No One’s Here

“The space between us is just that – space. We’re so small and insignificant when you really think about it. The universe is so vast and we’re just this little speck. Did you know that the width of the Milky Way is around 100,000 light years?”

“Did you know that I don’t care, Revenge?”

“Yeah, I did.”

“Yet you’re still going on and on and on…I’m getting a headache.”

“What else can we do while we wait?”

“Literally anything else…please.”

“Wasn’t Nova supposed to get on already?”

“He’s always late. When he says ten minutes, he means an hour.”

The two friends sat in their personal spaceships, drifting lazily in the orbit of a nearby planet. Their gamertags floated above their heads like a halo. One was HellBentRevenge, the other TheDarkBlader.

Each of their spaceships had their own unique look. Revenge’s ship was round with smooth surfaces, and the whole top was a rounded windshield. He looked like he was inside a giant toy capsule that kids got from vending machines. Blader’s spaceship, on the other hand, looked like someone took a tank straight to space. It was big, bulky, and bottom-heavy. Blader sat at the top in his own windowed command center, much smaller than Revenge’s.

“Well, we can’t wait here forever, right?” Revenge said.

Blader rested his chin on the palm of his hand.

“You should know by now we will and do,” Blader said. “We’ll just wait by my planet until he gets around to getting on. Otherwise it’ll take forever for him to find us. Remember what happened last time we told him to meet us at that planet with all the Xs in the name?”

Revenge thought back.

“Oh yeah, we spent the whole night trying to give him directions,” he said slowly. “And then he had to go to bed.”

“Exactly. Better to wait here so he can fast travel.”

“Why didn’t we just wait for him to get on and then we get on?”

“Because we have nothing else to do?”

“Oh, right.”

Fifteen minutes passed uneventfully. Both looked for little ways to entertain themselves while they waited in silence. Then the familiar sound of a microphone shuffling filled their ears.

“Hey guys!” came a friendly voice.

“Finally,” Blader said.

“Oh calm down, I didn’t take that long.”

“I dunno, it sort of felt like forever,” Revenge said.

A square spaceship with a pattern resembling a Rubik’s cube flew in between the other two. The pilot had the gamertag “NovaFrog”.

“You two are so dramatic,” Nova said. “All right, so what are we doing?”

“Did you guys need crafting materials you want to farm?” Revenge asked.

“Ugh, I am so tired of farming for materials on every planet,” Blader said. “They are all practically the same thing.”

“Okay, never mind…”

“Why don’t we try out the new modifications to space battles?” Nova said.

“On each other?” Revenge asked.

“So then we can spend more time collecting craft material to fix our ships? Uh, no,” Blader said. “We’ll go find some noobs!”

“Ohhhh, okay,” Revenge said. “Why didn’t you just say so?”

“I didn’t think I would have to explain every little detail.”

“You should know by now that Revenge requires the utmost details be thoroughly explained to him,” Nova said with a laugh. “And then repeated when he doesn’t pay attention or understand the first time.”

Revenge mockingly laughed.

“You guys are sooo funny,” he said.

“Let’s just go. I’m tired of just waiting around,” Blader said.

“Yeah, really. Me, too” Nova said.

“Wait a second…” Revenge added.

Before they could start up another round, Blader took the lead and started his ship through space. Revenge and Nova followed behind.

They passed floating asteroids, stars burning brightly, and planets of varied colors, all held by the pure black of space. They traveled at the speed of something between a crawl and light speed – the ship monitored their speed on one of the screens at the command center, but it was in a measurement none of them could put into relatable terms.

Revenge and Nova used their boost to try to keep up with Blader, who bolted ahead. He spent the most time in the game, and therefore had the best modifications to his spaceship, but they managed to keep up well enough.

They flew past planet after planet, their sensors identifying each planet and reading off the information. They were diverse in many aspects: the elements available, the climate, the geological formations, the bodies of water, the amount of trees or lack thereof.

This universe stretched on infinitely, housing countless planets. It would be impossible to explore every one. However, some players were excited by a challenge labeled “impossible”.

“Oh man, let’s stop at this planet,” Revenge said, pointing toward a nearby planet. “No one discovered it yet.”

“It’ll take forever to land, then forever to explore the whole thing, then forever to see if we collected everything and identified everything, and then Nova will look at the time and decide he’s going to bed and we’ll have tried out exactly zero space battles,” Blader said.

“Hey, it’s not my fault I work a day job and you guys work the night shift,” Nova said.

“I’m not saying anyone is to blame,” Blader said. “I’m just telling you what will happen.”

Revenge sighed.

“I’ll just mark my map and come back later when I can play by myself.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry we’re holding you back from the super exciting task of identifying planets.”

“Thank you for the apology. I accept.”

“You can’t see me from over there, but I’m rolling my eyes.”

“I figured.”

The trio continued on their journey through the galaxies, gradually speeding up. Blader sighed more than once and muttered curse words under his breath when his minimap remained void of other players. Nova thought it was more and more funny the longer they didn’t find anyone, mostly to watch Blader grow increasingly irritated. Revenge was just happy to be there.

Fifteen minutes passed. Then thirty. An hour went by. And then two.

“We’ve been out here for almost three hours!” Blader exclaimed.

“Technically it’s been two and a half,” Nova said. “Since I got on at…wait, when did I get on?”

“Who cares?! Two and a half hours?! Are you kidding me?!”

“What do you expect? This universe is huge.”

“I was expecting it to be a lot easier to find other players! What’s the point of space battles if you can’t find anyone to battle?!”

“Why don’t we just battle each other?” Revenge asked, not having spoken for over thirty minutes.

“You want space battles, huh?” Blader said. “I’ll give you space battles!”

Blader turned his ship at Revenge and opened fire. He had one big barrel at the front of his tank-like ship, and blasted out several shots. Revenge easily swayed his small ship back and forth, dodging the blasts, and fired his own machine gun from the bottom of his capsule ship. It sprayed mercilessly, and within seconds the tank’s left side was completely damaged. Blader started to move his ship away, but Revenge got the back of him and damaged the right side. It started smoking from the inside. Blader let out an angry growl as the bottom part of the ship detached and there was nothing left but the small command center with Blader inside.

The three watched as the bullet-riddled tank floated away.

“Great, just great,” Blader said. “Now I have to build another one from scratch.”

“Cool, let’s go back and try that undiscovered planet we passed, see if there’s any good crafting materials,” Revenge said.

“And after that, oh would you look at the time, I should probably head to bed,” Nova said.

Revenge and Nova laughed.

“I hate you both,” Blader said.


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