Chapter One - We Are Not Lost

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Justice leaned forward to inspect the fuel indicator again. It was reading practically empty. He checked the life form reading for the planet ahead. The readings showed a single densely populated area, the rest of the planet showed only sporadic areas with signs of life, certainly nothing big enough to be a city.

He couldn't understand what had happened to the navigation charts. He was also having trouble establishing communications with the planet's Resource Obscurantism Department. Normally the ROD closely monitored all incoming and outgoing vessels from the planet.

His mind was racing to figure out why everything was going wrong. He knew this ship almost better than himself. The Verity Aquinas was his baby, the best he had ever piloted. He was sure that he would make the landing no problem, but everyone else on board seemed to be doubting his abilities. What did they know about navigation?

"I think we should land in a few minutes," he said trying to appease the grumbling bodies behind him.

"Oh yeah, Dude?" came Mac's retort. "Well, I think we're to Gehenna and gone from Gobi-Mal 5 and we're almost out of fuel."

"Cut it out Mac," Lix said.

Justice gritted his teeth, but didn't reply. They were almost out of fuel because of another one of Ophelia's projects. He shuddered involuntarily.

"This is serious, Lix," Mac continued, "Justice somehow managed to delete the navigation charts for this sector, so even if this is the right planet, we don't have a clue where to land."

"We had to stop at Rumi-13. Tell JP you want out if you don't like what we're trying to do," Justice grumbled, "but you'll have to learn to keep your mouth shut."

Justice did everything for the band. Mostly, he blended into the background, but he didn't like being second guessed on his navigation skills. He had no clue what happened to the navigation charts, but if they didn't trust him by now, he didn't like to think about those consequences. He also didn't like to think about their recent run to Rumi-13. There had been a lot of blood this time. He pushed that from his thoughts.

"So, where are we?" Mac asked.

Justice was running on sweat and grit. "I'll figure out what went wrong once we land. This is Gobi-Mal 5, 5th planet out from the Gobi star. I can see it as clear as the nose on your face. Besides, I've already located the city. There are a thousand life forms dead ahead. We'll be there before you know it."

"Okay," Lix's voice broke in calmly. "Justice, just get us there. I don't want to be late for this gig. We all know what we're trying to do and I think I speak for everyone, when I say we are all in this together."

Justice turned and took in Lix's cool demeanor. He sat in the navigation bay chair behind Justice. His feet were propped on an empty chair next to him. His foot tall pink Mohawk was nearly touching the wall behind him as he reclined.

Justice felt relieved that at least Lix had faith in him. If it came down to it, Lix was the one that mattered the most. Lix was their leader, but they were all in this together. Although, after the last few days he was beginning to think he was in it more than some of the rest.

The planet loomed before them and the grumbling subsided. Anticipation of an upcoming concert always brought out a high degree of agitation amongst the band members. It was pre-pre-show jitters and it usually wasn't pretty.

Ophelia entered the navigation bay and Justice could sense her presence even before she pushed Lix's feet off the chair to stand beside Justice and peer out the viewport. He felt the room get a few degrees warmer.

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