“Get to the Titansbane!”
I jumped as Emir’s voice brought me out of my thoughts, my eyes still locked on the giant creature ahead of our ship. I got caught up staring at its large pale form. Tentacles dangled from its white, glossy body and I was having a hard time figuring out if it was riding the rain or if it WAS the rain.
“We need to leave NOW!”
I hesitated, listening to the shouts and commotion coming over the feed. They were still on the ground… I looked over at Nyx, as I silently debated; as much as I wanted to fly down and try to help my crew on the ground, I knew that they needed me up here more. It was an hour to the surface anyway… By the time they made it up here, they would need the Titansbane ready to go immediately. I kicked the engine up out of its idle state and started to pilot away from, what I now know, is the planet Rain.
As if the giant creature could hear our departure, suddenly it turned its head toward us. I stared in horror, as I took in the beast’s features, or lack thereof. Its face was seemingly flat and it had no eyes or any other distinguishing features; except a huge maw that it opened up at us with a silent roar. Out of its mouth, a murder of flying creatures came bulleting their way toward us. With quick reflexes, I pulled the transport away from the beast and raced off toward Titansbane. The murder was quickly upon us. Looking out, I could see they had taken the shape of a sort of manta ray type creature. They might have been beautiful… but about as beautiful as a Bengal tiger is to a water buffalo. One of the Manta Rains veered sideways and I prepared for it to ram the ship, but instead of hitting us and knocking us right, it latched on and pulled us left. We tipped and I struggled to keep us from barrel rolling as another one hit the other side and attached itself to the opposite wing. I felt the drag of us slowing down but at least we were balanced now. The Manta Rain lost its form and molded itself to the outside of the transport. The once flowing form latched onto the side of the ship and splintered its way up the ship as if trying to swallow it whole. SSSSSTHUNK! One of the Manta Rains, went to latch on and lodged itself inside of one of the engines. The transport started to spin, bogged down on one side. I cut the engines briefly, and fired them up again immediately, running them hot to try and pull away from these creatures trying to consume us. The fire from the engine dislodged the Manta Rain from the engine and we were able to balance out once again.
We made it to Titansbane and Arronax was waiting in the cargo bay. He had a bunch of men waiting and they opened fire on the Manta Rains clinging to our ship. He pointed at me as I ran off the transport and yelled, “Don’t screw this up!” and I nodded without a word. Before turning around the corridor, I spotted Arronax and some men loading up tanks in the transport. I had a bad feeling we would not see him again.
As I ran, I listened to the shouting between the crew still on Rain. Emir had fallen from the transport that Zarko was piloting. He tossed his gun on the ship and yelled at Zarko to flee. Zarko argued but soon there was a garbled sound and then silence… Emir was gone. Nyx and I both came to a stop in the hallway held still by the sudden death of our rogue trader.. Sigmund ran up to us and pointed down the hallway. “Nyx navigate! Kayp pilot!” My eyes snapped to Sigmund; he had a cold fire in his eyes. Without a word, Nyx and I took off again together, Sigmund close behind. He was likely following to the bridge. As we are running, I saw something odd out of the corner of my eye. The Manta Rains were appearing from seemingly nowhere and latching onto the crew of our ship. They no longer held their sea creature form and they now stood upright in a new humanoid form. They were silver in appearance with no eyes or other features, except a large dripping maw that they opened wide in rage. They jumped at crewmembers, grabbing people’s hands and legs immobilizing them. Seeing the onslaught, I spun away from the outstretched arms of one of the Rain Men nearby me. Unaware that one had appeared on my opposite side, it reached out and grabbed my arm sending a shiver through my spine. Its touch was chilling and abnormally smooth. I jerked from it’s unpleasant grasp but it stuck on my skin like gum would to carpet. I stared in horror as the Rain Man’s hand morphed around my arm and splintered up to my shoulder.
Janoor suddenly appeared from around the corner. She shoved Janae away from one of the Rain Men and shot it with a giant pistol. Where did she get a gun?! As Janoor’s attention was drawn by some Rain Men front of her, Janae was suddenly pulled to the ground as another Rain Man snuck up behind her. Fire burned inside of me and I struggled to try and aid her to no avail; I couldn’t break the creatures grasp. Nyx approached Janae, and he held out his gun to the creature, holding onto the young girl. As Nyx fired off a round, a humanoid grabbed onto his arm and wrenched him to the side, causing his shot to go astray and hit Janae in the back. I think I screamed. There was so much screaming; so many people shouting and falling to the ground. Sigmund approached me and shot at the creature latched onto my body, breaking me free from its grasp. I hesitated beside Sigmund, staring at the scene around us. I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the fallen Janae and Janoor desperately trying to pull her daughter up from the ground and out of the grasp of the Rain Man. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I knew I was the only one left to pilot Titansbane but… my family..
“KAYP. PILOT. NOW!” Sigmund command fiercely in a voice I dare not disobey. He was right… The lives of the many.. I needed to fly us out of here… As I started to run, the last thing I saw was Sigmund approach the fallen Janae and Janoor. Janoor was now also entangled in the creeping tentacles of the humanoid as she tried to pull the almost unconscious Janae free. Sigmund aimed his gun at Janoor and shot her… A mercy killing.. far less cruel then the fate of many others. Sigmund was then overtaken on both sides by humanoids, held fast in his place. A third humanoid approached from behind and I witnessed it open its huge maw and envelope Sigmund’s head like a hood. They were suffocating him..
I need to fly us away from Rain.. Nyx and I are the only ones that can get us out of here.. I spun around and found Nyx with a Rain Man on either arm. He struggled and wrenched one wrist free from one of the creatures. I opened fire on the one still holding his other hand and it absorbed my shots as if nothing happened.
“We are alive everyday on the void because someone else died for us” Arronax’s voice transmitted over the intercom and them everything went silent. The creatures everywhere seemed to recoil for a moment and I knew that Arronax was gone forever… I didn’t have time to imagine what he did with those tanks but whatever he did gave me just enough time. I grabbed Nyx’s outstretched arm and threw my gun at the creature in desperation with my other hand. We broke free.
We ran down the hallway. I knew no one elses fate but we ran. The screaming was starting to become muffled as we left the crew behind us. Maybe we could save them. If we could get to the warp, if I could pilot us away from Rain, maybe the creatures would retreat. I had to believe they would retreat.. We could save everyone. I could save them. Distracted by my thoughts, I dodged away from a Rain Man but sprinted too far away from Nyx. He got pulled by one of the humanoids and it attached itself to his side. I grabbed ahold of Nyx’s forearm, and the splintering tentacles of the humanoid spread out over my arm going up to my shoulder once again. I had no gun, not that that was much help in the first place. How to destroy a creature from Rain? A flash from the transport flight here came into my memory. The fire from the engine un-lodged that Manta Rain out of the engine. Fire! We need fire! But we were nowhere near the kitchens… I tried to pull Nyx free but I was starting to feel exhausted. We were just not strong enough. We were trapped where we stood, unable to make anymore ground to the elevator, which stood just down the hall. Infuriatingly close and yet so far away. The bridge was just up that elevator. The bridge to freedom. Where I could fly us away from here… I grasped my sword in my hand and looked at Nyx, then to the creature, then to our surroundings. Something that makes fire… I frowned at the metal pipes beside us in the hallway. Could this work?
Flinging my arm with as much strength as I could muster, I swung my sword at the metal trying to create a spark. The sword let out a deafening ringing against the pipe and a huge dent in the metal appeared but it was to no avail. Suddenly, we broke free. I was unsure if it was the vibration from the hit, the horrible sound through the hall, or the desperation from Nyx but we made out away. Luckily the elevator sat at the floor we were on, the door immediately opened, and we threw ourselves inside. I jammed the button to the bridge and looking at Nyx, I almost smiled as we made our getaway. It was short lived as I watched in horror as two Rain Men came through the wall of the elevator and pinned Nyx against the opposite wall. I cowered against the opposite wall unable to help as Nyx’s arms were pinned to his sides. The piercing cold latched onto my side as a creature appeared from the wall beside me and I looked around the elevator quickly taking everything in. I didn’t have fire in this elevator but I had electricity. If these creatures were from Rain then maybe their genetic makeup would mostly be made up of water. Water, which can be heavily effected by electricity. I hit the control panel with the butt of my sword trying to get at the precious electricity inside. I glanced at Nyx as a creature came out of the wall and opened its mouth, hooding Nyx’s head.
Nyx was suffocating! I had to save him! He could not die! The creatures pulled at me and I was pressed to the wall. I swung wilding again at the panel, until the faceplate covering the buttons fell away, and the wires beneath hung exposed. My free arm now pinned by the spreading tentacles, fumbled to reach the wires. The elevator came to a grinding stop as the tangled mess of wire shorted and the doors opened to reveal that we were between floors. Fighting and shouting flooded the elevator and looking up I could see my seat. My seat to our freedom. I was almost there. I could still save us. I could still save Nyx. I tried again to reach for the wires. I just needed to touch the creature to the bare wire… I just needed- All thoughts faded away as a hood covered my head and I could no longer breathe or see. Everything is cold. Everything hurt. Then nothing hurt….
Janae started to sing. She sang a lullaby that we had all heard once before. The sound of chains filled the air. The rattling of chains followed by a voice. A voice we could never forget.
“I am your sword”
The tight grip fell away. The hood over my head disappeared and suddenly I was drenched in water. I collapsed to the ground on my hands and knees as I chocked on the water that was in my lungs. The Rain Men had liquefied and all that remain was the puddles around the floor. Janae and Fyke had saved our lived once again… I struggled to stand feeling exhausted and determined to keep going. Nyx sat propped against the opposite wall of the elevator tears running down his face. I bent down and kissed his forehead relieved that he was seemingly physically unhurt.
“Lets get the fuck out of here.”
A lot of the crew didn’t wake up from the attack; suffocated by the creatures of Rain.. Brute did not wake up either. Zarko went to retrieve Emir who was still on the planets surface and I prepared the ship to leave. Shortly after Nyx had us in warp and far the fuck away from that evil place. Janoor was sent to med bay and Janae obviously did not recover… She saved all of us. Now she was reunited with Fyke. I knew wherever she was now she was smiling hand in hand with her guardian. We had a small ceremony for her. I left her ball and my coin of luck… They were hers. On the way back to safety we passed by a peaceful looking star and released her our in space. I quietly went to my quarters after. I scooped up my pandai and buried my face in his fur and wept. I wept until my eyes were dry and I was too exhausted to stay awake. Hopefully tomorrow is a better day.