Skyboarders episode 1.., p.1
by Adah Biggs
and Shannon Biggs
Copyright ? 2009 by Adah and Shannon Biggs
All rights reserved.
Illustration: Copyright ? 2009 by Adah Biggs
All rights reserved
Published 2009 by Biggs Books
This series and other bonus material is also available for download at Skyboarders.com
First of Akoamoth, 1277cc, Skylord's Day
The grasses of the Northern plains sped by at over eighty miles per hour, an undulating sea of wild wheat and barley toasted by the summer sun. Day had just vanished over the top of the Western mountains, painting the sky with furious colors of fire dimming to bruises.
They 'boarded like a group of hornets in black: a rangy, wild band of twenty-one who had fought together, bled together, and eaten the same crummy food together for nearly four years.
In the lead was Tarek. He had no other name. He was a child of the glare pits, a scavenger who had learned to fight with bare knuckles over scraps of bread dropped in Glare City by the patrollers. He'd grown up like an animal in a zoo where all the animals were kept in the same cage. The wildness of his past could still be seen in his eyes, which were golden-hazel, the same color as the sun scorched fields. A long jagged scar ran across his face from forehead to cheek and his uncut sun-bleached hair whipped behind him in snarls and tangles, never combed and ragged to hang down in his face. His jaw was forever set in a determined line of anger.
At his side was Jarvis. She had no other name because she wouldn't tell it. Her white-blonde peroxide hair was shorn on the sides of her head to within a half-inch of her skull, the top spiked up to just over an inch. She wore silver mirrored goggles, and had tattooed the Jelka pack symbol down the right side of her face. She wasn't beautiful, but she didn't care. Every day she silently lifted her body in pull-ups and worked out brutally until she had larger muscles than Tarek, her official man, and could trounce anyone who challenged her.
She rode a medium-weight battleboard that the famous old hermit 'boardmaker Charlie had custom-made for her, white on one side and black on the other with a jagged line down the center. It flashed with chrome battle-racks and its name was scrawled in red across the bottom: "Paine."
She 'boarded like she didn't care: right arm trailing, loose, left foot leading, slouched back to let Paine carry her. Tarek 'boarded like he was constantly at war: forehead-first, eyes on the target, body curled forward with his arms at the ready to grab the handle of the aluminum bat that he kept in a sheath on his back. They were reman and rella, a matched set that had 'boarded together for six years, ever since Tarek had saved Jarvis from a gang of thugs.
Now it was usually she that saved him.
Darkness fell and Jelka base glinted in the distance, a sprawling net of tiny fires and torches on the barren rocky soil of the far northern plains. Here the grass became scarce, the summers hotter, the winters colder than anywhere else. It was the least hospitable part of the Valley of Karr, and James Jelka the founder of their Pack had wanted it no other way. Old Jelka's philosophy was that a true skyboarder pack was forged through hardship, and hardship was what he'd given them.
The pack headquarters was a series of log bunkers sunk halfway down into the rocky dirt, surrounded by a ragged tent city where the packs' glares lived and worked. The Fort in the center of the sprawl alone rose high above the tumbled landscape, three stories above ground with four story watchtowers, one on each corner. The high broad-faced cube building snarled down over its domain, scorched black by fire, a huge red and white Jelka symbol painted across its face: the red skull of revenge, the knife of war, and the white background of death. As night settled over Jelka base, the cube shaped fort was pierced through with a hundred fire-orange windows bright with lantern light.
"Chank it!" A patroller yelled, the whine of his 'board coming suddenly up on the group from the East. In the dark twilight Tarek could just see the little boarder outpost on the edge of the base, a rickety wooden shack high on a scaffold tower a hundred feet above the plains.
Tarek merely sent the patroller an extremely rude gesture and blasted past at full speed. His gang of cronies followed with whoops and crude laughter, Jarvis flipping around backward on her 'board to mirror and amplify his sentiment with a few choice handsigns of her own, and a tiny smirk.
The boundary patrol didn't bother to give chase. Only true Jelka would fly into base like that, and they knew it. Plus, nobody could mistake Jarvis on Paine. She was something of a local celebrity, one of the best skyboarders in the pack, under Tarek.
They came down in an exhausted mass, all of the group tired and happy after a full day of roaming the northvalley on this, the biggest holiday of the year. Tarek had taken them not only to the Litz Line for some well-deserved R and R, but also to the Jelka-dominated Floodtown for free holiday spiced wine and games. It had been an unscheduled vacation, given because Tarek their patrol-leader had decided that his men needed it. They were supposed to have been on Northern Longroad duty, the junk assignment only given to the flunkies of the pack, with a paltry little celebration at supper time. But (although the Jelka were the only pack known for working through holidays) if Tarek had skipped Skylord's Day there would have been a revolt.
They draped themselves unchallenged over Raider Bunker Five, Tarek's little kingdom, landing on the rough stucco roof and checking their skyboards with the leisurely unconcern of men who had come home. All of their steeds were about three feet long and two wide, a few inches thick except for a small air-scoop in the front and a lump for a t-converter engine in the center, matte black but for the odd red or white design, scarred by battle like their riders. Some sported racks or spikes, or large tail-flux flaps on the back which helped them turn at high speeds. Only Paine was perfectly polished smooth, glossy, without a scratch like his rider. Jarvis's leathers were well-oiled and new. She always had two things: money, and cigs, and her reman had no idea where she got either one.
Tarek let his 'board fall to the roof, leaping off casually. The battered ancient Charlieboard skidded to a halt by crashing into the low ankle-wall around the top of the building. It had once been cherry red, but the 'boardplastic had been shattered by the debilitating crash that had ripped it's speedgrid off. Now it looked like it flew: a wreck. He liked it that way.
It rebounded from the wall and skidded toward him, still hovering a foot from the rooftop. When it arrived, he kicked the flux and flipped the trashed skyboard up to catch it by the stuntgrip with the ease of a man who had done the same maneuver a thousand times at least.
He didn't see the two large, scowling Night Patrol thugs waiting for him on the corner of the Bunker. They rose without a word and walked toward him. Tarek caught a glimpse of them in Jarvis's mirrored goggles as she turned her head slowly to look.
"Caker," he whispered, pivoting on his heel with grudging malice to send them his best glare. His gold eyes pierced with a stabbing blame.
"Griffin wants to see you," thug one told him in a cig-gravel voice.
Jarvis caught his eye. Just the way she turned her head, her expressionless face told him, 'I'll stay with the boys.'
Tarek sighed quietly, and went with the thugs. It was no use to resist. Arguments would not persuade them; he'd tried before, many times. His patrol watched him go, uneasy, glancing at Jarvis who stood watching her reman go without a hint of emotion.
Skyboarders - Episode 1 - Jelka by Adah and Shannon Biggs / Science Fiction have rating 2.3 out of 5 / Based on32 votes