Jonathan walked into his command room and sighed as he saw Bjorn sitting there. The boy was 18, but he acted like he was 12 and out on a school trip. He almost looked like he was 12 too. The boy was way too skinny to be healthy.
"Are you here again?" Jonathan asked.
"Right where the action is!" Bjorn whooped.
"As much as I like that, why won't you go to the dining room to eat with your family? You can't stay here all cruise." Jon tried. He loved having the boy around, and he loved to be with him, but he shouldn't encourage the boy.
"I can try."
The sadness in Bjorns voice destroyed the smile he had gotten when he had first seen Jon coming closer. The boy stood up from the captains seat and left for the hall. Jon shook his head and hoped he hadn't crushed his hopes too much.
Jonathan couldn't worry long about Bjorn. Proximity warnings started flashing and an image appeared on the screen. The ship was large enough to carry ten times the amount of food they needed. It wasn't unlike tour operators to hire one big ship to provide for all their cruises, but Jon knew they were the only ones in this quarter of space. Maybe they were chartering it with a colony. Anyway, if it brought food, he would be happy. Even synthetic goo seemed to spoil after a month or so in these cruise ships.
"Erayk, take the lead." Jon said to his first officer.
"Aye Aye Captain."
Jon stood up and turned to the docking area. Time to go meet and great. He wasn't that sociable, but the supply-ships were such a good sign they made even the stiffest captain jump up in anticipation. That and he was waiting for a letter from his daughter Jinthy. Twenty she was, and studying hard to become a navigator. She made him proud. 
Jon reached the docking bay and checked the lights. He saw a small transporter launch from the cargoship on a direct path to the cruiseship. Erayk opened the covers and extended the magnetic poles that would pull the transporter in. With a small thud that briefly rocked the walls around Jon the transporter docked. 
"I'll handle the rest Erayk." Jon said and opened the manual controls. It was customary that everything was handled from the main control room, but a test of the manual controls wasn't bad now and again. 
"Roger Captain." Erayk said from the control room.
Jon pressed buttons and turned switches to manoeuvre out an airtight hatch that sealed the hairline crack between the two ships. Then he switched on air support and unlocked the hatch. Jon waited calmly for the transporter crew to come out… but they didn't. Still not suspicious Jon went to the hatched and tapped a few times.
"Hello? Anyone?" he yelled.
When no answer came he called to the bridge. "Erayk! Are there any problems?"
There was no answer from the bridge. Jon hurried back. His communicator could be busted, for all he knew it's batteries were just low, but now Jon was suspecting some problem. That was why he started running to reach the bridge. Jon trusted Erayk, but on the other hand, his new first mate hadn't had a lot of experience on these cruiseships. 
Halfway down the hallways to the control room Erayk came running toward him. His face was set determined and a gun was hanging down from one side of his body, sheltered from Jon's sight by shadow and Erayk's body.
"Rapport!" Jon yelled.
"They came from nowhere!" Erayk screamed.
"Who?" Jon started.
"Us traitors." Erayk said as he brought up his gun and pointed it neatly at his commander.
Jon froze. He wasn't a coward, but he wasn't plain stupid either. He waited for Erayk to explain himself. Had he heard him say something about traitors? Jon tried to get his mind to clear up under the panicky fog that had invaded him. Slowly he got his mind together.
"Why?" he asked Erayk.
"It's always the same," Erayk said, "the motif was money."
"The passengers…" Jon said.
"They have enough."
"What are you going to do with them!" Jon screamed.
"Why should I leave a whole ship of witnesses to tell what I did?"
I? Was Erayk the only one who had collaborated with the pirates? It was almost impossible to believe that he had single-handedly overcome a crew of five. Lost in thought, as often was his problem, Jon was taken back to the docking bay. Erayk knocked a couple of times in a distinct patterned. Then he took a few steps back, pulling the captain behind him. In doing so, Jon was able to loosen one of his arms. Carefully he tried reaching for his pocket where a small communicator was hidden. With it he could at least warn the passengers to stay hidden. And if one of them could reach the control room unseen...
Suddenly Jon thought of Bjorn. He would be foolish enough to try and die doing so. His hand haltered for a moment, thus breaking the slow supple movement.
"What do you think you're doing!" Erayk said, grasping back Jon's other hand.
"Cramp." Jon said, grimacing.
"Now why don't I believe you?" Erayk searched his pockets and found the communicator. "Keeping secrets from me already?" Erayk asked, "That's not nice. A relationship should be open."
"You never were open to me about your true nature!" Jon said sarcastically, he didn't like traitors. All the remark got him though was a punch in the belly. Jon gasped for breath, he wasn't as young as he used to be anymore. He was 33, still not old, but he looked older and felt it too at that moment. He had been roaming around comfortable spaceships for too long.
Again Jon was pulled into motion. Aghast he saw that they were headed for the passenger's quarters. As they turned corners and went down halls he noticed soon that they were headed for the mess. Jon suddenly realised that they were going to kill them all, they had suggested as much. They would kill him too.
"Wait here." Erayk said to one of the pirates who had entered and told the other 3 to follow him.
Jon expected to hear shots being fired, but that wasn't what he heard. He could only here some screaming and yelling from frightened passengers. Jon bowed his head to shut out the sounds as he heard a few familiar voices. Then the sounds stopped as the last of the passengers were murdered. In the now dead-silent hallways Jon heard the footsteps of Erayk coming closer. he braced himself, waiting for an unheard bullet that would come.
But it didn't. Erayk passed by him, took him over again and dragged him away again. Dragging his feet John was now certain they would kill him on the bridge, shoot him in the back with the radio only a few metres away. But they passed the control room and instead went to the docking area.
"Where are we going?" Jon asked.
"To the other ship."
"Why didn't you kill me?"
"You see Jon… we had a reason for not killing you."
"What?" Jon had hours ago accepted that he was going to be killed when they left the ship, which was only right, a captain never left his ship. 
What are you going to do to me?" Jon asked.
"Nothing much… just launch you in a lifepod out into space to blame the whole heist on you."
Jon tried to step back when he saw the hatred in the eyes of a man he had thought he knew. For a moment he felt that he must e dreaming, that this was all a nightmare. To him being blamed for the death of his passengers was worse than dieing. The news would reach his daughter and she would believe it, believe the horrid rumour of his treason.
"No." he said as he was pulled back close."
"You'll be dead before she'll know it." Erayk promised, "Though starvation is a rather slow and painful process."
"I thought I knew you." Jon said.
"Then you are a bad judge of character Jonathan. Anyone could have seen that I was about to pop." Erayk said grinning insane.
Erayk suddenly stopped laughing and said: "Time to go."
Jon thought. If he wanted to do anything for the remaining passengers he would have to act now. He raised his head right in time to see the handle of the gun come down on his head. A piercing pain took over and shut down his consciousness.


When Jon awoke again, his eyes closed and his head throbbing at the top of his skull he wondered briefly what had happened. Slowly he regained his memory. When he tried moving his neck he nearly cried out in pain. Flames of pain were launched all over his body.
"He's awake!" someone yelled.
Jon opened his eyes, adjusting them to the very pale red light of the cargo ship. The layout of these ships was largely the same for all of them. By the look of the dimmed lights and large vaulted rooms Jon knew he was laying in an empty cargo-room, the vaulting wall seemed to suggest they were at the edge of the ship and not in one of the inner rooms. Jon's sight grew a little clearer and he suddenly saw the round openings of three escape vessels. Memories of threats about being sent off in space came rushing back, sinking him into despair.
"Did you have a good rest?" Erayk asked.
"Doesn't look like it." someone answered.
"He'll have plenty of rest where he's going." Erayk smiled.
"Where?" Jon managed to spit out with a dry throat and aching head.
"An old colony. No-one received any word what happened to these people. They came by a ship called the Hyantis and never reported a safe landing. Sweeps over the planet have confirmed a large spot of metal smack dab in the middle. You'll be joining them. No-one will notice a little piece of extra metal down there."
Erayk smiled -he seemed to do that often when he wasn't acting a normal officer, Jon hated it- and gestured to a few of the other pirates to drag him to one of the lifepods. He was strapped in and launched without a second look. 
Jon looked around. He wasn't about to give up, but strapped down he couldn't do a thing to alter this pod's flight pattern. He twisted his still sore head until he saw a rough edge of metal. He rolled and slid across the floor, dragging the chair with him until he came to the edge. It was too high up for him to reach from the ground. Slow, as not to hurt his head and lose consciousness again he raised himself to a sitting position, his arms held down by the heavy metal chair where they had bound him. How he was ever going to get away from the chair was beyond him. Finally he turned the ropes around, chafing his wrists badly until they were at the front of the chair and closer to the seat. He held the chair sideways and started rubbing on the edge.
After what seemed to be an eternity (and was since he had already come close enough to the planet to make out mountain ridges and some medium-sized islands when he finally got lose. When Jon got up he saw that he was too close to the planet to still alter his course to it. All he could do was try to land a bit softer then had been intended. 
Sweating as the metal around him grew hotter, Jonathan frantically tried altering the course. He tried steering for a lake or sea, but there were none in the desert place where the Hyantis had crashed. All around the site however were forests and even rainforests by the more bluish look of them. Those trees could break his fall, as well has cause him to break his neck. Jon decided they looked better than the desert where he would dry out before he found water. The few degrees he needed cost him more of his strength, but he got them. 
Jon strapped himself down in the bolted chair and waited. The trees came closer. Jon suddenly thought he saw a castle and a few villages in the rainforest. They were gone before he could look. Probably a few dead trees with the look of a human settlement. If he was already hallucinating now...what would the future bring?
His trail of thought was interrupted by the ground. He hit it hard and the lifepod slid about 100 metres, dragging trees and bushes with it before it finally came to a full stop. Jon snapped his neck at the sudden stop, hurting his head again. He fainted and awoke only minutes later. He checked his arms and legs, and though sore, none seemed broken. He looked around and saw branches sticking through windows. He unstrapped himself and got up feeling dizzy. His head seemed to have been hit by a few pieces of glass because he bled from a cut above his eye, but else he was fine. 
He crawled out and wandered away from the lifepod. At the edge of the clearing he fell down. He needed to get in there again and get out all he could use, but he just couldn't do that right now.
Waiting he suddenly heard a sound behind his back. The rustle in the forest suggested a large animal. Jon got up and walked in with a drunken gait to the lifepod. It would be his only escape from a large animal.
Humans! Jon turned and looked. There had been survivors..; or he was hallucinating again. When he turned around he favoured the second explanation as the humans didn't come alone. They came with a strange type of winged creature, like a dragon. What really supported that he was hallucinating was that the creatures spoke.
"Pink elephants..." he gasped, "Brain damage."
"Sir.. Are you alright? My name is Nanarin. What's yours?"
"Jonathan." he said.
"He looksss hurtch." the green dragon said.
"He looksss good enough for drakss, though a little old." the green and brown said.
"We'll take him back to DeCorvo." Nanarin said, they'll just have to make up their minds about him.
And thus they led the dazed Jonathan back to their castle. He was hauled up onto the green-brown forest Kekardei, while Nanarin stepped onto her/his own drak Amardat.


Outside, the weather was sunny and bright and warm. The Draks and their Knights were flying about, enjoying the nice weather and the faint breeze. A number of Draks were reclining on the outer cliffs of DeCorvo, sunning blissfully. All seemed just too good to be true, and too good not to take advantage of.
Inside, however, it was cold, stuffy, dark, and crowded. After three years of waiting, the clutch at DeCorvo had started to hatch. Jonathan stood at the edge of the cavern, realising that he would never get back home. He wasn't a man to dwell on the past, he was more of a future-orientated person, always looking forward to his next vacation to spend with his family. But where was his family? Home presumably, thinking that he had died most likely. Maybe it was time to avert his gaze to the present and make the best of it. 
Seven draklings were guided in before the aspirants. After some short dawdlings on the drak-side of the cavern, Laerdei pushed her children toward the humans: "Don't be shy. Go on and pick out your knight!"

The Earth Drak made a slow and steady beeline for Jonathan and stood up before him. The Drak probably weighed more than the man did, Derakoh chuckled to herself. "With a little training, I think you'll bulk up a bit," Vaseien said with an innocent tilt of his head. "Would you be my Knight?"

Jonathan paired at DeCorvo
Castle DesCas