These two characters that are being introduced in this chapter were eventually scrapped and I don't know if I am to bring them back but they do play an important role in the beginning part of this story. They were created to show another side of the universe where my characters live, and show a little glimpse into the history of their ancestors.
Orange haze covered a small town outside of one of the largest cities on the dusty planet. The buildings that the town was composed off were loud, and full of smoke. The street was busy with hundreds of pedestrians, many of whom were homeless. One of the figures was accepting payments for the livestock he held the reigns of. The alien beast wasn't a sight to see to begin with but with poor genetic manipulations, the poor creature was nearly twice the size they were meant to be. More muscle was supposed to be the result, but the mass was only a hive of tumors.
After the bidding ended, four tailed figures approached the livestock. One by one they pounced on the creature, savagely ripping it apart with claw and fang. The creature screamed in agony while it's sad life was brought to a savage end. Blood covered the carnivorous anthropomorphic lizards who continued to feed on the animal. They constantly hissed at each other, quarreling over quality meat. The lustful bliss in their eyes was the only thing that wasn't tainted by the blood.
No one on the street paid them any attention, except for one starving young lizard who cautiously approached. While the homeless youth attempted to drink some of the blood that spilled in the dusty road. Two of the lizards who ripped apart the animal took notice, and hissed at the starving youth. He hissed back and slowly backed away, not daring to turn his back to them.
While they approached, the two weren't satisfied by backing the youth up enough so they lunged and attacked him. All three disappeared in a cloud of dust for a few seconds before the original two crawled back to the feast. The starving youth lay on the ground with his entrails spilling out of him. He tried to crawl away but was unable to. Still, no one on the street bothered to take notice.
"So this is what we were to inherit?"
Watching from a high window in a smokey inn sat a hooded female salamander. Only the end of her tan nose was seen.
"It is one of the many problems why our people need us, Olivia," replied a well-dressed male salamander. He stood next to Olivia, watching the quarrels outside too. Not far from down the street, two males finished their quarrel over mating rights of a female and now the victor claimed his prize in the middle of the crowded street. "'Savage' is how we're described. We can change that."
"I wish I had your optimism," Olivia said turning toward the male. "But the people don't want this to change, Oliver. They enjoy their savage nature."
"Father wants things to change."
"By raiding the UDAS ships? Isn't that what we've been doing for thousands of years? Besides, it's been over thirty years since we've had a single successful raid." Olivia stood and walked over to the fire pit nestled in the middle of the room. The sounds from the inn's lobby below them echoed through the floor.
"I feel like we've already had this conversation," said Oliver, not moving from the window.
"We've had," Olivia responded, taking a seat near the fire. "Dozens of times. The UDAS doesn't even consider us a threat enough to escort their civilian ships anymore. Besides, since we were banished how far have we come? The wars we caused forced the UDAS to destroy our entire military force and a the only unifying government we had."
"Don't refer to the past," Oliver said staring out the window. "I know our history all too well. I don't need to be reminded of it."
Olivia sat in silence, watching the flames while Oliver watched the orange twilight fade.
"When is your contact supposed to be here?" asked Oliver after the first few brightest stars appeared in the sky. The brightest star belonging to the UDAS. Oliver stared at it. He had mixed feelings about them. He's never met them, the so-called weak with the mighty ships that had devastated Oliver's ancestors in a dozen wars. But how could the UDAS be much worse than this planet.
"When Oasis is eclipsed," answered Olivia. "You don't have to come with me Oliver."
"What kind of brother would I be if I let you go alone," asked Oliver rhetorically. "Besides, Father would be furious if I were to return without you. You know how much he wants you back."
"So I can bare his hatchlings!" hissed Olivia, standing up in sudden frustration. "When Father and I meet again, it will be my sword through his gut."
Oliver sighed. "He'll likely be more frustrated when he finds out that I'm nowhere to be found either. I pity the poor soul who'll fail to find us; they don't even know how short we're making their life tonight."
"I wish we could give everyone the opportunity to escape this place," muttered Olivia, sitting back down her anger gone as quickly as it came. "Maybe someday I will return and give them that opportunity."
"So you do want to help change our world?"
"I'm abandoning it, yes, but if I were to stay nothing will change."
"As much as I want to disagree and persuade you to stay, you are right that nothing will change by the people's and our father's own will." Oliver looked up at the moons. They were almost touching in the sky, drawing closer together slowly. "Your contact better not be late."
"If he is then he's been caught or killed," Olivia said, emotionless and staring into the fire. "Then all of this will be for naught. Nothing will change and both of us will become nothing to our people."
"So no back up plan then huh?"
"Don't think me so naive," replied Olivia turning toward her brother with a smirk. "I will be getting off this planet tonight, one way or another."
Oliver returned the smile and glanced back up at the moons. Oasis was half eclipsed. Only half an hour remained.
Despite the sun being down, the activity in the streets and inns did not relax any. The noise from below grew more savage in fact with the occasional hiss being heard through the floor. Sounds of several struggles would often follow. No doubt the patrons of the inn were skirmishing over food, claimed territories or claimed mating rights.
When Oasis was nothing but a crescent hiding behind another moon, a patterned knock rang off the room door. Oliver reached down toward his belt, wrapping his claws around the hilt of his sword before walking over to the door and opening it.
A cloaked figure forcefully pushed its way inside. Oliver jumped back and drew his sword, making sure he was between Olivia and the stranger.
"Lock the door. Close that window."
"It's okay Oliver," said Olivia, standing to close the window blinds. "It's him."
"I beg your forgiveness Princess Theta, but I am not a 'him'," said the robed figure. Once the room was closed to any prying eyes, the robed figure removed her hood. Oliver stared in surprise. "Allow me to introduce myself," said the female cheetah who revealed herself from the hood. "My name is Lucien Richelieu. I come from the Bridging Albatross. We should get going. Are you ready?"
Olivia nodded and glanced over at her brother. He was still staring at Lucien. "Forgive my brother, he's never seen anyone who has fur on them."
The cheetah grabbed her hood and pulled it over her ears again. "Is he capable of staying hidden dressed like that?"
"We wont' be detected," said Oliver, shaking his head from his shock. "Forgive my rudeness. It's been a thousand years since someone wearing fur has been in our space."
"First that you've seen," commented Lucien heading toward the door. She glanced over her shoulder and said, "Do not fall behind, I will not wait for you to catch up."
Without another word the hooded figure left the room, and the two salamanders followed. They did not head toward the stairs but an open window at the end of the hall. Lucien gracefully leapt out of it, landing on the roof ledge just outside of it and then scaled the roof until she came across the edge leading into an alley way. She dropped down into the alley, with both salamanders dropping down near her.
"Stay to the shadows and avoid being seen if at all possible," whispered Lucien. "If anyone approaches, pray that they are not someone you know."
The hooded feline traversed through the city rather well for someone who was supposed to be foreign to the planet. Her pace was quick but neither Oliver or Olivia lagged behind. They scaled the walls, hid in the alleys and shadows and climbed the rooftops. At times they blended in with the crowd, passed dying civilians who lost their quarrels and gave the territorial civilians a wide berth.
Oasis was still partially eclipsed by the time they left the town. The dusty desert was cold, causing Oliver to slow since he only had a cloak but not like the hooded cloaks Olivia and Lucien wore.
After they were several kilometers from the town, and no one was out in the desert at this hour, Oliver has lagged behind nearly three hundred meters.
Olivia kept glancing back, worried until she finally request for Lucien to stop. "Lucien, please wait."
She stopped and looked back in the distance to see Oliver's progress. "There is no time for this," she muttered. "What's the desert activity like at night?"
"None, there's dangerous animals out at night but they don't venture this close to the town," replied Olivia, watching her brother catch up. "Still the locals don't like to leave the towns. It's too cold."
"I'm putting myself at a huge risk for Prince Theta," Lucien said with an irritated tone. She took of her cloak and handed it over to Olivia. "Run this to your brother. Don't lose sight of me and hurry up!"
Olivia thanked her and turned to run back to her brother but not after hearing the cheetah mumble something about "the cold bloods".
The distance between the cheetah and two salamanders nearly exceeded five hundred meters until the salamanders were warm enough to quicken their pace. Across the desert with only partial moonlight to guide them, the cheetah and noble salamanders walked for a dozen kilometers without stopping to rest or drink. Oliver and Olivia both rejoined with Lucien but by that time the sky began to pale.
"This planet has short nights," mentioned Lucien seemingly to herself. "We're almost there."
It was true. On the horizon the silhouette of some type of building began to rise. As they drew closer, it became apparent that the building is an abandoned warehouse, severely damaged by an ancient war and more so by nature claiming the land back. What remained standing was not large and the rubble of the other portion of the building looked more like a rocky patch of desert rather than ruins.
"Here we are," said Lucien, stopping for the first time since they left the inn in the town. She walked around the standing wall, crawled over the rubble and entered the standing portion of the building.
The sun peeked over the horizon just as all three were underneath the rubble. Lucien walked over to a random spot and stomped on the ground in a pattern. A dull rapid knocking was the reply and a trap door opened up. Two furred bodies exited, guns at point and surveyed the area. One target the two salamanders.
"These them?" asked the cougar guard without taking her sights off the two. Her yellow tail twitched with anticipation.
"Yes," replied Lucien. "Let's hurry. We have less than an hour."
Entering the underground tunnels, the salamanders were surprised by the vast hangar that they had entered. An almond-shaped ship was resting in the middle of it, waiting for it's crew. Half a dozen other furred bodies were inside. Neither Oliver or Olivia had any idea that there was such a large presence on their planet, less than twenty kilometers from the capital city of the planet.
Under armed escort, the salamanders were guided directly to the ship and inside the passengers bay. Lucien sat in there with them while two pilots went and sat in the cockpit. Half were staying behind.
"We made it barely in time," informed Lucien. "We cut it too close. No matter how much you love your sister young prince, you should appreciate her a lot more for bringing you along. I put myself at huge risk giving you that cloak."
"I appreciate your sacrifice," replied Oliver shrugging out of the hooded cloak. "But know this, I do not leave my homeworld behind easily. And despite your help and sacrifices, do not assume that I won't become your enemy at the first sign of aggression you show towards me or my sister."
"Then we are at agreement," said Lucien, he eyes narrowed. "We have a larger presence here than your father can even begin to imagine. I've put that at risk to help you two escape."
"And who are you exactly?" asked Oliver handing back the cloak over casually. "We know you're not with the United Defense of All Species so what organization are you with?"
"To release that information would mean all of our deaths," said Lucien. The ship's engines purred to life and the gravity began to shift within the compartment. Suddenly the ship accelerated and the gravity pushed all the passengers back against their seats while they aimed to leave the atmosphere.
"Our agenda is never what you may assume. We were just as likely to kill you both rather than help you escape."
"You will hold your end of the bargain though, will you not?" asked Olivia. She knew that your dependence on this organization was fragile but she had no other choice.
"We may have no alliance to any faction other than our own but we hold true to our word," replied Lucien. "You will make it to the UDAS safely."
The ship left no exhaust trail while it exited the planet's atmosphere. It turned toward the brightest star in the sky and accelerated for it. Once it gained enough distance the planet, it blinked out of existence.