Operation Octagon | Teen Ink

Operation Octagon

May 7, 2023
By AllyHowell SILVER, Newington, Connecticut
AllyHowell SILVER, Newington, Connecticut
8 articles 0 photos 0 comments

“Okay, Valentina,” I said to her as she stared intently into the vast universe ahead of our spaceship. “Today, I’m coming with you on your first mission. Do you remember what it was?”

“Yes,” She replied. “We’re landing on planet Malice to take the Octagon crystal and take it back to our planet Amara. If we fail to take this crystal, it will be absorbed in the surrounding negativity and disintegrate.”

“Good,” I told her. “I trust you.”

She turned to me and smiled.

“We’re almost there, right?” She asked me.

“Correct,” I replied. “It’s the dark planet in the distance.”

A long time ago, planet Malice was not planet Malice. It has been transformed that way by some strange curse of magic. Whatever magic is cursing this planet will eventually be taken by us and tossed into the sun to burn and end the terrible magic.

“Wow,” She said in some mix of amazement and disgust.”No wonder we need to save the crystal.”

“Yeah,” I told her. “It’s pretty sad how their planet has been declining.”

“Declining?” She asked. “I didn’t know about that, what happened?”

“Planet Malice wasn’t always so sad looking,” I said. “It wasn’t even named planet Malice before. Nobody remembers what it used to be except me. It used to be very lively and full of creatures. All sorts of plants and animals and lots of water. Since then, the creatures have been slowly dying and the water has turned black.”

She stared at me in shock for a moment and went silent. Not long after, we landed on the planet.

“We’re here,” She said. “It’s so bleak.”

“I know,” I replied. “But you’ll have to brace for our mission.”

She opened the spaceship door and left. I spoke to her through a special microphone she kept with herself for safety.

“Okay Valentina,” I said, holding a small microphone to my mouth. “You know where the crystal is, right? It should have a red glow to it.”

I was going to say an evil red glow, but I think the unsightly planet already struck enough fear in her. I didn’t want her to panic.

“Yes,” She said. “I see an object glowing in the distance.”

“Good,” I assured her. “You’re all set in protection from whatever consequential magic the crystal may possess, so don’t be too cautious when you take it.”

“Got it,” She said. “Thank you.”

I always appreciated how she enjoyed my presence rather than wishing she could do things alone. She went silent as she headed in the direction of the crystal. She spoke to me again when the glow of the crystal was right up against her face.

“I have the crystal,” She said calmly. “How do you want me to lift and transport this?”

“Okay, listen closely,” I said cautiously. “You’re wearing full protection from any effects the crystal may have. Take the crystal in both hands and gently place it in the pocket in front of your torso. The crystal may be heavy, so be careful.”

There was silence.

“Alright,” She said. “I got it.”

“Good,” I told her. “Just bring it back to the ship and we’ll be good to go.”

She traveled over to the ship and took off her microphone. The smile on her face was brighter than the crystal itself.

“Congratulations, Valentina,” I said proudly. “You’ve completed your first mission of many.”

“Thank you.” She said with a happy crack in her voice.

She began to take off from the planet when I noticed something strange.

“Valentina,” I said with concern. “Do you see that?”

“Uh,” She said, sharing the feeling with me. “Yeah, I do.”

The ash covering the planet began to dissolve, revealing the greenery underneath. By the time I would have seen the turnout of the planet, we were already on our way home.

“You don’t think the crystal caused all that decay,” I said, questioning the possibility of doing the same damage to our planet. “Do you?”

She paused for a moment. Through her confidence, I saw a hint of fear.

“No,” She said, pretending to be sure of her answer. “I bet the crystal was just holding back power or something, plugging it up. When we removed the crystal, we freed the life on that planet. Does that make sense?”

“Yeah,” I said. “Hopefully you’re right.”

I couldn’t imagine what she would feel if her first mission destroyed our planet. We would both be beyond devastated.

We rode in the ship in silence. When we landed, we walked to the Center, where crystals from planets around the universe are stored.

“Now,” I said. “Just place the crystal in the box with the reservation. You’ll know when you see it. I trust you.”

She placed the crystal within its designated box and we both left for the night.

The next morning, something was seriously wrong.

But I was correct.

Ash was building up underneath the Center building. Soft and small ash in massive piles.

The ground was disintegrating. But the worst ash was right over the Octagon crystal. It was glowing a bright and evil red.

It was actively killing the planet. We couldn’t have this. Millions of creatures live here, if this crystal takes over, all of them will die.

I entered the Center building and put on the crystal equipment. I also put a launching device in the pocket, used just for a problem like this. Just before I lifted the crystal, Valentina put on her crystal equipment. She saw the destruction and came to protect it.

“What are you doing?” She asked.

“What do you think I’m doing?” I replied. “I’m getting rid of this horrid thing! Look at what it did to the ground! It’s going to kill our planet!”

“No!” She shouted. “I trained so long to get it, I can’t throw it all away now! Not now!”

“Valentina!” I yelled. “Your pride is not as important as your planet! You have to get rid of this thing!”

Just before she could respond, I stole the crystal from her hands and raced outside. I put it in the launcher and sent it to the sun. Valentina was screaming like I just sent her child into the sun rather than a crystal.

“Valentina,” I said, out of breath. “I’m sorry. I had to, for-”

“No.” She said sternly, with tears in her eyes. “Do not apologize to me. How dare you.”

“Valentina,” I said. “Wait-”

“No.” She said as she began to take off the crystal equipment and leave.

Afternoon passed. Night passed. Morning passed. Until I thought of something. If planet Malice changed because of Valentina, I should take her there to see what an amazing change she’s caused.

I went to her home to try and speak to her. I rang the doorbell. She answered the door.

“No,” She said immediately. “I don’t forgive you.”

“I know,” I said quickly to get her attention so she didn’t slam the door in my face. “I wasn’t going to ask you to forgive me. It’s too early, I know.”

“What are you here for, then?” She asked, suspicious of what I came to her for.

“I was hoping you’d take another trip with me to planet Malice,” I said. “I’ll drive the ship.”

She was still angry, but I could tell she was considering it nonetheless.

“Fine,” She said. “I’ll go with you.”

“Great,” I said with my mood improving. “Are you ready now?”

“Uh. yeah,” She said. “I guess so.”

“Okay,” I said. “Let’s go.”

We climbed into the ship we were in last time and were off to planet Malice. For most of the ride, there was silence until I decided to break that silence with an apology.

“Valentina,” I said. “I’m sorry for what I did. With your crystal.”

Her response left me a little stunned.

“No, it’s okay,” She replied. “I’ve been thinking about it, and I overreacted. You shouldn’t apologize to me. I’m sorry.”

“So,” I said. “We’re good now?”

She turned to me and smiled.

“Yeah,” She said. “We’re good.”

I landed the ship on planet Malice and we both got out.

“So,” She said. “What did you want to show me?”

“Look around, Valentina,” I said, looking around at the greenery and life on the planet that was once dark and empty. “You did this. All of this.”

“Thank you,” She said in amazement. “It’s beautiful.”

“Giving up the crystal for this was worth it,” I said, watching birds soar over a clear blue sky. “Wasn’t it?”

“Absolutely,” She said. “I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

The author's comments:

This is an older story from August 2022 inspired by a prompt from a writing contest. This is my first piece of "real" sci-fi.

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