“Nobody can hear a scream in the vacuum of space, or so they say.”
Now, you’d think I would have thought of that before stepping out into said deadly vacuum.
Nope. As it turns out, when you’re 10 minutes away from careening into an enemy planet, a planet on which I might add you are already wanted on, the mind tends to remind you of the more creative ways you can go out with a bang.
As I straddled the wing of my spaceship, the only thing separating me from the nothingness of space, a weathered space suit long overdue for an upgrade, I thought not for the first time that this was without a doubt a terrible idea.
It goes to show just how much sanity I have left that the thought of no one being able to hear me scream in the dark chasm that is space was reassuring. My thought process being that if no one could hear me scream from up here, then at the very least no one could witness my embarrassingly untimely demise if I fell off the wing of my own spaceship.
I could see it clearly, tomorrow's Headline in the Web: “Renowned Galactic Thief, Talen Leganthem, dead after falling off her own spaceship; Business and Home owners alike rejoice after Thief’s hilarious FALL out!”.
Yeah, definitely not the most dignifying way to go out, even for a supposed thief.
I pulled myself up and took an unsteady step toward the back of the ship all the while trying desperately not to fall as the ship hovered in place precariously, Planet Setela directly below.
Only idiots fall. STEP. You are not an idiot. STEP. Aspen is an idiot. STEP.
That last thought brought a grin to my face as I continued to take several steady steps, heading toward the back of the ship. I think I can do this.
“DON’T FALL TALEN!” a loud voice suddenly called from the window facing me.
THUMP! Maren’s sudden voice jarred me from the focused concentration I had been taking steps with.
I had jumped at the noise but caught myself before I could indeed fall, loudly banging my arm and grasping onto an exposed screw in the side of the ship. As I clung to the screw and righted myself from the scare, I began to contemplate the ways in which I could throttle her little neck for scaring the living crap out of me.
“Maren, I told you to stay and pilot the ship while I fixed this!!” I shouted loudly, trying hard not to be upset. She was still just a kid after all.
“The ship is already on autopilot, even I can see that. If you’re going to give me pointless tasks then I might as well just turn you in myself and collect my own reward for your bounty.” Maren responded.
I couldn’t help the smug grin that formed across my face as I called her bluff, “And how exactly would you do that, pray tell, without then being arrested yourself? I mean you are, after all, my partner in crime.”
“No I’m not.” Maren replied defensively.
“Oh, but they don’t know that, now do they?”, I taunted victoriously. It was a good bluff on Maren’s part, but a bluff nonetheless, and lying was a skill at which I had already perfected.
Suddenly a loud BOOM erupted from the rear engine and I was nearly thrown back from the sheer force with which it had exploded. Sweat dripped down my brow as flames engulfed the engine with a fiery vengeance. They danced closer and closer daring me to come hither.
I turned to Maren who was looking on in horror through the window at the surrounding flames. “Maren, see if you can map out coordinates to Star System E5. If I can’t fix the engine and this thing goes down we may only have one chance to hyper jump to Lexanon and make it out alive!” I shouted.
“On it Cap’n!” Maren responded, her confidence returned, as she hurried away from the window to get us the hell out of dodge.
Sure that Maren was gone, I turned once more toward the flames and without a second thought walked through them toward the back of the ship.
The flames wrapped around me and across the space suit, threatening to singe me with its fiery embrace. Being part bionic helped, but the heat of the fire still burned hot and steady. I hid it well, but unlike Maren I was not human. At least not entirely. I was something in between.
At 5’4”, I did not come across as a fighter, and that was one of the things that made me such a great thief. I was unassuming, silent, invisible. Why I became a thief, however, was an entirely different matter.
Centuries ago, after the War of Eusai, humans had first discovered the existence of a bionic race called the Matikai. Afterward many more discoveries were made. Eventually over time, Humans, unlike the Matikai, had become unfeeling, cold, and distrusting of the new discoveries and peoples found within the galaxy’s edge they resided in. For the humans had thought for so long that they were alone, and in that thinking an idea had formed that they must also be superior, for who else could be out there that was better than them?
After the discoveries of new peoples, species, and beings were made within the galaxy’s edge, alliances formed between them all. Yet the humans secretly clung to this misguided idea of greatness and like, all terrible things, it began to fester within their hearts.
Though there were many species with unique abilities and qualities within the now ever-expanding galaxy, the majority had chosen the Matikai to be its ruling leaders and its King and Queen were so named. The Matikai were unique in a way that was essential to keep peace within the galaxy's edge. While their bodies appeared humanoid, they were enhanced mechanically and were much, much stronger, faster, and resilient than that of traditional humans, some even possessing the ability to transform, create entire dimensions, and steal the abilities of others. They were the ultimate warrior race, and yet warriors they were not.
Kind and loving, knowledgeable and wise, the King and Queen ruled fairly and truthfully in their judgements and so, peace remained throughout the galaxy.
However, like all things, this did not last. One among the Matikai, wished to rule and rule alone, and so she sought out the aid of the Humans.
Their hearts now blackened with greed and a desire to eliminate those who had wronged them upon naming the Matikai as its rulers, a deal was struck with this lone woman, and she would prove to be their greatest asset.
The woman was named Seraphine and she took her vengeance without a second thought. As sister to the Queen she believed she would hold a position of great power now that the Galaxy had but one ruler. Seraphine however was one of the Matikai that were blessed with unique abilities. She could create entire dimensions out of thin air and was formerly their Grand Inquisitor: the guardian to the prisons. With Seraphnes abilities she could create entire dimensions and hold those who could not be trusted to be free. It was seen as a great honor by others, but Seraphine saw it for what it really was, a prison meant to keep her far away from the throne and that of her sister.
Using this ability Seraphine and the humans struck at night. While the humans laid siege to the other species, Seraphine murdered her sister the Queen, and trapped all of the remaining Matikai in a prison dimension of her own creating, one in which there could be no escape.
She then returned to the humans and helped slaughter a great many of the other species before trapping the surviving ones as well. She and the humans wanted them to live, for there were far worse things than death that awaited them in her prison.
Victory in hand, she took a human lover and together named themselves King and Queen of the galaxy.
The silence that remained after the disappearance and loss of so many lives, was deafening. So much so that the galaxy cried out against the unnatural violation and black holes formed, trying in vain to find and free the ones that it had lost.
The humans celebrated, for now they were, truly and utterly alone, supreme, and untouchable, the entirety of the galaxy now their own.
Victorious as she may be, Seraphine could not trust anyone but herself, not truly. Afraid the humans would one day betray her, she went back into the prison dimension where she had cast all the others, and stole an ability from another. She was deliberate in her choice and so now possessed the ability to alter entire memories.
She started first with her lover and then moved on to the rest of the humans. All anyone would remember is how gracious Seraphine was, that she had defeated the threat that was posed to their galaxy and that they were now free.
The humans rejoiced and spread out across the galaxy, claiming entire planets and land as their own.
And so it would seem that that was the end.
And yet, if all of the Matikai were banished, how then could I be here? A bionic, a Matikai, in the flesh.
All I knew when I was a child was that I was different. I could run faster, hit harder, and I never seemed to get hurt. I was left at an orphanage and put in a foster system as a baby. They said my father died in a fire, but never seemed to actually care when they told me. Almost like telling someone what was for breakfast. “Your father died in a fire. Also, there's juice on the table.” No one gave a damn about me, so by the age of 10 I was already on my own stealing my way toward a better life. I was good at it too, stealing.
10 years went by and things were normal, or as normal as normal can be for a thief, when one day I stole something I shouldn’t have. A silver lined book taken from the hidden collection of a rich historian seemed to be just the thing to fetch a high price at the black market. It called to me like nothing had before and it was as if I had been in a sort of daze, traveling the length of the entire galaxy’s edge to reach this specific planet, Planet Setela. When I saw the book hidden within the depths of this historian’s mansion of a house, it was as if time itself had stopped and I couldn’t stop myself from touching it as it called to my very soul.
As the tips of my fingers grazed the binding of the beautiful book, I was abruptly thrown into it. Into a memory that was left behind within its rough, worn pages.
That was the moment I learned of Seraphine, or the erasure of nigh on an entire galaxy centuries ago, and the knowledge of what I was, a bionic, a Matikai. The memory was from a human male. He had documented everything in this book before Seraphine altered his memories and hid it away forever.
It had hit me like a brick wall and I couldn’t get air into my lungs fast enough. I took the book with me and made a break for it back to my ship. There I allowed myself to break, to weep for the family I’d never known, for the people who remained forgotten and trapped, for the life I could’ve had, had it not been for Seraphine.
It was at that point my thieving became specific. Seraphine was still alive as I learned that bionics could live for millenia without aging, though she no longer ruled openly as she had done centuries before.
Now, she was more of a legend, a goddess named Seraphine who would help us in our time of need, our protector, our dear guardian from above.
I had shivered at how far from the truth that actually was.
With a plan forming, I realized that Seraphine must not know I was here, must not know what I was, or certainly that I knew about what she had done. I didn’t dwell on how exactly I was here and not trapped in the prison dimension centuries ago. That was information I did not have. I knew that the only way I was going to find out was to do a whole lot of stealing, and sadly, a whole lot of reading.
For the past year I continued my thieving, relentless in my pursuit of information, searching for any whisper of a crumb left behind that could lead me to them. Most of what I needed were books, often forgotten by the families that had them. It was during one of these times last year that I met Maren and took her in. As cruel as humans could be I could not leave her to the rage induced beatings that her father subjected her to. She gave as good as she got, but I would not leave Maren to choose between a “loving” father or a foster system. I’d seen first hand just how “loving” those places could be. And so, she’d been with me ever since.
Our most recent venture ended in a damaged engine as we took off, narrowly avoiding the shots fired from the home owners' blaster ourselves. Despite the setback we had finally uncovered one of the most vital pieces of information. A place called Lexanon. That was where we needed to go. That was where my family would be.
Though Maren was unaware as to the truth behind my thieving, I couldn’t help but admire her trust in me. She knew there was more to our trips than what I was telling her, but I couldn’t bring myself to endanger her. As I stared at the engine that was beyond repair, flames completely engulfing me, I swore that I would keep her safe, and I would get my family back as well, no matter how long it might take.
I grasped onto the edge of the ship once more and ran toward the front. I shoved open the hatch door and quickly doused the suit I was wearing.
“Maren, I hope you’ve got those coordinates figured out because we need to go, NOW!”, I shouted as I quickly shook off the burnt remnants that were the space suit.
“I’ve got them, just getting the escape pod ready to -”, Maren started shouting from around the corner but was suddenly cut off.
“Is it ready?!” I shouted, not wanting to waste any more time. This ship was going to go any minute now and we needed to be off it when that happened.
“Maren?” I shouted, trying to figure out why in the hell Maren would choose a time like now to not answer me.
As I rounded the corner I learned why.
Maren stood wide eyed and pleading, as a tall slender woman held a knife to her throat.
The woman smiled and a sultry voice spoke, “Hello Talen. My, have I been looking for you.”
The evil cackle that left her throat had me taking a step back as I realized who this woman was.
“My name is Seraphine. Won’t you come greet your mother, dear?”
About the Creator
Writing has been a passion of mine since I learned how to read, and vice versa. So here I am. Writing. Reading. And hopefully inspiring a little bit too. Journey with me and cross through the realms that lie just beyond our imagination….
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Original narrative & well developed characters
Compelling and original writing
Creative use of language & vocab
Expert insights and opinions
Arguments were carefully researched and presented
Niche topic & fresh perspectives