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Literature
The 1K - Chapter 6

The 1K

by Melanie Presson
Chapter summary:  A second rescue is attempted, only this time the enemy lies within the political structure of Masaka, and even closer to the children. Will and Terra find out just how close that betrayal gets.
Chapter 6
    The next morning...
    The sun rose, glistening on the city of streamlined towers. Vehicles followed pre-programmed sky lines of traffic to their destinations as usual, taking their passengers to their jobs, or to engagements, or out shopping.
    Will had fallen asleep in his normal clothes on one of the wide half-moon couches in front of the slanted windows. The first beams of light crossed over his eyes, pulling him out of his nightmare of the gargantuan dark ship he’d witness before they left Earth’s solar system.
    He sat up and rubbed away the sleep
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Literature
The 1K - Chapter 5

The 1K

by Melanie Presson
Chapter summary:  The Morning Star arrives at the planet Masaka, but something about this reroute to her homeworld doesn't sit right with Captain Linell.
Will lets go for the first time.
Chapter 5
 
Five days later…
 
Within these days sailing through space, Will taught Derek and Nick how to play Uno. He and Terra held matches with them so much so that the four became friends. On the third day, the three finally convinced Will to change into the new clothes the Regents gave them when his own began to smell.
The strangest experience Will had was the sonic shower. It cleaned his body thoroughly, but the sensation only hammered home that this was an alien vessel, and he had no choice to be there. He never thought he’d miss water so much in his life.
Although it was only a five day journey, it felt like an eternity to all of them.
The Morning
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Literature
The 1K - Chapter 4

The 1K

by Melanie Presson
Chapter summary:  Will and Terra meet some non-human crew members on the Morning Star. 
Chapter 4

 
That night...


The children were confined to the cargo bay, but if they asked, they could be escorted to the observation deck. Many of them couldn’t sleep, as they were plagued with nightmares.The Regents assigned a small number of their crew to care for them, providing an ear, food, water, or forms of entertainment to keep their minds occupied. Eventually, sleep won out for most of them, and they curled up on their cots or against one another.


Will laid on his cot, number 246, and stared at the ceiling. It looked to be made of panels that could be removed like puzzle pieces. A set of stairs were pulled up at the side so the new occupants of the cargo bay couldn’t climb up to the catwalk.
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Literature
The 1K - Chapter 3

The 1K

by Melanie Presson
Chapter summary:  The fifty kids onboard each of the twenty ships that abducted them from Earth learn exactly why they were spirited away, and are given a chance to say good-bye.
Chapter 3
 
Six hours later…
 
All twenty of the spacecraft met up at the pre-designated rendezvous point as planned. They dropped out of FTL between the fourth and fifth jump points. The bright rift closed behind them, leaving them in the middle of a stellar spectacle - a nebula swirling with hues of cool shades flecked with pink. The yellow sun of the solar system shone at its edge.
However, the most beautiful and alluring feature was the slash of the neighboring spiral galaxy. It’s core glowed brightly, and billions of stars trailed out to either side like a shock wave frozen in time. Though it appeared close enough to touch, no civilizations alive in this gala
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Literature
The 1K - Chapter 2

The 1K

by Melanie Presson
Chapter summary:  Will panics, unable to speak until one person pulls him out of the grip of fear. One person who becomes part of his life forever.
He and the other fifty abducted children on board the alien ship witness the grim outcome of Y2K.
Chapter 2
Will’s world became a blur of unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells that assaulted his senses.
The recycled air held a slight metallic tang. The bright rectangular lights lining the top edges of the corridor his attacker carried him down created a strobe effect, flashing over him as each one took him deeper into the alien craft. He was carried around a corner toward a double wide door split down the middle like someone had cut it at an angle. The man tapped on a lit interface lock and the door ‘wooshed’ open.
The sounds of crying swallowed him whole.
Children just like him sat on unusually designed co
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Literature
The 1K - Chapter 1

The 1K

An original work by Melanie Presson
Story summary:
1,000 children between the ages of 6-18 are abducted from Earth mere hours before the turn of the 21st century, and scattered across the galaxy in order to preserve their lives, their planet, and a precious hope the galaxy so severely needs. William Kade and Terra Kitridge are two of these children. This is their story, and the story of how they are used to further a last-ditch plan of desperation to end a 2,000 year war between the two major galactic powers.
Notes:
FUN FACTS will be detailed at the end of every chapter.:) 
Link to the video that started this whole thing, made 10/16/2018.
Chapter summary: 
William Kade always dreamed of traveling to space. However, his and 999 other kids's lives are changed dramatically when an unknown alie
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Literature
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot - Epilogue
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot
A fan work by Windryder1
Epilogue: Ad Infinitum
Summary
: Sun is faced with an important decision.
-----------------------------------
2 weeks later...and two new beanbag chairs at the end of the hallway...
 Mark grabbed her by the hand and pulled her behind him. “It's been two weeks, Sun. We're doing this.”
She pried at his fingers, but his grip was too strong. “No, no! You can't make me!”
“In and out, easy-peasy. Think happy thoughts and relax,” He rolled his eyes.
“I will not relax! You relax, you jerk! I'm not doing this!”
“The first time's always the hardest for everyone,” Purple assured her. “I remember being really scared, too.”
“You have to take this step at some point, Sun,” Peach said from her right. “You can't avoid him forever.”
“Yes, I can! I am not going back in there!”
Red pushed her from behind. “We
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Literature
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot - chpt. 11
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot
A fan work by Windryder1

Chapter 11: Learning to Breathe

Summary: Sun's curiosity to explore the hub takes over. Mark demands an answer from Wilford about the silver dagger that damaged Shadow. He answer's Sun's question, but ends up dropping his guard and talking to her about Dark. He finds he can trust her. They discover something unique about their respective menu windows, and their new connection to each other.
----------------------

Two nights later...

 People were starting to talk about the Girl Who Can't Wake Up.
Sun walked slowly down the middle of the hallway away from the infirmary. Her left hand clutched her right bicep in a meager shield against the unknowns of this strange place. She'd spent the past two days resting up as Tiny Box Tim suggested, but her curiosity to learn more about her surroundings became too strong to ignore.
She needed to at least explore the hub that appa
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Literature
In Your Eyes
This is just a moment involving Tiny Box Tim, the little Somni. Sometime post “One Shot” fan created story line (not canon) for the fan game "Hearts and Heroes." It helps if you've read the story to understand Why Mark feels like he can talk to Sun.
Link to the story in the description. (Inspired by a humanized art of TBT. If Tim ever took humanoid form, I imagine it would look like that.) 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IN YOUR EYES
----Dream rescue set in the game “Prey” - Typhon boss attack. -

"Everyone get down!" Tim launched himself upward at the massive Terrorling with a fierce, high pitched battle cry.
The Typhon-Terrorling swept its clawed hand through the air, spearing the little box through its top and out the bottom.
“Tim!” Blue gasped.
“NO!” Mark screamed as though he, himself, had been the one speared through the che
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Literature
Hearts and Heroes: chpt. 10
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot
A fan work by Windryder1

Chapter 10: A Second Chance
Summary: An old teammate makes an appearance. Sun wakes up and learns what Blue’s team did to save her life. She’s given a second chance, and Mark realizes that in saving her, he’s given himself a second chance.
----------------------
The Markihub – same night…
    The portal opened in a colorful swirl of energy just ahead of the back wall behind the stage. 2 teams of 4 stepped out onto the stone floor and heaved collective sighs of relief. One of the older guys with dark blue eyes and gifted with an athletic-yet-trim 6’ tall frame carried the rescued mission target on his back.
    A short girl who looked to be about 16 years old with cropped curly brown hair and wearing a dirty white dress rested her head against his shoulder at the fringe of his shaggy chestnut colored
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Literature
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot - chpt. 9
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot
A fan work by Windryder1
A kind warning: This chapter contains a topic that may trigger some people. It’s not bloody, graphic, or gory, but it is psychological. Please keep this in mind when reading. Thank you.
A kind disclaimer: None of this is based in reality. Nothing like this happened 5 years ago. This is a fan created backstory. This is not canon, and not created by the devs of Hearts and Heroes. It is isolated to this story alone, and should not be considered canon in any way, shape, or form.  …But headcanons are perfectly acceptable.
I have this ability to disassociate myself from the Id so I can put 100% of my ability into the art, even if it tears me apart to do it. Later, when I reconnect, I think, “WTF was I thinking?”
I love Mark, and writing this was hard, but it's the story. Creators apologize to their characters all the time. I'm sorry, Character Mark.
Thank you. Please grab some tissue
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Literature
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot - chpt. 8
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot
A fan work by Windryder1

I LOVE YOU GUYS! Thank you so much for sticking with me. There's more to come. I love how much you support me. Without you, I'd be nothing. You are amazing. :) Thank you.))
((Notes: The following OCs appear as cameos with permission from their creators. :) Thanks, guys!
Kate belongs to Browniefox  - https://trainer-lieun.tumblr.com/
The two boys and the girl in the infirmary belong to Flutter - https://trainer-lieun.tumblr.com/
----------------------------------------------
Chapter 8: Phantom Power
Summary: Blue’s team rescued Sun from her nightmare. Now they’re faced with saving her from the ultimate end within her coma using a risky tactic that’s never been attempted.
----------------------
The Markihub...
 Mark hit the floor of the hub running.
    His team followed close behind, weaving easily around the center stage
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Literature
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot - chpt. 7
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot
A fan work by Windryder1

Chapter 7: Lifeline - Part 2
Summary: Two alpha Somni face off, but there’s a catch that triggers the boss fight. Is this the end?
----------------------
      He kept his hands behind his back in an air of superiority. “You wanted to see me. Well, here I am. Shadow, was it?”
    “Yes,” pride filled her answer. “It’s an honor to meet the one who brought the great and annoying King of the Nerds to his knees,” she regarded him with caution, but confidence as one Alpha to another. “To be honest, I didn’t think he’d let you out so willingly. I’m surprised he’d put himself at risk just for this worthless girl.”
    “He has a bleeding heart. It sickens me.”
    She eyed his posture, and frowned slightly.
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Literature
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot - chpt. 6
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot
A fan work by Windryder1

Chapter 6: Lifeline - Part 1
Summary: Mark and Sun reach the summit of the central tower. The battle for her life begins with a 'Dark' interference.
----------------------
The summit...
A pillar of white light beamed up from the floor with the forms of two individuals inside: Sun in mid back-stop looking down at Mark on his side with his arm stretched out and fingers spread. He'd barely managed to throw the amulet out of the red tile just before the transporter swept them up hundreds of feet—maybe thousands in the dream world—to the tower’s summit.
They materialized on a smooth off-white floor polished to a dull mirror finish. The walls of the hexagonal room bore the same sheen. There were no windows or doors, or any indication of a way in or out except up. The room had no ceiling. Above them existed only a pitch-black starless sky.
The only decor in the
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Literature
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot - Chpt 5
Hearts and Heroes: One Shot

A fan work by Windryder1

Chapter 5: The Tower
Summary: The team confronts Sun in the central tower, and face the powerful entity that consumed her.
----------------------
The catwalks toward the tower...
The Voice whispered delicately in her ear, guiding her as it had from the start of her journey.
Turn right, turn left, keep straight. You’re almost to the tower.
Sun headed its instructions. She had no reason to doubt it. This voice held the only hope she’d felt in ages.
That moment so long ago in the Barrens, alone, cold, exhausted, and afraid, she’d given up. Details of her life had already disappeared. This macabre world was her reality. She’d wrapped herself around the glowing light bulb, and begged for help from someone…anyone…to save her.
The cry from her heart shot outward in all directions in pure desperation.
Among all the whispers and taunts that assa
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The 1K

by Melanie Presson

Chapter summary:  A second rescue is attempted, only this time the enemy lies within the political structure of Masaka, and even closer to the children. Will and Terra find out just how close that betrayal gets.

Chapter 6


    The next morning...


    The sun rose, glistening on the city of streamlined towers. Vehicles followed pre-programmed sky lines of traffic to their destinations as usual, taking their passengers to their jobs, or to engagements, or out shopping.

    Will had fallen asleep in his normal clothes on one of the wide half-moon couches in front of the slanted windows. The first beams of light crossed over his eyes, pulling him out of his nightmare of the gargantuan dark ship he’d witness before they left Earth’s solar system.

    He sat up and rubbed away the sleep. Why did the sun have to be so glaringly bright?

    He slipped on his glasses, shielded his eyes, and squinted through the space between his fingers.

    It was morning, but the eye-blazing light wasn’t from the sun.

    A vessel half the size of the Morning Star hovered like a stalking predator, shining a search light through the windows.

    The other kids were waking up to it as well, and groaning at the pain.

    Terra sat up, having fallen asleep head-to-head with her friend. She and many of the others had changed back into their regular clothing.

    Mumbles of confusion and panic bubbled up throughout the room.

    “What the hell is that?” someone’s voice quivered.

    “Don’t move,” Derek whispered. ”Its attack might be based on movement.”

    “It’s a ship, not a t-rex, you moron,” Nick whispered back.

    Regardless, as the two closest to the windows, fear and curiosity kept Will and Terra paralyzed in place.

    The light shifted suddenly to the ground multiple floors below them, and bolts of red particle beams rained down.

    Everyone screamed and scrambled away.

    “The Xox?” Kathryn cried out in panic. “Did they find us?”

    Without the blinding light, they got a clear look at the sleek design. “It’s a Regent ship,” Derek noted.

    “Why are they firing on their own people?” Nick exclaimed. “What the hell is going on here?”

    They all felt helpless. They were locked in this section within the main living area exposed entirely to windows.

    Some of the kids banged on the door, demanding to be let out.

    The control panel exploded into sparks, sending the kids scattering back in yelps of surprise.

    The doors ‘wooshed’ open, and a dozen armed Regent officers in blue uniforms barreled in. They wore masks identical to the ones their kidnappers wore.

    A loud, dissonant klaxon blared to life as the room’s interior lighting shifted to red.

    Chaos exploded throughout the room.

    Children ran and hid behind couches. A couple, including Li, held up their fists, ready to fight, and some were too shocked to move.

    The two Regents that had been assigned to guard the door were collapsed in a heap.

    The lead officer clicked a tab behind their ear that collapsed their face mask into a pod at the back of their neck. Captain Linell addressed the frightened kids with stern urgency. “Get your things as fast as you can. We’re getting you out of here.”

    No one moved. They were too stunned to see the captain of the Morning Star burst in guns-a-blazing, and still trying to process the situation.

    “Move!” She moved forward toward Li and Anahita. “Get the youngest out first.”

    “Captain?” Anahita could barely speak.

    “They need your leadership, Anahita.”

    Speechless, the young girl’s head bobbled up and down. She swallowed to clear her voice and put on her bravest tone even though she felt the tightness of fear in her chest. “Everyone! Get your stuff and go with the captain! Stay together!”

    “What the fuck is going on?” Li demanded.

    “Language,” Captain Linell scolded, then she and the officers went about helping the kids and rushing them out the door.

    Li blinked. “Did you just--” he turned to Anahita, “Did she just--”

    “Yup, she did. Help me.” Anahita ordered. He helped her corral the kids under age ten.

    Captain Linell picked up a six year old and handed him over to an officer. “We can get you all onto the Delphi. We’ve cleared a path, but it won’t hold.” She handed a weapon from her hip over to Li, handle first. “Do you know how to use this?”

    “Um…” he gingerly took it.

    “It’s a Pulse pistol. Point this end at the other guy and shoot. It’s set to Bind.’ Don’t touch the settings.” She locked eyes with him to ensure he understood she was trusting him to guard the children with her on their escape.

    He nodded. “Right. Like target practice back home.”

    She grinned. “Exactly.”  

    Will and Terra were in the last cluster of kids to run out into the hall. “They’re trusting you with a gun?” Will sassed toward Li.

    “Shut your pie hole, Skywalker,” Li snapped back. He pressed his palm against Will’s back to move the younger kid forward.

    Will could feel his hand trembling. Li acted tough, but he was just as scared as the rest of them.

    Lieutenant Nashea tapped repeatedly on the elevator controls. “It’s down. Cree, did you get to the ground floor?” she spoke into her com.

    His voice came back. “Affirmative. The Bind is starting to wear off. We’ll keep them busy as long as we can. How many are left?”

    “Six,” Nashea replied.

    “That’s the only way out,” Terra panicked. “We’re trapped!”

    “We’re not trapped,” Captain Linell rested her palm gently on the child’s small face. “There is always an alternative, Terra.” She ran back into the holding room.

    Everyone followed her.

    “What happened to an alternative to kidnapping us?” Li argued.

    “That was the alternative,” she snapped back.

    He shut his mouth.

    “There’s no way out through here,” one of the kids explained. “We looked already. It’s air-tight.”

    “This is a refurbished former consulate venue. All of the living quarters had an emergency escape route. Degull’s men couldn’t destroy the route, but,” she pulled a bed away from the wall and tapped in seemingly random places, then placed her thumb against one point, “Lieutenant?”

    The tall lieutenant adjusted the settings on her pulse rifle, took aim when her captain cleared the way, and fired one shot.

    A blue bolt of highly concentrated energy impacted the exact point Linell’s thumb had covered, creating a small hole. Two more shots revealed a door panel. Two more, and the wall disintegrated revealing  a single slim door.

    “They can hide it,” the captain tapped the door panel. The building’s security alert systems had locked it down. She placed a small disk against it. Ten ‘legs’ extended from it and pierced the console’s surface, emitting an ice blue electronic charge that overrode the controls. The door slid open. She put the tool back in her pocket.

    Dim red lights lit up the skinny corridor beyond leading to a dark pit at the end where metal stairs descended to the floors below.

    “Cool,” Will’s jaw dropped.”It’s like the secret passageway in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”

    “What is that thing?” Derek gestured at the small device.

    “It’s an EM node,” the captain explained. “Strong enough to disable the electronic systems of any individual relay for five minutes. I put a modified one under the engine of my ex husband’s car once. It reactivated every time he started the ignition. Left him stranded at a charging station in the middle of the desert for two days before he figured it out.”

    “Nice,” kathryn smirked. “Sounds like he wasn’t the sharpest crayon in the box.”

    “You have no idea.” Captain Linell entered the escape route. “I’ll go first. Li, take the middle. Lieutenant, bring up the rear.”

    Everyone hurried through the hall and down four flights of stairs.

    Captain Linell used the EM node again on the door leading to the first floor. The red lights cast an eerie glow in the suspense-filled atmosphere, but they were alone. She silently ushered everyone forward.

    The halls were too quiet for her liking. She tapped the com unit behind her ear. “Commander. Report.”

    “The last group met with some resistance, but we have everyone except you,” Commander Flin responded.

    “Get ready to fly. We’re almost clear of the facility.”

    “Aye, captain.”

    Red strikes of pulse gun fire impacted the wall to their right. The kids cried out in fear.

    “Move!” Captain Linell lead them quickly through the hall to the main doors as Lieutenant Nashea unleashed blue bolts of energy at their pursuers. The targets struck by the blasts screamed in pain and fell to the floor. The Bind had worn off, and another so soon would be half as efficient. She was shooting to mame, and possibly kill if she had to - though she didn’t want it to come to that.

    They were now running for their lives.

    The light of the morning sun blazed down on the white concrete of the building’s front entrance. The eight remaining people crossed the distance to the grounded Delphi. It’s engines were lit and ready for take-off at a seconds notice. Crew members fired past them into their pursuers. Darts of blue and red lasers impacted the ground. The red didn’t cause any damage, but the blue sent up plumes of dust and grit into the air.

    Lieutenant Nashae ran backwards at the rear of the group, firing deadly rounds into the building dust screen to give them more cover.

    Captain Linell reached the ramp and stayed at the bottom while the children ran up into the belly of the ship. Ensign Ehnik waited at the top with a handful of crew to receive the Terran children and administer first aid if need be.

    Five massive blue bolts struck the ground at the base of the ramp, sending the children toppling forward, and the captain hurled to her side. She stood quickly and scanned the thick cloud of debris. Derek and Nick coughed and sputtered out of the cloud with their arms over each other’s shoulders and back for support.

    “Where’s Will and Terra?!” Anahita demanded fearfully.

    “Captain,” Commander Flin’s urgent voice pierced her ears. “More Regent vessels are closing in. Degull called reinforcements. We have to leave now!”

    “Not without all of them.” Linell ground her teeth.
“Captain!”

    “Come on, Nashae,” she muttered.

    “Captain!”

    Lieutenant Nashae limped into sight with the boy in her arms and fell to the ramp.

    Ensign Ehnik quickly helped them inside and laid Will at the back for medical personnel to treat him. Lieutenant Nashae collapsed. The wound in her right side bled severely. “The girl,” she gasped. “They got her.”

“Shit.” Linell ran headlong into the settling dust. “Ehnik!”

    Without hesitation, Ensign Ehnik followed his captain onto the battlefield.

    Will’s ears rang so loudly, all other sounds bowed to its will. “Terra,” he tried to get up. She’d been right next to him. They’d been at the back running hand in hand.

    Everyone on board watched the cloud light up with colorful bursts of blue. Neither side were shooting to bind or stun anymore.

    Then all went still.

    Tense seconds lived within the settling dust.

    Lieutenant Nashae painfully sat up, taking her gun in hand, and mentally prepared herself for the pain of running while injured back into battle.

    Captain Linell burst through the cloud, wounded in her left leg and carrying Terra in her arms. Ensign Ehnik followed behind. His face marred with blood. The firefight may have stopped, but in that silence, a brief fist fight had ensued.

    She lost strength in her leg and dropped to her knees, setting Terra down gently on the ramp. “Go, Commander! Fly!”

    “Two regent vessels on fast approach, commander,” the helmsman reported.

    “Close the bay ramp. Haul ass, Mathis.”

    Helmsman Mathis expertly keyed in manual control. He would need to stay low while the ramp closed, carefully maneuver, and keep them from being shot down. He couldn’t trust that to a computer, no matter how sophisticated it was. He wasn’t the best in his class for nothing.

    Will forced himself away from the nurse and stumbled over to drop at Terra’s side as the ramp slowly raised and the ship lifted off the ground. He pulled her up to a sitting position and held onto her tightly.

    The Delphi turned 90 degrees away from the city and compound toward the less populated hills and valleys. Their escape meant staying out of the city.

    Ehnik, Linell, Will, and Terra held onto the ramp as it closed.

    “Thank God,” Ensign Ehnik got to his knees. “We got everyone. They’re safe.”

    Captain Linell moved to help Terra, who was waking up and shaking from fear.

    Ensign Ehnik wrapped his arms about both kids - one in each arm, “And so is the galaxy.” He launched himself backward, letting the inertia of the ship and gravity pull him with the kids out of the Delphi.

    Will’s glasses flew off his face. He cried out as the pull of gravity ripped him away and watched the ship grow smaller as they fell. He and Terra screamed just as a blue bolt struck Ehnik in the chest.

    Lieutenant Nashae lowered her arm with a contemptuous glare, and the ramp closed. She’d hit her target, but they’d lost the children.

    Ehnik gurgled a final breath with the two kids still tangled in his arms.  

    The nearest Regent vessel ignored the Delphi completely, and angled beneath the falling trio. Twin doors slid open at the top of its hull. The pilot, angling the ship perfectly, caught them, simultaneously activating a suspension pocket. It slowed them to a stop before they hit the floor.

    The sudden shift from free-fall to a halt made Will want to throw up.

    The field lowered, dropping them two feet to the floor. Will and Terra had enough time to squirm out of the dead man’s arms before the doors opened. One Regent officer with sharp blue eyes and dark hair aimed a pulse pistol at them and fired two shots.

    Red bolts struck Will and Terra. Only unlike the minor levels used to paralyze them and anyone around them during their abduction from Earth - the bind -, this was a level higher, strong enough to stun them.

    Will’s vision blurred just as he saw Terra fall to her side. He reached for her, and blacked out.

    It’s mission complete, the Regent vessel abandoned its chase of the Delphi, and sped off at full thrusters towards the sky.

    Betrayed and pissed off, Captain Linell got to her feet and headed for the bridge. “After them!”

    The Delphi dogged the heels of the Regent vessel, dodging spits of blue pulse canon fire that needled the sky around them. Ripples of energy flowed across their shields from each impact they couldn’t avoid. They fired back. It became a race as to who’s shields would hold the longest. The chase took them between craggy mountains, over wide valleys, and skimming across lakes. Waves of blue-green water plumed outward from the force of their thrusters.

     “Shields at fifty percent.”

    “I don’t care if they’re at zero,” Captain Linell stood at the bridge, wounded, but feeling only anger. “We’re not letting them leave this planet with those Terrans. Focus on their right engine. That’s a Zephyr class. They’re frontal assault vessels. Major fire power and protection in the front - not much in the backyard.”

    The Delphi’s pulse canons concentrated all of its firepower as instructed. A pinpoint hole appeared long enough in the other ship’s shields for a single bolt to pierce through and take out the engine. It burst into a plume of smoke. The ship listed to the right.

    A second later, her ops officer called out, “They’re powering up their Ephypsan core.”

    “They’re jumping to FTL in atmosphere? They’re insane,” Commander Flin mirrored his captain’s stunned expression.  No one in their right mind attempted this move on an inhabited world.

    “Fire at will!” Captain Linell ordered. “Ground them!”

    The Delphi’s firepower pummeled the ship.

    The Regent vessel’s interstellar engines flared to life, and in a heartbeat, it vanished into the sky.”

    The crew of the Delphi were left stunned.

    “Track them.” She breathed.

    “There’s too much interference,” the ops officer said. He paused. “They’re gone.”

    A deathly silence overtook the bridge.

    Two of the One Thousand Terrans destined to bring hope to the entire galaxy had just been kidnapped by a splinter cell within their own space force. The children would likely be transferred to a different ship, possibly two or more considering who they are, and spirited away to secrecy. It was a common move for the Regents to protect anyone of high rank under threat of assassination.

    On top of that, Ensign Ehnik, one of her own and a trusted friend, had committed the ultimate betrayal not just on the Regents, but on the entire galaxy.

    Captain Linell’s jaw tightened. “Make sure the Terrans are cared for. They have a right to know about Will and Terra. Return to the capitol. I will contact Chancellor Urza.”

    “Captain?” Commander Flin folded his arms at his back.

    “We are still responsible for the lives of these children. Our primary duty hasn’t change. We will see them safely and without harm to their predetermined homes.”

    They had been sent by their leader to rescue the children from Degull after Linell contacted the chancellor with her concerns regarding the shift in orders. As it turned out, the message to divert the Morning Star back to their home planet came from Senator Degull, hijacking the Chancellor’s personal subspace transmission code. And Senator Runell was an accomplice.

    She held a tacit reaction. Only vengeance rested in her purple irises. “We will find out where Degull is taking them, and retrieve them safe and alive, or we will die trying. You have the bridge, commander.”

    The Delphi broke off pursuit and headed back toward the city of Cerilia.


The 1K - Chapter 6
Chapter summary:  A second rescue is attempted, only this time the enemy lies within the political structure of Masaka, and even closer to the children. Will and Terra find out just how close that betrayal gets.

Chapter 1: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 2: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 3: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 4: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 5: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 6: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 7: TBD
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I have finished the story, and I'm in edits. :)
Also........ I have moved to a new home, so feeling a lot displaced.
Oobo

Oobo My original space fuzzball. Completely covered in fluff, about the size of a loaf of bread. They can roll up into balls. They have large eyes with a single black pupil and white sclera, six stubby black legs that let them latch onto surfaces, and can exist in space as well as oxygen-rich atmospheres. Their eyes have a layer of tapetum lucidum like a cat's so they can see in near pitch darkness, and they shine when lights hit them. No one knows how they can transition from decompression to a compressed atmosphere, but their bodies seem to be able to quickly adapt. They experience a moment of disorientation during this transition. Considered pests by most space-faring species. Exterminators use that moment to kill their colonies.

They don’t like foods other species eat. They eat metal and space dust, so they're found on derelict ships and in shipyards where vessels are parked or stored, and on ships that aren't well maintained, or don’t go through a scrubber at starports.

They make a little purr or squeak sound depending on their mood. It’s how they communicate vocally to other species, but they mostly communicate silently in groups. No one knows how, but they seem to understand the concept and importance of a group. It is extremely rare to find a single oobo. Where there is one, there are bound to be more varying from small groups of ten to colonies of hundreds. 

Some humans think they’re adorable. They're drawn to energy outputs like moths to flame, but they don't feed on it. It's like a lure and makes them feel cozy - hence why they settle their colonies in ships. They are hermaphroditic organisms.

I guess it's closest cousin would be based off a Soot Sprite. Only blue and with 6 legs. They only come in shades of blue, grey, and black, because it's space. They blend in well with the background to make it easier for them to hide in dark cervices. A very rare albino oobo would be bubblegum pink. These stand out like a lighthouse in a storm, so they don't tend to survive for long.

I wanted to make it cute, so I gave it big eyes and an uwu. ^_^  The Altair kept them as pets. Without any Altair for 2000 years, these little guys just live in colonies.

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The 1K

by Melanie Presson

Chapter summary:  The Morning Star arrives at the planet Masaka, but something about this reroute to her homeworld doesn't sit right with Captain Linell.
Will lets go for the first time.

Chapter 5

 

Five days later…

 

Within these days sailing through space, Will taught Derek and Nick how to play Uno. He and Terra held matches with them so much so that the four became friends. On the third day, the three finally convinced Will to change into the new clothes the Regents gave them when his own began to smell.

The strangest experience Will had was the sonic shower. It cleaned his body thoroughly, but the sensation only hammered home that this was an alien vessel, and he had no choice to be there. He never thought he’d miss water so much in his life.

Although it was only a five day journey, it felt like an eternity to all of them.

The Morning Star dropped out of FTL over a green world mottled with sapphire blue water, and shimmering polar ice caps. Storms loomed in drifting white clouds swirling over the surface, brushed as though with an artist’s touch.

Will and Terra’s mouths gaped in awe, as did the other children who’d asked to watch their arrival from the lounge. They lined up at the vista window, and a few of them placed their hands against the glass, including Will.

“Children,” Delleen began, “welcome to Masaka.”

The planet Masaka glowed in the star-speckled sky. Golden lines of light striated the surface leading in and out of cities of various sizes, and even spanned across the waters. Jutting up from the equator like an arrow lodged in a melon, was a thick orbital tether secured to a massive station. Ships of exotic, jagged, and smooth makes and models buzzed around the station. Larger space craft not suited for atmospheric maneuvering were docked, awaiting their next mission. Most of the star craft were of similar streamlined designs. Will assumed those were Masakan.

The planet’s two moons drifted on a lazy orbit in a continuous chase. The largest of the two held a light blue tint and very little atmosphere, while the other resembled Earth’s solitary satellite. Both hosted lunar bases. The blue moon glittered from rings of civilization like polka dots.

Sunlight began to drape slowly over the horizon, bringing the night-side they were headed toward into a new day.

“It’s one of three inhabited worlds in this system. Pretty, isn’t it,” Delleen stepped up behind the two ten-year-olds.

“It’s like a jewel,” Terra whispered. “It looks like Earth.”

“But it’s not,” Will’s jaw tightened. As beautiful as it was, as vast and advanced, it would never be home.

“No, it isn’t,” Delleen agreed. “Nothing ever will be. A new adventure is often painful in the beginning.”

He didn’t know what to make of that, so he said nothing. The view of the approaching planet captured his amazement quickly enough to dash any reply anyway.

The Morning star dove into the atmosphere at the sunlight broke between night and day. Their destination came into view as the ship slowed to atmospheric speeds and angled toward the dawn-lit towers of a glistening city at the edge of an ocean.

“Wow,” Nick breathed in awe. The others mirrored his amazement.

“What is that?” Kathryn asked.

“New Cerilia. The capital city,” Delleen said. None of the children noticed her hair-fine change in expression to one of worry. These children shouldn’t be together on the home planet of the second greatest galactic power so soon after their planet’s destruction. Maybe later, but not now.

“You were right, Will,” Terra smiled slightly, completely unaware of Delleen’s concern. “It’s beautiful.”

A futuristic metropolis spread before them like christmas lights on on a black silk canvas. Lines of flying cars, colorful billboards, and connecting bridges between the tallest buildings wove between spires of smooth designs intermixed with older ones with rugged edges. These pierced upward like a bed of nails stretching out to the horizon. Although this was clearly a highly advanced capitol city among many, the world retained vast, undeveloped areas of verdant fields, snow-capped craggs, deserts, and forests. The Masakans seemed to understand the importance of sustaining a natural ecosystem.

This was an extraterrestrial planet. A real, non-fiction, thriving and breathing civilization. Will thought this could have been Earth’s future had the Xox’ Y2K plan never happened.

Being a larger vessel, the ship couldn’t impede on traffic. Instead, it sailed over the bustling city, and looped around to an area of interconnected buildings with open balconies just outside the city limits. The Morning Star landed gently on a broad tarmac in the midst of the complex.

The crew ushered everyone back to the cargo bay. Once they had their things gathered - if anyone had originally been abducted with belongings in hand, or on their person - the bay door opened.

Sunlight poured into the ship, making all fifty children squint or cover their eyes. Crisp, cool air rushed in to replace the artificial atmosphere. A ramp extended and lowered to the ground.

Derek held his breath for as long as possible, afraid the alien atmosphere might poison him.

A group of ten armed soldiers flanked two middle-aged people in neat, pressed attire. The woman gripped a silver datapad, while the man folded his hands at his back.

Captain Linell held up her hand to keep everyone onboard the ship. She strode down the ramp with Commander Flin at her side. “Senator Degull. I didn’t expect to see you. ”

“Captain,” he flashed a serpent's smile, his voice as slick as his dark silver-streaked hair. “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”

“I wish I could say the same,” she responded with ice-cold loathing.

“How’s your son these days? Doing well in the academy, I hope?”

“He’s among the top in his class. Why are you here, Senator?” she batted down his small talk like the words were an annoying fly buzzing in her ears. “With the urgency of the message, I expected to see Chancellor Urza.”

“The Chancellor sent me in her stead to collect your cargo.”

“Then I assume she sent you with more details before I hand these children,” she emphasized the word, “over to you.”

“Are you refusing to comply with the Chancellor’s direct orders, Captain.”

“On the contrary. It is well within my right to obtain full disclosure for a reroute home regarding these particular Terrans. Our mission is to ensure they remain safe and are allowed to grow up.”

“And that hasn’t changed. They will grow up to be something remarkable. The galaxy will owe them everything,” he dropped his smile. The wind rustled his long blood-red coat as though taking his words with it, “Now. Are you going to escort these...children,’ he said with false delicacy, ‘into the complex, or should I have my men do it for you?”

Everything about this screamed ‘turn around and get the hell out of there,’ but she couldn’t disobey a direct order from Chancellor Urza. This walking pile of dumpster fire excrement, however, she’d be reprimanded for disobeying, but wouldn’t hold any regrets.

“Commander,” She called back. “Escort the children inside.”

He felt as she did, and this showed in his forced dutiful reply. “Aye, Captain. All right, everyone. Let’s get you guys settled in.”

It took a little time to convince them, more-so the younger ones - to leave the ship, but they eventually moved down the ramp in small clusters.

Li held Keiko’s hand as Anahita and Kathryn walked ahead of them.

Will and Terra locked their fingers together. They wanted to make sure they wouldn’t be separated.

Derek and Nick formed their own duo.

Their first steps onto the surface of a new world had them all looking around in every direction, soaking in the sunlight, the feel of the breeze, and cementing in the knowledge that this wasn’t home.

Delleen stepped up beside the captain. “Tevara…”

Will and Terra passed by the two, though Will caught part of their conversation.

“I know, Delleen. Something doesn’t sit right with me about this, either, but this isn’t the time to make reckless decisions.”

“We never choose our time.”

“No, we don’t,” she inhaled. “We do the best we can.”

Will moved too far away to hear anymore. What were they talking about? What about this seemed wrong other than the fact that all fifty of them were here at the same time? Surely the Xox couldn’t pinpoint this few on an entire world teaming with human and alien life.

The group thinned into a haphazard line as the troops from Degull’s side and the crew of the Morning Star ushered them across the expanse into the wide double doors of the complex. The doors ‘wooshed’ open to greet them with well-lit halls decorated with potted plants.

The woman with the datapad hurried by. She pulled a slim com node from her green, two-toned skirt pocket and stuck it behind her ear. “Nera here… Yes, Senator Runell...I’ve made arrangements for tomorrow, exactly as planned. Should I expect you? ...Of course, sir. I understand. We’ll see you at Strafsend. I’ll inform Senator Degull.”

She quickly split off down a hallway and out of sight.

Will’s head turned to look at the serious expressions of the Masaki around him, and that’s when the reality of his situation became painfully clear. In this case, He, Terra, Li, Keiko, Derek, Kathryn, Nick, Anahita, and the rest of the One Thousand scattered across the galaxy like leaves in a storm were…

“We’re aliens,” he mumbled.

Terra gave a questioning sound as they were lead to an elevator that took the kids up in groups of ten at a time.

“We’re like the Ephypsans,” Derek elaborated. “We don’t have a home planet anymore. They call us Terrans, so we’re all the Terrans the galaxy gets to see right now. No matter where we go, we’ll always be the aliens.”

“Oh,” She gripped Will’s hand more tightly as their group entered the elevator and the door closed. “I hope others come out here so we won’t be alone.”

The soldier glanced down to Terra.

When the doors opened, a woman in an a-line cut pale blue dress with a high collar waited for them. She held a transparent data pad in her right hand. Sunlight streamed through the floor-to-ceiling windows at her left running down the length of the wide hall to a door at the other end. The previous group of children entered the room.

The morning light illuminated her disarming smile. “Welcome to Masaka,” she kept her hands visible to help her guests feel as comfortable as possible. “You must be tired from your journey.”

“Nah, I’m good,” Nick said. “A little depressed maybe, but…”

Her smile remained. “Follow me, please.”

With the officers herding them forward, they did as they were told.

“Where are we going?” Will asked

“To where you’ll stay until the transport picks you up tomorrow morning.”

“Wait,” Kathryn held up her hand, “transport? What transport? We just got here.”

The woman stopped at the door split diagonally at an upward angle. “To your new home,” she answered simply, as though discussing the weather.

“All of us?” Anahita asked. “Together? I thought we weren’t supposed to stay together.”

“Yes. All of you. In this case, that rule is not in effect. Special arrangements have been taken to accommodate all of you.”

“Will any of the other ships be coming here, too?” Li spoke up.

“I’m sorry, but no. It’s just you.” She keyed in a code at the panel adjacent to the doors and they slid open. The interior was bright, welcoming, and filled with comfort. She waited for the kids to enter. “I know Terra wasn’t terribly advanced, so I assume you’ve experienced a sonic shower onboard the Morning Star. Am I correct?”

Terra giggled. “It tickled.”

Will, however, shivered in dread of facing that experience again. “Don’t you guys just have normal showers with normal water and normal soap? Like normal people?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, we do,” she chuckled. “What is ‘normal’ is relative in your case, however. Although sonic showers are the most efficient way to be completely cleaned, many still prefer the old fashioned way. Now, I must greet the next group. You’re allowed to move freely through this part of the complex. We’ve provided various forms of entertainment to keep you occupied. Relax. You’re safe here. Someone will come get you when breakfast is ready.”

Li shuddered a breath. “They keep telling us we’re safe, but I just can’t believe them. All this is...too well planned. It’s too thought out. It’s like they were expecting a large group of people to chill here”

“You think there’s something more to them bringing all of us here instead of going with their original plan,” Anahita frowned. “I have the same feeling.”

“Me, too,” Will hugged his bundled up regular clothes balled up in his arms. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

“We’re kind of messed up, Skywalker,” Nick walked by him. “I don’t know what I feel anymore. Nothing is right, and it all feels like a dream. A really long, exhausting, real dream.”

“Delleen looked like she was going to throw up,” Terra hopped up on the back of a couch and dropped her backpack and regular clothes on the cushion. “I wonder what was bugging her so much.”

“You noticed that, too?” Will’s eyebrows raised in surprise. “I thought it was just me.”

She shook her head from side to side.

“Yo, look at this screen!” Derek launched himself over the other couch and up nose to nose with a flat screen embedded in the wall. A few of the other kids had figured out how to turn it on, and were channel surfing. “Holy shit, this thing has a thousand channels?!”

“Where’s the porn?” a teenager asked.

“Ew,” a cluster of little kids rang out in a chorus of disgust.

Anahita rolled her eyes.

“Yeah,” Li let go of Keiko’s hand so she could join the other kids her age. “It’s probably pay-per-view anyway.” He grimaced when the fourteen-year-old elbowed him hard in the ribs.

“Boys are so gross.”

“Guys, look at this!” Kathryn hopped down into a sunken in area of the room. The opposite wall was lined with windows, giving the living area a homey, yet sterile feel. “It’s a holographic block game!” She jumped into the square along with two other kids, and a blue cube appeared over her head.

“Get the blue ones,” a girl with a green cube above her instructed. “Marshal!” she yelled at the other kid, “I need orange. We need to fill in the line or we’re going to lose!”

“Three dimensional Tetris?” Will blinked. “Ok, that’s cool.”

“Oo!” Terra leaped off the couch. “I wanna play! I can Tetris anything. Mom bought a turkey for Thanksgiving last year, but it didn’t fit in the fridge, so I Tetris’d the fridge. Some eggs broke, but it all fit. Eggs count as a straight bar.”

In all honesty, it looked like a blast. All of the technology here fascinated him. He’d play later, though. Right now, a normal H2O shower called his name.

He headed for what he assumed was a bathroom based on what he’d seen on the ship, and walked past the sonic shower door with his middle finger discretely over his jacket angled in the evil chamber’s direction.

Figuring out the shower controls was fairly simple. There was a single rectangular window at head height, but he could only see the partially cloudy sky. The water soothed over him, and for the first time since this whole nightmare began, the tension in his muscles began to ease. Maybe he could give Masaka a chance. Maybe. It had blue skies, green hills, cities, and fresh air. The gravity was perfect, and the solar system had one sun, just like Earth’s.

If he closed his eyes, he could pretend he was home in the upstairs bathroom, his mom making dinner in the kitchen, and his dad schooling the newbie who took over his job at NASA on the Nova Star project over the phone about audio frequencies and the Navajo language. Will had begun to learn how to identify different codes over the military radio his dad gave him when he was seven. He’d quickly become fascinated with tech. He’d been exceptionally adept at detecting minute changes in audio. He’d wanted to go to space to hear everything the galaxy offered, and to explore it. His father wanted him to stay on the ground and use his skills to fix Earth first.

He wanted to run to his room, turn on the radio, and spend time scanning the frequencies to see if he could pick up anything new.

...Like the Masakan transmission.

He’d picked it up throughout December. They must have been communicating with one of their own hiding on Earth, possibly coordinating the kidnapping of the One Thousand. If only he could have deciphered their code, he could have warned everyone. He knew the concept was impossible - he was just a kid, and no one would believe him -, but the invading thought that he could have done something drove its nail into his mind anyway. Why wasn’t he smart enough? Why couldn't he figure it out and contact NASA directly?

Why couldn’t he save them?

He wanted his mom. He wanted to hear her voice, and feel her warmth, and see her smile. He wanted his dad. He wanted to be picked up and spun around and sit on his shoulders even though Will was already too big for that. He wanted his room, his crappy school, his N64 and the old t.v., his swing set in the backyard, and his warm bed with the space comforter.

He wanted to go home.

But he couldn’t. He never could again. His planet would be blown up, and everyone would die if he did - if they weren’t already dead from the nuclear explosions.

Will’s small hands planted against the shower wall and he curled over as heat burned at the corners of his eyes.

Here, alone with the rain-head shower cascading over him with its quick percussion needling against the tile, Will let go for the first time since his abduction, and openly wept. He slid to his knees and wrapped his arms around himself. Once he’d started crying, he couldn’t stop. The anger, frustration, sorrow, shock, denial, loss, and helplessness poured out of him like blood, and he was at its mercy.

Terra had run up to the sliding door and was about to knock and ask when he’d be done so they could play with the 3D games, but stopped. She heard the muted, muffled sobs. Her little hand lowered. She’d known he was in just as much pain as the rest of them, but he’d remained strong even when she’d broken down and tear-stained his shirt more than once.

She turned and sat against the wall under the door controls and pulled her knees up.

Kathryn and Nick ran in to yell at him to hurry up so they could all play, but stopped when they heard the sobbing as well. They bit back their demands. They all knew what he was going through, and in their tiny group, he was the last to fold. Kathryn gently pulled Nick away by his arm,

Terra remained. Her friend could take all the time he needed to cry. She’d be here waiting. And if he needed to cry outside the shower, she’d be here for him, too.

* * * *

tbc
* * * *
FUN FACT #5: Nick Edward Alden is 12. He has shaggy blond hair, blue eyes, wears round-rimmed glasses, and is 5' even He's from Lockhaven, Pennsylvania. Li Chen gave him the nickname 'Frodo' for being short. He loves science fiction stories and wanted to write a famous novel. He had a cat named Chester, and was raised solely by his only surviving relative- his grandmother. She taught him how to sing, and he has a nice voice.

Derek Andrew McLaughlin is 14. He has dark brown hair, blue eyes, a penchant for dad jokes, and is 5'5". He's Irish, born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. He loves video games, and wanted to be a computer programmer. He's athletic and enjoyed running in the morning. He's very introverted and didn't have any friends. Li Chen gave him the nickname "Samwise."

The 1K - Chapter 5
Chapter summary: The Morning Star arrives at the planet Masaka, but something about this reroute to her homeworld doesn't sit right with Captain Linell. Will lets go for the first time

Chapter 1: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 2: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 3: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 4: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 5: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 6: www.deviantart.com/windryder1/…
Chapter 7: TBD
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The 1K

by Melanie Presson

Chapter summary:  Will and Terra meet some non-human crew members on the Morning Star. 

Chapter 4

 
That night...


The children were confined to the cargo bay, but if they asked, they could be escorted to the observation deck. Many of them couldn’t sleep, as they were plagued with nightmares.The Regents assigned a small number of their crew to care for them, providing an ear, food, water, or forms of entertainment to keep their minds occupied. Eventually, sleep won out for most of them, and they curled up on their cots or against one another.


Will laid on his cot, number 246, and stared at the ceiling. It looked to be made of panels that could be removed like puzzle pieces. A set of stairs were pulled up at the side so the new occupants of the cargo bay couldn’t climb up to the catwalk.


They’d given him a clean set of clothes to wear, but he left them folded on the floor. It was a small rebellious act against being forcefully matriculated into ‘space society,’ or whatever they wanted to call it. A few of the kids taken while they’d been asleep in their homes took the new clothes in order to feel less exposed, and warm. They were soft, but the fabric didn’t smell right.


He never thought he’d miss the smell of detergent so much.


What were they going to do now? Where were they going? He wondered which family had agreed to take him in, and if he would like them, or ever get used to being forced to call an alien world and an alien foster family ‘home.’ Would any of the kids here be in the same city, or on the same planet?


Everytime he closed his eyes, he saw the faces of his parents paralyzed in the snow watching an alien abduct their son. If they survived the apocalypse, they’d be worried about him. And he had no way to tell them he was alright.


If they survived…


Heat welled up in his chest again, and he bit his lip against it. So far, he’d managed to keep from breaking down completely. He had to be strong for himself, and for Terra.
He glanced to her across the way toward the bay door on her own cot, curled up beneath a blanket. If she’d managed to fall asleep, she’d accomplished something that cruely eluded him.


His stomach grumbled lightly. He sighed and rolled over. They’d given him food, but all he did was pick at it. Eating was difficult, plus it didn’t taste right.
The Regents were human, and everything on this ship was designed for humanoid anatomy in mind, but all of it was off enough to feel completely foreign.
Someone pushed gently on his shoulder.


“Will?” At some point, Terra had gotten up and made her way over. “Are you awake?”


“Yeah,” he mumbled and sat up, and put on his glasses. “I can’t sleep.”


“Me, either.” She sat on the bed. She’d taken her hair out of its ponytail so the straight light brown locks fell over her shoulders. He noticed she hadn’t changed into the new clothes either. “You didn’t eat.”


“It’s weird.”


“Yeah. But I’m hungry. Come with me?”


“And go where? A Cracker Barrel?”


Her lips pursed in a pout.


“Sorry,” he apologized. He’d give anything for their homemade soup right now.


“I guess they won’t let us out, though,” She kicked her feet.


Her melancholy made him steele his courage. “We won’t know unless we try.” He hopped off the bed. “Come on.”


Terra joined him and took his hand. They approached the security guard stationed at the door and looked up into the face of the 6’ tall man.
“Um...hey,” Will tried. “We,...do you...is there a cafeteria or something?”


“Couldn’t eat?” The guard simply guessed.


He nodded.


“It’s gross,” Terra murmured.


“Hm,” the guard chuckled. “Well, you’re not the first. Those pre-packaged meals they gave you guys taste like sand.” He glanced over to the console. “Hey, Jen. I’m taking Two-Forty-Six and Two-Twelve to Delleen’s.”


Lieutenant Nashae standing at the console nodded. “Go ahead,” she took in the dimly lit room, and her voice husked in empathy. “These poor kids are too worn out to try anything.”


“Copy that.” He tilted his head down to the two short children. He noticed the boy kept himself slightly in front of the girl and kept a tight hold on her hand. “Ok, you two, follow me. And stay close.”


They nodded and did as they were told.


As they walked down the hall toward the elevators, Will noticed there were scarce few crew members around. “Where is everyone?”


“It’s the night shift. And we’ve told all non-humans to avoid you if possible,” the officer glanced back.


“Why? There are other aliens here?” Will’s curiosity began to spark.


“A few humanoid ones. We know Terrans aren’t space-faring yet, so we didn’t want them to scare you.”


“I’m not scared,” Terra feigned bravery and clung to Will’s arm.


“Me, either.”


He smirked, knowing it was a complete lie from both of them. “I’d say you bunch are the bravest beings in the galaxy with what you’re going through.”


The elevator let them off on a deck identical to the design of the observation deck with screens next to the doors displaying the room’s designation in the Masakan written language.


The officer tapped on the control of a single door, and it slid open. He lead the two children through.


It was a rounded room with a back door leading to a kitchen and bar off to the left side. Tables and chairs spread out in the center, and two wide windows separated by an angled support beam with two sets of cushioned seats with a table in front of each. Starlines streaked by the windows.


Terra stopped in her tracks and squeaked lightly in fear behind him. She grabbed his jacket. They weren’t alone here.


Two humanoid beings with blue skin sat chatting over plates of piled, noodle-like food with a Masakan male at one of the inner tables. The aliens’ gold irises instantly settled on the two newcomers.


The other three aliens - one woman with tan skin and dark brown spots angling in on her cheekbones, and with pulled-back dark hair, a normal looking human female with blond hair and four small bumps running down the center of her forehead and down her spine beneath her uniform, and a male with short brown hair and thick brow bones curving outward toward his ears with small spots adorning the edges - ceased their conversation.


The bartender and cook setting out a plate of food on the counter top didn’t bat an eye. She adjusted her thick bun of white hair, and continued her work. She had air-brushed blue tint lines running along her cheekbones and down the sides of her face and neck into the collar of her outfit.


Will’s eyes widened. These were the aliens he’d expected had kidnapped him. Not other humans. He was curious, but at this point, too afraid to move much further into the room.


“Delleen,” the officer called over. “Think you can find something for these kids?”


Her voice was smooth, calm, and easy on the ears. And yet that angelic tone held salt. “That makes ten to come up here so far. What did you guys feed them? Borca root?”
“Might as well have,” he retorted with a chuckle.


Delleen sighed and pulled out two plates. “Set them up by the window. I’ll fix them something warm.” She headed back into the kitchen, and Will caught her grumbling, “They’re children, not cattle. Stupid, irresponsible--”


“You heard the woman,” the officer planted his hands on their back and ushered them in.


One of the blue skinned aliens twisted his fork in the bed of noodles as he watched the kids hurry by. “Babysitting the preschoolers, Ehnik? Might as well have them running all over the ship if you keep letting ‘em out.”


HIs companion gave him a death glare. “They lost their planet, Pliq. Cut ‘em some slack.”


“You’re not afraid of them, are you?” the Masakan crewman needled.


“Pha! Hardly. I’m not afraid of a bunch of human brats.”


He poked his fork toward his peer. “I dunno. The Xox are.”


Pliq folded his arms. “The Xox can suck my big fat toe.”


The other blue skinned alien grinned. “Censoring yourself? That’s new.”


“They’re kids,” Pliq scooped up some noodles onto his fork. “And you’re an idiot.”


Will and Terra took a seat across from each other at one of the window tables.


“Don’t listen to them,” Ensign Ehnik consoled. “The O’alli can be a little abrupt.”


Moments later, the white-haired cook placed two plates in front of the children. “One of the younger ones earlier wanted something called a ‘Pop-Tart.’ I convinced her to eat pancakes instead. It appears they're universal.”


Will and Terra looked to each other, though neither moved. They were afraid it would contain poison, or alien food would make them sick.


“I didn’t make these to be stared at,” she urged with a smooth strictness to her voice.


Hunger won out. They gave each other a nod, as if silently telling the other it was ok to eat, and tentatively took a bite. It was delicious and reminded both of home. They dug into the pancakes with new ferocity.


“Let me know when they’re ready to leave,” Ensign Ehnik said to Delleen. He tilted his head to the others. “Make sure these guys don’t bother them.”


“No one makes trouble in my bar, Ensign. If they do, I’ll show them the door.” Her tone indicated the troublemakers’ would find themselves effectively thrown out on their asses no matter how strong they were.


Knowing her, she didn’t need to prove herself for that statement to hold weight.


Will’s eyes soaked in every detail about the aliens and the room. He was both frightened and fascinated. “What...what are they?”


“Morons, most of the time,” Ehnik joked. He gestured to the table of blue skinned aliens. “Those two are a race called O’alli.” He nodded next to the woman with the dark spots on her cheekbones. “She’s Enkai, the beautiful but sassy one with the forehead bumps is a Felorian, and the guy next to her who can’t take a joke to save his life is a Taldig.”


“Those are weird names,” Terra blurted out. She clasped her hand over her mouth beneath wide, horrified green eyes a second later. “Sorry!” she whimpered.
Ehnik smirked. “They’re kind of weird people. It fits.”


He turned to leave when the starlines outside folded into the pinpoints of normal stars. “Huh?”


The others in the small galley were just as curious.


The Masakan male tapped at the com node behind his ear. “Quinn to the bridge. Report. Why did we drop out of FTL?”


A clear feminine voice responded. It wasn’t the captain’s, but the senior officer in charge while Quinn was on lunch. “Emergency orders from Chancellor Urza, Lieutenant. We’re being rerouted.”


“Where?”


“Masaka.”


He frowned and stood. Something was wrong here, and it didn’t sit right with him at all. The other officers thought it was off, too. They shouldn’t be heading back home for another five or six months. “Wake the captain. I’ll be right there.”


“Yessir.”


Without another word, the Lieutenant left the bar. Ensign Ehnik returned to the cargo bay.


The two kids watched him and three others leave. At least they now knew where they were going. A small part of Will settled with disappointment that FTL wasn’t called ‘hyperspace’ or ‘warp,’ even though that’s what the Ephypsan drives did: warp space to allow them to travel faster than light.


“Is everything all right?” Will asked.


Delleen walked up to their table. “I’m sure it’s fine.”


Knowing the name of their destination still didn’t ease his fears or sorrow. In fact, it made it worse. Who knew how far away Masaka was from Earth. It could be on the other side of the galaxy, hundreds of light years away. He set his fork down next to his half eaten fluffy pancake and slouched.


Terra had stopped eating as well. She’d thought the same thing.


“You know, that’s an old recipe from where I came from. My favorite when I was a child always had sweet pears cooked into it. I had a feeling you’d like these.”
“What do you know about us?” Will snapped. He tilted his head up to look her in the eye, taking in her whole alien appearance. “Your planet wasn’t destroyed because of you, and you’re not stuck on an alien ship with an alien race hunting you just because you’re alive.”


She remained calm in the face of his storm. “You’d be surprised just how similar you and I actually are,” she stated softly. Her words held a vast amount of hidden history and knowledge that the two couldn’t begin to understand.


It left them confused.


“Eat up. There’s plenty more where those came from,” she tapped the table to indicate the food still on their plates, offered them both a soft smile and went back to tending her kitchen. She’d cook up a stack of pancakes, because these kids would not be the last she’d see tonight.


If they were traveling all the way back to Masaka, that meant multiple jump points, and five days of total travel. This would give her a chance to make full meals for the kids. Cooking for the crew whenever they’d come here instead of the standard galley on deck five was normal. Making these lost children decent meals gave her a way to help them, and give them something of substance to bring them comfort. She would speak to the captain in the morning. Her race didn’t require as much sleep as Humans.
However, detouring directly to Masaka worried her. These kids were supposed to be split up and dropped off on various worlds. The entire trip would have taken them six months to travel from sector to sector. These children should not be in the same place at the same time for long. Their separation was of the utmost importance to their safety. Something about this sudden change in plans didn’t feel right. And she’d learned long ago to listen to that instinct.


She watched the children for a while as they ate and shared very few words. They would often reach out to touch the other’s hand, and had a fork fight over the last piece of pancake. It made her chuckle. Not even a full day had passed, and the bond these two shared was already deeper than friendship or family. The thought that a soul connection that strong still existed among people as far away as the backwater world of Terra warmed her heart.  


The ship jumped back into FTL minutes later.


Will and Terra finished their meals, and scarfed down seconds. Tired and full of pancakes, they were escorted back to the cargo bay, passing four more of their companions on the way.


Almost everyone was asleep by the time they returned. Terra hopped up onto her cot, took off her pink shoes and laid down. She heard the rustle of fabric as Will sat on the floor. “Those were really good pancakes,” she whispered.


“Yeah,” he had taken his shoes off and left them on the floor next to him. He yawned. “That lady was weird, though.”


“Totally. She was nice. And I liked her skin. It was pretty,” she sat up and slid off her cot to join him, scooting up next to him. He didn’t move away. Both wanted the comfort and contact. She closed her eyes and rested her head on his shoulder. “What do you think Masaka looks like?”


“I don’t know. Green, maybe? Lots of water, and forests, and cities with flying cars like Deloreans, and buildings so tall, King Kong can’t reach the top.”
“That sounds beautiful,” she whispered. “I wish my mom and dad could see it.”


“Yeah.” He just wanted to tell his parents that he was ok. “Mine, too.”


Sleep claimed her far faster than before. As long as she knew he was there, she felt safe.


He stayed up to guard her from any nightmares. Her weight on his shoulder felt reassuring rather than hindering. He fished the blue Uno ‘Reverse’ card from the deck in his jacket pocket and held it up. If only he could use this to reverse the whole ship and send them back home.


Eventually, he, too, lost the fight against sleep. He felt someone pull a blanket over them, but didn’t care to see who. He was too exhausted to care. As long as Terra was here, he felt safe. Whatever happened from now on, they’d get through it together.


Both children shared a cot from that night on.

* * * *

tbc

* * * *
FUN FACT #4: Kathryn Madison Everette is 15. She has long red hair, green eyes, and is 5'5". She's Canadian - from Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. She grew up around horses, and competed. She has excellent reflexes. The Regents had to shoot her and her horse with a bind to get her to stop running.  The Regent who acquired her had to act fast and throw a portable sustaining field under her when she fell from the horse. It cushioned her fall so she remained uninjured.  She was taken early that night around 7pm est.

She forms a connection with Anahita Navari.

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windryder1
Melanie Presson
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
I'm a fanfiction writer, and a voice actor in training.
My goal is to become a working voice actor, and to bring your favorite characters to life. :)
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:iconwindryder1:
windryder1 Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you for the happy birthdays. :) It was nice of you to take the time do say it. Things are pretty stressed, but I promise I'm still creating. 
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:iconearthrise-films:
Earthrise-Films Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2018
Happy Birthday!
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:iconnatblue0:
natblue0 Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Soda Cake with candles 50x50 icon Happy Birthday! Hope you are having a fantastic day! :D Soda Cake with candles 50x50 icon 
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:icon27lazybug:
27Lazybug Featured By Owner Jul 18, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Happy Birthday!!! La la la la birthday cake 
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:icontinycatty:
TinyCatty Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the support, my friend!
It means a lot to me and I'm so happy to have you as one of my lovely watchers
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:iconshnarf9892:
shnarf9892 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2017

Oh. My goodness.  Your reviews are SO amazing. I squealed like a little girl when I read them.  My husband was thoroughly confused until I explained.  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!  I am so incredibly excited that you are enjoying this.  Seriously, things like this keep me going.  They give me that extra bit of motivation when I’m super tired and don’t want to put any more energy into anything.  So long story short, you’re amazing.  And I’m totally okay with you sharing the crap out of this.  ;)

I'm about halfway through Chapter 4. ^-^

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:iconwindryder1:
windryder1 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
As promised. :)  
Actually, I think that was all I could say.  I'm still watching Chugga's LP of this game.  I've never actually played it before, so I'm watching it completely new, and loving it.  I want it now. I've just reached the point where he's at the Sand Sea of Time and just met the robot captain. 
I did some writing last night, and managed to creep myself out enough by the content to not sleep well.  I hope that bodes well for a good chapter. :)  
I'm curious about your story, and really want to know where you're going to take it from here.  There are so many ways I can imagine this taking, and I can't wait to see which path..or paths..you choose.  
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:iconwindryder1:
windryder1 Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Your reply absolutely made my day.  ^^  And yay! I have chapter 4 to look forward to! I'm happy I'm able to be that motivation.  That is a precious thing to us artists. :)
(I'll go into a little more of a bombastic response when I get home.  Sneaking time in at work.  Ssshhhh!)
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:iconunexpectedtoy:
UnexpectedToy Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the feedback and watch.  Wishing you a fantastic week ahead Melanie.  :wave:
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:iconwindryder1:
windryder1 Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks!  So far so good.  Got chapter 5 up here, so I'm happy.  Have a great one, yourself. :)
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