Please stand by_We are coming_Please stand by for extraction)
Lost and Found
There wasn't much left of the sip Erics and Skye had called home. Pieces of it floated, spinning in circles but never moving. Lights on the rim and top of the escape pod blinked in the chaotic aftermath of the ship. Hopefully allowing her friends to find her in the suspended junkyard. Bottles collide outside her window, pictures and memories drifted by. Her whole life since she was chased out of the human military, and since she had met Skye gone. Erics mind was elsewhere, inside the pod just behind her things were frantic. Like a voice from far away she heard Jubei screaming at her. Finally she turned around slowly to see what he was yelling about.
On the floor lay Skye, her clothes stretched and torn, barely on her at all. Her chest lifted and fell in shallow breaths, and under Jubei hand. Crimson flowed through his fingers, muscle and skin squished beneath his palm. He had been trying to save her life ever since she had changed back and fell in the pod. Erics came back to reality though she wished she hadn't.
"Are they coming!" He screamed at her, she returned to looking out the window. Fearing the worst, that they would not answer her call. She did not want to tell him that though, didn't want to make him panic any worse than he already was. The problem was, Erics had rarely called them this last few years, what if they didn't care anymore? She might already know that if she had called them on Helga when she had the chance. If only she would have before maybe this wouldn't have happened.
"Erics!" He yelled at her, she snapped her head around to glare at him. It was not just the worry that kept her looking out the window. She couldn't look at her friend the same way as before. Laying still there on the floor she looked tranquil. The memoires of the mansion were still fresh in Erics mind. People flung across the room, the sound of their screams and bones cracking. The walls of the house being covered in blood as they ran like cattle before her. Erics remembered that she was not among them, that Skye had done so to keep them safe. All four of them, how she had gotten that wound in her side protecting her. Still, she covered her mouth as vile spilled up her throat. Erics didn't want to think about what her friend was truly capable of or had done in the past.
Slowly the realization hit her, like a foggy thought that slowly took shape in her mind. She had found keys on Rutledge; she had fallen for the trap Erics had made. Since she had picked up Skye there had been no attacks. Taking another look at he pale form dying on the floor of the escape pod she knew. Freezing the blood in her veins, seizing her heart within the ribcage. The creature that was on the floor was not a chimera at all but the legendary beast itself Man-eater!
Beside her trying to stop the flow of her own blood was Jubei. Sweating, calling out to both of them. Was it right to save her, Erics wondered. To be friends with a creature that was known to take down whole crews, ships and leave no survivors. Never to leave a trace of them, some tales told of how the people where eaten by the mysterious being. Even those that were still alive, taken to the darkest parts of the wild world and devoured while they were still able to breath, to scream for help. Pieces of logs were sometimes sent, broken up words with no other meaning other than it was a living hell before they were killed.
Erics was lost in her thoughts ounce again, Jubei called to her yelling at the top of his lungs. Feeling the circulated air burn through his gills. She tried to come back to reality. "Erics if they don't come she will die!" He yelled, why was he so bent on saving her. It's not like she had lived him for year, lied to her. She felt the words slip out of her mouth like slow poison coming from her very being.
"Good" She whispered. Jubei stood up, looking at the cold green eyes that would not look at him. She watched the girl on the floor as she started to cough up blood. Was it hers, or was it some left in her mouth. Erics wondered as she tremble in front of his gaze, what did he know.
He slammed both of his fists on the side of her head, demanding that she look at him. Dark eyes caught hers, as the gills on his neck flared with anger. "You better tell me I heard you wrong." He spoke softly but the tone in his voice could not be more from the truth. There was a force behind his words that kept her mind in the present.
"And what would you know?" She yelled at him. "You didn't see it, what she did to those people." She spat in his face. She could see her spittle run down his face, and yet the undine did not budge. He only stood there for a moment.
"So what, we've done worse. The body count on both out hands is just as high" He spoke, Erics could see it in his eyes. Anger, a fury that she had not seen in many men. Only another stare would have scared her more. Erics feared what he might do to her if she did not see it his way. Yet the images of the scene were equally frightful.
"I don't kill for fun, for food. I don't eat the people I murder!" She could feel the vile building up behind her throat again. She fought to keep it down, and was barely able to keep it down.
Jubei leaned in to her, she felt as if there was no way to escape him. The undine was not done with her just yet. "No, we killed for a cause that brings only more pain. We killed or a cause, and that cause was peace." He backed off looking down at Skye she was starting to convulse, her blood spilling all over the floor of the pod. Jubei was grateful this was a gravitation producing vessel. Or this could have been a lot worse, bending over he started to apply pressure again to her wound.
"I don't see any of that peace we were promised." He looked down at her, cold sweet She wasn't going to last much longer.
"Jubei you don't understand, that is the Man-eater down there!" She yelled, pointing to the living killing machine itself. Lying there in front of them, but the man was unmoved. Looking up at her from his knelt position he seemed completely serious.
"She has saved my life twice now and I made a promise to her. To find her friend that she lost." She felt he weight of those words. "By Poseidon's honor I must see these words through." Looking past the flaming red hair on Erics scalp he could see what looked like a worm hole.
Erics followed his gaze, and in the wreckage of the ship a manmade portal started to appear. Normally ships couldn't' jump in space without a teleportation station. However this ship was unlike anything else in known space. .
At first it looked as if the light surrounding the ship bent in around the vessel as it came along side of them. Then like a doorway from another world, it slipped through and suddenly was before them. The process was unlike anything he had ever seen before, the ship was likewise amazing. Dark as the bleakest night, running along its edges were pulsing blue lights. It shape reminded him of the sleek and swift fish of his home waters.
Jubei stared at it for a moment, the lighted name of the side of the behemoth was Assentation. It was a large ship, cruiser class that stirred through the derby with unimaginable grace. Its lined walls came closer as it swung itself around to the side of the little pod.
"Oh Holy Poseidon, they took their sweet time!" He screamed, frustration rising up inside of him. Skye was getting worse by the minute, and it was uncertain how much time she had left. The cold touch of her skin was terrible, bending over her ounce again he applied pressure to her wound. He could feel the hot tears welling up, wondering if they had come in time or if she would die beneath his hands. "Not here, not like this" He spoke softly to himself, "not in pain". She started to shake, cold from her sweet and no doubt hitting shock.
"They're going as fast as they can." She barked back. Not looking at him or Skye, just the ship, as the side panels facing them started to open slowly. Folding back into one another allowing small robotic arms to reach out to them. A plunger looking device was also used to pull them in magnetically.
Erics stood by the window for a moment longer. Taking on last look at the derby of her shattered life before the Assertion had pulled them completing inside. She did take one piece of silver lining from this. To finally end it with Yesse, burning him up in a ship was priceless. The scumbag deserved to die; she only wished she could have seen his face beforehand.
Connor was still passed out on the bench, oblivious to everything going on around him. The braces on the inside of the ship started to rotate around them. They progressively grew smaller until they caught a hold of the tiny pod. Suction cups and magnetic fields slipped in underneath them to hold he ship in place. The inside of the cruiser was just as enormous, Erics looked out of the window at a computer screen facing her. Sitting on top of a platform, as the door that let them in slowly closed.
"STARTING EXAMINATION….PLEASE STAND BY" A computer voice announced as more mechanical arms with light came down from their places in the celling. Scanning the ship for any dangerous items on board. If the sensed something they could launch them into space or keep them there until it felt like releasing them. Jubei noticed the process as well, squinting his eyes every time a beam crossed the window.
"Come on, come on, hurry it up you bastards" He screamed, trying to keep Skye still. She was shaking so bad now it looked like she might jump off the floor. Jubei knew this was a standard procedure for any unknown ship, but it was costing them valuable time, which they didn't' have. His anger grew with each passing beam, and the way Erics just kept staring at the window.
"Damn it" He screamed, slamming his fist against the floor of the pod. Painful echoes rang through the metal, causing both him and Erics to cover their ears. Jubei tried to take a deep breath, the situation was getting to best of him. He knew that, but with nothing more he could do than to watch her expire in front of him. It frustrated him; again he was helpless to save anyone. It was a feeling he knew all too well, and hated.
Erics kept looking at the computer's light screen. The scanning process was almost done, she could see the numbers on the window. 85%.....87%......90%....ERROR. He heart sank as the yellow lights went red, not the usual green. The words error were echoing in the speakers outside the ship. She looked around the pod, and instantly jumped to Jubei.
"What the fuck did you bring in here? She asked, accusing the man before she even knew what was hidden away on the ship. They both looked around, in the corner was Connor sleeping, he would be fine on the scanners. There were the bags, a phoenix egg wouldn't set off the alarms, neither would anything else tucked away within them. She tried to figure it out, while behind her a countdown had started. It was only a matter of time before the ship decided they were too dangerous to keep on board the sent them back into space. With only enough air to last another hour or so, they would suffocate slowly inside their metal tomb.
"UN-IDENTIFIED LIFEFROM ON BOARD" The letters read clearly on the screen, what was on board that couldn't be found on the scanners. Skye coughed up her own blood on the ground struggling to breath. Erics felt a jolt run up her back. It was Skye; she started to bang on the pod causing it to shake on its pedestals. Screaming at the computer for it to stop the count down. The life form was Skye, she was safe.
"The life form is the man eater, please over ride. Security code Rebecca Erics!" The ringing sound of her fist reverberated along the pods shell. She didn't have time to cover her ears this time. She kept banging, hoping to grab someone's attention. She could see people running around outside looking at monitors, but she couldn't' see their faces. None of them seemed to be looking at her either.
"Please, you have to stop this!" Erics watched as the minute on the clock started to tick down, there was only three seconds left, two, one. Green lights, she looked outside unable to understand what had happened. Until she saw a small man walking around the to the catwalk form the platform. Dressed in dark clothes, cape trailing behind him Erics knew him very well.
Laughing as if it was some sort of joke the man came up, and with a snap of his fingers the controls for the pod opened and the door swung ajar. Erics literarily fell out of the pod and narrowly still landed on the catwalk. Grabbing onto the bars for dear life as she pulled herself up.
"That was not funny" She mumbled as she got up together feet slowly.
"Just a little bit of fun, I know you better then to bring anything dangerous here." He laughed, giggling to himself over the look on her face. Until he saw why the situation was so grim. Behind Erics on the ground he could clearly see the right red blood on the floor.
"Medics" He screamed, a few androids spinning on their wheels came in, along with several men and woman. All dressed in the same uniform that matched the ship. Plated black armor with a bright aqua trim. Masks over their faces, and goggles over their eyes. Jubei was soon pushed aside as they merged their way through the man and Erics and into the pod.
"what are you doing, who are you?" He screamed as he tried to keep them from taking Skye out of the. However there were just too many of them. Shoving the undine to the back corner of the pod they finally got a hold of Skye and picked her up off the floor. Carefully or course and lowering her onto a transport bed hovering above the ground. The white fabric of the device soon was soaked red. Trailing droplets of blood as he hurried her out of the escape pod. Leaving Jubei to chase after them in a mad panic. Scramble to get his bearing in the compartment and running off into the dimly lit spaceship. Without a word ot him they carried her off to parts unknown within the ship. He intended to follow them, not trusting anyone with her life at this point, when a funny little man stopped him. The first thing Jubei noticed was how dark the man's eyes where, it stopped him in mid run. Looking at the pupils, it was like there was no center only black.
"We need to give her medical attention immediately. You can see here after they have taken care for her." Jubei still tried to push back against he man. Only to find himself stuck, the little man was stronger than he looked.
"Is there a problem Cosmos?" Asked another man walking up the platform. The man was taller than Jubei. Thin as he was, there was a dangerous presence about him. Looking over the smaller man shoulder into Jubei's eyes. "IS THERE" The undine felt he blood in his veins turn cold under that stare and backed off. The man stood up ounce again letting the curls of his shoulder length hair fall down his back ounce more. While the others on the platform went about their business the tall man pushed past the group and into the pod. Connor was left on the bench not forgotten on purpose but still left there all the same. The man had noticed him and looked the young man over.
Jubei and Erics peered into the escape pod to find out what was going on. The tall blonde man seemed concerned at first, frowning as he placed a open palm on Connor chest. A faint flow appeared in the space between the two of them, and then entered the elf's body. Connor's body twitched for a moment on the metal seat, as if his body had been struck by a small volt of lighting.
"Where am I?" He asked, waking up in a cold sleep. Looking around there was a metal shell around him, and a stage man smiling at him. "aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh" He screamed trying to crawl away from the man in a panic.
"Connor calm down." Jubei grabbed the elf by the shoulders as he tried to run out of the compartment.
"Jubei?" he asked confused looking over the see another familiar face. "Crazy bitch, you're here too?" He asked looking around there was just one other person that was missing. The tall slender man came up behind him like a shadow. The dark aura surrounding him was awful. "where is Skye, did we save her?" He asked, Erics didn't know what to say to him. How do you explain something like that to someone that has never seen it? Cosmos saw her face, and figure it was not an easy subject to discuss.
"Perhaps we should take this somewhere private?" He asked, Erics and Jubei nodded in sync without looking at the other. Cosmos loving to host company was all too glad to lead them through the ship. Smiling, he lead the group through the busy crowd of people and into a door way leading to the inner workings of the ship.
Jubei and Connor looked over the impressive ship in awe. To erics this was all familiar territory, she had walked these halls so many times in her childhood that she could have made her way to the drawing room blind folded. Connor looked at the pulsing liquid that ran through the ship. It wasn't magic; it seemed alive though at the same time. He wondered if this was bio-luminesce, bacteria that the ship kept to light the corridors they walked along. It flowed through the cracked in the floor, in every crevice of the walls and along the windows to the middle of the center of the ship.
He and Jubei stopped to gawk at ta city in the ship itself, he had heard about this in a few stories. A ship that was supposed to be a small nation on the inside but he never thought he would see it. A glass pane was all that standing in between him and the towers that stood in the ship, lit in the same dim light of the blue bacteria. People went about their lives down below as if they were in a real city on a planet. Steam from their food shops rose up, wires stringing them together, it was quite the sight to see
"What is this place?" He asked looking at the people going about their business below them without a care of those watching above. He guessed that they must be at least 15storesup in the air above them.
"This is the hidden City of Safety." Answered the tall brooding man, looking over his shoulder as he spoke to them. "Here those that need a second start at life can start, and enjoy a time of peace." He walked on a head of them a bit further under his breath you could barely hear the words "until the time comes for them to die"
"What did you say?" Jubei asked but got no answer. The man, Erics and the short man all were walking a head of them. Afraid of being lost on the ship, the two men had no choice but to leave the wonderful sight of the city below and move forward.
Along the oddly shaped walkways of the ship. Lined with the same dark metal, the pieces of the walls and ceiling seemed to pleat together. Seamlessly they came together to make the pointed arch of the ceiling above them. Tall enough for someone like the man or Jubei to walk through. And wide enough for people to walk both ways. They passed few people on the way to wherever they were going.
Those they did had the same sort of jumpsuit on that those on the platform did. Black and lit, in geometric designs. Somewhere a little different, but those were in special cases. Jubei finally started to get a good look at the people that were living here. Faces scarred and ruined, limbs that didn't match. Odd appendages and tails that were not supposed to be there. Creations that were meant to live and be tested on inside of a lab and never see the light of day. Connor gulped as they walked by, living without masks. Not covering up what they were, living in peace. The statement made sense now, as did what he believed the tall man mumbled under his breath. The life of a chimera was short and painful, not to mention they would be given over to the purity army as soon as they were spotted.
"Jubei had fought for them, though this was the first time he had seen any of them up close. He wondered why anyone would do this to another, looking at them he tried not to be rude. Wondering how much they had suffered already, or how many would be made today in their place. As the humans chased after the glory of their ancestors in a struggle to push their way on the universe?
He allowed his mind to wonder when something hit him in the gut. Looking down he saw a little girl with what looked like burned flesh covering half of her face. Holding a teddy bear as tightly as she could. She looked up at him with her one good eye, happy as she could be playing. While the other eye covered with a film like skin trying to focus on his face. A string pulled in his heart, as a smile creped over half of her face. Teeth growing out of alignment, but a smile all the same that almost brought the man to tears.
"Shorry shir" she spat trying to make words with her miss formed mouth.
"No worries dear." He smiled, she giggled a little and ran off to play again. Jubei wondered what her life would have been if she wasn't her. A child of all things, the thought of such a sweet girl. Strapped to a table, needles, injections, and magical treatments. All for what, to prove a point. She was out of sight, rounding a corner and running along a different path. But the thought of someone harming children, anyone still stayed with him. This is what the resistance had down. They had helped people like this find a little bit of peace, away from the horrors that had shaped them. Giving hope to some before the light within them all was blown out. How much time would she have left now, to grow up and marry, have children of her own? She would never find a job outside this city. More than likely she would not make it to her teens, and if she made it that long she would know pain that a person like Jubei would never know.
"Jubei keep up." Erics yelled back at him. The undine hurried along, not wanting to linger in his thought any longer. Even if the resistance had saved lives, the fact was they didn't' stop the maniacs doing this. They were still out there, making replacements for everyone they took. Looking back as he waited for the doorway to open. He wondered if because he took the chimera before her form that lab. If that caused her to be made, if he had some part to play in her suffering?
Lowering their heads they passed through another doorway. Each one was a interlocking door. They would wait as pieces of it folded back and then closed again after them. It reminded Connor of two large feathers locking into one another. As he watched them fold into one another he felt a wave of fatigue wash over him. He was awake now, but he still felt weak. Like the life had been drained form him somehow. Holding his head he didn't expect for the man to notice. Again peering over his shoulder he assured him
"We are almost there" He voice as soft as velvet and sure enough they did stop. The door slide in the wall, and revealed a room filled with wet bars, games and plenty of places to sit.