Once upon a time, in a
faraway land, a brave hero was nearing the end of his journey.
That’s where we come in.
His unicorn had carried him across vast deserts and along treacherous cliffs, through malevolent swamps and dark forests, all in the pursuit of one thing: justice. A rapier was sheathed on his belt and a bow and quiver were strapped to his back. His silver armour and golden crown shone in the brilliant orange light of the low suns. The wind blew back his long blonde hair and made the unicorn's white mane sparkle. At the end of the plateau, overlooking the valley, the knight saw his goal.
The bandits were emerging from their tents to stamp out the last dim embers of the campfire when the lookout spotted the glistening knight on the horizon. The rogues, wearing ill-fitting clothes and fine jewellery, grabbed their weapons and swarmed around the entrance to the campsite. They readied themselves into crouched fighting positions, as if about to pounce.
The knight dismounted from his unicorn in one swift motion, planting his feet on the ground and confidently striding towards the bandits. "After riding for more than a fortnight over hill and glen, scaling mountains and crossing seas, I am finally brought face-to-face with you foul band of brigands!"
A hunched-over brute stepped forward from the group and glared at the knight with ferocious eyes. "You are bold to enter our domain willingly,” he spat. “Who are you? Why have you come all this way to die?"
The knight didn't lose composure for a second. "I am Prince Vincent of house Charming. You have committed a crime against my kingdom and for that you will pay. Dearly!"
The brute's face went blank. "Charming." He frowned. “Charming…Charming…” A quick glance over his shoulder to the other bandits returned nothing but shrugs. "Sorry mate, we commit a lot of crimes against a lot of kingdoms. It's kind of our thing. Could you give us a clue?"
"With pleasure!" The bandits all jumped slightly as the prince dramatically reached for his belt and unsheathed a very little scroll. He stepped forward and calmly handed it to the brute. "You've been fined! For pitching your tents on royal property! Seriously, you can't just go around setting up camp anywhere you like."
Slowly, the bandits all lowered their weapons. A rough-looking woman with only a third of her teeth spoke in a shrill voice. "You…you chased after us all the way 'ere…scaling moun'ains an crossin' oceans…just 'cause we was trespassin'?"
Prince Vincent looked offended. "Well someone has to chase up fines! After all, daddy's pretty tied up with work at the moment. Some foul band of renegades broke into the castle, killed all the servants, and then just straight-up nicked all of the gold from the royal vaults!"
The foul band of renegades shared nervous glances with one another. Somebody coughed.
Their leader kept his gaze fixed on the prince. He narrowed his eyes. "Kill him."
The bandits advanced. They quickly spread out to form a semicircle around the prince, weapons raised and teeth bared.
Prince Vincent, of house Charming, drew his rapier and straightened himself into a fencing position. "Ha-HA! I must warn you that any attempt to overpower me would be futile, for I am Prince Charming: the greatest swordsman in all of Albion! Surrender yourselves to me in the name of the law or prepare to taste my steel!"
A small, steel, starship landed on top of him, killing him instantly.
The force of the impact threw the bandits backwards. Swords, axes, and crossbows flew from their hands. After a minute of spluttered coughing and choking, the bandits fell silent as they looked up at the ship. It was fairly small; big enough for a crew of only around half-a-dozen. It was mostly silver and it had the words 'The Treehouse' painted along the side in red above a garish flame design.
From deep in the lungs of this metal beast, the pounding bassline of alien pop could be heard for a moment until the pilot switched off the engines.
The window of the ship’s cockpit popped open and lifted over a cloud of white smoke. A ginger woman in an 18th century naval captain’s blue coat hopped out onto the ship’s nose. “Awright Albion,” she muttered to herself and the empty fog. “Lemme hear you make some fuckin nooooiiise.” She stopped, looked down in front of the ship, and gasped. “Hi baby!”
A ramp unfurled from the side of the ship as she jumped down to stroke the unicorn. “You know, through the smoke,” said another woman swiping at mist, just visible by the streak of green light in her laser bow. “I thought I saw a perfectly nice sea we could have crashed into.”
“Yeah but this way’s faster and also look who I found,” she grinned, smooching the unicorn on the snout as the other woman came over.
“Fucksake,” she winced. “Is that horse okay?”
“Yeah it’s fine Emily, it just got a scare.”
“It’s about five miles away.” A pair of cloven hooves stomped down the ramp. “The tracker’s gone offline but last signal was from a stationary position about two hundred meters higher than us, which mean it’s up a mountain.” The minotaur squinted, stretching out a holographic tablet and zooming in. He reached into his lab coat and pulled out a pair of half-moon specticles. “Which would leave it very exposed, which means it’s in a cave.”
“Dorian,” Emily spun around to face him. “You mean to tell me that out of the entire Andromeda galaxy an actual dragon has decided to take refuge in a cave, on a mountain, on a holiday theme planet made to look,” she furrowed thick eyebrows at him, “like meh-dee-vul Europe?”
“Yes.” He nodded, switching to a colour-coordinated map. “In one of the ‘roleplaying’ areas.”
“Oh my god,” said the approaching robot, in their cheery digitised monotone. “Queen.”
Dorian pushed a blinking red button on his screen. "Captain Lambert, I'm detecting life signs. Multiple readings all around us. It's weird, the device is saying they're right where we are. They must be completely invisib-Shit." He looked up at the bandits, who were slowly emerging out from behind bushes and trees.
“Okay, ye…pals,” Lambert waved. “I don’t know how confusing all this is for you so let’s start with the basics: my name is Cap-tain Lam-bert, of the Treehouse. This is the Treehouse,” she pointed at the smoking hunk behind her. “The Treehouse is a special type of carriage, called a space-ship-”
The bandits dropped their swords, axes, and crossbows, reached into their rags and whipped out pistols and laser rifles.
“This is not a role-playing a-re-a,” said the minotaur behind her, steering his tablet side to side with each syllable. “This is a play-er-ver-sus-play-er area.” Emily covered her mouth as her shoulders heaved. “This means they can,” he snapped the tablet shut. “Kill us.”
“Still.” She folded her arms. “How did you smuggle guns down here?”
The bandits’ leader screwed up his dirty face. “How did you get a specced-up Voyager X-7 down here?”
“Violently,” Emily grinned, popping out from behind the captain.
“Royal assent.” Captain Lambert stepped forward.
The bandits all aimed down their sights at her. “Who are you? What are you doing here?”
“Hi, I’m Gwen. Everything I touch dies.” She extended a hand to the bandit, and smiled politely.
The marauder stared at the diamond of implanted studs in her palm, and didn’t move.
“And I’m Redacted!” The robot exclaimed, doing motorised jazz hands. “Or just Red will do.”
“Okay then.” Gwen shoved both hands in the large pockets of her coat and started pacing around the armed men and women. “There’s a dragon on the loose. It took a very big, shiny crystal that belongs to our client, Queen Meidon, and now our client would like it back. She’s flown far, so we’re confident she’s come here to recharge for a day or two. Seen anything? We won’t mention anything to the admins if you’re sound.”
The bandits’ leader considered. “Whereabouts?”
“Like,” Gwen turned and looked to the horizon, then pointed to a tall, snowy mountain. “Thereabouts?”
She raised her hand and threw up a translucent shield of red light, blocking the hail of laser blasts. The neon streaks rebounded and sparks flew as the bandits scattered or died, hit in the head by their own perfect shots. Dorian pulled a retractable blaster out of his coat, Emily grabbed the laser bow on her back, and Redacted pulled two silver pistols out of compartments in their sides.
Gwen pointed a finger-gun and fired a red bolt from the metal diamond on her palm, along her fingers and into an outlaw's face. Ducking beneath a slash from a sword, the captain crouched and touched both of her open palms to her attacker's chest, blasting them backward with a red flash.
Emily forcefully pulled back the string of her laser bow and released, launching a green streak of solid energy which tore through a bandit's body. Its homing capabilities locked on, it boomeranged back around, and hit a second bandit in the back of the leg. With a blood-curdling howl, he was brought to his knees. He tried to pick up a crossbow, then Emily unsheathed the large mithrium dagger on her belt and slashed his neck open.
Redacted flew through the air on their built-in jetpack, picking off marauders from above with perfect precision. Down below, Dorian let out a fierce roar as he shot down bandits who tried to surround him. He stopped, pulled the trigger on his silent gun, then dramatically sighed as only a nine-foot tall beast could: one of them was charging at him armed with a knife, and he needed to swap out the cartridge. He shook his head and whispered some byzantine minoan swear, then punched the man into the tree a good ten meters away.
The bandit leader screamed as a shot ripped through his leg. Emily drew her laser bow and pointed it directly between his eyes. The others joined her side, Dorian pointing his blaster, Red pointing their pistols, and Gwen holding back an excited fireball in her fist.
The brute looked up at them, and around at his fallen teammates. "H-how…who ARE you people?!"
Gwen smirked. "Us? We're…uh…"
Emily made a face at her. "'We're…'?"
"…In dire need of a group name, like 'the Avengers' or some shite. I was gonnae say 'we're the Treehouse crew' but that makes us sounds like kids' TV hosts. Ah well."
Gwen opened her hand and dropped the fire.
Two humans, a robot, and a minotaur were silhouetted against the
morning sky. The crew looked down from the plateau at the quaint
little village at the bottom of the valley, between them and the
snowy mountain range on the other side. The sleepy settlement
looked like a medieval castle town, complete with medieval
castle built to look like brick and mortar.
Emily was the first to break the silence. "I’m loving the whole ‘retro’ vibe."
"Yeah, same," replied Gwen as she scanned the village below through a brass telescope. "The locals all take it really seriously. It's a bit of a tourist trap for historians. The ‘starting areas’ like this have a couple modern bits but most of it’s totally accurate. They shoot loads of films here."
Dorian resumed his tablet’s scan of the environment. He swiped his finger along the touch screen and from it sprouted a 3D projection of a blue and green planet, spinning gently on a tilted axis. "According to the map that village is New Vale. 'Albion' was originally used to refer to Britain many thousands of years ago. 'Earth’ Britain, not 'Jupiter' Britain. Tenth planet in the Dungunar system, twenty hour day, breathable atmosphere…"
Emily chuckled. "Woulda been a plot twist if we’d been choking to death this whole time."
"…Two moons, four distinct continents, all the usual Earth-like animals…"
"Including unicorns," noted Gwen. "I love us. As soon as we found unicorns we just had to take them to every new world. 'Have we brought the dogs?' 'Yes.' 'Have we left the spiders?' 'Yes.' 'Have we brought the unicorns?' 'Yes.' 'Fantastic. This planet is now complete.'"
Red peered over Dorian's shoulder to get a closer look at the screen. "Any sign of this dragon, then?"
"Not yet, but it'll be hiding from us in that mountain range somewhere. By my calculations we should have around 8 hours before its FTL capacity has recharged."
Emily turned to Gwen. "I know you said that we would just sneak in, take the crystal, and leave with no fuss, but looking at how close that village is to the mountain…"
"Actually, there's a settlement that's on the mountain," said Dorian. "Harcrest. Only slightly smaller in population than New Vale."
Gwen thought for a moment. "Right then." She collapsed her telescope into her pocket and spun on the spot to face the others, engaging Captain Mode. "Split up. Dorian, you get a bird's eye view from the Treehouse and have it ready in case of an evacuation or a dragon attack, and Red, you can use your jetpack to search the mountain range for anything obviously dragon-shaped and breathing fire. Emily, take one of the hoverbikes and check out Harcrest while I take the other one down to New Vale. Ask around to see if there's been any sightings. Any piece of information could be useful. Try very atmospheric inns or taverns for local gossip."
"Inns or taverns?" asked Emily. "Would people really be drinking at this time in the morning?"
"Albion is an entire planet where most counties are required by law to pretend it's the 12th century. Fuck else is there to do?" She paused, something settling in her. “Right. Now remember, if the dragon shows up, you immediately signal the rest of us. If this thing flies off without the tracker it’s gone forever. And keep communicators on at all times." Gwen rubbed her hands together. "Team: let's roll."
Emily visibly cringed. "Euuugghhh…"
"What? We don't have a team name, can't we at least have, like, a catchphrase or something?"
"It just feels forced."
Gwen sighed. "I'm pretty sure the captain of the Lords of Terror didn't have this kind of resistance when he gave his crew a kickass name."
"Didn't you read the newsletter?” Dorian brought up the document on his tablet, gilded with animated flames and skeletons with glowing red eyes. “The captain of the Lords of Terror is taking a break from plundering solar systems 'til she finishes her sex reassignment surgery."
"Huh. Good for her." The group stood in silence for a moment. "Did she say what her new name was?"
He made his way down the quiet high street, passing rows and
rows of supposedly wooden houses with their faux-thatched roofs.
In the distance, he could see the morning suns shining over the
castle, perched on its mighty rock foundations. Outside the
castle was a row of cannons, one of which was being used by an
android in medieval armour for a demonstration. More androids
stood outside the castle doors dressed as guards carrying pikes.
Tourists wearing homemade costumes, no more historically
accurate than his own, lined up to take selfies with the robot
guards, who chimed an enthusiastic "How goes it, citizen?" to
everyone who passed.
Odysseus smirked and continued down the road.
He adjusted his sword belt and walked up the cobbled path to a small tavern, pulled open the wooden door, and stepped onto the hard metal floor inside.
There were a few small groups of offworld visitors sitting at the stainless steel tables, quietly chatting away and sipping glasses of blue or green or amber liquid. The walls were covered in tapestries, and between each one was a glass display case containing a genuine 12th century Earth artifact with a plaque explaining what it was used for and where it was found. In the corner of the room was a man in a bard's outfit playing a lute, regaling patrons with a traditional folksong:
"I want to hold them like they do in Texas plays,
fold them, let them hit me, raise it baby, stay with me,
Love and intuition play the cards with spades to start,
and after he's been hooked I'll play the one that's on his heart…"
He made his way to the bar and bought a flagon of 'Ye Olde Ale'. From where he was sitting, he had a clear view of the hologram in the centre of the room showing a highlight reel from last night's hyperball game. After a brief summary of which teams won, how many players died, and where that puts them in the championship league, the pitch dissolved into a 3D image of a news broadcaster reading the local headlines.
"Private military companies in the Dungunar System have reported to the police that a con artist sold them what he claimed were state-of-the-art ray guns, but were in fact modified water pistols sprayed with gunmetal gray paint. The perpetrator is currently unknown but we'll keep you updated as we learn more. Until then, stay vigilant."
The man smiled from ear to ear and raised his glass to the swirling 3D news corporation logo.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the door swing open and a woman with long ginger hair and a knee-length blue coat stride through it. She glanced around at the tables for a moment and moved towards the bar.
"And what can I get for you this morning, traveller?" asked the bartender with a smile.
Gwen quickly scanned the list of beverages behind the counter, all written in printed calligraphy. "Can I get uh, a ‘Ye Olde Coke®’, please?"
The bartender passed her a large silver tankard and went back to idly rubbing down the bar with an authentically pungent hand towel. "Cheers," said Gwen, taking a sip. "Actually, I was wondering if you could answer some quick questions for me."
"Of course traveller."
"Right, so this might seem like a bit of an odd one but you wouldn't have seen any dragons flying around here would you?"
The man snorted. Turning to see Gwen and the bartender looking at him, he cleared his throat. "I'm afraid you've been taken in by a bunch of wild rumours. Traveller.” He turned on his stool to face her. “About a week ago there were some old guys screaming and raving about seeing a bright orange flash in the sky on the other side of the mountains that they decided must've been a dragon."
"I see," said Gwen. "But you'd know better than to believe that."
He smirked. "I'm Odysseus. And you are?"
"Gwen. Captain Gwen Lambert."
"A captain? We don’t get many of those around here. Where are you from originally?"
Odysseus' face lit up. "Oh, I love British girls!"
Gwen sighed. "'Earth' Britain."
"Ah." His face fell.
“And you followed this dragon all the way from this land of Scots without anyone else stopping it first?”
“It’s from Chrysoros,” she clarified.
Odysseus stared at her.
“A few stars, like,” she looked around, then pointed. “That way.”
Odysseus smiled politely.
“So you’re actually, from here, then?”
He nodded. “From what they call the ‘role-playing’ counties. I came here to see a man about a cow but I’m quite taken by the optical illusions,” he gestured at the aerostatic holo-projector in the centre of the room.
“Aye, that’s a telly,” said Gwen.
“Why do you call it that?”
“It tells you things. Mostly shite, but.”
“Tell me about Chrysoros. How far have you come chasing a fairytale?”
"Fools." Gwen, Odysseus, and the bartender all turned. An old woman in a black robe was sitting at the other end of the bar, swaddling a cat with an oddly human face. "If you knew what was coming for you, you wouldn't be so quick to laugh."
"Are you serious?" asked Odysseus, turning to face her. "What would a dragon want anywhere near here?"
“Girls. He’ll take a milky virgin up to his hoard, for a night or two, nestle with her and the rest of his treasures and make a bride of her.” She stroked her cat on the nose. “Then he’ll leave, and maybe we’ll purify the girl in flame, who knows.”
Odysseus slowly turned back to the others. “Does that quite answer your questions, Captain Lambert?”
"Mock me if you wish, child," said the old crone. "But you cannot fathom the fate which awaits you.”
The little starship floated slowly through the air, all systems
scanning the valleys below. Inside, Dorian sat in the captain's
leather chair, looking out of the curved window in front of him
and checking the screens on the ship's console for any signs of
life. The cockpit was a small room lined with computer terminals
and monitors which narrowed towards the end of the ship. In
front of the chair, in the middle of the ship's console, was the
captain's sphere: two interlocking wheels for steering the
horizontal and vertical axis of the Treehouse's flight path,
gently turning themselves around the mountains.
Satisfied that the ship wasn't detecting anything of interest, Dorian focused his attention back on his tablet. Scrolling his finger down the touch screen, the minotaur searched through all twenty-two known species of dragon before selecting the one which best fit Queen Meidon's description: a Crimson Trihorn.
On the screen, pages and pages of information about the dragon appeared, and a pre-recorded voice began narrating: "The Crimson Trihorn is one of the most intelligent species of dragon in the Andromeda galaxy, weighingfisdpsdopefospdklwjqakd-"
The voice sped up as Dorian fast-forwarded through the datalog.
"-liainfcoasjdypical for depictions of dragons in ancient folklore, the Crimson Trihorn is known to take hostages - usually an alpha female of breeding age as they are thought to be the most essential to the survival of nomadic tribal species - under the threat of murder if any of the tribe's hunters attempt to disturb its sleep. If the dragon is left to sleep in peace, the female is peacefully released upon its waking. If the dragon is disturbed by an attack from the tribe's hunters, the female is murdered instantly and the rest of the tribe is destroyed."
A loud beeping from the ship's console made Dorian jump. He turned the tablet off and slipped it back into his lab coat pocket before leaning forward and flicking a switch on the console to open a communication channel. "Emily? Have you found anything?"
"Yeah," said Emily, speaking into a small device strapped to her
wrist. Dismounting her hoverbike, she walked through the ruined
streets of Harcrest. The road ahead was full of ash, rubble, and
bodies. Buildings were missing chunks of their roofs and walls,
and what remained was charred black. There were no flames or
trails of smoke billowing into the air. The battle ended long
ago. Nothing remained now except the howling of the icy wind
through the skeleton of a village. "It's been here. The dragon.
It killed everyone."
Without hesitation, Dorian spoke from a small grill on Emily's communicator. "Can you tell how recent the attack was?"
Emily approached the wreckage of a building and climbed into it through a gap in the wall. The room was in such a state of burnt wood and shattered rubble that its original purpose had become unrecognisable. Maybe it was a shop, thought Emily, or the front room of someone's home. She leant down and touched her hand to the debris. "Uh…I think it's been here a long time. Everything's covered in soot and ash but it's ice cold."
"Strange," said Dorian. “Why would such a violent creature destroy that village and not even touch the other?”
"We've gotta find this thing. Knowing our luck we’re probably going to have to kill it too," replied Emily. "How long have we got til it can jump to another star?"
"Right. I think I'm gonna start moving up towards the mountains to see if maybe it's left a trail."
"Be careful, and don't try to fight it by yourself. Red and I will be scanning from overhead and we'll let you know if we find anything. See you later."
"Yeah, bye," replied Emily as her communicator buzzed and fell silent. She stood in the ruined building for a moment, taking in the destruction around her. Just as she turned away, a flashing red light under the rubble caught her eye.
She knelt down to get a better look at it. The light was coming from a small piece of machinery with a long and jagged blade. Each of the blade's metal spikes were covered in dried blood. Picking it up and wiping a thick layer of soot off the top, she recognised it instantly: a tracking device. It was shattered beyond repair, with ripped wires jutting out of it and a ring of red warning lights flashing.
Emily carried it out of the building, stored it in the back of her hoverbike, and rode off into the mountains.
"Honestly, all this talk of dragons and ‘purifying flame’,” said
Odysseus. “New Vale is supposed to be one of the most modern
areas on Albion, you know. This is where enlightened
civilisation lands and comes to pose for pictures.”
"Why so skeptical?" Gwen took a drink from her Ye Olde Coke.
"I feel like I'd know if a massive dragon was flying around up there.”
Every head in the room whipped around. A pale, unblinking man burst through the tavern door and ran off screaming as fast as he'd arrived. Outside the window, a crowd of terrified faces were standing in the street with their eyes fixed on the sky. Gwen jumped off her stool and ran out into the street.
The dragon's wing span was wider than the tavern it flew over. Its angular red face snarled at the observers below. It circled overhead without attacking, letting every citizen of New Vale run out of their houses and gape open-mouthed. It spun in the sky as if it was showing off, but Gwen realized it was showing them something very specific: trapped in its sharp red claws was a young woman, wearing a green dress and a silver tiara. She wasn't screaming or crying out for help. She merely stared down, terrified, at the terrified faces staring up at her. Soon, everyone had emptied out of the tavern and were staring motionless up at the sky. Odysseus joined Gwen by her side.
The old woman in the black hooded robes watched the dragon soar through the air and dart off towards the mountains. She let out a quiet sigh. "To be honest, I thought it would be rather bigger."
Once there was a safe distance between the dragon and the town, Odysseus turned to the old woman. "You! You knew this was going to happen. You knew it was going to kidnap a princess. How?"
The old woman shrugged. "Isn't that usually how these fairytales go?"
Gwen ran around the corner of the tavern to where she'd parked her hoverbike.
"Wait!" shouted Odysseus. "I'm coming too."
"Haha, no," she said, climbing on.
“I grew up in those mountains,” he protested. “The caves up there? We used to play up there all the time. Look!” He rolled up one sleeve of his peasant getup to reveal a metal strip he wore on his forearm. He made a gesture and unfurled a glowing blue shield as he unsheathed a metal block and squeezed its handle, unveiling his gleaming retractable sword. “I’m not the ignorant farm boy you think I a-”
Gwen sent a shockwave down the alley which threw him back into a puddle.
“What is that!?” He scrambled. “Magic!?”
“Nah mate,” Gwen revved up her hoverbike. “That’s technology sufficiently advanced as to be indistinguishable from magic. Goodbye.”
“You can’t fight it alone!”
“I’m not going to.”
“Of course not,” he climbed onto the back of the bike.
“Right, what is it?”
“There’s a gorgeous princess that needs saving and I’m a handsome, humble young lad with a sword,” he grinned. “Isn’t that how these things usually go?”
“Fuck it,” she glanced at the fleeing dragon and kicked off the ground as the bike rose above the muck. “Maybe I could stand by and watch you get killed.” The engine of the hoverbike roared as they tore a fiery trail down the cobbled street.
Gwen steered the hoverbike along a path which wound up the side
of the white mountains. The air got cold and thin as she
ascended and the grass around them shone under an icing of
frost. She followed the directions on the hoverbike's computer
screen for a few miles, then turned a corner and saw the
Treehouse parked outside the entrance to a huge cave. Emily and
Dorian emerged from the ship and ran to meet her, Dorian
carrying a black metal sphere in his hands. Odysseus looked up,
marvelling at the size of the cave. "Well, I suppose if a
fully-grown dragon was looking for a place to hide, that'd
probably do it."
"Who's this?" Emily asked.
"This is Odysseus. I met him down in New Vale. He says he knows this area and wanted to help out. Odysseus, this is Emily Layeni, our engineer, and Dorian Nasmok, a respected cow of science. We also have a robot called Redacted who should be here any moment. So, what's happening?"
"Well I went over to Harcrest and the place has been completely destroyed," said Emily. "The dragon attacked it and left no survivors."
Gwen paused. "But why would it have attacked Harcrest and left New Vale? Surely it would've wanted to go undetected by the locals so they didn't report a sighting of it to the authorities."
"I think I can explain that one," said Emily. She walked over to her hoverbike and pulled the broken knife out of the storage compartment. "I found this in the wreckage of Harcrest. It's the tracker that the royal guard stuck into the dragon before it escaped Chrysoros. I reckon because it didn't have time to think properly about where it was going when it jumped, it accidently arrived in the middle of Harcrest, right in full view of the town. It had no choice but to…silence them."
"By toasting the poor fuckers," Gwen finished.
The group stood in silence, listening to the cold wind howl.
"Oh!" said Emily, noticing Odysseus. "I'm…I'm sorry. I didn't mean to…you're from here. You must have known some people in Harcrest. I'm so sorry."
Odysseus looked up at her, realising he was being spoken to. “Did I? Oh, no, actually. I’m from a whole village over, down in the countryside.”
Dorian turned to Gwen. "I assume you saw the dragon."
She nodded. "It flew right over our heads. Do we know who the hostage is?"
"Odysseus, did you recognise the woman?" asked Gwen.
"No, I've never seen her before. She isn't one of the princesses who lives in New Vale Castle, that's for sure. She's probably from out of town."
"She might not even be a princess," Dorian explained. "For all we know, she's probably just another 12th century cosplayer."
"Well, royalty or not, she was wearing a nice crown and a fancy outfit, so she's obviously got a bit of money," said Odysseus.
"I followed the dragon with the Treehouse and saw it fly into this cave," said Dorian.
"Did it see you?" Gwen asked.
"No, I kept my distance until you lot showed up. Thing is, for a creature that knows it's being chased, it didn't seem very…low profile. But then again, we could attribute that to the fact it's a dragon."
"You might not be far off," said Odysseus. "In New Vale, it circled overhead a few times with the princess instead of attacking, as if it was showing off. Like it wanted us to see."
"Well, to be more precise, it wanted 'us' to see," said Gwen, gesturing to herself and her crew. "It knew we'd be here by now. Either that or it saw our ship arrive. It took a hostage and flew back to its lair as a way of warding us off. Like, 'don't come near me or the woman dies!'"
Odysseus thought for a moment. "So, what do we do?"
"Simple," said Gwen. "We go in there while it's sleeping and kick its fuckin teeth in. Ready?"
"Bring it on." He unsheathed his sword and shield.
"Wait, where's Red?" asked Emily.
"I assumed Gwen would bring them back with her instead of picking up strays," said Dorian, nodding towards Odysseus.
Gwen pressed a button on her wrist communicator. "Hello? Tinpot, if you're on silent I'm changing your wifi password for a month."
"That's really offensive," said Emily.
"Exactly. The rage coursing through their carbon nano-veins should motivate them to answer the fucking phone once in a while. Right then. Looks like we'll just have to do this ourselves. We've only got a few hours before the dragon will be able to escape so let’s be quick."
"I still don't understand why a Queen would hire a bunch of freelancers," Odysseus pointed out.
"When the dragon attacked, it left Queen Meidon with a massive rebuilding operation, and her forces are all busy fighting in a war, so to get her crystal back she had to enlist some outsiders for help. We do this sort of thing often, she had our number. Is the Black Bomb ready?"
Dorian stepped forward with a black metal sphere he needed both hands to hold. It was covered in elaborate markings which all faintly glowed red.
Gwen stood staring into the mouth of the cave, her hands buried in the pockets of her blue coat. "Good. Because if this dragon has taught us anything, things are about to start…" She paused. "…heating up."
Dorian looked around. "This is a howling cave at the top of an ice-capped mountain. It's about minus-"
"No, see, it's a dragon, it's about to start heating up because it'll breathe fi-just get in the fuckin cave, Dorian."
Gwen conjured a bright red orb from her hands to illuminate the
dark tunnel. She led the others in silence with her head cocked
to one side, trying to listen for signs of life. Faintly in the
distance, the sound of dripping water echoed. The cold air made
her breath visible as she slowly and quietly crept forwards. It
didn't take long before the tunnel opened out into a huge
cavern. Gwen, Emily, Dorian, and Odysseus ducked down behind a
rocky outcrop near the entrance.
The cavern was dominated by the sleeping dragon. Its leathery wings were curled around it like two impenetrable shields and its bright red scales shone in the glow of a round white crystal that lay on the ground in front of it. Hanging above the crystal, trapped in a giant, rusted cage, was the dragon's hostage.
Gwen pointed at Dorian, pointed at the Black Bomb, and pointed at the dragon. Dorian furrowed his brow and pointed to the woman in the cage. "Fuck," mouthed Gwen. She thought for a moment, then pointed at Emily and the ground at her feet. Emily nodded. She pointed at Odysseus and swept her finger up in the direction of an ancient stone staircase carved into the cave wall. It led to an ornate balcony near the roof, above which was a system of pulleys and cogs holding the cage up. Odysseus nodded. Gwen, Dorian, and Odysseus emerged from their hiding place and started to move; Gwen towards the crystal, Dorian towards the dragon, and Odysseus towards the staircase. Emily crouched behind the rocks at the edge of the cavern and readied her laser bow, keeping it trained on the sleeping dragon.
Slowly, taking one delicate step at a time, Gwen made her way towards the crystal, her eyes fixed on the sleeping dragon. She reached out towards it. Gently, softly, she picked up the crystal.
The dragon's eyes snapped open.
With a snarl, it unfurled its mighty wings and raised itself to a standing position. "Ah! Insects!" it bellowed. "I'd been awaiting your arrival ever since I tore your tattletale knife from my skin. Very clever! Now, insects, are you quite convinced that you could overpower me?"
Gwen looked up at the beast, her hands clutching the crystal. "Yup. Originally we were just going to recover Queen Meidon's stolen property and leave, but then you had to start killing people. So, yeah, basically. Yi've fucked it."
The dragon erupted in a bout of laughter which became an almighty roar. "Oh, so you fancy yourself a hero do you? A champion of the people? Very well." The dragon turned its attention to the woman hanging in the cage above. "Surrender now or she dies!"
"Yes, Gwen. You'd better surrender," added the hostage.
"Well I…" Gwen paused. She turned to face the woman in the cage. "You know my name? When did…"
Her eyes widened.
The woman in the cage winked at her and blew a kiss.
"Oh," said Gwen. "Oh, for fuck's sake! Fit the fuck are you doing up there? Break that cage open and get down here this instant!"
"Clearly she can't!" bellowed the dragon. "Return the crystal to me or she burns!"
Gwen turned back to the dragon in the room. "And do you know what? I'm half fuckin tempted to let you do that. But in the name of traditional storytelling: 'Never!'"
"Very well!" With a powerful roar, the dragon launched a blast of fire which Gwen blocked with a force field. The dragon angrily swiped at Gwen with its wing, knocking her across the cavern and sending the crystal rolling across the ground. Emily fired her laser bow. A shot hit the dragon in the side of the neck and it blasted fire back at her. She barely jumped out of the way before the rock she was hiding behind was reduced to magma. Odysseus dodged the dragon's thrashing wings and tail as he ran up the carved stone staircase. Gwen, winded, slowly got to her feet and shouted across the cavern to Dorian. "Activate the Black Bomb, now!"
"I can't! You're in range!"
The dragon spread its fiery breath in a sweeping arc around the room. The flames chased Odysseus up the staircase as he quickly climbed them, up towards the woman in the cage.
As the dragon's breath swept closer to Gwen, she held up her hands to conjure a force field, shielding her from the flames. The heat stung her palms and her face, forcing her to turn away.
Digging the heels of her boots into the ground, she let out a fierce battle cry and pushed the shield forward, extinguishing the dragon's breath. Frantically she threw red bolts of energy at the beast. It roared in agony as the shots impacted on its head and neck.
With a flap of its powerful wings, the dragon blew everyone backwards, slamming them against the walls. It grabbed the crystal in one of its claws and shot upwards, ripping the cage from the roof with the other as it vanished through the cavern's entrance.
The group slowly picked themselves up and stumbled forward. "Where's it going?!" shouted Emily.
"Somewhere more defensible,” said Gwen. “Somewhere with collateral damage. It’s going to New Vale!"
The dragon charged through the air, gripping the crystal and the
cage in its mighty claws. Close behind, the Treehouse sped after
it, ducking and weaving as the dragon led it through the
Inside the cockpit, Gwen manoeuvred the starship around peaks and swipes of the dragon’s tail while Dorian, Emily, and Odysseus all held onto whatever they could.
"Is there any way we can kill this thing mid-fight without destroying the crystal?" asked Emily, clinging to a handle on the ceiling.
"But what about the princess?!" asked Odysseus.
"Again, we're not actually certain she's a princess," said Dorian. "I think that's just in your head."
"Right now, our priority is stopping it from reaching New Vale," said Gwen. "Worst case scenario, we fire the grappling hooks into the dragon's wings, cut the ship's engines, and run for the escape pods."
"The escape pods haven't worked for three months!" the minotaur shouted.
"Okay, okay, we were never actually going to do that but I sounded so fuckin cool for a second there! Um, right, ideas? Dorian, what about the Black Bomb?"
"The Black Bomb is specifically designed for airborne targets but it would kill the princess and shatter the crystal," replied Dorian.
A thought hit Emily. She pressed a button to open the sliding doors of the cockpit and ran down the corridor.
"Where's she off to?" asked Odysseus.
A few moments later, Gwen's communicator buzzed. "I'm in the armoury. How fast do these jetpacks go?"
"I can go out there, get the crystal, blast the cage open, and fly us both to safety while you take down the dragon. I'll catch up with you."
"Emily, as your captain: dinny you fuckin dare. You'll get burned alive."
"So did Harcrest. Be right back." Emily strapped on a jetpack, picked up a second one, and ran to the ship's airlock.
"Hang on Emily," Gwen shouted over the communicator. "The dragon's moving!"
Flapping its wings, the dragon pulled upwards into a vertical loop and soared backwards through the air to position itself behind the ship. It caught up to the Treehouse quickly and wrapped its wings around the roof. With a firm grip, it went into a spin and let go, sending the ship spiralling out of control. Gwen slammed buttons and switches on the consoles around her and pulled back on the vertical wheel of the Captain's sphere. "Hold on!" The Treehouse pulled up out of its dive a second too late and smashed into the ground, skidding in the dirt for a few metres before coming to a stop.
"Is everyone alright?" asked Gwen, swivelling round in her chair to see everyone sprawled across the floor.
They collected themselves and ran out of the ship in time to see the dragon vanishing into the distance.
"It's heading straight for New Vale!" shouted Emily as she landed on the grass.
"Bikes! Quickly!" Gwen ran back up the ramp and into the ship. Parked at either side of the entrance were the two hoverbikes. Odysseus stopped to pick up the jetpack that Emily had been carrying. "This could come in handy." Dorian, carrying the Black Bomb, jumped onto the back of Emily's hoverbike and Odysseus got on the back of Gwen's as they both sped off towards the town.
The cobbled streets were alive with panic as the dragon flew
overhead and blasted homes to flaming pieces. Amongst all of the
carnage, still lining the castle walls, were rows of androids
dressed as medieval guards giving their pre-programmed cannon
demonstration. A confused tourist ran up to one of them, which
responded with a cheery "How goes it, citizen?"
"DO SOMETHING! SAVE US! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SAVE US!"
There was a pause of a few seconds while the internal machinery of the android audibly processed the tourist's request. "How goes it, citizen?"
The dragon flew overhead and came crashing down on top of the castle. The roof crumbed under its feet and a brick was dislodged from the battlements which fell five storeys and caved the android's metal face in. It lay on the ground, sparking and twitching, and with one last cheery exclamation of "Hoooow gooooes it, cit-t-t-t-t-t-t-", it exploded.
The dragon reared its head back and let out a raging torrent of fire. It lay the crystal and the caged woman on the castle roof and paused to take in the glowing forest of smoke and fire it had created.
Gwen, Emily, Dorian, and Odysseus drove through the burning street and came to a halt in front of the castle.
"Looks like it's claimed the castle as its territory. I doubt it'll be moving far," noted Emily.
"Excellent," said Gwen. "This is our chance."
The dragon stood majestically atop its new lair as it watched the group approach. The beast threw back its head and unleashed a laugh that shook the ground. "MUAHAHA! Fools! There's no way you can stop me now!"
Emily tutted. "Wow. That's like the one thing you should never say."
The dragon turned its attention to the woman in the cage. "One final chance: surrender, or the girl dies!"
"Oh yeah?" asked a smug Odysseus. He strapped the jetpack to his back and flew up to the castle roof, landing between the dragon and the cage with his sword drawn and his shield raised. "If you wish to harm this maiden, foul creature, you're going to have to go through me!"
"Okay." Inhaling deeply, the dragon drew back its head, preparing to unleash its lethal breath upon Odysseus.
"Hey, hero. Duck."
Odysseus turned around to see who had spoken and immediately ducked out of the way so the woman in the cage could fire her two silver pistols straight at the dragon's eye. The blinded dragon let out a deafening roar of anger, pain, and confusion.
The woman shot once at the lock on the cage to blast it apart and kicked the door open. Her hands seemed to fade completely through her dress as she holstered her pistols, allowing her to pick up the glowing crystal. Then, to the complete shock of everyone who wasn't Gwen, she grabbed Odysseus and gracefully took to the air as the burning castle collapsed beneath her.
Odysseus stared at her with his mouth open all the way from the castle's roof to the ground. When they landed, the woman walked over to Gwen and handed her the crystal.
Odysseus shook his head. "But…but you…"
She turned to face him. "Oh, y'all wanted a twist?"
Both Odysseus and the dragon stared as the woman started crackling. Her features blurred and her dress began to glow as she flickered in and out of existence. Finally, with a soft popping sound, the image of the woman disappeared altogether and in her place stood a silver robot with a thin metal frame and a blank screen for a face.
Odysseus blinked. "Um…what the fuck?!"
The robot spoke with an electronic voice. "Oh honey, software: Type 4 Lightshell™ biographic projection. Objective: To kill the dragon hiding on Albion and retrieve the crystal stolen from the vaults of Queen Meidon. Name: [REDACTED]."
"ENOUGH OF THIS!" bellowed the dragon. Stretching its wings to their full span, it dove off the castle roof and straight at the crew, fire streaming from its mouth.
"MOVE!" shouted Gwen, and the group scattered. Redacted fired up the jetpack on their back and whisked Odysseus off his feet, carrying him to safety in a bridal carry. Dorian dove out of the way and reached into his lab coat for his blaster as Emily grabbed the laser bow on her back and rolled into a crouched position, ready to fire.
The dragon passed overhead, flew around in a large, sweeping arc, and turned back to try again.
"We need to knock it out of the air!" said Gwen, wildly searching her brain for a plan. In the corner of her eye, she noticed the row of cannons sat in front of the castle walls. She looked at Dorian's Black Bomb. "Do those cannons work?"
Dorian looked over at them and had the same idea. "Let's find out."
The crew got out of the way of the second dragon attack and ran over to a cannon. Next to it, they found a barrel of gunpowder.
"Does anybody here know how to load a cannon?" asked Gwen.
"I do!" said Odysseus. "I've seen the robot guards do demonstrations for tourists since I was born. It's one of the only things to do on this garbage planet." In a few moments, Odysseus had the cannon loaded up with the Black Bomb. With the cannon pointed at its target, Gwen touched her palm to the fuse and lit it with a red flash. Everyone stood back as the fuse burned down and, with a deafening blast, the cannon launched the Black Bomb into the sky.
It soared through the air and smacked the dragon in the face with a dull THUNK. Upon impact, it exploded and unleashed a miniature black hole that grew until it dominated. It generated winds so strong that it shattered windows and sucked the debris from buildings into it. The dragon's roar became a desperate cry as it fought helplessly against the immense force of the black hole. The crew watched from below as its tail, wings, claws, and finally its head were sucked into the vortex. After a few moments, the black hole collapsed into a single point and disappeared completely. Silence fell over New Vale.
"Mmmm." Dorian looked up at the empty sky. "I'm pretty sure that's not how black holes work."
"Oh, fuck up Dorian," said Emily. "It looked cool. That's all that matters."
From side-streets and back alleys, traumatised medieval peasants came wandering out to see what had happened.
"Ah…" sighed Odysseus, with his arms outspread and a grin of satisfaction on his face. "Don't worry, people of New Vale! I have dealt with the dragon for you! Please hold your applause!"
"You do realise half of the village has been damaged beyond repair, right?" asked Emily.
"Yeah, I kinda hoping we could forget about that part for now."
Gwen walked over to Odysseus and handed him the crystal. "So…we couldn't have done this without you."
Odysseus smirked. "I know."
Gwen gazed into the hero's deep brown eyes and leaned in towards his lips.
She paused an inch away from his face. "If you even think about trying to steal this crystal, I will destroy you with my bare hands. Now you might be thinking I mean that in a figurative sense, and that what I really mean is that I'll merely be mad at you. But no, Odysseus. I will actually charge up the magic implants in my hands and rip your fuckin head apart." Her deadpan expression slowly became a manic grin as she pulled her face away from a shaken Odysseus. "Come on Emily, we should help with the clean-up."
New Vale's authorities began treating the wounded and organising
shelter in the castle for those who'd just lost their homes.
Wooden beams, furniture, and broken glass lay charred in the
streets. Amongst the devastation, the townsfolk began searching
for their belongings and clearing paths to their front doors.
On the outskirts of town, Dorian, Gwen, Redacted, and Odysseus stood outside the crashed Treehouse.
"Just so I'm clear," said Odysseus. "You're a robot who can use holograms to disguise yourself as anyone?"
An image of a box with a tick in it flashed up on Red's black visor. "Correct. The combination of micro-hologramming, chemical synthesisers, and controlled electric signals in my outer plating provide a near-undetectable illusion of sight, smell, and touch. And taste." Odysseus recoiled slightly as the robot's screen face gave him a wink emoji.
Emily exited the Treehouse and joined the others. "Right, I've done all I can. It's not pretty, but as long as you aim about 20 degrees per nautical mile to the left of wherever you wanna go, the Treehouse can get you there."
"I doubt this," grumbled Dorian.
Emily punched the minotaur in the arm at full-force. A moment passed. She retracted her fist from his unflinching body and shook it while silently screaming in agony. The corners of Dorian's mouth turned up into an almost imperceptible smile.
"So, where are you headed now?" asked Odysseus.
"Well, first we have to take the crystal back to Chrysoros to cash in the hundred-k credit reward," said Gwen. "Then we should probably bring some of the money back here to contribute towards the rebuilding. But after that, we could go, well, anywhere really."
"So this is really what you do?” He asked. “Fly around Andromeda hunting bounties? Slaying monsters and taking whatever odd jobs are on the intergalactic notice board?"
“Eh,” she squinted. “It’s more of an…app?” She held out her hand to take the crystal. "Thanks a lot for your help. We'll be on our way now."
Odysseus looked at her, looked down at the crystal, and then pulled it back to his chest defensively. "Only if you take me with you."
Gwen stopped, and retracted her hand slightly when she saw how serious he was. She turned to silently request the opinion of Dorian, who responded by shrugging, Emily, who looked uncertain, and Red, who's black visor face displayed a simple LED image which read '50/50'.
Turning back to Odysseus, Gwen cleared her throat. "Well then. Why exactly do you want a place on my crew? We've only just met."
"Well you see, I'm a simple farmboy, like my father and his father before him. All my life I've looked up to the stars and seen adventure waiting to happen. When I was seven years old my father abandoned me and my mother with no explanation. The night he left, I heard them arguing and got up to see him walking out the front gate with a packed bag. When I ran out to follow him, I heard a ship taking off and watched a streak of light cut across the sky. That night, I swore to my mother that when I grew up I would venture out onto that starry sea and find out what happened. I've been stuck in this sleepy village all my life, and you are my only hope to-"
Gwen grabbed his hand and violently dragged him out of the way as a small starship almost landed on top of him.
A door on the right side of the starship slowly folded down with a mechanical whir to form a ramp. Out of the ship stormed an angry group of space pirates, closely followed by their cyborg captain with a metal peg-leg, laser hook, and tricorn hat. He unsheathed his cyber-cutlass and pointed it at Odysseus' chest.
"Odysseus! If that even be yer real name! I've been huntin' ye down for three weeks, and me mercy ran out five solar systems ago! I'll kill ye, and I’ll kill yer little friends!"
Odysseus took a step towards the pirate. "That's where you're wrong, Captain Deathbeard. These people aren't my friends…" He paused, turning to face Gwen, Emily, Redacted, and Dorian looking perplexed behind him. "…They're my crew."
Everyone was silent for a good seven seconds, before the electronic voice of Red spoke up. "Oh, sweetie, no."
"Enough of this!" cried the pirate captain as he prepared for combat.
"Please," Odysseus asked Gwen. "Get me off this planet!"
The wind picked up. The ground began to rumble as, faintly, the sound of trumpets echoed through the sky.
Everyone looked up to see a colossal golden ship slowly lowering itself through the clouds. Its underside was covered in giant glittering gemstones and speakers which heralded its arrival with a grand fanfare. A small pod detached itself from the ship and gently flew down to where the group was standing.
After touching down, the pod opened up and two perfectly organised rows of royal guards emerged, their gold armour shining in the suns. The guards stopped and turned to face each other as a woman with blue skin and six arms slithered down the middle of the two rows. She was wearing a large over-designed crown and a purple dress with a long, flowing trail. Her three left arms were holding a golden sceptre.
"Bow before the might of Queen Meidon, ruler of Chrysoros!" shouted one of the guards. Instead of following her advice, the crew and the pirates both stood with their heads tilted in confusion as her royal highness approached.
"Well done! Well done! I see you have retrieved my crystal successfully! We've been watching your progress, and the royal court of Chrysoros is indebted to you for your bravery in undertaking this task. Now hand me my crystal and you shall all be greatly rewarded!"
"Of course!" said Odysseus, puffing out his chest and going down on one knee. "Here you are, your majesty." He bowed his head and held out the crystal with both hands.
It started to shake.
Odysseus, feeling something move in his hands, raised his head to stare wide-eyed at the crystal, which was now glowing brighter than ever. The crew, the guards, Queen Meidon, and the pirates all gathered around its brilliant white light as, with a painful shattering sound, the top of the crystal cracked.
"Oh, for shit's sake…" muttered the Queen under her breath.
The cracks on the crystal grew and grew until, to the complete shock of everyone who wasn't Queen Meidon, it hatched. The crystal fragments fell away to reveal a tiny yawning red dragon with three stumpy horns and two tiny wings. The crew and the pirates shared nervous glances. Emily whispered to Gwen, "Did we just kill a dragon to steal its baby?"
Dorian coughed. "Your highness, were you aware that your 'crystal' was a dragon egg?"
Queen Meidon's warm, welcoming smile melted into a scowl. "Why yes, I am aware of everything I keep in my family's vaults."
"Then what, may I ask, does your highness intend to do with a live dragon?" asked Dorian.
"As you are aware, the people of Chrysoros have been fighting a long and arduous war; hence the reason why I had to enlist your help. The war has raged on for ten years, but now, an end is in sight! I intend to use that dragon to create a weapon capable of winning me the war! Dragons have such wondrous powers, and my army's top researchers can't harness those powers from an unruly adult. We need to take the creature at birth and acclimatise it to the laboratory from the start of its life."
"Because it will stay there until the end of its life," Dorian intoned.
"It is of no consequence. One dragon's life is a small price to pay for the total annihilation of our enemies' home worlds!"
"Annihilating planets won't just kill the opposing army," said Dorian. "Innocent civilians will be slaughtered."
"Queen Meidon," said Gwen. "We can't give you this dragon knowing that you plan to use it as a weapon."
The queen was shocked. "Excuse me?! I shall see you hanged for such childish insolence! Guards! Take the dragon!"
The band of space pirates who had been quietly watching, dumbfounded by this entire exchange, snapped back into action at the first mention of violence towards Odysseus. "If we help, will WE be 'greatly rewarded'?" asked Captain Deathbeard.
"Certainly," the Queen barked.
Odysseus turned to Dorian. "If dragons have the ability to fly faster than light, can't you use this one to power your ship for a single jump?"
Dorian rubbed his horned head in thought. "Theoretically…I'd be able to use the residual energy from the crystal egg to do it without harming the baby."
Odysseus turned to Gwen. "I'll give you the dragon and the crystal if you get me off this planet."
The baby dragon made high-pitched meowing noises in Odysseus' arms as the new crew of five scrambled towards the Treehouse. Pirates and royal guards charged, screaming at the top of their lungs. Gwen blindly threw red bolts of energy out of her hands at the ground behind her until finally they threw themselves through the door of the Treehouse and shut it behind them.
Gwen took her seat and started up the ship.
"Right then," said Emily to Odysseus. "Care to explain who Captain Deathbeard is?"
“Remember when I said I was seeing a man about a cow? The cow was a lift off this planet.”
Gwen grinned and pulled the main lever on the console. The hum of the engines drowned out the renegades and noblemen banging on the door.
The starship slowly lifted into the air, pushing clouds of dust into the angry mobs' faces.
Captain Deathbeard and Queen Meidon shook their laser hook and royal sceptre, cursing the sky as the Treehouse reoriented itself in the air, charged up its engines, and blasted off into space.
The adventures of Captain Gwen Lambert and her crew will
Episode 2: Dark Side of the Moon