scifi

Space Chase

I was having a good day. I had finally acquired the Jaeger Gem, after ten days of sustained searching. I had fought tooth-and-nail for it, and not just with the owners. I had to contend with pirates, bounty hunters and other space-scum like me. Who am I? Oh yeah! This is the first time that I am telling you about my exploits. I am Arthur, but I use the name Black Dragon. It does sound cooler. I am a space scum as I mentioned. I work free-lance. You know, odd jobs. This job was just one of them.

Back to the story: I had finally acquired the Jaeger Gem. How I acquired it, is a story for another time. The lambent blue gem nested safely in my pocket. I had to meet my client and collect my payment. It was that simple. However, I had to make one more stop before meeting the client – the bar. It was bad habit. I enjoyed a good drink, too much for my own good. Have tried the sober path, but it just does not work for me. To quench my thirst, I ended up at Hailey’s. It was a nice quaint place, which served the best drinks. Located within an asteroid field, Hailey’s was frequented by space scum who wanted to maintain a low profile. I navigated through the all too familiar field and docked my starship – The Scale. Even though it was an older Sirius-class fighter, I had heavily modified it. Let’s just say that it can hold its own against stronger ships. I exited my ship and made my way to the bar room. The barkeeper and the owner of Hailey’s was a chap called Hork. His four eyes and equal number of arms helped him tend the bar with the highest level of skill. He did not speak much. I greeted him and sat at the bar. He did not have to ask me what I wanted. I only ever had one drink – Astro Ale. Imagine your regular earthling six-pack of beer. One small serving of Astro Ale had the combined potency of that one six pack. And this was just the light variant. Hork placed an opened bottle of grey Astro Ale in front of me and shifted his attention to the other customers. It was a vast galaxy and there was a vast variety of drink out there to suit every palette. My palette only craved Astro Ale. It held fond memories for me. Memories of my father, my mother, my hometown. Sorry, Astro Ale does that to me. I sat with my back to the bar, steadily sipping on the ale. I could see that it was a good business day for Hork. The bar was full of customers -a mix of crews of various ships, by the looks of it. There were very few humans among the crowd. This was to be expected. Hailey’s did not really offer anything that would sit well with most humans. I was an exception. Sure, I was born human, but now, I was much more. I was not even sure whether I could call myself a human anymore.

I sat there pondering over these questions when my eyes fell upon an Ulup. The Ulups were a race of purple-coloured humanoids famed for their artistic talents. However, this Ulup was herself a piece of art. She sat at the gambling table. Her body arched over the table at the perfect angle, as she stretched to place her bet. Even in that awkward stance, she appeared graceful and poised. As she settled back into her seat, her eyes met mine. She winked at me and turned her attention back to the game. I continued staring. I knew she was enjoying my attention. The game went on for some time, and in between the rounds, she would steal glances at me. She would acknowledge me with a wink or a smile. I was done with two bottles of ale when the game finally ended. She had lost a decent amount of money and looked like she needed a drink. Her eyes never left mine as she made her way to the bar. She asked Hork for an Astro Ale and settled herself down on the seat next to mine. She had ordered Astro Ale. Could she get any more perfect?

“That was a close game. Bad luck.”

She drank from the bottle Hork had placed before her.

“It was indeed. However, I think my luck is about to change tonight.”

Her voice was sultry, the kind of voice that could intoxicate anyone. And I was already on my third drink.

“Indeed. I’m Black Dragon.”

“My name’s Mari. It is a pleasure to meet you, Black Dragon. What brings you here, business or pleasure?”

She added extra stress on the pleasure bit. She could definitely seduce the pants off anyone.

“Business, but I think I need to add pleasure to the agenda now.”

She smiled at me and gulped more of the grey ale.

“So, I take it that your business was successful?”

“Very. I had been chasing behind something for the past ten days. Finally, I found it today. Need to meet my client and then get paid for my efforts.”

“That does sound like a good day for you, mister Black Dragon. I am glad we met. Come meet me later tonight. We will make it a good night for you.”

Mari paid for her drink and slipped a note to me. Room 010. I realized it was one of the rooms on the upper floor of Hailey’s, that Hork rented out. She made her way towards the crowd. I continued following her swaying hips until she had disappeared in the crowd. I saw her reappear, heading towards the exit. Her pace had quickened. That was strange. Why would she have to quicken her pace all of a sudden. No one was following her. Then it hit me, and in the microsecond I required to confirm my suspicions, I was hoping I was wrong. However, I am seldom wrong. I could not feel the gem in my pocket. I saw another Ulup, a male making his way swiftly through the crowd. Mari, if that was her real name, had been a decoy. While she was entrancing me, the male Ulup had managed to melt off my pocket and had made away with the gem. I stumbled as I got to my feet. The Astro Ale had done its job well. I pushed through the other customers and made my way to the docking bay. I made it barely in time to see a starship taking off. It was an Ulup build. It had to be the devious duo. I drew my multi-purpose blaster pistol and shot a tracking particle on to the Ulup ship. The shot went about five feet wider than I had aimed. I was not in the best of shape, thanks to the drinks. However, it had successfully hit the ship. I could track it now.

I got into The Scale and brought up the Ulup ship on my radar. Like, I mentioned earlier my modified ship was easily able to catch up to their ship, even though it was one of the latest models. I fired my electron lasers at the Ulup ship, aiming at disabling their engines. I missed and realized that my vision was in no state to do precise aiming. My vision was blurry and an electron laser in the wrong spot could destroy the Ulup ship, taking the gem with it. The auto-aim function on my ship was good, but it was not good enough to make such a shot. I switched to my neutrino rockets. These would punch a hole in their hull, killing the two Ulup, but the gem would remain unharmed. I caught myself thinking that it was a shame Mari had to die such a death. Well, she had played me. She deserved it. I squeezed the trigger. A bit too hard. I had fired ten rockets, six more than I had intended. I saw as the Ulup ship engaged counter measures, a burst of maser shots. The rockets collided with the shots, causing a huge explosion. After the flash cleared, all I could see was wreckage of what had once been an Ulup ship. It was done. The Ulup duo had been destroyed, but so had the Jaeger gem.

Oh well! Not the first time I had failed at a job. I went back to Hailey’s and grabbed a hot meal. I contacted my client after a couple of hours to inform him about my failure. I was surprised when he told me that he was holding the Jaeger Gem at that very moment. He told me that two Ulup space-scum had delivered it. They tricked me, again! Before I could terminate the connection, I heard Mari’s voice.

“How about the pleasure part now, Black Dragon?”

 

Word Count: 1500

Written in  response to Chuck Wendig’s Space Operatics

Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/810296157927189648/

The Unknown

Ahumai hastened towards The City. His team had discovered an unknown, the first discovery in over a decade. It was big news. His team mates – Dalila and Jidlaph followed him, trying to keep up. They were Ahumai’s blood-sworn and were tasked with watching his back. It had been a long mission and they were tired. However, they knew that even though they were out of dangerous waters, they could not afford to ease up. Enemies could be lurking behind any coral, waiting to ambush them. Ahumai was not making their task any easier. He had abandoned all vigilance and was making a straight dash to The City, and who could blame him? The mission had been an astounding success. Clutched in his hands was a safety packet and within it resided the unknown. They had given up trying to slow him down and instead focused on surveying their surroundings to the best of their ability, without losing sight of his swishing emerald tail.

The three blood-sworn belonged to the Selachii Kingdom, one of the many Sea-folk kingdoms. The City was the capital of Selachii Kingdom, and the birthplace of the three.  After a swift and arduous swim through the azure waters of Selachii, the trio finally gazed upon The City. It was city of pale golden colour, masterfully architected with a slew of magnificent minarets towering over each other. A crystal-clear purifier dome separated the city limits from the outer Azure waters. It was truly a sight to beholden, and no matter how many times Ahumai saw it, he always fell in love with its pristine beauty. The three made their way to the city entrance, swimming alongside shoals of persimmon coloured fish. The guards positioned at the entrance saluted the three as they entered. Ahumai was used to salutes because he was the younger Selachii prince, but he had never liked them. However, today for a change he acknowledged the salutes whole-heartedly. For the first time, he felt as if he had earned them. He had after all discovered an unknown.

As soon he entered the city premises, he spotted his older brother approaching. It was difficult to miss his muscular frame. It was even more difficult to miss his bright acid green tail. Ahumai was gleaming with joy when his brother was close enough to look at the safety packet.

“Ahumai, is that an unknown?”

“It sure is, Pachu’a. The first one found in so many years.”

“Very good. Take it directly to the Science Center. I want to know if it can be used as a weapon against our enemies.”

Ahumai hated this about his brother. He was only concerned with warfare. If something did not aid in increasing his own power, it was of no interest to him. He had no inclination towards history at all. In contrast to his older brother, Ahumai loved knowledge. Even the discovery of simple trivial knowledge excited him, and this was an unknown. He was eager to know what stories it held. However, he could not say all this to his sibling. Ahumai nodded.

“Yes, I will take it to the science center.”

Pachu’a placed his burly right arm on Ahumai’s shoulder.

“Good. We need to strengthen ourselves as much as we can, little brother. Our enemies are many and we need all the advantages we can get.”

Ahumai bowed his head. His companions followed suit and kept their heads bowed until the heir to the Selachii Kingdom had passed them. Ahumai turned to face Dalila and Jidlaph.

“Well, as my brother told us, we are going to the Science Center. But, after we meet Grandpa. I want him to see it before the other scientists.”

Dalila shook her head.

“I knew this was coming. You always have to undermine your brother in some way.”

Jidlaph grunted in agreement.

“Come on, it is not about that. At least, not this time. Grandpa always has something interesting to share. I want to know what he thinks before the other war-hungry scientists look at the unknown we found. Are you both coming?”

Jidlaph shrugged his shoulders. Dalila opened her mouth to argue and closed it after a split second. She realized Ahumai was not going to change his mind. She beckoned Ahumai to lead the way. Ahumai smiled to himself.

Making their way through the busy streets of The City, the trio reached Grandpa’s house. The house was ancient, which was quite visible to any onlooker. Before Ahumai could place his palm on the door to let Grandpa know he had visitors, the door slid open. The trio heard Grandpa’s gruff voice.

“Come on in, kids. This house may be old, but I assure you the technology on which it runs is cutting edge.”

The three blood-sworn entered. They swam past the meeting area and into Grandpa’s study. Ahumai held up the safety packet as soon as he saw Grandpa. Grandpa’s jaw dropped.

“My dear boy! Is that an unknown? Did you really find one?”

The trio chimed in unison.

“Yes, Grandpa!”

“Where did you find it?”

“We were scouting the brooding caverns. Found it in a small unclaimed chest.”

“That was mighty lucky. Well then, let us see it. Quickly now.”

Ahumai opened the lock on the safety packet and removed the unknown. It looked like a covering of some kind much like the gauntlets worn by Selachii soldiers, but they were flatter in shape and their material unlike any that had been encountered before. Each side of the unknown was marked by similar markings.

“Have you ever seen this mark, Grandpa?”

“No, I have not. Maybe it is an ancient language.”

Ahumai nodded. To his eyes, the markings looked like the outline made by his thumb and his index finger, when he stuck them both out. Maybe, they communicated with their fingers. Ahumai observed that Grandpa looked pleased.

“Grandpa, what are you thinking? You seem happy.”

“You see, child, I have been working on a theory for many years now. This might be the first proof supporting this theory.”

“What theory is that?”

“I believe that many millions of years ago, the world was not entirely submerged in water. In those times, our ancestors lived on land. They probably had limbs that aided them in moving around on land. This unknown may be a gauntlet of sorts for their lower limbs. And then after some time, due to some reason, the entire world flooded.”

The three blood-sworn gaped at Grandpa. He burst out laughing.

“Kids, it is just a theory. I know it sounds absurd – areas without water and our ancestors living in such areas.”

 

 

 

*The names used in the story, are all connected to water in some way.

Ahumai : A meadow of waters

Dalila: Water bearer

Jidlaph: He that distills water

Pachu’a: Feathered water snake

Source

 

**Those who found the description of the markings confusing, this is what I intended to convey :

RJ62DEg.jpg

 

 

If you like stories related to the Sea you may want to give the Sea of Blood series a read!