Lelelu, Empress Nalau, Xiix and Ferocity were all near Jastea MJ, but they had no intention of getting close until they actually began the evacuations. They were on the bridge of Nalau’s ship, discussing their options.
“Our scans show that there is barely any atmosphere remaining. We don’t have time to shuttle a few evacuees at a time. I’m going to land.” Xiix projected. “Lelelu, please have them send landing coordinates.”
“Wait, are you sure you want to do that? If something goes wrong you may not be able to get your ship out of there in time.” Lelelu said. She was still a little reserved after being kidnapped off of her own ship.
“I don’t see another way Lelelu.” The Empress added. “And we don’t have time to debate it. How soon will the Dragons get here Ferocity?”
“They are arriving now.” Ferocity said, receiving information telepathically. “And they brought a newly designed transport ship. It’s large enough to hold over 500, we won’t need to land our ships.”
“Good, let’s go. Lelelu I think you should stay up here and coordinate. Ferocity, can we all transport to the Dragon ship? As the only humanoid in the landing party, I think I should be the one to greet the Jasteas. They’ve been told to expect Dragons, but…” Nalau said.
“Of course. I agree.” He reached for Nalau’s armband and programmed in the transport ship’s coordinates. He didn’t have time to program Xiix’s transporter, it was subcutaneous, so instead he reached for him and activated his own transport.
He reached for Nguvu who was waiting on his ship, “Nguvu, transport yourself to the cargo hold of the Dragon transport ship that just arrived.”
The group arrived in the cargo hold of the Dragon transport ship. It was a huge empty space with a console toward the back, they headed that way. As they were walking, Nguvu arrived.
“Reporting as ordered Ferocity.” She projected.
He didn’t respond, only looked at her. In her excitement she had forgotten that speaking was the expectation when in the company of non-telepaths.
“Reporting as ordered Ferocity.” She said falling in step with him as they headed toward the back of the cargo hold.
There was a line of stools, most of them were already occupied with Dragons ready to handle the evacuees, but there were enough seats left for Ferocity, Nalau, Xiix and Nguvu to have a safe place to sit while the ship descended.
It was like being on a ride at an amusement park, the ship descended as quickly as possible. The second they felt it touch down, everyone in the cargo hold jumped up and went to the door, ready for it to drop. They lined up – Dragons an Xiix splitting up so that they were lined up to either side of the door. Empress Nalau was front and center; her hair pulled back tight, wearing a brilliant green bodysuit and a pulse gun strapped to each thigh. Ferocity had just a second to think that Emperor Bartala had probably never seen her looking like this.
The upper half of the door lifted, and a ramp descended from the lower half of the opening. The heat was stifling and the dirty air was thin. The hot wind was almost unbearable. She ran down the ramp looking for the beings they came to rescue. Suddenly the area around her began to darken and she was confused, ready to retreat from a threat. But then she realized the darkness was a mass of beings, running toward the ship. As she got closer they became visible, there was one out in front. She hadn’t thought to ask what a Jastea looked like. They were intelligent humanoids, that was all she knew.
A bright red tri-ped standing over two meters tall, presented itself to her. “Thank you for coming, I am Lornv these are the science seekers.” Lornv said, gesturing with one large arm toward the masses directly behind where they stood. Nalau noticed that on the other side the being had two small arms. She didn’t have time to reflect on how odd the Jasteas were, she had to get moving.
“You’re welcome. We need to move quickly, we have much less time than we thought. You’ve been told that you’re being rescued by Dragons right? We don’t want to create panic.”
“Yes. But we assumed the transmission was damaged by the radiation, Dragons are not real.”
“They are, and they’re the ones here to save you so get everyone moving. Now!” Nalau stepped to the edge of the ramp and gestured for Lornv to take up position on the other side. They started routing the Jasteas up the ramp. Just inside the door, the Dragons and Xiix began guiding them toward the back of the cargo hold so that they didn’t block the entry. Most were so relieved to be off of the planet that they didn’t notice the Dragons at first. There were a few shrieks and many gasps as the evacuees took note of their rescuers.
It seemed like it took an eternity to load them all. Finally the last one was aboard. Lornv went and joined the others. Ferocity walked down the ramp toward Nalau. “Is that all of them?” He asked.
“I think so.” She said.
But it wasn’t all of them. They heard shrieking and turned toward the sound. There were three more beings approaching, but two of them collapsed. “We don’t have time for this!” Nalau exclaimed, running out into the dirty air.
“Empress NO!” Ferocity yelled and grabbed for her but missed. He followed her with Nguvu right at his heels. The planet began to shake violently just as they reached the last three Jasteas.
“GO! GO! Get on the ship, NOW!” Nalau literally shoved the standing Jastea. “We’ll take care of them.” She said, following the Jasteas gaze toward it’s fallen mates.
Surprisingly her directions were followed. Nguvu went to the smaller of the collapsed individuals and scooped them up in her arms. Without saying a word she spread her wings and flew back to the ship with her precious cargo.
As Ferocity bent to pick up the fallen Jastea, the planet shook again. He knew the ship couldn’t stay any longer. “Nalau get back to the ship. I’ll take this one via transport.”
“GO!” He both yelled and projected telepathically to her. The single word hit her brain like a lightning bolt and she sprinted for the ship.
The ramp was already closing. They were departing without Ferocity. Nguvu ran for the door and lifted off, flying toward the small opening. Shrieking as she went, “Ferocity!”
Xiix saw what was happening and jumped as she passed over him, he managed to grab her foot and throw her off balance. They both fell to the floor as the door closed and the ship began to ascend.
“Nguvu, we must follow our orders.” He projected to her.
“But he’s going to die out there.”
“Perhaps, but I’m sure he has a plan, and if you had flown out that door you would have distracted him from whatever it is that he’s trying to do and we’d end up losing two friends today.”
“I understand.” She projected as she got to her feet.
“Now, let’s go see if anyone needs assistance.” Xiix projected.
Just as Ferocity lifted the Jastea, the planet shook again, and as the atmosphere was stripped away, fireballs began to rain down on him. He dropped the Jastea, already dead, and reached for his own transporter to save himself. But the fireballs were too much, they knocked him to the ground as they burned him. He’d been without air for too long, he wasn’t going to make it. With his last thought, he reached for his bond. In desperation, he reached for Lord Brzko, not expecting to be rescued, but to say goodbye.