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Post-Ornicopter

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A large panther-like animal watched him as he sipped his non-alcoholic beverage. Matt Cruse stared into the beast's eyes trying to evoke an emotion from the large cat. The cat soon drifted gracefully away from the bars of its cage. "Anything yet, sweetie?" asked Kate de Cruse. "Nothing, the cloud cat has not responded yet to the input of hydrium," answered Matt.

Hydrium was the gas that kept all ships and most animals, floating in the air. He glanced at his ring which shimmered in the artificial sunlight. It seem only yesterday when he and his love were trapped on a ghost ship looking for the Prometheus engine. Now, it proudly sat in his study watched by the careful eyes, well, heat sensors of his Aerozoans. The Prometheus engine was created aboard the infamous Hyperion, the legendary ship that was worth ten times its weight in gold. Back then, he was only a cabin boy, but also the only surviving human being to have the seen the exact coordinates of this ship. His coordinates combined with the expertise of Dorje and the rest of the crew of the Sagarmartha led him and Kate on an adventure. Pirates raced after the Sagarmartha in hopes of plundering the Hyperion. Bullets were not the only cause of death aboard the two ships. Cloud cats mercilessly ripped sailors apart. Aerozoans electrocuted and drowned people in a sea of toxic hydrium. Their squid-like figure propels them through the high altitudes effortlessly. Anything that was in the air becomes a potential prey. There were other memories that Matt Cruse could never forget, such as being trapped in a coffin with Kate, his love. After pirates had invaded the Hyperion, the crew of the Sagarmartha left empty handed. The Hyperion exploded behind them. In a turn of events, one of the crew members got hold of the Prometheus engine and had brought it on board. The crew is dead now, leaving the wealth and the power of the engine in the hands of Matt and his newlywed Kate. The Prometheus engine produces hydrium gas from the reaction of electricity(created by the heat of the sun) and water. Thousands of miles above Earth, the Cruses lived in a sub-zero, sun-less environment. The Aerozoans provided the electricity for the engine. The hydrium gas from the engine kept their floating mansion stable. Money came flooding into the Cruse's bank account because they were part of a government experiment that dealt with the effect of an anti-gravity environment on humans and animals, like cloud cats and Aerozoans. The Cruse couple was selected for this experiment because they had proved their versatility in the harshest of environments. That is why Matt was sitting in front of the cloud cat's cage observing and tracking its behavior and movement. It wasn't his idea of fun, but if his scientist wife loved it, he was more than happy to oblige. He lived in half of the house. The whole house was approximately the size of an ancient place known as District of Columbia-area code Washington. It was one of the many cities destroyed in the ancient nuclear war of the 21st century. This war was taught in schools. That ancient, foolish race of human beings used the power of atoms to create energy. But all of that race had died during the war. Some of their inferior skeletons were on display at museums. Nadira Szpirglas and her husband, Hal Slater, lived in the other half of the house. Hal Slater was the captain of the Sagarmartha. Hal and Nadira had an engineering assignment in the experiment. They were to develop a more sophisticated form of the Prometheus engine that would function extremely well in space. The other engine worked well, but it could not vent enough hydrium to support an entire city in space, only a mansion. The eventual goal of the government was to start a city in space because all other 37 planets of the known universe were fully populated. Matt and his wife found it convenient to live in space for there were no threats of piracy. He had had some bad experiences with pirates besides the Hyperion adventure. When he first met Kate, he was a student at the Airship Academy. His dream back then was to become the captain of his own ship. When he met Mr. Slater, his perspective was changed. A captain was a chauffeur to the rich. Matt decided to become a explorer. After he graduated from the Academy, he bought a small ship with Skybreaker engines. He and Kate traveled around the world. It was on one of these trips he had a nasty run-in with pirates. Kate and he recently finished loading the ancient statues of place known as Parth-anon, the sign said Parthenon, when they noticed a group of tourists visiting the ruins. Matt was surprised to see other people around because the Parth-anon was one of the nuclear testing sites during the great war. It had high levels of radiation. Kate and he were wearing thick leaditus suits. These tourists were wearing normal clothing. They decided to ignore the group and prepare for take-off. They took off and when they looked at the ground, the group of tourists were gone. Matt noticed a smell of mangos, undoubtedly hydrium, in the pumped oxygen and his blood turned to ice. He ran across the deck and punched in an SOS code. All the Cruse's belongings were teleported to the emergency pod. Matt grabbed Kate, jumped into the pod, and launched away from their ship. Their ship rocketed space-wards and exploded. Kate looked at Matt in shock. Matt offered an explanation. The tourists were actually pirates and the pirates had punctured one of the hydrium reserves. Matt noticed the smell and knew the ship was doomed. With a wave of hydrium being vented at an unexpected rate, the ship shot up until the force of gravity ripped the ship apart in a torrent of flames. Due to that experience, Matt had a large dislike of pirates.

Space was so much nicer. It was calm and serene. The planets surrounded his home and a sea of blackness protected them all. Matt knew that he wouldn't stay here for long. He was an explorer. He got bored if he stayed in one place for too long. He would convince his wife, Hal, and Nadira to explore the space outside the universe. There was a saying from an ancient entertainment program which Matt held dear to his heart…
Space: The final frontier
To explore strange new worlds
To seek out new life and new civilizations
To boldly go where no man has gone before



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