Escrita por: Linadoon
It felt like an eternity. How long have they been running in space by now? Mark wasn’t expecting this trip to be so… Boring…
“Jack…?” He tested his voice out. It seemed to be dragged by the void of space, and he could barely hear himself.
“Yes?” But Jack’s voice seemed clear as day, reaching Mark’s years as if they weren’t talking in space. It actually seemed to twinkle even more, like wind bells.
“How long… Till we reach… Another p-planet…?” He took breaks between the words and then decided to stop right there with the sentence, it wasn’t worth the pain. Every time he opened his mouth to speak, all the oxygen on his lungs was taken away from him in a split second.
“We’re reachin’ the outside asteroids belt o’ yer solar system.” Jack explained. Already? How freaking fast was Chica going?! Anyway, she must have reached other satellites from the system before, Mark kind of remembered some bumps and thumps, but not too much, the dog didn’t dare stop. “I have ta say, even if yer people did get ta create space ships, yeh would have a real bad time with these huge pieces o’ rock!”
Mark laughed and decided that was also bad thing to do.
“I won’t… Be alive… To see… How they’ll… Deal with it…” He tried to say again, but no, definitely, he wasn’t going to be able breath more if he tried to maintain the conversation going. He just didn’t want to leave Jack with no answer.
“Are yeh okay?” Jack asked, noticing the difficulty in the man’s voice. At first he thought it was just a momentarily thing, but it seemed like something more. He felt as Mark tried to say something, but seemed to give up, simply shaking his head against Jack’s back. “Ok, I’ll stop by one o’ the asteroids.”
No, don’t! We’re going to waste even more time!, Mark tried to say, but his chest was indeed pained, it felt like if someone was squeezing his heart and lungs with a metal glove! Probably it was happening because this was his first space travel; I mean, come on, he knew very well that his body wasn’t made to wander around space like that, without protection or an oxygen tank.
Mark felt the world slow down around him, not too much though. He dared to open his eyes. Chica was drifting by space as if swimming in water, and slowly lowering herself down to a huge rock floating nearby. And since they were in the middle of an asteroid belt, that one wasn’t the only enormous piece of rock floating around. There were so many!
It was incredible and also so scary to see such thing… Mark tried not to think about what could happen if there was a sudden collision between the asteroids while they were still there. Why the human mind was strangely programmed to think of bad scenarios? He felt dizzy with such thoughts, what meant he should think about something else; or maybe don’t think about anything at all.
With a soft thump, Chica landed on the asteroid. It seemed to move a little and Mark couldn’t help but feel his stomach move with it.
“There.” Jack turned a little on the dog’s back. “Better?”
“No…” Mark said and turned his face away from the boy, feeling almost about to puke. He noticed though that there was nothing on his stomach, he just had some coffee for breakfast. Still, he felt like throwing all this nothingness out… “Sorry…”
“It’s okay. That’s ‘cause it’s yer first space trip.” He rested a hand on Mark’s back soothingly and shoot a side glance to Chica. “This wouldn’t happen though if yer dog didn’t simply bring yeh with us, yeh know… How d’yeh feel?”
“Sick…” As expected, nothing came out as he felt the urge once again. Mark took deep breaths, still feeling his diaphragm twitching uncomfortably. He was sure it was only because of the lack of gravity, or lack of enough oxygen, but he was no expert, so it was better to have the star’s opinion. “My head is spinning… And I feel like I want to throw up all my insides…”
“Ew, that’s not healthy.” Jack mentioned and Mark couldn’t help a sick laugh, followed by a cough. “Yeh didn’t eat did yeh? Probably that’s why. Yer body is not fueled fer this travel.”
“I guess my body wasn’t ready for this travel at all.” The Humanoid threw back. “You’re a completely other story.”
Jack smiled a little bit at the comeback.
“I feel like I should call yeh ‘land boy’ again, but at the same time I shouldn’t.” He said, more to himself than to the other, but Mark laughed nonetheless, before taking another deep breath.
“Let’s move on.” He said, ignoring a side of his mind that said it was way too dangerous for him and his body, to continue that crazy plan. But… Chica wouldn’t have brought him if she knew of his imminent death, would she? “We’re just delaying your mission staying here…”
Jack blinked once and twice, shocked with what he heard. He felt a little better but still self-conscious; Mark was a nice guy, he wanted to help him so much, but if things continued that way he could hurt himself, badly. Indeed, they were delaying themselves a little bit. How could Mark be so nice to Jack while being so badly sick because of him? And, well, because of Chica too.
The red-haired noticed how the Star boy seemed to be considering something.
“It’s not like Chica is letting me go back anyway…” He added tentatively.
“Ye’re right.” Jack nodded finally. “But I want ta try somethin’ out…” He said something to Chica with his star language and the dog barked, moving a little bit to signalize that she was going to jump once again. “I asked her ta take us ta the end o’ the area, but slowly so yeh don’t feel even more sick and end up pukin’ all over me.”
Mark nodded with a chuckle nervously – he knew that it could happen, and he would be tremendously embarrassed if it did – and wrapped his arms around Jack’s waist once again as Chica looked up at another asteroid and launched herself. Indeed she was going way slower, this time Mark could actually see the rocks around them as they moved around.
The asteroid they landed on moved just like the other and the Humanoid closed his eyes tightly, feeling his empty insides moving too. Geez, he felt dizzy…
“Sam, hey, how are yeh feelin’?” Jack was talking to the orb on his bracelet and the eyeball was looking up at him, giving him full attention. “That’s good ta know. Tell me, do yeh think ye’re strong enough ta take us thru a wormhole?”
A wormhole? Was that some type of space coordinate code? Chica jumped once again, and…
Ooooh, shit…!, Mark closed his eyes and instinctively tugged on Jack’s shining belt as the asteroid slowly moved around, in a perfect 360 degree. Goddamn, Chica, do you really want me to pass out or something?, he would be terribly annoyed if that was true.
Mark stopped thinking about how his dog was interested on betraying him when feeling something against his wrist. It was Jack’s own hand. He didn’t even notice how hard he was tugging to the man’s belt, it was probably hurting Jack, or making him uncomfortable. Awkwardly, he pulled his fingers away and the other hand disappeared
“Yes, I know. I’ll find a good star.” Jack was still talking with Sam and Mark still didn’t open his eyes, simply feeling and hearing as Chica continued her way. “Are yeh sure yeh can? Half o’ the way? ‘Kay, guess Chica can go the rest…” The dog barked again. “It’s settled then. Yes! I’ll find the closest one, geez!”
Mark didn’t really understand what was going on, but he felt like laughing.
“How yeh hangin’ there, Mark?” The Star boy called.
“Still strong to... Actually hang, thank you very much…” The red-haired threw back, it was nice to not have your oxygen disappear every single time you spoke. But he noticed he would be breathless if he tried harder. “What was… That all about?”
“Sam is a little bit stronger now, they can help open a wormhole. It’s an easier way ta travel.” Jack explained. “Sadly they are not strong enough ta take us all the way ta Orion.”
“My constellation.” Mark couldn’t see, but he was pretty sure the green-haired boy was smiling. Chica jumped and landed with another bump and stopped. “We reached the end o’ yer solar system.”
Now that Mark needed to see!
He opened his eyes and everything he could see, as expected, was blackness covered in tiny little shiny dots. It was amazing, he could see so very well the white outline of their galaxy, spreading itself all over the darkness they were in, like two welcoming arms. Mark knew that if he looked back, he would see the planets of his system, the asteroids they just passed and the shining star that was their sun; but to the direction he was facing right now there was nothing. That was so scary and weird, it was just pure nothingness. And at the same time everything!
Mark could still be a little mad at Chica for everything he did, but he couldn’t help but pat her side gently, getting a cute “yap” from her and a strong tail wiggle. Because, anyway, if it wasn’t for the dog’s sudden rebellious outbreak, he wouldn’t be there seeing such thing.
“Don’t move so much.” Jack reprimanded and Mark made a face. Chica was his dog, if he wanted to pet her, he would! But, the boy seemed serious, so he just pulled his hand up.
Mark watched as the Star boy looked around, his head and eyes looking up at the stars with such fast and sudden movements it was like watching a curious bird. He seemed to be scanning the sky.
“What are you doing?” Mark asked, also he noticed that if they stood still he somehow had more oxygen to breath.
“Searching for a good solar system…” Jack said simply and Mark nodded even though… What did he mean by “good solar system”? And, anyway, how the hell did he know which is good or not looking from so far away? “There!” Mark was taken from his thoughts as Jack pointed up at one of the stars – he couldn’t be sure which, because there were so many! “That’s the closest one and it also has a planet on the habitable zone. Sam, can yeh take us there? Awesome!”
“Wait, what?” The Humanoid was lost, it was way too much information to process; especially with a not full of oxygen mind like his. “Habitable zone? You mean… Capable of having life?”
“Well, which other way would we have ta get yeh help?” Jack shrugged as if it was obvious. “Luckily it is close, not that much, but enough. Sam can take us there. Consider us really lucky, boy, it was a chance in a billion!”
“I guess…” Mark chuckled.
“But it’ll still take some ta get there…” Jack looked back apologetically, with an uncomfortable smile. “And a wormhole trip may take even more from yeh… Hold on tight, ok? I’ll try ta produce as much oxygen as I can.”
“You already learned how you do that to be able to control it?” The Humanoid asked, but held on.
“Actually… No…” The Star said. “But I’ll try me best.” He grabbed the green orb from his bracelet and placed it on his pale palm. “Do yer job, Sam!”
The eyeball looked at him unimpressed – they could see the Star was just trying to make the other laugh – and then turned to the stars. They looked up at what should be the one Jack pointed to and started bouncing on his palm, the green color slowly melting and being replaced by the golden, shiny color it had before, when it crashed down on Clilion. They shined brighter than ever before and Mark tried not to close his eyes with such brightness.
And then, right in front of them, not too many feet away from the asteroid they were standing on, a small new light started to appear.
Mark watched in awe. Did a star just suddenly appear in front of him? With time, as the light from Sam he noticed it was no star, it wasn’t even a real light. It was a cut.
Everything happened fast, the light divided into tiniest parts, cutting a hole in the starry sky, and in the same moment Chica leaped. Suddenly Mark felt as if his soul was pulled back while his empty body was practically launched ahead. A boom exploded on his ears and he could have sworn he screamed bloody murder, that is if his voice even existed anymore; holy shit, had he gone deaf? He couldn’t hear anything! Even if Jack talked to him, he knew he wouldn’t hear it.
Unknown, impossible to exist wind traveled around him as if he had just thrown himself inside a violent tornado and it was so, so cold. Freezing cold! It should be sub zero around him! How he was still alive was a mystery, why wasn’t he already dead because of hypothermia? He felt his arms and legs go numb, the cold running up his members and taking over the rest of his body. He couldn’t even be sure if he was still holding on to Jack! What if he let go out of nowhere?
Mark was sure of one thing, no matter how much faster that shortcut was, he already disliked this “wormhole” thing.
And were they really reaching for help? Because, yes, Mark would surely need it! Surprisingly though, the numbing feeling actually had a good side effect… He couldn’t even feel his stomach twisting anymore. Had he died? Nah, he was just exaggerating, of course…
I mean, could you blame him? Mark wouldn’t lie. He was scared. Was he even going to go back alive after all this crazy shit?
What about Chica? How had he forgotten about her?! She could have a really thick natural fur mat covering her body, but wasn’t she also freezing? Was she alright?
And what about Jack? Wait… Why was he worried about Jack? The boy was probably already used to that. That “wormhole trip” should be like a walk in the park for him.
And then, suddenly, with almost the exact same boom of before, the wind disappeared as if it had never even existed. The cold was still there, but his body seemed to be finally losing its numbness. Mark felt his body shivering against his consent and even his teeth began chattering so loud he noticed with relief that he wasn’t deaf.
But there was something bad… All the sickness of before started rising again…
He heard a twinkling sound repeatedly, in a weird rhythm. And it took him some time to notice that those sounds were actually words, more specifically, his name.
“Mark? How are yeh feeling?” Jack was talking. His voice seemed to come from really far away and Mark felt the need to talk even louder for him to hear, but his throat seemingly didn’t want to cooperate. He groaned our loud, expecting it to be enough. “Don’t worry, we reached Scorpii. But don’t open yer eyes jus’ yet, we are goin’ fer the star and I cannot risk havin’ yeh goin’ blind.” And then far from him. “Good job, Sam. Go rest again. And good job yeh too, Chica.”
Mark smiled hearing that and waited. As he did so, he could feel the cold disappearing from his body like melting ice, being suddenly substituted by such a comforting, cozy warmth Mark didn’t want it to end!
“Mark, if yeh don’t look straight ahead…” Jack said out of nowhere. “Yeh can open yer eyes.”
The Humanoid wasn’t sure if he wanted to do so, but the curious side of him said otherwise, and soon enough he opened his eyes, not daring to look foward, like the Star told him to do. But there was way more interesting things right beside him to awe at.
They were passing a planet, a huge planet. It was humongous! Blue and grey strips painted it’s surface with weird patterns, some of them even made up perfect spirals. And so many small and large satellites danced around it, Mark wasn’t even sure how many there was there, but he counted about ten!
“Is that… A gaseous planet?” Mark asked, feeling a little bit sick at each word, but he wanted to know. He wasn’t dumb, he knew what a gaseous planet was, but he had never seem one like that! There was a gas giant on his solar system, but sadly scientists were only able to capture a tiny glimpse of it in a photograph. It made him wonder if their gas giant was like this one… Why pictures didn’t have colors? That planet was so beautiful, maybe theirs was as beautiful as it…
“Exactly!” Jack said with a chuckle. “Wow, look at yeh! Yeh know more ‘bout space then I could ever imagine!”
“I know lots of things, you would be surprised.” Mark threw back and took a deep breath. The stomachache and headache were getting more difficult to ignore.
And Jack seemed to notice it.
“Don’t worry, we are almost reachin’ the planet.” He said, patting Chica’s side and saying something in the Star language.
Chica made a noise and leaped carefully ahead. Mark smiled; nah, his dog wasn’t planning on betraying and killing him, I mean, look at her! She was being such a sweetheart to his current state! Just like she has always been!
“So… There is more people in here…?” The Humanoid felt the need to ask. He didn’t dare look straight ahead; he just looked down, watching as another planet came closer. It was a solid planet, grey and inky.
“There is. Look.” Jack pointed to the other planet that came right after that one, but it was way too far away for Mark to see any real detail on it. But he could see it’s colors… Blue and green, so similar to a certain planet he left behind it was like having déjà vu! It also had about three natural satellites. “Want ta make a stop over there?”
Of course not!, Mark wanted to say, but he knew he needed to stop a little bit and breath more. He could be crazily interested on seeing the population of that planet, but he should think about his health for a second.
“I guess so…”
Chica, who was already gliding down to the satellite Jack pointed, landed graciously on it. Mark took deep breaths, taking a look around as the tightness around his stomach got a little bit lose. The place was just like Eidera 2, all sterile and covered in snow and dunes and craters, the only difference was that it looked way more yellow than anything. It was a weird color… Almost sickening…
“Ok.” Jack nodded, noticing as the red-haired seemed to be breathing way better than before. “Still feelin’ really sick?
“It settled down a little bit…” Mark said simply. “So… What are we gonna find down there?”
“We’ll search fer food and water fer yeh, o’ course.” The Star said as the dog leaped into space again. “But first we need to look fer a fair. It’ll be easy, don’t worry. Whugagaua may be a big planet, but believe it, there aren’t many people living down there. At least that’s what I’ve heard… I’ve never came this ways…” Mark nodded.
“Wu… Wugá-gá-wa…” He repeated just because.
“Whugagaua.” Jack chuckled.
“Oh, god…” Mark said under his breath. As they lowered down, not enough to reach the atmosphere yet, but it was enough to take a good glance on the planet. The Humanoid couldn’t even believe his eyes. He could see it, down there, so unbelievably tiny: a small little kingdom – well, at least it looked like such. “Oh, my god, there really is people down there…”
“What? Were you doubtin’?” Jack arched one of this thick eyebrows. “Close yer eyes and hold on tight, we’re goin’ in.”
Mark did as told and wondered about what the Star said. While trying to ignore the sound and the sudden heat of reaching a planets atmosphere!
Did he still doubt that there really were people out in space even after meeting Jack? He wasn’t proud to say so, but he did indeed doubt it. It was just way too crazy, way to amazing to even fathom it! But there he was some seconds ago, looking down at a planet that looked so much like his, down to a small kingdom filled with people possibly capable of feelings and thoughts similar to his – possibly…
It was so nice and it made him feel… Weirdly warm inside… He guessed it was nice to have some better prove that, indeed, they weren’t alone in that universe…
He noticed when they reached the troposphere right away, feeling gallons of pure oxygen taking over his lungs and throwing away whatever it was he was breathing. Now it didn’t even feel like real oxygen, it was more like recycled oxygen or something of the kind…
And when Chica landed, he felt the thud and his stomach dared do the same thing, practically falling to the ground. But he wasn’t really that uncomfortable, not in a place like that…