Chapter 2 Part 1
The next few days appeared to go uneventfully, life falling back into the mundane routine that it had become the norm. Nectarine would leave after sending both the children off to school and feeding the dog in the same tired pair of dress shoes and same tired outfits. The bills were paid, money was saved for school and not much was left for anything else.
The only thing that had changed was that Sagittarius had fulfilled his promise and no longer had the threat of punishment looming over his head. His failing grades had disappeared; in fact they had improved tremendously.
But Libra noticed there was something off about him. He spent a lot more time sleeping and he was very listless. Whenever she would find him awake, he would brush off her concerns as her being over worried. Even Yo, his best friend, seemed to be as lethargic as him. Libra would find him snoring contently on their couch whenever he decided to visit. No matter how hard she would shake him, the black haired boy would not move. Once Yo managed to keep sleeping even after Nectarine had come home and after Bulbie had pulled him off the couch by the hem of his sweater. Her concerns continued to grow but because the home was in peace, she didn’t want to disrupt it. She only hoped that the answer would come soon.
Sagittarius blinked several times and rubbed his eyes to make sure he read the hazy red numbers correctly. It was time
Making sure to be as quiet as possible, he slipped out of bed and picked up his boots. Reaching under his bed, he fished out a big cardboard box that was full of several dozen packets and cans of food. Remembering the metal box, he quickly pulled it out from his closet and stuffed it into larger box.
He silently opened the door with the box under his arm and slunk into the hallway only to suddenly trip over Bulbie, who had been following him. Sagittarius held his breath to try to suppress the pain when he hit the ground and as he desperately tried to muffle Bulbie's yelps with his shirt.
"Shhh Bulbie! I'm sorry! Please be quiet!" He squeaked furiously in a higher octave as he hugged the bipedal dog against him in an attempt to muffle his whines. Bulbie whimpered loudly until Sagittarius rubbed his back and loosened his grip on him.
Beyond grateful that his mother had not woken up, Sagittarius picked up his things and carefully made his way down stairs with Bulbie closely behind him.
Unbeknownst to him, Libra had woken up by the yelps and heard her brother's rather loud whispers.
What is he doing at this time of the night? She thought as she barely made out his faint footsteps on the stairs and the soft jingle of Bulbie's license tags.
Quickly deciding to follow him, she threw on a robe and a pair of slippers. Being extremely cautious, she followed him out of the house.
The night was cool and full of stars though they seemed to be dull compared to the great glow of the twin moons that loomed in the dark, velvety sky. Their brightness helped Libra spot her older brother as he seemed to make his way down the road in the far distance with Bulbie tagging at his heels.
Rubbing her eyes to clear her vision, she was sure she saw him carrying a box.
"What does he think he's doing?" She murmured to herself as she carefully followed his steps, wrapping her robe tighter around herself. She needed answers and she was getting them now.
She remained far enough to not arouse suspicion but close enough to be able to see where he would go next. This was easier said than done since her brother was walking in a brisk speed and on one occasion, turned around forcing Libra to hide behind a trash can to avoid being caught. It took all her might not to cry out when her robe was soaked by some hideous smelling ooze that coated the can. Whimpering feebly as she bit her lower lip, she gingerly took off the robe with her fingertips and tossed it away.
Hugging herself, she continued to walk for what seemed to be an eternity. The road went from their neighborhood to a new area Libra was sure she had never been too. The distant houses became scarcer and scarcer, being replaced by several repair shops, gasoline pumps and even some small vegetable shops. The air also changed to be stale and smelled of old gas.
She managed to look up in time to see her brother go up to a large gate that was lined with shipping crates. The “Docks” as it was called, where most of Hocotate’s ships landed or took off. Sitting by the crates was a grungy looking man with messy hair that peeked from under a cap. He wore a pair of old overalls and a white shirt that looked more black and brown than white. His gnarled, graying hair stuck out from under his cap.
"Hey Hal. How was the day?"
"Same old same old. I see Bulbie decided to join you tonight."
"Yeah, he wanted to follow me. Any new ships that need rewiring? Any cleaning? Any work?"
The older, scruffy looking man shook his head tiredly. "Not today, kid. You got most of it done yesterday. You can work on Stardust if you want, I'll be around here if ya need me"
Sagittarius grinned, picking up a large tool box. "Thanks Hal"
"Don’t mention it. Oh but I have this really old one you should take a gander at later. It belonged to that freight company that went out of business years ago. It's in shambles but I think you could fix it up some. Probably won’t be worth much but it’s better than keepin that old thing here. "
Sagittarius smiled before continuing his way through the unloading area which was filled with crates, scraps of metal and loads of soot.
Taking a big breath and brushing her curly blonde hair back, she went after him, hiding behind the crates as carefully as she could. She waited until the man had gone into a little shack before trailing after Sagittarius. He continued walking until he came up to a rusty metal door to an enormous looking warehouse.
He reached into his pocket and fished out several dull keys. He quickly unlocked the door and ushered Bulbie inside before he went inside.
Libra lunged to grab the heavy door before it shut and carefully slipped inside, slamming it to not arouse suspicion that such a heavy door would close gently.
Inside, it was cold and pitch black. A faint smell of cleanser, oil and ship fuel was in the air. Hurriedly feeling the walls, the blonde tried to find a place to hide before there was a faint click and several dozen lights turned on. Flinching away from the sudden brightness, Libra rubbed her eyes before they cleared and she could see. A few feet away was a pile of crates which she immediately dove behind.
The room appeared to be part of an old repair shop, enormous and it's metal walls dulled with thick cobwebs in the upper corners. But the blonde's eyes were glued to the starship that was stationed in the middle of the room.
It was an opaque silver that looked more grey that looked like it had seen better days. It had a single cockpit and twin rockets. And if she had looked closer, she may have seen the faint red letters that read 'SS Stardust'.
Libra continued to stare in an incredulous daze before she decided that she needed answers to this and quickly made the decision to speak up.
"Sagittarius! What is all this?! What are you doing?!" She shouted with slight hesitation.
Sagittarius stiffened, feeling his blood freezing in its place. His first thought was that his mother had somehow managed to find him. Slowly he turned around to find his sister with her fuchsia eyes wide open. She was standing near the crates. Her hair was a mess and she was smudged with dirt and grime.
"I-I! It's none of your business Libra! Go back home!" He growled after he regained his composure. He walked to where she was and began to push her towards the door. She pulled back, digging her heels into the ground and grabbing onto his shirt.
"Where did you get this ship?! Mama said we aren't allowed to have those things!" She snapped. "And where did you get the money for it?!"
"I said it's none of your business! I’m taking you home!"
"It is my business!” she yelled. “We're a family, it's not just you! What if Mama finds out! You know how she feels about this stuff after-..."
Memories of his father's death made his stomach twist and he let go of his sister. Fighting the sudden surge of sadness, Sagittarius took a big breath and shook his head as if to shake off the painful memories. The previous anger disappeared from his face.
"I need to know." He sighed as he turned back to his ship. "I need to find out what exactly happened"
"What are you talking about?"
"I need to know what happened to dad."
Libra lowered her head sadly. "You know what happened already. The Detective Benson said he... he likely was hit by a meteorite and that the Dolphin's gas tank ruptured."
"He said PROBABLY! They never found anything! Dad could still be out there! Dad's smart, he could figure out a way to survive! He's still alive! I just know it!" Sagittarius retorted fervently, his smoky blue eyes gleaming. "And I'm going to find him."
Completely taken aback, Libra fought to find her voice for several moments. "Bu-but-!"
He ignored her stuttering and knocked on the ship. Its lights flickered on as it beeped softly.