Excerpt from “Star Thief”

Chapter 1

Starting With A Bang

“Hey, why did the sun go to school?” a blue skinned extraterrestrial asked through the radio.

“Get back to work,” said the green-skinned superior.

“C’mon, man,” Blue-skin pleaded. “why did the sun go to school?”

Green-skin pushed a power drill up against a loose screw on the space station. A planet covered with blue clouds and lightning floated quietly in the not-so distant distance.

“Y’know if you worked on this station as much as you worked on your jokes,” Green-skin counseled. “we’d probably be done by now.”

“You’re just saying that ’cause you wanna go home.”

Green-skin turned his head inside his helmet and exclaimed “Yeah! I’d very much like to be home right now!”

“Well, unlike you,” Blue-skin finished drilling his screw into the round, black contraption he was working on. “I enjoy working out here.”

Green-skin glanced a disbelieving eye over to Blue-skin and replied “You? Enjoying work?”

“Hey,” Blue-skin defended. “Don’t laugh!”

Green-skin floated off clutching his stomach, laughing hysterically. He grabbed onto his safety rope and pulled himself back.

“You’re meanin’ to tell me,” Blue-skin argued. “that you don’t enjoy every second of being in this liberating feeling of zero gravity, among all these stars with a beautiful view of our home planet, Europa?”

“Yes.” Green-skin answered. “I hate being in space.”

“How can you hate being in space? You work in space.”

“I like having some ground underneath me, man. If this safety rope somehow snaps, I’m a goner!”

“Well I’m sorry for your paranoia, man. I can float out here all day!” Blue-skin reached his arms out and slowly floated away from the station. His safety rope caught him as it stretched out and jerked him back.

“So that’s why you’re so damn slow and a pain in my ass.” Green-skin holstered his drill and turned toward Blue-skin. “Because you just wanna ‘float’ out here the entire time.”

“I resent that,” Blue-skin holstered his power drill as well and pointed a finger to Green-skin’s helmet. “I’m not slow, I’m deliberate.”

“Whatever you wanna call it,” Green-skin pushed himself a bit lower to the other set of thick, long screws jutting out of the station, waiting to be drilled in. “it’s the reason why we’re behind on our deadlines.”

“Why do there always have to be deadlines and due dates in the first place?” Blue-skin asked. “I mean, we’re building this huge, 150 meter long space station that is extremely complex and delicate, why can’t it just be finished when it’s finished?”

“Because they pay us a lot of credits to be quick with it.” Green-skin answered, drawing his bulky, navy blue power drill and beginning the new set of screws below Blue-skin.

“Yeah, but quick means rushed, and rushed means mistakes.”

“Well thanks to you, we should be absolutely mistake-free.”

“Exactly.”

Green-skin rolled his eyes, thinking he should have emphasized his sarcasm a bit more. He finished drilling a row of screws and noticed Blue-skin was still working on the black contraption being drilled into the space station.

“Say,” Blue-skin began, backing up a bit to see the whole mechanism. “what is this thing anyway?”

“You’ve been working for 60 days on that thing and you still don’t know what it is?”

“I like to keep a distance between me and my work.”

Green-skin pointed the power drill at himself and mocked his own suicide.

“Hey, by the way,” Green-skin said. “When you were inside earlier, did you test to see if the burners and stoves worked?”

“Yeah.”

“And did you remember to turn them off?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Blue-skin waved him off. “Getting back to the point though, what is this thing?”

“It’s a Jump Bridge, they just made it down on Jupiter. Supposed to be a real quality teleporter.”

“Damn,” Blue-skin nodded. “Didn’t know these were ready for use yet. Badass.”

“Yeah,” Green-skin unhooked himself from that section of the space station and slid down to the right, where pipes and metallic frames were ready to be coated and drilled in with more screws. “They want to be able to teleport from the ground straight to the space station, so they can just teleport right back to the surface once they’re done for the day.”

“Man,” Blue-skin smiled. “Just head to orbit for a day and come right back? Sounds awesome.”

“Yeah it does.”

“So anyway,” Blue-skin continued drilling. “Are you gonna answer my joke or not?”

“I forgot the joke.”

“Why did the sun go to school?” Blue-skin smirked.

Green-skin shook his head and remembered why he shouldn’t have instigated him.“Hey seriously though, man, did you turn off the burners and stoves?” He peered his head through a window into the station. “There’s fuel packs in there, if you forgot to turn them off, this whole damn station might blo-”

A massive explosion rang out from the tail of the space station and rocked them to the side, singeing their safety ropes and rocketing them into free float.

Blue-skin soared to the right from the shockwave, while Green-skin flipped uncontrollably behind him. Blue-skin maintained his composure and saw a satellite coming. He could do this. Just grab onto a handle, a door, anything. Just catch it.

Blue-skin was hurled right into it, rocking his body and knocking the wind out of him. But in hist fist, there was a handle to a door on the satellite. He caught it. He had stopped his free float.

There was Green-skin coming in right behind him.

“Grab onto me!” Blue-skin’s voice shouted through the radio.

Green-skin was flipping backwards right towards him, and Blue-skin hung his legs out for him to catch. They collided right into each other, Blue-skin squeezing tight onto the handle, not letting go, and Green-skin grabbing onto his legs at the last instant.

“I gotcha!” Blue-skin reached out a hand to Green-skin. He grabbed it and pulled him up to the handle where there was space enough for the both of them.

“Holy shit,” Green-skin panted, clinging onto the satellite door. “You alright?”

“Yeah, I’m good,” Blue-skin said, sucking in deep gulps of oxygen. “You?”

Green-skin gave him a thumbs up through the white gloves of his suit. They both turned towards the station and saw scraps of metal and debris flying in every which direction. There were little explosions still going off. The Jump Bridge had been flung into the nothingness of deep space. The station was all but gone.

“Alright,” Green-skin said. “So why did the sun go to school?”

Blue-skin hung there motionless, mouth agape and eyes filled with awe.

“To get brighter…” He finally answered.

Green-skin let out a little chuckle and nodded his head.

“Okay,” Blue-skin nodded. “I may have left the burners on…”

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