"Premonition" is the first chapter of the first book of Incendium, and the 1st one overall.
The Chosen Twelve prepare for a mission concerning one of "Seven Lights of Legend".
- Ship #0293229-2
Note from the Author
I know, this episode is a bit lengthy, and you are not obliged to read it before continuing on with the series. However, it provides an introduction and character development to those who will play a key role in this, so it is suggested that you read it. Without further ado, please enjoy the chapter.
Our story begins with a single gem. This gem’s name is Black Opal, and in case you haven’t caught on, he is our story’s main character.
It all begins on a spaceship, floating silently toward its destination, planet Hs028, a special mission ahead for its passengers….
The door shut behind Black Opal in the dark room, as he strided eagerly to his desk. It was his “captain’s quarters”, and was supposed to be his prime getaway zone from reality. Emphasis on “supposed to be”. The other eleven gems profusely walked in on Opal, perhaps just for the sake of annoying him. Only on rare occasions was he able to speak to her. The only one he ever thought truly cared for him. Topaz.
Opal sat down and took a sphere from his jacket. The device was a gem communicator, one able to access Topaz’s channel. He set the communicator down and, with a tap on the top, activated it.
The device slowly levitated, then transfigurating into an oval-shaped screen.
It was then where her face had shown, almost enough to bring tears to Opal’s eyes. Almost. True gems, in his opinion, never cried.
“Opal!” she exclaimed, “It’s been so long! How have you been, dear?”
“Fine thank you,” he politely replied, “and you?”
“Having a bit of trouble here and there, but alright for the most part. Nothing major, just minor inconveniences, you know?”
“You don’t seem that happy today. Is something the matter?”
“I’m a little nervous about the upcoming mission, but for now, I’m okay.”
“What’s the mission about?”
“I can’t tell I’m afraid…”
“You know, I’m starting to get a little worried; why won’t you tell me what’s happening and why you’re so scared?”
“Hey, it’s not my fault that this mission is confidential, and from where you are now, I doubt you’d be able to help with anything,” Black Opal uttered, slightly raising his voice.
“Alright, I see how it is,” Topaz replied, seemingly disheartened, “I’m logging off for now, goodbye Opal.”
The connection blurred and faded out. The screen morphed back into the spherical communicator. Black Opal stared at it in disgust. Why did everything have to be so hard for him? Being a leader, maintaining a relationship, living to expectations? Opal picked up the communicator, squeezing it so hard that it cracks.
He sets it down, not willing for his anger to get out of bounds. It was better to just keep moving on. He stood up, and changed outfit, turning into his normal ensemble.
Opals on Homeworld are marveled at for their diversity, strength, and beauty, and so were entitled to higher ranks than many others. As such, Black Opal was entitled to higher status, and more aristocratic and regal overwear. Something whispered deep inside him to stop coming down to Topaz’s level. He was greater than them in all ways. In the end, Black Opal exited the room, believing firmly that he was his own gem. There was nothing holding him back, except for himself…
Opal exits the room knowing that he must round up the others for the impending mission. The other eleven must have been scattered throughout the ship somewhere. Meanwhile Hessonite was still fixing up the ship’s intercom, and so he had to call the meeting randomly.
“‘Sup Blackjack,” a gem said to Opal around the corner, as if to sense his energy when near.
Opal jumped, only to see it was nothing harmless, Charoite leaning on a wall, a full bottle whisky in his right hand. Opal knew it wasn’t exactly wise to get tipsy right before a mission, but he stopped questioning Charoite’s decisions decades ago.
“Charoite, just the guy I was looking for… well, not exactly the specific one out of eleven, but you know what I mean,” Opal began. He wasn’t much of a conversation starter, but that wasn’t exactly what made a leader in his eyes.
“Anyway, there’s a meeting in the meeting room at twelve-hundred hours, you are obliged to attend it.”
Charoite seemingly gazed right passed Opal, with the same blank, distant face as before.
“Hey, did you even hear anything I just said?” he asked.
“Oh, sorry, what was that? My mind was drifting off, didn't hear you there…” Charoite answered.
Opal took a moment to rub his temples. And I lost him already, he thought, Great. Simply talking to this gem was enough to give him a splitting headache.
“You know what,” Opal started, “Just meet with us in the meeting room in an hour.”
“Will do boss man,” Charoite replied, proceeding to chug down the bottle of whisky.
“And come sober.,” Opal murmured, leaving the scene, going on to the next gem he had to deal with.
Opal made a quick detour to the training chamber, to find Bloodstone practicing his swordplay.
Opal made his first mistake by walking into the chamber without knocking. Bloodstone was a very armed and trained soldier and killer. Opal stepped in unexpectedly, catching Bloodstone off guard, then triggering his default instincts and seeing Opal as an enemy.
In one swift motion, Bloodstone performed a quick low kicking sweep, leaving Opal unbalanced. Before Bloodstone could stab with his blade as a follow-up move, Opal caught his ground and summoned his sickle, catching the blade. With a twist of the wrist, Opal disarmed him, the sword clattering to the ground.
“What the hell are you crazy?!” Opal scolded, “I could have been impaled by you, or worse!”
“Personally I can’t see anything ‘worse’ than being stabbed smack in the chest,” Bloodstone stated blatantly, “especially when having the upper ground in a snake atta-”
“It wasn’t a snake attack! I was simply trying to come in and make a quick announcement, when suddenly you decided it was high tide time your leader be assassinated!”
“You were the one to waltz in on me and surprise me like that. It is not my blame.”
“Whatever, I’m not in the mood to spar with you or argue with you in anyway. Just be at the meeting room for the meeting at twelve-hundred hours, got it?”
With that, Opal walked out, eager to leave Bloodstone to his training. Where Charoite was always on low guard, Bloodstone was always on high guard. It was as if those two were polar opposites. Opal began to believe it was best to go on to the more “passive” members of the crew, ones that wouldn’t attack him for walking in, nor disregard him and his standing among the others.
He traveled up to the ship’s bridge, and entering saw Hessonite at the captain’s seat, working on the intercom systems, and the Feldspar twins sitting in chairs, chatting to each other. Opal decided he would check up on Hessonite first.
“How’s the intercom work going?” asked Opal.
Without even glancing at him, Hessonite replied, “Fine… just fine… just need to calibrate a few extra wires, put in a few audio commands…”
“Yup. Just a thing I came up with, soon you’ll be able to command the ship verbally. Best part is that the commands will be unique to your particular voice tone. This ship answers to you now.”
“That’s great and all, but do we really need you messing with the ship’s hardware?”
“Hold these, and cover your eyes,” Hessonite said, handing Opal the sparking ends of several multi-colored wires.
“What are these for?” Opal nervously asked.
Then, without warning, Hessonite drew an axe and hashed at the wires. An flare of sparks resulted, Opal having not much time to cover his face from the flames.
“There we go!” exclaimed Hessonite, “Didn’t need those wires anyway. You could keep them, as a souvenier more or less.”
“Was that really necessary?” asked Opal, while patting out the flames on his sleeves.
“Mhmm,” Hessonite nodded, “Activate fire extinguisher in section 4 of the bridge.”
”Fire extinguisher activated,” a voice sounded through the room as a spray of water doused Opal.
“Well then. I think my time here is about done. Hessonite, meeting at twelve hundred hours in the meeting room.”
Opal left Hessonite to his work, drying himself off, saving the wires for later, and heading off to the Feldspar twins.
The two sat in a corner, deep into a conversation, one which seemed to have the tone of an argument. They did this at times, usually arguing over who could shoot most efficiently, judging recoil speed, best aim, and the length of a shot.
“Remember when I scoped out that technician through the 5x5 window during that mission on planet Caritate? That right there is what you call aim,” Sunstone stated.
“Wasn’t the range of that shot only thirty yards away? Even I’m able to shoot further than that,” Moonstone countered. Where Sunstone was concerned with aim, Moonstone was concerned with the length of a shot.
“We were in a moving ship. I doubt you’ve been in worse conditions.”
“You’d be surprised.”
“Sorry to interrupt,” Opal intervened, “But there’s a mandatory meeting at twelve hundred hours about the impending mission, be sure to attend.
“Sure, whatever,” Sunstone flagrantly replied, the two then continuing the conversation.
Opal exited the room, taking a quick look at the time. The meeting was in less that thirty minutes, and rounding them up from all around the ship would take much longer than that. He only got 5 of them down, and 6 more left. The intercom was not an option. Luckily, they had Orthoclase, the fastest gem on the ship. Orthoclase was fairly rare, his type used to relay messages to and from diamonds at high speeds. Surely he could get the word around with enough time to spare. But where was he exactly….
The bond between Oligoclase and Orthoclase was similar to that of Sunstone and Moonstone, in the sense that their geological similarities made them a compatible match for each other. It made their feelings about each other, both positive and negative, more intense, for better or for worse. They worked with each other on almost everything, and even shared a room together. Later down the road, they made that room into a lab between themselves.
The lab lay in a remote corner of the ship, only accessible to the two.
Oligoclase and Orthoclase were working on a project together, as always. An artificial intelligence, stronger than any other gem on the ship. They would make plans for it later, but as of now their sights were just set on completing the project.
Oligoclase placed the growing gemstone into a test tube of it’s size. It was not yet ready for harvesting, and at the moment was to be incubated until further notice.
“I think it’s about time we take a break, isn’t it, Oli?”
“Let me just activate the conditioners… Okay, done. Orthoclase, we have done well.”
“Where are we even going with this? What will the gem do?”
“Whatever we ask it. As for abilities, we’ll have to flesh that out later.”
“But a metallic gem? Would that really work?”
“Anything is possible…”
A knock sounded from the door, Oligoclase shrugging, “Visitors… It better be good.” He motioned toward the door, using his gem to open it.
The visitor turned out to be just Zircon, the group’s tactician.
“According to our captain, Black Opal, we are to attend a mandatory meeting in the meeting room of the ship at twelve hundred hours,” Zircon said, “I have already passed this onto Agate, and was told to relay these orders to Orthoclase, as he is the fastest one in the ship, that he may spread these notes to the others, however since you seem to be here doing miscellaneous, and may I say mysterious activities with Oligoclase, I might as well say so to Oligoclase as well.”
Zircon turns to Oligoclase, “Oligoclase, I have received orders from Black Opal that-”
“Yes, yes, I heard,” he interrupted, “Mandatory meeting at twelve hundred hours in the meeting room. You know, you don’t always have to say the same exact thing to one person at a time. Nor do you have to say my name in the third-person when you’re talking to someone right next to me.”
“I know,” Zircon started, “However the message was intended to Orthoclase, and so addressing you as well would be rather rude, wouldn’t it? The very fact that he heard the message implies that you were eavesdropping.”
“I have no idea how, in any way, that makes sense, but sure, whatever, message received. Now can you please go now?”
“Not be for I examine what lies behind you. I am greatly interested in what lies behind you.”
“No, it’s confidential business. No entry.”
“Very well then. Orthoclase, you know what to do?”
“Yep,” Orthoclase replied, and began his trip. He used his ability of superspeed to zoom down the hallway at speeds slightly less than that of sound.
A moment of silence stood between the two.
“Well then…” started Oligoclase, “This is rather awkward.”
“It really is,” responded Zircon, “So you’re sure you won’t show me what’s beyond the door?”
Oligoclase took a deep sigh, and said, “I will show you. As long as you don’t blab anything out to Black Opal.”
“Very well then. After you.”
With that, the two stepped into the lab.
Nephrite Jade had always had feelings for her teammate, Apatite. They had little geological similarities, and so their feelings for each other were not amplified, contrary to duos such as Sunstone and Moonstone, who considered themselves to be staunch competitors, and Oligoclase and Orthoclase, who seemed to have a great bond together in one way or another.
It was always hard for Nephrite to get Apatite on her side, and and she was always finding it difficult to get him into a relationship with her. Using normal means, that is. Nephrite always managed to bend around that using her telekinetic abilities. It was a rather nasty way of getting around things, but it worked.
The field was set in Apatite’s chamber. He was shining his trident, his most prized possession. Nephrite walked in casually.
“Hey Apatite,” she began, “What are you doing there?”
Apatite wasn’t surprised at all by Nephrite’s unexpected visit, it happened on an almost daily basis.
“Oh, nothing really. Just getting ready for the upcoming mission.”
Apatite barely noticed her, so to catch his attention, Nephrite grasped his arm.
“I see you’ve gotten stronger. Improving you build for me, are you?”
“Well, now that you’ve said it, I think I have made an impro-”
Apatite made the mistake of looking Nephrite in the eyes, stopping his sentence abruptly as Nephrite put him into a light trance. Both their eyes became a bright shade of jade as their minds were linked together.
“Now then,” Nephrite began, “Do you mind putting your weapon down and giving me a little kiss on the cheek?”
“How about once I’m done,” he answered, still not fully hypnotized. He was a stronger mind, as Nephrite feared. Apatite turned back to his work.
“Now please,” Nephrite responded firmly, putting a bit more effort into subduing his mind.
It seemed to work, as Apatite put what he was doing down, and turned toward Nephrite.
Here it comes!!! she thought, when just then, Orthoclase came zooming into the room, appearing right between them.
The two jumped, the scare enough to cast Apatite out of his spell.
“Wh… Orthoclase, could you please stop rushing into here like that! What’s so important this time?” Apatite shouted.
“There’s a meeting in the meeting room soon,” Orthoclase rushed, “You two should start heading there fast, we don’t have much time!”
“Calm down,” said Nephrite, “It’s not the end of the world if we don’t get there on time.”
She then looks up at Apatite, “Want to hold hands together? While walking, I mean.”
“I’d rather not,” Apatite blankly replies, taking his trident and walking out the door towards the meeting room.
“I could hold hands with you, Nephrite.”
Agate met Black Opal at the door that lead to the meeting room, where they had all their meetings and discussions.
“Opal, my friend. How have you been dear?”
“A little stressed, and at some points relieved. I’ve been through a lot today, I just want to get through this damned meeting and rest it all off.”
“What’s been bothering you?” Agate asked, and at the same time coming up behind Opal, giving him a shoulder-massage. “It’s not good to hold it all in like that.”
“It’s Topaz. She’s worried about the things I’ve been doing, I want to assure her that we’ll all be fine, but if I can’t tell her what’s been going on in this confidential mission, she will never be truly assured that she should stop worrying about me,” Opal takes a deep sigh, “And to be honest, I can’t even assure myself that everything will be just fine. I don’t know if I can assure anyone of that…”
Agate stops, and wraps her hands around Opal.
“Everything will be just fine. You’re a great leader, and a great friend. You’ll make this mission great, I know it.”
“I mean I guess… but there are a lot of things that seem to distract me from what’s important.”
“Then get rid of those distractions.”
“But it’s too hard to let go of somethings. Whatever, I’ll try my best at least.”
“Sounds wonderful,” Agate said, retracting her embrace.
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“And about that Topaz gem? Forget about her. She is not worth your time.”
Opal did not have time to say another word before the other ten approached the doorway.
Agate stepped aside to join the rest. Opal always found it hard to read her. Bloodstone had on full armor, looking battle ready and fierce. Hessonite carried his hammer, having finished the job on the intercom, a steady and reliable engineer. Charoite still held a full bottle of fresh whiskey, however not as drunk as before, which was a good sign. Sunstone and Moonstone followed, still debating on who was the best shooter on the team. Apatite, a lone wolf, came next, silent and singular. His very figure seemed to radiate confidence. Opal always liked that about him. Oligoclase and Zircon continued forward, both indulging themselves in a conversation concerning Oli’s latest project. Nephrite and Orthoclase came last, Nephrite ignoring Orthoclase as he constantly rambled on about miscellaneous subjects that Nephrite cared little about.
And then there was Black Opal. The leader. He stood before them at the doorway, welcoming each and everyone of them as they entered the meeting room. He went inside last, ready for what lie ahead. Whatever happened from this point on would be forever written in gem history. Black Opal would determine that. He was stressed about this, and yet felt self confident. He could take this on, as he did everything in life.
It was then that a fire began to spark in his heart. A fire of determination that he intended to carry on throughout the mission.
Everything will be just fine he tried to convince himself, Everything will be just fine...