Dispatch #21: “Allies In Abundance”

“Can this thing go any faster?” groaned Janitor Pro Erik. The low hum of the lone engine powering the space pod was the only thing that the crew had heard in a couple days after their run-in with the recently deceased Vyolco. Flying at the rate of Simian magma creeping down the side of Mt. Alouatta, Riemer had purposely turned off the speedometer to prevent him from getting any more impatient than he already was.

“No, for the thousandth time, we can’t go any faster. Before you ask again, I can’t do anything to fix it and in a few hours from now when someone else asks how far we are, I’ll tell you that I don’t know for the tenth time today.” said Riemer, his confidence and energy obviously shot. It had been a long time since any of the crew aboard the escape pod got any sleep. Floating around in the empty darkness with a lone lifeform from a destroyed planet kept everyone on edge. While LaRoyo had good intentions, the crew could only explain how to play chess so many times without banging their heads against the walls of the pod. Plus, you know, there was that whole “turning the other working engine into an ice dagger and destroying a member of the Legion of Wen thing” to worry about.

“W-W-e’re actually not too far away from Zolturia 2’s orbit.” said LaRoyo, “We sh-should be able to see the moon’s nightlife from quite a distance as soon as it makes another quarter of a revolution. I know this area of th-the galaxy by hand. N-not too much longer.”

The janitors looked at each other, raising their eyebrows in disbelief. Were they ever going to get out of this dang escape pod? Would they ever be able to get to see sunlight ever again? The disappointment over the last few days was becoming nearly unbearable, so much so that good news was hard to process.

“All I want is to be able to lay in my own bunk in Destiny’s Fortune and sleep in peace.” said Risk under his breath, “I promise I’ll never take any of Commander Von’s snacks from the Flight Deck fridge ever again.”

“So THAT’s who has been taking all the snack packs all this time!” said Riemer. “Touché sir, touché .”

The janitors chuckled to themselves, it was nice to actually laugh at something other than the revolving door of endless darkness remarks. The escape pod slowly drifted on in search of Zolturia 2’s orbit path.

- — -

“How many heads does this thing have?! Which one do we go for?!” shouted Von amidst the roars of the Zolturian Cravastror. The five-headed beast looked like a mutated version of a tiger, transformed after centuries of pollution to its original species.

“It says here in the galaxy log that the Cravastror is one of the most feared beasts in this sector of Ardere.” said KingsPark, “It also says that the trick to defeating it is to –”

“BLAST ALL OF ITS HEADS INTO OBLIVION! FIRE FIRE FIRE!” screamed Von as he pulled both of his blasters out of their holders and unloaded a worthless barrage of ammo into the beast. The Cravastror seemed to actually enjoy it, the rounds absorbed by its rough, matted hair.

“Yeah, about that plan. Let’s try something else. KingsPark?” said Commander Sean as the beast stared at the crew, intently waiting for their next move.

The lieutenant cautiously approached the beast, putting one foot in front of the other until he was only a few steps away from being in attack range.

“I hope you know what you’re doing, soldier.” said Von hesitantly.

“As I was saying,” said KingsPark with his back to the crew, “The trick to defeating it is to stop trying to kill it, it just thinks we’re playing a game. I’m not sure if this is going to work, but here goes nothing.”

KingsPark put his blaster back in its holster, looked up at the center head of the Cravastror and started to bow. The beast’s emotion completely changed, acknowledging the lieutenant while keeping an eye on the Commanders and the rest of the crew.

“Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it. It seems to be working!” said Von, slowly making his way over to join KingsPark in bowing to the now seemingly harmless creature.

One by one the crew joined up and respectfully bowed to the mutant giant, each of its heads nodding as if to grant its respect to members of Destiny’s Fortune.

“The galaxy log’s fine print mentions that the Cravastror is a highly intelligent being despite its ferocious exterior. Its docile nature only reverts to violence if provoked, but it will only fight if frightened or in allegiance to those it respects. The Zolturians never fully respected this beast, but ancient scripture states that long ago, the Cravastror fought alongside other species in previous Arderean galaxy wars. This one just looks like it’s been through the ringer.” said KingsPark, making eye contact with the now calm beast.

“You got all that by reading a galaxy instruction manual?” said Von, “I always just threw away my video game strategy guide books without even thinking twice. Shout out to you fam.”

“Yeah, seriously, you saved us all from turning into mutated mince meat.” said Commander Sean, “So, we just…head back to the ship like nothing ever happened? Apparently we’re not even in the right place, Destiny’s Fortune sent us new coordinates to the moon of Zolturia 2, that’s where the rest of the crew is at this very moment.”

“You don’t have to tell me twice.” said Von, already making his way back toward the ship. “I’m getting out of here before this thing decides it wants to eat us instead.”

Before making his way back to the ship with the rest of the crew, KingsPark locked eyes with the Cravastror and placed a tracking device on the ground in front of the beast.

“Alright big guy, this is a tracker that’ll give you my location at all times,” said the lieutenant. “There are some weird things going on around the galaxy these days. We haven’t been here all that long, but I know sketchy when I see sketchy. If we get ourselves into another hairy situation, you think you can have our backs?”

As if to nod in approval, the Cravastror’s center head locked eyes with KingsPark and exhaled what appeared to be a growl of confirmation. The lieutenant nodded, and after giving one final bow to the creature, turned and headed back to join the rest of the crew in making their rendezvous to Zolturia 2.

- — -

Recruits of Destiny’s Fortune glued their faces to all available windows of the ship as the crew made their descent on to the ever-awaited moon of Zolturia 2. Manning the Flight Deck, JB eagerly accepted an incoming transmission from Ringbolt and King Aras.

“We’re approaching our destination, my King.” said JB, “We’ll be arriving on Zolturia 2 momentarily.”

“Good, thank you for the update.” said King Aras, still obviously affected by the countless hours of research he and the Thealuvians had been doing to figure out the Legion of Wen’s next move.

Ringbolt had now taken over the transmission, sending instructions to Destiny’s Fortune before they touched down.

“Like I had mentioned previously, the planet of Zolturia was host to a civilization that didn’t respect the land passed down to them from previous generations. Pollution, politics, and an extremely war-driven mindset caused irreversible damage to their beautiful planet. They’ve been living on this moon for the last hundred years or so, transforming the nonexistent landscape into an extravagant and extremely successful metropolis. There have been rumblings from a source very close to us that have warned of mysterious activity circulating around the metropolis’ annual racing event occurring in the next few days. I fear that Nifty and the Wen have already infiltrated the city. With that being said, proceed with great caution.”

JB nodded, making sure to save this transcript for the rest of the crew to see once they all met at the assigned rendezvous point.

“Our point of contact at the rendezvous is a well-known machine tech named Kickstradomis.” said King Aras. “He’ll show you and the crew where to dock, as well as filling you all in on what to expect over the coming days. This is one of the busiest and most rambunctious times of the year for this sector of the galaxy — a perfect opportunity for the Wen to strike in the shadows. Stay vigilant.”

JB gave a salute to the King and Thealuvian leader, closing the transmission just as the ship landed in the docking bay just outside the center sector of the metropolis. He pressed the loudspeaker button to make an announcement to everyone onboard Destiny’s Fortune.

“Recruits! We have successfully landed on the metropolis moon of Zolturia 2. We will be here for the next several days, looking for clues related to a few key items that the Simians sent over to us.There have been rumblings that the Legion of Wen are here. We must remain calm and adhere to the tasks at hand. Your supervisor will be in touch with more orders and will communicate them to you once the rest of the crew arrives. As always, we Fly As One. Thank you.”

Noticing the irony in his latest statement, JB couldn’t help but chuckle as he waited for the Commanders, Riemer, Risk, the lieutenants, and the janitors to arrive at their new destination. Things would be back to normal soon, right?

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