Maggy lay down on her bed and let out a rather loud sigh. She looked around her and convinced herself that this was a dream. When she was told she would be getting a personal living quarters, she expected a small room with a compact version of everything she needed. She let her eyes roam over her surroundings. The ceiling was made of a chestnut brown metal she had never seen before, but its sheen was pleasant on the eyes. Numerous small light lamps were embedded into the ceiling and emitted a constant rain of soft lighting that bounced and played around the room like an imaginary streak left in the wake of ping pong balls.
Her room was a long rectangle with the holographic display unit, mounted on the wall opposite her bed. She looked at a small retinal scanner on the mount, which scanned her eyes and promptly began projecting a three-dimensional image of a news anchor. Unlike the mount she and her grandma had back on Spectral 7, this one could display images in color and real-life definition. She watched the images dissolve and reassemble to show footage of the welcome speech given by the Councilor to all the new planet dwellers.
Maggy got up and slipped her feet into a pair of slippers made from a silvery material which aligned and molded itself to the contours of her feet. The door slowly slid open as she approached it, revealing her rather expansive living and kitchen area. It was fully furnished with extremely comfortable cream-colored leather seats, a glass table with a rather large flower vase on it, and a massive holographic TV situated on the wall opposite the main entrance to her living quarters. The kitchen was separated from the living area by a counter. The fridge was built into the structure itself, completely discreet unless one paid attention to it. The cabinet, on the other hand, was shouting, sleek and very pleasant to look at. It housed all the glassware, cutlery and plates she would need to throw a large party if she so desired.
Maggy opened the fridge and dispensed a glass of water for herself.
So, this is home. Oh, grandma… I wish you were here to share this with me.
She put the cup to her lips and let the water flow down her throat, aided by its natural peristaltic movements. She welcomed the water’s refreshing qualities as she emptied down the rest. Maggy set the cup down, over the recycling sign placed on the counter. A circular line was drawn around the circumference of the cup base and soon that part of the counter receded inwards, a mechanical whirr accompanying its motion. When the counter piece came back up, the cup was gone. It fused with the rest of the counter and the segmenting circle was gone. Maggy let out a humph and shook her head. Her com-line beeped and she pressed her right fingertips with her right thumb in a sequence before speaking.
“Maggy!!!” Clieo’s voice brimmed with excitement on the other end.
“Hey, Clieo!” Maggy responded, her own excitement evident. She quickly walked around the counter and plopped herself on one of the cream sofas. “How are you doing? Oh, my goodness I haven’t heard from you in two days.”
“Yeah, and you didn’t call.”
Though she couldn’t see her, Maggy knew from the tone of her voice that Clieo was pouting.
“I am so sorry. I really was trying to figure it out but I didn’t know how to communicate with anyone. I didn’t even have your com-line code. Wait… how did you get mine?”
“The city daaaayyyyyyytabank”. Clieo responded playfully.
“And who gave you that useful information?” Maggy asked chuckling.
“Her new boyfriend did.” Kaya’s voice came through Maggy’s auditory receiver.
“Kaya!!!” Maggy exclaimed.
“Oh, don’t act like you missed me.” Kaya responded.
“You’re pouting too?” Maggy asked smiling.
“Yes.” Clieo corrected.
“How do you know?” Maggy asked.
“Cos she’s standing right beside me.” Clieo answered in a childlike manner.
“What? Where are you guys?”
“Outside your quarters.” Kaya answered. “Waiting for you. We’ve got an event to go to.”
Maggy got up and raced towards the main entrance to her quarters and sure enough, Kaya and Clieo were standing side by side, waiting for her.
“Clieo how on earth did you…”
“The city daaaaayyyyyyta…”
“Okay, I get it. The databank. Come here you two.”
The three of them got into a group hug for a while.
“Okay.” Kaya said, pulling back. “We have A LOT to discuss girls, but right now we’ve gotta get to the first day tryouts to join the Gaian military.”
“Um… why would I be interested in this?” Maggy asked.
“Cos Clieo’s boyfriend is trying out.” Kaya responded, smiling mischievously the whole time.
“He’s not my boyfriend Kaya.” Clieo retorted while glaring at her.
She turned to Maggy.
“His name’s Hope and he’s a really cool friend.”
“Hope?” Maggy was perplexed.
“Same thing I asked.” Kaya added.
“There’s a story behind it sistas. Now let’s get going.”
Sergei stirred and then lay still. Who would dare disturb his slumber?
“Sergei come in!!!”
Sergei’s eyes shot open and he panted deeply. A sheen of sweat rested on his face and drops of perspiration, like melting silver dropped from his jaw. All around him was pitch black. His head pounded mercilessly, while his arms and ribs lent their support with remorseless jolts of pain that racked and ravaged his body incessantly.
“Thank goodness. You are alive. I cannot track your coordinates. Can you describe where you are?”
Sergei tried to look around him but it was so dark he could not see anything. Images of his fall flashed through his mind.
“Sir, do you have my last known coordinates?”
“Yes, we already checked. You were nowhere to be found.”
Sergei tried to get up but he met with what felt like latex. He pushed on it with his back, but it held firm after a while and forced him back down.
“I think I’ve been captured. I fell… right below my cockpit seat. I cannot see a thing, sir.”
“Sergei… relax. What do you remember?”
“Losing consciousness while I fell. I was… enshrouded by a black shadow. I thought it to be a predator at the time.”
“Sergei… relax. You are alright. You can let it down now.”
“Sir. Let what…” Sergei trailed off as he suddenly became aware that the darkness around him was of his own making. It was not something he could explain. It was like suddenly being aware of your breathing and consciously pacing yourself or holding your breath entirely. He willed the darkness around him to dissipate and soon he was flooded by the sounds of the nighttime forest. He looked around him at the clear night sky. It was a brilliant display, especially since this was considered the darkest period in the universe. Sergei’s gaze fell back down and a bit further out in front of him stood Glyn.
“You came alone… sir.”
Glyn was now walking slowly towards him.
“I did. Don’t try to walk. You’ve been strong, my boy. But you are safe now.”
Glyn had closed a fair bit of distance between them and his hands were outstretched, as though to catch Sergei.
“I can’t feel my arms… sir.”
“I know. You’ve been missing for two days. You are dehydrated and a bit malnourished I might add.”
“But… I’m alive…”
“Yes… you are alive.”
Sergei managed a wry smile as he collapsed into Glyn’s arms. The elderly man grimaced under the weight of the younger man but eventually managed to hoist him on his shoulders. He heard Sergei’s steady breathing and smiled.
“I guess a fall from space is not enough to kill the Raven, is it? Then again, now that I know what you are, it should hardly surprise me… black spectral warrior.”
Glyn spoke into his com-line.
“I’ve located him. I will send you my coordinates now. We need immediate transport back to Eden.”