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I may take ages to update as School has kept me busy, but it is being worked on - please don't delete this due to inactivity!

Chapter One

‘Don’t touch that! Really, don’t!’ The ship gave a horrible sideways lurch, and the pile of humming equipment on the deck would have fallen if it weren’t for Ro lifting it on a cushion of air. She put it back on the table, carefully avoiding the Evon who was now bringing the ship into a carefully balanced orbit. They saw a sign on the orbit station that was moving slightly below the ship.


They brought the ship down towards the surface of the planet. It looked like a desert or steppe, except for the smallish settlement they headed for. A flickering holographic sign informed them they had come to the capital city, known as Derongatu. They landed in a dusty square, which seemed to be a sort of car park, although the fresh paint and polished metal of their ship stood out from the rusty, dilapidated space ships that stood nearby. The distant wail of a burglar alarm went off, and a man ran off towards the noise. The three travellers set off with the Black Hole Hulk, Dru, at their head; they walked into the market square. The desert area had been dusty, hot, and desolate; the market square was smelly, crowded, and dirty. Traders announced their wares, urging customers to buy bags of strange smelling herbs or rings and enchantments that would ‘bring luck to the most sinning of souls’. They proceeded onwards to a building that, had it of been cleaner, would of looked slightly out of place. In reality, it looked as if it had sprouted out from the mazy jumble of shacks and markets that surrounded it. It was a tall sandstone palace (but covered with so much mud and bird waste it seemed to be of white-brown rock), guarded by a regiment of soldiers wearing tunics and sun-hats and carrying long sharp spears. They walked along a dusty path, little more than a line of ash that slowly widened and built up to become a dark road. It bore that hot rubbery smell of a playground in summer, and on either side, rubbish and oil sat undisturbed, not even by the children who played on the tyres nearby. Knocking on the great palace door, Ro inevitably took the lead, posher places were her element. A man wearing an elaborate costume of silks and linens guided them through elaborately marbled rooms that, in contrast to the world outside, looked almost beautiful. It strove for elegance, but did not quite achieve it, instead giving an almost fake feel to the complex tapestries and smoky incense. They came up to an old wooden door that was starting to rot under the cheap varnish, and it gave the impression of putting too much polish on uncut nails. Once again they knocked upon the door, and they slowly eased it open, conscious of the week hinges it hung on.

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Lilly Black was in a deep underground cave, full of bustling life. She walked around the cave, taking it all in. In this world, she felt like a queen. The walls glinted with strange crystals, and the floor sparkled beneath her feet as she walked. A little stream of water fed into a lake at the end of the tunnel, and it smelled like freshly mown grass... grass, why grass – this was a cave. It meant something. And what of the lake, she could have sworn that she say a reflection of... of...somewhere else, with two suns, and what seemed to be a human, but with a few differences.

Laughing, she pulled out a piece of paper from her pocket... and tore it... as in all her happy times; Lilly found that her dreams where her only safe asylum (or at least that was a word the doctor used... why not just say place or house...) for happiness and comfort – the strange events in the real world confused her. (Blaring out from the newspapers stood big black text informing that there had been more earthquakes; that global warming had turned to global cooling; the army where at war... again; ActiLife yogurt “bliss” had mutated into a killer... what where these people thinking...).

The paper seemed different. She had many a dream torn white paper, but these last times it seemed to be less here, and more the dream... less paper, and more... a universe? No, that wasn’t it; it was a dimension almost – why was she thinking these strange thoughts, it was simply paper? However, these last few times... she did not like to think about it, now lying in her cold bed (or at least pile of twigs).

She felt a ringing sound in her head, and crashed into sleep, thinking about the adventure she had survived during the day – running once again, from strange creatures that seemed to be following her. They ranted in a strange language, calling to kill her for doing something to somebody called ‘Evon’, who they seemed to dislike. What had she done wrong? ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dreary Black sat watching ‘Spin2Win’. She could watch it most days on Gamez@theHut, but Thursdays were different. Today there was going to be a new show, live. She waited for Rex Sparkles to come on screen. She hoped he would talk to her today. He had started it only a few of weeks ago. Since Lilly had left, things had been... worse. It wasn’t that she ever really loved her, she loved the money, but it wasn’t that. Dreary had at first thought it strange that they could stop National TV to talk and wink at her, but she soon learned to accept only Rex’s love was compelling him to do it. He told her to do things. Like stealing the car, or selling the house to get a portable TV. She stirred her tea and listened to him this time: ‘Hello Dreary’ ‘Hello Rex,’ she smiled almost nonchalantly, ‘I want you to do what I say,’ ‘Rexy, these last few days... maybe we should stop and think’ ‘Are you saying I don’t know what I’m doing? Imagine this is Spin2Win – only the wheel knows what is going to happen. I’m like the wheel. Dreary, you must trust me; you do love me, don’t you?’ ‘Of course...’ ‘Then you must do exactly what I say,’

Chapter Two

The door opened, and the change was remarkable. Although the palace was partially a contrast to the outside, it still had the same drab, dusty feel of the planet; but where the planet was dirty, this place was overly sterile. The machine-lined walls and blur lighting echoed that of the treebase, but this room was larger, and was dominated by a screen at one end, which was split into several smaller screens, most showing maps, numbers or faces, although one or two were covered in white noise.

Sitting in front of these, although facing the group, was was a serene man wearing white robes with a black trim that looked like what carol; singers might wear at christmas. Ro made a mental note to call the fashion police.

"Good Evning. I see you have found your way through the charming streets of Jalu - okay, through the hell hole - to find us here," he said, with what began as a serene chant, but broke into a fairly normal, if not overly well structured and intelligent, speech.

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Dreary called through to Brian. He didn't want any food - he barley ate at all these days. She took a tin of beans, and looked around for some clean crockery, but there was none hidden in the piles of grimey plates, so she decided to eat the beans cold and from the tin. Plunging into the grimy dishwater, she retrived a fork and went through to the living room. She said hello to Brian, but he didn't respond; he just sat there with the same slightly shocked expression. He barley talked anymore - not since she had stabbed him in the chest with the kitchen knife. She found it a little annoying that he didn't talk, and she didn't understand how he managed to not get hungry.

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