Taking the Stardust Drive
Draft Sample-Chapter One
“Get back here, you bastard!”
Van smirked as he jumped to the roof of the next building. There was an abandoned ball ahead of him, so when he was in range he turned and kicked it towards the hover car. The driver swerved away as Van leapt to the next roof, taking him further from the tall wall surrounding the pristine city. The metal roof raddled as he slid down it and into the dark alley with a thump, making the two people wearing aprons ruin the sleek ground since they dropped the trash they were bringing out. Van tipped his dusty bowler hat to them before he ran the opposite way of the yelling soldiers above and onto the busy street.
People who looked like him crowded the sidewalk, albeit they were cleaner and more conservative in clothes that were different shades of blue. Even when Van tried to blend in as he caught his breath, he stood out with a black hole tattoo in the middle of his exposed chest. He zipped up his jacket before he took off his hat and used it to fan his warm face. As expected, people looked but mostly tried to ignore him.
The solar tarra shone brightly today as it peeked over the wall he ascended with the help of Lux, his crewmate. Some flowers put out for decoration in the planters beside the road suddenly bloomed when touched by its light. It even reflected off the metal signs showing hologram advertisements, if they were far enough to avoid the shade of the wall.
Eventually, Van’s attention drifted to a red hover car stopped at a light. He paused to admire the smaller model, usually for the middle class, not a scratch to be seen as it floated in place. The magnet from the vehicle kept it hovering, relying on the similar magnet fused in the metal road. After all, these cars were reserved for those who didn’t have the clearance for the expensive cars. Those were set aside so soldiers could do their patrols without traffic as they made sure everything and everyone was where they should be. Or in today’s case, try to catch the man who got over the infamous wall meant to keep people out. The person inside the car kept their eyes forward as they rolled the window up, reflecting Van’s goggled face back at him.
As the light signaled it was almost time to go, the sound of sirens suddenly broke through the moment. Two blue hover cars were coming down from above, appearing over the buildings he had just jumped from.
“Bloody stars,” Van muttered before he put his hat back on and vaulted over the hood of the car.
People gasped or yelled from the sidewalk as Van jumped to the next car just when it started to go. It grazed the vehicle next to them, ruining the shiny surface. He almost lost his balance as the car swerved and started to slow down, making him curse under his breath.
He looked around for options, doing a double take when a black hover car he had never seen before appeared on the other side of the divide, going the other way. It was a long car that only had a roof over the driver and the back half, leaving the middle exposed. As soon as this long car was in range, he jumped over and stumbled into it. Van grimaced as he sat up and rubbed his lower back.
Suddenly, someone cleared their throat. He tensed before he looked to his right. The woman hidden under the back roof stared at him coldly with her dark brown eyes. Her graying brown hair was tied up in a bun like the rest of the women on this planet. However, she wore a dark blue dress and a gray cape with the royal family crest, a yellow eight pointed star, in the center that covered her chest and shoulder. Van quickly got on his feet with his hands raised.
“You must be important,” Van joked with a smile. “I’ll save you the hassle and-”
Without warning the woman slid down from her seat and kicked his legs out from under him. He cried out in surprise as his head hit the handle of the door on the way down. Before he could react, she grabbed his arm, secured it behind him and kept her knee on his lower back. Van tried to move his face off the floor, but to his surprise he couldn’t get her off him.
The car came to a halt and within seconds one of the officers could be heard running to the car.
“Queen Adira! Are you-” he started.
“I am fine,” she interrupted.
Van let out a frustrated breath before the Queen of Jenoda picked him up and pushed him into the men he’d been running from all morning.
“Getting back so soon, princess?” one of the Guard’s stationed at her father’s study door teased.
The pale princess ignored their comment and put her fingers against the scanner. Once the system verified her identity, she let herself in, being sure to pull her cape close to not make another fool of herself. Once that door sealed behind her, she went on to enter the code only given to family members into the second door. She let out a breath before opening the door, the glass eyes of her mask making it so her eyes didn’t have to adjust to the light of the white room.
King Istech didn’t even look away from his holographic monitor as he sat at his blue steel desk. The princess gulped down her nerves as she stepped in and closed the door behind her. She then went and sat at the guest chair in front of his desk. The room felt warmer than usual, perhaps because Istech had set the windows to be clear and let the light from the solar tarra in. Since his office was the only room in the whole castle looking over the wall, there never seemed to be a moment where a shadow cast over the space.
The warmth of the atmosphere did nothing to quell the princess’s nerves however, given she knew any day now her life would change forever. She moved her bangs off of the glowing lilac glass of her mask and tucked them behind her right ear. The standard white mask covered the upper half of her face, while three dull teal bolts kept a titanium metal plate on its forehead in place. Like anyone else with long hair on Jenoda, her hair was tied back in a tight bun.
After a few minutes, the King’s violet eyes finally looked past his screen and at his daughter.
“Did anyone give you a hard time?” King Istech asked, bringing her fidgeting to a halt.
Her eyes darted to the door for a moment, but she shook her head.
“They act the same as ever,” she said, which wasn’t really a lie anyways.
“Good,” he sighed, then checked the time on his monitor. “Well, you’re right on time again. Did you install a clock into those eyes when we were not looking?”
The princess’s eyes flickered as she blinked, then she let out a breath and rubbed her left side.
“N-No. I know what would happen if I were late… your highness,” she said with a shrug.
“It was a joke daughter,” he assured her.
“I take being on time very seriously,” she said as her leg began to shake.
“You are stressed again,” the King noted, to which she responded with a shrug. “Is there anything I can do? Perhaps something my mother did to help?”
The princess shook her head as a response. After a moment, Istech pushed his dome chair back and stood. The princess immediately stood straight, though her hand still remained on her left side. He then walked over to his daughter, having to reach up to touch her cheeks since he was a foot shorter than her.
“I will always be grateful to the deities you never inherited my height,” he said, making her laugh this time, then moved his hand under his cape. “I have something for you.”
Behind the mask, her eyes welled with tears as he brought out the familiar bracelet with various colored beads on a silver chain.
“I thought Adira- I thought mother took it,” she said.
“She eventually agreed to give it to me so I could reward you when our mentorship was complete, however now is as good a time as any,” he said.
Istech moved his daughter’s hand off the side she was holding and put it around her wrist.
“Hopefully your grandmother’s essence can watch over you, Princess,” Istech said, meeting her gaze with the gentle eyes she always wondered if she inherited.
“You speak like you are already dead,” she muttered, playing with a purple bead that looked like a treasure chest.
“It is a precaution,” he assured her, then after a moment put his hand out and patted her arm, awkwardly. “Look, I know you and I have only started to get to know each other recently, since I am preparing you to be the next ruler. I am thankful my mother stepped in to help you grow when I could not. At this moment though…”
Her eyes flickered, but she remained silent since she didn’t know exactly what to say as he gathered his thoughts.
“Well, you see Princess, at this moment, I cannot help but feel regret for a lot of things. Clearly I am seen as a bad King, but I cannot even claim to have been a good father. Even now when you are stressed I know not what to do,”
“I do not know either,”
“What was something my mother did for you?” he asked.
“You…” she started, pausing as she reconsidered being honest. “Maybe it is better to ask what her and grandfather did for you, as parents?”
The King became thoughtful, eventually a smile coming to his lips.
“They made a lot of sacrifices,” he sighed, seeming somewhat sad as he looked towards the forested mountains that lay some ways from the wall. “Some I had not even asked for.”
Suddenly the door slammed open, making Princess and Istech jump in surprise. Adira’s expression made the room cold as she moved towards her daughter. A sneer appeared on her face as she looked at the skirt that only covered the princess’s thighs. The princess felt her body shake as the King glanced away.
“How many times have I had to remind you at this point?” Adira snapped. “Skirts this short are vulgar for a woman of your status! How has that not gotten through your thick skull?”
“I-I am wearing long socks-” she tried to say, but lost her voice when Adira poked the forehead of the princess’s mask.
“You are twenty-three and you still act like a pathetic child! Do you not understand that as a princess you must-”
“Adira be calm,” Istech interrupted, which was when Adira’s attention snapped to him. “She is not out in public.”
“All of a sudden you are being more relaxed with the rules?” Adira scoffed. “Is this to try and show the Jenodian Guard you are not worth killing, your highness?”
“At least I have come to terms with what has led to this!” Istech snapped, making the princess flinch instinctively.
He tried to match Adira’s gaze, but the shakiness of his hands gave away the brave face he was putting on. The Queen was the one to break eye contact, arms crossed as she looked to her daughter.
“You need to change into those clothes we bought before we go to the Guard headquarters. Perhaps your short skirt will come in handy after all,” the Queen said, then frowned at the bracelet. “And I will help you pack some things. Including that tablet of yours. Do you think it can power down cameras?”
“What-” the princess tried to say.
“What is this about?” Istech interrupted.
“I have found someone to take her,” Adira said, then looked to Istech out of the corner of her eye. “You will have to distract Mordecai as I arrange the escape.”
“R-Right now?” the princess whispered in disbelief.
“Unless you wish to risk waiting longer and die by the Guard’s hand,” Adira said.
The princess gulped, feeling a familiar pit form in her stomach, and managed to shake her head.
“Of course not, mother,” she muttered.
“Hold on, who agreed to take her?” Istech asked skeptically.
“Do you doubt I would find someone good enough to take care of your heir?” Adira countered.
“Forgive me for wanting clarity as to why we are taking the next step of your plan so suddenly,” he said.
“Well, he hasn’t agreed yet, but he’s the only option we have since he has no loyalties to the Guard. I need to borrow your ring to ensure this will work,” Adira said, then extended her hand but Istech put both hands behind him. “Istech, give it to me!”
“Once you tell me who you plan to use it on,” Istech bartered.
The two of them listened with bated breath as Adira told them what happened that morning. Istech looked conflicted, then glanced at his daughter. Another moment of silence passed, then the princess watched in stunned silence as Istech handed the silver ring over.
Van stared back at his reflection on his right, specifically looking at the red mark on his temple that would probably leave a bruise on his tanned skin. He started to think of the ways his wavy black hair could cover it up, at least until D-R had a look at it once he was back at the ship. Probably at this point with all the injuries Van had collected over the years, D-R would only have to glance at it to know exactly how to make it go away.
The soldier on the other side of the platinum table kept his eyes on Van, having deeper frown lines than when he entered the interrogation room.
“Let me ask again, are you Sullivan Marauder of the Savior space pirates or not?” the soldier asked, finally earning Van’s attention.
“I already told you who I am,” he said, though the lack of response he received made him roll his eyes. “Commander Mordecai of the Jenodian Guard. I will ask you again, are you Sullivan Marauder?”
Van shrugged before he started to whistle his favorite old tune and stare up at the four spherical LED lights. Mordecai’s fingers tapped his arm impatiently, out of sync with Van’s whistling.
“What on Jenoda even is this weird song?” Mordecai sighed before he rubbed his temples. “You have some nerve acting this way in front of a Commander, boy.”
Van ignored him, continuing to whistle until Mordecai slammed his hands on the table.
“Alright, we’ll skip formalities. Tell me how you got over the wall!” the commander snapped.
“Flew,” Van said, then smirked when Mordecai’s face turned a new shade of red. “Wasn’t hard to realize birds must have bigger brains than you.”
Mordecai grabbed Van by the collar and pulled him up. As he wound his free arm back to throw a punch the door opened. Both looked over as a blonde man dressed in uniform that was a lighter shade than Mordecai’s entered the room. He gave the Guard Salute, raising his arm up horizontally to his chest as if holding an invisible shield.
“Commander-” he said, pausing to wipe sweat off his face with his shoulder.
“Can’t you see I’m busy?” Mordecai snapped.
“King Istech needs to speak with you urgently, sir,”
The hum from the light filled the room as Van watched the two stare at each other. Eventually, Mordecai pushed Van back into his seat, straightened out his uniform and left the room. When the door sealed him in, Van sighed and pushed himself away from the table.
Jenoda’s interrogation room was certainly the cleanest out of all the ones he had been in. As he walked around the small space, he tapped against the white cement blocks that had no marks or messages from anyone who had been here before. The spherical cameras in each corner of the room flashed a blue light to let him know he was being recorded, if the moving lenses weren’t already a dead giveaway.
After counting the tiles on the floor he ended up in front of the mirror that took up practically the whole wall. He tapped against it, but realized it would take more than a chair or table to break this kind of glass. So, Van lifted his bowler hat to adjust his hair over the scuff on his temple. Once satisfied, he smirked at his reflection and put his hat back on his head.
Suddenly the glass of his goggles lit up a bright lilac color. Van jumped back in surprise, catching himself with the chair as the two eyes staring at him suddenly vanished. He let out a breath, then frowned and approached the mirror. Even straining his eyes didn’t tell him who or what was behind the glass.
That was when the lights above dimmed and the cameras went dead. Van frowned in confusion as he looked back at the mirror, then saw the door behind him open.
“You hoping to get away with something worse than a punch?” Van scoffed as he turned, only to be surprised to see a different familiar face enter the room.
The look Queen Adira gave made his gut tense, but he did his best to hide his discomfort by staring her down. Adira appeared like she could care less as she closed the door behind her and took her seat where Mordecai had been. When she was comfortable, her eyes rested on the one button holding his white dress shirt together, which was also in the wrong hole
“Well, well, well! The stone cold Queen herself,” Van laughed, but unsurprisingly got no reaction from Adira. “Do you usually meet the people you turn over to your dogs or am I special?”
“Do not speak so casually to me,” she scolded.
“Sorry. Forgot my manners,” he said as he walked towards the table that separated them. “It’s been quite the day for me! I was minding my own business when out of nowhere I was arrested-”
“This was not the first time you were running from the Guard,” Adira said, then looked into the blue glass of the goggles to try and see Van’s eyes. “Mordecai has reported about you getting over the city wall on more than one occasion.”
“First time I got caught though. I have you to thank for that,” Van said before he paced the room and played with the long chain around his neck. “Anyways, I was thrown into an interrogation room without being told what charges are against me, I’ve been whistling here for who knows how many hours, almost got punched in the face by your commanding dog and now the Queen herself is visiting! I’m sure you understand this is a lot to take in.”
Van chuckled at his own sarcasm as he played with one of the plastic beads on his necklace.
“You must love to hear yourself speak,” Adira said, making Van pause with the bead. “I take it you are done.”
“Listen lady, whatever you think about me-” Van started to say.
“I want you to make a delivery,” she interrupted, turning a silver ring with a green gem on her right pointer finger.
“Do not make me repeat myself,”
“Delivery of what, exactly?”
Van laughed at her, then motioned to the mirror behind him.
“Is that who’s behind the mirror? The nameless masked princess?” he asked as he looked back at his reflection.
The eyes didn’t show up again. However, he could see the Queen’s reflection glaring through it. Adira stood and made her way towards it, her expression unmoved as she stared through the mirror.
“How many zetas will you take for payment?” Adira asked, still not looking at him.
“Bold of you to think I’d say yes,” Van said before he leaned his back against the mirror and shoved his hands into his pockets. “Can’t your dogs do the job for you?”
“Not when they are who she has to keep away from,” Adira said, meeting his eyes through the glass as he raised a brow. “Chinokians are not the only ones trying to eradicate us anymore.”
“Isn’t it the other way around?” Van muttered.
“The Jenodian Guard is planning a military coup against my husband, taking me and her with him,” she went on to explain.
“How is that my problem?”
“Well, for one thing I have received intel Mordecai recruited the help of someone you know all too well,”
“Do I?” Van said doubtfully.
“The one you burned a while back,” Adira revealed as she turned the gem on her ring, which made Van tense up. “Listen, I do not know if you could ever understand this, but as a mother it is my duty to save my daughter. Even if that means asking for a pirate to take her to Revron.”
“Revron? Why there?” Van frowned.
“It is the furthest planet with the only military that could go against the Guard, obviously. I have made arrangements to ensure she will be received safely, I just need to find an… independent escort,”
“In other words you're desperate. Sorry though, I’m not a big fan of your family either,” Van laughed, finally drawing Adira’s attention away from the mirror.
“You are hard to read, Mister Marauder. Care to explain your reasoning?”
“I don’t want to,”
“Even if you’d get more zetas than you would raiding one of the Guard ships?”
“Taking care of a princess is more trouble than the reward would be worth. Especially with the other factors at play. I’d rather be dumped on Nox with other prisoners.”
Adira let out a breath from her nose, then faced Van. He took an instinctive step back when she extended her hand towards him.
“Then let me help you with your escape,” she said.
“Who said I was going to-”
“I have dealt with your kind before, you pirates always have escape plans,”
“... You’re full of surprises today, your highness,” Van scoffed. “That’s all it takes to change your mind?”
“More like an act of thanks. Your little stunt in the restaurant district happened to be a good distraction for Mordecai. It bought me more time than you may realize. Besides, I married into this family, so I can understand when I have… inconvenienced someone.”
Van hesitated a moment before he smirked, pushed himself off the mirror and took hold of the Queen’s hand. As she cracked a smile that was almost warm, a sudden glow erupted from the ring and a cluster of gray smoke wrapped around Van’s whole arm like a vine, making his smirk disappear. He tried to run, but Adira twisted his arm so he was forced to yelp and get down on one knee.
The cloud exposed a set of yellow teeth and bit through the red fabric of Van’s jacket into his wrist. As he let out a cry in pain, the cloud suddenly disappeared, not even leaving a trace of smoke. Adira finally let go, unmoved by what happened, while Van took some deep breaths to manage the pain. He then rolled his sleeve up to see there was now a tattoo of a white chain wrapped around his wrist, as well as blood where the smoke bit him.
“What did you do?” Van snapped as he tried to rub the chain away.
“I am helping you escape with a binding contract,” Adira said calmly, which stopped Van from trying. “If you do not fulfill my demand, you will be killed by the stone’s energy which binds you. Once you complete your task, the mark will disappear, and your life is spared.”
“You’re bluffing!” Van laughed nervously as his right hand began to shake, so he used his other hand to try and suppress it. “The royal family banned that tech years ago.”
“For common folk and Chinokians,” Adira corrected, which left Van at a loss for words. “You may not care for us, but I hope you at least value your own life enough to go through with my order.”
Van looked down at the mark. As he thought of a plan to get out of the situation, the tattoo suddenly became smaller, like it was tightening around his wrist. Within no time, Van was doubled over in pain. He quickly erased the thought from his mind, which made the tattoo return to its normal size.
“Make this easier on yourself, Marauder,” Adira advised coldly as she stood over Van. “I have heard the stories of the Savior crew. From what I gather, delivering my daughter safely should be no problem. All you have to do is keep her happy and alive.”
Van grunted as he slowly stood, then rolled down his sleeve and let out a defeated breath.
“Are the zetas off the table?” he asked.
“I do not know what you are talking about,” she said, then motioned for the princess to come out.
“Of course,” Van sighed as the door beside the mirror opened up. “And what exactly are you going to do when the people notice their princess has gone missing?”
“Lie,” Adira said.
“For nine months?”
“When saying she is sick wears off, I will shift the blame to the Guard,” Adira said as she turned to face her daughter.
The princess was dressed in plain clothes you would see more on a common Jenodian woman than the princess of the galaxy. Van’s brows rose in surprise as he stared at her bare legs, where some sort of tablet was strapped to her thigh, the screen flashing red. The only thing giving her away was her mask. One of the princess’s hands cupped her left side, while her other hand held a large hat with a veil attached to the brim.
Adira put her hands on the princess’s cheeks. Through the reflection, Van noticed the young woman tense under the touch.
“You have to be brave, for your father and my sake, Princess,” Adira said, then suddenly kissed the top of her daughter’s head. “I hope with his help you can last longer than a day out in space. Thankfully things could be worse.”
“How could it be worse?” the princess asked as her grip tightened on the hat.
“It could have been an unknown group of mischief makers,” Adira said, then let go of the princess and turned to face Van. “It is about time you get out of here. My husband can only distract Mordecai for so long.”
“Wait, Adi- I mean, mother-” Princess tried to say.
Suddenly loud popping noises could be heard outside. Adira and the princess looked towards the wall where the noise had come from while Van only glanced. Shouting and running could be heard down the hall, one getting particularly close to the door.
“Did you set off sparklers in the plaza?” a different soldier than the one snapped as a beeping sound came from the keypad.
Van quickly ran up to the soldier just as he opened the door and kneed him in the stomach. Princess gasped and covered her mouth as he caught the man before he fell to the floor. After resting the soldier against the wall, he looked back at the princess. He then motioned with his head for her to come over. She stayed in place until Adira smacked her on the back, causing her to lurch forward. The princess let out a breath and put the hat on, taking a moment to make sure the veil was fixed to the hat.
“Just keep your promise, mother,” she begged.
Adira gave no response, nor did she watch her daughter go to Van. He grabbed Princess’s arm gently and pulled her out, then smiled back at the Queen as he sealed the door behind them. Before he lost the chance, he kicked the keypad, rendering it useless as glass and keys fell to the laminate floor.
“Why would you do that?” Princess exclaimed.
“Needs to look like a convincing escape, your majesty,” Van said as he pulled her along. “Plus if you had a way to get in, she has a way to get out, right?”
She gave no response, quietly following behind him and putting her hand with a bracelet around her wrist against her chest. When they reached the end of the hall, Van looked to his left and right to survey if anyone was coming, but just as he planned, guards were probably going down to the plaza. Van pressed the button to call the elevator, hoping it would be an added distraction as he adjusted his hold on Princess and ran for the door to the stairs. He listened for footsteps before he closed the squeaky door behind him and ran to the roof.
“Wait! Shouldn’t we go down?” she exclaimed, though did her best to keep up with him.
“Only if you want to get caught!” he laughed, keeping his eyes on the door at the top of the final flight they had to run up.
Ignoring the warning sign stuck to the metal, he slammed the door open and the two stumbled out to the roof garden.
With the alarm going off in the background, Van whistled the tune again as he walked around the various potted flowers and leaves that hung from the side at the same length. He stopped in front of a bright red flower to admire it, seeing puffs of smoke and flashes of lights still coming from around the plaza’s center statue commemorating the Jenodian deity of guardianship, Duke Pantheo. People were shouting and screaming below, telling others to get inside or watch where they were going as the smoke spread.
Princess meanwhile shifted her feet and looked back at the door they came from.
“This is the worst time for a stroll in the garden,” Princess muttered, then jumped at the sound of someone landing behind them.
Van turned immediately and smiled at the familiar dark brown face.
“You took your time Lux!” he laughed.
“Your little distraction made it hard to hear you, Sully. Hope you’re ready for Doc to say I told you so,” Lux laughed in his low, raspy voice as he adjusted his black headband to make sure it still covered the tops of his ears. “Who’s this? Someone we should thank for a distraction or someone we need to throw off this building?”
The princess immediately grabbed Van’s arm as tight as she could.
“Guess you ain’t one for jokes eh?” Lux asked as he raised a brow. “You got a name?”
“She doesn’t,” Van interrupted, easily yanking his arm away from her. “It’s a long story, but we need to get to the ship before we’re found.”
“How exactly are we leaving from the roof?” Princess asked.
“Fly,” the two of them said.
She grunted, then followed behind Van as he walked towards Lux. Without much warning, Lux wrapped one arm around Van, and the other around Princess. When he was sure he had a good grip on them, Lux pressed down on his heels to activate the jets of the boots.
The princess screamed as she kept her hat in place, though the people wouldn’t hear it over the commotion that was going on below. Leaving only a scorched floor behind, they flew fast towards the ocean that was on the other side of the large white wall.
Reflections of Jenoda’s two moons were beginning to show themselves on the water as D-R sat at the foot of the metal plank that connected to Jenoda’s white concrete dock. He stood out thanks to the black trench coat which covered most of his outfit. Though he knew Lux would say he stood out anyway since he had a gas mask on and headphones draped over his gray hair.
D-R’s leg shook as he hugged Van’s cane tightly, then glanced back at the wall that blocked his view of the city for what felt like the billionth time that day.
“Hope you haven’t been waitin’ long Doc!” came Lux’s voice from above.
D-R’s head snapped up towards him, about to scream at Van as best he could through the mask, only to lose his voice when he saw an unfamiliar person with his two friends.
Once they were a couple feet above the dock, Lux eased off the acceleration of his jet boots. After landing with little grace, he let go of his two passengers. The one in the skirt tried to gain balance when she stepped away from Lux, who brought out his nail file and started to work on his left hand. Once she was steady on her feet, she looked up at the ship.
“It is not purple,” she said in surprise, making D-R look back at their teal metal ship.
With the solar tarra moving towards the horizon, it was lit up by the stage lights of the dock to show off a teal shine. The front triangular end was mainly made of glass, while the back half and lower part were made of thick metal, keeping everything sealed for driving through the galaxy. In the middle at the top of the ship, Lux’s lookout post could be seen, though the light was off to save power. The weathered name Savior was spray painted pink on the side of the ship.
D-R wiped some water off his dark gray coveralls before he finally stood, making the stranger step back when she realized he was so tall. D-R tried his best to ignore her on his way to Van, and once he was close enough he offered the cane.
“Thanks D-R,” Van sighed before he took his cane back, all the while making sure he didn’t touch his friend.
That was when D-R shrieked and stepped back. The stranger jumped at the sudden noise, while Lux cringed but continued to file as he walked over and looked at the new tattoo on Van’s wrist. D-R pulled at the ends of his tattered black scarf and took some deep breaths to calm himself.
“The blazes is that?” Lux asked with a frown.
“A contract,” Van said as he tried to hide it.
“Contract?” Lux asked as he eyed the stranger, who immediately looked the other way.
“Yeah, well,” sighed Van. “We’ve got a job.”
“Job?” Lux said as he raised a brow and D-R shook in place again. “What about our delivery to Wander Moon I?”
“I’ll tell you what happened after we’ve gained some distance,” Van said before he grabbed their guest by the arm again and dragged her up the plank.
“This should be good,” Lux muttered before he brushed some dirt out of his short beard and followed after them.
D-R whined but immediately followed behind, pulling the trench coat tighter around his body, which made the S sigil similar to the one spray painted on the ship stretch across his back.
The sound of blaring sirens came from the wall, signaling the doors had been opened and soldiers were on their way out. However, by the time they were scouring the docks, the teal ship had already blended in with the sky around it.