KnM Blade - In Destiny's Way

Kixi Rajki, a professional high speed racer, is a seemingly average citizen of the United Systems of Sol in the 31st century. Going by the alias of Kay Blade, she is also a secret agent for an underground resistance cell intent on bringing down the powerful freedom restricting government. Mako Jhasmin Zaneca, alias eM Blade, and Kixi's lover, recently trained up as an agent, is also an expert computer slicer and hacker in her own right. She must accompany Kixi on what will be her first mission, and with all certainty, an extremely dangerous mission. Choosing arrest in order to save her lover, the two narrowly escape death, and consequently trigger in motion an unprecedented course of events. Unwittingly, her actions will forever change the balance of power, and with it the face of humanity as a space faring species.

More info here.

http://www.kixi-rajki.com/full-outline-of-storyline

http://www.kixi-rajki.com/the-k3k-universe-in-detail

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21. Richter’s Party - Part Three : The love that is key to my life.

Chapter 18 : Richter’s Party - Part Three : The love that is key to my life. 

 

EST 08:30, CE 3016-06-24, MST / LST 08:30, MTE 971-12-24

 

Day three of Richter's Party, and after a huge bash last night, I awoke with just a minor hangover. Fortunately the same could be said about Mako, who despite only just having woken up as well, curled herself around my body, purring like a kitten – so cute I thought smiling down at her, as I gently stretched out with a hand to rub it slowly up and down on her soft smooth thighs. The warmth of her legs as the palm of my hand made contact with her beautiful skin, sent shivers through my spine and my hormonal levels to its usual frenzy. Just the thought of touching Mako – simply because it was her body I was touching – let alone actually physically touching her in any form, always had its desired sexual sensation effect on the both of us.

Currently it was 8:30 AM, and despite my minor headache that softly pounded at the back of my head, I was thrilled. At the present moment, I had mixed emotions. Proud, excited, and despite having a brief appearance yesterday with Richter Alvarez and guests, I was still very anxious. This evening, now that both Kajtia and I would be introduced as the new Champions, I to some degree felt stressed, giving me the extra need to have to go to the toilet. Kissing the purring Mako on the forehead as I slowly got up, I did just that, and soon after refreshed myself, thinking and wondering how both Chris and Kajtia were pulling up after last night. It would be Kajtia's night tonight as well, yet I didn't stress myself with the thought that she may not have pulled up well, as in general, she was one known for being able to hold her drink, and secondly could take good care of herself.

"Mako, as you know, I need to go to the venue soon with Kajtia to sort out a few details for this evening. After that, I'll be straight back here to get ready with you."

Upon saying those words, Mako immediately wrapped an arm around my shoulders and pulled me close, gently rubbing my arm. Despite the heaviness in my stomach, it fluttered at the feeling of her body pressed against mine. I sunk into the warmth of her side, appreciative of the simple gesture. My touch made her body warmer somehow. In that moment the arms squeezed a fraction tighter and I breathed more slowly, my body melting into my girlfriend's, as every muscle lost its tension to the surrounding air.

Mako grinned and then kissed me, gently, on the lips, adding as she drew back, her hand sliding from my mouth to my chest. "Don't be too long sweetheart." The words were soft and sweet as they came out of Mako's mouth, as she then let go and pulled back.

Wiping my lip gloss off Mako's lips, I headed straight for the door and turned around back at her just as I was about to leave. "Oh and we have to be there at 7 PM. I have to go to a couple of interviews and take pictures at the red carpet – you will be accompanying me." We grinned at one another as I then sealed the door shut behind me.

As I made my way down towards the foyer area where I would be meeting Kajtia, I briefly thought about the interviews which weren't exactly my cup of tea. The interviews always went down the same, with the interviewers asking both Kajtia and I the usual things such as, 'How are you doing tonight? You all look great, what are you wearing?' And, 'How do you feel about being the champions?' Lastly they'll tell us, 'It's been so nice seeing you once again, or it's been a pleasure in finally having been introduced to you. Have a great time'. It sort of felt strange, despite me having had many interviews, as it was part of the normal life of any F-Zero driver or co-driver. Yet tonight would be a tad different. We would be celebrities and with that, getting much attention. I finally realised then and there that it was that, that was being kind of hard for me to soak in. I was the type that preferred being in the presence with people I already knew, rather than with new faces whom were more interested in being close to me merely for the interest in rising up their own profile, hence being in the presence of someone important during such a high profile and prestigious event.

 

EST 09:00, CE 3016-06-24, MST / LST 09:00, MTE 971-12-24

 

Kajtia was already waiting for me at the foyer area, agitated while pacing up and down. I was late meeting her, that bad habit having become the norm as of late. I could hear her long black boots scuffing against the cold tiled floor, as I hurried over to her.

Kajtia however decided the better to not comment over my punctuality, choosing instead to polity greet me. We asked how we were pulling up after the out of control raging from the previous night, and then walked outside and got into an awaiting air taxi. Unlike what I had lead Mako to believe, I was not going to the gala venue at all, hence why boarding an air taxi. The air taxi immediately lifted several metres into the air, then shot up high above the tallest structures of Venusville, zooming into one of the fast moving traffic lanes, which would take us well away from the city.

In the back seat of the air taxi, Kajtia and I quietly chatted during the what would be a short quick trip to the much larger adjoining city of New Melbourne, still located deep within the super mega metropolis of Aries City. We spoke of the gala and about how everyone would be looking at their very best, and how we couldn't wait to see the cocktail dresses and beautiful gowns. Yet all of that was evidently overshadowed by the actual reason why we were making the trip into the busy shopping complexes of New Melbourne.

"So when do you plan to propose to her Kixi?" Kajtia asked.

"I'm working on it, just figuring out the details." I said.

“Yes but we're getting her the ring today so I take it that you'll be—”

"After the gala presentation tonight is when. I'm gonna request a special song for her when the dance floor opens. I'm also gonna ask if I can have the first dance – don't worry they'll let me, since after all this gala night is very much about us the F-Zero System Champions." I said after I cut Kajtia off mid sentence.

"Oh so you're going to announce it in front of everyone then?" Kajtia asked rising an eyebrow in surprise.

"Not quite."

“Not quite, what do you mean not quite?”

“I'm just gonna have the first dance with her with a song dedicated on just how much I love her, have every one watch and then either walk off the dance floor, or keep dancing when the floor becomes opened to everyone else.”

"I don't get it?" Kajtia said turning her head to face me.

"I'm just gonna tease her a little to begin with, get her all in the mood and all, then a little later during the night, I'm gonna get her to come for a walk with me alone and by the lake behind the Grand Outer Court. She'll probably have no idea by that stage, but that's when I plan to do it." I said with a huge grin all over my face.

"Okay, got it, but you better hurry and actually do it. It's already been about a month since you told me that you would do it, and we are going out of the way to buy that ring now." Kajtia bleated.

I sighed, "I know, I know. I'm just worried, ya know, if she thinks it's too soon. Or even the fact that after the engagement comes a wedding, and you know all the important commitments we have outside of racing if you get my drift."

"I get what you're saying, and I think it's all bullshit. I think you're just a little afraid, as Mako wouldn't hesitate to marry you in a heartbeat Kixi." Kajtia replied.

"You're focusing too much on ifs and ums and what Mako might think, but you're not focusing on what you know now. Mako loves you, you're her world. She has been by your side through thick and thin, and you think she would hold back because of other commitments you both have for the same cause? It's not just you Kixi, but she would crawl to the ends of the universe for you." Kajtia said smiling.

I smiled back, stretching over giving her a huge hug and a quick thanks as the air taxi arrived at its destination, and the two of us got out. We then swiftly disappeared by blending into the sea of busy people, in what was the largest shopping complex in not just all of Aries City, but on all of Mars for that matter.

 

EST 11:00, CE 3016-06-24, MST / LST 11:00, MTE 971-12-24

 

We stumbled through the streets of New Melbourne, towards yet another jewellery store. It had been the same routine for the past hour or so. I had told Mako that I had to go to tonight's venue to sort out a few things, however that wasn't expected to take more than the part of a couple of hours at most. My sole intent this morning had been to come to New Melbourne, and go to some fine jeweller in the hope that I might possibly find the perfect engagement ring waiting to be bought. However thus far, my little adventures to jewellery stores had ended with me not making a purchase, and quite frankly, I was getting fretful over it.

I entered another store, this one being a smaller store almost concealed in the middle of several larger more lit up stores. Kajtia had actually spotted it and composedly suggested having a look in there. I looked around sheepishly at the glittery baubles inside the display cases. A salesperson approached me, grinning widely. "Hello, ma'am," she said. "Who are you shopping for today?"

“I'm looking for an engagement ring," I replied. "For my girlfriend.”

“Ah," said the saleslady. "An engagement ring. Right this way, ma'am.”

As the saleslady babbled about the wide selection of rings the store had to offer, I surveyed the rings with a practiced eye. My already numerous visits to jewellery stores had taught me, somewhat, what to look for. I knew Mako wouldn't like something overly glitzy or glamorous, she wasn't that type of girl. So I averted my eyes away from the more spectacular rings and looked towards the simpler ones. I had to make sure I didn't get one that was too simple, though. Although Mako claimed she didn't care, I knew she did deep down inside. Plus, I wanted to spoil her a little bit.

My eyes landed on an unfussy square cut diamond towards the back of the display. I pointed at it. "Can I see that one?"

The saleslady handed the ring to me, and I examined it carefully. The band was a polished sterling silver, and there were small, intricate carvings around the base of the diamond. Straightforward and uncomplicated, but with an elegant touch. It was perfect.

"What do you think Kajtia?" I turned to her showing her the ring so that she could better see it.

"It's not really my place to comment Kixi. If Chris were to buy me my ring today, he'd choose differently, but that's because Mako and I have totally different tastes. I've known Mako for as long as we've been race partners, and that's quite a long time now, and if you really want to know my personal opinion, I think she'd love that ring. It would match her well and be a perfect symbol of the union between the two of you. Well there will have to be the wedding bands to follow, but that'll come later I guess." She said with a somewhat giddy smile on her face.

I deliberated for a few minutes, thinking at what Kajtia had said and realised that she was on the right ball path. I clearly came to realise that her reasoning couldn't be further from the truth. I looked at the saleslady and smiled slightly. "I'll be buying this one," I finally said.

 

EST 12:30, CE 3016-06-24, MST / LST 12:30, MTE 971-12-24

 

I finally arrived back to my room where we chilled for several hours, before I, along with Mako took a long shower together. I still kept on getting nervous, and in fact I was doing so by the minute. I couldn't understand why I was stressing myself out way so much. Yes in a way it was my night, however it wasn't like I would be a total stranger to all the team owners and crews, sponsors and many other guests. Perhaps it was because it would be the first time that I would be directly in the spotlight that was slightly freaking me out I concluded, before convincing myself mentally that I would be totally fine with it all though.

I got out of the shower and put my bath robe on, with Mako very much following suit behind me. Both of us put on some temporary clothing before I went to the door to open up for the hair stylists who had very much arrived punctually on the dot. Now we would start getting ourselves ready. The stylists were local, I could tell by their Solan accent as they entered in and we greeted one another.

The stylists would be pimping us up, doing Mako's make up and mine, as well as our hair. Introducing himself as James, he immediately started working on my medium length blonde hair. The other stylist Lauren, also began doing Mako's long black hair.

"So, you guys all excited about tonight," Lauren asked excitedly.

"Yeah it's going to be a great night, especially for Kixi, Kajtia and the race team," Mako said answering Lauren.

"You guys met the local girl racer champ Kashia ke Hanadi yet?" James asked.

"Yeah we did, yesterday during our informal introduction. She's quite young but seemed pleasant. I see a definite future in her for the big stage of F-Zero racing." I said trying to recall my brief contact with her given Michael Vickers' rudeness towards me undoubtedly overshadowed my experience.

“I did Kashia's make up once for a photo shoot," James said. "And from my recollection that day Kixi, she spoke highly of you. She sees you as the ultimate role model.”

"She is the sweetest," I added. "I have to admit, given I'm the first female racer to actually win the championship, coupled by the fact that we're both from the same planet too – I think, I would've probably did the same had I been in her shoes. Besides what is there not to admire about me." I giggled out jokingly.

James then did me a light smoky eye, and put me a light pink lipstick on.

My hair was let down and had some loose curls, nothing too out of this world. I went to my room and finally put on my outfit for the night. I had white heels and a beautiful white two piece outfit. I found it accurate for the evening. It wasn't too casual nor too over the top. Plus, I would be able to dance just fine in it. I grabbed my Louis Vuitton nude handbag which had my lipstick, some gum and my comms device.

Walking back into the room, my thoughts were interrupted by Mako's appearance. She looked absolutely stunning. She wore a medium length light blue dress and black heels.

Shortly afterwards we were all done. The time had flown. Already it was half past six when the stylists wished us all the best and left, meaning both Mako and I went downstairs to an awaiting hover-limo. We were the first ones there. Given it was quite warm outside, immediately upon seeing us, the driver, who wore a white button shirt with black pants and a hat, chivalrously opened the door for us. Pointing towards the hover-limo's minibar, he invited us to have a drink while we patiently awaited for the other two to arrive.

 

EST 18:45, CE 3016-06-24, MST / LST 18:45, MTE 971-12-24

 

Peering down at his gold Rolex, Chris sighed slightly wondering how long Kajtia would be as the clock ticked 6.45, leaving them only fifteen minutes to get down to the Grand Outer Court for the 7 pm interviews, which would then be proceeded by the 8 pm start time of the gala.

"Kajtia honey, if we don't leave now then we'll not make it in time okay." Kajtia's boyfriend uttered out loudly.

Walking out of their room's larger than average bathroom, and wearing a cream strapless ball gown dress, Kajtia said, "Quit whining Chris." She adjusted her Belle inspired ponytailed hair in the process. "We'll make it don't worry. A girl's got to look her best if she's going to impress."

Completely stunning was the first thing Chris' mind suggested in seeing Kajtia as she stood in her silver jewellery and white Sajnen bracelet. Her sexy and at the same time elegant presence, made his teeth clinch firmly. Holding her cream clutch bag, Kajtia walked over as Chris said, "Amazing baby," before kissing her hungrily.
Breaking off soon afterward, she commented, "I know you're excited and everything, but I'm afraid that you're gonna have to keep your quiver inside, otherwise we will be late, obviously."

"Alright then" The blonde haired man groaned frustratingly putting Kajtia's shawl around her next. Strolling towards the front door, the two exited down to the lower ground level, where both I and Mako were already awaiting them, along with the awaiting hover-limo. Despite the Grand Outer Court being literally only around the corner from our living arrangements, the hover-limo was necessary for us to make our expected grand entrance.

The hover-limo was outside waiting with Mako and I who had arrived there first. We patiently awaited Chris and Kajtia who arrived shortly afterwards. They got in and the driver remained stationary for about five minutes, so that we could cool down a little in the luxury of the vehicle's air conditioner. It was another warm evening in Venusville – in Aries City in general, and being dressed up for a gala didn't quite suit the current weather conditions. At least we'd all be inside soon enough, as the hover-limo only needed to rise about a metre off the ground to drive us about two minutes to the entrance of the Grand Outer Court.

We made it to the red carpet. I could see out the window, so many people behind the gates, just waiting to get at least a glimpse of us, the new System Champions. I could see a kind amount of the guests walking down the carpet taking pictures, talking to fans, and covering interviews.

We got out of the hover-limo and walked towards the carpet as a family. Already I could see so many flashing cameras capturing us walk into the event. We kept on walking, taking pictures and covering interviews. We came across some major sponsors and said hello. Finally we got to the last set of pictures.

Right in front of us was the rest of our team personnel – absent Jak. We were actually glad to see them again. They noticed that we were there and asked us to join in a group photo, which of course we joined in. We all looked absolutely stunning while they took many pictures of us. Once we were done with those proceedings, we all scrambled and hugged, followed by making our ingress into the venue.

The Grand Outer Court venue was perfect for the celebration. It had a huge amount of space for the tables that the endless guests that would be attending could sit on. It had also had an enormous stage, where the presenters would speak and the awards be given. After all those formal proceedings would be done, the stage would then be transformed into a dance floor within minutes.

Viewing the ballrooms guests we walked inside, noticing Senen Pyrex talking to Richter Alvarez on up ahead, who turning around spied us just then.

Calling us over, the two time former champion proclaimed, "Hey guys how's it going? Long time no see."
We approached him, and I then personally hugged him lightly emphasising." Very well Senen actually, what about you then?"

“Same as usual" Senen elated before caressing my cheek saying, "Kixi beautiful as always.”

"Senen you know how I get when you say that about me," I commented blushing slightly.

"Which is a fair comment really. In fact you both look beautiful as well, Mako and Kajtia that is." He answered back truthfully. "And you definitely are looking the elegant man tonight Chris," he nodded at Chris whilst producing a broad smile.

"So you looking forward to this evening then?" I asked returning a cheesy grin back at him.

"I do yes." Senen replied.

"And you're here with Samantha?" I questioned despite the answer being obvious enough already.

“Indeed." Senen countered. "She's in the bathroom powdering her nose actually.”

"Okay." I, his friendly racing rival cemented.

Making his introduction next, Senen presented Richter Alvarez, with Senen not immediately aware that we'd already met one another yesterday. "Oh Commendator Alvarez these are —"

"Yes I had the grand pleasure in having been introduced to them yesterday, yet it's a pleasure to see you all again." Richter said as he cut Senen off mid sentence. Senen did not seem at all phased by it as he took a step backwards allowing for the Commendator to step forward.

He shook my hand first, and then the hands of my three companions, before the older man said, "Pleasure Kixi Rajki and company."

"Thank you, Commendator. We are thoroughly enjoying your hospitality here. Thus far it's been a fascinating experience in more ways than one. It's definitely a pleasure." I replied perceptively.

“The pleasure Ms. Rajki, is all mine." Richter immediately replied placidly. "Oh and it's okay to refer to me by first name too.”

"And likewise Richter." I said with a slight nodding of my head.

"I'm sorry to hear about your boss Mr. Jak Zed, it would have been great seeing him here this evening, but I dearly understand it when it comes to family matters. I sincerely hope all is well." The black tied man said understanding of the apparent situation, as Senen who attentively stood half a metre behind him raised an eyebrow in surprise.

“Really?" My ears picked up wondering how he'd known that. "How did you know about that?”

"Why I'm the owner of the very series his team – your team competes in. You are the champions, he came to me in person when he had received the news actually." Richter surmised smiling.

"Oh, Commendator Alvarez, yes indeed he would have. I don't know where my head is at the moment. What has gotten into me. I feel so stupid, of course he wound have told you." My face suddenly went all red in embarrassment.

"You are a very passionate woman, very opinionated, yet I can see the soft, gentle human side in you. You are nervous about tonight, and thus why your thoughts hampered a little. Tonight is no different, except it's not like anything much harder that you've already done. So just relax, be yourself and you'll be fine." Richter gracefully smiled reassuringly.

Responding back, I laughed sheepishly. "You certainly make a good and valid point sir."

“You're already made quite the impression during your short time here in Venusville. You're quite the character both on and off the racetrack." Richter established. "That trait I suspect, will go a long way, evidently.”

"I hope so, yes." I smiled in return appreciating his comment.

Spotting what I assumed was his wife up on ahead, the 50 year old man reacted. "Oh, Kixi, and present company included, do please excuse me. I'd better go and see what the missus wants, otherwise I'll be in the doghouse all evening for standing around here talking. We'll see each other again during the evening all the same." Bidding his farewells Richter said lastly, "Ladies, Gentlemen."

"Richter Alvarez," I also replied on behalf of Senen and the company I had arrived with, as the man wandered on over his wife's way.

From here we made our way to our designated table up front. I sat with Mako to my right and Kajtia to my left. Chris naturally sat on the other side of her, while other members of our team filled in the other spots on our table. The guys who were all suited up looked very handsome, however the striking contrast of the empty seat where Jak would have sat, did catch my eye moreover. Every once in a while, people came up to our table and talked to us. I was certainly enjoying myself at the present moment, with the actual gala scheduled to begin in five or so minutes.

The five minutes felt like a blur as everyone finally had taken their designated seats. The lights went dim as the spotlight's attention focussed on the stage area where Richter Alvarez stood tall and proud. There was certainly a distinctive but intangible quality that seemed to surround the man. As everyone clapped, I took extra note that he looked amazing for a man in his fifties, but then again that was still considered considerably young in the 31st century.

"Thank you all so much for being here tonight, and welcome to the 41st Annual FIA Gala - Formula Zero for Presentation of Champions. Tonight we will be officially presenting the trophies and awards to the newly crowned champions, as well as several other important and notable awards. Thank you once again and hope you enjoy," Richter spoke into the microphone, before moving aside and taking a step back to make way for the official presenter of the night.

With the proceedings getting off to a start immediately after, this part of the evening seemed like it would become a blur, with the other minor awards being announced first, they were done and dusted in what seemed like a heartbeat. Senen Pyrex won the Personality of the Year award, no doubt bringing a smile to my face, knowing it would be the last award before the Presentation of Champions trophies, and thus knowing that my bitter rival Michael Vickers would not be winning anything this year.

Well there would be just one more award before the Champions Presentation, and that was the Action of the Year. That surely would have to go to me for my last minute clinch in overtaking Vickers in taking the title, and it did. I was as expected, nominated for my amazing overtake on Michael Vickers on the last turn out of the 360 degree tunnel turn to the main straight, making it a memorable triumph, despite the major accident I had been involved in immediately after crossing the finish line to take the ultimate honours.
Mako looked at me, as they had made that announcement, grabbing my hand as they read out the nomination.

"And the winner of Action of the Year Award is........ Kixi Rajki!" I started smiling widely as did Mako. I gave Mako a quick kiss as I nervously walked to the stage to take the award.

Shaking the presenters hand, as well as that of Richter and several other important officials, I then put the small plaque down reading myself to start my speech, when the presenter signalled for me to stop. He then promptly called my co-driver Kajtia Xiz'injhürek up to the stage, in which she promptly came forward, followed by a loud applaud and occasional whistle from the other seated guests.

“And it is with esteem honour that I present to all you distinguished and honoured guests, the newly crowned 3016 Formula Zero System Champions, the first all female partnership of driver and co-driver of its kind to achieve such an amazing feet. Everyone, I present to you Kixi Rajki and Kajtia Xiz'injhürek of ZRT Racing.”

Following the speech that boomed over the seated crowd in a strident timbre of the voice, instantly proceeding it was a cacophony of applause and cheering, whooping, hollering, clapping, stamping of feet, as both Kajtia and I accepted and took our championship winning trophies. A palpable excitement buzzed through the charged air, filled with infectious grins, as we shook hands with people we already knew and strangers alike, subsequently followed with patting one another on the back. It was indeed a spontaneous outpouring of emotion throughout.
My heart pounded like a thousand drums, as adrenaline rushed through my body. At this moment, it felt like I was being tranformed into a new being. The attention of all the people at this enormous party had suddenly gathered, focussing on both me and my co-driver, together celebrating, clapping and cheering.

I felt something magical about what seemed like being one with every individual soul that was present. It was like an easing to the loneliness within. In that spur of the moment, we acted the same, cheered at the same moment, and felt the same emotions together. What I read on the people's faces was written on mine, and in that echo of our humanity, we were as close to being one as we would ever be. In that moment of unity, I felt a feeling of freedom I had never felt in other parts of my life. And then the abrupt silence - the cheering, clapping all ceasing at once, with the eyes of each individual now totally concentrated on me.

I had been very nervous leading up to this moment, but now all that was long behind me. I felt a surge of power from within me, as if suddenly I had been endowed with the power to speak to all these people with confidence and conviction.

"Before I begin to thank everyone, I would like to talk about that action." I began my speech with my head held high, with all traces of nervousness now truly gone. "I made an awful start to the race. The race took forever, but for me, especially the last laps, it went by in a blur. Probably because it was a blur. It was very difficult to comeback, and I knew that passing Vickers would be a mostly difficult affair. He most certainly didn't make it easy for me, which was totally expected from the champion that he is – three time champion to be exact." I chose my words wisely, more to be civilised above anything else as I was so tempted to brand him a cheating bastard in front of everyone. "When I saw the opportunity to pass him, I took it. I think many people talk about it being good because it involved outmanoeuvring him on to the run to the main straight, coupled with the fact that I had to beat him to take the title, and that spectacular accident of mine after I pipped him across the line. I think it also makes it special because it was on Michael Vickers, who is a former three time System Champion. Either way I am proud of myself, for being able to overtake a System Champion, and ultimately becoming the new System Champion myself. I am also happy that despite the serious crash after crossing the finish line, that nobody was seriously injured. Anyway, I just want to firstly thank Michael, for his clean racing when I overtook him." I deliberately smirked as I said that to make it somewhat obvious that I didn't really mean that given I clearly believed he tried to run me off the the track.

"Secondly, I want to thank Zed Racing Team for giving me the chance to prove myself, and for giving me an amazing car, one that allowed me to do those kind of overtakes. A personal thanks also to Jak Zed my employer, who sadly because of family matters could not be present here tonight. I know I can be difficult and immature at times, but a huge thank you to him for always believing in me and allowing me to prove my worth. Thank you Jak." That prompted me to giggle slightly with about half the people in the hall also laughing with me before I continued.

“I want to thank the FIA for nominating me for the Action of the Race Award which is a sweet bonus on top of my championship winning trophy.”

"I want to thank someone who makes my life easier, better and makes me very happy. To my girlfriend Mako Jhasmin Zaneca, you have supported me, even when it seemed like the whole world was against me. You were there if I had a bad day, to cheer me up. And you were there to tell me how proud you were when I had a good day. It makes me proud to call you my girlfriend. You are my sunshine, and I honestly don't know what I would do if you were suddenly taken away from me." At this point, Kajtia was laughing, Mako was laughing, even Richter was laughing, whilst I was crying. I looked down towards Mako's table and blew her a kiss.

"Last and definitely not least, I want to thank Kajtia Xiz'injhürek, for being the best co-driver there is. I could never have achieved any of this without you." I turned to face her and embraced my arms around her in a quick hug, before pulling back again.

"So thank you very much for everything!" I hope you all continue having a good night." Suddenly the room erupted in a thumping raw of clapping and cheering. The mood of the people swirled in unseen currents beneath the surface of their faces. In the hundreds present, there wasn't a single smile or expression of doubt. The only sound was their hands clapping, and the clatter of the sound rising above them. Everyone of them must have been feeling the magic of the aura travel through their clothes and into their bodies.

I felt happy, proud, and amazed. The presenter then turned to Kajtia for a few words from her. Her speech of thanks was quick and brief, overshadowed by my own prior speech, yet the people clapped and cheered her equally the same.

I felt electrified, as I along with Kajtia then walked off the stage with our awards and trophies. Going back to our table, and back in what felt like being in a crowd. It felt as if I were moving of my own free will, one of many yet still my own person. To any would be observers, I was no more than a part of a large mass, one with predictable behaviour when viewed as a whole. So perhaps now that my moment in the spotlight was over, that I had indeed become one of the many, feeding off the impulses of those around me. I wondered then, between the difference in thinking like an individual in the heart of a crowd, compared to knowing that my prior speech of triumph and thanks, was proof of one being able to walk one's own path beyond the realm of the crowd.

 

EST 21:00, CE 3016-06-24, MST / LST 21:00, MTE 971-12-24

 

The event seemed like it went on forever. Despite the fact that I really was enjoying it, I was also hungry, as I could feel my own stomach rumbling in the process due to a lack of sustenance. It felt as if I haven't eaten in like forever.

Finally, the presenter came out again on stage. "Tonight has been more than an amazing night that I'm sure many of us here will cherish always. Thank you to all our drivers, their respective team owners and personnel, sponsors, share holders, the many distinguished guests, and most important of all, Richter Alvarez for all being here this evening."

Everyone clapped and cheered loudly, some stood as the presenter made the announcement, and then all resumed their seats.

"Now we will take a short break." The presenter said, looking at his holo cards. "Food will be served following the opening of the dance floor." He concluded as he began walking off the stage.

Chris relayed aloud. "Okay guys, who wants a drink?" Prior to that, other members of our team who were seated at our table had already gotten up to get everybody something.

By the time Chris got back, I had already polished off my fourth bourbon for the evening, while everyone chatted amongst themselves. The buzz in the air was lively and it appeared that everyone was most certainly enjoying themselves.

"You certainly did well with the speech after accepting your trophy and award Kixi. You certainly charmed the pants of most of the men present here," Chris spoke out equally.

"Well, don't know about the last part, not that it really would matter anyway, but the speech certainly did go better than expected which is a relief now." I accentuated.

"Definitely" My co-driver's boyfriend agreed raising his glass in the air.

Chris then stood up getting his full and undivided attention to all the other members of our team on our table and adjacent table. "Hey everybody, I would like to propose a toast. Let's all raise our glasses in the air for none other than our honoured driver Kixi Rajki and her highly talented co-driver who just happens to be my girlfriend, Kajtia Xiz'injhürek."

In that Instant everyone did just that, stood up and raised their glasses. I blushed a little as I stood up to raise my own glass, and then peered around to my left to glance at Kajtia, who'd already raised her glass. I shrugged my shoulders at her while producing an unshy grin all over my face.

Chris cleared his throat to speak, and everyone at our tables fell silent. "To Kixi and Kajtia," Chris announced, downing his entire glass in one gulp, as laughter and cheers erupted around us. Everyone else including me clapped and drank at the same time, with Mako pounding on my back so forcefully, even though it was inadvertently, that I nearly choked on my drink.

The toasts gave way to stories, good classic and hilarious ones, and mostly about Kajtia and me, that before we all knew it, the waiters and waitresses had began coming out to serve our meals. The food, a dish of smoked salmon pasta not only smelt good, but tasted delicious. No long nervous, nor having a huge knot tied up in my stomach, I smashed it down as if I had just finished fasting for a day prior.

What had been a stage earlier on, the same stage where I took the honours for my moment of triumph in becoming System Champion, had accepted my awards and trophies, and made my most memorable speech, now had been turned into a ballroom dance floor. The new setting which would undoubtedly continue into the late hours of the night, for me would mark the beginning of another memorable milestone.

"And now, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to now formally open up the dance floor, however one formality still remains before you're all invited to come up and dance." The presenter stepped down from the dance floor, and clapped along with the crowd. Richter walked out, waving to the crowd, before going down and taking his seat at one of the front seats and tables.

"Ladies and gentleman," the presenter repeated, "before we open the dance floor to everybody, by a special request from our newly crowned System Champion, may I introduce to you once again, the star of the hour, Kixi Rajki who will be accompanied onto the dance floor with her girlfriend Mako Jhasmin Zaneca. Kixi has requested we play the song Amarte Es Total, or Loving You Is Total or Everything. The song is from the late 20th century, sung by the duo Eros Ramazzotti and Antonella Bucci who were from a country back then known as Italy which lies on the present day European continent of the Earth System. The song is sung in an old Earth language known as Spanish, the language which forms the basis of the modern day language of Latinova. Kixi personally wishes to dedicate what she describes as the most special person in her life on this very special night. Yeah... anyway, let's hear it for our favourite champion and her partner, Kixi and Mako!" The presenter finished, as the room erupted in thunderous applause.

I smiled at my beautiful girlfriend. It had been a long road to this night, the night of my official championship presentation in which I had planned to propose her – later in the night. This would be only the beginning, with Mako totally oblivious to my intentions, but I knew in my heart that this would be so worth it.

Soft music began to play as the announcement was made. And now, the first dance of this prestigious gala was being led by both Mako and me.

“There's something about the way you look tonight Mako.”

“There's something about the way that I can't take my eyes off you Kixi.”

"I've requested this first dance and song for you." I whispered, extending my hand to the glowing younger woman at my side. She could scarcely look away from my luminous blue eyes.

"Oh my God Kixi, you're awesome – I can't believe you've organised the first dance for me and dedicated that song too. I'm stoked!" Mako shot back, grabbing my hand unceremoniously as we made our way onto the dance floor. My lips curled into a soft smile, and she swooned.

I curtsied as the applause of the audience died down, whilst I also tried to ignore the stares we received. At last, Mako and I took our places and waited for the soft flow of the actual song I had requested to begin. Once it started we took a step forward and bowed.

(Eros).Junto a ti, despierto y estoy entero,
Es que sí, amarte es total para mí.

We circled each other, our gaze remained locked. 

(Antonella). Junto a ti, despierto y me siento nueva,
Pienso que amarte es total para mí.

Mako placed her hand on my back, my hand on her shoulder, and our free hands finally met. 

(Eros). Nadie sabe que los dos aquí,
Abrazados, nos lanzamos al vacío.
Déjame tocar tu cuerpo pálido
Con tanta fuerza que
Ya nunca ría, ni que llore.

Together, we danced to the music, our feet in perfect sync to the beating of my heart. 

(Antonella). Márcame en la piel tu huella mágica,
Tu huella personal,
Nuestro amor es total.
Junto a ti no pienso porque, no pienso
Junto a ti, amarte es total para mí.

As the song progressed I felt relaxed, and allowed a small smile to form on my lips. She was perfect. The design of Mako's medium length light blue dress matched my two piece white dress. She found my eyes, that were as blue as the rain of spring, were deep and irresistible. One thing was for sure, we were two lucky girls to have each other as partners.

I turned elegantly, my body in tune with the slow music. Yet, there was a sort of harshness to me, like I was someone who shouldn’t be underestimated. I didn’t quite care at the moment. Was it because I was in love with a girl who I'd met by sheer luck several years earlier? The warmth between us grew more powerful by the second. My heartbeat was growing steadily along with it. Our dance was perfect, everything from our breathing to how our feet moved stayed in sync. If, by the end of this dance my breath was taken away, I would know the exact reason why.

(Eros). Es lo que ves, poca cosa,
Una historia de amor
Que no pesa, que no pasas,
Que se queda entre los dos.
Que te va, que te viene,
Que te llora y te sonríe
Que te toca y que te lía,
Que no sabe ni porqué.

Mako guided me across the dance floor as if we were in a dream. She kept her eyes on me, yet still, she knew exactly where to take me. Every moment, every angle seemed to be planned in advanced. Nothing felt forced. I literally thought I was floating.

“Mako.” I whispered, “everyone is looking at us.”

She squeezed my hand slightly and smiled. “Really,” she chuckled softly, “I haven’t noticed.”

With that, I knew. She need not say more. My heart, my whole being was now hers and hers alone.

(Antonella & Eros). Junto a ti, despierto
Y no sé si es cierto
Es así, estoy en el límite.

That was when I decided to let ago. Let my worries, my pain, and sorrow go. Right here, right now I was living. Nothing else seemed to matter anymore. I allowed her to take me anywhere she pleased on this dance floor. She went right, I went right. She sped up, I sped up. We became one with the song, with the dance and with each other.

(Eros). Junto a ti, que sientes
Lo que yo siento.
(Antonella & Eros). Es que sí, amarte es total para mí.

We continued like that until we had to separate, though I was sad to be away from her warmth. When the song ended the audiences’ applause filled our ears. I couldn’t help but smile at her. Mako was the one for me. In my eyes, and because of that dance, I could see how perfect she truly was, and although she still didn't know it, I was on the verge of making her night as by the end of the night, I would have proposed to her.

"There's something about the way your lips invite." I whispered quietly into her ear as the loud sound of the clapping guests continued.

"It almost seems like a dream," Mako replied. "You're so confident in what you do Kiks, even if you act like you're not. You'll always be my hero, and I want you to be mine forever."

"And you always will Mako, always and forever." I whispered back, lightly squeezing her hand in reply

“You're all I could ever ask for," Mako said in a more serious tone. "I dream that one day you'll marry me Kixi and that that dream comes true.”

"Oh it will, one day, and perhaps much sooner than you expect." I said teasingly, not at all giving away any hints that I'd be popping the question to her in only a few hours time.

“I love the way that you move me Mako.”

“And I love the way that you tease me Kixi, and the way that I want you tonight...”

My arms wrapped around her waist, encircling her with all my love.

“It's in the way that you hold me, and the way that you know me, when I can't find the right words to say..”

" I love you too, Mako, " I answered softly, lowering my face to hers, kissing her tenderly as the applause that enveloped us slowly died down.

We held on to one another, as though afraid that one of us would slip away somehow. Despite our differences, the obstacles we'd faced, and the ones we would surely encounter in the future, the happiness of this night that would soon mark the journey towards our union as one, would be the beginning of cementing us together forever.

With the song that was played for us drawing to a conclusion, along with the loud applauses from the audience, the band immediately played a new one, with the presenter then inviting everyone else to take to the dance floor. First Chris and Kajtia walked up, followed by many others.

Mako proceeded to put her hands on my shoulders. I put my hands on her waist and we started to sway, stiffly, in a circle. All I could think was, 'Is she gonna go for it in front of everybody? Is she going to put her hands on my butt?' I thought to myself producing a cheeky grin at Mako virtually inviting her to do so.

More Than You Know by Martika was the song that had been playing, a cool song from the late 20th century that I liked, despite me liking her Spanish version of the song, Quiero Entregarte Mi Amor better. It finished, and Never Say Goodbye also from around the same era by Bon Jovi came on. We kept swaying and then, when Jon Bon Jovi hit a high note in the song, Mako's hand slid down onto my arse. 

Chris and Kajtia who were dancing beside us chuckled in amusement at the gesture, while others raised an eyebrow in concern at the inappropriateness, whilst others still simply chose to ignore us, not at all phased about our rowdy behaviour. Besides who were they kidding, I chuckled as I glanced Mako in the eye. If I could have gotten away with it, I would have gotten naked for her in a heartbeat in that she could lick, kiss and touch my body throughout – although in reality, there was nothing new there. Either way I confidently came to rationalise, that my prior solo dance with Mako, that was my best dance ever!

After a few more dances we sat to have some more food and drinks. I noticed that from time to time, several strangers, mostly younger men and ladies would allow their eyes to fall upon us. Inwardly I smiled at them, and signed the odd autograph from what had been admirable fans of mine.

We danced several more times and returned to our table, before I noticed the young F-Zero/2 Ground Champion walking towards and out the large outdoor balcony. Although I felt that I could have danced until dawn, I did have an urge to go wanna speak to her, plus step outside for some cool air, before finally proposing to the love of my life.

 

EST 23:00, CE 3016-06-24, MST / LST 23:00, MTE 971-12-24

 

“Let’s get out,” I whispered to Mako, after a somehow wasteful and unproductive half hour seated at our table. “Care to come with me outside on the large balcony."

We got up, and I explained that we were going to find Kashia ke Hanadi. We had both met her briefly yesterday, and I was curious in knowing more about the rising talent I told her. For whatever reason though, it was making Mako uneasy, as my girlfriend nodded in a cynical, melancholy way to my suggestion.

The outside bar on the balcony, where we glanced first, was crowded but Kashia was not there. I couldn’t find her from the top of the steps, although I was sure I had seen her step out onto the balcony. Wanting to find her, on a chance we tried an important looking door, that lead to another area accessible from the balcony. Either she went in there or went downstairs to the palace gardens I surmised. We walked into a high Gothic library, panelled with carved English oak, and probably transported complete from some ruin back on Earth.

Immediately I spotted a young woman, her pretty freckled features, her long black braided hair drawn over her shoulders, and her dark blue eyes, unmistakably Kashia ke Hanadi. She was sitting on the edge of a great table, originally staring with unsteady concentration at the shelves of books. As we entered she wheeled excitedly around and examined us from head to foot.

“What do you think?” she demanded impetuously, not even bothering with a proper greeting.

“About what?”

She waved her hand toward the bookshelves. “About that. As a matter of fact you needn’t bother to ascertain. She ascertained. They’re real.”

“The books?”

She nodded.

“Absolutely real – the pages and everything. They are not holobooks or anything electronic. I thought they’d be a nice durable cardboard. Rare to find any physical books in this day and age. They’re definitely absolutely real. Pages and – here! Let me show you.”

Taking our skepticism for granted, I rushed to the bookcases and returned with a book called Star Wars Episode V : The Empire Strikes Back by Donald F. Glut. It indeed felt like a real book – was a real book.

“See!” Kashia cried triumphantly. “It’s a bona fide piece of printed matter. It fooled me.

She snatched the book from me and had a look at the title. "Ah nice series that Star Wars is. It started from a movie that was made over a thousand years ago in 1977. It grew to become a massive science fictional universe for the next hundred years after that, with many stories in the form of TV media, books, comics and games that followed. In fact it went beyond that." Kashia muttered as she got up and placed it hastily back on the shelf that I had gotten the book from.

“Beyond the realm of fighting fiction?" I asked curiously. "How's that so?”

"The Jedi. For years there were hardcore fans wanting to be Jedi. Of course many did it for fun, others tried to create religions to try and live like the Jedi, some real sword or lightsabre martial arts based on the so called Jedi ways. However none could be taken seriously. That was until the invention of the Plasma X Blade, or a lightsabre in the Star Wars Universe. Do you know what a Plasma X Blade weapon is Kixi?" Kashia asked in a soft calm voice.

"Vaguely. I've seen it on holo videos and the like before, but weapons and violence do not interest me. I'm just a racing driver who loves the need for speed." I said lying through my teeth.

“Well that's okay Kixi. Anyway in around the year 2277, the Jedi Order became a real fighting Force. They were part of resistance groups on Mars when even back then such problems of sovereignty existed.”

"—like they always do." I quickly butted in.

"Yes like they always do. Now going back to the Jedi. No one could really take them serious whilst they went by the name of Jedi. So over time the name of their order was changed from Jedi to Züncålazin. Züncålazin meaning elite warrior or something in züncålidiom, the language born from their resistance and now a major language in the Sajnen Confederate. These days the Züncålazin Order is largely based there, and to a certain degree are a force to be reckoned with." Kashia concluded looking very enthusiastic as she discussed the what I certainly saw as an intriguing topic.

Just then I noticed the small tattooed writing on the top side inside part of her left wrist. It read IXIIΛ. I knew that I'd seen the same insignia before. In fact I immediately recognised its significance. It was the symbol of the elite Skysec Secret Service.

'She's a racer and a spy.' I quietly mused to myself remaining subtle about my discovery, although I was not surprised as I had suspected something not quite right from the moment the girl had been introduced to us. However for some bizarre reason, I still couldn't put two and two together, not foreseeing her as an immediate threat – for now. However I knew all too well that an agent of Skysec's Secret Service could not be taken lightly. In the larger grand scheme of things, I did recognise one absolute fact – that now I would be left with no choice but to kill her the moment an opportunity eventuated.

I then thought of our own agent, Stephanie de Calderón, recently slain. Skysec agent or not, Kashia didn't appear to have the eyes of a cold blooded killer – but then again neither did I, and I wouldn't hesitate even for a minute to kill Kashia. Although as much as I wanted to silence Kashia, an unexplained sensation, a feeling told me that it definitely wasn't her that murdered Stephanie. Nonetheless it still didn't change the overall standings of the situation. It was not a dismissible fact that if she were to find out who I really was, and Mako, or many members of our race team, that we would more then likely be sent to our impending doom. No she had to die, I harshly convinced myself.

I along with Mako looked at her alertly, but also cheerfully without answering.

"That was quite an interesting story," I said finally responding trying to act not overly interested.

"Shall we go back outside where the others are, get a drink and continue our chat there?" I suggested, hinting that I'd rather be where the party was then in an isolated library.

"Yes, we should as I'm very much done here." Kashia agreed, and then lead us back towards the library doors and back outdoors.

Back outside, the music was now being played on the canvas in the garden below the balcony, resulting in dancing with old men pushing young girls backward in eternal graceless circles, superior couples holding each other tortuously, fashionably and keeping in the corners – and a great number of single girls dancing individualistically.

Mako and I were still with Kashia ke Hanadi. We were sitting at a table with a man of about my age and a rowdy little girl who gave way upon the slightest provocation to uncontrollable laughter. We were enjoying ourselves now, despite my dark little revelation regarding Kashia. I had taken two finger bowls of champagne and the scene had changed before my eyes into something significant, elemental and profound. At a lull in the entertainment Kashia looked at me and smiled.

“Your eyes look familiar,” she said, politely. "They remind me of someone else I've seen elsewhere, a fighter I think."

"You definitely must have me confused with someone then. Despite being able to race cars and drive fearlessly, I'm not much of a fighter. Heck, I'd struggle to defend myself if it came down to the punch." I once again lied more than convincingly.

"Why of course, you don't actually strike me as a fighter. Whoever it was I was thinking of, for a sec I saw a resemblance in your eyes, that's all, nothing more or less. Ah forget it, I'm being silly." Kashia concluded dryly.
Both Mako and I laughed as Kashia laughed along with us. Yet the thought unmistakably and alarmingly passed through my head. The NFV may allow me to change into Kay Blade, but it didn't and couldn't alter my eyes. Perhaps Kashia understood a bit too much for my own comfort and as a result, she needed to be permanently silenced as a precaution.

“Why, yes." I said trying to control my not very obvious fake laughter.

After our laughters inevitably died down, we talked for a moment. She asked me numerous questions about my racing career and the best ways about moving up into the system wide F-Zero series. I was only happy to answer her questions as I calmly probed the very eager girl and sensed nothing sinister nor any traces of deception. That is, not withstanding my earlier suspicions of her being part of the Skysec Secret Service turning out to be true.

“Hey guess what Kixi?”

“What?”

“I just bought a super hovercar. It's a Porsche 9XX Sonic IV. I was going to try it out in the morning. Want to go with me Kixi? Just near the city limits. I would be honoured for you to take it for a test run.”

“Sure, what time?”

“Any time that suits you best.”

"At midday tomorrow?" I said on the tip of my tongue and smiled, and not bothered to consult Mako who was sitting next to me first. I saw it as the perfect opportunity to be alone with Kashia – and then kill her and dispose of her body.

"Cool, so I'll meet you outside in the foyer area of the apartments in which you're staying at then?" Keshia confirmed in a very almost childish girlie voice.

It almost made me feel pity for her, in being forced out in a position to have to kill her, after all she was so young and with much talent and potential. Yet then again like myself included, it was her who had chosen to undertake her other curriculums of a double secret life as a secret agent, and in the end, she may not have known it, but I was not only her sworn enemy, but on top of the Skysec hit list too for that matter. It felt as if she were innocent – almost, because in the end no matter how much I thought about it, she was not innocent and she wouldn't hesitate to put a blaster bolt in between my eyes if she were to learn that I were also Kay Blade.

"Yep we'll meet there then." I answered maintaining a friendly smile across my face.

By this stage the man and the young girl sitting at the same table had gotten up and moved on. It seemed that it was also time for Mako and I to do the same. I had wanted to find Kashia for one sole reason, to confirm what I suspected and that was done now. Staring Kashia in the face, and at her long black braided her, and into her dark blue eyes, I could still see nothing sinister about her. I was certain that despite her earlier comment regarding my eyes, that she hadn't the faintest clue about my covert extra curriculum activities.

“Pardon us Kashia.” I said on behalf of myself and Mako as we stood up. "It's been good chatting to you, I'll see you at midday sharp tomorrow."

In that instant, Kashia also stood and was suddenly standing beside us.

“I look forward to it," Kashia exclaimed with excitement, nodded, and then turned and left to mingle in with the other guests.

Turning back to face me slowly, Mako did raise her eyebrows at me in astonishment, regarding my quick decision to meet up with her tomorrow. Mako had however not picked up on the fact that Kashia ke Hanadi was in fact also an agent for the Skysec Secret Service. I figured that now wasn't a good time to tell her either, not with the present company included, nor the fact that I was about to propose to her.

“Kashia has talent, I want to get to know her more. I'll only be a couple of hours tomorrow morning, three hours at best.”

"Yeah that's all cool Kiks, I'm glad to see you two are getting along well." Mako replied oblivious to the perilous facts at hand.

"Come Mako, lets go for a quiet walk, just you and I around the other side of the lake." I said taking her hand. As we slowly walked away, we noticed where people were dancing in the outside garden earlier, that girls were putting their heads on men’s shoulders in a puppyish, convivial way, girls were swooning backward playfully into men’s arms, even into groups knowing that some one would arrest their falls. They were probably drunk I mused to myself not really caring, mentally building up my strength in regarding my imminent proposal in courting Mako.

 

EST 00:00, CE 3016-06-25, MST / LST 00:00, MTE 971-12-25

 

Graciously holding hands, both Mako and I began walking around the artificial lake, with the natural sounds of the living lake, gradually dominating over the sounds of the party which slowly become distant on the opposite side.
With the sun long having disappeared behind the hills beyond the city limits of the huge metropolis, far out into the distance, I could see it raining. It was only a five minute summer rain, cooling down the temperature somewhat. My skin felt sticky, probably due to the humidity after the warm rain and being close to the lake, the sky above us although dark now was hazy and clouded. However it didn't bother either of us as we kept on walking.

"How far are we gonna walk," Mako eventually asked.

"Lets just keep walking," I said without a care for the world. We looked at each other with smirks on our faces. "We'll just walk until we reach over there." I pointed out with the hand that wasn't holding on to hers.

"Okay then," Mako replied unsure as to why I wanted to go there, but decided to just play along and not ask any questions.

As we held hands together we continued to walk towards the point at the artificial lake that I had pointed to. We didn't talk. The thumb of my hand fondled with hers, I could here the sound of the tranquillity of her breathing as we walked.

The air still felt heavy and moist against my skin. It smelt of ozone, of grass and of electricity. We reached the other side of the lake. We found ourselves in a smaller garden, with a small lamp post illuminating a small bench that overlooked the lake. The partygoers on the opposite side now seemed nothing more than a blurred light. The twin moons of Mars rose white and silent between the firs. Their light casting our shadows on the small garden wall.

A canopy of luminous stars materialised amongst the ocean of blackness and the now clearing haze of clouds. Some were dull, merely flickering into existence every now and then, but there was an adequate amount of shimmering stars to now further illuminate the darkness across the night sky. The lake glistened, mirroring the dazzling assemblage of glittering stars and the luminescence from the lights of The Grand Outer Court on the other side of the lake. The faint wind brushed against the water’s surface, the ripples ruffled the stillness of the surface, and shattered the reflection of the surroundings.

We came to a halt, continued to hold hands and kissed. Despite the slight stickiness in the air, I still felt the soft touch of her beautiful skin brush along mine.

"I love you Mako." The soft sweet words exited my mouth, as the perfume of the nearby roses took me back in time to a transitory evocation of other times now past, as we stood there and continued holding hands.

Mars' twin moons under siege by stars seemed to lighten the night bringing forth more stars that shone and hung in the blackness. The never ending blackness consumed everything, except the stars which stood out like pebbles in front of a storm. Ever enduring they shone with the night cowered in a inky black sky. It seemed like guerrilla warfare as the darkness controlled the sky, yet the stars controlled the gleaming spots of where they originated. Now I knew would be the right time to tell her.

I let go of her hand, turning towards her and looked deeply into her beautiful brown eyes, brushing back a piece of her black hair that had gotten caught in front of her eye. Silently we listened to the natural sounds of the many natural creatures that surrounded us, such as the frogs croaking their late night serenade to the fireflies. We could hear the serene sounds of the rustling of the oak and maples, the smell of various trees and mown grass in which we stood on, as well as the faint distant sounds of the party far across the lake as we stared at each other for the good part of a minute.

"You, my love, are absolutely gorgeous." I said, taking her by the hand again and kissed her soft left cheek.

"And so are you." She said, kissing me softly on the lips.

“Mako," I said, cupping her face in my hands so that she would look up to me. My lips had stretched into a gentle smile. "You really have to know that you are perfect, no matter what you say or think.”

Running my thumb across her soft cheek, I added, enunciating every word carefully, "After everything we've been through, you, of all people, deserve to be happy. And to be loved. Even more. And I want to be the one who can give and share it with you. The two of us. Together." My crystal blue eyes shone with sincerity.

Mako's lower lip quivered. Her brown eyes turned glassy. The back of her throat thickened. She took a deep breath and then slowly grinned. She saw me visibly relax as she did so, like a huge weight was lifted from me.

Trying her best to staunch the tears that threatened to fall, Mako didn't know whether to just cry or laugh. And she still didn't know what were the right words to say at that moment.

I then reached down into a tiny pocket embedded within my dress, pulled out a small black box, and slowly got down onto one knee. I held her left hand, took in a deep breath, and thought about the words I would say, before I began to speak softly. "Mako Jhasmin Zaneca, I have loved you since the moment I laid my eyes on you many years ago. I have always dreamed of a future between us, of us together as a happy family. I promised myself that after this war has ended, that I would marry you. However the fact remains that nobody really knows when it will ever be until this war is over, and what will become of us before it is long over. All I know is that tonight is the perfect night for this. I love you, Mako, with all my heart. I would die for you right now. I know I wouldn't be able to live without you. So, Mako Jhasmin Zaneca, will you marry me?" I opened the box, and there sat a diamond ring that had small intricate carvings around the base of it.

With teary eyes and a big smile that lit up the whole entire galaxy she choked up a "yes."

“Yes," Mako said again a little louder. "Yes, yes, a million times yes.”

I then slid the ring on the appropriate finger and got back onto my feet, pulling her into my arms and kissed her passionately. When we pulled apart I smiled her my trademark grin.

She then placed her hand on the centre of my chest, Mako could feel my steady heartbeat beneath her fingers. A chuckle escaped her lips as she thought that there was still something more she wanted to know.

“Why? Why did someone with so much talent and potential like you choose me?”

I looked at her in disbelief at being asked the same question yet again – and during all times now. Letting out a small laugh, I gathered the stray strands of her black hair and tucked them behind her ear. I then let my hand curl and linger on the side of her slender neck. Staring deeply into her eyes, I said, "Because you're the most beautiful and strongest person I've ever met. And you may not be as crazy and reckless as me, nor scare the crap out of me like I do to you at times, but I'll still love you anyway. Every single part of you, and I still strongly believe, that in time you will surpass me, for you my sweet love, are the chosen one far beyond you can even dare to comprehend right at this present moment."

A tear rolled down Mako's cheek, but she still smiled. Reaching up, she pressed her lips tenderly to mine. When she pulled away, she leaned her forehead against mine and whispered, "I love you too, and if I ever do surpass you, or become the chosen one in whatever that is supposed to mean, you'll always still be my hero Kixi."

The two lovers that we were embraced in a passionate hug, holding each other close as I muttered the words, "The love that is key to my life, is you." To each other, we were everything either of us had hoped for – inseparable, and tonight I confirmed to my sweet love that we would spend the rest of our lives together.

The stars above us winked at us from the endless arch of the void black beyond the corona's of the two moons of Mars. In places they were birthstone blue and beautiful, all a glitter in their heavenly finery. The ones furthest away, almost outside the span of human comprehension, were like flashing pinpricks in a veil of darkness. They had a faint, silver tint and they looked like they were the distant, glittering sparks from angel fire. It seemed that there was a snowfall sparkling in outer space and we felt privileged to witness it.

We sat on the small bench close to the water for a good thirty minutes. With both our arms wrapped around each other, she lay her head over my shoulder purring like a kitten, while I fondled with the back of her ear, and hair while we silently gazed at the beautiful night sky.

 

EST 02:00, CE 3016-06-25, MST / LST 02:00, MTE 971-12-25

 

Apart from letting both Chris and Kajtia know that my now fiancée Mako was ecstatic about the prospect of marrying me, we kept the whole affair low key, not immediately telling anyone else including the other members of our crew. Instead that would wait until tomorrow as we slowly planned to let the word out. Tonight had been exhausting as it was, needless did I have to say why. The party had now very much died down, with most people already departed. Wisely Mako and I said our good nights and followed suit.

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