There was something in the sky. Strange, golden streaks carved their way through the cloudy blue skies, fading in and out of view. They had appeared suddenly and without any hint of warning. While the streaks appeared harmless, a curious mark on otherwise plain skies, they had caused quite a bit of panic among the many mortal populations that could see them. The uncertainty was worrying, painful even, especially to those who thought this sort of phenomenon couldn’t even physically exist.
That uncertainty only increased as more intelligent races not only saw these streaks but tried to interact with them. Despite appearing as physical objects to the senses, it seemed impossible to actually touch the streaks in any way. Meanwhile rumours had been proliferating across planets, making up reasons as to why these streaks had appeared.
There was one thing that was certain though. All these streaks led to one location: the centre of the universe.
A place that was currently sealed shut.
A place no one could go.
Well, almost no one. That was why Tenuk Diplastron had been dragged to the central Rethan palace and then carefully placed in front of the High General.
“I need you and your ship.”
The High General seemed pretty upset at Tenuk’s response. “You have one of the fastest and most reliable inter-systemic ships available. We need it.”
“Why?” Tenuk asked.
“Have you looked at the sky recently?”
“Yeah. What is all of that?”
“It is the reason why I need your ship.”
Tenuk dusted himself down. He knew he was testing everyone else’s patience but he didn’t much care. After all of Tenuk’s work helping other Rethavok, he had essentially found himself kicked out of the club and was rather pissed off about it all. All that hard work looking after displaced Rethans and nothing to show for it aside from a few awkward thank yous.
“Well, how about you tell me why you need my ship?” Tenuk tutted. “Is it a massive emergency?”
“Yes. But I thought I would be polite and ask you in person, before using eminent domain laws to take what we require.”
Tenuk hesitated at this remark. “That… is fair. Can I know what the emergency is?”
There was movement behind the High General. To his left, a familiar face appeared. That of the Vice General, the second in command. And someone Tenuk knew pretty well, a proud and unusually popular Rethan called Rethais. Rethais had always been very popular both with the average Rethan and the fancy higher-ups. He was also incredibly good-looking and elegant, so clearly he was treated like a god.
Tenuk watched as Rethais tapped the High General on the shoulder, then whispered something in their ear, standing on the tips of his clawed feet to do so.
“You want me to just tell him?”
“Yes. If what you said is true, he should know. They should all know.”
The High General snarled, then turned back to Tenuk.
“We need your ship to travel to the centre of the universe so I can tell the Voidborn cult that has invaded us to leave and never come back.”
“What, on your own?” Tenuk laughed.
“Of course not. I also request your company on this mission.”
Tenuk’s laugh immediately vanished. “Um, you do kinda realise that I’m… not friends… with the denizens that live… in the centre of the universe.”
The High General stepped down off the platform, until he was face to face with Tenuk. Tenuk was a particularly tall Rethan, far taller than most, but he suddenly realized that even he was small by the High General’s standards.
“We are going to the centre of the universe in order to save it. The other deities require my help. But I am stuck in this stupid mortal body, and you are the most knowledgeable being around when it comes to other deities. So you, little Kronospast, are going to assist me, whether you like it or not.”
Tenuk sighed, his shoulders visibly dropping, both from fear and embarrassment.
“Alright, fine. Since the universe is at stake, I’ll do it… There’s two conditions though: you are paying for fuel, and you’re not to ever refer to me as a Kronospast again.”
The High General stepped back, pleased that Tenuk was finally complying. “That is perfectly acceptable. Come along now, Tenuk. We have a universe to save.”