Chapter 54:

Campout 1

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

“Do you want the good news or the bad news?” Odell asked as he walked up to the group.

After the Ali had started to sputter, they had stopped and exited to sit in one of the barren fields. The sleeping members woke, and all five of them sat and watched as Odell opened the Ali and began to examine its engine.

Odell fiddled with the components for several hours as some of the group became lost in meaningless banter. It wasn’t until the first sun was beginning to set that Odell finally returned to the group with his report.

“Just tell us, Fiona said with a sigh.”

“Well, I can fix it well enough to get us a little further, but I’m not sure if we will make it to Nun like this….” Odell reported.

“Isn’t this vehakul brand new? Why is it having trouble like this?” Rheba asked.

Odell rubbed the back of his head and looked off in the distance. Having looked at the engine for several hours, he concluded that Aqueenian science was not the best in the world. He held those comments back and said:

“Must just be bad luck.”

“The torment of travel, now compounded with the agony of halting. Shall we ever reach the land we desire?” Hal muttered with a snide tone. He got a couple of looks in his direction, but no one bothered replying. Hal rolled his yellow eyes and looked away.

“Perhaps, I can assist with the repairs?” Harlan quietly suggested.

Odell shook his head.

“This is more of a one-person job; you would just be standing there and watching,” he said. In reality, the extra help might have been helpful to him. However, he did not want anyone to see what he was going to do to the engine to get it to work, as he knew the final result would be embarrassing for someone who claimed to have a lot of mechanical know-how, such as himself.

“That may be for the best; I doubt the Zenotote would be much help with anything mechanical,” Rheba said as she stood up.

“I’ll have you know, my main area of research is in mechanical supplements to natural components,” Harlan replied with slight frustration in her calm voice, almost giving off a slight hiss. The frills on her head shuddered slightly, but it was too subtle for the others to notice.

“What is that?” Gwyn whispered to Fiona, but the Aqueenian princess could only shrug as she was equally confused.

“She makes mechanical prosthetics for arms and legs, and such,” Odell explained to the other two. “Well, I should probably get started. You can just hang out here… it might take through the night….”

“In that case, I shall collect firewood. Rheba said as she looked around the empty fields.

“Some of the houses should have wood; I’ll help you,” Fiona said as she stood up to join Rheba.

The duo set off to collect wood, and Odell found his way over to the Ali to begin working on it. He looked in all directions to make sure no one was watching, then reached in with a roll of flux tape to start his work.3eHe

Gwyn was left sitting next to Hal and Harlan. Neither seemed in the mood to strike up a conversation.

“Hey, partner!” Mem broke up the silence as it flew over to the group. The other Needaimus joined them, save for Cal, who joined its partner, Odell, and began to shoot a beam of light where the prince was working.

Hal and Harlan looked at the draconic-looking Needaimus in shock as their own walked to them and bonded with their limbs.

“Since we have some time, maybe we could get a demonstration of your abilities!” Mem happily said to the other two who sat with Gwyn.

Harlan shyly looked away, and Hal shook his head in refusal.

Gwyn shrugged.

“Why not,” he said as he held out his arm to Mem. The Needaimus jumped for a moment then slowly bonded with Gwyn’s arm.

I meant for them to show theirs, Mem explained in Gwyn’s mind. Gwyn ignored it and looked around for something easy to use with his ability. He figured if he had no intention to fight, he should know who else had the strongest power he could rely on.

Gwyn settled for a small stone that he picked up. He held it in his hand so that the other two could see. In an instant, the rock turned to a stony-colored liquid and began to drip out of Gwyn’s hand. He turned it solid in the next second and sat the now oddly-shaped stone back on the ground.

“That’s about it,” Gwyn said to the other two. Harlan sighed and reached a scaly hand down to her leg. Two long parts of the Needaimus broke off and formed what looked like a sci-fi gun in her clawed fingers.

She began to look around for some way to demonstrate her ability. Some small bugs were buzzing around, known as pleafs, but she did not like using bugs unless there was no other option.

A small tobi began to fly over the fields, and she aimed her blaster at it. A beam fired off and hit the creature. In a flash, the tobi was suddenly larger. Its wings had grown out, and it had obtained a longer neck. It flew down and landed on Harlan’s arm.

Gwyn jumped back as the newly transformed creature settled on Harlan’s arm.

“The effect lasts a couple of minutes, and the shape depends on a couple of factors I apply,” Harlan explained before letting the creature take back to the sky. She allowed the blaster to reconnect to her Needaimus on her leg and shyly looked away from the other two. “The beam also can be shot from the leg if needed.”

“Wow,” was all Gwyn managed to say as he was still shocked by seeing the creature transform.

After a moment, Gwyn’s brown and Harlan’s green eyes focused on Hal. The Netzian rubbed a hand through his emerald green hair for a moment as he thought. When he finally concluded, Hal groaned and reached out one hand. The hand seemed to disappear into a void, and he pulled out a sword. Then he put the blade back and pulled out an ax.

“Satisfied?” Hal muttered as he put the ax back to the invisible void.

Gwyn just nodded. He had more questions but could tell Hal was not planning to answer them.

The trio fell into silence. They sat a moment longer until Rheba and Fiona returned with bundles of wood.

“Shall we start a fire?” Rheba asked as she set the wood down.