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The Voyages of the Penelope and the Yydryl

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posted on Jun, 2 2012 @ 07:50 AM
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..................................~Father Knows Best~...................................

Boy In A Dress buried Carimono, although it seemed unlikely that the grey tiles of this
'unreality' would allow such an act, BIAD realised that since all of this was purely symbolism,
anything was possible.

The going was tough at first, the material seemed to be of a combination of gravel that held
together with what the Man/Girl believed was some-sort of magnetism and grey-black shards
that tore at the skin like fibre-glass strands.

The Goblin-green lines that glowed in a mesh-like pattern seemed to only be on the surface,
but as BIAD excavated, he saw tiny-thin veins of the eldritch-light winding their way through
the charcoal-coloured substance.

"My brother will take care of you..." BIAD whispered over his shoulder to the eyeless-face of
the corpse "...he too, knows the whys-and-whens" he muttered to his dead audience.

Red-painted nails continued to carve out the grave and if the vision of the sightless souls that
Carimono had shown the crouching Undertaker -could now reappear and see for one
moment, they would look on a sight not dissimilar to The Horned God-image squatting toad-
like and pondering his future.

"My friends need me, Devil or Saint -they're all I have" BIAD hissed to himself and again, the
blind observers above, would think the burrowing-Being in the thin-strapped dress had lost
his mind and become one of those that kept dead animals in dark-secret places, or watched
in the night from people's window ledges and giggled with crazy thoughts.

The strange soil yielded somemore and BIAD plunged his scraped and bloody hands deeper.
Long black strands assisted in scooping out the sliding material and after a while, the final
resting place of Carimono, Prince of The End Of Time -was ready.



Two pale-blue eyes looked on from the spot where BIAD had put them, a gory trophy -some
would think, but they would be mistaken.
"Charon will know what to do" the hermaphrodite whispered into the scarred -mauled face
of the fair-haired young man and reaching into hair at the nape of his own neck, BIAD tugged
out two bullet-dented dog-tags that had saved his life earlier.

"He will accept this payment and I thank him for that" the Man/Girl said with serious tones.
A small voice somewhere in BIAD's heart wondered how he could know all this, but the voice
was dismissed by the task in-hand.
The two slips of metal were laid where the black sockets looked out at a manic-grinning
creature that was paying his last respects.

"Sleep well Carimono, your family are with you now and I hope you find peace once more"
BIAD whispered into the dirt-clogged ear of the body. At the same time, a snaggled-nailed
hand reached into the grey-coat pocket and pulled The Green Man amulet clear.
"Alas, you will not be needing this" BIAD growled and stood to his full height, the dark-dirt
smeared his knees and hands and blood caked his face and thighs.

The surroundings hummed on into the horizon as BIAD caught his breath, the dark sky above
told nothing and the only comforting light was the green-glow that coursed between the grey
tiles.

He had changed, what he had done and what he had done to Carimono was uncharacteristic
of him, the cold stare of eyeballs were witness to that. BIAD breathed slowly and searched
his heart and mind for an answer,
How he wished his Father was here to help.

"See the whole board" said Professor Charles Calvin Shaw from the head of the gravesite,
the figure in the familiar Lab-coat and sporting his favourite red tie smiled kindly at the
nearest thing he could have called a son.
Boy In A Dress crumpled.

(Continued Below)




posted on Jun, 2 2012 @ 07:53 AM
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(Continued From Above)

BIAD crumpled like the house of cards he and his Father had made in the small home of
the Professor -so many centuries ago and now sat on the floor with a look on his face
like he'd been told the universe was made of Cotton Candy.

.......................................

It had been a whole week since the naked Being had first appeared at the Laboratory in
Corona, New Mexico and this was his third day that 'B.I.A.D' -as Shaw had christened him,
had stayed with his creator.

"See how tall and elegant it looks?" Shaw had asked as the long-nailed BIAD had carefully
placed the cards in the way he had been instructed. The eternal red-lipped grin had faded
into a visage of twisted concentration.

The balding middle-aged man had stolen that smile and now wore it himself, this creature
was like innocence-personified, his thoughts were logical and yet, dowsed with good-intent.
"This is how a plan is made, whenever you decide to do something... begin with focusing on
building that plan one-piece-at-a-time" Professor Shaw said slowly.

BIAD had nodded absently and placed the Jack Of Hearts and the King Of Spades onto the
next level, he was four tiers-high and all his senses were aimed at making it five.
Then Charles Shaw did something that was to change BIAD's view of the world forever.

He swiped his left hand towards the tower and like the Butterflies that rest in the forests of
South America (BIAD had a pile of National Geographic magazines to look through every
night) the cards fluttered down to rest on the formica kitchen table.
There was no fury, no rage or tantrum, BIAD had first looked shocked and then forlorn,
the hope of five levels was gone!

Professor Shaw leaned slightly forward and stroked the Man/Girl's hand.

"You missed the bigger chess game..." he said softly and showed kind-eyes through the thick
-framed spectacles "...You must watch for external influences when you're trying to do
something, you'll be surprised at what-and-who will thwart your plans" he cooed.
Picking the hand up and holding it, he added "see the whole board, son... and the game
will become easier" his tone was rich with affection for the Man-thing.

BIAD nodded and slowly and with trembling fingers, he picked each card up and placed
it in a neat pile. The creature seemed to hate mess -Shaw had realised.
"Now, we will build again and this time..." his Creator had said and when he merely lifted
his hand to show what may happen, red-taloned claws had halted the movement with a
speed that unerved the wide-eyed Professor.

"...I think you get the idea" he had said watching the ressurection of BIAD's fragile tower.

.......................................

He couldn't touch him, this BIAD knew has he rushed the hold his Father and as he fell
through the whispy-shape of the small smiling man with the cheap trousers and scuffed-
shoes, his heart cried out in pain.

"You made a wish for my help and so, let's get that help, huh?" Shaw said matter-of-factly
as he turned to face the staggering BIAD, the scientist-logic was the nearest he would get
to affection from the spirit before him -BIAD realised as he gasped away his shock.

Chubby-fingered hands slipped into the Lab-coat pockets as Professor Shaw looked on
the Being that was coming to terms with what he could and couldn't do, there was so much
knowledge trapped inside that wig-wrapped head and what that knowledge was, the explorer
in DNA structuring had spent many years in attempting to unlock those secrets.

"Think BIAD... why would you take the unfortunate-humanoid's eyes, why would you do
that?" Shaw asked and as BIAD adjusted his dress-straps and gathered himself, his mind
raced with the craziness of all of this.

"I miss you so-much" the scarlet lips spluttered "...so much" BIAD said under his breath
and stopped himself from reaching out for his beloved-Creator.
Charles Shaw looked around at the wierd surroundings and gave off a feeling of
impatience, a tapping-foot added to that impression. "I missed you too... son" he said
off-handedly, but BIAD knew he was poor bluffer.

Minutes ticked by and the pair looked at each other for an eternity -before BIAD spoke
again.

(More Below)
edit on 2-6-2012 by A boy in a dress because: Left BIAD in Edit Room!



posted on Jun, 2 2012 @ 07:56 AM
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(Phew, this SHOULD be the last part!)

"The eyes are the windows to the soul..." BIAD recited almost autonomously "...Carimono's
eyes will control the FourWays wolves and ergo, rescue my friends" He shook his wigged-
head slightly, is if to say 'where did that come from?' and Professor Shaw accompanied it
with a nod of his own.

"Now, build the plan correctly..." the small ghost warned "... Alleinna is safe, I'll wager your
gun-toting friend and the small Multi-Being are solving their predicament with the large
beasts -as we speak, so what will you need poor-Carimono's 'pork-pies' for?"

Boy In A Dress looked up in puzzlement from his thoughts and asked "pork-pies?" the
spirit-man in the white coat smiled sheepishly.

"You remember Jenkins...?" Shaw said and already knowing the answer, he continued.
"Jenkins always used an English nickname for one's bulbus oculi, it is called 'Cockney
rhyming slang'... pies-eyes" he added.

BIAD gazed out across the green-line Chess Board of Time and wondered what other uses
the horse-betting Janitor would bring to his journey in life.

"They may help me get back to the planet's surface" the Man/Girl offered and could feel
Professor Shaw silently poo-pooing his suggestion "You can do better than that" came a
condescending answer.

The high-heels shoes clicked to where the balding man who had been murdered in a
train-carraige in another time and place, BIAD steeled himself from hugging the see-
through figure.
"I don't know" he finally admitted, his raven-haired head looked at those ruby-shoes
with twisted-lip disappointment, he was stuck.

Charles Shaw sighed and stepped away, the phantom-shape of a middle-aged man in a
off-white coat fluttered as he placed a foot over the green lines. "The WHOLE board"
he repeated and in a blink, he was gone.

BIAD mumbled his first answer again to himself and he knew that the solution resided
there -somewhere "come on" he hissed as looked at the place his Father had been
moments before.

Before... Be fore... Be Four, these two words clattered around his mind like a trapped
bird. Then it came.

Three wolves with Neno and Tibbs and the fourth on The Yydryl, that was the key to
all of this. "Thanks Pa" BIAD said and giggled behind the hand that wasn't holding the
Green Man broach, he now saw the whole board.



The lifeless body of Carimono began to sink into the strange ground as the place where
Boy In A Dress stood -repaired itself and as the silent act took place, BIAD kissed the
bearded-face amulet and whispered "Let's go and save our friends"

As the self-healing Man/Girl faded out of the weird world that the chunk of rock had
brought him, he would swear he heard his Father say "Yeah ...I think you get the idea"


edit on 2-6-2012 by A boy in a dress because: No, I really did leave BIAD in Edit Room again!



posted on Jun, 2 2012 @ 11:11 PM
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Inexplicably, BIAD and the smooth talking stranger had simply faded away. To where was anyone's guess, but the stranger had failed to take his dogs with him.

Those wolves were not very happy at that outcome, it appeared.

Edging together, the mini wolf-pack took the opportunity to gather, and slowly start advancing on nenothtu and Tibbs, snarling and snapping as they crept forward. Tibbs, perhaps to his credit, neither startled nor ran. Upon closer inspection, neno was unsure if Tibbs COULD run. He appeared frozen in place.

"This would be a good time to turn on that nenothtu charm" Tibbs observed through pursed lips.

"And do what?" neno asked in return. "How'n the hell are you s'posed to fight magic doggies with unmagic implements? Yer the magician in this bunch!"

Tibbs shot neno a nasty glare. Fine time to acknowledge HIS office!

The wolves didn't care much at all about the interchange. They just kept creeping forward, glaring, growling, and slobbering. Neno watched them closely, wondering if Tibbs had anything at all up those billowy robe sleeves. While watching, neno saw that two of the three tended to hang back, and occasionally glance at the forward wolf for confirmation of the next action. When he took a step, they did, too, a split second later.

Nenothtu had identified the one who considered himself - and was considered by the other two - as the Alpha. That was the one he'd have to handle, if it came to it. It did, of course. Neno's luck never seemed to run all that hot when it counted.

It all happened very fast, and later Tibbs, who had been watching, waitng, anticipating, and hoping, was never quite sure who did what first. The actual course of events, which Tibbs was never sure of, progressed in this manner: at some invisible line, the Alpha wolf crouched, ever so slightly, and bunched his muscles preparatory to action. As soon as neno saw that, his hand went to his gun, but the wolves were already in motion before it was fully drawn, rushing the gunman, snapping and snarling with an ever widening display of teeth.

Before they actually got to him, neno had the pistol in play. Since he wasn't at all sure the gun would stop magical creatures, he didn't fire, for that would only excite them if for any reason it failed to drop them. Instead, he stepped half a step forward TOWARDS the rushing wolves, raised and aimed the pistol at the Alpha wolf's head, and shouted "YOU'D BETTER FIGURE OUT WHOSE REALLY THE GODDAMNED BOSS HERE IN ONE HELL OF A HURRY!"

The effect was instantaneous, and not to be believed if you didn't actually see it. The Alpha, in mid-leap, appeared to nearly turn himself inside-out doing a back flip and stopping cold, coming to a rest just meters away from neno. He momentarily cocked his head to the side as if to say "What the hell? Why ain't you RUNNING?" and then promptly sat on his haunches, licked his chops... and whined. The other two wolves, unable to follow quite that quickly, ended in a tangle on the ground from which they extracted themselves, then followed the lead of the Alpha, sitting and whining.

Nenothtu took another step towards them, and, not saying anything at all, pointed his index finger at the ground beneath the Alpha wolf's head, jabbing it forcefully downward. To Tibbs' amazement, the wolf slid his paws out, and laid his head on them, lifting his eyebrows alternately as he rolled his eyes left and right, looking anywhere but at neno.

"How did you accomplish that?" Tibbs asked neno.

"I dunno" neno responded. "I reckon they musta been trained by someone, or something." Then neno grinned that lopsided grin of his, and added "call it 'magic' if it makes ya feel better, Tibbs. Now, you need to git yerself to a higher place they can't reach, in case it don't stick, and we'll wait a while to see if BIAD comes back from wherever them two went."

"What about you? Shouldn't you get out of their reach while they're docile too? Just in case?"

"Nope, me runnin' from them might give 'em the wrong idea. Better if I just hold muh ground, and talk to 'em a bit, I think. Hell, they can't kill me, nohow - they can only make me hurt a while."

And so they waited, nenothtu lighting another cigar to pass the time as he watched the wolves and talked to them conversationally. The wolves, for their part, just laid there and cocked their heads, first to one side, then the other, as he spoke, wondering, perhaps, just what the deal was with this odd stranger.




edit on 2012/6/2 by nenothtu because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 3 2012 @ 11:22 AM
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……..~~No Rest for the Worried~~……….


Having taken his leave of the relieved revelers in the Swamp, Adam turned his thoughts to the office dialogue with Dag as he went to check on Sslar's vitals. He wondered where she was, and if she'd got wind yet of the near-disaster from which they'd all escaped. He wanted to thank her for extending herself toward a resolution of their recent crisis. But mostly, he hoped she knew that his heroics on the Fighter, as it melted around them, were not in small part a result of the renewed confidence that her warmth and openness had kindled.

He smiled to himself remembering now, how he'd automatically adopted a "can-do" attitude, and how exhilarating it had been concocting and carrying out the plan with Newman. Interesting bloke, that, he thought. Where had Newman come from, anyway? He'd no idea, but the chap seemed cooperative enough, and oddly familiar with the ship and its workings.

Aye, he thought, 'twas high time I learned a wee bit more o' the workins on this bark. Seems of late a dearth of qualifieds.' He thought of the twins. They were young, healthy, certainly enthusiastic, but teenagers were notoriously fickle in their interests. He was also a bit worried one or the other of them might develop a school-girl crush on him – not that there'd been any indication of it yet, but, well, young girls are young girls, and he wasn't falsely modest about his male attributes' ability to turn a female head.

After all, he'd been masculine enough to trigger Dag's metamorphosis into a voluptuous and lusty young woman from an androgen! Adam knew he had his weaknesses, but poor looks wasn't one of them. He'd have to be careful not to give any cues that the girls might take as inviting, and to watch their responses very carefully. No place for hormone surges during critical care routines. Besides, Dag would always have a special place in his heart, and he had no intention of sullying that with dalliances that could go nowhere.

Sure, there may be 'nowhere' for him and Dag to go from here….except as friends, partners with a shared history. But that in itself was more than many a pair of colleagues enjoyed. And having enjoyed Dag, he couldn't think for one second that some nubile youngster, no matter how eager or attractive, could measure up.

He'd arrived at the Recovery Bay and unlocked the doors. As soon as he entered he felt the hair on the back of his neck prickle, but wasn't exactly sure why. Something, however, was amiss. His brows knit together as he surveyed the room. What was it…what was the…..

"Oi, no," he gasped under his breath. "No. Someone's been rattlin' 'round in here. Tisn't the way I left it, I know that."

He sighed as he stood in the middle of the bay and slowly rotated like a miniature figure atop a child's music box. The training station was definitely deactivated. Was it set for auto-disengage if not used after a certain time? He went to check the settings. No, it hadn't been set to the timer. It was still on; and as he surveyed the panels and readouts his mouth dropped open.

He looked over at Sslar and a long, low sigh emerged from his throat. "No, lass," he said, "No, say ye didna …." He moved over to where the huge green cat was lying peacefully and reached to touch her ribcage. His hand sunk right through her.

"Ghaa…Blast it!" he sputtered. "Dag, lass, nay, tell me this weren't yer doin's!" And he raced from the bay, locking the doors behind him once again. Wherever she was, he would find her, and get to the bottom of the switcheroo. Had he checked on Sslar before he'd gone for sandwiches? He didn't recall rightly.

He'd been so relieved and buoyed up by knowing Dag and he had some kind of future to look forward to….he'd not bothered. "Ah, hades dark and dreary," he said as he jogged down the hallway toward the lift that would take him to the ship's security room…his thoughts were racing now, and the memory of walking that wing faded as the present overawed the now-past success of the day.

He burst into the security unit and strode confidently to the droid on duty there. "I'll be coverin' your station here for a spell," he said. "Cross-trainin', you know. Always room for a backup operator." The droid placidly rolled away. Adam sat down…he would locate Dag, and Sslar, before he allowed himself to rest.

It was, indeed, time for him to elevate his usefulness on the Yydryl, he told himself. "Aw, lass, ye've got some 'splainin' to do," he muttered. "And I've no intention of merely guessin' at wether or no ye had any part in misplacin' that cat!"

He knew nenothtu's wrath all too well; the last thing he needed was another run-in with the man he considered a demi-god.

edit on 3-6-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 10 2012 @ 12:16 PM
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---------~If Madness Be Food Of The Gods, Then Pass Me A Sandwich, Huh?~.........

Drake didn't move... the huge wolf that slunk into the room seemed not to have seen him
and the Head Repair Droid just hoped it stayed that way. The Repair Bay ticked and whirred
with motors being tested and organic-hydraulics being brought up-to speed, yet under the
stark lighting, the wolf padded past all the machinery without a thought.
Lobo had his instructions and that was all that counted.

The weapon that Carimono sought, the sword that would stand beside his throne was
here on the Starship and The FourWays Wolf would not be denied that goal, the sullen
gaze of the black-furred Lobo was focused ahead.

The main testing area where the Caliburn lay, was in the next room, when one is dealing with
Lasers and intensity-Proton beams, it's best to keep that kind of stuff away from the Service-
Droids that trundled in and out of here everyday.

Drake turned his head slowly and tracked the claw-clittering canine, surely Ship would set off
an alarm? The massive bristling shadow slipped over the Droid and if Drake had fashioned
himself a epiglottis, he would have gulped in the moving blackness.

The Caliburn hung from it's harness above the Veltro-tube of fluoroantimonic acid and as
Lobo slowed his pace, he evaluated the scene. Boy In A Dress and his new-pair of eyes looked
on too.

The dark corner that BIAD had crouched in felt somehow, comfortable. Waiting for the beast
to arrive, he had thought about what had happened back on Khalamzadar IV.
Who-or-what had brought his Creator back to help him? Had he dreamed it or was he going
crazy? Carimono had hinted that he knew more about his Creator's murder, could it be that
the perpetrator was still alive...? Surely not.

Was it possible that hidden information actually existed inside himself, information that can
only be accessed at certain -pre-ordained times?

Tibbs had never spoken about The Tree Of Life's ability to make everything back to the way
it was, why would he keep that from them? Was he really destined to be a Devil-cum-Ruler
of blind, obedient races?

These questions swooped about under that black wig and with one hand cradling the dead
man's eyes, he began to comb the trembling fingers of his free hand through the midnight
strands.



The sound and the feel of the approaching Lobo brought him from his thoughts.

The Man/Girl stood up from his hiding place near a waist-high Particle Accelerator and smiled
at the back of the wolf's head, the nose-stinging fumes in the Testing Room had hidden
BIAD's scent, that's assuming he has one and so the wolf was unware that he was not alone.
Of course, that was until Boy In A Dress spoke.

"Kuckunniwi knows of the true path and now I ask you to seek that way..." BIAD stated and
holding the sticky eyeballs of Carimono ahead of him, he stepped out of the shadows.
"...The way is clear for you to take-up your life again and run the wilds" the red-lips spoke
and BIAD wondered where these very dramatic words were coming from.



Lobo 's huge-shaggy head turned to see the advancing creature and peeling back his lips,
skin-rending fangs glistened under the Lab light.

Boy In A Dress breathed in deeply and kept walking, the wolf's muscles seemed to be
bunching under it's hide and he expected the beast to leap at any moment.
BIAD kept the remains of Carimono between him and spoke calmly, yet the words would
falter towards the end. Maybe it was something to do with the wolf changing.

"Your Master has gone and so I ask you to stand down from your mission, I warn..." that was
all he got out as Lobo reared up on his hind-legs.
Werewolves don't exist, Tibbs, The Splitter or even Mr. Jordan will tell you that. The whole
idea that a humanoid can become the fabled beast that roams the moonlit countryside came
from ignorant peasants and villagers in the dark times on planet Earth.

It was a story to frighten children and BIAD knew that as the Werewolf loomed over him.

Calvin and Gdansk watched from the doorway as the creature in the short, very-short red
dress lifted the massive sword from the bindings on the experimental table.

(Continued Below)
edit on 10-6-2012 by A boy in a dress because: Left Meds In Edit Room.



posted on Jun, 10 2012 @ 12:20 PM
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(On From Above)



Calvin had just delivered a crate of nuclear-slugs for Drake and Gdansk had been re-
charging his gurney, both Droids now watched the scene in silence.

"You will not endanger this ship and you will go back to whence you came" BIAD shouted
towards the growling, drooling Man-Beast.

Gdansk watched the meek-looking wolf gaze at the strange objects in BIAD's outstretched
fingers as the Man/Girl approached, the Caliburn glinted in his other red-nailed hand.
"I am Lobo, I walk with those who know the true hand of God..."the wide-mouth sneered
"...You are the Fallen One, the foundling of the Father of All Lies" Lobo's eyes twinkled
with dark mirth as he watched the waiting hermaphrodite.

Boy In A Dress prepared to slay the towering monster with the slobbering maw, the fur
that rippled on it's well-muscled thighs glistened with sweat and drool.

"Do you think he is sane?" Calvin whispered to his fellow-Droid as they observed the odd
scene, the wolf hadn't moved and yet, the one known as BIAD behaved as if death was only
moments away, Gdansk also pondered if the animal had dropped into a trance, as the eyes
in the Man/Girl's hand seemed to give off a faint-glow.

"We know all about you..." Lobo laughed deeply "...You were made-up in a room not unlike
this one and your memories are false. The Devil tricks even himself -it seems" he snarled.
BIAD swallowed and closed the space between himself and the horror that walked like a
man, he knew what he had to do and the time was almost here.

..........................................

"Just hold still and we'll be done with you in a minute" the gauze-masked Doctor said as
he placed another set of lips on the waiting face, BIAD held his breath and watched the men
around him.


..........................................

"You lie, my father found me in his laboratory and..." BIAD began, but a massive claw-
tipped paw swooped at his head. The vision that he had fleetingly saw, was forgotten as
he dived from the attack. The Caliburn clattered to the floor.

"What is he doing?" Calvin asked his fellow-Droid as they watched Boy In A Dress twist
and turn infront of the docile animal, the weapon wove unknown signs in the air as BIAD
swung it back-and-forth.

............................................

These weren't the correct shoes, but Dr. Cotton knew he was close and with delicate
movements, he attempted to lever the heel onto the subject's foot. Something slimmer
would be tried next - he thought and checked his watch. Two hours.

...........................................

Lobo reached out and believed he would tear the Man/Girl's head off, the sword now lay on
the floor and his Master would show his happiness at it's retrieval. The Devil had lost this
battle -he smiled inwardly.

BIAD snatched up Nenothtu's blade and drove it at the lunging beast, the weight and the
momentum assisted in it's flight, the Wolf walked right into the trap.

"DIE... Die you lying monster" BIAD screamed and plunged the Caliburn again into the furry-
chest of Lobo, the Werewolf stood with wide-unbelieving eyes at the scene before him.
So did Calvin and Gdansk.

One moment, the grinning Boy In A Dress was waving the sword in the air and muttering to
himself, the wolf seemed oblivious to the odd-antics. The next, the animal howled in pain as
the Man/Girl stabbed The Caliburn deep between it's shoulders. Both robots stepped back at
the sudden assault.

"You may be The Author Of All Sin, but you are mere-dust at the feet of the one they call..."
Lobo coughed black-blood and faltered in his speech, but the swinging blade silenced him
forever.

Boy In A Dress gasped for air, the effort it had taken to lift and use the heavy Caliburn had
exhausted him, the beheading had added to the the breathlessness. But it was finally over.

Gdansk slowly reached his metal-arm to his co-observer and flicked his head backwards.
"Come on, I don't think we should have witnessed that" he whispered.



Calvin nodded and went back to placing the crate of slugs inside the storage-room and
the smaller Droid with the three wheels continued to monitor the recharging of his trolley.
They left the crazy humanoid and the dead wolf without another word.

Tumbler II would be the smart way of getting back down to Khalamzadar IV -BIAD thought
to himself and heaving the sword onto his bare shoulder, he set off for the Bays.

...........................................

"I'm not crazy..." the red-lipped hermaphrodite muttered to himself as he followed the grey
corridor "... I just better stop talking to myself" he chided and showed a sunny-grin.



edit on 10-6-2012 by A boy in a dress because: Left Meds AND Shampoo In Edit Room.



posted on Jun, 12 2012 @ 12:41 PM
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Rebo had once been a man. That was long ago, however, when men still walked the surface of Euzkala, and flew in her skies.

Some had even launched from her surface, and had sailed among the stars. Long ago, Rebo reflected. Long ago, and no more. Whatever he was now, whether still a man, something more, or something much, much less, he would never again sail the stars.

He was, as far as he had been able to determine in the last 40 years, the last of his kind. The last Man on Euzkala. Hell, for that matter, as far as he had been able to determine because of the effects of the planetary quarantine, he was the last man in the universe - if man he still was.

His nightmare had begun 40 years ago or so, with the deployment of an engineered bacterium. Man had warred with man since the dawn of time, but as time progressed, he got more efficient at eliminating himself. The miracle of modern science promised an efficiency at killing that boggled the mind. The point came where man didn't even have to leave the comfort of his living room to commit genocide.

Nearly 150 years before Rebo's time, science had discovered an interesting and intriguing fact - the genetic makeup of humans was not matched by any other life form on Euzkala. Man stood alone in the universe, it seemed, with no relatives which could be identified in the animal kingdom. It was a puzzlement and perplexity to evolutionary science, but a boon to religions. It seemed that man had appeared, fully formed and wholly modern on the planet, and had no evolutionary precursors. Religion took that as a confirmation of a creator god, and science scratched it's collective head, checked and rechecked the data, and redoubled it's efforts to find SOME precursor species, ANY precursor species in a frantic effort to refute the religious elements. The effort failed miserably. Religion took off like a shot, leaving science in the dust.

Even when man left the Euzkala incubator and spread out towards the stars, no one ever seriously considered a possibility which was in reality a fact - man had not originated on Euzkala, he had been transplanted there aeons ago. Religion, of course, never seriously considered that possibility because Euzkala was certainly the center of the Universe - confirmed by the uniqueness of man, and the obvious conclusion that a creator god had created him right there in place, sure evidence of Euzkala's favored status amongst all stars.

Science, on the other hand, never seriously considered that possibility because of the dearth of evidence for such a preposterous proposal. Man could be traced back roughly 30,000 years, and appeared suddenly, but in a supremely primitive state. Surely if he had come from elsewhere, there would have been evidence of an advanced civilization that he had brought with him in colonization. Put in layman's terms, man could not have come from elsewhere because there was no evidence whatsoever that he had the technological ability to transport himself there.

Euzkalians, religious and scientific alike, had never heard of the Seeders, the ancient race that had seeded mankind among several star systems in an effort to insure the survival of the species.

The discovery of the supposed uniqueness of man spurred religious development in unexpected ways. It started out with each continent attempting to lay claim to being the birthplace of The First Man. To that end, the religiously minded sought explanations to place their continent as the Genesis Continent, and over a very short period of time, the explanations dreamed up by man transformed into legend and mythologies purported to come from the creator god. Religious schisms developed along continental lines, each claiming to be "The One True Religion" as it went along.

It can't be stressed enough that each continent thought of itself as "The Genesis Continent", and believed itself to be in sole possession of "The One True Religion", even though they had all grown from the same root.

It wasn't long before each religion sought to IMPOSE it's primacy on all the others. After all, should not all men follow the One True Religion, and honor it's god? Wars broke out over the issue. Terrible, manically destructive wars. No one can kill with the efficiency of a True Believer, approved by god and sure of his place in the universe both Here and Hereafter.

A breakthrough in man's destruction of man occurred on the large southern continent of Euzkala. In a diabolical marriage of religion, science, and state, science provided a new and horrid weapon for the use of the State at the behest of the religion in control of it. A scientist in a genetics laboratory first made the connection that, since man had a unique genetic structure, it should be possible to engineer a microbe that would attack only man, leaving the rest of Euzkalian life unscathed, even with the potential to be used as vectors for the new bug. Was it not a sign from the creator god himself that this was the way to win wars? The evidence that this was so was right there in the unique genetics! They were obviously designed for just such a possibility by the creator - more evidence of his omniscience and foresight. he had known, in his infinite wisdom, that mankind would some day veer away fro The One True Religion and have to be brought back into the fold - by force, if necessary - and had given man the gift that would allow that to happen.

Of course, there were problems to be overcome in this approach. Since ALL men had the same genetics, the bug could not be engineered to select for one population or another. It would strike all with equal ferocity if left unchecked. It was engineered to not be able to survive outside a living human host for more than 72 hours. This would insure that the ground could not be poisoned for eternity by the microbe. After all, once the heretics were dealt with, the true believers would no doubt colonize, be fruitful and multiply, and establish The One True Religion over the entire planet. That had to be the creator god's will, since he had engineered it to be so a very long time ago. A 72 hour survival span would allow for a variety of vectors to distribute the virus into the enemy population, while at the same time insuring that it would not survive long enough to be "blown back" to the distributing population. whatever the distribution method - aerosols, dust, animal, or bomb, the virus could not survive long enough on it's own to be returned to the sender. The beauty of this approach was that none of the lives of friendly soldiers would even need to be risked in an invasion.

When enough of the Bug had been produced in secret, the plan was put into effect. All of Euzkala would soon belong to The One True Religion! The Bug was seeded by a variety of methods onto all the other continents, leaving only the large southern continent Bug-free.

It did not stay that way long.

In the early stages of The Bug War, it was not recognized just how virulent and deadly The Bug was. What WAS recognized was that a sudden epidemic had sprang up on every other continent than the big southern one. It was soon realized that there was some sort of biological attack afoot, and it didn't take long to surmise the source of it - the only place where it WASN'T happening. In an unprecedented show of cooperation and solidarity, the governments on ALL of the other continents formed pacts and alliances, intent on erasing the southern menace from the planet once and for all. Scientists were put to work on a fast track to find a cure for The Bug, but soldiers did what soldiers do - they invaded the offending continent in force, and at several points.

Many of those soldiers were already infected, and unaware of that fact. The Bug had bypassed the 72 hour survival span by the simple expedient of returning home via human vectors, in which it could survive indefinitely once they were infected, and before it eventually killed them.

It returned home by riding in the bloodstreams of not one or two men, but riding in soldiers by their millions. There was no possibility of containing it anywhere on the planet. it was on the loose, and on the rampage, and there was not a damned thing anyone could do about it but die from it.

(Continued...)





edit on 2012/6/12 by nenothtu because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 12 2012 @ 12:42 PM
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Rebo had missed out on the early parts of the Bug War. He had fought in earlier wars with the net result that he had gotten very, very tired of war - and people in general. After he "retired" from military service, he left civilization altogether. He'd had enough of civilization and the religions and gods and the strife produced in their names, and left it all behind for the remote interior of the equatorial continent, on which he had been born. Since he had cut off the entire world, he didn't get the memo until it was too late. The entire planet had descended into chaos before he even knew that anything was wrong. by the time he heard, news was only filtering in sporadically, in bits and pieces, but those bits and piece were serious enough that he knew he wanted no part of it, and so he stayed right where he was.

The Bug had an insidious effect of turning the sufferers who contracted it into psychotic killing machines. Perhaps "psychotic" was not the right word... one would have to have a mind for that mind to be psychotic, and it seemed to have the effect of removing the mind from the equation altogether. The effect of The Bug eventually killing the sufferer was not the worst - or most effective - part of it. The fact that it caused the sufferer to kill everything he or she encountered was. In effect, The Bug caused an infected population to implode, and destroy itself, whether any particular individual was infected or not. It did this by restricting brain operations to the brain stem, the "reptile brain". The rest of the brain was nullified.

The cities and villages, ANY population center where people gathered, became death traps and madhouses. Millenia later, and light years away, relatives of Rebo that he never knew existed would eat something called "popcorn" in an entertainment ritual where they attempted to scare themselves stupid watching something they would call "movies" of what was called on their planet a "zombie apocalypse". Those moves were eerily reminiscent of the scenes unfolding on Euzkala on a planet-wide scale.

On Euzkala, it was REAL.

The "zombies" were not really dead - they were just incredibly homicidal, incredibly stupid, and incredibly hard to kill due to the actions of The Bug's interaction with their systems. The fact that they WERE so hard to kill gave rise to rumors that they were ALREADY dead - since if one is already dead, he of course cannot be killed. The governments - for as long as they lasted - actually encouraged those rumors, giving the uninfected population an psychological boost in defending themselves. There is less onus on destroying a dead person than there is on destroying a living one.

The Bug had a rapid progression among infected populations. Every person not actually killed and eaten in an attack simply joined the pack and swelled the ranks of the Unholy, making more attackers and fewer defenders as time rapidly flew by and The Bug invested their systems. The cities were imploding as hordes of the Unholy grew and attacked the remaining uninfected. They largely ignored the infrastructure, except in those cases where it stood between themselves and their victims. In those cases they destroyed enough of it to access their targets, but otherwise they left it alone. You can't eat infrastructure, but you can eat the victims hiding behind it.

The net result of that were ravaged bodies and pestilential Unholy attackers rampaging through the largely intact cities, some filtering out into the countryside. In time, some of the Defenders became as savage as the Unholy in their efforts at survival, but they, too fell one by one or group by group as the ranks of the Unholy swelled. Also in time, The Bug started doing it's evil work of killing off the infected Unholy. Even as the Defenders were killed and eaten or themselves infected, the ranks of the Unholy began to gradually decline through attrition of The Bug itself.

After five years or so of Hell on Euzkala, the entire planet was almost entirely deserted, and the grand experiment of The Seeders had failed on Euzkala. Oh, it had a good long 30,000 year run, but it failed all the same in the end.

The surrounding races and planets, in abject fear of the unholy Holy War which had been unleashed on Euzkala, took steps and emplaced measures to quarantine the planet. They emplaced orbital cannons in the orbital space of the planet, preventing any further space launches from Euzkala, and ruthlessly exterminated any Euzkalans they found amongst themselves who had left the planet within a year prior to the initial outbreak of The Bug. Over the ensuing millennia, the orbital cannons one by one fell into disrepair, their orbits degraded, and one by one they fell to the surface in individual blazes of glory, artificial shooting stars. Only one was left in orbit by the time the Yydryl brought nenothtu to claim the planet, now known as "Khalamzadar", but we are getting ahead of the story.

Of the most of this, Rebo was unaware. All he knew is that he was alone, horribly alone, on a planet of carnage.

(Continued... )




edit on 2012/6/12 by nenothtu because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 12 2012 @ 12:43 PM
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In the beginning of The Bug War, Rebo had stayed put in his isolation. He was getting sporadic reports from civilization of the carnage afoot, and having seen a fair bit of carnage himself, he wanted no part of it. Rebo told himself that he didn't care if the entire planet ate itself - he was going to sit this war out.

The thing that protected Rebo the most was that very isolation. He had gotten so far removed from the civilized that it was a two week walk over trackless and rugged terrain to get to him, and no one really even knew he was there to be gotten to, much less did the mindless Unholy hordes realize that. They were in search of easy targets, people they could see. No one could see what lies a two week walk away. As people who still had enough mind left to be able to operate the technology available succumbed to The Bug and The Unholy who carried it, fewer and fewer people were left with any knowledge of how to operate the technology to escape the destruction.

Long distance reporting is also a function of technology. Over time, Rebo was getting fewer and fewer reports of the events on the planet. Five months after the initial reports, there were no more to be had. Nothing but static greeted his ears whenever he did the daily run of the dial to hear reports of the outside world. That continued for a further 7 months before Rebo snapped.

A year after the initial attacks, and seven months after he had heard his last human voice, Rebo decided to leave his stronghold and find the survivors - ANY survivors. When he had first come out to the wilderness, he wanted nothing to do with civilization. It was only after civilization was truly gone, and there was NO contact, that he realized just how isolated he really was, and that it was not what he really wanted after all.

Rebo packed up a few necessary items, his comms gear and the implements of destruction he had collected, and set out to find survivors. Instead he found the rotting remains of Hell. He first ran into the Unholy in areas within a couple of days from the cities. they were dull witted, stupid even, and seemed to have but one thing on their mind - killing. They weren't particularly fast or super-humanly strong, but what they WERE was "relentless". It was nearly impossible to kill them without destroying the infected brain stem - any other injuries, even head shots that would drop a normal human in it's tracks, seemed to have little or no effect on them. You could blow out giant gouts of gray matter from their heads, and yet if the brain stem remained intact, they kept coming. From the reports Rebo had pieced together before the radios fell silent, he knew that The Unholy were infected by a bug for which no cure had ever been found.

He killed them whenever he found them from a distance, and never, EVER approached the bodies. He knew, also from the reports, that The Bug couldn't survive past 72 hours without a living human host, but Rebo was never one to take chances. The numbers of the Unholy were falling off as The Bug completed it's deadly work, but Rebo soon found that the cities were unsafe. He concentrated instead on the countryside, individual farmsteads and outposts. Even in them, he found no living people.

Every afternoon Rebo fired up his comms and ran the frequencies, searching for the voice of a survivor anywhere, but he never again heard a human voice beyond his own. He spent the next four years running the countryside, searching outposts of humanity, killing The Unholy whenever he found them, and running the frequencies every afternoon. At the end of four years, he had gotten used to being alone, adjusted to it, but never really comfortable with it.

Over that same four years, his encounters with The Unholy became less frequent, as the attrition of The Bug took it's toll on them. As they razed the countryside and destroyed all the people they found there, there was less and less for them to eat. Between The Bug and starvation, they died in place by their millions, and only remained in the cities, where they turned to preying on one another, further reducing their ranks.

Rebo's initial forays into the cities were dangerous enterprises. There were still enough of The Unholy to be found in the cities to make life... interesting. After a year and a half or two years - what meaning has time when one has no schedule to keep? - Rebo found that there were less and less Unholy in the shining cities, until the time came when there were no people to be found in them at all - Defenders or Unholy, only skeletal remains in the streets, and the occasional mummified former human in some of the building interiors.

The infrastructure was still mostly intact - there was still power to most cities, the lights lit up, and automated machinery continued to run as if controlled by unseen hands. Several years before the Bug War, a battery had been developed that, while only the size of an Earth car battery, could power a city of 4 million people for 20 years. There were lots of these batteries/generators/ zero-point energy devices, or whatever they were - Rebo was no technician - around, and the power continued.

There were, however, no people left to employ it, save Rebo.

Over the course of the next 30 or 35 years, Rebo continued his search. He walked the continent high and low, ran the frequencies every afternoon searching for a companion, and exploring the cities of the dead. He never found nor heard from another living human. In 40 years, one can come to realize just how alone he is, and come to a sort of terms with that fact, but he can never afterwards be considered "sane".

In his last years, Rebo gave up the wandering portion of the search, and settled on living his remaining years in Kahala, a more or less central city of his continent, and once the capitol - when capitols had a meaning. Kahala had two fine towers projecting skyward from the same building at their base, and it was in one of these towers that he made his residence. From the vantage point of his perch in the top floors of the towers, he could see for miles in any direction. Every evening, after he came home from his forays into the city, collecting the things he found useful for survival, Rebo's ancient wrinkled hand would bar the double doors that were the sole access to his apartments, run the comms frequencies in search of a voice, for he had never given up hope that he would some day hear something, and watch the sunset over the encroaching jungle that was reclaiming the civilized on behalf or the wild.

The night came when Rebo ran through his routine as usual, and after the sunset, he cooked a meager meal, ate it, and sat to listen to the voices of the jungle and watch the dance of the stars through the window , before filling yet another page of his by now voluminous journal. He mused that he now appeared to be the sole possessor of an entire planet, and that there really wasn't a damned thing he could do with it but watch. After a couple of hours, he closed and sealed the window, put out the lights and crawled into his sleeping pallet on the floor, making sure his gun was close to hand and loaded, just in case. Old habits die hard.

Rebo drifted off to sleep alone, just as he had lived most of his life.

Rebo, The Last Man on Euzkala, never woke up.

The jungle didn't even notice - it just continued to do what jungles do, creeping ever onward to surround Rebo's sealed tomb projecting skyward out of the jungle as an unintentional but lasting monument.




edit on 2012/6/12 by nenothtu because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 12 2012 @ 01:29 PM
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~*~ Highs and Lows ~*~


Muttering a spade full of oaths under her breath Silo swat at another biting fly, missed, wiped a line of sweat from her brow with the back of her hand and wondered for the third time where Pip was with the next section of fencing and water jug. Hearing the boy’s boots crunch over the dry prairie grass didn’t stop her from securing the last line of fencing to lowest end of the post.

‘About time you got here - what you have to go all the way back to earth for the...‘ She grumbled.

‘If that’s the way you talk to the boy no wonder he’d rather hang out back in Proper.‘ Interrupted an all too familiar voice - that wasn’t Pip’s.

Elbows resting on her thighs Silo let her head drop between her knees and sighed. ‘Why is it you always seem to show up when I’m bent over.’ She grumbled more to herself before righting herself and thrusting out her hand for water.

‘Whoa there liddle lady! That there thing is dangerous!’ Newman drawled in his best ‘Duke’ accent which she found surprisingly good.

Perplexed Silo’s eyes narrowed. Newman’s chin tipped to the hammer she was holding like a weapon. Flipping it to the ground with a shrug she smiled against her will and took the canteen he offered.

‘You’ve been at my memory discs again haven’t you? Let me guess? John Wayne, ‘The Cowboys’... Tipping back the leather bound metal tin a few drops of icy cold condensation ran from the rim to stain the dark cowhide even darker. The water was cold and clear, sweeter than she’d thought possible. Handing the canteen back with a smile she slid to the ground and leaned up against the last fence post with a sigh.

‘How do you do that.’ Newman pointed to her legs clad in dusty leather chaps just as good for work as ridding, ‘Those two sticks a yours are longer than a colts and you just tuck them up and melt into the ground.’ Newman complimented while trying to ape her motion failed and fell to the side before gaining a modicum of composure. ‘And no it wasn’t The Cowboys it was ‘The Gentle Man’.’

‘What are you doing here?’ Silo didn’t bother pointing out in ‘The Gentle Man’ John Wayne dropped his cowboy twang replacing it with antiquated Upper East Side.

‘I’m still wooing you.’ Newman’s eyes grew sad then serious for a moment before their habitual twinkle returned.

‘Wooing huh? So that’s what this’s all been about? The flowers. The showing up at strange times and in strange places like now?’ Brushing her sticky bangs off her brow she wished if he just had to ‘woo’ he’d choose to do it when it wasn’t so hot and when she wasn’t so working.

‘Ohhh yeah.‘ He laughed, ‘Didn’t you know you’re officially being wooed.’ His eyes closed taking a slug of water for himself. Silo had to stop her fingers from reaching out to catch the drip escaping his mouth to run over his chin.

‘What if I don’t want to be wooed.’ Plucking a long stem of grass and ripping it from it's sheath Silo chewed on the soft pale green end marveling at the sweet earthy taste.

‘Don’t want to be courted?‘ He laughed again, ‘You don’t have much of a choice now do you?’ His words lied as his eyes assured her all she’d have to do to escape him was say no. He knew she wouldn’t, so did she but without giving her a chance to respond he plunged ahead.

‘Anyway, for real? I’m here on official business.’ He plucked his own spleen of grass and began chewing. ‘Ship’s having some difficulty regulating her temperature in this area and would rather you came back for the next few days while She gets it under control. I guess it’s going to get pretty hot around here.

‘That’s all?’ Silo didn’t blink knowing more was coming.

‘No, that’s not all. It’s Pip.’ Newman sighed then went on when she sat up straighter in alarm. ‘Nothing to worry about he just doesn’t want a cabin any longer and in a round about way asked me to talk to you about it. He said now that Red’s leg is healed he’d rather just let the horses run free along with the other animals.‘ Newman looked away giving her time to react without being observed.

‘Anything else?’ Her lips pressed closed in two thin lines.

‘That’s about it. Only don’t give Pip a hard time. He loves you and didn’t want to hurt you.’ Newman added.

‘He’s a good boy.’ Was all she replied. Gaining her feet with ease Silo collected her tools and stuffed them in the back of the Wally she’d been using to transport materials from Ship to the homestead sight.

‘So. I guess that’s that then.’ Climbing into the vehicle Silo barely waited for Newman to get situated before speeding off towards Ship and away from the area she’d thought she was to call home.

edit on 12-6-2012 by silo13 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 20 2012 @ 11:14 AM
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........................................~Listen To Your Heart~...........................................

"It's almost time..." the voice whispered to Boy In A Dress as he made his way to the
Bay where Tumbler II waited, the steady click-clack of his high-heels made the corridor
seem lost and lonely.

BIAD nibbled his bottom lip and focused on carrying the Caliburn on his shoulder, the
heavy blade seemed to hum and throb through his chest and arms.
"... It has and will always be your decision, but there is only a short time left and I would
like to advise you" the voice came again and the Man/Girl felt an overwhelming feeling
of a fatherly force.

The Flight Bay lay just ahead and BIAD pondered as he watched the small Droids trundle
in and out on whether to actually speak to this strange intrusion of his thoughts.
"You can speak to me Boy In A Dress, I am listening" the old male-voice offered kindly and
BIAD reckoned it was pointless to hold any musings as private.

He was insane, that was the only logical answer to his condition. The tests at Dugway, the
travelling through time and space and his interaction with beings that ranged from ghostly
Demi-Gods and blonde-female homesteaders to small dwarves and gun-toting killers.
All just illusions of a broken mind.



'So who is Boy In A Dress?' BIAD's inner-voice asked, he imagined a gibbering idiot in a
padded room and hoodles of drugs swimming around his brain. Maybe I'm dreaming -the
quiet Man/Girl wondered, sailing the seas of Morpheus -wrapped in blue and white-striped
pyjamas with loving parents downstairs.



'What if I'm just a character in a storybook?' BIAD mused doubtfully, words that plodded
across a finger-worn page and sitting on a ledge in a small town's Library.
BIAD saw rain tapping at the Library's window and knew it was a Friday afternoon, the feeling
of safeness and normality was welcoming to the grinning Devil.

Mutt sat near where shadowed-consoles flashed in their diagnostic tests of the dirty-yellow
craft, BIAD thought more about his reality.

The red-dressed creature imagination offered an image of two-dimensional figure in a video
game from long ago. A man-high machine that cried out strange noises as it's characters
jumped from hovering-ledge to flashing-cloud, a set of numbers in the right-hand corner
proclaimed the player's score.

"Sadly, these things are for others -Boy In A Dress, your destiny is as real as the Fragarach
you carry" the wise-sounding voice commented, BIAD breathed in deeply as he approached
Tumbler II.

"Are you Jenovah?" he mumbled to the visitor that sat among his thoughts, Corky the Service
-Bay Droid stood around six-feet away and it would be much later, when he would review the
words he recorded, the strange noise that was also picked-up from Corky's memory banks
was never identified.

"I am that feeling you touched-on in regards of your 'dreaming' vision..." the voice whispered
"...I am the smell of the sea on a drizzly day, the flickering candle in the cottage window at
midnight and I can be felt at the moment life is born"
The Caliburn was placed inside of Mutt and after relaying his instructions to the waiting
vehicle, BIAD stepped back into the quiet corridor.
The voice began again.



"All you and everyone you have ever encountered... I am. Everything that walks, crawls,
swims or flies the air -I am and I hold all dear to me. This is the only truth"
A few seconds passed as the hermaphrodite collected his thoughts and then in low tones,
the hermaphrodite muttered earnestly "I don't want to be the Devil"
Mutt's thrusters whined up to their standard mode and somewhere, a Klaxon sounded
it's blaring noise, BIAD knew he didn't have much time left.

"You are you..."the voice soothed "... let's not get encumbered with names, heh?" the mysterious
utterance advised "Maybe this will help"
The Yydryl continued to orbit Khalamzadar IV with all sensors trained on the planet's surface
and nobody entered the corridor, so I suppose no one saw what happened next.

Boy In A Dress went into rapture.

(Continued Below)
edit on 20-6-2012 by A boy in a dress because: Left Pompous Feeling In Edit Room.



posted on Jun, 20 2012 @ 11:20 AM
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(Continued From Above)

Yeah... I suppose that's the correct term to use, a force wracked his body and lifted
him from the smooth floor. Arms spread and head back, the Man/Girl hung in the air
and those red-lips stretched with an unknown happiness.



"TAKE NO HEED OF STORIES OR BOOKS, SEE BEYOND YOUR LOGIC AND LISTEN
TO YOUR HEART. YOU ARE WITH ONES THAT HOLD YOU -AS YOU AND THIS IS A
JEWEL THAT OUTSHINES ANY STAR IN THE UNIVERSE"

The hermaphrodite glimpsed images of himself that swooped and dived like the swallows
that visited Jenkins -the Janitor's Quarters in DugWay Proving Grounds.
The voice continued to boom like the grouchy Bollows that inhabited the planet where he
had first met Nenothtu.

"MANY WILL DOUBT YOU AND YOU WILL BE SEEN AS A PARIAH, BUT KEEP THE
FAITH OF THAT SAME HEART"
BIAD was now panting as he floated in mid-air, his short dress rucked up as his body
spasmed with the pulsing power, the voice went on.



"YOUR BELIEFS WILL BE YOUR ARMOUR AND YOUR RAGE WILL BE YOUR SWORD...
YOU ARE BOY IN A DRESS"
To anyone passing (assuming this mysterious force would allow that to happen!)... they would
see BIAD phasing into different hues as he endured the pleasant ordeal.



"TRAVEL YOUR PATH WITH PRIDE AND NEVER DOUBT YOUR DESTINATION...
FOR YOU ARE BOY IN A DRESS" and that was it, BIAD dropped without dignity onto
the corridor's floor and once again, showed a bare ass.
With nerve-ticking arms, the black-maned Man/Girl struggled to a bench that appeared
from the smooth-surfaced wall and caught his breath, his legs felt like jello.

Corky the Service-Droid appeared at the Bay door and looked at the head-down Being
on the seat "Tumbler II is ready" he announced softly.
BIAD looked up from his thoughts and nodded "Thank you, I'll be there in a moment" he
croaked.



Mutt pulled away from the Bay Exit-Doors and hovered over the rotating Khalamzadar IV,
BIAD looked across it's beautiful vista. "Let's go and see our friends, huh?" he said softly
to the Tumbler and without answering, the craft began it's descent.
edit on 20-6-2012 by A boy in a dress because: Left Righteous Feeling In Edit Room.



posted on Jun, 20 2012 @ 01:55 PM
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.........~*~Doomed Detour~*~


Adam had scanned every cam-screen, even reactivated and checked those that monitored areas of the Yydryl that had not seen use in years. He could only imagine the days when there had been a full crew aboard, with dozens of people in each sector, and much camaraderie and laughter with the excitement of being aboard a state-of-the-art Starship. He, of course, had never been part of that initial vigor. He wondered, actually, if anyone was still following the Yydryl's voyage at all. His escapade out onto the wing of the Deson Fighter -- now merely molecular space junk -- might never be known to anyone at all except those who had been on board. Still, he had done what he could, and with Newman to augment the proceedings, they had brought everyone home safely. Well, nearly everyone. He brushed his hand through his hair remembering the two Droids. What a miracle of engineering they had proven to be!

But then, so was Dag, and he meant to find her and the Xang cat before anyone else missed them. He checked and rechecked every screen, and even figured out how to roll back the time stamps so that he could see what had been happening since the lunch hour in every corner of the ship. The only places he could not check were in the Center, and it simply made no sense that Dag would have taken Sslar there. For what? Unless it was Sslar's ----------

Adam turned toward the screen that covered the docking bay where Cecilia was kept. She was gone. "Bloody 'ell," he muttered. It then occurred to him that he hadn't seen Ben or Mucklebones for some time, either. He checked their quarters…unoccupied. Had they taken Gert and gone after Neno? His heart dropped into his bowels. What if those beams had hit Cecilia, and they were all now the way of Squibbs and Skinny? He moved to the comm panel and flicked on the switches for the Tumblers.

"Yydryl to surface team," he spoke into the mike. "Do you read? Yydryl hailing surface team. Copy?" He unkeyed and waited a few seconds, then tweaked the dial – the frequencies would be slightly different from those they'd used while on Earth; radio waves would be warped by the enormity of K-IV, her atmospheric chemistry, and gravitational pull. Lacking satellites for routing, the signal had to be precisely broadcast, and Adam was certainly no radio tech. He stood up from the comm panel and stepped into the next room, summoning the Droid back.

"Raise the Starwolf," he said. "Please." The Droid pulled a connection from the top row of the panel and flipped open an auxiliary cover that was unlabelled and would not have been noticed by anyone unfamiliar with the ship's wireless diagram, and plugged the connection into one of the ports there. Adam asked no questions, there would be time for indepth training later, he hoped. The Droid reached under the panel and then produced a separate mike, activated it, showed Adam the key, and rolled away. His wheels squeaked.

Adam waited until he was no longer able to hear the Droid, which was only a few seconds but felt like a light-year. Then he keyed. "Yydryl to Starwolf. Yydryl hailing Starwolf. Do you read?"

"Oh, thank Jenovah! Starwolf!" said a female voice.

"Hello?" Adam said. "Is this Neno's ship?"

"Affirmative," said the woman. "This is Margo. Neno and Tibbs and BIAD have deboarded to explore. I've been trying to reach you. "

"Trying to raise Cecilia," said Adam. "Are you in contact with her?"

"Affirmative. Well, we were," said Margo. "They rerouted to investigate who was shooting at the Fighter. Are you all safe? I saw the last explosion, and have not heard from them since."

"What frequency are they on ?" Adam asked.

A couple of seconds later, Margo replied, "Four Fourteen Niner." But Adam heard "Four Fortyniner" and didn't stop to ask for clarification.

"Ten four," he said. "You are all well there?"

"Affirmative," said Margo. "I'll relay the freq for you, please stand by." And then she was gone.

"Yydryl to Cecilia," Adam said into the mike. "Do you read, Cecilia? Do you copy?"

Brittle and Gert looked at one another, not knowing whether or not to respond. Neither of them were crew; Gert was a prisoner, and Brittle a stowaway. Mucklebones had descended to the cargo bay, leaving them securely locked in. It wasn't seemly for them to acknowledge the hail, so they ignored it.

(continued)



posted on Jun, 20 2012 @ 01:58 PM
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(continued from above)

Muckles was peering into her monocle, stroking Sslar's enormous green head to calm herself; she detested technology, and was still worried about Tibbs. Why was Sslar on board? What in the name of Valhalla was going on here? She was irritated that she'd not gotten the memo regarding this apparently collateral mission, but, there it was. At least the button cam was still working, and her main objective was to ensure that Tibbs was safe, and to be available for him in case he needed assistance.

She, too, had seen the last explosion, the green glittering like fireworks. She'd assumed only Droids had been on board, and that it was a routine test drill. She had no way of knowing that everyone except the now-incarnate Ship had barely escaped with their lives. She had not activated the radio speakers in the cargo hold, either, and so could not hear Adam's hail. Sslar did, and her ears perked up, and she lifted her head, looking at Muckles expectantly. The ancient Canyon Witch was distracted, however, and did not notice Sslar's attention had been drawn, so affixed was her own on the scene in the monocle.

Below her, the ramp had closed behind Dag. She didn't know that Ben had been on board as well as Sslar, or that he was now accompanying Dag in their recon of the source of the devastating beams.

Dag and Ben stood between the massive calves of Cecilia, back to back, their weapon drawn, and slowly rotated together. They saw no one. No motion at all, just a ruined city, all rust and decay, seemingly devoid of life. About half a mile away, however, there was a light in the top of a tall tower, feeble and wavering like a lantern or candle in a window. They both saw it, and once their initial scan was finished stood peering up at it.

"Do ya spose it was just an auto-triggered thing?" Ben said. "Mebbe no one's here to confront…mebbe it were just dumb luck, a routine pre-emptive drone-type o' thing."

"Maybe," said Dag. "But it needs to be deactivated, in my opinion. Neno might've been hit, or even we might have, and I don't think he's going to want pre-emptive drones firing at vessels just yet. Not his style." She paused, then added, " I don't think."

""Good points," said Ben. "I think I agree with you. So, let's go find out." Keeping their eyes on the light, the two of them walked out from the safety of Cecilia's cloak and headed toward it.

In the top of the tower, a lone human noted the sudden appearance of two infrared blobs where none should be. Jumping up from the tattered executive chair, the figure dashed from the observation unit and began running down the spiral stairs, jumping them four or six at a time, breathlessly impatient, as everything – everything! -- was at stake.

Having survived the wreck nine years earlier, the pilot had been watching the skies every night, and had no idea whether there was anyone else on the planet at all. The skies were the domain of the mighty flying dragons that had helped to clear the planet of the Bug and to clean up the carnage; it was one of these mighty monsters that had caused the wreck in the first place.

But every night provided a new opportunity to signal for help; the green beams, though wildly off-target and impossible to calibrate, would certainly indicate to anyone entering orbit that there was something doing down here. The pilot had not quite lost hope that a search party would be deployed; but was succumbing to the very real possibility that no one would dare even attempt it. The planet had been quarantined for decades, swarming with zombies – the unHoly – until to a one they were all dead.

Thinking back on the wreck, the scene seemed as vivid as when it had first occurred. It had been in the swamp, and the auto-eject had worked as intended, sending the pilot rocketing out of the ship's hatch at about 150 meters altitude. The pilot had deployed the chute and had managed a tree-top landing about 200 meters from where the ship smashed into the swamp.

Its wings spanned the bog, displacing the weight enough to keep it afloat, suspended on the surface of the swamp, but there was no way to get to it, and if onboard, there'd have been no way to get off of it. The bog had cushioned the impact, but the pilot did not know how extensive the damage was, nor dared to try to get to it. The beasts that prowled the waters of the swamp were every bit as savage as those in the skies.

(continued -- 1 more)
edit on 20-6-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 20 2012 @ 02:02 PM
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(continued)

For two days the stranded pilot had stayed in that tree, watching and learning what the environment had to offer, whether helpful or deadly. In the swamp itself, there was no sign of human life. It had been quite a feat, but by using the hefty vines that resembled grape ivy and kudzu, it had been possible to escape the swamp without ever going aground, thus staying out of range of the giant serpentine vermin that seemed to own the place; one species in the air, the other in the murky water…both were unspeakably huge, and had equally ungodly insatiable appetites for live meals.

It had been on the second day that the pilot, while reconnoitering the situation, had seen a battle between two of them, which ended with both being fatally ripped open by the other, and both being swallowed by the swamp while still in their death throes. It was the electricity generated by the water serpent that had killed the airborne beast, and its last roar was anything but a "death rattle"…it was the sound of Hell itself. The swamp beast had the last mouthful of food, seeming oblivious to the fact that it was moments from sure death; and sank into the blackened water before even swallowing. The water had stayed blood-colored for days.

The pilot had therefore, Tarzan-style, swung from tree to tree, until finally there were no more trees. The discovery of an idle railroad, a good ten kilometers away from the wreck, had provided direction and a sense of anchorage. Then came the walking. For twenty days it was easy going; there were fruits on the shrubs and vines that happily caused no illness, and provided enough moisture to stave off dehydration. The railroad was intact largely, although there were a few places where the aquaducts had given way and the bridge cables had failed, but a lightweight person in good shape had no problem navigating those parts.

The weather had been cooperative, although mighty storms provided a show almost every evening, far to the north, and lightning strikes seemed to indicate that there was a city of some kind that attracted it. The twisters seemed tiny, distant and unthreatening, of course, from that far away, so the pilot trudged on. On the twenty-first day, the pilot saw a lone light winking on and off on the horizon. It had taken ten more days to reach the edge of the urban ruins, where an enormous train was parked. It was reminiscent of a beached cruise ship from the history reels of the early 21st Earth century, but more akin to the industrial age of steam- and coal-powered machinery of two centuries prior to that.

The pilot had taken shelter there, and found a startlingly large supply of provisions among the skeletal remains of dismembered humans. It was as though they'd been ripped to pieces by something, and had no time to eat what foodstuffs were available. The pilot didn't like to think about what was reported to have happened.

But now, there was a sure sign of two bipedal creatures – two upright red ghosts in the goggles' infrared lens, and no time to waste in getting to them. If it was a search party, it was imperative that they not fall prey to the traps – those that had been lain at first to intercept infected humans but now served to keep wayward wildlife at bay. Even if it was not a search party, it was certainly someone, as there were no other bipedal fauna on the planet, and they had obviously emerged from a cloaked ship.

And so the pilot emerged from the base of the tower and began to run, a solitary figure, a mere speck amidst the still grinding ruins of the city, dressed in black and covered from head to toe. The two strangers' infrared images became larger as the pilot sprinted toward them and began to shout, "Oy! Hallo!! Oy, oy, here, here!!" Arms waving, jumping up and down every few strides, the pilot approached Dag and Ben.

They had their weapons poised at first, but then realized that the sound was anything but menacing. The person was running toward them, waving and shouting, obviously not intending to ambush or attack them. And just as the black-garbed figure crossed the deserted street into the alleyway where Ben and Dag walked, one of the infrared figures in the goggles disappeared.

Dag had stumbled upon a filament as fine as human hair, a trip-wire, and the manhole beneath her had opened up like a sinkhole, just as she was striding forward to confront the suspect who had shot lasers at the Deson Fighter. The resident reached the hole a few seconds later, and stood breathing heavily next to Ben, who was standing near the open maw of the sewage system calling out, "Dag! Do you hear me?!! Dag!"

"She can hear you, but…" the voice was feminine. Ben turned to look at the speaker, who raised her goggles to reveal warm and honest eyes, then reached to the nape of her neck to pull out two shining braids of luminescent corn-silk tresses, as straight as string.


" 'But' what?!!" Ben asked. "DAG!" He shouted down the manhole. "I'll getcha outta there, missy, I swears it!"

"No, she'll never come out. It's too late."

Ben looked at the young woman, his eyes warning her of his intentions to prove her wrong.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I'm so sorry. I tried to get here, to warn you about the traps. There are mines, too. But at least the mines kill instantly. The traps…well, I'm sorry. It's no use. There's nothing we can do for her now."


edit on 20-6-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 10:04 AM
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………**~~ The Regroup ~~**…………


A distant clanking thud echoed up out of the tube. Ben lifted his rifle and eyed the scope. "I kin think of a number o' things 'we kin do fer her now.' " Without taking his eyes off the woman he called again, "Dag?!"

"I'm here," a faint voice called out. "I think my leg is broken. It's very dark, and humid, and smells rancid."

"I'll send down a harness an' rope and hoist ya back up, girl," called Ben. He saw the woman shake her head 'no' and narrowed his eyes at her. "What," he said to her. "No harnesses? I've got one, in our boat back there. And notice I ain't said 'we'. There's no 'we'." He waved his hand between himself and the girl. "I'd tell ya to take me to yer leader right now, but this here's a bigger problem, so that'll have to wait."

He turned back toward the way they had come and took a firm stride, but then stopped and spun back around, his eyes narrowed in a glare of distrust. "Ye got a name?"

"I have," she said. "They used to call me Wild. I was…well…wild."

"Aiight, then, Wild," Ben said, "c'mon, yer now a wild hostage." He stepped back over to the manhole. "Dag, I'm goin' fer help and equipment. You….stay put…" His voice trailed off. A moment later they heard her response.

"Ben? There's water...very hot water…please, hurry!" she called.

Ben reached out quick as a whip and grabbed the darkly-clad girl by the arm, spun her around and clamped it behind her back. "Walk," he said. "Hot water? Who flushes their sewers with hot water? A mite expensive, ain't it?"

"It's spring fed," said Wild. "The original builders took advantage of the natural resources, and hot water was one of the blessings of the place. It's the reason this city is here and not elsewhere." Her voice jumped as she was marched through the streets. He and Dag had come only about a hundred rods into the city, and at a brisk pace in five minutes they were back to where Cecilia waited. Ben didn't bother to wait for Wild's reaction when they passed through the cloak and the yellow craft's enormous legs appeared as if by magic.

"That's how folks disappear where she 'n' I come from. Yer way o' dumping 'em in boilin' sewers is a bit, rustic, hey?" He lifted his rifle and banged twice on the hatch.

Inside, Mucklebones ripped the monocle back off her face and shoved it in her poncho pocket, and unceremoniously unhooked the mechanical latch that held the hatch closed while parked. It popped open just as Ben pulled Wild back out of its path.

"Get in," he said to her, and shoved her up the ramp.

Mucklebones looked at her. "Ah'd ask if ye went shoppin' without me, even knowin' I'm in a hurry to get to me man, but yer not Dag. Where's she at?"

Ben began gathering rope and harnessing from the cargo hold and spoke over his shoulder. "This here's called 'Wild', but she don't seem so outta control to me fer now," he said. "Ain't heard 'er story yet, no time. Dag's fallen into a trap, and we gotta go fish 'her out. Muckles, go up there and git that youngun down here, he kin help. We gotta hurry, too, afore Dag learns how lobsters feel right before dinner."

Muckles shinnied up the ladder, her grubby poncho flapping around their heads while her head occupied the cockpit. "Who'syermother, over there, boy! With me, c'mon." Brittle looked up from where he was slouched in the pilot's seat, one ankle crossed over the other knee, idly cleaning his fingernails. The Grey Alien witch's eyes were fierce with impatience and suppressed frustration. "Honk, honk!" she yelled at him. "Let's go, move it!"

"Okay!...," he said petulantly, and got up from the captain's chair. "Sheesh."

Wild shook her head for the tenth time since they'd met. "There is no use," she said. "The water is toxic and boiling. It rises very fast, and you won't be able to get that rope down to her, I'm telling you! The best thing is to stay above, near her, until it's over." Suddenly her grey eyes filled with tears and overflowed.

"What now," said Ben. "Ye don't even know 'er, a perfect stranger fell into yer trap, and yer cryin' over the loss?"

Wild wiped the tears from her cheeks and sniffed. "No, not for her, although it's awful enough. And it's not my trap. My sisters…" she broke off and swallowed, took a deep breath, and puffed out her chest. "My two sisters met the same fate, some years ago, when they finally came to rescue me," she finished. "The traps were for the infected unHoly, long ago, when the planet was overrun by them. They're all gone now, but the place is booby-trapped still, like I said. Those tubes, the one she slid down, they're spiral, with one-way valves. When something passes through them, filaments are broken that close the valves behind the … the victim… and they don't open back up again until a flush has cleared the main…the main…drain."

(continued below)
edit on 21-6-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)

edit on 21-6-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 21 2012 @ 10:07 AM
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(continued from above)


She winced thinking about how awful a death it was. She could still hear her sisters' calling out to her, and their screams as the toxic boil melted their skin off of their bones. "If you go down after her, you'll die as well. That's what Chase did when Hope fell in, she went down the next manhole on purpose. Now, they're both dead. And Skye…" she broke off again. "Well, never mind about that. The point is, the best thing is to go and keep her company until it's – over."

"And how soon will it be 'over'!?" Ben demanded.

Wild lowered her goggles onto her face and adjusted a lever on one of the lenses. "About two hours," she said. She then reached for a dial next to her ear and twisted it with her right hand as she raised the goggles again with her left. "I've got a frequency here… er, do you want to talk to this – 'Eye drill' – person?" She looked at Muckles. "Are you Cecilia?"

"No, Ah ain't Cecilia," said Muckles, and she slapped the back of Brittle's head as he reached the floor of the cargo hold. "Ye didn't tell me anyone was hailin' us!?" she croaked at him. Gert was now looking down at them from the cockpit, her ancient skin sagging with the gravity gave her the aspect of a Sharpei dog.

Brittle shrugged. "He wasn't talking to me and Gert," he said. "We decided it was best to keep quiet."

Wild spoke up again. "Well, he seems to really want to talk to someone called Cecilia."

Ben was becoming impatient now. "Cecilia is the damn shuttle, woman! He wants anyone who can hear him to answer. Them two're prisoners."

"Oh," said Wild. She reached inside the helmet's edge and removed her own earbud, holding it up as a kind of peace offering. "Well, here, you can use this. And when we get there we can at least send it down for her…the valves in the tube are grated, not solid, and earbuds are small enough to drop in…as long as it doesn't get caught on the way down, she can … talk to … whoever."

Ben snatched it from her. "How's it work? Need a mike, don't we?"

"It's built in," said Wild. Ben turned toward the ramp and started to descend without further ado. The rest followed him as he called over his shoulder, "C'mon ye old bat, yer comin' with us, too." Gert climbed down the ladder, and the five of them deboarded Cecilia. Ben latched the ramp from the outside and they headed out, back to where Dag had last walked the face of the planet.

If he or Muckles had noticed that Sslar was missing, neither had said anything about it.

edit on 21-6-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 12:36 PM
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.........~~**Too Little, Too Late, Two Fewer**~~...........


The Xang cat had recovered her strength and quietly rolled out of the cradling sling while the old witch had been absorbed in the monocle scene, watching Tibbs' progress. The green feline made her way, unseen, to the outermost edge of the hatch while Mucklebones was hastily stashing her monocle back into its pocket. As soon as she'd unlatched and opened the hatch and ramp, Sslar had leapt out even while the ramp was unfolding. Neither Ben nor Wild had seen her deft leap from the barely opened hatch while it was still above their heads. Now she was going to find Nenothtu.

She could sense him, far to the south, and while he seemed calm enough of mind, there was a note of disquiet that urged her on. Her reasons for asking Silo to get her to the planet were still unknown, even to her, but she knew she would be an asset beyond any skills and talents that her U-man partner had for self-defense. A distinct canine menace had alerted her, telepathically, even while she was still on the Yydryl, and it seemed to be a foreshadowing of what Neno and his companions were heading toward.

But she was far off course now, and would have to hurry, and push herself hard, to get to him. So she left her transportation, and its occupants, and focused on her innate radar to guide her to her U-man.

..........................................



Dag was sweltering in the drain. She'd managed to stand up – well, she'd jumped up reflexively when the hot water had first touched her flight suit -- and there was plenty of headroom, but her leg was, in fact, broken and was not going to be propelling her anywhere. Palpating it tenderly, she'd determined that just above the ankle, her right fibula had snapped. It was not a weight-bearing bone, but because the ankle was dislocated as well (by a nasty twist on her way down the spiral chute) she was perfectly lamed. Now she stood like a flamingo, on one foot, keeping her balance by bracing her hand against the wall of the drain.


She stood on a slippery bank of ancient concrete, a few inches above the roiling liquid that trickled past her, her neck extended, peering up at the grating above her for any way of escape. There were no ladders, no handles, no footholds – no apparent way of ascending, and she wondered by what means the passage was maintained, if indeed one could call it that.

It seemed to have been in constant use, for a very long time, and she could hear the clanking of enormous pistons and valves far in the distance. Every few minutes a pale gas light in the smaller – but still enormous – cylindrical drain that fed the chamber in which she stood flicked on for a few seconds, preceded by a hissing and a contained bang, then faded out. Dag wondered if anyone was monitoring the drainage system, but saw no hint of cameras anywhere.

'This is bad,' she thought. Bad indeed. It appeared she was in the lowest section of the drain's labyrinth, and not in a place regularly visited any longer. Stalactites of rust dripped from the apex of the circular drain edge, and effluvia of the same rust color had caused the walls to crumble at the joints. She wondered when Ben would return, and hoped it would be soon. Just then the sound of humanoid voices floated down from the surface, several of them.

"We are going to tell her, then?" It was Mucklebones' annoying croak.

"Yes, we are." That was Ben. Then louder, "Dag? Girl?" came echoing down the chute.

"Still here," she called up. "Hope you brought a long rope!" She laughed, but silence answered her. "Ben?"

"Dag, turns out we can't fish ya outta there, all the valves between you 'n' us are closed. They won't be opened until the next drain flush."

"So, how long is that, then?"

"Under two hours," he said, then paused. "'Bout ninety minutes, now."

"Good, because it's not real pleasant down here."

Then she heard someone mutter something inaudible, followed by an abrupt, "I know!" from Ben again. "Look, Dag, Ah gotta give you--," She heard a smack and then there was another pause. "I'm sendin' down an earcom fer ya, we got the Ship online. The Doc wants-ta talk atcha."

Then she heard more muttering, the only audible sounds being "hunnerd", "drop", "grates", "caught", "string," and "No!", followed by, "Dag, it'll be just a few minutes, I gotta rig this up so we can fish it down to ya, so it don't get caught on the way."



posted on Jun, 22 2012 @ 12:38 PM
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(continued from above)

High above Dag, Muckles was fashioning a length of fabric threads torn from the hem of her dress, which she still wore under the poncho. "Ah just wanna get to my man quicker 'sall, it ain't that Ah wanna desert her," she grumbled. "But there's enough of us, cain't we send someone to him while we're waitin'? Cecilia'd be back afore the … flush."

"No, we can't," said Ben. "We’re stayin' right here until this is done." Wild had estimated that the winding chute was probably 35 to 40 meters long, and said there were five grated valves. "Is there some sorta clay, or something we can wrap 'round it so it don't bust?" Ben asked her.

"It shouldn't bust," said Wild, "it's shatterproof. Any wrapping would make it too fat to get through the grates. It'll be hard enough fishing it through the grates. Yes, that looks long enough." She took the shredded fabric rope from Muckles and tested the knots. "If they hold, they'll get it to her. If we just drop it, it might never make it down."

The process was tedious. Dag could hear the tinging and pinging, a bit of scraping and some cursing as the earcom was lowered down the spiral chute. Accompanying these rhythmic sounds were occasional harrumphs and growls, twice someone said, "Here, let me try," but mostly there were pauses. An hour and fifteen minutes had passed by the time she saw the earcom, dancing at the end of a red and blue rag rope emerge from aloft.

"I see it now!" she called up. "It's clear of the chute!" She sounded cheerful, but of course no one could see her rubbing her neck, which was screaming with pain from looking up for too long.

"How much more you need fer it to reach ya?" Ben called down.

"I'd say, ten meters," said Dag. Above she heard, "Crap," and then there was more silence as Muckles ripped off yet another four circumferences of fabric from her hem. Slowly, painfully slowly, the earcom dangled above Dag in fits and starts, until finally she could reach up and almost touch it. The problem now was that it was in the dead center of the chamber, and she was standing on the edge, perched above the water. She'd have to wade through the steaming, caustic liquid to get to it. "Can you swing it a little? I'm over to the side," she called up. She saw it shiver a bit.

"Zat good?" called Ben.

"No, I'll have to walk – er, hop on one foot -- into the, uh, the surf here, to get it," called Dag, and before Wild could shout "Wait!" she had done so. The water was above the sole of her boot, and the sturdy material of which it was made began to disintegrate, but Dag didn't notice that, she was too focused on the earcom and its insertion.

"Adam?" she said. She heard crackling, and silence, and then "—ag?! buzz buzz me, lass?!" She smiled. "Yes, I can hear you somewhat," she said. "It's good, too."

"I miss ---" he said. "We ----- a perilous ad ------- this aft--------, tho--- beams, I buzz buzz Wild who was firing --------- started to ---- the Fighter. We were ---- that Fighter, Dag, buzz---- says it was you who detou--------thank ------ bye."

"What?" Dag chuckled. "I only got part of that, Adam. But I miss you, too. Do you want to hear about my leg?"

"crackle ---- leg, --- toxic ----" and then the signal was gone. Dag shouted up, "I can't hear him! There's too much static!" A few seconds later, there was a high-pitched feedback whine, and then Adam's voice was loud and clear in her ear. "Wait, what were you saying?" she said. "Can you hear me now?"

"Aye, now I hear ye, lass, my own love. Dag, I want ye should know how much ye mean to me."

"Yes? Now? Why, what's happened? Are you safe?"

"Aye, we're safe, all safe. The droids and the Fighter didna make it, but every beating heart got back to Ship. Thanks for what you did."

"You mean stealing Sslar? Or failing to stop the beam-shots?" Dag laughed. In her mind the epic had not gone so well. "Or falling into a trap because I'm too brash and move too fast for my own good?"

She heard a smile in Adam's voice. "All of it," he said, in barely more than a whisper. She heard him gulp. "I'll never forget a minute of it. Never."

"Adam? Why do you – what's wrong? Have you been drinking?" Dag asked kindly. "We'll be back on Ship soon, possibly tomorrow, and then we can have a fresh look at things. We were just going to drop off Sslar, and come right back. You and I can pick up where we left off. We'll rebuild." There was a long pause again. "Adam?"

"They didna tell you, then?"

"Tell me what?" she asked, and the smile fled from her face. "What?! What's happened? What's wrong? Is it neno? BIAD and Tibbs? Are they safe?"

"I don't know," said Adam, "but I think so. Margo says they're all three off the Starwolf. Muckles can see where they are, and there's been no sign so far of struggle for Tibbs. BIAD is with them as far as we know, but Mutt just took off toward the planet. I'm not sure who's in it, but its coordinates are set for the Starwolf. Oh, Dag," he then cried, "I canna believe this! Those girls! Moriah lied, and then we were under fire!! Ye shouldna gone after the beam source, Dag! Ye shouldna, lass!!"

"Adam, I'm not dead," said Dag, "I'm just stuck in a drainage system. I have to wait for the main flush, and then I'll be out of here." Suddenly she felt a shooting pain in her foot and looked down. The water had risen, and now the layers of her boot were eaten away to a bare film. She screamed. "Adam! My boot!" Adam then heard some scuffling noises, a splash, and Dag's voice now coming from a distance. "Adam! Can you still hear me? I've lost the earcom, the water splash – Oh!! It's melting my AaAARRGGHHH!! No!! Aahyyy---" and a deafening roaring sound ensued.

"Oh my Creator, no," gasped Adam, his face white as a ghost. "They didna tell her." He sat shocked-still, alone in the security unit, and hot tears stung his cheeks. He could only imagine – wish – that it was he being boiled alive and not his beloved Dag as he listened to the sounds of underwater turbulence. He closed his eyes. "I didna tell her. Oh Dag, oh, I'll always love ye, lass," he whispered to himself and the air. "Always. Only you, my lovely Dag, until we meet again."

As he let the radio fall from his hand, Adam felt his heart break.

edit on 22-6-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)

edit on 22-6-2012 by wildtimes because: (no reason given)



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