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).


38. The Superfluous and the Requisite


~The Superfluous and the Requisite~



The atmosphere back on the Aglaia was a close one. Upon returning to the ship Everett repeated the details of his encounter with the Beings of Sentience leaving out receiving The Knowledge.

“What even are the Beings of Sentience?” Everett asked Skylar to distract the team from asking questions that he couldn’t or wouldn’t answer.

“Do you remember how they mentioned the Beings of Chaos and the Beings of Peace?” Skylar questioned back and waited until Everett nodded, “The Beings of Sentience were originally a faction of the Beings of Peace and although they can’t strictly create, their main purpose is to be omnipotent enough to warn others and prevent catastrophe. They’ve inhabited Cael ever since Nova, their home planet disappeared.”


Skylar nodded, “One day parts of Nova started to cease to geographically exist, more and more places followed in that pattern and the inhabitants were either forced to vacate the planet or stay. The Beings of Sentience chose to leave and ever since, they have never been able to see the fate of their planet or their brethren. They’ve been on Cael pretty much since.”

They had the chance to talk since the ship had docked for a moment just outside the orbit of Cael. This meant that Fitz was busy cleaning the ship from the salt water and Reese was helping him. Cael was a blue sphere behind them and Everett would never get over how space was utterly sublime. He and Skylar were left alone in the cockpit, after changing into drier clothes, with Everett sitting in the passenger seat unbuckled and turned to face Skylar, and she was on the floor sitting cross-legged.

“How do you even know all of this stuff?” Everett questioned perplexed as to how Skylar’s head was filled with so much knowledge.

Skylar laughed, “I kind of have to know this stuff since I am the Princess of a whole planet. Diplomacy with other planets is expected and if I am to take over my mother’s rule it is vital that I can practice my knowledge.”

“Would you want to be Queen of Zeld?” Everett enquired as he slid down from his seat to the floor, taking a similar position to his companion.

“I used to be, when I was little I looked to my mother like there was no one else in the room,” she sighed and her lips twisted in the same way her eyebrows scrunched, “Now I can’t even fathom doing what my mother does. Luckily I won’t ever have to be Queen if my mother doesn’t die or if the Pantheon gets bonded with another person.”

Skylar then regaled him with childhood stories of the Pantheon, explaining that the spouses of the monarch never took over because they simply weren’t compatible. She described the Pantheon as a fussy child who would only receive affection from the people they were bonded with and their children. “it’s bizarre how no one but the monarch knows how the Pantheon works exactly, but it’s always been that way. I wouldn’t even want to know the headache that it causes my mother.”

The twist of the lips changed into a grin and she twirled a loose strand of still wet pale hair behind her ear. It was then that Everett noticed the jewelled studs that she had placed in her ears, small like stars and made from a red jewel. He didn’t get the chance to ask her on it because the other half of the team arrived back in the cockpit.

“Let’s go to Zeld shall we?” Fitz motioned his voice having a disappointed lint to it. All of the Zeldian’s were sad that their planet was under threat and yet determined that they were going to help in any way they could.

“Let’s go try and salvage it,” Reese muttered and buckled herself into her seat, encouraging Skylar to do the same.

Fitz signalled Everett to drive before saying, “I’ve reversed the directions that we took from Zeld to Cael so it shouldn’t be difficult, just slow down before the orbit so we can discuss if the Miracle is monitoring the atmosphere or not.”

Everett only nodded strapping himself in before placing his hands on the controls. A press on the accelerator and they were driving through light years of space, the area around them flickering blackness. From this angle Everett couldn’t ponder on the pure beauty of space and instead it was static, black whirring static. Then they were approaching Zeld and hardly no time had passed at all. His fingers relaxed on the controls and soon they were docking again with the green planet a mere five minutes away.

“What is our plan then?” Everett asked, looking at the rest of the team as he reclined back into his chair.

“Well we know where the Superfluous Flowers are,” Skylar intoned smiling acutely.

“Do we?” Reese said, turning her head to look at Skylar.

“We do because I was taken to a beach when I was little and luckily I still remember the coordinates,” fireworks of pride burst in Skylar’s cheeks making her cheekbones stick out and a faded freckle came to attention on the side of her jaw. “All we need to decide now is whether it is safe to enter Zeld or not.”

“I can listen to the radios and see if there’s any surveillance on atmospheric flight travel, if there is my people will create chatter.” Fitz asked and when he received nods he switched on a radio in the dash, placing a headphone to an ear.

“You have people Gerald?” Everett cheekily asked knowing that the name would annoy him.

“Of course,” Fitz said not even rising to the bate Everett was doling out, “They’ll know to hide from The Miracle and they’ll be able to create chatter on the radio’s even if the apocalypse has arrived.”

He smiled in certainty and turned his attention to the radio, his head tilting as he listened. The cockpit was eerily silent except from the tapping of Skylar’s feet gently and nervously against the floor. Then the headphone was off and he was repeating something in a language Everett didn’t know but Skylar did.

“There’s no surveillance on people coming in just people coming out.” Skylar said breathlessly, “Well that’s stupid of them, I guess the tragic flaw of The Miracle is arrogance.”

“Then we can use that against them,” Reese murmured and she was ushering Skylar for the coordinates. Skylar made her way to the front of the cockpit and pressed close in between the two front seats, she inputted the coordinates that would take them to the magical flower they needed.

Then they were descending through the atmosphere, combing in between branches and cleared spots of sky, passing forests and cities and uncovered lakes. Then a cove appeared and the edge of water poked from behind a gathering of rocks.

“We’re here,” the quiet voice of Skylar broke the team from the silence that had accumulated and they parked on the sand before exiting to feel salt sea breeze. Overcome with dizziness Everett shut his eyes, disbelieving how alike to Earth this was and how different to Earth it was.

He was on a beach, a goddamn beach, and there was sand under the treads of his boots and the sea was in the distance. He remembered dazedly unlacing his shoes and rolling up his flannel trousers before striding into the sea to feel the ocean dance on his toes. But there was no horizon or ships or surfers or sand castles. The sea was contained to the cove, coming from a waterfall on the eastern wall, dropping off underground further back and only made into a sea by the wind generating a current and a set of waves.

It was artificial, nothing compared to Earth and yet something else entirely.

“Ever–“ Skylar was beside him, his name halted half way through as she noticed the sad expression on his face. He was broken from his wandering homesickness and he liked the way half of his name sounded on the edge of her lips. “We need to search for this flower,” she said looking disappointed that she had to drag him away from his reverie.

“Yeah,” his voice was thick and contained and he was moving away from the water to the sand where the rest of the team were waiting. “Let’s go and search for some flowers,” he bent to pick up his discarded boots and Skylar was speaking again, briefly remembering how she saw the flowers in rock pools one time, for just a glimpse.

There were exactly six rock pools separating the sand and water, half of them submerged nearly entirely with moving water. They each took a pool and sifted through seaweed and fish to hunt for a flower that would look like a shell.

Everett was scared that he was going to be bitten by something, his mind wandering to sparks of blood and pain. But instead of pain his fingers tripped on velvet and his hand was being drawn back, pulling whatever he had touched further to the surface. In his hand was a flower with a long thin stem, curling leaves leading up to a curled amber flower. Oranges turned into peach near the bottom of a flower that looked like the conch shells of Earth. He was even tempted to hold it up to his ear to see if he could hear the sea within it.

“Is this it?” Everett motioned to Skylar with one hand, drawing her over to look at it. Her face was drawn close to his as she inspected the plant.

“That is it.” She reassured and the plant was pulled out from its roots, Everett’s hands coming back wet and still touching amber velvet. Looking away from the plant he noticed that Fitz and Reese were nowhere to be seen.

“Where do you think Fi–“ he didn’t get to finish his question as Skylar’s hand came quick over his mouth. Now was not the time to deconstruct the way her hands felt over his lips or how she had to stand on her tiptoes to reach him properly, or how she was dragging him further into the shadow of the cove.

Her lips were close to his ear, the breath travelling down to his neck, “There’s voices down the beach and they are not Fitz or Reese’s.” Everett instantly stilled from where he was almost pinned to the rocks and it was just him and Skylar pressed close to remain hidden.

“I think we need more patrols around these parts,” a voice was saying and Everett could hear the hissing tone to it. He was sure to stay still and slow down his breathing so as to not draw attention.

From his periphery he could see two figures emerge from the other side of the beach, black arcing lines travelled down their necks to match their blackened eyes and they looked menacing even from a short distance. He could feel Skylar draw herself tighter against him, now was not the time to think about that, and he looked into her eyes to see worry written in them.

“It’s not our place to critique the orders we are given,” another voice hissed back, “we follow them, like herding people around the TeleV’s in the main squares for the announcement, and by passing on the whispers of The Miracle.”

“Hm, they won’t like if orders are not followed,” the other one answered and they walked off, a brief glimpse of the guns positioned on their backs leaving a foreboding warning.

Everett felt Skylar relax, her hand going lax over his mouth and yet their eyes were drawn to one another.

“It’s okay,” Everett whispered to her, looking down at the pale girl, “They’re gone.”

“Will it really be okay?” she questioned and took the Superfluous flower from his grip, “We need to find more of these; we need to beat them.” The them in her statement was clear to him. Her voice was still quiet and she held onto the flower with dear life, taking in comfort from the delicate stem.

“Well then, let’s go and find the others, see if they found anything, and go hunt for a TeleV to see the announcement they so speak of. It’s best if we know as much as possible.”

He could tell that Skylar didn’t particularly like the idea but they didn’t have much choice. They had to do something, even if that something was risky, because survival was a requisite. 



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