The slums were drenched in the same foul odor as the one the adjacent metropolis emitted. But the shoddy neighborhoods of the district give off a distinct vibe, one which drives away any kind of tourist or affluent resident the place may have once had. Because of better living conditions and upgraded architecture, those that could moved to the heart of the city, leaving Shuva's southern district as the planet's poverty-stricken capital of crime.
Rain poured with the same intensity as always. The planet had a problem with bad weather, but somehow the general populace never seemed to mind. One hooded individual calmly walked through the streets, ignoring the puddles he was splashing through, quietly taking in the ample number of sounds echoing through the slums during that cold night. His flattened ears caught the screams from the loud merchants as well as the whispers of the shady entities dressed in similar attire conspiring in the alleyways; all of it muffled by the unforgiving rain. But silence soon replaced every noise: every yell, every whisper, every crash, every cry, every thud, and every splash gave way to peace the moment the hooded figure passed by a fruit stand and his body twitched. Every rain drop was visible in mid-air for an instant before plummeting to the floor soon after, as nature always had intended them to. Time had stopped, but only for the faceless man.
Taking a bite out of a piece of fruit, he took a sharp right to an alley as soon as he sensed he was being followed. The two individuals in pursuit sped up their pace in order to cut their target off. A failed attempt: they found themselves faced with a dead-end, with their target having seemingly vanished; only trash and the creatures it welcomes in sight. As the frustrated stalkers walked away, the cloaked young criminal looked from afar atop one of the decrepit buildings.
Hit was known as a relatively prolific thief that some of Shuva's most powerful men wanted dead but not much was known about him besides the fact that he chose to spend his days amongst the pitiful despite the riches he had amassed. The two that pursued him were officers of the Galactic Patrol; they most likely recognized him at a glance and took the opportunity. Sadly for them, Hit had enough experience escaping from their like.
Despite that, those two were not intent on letting the crook escape that night. One of the Patrollers tapped their ear and contacted headquarters about the situation, informing them of their coordinates and target. Aid was on its way. Several hours later, Hit was standing on top of a skyscraper in Shuva's main district, the most cosmopolitan place on the planet, gazing at the palette of neon lights that one could see reflecting off his red eyes. Spotting his target, a spiky-haired blonde Earthling with the key to a spacecraft of some sort dangling from his belt, Hit leaped off the roof and quietly descended into the shadows of an alleyway. As he infiltrated the large mob, he swiftly maneuvered his way through and approached the man he was targeting. He reached for the device and froze time as he was used to doing during this kind of procedure. However, as he was about to snatch the key, the Earthling suddenly turned his head and locked his eyes with the delinquent's. Frightened, Hit jumped back a couple of meters. Life resumed and as the people walked around them, the two found themselves on opposite sides of the plaza they were in.
"How?" He asked himself; he had a rough, deep voice, ill-suited for someone so young. As he took a closer look, he could spot the symbol of the Galactic Patrol on his chest. Without a second thought, he stopped time again and turned around preparing himself to escape. His face, however, was greeted with a punch.
"C'mon," the Earthling spoke as time went back to normal once again. "Don't tell me it's going to be this easy."
Realizing that there'd be no chance to escape, Hit took a fighting stance. A very loose, amateurish one when compared to his opponent's southpaw boxing stance. The human made use of the openings in Hit's stance and begun delivering various blows to the face and abdomen. He was toying with his opponent. Hit was desperately trying to keep up, occasionally trying to use his Time Skip ability once more, but it would only be met with belligerence from his opponent, who'd shout at him for not being able to acknowledge the fact that the technique didn't work. Hit was aware of this, of course, but using Time Skip whenever possible would perhaps give him insight as to how his opponent was able to counter it. Even so, his effort was for naught. The Earthling delivered a blow to the stomach area so powerful that it instantly knocked out his opponent. Slightly disappointed with the outcome, he picked up the criminal and dragged him to the base of operations, located in orbit.
Hit woke up in a cell a couple of hours later, restrained with a special kind of handcuffs utilized by the Galactic Patrol to apprehend criminals. They negated his Ki and precluded his movement.
"Finally up?" The Patroller asked. Hit glanced at him but remained mute. "Not much of a talker, I see."
"How did you manage to counter my technique?"
"You're not the only one who knows how to use the Time Skip. Users of the technique are immune to its effects. I must say, though," he paused. "I didn't expect someone like you to know it. You caught me by surprise. How did you learn it?"
"I read about it," he replied after a short silence.
"You read about it?" He chuckled.
"How did you know I'd be targeting you?"
"How did you know it wasn't a coincidence?" Hit wasn't able to come up with a reply to the officer's question. "It says here," he picked up a stack of papers. "You're a thief. Well, that much is obvious. You steal anything from anyone, though only the wealthier of victims report about your crimes, but you've never killed, at least not that we're aware. Your name is Hit, apparently, but we're unsure if that's your real name or merely an alias. Only a handful of crimes have been reported but our detectives in the Patrol have managed to spot patterns in other cases and the tally of felonies under your name comes up to over 100 in the last few years. Impressive, to say the least."
"What's your point? Are you trying to say that I'm going to prison for a long time? I already expect that."
"No, that's not my point. Someone who is nondiscriminatory in regards to who he steals from only is like that because he lacks a purpose. You're rich but you live with the poor. You steal to test your abilities or maybe because you don't know what else to do."
"Are you a shrink in your spare time?" He laughed.
"The last item you stole was a spaceship from a bureaucrat. Anyone would have expected you to flee from the planet by this point. In truth, I did too. But the moment you were spotted on this planet was the moment I knew that something had gone wrong. Perhaps the ship didn't work, perhaps you forgot to steal the key. Perhaps you simply wanted a better one. I decided to take my chances and put the key to my ship in clear-view, hoping you'd approach me. That would be an easier way to catch you than tracking down your shadow."
"So you predicted that I'd target you based on only that information?"
"Oh no, I wouldn't say I 'predicted' anything. Call it a lucky guess. You could have stolen the ship just because you wanted to have one. You didn't have to steal it just to escape from the planet. After all, you've been doing pretty good, why would you suddenly be afraid of getting caught? And plus, there has never been any rhyme or reason to any of your thefts, I didn't have any reason to assume you'd have a particular reason the spaceship you stole had a purpose. Anyway, my luck is what caught you, nothing else," the Patroller took a breather as he dropped the papers he was holding. "Still, I am curious: why did you want a spaceship?"
Hit refused to answer.
"Want to know what I think?"
"What I think is that you've gotten bored of this planet and want to test yourself elsewhere. Am I right? Well, that's what would have happened if I didn't catch you first. So now we're here."
"And so, what now? Am I going to be judged by the Galactic Court?"
"That's protocol, yeah."
"So, what will you do? We're having this conversation for a reason."
"You're a sharp one. As expected. To be honest, originally all I wanted was to catch you. That's all I had to do. But seeing as how you know the Time Skip, I have to say you have potential, kid. It'd be a shame to waste your abilities on petty crimes."
"What?" He chuckled. "You want me to be a part of the Galactic Patrol, is that it?"
"No, not that," he replied as he opened Hit's cell and freed him from his chains. "The Galactic Patrol would never accept a thief like you. All I'm offering you is a chance to change your life around. You'll work for me and, in exchange, I'll train you: I'll teach you more about the Time Skip and I'll help you become stronger. I'm the best officer the Patrol has, you couldn't get better training anywhere else in the universe. After that, it's all up to you. You can go back to being a criminal or you can do whatever you want. You can find your own purpose."
"Very well, then." Hit was suspicious about the man's intentions, they certainly couldn't be as pure as he was implying, but he thought that accepting his offer and devise an escape plan when he had the possibility would be in his best interest.
"Great! My name is Crash." The two shook hands. Afterwards, the Patroller guided the young man through the space base. He took out a purple trench coat from a closet and offered it to him. "Wear this instead of the ugly rags you have on now."
"It'll help you sneak around better. You're good at stealth, I figured we should build on that instead of trying to teach you something completely new." Hit took the clothes and put them on as Crash guided him to an empty room. "We'll start training tomorrow. Until then, you can sleep here. Don't worry," he reassured, after realizing how uncertain Hit looked. "I'll make sure to explain the situation to the others so that they understand that you're technically no longer a criminal."
"Their opinion doesn't matter to me. What is your intention? How can I be sure you're not going to lock me up?"
"Why would I have freed you if that was my intention from the start?" He replied. Hit was still suspicious. "Here, tell you what, if you distrust me so much, you can just leave right now. Honest."
"Fine, then. Goodbye," he walked out of the door with his hands in his pockets.
"Wait!" Crash yelled as he grabbed Hit by the shoulder. "Alright, you called my bluff… I'm afraid I still can't let you leave."
"So you're hiding something from me."
"Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, due to your current predicament, I say you're pretty much forced to trust me," he smiled.
"I could always kill you."
"Yeah, you could. But you don't have the strength for it yet. And seeing as how I'm offering you a chance to become stronger, the only way you could kill me is by taking up that offer." Hit couldn't reply. "So, like I said, here's your room. Be sure you rest up. Tomorrow is going to be a long day."
As Crash exited the room, Hit looked through a window at his home planet, wondering if this was the last time he'd see it. He wondered what the future would hold, if he would end up escaping or if he'd just end up dead by the time this was all through. Either way, he had accepted his fate. At this point in time, he figured he'd best learn how to fight properly. He smirked and clenched his first in determination before heading off to bed, ready to improve on his Time Skip the next morning.