Jago: The Millennium Galaxy Race

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

Chapter 31 (v.4) - Artificial

Submitted: August 04, 2017

Reads: 144

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Submitted: August 04, 2017

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A A A

Chapter 31: Artificial

 

“Lone!” I called out.

It was useless. She continued to stride away as I chased after her.

I bumped into many different species of people as I tried to get to her, but she eluded my reach. I chased her farther and farther away from the shuttle until I completely lost sight of her.

I searched desperately for any sign or glimpse of her, but she was gone and I was lost.

Where was I going again? I felt like I needed to be somewhere or do something but I couldn’t remember.

Where was I? The surroundings slowly changed around me into something more familiar. I was on … Sola. I remembered this place, the red sandy cliffs that made up the walls around an area where I spent a lot of time as a kid.

I walked around, feeling the familiar crunch of the hard, gritty sand beneath my boots as I took each step. The two suns above me were almost in alignment in the clear blue sky, creating two shadows for each rocky pillar that I passed.

It was empty; no one was around. I turned the corner and was overlooking the large city of Sola from afar. Darkness covered it, and soon the city was aflame as large battleships flew over me and ravaged the land. The screams of pain and agony in the distance sent a cold chill down my spine.

What’s going on? Why is this happening?

Suddenly I found myself on a planet filled with beautiful white buildings. It looked like a technologically advanced planet with several large holograms set up in screening areas, as well as droids, cyborgs, and elegant shuttles carrying many glowing-haired humanoids around. Then the same thing happened on this planet. It turned dark, and large ships began to destroy everything in their path, leaving only despair.

Once again my surroundings changed to another dark planet. It was gloomy and war-torn. All the buildings were either destroyed or nearly destroyed, and humanoid bodies of different ages and genders were scattered across the ground in pools of blood.

Something or someone was coming toward me from the center of it all. I stumbled back when I saw who was approaching me from the shadows, his bright blue eyes visible even from a distance. It was him, Ozias, someone I hoped to never run into again. His figure grew larger as he stalked toward me, a smile on his scarred face.

We were both teleported to another planet. Behind him was the village on Dezner, burning to the ground because of him. The monster was still stalking toward me, and I tried to back away, to escape his haunting presence. I stepped on something fleshy, and my eyes veered to the ground. There were bodies below me, and I recognized all of them. It was the crew of the Jago, including Cashel; the red stain on his chest still fresh and oozing.

I stared at the lifeless bodies sprawled in front of me. My heart stopped. I couldn’t think. This couldn’t be happening. I lost myself at the sight of my friends dead on the ground. They couldn’t be gone. It felt too real to escape though, like a feverish bad dream that you couldn’t wake up from no matter how hard you tried.

I stood there, stunned. In the back of my mind I could hear someone faintly calling my name. Their arms wrapped around me from behind, pulling me back to reality. Everything went black.

“Sarth.”

I was slapped in the face.

I opened my eyes, but it took a moment for them to adjust. When they did, I found Tammy crouched in front of me, examining me with her calculating eyes.

“Tammy?” I croaked.

Blasters were firing in the background. I focused on her again; she looked almost completely different. She was dirty, and her cape was filled with holes. A streak of silver on her jaw line showed where she had recently been cut by something.

“Where are we?” I asked.

“We can talk later,” she insisted.

I was wrapped in a sticky clear substance and had nasty looking slugs on my face and chest. She helped me clear them off and stand up because I could barely move on my own. Then she guided me towards a wall and lifted her right arm. There was a machine attached to it, and it lit up and hummed for a second before a rectangular square appeared on the wall. We walked right through it just like when we fell through the ground on Tizarr. She ran me out of several different rooms like this until we went through a wall that led to the outside of the building.

The little shuttle was docked not too far away. Once we arrived she threw me inside and jumped in as it took off. A handful of small mechanical gadgets ran after us. I was about to kick one away when Tammy said, “Don’t”.

The gadgets jumped on the ship and changed shape to camouflage with it. Then we quickly zoomed away, and the blasting faded.

“What just happened?” I asked, suddenly full of adrenaline. “Why do you look like that?”

She drove us farther away before answering. “You’ve been missing for nearly four weeks now.”

“What? No! I just saw you a few minutes ago. You were driving—”

“You suddenly jumped out of the shuttle and ran off,” she insisted. “I’ve been looking for you ever since.”

I felt my face. It felt like I hadn’t shaved in weeks, so she had to be right.

“Well, where’s everyone else?” I asked, admitting my mistake.

“They’re missing as well. We jumped out to get you, and they suddenly ran off in different directions.”

She’d been alone here for almost a month—on this unforgiving planet of all places.

“We’re being toyed with,” she continued. “Lone’s racers are back, and I’m afraid they’re not the only ones who are against us.”

The big mechanical gizmo on her arm retracted into a cuff on her upper arm. I couldn’t believe how much Tammy had transformed over the course of four weeks on this planet. She not only held her own, but she also saved my butt from the horrors I was ensnared in.

I recalled my nightmare. The blood and destruction …

“You don’t think Ozias is here, do you?” I asked. She didn’t answer, and that could only mean one thing. “How are we going to find Kiko and Rei?”

“The same way I found you.”

I realized I didn’t remember getting captured. “How did we even get taken?”

“There’s a type of illegal plant that induces hallucinations. If prepared and used correctly, it can put a person into a coma inside of a virtual reality that’s controlled by a wielder. The species that can control these virtual realities are extremely rare though, and I wasn’t expecting there to be four of them cooperating on one planet, let alone the same area. There’s obviously something going on here.”

“Well, I’m glad you escaped,” I said, relieved. If she’d been captured too, that would have been the end of us. I would have been stuck forever in that nightmare. I shuddered.

“That type of species doesn’t affect me very well since I’m more electrical than biological. Our pursuers knew this however and sent others after me.”

I felt guilty. I had started the whole thing by running after Lone. “I’m sorry you had to be by yourself this entire time.”

“It wasn’t your fault; you have nothing to apologize for.”

I still felt bad, but at least I could help her rescue Kiko and Rei. I hoped they were doing better than I had been, but if it really was Ozias orchestrating things then I feared the worse for Kiko.

“Let’s find the others.”

#

She drove us into a vacant part of a building and parked.

“We’ll be safe here,” she said, getting out.

She helped me out of the shuttle and set me down on what looked like a giant robot head. I stretched and tried to move my muscles around. She came back with something in her hand and pressed it on the back of my neck. It zapped me, and I fell onto the ground, twitching.

“Ow! Geez! You could warn me!” I complained.

“It would’ve hurt more if I did,” she explained with a slight smile.

I moved my muscles around again, and this time they felt normal.

“All right, what are we waiting for? Let’s go save Kiko and Rei!”

“You should rest here first. We don’t know where they are yet, so you should use this time to gather your strength.”

I wanted to go find them immediately, but I realized there was no point in wandering around aimlessly. I sat back down, and she handed me a can with gray mush inside and told me to eat it. It smelled funky, but at least it didn’t taste like anything. The texture was disgusting though.

She went to work, searching through a map of the city and showed it to me. “I’ve narrowed it down to only a few locations left. They have to be in one of these areas.”

I counted about five different locations. “When will we go?”

“Tomorrow if you’re ready. We’ll search them all and find them.”

I nodded. Then she showed me where I could clean up and cut my hair. It was strange seeing myself a month older when it felt like only yesterday I was nice and clean.

I had just finished cleaning up when I suddenly remembered that I was supposed to be holding the morph stone. I quickly checked my pocket, but it was empty. My gut wrenched. I was supposed to be protecting the stone and I ended up losing it only a few hours after arriving on Glutvagant.

I burst out of the cleaning room. “Tammy, I lost my stone!”

She wasn’t surprised. “I know, but there was nothing we could do. I’m just glad you’re still in one piece. We’ll get it back.” She sounded confident, but I was still disappointed with myself. That was the second time I’d lost one of the stones in my possession.

#

I sulked around for hours until I noticed all the gadgets that were lying around.

“What are these?” I asked.

 “Stuff I’ve collected over the past few weeks. Mainly weapons.”

“Weapons, huh?” I looked at them closely. “They don’t look like any weapons I’ve ever seen.”

“That’s because they’re all contraband.”

I was about to pick up a cool looking gadget with blades spitting out the sides of a sleek blaster when Tammy said, “Here,” stopping me. “This one’s yours.”

She handed me a simple-looking silver ring.

“Uh, thanks.” I looked at it, slightly disappointed. “How do you use it?”

“It’ll work when you need it to.”

That didn’t explain much. This was supposed to help keep me safe somehow? It seemed like it was more of a fashion statement. Maybe if I flashed it in front of an enemy’s face, they’d stop and admire it. Or maybe they’d have more of a reason to kill me or chop off my hand to take it.

“All right,” I said, only mildly complaining, and wishing it was one of the cool looking ones I had just examined.

She went back to work. I watched her for a while until I fell asleep. When I woke up Tammy was still working, but this time it was on the shuttle. She looked like a mechanic in her jumpsuit, her goggles on, and her hair up in a ponytail, welding a panel to the ship.

“You’re a mechanic, too?” I joked.

She looked up at me with her goggles; she was almost unrecognizable aside from her monotonic expression. “I prefer design, but I know how to use one of these if that’s what you mean.” She waved a strange-looking blowtorch at me.

I smiled, realizing there was nothing she couldn’t do or quickly learn how to do.

I got up to stretch. “Are we leaving soon?”

She took off her goggles and put down her hair to braid. “Yes, I just finished.”

She left to go clean up and change; then I helped her load some gadgets into the shuttle. I gave her a moment to double check the room to make sure we had everything we needed, and soon we were off to the first location.

“Do we have a plan?” I asked, readying myself for a rescue mission.

“I’ll be the distraction, and you find and rescue them.”

“You’re going to be the distraction?” I sounded skeptical. “Are you sure about that?”

“I’m the only one who knows how to use the equipment,” she said simply.

I didn’t like it, but it was the truth, and she had rescued me on her own so I had to take her word for it.

“Do you think they’re in two separate locations?”

“No, I don’t think so. I have a feeling they’re being held together, because the species work stronger together at closer proximities, and I’m sure they have more than one to subdue Kiko.”

I thought about it more. “This sounds like a trap.”

“I’m sure it is, but there’s nothing we can do but hope for the best.”

#

We got to the first location, but we only had to drive by for Tammy to know they weren’t there. We drove by the second location with the same result, but at the third location she stopped short. Of course it had to be the most intimidating looking building of them all. Towering over the buildings next to it, bleak and grimy with blaster holes and splashes of what I assumed was blood in various locations.

“They’re on the second floor from the top,” she said, looking through what looked like a piece of glass. “Take this.” She handed me the gizmo arm cuff she was using earlier. “It’ll allow you to walk through walls like before. Just focus on what shape and object you want to walk through.”

That seemed easy enough. I put it on, and it beeped a few times, adjusting to my bicep size. The plan was to go unnoticed for as long as possible, so I had to sneak inside the building.

She took me up as far as she thought was safe, which wasn’t very high, and waited for me to walk through the wall. I held up my arm like she had and tried to visualize the wall and what shape I wanted to walk through.

I can’t describe what kind of shape I produced because it wasn’t an actual shape at all.

“What’s that supposed to be?” she teased, pointing at the wobbly bubble.

“Uh … I was just trying it out,” I said for pity points.

I had focused on a square but then the idea of a circle crossed my mind, and it had turned into something completely different. It was embarrassing to try and squeeze and contort my body through the shameful shape I made. I’m sure Tammy suddenly had doubts about my ability to rescue the others, because I certainly did.

Luckily I walked into an empty room filled with dusty old furniture. I didn’t think about how I would head upwards. Tammy answered my question by sending one of her droids with me. I didn’t even notice it until it formed sort of a ladder for me to walk up. It must’ve known the safe areas too because it walked around each room first before forming a ladder in a specific spot.

Luckily I was getting better at projecting what shape I wanted, and I always stuck my head in first to make sure it was safe to climb up. Then the droid would follow me by simply jumping and climbing up the ledge of the shape.

We went up quite a few floors without encountering anyone until reaching one floor where there were strange four-legged creatures pacing around in a scouting manner. I pulled my head out as soon as I saw one of them turn towards me. I held my breath, hoping it didn’t see me. The floor creaked above me. Now I could hear every sound as if it was amplified. The creature’s long nails tapped on the steel floor a few times.

It was quiet for a moment.

Suddenly its nails scraped the smooth steel floor, right above my head. The sound was so loud and shrilling, I nearly had a heart attack as I clapped my hands over my ears, trying to escape the gut-wrenching sound.

Then it stopped and all was quiet again. Soon I could only hear my breathing as the clacking of nails trotted away.

I gave a sigh of relief. That was close, and I hadn’t even made it up that far yet.

The droid walked me to a different location, and I poked my head up again. This time it was all clear, and I quickly got up and hid behind some boxes while the droid joined me. Once it was up, it began searching around for another safe spot. It took longer than usual, but eventually we made it to the next floor and I peered around. It was darker, and the air smelled sour. The droid pointed in a horizontal direction, indicating that this was the floor they were on.

I took the lead and crept around. I didn’t hear anything, but in a precise, swift motion, the droid’s arm pressed me quietly against the shadowed wall where we were hidden just in time. A cloaked humanoid scout emerged into the light, brushing past us on feet so light, there was no way a human could detect him coming.

We stayed along the wall, hidden in the shadows, until I came to an open room. I looked inside and sucked in a sharp breath. I’d found what I was looking for, but it didn’t look good. 


© Copyright 2018 Anon Amous. All rights reserved.

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