WM2K Submission – Hunt for the Cell-U-Light by B. L. Koller

“Send them in.” The Queen  dipped her hands into the water bowl, and began to dry hr hands on a towel. 

 “Yes, milady.” Her handmaiden, Vidora nodded before turning towards the wall, and pressing down a button.

“Milady will see you now.” There was a churning noise as the doors unlocked, shortly followed by a series of beeps as the machines scanned the two men for weapons. A green light flashed in the corner indicating that they were, in fact free of weapons. They were dressed head to toe in a mixture of leather, and tech. The taller of the two, Elias’s metal leg hummed as he knelt. Head bowed slightly.

“You called for us, Queen Lavato?”

“I require your hunting skills once again, Ser Elias. As well as yours, Lord Wedge.” The two men watched as the queen stood. Her elaborate blue gown glittering and blinking. every thirty seconds, it blinked a different consetillaton.

Wedge was an older gentleman, but his age was not limited to his tracking skills. Or abilities to pilot a ship.

They rose, and watched her disend the steps. Each click of her heels making them waste precious time on whatever assignment was to befall them.

“The Cell-u-Light has shed it’s skin. I would like it brought to me.”

The two men exchanged a look, but nodded. The request wouldn’t be easy. Even when the Dragon’s shed their skins every 100 years, their ability to camouflage made them nearly impossible to find.

“As you wish, milady. Elias,” Wedge said, turning his attention back to his co-pilot “ready the ship.”

Elias nodded, and waited to be dismissed by Queen Lavato before exiting the Throne room, casting a subtle glance towards Vidora as the doors closed behind him.

The ship was large enough to house two people.  You learned to tune out the constant beeping from the oxygen tanks. The seats were replaced a year or two ago. He’d tried to smuggle a Tanopie onto the ship. A little furry creature with four legs, and three eyes, best known for its loyalty and affinity for burrowing. Living quarters were tight knit, but it was something he’d adapted to five years ago when he replaced Wedge’s former co-pilot, Sparks who’d gone rogue. Rumor had it, he was living in exile on  Eveccaro. Wasteland of a planet made up of nothing but sand, water, and sea creatures large enough to swallow even the largest ships whole.

A puff of air sounded as the doors slid open, indicating Wedge’s arrival. Elias turned in the cockpits seat, and began plugging away at the computer screen.

“The last reported whereabouts of the Cell-U-Light is it’s hiding in the outer rims of Lepiri.” Wedge groaned. “Of course it is. It likes to hide in the galaxies that form there. Makes it easier to camoflaguge.” He plopped into the captain’s chair, and began looking over the holo-map that floated above them. “I’d rather go to Earth to discover Anne Bolyn’s unmarked grave. It’d be much easier, Elias.”

“Sorry sir.”

Wedge waved his hand and began a search of is own.

“At least Lepiri isn’t a shit hole.” Elias smirked. Wedge let out a snort of a laugh. “That’s cause it’s not a prison planet, Elias. It’s a far flight, but at least the Neawei are a peaceful population. Even if they are a bit unorthodox.”

The Neawei are a species who live mostly off the land. Farmers and the like with blue and green tinged skin. It’s said they were at one time purely aquatic, but when the water began to reduce on the planet, they were forced to evolve. Now they rule both land and water. They limit tech as much as possible. You might say they were similar to Earths long forgotten Amish. Word has it they are what remains of Atlantis.

It’s a day and a half flight from where they started. Deminerren, a galaxy known for its Queen, and advancement of the tech industry, but when we land, an ambassador is there to greet us. An old space suit filled with water allows them to breathe on land. Primitive, yes, but it works well. I’ll give them that. And even though they don’t rely on it, they still use some tech. Like video communication.

“Her majesty has informed us of he situation.” The Neawei bows. He’s tall and green. As he speaks, little bubbles float. Thanks to hearing plugs we’re able to make out what’s being said. “I’m afraid we’ve yet to see the creature you seek.”

“If the beast is here,” Wedge began, “we’ll find her.”

The captain and his co-pilot followed the ambassador ted through the halls. There buildings finely furnished to resemble old Earth aquariums. Glass maked up the walls. Fish swim in schools.

“It would make sense she’d come here, Captain.” Elias watched a shark swim over head.

“Yes it does. She’s aquatic.”

“We can offer you a submarine if you wish to search the outer rims?” The ambassador gestured toward a row of rounded IKEA seats. They went out of fashion sometime in the year 2087. The stores had been gone for nearly a decade, but the meatballs are said to be legendary. Or cause food poisoning. One of those. Whichever it was, Elias couldn’t recall.

“That would be helpful.” Wedge sat down. The gears whirled as he picked up his leg, and half crossed it over the opposite thigh. “We’d like to get the skin to the Queen as soon as possible, Ambassador Korenian.”

“Of course Captain Wedge. We’ll have it prepared for you within the hour.”

The  promise had been upheld. The submarine glided through the water, struggling at times with age, and the ever increasing pressure. It’s primitive tracking system beeped and they could scarcely make out anything two feet head, but it was better than nothing.

“It’s times like this where you learn to appreciate what you have, Elias.”  Elias Nodded.

“It looks like something is coming this way. Would you like me to go on ahead?”

“See if we can get enough lighting on it first. For all we know it could be another sh-” The sub lurched forward jarring the both of them in their seats. Elias dashed to a nearby window.

“We’ve hit another ship, Captain.”

“Are we taking on water?”

He looked around. Nothing appeared to be leaking.

“No. Elias shook his head, and squinted out the window before his eyes went wide.

“But it’s coming right at us again!”

Wedge didn’t hesitate. The ship launched forward, taking Elias with it.

“Sorry! You okay?”

“Don’t worry about me.” 

There was an odd rippling effect.Elias pressed his face to the water.

“What do you see, Kid?”

“Don’t know, Captain. Could just be a trick of the  light.” But then the water stilled. Up from the sand came a creature. At first, he mistook it for an eel. But as the colors shifted Elias knew what they had found.

Their prize.

“We’re after it’s skin.” Elias muttered as he watched the dragon circle the ship. “Should we capture the cell-u-light anyway?”

The captain shook his head.

“I’m getting tired of being the Queens lacky. Starting to understand why the old Co-pilot left.  We’ve seen the rarest creature in the world. In its natural habitat. What do you say Elias?”

“I can cope with simple life.”

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