Part 6: Subliminal Stone
“That’s what Cashel wanted us to do,” said Rei as she walked in to join us.
The Jago hummed slightly as we all paused silently.
“Right, let’s finish it,” I agreed.
We all looked to Tammy who was still facing the dark sun-shield in her chair for any acknowledgement. She could tell we were waiting for her.
She swiveled around and declared our next destination, “I have the planet locations of the next two stones. First we’ll be heading to the planet called Glutvagant.”
Rei looked surprised, “Glutvagant?”
“So, you have heard of it?” Tammy asked her.
“Yeah,” Kiko answered. “It’s a common place for those who flee Drogonaaz to head.”
“I figured, the entire planet is quite vulgar.”
I didn’t know what they were talking about so I asked, “What kind of planet is it?”
Tammy answered, “It’s an over-populated, metropolitan planet known to house the galaxy’s biggest black-market.”
That reminded me of some parts that can be found in the city of Sola. I thought about the large city and its hopefully-now collapsed slave trade, but it was entirely possible that someone else had now taken up the job.
Kiko asked another question, “The third stone is there?”
“Yes,” Tammy brought up a map. “I’ve been scanning for the two remaining stones while we were on Tizarr.” The section panned out to show a blinking planet and zoomed in to enlarge it. It was a rather dark planet. “The closest one is on Glutvagant.”
“Do you know where the last one is at?” Rei asked. Tammy paused and then zoomed to a distant planet on the edge of the galaxy. It’s a lot further than the distance from where we were to Glutvagant. There were two planets next to each other flashing this time. “There’s two? What planets are those?”
“It’s…” she sounded bleak, “Thereon.”
Thereon? The name sounded familiar… wait… could it be…
“Your home planet?” I remembered.
Everyone except Tammy looked surprised.
“Wasn’t there a reason you left?”
“Yes, I have my reasons.”
“Are you okay with going back? Maybe we should go there without you.”
“I’ll be fine. You’ll need my help getting there anyway.” We gave her a worried look. “It’s unfortunate the stone landed there, but it needs to be retrieved. We should concentrate on the third stone first.”
The three of us nodded at her.
“How long will it take to get there?”
Only three days this time? It didn’t seem like enough time to prepare but then I realized there wasn’t really anything to prepare for.
It was a lot harder to concentrate on our goal with so many memories of Cashel scattered randomly throughout the ship. Kiko spent all her time in the training room and Rei spent hers in the sky deck, leaving Tammy to pack up most of his belongings since she knew what was his.
I found her standing outside of Cashel’s room, staring at his door a few days before we were going to land. I knew it pained her to collect his items scattered about.
“You’ve knew him the longest haven’t you?” I asked while she was in front of his door, her arms full of his tools and small gadgets.
She sighed slightly and looked down at the stuff she was carrying. “Yes, we’ve been traveling for years together. I’ve known him for most of my life.”
She opened the door and walked inside. I’d only been inside Cashel’s room a few times but every time I had been inside, he had been sitting there at his desk fiddling with something new. Now it was strange seeing the empty chair. It made me feel hollow, and the ship felt hollow too. I knew Tammy felt this void the most.
She set the items in a bin and turned to leave.
“Are you… all right?” I asked making sure she was okay.
“I’m fine,” she said simply.
I didn’t believe her. I followed her back to her room where she continued to work at her desk.
I sat there, at the side of her bed and ended up falling asleep. Awoken later by the flickering lights throughout the ship, I saw Tammy at her desk, asleep as well. Her hair flickered irregularly along with the lights. I quietly got up from the floor and went to move her to her bed. There was an image from a memory flasher of all of us, including Cashel, projected on her desk.
I could tell she hadn’t slept in a while because she was still in a deep sleep as I pulled the covers over her. The flickering stopped and her hair started glowing peacefully again. It was down from her usual braids and resting on her chest.
I did something I’d always wanted to do since I’ve met her and I thought asking her would be awkward, but I was like a moth to a flame and before I knew it I was running my fingers through her glowing hair. It was incredibly soft and silky smooth. The glowing intensified in the areas I just touched, and I could feel a low electric current run through my fingers. It tickled.
I stopped playing with her hair when I realized how weird I probably looked and sat back down at the side of her bed only to fall back to sleep.
I woke up a few hours later, trying to remember where I was. I recognized that I was in Tammy’s room but then I felt something leaning on me. I glanced over and saw Kiko asleep on my shoulder along with Rei on hers. We were all together, trying to fill the hole left by Cashel’s death. We slept like that the rest of the nights on the ship. I would fall asleep at the side of Tammy’s bed and I would wake up to find Kiko and Rei with us.
Landing day arrived quickly. Tammy was busy on the flight deck trying to keep our ship hidden from onlookers since it was probably now broadcasted throughout the galaxy that we already had two of the four stones.
She landed the ship in a desolate area of the city.
“You think the ship will be okay here?” Kiko asked her.
She answered as she opened the cargo doors, “I’ve managed to conceal our entrance with a counterfeit identification, but we shouldn’t stay too long.”
“How long is too long?” I asked.
“A month at the most.”
“Oh that’s not too bad!” said Rei, “I was thinking like two days or somethin’ like that.”
Kiko spoke again, “You think we can find the stone within a month?”
“If we don’t digress, yes, I think we can find the stone within a month.”
We walked out of the ship and I got my first view of the planet. It was dark, and apparently it was always dark. The planet didn’t have a sun; instead, the planet’s core was the sun. The further you went down in the ground, the hotter it became. Because of this, everyone lived as high as they could. There were skyscrapers everywhere. There wasn’t a piece of land that didn’t have some sort of building on it; even where we landed was inside of a tall building, far from the baking ground.
Kiko stopped us and told us the plan, “We’re gonna stick together, get the stone, and get off.”
Simple, easy, and we all agreed. Tammy was holding the elemental stone and I was holding the newly named morph stone since they both resonated pretty low with us. She said it took the stones off the radar almost completely so it was best if we held them. No one argued.
The first thing on our agenda was to buy a cheap shuttle ship since there was no way of walking to the stone.
We let Tammy choose it. She wore a cape with a hood that hid her glowing hair and the rest of us wore a type of hoodie that hid most of our faces and made us appear as shadowy figures. We seemed to blend in with most of the population on the planet, which consisted of shady looking travelers.
Tammy bought a ship and we piled in. I wasn’t too sure if it would last very long, it didn’t even have a roof, but Tammy chose it so I knew it had to be what we needed.
We drove in the traffic between skyscrapers for hours. Tammy couldn’t land the Jago too close to the stone without bringing attention to ourselves so we drove around for hours to get there. It wasn’t too bad of a drive because I got to see many strange things as we drove through the city.
Different sections of the city housed different classes of citizens. We drove through one area that was well lit and had many nice shuttles driving everywhere and everyone was orderly. I’d say we stood out in our run-down shuttle there but little attention was given to us.
Where we fit in really well were the shabby areas. I’d swear I saw our shuttle with similar looking, hooded figures inside. These areas were the most prominent and the most dangerous. Twice Kiko had to stop some muggers from trying to take our ship by force. It was ruthless in those parts. I certainly didn’t want to be left alone there.
We took shifts driving so we could drive through the night. I had just ended my driving shift and was sitting in the back when I saw something that stopped my heart and made me sit upright.
Lone was walking casually into the building next to us.
I knew it was her. I could just tell it was. Something inside me made me want to follow her and without thinking, I jumped off the ship, which was sitting in traffic, and onto the building’s platform to run after her, leaving the others behind.
© Copyright 2016 Anon Amous. All rights reserved.
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