403, requesting permission to land temporarily to resupply and recharge. Over.

 

Olympus, this is the Gordaila Ridge port, What is your vessel size and type? Over.

 

Gordaila Ridge port, this is The Olympus. Vessel is a 90 foot, Xenovan, Striker IV class, SC-50. Over.

 

Olympus, this is the Gordaila Ridge port, permission to land granted. Proceed to docking bay 13, Out.

 

Monteria: The Nature Planet

 

 We touched down on Monteria, leaving the Olympus to head out into the open world. I gawked in amazement at the planet. Trees stretched high into the air, making you feel like an ant in comparison. Storm clouds hung overhead, water pellets falling lightly from the sky, soaking into our clothes. The coolness felt good on my skin, and I felt myself start to relax for the first time all day.

 “We need to head down to Gordaila, there’s a small town there that we can get some food and supplies at.” I nodded, still in awe of the planets features. We began to follow a path down the side of a cliff. Running my hand along the rock wall, I noticed that the stone had mahogany tone to it, and was soft like clay. “The people on this planet prefer to not use technology. These roads were all built by hand with simple tools. They make everything here either on farms, or through hunting, and trade supplies from off world. Of course, there is some technology here, there has to be. Mainly the only technology is only in the ports though, or else they couldn’t even trade off world supplies.” I looked all around me at numerous carvings in the rock face each one intricately describing numerous events in their history. It was remarkable what they had done.

 “You’re telling me that they did all this without any technology? That’s amazing, it must have taken them days!” He smiled, and I stopped him. “Look, look at this one!” I pointed up to it, a picture of a large bird, flying above the forest, and through the mountains, complexly inscribed with minute details. “I know her…” I said, reaching up and feeling the image of the bird, “She’s one of the Soulless Goddesses, Zeveris.” I smiled, “She was always so nice to everyone she met, and she loved her animals more than anything in the world.”

 “Wow. It’s interesting to think that there were so much more to the Gods than we thought. We were always taught as Celestials that they were all the same.” I shook my head.

 “No, no that’s not right at all!” I said, offended. “They were all people once, and I actually knew most of them! Zeveris was one of my closer friends when I first became part of the Cause. She took me under her wing, no pun intended, and taught me a lot. I missed her when Helios chose her to be a Goddess.”

 “So, you’re saying that the Gods and Goddesses that Helios made were all actually real people and not just… made?” He asked, and I nodded.

 “Yup, every last one of them!”

 “Huh, interesting. I guess you learn something new everyday.” He said, before turning back towards the direction of the trail. “Come on, we need to keep moving. We don’t have long to spend here, so we need to get our supplies and get back to the Olympus posthaste.”

 As we descended the cliff, I noticed that the stone had slowly graduated to a more purple tone, and plant life had begun to seep from cracks along the face, spreading among it like the legs of a spider. I reached out to feel it, but Lux grabbed my arm.

 “Don’t touch that, it’s poisonous. Your hand will swell up, burn, and itch all at once. It’s not a fun thing, trust me, I know people who’ve accidentally brushed against it.” I was starting to second guess this planet’s seemingly nice nature. As we kept walking, I began to wonder to myself more and more why he seemed to care so much about my wellbeing. Maybe it was just in his nature? I wasn’t sure, but I did know that he was nothing like any other Celestial I had encountered. I had always been under the presumption that they were all rude, destructive, and vicious, yet he had proved me wrong on all fronts so far.

 The village seemed fairly nice for what it was. Huts made of brick and stone, stands made of wood, with many people flocking around them. Simple things. It wasn’t like some of the drearier cities I had visited where social contact was limited to texting or hologram chats. Out here, people actually talked face to face, kids ran in the streets, getting dirty in the muddy ground. I realized that the rain hadn’t ceased since we had gotten here. I didn’t mind.

 “So what kinds of things are we going to be looking for?”

 “We need food. Enough to last us a few days in deep space since we’re heading, I believe, to the Celestial Plains, am I correct?” I nodded, “Good, I have a meal plan set out for us. Nights we’ll be eating at local restaurants on the planets we dock at. I can do most of the cooking when we switch off on piloting. Sound good?”
“Yeah, sounds good. I can do the dishes if you’d like.” I offered, but he shook his head frantically.

“No no, you’re my guest. I want you to feel as comfortable as possible.” I felt flattered. A Celestial actually referring to me as a guest rather than a thing. It felt almost as if I were back home visiting a friend. We had begun to walk down through the town, and yet, I was so lost in my thoughts that I hadn’t even realized that I had begun to move. The locals seemed friendly enough, and Lux even appeared to know a few of them. When asked about me, he just played it off as if we had been friends for years and were just planning a trip. To this, they seemed content.

We gathered all the materials we needed, carrying them in a pouch we had bought of a traveling merchant from a desert town in the Northeast, and began to head back to the ship. That’s when I caught the glimpse of a man with a large ax on his back, a brown trenchcoat, and a had pulled down to cover his face in a fog of mystery. It was a Soulless Hunter, established after the war between Celestials and Soulless by the humans to protect them from Soulless, these Hunters could sniff out a Soulless, like me, in a crowd and kill them with ease. Lux seemed to notice him too, because he put a hand on my shoulder and leaned in closer to my ear.

“Do not bring attention to yourself, just pay no attention to him and we’ll be fine.” As if I hadn’t thought of that myself. I knew he was trying to help me, but I wasn’t useless. Whatever, I still listened to him. We began to move through the large crowds of people, heading for the path that lead up the cliff. I made a quick backward glance. He was following us, yet he stayed at a distance. We began to move a little faster, moving over to supposedly look at a stand. He mirrored us with another, we moved back to the path and so did he. Our suspicions were confirmed, he had noticed me.

As we came to the edge of the group, he drew the ax from his back. People stood and watched now, as I had quickly become a public spectacle of a hunted creature. Lux and I turned to face the Hunter, with no where to hide, and no other option, we had to fight.

“You, Celestial!” He pointed at Lux with an accusing finger, “Why do you harbor a Soulless? Is it your pet?” The crowd began to laugh, and I clenched my fists in anger, ready to lunge for him, but Lux held me back, taking a step forward.

“She doesn’t belong to anyone, Hunter. I’m escorting her, she’s under my supervision till then.” He countered. The Hunter scoffed at the remark.

“Well I’ll have you know that it’s my job to take care of scum like that thing over there.” He pointed the ax at me, “And in such, I am going to have to kill it.” Fear struck me, I had no weapon, and neither did Lux, we couldn’t defend ourselves against him, we were both going to die. Lux sighed, undoing his belt and tossing it aside, unzipping the shirt, and rolling up the sleeves.

“She’s not a thing, an object that you can just toss aside,” He clenched his fists, and the gem in his hand, the Topaz, began to emanate a dim blue light, “she’s a person just like you or me, and she deserves to be treated as such!” He yelled in anger, a thunderous crack following suit. The crowd, including the Hunter all took a step back. There, in his hand, was a solid metal staff, static running up and down its length, and up his arm. “I expect you to at least understanding that, and if you don’t, then you’ll have to go through me to get to her.” he said. A Hunter will gladly battle a Soulless any day, but they refused to fight a Celestial if they had a weapon. The Hunter huffed, throwing a hand up in the air in dismissal.

“Fine, have it your way, Celestial. It’s your cargo, treat it as you may.” He grinned, walking off as others snickered in the crowds. Lux scowled at them before leading me off up the cliff. He was silent, but half way up the mountain, he looked down at the village.

“They’re fools, Hunters. All of them. They refuse to see anything, even if it’s right in front of them.” He shook his head, “I’m sorry that had to happen.” It wasn’t his fault, I knew that. I’d come into close encounters with Hunters before; they were all the same. They were ignorant, the lot of them, and were never that hard to beat.

“It’s okay, I know you didn’t mean for this to happen.” He was silent again, and went to start zipping up his jacket again. I put a hand on his arm. “Leave it. It looks good like that.” I gave him a smile, and after a short breath, he returned it. “Come on, we’re almost back to the ship. We’ve got a lot to talk about.”

 

Deep Space

 

Things were silent between us when we got on the ship. I took the helm as he put away our supplies, and began to prepare a meal for us. I felt like we both had things we wanted to say, but neither of us did. Part of us wanted to preserve the temporary quiet we had been gifted with after our previous ordeal. Having to deal with the Hunter had left us both fairly sour, and it was nice to have the peace. We had a long journey ahead of us to the next system. Two days of being in Deep Space was never much fun, but with the laws and regulations against using Warp Jumps to get to the Plains, this is what we would have to deal with for now.

I made sure that we were on a straight course to the Jarbadum System, and flipped a switch, shifting us into autopilot, before leaving the helm. I walked down to the galley area where Lux was putting away food.

“I thought you might want some help, so I put the ship on autopilot.” I explained when he looked up at me. Those were the first words spoken since we had left Monteria. He let out a breath and continued to put away food. I knelt down, grabbing some of the supplies and packing them into the industrial fridge he used. “Hey, I thought you said you didn’t have any powers.” I commented on the display from earlier.

“That was the first time that had ever happened. I don’t know how I did it, it was just instinct.” He placed a hand on his forehead, and groaned.

“What’s wrong?” He just shook his head.

“It’s nothing, just a small headache. I’ve had it since the Hunter tried to kill you.” I thought it over in my mind, before coming to a possible conclusion.

“Maybe it’s from using your powers? You’ve never used them, so your body can’t be used to having all that electricity flowing through it.” He nodded, quiet still. “Alright, look. It was just a Hunter, it’s not a big deal.”

“It is to me.” He said, turning to look at me. “People just don’t get it, they don’t get that if they don’t understand something, they shouldn’t just attack it! That Hunter could have killed you, and for what reason? Because you’re something that they don’t understand.” He sighed.

“Lux, listen, it doesn’t matter to me, okay? I don’t need everyone to accept me, I’m not the best person, really. I’ve killed people, most Soulless have unfortunately.” Saying this out loud felt odd, it felt different than just telling myself that in my own mind. “I mean, no, most of them are good people, it’s just that some of us have a bit of a bloodlust.” I shivered, “Like Two. He’s the worst of them all.” Lux looked over to me with a general curiosity.

“Who’s Two?” He asked, cocking his head. I sat back against the wall, closing my eyes, thinking back to that monster.

“He’s someone you don’t want to know, someone you never want to know. If you thought that I used to hate Celestials, which I still have a disliking for most of, he despised them. Mind you, Two isn’t just a person, not one entity, but when he was turned, he was part Celestial, a Twilight from Draenica. He had his companion spirit with him when he was turned, and when he did, his spirit latched on outside his body, but due to him turning Soulless, the spirit, who was once kind and guiding, became corrupted by his own anger and greed, turning into a monster of itself. Of course, his spirit’s emotions are even more amplified into him, creating the undying hatred of any Celestial, and the vow to murder any that he sees.” I shuddered, “It’s terrifying to watch him. He’s insane.” Lux just stared at me, shocked, “He’s the worst by far though, most will kill, but not always willingly, and will do it only if their life is in danger, others do it because they can. This is what separates us,” I pointed to myself, “the ones who still retain our conscious minds, from those Soulless who just are designed to not think, the ones that just do. We know what we’re doing and most of us don’t have much of a choice. For those that were born into it, the Cause is everything. For others like me, who became part of it, the Cause is a intention, but without always having the best results.”

“Like Communism.” Lux blurted out, not even shyly, he just said it.

“What?”

“Like Communism. Good in theory, but when put into play, ends up without the greatest results.”

“Yeah, sure. I guess you could whittle it down to that.” We continued to place food in the fridge, thinking things over. I glanced over to the shirt he wore under his jacket. It was a grey tone, with the word “Journey” scrawled across it. I recognized it almost instantly. “You’re a fan of Journey huh?” I asked.

“Huh?” he replied before realizing what I was talking about, “Oh, yeah. I like them. I’ve always been into old Terran rock. I find it more interesting than the music today. It’s just a bunch of boring techno music.”
“Yeah, I’ve always been into the classics. I’m really into Scorpions, AC/DC, and a bit of Guns and Roses.” Lux nodded approvingly.

“Awesome. You like Bon Jovi at all?” I beamed at him.

“Like Bon Jovi? I love Bon Jovi!” He laughed.

“Well, I’ve got a couple of mixtapes.” He remarked with a smile.

“No way, we’ve got to listen to them!” It was rare to actually find someone who enjoyed rock like I did. There was only one question I had, a sort of final test if you will. “Wait, one more question.” He raised his eyebrow at me, “Do you like NSP?”

“You mean… Ninja Sex Party? The artist responsible for amazing songs such as  Dragon Slayer, Attitude City, and Everybody Shut Up?” My smile grew even wider.

“I can’t believe you even know those guys! It’s amazing that their music survived for around three thousand years.” We finished putting away the food, and I pulled him to his feet. “Come on, let’s get some music on in here!” I said excitedly.

“Jeez, calm down and be patient. We’ve got two whole days.” He calmly walked over to a drawer, pulling it open, unveiling the dusty collection of CDs, “I’ve been saving these for a rainy day. I typically like the silence while I’m piloting, but as we have nothing better to do, why not.” He pulled a CD, “Hmm, here’s one I think you’ll like” He popped the CD into a large stereo. I recognized the song that started playing instantly.

“We Didn’t Start the Fire, by Billy Joel, this song is amazing!” He smiled and held out a hand, when I didn’t take it, he looked confused.

“Do you not dance?” He asked,

“I do, but, I mean I’m not into you or anything.” He laughed, shaking his head at me, “Oh what’s so funny now?” I glared at him,

“You don’t have to like someone to dance with them Dalia. You just have to know the moves, and you’ll have fun.” I thought it over and took his offered hand. He put a hand on my waist, and I put mine on his shoulder. One step, then two, on to three, and now four then back to one again. I was sweating nervously, I hadn’t danced in a long time. He spun me around, twirling me away from me before pulling me back to him. As we went on, I became more and more comfortable with the movements. The song switched, moving onto the next, and we adjusted to fit the tempo and the style, changing up our moves. I realized that he was right, that dancing wasn’t just for those who were in love, but for those who just wanted to have fun. We were going through song after song, through three, four, now five. Still we spun and laughed, our careful routine becoming a mix of moves and random changes that challenged us to keep up with the other. Suddenly, we became a tangle, and we were on the ground, laughing again.

I pushed him off me and we were back on our feet again. We didn’t go back to the dance from before, but began to play imaginary instruments to the sounds of the music, singing along with the words, with me on the guitar, Lux on the drums beside. We threw our heads up, yelling out for the universe to hear.

The cry rang out along the metal walls of the ship, increasing to the already light sounds coming from the stereos around us. For the time, we forgot all of the other problems that existed in the world. For that time, the only thing that mattered was knowing the lyrics to the songs and to be able to sing them louder than the other person. To us, for all we cared, the whole universe could be watching and judging, yet we wouldn’t care.

Eventually the mixtape ran out of songs, and we sat down. Everything was silent, and our breath had escaped us both. I wonder if this meant anything more. Not personally mind you, but as a whole. A Celestial and a Soulless just hanging out and having fun together. It just seemed so unnatural to think of, yet in practice, it made no difference.

“Maybe we aren’t so different after all.” I said, Lux looked over to me somewhat confused, “Soulless and Celestials I mean. I mean, yeah we might have some different beliefs and all that, but socially, we’d probably all get along fairly well.” Lux looked forward again.

“Yeah, I’d agree with you. If we actually gave each other a chance, we’d probably get along, but who’d even listen to me? My voice has never mattered to them. Hell, I doubt it it’ll matter even with my powers.” He looked down at his Topaz, feeling it, “I wonder what triggered my powers.” He said to himself. I shrugged, leaning back.

“Emotions maybe? You did get pretty angry out there.” I suggested. It was silent again for just a second, before he responded.

“Yeah, that might be it, but if it is then how do I use them on command?” He asked now. I bit my lip in thought.

“I don’t know, but I’m sure that you can figure it out, you’re smart!” He shook his head, as if in disagreement, “Oh come on, you are! I’ve seen you handle those controls like that. Hell you calculated our heading faster than I’ve seen anyone else do, and were even quick to find the proper thruster angles so that we kept that heading constant. No one else I know could do that.” He rolled his eyes.

“It’s not that hard, it’s really easy.”

“It might be to you, but not to everyone else.” He looked away.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. I just thought it came naturally to everyone else.”

“I know, I don’t blame you for that. I mean, yeah, I was always a quick learner, but you’re so much better. I envy you sometimes.” He raised an eyebrow.

“Really? I envy you! I mean, just look at you, fit, in shape, the way you were able to run through that forest with an injury as if it were nothing. I mean come on, look at you, you’re perfect.” I blushed, looking away. “Hey, you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m good. I’m fine.” The grumble of a hungry beast came from within me, “Scratch that. We should probably make some food.” He laughed as we stood, heading back into the galley. We began to pull out different materials, tenderizing meat, sprinkling on spices and tossing it into an oven. We rushed around, preparing a meal for just the two of us, moving back and forth from the fridge to our work spaces, until our meal was complete. We sat down at a table, splitting the steak up between the two of us, and dug in. The meat was nice and tender, and the juices just filled your mouth with the sweetness that only meat could give. Almost as soon as it had come, the meat was gone. We sat for a moment before I moved to gather the dishes, but Lux insisted that I stay, and he would take care of them.

I was happy to let him do this. He was a good host, I’d give him that. He knew how to make his guests as comfortable as possible. I had a hard time thinking of what we were going to be doing for the rest of the trip. It was at least a week to the Celestial Plains. Well I was having fun either way, so I didn’t have anything to complain about. We heard something loud from the starboard side on the wing, feeling the ship rock violently.

“What the hell was that?” Lux said, sprinting up to the helm and looking out. “Crap, the starboard Xenovan energy generator is out. I don’t know how to fix one of those,” He looked worried. Something red flew past the ship. “and we’re under attack, perfect, we’re screwed.” I thought about it, and ran to towards the back of the ship. “Wait, where the hell are you going Dalia?” He yelled back to me.

“Get on the helm, try to get out of the way of their fire. I know how to fix the generator!” He shook his head, opening his mouth, but closed it, confident in me.

“It’s the only way we’ll possibly get out of here. Repair suits are just before the air lock. Try to get a look at what kind of ship it is out there.” I nodded. Leading out the airlock was a machine, like an archway, with a pair of footprints. I stepped into them and a series of small arms unfolded from the sides, scanning over my body and pulling out pieces of metal, frames, locking them together until my body was covered in the light metallic material, and finally eveloping my head , leaving no part of me visible. I was in a shell now, a screen displaying what was around me on all sides, displayed from small cameras around the helm. The front could be lifted up though, if any camera was damaged, to reveal a visor.

I stepped out into the airlock, the door sealing behind me, a hiss following as the air was sucked out of the room. My heart was pounding in my chest as I prepared to enter the open space ahead. The doors in front of me opened, and everything now was silent except for my own breathing. The artificial gravity within the ship kept me grounded as I ran out onto the outer hull. Hot streaks seared the spaces near me. I looked back, finding a small, rust colored ship. It looked to be made from scrap metal and spare parts. A Hunter ship for sure. It had to be the same one from Monteria. Whoever he was, he wanted me dead, and must have followed us off planet and into Deep Space. I ran toward the starboard edge of the Olympus, trying to keep my balance as he swerved to avoid another hit.

I looked around the wing, finding the damaged section, running over to it, ducking another blast. I began to examine it, all the while, trying to keep an eye on the Hunter’s ship. The hit wasn’t too bad, it hadn’t too much damage to the generator, and was going to be an easy fix. The real fun was going to bending back the torn metal over the gap to prevent any extra damage to the generator after I repaired it. I quickly jumped to the other side of the gap, feeling the heat of the beam in my suit. I went over all the things I was going to need. Plasma cutter, welding materials, and… I looked down into the generator’s main particle reactor. I needed to repair the ion coil, it had been split. I’d have to twist the two pieces back together for the time being. It would have to just hold like that until we got to the next port. I reached down, the suit seeming to know what I was thinking, the materials I needed spinning out from a side panel on the leg. I pulled out the plasma torch, cutting open a small hole in the reactor, glancing up at the ship, and quickly rolling out of the way of another possible death. I replaced the plasma cutter in the panel, and reached in with both hands, finding the two broken pieces of the coil and twisting them together, grabbing the welder and fusing the pieces before welding down the piece of the reactor I had cut out to get in, back in place. I replaced the welding tool back in the panel too.

Now all I had to do was restart the generator. I reached into the hole again, finding the manual restart switch, and flicked it. It came to life for a second, but then died down again. I sat there in disbelief, trying again, with the same results. I looked into the reactor again, realizing the problem. The manual restart that sent a shock into the reactor to get it started again, had completely melted away. I needed to find another way to jumpstart the generator.

“How’s it going up there Dalia? Is the generator running yet?” I heard Lux say over a radio in the suit.

“Not yet. The manual restart is melted. I need something that can generate a lot of electricity at once to jumpstart the this generator. I explained, running towards the center of the ship for shelter from the spray of shots being fired from the Hunter ship.

“I have an idea. Cut open a panel to the generator on the port side. Grab the large cord that’s coiled around it, connecting it to the thrusters and cut it. They’ll still work, I just can’t change my speed. I’ll turn off the generator, but you’ll need to stretch the cord across to the other reactor. Tell me when you’ve done that.”

“Alright, sounds good.” I replied. I stood up, running across the ship towards the port wing, grabbing the plasma cutter again, creating a square cut in the paneling. It stuck to the ship with the artificial gravity. I lifted it up and out, setting it aside, reaching in and finding the chord Lux had mentioned, pulling it out, but as I went to sever it, the ship was hit again this time on a minor stabilizer. “Lux, we’ve got a lot of trouble up here.” I said into the radio.

“I know I know! We need to get out of here!” The ship rocked again as one of the boosters was hit. “Get inside the ship, now, forget the generator!” I obediently listened running into the airlock again. The air filled in all around me. I ran past the machine with the suit still on. “Strap in!” He yelled. I quickly got into the seat next to him, strapping in. “We’re going into Warp. I don’t care what the laws say. We aren’t going to survive if we stay here.” he flipped some switches, and pulled a lever back, time seeming to slow down around us as the light of the light of the stars stretched around us. The ship rocked and rattled. “Take the helm.” He ordered and got up. I jumped over to the seat he was previously in, gripping the controls as tight as I could, adrenaline pumping through me. I soon heard his stern voice again. “Move over.” I got back into my seat as he got back into his, now wearing full plated armor like mine. We exited Warp over a small planet, white mist and ice, snow. From where I sat, it looked unforgiving.

“What is this place?” I asked. He just stared straight ahead at the planet.

“I don’t know, I don’t care. We have to land.” He reached up, checking the panels around him. “Landing gear damaged. We’re going to have to make an emergency crash landing.” We were entering the atmosphere now, and the ship wasn’t looking that good. He tried to keep it in control, but suddenly, a piece of the hull came off near us, leaving just open sky. We were coming up on the planet fast, over an island. “Hold on tight.” He ordered. As we rocketed downward, he pulled up, hitting a mountain, a wing flying off, before we crashed into ice

 

Undocumented Planet: Jarbadum System

 

I woke up in the destroyed wreckage of the Olympus, still strapped into the co-pilots seat. The windshield was mostly shattered, cracked in other places. Metal had been bent and warped into awkward positions. I groaned, undoing the buckles on the seat, pulling myself to my feet. A blizzard raged on outside, a white flurry so intense that I could feel its unforgiving anger even inside the comfort of my suit. I pressed a series of buttons on the side of the helmet, the plate covering the visor opening up and folding back neatly.

Looking back now at what was left of the Olympus, I realized the extent of the damage that had been done on the disheartening ship. The plating torn off in sections, wires hanging down, electronics broken. The still flickering lights told me that the port generator was still running at least. Lux, where was he? I had to find him. He wasn’t in the pilot’s seat. Looking out the window, the suit's visor picked up faint traces of blood in the snow. I looked around the ship more, tearing off a sharp piece of shrapnel to protect myself in case anything attacked me out there. I pulled myself out the shattered windshield and out onto the frozen hell. It was empty, spare some mountains and the white curtain that hung over the ground, threatening to toss you aside. Small amounts of blood stained the blanket of snow, leading off into the snow a little ways, then ending in front of a red, metallic pilot’s suit. I had found Lux. he was unconscious, and bleeding. I hauled his body over my shoulder, bringing him back to the Olympus with me, lifting him inside. I took off my helmet completely, and his as well. The air inside the Olympus was still warm, and the metal shell was hot. That was sure to change though. For now, this could be a temporary shelter for us though. I tapped a few buttons on the arm of the suit, and it folded away from me into a small yellow pack on my back. I felt for Lux’s pulse now. He was still alive. I deactivated his suit as well, searching for where he was hurt. There was a tear through his jacket and shirt, with a jagged incision on his side. I looked around. The aft section of the ship must have split off somewhere. I swore under my breath. That’s where all the first aid supplies were.

I reactivated the suits and thrust him up onto my shoulder again, trekking out into the frozen abyss again. We were in a valley of some sort, the Olympus propped up with a slight tilt against the base of a mountain. I had to get Lux to safety. I had to find the aft section of the ship. It was impossible to see in the blizzard though. I’d just have to get lucky and happen upon it. As I stumbled through the intense weather, I couldn’t help but wonder what this place was. I had never heard any word of it before, or been to it either. I promised myself never to come back after I got off this hellhole. Adjusting the limp body on my shoulder, I continued on.

I wondered if the whole planet was like this, so cold, so unforgiving. I hated the cold. I always prefered to be in the heat. A surge in the wind knocked me onto my side, and I dropped Lux. I swore again, putting my hand out to pull myself up, I hit something hollow. My hand was resting on a large white L in the word Olympus. Excited, I grabbed Lux, carrying him inside, quickly finding the first aid kit, miraculously still in tact. I placed Lux on the ground, removing his suit. I examined the wound, grabbing materials, carefully removing some shrapnel from the gash. He flinched. Outside, I heard the sound of ice cracking, but I wasn’t paying attention to what was outside. I cleaned the wound with the materials I had, and dressed it, before activating the suit over it. There was that damned cracking again. This time, my mind registered that there was something outside. I had nothing to defend myself except for the piece of shrapnel from before. I looked around, there was a gun rack, but it was locked. Where was the key I asked myself. Oh there was no time for keys. I ran over to it, smashing the glass casing, and grabbing a rifle, feeling the weight in my hands.

I crept outside, weapon ready. I looked right and left, watching out the sights. The hellish cracking came once more, followed by even more, and more, growing louder and louder, grating on the ears, until it stopped. Without warning, the ground opened up in front of me. Large chunks of ice were flung about, and I was sent reeling back into the ship as a large curtain of fur erupted from the ground. I pointed the gun up at the enormous creature, but I didn’t pull the trigger yet, not knowing what it was going to do.

It raised its head into the air, a doglike muzzle on its face with two forward facing horns. Its head snapped towards me, revealing four solid white eyes and a pale blue face surrounding them. It turned its whole body towards me. Not wanting to risk Lux getting hurt if this creature attacked, I lowered the gun, slowly making my way out of the ship and around toward the open tundra, the beast following my movements. I raised the gun again, pointing it at the creature. It snarled, fur dancing around its hideous head. Saliva dripped from its maw, freezing as it hit the ground. It raised its head letting out a piercing howl before bounding towards me. I fired. The shot hit, but did nothing. I ran over the white snow avoiding the colossal feet of the beast. It ran past me, skidding to a halt, turning back towards me again. I fired again, aiming for its eyes, missing. Each shot made it angrier, not seeming to have any other effect. It ran at me again, bearing its horns as weapons. I ran for it now, sliding on the ice beneath it, narrowly avoiding its rows of sharp teeth. It crashed into the mountainside. It grumbled, turning around. Blood was smeared across its face, staining the snow around it. The eyes, oh god the eyes, so full of rage, of hatred. As I stared into them, I felt my body freeze up. I was paralyzed, I couldn’t move. The thing lowered its head down, charging at me with full speed. I was petrified in fear, those eyes imbedded in my brain, I thought I was going to die.

Something bright flashed across the sky followed by the crack of thunder. The beast froze, only feet away from me, looking back. Another flash erupted. I felt myself able to move again, looking out into the middle of the ice field, I saw a red suit of metal. The beast noticed him to and began to rear up to charge. Lux, put one hand out, facing the beast, the other by his head, palm open, fingers bent in, also pointing towards the beast. I saw what he was doing. I ran out into the open field, firing at the beast, getting his attention on me, watching Lux all the while. The hand that out clenched now into a fist, and his arm bent in front of him. I ran out of the way of the beast again, dodging its attacks. His open palm was drawing back as he brought his fist down with strain to the level of the open palm. As they lined up, a monstrous boom surged across the sky lightning raining down from the clouds and striking the monster. Lux held the position, the storm raging on in the heavens, the charge clearing away the blizzard, and striking down the beast. Behind me, Lux suddenly fell to his knees, then to his face, unconscious again. I ran over to Lux, leaning him up against the side of the hull of the Olympus. The storm clear, I was now able to make out the area we were in with better detail. Mountains rose on either side of us, and the two halves of the Olympus were about a quarter mile apart.

I wondered to myself why it was still so dark out, and decided to check if it was night. It was only when I looked up that I found the Solar Federation Starship that had been hovering over our heads the entire time.

 

Solar Federation Starship: Hypernova

 

 The quiet hum, it was all to familiar to me. The gentle beeping of ship computers, the subtle tapping of shoes down corridors while voices pattered in their own respective places. I sat inside yet another cell, handcuffed behind the uncomfortable yellow shield. A guard stood watch over me, his rifle ready. I leaned against the wall, knowing Lux was just on the other side.

“I got us into this.” I said, shaking my head, “I got us both into this whole mess, now we’re stuck in the brig of a Solar Federation ship. Great, just great.” I looked up, across the room, a girl with short, dusty, green hair, shaved on one side, sat with her legs pulled up close to her. Her skin was a soft purple, and covered in dirt. Glowing pink dots littered her face. A set of goggles were pulled up on her forehead, and she wore a thick brown jacket that was far too big for her, and a pair of heavy duty pants. She turned and caught my gaze.

“What did they throw you in for?” She asked. Her voice was gravely, harsh almost. I looked back out to the guard, before turning to her again.

“Trying to get back home, when we were attacked by a Hunter. We were forced to make a jump.” I explained.

“That’s not illegal, there has to be more.” She pushed.

“Well, my home is kind of on the… Celestial Plains.” I said, looking away. Her eyes lit up instantly.

“Whoa, seriously! You’re a Soulless?!” I nodded silently, preparing for the worst, only to be caught off guard. “That’s wicked!” She moved over and sat next to me, “I’ve never actually seen a Soulless before, but I’ve always wanted to. We hear about the Celestials and Soulless all the time, but, we rarely see them in these areas.” She held out a hand, “Names Manda, Bounty Hunter, weapons specialist, and tactician.” I smiled and took her hand.

“Dalia, Soulless commander.” I replied, she nodded in approval.

“Commander huh? So, what brings you this far out from the Plains?” She asked, I thought back to the mission.

“Well… We had a mission in the Blackwater system, intercepting a group of Celestials.” She sat back at this, seeming to expect a story. I took a deep breath, continuing, “You see, they killed some of our friends… my friends, and we wanted to stop them before any more harm was done. We were ambushed, and I crash landed, before being taken prisoner.” I shivered, “Why the hell is it so cold in here?” I asked. She looked up at some vents.

“I think they keep the whole ship like this.” She pulled her jacket around her, “I lived in a desert most of my life, so to me, this is hell.” She looked down at the floor, “I can only imagine what it must have been like down there on that icy planet.”

“How did you know what planet I was on?” I asked, she pointed to speaker.

“They announce every planet they pass. The only uncharted planet we know of in the System is the one you were on.” She replied, I nodded, and took off her jacket. “Here.” She said, pushing it out to me.

“What? No. You need it far more than I do.” I pushed it back to her, “Thanks though.” I said with a smile. She reluctantly replaced the jacket on her body. “So, what exactly are you in for?” She pulled her legs up again.

“Like I said, I’m a bounty hunter. Not every job I do is exactly legal.” She looked away, “I might have stolen some cargo from an S-Fed ship.” I laughed and shook my head. “Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s not my smartest idea.” She looks over to the wall and points at it with her thumb. “So your boyfriend over there, he’s a Celestial?” I shook my head, vigorously.

“Oh, no, no you have it wrong. We aren’t together! He’s just taking me home.” She nodded, a mischievous grin stretched across her face, “No, but yes, he is a Celestial. He’s only helping me get back to the Plains.”

“I see. So, why are a Celestial and a Soulless helping each other out exactly? I thought you two didn’t exactly go together.” It felt weird being on the other side of this question for once. I had heard the answer enough that I knew the answer.

“He saw something in me. I’m not sure what exactly. He’s different from all of the other Celestials I’ve met. He actually thinks of us, the Soulless, as people as well.” I smiled, “Thinking back to it, when I first met him, he actually helped me by breaking me out of a cell like this one.”

“I can tell you, he definitely isn’t breaking you out of this one. These are very well made cells. Nothing he could do could possibly break out of them.” I sighed, letting my head rest against the metal walls of our cell.

“Well, this all went to shit.” I said to myself, “He shouldn’t have helped me. Stupid Celestials! They always have to get involved!” I slammed my fist against the metal, startling Manda. “Why couldn’t they just have left me with my ship in the first place?” I laid my head down into my arms, now crossed against my legs. “I just want to go home already!” I sat there for a second, before clenching my fists again. “We’re getting out of here, one way or another.” I stood up, looking around the room

“What do you think you’re going to do?” She asked, standing with me. I continued to search around the room. There had to be some way to get out. My mind was racing, as I searched. I looked outside the room now, on the other side of the door. “Maybe we could trick the guards.” She suggested, and I looked at them. Hardened faces, solid like stone. It would be hard, if not impossible, to break them.

“Won’t work. Solar Federation soldiers are too steadfast, stubborn to trick, and far too smart.” I search around the barrier, feeling along the wall. “hmm…” I say, finding a small, bolted down panel. Manda came up behind me.

“Oh, you found that? It’s got some sort of electrical panel behind it, but it’s electrified. Trying to disarm that shield is going to be impossible that way.” I pursed my lips. It might be our only way out of here. Manda seemed to see my thoughts and sighed. “I guess if you want to give it a try, you can.” He said, getting on her knees, a claw appearing from the tip of her finger. She shifted her gaze to me, a look of pride on her face. “Dervans like me are full of tricks,” She said, using the claw to pry the bolts loose, before pulling open the panel, revealing a large set of wires, all tangled together, “but we aren’t very good with technology.” I take a look at the mess of wires. The guard looked down at us and grinned, seeming to be confident that we wouldn’t be able to get through the tangled mess of electronics.

“Luckily for both of us, I have tricks of my own.” I say, sticking my head into the small gap. I began to carefully check around the wires, moving specific ones, before finding three boxes with even more wires coming out of it. “Manda, I need your claw.” I said and she quickly nodded, turning two claws into a makeshift pair of clippers. I pointed at a wire coming out of the left of three boxes. “Cut this one first.” She moved up next to me, using her claws to slice through the wire as if it were a hot knife, through highly dangerous, electrified butter. I would not suggest doing this at home.

The guard was becoming more interested as we cut the first wire, the shield flickering slightly. I could see him adjust his weapon as we continued to work, beginning to aim. We cut the next one with Manda’s sharp claws. We were going to have to move fast as soon as that shield was down. I began to formulate a plan in my mind. “Manda, cut this last wire and we should be free. I said, standing up, right by where the guard was standing. He began to lift his gun, knowing what was about to happen. The next few seconds were a blur of commotion. The shield dropped and I spun slamming an elbow hard into the side of his head, sending him to the floor. Manda ran up beside me as another guard took aim. I picked up the fallen guard’s gun, firing it quickly at his leg. He fell, and I grabbed a keycard off his belt, finding Lux’s cell. The kid looked up at me with those innocent eyes, full of excitement now. I unlocked the cell and he ran out.

“Come on! We’re getting out of here now!” As if on cue, the white light lights went to an unforgiving orange as alarms began to blare. I was sure they were for us, until we felt the ship rock, and heard the computer over the loudspeaker.

Warning, severe damage to main engines. Orbit dropping. All crew to escape shuttles immediately.” I grabbed Lux and Manda, pulling them along with me instantly. the ship was hit again, knocking us into the wall. I quickly regained balance and continued running. Something burst and flames spewed out of a pipe in the wall. I ducked under it, waiting for the others before continuing to run. The halls were unusually barren, devoid of all other life. I looked back to make sure Lux and Manda were still behind me. I followed the signs, my eyes darting around, looking over all details, scanning for the right halls, until finally, the shuttle bay. We all stopped, looking around. Most of the ships had left already.

“Dalia look!” Lux shouted, pointing. There, on the far end of the bay was the Olympus, repaired.

“Why would they repair it if we were prisoners?” I asked. “It makes no sense.”

“They had you on records as a Soulless, and Lux wasn’t in their documents.” Manda said over the noise. “They knew it was a Celestial vessel from what was inside.” I was going to question how she knew this, but I felt the ship rock again, and decided now was not the time.

“Come on, let’s get out of here before we crash and burn in this heap of metal!” I say, leading the way to the ship. I stumbled a little bit more before getting to the ship, I opened up the rear hatch, helping everyone inside, before getting in myself and sealing the hatch.

“Alright Lux, get us out of here, now!” I yelled. He jumped in his seat, flipping numerous switches.

“Already on it.” he replied, focussed. The ship came online and lifted off the ground, turning to face the shuttle doors.

“How are you planning to get out of here exactly?” Manda asked. Lux flipped a couple more switches.

“With guns.” He replied, the main guns firing, blasting a hole wide open in the doors. The Olympus sped forward, exiting the ship. I looked back through a porthole to see the attacker, and scoffed. Actillions, pirates of space.  A tool used by Soulless to destroy larger Solar Federation ships. A thought crept into my mind. What if they had specifically targeted that ship, knowing I was on board? No, I thought, No they wouldn’t do that. But I wasn’t sure. Manda stepped up behind me.

“Is this normal for a day in your guy’s life?” she asked, slightly out of breath.

“Yeah… yeah it pretty much is.” I told her, stepping away from the porthole. “Listen, Manda. When this is over, stick with Lux, with the Celestials. Don’t get yourself mixed up with the Soulless…” She looked at me confused, and slightly disappointed.

“But I thought you were-” I stopped her.

“Just… listen to me alright? Don’t stick with the wrong crowd.” I said, looking away from her. The Soulless, they had stopped seeming so good to me now. They were destructive, reckless, and murderous. Did I really want to be with them? I felt Manda’s hand on my shoulder.

“I’m sticking with you, I don’t care what you say.” She said with a firm voice. “You saved our lives back there, so I’m at your service.” I sighed, knowing that there wasn’t going to be any arguing with her.

“Alright, fine. We could use you on the crew. What are you good with?”

“Weapons, guns, firepower.” She responded instantly. I was slightly taken aback, until she continued. “On Ordelia, there was a lot of fighting. I learned to become proficient with numerous forms of firearms. Trust me, I’m good with guns.” I nodded.

“Alright, I guess you’re in charge of the armory then.” She beamed happily. “Go and make yourself at home. You can room with me.” She straightened up and nodded, running off to get set up. I looked back out the porthole briefly before returning to the main deck, where Lux sat at the console in the pilot’s seat.

“You’ve changed.” He said without looking back.

“So have you.” I replied. He stopped what he was doing for a second, as if thinking, before continuing.

“I guess so.” was all he said. I took a seat next to him. “Thanks for saving us.” he said, “You still sure you want to go back? That was an Actillion ship after all.”

“I know it was. I’m questioning it myself.” I said, taking a deep breath.

“Well, we have one more stop before the Plains. A moon in the next system.”

“Why do we need to stop there.” I questioned.

“Just a failsafe.” he replied. I decided not to push any further. We were getting close. I got up and headed back to my room to prepare myself for whatever was to come.

 

The Black Moon: Girva

 

The sky was as black as ink when we touched down on the dark moon of Girva. Lux stepped out first, looking down over the ridge at the cities below. “This is the place.” He said as Manda and I took our first steps on this new land. “The city of Tshova. My hometown.” He said, summoning his staff.

“Your hometown?” I looked out over the city. “Why did we come here again?” I asked. He had a grim look on his face.

“To show you something.” He said. “Make sure you all have weapons.” He ordered. This was a side of him I’d never seen before. A darker side, a sadder one it seemed. I went back inside with Manda, getting some better armor and a rifle. She grabbed one too, following me back out silently.

“Come on, follow me, and be quiet.” He said. We nodded, letting him lead. The land, it looked scorched, burned. Making our way down to the city, I began to notice the ash. “My home has been burning like this for years.” He explained, before going silent again. Eventually, we found ourselves down at the city, where I discovered the destruction. Not a single building was intact. Skeletons of different species lie dormant on the grounds, shrouded by ashes.

“What did this?” I asked, looking in horror at the destruction.

“A Soulless ship. It obliterated the city.” He took something from within his jacket and placed it on the ground, turning back towards us. “This is what they do. They go from place to place, killing everything.” Manda was horrified. She looked to me.

“This is what you do?” She asked.

“No, it’s not what she does.” Lux said in my defense, “She saves people. She looks out for them. Dalia, you said that you were supposed to get your soul back when this was all over, but think about it. Did you ever really lose your soul or did they just make you think that? How did you retain your physical form?” He began to question, and things began to become clear. He was right. If I had actually lost my soul, would I really be doing so much to protect these people or would I have killed them already? “Plus, what would make you think he’d actually give your soul back if he had taken it? Your whole job is to slaughter all of life in the galaxy. Who’s to say that he won’t just kill you after he’s done with you?” He got even closer to me. “Who’s to say he hasn’t already tried?” Manda looked to me anxiously awaiting a response. I looked down to myself, thinking about my past, about everything I had fought for. Before I had become a Soulless, I was just a Furin, fighting for her home planet. What happened to her? Then again, maybe that was who I had always been.

“I remember hearing somewhere that a Celestial was defined not by their powers or weapons, or even some of their actions in the past. It’s the choices they make now that make them a Celestial.” I said. Lux nodded.

“And by that definition, I’d have to say you fit the qualifications almost perfectly.” he told me. Something was rising up inside me. Was it anger? No… It felt like… something else. A feeling without a name? It filled me with a new air of confidence, and made me realize just how bad the things I had done were. I think it was… acceptance. Acceptance that the Soulless were a destructive, deadly force set on destroying everything, that they were the one who should be fought. I raised my gun and aimed. Lux was shocked as I fired.

A Soulless fell behind Lux, and I grabbed him by his shirt.

“Come on, we need to get out of here. Looks like the Soulless never left.” I said, pulling him along. I looked up at the broken buildings, seeing many of the small empty shells of the Soulless zipping past, trying to block our way. “Manda! Shoot them down!” I ordered.

“Right away ma’am.” She obliged, firing at the horrible creatures. I kept the two of them running close behind me through the dead landscape. I turned for just a second, seeing a Soulless ship entering the atmosphere. I recognized the ship. It was the same one that had left me behind on Furelle. A look of anger washed over my face at the sight of the ship. I turned and kept running, killing a couple more of the Soulless. They were right on our tails as we made our way back up the hill to the Olympus. We fought back the increasing hordes, continuing upwards until we were back at the small ship. Lux knocked back a good number of the Soulless with a bolt of electricity, giving us enough time to get into the Olympus. Lux worked furiously at the console, getting us off the ground. We pulled forward, flying between buildings and under the Soulless ship before pulling up and exiting out into the atmosphere, barely getting away. Lux took a deep breath, before checking the console again.

“Alright. we’re out… thank the gods.” he said, sitting back in his seat.

“Next stop, the Plains.” Lux sat up and looked back at me as I said this.

“Wait, you're not serious are you? After all of this, you still want to go to the Plains?” I nodded firmly.

“There’s someone I need to talk to.” I said. Two, Double Joker. A Celestial hater, worse than I had ever been. It only made sense that he was the one who had sent the Actillions after me. After all, Helios didn’t have much of a job in organizing things.

“You want to try to break into a placed filled with Soulless?” Manda asked. “You’re insane. This is a suicide mission!” I nodded.

“It’s a risk, one that we’ll have to take more than once. I’ve seen Celestials before us take risks bigger.” I said.

“So you’re calling yourself a Celestial now?” Lux asked, and raised an eyebrow with a smile. “Guess you’ve changed a lot more than I thought.” I paused, before continuing.

“There was once a Celestial, a Furin like me. His name was Vale. He went against orders and assembled a team to take on Helios, eventually fighting him on his own. I don’t see why us three, can’t go in there and take care of one Soulless.” The two of them looked to me before Lux sighed.

“Well, if we’re going in there, we’ll need a plan. The Olympus has enough shielding and hull plating to get in there with little problem. It’s going to be when we get off that’ll be the hard part.”
“I know where he’ll be.” I said, “I’ll lead you in for the best place to land.”

“Who are you even going after anyway?” Manda asked.

“We call him the Double Joker. A Soulless with a burning passion to slaughter Celestials. I believe he’s been intentionally tracking and targeting me.” I said.

“So then getting rid of him might help us all out in the long run.” Lux said. “Alright now this is getting interesting. I say we do it.”

“I agree.” Manda replied, “I’m behind you the whole way.”

“Well then. Let’s go.” Lux turned, punching in the coordinates.

“Hope you’re all ready for this. Initiating jump to the Plains in 3… 2… 1… mark.”

 

The Celestial Plains

 

The Celestial Plains loomed in front of us. A menacing sight to see. A large tower of stone in space. A blue beam shooting from its tip into oblivion was the Beacon. Things were quiet, but I could tell that it wouldn’t be this way for long. The computer had scanned the Plains, and we had a hologram up of the whole area.

“We’ll need to enter in here.” I said, pointing to a specific place. “That’s where it will be the least guarded. From there, we move in and fight our way through to the opposite end of the Plains, where we will find an entrance inwards. Remember that here, you won’t just be seeing those empty shells you’re used to fighting out there. In here, they shoot back, so be on guard. Understood?” They looked to me with taciturn agreement, before moving to their stations. Lux got to the helm, taking the controls. I strapped in beside him. “You ready for this?”

“Not sure I’m ready for any of this,” He replied, “but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to fight.” We began to move slowly forward, seeing small ships begin to fly out from the Plains. “Alright, here’s where the fun begins. Everyone strap in.” He said, working furiously at the consoles. “Brace yourselves.” He said, ducking under the other ships, avoiding their blasts. My heart pounded furiously in my chest. The other ships refused to back down, chasing after us relentlessly. Manda stood up.

“Hold on, I’ll take care of these guys. Just keep this ship moving, alright?” She said, running off to the armory, returning with a large gun. “Lux, open the rear hatch.” she ordered. He quickly listened, and the doors to the rear of the ship opened up. Manda lifted her gun, taking aim, and firing. With one shot of this powerful weapon, one of the ships was sent spiraling from the sky. She took aim again, knocking the ships out one by one. Shrapnel was sent flying from one of the ships, flying right through the hatch, and right in front of Manda, barely missing her. She stepped forward again. “One ship left! Start heading down before they can send more out!” She told Lux, taking aim one more time but not before the ship had a chance to fire, hitting the wing. She took the shot, and the last ship fell. Lux was struggling to keep the descent controlled with the damaged wing. We were coming in fast.

“Alright, this is it. Hold on tight.” He said. The Olympus crashed on the landing sight, knocking Manda to the ground, skidding and eventually stopping. Lux’s hands were tight on the controls, and he was wide eyed. I unbuckled and got up, helping Manda to her feet.

“Lux, how’s the damage look?” I asked.

“Not too bad. Simple repairs. We aren’t getting out of here until they’re done though.” He said.

“Alright. Lux, you stay here and repair the Olympus. Manda and I will head in and look for Joker.” I said, he nodded, getting to his feet shakily. “You prepared Manda?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be. Let’s go kick some ass.” I gave a her an assuring smile and nodded. We grabbed our weapons and began to head out.

“Good luck in there you two.” Lux said, “You’ll need it for sure.” With a deep breath, we stepped out of the Olympus and onto open ground.

“Well, it’s been nice knowing you.” Manda said joking. I let out a small laugh.

“Come on, let’s just make it through this.” I said, and began to lead the way. It was colder here than I remembered. I hugged the wall closely, knowing that there could be Soulless just around any corner.

“It seems oddly quiet around here, don’t you think?” Manda asked, and I gave a silent nod. I knew this place like the back of my hand. There was usually more people about. I went to turn a corner to find a host of guards. They instantly began to open fire. I ducked back, pulling Manda down. I took a deep breath, and leaned out, unloading a round of shots at them, hitting a few of them. I daringly ran up to another piece of cover to get a better shot, and Manda followed. I replaced my rifle on my back, replacing it with a heavy pistol, taking close aim and firing. One fell, and soon another. We moved forward, slowly making our way forward. A shot would whiz past my head and I’d duck down, pulling Manda with me, keeping her safe. She’d hear a squad coming and would tell me to get behind cover, protecting me. Eventually we made it to the other side of the Plains and we sat down to rest, out of breath.

“That was a lot more guards than I expected.” I told her.

“Yeah, no shit.” she replied. She looked over past the wall, into the entrance to the center of the Plains. “So you sure he’s going to be in there?” She asked me.

“He’ll be in there. I know it.” I said. I heard something crackle in my armor, a radio I believe.

“Hey, it’s Lux. I’ve got the Olympus repaired.” I reached up to my helmet, activating the radio.

“Lux? It’s Dalia. When I tell you, I need you to bring the Olympus to the other side of the island. We’re going to need an escape route.” I said.

“Got it. Awaiting your orders.” he replied. I looked to Manda.

“This is it okay? We mess up here, this all was for nothing.” She looked at me with her usual firm expression and I knew she understood. I stood up, helping her to her feet. “Try to stay alive in there alright?”

“I’m staying with you.” She repeated. Though I had barely just met her, I was beginning to feel a strong connection with this girl.

“Let’s do this.” I turned the corner and ran in. More guards. I aimed and fired quickly, taking them out, moving on. A pair of doors blocked our path and I could see more guards starting to flow in behind us. “Hold off those guards. I’ll work on getting this door open.” I knelt down as Manda turned, firing with rapid succession at the guards as I began to work at the doors, pulling off the console, moving wires around, seeing all the different connections in my head. I could feel the shots flying past me, and I was getting nervous. Suddenly the doors opened. I stood and grabbed my rifle firing at the guards alongside Manda, backing through the door, suppressing them until the doors closed again. We lowered our guns, turning to face the room. This was one of the central chambers, and in it flowed the Beacon. A figure stood in front of the light, or in this case, two.

“How come it’s always me who suspects those who are going to betray us Three? First Jewls, then Zero, and now you.”

“The name’s Dalia.” I replied. The figure didn’t turn from the light.

“Of course it is. You’re no different from those Celestials anyway. You right to have stripped your name.”

“You’re right.” This piqued their interest, and the figure turned. “I’m no different from them at all. I am one of them.” I said, “Ivan, you don’t have to do this, they aren’t the enemy!” He froze.

“You know that’s not my name.” He said. from his feet, another figure rose, one larger than him. “I am Two, I am the Double Joker.” Light exploded throughout the room to reveal his face finally. It was darkened and paled. The Soulless behind him, the figure that had risen from his feet, I could see it, there was no saving him now. This thing had taken over his mind. He was gone.

“Fine. Then we’ll just have to eradicate you ourselves.” I said, reloading my rifle. I looked to Manda. “Don’t aim for him, aim for the Soulless behind him.” He summoned up a blade and the room went dark again, making it hard to see him. Suddenly two glowing eyes in the dark. I raised my gun and fired, but it disappeared as quickly as it came. I cautiously stepped forward, and felt something contact with my suit getting knocked back.

“Dalia!” Manda pulled me to my feet and quickly turned. I saw the eyes again and ducked, feeling the air above me swish. I brought my elbow up into Ivan’s stomach, and the lights flickered back to life.

“Now’s our chance, attack!” I raised the rifle, firing at the Soulless. Its arm was blown off, leaving a hollow void, Manda shot at the other arm. and suddenly the lights were out again. I was cautious, until again, I saw the eyes in the darkness. I moved to get out of the way, but felt something penetrate my suit, before pulling out. I reached down, seeing my green blood dripping from a puncture in my suit. I was on my knees, and the lights flickered to life once more, to see Ivan holding his blade to my neck.

“I knew you were never a match.” He kicked my rifle away. I looked up at him, breathing heavily. “and now, you’re going to get what you deserve.” He lifted his blade and froze with the sound of a gunshot. Behind him, Manda stood with a smoking gun. The Soulless, its head missing, faded away. Ivan, the Double Joker, dropped his sword to the ground, stumbling backwards, before crumpling onto his side, shaking. I stood up, gripping my wound. We had won, but we still needed to get out of there. I reached up to my helmet. “Lux, get the ship started. Meet us on the opposite side of the Plains.” I ordered.

“I’m on it.” He replied. Manda put an arm around me as one of the doors in the room opened, and guards began flooding in. We turned and began to make a break for the exit, the two large doors we had entered through opening ahead of us, allowing entry. The guards were gaining on us. I stumbled weakly down the hall and soon back out into the open. The Olympus was there waiting, its rear hatch open. I helped Manda up, and she quickly pulled me inside, the hatch closing behind us.

“Alright, everyone on board. Let’s get out of here.” He said, punching the throttle all the way. We shot forward, getting as far away from the Plains as possible. My heart was pounding as Manda and I sat there. We looked to each other and laughed.

“Thanks for saving me.” I said, and she shrugged.

“You would have done the same. Guess we’re even now.” I nodded.
“Yeah, guess we are.” I grunted, sitting, forward, holding my wound. “I’m going to get this bandaged up.” I said, and Manda helped me up.

“I’m staying with you.” she replied with a grin. I let out a small laugh, letting her lead me to the infirmary.

I felt like a weight had been taken off of me, but I knew this was nowhere near the end. This was just the beginning for me. After getting patched up. I looked to Lux, who sat calmly. Gods how he had changed from the scared kid I had met about a week ago. I felt like all three of us had changed.

“So where to next Lux?” I asked. He mulled this for a minute, sitting back and looking up at a star chart on a computer screen.

“I say we just see where the stars take us, go from there.” He responded.

“Not going back to your crew?” I asked. He shrugged.

“They can handle themselves. Plus anyway, we aren’t just going to be sitting around. We’re Celestials after all. If not just a bunch of weird ones, but still. We help people!” He said back. I nodded.

“I suppose you’re right. Okay then, let us explore!”

 


© Copyright 2017 Garrett Melick. All rights reserved.

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