Myst's Home World
After leaving behind Hortate and Crotate, we didn’t drop out of FTL for another two weeks. According to the Map, all the planets between Crotate and Aphelion were all inhabitable, molten rock. Nukk’ra had mentioned a planet just before Aphelion, where the surface of the planet had started to become habitable but it would be a long time before any humans would be able to live on the planet so we hadn’t stopped to see it or anything. And as much as I didn’t want to go down to Aphelion, I knew that I had to. My parents were down there and hopefully I had sisters and brothers that I didn’t know about. If I did, I didn’t know if I would be able to leave again, but I knew that I would have to since my old Master lived on Aphelion.
The gate was located on the outer edge of the main city, a bustling pre-modern city with buildings in construction. When a Kino was sent through, we saw that there were armed Sabrekey’s standing next to the gate so we knew that we would also have to go armed. Through using the Kino, Eli showed me how to talk through it and I was able to communicate that we were peaceful and that we came for trade. They seemed to take the answer and said back that an Orphelia (like a farmer’s market) would be open for the next few days and that we were allowed to trade within the market only. I thanked him and said we would be down shortly.
I changed into some more comfortable clothing and strapped a raptor bone knife to my belt, hidden underneath a jacket lent to me by Colonel Young as he said I would need it to blend in better with the soldiers going with us so that no one would recognize me. I thanked him for it and made sure that I was wearing a comfortable shoe before Grear and I mounted Storm. It was better if a soldier was riding with me so no one thought I was alone as I explained this to Sgt. Grear who seemed to understand. I was going home; there was no need to lose me as well.
Once the gate was activated and everyone that was going was on the other side of the gate, we headed for the Orphelia to trade and sell what we had packed Storm with. Chloe and Eli followed as closely as possible, not wanting to be out of my sight just in case I recognized anyone that I knew. The Kino was hovering just over Eli’s right shoulder as he wanted to record everything we saw. It was easier to know who we could trust and the only way to do that was to come in contact with them ourselves. I hoped that I would be able to see my parents and Jinga (God) only hoped that if I did, they wouldn’t run to my old Master and tell him that I was back and alive, unlike what the reports had said.
I gripped Storm’s saddle as we moved into the Orphelia. I wasn’t going to be yanked off of him if I could stand it. Grear was behind me, gun in hand and kind of holding on. Storm had gotten used to having more than just me on his back in the short time we had been on Destiny. It was easier to always have a Sabertooth as a guard than just armed soldiers who were still getting used to the weaponry that they had traded for. I was helping them get used to is, but you could only do so much on an enclosed space ship with no firing range. What we needed was a wide open space to practice and according the Map, we would have that space once we hit the next couple planets or so, since there weren’t that many people living on the next few ones. The Map, which just didn’t give us the names and locations of the planet, also told us if it was inhabited or not but as well as the demographic area of the planet. Being that the Map was holographic, one only had to touch the planet they wanted to learn about and it would zoom up and you would know all there was to know about the planet you might be stopping near.
Having spent nearly my whole life on Aphelion, I guided Storm into the Orphelia and dismounted. Grear also dismounted and I grabbed some of the baskets from Storm’s back and then Eli, Chloe, Grear and I headed off in one direction as the others headed off in another. Varo, James, Scott, Brody and Volker headed with Storm in the opposite direction as we did, needing to get some supplies as well as see what there was to offer on this planet.
When we got to where we were going I turned to the table and pointed at what we needed, asking if we could trade.
“Tutra (trade)?” I asked the lady behind the table full of sugar and deserts.
“Di tutra; wolch dakk ya neita (Yes trade; what do you need)?” the lady asked in a heavy accent that made me think she was from the southern province.
“Ehtcha por meela atch bracha (Sweetener for meals and drinks). Dakk ya vate (Do you have)?”
“Di vate (Yes have). Zeyla wolch vate (Show what have).”
“Cocoba (Of course).”
We showed them what we had and an exchange was made. We ended up leaving with four pies plus the recipes to make them, enough sugar to last four months (if rationed well) and some three jars honey (since it would be some time before the Stritu was ready to harvest). We thank the woman and moved on. She had a smile on her face that reminded me a little bit of my mother but I pushed it out of my mind. I had to focus on our trading. Chloe had other thoughts though.
“So, that seemed to go well.” Chloe said.
“It went the way I thought it would. Though I’m thinking we should have brought Storm with us since we will have to carry this all back with us.”
“Doesn’t look like we have to turn around; looks like Storm missed being around you. Here comes James with Storm now.” Eli said pointing to the pair making their way over with Storm’s saddle ladened with traded items.
“Oh thank god we found you. I don’t know how you were able to live here with all this havoc.” James said as she came up on us.
“You get used to it. So you came to give us a hand or what?”
“Well we were done with our trading. We found a few people that spoke English and were able to trade for a fair price. We were going to sell some of the baskets but we needed them to pack Storm with. How’d you guys get along?”
“We did okay. We have four pies and the recipes that go along with them so we can cook them again, enough sugar to last a few months and three jars of honey.”
“Honey, why would we need honey when Kut’ra gave you that Stritu for us to have honey?”
“The Stritu won’t be ready for another seven days as it was already harvested before it was given to me. This should last till then and then some. It’ll flavor just about anything you want.”
“Okay, so let’s load Storm up and get going.” Grear said.
“You guys load Storm up; I want to show Chloe and Eli the Untrea dreat (Music festival).”
“Well we need to wait for the others because I’m pretty sure they wanted to see it as well. One of the men we traded with told us about it and I was told to come find you, get Storm loaded up and then wait with you till they caught up before we headed into the festival.”
“Sounds like a plan. Mind coming with me for a few minutes. I need to get some paper booklets and some writing utensils. If I’m going to be cooking on that ship I’m going to need some good recipes to go along with it. The same person that sells the paper booklets and writing utensils should also have cookbooks as well. Come on.”
We headed to another table and I selected the booklets and writing utensils that I wanted, found a cookbook with most of the foods that we had on the ship in the ingredients and traded a basket for it. When we were done, I returned to the rest of the group, which had been joined by Varo, Scott, Brody and Volker, put the booklets, cookbook and writing utensils in a basket with the honey, sugar and pies and then our group headed for the festival.
“You guys are going to love this. It’s got music from all over and it even has some good dancers as well, though most of them used to be slaves until they won their xanchor (freedom) by dancing for the royalty that sometimes likes to show up. I was never that good of a dancer so I wasn’t able to win my freedom that way.”
“Well then we might as well enjoy it for an hour or so before we leave. We need to be back on the ship in three hours.”
“Destiny isn’t supposed to leave Aphelion for another three days.”
“Yes but the Colonel doesn’t want us spending the night down here.”
“Good point. Here we are.”
Untrea Dreat: Musical & Dance Festival:
When they saw how big the festival was, all mouths dropped open and I started laughing, not realizing that there was someone watching us. We had been watched since the moment we stepped through the gate. We knew that the Sabrekey were always around, but this person had a special interest in us as he knew exactly who I was. Chloe, Eli and I went off by ourselves, promising to be back within the hour. Storm stayed near the entrance as he was our root point so we would know where to find everyone else. Varo and James went off to explore by themselves while Scott, Grear, Brody and Volker stayed near Storm and just watched the performances. The four men didn’t want to leave Storm lest someone try and steal what they had traded for. They didn’t know anyone on Aphelion, only Myst did and she had gone off to show Chloe and Eli something further into the festival than the four wanted to travel. James and Varo had said that they would keep an eye on the three now that they had become close friends.
Myst had basically told Chloe and Eli that before she was a slave, her parents had brought her to the festival every year, hoping that she would become a brilliant dancer and never have to know the hardships that they’d had to live through. She told them that they had tried to see her on many occasions but that her old Master had prevented them, threating her life had they seen her. So she had never known what had become of her parents since she was never allowed to see them. She hoped that they still didn’t live in the same quarter of houses that they had lived in while she was still with them but knew that they probably were. Once you moved into the slave quarters, you never really got out.
Though my parents weren’t slaves themselves, if you had a family member that was a slave, you were forced to move into the slave quarters until the family member was no longer a slave. Since I had technically been freed three years ago, they could have quite possibly moved out of the slave quarters and were possibly now prosperous with their lives. She kept turning around looking everywhere. She could sense that someone unwanted was watching her and her friends and she didn’t like it.
“Guys, maybe we should go find James and Varo. I have an uneasy feeling and I don’t like it.”
“What’s wrong?” Eli asked as he saw the concern on my face.
“I feel like someone is watching me and it isn’t the Sabrekey.”
“Then let’s go find James and Varo. They will be able to keep us safer than being out by ourselves.”
A Master Returns:
As we headed to find James and Varo, my uneasy feeling grew into full terror. We were practically running by the time we spotted them but it was too late and I knew it. I felt someone grab my arm and let out the loudest shriek I had ever been able to manage.
“AHHHHH!” I screamed as Eli and Chloe turned around and James and Varo headed in our direction.
“You’re all mine now! I knew you couldn’t be dead. They will never find you again!”
“Let her go!”
“Stay out of this. This concerns none of you. This bitch is a slave. She ran away from me and now she will pay for her crimes!” Storm and our other four companions arrived just as Mak’ro fired into the crowd making everyone run for their lives. When the crowd had cleared and the Sabrekey had joined the group, we were gone.
“What happened here?” the Commander asked.
“One of our Comrades was taken by her former Master. She was given her freedom by the man that won her three years ago. And she was legally pronounced dead.” Varo announced.
“We will find them. It is best if you leave and go back to your ship now. When we have them, we will let you know.”
With that the Commander and his men bounded off after Myst and her Master, hopefully to find them before three days was up or Myst would be lost to the crew of Destiny forever. The group sullenly went back to Destiny but would be back in the morning with more soldiers to help in the search for one of their own.