What a day! I thought as the view outside the window blurred into a variety of colors ranging from dark blue to bright yellow to finally black. For a short span of time I saw the bright light of stars blurring and flying past the window as shining streaks of yellow and white. After a few seconds even the stars vanished, and it turned absolutely black. Only the interiors of the vessel were visible in a dim glow. Though ken navigated without apparent difficulty, the dark outside was absolute. Not a single ray of light penetrated it. Deeper than the darkest night. This is what being completely blind would be like, I thought with a shudder. The only anchor that kept me from drifting away in this darkness was the reassuring whir of the engine as it strained to travel at such phenomenal speeds.
I glanced at the speedometers, one of it pointed at 25c. There were two. One ranged from 1c to 100c and the other was for comparatively slower speeds with its higher limit being 1c. I wondered how fast that was. Time seemed to stretch on because of the unchanging scenery even though I knew not more than a minute had passed. I decided to time the duration the next time I fly in one of these vessels. With a quick jerk, Ken turned the spaceship sharply to the right deaccelerating gradually, and suddenly all sight returned. He expertly maneuvered through what I assumed to be an asteroid belt.
The light of the star all the asteroids were orbiting around was blinding for a moment. Only for a moment though, after which a shade smoothly slipped over the part of the window towards the star. A hologram of the view minus the star flickered to life inside. But at such a high speed with everything streaking past, the moment seemed to be costly. I saw a huge asteroid coming right toward us growing bigger every nanosecond. My heart sputtered to a stop and my mouth became dry. The planet we had to land on was visible and looked beautiful, but the view was soon obstructed by this asteroid right in our path.
I shut my eyes tightly, bracing for the impact. Surrendering to the fate of becoming a bloody spot on the side of a random asteroid in some nameless faraway galaxy.
The impact never came. Instead the ship deaccelerated again and came to a smooth rest. I dared to open my eyes. We had landed. I missed the end but was thankful that my life had not ended by being smashed to pulp. Ken didn't even look slightly perturbed. I assumed that such hair-raising journeys were routine for him. The shutter to the landing dock slid to a close with a whoosh as two guards rushed to open the door to the spaceship. As Ken deboarded all the guards stopped and bowed respectfully to him resuming their work thereafter.
The landing dock was a huge room with one gate for each parking space. Most ships weren't docked but I could still see about 100 in the hall. The ceiling was impossibly high, and a long balcony ran with the front wall for the entire length of the room. It was a windowless room illuminated by the opening of shutters to docks and hidden lighting not much unlike that on the ship. The room smelled of oil and machinery in general and so did the mechanics scurrying all over the place.
As I examined my surroundings, one of the many gates opened and a spaceship came gliding in right beside me. The driver stumbled out clutching his stomach, blood flowing out from between his fingers. He couldn't even switch off the engine. I watched in horror as he took a few unstable steps and then collapsed to the ground, a pool of blood forming around him almost instantaneously. His eyes were pleading, pained as he writhed on the ground. I am ashamed to admit that I was so repulsed by the blood that I didn't even try to help him but at least I acknowledged him, unlike Ken who simply ignored and moved on with a disgusted expression. Did no one except for me see the man fall? Were these people so ignorant that they wouldn't even help a man who could be dying?
I am no doctor, I didn't even attend the first aid workshop in my school, but I had seen enough movies to know a fatal pool of blood when I see one. Getting over the initial shock, I unfreezed and looked around for medics, spotting two a couple of docks away. The metallic smell of blood was spreading in the air. I ignored Ken and ran towards the medics narrowly avoiding collision with a mechanic with some sharp tools in his hand.
"Excuse me sir, there's a man behind that ship, he is bleeding heavily... needs medical attention." I huffed out pointing to the ship with its engine still on. They looked at me like I had sprouted another pair of eyes but followed me, nonetheless.
It hit me later that English was probably not the language they spoke. I was after all on another planet. I don't know whether that man survived or not, but I had seen enough to know that not all things were as smooth as glass here. Ken motioned me to follow, heading towards a door leading further inside and manned by guards. As far as first impressions went, Ken was definitely not up to a good start. The place though, let's just say it was impressive.
The docking area was like the slums in a city compared to the grandeur and majesty of the palace. I was stunned, rendered speechless by the grandness. Still, it was no justification for Ken's behavior at the docks.
YOU ARE READING
Civilization Beyond the StarsGeneral Fiction
Eleven lords, eleven living planets was all they had left now. Centuries ago, there'd been thousands, but all of them fell and were captured, victims to the merciless immortuos army. Humanity attracts these soulless beings, they crave to destroy it...