Sorry for it being WAY too long since I last updated, there have been a few complications with the group project (Hope you get well soon Mr Calmsword) and also life, as we all know and dread, has gotten in the way of important hobbying in all forms. Anyway hope this wets everyones appetite for what's to come
“What happened to having your orders?” Calurit asks as they rush out of the room.
“Well I got bored of waiting for you,” Noran replies as he press a communication stud in his ear,
“Bursht have the shuttle ready to go! We’re on our way.”
“On it sir.”
“What about the others?” Riza shouts as she catches up with them, after finishing off the last of the pirates.
“Let them do as they please, we’ve given them a chance to survive ... it’s up to them what they do with it.” Noran replies as he notices a look of concern and regret on Calurit.
The group run through the empty corridors, they meet no resistance and the only traces of the pirates find is a bloody three fingered hand crudely painted throughout the ship. With barely minutes to spare they make it back to their ship.
“About time!” Kassiel says without looking up from sharpening his knife.
“Good to have you back sir,” Bursht says as he shuts the door behind them, “Although if it was up to some we wouldn’t have waited.” He says as he glares at Kassiel who returns the glare while spitting on his blade.
“Well we’re here now; let’s get this bird off the air!” Noran says as he climbs over to the pilot.
The Orca’s thrusters burst into action causing the ship to shake as it fights the way stations artificial gravity. Riza its next to Aang’ma and straps herself in, “What you got there?” she asks noticing he has a strangely familiar weapon.
“Picked it off a húndàn that was trying to shoot us down. Ugly fracker too, looked like he was in charge of them arseholes.” Kassiel answers as Aang’ma ignores her and examines the weapon, oblivious to those around him. He unloads the weapon and notices that the weapon uses a power system that is reminiscent of the early version of the Pulse Carbine.
“Interesting,” Aang’ma mumbles to himself.
“What is it sir?” asks Feek’ah who is hovering above his master.
“This technology, it almost matches ours. A less sophisticated version of ours naturally.”
The Orca silently enters the void of space, its forward thrusters bursting into life in a flash of light. Inside, the cockpit’s lit only by a couple of red pulsing lights, Hasah closes his eyes and slowly taps his finger on his knee five times. As his finger makes contact for the fifth the time the ship shakes as the way station explodes, illuminating the cockpit an oddly magical white.
“So the mission was a success?” O’Tilah enquires as he shakily pours himself a cup of pech’caffe.
“Yeah we retrieved the relays and El’Aang’ma’s taken them to get them analysed,” Noran replies, “Still no word from the Selim?”
“No and to be honest I can’t wait for it to be over, I want to get out of this place. The dreams still haunt me.”
“Have they gotten worse?” Calurit asks sitting down and placing his hands together in front of his face like he’s about to pray.
“The Imagery hasn’t but the frequency has, I was going to mention it earlier but I had to send you out. I’ve been trying my best to avoid sleep but even that is becoming a difficult task.”
“What do you see?”
“I’m stood in a deathly brown space, like a wasteland of a planet, above me the stars are dying and the faint sound of screaming can be heard...”
Hasah suddenly looks up as the description of the planet and the screams remind him of his vision he had when he last dreamt.
“... before me I see a congregation of Gue’las, they’re kneeling and holding their hands in the air, crying. That’s when I notice that I’m stood on a podium with a book open in front of me. I can’t tell what it says but I appear to be reading from it, my voice isn’t mine but there are hints of maybe an Au’taal accent but I can’t be sure. The wind builds and I hear harsh whispers, faintly saying ‘Tau’va is a lie! Have faith in Legion, We are one and one shall conquer!’ I look down and I see I’m holding a talisman or something similar, my flesh has faded to grey, my body bulges with energy that nauseates me. It’s at this point I usually wake.”
The room falls silent for a moment as everyone contemplates what they’ve just heard, confusion painted across their faces. Only the sound of the jug rattling against the cup can be heard as Tilah shakily pours himself another drink. Finally Hasah breaks the silence stretching his arms causing his joints to crack in the process. Calurit looks up as if coming out of a trance, “Hmmm? Oh yeah. To be honest I can’t think what they could mean.”
“What if it’s referring to cultists that may be nearby or it could have something to do with those ‘pirates’ we just met.” Noran suggests as he goes to leave. “Maybe you should see the doctor, see if someone can give you something to knock you out. I’m going to see if I can find out how the others are getting on, on the Selim.”
“Fuun’ay take these to the Navigation crew, they’ll want to search the databanks for information on our next destination,” Aang’ma says as he hands the sensor relays to his worker drone.
“Right away, sir.”
Aang’ma places the recovered weapon on his work bench, knocking a pile of paper off in the process. The weapon is first sprayed with a cleansing mist to kill any bacteria that could cause further damage to it. Aang’ma then steadily takes the outer casing off, exposing a broken firing mechanism and a makeshift magnetic coil field generator.
“Do you suspect that this was taken from one of your brother’s sir?” Feek’ah asks as he neatly places the paper back onto the workbench.
“It is a possibility but then the modifications made to it have clearly been done by someone who knows what they’re doing. I’d like to meet the one that worked on this.”
“But they are the enemy sir.”
“There are no enemies in science, only ideas.”
“There’s something oddly calming about it isn’t there?” Riza jumps as she is startled by Noran’s sudden appearance. He sits next to her and they both stare out of the viewport, watching the battle around the Selim. Little burst of light flash as explosions go off among the swooping ships of the Tau and the bulky vessels of the Pirates. The ships weave around each other as if they’re living creatures performing some ancient battle dance.
“Yeah if you can ignore all the lives being lost and the agony they’re going though then I guess you’re right,” she replies bluntly.
“Well they say ignorance is bliss.”
“There’s a heart in there somewhere,” she says as she pokes him in the chest, making him wince in pain. “Sorry, are you ok?”
“Nothing I’ve not been through before.”
Riza is about to speak when a huge explosion bursts out of the Pirate’s city chip, a tiny shimmer of light be seen flying out of the spherical flame then disappear as if it never existed. The assault ships surround the city ship are lost as the explosion turns them to ruin. The Selim, badly damaged in the battle, crawls away from the battle while the remaining Pirate vessels scuttle off into the void.
“Looks like we’ve won that one then, Tilah’ll be pleased to hear that.”
Por’la Au’taal Seit opens his eyes and finds himself, staring at the blinking red eye of the drone currently scanning his body. Beside him the medical staffs are busy tending to the bodies of the wounded recently brought in from the Selim mission. Moans of pain fill the room, the sound only broken when the medical relay information to each other.
“How’re you feeling?” he hears a gruff voice ask as the drone completes its scan allowing him to sit up. He breathes in sharply as pain shoots through his stomach, he looks down to find a dark patch of skin across his stomach. “It’s amazing what you creatures can do medically, back on Terra we’d just get a poorly applied skin graft ... cause more pain then it stopped.”
Seit finally looks to the side and finds a brutish Gue’la sitting in the bed next to him. His eyes are small and dark which make him look like he’s constantly squinting. His square shaped face is framed with a pure white beard that follows the outline of his jaw. His arm is covered in bandages and covered in blood.
“Yeah we’ve got some of the best medical staff from the empire on board,” Seit replies as he tries to make himself comfortable, “How did I get here?”
“We brought you here from the way station, saved you from being some psycho’s dinner.” Bursht replies.
“Oh yeah, that’s something I don’t want to remember.”
“So look sharp lads, what you betting? Daisy’s getting restless” Degarsh asks as he places the five coloured balls in a cup.
“I have a place on the next mission, place it on blue.” A scruffy auburn haired soldier holds up an assignment form; gasps of excitement come from the other five men stood around the little pit.
“We’ve all been issued that Eddorin, think of something better!”
“I haven’t and I want a piece of that” Kassiel interrupts as he hands Degarsh a small Kroot knife, “Put that on black.”
“Wait for the duel Kas.”
“Put this on yellow,” Jerd says as he throws a small plasma pistol to Degarsh, “I ‘found it’ in some guys lock up, don’t think he’ll need it now he’s dead.”
“The bastard’s las pistol on red,” Merian hands her ex husband’s sidearm over “Let’s hope he’s more useful now he’s dead.”
“Was hoping to get to play with this first but I guess, since I’m going to win, I’ll put this on white.” Zaren smugly passes a custom made snub pistol to Degarsh.
“Found anything Eddorin?” Degarsh asks as the door on the side of the pit starts to bend as something on the other side tries to escape “Daisy can’t wait forever.”
With a sigh Eddorin hands over a finely engraved knife, it is thinner than most combat knifes and the serrated edge has been replaced with housing for poison vials, “Put this on blue” he says sullenly, regret already painted on his face.
Degarsh gives everyone one final look and nods as they all fall silent. He places a bionic hand over the cup and shakes it. The pit has been built into a stage that he owns in the Gue’la living quarters, after fleeing the Imperium, for running illegal betting services on Imperial vessels; Degarsh has resumed his life of illegal entertainment under the ignorant gaze of the empire. He twists the bottom of the cup, the balls inside glow and buzz into life as they are thrown into the pit. A see through cover is quickly placed on top to keep the balls, which now appear to be tiny living creatures, from escaping. Without saying a word he reaches down and presses a button that opens the almost destroyed door allowing a savage three legged creature. Daisy’s over shot jaw lowers as she unleashes a guttural growl, saliva oozing out of her mouth in the process; she stamps her front legs a few times as she sniffs the air. Even though he has played the game many times before the creature still disturbs Kassiel a little as her blind eyes protrude from her head, as she searches for prey as if they are still functioning. Suddenly Daisy pounces, trying to catch one of the little creatures flying around the pit. Spikes pop out of daisy’s back catching the white creature; a little yelp can be heard as Daisy turns round and eats it.
“Dammit!” Zaren curses and kicks the side of the pit, almost knocking the lid off.
“That toys goin’ to look nice in my collection” Merian mocks
Daisy continues to hunt the little creatures until there is only two left. Degarsh blows into whistle, which none of the humans hear it make a noise, and Daisy stops as if paralysed by the silent tone. He reaches under the lid and scoops daisy out and places her into a cage behind him. The remaining two creatures are collected into jars and put back into a pouch beside the cage. As the jars go in a long black ribbon is brought and is placed around Kassiel’s and Eddorin’s left wrist.
“How ‘bout we change your brother’s blade for that mission of yours?” Kassiel suggests as he unsheathes his duelling blade.
“Do you even know what the mission is? Not that I’m complaining about changing.” Eddorin replies as they both coat their blades with paralysing venom.
“Nope and I don’t really care, I just want off the ship.”
Eddorin shrugs and hands over the sheet of paper to Degarsh, who rolls it up and puts it in his back pocket. Kassiel flicks the dregs of the serum off of his blade and gets into an offensive stance, his blade held out low in front of him.
“Ok, remember the only rule! Leave the heart, cut the face” Degarsh holds onto the ribbon that holds the fighters together, “remember what happened last time Kas.”
“He won’t be lucky enough this time.” Eddorin boasts.
Kassiel does not reply; his hand starts to tremble in anticipation. Degarsh looks at them both to confirm their readiness and then quickly moves his hand off the ribbon. Before he can step back both men thrust their blades at each other. The weapons lightly kiss as they glide past one another, Kassiel smirks and pulls on the ribbon while stepping aside causing Eddorin to lose balance. Kassiel kicks Eddorins feet from under him and slices down, creating a tiny gash in Eddorin’s leg, instantly turning it purple as the venom temporarily paralyses it. Eddorin inhales sharply at the pain but then retaliates by slicing along Kassiels hand that is holding the ribbon making it go limp on the ribbon. Eddorin stands unsteadily and attacks Kassiel, more aggressively this time but the attack is parried and answered with a punch to the face. The two stumble around for another minute, both of them losing the use of an arm and a leg in the process, until Kassiel spins round; his limp arm pulling the ribbon and wrapping it round him. As Eddorin is pulled forward, Kassiel spins the blade round in his hand and slices along his face barely missing his eye.
“Kas wins,” Degarsh declares as he cuts the ribbon and both men fall to the floor, Kassiel lands face first as his arm lacks the control to hold him up. “Graceful as ever I see.”
“I hate that game sometimes,” kassiel replies as the weapons and paper are dropped next to him.
“Yepsth yoooo wannya ti haaaing yooo fafphhss nuummmmn” Eddorin tries to reply.