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Skies of Nebulae



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soundofmind says...



Bo Petrov


In the distance they could see the sky turning a polluted shade of grey and tan as the wind picked up the dust into the air. It was no slow development either, as the sky had only been mostly clear a few minutes ago.

"There's no way we're going to survive that out here," Ceres stated, the dread in her voice palpable.

"We need to get to shelter," Lurin replied with urgency.

"We need to get back to the ship," Korena declared. The others looked at him with an expression that read: The ship? So soon? Yes, so soon.

"Today, would be nice!" Korena commanded impatiently, pointing at the ever approaching sandstorm.

They all nodded, and hurried to gather their things, all looking at the approaching storm with wariness. Bo grabbed a lot of it, thinking of how fast they would have to move while carrying all of the supplies - and he wanted the others to be able to move as fast as possible. He knew there was no guarantee that they would even be able to outrun it, but considering it was their only option apart from getting buried alive in sand and dirt, they would have to try.

They began the hurried trek back to the ship through the desert, running through the sand for a good while - a feat in itself - before they began to slow to a quick paced walk. They'd covered a lot of ground, but the sand storm was still following on their heels, and when they finally saw the ship in the distance, the storm was only a minute out from where they were.

"Let's book it!" Lurin shouted.

The five all sprinted towards the wrecked ship, in a race against time and the giant cloud of dust closing in on them. Bo raced ahead with his long legs and, arriving several yards of distance before them, pushed the blockade they'd set up at the entrance out of the way with a big heave.

"Hurry!" He yelled out to them, watching with worry-filled eyes.

There was a few seconds of delay as Bo watched the sand storm threat to consume his friends. He didn't know how extreme the sandstorms were on this planet, but all he could imagine was them being feet away from him and never making it to the entrance. The image of them getting swallowed by sand replayed in his mind several times, but then they all ran into the ship with a rush of movement.

In came Gavi, Ceres, Lurin, Korena, and then him, sliding in behind them and pushing the blockade back in its place - though it was a great struggle to do so, since mid-way, the sand and wind hit the large chunk of metal with full force. With one final hurrah he grunted and the entrance was sealed off - leaving the dust previously swirling inside the wrecked ship to settle on the ground.

Several minutes passed as everyone walked around or sat on the floor, catching their breath. Though the air wasn't the purest, it was infinitely better than what breathing outside of the ship would feel like.

Finally, words.

"Is everyone okay?" Korena asked, breathing still somewhat heavy.

They all nodded.

"We didn't get caught up in it," Lurin replied, surprised but relieved that they made it.

"That's a good thing," Gavi commented dryly.

"A very good thing," Bo echoed, slouching and plopping down on the floor, exhausted from the walk and run over.

"I guess this means we won't be leaving the ship any time soon," Ceres noted.

"It doesn't look like it," Korena replied. "We'll have to see how long the storm keeps up."

"You know, speaking of uh, leaving the ship -" Bo started, but stopped when they all felt the same thing. They couldn't hear the storm anymore, nor did they hear the creaks of the broken ship against the wind, or anything of the sort. They all looked at each other in the silence.

"Is that..."

Bo got up to check and see if the storm was still active, and Gavi and Korena got up and huddled behind him as well as he pulled at the blockade again, this time only to open it a peek. But then the blockade began to move on it's own, and Bo, having applied more pressure than he'd expected to be necessary, was caught off balance. The giant chunks of metal that had been their "door" floated out of the way while surrounded by some kind of green energy field that carried them. And once they were gone, they revealed a crowd of uniformed alien people looking into their ship, one with a device pointed at the floating debris that had previously obscured their view.

Around the aliens and around their ship appeared to be what looked like a force field, shielding the area from the storm.

Lurin leaned in toward Ceres who stood beside her. "What was it you said about there only being small lifeforms?"

Ceres sent Lurin a glare, but remained silent, as they all looked at the aliens staring into their ship.

They were tall, bulky aliens, with a humanoid frame but dark, shiny skin like that of a reptile's. All of them stood at about Bo's height, if not taller.

Korena stepped forward.

"We don't mean to-"

Korena didn't get to finish his sentence as a net-like bag was propelled towards him that enveloped him, and seconds following, the other four shared a similar fate.

Image


As they were transported in a small carrier ship, his head covering was taken off. As he looked through the window, he saw a massive spaceship growing ever larger in his view. Bo stared at it with wide eyes. He'd never seen a ship larger than a star, and the very thought of being trapped on one so big was overwhelming.

He looked around to his left and his right, looking for their crew, but was only met with an even greater feeling of dread when he saw that he was alone, in a small room, still bound up.

They already separated us. He frowned deeply with worry. What about the others? What have they done to them?
  





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Sheyren says...



Korena Triptohech


Korena awoke in a dark room. No, the room wasn’t dark, but he was unable to see. A brace was wrapped around his head, blocking his eyes from taking in his surroundings. The only thing he could gather was that the warmth of a body was resting on his back, and they were both seated in the ground. Cautiously, he listened for the sound of some other presence, but found none other than himself and his fellow prisoner. “Hello?” He asked, directing the question at the person beside him.

“Korena?”

Korena felt a wave of relief barrel into him. “Lurin, it’s you. I was worried it was someone else, someone more… problematic.”

“I’ve been afraid to say anything for the same reason,” Lurin replied. “Any idea where we are?”

“I can’t see because of this metal band, and my limbs don’t seem to work at the moment, but I still have control over my magnets. Maybe I can…Ah, there we go,” he said as his blindfold popped off his head, carried overhead by a swarm of non-sentient magnets. They lowered it to the ground and got to work on Lurin’s, quickly freeing her eyes.

The two looked around, gathering what they could of the room. What they could gather was not much, however, as the room seemed to be a white cube. There were no ornaments on the floor, ceiling, or individual walls. No furniture, no nothing. Not even a door. There was no way in or out, and the room didn’t even seem to have a designated purpose.

That’s when they noticed it. A blue ooze seeping through the space between one of the walls and the floor. When the entire puddle made its way through, it expanded and took shape, forming a translucent humanoid body. It looked them in the eyes, or so Korena thought. It was difficult to tell, since the entity had no facial features. “Hello,” it said in near-perfect English, its voice coming from somewhere deep down in its body. “I am LiuekwoIDheIDuejaheID, the second in command of this ship. Don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you if you can’t pronounce.”

“Well them, Liuekkwol...il… why have you brought us here?” Lurin asked, only attempting to pronounce the name before quickly giving up.

“We had a deal. You would leave this solar system, and we would leave you alone. Yet, here you are, near the highest risk planet in the cluster for our alliance,” he answered.

What could possibly be on the planet that has them so worried? “I don’t think that was exactly the deal, but either way, we were doing you no harm,” claimed Korena.

The alien shook his head. “You lesser beings can’t comprehend the situation, or what’s at stake. Just you being near that planet puts our plan at risk-” He watched as Korena’s magnets suddenly spiraled towards his head. They plunged into the ooze and flew out the other side, leaving him unaffected. “That won’t work.”

“So I see.”

Lurin interrupted suddenly. “What, exactly, is your plan? You haven’t informed us.”

“Our planet was destroyed millennia ago, by a supernova,” started the second-in-command. “Most of population was killed, but the few that escaped danger regathered, creating a ship to temporarily inhabit while they looked for a suitable homeworld. After a decade, supplies ran low, and they still hadn’t found the right planet. You see, our species, known as Yuveya, are so unlike the most common form of life, carbon-based organisms, that there was only one known planet capable of hosting us… Our former homeland.

“With nowhere to go, we devised a plan to create a massive ship able to host our entire population. The only problem is that artificially sustaining an entire race requires such an amount of power that we couldn’t even begin to imagine generating ourselves. So, our head engineer devised a system using data collected from the supernova event that wiped us out so long ago. And as a people, we built this ship, the largest ship in the explored universe.”

“But that doesn’t explain how you’ll generate enough energy to...” Lurin started, before trailing off as she realized what the alien had implied.

Korena finally spoke up. “You can’t. That would wipe out so many civilizations!”

“We already faced mass-extinction, and stopped considering others a long time ago. Right know, we only care that we can ensure a place for our offspring to safely live. Don’t think any of us are happy to be doing it, but we have no choice,” he answered calmly. “And before you ask, no, we can’t do it in an uninhabited portion of the universe. You would be surprised how rare those really are, and they usually can’t generate enough power.”

“You’re willing to kill millions of offspring just to ensure yours live. Maybe your people went extinct for a reason. Maybe your time is up, and now you need to let some other race become the most advanced,” Korena hissed.

“We are far from the most advanced race. On the planet we pulled you away from, in fact, is the only race in this solar system capable of stopping us from consuming this solar system’s star.”
"I give you permission to use 'Sheyster. Sheyfia. Shey Boss. Don Shey.' as a signature quote. XD"
-BrumalHunter


If you somehow didn't already know, I used to be Sheytato.
  





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soundofmind says...



Bo Petrov


A collar was locked around his neck; a small red light blinking until it clicked into place, and Bo could feel a brief, sharp pain at the top of his spine.

"Uh, what was that?" He asked as the lofty guard spun Bo around towards the door. "What did you just inject me with?"

"Sustenance," the guard explained, with a voice low and smooth - understandable, but distinctly not human. "Or perhaps in your language, you would understand it more as a drug. It will strengthen your body more than food will."

"What does that even mean?" Bo wondered out loud, frustration and helplessness mixing together in his voice. "Are you saying I won't get to eat?"

The elevator they were standing in came to a stop. Bo stumbled backward slightly on his feet, only to be pushed forward by the guard behind him. The machine seemed to heave with a sigh, releasing air as three sets of doors in front of them slid open, one by one. Bo, staring into the hall, found himself unable to be present in the moment. All he could picture was one of his crew behind that last door. All he could imagine was where they could be at right now, what was happening to them, and what their captors could be doing to them. His gut twisted as only the worst possibilities came to mind.

"No," the guard finally replied. "You will not need to. You will not want to. All you need to focus on, is your work."

Bo frowned. "...Work?"

He was pushed forward. The doors closed between him and the guard, and despite wanting to turn around and go back, he knew there was no other way to go but forward. Especially not with a tracking device around his neck either. With a clenching of his jaw, he tread quickly to the last door, and waited for it to open. (With all this technology, they still had a second delay on the reaction times of the doors.) But as Bo stepped out into his new "workplace," he felt an even stronger urge to turn back around. Smoke and chemicals filled the warm air, filling his nose with a sickly sour scent. And in a matter of seconds, he'd begun to sweat.

What he was staring at looked like the exposed inner skeleton of the tubular ship, and below at the base of the support beams were rows upon rows of various assembly lines, much of it metalworking. Laborers with masks and protective bodysuits and gear carefully hand crafted metal gears, and various parts that Bo couldn't identify the use of.

Bo whispered under his breath. "How in the universe am I gonna get out of this..."

A cleared throat from behind him startled him, and Bo's shoulders shot up to his ears.

"Thinking of leaving already?" A feminine voice followed, to which, Bo turned back to see who'd overheard him somehow.

Standing behind him was a tall, humanoid-like figure, but whose skin and appearance was like that of a reflective mirror. Her clothes, however, appeared peculiarly human - they were dirty, but looked much like normal khaki overalls and a ratty bomber jacket over a plain tee. Bo felt sweaty just looking at her. How was she not burning up with a jacket on? It was so warm, and he was already sweating at the rate of rainfall.

"Oh," he croaked, smiling nervously. "You uh, heard that?"

The alien's mouth upturned into an amused smile. "I have exceptional hearing compared to your kind." Her eyes flickered to his chest, where she expected his heart to be outside of him. But it wasn't. "Hm... or not. You must be human. Perhaps the same still applies."

Bo's eyes followed hers, and he looked at her with a curious raised brow. "What else would I be?"

"Well not the Asteri, that's for sure. I was wondering why one of them would be here of all places."

Bo scratched the back of his neck, the question forming in his head visible on his face. The alien wore another toothless smile.

"You don't know who they are, do you?"

Bo opened his mouth to reply, but still befuddled, amongst the other concerns on his mind, he ended up just shaking his head and blowing a raspberry through his lips. It was only after the gesture that he realized not all non-verbal communication was universal, especially staring into the expectant, dark, and reflective eyes of the alien in front of him.

"No uh, no idea," he said.

She looked ready to reply, but gave a wary glance around them. Some of the workers had noticed their idle standing, and by this, she looked worried - or something like it. It was hard to make our her features amidst the dust filled air and her mirror-like skin. She grabbed Bo's arm, pulling him with her.

"Come, walk with me to your station while we talk." She looked up at Bo, awaiting consent: to which Bo simply said, "Alright."

She looked back briefly at the door he'd come through before proceeding. "The Asteri are a powerful, commanding race," she explained in hushed tones. "Rumored to be the only ones powerful enough to destroy those who hold us captive. Their home planet is not far from here, actually. We're pretty close to their moon, but from my understanding they have a..." her voice faded to silence away as she looked back at Bo's face.

"Why do you keep making such movements with your face?"

Bo blinked a few times, pulled out of deep thought. "Wh-what? Uh, I mean, I'm-I'm not... I'm not always aware of what my face is doing... like, expression-wise and all."

"Curious..." she hummed. "But why did you squint and look like that?"

Bo's eyes lit up at the opportunity to say what he'd been thinking. "Oh! I guess, like, what you were just saying about the moon and stuff - I think I was just there! But we didn't meet any of the Asteri. Only flesh-eating bugs." He held out his hand to reveal the scabbing spot where the insect had bit him. "But the Asteri - it sounds like they've gotta look a lot like humans for you to confuse me for one, ey?"

The alien on his arm smiled even wider at the scab on his hand - her mouth saying laughter, but the rest of her appearing calm. "Yes. The main difference would be that their hearts are not inside them like yours is."

Bo's brows shot up. "Really? How's that work? The heart's a pretty vital organ, at least from my understanding. That sounds pretty risky."

"Risky? That's is humorous language to use, but no." She pat his arm. "They are much more hardy than they seem."

"Oh yeah. Otherwise they wouldn't be quite so formidable, ey?" Bo said with a finger raised, and a grin.

The alien didn't seem to do much more than smile, watching Bo's hand go up.

"Humans are so entertaining," she commented, seemingly distracted by Bo himself and not really hearing what he had said. As they came to a stop in front of a welding station, Bo looked furtively at the tools lying on the workbench. He didn't know much about welding, but he had a feeling he would be expected to do it, and soon.

"So uh... what now?" He asked.

The she-alien let go of his arm rather abruptly, and grabbed a masked helmet. With her legs stretching more like rubber than anything Bo'd ever seen, she raised herself up and plopped it on his head.

"We make frames."

Bo, with face now hidden behind a metal mask and a transparent guard over his eyes, blinked a few times.

"You do not know what that means either," she observed.

"Do they throw all of their prisoners down here to work with no training?" he asked.

A scoff. "Oh, no. Of course not. Some they test on. Some they hide." Disgust began to lace her words. "They only keep those they have use for." She scratched at the collar around her neck. It looked just like Bo's.

"And even the ones they keep, they treat like machines."

Bo's brows lowered as his hopes for the safety of the others in his crew began to dwindle and crumble at the sound of her words. They'd already lost Isle... he... didn't know what he'd do if he lost all of them. He clenched his teeth.

I have to get out of here.

A tool he didn't know the name of was shoved into his hands. "I am your teacher until you are self-sufficient," the mirror alien finally explained.

"Does my teacher have a name?" Bo asked, though the thought of wasting time working instead of finding his crew-mates twisted his gut with great discomfort.

"Hluk'est'ad'e."

Bo blinked again.

Hluk'est'ad'e looked at him blankly. "Call me Hyuk."

Bo nodded. He didn't want to tell her what that sounded like from his culture and earthen experience. He bowed slightly. "I'm Bo."

"Is that short for something?"

Bo chuckled, despite feeling his inner clock ticking against him, telling him to find a way out as soon as possible. "You know, it is. But there's a bit of story to it that I don't feel like explaining. I'd rather my focus be on welding so I don't melt any of my limbs off or anything."

Hyuk looked to the workbench. "Well. Let us work, then."
  





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MJTucker says...



Ceres Agnolder

Ceres came to in an unfamiliar, blindingly white room and blinked several times to clear her . "Where am I?" she asked, her voice reedier than usual.

"You're safe," a voice informed her. Ceres took a long, slow look around the room. From floor to ceiling, it was covered in polished white tiles, and the only furniture was a single cabinet. The room was barely big enough to contain Ceres and the two guards who stood next to her. Ceres sized up the two guards, observing that one was significantly taller than the other, broader-built one.

"Safe from what?"

"The outside world." Ceres noticed that the broader guard was holding a syringe in his hand and gulped. The needle was longer than any other needle she had ever seen, and the bright florescent lighting made it appear more menacing.

"What's that?"

"Your sustenance. All the food and liquids you need for one day combined into one injection. Now you will not have to worry about food," the thinner one answered.

Ceres' head was spinning. She peered at her captors. "You're not human," she observed.

"You are correct," the guard responded. Ceres detected a hint of contempt in his tone. "We have far more advanced technology than the humans, and unlike the humans, we do not go poking our noses in places we do not belong."

Great. She was stuck in a prison where the sentries disliked her entire species. It didn't get better than this. "What do you want with me?"

"You will see soon enough. This way, please." Each guard took one of her arms, holding it firmly but gently, and unchained her from the chair. The guard who had answered her questions used a thick copper key to open the door, which opened into a narrow hallway made of the same smooth white tiles. They led her down the hallway, turned to the left, and continued through a series of confusing turns until they reached a hallway that was different than all the others.

These doors were a more foreboding black, and they seemed thicker than the sleek white doors in the other hallway. Ceres was slightly intimidated by the rows of black doors, and when they paused at the second black door, Ceres couldn't help but wonder if her friends were being held captive in these threatening rooms.

The guard pulled out his keyring and selected another key, this one silver, and unlocked the door. Ceres glanced around to see if there were any exits in sight, measuring the chance of a successful escape. If she could take down the broader guard, perhaps she could outrun the tall one if she had enough of a headstart.

The door swung open, and Ceres was nudged inside before she could attempt anything foolish. Her eyes roved the room until they landed on a tall, humanoid figure seated in a chair identical to the one Ceres had been chained for. Its eyes were bulging out of its head, and its skin was pale and wrinkled, but other than that it seemed human enough. A tablet-like device and a clipboard with an official document attached to it sat on the table directly in front of the strange figure.

"Greetings, Ceres Agnolder. I've been looking forward to this meeting. I hope my appearance doesn't alarm you. Many members of your species let out a high-pitched scream when they behold me for the first time. I like to think that they are simply admiring my physique, but I have a nagging suspicion that that is not the case. Shall we begin?" The figure gestured to a chair on the opposite side of the table.

"Uh, sure, yes, of course." Ceres pulled out the chair opposite the alien being and sat down heavily, trying not to show her surprise. She had to act capable, confident, unfazed by anything these strangers might do to her.

"But pardon me, I forgot to introduce myself. It's a terrible habit of mine. My name is LT604, and I will be assessing you today to find the best fit for you in our compound. And before you ask, I am a half-Aleox, half-human, so I have humanoid features, but my Aleox side seems to be more prominent for reasons I would require the breeding department to explain to me. Let us proceed.”

“What do people call you?” Ceres knew this was a strange question, but she needed to do something unexpected to show that she still had some control over this bizarre

“LT604, like I said.” LT seemed puzzled.

“Do you go by anything else?”

“I suppose you can call me Lott, if you so desire, but you shouldn’t have to address me. We have much to do, and little time for us to accomplish it in.”

"What do you mean?" Ceres sat down in the chair, her legs shaky. There were no other exits to this room that she could access, and the two guards who had accompanied her were standing on either side of the door. She was effectively trapped.

"Please extend your arm," Lott requested, tapping his (her? its?) foot impatiently.

Ceres obeyed, her eyes darting around the room. Lott reached under the table and pulled out a bin of medical-looking equipment and pulled out a syringe with the same long, ominous needle.

"Um, are needles an instrumental part of everything you guys do?"

"Unfortunately, they're necessary for the first few tests we have to conduct. Relax your arm, please."

Ceres did her best to make her arm go limp, sucking in deep breaths to calm her racing heart. She had always disliked needles, especially when they were injecting her with a foreign substance. She had no way of knowing they weren't injecting some sort of poison right now.

The thought made her heart beat even faster, and Ceres squeezed her eyes shut. She couldn't bring herself to watch the needle penetrate her skin and plunge into her vein. In one quick, sharp prick, the needle was out, and Lott was covering the wound with something like a band-aid, except it was more flexible and stickier.

"What we just injected you with was a specially designed machine, which will monitor your heart rate, your blood pressure, and other bodily functions like menstrual cycle and sweat levels " Lott pressed a few buttons and squinted at the screen, occasionally tapping the screen until he got the information he wanted.

Lott set down the tablet and made eye contact with Ceres, his red eyes drilling into her. "Your heart rate is a little bit faster than usual, and your blood pressure is slightly high. According to the information we've gathered, your brain is over-stimulated, and your anxiety is considerably higher than usual."

Ceres almost snorted at that. "Really? Your test have revealed that I'm anxious? I can't imagine why." Sarcasm dripped from her voice, but Lott was not amused. He frowned at her, his face stern.

"However, from what we can gather from the test, you are unusually intelligent," he continued.

"Really? Like, genius-level-intelligent?" Ceres interrupted.

"Not quite, but your intelligence quotient appears to be higher than average, and you display an ability to analyze situations quickly. Your perception levels are also extremely high, and your memory seems to be very good as well. These qualities will be quite useful to us." Lott jotted down some notes on his clipboard and turned the tablet off. "I have just a few more questions for you."

Lott reached into the bin and pulled out a pack of rainbow-colored cards. Ceres would estimate that there were fifty cards in the stack, each one with a single color painted on the back. Lott laid five of them out on the table in a random arrangement—red, green, purple, yellow, green.

Lott flipped the cards over so all Ceres could see was the navy diamond-patterned backs. "What order were the cards in?"

"Red, green, purple, yellow, green," Ceres recited, a smile dancing at the corners of her mouth. She did have an excellent memory.

Lott continued testing Ceres' memory, laying out 6 cards, then 7, then 8. When there were 14 cards to memorize in less than twenty seconds, she made her first mistake, and Lott just scribbled on her clipboard.

"Now we'll move onto number relationships. Identify the pattern between these numbers." Lott slid a piece of paper with a series of random numbers written on it in front of Ceres.

They weren't random, Ceres realized as she studied them. The sequence read 2,5,11,23,47,?

From 2 to 5 was plus three, and from 5 to 11 was plus six, so could the next one be plus nine? Ceres checked it, but shook her head. 11 plus 9 did not equal 23. She continued trying to find different patterns until she found one that wrked—it was the previous number plus itself plus 1, which meant that to find the missing number, she had to add 47 plus 47 plus 1, which equaled...

"Ninety-five," she said at last,

"Correct." Lott put another piece of paper in front of Ceres, this one with the numbers 1,8,1,4,7,0,7,0 ?.

This one was more intricate, but predictable, and so it was simple math to deduce that the pattern was +7-7+3+3-7+7-7, and so the missing number had to be 0 plus 3, which obviously equaled 3.

"Three," she said, faster this time.

"Last one." Ceres put the final piece of paper in front of Ceres.

The paper read "4-6-9-6-14-6-?" Ceres noticed the repetition of the 6 first. The 6 was repeated between the 4, the 9, and the 14. It logically followed that each of these was 5 more than the previous number, so the next number had to be....

"19!" Ceres blurted, slamming her hands on the table in celebration. Lott smiled, but the smile didn't reach his eyes.

"Well done, Ceres. You can return to your holding cell now. You will begin your work after you are sufficiently rested." Lott nodded to the two guards, who took hold of Ceres' arms and led her gently but firmly outside and down the hall. Ceres considered struggling, but it would be pointless. There was no way she could overpower both these guards, at least, not in her current position. Perhaps someday when she was allowed more freedom, it would be an option. In the meantime, she made sure to look for every possible exit and make a mental map of the compound as best she could for future reference.

The guards brought Ceres to a cell enclosed on all 4 sides by thick iron bars. The cell was bare save a metal toilet built into the ground, and the bars were intentionally spaced so thinly Ceres doubted she could fit her hand between them, much less her entire body. The door was secured with a thick padlock that was inaccessible from the cell, and two guards patrolled the hallway. An escape attempt from here would be borderline suicidal.

The guards forced Ceres into the cell and then immediately slammed the door shut, locking the padlock with a combination rather than a key. Within seconds, she was assaulted by the smell, the smell of must and human waste and sweat. She wrinkled her nose and chose a spot on the floor where she could see the entire hallway so she could watch the guards walk up and down the hallway and memorize the rhythmic pattern of the guards' boots clap on the hallways. Slowly, the patter of the boots on the concrete lulled Ceres to sleep, and she closed her eyes and allowed herself to escape all her problems in the world of sleep.
Do not try to be pretty. You weren't meant to be pretty; you were meant to burn down the earth and graffiti the sky. Don't let anyone ever simplify you to just 'pretty'"
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ajruby12 says...



Gavi Iomar


Cold, dark isolation.
Gavi awoke to a throbbing pain in her head. She reached up a hand to her injury and winced. A bump had already formed on her head, and it was still growing. She felt something that seemed like blood on her lip, and wiped it off with her finger, holding it up to the tiny shreds of light from a darkened cube light. Her finger was blue.
“Well, that's reassuring...” she mumbled, then froze as she heard strange voices outside the room, speaking in a language she couldn't identify. It sounded oddly familiar, as if she had heard it rather recently. Wait, where was she? Who was she? Suddenly, memories came crashing into her head. Her friends and companions. Isle's death and burial. The barricades on the ship's doors being lifted, and those strange alien shapes coming into their ship. Those cold, shapeless eyes… A dark voice shattered her thoughts.

“Greetings, monstrous human. I trust the sedative has worn off by this point.”
“Back atcha, alienoid… I trust your face is ready for the pounding you're gonna get when I get out of this room.”

A high-pitched, yet noticeably strained chuckle followed this comment.
“A useless threat. Your current situation could have been avoided if you had not bitten me and attempted to dislocate my arm from its socket.” the voice said. Gavi smirked, staring at the blue blood on her finger.

“Oh, so that's what that's from! I would have never guessed. Just thought I was turning alien, I suppose. Guess I deserve a pat on that back for that one.” She reached up a stiff arm and patted her back, trying to peer through the dark at the void around her. She felt a growl in her stomach.
"Any chance I could get some pickles in here?"

“The highly humanistic communication technique, sarcasm. You seem to be quite fond of the use of that particular technique. But that is not the issue at present. I am KaelunYoMakIllAkara. The reason you are...”

The alien's explanation was cut short by an unbridled snort from Gavi.
“Really, an advanced species like you hasn't figured out that adding a bunch of letters to your name doesn't make it better? Better go back to the basics there, Mr. Marshian Mutt. Oh, is it rude to assume gender? Do you even have gender any more, or do you not have enough time for such nonsense when there's names to make up??”

“Do not assume that because you made the first attack on us, you will prevail over us again.” the voice retorted, markedly angry.

“Oh, I'm not assuming, honey...” Gavi muttered. There was silence from the other side, then bright light flooded into the room. She covered her eyes with her hands, trying to peek out from between her fingers, but the light seemed to burn her eyes. She was sure the voice was coming from inside the room, but she couldn't seem the speaker.

“We have your entire crew in our custody. Your leader and two others of your companions are currently being questioned, and the large, lumbering, slow one has been sent to work. You are currently the least valuable of them all. Your previous actions led us to confine you here, but we will not hesitate to dispose of any threat to our security.”
Before the voice could continue, Gavi had leaped up, blindly lunging forward. By some miracle, her hands contacted the alien, and she grabbed it by the throat, pinning it to the wall.

“You disgusting creature… You have no value for any life! And how dare you talk about Bo like that!!” The figure seemed to melt through her fingers, and the room went totally dark once again.

After a few moments, the voice re-entered her thoughts.
“The strangest thing about humans is that anger, what seems to be their greatest weakness, as it gets them into so many problems, also happens to be one of their greatest strengths when kept under control. Interesting. Your behavior has been noted and logged. Thank you for your cooperation.”

Then all was silent. With a final burst of anger, Gavi hurled the small cube light at the wall, smashing it to pieces. She slid down to the floor, burying her head in her arms as she ground her teeth together.

“Bo… Lurin, Korena, Ceres, where are you??”
"There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them." - Ray Bradbury
  





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Tue Oct 30, 2018 10:13 am
Tortwag says...



Likaj Myriadot – Establish your link


“I’m watching you, okay?! I’m watching you!”

“I know.”

“Don’t you dare do anything bad!”

“Of course not.”

“If you hurt her, I’m gonna shoot you, okay?!”

“I am very much aware.”

“So don’t try anything funny!”

“We wouldn’t like that, indeed.”

Likaj temporarily closed his eyes. Don’t worry, he thought to himself. Remember your training. The kid’s agitated, that’s all. He opened them after a few seconds of silence, staring at the figure next to him. The boy looked like an anthropomorphic Fennec fox with ears almost as big as the rest of his body – except covered in bright, purplish pink scales instead of fur. The boy was also equipped with a spiky, porcupine-like brown cape decorated with horns next to his shoulders, and he held a slingshot with trembling hands pointed towards Likaj. In front of him could be seen the wounded figure of the boy’s sister. She looked exactly like him, except that she had a bluish pink scaled skin instead of purplish. She breathed heavily, her hand compressed against her stomach.

“What’s your name?” Likaj asked to the girl in a soft tone.

“A...Adreth...” she answered in a weak voice.

“I’m Likaj. A healer. How are you feeling, Adreth? Where does it hurt?”

“My… My stomach… My stomach and… my head...”

Likaj frowned. “Does your left eye feel… numb?”

“Y-Yes...”

Same symptoms. I thought so. “Take it easy, Adreth. You’ll be out of this soon.” Likaj turned his head to Adreth’s brother, ignoring the slingshot still pointed at his head. “You two are Malikons, right?” he asked him carefully.

“Y-Yeah.” the boy confirmed. “What are you? I’ve never seen someone like you before!” the boy looked at Likaj with suspicious eyes. To him, Likaj certainly looked strange, with his purple light armor, orange shoulder pads and sturdy black chest-plate protecting his torso – and even more with the cat-like orange ears atop a headset worn around his head, not to mention the yellowish skin typical of a young Asteri. It was also possible that the boy believed Likaj’s healing scepter to be a dangerous weapon, whereas it had only been planted on the ground for Likaj to take care of Adreth.

“I’ll answer that in a moment.” Likaj promised in an appeasing tone. “What’s your name?”

“...Darm.”

“Nice to meet you, Darm. As you heard, my name is Likaj. Likaj Myriadot. I am an exiled Asteri. I came to your planet because a help request was sent, coming from a group of people called the Skyfang Brigade.”

“What d’you want with the Brigade?!”

“I see you know them.”

“I’m part of them!”

A gentle smile appeared on Likaj’s face. “Then this will be easier. They sent a help request because they suspected that one of their members had been affected by a dangerous virus that several planets collectively refer to as Fog.”

“That’s not a very creative name.”

Likaj chuckled. “Tell me about it. I think it sounds better in certain languages, though, but not in Luversa. From what I understand, they needed a Healer to stay with them for a few days to check on their trainees. I believe I found the one infected.”

Darm froze, and slowly lowered his arms. “I… Adreth is… She’s sick?”

“Yes, she is.” another smile. “I’m here for that, though.”

Darm’s giant ears lifted themselves above his head. “You… You have a cure?”

“Yes. But I’ll need you to prepare it.” he looked around the glade, thoughtful. He had landed his ship not too far from the area, and though he had the map of the planet, he couldn’t risk studying an area he wasn’t familiar with when someone more qualified could do it in his place, while Likaj himself could take care of his improvised patient.

“I-I’ll do it!” Darm exclaimed. “Just… Tell me what I need to do!”

The upside of emotive people – give them a motivation, give them a hope, and they become the best performers of anything presented to them. “Alright, then.” Likaj began. “Here’s what we need.”

During the following hours, Likaj gave a series of instructions to Darm, so that the latter would move within the forest and gather the fruits, leaves, animals or other ingredients that Likaj needed to create enhanced versions of the medicine he always had on himself. Thanks to his studies, Likaj had an extensive knowledge of the resources of most active planets on the surrounding solar systems that included the one in which the Asteri resided. However, Likaj was aware that a good chunk of his knowledge was only theoretical, as there were many planets he still hadn’t explored in his exile, and that was when Darm’s ability was crucial. He seemed to always know exactly where to find anything that Likaj asked for, and if he didn’t, he had enough knowledge of the forest to guess by himself where would the next ingredients would be. He certainly hadn’t been recruited by the Skyfang Brigade for no reason.

“I’m back!” Darm exclaimed as he ran towards Likaj, with purple colored berries in one hand, and a bottle containing several firefly-like bugs in the other. “Here’s the rest of the stuff. What’s next? How is Adreth doing?”

“Just fine.” Likaj assured. “Aren’t you?”

Having been placed on a giant leaf almost twice the size of Adreth’s body (previously brought by Darm), Adreth smiled weakly and nodded.

“Okay… Okay, good.” Darm whispered to himself before dropping on the ground, visibly tired. “What next? What’s the next thing?”

“You stay here and rest.” Likaj said as he pulled out a bi-colored capsule from his utility belt. He quickly mixed the ingredients near him together, then opened his capsule and placed them inside, before closing said capsule and pressing a series of small button. “Meanwhile, my capsule will take care of the mixing. In twenty minutes, it should be ready.” Likaj frowned as he put a hand on of his helmet’s ear.

“...um… Thank you.. F-for all this!” Darm suddenly exclaimed as he sat down. “I… I don’t think I would’ve, um… Been able to handle this by myself. I… I’m sorry I threatened you.”

“It’s okay, dear, you were just protecting your sister.” Likaj assured. “Although, I believe you’ll have to do this one final time, if you don’t mind.”

“What? Of course I don’t mind! What do you need?”

The ground below them began shaking. Darm’s eyes widened, while Likaj’s mechanical ears picked up more and more precise sounds. “I need you to take care of the predator currently coming our way.”

“...The Marnex.” Darm whispered. “Oh, no… He probably woke up when I–”

I asked you to get needles from its nest.” Likaj interrupted. “We both were aware of the risks. Did the Skyfang Brigade warn you about its abilities?”

Darm nodded. “It's got a Tsarlott. A coat of spiky fur that blocks out almost everything that attacks it. I mean, it's not as functional when they're young, but...”

Likaj looked at Darm. Judging by the cape of needles he wore on his back, he had fought against juvenile Marnexes before. “Have you ever fought an adult Marnex before?”

Darm took a deep breath and shook his head. “It's impossible. The Tsarlott is fully functional when they're adults.”

“I’ll help you. You’ll be the one moving. I’ll be giving you some instructions I expect you to follow. Please, follow them. For your interest, mine, and your sister’s.”

The two boys shared one more gaze before the trees surrounding the glade shook, with a number of them falling to make way for a gigantic creature.
It was like a house-sized rat, with spiky, forest green fur behind its head – which featured clear brown fur, and a pair of big eye sockets divided in three glowing dots staring at every corner. Four black spikes grew from the middle of its back, with the tip of each being colored of the same glowing green of its six eyes. The Marnex’s tail, of the same color of its back’s spikes, suddenly came to a stop as it sniffed the air. Then, its eyes fell on Darm, and it began growling.

“How...” Darm whispered. “How should I distract this away from you?”

“You’re not going to distract it.” Likaj said as he calmly rose from the ground and reached for his trident. He then pressed a button on his helmet’s ears, and without moving his lips, continued his sentence. “You’re going to defeat it.” Likaj concluded as he took his staff in his hand, and planted it on the ground once more. A light appeared from a crystal-like feature at the base of the trident's head. Then, a blue-colored force field appeared around Likaj and Adreth.

Start with a provocative shot.” Likaj instructed. “Make it mad. Force it to focus on you.

Darm rapidly pulled out his slingshot and fired a bullet. It detonated as soon as it hit the Marnex's head. It immediately roared and moved towards Darm, who dashed on the side to avoid the monster's fearsome claws. The Marnex gazed at him and swung his tail, hurling a flurry of spikes towards Darm. Turning back, the latter fired another bullet from his slingshot, which detonated soon after firing. The powerful explosion absorbed most of the spikes, but by the time the others reached him, he had already hidden himself behind a tree.

Good job.” Likaj said, ignoring the Marnex's gaze turning towards him. “I'll take it from here. Prepare your strongest bullets. I'll need you to finish it off.” Likaj offered a gentle smile at Adreth. “I'll be right back, dear. Sorry for the noise.” Not waiting for a reply, Likaj turned to face the Marnex as it stood on two legs and let out a mighty roar. It swung its tail again, but the spikes merely bounced off Likaj's force field as if they were nothing but flies. Meanwhile, Likaj fumbled through the large shoulder bag he always brought for expeditions and pulled out a hand bell, its wooden handle decorated with paw marks. The Marnex rushed towards him at outstanding speed, then stopped for a split second to open its mouth, showing off the fangs it planned to use to tear the force field to shreds. But before it even could, Likaj swiftly rang the bell, which emitted a melodious sound that resounded in the air. Then, it was as if a shock-wave of energy released itself, striking the Marnex's black, spiky fur and turning it brown. The monster let out a confused yelp, and slightly stepped back.

Now! Blast it!

Following Likaj's instructions, Dark came out of his hiding spot and fired as many bullets as he could on the Marnex's back. Likaj remained in front of the creature, watching calmly as it was finally brought to the ground. With a final roar of pain, the Marnex once against stood on its two legs. Then, it repeeatedly the ground with its front paws, creating a large cloud of dust. When it dissipated, only a large hole remained where the powerful beast had stood.

“You can come out, Darm.” Likaj assured. “It won't come to bother us, now.”

Darm slowly walked towards Likaj as the latter deactivated his force field. Darm stared at him with a mixture of awe and confusion. “How… How did you remove its...”

“Monster Bell.” Likaj simply said. “One of many items that nullifies certain times of energies and bring their users to their original form. It's the simplest way I can explain it.”

“But… Why do you have that on you? I thought you were a healer.”

Likaj giggled. “Let's just say, things around you don't always let you work in peace. So, sometimes, you need to know when to shut them up so that you can. Oh, and speaking of peace, we should give some to your sister. She's sleeping.”

“R-Right. Is… Is she going to be okay?”

Likaj gave her a quick gaze. Her breathing was stable. “Yes.” he assured. “Yes, she will be.


******



“So… that's it? You're going back?”

Likaj hummed happily as he picked up his things and shoved them back in his large shoulder back. Once done, he gripped his trident and looked at the twins staring at him, regrets in their eyes. It had taken one more day of resting, but Adreth was finally back on her feet, and the Skyfang Brigade had been contacted – they'd come to fetch them at any moment.

“Of course, dear.” Likaj replied, gently petting Adreth's hair. “Now that you're cured, there's not much left for me to do. You can take care of yourself, and your brother isn't exactly defenseless, either. I have another mission to deal with, so I'd best be on my way.” He turned to Darm and poked his nose. “But that doesn't mean we won't meet again.” Likaj assured. “If the Skyfang Brigade needs my services again, I'll come! It's that simple.”

The twins nodded in unison. Likaj move a few metters away from them, then took a phone from his pocket and tapped a few button. To the twins' surprise, a deep blue, oval-shaped ship suddenly appeared in the middle of the forest, dominating the surrounding trees with its size.

“I call it the Mirror Ship.” Likaj simply said. “Wonderful little thing, to travel around without being detected.”

“Can we go inside, next time?!” Adreth and Darm shouted together.

“Of course you can! But don't go around falling ill just to have me come, alright?”

Darm frowned. “That… That would be sad.”

“And a bit desperate.” Adreth added. “But still, thank you for everything. And… Safe travels!”

“Thank you.” with that said, Likaj pressed another button on his phone, and a hatch opened. He climbed the set of stairs that appeared for him, turned back to wave at Adreth and Darm one last time, then let the hatch close behind him. Seconds later, the ship activated its camouflaging mirrors again, and it went off, a silent shadow careful not to disturbed a sunny day.

It was time to wander off again.
"Is there a limit to how much living I can live with my life? How will I know if I've gone too far?
And why did I spend my life savings on sunglasses for a whale?
I shall find the answer... to these questions."
  








A beautiful funeral doesn't guarantee Heaven.
— Haitian Proverb