Six

Six

A Chapter by Natasha Reams

           “Ready, Saiyani?”

           I took a deep, calming breath. “Yes.”

           “Okay,” Jace pressed a button. “The cooling system is off. You’ll have a few minutes to figure out a steady temperature. We’ll tell you when we’re about to turn off the engines so that you can get ready for the hull.”

           I closed my eyes and conjured a picture of the engine room in my mind. It was small, taken up almost entirely by the large engine within it. I did not know much about mechanics other than if something was used constantly it could overheat easily. With the image clearly in my mind, I accessed my Core and focused on the idea of the engines becoming colder.

           “Something’s happening,” Zev spoke quietly so as not to disturb my concentration. He had insisted on being allowed to track my vital signs through the process of landing in case something happened. More than likely he simply wanted to see how my body reacted as I actively used my power.

           “Is it working?” I asked with my eyes still closed. “I feel the cold leaving me, but I cannot tell if it is going to the right place.”

           “No signs of overheating,” Alb answered. “Keep it up; we’re almost to the atmosphere.”

           Taking deep breaths to keep myself calm I continued to pour cold air into the engine room. The minutes rolled by achingly slow until the ship started to rock a little.

           “We’re in the gravitational pull,” Jace reported. “Everything looks good. There’s just enough fuel for us to direct the ship once we enter the atmosphere. That’ll only last a few minutes, though, and then we need to far enough through to free fall the rest of the way.”

           “I thought this was a controlled crash landing?” My heartbeats quickened.

           “Not much you can control about the actual crash. Just the trajectory, and even that’s an estimate at this point,” Alb explained candidly.

           Struggling to control my breathing, I returned my focus to my task. If this did not work and we all died it would be my fault….

           Suddenly there was more rocking, and then the entire ship began to shake. It started out gradually but then grew until the sound of clanking metal was all I could hear. All of my concentration went into keeping the cold air flowing. The shaking meant we were in the atmosphere; not much longer to go.

           “Saiyani, we’re gonna start turning off more systems. The energy shield and engines will be the last to go, but you can start to relax a little bit now.”

           I nodded at Jace’s words. Lowering the amount of cold air to the engine room definitely made me relax a bit. All the shaking and clanking still grated on my nerves though. It sounded like we were already falling apart.

           Minutes later I was given the all-clear to leave the engines alone. With a sigh of relief I opened my eyes, only to instantly regret it. We were moving so quickly through the atmosphere that red flames were dancing all along the ship. It was like being in the tunnel of stars except it felt like we were constantly bouncing against the edges of the tunnel. For there to be flames already, though, meant incredible amounts of heat. I had never come close to producing that much cold air at once.

           “Alright, Saiyani,” Jace’s voice was strained as he glanced back at me. “You can do this.”

           I swallowed hard before closing my eyes again. This time I pictured the entire ship, flames and all. Logically there should be no possible way for ice to form on the hull right now. Very little was logical about this situation though. All I could do was send every bit of cold in my body to the idea of a protective shield around the ship. There was a tugging sensation near my Core as my body was left with very little cold still within it. I could tell my Core was trying to produce extra cold to compensate, but as soon as it did I had to send it out towards the hull.

           Barely minutes into it the tugging became painful. The air around me felt too warm and confined. I started gasping as if I was winded.

           “Too warm,” I gasped out loud. “Cannot… do it.”

           “Turn off the heaters completely,” Jace’s voice sounded far away. “It helps to keep her body cold.”

           How would he know that? Oh, yes, he was there when I made that blizzard on Yievis. It was midday and so incredibly hot. Normally I would have been at home in my nice cold cave. He had stood there, though, blocking the sun from shining on me directly. His shadow had been so cool….

           A small sigh escaped me as I recalled that day. It reminded me of all the other times I had practiced using my powers. Then it reminded me of my cave: always so cold and frosted over. How I missed that cave!

           Reliving such memories seemed to lessen the tightness around my Core. It was more relaxed, drawing power from my memories rather than my body. Even the violent shaking of the ship seemed far away as I split my focus between the hull and my memories.


           My eyes opened slowly as my thoughts spun disorientedly. At first it only registered that I was still on Alb’s ship and that I was in my chair. Then my eyesight began to clear and I noticed the window frosted over heavily. Confused, I looked around me. The whole interior seemed to be covered in a heavy layer of frost. The chairs of my companions were also empty.

           I opened my mouth to speak but no sound came out. When I tried again only a raspy hiss could be heard. Giving up on calling for help I tried to stand. Nothing moved, but I could not tell why. Taking deep breathes I flexed my fingers slowly. There was a crackling sound and then some soreness as my fingers moved sluggishly. Breathing through the pain in my neck I looked down at myself.

           Ice had covered my entire lower half and up to my shoulders. It was just thick enough to stay solid if I moved my whole body, but moving individual parts like my fingers made the ice crumble. I carefully stretched and flexed individual parts of my body to break away the ice. Each movement sent incredible pain throughout my muscles. By the time I was free of the ice I barely had the strength to stand. Still I pushed myself up and into the frozen hallway of the ship. I had to find the others….

           The end of the hall was blasted open, revealing bright sunlight outside. Blinking from the intense light, I limped out of the ship. At first I only noticed the heavy breeze and remarkable view of green treetops in the distance. After a few steps forward I realized my taloned feet were making an odd sound. Confused, I looked down to see I was standing on wood. I blinked a few more times thinking I was seeing things. No, it was definitely wood. A massive tree branch connected to an even larger tree.

           Alb’s ship had crashed down onto a gigantic tree in the middle of a jungle. The hot, humid temperature had already started melting the ice covering the entire ship. If it had not been affecting me as well, I would have been surprised by the damage. For now all I could wrap my mind around was finding Jace and the others. They could not have gone far, I thought wearily. Unless… How long had I been sitting in there?

I painfully walked up to the edge of the branch. The closest branch below was easily thirty feet. As far as I could tell no other branch was closer than that. If my companions had been as injured and disoriented in the crash as I was now, they would never have been able to leave this branch. Something or someone must have taken them from here. The question, then, was in which direction?

Suddenly I heard a strange sound, as if something small had just hit metal. I turned and looked down to see a small dart. It looked well-made, but not nearly sturdy enough to penetrate my scales. When I looked up again for the source of the dart, I was surrounded by aliens. All eight were slightly shorter than Vechs and Nacrians. They held tall, slim bows with their arrows trained on me. The clothing they wore looked to be made from jungle vines and leaves. At their woven belts were long daggers and swords. The strangest part about them, however, was that fur covered their bodies in various colors and patterns. Fur looked to be everywhere from the pointed ears on the tops of their heads to their pawed hands and feet.

One to my left spoke in a language I did not know. It sounded high-pitched enough to be female. She stood fiercely with bright orange fur streaked with red. White fur covered her abdomen and from her chin to the base of her neck. She was also the only one to wear a headpiece of sparkling red pebbles that lay around her ears and across her forehead.

The female said something again, directing it towards me. I started to ask what she meant in Standard only to find my voice not working again. It only came out as a weak hiss. This seemed to alarm the aliens, though, as they all hissed back and pulled their bow strings tighter. Instinctively I sought out power from my Core to create a wall of ice to protect me. Only a handful of snowflakes appeared from my mouth before quickly melting. I realized then that there was no coldness coming from my Core. Shielding the ship as it crashed must have drained it all from me.

I looked up into the fierce yellow eyes of the female alien. Instead of asking for help like I wanted to, I collapsed as my consciousness slipped away.


*****


“Where in the fringe are they?” Calan shouted in frustration. The scanners of his ship showed no sign of the ship the Vech had escaped on. He had found out that they didn’t fuel up before jumping to lightspeed, so they couldn’t have gotten far. There weren’t any fuel stations or major planets close enough for them to make it to either. Yet somehow the captain and his helpers were evading him!

The assault on the Regalion had accomplished a couple of things at least. The Dawnbreaker and its crew were no more, meaning a massive blow to the Vech naval power. Vork will be pleased at that. Captain Jace’s starship had been a thorn in his side since the start of the Kies invasion fifty years ago. Its first captain had been defeated once captured during a raid of Kies supply lines just outside their controlled space. Barely two years later and the Dawnbreaker  had returned to hassle Vork’s forces with Jace Ceroe as the captain.

Then there was the creature accompanying him. She had called herself Saiyani and resembled the description of the lifeforms found on Yievis. It must have been her that helped Jace off of that planet. Though why she had followed him offworld Calan had no idea. Whatever the reason, she had made a mistake getting in his way on the Regalion. As soon as he found them again Calan would finish this job for certain.

“If these scanners would find something!” He growled to himself. With nowhere to get fuel they would have had to land somewhere close by. Unless they had stayed at lightspeed until their fuel was gone, but that was suicidal. No… they had to have found a habitable planet close enough to get to and land.

Calan started to enter the search parameters again. He had been searching for landing records of every nearby spaceport and space station that described Jace’s new ship. Not a single match in over three hours. Right as he input the last set of coordinates he paused. What if they hadn’t actually landed somewhere? They could’ve preserved fuel by turning off multiple systems and gone further than the area he had been searching. In doing so, however, they would most likely not have enough fuel to make an actual landing.

Quickly he adjusted his search to include a wider range and reports of ships crashing to a planet’s surface. Only three planets close enough according to the amount of fuel they had reported any crashes: Shyria, Zallus, and Corvach. Zallus and Corvach were both colonized by the Nacrians and Skandians. A Vech would easily be welcomed and taken care of there. Neither planet was well-known, however, and saw very few visitors other than new colonists.

At the same time, Shyria was the homeworld to the Shyrian people: a feline race that were untrusting of offworlders. Shyria was also a jungle planet with numerous volatile species of plants and animals. It was not a kind place to visitors. According to his scanners, however, there were a few spaceports set up to foster trade and diplomatic relations with the Shyrians. One had reported a crash claiming the type of ship couldn’t be clearly determined because of something covering the outer hull. They also reported detecting no activity in any of its systems.

Calan sat in his pilot seat heavily. Zallus and Corvach would be the obvious leads: friendly to the Vechs and well-equipped to provide aid. Yet the report from Shyria sounded promising. Checking all three would be inefficient since that would only give the captain time to recover and escape. At most Calan thought he could checkout two of the planets. Unless he went to Shyria, that is, since it was much further out of the way.

Suddenly the memory of the alien from Yievis creating that ice field popped into his mind. She had somehow done that with her breath. It hung there for several minutes as if taunting him with an unsolved puzzle. Then the answer was there; or at least a hint to it. Shyria’s report mentioned something covering the outer hull of the crashed ship. Could that have been ice from the alien? But the only reason they would have needed to do that….

Of course! They turned off the shields and engine cooling since those required most of the power from the fuel. Then the alien could have coated the outside with ice take the place of the shields. It was an insane idea, but it was also one that the truly desperate might use.

Calan smirked as he punched in the coordinates for Shyria. Your luck is running out Jace Ceroe.





© 2017 Natasha Reams



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Added on May 23, 2017
Last Updated on May 23, 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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