When Krestean woke up, the ship was dark and silent. She sat up, her body aching terribly, trying to force herself to stand. “Take it slowly, there is no need to exert yourself,” a voice came from her side. She turned her head towards its source, finding it difficult to focus her sight properly.
“O-Okay…” she muttered, trying to figure out what was wrong with her eyes. “Do you… Do you have a mirror?” Before she could say more, she could feel the weight of a flat disk settle on her lap. She picked it up and took a look at her eyes, wanting to find whatever it was that troubled her vision. No longer green, they shared the amber coloring of the fur surrounding them, but that wasn’t the cause of her problems. The issue was caused by each pair of her pupils having moved closer together, partially merging into an infinity-shaped black area. She blinked a few times, as that seemed to help getting her vision into focus, before taking a good look at her new form.
“Like it?” Drakian spoke up curiously as he watched Krestean investigate her scales.
“It’s…” she looked down at her tail, swinging it slightly. “It’s something else alright…” she handed the mirror back to the dragon, but instead of taking it from her, he caused it to evaporate into a handful of sparks. ”So, where are we?” she asked, seeing a plethora of stars shimmering outside.
“Lednah’s only moon, Vyrn. I figured this is a good place to let you rest while I do some preparations,” the dragon stood up, stretching himself. Despite the energetic appearance of his body, it didn’t give off any light to the surroundings, which caused the bright look to seem paradoxical inside of the pitch black ship.
“Lednah? That’s the homeworld of the nycombs, isn’t it?”
“Indeed, I figured it is best if we build the start of their new world where their old world began.”
“How poetic of you,” Krestean smiled as she looked around the dark ship. “Is that why all the lights are off?”
“Yes, I did not want to take chances that this ship sends any sort of signal, and as I don’t know how to check if it does, I just turned everything off,” to Drakian’s surprise, Krestean hastily got up to her feet and, after managing to find balance on her talons, started to frantically look within different compartments on the walls. “Is something wrong? I can light this place up if you are afraid of the dark.”
“Afraid of the dark?” She paused her search for an over-dramatic sigh before continuing to look behind every hatch she could locate. “No, I just don’t want to die, that’s all. By turning off everything, you most likely also turned off life support as well.”
“But you don’t need that anymore.”
“You don’t need life support anymore,” Drakian re-stated in a generic tone, as if it was something obvious. “You produce enough energy by yourself that your body does not need external sources such as air or food – you are completely self-sufficient.”
Krestean paused her search and turned around to look at the dragon with slight confusion. “But I still need to breathe…” To prove it, she inhaled and exhaled loudly. “If I try to stop my body forces me to take a breath.”
“It is a force of habit, not a necessity. I can prove it to you, do you trust me?”
“To be perfectly honest, I’m still not fully certain about everything that’s going on…” Krestean said guiltily, avoiding eye contact with the dragon.
“It is only fair I guess…” Drakian paused for a moment before taking a different approach. “But you know that I have no intent on killing you, right?” Krestean nodded in response, “Good, so exhale most of what you have in your lungs, and then simply wait.” Krestean obliged, and as soon as she was done, a piece of plastic appeared, covering her mouth and nostrils as it glued itself to her face. She looked at Drakian with a hint of fear, to which he explained, “It’s to keep any air from coming in or getting out. Trust me, you will be fine.”
Even though Krestean wanted to trust him, she couldn’t help but to expect her vision to start going black within moments. Instead, all she felt was a gentle tingle spread across her body as seconds turned into minutes. When she was convinced that Drakian was right, she tried to signal for him to take the plastic off of her mouth.
“Take it off yourself,” Drakian said with a smirk, but seeing Krestean’s confused look, and the attempts to rip it off using her claws, he elaborated. “Anything I can do, so can you. The only limiting factor is magnitude, and that’s not an issue right now. Just focus on the object you want to alter, and force it to change.”
Krestean went cross-eyed trying to look at the material on her mouth, but gave up and closed her eyes to focus on it. She didn’t know what she should be trying to do, but the more she thought about the blockade on her mouth, the warmer it got. Soon enough, whatever was holding the plastic in place was weakened enough for her to be able to force in one of her claws, prying the rest of the material off of her face.
“Well, this is not what I had in mind, but it’s a start…” Drakian cleared off the remaining bits and pieces of plastic that were still clinging to Krestean’s face, “You’ll get the hang of it as we build the station,” Drakian paused as he noticed Krestean’s troubled look. “Is everything alright?”
“Yes yes, it’s just… a lot to take in, that’s all,” Krestean said reassuringly, looking at the moon’s surface through the open cockpit door. Vyrn was a pale and almost grayish yellow; in the sunlight, the yellows showed prominently, whilst the shadows drained all color, allowing the grays to take over. “If I don’t need to breathe… Can we take a stroll on the moon?”
“I don’t see why not, but two warnings for you before that. First of all, walking out in vacuum is a big leap from simply not breathing, so prepare to feel cold, at least at first,” he moved away from the door, closing the bed Krestean rested on earlier. “Secondly, looking up is not a pretty sight.” With that, he left the ship by walking through a wall, leaving Krestean confused and slightly worried.
She took a deep breath, and entered the air-lock. With the machinery offline the system couldn’t work automatically, meaning she had to manually close the door and drain the air out before she could open the exit. As she did so, she felt the same tingling sensation as before spread throughout her body, this time strong enough to make her fur stand up. She patted it down before proceeding to open the exit door.
Outside, Drakian was standing still on the yellow sand, which spread as far as the eye could see. There is no air here, so you wouldn’t be able to hear anything I would say aloud. His voice sounded in Krestean’s head as he turned to look at her. I’ll teach you telepathy soon enough, but for now just answer to me in your head as you walk around
You can read my thoughts?
Yes, although it’s much harder than you’d think. He paused, letting Krestean walk down onto the sandy surface, and out of the ship’s shadow. As I said, looking up is not a pretty sight, so let’s get it over with. With slight confusion, Krestean followed the dragon’s gaze, right into the remains of Lednah.
The planet was completely charred, without any remnants of the great lakes and seas that used to dot the landscape. The black surface was split apart by red cracks that were big enough to be well visible from where they were standing. The handful of clouds visible were thick puffs of grays and browns, cruising slowly above the burned landscape.
You don’t seem too phased by this. Drakian’s voice sounded in Krestean’s head as he turned his head to observe her reaction.
Ah, well, I’ve already seen photos from the rescue groups that were sent here, with that, Krestean recollected those images, hoping that thought reading worked for images just as well as it did for words. There were a lot more fires back then, but it’s still equally horrible now, seeing what once was a thriving planet as nothing more than one big chunk of coal… Krestean gave Lednah one more glance before looking back down with an attempt at a sigh, cut short by the lack of air to breathe out with.
Drakian, I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to build the market circling that, Krestean thought as she pointed up.
I agree, Drakian said before she could explain anything more, I abandoned that idea after seeing the state the planet is in.
But then why- Krestean started to think, but it became harder to make coherent thoughts as the dragon spoke.
While we can’t build around the planet, we can still use it as a power source. At least I assume you will be able to figure out the precise logistics of it. Seeing Krestean’s confused look, he decided it was best to elaborate on what he meant. You see, planets that support life are quite special. Their inner cores are more than just molten rock, they also contain something unique. We call it the planet’s heart, although they are obviously not alive. But those ‘hearts’ are responsible for everything that’s alive, at least every mortal thing. They are visible in the astral plane and act as a bridge of sorts, allowing various spirits to come through and thrive on the planet’s surface.
The energy of those hearts is very similar to my own, so since you managed to power Acro off of us, it should be possible for you to figure out how to power a ship off of Lednah’s heart. Especially since you don’t have to wait for anything or anyone anymore, you can test whatever you are able to create, and you are capable of creating whatever you imagine. To prove his point, Drakian created an exact replica of the cylindrical prisons he escaped from and let it hover between them for a moment, after which it dissolved into amber sparks.
Well, if I am to do all that, then could you teach me how to do this whole energetic magic properly? Something more than a simple ‘focus on what you want to do’.
With pleasure, Drakian smiled as he waved with his wing for her to follow him down to a crater, which would become their training ground.
“It works!” Krestean shouted with glee as the ship hummed to life. After countless hours, the torus-shaped spaceship was finally powered by the shining heart of Lednah in its center.
“And are you sure everything is set up correctly this time?” Drakian asked as he phased through the wall and into the power-room.
“Yes, and I added accumulators in case the core decides to take a random break like last time,” as if to back that claim up, one of hundreds of red dots on the wall lit up green. “See? One’s already all charged up and ready to power everything if it has to.”
“Remember, you have to be absolutely certain nothing breaks. It’s the first impression that counts,” the dragon walked out through the door and into the dimly lit hallway. “You already said this would work five separate times, you have to have more value behind your words,” he explained as they walked down the slightly curved corridor.
“Every one of those was because you forgot to tell me something important about how those ‘hearts’ work,” Krestean accused him as she went over the failures in her head. Well, maybe the second one was my fault but- she thought to herself, pausing after noticing the dragon was staring at her with a smirk. “Are you reading my mind again?”
“No, but I don’t have to to know what you’re thinking about,” he looked away to not cause any discomfort. “And you are right, the second one was all you – but at least you learned not to use diamond insulation just because you can. As for the other four, I couldn’t have predicted any of them, I never studied the planetary hearts.”
“But you seemed so confident when you explained what happened…”
“If something has happened in the past, explaining it is barely harder than recalling the occurrence itself. However, accurately predicting events that are yet to pass is an impossible feat. The best you can do is make good use of what comes your way, and learn from past mistakes,” the dragon paused in front of the door to Krestean’s office, waiting for her to reach the hand scanner on the side. “And I believe that you did learn, didn’t you?”
“I guess…” she admitted reluctantly as the door sizzled open in front of them. “But I truly believe that I have taken into account everything this time, and if not I’ll always be here if a repair is needed.” The door closed shut behind them, and Krestean went ahead and sat down in her chair. “So is that it? Are we done?”
“Mostly, yes. All levels are sealed and the air locks should be working now. All that’s missing are the nycombs and the finishing touches we left for them to do.”
“Ah yes, any plans on how to do that? I can’t exactly imagine they’ll be willing to cooperate off the bat.”
“Certainly not, but you have what they want. All you have to do is make them realize that they want it.”
“You make that sound like it’s so simple…” Krestean rolled her eyes, turning around to look out through the window. “There are so many things that can go wrong, and I only get one chance, don’t I?”
“It would be best if you managed to convince them instantly, but it is not a must. We can figure out a plan B if we have to.”
“That’s a little reassuring,” she turned away from the window, leaning back in her chair with a smirk, fiddling with a metallic watch she made for herself. “Although I do have an idea on how to slightly increase my chances”
“That is good to hear, because I won’t be there to help you.”
“What?!” Krestean sat up straight in an instant. “Why not?”
“I… need to check up on someone. It may take a while to track them down…” Realizing how uncertain he sounded, Drakian tried his best to reassure Krestean. “It shouldn’t take more than a couple of days.”
“I see… So where are you going?” she questioned, not knowing what to think of the sudden news.
“I will keep that a secret for now, I wouldn’t want you following me. After all, you have to take care of things here,” the dragon swung his wing in a wide motion to point at the entire space station. “I believe you are capable of convincing nycombs to, at the very least, give you a chance. It is downhill from there, so just promise me you will try your hardest.”
“Can’t we wait until you come back then?”
“We’ve already built the station, it is only a matter of time until it is found naturally. It’s best that it is revealed before then,” Drakian came closer to Krestean, ignoring the presence of the desk between them, letting his front limbs phase right through it. “I need you to promise me that you will try your hardest, can you do that?”
“I… Yes, I promise…”
“Good girl,” Drakian smiled as he took a step back, away from the desk. “I will be back soon, good luck.” With that, the dragon disappeared, reappearing tens of thousands light years away, on a small, rocky planet.
Now to find a native to take control of, he thought to himself as he looked around. He was standing in a middle of a field, the ground of which was covered up with large, green leaves of hundreds of small shrubs, all grown along one of many long lines. Between two of them, a man was slowly coming closer on shaky legs. His skin was dark, and he was only wearing a large piece of white cloth, tied around his hips, with a similar, smaller one, tied behind his head. As the man came closer, he started wildly swinging his hoe in the air as he shouted “Go back to the Duat you monster!”
Even though the dragon was perfectly still, the provisional weapon hit nothing but air, and the wielder didn’t seem to keen on taking another step closer. With a sigh, Drakian took over the man’s body, dropping the hoe in the process.
Do you know where I can- Drakian started, but in return his mind became filled with screams of the man he possessed. Not wanting to stick around until the man was done, Drakian locked him out of the consciousness in resignation. “Guess I should just go back the way you came here,” he said to himself, picking back up the hoe and going towards the edge of the field.