Chapter 0:


The Unified States of Mana

Before me and racing ever nearer is an endless sea of green leaves and colourful flowers, a veritable ocean of alien life. While it might look soft at a glance, hidden beneath the canopy is surely hard earth that’s more than ready to greet me should I not be skewered by a branch on the way through.Bookmark here

I gave up on screaming a few seconds into the jump, if anyone can hear me, I doubt they’ll be able to leap up and save me.Bookmark here

“Do a flip!” Bookmark here

Scratch that, there’s one person who could save me. I flip them off as I hear their laughter ringing out behind me.Bookmark here

I spread my body out to try and slow my fall, imagining how skydivers do it. Though, I feel less graceful than a duck that’s caught a fistful of buckshot as I fall through the thick, stinging air.Bookmark here

Whether or not the air is somehow slowing me down more than it would on Earth, I can’t really know for sure. In the end a freefall is a freefall, and unless the ground is made of marshmallow this next part is going to hurt.Bookmark here

I pull off my glasses and hold them tight. If I live through this, I don’t want to end up blindly walking into the jaws of some alien T-rex.Bookmark here

“Fucking fuck!”Bookmark here

I close my eyes and clench my teeth hoping for a miracle, but there’s nothing that’s going to stop me until I hit the dirt. A thousand leaves slap against me, a hundred branches whip me, snapping as I pass, and then come the limbs that don’t break.Bookmark here

It hits my guts like a baseball bat at full swing, I black out only to be brought back when the next one hits my side. It’s all I can do to hold my arms up over my head, but that doesn’t save me from the blunt force of a branch thwacking my arms and head both.Bookmark here

The final impact smashes my everything, as I take a body blow from a planet. Screw first steps or leaps, I’m the first bloody human to belly flop on this new land.Bookmark here

“Shit.” I roll over onto my back, a sharp aching reminding me that this trip did not come for free. At least my glasses are still whole, though the frames are a little bent. I put them on, and the world regains its focus.Bookmark here

“I’m still alive.” I mutter staring up into the pink alien sky that shines through the hole I made in the canopy above.Bookmark here

The world trembles underneath me, the roar of splitting wood and crushing weight smashing into the earth resounds through the forest. Splinters, long as I am tall, fly right past me with enough force to embed themselves in the trees.Bookmark here

That would be the ship.Bookmark here

The forest becomes quiet in the wake of the crash.Bookmark here

I push myself up from the ground and brush myself off. Everything hurts, and my skin stings all over, but miraculously I’ve avoided breaking anything.Bookmark here

I stumble to my feet and push through the forest towards where the ship must’ve fallen. Whenever I touch something, a branch, a falling leave, the fucking dirt, it inspires an itching that is thankfully quick to fade when I stop touching any of it.Bookmark here

I can’t keep the air from my lungs though, so that’s a thing.Bookmark here

Whatever fucked up god designed this fibreglass hell deserves to be turned into a comedic caricature, and demeaned for all of time.Bookmark here

Struggling with an overhanging branch, I finally push through to reach the crash site.Bookmark here

Fallen trees surround the hull of a wooden ship which is, quite surprisingly, mostly still whole. There’s no trail to the crash, the thing literally just dropped out of the sky and landed more like a pancake than aircraft.Bookmark here

Aliens of all strange sorts crawl all over the vessel, shouting, screaming, and panicking. The crystal tree that had once stood in place of a mast has shattered, sending branches of magical crystal all over the crash site.Bookmark here

“You’re not forgetting about me, are you?” The red skinned demon says as she slowly floats down after the vessel, throwing knives at the aliens still recovering from the impact.Bookmark here

“Kyra you made it! I told you jumping would work!” She laughs as she pulls the guts out of some sort of sentient insectoid alien, “I’ll finish this and join you in a bit!”Bookmark here

“I really wish you wouldn’t.” She just laughs at my reply.Bookmark here

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