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Crystal Hunt

By Colleen Brooke All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Adventure

Blurb

My life has been far from perfect, let me tell ya. First the S.S. Army -currently standing for 'Seriously Stupid Army' in my handbook- took everything away from me trying to gain even more power than they already had. They were after my crystal necklace that holds incredible amounts of power, that only I can access now. So guess what they did when they found out they couldn't take it away from me? They kidnapped me and threw me on their Mother-ship in outer space for ten years. From small ports in a gigantic spaceship, I watched over the years as the Earth started to turn brown and wither while the Army took almost total control of the Planet. Then out of nowhere, as I'm trying to find a way to escape, this organization calling themselves Earth Genesis finds me on the ship, saying that if I didn't help them, the world was going to die and mankind would be even more screwed than we already are. No pressure, right?

Chapter 1: Meeting

08.27.2065

Running.

That’s what I’m doing at the moment. Now don’t misunderstand. I’m not the kind of girl that runs from her feelings. No. I’m legit running. Away from the Army and avoiding capture. It's a never-ending cycle. Escape, run, hide, avoid capture. That’s been the last five years of my life.

Fun, huh?

I took a quick right. Then a left, glancing around to find dull gray walls looking back at me. All of the hallways were this way. Painfully plain. I could hear the clinking metal of armor a few meters behind me. They’re rather persistent today. That’s just my luck. A dead end was coming up, I knew this place like the back of my hand. Granted, I’m wearing gloves, but you get my point. I knew there was a secret room on my left. I just hope it wasn’t locked. Thankfully, I went in swiftly as the wall slid open, closing the door behind me carefully, a grin of victory on my face.

“Where did she go?!” That was the voice of Commander Phoenix. If he’s involved in something as trivial as my capture, the Stupid Prince must want me in his presence this very minute. I chuckled to myself quietly.

“I don’t know Sir...It seems as if she’s vanished...Again.” A lower guard grumbled.

Phoenix sighed. “That girl...Let’s go tell His Highness that His Princess escaped again." With that, the sound of metal slowly melted away into the hallway.

I breathed out the breath I was holding in. “That was a close one. And ‘His Princess’? Who? Not me!” I looked around the room. It was dark and filled to the ceiling with boxes. “Huh. Must be an old storage room.” I knew there was a room there from passing it in the vents, but I’ve never been in it before. I walked to a box and wiped a finger along the top. Even in the dark, I could see the dust. ”Really old.”

After I dug through some boxes to pass the time, I grew bored and sighed. “There is no fun in this place. None whatsoever.” I sat back onto a large box and sneezed. “I’ve got to get out of here...” I glanced out of the port to my right. There were only stars, and you could see the planet Earth. Over the years, the Earth has turned brown and its atmosphere has become littered with meteors and abandoned satellites. I sighed again. It’s not like I can really leave anyway...I am on a Ship in Space. Though the Ship is huge, almost the size of a capital city.

Standing up, I stuck one black-gloved hand in my old camouflage clock pocket and grabbed my matching camo hat with the other gloved hand. I shook the dust off before putting it back on over my dark brown hair, which was pulled back in a ponytail, reaching past my lower back. Underneath my clock was a slightly ripped old gray T-shirt and black jeans, followed by gray steel-toed boots. I glanced down at my two necklaces, one a pair of dog-tags and the other a clear crystal, about an inch in length. I quickly put them back underneath my shirt where they belonged as my dark green eyes searched the room for an air vent. I smirked as I saw one.

“There you are gorgeous.” Stacking the right boxes, I climbed them to get to the vent. Reaching it, I took out my handy mini screwdriver from my pocket. Quickly unscrewing the bolts, and removing the metal casing. I climbed into it, crawling forward. Ugh...it was stuffy, as usual.

A sudden light appeared in front of me, and there were voices...all too familiar voices.

“What do you mean you lost her!? Not My Princess!” ... Yup, you guessed it. It was prince Will-Yam in the flesh. Yelling and complaining as usual. His face was red in anger, narrowing his blue eyes at the Commander, and pulling at his light purple wavy hair in frustration.

“My dearest apologies Your Highness William...But, she’s rather hard to keep in our hands.” Phoenix was speaking, an annoyed look in his golden eyes. Though he was rather tall and buff, his bright red spiky hair is what points out to me the most.

Ha Ha! Serves you right! Keeping a girl like me cooped up in a cell! That’s no way to treat a lady!

I stuck my tongue out at them...even though they can’t see me, or hear my thoughts for that matter.

William sighed deeply, an arrogance in his voice. “What am I going to do with that girl?! I wanted to be with her today too...” He pouted and I resisted the urge to gag myself.

Phoenix sighed. “We’ll keep our eyes peeled is all I can guarantee Sir...” I could tell from his voice that he was beyond irritated. For a thirty-two-year-old man, he acts like sixty. Maybe he’s just old by nature. Then again, if I had to follow Will-Yam’s orders, I would probably act the same.

“Do what you must, but bring me that girl!”

The Commander bowed. “Yes sir..” I rolled my eyes. Yeah right, his wanna-be soldiers haven’t been able to catch me in the last four months.

Now that that was over, I slowly and quietly backed away from the vent. Backing far enough to where I could turn to either my left or my right. Turning left, I started moving forward. A little crawling later, another vent came into view. Peeking into it, I saw a boy under me. He was about my age. Tall, wearing black glasses that covered his dark blue eyes, handsome, with shaggy chestnut hair. He wore a plain orange T-shirt with brown trim, jeans, and brown shoes. He seemed to be looking for something. Then he walked right under me, looking down at his watch it seemed. What was he doing here? I’ve never seen him before... He wasn’t dressed as a soldier either.

Crack.

What was that noise just now? My face turned pale as the noise worsened.

Creek. Screech. Crash.

“Ahh!” I called as the vent broke free and I came falling from the ceiling.

“What the-” Was all I heard before I knew I landed, on top of rubble and the mysterious guy... I ended up sitting on top of him. I glanced at his face, which was now on the floor. His finger twitched and I finally realized where I was. Most people at this point would get off immediately and apologize.

I am not one of those people. I quickly put him in a headlock. “Who are you, and what do you want?”

He blinked for a moment before glancing at me. “W-What in the world is a girl doing here?!”

I narrowed my eyes at him dangerously. “I could ask you the same question. Now-” I tightened my grip slightly. “Answer me!”

He winced slightly. “That’s classified.” I obviously didn’t believe him, and he knew it.

Suddenly, there was that all too familiar sound of metal heading our way. I quickly let go with a gasp. We both stood up quickly.

"They’re after me!" We shouted in unison before looking at each other with confused expressions. ”They’re after you?" The sound was coming closer.

“There she is! And that guy’s with her! Get them!”

I looked around for a quick way out. “What are you looking for-ah!” I cut the nerdy guy off by grabbing his arm and running to the end of the hallway, then around the corner. I found what I was looking for. A room. I swiftly opened the door and shoved him into it before going in myself and shutting the door with a signal for him to be quiet. The voices of lower guards could be heard.

“Ah man! We lost her again!” Said a younger guard.

“His Highness is going to kill you.” Said another, though his voice was a bit deeper.

“Me!? No! We’re both dead! We’re just gonna die!” Their voices faded away and I opened the door to let us both out.

He turned to me. “Who are you?”

I looked at the confused nerd with annoyance as we made our way into the hallway. “It’s classified." I could tell from the way he flinched that he was irritated at my mocking.

He sighed and put a hand out for me to take. “Name’s Edwin.”

I took his hand with gratitude, thankful that he was cooperating. “Call me Jess.”

He nodded and let go, looking around. “So where are we?”

I raised a brow at him. “...On the first floor, a few halls past the main office.” He nodded and seemed to be in thought as I went to my own. He must not work on the Ship..or he’s new. But if he did then why would the guards be after him? I’ve never seen him in the cells either...the only prisoner on this cursed ship was me.

“So.” I stuck my hands in my cloak pockets, narrowing my eyes at him suspiciously. “I’ve never seen you before, the guards are after you like you’re a bounty, which means that you don’t work on the Ship, I ask who you are and you tell me it’s classified, you’re obviously not a prisoner, and all of these facts make you number one on my ‘need to beat’ list. Care to explain who you really are before I pound it out of you?” I wanted answers. There was something about this person...I wanted to know if I could trust him. That and the fact that if he wasn’t supposed to be on the Ship...how did he get here?

Maybe he could be my escape.

He flinched a bit and I could tell he was sweating. That just proves that there’s more than meets the eye to this guy. After staring at him for a few long moments, he dropped his head and sighed. Looking back up at me, he started walking, motioning for me to follow. “If you want answers, come with me.”

I wasn’t sure and hesitated. He looked back over his shoulder and noticed my uncertainty. He offered a smile. Somehow that smile was all I needed. It gave me a sense of hope that I had thrown out the window so long ago. Without even thinking, my body moved on its own as I started to follow him. I glanced at him as my brain started working again. “If this backfires on me, I’m going to break your arm.” He laughed nervously. Most likely because I was dead serious.

I watched curiously as he pulled his hand up to look at his watch. It looked rather fancy...He pressed a few buttons. Suddenly, a keyboard made of light popped out of it. I blinked in surprise. Never seen that before. I knew what computers were, but I’ve never used one. All of Stupid Will-Yam’s had passwords...and none of them were made of light either for that matter. He typed with one hand as we walked. After a few seconds, the keys went away and were replaced by a map of sorts. It was like a 3D blueprint of the whole Ship. Three red dots were shown. One where we were at, and two others not too far from us. There was also a green light where we were. Then the screen went back to his watch.

I glanced at him. “I’m gonna take the bait here and ask that the red and green dots are good things?”

He glanced back at me and nodded. “You’ll find out why soon enough...” He trailed off. Something was definitely bothering him. I didn’t need to know him to see his discomfort.

He led me past a couple hallways before stopping at a door. I knew the place, hid there a couple of times. After a few minutes of staring at the door, I grew impatient. Turning my glare to him, I was going to ask why we weren’t going in. I stopped short though after seeing his face. He was as pale as a ghost and I’m pretty sure he stopped breathing...

Raising a brow at him, I waved a gloved hand in his face. He blinked a few times before coming back to reality. “Welcome home Space Cadet.”

He looked to me, clearly confused as to what I was referring to. “What?” I gave an annoyed look, as I was losing my patience, and merely pointed to the door in response.

He looked back to the door and swallowed before opening it. I looked inside, wondering what he was so afraid of. Last time I was in the room, the only threatening things there were boxes. This dumb Ship had too many rooms filled with boxes...

After opening the door, he walked inside. I followed and looked around. The room was incredibly dark, but I could barely make out two people. Before I could ask any questions, Edwin shut the door and the lights came on, revealing the two figures.

One was a woman, not much older than me, but I could tell she was very experienced. She had long white hair with black tips. Her headband held up her bangs slightly, allowing a good view of her electrifying blue eyes. The only jewelry I could see was blue gem earrings and a black choker around her neck. I noted that her outfit was very complex, having a silver sleeveless coat with golden trim and blue buttons, underneath she wore a black tank top with additional sleeves that hung around her upper arm. Over the black tank was a bright blue shirt that reached her mid-stomach. She also wore black pants that went into her knee-high silver boots. Finally, she had two twin swords, one on each side of her. Their handles were crafted finely and a large emerald was placed on the end of each hilt.

The other figure was a guy around my age, probably older. He was taller than all of us, only by a few inches though. His straight blonde hair barely brushed past his chin, but there seemed to be one small section of hair on top his head where is parted that stuck straight up. His bangs were to the side and showed me his turquoise eyes. He had on a brown and red leather jacket over a lighter brown V-neck that was tucked into his dark jeans, showing his black belt. On his feet were dark heavy boots. Steel-toed no less. My kind of shoe-wear.

The woman with white hair glared at Edwin after seeing me with him. He hid behind me slightly as she spoke. “Edwin...care to explain yourself?” Her voice was strong and had a tone that told me she was the leader of their little group. They really weren’t from the Ship...What were they doing here?

The frightened nerd gulped as she stared at him. He sighed and came to stand next to me. “This is Jess.” He gestured to me and sighed. “She’s the Source.” The two looked towards me with slightly wide eyes. I looked to Edwin as if he just spoke a different language. What in Will-Yam’s name is he talking about..?

“Are you sure? Cuz’ this Little Lady doesn’t look like anything I thought you’d bring back..” Said the tall guy. I glared at him when he called me a ‘little lady’. Not a term I enjoy hearing.

“Yes Wade, I’m positive. She’s what showed up on my UCD. I’m sure she has it.”

Wade looked to me again with a raised eyebrow as the woman spoke next. “Why would she have something like that?” Her voice more thoughtful than demanding.

Edwin turned to her. “I’m not sure Zora.”

By this time I was fed up with them talking as if I wasn’t even in the room. “Will someone please tell me what you Weirdos are talking about!?” I huffed as they all turned to look at me. They looked back to one another and seemed to huddle, leaving me out of it again. My eye twitched.

What was so important about me that they wouldn’t tell me about it? That doesn’t even make sense!

“Should we tell her? She called us Weirdos...” Whispered Wade.

“Well, we kind of are...” Edwin pointed out and Wade shot him an annoyed look.

“We’ll just have to trust her. We need her if we want our mission to succeed, and we can’t risk failure.” Zora intervened.

I ground my teeth together as I waited for them to finish. Surely they knew I could hear every word. Need me? Source? UCD? Mission? Who were these people? And how do I fit exactly? I’ve been on this doomed Ship for ten years and now people are after me? Well...people that don’t work for the Army.

They seemed to be done as they turned to me. Zora walked up to me, putting a hand on my shoulder. “Jess, we need your help.” This caught my attention. I gave a confused look. Nobody’s ever said that to me before. She continued. “More precisely, The Earth needs your help. Would you be willing to join us?”

I blinked in surprise and gave a weary look. There was a sadness in her eyes that told me she was telling the truth. “You...want me?”

She nodded and Wade came up behind her. “Specificity, your power.” I looked at him, suddenly realizing what they wanted.

Am I willing to give them what they want? Could I go through this again?

I gave them a hard look. “What do you plan to do with it?”

Zora smiled knowingly at me, probably expecting the question to come out of my mouth. “If you are willing to come with us and join our cause, you will see that the world is in dire need of a new Life Source. We’ve tried everything, but there is no power on Earth that can keep the world from dying. That’s when we started looking elsewhere, and it led us to you.”

“You’re the only one who has the power to keep the Earth from falling apart, literally.” Said Edwin and I turned to look at him.

“So in other words, if you don’t help us, we’re all screwed.” I turned to look at Wade, then back at Zora.

“Please, Jess. You’re the world’s only hope.” My eyes widened as all this information tried to process. Me? Could I do something? Was I the hope all along?

“Let me get this straight..” I stopped to think. “The world is dying, no longer having a power source to survive, and I’m the only one that can help?” They nodded.

“Assuming that you have this power.” Said Wade. I turned to him, as both Zora and Edwin glared at him. He put his hands up defensively. “What? She may not have it! Edwin’s thing-a-ma-jig could have malfunctioned and led us to something else!”

“Trust me, I have no doubt that the person you’re looking for is me.” They turned to me with slight surprise as I glanced away from them, almost ashamed. “If what you say is true...that I can help save the Planet, then I’ll help in any way I can.” They smiled but stopped short as I continued. “But, as soon as I see, hear, or even sense foul play, I’m leaving. I swore I would never use this power for evil.”

They gave serious expressions as they nodded, but then smiled at me again and greeted me as a new member. Edwin looked to me and put out his hand for the second time that day. “Welcome to the team.” I smiled at him and took it. “Thanks.”

Wade patted my shoulder. “Yeah Squirt, good to have ya.” I glared at him. Just because I was the shortest person in the room doesn’t mean he can proclaim it. He only laughed at me though.

I turned to Zora. “I’m hoping you’re the leader here, cause I don’t think I could handle taking orders from them.”

She smiled coolly and nodded, putting out her own hand. “Zora Raine, squadron leader of team four.”

I raised a brow as I shook it. “What exactly are you guys apart of?” She put her full attention on me. She had been looking at the boys since they started to get into a fight of some kind, something about hair and names, I just ignored them.

“An organization called Earth Genesis. Though it was created for smaller matters such as animal populations and harvest control, it soon became rather large after the Planet War, which made our compartment; The Restore Committee. There are quite a few of us now. We’re the ones that keep the world in order underneath the Army’s nose. But our team has the most important job. To find you. Now that you’ve joined, we can return to Earth and begin the next step. Restore life to the Planet.”

I nodded slowly, understanding why Edwin said his origin was classified. He wasn’t just saying that because he was acting like a super spy, he really was a spy. Man, this was a lot to take in.

The boys were still arguing and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I turned on my heel to look at them, an annoyed expression on my face. “Girls, girls! You’re both pretty! Can we move on now!?” They both stopped to stare at me and I swore I heard Zora chuckle.

She came up next to me. “Why don’t you two introduce yourselves?”

They blinked but nodded, walking up to me. Blondie reached out his hand first. “Wade Donte, at your service, Little Lady.” He winked and my eye twitched, not appreciating the new nickname.

I still took his hand, squeezing it as hard as I could with an innocent smile. “Nice to meet you.”

I let go as he winced, immediately grabbing his hand and pouting at me. “Ouch...Some grip you’ve got there.”

I smirked in response and bowed slightly. “Why thank you very much.” He narrowed his eyes at me which made me laugh.

Edwin turned to me. “My name is Edwin Bronze. It’s nice to meet you.” I nodded with a smile before looking at all three of them.

“I’m Jessica Athorn, but you can call me Jess. You know, if you wanna keep your fingers.”

I looked to Wade pointedly and he leaned over to Edwin, who was laughing nervously. “Is she really threatening us about her name?”

Edwin nodded. “Yup, she’s dead serious...When I met her, she put me in a headlock...” Wade blinked but after looking between Edwin and me a few times, he burst out laughing. I have to admit, the image is amusing.

Zora turned to me then. “So you’re a fighter then?” I nodded and then noticed that I haven’t told them much about myself.

Wade turned to me with surprise. “Whoa really? Shorty’s got skills?”

I was very tempted to flip him that very moment but calmed myself. Instead, I glared at him. “For your information, I have plenty of skill. I have to in order to keep myself from getting captured.”

The boys raised their brows at me and Zora had a thoughtful look. Edwin was the first to speak. “Now that I think of it, the guards were after you.”

I gave a pointed look. “They were after you too, remember?”

He scratched the back of his head as Wade spoke up. “Why?”

“I could probably guess.” Said Zora, as we turned our attention to her, she looked to me. “They’re after your power, aren’t they. Just as we were, but I’m guessing it isn’t for a global cause?” My expression changed into a serious one.

“Yes, they are, so to speak. But in a sick, twisted way, they do want it for a global cause. They want more power, to control the world from what I understand.”

The boys raised their brows at me. ”Don’t they already control the world?" They spoke in unison then glared at each other.

“Not necessarily,” I told them and they turned to me. “Just because they can force people to listen to them, doesn’t mean there aren’t people, like ourselves, that won’t put up with the Army and go against their wishes. Think about it. If they were able to come up with a way to control the minds of every person on Earth, they would really have power.” They had thoughtful expressions, thinking over my words.

Edwin looked up at me. “They’ve already come up with a way to control people’s minds, haven’t they?”

I nodded. “That’s right. They’re making some kind of machine...I’m not sure if it’s done yet, but the last I heard of it was a year or so ago. It may be done by now for all I know.”

“I see... So they need a large power source to harness it.”

I glanced at Zora and nodded. “Right. That’s why they came after me.”

Wade looked over me with a curious expression. “So...what exactly holds all this power of yours? No offense, but you just don’t look dangerous.” I narrowed my eyes at him, I don’t care who you are, nobody should underestimate me.

“If you must know, I’ll show you.” I reached behind my neck and grabbed the black cord of one of my necklaces, pulling it out of my shirt, revealing the long clear crystal, and holding it up for them to gawk at.

Edwin held up his watch, pressing a few buttons before it started flashing. He quickly turned it off with frantic movements. “That thing’s extremely strong! I can’t believe it! My UCD went crazy!” He continued to stare at it as I glanced to his watch. So that was the UCD he mentioned earlier. Thinking back, that probably means the red dots were them and the green dot was me.

Wade looked less convinced. “I dunno...doesn’t look all that powerful to me.” I sighed, not wanting to have to hurt him, but you know what? He deserves a little punishment after calling me ‘Shorty’ and ‘Little Lady’. I let go of the crystal and it falls swiftly back around my neck, the stone moving slightly back and forth over my shirt and cloak.

“Hit me.” I told him sternly.

"What?" Both Edwin and Wade replied, obviously not registering what I had said. Zora only raised a curious brow.

“Hit me,” I repeated. “Like you mean it.”

“I’m not gonna hurt a girl! That’s unmanly!” Wade shouted.

I merely stared at him. “Trust me, it’ll hurt you more than it’ll hurt me.” I smirked at his annoyed scowl and twitching eyebrows.

He sighed in defeat, looking to Zora, who gave a shrug as if she didn’t care, though there was interest in her eyes. He looked back at me. “Fine! But don’t say I didn’t warn you!” He went for it, a strong right hook on its way to my left cheek.

Before it could even have a chance to reach me, a bright glow came from my crystal, light gathering into it quickly. Then, after a pause, shot out of it as a burst of energy. It smashed Wade fifteen feet back into the wall, causing a loud Thud.

I walked over to him, ignoring Edwin and Zora’s gazes as I bent forward a bit to grin at him. “Do you believe me now? Or would you like another demonstration?”

He winced as he stood up, dusting himself off and rubbing his arm. “No, no need for that, I believe you...but jeez, take pity on a guy would ya?”

I laughed. “You deserved it. Maybe now you’ll call me by my name?”

He grinned. “Yeah, whatever Jessica.”

Wrong answer.

Next thing he knew, my foot was in contact with his ribs from my roundhouse kick. He went flying into the wall again as I started yelling at him. “Jess! My name is Jess you over-sized throw pillow!” I huffed and crossed my arms.

Walking over to the only civilized people in the room other than myself, I sighed in a frustrated tone. Zora looked over to Wade, who was trying to stand again, and then back to me. “It’s good to know you can handle yourself. That will make things easier.”

Edwin was trying and failing, not to laugh. After a minute he nodded, now calmed down, and glanced over at the cracked wall. “Remind me not to get on your bad side...”

I laughed. “Yeah, don’t worry, call me Jess and you’ll be fine.” He nodded and I decided to change the subject. “So. When are we leaving? I’m really sick of being on this Ship.”

Zora sighed. “It’s too risky to return to Earth at night, we’ll have to leave in the morning.”

Wade looked out of the round port window. “Oh yeah, it is pretty late...hard to tell when you’re in Space.”

I rolled my eyes. “Welcome to my world.”

Zora glanced at me. “Jess... How long have you been on this Ship exactly?”

I looked at her and shrugged my shoulders. “A little over ten years, why?” They looked at me with surprised faces and wide eyes. “What?” Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the most common thing to live on a Spaceship against your will for over ten years, but really with the looks? They sure know how to make a girl feel awkward.

“You’ve been on this ship for over ten years?!” Wade yelled with disbelief in his voice.

“That is what I just said Captain Oblivious.”

“So you’ve been here the whole time? Have you been off of the ship even once?” Asked Edwin, also not letting it sink in while I was ignoring Wade’s annoyed look.

“Nope, not once.”

“Why haven’t you tried to get off? Surely you could sneak off on a Cargo Ship.” Asked Zora, though she wasn’t as astonished as the boys, she did seem surprised.

“Believe me, I’ve tried. But for the life of me, the Ship Post is too large and crowded. I got captured once on an attempt to board one. Didn’t try it again after that.”

Zora glanced at me in thought. “You know about the Planet War, don’t you? When I mentioned it earlier you didn’t seem surprised.” Ah, so it’s time to tell my story already...I was hoping it would wait until I got to know them a bit more, but I suppose now would be as good a time as ever. I’m not sure why just yet, but I do trust them.

I sat down on a box that happened to be behind me. “Of course I know about it...” I sighed after a moment. “I was a part of the reason it started.”

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