I edited it today. 9/12/2019
More editing. 9/21/2019
More editing 9/24/2019
More editing 11/25/2019
More editing 12/06/2022
More editing 01/14/2023
More editing 01/15/2023
More editing on the sane day
It was the year 4,023. Three rock collectors were busy collecting rocks. They arrived there in a spaceship in the shape of a snail.
A man with a dark, purple mane and blue skin was there. He had nose slits instead of a snout, but he resembled a horse. He had a purple vest with a blue T-shirt and blue undershirt, with crisscrossed black ropes wrapping him in. He also had hooves on his legs. Finally, he had a strange, rectangular device inside of his mouth which made him able to speak. He looked up from the pilot seat, which was bolted to the floor.
"Remind me again why we are harvesting rocks in the middle of the Asteroid Belt?" he asked.
"Because my wife wanted to see it, Yaron," another man said.
He had on the skin tight, really light, sky-blue spacesuit of the day complete with a helmet and a back-pack for rock-carrying.
"For the millionth time, that's 'Lark' to you! Most 'Riders', as you Humans call us, some of us 'Riders', BUT NOT ALL OF US 'Riders', call each other by their surnames," the other man said in annoyance.
"Well, I'm sorry that the communicators don't say your races' real name, but you can call me, Aaron, Lark!" the man said cheerfully.
"Nonsense! A 'Rider' only calls one by their given name if they are family or a good friend. Like a REALLY good friend! And I won't call you Aaron either, Captain Alair. In fact, I won't even call you 'Captain'!" Yaron said as he swivelled to the left.
Then a woman in a skin tight, pink spacesuit, who had been standing in the doorway, caught them. She threw her bag of rocks on the ground, effectively spilling it. She removed her helmet and long, flowing red hair that went well past her waste.
"I could hear you two arguing as soon as I came in. Through my helmet, even! And Lark, remember not to take your communicator off so we can understand each other," she said as she put her hands on her hips.
"Why must only I wear a communicator?" Yaron asked.
"Because there's only one of you and two of us. Now, don't complain!" Xena said.
"I wouldn't dream of it, Mrs. Alair," Yaron said full of sarcasm.
She stared him down, then leaned in to her husband and whispered into his ear.
"Why did you even hire him?" the woman asked Aaron.
"No one else wanted him, Xena-Honey. I thought I was doing him a favor," Aaron whispered back.
"Well, you certainly aren't doing me any favors!" Xena said loudly.
Yaron made a noise that sounded like a neighing snort.
"Just try to get along, okay?" Aaron asked his wife.
"That goes for you, too, 'K?" Aaron asked his employee.
"Fine," Yaron finally conceded.
But he didn't mean it.
"As much as I'm willing," he said under his breath.
"Well, at least nothing will happen to him on either our accounts," Xena whispered once more.
"Why do you say that?" asked Aaron.
"Because Riders don't die from anger management issues," Xena said.
Aaron smiled. Considering everything that could go wrong, everything was alright.
"Let's head back to the lab, Yar-"
Yaron glared at him.
"Uh, I mean, 'Lark'!"
Yaron turned to his right in the swivel chair and put his hands on the controls.
Xena looked out a window onto the asteroid.
"Just think. All those rocks, over millions of years, fell to EARTH and changed and formed it into lava. Comets came and gave it water. Plate tectonics made the land warmer, even after most of the lava cooled. Even trenches deep within the oceans became teaming with life! And out of all the animals ever made, Humans have survived and thrived! Now, we travel amongst the stars! And it all started with rocks."
"God set it all in motion, though, Honey!" Aaron said.
"The same thing happened on 'Trotter', too," Yaron reminded her.
"Oh. God did help Earth. And Trotter, too," Xena added.
The "Snail" Ship slowly rose into the sky, just enough to lift off.
"Remind me of something else, Alair. Why get the SNAIL MODEL?" Yaron said, irritated.
"So we can 'slither' on top of the rocks sticking too tightly to the others. It also slows down the descent to planets and others," Aaron answered.
Yaron rolled his eyes. "I need to get off this ship."
"Where do we go, now, Honey?" Xena asked Aaron.
"Anywhere you want, Xe-"
But Aaron was cut off by Yaron's coughing.
"To Saturn's moon, Enceladus, Xena-Honey. We need to return our recycled water. AND drop off the rocks."
"We're almost there," Yaron said, with a tone suggesting he was glad to get this part over with.
A robotic man's voice repeated a few words over an unseen loudspeaker. "This is Soo Claxton of the Department of Space, Time, and Water. Welcome to New Ottawa, capital of New Canada. You are currently in an air pocket."
"Well, that was annoying," Yaron commented. "We know we're here."
The crew arrived at the icy moon. Giant buildings could be seen on the surface. They had legs like fold-up chairs and a big upside-down bowl at the top.
"So, there's where all the water from Enceladus goes?" Yaron asked, curiously. "It escapes into outer space?"
"No, the water catchers take care of them. And what can't be salvaged, and taken to the stars, must be returned once recycled. Otherwise, we'll lose all the water," Xena said.
"Why not just live on my home planet? There's no need for water catchers, there," Yaron added.
"Yes, there is! Ever since we found the Riders 500 years ago, you've needed water regulated, too. Because you make just as much space travel as us Humans," Xena said.
"Yeah, but if someone who showers as much as you do goes on like that, they'll deplete all the water in the known universe!" Yaron said with much rudeness.
"Now, Yar-" But Aaron was cut-off again.
"LARK!" Yaron corrected.
"Lark. I'll have you know I won't let you be mean to my wife!" Aaron said, starting to get angry.
Then Xena tugged on his shirt.
"Honey, I tell you this a thousand times already. I like to fight for myself," Xena said, pleadingly.
"Fine. But don't get into too much trouble, okay?" Aaron also pleaded.
"I won't! Don't worry too much," she said, assuring him.
They arrived at a hole guarded by men in red suits and helmets. They waved them to the hole and the entire ship lurched forward at a rapid pace. Everyone was thrown backward.
"SEE?! THIS IS WHY WE NEEDED THE SNAIL MODEL!" Aaron yelled to Yaron.
Everyone lurched forward once the ship stopped.
"WHAT WAS THAT?!" Yaron asked in exasperation.
"No need to yell anymore," said Aaron. "We've stopped. What just happened is us landing as slowly as we could. A Snail Model allows for that."
"Well, you could've warned me!" said Yaron.
"I thought you knew. I guess not since you're straight out of the Academy of Stars, Planets and Moons. You're new at this," Aaron realized.
"I haven't been in an air pocket city in so long!" Xena said, her eyes and head turning in wonder. "I almost wish it was home."
There were gray medium-sized buildings with no windows and one white and shorter than the others.
No one had time to get out the ship when a woman in a white lab coat approached them. She had big, blonde pigtales in red rubber bands. She had thick-rimmed glasses and pretty white Mary Jane shoes.
"Heeeey, guys!" she greeted, as if she knew them well. And she did.
"Hey, Lucretia," Aaron greeted back. "We brought you some real good ones."
"I'm so glad you came! You always bring back the best specimens! We've been discovering all kinds of new elements, lately and we need as good as rocks as possible!"
"Well, one of us will get them for you! I'll-"
"I'll get it," interrupted Yaron.
"Oh? You're volunteering this time, Lark?"
"I just want to get off this planet and back to space. The less people to bother me, the better," Yaron spat.
"O-kay," Aaron spoke slowly.
"That guy seems mean," Lucretia said. "I know he just started, but he keeps calling me, 'Crumb'. It's Lucretia! LUCRETIA!" she said as she pouted.
"Nah, that's just a Rider thing. Well, SOME Riders' thing, anyway," Aaron said, explaining.
"Oh. I should apologize, then," Lucretia said.
"I don't think that guy would appreciate that. He doesn't feel appreciated, anyhow," Xena said in warning.
"Then I won't!" Lucretia said as she decided.
"Xena! Now, you're saying bad things about Yaron to other people? Because you know he's harmless!" Aaron chastised.
"You know he's not!" Xena retorted.
"Um. If I may cut in?" asked Lucretia in a small voice. "I have something to show you."
Both rock collectors stopped arguing to hear what she had to say. She appeared to be holding something in her hands.
"See this? It's my latest invention. Since you three-well, two, really-rock collectors, I'm giving it to you!"
"What is it?" asked Xena in wide-eyed fascination.
"It's a brain-wave tracker, and the only one of its kind! You can use it to track others with high brain-waves across vast distances!" Lucretia explained.
"Yes! I mean you can find new aliens!"
Yaron came back from the ship in that moment.
"Here's your rocks, Miss Crumb," he said to Lucretia as he placed down the rocks in the bag.
"You can put them over there, Lark," she said as she pointed near the lab.
"You-Never mind," Yaron said, stopping himself from complaining.
As soon as Yaron left again, Lucretia handed the brain-wave tracker to Aaron.
"The entire tracker is white. The purple button tracks the brainwaves," Lucretia explained.
Xena immediately piped up.
"Aaron, I wanna go see new aliens, now."
"But we need to replace our water," Aaron reminded.
"But we could go on an adventure! PLEASE?" Xena begged.
Aaron could not deny his wife even one little thing. Usually. He would've said no one more time, only the contraption went off.
It beeped and beeped until it went into a certain direction.
"Okay. We'll go. But only because there's a new water extraction center near where my father and mother live on Titan and the device says it's in the same direction. All the planets are aligned right now and it'll push us past Pluto. The catcher on Titan is supposed to hold water meant for other places, by the way. We'll stop by there, say, 'Hi' to my parents, leave our water at the extraction point then follow the device to the stars!"
"SERIOUSLY?!" the three heard a yell behind them.
"Oh, Lark you're back!" Aaron called.
"I thought we would be returning our water! As soon as possible! And I didn't expect to go to another planet," Yaron complained.
"Relax. We'll be off-world soon. I know you don't like to be in one place too long. And Titan is a moon, not a planet," Aaron told him.
"Let's just get this over with," Yaron winnied.
"Since you've never been there before, or even my parents' house, I'll type in the coordinates and we'll be on our way."
They arrived on Titan, but had a lot of trouble getting to the surface.
Only this time, it was even worse than before.
The ship shook and rattled all over the place.
Finally, they landed in a parking lot made just for spaceships.
"WHAT'S GOING ON?!" Yaron yelled. "The ship is busted!"
"Nah, that's just Titan's atmosphere. Snail Models don't do well with it," Aaron explained.
"Another robotic man's voice repeated a few words over an unseen loudspeaker. "Welcome to New D.C, capital of New America. This is Jeremy Eron. You are currently on the surface. Be careful traveling on land."
They all got out of the ship and onto the surface. They had trouble moving.
"My parents are across town. We'll have to swim there."
"Why must we swim? That doesn't make any sense! There's no water," Yaron asked while complaining. "Well, as far as I see."
"The place was terraformed years and years ago. That means that made it more livable. It still has an atmosphere so thick in some places, though, and three feet off the ground, so we have to swim through it. It's called, 'skyfing'."
So, the three "skyfed" to Aaron's parents' house.
"Keep your heads above the thickness of the atmosphere," Aaron said as he led the way.
Yaron did the doggie paddle, Aaron did the side stroke and Xena did the butterfly stroke.
All three of them were having fun, and especially Yaron, despite himself.
"Well that was refreshing!" Yaron said.
And he meant it.
"Why do they still allow parts that aren't terraformed anyhow?" he asked, a smile spreading halfway across his face.
"For fun!" Aaron said.
They arrived at a normal-looking blue house with two two-story windows and three one-story windows, one of them on the only door.
Aaron knocked on the door and a woman answered. She was in a purple dress with blue lavender flowers on it.
"MOM!" Aaron called.
"Sweetie!" the woman called back. "Come in, come in!"
Everyone walked in as Aaron's mom led them to the living room and sat on the couch.
"The air isn't thick anymore," Yaron commented.
"That's because the air conditioners are powerful enough to clear the air on the moon, at least on the inside," Xena explained.
Aaron's mother went into the other room.
A man walked in with a grey suit with oil stains on it.
"Hi, son! I see you brought your wife and a new friend over!"
"He's NOT my friend!" Yaron retorted. "He's just the captain of the ship. And the engineer."
"Oh, that's a shame," Aaron's father said. "He made a lot of friends in high school and I'm pretty sure he's still friends with the lot of them. I'm not an engineer by the way. I'm a mechanic."
Aaron's mother walked in. She had a pumpkin pie.
"Aaron, Sweetie, you forgot to tell them my job. And you failed to introduce us."
"Right. Everyone, this is my mom and dad. My mom's name is Carol and my dad's name is Freddy. Mom grows flowers for a living," Aaron explained.
"I can see by her dress," Yaron commented.
"Thank you!" Carol said with a smile.
"Your daughter-in-law is the opposite. She's a total moocher and does nothing on the ship," Yaron complained.
"That's not true! I'm Second in Command and Second Loadmaster! I carry in most of the specimens," Xena retorted.
"Yaron!" Aaron yelled. "Don't talk like that in front of my parents!"
"What? I really am NOT complaining. I only speak the truth," Yaron said bluntly.
"Let's go," Aaron said as he got up.
"May I speak with you, Aaron?" asked Carol as she sat down the pie.
"Me, too?" asked Freddy.
"I think I already know what you're going to say, but okay," Aaron conceded.
They walked into the kitchen.
"Sweetie, why are you letting that man say rude things about our family?" asked a concerned Carol.
"If I were you, I'd fire him," Freddy said.
"I know he acts mean, but he's not all bad," Aaron admitted. "I'll find a way to turn him around. Expect it."
"I know you don't like to see people in pain. You always wanted to help people, even when you were little, but just be careful, okay?" Carol asked.
"I will, Mom."
All at once, there was a knock on the door. Aaron and his parents walked into the living room.
"Open up! It's the DSTW!" an angry voice yelled.
"The Department of Space, Time, and Water?" Aaron asked.
"Yes! Open!" the voice replied.
Xena answered the door. Two men, both in black coats entered the room. One was a Rider with yellow skin and an orange mane. The Human had red hair and pale skin.
"Who are you?" Xena asked.
"I'm Soo Claxton," said the Rider man.
"And I'm Jeremy Eron," said the Human man.
"Oh, you're the guys on the loudspeaker that warns people to return their water!" Xena said in realization.
"Yup. And today, you guys are lucky enough to be our suspects for today," Jeremy spat.
"That doesn't sound too lucky," said Yaron.
"I was being sarcastic," Jeremy said.
"Well, the thing is-" but Aaron was cut off.
"We were going to return the water to the new water place here on Titan, but we used a Snail ship and it malfunctioned when we went on Enceladus. Before we went here," Yaron lied.
"You used a SNAIL ship on ENCELADUS? And TITAN? Are you crazy?" Jeremy retorted.
"Yup. Could you please take the water with you while we get our ship repaired?" Yaron asked.
"Sure. Do you still have emergency water?" Jeremy asked.
"Yup! So, we'll be ready to leave as soon as Captain Aaron's father fixes it. He's a mechanic." Yaron told him.
"Fine. If there are no problems, that will be all." Jeremy left before anyone could have said anything else.
"Sorry if we bothered you," Soo apologized. "Even if you did nothing wrong, my partner can be a real hothead."
"Oh, I think I know somebody who's even worse," said Aaron with a smile as he looked at Yaron.
Yaron rolled his eyes.
Soo left with a "Bye!"
"Let's leave in a few minutes. That way they can't see us leave," Yaron suggested.
"Shouldn't we watch them load our water somewhere else?" Aaron asked.
"I'll look out the window!" Xena said.
So, they waited.
"Now to the stars!" Xena called out as she pointed at the sky.
Aaron smiled. Yaron laughed.
"Nice to see you happy," Aaron told him.
"And thanks, I guess for coming up with a way that we wouldn't get into trouble. You know, the lying part?" Xena told him, too.
"No need to thank me," Yaron said. "Now comes the hard part."
"What do you mean?" asked Xena.
"The space gates. The ones that prevent us from time traveling? The ones that cause time travel depending on how you go? The DSTW won't like us going past them. And we need to go past them to get to this other planet by passing through the gates," Yaron explained.
"Hmm. But if we managed to find intelligent life, wouldn't we be regarded as heroes?" Aaron asked.
"Perhaps. But we NEED to find some, definitely," Yaron explained further.
"Well, I say we go!" Xena declared.
"You know I'd go anywhere with you, even to the stars, Honey!" Aaron agreed.
"Bleh. Love. I guess I'm going, too." Yaron said.
"You're the pilot! We can't do it without you, Y-" Aaron was cut off.
"Lark." Yaron reminded Aaron.
"Right. Lark. To the stars!" Aaron said.
"To the stars!" Xena said.
"Right. To the stars." Yaron said.
And, once again, they went to the stars.