A Chapter by Natasha Reams

           “Attention all decks. Now docking at the Regalion Space Station. Captain departing the ship. First Officer, Major Levias now in command.”

           I glared up at the nearest intercom system. Every time a voice came on it was accompanied by an irritating static none of the Vech seemed to notice. Worse still was the heat I endured while covered in a large cloak. It had been Jace’s idea to conceal myself as much as possible in public. No one had seen a Vis for fifteen hundred years; most likely the sight of a white-scaled Vis would cause a lot of disturbance. Still, the material of the cloak was hardly comfortable against my scales.

           Absently I toyed with the overly long sleeves of the cloak as I waited for Jace by the ship’s airlock. He had said he would go with me on the space station to secure decent travel towards the central star cluster of the galaxy. Since I had no money or possessions of my own he had thought it best to stay a day or two until I was fully prepared. I had not made any argument with him on that. Vis rarely did anything without thinking it through and being prepared to face their decision. Somehow in my worry over the repercussions with the other Vis I had overlooked the matter of supplies.

           “Ready?” Jace spoke behind me. I turned to see him wearing simple dark clothes under a long black cloak. It was very different from his usual military uniform but still looked natural to him.

           “Yes,” I tilted my head slightly. “Is this station ready for a Vis?”

           He smirked, “Doubtful.”

           We stepped into the airlock and waited for the outer door to open. When it did we were greeted by a short hall shaped like a tube with glass walls. Jace made for the other end where a Nacrian woman waited patiently. I kept pace with him even though I could not tear my eyes from the sight of space through the windows. The station itself was quite impressive too, built like two long cones attached by their flat ends. Our hallway was one of many I could see sticking out from the middle of the station with other starships docked at them.

           The Nacrian bowed politely to us when we finally reached her. “Welcome to the Regalion Space Station. I am Ava and I’ll be your customs official during your stay. Are there any questions you have?”

           Jace began asking about places to get supplies and passenger ship fees. Meanwhile I studied the woman curiously. Most Nacrians were dark haired, but this one’s was more brown. She was short too, only up to my shoulder, and her skin looked so soft and fragile. The Elders had said other species wore clothes as protection for their skin and seeing Jace I had understood why. Ava’s clothes did not seem very protective though. She wore a long dress that was dark blue on one side and faded in a diagonal line to a pale blue. Two thin straps held it up behind her neck while the back was completely open down to her waist. If anyone were to attack her they would have no issue ripping through the light fabric to get at her vitals.

           Before I could voice my concerns Jace said his goodbyes and entered the door ahead of us. Ava nodded politely as I passed to enter another hallway. This one was similar to the interior of the Dawnbreaker, though it curved in a large circle. Hundreds of aliens rushed past us to their destinations without so much as a word to each other. Still the noise echoing off the metal was deafening from so many voices speaking at once.

           The new hall wrapped around the middle of the station. Its outer wall was one long window showing all the different ships docked at glass halls like ours. The inner wall was full of storefronts, from which each store had an alien calling out in different languages. Their shouts attracted customers from the crowd surging around the circular hallway. Above each store were panels displaying moving images that advertised the various goods being sold.

           Between the noise from the crowd and the sounds from the panels I could barely hear myself think. Never in my life had I heard or seen so much activity at once. On Yievis I would have been lucky to see another Vis every day. We are naturally solitary and inward-focused. This overload of my senses had me rooted in front of the door to the Dawnbreaker’s dock. Jace had already begun weaving through the crowd before he noticed I was not moving. I was barely aware that he had returned to my side until he spoke quickly.

           “Saiyani, we need to move,” He kept his voice just loud enough for me to hear. “This station is nothing compared to the cities you’ll likely see. You need to adapt quickly if you want to stop that vision of yours.”

           The mention of my vision made me blink. It played out briefly in my mind, restoring some measure of focus. We were here to find passage for me to the center of the galaxy. I took a deep breath in an effort to block out the noise surrounding me. Vis used to be taught how to maintain their focus when overstimulated, when we were active travelers. It looked like I would have to teach myself.

           “So where are we going?” I turned to Jace. It was difficult to keep the anxiety from my voice.

           Jace began to move through the crowd again as I followed. “To see an old friend. Ava mentioned he was here. He’ll be able to help without attracting a lot of attention.”

           “Who is he?”

           “You’ll see,” He replied hesitantly. “He’s quite the character.”

           As we weaved our way along the hall I allowed myself to take in one or two parts of my surroundings at a time. First it was an alien that passed us: short and blue-skinned with large pointed ears. Its eyes were pure white from blindness, but it seemed to have no trouble navigating. Then I noticed a store selling some strange foods that were still half alive. Another store sold various kinds of rocks. In front of it was a massive figure of rock that moved like it was living. As I stared the rock creature turned and I could see its single glowing green eye.

           Eventually we entered a dock labeled thirty-eight. Ours had been twenty; just how many docks were there? Before I could ask another alien entered the dock from the opposite end. It was male and looked quite similar to Jace and the other Vechs. No mechanic limbs, however. He wore dark pants and a long brown coat without a hood. As he moved I could see the glint of metal at his waist on either side. The rest of him did not seem any more remarkable than Jace. His muscles, dark brown hair, and brown eyes hardly stood out to me.

           “Ceroe!” The man called out with his arms open wide. “Long time no see. What’s an attack hound like you doing here?”

           Jace grinned as they clasped hands, “Slight detour, Alb. Got someone for you to meet. This is Saiyani.”

           Alb looked at me and then back at Jace. Suddenly he did a double-take.

           “What in the Fringe?” He laughed in disbelief. “You gotta be kidding me! Where’d you find this one, Jace?”

           Jace shrugged, “Long story. I need you to take her to the Barre Cluster.”

           Alb stepped back with his mouth agape. “You gotta be kidding me!”

           “Look, I’m not going into details here,” Jace sighed. “Meet us at the usual place in half an hour. I’ll explain everything.”

           “Yeah, you better,” Alb shook his head as he walked back towards his ship at the end of the dock. I followed Jace as he turned and hurried back out into the circular hallway. This time we walked straight to the opposite wall where a door sat between two shops. It opened into a small room with no other exit. I turned in time to see the door close behind us automatically. Then the room began to move upwards. Surprised and confused, I gripped the metal bar lining the room’s walls.

           “Jace,” I stared wide-eyed as he stood calmly. “What is this?”

           His jaw set as if he were trying not to smile. “An elevator. It’s faster than the stairs.”

           “Maybe for those without wings,” I muttered. Within a minute or so the room stopped its ascent and the doors opened. I hurried out of the room and into another hallway curving into a smaller circle. This one, however, had doors on either side and no windows. There were also considerably less people. Without any explanation Jace walked a quarter way of the hall, entering a door on the left. Inside was dark, smelling of scented smoke. Round tables with silky purple cloths lined the outskirts of the room. At the center was an oval shaped counter with a tall shelf in the middle of it. A female covered in fur with fuzzy, pointed ears and yellow eyes stood between the counter and shelf serving drinks.

           Jace strolled past the counter towards a booth in a far corner. The feline woman nodded without making eye contact as he passed. Within minutes of us sitting down two drinks were on the table before us. They were a bright blue color with swirling tendrils of a lighter liquid. When I picked mine up to smell it Jace quickly took it away.

           “The last thing we need is to learn if Vis get drunk.”

           I frowned, “What do you mean ‘drunk?’”

           He waved away my question so we fell into silence. None of the other patrons seemed to notice our presence. Everyone in the room was intent on minding their own business. I had no idea how they did it though. Between the fragrant smoke and the deep pulsing sound that must have been music, I could not concentrate on anything. My eyes wandered across the room; attracted by every new sound or movement. Never had I been around so many different smells and sounds.

           “Saiyani,” Jace’s voice called my name over the music, but it sounded so far away. “Saiyani!”

           I blinked at him, “Jace…. Why are we here?”

           “We’re meeting Alb,” He looked at me curiously. “Are you alright? You look…ill.”

           “No,” I hesitated, struggling to find my words. “It is just a lot.”

           Jace leaned across the table and forced my eyes to lock with his, “Hey, if you need help focusing just focus on me. Keep your eyes on me and follow my lead. I’ll make sure you get to the Barre Cluster.”

           His words helped until the end. “No. You are leaving me to go back to your navy. Alb has to make sure I get there.”

           An odd expression entered his face at my words. It was a combination of pain, irritation, and sadness. Seeing such a look made me regret my words. Jace surely had his reasons for leaving me, and at least I would still have a way toward my vision. We remained silent until a beeping noise came from one of Jace’s pockets. He pulled out a small round device and pressed a button on it. I think he had called it a ViaCom.

           “Captain,” Zev’s voice came from the small speaker on the device. “I found something interesting from Saiyani’s samples. When will you two be back on the ship?”

           “We’re already arranging transportation for her. She probably won’t come back to the Dawnbreaker,” Jace answered without looking at me.

           “Sir, this is an urgent matter,” Zev insisted. “Permission to leave the ship and meet you on the station, sir?”

           Jace sighed, “Very well. Wait at Alb’s docking port. Number thirty-eight. We’ll be there when we’re done talking.”

           “Yes, sir! Thank you, Captain,” Zev sounded delighted before he ended the communication.

           My mind began pondering what Zev’s discovery could be. What sort of things could he find out with a blood sample? Perhaps it is something the Vis already know. We have no sort of medicine since we have not left our home planet for so long. With the lack of outside influences there was almost no chance of a diseases developing that could affect the Vis. However, we still had some knowledge from the days of our star-wandering. Mostly that referred to alien foods that held similar nutrients to Yuein, though. There were other things… Stories that some Vis believed were true. I doubted Zev could have found evidence for something when no Vis had been able to.

           My thoughts faded as I noticed Jace nod at something behind me. I turned to see Alb walking leisurely towards us. He seemed to draw the attention of a few other patrons in the room, but as soon as he sat with us they focused elsewhere.

           “Alright,” Alb leaned forward with a businesslike expression. “Why am I taking a Vis to the Barre Cluster? And don’t you dare tell me this is navy-related. The Vis don’t bother with military forces.”

           My head tilted to one side, “How do you know so much about Vis?”

           He shrugged, “Met one of your kind before. He helped me out of a tight spot once.”

           Jace brought the conversation back to focus before I could ask any more.. “You’re right. It’s nothing to do with the navy. That’s why I can’t take her. I have to report back to command soon.”

           “So why in the Fringe am I taking her?”

           “I had a vision,” I spoke softly. “Of this galaxy dying.”

           Alb leaned back slowly, “Ah, so you’re following a vision? Thought your kind gave that up a long time ago.”

           My head lowered in embarrassment. “We did. I left with Jace without the consent of the Elders. They were not going to allow me to pursue my vision, so I chose to follow our old traditions because this is too important.”

           “Well, if your vision is accurate it is,” Alb rubbed his stubbly chin thoughtfully. “Do you know exactly where this vision is taking you?”

           I hesitated. My vision had not been very exact. All I had seen was a dark cloud forming in a cluster of stars. It did not help either that I had no idea of the names of any star systems or planets besides my own.

           Seeing my expression, Jace quickly spoke up. “Do you have a star map? It’d be easier to show you where she’s going.”

           Alb shrugged and pulled a small circular device from his pocket. Its center was slightly lower than the edge and dome-shaped. When Alb clicked a small button on its side the dome glowed blue and a projection of the galaxy appeared above the device. The three of us immediately huddled close around the blue orb of light now hovering above the table. I gazed in wonder at the 3-D image of a galaxy shaped like a backwards S. One end of the S was colored a deep red while the other was blue. In the center it was more white and streaks of violet highlighted the three sections. It looked exactly like the galaxy in my vision. The device automatically labeled each section and several of the stars within them. According to it the red was known as the Solar Arm, the blue was the Lunar Arm, and the Fringe was the space between to two Arms and the center part called The Eye.

           “Just touch the star system you want it to zoom in on,” Jace explained as I gazed at the map. “Or any area of space really, but the map can only show what’s been discovered.”

           I hesitantly reached out a talon. As soon as it connected with one of the outermost star systems in the Fringe, the orb became filled with a map of only that solar system. Mesmerized, I touched a small planet further away from the sun. The rest of the system faded as a box appeared with all known information about it. There was very little said about the small planet except that it was believed to be uninhabitable and void of any worthwhile minerals. Inwardly I chuckled, Yievis has more rare resources than they could possibly know. It was not much of a surprise how little was written about Yievis. Even when we were travelers it was made law that off worlders could not know the true rarity of our home. It had to be assumed that any resource would only be valuable to us as the natives.

           “Saiyani?” Jace brought my attention back to the map.

           “Hmm? Oh, how do you zoom out?”

           “Pinch anywhere. Like this,” He showed me and the map returned to showing the whole solar system. I repeated the action, though it took several tries with my talons to get the orb to zoom out again. With my initial curiosity over I reexamined the galaxy as a whole. Since the view I had was almost exactly the same as the view in my vision it was easier for me to choose the solar system closest to where I had seen the darkness originate. Tarki was its name and seemed to have only one inhabited planet: a moon. Several asteroid belts separating the planet and moon from the sun.

           Upon seeing the system I had chosen Alb groaned. “Of course you picked the home of the most hostile species in the galaxy.”

           “Tarki contains the Kies homeworld,” Jace explained when I frowned. “The moon, Vasnova, is also home the Vasnova people. They’re enslaved to the Kies and fight for them.”

           Sounded like my vision was taking me into the middle of a war. Things were probably going to get complicated when we got there.

           Alb stared at me dubiously, “You’re seriously going to make me take you there?”

           “Jace cannot,” I shrugged. “And if I do not go the galaxy dies. If you will not take me I will find someone who will.”

           “Ha! Good luck with that!”

           Jace cleared his throat, “Er, to be honest, Alb was the only pilot I knew crazy enough to go directly into enemy space.”

           My mind reeled. I had to get to Tarki. My leaving home would be meaningless if I did not at least discover what the cause of the darkness was. If neither of these men would help me I would be found and taken back to Yievis to face punishment. I refused to even consider spending my life in the Unseen Cave.

           “Alb,” I turned to him seriously. “I understand why you are hesitant. My people know the horrors of war. Believe me, though, when I say something much worse will happen if I do not get to Tarki.”

           He scrutinized me carefully, “Just what do you plan on doing there anyways? From what I heard the Vis only ever observed their visions come true.”

           My chin lifted slightly as I answered. “I will not stand by and watch. I plan on stopping my vision before it happens.”

           He stared at me with a strange expression. It was gone before I could recognize it, and then he just looked resigned. With a heavy sigh he agreed and told us to give him a few hours before take-off. I had not realized it, but my hearts had been pounding loudly in my chest that whole time. Now that my pilot was secured I felt a load of tension release from my body. Now if only Jace would come, I would feel a little more protected….

           Jace and I left the bar and went back down to wander along the main circular hallway, examining the various shops. I could not read any of their signs but most seemed to sell either food or souvenirs. There was little talk between us as we walked since Jace had returned to his rough military demeanor. In an effort to occupy the silence I tried to decipher some of the words around the shops. Within twenty minutes I had picked out quite a few recurring words, but could only guess at their meanings.

           “Why are you doing this, Saiyani?”

           I turned back to see Jace had stopped a few feet away, his expression contemplative. It was a good question; one even I struggled to answer. There was no logical reason for me to have left the safety of my home and turn away from my culture just because of a vision. Obviously, the Elders had deemed it important, just not enough to let me go. Perhaps I will never know what might have happened if I had stayed to hear their full opinion.

           That mattered little now, though. I had started down this path for some reason and now all I could do was follow. If I was lucky I would actually survive to see my vision fail to come true.

           With a small grin I met Jace’s eyes, “Maybe I am not meant for a peaceful life.”

           This did not seem to completely satisfy him, but after a moment’s pause he grinned back. We continued walking until we got closer to where the Dawnbreaker was docked. As we passed by the long window looking out on all the ships, there was a strange rumbling all around. Lights flickered and people in the hallway gasped and screamed. Everyone grew silent at once when the rumbling continued above and below us. Regalion security forces rushed in every direction and called out for everyone to remain calm.

           I looked at Jace and his face was calculating. He had slipped into military mode again instantly and was now scanning the hallway. Before I could say a word a nearby shop exploded. Jace shouted at everyone nearby to get down as debris rained upon us. On instinct I moved to spread my wings and shield as many people as possible. Instead Jace pulled me down by the window and pulled my cloak shut.

           “No Vis stuff,” He ordered as quietly as possible with the chaos around us. Several more explosions all over this floor were going off , sending every person into a panic. “Follow me!”

           He stood and began weaving through the crowd of people running in every direction. I tried my best to keep up but all the noise and terror suddenly in the room had me disoriented again. Debris littered the floor, making people stumble as they fled; medical droids were moving amongst the destroyed shops to help any survivors; cries for those who had not survived rose above everything else. I looked closely at a destroyed shop only once: so much blood covered the metal closest to the explosion’s source, and even some body parts were still visible. A cybernetic eye from a Vech still glowed green while the rest was encrusted with some sort of body matter.

           In all my teachings by the Vis they had never described this. Our war had become such a black stain that no one went into detail describing it. So much death and sorrow in one place now made me sick. Why would anyone wish to cause so much destruction? Why destroy innocent lives on a peaceful space station?

           Continuing to stumble after Jace, we neared the doors to the Dawnbreaker’s dock. I looked out in relief of something familiar within the chaos. That relief shattered as I noticed something fly past Jace’s starship. It was too fast for me to see clearly, but from it I saw several objects break away and head straight for the midsection of the Dawnbreaker. In horror I watched as the objects hit and a huge explosion spread along the ship’s outer hull; the impact sending a massive shockwave through the station.

            “Jace!” I shouted, though I had not felt my mouth move. A few steps ahead Jace had stopped to look out the window for the source of the shockwave. Several small explosions were trailing through the starship until the whole thing just split in half. Debris floated through space, hitting other ships and the space station. A mechanical leg bounced off the window and drifted away.

           Then the fast object I had seen launch those explosives at the ship flew past again, this time slowing to a stop at the broken dock where the Dawnbreaker had once been. Whomever had done so much damage was boarding the space station.

           “Jace,” I spoke again hurriedly. “We need to leave.”

           “My ship…,” He muttered, barely audible.

           I grabbed his arm and steered him in the direction of Alb’s dock. “Jace, we need to go. Now!”

           We had barely gotten ten steps away when the dock’s doors opened behind us. The pressure in the whole hallway suddenly disappeared, sending at least ten people sucked out before emergency doors sealed the breach. Those people’s bodies floated away already lifeless. By the door stood a figure in a slim black space suit. They looked around at the carnage of the station before their eyes settled on Jace and I. With a single motion they were holding a pistol and aiming right at us. I barely managed to throw Jace and myself behind the cover of a pile of debris before the energy blast flew past us into a wall.

           “Don’t shoot!” I shouted breathlessly. “We mean no harm!”

           There was the sound of a small pressure release and then a hard voice responding, “Maybe, but I sure do.”

           Another energy blast hit close to the edge of my cloak on the floor. Each blast had sent a cry of fear throughout this part of the hall. No one seemed inclined to attempt to run away however.

           I let go of Jace and adjusted myself into a crouching position. With my head bent down the debris managed to cover us quite well. Jace still lay on the floor, loading his own rifle. Horrified, I placed a hand on the barrel of his gun and shook my head vigorously. A firefight would only create more death. He refused lower his gun but did mouth a command: “Distract him.”

           I whispered back, “We need to get back to Alb.”

           Without responding Jace moved into a crouch and positioned himself to be able to lean around the side of the debris. When he looked at me and pointed up I sighed.

           “Who are you?” I called out, moving to the opposite side of the debris and lifting my head just enough to see over the top. “What do you want here?”

           The man’s skin was dark, almost black, as were his eyes. Tall pointed ears stood out from his messy black hair. I had never seen anyone like him, even on the space station with so many different aliens. He did resemble the descriptions of a species in my teachings though. The Vasnova, I think. They were supposed to be naturally stealthy and able to see in complete darkness. Most that the Vis had encountered in the past were assassins of extreme talent.

           “I’ve got a job to finish. Get out of the way and let me collect that Vech’s head,” The Vasnova sneered on the word Vech.

           Jace motioned for me to get back under cover. Instead I stood and slowly walked away from the debris with my hands in the air. It exposed my taloned hands, but I was hoping that would add to my distraction. In my peripheral Jace was glaring at me. Sorry, but I will not battle here.

           “My name is Saiyani,” I spoke calmly so as not to alarm the Vasnova. “You are hunting a man who has helped me a great deal. I would prefer if you did not kill him.”

           The man laughed aloud, “Not gonna happen. If I don’t finish this job I’ll be dead. Can’t have that, can I?”

           Tilting my head to one side in feigned curiosity, I shifted my weight to one side. The motion gave me an excuse to ruffle the edge of my cloak with an elbow. Hopefully Jace realized it was deliberate and take it for a signal to start moving.

           Suddenly the Vasnova’s expression changed to one of puzzlement. Then his aim settled squarely on me as he demanded, “Remove your hood.”

           My body tensed instantly. One of the points of me having the cloak was to throw suspicion away from the Vis as a whole. My actions were my own and not at all by the command of my people. Between that and the general mistrust a ‘mythical’ Vis would bring, I would likely be pursued throughout my travels. That would only bring danger to me and anyone with me.

           Obviously hesitating, I tried to buy time by asking more questions. “Who wants my friend dead?”

           His trigger finger moved into position, “Remove your hood.”

           I glanced over at Jace. He shook his head, guessing what I had in mind to do. With my hood still hiding my face, I threw back the hem of my cloak to allow my wings to expand.

           “Jace, run!” I shouted and began channeling my power.

© 2017 Natasha Reams

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Added on May 13, 2017
Last Updated on May 13, 2017


Natasha Reams
Natasha Reams

Anderson, AK

Hi, thanks for reading my stuff in advance. I LOVE 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 to own.. more..

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