Up There so High

What do you get when you have a space fanatic, a runaway princess and a bunch of miscreants? Well, you get the three E's; Explosions, Expletives and Enemies.
You may not laugh along with this story but you may sing (because the main space man is very much fond of that).

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35. The Rush and Relaxation Oxymoron

 

~The Rush and Relaxation Oxymoron~

~Everett~

 

They had all retreated to the ship, feeling safer in its sunken walls. Skylar was slumped against a wall, her knees drawn up to her chest and her face tucked into her knees. She looked numb, completely drawn away from the world. 

Everett sat down beside her and resisted the urge to throw an arm over her shoulder. “A penny for your thoughts?” he whispered and naturally she didn’t get the turn of phrase. “Nah, your thoughts are worth much more than a penny.”

Skylar said nothing and she did not lift her head.

“You’re thinking that you’re somehow like the bastard that kidnapped you aren’t you?”

Skylar didn’t have to nod for Everett to know that was what she was thinking. “Because you aren’t like that thing at all.”

Skylar shook her head.

“Don’t shake your head at me princess,” Everett laughed and made an impulsive decision, he held her hand. For some reason she didn’t mind that he called her princess. “I’ve known you for a little bit now and you've only used your powers once on me but never to harm me, and you haven't threatened or kidnapped me. In the time I’ve known you, you’ve took me under your care and made sure that I’ve saw the wonders of the Supernova Galaxy.”

“You’re not being serious.” She said wetly and it was hard not to notice that she had tears coming up her throat.

“I’m being deadly serious, well not deadly but you get what I mean. Just because you share the same powers does not mean that you are like them. Stop being such a silly billy.”

The Earth colloquialism was wasted on her.

“Look,” he sighed, “I’ve seen people who have manipulated others without any powers, I’ve seen enough corrupt people to know what makes one. You’re not one of them. The Miracle uses their powers for mind control and to manipulate everyone they come into contact with, you don’t. In my books that means you’re instantly better than them.”

Everett remembered when Nick Thornby waited until Everett was blackout drunk to confess things to him. He made sure that what was said that night would not be remembered, and it was only since Everett had spent enough time in prison to ponder over it, that he actually remembered it.

It was the night after Everett had gotten first place on the board for the first time ever. He had blown off his team, saying that he felt too sick to celebrate that night. But Nick had cornered him in his bedroom and convinced him to a trip to the Blue Room. Together, with a bottle or two of tequila between them, they danced through the blue room that night.

Everett knew now that it was about an hour in when Nick slipped something into the last swig of the bottle and told Everett to drink the last dregs away.

Of course Everett didn’t notice at the time. Tequila was his nemesis after all.

"You know Ever,” at the time Everett didn’t reprimand him for the nickname that only Morton could call him, “When NASA said to pick someone I did not necessarily know that I would pick you straight away.”

He looked at Everett just to see how far gone he was. At this point of the night Everett was only fit for nodding along to the story even though his head was stuck to his chest from where he was leaned against a table.

“NASA picked me because I’m good at what I do, I’m good at befriending others, at fooling them when the truth is right under their nose. But the internship with NASA looks good on the application to MI6 which is where I’m headed. You’re looking at one of the future undercover spy’s right here buddy.”

More gloating ensued and Everett was glad that he couldn’t remember this part.

“I’m also good at being told what to do so when NASA said that my job was to make someone else fail I knew that that was my chance,” Nick sighed, “I did not know it would be you but something about you stuck, you were so prepared to better yourself, to be where everyone else wasn’t. I need you to remember, but not necessarily remember, all of this when the catalyst occurs. I don’t know how serious I’ve made it, but the more serious it is the more NASA will pay me. It’s only human nature to want to please your superiors Ever.”

Nick justified it like what he was doing was getting a sibling grounded on purpose, not landing someone in prison for two years with the serious future repercussions of a criminal record.

“It’s not just that Everett, it’s the possibility that the Miracle chose me because of my ability, that it didn’t just take me on a whim, because I’m the Princess of Zeld. That makes it worse because I served a purpose, a purpose I ignored. They could have persuaded me to spill everything with their powers but they didn’t. They needed me for more than that. I could have angered them more than I planned, angered them into doing something volatile.”

She looked at Everett with such sad eyes, “What if I put Zeld into more danger than I anticipated?”

Everything about running away from the Miracle was planned and calculated. She knew that her parents would be safe if she did it. Now she wasn’t so sure and she made this apparent to Everett. 

“If you have then you’ll fix it by getting rid of the Miracle all together. We need to know more about them to beat them. That’s the whole point of this right?” Everett was quick to reassure her.

Skylar nodded. He also knew that the running away was to help protect the secret of Earth that she undoubtedly knew.

“I know that you’ll beat them because your resolve is near indestructible, you’re like Superman."

“Wouldn’t it be Superwoman, since I’m technically female?”

Everett smiled, and nudged her side. For once she didn’t question the Earth like topic and went along with it.

“Exactly. Plus the Miracle is a volatile being anyway, you can’t know that it would do something with or without your influence.”

They were still holding hands when Fitz and Reese came into view. “Hey Saddo’s, let's buckle up and get a move on.”

Reese gave them a look while Fitz was quick to get back into the cockpit.

“What are we doing?” Everett asked.

“Going Drag Racing, who’s with me?” Fitz nearly vibrated in place at the excitement he was exerting.

“I’m all for it.” Everett chimed, still holding Skylar’s hand as he moved them into a standing position.

“I don’t know,” Skylar was muttering fumbling with her hands.

“You never know,” Reese was saying, “The speed and exhilaration might chase your blues away. Plus it's why we came to Cael in the first place.” The tone was suggestive and Skylar was soon nodding along and agreeing albeit reluctantly.

“Okay, let’s be blown away by this drag race,” Everett muttered and switched places with Fitz who actually knew where the drag races took place.

“When they’re interstellar they’re really just races, but I think the track that is open today is a bit of both so we should have fun.”

As the spaceship moved through Cael Everett was pressed to the front of his seat just to try and take everything in. He was underwater with gills on his lungs and mermen like people swimming around him. The fish were different, the plants were different, even the sea looked different, slightly more on the purplish side rather than the green side if blue could tinge purplish. He felt like he was out of his mind and in crystal clear sanity. He didn’t know what to feel and that was a change.

Fitz was quick to get them to the drag racing track, the road splinting off into a track of figure eight shapes and sharp turns and in the distance a platform leading off into the atmosphere. He turned into an area that signalled a ticket booth and he went back into the glove box to retrieve a wallet.

“Didn’t you know you had to pay to be a part of the race?” Fitz was saying with a look of disgust on his face, “But if you win you get all of everyone’s money plus some extra, it’s a great way to make money actually if you’re skilled.”

“Are you skilled Gerald?” Everett asked just to be cheeky.

“Don’t question me like that Earthling,” Fitz retorted and Everett had to look to Skylar to explain.

“Not many people know about the existence of Earth but the term Earthling typically applies to those who like to roll around in the dirt. Messy, unorganised, filthy, it can be used as an adjective or as a derogatory term.” Skylar smiled while she was saying it.

Everett scoffed.

“I do not roll around in dirt thank you very much,” he pretended to look affronted as Fitz drew out some coins and tossed them at the server at the ticket booth.

The Squonk handed over a ticket to stick onto the dash, number two hundred and thirty three they were, and they drove away to park just left of the track where all of the other spaceships had parked.

“We wait until the claxon sounds and then we start to line up against the track,” Fitz looked pleased and relaxed and it was all perfect until another spaceship pulled up next to them and the driver leaned towards them.

“This looks like it will be a great race,” the driver said, a female Squonk floating horizontally over her window. The spaceship had no chair, to accommodate the tail and she looked mischievous. The purple hair, the orange eyes and the black tail pointing out before her made up a great image.

“Yeah, it looks like it,” Fitz replied vaguely, slapping Everett for how his eyes wavered down to her chest, which was uncovered might he add bar from her long violet strands. Maybe getting fish slapped by her wouldn’t be a bad idea. No his father raised him better than that. His eyes went to her eyes to find them smirking at him.

“You were enquiring about The Miracle weren’t you, before with the Beings?” The woman whispered, leaning her elbows onto her window to get that little bit closer to them.

“How would you know?” Skylar asked, coming forward to survey this woman.

“I’m a confidant of the Beings, they trust me with anything,” The woman tossed her hair over her shoulder and Everett didn’t allow his eyes to slip downwards, no he was a good boy. “I know that you were asking so I’ll let you into a little secret, I know how to avoid The Miracle’s manipulation.”

“How?” Fitz asked and the woman smiled.

“I’m not going to tell you that silly, you have to win the race first and then we’ll talk.” The woman smiled even wider and floated backwards towards the steering wheel, “It’s Juda by the way and I’ll see you at the finish line.”

Her spaceship jerked and as soon as it began to move the claxon sounded.

The race was on.

“Oh you betcha we will win,” Fitz gritted and pressed a button to activate the windows so that the Aglaia became more streamlined and the rushing water wouldn't cause a concussion. 

They lined up along the starting point with hundreds of other space ships and the claxon sounded again.

The race was on.

The drag race was something similar to putting your head into an oven. It felt volcano hot and face meltingly fast. Everett didn’t think he breathed or conceived a thought through the whole ideal and the girls were no better, clinging onto their harnesses with wide eyes. Fitz navigated them through the track with a precision and strategy that resembled a maniac, turning the wheel at odd angles and swearing through the corner of his lips.

Fitz's silver hair only stood on end as they neared the platform going into space. They sped up it, the other spaceships encompassing every side of the Aglaia. Everett held his breath even closer to his lungs in terror that they would tip off the side of it and crash.

They didn’t crash.

They flew up it, moving in a lateral direction and soon they were surrounded by open water and the wheels of the Aglaia disappeared in the favour of lights whirring and Fitz putting his foot down onto the accelerator.

They burst out of the atmosphere like a broken cracker at Christmas and whirred sideways like a pin being dropped.

Everett was sure that he was going to lose his stomach.

They flew and they dived and they hurdled.

The air was nothingness.

Everett’s eyes elongated out of the side of his head.

Then they were slowing for some reason Everett didn’t know and Fitz was relaxing as he let go of the accelerator and they floated back down into the atmosphere.

“Are we done yet?” Reese was saying from the back sounding like her lungs were coming back through her mouth.

“We’re done.”

“Did we win?” Skylar croaked.

“Don’t know,” Fitz nonchalantly replied, the track coming back into view as they flew back downwards, “They tell us that after they check the data.”

Everett was silenced, his voice had been taken by the speed. It wasn’t as fast as going through space to reach a planet but it was for longer. At least with flying through space was quick that your face melted and reformed in the space of a minute or so.

This was more like fifteen minutes of your lungs being crushed.

“How long did that take?” Everett finally voiced, his lungs relishing in not being crushed anymore.

“I don’t know maybe a quarter of an hour, that was the longest race I’ve done but I think we were quite quick.”

Fitz didn’t think this was a problem. Fitz was clearly insane.

Then a croak came through from the ticket booth, a bunch of syllables that Everett didn’t know and Fitz was listening intently.

Then a three figure number sounded and Fitz was smiling.

“We just won ourselves a secret and a race baby.” 

 

~

 

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