Rewards: 7,500z | 1,000 XP | 3,000 SP | 5 TP | Travel Time permanently reduced by 3 days for you, to a minimum of 24 hours
Description: While travelling through space you notice that your ship is starting to run dangerously low on fuel and you have none spare. However, before panic can set in you notice a Space Station on the radar; what luck! As you stop to refuel at the nearby dispensary, you decide to look about and see some of the unusual alien life that’s aboard! But while you’re doing just that the station comes under attack by a group of space-bandits who threaten to steal every worthwhile ship on the station, including yours. Dispatch them and save the station and the people within from harm, and then go on your way.
"Damn asteroids, it's going to take me a bit of time to fix this," Viossa said kicking the side of her police cruiser, near the spot where a speeding space rock had slammed into it. The damage had nearly resulted in the inside of the ship nearly being vacuumed out.
Tomo had used his energy to create a barrier around the hole before it could cause any more damage, sealing the ship temporarily. However, it obviously needed repairs.
"Where are we? And how long will it take you to fix your ship before we can leave?" Tomo asked curiously, wondering if she had the material just lying around to be able to fix her ship like that.
"A day, maybe two. It should not be much of a problem, I just need to administer the nano-weave and that will do the rest. As for where we are, not a clue. This is an unregistered planet. So I don't have any information on it." Viossa said simply.
Looking around it was easy to see that this was a barren world. Just desert for hundreds of miles. Tomo wasn't sure he'd seen anything but the tan color of the desert sand across the face of the world.
However, on the ground, he could see what looked like some structures, broken buildings in the distance.
"Is it a problem if I explore this planet for a while?" Tomo decided to ask, not wanting to be left stranded on some alien world in space after all.
"I guess." She said before tossing him a device a moment later. "If that starts beeping the ship has been fixed and it's time to go. So if you hear it, get your ass back here fast or I might not be here when you get back." She threatened.
Tomo just nodded pocketing the device. "I'll be back in a snap as soon as the ship is repaired then." He said before shooting off in the direction of the broken city, eager to investigate the area.
When he got there it only confirmed what he had seen in the distance. Modern broken down building. And looking at the sand, it seemed that while most of it was tan, there were lots of black grains mixed through it. Making the tan sand appear darker.
The buildings were also scorched, the stoned burned darker, much of it looked like it had been melted to slag and then allowed to cool in a twisted fashion. Tomo was not sure what to make of that, though he got the sense that this world had not always been a desert.
Walking into one of the larger buildings, he looked around, though there was not much to see. He could not be sure what this building had once been used for, though if he had to guess he would have said it had likely been a building to conduct business. Like an office.
Climbing up each floor he found a few interesting little things. Like what he assumed to be half-melted metal tables. "It's like the world was bathed in a firestorm." Tomo mused, though such a thing sounded ridiculous. At least until he considered that he was capable of doing such a thing to a world himself. Although he never would of course. But then, even if someone was capable of this, why would they burn a world? He'd noticed that the air of this world was relatively thin, though it was there. He didn't think a human could survive here with the oxygen being so low, but perhaps some sort of alien could.
While he gazed out over the desert from the highest existing floor of the building, he noted something new with interest. He could see a dust trail, which meant something was moving. Perhaps a traveling caravan of some sort. It seemed promising, a chance to get more information on what had gone on with this world and why it was in this state. And if his suspicions about the world being burned were accurate, how these people had been able to survive such an attack.
Flying out from the building he made his approach towards the group of people. It didn't take him long to spot the humanoids leading at the front. And as he grew closer to them, he could slowly make out features.
Indeed they were humanoid, and about the size of an average human, ranging between five and six feet at a glance. Walking on two legs, many carrying weapons that Tomo assumed to be rifles. Though once he was close enough, he could make out tails from their lower back, generally looking thick and rather fluffy. So some kind of humanoid animal people? Such people existed back on Earth but were apparently once just ordinary humans before mutating themselves to become more anthropomorphic.
He assumed that these creatures were naturally born like this rather than mutating to have animal characteristics though. While he could not be sure, they did seem to have canine features, which became more apparent the closer he got.
What also became more apparent the closer he got were the wagons being dragged along behind them, caged wagons full of people. This of course earned them Tomo's attention and ire. Because from the state of those people it seemed unlikely they were criminals, more likely innocent people trying to live their lives when this group decided to capture them, though for what purpose Tomo could not yet be sure. Whatever the case, Tomo needed to make a decision about what he would do, and then act. Should he wait until they got further to wherever they were going? Or should he act now to free the victims?
He wanted to save those caged people now, but even if he did, he had no idea where he could take them, or how they would live without him to assist them through the desert if he decided to leave them. For now, he was forced to wait and see what kind of place the dog guards made their home. As he deemed them, though perhaps marauder was a more accurate term. He could adjust his vocabulary and title of these creatures once he had a better understanding of what was going on.
It was hours before he was able to see the location the dog guard had in mind. As the remnants of a city came into view, and yet even from a distance Tomo could tell that this broken town was active. He could see the smoke and the walls that had been made for the people living inside.
He had to wonder why they had chosen this place to live but assumed that it must have something that other place did. The most obvious answer was likely food or water. Maybe even both.
Of course, the dog guards were also armed and armored. Having studied them they seemed to be wearing something that Tomo would equate to riot gear, though lacking shields as far as he could tell. The weapons looked somewhat advanced, though it was hard to tell just how advanced they were without closer inspection.
As the caravan approached the gates, they slid open with the use of cranks being operated by some guards monitoring the walls. Allowing the caravan of guards, and what Tomo presumed to be slaves inside.
He'd been trying to fly high of course but worried about getting spotted. So used his energy to create a field around himself to bend light around him, camouflaging himself so that he would not be easily seen while flying along. Aside from the area where he was warping slightly, there should be no indication of where he was.
He flew over the make-shift town and watched as the prisoners were pulled one by one from their cages. Men, women, children.
However, as he watched he noticed something. Apparently, all the slaves were a little different, having tails not like dogs, but more like cats. So then, the dog guards had captured cat slaves? So then, these dog people held most of the power, while the cats were treated as second class citizens and slaves? Or so that seemed to be the case as the cat slaves were lead away.
And so, now that he was here. What did he do? The situation now was even more complex than when he had been following the dog guard leading the caravan. It would have been simpler to save the cat slaves and then... Well, maybe it still would not have been that easy after all. He didn't know anything about this planet. If he freed the slaves he would still have no idea about where to take them. If there even was a place he could take them. The dog guard had found those feline people somewhere though, so that must mean there were other safe places. Perhaps even towns run by cat people instead of dog people?
He sighed, deciding he really needed to know more before he could act. So he landed in front of the gates and let his light bending barrier drop to reveal himself. It didn't take him long to get noticed after that.
"Halt! Who goes there!?" One of the guards called, lifting his rifle to point at Tomo.
Tomo stood and lifted his hands in a sign of peace and surrender. "My name is Tomo. I'm a traveler from among the stars. I saw your town and wanted to see what it was like here." He explained simply.
The guards looked to each other a moment before one shrugged. "Hold a moment." Said the guard before he vanished into the town, probably to get a few of the dog guard.
His guess was accurate when the gates opened, and dog men filed out to surround him. "Proceed inside. Do not resist or you will be punished." One of the dog guards instructed as they stepped forward.
Tomo did as he was told, lead into the makeshift town. They didn't seem to be doing too badly here. Homes made from tents, long pieces of cloth, and tarps. People gathered around him looking as he passed.
"Mama, where are his ears and tail?" One child asked his mother seeing Tomo was neither a cat person nor a dog person. The mother didn't know what to say. It was clear that he was a spectacle. Humans didn't exist or come to this planet. Well, he looked human anyway. If they had seen a human before they would have thought him one.
The guards led him to a large and fancy looking tent, pausing in front of the flaps. "We have brought the guest!" One of the guards called inside.
"Send him in." A deep gruff voice called from within.
And so Tomo was allowed to step inside. Looking around with interest. Seeing the most he had seen so far of what this world had been like before whatever happened to this world. Pictures that showed a lush and advanced world. Tree's and tall building abound. The vehicles were very different from earth hover cars though, more like weird bikes that sat at the center of one large wheel. It looked like the vehicles were essentially super-advanced pedal bikes of some sort.
"Welcome Traveler. You came at a strange time. Did you follow the caravan to us?" Asked the large dog man sitting behind a wooden table. The table didn't look old, but that only made Tomo wondered where the material to craft the table had been gotten, or if the table was older than it looked but just well maintained. After all, he had no idea where the table came from if it had been made or somehow saved.
"Yes, I did." Tomo agreed. "I landed on this planet hours ago when the ship I was using with an ally broke down. So they are repairing it. As soon as they are done, I intend to leave..." Tomo said before pausing. "However I wanted to investigate the planet and made a few quick discoveries. Based on what I have seen this planet has been through some sort of war. Your planet was scorched, I have yet to see a city left whole. I'm surprised that even that table is whole, yet it seems to be in fine, if not new condition." He noted with interest, before moving to take a seat across from the dog man.
The chair too looked to be in fine condition. Some kind of rounded seat with cotton pillows and pleasant velvety grey fabric.
"Ironically, I suppose you could say, this planet was once called Oasis. Most of what you said is correct though. This planet suffered an alien attack that resulted in the upper crust being utterly scorched to sand and dust. Almost everything was destroyed. We survived by tucking ourselves into bunkers deep below this planet's crust. For ten years those who survived waited to rise up once more while the planet's atmosphere took time and help to reform itself."
"I would have thought it would take longer for the atmosphere to reform. More than ten years certainly. But you mentioned help. I assume that you had something that made the recovery easier then." Tomo mused interested.
"Indeed. We didn't know exactly how we would be attacked when we were. However, our scientists had developed contingencies that allowed us to rapidly recover. From the records, we had around five hundred bunkers across the planet, each equipped with various devices that could assist in healing our planet. However, the atmosphere is still quite thin at the moment, and crops are incredibly hard to grow. Water must be collected from underground reserves which we luckily possess in the bunkers, however, it's been exceedingly hard to grow crops with any serious success."
Tomo nodded drinking in the information but eventually had to sigh and shove questions of recovery to the side for now. It was interesting, but his involvement regardless of what he decided to do here would be limited. He'd decided to enter this makeshift town with the intention of learning why they had captured those cat people.
"So, what are you exactly? Humanoid with canid features." Tomo noted shifting to point at the floppy ears and thick bushy tail. The man before him was large, muscular, and tan-skinned with deep brown highs and rugged long black mid-length hair. "And those people you had brought in earlier as well. Their features were more feline though. Your people's ears flop and you have long bushy tails. Their ears were smaller and pointed, with long slim furred tails."
"My people are the Dra'go, my name is Crisp. And the other people you speak of are the Ka’tai. In this town at least the Dra'Go are superior. We noticed those Ka'Tai wandering around the edge of our territory and suspected that if we did not act they might attack us. Such an act would have been futile, but we did not want to risk the peace being disturbed. They had very little in the way of supplies and weapons. A few of them had already starved or dehydrated to death. Attacking us for our supplies likely would have been their only choice if they did not wish to suffer the same horrific deaths as their fallen brethren... However we don't have the room to support them as citizens, and so we take them as slaves. They will be fed and watered, but will likely never share the rights of the Dra'go within these walls in the years to come."
"So you know exactly what you are doing then..." Tomo sighed slumping in his seat. "I don't like it. But I suppose there was no choice? Or so you would have me believe at least. Though even if the Ka'tai does one day gain their freedom I suspect they will start on the back foot within these walls and be seen as lesser citizens for many years to come even after that. Can you really justify that?" Tomo asked clenching his fist and teeth.
"It's not fair." Crisp said simply. "But neither was it fair for our planet to be torched to what you now see with little left to keep this planet alive. If we had the materials we might seek to abandon the planet entirely. However, we do not. And I doubt you have the means to make such a thing happens, though I get the sense that you have noble intentions."
"Before I stopped here I was debating whether to attack the caravan to help the slaves and free them from your caravan. Even now I am debating setting them free, and see if I could not find a better home for them elsewhere." Tomo mused looking up into the large Dra'go.
"Oh-ho. An interesting proposal. And you believe you alone possess the means to challenge us, break them free, escape, and then find another place more suited to serve their needs? Such a thing is unlikely." Crisp chuckled. "When the populace that could be fit into the bunkers was reached, there was very little room for anything else. Of course, every bunker tried to ration the space inside, but for nine years they were packed like rats in spite of those efforts as people forced their way inside. Water is in supply at least, thanks to massive underground reservoirs. However, food was always bound to be an issue. People got less than they wanted and less than they needed from the first days of hiding. Growing food underground was only partially successful. There were always more mouths to feed than what it could support. A slow death for everyone. Or at least the bunkers that did not take some harsh initiative to reduce the strain on food. As you might imagine there were fights for food and many more deaths in response to that desperate need." Crisp explained, giving some history.
Tomo listened, but the message eventually sunk in, covering his face with a hand at the tragedy of it all. "So you are saying that even if there are places out there, none of them have the desire or space to take in new people. That such a task would be doomed from the start."
"Indeed. These slaves we took today were likely ejected from their bunker, or left of their own free will. Perhaps because food ran out, or ran low. Whatever the case maybe I don't imagine you are likely to find any place in the world right now willing to take them in without harsh or desperate measures." Crisp said before pulling out a map and laying it across the table. "There are the places we have mapped so far. We have been able to do a small amount of trading between some of the cities. And from what I have seen and heard, they are already packed with all the people and children they can handle. The only place you could take those slaves if you were to claim them would be here." He said before pointing to a city that seemed like it might have once been some kind of observatory.
"This is Dome City. Simple name, I know. No place is terribly creative about its names right now. Desperate times and all..." Crisp said clearing his throat. "There only hope for life beyond that of a slave would be here. Though do not mistake that to mean that it would be an easy life. Frankly, I still say they are better off here as slaves. In Dome City, everything is a contest, but the most common contests are the warrior contests in which anywhere between to single individuals, and two or more teams of people will fight to the death for the privilege of being a Dome soldier. As you might guess, that means they go out to fight, and scavage for supplies among other things. Dome city currently has the greatest monopoly on food and water, their supplies are vast, but life there is harsh. You are either the best at what you do when you are there, or you leave. Whether it's on your own terms or being dropped into a mass grave is up to you." Crisp shrugged.
"So there is no place I could take them, even if I did attempt to save them?" Tomo asked, unclenching, but disheartened by the thought. "At least no place that could promise life and liberty in equal measure without great sacrifice." He said rubbing his eyes with a sigh.
"That is correct... This world is barely alive if it can even be considered alive. Those that live are trying desperately just to get by. We are trying to resurrect this world. But there does not seem to be an easy method for making that happen with the technology we currently have." Crisp said shaking his head.
"Still, they should at least be given a choice... Would you disagree if I were to speak with them, and let them decide between living here, or guiding them to Dome City where they might at least have a chance to choose their fates? Even if neither of the choices is good. I think they should have it." Tomo said which made Crisp chuckle in response.
"Pretty stubborn huh? And if I said no, what would you do then? Do you really think you have the strength to do everything you said? Before you mentioned deciding whether to attack the caravan or not." He looked Tomo over who was unarmed aside from some sort of spacesuit. Which was one of Tomo's hero suits. "But looking at you, you don't seem like someone much capable of doing any of that."
"Well, believe what you like. If you want me to demonstrate my abilities I would not mind doing so. However, I do possess the ability to flatten this entire town with little more than thought if I wished to." He said before lifting a finger, pointing it up, and gathering energy at the tip. Silver energy into a ball the size of a marble, which glowed brightly, lighting up the tent as easily as the sun outside.
Crisp opened his mouth to reply, but the gathering silver light on the tip of Tomo's finger stopped him, covering his eyes as the light from the energy gradually grew brighter until it was nearly blinding. "What in the world are you? How are you doing that?" He had not believed Tomo saying he could easily flatten the town, but his mind was quickly changing on that point. This silver-haired man was incredibly dangerous. Seeing what he could do, he had to wonder what else this young-looking man was capable of. And if he could somehow use Tomo to his benefit. But that last thought was dismissed almost instantly. He didn't know Tomo, and certainly doubted he could control such a being possessing such interesting powers for long. Maybe he could ask Tomo for help though. From the way he spoke, he was a man of good intentions and high hopes.
"Okay, I understand. I am convinced." Crisp said, noting how relieved Tomo looked at the understanding. He might be able to crush the town, but it clearly was not something he wanted to do. Tomo was far from disappointed by the lack of bloodshed on his part.
"However I still can't just give the slaves to you..." Crisp sighed, seeing Tomo's face become an expression of irritation.
"So what do you want? What do you think I can give you, and why do you think I should give you what you want? You made them your slaves, but they are people, not property. You would lose nothing whether they stay or go right?" Tomo asked, his annoyance clear.
"We lose labor power if they leave... But I imagine you can offer something worth more than their labor, no? If your power is as great as you say it is, then why not simply offer me your time and service for a little bit, and then maybe making them slaves will not be necessary." Crisp suggested trying to be reasonable.
Tomo sighed but leaned back in his seat eyeing Crisp. "So what do you want me to do?"
What Crisp was asking Tomo to do, at least to start was simple. The man wanted to know what Tomo was capable of, how serious of a threat he could be, at least that's what Tomo surmised asking him to do the work that would normally require the entire town. However, starting out Tomo had no reason to deny the request. It was simple enough. He wanted Tomo to till the soil so that it could be turned into better farming land. The sand did not make for very good farming. They needed dirt beneath the sand to properly grow things. He wasn't even sure it made sense for the world to have so much sand on it, considering what sand was made from. But as the world was essentially all sand as far as he could tell, he'd just do what he could, and from what Crisp told him, there was proper soil under the sand.
Tomo stood outside the town now, debating just where he wanted to reveal the soil. Another problem would be sand storms. They were going to need to do something to keep sand from just covering the farm up later. Tomo wasn't sure what he could do for that particular issue given their limited technology, however, he'd leave that up to Crisp to solve. They had the water they needed to grow food at least, the seed was in short supply but they could at least get a start with it, and hopefully, they had enough food to last until the first true harvest.
Tomo lifted a hand to the sand and focused. Gathering energy he created what he could only really describe as a giant flat shovel of energy. Which he then began to sink into the sand. Once his massive shovel was fully inserted, he lifted it, carrying thousands of pounds of sand with will and energy alone. As the sand was lifted it showed dark almost black soil, rich with the nutrients of the dead world above it. Tomo had once heard that at times a forest would be burned down on Earth, only to come back even stronger and thicker than before. If that was true, then perhaps the same could be done for this world. Maybe one day it would be an oasis again.
Dumping the sand some distance behind him, he created a new dune. The soil he revealed though was exposed for several hundreds of feet. He's created a plot of fertile land nearly as large as the town he had just been walking in. He wasn't sure that Crisp could use that must land for farming right away, but he had no doubt the man would be amazed by the brief display. And it would make Tomo's earlier point about being able to easily destroy the town all the more apparent. If nothing else, Tomo had proven he could scoop the town from the sand and dump them aside as easily as he had the sand.
Looking to the town he could see hundreds of stunned faces lining the wall that surrounded it. Clearly having gathered to watch the display, most likely unbelieving of whatever Crisp had told them. But the word had spread quickly that Tomo was going to create farmland. And so he had in what could only be described as an instant. Doing work easily himself that would have been hard for hundreds of people to accomplish.
He walked back into town to speak with Crisp, though the entire way he was regarded with intense awe and admiration. Whispers of a god passed through lips, hands clasped in prayer and worship.
Tomo wasn't sure he liked that, he was no god. He was just a machine with the face of a man, and the power to change worlds. He'd shifted a little soil and helped make something, but a real god could have fixed the world, not just create a plot of land. He wished he had the power to grow back all the life that had once existed in this world. But sadly he lacked that power. If he ever had the chance to fix that though, he wanted to come back here and do it. Maybe there was a way he did not yet know. Some master in the universe who could teach him the art of growing and creating.
Crisp was waiting near the inside of the walls with everyone else. His expression made it clear he had seen everything that Tomo had just done. "Well... You did it." He said simply, confusion and awe on display like everyone else. "We will need to do what we can to build on what you have just given us. Sandstorms are rare out here, but they still happen. I suppose we will need to find a way to build some walls at least." Crisp mused.
"If you need walls to surround the farm I will make those as well. Though they will only be made from stone." Tomo mused.
"Stone walls long enough to surround the length of the farm you just created?" Crisp asked in total shock. "If there anything you can't do?" Crisp asked with a shaky voice.
"I can't grow your crops as far as I know. If I could, I would do it in a heartbeat. But I'll provide what I can at least. And you will release the Ka'tai as agreed. They will become citizens instead of slaves to help in the growth of your town. No one has to suffer or die as long as you are able to grow food, instead of relying on the labor of slaves to do your work. You do not need to break their backs to save the backs of the citizens. Everyone can work together to sow their crops." Tomo said simply to which Crisp nodded.
"They will be freed, as agreed. Though after seeing what you are capable of, I am grateful that you did not tear this town apart to free them as you threatened. You clearly possess the power to do so easily, you do not seem exhausted in the slightest." Crisp noted.
"Crisp, I have enough power to destroy worlds," Tomo said flatly. "And I am far from the only person with that kind of power. Do not underestimate anyone while you lack the ability to sense such powers. The universe is vast and dangerous. And even I am little more than just a large grain of sand in this vast desert than most. Somewhere out there are grains of sand that could be far larger than even me. Be wary." Tomo warned simply.
Crisp gulped and nodded. Though Tomo doubted he understood. How could he? While his situation was serious this world was a little ball of dirt in the middle of nowhere. Standing on its sandy floor it seemed so vast, so endless. But it was just a rock among the sand.
The device that Viossa had given him earlier started to buzz and beep at him, and he sighed. "I need to leave soon, Crisp. I'll make the walls for your farm before I go. I wish you luck and pray that you do not need to take any more slaves. If I come back to find that you have, I will not be happy." He warned before turning to leave. He had work to do, and he had to do it quickly so he could get back to Viossa.
"Bad news. We are going to need to make a second stop." Viossa noted with a grunt. They had only left the planet Oasis hours ago. But apparently, there was some more bad news.
Tomo sighed at the thought but nodded and looked over to her from his seat, having been using his telecommunication device to speak with Fang. But ending the call to speak with Viossa. "So what's the issue?" He asked wondering what was going on.
"Not so bad as the ship getting a hole in it. But we need to stop for more fuel or we'll never make it to the prison. Luckily my galactic radar is already picking up a place where we can resupply from." Viossa noted.
Tomo nodded. "Sounds good then. Any idea what the place is? What should I expect from a space depot?" Tomo asked since this would be his first time stopping at such a place.
"I mean, I doubt you have to imagine very much. It could be a space station floating all on its own filled with every kind of commodity one could need in space. Or it could be a station built on a particularly big space rock. Sometimes they do that cause the rock they build on has some sort of useful resource." Viossa mused with a shrug. "You never know what you can see. But it's just a big store if you wanna simplify it. Seeing as you are from Earth, I'm sure you are familiar with what a store is." Viossa noted sarcastically.
"Yes, I know what a store is," Tomo replied with a chuckle. "And how is our extra companion doing? Can that cell contain them?" Tomo asked with some amazement.
"Damn right it can. It could even hold someone like you if it had to. I know you think you are strong and all, but I can promise you that there are bigger badder fish out there that would eat you for a snack." Viossa laughed darkly at the thought.
"Well, it's just another reason for me to get stronger then. One day I am going to need to be able to tackle those threats. They are something that cannot be left wandering the galaxy after all right? I am not becoming a bounty hunter just to take on the easy jobs. I want to become a bounty hunter so that I can better protect the universe." He sighed.
"God damn kid, you sound like some kind of gods damned hero. That kind of attitude is going to get you killed someday." Viossa said shaking her head.
"Probably." Tomo agreed with a chuckle.
"Definitely." Viossa pressed. "No one with intentions like that get's to live for long. I don't care how lucky you are, or how strong you think you are. You are going to get yourself killed kid." Viossa informed him sternly.
"I won't stand by in the face of injustice, Viossa. You can take the easy road if you want, but someone has to walk the hard roads. I think I prefer it to be me than anyone else anyway. I'm no stranger to danger, and I'll take my chances against hard odds. I won't back down from a threat just because it's stronger than me." Tomo said with increased resolve.
Viossa was quiet for a minute before laughing. "Damn kid, what a speech. But words come easy when the threat is far away. It doesn't change the fact that you are in for a world of hurt. And eventually, it's gonna catch up to you. And when it does, you better be wearing some thick ass armor, or be ready for a knife in your back."
"I'm a machine you know. Stabbing me in the back isn't really any more or less effective than stabbing me in the front. Especially if I can sense the threat before it comes." Tomo noted.
"Don't be an ass." Viossa chided. "You know what I mean." She said simply but left it alone after that, and Tomo didn't seem to have anything else to say on the matter either.
Eventually, the space hub came into view. It seemed this one was a space station build all on its own. Unconnected to anything outside itself.
The closer they got the more massive it becomes. Tomo was very impressed with its size by the time they docked. It was hard to estimate it's actual size, but he would have put it on par with Earth's moon in a way. From one end of the station to the next he would have assumed it could reach from one face of the moon to the next easily enough.
The ship was locked in place, and the people refueling it warned by Viossa that they needed to be careful with her ship since it was carrying a bounty. Which made the aliens in charge of refueling the ship a lot more careful and stiff.
Tomo chuckled as he stepped out from the ship to look around. "How long are we going to stay here?" He asked looking at Viossa.
"May as well stay and rest half a day or so. The ship will be ready before then, but I don't feel like leaving right away after stopping twice. Besides, this place probably has some stuff I could use. Space depots like this are always getting new and interesting things. So let's say we meet back here in twelve hours. Will that be an issue?" She questioned.
Tomo shook his head. "No, that's just fine. I'll see you then." He said before Viossa wandered off. He would not have minded sticking with her, but for whatever reason, in spite of helping him, she didn't care to know him. Their talk in the ship a bit ago had been the most communication they had since leaving Arlia. She was a quiet insular woman by all appearances. She took care of hers and her own, and little else.
He wondered if she was actually any good as a bounty hunter. She didn't seem very interested in the danger involved with it at least. But then, she was still doing it. He'd bet anything she had a sad and interesting story. And Tomo would have paid a lot to hear it. But he imagined if that was the case he should not go digging for it. Her business was her own, and none of his.
It was some hours later when the trouble started. A massive ship warped into the area near the space depot. And once settled made their demands known. Hacking into the intercoms of the space depot they gave their demands.
"Attention. This is Captain Plum of the ship Nightraid. You may have heard of me, more importantly, you may have heard about the weapon I have aimed at your space station. A hyper canon I claimed some time ago with the power to vaporize a planet! So, I would ask that you kindly let my crew onto the station and begin a stockpile of supplies which we will claim before heading back on our merry way. Your cooperation in this is appreciated!" The captain called before the message came to an end.
Tomo having heard everything sighed. "Of course it would happen in the few hours since I came here. It's always something." Another one of fates cruel games he supposed. He just happened to be here when this attack came. On one hand, the station was fortunate to have him. On the other, it was just another annoyance in his life. Sure he was a hero and enjoyed the work he did. But he was really starting to feel like he needed a vacation already. He'd been working hard to make sure everything was safe. But the longer he went, the more he felt it was a futile effort.
However, this situation did present an opportunity. He didn't want the space station to be destroyed, and he didn't want to kill these pirates. Which meant that it was finally time to put the new skills he had worked so hard to learn while on Kanassa. The ability to share mind and emotions as well as to bend them.
Tomo made his way to the port where the pirate's first space ship would land. Many would be sent to the station. But he only needed one of them to accomplish his goal. In a way what he was going to do would be easy, but in other ways, it might be hard. This was his first time using these skills in a real situation. Not just practice. What he was doing was theoretically possible, but would require a level of control he had not required before. Using the skills in ways he had only theorized up to this point. If it worked, then this would forever be a solution to his problems concerning his lack of desire to kill. However, this kind of power also came with other problems that Tomo had yet to consider.
The ship the first group of pirates Tomo met was big enough to carry around two dozen people, not including the cargo they intended to carry. The pirates were already speaking with some of the people who worked on the space station. Delivering a message from the captain with a list of the supplies that he wanted from the space depot.
"Hey, who's that guy?" One of the pirates asked as they noticed Tomo approaching. Apparently, a good portion of the crew was Heran. The guy who noticed him at least was a Heran, from planet Hera.
"Greetings, my name is Tomo. If possible I would like to meet with your captain. Could you please let me onto your transport vessel and take me to your lead ship, the Nightraid?" Tomo asked rather politely!
"Haha!" The Heran laughed. "And why would we do that? Why do you want to meet the captain?" Asked the Heran. He was at least a foot taller than Tomo was with green skin, and orange hair cut into a mohawk.
Tomo debated whether to use his power now or wait. Deciding he could wait. If what he planned worked, then great. Otherwise being on the Nightraid worked just fine for him if it didn't work. If worst came to worst, then he could destroy the ship from the inside. The hyper cannon would be taken care of and no longer a threat, and what crew remained on the space station could be captured.
The hyper cannon seemed to be their only real advantage, with the power to destroy a planet, or so the captain had boasted, it could easily destroy the space station regardless of whatever defenses it might possess.
If Tomo's plan went as well as he hoped it would, then the space station would get its supplies back, the pirates would be in jail cells, and everyone would be safe with not a single life lost. He could not exactly determine the level of risk involved with his plan, but the reward was like a jackpot in his mind. It was the perfect resolution as far as he was concerned. The bad guys would lose, the good guys win, and no bloodshed in the process.
"You seem like a reasonable man, so what if I pay you to take me there?" Tomo said pulling out his wallet and showing some money. "I want to meet your illustrious captain. He is famous is he not? Maybe I'll even join the crew." Tomo mused looking at the man as he rubbed his chin.
"Hmm... Think you are good enough for the crew, huh?" The Heran asked, interested, but a little suspicious. Deciding to play it safe he pulled out a scouter, putting it on, and tapping a button to get a read on Tomo.
Tomo worked fast to hack the scouter. It took little more than a glance to make it give a false read on him. After all, Tomo was an android, if he didn't hack it then it would not be able to get a signature on him. Which he also made read at 10,000 for a power level. Which was pretty high, but he imagined a captain like Plum was stronger himself and had at least a handful of stronger crew members than that.
"You just might be." The Heran replied, shutting the scouter off a moment later and tucking it away. The Heran, which Tomo read from his internal scouter, had a power level of around 25,000. Which meant this guy was stronger than Tomo showed himself to be. He assumed this guy was somewhere around the middle as far as their most powerful pirate fighters went. "Put away the cash for now. If the captain doesn't like you, I'll take your money then. Otherwise, save your money for when you get to gamble with the crew." The Heran grinned sticking out a hand. "My name is Pickles. Come aboard Tomo. You might have to wait to meet the captain though! After all, he's gotta manage this whole operation. But I imagine he'll want to talk once we got this whole thing sorted out." Pickled said before turning to lead Tomo onto the transport ship.
Tomo followed after the man, getting a few dirty looks from the crew of the space depot who believed they were watching someone join the pirates. But for now, Tomo would have to accept their ire in order to maintain this facade. He had work to do, and soon enough things would be back to normal.
It was on the way back to the Nightraid that Tomo started to flex his power. Starting with the little crew of this transport vessel. Focused on Pickles as the leader of this little group or so it seemed.
"Hey Pickle, are you sure I can't see the captain right away? I mean, if you push hard enough he'll at least be interested in seeing me, won't he?" He asked, focusing energy into his hand, and bringing it up to touch Pickle in the back while he replied.
"I..." He paused as the energy entered his body from Tomo. "Maybe... I guess I could give it a try. I get a good feeling about you." Pickles said with a smile. "I'm sure if I suggest you enough, he'll want to see you. You are pretty eager to join the crew, huh? And from how strong you are, I think you'll quickly find respect. Only a few of us are stronger, myself included." Pickles chuckled.
"Hey, thanks. I am glad you are willing to put in the effort for me, I really want to make a great impression you know!" Tomo said enthusiastically, although internally he was just a little disgusted. It worked, but at the cost of bending this man's mind. Only slightly perhaps, yet it was still pushing him in a direction he might not have gone if not for Tomo affecting him with new and intense forces.
But Tomo wasn't done. It would be a few minutes till they reached the Nightraid. So Tomo got to work on the rest of the crew, infusing them with his energy at a touch, inserting into them a feeling of trust and enjoyment. Giving them all the same, "good feeling" that Pickles felt towards him.
He was starting small, just trying to manipulate them rather than change them entirely from the start. He was not sure how much he could push before he caused their minds harm, or if he would harm their minds at all unless they had the power to resist him in the first place. However, this part seemed to work flawlessly. The crew seemed to like him and respect him even before they reached the Nightraid. It reflected in small ways, speaking to them he would offer some kind of flattery, touch them as he did, inject them with the emotional energy, and from then they would look to him with appreciation. From the outside, it didn't look spectacular. Tomo just speaking to someone for a minute, then moving on, and the person he just spoke with looking a little happier, a little more energetic even.
Tomo didn't think he needed to touch them, what he was doing was based on the Time Bullet technique. But starting with physical contact did make him feel more comfortable while injecting them with his energy.
The Nightraid was certainly a massive ship. It would have to be in order to house the thousands of pirates that it did. Small compared to the space depot certainly, but the size of a town at least where the space depot was the size of a moon.
Stepping onto the Nightraid Tomo looked around, before being lead on by Pickled towards the captain's room. "Be on your best behavior kid. The captain won't put up with any nonsense, and I don't want him to put a bullet in you, understand?" Pickles warned.
Tomo was really amazed by just how effective his technique had been. He could imagine he would have gotten the same warning regardless, but the fact that Pickles cared whether the captain killed him or not was already more emotion than he had expected to see. He expected that otherwise the last part of his words would have never been mentioned or even though. Probably something like, "Be on your best behavior or the captain will put a bullet in ya." And that would have been the end of it without Pickles saying that he "didn't want" the captain to attack him.
"Well, thanks for your concern, Pickles. But I have not done anything so far that would make you think the captain would dislike me, do you?" He asked curiously.
"Nah, you been perfectly respectful to everyone really. It makes me wonder why you want to be a pirate, looking at you, I don't see a pirate." Pickles noted lightly with a grunt. "I'm not sure if that will make the captain like you more or less. But if he lets you join, you'll certainly stick out."
"I see. Well, let's hope he likes me after he meets me then." Tomo walked with Pickles, leaving the rest of the group to move the supplies they had taken from the depot off the transport ship, and towards one of the storage rooms.
Pickles and Tomo eventually took an elevator, going up a few floors of the ship so they could reach the captain's quarters faster. Otherwise, they would have been walking and climbing for more than half an hour.
Reaching the room after a few more minutes of walking, Pickled knocked on the door to the captain's room.
"What the hell? Who is it?" The captain called from inside.
"Pickles. I was leading squad 6. I brought a guy from the station who wants to join the crew." Pickles informed the captain.
"... You think they are promising enough to bring them directly to me while we are in the middle of this important raid? This guy better be the best pirate you've ever seen or I'll tear your head off Pickles! Now bring him in!" The captain ordered.
Pickles flinched a little giving a nervous laugh to Tomo before walking him inside. The captain like Pickles was a Heran. Only larger, meaner looking with several scars on his face, older, and with longer shoulder-length orange hair held up in a bandana.
"Not much to look at is he? Like a tooth-pick." Plum noted, clearly not impressed as Pickles closed the door behind them.
"Greetings captain Plum! My name is Tomo, a pleasure to meet the illustrious captain Plum!" Tomo said offering a salute.
"Knows how to kiss ass at least. Can you follow orders kid? How strong are you?" He asked.
"He's got a power level of ten thousand sir." Pickles replied for Tomo, having taken his measure earlier.
"Hmm, not a bad number," Plum noted, that much seemed to impress him at least.
"I can follow orders well enough, sir," Tomo replied dropping the salute.
"So you are strong and know how to follow orders. That's a good start I suppose. And Pickles seems supportive of you, to bring you here himself." Plum noted with a glance to Pickles.
"I took a liking to him right away, captain. He seems like a good sort for the crew. He tickles my fancy." Pickles replied rather enthusiastically.
"I suppose so! clearly, you stand with Mr. Tomo here." The captain chuckled.
Tomo decided to try using his power from a distance this time. Gathering energy at his fingertips before launching a slim needle of color into the captain. Too fast for the captain or Pickles to notice. And for a moment there didn't seem to be any chance until the captain turned to Tomo again.
"I get a good feeling from him as well though. I think he has a lot of potential for our crew!" Plum finally agreed, and Pickles looked pleased.
Tomo breathed a sigh of relief, as it seemed that it worked. The captain, like Pickles, denoted a "good feeling". It seemed a good sign to Tomo that this was going smoothly. Now he just needed to push.
"May I shake your hand, captain?" Tomo asked turning to the large man, offering him a hand to shake. "It would please me greatly to be welcomed by the captain in such a way, honored even," Tomo said meeting the captain's gaze.
There was a hint of suspicion there, but apparently, the good feeling that Tomo gave him overpowered the captain's good sense. "I suppose I can do that. Welcome to the crew, Mr. Tomo." He said gripping Tomo's hand.
"Thank you, captain," Tomo said smiling, gripping his hand before he started to slowly pour energy into the man. Filling him with thoughts and emotions he could not resist.
The captain blinked a few times in rapid succession before relaxing and turning to Pickles. "I want you to leave for now Pickles. I need to have a word with Mr. Tomo, alone." The captain instructed. "But don't leave the ship. Gather your squad and remain here." The captain said letting go of Tomo and turning away to get into his seat, waiting for Pickles to leave.
Pickles saluted before turning to go. Leaving Tomo and the captain alone.
A minute later the captain started to talk. "I appreciate your wanting to join the crew, Mr. Tomo. But I'm sorry to say you came at a bad time. You see, I've just had an epiphany of sorts... I don't want to be a pirate anymore. In fact, I've decided it's time to turn over a new leaf." The captain said looking sadly out the window. "So while I would like to welcome you to the crew. I am about to disband it. I think the best way to do that is to turn myself in here and now. I'll do my time, and then I can do what I have always wanted to. Become a baker." The man said turning soft tired eyes to Tomo. "I've been at this too long boy. I am getting old. I need to rest these bones, and I think a relaxing job baking is just the thing I need. Once I am released from prison anyway." The man sighed, leaning back in his seat, exhausted. "It's just occurred to me how many people I have hurt, how much I have taken from everyone. I pray that one day I may be forgiven for the things I have done. I have abused so many people in my pursuit for power and freedom." The man said slowly cupping his face as tears came to his eyes. "I am a mockery of a man. I do not deserve forgiveness..." He said before he began to weep.
Tomo was shocked and awed by the result of his action. His test was a total success. And he was horrified by it. Through raw power, he had just manipulated this man, this captain, this person who had likely done many horrible, terrible things in his life, and in an instant, with one touch and plenty of energy, had made him wish to turn around.
This man had never regretted anything he'd done in his time as a pirate. Or if he had certainly not enough to think he should give it up. Not only that filled with such regret that he would cry over it now, wishing to be forgiven, to have the chance to start over again, as a baker of all things.
"Oh dear gods, what have I done..." Tomo mused to himself, a quiet question as he watched with fear and trepidation the result of his power and actions. He had the power to destroy worlds, he'd had that power for a long time. But to change a man, to influence him so deeply that he would be forever fundamentally changed like this? Plum had not been a good man. But did he deserve this? To be forced to feel every pain and regret he'd ever bottled up or forgotten? Every action he took hitting him at once. Tomo having forced the man to face every moment of his life again in an instant. And then magnifying every feeling of pain, sorrow, regret, he had ever felt. But also magnifying the man's memories in other ways, his desires for something different, a life that did not require him to hurt and take from others. Tomo had connected himself to this man for a moment, mind and emotions locked and then manipulated to force Plum into an epiphany that would forever change him and his way of life.
Tomo knew this man, having lived his life in an instant through the power he had just used. It was a lot to take in. He understood this man, and how he had just changed him forever. His mind, and his soul, might now be forever altered. And to Tomo, that power was much stronger than blowing up a planet. And he wasn't sure that what he had just done was a good thing. In many ways, it clearly wasn't. Yet, with this one action, he would save everyone on the space depot. He'd accomplished exactly what he meant to do. No blood would be spilled, and these pirates would go exactly where they deserved to go. Except for Plum. Who was no longer the same man he had been minutes ago, a new man who had lived the life of Plum with new emotions. Feeling everything that Tomo had wanted him to feel, against his will.
It was bad, but it had been done for a good reason, right? Tomo had just saved thousands, hundreds of thousands by essentially sacrificing a single person. The rest he'd manipulated in much smaller ways. Making them like him, without fundamentally changing who they were.
Whatever the case, Tomo could not, and would not undo what he had just done. There was still work to do. And he only hoped that his intentions would result in a better outcome. Plum would come out a better man. And it was all thanks to Tomo.
Tomo after that point had the captain call back all the transport ships. The crew was understandably confused. They had no idea what was going on, or what had just happened. However, the Galactic Patrol arrived soon after that, taking control of the ship, and arresting its crew and the captain.
Tomo made his way back onto the space depot. Meeting Viossa who wanted to know what had happened, and what was going on. But Tomo didn't want to talk about it right now. And not to Viossa who didn't even want to know his name unless he had a bounty license. So he didn't speak to her, or anyone else.
Lost in thought as he climbed back onto Viossa's ship, ready to get moving once again. The GP had things under control here, Tomo was no longer needed. And Tomo did not want to see what else happened. He'd done enough, more than enough, maybe more than he should have. After what he did, he felt sorrow, but not regret. He'd changed a man, but the outcome would be worth the cost. He'd taken no lives, though he had fundamentally changed one. It was an uncomfortable fact. It didn't feel good. But it was something he could accept.
Whether his actions today were good or bad, he would let the universe decide that. He could not say he would never do something like this again. Given the choice, he would not. Though he would still choose this option over spilling blood. He'd saved everyone, at the cost of changing one man's life forever. And he hoped for the better.