I Rebirth E.C. 2021 (Earth Calendar). A bolter shot sliced through the air, missing her plane’s wing by a few inches, Flame tried a barrel roll to disconcert her pursuer then veered to port, releasing a burst of her multi-meltas. Her opponent skilfully dodged and manoeuvred deftly behind her. “Shit, he’s good.” She thought. Her light M4 classed fighter had already suffered a few shots, it felt less reactive and a light smoke tail was leaking out from its right wing. – Yeah, so much for discretion. – She grumbled. At that instant a missile came out of nowhere to take her down, her ship falling like a leaf on the planet Blagor’s green sky. She tried to straighten it up but its engine had died from the blow and the energy tank was to explode at any moment. Her altitude sensor still seemed to be running and she waited the last moment to eject herself, the gravitational parachute kicking off immediately. She landed roughly on the red planet’s impoverished soil, sliding along a cliff. She managed to slow her rolling to finally stop on a flat small plateau. She winced in pain trying to get up, her whole body was in agony. She checked her suit, sitting as best as she could. She seemed to be fine, mostly, but her communication bracelet was damaged. She felt a breath of fresh air on her left leg and quickly turned on the sealing segmentation of her belt. “Fuck… No more beacon… Only 15% oxygen left… Damn!” She fumed while giving a violent blow on the floor which sent a dust cloud flying, her powerful and muscular arm stretching her suit slightly. An explosion sounded in the distance. – Aww… And now my ship is blown! – She sighed, laying on her back and thinking how to get out of here. A voice echoed in her helmet: – Flame? Check me, Flame? Emma! – Yeah… I’m there Blue. – She replied in a suffering tone. – Your ship just disappeared on our sensors, are you okay? Why can’t I see you, Flame? She sighed again. – You have the slaves? – All safe and sound but… – Watch on your way back, I was shot by two Dirnians M3 Fighters. My beacon is dead and I got… 27% oxygen left… – She didn’t want to worry him more than necessary. – Dirnians?! What the fuck are they doing here?! Ok, don’t move, I’m comin’ for ya’… – Don’t! – But… – Mission’s first, get the job done, secure the slaves. – She said in a firm tone. – Emma… – She heard Blue’s muffled breathing. – I derived quite a bit while trying to escape them… I don’t know where I am… Cutting down communications, I need power to filter my air… – She added. – Flame wait! – Yelled Blue. Emma smiles in her helmet. – I’ll contact you later Blue… – Fla-… She had turned off her compad, her suit battery gauge nearing 30%, she made a quick calculation in her head, roughly four hours of oxygen left. She remained laid on her back, softly breathing, her sculptural form in her black attire contrasting with the red soil. The pain in her right arm was bearable, the rest of her body seemed operational. Sitting back up, she wanted to estimate the damage and suddenly felt a sharp pain exploding in her chest and left leg. She cringed. “Shit… Hmm.” She thought, feeling her ribs. “Ouch! Ok, broken here.” She looked down to her left leg, a tear of pain ran down her cheek. “Fuck…” Her muscular thigh was sensitive, but nothing seemed broken. Panting slightly, she looked to her surroundings. Nothing, just a hell of a desert. She laid back carefully. – And I wanted a life change… Hah… – It wasn’t the first time she said that. She watched at the orange sun, wrinkling her eyebrows, her mind drifting to distant memories, her life before, a long time ago. – So long... 12 years earlier A small white light began to dawn on the room, Emma was lying with her eyes opened and glanced at the apparition in disbelief. “What?!” She felt it was dangerous but couldn’t move, her limbs refusing to obey, as in a nightmare. The light grew and wrapped her whole in a white shroud, she discerned nothing else. The living room and sofa on which she was lying seemed to have disappeared and the night itself looked like devoured by that beam. Emma woke up in a heartbeat and looked around her, trembling, eye sight gradually adapting to the room’s darkness. She was still in her luxury bedroom at the Ritz hotel in Paris. She sat on her bed, putting the sheets back up her slender body, her bright auburn hair running down in corrugated cascades over her shoulders and contrasting with her pale skin. Her blue grey eyes, still shocked from the intense dream, were scrutinizing in the dim light. 6:40 am indicated the clock, time to get up anyway. She called the room service to order a breakfast and prepared herself quietly. She stepped out of the shower, dried her hair. She was a little taller than average at 5’7 and weighted a fit hundred and twenty-five pounds maintained by a regular visit at the gym. A flat stomach where abs could almost be seen when she flexed, shapely legs, firm round bottom and small perky breasts were completing the set. She knew she was pretty, but not abusing it, that wasn’t what mattered to her, she just wanted to feel good about her body. And at 39 years old, she was more than satisfied. When she returned to the bedroom, breakfast was served. – All right, last day before holidays. – She said. While she ate absently, focusing mainly on coffee, she looked at her day’s schedule and sighed. Emma Javuis was a known woman as Bill Gates or the Rothschild were known, worth billions, richest woman in the world, she was also the richest person in Europe, France and Navarre (sic). Holder of the Legion of Honour for her Foundation for Social Welfare who cared about the homeless in France and worldwide. She was also known to be the Star-Tech’s CEO, the largest French high technology company, which she founded with her brother about fifteen years ago. Sprawling multinational, Star-Tech skills ranged from mobile communication to datacentres and social networking. Who never had browsed the web on WebV and posted a status update on YourSpace? That was StarTech. Who already went for a MRI or CT scan? Star-Tech again. The latest trendy smartphone? Star-tech once more. Wind turbine and solar collector fields that were beginning to sprout out of the landscape? Forever Star-Tech. So when last week, after two years of preparation, she had announced her resignation at the annual Great Blessing in honour of French know-how – sponsored by Star-Tech of course – this had the effect of a bomb. The journalists jumped on her, Star-Tech stocks fell by 5.5% in just one hour – they had planned on 10%, guess they managed well – and the week proved to be exhausting. “9 am: Meeting with the Council of Ministers.” She read. She had to reassure them, Star-Tech was one of the few multinational companies which didn’t cheat on tax authorities, to stand as an example, so the government wanted to know if they could always count on their money. “11h30 am: Brunch at the Elysée. Pfff… And one gourmet meal paid on the back of the taxpayers. I’ll ask they send me the bill.” She thought while biting on a slice of bread with strawberry jam, and kept on reading. “1 pm: Interview at the Maison de la Radio. Claire.” She smiled, it seemed to be the only nice time of the day. Over the years, Claire Ferroni had become a friend and her show was always nice and smart to listen to. “At least she will have the decency to not overstate my resignation.” She said to herself. It was also the only official interview she gave, not liking how press was turning tables about what people said to emphasize what they wanted to hear. “3 pm: Visit of the 6B artistic squat. Ah, I shall have at least two nice moments today.” She continued on her agenda, several other appointments all more annoying than the last, she stopped at the last two. “8 pm: Dinner with Thomas.” Her beloved brother, the second man she loved the most after her husband Richard. It had been almost twenty years they had worked together, at start just to be able to eat pasta on evenings, writing a poor centralized document management program that had quickly become the first social network of the internet era. “Good ideas at the right time.” She liked to say to anyone willing to hear. But now she was tired and worn form this lifestyle, Star-Tech had become too big for her and had lost its human dimension. Tom will be able to handle it. “11 pm: Jet flight to Bordeaux and turn off work phone.” She was so awaiting this instant, her new life. To serve people rather than having them at her service. She was to take the head of the Foundation, without any salary of course, she could already pay their pension to a million of retired workers, if not more. There was a knock at the door: – Madam, your taxi is ready. – Coming! Arriving at Bordeaux, Emma got driven to downtown where she lived and had asked to be dropped a few blocks away from her residence, she wanted to have a walk at night in the city. – Are you sure, Emma? I know Bordeaux is pretty safe a town but… – Asked her driver, Richard, former homeless. – Yes, if it reassures you, just follow me with the car. – She answered, irritated to not feel totally free but at the same time conscious he only wanted her well-being. Heels noises echoed at rhythmic pace on the sidewalk followed by her suitcase rolling sounds and the silent wheels of her electric sport car – from Star-Tech of course – city streetlights throwing their pale shadows on buildings. She smiled, blissfully breathing lung full of fresh air, certainly a little polluted, but the city had that sweet smell of freedom. She arrived at the square next to her home and her smile faded off slowly seeing a homeless trying to sleep on a bench. Winters are never really cold in Bordeaux, but still. She walked toward the red grand double doors that closed the courtyard of her building, which was hers entirely in one of the affluent neighbourhoods of the city. It automatically opened on car’s approach. Emma called her driver. – Park over and take your day off tomorrow. – She told him while looking at the homeless. – Ma’am? – She answered worried. – Please. – She added softly. Bertrand smiled, that dude won’t sleep under the stars anymore. She climbed up the steps to her large flat she shared with the love of her life, Richard. She walked cautiously, swiftly fetched a thick blanket, then emerged from the building and walked straight toward the homeless. He opened his eyes when she stepped closer, surprised to see her drop a thick blanket over him. He was young, about twentyfive, she sighed and asked with her sweetest voice. – Good evening, if it pleases you, there is a nice bed awaiting you in that building. He looked at her incredulously, and sat up quickly on the bench, Emma smiled. He nodded. – Good evening ma’am, that’s nice but… – …You don’t want to bother. Listen… – No… – He said, cutting her off. – Rather… Why? – Because I can. If everyone who can afford bothered to help those who need, the world would turn much rounder, wouldn’t it? He smiled softly and gathered is ‘home’, a backpack full of his stuff. Emma took back the blanket she had brought and led him toward the building. – My name is Emma Javuis. – She said presenting her hand which he took carefully, feeling like messing her white skin. – Joshua Marchet, thank you a thousand times… E-Emma Javuis?! THE Emma Javuis? – Hehe, that’s me. They entered her building’s courtyard and headed to the entrance, walked and advanced through a hallway on the ground floor, she stopped in front of a metal box on the wall and opened it, taking a key which lightened an orange LED above its hook, alongside other lit LED. Several doors were lined on both sides of the corridor. – Where are we? – Asked the young man, a little lost. – This is my house. The first and second floor have rooms for homeless. There are about twenty centres like this one in France, usually larger. Each orange LED indicates a busy room. – She explained, closing it. She led him down the hall and opened a door to a small bedroom of about twelve square meters. – Here, it’s rather small but it has all it needs, bed, individual facilities, a phone and a small kitchen. – She said calmly. Joshua entered and sat awkwardly on the bed, Emma handed him the key. – Take it, put it back at its place when you’ll leave. Now, it’s up to you. Enjoy a good night and nice shower then keep on living that way. Or, try to get out from there, if you do so I suggest you read that panel, if you know how to read… – I can read… – He said cutting her short and frowning slightly. – Sorry… I met some who doesn’t, so I prefer ask. How long have you been living in the streets? – Eight months, I think. – He replied in a tone expressing all his fatigue. She nodded slowly. – I see. You will find a list of useful phone numbers here, doctor, social centre, etc… If any component is faulty or if you have any specific needs, ask Mr. Chapuis. He’s the concierge. A bit of a rustic man but nice. Everything is explained on the ‘Rules’ panel there. It’s more of a user manual than actual rules really. – She mimicked the quotes. – I-I don’t know what to say… I don’t have any money… I… – Stammered Joshua lowering his head. – Everything’s free, but if you decide to stay, I expect you do well. I only provide a key. – She looked at his hand. – Use it your way. – She added, smiling warmly. He nodded, his eyes shining with fatigue and gratitude. Emma yawned violently. – Mmmf. If you excuse me! I had a long day. – Certainly! I understand Ms. Javuis, thanks for everything… – Call me Emma, all residents already do so. Good night Joshua! – Good night. She slowly climbed back up the stairs that led to her huge loft which used the third and fourth floor integrally. Light hearted, she entered her living room, not much of ostentations signs of her immeasurable wealth were on sight, no servants, no outrageous décor or manor/villa at St-Trop’, she didn’t care about that. Simply happy, it was without any behind thought that she helped those people, or at least, with the satisfaction that her money and she were to be of use. She hung her jacket on the coat rack and stretched, reached the laundry to change from outfit. Wearing a night shirt, she cupped her little round breasts that pointed through the fabric. “I still do look good.” She thought while returning to the living room, her eyes caught the clock showing 1:20 am. – Ugh… Already… – She yawned and walked cautiously toward the bedroom. Her husband was already asleep and slipped beside him, placing a soft kiss on his forehead. She had hoped he would awake but he had no reaction, just slight hum. He must have had a hard day as well. Walking back to the living room, she turned the television on and started browsing for an available replay show, she just needed to chill out. She found the recording of a F.I.F.A Champions League match, football. – Perfect for brain. – She said. Her only regret was to not have any child yet. They tried, many times. Up to use some “fishy” shamanism techniques. Emma and Richard had of course consulted doctors and specialists, whose had come to the conclusion that “Madame’s nest is too wild and Mister’s champions are too weak.” nothing abnormal they had to persevere. It still seemed as their luck was bent against them though. A small white light began to dawn on the room, Emma was lying with her eyes opened and glanced at the apparition in disbelief. “Again…” She felt it was dangerous but couldn’t move, her limbs refusing to obey, as in a nightmare. “No!” The light grew and wrapped her whole in a white shroud, she discerned nothing else. The living room and sofa on which she was lying seemed to have disappeared and the night itself looked like devoured by that beam. She felt her body dissolve, the molecules of her skin, her blood, her hair flying toward the source. And suffering was, ripping. “AaaaaaaAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!” Emma woke up in a jolt, panting, the yell had awakened her. She slowly sat on the couch, catching her breath. “It… It got more intense this time…” She thought. She felt like losing her body for a moment and stared at the room for reassurance. The TV was off, not a sound in the room lit by the warm light of a sweet sun passing through the large picture window. It wasn’t the first time she had that dream, it came to her since three or four nights already. A piece of paper on the coffee table caught her eyes, a note from Richard. “You were sleeping so well I didn’t dare to wake you up. Have a good day, my heart. Hugs. P.S.: Don’t forget we eat at my sister’s place tonight!” She suddenly felt much better, got up while checking on the clock, 10:19 am, and walked sleepily to the kitchen to start a coffee. While the espresso machine was working, she returned to the lounge and put on a CD “Crude” from “We insist!” After a frugal breakfast and a most effective musical wake up, a call to her maid to give her day off, she started to work on the cleaning herself. Not that there was much to do. – Damn it feels good! – She screamed while dancing with the vacuum cleaner on the vinyl album of “Songs for the deaf” from “Queen of the Stone Age.” Emma ate a small dish and settled herself on the PS3, starting a “GTA IV” new game, she finally had time to play. One hour and a half later: – Ouchy! Already 2 pm, lost myself a bit there. – She said standing up. She changed into a sport outfit which snugged her perfect curves tightly, prepared her music on her smartphone and called Valérie, one of her best friends, with whom she partnered for fitness. – Hello Val’? – Ah gosh, about damn time! I was expecting you! – She answered. – Rhoo, okay, I’m what… Twenty minutes late? We meet at the gym? I’ll be running, should be there in ten minutes. – Right, see ya. She went down the stairs quickly, getting in condition for her footing, met some residents hailing them all by their first name. Stepping in courtyard, she started at a good pace for a sustained running, her firm round bottom dancing in her spandex. She arrived exactly ten minutes after her departure, entered the gym when her favourite song of “Radiohead”, “Paranoid Android”, ended. She took her headphones off and saw Valérie waving at her. – Finally! You’re there. – Noted her friend. – Ugh, you know it’s my pleasure to have you wait for me. – Replied a chuckling Emma, hugging. Valérie was an old high-school friend, and had remained so unconditionally to Emma’s professional success. Valérie was a brunette with a deep tanned skin, her Spanish origins featured on her beautiful face. Taller than most from her 6’ point of view, Valérie was also much beefier, fitness being more than a hobby for her. She showed a pronounced musculature, visible abs even at rest, broader shoulders than average, sinuous arms, powerful legs. Emma admired her perseverance and stubbornness in always wanting to improve her physique. They were doing back exercise, Emma working with an empty bar. – Tell me, now that you’re on vacation and that your job will be smoother, you’ll be able to accompany me more often, right? One time, you said you wanted to be like me… – Valérie asked while making sure her friend was doing the moves right. – Hmmmf… Yes, I do hope so. Phhhf. You’re jealous of my money. Hmmmf. I envy your body, you know. – Haha, stop, you are stunning. It’s you people watch, not me. Emma stopped her series for a break. – I don’t care who they looking at… Now that I have time, I want to be muscled like you. – Emma said with a confident tone. – That’s why you force like that? – Yep, and to pre-compensate the delicious meal awaiting me at my sister’s tonight. – Rhhoo, is she the one doing this delicious dessert? The kind of citrus Mille-Feuille… – Yes she is. – Emma replied, smiling. – Oh, can you bring me one piece if she cooks some? Please, please, please, please! Emma Laughed. – Heh, ok, if any. Put 25 pounds on the bar, will you? – Hmm, really serious I see. – Noted Valérie while doing so. The meal hadn’t been cooked by Christiane, Richard’s sister, but by a Chef friend of her. It was nonetheless marvellous, though Valérie wouldn’t get her citrus Mille-Feuille. Emma had a pleasant evening and was enjoying her romantic way back with her man, she was holding on his arm tenderly while they were walking through Bordeaux’s quiet streets. It was about 1 am, night was clear, so clear that without much effort you could see the stars through the city’s lights. Almost. Richard placed a kiss on his beloved’s forehead. – Say Emma. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately… And maybe, we’d could adopt. – He said calmly. Emma said nothing, interpreting his words, walking slowly. “Why does he have to talk about that now?” She wondered. – Adopt? – She finally answered. – Could you love this child as much as your own? – I don’t know. – He sighed. – But you’re nearing forty years old, and we’ve been trying without success, the more time goes, the more it will become unsafe for you and unsuccessful… – I know that! – She snapped, letting his arm hang and walking slightly faster. “He always spoil the good times… Does he believe I don’t worry about it too?” She raged in her head. Richard, a little taken aback by her reaction, stopped, starred at his hand a second and then trotted back up to Emma. – Wh-Why do you react that way, my love? She exploded, that was too much. – Because! You think I don’t care?! You think I’m all happy to see years are passing by and nothing happen?! – She yelled. – N-No but... – Muttered Richard, surprised. – We were fine there! Peaceful! A couple at last! It’s been months since we hadn’t a time together!! – She gasped, anger was suffocating. – I do think about our child… And I know I’m getting older… – She began to sob. – Fuck you Richard. – She blurted out, walking fast again. – Emma… E.C. 2021 “Richard…” Emma straighten up slowly in a sitting position, wincing in pain and holding her sides. A tear was running down her cheek, she gritted her teeth and watched the valley. She had seen in her dreams, except it stopped when her ship was taken down. “Focus, replay the scene. You can do it, Flame.” She thought. She closed her eyes, trying to breathe calmly and emptying her mind. Her nightmare came to her immediately, clear, just as real. Managing to focus out of her ship falling like a leaf on the planet Blagor’s green sky, she saw it – about a kilometre away – a mining complex. She opened her eyes quickly and turned around, her body screamed in pain but she didn’t care. She couldn’t afford to suffer now. In the distance, her destroyed ship was casting its smoke behind the hill and she was able to orientate herself toward the mine. Stumbling and limping, she began her slow ascent of the red and bare slope. – I shall see it from up there. – She said aloud, as a motivation. The sun was at its zenith when she finally reached the top, casting the shadows of her powerful physique on the rocky ground. Her body was only pain, her muscles barely responding, her left leg hanging miserably on the dusty ground. She sweated abundantly, the heat was stifling. It had taken her a good twenty minutes to climb up and a look at her oxygen gauge was not to reassure her. “Great, no more than two hours and fifteen left…” But she was seeing the complex, spreading its black metal structures into the distance. Emma resumed her trek slowly, her progression made easier by walking down the hill. For nearly an hour she limped, approaching slowly. As she was getting closer to was seemed to be an entrance, she was out of breath, her leg and ribs sending waves if blazing pain through her body. She gritted her teeth once more. A sudden violent cramp started in her right leg, caught her off guard and she fell face first. – Ahhh… Haa… Mmm… Shit… Pheww… – She huffed, trying to calm down. She looked up, caught ground on her strong arms – which seemed as weak as a new-born right now – and began to half crawl half walk on fours. Her vision blurred, drops of tears and sweat beaded down her face, her red hair stuck to her cheeks. She was at barely fifty meters, she collapsed, exhausted. Her mind clouded while the door disappeared from her field of vision. She raised her arm in a last effort. – Blue… E.C. February 27, 2009 Emma would always remember that day, but didn’t know it yet. All it mattered to her was going back home. She was fulminating against Richard, who followed her calling to discuss. – Emma please… Fifteen years of intense work, deprivation and cumulative fatigue was boiling inside her. She was worn out, felt old. She was angry at herself for losing control that way, but too proud to admit it. She burst into the apartment, rushed to the bedroom and in about thirty seconds was lying in bed. Richard took five mins to join her. He slipped his hand under the sheets, caressing her skin. She shivered and sighed, she couldn’t calm down. – We’ll talk tomorrow at rest. Good night. – She snapped. – Good night. Emma. – He whispered, disappointed. She tried to sleep for about an hour, fatigue was there, but so was anger and a fear she couldn’t explain. As if she didn’t want to sleep. She got out of bed slowly, pulled on a pair of pyjama with a tank top and walked to the living room. She grabbed the blanket she had proposed to Joshua and slipped underneath, playing on PS3 while listening to some music on her smartphone. About half an hour later, fatigue was too strong and she fell asleep, headphones still plugged on her ears and television on. A small white light began to dawn on the room, Emma was lying with her eyes opened and glanced at the apparition in disbelief. “Oh no…” She felt it was dangerous but couldn’t move, her limbs refusing to obey, as in a nightmare. The light grew and wrapped her whole in a white shroud, she discerned nothing else. The living room and sofa on which she was lying seemed to have disappeared and the night itself looked like devoured by that beam. “Leave me alone!!” She felt her body dissolve, the molecules of her skin, her blood, her hair flying toward the source. And suffering was, ripping. – AaaaaaaAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!! The girl was convulsing with pain, her blue eyes rolling back and turning to white in their sockets and her limbs violently slamming on the metal floor. She moaned and drooled over, her body soaked in cold sweat, her red hair stuck on her face. The fast paced heavy sound of a walking man echoed, he was very tall, almost a giant with a brown beard and tanned skin. A scar was running from the bottom of his jaw, along his left cheek, to his green eyes which were vibrating with anger. He entered the transplaner room, hitting the first technician he met with a powerful right hook on his face, the poo guy sent slamming against the wall without complaining, he stood back up rubbing his cheek. – What the fuck happened?! Garsif! – Shouted the giant. – Damn if I kno’ Captain!! We did as usual, catch vital data, molecular analysis, localisation and teleportation… Usual! – Answered Garsif, slightly protecting his face in case the colossus would punch him too. – We were pretty far… – Added Loomsif, recovering from his beating. – I’ll give you some ‘pretty far’… – Retorted the Captain who armed his arm once more. He the grabbed Emma baby-like as if she weighted nothing. – Warn the Doc, the incubator must be ready for a phasing! He walked quickly through the ship’s corridors, looking anxious. The woman still writhing in his arms, but less violently. He sped up, almost running through locks and bridges with an assured step. The doctor was waiting at the opened door. The giant rushed into his cabinet. – What is it Captain? – Asked the man. Doctor’s pinkish skin was sweating of stress, he didn’t like emergencies and didn’t like when the Captain was shaking him up that way. How many times had he thought about changing job career? – Teleportation went wrong, Kapnik… She phased out. – Replied the big man, lying the small woman body into the incubator. It was a machine that every good interstellar ship had to possess. It was shaped like a giant almond with the door closing by sliding from above. The incubator allowed rapid and safe cure for most diseases of the known universe, and even offered accelerated fracture repair. In the space where each crewman was important, time saved was a benediction for the ship’s safety. And it reduced the duration of sick leaves. The doctor returned to the console. – Hirnian, I-is she our package? – He asked. – Yes. – I have to calibrate the machine… – No time! Set it on Dirnians! – Retorted the Captain. – Oh... Okay. The mink skinned Dr. Kapnik bustled controls, lowered the lid and started the curing cycle. The giant watched the woman’s face through the window, clenching his fists. – How long? – He asked. – About an hour… Maybe more. Even if your genetic codes are almost alike, I will surely need to do manual adjustments… – He sighed behind his console. – She’s stabilized… For now. The Captain nodded and walked over the intercom, typed a code and didn’t waited more than a second before the three-dimensional image of a man, whose face betrayed the sudden awakening, emerged. He had a pale blue skin, almost transparent, embellished by a three days old thick black beard. His long straight black hair fell over his bare muscular shoulders. – Yeah Cap’? – He asked in a sleepy voice. – Blue, guard the incubator until further notice. – He simply ordered. Blue looked at him questioningly, with his pierced in purple shades black eyes, who remained silent. He subtly nodded and disappeared from view. Many questions raced through his mind as he arrived on the main deck. How teleportation could have caused this? It can’t fail right? And he knew that the twins – Garsif and loomsif – had done their job right. – Captain on the deck! – Bellowed on of the pilots. – Shut up. – Retorted the giant. He took his seat and looked for a few at the solar system map. – Fly toward the eighth planet, the giant blue, in stealth mode. Then orbit the Stallion around. – He ordered. – We don’t go back to our base? – Asked the pilot. – Not now, Jar-Jar’Sif, one of our passenger isn’t able to bear hyperspace. Jar-Jar’Sif didn’t insist and focused on his duty at hand, the ship leaving the hidden face of the Moon and slowly swept away from Earth in the space night. Stallion was in orbit, the large blue mass was displayed in all its glory on the main bridge screens. The Captain remained silent and closed, lost in his thoughts and his crew knew too well it wasn’t a good time to bother him. The intercom buzzer rang, a call from the workshop, he took the communication lazily. Loomsif appeared with his ebony skin and bright yellow iris. – Cap’, what do we do with dat shit we TP dat girl with? – He asked with greedy eyes. – Put them aside and don’t touch them, they’re not yours…. Is her electronic device could have affected the teleportation? – He meant the smartphone. – Nah boss, that’s pretty primitive communication shit. But I’d need ta analys’it ta be sure… – Grinned the man. – I said, don’t touch! – Hirnian ordered. – Sir! Yes sir! – Laughed Loomsif and logged off. – I swear those two. I’ll enrol them in Ga’Loan army, they will understand what ‘discipline’ means… – He grumbled. One of the pilots giggled but stopped short when he saw the Captain’s glare on him. – Sorry… The intercom rang again, it was Blue, this time in uniform. – Hirnian, you should come. – He said, his voice toning urgent. – Is she safe? – Yes, but do come. – Insisted his second. “What now?” He thought while walking fast toward the medical centre. “Why is nothing working the way I want today?” he entered in strength into the room, making the doctor gasps. – So what’s the matter? Did she turned green? She woke up chanting curses? – Asked the annoyed Captain while approaching the incubator. – I-I maintain her in an artificial sleep, to control awakening. – Stammered Kapnik. – She might be shocked… Looking through the glass, Hirnian noticed immediately what was wrong. – What th-, how? – I-I don’t know Captain, this is the first time I witness this kind of phenomenon. – The doctor was shrinking himself behind his console. – Yeah… Too many first time to be due by luck…– He thought aloud. – Why did ‘They’ wanted ‘Her’…? Blue! – Yes Cap’? – Bring her to the guest’s cabin. You’re her bodyguard. If she moans, coughs or farts, I want to know. At any sigh of waking up, warn me. – Err Cap’, you wake her up whenever you want, sleep is controlled. – Blue noted calmly, even though he was laughing inside, her liked when his Captain was flaming up like this. – Oh… Right. Well, move her to the cabin anyway. I’m going to check on the twins. Doc’, you have to find why she became like this. – Yes, yes… Genetic analysis and everything. You’ll end up making me resign, I swear. – Answered a febrile Kapnik as Hirnian was storming out of the room. – Pfff, you won’t, you love it too much. – Smirked Blue. – Let’s move the ‘Sleeping Beauty’. – The what? – Asked Kapnik busy putting the incubator in mobile mode. – The ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is an Earth tale. – Said Blue. – The seleeeping buteh. – Repeated the doctor. – But what language is this? Earther? Blue laughed. “There are more than 3,000 languages on Earth. That was French.” He added. – 3,000?! – He gasped, dazed and imitated the sound. – Frantch. But how do you know that? – He asked while driving the floating incubator toward the cabin. – Learned it at school. – You… – He negotiated a turn. – Oh ok, making fun of me. It’s actually bullshit, huh? Kapnik watched the muscular back of his colleague, Blue was a total enigma for him. Nobody knew his real name, and he suspected that even the Captain didn’t know about it. He was simply called ‘Blue’ a simple factual nickname based on his skin colour. Moreover, he was a Karviri, the most mysterious people of the galaxy. Few numbered, they were said to be very early mentally and physically – at 18 years old, Blue was the perfect example – but also were gifted with extreme lifespan. How far extreme, poor Kapnik didn’t know, the only Karviri he ever met was Blue, and before he didn’t thought they exist, something of a legend. But he also know that Blue never lied when he deigned speaking. – Yep, school. To be precise, I made something as a kid at school which allowed me to know quite a bit about Earthers. – Oh and what was that? – A radio receiver. – Blue said as they arrived at their destination. Blue opened the door, it quietly slipped in a muffled sound. The incubator rushed into the dark room, illuminating when the two men entered. They manoeuvred the girl’s body gently and laid her on the bed. Blue made a quick inventory of the room, it was rarely used. This was actually the official Captain suite, with personal toilets, shower, small living room and the possibility to open a large picture window that overlooked on space. But Hirnian preferred sleeping with his crewmen. Kapnik checked on the girl and rose. – Well, I’ll go analyse her blood samples. – He said, a little relaxed. Blue nodded and went to stand at the closing door. The woman wondered for a split second if she was still asleep, but the feeling of a strange fabric on her skin convinced she wasn’t. The sensation of this tissue was strange, synthetic yet soft and warm. Then came the irremediable question: “Were am I?” She opened her eyes, the room was in the darkness or were it for her eyes to be accustomed to it. She noted a second strange thing, like a musty smell lightly hovering and seemed like stale air, filtered and sterilized she had to smell in her laboratories. She was to move her body and she let out a little moan, which was the third strange thing: Her voice! “God… Why do I sound like… A child?!” She thought with a slight beginning of panic, her breathing accelerating and feeling her now much smaller frame under the sheets. She suddenly gasped, at a small yard stood a human figure but whose black eyes shone with a purple glow. The shape began to speak in a rough French yet with a soft and calm man voice: – Sorry, me scarrre you. He reached out gently, offering his hand for a shake. She looked at his hand in disbelief, the skin was pale blue. She looked up and realized he was trying to watch her gently. – That how say hello, no? I am Blue. – Said the smiling man, showing his slightly blue teeth. The girl held out her hand to shake his and felt her mind waver seeing her little hand. What was she doing here? Why was she in a child’s body? Who was this blue skinned man who seemed kind? She took a deep breath, panic had never been in her vocabulary, so not going to start now. She smiled back, thinking “Let’s play along, see and learn as much as you can.” – Yes it is. My name is Emma, Emma Javuis. – émmmai. Ema… Emma.” Repeated Blue several times, she nodded on the good attempt. – Nice meet you, Emma. She then heard two other voices repeating her name as well, in turns, even more awkwardly than Blue. She giggled, more to relieve her tension than at their lame tries and got up from the bed, unsure. She was still wearing her pyjama pants and tank top, now far too big for her, she swiftly prevented the pants to fall off her hips. The two men approached, smiling dumbly. The first was a giant, about 6’7, his strange clothes trying to contain his powerful muscles that stretched the fabric. His skin was more human, pretty tanned, a beautiful scar ran down his left cheek. He wore long well-trimmed beard landing on his thick chest and bright green eyes looked at her sympathetically. The second man was much smaller and sickly, his skin was a pale pink, almost like a candy. His dark magenta were just shaggy and he looked at her with curiosity, though his red irises eyes gave him a crazy albino look. They both made a pose with their left arm, bending it square at the belly and lowering their head, right arm slightly reaching forward with palm up. – This hello in galaxy. – Explained Blue. Emma began to imitate the pose politely then turned to face Blue, taken aback. – Galaxy?! It couldn’t be otherwise, now that her eyes had become accustomed to the darkness, the room in which she was standing wasn’t much ‘human’. The walls seemed metallic. The furniture, although familiar in their functions, was oddly shaped, sleek, but pleasing to the eye. – Let’s show her the planet we’re flying, she will recognize it. – Said Blue. – Right. – Answered Hirnian who walked to a wall switch. – Are you sure? – Asked the doctor, still sceptical. – She seems quite lost already. Emma listened to their talk and saw the giant press a button. The language she heard was pleasant to listen to, a little singing, although she couldn’t discern a word yet. A slight vibration was felt and a wall panel began to move, she moved further away instinctively and felt a warm hand on her back, it was Blue. – Look. She stepped closer slowly to the lightly smoked picture window, she guessed it to be a filter shielding the harmful sun’s rays. The stars stood out in sight, and bellow the shell of the vessel, the majestic blue mass of Neptune. – Wooo… Fucking shit… Ohhh shit… Fuck! Oh damn… – She couldn’t help but let those out, in shock. She slapped her cheeks a couple of times, to check she wasn’t dreaming. – Holy cow… That fuckin’ can’t be true… – She added. Blue shrugged at his colleagues with a look of saying “I don’t understand.” She breathed hard for a moment and yet again approached the window, her forehead poking on it, kneeling down, she started to sob softly, taking in a slight dizziness. Suspecting the answer she asked. – Will I… return home one day? E.T. 2021 An alarm sound echoed in her helmet, she opened her eyes with difficulty. Her air gauge and battery indicated each 3%. She harshly sat on her knees, grimaced and stood up. Staring at the door fifty-five yard away, she completely turned off her suit power supply. “I’ll get there, and I’ll need power.” She started walking, slowly but surely, her arching muscles swelling under the pressure. She was progressing well, her loss of consciousness had rested her body, slightly. She leaned on the door and fumbled for the switch. “Please do work!” Her hand gripped the lever that was on the left side, lowered it. Nothing. – Fuck! Catching her breath, she face the door and saw the two handles. “Ok, you want to play that way…?” She took a good grip on them and began to pull apart. Her ribs ached immediately, but she kept on her efforts, her lats spreading, her arms bulging and growing under the tissue. She huffed, puffed but felt it wouldn’t move that easily. So she began to push on one handle, using her whole body and the full strength of her remaining thick leg. – Come oooonnnn…! – She raged against the door. In a final assault, the door gave up, slowly, creaking under the pressure of Emma’s might until she could slip herself in. Flame’s body fell face down like a rock, the door swiftly closing behind her in a loud snap. Groping, she turned on her suit and started an air analysis. She was gasping, air in her suit unbreathable while she sank into the dark hallway. Her helmet rang twice, indicating the result and she promptly took it off, taking a good lung full of air, a bit stale, but safe. On the Stallion in orbit around a Blagor’s moon, Hirnian’s face was stern. Blue couldn’t hold more. – Let me go back… – He said. – No, we wait thirty minutes, then we’re off… Blue turned around violently, mad. – Blue wait… At that time, a double beep was heard. – An encrypted message Cap’. – Announced Garsif, turning with a big smile of his golden yellow teeth. – And it’s Petite’s code. E.C. February 27, 2009 Blue laid his hand on Emma’s shoulder who now knew the answer. – Sorry… Not possible. We break lot rules to come. – He said calmly. – But why? Why coming? Why me? – She asked, still startled at her own childish voice. He turned to his Captain. – What does she want to know? – Guessed Hernian. – Why we came to Earth and took her. – Tell her. He nodded and faced Emma who was looking at him with tears filled eyes. – You is an order, we do not know why… – He said quietly, she was staring at Neptune now, not knowing what to say, he added: – The Earth… Be sanctuary. Forbidden. Cradle of galaxy civilizations. We call: The Mother.
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