Hey, guys, what's up?
*Dodges tomatoes and bricks being thrown at her*
OKAY, OKAY, I GET IT! You guys are clearly miffed that I haven't been posting new chapters for over a year. And I don't blame you. However, I've had a lot of stuff to deal with over the past year, including but not limited to:
-Having my prewritten chapters deleted
-Getting my computer taken away
-Poor grades in school
-Severe writer's block
-Getting distracted with other story ideas (it happens)
-Transferring to a new school
So… yeah, it's been hectic. I would've posted an update, but I didn't want to put you guys through that. Personally, I HATE when authors post chapters just to say that they'll post a real chapter in a few weeks. You think they've finally gotten back to working on the story, but it's nothing but empty promises! We don't need excuses, WE NEED RESULTS!
Ergo, I decided to finish the next chapter before giving you guys a well-deserved explanation for being MIA. It's the least I can do after leaving you guys on a cliffhanger. Your patience has not been in vain!
Okay, Treasure Planet is Disney's, Dolphy's characters belong to her, and I own everything else!
Lights! Camera! ACTION!
Jim grunted as he was pushed onto his knees, two clawed hands holding him down by his shoulders. Out of the corner of his eye, has saw his friends being shown the same treatment. Rakitan was clearly nervous, while Dolphy just looked like she wanted to hurt someone. If nothing else, he had to admire the girl's courage. A cold chuckle drew his attention to Carren's blonde sidekick standing over him.
"Well, look what the cat dragged in." Lenaro looked up at Blazer, who was glaring at him for the comment. "Oh. No offense, dude." The panther growled, but seemed to let it go.
"What are you doing here, freak?" Stella snarled angrily at her human roommate.
Dolphy smirked. "Aw, what's wrong, dog breath? Aren't you happy to see me?"
The canid girl growled, but was held back from lashing out at the girl by Lenaro. "Relax, Stell. I got this." He turned back to the three eavesdroppers. "So, you guys are out and about a little late, aren't you?"
Jim glared. "We know what you're up to, and you're not getting away with it."
The group of amateur pirates laughed out loud around the three. "You seem pretty sure of that. Let's see… we've got this now," Lenaro held up the metal orb in his hand, "and you three are the only ones who know about it. Yeah, I think we are getting away with it."
"And what, you expect us to just not tell anyone?" Rakitan burst out incredulously.
Lenaro chuckled, a cold sound that sent chills down Jim's spine. He reached into one of the desk's drawers and pulled out a laser pistol. "I believe the saying is 'dead men tell no tales.'"
Jim's blood ran cold. He wasn't really going to kill them… was he?
"Now let's see… who should go first? The annoying blue roommate, perhaps?" He aimed the gun at Rakitan, who gulped audibly. "Or maybe the tomboy with the big mouth." Dolphy's glare narrowed as the firearm was directed at her, not showing any fear if she felt it.
"No! Leave them alone!" Jim burst out angrily. Lenaro turned to the brunette boy, then smirked and aimed the gun towards his head.
"On second thought, let's begin with the newbie who started it all, shall we?" The younger human stared down the barrel of the pistol, his expression defiant. Inside though, his mind was racing at miles a second. It was almost ironic, really. He'd survived a black hole, bloodthirsty pirates, almost falling into the molten center of a planet, and escaping from said planet as it exploded from the inside out... and now he was going to be killed by a kid with a gun. Definitely not what he'd been expecting.
"Lenaro, stop!" Dolphy stared at the gun in panic. She wasn't going to lose her best friend. "Look, we won't tell anyone, just don't hurt him!"
The blonde rolled his eyes. "Will someone please shut her up?" The student holding Dolphy's are wrapped a tentacle around her mouth, effectively muffling her protests. "Now where were we? Ah, yes…" Jim shut his eyes as cold metal was pressed against his head, trying to stay calm. "Nice knowing you, Hawkins." The room stilled as the three prisoners waited for the sound of gunfire.
Instead, everyone was startled by the screech of an alarm and flashing red lights.
"What the-? Who hit the fire alarm?" Lenaro shouted over the deafening shriek as both the pistol and the orb fell from his hands. Blazer and the other 'pirates' clamped their hands over their ears as the piercing sound continued, forgetting their captives for a moment. Taking advantage of the lucky break, Jim nodded to his friends and the three bolted while they had the chance. After a moment, the other students followed suit, not wanting to get caught. The two boys had already reached the door when they heard Dolphy yell out.
"Not so fast, freak." The human girl glared at Lenaro as he grabbed her arm, pulling her back with a smirk.
"Boy, are you messing with the wrong girl!" Without warning, Dolphy jammed her elbow into the upperclassman's stomach, causing him to let go as the wind was knock out of him. The blonde regained his breath quickly and looked up just in time to see the girl's fist just before it hit him. Dolphy pulled her arm back and grinned smugly at older boy, now unconscious on the floor, before turning to meet her dumbfounded companions. "Three older brothers, remember?" Jim could only stare in awe as the girl raced out the door.
"Thank goodness she's on our side," Rakitan murmured to him as they followed her out.
Jim smirked. "You have no idea."
By this point, the halls were packed with students trying to evacuate the building, and Lenaro's cronies had made a hasty retreat in the confusion. For some reason, Jim was less than surprised to see Morph fly up to him with a wide grin on his face before slipping into his pocket. The little blob really did come through for him when push came to shove. The trio were practically in the clear when Jim suddenly remembered…
"The map!" Jim turned back to the room, then glanced at his friends. "I have to get it before they go back for it!"
"Are you nuts? We barely managed to get out of there alive!" The Kimanakin's words went unheeded as the human boy raced back to the headmaster's office, shoving past panicking teens and slipping into the room unnoticed. Lenaro was gone from to floor, most likely carried off by one of his comrades. Jim ignored this detail and scanned the room for the sphere. He heaved a sigh of relief as he caught sight of the artifact, and immediately he grabbed it off the floor and tucked securely into his pocket before turning to exit.
Jim stifled a yell as he was grabbed by the collar of his shirt and thrown into the wall hard enough to push the breath out of his lungs. Before he could catch it again, a clawed hand wrapped itself around his throat, cutting off his airways. Blazer glared at the human dangerously as he struggled against the panther's grip. "Hand over the map, kid, and maybe I won't kill you." A tightening of the hand around his neck ensured Jim that the panther-like upperclassman meant business.
Matching his glare, steel blue meeting flashing green, he slowly reached into his pocket and pulled out the map. Holding it up the metal ball for a moment, he dropped it to the ground, where it landed with a clank. A second later the panther released his grip, and Jim fell to his knees gasping as cool, sweet air raced into his lungs. He looked up, only to see Blazer extended a set of wicked looking claws. "I said maybe I wouldn't kill you." He grinned toothily. "I never promised anything."
"Blazer!" The felid turned his gaze to the door, where Meena stood waiting. "Leave the freak. We've gotta out of here." He glared down at the human in front of him, who was struggling to stand as his heart rate returned to normal. Growling, he sheathed his claws and opted instead to backhand the younger over the head. Jim fell back to the ground with a grunt, only managing to see the alien grab the map before he sunk into oblivion.
"...Jim… Wake up…! Jim!"
The young man in question groaned as he pried his eyes open slowly, meeting Dolphy's worried face. Sighing in relief, she helped him sit up slowly. He could now see that he was lying on a cot in the infirmary, and his head was pounding like a drum. "Nice to see you're still alive." Jim managed a smile for the girl sitting beside his bed. "What happened to you?"
Jim scowled. "Blazer happened. He attacked me in Leander's office to get the map." He sighed, rubbing his head where he'd been struck. "How long was I out?"
"At least an hour. Leander and the other teachers are out searching for the guys who attacked us. It looks like they got away, though." Her expression fell even further. "And now they have the map to the Calypso."
To her surprise, Jim actually smirked. His expression turned into a full grin at Dolphy's reaction to the item he pulled out of his pocket. "I wouldn't say that."
"So, if this is the real map, what'd you give Blazer?"
The two humans had rejoined Rakitan and were now standing in Leander's office, the order of which gave no sign of the chaos earlier. The headmaster himself sat at the wooden desk, amber eyes fixed on the three students in front of him. Indeed, he wanted to know the answer to this question just as much as the Kimanakin asking it.
"A decoy," Jim answered simply, clearly not intending to explain any further. "I managed to switch it out for the real one during the fight."
Leander nodded, though his expression remained unreadable. "Very resourceful, Mr. Hawkins." He then returned his gaze to the metallic sphere resting on his desk. "It would appear your discovery is not as well kept a secret as we would've hoped it to be. And the students you caught trying to steal it were obviously willing to go to great lengths to retrieve it."
'That's an understatement,' the teen thought as he recalled the feeling of the gun pressed to his head. They were willing to kill for it. They must've known what it was and what it led to.
"That map is the key to finding the Calypso." Jim snapped out of his musings when the Dolphy spoke up. "When those guys find out about the decoy, they're going to come back for it."
Jim had a suspicion that he knew where this was going.
"We need to follow the map and find the treasure before they figure it out."
And his suspicions were correct.
The headmaster responded with a growling sound that somewhere between a scoff and a snarl. "We shall do no such thing. This academy is for the pursuit of knowledge and truth, not to chase after fairytales and legends. We've no patients for entertaining such foolish notions." With that, Leander turned his gaze from them and to the papers on his desk, a less-than-courteous way of dismissing the three. Dolphy, clearly irate, looked about to say something, but Jim beat her to it.
"With all due respect, sir, Captain Amelia did." The felid's ears flicked forward at the name. The camaraderie between the headmaster and the captain of the Legacy was one of the main reasons Jim had been permitted to join the Academy. Leander glanced up at the teen, a silent indication for him to make his point. "She was willing to search for Treasure Planet, even though everyone claimed it was just a myth. Just like the Calypso is said to be." Jim knew his former captain had recounted the story of their voyage to headmaster. And Captain Amelia didn't lie.
Leander exhaled heavily, rising from his chair and eyeing the human youth with such intensity it could pierce the bravest of souls. "Even if it were real, how do you even know this so-called map even works?"
Accepting the unspoken challenging, Jim snatched the map off of the table, entered the combination, and released the holographic map from its container. Though his expression remained stoic, the surprise and awe in the headmaster's eyes was clear. "Any other questions?"
The felid's expression was blank for a moment. Then it shifted into what could best be described as a smirk. "We're going to need a crew."
Jim grin, inwardly heaving a sigh of relief while Dolphy looked about to explode with excitement. The last of the group, though, didn't seem quite so thrilled. "Uh, that might be a problem," Rakitan spoke up, a little nervously. "We can't exactly tell a bunch of potential pirates that we're looking for a lost treasure. I mean, look what happened on the Treasure Planet voyage."
Despite the comment's 'killjoy-ish' attitude, he definitely had a point. They needed to keep this as much of a secret as possible. A second mutiny may not end nearly as well as the first had. There was a moment of contemplative silence, in which Jim worried Leander might change his mind, before the human girl's expression brightened, a metaphorical light bulb practically visible over her head. "I think I know how to deal with that."
The next day, students of all grades and species flocked to any one of several notices posted throughout the school.
The Headmaster has requested volunteers for a simulation voyage, in which students' knowledge of spacing will be tested in the field.
This opportunity is offered only to upperclassmen. Only 30 students will be chosen, based on their grades and recommendations by their professors.
If you are interested, please sign up at the headmaster's office by next Friday.
-From the Desk of Captain Charles Leander
Headmaster of the Interstellar Academy
YAAAAAAAAY! I finally posted another chapter! And I solemnly swear to post the next on in less than a year and a half!
… Yeah, I know the crew excuse is pretty week, but it's vital to the story that the crew consist of students. And I couldn't think of a better excuse.
Okay, I know what most of you guys are thinking, and you're right. I suppose I did make Jim a little too… what's a good word… tame? I mean, he's not a delinquent anymore, but that doesn't mean he's a perfect angel now, right? You'll probably see a little more of his classic rebelliousness in future chapters, I promise!
I'd like to give a great big shout out to everyone out there who's still reading this story, even after the impossibly long hiatus. Guys, you are the best fans a writer could possibly ask for, and I salute you all. In fact, from now on everyone who favorites, reviews, or sets an alert for this story will be recognized in the Author's Note in the next chapter! I'll even reply to your review comments. How's that sound!
Well, better get started on the next chapter. I don't want to be victim to an angry mob...