Their Will

Zale struggled against the current, which had shifted out of nowhere. The signs he had looked for within the water had not warned him of this surprising change until it was too late. It had been years since the waters had surprised him in such a way. His boat stayed upright in the tumultuous waves, but barely. Only through the expert craft of its creation and every single drop of knowledge he had learned in managing it did they so survive the ocean.

Yet Zale knew better. No matter how much talent, skill, or luck anyone could have, sometimes it was never enough to combat the wrath of the Sea Gods. And this time it felt as though multiple had been angered, a comparison he never would have made before.

There was no moment when Zale consciously realized they were going down. The gradual knowledge that his situation was unavoidable gave him time to mentally give his boat the farewell it deserved as he continued the struggle.

By the whims of the Gods, Zale and his boat disappeared into the sea’s foam.

We didn’t have a choice

I cursed my ill-gotten luck, managing to roll out of the wreck that was once our ship. Dark blood spilled from the scrape which measured from my left shoulder down to my right hip bone. My once pristine uniform was in tatters. It had been so long since it had looked new, all of my repairs had gone to nothing by now. The ship (given to us by some kind aliens, given from the bottom of their threatened hearts) had barely survived the trip back. Only the fortunate coincidence of a planet’s gravity dragging them in gave me a chance to fix it.

“Come on,” I muttered. I pulled you out of the cockpit, despite the pain that accompanied every movement. I pulled your unconscious form out and fell onto the grass to catch my breath.

The sky was familiar. I’d been here once before, in a time before time. Reaching to my left arm, I brought up my holographic projector. Images scrolled in front of my eyes, my notes, my disguises, my languages. My computer stopped on one that looked familiar twice over.

We were on Earth.

I hadn’t thought we’d return here again. Not after the second time.

I hadn’t made the decision to close my eyes. My eyelids fluttered shut at some point and when I opened them again, a dark shape hovered between me and the moon.

“We need to hide the ship,” came your raspy voice.

I ignored you and sat up. I must have slept some, for I felt better. “Do you know where we are now?”


The fact you sounded unsure surprised me. I turned to face you. “Yes. This is Earth. Your domain, not mine.”

“Shut up.”

I watched you stand up and wander back over to the wreckage. You studied it intently, as if your gaze might revoke some of the damages. I stood up.

“How long will it take to fix this? Repairs on-”

“We don’t have the equipment,” I reminded you.

The hesitance in your voice was so strange to hear. “I… know someone who might.”

The guilt assaulted me quickly, a new emotion I was still not used to. A new emotion evoked by comments I never would have thought of on my own. You were at fault for this. You and…

“No. I will not ask him for help.”

We didn’t have a choice.