As the technology of the Human race became increasingly advanced, Humans began to explore the vast, unknown regions of the galaxy which had since been a great mystery. They discovered strange planets and organisms which were incomparable to even the most spectacular marvels of Earth. But this did not satisfy their curiosity; instead, it made them yearn for more. They began to find newer and more improved methods of space travel. They ventured outside of their galaxy and it was there that they discovered something unlike anything they had ever encountered before. It would change the world as they knew it forever.
To Humans they were known as the "Andromedans," after the Andromeda galaxy where they lived. Their planet was far from the warmth and light of their sun; therefore, they lived in eternal darkness and perpetual winter. In some aspects, they were very similar to Humans, but the differences were all too apparent. Their eyes were yellow, like the untamed eyes of wolves. Their vision was best in the dark since their glowing amber eyes cut through the blackness like a sharp blade cuts through flesh. All of their senses were hightened and their reflexes were quick. Their hair was jet black and clashed with their ashen skin, making them look like living corpses. Their strength was supernatural; one Andromedan had the power of at least ten men. Not only was their stamina remarkable, but they had the ability to heal themselves rapidly. They were eerie, ghostly creatures of the night. It was more than their appearance which struck fear into the hearts of Humans, but their souls, cold and dark as the planet on which they lived.
The first encounter with the Andromedans took place in the year 2234 when a new space shuttle from Earth was launched to explore the Andromeda galaxy. To their amazement, they came across an inhabited planet and decided to make contact with its populace. Thinking them a peaceful and friendly race, the Humans led them back to Earth in hopes that the two planets would form an alliance. This was not what the Andromedans had in mind. Upon their arrival to earth, they launched a massive attack and took over the planet. Millions were killed and others were sent back to the Andromedans planet to be used as slaves. The rest fled to the nearby spaceports hoping to find shelter from the Andromedans' wrath, but there was no place to hide. They took over the spaceports as well. This was the end of Earth and the beginning of the Andromedan rule. Anyone who dared to disobey was killed without mercy.
A young woman entered the spaceport on the border of Andromedan and Human space. It was crowded in the port that day. People bustled around everywhere, running around in haste to get to their intended destinations. The voices that filled the swarming foyer buzzed inside the head of the visitor as she fought to make her way past the herd to the front desk. She sighed with exhasperation when she saw the huge line up in front of her. Her head pounding steadily with the sounds of children screaming, parents yelling and people holding a variety of different conversations with one another. She could hardly wait to make her way to the front of the line so that she could get out of the blustering place. She smiled as she reached the beginning of the row. A tall man, clad in a standard spaceport uniform greeted her.
"Hello and welcome to Borderport, may I be of some assistance," he said mechanically.
"Yes," She started, but the beeping of a nearby telecom interrupted her.
"Just let me get that and I'll be right with you," said the clerk in an overly sweet sounding voice.
He pushed a button on the telecom and a face appeared on the screen. The woman rolled her eyes impatiently as he chatted to the person on the other side of the screen.
"Sorry about that," he apologized when he finally got off. "Now, what were you saying?"
"I'd like to get a room."
He looked up at her suddenly, his polite smile disappeared and was replace with a look of confusion and uneasiness. He stared at the girl across the dek from him. She had dark brown hair that gently curled and fell just past her shoulders. Her skin was fair and her cheeks flushed with exhaustion. Everything about her looked human, everything that is, except her eyes. They were golden. He cleared his throat. "You're name please?"
"Vida," she replied, ignoring his initial reaction to her appearance.
His eyebrows were low upon his brow as he eyes her carefully. "Vida..." He paused, obviously waiting for the stranger to give him her last name.
"Just Vida," she replied quickly.
"Very well, and uh, how long are you planning to stay? Just overnight or something more long term? We have a special deal right now if you would like to rent."
Vida opened her mouth to speak, but quickly closed it again and paused to think. She had only planned to stay overnight and then be on her way, but she had been travelling so long. It would be nice to take a little break and stay in one place for a few months. She returned her gaze to the desk clerk. "How much to rent?"
"500 merits a month, ma'am."
"Alright," she said and handed him her merit card.
He smiled graciously and ran a laser across the base of the card and returned it to her hand. "Thank you and enjoy your stay at Borderport. Here's your room pass," he said, handing her a small device.
Vida picked up what little baggage she had and went to look for her suite. She didn't have many possessions, just the essentials. It was easier to carry that way. She looked down at her room pass. Room 42. She walked through a series of hallways and finally found the room number that matched the one on her room pass. She placed the pass into the slot beside the door. The door quickly slid open and she walked in.
She entered into a suite furnished with a small, but comfortable looking couch with a glass coffee table in front of it. A vase of brilliantly coloured flowers adorned the simple table and brightened up the room. Vida laid down her luggage. She bent over and gently pressed her nose up against the flowers and was rewarded with a luscious aroma that filled her nostrils and reinvigorated her tired body.
"They're real," she said to herself. Probably from the port's greenhouse.
She made her way over to the window and looked out at the dazzling constellations of stars that lit up the skies with their magnificant beauty. In the distance she could see a nebula, painted with reddish hues that seeped into the expanse of space like blood. Even after all her years of space travel, she had never grown weary of looking at the stars.\par \tab Vida turned away from the window and walked down a narrow hallway that led to the bedroom. The bed was fairly large and a cozy navy comforter was spread evenly across it. She jumped onto it and lay for a moment, enjoying the soft fabric that cradled her in its warmth. Her long days of travelling had drained her. Her limbs felt like lead. The lids of her eyes grew heavy and she could no longer fight the weariness that swept through her entire body. She nodded off into a light sleep.
The grumbling of her stomach was what finally awoke Vida from her much needed repose. She yawned and stretched her arms and legs the length of the bed. She stared up at the ceiling, letting her mind wonder when a sudden complaint from her belly brought her back to reality once more. Hunger welling up deep in the pit of her stomach, Vida decided it would be best to find some food. She stepped out of her suite and locked the door behing her with her room pass.
The young woman walked around the spaceport until she finally came upon a restaurant. Vida scanned the room for a place to sit, tha tables were occupied with famished customers, impatiently awaiting their food. Finally spotting a man rising from his seat at the bar, Vida desperately rushed over to grab it. She smiled as she sat down, thoroughly pleased with herself for finding a spot.
"What'll you have?" A man's voice boomed over the loud babblings of the crowd. Vida looked up, startled by the voice.
"What do you got?" She replied cunningly.
The bartender grinned at her. He was a large man and close to seven feet tall, towering over her sitting form. He had a thick beard and laughing brown eyes. Wrinkles crept along his dark skin, giving him a look of wisdom and maturity.
"Anything you want," he laughed boisterously.
"Then I'll have a Blue Venus."
"Aah, a lady with taste," he chuckled, "one Blue Venus coming right up."
While she waited for him to return, the golden eyed woman glanced around the restaurant. There were so many people, so much noise painfully drilling into her ears. She didn't like being around crowds, she happier being alone with her own thoughts.
"Here you are," the bartender said, placing a tall glass of blue liquid in front of her, "anything else?"
"No," she replied, looking up at him, "thank you."
"Okay then," he said as he turned to go, but than stopped short when he saw the cat-like eyes staring up at him. Instead of staring in confusion, which was the response of most people, he simply gave her a friendly smile. "I haven't seen you around here before. What's your name?" he asked.
"Well Vida, pleased to meet you. I'm Gandalf," he held out his colossal hand and shaked her slender one with a firm, but surprisingly gentle grip. "Oh and don't bother paying for the drink. It's on the house." He went to go serve the other restless customers and left her to sip her bluish drink which seemed almost luminescent in the poorly lit bar.
"As she sat there, the voices seemed to grow louder and more irritating. One voice caught her attention. It was that of a young woman talking with a couple of men at a table nearby. Her ears listenend carefully to what was being said.
"Everything was fine until they came along," the voice was saying. "Now look at us. We're all living in fear, always having to watch our backs. They can kill any of us for no reason at all and get away with it. None of us can do anything about it, but if you lay a finger on them, you're dead before you can blink."
It was clear who she was talking about. The Andromedans. It was on everyone's minds, but usually no one took the risk of saying so.
"Jade, keep your voice down," a man with reddish brown hair at the table advised her when he noticed the mysterious woman at the bar eyeing them carefully.
Jade looked to see that he was looking at a young woman sitting at the bar. She surveyed her closely. The girl was wearing a brown leather jacket with a matching pair of tan pants. Her coat was open, revealing a low cut white tank top. Her locks of chestnut hair framed her slender face. Nothing out of the ordinary, except maybe her beauty. Then she saw the softly glowing amber eyes that were unmistakably those of her enemies, the Andromedans. She quickly silenced.
When Vida realized that they noticed her, she discretely let her hair fall into her face in an attempt to conceal her telltale eyes. She looked down at her drink and studied the calm blue liquid like the placid ocean, summoning her to dive into its depths and forget her worries.
"Damn it. It's an Andromedan," Jade cursed.
"I don't think so," the mahogany haired man replied when he looked more closely at the puzzling woman.
"But Seth, look at her eyes," she protested.
"I know, but the rest of her seems human. Just look at her clothes and her hair, there's nothing Andromedan about them. Even her skin is human," Seth said.
"I wonder who she is."
"Why don't you ask her," the other man said jokingly.
"That"s a good idea, Dermott," Jade said.
The smile faded from Dermott's face. "I was only kidding. You aren't seriously going to, are you?"
"Dermott's right, Jade. It's dangerous.
"Excuse me? You just told me that you didn't think she was Andromedan. What could be dangerous about it?" Jade protested.
She left quickly before Seth could answer. She walked towards the bar where the golden-eyed woman was sitting. She sat down and scrutinized her curiously. Vida could feel her stare and shifted uneasily in her seat. Finally she looked over at the woman sitting beside her. Her peircing eyes were the same colour as the precious stone after which she was named. Curly red tresses were piled up on the crown of her head. Some of the strands had broke free and tumbled down onto her face. Freckles kissed her cheeks and nose, somewhat softening her sharp features.
"New here?" Jade asked.
"Where are you from?"
She didn't answer.
Jade sighed, this wasn't going anywhere. "Okay look, all I want to know is if you're Andromedan. Are you?" She asked bluntly. Jade never was one for subtlety.
Vida stared at her. Jade met her penetrating glare but the eyes, like a tiger's, carefully stalking its prey, struck fear into her soul and forced her to look away. Vida got up to leave, saying nothing.
"Wait," Jade reached out to grab the girl when out of nowhere a hand took hold of hers with incredible force. The strength of the grip made Jade gasp in pain. She looked up to see that the owner of the hand was the golden-eyed girl.
"I-I'm sorry," Vida apologized when she realized what she'd done and let go swiftly, "I didn't mean to hurt you, really I didn't."
"Don't worry about it," Jade said, rubbing. She was shocked to see the red marks left by the girl's powerful grasp.
"I think I should go," Vida replied and rushed off.
Jade walked back to the table where the two men were sitting.
"Did you see that?" she asked, still in shock.
"Of course we did," Seth answered, "are you okay?"
"Yeah, I think so, but look what she did to my arm," Jade showed them the welts left from Vida's hand, "I don't know who or what that girl is, but I'm going to find out."
End of first chapter....see chapter 2.