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The Voyages of the Penelope and the Yydryl

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posted on Dec, 10 2009 @ 08:31 AM

Like Eden dancing, removing a veil at every turn the Center revealed herself to me.
Around each supple curve and bend in the path glimpses of her uncovering showed how magnificence she had become. The stark beauty of her virgin land, naked jutting ledges falling to fertile fields crossed with streams, deeply wooded forest cupping azure lakes reflecting the stars of the heavens. She was in a word, unbelievable in Her glory.

Yet as easy as it would be to slip into the dream I was once again walking the byways of Earth I couldn't help notice the Center was something similar to Earth, but singularly of Ship's creation at once.

I'd left my WEE behind to continue traveling on foot and could only hope the precious little vehicle would be safe hidden where it was in the corner of one of the many orifice like caves I spied discretely placed and masterfully disgusted about the Center.
Traveling at this slower pace I caught glimpses of even more accouchements ridding at great speed on the Wee had left in a blur.
Service vehicles stuck under croppy out hangs, working droids melting in and out of sight, what I surmised were service areas all masked to blend into the landscape, but what Ship was trying so to conceal became all to evident to my second pair of eyes.

It might look like Earth, smell and feel and even taste like Earth, but hidden here and there were the undeniable fingerprints of the Center's inner workings smudging up the splendid picture Ship wanted to create. For this I was sorry, and for the sorrow, the farther I went into her core, the more restless and on edge I became. Yet despite the glitches in the scenery, the evidence I was not on Earth I was seduced by the grandeur of the surroundings none the less.

Fields of clover and wild flowers paved my way up hills to fall off on steep crags of rock plunging back to dense woods again. But this time woods of the forest kind. The lush humid jungles just outside the Center's main cave were all but a distant memory.
Stopping under a canopy of firs atop a rocky outcrop jut out over a small valley I couldn't help but catch my breath in wonder and stare unblinking, letting tears come to my eyes.

How could something be so beautiful, and so not of Earth at the same time?

But there was that edge again.
It looked of Earth, the splash of water even sang of Earth, the heady scent of the pine and moist dirt, if I closed my eyes I'd swear I was back on Earth.
But the colors, were just a bit, more. The texture of rocky sand beneath my tired feet just a bit too even, too, same.
And here in the middle of the wilderness a mountain lake brimming and full - but not fed by a raining waterfall to fill it's basin, no, in it's stead a droid made fountain defying the natural order of things - spewing water - up.
Regardless I sat where I'd once stood to stare out over the panorama in wonder sucking in great gulps of air redolent of the piney loam scent I'd never get enough of.

Leaning against the uneven pillow of my backpack the cold that comes from staying still crept over me without welcome.
Fire. I wondered how Ship would react to fire.

'Ship?' I yelled and waited in anticipation as the echo of her name returned to me in threes.
She wasn't going to answer.
Growing ever more chilled and hungry as always I wanted to rest and get warm and get fed.

With no more choice in the matter I set off in search of an appropriate place to rest and put my fire making abilities to the test.
With a 'Flick of my Bic' as CindyMars had chuckled (when she'd taught me how to use the Earth lighter I'd packed with my gear) the fire wouldn't prove to be the lack in my comfort. I just had to find the right place.

The forest floor was scattered with fuel and making my way slowly from one piece of kindling to another bending at the waist my right hand stretched out to grasp a larger chunk of wood I didn't see 'It' until I straightened up with a stretching groan.

It wasn't so much that it was big, or floaty, or so distinctly out of place that scared a century off my lifeline, it was the silence that left me unnerved. A quiet so still even its aura didn't hint at being either predatory or pacable.

Undulating through the trees towards me I backed away.
It taking space, me giving it, it became all to clear I was being intelligently herded, compelled down the path.
Anyone watching would think 'It' was following me and anyone watching would be wrong. I was steadily making my way away from The Thing though as sure as the path before me I was heading exactly in the direction it wanted me to go.

A crumbling stonewall that all but blocked my path was easily maneuvered by a stretch of my leg and a small hop to transverse the evidence of it's ancient heritage.
Vines and flowers had overgrown and all but erased the stone and granite hall but I had no doubt that's exactly where I stood, smack in the middle of a medieval hall.
Did it make and sense being here on Ship, in Her Center? Not one bit, but, in this case seeing was believing.

With three walls, even three crumbled walls at my back I made my stand. I'd had enough of this game of tag, I wasn't leaving the frail enclosure, no more backing down.

The Thing didn't come any closer than the remnants of stone I'd stepped over, fleetingly I wondered if it could but didn't much care. I was growing colder by the moment, hungrier than I'd been in a lifetime and frustrated beyond patience Ship wasn't answering me, yet again. That The Thing had stopped goading me was of little concern now that I had a place to be at ease.

Jumbled sticks of wood landed in a half hazard teepee, my backpack gave up the lighter, I crouched at the base of the small pile and 'Clicked'.

It giggled.

Narrowing my eyes, pivoting on my knees I faced The Thing, brandishing the Bic and searched in vain for something looking back at me from it's form, that something that had laughed.

Rising to my feet arm outstretched the acrid stink of burning skin as the end of my thumb seared against the ignition tab of the lighter I took a tentative step towards the great bubbly mass and of a sudden it folded in on itself and disappeared with an audible 'Pop".

I blinked. I waited. I stuck my thumb in my mouth and blinked some more. What the hell?
Pulling my thumb from my mouth the white yellow char to the end of its tip was evidence all this wasn't some dream but a happening, a something real, a something more than real.

But 'It', and it's giggle, was gone.

Snugging up as close to the fire as I could, food forgotten I watched as darkness fell around me in waves leaving shadows dancing along the walls, light falling into deep crevices of black in the corners of the decrepit hall.

Suddenly more than ever I missed Chumley. I wanted CindyMars. I wished Carpet was here.

As the night lengthened, the embers of the fire burnt low, as dark shadows stretched closer to taunt me there curled around my backpack I wondered how long until morning would come to Ship's Center.

[edit on 10-12-2009 by silo13]

posted on Dec, 13 2009 @ 07:36 AM

'Silo, are you awake...'
'No, I'm sleeping...and...I'm cold...'
'I'm sorry you're cold, I'll get you warm...'
'No, I'm not CindyMars, but, I'll take care of the fire for you.'

'I'm sleeping...'
'You warm now Silo?'
'Yes, thank you, it's wonderful...but...I'm alone...'
'No, you're not alone, I'm right here...'

'Silo, you asleep?'
'Yes...Who are you?'
'A friend.'
'Are you...The Thing?'
'No Silo, I'm not The Thing.'
'I'm hungry...'
'I'll feed you...'
'Thank you....please...who are you?'
'Sleep Silo...'

'Did you enjoy the food?'
'I don't remember.'
'Are you hungry now?'
'No, I'm not...'
'So you must be well fed.'
'Yes, I think I must be.'

'Silo, are you awake?'
'No...Is it morning yet?'
'Almost. It's the time between 'here and there'.'
'Here and...'
'Yes, that's right.'
'Will you be here when the time is 'there'?'
'No Silo.'
'But...I'll miss you.'
'Yes, you will.'
'Where will I find you then?'
'Sleep Silo...'

posted on Dec, 16 2009 @ 08:29 PM

In the flying pod Studious thinks about trying to turn around and head back to the alien vessel but realizes he’s traveling too fast. Even if he was able to somehow turn the pod around he knows he wouldn’t be able to maintain enough momentum to get him there.

“Looks like I can’t just turn around…” The Penelope suddenly appears on the screen in front of him. “…and it looks like I won’t have to.”

Studious begins planning a convoluted scheme to sneak onboard, steal a ship and make a daring escape without being spotted, when suddenly the pod is grabbed by a tractor beam.

“Darn!…But It’s better than dying in this flying coffin.”

The pod sets down in one of the hangar bays and the Colonel waits expecting dozens of security guards to swarm him with weapons drawn.

As the old man waits he soon wonders if they’re waiting for him to make the first move.

He jumps out of his coffin swinging his cane wildly yelling “Ho Waaaa!!!!”

Quickly the old man realizes that he’s alone in the hangar.

Sheepishly he says “Oh, they must not have thought anyone was aboard.” as he puts his cane down.

Studious then spies the ships around the hangar bay looking for a quick escape. He finds dropships and fighters but knows they don’t have the range he needs if he’s going to escape.

Turning around he finds a more suitable ship with the name clearly displayed.

Rolling Thunder....

[edit on 16-12-2009 by Studious]

posted on Dec, 27 2009 @ 05:25 AM

"Silooooooooooooooo!" My name echoed across the morning coaxing me out of a restless sleep.

'Siloooo" The voice came again, closer this time.
Much closer...Too close.
Peeking up from under leafy eyebrows I raised the small grassy mound that had become my head just high enough to see the Waldo headed straight for me.
I'd morphed into the ground as I slept, or tried to sleep, and now it seemed I was, stuck.

Spitting out a mouthful of dirt I tried my voice but the sound rose barely above a dry whisper.
Trying to break free from the ground to expel myself from the morph was harder than I expected and I made little headway.
My roots had grown deep over the night, my being so integrated with the forest floor I could barely tell where I left off and earth soil began.
A chill of fear rippled the grasses along the line of my spine, gorge rose in my throat at the unfamiliar weight of claustrophobia.
Panic aiding my resolve I tried even harder to force my way out of the ground. My eye stalks, popping free like creaking branches soon shed their morph followed by my hands and feet but the rest of me held firm imprisoned in the earth.

With my eye stalks fingers and toes wiggling like so many worms in the dirt I tried to warn off whoever was approaching in the Waldo but it continued on a course that would soon bring them right to where my body was trapped in the earth, right over the soft moss that had replaced my skin.

"Silooooo!" The voice called again.

It was Deson! I could make out his voice joined with a second one grumbling something about wanting to drive the Waldo, a voice that could only be Chumley's! My friends were here! But the thrill of being found was overshadowed by the terror they'd squish me in the process.
A third voice, female, high and nasal and dripping complaint could only be President Bransom.
If I hadn't already been in hiding I would have welcomed my current position if only to escape the annoying diplomat from the Penelope.

"I will not ask you again Sir! Turn this vehicle around! ' Bransom's voice grated on nerves already frayed but I mentally applauded her command. Yes, turn the vehicle around, and before it turned me into road kill would be my choice.

"Ms. Bransom..." Deson started, his patience close to the breaking point he slowed the Waldo.

"That's President Bran..." She shrilled.

"Excuse me, President Bransom.' Deson corrected and slowed the Waldo to a stop.
'Mam, I advised you before we began this expedition we are not returning until we find ATS Silo. Now, please, resume your seat before you take a spill from the Waldo!" Swallowing whatever expletive he was going to use to punctuate his command Deson, always the gentleman, curbed his temper and resumed normal cruising speed.

The little time saved during their discussion gained me nothing. Quaking with dread I still couldn't shake myself free from the ground. They'd probably never even know they'd killed me even while their search for me went on.

Ever closer the Waldo's tires grew monstrous in size, chunks of dirt flung from it's tread raining down on my head, filling my nose, making me gag. Concentrating on my eye stalks I forced them to their full extent. Growing to an arms length I waved them frantically crossing and uncrossing strained them to their very limit trying to catch the attention of anyone in the Waldo.

As it happened it was President Bransom.

"SNAKES!!!" She bellowed like a behemoth when she spied my eyestalk 'snakes' waving in the path. With the speed of a striking viper her arm struck out past Deson where she yanked the emergency break and as a three-some the riders flew from Waldo like they'd been shot from a cannon.

Deson, always sure on his feet hit the ground running yet barely made it out from under the massive ball of flesh composed of Chumley and a clinging President Bransom who'd latched on to the Regellian guard mid-flight.

The pair landed in a heap right before my eyes, Chumley firmly atop the writhing President who strained and cursed where she was firmly trapped by the weight of the Regellian.
Still a prisoner of the earth I was in a unique positing to observe the changes come over the features of President Bransom. Eyes wide with fear and terror turned soft, trembling from the strain to escape gave way to tremors of delight from where she lay beneath the body of the guard.

I wanted to barf.

"Would you get OFF of her!" I barked at Chumley who clueless to where I was and even more clueless to the female under him rolled over and made it to his feet in a move surprisingly graceful for such a huge creature.

That left President Bransom on the ground, eye to eye stalk with me and in a glance she new, that I knew, what had transpired in her moment of bliss beneath Chumley.

"Why dirty minded little...!!!" She snarled, her face red as an earth beet, her features twisted in rage. The President made it to her feet unaided, slapping away at Chumley's tentacles as he tried to help.

"Get your filthy alien things off me you!" She sputtered in fury turning on the stupefied guard.
Brushing bits of green and dirt from where it clung to skirt Bransom worked herself into a full froth continuing to verbally assault Chumley who oblivious to the maddened female kept looking around at the ground calling my name.

Deson, one hand over his mouth, the other reaching to help me pull fully out of the ground morph snorted with suppressed laughter.
Knowing we'd set each other off if our eyes met Deson stared somewhere just over my left shoulder while asking if I was ok, assuring him I was I bowed my head, eyes to the ground to hide my grin.

Mistaking my posture as supplication the President turned to unleash her full fury on me. Raising a hand as if to strike me she... Found herself picked up by a tentacle that could have easily snapped her neck in two but instead wrapped gently, but firmly around her throat.

Carrying the President to the Waldo Chumley planted the woman in her seat, leaned into the vehicle until his face was only an inch from her own and grumbled something we couldn't hear. The Presidents eyes popped wide in surprise, her mouth fell open, stubby eyelashes beat a rapid tattoo but she didn't utter a word.
Climbing into the drivers seat Chumley gave the woman his back and his silence while waiting for us to join him in the Waldo. The President slammed her mouth shut and looked anywhere but at Deson and I.

On the trip back to collect my WEE Deson explained they'd been looking for me since the communiqué came in from the Penelope. Three vessels were approaching the Yydryl and once more my time in the Center would be cut short due to outside emergencies.
At the mention of the vessels Bransom opened her mouth undoubtedly to complain, thought better of it, and closed her mouth again.
Chumley? He just smiled his hideous smile and drove on.

Safely back on my WEE and following the Waldo a shudder passed over me when I thought of the voices in my sleep and wondered how much longer I would have remained trapped in a living grave if my friends hadn't found me when they did.

In the confusion and aftermath of my brush with death I hadn't noticed the change in my surroundings that day.
How an ocean of water had replaced the dark forest of the castle ruins where I'd made my fire and lay to sleep. And how the ruins had completely disappeared from view.

It would come to me later, but by then it would be too late...

[edit on 27-12-2009 by silo13]

posted on Dec, 29 2009 @ 10:38 AM

With a groan the hatch of the Rolling Thunder finally came free, the med team swarmed in first finding Mf_Luder unconscious but alive, Theresa had been dead for hours, the med team made quick time transporting the Captain to med bay. Theresa's body was moved to the morgue.

"Sir!" the tall ensign is at the sensor console, "The three Opi ships are entering the solar system!"

"Ensign what is their current configuration?" I ask.

"Standard triangular search formation Sir" replies the ensign.

Good! they have not seen us yet I muse, "Helm!, minimal thrusters, get us to 200 metres from the prow of the Yydryl, gently does it, I don't want the Opi's to see us."

"Communications open a line to Yydryl,"Penelope to Yydryl, three Opi cruisers have entered the solar system, they have not seen us yet, we are manuvering the Penelope to within 200 metres of Yydryl, our new shields will protect both of us, however we cannot use conventional weapons while the shield is engaged, Yydryl will need to shoot around the shield using it's
aft launch tubes.

I propose we "drift" closer to the larger moon and use that as cover, if the Opi's use the same tactics they will cut up anything orbiting before turning their nuclear devices on the planet below, that's when we surprise them!"

Yydryl, you will need to power up slowly so as to disguise your energy signature, the Opi's will be here in 3 standard hours at their current speed."

Keying internal comms for engineering I ping Ms Craig "Anthea, we have three Opi ships on there way to us, I would like you to check our new rail guns, make sure they are at optimum."

"Yes sir!" comes Anthea's voice

"You "sir" me again and I'll have you scrub the coffee machine"

"Sure Chief," Anthea chuckles "would you like some? I added some Colombian this morning"

"You bet, I'll send Tickette for a flask" tugging the orange tail Tickette wakes up and nudges my ear, "Tickette, coffee time," I make a motion like drinking and Tickette takes off using my shoulder as a launch pad, I swear she is getting heavier, someone in the galley must be giving her tidbits.

posted on Jan, 16 2010 @ 05:20 PM

Lt. commander nenothtu had been trying to keep abreast of the developing situation as he explored the surrounding terrain. Sheila had kept him apprised of unfolding events via the Penelope's secure comm channel, and had been relaying all comms between Penelope and Yydryl on the same channel to him, in effect electronically carbon-copying him on transpired events. Evidently Sheila had picked up on his distaste for surprises.

So far, the shape shifter had been dealt with, permanently. There wasn't any way they'd be able to interrogate it now, having been vaporized in the solar corona as it was. Neno wasn't too upset about it. One less headache for him. Now he could concentrate on the Studious apprehension problem. Cim had gone off into the jungle in an effort to cover twice as much area in the search, leaving neno alone. Bransom and her personal bodyguard were with Chumley, as far as he knew, and the rest of the guard contingent were setting up a base camp for the Studious search.

Nenothtu had also gotten the report of Luder's rescue, with much relief, but shortly after that Shelia had relayed the news of the Ophiuchi Buzzard incursion into this system, on an apparent search pattern. Neno surmised that they MUST be searching for Luder, and so Luder must be in posession of some sort of crucial information. Neno made a snap decision, and activated the Yydryl's comm unit Cim had given him earlier, and called her.

"Nenothtu to Officer Cim. I've been apprised of an incursion into this system by the Buzzards, those same beings who destroyed the Earth. I'm going to head out to distract them, and buy the Penelope and Yydryl time to maneuver, for fight or flight, whichever decisions are made. Those decisions are above my pay grade. What I CAN do is buy some time. I'm leaving my subordinates here to continue the search for Studious, per the original mission. Nenothtu out." He didn't mention that he was unwilling to take the other crewmen along on what would likely turn out to be a one-way mission.

With that, neno set out at double time for the docking bay, and the StarWolf. Arriving at the base camp en-route, he detailed two of the Penelope security detachment to follow him. At the docking bay, neno and the security crewmen unloaded the bulk of the supplies on board for use of the security detail in his absence. Issuing final instructions to the security crewmen, neno boarded the StarWolf, sealed the hatches, and began running through the preflight checklist.

Finding everything in order, he obtained exit permissions, and when the bay door opened, Lt Commander blasted off into the black, looking for a suitable observation or ambush position on the route of the Buzzards. One that would hopefully redirect the search pattern away from the ships of the Friendlies.

Curiously, when he had gotten out of effective shielding range of the Yydryl, the blue trinket Cim had given him in the swamp began pulsating slowly with a blue light from within.

posted on Jan, 20 2010 @ 12:02 PM
Nenothtu was examining the scanner readouts intently, adjusting controls for sensitivity, searching for a suitable field of space flotsam to hide amonst when suddenly a female voice behind him spoke.

"Sir, if I may..."

Neno jumped nearly out of his own skin, stood, and wheeled about to face the voice all in what appeared to be one fluid motion. Identifying the source, he relaxed somewhat while managing to bluster out "GORRAMID SHEILA! Don't surprise me like that! And don't 'sir' me neither! If you MUST hang a title on me, address me as 'chief'."

"You are a Lieutenant Commander in the UEF Forces, and as such are to be addressed with proper protocols, sir."

Nenothtu thought about that for a split second, then replied "Lieutenant Commander means I ain't a full Commander. Address me as 'chief' or 'nenothtu', not 'sir'" He couldn't believe he was having this conversation with an AI.

"As you wish... Chief" was all Shelia said to that. Neno was sure the slight hesitation and stress of 'Chief' had to have been programmed into Sheila by someone with a twisted sense of humor.

"As I was about to say, Chief, if you have in mind what I think you do, and recall that I scanned your brainwaves..."

Nenothtu cut her off right there. "Who authorized you to go poking around in my brain?"

There was the briefest of pauses, during which neno had a startling visualization of the disembodied voice cocking it's non-existent head slightly to the side, as if this ought not to even be a question. "YOU did, Chief. You authorized brainwave scans as a security measure for the StarWolf" she replied matter of factly. Sheila then continued with her original line of reasoning. "If you have in mind what I think you do, you should return to Penelope for a refit of shields and weapons, in case there is a pressing need for you to engage rather than simply watch." If neno didn't know better, he would have sworn that the AI smirked at him, and thought "this woman... er, umm, this.... WHATEVER, might know me better than I even know myself". Engage indeed.

"I've already GOT weapons and shields, Sheila."

"Begging your pardon, Chief, but what you have aboard the Starwolf is somewhat dated. Your guns, and especially your sheilding, are antiquated, nenothtu, and should undergo an upgrade before the possibility of an engagement with a foe such as the Ophiuchi. They destroy PLANETS, you know". Sarcasm was unbecoming in an AI, and Sheila was not yet entirely up to it.

Neno considered that. "You're right, Sheila. I've got speed and maneuverability on my side aginst the Buzzards, but might be a bit lacking in the punch I can pack. I reckon I ought to refit, but I can't send a message to the Penelope without giving away my position to the Buzzards, and if I just show up there, some ensign with a twitchy trigger finger might just blow me completely out of the dark."

"Let me handle the notifications, Chief. Just head back to Penelope, and I'll handle the rest. I have built-in secrets you couldn't imagine".

Neno sat back down at the helm and started bringing the StarWolf about to head back for the Penelope, and an upgrade. As he did so, he mused about how easily he could be brought to detest machinery when it became too smug.

[edit on 2010/1/20 by nenothtu]

posted on Jan, 21 2010 @ 02:56 AM

'I'm glad you're here friend' I whispered to Carpet who crowded my feet, his tendrils stiff and at attention.

Having made sure the Milli Being Carpet was able to gain access to the command center was one of the best decisions I'd made since agreeing to stay on the Yydryl and now that decision was reaping benefits tenfold. I valued the intellect and decision making of my friend, we'd need him now that the Yydryl was under threat, and as a companion in an emergency Carpet had already proved his worth, saving my life on more than one occasion.

Besides Carpet I was alone at the helm. The rest of the crew was dispersed throughout Ship and the Center.
Last I knew Neno from the Penelope was with us also, I could only hope he was still with CindyMars and their search for Studious ended, the appropriate measures taken to remove the internal threat of the Shapeshifter from Ship.
Deson and Chumley, along with President Bransom had only just brought me news from the Penelope, and just in time to save me from my own predicaments.

"Penelope to Yydryl, three Opi cruisers have entered the solar system, they have not seen us yet, we are maneuvering the Penelope to within 200 metres of Yydryl, our new shields will protect both of us, however we cannot use conventional weapons while the shield is engaged, Yydryl will need to shoot around the shield using it's
aft launch tubes.

I propose we "drift" closer to the larger moon and use that as cover, if the Opi's use the same tactics they will cut up anything orbiting before turning their nuclear devices on the planet below, that's when we surprise them!"

Yydryl, you will need to power up slowly so as to disguise your energy signature, the Opi's will be here in 3 standard hours at their current speed."

'That's the message in part Silo, what do you want to do?' Deson the Armour reported while three sets of eyes including those of the visiting President Bransom drilled into mine as if expecting me to make decisions. Which reluctantly I did after we climbed in the Waldo to head back to base.

'Leave off the search for CindyMars, she doesn't need our help. Unlike I had I thought resisting the urge to brush residual dirt and clinging roots from my two-skin uniform. 'I'm sure she's already aware of the threat to the Yydryl and is handling herself accordingly.' I yelled over the whir of the Waldo's engine, though surprisingly quiet Chumley had the vehicle revved to it's top speed transporting us through and over terrain, branches and grasses slapping at the undercarriage urging us closer to the exit of the Center.

Reaching the exit caves I left the others to go their own way, Bransom clinging to Chumley who followed Deson to the armory. They'd release the drone fighters and set Deson to man the controls from his own command center, Chumley, if he had his way would be flying one of the huge fighters, and Bransom? I didn't have any faith she'd be of any help, but that would be Deson's problem, I'd have to let them deal with it, for now I had to rouse the Yydryl. She'd been incommunicado for too long, but we needed her now, more than ever.

'So what's the status now Carpet?' I asked as I slid into the command chair, my hand trailing to the ground to give a reassuring stroke to Carpets fibers, reassuring me in the process.

'Ship followed the advice sent via the Penelope and powered up slowly. She's quiet at the moment and asked not to be disturbed while She checks available energy from the Center. Her first response was to fight, but, that will depend again, on the energy levels. Her core power is severely depleted after expending all the energy to fuel the Center's growth.'

'Thank you Carpet. Anything else?' Scanning the original message from the Penelope my fingers played over the command board sending our own message to the Penelope telling them we'd received their warning, thanked them and posted we'd be in touch as soon as we knew our fighting status. Or our status of retreat.

'We've a message from Neno'

'Neno?! I though the was with CindyMars!' Concern flowed through me, I reigned it into check. There was no one more capable than caring for herself than our CindyMars I reminded myself and put my concern to rest.

'Yes, and Neno sent Mars a message which shows a confirmation. You're right, she did receive word but I've yet to hear from her or her status aboard Ship. If she's even still here.'

'Right.' Scanning the command board I found the message and let it play.

"Nenothtu to Officer Cim. I've been apprised of an incursion into this system by the Buzzards, those same beings who destroyed the Earth. I'm going to head out to distract them, and buy the Penelope and Yydryl time to maneuver, for fight or flight, whichever decisions are made. Those decisions are above my pay grade. What I CAN do is buy some time. I'm leaving my subordinates here to continue the search for Studious, per the original mission. Nenothtu out."

It answered all the questions I'd been asking myself. Accept for the location of CindyMars and if the Yydryl would choose to fight, or flight, as Neno put it.

'Ship!' I helloed feeling her presence return to the command deck.

'Silo. We've no choice but to leave the fighting to the others. Our core energy is too depleted after expending it's all, right down to our reserves for the growth of the Center. We've no choice but to evade the threat.' Ship commanded before I even asked her voice quivering in anger, and something like fear. She was scared.

'Neno is off on his own to help, plus we've got the Penelope.' I reassured. 'Deson and Chumley are manning drones and live controlled fighters...'

'As is President Bransom Silo.' Ship interrupted before I could continue.


'She's an ace fighter. She's wing side Chumley in command of her own fighter was the last I heard from their chatter.'

Punching up the inter-flight communications we monitored the verbal back and forth from Deson commanding his deadly drones, to Chumley and Bransom in the huge Deson Fighters, each at the stick of their own craft.

'What can I do Ship?" I asked feeling helpless.

'Stay here with me Silo. You and Carpet. We need to get out of here if we're going to ensure the safety of the Center and that's our number one priority, always. For now we'll move off as unobtrusively as possible to behind the larger of the Moons at the Penelope's suggestion. From there we'll wait to hear from CindyMars and then we're off.'

'Off to where Ship?'

'Anywhere but here Silo, anywhere but here...'

'And Silo. I'm asking you on your love for me to manually ready the disengage mechanism for the Pod.'

The Green Man at my throat gave a blast of heat and began to quiver on it's chain against my skin, my hand crept up to cover the trembling pendant at my throat, bile rising bitter in my mouth.

'Disengage the Pod?' I whispered in dread, at once my worst nightmares coming to life.

'Yes Silo... The Pod.'

posted on Jan, 22 2010 @ 03:43 PM

Cim headed into the jungle, she could see the specks of light in the distance,
as she got closer she saw that they appeared to be orbs of light. They danced around a bit,
coming towards her and then darting away from her, she got the impression that they wanted her to follow them.

The jungle was not as dense here as it was in the Amazon, at least not here, so Cim made her way rather quickly in attempt to keep up with the orbs. They were emitting a humming sound that was melodic in nature. Cim had been tracking these orbs for several miles when the growth got much thicker and she heard the rushing torrent of a mighty river. Something was vaguely familiar about this, being a Traveler déjà vu was not something they experienced, yet that is what this felt like.

The river sounded as if it was close now and after using the machete to hack through some entangled branches she saw it.

Cim stood there stunned, before her eye’s was a portal or the portal from the Amazon on Earth, she really was not sure at all. The light orbs buzzed her and darted in and out the portal. “What to do?” she spoke aloud to herself. The orbs humming had gotten louder and they became more insistent. Cim looked around almost expecting to see Silo kissing that man again but they were not there. The portal was pulsating and humming in sync with the orbs. Cim stuck the machete into the ground and threw her hands up “What the hell!” she said and stepped into the portal.


edit by request

[edit on 25/1/10 by masqua]

posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 07:24 AM

Tickette appears with a thermos landing with an ungainly plop on my lap, handing the thermos to me she returns to her usual position draped around my neck, there is a slight waft of garlic, most likely Tickette wolfed down someone's lunch on the way. With a scratch between the ears she settles down and rumbles to her self. Coffee! real Colombian, wonderful stuff!

A faint "ding" from my link alerts me to Sheila, her disembodied voice floating to my right.

"Professor, "Lieutenant Commander Nenothtu" intends to take the Starwolf on a recon mission against the Ophiuchi ships with the intention of damaging them, I estimated his chances at 0.7 percent, I have suggested a refit of the shields and weapons to raise his chance of success."

"Thank you Sheila, Nenothtu's piloting skills are legendary, perhaps he can make a difference, ask Nenothtu to ease into the starboard docking bay and we will have his refit finished before he can eat lunch"

Punching buttons on the console I call up the docking bay and alert them to expect the Starwolf, too many young and edgy people down there on security, Nenothtu will need to train some of the younger people on security detail, but that must wait till later.

Calling up Engineering I see Ms Craig is her usual efficent self, "Anthea we have the Starwolf coming in to starboard, please refit her shields with what spares we have, strip two nuclear warheads and outfit them as dumb bombs so they can penetrate the shields, use my workshop and have Shelia assist. Oh and Anthea, lovely blend on the coffee."

"Thank you Chief, I have about half a kilo left. Now we can refit the Starwolf shields but there are only enough spares for 70% coverage" Anthea smiles " The pilot will have to refrain from mooning anyone"

The link pulses again as Sheila "arrives" "Professor, Yydryl sentient reports her energy level is at minimum she cannot fight or even create a wormhole at present, however Deson, Chumley and Ms Bransom along with a flight of Deson drones are at our disposal."

"Thank you Sheila, Suggest to Yydryl that she lands on the moon just inside the twilight zone and powers down, Yydryl will look like vegetation to all but the most probing scan and I don't expect the Opi's will be worrying about an almost airless moon. Also send our thanks for Deson and the drone ships."

Thinking forward to the coming confrontation I ask "Sheila, what is your present positronic load?"

There is a small pause as Sheila calculates, "926 processes currently running, positronic capacity at 87 percent, power capacity 121 percent, systems optimal professor"

I'm going to need Sheila at her best soon, "Sheila, please compartmentalize, close non essential processes and musings, I would like you to take over weapons control, bypass the weapons officer station and reroute sensors to rail guns, report when ready"

There is a crisp "Yes professor" almost as if Sheila snaps to attention, I know I did not program that sort of response, the self learning is subtle.

A pulse from the link as Sheila reports "Weapons control established, 487 current processes running, positronic capacity at 57 percent, power capacity at 130 percent, modifications to the Star Wolf complete, two 60 megaton nuclear devices are fitted externally, opinion, Lieutenant Commander Nenothtu's piloting ability is in the 57 percent average taken over the last 20 years evaluations, assistance may be required to fulfill his planned mission."

"Thank you Sheila, maintain a link to Nenothtu please, let the Lieutenant Commander know his ship is ready"

posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 01:38 PM

As he approaches the Rolling Thunder Studious continues to scan the hangar, still waiting for security to swarm him. But seeing no one he reaches the hatch on the ship.

The display reads "Captain Luder please enter Access Code."

Wondering what the Captain would have entered, he thinks back to when he and Luder were on the bridge together and that woman he was speaking to them from the Saratoga. "What was her name again? Ah that's right it was Theresa."

Entering Theresa in as the code Studious enters the Rolling Thunder.

The Colonel looks at wires hanging from the ceiling, blown apart panels, a floor littered with debris and says "And I thought it looked bad on the outside."

Still worried about a boarding party Studious picks up a metal bar and braces the hatch closed.

Traveling deeper into the ship Studious can tell someone...or something is up ahead.

Walking softly the old man spies someone. It's the Captain, but there's someone else with him.

He's standing over a body.

Studious thinks "I knew it, something was up ahead. It’s that monster and he's killed again!"

In typical Don Quixote style he begins running, albeit quietly, forward cane raised.

Studious slows to a walk hiding in the shadows where lights had blown out on the heavily damaged ship and approaches slowly.

As he approaches Luder looks up and Studious looks into his eyes. As he does the old man sees something he has only seen once before.

He had seen it in his own face once.

After his wife died he had caught a glimpse of himself in a reflection of off a pane of glass on the Saratoga.

He had seen deep pain, suffering, loss, a hole within himself that could never be filled.

Now he was seeing that look on the face of the Captain. Those deeply pained eyes.

Lowering his cane he now knew Luder was just a man suffering great loss and not the monster he had instantly assumed him to be.

Don Quixote gazed upon the windmill he had thought was a monster and saw it clearly for the first time. It was a reflection… a reflection of himself.

Studious stood there for a moment "facing the mirror" as if almost looking into the past.

The distinct noise of plasma cutters working on the hatch he had braced of let Studious know it was time to leave.

The old man crept back into the shadows as a security and medical team boarded and took Luder and Theresa away.

The Colonel was alone once more like he had been so long ago....

[edit on 23-1-2010 by Studious]

posted on Jan, 23 2010 @ 06:52 PM

Nenothtu was sitting in the chow hall, nursing a cup of coffee, when he got word that the StarWolf refit was complete. Gulping down the dregs, he yelled at the counter "Cookie! a travel mug and thermal carafe of your finest! I gotta git!"

She handed the required items across the counter to him, along with a box of some sort, without comment, just a grin. Neno viewed the box contraption with some trepidation. "What's this?" he inquired.

"Lunch. A man going to fight the Buzzards ought to pack a lunch for it. And take some friends" she added.

The Lieutenant Commander smirked at her. "now Cookie, just because your packing my lunch now, it doesn't follow that I'm going to marry you" he said in a failed attempt at humor.

Cookie snorted. "A girl can hope, can't she?"

"Cookie, you're impossible!" neno replied.

"Not to be outdone, Cookie replied "I'm not impossible, just incredibly difficult!", throwing his own words back at him. "You just come back, and we'll finish this conversation later" she added in a more subdued tone.

"Cookie! I'm too old and mean to die, not to mention too tough for a Buzzard to eat!" neno threw at her with a lopsided grin, and then he was gone.


After receiving a briefing on the new shields and weapons, and the proper use thereof, neno boarded the StarWolf, muttering "Bowling for Buzzards! I've heard it ALL now!"

A nearby young Marine said "What's bowling, Chief?"

Nenothtu roared "Kids these days!" and sealed the hatch.


Out in the black, nenothtu had set the StarWolf for maximum stealth, and taken up a covered position inside an asteroid field at the forward trojan position of a gas giant planet outward in the system from the habitable zone (and consequently the friendly vessels) along the Ophiuchi's search pattern. He intended to impersonate a chunk of rock until the Ophiuchis had passed his position, and he could get behind them. He sat and waited, but not for long.

The gargantuan Buzzard vessels came along, moving slowly inward into the system. They crept along (creeping for giant planet killing starships, anyhow) in order to maximize their scanners and, nenothtu presumed, not to run into an ambush.

Stupid Buzzards.

"Sheila! Would you be so kind as to discreetly relay the information as to the Buzzard's position, trajectory, and armaments that we've just gathered to the Penelope? And let 'em know I'll be taking up a position to the rear of the Opis, and trailing them in."

Until I pounce, that is, he thought. Only so much one can do gathering info, before he's gotta take action, nenothtu mused.

When the Buzzard ships had gained a discrete lead, nenothtu nudged the throttle and fell in behind them, still in maximum stealth.

"Show time" he muttered, to no one.

[edit on 2010/1/23 by nenothtu]

posted on Jan, 26 2010 @ 05:04 AM

Listening to the by play between Sheila of the Penelope, Neno and our own fighters set my teeth on edge.
I felt so helpless sitting and waiting for news, not being able to join in defending the Yydryl.
Carpet winding around my ankles like live ribbons trying to reassure me was only heightening my unease.
It wasn't so much the threat of the 'Buzzards" on the well-being of the Yydryl (she'd powered down to hide in the shadow of the huge red moon), it was Ship herself and her talk of disengaging the Pod that had me tying myself in knots.

'Ship?' I lurched to my feet to pace before the huge view I had searching the Center for CindyMars.

'Yes Silo?" Her voice, calm but detached responded immediately.

'Can you give me a reading on CindyMars?' I stopped pacing before the view screen hoping the sight of my fried would materialize before me.

'Stand by for search.'

The screen shimmered slightly before clearing to reveal jungle growth, water, trees and...

'Wait! Ship! This is in the Center? How can...' My voice fell off in disbelief.

'Yes Silo, the last registered signature of CindyMars came from this area, exact location readings to follow.'

As Ship rattled out grid numbers I curbed a desire to close my eyes. I wasn't seeing things, or rather I was seeing things! The location Ship zeroed in on, the last known location of CindyMars was an area on Ship that exactly replicated that of Earth where...Where my friend had fallen into the river, I thought had drowned. Where I'd found the strange portal. Where I'd kissed...been kissed by...

"But how can it be?" I asked sotto voce walking closer reaching up to touch the screen. I couldn't believe my eyes. My backpack, the backpack I knew I'd left stored in my new quarters was right there on screen before me back on the ground by the river where I'd left it while looking for signs of my friend.

This was too much. I turned from the screen, recorded the coordinated on my hand pad and began to make my way from the commend deck.

'Ship, the Yydryl is safe here for the moment. Please, I've got to go check out the Center, something's wrong here.' Making my way to the mouth of the exit I spun back in my tracks at her command.

'Silo, Stop! What you see on screen is the Center. In the Center. And it can and will wait.' The coldness in her voice thawed as she continued.
'CindyMars exited the through the portal. What's done cannot be un-done, obviously she was unaware of the threat towards the Yydryl when she made her decision to explore the portal. For the moment there is nothing you can do, nor should do concerning officer Mars."

The hollow feeling of loss gnawing in the pit of my stomach gradually eased turning to relief. Wherever CindyMars was, she was not on Ship and I could only pray to the Creator that meant she was safe. The mystery of the portal and my backpack would have to wait until later.

'Ship. Do you have any orders at this time?' I acquiesced and waited patiently where I stood for her to respond. Carpet reared back at attention the nap of his fibers straining straight and true at my feet reminded me I had others aboard Ship to worry about.

'ATS Silo, attend to the prisoner Swarg in the brig. He's aware of our dilemma and demanding to talk to Deson, who as you know cannot be disturbed at the moment. Talk to Swarg. Do what you can to reassure him. His negative presence is a disruption to our energies, something we cannot tolerate in our present situation."

'Yes Ship.' I made to leave before asking, not prepared for the answer. 'If I can't calm him what would you have me do, drug him?'

'Eliminate him.' She replied smoothly, turning her attention back to monitoring the transmissions flowing between the Penelope and the fighters in the war against the Ophiuchi.

posted on Jan, 27 2010 @ 05:34 AM

If we are going to come out of this confrontation in one piece we will need secure communications, touching my com-link I put a proposal to Sheila, "We need a secure comms link between Yydryl, Deson and his Fighters, Neno and Penelope, plus yourself, using the sub-ether frequencies to avoid tipping the Opi's to our presence, would you set up a ring loop and inform each group of the communications please"

"Yes professor, additional information from Lieutenant Commander Nenothtu on the approaching ships, including speed, trajectory, configuration and weapons, one Dreadnought class ship and two heavy Cruisers, current flight time is 2 hours and ten minutes,"

"Thank you Sheila" Dreadnought class, damn! nearly three kilometers long, now I know how David felt looking at Goliath.

posted on Jan, 27 2010 @ 06:49 AM

Now to try out the communication loop, "Deson from Penelope" seeming to address thin air, "Please take your fighter group to the opposite side of the planet, this method of communicating is secure but keep radio silence, we don't want the Ophiuchi knowing anything about you"

"Wilco" says Deson's voice from a point above my head, I have not heard that acknowledgment for a long time.

An Ensign reports, "Sir, the Yydryl has settled on the moon surface in the twilight zone, even our scans show nothing but a patch of vegetation"

"Thank you Ensign" Wonderful camouflage for such a large ship.

In my best level voice I issue THE order "Ensign of the watch, sound battle stations!" "Helm, move us closer to the moon but keep above the atmosphere, thin as it is we don't want our hull heating and giving us away"

More reports from the bridge crew, "Sir, the Ophiuchi ships have detected the planetary defenses, the ships are in delta attack formation and are headed directly toward the planet, estimated arrival in one hour and thirty minutes!"

Better keep those on the planet up to date I guess "Deson from Penelope, please inform the planet's military on the updates for the Ophiuchi, keep to low level radio."

Deson comes back with a "Roger", almost as if he likes 20th century war movies.

Now to layout the plan, "Deson, Yydryl, Neno, I expect the Ophiuchi will destroy the space platforms around the planet before attempting to nuke the planet surface, while they are occupied I intend to come around the moon and surprise them from behind, if Penelope can disable or destroy the two cruisers we can all then concentrate on the remaining Dreadnought, surprise is our best asset."

posted on Jan, 28 2010 @ 12:30 PM

'Eliminate him' Ship had commanded, but repeating her words over and over with each step I took towards the brig gave me no more clue to what was behind their meaning then when I'd heard them the first time.

Eliminate Swarg. The Ensign who'd been filled with something vile, some unthinkable evil by a Ship's intruder.
Swarg who'd been imprisoned aboard Ship for the better part of the last... How long? I couldn't' remember.
Swarg, who I'd done bodily harm, which I justified of course by telling myself it was an order, but a being I'd never really seen before.

The air thickened with memories of dread as I neared the prison cells, remembering a fight along the same corridor, the smell of fresh spilled blood, the horror wrought by other intruders. As horrible as the memories were I was thankful Carpet had remained on the command deck and that I was alone. I didn't want any witnesses for what was about to happen.

Stepping quietly around the last run of empty cells I came up against a closed energy barrier that glowed brighter the closer I approached.
I stood there facing Swarg, who had his back to me, his shoulders held high, his bearing anything but how I'd envisioned the prisoner.
I wondered again what I would do next.

As he turned slowly towards me the energy barriers which had replaced the living walls damaged by the Penelope's jail break glowed with an even fiercer heat, but the flush that spread up my neck and across my face came from an inner fire.

Looking at him now, standing quietly, waiting, waiting like he was waiting for me, like he'd known I would appear just when I had? It caught me off balance and left me taking stock of myself.
My antenna retracted beneath my hair, my fingers combed the soft lilac strands back into place.
Suddenly I wanted to appear presentable. No, more than presentable.
There was a spark in the air that had nothing to do with the cells safety measures but an energy of a different sort, one I'd encountered only once before, and then, only fleetingly.

His face still hidden by a thick soft cowl Swarg took a step towards the barrier.
I willed it to lower with a wave of my hand. I had no fear of the being who stood before me.

If the Ensigns pure masculinity had not registered with me before - it did so now.
Tall and wide, narrowing at the hip, muscles and sinew barely clothed in a loose woven material that did nothing to hide his strength he moved towards me, I should have backed away, but did not.
He stepped even closer and still I did not retreat, the musky scent of male, animal male greeted and teased my senses, not unpleasantly.
He stood two hands taller than the top of my head, I raised my chin to look up into his face.


His breath fell warm across my brow, more like a caress than a whisper.
Something inside me fluttered to life and began to burn below my chest bone.

A lone eye, bruised and full of a grief radiated no hope from behind the folds of the cloth about his face. As blue as any ocean deep it glistened with it's own salty moisture rippling waves of pain and despair.
His other eye, swollen near to closed and black as shadows hid behind a turn of the cloth he'd wound about his head.
I raised my hand to push it away from his face, to touch his hair, he stopped me by taking my hand in his own.

Lifting it slowly to his mouth I waited in hot anticipation for the nip of his teeth to sink into my wrist, but his lips barely brush against my skin, glistening canines left no marks.
My lips felt swollen and bruised remembering another kiss as he turned my hand over to taste the circle my palm with the tip of his tongue.
Looking up from where he bent over me his eyes caught mine then fell to my lips for the briefest of moments before he let my hand drop and took a hesitant step back to the far side of where the barrier had been.

'That was foolish little Silo' His lopsided grin struck me harder than the touch of his tongue. My insides grew heavy, felt loose and warm, tightly coiled muscle gave way to something open and round and wanting.

'Raise the barrier Silo.' He demanded harshly, 'You are not safe.'

His words held promise of deadly consequence and more regret than I'd ever heard uttered. His pain killed the live desire born in my womb turning it cold and aching.

I raised the barrier as I'd been told, the deadly force pulsed back to life a nanosecond before Swarg, arms outstretched, hands grasping, threw himself against the energy bands.

A primal roar of anguish rose and tore from his gaping snarling mouth, skin and cloth scorched and burnt searing and popping as the energy strike shot up his hands and through his body, hands that had struck out to take my throat in their deadly grasp.

[edit on 28-1-2010 by silo13]

posted on Jan, 31 2010 @ 10:06 AM

Temptation would have had me drop the barrier and run to Swarg, to administer care for the injuries he suffered.
Prudence held me in check.

'You understand now...' Swarg hissed through clenched teeth cradling the arm with the worst burns against his chest.

'I understand what is in you, is not of you...'

'A moment longer and I would have...' His voice cracked with pain, the stench of burnt flesh reached across the energy barrier making me gag.

'Silence!' I struck him with the word. Instinct told me whatever it was that had been infused into Swarg fed on emotion, so Swarg would find none in me.

'I'm going to call in a medic droid to debride your wounds...' I hesitated and nearly choked again on my next words. 'We want you in good health for your execution. Position yourself for immobilization.' I barked the order. 'Against the wall Ensign!'

I sensed his eyes roam my face for some clue to the change in my tone, my attitude and bearing. I refused to look up. The anguish he'd see in my eyes would negate my harsh means. For now I had to make him believe my turn of heart. I'd throw disdain at him and hope I'd be convincing. To give him anything else would have caused him more pain than good and that I would not do.

Making his way slowly to the farthest reach of his cell Swarg backed up against the wall and with obvious difficulty raised his hands above his chest, spread his legs and waited. He'd been through the drill before.
With the wave of my hand energy bands sprang to life pinning Swarg to the wall. Ankles and wrists immobile, chest constricted to allow shallow breathing and no more. He was securely bound.

Dropping the main barrier that had moments before saved my life I forced my feet across the cell stopping a stride from the helpless Ensign. Another wave of my hand completed his immobility. A thin circlet of energy creased his brow constricting his movement even there. He no longer could turn his head, more importantly he couldn't tip it downwards to look into my eyes.

Calling a medic to act as a second I cared for Swarg's injuries first hand giving and taking instruments and solvents from the droid as I worked to cut dead flesh from living. Separating the charred stinking skin from melted cloth, even using a cryogenic laser, must have been physically agonizing, yet Swarg made no sound. Applying skin replicating bandages to the open weeping wounds I wished I could have given him relief from pain, but for a moment more I needed him lucid.

As unobtrusively as I could, to draw no attention to my movement and then only when I was sure his pain was the greatest I tapped out a message on a patch of Swarg's healthy skin, the code as basic as communication.

Tap - pause - tap tap... 'Stop All Emmotion.'
Tap, taptaptap - tap... 'It Feeds!"

While I cut away a large layer of material infused flesh from his upper arm Swarg allowed a grinding of his teeth in his battle for control but didn't cry out, his mastery of the pain telling me what I need to know. The pain was blocking out whatever it was seething and boiling inside him, keeping the thing that infested him from manifesting it's will, effectively rendering whatever was writhing within him impotent and momentarily kept at bay.

Working steadily but slowly I took precious moments to think. I couldn't let the negative force burrowed in Swarg's psyche know my plotting, that was a given. That I couldn't let it see I cared was a must.
For the moment I didn't know what more I could do for Swarg, but, I knew in a flash of insight what I could not.
I couldn't give Swarg hope.
Hope for his life. Faith for his release. Trust in me for something more.
However abdative the thing inside him would know, would feel the hope and would feed. In growing stronger it may even kill what little of Swarg's self was left inside him, a thought I could not bear.

Reaching for the droids outstretched limbs and the proffered bandages I finished wrapping the worst of the wounds quickly wanting to get as far from the plagued Ensign as I could before I gave in and spoke the words I so wanted him to hear. What I did now, I might never have a chance to ask his pardon for, but my options were limited and if had any other choice I didn't know of it.

'I'm finished here Swarg and have duties to attend to.' I said with disdain, forcing sarcasm. 'I see no harm in telling you Ship is under threat from the Ophi. You can thank them for the few hours delay before you're sent for elimination. In the mean time the droid will administer a med-stun to relieve your pain." Turning to direct the droid forward I almost didn't hear Swarg's response.

'No...drugs...' He ground out through clenched teeth, the muscles at the corners of his jaw popping.
I should have known he'd welcome the pain but even that I couldn't leave him. Strength would be his salvation, of that I was sure, and now was the only time he might have to gather what strength he would need. He'd take the sedation.

'You have no choice in the matter. Ship wants you in good form for your execution. You will take the pain blocker.'

Hand outstretched in silent demand I forced the droid to relinquish the pre-medicated stun-gun. Droids were programmed against administering any form of drug without consent from the patient. I'd have to do it myself.

Checking the dosage I doubled it, rose up on my toes to look squarely into Swarg's startling blue eye, matched his look of loathing with a glacial glare of my own, jammed the gun against the side of his temple and fired.

The sharp 'pop' of pressure made Swarg blink, his eyes bulged open then closed against his will as his body slumped into the bands that held him against the wall. With a last look I hoped his body could find comfort in it's present position for it was exactly how he'd have to remain until I figured a way to rid him of the thing torturing him from within. Or if I failed, give him peace in death.

As I turned to leave a thick oily voice crawled up the back of my spine to linger in my ear. Involuntary I raised my hands to my head to block the voice and failed. Breaking into a run I continued to make my way for the door without looking back.

'Heeeee...' It snarled, 'Is minnnnnnnnne!' The voice writhed behind me chasing me from the cell.

The sickening laughter that followed me to the bridge came straight from hell.

[edit on 31-1-2010 by silo13]

posted on Feb, 1 2010 @ 08:25 PM

Lt Commander nenothtu shadowed the three Buzzards vessels inbound for nearly 45 minutes before they arrived at the planet. The exercise had left him tense, with an aggravating knot directly between his shoulders which he just couldn't reach. He constantly expected to be discovered at any moment, in spite of all of the stealth measures he had put in place. After all, these Buzzards appeared to be in a search pattern, which was never a good thing for those trying to hide.

Upon arrival at the planet, rather than doing a 360 degree area sweep as he would have expected before setting up their shop, the Buzzards did a full orbit of the planet at 50,000 kilometers. It appeared that they were concentrating their sensor arrays in the direction of the planet. Neno surmised that this was a good sign. It meant, to his mind, that they were unaware of the presence of the Penelope and Yydryl, and weren't searching for them, which left only Luder's boat to be searched for. Evidently they must have thought he limped in and crashed on the planetary surface, since it was the only habitable planet in the system. Nenothtu relayed all the intelligence he was gathering to the others via the comm link Sheila had provided over secure channels as it was gathered.

It appeared that Sheila's secure channels had been set up to be SO secure that the channels themselves, or any carriers, were not even detectable. Neno marvelled at the ingenuity of technicians who could work out such things. Magic like that was above the pay grade of a trigger-twitcher such as himself, but he was mighty glad they were on HIS side.

Curiously, during the orbit, the Planetary Defense Grid satellites were reading a slight increase in the energy fields surrounding them, indicating that they, too, were being scanned, as well as the surface. Maybe the Buzzards thought Luder's boat was hiding among them.

Or maybe they were mapping them out.

A thought struck nenothtu. StarWolf and the orbital Defense platforms were about the same size. If the Opis could find them, they could find him too. Yet they hadn't. Why was that, he wondered? He developed a working theory that it had something to do with the new shielding. It was called "Passive Energy Barrier" shielding, or something like that. Maybe that was just the system that made it work. Neno couldn't recall exactly. The important thing was that it worked by absorbing the energy from incoming energy bolts, and actually got STRONGER instead of weaker when hit by one. The key in all those magical incantations was that it ABSORBED the energy. Nenothtu's working theory involved the notion that it absorbed energy from the inside as well as the energy coming from the outside. It was, after all, a homogenous energy absorptive field. He guessed that it was absorbing his energy signature before it radiated into the black, so the Buzzards had no hint to even start looking for him. It added to the stealth measures that had already been built into StarWolf. The only place his energy signal could be detected from was the rear, where the shields lacked coverage, and he'd kept all the Buzzards forward, where he could watch them.

Nenothtu was occupied with these thoughts, among a thousand others, right up to the point where the two cruisers moved in and started training weapons on the satellite defense platforms, leaving the planet-killing dreadnought to wait until the coast was clear.

Crap. If they couldn't find Luder (who was safely buttoned up in Penelope already) evidently they were going to frag the whole damned planet to make sure no one else did, either. Neno wondered for the gozillionth time what intelligence Luder had collected that the Opis found so valuable. Putting away that thought again for the moment, neno "looked" around via his passive scanner array, and discovered that there was no one about but he and the Buzzards.

"Just us chickens out here." he thought, adding in "Ain't no cavalry to come riding in this time to save my raggedy ass, and there ain't nobody else to do this job that desperately needs doing."

Hell and soda pop.

He ramped up his engines and started creeping in on the idle dreadnought, moving in from 24,000 meters to 6,000, and staying directly behind it. He had to get this right the first time, because there wouldn't be any second chance. Nothing lasts forever but The Black, not even grouchy old Lieutenant Commanders. Underlings only THOUGHT they were too mean to die.

As he crept up, neno tried to develop his plan on the fly. The dreadnought presented the greatest danger to the planet, therefore taking it out first would be more likely to insure the safety of the most individuals. Penelope was nowhere in sight, nor was Yydryl, so they weren't in any immediate danger, as near as he could tell. Logic dictated that he take out the big momma dreadnought, and leave the cruisers for someone else. That meant he would have to use BOTH of the 60 kiloton nukes. Big Momma was a big target. Nothing would be left on his weapons racks suitable to combat the cruisers. That meant he'd have to hit and git.

Hell and soda pop without ice.

Arriving at the 6,000 meter mark, neno decided he'd send the nukes straight at the point in the dreadnought's tail section where all 3 of the engine pylons, Big Momma's "wings", attached to it. It was a design flaw, a weakness. Blow the engines off, and she was dead in the water, and could be disassembled at will since all her maneuverability was gone. He figured that he'd drop his shields momentarily, goose the throttle to maximum, fire the nukes, then raise shields again as he scooted past the hopefully soon to be crippled dreadnought.

It wasn't a great plan, survivability-wise, but as some ancient Earth general or other had once said, "a good plan, violently executed NOW, is better than a perfect plan half-heartedly done tomorrow". Or something like that.

Taking a deep breath, neno jammed the throttle as far as it would go, dropped the shields, and fired the nuclear payload in the near unbearable acceleration.

It was a good thing he had taken that deep breath, as it felt like the studs on his tunic were desperately trying to bury themselves in the padding of the acceleration seat behind him. His chest wasn't feeling much better. the shields popped back up just as he cleared the front section of the dreadnought in a shallow, sweeping arc, outbound from the destruction about to be wrought beneath him. Checking the view rearward in the console screen, he was gratified to see a massive explosion at the rear of the dreadnought. Suddenly, enemy fire started pummelling his shielding. Nenothtu grinned, then laughed outright. "YAHH-HOO!" he roared. " Just LOOK at all the pretty colors! THIS must be what the 4th of July looked like in Old America!" He didn't think deeply enough to recall just WHY the 4th of July had looked like that.

He checked the rear view again, and was disappointed to see that the nukes had only taken two of the 3 engine pylons off of the dreadnought, she was crippled, and spinning crazily, but not out of the action. Just as neno thought he might have made it out alive, there was a massive hit to his port side, which sent the StarWolf jinking toward starboard. He quickly checked the control panel readouts, and discovered that it was a near-miss, without damage. Seizing the opportunity, he vented plasma from his port engine intentionally, to simulate damage, and started to throw the StarWolf into a controlled spin, to get the attention of the cruisers, and hopefully draw them off, thinking he was an easy kill. He screamed over the clear channel, for the benefit of the Buzzards, "I'm hit! I'm hit! MY GAWD they got me!" and adjusted the crazy spin to take him outward through the system, hoping the cruisers would follow. He failed to realize that the secure channel was still open, and his announcement had gone out over that one as well.

Privately, he mumbled into the cockpit "Great Morrigan's Garters that was close!", then a random thought crossed his mind. The "Morrigan" was a pre-Christian battle goddess of the ancient Irish. Battle deities were not the sort a fellow wanted to insult in the midst of a battle! Because of that, he added into the air "Hey Morrigan, I meant that in the best possible way! How about getting me out of this?", only half in irreverent jest.

As if in answer, apparently in the negative, a massive explosion rippled through the rear section of StarWolf, and jarred the craft so violently that it actually ripped the acceleration seat loose from the deck, and threw it violently into the bulkhead, with nenothtu still strapped into it.

His whole universe suddenly went black, even as the trinket Cim had given him glowed blue brightly enough to nearly burn.

posted on Feb, 2 2010 @ 01:59 PM

How could everything look the same when everything has changed I thought as I stepped back onto the Command Deck.
Calling out for Ship I asked Carpet for an update while I waited for her to reply.

'We're powered down hiding in the shadows Silo. All fighters are in place.' Carpet replied sounding skeptical the 'hiding' ploy would work. 'Thanks Carpet.' I muttered my eyes scanning the view screen and the skies above the Yydryl.

'Silo. What did you find?' Ship responded as I began pacing.

'Swarg. He tried to kill me...' Carpet gave a shudder and tried to interrupt but I continued, 'Let me rephrase that. Swarg saved me. He controlled what was inside him and saved me. It's the thing in him that tried to kill me.'

'And Swarg?" Ship enquired with concern.

'He's burned. Badly. But worse, the thing is still inside him. I don't know how to get it out.' Or if I can, I added to myself, the reality of the situation closing in.

'Silo, there's nothing we can do at the moment. The threat of the Ophi's, our fighters out there. I'm sorry.' Her voice fell off, there was no need for her to point out the obvious.

"You're sorry? What do you mean You're sorry! We can't just leave him like that.' Even as I said the words it dawned on me Ship truly meant to eliminate the Ensign. What I thought was a hollow threat proved to hit closer to the 'solution' than I'd ever dreamed.

'Silo, Swarg is lost to us. He's also suffering beyond anything you can imagine, his body an unwilling host. He cannot continue as he is, you know that. You also know the current threat we're facing must be our center of attention. It is the only way.' Ship's voice was wooden and held no emotion.

"Will you release me from the bridge to go to the Recovery Bay?" I begged, chapping the sides of my arms with my palms in frustration.

'Silo, you know Antar's gone...But you're wondering if there's something she left behind you can use to help the Ensign is that it? Well, go and check if you insist, but don't be long.' Ship's offered no hope but that she gave me time away from the deck at such an important moment was enough for me.

'Thank you Ship.' Head bowed I choked back tears. The tension, the hurt, the fear, it was all adding up.

Bending down to run my fingers through Carpet he gripped and held my hand for an extra heartbeat before letting me go.

Time was running on different schedules here. One for those actively engaged in battle far above us, another much slower time for those waiting behind, and another clock ticking in double time for Swarg.

I broke into a run for the Recovery Bay knowing I had to make every second count.


I'd expected silence in the Yydryl's medical wing but rounding the curve to the Recovery Bay I heard a voice. And then I saw it.
Not the owner of the voice, but destruction so thorough it was maniacal.
Someone, or something had turned the room inside out and whatever they were looking for, if they found it it had been hidden well.

Searching for the source of the noise I followed a mixture of mumbles, whistles and yips until finally uncovering a crate hidden well beneath the refuse.

"Hey! You in there..." I tapped the top of the box warily. If whatever was in the box had caused the havoc in the Bay I was in some trouble, especially if it didn't want to be disturbed. 'Hey! You! Come out!' I prodded again with more force this time, I didn't have time to placate whatever it was hiding. Giving the box a good shake I waited as it went silent. Then came a pitiful mewling and grunting, plainly the sounds of something in terrible fear.

Unsheathing my knife I gave the box a sharp poke and jumped back a half dozen paces when the lid popped open. A soft sheen of light rose from the box, tendrils of gnarly gray hair stuck out over the top but still I couldn't see more than the top of the head of the thing making the awful mewling sounds. Then it dawned on me. This must be Deez, Antar's pet.

'Deez?' I called it's name softly.

'I Deez' It responded warily teeth chattering in fear.

'Deez, I need your help, please.'

'Deez help.' It replied but didn't exit the box.

'Deez, I need something to help Swarg."

At the mention of Swarg the little creature returned to howling, two stick thin raggedy arms punched out of the box and grabbed the lid trying to close it again. Snatching the thing up out of the box with one hand I slammed the lid shut with another forcing the pet into the open. The scruffy little creature crouched trembling and twitching atop a dented exam table it's eyes squeezed tightly shut.

'You know Swarg?"

"Swarg monster. Do this.' Long twitchy fingers pointed randomly at the destruction of the RB.

'Swarg was here?"

"Swarg here. Scare Deez. I hides Eye."

Crouching down on the back of my heels brought me face to face with Deez.

'Do you know what Swarg was looking for?" I asked gently.

'I hide Eye.' It whispered fervently looking around in fear like Swarg would pop out from behind the rubble.

'Yes Deez, you shut your eyes, I would too. But do you know what Swarg was looking for?

'Noooo!' He wailed. 'My Eye! I hide Eye!" Shaking and seized with fear Deez hopped from the counter and back to his box clawing and biting it's lid desperately searching for a way to get back inside.

'Deez, listen to me. I'm not going to hurt you. I promise.' He didn't respond to my kind words but I knew well actions spoke louder. I'd offer him food.

'You must be hungry and thirsty...' I tried.

Deez ceased his battering of the box jumped back atop the counter and brought his face an inch from mine.

'Food? Has fooooood? He drew out the word. One eye squeezed shut Deez cocked his head and jut his chin forward in disbelief.

'No, but...' Before I could finish he began to wail again and spun to return to the box. "Wait Deez! I'll get you food!' Hollering for a working droid I ordered it to bring me some fruit and water hoping it was the right choice.

'See Deez, food is coming. Now tell me what Swarg was looking for.'

'My Eye!" Deez turned his face up to howl while rubbing it's furry stomach that had begun growling.

"DEEZ! STOP THAT NOISE AND TELL ME WHAT SWARG WAS LOOKING FOR!' I bellowed in his face hating myself immediately for loosing patience with a small defenseless being.

"I say. My Eye." He said distinctly before curling up in a ball sniffling and grunting, sobbing on short breaths.

Nothing I could say would coax him to speak to me again. Frustrated beyond belief I nearly cried when the droid arrived and the smell of food did what I could not. Deez uncurled from himself and with drool running down the corners of his mouth he hopped from one foot to the other waiting for food.

Choosing a large piece of fruit I held it before Deez as he clawed and swatted at my hand.

'Deez. Bring me what Swarg was looking for. I'll give you this if you bring it to me or show me what it is, show me where it is.' When Deez hesitated I took a bite of the fruit and the little being nearly swooned. "Wait waitwaitwait! Deez screeched running to his box again, clawing frantically to be let in.

I reached and opened the box watching as he disappeared inside returning shortly with something clutched in his bony claws.

"Take Eye. Give food! Take taketaketake!" He panted breathlessly trembling from head to toe.

Exchanging the object for fruit I marveled as Deez opened his mouth to three times it's size, unlocked his jaws and popped the fruit in whole, swallowing without chewing.

'More. Moremoremoremoremoremore!' Deez'es voice rose to a fevered pitch.

'Deez, You want more, tell me what this is. Tell me what it will do. Tell me why Swarg wanted this, Eye.' The object in my hand did in fact look like an eye. Fathomless black orb, red pupil set in a malleable material scarred with strange marking, but unmistakably an Eye.

'Fooood! Foodfoodfoodfoodfoooooooood!' Deez snarled getting angry when the Droid refused to produce anything without my consent.

'Deez! Stop it or I will eat all the food!' I yelled over his howling.

Deez froze.

'What is this!' I shook the Eye at him. 'You tell me now and I'll make the droid take you to Ship's kitchen! The first promise I could think of popped from my lips but it was the right one. Deez looked as if he'd expire from bliss.

'Da Kitchen! Da KITCHEN! Promisepromisepromise...' I interrupted him with a promise and as soon as it left my lips Deez began babbling for all he was worth.

'Monster want Eye. Eye be everything. Eye fix everything.' Deez whispered reverently wearing a dreamy look that told me he hadn't forgotten the kitchens. 'Monster in Swarg. Monster want out. Eye be key. ' He stopped to wipe at a long strand of drool draping his chin.

'Then what Deez? The Monster uses the Eye and then what?' The hope blooming in my chest began to physically hurt.

'Monster. Swarg. Two. No Monster Swarg. Monster Free.' Deez, obviously finished jumped to the shoulder of the droid and waited.

'Thank you Deez!' Placing a kiss on it's fury head I commanded the droid to take him straight to the kitchen. I almost smiled hearing the little beast yelling 'Faster! Fasterfasterfasterfasterfasterrrrrrrr!' as they made their way down the hall.

I echoed Deez'es words as I ran for the prison and Swarg's cell. I didn't know how I'd use the Eye, or what would happen, but whatever I'd do, I had to do it fasterfasterfaster...

[edit on 2-2-2010 by silo13]

posted on Feb, 3 2010 @ 10:36 AM

Deson calls in with another surprise "Professor Rabbit, Ms Branson and Chumley are in two of my most powerful fighters and are above the moon's atmosphere"

"Thank you Deson" Ms Bransom in a fighter? she seemed only capable of flying into a rage, before I realized I was thinking out loud Sheila interrupted.

"Mary Bramson was a decorated fighter pilot with three commendations, medal of Honor, Distinguished Flying Cross and two Silver Stars, do you wish for individual citations?"

"Ahh, no thank you Sheila, but please locate Ms Branson and Chumley then connect them to the comms ring loop"

"Yes Professor, information, Lt Commander Nenothtu is attacking the Dreadnought from the rear."

Damn! too early! "On screen Sheila!"

The composite screen showed the Starwolf as a tiny blue dot against the massive Dreadnought with a trace describing his vector, the dot turned to red as Nenothtu dropped shields and released the nukes, both detonated against the Dreadnought's shields overloading them and shearing off two of the three engine pylons, Nenothtu's vector took him past the Dreadnought as it spun off axis, the nearest Cruiser locked on an fired, energy beams hit the Starwolf and cascaded in all directions as the shields seem to hold for a moment, the Starwolf lurched then the Dreadnought fired.

"I'm hit! I'm hit! MY GAWD they got me!"

The Dreadnought's beam appeared to hit the Starwolf as she was turning, space seemed to ripple as the energy beam smashed into the little ship.

"Nenothtu" I cried out, but there was no reply.

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