Well well well. A lot of dialogue in this chapter. But it’s buildup for the final climax, I promise. Plus, we did have some exciting experiences in this chapter. Enjoy. 🙂
Liam was not amused, but he came close to it when his enhanced senses detected Jayna’s frustrated remark. Then he focused his mental power on finding the beating organ that sustained their enemy’s life. An invisible scanning wave composed of focused mind energy traveled along the length of the giant eel. Liam had to be careful not to release his firm grip on the coms as he redirected his pool of psychological prowess. Gills, lungs– eight of those, gastrointestinal organs, blood vessels, heart, no wait, hearts; five, to be precise.
There are five hearts that have to be destroyed. Liam’s voice, sounding strange with its incorporeality, echoed through Jayna’s head. She noticed Liam’s careful omission of ‘we’ with what was almost a cringe. Two are near the surface, and I can stop those from beating, but you will have to get the three that are buried inside it. Cut your way out of its esophagus in the posterior direction. Go twenty meters. The first heart will be there.
“Thank you for your words of encouragement,” Jayna said. “Though it would have been nice if you had told me how exactly I can answer you in your chosen form of communication.”
She waited a little, but no response came. Sighing, she turned to follow Liam’s directions. It should be easy. The esophagus would lead upwards in the opposite direction of posterior. It was almost satisfactory as the moist flesh steamed then seared as her enerblade cut through it, and the trembling of the enraged animal added to that twisted feeling. Then Jayna caught herself. She was not supposed to have feelings like this! She was a defen, and defen did not hurt with vengeful motives. What had happened to her?
Why have you stopped? Hurry!
This brought Jayna back to reality and she hurried along. However, she soon encountered a problem. The muscles of the eel that surrounded the organs were not tightly packed. Rather, they were arranged in circular rings that extended along the body of the eel, and every time she cut through one of the rings, she could not help but slide uncontrollably until she hit some obstacle. This made estimating a distance of twenty meters exceedingly difficult, and when she finally stopped she saw nothing around her that indicated a heart.
Then a large vein caught her eye, and following it around the inside of the eel. She came across a large, beating heart. Steeling herself, she jabbed her enerblade deep into the muscle, but the roar of rage that the creature gave was beyond her expectations, and she was thrown around like a pinball in a pinball machine as the beast pulsed and reverberated with anger.
Good job. The next heart is located….
Five minutes later, covered in eel guts, gore, and absolutely no glory, Jayna stabbed the last heart. Hurrying back to the throat of the animal, she half mentally, half physically, made her way back up. The eel was in the midst of its death throes, and it would not be long before it collapsed into the deep lagoon, and she did not want to think about the consequences of that.
Then, eight feet from the aperture that was the water worm’s fast closing mouth, Liam seized her in a telepathic grip and pulled her rapidly out. Gripping her wrist tightly, he leaped off the eel as it collapsed into the water. Then as they were flying through the air, rather near the top of the cave, Jayna felt them slowing down, and then they stopped, hanging suspended in the air.
“What?” Jayna asked, bewilderment clouding her face.
“The center of the planet,” Liam said, then he put a finger to his lips. Jayna could see Derson and the surviving com down on an island. Mako was still stuck on the ledge, and she mentally moved him to the island. Then Liam whirled around. Jayna looked around him to see what he was looking at. It was a com, and he was coming out from one of the tunnels. He was very badly wounded, but despite that, Jayna soon saw who it was.
“Threk!” Derson cried out, running towards his son.
Jayna pushed herself out from the balanced gravitational force and slowed her descent into the water. Then she swam over towards where Derson and Threk were embracing.
“So good to have you back Threk,” Jayna said with a smile, as she arrived on the island. There was a loud thud behind her, and she looked around to see that Liam had dropped down from the roof of the cavern.
“You had better get working on moving that spaceship in.” Liam told Jayna. “The hanger won’t hold out much longer.”
Then, as Jayna sat down and began working with her mind, Derson said to Liam: “Explain to me how this works again?”
“Jayna has atomic particle shifting powers. This means that she is in such control of her powers that she can split an object into its individual atoms and move it through masses of other atoms, though depending on the density of the object she is trying to penetrate, it can take varying amounts of time.”
“Then she could have just killed you by splitting you into your respective atoms,” Derson pointed out.
“Not necessarily. With mental power, it can be combated, and it takes a lot of focus to do this.”
Indeed, Jayna did not seem to perceive anything around her, even though her eyes were wide open. Five minutes later, Derson and Threk started up from their laid back positions when the tip of a black cloudy mass emerged from the cave wall. As the rear of the mass of atoms came through the cave wall, it reassembled itself, and Jayna gave a sort of sigh. She seemed to wake up almost, and the spaceship, now reassembled, moved towards them to land on the island.
“This is all well and good,” Threk said. “But I don’t see how we’re supposed to fly this thing out of here.”
“With a lot of redirection of mental energy,” Liam said. Then turning and extending his hands to the far back wall of the cave, he went into a similar state that Jayna had been in.
The roof began trembling. Small rocks pattered down, and Jayna began to doubt the durability of the cave, when suddenly two enormous chunks of rock at the end of the cave began moving upwards. Every muscle in Liam’s body was rigid and he could not have been moved by anything short of an explosion going off point blank. Threk, fascinated, unconsciously got closer to Liam. Jayna did not trust her eyes when she saw what happened next.
A green enerblade suddenly went through Liam’s torso, and holding it, with a triumphant look on his face, was Threk. Liam shuddered, and Jayna wanted to go help him, but she felt like she was frozen. Then the triumphant look on Threk’s face turned to one of fear. The enerblade he held slowly started moving forward through Liam even more. He tried desperately to pull back, but couldn’t. Then the enerblade handle hit Liam’s back, and for a moment Jayna thought that it would stop there, but forcing flesh apart, it continued its torturous journey.
Threk began losing his grip on the enerblade, and when the pommel disappeared into Liam’s body, he lost his hold on the weapon altogether. Then in a flash, the enerblade was out the other side of Liam and flying over him, it stabbed Threk in the gut. The coms face distorted into a mask of pain as he fell back. Derson gave out an anguished cry.
Then a loud thump echoed through the cave as the two huge rocks Liam had broken out landed outside. He turned around, and for a moment, Jayna saw through the hole in his body and out on the other side; she retched and nearly threw up.
“You should have studied Nightmare anatomy– Demise.” Liam said and he waved a hand across the prostrate body of Threk. As he did so, an amazing transformation took place, as organic matter shifted and reformed until laying there was one of the Twin Sisters. Her face was charred and blackened, while her bare arms were covered in third degree burns. Derson was mouth was gaping. “Let’s go.”
“But you’re hurt,” Jayna objected.
“Do I look hurt?” Liam challenged, turning, and indeed, the only sign that he had ever been stabbed through and through by an enerblade was the hole in his bodysuit.
“But you were stabbed–” Jayna faltered.
“In a mass of tissue. I don’t have any gastrointestinal organs. Any nutrition I need is gained through the air around me. Now are we going to get off this planet or what?”
“Whatever you say,” Jayna said, and turning, she entered the spaceship. The com followed her, and after him went Derson. Mako sort of stumbled in, and Derson, still shaking his head, entered after him. Jayna was sitting in the pilot’s seat when Liam entered, and Liam quietly took his place in the copilot’s chair.
“Everybody ready?” Jayna asked, priming the engines. There was no answer, so she assumed the best, and initiated the launch off sequence. The landing struts retracted, and small propulsion engines along the underside of the spaceship kept it in the air long enough for the main engines to engage and they shot off towards the hole that Liam had made.
In a few minutes, they were up in space, and Jayna turned to look at the planet they had left. The white dwarf was now on the other side of the planet, and she could see why the planet had suddenly turned. There was a mass of rock on one side of the planet that she had not previously noticed, and the dwarf, in passing the planet, had exerted a gravitational pull on that mass that had turned it. She did not see why it would have stopped turning though.
“The giant star,” Liam said, as if reading her mind. “It exerts a force on that mass of rock too.”
Jayna nodded, satisfied, then turned to Liam.
“Where are we headed?”
“I think they’ll tell us,” Liam said, and pointed to one of the screens. Jayna looked, then looked, then looked again.
“Confound it!” she exclaimed.