The Brightest Star in the Sky
Her wings glittered in the moonlight; that’s what I remember best from the night we met.
She had recently moved to our district on an educational scholarship, bearing none of the signifying marks of glowing flyxin so common among the upper class. My parents told me that those without light are without worth, but her kind smile shone brighter than any crystal badge.
We both attended a study group every sixth day. For the past semester, we had mostly
been working on our group projects where we did a report on the life on a planet of our choosing, but we always made room for a calculus review before each test. She was in my project group so we always worked together, often interjecting our academic conversations with jokes or anecdotes. We often sat alone and exchanged brief, personal words afterward, but no more since we had to get home quickly before the sun rose. Whenever she gave me a final hug goodbye, my translucent wings fluttered slightly, and my heart did as well.
But, last time was different; she handed me a note, telling me to meet her on top of one of
the towering farm buildings that walled the outskirts of the city from the world outside. I vaguely mentioned my mother that I was going out to meet someone, knowing she would assume that I would be meeting with some nice rich boy like most other girls my age, before soaring out into the cool night.
I looked down at thousands of small lights; they came from sky-facing windows, jet-cars,
and each shard of flyxin, but none of them were the ones I was looking for, the most beautifulshine of all. Soon enough, I came to the roof of the sky-farm we had agreed upon and gently landed, sitting next to the spot where she had waited for me.
I reached for one of her hands as she wrapped a few of her other arms around me. We
simply sat together; it was just her, me, and the sky. Her wings glittered in the moonlight.
8th – 12th grade Workshop
Jax had a problem.
Warning lights illuminated the inside of the ship in a ghostly red and a speaker overhead reported yet another damaged system.
“Breach detected in sector 9, oxygen levels at 54%.”
Panic rushed through his body as he twisted around to examine the damage. Twisted chunks of metal and loose wires protruded from a rip in the metal hull, exposing the ship’s smoking innards. Jax fumbled with the toolbox at his waist and pulled out a roll of handy duct tape. As he tried to peel off a strip of tape with his gloves the system reported another update.
“Oxygen levels at 34%.”
With an alarmed grunt, Jax quickly stretched the duct tape over the gap, sealing it shut. Just to be safe, he wrapped another few layers of duct tape over it. Sticking his hands into another hole, he let his hands do the familiar habit of repairing The Kestrel, his ship. Finishing, he wrapped that hole in duct tape as well.
“Oxygen levels replenishing.”
Sighing with relief, Jax collapsed onto the floor.
Jax and his crew were scavengers, making a living off stripping old, abandoned ships for valuable parts. The area around the planet was bountiful with wrecked ships and floating debris and provided money for scavengers. However, competition was fierce, and recently they had earned little money. Jax’s job was to suit up and manually search and collect the parts, most of the time he liked the calm and quiet out in space, but there were much too many of those near-death experiences than he would have preferred. Just like now.
Another missile rocked the ship, making yet another huge flaming crater in the hull. Jax cursed beneath his breath. This was definitely not worth the scrap.
A few months ago, while searching the interior of a ship that had belonged to some space pirates, Jax had found a crumpled piece of paper that someone had hastily scribbled two words: “Reinforcements Needed” along with a set of coordinates. Jax had shown the strange note to Lux, a friend in the crew that he could trust with his life.
“I wonder what meaning those coordinates have,” Lux had said. They searched it up on their ship computer, but all it said was that it was a restricted area.
“Gee, I wonder why nobody enters the restricted area,” Jax thought now as laser blasts bombarded the Kestrel. The system listed out crucial warnings one after another, which didn’t improve the situation.
“Oxygen levels at 62%”
“Weapons durability at 89%”
“Energy generator failing”
Jax watched as The Kestrel returned fire. It was pointless. They were fighting against, or more correctly, desperately trying to run away from a Federation Cruiser. Jax had no idea why a thing like that would be in a field of metal ship skeletons and drifting debris. iIt was three thousand tons of might, a warship designed to annihilate anything that got in its way. The laser cutter and the small blaster equipped on The Kestrel barely dented it’s shields. Jax could only look on helplessly as a nuclear warhead raced towards the ship and hit.