Two

Two

A Chapter by Natasha Reams

           “I am Saiyani of Yievis. I am searching for help.”

           Jace Ceroe nodded in approval. “Good. Very little stuttering in that. At least people will know your name.”

           “That is not important,” I spoke slowly, trying to focus on the strange sounds. “I must go to the center of this galaxy.”

           He rolled his eyes, “Yeah, yeah. Save the galaxy and all. You still haven’t explained what’s going to destroy us.”

           “Because I do not know. I must journey to find out.”

           My Vech teacher simply shrugged and turned to his communication device. Three days had passed since he began teaching me Standard speech. In those three days little had changed with the Elders as they have yet to decide who will go in my stead. Luckily I am a fast learner and Jace has repaired his communication device quickly. Between the two of us we accomplished much while the Elders deliberated. It was early in the morning that we seemed to be finished.

           “I think it’s finally ready for long range communication,” Jace said as he examined the device. “All that’s left is to try.”

           With a nod from me, Jace began adjusting the various dials and gauges on the device. It made a slight humming sound for a moment before static and crackled voices could be heard faintly. After some more adjustments we could barely hear some chatter in Standard. It sounded like they were discussing search and rescue plans.

           Jace worked quickly to form his message. According to him, the crew on his starship would hear it and follow his orders. Supposedly they would send a small shuttle down to the surface to pick him up. I had already told him of a suitable spot for it to land without attracting the attention of the other Vis. The one thing I had not yet mentioned was that the Vis would be able to see the shuttle coming towards Yievis’ surface. For it to land safely we would require a distraction.

           “Saiyani?” Jace’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “The message is sent. They know where to go, but we won’t have much time. It will likely take until noon for them to get here.”

            I frowned and muttered, “That will be more difficult….”

            His eyes narrowed slightly but didn’t pry. With the message out all that was left was to wait. When the time came I would make sure the Vis were too busy to investigate the shuttle. Of course, doing such a thing might label me as a rebel and ruin every future chance at leaving Yievis.

            Part of me wondered why I was risking so much for this Vech. It was not like this would change the Elders’ minds about whether to send me or not. Still I felt no need to reconsider helping Jace. Somehow a rebelliousness had awoken inside me at finding this alien. In the history of the Vis any outright rebellion against the traditions marked us as unworthy. That meant the Vis had turned away from thinking of all the people and had thought only of themselves. Punishment for such was seclusion from everything in what we called the Unseen Cave. Only one Elder ever knew the location of its entrance and no one knew which Elder. If a Vis was found unworthy they were sent to live out their days in the darkness of the Unseen Cave, eventually becoming beast-like and forgetting completely the ways of tradition.

           No! I mentally shook myself. You will not become a beast. You are smart enough to avoid such a punishment. Think!

           “Saiyani?” Jace suddenly interrupted me one again. “Tell me about the Vis.”

           The question puzzled me, “Why?”

           He also seemed surprised by my confusion. “The Vis haven’t been heard of in over a thousand years. They’ve passed into legend for the rest of the galaxy. Surely you can understand why I’d want to hear more about your people?”

           “It truly has been a long time,” I sighed. “Our disappearance from the stars was about to end, though, because of me.”

           “What do you mean?”

           I sat on the raised rock that was my bed. “We had a civil war three generations ago. About nine hundred standard years I think. It is what began our seclusion from the other planets. Before we would journey away from home to pursue the meanings of our visions, whatever they were. The day you crashed I had a vision that will require the Vis to venture out again.”

           Jace sounded deep in thought. “I had heard you were supposed to be able to see the future. What did you see?”

           I described my dreamvision to him. It was obvious as I did that he was not wholly convinced my vision had not simply been a nightmare. He could not be faulted for that, however, as no other species in this galaxy had the power of foresight. They could hardly be expected to understand what the Vis saw when the concept of seeing the future was as alien as we were.

           After I had described both the vision and the decision of the Elders, Jace stood suddenly: “Then why are you just sitting here with me?”

           “You needed help, and the Elders would not have helped you like this had they found you.”

           “No, I know that much. I mean why aren’t you trying to get off Yievis and go after your vision?”

           My hearts raced at his words, “To do so would make me rebellious. I would be sent to the Unseen Cave as punishment.”

           He sighed in frustration, “I don’t know what that means, but don’t you think saving the galaxy is more important than worrying about some punishment?”

           I fell silent as I considered this. Would it truly be worth it to leave Yievis on my own? The Elders would be forced to punish me should I ever attempt to return. My home would be lost to me forever if I left like this. But unless I left Yievis and the rest of the galaxy would be consumed.

           Looking up at Jace I asked, “What would you do?”

           “I think I’d put the survival of everyone over the laws of my own people,” He answered plainly.

           The universe over my species…. Yes, it must be done. No matter the sacrifice it requires me to make. “So I am to search for the center of this galaxy on my own. First I will need to leave Yievis.”

           “That shouldn’t be difficult,” Jace grinned with the flesh half of his face. “You’ll come with me to my ship.”

          I stared at him, “Really? You would help me pursue my vision?”

          He shrugged, “Why not? The galaxy getting destroyed is bad for everybody.”

           I stood and nodded respectfully, “Thank you, Jace Ceroe. I am honored to have your help.”

           He waved off my seriousness, “Well then, let’s get ready for noon.”


           An hour or so before noon we had finished our preparations and were flying towards the coordinates Jace had sent his crew. After telling him that the Vis would definitely spot a ship entering the atmosphere he had agreed that we needed a distraction. I had told him I was already working on that, which was only a partial lie. Truthfully, though, I had an idea of how to occupy the Vis while we boarded the shuttle. The biggest issue would be whether or not I had the power.

            We landed on the large flatland know as the Barrens. It was the single largest stretch of flat rock on Yievis, as well as completely devoid of Yuein. Because of its general uselessness the Vis almost never pass through the area. Above us the sun steadily climbed towards its zenith.

            Jace’s one organic eye squinted up at it. “It’s about time. Are you ready?”

           I inhaled heavily, “Yes. Let us begin.”

           As I knelt down on the ground Jace’s form provided shade from the sun behind me. Closing my eyes I began to concentrate on the coldness forever present in my Core. Slowly that cold began to spread throughout my insides. In my mind I pictured the area where the majority of the Vis lived in this region. Then I imagined millions of tiny snowflakes being swept along with the wind. Snow was a foreign concept on Yievis, but in teaching me to control my powers the Elders had told me of it. Now I used what they had taught to create a blizzard.

           With my eyes still closed I let out a long breath. The exhaled air was instantly frigid and carried with it a flurry of snowflakes. They twisted and danced as my breath floated in the direction of the other Vis. Another long exhale and more snow joined them. Ten such breathes had created a miniature blizzard whirling around itself. That was when I began to feel the heat of the sun penetrating my thick scales. It was harder to concentrate on the cold with the heat steadily bearing down on me.

           Focus, I chastised myself. You are cold. So cold it burns. Yes! The burning is because you are so incredibly cold.

           This time when I exhaled a large cloud of snow formed. As it joined with the other snowflakes swirling around, the group became the size of the Gathering pillar. Satisfied with this, I directed the blizzard towards the homes of the other Vis. It sailed away swiftly without any signs of melting in the heat.

           “It is done,” I gasped, opening my eyes. “Where is the shuttle?”

           Jace stared in awe at the retreating cloud of snow. “Uh, they still have a few minutes. Are you sure that will keep the others away?”

           “Snow is unheard of on Yievis. Even if they realize it was I who sent it, they will think to look at my home first. By the time they get there to investigate we will already be gone.”

           We waited there for only a short time before Jace pointed to a dark shape approaching from the sky. The shuttle was sleek and grey with writing on the side of it I couldn’t read. It landed noiselessly before its side opened to reveal the interior. A new Vech poked his head out from the cockpit and grinned.

           “Good to see you again, Captain!”

           “Same to you, Orrus,” Jace nodded in greeting and boarded the shuttle. I approached the cramped space and found myself looking back in the direction of my cave. It was not too late to fly away from these Vechs and return to life as normal. Someone else could be sent after my vision and risk their own lives.

           Actually, no, they could not. This vision was given to me and so I must take responsibility for it. No other Vis need get involved or harmed if I go alone. Even Jace could avoid getting hurt by simply leaving me at the source of the darkness and seeking out shelter. My death will be the only one that is certain. No other being will be put in the center of it all.

           Steeling myself, I walked aboard the shuttle and listened to the doors close behind me. Immediately there was a problem. Vis were considerably taller, albeit lighter, than the Vechs. My head was bent against the top of the shuttle and my wings were pushed down. It was extremely uncomfortable to stand, yet equally difficult to sit. My wings pressed against my back as I sat and secured myself with the seat’s buckles. Everything was so cramped in here!

           Then we were taking off and a whole new set of issues arose. I was used to flying, but space flight was entirely different. The whole shuttle rocked as we broke through the atmosphere. It felt like one of the many earthquakes on Yievis. Both my hearts hammered painfully until we were fully in space and the gravity had gone. During our departure I had kept my eyes closed tightly, talons gripping the armrests of my seat. Once we settled into the calmness of space, however, I opened my eyes slowly and gazed out the window ahead of me.

           Yievis from space was more stunning than it had ever been on the surface. The whole planet was a sandy brown with streaks of grey, dark brown, and maroon. Those streaks blended, swirled in on each other, and swept across each other as if fighting for dominance. Such a brilliant sight kept my attention as the planet swiftly grew smaller. It did not take long for me to be able to see the entire planet through the shuttle’s window. I had never known that Yievis was that small.

           “Docking on the Dawnbreaker now, Captain,” The Vech called Orrus spoke from his seat at the controls. “Welcome home.”

           The shuttle slowed considerably as it entered the hangar of the Dawnbreaker. I twisted around trying to find a window that would give me a view of the ship, but then we were already inside and touching down on the metallic floor. As soon as we we landed Jace was out of his seat and standing at the door waiting for it to open. Meanwhile I struggled to undo my fastenings so that I could finally stretch my wings.

           I had barely gotten to my feet when the shuttle’s side opened and Jace was greeted by a crowd of at least three hundred Vechs. In awe, I watched as they clapped and cheered for the return of their captain. Every single one of them looked different and had different mechanical parts. One had two glowing red eyes while another was entirely machine except for his head and a few fingers. Jace stepped down from the shuttle and stepped to the side so that he could look back at me. Realizing what he wanted, I nervously stepped up to the open door.

           Immediately a hush fell over the crowd. Their stares ranged in expression from what I assumed was disbelief to terror. Quite a few stepped back and looked to their captain for guidance. Others seemed unable to move at all, their eyes transfixed on me. I looked at Jace nervously and he seemed the only one who was not concerned by my presence. In fact, he moved to stand between his crew and me.

           “This is Saiyani,” He announced in an authoritative voice. “She is a guest upon this ship and is to be given your respect. It is because of her that I made it back here. Any concerns regarding her presence aboard this ship will be brought directly to me. Understood?”

           They responded with a collective “Yes, sir!” as they saluted him. I finally stepped down out of the shuttle and noticed that I was taller than every single Vech there. A few of them seemed to realize this as well. I could see in their eyes how this disturbed them. They probably think that if I wanted to I could tear the ship apart. Thankfully the voice of their captain sent them back to work and the crowd dispersed. Jace and two other Vechs remained, but their presences did not register in my mind as I took in the ship.

           The hangar alone was massive! It was tall enough for there to be a second story walkway above us and at least six doors leading out of it. On the floor there were three rectangles painted in bright yellow, each with a shuttle parked on it except for the largest. I assumed that was the ship that had crashed on Yievis. Scattered across the room were all sorts of engineering equipment as well as large metal crates. Everything was metal, actually, in varying shades of grey and black.

           “What do you think, Saiyani?” Jace approached me as I gawked. “This is one of the best ships in the Vech fleet.”

           “I can tell,” I breathed. It was a lot to take in for my first time off my home planet.

           “Well this is Zev,” Jace motioned to one of the Vechs with him. “He’s our chief medic. I’ve assigned him to show you around the ship. If you ever need anything just find him.”

           I nodded politely to Zev. He was taller than Jace, but not nearly as muscular. Both his hands were robotic, his greying dark hair falling in a shaggy mess around his face. His smile was bright, however, giving him a more gentle appearance whereas Jace was quite intimidating.

           “Nice to meet you,” Zev greeted me kindly. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to start with a quick check-up. We have to be sure there are no foreign bacteria that could cause any illness on the ship.”

           “Oh,” I had not thought of that. “Okay.”

           He turned promptly and began walking to the nearest door. With a parting glance at Jace I followed. Unfortunately, due to the excess of metal, my talons clacked loudly with every step I took. At first I flinched with each echoing step, but it eventually became more of an annoyance in the back of my mind.

           “At least everyone will know where I am all the time,” I grumbled aloud.

           Zev chuckled, “Don’t worry about it. It’s either clicking or flying, and I think flying would draw more attention.”

           We walked through the long corridors of the ship quite leisurely. Zev didn’t seem in too much of a hurry, which gave me time to examine the ship thoroughly. Fluorescent lights were placed at regular intervals in the halls on the ceiling. However I noticed several small lights along the bottom of the walls that stayed off. When I stopped briefly to examine one more closely I saw that it had a red tint to it. Perhaps an emergency light? Other than that everything looked similar if not the same. The walls and ceilings were a dark grey while the floors were lighter colored.

           It took three hallways and a short series of steps to reach the medical lab. With the same color scheme as everywhere else the only thing to define this room was its equipment. Large monitors and machines lined an entire wall. Two metal beds on wheels with white sheets sat opposite the machinery, and then there was a simple white desk in a corner with nothing on it but a computer screen. The room itself was immaculately clean and held a strange odor. As I sniffed at the air trying to identify it, Zev patted one of the beds with a smile.

           “Sit here, please. Or lay if you like. I’ll just need a blood and tissue sample.”

           I watched him roll over a small metal table full of tools. Many of them looked like knives and saws, but he chose one with something long and thin attached to a small tube.

           “What is that?” I asked warily. Vis had no formal medicine since our isolation protected us from foreign viruses.

           “Just a syringe,” Zev answered with an encouraging smile. “This needle here will break the skin and as I pull this end out the tube will fill with blood. You’ll only feel an initial poke.”

           I stared from the syringe to my arm. “I do not have skin.”

           This gave him pause. “No bare skin anywhere?”

           When I shook my head he set the syringe down and looked deep in thought. After a few minutes he lifted my arm to examine my scales. I tried my best to sit still, but I was beginning to get anxious just sitting there. That strange smell was starting to give me a headache. Finally, Zev picked up a small sharp tool and gently slid it between two of the scales on my forearm. An involuntary hiss of pain escaped me, making the medic step back quickly.

           “Sorry,” I inhaled deeply to calm myself. “What was that for?”

           “Just checking if something could fit between your scales,” He explained sheepishly. “Though it’ll likely be more painful….”

           With another deep breath I closed my eyes, “Go ahead. I will be fine.”

           Still looking uncertain, Zev took my arm and positioned the syringe needle between two of the larger scales on my forearm. The pain was worse than either of us had thought as I cried out in pain. Apparently, however, a Vis’ shout sounds a lot like a roar to other species. As soon as the sound escaped me several other Vechs rushed into the lab with their weapons drawn. Zev quickly waved them away as the syringe filled with an opalescent liquid. Although I was unconcerned with the color of my blood, Zev looked intrigued.

           Setting the tube of my blood aside carefully he then grabbed a cotton swab and rubbed it along the inside of my cheek. Taking both samples, the Vech doctor opened the front of one of the machines along the wall. He pressed a few buttons and a blue light turned on passing back and forth over the samples.

           “Alright, that wasn’t so bad,” Zev turned back to me. “While those are being analyzed I’ll show you around some more. Follow me.”

           Once again we were walking leisurely through the Dawnbreaker. He showed me every room from the mess hall to the navigation center. All the while stares and whispers followed me. If not for Zev’s laid back attitude I might have been even more tense. The tour only lasted about two hours though. Most of the rooms we visited were busy preparing reports for the captain. By the end I was exhausted and feeling a little light headed. Zev took me back to the med lab swiftly upon hearing this, making me sit on that white bed again.

           “Hmm,” He examined his computer screen as it displayed the results of my blood analysis. “Completely different from Vech blood and tissue samples of course. Somewhat similar to the Qailar, but there are major differences. Most likely because of the environment on Yievis….”

           “Zev?” I interrupted him. “I am tired. Is there somewhere I can sleep?”

           “Hmm?” He looked up at me before realization hit. “Oh! Yes, of course! The captain had a room prepared for you. I’ll show you.”

           The doctor led me for a third time through the halls of the ship to a room on the third level. As we walked this time I thought about Zev. He was quiet and kind; I had always heard from the Elders that the Vech were wary of strangers and living beings in general. They were supposed to prefer machinery over flesh and blood. Zev did not fit any of the descriptions I had grown up with.

           When we reached the room I walked inside to see it well furnished. There was a bed suited for a Vech, a desk with a computer, couches centered around a low table, and a single decorative plant. It certainly was not what I had expected, especially with the bed. There was a long window through which I could see Yievis as we orbited it though. Zev left me there as I stood transfixed by the view of my home. No, I had to remind myself. You no longer have a home here. For a moment I questioned why I had actually left. The memory of my vision gave me resolve, however. No other Vis would be able to pursue this as I could.

           After a few hours of failed attempts at sleeping on the overly soft bed, Jace entered the room. He had changed from the dirtied, burnt clothes from Yievis and now wore a Vech military suit. It looked good on him with its silver color and light blue highlights.

           “Settling in alright?” He asked.

           I nodded. “Except this bed. Do you have any flat rocks on board?”

           The faintest smile appeared on his lips, “No, I’m afraid not. The table might be a fair substitute.”

           I glanced at the table by the couches dubiously.

           “Well, I came to tell you we’re leaving orbit,” Jace moved to the window where Yievis was beginning to grow smaller. “We’ll be stopping for fuel at a space station in a few days. You should be able to get some information there to help you.”

           “I thought you and your ship were going to help me?”

           He suddenly looked uncomfortable. “Yes, I guess I did say that. It’s not very simple, though. I’m an officer in the Vech navy. I can’t just go off on my own to help someone. There are certain rules for me to follow.”

           I stood and stared at him, “Allowing me on board was not following those rules, was it?”

           Jace didn’t say anything. Anger welled up inside me, the heat conflicting with my cold core.

           “I left my own people to help you escape!” I hissed. “I betrayed my own rules to help you and pursue this vision. Your precious navy will not matter when darkness consumes everything!”

           He opened his mouth to say something but then closed it. Obviously he had no defense for himself. Finally he muttered an apology and left the room. I glared after him until I realized what I had just done. Vis did not get angry or hiss! Above all a Vis must stay calm and consider everything around them. How could I forget such a basic principle? Troubled, I curled up on the table to wait until I fell into an uneasy sleep.





© 2017 Natasha Reams



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Added on September 28, 2016
Last Updated on May 13, 2017


Author

Natasha Reams
Natasha Reams

Anderson, AK



About
Hi, thanks for reading my stuff in advance. I LOVE with wolves, and supernatural romances are my favorite books. I have two dogs (one of which is named Samwise Gamgee so I'm pretty nerdy) and I used t.. more..

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