It had been three days since the president of the airbike company released his statement, 7 since the 25 R’s were stolen, and I had finally found one of them. One of the Young Beasts had just left it there after he got bored with it. His friends tried to destroy it but they didn’t understand how the thing was put together. They were made to withstand 800 mph+ crashes, hitting one with a steel beam wasn’t going to do anything but scratch the paint and buff the alloy underneath. I was wearing a lab coat I found a few days before along with the station issued gravity boots. The boots came up to my knees and were law in case the gravity field ever gave out… I thought they made me look cool and when riding a 25 R you had to look cool.
I made sure the Young beasts had left the area before I tried to approach it. They already killed two people who tried to steal the bikes from them and I didn’t want to be number three. After giving the area a good over-watch I approached the bike and plugged in my key hack. Hopefully I wouldn’t kill the operating board with my low tech hack but it was worth a try. Just then I heard the other 25 R engines screaming nearby and terror shot through me like high voltage. I jumped on the bike and smacked at the key as if that would have sped up the hack. I must’ve been in their line of sight judging from the way the engine‘s sounded. My engine screamed to life and a smirk shot across my face. I gunned it and felt the immediate rush of accelerating from 0 to 60 in 1.8 seconds. I was still terrified about what they would do to me if they caught me, but the smile never left. So for the next 5 hours I would run from them, pushing the bike as far and as fast as it would go off-track in this now cramped city.
After the first hour it was child’s-play out running them. Their reaction times were milliseconds too slow to keep up with me and that’s when I figured out something. Not all Young Beasts had super strength and some of them were actually very smart with super human agility… I was a young beast. At that moment, almost immediately, I started thinking of ways to hide it from people if I survived running from the gang. It was a realization that nearly petrified every fiber of my being.
At the top of the sixth hour I heard the familiar dock alarm. Another freighter was coming in. That’s when I had a psycho plan, maybe I could get these guys sucked out of the air-lock. I risked getting sucked out myself in the split second there was no vacuum shield, but these guys were dangerous… and they probably wouldn’t die… I wasn’t sure if I would survive though.
“Ok you four, I’m lining up the air-locks. You have your suits on?”
“We are ready for torpedo disembark captain.”
“I don’t need one.”
“Shut up Rayne.”
“Quiet you two. Go ahead captain.”
“Air pressure approaching max tolerable levels… check. Firing in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, MARK!”
The air-lock doors shot open and they were sucked out into the vacuum. Rayne spun around and saluted the crew on the bridge then spun back and focused on not smacking into the side of Epsilon 001.
“Alright sis, how many minutes until we enter port?”
“At our current speed we sh….”
Ryder looked behind him and sighed in relief as he saw his sister fussing with the communicator on her neck. Since sound doesn’t travel in space Old Beasts who could survive out there got communicators that picked up on their vocal chord vibrations, handy when you can’t really exhale while speaking.
“Current speed 2 minutes… give er take.”
“Watch out twins, debris!”
Three of them flew apart like a squadron of fighter jets in formation. Xephyr, the woman with the tattoo on her neck unsheathed her sword and slapped her hand on the side of the blade as she pointed it directly in front of her. She bore through the meteoroid and came out of the other side with her sword glowing yellow. The hole she bored was molten and glowed eerily in the vacuum. Rayne noticed something shooting out of the dock in front of them.
“Guys what’s that exiting the dock? Holy! It’s the Young Beasts! Quick bro! While they’re still clumped together!”
The twins pulled their short staffs from their waists, two large beams shot out from the ends and started to surround the Young Beasts who were floating helplessly in the vacuum.
“I only count 7, we were told 9 were here.”
“Did you want this to be easy sis?”
The beams of light split apart into thousands of strands and completely surrounded the free floating Young Beasts, shocking them with enough electricity to knock out a heard of rhinoceros.
“Gimme the load sis, you should concentrate on not breaking anything as we land, regen wasn’t one of your retains.”
Rayne handed her brother the short staff and they snapped together as he locked them onto his waist, the odd net of Young Beasts and airbikes trailing behind him. As they entered the dock they had to stop their acceleration before the stations gravity did. Hayden pulled out his sword now and as he and Xephyr pointed their swords behind them and an unseen parachute slowed them to a sliding stop. Ryder spun around, landing sideways on his feet as if he were riding a skateboard, with the net of Young Beasts and airbikes now slung over his shoulder. A concussive blast shot forward from his side and slowed him to a halt. Rayne clapped her hands in front of her and a small sonic boom shot forward, slowing her acceleration and she dropped to her feet right in front of a boy who was straddling one of the Airjet 25 R’s. But he wasn’t dressed like the other gang members. Unlike their faux leather jackets and neon construction workers pants, this boy was wearing a pair of tattered jeans, a compression shirt and an over-sized lab coat with his regulation gravity boots. Rayne held her hand to his throat like it was a knife and a blue light surrounded it from a curious bracelet on her wrist.
“Don’t move and don’t lie. Are you apart of their gang?”
“No, I heard the docking alarm and thought I could get them sucked into the vacuum so they’d stop hurting people.”
“Are you a Young Beast? Only a Young Beast would be able to ride one of those with no armor from what I’ve heard about them.”
“I think I am.”
“Hmm, so you don’t know the extent of your abilities?”
The boy shook his head no.
“Smarter than the other kids in your class?”
“Hmm… super fast reaction time and I’m guessing you heal pretty quick too?”
“I think so.”
“Where are your parents?”
“I don’t have those.”
At this point Rayne lowered her hand, the blue light dissipating as Ryder, Xephyr and Hayden walked up behind her. Each holding a helmet under their arms, Ryder now dragging the unconscious Young Beasts behind him.
“Well now you’ve got a family kid. We can’t leave you he….”
It was at that moment the other two gang members crashed the last bike into the CO2 scrubbers. The explosion shook the entire station. Hayden unfurled a see-through sheet and placed it on the ground, kneeling as he did so. It stuck to the floor like a magnet and a list popped up on the left side, the tiled surface of the dock showed through the rest of the sheet. The list had the different sections of the station named. He tapped the choice that read sub basement systems. The clear part of the sheet x-rayed through the floor of the dock and seemed to be looking for a vantage point on the explosion. It zeroed in and he saw one of the Young Beasts laying unconscious with an inferno in front of her, then a second explosion shook the station. This time the evacuation alarms started to sound. Ryder looked at me and said the weirdest thing I’d ever heard.
“You should actually go evacuate with the rest of the station, if the station doesn’t explode and we survive, we’ll adopt you. You need Beasts as parents if you don’t want to end up like these kids. Also, if you can hang on to that bike then I guess we can just say it blew up in the explosion.”
I figured I had a few hours till the evacuation was complete. There would be a back up scrubber working in over-clock mode but we’d have to leave so they could run a full check of the station. I used those hours to change the appearance and sound of the Airjet 25 R and was able to hold onto it while we were transported to the frigid moon Antarctica II. The brief time I spent there I got a job doing colony messenger work. After we got back to the Station I was finally able to connect to the network and find out the names of the four people who said they’d be my family. Since then I’ve helped them corral the unruly Young beasts with my Airjet 25 R and they raised me like a Young Beast should be raised, like a human and not a monster.