Jago: The Millennium Galaxy Race

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

Chapter 6 (v.4) - Crew

Submitted: June 30, 2017

Reads: 102

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Submitted: June 30, 2017

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Part 2: Crew of the Jago

Chapter 6: Crew

 

I awoke in an unknown place. From what I could tell, my limp body melded into what felt like a cushioned table. The first thing I noticed was how cold it was, and then I started remembering what had happened. Somehow I’d gone from another monotonous day of slavery to being a condemned criminal to ending up on a bounty hunter’s space ship.

I blinked, staring up at the ceiling at a small device that looked like it was staring back. I couldn’t move. I didn’t think I was restrained, but I couldn’t move a muscle. My pain was gone, but I felt dull and weak. All I could do was lay there and wonder where I was and what was going to happen to me.

Without warning, the door slid open. I suddenly got a chill and my chest started pounding. I couldn’t even turn my head to see who it was, and I felt more vulnerable than back on the arena.

“You’ve regained consciousness I see.”

She sounded familiar: the girl’s voice from the intercom earlier … Tammy, I thought is what Rei called her. She had a very monotone voice, and it surprisingly calmed me.

“Yeah …” I rasped. The sound that croaked out of me was kind of creepy.

“You’ve been unconscious for almost a week.”

“A week?” No wonder my throat was dry.

She nodded. “Fighting with the sync rings can be dangerous. Kiko blocked the neural inhibitors that usually stop you accessing all your muscles for your fight. You were able to use 100 percent of your muscle mass—something your body would normally never allow you to do, giving you the necessary strength to defeat the Quwallie. However, your body also took a lot of damage for it: torn and bruised muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your arms and legs. A few broken fingers. If we were to turn off the sync rings the agony would kill you, so right now Kiko is still taking about 70 percent of your pain. The rest is numbed out with anesthetic.”

She walked over and stood beside me. She was small, and her skin was bloodless white. She was probably about Rei’s age, maybe younger. She had silvery, translucent hair in two braids resting on her chest, and it looked like … it looked like it was glowing in a warm pulse that was so subtle you wouldn’t notice unless you were up close like I was.

Her eyes flickered side to side as she made quick but precise hand movements over me. There must’ve been a holographic board there I couldn’t see. She looked kind of funny from my perspective.

“I see …” I finally said. I was basically a mess thanks to Akiko, or Kiko, whatever her name was.  I tried moving again, but it was useless. My anxiety spiked when a thought crossed my mind. “Will I be able to move again?”

She stopped and faced me, her light brown eyes catching mine. “No. However, we have decided to let you live the rest of your existence on this table.”

Stunned, shocked, depressed—none of these could hardly describe how I suddenly felt all at once. I stared at the ceiling, mortified at the thought of never being able to move.

“That was a joke.” She continued in her same monotone voice. Even her expression never changed.

“What?” I looked at her, but my mind was still numb. “That was … a joke?”

She stared at me blankly. “Yes.”

I stared back. What the heck was that? I was no expert in jokes, but that really sucked.

 “Although your injuries were severe, I was able to piece you back together. In about a month or so you should be fully healed. For now, I have put you in a sort of stasis. I was waiting for you to regain consciousness before placing you in your brace.”

“Oh … thanks.” I was praying she wasn’t still joking. “I have to wear a brace?”

“Yes. I will bring it to you.” She started walking away but then turned back around. “A warning; the brace was made specifically to limit your movements and to allow support for normal actions … like walking.”

“Why is that a warning? I don’t plan on running anytime soon.”

“Because it will hurt getting in, and you will look funny.” With that she left the room.

I’ll look funny?

It was comfy, soothing, and quiet as I lay there, waiting for her to return. With nothing to think about, I suddenly had a lot to think about. Just yesterday I was balancing accounts and scrubbing the floors. What was I going to do now? What would they want to do with me? I had a lot of questions that led to more questions, but I didn’t bother thinking about their answers, not yet. My first goal was to be able to move again.

About a minute later Tammy returned holding a pair of neatly folded gray clothes. She set them at the foot of my table and began touching an invisible board again. It was about this time that I noticed something unsettling.

“How did I get out of my clothes?” I tried not to sound so nervous about it, but I noticed I was only in a pair of boxer shorts … that weren’t mine. Someone had changed me, and I really hoped it hadn’t been one of the girls.

“You were changed,” she said simply, still waving her arms around. “Don’t worry; Cashel changed you. He’s the captain.”

“Oh …” I tried hiding my embarrassment.

Cashel? Captain? Maybe he was the older man fighting alongside Rei earlier in the arena.

She finished with the holographic board and pushed one final button that triggered an electric bolt through my body. The pain slowly crept back in, but thankfully, it wasn’t nearly as bad as before.

Tammy took a step back. “Wiggle your fingers and toes.”

I did. They were achy and hurt, but at least I could still move them.

“Okay. I take it you can change into your brace yourself?” she asked.

“Yeah, I can manage.” I tried to sit up. The cushion on the table helped lift me up before laying back down.

That was cool.

Tammy walked away. “I’ll be on the flight deck. My name is Tammy. Just call out for me if you need me.”

The door slid closed behind her. I examined my arms and legs. Everything seemed normal besides the pain and the fact that I was squeaky clean. I didn’t think I’d ever been this clean before. I held up an arm to examine. I was still very tan, which wasn’t unusual for the people of Sola, but compared to Akiko, Rei, and especially Tammy, I was easily the darkest. It was strange to see the actual color of my skin instead of the layer of dust and grime I was always covered in as a slave. The only time we got a bucket of water thrown on us was during special events when our smell needed to be masked for a few hours. Even before I was a slave, finding water was scarce, and using it to clean yourself was never a priority. In fact, the layer of mud we usually had on helped protect us from the sun’s harsh rays and probably staved off our smell better than the bucket of water.

A dull ache built up in my limbs as I held onto the edge of the bed and slid my lower body off until my feet touched the floor, and I quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to move too much before the pain got to me. Great, getting dressed was going be like being in the arena all over again.

I took a closer look at my wrists and saw that I was still wearing the sync rings. I didn’t know what to think about that, so I chose to ignore it. I grabbed the gray clothes off the table and began the daunting mission of putting them on.

After lots of grunting and hurting and three breaks from exhaustion, I got the job done. Definitely the longest it’d ever taken me to change.

I wasn’t sure where the brace part came in until I was fully dressed. The clothing tightened around my skin, and suddenly my arms and legs were outstretched, stiff and immobile. I felt and probably looked ridiculous. How was I supposed to even walk? But at least my pain was dulled considerably.

I wobbled to the door and stood there. I hesitated before opening it, looking through the small window and out into a corridor. Was I allowed to just wander the ship? Was I a prisoner? Did I have to walk around like this?

I didn’t have to think long because the top of a head bobbed by and then backed up to do a double-take at me through the window. The door slid open and revealed Rei.

 “You’re up!” She smiled at me. Then her gaze took in all of me, and she laughed. “I see Tammy’s already gotten to you!”  She tried to compose herself, but laughter kept winning out.

I didn’t see how my misfortune was so amusing.

She covered her mouth with both hands and finally stopped giggling. “Here let me help you.” She pressed her hand to my shirt, which came to life with glowing text sprawled across the front. I couldn’t read it upside-down.

 “Degree of laughter,” she mumbled to herself, which was followed by another chuckle. “Eight out of ten.”

It took me a second to grasp the situation.

“Is this … another Tammy joke? Are you rating her jokes?”

She laughed. “Yes! Funny, isn’t it?”

With the tip of her finger, she wrote on my shirt, and my arms and legs went back to being in a normal standing posture. Good to know I was being used for comic relief, I guess.

“Thanks for that.”

“No problem.” She smiled up at me. “I guess you figured out that Tammy likes to joke around.”

“Yeah …”

“I’m Rei, if you don’t remember. I know we met kind of in a rush. Aki said your name was Sarth. It’s nice to meet you!”

Aki? Who was that? It had to be Akiko since she was the only one I told my name to. Which brought me to, Sarth? Akiko said my name was Sarth? “Uhh …” Well, Sarth did sound better than Trash. I decided to just go with it.

“Yeah, you too,” I said.

Rei took me by the hand and gently tugged me forward. “I’ll introduce you to everyone!”

As we walked, she gave me the basics on their ship. We were on the mid deck, which was the largest section. Above us was the flight deck and below was the lower deck that was used mainly for storage. The room I had been in turned out to be the medical bay on the mid deck.

She led me upstairs to the flight deck where Tammy was sitting in the pilot’s seat tapping away on the holodeck. The view through the window was amazing. Thousands of bright glowing stars lit up the dark cosmos of space. I knew outer space existed, of course, that there were other planets and galaxies. I’d read about it in a few of the Professor’s books, but even that didn’t prepare me for the stunning view I was encompassed in. Not only were the distant stars so vibrant, so bold against the blackness, but there were also streaks of light I’d catch out of the corner of my eye, and streams of color glistening off nearby planets, twisting and coiling in beautiful wisps. I had imagined outer space to be vast and empty, but this …  no. I was completely wrong. Space was alive. I’d never seen anything like it, and I eagerly took it in. There were so many things to look at; it was almost overwhelming.

“This is Tammy! Her real name is Tamsin, but we just call her Tammy,” Rei explained, pulling me away from my star-gazing. Tammy simply ignored us and continued working. “She’s our pilot, navigator, technician, doctor, and anything else we can’t do.”

Hmm, so what can they do?

“How’s it going, Tammy?” she asked.

 “Everything is still running. It looks like we’ll be able to make it straight to Crux.”

“That’s good news! I’ll go tell Cashel.”

Rei grabbed my hand again, and we headed to the lower deck. We walked slowly for obvious reasons—that being me. For such an enthusiastic person, she didn’t seem to mind the slow pace.

A few boxes and crates filled the lower deck, which was just a big open space. An old but still strong-looking man, maybe in his sixties, with a bald head and a long white beard sat on an overturned box. He was looking at a hologram glass and glancing at the different crates around him.

“Ah, Rei, and you must be the one Tammy was fixing up?” he asked as he finished writing something on the glass.

Rei answered for me. “This is Sarth from Sola. He’s the one that helped us capture Vaughan.”

“It’s good to see you up and about.” He held up his arms as if unveiling the ship to me for the first time. “Welcome to the Jago.”

I nodded.  “Thank you, sir.”

“Sir?” He chuckled. “Just call me Cashel.”

So this was the captain Tammy mentioned. It was a good sign that he was so welcoming. After all, the only options I had right now were staying with them or being dumped somewhere. He was also the man who’d changed me. I wanted to thank him for that but decided it was better not to say anything in front of Rei. Tammy may have had a fondness for jokes, but Rei certainly didn’t seem like she minded opportunities for a laugh. It was better to avoid questionable territory.

Rei butted in. “We’re all bounty hunters from the planet Crux, and Cashel’s the Captain of the Jago. Oh yeah, Tammy said we can head straight to Crux.”

“Ah, that’s good. Would you mind telling Kiko for me that we won’t be making any pit stops?”

“Sure, no problem.”

We left Cashel and headed for a new part of the ship, this time toward the back of the mid deck. I still wasn’t used to the sound of our footsteps clanking against the metal grill that made up the floor. Or the fact that the entire ship was made of metal, which gave everything a gray sheen in the artificial white light. It was only slightly annoying now that my eyes were slowly adjusting.

 “Back here we have the training and weapons room and down the hall are the living quarters, which is where we started. Let’s see if Aki’s in her room.”

She seemed to be the only one that called her Aki. Tammy and Cashel both called her Kiko. So what did I call her?

Rei placed her hand on the door, and it lit up red.

“Hm… …” She frowned. “I guess she’s in the training room.”

I followed her to a lone door down the hall and braced myself against the wall. All this walking was doing me in. She placed her hand on the door again, and this time it turned yellow.

She sighed. “She’s busy. Well, you’ve already met her, so I guess it’s no big deal.” She studied me, taking in my leaning position and the expression of discomfort that was no doubt on my face. “You should get some rest. Your room is down the hall; it’ll light up green when you place your hand on it. Tonight’s my dinner night! So I’ll see you later in the dining room, okay? Don’t be late!”

She took off down the hall, her pace dramatically faster now that she wasn’t waiting on me. She had a lot of energy. I wobbled down the hall, wondering about the ‘dinner night,’ and placed my hand on each door. It took two tries before one turned green and opened for me. Inside there was a bed, closet, and table. It wasn’t a castle, but I wasn’t about to complain about having a room to myself. High ranking or not, I’d still been a slave on Sola and had shared a tiny room with a dozen other slaves.

I eased myself into the bed, burrowed down under the covers, and slept.

#

Beep. Beep.

I opened my eyes. My chest was glowing again. I poked it and it stopped. I guessed that meant dinner was ready, but where was I supposed to go again? I got up and headed for the door. A layout lit up on the door, and I realized that it was a map, with a red dot I figured was my destination. I studied the map and learned that by doing different hand movements I was able to zoom in and out of it. It was really cool.

Somehow I still ended up lost, but I eventually made it to the dining room. Rei was in the kitchen making a lot of noise for someone who was supposed to be cooking. Cashel and Tammy were already sitting at the table so I sat down with them.

“Where’s Akiko?” I asked. I hadn’t really planned to ask, but it just came out. Even though she seemed to be the person who was the least interested in me, I thought I was most interested in her. The way she’d fought—I couldn’t get it out of my head. And she had saved me. It was a pretty good excuse for wanting to at least say ‘hey’ to her, in my opinion.

“I guess she’s not hungry,” Tammy said. Like a machine, she never showed the slightest expression. Maybe she was a machine. She took something out from one of her many thick bracelets.

Cashel nudged her and whispered, “Gimme one.”

She took out a tiny, thin sheet of paper and handed it to Cashel. They both quickly put it on their tongue just as Rei walked out with a tray full of food. She sat in the seat next to me with her usual wide grin.

“Aki isn’t coming, so we don’t have to wait. Let’s eat!” she chirped as she started grabbing food and piling it her plate.

The other two picked items as well but not nearly as much as Rei. I took a few good-looking pieces of … something. I had no idea what it was, but I took a bite.

I can’t describe the taste that suddenly hit my mouth. It was like something ate something rotten and then died and the dead-rotted carcass taste had seeped into the food. Yes, it was the worst thing I’d ever had … and I’d had my share of really bad food.

Tears welled up, blurring my focus, and it took all my strength to force myself to swallow. I tried to stifle my choking and heaves from Rei. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but luckily she was enveloped in her own eating frenzy.

Cashel laughed and Tammy stared as I tried my absolute hardest not to throw up what I’d just managed to shove down my throat.

“What’s the matter? Need something to wash it down?” Rei asked, taking a moment to check on me. Half her plate was already cleaned off.

I nodded as politely as I could, and she got up and went to the kitchen.

I looked down at my plate in desperation. There was no way I could take another bite.

“Too bad you woke up on Rei’s day to cook,” Cashel whispered and then chuckled. “Consider that your initiation bite to the Jago!”

Tammy handed me one of the thin sheets from her bracelet. “It will nullify the taste.”

“Another joke?” I asked cautiously.

“It’s no joke when I suffer as well,” she assured. “I wasn’t sure if you would taste the same thing we do, but obviously you do.”

I put the sheet on my tongue. It worked very well; even the aftertaste disappeared. I put a teeny-tiny bite of food in my mouth and I couldn’t taste a thing—although I couldn’t avoid the texture, but I could live with that.

Rei came back with drinks for everyone, and we continued eating. She had made a lot of food and ended up eating most of it herself. Hopefully she didn’t know why. I helped her clear the table, but she insisted she’d wash and put the dishes away herself since I was still injured.

I headed back to my room, and with nothing else to do, I looked through the items in my closet and table. There were clothes in my closet, some for sleeping, some for day use, and even some for training. There were a couple drawers in my table with nothing in them but a writing stick. I took it out and twirled it in my hands. The table glowed for a moment. I wondered … then tried writing on the table. The words appeared there just like it would on regular paper.

I tapped the table while reminiscing. I was lucky that I could write; there weren’t that many people who could on Sola. The Professor taught me at a young age, and even though it hadn’t saved me from slavery, it had protected me nonetheless, enabling me to get a position as a household slave rather than an arena slave, which is what I was originally destined for. I wished I could thank the Professor. I’d always known what a blessing his teachings were, even if my childhood companion, Lone, thought otherwise. She fussed that street smarts would keep us alive longer. That’s where she thrived, and I admit, she did save my butt numerous times when we were younger. Lone never cared for the Professor; I knew she only stuck around for my sake, even though she was a quick learner and caught on to reading and writing a lot faster than me.

I sighed, remembering the fate of my two childhood friends. I guessed the past didn’t matter anymore. They were both dead.

I stopped tapping and started writing. I wrote out how I ended up on the Jago and the new people I’d met. I didn’t really know why, but I did it anyway; maybe someone would read it someday.

Time flew by, and I realized I didn’t know where the bathroom was. I went back to the map on my door to look for it. I couldn’t read the text, but there were only a few rooms I hadn’t visited, and they happened to be right next to the training room.

I made my way over there and stopped in front of the training room door. I wondered if Akiko was still inside. I debated putting my hand on the door to find out. For some reason I wanted to see her again.

I stood there for another second until deciding to leave, but suddenly the door slid open. There stood Akiko in her training clothes, still catching her breath, with a small towel draped around her neck. Her stunning gray eyes caught mine with a hint of bafflement.

I quickly looked down, and my nerves got to me. “Oh … uhh … sorry. I was just looking for the bathroom.” I hurried away as fast as I could, hoping with all my might that she hadn’t been able to see me standing there outside the door somehow.

#

The next few days I spent wandering around the ship, and the whole time I never saw Akiko again. I often saw Cashel, Rei, and Tammy working around the ship but never Akiko. I didn’t know why, but I had a strong feeling she was avoiding me because she never came to dinner either.

I found myself talking to Tammy a lot since she always gave straight, detailed answers, even if she did joke around sometimes. On the fifth day I decided to ask her why Akiko was avoiding me.

“Because she feels guilty about your injuries” was her answer.

“What?” I asked, totally not expecting that.

I was sitting against the control panel by her feet as she worked from her co-pilot’s chair.

“Because she feels guilty about your injuries,” she repeated.

I sighed. “I heard you the first time. I just didn’t believe it.”

“That is the conclusion I came to. If you want to know the truth, you should ask her yourself.”

“But I don’t even know how to find her. I’ve even tried looking once.”

She didn’t respond, and I sighed again.

Her chair turned, and she faced me. “Have you ever seen the sky deck?”


© Copyright 2017 Anon Amous. All rights reserved.

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