Five

Five

A Chapter by Natasha Reams

           The Vasnova’s eyes hardened as soon as he caught sight of my wings. He did not seem surprised though; more like he was expecting it. Focusing, I allowed the power to build up in my Core. It was against every instinct in me to actually hurt this man despite his ‘job.’ There was nothing holding me back from slowing or debilitating him though.

           As I felt enough power start to flow through my body I glanced at the debris pile again. Jace had hesitated but was now starting to creep further down the hall towards Alb’s dock. Satisfied with the distance between him and the Vasnova, I opened my mouth and unleashed the coldness within me. Frosty air streamed out towards the metal flooring between our attacker and me. The air spread until a large sheet of ice had formed between us. It covered everything in its path, making it impossible to go around. If that Vasnova wanted us he would have to slip and slide.

           He did not seem too daunted by this until he actually stepped onto the ice. Immediately his foot slid out from under him and he started to fall backwards. If the man had not had such good reflexes he would have landed on his back. Instead he caught himself and pushed off with his hands. This only made him stand up and then fall forwards. It took several amusing tries for him to finally find his balance. After that, however, he started to cross the icy floor faster than I had expected.

           I looked back at Jace who was grinning at the fumbling Vasnova behind me. It was still quite a ways to Alb’s dock, and our attacker would definitely cross the ice before we could get there. All the debris from the explosions had made it difficult to move quickly through the hall.

           “Saiyani, come on,” Jace called out as he aimed for the Vasnova. “I’ll cover you!”

           Feeling my wings tingle from all the excitement an idea popped into my head. “I have a better idea!”

           Crouching down so that I could give myself an extra push for speed, I extended my wings to their full height. My eyes closed as I inhaled slowly to calm my heartbeats. Then I pushed off with a powerful beat of my wings. Hurtling through the air towards Jace sent a thrill of adrenaline through me. It was not unlike the sensation of freefalling from my cave’s entrance on Yievis. Air whipped my cloak around me as I stretched out my arms to catch Jace as I flew past. His added weight slowed me considerably, but I was still faster than anything on foot.

           Jace clung to me tightly, “What the Fringe are you doing?”

           “Outrunning him,” I grinned and beat my wings for a burst of speed. We sailed through the hall straight for the doors of Alb’s dock. Mercifully they were open and I was able to glide right in before finally landing.

           Alb peered out from the airlock onto his ship, “You two coming or what?”

           Jace and I checked behind us. The Vasnova had obviously gotten past my ice field and was leaving a clear path of destruction in his haste to get to us. Simultaneously we turned and ran onto Alb’s ship. It was small to say the least: my head scraped along the ceiling unless I craned my neck. A short hall with strips of light at the base and top of the walls led from the airlock directly to the cockpit. It branched off in the middle towards the engine room, with a bunk room and a large storage area just off the hall. Opposite the hallway to the engine room was a ladder chute going up and down.

           “Captain! Saiyani!” Zev called out happily from the co-pilot’s seat.

           “Reunion later, Zev,” Jace said gruffly as he moved to take over the seat. Alb got in the pilot seat and began pressing buttons and pulling switches. Rumbling from the direction of the airlock suggested we were running low on time.

           “Disengaging airlock,” Alb spoke calmly, although his expression was stressed. “Start punching in the coordinates for a lightspeed jump.”

           “No, wait,” Jace argued. “We need to look for survivors of my ship. If we leave they’ll be dead for sure.”

           “If we stay we’ll all die!”

           Jace refused to give up, “Zev find some grav suits. We’re going through that wreckage.”

           Watching them argue made me start to feel strange. Not like I was upset by the yelling, but more like I was having trouble seeing. I blinked a few times but my vision only blurred more. Losing my ability to sense which way was up, it felt like I was falling. All of a sudden I was floating in space among the wreckage of the Dawnbreaker. Jace and Zev were in grav suits next to me, searching for any signs of survivors. The damage was unbelievable. It was hard to imagine anyone could survive the force it would take to rip a starship in half.

           I turned to look towards a bright light coming from a nearby ship. It must have been Alb because he kept the light following our progress. Suddenly a second small ship came into view speeding towards Alb. It fired several bursts of energy shots at him without giving Alb time to react. In horror I watched Alb’s ship explode. The other ship then came back around and trained its weapons on the three of us. Helpless, I closed my eyes to wait for the shots to be fired.

           Gasping I sat up as if from a bad dream. Somehow I had ended up on the floor of the cockpit with Jace and Zev hovering over me. My hearts raced while I blinked wildly in confusion. What had just happened? Had we been about to die? Realization hit, knocking the breath out of me. A vision! That should not be possible. My teachings had only ever spoken of visions coming in dreams.

           “Her pulse is rapid,” Zev muttered worriedly. “Though, from what I can tell, Vis have a faster heart rate than any other species.”

           “We have two hearts,” I breathed simply. “What happened? Did we go out to look for survivors already?”

           “No, we were still arguing and you just collapsed,” Jace frowned. “What happened to you?”

           “I- I think it was another vision,” I hesitated. “We all died when we went out to look for survivors. I think the Vasnova went back to his ship and caught us while we were out in our grav suits.”

           Alb spoke up behind me, “That settles it! I’m making the jump and getting us the Fringe out of here!”

           “No!” Jace growled. “We have to at least try! Saiyani could’ve been wrong. Maybe it wasn’t really a vision?”

           I placed a hand on his shoulder gently, “Jace we cannot. If we go out there we will all die. I am certain of it.”

           There was silence as he and Zev shared a look. Zev seemed saddened, but managed to still stand and report to Alb for instructions. Jace just sat there as if frozen. His expression was cold with hatred. It made my stomach clench painfully. I thought to say something, but before the words came Jace stood and slid down the ladder out of sight.

           “Saiyani, come strap in,” Zev called to me from the cockpit. “Jace will be alright for now.”

           Still unsettled by Jace and what I had seen, I went to sit behind where Zev was in the copilot’s chair. Alb was pressing buttons and moving switches expertly.

           “Zev, set coordinates for a jump. I don’t care where, just make it fast,” He pressed a button and began speaking to Jace through a speaker. “Jace, man the turret and fry that Vasnova if he tries following us!”

           “My pleasure,” Jace’s voice replied coldly.

           I secured myself to my chair and waited anxiously for us to leave. Alb flew the ship away from Regalion Station as he prepared to jump to lightspeed. The moment Zev leaned back and said the coordinates were set, Alb pushed a lever forward. Stars blurred around us and the ship shot forward. Outside all I could see were stars blurred into bright streams of light that created a tunnel around us.

           Once we were settled into lightspeed Alb let go of the controls and leaned back with a low whistle. “One mess down, about a hundred more to go.”

           “What’s that supposed to mean?” Jace asked gruffly, taking the seat behind Alb’s chair.

           “Well, I told you guys I’d need a couple of hours to get the ship ready. As soon as things started exploding though, I started up the engines and got her ready for take-off. Thing is, I had to skip out on some stuff. Number one being fuel.”

           “You’re joking.”

           Alb shrugged, “I always fuel up last since it takes less time.”

           “So how much fuel do we actually have?” Zev asked nervously.

           Another shrug from Alb. “I was getting close to empty when I docked. With the emergency start-up and the jump I’d say we’ll be running on fumes when we leave lightspeed.”

           “What does that mean for us?” I stared between the three men and their somber faces.

           Jace sighed heavily, “As soon as we leave lightspeed we’ll be practically out of fuel. We’ll have to turn off systems to preserve fuel and power until we can land at the nearest planet.”

           “What planet?” I looked to Alb.

           He looked at Zev, “Depends on what coordinates you put in for the jump.”

           Zev rubbed the back of his neck, “I could only think of the system nearest the Regalion Station: Eridu.”

           Alb muttered under his breath while Jace sighed once more.

           I released myself from the chair’s straps and stood to stretch. Immediately I felt dizzy. My hand shot out to Zev’s chair in front of me, barely catching myself as my head reeled. Then I felt hands gently support my body and lead me away. After a moment I no longer felt anything touching me. I opened my eyes and saw my first vision of the darkness play out once more. This time I tried to concentrate on where the dark clouds were steadily spilling out off. It was close to the Tarki system, very close; that system should hold some answers.

           Something seemed off, though, the more I stared. As the clouds grew I realized I was seeing light in them. Quick flashes of red light similar to lightning. Could it be the clouds were infused with energy? I knew of no technology from my studies that could do this. Whichever species could produce so much energy must be involved though. Finally, something other than looming darkness to look for!

           I jolted awake filled with excitement. Then I noticed I was lying on a bunk in an unfamiliar room. A quiet beeping drew my attention to Zev, where he sat with several of his medical devices next to me.

           “Ah, you’re awake!” He grinned. “Fainting twice in one day isn’t healthy for any species. I’m just running a few tests on your vitals and trying to figure out what exactly is normal for your kind.”

           “My pulse will not tell you much,” I suppressed a chuckle. “Everything in a Vis’ body is connected to our Core. Even the color of our blood will change depending on what kind of Core we have.”

           Zev’s eyes widened, “You mean every Vis has different colored blood?”

           This time I could not hide my laugh. “Well, I am already considered a rebel, so I may as well give away all our secrets.”

           The doctor listened raptly as I told him everything I had ever been taught about Cores: “The first thing they teach you as a youngling is that the Core is an infinite supply of energy. It keeps all of our other organs alive, and even works to heal them if they are damaged. From the Core comes an energy that ancient Vis called the Breath of Life. It moves throughout every part of our bodies seamlessly. As far as any of the Vis know, there is no way of tracking it, or even removing it from the body like blood. It is our lifesource, but it is not our blood.

           “Our abilities with certain elements are the only way we know of to release the energy of the Core from our bodies. That is why we are taught control of our bodies and minds above all else. Keeping so much energy locked inside ourselves would easily destroy our physical bodies. It is essential for us to release some of that energy regularly if we wish to live. Every Vis’ energy manifests outside our bodies in different ways, hence my ability to create and control ice. That same energy that appears as ice outside of my body makes my blood look opaque like liquid ice.”

           While talking I remembered other stories, truly ancient ones, that tell of the first Vis ever to be born. It is believed they did not always possess Cores, and lived shortened lives like the other species. Yet somehow they came across the source of the Breath of Life, and their contact with it changed the species entirely. We became long-lived, immortal by most standards; gained powers over natural forces; and visions of various aspects of life. The Source has been the greatest mystery to the Vis. There were even some who believed that following our visions across the galaxy would one day lead us back to the Source, and we would become truly immortal. Free of the burdens of our visions and the need to release our energy.

           Zev quietly contemplated my long explanation. He did not seem to be paying any more attention to me. Soon he started muttering to himself and picked up a data pad to make notes on. Quietly I detached myself from his monitors and left the bunk room. In the hall I noticed it was considerably colder than before. The engines also seemed to be humming more softly. Troubled, I entered the cockpit where Jace and Alb sat pressing various buttons and switches with grim faces.

           “What are you doing?” I asked, taking a seat behind Jace.

           “Turning off every system that is not vital to us living,” Alb replied shortly. “Jace, take the weapons offline.”

           Jace glanced at him sideways, “Are you-?”

           “Yes, ‘captain’ I am! Now turn off the flaming weapons!”

           Jace hit another switch and there was a click as the two turrets on the top and bottom of the ship locked into place. Other little noises came from throughout the ship as they turned more and more systems off. The heating must have been one of the first to go judging by how cold it was.

           “How are you feeling?” Jace swiveled his chair around to look at me. “What’s going on with you?”

           “Oh, I am fine,” I shrugged away his questions. “Just visions like my first one.”

           It was only a half-lie. Besides I preferred not to mention the vision from before we jumped to lightspeed. He seemed a lot calmer now, but I didn’t want to risk upsetting him. His expression, however, said he clearly did not believe me.

           “How much longer until we reach Eridu?” I changed the subject. “Will we make it with the fuel we have?”

           “Barely,” Alb snorted. “It’ll be cold and uncomfortable when we get there. Even then we probably won’t have the fuel to actually land.”

           I stared at him, “So we are going to crash?”

           “Hopefully not,” Jace interjected. “We’ll know in about four hours. Why don’t you get Zev in here? We’ll divert all remaining power to the cockpit so that it's less fuel.”

           With a nod I went to retrieve Zev, who was still mumbling and making notes. Upon seeing me he started asking dozens of questions about Cores and Vis biology. He followed me back to the cockpit eagerly with his datapad, writing down every answer I was able to give him. For the next four hours Jace and Alb grew increasingly restless as Zev drilled me with more and more questions.


           The seconds passed slowly as the stars no longer blurred around us. Outside the front window a brilliantly green planet was close by, orbited by two moons. As soon as we left lightspeed Alb and Jace were working the control panel furiously. Zev did not seem to notice as he continued going over the notes he had made on his datapad. I waited anxiously for news of what was happening.

           Suddenly Alb slammed his fist on the side of the control panel. Zev and I jumped while Jace looked grim.

           “How the fringe do we not have enough fuel to land? We turned off everything!” Alb shouted.

           “If we can’t land what are we going to do?” Zev frowned at the planet ahead of us.

           There was silence. I knew so little about ships and space travels that anything I suggested would likely not help. It was odd to feel so useless. Ever since leaving home I have only relied on others to make progress. What have I done myself that has made a difference? Getting Jace to the ship before the Vasnova could kill him? Except that Jace is a soldier and could have easily gotten out of that situation himself. A heaviness grew in my chest, weighing down my thoughts and making my scales grow colder.

            “What are you doing, Saiyani? Stop!”

            My head snapped up in surprise at Jace’s voice. My chair and several inches of the floor around it had frozen over completely. Somehow that heavy feeling had caused me to lose control and release some of the cold from my Core. I stared speechlessly as misty cold air lifted up off the ice. Nothing like this had ever happened before. I had never used my power unknowingly even in times of distress back home.

           An apology on my lips, I looked up at Jace only to see a happy expression on his face.

           “That’s it!” He grinned then turned to Alb. “We can turn off the engine cooling system and use that power to push ourselves into the upper atmosphere. There’ll be just enough fuel to get us in, and then we can turn off absolutely everything but life support and manual controls. That’ll give us just enough power to make a controlled crash landing in the treetops.”

           “The engines won’t last without a cooling system to get us that far into the atmosphere,” Alb replied. Then a look of understanding crossed his face. “Unless we use Saiyani.”

           “What?” I blinked as both men turned to me eagerly.

           “If we turn off the cooling systems the engines will overheat before we get into the atmosphere,” Jace explained. “However, if you can use your power to make the engine room extremely cold it should be enough to keep them stable.”

           “Wait,” Alb interrupted suddenly. “If we turn off everything the hull will get too hot as we enter the atmosphere. The force of entry will tear us apart if we can’t have the shields up.”

           “Saiyani could fix that too,” Jace grinned confidently. “If she can keep the hull cool until we’re through the atmosphere.”

           My eyes widened, “You want me to keep the entire outside of the ship frozen or else it will fall apart?”

           “It could work,” Alb smirked. “And once we’re in we won’t need the engines so she can focus on the hull.”

           “From what I was able to study with my instruments, her body produces enough cold air naturally to take care of cooling the engines. However, it could be too much of a strain to produce enough cold air for the entire hull of the ship,” Zev chimed in.

           “No one knows what she can do but her,” Jace turned back to me. “Saiyani, could you do it?”

           I stared blankly at him. What they were talking about… I would be creating an ice field over the ship instead of them having the normal energy shields up to protect the hull from extreme heat. That kind of heat though would melt my ice almost instantly, so I would have to constantly relayer ice over the entire hull. If I missed a spot or made too thin a layer of ice, the force paired with the heat would start tearing away pieces of the ship. One mistake and I could cause all of our deaths.

           Why? Why did I leave home? Why am I travelling with these strangers, and why are they trusting me with their lives? If I had known I would need to use my power like this…! No, if I had known I likely would have just prepared myself in advance. I still would have helped Jace leave Yievis; I still would have gotten him to Alb’s ship, and prevented him from looking for survivors of the Dawnbreaker.     

           Inwardly I sighed as I realized that no matter what I may have known or not known before leaving with Jace, I still would have ended up here. It was my choice to pursue my vision without the consent of the Elders that set me on this path. Every decision since then has only been to make progress towards that. I cannot go back and make that choice again, just like now we cannot go back and refuel. Our only chance of progress was for me to stretch the limits of my power.

           “Alright,” I spoke calmly. “I will do it.”

           With broad grins the men began preparing to shut off the engine cooling system. I closed my eyes and struggled to calm the erratic beatings of my hearts.





© 2017 Natasha Reams



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Added on May 16, 2017
Last Updated on May 16, 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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