“I’ve been told not to let you leave.”
A hulking man with a long billowing cloak stepped out from behind the tall dark pillars of the cathedral. Two large men also stepped out of the darkness at either side of him; it looked straight up like the end scene of a season finale of your favorite Netflix show. (Not that I know what Netflix is because you know…. Koronus Expanse aint got time for that.) He introduced himself as Grim Waldus and nothing we could say mattered to this man. He had his own agenda and we had no part in his world, as far as he was concerned. In one hand, he held a mighty staff that he slammed to the ground in a grand gesture of intimidation. It totally worked… The top of the staff held a large neon orange orb, upon the impact with the ground, a field of orange light spread around the man in a sort of force field. It wasn’t looking great.
A loud cranking sound could be heard from the back of the room. An elevator door slid open, that I had not noticed until this point, and a mob of strung out drug addicts came rushing at our group. Krieger shouted at the man, but I don’t remember what he had said, my eyes were locked on the crowd piling out of the small metal doors. The man let out roaring laughter and disappeared behind some pillars once more, allowing the mob to run straight for us. My heart sank. What a poor excuse of a life these people had become… No matter how hard this life was, I would never become as these people were.
The fight was fierce, but what they had in numbers, we had in strength and cunning. These people didn’t seem to be all there; just useless pawns for the slaughter. And slaughter we did. It made me sick. Zarko and Krieger headed to Grimwaldus and I tried to keep an eye on them, as well as the long hallway of pillars that Nyx and I were holding down. We had to protect the left flank of the group so these madmen could not get behind us. All these damn pillars were making it extremely difficult to keep track of all the various fights happening throughout the room. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Krieger run forward and aim at our foe. Shots bounced away from Waldus, his force field invisible and seemingly untouched by our weapons.
“The staff!” I shouted in my microbead. “I think the staff is what is keeping his force field intact!”
Dodging a bullet that whizzed by, I slammed my back against the pillar I was using for cover, just in time to see Inaja charge Grimwaldus. Close by Zarko stood no longer ducking for cover; he grabbed a syringe out of his side leg pocket and jammed the needle into his arm. Closing his eyes and taking a deep breathe he slammed the now empty syringe to the ground, letting out an angry roar… Well heres hoping he doesn’t keel over in the middle of this fight… He charged after Inaja. In an insane fight of fists and grapples, somehow Zarko had managed to lock Grimwaldus’s arms behind his back and wrench his staff away, throwing it down the hallway of pillars back to where Krieger held down the right side of the room. Krieger rolled to retrieve the staff, and took down a couple of addicts who had managed to slip by the front of the group, in one graceful maneuver. It was like watching a complicated dance; a very deadly dance.
Spotting new men entering the room, I took cover behind another pillar, to get a better shot and shouted to Nyx to follow. He took a couple of shots, falling some more men, and followed behind me. We were slowing advancing through the room; many lay dead all over the building. The elevator disappeared back up the way it came. Hopefully no one else was on the way..
A few man got past my shots and soon they were upon Nyx and I. One man shot at me but I managed to dodge at the last second. That look on Nyx’s face returned… That look of pure rage, and I couldn’t help but flinch. I was unharmed but he would not let this man live. I knew that look.. I had seen it before when Nyx shot the man in the face at the bar. Recognizing that Nyx would no longer be as self-preserving as his rational self, I quickly ran back to him from my pillar to hopefully take out at least one of the men before anything bad happened. Before I could come to Nyx’s aid, he opened his third eye and vaporized the man where he stood. I quickly grabbed his hand in mine and held it tightly, leading us to a better vantage spot closer to the others. The elevator returned and another mob of crazy strung out men had arrived. I watched as the door slowly slid open revealing a brawl had broken out insode the elevator. What was happening? The men eventually figured out their shit and started to come fight us, but they were not proper fighters. Very quickly, they had either killed each other, or had been perished by one of our crew. I smiled as I realized this fight was almost over. Grimwaldus was overwhelmed and soon there would be no one left to fight us.
BOOM! Grimwaldus threw a grenade and I jumped caught unaware of where it had landed. Wide eyed, I spotted Zarko unfazed and I became relieved. Red smoke emitted from the location of the bang and before I could question whether or not I should hold my breath, I could no longer breathe at all. The world turned black as Nyx and I fell together to the ground. I died… and I dreamt of Kassius.
I awoke to Kriegers gas mask in my face. I thanked her and quickly looked around for Nyx. He lay with Emir hovering over him. It looked as though he was also stirring awake. It seemed we would not leave this world today.
We found computers standing it tall racks at the back of the room. I circled around them surveying all the equipment and dreading the security these monsters likely had hidden in their metal cases of circuitry. Forming a game plan was all for not, as Hodor stepped up to one of our survivors and tried to force information from him. He let out a loud, “HEEEEEEEEEH” and electricity seemed to shoot out from everywhere in his lumpy body. The computers burned up without a moment hesitation.
Returning to the ship, I longed to return to my quarters grab my pandai and lay down with Nyx and sleep for a few days but Sigmund had other plans. I would have stayed behind but Nyx heard there would he fine drink and so I had to go to watch over him. He really cannot hold his booze… We went. We dined. Nyx drank. Inaja somehow talking the servers into getting him an entire cow part at the table. I have no idea how he plans on eating such a large piece of animal.. I guess I underestimated this fellows appetite. Returning to the Titansbane late that evening, Sigmund, Zarko, Inaja, and Krieger led our group down the corridor of our home. Nyx and I trailed behind, and I did my best to make sure he didn’t fall over. I only caught bits and pieces of the conversation ahead of me as I tried to shush Nyx from loudly singing tales of a elephant who wanted to swim to Italy. (I still have no idea what an elephant is…)
“You would, of course, be paid a fair wage along with the rest of our crew.” Sigmund was saying to Inaja as he handing him a datapad from his cloak.
“Well… I be meaning, I guess I do not need to be the leaving right now..” Inaja replied, turning the datapad curiously in his giant white paws.
“We have low standards,” Zarko said giving Inaja a thumbs up and his award winning grin.
“I guess I could be the staying…” Inaja said, trying to return the thumbs up to Zarko and failing.
“We could even get a large keyboard for him to nap on,” I snickered mostly to myself.
Nyx didn’t seem to hear and I looked over just in time to see him struggling to open the new bottle of booze he convinced me to let him bring. I gently managed to wrestle it away and he put out his lip in an adorable pout.
“You can have this after we have a nap ourselves.” I said laughing and pulling my pouting partner close to my side. “Lets go to the infirmary for one more night, okay?”
We arrived at the infirmary, as the guys started to get a bit.. rowdy. Nyx tried to snatch the bottle of booze from me as I became distracted but I easily pulled it away from his grasp. Zarko suddenly punched Krieger, and I quickly slipped the bottle to a confused nurse, as Nyx’s attention was diverted to the small scrap happening in the corridor.
“Hide this for me, please.” I whispered and the nurse grinned and nodded.
Inaja suddenly jumped between Krieger and Zarko yelling for them to stop fighting as the crowd got larger and larger. I grinned as I watched the confused giant cat try to fix the nonexistent fight that was happening between friends. Zarko punched Inaja in the chin and Krieger hit him from the side.
“Hit us!” Zarko shouted at him.
Inaja absorbed the hits his innocent face getting more and more impatient and less confused. Hit after hit; Zarko punching Inaja, then slipping past and sucker punching Krieger, then back to Inaja. Finally, he cracked.
“Argh!” Inaja hit his breaking point and swung out powerfully landing a hit straight in Zarko’s gut. For a moment he seemed alarmed and surprised with himself.
Zarko reeled back for a moment. Before unleashing a fury of blows at Inaja laughing manically the whole time. It seems as though Inaja just unknowingly just got initiated into the Fight Club.
Grinning, I leaned over to Nyx and whispered, “Krieger.”
We shook hands.
Inaja ended up winning. Im pretty sure even though Zarko lost the fight he was still happy to have won Inaja into their club; even if Inaja didn’t know that.
The next day we received a box from port. Farouk sent us a package with a small contact lens inside a bottle. Before anyone could react, Zarko poked it into his eye and we waited for something to happen. Nothing did. We threw a small party together and set out for port hoping that a path or signal would lead us… somewhere. We went to the market and wandered around; holosigns shown above the crowds, advertising items or giving directions to people. I curiously looked around nothing popping out to me. At one point, Zarko started staring at a sign and blinked rapidly at it, apparently having trouble seeing correctly.
“Close one eye..” I whispered into my microbead.
He was about to see a hidden arrow in the maze of shops and alley ways. We followed them to a lone door down am alleyway that we almost walked right past. Entering we found ourselves in a bar.
“Farouk sent us.” Sigmund told the bartender.
He lazily wiped off a glass that looked like no one had drank out of, like ever. “Did you really think that would work?” He asked almost amused.
It took some convincing but finally he decided that we were who were said we were. A mysterious door opened from the back wall. A seamless door, that couldn’t have existed opened up into a small room and we quietly filed in. The door shut behind us and I felt extremely uneasy. Was this a trap?
Three additional doors opened and at the center stood a woman in fancy clothing. To her left stood a man in a thick trench coat and to the right a man in a familiar but nondescript uniform. I struggled to place where I had seen it before. The woman stepped forward.
“Welcome to the Kasballica Mission… In order to join us you must unseat Zulfikar Raheem.”