Jago: The Millennium Galaxy Race

Reads: 3924  | Likes: 18  | Shelves: 10  | Comments: 25

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 21 (v.4) - Snow

Submitted: July 19, 2017

Reads: 35

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 19, 2017

A A A

A A A

Chapter 21: Snow

 

A crunching sound approaching my tent woke me the next morning. For some strange reason my first thought was monsters crunching on the bones of our crew.

I jumped up from my sleeping bag, ready to defend myself. A warped shadow stopped right outside my tent. I steadied my heart and focused on finding anything I could use to fight.

“We’re getting ready to leave, Sarth,” Kiko’s voice came from the shadow.

“Kiko?” I asked, letting out a sigh of relief.

“Yeah, what’s wrong?” she asked in a concerned tone. The shadow made a movement like it turned to face me from outside the tent.

“Nothing,” I said opening my tent door. “I thought I heard—”

Cold air flooded my tent when I opened the door, but what drew my attention was the blanket of white that covered everything outside.

“Why is everything white?” I exclaimed.

“Oh, you’ve never seen snow, have you?”

“N-no,” I shivered, wrapping my arms around my body.

“It started sometime during the night. Close this.” She came inside my tent and closed the door. “And change into your cold wear. It’s only going to get colder from here on out.”

“I-it gets c-colder than this?” I shivered in front of her, staring at the closed door behind which I now knew lay a frozen landscape of snow. “I didn’t think it was possible to get this cold. I don’t think I packed anything for this kind of weather.”

“There should be a setting for snow on your rain jacket.”

“Okay.” My teeth chattered. I leaned down and scooped up my coat, throwing it on and zipping it up to the top. On the “rain” setting the coat was large and uncomfortable, and covered my hands, so I struggled to pat down the outside of the coat looking for a panel or board to change the settings.

Watching me, Kiko smiled from one corner of her mouth and stepped towards me. “Hopeless, Sarth.”

“What?” I asked, still patting myself down, now just slapping random parts of the coat.

“Look. Stop that.” She smiled again. I threw my hands to my side. She stepped closer and reached for the zip at my throat, pulling it down so the coat was open, and the cool air suddenly hit my chest.

I stared at her, standing very still as she reached inside my coat, where a pocket might be, and revealed a black panel.

“Oh.” I smiled embarrassedly. “It’s on the inside.”

She shook her head. “Didn’t you set this already?”

“No, Tammy did back at the Jago, and I haven’t changed it since.”

“Hopeless,” she said, shaking her head. She flicked a switch down, and it clicked twice. “There, two seconds and it’ll change.” She looked warmly up at me, and I half-smiled back, waiting for something to happen.

Sure enough, the inside of the coat seemed to grow fur like a living beast. I could feel the warm tickling of the new lining across my skin, and when it stopped the coat was heavier, but warmer.

“How’s that?” she asked, still so close I could see the flecks of color in her eyes, the loose strands of hair she hadn’t brushed off her face.

I said nothing for a second, words having left me, before blathering, “Oh, it’s fine, thanks, thank you, haha, it’s much better now …”

She reached up and put her hands on my shoulder. “You’ve gone red,” she said, eyeing my cheeks.

“See! It’s working great!” I half-lied, quickly flapping my jacket to cool me off. “Thank you.”

She smiled and stepped back, and her face came into full detail.

“Don’t be long packing,” she said. “We’re still on a tight schedule.”

I nodded. “I won’t.”

And with a last smile she turned on her heel, opened the tent, and stepped outside.

I gave a heavy sigh before throwing on my boots, and a few minutes later, I took my first steps on this new stuff called snow.

It crunched underneath my boots, the same sound Kiko made earlier. I could also see my breath in the air as it left my mouth. At first I thought it was going to freeze my lungs, but it never did. How did it get this cold? Wasn’t there a sun here? I couldn’t see one now because of the clouds in the sky, but I knew I’d seen one before; only one though. Was that why?

Everyone was packed up, and we started up the mountain once I finished packing my tent.

It took me all of five minutes to realize I didn’t like snow. It was harder to walk through, and sometimes my feet would sink in lower than my ankles, taking more energy to lift my legs through it. It was getting harder to keep up with the group, but I made sure to not fall behind.

We walked for hours like this with only a few short breaks. Most of the time it was quiet as we trudged up the mountain, but occasionally we would hear Rei burst out laughing; no doubt she was soul linking with Pippa.

As the day ended we stopped to make camp. My toes were freezing, and the first thing I did after setting up my tent was take my boots off and warm my feet at the fire. No one else seemed to have a problem with the cold, not even Pippa who’d again sat on Shihon’s back most of the time … maybe that was why.

“I have boots made from a material that emits heat,” she told me when I asked if her feet were cold. She did have a rosy red nose though.

“You know,” Breccan said, “I’ve been on planets made almost entirely out of ice. I was made king of the most populated city there!”

Kiko scoffed. “King of ice. You should’ve stayed there.”

Breccan laughed. “Well, at least I had meaning somewhere!”

It went quiet, and all eyes glanced in Rei’s direction. She gazed quietly at the fire before standing up to go to her tent.

I wasn’t sure what just happened, but then Kiko spoke.

“Let’s talk over there,” she demanded to Breccan.

“Alone?” He stood up, oblivious to the shift in mood. “Of course!”

They walked away from the camp. Lux shook her head with a sigh, and the other Breccan crewmembers continued to stare into the fire.

I leaned over to Lux. “Did something just happen?” I whispered.

“It’s not really my place to say … Let’s just say Breccan’s mind is dense enough to delve into delicate topics. Even though he and Rei are archenemies, he should know better than to bring up matters that are sensitive to her past.” She looked up to the sky. “Everyone has things they want to keep buried.”

A moment later we heard a grunt, and Breccan came flying back to us, landing face up by the fire and a foot deep in the snow. Kiko then walked over to her tent to join Rei.

“No warning, huh?” he wheezed from his spot.

“We hope it’ll help you learn from your mistakes,” Lux responded.

Pippa chuckled.

“Well, at least someone’s in a better mood,” Breccan croaked, wobbling to his feet. He brushed the snow off himself. “I’m going to bed” was the last thing he said before leaving the campfire.

After he left, Lux turned to Pippa. “Come on, let’s go to bed.”

“Aww, I don’t wanna!” Pippa pleaded.

Lux took her by the hand and practically dragged her away to their tent. All that remained were Shihon, Tobiah, and me.

“You should get some rest too,” Shihon said to me.

It was the first time he’d spoken directly to me.

“Yeah, you’re probably right.” I got up to walk to my tent. “What about you?”

“I’m on watch tonight,” he said, looking up at the moons.

I nodded, looking around to see if I could sense any danger. All I saw was snow. We passed the last of any green life half a day ago.

“Don’t worry about it, just get some sleep,” he assured me.

I nodded to him and glanced at Tobiah who then turned his back to me.  I crunched my way back to my warm battery-powered tent.

I didn’t think I’d fall asleep easily, but the next thing I remembered was waking up to a strong howling wind. My tent shook furiously, and I was afraid that I’d be blown away. I wasn’t sure how long I’d been asleep, but there was no way I could go back to sleep now.

I changed into warmer clothes and attempted to open my tent door. That was a horrible idea. The wind blasted through, along with flakes of snow that stung after hitting my bare face. I flew back from a strong blast of wind and snow, unable to see anything outside because everything was masked in a white storm.

Someone came in and closed the tent door before I could get back to it.

After shielding my eyes, I looked up to see who it was. I couldn’t tell because they were wearing a face mask as well as being fully covered head-to-toe. They grabbed another face mask from inside their jacket and tossed it to me, pointing to their face, instructing me to put it on.

It was a sleek, simple mask that stuck on your face by suctioning to it. It was a weird feeling—especially since right after I put it on I started hearing voices.

“Pippa, are you almost done configuring the direction?”

“Yep, yep five more seconds.”

“We’re almost ready to go. Rei, where’s Sarth?”

“I just gave him the mask. We’ll start packing up now.”

I could hear everyone’s conversation through the mask, and with it, I could also breathe easier somehow.

“Sarth, we should get going,” came Rei’s voice from the mask.

“Uh, yeah,” I responded, remembering I still needed to pack up.

Rei helped me pack, and I got my first feeling for being outside in this new weather. It was the worst we’d had on the planet so far. The wind was constantly blowing snow, and it seemed to get colder and colder. It went on like this for two days straight. I was getting nervous because the farther up we went, the higher I had to adjust the battery on my waist to keep me at least thawed enough to keep moving forward. I hesitated each time I adjusted it, afraid I wasn’t going to have enough battery power for the journey back, but I didn’t wish to freeze to death.

“Something wrong?” Kiko asked me through her mask on the seventh night. I was on my way to my tent. Since we no longer had any material to burn for a community fire, everyone just went straight to their tents at night.

“No,” I lied. I didn’t want to hinder the group any more than I already was.

She didn’t press the matter but still showed concern.

“Here.” She took something out of her jacket, smiling. “I have this for you.” It was a few pieces of dried meat.

“Where’d you get this?” I asked excitedly through my mask.

“Don’t worry about that, just eat it.”

I would’ve normally questioned her further, but the meat looked too good to pass up, especially since I couldn’t eat the nourishing capsules.

“Thanks!” I said happily.

I couldn’t see her face through her mask. “No problem. Well, good night.” She turned around to walk to her own tent. And I watched her go, wishing I could follow her.

I stared at the meat in my hands, then squeezed it with a small smile. Kiko was looking out for me … but … wasn’t I supposed to be looking out for her? I let out a long defeated sigh. Maybe she thinks I’m an extra burden to take care of. I shook my head. I couldn’t let these thoughts get to me; we were only halfway through this journey.

I bit off a chunk of meat and was instantly soothed. I felt like I was given healing water after being lost in a blazing Sola desert.

The next morning Breccan was less enthusiastic. I wasn’t quite sure why, but I was surely in a happier mood. The dried meat sure hit the spot. I kept daydreaming about eating it over and over, making myself nearly drool from the thought.

We were walking in a line, and out of nowhere Rei came up from behind me, all giggly.

“How was your meat last night?” she asked.

 I was surprised she knew about that, but then I realized Kiko must’ve told her. “It was great actually.”

Rei and Pippa, who was on Shihon’s back in front of us, started laughing. I was confused. I didn’t see how that was so funny.

Suddenly a large snowball came flying from the front of the line and smacked Rei right in the mask, knocking her backward. Pippa was now laughing uncontrollably, and I held back most of my laughter to ask if she was all right while she was sprawled on the snow.

She wiped the snow off her mask, and I helped her up.

“Ugh! You didn’t have to throw it so hard!” she vented to the thrower—whoever that had been.

There was no response except for Pippa’s continuous laughter, and I was still very confused.

“What’s going on?” I finally asked.

Pippa’s laughter died down as Lux’s voice answered me.

“Kiko stole that dried meat from Breccan and gave it to you.”

I stopped walking.

Did I hear that right?

“It’s fine; don’t worry about it,” she continued. “It was emergency food anyway, and I’m glad you ate it before Breccan did because he doesn’t need it.”

I was still kind of dazed from what I’d just heard. Rei pushed me forward as I continued to process what had happened the previous night.

So, everyone heard our conversation?

I had forgotten that everyone could hear each other because it was just Kiko and me when we spoke to each other, but we were wearing our masks. I knew I should’ve questioned her more about the meat! Now I felt guilty. No wonder Breccan seemed down today.

#

We all walked in silence for a while until Pippa cried out, “Wait!”

Everyone came to a sudden halt while she jumped off Shihon’s back and ran to Kiko to adjust the PSL. Then she pointed to a spot on the mountainside.

“We can go through there.”

“Through the mountain?” Breccan asked as he made his way toward where she was pointing.

“There’s an ice wall blocking this opening. If we break it we can just walk through the mountain.”

Breccan dug through the snow, revealing the thick ice wall she was talking about.

“I can get through that,” Kiko said, circling her arm.

Breccan held up his hand to stop her. “That’s not so wise, gorgeous. Simply breaking it down with brute force could cause an avalanche and cover us up along with the entrance.” His voice went into a smooth gruff, which I took to be his ‘charming’ voice, as though he was trying to calm Akiko. Like that would work on her.

“Then what do we do?” she asked in an irritated tone.

Lux walked up to the wall.

“We’ll let her handle it,” Shihon answered.

Lux took off one glove and placed her bare hand on the ice wall. We watched curiously as she took a deep breath. Her hand began glowing yellow as she exerted an invisible force against the wall. It only took an instant, and parts of the wall turned into water and sloshed to the ground, leaving a large entrance to pass through the cave.

“Whoa,” I whispered, but everyone could hear, thanks to our masks.

Breccan chortled. “That’s not all she can do, kid. Just don’t get on her bad side.”

We walked inside the dark cave. Luckily our masks had lights on them, but we couldn’t leave them on forever. It didn’t take long to reach another dead end, but this time it was rock. Shihon and Pippa examined the wall.

“It looks like a rock slide covered this side,” Shihon said.

“Kiko, we now require your assistance,” Breccan said.

“Oh, now you need me,” she grumbled as she made her way to the wall.

Everyone took a step away as she pulled her arm back and gave one strong punch through the largest rock. There was a loud boom as the rock shattered, creating a downpour of smaller rocks and clearing the exit. A cloud of dust blocked our vision, but soon sunlight hit our eyes.

We all looked towards the light in disbelief. Once the dust cloud cleared, it revealed a whole new world. Somehow, this area had been unaffected by Vo breaking through the protective layer. There was no snow, and the sun was shining through the many trees as wildlife wandered around like it was just another peaceful day on Fargon.

“What is this place?” Rei asked in awe as we all took in our surroundings.

Pippa snorted with a smile plastered on her face. “It seems Tammy’s prediction was correct!”


© Copyright 2017 Anon Amous. All rights reserved.

Chapters

Add Your Comments:

More Action and Adventure Books

Booksie 2017-2018 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Anon Amous

Jago: The Millennium Galaxy Race

Book / Action and Adventure

Watch Me Kill

Short Story / Science Fiction

Jago: Terminology Guide

Miscellaneous / Action and Adventure

Popular Tags