Chapter 1: Celleri
(((OOC) read the prologue and the below post for the initial setting))
Alexander Corbal surveyed the scene on the streets below through hands cupped into binoculars, His Artist powers warping the air encompassed by them into light bending lenses. He could have done the same without his hands there, but the lenses were harder to make when they were tiny and right next to one’s eyes. So instead he made them larger, moved them out from his eyes and used his hands to limit his view and get rid of the disorienting effect of seeing two different distances at once.
Jack lay dead in the street two blocks away, Killed by the manifestation of his insanity driven paranoia. It was a loss for his crew but hardly an unbearable one. Jack had been the senior officer in charge of making sure the crew stayed in shape. It was in important position but one that could easily be filled by another.
It was an annoying and somewhat depressing event for a crew member to go critical. It was a constant reminder of his own eventual fate and then there was the sad necessity to make sure the damage the individual caused was not too great. Hence his presence on the planet; He had intended to stop here and then go down to the surface in the morning and look for skilled deep space pilots. But Jack had gone critical in the middle of the night and Alex had been forced to follow him to the surface.
Turning away from the edge of the building Alex sank to his haunches on the gravel that was strewn across the top of the Hotel’s service roof. The building was the tallest in Celleri, the Baymore hotel, and had offered the perfect vantage point for tracking Jack in his wild rooftop chance. it wasn't like it had been hard to find where he had gone, Celleri only had one city on the surface and thus only one space port. any other habited location was a mining out post of some sort. “So will that be my fate?” Alex thought to himself thinking of what he had seen bellow.
“Unlikely, Jack had a paranoid personality before he went insane. He was practically looking around corner for pursuers and potential threats when you met him,” the voice seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at once. Alex didn’t jump though he was used to it by now. “I wouldn’t worry about it anyway, you’re an inordinately strong artist and you probably won’t go completely insane for another fifteen years at least.” This time the sound seemed to come from his right; a misty form coalesced from the air as Alex turned his head to look at Randal,
“So says the manifestation of my own insanity.” The tall, dark, mysterious, and ruggedly handsome man that now sat on his hunches beside him was named Randal. The somewhat misty form, decked out in a black waist-length coat and black T-shirt paired with dark brown denim pants and black combat boots, was indeed a manifestation of Alex’s insanity, the only one as far as he knew, but insane was insane as far as Alex was concerned. But that didn’t mean he didn’t talk to Randal. Since his appearance about six years ago Randal had taken on the role of spirit guide and conscious, offering nothing but good advice and console. Like always Randal was right, there was not much use worrying about his fate of insanity or how it would manifest itself. Randle may be a manifestation of insanity but he existed solely in Alex’s head, and would likely stay that way for a goodly number of years yet. It was when he forgot that Randal wasn’t real that he had to worry. “But your right, time to get back to business” rising to his feet Alexander Corbal took a step toward the roof access door signaling the others on the roof to follow him. Closing the roof access door behind them the misty form visible only to Alex faded like smoke into the night air.
The five others that had been on the roof with him followed Alex down the narrow service hallway which lead to an equally narrow staircase that lead into the much more spacious halls below the penthouse suit. The others had been mostly been silent since he had told them to report to the shuttle bay for transport to the surface. they were all junior members of the crew so it was not surprising that they didn’t feel too comfortable accompanying their captain on what would seem to be an important mission.
“Captain, may I ask why you asked us to come with you?” one of the more out spoken ones said.
“Because, I wanted you to know what your fate was; It’s is the fate of every artist after all. And unless you avoid the artist community altogether you will see it happen again before you die. I wanted you to be prepared for it.” It was a sad but necessary truth for all Artists, one that had to be meat head on and overcome. None of these five were over 19 but all of them needed to know what was waiting for them. “Now then, the rest of the night is yours but I want you all back at the shuttle port and ready to leave by 9:00 tomorrow morning that’s when our return flight is scheduled and if you miss it you will have to use your own money to get back to the ship. the five teens and young adults practically jumped at the opportunity to be on their own and were out of his site within ten seconds of the announcement.
Making his way down to the hotel bar Alex set his mind to the next task on hand, finding a skilled deep space pilot. One who would attempt flight through an area of space riddled with gravity wells. Not an easy task as it turned out. He had been through 16 different solar systems following information that lead to the next solar system and the next each time hoping that the trail would lead him to a pilot of enough skill to fly through one of the many areas in the galaxy that were unexplored.
On the elevator ride down Alex was alone and took the opportunity to change his clothes. Well perhaps “alter” is a better word. The clothing he was wearing was a nanopolymer polymorphic fabric, capable of altering its shape texture and color at a moment’s notice. The technology had been around for 100’s of years but it hadn’t been cheep to begin with and it never did get much cheaper. As a result not many people knew about it and were often freaked out if they saw it in action. The fabric was mostly restricted to the wealthy until they could come up with a cheaper way to make it. Tapping a small unnoticeable depression in his waistband the fabric on his left arm morphed into a screen. Controlling the screen with his fingers he selected his more casual surface clothes. In moments his standard ship suite had become button down shirt and over coat and black slacks, all in a near perfect imitation of woven cotton with the added bonus that it didn’t stain like the real thing would. Taking a quick look in the mirror ceiling, placed to relieve claustrophobia, reviled a tall high class with slightly curly ear length dark brown hair and a short beard growing on his chin. A respectable figure. Stepping out of the elevator in the lobby Alexander Corbal crossed the hall into the bar and began chasseing information through the upper class snobs that occupied it.