Well everybody, we’re still stuck on Terraan, and a little of the planet’s oddness is explained. Liam still is not friendly with his friends, and tensions really are rising. Also, the group has a brush with old enemies. Enjoy.
Liam slid the door open and peered outside for a moment, then he motioned for the others to follow. Cautiously they walked behind him as he sneaked forward. Suddenly he stopped. The rest of the party stopped as well, uncertain of what to do. Then a cat-like animal leaped out from the shadows at Liam. Unfortunately for the beast, Liam was ready. A telekinetic hand caught the creature’s throat, strangling it in mid-air.
“Come on,” Liam said. “Keep moving. We haven’t all day.”
He set off again, and the others followed after a moment of shocked silence. A minute and another animal attack later, they arrived at the hanger. Once they had all stepped inside, Liam closed the door behind them and switched on the light. There was nothing. Just an empty space where the spaceship should have been.
“Where’s the spaceship?” Jayna asked, turning to Liam.
“Try to walk to the opposite side of the hanger,” Liam said, crossing his arms.
Slowly Jayna began walking, but then she hit something; something that she could not see.
“Dark Matter cloaking technology.” Liam said, as a way of explanation. “This is a DMC Scorpion. One of the rarest spaceships in the world. Only three of them have been made. Extremely expensive. A smuggler’s spaceship.”
Reaching into the spaceship mentally, Liam flicked the switch for the cloaking shield, and like a curtain being drawn into two vents near the top of the ship, their ride was revealed. It had eight landing legs that it stood on. The cockpit was up in the front, and it had a long fuselage. The tail was raised slightly above the body with double twin cannons coming out from either side of it. Two weapon pods on either side of the spaceship completed the look, and it was not difficult to see where the name scorpion came from.
“How?” Jayna asked, while the coms began circling around the spaceship wonderingly.
“DMRP, the Dark Matter Research Program, twenty-five years ago. Completely hush hush. The Grand Imperium was going to use it, but one lucky smuggler stole the tech, and a few of his smuggler friends built these. The Grand Imperium caught up to them and chased them into exile. Never could find them though, these spaceships were too good. One of the smugglers and his crew must have landed here.”
“Well what happened to them?” The youngest com asked wonderingly.
“Just get working alright?” Liam said. “There’s some problem with the engine.”
“Where’s Dececrator?” Jayna asked.
Liam tossed her a data-receiver.
“What you need is in there. Now just repair the ship will you?”
Jayna walked around to where the boarding ramp lay extended and entered the ship. Three other coms and Mako followed her. Inside the spaceship, Jayna activated a systems scan and soon realized what Liam was talking about. She was about to exit the ship when the whole room suddenly began trembling.
“Um, Liam?” She called out, there was no answer.
Outside the spaceship, Liam was looking around, trying to determine the source of the shaking. Objects began falling off shelves, and the lights flickered then died. To his left, Liam heard someone muttering, and just managed to catch the words:
“Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come,” then the rest was drowned out as a section of the wall collapsed and disappeared.
The shaking stopped, and Liam, along with the coms approached the place where the rubble should have been. There was a giant hole in the floor leading somewhere under the ground. Almost unconsciously, the group slowly got closer. A deathly silence filled the air, then a sort of screeching filled their ears. None of the coms had time to even react, and Liam had barely turned when a mass of tentacles emerged from the whole and grabbed the legs of five coms and dragged them into the hole.
“What happened?” Jayna asked, rushing out from the spaceship with the three coms behind her.
Liam and the two remaining coms, Derson and the nineteen year old, turned to face Jayna.
“What happened?” She repeated, her eyes rapidly flicking from their faces, to the collapsed corner, to the hole in the ground.
“Caves.” Liam said. “Caves and creatures.”
Jayna was cut off as another tentacle gripped the young com from behind and dragged him into the hole.
“Threk!” Derson said, extending a useless hand.
“Get that spaceship repaired!” Liam roared, turning and diving into the hole after the struggling com.
For a moment, they were silent, then with a leap and bound, Mako entered the hole after Liam. A second later though, Mako was lifted back out of the hole by an invisible hand. When he tried to enter the hole again, a telekinetic barrier stopped him. Jayna watched his useless struggles for a moment, then kneeling down beside the dog, she turned his head to face hers.
“You won’t help Liam by making him concentrate on keeping a barrier up here. He obviously doesn’t want any of us entering after him.”
Mako shook himself out of Jayna’s grip and lay beside the hole morosely. With a sigh, Jayna rose and turned to face Derson, whose frame was shaking with emotion.
“Derson?” The defen asked, putting a hand on the com’s armored shoulder.
“That was my son!” The com said viciously.
“I think you have more than your son to worry about,” a slithering voice said. The small group turned to face the direction the sound had come from.
Then in the darkness outside, four enerblades lit; two green and two blue.
“The Twin Sisters!” Jayna exclaimed.
Liam, Mako said urgently. If you’re going to open mental communications for one last time, now would be an excellent time. The Twin Sisters are here.
There was no reply.
As the enerblades and their owners approached, the enerblades all turned to point at the party in the corner. The speed at which the assassins were approaching increased, and the two middle enerblades began switching back and forth at a blinding speed. Then the trembling began again.
Jayna could sense the tentacles coming up through the cave, and realized that they would come up before the assassins reached the hole. Gathering her mental powers, she took a deep breath to calm her nerves. Then she reached forward mentally and pulled the two assassins forward. Just as the assassins passed over the outside edge of the hole, the mass of tentacles surged out and seized the two assassins and dragged them back down with it.
Liam tumbled down the cave after the group of tentacles. He could see the struggling com ahead of him, and mentally, he pulled Jayna’s enerblade from his belt. Igniting it, he reached forward, trying to hack at the tentacles that held the young com, but the creature remained frustratingly out of reach.
Slowly the tunnel began to level out, and as it did so, Liam found that the mass of tentacles he was following was beginning to gain on him. Soon the tunnel became so level that Liam had to turn off the enerblade and crawl along just to move, and he soon lost sight of his quarry.
The tunnel began to increase in diameter as he continued crawling and then he found himself in a giant cavern. At least, he could not reach the roof standing on his tiptoes and stretching as high as he could reach, and though his eyes were accustomed to the darkness, he could see no walls.
Liam reignited the enerblade. It cast a yellow glow on the walls around him, and he gave a slight groan at the sight which it revealed. The walls stretched out for about ten feet in each direction from the center of the room, and they were pockmarked with tunnels not unlike the one he had just come through.
Reaching out mentally, Liam tried to detect where his target had retreated to, but he could not, for his senses revealed that there were at least five of the creatures. He had no choice. He would have to search each tunnel separately. This decision made, he would have entered one of the tunnels when he heard a sort of hissing noise from behind him.
He turned around slowly, bringing the enerblade to point at whatever was threatening him. He found himself facing a giant spider-like creature, only it had ten legs, and each leg had a deadly barb on the end of it. For a moment, the two stood glaring at each other; the spider staring at Liam, its scissor-like mandibles rasping against each other, and Liam staring at the spider, his enerblade slowly whirring in a defensive pattern.
Then the spider reared up on four of its legs, leaving six of its legs in the air, ready to attack Liam.
“Six arms,” Liam muttered. “Seems familiar. What, an organic Dececrator now?”
Liam knew he could have easily charged and stabbed the creature in the stomach, but he also knew that when spiders died, their legs curled up, and if this died, its legs would probably curl up on him and inject him with the poison that was no doubt contained in the barbs on the ends of its legs. Liam also knew that when facing an enemy like this, a top predator, attacking it first would throw it off balance, as it would expect all to fear it.
So he charged with a yell, and swinging the enerblade, sliced off one of the creature’s legs. He also used this motion to bring him behind the spider. Leaping on the creature’s back, he drove the enerblade into the monster’s back. Or, he tried to, but the spider’s heavy, heat resistant armor stopped the enerblade, and though Liam could feel the weapon slowly penetrating, he knew he would be shaken off in an instant, so he leaped off the spider.
Once Liam landed beside the spider, he swung the enerblade again, slicing off one of the legs the creature stood on. The animal gave an enraged scream, and collapsed from its rearing position. Then the cavern began vibrating, and another mass of tentacles emerged from one of the tunnels and dragged the squealing, struggling spider back with it.
It took Liam a second to gather his wits, then he entered the tunnel after the spider. It was a fairly short tunnel, but Liam did not expect what happened to him next. The last part of the tunnel was a very steep slope, and though he tried to slow himself, Liam slid at a rapid pace straight into a giant cavern. Not only that, but he landed knee deep in a lake of water.
A startled flock of birdlike creatures rose from the water and flew towards the clump of green plants on an island. Liam enhanced vision revealed that the whole floor seemed to be covered in water excepting the occasional island, which bloomed with flora and, he had no doubt, fauna.
Then Liam noticed the anemone-like creatures attached to the walls, except that these creatures weren’t in the water, and they were hundreds of times more massive. Even as he watched, one of them emitted a queer sound, its tentacle mass extended, a worm-like tube following the mass, and entered one of the numerous tunnels leading into the giant cavern.
Something attached itself to Liam’s leg, and looking down, he realized it was an animal that had the appearance of an eel except that its mandibles were much bigger than that of a normal eel. It was currently engaged in trying to bite Liam’s leg off, but could not muster the jaw power to do so.
With a swipe of his enerblade and a hissing of water turning into steam, Liam detached the head of the eel from its body. Liam shook his head and gave vent to a muffled laugh. Then a roar detracted his attention from the dead eel. What he saw when he turned instantly silenced all humor from his voice.
Hurriedly he looked up to the tunnel through which he had entered. Enhancing his leap with a mental push, Liam managed to grip the edge of the tunnel. Hastily he scrambled to enter it, but his efforts ceased when he recognized a queer sound. Turning around, he saw one of the anemone creatures heading towards the tunnel he was so desperately trying to enter.
Quickly Liam dropped back down, and spotting another tunnel, he dived straight into it without second thought. Like the tunnel he had used to enter the cavern he had just left, this tunnel ended with a steep slope, but what he plunged waist deep into was not half as pleasant as what he had plunged knee deep into previously; in fact, it was not even a tenth as pleasant.
For Jayna, second only to being a defen was tinkering with spaceships, and this she was currently engaged in doing. The spaceship had not taken any real damage. All that had happened was that over time, the engine sparks and batteries had deteriorated. This would not have taken long to replace except that she was completely unfamiliar with this kind of spaceship, and she had to make her own batteries and engine sparks.
Exiting the spaceship to get some extra tools, she swiped a hand across her forehead. It was still dark outside, but it seemed like it had steadily been getting hotter. They had patched up the corner with some spraycrete, and Derson stood on the roof of the hanger standing guard.
Jayna was about to reenter the spaceship when a com put a hand on her shoulder.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Derson would like to see you on the roof ma’am.”
Jayna headed up to the roof hurriedly.
“What is it Derson?”
“You might want to look at our horizon ma’am.” he said. “Day is coming.”
Jayna looked in the direction Derson was pointing, then she said in a low voice.
“We are so fried.”
“Literally,” Derson agreed.