|Serena & Sasha's Solar System|
|Season 1, Episode 1|
Walking on Sunshine & Playing With Fire
Netflix & Chill is the first episode of Serena & Sasha's Solar System.
The night was silent. Each house in the village had its lights completely off, every resident having gone to sleep. 1 AM on a Tuesday tended to do this to people, and especially in the village of Ramstairs, where clubs and the like were a rarity even on weekends, only a fool or a masochist would still be up.
The credits closed on the last Doctor Who episode of the season and Serena stopped stroking her girlfriend’s hair and picked up the remote, exiting to the Netflix home screen. The blue-haired girl resting on her lap immediately groaned and opened her eyes.
“Huh?” The girl, Sasha, sat up and rubbed her eyes. “Is it over?”
Serena brushed some of her blonde hair out of her eyes, and scrolled to the movie section and began browsing. “Yep. You fell asleep on like, Series 5.”
“It got boring when David Tennant turned into the fish fingers guy.” Sasha yawned and adjusted herself to be leaning on Serena’s shoulder. “You know though...”
“Why aren’t there real invasions in the UK?” Sasha pondered. “Like, aliens invade every day in America, as well as them being allowed to live there. Why not here?”
“Why would there be? America has targets, England doesn’t have any superheroes or anything.” Serena flicked down to the movie section.
"Wouldn’t that make it easier to invade this place though? Since there isn’t a Ben Tennyson.”
"If someone tried to invade here, he and the Plumbers would arrive in like, an instant using the manta ray alien or something, and they would have to fight him already prepared. They could hit him unguarded invading America." Serena explained.
"Now you sound like you’re planning an invasion.” Sasha giggled.
"Maybe I am. You don’t know what I do when I’m not with you.” Serena warned.
"And when is that?”
"True. As long as we’re not abducted by aliens or anything, I don’t really mind whether or not they invade.”
The next day, Serena was walking to school when a large, translucent pirate ship appeared suddenly in the sky.
"God damn it."
She walked to the corner where she usually met with Sasha and waited. Soon enough, a panicked girl ran up from the other road within a minute. She was still finishing tying her ponytail as she stopped, and stared at Serena like she was standing in a zoo enclosure.
“Serena! Serena! Have you seen the-”
“Big alien pirate ship? Yeah, it’s kinda hard to miss.” Serena frowned.
“It only just dropped its cloak, apparently, but the alert was half an hour ago, where were you?” Sasha panted, regaining her breath.
“Didn’t it only appear like, a minute ago?” Serena double-checked the time on her phone, and indeed it hadn’t been more than five minutes after it appeared.
“The Plumbers sent an alert for everyone’s phones! My mom told me in advance, even, and she said to stay indoors but you weren’t responding to any of my texts and I was worried something had happened!”
“Did they?” Serena looked at her phone confusedly. Nothing had come in. “Oh, wait.” She swiped up the control panel and turned Airplane Mode off, and a large notification appeared at the top of the phone, labeled “IMPORTANT PLUMBER ALERT”, as well as fifteen or so texts and calls from Sasha. Sasha looked at her skeptically.
“I just want to save battery. Why do we have to stay indoors, anyway?” Nobody had been really scared of aliens in a few years. Back when Serena was a child, yes, any mention of aliens would have sent people running, but with proper diplomacy and time to interact, most people just viewed them like everyone else. The publicity act of Undertown and proof that the only alien terrorists were exceptions had worked amazingly in their favour to assuage fears, and Serena had heard that even during invasions people would stop to take videos before actually fleeing. What made this different?
Serena realised what made it different as a pair of short, stubby arms grabbed her and began dragging her backward. Sasha punched whatever was dragging her and its grip faltered, letting Serena roll out of it and away. She faced a multicoloured turtle-like alien that was only the size of a child. It was sort of cute. A blue oval was behind it, which disappeared as it let out a long moan.
“Can you make this easy? You two are like the only humans still outdoors and I can’t be bothered to go inside anywhere.” The alien talked with a bored tone.
Sasha stared at it quizzically. “What?”
“I’ve been sent to take two humans and you two are good enough, okay?” It continued on monotonously. “The captain needs them for something.”
“Are you asking us to agree to be abducted?” Serena questioned.
“Yeah. Was worth a try at least.” The turtle jumped forward and Serena grabbed it, kicking it in the face. She immediately dropped it and clutched her foot, crying out.
“Owww... ow... Sasha do something!” Tears began to well up in her eyes.
“My species are universally known for their unbreakable shells, I don’t know what you expected.” The turtle held its hand out and a blue oval larger than an adult formed, seemingly completely made of energy. Before Serena could react, it moved forward and enveloped Sasha.
“What the hell did you do with her?!” Serena hobbled towards the turtle, still holding her foot, but attempting to look intimidating.
“Portaled her. I wasn’t going to drag her all the way back up to the ship by...” It looked at the stubs at the end of its arms and paused. “By myself.”
Serena didn’t have any time before the portal arced and enveloped her, changing her surroundings. She turned and saw an unconscious Sasha being tied to a pole as she felt something hit her on the head and dropped.
There were three aliens surrounding Serena when she woke up. One was the turtle alien she had been portaled by, one was a pink-furred feline-like humanoid with black markings on her arms and eyes, and the last was bulky and sickly green, with a protruding, spiked lower jaw and pupil-less, aquamarine eyes. The feline and the turtle wore no clothes while the ugly one wore a large, feathery coat and a fancy hat. Compared to the other two, the turtle seemed pretty lame rather than cute. She felt thick rope around her wrists and waist, and she turned and saw Sasha asleep, tied next to her in the same way. Resisting the urge to scream, she watched as the aliens began talking.
“Omigod, they’re awake!” The feline exclaimed, and the ugly one frowned.
“I still can’t believe this is it. These humans aren’t even in their adult state.” It shook its head. “You couldn’t get any better ones?”
“Just couldn’t be bothered. They were all hiding.” The turtle replied, as monotonously as before.
“I think they’re cute!” The feline chipped in.
“I am cursed! I don’t need cute, I need strong!” The green alien snapped and immediately regretted it. “Sorry for shouting at you, love.”
“It’s fine. You are cursed, of course you’d be on edge.” The pink alien smiled.
“Excuse me, but I’m right here.” Serena glared at all of them, and they finally seemed to notice that she was there. For some reason, she was more angry than afraid that they had just abducted her.
“Oh. Well, to skip to the point, you have been abducted by me, the amazing pirate, onto this lovely ship, the Ol’ Carrie!” The green alien widely gestured to their surroundings, and Serena realised - somehow not doing so already - that they were on the alien pirate ship. “We have 26 crew members of many species, and we have a special job for you two too!”
“We’re not doing any job you think we are.” Serena spat. “Let us go, or you’ll have to face Earth’s forces.”
“The Plumbers? They can’t touch us, this ship is invisible to all sensors until it’s too late.” The alien grinned. Serena frowned, but tried to keep up her front. Maybe if they were scared, they would return them to Earth?
“No, the BBC.” Serena corrected. “They’re much worse than the Plumbers.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“If you do something in Britain without the proper license, they’ll get you. I’m guessing you don’t have an Invasion License.”
The alien paused. “I wasn’t informed of this... What is BBC, exactly?”
Serena fought back snickering and continued. “BBC is different from the BBC actually, but if you insist... “
The turtle appeared from a portal, although Serena hadn’t realised it left, and told the ugly alien, “The BBC is the British Broadcasting Corporation. They do TV.”
The big-jawed alien snarled, “You lied to me?!”
“No. They are what the rainbow tortoise guy just said. They’re definitely something to be feared if you don’t have a license, though.” Serena gave in and started giggling while the alien was unamused.
“Firstly, her name isn’t ‘rainbow tortoise guy’, it’s—“ the alien said something that sounded like Rounder, or maybe Rhonda, “—and for that matter, my name is—“ it said something that sounded a bit like Pirate but not quite. “And my girlfriend here’s name is—“ it said something else that was probably Emily or something like that. “Get it right. Secondly, I did not find that amusing. We do not care about broadcasting groups-“
“Because we pirate everything.” The turtle whose name was maybe Rhonda cut in, making the still-giggling Serena giggle more.
“Shut up! We do not care about any group who opposes us, unless they are also pirates, and in that case, we steal their treasure and burn their ship down.” The alien finished, its temper becoming worse by the second.
“Oh! I have a question!” A familiar voice said next to Serena, and she realised that Sasha had woken up. When had she? How much of the conversation had she heard?
“What.” The grumpy alien stared.
“Do all the pirate crews have ships like yours? Like, Earth ship-like and all ghostly and stuff.” Of course she’d start with a question like that. Sasha’s fixation on aliens came from her mum’s job - A high-ranking Plumber. She had apparently been allowed to use the training software (though she treated it like a VR game) so she had probably seen this scenario before. No need for her to panic.
“Oh! I’m glad you asked!” The pink one whose name was almost definitely Emily beamed. “Okay, so, basically, we have a pretty unique style to our ship. She’s, like, the only one we’ve seen so far that resembles Earth ships and is made of wood. Mimicking the Earth style is, like, a popular choice but most are, like, made of metals for durability. Ours is authentic!”
“How does she stay together?” Sasha asked.
“She doesn’t, but, like, we stole this engine that lets her repair herself automatically.” She explained.
“Where did you find something like that?” Sasha had that look when she was curious about something (which was a lot), and Serena knew that these aliens would be quizzed on all the ship’s details sooner or later.
“We didn’t.” The short-fused one explained. “I stole it.”
“None of your business.”
“Also, is your name really Pirate?” She asked.
“It’s not pronounced like that! It’s like... Rhonda! Spell it in Earth letters!” It ordered.
“The Earth ones!” It barked.
“There are many Earth scripts.” Probably-Rhonda flatly stated.
“The ones that were like... Alpha beta something.”
“The Latin characters.” Probably-Rhonda corrected. “Her name is spelled P-H-Y-R-E-T-T. “
“Phyrett?” Serena tilted her head. A pirate named Phyrett?
“Exactly. Mine is spelled “R-A-U-N-D-A-R-R and the Citrakayah’s is spelled E-M-E-L-E-E.”
“That’s... something.” Serena processed each of the names. Emelee and Raundarr were normal enough sans spelling, but Phyrett? Was she called that at birth? Did she know she would be a pirate?
“Remember, your names sound weird to us too.” Emelee told them. “Wait, what are your names?”
“We’re Serena & Sasha. I’m Sasha, and she’s Serena, by the way.” Sasha introduced themselves much too warmly than Serena would have, considering that they were kidnapped.
“Oh, those are like, pretty normal names actually.” Emelee figured.
“Last question, why are we actually here?” Sasha finally asked an actually important question.
“I said before.” Phyrett began, “We were sailing across the galaxy, and we stumbled across what people called the Cursed Planet. We figured it’d have some great treasure-”
“You thought it would have some great treasure, the rest of us told you to stay away.” Emelee interrupted.
Phyrett ignored her, “So I went in alone, and instead of scoring anything, they cast some sort of curse over me and my crew.”
“To return every single piece of the treasure we stole, to every place it came from, in 99 days.” Emelee finished, “All of our thousands of pieces of treasure. To thousands of planets across multiple galaxies. In 99 Earth days.” Any semblance of a good mood in her had faded. “This is what we’re stuck with. And Phyrett, instead of actually attempting to do this, came up with the idea to kidnap you two to do it for her.”
“How the hell are we supposed to do that?” Serena growled.
“I expected Raundarr to get more suitable specimens-” Phyrett shot a glare, “-but I have something that will ensure you get the job done.” She tossed something circular at Serena, who got hit in the head by it. “Well? Pick it up.”
“My hands are tied, genius.” She replied. Emelee became a pink blur, and span around Serena faster than she could see. Immediately, she no longer felt any rope. As Emelee reappeared next to Phyrett, Serena stood up and looked around her. For the first time, she realised that she was on the splitting image of one of those generic pirate ships that appeared in Disney films and Horrible Histories. The deck was made out of translucent, dark wood and there was a set of stairs leading down to a pair of doors, but otherwise it was like something out of fiction. The main thing she noticed, however, was that all around them was emptiness. Below the ship, over the ship and next to the ship was all infinite darkness, with occasional distant dots in the absence of sky. Space. They were in space. Sure, she had known that, but only now could she take in the sheer insanity of that. That a few minutes - or hours - ago, she was in a small, lonely British town and now...
Oh god. Now. Why didn’t she notice before?
Serena was on an alien ship, enslaved by aliens, and being made to go to alien planets and probably meet more aliens. None of whom sounded friendly or willing to use her and her girlfriend as anything but a tool. Oh god. This was really bad. They all had special powers and she had... nothing. Stuck in space. Thousands of millions of miles away from her home. It was suddenly closing in on her, or at least it felt like everything was closing in on her and getting smaller and spinning and--
Serena felt herself falling; felt herself hitting water. She opened her eyes and jumped out of wherever she was, spinning around and trying to gain a sense of where she was. A chair was tied to the mast of the ship, positioned above a bathtub filled halfway with water. Had she... Someone had tipped her into it?
A familiar figure ran up and Sasha smiled at her. “You’re awake!” She cried.
“What happened? Where... am I?” Serena questioned, still not lucid.
“The pink cat-alien untied you, and you stood up, and then you fainted, and Phyrett tried slapping you but you didn’t move so she decided to give you The Kick.” Sasha explained at her normal pace of nearly-too-fast.
“The Kick. Apparently it’s something that instantly wakes anyone up, no matter how deep they’re unconscious. It’s what just happened to you, with the bathtub and stuff.”
“Oh.” Serena didn’t really know how to respond to that. “Wait, where am I?”
“We’re on the deck still, Charlotte says we’re about to dock.” Sasha said as if Serena was awake for the past however long.
She realised that she was on the same ship, the same infinite stretch of space, although she shouldn’t think about it again. It was overwhelming. “Who? And dock where?”
“Oh!” Sasha beamed, “I was introduced to some of the crew while you were asleep! So...” Sasha gave a list of names - spelling them too - that Serena would never remember. The most important fact was Charlotte (Sharlott) being the co-captain and pilot of the ship - The Ol’ Carrie. Sasha went on to describe how Phyrett wanted to waste no time with the treasure thing, and that they were landing on the nearest planet as soon as possible - Proxima Centauri b. “Also, Phyrett put that thing on you.” She pointed to Serena’s wrist, and she noticed the rainbow-coloured bracelet now present.
“What’s this?” It was clearly metal and had nine colours (not exactly a rainbow, but close enough) in squares around it.
“That is an artifact of unspeakable power.” Phyrett’s voice made Serena jump, and she twisted around to see her approach. “I stole it from the Cursed Planet, and legend has it that they have the most powerful and unique technology in every universe!” The way she described it made it sound a lot like bragging, rather than explaining. “With it, I’m sure you’ll be able to survive the dangers of each planet and return the treasures in no time!”
“So what does it do?” Serena was very interested now. Was this bracelet enough to let her challenge Phyrett? To return her home?
“Oh, I have no idea.” Phyrett clarified. “I just assume it can do all those things because it’s from the Cursed Planet. I have no idea how to turn it on or anything.”
Serena’s hope vanished. “How do you expect me to do anything with it if I don’t know how to use it?”
“You’ll probably find out somehow.” Phyrett shrugged.
A sudden shock-wave rippled through the ship and knocked Serena down. She realised that the infinite space around them had been replaced with a thick cloud layer. They had arrived.
“Well, you’re here. Do your stuff.” Phyrett began to turn around, but Serena stopped her.
“Wait! I-I really can’t do this. You could get any other human, anyone that isn’t me and my girlfriend right? I’m really bad in these kinds of scenarios, I get overwhelmed very easily, I don’t know if I can do your task at all.” Serena hated how pathetic she sounded, but she didn’t know what else to do. She had never been a hero before, she had never fought truly and she had no assurance that the aliens down there couldn’t kill her with a single look.
Phyrett stopped. She thought. “Listen, kid, I’m on a time limit here. Every second counts. I don’t care what you can or can’t believe you can do, I was told that humans can do anything if they set their minds to it so I got a human. Just set your mind to whatever mode you need to, and get my treasure back where it has to be.” Serena had no idea what she had just said, but it sounded vaguely inspirational. “I’m coming with you, and so is the other human and so is Sharlott, to make sure you don’t run off. You’re not going to die.” That made Serena feel slightly better, sort of. She knew for certain she wasn’t going to be let go though, so it would be wasting breath to beg any longer.
Wait. Breath. How were they breathing in space, and how would they breathe down there?
“Any longer and we’re going to be detected. Sharlott! Grab the humans!” Serena barely had time to look at the yellow-white ball rolling towards her before everything span, and she realised that she had been picked up - and was now inside - that ball. In the same instant, she felt Sasha be pushed next to her (cute), and felt them leave the ground.
They were plummeting. Fast. She could feel it, feel them dropping through the air. What was their plan for landing? Serena’s own question was answered when she heard a loud crash but felt a soft bump, and she fell out of the ball onto rocky ground. Red dust filled the air, in fact completely covering their surroundings, but somehow she felt none of it in her lungs. Only pure, Earth air, like she had since being taken. Another crash came next to her, and she sat up and saw Phyrett standing in the middle of a small crater. They were here.
Serena stood up and saw a pillbug shaped alien - probably Sharlott - in a crater of her own, standing alongside Sasha and Phyrett. The whole thing was still so surreal. She was on an alien world. With aliens. And she wasn’t dead yet.
"Where's the treasure we have to return, then?" She asked, distracting herself from the budding thoughts that would soon turn into panic. In response, Phyrett tossed her a small, black sphere, which Serena pocketed.
"It's the Realz-Eye. Hold it up to your face, and you can see anything in the universe." Sharlott explained. "It only works on beings that don't have eyes on their faces, unfortunately. We only found that out after we stole it, though, so we didn't bother to return it."
"The beings here don't have eyes?" Sasha questioned.
"Not on their face."
"What does that...?" Sasha was interrupted by a sharp wind suddenly blowing through the area. The dust whipped around them, and Serena was nearly knocked over, but the gale stopped as quickly as it arrived. The surrounding area was clear, and Serena could even see what looked like an infinite horizon. But around them, presumably in the fog before, were four bulky, yellow-skinned creatures with large bat-like ears. On each of them were hundreds, maybe thousands, of eyes. Green, blue, pink, black, but all beady. Eyes, all across their bodies, in every place you could think of. The only place Serena couldn't see eyes was on their black jumpsuit garments covering from their waist to their legs, but she couldn't be sure there weren't eyes under there too. It was intensely creepy.
"Oh." Was all Sasha said in reaction. "Hello! We come in peace, do you?"
"Jiguzo." Was all the eye guys said in reaction, and an eye on their shoulder shot out a mauve beam, hitting Sasha in the leg, and causing her to fall down.
"They gave me pins and needles!" She cried, and Phyrett drew a rapier, slashing at the now-advancing group. Sharlott rolled into a ball-like form and hurtled at them, while Serena ran over to Sasha.
"Oh my god, are you okay?!" The girl was on the ground, repeatedly stamping her left leg.
"Yeah, they just made my leg fall asleep." Sasha affirmed, "I have a hunch that their other eyes can do worse, though." Serena helped her stand and fought back to urge the cry. Her fears were right. She was against aliens who could do things beyond comprehension. Who were hostile. And she let her girlfriend get hurt. She couldn't do anything. She was going to...
She felt so dizzy, suddenly. That feeling was setting in again. Sasha said something that Serena couldn't hear. Reality felt like it was slipping away. Serena felt everything getting closer again as Sasha pressed frantically at her bracelet, trying to get something to happen. And--
The being woke up. It observed its surroundings: three females, a Homo Sapien, a Zarrofian and an Arburian Pelarota. Three males, too, all Opticoids. Where was it now? The being tried to recollect its knowledge of the planets belonging to those species, but it was still recovering its consciousness. Being asleep for so long takes its toll.
The Homo Sapien was shouting at it. “Serena? Is that you? Did you transform?” The being couldn’t comprehend what she was talking about.
Please inform me of the current situation. It spoke directly to the Homo Sapien’s mind. She recoiled slightly and stared at the being.
“Serena? Is that.. you?”
I assume that ‘Serena’ is the current host, no? It asked.
“Host? What did you do with Serena?” The Homo Sapien stared in disgust. “Did you kill her?”
Let me explain, then. I am the collective entity known as Mercury. Whomever wears this bracelet allows me to use their body as a host, matching my appearance to their body type and allowing me to speak in their dialect. I have slept for millions of years until now, and after ten minutes or so I will be re-confined to my own mental space, and the being you know as Serena will return. It spoke.
“Oh... okay.” The Homo Sapien slowly processed what it was saying.
I understand that it is overwhelming at first, and I additionally understand that the two groups here are engaged in combat. Which side is the host fighting for? It questioned. This was certainly an interesting time to wake up.
“Uh... we’re fighting the eye guys I think? But--”
Understood. Mercury floated over to the tallest Opticoid and quickly punched him across the jaw. He stumbled and screeched.
“Gizamano jidaiba nantezuga?!” He spat, and Mercury ignored him, kicking him repeatedly. One of his eyes opened and shot a red beam, hitting Mercury in the chest and forcing it backward.
Hogu ka domaranai. It spoke in the Opticoid’s language, blocking the heat beam with one of its arms and standing its ground. It watched as the Opticoid’s cheek - where Mercury had punched him - began to turn a sickly blue.
Hogu ba gizama vo toguni ganzen zazemajida. It explained. The blue spread through his face, and he stood back up and charged at Mercury. Mercury simply flicked him in the blued spot, and he fell, screaming and thrashing in pain. The other two were unconscious, with a serious-looking cut in one’s leg. The Zaroffian noticed Mercury and pointed her sword at it.
“Who’re you? What’d you do to that Opticoid?” She looked between the writhing Opticoid and Mercury.
I injected my Extremist Venom into his blood when I punched him. It has a psychological effect; any sensation will be experienced to an extreme degree by him. I applied the tiniest amount of pressure to him, and he felt that as crushing pain. Mercury told her.
“That’s... really scary actually. But--”
“Are you a Celestialsapien?” the Arburian Pelarota suddenly cut in, her mouth gaped.
I believe my being has Celestialsapien DNA in it, but a negligible amount, which doesn’t carry over any significant abilities. Mercury clarified. And suddenly, it felt a pull on itself. An order from an unknown place to return. To let the host resume. Looks like my time is up.
Serena felt herself falling. Her eyes snapped open and she caught herself on the snowy rocks of Proxima Centauri b. She quickly snapped around, seeing Phyrett, Sharlott, and Sasha all staring at her.
“Did I... pass out for a moment?” She questioned, looking around her and seeing the unconscious eye creatures.
“More than a moment!” Sasha exclaimed, pulling Serena into a hug as if she had just disappeared. Serena returned it and attempted to process the surrounding scene. It had felt like a moment. How long was she out?
“I-I last remember being really lightheaded. What happened while I was out?”
“You weren’t out, silly. You transformed!” Sasha told her. Serena looked at her confusedly.
“I wha--” Like a dam that had burst, an entire ocean of memories crashed into her mind, deep with images of the world, images of Sasha, images of Phyrett and images of her - no, not her, someone else - incapacitating the eye people - the Opticoids, but why did she know that? Voices flowed like waves, the loudest being one of Mercury, a being, but what being? Her question was answered as the tide of memories rescinded, replaced with bubbles full of images she had never seen before. Nine bodies, humanoid, made of stars. It was as if their bodies were as vast as the universe itself, or at least seemed that way, with a myriad of tiny stars within them. Each body was only different in its tint and height. Each had a different colour across their bodies, in between the stars and galaxies. Brown, vermillion, green, red, yellow, orange, blue, purple and grey. And Serena knew their names, somehow, too now. In order, they were Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. But why, again, did she know that? And where was she? All of these visions were her landscape - Proxima Centauri b was nowhere.
A piercing voice - that of Mercury - resounded around the area inside of her mind. It’s okay. This happens with every new host. It simply came late for you due to your state at the time of transformation. Serena wanted to ask what it meant, but her words came out silent.
Everything went dark, and Serena was back on the icy rocks. She was standing the same as before, and everyone else hadn’t moved. She had seen all of that in a second only. “Oh my god.”
“What? What happened?” Phyrett stared at her oddly. “Are you gonna keep spacing out and fainting for this entire damn trip? We have a job to do.”
“I just remembered what I did as that... avatar... thing. Mercury.” Serena slowly said. “I know all of their names too.”
“There’s more than one?” Sasha tilted her head.
“Yeah. Nine. They’re the planets in our solar system and Pluto. I don’t know why they’re called that, though.”
“It’s clear they have powers beyond our knowledge. As expected of those with the DNA of Celestialsapiens.” Sharlott spoke.
“So we know that the one called Mercury has that venom thing and that it floated a couple of inches off the ground constantly.” Phyrett noted, “Ya think there’s one that can teleport? It’d be hella useful.”
“I have no idea. Speaking of which, though, why can’t we just drop the Realz-Eye on the ground. Doesn’t that count as returning it?” Serena questioned.
“We returned a few treasures on the way to Earth, idiot. They have to be given to their original owner or the place we found them.” Phyrett clarified, “If we could just drop ‘em I’d never have gone down here.”
“So who owns the Realz-Eye?” Sasha asked, and Phyrett smiled knowingly.
“They called him the All-Seeker. Or, the legend called him that, most people call him the Blind Opticoid or Gyaddora.” She began as if she was telling an epic tale, “The story goes that he was born blind, and had no abilities nor sight to rely on. Lost, he turned to the Forge of Aeons and they granted him a powerful, singular eye with which he could see all. This is actually a load of rubbish, the eye things were made frequently for blind Opticoids - which there were much more of than legend said - and the Forge of Aeons isn’t real at all. But what is true is that the Opticoids were very private about those eyes, and I was one of the first to successfully bring one out of their world.” She finished triumphantly.
“So we give it back to Gyaddora?” Sasha asked.
“Nah, any blind Opticoid will probably do. Just chuck it at them and run, they’ll pick it up by themselves.” Phyrett answered.
“You could’ve just told us to give it to a blind Opticoid then.” Serena pointed out.
“But where’s the fun in that?”
The group returned to the Ol’ Carrie, and stayed looming slightly above the clouds, following a straight line and looking for any blind Opticoids. There didn’t seem to be any civilization, just random clusters of the aliens, without any houses nor features but the flat, rocky ground. More than once, Serena swore she saw an Opticoid pick up a rock and eat it, and once she saw a few in a dog-pile over who could claim a large boulder. All of them had perfectly functional eyes, as far as she could see.
After a few hours, Phyrett abruptly stopped. “Haven’t we passed here before?”
“Here. I just passed it.”
“Everywhere on this planet looks the same.” Serena insisted.
“I know, but this is more the-same than the other places. I think we’re going around in circles.” Phyrett frowned, “That’s it. Davenaa!” Serena remembered how the name was spelled from Sasha’s earlier description.
Phyrett called to the crew, and a crab-like alien pushed its way to the front. “I see you have a need for my extensive genius once again, captain.”
“I simply want to hurry us up.” Phyrett growled, “We’ve been going straight for the past two hours and we’ve been going in circles.”
“Of course you have. You’re on a sphere, idiots, going straight would make you wrap around over and over again. This place is small enough and the ship is fast enough to loop around every... thirteen minutes and twenty-eight seconds. You need to steer it at a curve - less than 90 degrees - and you’ll create a loxodrome around the planet, covering every possible point. I’ll demonstrate, since I don’t trust you to be intelligent enough to understand me.” Davenaa’s shell opened up, revealing a large brain, which shot out yellow lightning, creating an electric globe. She fashioned a mini Ol’ Carrie as well, and it began traveling around the globe at a curve, leaving an orange trail behind it. After reaching the opposite pole of where it started, it moved to the left edge and did the same in a sideways angle, crisscrossing the lines and creating a double spiral around the sphere, covering nearly all of it. Davenaa abruptly threw the sphere off the ship, creating a small flash below them followed by more than a few screams. She shrugged.
“Thank you, Davenaa.” Phyrett said sarcastically, “You can go do whatever you were doing now.”
“Good, I was busy.” Davenaa turned around and scuttled away, bringing her air of narcissism with her.
“God, I want to punch her in the face so badly.” Serena whispered once she had gone.
“I already have, she never learns. But she’s the smartest member we have, and she’s been there since the beginning.” Phyrett moaned. She barked some commands to Sharlott, and the ship lurched, knocking the group over. Sasha helped Serena up, and she looked at Phyrett, interested.
“What was the beginning? How’d you start all this?” Sasha inquired.
“Ah...” Phyrett appeared wistful for a moment, although it was hard to tell without her having pupils, “It was a long time ago. It was me and her, all alone, without a purpose and without a place. I searched for people akin to me, and I met Sharlott at a pub first. Her planet is destroyed, you know. Gone, decimated by a big tick-thing. So I offered her a place, as the first member of my crew. And we grew, and we met more people without places or purposes, I met my amazing girlfriend, and we became this lively crew. We’re the most feared pirates across the Solar System now, and we’ve got hundreds of pieces of treasure in tow. That’s why I don’t want to give it away. But I’d rather do that than have my crew die. Plus, we can always steal it all again!” The look faded and Phyrett’s cocky grin returned. “Right now, I’m totally focused on the not-dying part, so I want us to hurry the hell up and get this eye to someone so we can move on. ‘Kay?”
The group sat in silence for a while, unsure of what to say to each other. Serena didn’t like Phyrett, and she still didn’t understand why she couldn’t return the treasures herself, but she understood somewhat how stressed she was right now. Which, with wishful thinking, could be the source of her bad mood. Still, she couldn’t go down there again. She couldn’t be attacked again, it was too, too much for her. Her panic attacks and fainting weren’t new, but this situation was on a whole other level, and it was the first time that it happened twice within close proximity. It was terrifying. Sasha being there to comfort her was the only reason she wasn’t dead, probably. And plus, if that memory flood happened again, she didn’t know how she could handle it.
After a time, the ship finally stopped and Sharlott rushed over.
“There’s an Opticoid moving around with all of its eyes closed below us. We have to be quick. I have an easier method for our descent, now that we’re close to ground level.” Sharlott moved over to the edge of the ship and slid down a rope tied to it. Phyrett ran over and backflipped off, while Sasha and finally Serena did the same as Sharlott. Before long, all four of them were back on the snowy rocks, and Phyrett had drawn a large gun.
“Hogu ka Nanivojida?!” It screeched, and Phyrett knocked it with the butt of her gun, knocking it out cold instantly. Serena winced as she put the Realz-Eye awkwardly in its palm, and closed its fingers around it. The item suddenly shone a brilliant gold, and Phyrett broke out her grin. “That glow means it’s returned.”
“They have pointers?” Sasha raised an eyebrow.
“Yeah. The curse affected the entire ship, and everything and everyone on it. Those guys have infinite power, and it’s only fair we get some sort of way to show our job is done.”
“So... “ Serena stared at the scene around her. They had just assaulted a random person (or, alien) for their own personal gain. Surely they would do something to make up for it. “We’re just gonna leave this planet, with some of its members either dead, nearly dead or just knocked out without telling anyone what’s happened?”
Qellii panted, her short, spongy mass puffed up at least five times due to sweat absorption. That stupid star being, calling itself Venus, had challenged her to a hide-and-seek game five hours ago and she still hadn’t found it. The ship didn’t even have any good hiding spots, if she didn’t know better, she would’ve assumed the being used superpowers to hide better. Defeated, she walked down to the bunks to resume her janitorial duties.
The star being lay on one of the spare beds at the very back of the cabin, engrossed in a leather-bound book. It had changed colour to green, and it was taller too. The being looked up and the enraged Atrocian and smiled kindly. Hello. Would you like to join me?
“I’m not in teh mood fo’ ya games!” Qellii spat, “Why dedent ya tell me ya were done hidin’?!”
Oh, I’m terribly sorry, I don’t believe that was me. That was another avatar, Venus. We share memories, but I assure you we’re very different.
She. The avatar corrected, I’ve been reading about this human concept called gender and we’ve all been figuring out which we each identify with closest. For the record, I also identify closer to female, and Mercury says they don’t feel like either, fully. I haven’t gotten back from the others yet.
“Wotever! Is da Venus one gunna apologise or not?!” Qellii snapped.
I’ll scold her for it later, dear. I’m enjoying this book right now, please don’t disturb me. The avatar looked down at her book again and then paused, On the contrary, I’ll have to go now. My time is up, it seems. As she said this, a green light enveloped her and Serena appeared in her place.
“Oi! I was lookin’ for ya! Phyrett has a message!” Qellii shouted, ignoring her sudden appearance. She was Homo Sapien, who knows what stuff they could pull.
Serena stared blankly before suddenly blinking and looking at Qellii. “S-sorry, what did you say?”
“Phyrett has a message! She sez you an’ Sasha can sleep in that bed right there, it was da only spare we got!” Qellii pointed to the bed Serena was currently sitting on.
“Oh. Okay.” Serena spoke without much emotion. Qellii would’ve been worried if that was her job, but she was a janitor so she didn’t care. Her message delivered, and her hide-and-seek over, she left Serena staring into space and went to pick up her bucket and mop.
Sasha heard from Qellii that Serena was in the bunks, but when she went down there there was only assorted crew members, including Whyzz the Necrofriggian who told her to “screw off”.
She searched the deck and finally found her girlfriend sitting on the edge of the ship, leaning over. Dangerously close to falling. She stared out into the literal space, taking no notice of Sasha even when she sat down next to her.
“What’s going on, Sere?”
Serena stared for a short while longer and then finally turned, tears streaming down her eyes. “I don’t know if I can do this. It’s just... everything is too much. It’s overwhelming. I’m thousands of millions of miles from home and I’m working for people in the wrong and I’m hurting people and every time I transform to defend myself I feel so disconnected from reality and if I don’t fight I won’t survive and I don’t want to continue with this but I have no choice because I’m being held hostage and if the curse kills all of these people we’ll never see our family again and I don’t even know how I’m breathing on those planets and in space and-” Her words sped up faster and faster beyond comprehension until she just hyperventilated. Sasha pulled her into a hug and she sobbed into her arms.
“S-sorry. It’s so terrifying. All of this. I don’t know what to do.” Serena choked. Sasha thought about what to say, but she didn’t know what to do either. She’d taken this whole thing originally as an opportunity to learn more before they were rescued, but they were in another System now, and it had been over 24 hours. She didn’t know if they were going to be rescued at all. Or when. The crew was more than friendly, and she tried not to think about how hard it would be for them to be found, and that kept her sane.
“I love you. Someone will come and save us soon, I promise.” She assured her.
“I-I love you too.”
The two stayed silent together for a while. Eventually, Serena gave Sasha a light kiss and went to the bunks to sleep. Sasha stayed near the edge for a short time, looking at the endless cosmos, how beautiful it was, and then followed suit.
The following day would certainly be an interesting one.
- Serena Sefa and Sasha Thali are abducted by the Ol' Carrie.
- Serena receives the Solar Bracelet.
- The Realz-Eye is returned.
- All characters make their debuts.
- Mercury and Earth make their debuts, and Venus appears off-screen.
- Serena and Sasha binge-watch all of Doctor Who.
- Sasha thinks 11th's first season is boring and therefore she has no rights.
- Serena Sefa
- Sasha Thali
- The Ol' Carrie
- Various Opticoids
- Serena and Sasha watch Doctor Who at the beginning on the streaming platform Netflix.
- Serena mentions the British Broadcasting Corporation.
- Serena uses an iPhone.
- Disney and Horrible Histories are used as comparisons for the Ol' Carrie.
- The Kick is a method used in Inception to wake dreamers up quickly.
- The Realz-Eye is named after the song REALXEYEZ from Kamen Rider Zero-One.
- The language the Opticoids speak is loosely inspired by the Grongi from Kamen Rider Kuuga. The translations are as follows:
- Jiguzo -> [generic expletive, no direct translation]
- Gizamano jidaiba nantezuga?! -> What form is that?!
- Hogu ka domaranai. -> I am unstoppable.
- Hogu ba gizama vo toguni ganzen zazemajida. -> I've injected you with my venom.
- Hogu ka Nanivojida?! -> What did I even do?!
- Don't prosecute me for the redlinks, I will get them filled soon-ish.