Dispatch #22: “The Future Is Now”
The neon signs that covered every inch of the downtown sector lit up the night sky. If one wasn’t already aware of their surroundings or what time of the day it was, Zolturia 2’s metropolis could easily be mistaken for manufactured daylight at every waking second. Several tiers of hover car lanes weaved in and out of the moon city’s infrastructure; the purple taillights adding to the fluorescent glow of the highrise. Amazed at the incredibly futuristic megapolis presented before him, JB snapped out of his gaze and looked down towards the bustling streets below. The base of the skyscrapers were littered with life. From street seller tech stands to pubs on every corner, the city seemed like it truly never slept.
A flash of light in the distance caught the mission specialist’s attention, his eyes quickly darting to discover its origin. Preoccupied by the vast new world in front of him, JB jumped at the sound of a new voice that had snuck up behind him.
“Crazy times around these parts with the Annual Zolturian Boot Race set to air in the next few days.” said Kickstradomis, polishing what appeared to be a metallic boot of sorts with a buffer rag. “Tourists from every corner of the galaxy make their way to this already capped out moon to watch people race to their deaths…makes for one heck of a party if you ask me.”
JB took a quick glance back at some of the recruits that were standing nearby, trying to read the room before making any comments towards his new friend. Before he could respond, the technician extended his robotic hand as a greeting.
“The name’s Kickstradomis, but you can call me Kick. I see that Destiny’s Fortune is making themselves comfortable in their new digs?” said the technician.
“Yes, absolutely, thank you so much for your hospitality sir.” said JB, finally able to bring himself to speak. “Ringbolt and King Aras have spoken very highly of you.”
“The two of them are very old friends, they’ve helped me out in more ways than one over the years.” said Kick, looking back down at his hand as he finished polishing the moon racing boot. “You’re from…Earth, is that right? The King tells me that Earth’s atmosphere is actually pretty similar to the environment here on Zolturia 2. If that’s the case, you’re just in time, as this is one of the most popular times of the calendar year. Moon boot racing originated on Zolturia 2 and has been the most popular sport of the last decade. I know that y’all aren’t really here to relax, but if you find time in your busy schedules, I’d recommend checkin’ out the stadium and its surroundings.”
JB looked back at the stadium across the moon’s downtown skyline, it had been a while since anyone on the ship actually had some kind of fun. In addition to that, morale amongst the crew of Destiny’s Fortune was higher than it had been in weeks. It might actually be a nice change of pace while still trying to adhere to the tasks at hand.
“That sounds like a great idea, I think the crew would be really happy to attend. Do you know how much it costs? We obviously don’t have any type of currency here.” said JB.
“I may have a proposition for you that coouulddd interest someone on the team.” said Kick with a twinkle in his eye. “There are 22 entrants in each annual boot race and I may have just gotten word that one team had to back out due to tech issues…know anyone that has the racing itch? If you have an entrant in the race, it’s free admission for everyone involved.”
“He’s not here right now but yes, I absolutely know someone who would be down to race without any experience…count us in!!!” yelled JB in excitement.
“Perfect, I’ll inform the race crews. What’s the new contestant’s boot size? We have some work to do.” said Kick as he pulled out his two-way. Destiny’s Fortune was headed to the raceway.
- — -
“DESTINY’S FORTUNE. COME IN DESTINY’S FORTUNE!!!! AHHH WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME!” screamed Flight Engineer Riemer through the telecom. The escape pod crew had just entered the Zolturian atmosphere, hurtling through space with nothing more than a few emergency gate resistors after losing their sole engine on their way to the rendezvous point. The janitors looked around the pod, unsure of how to handle the idea of another crash landing on a foreign entity.
“This is Destiny’s Fortune. Riemer, Risk, it’s so nice to hear comms. What’s going on?” said JB through his mobile two-way.
“Hey, hi, I wish we could catch up and shoot the shit but we’re in a teeeeeny little bind over here.” said Riemer as he fought to maintain control of the freefalling escape pod. “You happen to have any friends nearby or tricks up your sleeve to help us land one more time?”
“I’ll find a way to clear a port for you to land on away from the downtown sector of the city, it’d be a nightmare over here. Give me a few minutes and you can consider it done.” said JB.
“Not gonna lie man I don’t think we have even a minute!” exclaimed Riemer, pulling every lever possible in order to reduce the escape pod’s speed.
“I’ll be right back!” said JB, “Put trust in your old friend one more time!”
Riemer, Risk, LaRoyo, and the Janitors all winced as their last seconds of life flashed before their eyes. Seconds felt like hours as a familiar voice came through the telecom.
“Ayyyoooo! Heard you guys needed a lift?” said Commander Von, flying just underneath the flaming escape pod. A one in a million chance.
“Not counting the last Vendy’s drive-thru trip we had, this is the most excited I’ve ever been to hear your voice!” screamed Risk as the now pod fireball continued to freefall into Zolturia 2.
“Alright, alright, don’t get your panties in a bundle.” shouted Von, “Enabling tractor beam landing protocol 1528.”
The Arderean ship given to the crew by Brazoria was able to extinguish the fire emitting from the escape pod, activate the tractor beam to stabilize the two ships, and finally bring it just inside the slipway, reuniting some of the crew before entering the metropolis.
Once safely aboard the Commander’s ship, Riemer and the rest of the crew breathed a well deserved sigh of relief. They had been floating in a space pod with zero engines for several days with no hope of meeting up with the rest of the crew. Diving timing was everything and there was definitely something out there in the Arderean galaxy that was looking out for them.
The rest of Destiny’s Fortune was about to successfully make the ever anticipated rendezvous point to finally put the crew at 100% attendance once again.
- — -
A faint cry emerged from behind the counter of Kickstradomis’ front desk. Commander Sean and a few lieutenants looked around, confused by the sound of a baby’s cry in such a random location.
“Is there a baby in here?” exclaimed Commander Von, tightening the last strap of his moon boots as he continued to try on gear before the annual race. “Are there even babies here to begin with in general?”
Unable to find the source of the sound, the crew went back to prepping Von for his big race and a shot at galactic fame. Commander Sean kept an eye on Kick, who was coincidentally carrying a tote of supplies to the back of his warehouse. Giving up for now, the commander turned his attention towards the rest of the recruits and started helping Commander Von learn how to utilize the customized moon boots made just for him.
“You can’t be doing that now, missy.” said Kickstradomis under his breath. “If anyone knows that you’re here, it’s the end for both of us. Just give me a little bit of a heads up next time, alright?”
The technician lifted the grease cloths covering the makeshift bassinet, revealing a young human child. Just a few months old, the child squirmed about as she tried to fall back asleep.
“Sleep well, my little Crypto. Brighter days are ahead for both of us.” said Kick, tucking her back into her layers of blankets. “Brighter days indeed.”