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The last pilot chapter 3: Smoke from The Ice

by Zrillis


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and violence.

The planet was strange, and Aria was alone. She knew this was free space, a Helios safe zone, but she was too afraid for Zan to care. She was alone on Brilla, amidst a large gathering of alien creatures, large and small. Her pod had crashed in the desert, only a few miles away from a slav town. Aria sat by herself, trying to avoid eye contact with anyone, unsure of what would happen if she didnt.

Aria tried to stay calm, knowing her heart was weak and too much stress could be problem causing to her. This was not her world anymore, there was no elders to guide her, no Zan to protect her. She was a fragile sixteen year old girl, with no combat training or means of self protection. She had spent all her life studying on ways to heal, to save lives, but never how to gaurd her own.

"Hey, you in on the next bid?" a gruff voice asked her, and she looked up to see a cruel, fur covered ape like face. The creatur was large, with a thin frame yet stocky arms. "The names Frixe. All new bidders get ten thousand credits. Beyond that your on your own."

Frixe handed Aria the money, then walked away. Even trade planets had some rules. Rules to regulate the trade flow and increase profits overall. Aria had no interest in buying anyone or anything, but she decided to be polite. She stood, and made her way to the front of the crowd where she could see cages.

Each cage held some creature from almost every imagible species. Vernics to Grastilon, they were all there. Each creature apeared to be young, but one caught Arias eye right away. In the center most cage, curled in a tight ball in the corner farthest away, lay a small female human. She wore worn out and torn jeans, with a blood covered purple top.

From this distance, Aria speculated that the gir was about five years old, and the beaten, abused sight of her brought tears to her eyes. This was cruel, horrible and hard to stomach.

A deep voice snapped her gaze away from the child, the voice of the creature who introduced himself as Frixe.

"Attention everone. Todays bidding is now in session. We will start with the human child. Bids start at one hundred credits."

~~~~~

The Zelpha made its way towards Brilla, as I looked down at Iris. We were now in the ships cabin space. I sat on the edge of the bed as the small girl slept, curled up with her head on my lap. Despite the Helios aspects of her body, she was a normal child. Scared, ambitious, full of the last remaining innocence she had. The thirteen year old let out a content sigh as she slept, breathing reguarly.

I opened my mind, and spoke my bioheart command silently in my head, once again giving myself over to the Zelpha. I needed to know more. I needed every last bit of info I could acquire about the keys about restoring the earth. The Zelphas Mechanical heart contianed a log of thousads of human DNA samples, and if the other ships hearts held the same info, we could restore human life to this new earth.

Inside the full control of my bioheart, I coud see the Zelpha nine as an entity, and i could see myself interacting with her.

"Zelpha, tell me about the keys to earth."

She looked at me, and began to speak in a loud yet gentle voice. "My brothers and sisters, the other Zelphas, were designed to restore planets. The elders encrypted each of us with a set of information describing an aspect of the planet called earth. We were injected with human DNA, and given the ability to form life, to create a new safety, a new world. This world will directly mirror the lost planet earth.

~~~~

She didnt know how to react. She wanted to protect the destroyed child, but the price was rising fast. It wasnt an issue of wanting any credits left over, it was the matter of having a limted amount. Something her mind wouldnt let her bid, but she couldnt just walk away.

"one thousand credits." a voice rang out from the crowd, Raising the price higher. This was crazy, and it was breaking Arias heart. Her heart went out to this girl, and she could feel her Bioheart of healing aching to restore her. If she could out bid these creatures, then she could comfort the young girl. She could take her some place safe, and heal her wounds. She could care for her the way Arias own mother had cared before the war started. Before the helios invaded Sirion. Before everything was taken away from her.

Aria looked up, ready to try the only thing she had. "ten thousand credits." she cried out in a stern and serious voice. The crowd went silent, and no one spoke for what seemed liked ages. Aria knew why, out of all the creatures in cages, a young human was the most useless.

"going once" the words sent a chill down her spine, keeping sharp focus on the child huddled in the corner. All air seemed to be avoiding Arias lungs, and she gave up any thoughts of steady breathing.

"Twice!" the voice of Frixe boomed once again, and Aria clenched both fists tightly. Only a few more seconds and this would be over, and yet every second held the chance of being out bid. She couldnt bear that thought, and held her breath. untill finnaly....

"Sold to the human bidder for Ten thousand credits!"

~~~~~~

"Animals. Perfectly perserved trees and grass. The ability to sustain human life. All this is stored within me. But the keys of the Zelpha comes at a price. To replicate earth, a pilot of the Zelpha must sacrifice his life, a life for a world, and you, Zan, are the last pilot. Its a heavy burden. The path to the other nine keys is lost, and may take a life time. Are you willing to devote your life and soul to such a task?"

I breathed in slow, looking directly at the entity called Zelpha. I wasnt sure. I had never fought for anything, anyone. Anyone except Aria, the girl i had sent away on her own. But now, I also had Iris. A young, infected girl, who wasnt even fully human. She may have the human mind, but the Helio also rested in there with her, sharing her head, and from a phyical standpoint, her body as well.

I had something to fight for now, Iris, finding Aria, restoring earth. Was I ready to give up my life for these causes thouh, that was the question that kept me from answering. I didnt have to answer, for Zelpha already knew all my thoughts.

"Why does it matter if the child is a mix. Shes human where the power is. Her compassion. Her sympathy. She may think that the Helios holds all the power when its awake inside, but yet the Helios controlled Iris didnt kill you. You have seen her true heart, her love as a human, and the affection she craves. You have seen the last remaining innocence she has maintained, and yet you only see a monster. What is truly holding you back."

I paused and thought, knowing the answer. "The Helios murdered my father on the escape mission from earth. I was six when we evacuated. I watched them slaughter thousands, men, woman, children, it didnt matter to them. And now I have a half Helios hybrid to protect, and an earth to restore. After my father died, i stopped trying. I refused to pass my classes, I refused any Bioheart with a true lust for war. When they finally created the biohearts that could be implanted on any age human, I became a pilot. I became a pilot knowing I would only see action as the last resort. The war took my dad, and my Mom is now fighting the Helios with my stepdad. I refused to let it take my life as well."

I relaxed, making up my mind, I could no longer run away, there was no longer a way to run away fast or hard enough.

~~~~~~

"Whats your name sweetheart? " Aria asked the small child after they had walked a few miles from the trade outpost, Aria craddling the girl tightly in her arms. The girl didnt answer, she just shook, not saying a word or making a sound.

"Its ok little one, Im not going to hurt you, I want to help, i want to make you safe." Aria spoke again, and sat on a red rock, placing the childs feet on the ground.

The small girl looked at Aria, and held out her left arm as she had been taught. Engraved in heavy deep burns, were the words Lucy. Deaf. These burned words were given to her from the trade center. Aria let out a deep, saddened sigh, before hugging the child tightly. There was nothing her bioheart of healing could do for this girls ears. Not at its normal limit.

Aria knew the risk, but she felt in her every fiber that she had to try. "Bioheart construct, full overlay. Healng of the roses thorns, limit break." she spoke the full command, and felt herself chane her week human heart strained every once of energy to fulfill the biohearts power.

Her already long hair grew to below her hips and became a bright golden as she stood up. Her clothes twisted and formed a long, deep silver dress. She opened her eyes as they shifted to a silver red. Aria was gone, and in her place stood the Rose Healer. She could feel her heart pounding with strained breath, as she lifted her shaking hands, placing one on each of Lucys ears.

Arias skin rippled and pulsed as her life energy was drawn into the target points, eyes fluttering and breath shallow. A normal healer would have no issue with this level of Bioheart use, But Aria could barely control the low level transformations.

She focused her last remaining will into the single thought of healing this girl, before she breathed out and fell to the ground, mindless as the world went dark around her. Before her eyes gave out, she felt a small, warm body wrap around her waist.

~~~~~~

"Daddy Im hungry!!" from my connected state, i could here Iris cry for me. I let go of my thoughts and released my Bioheart, returning to my body.

"DDDAAADDDDYYY WAKE UP" she screamed as i opened my eyes. For the first time i took a good look at her. Her hair was long, with a mix of swirling yellows and blacks, complimenting her Dark red eyes. Her human skin was a tan brown, while her Helios appendages were moss green. Despite the Helios fused with her body, she was an adorable young girl.

I placed my hand on her head and gently petted her hair as I laughed, feeling comfortable after my talk with Zelpha. "Im sorry kiddo, theres no food here. This is the first time this ship has been used since landing on Sirion eleven years ago. We will buy a meal once we land on Brilla. We need to have energy to find Aria after all."

The child seemed to beam from my touch, and she happily looked up at me, her hands in tight fists as if her next words were the most important thing she had ever said.

"I WANT CHEESECAKE!"


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Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:22 pm
Panikos wrote a review...



Hiya, Zrillis! Just dropping in for a quick review. I've not read any of the previous chapters in this story, so apologies if I don't understand everything, but I'll try to make this review as useful as I can.

The first - and probably most minor - issue is that your actual punctuation and grammar isn't the best. There are so many missing apostrophes, lots of missing capital letters (remember that the pronoun 'I' should always be capitalised), and quite a lot of instances where you use commas rather than full stops. Make sure you give your chapters a thorough edit before you post them. Most of these errors weren't consistent, so I think they come down to a lack of editing rather than an actual misunderstanding of punctuation.

With regards to the plot, I did find it quite difficult to follow at times, but this is high-concept sci-fi and I have come in late, so I guess that's to be expected. I found Aria's scenes more interesting than Zan's, personally, though I would've liked a bit more description of the alien planet she's found herself on. The creature auction could've been more detailed - where did it take place? What did it sound like, smell like? There's a wealth of sensory detail that you could've tapped into.

It says a lot about Aria's character that she chose to bid for the girl, despite being alone on the planet with no idea how she was even going to keep herself safe. I look forward to seeing what happens next with those too. I kind of help Aria isn't able to cure the girl's deafness, at least not entirely, because I'd like to see more hard of hearing characters in fiction, being slightly hearing impaired myself.

The idea that Zan has to rebuild Earth is kind of interesting. The fact that he needs to activate nine AI-like (?) things in order to do it reminds me of the game Horizon Zero Dawn, if you've ever heard of that. I couldn't really grasp how Iris fits into it all, but Zan clearly feels responsible for her. I must admit, Iris's characterisation seems...strange. You mention that she's thirteen, but she's screaming and yelling for food like a toddler. I don't know if she's been severely mollycoddled or is just very young for her age, but I'd consider making her a little less babyish, because she's not a convincing young teen.

My last criticism just pertains to the delivery of Zan's backstory - it's a bit dense and info-dump-ish for my taste. You just tell us too much. I think you could get away with telling us that his father was killed by Helios, but you don't need to have him talk about how he lost motivation and refused to pass classes and such. Just try and keep it concise. It feels like you're taking the reader through his character profile, not like he's genuinely talking about his past.

Like DottieSnark, I'm not the biggest fan of the POV switches. Obviously, how you tell the story is completely your choice, but I found it really jarring to move between first and third person so frequently. The moment you adjust to one, it flips back to the other again.

Nonetheless, I think you have an interesting and unique concept here. I like that you didn't go overboard in explaining the technology, leaving us to work out some of it for ourselves. Aria and Zan seem like strong, contrasting characters. I'm intrigued as to how their stories are going to reunite again, and how the young girl is going to interact with Aria going forward. It's also interesting how you seem to have blended the sci-fi elements with some aspects of fantasy; the Biohearts give off an almost magical vibe to me. I often think that sci-fi and fantasy aren't combined enough.

Keep writing! :D
~Pan




Zrillis says...


I wont adress everything but i will Adress one point you made. Iris. In chapter 2 she was introduced. She acts the way she does because she is a half Helios hybrid. This is the first time the human her has ever been in control of her body so in terms of the actual Iris, the human mind iris, she is just a little kid. Nothing had been developed in terms of action or manners. All she has ever seen is the Helios mind being trained as a killer



Panikos says...


Ah, I see. I assume she's had contact with cheesecake before, then? XD It seems an odd thing for her to know about if she's basically just been born haha



Zrillis says...


I will get into that later on but she had come in contact with with it in one of her helios raids on a human inhabited planet. Each mind is aware of the other but only the one in control at that time actually grows. They share the moment but not the experience. This will make more since when I get to that part



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Sun Aug 25, 2019 1:55 am
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DottieSnark wrote a review...



Every time I read a new chapter the improvements from the last blows me away. The pacing again was amazing and I like the switched between the Aria scenes and the Iris/Main Character scenes (with the one exception being that POV switches, but I’ll get to those later). I can see how their two adventures are going to come back together soon. The scene switches felt very natural.

Your characters are really starting to come to live. Each character has their own unique style and distinct way of speaking that makes them feel real and separate from you, the author. I can also see all the world building you’ve used. It comes out very naturally. Many writers like to jam their narration with their world building, overusing exposition, but so far you’ve used just what is needed. I’ve already learned so much about the world, about its societies and technologies and challenges, without feeling like that information was shoved at me.

One thing that really stuck out to me is the POV type change. Why are you switching between 3rd person in the Aria scenes and then first person in the Iris/main character scenes. I’ve assumed the person in the scenes with Iris is your main character because of this POV choice and am referring to them as such because I remember a reference to their name. Anyway, this POV change just really throws me when I switch the scenes.

You also have some SPaG issues, but not to many. The biggest problem is a lack of apostrophes. For example, Im should be I’m, its should be it’s when it’s a contraction of it is (its is the possessive form, though).

Anyway, I really enjoy this story and the world you’re building. You’re doing a great job!




Zrillis says...


All i can say is if you want to check out SAOP novel (Sword art online progressive. ) the way the author writes is Kirito is in first and Asuna is third. I loved reading that and took my POV inspiration from that.
I probably wont write any other novels in this form but I felt personally it was the best route to take for The Last Pilot




A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.
— Roald Dahl