Joken branwadas! The whole lot of them; thinking that the spirits had gifted them a third chance. As if their deeds had earned them another opportunity, one more prospect of living. The whole concept was ridiculous, borderline insane. They should had known better. Should had known that ripas, honons, splitas and frikdreinas didn’t deserve a third chance; they were lucky to have gotten the second, extremely lucky.
And what did they do with their second chance? Like they did with everything granted to them, they squandered it. They murdered it; poisoned it; tortured it. They drop weaponized Hythyodium onto it. They fought a devastating war over it; each side declaring themselves the true guardians of it. Oh no, they did not deserve a third chance; their actions didn’t warranted it; they had not earned it.
Only the pure, the innocent, the good were worthy of redemption, the opportunity at another life, another planet. But not an unsullied soul walked among them. Young Heda was the closest; and even her pubescent hands were stained crimson with enemy blood. The last inhabitants of Earth, a heinous collection of warmongering human filth, weren’t deserving; perhaps, that is why the spirits took Earth from them to begin with.
The false prophet, Russell, with his pseudo pacifistic babble had offered salvation to the survivors; however, the price of admission to his utopia was the remainder of their souls. Indecision ripped through the survivors; followed quickly by fighting. Arguments and animosity divided them into three camps; the ones who wanted to salvage the remnants of their battered souls, the ones who had already sold it to the highest bidder, and the ones who were too exhausted to care anymore. All turned to their young commander for guidance.
Under the advisement of her Fleimkepa, the surviving members of Spacekru, and her adopted mother, Heda graciously turn down the offer to drink Russell’s Kool-Aid as John had put it. Unfortunately, that decision sealed their hapless fate. With a nefarious smirk on his euphoria face, Russell order the apprehension and confinement of the invaders to his homeland, laughing the whole time at the foolish aliens who followed the commands of a child.
That was three months ago. Three months locked away in an underground Halcyon Stone mine with little water, even less food, and daily backbreaking labor followed by nightly beatings. So much for third chance.
BANG. BANG. BANG.
“Raven, for float’s sake, knock it off with the goddamn banging. You’re giving me a freaking migraine,” John Murphy bellowed from his cot on the other side of the makeshift workshop; the heels of his hands digging painful into his eye sockets, attempting to blocked out the harsh artificial lighting of the mine.
“Shut up, John. At least she’s trying to help, unlike your lazy ass.”
“Trying to help? Trying to help,” John jumped forcibly from his cot, facing his paramour. “There’s nothing to help, Emori. There’s nothing to do. Look around, we’re screwed. We’re royally floated. We’re up Shit’s Creek without a paddle drifting towards Shitsville, Shitsylvania in the United States of Shitsmerica!”
Tossing her crude wrench down, Raven stormed out of the mysterious device that she and Emori had found buried under a pile of broken mining equipment four weeks ago. Huffing her way towards John, “I didn’t spend 125 years in cryosleep flying across the galaxy to waste away getting a bunch of dirty hippies high! I’m gonna go everything I can to get us out of this hellhole, Murphy. Spacekru doesn’t give up. We didn’t give up when we couldn’t get to the ground. And we’re sure as hell not gonna give up now. We’re better than that. You’re better than that.” Raven emphasize her discourse with a persistent finger to John’s chest.
“The two of you don’t even know what that piece of junk does; it could be completely useless,” John replied, shame dripping from his words.
Walking back to the device, “That’s why we’re experimenting with it. Seeing if we can get it to turn on, get it to do something. If we can figure out what it does, perhaps we can use it to escape and get back to the ship, get the float out of here. You know you could be useful and help us instead of sitting around, bitching.”
“Fine. What do you want me to do?”
Handing him a piece of salvaged metal and gesturing towards the larboard side of the machine, “See if you can jimmy that panel open.”
“Yes, ma’am,” grumbled John as he offered a two-finger mock salute. Wriggling the tip of his rudimentary tool into the crevice of the panel, John focused three months of frustration and anger into popping open the panel. Five grunts and two expletives later, he had succeeded. “Suck it panel; you’re my bitch now,” John snickered to himself.
Hidden behind the heavy metal covering were numerous colorful dials, pushbuttons, and knobs. Fortuitously, instructions lined the inside of the panel covering; unfortunately, it was written in a language that John didn’t understand. Such was his luck. Pure instinct compelled him to reach out and push the large red button in the center of the panel.
Instantly, lights began to systematically flash across the device. Forwarded by sharp beeps and boops. Thick white smoke began pouring from the device’s interior as the whole machine violently lurch back-and-forth.
“What did you do?” beseeched a spooked Raven.
“Exactly what you told me to do,” shot John.
Instantaneously, a blinding burst of light erupted from the device.