Read A New Divide (Science Fiction) Online

Authors: Nathaniel Sanders

A New Divide (Science Fiction)

 

 

             

 

 

 

 

- ACT I -

ALL WE LEAVE BEHIND

CHAPTER 1 - DAY OF INFAMY

 

{1537 D.E. (Departure from Earth)}

-Minerva, Moon of Rayden, Third Planet from the Suns-

 

As I stood there, atop the golden podium
, I took a moment to absorb the feeling. Our team had won the Olympic final—for the fourth time in a row—and now I was a legend. I had made history, aspired billions of people. I had never felt so fulfilled, so complete.

There was something I had never anticipated about finally seizing that accomplishment, that fleeting and glorious moment in my life, something I had considered my greatest achievement. It past by in seconds. Before I could come to terms with the chaotic storm of emotions brewing in my stomach, we were celebrating our victory in the great city my people had built in the sky. And I was sitting at that bar rail surrounded by the most valued people of our society, remaining almost completely silent.

I was struck with two questions that deeply corrupted my state of being: "Now what?" and "How could I possibly top what I have just accomplished?" It wasn't until the general of the Raydenite Defense Initiative broke my concentration that I was able to burst through that stupor, staring out at the awe-inspiring view of the stars. 

"I gotta admit, kid,
I've never seen someone handle themselves so well out there. You're bound to be a legend after your performance tonight."

              "Collin? Collin!" Coach Stephen Cado punched me in the arm, and effectively tore my attention away from the celestial beauty unfolding beyond the glass pane of
Rayden One's
only Presidential Lounge.

"Ow!"

              "Collin, this is General Wright. You should lend him your attention, he's a cabinet member."

              "My bad, bro, umm sir, I mean. I'm quite . . . distracted by the view out there."

              "Quite all right, brother. It certainly is one hell of a view."

              "Yes, it is."

              We stared off into space, past those windows, where the glow of the setting suns pierced through the light layer of clouds. The clarity of the sky gave way to an ever-present planetary nebula, stretching over the curvature of the world.

              Majestic.

              It looked as if a bright and vibrantly illustrated ocean was directly beyond us, stained with fire, where exotic shades of orange and blue intervened. And in the center was Minerva's asteroid moon. It was in the center of the spectacle, the star of the show.

              I couldn't help but relate myself to it, the star of the show. I mean, the president was here, A-list movie stars, legends in the PGL, but despite all of them, and the status they had gained, I was the center of attention. That feeling was something I craved for a very long time. Me, always the outcast and never too good with people. Despite how much I loved my people they never treated me with reverence, until I rose to greatness. Greatness as they had defined me, a gravball star.

 

              "Coach Stephen Cado. What's it been? Three years?"

              "Sounds about right, General. So has anything popped up on your radars yet? Our people are concerned."

              "Nothing yet, that's why they are called rumors, Coach."

              "The Kingdom of Salaras, and their king, are not particularly fond of us, Wright."

              I ignored their stupid political conversation and continued to stare out the giant floor-to-ceiling pane of glass at the sunset (or whatever you would call a sunset in space). Then something caught my eye. It was my co-captain, Mickey. He smiled to me and waved me to come over to him. I stumbled off the bar rail and headed towards him and left General Wright and the coach to their small talk.

              "Hey, boy! Where are you going? General Wright wants to ask you something!"

              "Another time, Coach. I've been looking forward to something since the day started!"

              "Hey, Collin! Get back here, boy! That's an order!"

              "You can shove that order up your ass, Coach! This can't wait."

 

              Mickey shook his head as we left the dimly lit room and strolled towards the elegant-columned hallway. "You know, man, you got some serious balls to talk to the coach like that. Got millions of people applying for captain of the Rayden Comets every week."

              "Please, Mick. We've dominated the PGL for the past five years thanks to me. He would never replace me."

              "Don't be so sure, Collin."

              "Did you bring it?"

              "Yeah, I got it right here. Anybody wish you a happy birthday yet?"

              "Only about half of our people. Give it to me, Mickey."

              "Hold out your hand."

              I presented my hand to him and after reaching into his pocket, he placed a condenser in the center of my palm. I pressed the button on the top, the quarter-sized container expanded, and out of it fell a laser syringe. Within the canister I could see that glowing red liquid that everyone in
Eden
knew. I could only imagine the glowing expression that lit up my face.

              "Mickey, is this . . . is this what I think it is?"

              "That is
exactly
what you think it is. You are twenty-five now after all. The perfect age for it."

              "I'm not sure I'm ready."

              "Collin. Do you want to live forever? Or not?"

              I smiled at him and swung my left forearm up to him. He took the syringe from my hand and placed it just above my forearm, directly on the vein.

              "Now don't go thinking you can dodge bullets, or survive the 200-kilometer drop to the surface."

              "I know it doesn't make you invincible. Virgil has said he's lived for over one thousand years thanks to the injections. I could definitely get in on this whole semi-immortality thing."

              "Just make sure you buy another one when we leave here, Collin."

              "Why?"

              "Well, being professional gravball players we aren't expected to live that long. But even if you miss your shot, get hit, and slam your head into the edge of the sphere, as long as you have another injector, it will save your life."

              "The injection can bring me back from the dead?"

              "No, idiot, listen:
only
near death. Nothing can bring you back once you die. I know your head is spinning, but damn, you are ignorant, my friend."

              "That's incredible. Hell, maybe it can heal that nasty scar I got in basic."

              "It will, Collin, it will cure almost any ailment. It's the
Alpha Genome
, the holy grail of modern medicine."

              "Whatever, dude, hurry up. I need that drink."

              "You're welcome. Oh, and happy birthday—jackass."

             

About ninety minutes past by
as Mickey and I walked into the bar next door to the VIP lounge. It was nice leveling with the everyday people that made our society. They cherished us and they made the time fly by with all the drinks they bought us. I was sitting next to Mickey and it was late enough that most of the annoying fans had already passed out drunk.

              "Happy birthday, Collin."

              We tapped our drinks together and slammed them down on the bar. I exhaled that nasty shot of my mixed drink and clenched as it entered my stomach. Mickey shook his head at me and laughed.

              "You never could hold your liquor, kid, just like your pops."

              "Oh I can hold it, we'll have a contest right here. But this drink is awful, Mick. I can't drink this garbage."

              "Yeah, yeah. You and that shield you put up around yourself."

              "Shut up."

              Mickey laughed the deep way he did and once again raised his glass to me.

              "Hey, another toast."

              "Why?"

              "To your dad. He would be so proud of you."

              I diverted my eyes to the bar rail, let out a chuckle of anger, and set my glass down. I always had a habit of smoking a cloned cigar whenever someone would mention my father. It always seemed to relieve the stress that even his name brought up.

              "No. He doesn't deserve one."

              "But that's your father, Collin. Are you ever going to let that go?"

              "No. You know I have my reasons."

              "Yeah, but—"

              Suddenly our conversation was interrupted by a girl with platinum blonde hair who leaned in and laid her soft hands on my forearm. "Sorry to intrude, but are you Collin King? Captain of the Rayden Comets?"

              I quickly shed the disgusted look I had on my face and turned to the girl. And my goodness, she was gorgeous, my mind immediately changed subjects. So I smiled and confidently greeted her with my full attention.

              "I sure am, miss. Fan of my work?"

              "Absolutely. Can I buy you a drink?"

Then something kind of unexpected happened and honestly, I damn near crapped myself when Coach Cado tore me away from the girl. He grabbed my forearm, hard, and began dragging me to towards the hallway.
              "We need to have a talk."
              "Collin! Come back!" 
              "I'll be back soon enough, sweetheart." 
              He unhanded me as he led me into the empty ballroom that was just around the corner from the lounge. It was an exquisite room lined with limestone pillars that supported a ten-meter ceiling. It had been covered by intricate ancient artwork enveloping the entire expanse. Marble floors stretched to a glass wall at the far end of the room that provided an amazing view over the curvature of our home world,
Minerva
, and the western hemisphere of
Rayden
hanging above us.

              The spectacular sunset reflected into the room and upon us, as we walked out of the darkness of the unlit ballroom, and into the light. The echoes of our footsteps had ceased and I finally spoke to Coach Cado.
              "What's your problem tonight, boss? It's a celebration!"
              I continued to puff on my cigar as he began to pace in front of the glass wall.
              "My problem? My problem is my MVP for the last four years is on real thin ice."             

"Mickey warned me already I sensed it, you would never fire me. My contract would be bought out in a heartbeat by any other team."
              He looked toward me and scoffed at my remark. "No they wouldn't. No coach in their right mind would ever hire someone as ungrateful, and arrogant, as you are, Collin."

               I got extremely angry and threw my cigar at the window.

              "I am the only reason! The only reason Rayden won the gold tonight! Your pitiful team is nothing! They are nothing without me!"
              Cado stepped towards me and stomped on my burning cigar. "I can't wait to prove you wrong, you little punk! I was going to give you a chance to redeem yourself!"

              "What the hell is that supposed to mean? Do you think that you're some kind of god over me? YOU ARE NOBODY!"

               He got in my face and pushed me back. "That's it! You are done! I've been waiting a long time for an excuse to kick your ass off my team and back out into the slums where I found you!"

              Then I hit him. Hooked him in the jaw and he collapsed to his knees.

              "Why, Coach? Why are you doing this to me?"

              "Quit your damned whining, you brat." He spit out blood and continued to rub his jaw, still wearing that straight look on his rugged face.

              "Living in the stars has destroyed the compassion you used to have. Gravityball ain't what it used to be. Collin, I thought you were to be the light that would guide us Raydenites out of the darkness. You're too selfish; you are projecting that image to all of the collectives in Eden. I cannot have that."

               "I never wanted any of that! All I wanted to do was play gravball! I never expected to be the Raydenites' golden boy."

               Cado smiled and began to chuckle under his breath. "Stupid boy. You don't even know, do you?"

               "Know what, Coach?"

              "I was trying to protect you. Because you are special, you are very special, Collin."

              "What the hell are you talking about?"

              "You are—"

              In an instant he was gone. A projectile struck the giant glass wall and the change in pressure began pulling everything out into space. The room became completely unstable and it took every ounce of my strength to hold onto something. The wind was incredible due to the oxygen being vacuumed into the void, and I began to suffocate.

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