First Encounters

“A lot of the plants here are of the same color as those on Rosca, but the mountains are a cream-color, not sparkling blue, among other things,” announced a voice through the intercom.

The Captain sighed, “So, in other words, it’s not Rosca.”

“Yes sir, sorry Captain.”

“That’s alright, gather what information you can about this planet and its life forms, we’ll send a team down after your report.”

“Copy that, Andrym over and out.” The Captain leaned back in his chair and heaved a sigh as his rubbed his eyes.

“Be patient, Marrel, we’ll find Rosca, we just have to keep looking,” stated his bear-like second-in-command.

“Yeah, but this world sounded so much like it that I let myself get lost in hope.”

“I know. Here, why don’t you take a break, I’ll take over from here.”

“You’ll contact me once Shonny reports?”

“Of course, now go.”

Marrel smiled, “Thanks Salah.” He got up and walked towards the elevator, telling it to go to level twenty. As the elevator zoomed towards its destination, Marrel leaned back and sighed. Being half psotnick and half pixi, Marrel always felt torn between two worlds. He dearly loved his homeworld of Plestra, but he had always longed to go to Rosca, to be a part of that great civilization. And now here he was, captaining a Rosen ship back home, the only problem being that the previous Captain, after whom Marrel had been named, completely erased the coordinates of Rosca before his death. And the only other one who might have known was dead too. Marrel ran a hand through his crimson locks. How were they supposed to find it, just keep traveling through space until they hopefully stumbled across it? The elevator doors whooshed open, and Marrel stepped out into a quiet, dimly lit hallway. He walked briskly towards the very last door in the hall and opened it, entering the darkened room. The two pods in the middle of the room emitted a soft silvery light, bright enough to dimly illuminate the room to show a pale figure sitting by the second pod.

“Allagael!” The ordog’s head snapped up at the sound of his name, his tawny eyes widening when he realized who spoke.

“C-Captain Marrel!” he stammered as he jumped to his feet. “M-my apologies . . .”

“Why were you in here?”

Allagael glanced down, “I, uh, I merely w-wanted to pay my respects.”

“Allagael, there’s no need to be nervous, you’re one of us. Come on, what is it?”

Allagael’s eyes flitted between Marrel and the floor before heaving a sigh and speaking, “I-I wish I could have met them, let them know that not all ordogs think the same, and there’s hope that the rest of us will change. I wish I could thank your grandfather for saving my life, in a way. B-but, most of all, I want to understand, understand why the stars are so important to them, why exploring space is so important.” He glanced up at Marrel, “I know why Plestrans desire to explore the stars, we’re constantly searching for knowledge. But they came with the intent of sharing the knowledge they had and helping us find ways to quench our thirst for knowledge.  But why even leave if they had no idea they would find life on other planets, especially intelligent life?”

Marrel smirked, “You’re getting a bit broad there, Allagael. Are you referring to all Rosens, or just my grandfather and great-uncle?”

Allagael winced, “Well, I guess all Rosens, but especially your grandfather and great-uncle. What were their reasons for wanting to leave their home?”

Marrel sighed, “Sorry, that wasn’t a question that entered my mind. Maybe you can ask my grandma, and if she doesn’t know, grandfather did say that there are records back on Rosca on a lot of that. Maybe you’ll just have to wait and find out there.”

“I-I guess so,” Allagael stammered. Marrel smiled and nodded.  Just then, a female voice came over the P.A. system.

“Imata, the bridge, now!” The two dashed out of the room and straight towards the elevator. A few minutes later, they re-emerged onto the bridge.

“Situation!” ordered Marrel, but his answer came amid radio static.

“Wildlife . . . dangerous . . . village . . . attacked . . . request . . . immediate back-up . . .”

“Primrosa to Andrym, report. Andrym, can you hear me? Andrym!”

“No!” shouted Allagael as he rushed towards the elevator.

“Don’t let him pass, Celiria!” barked Marrel. The female centaur immediately rose from her station and grabbed Allagael around the waist.

“No! Put me down!”

“We don’t have enough information for you to go charging in,” snapped Marrel. “We have no idea how big these things . . . whatever is attacking Andrym, are!”

“Captain, I shall go down and aid Shonny, my suit is equipped to find him anywhere. And I am the biggest on our team. What do you say?” asked a male centaur, his fiery golden eyes glued on the curly-head of his captain.

Marrel let out a huff as he glanced up from the red chestnut horse form to the golden tanned skin and red chestnut hair of the centaur, “I guess you can head down to the surface, Gregolin, just, be careful, please. We’ve already lost contact with one superhero; we don’t need to lose contact with another.”

Gregolin gave a quick nod, “Of course, I’ll head down immediately.”

“Good luck and . . .” Marrel paused, his violet eyes filling with sorrow, “may Jescariah and Marielle protect you and guide you.” The centaur smiled with approval before giving a bow.

“And the same to you, my Captain.” With that said, he walked towards the elevator, Celiria letting him pass. Several minutes had gone by; Celiria had let Allagael down, but stayed in front of the elevator. Allagael knew better than to try a dash for it, a centaur’s reflexes could be insanely fast. He had to settle for pacing around the bridge, the anxiety in anticipation for Gregolin’s report making his steps go faster with each turn. Sometimes he would catch Marrel’s violet eyes on him, or Salah’s blue, showing him their fear and worry.

“Gigandra to Primrosa, do you copy?” The voice made them jump, but smiles of relief flooded their face.

“This is Primrosa, report.”

“Situation is under control, Andrym is fine.” Allagael let out a breath of relief. “The fairy of the village requests your presence, Captain.” Marrel blinked in surprise.

Salah nudged him, “Well, go on, it’s obvious your superheroes saved the day.”

Marrel let out a breath before replying through the intercom, “Very good, Gigandra, please inform the fairy of the village that I shall be down shortly with the rest of the team.”

“With pleasure, over and out.”

Marrel turned to Allagael as he rose, “Find Elpiffa, Calindra, and Astaeia, and meet me at the transporter. Salah, you have the bridge.” He turned and walked off the bridge.

“Right, but, you don’t have to . . . change,” muttered Salah. He sighed as he turned to a magenta-haired viltan, “Roseph, come take my seat.”

“With pleasure,” grinned Roseph as Salah got into the captain’s chair. Allagael and the girls arrived at the transporter all decked out in their super suits; a silver and forest green suit for Allagael; a black and orange striped suit for Elpiffa with her wings draped behind her; a red and brown suit for Calindra; and a navy blue suit for Astaeia, all complete with utility belts. Marrel arrived a few minutes later, decked out in a soft blue, almost periwinkle, suit lined with silver lace and mint green embroidered vines, a mint green flounce shirt, and shiny, silver boots.

“Whoa, that’s a really fancy suit,” muttered Allagael.

“You look handsome, Captain,” remarked Elpiffa.

“Thank you, Sfika. Shall we be off? I’m sure you’re as curious, and as anxious, as I am.”

“Yes sir,” chorused the other four, before all five entered a flower bud-like capsule. Marrel pushed a few buttons on the console before the capsule began a rather quick descent, though for the passengers, it seemed to drag longer than usual. When they finally emerged from the pod, Gigandra and Andrym were waiting to meet them; their reddish brown suits looked like they had been dragged through thorns and dirt.

“Sho . . . I mean, Andrym!” exclaimed Calindra as she rushed into her brother’s arms.

“Good catch, Anastima, but you’re going to have to work a bit more on that. Not everyone gets to know our civilian names,” remarked Andrym.

“Right,” she smiled.

“Are you alright?” asked Sfika.

“I’m fine, just taken by surprise is all, nothing more. Thanks, Captain, for just sending Gigandra, there was no way anyone else could have helped.”

Marrel smiled as he approached, sharing a quick, knowing glance with Allagael, “No problem, though it was hard to keep your team away for long.”

Andrym glanced at Allagael, “Asprylo, were you giving him problems?”

Allagael winced, “Just a little, I only wanted to help you.”

“Then it’s a good thing the Captain had someone there to restrain you, you see, well, maybe it’s better to show you.” The five glanced at each other with curiosity. “Follow us.” The five walked behind Gigandra and Andrym, the two leading them to a tiny village.

“Whoa,” breathed Asprylo as a few villagers approached the newcomers. The villagers were easily a foot and a half shorter than Anastima, the shortest one in their group, and were dressed in a variety of colors, as varied as their hair. A little man with brown spots in his mint green hair stepped towards Marrel.

“Are you the Captain?”

Marrel nodded, “I am.”

Andrym held up his hand, “Before we lead him to the fairy, allow us to show him the, uh, monster we defeated.”

The little man bowed, ‘Of course, by all means! The fairy will await you at the castle.”

“Thank you,” replied Andrym as he bowed his head. He motioned to his team to follow, he and Gigandra leading them to a milky-white lake not far from the village. There, on the bank, laid a long, black tubular creature, easily twice as long as Gigandra. A pair of metallic fangs protruded from its gaping mouth.

“What in the world?” muttered Marrel. Gigandra kicked the creature into the lake, and a soft static sound met their ears along with the splash.

“It was still alive,” muttered Andrym. Gigandra moved the creature around in the water with his hoof, but no more static was heard.

“Not anymore.”

“Wh-what is it?” asked Anastima.

“Asteritsi, take some pictures please. Asprylo, take this down.” The laume took a camera out of her utility belt and began snapping pictures while Asprylo took out a recorder and turned it on. “Captain, this is what the villagers call a tever.”

“Um, where are its eyes?” asked Asteritsi. Gigandra pointed out two spots.

“Here and here, they turn on and off like a screen.”

Andrym nodded, continuing, “But don’t ever look into their eyes when they’re . . . on, I guess?  Um, because they can make you see things that aren’t there and can hypnotize you into walking straight into its mouth. Well, at least the villagers can fit into its mouth; it would have a harder time with us.”

“Ew, that’s so gross,” muttered Anastima. “Can we go now?”

“Captain, I know this isn’t Rosca, but may I recommend staying here a while longer? The villagers have been telling us that the tevers aren’t the only creatures here who, uh, attack them,” stated Andrym.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the fairy of the village wants to speak to you about that,” added Gigandra.

Marrel nodded, “We shall stay for a while, help these good people out, and gather information for the Rosen records.”

“Then may I suggest we head to the castle and inform the fairy of your decision?”

“Of course, and maybe find out why we can understand each other.” Marrel paused, glancing at each of his crew members who glanced at him questioningly. He smiled, “Come on, let’s go. Gigandra, lead the way, please.” The centaur nodded and led the way back to the village, where the good news was met with a celebration and a grand feast.

Plestrans

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