The elevator doors opened to a square observatory room at the very peak of the ship. The walls around the room began to descend into the hull and my jaw dropped as I was overwhelmed by what lay before me. The room had been surrounded by walls of glass. I could see the GDR core worlds as well as the Outlander worlds.
I gazed on in amazement at the great Celerian Nebula that coated the entire sky. I had always seen the great nebula from the surface of Minerva, but I was only able to see but a portion of this piece of artwork created by the magnificent wonders of the universe. I had never seen it in this clarity. It was a backdrop for all of Eden, though it was seen most clearly by the Outlander worlds, and the Kingdom of Salaras.
Off past my smoldering home world of Minerva, a very bright and solid object illuminated the sky. It was like a shining star lying in the middle of the nebula. I jumped as Mark activated his transmitter.
“Admiral Andrews, power down the gravity weapon and pull back the clouds; we’re heading home.”
The bright light began to cease. I looked closer and saw that it was a giant cylinder, but it moved almost like it was alive. Seven colossal half-planet-sized wings swirled around it; it almost looked like an angelic octopus in the sky. The wings were like tentacles reaching out into space. I did not see them at first because they were emitting a beautiful rainbow of light, blending in with the planetary nebula. Upon closer observation I saw that a gigantic harness was built around the core of this strange object. The harness contained many thrusters and even a half-light reactor at its stern.
I thought if this weapon could truly manipulate the atmosphere of an entire planet, then these Remorans were capable of things far beyond the reach of any human in Eden. Unless of course it was not made by humans, so I had to ask the Good Commander.
“What the hell is that thing?”
“We call it the gravity weapon.”
“What? What in the world is it?”
“Whatever it is, we only know the basic operations of it, even after five hundred years of study. We found it in the depths of the Remoran oceans.”
“It’s a weapon?”
“Not necessarily. It’s a tool. It uses its giant wings to utilize the hidden dark energy that holds this universe together. Its capabilities are, unequivocally, boundless. In this instance we used this alien artifact to create an interplanetary storm.”
“Wow . . .”
“It’s quite a sight to behold, isn’t it?”
I tried to comprehend the power of this artifact. I wish I would have had more time to bask in its glory, but then Commander Wyman’s transmitter alerted us. “Commander Wyman, sir? General Zachary Wright has boarded the ship and he requests your presence.”
“Copy that. Well, Collin, shall we?”
We made our way back to the elevator and into the carrier’s main hallway. General Wright awaited Commander Wyman on the bridge. He was shocked, to say the least, when he saw me with Commander Wyman. I was glad to see I was not the only one who had made it out of Rayden One, before it fell to the earth.
“Collin, you’re alive?”
I saw after he made his way up the ramp that he was in a hovering wheelchair. He had lost both of his legs. Apparently his departure from Rayden One went horribly wrong; he was one of the few survivors from the dropship they picked up back in the hangar. Nonetheless, he was ecstatic to see not just a fellow Outlander, but a Raydenite. We had learned that Minerva had suffered the greatest losses of any world, and it was predicted that only less than 5 percent of its former citizens were still alive. I ran up to Zach and he proceeded to shake my hand. “I’m glad to see at least one of us escaped the capital in one piece. It’s good to see you alive and well. What about your teammate Mickey?”
My smile faded as I remembered how Arcoh had murdered him in cold blood right before my eyes. I shook my head in disappointment. Although I was also curious as to if any of our former leaders had survived.
“What about the president, or the cabinet?”
He gave me the same look as we had both realized how much we had lost over this month’s devastating events. Mark stepped up and shook Zachary’s hand in an attempt to break our somewhat somber reunion.
“What will you do now, General?”
“Well, it won’t be ‘General’ for much longer. The survivors of the Raydenite race are to appoint me as their leader. Seeing as I am the last remaining cabinet member, and I wouldn’t be much use on the battlefield without my legs.”
Zachary looked up towards Mark and cracked a smile.
“Commander Wyman, on behalf of our people I would like to extend my eternal gratitude for what you Remorans have done for us on this day.”
“Peace and equality should belong to all, my fellow comrade.”
Zach nodded his head and he diverted his eyes over to me.
“Well, I must attend to my people. We have a lot of rebuilding to do.”
Mark placed his hand on Zachary’s shoulder and showed his compassionate nature. “We will help you in due time, I give you my word.”
Zach responded as he continued to stare at me with his constant smile. I always wondered why he was able to smile all the damn time. “I have already told your lady admiral many times, but you have forged an alliance whether you accept us or not. We will always be ready to assist you in any endeavors you decide to partake in.”
Mark smiled as he made his way towards the command center with General Wright but the general moved towards me in his chair as Mark passed by him.
“Oh. Hey, Collin!”
Wright approached me and reached into his pocket.
“I may never get another chance to do this.” He pulled out a set of first edition gravball cards and handed a pen to me. I smiled at the irony of this gesture, for the first time in a long while I felt a great comfort in my heart. “Could you do me the honor, Mr. Iceman? The greatest player the Rayden Comets have ever seen.”
“Of course, Zach.”
I signed the cards and handed them back to Zach. We felt a mutual relief between us. Even though Arcoh had not been captured on this day, at least that little moment gave me the closure I needed to try and put it behind me. “Our people will be happy to know that you’re alive, Collin.”
“Give them my regards, General.”
“I shall, and hey, if you ever feel like going back to gravball we could sure use you. This will always be your home, Collin, and you know we will always treat you like family.”
I was tempted by his offer, and to tell the truth, I probably would have happily considered it, had I not been so curious to travel to Remora. I felt a strange sense of wonder in myself and in these Remorans, so I declined his offer.
“In due time I might take you up on that, General, but for now I need time away from all that has happened here.” We stood in silence for a minute basking in the moment of closure I felt we had both gained, and then Zachary saluted me.
“Long live Rayden!”
A single tear streamed down my face as I repeated his gesture and spoke from my heart.
“Long live Rayden. And never forget—some things are always worth fighting for.”
“Wise words from a great man. Good luck, Mr. King.”