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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43. The First Battle

 

~The First Battle~

~Everett~

 

He wasn’t confused by the first instance where time snapped back to its normal speed. If anything, he concluded that it was his nerves and his excitement over an actual space battle that slowed time down. Time came back to its normal speed and he came to with bullets flying through the air, the sound of boots hitting hard on the floor, more Goon’s coming to investigate what the situation was, and bodies hitting the floor.

They were aiming to kill here.

Everett wasn’t sure if he was alright with that. He had maimed and injured sure, but he had never killed someone. Killing meant going beyond the limits that he had set himself, but if it was be killed or to kill wasn’t it self-defence? Wasn’t that therefore something else entirely?

“There may be a time when you want to walk away, when you want to put the towel in because we push you too hard, there may be a time when you want to quit and never see a lick of Space or NASA again and we won’t stop you from leaving by any means. But we trust that when that feeling comes, because it will come, you push down that dark matter and you get up and you combat it and you do what your heart deserves.”

The inspiration that had come from NASA blinkered into his brain and then the Switchblade was out and he was slicing an arm of a close by Goon, pivoting and relying on the self-defence training that NASA and prison had instilled into him. Being in a battle wasn’t something new, but having weapons was. The Goon went down in hurt and the butt of the Switchblade came down onto his head to knock him out.

To another Goon the knuckleduster, without claws or the glove extension, punched a cheek and black blood spurted out of lips. Another hand punched a nose, a temple, another blade connected with a leg. Never killing, only maiming, only in self-defence.

 

~Reese~

 

Her vision blurred as possibilities of future moves roved in front of her eyes, one of the Goons would feint, and another one preferred his right side. Layers and layers of possibilities merged with the live replay of events.

In her distraction, in one future that she could not see, was a Goon that aimed a punch that connected. He couldn’t see her, not then, but he could estimate where her position was. He succeeded in knocking her sideways, her goggles going askew as they left indents in her eyes and Reese knew that her glamour was undone. The Goon’s eyes scanned her body and grinned. Reese cursed inwardly and pulled another blade from her hair.

“They’ve got goggles!” The Goon shouted to his team mates and Reese jabbed a blade into an exposed strip of neck. Blood spurted upwards but Reese couldn’t dwell on that.

“Shoot to kill fellas,” she murmured to her group and the battle was on again, smears of the future playing in front of her eyes the entire time.

 

~Everett~

 

The next time the battle slowed in front of him Everett knew that it wasn’t normal. He felt his own arm slow as it was going to punch another Goon, their hits more coordinated to the face after the warning shout. Then a spot on the back of the Goon, visible from the angle that his body was turned, glowed orange like there was a dimple at the base of his spine.

Something in his brain told him to strike it and his Switchblade curved around to hit it, digging in and dragging upwards.

The Goon collapsed, and didn’t move again. Everett wasn’t sure whether he was dead or not, since the wound wasn’t that deep or overly large. But the Goon was paralysed and he was going nowhere.

“Hit the base of the spine!” Everett called to his team, his Switchblade moving wildly to target that specific spot.

“How do you know that?” The body of Reese called back from a few paces from him. Her goggles had been knocked off and the Goons surrounded her, believing her to be of weakness because she was visible. Fitz was no doubt near in order to help her out.

“I just do? Do it!” Everett urged and when twin blows from Fitz and Reese registered on two Goons they fell instantly and did not move again.

Reese smiled ruthlessly and after that the Goons fell easier, hands slapped away from radios easily by a cunning blow to the base of the spine.

With the guards incapacitated for now they made their way to Skylar’s parent’s quarters, noticing a small door at the back of their room. That was the door to the Pantheon room.

Everett pushed his goggles off, staring at it, they had come this far and he smiled. “Here we are,” he said as he pushed it open and saw a corridor of door after door. “Do you have anything to block this door?” he asked the team and watched as Fitz drew his own goggles off.

“I picked up a spare rifle from them,” he motioned and positioned it through the handle of the door, securing the door closed behind them.

“What does it even do?” Everett asked as he pulled open more doors that got progressively smaller.

“Electric shock bullets,” Fitz answered and ignored Everett’s response of how cool that was.

Then they came to the final door, the smallest and Everett knew that it was the final one. “Are we ready?” he asked stupidly.

“Ready as we’ll ever be.” Reese answered, taking her bracelets in hand because she still had half of her arsenal, and unhooking a dagger from her boot. Everett hadn’t even known she had that in the first place.

The door was pushed open and the sight shocked him.

A pool dominated half of the room with an empty podium in the centre. A woman leaned over it soaking wet, black clothes sticking to skin. Skylar sat with her parents in a corner, leaning over her father to protect him. Her mother, who looked identical to Skylar with pointier ears, had sweat ridden hair and sunken eyes. They did not make a happy sight.

With a minute glance Everett sprung round and jammed his Switchblade into the handle, the weapon lengthening to brace the door shut. They didn’t want more Goons coming in there.

 

~Fitz~

 

He poised the rifle on his shoulder, aiming it to the Goon in the corner and firing it long range. He knew what they were capable of and as soon as the charge generated and the bullet fired, he fired another one. In the split second in between them connecting with the Goon he shot his pistol, aiming for a shin. It would make it even harder when they were electrocuted and shot in the leg at the same time.

The Goon went down with a curse and a shudder. But the rifle wasn’t moved off of Fitz’s shoulder. He didn’t feel safe without it in this room.

The woman near the podium didn’t even stir. “Garrick was always slow at reading a situation,” she sighed, pushing a strand of wet hair from her face. “Skylar darling your cavalry's here.”

Skylar spat in the woman’s direction and the doors behind them bulged as the Goons started to press on it from the other side. Dammit they didn’t have a lot of time. All weapons were trained on the woman as she spoke next.

“Hello cavalry, I am The Miracle, it’s nice to meet you,” she smiled pleasantly, her eyes twinkling at them, “Even after you’ve killed and injured a few of my men.”

They had planned this meeting to some degree. Everett would get Skylar, Reese would look for a way out, Fitz would distract The Miracle and be joined by the rest of his team when they were done. The aim of this mission was not to defeat The Miracle, since they knew that was a difficult option without much information to go on, the aim was to get Skylar and her parents out.

That was what they were doing.

With Everett edging in Skylar’s direction and Reese’s eyes pointing to the small window on the other side of the pool, Fitz knew that it was time to attack.

That is why he fired his gun in quick succession, six bullets aimed at different parts of The Miracle’s body. A blade from Reese was released to the side and Everett had his claws out, side stepping to Skylar.

All of the bullets and the blade stopped an inch before they could meet The Miracle’s skin. They hovered for a second while The Miracle looked proud of them and then they dropped to the ground, the sound of metal and devastation colliding with Fitz’s ears.

“I am a powerful Being darlings, things like that isn’t going to faze me,” she sighed.

Fitz was perplexed, how did that not work? If that didn’t work then that would mean that half of their arsenal and half of their planning went down the drain in mere moments. From the side of his eye he could see Everett reach Skylar and murmur to her.

Fitz and Reese would need to distract The Miracle from them, desperately.

That was why he dropped the rifle from his shoulder and placed his pistol back into the holster, running towards The Miracle with full force.

He was made from Lich and he was a Creature. His fists would have to do.

The Miracle did not stop him as he came at her and maybe he should have stopped. Maybe he should have realised that something was going to go wrong. In the frozen second of him running to her, her expression went unreadable and slack. When he flies at her she blocked every punch he directed her way, twirling away from the pool edge and the podium, blocking his kicks and his frustration seemed to be amusing to her.

Then with one punch fists met fists and the crunch of his knuckles against hers shouldn’t be painful but it is. The pain shoots up from his fingertips up his arm and he watched in disbelief as his skin cracked.

That would take some force, force that shouldn’t be able to be displayed in a body like hers. His eyes met hers and suddenly he wasn’t in the Pantheon Room anymore.

He was eighteen and a runaway after his parents had been carted off to prison by the Gov. He first hid himself away in the family’s garage and finally completed the spaceship that he and his father had worked on since he had experienced thirteen sun cycles. He ran himself haggard and lost himself in the design and the construction. When he re-emerged he found himself with a patchwork of a spaceship but a completed spaceship nonetheless.

He named it after his mother, even though the name itself had connotations of beauty and creativity.

He didn’t waste time and he flew it out from the sunroof of the garage, being wobbly at first because it was only the third time that he flew a spaceship. But technically it was the first time he had flown one properly because training didn’t count. His father had trained him in everything to do with spaceships all because his father had loved them as a hobby. Spaceships weren’t that common in Zaro but they were vehicles of grace and awe despite that.

Fitz flew for the first time and never looked back as the Aglaia rose into the atmosphere and out of the orbit of Zeld.

He didn’t have a plan, and his rebellion showed through with the dyed blue hair (the colour being the punishment for losing a bet with his father) and he drifted into open space without a clue about where he was going next.

He was thinking back on his mother, who taught him that being of his Creature status meant that he was worth just as much as the rest of them except he was near indestructible. She showed him that the marble patterns to his skin and the natural grey tone to his hair was something to be proud of.

He was thinking back on this with an aching heart, drifting in open space somewhere, when another spaceship passed. It was mottled grey and its underside was camouflaged to mimic the surrounding galaxy. It had circular windows and it was impressive and foreboding, large enough to swallow the Aglaia in one gulp.

The windows were black and dark except the one at the back, where a beady brown eye poked through, large and surrounded by dark red skin. Then he blinked and a woman stood there, a smile painted on her lips as she stared at him.

What are you? A female voice echoed in his brain and he answered her and he told her about his Lich skin and his Creature Status.

How peculiar, the words ended and when he blinked next the ship was gone, the girl was gone and he didn’t know why he was pressed tightly to the windscreen of the Aglaia.

He had saw The Miracle before and that made all of the difference. How stupid had he been when he was eighteen?

But he didn’t have time to think on that question as the marble pattern to his skin cracked up to his elbow and The Miracle took his arm in hand. With one smooth motion The Miracle, with strength in her underestimated body, hauled him across the room where he collided with a wall.

He remembered the thud his body made as he was pressed against it. He remembered Reese screaming and he remembered The Miracle from when he had met her all those years ago.

 

~

 

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