Of Ray Guns and Space Pirates
Sam strapped himself into the pilot’s seat as the door slid into place. He had double-checked the ship’s engine and charted a path that would avoid any meteor showers. The supplies were on board and latched down; everything was ready. The Voxain III was ready for its maiden voyage. Certain everything was in order, Sam started the ship. He couldn’t help but give a smug little grin as the ship took off. After all, he had designed it.
His destination was the Virtupets Space Station. He had plans to become a mechanic there. A ship that size couldn’t go forever without something breaking down. Sam switched the controls to auto-pilot and put his feet up. He’d had a long day, and sleep was a tempting thought. He checked the warning alarm to make sure it was working. The alarm was loud enough to wake even the heaviest sleeper from their slumber. After he was sure the alarm would wake him, he slept.
He awoke to the alarm’s high-pitched wail. Warning lights flashed around him; someone was trying to board his ship.
Looking out the Voxain III’s front window, he could see another ship, one that looked ready to fall apart. He paled when he realized who the strangers were. Pirates. The very word filled him with dread. He had fought with space pirates before, but he had always had a crew to back him up. This time, he was alone. And they were already on his ship.
Still, he knew he wouldn’t let them just take it. He’d put up a fight, like he’d been taught since birth to do. Do they honestly think they can take MY ship? Fools.
He turned as the pirates came crashing into the control room. Sam stood up as tall as he could, doing his best to be intimidating. He must’ve had some success, as the pirates hesitated in their charge. He crossed his arms. “So you think you’re going to waltz right in here and take my ship, do you now? I suggest you rethink that strategy.”
The largest pirate, a shadow Techo in a space suit, walked up to Sam and gave him a cold, hard stare. “And exactly who do you think you are? The Space Faerie?” He sneered. “Crew, take the ship.”
Sam narrowed his eyes. “I won’t let you do that.” At this, the Techo nodded his head at two of his crew. They stepped forward, and each one grabbed one of Sam’s arms. The others started to spread out, searching the ship.
Sam’s mind raced for a way out. He cursed himself for not thinking to leave a few of his weapons in the front of the ship, instead of the cargo hold. All he had up here was a bag of herbs a merchant had wanted him to take to the station.
Herbs. Use the herbs. If they smell them, they will faint... Sam blinked, wondering where the voice had come from. He knew very little about herbs, and even less about their uses. But something deep inside him told him the voice was that of a friend, that he should listen. A minute later, Sam’s captors lay on the floor, unconscious. He ran to the cargo hold, where his weapons were. He found the rest of the pirates ransacking the supplies area. Eyeing the ray gun nervously, the pirates gathered up their wounded, and left. Sam trudged back to the control room...
...Just in time to see the pirates fire a cannon at the Voxain III.
The ray hit the ship’s engine. Sam knew there was nothing he could do, except try to land. If he could just make it to the planet ahead... Neopia...
After a long fight with the controls, the ship crash-landed. The alien Aisha stepped out, shading his eyes from the blazing sun. He was in the middle of a desert. Just my luck. Where do I go now? To his surprise, the voice sounded in his head again.
Follow the sun, it said. You will find help.
So that’s what he did. He walked for a day and a night, until he came across a small village on the edge of an oasis. After wandering around, he found some merchants who were heading for a larger town, called Neopia Central. Sam gladly accepted their offer to take him along.
They parted ways just outside of the town. Sam walked around in a daze, astounded by the sights and smells. He stopped at a small stand, a place called Hubert’s Hotdogs. He must have made an unusual selection, because they other customers gave him odd looks as he walked by.
As he continued on, he noticed there was a sudden tugging feeling at the back of his mind, trying to lead him somewhere... And that’s when he noticed thoughts that weren’t his own.
It’s getting late. Brave and Goody will wonder where I’ve been... I had better be quick at the chocolate factory.
Sam’s scalp prickled. What was this? Who was in his mind? There was only one way to find out.
He started for the chocolate factory.
The pulling got stronger as he drew closer. Instead of resisting it, he gave in to it, let it lead him. When he reached the factory, it began to diminish. He was close now. He started looking at the customers, trying to figure out who the voice was.
Then he saw her. The cloud Aisha came strolling up the road, humming to herself. She stopped when she reached the factory, frowning. She slowly turned to look at Sam. He felt an incredible joy as she came walking over to him.
“Excuse me, but do I know you?” she asked, looking confused.
“I was about to ask you the same question.”
“For some reason, you make me think of the name Ransams...”
Sam blinked. “How’d you know? My friends don’t even call me that. I’m always called Sam...” He trailed off as her words sparked a memory from long ago. One of playing, back when he was young, with another Aisha, his twin...
“Ishaff,” he whispered.
Ishaff’s eyes grew wide. “How do you-?”
“Ishaff, it’s been so long! We’re twins, but we were separated! Remember? The war on our home planet?”
Recognition crossed her face. “Sam! We thought you were dead!” She threw her arms around him. “I’ve got a new family now, though. Come on, you can meet them!”
Sam followed her to a neohome a little ways out of Neopia Central. The door was answered by a girl Ishaff called “Roeder”. Roeder smiled when Ishaff walked in, but her eyebrows rose in surprise when Sam walked in.
The strawberry Gelert and baby Shoyru sitting at the table regarded him with curious eyes. “Hello there. I’m Ransams, of the ship Voxain III. Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
The Gelert turned his gaze to Ishaff. “Who’s this?”
“Roeder, Brave, Goody, this is Sam. Before you found me, Sam was part of my family; my twin, to be exact.”
The trio contemplated this turn of events. Finally, Roeder spoke up. “Do you have a home, Sam? If not, you’re welcome to stay.”
The question caught Sam off guard. A new home? With a caring family? He had to admit, it was a lot more appealing than the Space Station. “Could I?”
Roeder smiled. “Of course!”
“Well, then... I guess I’ll have to take you up on that offer.”
Ishaff jumped with happiness. “Come on, I’ll show you to the guest room! You can stay there!”
And so the two were reunited. Sam settled right in with his new family. He found that his mechanic skills came in very useful for around-the-neohome chores. He managed to fix his ship, and found a discreet location to store it at. He had considered just scraping it, but there could be a time when they would need it again for something important.
He was right.