Crash Land

*Cover by DJV* Sirius Stargazer and Celeste Lightman find themselves stranded on an abandoned planet. ©2014

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1. Crash Land

"This will be a constant reminder for me to never let you pilot again!" Celeste Lightman marched angrily through the tough terrain. With each step, she seemed to be fuming even more than the first one. Sirius Stargazer, who had the unfortunate courtesy of being Celeste’s partner at the moment, had never seen someone so angry before. She’s practically on fire!

Shaking his head, Sirius charged after her. "Come on Celeste,” he called, fighting to keep up with her pace. "This isn't so bad."

"Yeah, you're right," Celeste snapped. ”Being stranded on who-knows-where is a perfectly nice situation!” She didn’t even bother to look back at Sirius when she spoke.

"Cheer up, Celeste. Things could be worst.” Sirius paused, trying to think of a good response. “At least we're not dead.”

Celeste turned on him, her eyes smoldering. “That option would be better than this!” She kicked at a piece of debris as she stormed off. It nearly flew in Sirius’ eyes, but he managed to dodge it before finally caught up with her.

”You know,” Sirius said, “sometimes you complain too much.” Turning away from Celeste, he took a moment to take in the surroundings. The sight had already stunned him before, but now…”This place is amazing. The ground is so soft, the scenery is beautiful, and there’s no pollution..."He found himself turning to Celeste again. ”How can you not like this place?"

"Maybe it's because I like knowing where the heck I am!" she shrieked. ”Honestly, Sirius, let go of the adventurer in you and come back to reality for once!" Celeste gestured widely with her arms at the terrain. "Our ship broke down, we went off course, and now we're lost in the middle of nowhere! How could you possibly be happy about this situation? 

"Calm down, Celeste.” Sirius raised his hands in the air—as if that would help Cellist calm down. "I'm sure the station will pick up our transmitter soon, and we'll be off this plant in no time."

"Easy for you to say," Celeste muttered. "You're actually enjoying your time here.”

Sirius decided to ignore her and put his focus back on examining the planet. He really liked Celeste—they were as close as siblings could be—but sometimes she could just be so…irascible. Whenever Celeste didn’t get what she want, she could go into full “diva mode”, as Sirius liked to call it.

He also didn’t understand how anyone could be so miserable exploring a new world. Maybe it was just the scientist in him, but the fact that they had landed their ship on a mystifying planet seemed anything but boring. In fact, he secretly hoped that the station wouldn’t find them for a little while longer. 

Sirius happened to be a member of the Scientific Exploration of Outer Space—better known as the SEOS. The organization spent most of its time recording information of outer space from their giant, wholly white spacecraft (the Pure Ivory) before sending their findings back to Earth. Because of the SEOS, human knowledge of space had greatly expanded. 

Celeste wasn’t apart of the SEOS, but she was a member of SpaceCorps, the intergalactic military representing Earth. She was very good at her job and had recently earned the rank of lieutenant. Most people in Sirius’ division wouldn’t be working with someone like Celeste, but, because of the occasional danger Sirius would run into during his explorations, the two were often paired together. It also helped that they were such good friends that they worked well with one another.

The mission that Sirius and Celeste had been currently sent on involved Sirius studying Minerva, a planet outside of the solar system. Celeste was acting as his bodyguard (or, as she had called it, keeping Sirius out of trouble) It would take a bit of time, so the plan was to do some research every day for a few hours or so before returning home, back on the Space Station.

That was, of course, before they had crash landed on a mysterious planet.

It wasn’t Sirius’ fault that they had landed here, but Celeste blamed him for the episode, anyway. Sure, he had been the one piloting the Pure Ivory before an asteroid had suddenly hit it, but it was an accident. How could Sirius have dodged it? Asteroids were unpredictable, and once they came in your view, you were usually too close to it to evade it—that was, unless they killed you first. 

But we’re safe, aren’t we? Sirius thought. We didn’t die. The ship’s damaged, but it’s not so much that it’s a complete wreck. He thought he had done a pretty good job handling the situation, though Celeste would never see that.

Now I’m complaining, Sirius realized, and immediately stopped. Whether it was his fault or not, there was no denying the fact that this little detour was going to throw everyone off schedule. The only hope the two could hold onto would be the possibility of the SEOS spotting their distress signal and coming to the rescue.  It wasn’t like the SEOS hadn’t done something like that before, but Sirius had only heard about it. 

“Ugh. Sirius, this is so awful.” Celeste’s irritated voice cut through Sirius’ thoughts. She had probably been talking before, but Sirius knew he had been tuning her out. “Once again, this is all your fault, Mr. Hotshot Pilot!”

“Hey, it’s not my fault,” Sirius argued. “Come on, Celeste; that asteroid could have hit anyone.” He shook his head. “You can complain all you want, but it’s not going to help in any way.” His gaze fell on an object some feet ahead of him—what was that? “I’m going to keep analyzing this planet.”

Celeste shook her head irritably. “I swear,” she snapped, marching begrudgingly behind him, "if we make it out of here alive, I’m going to send a complaint to the SEOS—”

Celeste’s words caught in her throat as she and Sirius both stopped at the sight in front of them. Not too far away from where they had walked stood a large, golden-looking castle. A castle? In the middle of nowhere? Sirius blinked twice to make sure his vision was working, but the image still stood in front of him. 

Sirius stepped closer. Though it was hard to see everything from the distance, he knew for certain that he was staring at a castle. It looked like several of those palaces he’d seen back in Medieval Times—one of the larger ones, to be exact. It had to be at least four stories high, maybe even five.

And the color…it was such a bright gold that it almost hurt Sirius’ eyes. But what really caught his attention was the fact that it was glowing. There wasn’t a single sun in sight, yet it seemed to reflect the light off of something. The castle was such a beautiful sight that Sirius nearly caught his breath.

It looked like something out of a fairytale.

Shaking his head to snap out of the daze, Sirius turned back on his partner—and was reward by the look of awe on her face. “Do you regret coming here now, Celeste?” he teased.

Celeste’s mouth almost dropped open. “I—I—How could…”She stopped stammering and set her jaw. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing.” She gave Sirius a look. “What’s a castle doing in the middle of nowhere?”

“I don’t know,” Sirius admitted, “but, as a scientist, don’t you think I should study this?”

Celeste was immediately shaking her head. “I don’t think—”

“And,” Sirius added quickly, “seeing as you’re my chaperone, don’t you think you ought to follow?” He couldn’t help it; this was just too perfect.

Although Celeste didn’t seem to return Sirius’ enthusiasm, it was clear that she wasn’t just going to leave him. “Sirius Stargazer, you are possibly the most frustrating person I’ve ever met,” Celeste said. But her voice didn’t sound angry; she still spoke as if she was in shock. “I don’t think this is a good idea. What if it’s not even safe?”

Sirius flashed her another grin. “We’ll have to find that out.” He offered her his hand. “You wouldn’t let me go in there alone, would you?”

“Somehow, I think you’re going to go in there no matter what I say.” Sighing Celeste took Sirius’ hand. Sirius tried not to smile again as the two of them headed toward the citadel, anticipation burning in Sirius like a fire.

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