CHAPTER 2 – PLANETFALL
“Oh thank god, Kevin!”
I couldn’t help but smile as Mick returned the child to his parents, but I was getting very impatient. We only had an hour before we would plunge to the surface.
“Thank you, oh thank you so much. You are a godsend.”
“I couldn’t leave him alone.”
“You two have to get out of here, this place is falling.”
“Trust me, pops, we know.” I replied.
“Follow me, boys, the escape pods are filling up fast.”
We made our way through the crowd-infested atrium, above you could see the light of one of the suns and the incredible warzone that Raydenite space had become. We waited to enter an escape shuttle for about fifteen minutes and when it finally got to be our turn, there were no more seats to be had.
“What do you mean?”
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached full capacity! Please take an oxygen mask and head to Vault 4! We will evacuate everyone in an orderly manner.”
“This is madness! You’re just going to leave us here to die?” one of the frantic citizens shouted.
“Sir! Head to Vault 4! There is no time to argue!”
It was chaos, in a matter of minutes the crusader fleet had already won the battle, by striking fear into the hearts of their victims, my people. “Sir, please step back! We are at full capacity. We can fit two more, that’s it. You, sir! You and your child go on through.”
“No,” the father replied as he gazed into my eyes.
“Sir, there is no time.”
The father of the child then turned to me smiling. “I want to give my seat to Collin King, on the condition he takes my son.”
“Oh my god, that’s Collin King!”
“Please, Collin, take my seat.”
That moment was incredible. I never realized how much the normal people in this world revered their PGL athletes, then again, I had never been in a catastrophic situation such as this. I often forget that we are the face of peace, for the people we fight for. And people admire that, they respect it, and they believe in that. People will die for what they believe in, and they believed in me. I will never understand why that notion is so easy to forget.
I was about to step across that threshold when Mick blocked me.
“Don’t you do this, Collin.”
“You could come too, somebody would happily give up their seat for you—”
“I can’t accept that. I refuse to trade a stranger’s life for my own.”
“Mick. Come on, man,” I whispered anxiously to him as the Rayden One guard shouted to us.
“You have five seconds to decide and we are ejecting the pod!”
“Go on through, mister, take your child to safety,” Mick said.
“Thank you, Mick, thank you, Collin. Good luck, you two.”
My face then became blood red, the situation angered me. We had a chance out and Mick destroyed it, but at the time I couldn’t see the bigger picture—that was the selfishness inside me. So when Mick slammed me against the blast doors, and scolded me after the shuttle had ejected, I was just angry, and I wasn’t willing to understand.
“What the hell was that, Mick? We had a chance to escape! You’ve killed us!”
“You seriously think your life is more valuable than any of theirs?”
“Of course it is, Mick, we’re PGL champions!”
“So what? You take that away and then what are you? HUH?”
My lip began to quiver, he had me. I had no answer. “You’re nothing without that, Collin, and neither am I. We are just men, that’s all. But we can be better than that, better than these bastards that are burning our worlds, and murdering our people. You said we’re gravball players, right? Well then, let’s do what we do best.”
“Call the ball.”
Then came the cracking steel collisions of the hull, I heard it above us, then I heard nothing. There we were all over again.
The impact of a dead ship colliding against the atrium ceiling was devastating. What was worse was that there was no warning, no hint, and when the ship peeled away the pressure glass, the people left over were dragged out into space. It was a terrifying spectacle, and there would be no shutter, or blast door, to contain the pressure thanks to the carcass of a dead Raydenite Warship.
I flew towards the hole along with the rest of the innocents, but in the darkest of moments my gravball skill set came in handy.
Quick responses, never lose the edge, never lose your focus. That is what they teach you. I snatched a metal frame piece protruding from the warship. The mass of which was enough to save my life, and Mickey’s, when he crashed into me. I tried to talk to him but the oxygen was being sucked out of my lungs, I was beginning to fade.
Always as I begin to fade I am moved, and I was moved to tears as I looked out of the breach, to which I could barely hold onto.
It is incredible how sound cannot travel through space, and thank the stars, because I could see it, and that was enough. Seeing the extermination that was unfolding, and observing the stained pieces of what had remained. In that moment I first began to lose hope, I couldn’t believe what was happening. Why can’t we ever have peace?
“Collin! You hear me?” Mickey asked as he switched on the com interface on our oxygen masks, after quickly fastening the rebreather to my face and attaching a safety cord to our waists. I gasped for air and was quick to respond.
“Wha . . . what do we do?”